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Storm Brand Hierophant build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Storm Brand Hierophant build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Powerful build based on one of the Brand spells - the Storm Brand

Storm Brand
Shocking Hierophant Build

Updated for Patch 3.14

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Guide notes
July 22, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.11
January 18, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.13
-Added support for The Agnostic Passive
January 24, 2021
-Updated gameplay video
April 18, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.14


Storm Brand is one of the skills added in Patch 3.5 and Betrayal League, which brought around a completely new playstyle. Brands are an attachable spell, which damages nearby enemies at a very high frequency shooting from enemies they are attached to. Brands deal massive AoE damage and attach themselves to another nearby enemy after the first one is killed. Brand Recall is another core Spell for this playstyle, that allows you to summon all summoned Brands to your position, automatically attaching them to nearby monsters. This build also utilizes the newly added Archmage Support Gems which is the single best Support Gem in-terms of DPS for builds with high Mana Pool, and the Arcane Cloak which is a very potent Guard Spell, offering massive defensive utility based on the amount of Mana Consumed. Since this build is based on Brands and high Mana, Hierophant is the perfect Ascendacy Class for it. At the same time, Sign of Purpose Ascendancy Passive increases Damage taken by enemies by 10% per Brand attached, so with a maximum of 5 Brands with this build, making it a terrific DPS boost. We have also added support for the Agnostic Passive, which is one of the best defensive mechanics for high Mana Regeneration build, which basically allows you to nearly instantly replenish your Life.

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1. Gameplay

This is probably one of the most satisfying builds for clearing Maps. Storm Brand shoots Lightning Bolts all over the screen killing enemies nearly instantly. You also get one of the most potent Guard Spells - Arcane Cloak, which grants a very strong shield and high Added Lightning Damage. You are also going to use Agnostic Passive which will nearly instantly replenish your Life, so unless you get one-shotted, you will be nearly immortal. 

0:08 Tier 16 Caldera
0:28 Tier 16 Pit of the Chimera
1:00 Tier 16 Lair of the Hydra
1:33 Tier 16 Jungle Valley with Purifier
2:04 Tier 16 Park

This video was recorded on a level 92 Hierophant with 3,900 Maximum Life and around 10,000 Mana. We ended up with approximately 2.5 kk Shaper DPS with Storm Brand which let us farm pretty much all of the content in the game, and apparently, none of the items cost over a few Exalted Orbs with six-link Body Armour being the most expensive one

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • amazing AoE with lightning projectiles fired all over the screen
  • very fast clear speed
  • insane defenses thanks to Mind Over Matter Passive, Arcane Cloak, and Agnostic
  • great damage even on budget equipment
  • reliant on Items that increase your Mana
  • vulnerable to Elemental Reflect Map Mods


3. Leveling tips

For leveling, we are going to use Arc before we acquire all nodes on the Passive Skill Tree that let us use at least three Storm Brands at once. All Supported Gems that will be linked to Arc are also being used in the endgame version of the build. You should buy Storm Brand at level 12 and socket in a free slot in your gear, so it will be ready to use at 33 skill points invested into the Skill Tree.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Arc setup
Arc Arc - great Lightning leveling spell, recommended until you can switch to 3+ Brands setup
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage 
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - allows you to cast Arc much more frequently
Lightning Spire Trap setup
Lightning Spire Trap Lightning Spire Trap - it's your single target skill, that will be also used in endgame build with all linked gems. Get it as soon as you hit level 28
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - definitely the best gem for Trap. While it might not be noticeable in Path of Building or tooltip DPS, it is the highest Damage boost, because it increases Lightning Strikes frequency
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - increases Trap Damage by a lot
Utility Gems
Clarity Clarity - grants increased Mana Regeneration allowing you to spam your Spells on lower levels
Assassin's Mark Conductivity - perfect Curse for our build because it lowers Lightning Resistance of cursed enemies
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - very good leveling Aura, that will grant additional Lightning Damage and strikes nearby enemies with Lightning Bolts
Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended mobility Spell
Assassin's Mark Faster Casting - increased casting and movement speed of Flame Dash


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Runebinder 2) Light of Divinity 3) Divine Judgement 4) Purity of Flesh

63 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Elemental Overload 2) Explosive Runes 3) Heart and Soul 4) Constitution

Recommended leveling items:

Malachai's Simula Malachai's Simula - great leveling Helmet for Lightning Builds. If you wear it then you should not use any Aura for leveling
(15-30)% increased Spell Damage
+20 to Strength
(20-30)% increased Lightning Damage
+10% to Lightning Resistance
Blood Magic
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - amazing low-level pair of boots that grants high bonus Movement Speed and additional Mana Recovery mechanic
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
15% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed for you and nearby Allies
Stone of LazhwarStone of Lazhwar - grants a lot of Chance to Block Spell Damage and Cast Speed, which increases both Arc and Lightning Spire Trap Damage
(12-15)% Chance to Block Spell Damage
(10-15)% increased Cast Speed
+(30-50) to maximum Mana
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - perfect choice for the whole leveling process, it's recommended to use it on both ring slots
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
Axiom PerpetuumAxiom Perpetuum - best leveling weapon in the game for spellcasters. A lot of Additional Damage to Spells and an insane amount of Critical Strike Chance for them. It's recommended to dual-wield them
(4-6)% increased Cast Speed
(100-140)% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Fire Damage to Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Cold Damage to Spells
Adds 1 to (10-12) Lightning Damage to Spells


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Sign of Purpose
  2. Arcane Blessing
  3. Illuminated Devotion
  4. Divine Guidance


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Storm Brand setup
Storm Brand Storm Brand - your main skill for clearing Maps and dealing AoE Damage. It's works best against bigger packs, but also offers high sustained single-target damage
Archmage Support Archmage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage based on the amount of Mana Spent to Cast Support Spells. It's the single-best DPS Support Gem in the game
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - grants very high bonus Spells Damage, Mana Regeneration Rate, and Cast Speed
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - increase Area Damage of your Brands by a huge amount, at the expense of slightly decreased AoE
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - greatly increases Elemental Damage of Supported Spells but makes them unable to inflict ailments
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - huge DPS increase that comes at the cost of slightly reduced Critical Strike Chance
[UTILITY] Brand Recall/Flame Dash
Brand Recall Brand Recall - allows you to recall your Brands to your location and make them reattach to close-by enemies. It has a maximum level of 6  so supporting it with Empower yields great results
Flame Dash Flame Dash - the recommended mobility Skill used in this build
Faster Casting Faster Casting Support - increases the Cast Speed of linked Spells
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - allows you to carry additional use of Brand Recall and reduces its' Cooldown Recovery Speed
[UTILITY] Conductivity and Wave of Conviction setup
Conductivity Conductivity - the main Curse, which reduces enemies' Lightning Resistance. Will be applied automatically with each Wave of Conviction cast
Curse on Hit Hextouch Support - makes Wave of Conviction apply your linked Curse
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - applies your linked Curse and Lightning Exposure on Hit - reducing monsters' Lightning Resistance
[AURA] Wrath
(Socketed in Essence Worm only)
Wrath Wrath - increases Lightning Damage. Socket it only in Essence Worm if you have it
[UTILITY] Clarity
Clarity Clarity - use a level 20 Clarity. It will reserve just a few percent of your Maximum Mana in this build, and grant very high bonus Mana Regeneration and allow you to use Watcher's Eye Jewel with additional Clarity-related bonuses
[UTILITY] Lightning Golem
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast your Golem after you take a certain amount of damage
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Attack and Cast Speed while active
Culling Strike Support Culling Strike Support - will cause your Lightning Golem to instantly kill enemies below 10% Life
Elemental Army Support Elemental Army Support - your Lightning Golem will reduce the monster's Lightning Resistance thanks to it
Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire - increases your Spell Damage for a short duration. Use only the Vaal Skill for this purpose
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
[UTILITY] Sigil of Power/Arcane Cloak
Arcane Cloak Arcane Cloak - grants a very strong protective shield and additional Lightning Damage based on the amount of mana used to cast it
Sigil of Power Sigil of Power - creates an area that will increase your damage as you spend Mana within its radius
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

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5. Gear Setup

This Storm Brand is one of the cheaper builds, with no required uniques, however, you still need a lot of Maximum Mana bonuses on your equipment. All Uniques listed can be replaced with random Rares, but items like Essence Worm and Cloak of Defiance are highly recommended. Below you will find the recommended equipment for our Storm Brand Hierophant build, with all the desired stats listed.

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The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your Elemental Resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Maximum Mana
  4. Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
  5. Cast Speed
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - this is our best choice for fixing both Elemental Resistances and Dexterity requirements
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
30 Dexterity (Crafted)
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Helmet enchantments:
Storm Brand has an 18% chance to Chain additional time
Storm Brand Damage Penetrated 12% of Branded Enemy's Lightning Resistance
Rare Wand(Weapon) Rare Wand - definitely the best in the slot for this build
Min. requirements:
60% increased Lightning/Spell Damage
Adds min. 45 Lightning Damage to Spells
110 maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Mana Regeneration Rate
Rare Shield(Shield) Rare Shield - shield will provide a lot of Life and additional Cast Speed and Spell Damage
Min. requirements:
50% increased Spell Damage
80 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Elemental Resistances
Cloak of Defiance(Body Armour) Cloak of Defiance - all-around best Armour for this build. Increases your Mana and Mana regen significantly
(300-400)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
+(100-150) to maximum Mana
Regenerate 1% of Mana per second
10% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life
Mind Over Matter
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - basically any armour will do, just try to get with the highest Life, Mana, and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - just a random replacement if you are playing SSF and don't have the Foible just yet
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
40 maximum Mana
20% Increased Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Mana Regeneration Rate
Elemental Resistances
Atziri's Foible(Amulet) Atziri's Foible - basically a must-have Amulet for this build. It grants so much Mana and Mana Regeneration, that you can't really do without it. Remember to use Mana Catalysts on it for maximum effect
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+100 to maximum Mana
(16-24)% increased maximum Mana
(80-100)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
Items and Gems have 25% reduced Attribute Requirements
Recommended Anointments:
Mind Drinker
Essence Worm(Ring) Essence Worm - perfect Ring to socket Warth Aura. Without it you won't be able to use Wrath, losing a ton of extra DPS
Has 1 Socket
+2 to Level of Socketed Aura Gems
Socketed Gems Reserve No Mana
40% increased Mana Reserved
Cerulean Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - it will fix your Elemental Resistances and increase maximum Life and Mana significantly
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Maximum Mana%
Rare boots(Boots) Rare Boots - get the highest maximum Life and Movement Speed bonuses you can afford
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
50% Total Elemental Resistances
30% increased Movement Speed
Boot enchantment:
Increased Mana Regeneration Rate if you've Cast a Spell Recently
Leather Belt(Belt) Rare Belt
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Stygian Vise - with the same stat as the regular belt. Will grant Abyss socket and allow you to use one more Abyss Jewel
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Damange/Elemental Damage
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - mainly for defensive stats and extra Mana
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Spell Damage
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - you can potentially use a Medium Cluster Jewel with extra Brand utility bonuses
Recommended Passives:
1 Added Passive Skill is Brand Loyalty
1 Added Passive Skill is Holy Conquest
Healthy Mind(Jewel) Healthy Mind - grants a lot of Maximum Mana if socketed right above Devotion Passive. You can potentially use it right above Witch's starting point for even more Mana, but you will end up with less than 4,000 Life most likely
(15-20)% increased maximum Mana
Increases and Reductions to Life in Radius are Transformed to apply to Mana at 200% of their value
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - simply get extra Life and DPS bonuses
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Small Cluster Jewel - you should be able to use one Small Cluster Jewel at level 90+ which should increase your Maximum Mana and DPS
Recommended Passives:
Scintillating Ideas
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - it's a great pick for this build, that can greatly increase your Mana Regeneration while you are affected by Clarity
Recommended bonuses:
(20-30)% increased Mana Recovery Rate while affected by Clarity
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Lightning Resistance while affected by Wrath
(40-60)% increased Lightning Damage while affected by Wrath

The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - a great boost for your Lightning Penetration and additional Elemental Resistances

During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
Suggested Rare Flasks:
  1. Enduring Eternal Mana Flask of Warding (immunity to Curses)
  2. Ample Basalt Flask of Quickening (Physical damage reduction)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
  4. Ample Quartz Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
The Wise OakMana FlaskBasalt FlaskQuicksilver FlaskQuartz Flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.