Ultimatum League Updates
Just like every other well rounded Elemental Builds, the nerfs to Flesh and Stone make you have a little bit less unreserved mana. Generally, that’s completely fine though as you’ll have plenty of regen to make that work. Additionally, through the nerfs to Exposure, the build lost a very very minimal amount of damage, which was never its problem anyhow. Lastly, Glorious Vanity also took a small hit, making you lose a very minor amount of Energy Shield.
Overall, I’d argue the build still is very well rounded, brings a durable caster with a very special feel to it and is completely ready to take on the game if you’re ready to deal with the Intensify mechanic!
As Crackling Lance was added in Path of Exile’s 3.12 Heist League there were a lot of people who initially disliked the skill. However, to our best ability, we have put a guide together for you that should be providing you with the best Crackling Lance experience of which I think it is incredibly solid if you invest into it properly and use it appropriately! Because Crackling Lance relies on a built-in Intensify Support, it will sometimes require you to play a little bit risky. You want to minimize movement and only move when really necessary in boss encounters to maximize your single target damage.
We chose to provide you with a very high scaling guide, but made sure to also throw in some very budget and earlier game options. This build was tailored for a league starter that transitions into late-game very well in a Trade league environment, but is definitely viable in Solo-Self Found. Obviously, you won’t have access to items like Void Battery which scale really well on the Assassin Ascendancy.
We all saw the Crackling Lance teaser video & recent buffs and that’s what brought you here again! Yes, It looked amazing, but people said its damage was lackluster. While the initial numbers on it looked completely in line with what Arc has had over the past couple of leagues (which is a popular skill that clears all content reasonably well) it turns out that if you respect the Crackling Lance playstyle, it’s actually a decent amount better than Arc.
Again, I did use a couple of nice items to make the most of the Assassin Ascendancy like Void Batterys and a Badge of the Brotherhood but given there’s Blight on the map device and everyone thinks Assassin got “Nerfed”, I’m fairly certain both of these will be reasonably obtainable. Don’t worry, in case of outrageous Badge prices, a Rare amulet works just fine!
So, that being said, with a decent amount of items (let’s say about 15-35 Exalted Orbs in total, depending on the price of Badge of the Brotherhood, as the complete endgame setup) it’s looking like Crackling Lance conveniently gets to 3.000.000 effective boss damage. That’s without any unnecessary stuff ticked, and really not a single damage roll on gear whatsoever, barring the Uniques mentioned before. It feels like Crackling Lance could be a very decent build on a budget with reasonable scaling considering the investment, which is fine as it visually looks so satisfying!
We opted into Assassin since it is the best way to amplify Crackling Lance’s high base critical strike chance. Additionally, Assassin offers a reasonable amount of defenses through Mistwalker and Opportunitstic, as well as high Movement Speed so we can make the most out of our movement when we don’t want to stand still to stack Intensity charges.
A Glorious Vanity has been included in the build to make use of the Corrupted Soul Keystone granted by the Doryani. This gives you 20% of your maximum Life as extra Energy Shield and acts as an extra buffer not to get one shot. As an Assassin thematically relies on Dodge, Spell Dodge and Evading stuff making sure you’re not getting one is fairly important! Through Elusive and Phase Acrobatics you can achieve 70% Dodge & 60% Spell Dodge which is a fairly strong Defensive buffer given you will have around 7000 Effective HP.
Pros and Cons
+ It’s Crackling Lance and you want to shoot beams!
+ Reasonable League starter with enough endgame scaling
+ Viable in all scenario’s – Solo-Self Found & Hardcore
+ Very similar playstyle to Arc, which is very new player friendly
– The information we have is untested as this is a new skill
– Relies on Intensity stacks which require you to stand still for 1-2 seconds
Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates
As per Echoes of the Atlas , the Assassin Ascendancy got changed significantly! It has lost a great deal of its Movement Speed, which equates to about 10-20% less Movement Speed at the final stages of Gear in 3.13. However, with the widely available Tailwind modifier on boots (through Harvest crafts) you can more than make up for that by just using a single Harvest craft on Boots. On top of that, the Ascendancy shifted further towards Elusive, while losing its unconditional Damage Mitigation. This means you became more tanky when Elusive is up, but more squishy while it isn’t. Obviously, unconditional mitigation is better but at least they didn’t just outright remove stuff like they did with Trickster.
Assassin was never made to feel like it was an incredible tank, though! Crackling Lance on the other hand has received a quite sizeable buff in 3.13, making it deal approximately 30% more damage at all levels! For this build, that means that with some Harvest shenanigans (such as Tailwind Boots and Unnerve Gloves) it gets close to 10 million DPS! Honestly, the idea behind it is still the same as it was in 3.12 – you need to really want to play the skill for it to ever compete with things like Penance Brand, Arc, and so on, but if you feel like shooting large lightning beams, Crackling Lance is in a great spot and you should go for it!
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
Crackling Lance inherently scales with Intensity stacks. Right now it is generally assumed that this bonus scales multiplicative with the Intensify Support which would make the skill really really strong. Worry not though, we didn’t use this assumption to establish whether or not the skill will feel good. No matter if the scaling is multiplicative or additive, you have to work around Intensity stacks, as it’s built into the gem, which makes the Intensify Support good either way.
This means that we become more reliant on standing still though. The way Intensity works is that you get a single stack per cast, and lose a stack if you use a mobility skill or a number of stacks depending on how long you walk around. Since you’re looking at (at least) a 208% More Damage Multiplier, you really want to get as many 4-stack blasts off as possible. Your cast rate will be a little under 4 per second, so technically it’d be fairly reliable to get up to 4 Stacks in a little over a second and then deal maximum damage for as long as you can stand still. Every time you re-position you have to re-stack your Intensity stacks again to get to full power.
Other than that, this build is fairly straightforward. It uses a Spell Totem Support linked to Wave of Conviction to apply Lightning Exposure which should be used on bosses. Besides that, nothing much is going which means you can just run around shooting lightning beams!
Passive Skill Tree, PoB, and Gem Links
You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.
If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.
More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||Hubris Circlet with high Life & “Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance”|
|Amulet||Badge of the Brotherhood|
|Chest||Vaal Regalia with high Life and “Chance to gain Frenzy Charge on Hit”|
|Gloves||Fingerless Silk Gloves with high Life & Resistances|
|Boots||Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, high Life & Resistances|
|Belt||Stygian Vise with high Life, Resistances|
|Rings||2x Vermillion Ring – Life and Resistances – One of which has “Assassin’s Mark on Hit”|
|Weapon||2x Void Battery|
Questions & Support
I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.
If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.
Since we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will be providing you a way to level up with Crackling Lance. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
In order to level this build as a Crackling Lance build you need to make your way to level 28 to be able to use the gem.
Getting to Brutus & Merveil
For starters, create a Shadow in whichever league you want to start. Optionally, you can create a Scion and kill Hillock quickly to be able store the Onslaught Support it gets from running Tidal Island. Shadow can’t access this gem otherwise until Act III. Make sure to store the Onslaught gem and swap back to your Shadow to start leveling.
You will want to start out by buying an extra wand from the vendor. On top of that, pick up a Stormblast Mine as a quest reward. After you’ve run the Mud Flats, you’ll proceed to kill Hailrake in the Tidal Island with Stormblast Mines.
From there on, you’ll be able to pick up your first Quicksilver Flask and an Orb of Storms from your quest rewards and perhaps a Swift Assembly Support from the vendor. Your main Orb of Storms and Stormblast Mine links should look something like this:
Note For those of you who don’t know how Orb of Storms interacts with Lightning Skills: Orb of Storms hits an additional time if you stand in it and cast lightning spells. So you want to drop your Orb of Storms in the surroundings of a pack and throw 1-2 mines to proc it faster for the best damage.
Level 12 and Onwards Setup
If you enjoy the playstyle of Orb of Storms you can really keep doing this until you are done leveling and even beyond as it is the best leveling setup available right now. However, assuming you’d more enjoy the Arc playstyle, at level 12 you can setup your Arc. Arc still adds procs to Orb of Storms so you can use both and drop the mines setup if you feel like detonating is annoying.
Time to Crackling Lance!
When you finally made it to level 28, It’s time to use the best looking skill in the game! As of this point it’s fairly hard to say exactly how strong it will be while leveling as we have no gem level up information yet! However, should it for some reason not feel amazing, you can still stick to Orb of Storms / Arc while your Crackling Lance is gaining levels somewhere in a free empty socket.