Crackling Lance Assassin Build Guide (PoE Heist 3.12)

TbXie

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About the Author

TbXie has been playing Path of Exile since the release of Open Beta, playing a variety of leagues in which he has played Hard- and Softcore, Standard, and Solo-Self Found. He has a background in racing, winning Demigods in the early race seasons as well as finishing high up in recent Flashback ladders, such as Rank 1 Guardian (9th Overall), Rank 2 Berserker. He has experience playing solo and both in push and MF groups, while being notorious for his WorldFirst Delve 6000 with his team & farming multiple Mirror of Kalandra Mirror of Kalandras every league. You can follow him on Twitch and Twitter or ask him your questions in the PoE Vault Discord.

The Demigod winning characters

Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Gear, Jewel and Flasks Breakdown

Passive Skill Tree & Gem Links Page

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers

Introduction

As Crackling Lance Crackling Lance was added in Path of Exile’s 3.12 Heist League there’s no one who can vouch for this skill being as good as people think it could be. However, to our best ability, we have put a guide together for you that should be providing you with the best Crackling Lance gameplay and effectiveness. Because Crackling Lance relies on a built-in Intensify Support 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 Void Battery which scale really well on the Assassin Ascendancy.

Build Summary

We all saw the Crackling Lance Crackling Lance teaser video and that’s what brought you here! Yes, It looked amazing, but can we make it do damage? While the initial numbers on it looked completely in line with what Arc 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 Battery Void Batterys and a Badge of the Brotherhood 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 Exalted Orb Exalted Orbs in total, as the complete endgame setup) it’s looking like Crackling Lance 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 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

Pros

+ 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 Arc, which is very new player friendly

Cons

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

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

Crackling Lance Crackling Lance inherently scales with Intensity stacks. Right now it is generally assumed that this bonus scales multiplicative with the Intensify Support 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 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 Spell Totem Support linked to Wave of Conviction 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

You can find an optimized Level 93 Path of Building here. Do note that we had to pull some shenanigans to get this to work as Crackling Lance Crackling Lance is not in Path of Building yet. We used Arc, made sure we got all the damage changes correct and modified some extra stuff on a jewel. Nothing for you to worry about though! If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you.

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.

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers

Gems

All of the gem link choices are thoroughly explained on our Gem Page.

Gem Links Page

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.

Gear, Jewel and Flasks Breakdown

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Hubris Circlet Hubris Circlet with high Life & “Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance”
Amulet Badge of the Brotherhood Badge of the Brotherhood
Chest Vaal Regalia Vaal Regalia with high Life and “Chance to gain Frenzy Charge on Hit”
Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves with high Life & Resistances
Boots Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, high Life & Resistances
Belt Stygian Vise Stygian Vise with high Life, Resistances
Rings 2x Vermillion Ring Vermillion Ring – Life and Resistances – One of which has “Assassin’s Mark on Hit”
Weapon 2x Void Battery Void Battery

Leveling

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 Crackling Lance. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.

In order to level this build as a Crackling Lance 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 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 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 Quicksilver Flask and an Orb of Storms Orb of Storms from your quest rewards and perhaps a Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support from the vendor. Your main Orb of Storms Orb of Storms and Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine links should look something like this:

  1. Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine
  2. Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support
  1. Orb of Storms Orb of Storms
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

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.

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support to your Orb of Storms Orb of Storms link and if you can afford to buy another one you can also add one to your Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine link.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

If you enjoy the playstyle of Orb of Storms 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. Arc still adds procs to Orb of Storms Orb of Storms so you can use both and drop the mines setup if you feel like detonating is annoying.

  1. Arc Arc
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

On your road to Crackling Lance, you want to be picking up a Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder, Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots and should you get a 4th link Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support is ideal!

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.

  1. Crackling Lance Crackling Lance
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Inspiration Support Inspiration Support
Changelog
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    Build added.

1
  1. Posts
    2

    Okay, at what point do we start playing our Shadow character? I feel like you never really say in your leveling section.I’m super confused.

  2. Posts
    1

    1.Doing this build. Leveling up with crack lance is clunky. Should stick to Arc while leveling. Lance has severe cast speed and mana issues till late game. Will provide more feedback as I play the character.

    2.Have given up on the character temporarily, CL needs time and investment which is hard when just starting a league. Suggested to not use this as a league starter, just go for Arc.

    Edited by kentessen on September 19th, 2020

  3. TbXie

    Moderator

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    85

    On 19/09/2020 at 6:10 AM, Asjellybean said

    Okay, at what point do we start playing our Shadow character? I feel like you never really say in your leveling section.I’m super confused.

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean, elaborate? :)

  4. Posts
    1

    On 19/09/2020 at 12:02 PM, TbXie said

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean, elaborate? :)

    Initially there was an error in the leveling section and it said Witch everywhere instead of Shadow. I noticed it and was going to give feedback, but when I refreshed the page it had been corrected.

  5. Vlad

    Moderator

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    139

    On 19/09/2020 at 3:16 PM, Porthesas said

    On 19/09/2020 at 12:02 PM, TbXie said

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean, elaborate? :)

    Initially there was an error in the leveling section and it said Witch everywhere instead of Shadow. I noticed it and was going to give feedback, but when I refreshed the page it had been corrected.

    I fixed the error as soon as I saw it. I’m very sorry if it caused anyone trouble.

  6. TbXie

    Moderator

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    85

    On 19/09/2020 at 3:16 PM, Porthesas said

    On 19/09/2020 at 12:02 PM, TbXie said

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean, elaborate? :)

    Initially there was an error in the leveling section and it said Witch everywhere instead of Shadow. I noticed it and was going to give feedback, but when I refreshed the page it had been corrected.

    I’m so sorry that happened. Obviously, it’s not excuse, but after the Gem information was late, it was a race to publish this. I could probably create you a personal Witch guide if you’d rather not re-level?

    It wont be optimal, but will be decent for sure. Hit me up if you want me to do that

    Edited by Vlad on September 19th, 2020

  7. Posts
    1

    As far as I can tell, your DPS is inaccurate. You have listed a “jewel with all modifiers” which has added each modifier. Taking this jewel out puts you at around 700k dps. Still great but not quite what you advertise.

    You also specify skill has chained 25 times, not quite sure why you did that. Maybe to simulate from Arc to Crackling Lance?

    I league started with this and am very tempted to re-roll. I like a challenge but I’m struggling to see this getting to a place where it can comfortably clear maps without significant investment. I think I will re-roll but let me know if you think the dps should be that amount.

  8. TbXie

    Moderator

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    85

    On 19/09/2020 at 9:31 PM, midnightL said

    As far as I can tell, your DPS is inaccurate. You have listed a “jewel with all modifiers” which has added each modifier. Taking this jewel out puts you at around 700k dps. Still great but not quite what you advertise.

    You also specify skill has chained 25 times, not quite sure why you did that. Maybe to simulate from Arc to Crackling Lance?

    I league started with this and am very tempted to re-roll. I like a challenge but I’m struggling to see this getting to a place where it can comfortably clear maps without significant investment. I think I will re-roll but let me know if you think the dps should be that amount.

    The reason why this jewel is there is explained in the guide. It’s there to illustrate the differences from Arc to Crackling Lance, as Crackling Lance was not in PoB (and still isn’t 100% functional last update) when I wrote the guide as it was a new skill.

    Obviously you’re only going to do 700K DPS is you’re not caunting your intensity stacks, more damage multipliers, better damage effectiveness, higher base crit chance and higher base damage.

    The amount Arc has chained is put at 25 to make sure that PoB doesn’t count Arc’s “Does more damage per each remaining chain” exactly to not give you a false indication of Damage.

    So yeah, the numbers in PoB are within a 5% error-margin (cause I “manually created a gem”) from reality, and I’ve seen / heard people level based on my info and it was fine. CL isn’t the best leveling skill tho, we provide guides to get you the best leveling stuff possible, but a lot of our readers like to thematically play the skill they’re going to play endgame while leveling too.

    The numbers are there, they’re fairly decent (better than most skills/builds on a rather low budget : 2vbs / 1 badge and a frenzy chest). THe playstyle of CL is a little clunky as you have to stand still, but that’s not something we can build around as it gains almost all its damage from intensify.

    PS: I Just plugged in Crackling Lance (which misses a little bit of damage according to the lastest pull requests from the Path of Building developpers) and its 9% worse than my PoB’ed Jewel was. So with the update where they fix that, it’ll probably be around the same numbers as there were in the initial version which couldn’t rely on using Crackling Lance yet!

    Edited by TbXie on September 20th, 2020

  9. Posts
    1

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the guide.
    I am pretty slow, and a very casual player, so not far in the game yet.
    I was just wondering if the Intensify support gem should be removed, because it looks like CL is already having Intensify ?
    Or could you please explain if i am missing a point here ?

    Thanks for your build and work !
    Have a nice day/night.

    Oillah

  10. Posts
    1

    Quick question from a noob, how am i supposed to use both auras if they both take 50% of my mana. i end up with 0 mana to use crackling lance?

  11. Vlad

    Moderator

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    139

    On 20/09/2020 at 12:30 PM, ChewyFresh said

    Quick question from a noob, how am i supposed to use both auras if they both take 50% of my mana. i end up with 0 mana to use crackling lance?

    Perhaps TbXie can answer better, but from what I see the build takes the Sovereignty node (on the top left), which reduces mana reservation. Once you have that, it should be possible to run both auras and still have mana.

  12. TbXie

    Moderator

    Posts
    85

    On 20/09/2020 at 11:58 AM, Oillah said

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the guide.
    I am pretty slow, and a very casual player, so not far in the game yet.
    I was just wondering if the Intensify support gem should be removed, because it looks like CL is already having Intensify ?
    Or could you please explain if i am missing a point here ?

    Thanks for your build and work !
    Have a nice day/night.

    Oillah

    So, Intensify on its own is a 88% more Damage multiplier if you are at 4 stacks. Since you already want to be at 4 stacks, you might as well take advantage of both the gems and support gems interactions with Intensify

  13. TbXie

    Moderator

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    85

    On 20/09/2020 at 12:30 PM, ChewyFresh said

    Quick question from a noob, how am i supposed to use both auras if they both take 50% of my mana. i end up with 0 mana to use crackling lance?

    What Vlad said is correct. You need the Sovereignty wheel to make sure you get enough unreserved mana to cast Crackling :)

  14. Posts
    1

    Really enjoying that crit caster, but I have a question. How do it supposed to regenereate HP when out of flask charges? Its own regeneration is super low and it relies on Atziri’s flask entirely to sustain its HP. Any ways of obtaining life leech or am I missing something?

  15. TbXie

    Moderator

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    85

    You could try to get a Life Leech enchant on boots (.6% of Damage is Leeched as Life if you’ve killed recently) or Regenerate 2% of Life per second if you were hit Recently on boots.

  16. Posts
    2

    Just wondering, i dont use path of building nowdays (since i havent really played poe since 3 leagues ago).
    But the planner, there are multiple links to it and they are different, which one is the correct one?
    the one that says its lvl 93 or something has points out of nowhere and the other one (lvl 78 or something) doesnt go the same route.

    Is the lower lvl one correct and the higher one wrong or an old build?

    would love an update on which one to look for :D

    Other than that its a good guide (low the step by step on acts cause i am shit at this game)

  17. Vlad

    Moderator

    Posts
    139

    On 21/09/2020 at 1:04 PM, Stick said

    Just wondering, i dont use path of building nowdays (since i havent really played poe since 3 leagues ago).
    But the planner, there are multiple links to it and they are different, which one is the correct one?
    the one that says its lvl 93 or something has points out of nowhere and the other one (lvl 78 or something) doesnt go the same route.

    Is the lower lvl one correct and the higher one wrong or an old build?

    would love an update on which one to look for :D

    The lower level tree is for leveling up – it’s taking a series of passive skills that you benefit from more when your character is lower level. Once you get to a high enough level, you should transition (by changing some skill points) to the higher level tree.
    Other than that its a good guide (low the step by step on acts cause i am shit at this game)

    Edited by Vlad on September 21st, 2020

  18. TbXie

    Moderator

    Posts
    85

    On 21/09/2020 at 1:04 PM, Stick said

    Just wondering, i dont use path of building nowdays (since i havent really played poe since 3 leagues ago).
    But the planner, there are multiple links to it and they are different, which one is the correct one?
    the one that says its lvl 93 or something has points out of nowhere and the other one (lvl 78 or something) doesnt go the same route.

    Is the lower lvl one correct and the higher one wrong or an old build?

    would love an update on which one to look for :D

    Other than that its a good guide (low the step by step on acts cause i am shit at this game)

    What Vlad says is correct. You follow the one guide while still lower level and move it up towards the level 93 later game tree as you progress. It’s mainly made to make sure that you wouldn’t be skipping on any of the super important nodes while still being lower.

  19. Posts
    2

    ok, thanks.

    but the higher one (atleast in the planner) has points that has no links to them.
    Like “heart of thunder has no point connected to it. Is that just a planner bug or did something change?
    there are more points that has nothing connected to it.

    Maybe give it a once over to see if its bugged or something? So i know its not just my browser that mess something up :D

  20. TbXie

    Moderator

    Posts
    85

    On 21/09/2020 at 2:13 PM, Stick said

    ok, thanks.

    but the higher one (atleast in the planner) has points that has no links to them.
    Like “heart of thunder has no point connected to it. Is that just a planner bug or did something change?
    there are more points that has nothing connected to it.

    Maybe give it a once over to see if its bugged or something? So i know its not just my browser that mess something up :D

    CHeck the gear section for the “Thread of Hope” Jewel

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