Ethereal Knives Inquisitor Build Guide (PoE Synthesis 3.6.)

Vvckd

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Introduction

The Ethereal Knives Inquisitor shined brightly in the Abyss league, when Lightpoacher Lightpoacher was way too strong. After the nerf of the helm this build still remains great at clearing and also has some decent single target damage output. Ethereal Knives is a physical spell that fires projectiles in a cone, when Ring of Blades Ring of Blades is used, this cone becomes a nova around the character. This allows for much better area coverage. The skill has great base damage and the 6% critical chance is very solid when it comes to building a critical spell-based character.

The Inquisitor is a very powerful ascendancy class when it comes to critical-oriented builds that aim to scale a lot of elemental damage, simply because your critical strikes ignore enemies’ elemental resistances via Inevitable Judgement.

We fully convert Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives’ physical damage into elemental damage by using Hrimburn Hrimburn and Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support. By converting the damage we are able to ignore elemental resistances when we critically strike, at the same time this also allows us to deal great amounts of Lightning and Cold Damage, which essentially allows us to utilize very strong Shock and Freeze ailments.

Build Summary

In general, the Ethereal Knives Inquisitor requires few semi-expensive items in order to start clearing very fast, but it can definitely be started on a budget. Ring of Blades Ring of Blades is an Act 5 quest reward, this unique jewel does not cost more than 1 Chaos Orb Chaos Orb. Hrimburn Hrimburn gloves are “fated” version of Hrimsorrow Hrimsorrow, which means they are upgraded by using a Prophecy called “Fire and Ice”. Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart is one of the expensive items of the build that immensely boosts clear speed. Besides that, well rolled rare items will do the work.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great clear speed
+ Can be played on a budget
+ Can Shock and Freeze most foes

Cons

- Lacks single target damage if not well geared
- Not ideal for killing high-end bosses

Playstyle

Offensively, the build has very active playstyle. Most of the time you move from pack to pack by using Shield Charge Shield Charge, exploding enemies with a single cast of Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives. Using an attack like your movement skill is very important, considering the synergy between spells and attacks you gain from your ascendancy node Instruments of Virtue.

Defensively, you need to keep your distance, since you do not have many layers of defence. The build mainly relies on the fact that it deals tons of cold critical damage, which Freezes enemies before they have the chance to get to you. Running an Elder ring with Warlord's Mark Warlord's Mark on hit will allow you to have reliable life leech.

The Ethereal Knives Inquisitor is a caster that utilizes strong critical strikes in order to obliterate enemies. The build has the potential to be top-tier when it comes to clearing. Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart‘s lightning corpse explosion mechanic scales very well into late game, simply because the more life monsters have, the more damage explosions will do. When playing an Inquisitor, certain map modes like additional monster resistances are irrelevant, you also do not have to invest into any elemental penetration, which allows you to scale your damage even further.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Templar – Inquisitor)

  1. Righteous Providence
  2. Inevitable Judgement
  3. Instruments of Virtue
  4. Augury of Patience

Righteous Providence augments your critical strikes by a great deal, allowing your transition into critical strikes easier. Inevitable Judgement is what the build is all about, ignoring elemental resistances is extremely strong, especially endgame. Instruments of Virtue provides great synergy between your attacks and spells, with proper playstyle this ascendancy node can be very beneficial. Augury of Patience provides great balance between offence and defence for the build.

Passive Tree

This is what the endgame passive skill tree should look like.

On the passive skill tree we are able to pick more than 190% Increased Maximum Life, along with at least 6 jewel sockets. Besides that, we focus on Critical Chance for Spells, Critical Multiplier and some Minion Damage, which also affects you via the Spiritual Aid node. Spiritual Command also allows all Minion speed nodes to affect you, increasing your attack and cast speed even further.

For passive skill tree pathing, you should first pick up Light of Divinity and Holy Dominion. Then you can head to Spiritual Aid, on the way pick up Quick Recovery and Purity of Flesh for additional survivability. After that you are ready to go for the Scion life wheel. More damage can be picked via Spiritual Command and Gravepact. After that you are ready to start specing into critical strike nodes such as Arcane Potency and Annihilation. Heading to Doom Cast is the next thing you should do. Besides that, fill in more life or damage nodes depending on your gear.

Note: For leveling passive skill trees prior to the absolute endgame, please check out the leveling section of this guide .

Bandits

As in most critical-based builds, we recommend helping Alira for the additional 20% Critical Multiplier and +15% to all Elemental Resistances. This outweighs the two passive skill points that you will receive by killing all the bandits.

Pantheons

Major: Although all Major Pantheons are beneficial for the build, Soul of Arakaali is probably the best choice when fully upgraded.

Minor: Same as Major Pantheons, there are many Minor ones that can be used. Choose one based on content you are running and personal preference.

Gems

Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives is you signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, use Shield Charge Shield Charge. Hatred Hatred and Herald of Ice Herald of Ice will provide a lot of damage to the build. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem can boost your damage output even further. For vaal auras, you can use Vaal Haste Vaal Haste or Vaal Grace Vaal Grace. Flame Dash Flame Dash will be useful when you need to jump over map terrain. Immortal Call Immortal Call can be useful in certain situations where you get hit by multiple enemies at the same time.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Ethereal Knives (6-Link)

Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives is a physical spell that shoots projectiles in a cone by default. Its threshold jewel, Ring of Blades Ring of Blades, turns the skill into a nova of projectiles. We recommend two different gem links for clearing and single target.

For clearing, we recommend the following link.

Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support
Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support Pierce Support Pierce Support
Faster Projectiles Support Faster Projectiles Support Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support

For single target, we recommend the following link.

Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support
Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support Slower Projectiles Support Slower Projectiles Support
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support

Shield Charge (3-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge is the mobility skill you will be using all the time in order to move around.

Shield Charge Shield Charge Fortify Support Fortify Support
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Immortal Call (3-Link)

Immortal Call Immortal Call will prevent deaths from things like exploding Porcupines if you fail to shatter them. Keep both Immortal Call and CWDT gems at level requirements of 40 or less.

Immortal Call Immortal Call Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

Flame Dash (3-Link)

Flame Dash Flame Dash is useful when you need to jump over objects. Arcane Surge can also be acquired with the following gem setup, you should keep the Arcane Surge gem low level.

Flame Dash Flame Dash Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Other Gems

Hatred Hatred and Herald of Ice Herald of Ice are your offensive buffs that should be active all the time. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem can utilized for additional offence. A vaal skill can be used based on personal preference, we recommend Vaal Grace Vaal Grace.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources.

Gearing the Ethereal Knives Inquisitor can be easily done on a budget. Early on, focus on getting your Ring of Blades Ring of Blades and Hrimsorrow Hrimsorrow gloves. A simple Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will carry you a long way. Karui Ward Karui Ward has great synergy with the skill. Buying an Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart is the first big step you should do.

Helmet

Lightpoacher Lightpoacher can still be used if you choose to do so. Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head is a great choice for the build. A well rolled rare helmet will also do the work. For enchantment, “% Increased Ethereal Knives Projectile Speed” is the best one you can get. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 90)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Body Armour

Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart is best in slot when it comes to clearing. When fighting tough bosses, a well rolled Shaper-based chest is a great choice. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 90)
  3. Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (Shaper Suffix)
  4. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Gloves

Hrimburn Hrimburn are the upgraded version of Hrimsorrow Hrimsorrow. These gloves are simply best in slot and should not be replaced, they are also very cheap. Prior to them, use any rare pair of gloves with life and elemental resistances. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life

Boots

Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots is a great choice. Prior to them look for any rare pair with life and resistances, keep in mind that movement speed does not affect Shield Charge Shield Charge in any way and it is not mandatory. For enchantment, look for “ % Increased Attack and Cast Speed if You’ve Killed Recently(past 4 seconds)”. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 70)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Belt

There is no particularly powerful unique belt for the build. For a base look for a Stygian Vise, Leather Belt, or a Rustic Sash. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Global Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil)

Amulet

Karui Ward Karui Ward and its fated version Karui Charge Karui Charge can go a long way. They are outclassed by a well rolled rare amulet. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage (Elder Prefix)
  4. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage (Shaper Prefix)
  5. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage (Shaper Prefix)
  6. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier (at least 20%)
  7. Attributes (you will probably need Dexterity)

Rings

An Elder-based ring can be rolled for the mod “Curse Enemies with Level # Warlord’s Mark on Hit”. A well rolled Ventor's Gamble Ventor's Gamble can also be used. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Attributes (Dexterity; Strength)

Weapon

A rare Shaper-based weapon is best in slot, you would ideally want a dagger for the additional global critical chance. Before that you can use any rare weapon with added damage and critical modifiers to spells. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage
  2. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage
  3. Gain #% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
  4. % increased Spell Damage (at least 30%)
  5. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 70%)

Shield

A well rolled rare shield is best in slot. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Spell Damage (at least 30%)
  4. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)

Flasks

Diamond Flask is mandatory in every critical-based build. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise and Taste of Hate Taste of Hate will provide a lot of damage to the build. The usual instant or half-instant Divine Life flask should be used, ideally you would want to roll it with bleeding removal. Other utility flasks can be used based on personal preference, we recommend at least having Basalt Flask for additional defence. You should have Curse and Freeze immunity rolled on your utility flasks.

Jewels

Ring of Blades Ring of Blades is the only mandatory jewel the build needs. Besides that there are some very expensive unique jewels you can buy once you have the currency. Inspired Learning Inspired Learning steals mods from rare monsters in the same way a Headhunter Headhunter does. Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Hatred Hatred mods can be very powerful but at the same time expensive (you are mainly looking for additional critical chance while Hatred is active).

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Cast Speed
  3. % Increased Spell Damage
  4. % Increased Projectile Damage
  5. % Increased Minion Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 30)
  2. Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill (at least 5%)
  3. Chance to gain Unholy Might on Kill
  4. Any mod that adds damage to spells

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

The character can be very easily leveled by using Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex. It has more damage early on compared to Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives. Levelling items are helpful but not mandatory. We recommend having 300 life per Act, for example in Act VII you should have around 2100 life.

Leveling Trees

As in all builds, you should not invest into critical nodes until level 60-65. Early on focus on picking up life and damage nodes, in our case we are looking at very efficient damage nodes such as Holy Dominion, Light of Divinity, Spiritual Aid and Spiritual Command. For survivability, pick up Discipline and Training, Quick Recovery, Purity of Flesh and Constitution. This is what your passive skill tree should look like around level 50-55. At that level you are ready to ascend into Inevitable Judgement and start building around critical strikes.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your levelling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Socketing Blade Vortex Blade Vortex into Lifesprig Lifesprig will fill your damage needs early on.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for additional mobility.

At level 12, you can replace Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with Blade Vortex Blade Vortex.

Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 16, you should add Herald of Ice Herald of Ice for additional damage.

At level 18, your Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex link should look like this.

Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 24, you should add Hatred Hatred for additional damage.

FAQ

What map mods are impossible to do?

You will one-shot yourself to Elemental Reflect. No regeneration maps can be done but not in combination with Hexproof or Cannot Leech. Besides that anything else should be doable.

How bad is the single target at endgame?

Honestly the build’s single target is not that bad, it still has the potential to do the toughest of bosses, but with Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives it will be clunky. If you want the build to do great amounts of single target damage you can swap Ethereal Knives and few of its support gems with a Blade Vortex gem setup. Both skills are physical spells and scale in similar ways and with Blade Vortex you will destroy bosses, but its clear speed is way worse compared to Ethereal Knives.

Conclusion

The Ethereal Knives Inquisitor is a very viable choice if you want to clear fast and efficiently. If you are looking for a self-casting killing machine, this build is a good choice.

Changelog
  •    Updated passive skill trees.
  •    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6. Recent changes to spells are a buff for the build.
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  1. Posts
    1

    The tree for the build is still using the 3.5 skill tree. As well, do any of your guys’ builds have PoB links? Would make it much easier to follow the guide.

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    31

    Hey Asocialite, unfortunately we do not have PoB links at the moment, we are working on replacing 3.5 Passive Trees with 3.6 ones as we speak. This particular build will have an updated tree in couple of hours.

  3. Posts
    1

    Where do I put Ring of Blades, I can not find an easy spot

  4. Posts
    1

    Where do you link your ring of blades at in the skill tree?

  5. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    31

    The jewel socket below Scion has exactly 40 Dexterity, this is the one you should be looking for.

  6. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    31

    There seems to be a problem with the poeplanner site we are using for passive skill trees, the threshold jewel Ring of Blades Ring of Blades should be used right below Scion.

  7. Posts
    1

    If possible, kindly update the passive tree.

    As of the tree now, if you are saying RoB should be placed right under Scion, that would be 8 skill points away.

    Kindly advise where do we respec these 8 skill points from?

  8. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    31

    Please check the passive skill trees again, thank you for the patience.

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