Spark is now one of the oldest skills in Path of Exile, and has weaved its way in and out of many metas through the years, from totem builds designed for clear speed and safety to self-cast variants that shred the entire screen. This build is one of the latter, a self-casting terror that has an excellent combination of damage, defense, and economy.
This build is an excellent league starter, and requires very little investment to start rolling over maps and bosses. Due to range and nature of Spark, even content that outstrips your current character or power level can be easily approached at a distance and eliminated. By combining the natural Lightning damage of Spark with Cold damage converted from Call of the Brotherhood, we also ensure that most enemies are frozen and shattered long before they even have a chance to approach.
Even for less than the sum of 15 Chaos Orbs our Spark Inquisitor has the damage and the survivability to leap right into the end-game and get farming. The high amount of Life Regeneration and Leech gives the build an extremely comfortable and forgiving feeling, making it relaxing to play and a great choice for players of all levels of experience. Spark is available right after defeating Hillock in Act I, and is a viable and effective leveling choice. This gives newer players a chance to get comfortable with the skill while leveling up and negates any need for build swapping and juggling of gems later on.
Many of the gems and items can be swapped out for alternative options to further empower your damage, or to bolster your defensive capabilities. This level of flexibility is perfect for both challenge leagues and shorter events — such as Flashbacks — as the build can be easily adapted to suit your needs and budget. By the same token, this also makes this build a great choice for Solo Self-Found Leagues and Hardcore, should that be your preference.
Overall, the sheer strength, flexibility, and relaxing pick-up-and-play nature of this build makes it a potent all-rounder that has a seat at the table in virtually any environment.
3.14 Ultimatum League Changes
Vaal Spark received a minor buff that reduces the Soul Gain Prevention time by 20% (from 6 seconds down to 5 seconds). This results in slightly improved clear and burst but is overall a relatively small change.
+ League starter
+ New player friendly
+ Well rounded defenses and very safe clear (long distance, freezes and shatters foes)
+ Excellent clear and movement speed
– Certain Map affixes are not possible or annoying to deal with (Elemental Reflect, No Regeneration, 90% to Avoid Elemental Ailments)
– Not designed to facetank single large hits (Elder/Guardian Map Syndicate, Shaper Slam, etc.)
– Mediocre single target damage before end-game gear
Path of Building
Path of Building for a Level 90 Spark Inquisitor build can be found here.
Included are the skill trees, gem links, and an example set of low/mid level gear with room for upgrades. Resistances have been excluded as they can be filled in on any piece as needed and available.
We use the Path of Building Community Fork for all of our builds, which is highly recommended. If you are encountering errors importing the build, please ensure you are .
Playstyle and Build Mechanics
This build clears very quickly and has a lot of natural screen coverage due to the nature of Spark‘s mechanics and performance as a skill. Using Vaal Spark only furthers your ability to clear without slowing down at all, which makes this build adept at ripping apart maps and generating fat rates of experience per hour.
Even without any special gear or investment we can easily obtain upwards of 10% Life regenerated per second, giving the build a very stable and solid feeling in any situation. Underscoring that is a large amount of Energy Shield Leech, Life Leech, and Life gained on-hit, which feels incredible when paired with the large number of Sparks flying around the screen. In most situations, any incoming damage is immediately healed away, or it fails to penetrate the Energy Shield at all.
Despite the fabulous Energy Shield and Life sustain, it is rare that these defenses need to be relied on at all. Most enemies are immediately frozen and subsequently shattered from the Cold conversion provided by Call of the Brotherhood. Enemies that survive long enough to inflict damage are usually limited to bosses once this excellent ring has been obtained. A healthy combination of Avoidance and Block Chance serves as further smoothing for any damage. Mind Over Matter can also be easily incorporated if you choose, adding a final layer of defense that is perfect for Hardcore players in particular.
Offensively, this build is quite the powerhouse. Spark has received a slew of buffs over several leagues running and still flies under the radar for many players as a top-tier skill for clearing and bossing alike. By stacking Critical Strike and Multiplier, we rip apart enemies and apply ailments continuously. Power Charges and Consecrated Ground help power up our Critical Strike and damage immensely.
A variety of gear options allow this build to perform at all levels of budget — for example, players that do not have Call of the Brotherhood can still use The Three Dragons to gain the massive defensive benefit of freezing the entire screen. While we will discuss the options in detail in the Gear section, this build can be tailor made to suit your preference and your purse.
Passive Skill Tree
For more details on the Passive Tree, skill acquisition order, and more, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page for in-depth information.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Powers page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page thoroughly.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||Rare Hubris Circlet|
|Amulet||Choir of the Storm|
|Gloves||Rare Fingerless Silk Gloves OR Shadows and Dust|
|Belt||Rare Crystal Belt|
|Ring 1||Call of the Brotherhood|
|Ring 2||Rare Opal Ring|
|Weapon||Shaped Void Sceptre|
|Shield*||Rare Fossilised Spirit Shield|
For in-depth recommendations for gear, flasks, jewels, and crafting advice be sure to read our Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page.
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- 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.
You can acquire Spark immediately in Act I after killing Hillock. Link it with Pierce Support, Arcane Surge Support and Onslaught Support for now (in order of priority), and add in Added Lightning Damage Support and Added Cold Damage Support as soon as possible.
In order of priority, your links for leveling should be:
- Spark / Vaal Spark
- Pierce Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Spell Echo Support
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Energy Leech Support
Make sure to acquire Herald of Ice and Herald of Thunder in Act II, and then Zealotry in Act III. Elemental Overload is a great keystone for the first half of the leveling process until you have enough Critical Strike to matter.
What Annointment is Best for my Amulet?
- Heartseeker offers superb damage in the end-game.
- Heart of Thunder loses value since we cannot make full use of the penetration, but still offers decent damage coupled with Energy Shield leech.
Why Don’t You Have -% Elemental Resistances or Penetration on any Gear?
The Ascendancy node Inevitable Judgement causes Critical Strikes to ignore enemy Elemental Resistances, and non-criticals to penetrate 10% of Elemental Resistances. This is an amazing keystone but seriously devalues penetration as a stat for us, allowing us to budget a lot more affixes elsewhere and freeing up a flask slot that would otherwise need to be used for The Wise Oak.
How About Archmage Support with Indigon?
Very viable choice, but takes a large reconfiguration of the tree and comes at the expense of defenses. Currently we are working on theorycraft to determine whether not the sacrifice is worth the damage gained. Our current math indicates that Archmage Support with Indigon and a Mana build makes the gem about twice as good as Awakened Added Lightning Damage Support (in a direct gem comparison, not cumulative DPS).