About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
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:
Storm Brand released in Patch 3.5 Betrayal, and has already become one of the most popular and all-round powerful in the game, as well as one of the best skills for leveling and league-starting. While Storm Brand received a few nerfs in Patch 3.7 Legion League, which hurt the clear and damage of the build throughout the early game, it remained a relatively strong skill overall and a competitive all-rounder. Shifting the build to a more Critical Strike based version gives more punch and feels a little smoother once you hit the proper end-game gearing phase. In Patch 3.8 Blight League Storm Brand is still an A-tier build as an all-in-one character that can function on any level of budget.
+ High clear speed and mobility
+ Capable of dealing with all major bosses (Uber Elder, Aul the Crystal King, Shaper)
+ Very safe when played correctly
+ Excellent at league starting and leveling with plenty of investments to make throughout the league
+ Accessible for all levels of players
+ Excellent “all-rounder”; great for Exiles that want one character to work on
– Deep delving is difficult after a certain point (~450 depth)
– Relies on Lightning Spire Trap to bolster single target damage
– Single target damage is not as strong as top-tier bossing builds
Storm Brand is a ranged skill that attaches to a target for its duration, pulsing periodically and dealing damage in a small area of effect. If the target dies Storm Brand will automatically leap to a nearby target and immediately trigger, and with the right passive skill tree you can have several brands active simultaneously. Using Brand Recall also allows you to reposition your brands to a new area or monster pack and have them instantly trigger. The result is a build that has a high-tempo feel through managing Brand Recall, mobility skills, and creating new Storm Brands — all the damage, however, is automated as your Storm Brands leap from target to target, tearing packs apart in a flash.
There are a few advantages that are unique to brands versus other types of skills. For example, during early gearing progression, tougher opponents can be easily dealt with by attaching your brands before retreating to a safe distance. This style of guerrilla play is especially beneficial versus the Immortal Syndicate, some of which can be quite lethal to a mid-geared Exile first approaching Elder maps.
General mapping gameplay matches the style of other fast-clearing spells, with much of the focus being on the correct utilization of movement skills. Storm Brand itself will typically deal with all standard packs, including Rare enemies, in only a single cast. This allows for a greater focus on speed and positioning, which allows for superlative efficiency in clear and a really entertaining and “zippy” playstyle.
Most of your clearing is done by activating several Storm Brands, then using Shield Charge to enter packs and proc Fortify Support. After charging into a pack, immediately hit Brand Recall to bring all your damage to bear. You will generally be hitting your Brand Recall nearly on cooldown, hence when Empower Support is used to further lower the recharge period. Storm Brand is only really used to “maintain” your brands, so that they are active, but is not used as the primary clearing button itself.
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.
Some example gear used by our character:
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Chest||Carcass Jack or Loreweave|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Ring 1||Rare Opal Ring|
|Ring 2||Rare Opal Ring|
|Weapon||Rare Sceptre or Rapier|
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.
We recommend starting with Freezing Pulse, which works well with Lifesprig if you have one. Once you are Level 12, and enter the Cavern of Wrath, pick up Storm Brand from Nessa and start using it as your main clearing skill.
In order of priority, the Storm Brand links are:
- Storm Brand
- Elemental Focus Support
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Hypothermia Support
Once you talent out of Elemental Overload in the latter half of the leveling process (around the time you do Cruel Lab and invest into Critical Strike on your tree), you will want to adapt your links to the recommended ones in the main portion of the guide.
If you are using a Tabula Rasa, simply fill in the other gem sockets with whatever supports are available from the vendors until you reach Act II and Act III for the other gems.
Once you reach Level 28, be sure to get Lightning Spire Trap from Maramoa after dealing with General Gravicius. This will greatly bolster your single target damage and make Normal Lab a complete pushover. This should replace your Blade Vortex link:
- Lightning Spire Trap
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Trap and Mine Damage Support
What Annointment Should I Use for my Amulet?
- Heart of Thunder is simply the best choice, offering great damage due to the penetration, as well as some Energy Shield leech.
Can I Level with Storm Brand?
Yes, absolutely. Storm Brand feels quite comfortable while leveling, even if it is not the absolute best leveling skill out there. As long as you have a second link for Lightning Spire Trap, you should have little trouble with any bosses all the way until mapping.
How Should I Play in Maps?
Create a few Storm Brands, then Shield Charge around the map, slamming Brand Recall as often as possible. Ensure you have good flask uptime, and you should feel quite tanky with the Fortify Support buff active, even in minimal gear.
How Much Unreserved Mana Do I Need?
aim to have _ Maximum Life*0.4285_ as their ideal Unreserved Mana value. Until this value is achieved, any Mana gained from the Passive Skill tree is as valuable as Life, hence the popular term effective Life. The value of 0.4285 comes from Mind Over Matter itself — 30% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life, and “30/70” = 0.4285, the ratio you should aim for.
How is This Build in Delves?
This build delves quite comfortably, although the maximum depth is quite variable based on gear. So far, the deepest we have experienced is around depth 600.