2.2 and 2.3 Nuclear Sojourner - Shield Charge + CWDT - Insane

Wait... what? Shield charge? 2.3 isn't out for days....

I know. While the build is better in 2.3, due to improvements with Shield Charge and how you could find ways to make that work for you, it's completely functional now and no changes in 2.3 negatively impact it.

A few quick notes...

14k ES. Generates power, endurance and frenzy charges. Hits hard. Moves fast. Almost like flicker strike, but controllable.


I fell in love with shield charge after using it linked with fast casting. The distance and speed you can move are unmatched. Its inability to hit with reliability made it difficult to work with. But I was looking over some CWDT builds, specifically DreamScythe's "Dance of Death" found here https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1429589. The build was good, but built around Cyclone. This set off days of testing to see if I could find a way to merge some of the concepts in this build, heartbound loop/army of bones builds, and shield charge to create something ridiculously fun to play and strong enough to do common mapping (t12).

This is not a Queen of Blades, Bladefall Poison Mines or God Tier Blade Vortex replacement. Those are extremely strong builds that can be used to do the hardest content while having great clear speed. This is a build that's just insanely -fun- and strong enough to do all you normally do at the same time. It's a showcase for MTX skill effects, and very flexible. Use whatever 10 spells you'd like. Just try to balance out physical and elements for Equilibrium and dealing with resistant monsters.

CWDT Mechanics:

We want to use max level spells. 10 of them at a time hits pretty hard. CWDT level 21, for any +1 items like this:

requires 3580 damage taken. This build uses a mixture of Scold's Bridle


to damage yourself on demand. We link a level 1 CWDT to a level 1 summon skeletons. This requires only 528 to trigger. As you're limited to having 4 out at once, once you trigger your third cast of this gem you begin to add 700 damage from the heartbound loop to whatever cost associated with your trigger ability. In this build's case, that's shield charge.

Shield charge has a base mana cost of 10. With Scold's, this is only 40 damage done. Not nearly enough. So we link it to two gems, melee splash and faster attacks, 160% and 115% increases. We then also include into the passive tree four of these.


also increases the mana cost by 80%. Alltogether, now Shield Charge costs 104 mana per cast, doing 416 damage. Every 3 casts, we trigger our summon skeletons twice. This is actually perfect, as attempting to do so too fast (as people with Heartbound Loop/Army of Bones builds know) causes it to not count towards CWDT, and as it turns out, when we're mid map with frenzy buffs up, we're attacking 3 times a second.

We also have a flame golem. Flame golem gets recast as you're moving, even when it's out, each time the level 20 gem triggers. This happens every 3272 damage.

Every second then, we're getting: 700 + 700 + 416 + 416 + 416 damage taken from self cast, 2648 damage. Even if you're standing still in a room alone, you trigger a golem refresh 2 casts, about .6 of a second, later, adding 700 damage. That's enough to in the next second trigger it again. This begins to snowball as refreshes start to overlap with heartbound and you end up with about 2 casts of all your lvl 20 abilities per second, and 2 every 1.5 of your level 21 abilities.

Add incoming damage as you play, as as the video shows you'll end up with a rather insane amount of spells casting as you shield charge your way through a map.

For the next 3 days, you can get VMS into the build and melt bosses in about 4-5 seconds up to t12. After 2.3, it's back to weak single target damage. But the mapping itself is incredibly quick.

Other mechanics:


High mana cost for shield charge... how do you avoid running out of mana??

With this:

Free shield charge.

What about defenses?

There are two routes you can go. You can go Zealot's Oath. This requires some hefty tree rework, out of Vaal Pact. You lose offensive nodes (nodes I don't yet have, so it would feel much like this build looks). You lose quick recharge. I've opted instead to use 4

This requires you step out of a fight for 3.33 seconds to gain recharge. With Occulist Ascendancy using Wicked Ward, this starts a recharge that -cannot be interrupted for four seconds-. The recharge rate is better than any regeneration you can reasonably manage. In fact, getting close requires a combination of ring that makes it harder to balance resists and jewels that each add 10% damage taken in exchange for 2% regen.

It worked, but I did not enjoy the playstyle. I felt like, more often than not, when the regen through Zealot's Oath was enough it was no more difficult to use Vaal Pact, and when the damage was too much for regen I was performing the exact same behavior of resetting the fight.

Vile Bastion, in the Occulist Ascendancy, was a great replacement. It was easier to use passives to get an extra curse than it was to get the build feeling right with regeneration, leaving many points to put into spell damage. Combined with Wicked Ward, I feel safe most of the time. The resets are controllable and quick enough (they start as you're exiting fight, which usually takes about 1 second, leaving you needing to find a safe spot for 2, not too difficult in most fights).



Full Gorge run. I didn't really go for pure speed. I stop to pick up a few things. I forgot I'd not turned on discipline or warlords... It's just a boring Gorge, no crazy mods (I don't have many left after so much testing!)


Gear (My Current Gear provided as a guideline, this isn't a budget build, but also not an item showcase build):


You've seen most required items already. You're going to need 5 CWDT, 4 at level 20, if you want to use level 20 gems. Otherwise, it's fairly routine gemming. The one caveat to that is: In your 6 link chest, use

If you plan to use (and it's a good idea) cold spells able to freeze. You'll end up with frenzy charges without any effort.

On to gear.

No, Headhunter is not required. Not even a little bit required. I ran most of the time with

which also helped with frenzy charges.



Terrible. You cannot level as CWDT. My suggestion would be to level as Bladefall or Ethereal Knives and use passive points to get the "trunks" laid down early, grabbing offensive and defensive nodes and jewels to fill in for gear gaps and needs as you go. Or, if you have a bucket full of regrets, level as anything else. This build is not functional until the mid 70's, and doesn't feel great until 80+. It requires too many jewels and too much finesse in setup to work properly.

Passive Tree:



Kill, then kill, then kill again. This build devours passive points. You can shave off a point in merciless if you'd like to add yet another power charge. Otherwise, really, just kill.

If people find interest, I'll upload more videos. It's a blast to play.

Also happy to discuss choices and get advice on improving the build. I make no claim to being a build guru. I can tell you I've tried so many combinations I thought I was going to end up bankrupting myself in the process.

Last second tips:


The closer your cursor to the feet of your character, the faster you can cast shield charge. Try it, you can spam it like crazy when it's at your feet.

You can't reset the fight on burning ground. Careful on maps with it.

Don't try reflect maps. I did. It wasn't fun, especially physical.

Temporal Chains is fine, but this isn't a mines build where it's setup-boom-things are dead. It will slow down your kill speed substantially. I ran a few level 10-11 yellows with temp chains, worked, but meh.

Curse immune isn't that bad. You lose some leech, but you just reset the fight more often. It's irritating, but not a deal breaker for the build.

Don't try to go crit. Not unless you can find tons of passive points I've wasted. Maybe you'll find a way to make it worth with far less jewels, which would make things much easier. Otherwise... don't bother. You can't get enough to make the points worth it over raw spell damage.

Don't combine too many AoE abilities. You're already casting 10 abilities at once. Things that die to AoE die easily. Single target is a weak spot. Work in a few hard hitting single target abilities.


Dreamscythe. Without the work he put into Dance of Death build, I would not have been able to create this.

Drew (I won't link his in game details until I have permission, but he knows who he is ;) ) for tons of theorycrafting conversations, thoughts, advice, and putting up with my rambling as it was coming together.
Last edited by UnleashedPoE on May 30, 2016, 10:40:30 PM
Last bumped on Jun 5, 2016, 9:06:32 PM
why you take spell damage in tree? i think it scales with attack damage
Shield Charge is doing no damage in this build. It's just used to trigger CWDT which then casts spells. :)
Is it possible to do a shield charge coc build ? Shield charge to trigger spells

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