[3.5] Shaper = Stunned, Tidebreaker Heavy Strike Stunner Build

Hello guys, this is a guide to the stun build tested for almost 2 years since the Legacy League. Centered around Tidebreaker and Heavy Strike, this is a solid build that can do all content and can consistently stun-lock everything including Shaper.

In this guide, the abbreviation "r.E.S.T." appears often; it stands for the "reduced Enemy Stun Threshold" modifier, a key concept in this build.

Besides splashing with Heavy Strike, this build can also use Sunder, Consecrated Path, Ground Slam, Tectonic Slam or even Flicker Strike to clear maps. In this guide I will just say Sunder when referring to the selected AoE skill.


(Showcase of my collection; this is no longer obtainable and is totally not what you need for this build.)



Updates for 3.5
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Some buffs for this build.

1. Both War Banner and Dread Banner seem really good. I believe War Banner is better while clearing and Dread Banner better while bossing. The pure phys version benefits more from banners than the mixed damage version.

2. Tidebreaker is getting a moderate damage buff. The buff means around 6% more damage.

3. Stat sticks are dead. Well, this gives more reason to play 2-hand builds.

4. According to a reddit post, the Leap Slam change is making it taking 1.2% less time while using Tidebreaker. Well, it's better than nothing.



Overview
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Pros and Cons
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My own Berserker character in standard now has over 7.5k life and deals over 2 million Shaper DPS with Heavy Strike (no legacy or league specific items; not counting totem damage and culling).


Pros:

1. Stun-locks everything. Which means:
-fun to watch mobs getting stunned;
-won't take much damage at all;
-simple and quick boss fights without needing to know what the boss does;
-can protect the whole party from dying;
-don't have to chase fleeing enemies across the map.

2. Solid offense and defense. No problem killing any stun immune bosses.
3. Cool reverse knock-back vacuum effect.
4. Easy early league Uber Lab farming.
5. Hardcore viable.
6. Best frame rate you will ever have.
7. A number of skills and ascendancies to choose from.
8. Does not require any luxurious or specific Shaped/Elder or league specific gears.

Cons:

1. No top-tier clear speed.
2. A sudden rise in difficulty when you face enemies that you cannot stun.
3. Rely on leeching and stunning, so it's dangerous to play while lagging.
4. Weapon or gem swap is needed in certain scenarios.
5. Heavy Strike doesn't look fancy at all.
6. Tidebreaker and Kaom's Heart are not cheap, and the build can feel rippy without them.


Why Heavy Strike
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Heavy Strike deals 193% of base damage, this is one of the highest among all melee skills; on top of that, it has 52% chance to deal double damage (threshold jewels and helm enchant), built-in 25% r.E.S.T., 20% stun duration (gem quality) and one of the highest Damage Effectiveness (194%). This skill is by far the best choice for a stun build.


Path of Building
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Pastebin links to this build based on my own characters (flasks reduced to non-legacy versions); Shaper DPS.

Note that my Tidebreaker is the pre-buff version, and isn't 30% quality. Higher DPS is easily achievable.

-Berserker version: https://pastebin.com/Ug7bK5fR

-Berserker pure physical version: https://pastebin.com/24RCN2p7

-Slayer version: https://pastebin.com/imQKR6P1

Videos
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Videos #1 and #2 were recorded in game version 3.1 after me obtaining the corrupted Tidebreaker. Videos #3 and #4 were recorded in 3.0 with a normal Tidebreaker. In later updates, this build has never been nerfed in any way; this build now deals around 50% more damage and the stable stunning in the first two videos can now definitely happen with a normal Tidebreaker.

1. Shaper kill (forgot to bring Taste of Hate):

-Video: https://youtu.be/pynSggF4Q8g

2. Red Elder Kill:

-Video: https://youtu.be/CptScgaU3N0

3. Shaper kill, with Stun Support (if I used Maim Support instead, damage would be 1.3 times higher):

-Video: https://youtu.be/rKYLRFNtJ-E

4. T16 Chimera kill, pure physical version:

-Video: https://youtu.be/e07Y77oY-0s



Passives
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We can play this build as either Slayer (Duelist) or Berserker (Marauder). A comparison is given below. (You can also play as Ascendant or Champion; see the Other Variants section near the end of the guide.)


Comparison
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This choice is down to preference. Generally, I recommend Slayer to people who are new to this build, and I recommend Berserker to people who want to push this build's limits. With good gears, both versions will be able to stun Shaper and do most endgame content.

Slayer offers melee splash and unending leech. Due to the melee splash, Slayer can clear maps efficiently with Heavy Strike, which makes Slayer a good choice as a starter build. Berserker kind of need to swap between 2 weapons and are more expensive to fully function. The unending leech also provides safe mapping experience.

Berserker is the aggressive version. It has the highest DPS and stun capability, as well as high mobility. This ascendancy do have bad defense, but it can be covered by stunning everything around us.

Ascendancy
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Slayer
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Headsman
-Good boost to clear speed and can be abused with the Writhing Jar; it's a must-pick.

Impact
-100% splash damage; it's a must-pick unless you hate to clear with Heavy Strike.

Endless Hunger + Brutal Fervour
-This is a 4 points investment for only 3 things: bleed immunity, 58% increased damage, and "life leech effects are not removed at full life". This is a solid choice especially when you're not well geared.

Brutal Fervour Explained
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In this game, each hit produces an independent leech instance that leeches at 2% (affected by "#% increased life leeched per second") of max life per second; the duration of this instance is proportional to the damage dealt in this hit (affected by "#% of damage leeched as life"). Different instances stack but maximum leech rate cannot exceed 20% (affected by "+#% of maximum life per second to maximum leech rate").

So, we need to land around 10 hits to reach the maximum leech rate, which, in single target scenarios, is several seconds into the fight.

The problem here is that all the leech instances vanish when we reach full life. Let's imagine we leeched to full life and suddenly we are savagely hit down to 30% life. Now you really want to Leap Slam away, but after leaping away you're a melee character with 30% life and there are no leech instances on you.

With Brutal Fervour, when you leap away, you will still be leeching at 20% life per second (40% if Vaal Pact picked), you can see your life going up rapidly even though you're just retreating. This is a significant boost to our survival.

Overwhelm
-The stun duration is strong for boss fights and the guaranteed stun provides great defense while mapping. Also, the small node leading to Overwhelm offers 5% r.E.S.T. Good choice but only if you're not picking Brutal Fervour.

Bane of Legends
-Not too great as we already have 10% culling from the mace wheel. Pick this only if you're not picking Brutal Fervour.

Berserker
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Aspect of Carnage
-40% more damage. Must-pick.

War Bringer
-Free instant life and mana flasks, very handy in many cases. This also allows us to spam Warcry before boss fights to reach full rage stacks. Must-pick.

Crave the Slaughter
-Good boost to clear speed. Must-pick.

Pain Reaver
-Pretty useless; the only reason to pick this is for the mana leech. It's better to find mana leech from your gears, then you should pick the 2 small nodes (the small node leading to Pain Reaver + the small node leading to Rite of Ruin) instead of this notable.

Rite of Ruin
-This is a bad choice because the degen will no longer be manageable and Damage on Full Life cannot work anymore. Should not be considered.

Cloaked in Savagery
-Should not be considered.


Passive Tree
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Slayer Level 70 Tree
Slayer Level 95 Tree
Berserker Level 95 Tree

Debatable choices:
-Jewel sockets: you can skip those jewel sockets that require 3 passive points if you cannot afford semi-decent jewels yet.
-Life nodes near Scion start: should be how you spend your extra passive points.
-Stun duration nodes in Stun Mastery wheel: to further boost stun capability (mostly for Shaper fight only).
-Mana Flows: consider picking only if you're in dire need of extra mana regen. (Mana Flows and Revelry are good nodes for early game mana sustain.)
-Blunt Instrument: consider picking this wheel if you like more damage.
-Battle Cry: might be a good choice for Berserkers for the instant Warcry.
-Savagery: good for Flicker Strike.
-Amplify: handy AoE area increase.

About Stun Mastery
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Stun Mastery provides huge boost to your stun capability, I don't suggest picking it too early, but you will eventually need it.


The image shows the effect of an additional 15% r.E.S.T. (from Stun Mastery nodes) at given total r.E.S.T. values. When you have 115% r.E.S.T., this 15% r.E.S.T. is equivalent to having 23% more damage (in terms of stuns). Stun Mastery also provides 55% Stun Duration, which is also very important.

When you really care about stunning endgame bosses, it's even worth it to take the two Stun Duration nodes in the Stun Mastery Wheel. Considering our stun capability against endgame bosses, the 45% stun duration is almost equivalent to gaining 45% increased attack speed.

About Vaal Pact
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Consider picking Vaal Pact only if you're playing as a Slayer with Brutal Fervour picked. This is because:

1. Unless you have Brutal Fervour, Vaal Pact will disable Damage on Full Life while we are using Blood Rage.
2. Leech is not as reliable when you don't have Brutal Fervour. For detailed explanation you can read about Slayer's Brutal Fervour in the Ascendancy choice section above.


Bandits
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Berserker: Oak.

Otherwise: kill all to take 2 passive points. Oak is also okay (but only at a high level).

Pantheon
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Major God: Soul of Lunaris or Soul of Solaris.

Minor God: Soul of Tukohama or Soul of Garukhan.



Gears
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Sample Gears
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Those are the gears I used on my Berserker character in Standard. When I imported my gears into Path of Building, I manually reduced my flasks to current non-legacy versions.

-The corruptions and the Elder amulet are totally not necessary; see the Luxurious Upgrades section below for details.

Detailed Breakdown
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In principle, we want to cap our resists, get as much life and r.E.S.T. as possible, and get one source of mana leech from our gears.


Core Uniques
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This is the best unique weapon to use to stun enemies. Make sure you get close to perfect r.E.S.T. roll; a Tidebreaker with 420 pDPS and 30% r.E.S.T. is better than one with 430 pDPS and 27% r.E.S.T.


This jewel is basically 20% MORE damage AND we can socket 2 of this unique jewel.


This is a must-have to AoE clear with Heavy Strike. Heavy Strike has 100% knockback chance, and our Heavy Strike stuns. Without this glove the enemy will leave our attack range and we will have to move after each attack.

-If you're not clearing with Heavy Strike, you may consider switching to rare gloves or Tombfist. You will knockback bosses after switching off Empire's Grasp so be sure to not turn on "always attack without moving" for Heavy Strike.

*When fighting knockback immune bosses, for example Shaper, you can also swap to a Facebreaker with Temporal Chains corruption, it's usually very cheap.

Optional Uniques
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This is the best choice overall; note that the fire damage roll is not important at all. Loreweave, Belly of the Beast, and a rare body armour are good options when you want a 6-link.

*For any of you with a small budget, I recommend starting this build with Tabula Rasa. For details see the Budget Options section below.


We can live without it but it's best in slot. Prioritize a high r.E.S.T roll, followed by life and resist.


This should be the best option. You can also get a rare helmet, but you will have a hard time finding the correct Enchantment.


Some other choices:



The best option is a good rare belt. Doryani's Invitation is also very good as it can offer the highest number of r.E.S.T. (but only when there's flask popped). Perseverance can be an option for map clearing, but not having any r.E.S.T. here can make stunning endgame bosses much tougher.


A rare amulet is a better endgame choice. This can be used as an early end-game option.

Rare Jewels
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1st priority: life, attack speed with maces, stun duration, (resists and attributes if needed).
2nd priority: physical damage with maces, attack damage/speed with two hand weapons, physical damage, melee damage, damage, attack speed.

Abyss jewels are slightly worse than ordinary jewels in the perfect scenario, but they can be good options. Look for flat life, flat physical damage and attack speed; also get resists and attributes if needed. Some conditional effects like gain Onslaught on kill are also pretty good.

Rare Amulet/Rings
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You will want to cap your resists with your rares. Besides that, get high life rolls on every piece of rare gear as well as:

-Mana leech. You need to have mana leech on one of your amulet/rings, it's mandatory.

-Attributes. You want at least 111 dexterity, and you should aim for 155; you may also need intelligence.

-Flat physical damage. It's not important; it's a useful but expensive prefix to have. So, go for it if you're rich, ignore it if you're poor.


Resist Cap
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We get +1% maximum fire resist from the Barbarism cluster.

The absolute minimum you should have are 52%/51%/51%; this allows capped resists with 6 endurance charges. However, there is no guarantee that we always have 6 endurance charges, so you definitely want more than these.

I recommend getting 76%/75%/75%, this allows capped resists without needing any endurance charges. You can also aim for 86%/85%/85%, this allows capped resists with 6 endurance charges in a Elemental Weakness map.


Rare Belt
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Best belt base is no doubt Stygian Vise (Abyss belt), followed by Studded Belt.

You want T1 r.E.S.T. (14-15%). Then focus on high tier life, stun duration and resist mods.

You might want to essence-craft your belt with either Loathing or Scorn if you feel rich.

Flasks
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Lion's Roar is a must-have and Atziri's Promise is a good cheap flask. Don't worry about Sin's Rebirth and Taste of Hate if you cannot afford those, Silver flask can be a good substitute.

The Writhing Jar can be useful for Slayer to proc Headsman ascendancy.

During mapping, you will want 2 magic flasks to deal with freeze and bleed.


Budget Options
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This build scales linearly with item progression. You can start this build with leveling items and gradually reach its full potential with around 10 exalts (mostly for a Tidebreaker, Kaom's Heart and getting a 6-link). Here is an example of how to progress with this build:

1st stage. Now you have finished the story line. Get a Tidebreaker if you can; if it's expensive, buy Kongor's Undying Rage or Brain Rattler. Get a Tabula Rasa or a 5-link rare body armour. Get Redblade Tramplers if you can. Get a good rare belt. Get good amulet and rings with decent life and resist rolls; make sure that you have your resists capped. At this moment, you're still just playing a Sunder 2h-mace build and you should be able to at least do most white maps.

2nd stage. As you started farming currencies in maps, now you want to have the following items if you haven't already: Tidebreaker, Redblade Tramplers, Devoto's Devotion, Empire's Grasp, 2 * Weight of the Empire. You can also consider buying Atziri's Promise and Lion's Roar. Now we are starting to use Heavy Strike and transition to a real stun build. Now you should not have any problems with yellow maps and can start to challenge red maps.

3rd stage. Get a 5-link on your Tidebreaker, then save for a Kaom's Heart. You may get a Belly of the Beast temporarily (if it's cheap) while saving up for a Kaom's Heart. Meanwhile, watch the market and try to get a Devoto's Devotion with Heavy Strike 12% enchant. Upgrade your amulet, rings and belt if your previous ones are poorly rolled. Now you should be able to farm most red maps.

4th stage. Get a 6-link Tidebreaker and put your previous 5-link Tidebreaker in your secondary weapon slot. If you feel rich, you can 6-link both Tidebreakers. Now I would say this build is complete. With enough practice, you should be able to stun-lock and kill almost all endgame bosses.

5th stage. See the Luxurious Upgrades section. There is a small room for you to further optimize your build with luxurious items.

6th stage (non-existent). Most builds, namely projectile-based builds and crit-based builds demand very high-end Mirror worthy gears to achieve their full potential. It's common to see a Mirrored Opal ring providing 20-30% DPS boost to those builds. This is not the case for our build. With semi-decent items you will be able to do most content with this build.

Luxurious Upgrades
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1. What you need for good endgame (Shaper/Guardians) performance:

-20% quality on relevant gems. Typically, it's around 1.3% more damage per gem. (Quality bonuses on some gems can be totally useless, check Wiki before making investments.)
-A 6-link Tidebreaker; equivalent to 31% more damage from putting in Maim Support, compared to a 5-link weapon.
-"Heavy Strike has a 12% chance to deal double damage" enchant on Devoto's Devotion; this is equivalent to 8.6% more damage.

2. How to further optimize performance:

-Curse corruption on gloves: Vulnerability curse gives 3-4% more damage against Shaper/Guardians, around 20% more damage against trash mobs (significant clear speed boost).
-"+1 maximum frenzy charge" corruption on Redblade Trampler; this is equivalent to around 5% more damage. Or a "16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently" enchant; if you can manage to activate this effect, it's also equivalent to 5% more damage.
-Any useful corruption on Kaom's Heart.
-Sin's Rebirth and Taste of Hate flasks; equivalent to 11.4% and 7.2% (10.7% if legacy version) burst damage respectively.
-"Gain #% of X damage as extra Y damage" Shaped/Elder mods on amulet; equivalent to up to 7% more damage.

*Having an aurabot friend: 20-30% more damage. Such a small number because some damage auras like Anger and Wrath are almost totally useless, providing around 2-3% effective DPS only.

3. What you don't need:

-Lvl 21 Heavy Strike: only 1.2% more damage.
-Lvl 21 Support gems: only 0.67% more damage or less for each lvl 21 support gem.
-Stun Support corruption on Tidebreaker: for stunning, equivalent to around 40% more damage. But no real DPS boost. This corruption mod is now legacy and is no longer obtainable.



Gem Setup
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Below I'll talk about the skill gems for this build. For a quick view, you can also view my gems from the Sample Gears section above.


Tidebreaker 5L/6L:
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Single Target: Heavy Strike + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Bloodlust + Damage on Full Life + Maim (6th link)

Heavy Strike AoE: Heavy Strike + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Multistrike + Ancestral Call + Damage on Full Life (6th link)

Sunder AoE: Sunder + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Multistrike + Damage on Full Life + Maim (6th link)

-Tidebreaker offers a 7th link: Level 20 Endurance Charge on Melee Stun.

-This Heavy Strike AoE setup is exclusive to Slayers. Berserker should clear with Sunder. Other good choices include Consecrated Path, Ground Slam, Tectonic Slam, (and even Flicker Strike if well-geared).

-Ideally, you want to have 2 Tidebreakers for the single target and AoE setups separately. If you don't, you just need to do gem swap (especially Multistrike -> Bloodlust) before fighting challenging bosses.


Support Gems Explained
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1. Melee Physical Damage offers 49% more damage. This is a brainless choice.

2. Ruthless Support offers 37.7% more damage on average; but more importantly, Ruthless Blow significantly boosts our stun capability. This is usually also a brainless choice. When you're already well-geared this might be an overkill and you may consider taking it out from the AoE setup.

3. Bloodlust offers 59% more damage but requires bleed which is applied by totem; thus, it's very good in boss fights only. Multistrike offers 35.8% more DPS but reduces our damage per hit and dramatically lowers our stun capability; thus, it's only good for clearing (or can be used against stun immune bosses). It's common to swap between these 2 gems.

4. Damage on Full Life offers 49% more damage but only when we're at full life. Maim Support offers 30% more damage as well as 30% chance to apply a debuff making the enemy taking 14% increased physical damage. They are not so great but are good choices for the 5th and 6th gem slots.

5. Other gems like Brutality, Stun Support, Ancestral Call can be used accordingly; replace Maim or Damage on Full Life with these.

*Added Fire Damage or Faster Attacks should never be considered.


How is Bloodlust enabled
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As long as we get some chance to bleed on hit, our totem (as well as Frenzy and Leap Slam) will apply bleed to the enemy.

We have 25% bleed chance from the Bloody Bludgeon wheel and another 25% bleed chance added to totem if Chance to Bleed Support is linked to Warchief. (The Vulnerability curse also gives 30% chance to bleed. But against Shaper/Guardians, there is only 6% bleed chance due to reduced curse effect.)

So our Frenzy has 25% (31% with Vulnerability) bleed chance; and if we use Chance to Bleed Support, our totem has 50% (56% with Vulnerability). This is more than enough to keep bleed up against enemies.

Will my Damage on Full Life work
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As long as you have enough regen or leech (Slayer with Brutal Fervour only) to compensate for your hp loss from Blood Rage and rage stacks (Berserker), you will be at full life and Damage on Full Life will work.

1. Besides Berserker, Damage on Full Life will always work unless Vaal Pact is picked without picking Brutal Fervour (Slayer).

2. Sometimes you see yourself at near full life with Blood Rage on, this is a display bug and Damage on Full Life is still effective.

3. For Berserker, you need to calculate your total regen and degen carefully. If you follow my setup strictly, Damage on Full Life will be active.

-Berserker has 6.2% regen from the passive tree; 6 endurance charges will offer 1.2% regen + 24% physical mitigation; Oak's bonus offers 1% regen + 2% physical mitigation; Aspect of Carnage causes 10% increased damage taken. This is 8.4% regen, 26% physical mitigation and 10% increased damage taken in total. We have 4% degen as physical damage from Blood Rage, which is 4% * (1 - 26%) * (1 + 10%) = 3.3%; plus 5% fixed degen from maximum stacks of rage, this is 8.3% degen in total. Because 8.3% is smaller than 8.4%, our Damage on Full Life will be active.

*Picking Blood Magic will completely disable Damage on Full Life.

How good is Stun Support
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Our build aims to achieve 130% r.E.S.T., and with Stun Support, we gain additional 49%; this is equivalent to gaining 61% more damage considering our stun capability.

61% sounds like a good number but Stun Support offers no DPS. Only use Stun Support (take out Damage on Full Life or Maim Support) in tough boss fights when you want to guarantee stun-locking.



Leap Slam / Frenzy 4L:
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Frenzy + Fortify + Faster Attacks + Leap Slam

-Leap Slam with Faster Attacks and Fortify as our movement skill.

-Frenzy is used in boss fights to keep up frenzy charges and Fortify buff. This is crucial to our boss fight performance.

*A good portion of our damage comes from the boss being inflicted with bleed and Maim Support debuff from our totem. It usually takes 1 second before both debuffs are applied. So even if we use Heavy Strike during the first second, we may fail to stun the boss anyway. It's very efficient to use Frenzy during the start of the fight while waiting for our totem to apply bleed and Maim Support debuff, then use Heavy Strike to stun-lock the boss to death.

Totem 2L:
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Vaal Ancestral Warchief + Maim

-This totem provides damage buff from Warchief, bleed to enable Bloodlust and Maim Support debuff for more damage. We should always keep the totem up during boss fights. Bleed is applied because we get at least 25% chance to bleed from the Bloody Bludgeon wheel.

-Vaal Ancestral Warchief offers good burst damage.

Utility:
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Auras: Hatred, Herald of Ash

Buffs: Blood Rage, (Enduring Cry - Berserker only)

-For the pure physical version, swap out Hatred and Herald of Ash, then pick from Haste, Herald of Purity, Arctic Armour and Blasphemy.

*Besides Berserker, Enduring Cry may still be used in very special occassions (when fighting enemies that cannot be stunned) to sustain endurance charges.

Alternatives:
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Below are some suggestions to fill the extra gem slots:

1. War Banner or Dread Banner (especially for pure phys version)
2. Lightning Golem (Stone Golem also great for Berserker)
3. Link with Hatred and Herald of Ash: Enlighten (maybe and Herald of Purity)
4. Link with Warchief: Chance to Bleed Support
5. CWDT + curse (Vulnerability, Elemental Weakness, Temporal Chains, Enfeeble)
6. Portal
7. Unlinked Vaal Ground Slam

*If Chance to Bleed Support is used, and if you're not playing Slayer: you can consider not picking the passive node in the Bloody Bludgeon cluster that offers 10% chance to bleed.

*The unlinked Vaal Ground Slam can be used as a forced emergency lock-down. It can be used as an interruption skill, notably good against Shaper's Slam, and (for example Chimera or Malachai's) channeling skills.


After setting up all the necessary gems, you should still have 2-3 gem slots left; you can pick from the alternatives recommended above or run any gems of your preference.


6L Body Armour
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The gem setup above is designed for Kaom's Heart, which has no sockets on the body armour. If you don't like Kaom's Heart and decide to use other chest, you will have an additional 6-link. Here are my suggestions:

1. You can put your alternative damage setup (single target or AoE) here, so you don't have to do weapon swap.

2. You can put in a 6-link Warchief here.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief + Maim + Chance to Bleed + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Damage on Full Life
This way, you don't need the original 3-link Warchief on your other piece, and I suggest splitting the Leap Slam / Frenzy setup.
Leap Slam + Faster Attacks + Fortify + Blood Magic
Frenzy + Faster Attacks + Fortify

3. You can put your Leap Slam / Frenzy setup here.
Leap Slam + Faster Attacks + Fortify + Frenzy + Blood Magic + Maim
or
Leap Slam + Faster Attacks + Fortify + Frenzy + Curse on Hit + Vulnerability
This way, you don't need the original 4-link Leap Slam / Frenzy on your other piece; view the Alternatives section above for some suggestions.

Pure Physical Version
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You may choose to run Brutality Support instead of Maim or Damage on Full Life and deal pure physical damage with this build. You will give up Hatred and Herald of Ash, and choose from Haste, Herald of Purity, Arctic Armour and Blasphemy. You also need to give up Sin's Rebirth, Atziri's Promise and Taste of Hate (you can pick up Silver flask).

Hatred and Herald of Ash give 51% added elemental damage. However, against Shaper/Guardians, our elemental damage is 60% effective, while physical damage is 120% effective. So, this 51% elemental damage is equivalent to 25.5% more damage. Replacing maybe Maim Support (30% more damage) with Brutality (59% more damage) provides 22.3% more damage. So, after counting the effect of Haste and Herald of Purity, you can expect higher DPS with the pure physical version when flasks are not considered.

The major advantage of running the pure physical version is that you will be able to run defensive or utility auras. Haste is nice for the speed; Arctic Armour provides some additional survival; Blasphemy + maybe Vulnerability or Temporal Chains offers good offense/defense. Banner skills are also more effective using the pure physical version.

The major drawback of the pure physical version is that you will lose a lot of burst damage from expensive flasks (Sin's Rebirth, Taste of Hate). You will also lose the nice AoE clear from Herald of Ash.

In general, the pure physical version is a cheaper and more defensive version. Do not run this version if:
1. you don't have a 6-link;
2. you like to pop 4 damage flasks at a time;
3. you're liking the extended AoE due to Herald of Ash;
4. you have plans to use Stun Support.

*You only need to swap gems to change between both versions. Therefore, you can always use one version for some content, then use another version for some other content.

Curse Discussion
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Due to Shaper/Guardians taking only 20% of curse effects, curses are not very effective during boss fights.

For this build, Vulnerability can be a huge boost to clear speed (not reliable if triggered by CWDT) and is the best choice overall. Temporal Chains provides some defense and prolongs the duration of stuns, so it's also viable.

Both curses can be applied via glove corruption. If you can't afford one, choose either CWDT or Blasphemy (or just don't run any curses).

Warlord's Mark should not be considered.

Against Shaper, the best curse to run is Temporal Chains due to the prolonged stun duration.



More Tips
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Stun Mechanics
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Background Knowledge
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1. If a hit's stun chance is less than 20%, the real chance to stun is 0%.
2. Stun chance is based on 200% * damage done in this hit / defender's effective max life.
3. Defender's effective max life is reduced by r.E.S.T.
4. Defender's effective max life is not affected by party scaling.
5. Base stun duration is 0.35 seconds. A Ruthless Blow has base stun duration of 0.8 seconds.
6. Stun duration is simply base stun duration * (1 + stun duration modifier).
7. Slow effects from chill and Temporal Chains prolongs stun duration. (The "cursed enemies are 29% slower" part from Temporal Chains affects stun duration, not the "other effects on cursed enemies expire 40% slower" part.)

Therefore, to land a stun, we need a combination of r.E.S.T. and high damage per hit. Then, to achieve stun-locking, we need a moderate amount of attack rate combined with stun duration.

*Usually attack per hit and attack rate are almost equally important. So, when deciding between the two, take whichever that provides higher DPS.

Defender's effective max life is their total life pool (before party scaling) multiplied by:
-If r.E.S.T <= 75: 0.01 * (100 - r.E.S.T.)
-If r.E.S.T > 75: 0.25 - 0.25 * ((r.E.S.T. - 75) / (r.E.S.T. - 50))

A plot to visualize the non-linear growth of r.E.S.T.
Spoiler


We can see that additional r.E.S.T. becomes less effective as we get more of it. However, stacking r.E.S.T. is still usually the most effective way to boost our stun capability.

Stunning Shaper
Spoiler

You should have around 130% r.E.S.T. with this build (without Stun Support).

Where do I get this 130% r.E.S.T.
Spoiler

-Tidebreaker: 20-30%
-Endurance Charge on Melee Stun from Tidebreaker: 19%
-Redblade Trampler: 5-10%
-Belt suffix: up to 15%, more if essence crafted
-Skull Cracking wheel: 18%
-Stun Mastery wheel: 15%
-Heavy Strike: 25%
*Small node before Overwhelm ascendancy notable: 5%

Maximum total 132% (137% with Overwhelm)

With 130% r.E.S.T., defender's effective max life is reduced to 7.8% of their life pool, thus if we deal damage equivalent to 0.78% of the target's max life, this hit will have a chance to land a stun.

Life pool of endgame bosses according to PoEDB:
-T15 boss: 3 million
-Uber Izaro: 4 million
-Elder Guardians: 8 million
-Guardians: 10-12 million
-Elder: 16 million
-Shaper: 20 million

So, to possibly stun Shaper, we need 156k damage in one hit. To guarantee a stun on Shaper, we need 780k damage in one hit.

According to Path of Building, my Berserker's damage per hit is at 156k to 501k (outdated data). In PoB, chance to deal double damage and Ruthless Blow are calculated improperly, and the real damage range is 75k to 1025k. Thus, my high roll hits are more than enough to guarantee stuns on Shaper.

*With Stun Support, it's even easier to stun Shaper, but you will lose some DPS. You also should replace Empire's Grasp with Facebreaker for Shaper fight, which offers 10% additional r.E.S.T.


Boss-fight Tactics
Spoiler

The general strategy is to cast Blood Rage, place totem near the boss, use Frenzy several times to reach maximum frenzy charges and gain Fortify (and meanwhile totem applies bleed and Maim Support debuff), then pop damage flasks and stun-lock the boss to death. You may use the boots swap trick below to gain up to maximum endurance and frenzy charges before the fight.

Boots Swap Trick
Spoiler



Swap on this pair of boots before boss fights to gain up to maximum endurance and frenzy charges; swap back to Redblade Tramplers before triggering the boss fight. Of course you won't want to bother applying this trick unless you're facing challenging bosses like Shaper.

Below are the only complicated boss fights with this build, and I'll share my experiences. Besides those bosses, almost all other bosses including the Elder and Uber Izaro can be killed brainlessly by just stun-locking them.

*Uber Elder: This fight is in theory doable (stay alive with Berserker Warcry or Slayer leech, catch timing for stun-locking and damage output, repeat); but any mistake means 1 death. I have made 2 attempts and wasted all portals to them. This fight is very unfriendly to this build as there's always one boss firing skills at us and we can only stun-lock one of them. I still was able to catch a good timing and stun-lock Shaper; but as Shaper becomes immune, attacking Elder was very miserable due to infinite Shaper beam and balls.

Shaper: The strategy is simple, catch a good timing (when Shaper casts beam, for example) to pop all damage flask and go for a long-time stun-locking. If you are failing to stun-lock, just play safe and slow.

Trio: This fight can be tricky. I found it easiest to use Sunder and kite the bosses; this way you can control which boss to be the remaining last boss. You can also stun all three and burst down two of them. The last boss remaining is stun immune (I'm not 100% sure), so kill the ranged female boss first, play carefully and take your time.

Uber Atziri: During the normal phase just avoid all the circles (Storm Call and Flameblast); Atziri during the normal phase cannot be stunned so use Multistrike Support and play safe. During the split phase, place your totem at the center, stay far away from the center and run in circles. You will successfully dodge the first Flameblast this way. Now find the Flameblast clone, pop damage flasks and stun-lock her. Because of stun-locking no more Flameblast will occur and you can burst this clone down safely.

Phoenix: This boss cannot be killed just be standing still and stun-locking. The adds will deal too much damage and we should kill those adds right after they respawn. Because it's easy to dodge boss's attacks, I find it easier to use Sunder with Multistrike and totally forget about stunning. Just keep killing the adds and kill the boss as if you're playing a normal build.

Minotaur: This boss is immune to bleed and stun. Usually I bring 2 Lion's Roar and 2 Basalt flasks, and switch Bloodlust to Multistrike. We just need to face-tank for 10+ seconds and we can kill the boss while standing in the stone circle. If you're not well geared you need move away from stone circles and play a bit smarter.


List of Stun Immune Bosses
Spoiler

1. Minotaur
2. Atziri
3. Rigward
4. Kitava
5. Argus
6. Trio

*The mirror held by Atziri is what makes her stun immune, so during the clone phase, all other 3 clones besides the one holding the mirror can be stunned.

*The final boss of the Trio fight is found to be stun immune. I haven't seen any official confirmation and am not 100% sure.

None of these fights are tough (Rigward might be the toughest one). For Rigward and Kitava, just familiarize yourself with the boss mechanics. Argus should be easily rushed down with flasks.




Other Variants
Spoiler

Some other variants of this build. The Ascendant and Champion variants will use almost the same passive tree, items and gems. (The only major difference is that Ascendant will pick the Harrier notable near Scion start.)


Ascendant Variant
Spoiler

PoB pastebin: https://pastebin.com/9gjhkgEA

Ascendant is similar to the Berserker version, with lower DPS but higher mobility and no defensive drawbacks. The reason to pick Ascendant is if you want to prioritize mapping speed (if you want to play this build with a female character).

Ascendancy
Spoiler

Champion
-Enemies take 20% increased damage. It offers the most DPS out of all choices. Must-pick.

Raider
-Onslaught and movement speed. This is the best choice in my opinion due to excellent mobility.

Path of the Duelist
-Must-pick. Marauder start is a little better, and if Berserker is chosen you should pick Path of the Marauder instead.

Trickster
-This is an alternative choice to replace Raider. It offers some DPS, life recovery speed (very useful), and infinite mana for Leap Slams.


Champion Variant
Spoiler

PoB Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/z1ZpigyA

Champion offers a good mix of offense and defense. A good reason to pick Champion, besides its good defense, is to contribute more to the squad. With the taunt (party damage buff and defense buff), the speed aura and Intimidate, this version offers the most as a team-player.

Ascendancy
Spoiler

Conqueror + Worthy Foe
-Enemies take 20% increased damage plus some defensive bonus. Must-pick.

First to Strike, Last to Fall
-Intimidate and potential Adrenaline buff. Must-pick unless picking Fortitude.

*The Adrenaline buff can be procced with a Blood Magic Support + aura combo.

Master of Metal
-Offers good DPS but this DPS won't help our stun business.

Unstoppable Hero + Fortitude
-Only pick this if you're very lazy and want this permanent Fortify.

Inspirational
-Not recommended.


Starforge crit Champion
Spoiler

This section is out-dated.

Since I posted this build, many have suggested this idea of utilizing crits with a Starforge to achieve much higher DPS. Cloud_69's version seems to be the best so far, which was his own variant of this stun build after taking some ideas from Xevosh's "Unshaper" Starforge build.

PoB Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/DZEqh7nL

Above is the Starforge crit variant created by Cloud_69. (I made a few minor changes in the PoB page.)

This version, when compared to the Berserker version, has significantly higher DPS, slightly lower stun capability, slightly less mobility, significantly less survivability; this version cannot use Ground Slam, Sunder or Consecrated Path, but can use Flicker Strike comfortably with a Terminus secondary weapon. This version is expensive to build, but has a much higher potential with a huge budget.

I recommend this build to people who prioritize DPS over anything else, has a big budget to spare, and likes swinging a sword more than a mace.




This is the end of the guide. I will play this league (but maybe not until the 10th of Dec.) and keep the guide updated. I check this thread often, so feel free to leave comments down below if you have any questions or suggestions.



Simulation Code
Spoiler

Path of Building can do all the math besides simulating stuns, so I wrote this code to give a good insight into our stun capability. This code simulates different boss fights and evaluates our stun capability.

The code tells me that against Shaper, this build (without Tidebreaker corruption) has:

-Over 99% stun up-time. This means that if Shaper just stands still for me to hit for 10000 seconds, there will be on average less than 100 seconds when Shaper is not stunned.

-Over 80% chance of perfect stun-locking. This means that if I challenge Shaper's each phase 10000 times, then there will be over 8000 times when Shaper is stun-locked from the beginning to the end.

*With some tech choices (Facebreaker with Temporal Chains corruption, Stun Support, etc.) we can achieve higher chances.

*Results for T15 and Uber-Izaro calculations are not very accuracy due to different resistances and curse effectiveness.

Here's my code written in Python. You can run the code directly from the repl.it link.

-GitHub: https://gist.github.com/ygshi/2e91faa17974c0fe016fe9bddfc3d73c

-Repl.it: https://repl.it/@ygshi0825/PoEStunSimulator2


Additional Info
Spoiler


Changelog
Spoiler

12/11/18: Mentioning Tidebreaker buff effect in the changes in 3.5 section.
12/10/18: Minor changes in the debatable choices of the passives section.
12/09/18: Some minor revisions.
12/08/18: Updated PoB links, now including War Banner.
12/07/18: Mentioning Leap Slam in the changes in 3.5 section.
12/06/18: Moved Banner skills to alternatives category. Added Tectonic Slam to recommended skills list.
12/05/18: Added War Banner to gem setup section. Also now recommending Vaal Ancestral Warchief instead of Vaal Haste. Now recommending Consecrated Path as an AoE choice as well.
12/04/18: Updated the changes in 3.5 section.
12/02/18: Added changes in 3.5 section.
...
12/07/18: Patch 3.5 launched; some small buffs to the build.
08/31/18: Patch 3.4 launched; some small buffs to the build.
06/01/18: Patch 3.3 launched; some small buffs to the build.
03/02/18: Patch 3.2 launched. This build was heavily buffed due to the Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support buff.
12/08/17: Patch 3.1 launched; some small buffs to the build.
08/04/17: Patch 3.0 launched. Ruthless gem came out and made stun-locking Shaper possible with this build.
03/16/17: Build posted. Decided to post after I stun-locked a tier 15 boss to death.
03/03/17: Legacy League launched and Tidebreaker came out. I started leveling my first stunner.
02/20/17: Tidebreaker revealed. Build planning started.

Acknowledgement
Spoiler

During the creation of this build, I had wonderful discussions with Thorminathor and Lokiwider, which were crucial to the initial success of this build. I must also acknowledge all that responded with your questions and suggestions for your contributions to this build's further refinement.

Last edited by brightwaha on Dec 11, 2018, 7:04:54 PM
Last bumped on Dec 12, 2018, 10:12:48 PM
This looks really good, i would really want to try this out onece i finish farming my currencies
Just one thing, the belt Perseverance will completely disable if you have iron reflex, since your evasion rating became 0, but i guess it's still worth it since the other stats are just as juicy


Now im think to use champion and maximize the value of the belt, and wondering if armor+evasion build would ever work
"
751935736 wrote:
This looks really good, i would really want to try this out onece i finish farming my currencies
Just one thing, the belt Perseverance will completely disable if you have iron reflex, since your evasion rating became 0, but i guess it's still worth it since the other stats are just as juicy


Now im think to use champion and maximize the value of the belt, and wondering if armor+evasion build would ever work


Yes, the attack speed bonus from belt Perseverance will be completely disabled. I picked up this belt simply for the fortify and onslaught effect it provides (other stats are also pretty good).

Champion can work too, but I personally don't recommend. Unless you are going to put a 6L AOE skill on your body armour, you will need the melee splash that Slayer ascendancy provides (also 20% culling and some stun duration can be very handy).

As for armor+evasion build, I think it's viable, but you need to keep in mind: if you fail to stack a good amount of armor, it almost does nothing against large hits; evasion can still be effective without stacking too much of it. So I would suggest focusing on armor while grabbing some evasion if you can.

EDIT: If you're reading this, you should be aware that those responses were written in March, 2017. The build was very different back then and any information here can be very misleading.
Last edited by brightwaha on Feb 22, 2018, 4:02:04 PM
Hi,

I was considering something like that as a Berserker. But I find that 200DPS is more than I anticipated. Can you list what did the biggest difference?
"
Completed 8 ChallengesSarik wrote:
Hi,

I was considering something like that as a Berserker. But I find that 200DPS is more than I anticipated. Can you list what did the biggest difference?


Without any auras and buffs, my character has only 40k+ tooltip DPS. But there are a lot of factors that can add to it.

1. My tooltip DPS does not take into account the threshold jewels. From 2 threshold jewels and helmet enchantment, we can have 52% chance to deal double damage with our Heavy Strike. That is 52% MORE dmg.
2. 50% increased damage at 5 endurance charges (from Tidebreaker), and 20% MORE damage and 20% attack speed at 5 frenzy charges.
3. Onslaught buff (from Perseverance), Hatred aura, blood rage buff, and increased physical dmg while leeching.
4. From the Warchief totem, we will have a 18% MORE damage buff. Also the totem itself deals around 1/6 of our own dmg with only one faster attacks support. (If replacing Kaom's Heart with a 6L rare body armour, the totem itself can deal more than 10k. Then our total DPS can reach 300K.)

In maps, when buffs are up, my tooltip goes up to 120K. After manually counting the effect of threshold jewels it's already 18K (not counting warchief dmg). Remember some of my gears are 1c items and many of my gems are 19/0. So we can expect way more than 200K DPS with good gears.

My calculations didn't take into account the 20% culling from Slayer ascendancy. If you wish to count that, multiply the 200K by another 125%.

EDIT: If you're reading this, you should be aware that those responses were written in March, 2017. The build was very different back then and any information here can be very misleading.
Last edited by brightwaha on Feb 22, 2018, 4:01:44 PM
I play with bright often his build is fun and quite similar to mine, here is my tree for a berzerker version of this build. Clearing t13 maps solo with it.

https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAECAAHnBLMFLQmWC2EMXw3NEuEUIBRNFPYW6RhdGJEaVRrkHKccziGQJDcrUC5TNZI26DkOOp064Ts7PC087z38QT9Hfk3jUEdR5lOlVw1YY18_X9BhIWVNaGVo8mqla9lyqXTtdqx3U3zZggeDX4PMhNmE74VShjuHaoiPjM-QbJHOlIeWbJd5mAqYV57Fns2iAKLqplenMKknqZStja9sr6e2pLc-vJ-9Nr6nvwjAZsT2xq7G2M9-0iHTb9i92WHawd6W37LkUeoQ6hjrCe8O8B_yQfJF8pzzm_ZI9zL4X_xL_TD-Cv5U_o__0w==
Last edited by Thorminathor on Mar 21, 2017, 5:17:05 AM
Hey guy,

I link you my tree, for pretty much the same build :).

http://poeplanner.com/AAYAAPcUIwB5uR0V7JkrvYHKkITZR369NmVNvqeplHh6qSeHaoTv2sF07QUteu9AoF4TktAS4SFV3D0HdcCmLPuKIicg705hUpOoirNXVIZg829J1Qm75K1nWGCROlK8nxiR_EsUTQHnpzC2pN6WmAoOPBRx-Ovz3Whlu-2RzuoYdqzPflHmtC8hNEE_37KUh57F9zJ82XKpidhoWNeWxPbGrjwtg1-DzLc-_grYvTWS_o9N46ZXOuHyRf0wiI8a5Gqlrj5nm-RRUEfvDpd5CZY5DhQgXz_2SIzPPfxYY9l8ggfyQa2NRrfTb6U1DHA7tvVh79FDo1HalSQAAAAAAA==
I was wondering if this works with a 5 link Tidebreaker?
if so what skill would you drop in the 6 link for it
here's my tidebreaker

Last edited by DiscoPug on Apr 16, 2017, 4:30:00 PM
Hey man, leveled this toon, 70 for now, but clear speed is like real slow, at least if you want to clear a lot of maps, would AoE improve this? any ideas on how to clear faster? I already have the slayer ascendancy.

Thanks.
"
DiscoPug wrote:
I was wondering if this works with a 5 link Tidebreaker?
if so what skill would you drop in the 6 link for it
here's my tidebreaker



Only 4 gems are necessary. First 3 are Heavy Strike, Melee Phy Dmg, Added Fire Dmg; the 4th link is Multistrike for dps or Stun Support for stuns. For the 5th/6th links, you can choose from Faster Attacks, Melee Dmg on Full Life or Weapon Elemental Dmg depending on your gears and encounter.

A 5 link Tidebreaker is good enough. You lose about 20% of dmg compared to a 6 link weapon, but everything else works well.

EDIT: If you're reading this, you should be aware that those responses were written in March, 2017. The build was very different back then and any information here can be very misleading.
Last edited by brightwaha on Feb 22, 2018, 4:01:14 PM

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