[3.8] From League Starter to Shaper – Cheap, Tanky, Fast and Fun Physical ST – Very Detailed Guide
This is a guide to my Physical ST Slayer. It is a perfect league starter, can be used in SSF and scales to do all content in the game. It is a lot of fun to play as it is fast and tanky, has good clear speed and easily destroys all bosses.
The guide is very detailed and probably contains answers to all your questions so please read it first before asking. Don't just watch the videos and download the PoB. Actually read the guide. It WILL help. Also read the FAQ at the 2nd post.
Please post your questions here and not in-game or through PMs so that everyone can benefit from the discussion.
Changes in 3.8 - No changes to the build. Small buffs to aura AoE and damage.
There are really no significant changes to the build with this patch. This is a very good thing for us since Slayer Cyclone was very popular in 3.7 and GGG has a tendency to over-nerf popular things. Thankfully their nerf affects only Cyclone with a tiny change to Slayer.
Vicious Projectiles now deals 10% more physical damage. That's a nice buff that more than makes up for the 10% attack speed we lose (see below).
Aura skills now have a slightly larger radius. This is good for our Pride aura. Flesh and Stone also has a larger range and so does our banner aura (with a higher bonus from quality).
Flesh and Stone now has 20 gem levels. Also it now only protects from attack damage from blinded enemies. At least it gets a higher cooldown recovery.
Herald of purity (for those using that version) has a slight and meaningless change. Summoned Sentinels can now use Crusade Slam regardless of Ascendancy. Whatever that means....
Bane of Legends now grants 10% increased attack speed instead of 20%. A slight nerf.
Overall: Aura radius buff, damage buff. Not bad!
Changes in 3.7 - Large buffs to both ST and Slayer (and even more goodies)
3.7 Brings some nice changes for us.
Now deals base damage equal to, and has an added damage effectiveness of, 80% at gem level 1 (from 54%), up to 100% at gem level 20 (from 90%).
This is obviously a buff. PoB shows a significant damage boost for ST. The biggest since this build was introduced in 3.1 !
Slayer has also been changed which gives us more damage, damage mitigation and stun immunity again.
Headsman: Now grants 10% more damage if you've killed recently (from 20%). No longer increases area of effect by 20% if you've killed recently, instead granting 20% more damage against unique enemies.
We now deal 10% less damage in non-uniques but we deal 20% more damage on uniques (so a total of 10% more damage on uniques). This is a good damage boost where it matters the most, on bosses. Mobs will die anyway so clear speed should not suffer from this. Buff !
Bane of Legends: No longer grants Onslaught for 20 seconds when you kill a rare or unique enemy, instead granting 20% increased attack speed for 20 seconds when you kill a rare or unique enemy. Now also grants 20% increased movement speed for 20 seconds when you kill an enemy (of any rarity).
Onslaught gave us 20% increased attack speed for 20 seconds so the new wording doesn't change anything. We still get the same bonus for the same duration. It's just not called "onslaught". As a bonus we get 20% movespeed practically all the time. We don't walk much because of WB but it's still a bonus for some situations. Not having onslaught means that we can now use a silver flask to get it. So even more damage for us. Buff !
The small passives leading to Headsman and Bane of Legends now grant 10% increased attack damage, rather than 14% increased damage with two handed weapons.
Not much to say here. Obvious buff !
Endless Hunger: Now prevents you from being stunned while leeching.
Stun wasn't a real problem for us because of the high life. But now it won't be a problem at all. Buff !
Brutal Fervour: No longer grants 100% increased total recovery per second from life leech. Now grants 15% increased attack speed while leeching, 6% reduced damage taken while leeching, and 50% increased attack damage while leeching (from 30%).
Increased attack speed, damage and reduced damage taken. We already reached our leech cap easily so the leech change shouldn't affect us at all. Buff !
The small passives leading to Endless Hunger and Brutal Fervour now grant 10% increased attack damage, rather than 14% increased damage with two handed weapons.
Another buff. It's good that Slayer no longer benefits just two handed weapons.
In total all this is a nice big buff for us. Currently PoB shows an increase of 30K but that is not correct as the changes in ST are not included and also "Bane of legends" is not taken into account at all.
There are some changes to the tree. Some nodes have moved around so pathing has changed in the lower right corner. We also take Master of Force instead of Claws of the Magpie. More life and damage overall.
Impale, Dread Banner, Flesh and Stone + Maim and Pride are new aura options with significant damage benefits. Check the gem section for details.
Changes in 3.6 - This is a nerf. But as long as we are doing damage nothing has really changed for us!
3.6 brings with it a nerf to leech. This affects all builds that use leech. However since this is a Slayer and relies on leech more than others, it affects us more. Fotunatelly things are not as bad as they initially sound. Let me explain.
The new leech cap of 10% per leech instance means that each hit can give us at more 10% of our total health back. Builds that hit hard and slow (like heavy strike without multistrike) are severely affected by this. However this build does small and frequent hits resulting in many small leech instances. This means that we can easily reach our 40% maximum leech rate (50% if you use the Elder amulet). We shouldn't have any trouble leeching to full health immediately and tanking bosses like before. As long as we are doing damage nothing has changed for us.
Minions/bosses: As I said above, we create many small leech instances. In my case I have 6 APS which means a maximum of 12 hits per second per enemy (assuming the returning projectiles also hit) with SP. With GMP the possible hits are even more (multiple per projectile because of the distance). This means that we can reach our maximum leech rate of 40% (or 50%) immediately. As long as we are hitting mobs and leeching there is no difference. We can also keep using the Damage on full life support gem. What has changed is the duration of the leech. When moving away from bosses/packs our leech will run out much quicker than before so be more careful when approaching bosses and hit them as quickly as possible.
Lab: Izaro won't be a problem. However traps will be. Our endless leech used to replace life regen and made lab easy. Now it runs out much faster which means that in many cases we won't have enough time to run through traps. Bring more life flasks/writhing jars, use Soul of Ryslatha and take things slow. Don't take VP before running uber lab for the first time.
Blood rage: The degen wasn't a problem before. Now it might be. When the leech runs out our life will start to go down and we will need to be careful when approaching bosses/mobs with reduced life. It may be best to remove Increased duration to make it end faster. We'll have to see how that works in practice
Edit: BR is annoying in 3.6. Check the gem section for suggestions.
For a detailed explanation of the new leech mechanics see this post
By the way enfeeble has also been nerfed (for Rare and Unique enemies) but this affects all builds in the game as almost everyone uses it. However, bosses which previously had 60% or 80% less effect of curses on them now have 33% or 66%. So in total is should be more or less the same for us.
Changes in the tree around the shadow area (near Coldhearted Calculation) require an extra node. It doesn't matter though because we get the life we lose from the new nodes (Resourcefulness). However it's a stupid change and we could have taken another life node if they had designed that area properly.
The new unique amulet Hyrri's Truth looks interesting. It adds a lot of damage but has no life. Also there's no way of knowing how much it'll cost. I still prefer the Elder amulet that I have in the gear section though but this looks like a good alternative for people needing more damage.
Changes in 3.5 - War Banner is interesting
3.5 brings absolutely no change to the tree, skills or items for us. The claws might become more rare but we'll have to wait and see. The temple returns and brings with it the chance to get 21/23 gems (or 21/20 Vaal ST) and sweet double corruptions. Be sure to check the FAQ if you're thinking of corrupting the claws.
War Banner is an interesting new skill. It increases physical damage (11% more) and accuracy (59% increased). It reserves 10% mana while we're carrying it so it is possible to combine it with our current auras once we have Enlighten level 3 (but probably a bad idea before).It may also be used as an alternative to Herald of Purity but for the moment I would stick with HoP which is a permanent buff. Before getting Enlighten level 3, we could have WB active while clearing, then when we get to the boss place it to end the reservation and turn on HoP. But this seems like too much work. It may be worth it though but we'll know once the league starts.
Changes in 3.4 - Herald of Purity Rocks !
Delve adds a new herald called Herald of Purity. This adds flat physical damage to our attacks. The damage it provides is more than double what we get from Herald of Ash (if you take into account boss resistances). It also adds minions which don't seem particularly strong but will help with distracting enemies and clearing random mobs. HoA does help with clearing packs due to the overkill burn but overall HoP is now the best choice.
Changes in 3.3 - This is a (tiny) Buff
There are really no changes that affect this build other than a small buff in the Trickery node. It now grants 20% increased damage instead of 20% increased elemental damage. So +2% damage! :P
We can now use Vaal ST instead of ST as the gem now grants both versions of the skill. Vaal ST isn't particularly good but you can use it if you like. You can now get 21/20 Vaal skill gems but that isn't going to be easy. See FAQ for details.
If any of the new uniques helps the build I'll add it here.
Changes in 3.2 - This is a Buff
There have been a number of changes to the Slayer ascendancy in 3.2. In short the build has been buffed.
The reshuffling of mods is not important. It might slightly affect our leveling progression but in the end we get the same properties.
No more physical reflect damage. This is a nice buff since most of our damage is physical. Elemental reflected damage is resisted so we only get 25% of it. In short you can forget about reflect.
We now do 30% increased damage while leeching (which is all the time). Slight buff but more damage is always nice to have.
The (slightly) bad
No stun immunity. This isn't much of a problem since we get 7K+ life. Stuns should be pretty rare.
- Can easily do all content in the game
- Cheap, non meta gear
- Fast and fun to play, 0.5 sec Whirling Blades, easy to dodge boss slams
- 2-button build. We only use ST and WB, everything else is automated
- 7K life without Belly
- Huge leech
- Good clear speed
- Good boss killing ability
- Great league starter
- Stun, bleed and reflect immunity built in
- Suitable for SSF
- Easy to level, all skills available very early
- No required gear
- Not likely to get nerfed (no meta gear or mechanics)
- Spectral Wolves + HoP Sentinels as decoys
- Every party loves Slayer cull
- We have to switch a gem for clear/single target
- Not the current meta million DPS build
You might think that the Slayer ascendancy got nerfed in 3.1 when in fact it is the only class that got a massive buff from the new VP.
First of all the Slayer is the only class that didn’t benefit from the old VP as it negated most of the ascendancy’s advantages. The new VP however is not only perfect for us but it’s also located very conveniently.
In 3.0 we had to spend 6 or more points (depending on pathing) to get Hematophagy and Vitality Void (for this build it would cost us 9 points!!!). This would give us a total of +43% to maximum life leech rate. In 3.1 we can get +40% by spending just a single point on VP. This is a huge boost as it frees up 5 or more points to be used in other areas of the tree.
Slayer’s damage numbers may be lower than other classes (like Berzerker for example) but you also need to take into account the 20% cull from Bane of Legends. This is a great feature for boss fights. Most difficult bosses have various stages that get progressively more difficult as their life is depleted. Take Shaper for example. His 3rd stage is the most difficult because of the clone that attacks independently. Bane of Legends cuts these difficult late stages essentially in half by culling the boss at 20%. Truly a great benefit to the class that is worth much more than the 25% damage increase it represents.
On top of all that you get great survivability with endless leech, can facetank most bosses, no physical reflected damage and stun and bleed immunity.
Finally, we use the “Damage on Full Life” support gem which gives us a huge percentage of our damage but only if we have full life. Slayer leech makes sure we meet this condition almost 100% of the time. Only a CI build uses Damage on Full Life better than a Slayer!
ST is one of the few skills that is suitable for both clear speed and single target damage by switching a single gem. Most skills specialize in either one type of damage and this usually means bad clear speed or slow (and dangerous) boss killing. With ST you can do both without needing to use 2 6-links (like the common barrage/KB combo). It is also available from level 1 which means that we can start leveling with it immediately.
Although the current meta is elemental, physical damage has the advantage that it is not resisted by bosses. While you can get huge DPS tooltips with elemental skills those are usually cut in half when you go up against the hardest bosses. This means you have to invest heavily in damage penetration. Physical damage on the other hand works just as well both on minions and bosses so the reduction when you fight the Shaper or Guardians is minimal.
It’s also easy to get elemental damage as a percentage of our physical by using Hatred. While this will be less useful in boss fights, it’s still a boost for clear speed. The important thing here is that we don’t have to invest in scaling this type of damage as it scales automatically with our physical.
Physical damage can also be augmented by the use of various flasks. Atziri’s promise and Sin’s rebirth give us chaos damage which is also not resisted by any mob and Taste of hate gives us elemental damage.
Finally since physical is not the current meta, our gear can be bought much cheaper than good elemental gear.
I’m not a streamer and I don’t record my map runs so this section is a work in progress. The quality of some of the videos is not great especially in the older ones.
This is the only video with the new setup (Pride, Impale, Dread Banner, Flesh and Stone).
In this video you can clearly see the effect of Impale and Pride. The first hits on the bosses (Shaper, Unshaped, Uncreated) don't do much damage but as we keep hitting them the Impale mechanism comes into play and significantly increases the damage they take. Pride also gains a very significant bonus when we stay close to the bosses for more than 4 sec. The combined effect increases damage exponentially and melts bosses in a few seconds.
On a last note. We always want to be in Blood stance. Don't forget to switch to that like I did in the first phase of the fight. Also... got to love Slayer cull.
Below are the only videos with Herald of Purity. The rest are older videos with slightly older gear and Herald of Ash.
Deathless 18 sec Minotaur. Stay close so that he doesn't do the dig attack. Only move if you're standing in 2 or more overlapping rock falling areas.
Random T15 shaped Bog to show clear speed.
Videos with older gear.
Deathless Corrupted Minotaur.
Deathless Corrupted Hydra (first attempt).
Deathless Chimera with –max resists, extra elemental damage, reduced critical damage.
Deathless Phoenix. It’s easier to do this boss with GMP because he spawns a lot of birds (those birds are the actual Phoenixes) which are difficult to kill with slower projectiles.
Deathless Red Elder.
Deathless Reef (T15). I included this to show the build’s clear speed. The boss is very easy with endless leech.
Map clearing: Whirl around killing mobs. Use you flasks for added damage where necessary. Everything else (immortal call, blood rage, ice golem, enfeeble) is automated. This is a two button build.
Bosses: Facetank the boss using slower projectiles instead of GMP. Use WB to avoid telegraphed hits (Shaper slam etc.). If you see your health running out whirl away for a sec to let leech get you back to full health. Repeat until the boss is dead.
In this build we use claws. These are great for crit ST and have good damage and leech nodes on the tree. Soul Raker alone is enough to solve all our mana problems. In addition even The Scourge claws which are BiS for this build are quite cheap so we don’t need to spend a bunch of exalts on expensive daggers and Lycosidae.
Early on we can use any claw with physical damage. I suggest a base that gives mana on hit, like the double claw. This is enough to sustain our attacks and we don’t need any mana regen on tree or gear.
There are a lot of unique claws that we can use while leveling. Mortem Morsu at level 34 is a good choice as they are available early on in a league and are very cheap.
Later on Ornament of the East at level 46 provides a good damage boost. At level 60 you should definitely get The Wasp Nest. These are great claws with lots of damage and speed and they are dirt cheap. We can easily go to T15 maps with these.
Our BiS weapons are The Scourge claws. These give a nice damage boost (about 20% over Wasp Nest), they increase our leech and provide a large group of Spectral Wolves to act as shields that distract enemies and keep them away from us.
Since 3.8 we can anoint "Spiritual Command" which allows us to use the minion attack speed they provide. This is a very high damage and survivability boost (also helps with WB) that makes the claws equal to 470 pDPS rares which cost 15-20 ex each.
In a new league there’s no need to rush into getting those. Wasp Nests provide a lot of damage and are more than enough to do red maps with. The Scourges are available a few days into the league and take a couple of weeks to go down to reasonable prices.
If you become super rich and have piles of exalts rotting in your stash then you can consider buying rare claws that will give you even higher damage. Beware though ! The Scourges may only be about 270 pDPS but with the minion damage mods (in combination with spiritual command) they are equal in damage to about 470 pDPS. This should be your minimum for rare claws.
In all honesty though it's not worth spending 30-40ex for a pair that will give you a minimal DPS increase. In temp leagues your will hardly find any claws above 500 pDPS. Only on standard can you buy upgrades that will really make a difference and those will cost you at least 50ex each.
There are three choices here. The Belly of the Beast is always a good choice for life builds. It provides the maximum life we can get from any armour and gives some resists too. The problem is that after the ES nerf everyone is playing life builds and the Belly is one of the most sought after items in the game. A 6L Belly will cost you a lot of exalts early on and even an unlinked one is going to be at least 80 chaos the first couple of weeks. If you can afford one then it’s probably the best choice. If you can’t don’t worry.
The first alternative is a good rare armour with lots of life and some resists. I bought this armour for 1,4 exalts at a time when the cheapest 6L Belly was 8ex. According to PoB a perfect belly would give me just 200 more HP. Definitely a nice boost but not something necessary considering we already have 7K life and huge leech.
You can also look for Elder armour with 120+ flat life and 10%+ increased life. These will still give you less life than a Belly but they can have resists. They will be expensive though if you're looking for a 6L. Definitely more expensive than a Belly.
Another Elder alternative is the mod "Attacks have +X.X% to Critical Strike Chance". This is a big damage boost. If you want to combine this with high life and resists be prepared to dig deep into your pockets.
The third option is a Loreweave. This versatile armour is good for a large number of builds as it provides lots of useful stats. For our build we need physical damage to attacks, global crit and life. A high all stat roll also helps with our need for intelligence. Maximum resistances at 80% is a substantial defensive boost as it means 20% less elemental damage taken. Also don't forget that this allows us to ignore the -max res mod on maps. A good Loreweave can be expensive though and it also means that you'll lose a substantial amount (500+) of life.
A good rare helmet is the best choice here. We can get 120+ life and 100 resists on one and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Getting 40% ST damage enchant on it would be ideal but it’s better to get a good helmet without it than to focus on the enchant and lose on the other stats. Having said that, ST enchants are cheap as they’re not meta.
Instead of an enchant you can also get a Bone Helmet, provided you already have at least one Scourge. This would give you almost the same damage boost as the ST enchant if you're using a legacy version or a bit less since the 3.6 nerf.
A good alternative would be a Rat’s Nest which does give a nice damage boost (you can even get one with the 40% ST enchant) but provides no life or resists which means you lose damage stats on you other gear to make up for it.
Starkonja's Head is another alternative. It provides life and damage through attack speed and crit chance.
If you're using a rare chest with good resists then it's easier to fit in a unique helmet. If however you're using a Belly then you'd better stick to a good rare helmet. Not being forced to use high resist rings and amulet means that you can get some nice life and damage stats there without having to pay a fortune.
There are two options here. Gripped gloves are the easiest choice. Make sure they have added physical damage, attack speed and high life. Accuracy and crit are also good options. Resists are not necessary but if you can squeeze them in then so much the better.
The alternative is two abyssal jewel Tombists. With very good jewels you can get more life and damage from those. Just make sure that one of them is a murderous so that you intimidate enemies. The downside is that the glove + jewel combination will cost more than good gripped gloves. Also good abyssal jewels are not easy to find any more. Crafting them could be an option. Losing two gem sockets means you'd have to rearrange gems a bit. One option would be to lose increased duration from the immortal call setup and move it to the claw. Then lose portal and move charged dash and ancestral protector to the gloves.
Nothing special here. Good rare boots with lots of life and resists. 100+ life and 100 resists is what you should aim for. Movement speed is not necessary and would only increase the price. We use Whirling Blades for almost all our movement anyway.
The best choice is a Stygian Vise with 90+life and 100 res. These belts are great when combined with a good Abyss Jewel. No other belt comes close.
Since Abyss ended, Stygian belts are harder to find so you can use either a Leather Belt or Rustic Sash depending on whether you prefer life or damage.
The Retch is a pretty damn good alternative. Lots of damage through flask duration and chaos damage, some life and a resist. It was expensive in Abyss but prices have come down significantly. It makes it harder to cap resists when you have a Belly though. If you can afford it and you can manage the resists then go for it.
Steel rings are the best choice. Make sure they have high life. Good stats are added phys, resists (if you need them), accuracy and strength/intel which our build lacks.
Rare amulet with high life and resists (if you need them). Good stats include added phys, crit multi, strength/intel and accuracy.
This is a very good alternative. An elder amulet which increases our maximum leech rate. Remember this is doubled by VP so it gets us from 40% max leech to almost 50! Almost twice as good as Vitality Void without spending a single point (you do need to spend a few ex though).
The Carnage Heart is a cheap alternative. It offers damage, attributes and resists. If you can't afford a good rare then go for it. At some point though you should get a much better rare.
Hyrri's Truth is a cheap new alternative. It gives a ton of damage but has no life or resists. Not my first choice but you can try it out if you want more damage.
This is our main damage boosting flask. It’s cheap and easy to get early on and is perfect for this build. Diamond flasks mostly benefit crit builds that don’t have a huge chance to crit without it. Our crit chance is less than 40% without it so we benefit a lot from using it. About 25% of our damage comes from this flask.
Although this flask has been nerfed a number of times it is still one of the most used items in the game and with good reason. It provides a nice damage boost to all builds (physical and elemental), it’s cheap and available early on in new leagues. We do both physical and elemental damage so make sure you get one with good stats on both. A few days into a new league you can get them for 1c. It also provides us with some chaos res which we completely lack. The leech boost is welcome but not necessary.
30% of physical damage added as chaos. This is also a huge damage boost. Chaos damage is even better than physical as it is not resisted by monsters and it even bypasses their ES. The evasion boost is also welcome. This flask is not cheap so don’t rush into getting it. Wait a couple of weeks for the prices to come down. It’s definitely worth the 2-3 exalts it will cost you.
Another cheap magic flask that is a good addition to this build. It provides a nice physical damage mitigation and being magic it also has an open suffix that can provide some useful immunity. I usually go for “of Heat” on this and alternate between “of Reflexes” and “of Warding” on the diamond flask.
Seething Divine Life Flask
This is our panic flask. Some might question the use of a life flask on a Slayer but this has saved me more times than I care to remember. I strongly recommend using one.
This flask provides a damage boost and can be used instead of the Basalt if you feel your damage is not enough. This can now stack with the bonus from the new "Bane of Legends" which means even more attack speed for us!
Taste of Hate
This flask provides both an offensive and a defensive bonus. It can take the place of the basalt flask as it provides exactly the same physical damage mitigation. However the damage boost is not that big because elemental damage is resisted by bosses and 30% chance to avoid freeze and chill is not good enough so we still need to have “of Heat” on the Diamond. To top it all it’s also quite expensive. Evaluate it as an option but it’s definitely not needed and not really recommended. Even when doing the Shaper I prefer a Sapphire flask.
The Writhing Jar
Headsman gives us 20% more damage if we have killed recently. This is easily met most of the time but it is a problem with bosses that don’t spawn minions (like the Shaper). Using the Writhing Jar instead of a life flask not only increases our damage but also gives us huge overkill leech (since those worms have very low HP) which is great to have before approaching dangerous bosses to start leeching from them. The only difficulty in using this flask is that it is sometimes hard to kill the worms with slower projectiles if they are far from us.
A good alternative to a Seething Divine life flask. It fills our life instantly and we can counter the degen with our endless leech. Just make sure that you have killed something recently when you use it otherwise you will feel the degen. It's probably best to avoid it in lab.
We don't need an anti-bleed (staunching) flask but we do need anti-freeze (heat) and it's best to also have an anti-curse (warding) flask. While it's tempting to go all-unique, it's best to have two magic flasks so that you can get those suffixes.
There are 2 versions of the build depending on the auras you want to use. The older version uses Hatred and Herald of Purity. The newer uses Pride, Flesh and Stone, Dread Banner and Impale. See the section below for more details.
For our main skill we use (in order of importance):
Spectral Throw (20/20)/Vaal Spectral Throw (20/20), Damage on Full Life (20/20), Physical Projectile Attack Damage (20/20), Greater Multiple Projectiles (20/20)/Slower Projectiles (20/20), Maim (20/20), Increased Critical Damage (20/20).
You can either use ST or Vaal ST. BiS here would be 21/20 Vaal ST but you can currently only get that through trading in standard. Between 21/20 ST and 20/20 Vaal ST I would prefer the former. See the FAQ for details.
Very early on before you start getting your ascendancies you can leave damage on full life out if your leech is not good enough. Once you get Endless Hunger you should definitely use it.
Slower projectiles is a great damage boost and should be used for the most difficult bosses, however it's not necessary for all of them. Once your damage is good enough you can kill even some T15 bosses without switching GMP. The Phoenix guardian is easier to do with GMP because it's hard to kill all the birds with SP.
Another option is to use faster attacks . This way you get better range compared to SP (although damage is a lot less) which can help if you are having trouble tanking bosses or killing minions (like in the Elder fights). It's kind of a middle ground between SP and GMP.
Since the current meta requires high clear speed you can try faster projectiles in place of physical projectile attack damage. You should only do this when your damage is very high because this will severely reduce it. Not only will you lose damage because of the removal of PPAD but point blank will further reduce your damage (up to 50% less). The up-side is that you will gain a lot of distance and you will off-screen mobs. This is especially useful in open layout maps and will greatly increase your clear speed. ST always pierces so you won't have trouble killing entire packs. Also don't forget that you can control the spread of GMP through the placement of the mouse cursor.
Impale should be used instead of Maim if you choose to use Flesh and Stone instead of Herald of Purity (see aura section below).
4L No1: Cast When Damage Taken (12/0), Enfeeble (15/20), Blood Rage (15/20), Increased Duration (20/20)/Less Duration (20/0)
Enfeeble is the best safety curse. We use a mid-level CWST to cast it often. It really helps with monster damage and there’s really no need to go higher than 15. If you don't have enough int to use a lvl.15 gem then just use a lower level. There's no need to prioritize intelligence on this build.
Blood Rage gives us an attack speed boost (17%), increases our leech and provides Frenzy charges. It’s very useful but who has the time to cast is constantly? We use it in the CWDT setup so that it benefits from the Increased Duration as well. Be careful though. It can get you killed if you stop leeching so make sure you know where it is so that you can quickly remove it if necessary.
Does it work with Damage on Full Life? Yes it does. As long as we’re leeching more than the BR damage (which practically happens all the time) then we are considered to be on full life.
Edit in 3.6: Since the leech duration nerf Blood Rage has become annoying when moving between packs. Since there is no other reliable way of generating Frenzy charges we still need to rely on it though. The best solution would be to remove Increased Duration and substitute it with Less Duration. This will make BR expire in about 5sec which is still covered by our leech so there will be no degen. Since BR is automated it triggers multiple times in a fight and will be up most of the time anyway. At least in red maps it's very reliable. You might want to reduce the CWDT level if you find that it doesn't trigger enough in lower maps.
4L No2: Cast When Damage Taken (1/0), Immortal Call (3/20), Summon Ice Golem (3/20), Increased Duration (20/20)
This is another automated setup based on CWDT. This time we use a level 1 because we usually have no endurance charges (although if the enemies have some we leech them if you took Claws of the Magpie). This means that leveling IC would give us no benefit. Instead with a level 1 CWDT we ensure that it is cast very often. Since 3.7 Immortal call doesn't give physical immunity but absorbs a percentage of all damage. Its base duration was also increased to 1 sec instead of 0,4 sec. Make sure to put quality on it as it increases duration by 20%.
The Ice Golem provides a damage boost through the increased critical strike chance it provides. It’s a nuisance to cast all the time but CWDT solves that problem.
Frost Bomb (1/0)
Since we are using Hatred to gain cold damage we can take advantage of the 25% cold penetration that Frost Bomb provides. This is of course automated in our CWDT setup and could replace the Increased Duration gem which only affects Immortal Call anyway. This gives us a small damage increase (about 6% in my case) but reduces the duration of IC to 0,4 sec.
4L No3: Whirling Blades (20/20), Faster Attacks (20/20), Fortify (20/20), Blood Magic (20/20)
Whirling blades is undoubtedly the best movement skill in the game. Other skills might be better in certain situations but none of them provide the immediate dodging ability of WB. With this we can immediately escape from any dangerous situation like boss slams or large damage from packs as WB goes through mobs. With our attack speed, frenzy charges, onslaught etc. we get less than 0,5 sec on WB (even less if you’re using The Wasp Nest).
Blood magic is necessary because we have very low mana regen and can’t whirl around more than 3-4 times before we run out. With our constant slayer leech it’s free anyway.
3L: Hatred (20/0), Herald of Purity (20/0), Enlighten (3/0)
OR 4L: Pride (20/20), Flesh and Stone (6/0) + Maim (20/20), Enlighten (3/0)
Our Auras provide a large damage boost. Hatred primarily benefits our clear speed while HoP helps our boss killing ability with the added physical damage (which in turn increases our elemental and chaos damage). Enlighten is not necessary but gives us a bit more mana headroom and allows us to miss a couple of times without running out.
3.7 Edit : New Aura options - Make your choice exile
PoB currently does not support the impale mechanism. This complicates things for us. Let's see our options here:
Main Aura. Either Hatred or Pride.
Hatred gives extra cold damage and synergizes very well with the increased crit watcher's eye. Pride gives a lot more physical damage (up to 39% more) but only for nearby enemies and only if you stay close to them for 4 sec. Pride is better for bosses and Hatred for clearing. We use SP and tank bosses anyway so we should get the full benefit from Pride quite often. Try them both out and see what's best for you.
Secondary Aura. Either Herald of Purity or Flesh and Stone + Maim.
HoP gives us flat physical damage and some minions to occupy enemies. FaS supported by Maim (in Blood stance) gives us more physical damage and maims enemies but only if they are nearby. If you use that then you should also use Impale in your ST instead of Maim. Both options give more or less the same damage but with FaS you also get the impale mechanism. While this isn't yet supported by PoB it does add significant damage so I'd recommend it. You should also combine it with Dread Banner but that will leave you with 12% unreserved mana so you should only do this when you have Enlighten.
Make sure you are in Blood Stance if you're using F&S
If you need a 4L for your auras then you can drop either Increased Duration in the IC setup (the new version of IC has a larger base duration) or the Increased/Less duration in the Blood Rage setup.
1L: Dread Banner (20/20)
You should use this only if you're using the F&S + Impale version of the build. As stated above don't activate it until you have an Enligten level 3+ on your other auras.
1L: Ancestral protector (20/0)
This totem gives us 20% more attack speed. That’s a pretty huge damage/whirling boost form just a 1L. It also acts as a decoy distracting mobs and allowing us to approach them safely. You will notice that bosses often attack it and ignore us if you place it next to them. It also leeches like us so it’s quite tanky and doesn’t die all the time.
1L: Charged Dash (20/20)/Flame Dash (1/20)
As good as Whirling Blades is, it has one issue. It can’t cross gaps. Charged Dash takes care of that. It has a large range (much more that Flame Dash) which is also user selectable, something that you’ll find very useful in the lab. It also doesn’t have a limited number of uses which is pretty useful in Shrine maps.
Flame Dash is the usual choice for crossing small gaps. It's now a little bit faster and has 20% longer range. While it's faster than charged dash, it's unable to cross larger gaps and is less useful in lab.
1L: Portal (1/20)
Just a QoL gem. No need to pick up portal scrolls any more. Just make sure to put some quality on it so that you don’t have to wait too long for the portal to open. For dangerous situations it’s still advisable to have a few portal scrolls in you inventory as these open instantly. For 99% of the time though the Portal gem is just much better.
1L: Blind (20/20)
You can put this in your Scourge instead of portal. It will allow half of your wolves to blind enemies on hit making it more difficult for them to hit you.
Abyssal Jewels are so good that you’ll probably want to get 4 of those. High life, added physical damage, increased crit multi and attack speed are the best options. Get resists or strength/intel if you need them. You can also get a number of other damage boosting stats like damage, projectile damage, elemental damage, damage while dual wielding etc.
After the end of Abyss finding good Abyssal Jewels has become a lot more expensive. Regular jewels will work just fine though. Make sure that you get +% life (preferably 7%) and 2 or 3 damage stats depending on your budget. Some examples of desired stats are: increased physical damage, physical damage with one handed, physical damage while dual wielding, increased damage, projectile damage, attack speed, attack speed while dual wielding etc.
There are 5 Watcher's Eyes that work with Hatred. The only interesting option is the one that grants Critical Strike Chance. This would give a significant damage boost (especially if you've invested in crit multi) but is an expensive option and beyond the scope of the build. Keep it in mind though if you have some extra exalts.
If you're using Pride then the best way to take full advantage of the Impale mechanism is to use a Watcher's eye with 25% chance to impale. The Impale gem gives us another 40% and Dread Banner 20% for a total of 85%. Since we have a very fast attack speed and impale enemies on almost all of our attacks we can take full advantage of the damage scaling mechanism.
My Current Gear
My gear is by no means perfect, but it’s good enough to clear all content in the game. The total cost was about 10 exalts. Don’t worry if you don’t have that kind of money. My early gear cost me less than 2 exalts and allowed me to do red maps with great ease. You only need to upgrade for really difficult maps and Shaper/Guardians.
Slightly more expensive late game items. These are not necessary but they improve our damage and/or survivability.
There are several guides on leveling in the forum and on youtube so I'm not going to write one here. Just some good tips.
Leveling this build is very easy. You can get Spectral Throw from level 1 and Whirling Blades from level 10 so you can actually level just by using the build. There are no item requirements either so you can use whatever you find (or can afford).
At first you will have mana problems until you get Soul Raker so make sure you have a claw with mana gained on hit. Life gained on hit is also better than leech early on. You can also use elreon rings, Praxis, or Poacher's mark to help with mana. Temporarily taking a couple of nodes in the Essence Sap cluster is another option. Try to keep a balance between life and damage.
Get Lesser Multiple Projectiles at level 8 and Greater Multiple Projectiles at level 38. These will give you a huge clear speed boost.
If you have strength/intelligence issues you can get a couple of +30 nodes. This depends on the gear you are using. When you have your final gear at level 90+ you should refund those.
If you’re not making this as a league starter then you can use all the usual leveling uniques like Tabula Rasa, Wanderlust, Praxis, Goldrim etc.
Get whatever you need from the tree (life/damage) depending on your gear.
VP might make running uber lab early more difficult (it's fine later with proper gear). If you're not confident you should wait until you've done all 4 labs.
Don't forget to check the weapons section on what claws to use while leveling. Many people don't do that and struggle with the wrong weapons.
Endless Hunger, Brutal Fervour, Headsman, Bane of Legends
Endless Hunger is our priority. Together with Brutal Fervour it is essentially what makes a Slayer.
Brutal Fervour gives us endless leech and more damage.
Headsman gives us a conditional damage increase and protects us from reflect.
Bane of Legends gives us onslaught and 20% cull which are great damage boosts.
Kill all is the best option.
For the helmet the best option is 40% increased ST damage. None of the other ST enchants seem to do much. There is a number of other enchants that might help, like increased Herald of Purity damage, but don’t expect too much from them.
For the boots added cold damage if you’ve been hit recently is probably the best option as it works on boss fights as well unlike the “if you’ve killed recently” enchants. You may have two toned boots as we need a lot of res there so enchanting might not even be an option.
You should be using gripped gloves so no enchant there. If not then any enchantment will provide similar (minimal) benefits.
By far the best node for us is Spiritual Command. It gives us 8% attack speed but allows us to use the minion attack speed on the Scourges. That's another 20-30% for a total up to 38% !!
The recipe is Sepia, Sepia, Golden so it's a bit expensive but defifnitely worth it.
Claws of the Falcon also needs Golden oil so it doesn't really help. We have to go to True Strike (Teal, Crimson, Black) for a cheap alternative.
You can also get Cruel Preparation (Teal, Black, Silver) for life.
The guide continues at the next post.
From League Starter to Shaper – Cheap, Tanky, Fast and Fun Physical ST – Very Detailed Guide
Gannicus, God of the Arena – Deathless Uber Elder for Everyone
Last edited by Aias_o_Telamonios on Oct 1, 2019, 7:44:35 AM
Last bumped on Oct 23, 2019, 3:30:53 AM
on Jan 21, 2018, 5:19:46 PM
Pantheon powers are quite subjective for most builds. I use Soul of Solaris because “Take no extra damage from critical strikes if you’ve taken a critical strike recently” is a huge survivability boost. It basically means we can only take at most one crit every 4 seconds. Since we have 7K life, huge leech and can dodge most slams, the biggest danger to us is a series of crits that kills us before our leech can replenish our health. Solaris takes care of that as one crit every 4 sec means we have plenty of time to leech back to full health.
Taking less area damage, reduced elemental damage and avoiding ailments from crits are also very nice to have.
Soul of Arakaali doesn't work since 3.7
Soul of Arakaali is another option. You need to capture "Queen of the great tangle". When BR is activated we take physical DoT but Immortal Call temporarily stops that. Arakaali gives us 50% increased life recovery rate for 4 seconds every time this happens. We don't need to have BR and IC on the same CWDT setup because we have a high BR uptime (especially with Increased Duration) so usually when IC activates BR is also active and the trick works.
As a minor power I usually have Gruthkul for the physical damage reduction and reduced enemy attack speed.
Yugul is useful in reflect maps (more on that further down).
Ryslatha is good for lab.
There is only one mod that we absolutely can’t do and that’s “No leech”. We can do everything else including physical reflect.
Elemental Reflect: Not a problem. We use soul of Yugul and our leech takes care of the rest. Be careful on large packs though. If the map includes other bad mods like –max res, elemental weakness, vulnerability, reduced leech then disabling hatred still allows us to run the map.
Physical Reflect: No more physical reflected damage for us. This mod is essentially a free IIR/IIQ boost for us.
No Regen: This is not a problem at all. Most of the time we don’t even notice that we’re running a no regen map. Just try not to attack needlessly and you’ll never run out of mana. But even if you do you can just use Whirling Blades (which runs on Blood Magic) and go through a pack. This will leech enough mana for our ST.
60% Reduced Recovery: Most people don't realize that this is a difficult mod for almost all builds. We rely on leech so this mod can be dangerous. Mobs are not a problem but facetanking bosses can be a pain. Be careful and use whirling blades a lot. For some hard hitting bosses using faster attacks instead of slower projectiles to gain some distance may be better.
3.6 Edit : See the section at the top regarding the 3.6 changes. Izaro is the same but traps are now harder.
Slayer leech makes running lab easy (provided you are fast enough since the 3.6 changes). The combination of Whirling Blades and Charged Dash means we can avoid a lot of traps or at least pass through them very quickly. Our endless leech acts like regen so the downside of VP is negated. Our leech is also much higher than what we could get from regen but lasts less since 3.6. Hitting a few mobs before entering a gauntlet is usually enough to pass through it without issues. If there are no mobs a Writhing jar can help. Soul of Ryslatha also helps if mobs aren’t available. Fire traps are a complete joke. Even if you hate doing trials (like I do) you can just run through Burning Rage as if the pits weren’t even there. However if you want a dedicated lab runner that will just run lab all day then nothing beats a Jugg with tons of armour and regen.
If you're feeling unsure don't take VP until you finish the first 3 labs. Also don't forget to take out blood rage. It's automated and it'll trigger and get you killed.
What about HC ?
I've been asked a few times if this build is HC viable. The short answer is "I really can't say". I've never played HC and I've died too many times due to lag to even think about trying. For what it's worth, I'll try to answer in theory. Keep in mind though that this wasn't designed with HC in mind.
For me a HC build is a Juggernaut with 8K life, 40K armour and 75% block chance that takes 20 minutes to kill a Boss. This build is nothing like that. Now I know that HC does have a little more diversity than what I described so let's see what we can do.
We have very low armour and block so there's no point in trying to get any more. We do have some evasion but from its nature it is inconsistent and relying on it will get you killed. Our survivability depends on high life and leech so we want to try and maximize that.
Get as much life as you can as early as you can. The tree has almost all life nodes within reach. You can however get Heart of Oak instead of Aspect of the Panther for 8% more. If you are willing to sacrifice a lot of damage then pathing to Melding is another option.
Maximizing leech is also a must. We currently have a 40% cap but for 3 points you can get Vitality Void which will raise that to 46%. For SC it's definitely not worth it but for HC survivability is everything. Another option is a Elder amulet with increased max leech. I have one linked in the gear section.
Permanent Fortify is a good option. We currently have it on WB so it's not always active. You can replace Increased Critical Damage with Fortify to get it 100% of the time. You will of course lose a ton of damage as you'll effectively be using a 5L.
Enfeeble is the best defensive curse. Adding Temporal chains gives us another defensive layer. You can get dual curse using a Doedre's ring or (preferably) a corrupted amulet. This can be expensive though. CoH gloves are a good option here as they're more reliable than CWDT. You can get them with either enfeeble or temp chains. The unique ring Mark of Submission is also a CoH option.
Blind is another defensive option. You can socket it (unlinked) in one of your claws instead of portal. The wolves summoned by that claw will be supported by it. An army of enemy-blindind wolves is always nice to have.
Spending 4 points to get Phase Acrobatics is an additional option. It gives +10% attack dodge in addition to 30% spell dodge. Dodge (like EV) is rng based so it's inconsistent but every little bit helps.
Substituting Hatred with Grace will significantly raise your evasion and equally lower your DPS especially against mobs. Boss damage will be slightly less affected.
The new Dread Banner skill reduces enemy accuracy (21% less) and grants enhanced fortify. This is untested at the moment but it's something to consider. Impail should also add a bit of damage.
There are probably more things that you can do to make this build HC viable. This is all I can think of at the moment. If you have any suggestions let me know. Obviously not all of this can be used at the same time but you can select what best suits your playstyle. No matter what you do this build will never be the super-tank that I described in the beginning but I believe it could be HC viable. Let me know if you've tried.
I’d like to thank OhhPaigey for inspiring me to make this with his ST witch.
I’d like to thank TDF for discussing this build (among a million other PoE things).
I’ve made this guide as detailed as possible. While I believe I’ve covered all the important things feel free to ask me any related questions. Please do so here and not in-game or through PMs so that everyone can benefit from the discussion.
I hope you will all enjoy this build as much as I have.
Don't forget to check the FAQ below.
Also check out my other guide, Gannicus - Physical Bladestorm Gladiator
From League Starter to Shaper – Cheap, Tanky, Fast and Fun Physical ST – Very Detailed Guide
Gannicus, God of the Arena – Deathless Uber Elder for Everyone
Last edited by Aias_o_Telamonios on Sep 20, 2019, 7:20:49 AM
on Jan 21, 2018, 5:19:57 PM
Isn’t Point Blank bad for clear speed?
PB will indeed reduce our clear speed somewhat. However killing mobs is not a problem even with PB. The damage boost that PB gives in boss fights when combined with Slower Projectiles is huge. It is undoubtedly the single most important node for boss killing. To avoid having a large impact on our clear speed we take PB as one of our last nodes. This way we already have enough damage and our clear speed is not affected much.
My tooltip DPS seems low in HO
Don’t be a tooltip warrior. It’s meaningless to compare tooltips between builds as they are calculated in different ways. Besides our damage increases when we hit/kill something, when we get frenzy charges, when we crit, when we get onslaught, when we use flasks and even when we get hit (boot enchant). All this adds up quite a bit.
Why aren’t we using Power Charges?
First of all the damage boost we’d get from three power charges is about 10%. While this is definitely not negligible it’s not great either. One way to generate them would be to use an Orb of Storms, Increased Crit Chance, Power Charge on Crit setup which would mean we’d need to lose 3 gems from our current setup. Ancestral protector alone gives us a 20% damage boost. Not only is this huge but it’s also instant and reliable. No need to wait for the Orb to crit a bunch of times to give us charges. Charged dash is also very convenient in a number of situations and I’d hate to lose that. However if you’re ok with manually casting Blood Rage and Golem then you can fit a power charges setup in the build. Personally I wouldn’t even consider this change especially for such a low reward.
Another way to generate power charges would be to use Scourges with the corrupted implicit "chance to gain power charge on critical strike". This would work well on packs of mobs and on resilient bosses. However it means losing some of our leech. Make sure to check the "Should I corrupt my claws" question further down in the FAQ.
I suddenly have Power/Endurance charges. Where did they come from?
We steal them from monsters with Claws of the Magpie.
This is a physical build. Why aren’t we using Brutality?
While brutality gives a substantial damage boost it’s really only suitable for Starforge builds. Using that sword means that you can only do physical and chaos damage. With Brutality you essentially sacrifice the chance to do chaos damage for an increase in physical. For our build however using Brutality would mean losing a ton of damage from Hatred, Atziri’s Promise, Sin’s Rebirth and any elemental damage we might have on our gear. It definitely isn’t worth it.
The Minion Damage gem looks OP. Why aren't we using that?
Because it doesn't work with the claws. It's "more" and not "increased". The 15% increased damage that you get from 20Q would work but it's really useless.
We're using Damage on Full Life and Blood Rage at the same time. My life fluctuates around the max but doesn't go down. Is the gem working ?
Yes it is. As long as your leech is higher than your degen (i.e. your life isn't going down) you're considered to be on full life.
Vitality Void is pretty close. Isn't it worth the extra 3 points ?
No. We already have huge leech so the extra leech wouldn't make any difference. Also our max leech rate is at 40% by just taking VP (see the "Why Slayer" part of the guide). VV would only increase this to 46%. Definitely not worth the 3 points it would cost.
Yriel's Fostering looks nice, why isn't it on the guide?
In short, it looks nice but it's really not that good. Bleed and physical damage to attacks only work while the bear is alive. And the bear just attacks anything it sees and dies all the time. So you need to resummon it constantly and you can't automate that with CWDT since we already use the chest for ST. So you end up having to resummon the bear all the time while fighting bosses which is both very annoying and also dangerous. Usually you end up not having the buffs when you need them the most.
What about projectile speed? It looks nice, shouldn't we take some?
No we shouldn't! First of all taking projectile speed would mean not taking something else, like projectile damage which is what we really need. Second, speed would make our claws travel further which would reduce their damage because of PB. This would be especially bad when using SP on bosses. So to summarize:
Projectile Damage - Good
Projectile Speed - Bad
I just switched for the Wasps to the Scourges and my tooltip went down. What's wrong?
The only thing that is wrong is that you look at the tooltip to determine your damage. It's seriously inaccurate in most builds including this one (I'm pretty sure it ignores the 140% increased damage mod). If you want to track your damage correctly then use PoB.
I want to make this build as a CI Chieftain with full elemental conversion, using a two handed axe and a BoR. What do you think?
Best of luck in your endeavors. Please post about them somewhere else.
Should I use Vaal ST instead of ST in 3.3?
Vaal ST has been buffed in 3.3 and can now be used instead of regular ST as the gem grants both skills. Vaal ST (while better than before) is still not great. If you get a 20/20 gem then use it otherwise stick with the regular version. You can now even get 21/20 Vaal ST through the Atzoatl temple double corruption.
Would it be a good idea to corrupt the claws?
The claw implicit gives us 30% of our life leech and that's including atziri's and blood rage which are not up 100% of the time. So it would be a significant loss. On a non-slayer this wouldn't be a problem because our leech is about 30 times the cap. But on a Slayer this gives us 30 sec of leech without killing anything. Without the claw implicits that would be 18 sec (again, that's with atizri's and blood rage, without them it's just 10sec). If that's worth it is up to you. You can get some nice corruptions like attack speed, onslaught on kill or power charge on crit and with the temple you can get 2 corruptions per claw. This may be worth it if you get a really good combination of corruptions.
What about the Bloodseeker?
This claw is terrible for a Slayer. It's like taking the legacy Vaal Pact. The instant leech means that our "endless" leech has an uptime of 0. Essentially it negates the "leech effects are not removed at full life" from Brutal Fervour since all leeched life is immediately added and of course you can't have more than max life so leech ends once you reach max just like any other non-Slayer class. In other words it makes half of our ascendancy useless.
From League Starter to Shaper – Cheap, Tanky, Fast and Fun Physical ST – Very Detailed Guide
Gannicus, God of the Arena – Deathless Uber Elder for Everyone
Last edited by Aias_o_Telamonios on Jun 5, 2019, 4:45:58 PM
on Jan 21, 2018, 5:25:19 PM
Cool guide! and no problem dude ;)
I play alot with aias, I usually make yolo glasscannon builds with shitty single target and he kills the tanky stuff for me :P
on Jan 22, 2018, 3:38:25 PM
Thanks for the build it's been loads of fun, just hit 76 and beat my first t15 map yesterday.
on Jan 27, 2018, 12:47:10 PM
I'm glad you're enjoying it. Yes, I believe it's a build that's very fun to play.
Gannicus, God of the Arena – Deathless Uber Elder for Everyone
on Jan 30, 2018, 4:39:12 PM
Build updated for 3.2. Overall we get a nice buff.
Gannicus, God of the Arena – Deathless Uber Elder for Everyone
on Feb 27, 2018, 10:27:32 AM
on Feb 28, 2018, 5:59:12 AM
Great guide and a really fun build. For 3.2, since it's no longer Abyss league, could you please update belt and jewels?
on Feb 28, 2018, 8:30:38 AM
at the risk of embarrassing myself, which one gem do we switch out for what for single target dps?
on Feb 28, 2018, 6:50:28 PM