[3.8] "Digital vibrance" Impale Crit flicker champion - fast map farmer

Playing PoE is hard. You have to use different skills, dodge attacks, summon your minions... A lot of unnecessary button pressing going on. I wanted to make a flicker strike build that can beat most of the game with only holding one button.

There are some very good flicker strike builds out there, but most of them combine flicker with some other skills, there isn't really one that uses only the main skill, like the build from Bakuhakubasugasu. The build is designed to never get to a situation where you run out of frenzy charges. You can most likely optimize it a lot better, but it's not the point of it.

Pros and Cons

Pros
+ Top tier clear speed
+ Super easy to use
+ Pure physical damage
+ Base items are cheap
+ Lots of armor to help with the incoming knockouts
+ Good damage against bosses thanks to impale, so you don't have to switch skills/weapons

Cons
- Not a lot of health
- Because of this, it's not a shaper/elder farmer. I recommend sticking to T15 or lower maps.
- Delving is risky
- No physical reflect maps
- Hard to choose what to drop if you only have a 5link.
- Leveling to 51 can be painful.

If you got this far, I'll reward you with the PoB link:
https://pastebin.com/JEDU83sV

There are some extra skills and 3 item sets, so you can customize the build easily. Before you judge the build, don't forget that it uses impale, which means, the real maxed DPS is about twice as much as you can see. Also, the flasks are turned off, I don't like them having on by default.
The reason, the current gear has higher DPS than the 'max dps' version is because the latter uses average rolls. If you go for an absolute glass cannon, drop 2 life pickups on your passive and get Honed edge.

Gear
This is my current gear I use in standard league. This is actually a bit of a watered down version, I used to have much less HP for some extra DPS, but for T14+ rare corrupts I had to put on some health.


Spoiler




Some extra info (wall of text warning)
Weapon
Try to get a terminus est that has a high crit roll (70%+). Damage roll is a bonus obviously, but a max roll version is only about 30k DPS better than an average one. Maintaining frenzy charges on the other hand is much more important. While the base item is cheap (only 5c for a decent one), a 6link is kind of required, not only because you'll lose DPS, but because each support is necessary for the build to run properly (except brutality).

Helmet
There isn't really a good alternative. It gives too much DPS to switch to anything else. Try to get one with high crit multiplier roll.

Body armor
One of my favorite armors. It gives some extra protection and DPS + movement speed. Try to get one with good onslaught and health rolls.
WARNING If you play on standard, there are some older versions of the armor out there which have no onslaught boost, so watch out.

Gloves
There are some unique alternatives that give you something extra (like offering to the serpent), but you need to get resistances somewhere, and this is the place you lose the least DPS by doing so. A good one can be costly, but you need some items that give you health and resistances, so you'll have to invest into at least some.

Boots
Darkray vectors is a nice alternative, but it has the same issue as gloves. You need very good res rolls on your other gear to be able to get away with it, and you will lose some health as well. On the other hand, that extra frenzy gives you a lot of DPS.

Belt
The magnate is a nice cheap alternative, but as I said I tried to pick up some extra health for the top tier maps, and I had this one lying around. Again, health and resistances are the most important here.

If you can get your resistances somehow to max without the belt, a Belt of the deceiver is a pretty good cheap pickup for some extra DPS due to intimidation.

Jewelry
The amulet is not the best, but this gives us the most crit chance. If you're not worried about the crit chance so much, voice of the storm is a nice alternative, plus it gives you a lot of lightning attacks, so you can feel like Zeus.

Le heup of all is a very good ring choice. Again, the reason why I don't use them is because I needed more health. You can also pick up Dream fragments for freeze immunity, but I just use my flasks to deal with that.
If you choose to use rares, this is a nice place to pick up some intelligence and definitely the place to max out the resistances.
If you can get your resistances maxed with diamond rings, those are a good choice too, you can even use some extra passive points if you desire in place of some crit chance nodes.

Flasks
The build uses iron reflexes, so the extra evasion you get from flasks turns into armor, meaning that if you pop your flasks and have fortify, you'll get 35-40k armor. Lion's roar is a no brainer, the rest is just for some extra DPS and armor. If you're smarter than me, getting a flask with poison immunity is a good choice.


Skill gems

Spoiler

Flicker strike - main attack
Flicker - Increased critical STRIKES - Multistrike - Fortify - Impale - Brutality/Melee splash for bosses/clearing.

I'm usually too lazy to switch to brutality for the bosses, but I never really had trouble with damage even with the splash setup. If you're not used to swapping, don't worry about it.
Close combat support can be a good addition, but I can only see it replacing brutality, pretty much losing its purpose. I can't give you exact calculations with it either.

Leap slam - movement
Leap slam - Faster attacks - Close combat - Melee Physical damage

Faster attacks is the only one that really matters. I use the other two slots to level some gems I find and might need for another build, or are high quality rolls. This is a good place to put some skills you want.

CWDT - defense + extra frenzy charges
Cast when damage taken (lvl11) - Steelskin (lvl16) - Cold snap (lvl14) - Blood rage (lvl1) - Increased AoE (lvl11)

The first 3 skills is what you need. Blood rage is a good optional choice, since it gives us some extra chance to gain a frenzy charge (although, usually we're at 100% already), and it also gives us some extra leech and attack speed. Also, if you choose Arakaali as your major god, you get some extra-extra leech once you stop losing health (although I'm not 100% sure about this still being true).
If you have a 5 link, you can add increased AoE for the Cold snap, increased duration for Steelskin, or you can add your ice golem here if you're tired of having to recast it.

Watch out for the levels of your gems. You can crank your Blood rage up to lvl 14 for extra DPS, but that means longer life degen, so do it at your own risk.
You can play wit the levels in PoB according to your needs, but Steelskin is one of our main defenses, and the higher level it is, the better. I think it's not worth going under lvl 14 Steelskin.

Don't forget to remove BR if you're doing labs.

Since I have an extra slot here, I added a frenzy skill here. It was mostly useful in the early game, but if you're a paranoiac it's a good idea to use it to get your frenzy charges up at the start of a map, so you can go even faster.

Totems and other - DPS boost for bosses
Ancestral protector - Vaal ancestral warchief - Dread banner - Summon Ice Golem

Obviously they don't need to be connected.
While the build can really be played only using flicker, it's a nice and easy way to get a big DPS boost against bosses. Throw down your totems and enjoy them being melted while you act like you drank 10 liters of coffee.

Dread banner is needed to get 100% impale chance, ice golem is for extra crit chance.
With the dread banner, you might get into some mana troubles, especially on no regen maps. If your worried about it, you can ditch the banner, and get a watcher's eye jewel, with mod '25% chance to Impale Enemies on Hit with Attacks while using Pride' (it's about 1 ex). This however will mean, you'll lose crit chance and life from your jewel.

Auras
Pride - Punishment - Blasphemy - Enlighten

Unfortunately we need to use enlighten, and I don't think lvl2 is enough. In standard it's not a big investment, but in league I know it can be expensive. If for whatever reason you use this build as a league starter, you should probably forget about impale, and just get the DPS that shows up in PoB.
Currently I use Assassin's mark instead of punishment, this way I can safely flicker without using blood rage. I'm 99% sure that it's not necessary, but it's better to be safe.



Playstyle
It's pretty much as easy as it can get. You go into a map, run/jump around until you see some enemies, then you just have to hold down your flicker button. Optionally you can close your eyes for a lower chance of a headache from all the screen movement.
If you see a bigger group, or you get to a boss/abyss encounter, or something similar that has some tougher enemies, pop your totem(s) and flasks for some extra DPS and protection.
If you're running the low HP max DPS version, you're going to have to dodge the big boss attacks.

Just to test the builds capabilities, I tried some T16 maps (only regular ones). Hydra and Chimera seems doable, Phoenix seems impossible without dying a few times at least (although I didn't do any preparations for it. Purity of fire would likely help a lot), and I had no Minotaur drop so far, but my guess is it's doable if you can dodge slam and burrow. Armor should help a lot against its basic attacks.

Media
https://youtu.be/G846cZgNtfI
Let's see it in action. This is a T14 shaped Waterways map (unfortunately undefined), which is not the toughest one, but since it has enfeeble, you can see that the build still works perfectly under difficult circumstances. Besides, this is what the build is for: Go through maps fast, get the most important loot, and get out.
(I also forgot to put on the banner...)

About flicker strike
This is some extra info for those who are new to the skill. If you're just here for a build, you don't have to read this, but there's not really a guide anywhere (at least to my knowledge) that explains the surprises of this skill.
Spoiler

This is the 3rd flicker strike build I tried, and I still sometimes get into some unfortunate situations, so this is meant to be some information that is 'missing from the wiki pages'.

Since the movement part of the skill is completely random (even when you're targeting a specific monster it still sometimes goes somewhere else) you will get into situations that get you killed. Most of the time it doesn't matter, because you just kill everything in your way, but sometimes you find yourself standing in a giant pool of delayed explosions where you have a split second to react, otherwise you're dead.

I recommend three main things to keep an eye out for:
- Watch where your character is. By that I mean where it actually is, not where it's shown. You will often see enemies dying around you while you appear to be standing still. If you notice that, I'd suggest trying to return to the point you're supposed to be ASAP, because you know that is a 'safe' space. Just try to jump out of trouble, pop your flasks for some extra safety.
- If you see a large area of delayed explosions (the ones Flame/Frost/Storm Bearers leave behind) play it safe, don't flicker unless you really have to, otherwise you might get into that area.
- Watch out for Spikers. I recommend popping your flasks, so that your armor is maxed, and try to kill them in smaller groups. You can take on 5-6 at a time without a doubt, but if you just get into the middle of a 20 group, you're 100% dead. Just hit them a little, then run away. Let your leech do what it does, and repeat when you're at full health.

The main thing to keep in mind though is this:
If for whatever reason your flicker is stopped in a group of enemies, you'll die. With this build, you get stun immunity, and your frenzy charges will pretty much never run out, but you have to watch out for freezing enemies for example.

Bottom line is: Be aware and don't be stingy with your flasks.



Bandits and Pantheon
Surprise: You help Alira. It's a crit build.

I have Arakaali as my major for the extra recovery thing, but Solaris is likely a more sensible choice.
For a minor, I have Gruthkul, for some extra protection. Another good choice is Ralakesh or even Shakari's poison immunity can be useful.

Ascendancy
In short:
I picked Unstoppable hero first, to get some extra protection and DPS, then Conqueror + Worthy foe leaving Master of metal to the end. Likely a smarter choice is to get Worthy foe first, so you get 100% accuracy.

Longer version:
Spoiler

An obvious question is why didn't I pick slayer. There are two reasons:
- I wanted to try what impale does and I knew that I needed fortify for the build, so champion is the best choice for these.
- In the concept of the build, I couldn't get to 100% hit chance without picking up Impact, which is a decent pickup, but Bane of legends or Masterful form are better ones. You also get a lot less DPS, the champion's taunt + fortify boost is too strong. Gladiator also has hit chance issues, which probably would be unnoticeable, but I don't like dropping DPS due to missing hits.

Downside is that now I have to dodge physical reflect maps. If I dropped impale, I'd still pick champion, but I'd choose First to strike, last to fall instead of the impale boost, and would use the 8 extra passive points to pick up some extra health or the extra frenzy charge.


I wanted to talk a bit about impale as well, but this post is already way too long, so just watch this video instead knowing the following:
- Build has 100% impale chance
- Build has 98% extra impale effect with 7 impales to stack


If you have any questions, feel free to throw them at my direction.
Have fun, and don't forget to blink sometimes!
Last edited by Kacsa1 on Nov 5, 2019, 4:58:43 PM
Last bumped on Nov 6, 2019, 12:18:36 PM
Leveling
As I said, leveling could be painful, I think it generally is with pretty much every melee build, especially if you don't have the luxury of having some low-level unique items that can boost your health/DPS.

Act 1-3
Spoiler

If you're an experienced player, you should be flying through the early game with your eyes closed, so there's not a whole lot to say here.

This is what your passive tree should look like at around 30 points:

Early game uniques you should look for are:
Spoiler



It's a bit all over the place, but should be seal-explanatory.

When you're leveling, you need to keep two things in mind for this build:
- Your main weapon will be a two handed sword, therefore most of the passive pickups focus on swords and two handed weapons
- Sooner or later you will have to get some critical chance points.

With that said, Limbsplit is one of your best early game choices. If you have some crafting gems to waste, you can easily get a 4link version. Edge of madness is another good choice. The two one handed axes are somewhat OK if you have absolutely no better, but you should get a two handed weapon as soon as possible.

On armor and jewels just look for extra movement speed, extra physical damage and life. Energy shield is not going to be an alternative. You should also try to get some resistances, though that won't really matter until act 6.

Skills
Spoiler

For main skill I used cleave, which has a nice AoE while still doing decent single target damage. Vigilant strike can be your secondary for tougher characters, if you have enough slots on your gear.
You should also get a movement skill as soon as possible. The build uses leap slam on paper, but in the early game, pretty much anything works, that gets you from A to B faster.

As for support skills, you should equip fortify as soon as you can (which is at level 31). This will be your most important support gem, since it gives us extra protection and a lot of damage too later on.
The other must pick support skill is Increased critical strikes. You don't have to put it in your main setup if that loses you DPS, but keep it socketed, so you can level it up.
Chance to bleed is a good early game support, and so is ruthless.
(In general, getting the skill gems you will use later is a good idea, even if you don't use them. You can socket them in a secondary weapon, or to a place you don't use it, so you can level them up for much better performance, when you will be able to switch to them)

Somewhere in act3, you should also get either punishment or vulnerability as an aura (so with blasphemy support). This will probably require some extra intelligence though, so watch out for that.

(You can buy skill gems at Siosa in the library if you completed his sub-mission).




Act 4-6
Spoiler

If you haven't already found one, you should definitely start to look for a two handed sword in act4, because no matter where you go on the tree, your next damage boost will be sword related. It doesn't have to be the best sword in the world, after all you'll only use it until act6, but try to get one with at least one extra physical damage roll.
As for your other gear, keep looking for any extra health you can get, and start to focus on getting some item with resistances. In ac6 the game will hit you (hard) with a mixture of cold and fire damage, if you're not prepared, you'll get tortured.

Somewhere around this stage, you should complete your first lab, and get your ascendancy. Before you do that though, you will have to decide, where you want to go on the passive tree. If you want to pick up the damage at the lower left corner, you should get Unstoppable hero as your first ascendancy passive, to get the maximum out of your fortify support.
If you fancy picking the extra frenzy charge or some extra crit chance, you should pick the (probably more sensible) Conqueror ascendancy passive. The reason for this is that you can pick up Worthy Foe sooner, which will give you 100% hit chance.

If you choose fortify, your passive tree should look like this:

In the other case it should look like this:


Going right is probably also a better choice, because you can pick up more critical strike chance there. Remember, as soon as we hit lvl 51, we will need as much of it as we can get.

As for skills, not much has changed. You should probably add a CWDT (cast when damage taken) setup with either Immortal call or steelskin.

The Innocence fight can be frustrating, but if you get your fire and lightning resistances up, you should be able to withstand it. You can also pick up the Vitality void passive, which will boost your life leech for better survival chances.


Hitting level 51
Spoiler

Your happiest day of your life. If you're a newer player, most likely this will happen before the end of act6. I actually recommend sticking to The Ridge map in act6. Monster level is high enough to give you XP, but the enemies are not very tough and the layout is linear.

You will have to open your wallet a bit, cause you'll need at least 2 uniques:
Spoiler



Try to get a terminus est with at least 70% crit chance. If you manage to do so, these two items should already give you about 30% crit chance without any additional passive skill pickups.

From here on, we are looking for critical strike passives, especially ones that give us extra chance. With the two uniques, we already have 30%, but we are looking for something closer to 40.

If you picked fortify despite my warning, you are in a bit of a tougher situation. Get the Dismembering passive nonetheless and look for gear that give you extra critical strike chance (diamond rings for example):


If you went towards the right, your tree should look like this:
Spoiler

Gear
Life and resistances should still be your main focus, but if you can, you should pick up some diamond rings, or uniques that give you extra crit chance, or a chance to get a power or frenzy charge (Lochtonial Caress is a good cheap one).

When calculating your crit chance keep in mind that you won't need anywhere close to 100% to keep your flicker going. Increased critical strikes will also give you a flat 13% extra chance even on gem level 10. More on this later on.

Skills
Expecting a 4link is not really a big expectation, so here's what that should look like:
Spoiler

Flicker strike - Increased critical strikes - Fortify - Multistrike

If you have good health, and didn't pick the fortify boosts, you can drop fortify support in favor of Brutality. If you have a 5th link, melee splash is a very powerful pickup for clearing, could even be used instead of fortify or multistrike if you can 1shot the group of mobs.
If you already went all in with a 6link, don't worry about impale at this point, just add Melee physical damage or ruthless.

We should also add a new aura to out build, namely either Poacher's mark or Assasin's mark. I personally prefer the latter, because it gives us extra crit chance regardless of kills, and you can get some power charges, which in our case are almost as good as frenzies.

Another new skill we will be using is Frenzy. This skill gives us a frenzy charge with every hit, so until we can generate enough charges with flicker only, we can use this to charge ourselves up. Just hit the first monster you see a few times, then start flickering. When you're getting low repeat the process. Against bosses (or in general), you should get a Diamond flask, so your crit chance will be high enough to maintain your charges.

We can also get some extra frenzy charge chance with a good CWDT setup. Cold snap and Blood rage grant 25% chance each, meaning that if you have 50% crit chance (which you should or at least very close to that), we're looking at (close to) 100% frenzy charge chance. Don't forget that flicker strike grants 15% chance as well. These two skills however only grant charges, if you manage to kill the enemies, so against bosses, you will need the extra crit chance boost. I personally never really used blood rage, so it doesn't seem to be a necessity.

Calculation
Spoiler

When you try to figure out how much crit chance you need to keep your flicker going, keep in mind the followings:
- Flicker itself has a 2s cooldown. If you can teleport to the enemy and kill them instantly, you don't even need frenzy charges.
- Flicker itself gives you 15% chance to gain a frenzy charge.
- If you have another way (Frenzy skill being the easiest) to get your charges up, it's a lot easier to maintain, then to generate charges with flicker.
- Your frenzy charges are generated though critical hits, not kills. Melee skills have range, so if you hit multiple enemies, you have multiple times the chance to get a frenzy charge.
- Diamond flasks exist

What all of this means is this: I ran flicker strike with basically 0 AoE and ~30% crit chance before they added the 15% base chance to the skill, and no CWDT setup. It wasn't working properly, but even that was enough to clear 6-7 groups of monsters after charging myself up with frenzy. If you follow the guide you should be able to flicker through a whole map after getting 5 charges on the first monster. I certainly can't remember having any troubles with it.




Act 6-10 + Labs
Spoiler

Generally, you should be able to have a consistent flicker with good damage. So at this stage you should focus on getting as much life as possible, and maxing your resistances, if you haven't done that already. I'm not going to post a passive tree link, just look at the end game setup and go to points according to your needs. It is a good time however to pick up the 8 life nodes near Scion's start. When damage seems low, just add some nodes to fix that. You should have a nice scaling to the end game, and killing Kitava should be no problem.
Don't forget to add your totems and auras to your build. A banner is not necessary, especially if you have mana issues.

Labs
First of all, if you use Blood rage, don't forget to remove it when you're doing the labs. I recommend not picking up the Vaal Pact passive, until you finished the Uber lab. Switching to a stone golem for the parts with traps is also a good idea.

Your first goal is to get the Worthy foe ascendancy passive. This not only gives you a big DPS boost, it also fixes your hit chance to 100%.

After that get Unstoppable hero, and get the fortify passive nodes on your tree as well (if you haven't already).

Master of metal will come into picture later and even if you don't have it, you should be fine until you reach the red maps. If you want to use impale however, you should start moving towards the impale passive points by level 70, since you will need all of them if you want to use impale's full effect.

When you're doing the last lab, watch out for Lieutenant of Rage, since its damage reflection is more dangerous than Izaro and all his buffs combined. Try to kill him at the first encounter with the Lieutenants. I also recommend looking for dark shrines for some extra defense/offense (check https://www.poelab.com/)



Mapping
Spoiler

Before you do anything, get gear that remaxes your resistances. Also get your flasks in order. If you have around 3000 Health and 20k+ armor with flasks you should be fine for now, just focus on the resistances. As you advance towards the middle of the atlas, you should always look for more health, since this is the one thing this build is lacking.

If you think you're going to commit to the build, you should also try to pick up a 6link weapon or armor (weapon is cheaper).

Impale
If you didn't pick up any impale passives, you should get them all by the time you reach T9-10 maps, since the bosses will become a lot tougher, and impale will help against them the most.

Finish the last lab and get Master of metal, equip your Dread banner and find space for your impale support. If you have everything, you should have 100% impale chance. This will give you a lot of extra damage against enemies that can take more than 3-4 hits from your flicker.

Running with 2 auras and a banner doesn't give us a lot of leftover mana. Getting rings with -# mana cost of skills is a good way to ease this burden a little, but it's hard to fit in with all the other needed rolls (like life and resistances) and usually expensive as well. Your mana leech will be enough for normal maps. Your character might sometimes say 'My spirit is spent', but usually he lies. On no regen maps however you could get into a situation where you actually run out of mana, especially if you forget that you're on one and start jumping around. I recommend getting an instant mana flask for those maps, so you can slap it when you run out. Keeping the frenzy skill in hand can also help here. It only costs 10 mana, and if you can hit a monster with it, it can give you enough to start flickering again.
Basically my advice is to keep an eye on your life and mana. Your frenzy charges won't be an issue by this stage.



I hope it helps someone in need. Good luck!
Last edited by Kacsa1 on Nov 7, 2019, 1:18:03 AM
Please do a leveling guide, kinda new to PoE but this looked interesting, love the flicker mechanic
"
cadez93 wrote:
Please do a leveling guide, kinda new to PoE but this looked interesting, love the flicker mechanic


Well to be honest, I'd say don't use flicker until you get to level 51. That will happen somewhere in act6, which is still fairly early in the game.

With my current character I used cleave until 51, which was surprisingly good when used with a good two handed sword. I'll try to throw together something more specific when I'll have some more time.

Edit: I had time.
Last edited by Kacsa1 on Nov 6, 2019, 4:10:00 PM

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