[3.15] Max Block Impale Shield Crush Gladiator - Crush the Atlas - SSF Compatible


Last Update: 9/20/21

I am planning on making a comprehensive video guide, but I'd like to know when you all want it to be released. Please vote on it here.

Aim is for video to be under 15 minutes in length to keep it concise.

Update Log


A second endgame amulet option has been added, and I've been filling in items examples as I have been able to. I was able to self-craft the +2 amulet last night after an Awakener Orb drop from A8 Sirus, and promptly cleared A8 Maven, 75% formed, and 75% twisted on A8 as well. I can now confirm myself that this build is reliable.

Also working on getting item examples into the build to show the specific items. Once I farm the currency and craft a new chestpiece for replacing my current one (probably something that is more defensive/life based), I will make a second crafting option in the guide for endgame.


More endgame options have been added after verifying that they're worth crafting. Gloves and Helmet Endgame stretches have been added, and use crafting options that are semi-cheap (around 3ex or so each) for either good QoL, more block, or a strict damage upgrade.

Vulnerability option moved to Rings over Corrupted Gloves, as its much easier to get a vulnerability ring through SSF than to gamble on an RNG corrupt.

Red Nightmare has been added as a defensive jewel option.

Prismatic Eclipse has an extra note on how to make a 3G corrupted prismatic eclipse yourself. Don't get ripped off and save your money!

Lethal Pride clarifications added in both FAQ and Lethal Pride section.

8/20 and 8/23

Minotaur w/ Maven Witness Fight, Catarina 81 boss, and T14 Juiced Map example videos uploaded and posted.

Elder w/ Maven Witness Fight added. I'd have the Shaper one as well but apparently that was much harder than I remember it being and I botched it because of that. Whoops.


This Shield Crush build is intended as a starter build for all types of players, including those brand new to the game.

This build can currently scale into a character that can reasonably do all endgame content utilizing easy to get gear, reliable scaling, and large amounts of safety. Because of this, the build is also SSF and HC friendly due to the adaptable options to prioritize defenses over raw damage.

This build is comprehensive and breaks down nearly every aspect of the build including mechanic breakdowns, upgrade options, crafting steps to make your own endgame gear, alternative options to make this build your own, examples of gear that you should be aiming for, and video demonstrations of endgame content.

On a budget of roughly 10 exalts, this build can attain over 4M Sirus dps while being extremely tanky and durable, as well as quick during mapping. 4M Sirus dps might sound like a low number, but we trade raw DPS numbers for extreme levels of survivability during maps and boss encounters. Bossing is still passable, though it's likely average at best in terms of speed.


Main PoB: https://pastebin.com/yYPCEqPC

NOTE: Make sure to check the Notes section for a nice quick glance sheet that includes Harvest priorities, Pantheon upgrade locations, enchantments, and gear links!

My Current Character: https://pastebin.com/vrZF455u

Likely about 20ex or so invested not including the good rog/harvest/etc crafts I have gotten. The last steps that I have are getting a Lethal Pride Jewel with Intimidate on Hit, as well as a new endgame chest piece.

3.15 Gear

Shield Crush Overlap

Here is an image demonstrating how the Shield Crush areas work.

Green = the two 'side' damaging arcs
Red = the 'center' damaging arc
Gold = the 'sweet spot' where you get shotgun damage.

Remember: You only really need to apply the shotgun damage for rares and bosses and not during general mapping. The whites and blues should die in 1-2 hits either way.

What Makes Shield Crush Unique

Along with the Shield Crush damage, one of the Unique things about Shield Crush is that gem levels are important, and we can use these to scale Shield Crush to do even more Damage. At Level 23, we get an extra point of physical damage per 15 armor or evasion on our shield, which totals to roughly a ~20% DPS increase if we can hit that margin. Shield Crush, Shield Charge, and Spectral Shield Throw are the ONLY Melee skills that utilize this kind of scaling.

Pros and Cons

+ Easy, Effective League Start to get off the ground (only need a high armor shield)
+ All content viable (verified thanks to Raiki_PoE)
+ Very Tanky with lots of ways to keep your defense up (Max Block, Armor, Endurance Charges, Vaal Molten Shell, etc)
+ SSF Friendly. No Uniques Required.
+ Fast mapping utilizing Leap Slam tied with Challenger Charges.
+ Lots of Wiggle Room for both offense and defense with the amount of rares used
+ Flask Wiggle room

- Not a one button build (Totems, Blood Rage, Tempest Shield, Leap Slam, Shield Crush buttons)
- Weak to DoT damage (natural weakness of block builds)
- Average Bossing
- No Physical Reflect Maps
- Slight Dexterity Starvation without Carnage Heart

Mechanics We Use

Resolute Technique:
We don't crit, so guaranteed hits all the time smooth out the build.

Our main source of defense. We block the hit, we take no damage. We also get some cool bonuses to damage and such when we do block.
We can also use life gain on block to get health back when we do block.
We get up to 79% block AND spell block. Very durable.

Remember, we are still HIT even if we BLOCK the hit. We do not have to take damage from the hit to consider being hit.

We can take some pretty heavy hits assuming everything is up. Throw on the Resistance Ring and check effective HP to see for yourself.

We swing our Shield really fast. Using Impale is best because we can trigger Impale stacks easily and effectively due to our speed. The shotgun effect also counts as two hits, which makes stacking Impale even faster.

Ancestral Protector + Ancestral Warchief:
We use ancestral totems to buff our attack speed and flat damage, and also anoint 'Panopticon' for better effects of our Totem buffs.

We use leech as our life sustain and mana sustain. We get our leech through Jewels, the passive tree, or weapons.
We will have enough mana sustain to continue attacking with this equation below:


As long as the above equation is true, then we can infinitely attack something without having to worry about mana.

Your weapon is your shield!

The unique part about this build is that your Shield is your weapon. Your actual weapon slot does not matter too much unless it is giving global bonuses (intimidate on hit, global attack speed, leech, etc).

Do not focus on getting a high damage weapon slot for the Shield Crush skill. It's much better to use your weapon as a stat stick (resistances, on hit effects, etc) instead.

Gems and Links

(20/X) = Level/Quality. If you see X on quality, it can be whatever quality.

Shield Crush

6L - Shield Crush R R G R R R
Explanation: Main skill, duh.
Shield Crush (21/20) - We want 20 Quality on this for area of effect increase. This is top priority.
Brutality (20/20) - Raw damage. No chaos or elemental damage though.
Impale (20/20) - Impale Support
Multistrike (20/20) - Faster attacks, also makes mana leeching easier
Melee Physical Damage (20/20) - Basic damage addition
Pulverise (20/20) - Area of Effect + Area Damage
Gem Alternatives:
Anomalous Shield Crush for more attack speed over area of effect
Divergent Multistrike for more attack speed

Shield Crush w/ Awakened Supports

6L - Shield Crush Awakened Supports R R G R R R
Explanation: Main skill, duh.
Anomalous Shield Crush (21/20) - Anomalous version for increased attack speed.
Awakened Brutality (5/20) - Raw damage. No chaos or elemental damage though.
Impale (20/20) - Impale Support
Divergent Multistrike (20/20) - Faster attacks, also makes mana leeching easier
Awakened Melee Physical Damage (5/20) - Basic damage addition
Pulverise (20/20) - Area of Effect + Area Damage

4L 1 - Totems
4L 1 - Ancestral Protector + Vaal Ancestral Warchief R R R R
Explanation: The attack speed buff along with the flat damage buff is beneficial to us, and using Multiple Totems Support lets us use both totems at once. Should only really need this for tough rares/bosses.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief (20/X) - Quality doesn't really matter here. We want the buff
Ancestral Protector OR Phantasmal Ancestral Protector (20/X) - You want 20 quality if you are using the Phantasmal Ancestral Protector variant.
Multiple Totems Support (20/X) - For Multiple Totems to use both Protector and Warchief
Maim Support (20/X) - Maiming enemies for more damage for all of our build

4L 2 - Auras + Enduring Cry
4L 2 - Auras + Enduring Cry R R R R
Pride (20/X) - Raw damage increase
Blood and Sand (6/0) - Area damage + Challenger Charge Support
Herald of Purity (20/X) - More Damage and slight defensive benefits from Sentinels (they do draw aggro)
Enduring Cry (20/X) - Health Regen Boost + Reliable Endurance Charge generation

Why not Flesh and Stone?
We don't use Flesh and Stone because of both the reservation cost, as well as the lack of needing Maim from Flesh and Stone. We can maim in other ways. Although the blind for high range is nice, we want more damage - we have enough defenses already.

If you want to switch to Flesh and Stone, drop Herald of Purity for it. It'll make mana tight, though.

4L 3 - Leap Slam
4L 3 - Leap Slam R G R R
Explanation: Movement Skill
Leap Slam (20/X) - Typical Movement Skill
Faster Attacks (20/X) - Always put this with Leap Slam.
Lifetap (1/X) - We keep this at level 1 for a free 20% increased Life from Flasks because of Lifetap. Nifty.
Fortify (20/20) - Fortify support.

3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability
3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability R R R
Explanation: Defenses with Molten Shell. Vulnerability as curse.
CWDT (6/X) - Take 1000+ damage, it activates. Tinker with the level as you see fit.
Vaal Molten Shell (13/X) - We are an armor build, this is the best defense for us. Vaal skill can be used on demand.
Vulnerability (9/X) - Quality gives us slightly more chance to bleed, which we don't care for. Your decision on if it's CWDT or not. I prefer CWDT.

3L 2 - Weapon - FILL
3L 2 - Weapon - FILL G G B
Explanation: Culling Strike support once we get the space + Blood rage socket. Once we free up gem slots and find other ways to leech mana, prismatic eclipse will be G G G colors.
Blood Rage (X/X) - Level this as high as you can, as we're slightly Dexterity starved.
Tempest Shield (X/X) - Extra 3% block chance that should persist through maps. You can drop this for more attack speed on Prismatic Eclipse if you wish.
Riposte OR Frenzy (20/X) - A bit of extra damage during mapping. Frenzy Option gives us cheap Frenzy charge generation during bosses since we attack so fast.
Note: Since we are using Prismatic Eclipse as our main weapon, you want the sockets to be 1 Blue, 2 Green. 2 Green for attack speed, 1 Blue for Mana leech. After we get a corrupt or a way to apply vulnerability without CWDT, we can change this to G G G and add in Culling Strike support.

Gearing Breakdown

NOTE: There are endgame options for both Amulet and Body Armor slots. YOU DO NOT NEED BOTH. Since the Pride Reserve mod is harder to get on an amulet, I provided a secondary option in case you want more life and other modifiers on your body armor slot.


Priority - Crafted Shield

Budget - Lioneye's Remorse

Explanation: A crafted shield will be very easy to do because of Essences. Using Essence of Dread, we can force up to +400-440 FLAT armor on our shield. This is big because this is actually higher than the T1 flat armor roll on a shield.
Crafting your Shield
For a baseline we will want a good life roll and the ability to craft % increased armor on our shield to hit 2000 armour.
The best shield for us to use for damage is an Item Level 73 or higher Colossal Tower Shield.
A shaper influenced Colossal Tower Shield is best in slot for Life Gain on Block, but not required early on. The bar for Life Gain on Block is only Level 68. We go for 73 or higher for the T1 life roll and the T3 % increased Armor roll.

An easy way to get a 1900-2100 armor shield is by following the steps below.
1. Find/Purchase an ilvl 73+ Colossal Tower Shield
2. Scour (optional). Armorer's Scrap to 20%
3. Use a Deafening Essence of Dread on it. Ensure one prefix slot is open and % increased armor isn't taken.
3a. If you want a high life roll or other mods that aren't the armor mod, then keep using Deafening Essences of Dread.
4. Craft tier 3 increased Armour (56-74%) on it. You can find this in maps. Tier 2 increased Armour is from Kitava fight.

Assuming no other modifiers, you will have a BARE MINIMUM 1800 armor shield for use with Shield Crush. This already outclasses Lioneye's Remorse in a purely damage standpoint.

Other options to consider for shield crafting:
Dense Fossils (no life)
Defense Harvest crafts
Essence Spam

NOTE: Essences of Dread will be expensive early on. Things might get pricey.

Priority - Prismatic Eclipse with G G B sockets

Budget - Stat Stick Weapon (Resistances and on-hit effects)

Endgame - Corrupted Prismatic Eclipse with G G G sockets and Fortify on Hit

Explanation: Prismatic Eclipse gives us global attack speed per green socket, and mana leech on hit per blue socket. Since we only care about our Shield, this is one of the best, cheapest options for us to help pad Shield Crush damage.

Endgame Explanation: Adding in a corrupted Prismatic Eclipse can give us gem slot wiggle room or other quality of life. Corruptions include Resolute Technique, added damage to attacks, area of effect, onslaught on kill (mapping), and fortify on hit. All of them are good, but I would consider fortify on hit the 'best'.

REMEMBER: You can buy a corrupted prismatic eclipse with any sockets, then use the bench to get to 3 socket and to get triple green, you just have to pay vaal orbs along with the chromatic/jeweller orb costs. This will save you money in the long run over buying the 3G corrupted prismatic eclipse outright.


Priority - Crown of the Inward Eye

Budget - Defenses Rare Helmet

Endgame - Elder Helmet w/ 'Nearby enemies take x% increased physical damage'

Explanation: Inward Eye gives us the best bang for our buck, and it's a relatively common drop from Sirus. As the league goes on, this will get cheaper. We want as high of a roll as possible for the life modifier.
In the meantime, use a rare helmet with life/defenses.

Endgame: We gain about 2% DPS with a 3ex investment, and get more slots for resistances as well as extra armor. I don't consider this as something required personally, as Inward Eye still works well, but this is an option should you want to push for as much damage as possible. The steps to craft are listed below.
Crafting your Endgame Helmet

Step 1: Purchase an ilvl 85 Elder Base Armor Helmet (Royal or Eternal Burgonet are best).
Step 2: Use 'Deafening Essence of Greed' until you also hit a T1 or T2 health/armor modifier (for more hp). Ensure that there is one open suffix modifier. The suffixes do not matter at this point.
Step 3: Craft 'Prefixes cannot be changed' modifier (cost 2ex).
Step 4: Harvest craft 'reforge physical' to guarantee 'Nearby enemies take 9% increased physical damage' while keeping your prefixes.
Step 5: Craft whatever suffix you want on.

NOTE: The enchantment makes the build significantly better, so an enchanted rare helmet is better than a base Inward Eye. Your top aim is to get an enchanted Inward Eye or Elder Helmet, though.

Body Armor

Priority - 6L Armor Item (preferably Astral Plate) OR Belly of the Beast

Budget - Tabula Rasa (+2 to AoE socketed gems option)

Endgame - Warlord's Astral Plate w/ +1 socketed active and +1 socketed strength mods

Explanation: Using a 6L rare will let us craft whatever we want onto it, and can also allow us to put influences on our chest that could give nice QoL.
A tabula rasa will be enough for a while, as we only really need a 6 link for early on. Using a Body Armor for extra life and defense makes it easier to hit resistance cap, though.

Belly of the Beast option: Belly gives a lot of life, good Armor/Evasion, and good resistances. It's normally 4-5ex around league start and drops to 2-3ex after a week or so. If you just want more life to stack on, this is your best option.

Corruption - +2 to AoE socketed gems: We use this in order to hit Shield Crush 23 with ease. +2 to AoE socketed gems is pretty cheap, so this is a good medium if you don't need life/resistances from your body armor.

Endgame: Using an Astral Plate along with Warlord's Mods and Delve Crafting will get us a +1 socketed active and +1 socketed strength gems chest, which gets us to gem level 23 without corrupting anything. This also gives us a +1 to 4 of our 5 support gems as well, which will also apply to Awakened gems if you take Awakened gems instead. It's also pretty cheap to make! (Around 4ex at the time of writing).

How to Craft your Endgame Chest

Pre-requisites: Level 80 character for Divination Card
COST: ~4 Exalted (at time of writing)

Step 1: Purchase 6 'The Celestial Justicar' divination cards for your 6L Astral Plate.
NOTE: The Astral Plate MUST be at least ILVL 80 for this to work.
Step 2: Chromatic Orb to 5R1G
Step 3: Purchase 1 Warlord's Exalted Orb Warlord's Exalted Orb and use on Astral Plate
Step 4: Purchase the following Delve Fossils and Resonators:

X = the amount for each. The average is about 4 per Craft of Exile. I would recommend doing one or two at a time so you don't overbuy.

Craft of Exile math is here: HERE

X faceted fossil
X pristine fossil
X dense fossil
X powerful chaotic resonator
Step 5: Fossil Craft on your Astral Plate until you land on the following modifiers:
+1 to socketed active skill gems
+1 to socketed strength skill gems

Step 6: Craft either % max life or flat life. Flat life is usually better, but check in PoB to make sure.

NOTE: If you feel your life is fine and want more block, you can also craft block onto the armor as well. I don't feel this is necessary personally, but it's all up to personal preference. Do what you prefer!

Other Good Rare Body Armor Influence Mods
Redeemer: Nearby Enemies are Blinded (Prefix, ilvl75), % chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on Hit (Suffix, ilvl80)
Hunter: % increased maximum life (Prefix, ilvl85)
Warlord: +1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems (Prefix, ilvl80), Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost (Suffix, ilvl85)

Priority - Rare Sinistral Gloves with Life, Attack Speed, and Added Physical

Budget - Rare Spiked/Sinistral Gloves (or General Gloves) with Life and Resists

Mapping - Haemophilia

Endgame - Warlord's Sinistral Gloves w/ Culling Strike or Block Chance

Explanation: Shield Crush uses only our offhand, so Sinistral Gloves gives us the most damage.
Added damage is just a bonus, attack speed is better than flat damage.
Crafting 'increased damage with non-vaal skills during soul gain prevention' will increase our damage after using molten shell or throwing down Warchiefs. If you want more damage, use this. This is found via Betrayal.

On Haemophilia: The nice part about Haemophilia is that it gives us reliable explosions while not needing to invest into Gratuitous Violence. This would be a stretch to use in SSF, but in trade these gloves are always cheap.
They are worth the buy for maps. If you want to do bosses, Swap Haemophilia out for life + attack speed gloves.

Endgame Explanation: Sinistral Gloves with Culling Strike or Block chance is the best way to go and the best way to optimize our glove slot on a decent budget. As long as we have 1 suffix and the craft 'chance to avoid stun', we will either hit increased block chance or culling strike. Both are good, and it's up to a matter of preference for what you want. Block chance is better for survivability, Culling strike is better for bossing and general mapping. General steps are below.
Crafting your Endgame Gloves

Step 1: Purchase an ilvl 73 or higher Sinistral Gloves
Step 2: Use 'Deafening/Screaming Essence of Zeal until you either hit 1 suffix (which will be just the attack speed modifier that is forced on) or the 1 suffix + life. This will likely be costly due to hitting both the life modifier as well as the 1 suffix.
NOTE: Having 3 prefixes is required, as when we Exalt slam there will be no available option to gain a prefix modifier.
Step 2a: If you wish, you can try to use Orbs of Annulment to remove the extra suffix mods.
Step 3: Craft 'x% chance to avoid stun' on your gloves.
Step 4: Purchase a 'Warlord's Exalted Orb' and use it on your gloves. You will either get % chance to block or culling strike.


Priority - Rare Armor boots with Life, Resists, and 30% Movement Speed

Budget - Rare Armor boots with an open prefix to craft Movement Speed

Ailment Immunity - Rare Armor boots with Life, Resists, 30% Movement Speed, and % chance to avoid elemental ailments (EXPENSIVE)

Explanation: Boots with 30% movement speed feels the best, but if you're on a tight budget then search an open prefix and the life/resists you need, then craft on the movement speed for 20-24% (found in Oriath after killing Kitava).


Priority/Budget - Carnage Heart

Additional Option - Turquoise Amulet

Endgame - Warlord's Turquoise Amulet with 'Pride has x% reduced mana reserved' OR +1 Strength Skill and Physical Skill Gems

Honorable Mentions - Deafening Essence of Zeal Turqoise Amulet

Explanation: Carnage Heart is cheap, efficient, and gives us everything we need for a super low price.

If you can't get a Carnage Heart, run a Turqoise Amulet with Life and Resists.

Use Deafening Essences of Zeal on the Amulets for more Attack speed.

We have two endgame options for our amulet. The first one is a Pride Reserved Amulet along with the +2 gems chest mentioned earlier. The other option is a +2 gem amulet with a chestpiece that can have other influenced mods. You do not need both options.

How to Craft your +2 Amulet

Disclaimer: For this method to work, both Amulets that you will Awakener's Orb MUST have only one influenced mod. It is not guaranteed if the amulets have multiple influenced mods.

Step 1: Purchase or acquire an Awakener's Orb via Sirus A8+ or trade.
Step 2: Purchase or acquire a hunter influenced amulet and a warlord's influenced amulet. One of these amulets MUST be a Turquoise Amulet. The other one doesn't matter.
NOTE: You can also buy these amulets with the gem modifiers if you wish.
Step 3: Alt + augment spam on each Amulet until you get '+1 to all physical skill gems' and '+1 to all strength skill gems'. Both of these modifiers are Prefixes, so you do not need to Augment on a suffix to find the modifier.
Step 4: Use the Awakener's orb. Make sure to click the non-Turquoise Amulet first, and then the Turquoise Amulet second when you fuse.
Step 5: Bench craft resistances/life/etc to finish.

Priority - Ambidexterity, Bossing Option - Panopticon

Explanation: While Panopticon is the best for damage on PoB, the partial issue with this is that our Totems are very flimsy. This is the best when it comes to bossing, but it is inconsistent when it comes to maps. It comes down to personal preference - pick which one you would prefer. They are both good in different aspects.

If you have life problems, anoint Discipline and Training.

If you have resistance problems, anoint Diamond Skin or Cloth and Chain. You can also throw out 2 passive points to allocate to the nodes. The recipe for these two anoints are very cheap, though.


Priority - Life and Resist Rare Rings (Vermillion or Two-Stone or Prismatic)

Budget - Two-Stone Rings with Life

Mana Problems - Praxis

Endgame - Circle of Guilt (% increased buff effect / % increased Physical damage while affected by Herald of Purity) and Vulnerability on Hit ring.

Explanation: Like most other rares, these are for defenses. Vulnerability on hit is nice for QoL, but we don't really need it in mapping early on.
Your craft that you want will be % increased damage or attack speed. You can also craft chaos resistance as needed.
Endgame: Circle of Guilt gives us the best damage boost, but it is ONLY worth it if you can pair it with a Vulnerability on Hit ring and also can afford potentially having no resistances in either ring slot.
Vulnerability Ring: A vulnerability on hit ring is very easy to come by once you find a Warlord's ring ilvl 75 or higher. Use Reforge Caster on your ring in Harvest for a pretty decent chance on getting Vulnerability on hit. Normally it takes me about 6-8 tries to hit something that isn't atrociously bad. Assume you will not get extra life or resistances (unless its an implicit) on the ring while you do this.


Priority - Stygian Vise or other belt with Life and Resists, Hunter Influence for more Life if you want. Increased global physical damage is also an option (Delve).

Budget - Standard belt with Life and Resists

Damage - Ryslatha's Coil

Honorable Mentions: Soul Tether (bosses)

Explanation: Stygian Vise is best in slot for life and resistances. Soul Tether is great for bosses because we will always be leeching due to Immortal Ambition, which enables cluster nodes (if you're using a cluster). Rhyslatha's Coil is a great damage boost and usable on bosses as well, but I consider it more of an endgame item due to it's price. Remember that if we use Rhyslatha's Coil, we lose resistances.

Abyss Jewel

Priority - Life, Increased Attack speed or increased physical damage

Budget - Life and Resistances/Attributes

Explanation: More Life, More Defenses, makes life easier for us.
Abyss Jewels are also a great option to help band-aid things such as attributes and resistances.


Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Corrupted Blood + Bleeding) TOP PRIORITY
Basalt Flask
Quartz Flask of Heat (Freeze) PRIORITY FOR MAPS
Sulphur Flask

Levelling: Quicksilver Flask of Heat

Staunching Life Flask to deal with Corrupted Blood + Bleeding. We are weak to DoT effects. This is a must by maps.
Basalt Flask for extra defenses
Quartz Flask for Phasing + Freeze Removal
Sulphur or Silver Flask for a damage boost
Open slot for whatever you want.
Lion's Roar option for more damage at the cost of knockback. I don't like this personally since we hit a lot and it pushes mobs out of the double damage overlap.
Blood of the Karui option for Panic Flask if you take a big hit.
Forbidden Taste with 'use upon taking a savage hit' for better survivability and one-shot protection. NOTE: It is REQUIRED to have 75% chaos resistance for this to work properly.
Remember that you can use the Menagerie (Bestiary) to craft flask suffixes like Staunching, Heat, Warding, and others. Don't burn all your alts on flasks if you don't have to.
I would recommend having Grounding (shock) and Dousing (ignite) on the Basalt and Sulphur Flasks. It doesn't matter where the suffixes are at, as long as you're able to use the flask that has the suffix on it.
Have a Curing (poison) flask as a backup when going against Al-Hezmin (green Conqueror), as he does a lot of poison and chaos damage and we are naturally weak to DoT.
'Where is the Quicksilver Flask?'
Since we are running challenger charges and stacking attack speed, we don't need a quicksilver flask except for levelling.


Unique Jewel Defense Option: The Red Nightmare
Timeless Jewel: Lethal Pride
Priority: Viridian Jewels with %life and 1 or 2 of the mods listed below:
Increased Attack Speed
Increased Attack Speed while holding a Shield
increased Melee damage
increased attack damage while holding a shield

Honorable Mentions: % of attack damage leeched as mana (You do not need this if you have a blue socket Prismatic Eclipse or if you are using another form of mana leech)

Corruptions to keep in mind: Corrupted Blood Immunity

Explanation: Jewels get more pricey the more you look for in them, so start with %life and one of the listed modifiers listed above then work up from there. Jewels are also a great spot to band-aid things such as resistances or attributes.
Do not look for % of attack damage leeched as mana along with %life, they're expensive. Choose leech + an offensive mod instead.

Red Nightmare: Red Nightmare socketed west of Marauder start gives us lots of Block chance and good chance to gain endurance charges on kill. It's an excellent option for higher block chance and safer mapping, but it is a bit costly and does cost a jewel slot.

Lethal Pride: Lethal Pride is a fantastic Jewel that we can use for the multiple effects that we get from notable bonuses. These bonuses include: Intimidate on Hit, Increased Physical Damage, Increased Melee Damage, Increased Maximum Life, % chance to deal double damage, and life regen.

The Trick with Lethal Pride is that you will have to socket it into your passive tree to see the stats. You will NOT be able to see the stats within PoB and will have to set them yourself. The best socket location for Lethal Pride is South of Duelist Start by Golem's Blood, but the Jewel Socket west of Marauder can also work.

You can set the stats in PoB by right clicking the notable passives in Lethal Pride's radius, then applying the proper mod that you can see in-game on your passive tree.

Watcher's Eye:
% chance to deal double damage while using Pride - Cheap damage boost since we attack so much
Impales you inflict last 2 additional hits while using pride - VERY Expensive, but a really good damage boost. This is a super endgame item.


Priority: 8 Passive Feed the Fury and Fuel the Fight Jewel (increased attack damage or increased attack damage while holding a shield)
Martial Prowess as the 3rd slot if you want to invest.

Explanation: Feed the Fury and Fuel the Fight give us attack speed, leech, and bonus damage while leeching. It's everything we want. As long as we are leeching, which we should be due to general leech or Immortal Ambition, the bonuses apply.


Priority: 2 Passive Adrenaline or Fettle Jewel

Explanation: Good life nodes. Fettle Jewels are pricey, and Adrenaline Jewels should be cheaper.
Fettle gives us more life. Adrenaline gives us more damage.


Helmet: 'Ancestral Protector gives X% increased attack speed while active' OR 'Blood Rage gives X% increased attack speed' OR 'X% increased Shield Crush Damage' OR 'X% increased Shield Crush Attack Speed' OR 'Blood and Sand has X% increased effect

Explanation: We have lots of options here, and they are all about the same on DPS. Ancestral Protector is the best on paper, but I would personally recommend Blood and Sand due to mapping QoL. Use whatever you find first or what is cheapest, as the 'best' only matters for min-maxing.

If you want to minmax, Ancestral Protector followed by Shield Crush Attack Speed are the best options.

Boots: 'X% increased attack and cast speed if you have killed recently' OR 'X% chance to avoid stun if you have killed recently'
Explanation: Attack speed is our best steroid, so this is straight forward. Stun avoidance is nice for mapping if you're having problems with that, as we are not truly stun immune.

Gloves: This doesn't matter. Do what you like. The damage increase is so minimal that it doesn't matter too much.


Skill Order:
Arena Challenger > Painforged > Versatile Combatant > Violent Retaliation OR Blood in the Eyes

Arena Challenger - Challenger Charges for movespeed and attack speed. Best for going through acts.

Painforged - On the way to Versatile Combatant, which is where all our defense is at.

Versatile Combatant - Most of our defense. Just in time for maps where defense really matters.

Violent Retaliation - Extra bonuses for mapping, including higher block chance and bonus damage.

Blood in the Eyes - I would recommend Blood in the Eyes if you are able to get to 75% block in Hideout (without having attacked or being hit by any mobs recently). The reliable damage bonuses along with blinding enemies we hit gives us an extra defensive layer for the cost of 4% block chance. It is worth the adjustment.

Pantheon and Bandits
Soul of Arakaali - Block builds are weak against DOT effects. This is the best major keystone to help us mitigate that.

Honorable Mentions:
Soul of Solaris - Big Bossing (Maven, Sirus, etc)

Soul of Shakari - More DOT and Chaos Damage mitigation

Primary: Kill All - We need the passive points.

Levelling Section
Weapon Slot During Levelling
For our weapon, we will mostly be using this slot to give us benefits such as resistances, flat attributes, and more.

Increased Physical damage and flat physical damage on the weapon DOES NOT affect Shield Crush unless the bonuses are listed as GLOBAL.

X happening on hit DOES affect Shield Crush, as Shield Crush is considered a hit.

I would generally aim for attributes or defenses to save us points on the passive tree, along with other things such as resists or other on hit effects.

Make sure to utilize other ways to get mana leech such as Jewels, Gloves, Prismatic Eclipse, or Cluster Jewels.

We get access to Prismatic Eclipse at level 53, which is our best in socket weapon choice. This might be pricey on league start depending on the popularity of Shield Crush, but should be relatively cheap after a few days. It's a common drop.

Shields During Levelling

These shields can be used while levelling and purchased from Vendors. Vendor crafting either Flat armor or % increased armor will help with the armor values.

Defenses 1 comes from Act 6 Tukohama totem.
Defenses 2 comes from Kitava.
Defenses 3 comes from Waterways (3.14). This is a Tier 7+ map.

Act 1 - Rawhide Tower Shield (ilvl 11, 53 armor)
Act 2 - Cedar Tower Shield (ilvl 17, 108 armor)
Act 3, 4, and 5 - Reinforced Tower shield (ilvl 30, 287 armor)
Act 6 - Bronze Tower Shield (ilvl 47, 367 armor)
Act 7 and 8 - Girded Tower Shield (ilvl 51, 481 armor)
Act 9+ - Colossal Tower Shield (ilvl 67, 632 armor)

Explanation: This is pretty straight forward. The bigger the Armour number listed on the shield, the more damage you'll do. Pump it up as high as you can.

Levelling Tree Details

Resolute Technique is our first big rush, as getting 100% hit chance will significantly smooth out early levelling. Fill for Life and Damage as needed after getting RT.

If your damage feels crappy, then invest in Aggressive Bastion and Swift Skewering early.

Our big priority after getting Resolute Technique is to get Impale chance.

It costs 4 points to get life and mana leech through the passive tree. If you're really hurting for leech, then get this on the tree. Otherwise, finding a weapon with mana leech should do, or a jewel.

Levelling Gems

NOTE: Vitality is a great aura to use while levelling along with Clarity. Since Vitality is a red gem, I included it in the levelling notes.

Remember: Throw 2 crap 3 socket weapons in your weapon swap so you can level more skill gems while trying to deal with sockets.

Priority of skill gems in 4 links are listed as below:
Main Skill > Movement > Totems
Aura (Except for Flesh and Stone + Maim) and Other do not matter. Just need the sockets.

X - Y - Z indicate linked skills
X , Y , X indicate non-linked skills

Required Level 10 (3 links):
Main (R R R): Shield Crush - Maim - Added Fire Damage
Totems (R R): Ancestral Protector - Maim
Auras (R R R): Blood and Sand, War Banner, Vitality
Movement (R R): Leap Slam - Lifetap (level 1)
Other (R R): Enduring Cry, Molten Shell

Required Level 18 (4 links):
Main (R R R R): Shield Crush - Melee Physical Damage - Maim - Added Fire Damage OR Damage on Full Life
Totems (R R G): Ancestral Protector - Maim - Culling Strike
Auras (R R R R): Blood and Sand, Herald of Purity, Vitality, War Banner, Flesh and Stone (not active) (45% reservation + vitality)
Movement (R G R R): Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Lifetap (level 1) - Vigilant Strike
Other (R B G R): Enduring Cry, Tempest Shield, Blood Rage, Molten Shell

Required Level 31 (4 links, listing up to 6 links):
Main (R G R R R R): Shield Crush - Impale - Pulverise - Fortify - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage
Totems (R R R G): Ancestral Protector - Ancestral Warchief - Maim - Culling Strike (Optional)
Auras (R R R R): Blood and Sand, Pride, Vitality, Dread Banner, Flesh and Stone (not active), Herald of Purity (not active) (70% reservation + vitality)
Movement (R G R R): Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Lifetap (level 1) - Vigilant Strike
Other (R B G R R): Enduring Cry, Tempest Shield (not active), Blood Rage, Molten Shell, Vulnerability, Increased Duration

Required Level 38 (4 links, listing up to 6 Links):
Main (R R G R R R): Shield Crush - Brutality - Impale - Multistrike - Pulverise - Melee Physical Damage
Totems (R R R R): Ancestral Protector - Ancestral Warchief - Multiple Totems Support - Maim
Auras (R R R R): Blood and Sand, Dread Banner, Pride, Vitality OR Enduring Cry, Flesh and Stone (not active), Herald of Purity (not active) (70% reservation + vitality)
Movement (R G R R): Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Lifetap (level 1)
CWDT (R R R): CWDT - (Vaal) Molten Shell (, OR -) Vulnerability
Other (B G Any): Tempest Shield (not active), Blood Rage, Open Slot

Uniques to Consider while Levelling
Goldrim - Self Explanatory. Lots of Resistances

Karui Ward - Strength and Dex at Level 5, and 10% movement speed. Makes early acts smooth.
Daresso's Salute - Good damage and resistances early on. Get this if Carnage Hearts cost too much.
Carnage Heart - Gives us everything we could want at a cheap price. This is the budget option for amulets.

Blackheart - A bit of extra damage at level 1.
Praxis - Helps with mana cost management if that's an issue for you.
Le Heup of All - Increased Resistances, Attributes, and Damage. Probably best for ring slot for levelling process.
Thief's Torment - Takes two ring slots, but fixes all mana problems. Also gives good resistances.

Body Armor:
Tabula Rasa - Self Explanatory.

Lochtonial Caress - Charge generation from level 1. Nice QoL.
Slitherpinch - A bit of attack speed and fixes our leech and dexterity problems.

Wurm's Molt - Like the other options, it gives us a lot of leech and some attributes early on.
The Magnate - Lots of resistances and increased damage. We easily get 200 strength by wearing this to get the benefits.
Belt of the Deciever - Similar to Magnate, but we get Intimidate as well, which gives us a great damage boost.

Wanderlust - 20% movespeed and no freezing at level 1. Excellent levelling item.
Seven League Step - 50% movement speed. Best levelling item for boots.
Wake of Destruction - Added Lightning Damage on hit. Useful until Brutality at level 38.

Screaming Eagle / The Gryphon - Bonus movement speed during levelling.
The Princess - Extra damage as cold. Useful until Brutality.
Aurumvorax - Giant Resistance stat stick at the cost of item rarity. Might be a bit risky for league starting, but good for levelling a second character.
Lavianga's Wisdom - Good Health and Mana stat stick, along with increased area of effect and area damage.
Relentless Fury - Culling Strike, Onslaught, and reliable life leech early on.
Prismatic Eclipse - We use this in the build for late game. Global attack speed and mana leech is hard to pass up.

Lycosidae - 200+ armor at level 11 for shield crush? SIgn me up.
Titucius' Span - Bonus life and 500+ armor for shield crush at level 30. Awesome damage option.
Lioneye's Remorse - Tons of life and up to 1700 armor. This will probably be pricey at league start, but will fizzle down over time.
Magna Eclipsis - Elemental Damage shield instead of a big life bonus, and 5% less block chance. Good defensive option, but Lioneye's is probably better.


How do I get a good Lethal Pride?

You have to purchase a lethal pride and socket it into your Passive tree in-game to check what stats it gives. Path of Building DOES NOT simulate what the lethal pride jewel will give, you have to add that in yourself manually.

Intimidate on hit is best, but 5% chance at double damage is enough to justify a Lethal Pride over a standard jewel.

How can I get Frenzy Charges on bosses?

Frenzy (skill) is your cheapest option. The high attack speed and guaranteed frenzy charges on hit makes it easy to hit 3 frenzy charges then go back to shield Crush damage. You can also add in Culling Strike support to give Frenzy a 10% cull if you don't have culling strike gloves.

Will this build be updated for X patch?

As long as I am playing PoE, this will be updated every major patch, hopefully within a day or two after Patch Notes / PoB release.

I want to ask you a question, how can I do that?

The best way to contact me for questions and whatnot is either through messages on the PoE forums, or through whispers in game when I am online. I can't reply to everyone in the replies of this forum post, but I try my best to hit the most important pieces.

Why don't we use Shield Charge?

I don't like using Shield Charge personally because it always snags on random terrain when you try to run around.
If you want to use Shield Charge, then feel free to!

Why don't you use X anoint/enchant/jewel? I think it's better.

This guide was originally designed around what was best on paper, as that was all I had before 3.15 released. Now that it's released and we have the numbers, there's a lot of different options to go for with anoints, enchants, and jewels. Find what you like and use it! You don't need to follow this guide one to one. I encourage you to adjust and make this build your own.

My Shield Crush damage is really bad and I don't know why. Help!

There are lots of little things in this build that add together to make Shield Crush good. These things include, but are not limited to:
Maim / Intimidate
Attack Speed
100% Impale Chance
Totem Uses
I'm happy to take a look at some PoBs to see what's going on, but please do not expect quick replies if you are to send one.

Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Sep 20, 2021, 10:39:42 AM
Last bumped on Sep 19, 2021, 12:37:45 PM
Was fun to tinker with this. Let's go!
How safe is it to start with this build for SSF? Don't want to use like 50-60+ regrets later on since they are a bit more hard to come by in SSF (can just buy them in trade league).

Is the LL version you mentioned a completely different build, as in a different class for example which would require me to reroll?
Last edited by InsaneX3 on Jul 24, 2021, 9:08:38 AM
InsaneX3 wrote:
How safe is it to start with this build for SSF? Don't want to use like 50-60+ regrets later on since they are a bit more hard to come by in SSF (can just buy them in trade league).

I would say that it's pretty good to start, as you can easily build up your own shield. You can farm for a Lioneye's Remorse via 'The Lion' prophecy in Act 6 Mud Flats (from the mob that drops the eye to allow you to get to Tukohama). You can also use Harvest Crafting to get a decent shield pretty easily (Defenses is common in Blue nodes).

Apart from that, just working your way up and upgrading shields makes the process pretty smooth. You get about the range of Lacerate (which is roughly 40-50) once you hit maps as long as you have Pulverise and the Brinkmanship cluster.

InsaneX3 wrote:
Is the LL version you mentioned a completely different build, as in a different class for example which would require me to reroll?

It only requires slight tweaks to the current PoB listed with minimal regrets. Most of the changes come from socket color and gem changes. The LL version is something I will recommend to Pivot into once you get proper health and resistances. I haven't done enough research on Petrified Blood yet to say its EXPLICITLY better overall, but I do know that it is stronger in the damage department by quite a big margin due to our totems giving us a helping hand. For the time being I'd recommend sticking to the current PoB and levelling up that way into white/yellow maps.
Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Jul 24, 2021, 11:00:12 AM
I personally enjoy shield charge more than leap slam for travel skill when trying to finish the campaign.

With the shield damage tree we're getting and once Arena Challenger kicks in, I'm just ramming things to death and just shield crush any leftovers.

Of course the cliffs is going to be your bane but with the movement speed buff, it felt trival.
Last edited by bobohead1988 on Jul 24, 2021, 11:05:50 AM
What about facebreakers is this build?
P0IS0N wrote:
What about facebreakers is this build?

Shield Crush is not an Unarmed skill, so this does not work.
Playing it rn, big mana costs btw D:

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