[3.21] Versatile Combatant Impale Shield Crush Slayer - Crush the Atlas - SSF Compatible

Last Update: April 2nd, 2023

Update Log

I dug around anoints and found a better budget alternative, Executioner. We get 60% increased damage on low life and 15% area of effect if we've killed recently. It's also cheaper than Kinetic Impacts.

3.21 Changes:

We now are able to optionally drop Herald of Purity in order to allocate Determination as long as you get the Armor Small Cluster Jewel with 'Uncompromising'. If you feel that you're a little squishy, then allocate 'Seasoned Swordplay' and use the small cluster. This roughly doubles our armor for a ~20% damage drop. Use this if you're feeling a bit squishy.

Damage has slightly increased, and our real dps is slightly more than what the combined dps states. This is because we get about 11% more impale triggers with the new '10% chance on hitting an enemy for all impales to last an additional hit'.

The Endgame tree has been changed to utilizing Kaom's spirit. We now get slightly more damage and also are relatively tankier due to Berserk being up almost 100% of the time.

PoB has been updated. If you see any issues or anything I missed please message me to fix.


This Shield Crush build is intended as a starter build for all types of players, including those brand new to the game. Every single league since Shield Crush has been introduced, I have either gone back to it or started it. This is my favorite skill in the game.

This build can currently scale into a character that can reasonably do all endgame content (ubers w/ investment) utilizing easy to get gear, reliable scaling, and large amounts of safety. Because of this, the build is also SSF friendly due to the adaptable options to prioritize defenses over raw damage. If you would like to do this build in a HC environment, some auras need to be dropped for Determination until you can sustain ~20k armor on your own.

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.

Ubers can be done with this build, but it will take much more investment compared to other builds. I would personally recommend making a second character if you want a character to farm/kill uber bosses.


These PoBs are built around baselines on what your character should look like at certain points of the game. Listed affixes on gear are general recommendations - fill with resistances and other pieces as you see fit.

Things like Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Onslaught are disabled. Frenzy Charges aren't difficult to keep up, so those are included.

3.21 PoB: https://pobb.in/LhUaKf3rzYXi

3.20 PoB: https://pobb.in/KUn01q0xTRhZ

NOTE: Make sure to check the Notes section for a sheet that includes Harvest priorities, Pantheon, Enchantments, and finalized gear links!

3.17 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 (double) damage.

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

Pros and Cons

+ Easy, Effective League Start to get off the ground (only need a decently high armor shield)
+ All content viable (Ubers are difficult to do without investment but doable)
+ Tanky (about 100k eHP) with lots of ways to keep your defense up (Versatile Combatant Max Block, Armor, Endurance Charges, Vaal Molten Shell, etc)
+ SSF Friendly. No Uniques Required.
+ Fast mapping and mobility utilizing Leap Slam.
+ Offensive, Defensive, and Flask Flexibility to make this build your own.

- Not a one button build (Totems, Blood Rage, Leap Slam, Shield Crush buttons)
- We Level with Steel Skills and swap to Shield Crush in White Maps
- Weak to DoT damage (natural weakness of block/armor builds, we patch this with Pantheon bonuses)
- Average Bossing speed
- Reduced block chance modifier maps are dangerous (but doable).
- Dexterity/Intelligence Starvation without Carnage Heart.

Mechanics We Use

Resolute Technique:
Resolute Technique enables us to hit 100% of the time at the cost of no critical strikes. Since we do not use critical strikes, this is excellent for us to use.

Unwavering Stance:
We don't use evasion, so Unwavering Stance is used for Stun Immunity.

We use Fortification for general damage reduction, and end up getting about 21% less damage taken after passives. Due to the Fortify passive mastery, we get this with Fortify at the cost of roughly 4 skill points.

We utilize Lifetap to make Leap Slamming really easy, and to give us a nice damage buffer early on before we get our cluster jewel to ignore most mana problems. This will always be used for Leap Slam and Enduring Cry, and optional for Shield crush. We still need Mana Leech for CWDT Vulnerability trigger (before Vulnerability ring) and Totems. Once you can get the Impale chance to remove Impale Support, we swap back to Lifetap for better damage.

Our main source of defense. We block the hit, we take no damage. We also get the ability to ignore enemy physical damage reduction on block.
We get up to 50% block and 42% spell block through Versatile Combatant on Slayer with no additional investment on gear. Getting the extra 4% block on other gear (only 3% extra on shield) isn't difficult to do.

Armor is our big defensive tool while mapping. Without Determination, we'll be able to block ~1500 damage from hits in maps, which will generally mitigate the trash mobs. With Determination, this goes up to around ~3000.

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 and triggering Impale even faster.

Attack Speed:
In tandem with above, Attack Speed gives us faster Leap Slam movement, faster shield hits, and faster Impale triggering when we attack.

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. This is a large damage steroid that we primarily use for bosses and tough rares, as our damage is high enough for general mapping without it.

We use leech as our primary life and mana sustain. We get our leech through Jewels, Cluster Jewels, Gloves, Rings, or the passive tree.

We will have enough mana sustain to continue attacking with this equation below:


Generally speaking as long as there is one source of Mana Leech on your items or passive tree and you have multistrike in Shield Crush, you will be able to sustain mana through leech. Just 0.2% of damage leeched as mana is enough for this equation to work as long as we are in maps.

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 Support (20/20) - Impales for 100% Impale chance.
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.
Lifetap (20/20) - Ignore mana issues since ability costs life instead.

NOTE: If you progress on this build far enough to not need Impale Support, use Pulverise or Lifetap as the replacement.

Shield Crush w/ Awakened Supports + No Impale

6L - Shield Crush Awakened Supports R R G R R R
Explanation: Main skill with slightly better damage. This setup is used once we naturally get 100% impale chance.
Anomalous Shield Crush (21/20) - Anomalous version for increased attack speed.
Awakened Brutality (5/20) - Raw damage. No chaos or elemental damage though.
Lifetap (20/20) - Ignore mana issues since ability costs life instead.
Awakened Multistrike OR Divergent Multistrike (20/20) - Faster attacks, also makes mana leeching easier.
Awakened Melee Physical Damage (5/20) - Basic damage addition along with Intimidate support.
Pulverise (20/20) - Area of Effect + Area Damage

NOTE: Awakened Multistrike is VERY expensive, so don't buy this early when it comes to investing into this build. Awakened Melee Phys and Awakened Brutality are always cheaper.

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. You 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
4L 2 - Auras R R R R
Pride (20/20) - 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)
Flesh and Stone (20/X) - Maim damage on bosses on blood stance, and % less damage taken from far enemies on sand stance.


Pride (20/20) - Raw damage increase.
Blood and Sand (6/0) - Area damage + Challenger Charge Support
Flesh and Stone (20/X) - Maim damage on bosses on blood stance, and % less damage taken from far enemies on sand stance.
Determination (20/X) - Extra armor if you're feeling a little squishy. Drop Herald of Purity and Flesh and Stone for it.

Herald of Purity will replace 'Maim Support' in the totem setup if you choose to run Determination.

NOTE: We need the Mana Reservation cluster fully completed in order to use all the Auras mentioned in this build. We also need the Small Cluster Jewel with 'Uncompromising' to run Determination. Please make sure to take a look at the levelling section to see what Auras you should use during the levelling process.

4L 3 - Leap Slam + Enduring Cry
4L 3 - Leap Slam + Enduring Cry R G R R
Explanation: Movement Skill + Endurance Charge Generation
Leap Slam (20/X) - We use this over Shield Charge because it traverses terrain and is just as fast.
Faster Attacks (20/20) - 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.
Enduring Cry (20/20) - Endurance Charge generation against bosses + Life regeneration boost on demand (Rage boost if running Kaom's Spirit).

3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability
3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability R R R
Explanation: Defenses with Molten Shell. Vulnerability as curse. Make sure your linked skill gems are low enough level so CWDT can trigger them.
Cast When Damage Taken Support (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. You can use Immortal Call instead if you want, but I prefer the Vaal skill for on-demand usage. Both options are good.
Vulnerability (9/X) - Your decision on if it's CWDT or not. I prefer CWDT. This will ultimately be replaced with a Vulnerability on hit ring.

3L 2 - Weapon - Blood Rage + Frenzy
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.
Frenzy (20/X) - Frenzy gives us easy Frenzy charge generation during bosses since we attack so fast.
OPEN (X/X) - This slot remains open while we look for other ways to get mana leech. You can place a gem like Portal here if you'd like, or something like Enhance Support for more attack speed on Blood Rage.

UNSET RING - Dread Banner
UNSET RING - Dread Banner R
Explanation: Extra impale chance and some impale effect. Once we get a Vulnerability on Hit ring then we can move this to the CWDT section.

Eldritch Mods - What to look for

Eldritch mods are an addition as of 3.17 that give us some cool benefits depending on the gear that we have. These can be applied to Helmets, Body Armor, Gloves, and Boots. Eldritch mods can only be applied to rares. There are multiple tiers of these items and they replace implicit values on armor pieces. Use the lesser ones as much as you like on your armor pieces - it won't change the explicit modifier values.

Because our Body Armor slot is ultimately going to be a unique or a warlord's body, Body Armor is not listed.

Remember that the end options for our helmet are an Eldritch Modded rare helmet or an Inward Eye. You can still use a rare helmet if you find some GG rolls, but these other options will be better most of the time.


Exarch Implicits: Increased Vulnerability Effect, Increased Area of Effect

Eater of Worlds Implicits: Mana Reservation Efficiency, increased attack damage


Exarch Implicits: Increased Attack Speed, added physical damage to attacks, herald of purity has increased buff effect, rage on hit with attacks, intimidate enemies on hit

Eater of Worlds Implicits: increased damage per strength, impale chance on attacks


Exarch Implicits: Increased movement speed, resistances, damage per endurance charge

Eater of Worlds Implicits: increased armor from helmet/gloves, enduring cry recovery rate

Gearing Breakdown

NOTE: There are endgame options for both Amulet and Body Armor slots. Shield Crush just needs to hit Level 24. I would recommend the +2 Body and the +1 amulet if you do not want to heavily invest into this build.


Priority - Crafted Shield

Budget Recommendation - Rare Shield with ~2000 Armor OR Dawnbreaker

Explanation: A crafted shield will be very easy to do because of Essences. Using Essence of Dread, we can force up to +340-370 FLAT armor on our shield. This is big because although its slightly lower than the natural T1 modifier, it is significantly more consistent to make a budget shield.

Dawnbreaker is a good stopgap if you're having problems with finding a good shield to use. This is a common drop from Searing Exarch, and shouldn't cost much a few days into the league. Worst case, you can farm for it yourself.

Easily Crafting a Budget Shield
For a baseline we will want a good life roll and the ability to craft % increased armor on our shield to hit 1500 armour.
The best shield for us to use for damage is an Item Level 73 or higher Colossal Tower Shield.
A shaper influenced or Warlord's influenced Colossal Tower Shield is best in slot for Life Gain on Block, but not required. The bar for Life Gain on Block is only Level 68. On a cheap shield, we go for 72 or higher for the T3 % increased armor roll. When it comes to a high-budget shield, we want a 86 shield for the T1 % armor chance.

An easy way to get a 1500+ armor shield is by following the steps below.
1. Find/Purchase an ilvl 72+ 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.
4. Craft tier 3 increased Armour on it. You can find this in early maps. Tier 2 increased Armour is from Kitava fight.

Assuming no other modifiers, you will have a 1600 or so armor shield for use with Shield Crush. This is very close to Lioneye's Remorse for a very low cost, and should only take a handful of maps to obtain as long as you allocate points for Essence in the Atlas Passive Tree.

Endgame Shield Crafting

Other options to consider for endgame shield crafting:
Dense Fossils
Defense Harvest crafts

I would recommend using only Dense Fossils in order to get the mods you want. As a bare minimum, you want at least T1 flat and % increased armor. The armor/life or armor/block recovery are bonuses. armor/block recovery is better than armor/life. It is most ideal to also get crafted attack speed or double damage as a crafted on suffix if possible.

Priority - Prismatic Eclipse with G G G sockets

Budget - Stat Stick Weapon (Resistances, attributes), Prismatic Eclipse

Endgame - Corrupted Prismatic Eclipse with G G G sockets and Resolute Technique

Explanation: Prismatic Eclipse gives us global attack speed per green socket. Since we only care about our Shield, this is the best, cheapest option for us to help pad Shield Crush damage. These are almost always 1-2c even on day 1. Very easy to trade for.

Endgame Explanation: Adding in a corrupted Prismatic Eclipse can give us two extra passive points or slightly more damage. Corruptions include Resolute Technique, added damage to attacks, and area of effect. All of them are good, but I would consider Resolute Technique the 'best' because of the passive points. Attack speed implicit corrupt DOES NOT work with Shield Crush, as it is not a global modifier.

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 value early on, 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, but anything above 18% is about even with a rare helmet. I would recommend waiting until day 3-4 of the league to buy this unless you have a good amount of currency already saved up.

In the meantime, use a rare helmet with life/defenses.

Endgame: We gain about 2% DPS with a 3div or so investment, and get more slots for resistances as well as extra armor. We also lose a little bit of life. The primary reason you want to work for this is to alleviate potential elemental resistance problems you can run into when changing rare items to uniques. 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). OPTIONAL: Buy a helmet with a Shield Crush craft on it as well.
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 an open suffix modifier and that all prefixes are filled. You can easily fill a prefix by benchcrafting a suffix modifier then Exalt slamming a prefix on (since Exalts are cheap now).
Step 3: Craft 'Prefixes cannot be changed' modifier (cost 2 divines).
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 if there's space.

NOTE: The enchantment makes the build's damage 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.

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 OR Belly of the Beast with +2 gems corruption (EXPENSIVE)

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.

Remember, do NOT use Eldritch orbs on your body if you plan to use that same piece for the Warlord's Crafting. It will brick your body armor if you plan to use that same piece for the endgame chest.

Although this build can function just fine in white and even yellow maps on a 4 link, a Tabula Rasa is a nice boon for us to have since we'll get 15% increased max life as well as a 6 link.

Belly of the Beast option: Belly gives a lot of life, decent Armor, and good resistances. It's normally 4-5 div for a 6 link around league start and drops to 2-3 div after a week or so. If you just want more life to stack on, this is your best option.

Corruption Option - +2 to AoE socketed gems: We use this in order to help hit Shield Crush 24. +2 to AoE socketed gems is pretty cheap on a Tabula, so this is a good medium if you don't need life/resistances from your body armor. Corrupted Bellys or other 6Ls with this mod will be pretty expensive and hard to find on trade.

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 helps get us to gem level 24 without corrupting anything except for the 21/X Shield Crush gem. 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 also only costs a few divines to make!

It costs 1 passive point to get 15% increased maximum life if the body does not have a life roll on it. This is better ONLY if you cannot get both a flat and % life roll on your body armor.

How to Craft your Endgame Chest

Pre-requisites: Level 80 character for Divination Card
COST: ~3 Divine estimate (dependent on Lucent Fossil prices)

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.

Other Good Rare Body Armor Influence Mods
Redeemer: % 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 Gloves with Life and Resists

Rage Option - Kaom's Spirit

Endgame - Double Eldritched Gloves with Impale Chance and Attack Speed OR Rage generation

Explanation: Use Spiked gloves as a cheap option before Eldritch Currency starts reliably dropping if you wish.
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 and are already resistance capped, use this. This is found via Betrayal.

On Kaom's Spirit: Kaom's Spirit is a great option for gloves if you like the defensive benefits of Berserk and don't mind losing life regeneration for it. You can get to about 4 rage generated per second with nearby passives, which makes berserk have a very consistent uptime. You can also get vulnerability on hit corrupt (about 3 divine) to get around Vulnerability as well. The gloves themselves are usually about 5c a few days into the league. Cheap and easy to use.

Endgame Explanation: We take advantage of the Eldritch Implicit modifiers to get flat chance to impale along with attack speed for more damage. Utilizing the passive tree and this glove implicit will remove the need for Impale Support on our 6 link and let us use Lifetap instead. Hitting 100% requires a good amount of investment, though, so make sure you get all the pieces before making the switch.

If I don't run Kaom's spirit, I personally run two pairs of gloves to work on Eldritch Mods, then use Harvest to roll affixes until I get something good, then swap back and forth as needed.


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

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

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 - Turquoise Amulet with +1 or +2 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.

Our endgame amulet option is a +1/+2 gems amulet, which gives +1 to physical and strength gems. A +2 amulet is an option but you will either need to get lucky or pay a LOT of money for it. I would recommend staying with a +1 amulet since it is relatively cheap.

A +2 Amulet frees up options for a more powerful Body Armor if you wish to go down that route, but again, it gets expensive pretty quickly.

How to Craft your +1 Amulet

The best way to do this is Jagged fossil spam. Craft of Exile states that it takes roughly 40 tries to hit the modifier once. You can also buy one for relatively cheap.

Priority - Panopticon, Cheap Version - Executioner

Explanation: Panopticon is our best option despite it only working while totems are up. Executioner is a good cheap option for 60% increased damage on low life enemies and 15% increased area of effect while mapping. You can easily put in whatever you want for this whether its resistances, mana reservation, life, or whatnot.

If you have life problems, anoint Discipline and Training.

If you have resistance problems, anoint Diamond Skin or Cloth and Chain.


Priority - Life and Resist Rare Rings (Vermillion or Two-Stone or Prismatic). One ring must be Unset if you do not have a different source of Vulnerability.

Budget - Two-Stone Rings with Life

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 allows us to drop our Unset Ring and move Dread Banner to the open slot. Don't sleep on Prismatic Rings - they are very powerful and give better resistances than two-stone rings as long as you build around them.
Your craft that you want will be % increased damage or attack speed. You can also craft chaos resistance as needed.
Endgame*: Circle of Guilt is a great damage boost, but as we progress it'll be more and more difficult for us to cap our resistances if we're replacing items with Uniques. Ryslatha's Coil is a higher priority than this, but if you can fit them both in without sacrificing resistances, then add this in. Otherwise, use a rare ring with resistances. I personally do not use this much.
Vulnerability Ring: A vulnerability on hit ring is very easy to come by once you find and/or buy 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, and about 20ish tries to get something that isn't super 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.

Budget - Standard belt with Life and Resists

Endgame - Ryslatha's Coil OR Arn's Anguish

Explanation: Stygian Vise is best in slot for life and resistances.

Endgame: Ryslatha's Coil and Arn's Anguish give good damage and life. Arn's Anguish is better if you don't mind being squishier. Otherwise, use Ryslatha's. Make sure to use attack catalysts on your Ryslatha's for more damage.

Arn's Anguish gives us ~10% more DPS in exchange for some slight passive tree juggling and lower defenses. This will make you squishier, but if you know and understand the boss fights, it won't matter all that much at the end of the day.

Abyss Jewel

Priority - Life, Increased Attack speed or increased physical damage

Budget - Life and Resistances/Attributes

Explanation: More Life and Defenses. This makes life easier for us. We only use Abyss Jewels if we also have a Stygian Vise.
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
Granite Flask
Rotgut (Add 'use when charges reach full' for automated Onslaught while mapping)

Levelling: Quicksilver Flask of Heat

Prefixes: Flagellant or Masochist gives nearly permanent automated uptime in maps tied with 'use when charges reach full'

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
Granite Flask for more Armor Beef
Quartz Flask for Phasing and a little bit of Spell Suppression
We use Rotgut due to consistent Frenzy charge generation via Blood Rage, which in turn gives us consistent Onslaught effect during mapping. This isn't required by any means, but the Onslaught benefits feel very good to use.

Remember that you can use the Menagerie (Bestiary) to craft flask suffixes for immunity to elemental ailments. 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 Granite 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. Shock immunity is a higher priority than ignite.


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 are using another form of mana leech)

Corruptions to keep in mind: Corrupted Blood Immunity

Explanation: Jewels get more pricey the more mods you look for in them, so start with %life and one of the listed modifiers 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 mana leech + an offensive mod instead.

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: Increased Physical Damage, Increased Melee Damage, Increased Maximum Life, % chance to deal double damage, and life regen. Because of passive masteries and Awakened Melee Physical Damage, we don't care about Intimidate on Hit.

You can use PoB to search for Lethal Pride gems if you want, or plug the gem you see that you want to buy on the trade site to see if its good.

Watcher's Eye:
% chance to deal double damage while using Pride - Cheaper damage boost since we attack so much
Impales you inflict last 2 additional hits while using pride - A little more expensive, but a really good damage boost. This is our endgame version.

A double mod watcher's eye with 'impales last 2 additional hits' and '% chance to impale on attacks' is our primary endgame watcher's eye when we swap off of Impale Support. They usually go for anywhere between 5 and 20 divines depending on when they're posted.


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 Slayer overleech, the bonuses apply. You can make this using 'reroll attack' or 'reroll speed' harvest crafts. It takes longer with the current version of Harvest, but it is still doable with investment.

Increased Attack Damage is easier to roll for, but Increased Attack Damage while holding a shield has slightly better damage


Priority: 2 Passive Adrenaline or Fettle Jewel, Armor with Uncompromising

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

Fettle gives us more life. Adrenaline gives us damage and attack speed.

Uncompromising gives us 50% more reservation efficiency with Determination for 2 skill points. We only need to drop Herald of Purity if we run this along with Seasonsed Swordplay.


Helmet: 'Blood and Sand has X% increased effect' OR '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'

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.

The build feels the best with Shield Crush Attack Speed or Blood and Sand Effect, followed by Ancestral Protector Attack Speed.

The best damage is Ancestral Protector Attack Speed followed by anything else listed (the damage difference is too minimal to matter for everything else).

Boots: 'X% increased attack and cast speed if you have killed recently'
Explanation: Attack Speed gives us the best general feel.

Gloves: This doesn't matter. Do what you like.


Our Ascendancy that we run is Slayer.

Slayer is used because of the overleech, 20% cull, and built in aoe gains during maps. We also have better damage when close to a target, which we normally are for bosses.

Skill Order:
Brutal Fervor > Bane of Legends > Impact > Headsman

Brutal Fervor - Lots of reliable leech and overleech during the acts. This will make the acts feel much safer.

Bane of Legends - More damage against bosses. Bosses can start to feel a little beefy around Act 8/9 (Arakaali onwards).

Impact - Since we get Ascendancy Trials much quicker now, it's fine to save Impact to last since the aoe isn't as problematic in earlier maps.

Headsman - Movement Speed, Attack Speed, and Culling by the time we hit maps. Mapping feels much better with this.

You are free to choose between Headsman or Impact as the 4th ascendancy. It's your preference on more aoe vs faster rare/boss killing.

Pantheon and Bandits

A lot of these Pantheons are just for quality of life bonuses now, as none of them are very 'required'. Make sure to use divine vessels that you find to get the bonus passives, as the bonuses do matter as you get into endgame bossing.

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 the Brine King - Freeze Immunity with the secondary passive you get with a divine vessel.

Soul of Shakari - More DOT and Chaos Damage mitigation

Primary: Kill All - We need the passive points.
Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Apr 11, 2023, 11:02:52 PM
Last bumped on May 23, 2023, 11:28:21 PM
Leveling Section
Weapon Slot During Leveling
For leveling, we are going to level with the Steel Skills until into early maps, in which we will swap to Shield Crush after getting a decent shield to use. You can change as early as Act 9 if you wish, but my recommendation to swap is getting at least a 1500+ armor shield to use. This is pretty easy to obtain in White maps.

Make sure to grab a decent sword base from Vendors or the ground and use the Vendor recipe for guaranteed increased physical damage % on your sword. It makes leveling smoother if you aren't able to find a weapon off the ground.

You can use either swords or axes for leveling. Axes generally do more damage and swords generally attack a little faster. It's all a matter of preference. 2H does more damage, but as you go through the acts, a 1H + shield will be more defensive for only a minor damage loss.

You can still level through the acts with Shield Crush if you wish, but it can feel clunky and a little bad due to the low attack speed and the need to regularly upgrade your shield without any form of vendor recipe to do it reliably. The PoB no longer supports a leveling tree for Shield Crush. We make the switch to Shield crush by maps, and the skill tree in the PoB emulates a change at roughly Act 9. If you want to stay on steel skills for longer, just take note on what skills you need to move when you do make the swap - it's not very regret intensive and you will be able adjust with passive respec points given through the acts.

White Weapon + Magic/Rare/Unique Rustic Sash + Blacksmith's Whetstone

Levelling Tree Details

The core goals that we want while levelling is to get high damage while mitigating how much we want to respec once we hit Blood Aqueduct. In order to do this, the levelling tree has been adjusted to prioritize the best things along the way we can hit for Shattering Steel, which is the main skill we will run while going through the acts. Once we hit Act 4, we will be using our second weapon set to level the skill gems we don't use in the Shattering Steel version, and then replace and adjust once we make the decision to switch to Shield Crush.

We will want about 25-40% unreserved mana until leech is reliable, which should kick in around act 6 or 7. Until then, pick up high level mana flasks as you go. It's easiest to get these from Vendors.

Around level 55 or 60 you can start putting points into the Mana reservation Efficiency cluster and the stance cluster. Once both of these clusters are allocated, you should be able to run all of the auras with a decent pool of mana to use for leech. If you do not want to deal with mana leech, then utilize Lifetap early on.

Uniques to Consider while Leveling
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 Heart somehow costs too much.
Carnage Heart - Gives us everything we could want at a cheap price. This is the almost always our best 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 leveling 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 - Resistances, double damage chance, and some strength. It's a great budget belt for us to use.
Belt of the Deciever - Similar to Magnate, but we get Intimidate as well, which gives us a great damage boost until we get the passive mastery.

Wanderlust - 20% movespeed and no freezing at level 1. Excellent leveling 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.

Shields (if running Shield Crush in levelling):
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. Once it's cheap enough, this is very good to use as a temporary shield at level 70.
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.


Why don't we use Call of Steel?

You can use Call of Steel if you are having problems with pack clearing, but it does make the build feel a bit clunky. That being said, it can make maps faster depending on your damage. Since we use the Impact ascendancy from Slayer, Call of Steel popping shouldn't be needed anymore.

You'll want to throw in a steel skill in your Weapon/Prismatic Eclipse so you can get the skill to use.

Where's Fortify?

Fortify is gained through Fortify passive masteries. Remember that we need 20 Fortification Stacks for the damage boost to take effect, which can be gained through the second fortify cluster or through Lethal Pride.

How do I get a good Lethal Pride?

Path of Building allows you to check what each Lethal Pride gives stats-wise now. I would recommend only looking for one that gives 5% double damage to begin with, as that's what the build sets as a baseline. We DO NOT need Intimidate on hit anymore since we get that through awakened melee physical damage support.

If you want to min-max, getting fortification nodes to get rid of the Steadfast cluster is our best use.

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. Adding in something like Faster Attacks can make it feel less problematic. You can also use Enhance Support if you want.

Anomalous Blood Rage has a small change to gain a frenzy charge on hit with bosses, but its generally not worth the price investment in my opinion. Most of the boss videos do not take frenzy charges into account unless there are phases which include trash mobs.

If you are investing in the build, using the chest elderslayer modifier for Frenzy Charge on it will fix all Frenzy Charge problems. This requires a +2 amulet though.

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?

Shield Charge feels bad. You'll bonk into walls and hit terrain with bigger hitboxes than the visuals suggest. It's annoying and becomes a nuisance. You can use a 4L Shield Charge for damage on trash mobs if you like, but the clear speed is only barely faster compared to just jumping around with leap slam and using Shield Crush once or twice.

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

There are other jewels that might be better when it comes to minmaxing, but this build is designed as a template and baseline for anybody to play. I do not want to make an extreme investment version past the one i have made already as I want newer players to feel comfortable with the damage that they see, and not think that the damage listed in the other versions of the PoB is 'bad' compared to the super endgame version.

Do you have plans to make other Shield Crush variant builds?

As much as I'd love to dig into critical versions, more defensive versions with Spell Suppression, and utilizing other ascendancies, I simply do not have the time to dedicate a build variant to the same depth as this build. Maybe one day I will, but for the forseeable future, this is the only build guide I plan on making.

Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Apr 2, 2023, 11:52:51 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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