[3.21] [SSF] Crit Staff Earthquake Champ - 18m+ single hit damage, very tanky

//3.21 changes: lost Determination mana reservation efficiency, gained +1% to all max resistances. Lost couple percent of damage from changes to some passive skills. Also, the Molten Shell nerf (which probably hit 80% of the builds in current PoE, lol).
To make up for lost efficiency, we need to either:
-get Enlighten Support,
-annoint Charisma,
-get a Lab enchant (for Pride, Determination or Petrified Blood)
-suck it up and drop 3 points somewhere, allocating them into the new mana mastery - 12% mana reservation efficiency.
The last option is obviously the worst as we lose either a chunk of damage or a bit of life. Since farming Eternal Lab on this build is super easy, in the PoB I've included the version with a Lab enchant.

What is this?
An EQ Champ, achieving near 100% crit rate because of staff as the main weapon, using Petrified blood to reserve some life for auras and very high tankiness. Very SSF friendly. I finished all content with it, including The Feared, except Ubers (although I haven't even tried killing any Ubers with it, as I just kinda assume this build is not mobile enough for them). This build can get to over 18m damage per single Earthquake if all stars align. Clears at an okay speed through Vaal Earthquake.

The good and the bad

+ good for SSF,
+ high damage per bonk - over 18m damage per one use of Earthquake is possible,
+ great boss killer,
+ very tanky,
+ clears at an okay speed,
+ doesn't really require any uniques, but some of them are really good for it,
+ great regen + overleech from Petrified Blood,
+ near 100% Adrenaline uptime.
- quite socket starved,
- physical reflect maps are only possible with a Pantheon passive + a sanctum relic,
- passive point starved,
- NOT a one button build - you have a full bar of skills to actively use,
- slow attacks - you'll be slamming with around 1 attack per second.
- keeping up 100% uptime of Adrenaline can get annoying in the long run.



poe.ninja 3.20 character link:

Good uniques to have:

BiS unique boots for this build - makes your totem less annoying to use, as well as providing a massive damage boost. A must have in the endgame for this build, can be target farmed by running Searing Exarch. Until then can be replaced by regular rare boots.

BiS helmet, provides an absolutely massive damage boost with very negligible downside, since we're barely taking any physical damage in general. This one cannot be target farmed, so for SSF it's pure RNG. Personally I did not manage to get one for myself in 3.20. Can still achieve 13m damage bonks even without it.

Not mandatory, but more for trade leagues. It's the best DPS belt for this build, hands down. Quite a rare item in SSF, so usually you shouldn't count on getting it there. Consider it a luxury endgame upgrade.

Map mods:

Can do everything except:
- phys reflect (although in 3.20 it's possible with an anti-reflect Sanctified Relic,
- no regen

General tips

Put Molten Shell in your left click hotkey, so it's automatically cast whenever it's off cooldown.

Level with Steel skills until you get at least a 4 link for your EQ - anything under a 4 link makes EQ absolutely atrocious to use.

Flame dash is your best bet for a movement skill. Regular Dash is also okay, but it has high dexterity requirement. Leap slam is out of the question because we have almost no attack speed, as well as it would steal exerted attack charges.

Don't bother changing stances - just run Blood stance at all times. The AoE difference is negligible and it would add an additional button to press to the build, which we already have plenty of.

Quartz flask is very important for clearing - lets you run through dense packs of enemies unbothered while clearing with Vaal Earthquake.

Blood Rage is extremely important for this build - it makes Adrenaline have near 100% uptime.

There are two ways to keep up Adrenaline - one is to toggle Petrified Blood off and on (not recommended unless you're in downtime between invulnerable bosses changing phases) and two - simply using a life flask. This will get you to over 50% hp, which Blood Rage will quickly drain to 50% and trigger Adrenaline. You need to do this once every 20 seconds. Note: you cannot trigger Adrenaline buff again until your previous one runs out.

Vaal Earthquake is your clear skill - you use it and then run, everything should die at your run speed. By the time it runs out it should be back up again if the map mob density is high enough.

You have to get used to Fist of War timing on your attacks - don't just spam EQ. Wait until your Fist of War is off cooldown, then attack. Don't forget to exert your attacks with Intimidating Cry - with two uses of it you should have no problem keeping every single slam exerted.

When fighting bosses make sure to:
- have your totem up,
- have the boss be cursed with Assassin's Mark,
- have your attacks exerted by Intimidating Cry,
- ideally have your Adrenaline up,
- make sure you attack only when Fist of War is ready.

Gem links:

Chest - Main skill - Vaal Earthquake (in order of importance):
Vaal Earthquake - Less Duration Support - Fist of War Support - Pulverise Support - Melee Physical Damage Support - Brutality Support

3 link life aura setup #1:
Arrogance - Blood and Sand - Dread Banner

4 link life aura setup #2:
Arrogance - Vitality - Precision - Clarity (level Clarity according to your need - you HAVE TO keep your unreserved HP above 50% to get to use Adrenaline and overleech)

2 link Ancestral Warchief:
Ancestral Warchief - Maim Support

3 link movement and warcry:
Flame Dash - Intimidating Cry - Second Wind

Petrified Blood
Molten Shell
Assassin's Mark
Blood Rage

NOTE: You can save one socket (from the second Arrogance Support gem) if you use at least a 5 link weapon for your Life aura setup. Best scenario would be using two 6 links - one for your main skill and the other being: Arrogance Support - Vitality - Clarity - Blood and Sand - Precision - Dread Banner.
Dread banner doesn't reserve any mana or life because of the Inspirational ascendancy passive, but it can still be linked to Arrogance to gain increased aura effect.

Example Gear:

Helmet enchants: depends on if you're using Enlighten Support or annointing Charisma, you can get Pride, Determination or Petrified Blood mana reservation efficiency, or if you have no problem with mana - for straight damage upgrades: Earthquake damage, Assassin's Mark curse effect, Blood and Sand effect.
Influences and potential endgame item upgrades:
Either a Hunter or Elder chestpiece with +x.xx% to attack critical strike chance or Crusader with Power Charge on hit.
Gloves should have these eldritch mods: Exerted attacks deal increased damage and adds physical damage to attacks.

Ascendancy, bandits, anointment and Pantheon:

Ascendancy order:
First to Strike, Last to Fall - Master of Metal - Inspirational - Conqueror

Bandits: 2 passives.

Amulet anointment:
Divine Fervour is very cheap and quite good. Best annointments are Mark the Prey, Panopticon or even Marked for Death for free culling strike.
Charisma, if you don't have a reservation efficiency helmet Lab enchant.

Upgraded Soul of the Brine King for freeze immunity and reduced chill effect.
Soul of Garukhan for Blind immunity and reduced shock effect.


General mapping gameplay:

Maven (one death due to getting lost on memory game):

Last edited by 100purified on Apr 20, 2023, 3:38:10 AM
Last bumped on Sep 12, 2023, 3:54:23 AM

Hey, Imma give the build a try. Did you finish sanctum with the build?
Inawhole wrote:

Hey, Imma give the build a try. Did you finish sanctum with the build?

Yes, pretty much on every run. You can one shot guards and kill the last boss before she goes into the spinning laser phase.
I don't think no hit runs are possible on this build though.
As far as tankiness goes if I were trying to beef it up a bit more what would you recommend?
As far as tankiness goes if I were trying to beef it up a bit more what would you recommend?

Around all the uniques + a two handed weapon (so no shield) in the build getting even more tankiness would be difficult. The things you could do is cap your chaos res, possibly get life regeneration on gear.
I suppose you could also try going for Str/dex gear so you can get spell suppression on it, but I wouldn't recommend it.
3.21 update?
Liadobap wrote:
3.21 update?

Very small changes:
-Determination efficiency mastery is no longer a thing, instead we grab "+1% to all maximum Resistances if Equipped Helmet, Body Armour, Gloves, and Boots all have Armour",
-we have to make up for the lost Determination efficiency, so two choices:
1. Either drop one gem slot and incorporate Enlighten (I'd drop Culling Strike Support from Ancestral Warchief)
2. We take away 3 points of %increased life on tree near Marauder starting location and put them into the new mana mastery "12% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills"

Other than that, no changes. I am a little bit sad that there are no new Staff masteries - those are probably some of the most underwhelming ones in the game, and there was no change to them.
Build will only get stronger this league with new weapon passives.
Last edited by 100purified on Mar 31, 2023, 1:56:28 PM
Hey there, thanks for this build post. Just curious--if you were to pick the BIS helmet enchant for this, what would it be? Sorry if this is in the notes and i missed it...i didn't see it though so thought I'd ask.
wweezzyy wrote:
Hey there, thanks for this build post. Just curious--if you were to pick the BIS helmet enchant for this, what would it be? Sorry if this is in the notes and i missed it...i didn't see it though so thought I'd ask.

Since we lost the Determination reservation efficiency mastery in 3.21, you can pick up Determination, Petrified Blood or Pride helmet enchants.
If you can deal with the loss of mastery in a different way, like I described in two posts above this one, then you can pick either: Assassin's Mark, Blood and Sand, Earthquake damage enchant. All of them are pretty much equal and will add about 0.5m damage to your bonks.
Last edited by 100purified on Apr 3, 2023, 4:32:41 AM
Based on your experience with the build, since it doesn't do Spell Block nor Spell Suppression is surviving Spell damage an issue? Are the high max resists enough?

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