[2.2 Zerk] Savage Pact Combo Build - Uses Static Strike, Remember That Skill?

what doesn't kill me makes me stronger...


This build is about using this:

combined with this:

to achieve immortality.

Cloaked in Savagery says that we leech 100% of our damage as life for 4 seconds after we take a big hit. Vaal Pact says that we leech instantly. Since player dps is much higher than player HP, this means that we should heal pretty much our whole life pool with every attack, if we've gotten trucked recently. This is the main combo of the build.

Offensively, we're using Static Strike. That's right, Static Strike is the best skill for this build. To guarantee our survival, we need to make the time between hits as small as possible, so that when we take a big hit, we smack the enemy right back almost instantly. Static Strike hits twice per attack and can be supported by Multistrike. It even operates through stun due to the delay mechanic, so we will not get taken down by a one-two punch. Besides that, Static Strike is a hybrid single-target/AOE skill whose single-target DPS is comparable to Earthquake's. It has some quality-of-life issues, and I will explain how I get around those below, for now it's only important to know that Static Strike is how we're dealing our damage, spiced up with a little crit.

Defensively, on top of an extreme amount of leech we have decent evasion as well as Acro/Phase Acro. We also keep 100% flask uptime through Poacher's Mark, so pick your defensive medley there. Fortify, too, since we're a melee weapon build. Lastly, we have the immo-cwdt setup, where we've got Arctic Breath cuz it's chill.

Single Target Melee!?

So, how do we deal with the fact that we (gasp) actually have to run into melee range on our melee build? Two ways:

1) We give ourselves as high mobility as possible. Quicksilver of Adrenaline up 100% of the time, both Whirling Blades AND Leap Slam (trust me, you want both), Vaal Haste, and move speed on boots. We absolutely need to be able to catch fleeing enemies or move to our next target with as little delay as possible.
2) We jitter our mouse on top of packs and spam clickclickclickclickclick so that we're always targetting an enemy, and never the ground. I've heard this called "MOBA clicking", and it is your friend when playing targeted melee. If you don't follow this method, you risk whiffing the first attack of a multistrike, losing 33% of your DPS.

Using those two tactics, I think you'll find namelock melee to be mostly painless, and even a bit of fun!


- Frantic playstyle, especially with Rampage gloves
- Good single-target and AoE due to the nature of Static Strike (single target hit->AoE explosion)
- Strange cocktail of adrenaline and serenity: huge life spikes downward without feeling any alarm
- Pretty cheap to gear, only two uniques are required. In PSC, the build was doable for under 80c.
- Can do any map mods. Reflect, Blood Magic, whatever

- Not a lazy build, one-shotting the screen. We have to go pack-to-pack.
- Not HC viable... it's not that we're squishy, it's that it's hard to predict what might be lethal, since we get chunked so frequently. That said, the only thing I recall killing me in maps was an enraged Village Ruin doggy with +%ele. No one-shot = no death.
- Single-target melee build. We do pretty well to get around this, but at the end of the day, it's just not for everyone.


gem setup
static strike--multistrike--less duration--increased aoe--melee phys--fortify
(in that order, so for a 5L, drop fortify and put it on a movement skill instead)
Static Strike isn't very flexible. We pretty much want these exact gems for our 6L, with the only replaceable gem being Melee Phys. Once I get the rest of the crit nodes, I'll swap Crit Strikes in for Melee Phys, probably. You could also swap in Crit Strikes against bosses, taking out Inc Aoe.

whirling blades--leap slam--faster attacks--blood magic
As I mentioned above, ideally we want both movement skills. If you're on a 5-link for SS, it's acceptable to cut Leap Slam and slot in Fortify.

hatred--poacher's mark--blasphemy
This is my preferred aura setup, but there is room for discretion. Enfeeble makes a lot of sense, for example, because it lowers our susceptibility to one-shots, and lowers enemy accuracy making our evasion more potent. Alternately, Assassin's Mark would boost our crit chance and thus DPS considerably.
Poacher's Mark is between the two, and offers a lot of utility that would be hard to come by elsewhere. The Life on Hit means that we stay permanently topped off even when we haven't been Savagely Hit, the Mana on Hit makes mana sustain trivial, and PM is the easiest way to get Frenzy Charges. We have enough accuracy without PM lowering evasion, but PM should ensure a 95% chance to hit, which is also a multiplier on our Crit chance (since crit checks chance to hit--go to the wiki for a detailed explanation). The most important thing that PM does is allow us to keep up 4 flasks, constantly, with no downtime, and that is critical. A basalt flask does a nice impersonation of Enfeeble anyway.
One last option, Hatred could be swapped for Grace. However, Hatred also offers defensive utility through chill, freeze, and shatter due to our crits, so I think it's the stronger choice.

That covers our chest, one 4-link, and one 3-link. That leaves two 4-links and a 3-link to fit in the rest of our gems. I highly recommend finding room for the follwoing:
- cwdt-immortal call (level 1 cwdt, since we don't use endurance charges for anything)
- vaal haste-inc duration
Ice Golem is nice to have as well. I'll put my gem setup below, but it can easily be modified to preference.

4L: cwdt (Lv.1)--immortal call--arctic breath--gmp
4L: cwdt (Lv.16)--ice golem (Lv.17)--GMP--blind
3L: vaal haste--inc duration--portal
gear setup
Varunastra is an easy weapon choice for this build due to the pathing we use to travel between Marauder and Vaal Pact. It doesn't require much passive investment, which is great because we're stretched pretty thin. It's not too expensive, although it is a Perandus League exclusive.

Abyssus is perfect for this build, because we don't care how much damage we're taking. It adds a TON of dps to our one-handeder which would otherwise be lacking.

Those two are the only required items! I also use Shadows and Dust because it's fun and it adds a surprising amount of damage, it fits right in with the berserker playstyle imo. You could use a rare just as easily, if S&D are too pricy. The glove enchant is BiS, by the way, try to get that one.
For the rest, get life, evasion, +phys on jewelry, crit... everything you would expect to find on a crit phys attack build that's life-based. My chest and shield are pretty abysmal rolls and could definitely be giving me a LOT more evasion.
For unique options, Daresso's Defiance could be a good one for the chest, or, of course, Lightning Coil. Atziri's Step is the old standby for evasion/dodge boots, and it'd be good here too.


flask setup
This is the budget flask setup, a more expensive version would use Taste of Hate instead of Atziri's Promise.

Basalt of Staunching is great for lab runs, and make sure to craft at least 23% Chemist's on so it stores 2 uses.

Diamond Flask gives our critical strikes the Lucky property, quadratically reducing our chance NOT to crit (more on Lucky here). Rumor has it that running around Lucky all the time improves your drop RNG, too.
Diamond Flasks were MASSIVELY buffed for 2.2.0. With a 15% longer duration and 1/4 of its old charges/use, it's practically a brand new flask. The current super-fast clearspeed meta is also a stealth-buff to flasks, as it increases their uptime. With all that, the Diamond flask is one of the strongest flasks in the game, in my opinion. I ran the numbers for this build, it's about a 30% damage multiplier.

Quicksilver of Adrenaline is the last must-have flask, both for combat and non-combat movement. The prefix isn't too important.

The last two flask slots are up to you, this build doesn't necessarily need a life flask due to the high leech but it does help for things like burning ground maps, or poison. The Atziri's Promise is there for some chaos damage, but as mentioned, a Taste of Hate would be better. Alternatives include Stibnite, Ruby/Topaz, Jade, or Quartz.

final tree, 112 pts, 4 jewels
Ascendancy nodes: Pain Reaver->Cloaked in Savagery->Crave the Slaughter (can replace Crave with Rite of Ruin if desired)

As you can see, we travel from Marauder straight through Duelist and Ranger allll the way up to Acrobatics and then Vaal Pact. This takes us near both the By the Blade and Deadly Dilettante clusters, perfect for Varunastra. The Claw cluster is also cash, Soul Raker and Magpie are both good nodes. Claws of the Magpie's secondary effect is more useful than you'd expect (more useful than not useful at all, in other words), as it can be a source of endurance and power charges occasionally.

Note about jewels
This build can take up to 4 jewel sockets. It's a Varunastra build, so we can use a looot of different jewel affixes. Here's a link to a Standard search for jewels with life and any 2 other useful affixes for Varunastra.


To level this build, I recommend using this levelling tree up to level 65 or so when Varunastra becomes available. I recommend pathing to Vaal Pact before you do Labyrinth in Cruel, and taking VP immediately after. Before Varunastra, it's very easy to level with Earthquake and a 2Handed weapon (and the associated nodes). There are a lot of good levelling 2Hand uniques like Geofri's Baptism and Reaper's Pursuit, but decent rares do the job just as well.

offensive, defensive stats
Offense #'s:
26k tooltip in hideout
52k tooltip with full buffs (tooltip doesn't account for diamond flask or secondary explosion, real single-target dps is closer to 80k)
5.6 aps with Frenzies up, 6.8 with vhaste (not counting discharge effect)
17.5% crit chance (~32% with diamond up) (we invest almost nothing into crit; using crit strikes gem and ass mark with diamond up would give ~80%, but I'd rather get life than damage at this point)

Defense #'s:
4.9k life
5k evasion
40% dodge
30% spell dodge
20% phys reduction from Basalt


Poorjoy's Asylum, excellent display of our defenses!
Enfeeble Chateau, boss facetank
Ele Weakness Ele Reflect Canyon map, what's reflect?

Thanks for checking out the build, drop any questions or comments below!
builds: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1663570/
Last edited by ThatsSoGoodman on May 21, 2016, 8:32:56 PM
Last bumped on Nov 26, 2016, 5:33:19 PM
Vids are up! Got a Poorjoy's for your perusal :>
builds: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1663570/

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