2.3 Pistol Whip Stunlock Champion (Izaro Stunlock, and more!)

TLDR: Flame Surge RF + reduced stun threshold + stun chance allows you to stun lock just about anything in the game.

Disclaimer for the haters
This is my first guide so please be nice. I made the intro / outro for this video before I tried recording on OBS. Then I realized my potato computer couldn’t really handle recording on a decent resolution without lagging to hell and creating stuttered footage. So I cut the actual build guide section of the video in favor of just a written guide. I know it looks like this video was made in 1994- I thought it was still entertaining which was the major point anyway.

meme video / stun highlights



concept / theory
Leading up to the ascendancy expansion I was researching builds and wanting to do an unconventional caster. I found this guide and became interested in spell stunning. A long time ago this guy was trying to stunlock stuff using arc. He eventually ended his experiments by saying the major thing holding him back from reliably stun-locking bosses was being able to shock them. I thought with flame surge doing higher damage, vinktar’s, and the fact that GGG has been handing out more multipliers like subway coupons, there was a good chance to advance the build further.

With the teaser photos of the new scary lab boss I thought it would also be a fun goal to set out to stunlock him.

Read MinstrelShadrak's thread for a detailed explanation about how stun works, but you’re basically working with the damage you deal vs. monster health = stun chance. There are 2 other places (that I know of) to get +stun chance- which I think is just added onto the final total. Warlord’s mark curse and champion ascendancy. As a caster I was also able to stack reduced stun threshold from the following sources:

-15 from tree
~15 from belt
~15 from weapon
-50 from stun gem

If you look at the stun chart you’ll start to see that it begins to fall off in usefulness at around 80-90% anyway, so this was pretty good and made me think ground slam wasn’t necessary when trying to stunlock.

There are so many factors that go into stunning, especially when you start working with map mods, I never bothered figuring out the exact points you start stun locking, but I’ll mention a few things I did to try to keep stun chance high.

-Tri curse warlord’s mark / ele weakness / flammability
-Quality blasphemy for my warlord’s mark (shoutouts to Ghudda for showing how important quality on curses can be)
-Stacking more multipliers(3 support gems / RF / Ele overload / Flame Surge inherent)

To say more about that last point I found I stunned more reliably using a higher damage single hit rather than casting faster or using spell echo. Tooltip damage will be much higher using either of those supports but I found I would break stunlock chains using those as opposed to the supports I chose.

Also worth noting I didn’t really focus on stun duration at all. Even with a very slow cast speed you can keep things locked down with the little stun duration we have, and the few experiments I did with increasing stun duration all seemed pretty worthless. It’s just all about whether or not you actually trigger a stun.

Possible directions to take the build:
So in the current “gotta-go-fast” meta this build doesn’t really amount to much. I had fun but honestly why stun things when you can just kill them? There might be some application in a 6 man party to have one person be a stunner if the meta ever slows down. You could also use arc with some +chains business to lock down most of the white monsters on the screen instead of bosses. I really don’t know anything about high level party play though so I’m basically talking out my ass.

If you want to make the build better you can obviously keep everything the same and just do the other branch of the champion ascendancy for permanent fortify. You’ll be a lot tankier, and you’ll still stun the shit out of almost everything. You can also drop the stun gem and just melt shit. Even with the gem I estimate I’m at around 140K tooltip damage.

Lastly there’s probably a way to build this on another ascendancy. I think you could drop some stun threshold and go crit for crazier damage and keep the stun chance high and then not have to use Flame Surge. It would be more expensive but EK could probably do it and be ranged clearing / AOE stunning.

Notes on Izaro:
Even completely stun-locked this guy is still a total bastard. His green flames still shoot out because it’s a separate entity. The green teleport ring will also teleport me out of range to keep him locked down so he can still get away and try to kill my friends. Lastly, even if I push his health over in phase 1 and 2 very quickly, he stops taking damage before he goes down meaning I can’t stun him anymore, but stays active for a short time depending on the lab mechanic that day. GGG managed to make a stunned boss still quite dangerous so rats off to them for that.


-Able to trivialize many difficult bosses.
-High Life Pool. I hit 5600 while using doedre’s damning / windscream, and no life rolls on most of my jewels.
-6 endurance charges, stun immunity, fortify, 88% Fire res, and life leech make you pretty tanky
-Great lab build. High life regen, safe on all Izaro phases and difficulties.
-Cheap. All you really need is a tabula / RotP
-Very high single target damage. You one-shot most rares. Bosses also melt while being stunned.


-The build is a little gem hungry since you're running the stun gem. Probably requires a 6-link to stun bosses.
-MAP MODS. Like most RF builds map mods can often be a problem. -max is basically a no-go. Vuln is pretty rough. I did reliably stun through most fire res mods / enfeeble / ele equilibrium. Immune to Stun also negates basically the entire purpose of your build, although it’s an easy mod to keep. Curse immune is also annoying because you have to swap in a mana pot.
-Ranged clearing, or clearing spread out monsters. Flame surge has a very narrow field of attack. Melee monsters clear quickly because of RF but having a bunch of spread out archers can actually be more scary than a difficult boss because you can’t stun them all at once.
-You have to give up 15 reduced stun threshold to use a dagger / whirling blades, but it is possible.

Shoutouts to Bad_Dad for being the the most patient lab dad, and Garfield for never giving up even though this league was over before it started. Also mah guild [420Blazeit] for letting me lurk and learn. And of course Shadrak for putting in all the scholarly stun research.

Questions below or hit me up IGN: Whipits_in_thebreakroom
If anyone has any OBS advice about settings for slow computers I’m all ears.
Last bumped on May 21, 2016, 5:42:17 AM
Neat. It's unclear from your thread that you really understand how you're achieving this, so I'll give it a shot - we've been discussing it on a "bug" thread. My guildies have been abusing this mechanic for a while now.

Stun chance is based off (a) damage relative to modified monster HP, and (b) flat sources of stun chances. Once you've established a monster is stunned, the minimum duration is 350 ms, modified by relative damage and stun duration modifiers. If calculated stun chance is below 21%, it is considered to be zero.

The perma-stun setup abuses (i) flat chance to stun, (ii) the fact that minimum stun duration is 350 ms, and (iii) a super high hits per second skill.

* Flat chance to stun is gained from Worthy Foe / Champion, which gives 20% chance to stun taunted enemies. Warmark gives an additional 15% chance to stun cursed enemies (quality makes this better). The combination ensures that you're above the 21% threshold for a constant minimum 350 ms stun per hit.

* The 350 ms unique stun duration is what really allows abuse. Unlike freeze, which is based off relative damage, this effect is procced even with zero damage - as long as the game is told you have inflicted a stun, you will stun for 350 ms (modified by monster stun recovery and your stun duration).

* At 21% chance to stun, with a 350 ms minimum duration per stun, you need to hit the enemy ~ 14 times per second to permastun. That's where Blade Vortex comes in. Despite a lack of dev confirmation on this, it appears that the blades space out their hits over the duration - i.e. 10 blades will cause 10 equally spaced out hits over a fixed period of time. This mechanic ensures a cheap way to get that 14ish hits per second.

tl;dr Flame Surge doesn't have much to do with your build. It's a combination of Worthy Foe, Warmark, and Blade Vortex.
Last edited by sherkhan on May 20, 2016, 12:21:32 PM
sherkhan wrote:

tl;dr Flame Surge doesn't have much to do with your build.

I don't see any bad in this, build looks really awesome :D I like it!
Yeah, did some testing and sherkhan's method definitely works.
Was laying down some stun chains in merc dried lake with lvl 7 Blade vortex unlinked.

I still think much of the stunning I do in the video could be done without the bug though.

I'm between 90 and 95% reduced stun threshold, which means I have to do about 8% of a boss's life on hit to have 100% stun chance, or 12 casts of flame surge. A lot of the bosses in the video I kill in much less than 12 casts, so even if the bug gets fixed I still think you can stunlock these bosses with my method.

The kinda silly thing about all of this is that if you're killing the boss that quickly do you really have to worry about stuns anyway...BUT 6 MAN PARTIES!...maybe.

Thanks for pointing that out Sherkhan. I was never quite sure how that additive stun chance worked.
Last edited by Kinch45 on May 20, 2016, 1:13:23 PM
sherkhan wrote:

tl;dr Flame Surge doesn't have much to do with your build.

I don't see any bad in this, build looks really awesome :D I like it!

I might've put that the wrong way. Flame Surge is awesome, especially the way OP combines it with RF. Definitely one of the highest single target options in the game.

However, the perma-stun is quite independent of FS.
Nice video and guide :)

Pls double check if rapid decay works on "non totem" RF,
got a feeling you're better off with elemental focus.
Kinch45 wrote:

edit: Just for science purposes, could you check what happens to taunted foes when you swap increased burning damage with your stun gem? It's rather far fetched... but you never know.
Last edited by MinstrelShadrak on May 20, 2016, 1:31:48 PM
Ah you're right. It works for totems because they have duration.
Guess I gotta pony up to Vorici for that triple blue.

Also RF can't stun cause it doesn't hit.
For the sake of weird science I did swap it in just now and nothing happened.
You might wanna add what gloves you are using aswell :) can't see them in the gear section
I make mirror tier items, I don't rlly play the actual game. Reddit hates me. I'm not cool.
Just rare gloves.
Everything else is pretty unremarkable which is why I left it out.
I suppose I should mention I'm using the FS damage enchant:
this might actually be useful one day

currently it's sitting in my stash to remind me that id'ing things isn't the best way to do chaos recipes

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