[3.1] Shaper = Stunned, Tidebreaker Heavy Strike Stunner Build

Hey guys, here I will present you with this stun based build I have been playing nonstop since the start of the Legacy League in March, 2017. Centered around Tidebreaker and Heavy Strike, this is a solid build with good offense & defense, can do all content, and can consistently stun-lock anything including Shaper.

In this guide, the abbreviation "r.E.S.T." will appear frequently; it stands for the "reduced Enemy Stun Threshold" modifier, a key concept in this build.

(Showcase of my collection which might be the best Tidebreaker that exists in the game.)

Path of Building

Pastebin links to this build based on my own characters in standard(flasks reduced to non-legacy versions); Shaper DPS. I do tweak this build often and it can be slightly different from what I am currently running with.

Berserker version: https://pastebin.com/jpm49WRB

Slayer version: https://pastebin.com/HtNsBCNC


Some videos were recorded long ago and newer versions have much better DPS and stun capability.


A Shaper kill with mixed damage version and Stun Support(if I used Maim Support instead, damage will be 1.3 times higher):

Video: https://youtu.be/rKYLRFNtJ-E

Another Shaper kill with the pure physical version:

Video: https://youtu.be/YHKyvGgNW6I

Red Elder

In this fight I used my corrupted Tidebreaker instead of a normal one. This corruption is very difficult to find and I don't want to showcase my build with such a rare item. So I will later record another Elder fight with a normal Tidebreaker.

Video: https://youtu.be/CptScgaU3N0

T16 Bosses

A Chimera fight with pure physical version:

Video: https://youtu.be/e07Y77oY-0s

Also a Hydra fight:

Video: https://youtu.be/vJFvIblfv5c

Map Clear

T13 Shore map(patch 3.0) Sunder clear with 5 Sextants and Beyond Zana Mod. Note that due to 60% less life recovery rate, I was not at full life most of the time due to Blood Rage, thus my Damage on Full Life Support was mostly inactive; I was essentially playing with a 5-link.

Video: https://youtu.be/F8K2PQfyAgQ

Build Mechanics

This section gives detailed explanation on the stun mechanics, and explains how we can stun-lock endgame bosses like Shaper.

Why Heavy Strike

Heavy Strike itself deals 193%(193.7%) base damage, this is one of the highest among all melee skills; and the threshold jewels and helm enchant can provide 52% chance to deal double damage; and it has a built-in 25% r.E.S.T. This skill is by far the best skill to stun enemies.

The downsides of this skill are:
1. It has a 100% chance to knockback.

-We reverse the direction of knockback with this glove. This downside now becomes an upside, as we can pull mobs closer to us.

2. It is a single target attack skill.

-We add splash effect to this skill by picking the "Impact" ascendancy node (Slayer); Ancestral Call works wonders with this combo. Berserker can link Melee Splash Support to it, but for Berserker it's just easier to use Sunder with a secondary weapon.

Build Features

This is a well-rounded build that can clear all content including Shaper, Elder and Uber Atziri. Our ability to stun serves as a reliable layer of defense which keeps us and our party members safe against most enemies. Stun-locking also provides the best environment for DPS output, making most boss fights quick and simple.

At around level 90 with proper gears, you will have:

1. Around 7500 Life.
2. More than 600K Shaper DPS without flasks, on top of totem damage and culling. (With flasks more than 1 million; with my Mirrored mace more than 2 million.)
3. Stun-locks anything besides stun immune ones.
4. No problem doing stun immune bosses, don't worry.
5. Cool reverse knock-back vacuum effect.
6. Smooth gearing and early league Uber Lab farming.
7. With minor adjustments this build is Hardcore viable.

Stun Mechanics

Some knowledge about the stun mechanics and some math work done.

Background Knowledge

1. Stun chance needs to be greater than 20% to actually have a chance to land a stun.
2. Stun chance is based on 200% * damage done in this hit / defender's effective max life.
3. Defender's effective max life is their total life pool(before party scaling) multiplied by 0.25 - 0.25 * ((r.E.S.T. - 75) / (r.E.S.T. - 50)).

A plot to show the non-linear growth of r.E.S.T.

4. Base stun duration is 0.35 seconds. A Ruthless Blow has base stun duration of 0.8 seconds.
5. Stun duration is simply base stun duration * (1 + stun duration modifier)

Therefore, to land a stun, we need a combination of r.E.S.T. and high damage per hit. Then, to achieve stun-locking, we need moderate amount of attack rate combined with stun duration.

6. Slow effects from chill and Temporal Chains will prolong stun duration.

Math, Stun, Shaper

You should have around 130% r.E.S.T. with this build (without Stun Support).

Where do I get this 130% r.E.S.T.

Tidebreaker: 20-30%
Endurance Charge on Melee Stun from Tidebreaker: 19%
Redblade Trampler: 5-10%
Belt suffix: up to 15%, more if essence crafted
Skull Cracking wheel: 18%
Stun Mastery wheel: 15%
Heavy Strike: 25%

Maximum total 132%

With 130% r.E.S.T., defender's effective max life is reduced to 7.8% of their life pool, thus if we deal damage equivalent to 0.78% of the target's max life, this hit will have a chance to land a stun.

Life pool of end game bosses according to PoEDB:
T15 boss: 3 million.
Uber Izaro: 4 million.
Elder Guardians: 8 million.
Guardians: 10-12 million.
Elder: 16 million.
Shaper: 20 million.

So, to possibly stun Shaper, I need 156k damage in one hit. To guarantee a stun on Shaper, I need 780k damage in one hit.

According to Path of Building, my Berserker's damage per hit is at 146k to 478k. This calculation is actually done with my double damage being counted as 1.52 multiplier at all times; Ruthless Blow is also calculated improperly. The correct damage range is 70k to 978k. Thus, my high roll hits can guarantee a stun on Shaper.

With Stun Support, it's even easier to stun Shaper, but you will lose some DPS.

Maximizing Stun Capability

Both damage per hit and r.E.S.T. increase the chances to land a stun. Both attack rate and stun duration increase the number of attacks we can perform within the duration of one stun. The chance to land consecutive stuns is equal to the combination(not plain addition) of all the chances to land stuns with those number of attacks we perform.

There are very limited sources of r.E.S.T.; in comparison, stun duration is easier to get, but it's still difficult to stack up. This build has already picked most r.E.S.T. possible, and you only need to pay attention to stun duration from belt and jewels. It's efficient to get stun duration there considering our stun capability, but we should also keep in mind that stun duration doesn't offer any DPS.

Damage per hit and attack rate both affect our DPS; and while they also both affect our stun capability, attack speed is also relevant in our mobility(faster Leap Slam). Generally, you need to promise good damage per hit first, then focus on getting attack rate from efficient sources.

How damage per hit and attack rate affect stun capability

Below is a table made with data from my simulation code; you can view my code in the Simulation Tool section at the end of this guide.

The number in each cell represents the stun up-time on Shaper. I used my own stats with an ordinary Tidebreaker(instead of the corrupted one) as the reference, and started row 0 column 0 with 50% damage per hit and 50% attack rate. Any neighboring cell to the right means 5% more damage per hit; any neighboring cell to the bottom means 5% more attack rate. We can see any percentage more of damage per hit is slightly better than attack rate.


Boss-fight Tactics

The general strategy is to cast Blood Rage, place totem near the boss, use Frenzy several times to reach maximum frenzy charges and gain Fortify(and meanwhile totem applies bleed and Maim Support debuff), then pop damage flasks and stun-lock the boss to death.

This setup may take around 2 seconds and to avoid taking too much damage during this time, use your defense flasks and life flasks wisely.

Below are the only complicated boss fights with this build, and I will share my experiences.


The best strategy is simple, survive his attacks and catch a good timing(when Shaper casts beam, for example) to pop all damage flask and go for a long time stun-locking. If Shaper is perfectly stunned then it means this phase is over.

Uber Atziri

This map is all about you being smart, practice with normal Atziri before attempting. For the dual Vessel boss fight, just stun-lock and kill the vessels one by one.

The Trio fight can be tricky. I found it easiest to use Sunder and kite the bosses. When there is only one boss left(preferably not the ranged boss), you can pop flasks, switch to Heavy Strike and Leap Slam to the boss to finish it off. You can also try to position all three bosses together and use Sunder(or splashing Heavy Strike with Ancestral Call) to stun all three, kill two, then burst the remaining one down.

Atziri fight is actually easier than the Trio fight. During the normal phase just avoid all the circles(Storm Call and Flameblast); Atziri during the normal phase cannot be stunned so use Multistrike Support and play safe. During the split phase, place your totem at the center, stay far away from the center and run in circles. You will successfully dodge the first Flameblast this way. Now find the Flameblast clone, pop damage flasks and stun-lock her. Because of stun-locking no more Flameblast will occur and you can burst this clone down safely.


Hydra is the easiest. Place the totem at a good spot so it doesn't get hit by the Frostbolts. You can stun-lock and kill the boss without much effort.

Chimera can also be stunned reliably. Save some defense flasks for the smoke phase and be careful while dealing with adds.

Pheonix cannot be killed just be standing still and stun-locking the boss. The adds will deal too much damage and we should kill those adds right after they respawn. Because it's easy to dodge boss's attacks, I find it easier to use Multistrike and totally forget about stunning. Just keep killing the adds and kill the boss as if you're playing a normal build.

Minotaur is immune to bleed and stun. Usually the way I do it is to bring 2 Lion's Roar and 2 Basalt flasks, and switch Bloodlust to Multistrike. We just need to face-tank for 10+ seconds and we can kill the boss while standing in the stone circle. If your flask charges are mostly used and the boss is still not dying, you need to move away from stone circles and play smart.

Besides those bosses, almost all other bosses including the Elder and Uber Izaro can be killed brainlessly by just stun-locking them.

List of notable stun immune bosses

1. Minotaur.
2. Atziri(4-in-1 phase or mirror-holding clone).
3. Rigward.
4. Kitava.
5. Argus.

None of these fights are tough(Rigward might be the toughest one). For Rigward and Kitava, just familiarize yourself with the boss mechanics. Argus should be easily rushed down with flasks.



Here we choose between Slayer(Duelist) and Berserker(Marauder). Both are solid choices.

Slayer or Berserker

Slayer has much more reliable leech and thus has better defense, leveling and mapping is generally easier with Slayer. Slayer also has access to melee splash from Ascendancy, thus can use one Heavy Strike setup to clear as well as do boss fights.

Berserker has higher DPS, thus high ceiling as of stun capability. Berserker moves faster, kills faster, and stuns harder. But you will need 2 Tidebreakers for single-target and AoE.

Your decision in choosing your class will depend on your goals with this build:

1. Game content. If you will be challenging Shaper and Guardians often, you will have a easier time stunning them with Berserker. If you will mostly just farm maps, Slayer is a good choice.

2. Safety. Slayer has much more reliable leech and is safer during high-tier mapping. In Hardcore Berserker can actually be a better choice because you simply want higher life pool instead of fast leech.

3. Budget. Berserker excels with optimized gears but struggles with bad gears; Slayer can live with mediocre gears. If you have no savings and are just starting, I strongly recommend Slayer.

4. Skill choice. The Heavy Strike and Ancestral Call combo works very well with Slayer's melee splash. I personally think it's the best way to clear with this build. If you're planning to use this combo, then Slayer is better.


Bane of Legends
-20% culling and Onslaught. Mandatory.

Endless Hunger
-Leech instances are not removed at full life. It's a must-pick.

This game's leech mechanics is that, each hit produces an independent leech instance that leeches at 2%("#% increased life leeched per second" mod increases this rate) of max life per second; the duration of this instance is proportional to the damage dealt in this hit("#% of damage leeched as life" mod increases this duration). Different instances stack but maximum leech rate cannot exceed 20%("+#% of maximum life per second to maximum leech rate" mod increases this rate).

So we need to land around 10 hits to reach the maximum leech rate, which, in single target scenarios, is several seconds into the fight.

The problem here, however, is that all the leech instances goes away when we reach full life. Let's imagine we leeched to full life and suddenly we are savagely hit down to 20% life. Now you really want to Leap Slam away, but after leaping away you are a melee character with 20% life and there are no leech instances on you.

If you picked Endless Hunger, when you leap slam away, you will still be leeching at 20% life per second(40% if Vaal Pact picked, 60% if counting Soul of Arakaali), you can see your life going up rapidly even though you're just retreating. Also because we deal lots of damage per hit, our leech instances will last a long time, keeping you almost invulnerable.

-It's a must-have to AoE clear with Heavy Strike. Or if you want to combo Writhing Jar with Headsman, you will need the splash effect to kill the worms. Otherwise, you can consider Overwhelm instead.

-Provides good boost to clear speed and more damage. It's a good choice.

-Some stun duration and r.E.S.T., as well as a pseudo guaranteed stun on first hit. I think the Writhing Jar combo with Impact and Headsman might be better, but you can pick this one if you don't like Impact.

Brutal Fervour
-Should not be considered.


Crave the Slaughter + Aspect of Carnage
-40% MORE damage. Mandatory.

Rite of Ruin
-Stun immunity while clearing and some attack speed during boss fights. Mandatory because other choices all suck.

War Bringer
-If you don't mind having an extra button for some instant life/mana recovery, then this seems like a good choice. It kind of compensates for Berserker's lack of leech. The choice is between this and Pain Reaver.

Pain Reaver
-Offers life/mana leech. Pick this one over War Bringer if: 1. You don't like to use Warcries so you don't want War Bringer; 2. You can't find good jewelries with mana leech, so you need to pick up mana leech here; 3. You are planning on using some sort of ele-conversion skills so you will need ele leech.

Cloaked in Savagery
-Should not be considered.

Passive Tree

Slayer Level 70 Tree
Slayer Level 94 Tree
Berserker Level 70 Tree
Berserker Level 94 Tree

Debatable choices:
-Jewel sockets: You can skip those jewel sockets that require 3 passive points if you cannot afford semi-decent jewels at the moment.
-Blunt Instrument: you can skip this wheel if you feel you have enough damage.
-Hematophagy: only consider picking this as Slayer.
-Stun duration nodes in Stun Mastery wheel: further boost stun capability when you need to.
-Vaal Pact: recommended(not mandatory) for Slayer; a bad choice for Berserker.


Almost all points in our passive tree are straight up damage or life, so generally you won't go wrong by following my lvl 70/71 tree.

Besides that, I do have some specific suggestions:
1. Ignore mace-specific wheels unless you have got a good mace to use until end of story-line.
2. Resolute Technique is a good node. Take it first if you're a Marauder; for Duelist take it when you have traveled to the Marauder area.
3. There are many good wheels near the Duelist area(Art of the Gladiator, Destroyer, Golem's Blood, Wrecking Ball). Take those first if you're a Duelist, then travel to Marauder area; for Marauder consider traveling to the Duelist area right after taking Resolute Technique.

Why Stun Mastery

Stun Mastery provides huge boost to your stun capability, I don't suggest picking it too early but you will eventually need it.

The image shows the effect of an additional 15% r.E.S.T.(from Stun Mastery nodes) at given total r.E.S.T. values. When you have 115% r.E.S.T., this 15% r.E.S.T. is equivalent to having 23% more damage(in terms of stuns). Stun Mastery also provides 55% Stun Duration, which is also very important.

When you really care about stunning endgame bosses, it is even worth it to take the two Stun Duration nodes in the Stun Mastery Wheel. Considering our stun capability against high end bosses, the 45% stun duration is almost equivalent to gaining 45% increased attack speed.

Why not Iron Reflexes

The amount of physical damage we take with or without Iron Reflexes(and Grace) is shown below. As well as another plot showing the effectiveness of this additional armour. This calculation is based on 3 endurance charges and my current amount of armour.

As we can see, the effectiveness of additional armour depends heavily on the hit you are taking. Generally, you take 20% less physical damage. The higher the damage we take, the less effective Iron Reflexes becomes.

For our build, I feel we don't really take much physical damage at all(because most enemies are stunned), so you should probably not pick this one unless you're playing Hardcore.

Why not extra endurance charges

We run CWDT + Immortal Call, so we need to be generating endurance charges pretty fast for extra charges to be effective. But when we are generating endurance charges pretty fast, it means we are stunning enemies pretty frequently, which it means we are not really taking damage, especially physical damage, from them.

So I don't like the whole extra endurance charge idea. If you stop running CWDT + Immortal Call, you may get some good physical mitigation from the charges, but you will lose the juicy 50% life recovery rate from Soul of Arakaali.

Why not Vaal Pact for Berserker

1. Unless you have Endless Hunger ascendancy(Slayer), Vaal Pact will disable Damage on Full Life while we are using Blood Rage.
2. Leech is not as reliable for Berserker as it is for Slayer. For detailed explanation you can read about Slayer's Endless Hunger in the Ascendancy choice section above.


Either help Oak for: 1% of Life Regenerated per second, 2% additional Physical Damage Reduction, 20% increased Physical Damage;

or kill all and take 2 passive points.

It's best to kill all. You may consider switching to Oak's bonus at a high level.


Soul of Arakaali should be your default choice. Soul of Arakaali works with Blood Rage and Immortal Call so that you will recover(including leech/regen/flasks) life 50% faster.

Soul of Tukohama seems to be the best minor God option.


Sample Gears

Those are the gears I used on my Berserker character in Standard. The Stun Support corruption Tidebreaker and the Mirrored rare mace are totally not what you need. In the videos I recorded, I played with a regular Tidebreaker.

When I imported my gears into Path of Building, I manually reduced my flasks to current non-legacy versions.

You can click on my profile to see my gears in Abyss league, but those are pretty crap.

I have an Enduring Cry gem because I picked War Bringer ascendancy. You can replace this gem with whatever you like. The Onslaught gem in the Sunder setup is not recommended; I put this gem there because this Mirrored mace happens to have 1 green socket.

Gearing Guide

We want to cap our resists, get as much life and r.E.S.T. as possible, and get one source of mana leech from our gears. Detailed analysis of each gear slot is given below.

Make sure you get close to perfect r.E.S.T. rolls on your Tidebreaker, Redblade Tramplers and belt. A Tidebreaker with 420 PDPS and 30% r.E.S.T. is better than one with 430 PDPS and 27% r.E.S.T.

Core Uniques

This is the best unique weapon to use to stun enemies. It offers great damage per hit, 49% r.E.S.T.(19% comes from Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support), endurance charges and some intelligence.

Rare maces may offer higher DPS, but usually cannot compete with Tidebreaker in terms of stun capability. The Mirrored rare mace in standard is probably the only rare mace in the game that's better than a Tidebreaker; it provides far more DPS and slightly better stun capability.

Choices of a Secondary Weapon

1. The safest choice is another Tidebreaker. You won't have to worry about losing the 40 intelligence after switching out Tidebreaker and you will be able to stun reliably with both weapons.
2. A good rare mace is also viable. Especially a rare mace with good DPS and local attack speed will be much better for map clearing.
3. Unique maces like Marohi Erqi can be used when you're in poverty.
Work in progress

This jewel is basically 20% MORE damage AND we can socket 2 of this unique jewels.

This glove is required. Heavy Strike has 100% knockback chance, and our heavy strike stuns. Without this glove the enemy will leave our attack range and we will have to move after each attack.

When fighting knockback immune bosses, for example Shaper, you can swap to a rare glove or Facebreaker(for 10% r.E.S.T.).

If you're sure you won't need Heavy Strike for mapping because you will be mostly using Sunder, then you may consider other gloves instead. If you're well geared, then you won't need Heavy Strike unless you're facing bosses like Guardians, but those endgame bosses tend to have knockback immunity.

Optional Uniques

This is the best choice overall. It may also be a good idea to grab a 6L rare body armour or Belly of the Beast and put in a 6L Warchief Totem for more damage.

We can live without it but it's best in slot.

This should be the best option. You can also get a rare helmet, but you will have a hard time finding the correct Enchantment.

Some other choices:

A good rare belt is the best option but these are okay choices.

A rare amulet is a better endgame choice. This can be used as an early to midgame game option.

Rare Jewels

In terms of priority:
Tier 1 mods: life, attack speed with maces, stun duration, (resistances and attributes if needed)
Tier 2 mods: physical damage with maces, attack damage/speed with two hand weapons, physical damage, melee damage, damage, attack speed

Abyss jewels are slightly worse than ordinary jewels in perfect scenario. Realistically, they are much easier to get, so they can definitely be good options.

Rare Amulet/Rings

You will want to cap your resists with your rares. Besides that, get high life rolls on every piece of rare gear as well as:

-Mana leech. Unless you are planning to pick Pain Reaver(Berserker ascendancy), you need to have mana leech on one of your amulet/rings, it's mandatory.

-Attributes. You want at least 111 dexterity and 68 intelligence; it's best to have 155 or 159 dexterity.

-Flat physical damage. It's NOT important; it's a useful but expensive prefix to have. So go for it if you're rich, ignore it if you're poor.

Rare Belt

Best belt choice was a rare Studded Belt, now obviously Abyss belts are better.

You want to focus on three suffixes: T1 r.E.S.T.(getting 14-15% r.E.S.T. is very important), T1-2 stun duration and T1-2 resistance; as well as one prefix: T1-2 Life.

You might want to essence-craft your belt with either Loathing or Scorn if you feel rich.


Lion's Roar is a must-have and Atziri's Promise is a good cheap flask. Don't worry about Sin's Rebirth and Taste of Hate if you cannot afford those; bring more life flasks or Basalt flask instead.

The Writhing Jar can be useful for Slayer with Headsman ascendancy.
Also you will want 2 flasks to deal with freeze and bleed.
Keep only Lion's Roar if going pure physical version.

Budget Option

This build needs at least 10 exalts to reach the full potential(mostly for a 6-link), but can definitely work with a small budget. Here is an example of how to progress with this build:

0th stage. All rare items you picked up during leveling. At this moment, you're just playing a Sunder 2h-mace build. With leveling items, you should be able to farm t1-3 maps.

1st stage. We begin with a Tidebreaker(or other uniques like Marohi Erqi, if Tidebreaker is expensive) and Redblade Tramplers. You can get a Tabula, or you will want a 5-link on either the weapon or a rare body armour. For the rest of the gear slots, get rare ones with good life and resist rolls. Don't spend too much on your gloves as we will replace that very soon. This whole set should cost 10-30 chaos orbs. At this moment, we are still just playing a Sunder 2h-mace build. Now you should be able to start farming yellow maps.

2nd stage. We now want a Tidebreaker if you don't already have one, Empire's Grasp and 2 threshold jewels and start using Heavy Strike. We can get another weapon in our secondary weapon slot for AoE. You can also get a Lion's Roar flask if it's not expensive. Now we are transitioning to a real stun build. Now you should not have any problems farming up to tier 10.

3rd stage. Kaom's Heart and at least 5-link on weapon. Get Devoto's Devotion with Heavy Strike 12% enchant. Upgrade your belt, amulets, rings, boots if your previous ones are poorly rolled. Now you should be able to farm most red maps.

4th stage. 6-link your Tidebreaker. Now I would say this build is complete. With enough practice, you should be able to stun-lock and kill almost all endgame bosses.

5th stage. See the Luxurious Upgrades section above. There is a small room for you to optimize your build with luxurious items.

6th stage (non-existent). Most builds, especially bow builds and crit-based builds demand very high-end Mirror worthy gears to achieve their full potential. It's common to see an Mirrored Opal ring providing 20-30% DPS boost to those builds. This is not the case for our build. With semi-decent items you will be able to perform as well with this build.

Luxurious Upgrades

What you should aim for when you have some spare currency:

1. 20% quality on all relevant gems. Typically it's around 1.3% more damage per gem. (Quality bonuses on some gems can be totally useless, check Wiki before making investments.)

2. A 6-link Tidebreaker; equivalent to 31% more damage from putting in Maim Support, compared to a 5-link weapon.

3. "Heavy Strike has a 12% chance to deal double damage" enchant on Devoto's Devotion; this is equivalent to 8.6% more damage.

4. "+1 maximum frenzy charge" corruption on Redblade Trampler; this is equivalent to around 5% more damage. Or a "16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently" enchant; if you can manage to activate this effect, it's also equivalent to 5% more damage.

5. Curse corruption on Empire's Grasp: Vulnerability curse gives 3-4% more damage against Shaper/Guardians, around 20% more damage against trash mobs.

6. Sin's Rebirth and Taste of Hate flasks; equivalent to 11.4% and 7.2%(10.7% if legacy version) burst damage respectively.

7. "Gain #% of X damage as extra Y damage" Shaped/Elder mods; equivalent to up to 7% more damage.

*Having an aurabot friend: 20-30% more damage. Such a small number because some damage auras like Anger and Wrath are almost totally useless, providing around 2-3% effective DPS only.

What you should forget about:

1. Lvl 21 Heavy Strike: only 1.2% more damage.

2. Lvl 21 Support gems: only 0.67% more damage or less for each lvl 21 support gem.

3. Stun Support corruption on Tidebreaker: for stunning, equivalent to around 40% more damage. But no real DPS boost. Good effect but very hard to get one.

Gem Setup

Below I will talk about the gems we should be using. You can also view my gems from the Sample Gears section, and see the quality/level needed for each gem.

Tidebreaker 6L:

Single Target:

Heavy Strike + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Bloodlust + Damage on Full Life + Maim (+ Endurance Charge on Melee Stun from weapon)

-Replace Maim with Brutality if going pure physical version.

-If you want to focus only on stunning the boss, replace Maim with Stun Support; for pure physical version, Stun Support should not be considered in most cases.

-We need to apply bleed from totem if Bloodlust Support is used. Note that Chance to Bleed Support is not required in the totem setup when you pick the 25% chance to bleed nodes in the Bloody Bludgeon wheel.

*Added Fire Damage should never be considered. It gives good tooltip damage but in reality is not as effective because of mobs' resistances.

*Faster Attacks should not be considered. Attack speed should be picked up from gears and jewels, not skill tree, not a gem slot.


Heavy Strike + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Multistrike + Damage on Full Life + Ancestral Call (+ Endurance Charge on Melee Stun from weapon)


Sunder + Melee Physical Damage + Ruthless + Multistrike + Damage on Full Life + Maim (+ Endurance Charge on Melee Stun from weapon)

-Replace Damage on Full life or Maim with Brutality if going pure physical version.

-This Heavy Strike setup targets Slayers with Impact ascendancy only. Berserker can also use this setup but an additional Melee Splash gem is needed. You can replace Damage on Full Life with Maim Support if you feel you won't be at full life very often.

*For Slayer I suggest this Heavy Strike setup to clear. Especially if you don't have a secondary weapon, this Heavy Strike AoE setup performs better than Sunder against map bosses.

*For Berserker I suggest just use Sunder. If you don't have a secondary weapon, I think it's best to do gem swap(Sunder -> Heavy Strike) when fighting challenging bosses.

The AoE setup can be used to fight map bosses, but for high end bosses like Shaper you should definitely switch to the single-target setup.

For those who can afford two weapons(should be at least 5-link), you can put the single-target setup on one weapon and AoE setup on another. Otherwise, just swap gems when necessary.

An attack-in-place trick

With Ancestral Call gem, you can target Heavy Strike to ground, and your clones will land their attacks. This is a good quality of life improvement as we can now "miss" our attacks.

However, it is possible to sometimes target too far away and instead of attacking, you start to move towards the cursor. The way to overcome this problem is to always attack in place.

You can 1. go to your keybinding settings and set this attack in place key to any number in your number pad; 2. hold this key; 3. press num lk. Now for the rest of this game you will always attack in place, which is very comfortable for both Heavy Strike and Leap Slam.

Will my Damage on Full Life work

With this build, your Damage on Full Life Support will always work unless you're taking external damage from mobs.

Yes, Slayer with Vaal Pact can use Damage on Full Life; and yes, you will see yourself at near full life with Blood Rage on(due to display bug), and Damage on Full Life is still effective. As long as you have enough regen or leech(Slayer with Endless Hunger only) to compensate for your hp loss from Blood Rage, you will be at full life.

If you decided to tweak this build yourself, there are mainly two cases when Damage on Full Life won't work:

1. Any non-Slayer class(excluding Scion going Slayer) + Vaal Pact. Because without Endless Hunger, leech effects are removed at full life, making leech not effective at sustaining your full life status.

2. Blood Magic keystone. There is almost no way to make Blood Magic and Damage on Full Life work together with our build.

How good is Stun Support

Our build aims to achieve 130% r.E.S.T., and with level 20 Stun Support, we gain additional 49%. This additional 49% in r.E.S.T. is equivalent to gaining 61% more damage considering our stun capability. If you have more r.E.S.T., Stun Support is slightly less effective; if you have less r.E.S.T., it's slightly more effective.

61% sounds like a good number but it is in practice not very appealing because Stun Support offers no DPS. It is maybe a good idea to replace Maim Support with Stun Support; but Melee Physical Damage, Ruthless and Bloodlust should always be prioritized over Stun Support.

Empire's Grasp 4L:

Frenzy + Fortify + Faster Attacks + Leap Slam (+ Knockback from glove)

-Leap Slam with Faster Attacks and Fortify as our movement skill.

-Frenzy is used in boss fights to keep up frenzy charges and Fortify buff. This is crucial to our boss fight performance.

About the Frenzy setup

Many builds don't bother to run another Frenzy skill just to generate Frenzy Charges in boss fights. This is because:

1. Most other builds need to stay alarmed watching boss's attacks; they don't want to make their fight more complicated by adding one more skill into their skill rotation.

2. It can be more time efficient to just use their main damage skills.

For our build, we should be using this Frenzy setup because:

1. As long as we stun-lock, we already win the fight. Against high end bosses we want to gain as much damage as possible to guarantee this stun-lock. Also, the fight will be as simple as holding Heavy Strike, so using Frenzy every once in a while doesn't hurt.

2. Our damage partially comes from the Boss being inflicted with bleed and Maim Support debuff from our totem. Because there's only 25% chance to bleed and 30% chance to maim, it usually takes a a second or two before both debuffs are applied. Before debuffs being applied, even if we use Heavy Strike, we will likely fail to stun the boss anyway. It is very efficient to use Frenzy during the start of the fight while waiting for our totem to apply bleed and Maim Support debuff, then use Heavy Strike to stun-lock them to death.


Ancestral Warchief + Maim

-This totem provides damage buff from Warchief, bleed to enable Bloodlust and Maim Support debuff for more damage. We should always keep the totem up during boss fights. Bleed is applied if you picked two bleed nodes in Bloody Bludgeon wheel, or you can add Chance to Bleed Support to totem.

-If you decide to use a 6-link rare body armour or Belly of the Beast, you can put in a 6-link Warchief there. Add Melee Physical Damage, Ruthless, Damage on Full Life, Concentrated Effect to Ancestral Warchief + Maim should provide highest DPS while maintaining the ability to inflict Maim Support debuff and bleed.

-Blind Support can be very effective in certain fights.

*Although the new Vulnerability gem gives 30% chance to bleed, you still need other sources of bleed chance. This is because against Shaper/Guardians, all numerial values on curses will be multiplied by 0.2, leaving only 6% bleed chance due to Vulnerability, which is totally not enough to keep bleed up.


Auras: Hatred, Herald of Ash, Blood Rage(technically not an aura)

CWDT: Cast when Damage Taken + Immortal Call

You also need Enduring Cry or Rallying Cry if War Bringer ascendancy(Berserker) is chosen.

-For the pure physical version, swap out Hatred and Herald of ash, and pick two from Haste, Arctic Armour and Blasphemy.

*Cast when Damage Taken should be lower than lvl 7, Immortal Call should be 2 levels higher than Cast when Damage Taken. Blood Rage should be lvl 20 or close, so it's not supported by Cast when Damage Taken.


Portal, Vaal Lightning Trap, any Golem of your choice

Link with Warchief: Melee Physical Damage or Chance to Bleed or Increased Duration(it can support Blood Rage as well)

Link with CWDT: curse of your choice or Increased Duration(can also support Blood Rage)

After setting up all the gems, you may still have 1 gem slot left; you can pick one from the alternatives recommended above or run any gem of your preference.

Pure Physical Version

You may choose to run Brutality gem with this build. You will give up Hatred and Herald of Ash, and choose from Haste, Arctic Armour and Blasphemy. You also need to give up Sin's Rebirth, Atziri's Promise or Taste of Hate.

Hatred and Herald of Ash gives 51% elemental damage. However, against Shaper/Guardians, our elemental damage are 60% effective, while physical damage are 120% effective. So this 51% elemental damage is equivalent to 25.5% more damage. Replacing maybe Maim Support(30% more damage) with Brutality(59% more damage) provides 22.3% more damage. So after counting the effect of Haste, you can expect slightly higher DPS with the pure physical version when flasks are not considered.

The major advantage of running the pure physical version is that you will be able to run defensive or utility auras. Haste is nice for the speed; Arctic Armour provides some additional survival; Blasphemy + maybe Vulnerability or Temporal Chains offers good dps/defense.

The major drawback of the pure physical version is that you will lose a lot of burst damage from expensive flasks(Sin's Rebirth, Taste of Hate). You will also lose the nice AoE clear from Herald of Ash.

The pure physical version is a better choice if:
1. you have a 6-link.
2. you don't want to use damage flasks besides Lion's Roar.
3. you are not clearing with Heavy Strike and don't need the extended AoE radius due to Herald of Ash.
4. you don't want to use Stun Support.

*Note that you only need to swap gems to change between both versions. Therefore you can always use one version for some content, then use another version for some other content.

Curse Discussion

Curses are not very effective for this build. You may totally forget about curses. Choose either CWDT and Blasphemy if you want to run a curse gem.

The best curse to run should be Vulnerability curse. Temporal Chains provides some defense and prolongs the duration of stuns; it's the second best choice. Elemental Weakness curse falls slightly behind Vulnerability.

All those 3 curses can be applied via glove corruption. Elemental Weakness should only be considered when you happen to find a pair of Empire's Grasp with Elemental Weakness corruption.

Why you should probably not run Warlord's Mark

We compare Warlord's Mark with Vulnerability. Warlord's Mark provides 10% chance to stun, some stun duration and leech. Curse effect is increased by 10% from Curse on Hit/Blasphemy 20% quality. Normal mobs take 100% curse effect; map bosses take 40%; Shaper and Guardians take 20%.

Ignoring other effects and comparing how the curse contribute to our stun capability, we obtain the following plots. The Vulnerability Lvl 10 here is analyzed because this curse can be easily applied using the glove corruption mod.

Normal mob 100% effect


Shaper and Guardians 20% effect


We can see that the effect of both curses becomes minor when fighting Shaper and Guardians. Warlord's Mark is much more effective to "start to be able to land a few stuns", and Vulnerability is better in "guaranteeing a stun". Considering it's generally more useful to guarantee a stun and Vulnerability also provides DPS bonuses, it's just better to use Vulnerability.

*The Vulnerability curse here refers to the pre-3.1 old Vulnerability; the new one is even better.

This is the end of the build. I will keep updating this guide and present the finest version of this build. I welcome all sorts of discussions; so please leave comments down below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Simulation Tool

Path of Building is capable of doing all the math besides simulating stuns, so I wrote this code to give a good insight on our stun capability. This code simulates a fight when we stand still and hit different bosses, the percentage of time the boss being stunned will be reported.

With my Berserker character and flasks popped, I will have over 99% stun up-time on Shaper. This means that if Shaper just stands still for me to hit for 10000 seconds, then there will be on average less than 100 seconds when Shaper is not stunned.

*In real fights, it's more complicated. When we have to sometimes cast Blood Rage, Frenzy, Warchief Totem or to clear adds or re-position ourselves, this number goes down quite a lot.

Here's my code written in Python.

Source: https://gist.github.com/ygshi/2e91faa17974c0fe016fe9bddfc3d73c

Web: https://repl.it/@ygshi0825/PoEStunSimulator

Other Variants

In this section I will list a number of variants of stun builds I have tried to make or heard of from other people.

Crit Variants

There are a list of weapons to choose from to build a crit variant, but Abyssus has to be used for all variants, making all these variants generally more fragile.

-Tidebreaker: maybe possible with Juggernaut but generally has a lower power level.
-Trypanon: can deal chunks of damage per hit with flat ele dmg from abyss jewels and Inquisitor ascendancy. The problem is low attack speed and low defense. This build will be insane if you play with an aurabot.
-Hegemony's Era or Starforge: can deal good DPS with decent gears. The lack of r.E.S.T. will make stunning harder to achieve, but clearing maps will be more satisfying.

Callinellus Malleus Variants

A lot can happen with Callinellus Malleus. Problems with it include cannot equip Kaom's Heart, cannot weapon swap to swap between AoE and single target main skills, etc.

-Dual wield: the best way to push stun capabilities with this mace, but still has a lower power level.
-With a shield: a better defensive option, especially for Hardcore.

Non Heavy Strike Variants

Non Heavy Strike Variants should mostly revolve around the quiver Cragfall.

-Warchief totem: Facebreaker, Abyssus and Cragfall should offer good stun capability; but unless Mirror worthy gears it's still hard to surpass Tidebreaker.
-Bow skills or spells: it's possible on paper but difficult to make it happen.

Additional Info

Changes in 3.1

This build is buffed in many ways:

1. Reflection from rare mobs is gone. This is huge for our survival, especially for Berserker.
2. Vulnerability gem now gives more physical damage boost as well as chance to bleed. This is a buff.
3. Slayer is getting less max life leech from Ascendancy and passives, but is getting the new Vaal Pact. This a huge buff to Slayer.
4. New Ancestral Call gem works very well with a splashing Heavy Strike. So this makes the Heavy Strike map clear option much more viable.


Jan. 15: Made a correction: slow effects do prolong stun duration.
Jan. 14: Added Choices of a Secondary Weapon sub-section.
Jan. 10: Added Other Variants section.
Jan. 9: Updated Path of Building links; now non-legacy versions of flasks are used instead of my own legacy ones to avoid some confusion.
Jan. 3. Made some minor changes in the passive trees.
Dec. 8: Patch 3.1 launched. This build experienced some small buffs in this patch.
Aug. 4: Patch 3.0 launched. Ruthless gem came out along this patch, making stun-locking Shaper possible with this build.
Mar. 16: Build posted. Decided to post after I stun-locked a tier 15 boss to death.
Mar. 3: Legacy League launched and Tidebreaker came out. I started working on my stun build.
Feb. 20: Tidebreaker revealed. Build planning started.


During the creation of this build at the start of Legacy League, I had wonderful discussions with Thorminathor and Lokiwider, which were crucial to the initial success of this build. I must also acknowledge all that replied to this post with your questions and suggestions for your contributions to this build's further refinement.

Last edited by brightwaha on Jan 16, 2018 1:48:11 AM
Last bumped on Jan 15, 2018 8:32:18 PM
This looks really good, i would really want to try this out onece i finish farming my currencies
Just one thing, the belt Perseverance will completely disable if you have iron reflex, since your evasion rating became 0, but i guess it's still worth it since the other stats are just as juicy

Now im think to use champion and maximize the value of the belt, and wondering if armor+evasion build would ever work
751935736 wrote:
This looks really good, i would really want to try this out onece i finish farming my currencies
Just one thing, the belt Perseverance will completely disable if you have iron reflex, since your evasion rating became 0, but i guess it's still worth it since the other stats are just as juicy

Now im think to use champion and maximize the value of the belt, and wondering if armor+evasion build would ever work

Yes, the attack speed bonus from belt Perseverance will be completely disabled. I picked up this belt simply for the fortify and onslaught effect it provides (other stats are also pretty good).

Champion can work too, but I personally don't recommend. Unless you are going to put a 6L AOE skill on your body armour, you will need the melee splash that Slayer ascendancy provides (also 20% culling and some stun duration can be very handy).

As for armor+evasion build, I think it's viable, but you need to keep in mind: if you fail to stack a good amount of armor, it almost does nothing against large hits; evasion can still be effective without stacking too much of it. So I would suggest focusing on armor while grabbing some evasion if you can.

EDIT: If you're reading this, you should be aware that those responses were written in March, 2017. The build was very different back then and those information can be very misleading.
Last edited by brightwaha on Jan 10, 2018 9:24:22 AM

I was considering something like that as a Berserker. But I find that 200DPS is more than I anticipated. Can you list what did the biggest difference?
Completed 25 ChallengesSarik wrote:

I was considering something like that as a Berserker. But I find that 200DPS is more than I anticipated. Can you list what did the biggest difference?

Without any auras and buffs, my character has only 40k+ tooltip DPS. But there are a lot of factors that can add to it.

1. My tooltip DPS does not take into account the threshold jewels. From 2 threshold jewels and helmet enchantment, we can have 52% chance to deal double damage with our Heavy Strike. That is 52% MORE dmg.
2. 50% increased damage at 5 endurance charges (from Tidebreaker), and 20% MORE damage and 20% attack speed at 5 frenzy charges.
3. Onslaught buff (from Perseverance), Hatred aura, blood rage buff, and increased physical dmg while leeching.
4. From the Warchief totem, we will have a 18% MORE damage buff. Also the totem itself deals around 1/6 of our own dmg with only one faster attacks support. (If replacing Kaom's Heart with a 6L rare body armour, the totem itself can deal more than 10k. Then our total DPS can reach 300K.)

In maps, when buffs are up, my tooltip goes up to 120K. After manually counting the effect of threshold jewels it's already 18K (not counting warchief dmg). Remember some of my gears are 1c items and many of my gems are 19/0. So we can expect way more than 200K DPS with good gears.

My calculations didn't take into account the 20% culling from Slayer ascendancy. If you wish to count that, multiply the 200K by another 125%.
I play with bright often his build is fun and quite similar to mine, here is my tree for a berzerker version of this build. Clearing t13 maps solo with it.

Last edited by Thorminathor on Mar 21, 2017 5:17:05 AM
Hey guy,

I link you my tree, for pretty much the same build :).

I was wondering if this works with a 5 link Tidebreaker?
if so what skill would you drop in the 6 link for it
here's my tidebreaker

Last edited by DiscoPug on Apr 16, 2017 4:30:00 PM
Hey man, leveled this toon, 70 for now, but clear speed is like real slow, at least if you want to clear a lot of maps, would AoE improve this? any ideas on how to clear faster? I already have the slayer ascendancy.

DiscoPug wrote:
I was wondering if this works with a 5 link Tidebreaker?
if so what skill would you drop in the 6 link for it
here's my tidebreaker

Only 4 gems are necessary. First 3 are Heavy Strike, Melee Phy Dmg, Added Fire Dmg; the 4th link is Multistrike for dps or Stun Support for stuns. For the 5th/6th links, you can choose from Faster Attacks, Melee Dmg on Full Life or Weapon Elemental Dmg depending on your gears and encounter.

A 5 link Tidebreaker is good enough. You lose about 20% of dmg compared to a 6 link weapon, but everything else works well.

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