Impale with your Ancestors' Fists! Budget, all content, 6M+ DPS

UPDATE for 3.7:

This build was quite strong, especially for such a cheap and memey build, in 3.5. With Master of Metal granting 50% more added damage than it used to, the Impale Support gem, and the new impale nodes on the tree, an updated version does 5.7 million no-gimmick Shaper DPS. Not bad for something so cheap and easy... I don't have access to PoB, but the old pastebin below can be updated easily with a little re-routing to take the impale nodes, and swapping out Conc. Effect Support for Impale Support. Freaking unreal.

And, given how strong Master of Metal and Impale have become, some of the gear that's taken partly because it adds flat damage can probably be swapped out for more useful alternatives, further improving the build, if anyone wants to iterate on it. :)

Oh, and you don't need Dread Banner to hit 100% impale any more. War banner will give another 11% more damage (up to 6.3M). Hot dog.

Just a skeleton of a guide because I don't have the time or forum-post skills to make a nice one.

This is a build that took down Uber Elder; I'd never before even seen the fight. Gear is very cheap (I beat Shaper easily with gear costing less than 50c), defenses are very good, clear speed is OK mitigated by the fact that it's a totem build so you can be moving and picking stuff up while your ancestors do the killing.

The basic idea is to use Facebreaker, do the typical stuff to provide added physical damage (as with a typical Facebreaker build), and abuse the hell out of Master of Metal and Dread Banner. The end result is a 42% chance to impale for your totems, which means on average an additional 0.42 * 28 * 6 = 70.56 flat physical damage added to your attacks.

Here's the gear I'm running, with a little explanation where warranted:

Decent added phys, 20% attack and move speed are up pretty much full time (what else are you going to do besides warcry while your ancestors impale your enemies with their fists?) Plenty of other things you could use though.

The extra AoE is nice. The leech is fantastic. You'll pretty much always be at leech cap when fighting. Unexpectedly important.

Nice both offensively and defensively. Most of the league though I was using a random white 6L that I bought for 15c and threw a few chaos at. Some wiggle room in what you support AW with. Conc. Effect is highest damage, Inc. AoE is nice for clearing faster, and Ruthless is a balance between them.

Obviously critical. If you can get a Vulnerability corruption on these, it'll give you a lot more flexibility with your rings.

Nice both offensively and defensively, but there are other good choices.

This is a huge boost offensively and defensively, the rest are less important.

Skill tree:

Defensively, you're always at leech cap, pretty much always at 6 endurance charges, >40% block chance, >35% evasion chance, can't be stunned, decent life regen, your totems taunt and are very tanky, and you're Fortified. The only time I die is when I'm dumb or learning new hard fights (Uber Elder has plenty of ways to kill you, Uber Atziri will still one-shot you with her Flameblast).

Lots of room to tweak things. My version gets an average of ~750K no-gimmick PoB Shaper DPS with Lion's Roar and Vaal Ancestral Warchief up. You're not going to phase him instantly, but it's pretty quick.

The core is that Master of Metal is ridiculously good with Facebreakers. The other stuff just adds up to a really nice smooth balanced build with no real weaknesses. Physical reflect maps are a bit annoying, but doable (my first Guardian of the Hydra kill was physical reflect). No regen maps mean you have to have a hybrid or mana flask and keep it full. The only set of mods that actually defeated me was a double-increased-AoE, lots-of-extra-damage, twinned Malachai.

PoB PasteBin:
Last edited by Ygorl on Aug 30, 2019, 10:03:12 PM
Last bumped on Aug 30, 2019, 10:01:51 PM
Hi, thank you for the build.
I tried to reroll an old character in standard with this build but it doesn't work well for now, herald of purity never procs and dread banner doesn't seem to do anything either.
From what I see my gear is clearly missing Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks, I'm guessing it would make a big difference, but what about herald of purity and dread banner ?

I got it, we only use the herald of purity for the phys damage it gives, it is not supposed to proc the sentinels, and yeah the builds feels much better the more added physical damage to attacks you have. I'm guessing lvl 80 will be a big spike in the damage output thanks to the steel rings.
Last edited by deadvivi on Feb 21, 2019, 8:28:36 AM
Yep, Herald of Purity is strictly for the added physical damage. You actually don't want the minions, because they have a reduced chance to impale (they don't benefit from Master of Metal), which means fewer stacks on average on the enemy, which substantially lowers your overall damage.

Dread Banner... You never place the banner, just carry it around, because you never actually build stacks with it. However, it takes your totems' impale chance from 20% to 40% (or 42% if you have a 20% quality gem). It also brings the damage bonus of an impaling hit from 70% up to 84.63% (assuming a 20/20 gem). Finally, it drops your enemies' accuracy a bit, which helps with survivability.

If you rerolled an old character in standard, do you have the Master of Metal ascendancy? Without that, it's not going to feel very good; impales are going to be much rarer, much weaker, and (most important) won't provide the huge chunk of flat added physical damage that Facebreakers want.
Yes, I have Master of Metal, and after buying more added physical damage gear I was able to do merciless lab with no issues and run maps up to 4 levels over my character level which feels pretty good!

For the dread banner, I thought there would be some visual cues that the target got impaled, I'm not doubting its actual effectiveness though. I just never used the impaling mechanic before, that's what got me confused.
Glad it's working better for you now! Impale does have a small visual cue - spikes sticking out of the body. It's fairly obvious on Kitava, and you can see it on other big guys like the rock/snow golems that slowly stand up when you get near, but on most enemies it's very hard to see.
Oh, ok, thanks for the info!
This looks really interesting ! Would you take master of metal after the first lab run?
Oh, absolutely, if you're trying to level with this build (which is what I did, and it worked better than leveling with most non-leveling builds but probably not as well as a dedicated leveling build).
Thankyou, only lvl 58 but really enjoying this so far !
I just did a quick, relatively mindless respec of this character to take advantage of 3.7. Didn't change the gear at all other than swapping out conc. effect for an under-leveled impale support. Melted Shaper so quickly it was comical. This is a very strong build. :)

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