[3.7] Block + Spell Dodge + Staff + EQ + Slayer = Dead Bosses

Updates
I have now killed ÜElder in Standard with the original version and in Legion deathless with the budget version. Build has been updated with my final choices for support skills and other lessons learned during Legion.

Motivation
My first ever character Gagis was an Earthquake slayer in Essence League. I have maintained the character in Standard, updating it with stuff I transfer from leagues. The original version was not very strong, but the introduction of The Perfect Form in Breach made it possible to give a character with Iron Reflexes substantial mitigation against spells via Spell Dodge. This took the character into an all new level of power.

I updated the build further when I spent my extra wealth crafting an obnoxiously strong staff in Syndicate league and brought it over to Standard. Staff gave the build even more damage mitigation and dps trough staff block and critical strikes, which made it good enough that I'd want to write a build guide for it. The buffs coming in 3.7 seemed likely to make my already interesting build even stronger, so I decided to make a budget version of the build for myself in Legion and write a guide about it for the rest of you. It has been a great success for me in Legion.

Viability
This build can clear all maps and kill all bosses. The buffs from 3.7 made it even stronger than it was before. As typical for my builds, it focuses more on survival and boss killing than on clear speed, but the flow of alternating Leap Slam and Earthquake clears maps with a decent speed.

The completed build is extremely hard to kill and thus might be viable for Hardcore, if you can build up the defenses in a reasonable way while leveling, but is too reliant on gear to be a safe league starter in HC.

Skill tree
PoB of league version after ÜElder kill
PoB of standard version after ÜElder kill

Expensive version in my profile
Budget version in my profile

L93 Skill tree

3.7 added such an abundance of good damage clusters in the Duelist and Marauder sectors of the skill tree, that the main challenge is in figuring out how many of them you can get away with taking while maintaining a sufficient amount of life. I prioritized the life nodes and block first and filled up the rest during endgame content.

I originally planned on making a different tree with no critical strike investment for the budget version but Precision and other new ways to build up accuracy and all the new clusters gave critical strikes a very low opportunity cost after all.

Gear


The Perfect Form makes up one major part of our damage mitigation and is used on both versions of the build. Getting access to Phase Acrobatics without having to give up on physical damage mitigation is huge, and the other perks of the item also work for the build.

Atziri's Step fills up some of the extra Spell Dodge we need, and the high Evasion to convert into Armour and decent life do not hurt at all either. My expensive version has built-in Endurance Charge on Melee Stun in the staff I use, so I bought a version with the charge corruption. The corruption is not very important.

Here comes the main difference between the expensive version and the budget version. The staff I crafted in Syndicate is now legacy as you can no longer craft two different mods that both increase item quality on the same item. Wealthy players will still be able to craft some truly amazing staves in Legion as well. For the budget version I used Disintegrator and set up critical strike chance with the Overwhelm ascendancy node.

There is no reason not to use Abyssus with the expensive version, as the character will accumulate an extremely high amount of physical damage reduction. Starkonja's Head is a good cheaper and safer alternative. The Earthquake Duration enchantment is very valuable for both versions and should be given high priority.

Tombfist has been recently nerfed but is still very good if you can afford two gem sockets. Good alternatives include Oskarm, Haemophilia and any good rare item. The alternatives are all valid options on a budget.


My accessories for the expensive version are absolutely lewd. The items used in the budget version were much cheaper, but still very strong. I had the benefit of shopping for them early in the league, so you might have to settle for more conservative numbers.


Flasks are for recovery, damage and boosting physical damage mitigation and spell dodge. The choices I made for each version are rather self-explanatory.

The Red Nightmare might end up being the single most expensive item that is also necessary for the budget version of the build, since it boosts our Chance to Block Attack Hits very much in the Marauder sector of the skill tree.

I have a number of Abyss jewels in Standard with a chance to blind on hit to add one more layer of damage mitigation to the character. Those tend to be expensive and Flesh and Stone is extremely cost efficient, so I did not bother with Abyss jewels at all in Legion.

I have a Watcher's Eye with three relevant defensive mods on the expensive version, which ties it to using Determination and Haste. The budget version will never be able to afford anything like that, so it will have more flexibility with what to reserve mana for. The new mana-reserving skills in 3.7 are very good, so it is not much of a loss compared to what I have in Standard.

Skills
(Vaal) Earthquake - Less Duration - Melee Physical - Pulverize - Brutality - Maim/Ruthless
I have always liked Earthquake for how satisfying it feels to use. It was strong when the character was originally made, got nerfed in between and got substantial buffs in 3.7. The expensive version gets an extra support skill from the staff I use. Maim and Ruthless are very close in effectiveness. I ended up using Maim in Standard and Ruthless in Legion, since the version in league can maim by switching Flesh and Stone to Blood Stance.

Leap Slam - Frenzy - Blood Magic - Fortify - Power Charge on Critical - Faster Attacks
Movement, two different kinds of charge generation and Fortify. I like to take full advantage of a secondary six-link. The budget version can get away with four or five links.

Enlighten - Haste - Determination - Artic Armour
Flesh and Stone - War Banner - Precicion - Arctic Armour and Blood and Sand
Arctic Armour is free with The Perfect Form and my Watcher's Eye dictates which Auras I need. The budget version gets to play with all the amazing new skills in Legion.

CWDT - Increased Duration - Blood Rage - Molten Shell
Immortal Call and Molten Shell were reworked in 3.7, making the latter more attractive for builds like this that get a metric fuckton of armour with minimal effort. The degen from Blood Rage is one of the reasons I do not bother with Vaal Pact, but I think the change generation and attack speed are worth it.

Riposte - Power Charge on Critical (- Vengeance - Increased Critical Strikes)
Ancestral Warchief is a good alternative for the last remaining sockets, if you can bother with having an extra active skill to deal with. I am just a big fan of automation.

Bandits and Pantheon
Two extra skill points are almost always better than bandit rewards nowadays, and this applies to this build as well. The Pantheon rewards are down to personal taste. I went for Lunaris and Shakari myself, but there are plenty of nice things you might want from others.

Simple Leveling Guide
Early on this build levels like any other melee character; by using Frost Blades with the highest DPS weapon you can get your hands on. Just remember to focus on your life early as getting damage mitigation online will take some time and currency.
Last edited by thegagis on Jun 24, 2019, 7:45:19 AM
Last bumped on Jun 25, 2019, 10:47:31 AM
Bro, pls fix tree, if it possible post pob link, imho will be another skill tree
Looking forward to what you do with this, hope it goes well.
I just killed Über Elder in Legion with this and updated the guide with all of the stuff I have learned after Legion started. Please tell me if there is still something missing that'd be important to know.
I want to know how to craft Staff with "Hits can't be evaded" and supported lvl 18-20 fortify gem modes step by step. Do i simply need to roll it with alts and try to get phys damage+add phys or attacks speed and fortify lvl 18-20? I mean they are pretty expensive but what to begin with?
"
ANALizKALa wrote:
I want to know how to craft Staff with "Hits can't be evaded" and supported lvl 18-20 fortify gem modes step by step. Do i simply need to roll it with alts and try to get phys damage+add phys or attacks speed and fortify lvl 18-20? I mean they are pretty expensive but what to begin with?

Hits can't be evaded is a special Veiled mod that drops from Vagan.

Fortify is indeed better than ECoMS now that it has gotten a large damage multiplier. Either alt spam or using attack and physical fossils should work for getting Fortify and a flat physical damage roll. I'd probably use fossils but it will be very expensive either way.

If you are lucky, you might be able to buy a good starting point you can just scour siffixes from and then multimod, but with how popular melee is this league, that might be unrealistic.
Last edited by thegagis on Jun 24, 2019, 8:58:42 AM
"
thegagis wrote:
"
ANALizKALa wrote:
I want to know how to craft Staff with "Hits can't be evaded" and supported lvl 18-20 fortify gem modes step by step. Do i simply need to roll it with alts and try to get phys damage+add phys or attacks speed and fortify lvl 18-20? I mean they are pretty expensive but what to begin with?

Hits can't be evaded is a special Veiled mod that drops from Vagan.

Fortify is indeed better than ECoMS now that it has gotten a large damage multiplier. Either alt spam or using attack and physical fossils should work for getting Fortify and a flat physical damage roll. I'd probably use fossils but it will be very expensive either way.

If you are lucky, you might be able to buy a good starting point you can just scour siffixes from and then multimod, but with how popular melee is this league, that might be unrealistic.


Thanks for answer. What fossils needed to craft staff? Serrateds?
Serrated + Jagged is the most cost effective option if I remember correctly.

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