[3.7] Impale Spectral Shield Throw Champion || Pure Phys, Uber Elder viable
After SST has been a joke for many leagues, I was intent on trying it in 3.7 Legion to see if the new melee buffs would make it viable beyond Deadeye and Gladiator as a challenge. To my surprise, it worked rather well and carried me through the entire game as a league starter. I had expected to hit a hard wall around red maps.
...turns out melee is so strong that even using SST on a melee ascendancy got me an Uber Elder kill. (2 deaths, might try for deathless. Can also try to get a recording if anybody is interested.)
So I wanted to share my crappy build for people looking for something fun and a little different to play!
Tier 15 Desert Spring map clear: https://youtu.be/nPttxOWMWIk
Why Champion over Deadeye or Gladiator?
The fantasy of being an armoured badass wielding a banner of war and leading the charge was appealing. I also wanted to test impale as a source of damage.
Is it better than elemental/crit Deadeye or bleedsplosion Gladiator?
How is mapping and bossing?
Mapping is comfortable, but many map mods are quite harmful that would be ignorable by many other builds. (Monsters can't be taunted? Damn it!)
Bossing is mixed: physical bosses don't hurt much, elemental bosses bully us a bit. Single target DPS isn't super impressive, but a second target literally triples our DPS thanks to the new Divide and Conquer jewel. Twinned bosses are a nightmare for many builds: it's a godsend for mine! Uber Elder actually provides us higher DPS opportunities.
Is this build budget friendly?
You know it, brother.
An exalt or two takes us to red maps thanks to our gear being off-meta and super cheap. The most expensive gear in my build was end-game to push Uber clear, but is not mandatory if you're not trash like I am. A handful of chaos can get you very far.
The most expensive items in my finished build are:
• 2.6k armour shield (1.8ex)
• Impresence amulet (1ex)
• The Nomad belt (65c)
• 6-linked Belly of the Beast body armour (6ex)
Now, you probably look at that and think: that's not cheap! It's a bit pricey, with the end build costing me close to 10 exalts total. However, that is my end game Uber Elder gear. You can replace those with the following:
• Lioneye's Remorse shield (1c)
• Karui Charge (15c) or Gloomfang (1c)
• a leather belt with life and resist (1-15c)
• any 6-link armour or armour/evasion body with life/resist (this varies, but I found one for 45c)
All of a sudden the price drops from 10 exalts to not even a single exalt if you're smart with your shopping. This gear can carry you into early to mid red maps if you play smart and watch out for bad map mods.
If 1 ex isn't budget friendly, I don't know what is.
What content can't this build do?
Uber Atziri. The mirror kills you instantly due to the chaining. You can remove the Divide and Conquer gem, but that's no fun.
Is this build hardcore viable?
God, no. Go somewhere else.
Did you make it past the preamble? Then I will give you a basic rundown on my build, the gear, and playstyle.
+ Cheap as hell, good return on cheap gear. No crit, bleed, or elemental gear required. (More below.)
+ Champion is badass.
+ Solid map clearing. The more enemies there are, the stronger your SST is.
+ Flexible: half-melee, half-ranged. Get the best of both worlds.
+ Decent survivability. High block, high physical reduction, strong defensive options.
+ Worthy Foe removes the need for accuracy or RT.
- Levelling sucks.
- Slightly unintuitive playstyle.
- Single target DPS is direly wanting. Needs 2 (and only two) targets for optimal DPS.
- Gear choices are very limited due to the nature of the build. You will struggle for life and some damage in the mid-game, and optimising your gear can be frustrating.
- Gem options are limited. SST is a Dexterity skill, and this is a Strength build. Skills won't play nice with our gear due to slot colour bias.
This build makes use of Point Blank and Pride as the main sources of damage. You snap from point to point with Shield Charge, entering the fray to Fortify yourself like a gods damned iron chariot and quickly racking up banner stages.
You are the unbreakable steel wall, and the conquerer of armies. The more enemies there are, the stronger you become. The longer you stay in the melee, the stronger you become. You plant your banner, and inspire yourself and your allies to victory. Woe betide the army that marches before you!
...or something like that.
This build is very tinker-y. If you want a challenging close-range projectile build that's fun to play and satisfying to work out, this might be the one for you!
• 6,409 HP
• 19,019 armour (66% phys. reduction)
• 77% fire, 76% cold and lightning res, no chaos res.
• 51% chance to block attacks, 60% chance to block projectiles
• +21% move speed
• 3.6% life regen/sec, +5% with max stage banner planted, +2% if taunted recently, +1.6% from Vitality (up to 12.2%/sec total)
• 2.2% life leech, 3.4% with Blood Rage
• 76k tooltip DPS
• 158k PoB DPS vs. Shaper/Guardian
• 100% accuracy once taunted (no RT and accuracy required!)
• 100% chance to impale
• Impales last 7 hits
• 85% increased impale effect (116% with max stage banner planted)
Including impale, raw effective single target DPS is close to 400k.
Realistically, this increases significantly if a 2nd target is available to ricochet off of. With 4 chains (5 hits), this allows you to optimally hit the main target thrice. This also doesn't take into account:
• Master of Metal, which increases damage per impale;
• the "more" damage multiplier from Pride aura;
• the "more" damage multiplier from Point Blank.
Unless my math is completely wrong, when up close and making use of your auras, you can expect to hit over 500k single target DPS, which only gets higher if you can ricochet optimally. This build melts Uber Elder portal phase!
Path of Building Code:
Before I get into anything else, I need to make sure it's obvious: you absolutely need the new Divide and Conquer jewel introduced in 3.7!
This jewel is the crux of everything and the only reason SST is remotely viable now. Get it and a jewel socket on the tree as soon as possible. Until you do, use an easy leveling skill!
Once you grab it, your shield will now chain a fatty four times without damage reduction like Chain Support, which increases your pack clearing a thousandfold, and your 2-3 target DPS immensely! Thank you GGG!
Grab every shield damage node you can, and grab every life node you can.
The absolutely crucial notables are Forceful Skewering and Swift Skewering (left path). You need these for 100% impale chance and increased damage. These are the lynchpin of our damage! The third is Aggressive Bastion, which provides us 5% chance to gain an endurance charge on kill for some extra survivability.
The first important keystone is Iron Grip. This is a good early game damage boost.
The second important keystone is Point Blank. Due to the nature of the skill, afterwards for maximum damage, you will need to be in melee range for maximum damage. As such, I don't recommend grabbing this first until you have some life nodes invested and life rolls on gear. (Point Blank does damage based on projectile distance travelled, not where you are; regardless, you want to be beside the enemy when you fling your shields.)
For passive jewels, anything with % life will help and whatever stats you feel might be useful. Attack speed is a good stat since we do not pick up much of it, as is global physical/attack damage.
My jewels were:
6% max life and increased damage with Pride make this an extremely valuable jewel. Another good option is Impale lasts 2 additional hits, or both if you have the exalts to burn!
General purpose life gem with attack speed and some resists I used while levelling. Any life and damage gem will do here.
This mana leech jewel gives 7% life and solves all mana issues, meaning you can free up points for mana leech on the tree, and removes the need for mana leech on any of your gear. Highly recommended.
Increased life regen and damage reduction is very nice early game. The taunt is also nice if you're partying.
2. Master of Metal
By second ascendancy you should be well on the way to impaling everything. This is an excellent boost to damage and although the tooltip won't show it, you will feel it.
3. Worthy Foe
By third ascendancy you might be struggling with accuracy requirements, and this solves that problem. The additional damage is icing on the cake, which only becomes better with more people in the party.
This rounds out your build by giving you a stronger banner effect, no mana reserved, life regen upon placement, and movespeed (which is always nice). A very good quality of life node.
If you want to be even tankier, you can pick up the Fortitude node, dropping Worthy Foe and Inspirational. This in combination with the Rampart notable passive means you will have excessively increased effective HP, but you will need to spec into accuracy or RT, as well as having to keep in mind the 10% reserve for the banner.
Main 6-link skill set up:
1. Spectral Shield Throw
2. Brutality Support
3. Vicious Projectiles Support
4. Impale Support
5. Slower Projectiles Support
6. Maim Support
Due to this being a pure physical impale build that does not use crit, we need to scale our damage as much as possible. We do this by stacking as many "more" modifiers as possible. You can link these jewels as you see fit, but this order should give you the most damage return as you level.
You can swap out Slower Projectiles Support for Faster Projectiles Support to get snappier map clears at the cost of a lot of damage.
Movement skill set up:
1. Shield Charge
2. Blood Magic Support
3. Fortify Support
4. Faster Attacks Support
You can use Leap Slam instead if you want since Shield Charge can't clear ledges and gaps. I prefer shield charge for the snappiness of the movement, increased AOE when ramming a pack, and the general badassery of the skill.
Other key skills:
Aside from Dread Banner and Pride, feel free to use what you see fit.
1. Dread Banner
Impale banner. Goes without saying. I didn't link it to anything.
You might consider Increased Duration for really long banner plants, or Increased Area of Effect Support for a wider radius.
A new 50% aura that adds more physical damage to nearby enemies, ramping up over time. Promotes a fun and risky close-range playstyle which synergises with Point Blank. Too good to pass up, and the highest damage aura you can pick up for this build.
3b. ...linked to Blasphemy
This is only viable if you have a physical Impresence amulet. Otherwise, Cast When Damage Taken Support, or self cast.
Feel free to stick in an Increased Area of Effect Gem for comfort.
4. Blood Rage
No links on this. I selfcast.
You might opt for Cast When Damage Taken Support. You can use Increased Duration Support, but I prefer not having uncontrollable degen for up to 20 seconds.
If you're rich, consider Empower Support or Enhance Support.
5. Vaal Molten Shell
The primo survival skill for this build. You will have more armour than you can shake a stick at, which works well with Molten Shell and its roided out Vaal variant since the rework. Pop this when you're in danger for a super damage reduction, or the Vaal version when you're clenching super hard.
I only linked to Increased Duration Support and selfcasted.
You might consider Cast When Damage Taken Support, Added Fire Damage Support, or Fire Penetration Support.
That's right, Reckoning. Yes, it does shit damage. Yes, even with links, it's still pitiable damage. Why, then? Because it procs impale, and each hit does significant damage because of it. You're constantly blocking, and each time it procs off cooldown, you are getting a free impale hit at no cost.
I had extra reserve left over and Herald of Purity wasn't doing much for me, so I swapped in Vitality for extra HP regen without hitting 100% reserve.
Other skills to consider:
If you don't like any of the skills above, add in what you like. I recommend Ancestral Protector Totem, or a warcry like Rallying Cry as fill-ins. Another defensive option is Immortal Call, but I don't like it since the rework due to it eating endurance charges for very little benefit compared to Molten Shell.
My Endgame Gear, and Alternative Recommendations:
1. Shield Armour
2. Maximum Life
3. Maximum Life %
4. Resistance %
5. Global Attack Speed %
6. Adds # to # Physical Damage
7. Global Physical Damage %
8. Increased Projectile (Attack) Damage %
10. Strength %
11. Increased Projectile Speed (purely for comfort)
Main and Off-Hand
Primastic Eclipse is the best main hand option for this build. No Shaper or Elder rolls provide us any meaningful damage. Due to SST scaling off of shield armour, we need to look for global modifiers which this weapon has in spades. You can also flex it to your stat needs at the cost of gem socket flexibility. I used three green slots for attack speed since we lack it direly.
Alternative: If don't mind attacking slower but hitting fatter impales, red sockets are alright through mid game, and a single blue socket can solve your mana leech problems until you get it elsewhere.
This weapon is dirt cheap, flexible, and you can run it from the second you pick it up until the second you kill Uber Elder.
A thick crafted shield slathered in armour and increased armour is your endgame. I picked up this shield for about 2 exalts. You can get shields up to 3K armour if you have the money. Upgrading shields is your highest priority as this is the highest return on investment for damage.
Alternative: There isn't one, but until you can get a crafted shield, Lioneye's Remorse is the best shield you can get until then. High armour and high life make it a very good levelling shield.
A helmet with the 40% increased Spectral Shield Throw damage is the best enchantment. A helmet with tier 1 life and some resists is best.
Alternatives: Starkonja's is a very solid alternative, but only a filler until you get a good rare hat.
I got a Belly of the Beast to solve my life problems for Uber Elder, but this is an expensive option. It cost me 6 ex this league.
Alternatives: For endgame, an elder body with maximum life and maximum life % is probably better, but will likely be more expensive. Remember that you need 4 links to be green, so an astral plate is out of the question unless you've got chromatics to burn.
Otherwise, tier 1 life and any resists you need is fine.
I opted for Winds of Change due to how cheap they are. Solid damage on them, increased projectile speed, and flat maximum life are all extremely nice. The enchant doesn't really matter, but if you must have one, Commandment of Reflection or Commandment of Blades are probably best.
Alternatives: Get Tombfists for sexy damage and some flexibility with abyssal sockets. I opted not to because I'm too cheap to buy 2 socket fists.
Otherwise, any gripped gloves with maximum life and attack speed. Resists if you need them.
I kept these boots forever because they had a good life roll and decent resists. You might want higher movespeed out of preference. Preferred enchant is regenerate 2% life and mana per second if were hit recently.
Alternatives: I actually swapped these out for Kaom's Roots for Uber Elder. The life and slow immunity are wonderful. Aside from that, look for boots with life, optional life %, resists, and movespeed if you like it. I don't care for movement speed because Shield Charge is plenty fast. You can also consider Bubonic Trail.
Impresence allows us Vulnerability at no cost, gives free stats, gives flat physical damage, reduced block recovery, and armour... literally everything we could want on an amulet! Additionally, Maddening Presence adds some nice survivability during mapping. (Maddening Presence reduces damage by 10% from enemies in radius.)
Alternatives: While levelling, Karui Ward. Upgrade to Karui Charge later. Another option is taking off Brutality and using a Gloomfang until you round out your build more, as that will shred packs into tiny pieces.
Carnage Heart is a solid survivability unique, but I didn't particularly like it. You may prefer it, but it is only a stopgap.
Max life rings with resists. Look for elder rings with increased projectile damage as a bonus.
The Nomad is my endgame belt, and it gives a ton of raw stats and damage on top of some really good resists. However, you lose a ton of HP over a rare belt.
Alternatives: Use a rare elder belt with high life and max life % with resists. In case you didn't notice by now, we need as much life as we can get. I used the following belt in place of The Nomad until end game:
I use no unique flasks in this build. My main damage flasks are Diamond Flask and Silver Flask. I have an enchant on each to deal with bleeding, curse, ignite, and frozen. You might consider Blood of the Karui for turbo healing as a panic button.
Map Mods to Watch Out For
Unfortunately we are weak to a lot of map mods that many builds can ignore. Here are the ones I found this build susceptible to.
Bad Map Mods
No-fly Zone (Skip!)
• Reflect physical damage.
• Cannot regenerate life, mana or ES.
These two are the main problems we face and we will die a quick death to them. Avoid these maps. Sell them to Slayers or something.
• Reduced armour and reduced block chance.
This means our primary lines of defence become extremely soft and Molten Shell loses its edge. You can still survive without it, but it is not recommended.
• Reduced life, mana, and ES regeneration (40-60%).
Life regen is our main survival tool before leeching, and our leech is just not enough to get through high maps. Avoid if you can, but with careful play you can still survive. Just don't expect to facetank most maps.
• Increased unique boss damage and attack/cast speed.
We are bulky and can block, but against certain bosses that do more elemental or chaos damage, we do not have the life padding, ES padding, dodge, or leech or overcome extreme spike damage. We sustain consistent damage extremely well but this will often cause you to die in one hit. Avoid if you can.
• Players cannot leech life or mana.
The life leech hurts and might get you killed, but the main reason this sucks is the mana leech. With so much mana reservation and our primary skill costing upwards of 30 mana, we have no way to consistently cast our primary attack. You will throw 3 or 4 shields and be OOM for the next couple of seconds which is very slow and dangerous.
• Increased monster critical strike chance and monster critical strike multiplier.
As with unique boss damage, spike damage hurts us greatly and we have no easy way to deal with it. Spike damage can and will kill us, but monsters generally do not do enough damage to kill us easily. Be aware that this is a possible mod that will kill you, especially if you run into an elemental magic/rare with Powerful Crits.
• Monsters cannot be taunted.
This has two downsides: first, we lose the life regen and damage reduction from taunting. Secondly, we lose our 100% chance to hit from taunting. This drops our accuracy significantly and will pose problems against rare packs and the boss due to missing. You can survive without it but I really do not recommend it.
With that said, there are two deadly map mods that we don't mind so much.
Mods We Can Ignore
• Reflect elemental damage.
We do no elemental damage. Therefore, this is a free mod for us.
• Area contains two unique bosses. (A.K.A. "Twinned")
This is extremely dangerous for many builds and will cause an instant splat on red maps depending on the boss. However, this is actually an upside for us. Remember how we need two, and exactly two targets to do optimal DPS? That's right—with this map mod, we can kill the map boss three times as fast, and get twice the loot. Cha-ching!
The remaining mods you can run at your own discretion.
Last edited by Eaguru on Jun 30, 2019, 12:11:18 PM
Last bumped on Jul 8, 2019, 9:24:26 PM
on Jun 24, 2019, 8:35:56 PM
Wow, this looks great! Can't wait to try it!
Thanks for the fantastic in depth guide but one question...
How did you manage to get the quality mod on that shield?
on Jun 24, 2019, 9:00:38 PM
It's a fossil crafted shield, Einhar corrupted to 30% base.
on Jun 24, 2019, 9:49:14 PM
on Jun 27, 2019, 1:05:41 PM
Tier 15 map clear: https://youtu.be/nPttxOWMWIk
Should give you a general idea of how the build plays and what you can expect damage wise once you start picking up gear.
Last edited by Eaguru on Jun 30, 2019, 10:31:28 AM
on Jun 30, 2019, 10:31:18 AM
Your divide and conquer jewel only has 10 dex with your pastebin. Is there a mistake or am I missing something. With that link its only giving your 15% attack damage
on Jul 8, 2019, 6:21:35 PM
It needs a combined total of 40 STR and DEX, not 40 of both. Rest assured the threshold works correctly in that position.
on Jul 8, 2019, 9:24:26 PM