[3.7] New Player Friendly Option- 2h Impale Perforate Champion- 10mil+ single-target DPS
Welcome to my Perforate Champion build guide!
Perforate has been mostly overlooked, but while the skill has some glaring problems, it can be scaled to insane amounts of single-target damage with adequate clear. In this guide, I will go over the mechanics of Perforate, Impale, gem links, gear, bandits, and more.
Perforate was newly added in 3.7, and trying new skills is always fun! But there are also more mechanical reasons to play Perforate. The skill changes depending on your stance, allowing you to use one skill for both clear and single-target. With the right build, the DPS can get very high.
In Sand Stance, the swords you create will move outwards, damaging groups of enemies. Increases to area of effect(AoE) in Sand Stance result in the swords traveling farther and hitting a wider area, making AoE increases very effective at boosting your pack-clearing abilities. A level 21 Perforate gem does 198.8% of your damage in Sand Stance. Even though the skill has an 80% attack speed multiplier, the overall damage still comes out quite good.
In Blood Stance, all of the swords will burst out of the ground in succession, allowing multiple hits on the same enemy. You can think of it kind of like Firestorm, but a physical attack. The swords in this stance appear randomly spread across a fixed size circle around the front of your character. Unlike Firestorm, however, increases to AoE increase the area that the swords hit, but DO NOT increase the area in which they appear. This means that larger targets or a larger AoE will result in more potential hits. Perforate does 65% less damage in Blood Stance, resulting in an effective damage effectiveness of 69.6% PER BLADE. Since it can potentially hit up to 8 times per attack, you can (theoretically) reach a damage effectiveness of 556.8%. That's (theoretically) insanely high.
Impale: What does it do? Why use it?
Impale was added back in Betrayal league, but it wasn't until the addition of the support gem and tree nodes that it really became usable.
Here's how it works:
A hit that impales will do 10% of the damage (after mitigation) when the target is hit again. This lasts for a default of 5 hits, meaning that a hit that impales does baseline 50% more damage, spread over the next 5 hits.
But that's not all! There are ways to get increased impale effect, which is multiplied by that original 10% number. This build gets a total of 121% increased effect of impale, meaning that each impale does 22% of the hit damage rather than 10%. That's 110% more damage!
But there's more! 5 hits is the baseline for Impale, and it can be increased in 2 ways: the Champion ascendancy and a Watcher's Eye mod for Pride both increase the maximum number of impale stacks by 2, bringing us to a total of 9 impales, or 198% MORE damage!
Champion also adds flat physical damage to attacks per impale stack on the target. You may remember that Perforate is a great skill to scale with added damage because of its (theoretical) 556.8% effectiveness of added damage.
Of course, to get this more multiplier and flat damage, we need to have 100% chance to impale on hits. This is easily achieved by the Impale support gem, Dread Banner, and the chance available on the tree. Champion also gives us an additional 20%, but it's overkill.
What stats do we want?
Besides the already mentioned impale chance and effect, we want to pick up flat phys damage, crit chance and multi, and attack speed. (Attack speed also makes our leap slam faster!) Oh, and of course, life.
each gear section has trade links so you can easily buy your own!
The most important thing in the helmet slot is the Perforate enchant. Going from 6 spikes to 8 both boosts your area coverage in Sand Stance and is also a (theoretical) 33% more damage in Blood Stance. This enchant is insane, and enchants such as barrage have been nerfed when they add this much to a skill. So get a Perforate enchant helmet!
This link will give you a helm with either an OK life roll or room to craft a life roll yourself. If you're getting a rare, also look for any needed stats or resists. It would be a good spot to get a high Int roll.
I use an Abyssus which I bought for 1 exalt. Abyssus is completely optional, and I wouldn't even necessarily recommend it. It is the most damage you can get in the helmet slot, but it also makes you extremely squishy to physical damage. This is fine if you plan on doing Shaper/Uber Elder as their damage is mostly elemental, but every Legion faction has very high physical burst, and Abyssus will get you killed against this.
This is the priciest part of the build. As an attack build, your DPS is GREATLY affected by the weapon you use, so if you have limited currency, this is the spot to spend it!
I recommend you craft your weapon. Mine cost about 14 exalts to craft including linking, and it has a lot of room for improvement. Buy an Exquisite Blade of at least itemlevel 80 (this allows it to roll the level 20 Fortify mod). Then spam alterations on it until you get either: Gems are supported by Fortify, tier 1-3 flat phys (hold ALT to see a mod's tier), tier 1 or 2 attack speed, tier 1 or 2 crit, or the Elder mod with attack speed if you've killed recently. Use an Augment if needed, then cross your fingers and try to annul any bad mods. Metacraft what you're missing to finish it off. You want all of the following stats and 1 stat + quality craft. It will cost: 2ex for multimod, 1ex for attack speed/crit + quality, 4c for the flat phys, and 3ex for hits can't be evaded. Hits can't be evaded isn't mandatory, but I will go into that later.
But I can't afford any of that!
That's OK! You can just buy a Doomsower and a Jeweller's Touch prophecy. When we get to the gem links section, replace Brutality with Fortify so you still get the fortify buff and get to take advantage of the added fire damage. You won't be killing shaper in a second flat, but the damage should be good enough for general mapping.
This is the part where I talk about the bad things about Perforate. It feels TERRIBLE without a lot of increased AoE. The Sand Stance attack is tiny, and the Blood Stance won't get many multihits without a lot of AoE. For this reason, I think a Carcass Jack is mandatory for the build.
If you don't have much currency to work with, you can get a cheap one here. If you have more money to spend, look for a well rolled one! It will feel better. As you can see from my chest, it doesn't need to be 6-linked. a 4 link will do, or you could just use a Jeweller's Touch prophecy.
I use Haemophilia because the explosions help improve Perforate's subpar clearspeed. This isn't mandatory, however. If you have some money to burn and are so inclined, you could buy a nice pair of spiked gloves. Alternatively, you could buy a pair of Haemophilia gloves corrupted with Vuln on hit. Congratulations, you're richer than me.
I like dodge boots. Since Legion mobs drop them, a decent pair is very cheap, and they have some nice defensive bonuses.
I bought mine for 2ex. The stats you are looking for are flat phys, crit chance and multi, attack speed, Int, and any needed resists. The Maximum Total Recovery per Second from Life Leech is nice, but not necessary, it basically amounts to 4% life regen. Attack speed can only be gotten from an Elder base or corruption. You will need some Int if you are wearing a Carcass Jack!
Adjust the numbers upwards or add in more modifiers if you have a bigger budget.
Mark of the Elder is pretty much the most damage you can get out of the ring slot. That requires that your other ring be shaped. As you can see, mine is pretty bad, doing nothing but adding some life and filling in resists. If you want something better and don't plan on using Vuln on hit Haemophilia, you can use an Assassin's Mark ring.
Mine sucks. Life. Resists.
If you want something better, you can either buy one of these or fossil craft your own.
You need a staunching life flask, no ifs ands or buts. Either seething or bubbling is fine. Here is the link to buy one, but flasks are easy enough to craft that you can do it yourself for about the same price as buying one.
Since we leap slam everywhere rather than walk, think of a silver flask as your quicksilver flask. We need freeze immunity on one of our flasks, but not necessarily here. A well rolled Chemist's gives us 2 uses.
This link will get you a nice silver flask with either freeze or curse immunity.
Since we are crit based, a diamond flask is our best DPS flask. We need one. Crit chance during flask effect is nice, but you can also just use it for freeze or curse immunity if you want. I like Experimenter's for uptime during boss fights.
This flask is both nice, because MORE DAMAGE, and awful, because the knockback will screw up your single target on anything not immune to knockbacks. I still think it's worth the hassle, though.
If you can't afford one/don't want one, you can just use a basalt flask instead. I like alchemist's basalt flasks best because they offer the most phys reduction, and you can use the suffix for any immunity you choose.
This one is a bit of a wildcard. I use it because the regen and crit chance from consecrated ground is nice, and the 40% increased damage from the flask itself is nice too. Again, Experimenter's for uptime on bosses. Again, you can craft it yourself if you feel like it.
Other good flasks
If you aren't using Lion's Roar, a magic granite flask is nice for bigger molten shells. If you're using Iron Reflexes, a jade flask is nice, again for bigger molten shells. If you're going the cheap Doomsower route and not using Brutality, you can use Atziri's Promise
Gems and Links
This is the 6-link I run. Remember to put it in your sword so it's also supported by Fortify. Of course, I have explained why Impale is necessary. Close Combat is a huge more multi, and gives you faster leap slams, which is neat. I like Rage for mapping because of the extra attack speed for leap slams, but I switch it out for Pulverise for bosses because maintaining rage is finicky and remember, more AoE = more damage. You can use Pulverise for mapping if you don't mind going a bit slower and don't want to swap gems.
I only have a 5-link!
Take out Melee phys. If you're using a 5-link Doomsower, your links should be Perforate-Close Combat-Impale-Rage-Melee Physical Damage.
Auras and Buffs
This is the ideal 6-link. If you got this, you could level Precision a bit. But it is not necessary at all. I am only using a 4-link with Flesh and Stone and Pride linked to Enlighten. You really don't need Enlighten at all, but it lets you attack the air for a few hits, which is nice. And you weren't going to do anything with the gem slot anyways.
Make sure you link Flesh and Stone to Maim support! It makes enemies take an additional 14% physical damage.
These go in the gloves, helmet, or boots. These don't need to be linked to Enlighten, but Dread Banner is VERY important for the impale effect and it costs nothing, so why not?
Blood Rage gives us faster leap slams and frenzy charges. It is also my only source of leech, but if casting it during boss fights annoys you, you can easily get leech on a jewel.
Ancestral Protector gives us some more damage. You could add in Vaal Ancestral Warchief instead if you wanted, but that's too many buttons for me.
I use lightning golem for, you guessed it, faster leap slams. It also is the best golem for us DPS-wise. It is really not a big deal though, I am considering dropping it just because it occasionaly will hit a boss and NOT apply an impale, which would cost me 6 to 12 phys damage. So yeah, not that important.
I use Molten Shell because it blocks more damage than Steelskin. Molten Shell is certainly the best guard skill to use if you take Iron Reflexes, and is still probably the best one to use if you don't. Try it out and take some damage in a controlled setting, and see how much damage your Molten Shell blocks. If it's less than around 700, you're better off with Steelskin, but anything higher and Molten Shell is better. My Molten Shell blocks around 2000 damage.
LEAP SLAM and more
Leap slam is linked to Blood Magic and Faster Attacks so we can use it faster, and for no mana.
The Purity of Ice is used linked with Blood Magic to trigger the Champion's First to Strike, Last to Fall node to get Adrenaline, which grants us 100% increased damage, 25% attack and move speed, and 10% phys damage reduction. We just tap the button during a boss phase animation and turn it off immediately, and we get some big buffs at the cost of having to use our life flask once. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be Purity of Ice, any aura that reserves 35% mana will do. Pick whichever one is cheaper to chrome!
Which Bandit reward do I choose?
I have a simple question that I ask myself every time I make a build.
Am I a hit-based crit build?
If yes, help Alira.
If no, kill them all.
Links to the trade site to buy my jewels are all included.
This jewel, when put in the socket near Marauder, gives us a whopping 70% crit multi. That's good. It also gives us 4% phys reduction, which is nice. If you can't afford this one, go for a Tempered Flesh. If you can't afford that, just use one of my regular jewels.
This goes in the bottom left socket on the tree, and replaces Iron Grip with Second Sight. It's only useful for you if you have crafted hits can't be evaded on your weapon. If you don't have hits can't be evaded, give this one a skip. If you don't have enough currency for this one, unspec Iron Grip and put in another regular jewel. This jewel can potentially add useful mods such as crit chance, attack speed, or even onslaught on kill onto Blade of Cunning and Dismembering, but mine doesn't. If you have money to burn, try to buy them until you get some good mods on your 2 notables.
This one is a luxury. It's about 10ex and it is not at all necessary, but if you can afford one, the damage is huge. If you can't get one, just use a regular jewel.
I have more money than I know what to do with!
Mana leech jewel
This is required. This is the easiest place to get mana leech, which we need to continue attacking more than a couple of times.
I have a bit of money
For these ones, you're looking for crit multi, damage, and attack speed. You can optionally get life leech on one of these if you don't want to use Blood Rage during boos fights.
My current passive tree, level 91
The next few levels will mostly just be filling in life.
(Theoretical) level 100 build
You got level 100? You go!
Help, I'm new and can't afford any of this stuff!
If you are using the Doomsower instead of a hits can't be evaded Exquisite Blade you will want to change up your passive tree a bit to get some accuracy.
Level 90 budget build
(Theoretical) Level 100 build
As I have mentioned, we are Champion for the additional impale stacks, free banner, stun immunity, and the large amount of free damage and armour.
When you complete normal lab, you should get Inspirational. This will enable you to run Pride, Flesh and Stone, Blood and Sand, Precision, and Dread Banner all together.
After cruel lab, take Master of Metal. This gives you a lot of damage.
After merciless lab, take Unstoppable Hero. The stun immunity it provides is very nice.
After uber lab, take First to Strike, Last to Fall.
Which pantheons you choose isn't too important, but I use Soul of Lunaris for the phys reduction and Soul of Shakari because I have no chaos res. Soul of Solaris, Soul of Ryslatha, and Soul of Gruthkul are all good, so switch them up as you feel.
The good news is you can go from level 2 to 100 with Perforate! The bad news is that it will kinda suck. The single-target will be good, but without a Carcass Jack and helmet enchant, the clear leaves something to be desired.
After you kill Hillock, put on these.
At level 10, switch to these:
At level 20, you can put this on.
It will take care of any stat problems you may have.
After level 30, you can equip 2 of these, which will carry you to endgame.
If you can't afford them, just stick with the princesses.
I can't afford any of these leveling uniques!
That's OK! Just level using rares that you find. Look for boots with movement speed, and keep looking for weapons that are upgrades from the one you are using. At level 65, you can use your Doomsower, and you will be set until maps!
Thanks for reading my guide. Comment with any questions or comments!
Last edited by Andylll on Aug 9, 2019, 11:04:14 PM
Last bumped on Aug 24, 2019, 10:48:31 AM
on Aug 9, 2019, 9:32:22 PM
on Aug 9, 2019, 11:02:59 PM
Alright. Since we are nearing the end of the league I'm going to start using this build tomorrow to destroy Uber Elder. My budget is about 40 exalts which I feel will be enough to cover the gg gear like the sword and impale watcher's eye. I would also like to ask how good the survivability is, and tips for my first Uber Elder. Thanks a lot.
on Aug 14, 2019, 5:54:54 AM
Great build, dude :) I actually transitioned a Champion from Vaal Double Strike into a Perforate one. I'm not using a 2H sword but dual wielding two "Hits cant' be evaded" foils. The damage is INSANE. Actually yesterday I did Uber Elder and it was a breeze, well with a couple of deaths but it was a breeze the same. I don't use Carcass Jack either just a Maim/-15 mana cost rare chest with high life. Indeed, in Blood Stance it could feel pretty clunky but even without Carcass Jack the damage still insane hahaha the funny thing is that Perforate overlaps in damage with the spikes on Blood Stance, so everything melts in a couple of seconds. My final thoughts are that you can make Perforate work with any budget but those optiones you posted here are a big QoL for a better experience with the skill :)
on Aug 24, 2019, 10:48:31 AM