[3.12] Scarfuncle's Shield Charge Berserker - Fast, Fun, All content viable, 30m+ DPS

What if there was a build with great clear speed, multiple layers of defense, and could clear all the content in Path of Exile? Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Shield Charge Berserker.

Shield charge fits into the "never stand still" meta we currently find ourselves in. Possessing fast clear, solid defenses, and multiple ways to scale damage, this build is for the player who enjoys going fast doing things a little differently.
Path of Building Link:

Budget version
- https://pastebin.com/zGtyD1c2 - 10mil+ DPS

End game setup - https://pastebin.com/D6ZAmUQZ - 30mil+ DPS

This build is the result of multiple leagues of studying the shield charge skill. I built a successful Shield Charge Gladiator and have studied deeply to take shield charge as far as it can go.

This was my league starter in 3.12 and it was my only character because it can do anything. It is the strongest character I have played. It starts very budget, but provides the player with multiple end game items to buy so you can set goals and take your character to extreme levels.


Jan 13 2021 - GGG gave shield charge 10% more base damage and 40% more armour/evasion scaling damage. That's like adding another support gem. This is a buff! POB incoming ASAP.
Nov 21, 2020 - New POBs online. Helping Alira is better for us.
Nov 12, 2020 - Shaper video up to show bossing capability.
Nov 11, 2020 - Build guide published.

Pros and Cons

*Provides speed without compromising dps
*Mix and match playstyle provides flexibility for trying new things.
*Amazing speed through the acts. Rampage is so much fun!
*Can function entirely on rares making it excellent for a "craft-centric" league- absolutely SSF viable up to Elder and t16s.
*Can run on potato PCs. Good for parties since it doesn't fill the screen with crap.
*Basic gear is cheap because shield charge builds aren't common! The only required item is a high armour shield which you can make for 10c

*Some maps layouts just aren't made for Shield charge - we prefer straight shots (then again, most builds do).
*Can't run no leech maps. Doesn't like "less recovery" maps.
*Getting this close to enemies comes with risks. You have to learn to watch out for on death effects more than a projectile character does.
*The lack of spell block can lead to random one shots if you stand still too long. See the Gladiator version of this build to trade offense for defense.


You shield charge into stuff and hit them like a truck, exploding the packs. For clearing, you hold the button down and point your mouse in the direction of the enemies and it just zooms, popping and exploding packs as it goes!

For bosses, you use berserk, pop the flasks, and partner with your totem buddy and most things die within 5 seconds. Other options are vaal skills and tossing a banner down for a temporary boost.

The build primarily relies on Shield Charge, attack speed, Aura stacking, life, “More” physical damage, impale stacks, and scaling added physical damage and effect of non-curse auras. We don't use any elemental damage, spell damage, or damaging minions so avoid all these on your gear.


Shaper Deathless (No impale duration jewel) - https://youtu.be/jL6gY6mTlWI

Standard endgame clear - https://youtu.be/2j6Mk7wmtmY

Standard endgame clear (Headhunter delerium t16) - https://youtu.be/lDPOq6nuNZg

Baran A8 Map https://youtu.be/_l6XHAQr37o

Passive Tree
The pastebin above is far more descriptive. For newer players who don't have Path of Building, or for those who just want a quick peek at what the common passives are, see these links:

Level 67 www.poeurl.com/c5L1
You will need a small respec between 66 and 90 in your ascendency
Level 94 www.poeurl.com/c5L2
The extra passives left over are for the cluster jewels.


Pain Reaver>Crave>Rite>Aspect of Carnage
Once you get a mana leech jewel and a cluster jewel with "Feed the Frenzy," drop Pain Reaver and get Flawless Savagery. Pain Reaver is really good for leveling.

Gem links, Synergy, and Interactions

Main Attack:

Shield charge requires a high armour shield and high attack speed to keep us zooming. High attack speed means impale is really good, so I recommend maxing chance to impale and using only physical damage because elemental and chaos cannot impale.

If you only have a five link, drop melee phys damage support.

Auras and Banners:

This build makes use of "increased effect of non-curse aura" mods, so we get a surprising amount of damage AND defense here. Dread banner is required for this build. We need that impale chance and effectiveness. We get about 151% increased Aura effectiveness, which means when the banner is planted the "enemies have 21% less accuracy rating" balloons to the point where a full banner gives 56% chance to avoid melee/projectiles. It adds about 10 million damage in POB to boot. All this for a mere 7% reserved mana.

Precision is necessary so we can hit stuff. Level it as high as your mana reserves will allow you to go. If you are rich, get the alt quality version that reserves less mana.

Blood and Sand/Flesh and stone add lots of DPS for barely any investment. More DPS means more stuns and leech which makes your offense start to feel like a defense.

Herald of Purity synergizes with Circle of Guilt to add so much damage. The little minions add entertainment value

Pride is the last aura you should get since it takes so much to reserve. It is a secret weapon against bosses. It adds 17 million damage once you can afford a watcher's eye with "Impales you inflict last # additional Hits while using Pride," but a watcher's eye with the "double damage" mod is a budget alternative.


Blood rage grants us frenzy charges and life leech which combines with Soul Tether/immortal ambition to provides us a way to counter the rage degeneration that berserkers all deal with. The extra attack speed blood rage gives shouldn't be underestimated. The new quality version that gives a chance for frenzies on unique enemies is recommended for bosses.

Cast When Damage Taken Immortal call is much better than it looks on paper. I tried molten shell, but I recommend immortal call. I also link CWDT to blood rage.

Berserk is self-explanatory. It is used for ending bosses quickly.

Enduring Cry is an excellent skill for combating the degeneration AND it gets you endurance charges too. If you have never used it, please try it.

Vaal Grace looks unimpressive, but it is amazing. It benefits from our aura effectiveness and an increased duration gem to give 68% chance to dodge attacks AND spells for 12.5 seconds. Considering all the other defenses we have, this makes you invincible anytime you use it.

Ancestral Warchief gives about 16% more damage and serves as a distraction to bosses and a utility for getting through the lab. No links needed. You can even run a vaal version for more damage, but I prefer to save my souls for Vaal grace.

Leap slam and portal are just good to have :)

The POB includes phase run. I have learned to really love this skill and it provides a nice boost to speed, damage, and defense. Use it!


vulnerability is really good, but I really advise getting it as a glove corrupt. Assassin's mark and enfeeble are good second curses. Punishment is good if you want good clear. The curse on hit works well with the "evil eye" passive on the medium cluster jewel to instantly blind stuff.

If you can't afford any of that, try Reckoning, hextouch, vulnerability.

Leveling Guide Acts 1 to 10

Leveling Skills

Note on Shield charge Keybind

For the sake of your hands, bind shield charge to w, q, or a on your keyboard. You aim with the mouse and hold the shield charge button to go. It will cause hand strain if you put it on right or middle click.

Acts 1-10

A note for players doing this as a leaguestart- Like most melee builds, this one can be a rough leaguestart. It kicks into gear once you ascend around level 35. If you don't give up, you will be rewarded!

For your first attack skill, get Cleave from the quest to use until we get shield charge at level 10. This rapier type of sword with Cleave (lvl 1) combined with onslaught (lvl 4) provides the speediest rise to level 10.

At level 4, pick up Blood and Sand. You can abandon cleave for shield charge at level 10. Grab a Saber weapon for extra accuracy.

Grab War banner for passive accuracy. You can toss the flag down, but I never do.

Grab Ancestral protector (level 4) and use it for bosses. Standing near it gives you more attack speed. Decoy totem is actually really good for these starting levels too!

Once you’re level 10, start using shield dash immediately. At this point, your weapon's damage no longer matters - your shield's armour/evasion become your "weapon." See the equipment sections for more on this, but basically look for high armour on your shields.

Early links you should consider for shield charge are Onslaught (Level 1) and Maim (Level 8). You may be tempted by elemental skills like added fire or lightning damage support, but get used to not using any elemental damage. Later we lose all ability to do elemental damage, so don’t put a lot of time or currency into anything elemental.

Grab Leap Slam at level 10. It’s useful for clearing gaps. After the caged brute quest, you can use precision if it is for sale at the vendor. If not, get someone to buy it for you and start leveling it.

At level 20, consider Melee Physical Damage (Level 18), faster attacks (Level 18) for shield charge. Get culling strike or close combat (18) for your ancestral totem/riposte/reckoning.

Flesh and Stone is also available (16) but I find that it cuts into the mana supply this early in the game. If you are doing good on mana, remember to link maim to flesh and stone and it will provide a great boost to your damage.

Blood rage (16) is really good, despite the life drain. I put mine on left click and it just casts when I walk until I can get Cast when Damage taken at level 38. Blood rage grants a nice speed and leech boost. It speeds things up greatly when leveling.

At level 17, Pick up an "Aurumvorax" sword. It's cheap because no one wants it. Playing solo self found, I sometimes get one from Einhar's beasts in the menagerie. You can use this sword through the acts if you want.

Act II Bandits

Help Alira. If you accidentally kill them all, it won't make much difference though. You can undo this later.

At level 24, drop War Banner for Dread Banner

At level 28, drop Ancestral protector for Ancestral Warchief.

Impale Support – level 31. Pulverise is also an excellent alternative that grants good AOE. It pairs well with Blood rage if you’re using that.

At level 38, pick up Brutality. It adds a lot of damage to shield charge.

At level 38, I recommend a Cast When Damage taken>Blood rage>immortal call>vulnerability. drop vulnerability once you get it as glove corrupt

As you approach level 66, you will gain access to the -mana cost crafts for your jewelry. Look for reputable crafters in the POE forums who will add this for you for free.

Once you have -mana cost to non-channelled skils, your mana should barely move when you use shield charge. It’s safe to use the pride aura (24) at this point.

Once you find yourself with extra slots, consider vaal grace. It can take a lot of dex, but it is worth it. DON'T RESERVE THE GRACE AURA.

Leveling Gear

At level 17 you can start using Auremvorax. No one likes this sword so it is cheap. I have used this to level through all 10 acts in SSF. It is amazing.

Use any Armour/Evasion/Armour-evasion shield until level 20. Then, get The Deep One's Hide.

Grab a belt of the deceiver starting at level 20. It's good enough to get you though 10 acts.

At level 30, get Titucius' Span. Ride that shield until level 51.

At level 34ish, you should be finishing up act 3. Time to ascend. This is when things get fun. You'll be taking Pain Reaver ascendency for that sweet mana leech. You'll spec out of it after act 10 though.

Once you're ascended, take a minute to get new gear.

At level 33, get the Deidbellow. It may cost like 10c early league, but you can buy the dying cry prophecy and start using it in act 3. It is incredible and could be an end game helm if it just had life on it. If you can't afford that, look for The Gull helmet.

If mana starts being an issue, there are mana great uniques you can buy for super cheap.

At level 46, 4 linking a Belly of the Beast will get you up to level 62 when you can pick up a 5L Carcass Jack. We choose Carcass Jack over Bronn's Lithe because Bronn’s has a high dexterity cost. The lack of life and resists on Bronn's doesn’t do it any favors either. Rare armour works great as well.

At level 51, buy a rare Girded Tower Shield with the highest armour you can afford. If it is league start, you may have to make your own. Remember you can craft armour and increased armour on your shields. This is the best base for your level.

At level 67, repeat the process with Colossal Tower Shield. This is your new favorite type of shield since it has the highest armour potential. Buy one with ilvl 86+ as they offer the highest potential armour rolls.

After speaking with many new players, a common mistake is to assume unique shields are the best. any rare shield over 2000 armour is stronger than all unique shields. Don't be fooled - uniques aren't the best shield for you.

Leveling tips

•For the passive tree, get Versatility then heart of the warrior.
*Next, head left through solidity and juggernaut and head up to find more intelligence and perhaps the "expertise" passive for more dexterity.
* At level 50, try to get the "Forceful skewering node.
* Save the cluster jewel nodes for last.
Your damage scales off your shield, not your weapon. If your weapon says +physical damage, it usually means to attacks with that weapon, which we do not use for the most part. While leveling, you can grab a sword that adds 40% global accuracy. Anything that says “global” on a weapon is good for you.
•Evasion/energy shield on your armour is not as useful as life early on.
•You’ll be starved for dexterity while leveling. Getting some dex on your gear will really help.
•If you have trouble with mana, get -mana cost on your rings and amulet.
• You should have over 4000 life by the time you start mapping. If you don't, just take it easy and upgrade your gear so that it has life on it.
• If you are losing too much HP to rage, start using enduring cry. If that isn't enough, get soul tether. That will solve all your problems.
• If you are having trouble surviving in red maps, it's probably because you don't have anti-burn/poison/bleed on your flasks. The second common reason is that your chaos resist is in the negative. Getting it to the positive will make a world of difference.

Leveling Guide - Gearing for maps and beyond

Here are your major priorities once you start mapping:

1) If you're new, see this guide to how to do your atlas for maximum efficiency
2) Get max elemental resists and 4k life as soon as possible. Time to buy new gear!
3) Buy 14+ quality versions of all the gems that you can, starting with the ones linked to shield charge. The best time to do this is right after you upgrade your shield so you don't notice the initial dps drop from leveling a gem from level 1.
4) Go to Global chat room 820 and look for trials so you can do the Eternal Labyrinth (Aka uber lab)
5) Buy a cheap 6 link body armour. My favorite thing to do is get a corrupt one with lots of red links and low enough int and dex that I can wear it.
6) Work toward getting 117 dexterity for Ichimonji, your weapon.
7) Work toward getting rings with non-channelling skills have -9 total mana cost. Once you get these, you should easily be able to reserve 90% of your mana and sustain your attacks.
8) Follow the shield guide here to build yourself a good one so you can keep your dps high.
9) Boots with movement speed, life on all of your rares, and keeping your resists max while inching your chaos resists up. Use those jewel sockets to fill the gaps.
10) Remember that you can respec and that you don't have to follow the tree exactly.

See below for specific gearing growth recommendations.


Here is the order of preference for your enchants:

Shield charge speed>Blood and sand buff effect>Shield Charge damage>vulnerability effect>Dread banner effect>Blood rage speed

Crown of the Inward Eye is the perfect helmet - Balancing offense and defense. I have found no better helm. The transfigurations aren't really self-explanatory, so this item flies under the radar. Here are what the transfigurations do:

Transfiguration of Soul: Increases and Reductions to Maximum Energy Shield also apply to Spell Damage at 30% of their value
Transfiguration of Body: Increases and Reductions to Maximum Life also apply to Attack Damage at 30% of their value
Transfiguration of Mind: Increases and Reductions to Maximum Mana also apply to Damage at 30% of their value


Your shield IS your weapon. You want high armour – This is your biggest source of damage because so much scales off it.

To craft your own super shield, buy an ilvl 86+ colossal tower shield and use a deafening essence of dread on it. Round this shield off with a craft for extra quality+dex then for extra fun get Haku in research to improve quality even further or use a 30% corruption beast. I think it is possible to get over 3000 armour on your shield. I’ve tested whether mods like “increased global phys damage” or “chance to deal double damage” can compare to extra quality, and quality wins every time.

Life on block is very useful, but it takes a shaper shield to get it. Buy a level 86+ one and keep spamming and you can get one like the one I use. If you get a mana reservation mod by mistake, sell it for big money.

This is the shield I built in harvest. I bought a shaper base ilvl 86 and have had fun crafting my shield. Do you need a shaper base with shock and chill? No. look at craft of exile and see what mods you can get on shields:https://www.craftofexile.com/?b=5&bi=7763&i=|&ob=both&v=d&a=e&l=a&lg=3&bp=y&as=0&bld={}&ggt=|&ccp={}


Your weapon is the most flexible equipment you have. It is a "stat stick" because you don't attack with it. Ichimonji is a good one if you're like me and have no friends. Another stat stick to consider is Scaeva with green sockets. I don't like having that many green sockets because it forces you to use dash instead of leap slam.

There are other cool options to consider, like explodey wands, Al Dhih, replica Ungil's Gauche, or even rare one handed weapons for resists/global crit/impale effect.

If you find a better option than Ichimonji, lemme know.

Body Armour

While leveling, I recommend a corrupted chest that has mods like this. Move to a chest with life and an open prefix so you can craft "maximum life as extra energy shield" on it.

The endgame is an explodey astral plate. don't be afraid to spend money on this - they hold value. Start with one that has explode and work your way to getting one with socketed attacks have -mana cost or socketed attacks have + critical strike chance. I like ones that have an open prefix for the energy shield craft, but they are hard to find and afford.


Search up the rare rampage gloves and get one to level. My favorite is null and void. Invest in a null and void with a curse on it. rampage makes any build fun to play, trust me!

For bossing, I always use a strong glove like hands of the high crusader. Dual curses are really good but rare.


Look for movement speed, life, block chance, and a bunch of resists. Late game, I like using this benchcraft to add nearly 60% damage to shield charge during soul gain prevention (which is like all the time). Chaos resists are always a winning choice.

If you have no other way to get onslaught, get one with an open prefix and craft movement speed and onslaught chance on kill on the boots.

I don't have tailwind boots and am a bit unimpressed by the damage they add. They also cost a fortune for ones with chaos resist and life. If you want to truly min-max, get tailwind. I think we do just fine without it.


Your amulet and rings are very versatile, but at least two should have “non-channeling skills have – mana cost.” Hopefully, all rares have Life and physical damage added to attacks.

One ring should be Circle of guilt with "increased buff effect" and "increased physical damage." Until you can afford that, a budget ring is "Gifts from above." It does a similar job but requires you to crit to get most of the benefit, so high attack speed is a must.

Your other ring can get you onslaught like the one I've shown above, but there are ones that give intimidate on hit or just ones that give a lot of life and chaos resists. Play around with it, but do use the -mana craft.

Marylene's fallacy is a cheap and great amulet! Feel free to switch it out though. Aul's uprising with "pride has 100% reduced cost" is very good. There are lots of options here.

Speaking of options, the amulet can also be enchanted to solve all sorts of problems you may have. My suggested anoints are Whispers of doom, Hematophagy, command of steel, soul raker, or master of force.


Level up with Belt of the Deceiver until level 48 and then get soul taker. It looks crappy, but it solves all the degen problems and makes your ehp very high.

Late game, you want to get a Torrent's reclamation (about 1 ex) for the 20% additional action speed. It is my end game belt for bossing.

Headhunter is the best for mapping and synergizing with ichimonji. It is 100% not needed - much of the time the torrent's reclamation is better.


In general, you want attack speed while holding a shield, max Life, mana leech, Global phys damage, dex, and chaos resist.

1) Get a mana leech viridian jewel. This is REQUIRED unless you have another source of mana leech.

2) Get a jewel with protection vs corrupted blood. For many new players who don't know what killed them, it is this. Since we attack so fast, corrupted blood is deadly.

3) A jewel with resists is welcome.

Unique jewels

Replica conqueror's efficiency with a good corrupt helps with mana issues. I have to use it because I choose to use a non-rare amulet.

Glorious Vanity (Ahuana) is needed once you upgrade from soul tether to torrent's reclamation. It gets you immortal ambition.

Watcher's eye is one of the most popular uniques for a reason. Pick up a watchers eye that has a "while affected by pride" mod. Attack damage is good, double damage is better, and impale duration is best. Getting a watcher's eye with two pride mods adds a ton of damage, but will be very expensive.

Cluster Jewels

Buy a large cluster jewel with 8 passives and "Attack damage while using a shield." You want feed the fury and smite the weak, but feed the fury is the most important part. If you get past level 95, get a 3 passive version to get more block chance with prodigious defense.

The medium jewels here are deceptively good. Buy an ilvl 84+ medium jewel that gives "increased effect of non-curse auras." Get as many passives on there as possible - a 5 passive base cost me 120c. I'll admit that this is the least "budget" part of the build. Roll alts on it until you get increased effect. After that, you can add what you like. Each of these passive points is giving me about 4% dps and making all my auras stronger - offense and defense at the same time. Get on the aura effect train before they nerf auras.

I make use of a medium cluster jewel with evil eye on it. Evil eye helps keep all your foes blind. exploit weakness is the next best mod on this one.

My small cluster jewel is used to keep my endurance charges up. Very flexible.


Lion’s roar adds an amazing amount of damage and grants knockback, increasing your damage and chance to stun. It is a super synergistic item for us that is BIS. Bottled faith is good, but pricy. The other flasks work to prevent damage over time that gets through our defenses – anti burn, poison, and bleed. Anti freeze is a no-brainer to get as well. Until you can afford bottled faith, use a sulpher flask


Soul of Lunaris and Gruthkul for clearing, Soul of Solaris and Ryslatha for big bosses like shaper and Sirus.

Current Gear

Endgame theorycrafting

I am not God's gift to POE – I am 100% sure someone reading this guide could improve on this build. That’s what’s so exciting about it – it’s pretty uncharted territory here. Ideas I’ve had to add more dps are:

•Adding aspect of the spider by using -reserved mana shenanigans or affording Aul’s uprising’s for free pride.
•Crafting a weapon that is better than Ichimonji. I can barely make one in Path of Building much less find one in the markets. If you find something better, please let me know!
•There is nothing that says we HAVE to use brutality. If you slot Conc effect or pulverize instead, you could take advantage of any gear that gains elemental or chaos damage as a % of your physical damage. Atziri’s promise and taste of hate become excellent under these conditions.
•Making a templar version of shield charge and going elemental.

If you read this far, I'm absolutely humbled you have done so. This started as a challenge to see if it was possible to defeat Sirus with shield charge and it was way better than I thought. This guide was a labor of love on my part. I am not a streamer and this is only my second guide- I work a 40 hour a week job and play poe when I can. I appreciate any attention this community is willing to give to the work I have done here. Please post if you have found a way to make it better!

My Other Builds

Shield Charge Gladiator
Last edited by Scarfuncle on Jan 13, 2021, 12:00:08 PM
Last bumped on Jan 24, 2021, 3:13:53 PM
Is the 35% increased effect cluster jewels necessary?
Hello Crow187!

Nope! The budget version exceeds 10 million and uses the dismembering, rampart, and eagle eye passives on the tree instead.

The ultimate version does use the 35% aura effect clusters because it is one of the best ways to get chaos resists, scales up dread banner, and gives passive benefits that don't need to be procced through a hit. I started with a 4 passive aura effect for 20c and upgraded to a 5 passive version for 100c later. 100c is pretty affordable, but the budget version kicks them out anyway.

Thank you for taking a look at my build. I'm very excited to debut it!
Last edited by Scarfuncle on Nov 13, 2020, 12:00:42 PM
They are pretty expensive now. Gonna try this build for my league ender.
Hi Scarfuncle! I was the one that posted about trying crit in the other thread and you've done it beautifully! This looks really interesting. I think I'm going to take a crack at it. One thing I've been wanting to do though is use infernal cry with close combat support to keep giving shield charge the bonus. Not sure if it makes sense to try working that in, but it might be worth giving a shot.

In the mean time I've been experimenting with a different approach but I think it's probably not going to pan out as well as what you've done:

- Pathfinder
- Arakaali's Fang
- Mantra of Flames
- Volkuur's Guidance (fire)
- Coralito's

Each spider gives you a 2% attack speed and 12% damage buff with poison and Mantra of Flames gives you 5-12 flat fire damage per buff. Add flat fire and chaos damage, and now you don't need the flat damage from the shield so you can go energy shield and get a fat 4-5% additional base crit on the shield. Combine it with rallying cry and the spiders get a pretty beefy multiplier since you've got so many allies in range.

Not sure if I can make it work out but that's what I've been trying to do.
I love pathfinders! Let me know how it works. I've never tried the spiders and have been trying to make my shield charges the main damage source. You'd need convocation for sure to keep minions following you.

Infernal cry has an 8 second cooldown, so it wouldn't be better than reckoning linked to close combat. I am planning on making an elemental conversion version of shield charge (probably templar or chieftan) and internal cry fits that idea perfectly. The idea is percolating.

If you want an interesting combo on those same lines as the close combat one, phase run is really good and gives straight more damage. Much better than attack speed. Also, for anyone reading this, phase run is excellent in heist.

So the spiders do relatively decent damage if you spec into them, but in this case the more important part is that you can put wither on them to quickly ramp up the damage bonus for shield charge.

I did actually start making an elemental shield charge on chieftain with ignite but I don't think the damage will work out as well as poison even with replica emberwake. Razor of the seventh sun with self-ignite might be an option but I think your berserker build with impale is definitely going to outclass it.
After screwing around in POB for a while I don't think I can push the poison approach much past about 1M shaper DPS without lots of currency and shenanigans like abusing vaal portal to stack extra poisons. It feels pretty good so far for clear on yellow maps but that's the easy part.

I think you've proven the pure physical impale approach is going to be hard to beat Scarfuncle!
Thank you! I updated the POBs today. It turns out helping Alira is good. It allowed me to abandon unnatural instinct.

I also recommend phase run on left click. Very nice for heists and bosses!

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info