[3.14] Exiled_Magus' "Courtesan of Chains" Zerker/Champ, Chain Hook (25M+ Shaper DPS w/Reflections)


EDIT: 5/15/2021-
Updated the PoB community link with two new trees for 75 point, 100 point, and 115 point versions for progress during leveling.

EDIT: 5/16/2021-
Replaced Fortify support in 6L Chain hook with Impale on main body of build. Forgot to update that after the tree change on 5/14.

EDIT: 5/17/2021- Added in the following:
1) Very small, not so detailed section on Leveling
2) Emphasized importance on have at least one Mana leech mod on an item
3) More in depth amulet anoint breakdown
4) Section on useful/preferred rare jewel mods.
5) Updated PoB to reflect having 2 reflections (max) from The Saviour, which calculates our shaper DPS to 25M+.

EDIT: 5/22/2021- One support swap for Call of Steel and adding Cluster Jewels. There is a second PoB Link below the original, detailing the changes.
1) Took out second wind support and replaced with Splitting steel, strictly for the Call the Steel. Impales are strong and after a few hits, this button clears the screen. Gam changingly good for clear speed. Ty Tsunamikun for bringing this to my attention.
2) Replaced one viridian jewel in tree for a Lord of Steel jewel to make Call the Steel viable and worthwhile.
3) Currently doing a minor rework on some passives as to add in 1 large cluster, 2 medium clusters, and 2 small clusters to increase dodge/survivability at the cost ofsome DPS. Even with the dps loss, the build is still around 20M shaper DPS.

The PoB shows very promising numbers! Over 8.1 million shaper DPS with chain hook and another 8.1 million shaper DPS with the chain hooker reflections from The Saviour Legion Sword

The Saviour Legion Sword is CRUCIAL to this build!

Below you will find a breakdown of current gear I am using until I can afford to procure all or most of the gear and rolls detailed in the PoB link. Even without the "ideal" gear this build is performing fantastically so far. The hardest thing to find so far (gearwise) is accuracy to cap out "Hit Chance".

This build clears fast, bosses better, and excels at Ultimatum Challenges. The only Ulti challenge that is somewhat annoying (not difficult) is "Standing in the Circles". This comes from Chain Hook yanking you around the place at supersonic speeds when surrounded by juicy mobs.

Main Damage 6-Link Chain Hook:
This is the main skill you will use to spread impales while mapping, and to boss! This skill puts out some truly impressive boss dps. Just get used to having a warchief active or your DPS does take a dip.

Ideally Awakened versions of Multistrike, Melee Physical, and Brutality would be best (though expensive), and a Divergent Rage support is preferable for more rage gen . Just using these atm for budget reasons.

4 Link Vaal Ancestral Warchief
This is the setup I am running, but I have been debating switching out Concentrated Effect for Culling Strike, until I can afford some well rolled Warlord influenced gloves with Culling Strike.

Mapping/Screen Clear
After spreading some impales about with your chain hook, you clear the screen by popping Call of Steel (granted from Splitting Steel). Impale is strong with this build so it will finish off most mobs left in packs.

You will never use the Splitting Steel skill. It is only here for Call of Steel. Also in the jewel section you will notice I added a Lord of Steel jewel to make Call of Steel as effective as possible for clearing.

Updated Screen Shot From PoB for damage reference on Zerker-Champion Ascendant:

Another Screen Shot from PoB for damage reference on Reflections from The Saviour Sword

Screenshot of full DPS from PoB:

Original Zerker-Champion PoB Community Pastebin Link (Credit to Tsunamikun for the suggesstion to go with Duelist/Champ over Shadow Assassin!):

Zerker-Champion w/ Cluster Jewels & Call of Steel PoB Community Pastebin Link

- Fun & Unique Playstyle (Fast & Furious)
- Good clear speed, but not S Tier
- Great boss dps
- Excels at Ulti (though "Stand in the Circles" is a bit annoying)

- Cannot do certain map mods (Phys Reflect, Cannot leech, No Life/Mana regen)
- Unique gear dependancy (can be difficult to end game gear)
- Have to ramp up Rage for Berserk
- Being snatched around the map at supersonic speed can be disorienting.
- Still have to do a bit of manual dodging to avoid one shots from souped up attacks/spells.

Any constructive feedback would be nice, since I am still pretty new at creating builds from scratch. I'd love to see more chain hook builds eventually, but this one (just by the looks of the pob) shows a lot of promise!

Ascendancy Order:
I went with Marauder-Berserker first, and then Duelist-Gladiator. You will not be starting on any specific side of the tree, so it doesnt matter which portion of the ascendant you choose to cap. At this point it's just two extra skill points for a grand total of 128 passive skills to spend by lvl 100.

Kill'em all, take the two extra passives!

Call to Arms (for move button Enduring Cry skill gem) For those who don't know or are new to game, once you have this Keystone just set Enduring Cry to your left mouse button. It will auto cry without interrupting normal gameplay and still work as your move button.
Acrobatics + Phase Acrobatics
Wind Dancer

Ralakesh (mainly for the avoid blind/maim and the reduction of dot while moving, since you will be constantly moving)

Pantheons are pretty much a matter of personal preference though. Abberath and Ryslatha are not terrible choices for minors and Solaris is a pretty good choice for Major.

The gear below are links of what I am currently using. Just using it as an example of baseline gear for the build.

One Important Mod to get on at least one piece of gear
Mana Leech:

In order to sustain mana on single target, you will want "% physical damage leeched as mana" on at least one item. Whether gloves, off hand rare weapon, amulet, or 1 of the 2 rare viridian jewels in your passive tree.

The Berserker ascendancy provides you with "2% life and mana leech if you have killed recently" which is great for sustained mapping, but you need a permanent source of mana leech for single bosses.

Body Armor:

I got a decently rolled Bronn's Lithe with all white sockets for 100c. EDIT: As of 5/17/2021, Price on all white/mostly red sockets has jumped drastically in the past couple days! You could run about any chest you want, but I feel like Bronn's synergizes very well with the build.

Another runner up besides an expensive explodey chest w/ extra curse mod would be a 6L Perfidy, which would allow you a bit more damage by running both Dread and War Banner, but at the expense of some movement speed and attack speed. You would need to make sure you have 2 x Enlighten lvl 4 to run all previous stance, aura, herald skills and the two banners.



The Saviour is a must have for this build. It gives you 2 reflections of yourself that use the same skills as you, effectively giving you more than double damage. The reflections do have a mind of their own, but even then, they help alot with clear speed and bossing.



This is the best amulet I could get my hands on at the moment within budget. Ideally you want some physical damage to attacks and/or global crit strike chance/crit strike multiplier, 80+ max life, resists (to cap), and/or accuracy (to cap). You could also look for %physical mana leech if you don't already have a permanent source of mana leech.

Amulet Annoint: Really there are plenty of anoint options depending on what you are looking to add to the build.
- Blade Master(Clear, Sepia, Silver) Noticeable dps increase + accuracy to help cap "to hit chance"
- Assassination (Black, Opalescent, Golden) Pure DPS increase, great if you already have "to hit chance" capped.
- Brutal Blade (Sepia, Verdant, Golden) Another DPS increase, but not as much as Blade Master or Assassination. However it does give you more %chance to block while dual wielding and a chance to gain Frenzy Charges when you block.
- Honed Edge (Sepia, Azure, Violet) Less DPS than the others, but offers some more evasion rating and accuracy. Also it is probably the cheapest option.



I got the Circle of Guilt, Iron Rings (%increased phys damage while affected by Herald of Purity/Reduced Herald of Purity reservation) pretty cheap, but since then the price on these sorts of implicit mods/rolls has gone up recently. Hard to find decent mods for less than 60c-1ex.

If you have an "extra curse, explodey" rare chest instead of Bronn's you could replace one of these rings with a ring that applies Assassin's Mark (grants power charges and crit chance/multi), Poacher's Mark (grants frenzy charges, phys damage, and reduced enemy phys reduction) or Warlord's Mark (grants dual leech, endurance charges, stun, and super Rage regen) curse on hit rare/unique monster.

Some good implicit mods to look out for on Circle of Guilt
- %Increased Maximum Life
- %Global Accuracy Rating (to cap)
- %increased damage while leeching life (or mana)
- %Increased Global Physical Damage



Like most life builds, Life and All Resists (to cap) are the target. The first helm here was my original, but now using the royal burgonet.

Lab Helm Enchant: Ideally you would want "Berserk has 30% increased buff effect" or "40% Chain Hook Damage", but I am sure you could get by with Chain Hook AOE %, Chain Hook Rage Generate %, Increased Ancestral Warchief buff, increased Blood & Sand Buff.


Current Boots:

These have pretty much what ya need though higher life preferably & tailwind is preferable.



Mainly looking for life, all resists (to cap), physical damage to attacks, attack speed. Also, Culling Strike is one mod from Warlord Influenced gloves that is insanely expensive, but would definitely make quality of life much better.



You can get a budget belt similar the one below, or a more costly stygian vise or even influenced belt. Like other gear pieces, Life and all resists (to cap) are a must.


This is my current flask setup (nothing special except Lion's Roar).



Thread of Hope (Large Ring) should be placed in the following location on the skill tree, just south of the Duelist starting point. It will allow you to pick up the following nodes without having to spend more passives to path to them: Panopticon (over 1 mill dps increase while Ancestral Warchief is active), Swift Skewering, and Blade Dancer.


The second Thread of Hope (Small Ring) should be placed in the following location on the skill tree, due west of the Scion starting point on the tree. It will allow you to pick up following three nodes; Strong Arm, One Handed Melee Damage (this one is a minor passive next to Strong Arm), and Lust for Carnage.

Other Rare Jewels
Viridian Jewels seem to be the best options for this build. Useful mods on these jewels would be...
- Physical attack damage leeched as mana (if you don't have mana leech on another item)
- % Increased Maximum Life
- Global Accuracy Rating (to cap)
- Increased attack speed w/ Swords (or while Dual wielding)
- % Increased Damage with Swords
- % Increased Attack Damage while Dual Wielding
- % global critical strike chance
- % global critical strike multiplier
- % all resist, two resist, or single resist (to cap)

Lord of Steel
Replaced on Viridian jewel of the original two in order to make Call of Steel from the Splitting Steel more effective at clearing the screen.

IMPORTANT: You will only use the Call of Steel granted by Splitting Steel in order to clear remaining mobs after you pass out impale to their friends!

Cluster Jewels: Newest update (5/22) I reworked some passives to include cluster jewels to add more dodge to the build and still retain the most DPS possible. Still at around 20M shaper dps with these jewels and a significant boost to survivability.

After some tinkering on PoB I've come to the conclusion that these are the best notables on your clusters to achieve the desired effect.

I am not going to go into super detail on how to go about leveling this build. Just going to skim over some useful low level uniques and the skill I used to blast through the levels until I was able to transition to Chain Hook, finish story, and get into mapping.

Useful Uniques

As for weapons, I just used some low level rare swords with decent physical damage and attack speed.

Leveling Skills
This is by no means a must. It is just the skill I used. You can pretty much run any skill you like to level and Splitting Steel was actually a cool skill I had never used before that synergized well with the skill tree and the auras/banner/herald I was going to run.

(3 link) Splitting Steel, Chance to Bleed, Pierce
(4 link) Splitting Steel, Chance to Bleed, Pierce, Maim
(5 link) Splitting Steel, Chance to Bleed, Vicious Projectiles, Maim, Point Blank
(6 link) Splitting Steel, Chance to Bleed, Maim, Point Blank, Vicious Projectiles, Impale

Leveling Auras/Banners/Heralds:
War Banner + Blood & Sand
Then transitioned to Dread Banner + Blood & Sand + Pride

NOTE: Divergent quality is preferable but not 100% necessary on Dread Banner and Blood & Sand.

Added in Herald of Purity once I had my Circles of Guild (Reduced Herald of Purity mana reservation & physical damage buff) and a couple Enlighten 3 supports.

Last edited by Exiled_Magus on May 22, 2021, 3:03:25 PM
Last bumped on May 23, 2021, 12:15:22 AM
Interesting. Which gems work with it for mapping? Should we use chain hook for bossing and a different skill for clear?
Longanimitas wrote:
Interesting. Which gems work with it for mapping? Should we use chain hook for bossing and a different skill for clear?

Chain Hook works pretty well with mapping since it has a decent aoe after the move, and when stationary it just slams a cone shaped aoe in place (which is great for single target). It zips you around from mob to mob very quickly (almost disorienting speeds) and erases them with similar speed. For general movement I went with a "move button" Enduring Cry and a ledge jumper Leap Slam.

The POB link I have put up has pretty much everything one should need to both map and boss. The Ancestral Warchief (plus its buff) should make bossing pretty ez when combined with Chain Hook/Multistrike.

Last edited by Exiled_Magus on May 15, 2021, 7:03:52 PM
A bit more in depth main body of the guide with gear, ascendancy, enchants, and annoints.

I also tweaked the tree in PoB to squeeze a bit more DPS and defensive layers.

Currently I am gearing my Chain Hooker up and testing how she performs. I still have alot of fine tuning to do with my current gear, but even as is it seems to play very smoothly, despite being snatched around the screen by my chains.

I will post more updates and clean up the guide a bit in the near future!

hmm would something like this be a lot tankier?

just some food for thought :)
Current Build: Exsanguinate again
Current Thoughts:
Poison Scion: https://pastebin.com/frNZsm1A
tsunamikun wrote:
hmm would something like this be a lot tankier?

just some food for thought :)

Probably so! I am still tweaking the build as I go trying to add some more tankiness and defensive layers. So far it's working pretty well. Your pob link has definitely brought some things to attention I had overlooked. I appreciate the suggestions! I'll have a much closer look at reworking the tree once i get some more playtime and testing under my belt with it.
Exiled_Magus wrote:
tsunamikun wrote:
hmm would something like this be a lot tankier?

just some food for thought :)

Probably so! I am still tweaking the build as I go trying to add some more tankiness and defensive layers. So far it's working pretty well. Your pob link has definitely brought some things to attention I had overlooked. I appreciate the suggestions! I'll have a much closer look at reworking the tree once i get some more playtime and testing under my belt with it.

Looked further into your suggestion and it does seem very solid. I rearranged some passives there and added a couple threads of hope and ended up with this...


Same survivability increase but a pretty heavy DPS spike. I will eventually try out both versions and make a decision on if anything still needs to change and whether or not to rework the skill tree any further!

Thank you so much for the suggestions!
you are welcome, hopefully this things plays as good as it looks :)
Current Build: Exsanguinate again
Current Thoughts:
Poison Scion: https://pastebin.com/frNZsm1A

Alternate Zerker-Champion Build Change:

I changed the Thread of Hope Jewel to the furthest southern jewel node from a Medium Ring to a Large Ring.

This pumped the DPS up another 2 million by picking up the Panopticon, Swift Skewering, and Blade Dancer nodes.

The Zerker Champion is working out to be much better than the original idea of Zerker Assassin. Much more survivable. Currently I am trying to tweak around some gear to increase my current in game Accuracy/Chance to Hit. Between the current defensive layers this is by far the superior choice for survivability.

Link to the PoB Community will be updated in the main body of the section in the next few minutes.
hey, can you make leveling section for 100/115 points?

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