[3.23] Versatile Combatant Impale Shield Crush Slayer - Crush the Atlas - SSF Compatible

Last Update: December 8th, 2023

PoB for RT is up - I haven't had the time to finish the updates on how to craft the new gear, but it'll be added over the weekend. pob.bin shows the invested DPS without Vaal Warchief and also has simulated damage changes (10% more damage, increased maim effect). We get to roughly 20m pinnacle dps which is plenty.

Transfigured Shield Crush has a bunch of potential to be good, but it's hard to gauge right now because it's difficult to replicate on PoB (can't replicate base damage).

Kaom's Spirit is dropped. Replica Dragonfang's is recommended for Shield Crush. We use -attack and increased aura effect dual-influenced body, but you should use frenzy charge on hit instead if you want to mainly do bossing.

Update Log


3.23 PoBs should be out within a day or two of the PoB update. We are still pending the Transfigured Shield Crush (assuming there is one), but the rest of the changes I can staple into the custom configs.

Mix of buffs and nerfs. I don't know if Kaom's Spirit is worth going for anymore due to the nerf to the weapon, but Dragonfang's (even with the nerfs) is still a large boon. Ashes is worth considering too despite the nerfs. Body slot is much more adaptable now because Dragonfang's exists (and is relatively cheap on trade).

SSF enjoyers should run delve to fossil craft. Shield Crush can do it just fine if you pack a Quartz flask.

I'll have versions for both PT and RT versions. RT is much friendlier but has a lower ceiling, PT has some stats juggling to do but the damage is better. You lose a bit of life to run PT instead, but it's fine with non-uber content more or less. Alch and go mapping is super easy to do with this build even with the block mod not being there - only mod you have to look out for is no leech.

I wouldn't recommend this for uber bosses or other super endgamey content, but otherwise the build functions just fine.

I'm burned out on Shield Crush and will take a break on playing it myself for a league or two.

Foreword

3.22 Update: This build isn't entirely optimized yet, but it has a lot of potential the more you're willing to invest. You can drop accuracy passive points, and even drop Arrogance Support and still hit the breakpoints and get around 5k life or so, and likely go even further.

This Shield Crush build is intended as a starter build for all types of players, including those brand new to the game.

This build can currently scale into a character that can reasonably do all endgame content (ubers w/ investment) utilizing easy to get gear, reliable scaling, and large amounts of safety. Because of this, the build is also SSF friendly due to the adaptable options to prioritize defenses over raw damage, and the ease of access to make endgame items. If you would like more damage instead of defenses, ensure that you have at least 20,000 armor before dropping Determination for something like Herald of Purity.

This build is comprehensive and breaks down nearly every aspect of the build including mechanic breakdowns, upgrade options, crafting steps to make your own endgame gear, alternative options to make this build your own, examples of gear that you should be aiming for, and video demonstrations of endgame content.

Ubers can be done with this build, but it will take much more investment compared to other builds. I would personally recommend making a second character if you want a character to farm/kill uber bosses. This build is more of a 'all types of content' type build over a specialization.


PoB

These PoBs are built around baselines on what your character should look like at certain points of the game and assumes 0 chaos resistance + maxed elemental resistances (for the safe of showing eHP). Listed affixes on gear are general recommendations - fill with resistances and such as you see fit. You can also add more damage with open affixes as well - it's all pretty open so you know what is available to adjust on your character.

Things like Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Onslaught are disabled for damage numbers. Frenzy Charges aren't difficult to keep up, so those are included. Unchecking '4L 1 - Totems' will disable both Ancestral Totems if you'd like to see the damage without pressing those buttons.

3.23 PoB (Resolute Technique): https://pobb.in/9hvRCTlG3ZGT

3.22 PoB (Precise Technique): https://pobb.in/BK3-n1z7peZ7

3.21 PoB (Resolute Technique): https://pobb.in/LhUaKf3rzYXi


3.17 Gear

This gear is outdated, but it still shows a general look as to what you're looking for. Do not follow these pieces one to one, just use them as a frame of reference of the type of things you'd want.





Shield Crush Overlap

Here is an image demonstrating how the Shield Crush areas work.



Green = the two 'side' damaging arcs
Red = the 'center' damaging arc
Gold = the 'sweet spot' where you get shotgun (double) damage.

Remember: You only really need to apply the shotgun damage for rares/bosses, not during general mapping. The whites and blues should die in 1-2 hits either way.


Pros and Cons

+ Easy, Effective League Start to get off the ground (only need a decently high armor shield)
+ All content viable (Ubers doable but need skill/investment)
+ Tanky (about 90k eHP) with lots of ways to keep your defense up (Versatile Combatant Max Block, Armor, Endurance Charges, Vaal Molten Shell, etc)
+ SSF Friendly. No Uniques Required.
+ Fast mapping and mobility utilizing Leap Slam (or Shield Charge if you prefer that).
+ Offensive, Defensive, and Flask Flexibility.


- Not a one button build (Totems, Blood Rage, Leap Slam, Shield Crush buttons)
- We Level with Steel Skills and swap to Shield Crush in White Maps
- Accuracy / Max life balancing to keep Precise Technique buff in effect
- Average Bossing speed (we do not insta-phase pinnacle bosses)
- Reduced block chance modifier maps are dangerous (but doable).
- Little hotbar space (we have a LOT of auras)


Mechanics We Use

Precise Technique:
Precise Technique gives us a whopping 40% more damage at the cost of a handful of passive points and Precision + Arrogance in your weapon. We don't get crit, but overall this enables a large damage boost for relatively cheap.

Unwavering Stance:
We don't use evasion, so Unwavering Stance is used for Stun Immunity.

Fortification:
We use Fortification for general damage reduction, and end up getting about 21% less damage taken after passives. Due to the Fortify passive mastery, we get this with Fortify at the cost of roughly 5 skill points.

Lifetap:
We utilize Lifetap to bypass needing mana for most things apart from Molten Shell. This also gives us slightly better life from flasks. As we get later into the build, we can drop Lifetap for more damage as our mana pool won't be a problem anymore.

Block:
Our main source of defense. We block the hit, we take no damage. We also get the ability to ignore enemy physical damage reduction on block.
We get up to 50% block and 42% spell block through Versatile Combatant on Slayer with zero investment on gear. Getting the extra 4% block on other gear (only 3% extra on shield) is easy to roll for or craft on.

Armor:
Armor is our big defensive tool while mapping. Now that we can reliably use Determination, we get to roughly 40k armor while mapping. Very comfy.

Impale:
Since we have very high attack speed with Shield Crush, Impale has innate synergy with this build. You hit the monster and a stack of Impale applies, which does bonus physical damage for X hits.

Attack Speed:
In tandem with above, Attack Speed gives us faster Leap Slam movement, faster shield hits, and faster Impale triggering when we attack.

Ancestral Protector + Ancestral Warchief:
We use ancestral totems to buff our attack speed and flat damage, and also anoint 'Panopticon' for better effects of our Totem buffs. This is a large damage steroid that we primarily use for bosses and tough rares, as our damage is high enough for general mapping without it.

Leech:
We use leech as our primary life (and mana) sustain. We get our leech through Jewels, Cluster Jewels, Gloves, Rings, or the passive tree. Since mana isn't as much of a problem for us (more details are in the 'gem' section), it is not as important.

All we need is a single source of mana leech (mana leech as a weapon affix DOES NOT WORK) and we have all the mana leech we will ever need.

Gems and Links

Key:
(20/X) = Level/Quality. If you see X on quality, it can be whatever quality.

Shield Crush

6L - Shield Crush R R G R R R
Explanation: Main skill, duh.
Shield Crush (21/20) - We want 20 Quality on this for area of effect increase. This is top priority.
Brutality (20/20) - Raw damage. No chaos or elemental damage though.
Impale Support (20/20) - Impales for 100% Impale chance.
Multistrike (20/20) - Faster attacks, also makes mana leeching easier.
Lifetap (20/20) - Ignore mana issues since ability costs life instead.
Melee Physical Damage (20/20) - Basic damage addition.

If you progress on this build far enough to not need Impale Support, use Pulverise as the replacement.
Pulverise (20/20) - Area of Effect + Area Damage.

Once we get to the point where we no longer need lifetap for Shield Crush, it can be exchanged for Damage on Full Life, as we leech so much that we're almost never not on full life. If you'd rather the AoE, run Pulverise.
Damage on Full Life Support (20/20) - Raw damage boost.

Shield Crush w/ Awakened Supports + No Impale

6L - Shield Crush Awakened Supports R R R R R R
Explanation: Main skill with slightly better damage. This setup is used once we naturally get 100% impale chance.
Anomalous Shield Crush (21/20) - Anomalous version for increased attack speed.
Awakened Brutality (5/20) - Raw damage. No chaos or elemental damage though.
Awakened Multistrike OR Divergent Multistrike (20/20) - Faster attacks, also makes mana leeching easier.
Awakened Melee Physical Damage (5/20) - Basic damage addition along with Intimidate support.
Pulverise (20/20) - Area of Effect + Area Damage.
Damage on Full Life (20/20) - Raw Damage.

NOTE: Awakened Multistrike is VERY expensive, so don't buy this early when it comes to investing into this build. Awakened Melee Phys and Awakened Brutality are always cheaper.

4L 1 - Totems
4L 1 - Ancestral Protector + Vaal Ancestral Warchief R R R R
Explanation: The attack speed buff along with the flat damage buff is beneficial to us, and using Multiple Totems Support lets us use both totems at once. You should only really need this for tough rares/bosses.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief (20/X) - Quality doesn't really matter here. We want the buff.
Ancestral Protector OR Phantasmal Ancestral Protector (20/X) - You want 20 quality if you are using the Phantasmal Ancestral Protector variant.
Multiple Totems Support (1/20) - For Multiple Totems to use both Protector and Warchief. (level this to 20 and then vendor recipe for 20 quality, DO NOT GCP THIS TO 20 QUALITY).
Lifetap (1/X) - Ignore mana issues since ability costs life instead.

NOTE: Later on once we have enough mana, Lifetap can be dropped for a banner, or you can pull off lifetap if you have the leech to make it work.

Banners - Dread or War?

Dread Banner is good for impale chance and effect. We use this so we don't have to use 4 passive points to get an additional 20% chance to impale to hit 100%. If you do not need the extra accuracy from War Banner, then Dread Banner is better.

War Banner is good for the extra accuracy and the better damage boost. If we use this, we need either a glove mod for more impale chance, or passive points in order to hit the 100% impale chance. If you need accuracy to hit the breakpoint or don't want to deal with having to put as much accuracy on your gear, then War Banner is better.

4L 2 - Auras
4L 2 - Auras Part 1 R R R R
Pride (20/20) - Raw damage increase.
Determination (20/X) - Armor Defenses.
Flesh and Stone (20/X) - Maim damage on bosses on blood stance, and % less damage taken from far enemies on sand stance.
Maim (20/X) - Addition with Flesh and Stone to make the damage better for a relatively cheap cost.

NOTE: As you get more mana res gear, you'll be able to add in more auras. Pay attention to what's causing more reservation space, and drop as needed. I'd recomment always having Pride, Determination, a banner, and Flesh and Stone on at least.

4L 3 - Leap Slam + Enduring Cry
4L 3 - Leap Slam + Enduring Cry + Blood and Sand R R R R
Explanation: Movement Skill + Endurance Charge Generation
Leap Slam (20/X) - We use this over Shield Charge because it traverses terrain and is just as fast.
Lifetap (1/X) - We keep this at level 1 for a free 20% increased Life from Flasks because of Lifetap.
Enduring Cry (20/20) - Endurance Charge generation against bosses + Life regeneration boost on demand (Rage boost if running Kaom's Spirit).
Blood and Sand (6/0) - Area damage.

Early on, you can use faster attacks to move faster, but once we get enough attack speed, this isn't really needed anymore.

3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability
3L 1 - Shield - CWDT + Vulnerability R R R
Explanation: Defenses with Molten Shell. Vulnerability as curse. Make sure your linked skill gems are low enough level so CWDT can trigger them.
Cast When Damage Taken Support (CWDT) (6/X) - Take 1000+ damage, it activates. Tinker with the level as you see fit.
(Vaal) Molten Shell (13/X) - We are an armor build, this is the best defense for us. Vaal skill can be used on demand, but is overall optional. You can use Immortal Call instead if you want, but I prefer the Vaal skill for on-demand usage. Both options are good.
Vulnerability (9/X) - Your decision on if it's CWDT or not. I prefer manual casting. This will ultimately be replaced with a Vulnerability on hit ring (or glove corrupt if going Berserk).

3L 2 - Weapon - Blood Rage + Precision
3L 2 - Weapon - FILL G G R
Explanation: We run precision with Arrogance because the life cost is pretty cheap, and we get the bonus Aura effect from Arrogance which helps with accuracy balancing.
Blood Rage (X/20) - Level this as high as you can, as we're slightly Dexterity starved.
Precision (20/20) - Precision gives us great accuracy for use with Precise Technique.
Arrogance (20/20) - Arrogance moves the reservation to Life instead of Mana, and also increases the aura effect. This is the main reason we get to use Precise Technique.

Eldritch Mods - What to look for

Eldritch mods can only be applied to rare helmets, body armours, gloves, and boots. There are multiple tiers of these items and they replace implicit values on armor pieces. Use the lesser ones as much as you like on your armor pieces - it won't change the explicit modifier values.

There are endgame options to use uniques or to use rare versions with eldritch mods. Eldritch mods are probably easier to tinker with, but you're free to pick your poison.

Helmet

Exarch Implicits: Increased Vulnerability Effect, Increased Area of Effect

Eater of Worlds Implicits: Mana Reservation Efficiency, increased attack damage

Body

Exarch Implicits: % increased global physical damage, % increased effect of non-curse auras from your skills, all maximum resistances

Eater of Worlds Implicits: % chance to block attack damage, % increased armor, all elemental resistances, % chance to fortify? (untested, might be good)

Gloves

Exarch Implicits: Increased Attack Speed, added physical damage to attacks, herald of purity has increased buff effect, rage on hit with attacks, intimidate enemies on hit

Eater of Worlds Implicits: increased damage per strength, impale chance on attacks

Boots

Exarch Implicits: Increased movement speed, resistances, damage per endurance charge

Eater of Worlds Implicits: increased armor from helmet/gloves, enduring cry recovery rate



Gearing Breakdown

Shield

Priority - Crafted Shield
OLD 3.15 PRE-NERF SHIELD


Budget Recommendation - Rare Shield with ~2000 Armor OR Dawnbreaker

Explanation: A crafted shield will be very easy to do because of Essences. Using Essence of Dread, we can force up to +340-370 FLAT armor on our shield. This is big because although its slightly lower than the natural T1 modifier, it is significantly more consistent to make a budget shield.

Dawnbreaker is a good temporary if you're having problems with finding a good shield to use. This is a common drop from Searing Exarch, and shouldn't cost more than 10c or so. Worst case, you can farm for it yourself. Remember that when you use this shield, you lose block chance when you take fire damage.

Easily Crafting a Budget Shield
For a baseline we will the ability to craft % increased armor on our shield to hit 1500 armour.
The best shield for us to use for damage is an Item Level 73 or higher Colossal Tower Shield.

A shaper influenced or Warlord's influenced Colossal Tower Shield is best in slot for Life Gain on Block, but not required. The bar for Life Gain on Block is only Level 68. On a cheap shield, we go for 72 or higher for the T3 % increased armor roll. When it comes to a high-budget shield, we want a 86 shield for the T1 % armor chance.

An easy way to get a 1500+ armor shield is by following the steps below.
1. Find/Purchase an ilvl 72+ Colossal Tower Shield
2. Scour (optional). Armorer's Scrap to 20%
3. Use a Deafening Essence of Dread on it. Ensure one prefix slot is open and % increased armor isn't taken.
4. Craft tier 3 increased Armour on it. You can find this in early maps. Tier 2 defenses is from the campaign.

Assuming no other modifiers, you will have a 1600 or so armor shield for use with Shield Crush. This is very close to Lioneye's Remorse for a very low cost, and should only take a handful of maps to obtain as long as you allocate points for Essence in the Atlas Passive Tree.

Endgame Shield Crafting

Other options to consider for endgame shield crafting:
Dense Fossils
Defense Harvest crafts (very rng dependent)

I would recommend using only Dense Fossils in order to get the mods you want. As a bare minimum, you want at least T1 flat and % increased armor. The armor/life or armor/block recovery are bonuses. armor/block recovery is better than armor/life. It is most ideal to also get crafted attack speed or double damage as a crafted on suffix if possible.



Weapon
Priority - Prismatic Eclipse with G G R sockets


Budget - Stat Stick Weapon (Resistances, attributes), Prismatic Eclipse

Endgame - Rare One-Handed Crusader Sword with Impale Effect, Attack Speed on Fortify, and % chance for double damage

Explanation: Prismatic Eclipse gives us global attack speed per green socket. Since we only care about our Shield, this is the cheapest option for us to help pad Shield Crush damage, and is only beaten out by the Crusader Sword listed below. These are almost always 1-2c even on day 1. Very easy to trade for.

Endgame Explanation: This will take investment, but later on a rare Crusader-influenced one handed sword has better value than a Prismatic Eclipse. You MUST have 'Impale Effect' and 'Attack Speed on Fortify' for it to get close to the power that Prismatic Eclipse brings. This should be one of your last damage upgrades unless you can get lucky with rolls. This can be made with essence of dread span on your 1H sword until you hit the attack speed mod.[/b]

Helmet

Priority - Double Mana Reservation Efficiency Helmet with Life and Res

Other Options - Crown of the Inward Eye

Budget - Defenses Rare Helmet


Explanation: Using Essences of Loathing and Eater of Worlds ichors, we can get around 17% increased mana reservation efficiency for all skill on our helmet. This is a big reason why we can fit in Determination to our aura set, and is important for that purpose. If you want to drop an Aura to not use this, you can run Crown of the Inward Eye instead.

In the meantime, use a rare helmet with life/defenses.

NOTE: The enchantment makes the build's damage significantly better, so an enchanted item is better than a non-enchanted one. I'd recommend buying or rolling your helmet for the enchantment that you want.

Body Armor

Priority - 6L Armor Item (preferably Astral Plate) OR Belly of the Beast


Budget - Tabula Rasa (+2 to AoE socketed gems option)


Endgame - Warlord's Astral Plate w/ +1 socketed active and +1 socketed strength mods OR Belly of the Beast with +2 gems corruption (EXPENSIVE) OR Warlord's Astral Plate w/ +1 socketed active and mana reservation efficiency


Explanation: Using a 6L rare will let us craft whatever we want onto it, and can also allow us to put influences on our chest that could give nice QoL.

Remember, do NOT use Eldritch orbs on your body if you plan to use that same piece for the Warlord's Crafting. It will brick your body armor if you plan to use that same piece for the endgame chest.

Although this build can function just fine in white and even yellow maps on a 4 link, a Tabula Rasa is a nice boon for us to have since we'll get 15% increased max life (from the life passive mastery) as well as a 6 link.

Belly of the Beast option: Belly gives a lot of life, decent Armor, and good resistances. It's normally 4-5 div for a 6 link around league start and drops to 2-3 div after a week or so. If you just want more life to stack on, this is your best option.

Corruption Option - +2 to AoE socketed gems: We use this in order to help hit Shield Crush 24. +2 to AoE socketed gems is pretty cheap on a Tabula, so this is a good medium if you don't need life/resistances from your body armor. Corrupted Bellys or other 6Ls with this mod will be pretty expensive and hard to find on trade.

Endgame: Using an Astral Plate along with Warlord's Mods and Delve Crafting will get us a +1 socketed active and +1 socketed strength gems chest, which helps get us to gem level 24 without corrupting anything except for the 21/X Shield Crush gem. This also gives us a +1 to 4 of our 5 support gems as well, which will also apply to Awakened gems if you take Awakened gems instead. It also only costs a few divines to make!

You can also use a +1 socketed active + essence mana reservation efficiency body, but it's a bit difficult to make. Once I find a reliable way, a guide will be posted below. My personal recommendation is to just use the +2 body for now.

It costs 1 passive point to get 15% increased maximum life if the body does not have a life roll on it. This is better ONLY if you cannot get both a flat and % life roll on your body armor.

How to Craft your Endgame Chest

Pre-requisites: Level 80 character for Divination Card
COST: ~3 Divine estimate (dependent on Lucent Fossil prices)

Step 1: Purchase 6 'The Celestial Justicar' divination cards for your 6L Astral Plate.
NOTE: The Astral Plate MUST be at least ILVL 80 for this to work.
Step 2: Chromatic Orb to 5R1G
Step 3: Purchase 1 Warlord's Exalted Orb Warlord's Exalted Orb and use on Astral Plate
Step 4: Purchase the following Delve Fossils and Resonators:

X = the amount for each. The average is about 4 per Craft of Exile. I would recommend doing one or two at a time so you don't overbuy.

Craft of Exile math is here: HERE

X faceted fossil
X pristine fossil
X dense fossil
X powerful chaotic resonator
Step 5: Fossil Craft on your Astral Plate until you land on the following modifiers:
+1 to socketed active skill gems
+1 to socketed strength skill gems

Step 6: Craft either % max life or flat life. Flat life is usually better, but check in PoB to make sure.


Other Good Rare Body Armor Influence Mods
Redeemer: % chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on Hit (Suffix, ilvl80)
Hunter: % increased maximum life (Prefix, ilvl85)
Warlord: +1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems (Prefix, ilvl80), Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost (Suffix, ilvl85)

Gloves
Priority - Rare High Armor Gloves with Life, Attack Speed, and Added Physical

Budget - Rare Gloves with Life and Resists

Rage Option - Kaom's Spirit

Endgame - Double Eldritched Gloves with Impale Chance and Attack Speed or Rage generation OR Vuln on Hit Corrupted Kaom's Spirit


Explanation: Use Spiked gloves as a cheap option before Eldritch Currency starts reliably dropping if you wish.
Added damage is just a bonus, attack speed is better than flat damage.
Crafting 'increased damage with non-vaal skills during soul gain prevention' will increase our damage after using molten shell or throwing down Warchiefs. If you want more damage and are already resistance capped, use this. This is found via Betrayal unveils.

On Kaom's Spirit: Kaom's Spirit is a great option for gloves if you like the defensive benefits of Berserk and don't mind losing life regeneration for it. You can get up to 6 rage generated per second with nearby passives, which makes berserk have a very consistent uptime. You can also get vulnerability on hit corrupt (about 3 divine) to get around Vulnerability as well. The gloves themselves are usually about 5c a few days into the league. Cheap and easy to use.

Endgame Explanation: We take advantage of the Eldritch Implicit modifiers to get flat chance to impale along with attack speed for more damage. Utilizing the passive tree and this glove implicit will remove the need for Impale Support on our 6 link and let us use Lifetap instead. Hitting 100% requires a good amount of investment, though, so make sure you get all the pieces before making the switch.

If I don't run Kaom's Spirit, I personally run two pairs of gloves to work on Eldritch Mods, then use Harvest to roll affixes until I get something good, then swap back and forth as needed.

What about Sinistral Gloves? - Because of eldritch mods, these gloves are mostly bait. The eldritch mods give us better benefits and armor that we want.


Boots

BOOTS:
Priority - Rare Armor boots with Life, Resists, and 30% Movement Speed


Budget - Rare Armor boots with an open prefix to craft Movement Speed


Explanation: Boots with 30% movement speed feels the best, but if you're on a tight budget then search an open prefix and the life/resists you need, then craft on the movement speed for 20-24% (found in Oriath after killing Kitava).

Amulet

Priority/Budget - Carnage Heart


Additional Option - Turquoise Amulet


Endgame - Turquoise Amulet with +1 or +2 Physical Skill Gems


Explanation: Carnage Heart is cheap, efficient, and gives us everything we need (except Life) for a super low price.

If you can't get a Carnage Heart, run a Turqoise Amulet with Life and Resists.

Our endgame amulet option is a +1/+2 gems amulet, which gives +1 to physical and strength gems. A +2 amulet is an option but you will either need to get lucky or pay a LOT of money for it. I would recommend staying with a +1 amulet since it is relatively cheap.

A +2 Amulet frees up options for a more powerful Body Armor if you wish to go down that route, but again, it gets expensive pretty quickly.

How to Craft your +1 Amulet

The best way to do this is Jagged fossil spam. Craft of Exile states that it takes roughly 40 tries to hit the modifier once. You can also buy one for relatively cheap, or roll physical on harvest reforging.


Anointments
Priority - Panopticon, Cheap Version - Executioner

Explanation: Panopticon is our best option despite it only working while totems are up. Executioner is a good cheap option for 60% increased damage on low life enemies and 15% increased area of effect while mapping. You can easily put in whatever you want for this whether its resistances, mana reservation, life, or whatnot.

If you have life problems, anoint Discipline and Training.

If you have resistance problems, anoint Diamond Skin or Cloth and Chain.

Rings

Priority - Life, accuracy and Resist Rare Rings (Vermillion or Two-Stone or Prismatic).


Budget - Two-Stone Rings with Life


Explanation: A way that we can get the accuracy to hit the breakpoint of life is to put accuracy mods on rings, as you can both craft them on and get them as natural rolls. The PoB only assumes that there are crafted mods, so you can focus on life and resists and then craft on the accuracy later.
Vulnerability Ring: A vulnerability on hit ring is very easy to come by once you find and/or buy a Warlord's ring ilvl 75 or higher. Use Reforge Caster on your ring in Harvest for a pretty decent chance on getting Vulnerability on hit. Normally it takes me about 6-8 tries to hit something, and about 20ish tries to get something that isn't super bad. Assume you will not get extra life or resistances (unless its an implicit) on the ring while you do this.

Belt

Priority - Stygian Vise or other belt with Life and Resists, Hunter Influence for more Life if you want.


Budget - Standard belt with Life and Resists

Endgame - Ryslatha's Coil OR Arn's Anguish


Explanation: Stygian Vise is best in slot for life and resistances.

Endgame: Ryslatha's Coil and Arn's Anguish give good damage and life at the cost of resistances and an abyss jewel with (potentially needed) accuracy. Arn's Anguish is better if you don't mind being squishier. Otherwise, use Ryslatha's. Make sure to use attack catalysts on your Ryslatha's for more damage. Arn's Anguish is a Maven boss drop, and is relatively easy to farm.

Abyss Jewel

Priority - Life and Accuracy

Explanation: More Life and Defenses. This makes life easier for us. We only use Abyss Jewels if we also have a Stygian Vise.
Abyss Jewels are also a great option to help band-aid things such as attributes and resistances. You can add things such as increased physical damage or attack speed, but the benefits are minimal. Don't worry too much about this.

Flasks

Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Corrupted Blood + Bleeding) TOP PRIORITY
Basalt Flask
Quartz Flask of Heat (Freeze) PRIORITY FOR MAPS
Granite Flask
Rotgut (Add 'use when charges reach full' for automated Onslaught while mapping)

Levelling: Quicksilver Flask of Heat

Prefixes: Flagellant or Masochist gives nearly permanent automated uptime in maps tied with 'use when charges reach full'

Explanations:
Staunching Life Flask to deal with Corrupted Blood + Bleeding. We are weak to DoT effects. This is a must by maps.
Basalt Flask for extra defenses
Granite Flask for more Armor Beef
Quartz Flask for Phasing and a little bit of Spell Suppression
We use Rotgut due to consistent Frenzy charge generation via Blood Rage, which in turn gives us consistent Onslaught effect during mapping. This isn't required by any means, but the Onslaught benefits feel very good to use.

Remember that you can use the Menagerie (Bestiary) to craft flask suffixes for immunity to elemental ailments. Don't burn all your alts on flasks if you don't have to.
I would recommend having Grounding (shock) and Dousing (ignite) on the Basalt and Granite Flasks. It doesn't matter where the suffixes are at, as long as you're able to use the flask that has the suffix on it. Shock immunity is a higher priority than ignite, as ignites aren't threatening until red maps usually.

Jewels

Timeless Jewel: Lethal Pride
Priority: Viridian Jewels with %life and 1 or 2 of the mods listed below:
Increased Attack Speed
Increased Attack Speed while holding a Shield
increased Melee damage
increased attack damage while holding a shield

Honorable Mentions: % of attack damage leeched as mana (You do not need this if you are using another form of mana leech)

Corruptions to keep in mind: Corrupted Blood Immunity, Mana Reservation Efficiency

Explanation: Jewels get more pricey the more mods you look for in them, so start with %life and one of the listed modifiers above then work up from there. Jewels are also a great spot to band-aid things such as resistances or attributes.
Do not look for % of attack damage leeched as mana along with %life, they're expensive. Choose mana leech + an offensive mod instead.

Lethal Pride: Lethal Pride is a fantastic Jewel that we can use for the multiple effects that we get from notable bonuses. Lethal Pride drops from Karui mobs in the Domain of Timeless Conflict (Legion League). These bonuses include: Increased Physical Damage, Increased Melee Damage, Increased Maximum Life, % chance to deal double damage, and life regen. Because of passive masteries and Awakened Melee Physical Damage, we don't care about Intimidate on Hit.

You can use PoB to search for Lethal Pride gems if you want, or plug the gem you see that you want to buy on the trade site to see if its good.

Watcher's Eye:
25% chance to impale on hit - Relatively cheap on its own. Much more expensive as you look for synergistic mods.
% chance to deal double damage while using Pride - Cheaper damage boost since we attack so much
Impales you inflict last 2 additional hits while using pride - More expensive, but the best Watcher's eye damage boost. This is our endgame version.

A double mod watcher's eye with 'impales last 2 additional hits' and '% chance to impale on attacks' is our primary endgame watcher's eye when we swap off of Impale Support. They usually go for anywhere between 5 and 20 divines depending on when they're posted. Just sticking with a Double Damage or a % chance to impale on attacks jewel is plenty enough for all content.

Cluster
LARGE:

Priority: 8 Passive Feed the Fury and Fuel the Fight Jewel (increased attack damage or increased attack damage while holding a shield)
Martial Prowess as the 3rd slot if you want to invest.

Explanation: Feed the Fury and Fuel the Fight give us attack speed, leech, and bonus damage while leeching. It's everything we want. As long as we are leeching, which we will be due to Slayer overleech, the bonuses apply. You can make this using 'reroll attack' or 'reroll speed' harvest crafts. It's not too difficult to craft yourself via harvest or alt/regal spam.

Increased Attack Damage is easier to roll on, but Increased Attack Damage while holding a shield has slightly better damage. I'd recommend using just an attack damage passive setup.

SMALL (OPTIONAL):

Priority: Mana Reservation Efficiency with Uncompromising

Explanation: Mana Reservation Efficiency lets us squeeze in more auras - primarily Determination, this gives us the defense we need to do pinnacle content like Uber bosses.


Enchantments

Helmet: 'Blood and Sand has X% increased effect' OR 'Ancestral Protector gives X% increased attack speed while active' OR 'Blood Rage gives X% increased attack speed' OR 'X% increased Shield Crush Damage' OR 'X% increased Shield Crush Attack Speed' OR Mana reservation efficiency for an aura you're using

Explanation: We have lots of options here, and they are all about the same on DPS. Ancestral Protector is the best on paper, but I would personally recommend Blood and Sand. Use whatever you find first or what is cheapest, as the 'best' only matters for min-maxing.

The build feels the best with Shield Crush Attack Speed or Blood and Sand Effect, followed by Ancestral Protector Attack Speed.

The best damage is Ancestral Protector Attack Speed followed by anything else listed (the damage difference is too minimal to matter when it comes to tiering them).

Boots: 'X% increased attack and cast speed if you have killed recently'
Explanation: Attack Speed gives us the best general feel in mapping. This isn't really useful during bosses.

Gloves: This doesn't matter. Do what you like.

Ascendancies

Our Ascendancy that we run is Slayer.

Slayer is used because of the overleech, 20% cull, and built in aoe gains during maps. We also have better damage when close to a target, which we normally are for bosses.

Skill Order:
Brutal Fervor > Impact > Bane of Legends > Headsman

Brutal Fervor - Lots of reliable leech and overleech during the acts. This will make the acts feel much safer.

Impact - Accuracy, area of effect and more damage when enemies are closer. This is a big reason we can run Precise Technique.

Bane of Legends - More damage against bosses. Bosses can start to feel a little beefy around Act 8/9 (Arakaali onwards).

Headsman - Movement Speed, Attack Speed, and Culling by the time we hit maps. Mapping feels much better with this.


Pantheon and Bandits

A lot of these Pantheons are just for quality of life bonuses now, as none of them are very 'required'. Make sure to use divine vessels that you find to get the bonus passives, as the bonuses do matter as you get into endgame bossing.

MAJOR:
Soul of Arakaali - Block builds are weak against DOT effects. This is the best major keystone to help us mitigate that.

Honorable Mentions:
Soul of Solaris - Big Bossing (Maven, Sirus, etc)
Soul of the Brine King - Freeze Immunity with the secondary passive you get with a divine vessel.

MINOR:
Soul of Shakari - More DOT and Chaos Damage mitigation

BANDITS:
Primary: Kill All - We need the passive points.
Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Dec 8, 2023, 9:48:47 PM
Last bumped on Feb 5, 2024, 6:23:49 PM
Leveling Section
Weapon Slot During Leveling
For leveling, we are going to level with the Steel Skills until into early maps, in which we will swap to Shield Crush after getting a decent shield to use. You can change as early as Act 9 if you wish, but my recommendation to swap is getting at least a 1500+ armor shield to use. This is pretty easy to obtain in White maps.

Make sure to grab a decent sword base from Vendors or the ground and use the Vendor recipe for guaranteed increased physical damage % on your sword. It makes leveling smoother if you aren't able to find a weapon off the ground.

You can use either swords or axes for leveling. Axes generally do more damage and swords generally attack a little faster. It's all a matter of preference. 2H does more damage, but as you go through the acts, a 1H + shield will be more defensive for only a minor damage loss.

You can still level through the acts with Shield Crush if you wish, but it can feel clunky and a little bad due to the low attack speed and the need to regularly upgrade your shield without any form of vendor recipe to do it reliably. The PoB no longer supports a leveling tree for Shield Crush. We make the switch to Shield crush by maps, and the skill tree in the PoB emulates a change at roughly Act 9. If you want to stay on steel skills for longer, just take note on what skills you need to move when you do make the swap - it's not very regret intensive and you will be able adjust with passive respec points given through the acts.
VENDOR RECIPE

White Weapon + Magic/Rare/Unique Rustic Sash + Blacksmith's Whetstone


Levelling Tree Details

The core goals that we want while levelling is to get high damage while mitigating how much we want to respec once we hit Blood Aqueduct. In order to do this, the levelling tree has been adjusted to prioritize the best things along the way we can hit for Shattering Steel, which is the main skill we will run while going through the acts. Once we hit Act 4, we will be using our second weapon set to level the skill gems we don't use in the Shattering Steel version, and then replace and adjust once we make the decision to switch to Shield Crush.

We will want about 25-40% unreserved mana until leech is reliable, which should kick in around act 6 or 7. Until then, pick up high level mana flasks as you go. It's easiest to get these from Vendors.

Around level 55 or 60 you can start putting points into the Mana reservation Efficiency cluster and the stance cluster. Once both of these clusters are allocated, you should be able to run all of the auras with a decent pool of mana to use for leech. If you do not want to deal with mana leech, then utilize Lifetap early on.

Uniques to Consider while Leveling
Helmet:
Goldrim - Self Explanatory. Lots of Resistances

Amulets:
Karui Ward - Strength and Dex at Level 5, and 10% movement speed. Makes early acts smooth.
Daresso's Salute - Good damage and resistances early on. Get this if Carnage Heart somehow costs too much.
Carnage Heart - Gives us everything we could want at a cheap price. This is the almost always our best option for amulets.

Rings:
Blackheart - A bit of extra damage at level 1.
Praxis - Helps with mana cost management if that's an issue for you.
Le Heup of All - Increased Resistances, Attributes, and Damage. Probably best for ring slot for leveling process.
Thief's Torment - Takes two ring slots, but fixes all mana problems. Also gives good resistances.

Body Armor:
Tabula Rasa - Self Explanatory.

Gloves:
Lochtonial Caress - Charge generation from level 1. Nice QoL.
Slitherpinch - A bit of attack speed and fixes our leech and dexterity problems.

Belts:
Wurm's Molt - Like the other options, it gives us a lot of leech and some attributes early on.
The Magnate - Resistances, double damage chance, and some strength. It's a great budget belt for us to use.
Belt of the Deciever - Similar to Magnate, but we get Intimidate as well, which gives us a great damage boost until we get the passive mastery.

Boots:
Wanderlust - 20% movespeed and no freezing at level 1. Excellent leveling item.
Seven League Step - 50% movement speed. Best levelling item for boots.
Wake of Destruction - Added Lightning Damage on hit. Useful until Brutality at level 38.

Shields (if running Shield Crush in levelling):
Lycosidae - 200+ armor at level 11 for shield crush? Sign me up.
Titucius' Span - Bonus life and 500+ armor for shield crush at level 30. Awesome damage option.
Lioneye's Remorse - Tons of life and up to 1700 armor. This will probably be pricey at league start, but will fizzle down over time. Once it's cheap enough, this is very good to use as a temporary shield at level 70.
Magna Eclipsis - Elemental Damage shield instead of a big life bonus, and 5% less block chance. Good defensive option, but Lioneye's is probably better.


FAQ

How do I get Precise Technique working?

There's a lot of ways that it can be done. Affixes on gear such as helmet and rings can assist (accuracy on weapon does NOT work), or you can use skills like Precision or War Banner to increase the rating. You can also use passive points to help fix the issues. The more you invest in the build, the less you need passive points to get precise technique working.

Where's Fortify?

Fortify is gained through Fortify passive masteries. Remember that we need 20 Fortification Stacks for the damage boost to take effect, which can be gained through the second fortify cluster or through Lethal Pride.

How do I get a good Lethal Pride?

Path of Building allows you to check what each Lethal Pride gives stats-wise now. I would recommend only looking for one that gives 5% double damage to begin with, as that's what the build sets as a baseline. We DO NOT need Intimidate on hit anymore since we get that through awakened melee physical damage support.

If you want to min-max, getting fortification nodes to get rid of the Steadfast cluster is our best use.

How can I get Frenzy Charges on bosses?

Frenzy (skill) is your cheapest option. The high attack speed and guaranteed frenzy charges on hit makes it easy to hit 3 frenzy charges then go back to shield Crush damage.

Anomalous Blood Rage has a small change to gain a frenzy charge on hit with bosses, but its generally not worth the price investment in my opinion. Most of the boss videos do not take frenzy charges into account unless there are phases which include trash mobs.

If you are investing in the build, using the chest elderslayer modifier for Frenzy Charge on it will fix all Frenzy Charge problems. This requires a +2 amulet though.

I want to ask you a question, how can I do that?

The best way to contact me for questions and whatnot is either through messages on the PoE forums, or through whispers in game when I am online. I can't reply to everyone in the replies of this forum post, but I try my best to hit the most important pieces.

Why don't we use Shield Charge?

Since we have attack speed, Leap Slam feels better. You'll bonk into walls and hit terrain with bigger hitboxes than the visuals suggest when you run Shield Charge. It's annoying and becomes a nuisance. You can use a 4L Shield Charge for damage on trash mobs if you like, but the clear speed is only barely faster compared to just jumping around with leap slam and using Shield Crush once or twice.

Why don't you use X anoint/enchant/jewel? I think it's better.

There are other jewels that might be better when it comes to minmaxing, but this build is designed as a template and baseline for anybody to play. I do not want to make an extreme investment version past the one i have made already as I want newer players to feel comfortable with the damage that they see, and not think that the damage listed in the other versions of the PoB is 'bad' compared to the super endgame version.

Do you have plans to make other Shield Crush variant builds?

As much as I'd love to dig into critical versions, more defensive versions with Spell Suppression, and utilizing other ascendancies, I simply do not have the time to dedicate a build variant to the same depth as this build. Maybe one day I will, but for the forseeable future, this is the only build guide I plan on making.

Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Aug 18, 2023, 11:35:52 AM
Reserved
Was fun to tinker with this. Let's go!
How safe is it to start with this build for SSF? Don't want to use like 50-60+ regrets later on since they are a bit more hard to come by in SSF (can just buy them in trade league).

Is the LL version you mentioned a completely different build, as in a different class for example which would require me to reroll?
Last edited by InsaneX3 on Jul 24, 2021, 9:08:38 AM
"
InsaneX3 wrote:
How safe is it to start with this build for SSF? Don't want to use like 50-60+ regrets later on since they are a bit more hard to come by in SSF (can just buy them in trade league).


I would say that it's pretty good to start, as you can easily build up your own shield. You can farm for a Lioneye's Remorse via 'The Lion' prophecy in Act 6 Mud Flats (from the mob that drops the eye to allow you to get to Tukohama). You can also use Harvest Crafting to get a decent shield pretty easily (Defenses is common in Blue nodes).

Apart from that, just working your way up and upgrading shields makes the process pretty smooth. You get about the range of Lacerate (which is roughly 40-50) once you hit maps as long as you have Pulverise and the Brinkmanship cluster.

"
InsaneX3 wrote:
Is the LL version you mentioned a completely different build, as in a different class for example which would require me to reroll?


It only requires slight tweaks to the current PoB listed with minimal regrets. Most of the changes come from socket color and gem changes. The LL version is something I will recommend to Pivot into once you get proper health and resistances. I haven't done enough research on Petrified Blood yet to say its EXPLICITLY better overall, but I do know that it is stronger in the damage department by quite a big margin due to our totems giving us a helping hand. For the time being I'd recommend sticking to the current PoB and levelling up that way into white/yellow maps.
Last edited by OMFGaTaco on Jul 24, 2021, 11:00:12 AM
I personally enjoy shield charge more than leap slam for travel skill when trying to finish the campaign.

With the shield damage tree we're getting and once Arena Challenger kicks in, I'm just ramming things to death and just shield crush any leftovers.

Of course the cliffs is going to be your bane but with the movement speed buff, it felt trival.
Last edited by bobohead1988 on Jul 24, 2021, 11:05:50 AM
What about facebreakers is this build?
"
P0IS0N wrote:
What about facebreakers is this build?


Shield Crush is not an Unarmed skill, so this does not work.
Playing it rn, big mana costs btw D:

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