Welcome to another PoE build guide. This time, Navandis Gaming is talking about the Tectonic Slam Chieftain. Harvest league brought a large number of improvements to slam skills, two-handed weapons, and warcries, making this type of builds viable once more. This video shows what makes Tectonic Slam Chieftain one of the smoothest Path of Exile slam builds.
Harvest league brought a large number of improvements to slam skills, two handed weapons, and warcries, making this type of builds viable once more. You'll hit once and you'll hit hard, and everything will explode in a fiery inferno. While this might make you think of a slow and sluggish playstyle, the build is quite fast and smooth. It's also easy to play, without involving complex combos or clunky mechanics. In fact, this is one of the most beginner-friendly slam builds. No mandatory unique, simple gearing and not a great deal of competition for good items, makes it cheap and easy to get this build running.
I've also designed it to be tanky and resilient, making it an excellent choice for Hardcore play, with just a few tweaks. New players and veterans can pick up this build and crush all the content in the game. Tectonic slam is a godly clearing skill, it does fall a bit short against bosses. The damage itself is not a problem, but being a slower attack can have you stuck in place a bit longer than you might be comfortable with. Still, that is where the additional layers of defense come in, and I've been able to tank quite a few Sirus “DIE!” beams without actually dying. With a bit of practice, you'll know how long you can stay in one place and when to dash away and reposition quickly. On top of that, Tectonic Slam is not a pure melee skill: it has a considerable range and almost screen-wide area of effect, so you don't need to stand right next to your enemies. More experienced players can take advantage of this and choose when to fight up close and when to slam from afar, depending on each combat scenario’s specifics.
Finally, the build is capable of running all map mods, except for elemental reflect. I'd also avoid no regen maps as constantly juggling flasks to replenish mana and life is really tiresome. With all that being said, let's see how you get to play it and put together all its pieces.
Tectonic Slam (Area & Damage scale with Endurance charges)
The build's main skill, Tectonic Slam, is a heavy-hitting attack that splits the ground in a massive fiery explosion. Apart from the main crack in front of you, each hit will also create many small fissures. The total area of effect as well as the number of fissures depend on how many endurance charges you have. These are a special kind of stacking buff, with each charge giving you physical damage reduction, as well as elemental resistances. Each time you gain a new charge, the entire stack’s duration is reset, so in practice, you'll run around with maximum charges almost permanently.
6 Endurance Charges (Mostly generated by Warcries + Ascendancy Passive)
As such, the build focuses on running at least six endurance charges, which is easily achievable by a Chieftain.
Still, having a higher charges cap is only half of the job, you now also need to generate them. Warcries are the main tool for that, in conjunction with your ascendancy passive “Valako, Storm's Embrace”, which produces 1 endurance charge every second after using a warcry.
3 Warcries (Infernal Cry, Seismic Cry, and Enduring Cry)
However, warcries do much more than that in this build, and you'll be using 3 of them, each with its utility and bonuses. “Infernal Cry” causes enemies to explode when they die, dealing fire damage in an area. “Seismic Cry” makes targets easier to stun and increases your area of effect as well as damage, and “Enduring Cry” generates endurance charges, boosts your defenses, and provides a huge life regen burst. The life regen buff is so strong that you can use it as a panic button or additional life flask. As soon as you see your life dropping, hit “Enduring Cry” and you should be at full HP almost instantly.
Warcries “Exert” X Attacks (Exertion = Various buffs for your next X Attacks)
“Infernal Cry” and “Seismic Cry” also have a side-effect called “exertion”, greatly buffing your next few attacks. After using them, you'll notice a number appear on their tooltip in your skill bar. That indicates the next X attacks will be improved with various effects, such as more damage or area of effect.
Ideally, you should weave in these two warcries every four or so tectonic slams. This is not necessary against regular monster packs, but it's hugely important against bosses. I always start any boss fight by using all the warcries to exert or charge up the next few attacks. Once the exerted attacks are spent, I'll warcry again, if the combat situation allows it. While the build has plenty of damage even without taking exerted attacks into account, there's no reason to cripple yourself by not using them. As you get more comfortable with this playstyle, your efficiency skyrockets, so take some time to practice. That will make a big difference, without changing any gear piece or spending a single Chaos orb.
Finally, you have a few more tricks up your sleeve, such as being immune to stuns, capped physical damage reduction, a solid chance to block both spells and attacks, excellent life regeneration, and even positive chaos resistance. I will go into details about all these in the passives, gems, and gearing sections, respectively.
Let's start with passive tree and leveling. Before I dive into this, there are two slightly different variants for the passive tree, and you'll find both in the Path of Building guide aid. Path of Building import code: https://pastebin.com/rwfJjTk9
The one I'll go through now is a faster one, with quicker warcries and smoother playstyle, but slightly lower damage. With the 2nd variant, you hit much harder but slower, which is generally suitable for more experienced players. You need to be familiar with most boss fights and know exactly how much you can stay in one place to proper time your attacks and not leave yourself vulnerable. That being said, you start off as a Marauder, and up to level 28, when Tectonic Slam becomes available, you can use Ground Slam, which has a somewhat similar playstyle.
As for the passives, Act 1 is packed with great picks: first, you get “Warrior's Blood” and “Heart of the Warrior” for a great deal of life and life regen. You follow-up with “Born to Fight” and “Versatility”, a great mix of attack speed, accuracy, melee physical damage, and attributes.
The second act is more focused on DPS passives: “Eagle Eye” wheel, “Master of the Arena”, “Art of the Gladiator”, and “Destroyer” will ensure you have no issues smashing the first few bosses you'll encounter. On the way, you'll also pick up “Bravery” for a solid chunk of life and armor.
This act also brings with it the “Deal with the Bandits” quest, and for this build, the best option is to help Alira. Pretty much all her bonuses are useful for this build: critical strike multiplier, mana regeneration,and a decent amount of elemental resistances. These will make both leveling and end-game gearing much easier.
Acts 3 and 4 are yet again, a balanced mix of offense and defense as you start working your way through the top part of the tree. “Magmatic Strikes” will convert all the remaining physical damage dealt by Tectonic Slam into fire damage and significantly increase your overall fire damage. Follow it with the “Disemboweling” wheel, which remains one of the best critical strike clusters on the tree.
On the defense front, “Tireless” and “Barbarism” net you a whole bunch of life as well as reducing the mana cost of all your skills. Finally, grab “Unwavering Stance” keystone, which will make you invulnerable to stuns at the cost of not being able to evade any attacks. Still, as this is not an evasion build, you're not losing much. Meanwhile, stun immunity is a crucial defensive layer for end-game content, so the trade-off is worth it.
In Acts 5 and 6, you should start using your warcries more consistently, and investing in “Deep Breaths”, “Admonisher”, and “Escalation” will make them less clunky. There are a few warcry specific stats that are important here: “warcry speed” which is somewhat similar to cast speed but applies only to warcries and makes your shouts much faster. Then you have “warcry cooldown recovery speed” which is just a fancy way of saying lower cooldown for your warcries, allowing you to spam them more often. There's also “increased wacry area of effect” which should be self-explanatory, and finally “exterted attacks deal increased damage”. As I mentioned in the Build Overview section, most of your warcries will exert your next few attacks, granting additional effects or bonuses to them. On top of that, these passives will also increase their damage, so you get a lot more value from weaving in your warcries every few attacks.
Finally, there are additional specific bonuses provided by these notable passives. For example, Escalation will recover 10% of your life when you use a warcry. Combine that with Enduring Cry, and that's over half of your life pool recovered in a second. “Admonisher” removes an elemental ailment every time you warcry. So, for example, if you notice you're taking a load of damage because you're shocked, use any warcry and problem solved.
Going through Acts 7 and 8, you should make sure to start using a staff as your weapon as most DPS passives you'll pick up from here on are specific to staves. “Ophidian Aim” is a pure damage wheel, netting you a lot of accuracy and attack speed, while “Steelwood Stance” is a combination of DPS and defenses such as armor and block chance. As staves generally have an implicit chance to block, “Glancing Blows” is an excellent keystone for this build. Normally, blocked attacks deal zero damage, but with this passive, you'll still take half of the damage instead. At the same time, however, your chance to block will be doubled. Mathematically, it might seem like it's pretty much the same thing, but in practice, you gain more than you lose. In Path of Exile, burst damage is what gets you killed most of the time, as you don't get a chance to react and replenish your health. Glancing Blows flattens incoming damage spikes and gives you more time to react and recover. Finally, follow this up with “Juggernaut”, “Stamina” for an extra endurance charge and your first jewel socket. All these will make you tough as nails, just as the game difficulty starts ramping up.
As you approach the end of story mode and act 10, your damage will skyrocket after picking up some of the best passives. First, start with the large staff wheel on the left. “Whirling Barrier” is a more defensive passive, giving a lot of chance to block and a chance to gain power charges on block, increasing your critical strike chance. “Counterweight” and “Smashing Strikes” double down on crit chance and crit multiplier and a chance to gain an endurance charge on crits. You then path through “Devotion” for a massive HP boost, grab an additional nearby endurance charge, and finally end with “Divine Fervour” an “Holy Dominion”. It's insane just how much these last two passives bring to the table: elemental damage, critical strike chance, resistances, attributes, etc.
After finishing the campaign and dipping your toes into the first few Atlas tiers, grab this packed cluster of juicy nodes: “Discipline and Training” plus “Sanctity” will net you a ton of life, armour, and life regen. “Retribution” and “Precision” should take care of all your accuracy problems and missing attributes such as Dexterity or Intelligence.
From this point up to level 95, your main goal is to fill in this so-called “wheel of life”. It's not exciting and seems overkill, but trust me, you need all the HP you can get. On the way, also pick up this jewel socket. Finally, if you'll push all the way to level 100, take “Kinetic Impacts” along with another jewel socket.
In the next section, I'll be covering the Ascendancy class, which improves pretty much every single aspect of this build.
Fire damage, warcries, and endurance charges are the pillars for this build, and no other ascendancy class fits this theme better than the Chieftain.
The first is “Valako, Storm's Embrace”. It is a great mix of offense and defense, perfect as a first pick, and all its bonuses revolve around endurance charges. You increase your endurance charges cap by one, regen a good amount of life for each endurance charge, and gain one charge every second after you've warcried. Finally, it provides a significant damage bonus for 8 seconds after losing an endurance charge. This synergizes perfectly with Tectonic Slam, which consumes a charge every third hit. In practice, this bonus will be up permanently.
After completing Cruel labyrinth, follow up with “Ngamahu, Flame's Advance”. While the physical to fire conversion is not exactly necessary, as you also take “Magmatic Strikes” from the tree, the second part of this passive is what seals the deal. Every 10 seconds, you'll gain 100% of physical damage as extra fire damage for 4 seconds. I won't go into details here on how damage conversion works in Path of Exile, as that requires a guide of its own, but suffice to say, this buff will almost double your damage while it's UP. If you manage to line it up with exerted attacks and maybe some DPS flasks, you'll likely one-shot T16 bosses. Still, you don't need to min-max it to this extent, and it will still pay dividends even if you simply ignore it and let it do its own thing.
Third in line is “Tasalio, Cleansing Water”, a packed defensive passive. Right off the bat, you get 100% to fire resistance, which is more valuable than it might look initially. 100 resistance is the equivalent of approximately three affixes on your gear, which means you can now fit three extra damage mods instead of wasting them on resistances. Or, even better, boost your chaos resistance instead. Then, the passive provides great bonuses to life regen and recovery, immunity to ignite, and shifting some of the physical damage to be mitigated by your fire resistance.
Finally, with your last ascendancy points, grab “Ramako, Sun's Light”. It's not a particularly impressive passive, but fire resistance penetration is always valuable against bosses. Besides, other available options were even less appealing, so this is as good as it gets.
Generally speaking, Pantheon choices are situational, and there isn't a "best" pair that will outperform all others in any scenario. However, there are certain options complement specific builds quite well in a wide range of situations. For this particular case, here are my recommendations:
For the major god, “Soul of Solaris”. Additional physical and elemental damage reduction, as well as lowering the danger posed by enemies' crit strikes is not a bad deal.
As for the minor god, “Soul of Gruthkul” is likely your best choice – double down on physical damage reduction and reduce enemy’s attack speed. Both these bonuses are pretty valuable for a melee build.
“Soul of Shakari” is a good alternative if you haven't invested much in your chaos resistance. While it no longer provides poison immunity, it does help reduce its duration and overall damage.
Gems and Links
Having covered the Pantheon choices, we can now focus on one of the most important aspects of any build: Gems and Links.
Before I begin, I just need to remind you there are Awakened versions for a few of the gems used in this build. Awakened gems are a stronger variant of their base, but at the same time, much more expensive. If you can afford them or get a lucky drop, just replace the base gem with the awakened version.
XX/YY = Level/Quality (Some gems are kept at lower level/zero quality)
With that out of the way, I'll start with the main skill, Tectonic Slam, and its supports. In order of their importance, the first support is “Elemental Damage with Attacks”. This very simple gem adds a metric ton of elemental damage. As Tectonic Slam's damage has been converted entirely into fire, you'll benefit from this support.
The next support, “Melee Physical Damage” might seem a bit odd at first. I just said all your physical damage has been converted to fire, so what does this gem do? Well, converted damage is affected by modifiers that apply to both the original damage type it was converted from, and the new damage type that it was converted to. Otherwise put, increases to your physical damage still apply to Tectonic Slam, along with increases to fire damage.
Next up, you've got “Inspiration”, a very interesting support gem. First, it significantly lowers the mana cost for your slam, which is more important than it seems. With a low mana cost for your main skill, you're able to reserve more mana with auras, increasing your DPS by a large margin. Then, as you spend mana with Tectonic Slam, you'll gain inspiration charges, which raise your crit chance and elemental damage. A very good package deal that makes this gem a perfect choice for a crit, elemental build. One important thing to note here is that if you bring your Tectonic Slam mana cost to zero, Inspiration will no longer work. In that case, replace it with “Rutheless” support.
Up next, you have “Pulverise”, which increases both your damage as well as area of effect. While it does have an attack speed penalty, the trade-off is worth it. It's also much better than using something like “Increased area of effect support”, which wouldn't provide any damage bonus.
Finally, the last gem in this setup is Fortify. It's not the best DPS support, but it grants you a buff, which will have you take 20% less damage from hits.
As this build uses a two-handed weapon, you have access to a second 6-link setup, which will be taken by your warcries. I've already talked at length about why warcries are a key component of this build, so this should be no surprise. First, you have “Infernal Cry”, an amazing tool in your arsenal. It covers enemies in ash, increasing fire damage taken, as well as slowing them down. Affected enemies also explode on death, dealing fire damage in an area around them. This creates a considerable chain reaction that can kill entire screens in a split second. Also, Infernal Cry exerts your next attacks and causes them to trigger a secondary attack called “Combust”, which is yet another fiery explosion. You then link it to “Combustion” support. Yep, the game designers dropped the ball naming their skills here, so don't confuse Combustion with Combust. The Combustion support increases fire damage dealt by Infernal Cry's corpse explosion, and Combust secondary attack gives them a high chance to ignite, and it lowers the fire resistance of enemies ignited this way. This indirectly boosts Tectonic Slam's damage.
Afterward, add “Seismic Cry”. Its main effect is not important as it only makes it easier to stun enemies. The vast majority of your enemies will die in one hit, and most bosses are immune or highly resistant to stuns. However, its exerted effect is the reason this warcry is included in the build. After using Seismic Cry, the next four slam attacks will deal 30% more damage. That is a huge bonus, and it's especially useful when you pre-charge this before a boss fight starts.
Next, you have “Second Wind” support. This will allow you to use linked warcries and additional time before their cooldown kicks in, providing a much higher uptime. On top of that, it also lowers their cooldown by quite a bit. All in all, this simple support gem makes linked warcries spammable and readily available every other monster pack.
The Fifth gem in this setup is a bit more flexible, and its main purpose is to add an extra effect or utility to Infernal Cry. I went with “Culling Strike” support. This causes the corpse explosion and Combust effects to instantly kill any enemy whose HP is brought below 10%. This might not seem like much, but you should consider that end game bosses have tens of millions of HP, and they always become more dangerous on low life. Ending such fights with a single Combust is the equivalent of a large amount of pure DPS. Other good options are Life Leech, Power Charge on Critical strike, Pulverise, Onslaught, or Blood Magic. You can experiment and chose what's most suitable for you.
Finally, the last gem in this setup is “Ancestral Protector”. This is only used against bosses or other fixed fight scenarios. It provides a very large attack speed buff while you're near the totem, and it also deals a fair bit of damage of its own. While it's not mandatory to link it with the rest of the gems, it does benefit from both Combustion and Culling Strike supports. In the absence of you wacrying, it will keep the minus fire resistance effect upon your targets, it will ignite them, which prevents energy shield recharge, and it can cull enemies at or below 10% of their HP. There's a fair bit of utility gained if you link this skill to the other supports, and it's definitely worth it for harder fights. Still, it's not a priority but more of a min-maxing thing.
In the next gem setup, you have a leftover warcry, “Enduring Cry”. This provides a quick bunch of endurance charges, based on the number of nearby enemies and their power/rarity. It also increases your elemental and physical damage reduction for each endurance charge you have. On top of that, you gain a huge life regen buff, which will almost instantly heal you back to full in most situations. Combined with Admonisher and Escalation passives, this warcry essentially becomes a secondary life flask and panic button. Get in the habit of using it often, and you'll survive pretty much any encounter.
Then, you double down on defensive tools with “Vaal Molten Shell”. While it was nerfed in Harvest league, it's still a solid guard skill that provides a decent chunk of armor and damage absorption shield. I use this skill by binding it to my left mouse button, replacing the default “move” action. As I keep the button pressed, it will move my character as usual and cast Molten Shell on cooldown. Since this is an instant cast skill, it won't interrupt movement at any point. In a pinch, you can also use the Vaal part of the skill, l which will give you a somewhat beefier absorption shield, but not significantly larger. At least, not as large as it used to be before it was nerfed.
Next gem is “Dash”, the build's mobility skill. There's nothing much to say about it, apart from the fact that it's quick, is not impacted by slow effects, and it can bypass obstacles. This makes it ideal not only as a travel skill but also as a defensive tool for dodging significant incoming damage and getting out of nasty ground effects.
Finally, the last gem in this setup is “Second Wind”. All three active skills greatly benefit from it, either gaining extra charges or lowering their cooldown.
Moving on, you have a couple of auras and heralds. First, there's “Herald of Ash” and “Herald of Purity”. They provide a whole bunch of extra fire and physical damage, nothing complicated. While these heralds have other effects as well, they're entirely irrelevant for this build.
Then, there's Precision aura. It increases your accuracy and critical strike chance, both highly useful for this build. Unlike most auras, this one doesn't reserve a percentage of your mana pool, but rather a flat amount which increases with the gem's level. If you have at least one affix on your gear that reduces your skills' mana cost, you can easily push this aura to the max level.
Finally, you have “Blood and Sand”. This is a special type of aura that has two different stances: blood and sand. You switch between them by simply casting the aura skill again. In blood stance, you deal quite a bit more damage but have slightly lower area of effect. The Sand stance is the opposite: more area of effect, less damage. I always run this in blood stance, as you have plenty of area of effect and coverage thanks to Infernal Cry and at least six endurance charges.
The last gems setup is a “Cast when Damage Taken” one. This trigger gem will cast any linked active skills after you take a certain amount of damage. A higher “Cast when Damage Taken” gem will be able to cast higher-level linked gems, but it would also require more damage to be triggered. As such, for this particular setup, we'll keep the trigger gem at level 2. The triggered gems are offensive ones, so you want them to be cast as often as possible.
The first one is “Assassin's Mark” curse. You have increased critical strike chance and damage against affected targets, as well as a decent chance to gain a power charge when you kill them. Then there's “Wave of Conviction”. Its only purpose is to apply the exposure debuff on enemies, lower their fire resistance, thus increasing your Tectonic Slam's damage. Simple and efficient. Finally, the last gem, “Blood Rage” doesn't even have to be linked with the other 3, as it is not triggered, but needs to be manually cast. This buff gives you a large amount of attack speed, as well as a chance to gain frenzy charges on kill. These further increase your attack speed and damage. Blood Rage does have a downside, though, in the form of physical damage over time debuff. However, its impact is mostly mitigated by endurance charges and offset by your life regen.
It's time to take a look at the recommended gear for this build. In this section, for each gear slot, I will outline three tiers: basic, mid-tier, and best-in-slot. Generally speaking, prices increase significantly with each tier, but so do the benefits that the Path of Exile items bring. Your main goal is to cap your elemental resistances, which should be easy for this build. You should aim to have either flat or increased maximum life on all gear pieces, except on your weapon. The rest of the affixes should be a mix of chaos resistance and damage ones, mostly in the form of physical, fire, attack speed, and crit mods.
Basic-tier: Kraken Halo
A good basic-tier helmet has 60+ elemental resistances and maximum life, some chaos resistance or accuracy, ideally on an armor base. A good mid-tier one is the often overlooked Deidbellow. It provides a decent amount of physical and melee damage, as well as extra attack and movement speed if you've warcried recently. And let's face it, a build that uses three warcries should always have this effect active. Finally, for best-in-slot, you've got the high-risk, high-reward, Abyssus. It comes with a massive amount of flat physical damage as well as crit multiplier, two mods that aren't normally found on this gear slot. A vast amount of armor, as well 20+ all attributes, further increase the value of this item. However, all these come at a cost: 40 to 50% increased physical damage taken. For most builds, this would be fatal, but with six endurance charges and a huge amount of armor, you'll still be incredibly tanky and won’t really feel this penalty. Look for ones with at most 42-43% increased damage taken. Going higher than that will start hurting.
Basic-tier: Hegemony’s Era
Mid-tier: Pain Branch
Best-in-slot: Oblivion Spell
Moving on to your weapon, you’ll be using a two-handed staff, and we went with this weapon type for the additional block chance. While an axe or a sword could dish out more DPS, you have more than enough already and staying alive is a higher priority. That being said, a basic one is the excellent “Hegemony’s Era”. With decent physical damage, increased attack speed and crit chance, extra block chance, and a power charge, nothing is wasted on this great unique. For mid-tier, upgrade to a rare staff with 500+ physical DPS, and some crit strike chance or crit multiplier. Ideally, it should be on a “judgement staff” base, for the spell block implicit. Finally, for best-in-slot, you should aim for 600+ physical DPS, crit strike chance and crit multiplier, as well as some attack speed. Shaper or Warlord influenced staves can also roll some strong prefixes such as “Gain % of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage” or “Socketed Skills deal 20% more Attack Damage”.
Basic-tier: Rage Carapace
Mid-tier: Gloom Keep
Best-in-slot: Victory Curtain
Up next is the body armor, and this is mostly a defensive slot. At basic-tier, you need at least 5-links, 70+ life, and 70+ elemental resistances. Some extra chaos resistance or dexterity would also be a great bonus. For mid-tier, you're looking for the same affixes but with 6-links and higher numeric values. It should also be on a pure, non-hybrid armour base. If there's an empty prefix, you can double down on armor mods or add chance to block, using your hideout's crafting bench. Finally, for best-in-slot, an ideal one should have 90+ life, 70+ total resistances, over 1k armor. The Warlord specific suffix “Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost” will make your Tectonic Slam cost only 5 mana or so, allowing you to spam it pretty much non-stop. If you're rich, you can go with a double influenced Warlord + Crusader armor and add the mod “Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 3% of their Life as Physical Damage” on top of everything else. 90% of that is converted to fire damage and gets to scale with all the increased fire damage sources, as well as benefit from penetration and lowered fire resistance on targets. And yes, these explosions stack with the ones from Infernal Cry.
Basic-tier: Blood Hold
Mid-tier: Victory Clutches
Best-in-slot: Victory Mitts
Moving on to gloves, on basic ones, look for 60+ life and elemental resistances, along with some flat physical damage. If you can, get some accuracy or dexterity to cap your chance to hit and have enough dex to level up your green gems. On mid-tier ones, you're aiming for pretty much the same stats but with attack speed instead of accuracy or DEX. A pure armor base is also ideal. Finally, for the best-in-slot, a good lineup is 60+ life, flat physical and fire damage, attack speed, two resistance mods, everything on a pair of Spiked Gloves base, for the increased melee damage implicit. If your elemental resistances are capped elsewhere, replace those mods with chaos resistance and dexterity.
Basic-tier: Redblade Tramplers
Mid-tier: Rapture Trail
Best-in-slot: Agony March
For boots, an excellent pair of basic ones are the unique “Redblade Tramplers” - movement speed, some life, a bit of resistance, and a solid amount of armor. But the real selling point is the added flat physical damage, an affix that is not normally found on boots.
Mid-tier ones should have at least 25% movement speed, 70+ life and 60+ resistances, and maybe some DEX if you haven't gotten enough for your gems. And as best-in-slot, you're looking for more or less the same mods, but ideally on a Hunter influenced base. Replace a resistance mod with “You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently”. Tailwind increases your overall action speed, which includes movement and attack speed. It's a great buff which will have an almost permanent uptime, even in boss fights. If you can't afford that, then a Warlord influenced pair of boots with “Gain % of Physical Damage as extra fire damage” is a good alternative.
Basic-tier: Mind Lock
Best-in-slot: Soul Snare
Up next is your belt slot. For basic and mid-tier, it should have about 90+ life, 70+ elemental resistances, elemental damage with attack skills, all on a rustic sash base for the physical damage implicit. For best-in-slot, replace the base with a Stygian Vise for the extra jewel socket. Also, if your elemental resistances are already capped, then look for some chaos resistance instead.
Basic-tier: Carrion Scarab
Mid-tier: Phoenix Clasp
Best-in-slot: Pain Clasp
The amulet is a versatile slot in this build, and it should be used to squeeze out as much damage as possible while having just enough resistances to be capped. On basic amulets, look for flat added physical damage, a good amount of life, and some elemental resistances. Ideally, on a Turquoise or Citrine base, so you can squeeze out some extra dex from the implicit. Mid-tier ones have more or less similar affixes but add a crit multiplier mod, flat fire damage, or % increased damage with elemental attacks. Finally, for best-in-slot, sacrifice a resistance mod, if possible, and look for critical strike chance instead.
Amulets can also be anointed using oils dropped from Blight encounters to add a notable passive to them, without changing the item in any other way. For this build, the best DPS option is “Lava Lash” for some additional fire resistance penetration and increased fire damage. “Serpent Stance” is a cheap and decent alternative for a combination of offense and defense. For pure defense, something like “Cruel Preparation” is a top choice, but that should be necessary only if you're playing Hardcore.
Basic-tier: Vengeance Gyre
Mid-tier: Beast Knot
Best-in-slot: Armageddon Nail
With rings, it's the same story as with the amulet. Squeeze out as much DPS as possible while using just enough affixes for capping your resistances. On basic ones, look for 40+ maximum life, just enough resistances to be capped, some flat physical damage, and maybe some DEX. Mid-tier ones should have the same affixes, just higher numeric values, and some critical strike chance. Finally, for best-in-slot, take it one step further and add either flat fire damage, % increased elemental damage with attack skills, or pure % increased fire damage. Dex, chaos resistance, or accuracy are all excellent secondary mods to have on this slot.
Up next are jewels, an excellent source of DPS, life, and utility. They add up, so don’t ignore or downplay their importance. Even a 2-mod jewel is still better than an empty socket. On regular jewels, you're looking for maximum or flat life, chance to gain Onslaught on kill, flat physical or fire damage, critical strike chance and multiplier, attack speed, or increased fire damage. The damage mods can come in a variety of formats: with staves, while wielding a 2-handed weapon, etc. I can't list them all here, but you can find trade links in the “Notes” tab of the Path of Building guide. Basic and mid-tier jewels can have three useful mods, while best-in-slot ones should have a fourth one, perhaps some resistances or dexterity.
Finally, there's also the unique jewel “Transcendent Flesh”, which will push your DPS to the next level, although it is expensive. This needs to be socketed right above “Juggernaut” passive to get the most significant benefit.
Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching
Experimenter Diamond flask of Heat
Chemist's Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline
Enduring Eternal Mana Flask of Warding
Moving on to flasks, these are quite an important component of this build, and they will significantly boost your overall damage. First, you need a “Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching”. Instant healing is a real lifesaver, and bleeding removal is mandatory while mapping. Then, since this is a crit build, an Experimenter Diamond flask is a must-have. Lucky crit chance means the game rolls twice to determine if a hit crits, then applies the best result. In practice, this means you get a much higher effective crit chance while the flask is active. So, make sure you use it constantly. The suffix should be “of Heat” for chill and freeze immunity. The third one is “Lion's Roar” unique flask. It grants you a huge amount of physical damage, and lining it up with exerted attacks and the diamond flask will have you one-shot map bosses. The fourth flask is a “Chemist's Quicksilver flask of Adrenaline”. Movement speed directly affects your efficiency and map clearing potential, and this translates to a higher rate of generating Path of Exile currency.
For the last one, I generally go with an Enduring Eternal Mana Flask. “Enduring” affix means the effect doesn't end when your mana is full, providing constant regeneration without needing to time your flask usage. Even with a -mana cost body armor, your warcries and other skills still cost mana. You might end up outstripping your mana regen and unable to cast anything. The suffix is of Warding for curse immunity. Curses are encountered often while mapping, and they can be crippling, significantly reducing your defenses or damage output.
To wrap up the gearing section, here are some excellent leveling uniques which will help you easily progress through the campaign:
Le Heup on All
Pillar of the Caged God
Belt of the Deceiver
Pros and Cons
With the gearing out of the way, it is time to take a final look at the pros and cons of the build so you can better understand if it's what you're looking for.
1. Excellent clearing speed: your tectonic slams and explosions cover the entire screen, so the build is very efficient at quickly killing large packs of mobs.
2. Easy to play without complicated mechanics or complex gearing, so this beginner-friendly.
3. Really fun build! I know this is an often-overlooked aspect in Path of Exile, but it's always great to play a build that just feels right.
4. Very tanky and resilient. Between endurance charges, block chance, huge amounts of armour, life regen, Enduring Cry, Molten Shell, you’ll be really hard to kill.
5. Scales with player's skill. Getting more familiar with the build, and its play-style is rewarded with overall better performance.
6. Impactful gear progression. Each gear upgrade will be a significant buff, generally proportional with the investment. As such, it has a very high-performance ceiling, and the build is great for a long-term project. It will take a long time to reach a point where you feel you're no longer progressing.
1. It is still a melee build. While tectonic slam does have a generous range, you'll be in the thick of things most of the time, more vulnerable than a pure ranged character.
2. It cannot run elemental reflect maps. Still, this is less of a problem nowadays since there's a sextant mod that grants immunity to reflected damage.
3. You need to press quite a few buttons. The build itself is not complicated to play or need perfect timing, but you have to use a number of buff skills, and that can take a while to get used to it.
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