Bladestorm Berserker Build (PoE Blight 3.8)

Furty

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About the Author

Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.

Author

Introduction

Bladestorm Bladestorm is a relatively recent addition to Path of Exile, first introduced in Patch 3.7.0 Legion League alongside the melee skill and Ascendancy rework. While on the surface it might not appear all that different from Cyclone Cyclone, there are a few key distinctions that make this skill its own.

For starters, the interaction with the Blood and Sand Blood and Sand and/or Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone auras allow you to modify the way the skill works at a fundamental level. Similar to other skills, such as Lacerate Lacerate, the Sand stance is more geared towards clear, while the Blood stance can offer far more impact on lone and formidable targets.

Berserker also got a lot of attention from GGG, and received quite the facelift. No longer a feckless choice of Ascendancy, the new Berserker is a brutal beast that tears apart bosses and maps with savage glee. Boasting a unique Rage mechanic and built-in scaling mechanics, our Bladestorm Bladestorm Berserker has the potential to be both a league-starter and a late-game leviathan.

Build Assessment

Pros

+ Excellent single-target and bossing capability (up to 8M DPS in end-game gear)
+ Phenomenal league starter — functional on low levels of gear and links
+ Decent clear speed relative to average builds — not quite on par with top-tier skills such as Tornado Shot Tornado Shot or Essence Drain Essence Drain
+ Viable choice for both Solo Self-Found leagues and Hardcore
+ Unique feel that combines new game mechanics introduced in 3.7.0 Legion — Bladestorm Bladestorm and Berserker are both entirely new introductions
+ Strong defenses — 203% Increased Maximum Life

Cons

Certain map mods are not possible or difficult to deal with (Physical Reflect, No Leech)
Slight ramp up time before maximum damage is achieved
Button heavy and requires constant “stance-dancing” to maximize damage (also a potential positive if you like active builds!)

Playstyle and Build Mechanics

Bladestorm Bladestorm is skill with a 360 degree area of attack. Unlike a similar skill that comes to mind (Cyclone Cyclone), Bladestorm Bladestorm is not a movement skill, and therefore you cannot move while casting it. It is also not considered a Channelling skill, and is unaffected by gems such as Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support. One of the upsides of this skill, however, is that it has two separate incarnations based on whether or not you are in Sand or Blood stance.

Alternating between Sand and Blood Stance:

Sand and Blood

The playstyle of this build is fairly easy to get a handle of in theory, but it does have a fair amount of button engagement that will keep your fingers and your brain busy. We use both the Blood and Sand Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone auras, and you will one of them on your bar to allow you to switch stances freely.

Bladestorm Bladestorm is a two part attack, but you only really need to concern yourself with the main component, which is when your player spins in place. This is the bulk of your damage. Using Bladestorm Bladestorm also creates a secondary effect, known as Bladestorms, underneath your character while it spins. You can have a maximum of three of these storms active at a time, and they deal additional damage and grant your character bonuses based on your current stance. This means there is some ramp up time before you hit peak damage on a boss, but only for a second or two at most.

Sand stance causes your bladestorms to travel forward, and standing in your bladestorms causes you to gain increased movement speed. We usually rely on Sand stance while clearing, as it offers the best speed as we move through an area. Blood stance is used when you have to deal with bosses or particularly dangerous Rares, such as Legion mobs, as it grants additional Attack Speed. Blood bladestorms are stationary, though this does not usually have any significant difference in feel.

To clear, simply Leap Slam Leap Slam into packs and Bladestorm Bladestorm. If your gear is appropriate to the content you are attempting, most packs should die more or less instantly, and you can immediately leap into the next set of enemies. If you encounter tougher targets, like the Syndicate or Legion Rares, you will want to switch to Blood stance in order to gain the additional Attack Speed while you are bladestorming.

Keep Blood Rage Blood Rage active at all times while you are clearing for additional damage and leech, as well as keeping your Frenzy Charges capped. There is no need to ever place your Dread Banner Dread Banner — we simply use it as a means of procuring additional chance to Impale as well as reducing the accuracy of enemies. Try to keep your Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem active whenever possible.

Cycle your chose Vaal aura as needed. We recommend using either Vaal Haste Vaal Haste or Vaal Grace Vaal Grace, both of which have a fairly high uptime. If you are familiar with the map layout, be sure to have your Vaal skills ready for the boss in advance.

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief is our damaging Vaal skill for significantly boosting boss burst damage. You can even bring out the normal Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief for even more damage on bosses that really need the smack down. You can use the Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief while clearing too, although things often die too often for it to be properly effective. It is a fantastic ally against aforementioned tough targets, however, and really brings the pain against Syndicate encounters and the like.

Passive Skill Tree

Click here to see our recommended Level 100 Passive Skill Tree.

Though there is typically not any vast amount of variance between melee skill trees, this build makes use of a few uncommon choices such as pathing towards and through Acrobatics. Instead of relying purely on Armour and Life Leech, this build takes a more evasion approach to defense, supported by vast amounts of Maximum Life and Life Leech.

Start out by picking up some Life and Physical Damage on the left side of the tree. This gives you a comfortable cushion of survivability that makes leveling feel like a breeze while snapping up enough damage to ensure you can roll over everything without any issues.

Early Tree

As you reach Part 2 and start progressing towards the latter Acts of the game, you will want to start grabbing up more defense and Life. By the time we reach Kitava in Act X you will want to have Acrobatics.

Part 2 Leveling

Once you have reached the end-game, the order of acquisition depends largely on whether you are league starting or whether you have currency available to you. Constitution should be a priority as you push through the 70s to add more survivability as you start maps.

If you have access to solid gear and weapons and want to really take your damage to the next level, you will want to immediately start snatching up as much Critical Strike and Multiplier on the tree as possible. Twin Terrors, Dismembering, Disembowling, and Heartseeker are some of the biggest possible damage upgrades if you have some Critical Strike to work with.

Vaal Pact can be acquired whenever you feel like you need it. If you do not have some Critical Strike or weapons to work with, grab up all the Impale nodes instead, as this is a great substitute.

Gems

Bladestorm Bladestorm is our main skill for both clearing and single target. This build dual wields 1-Handed Swords, as it is a Critical Strike stacking build, and therefore there is only one 6-Link to concern yourself with. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief add millions of DPS each, and function perfectly well on a 4-Link.

Precision Precision takes care of any accuracy issues, as Resolute Technique is not an option for a Critical Strike build. Blood and Sand Blood and Sand is, of course, a necessity for Bladestorm Bladestorm to allow you to alternate between Sandstorm and Bloodstorm. For additional Impale chance and effect, we rely on Dread Banner Dread Banner. Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone is also ideal for defense, and on single-target allows us to apply Maim Support Maim Support for free. In fact, this aura is so strong in Blood Stance that the damage increase it provides (when supported by Maim Support Maim Support) is almost exactly the same as a Level 20 Pride Pride gem, at half the Mana investment.

Bladestorm Bladestorm 6-Link

This is our main skill for both single target and clear. There are plenty of gems that provide similar DPS values to those we recommend, however, we have found this to be the most stable setup with the highest quality of life.

  1. Bladestorm Bladestorm
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Close Combat Support Close Combat Support
  4. Rage Support Rage Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Impale Support Impale Support

There are a few other options that can also be added to the build, though they generally require white sockets applied by Vorici in order to be effectively used, as they only have niche value:

  • Pulverise Support Pulverise Support is one of the best gems for improving clear speed and experience per hour at the cost of single-target damage. A great choice to swap in if mapping is your only priority. If you do not mind gem-swapping, you can swap out Ruthless Support Ruthless Support for this gem during clear to maximize speed.
  • Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support: Can be swapped in for Ruthless Support Ruthless Support on bosses for a modest damage increase
  • Multistrike Support Multistrike Support: Has the highest potential damage increase but makes the skill very clunky and slows down mapping significantly. Can be swapped with Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support for bosses but is otherwise not recommended after the melee skills rework.

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief 4-Link

On bosses you can use both Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief and Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief for huge amounts of additional damage. In end-game gear, each totem will do well over 2 million DPS each. In top-end gear, they can do far more.

  1. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

Auras 3/1-Link

This link should not be connected to the Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem, as it adds needless Mana cost.

  1. Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone
  2. Maim Support Maim Support
  3. Blood and Sand Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand Blood and Sand does not gain any benefit from Maim Support Maim Support, but it also does not get increased Mana reservation. It does not matter if it is linked or not, but Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone should always be linked to your Maim Support Maim Support.

  1. Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem

Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support 4-Link

Only Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support and Immortal Call Immortal Call actually need to be linked, however, the other two gems should be Level 20 and will thusly be unaffected even in a 4-Link.

  1. Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support (Level 10)
  2. Immortal Call Immortal Call (Level 12)
  3. Blood Rage Blood Rage
  4. Vaal Haste Vaal Haste (damage) or Vaal Grace Vaal Grace (stability)

We do not use Haste Haste or Grace Grace, only the active Vaal component.

Leap Slam Leap Slam 3-Link

This is our primary mobility skill and a means of procuring Fortify Support Fortify Support for added defense.

  1. Leap Slam Leap Slam
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Auras 3-Link

Berserk Berserk should only be used for bursting on bosses or targets that need to die as soon as possible. Dread Banner Dread Banner should simply be used as an aura and never placed.

  1. Precision Precision
  2. Dread Banner Dread Banner
  3. Berserk Berserk

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Leveling

Ascendancy

Ascendancy

  1. Flawless Savagery
  2. Crave the Slaughter
  3. Rite of Ruin
  4. Blitz OR Aspect of Carnage — See the Additional Ascendancy Information section for a breakdown of each keystone

Additional Ascendancy Information

  1. Flawless Savagery is an excellent first choice. Though the Critical Strike and Multiplier is not immediately useful, the large amount of added Physical Damage added to attacks feels absolutely monstrous while you are leveling up. If you have ever leveled a spell based build using Elemental Overload, this feels very similar — the upside, however, is that it only gets better and better with more Critical Strike.
  2. Crave the Slaughter introduces the Rage mechanic, which is unique to the Berserker class. This keystone forms the entire core of the Berserker, granting attack speed, damage, and movement speed with rage. Going with this keystone immediately does not make sense, as you do not have enough damage or stats at Level 30 (or whenever you complete Normal lab) to gain the full effect of this keystone. For Cruel Labyrinth, however, it is the perfect choice, coming into its own in the latter half of the leveling process and scaling hard into the end-game.
  3. Rite of Ruin improves Crave the Slaughter — in point of fact, it triples its value. To add to this, it even makes you immune to stun while above 25 Rage, which makes Soul of the Brine King largely redundant. As with many of the Berserker nodes, there is a defensive trade-off. In this case, you lose 0.1% of Maximum Life per second per Rage while you are not losing Rage — essentially, while you are attacking or being attacked. This is more than compensated for by Leech and damage, but it puts a small damper on an otherwise ridiculous keystone.

Your fourth point is largely determined by personal priority, content that you plan to attack, and the league that you play on. Blitz offers an all-round stable damage increase with little downside, while Aspect of Carnage offers a large injection of damage at the cost of increased damage taken.

  • Blitz unlocks a unique charge system for the Berserker class. To no one’s surprise, these charges are referred to as Blitz Charges. For every charge gained, the player gains 2% Attack Speed and 10% reduced Critical Strike chance. Blitz charges are gained on Critical Strikes. This is a fairly stable and potent damage increase despite the loss in Critical Strike chance.
  • Aspect of Carnage is the ultimate damage increase for Berserker, offering a huge flat increase in damage. This comes at a significant cost; the player takes 10% more damage taken. This keystone is flat-out not viable for a Level 100 grind or Hardcore leagues, but it does present the opportunity for damage that Blitz simply cannot compete with. If you are playing on a softcore league, you might opt to use this keystone simply for the smile that the damage puts on your face. This keystone is recommended if farming Uber Elder is one of your main objectives, as virtually all of the damage is avoidable anyways.

Deal with the Bandits Reward

We recommend Helping Alira — when you are starting out. In the late-game, the 2 Passive Points can be far more valuable, but only if you can make good use of them. Alira’s Resistances and Multiplier are very valuable as long as you are in need of both of them, but if you can give yourself an extra notable or Jewel socket, we recommend swapping over to the passive points once you reach the 90s.

Our passive skill tree uses the 2 passive points.

Pantheon

Major Gods

  • Soul of Solaris remains one of the supreme choices for defense when properly upgraded, preventing crit chains against your character and reducing rogue-wave elemental damage.
  • Soul of Lunaris is an option for a little extra movement speed.

Minor Gods

  • Soul of Gruthkul is the best choice if you have not upgraded any of your Pantheon.
  • Soul of Shakari is recommended once you have upgraded it to provide Poison immunity.
  • Soul of Yugul is the best choice when fighting the Uber Elder boss.

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks section in its entirety.

Some example gear used by our character:

Gear Example

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Carcass Jack Carcass Jack or Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast
Gloves Rare Spiked Gloves Spiked Gloves
Boots Rare Two-Toned Boots Two-Toned Boots
Belt Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise
Ring 1 Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder
Ring 1 Rare Shaped Ring
Weapon 1 Rare Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier OR Paradoxica Paradoxica
Weapon 2 Rare Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier or base of choice

Gear, Jewels, and Flasks

Armour

Chest

Carcass Jack Carcass Jack is the number option for offense. Not only does it boost clear by virtue of vastly increased area of effect, but it also adds a significant damage increase to your Bladestorm Bladestorm. The fact that you also get some Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances is merely icing on the cake. One downside of using Carcass Jack Carcass Jack is that it can be irritating to properly colour — it is an Evasion/Energy Shield item (Green/Blue), and we need at least four Red sockets and two Green.

Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast is the best easily attainable option for defense, and especially for Hardcore. Coloring it is as easy as it gets, and we get a heaping of Maximum Life and some nice Elemental Resistances. Though clear speed suffers a bit when compared with the largely increased area of effect of Carcass Jack Carcass Jack, this can be compensated for by instead swapping in Pulverise Support Pulverise Support as a part of your main link.

Head

This slot is mostly down to player preference, as there is no dominant option for this slot. We opted to use a Rare item to help fill out Resistances and allow more itemization towards damage on accessories, but Uniques can be equally (or more) potent with the right setup.

There are several Unique options for this build:

  • Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head is one of the best overall helmets for any Critical Strike build, boasting fantastic defenses, a large Dexterity boost, and some damage. This is overall the best option if you can obtain an enchanted version.
  • Devoto's Devotion Devoto's Devotion offers unrivaled clear speed due to its movement speed bonus, as well as providing a nice boost to Dexterity. The reduced Physical damage is a little bit of a downer, but not enough to make this item out of contention. If experience per hour is your top priority and you can afford an enchantment, this should be your go-to.
  • Abyssus Abyssus can be a silly item at times, largely due to the absurd damage taken increase. That said, the damage it offers is absolutely disgusting — so grotesque that we even feel comfortable putting it up here as a recommendation. This is not an item that should be used for general clear. At least, not unless you have no regard for your life or your experience, and especially not if you are using Aspect of Carnage on your Ascendancy tree. For certain bosses that deal little to no Physical damage, however, such as the Uber Elder, this helmet can be a lot of fun and provide million(s) of extra DPS. You are taking your life into your own hands!

A Rare helm offers good flexibility, both in defense and economy. An enchant is always a big difference to any build, and crafting your own helmet using Fossils is always a great method towards obtaining a top tier end-game item. We recommend using an Evasion base, as Armour is significantly devalued for us due to Acrobatics.

Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. +# to Dexterity
  4. % Increased Evasion
  5. +# to Evasion

There are currently no enchantments for Bladestorm Bladestorm.

Gloves

A Rare is the best option in virtually all cases, both for damage, defense, and economy. Atziri's Acuity Atziri's Acuity are an option, but they lose a lot of value in several areas — Vaal Pact is on our path, Intelligence has little value as we use no blue gems, Armour loses significant value due to Acrobatics, and they often command an exorbitant price.

Instead, we highly recommend opting for a Rare set of Spiked Gloves Spiked Gloves. In fact, a nice pair of Spiked Gloves Spiked Gloves will result in even more damage than Atziri's Acuity Atziri's Acuity, at a fraction of the cost.

Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. % Increased Attack Speed
  4. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
  6. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
  7. % Increased Armour
  8. +# to Armour

Boots

A Rare pair of boots is typically the best option, offering a strong blend of movement speed, Life, and defense.

Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. % Increased Movement Speed (25%+)
  2. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  3. +# to Maximum Life
  4. % Chance to Gain an Endurance Charge on Kill (Elder)
  5. % Increased Armour / Energy Shield / Evasion
  6. +# to Armour / Energy Shield / Evasion

There are a few Unique options, although none of them surpass a nice pair of Rare boots in the end-game.

  • Atziri's Step Atziri's Step are a cheap and effective pair of boots with everything you need in the early game barring Elemental Resistances. Enchants are also readily and cheaply available, which is a nice bonus.
  • Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots can be a helpful pair of boots to employ if you are new to Uber Elder, or you are struggling to avoid mechanics.

Recommended enchantments for this build are:

  • 16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you’ve Killed Recently (Clear Speed)
  • 10% Chance to Dodge Attack Hits if you’ve taken a Critical Strike Recently (Defense)
  • Adds 1 to 160 Lightning Damage if you haven’t Killed Recently (Pure Bossing)

We recommend the Attack Speed enchant, as it has the most applicable use across the board.

Weapons

This build is best executed using dual-wielded thrusting one-handed swords. The most preferred base, if using Rares or crafting your own weapons, is the Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier.

Paradoxica Paradoxica

Paradoxica Paradoxica is one of the best weapons for this build, and it is relatively affordable. This can be a difficult weapon to target if you are playing on Solo Self-Found, as it needs very specific stats in order to be an effective choice. You will want a relatively high % Increased Physical Damage roll, and one of the following two affixes:

  • % Increased Attack Speed
  • % Increased Critical Strike Chance

Paradoxica Paradoxica is not the best weapon you can get by any means, but it is significantly cheaper than purchasing a top-tier foil, or crafting your own weapon. Starting with this weapon catapults you towards end-game status and it can be used throughout and entire league without being upgraded should you desire.

Rare Weapon(s)

Ultimately, Rare Foils are going to be far and away the best possible choice for this build. Foils are known to be grotesquely expensive, but you can also craft some exceedingly potent weapons (on trade and SSF) for only a handful of Exalted Orb Exalted Orbs.

If you would like to craft your own foil(s), follow these steps:

  1. Craft 30% Quality onto your Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier(s), or choice of base, using Perfect Fossil Perfect Fossils.
  2. Use an Orb of Scouring Orb of Scouring on your item to make it white.
  3. Use an Orb of Transmutation Orb of Transmutation to make your sword Magic quality.
  4. Use Orb of Alteration Orb of Alterations to roll the item until you hit a Tier 1 % Increased Physical Damage / +# to Accuracy Rating roll.
  5. If there is an additional stat on the item you will be forced to use an Orb of Annulment Orb of Annulment to attempt to remove the other stat. The only situations where you should not annul the other stat is if it is a high tier (1 or 2) % Increased Attack Speed, % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier, % Increased Physical Damage, % Increased Critical Strike Chance, or Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks.

Once you have a Magic (blue) Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier with the % Increased Physical Damage / + # to Accuracy Rating affix, you may want to make an imprint of this item using Beastcrafting in the Menagerie, as the next step involves using another Orb of Annulment Orb of Annulment on your item.

  1. Use a Regal Orb Regal Orb on the Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier to make it Rare quality.
  2. Use an Orb of Annulment Orb of Annulment on the Harpy Rapier Harpy Rapier to attempt to remove the added affix unless it is a Tier 1-2 desirable roll (% Increased Attack Speed, % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier, % Increased Physical Damage, % Increased Critical Strike Chance, or Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks).
  3. If you annuled your % Increased Physical Damage / +# to Accuracy Rating, you can use your imprint to restore the item. Consider making another imprint before repeating the last step.
  4. If you annuled the other stat, your crafted item is basically finished. All that’s left is to multi-mod it at the crafting bench and craft the desired stats.

Make sure you are using the best possible crafts or you will have wasted currency and time crafting this item. If you do not have all the recipes, use a master crafting service, ask a friend, or seek out the recipes yourself.

Harpy Rapier

We recommend crafting these stats:

  1. Can Have Multiple Crafted Modifiers
  2. Adds 13-17 to 26-30 Physical Damage
  3. 13-16% Increased Attack Speed / 13-18% Increased Quality
  4. 95-105% Increased Physical Damage / 18-20% Chance to Impale Enemies on Hit with Attacks
  5. 25-28% Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier

Congratulations, you have a foil worth tens of Exalted Orb Exalted Orbs crafted for a fraction of the cost!

Accessories

Amulet

A Rare amulet presents the maximum possible damage and defense, though it comes with a scaling cost — the better the stats, the higher the currency investment ascends into the stratosphere. A relatively strong piece can be cheaply obtained, but for players with currency to spend you can catapult your DPS to truly herculean levels.

Ideally, you want to have Resistances covered on your other pieces to allow for full damage itemization. If this is not possible, make sure you get enough Elemental Resistances here to fill out your build. Prioritize stats for your amulet as follows:

  1. +# to Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  3. % Increased Global Critical Strike Chance
  4. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. % Increased Attack Speed
  6. % Increased Area of Effect (Elder)
  7. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life

As far as unique options are concerned, Impresence (Physical) Impresence (Physical) is going to be your best bet. The ability to reserve Vulnerability Vulnerability via Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support entirely for free is an absolutely huge increase to damage, and its entirely reliable. The top-end is not going to compare with a well rolled Rare, however, it does trounce mid-range and average amulets with ease. The main downside is that you will have to sacrifice two sockets somewhere in order to incorporate the additional aura link.

Ring 1

At least one Rare ring should be used for this build. In ideal circumstances, your Rare ring should be Shaped and have the Curse Enemies with Level # Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark on Hit affix in order to provide you with Power Charges. Even if you cannot obtain this affix immediately, having a Shaped ring is of relatively high importance in order to receive full benefit from Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder.

If you do not yet have Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder, or it is very early in the league, we recommend simply using two Rare rings instead.

Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier (Essence)
  4. % Increased Global Critical Strike Chance (Shaper or Essence)
  5. Curse Enemies with Level # Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark on Hit (only needed on one ring, Shaper)
  6. Shock Nearby Enemies for 4 Seconds When You Focus (Crafted)
  7. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  8. % Increased Damage (Crafted)

The Critical Strike mods are not realistic for most players, but we have included them in the priority just for clarity’s sake.

Ring 2

Mark of the Elder Mark of the Elder is the ideal second ring. Your other ring must be a Shaped ring in order for this item to have value. The Tentacle Whip does not do much by itself, but the large increase (60-80%) to Attack Damage is a massive boost. This ring is an extremely common drop from Uber Elder, and is therefore a very realistic acquisition on SSF. It is usually only a few Chaos Orb Chaos Orbs at most on trade leagues, though you will have to wait a couple of days on new league releases.

Belt

A Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise socketed with a Murderous Eye Jewel Murderous Eye Jewel is best option. Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. +# to Strength
  4. +# to Armour
  5. % Increased Effect of Flasks on You

Jewels

Standard Jewels

This build uses Standard Jewels (Crimson Jewel Crimson Jewel and Viridian Jewel Viridian Jewel primarily) over Abyss Jewels, as they are simply better in every respect. Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % to Critical Strike Multiplier with One-Handed Melee Weapons
  3. % to Melee Critical Strike Multiplier
  4. % Increased Damage with Swords
  5. % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  6. % Increased Attack Speed with Swords
  7. % Increased Attack Speed
  8. % Increased Damage

Resistances, or any other helpful damage mods, are perfectly fine to work in as well!

Flasks

This is our recommended Flask setup. Feel free to swap out Flasks or Prefixes/Suffixes to suit your preferred style of play, as there are no real “mandatory” flasks for this build.

Flasks

  1. Seething Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask of Staunching
  2. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise
  3. Experimenter’s Diamond Flask Diamond Flask of Warding
  4. Chemist’s Silver Flask Silver Flask of Heat
  5. Experimenter’s Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline

Defensive flasks, such as Quartz Flask Quartz Flask or Jade Flask Jade Flask, are perfectly viable options and even recommended if you intend on pushing for Level 100, or are playing on a Hardcore league.

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Start out with Ground Slam Ground Slam, which you should use until Level 12, when Sunder Sunder can be acquired. Sunder is a fairly potent leveling skill due to its high base damage and ease of use. Your Sunder links, in order of priority, are:

  1. Sunder Sunder
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  4. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

Just use what you can get until the gems become available — Maim Support Maim Support and Ruthless Support Ruthless Support are available very early, along with Onslaught Support Onslaught Support, but you will have to wait until Act II for Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support is an option in the meantime, if you are using a Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa.

Blood and Sand Blood and Sand is available right at Level 4, and should be picked up immediately. Acquire Herald of Ash Herald of Ash and Herald of Purity Herald of Purity in Act II to help you level up. You can get Pride Pride in Act III after doing Lost in Love and drop Herald of Purity Herald of Purity.

You can acquire Bladestorm Bladestorm in Act III after defeating General Gravicius in the Sever the Right Hand quest. Bladestorm Bladestorm is viable as a leveling skill — feel free to swap it in immediately, although you may want to utilize some nodes or gems (such as Pulverise Support Pulverise Support) in order to maximize area of effect, and thus leveling speed.

FAQ

I’m Struggling to Maintain Mana, What Do I Do?

Get % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana on gear such as Gloves or Rings, or spec into some more Mana Leech on the tree.

What About Vitality Void?

Vitality Void is a great notable but not mandatory by any means. If you feel you need a little more Leech to bolster your build, this can be a great choice to open up a little more defensive potential. It is more of a matter of preference than of objective worth, or lack of.

How About Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart and a 2-Hander?

Entirely possible, but this build is not written for this configuration. Feel free to ask in the comments and we can give you advice on how to facilitate this if you desire!

Changelog
  •   

    Updated Passive Skill Tree.

  •   

    Updated and approved for Patch 3.8.0 Blight League.

  •   

    Build added.

8
  1. Posts
    8

    Will this be updated/viable for 3.8 Blight? Personally I cannot see any reasons why it wouldn’t work, but I might have missed something?

  2. Furty

    Moderator

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    727

    On 05/09/2019 at 7:05 PM, Noceo said

    Will this be updated/viable for 3.8 Blight? Personally I cannot see any reasons why it wouldn’t work, but I might have missed something?

    Your instincts are correct, it will definitely be viable for Blight and it will be updated by 3.8 release.

  3. Posts
    2

    Thanks for this post Furty, as well as your articles for beginning players. I’m a first time player running a Marauder and discovered this build after lvl 20 or so. Surprisingly, I had followed most of your beginning recommendations for passives with two differences:

    1. A few skill points in, instead of progressing through Heart of the Warrior (right hand side), I went through Versatility (left hand side).
    2. I branched off to get Lust for Carnage

    Do either of these deviations have a significant impact on the efficacy of the build? If so, can you please elaborate why? Thanks for all of your help!

    Edited by Pesky on September 9th, 2019

  4. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 09/09/2019 at 12:12 AM, Pesky said

    Thanks for this post Furty, as well as your articles for beginning players. I’m a first time player running a Marauder and discovered this build after lvl 20 or so. Surprisingly, I had followed most of your beginning recommendations for passives with two differences:

    1. A few skill points in, instead of progressing through Heart of the Warrior (right hand side), I went through Versatility (left hand side).
    2. I branched off to get Lust for Carnage

    Do either of these deviations have a significant impact on the efficacy of the build? If so, can you please elaborate why? Thanks for all of your help!

    Hey there Pesky,

    It’s my pleasure to provide the guides and I’m glad you’re able to make use of them. With respect to the passives you touched on:

    1. You definitely want Heart of the Warrior. If you’re a less seasoned player it might not be clear to you, but most Passive Skill trees revolve around a similar concept — finding the most efficient way to path between as many Life (or Energy Shield as Chaos Inoculation) nodes as possible without hemorrhaging damage. Life is arguably the most important stat for this and many other Life-based builds, and Versatility doesn’t provide nearly enough to path through (3 Passive Points). You could invest two Passive Points for it in addition to Heart of the Warrior, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a pure pathing option.
    2. Lust for Carnage is not worth it either. For it to be worth “wasting” two points on two +10 Strength nodes it would have to be a pretty exceptional notable — if you want more leech simply take Vitality Void!

    To answer your question, no — neither of your choices will cripple the efficacy of the build. That said, I wouldn’t advise them either as there are better ways to achieve the same results. This league, for example, you could even annoint your amulet with the blight oils to select Versatility without investing towards it. You could do the same for Heart of the Warrior, of course, but I would definitely recommend the extra Life over a paltry amount of Accuracy and Critical Strike chance.

    Let me know if you want me to elaborate on any of this further, and good luck!

  5. Posts
    2

    On 09/09/2019 at 7:13 PM, Furty said

    Let me know if you want me to elaborate on any of this further, and good luck!

    Got it. I’ll work on respecting those. Thanks!

  6. Posts
    8

    I picked this as my 3.8 League Starter. So far I am loving it. Once I get a bit further with it, I will post a “review” of the build.

    But for now I have one question:
    Wouldn’t it be better to go for the jewel slot in the bottom left (near Blade of Cunning), rather than the one to the left (near Stamina). This would give you 8% increased melee physical damage and 8% ailment damage (bleed), instead of just 20 extra strength?

  7. Posts
    8

    Also, it appears that they added a labyrinth enchant in patch 3.7.4, improving the damage potential of this build even further.

  8. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 10/09/2019 at 7:37 PM, Noceo said

    I picked this as my 3.8 League Starter. So far I am loving it. Once I get a bit further with it, I will post a “review” of the build.

    But for now I have one question:
    Wouldn’t it be better to go for the jewel slot in the bottom left (near Blade of Cunning), rather than the one to the left (near Stamina). This would give you 8% increased melee physical damage and 8% ailment damage (bleed), instead of just 20 extra strength?

    You are … absolutely correct about that, I don’t know how I missed it. I think my 3.7.0 version of the build had both but I had to make room for a few new points — clearly I didn’t look hard enough at it. Glad you’re enjoying it so far!

  9. Posts
    3

    Hi

    First I’d like to thank you for making this excellent build guide. I am new to PoE so it really helps a lot!

    There’s however a few things I don’t understand so I hope you can explain it to me;

    In our Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support 4-link you say that only Immortal Call Immortal Call needs to be linked. Shouldn’t Blood Rage Blood Rage also be linked? And as far as I can tell Immortal Call Immortal Call will only last for 1 second without endurance charges. How do I build up these endurance charges so it will last longer?

    And is it really necessary to use both Blood and Sand Blood and Sand AND Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone? Seems to me that blood stance from flesh and stone will always be the best option?

  10. Posts
    8

    On 12/09/2019 at 1:25 PM, Trentsteel said

    Hi

    First I’d like to thank you for making this excellent build guide. I am new to PoE so it really helps a lot!

    There’s however a few things I don’t understand so I hope you can explain it to me;

    In our Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support 4-link you say that only Immortal Call Immortal Call needs to be linked. Shouldn’t Blood Rage Blood Rage also be linked? And as far as I can tell Immortal Call Immortal Call will only last for 1 second without endurance charges. How do I build up these endurance charges so it will last longer?

    And is it really necessary to use both Blood and Sand Blood and Sand AND Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone? Seems to me that blood stance from flesh and stone will always be the best option?

    You should cast Blood Rage Blood Rage manually. It will renew itself on kill, so you only have to re-cast it, if you haven’t killed anything within the last 10 seconds. Using Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support to cast it, would mean that you lose control over when to cast it, as well as it would mean that you would have to keep it at a lower level.

    The fact that Immortal Call Immortal Call only lasts a second isn’t much of a problem. It is there only to prevent you from occasional instant deaths (like porcupine explosions). So don’t worry about endurance charges.

    And regarding the auras, Blood and Sand Blood and Sand AND Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone, why wouldn’t you both? They don’t have a separate state (blood or sand), that is global. So either you are in blood stance OR you are in sand stance (and you get the benefit described in the aura). As a rule of thumb, sand stance is for clearing, while blood stance is for bosses/tougher packs.

  11. Posts
    3

    Thank you very much for explaining the skill mechanics Noceo. It makes sense now :)

    And I really had no idea that you could have both auras active at the same time, I just assumed that only one could be active.

    Edited by Trentsteel on September 12th, 2019

  12. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 12/09/2019 at 3:48 PM, Trentsteel said

    Thank you very much for explaining the skill mechanics Noceo. It makes sense now :)

    And I really had no idea that you could have both auras active at the same time, I just assumed that only one could be active.

    Just confirming everything that he said is perfectly accurate! You could link Blood Rage Blood Rage, but it wouldn’t matter either way, since it would be too high a level (Level 20) to be triggered by a Level 10 Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support.

  13. Posts
    3

    Thanks Furty :)

    I have one more question though;

    Is it essential to get acrobatics and phase acrobatics or would this also work well with just really high armor?

  14. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 17/09/2019 at 2:26 PM, Trentsteel said

    Thanks Furty :)

    I have one more question though;

    Is it essential to get acrobatics and phase acrobatics or would this also work well with just really high armor?

    It’s hard to Armour stack with Carcass Jack Carcass Jack and foils and the nodes near acro are pretty valuable anyways, so I wouldn’t recommend playing without it. If you want to do that then I would adjust the tree pretty radically and work a few extra endurance charges into the build as well.

  15. Posts
    1

    Hi! I have troubles getting gear, especially the harpy rapier, I wanna craft it but I dont know if I can do it alone,

    like do I need any recipes for it, or can I just get these orbs and fuse them all together

  16. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 27/09/2019 at 12:53 AM, Givanchi said

    Hi! I have troubles getting gear, especially the harpy rapier, I wanna craft it but I dont know if I can do it alone,

    like do I need any recipes for it, or can I just get these orbs and fuse them all together

    There are several necessary recipes, I recommend looking them up beforehand or enlisting a mastercrafting service if you don’t have them yourself.

  17. Posts
    1

    I’m having a lot of fun with this build, thank you for posting it! I have a question regarding the leech. Do you rely solely on your gloves for leech or are you obtaining it from another source? Thanks in advance!

  18. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    727

    On 02/10/2019 at 1:58 AM, AsvaldBjornson said

    I’m having a lot of fun with this build, thank you for posting it! I have a question regarding the leech. Do you rely solely on your gloves for leech or are you obtaining it from another source? Thanks in advance!

    Blood Rage Blood Rage would be the primary source. If your damage isn’t high enough to cap your leech per second or you want to have a heavier leech build you can annoint/talent into Gladiator’s Perseverance and/or Vitality Void.

  19. Posts
    1

    https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/Eben45/privacy

    Help pls!

  20. Posts
    1

    Can I not do this build on ps4? I’m new to this. Played months before, but was lost. I’ve done some research and I think I hit that epiphany people talk about where things just click and you get it.

    Anyways, I want to do this build but don’t know where to get Blood and Sand. I looked at the wiki and I was supposed to get it after the breaking eggs quest. Finished that and there was no option as that for my reward. Sorry if I’m missing something.

    I hope you can still get the bladestorm build going even though I’m not on PC.

    Thanks for any help in this!

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