Ground Slam Slayer Build Guide — The Pulverizer (PoE Metamorph 3.9)

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

Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Introduction

Ground Slam Ground Slam is one of the oldest skills in Path of Exile. Though it may be simple and straightforward, it is a ground-pounding classic that has a visceral heft to its attacks few other skills can offer.

Ground Slam

Patch 3.7.0 Legion was a melee renaissance. Ground Slam Ground Slam (and Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slam) was one of many skills to benefit from this revival, and it has returned as a viable skill that can compete with some of the skills sitting firmly at the forefront of the current meta. It returns strong in Patch 3.9.0 Metamorph.

If you are looking to play a build with a bit of an alternative feel to the norm, our Ground Slam Ground Slam Slayer is certainly a different breed. If you have ever played an Earthquake Earthquaker, this build will bring back familiar, ground-shattering gameplay. Ever swing feels impactful and satisfying, and there’s no doubt Ground Slam is one of the most badass looking skills in Path of Exile.

Our Ground Slam Ground Slam Slayer is a do-it-all build with a decidedly different playstyle that aims to deliver one-punch knockouts to every pack you encounter. This is a burly build that can shatter maps, bosses, and monoliths — and it does it all in style.

Build Assessment

Pros

+ Very strong damage in end-game gear (20 Million+ DPS on Shaper)
+ Huge area of effect — cover the entire screen in spikes that erupt from the earth
+ Solid across the board defenses (214% Increased Maximum Life, 10.5k Maximum Life, High Armour, Leech, Permanent Fortify Support Fortify Support, Endurance Charges)
+ Unique feel compared with most melee builds — massive earth shattering slams, similar to Earthquake Earthquake builds

Cons

Somewhat gear dependent — late-game is vastly different from early incarnations
Ability usage does require some forethought — wasting your Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slams can make certain situations more difficult

Playstyle and Build Mechanics

This is a satisfyingly straightforward build: Exile smash.

Okay, maybe there is a little more to it than that. One of the simple joys of this build is that there is no real confusion on how the build ticks, but you spend a lot of time optimizing the use of your skills, how you aim them, and your positioning itself. It is this “easy to learn, enjoyable to master” playstyle that makes this old-fashioned build such a delight.

Unlike Ground Slam Ground Slam’s days of old, there are no longer any problems when it comes to area of effect. With gems such as Pulverise Support Pulverise Support making their way into the game, we no longer have to sacrifice in order to see a huge increase in our effective range. Slayer is also a perfect Ascendancy to accent this with keystones such as Impact.

This build makes use of the Pillar of the Caged God Pillar of the Caged God unique. By stacking large amounts of Strength, we can raise our % Increased Physical Weapon damage to absolutely absurd levels, about 1600% Increased in Low Gear (1000 Strength) and 2400% Increased in Top-End Gear (1500 Strength). By combining this massively increased weapon damage with Flat Physical Damage (Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks) we can compensate for the extremely low base damage of the staff, causing each Ground Slam Ground Slam to flatten the screen.

So how does one handle this beast?

Well, the basics of it are not that different than a standard melee build. Use Leap Slam Leap Slam to fly through the map and launch into the middle of packs. Ground Slam Ground Slam will generally mop up most enemies in a single swing, and your Shockwave Shockwave should take care of anything left standing, should you choose to use this gem.

The ways in which you make use of your Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slam charges is crucially important to success. This skill has absolutely massive area of effect, covering more than the entire screen in top-end gear, so it should be used to flatten as many enemies at once as possible. This skill excels at dealing with the Legion monoliths and feels best in open spaces. Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slam does more damage than your regular Ground Slam Ground Slam.

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief are also used on bosses to facilitate even more burst. It is best to avoid using Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief while clearing, however, as we want as many of our souls as possible fueling our Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slams instead. The regular Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief should only be employed for especially tanky targets where you have a bit of time to breathe and position, such as Elder or Shaper. Be sure to keep Blood Rage Blood Rage active at all times for maximum damage and leech.

Passive Skill Tree

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

For more details on the Passive Tree, skill acquisition order, and more, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page for in-depth information.

 Passve Skill Page

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

 Gem Link Page

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Powers page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

 Ascendancy, Bandit, & Pantheon Page

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 page thoroughly.

Some example gear used by our character:

Example Gear

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Abyssus Abyssus (softcore) OR Royal Burgonet Royal Burgonet (hardcore)
Amulet Rare Amber Amulet Amber Amulet
Chest Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart
Gloves Rare Spiked Gloves Spiked Gloves
Boots Alberon's Warpath Alberon's Warpath (18% Increased Strength)
Belt Rare Heavy Belt Heavy Belt
Rings Rare Steel Ring Steel Rings
Weapon Pillar of the Caged God Pillar of the Caged God

For in-depth recommendations for gear, flasks, jewels, and crafting advice be sure to read our Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page.

 Gear Page

Leveling

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.

If you want to level with Ground Slam Ground Slam instead, follow the advised gem links in the guide. Leveling with staves is a bit difficult, but you could use The Blood Thorn The Blood Thorn and upgrade to The Stormheart The Stormheart later.

We recommend instead leveling using Axes or Maces, which are easier to obtain and itemize, both as Rares and Uniques.

FAQ

What Annointment Should I Use for my Amulet

Throatseeker and Master of Force are both excellent options. We recommend comparing them in Path of Building as they can each better better at different points in your gearing cycle.

Changelog
  •   

    Updated for 3.9 Metamorph; Passive Skill Tree, Gearing Recommendations, and Annointment Advice.

  •   

    Updated for Patch 3.8 Blight League.

  •   

    Build added.

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  1. Posts
    1

    Hi, this build looks amazing for what i want to do next, but i was wondering if it could be modified so that you would incorporate the leech nodes in slayer ascendancy.

    I have taken the liberty of modifying the tree you provided as per the one below and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion if it would work. I want to make a face tanking boss killer so the area of effect and angle of ground slam doesn’t interest me as much.
    Changes:
    - opted out of Impact and Overwhelm and changed to Brutal Fervour
    - opted out of Unwavering Stance and Serpent Stance
    - opted out of 3 jewels leaving 1 for Watcher’s Eye
    - opted in Hematophagy for 2.6% phys attack dmg leeched as life
    - opted in Vitality Void for 1.6% attach dmg leeched as life
    Here is the modified PoE Planner tree

    Also, I don’t know what would benefit more in terms of amount leeched: 2.6% phys attack dmg leeched as life or 1.6% attach dmg leeched as life. What do you think?

    Thanks

    Edited by Shaba on October 14th, 2019

  2. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    872

    On 14/10/2019 at 12:06 PM, Shaba said

    Hi, this build looks amazing for what i want to do next, but i was wondering if it could be modified so that you would incorporate the leech nodes in slayer ascendancy.

    I have taken the liberty of modifying the tree you provided as per the one below and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion if it would work. I want to make a face tanking boss killer so the area of effect and angle of ground slam doesn’t interest me as much.
    Changes:
    - opted out of Impact and Overwhelm and changed to Brutal Fervour
    - opted out of Unwavering Stance and Serpent Stance
    - opted out of 3 jewels leaving 1 for Watcher’s Eye
    - opted in Hematophagy for 2.6% phys attack dmg leeched as life
    - opted in Vitality Void for 1.6% attach dmg leeched as life
    Here is the modified PoE Planner tree

    Also, I don’t know what would benefit more in terms of amount leeched: 2.6% phys attack dmg leeched as life or 1.6% attach dmg leeched as life. What do you think?

    Thanks

    Hey,

    These are definitely viable changes, although it will obviously result in slower clear speeds and less damage (Serpent Stance is a lot of damage, for instance). In return you get the more comfortable feeling of overleech, although I’m not sure it’s necessary in order to achieve really nice boss killing capability. In the end, my preference is still with my original build despite doing a lot of messing around with overleech when creating it (it truly is one of the best feeling keystones). If you prefer this setup it certainly won’t cripple the build in any way, but you will have slower kill times in exchange for that leech capability.

  3. Posts
    4

    Yo, love the build. I just seem to have super low accuracy and somewhat low mana even with a level 3 Enlighten. Should I swap some points into accuracy or mana nodes or just try to find it on any gear I can?

    Edited by sonof2tards on December 23rd, 2019

  4. Posts
    2

    I love the playstyle of this build tyvm :) rly its exactly what i was looking for. especially thinking ahead with abiltiy usage and positioning as you mentioned is what i like the most

  5. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    872

    On 23/12/2019 at 12:17 PM, sonof2tards said

    Yo, love the build. I just seem to have super low accuracy and somewhat low mana even with a level 3 Enlighten. Should I swap some points into accuracy or mana nodes or just try to find it on any gear I can?

    Whatever you need to do. You want to be 98%+ accuracy, ideally 100% with a build that attacks this slowly. Annointment can be a place to pick up a free notable like Eagle Eye or Depth Perception as a stopgap until you can find it more organically.

  6. Posts
    1

    Hi Everyone,

    sorry for my dumb question but how do you get a six link pillar of the caged god? im playing in ssf metamorph league and max number of sockets are 3 for me. Am i missing something?

  7. Posts
    2

    Hello Furty,

    Thank you very much for the build! I’m level 81 now, and it’s a lot of fun. Regarding defenses, could you help me understand something? One of the main attractions for me for this build was it was supposed to be tanky. However, even with a nice life pool, I’m finding there isn’t any good way to life leech/regen quickly after getting chunked in combat. Even with Blood Rage, Stone Golem, and flasks up, I feel vulnerable to many physical/elemental monster packs because of this inability to restore life.

    I use Abyssus and Kaom’s Heart as recommended, but they seem to cripple survivability. My armor is quite low, and it doesn’t look like it will ever be very high judging from the full passive tree and recommended gear choices. Couple that with the increased damage taken from Abyssus, and it makes the build feel very squishy. Any thoughts on how the defenses can improve? At this point, it doesn’t seem like I’ll be able to do T14+ maps because of the high damage taken and lack of life sustain.

    Here is my progress in PoB: https://pastebin.com/SrahcGkw.

    Thanks again!

  8. Posts
    2

    On 14/01/2020 at 11:46 AM, Silence248 said

    Hi Everyone,

    sorry for my dumb question but how do you get a six link pillar of the caged god? im playing in ssf metamorph league and max number of sockets are 3 for me. Am i missing something?

    Hi, 6-linking is definitely possible. It just takes a lot of work in SSF since you can’t buy it. Just keep spamming those jeweler/fusing orbs until you get it. :)

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