Heavy Strike Slayer Build Guide (PoE Synthesis 3.6)

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Introduction

The Heavy Strike Heavy Strike Slayer is a character that heavily specializes in Stunning and Bleeding enemies. The build uses the Crimson Dance keystone notable, which allows you to inflict a maximum of 8 Bleeds instead of one, but with lesser effectiveness; overall this is more damage than the regular single Bleed effect.

The build uses Blood Magic and deals only Physical Damage. On the passive skill tree, we pick all the efficient Two-handed nodes that increase both the initial hit and the damage over time you deal. Resolute Technique solves all of your Accuracy Rating issues. Both the ascendancy class – Slayer and the skill of choice – Heavy Strike Heavy Strike excel at Stunning enemies efficiently.

Build Summary

The build requires nothing to get started and is a decent league-starter. Acquiring decent gear later on should not be that hard, and the main currency sink you will probably do will be in your weapon, which should be crafted with Corroded Fossils for the great damage multiplier with Bleeds. For offense, you can choose to play with a 6-Linked Body Armour for additional damage via Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief, or simply use Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart for the additional survivability. Haemophilia Haemophilia can smooth out your clear speed, but should be replaced with well rolled Elder-based Gloves against tough bosses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Interesting playstyle
+ Uses mechanics that are not very popular

Cons

- Damage mitigation is on the low end

Playstyle

Offensively, using Leap Slam Leap Slam in order to jump in the center of monster packs will ensure you Stun them because of the Overwhelm ascendancy node, which will also provide Endurance charge via Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support. Hitting enemies once or twice with Heavy Strike Heavy Strike should be enough to clear a pack of regular monsters. When you encounter tougher foes, you should also use your offensive totem and make sure you have good uptime on your Bleed stacks. Culling enemies at 20% Life is immensely powerful.

Defensively, the Stun mechanic itself will keep you safe most of the time. The build reaches a respectable amount of maximum Life and Life Regeneration. Overwhelm also makes you immune to Stun. Headsman makes you immune to reflected Physical damage, which lets you not worry about the map mod.

For playstyle, simply move from pack to pack and Stun-lock everything in your path. Make sure you keep up your Endurance charges and Fortify effect by using Leap Slam Leap Slam regularly. Blood Rage Blood Rage synergizes with the build very well and should be active all the time. Use Enduring Cry Enduring Cry when you get Hit and cannot counter-attack immediately.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Duelist – Slayer)

  1. Impact
  2. Overwhelm
  3. Headsman
  4. Bane of Legends

Impact allows your Heavy Strike Heavy Strike to deal Area damage, which improves your clear speed by a considerable amount, allowing you to drop Melee Splash Support Melee Splash Support and basically have a 7-Link Heavy Strike.
Overwhelm allows you to very reliably make use of the Stun mechanic and also makes you immune to Stun.
Headsman provides additional damage and solves your Reflect issues.
Bane of Legends is a very powerful ascendancy node, which allows you to execute even the toughest bosses at 20% of maximum Life; this node also basically grants you permanent Onslaught effect while clearing.

Note: You can also choose to pick up Endless Hunger and Brutal Fervour instead of Headsman and Bane of Legends.

Passive tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree for the build.

We manage to pick a great amount of Life, along with Blood Magic, Resolute Technique, Crimson Dance, and all the efficient Two-handed and Mace nodes.

Note: The build can also be played with Axes. If you choose to do so, simply drop all the Mace nodes and pick nearby Axe nodes instead.

Bandits

You should kill all since the two passive skill points are more powerful than any of the benefits bandits offer.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Arakaali, Soul of Solaris and Soul of Lunaris all provide good amount of damage mitigation the build needs. When fully upgraded, Soul of Arakaali should be more beneficial than others.

Minor: Soul of Gruthkul and Shakari are both great choices when it comes to Minor Pantheons.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you’ve killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Heavy Strike Heavy Strike is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, use Leap Slam Leap Slam. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief will help out with additional single target damage. Blood Rage Blood Rage and Enduring Cry Enduring Cry should also be used. Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem will provide additional Life Regeneration.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Heavy Strike (6-Link)

Heavy Strike Heavy Strike is a melee skill that has immense base damage compared to most skills. We turn this single target skill into a decent clearing tool via the Slayer’s Impact and Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support. We recommend two different links for clearing and single target.

For clearing, use the following link.

  1. Heavy Strike Heavy Strike
  2. Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Maim Support Maim Support

For single target, use the following link.

  1. Heavy Strike Heavy Strike
  2. Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Maim Support Maim Support

Note: For single target, you have the option to swap Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support with either Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support, Stun Support Stun Support or Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support.

Ancestral Warchief (6-Link)

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief can improve your single target damage output by a great deal. If you choose to use Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart, simply socket your Totem setup in a 4-Link instead. An important thing to mention here is that we use Bloodlust Support Bloodlust Support, which prevents our Totems from inflicting Bleeds; this is necessary, since Totems hit for less than our Heavy Strike and allows us to Bleed the target more efficiently and for bigger amounts of damage.

  1. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief
  2. Bloodlust Support Bloodlust Support
  3. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  4. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Maim Support Maim Support

Leap Slam (4-Link)

Leap Slam Leap Slam is a great mobility skill, especially when you reach a decent amount of Attack Speed. The skill will also provide you with the Fortify effect and Endurance charges every time you land on enemies with full Life. This is possible via the combination of Slayer’s Overwhelm and the Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support gem.

  1. Leap Slam Leap Slam
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support
  4. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Immortal Call and Enfeeble (4-Link)

Immortal Call Immortal Call and Enfeeble Enfeeble will be casted every time you take damage. Make sure to keep all gems, except for Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support at gem level requirement of 40 or lower.

1. Immortal Call Immortal Call
2. Enfeeble Enfeeble
3. Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support
4. Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

Other Gems

Blood Rage Blood Rage will give you the ability to gain Frenzy charges on kill. In addition to this, it provides additional Life Leech and Attack Speed. Enduring Cry Enduring Cry can be used as a defensive filler skill every time you are not able to deal damage and need some damage mitigation and Life Recovery. Vaal Grace Vaal Grace can be used for the Vaal version of the skill in sticky situations.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources.

Helmet

A well rolled rare Helmet is best in slot. The best labyrinth enchant is “Heavy Strike has a 12% chance to deal Double Damage”, although you can also use the Attack Speed one too. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. Nearby Enemies take 9% increased Physical Damage

Body Armour

Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast is a cheap starting option for the build. Later on it is recommended moving to Kaom's Heart Kaom's Heart when you 5 or 6-Link your weapon. Rare Body Armour will also do the work. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 100)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Elder mod; Pristine Fossil)
  4. Socketed Gems are supported by Level 1 Maim (Serrated Fossil)
  5. % of Physical Damage taken as Cold Damage (Essence of Horror)

Gloves

Haemophilia Haemophilia is a great choice when it comes to clearing, for single target and tough bosses they can be swapped with decently rolled rare Gloves. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 60)
  3. Chance to Bleed (only if you are not capped, Elder Mod)
  4. Physical damage to attacks
  5. % increased Attack speed

Boots

The build can make use of Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots for the additional maximum Life. For labyrinth enchant, look for % increased Attack Speed if you’ve killed recently. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Movement speed (preferably 25%+)
  3. Maximum life (at least 70)

Belt

Heavy Belt Heavy Belt, Leather Belt Leather Belt, Rustic Sash Rustic Sash and Stygian Vise Stygian Vise are all good Belt bases. A well rolled rare belt provides more benefits than any unique for the build. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 80)
  3. % increased Global Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)
  4. % increased Damage

Amulet

A well rolled rare Amulet is best in slot. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 60)
  3. Physical damage to attacks
  4. % increased Global Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)

Rings

Well rolled Steel Ring Steel Rings are best in slot. You can also make use of Voidheart Voidheart if you are struggling to cap your Chance to Bleed early on. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 60)
  3. Physical damage to attacks
  4. Warlord’s Mark on Hit (Elder mod)
  5. % increased Damage with Ailments (Corroded Fossil)

Weapon

With this build you have a lot of unique Weapon choices, but the best in slot is a well rolled rare one. For Maces, you can use Marohi Erqi Marohi Erqi and Tidebreaker Tidebreaker. For Axes, there are a lot of options, but Atziri's Disfavour Atziri's Disfavour outclasses them all and is a very solid Weapon choice in general. For rares, you should roll your weapons with Corroded Fossils for the huge Bleed damage multiplier; when it comes to pDPS, look for at least 500+. The rare affix priority is:

  1. Adds # to # Physical Damage
  2. % increased Physical Damage
  3. % chance for Bleeding inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage (Corroded Fossil)
  4. % increased Attack Speed

Flasks

Lion's Roar Lion's Roar is a great unique flasks that provide a good damage boost. Divine Life Flask is the usual instant or half-instant Life flask you need in every build. If you prefer to rely on running instead of using your mobility skill, you can use a Quicksilver flask. Any utility flask can be used based on personal preference, we recommend having at least Basalt. Remember to have Freeze Immunity rolled on at least one of your flasks.

Jewels

Weight of the Empire Weight of the Empire is the very powerful unique threshold jewel for Heavy Strike Heavy Strike; the jewel has a limit of 2, basically giving you 40% to deal Double Damage. Besides that, you should prioritize Regular rare jewels over Abyssal ones.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % increased Maximum life
  2. % increased Physical damage
  3. % increased Melee damage
  4. % increased damage
  5. % increased Attack Speed with Maces (or any Weapon you’ve chosen)
  6. % increased Physical Damage with Maces (or any Weapon you’ve chosen)

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum life (at least 35)
  2. % Chance to Blind enemies on hit with Attacks
  3. Increased damage if you if you’ve killed recently

Leveling

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

You can start using Heavy Strike Heavy Strike as soon as you ascend in normal Lab for the Impact ascendancy node. You can also level the character by using Earthquake Earthquake.

Leveling Trees

With this early passive skill tree we aim to pick up Resolute Technique and Blood Magic as soon as possible. Once you have a reliable Chance to Bleed you can also pick up Crimson Dance. You also have the two jewel sockets for your Weight of the Empire Weight of the Empire threshold jewels.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

Ground Slam Ground Slam Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 4, you should add Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector for additional single target damage.

By level 8, your Ground Slam Ground Slam link should look like this.

Ground Slam Ground Slam Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
Maim Support Maim Support Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

At level 10, you should add Leap Slam Leap Slam for additional mobility.

At level 16, you should add Herald of Ash Herald of Ash for the additional damage.

By level 18, your Ground Slam Ground Slam link should look like this.

Ground Slam Ground Slam Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
Maim Support Maim Support Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

At level 28, you can replace your Ground Slam Ground Slam gem setup with the following Earthquake Earthquake.

Earthquake Earthquake Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Maim Support Maim Support Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

By level 31, your Earthquake Earthquake link should look like this.

Earthquake Earthquake Less Duration Support Less Duration Support
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support Maim Support Maim Support
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

At this point you are also ready to ascend into Impact and start using signature skill Heavy Strike Heavy Strike. Earthquake Earthquake will give you a smoother leveling experience but using your signature skill from early levels can also be very satisfying.

  1. Heavy Strike Heavy Strike
  2. Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

You can swap Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support with Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support against bosses.

FAQ

What map mods should be avoided?

The % Chance to Avoid Bleeding is pretty annoying to deal with. No Regeneration and No Leech mods are also bad for the build, besides that you should be able to do anything else. You are immune to Reflect via the Slayer’s Headsman ascendancy node.

Conclusion

The Heavy Strike Slayer is a melee brute that specializes in Stunning and Bleeding enemies to death with his powerful melee blows.

Changelog
  •    Build added.

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