The Champion ascendancy from the Duelist class is one of the best choices when you choose to build an Impale Support-oriented character. For this particular character we choose to dual wield One-Handed Swords and utilize a smooth progression towards the end-game state of this build, allowing you to easily follow along and build this character, based on your own budget limits and intent for it. Despite the nerfs in 3.13, the Ascendancy is still incredibly powerful for Cyclone and any other Impale Support-oriented builds, it is simply not a must-have choice anymore.
The build does not require any build-enabling items, but I will be listing a couple Unique items that definitely go in the “it is recommended to pick these up for improved QoL” list. The build itself is an amazing league-starter, as the barrier of entry is extremely low, but with the right investment and care, can easily tackle the entire game’s content, including delving, Uber-Awakener and Uber-Elder, as well as the highest of map tiers.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Great clear speed
+ Great league starter
+ Extremely flexible build, allowing lots of customization
+ Very tanky, with options to increase DPS or survivability
+ Pure Physical means you don’t care about “Elemental Reflect” map mods
– Not as fast as a zoom-zoom ranger build
– Intelligence can be an annoyance to acquire on this build
– Very expensive to max out, compared to spell caster or summoner builds
Map Modifiers to be Avoided
The build cannot do Physical Reflect and Cannot Leech.
Other rough, but manageable, mods are No Regeneration and “Enemies cannot be taunted”.
Jumping around the map using Leap Slam, stunning enemies with its guaranteed stun chance at full-life and then simply spinning inside of them with your Cyclone represents the basic outline for your playstyle.
Keep up Blood Rage permanently, as it provides a decent amount of additional damage along with a very reliable source of Life Leech.
Place your Ancestral Warchief whenever needed (some specific Rare/Unique mobs or map bosses), as it provides a large amount of additional damage in a medium-sized radius around it. You want to use this in more stationary fights, rather than mobile ones.
You want to use your Enduring Cry on-cooldown in most situations to keep up your Endurance charges. Thanks to the “Call to Arms” Keystone, the usage of the Warcry is instant, meaning you can even use it WHILE you’re spinning and it will not interrupt your attacks.
Use your Vaal Molten Shell and Molten Shell whenever you’re about to jump into a pack of enemies. Try to dip out of combat if you run into a strong opponent and your Molten Shell is not up. Make sure to use it BEFORE you jump on the target, otherwise you might not get the chance…!
Lastly, you should get used to swapping between the Blood and the Sand stances whenever needed using your Blood and Sand gem. Sand stance is for general clear in a map, as it provides a nice defensive layer and increased area of effect for your Cyclone, while the Blood stance will provide additional damage to clear out remaining rare monsters or to kill bosses.
This is the Endgame Passive Skill Tree for the build.
We focus on picking up all the efficient Impale, Sword, and Crit nodes along the way, as well as a ton of health, some defensive clusters, such as “Soul of Steel”, as well as all the relevant Keystones (Call to Arms, Wind Dancer and lastly Point Blank: this one will later turn into Divine Flesh).
Our full Gem Links, as well as more information including the Path of Building link and a few lower-level trees in order to have an easier time leveling can be found on our dedicated page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety to understand the choices made for the recommendations here.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||Rare Helmet with decent Chaos/Ele Resists and Life|
|Amulet||Rare Amulet with Damage and Life + Stats|
|Chest||Carcass Jack or Rare Body Armour|
|Gloves||Great Old One's Tentacles|
|Belt||Belt of the Deceiver or Rare Stygian Vise|
|Rings||Rare Rings to fill out Resists and Stats|
|Weapon||Rare Weapons or Ichimonji|
|Weapon||Rare Weapons or Ichimonji|
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
The character can be leveled with its signature skill from level 28 onward and feels great to do so. There are no requirements (neither gems nor items) to start this character from level 1.
Here is an early Passive Skill Tree that picks up all the foundational passive nodes needed in the beginning of the character.
You will want to pick up all the nodes on the bottom and left side of the tree first, before you make your way over to the right side, towards the Wind Dancer keystone and the sword nodes in the Ranger area.
For more information about leveling trees, passive skill tree order, etc. make sure to check the mentioned Passive Tree Page and PoB link page.
Useful Leveling Unique Items
As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. 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.
Using 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 Siosa in The Library in Act III Library, or Lilly Ross starting at Act VI, once you’ve completed the corresponding side-quest she provides.
For leveling setups, you have a ton of different options, depending on what ability you prefer to level with. Personally, I prefer Perforate as my main ability until level 28, but you can also go with Cleave if you prefer that playstyle.
From level 1, you should use the following link.
Dash helps out by improving your mobility early on.
Blood and Sand should be only used according to the your current needs (stay in Blood stance while fighting tough enemies and switch to Sand stance while clearing). Molten Shell can be used whenever you need the damage mitigation.
By level 8, your Cleave link should look like this, going down the list depending on how many links you have available.
- Cleave or Perforate
- Maim Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Chance to Bleed Support
- Onslaught Support
- Ruthless Support
At level 12, you can add Smoke Mine for even more mobility, which will replace the Dash you picked up earlier. Smoke Mine is the superior mobility skill, if you can get used to the 2-button teleport playstyle it provides. Keep in mind that the movement speed buff it provides stacks with your Quicksilver Flask.
At level 16, you should add Flesh and Stone. If you’re using Perforate, you should also switch out your Intimidating Cry for Seismic Cry, which will provide you with extra clear speed, damage and survivability, thanks to the knockback it provides.
- Cleave or Perforate
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Rage Support
- Close Combat Support
- Onslaught Support
- Ruthless Support
Starting at level 31, you should replace one of your Cyclone links with a Fortify Support.
How to Deal with Mana Problems? The Skill Tree Does Not Have a Single Node of Mana Leech.
Having a single jewel with “% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana” will solve all your Mana problems, or this can also be rolled on Rings or Amulet.
Additionally, you will want to get yourself some “Channeling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost” crafts on your Rings and Amulet. Acquiring a Rare Body Armour with the Warlord suffix “Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost” will make your Cyclone absolutely free!
What if I Have any Questions not Covered Here?
Big thanks to Tenkiei for the help with this guide!
Get close and personal with enemies and slice them in half. The Impale Cyclone Champion excels at dealing Physical damage and makes great use of the Impale mechanic while maintaining very respectable survivability.