Impale Cyclone Champion Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

18


Introduction

The Champion ascendancy class is one of the best choices when you choose to build an Impale-oriented character. For this particular character we choose to dual wield One-handed Axes and utilize Resolute Technique, which allows us to always hit but never Crit. Overall, the build deals only Physical damage and has enough damage to tackle the hardest of endgame bosses, the survivability is also on the high end due to how much Armour and Evasion Rating we achieve via flasks and gear.

Build Summary

The build does not require any build-enabling items and is an amazing league-starter. For the gear pieces, we are looking for Armour and Evasion bases with as much Life as possible. Having Rings and an Amulet with decently-rolled flat Physical amount added to attacks is ideal. Optimally, we would want to dual wield two well-rolled Siege Axe Siege Axes at 350+ pDPS.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Decent clear speed while maintaining very respectable single target damage
+ Decent damage mitigation
+ Playing a pure physical build means you will not be slowed down by monster Resistances in maps

Cons

- Tankier and more budget-friendly compared to the same build using Swords, but has lower damage potential

Playstyle

Offensively, you should Leap Slam Leap Slam into packs of monsters and shred them with your Cyclone Cyclone. Blood Rage Blood Rage provides a decent amount of additional damage along with a very reliable source of Life Leech. Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief provides additional damage whenever needed. First to Strike, Last to Fall will allow you to utilize the Adrenaline buff for long duration. This buff can be triggered by having a linked aura to Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support. Once you have this 2-Link setup, before tough bosses activate the aura in order to reserve a large portion of your Life, which will trigger First to Strike, Last to Fall, then deactivate the aura and recover your Life by using your Life flask. Then you are ready to fight the boss with a huge amount of extra damage.

Defensively, you passively have a permanent Fortify effect, which reduces incoming damage by a considerable amount. Defensive flasks like Basalt Flask Basalt Flask and Granite Flask Granite Flask should be used for additional physical damage mitigation. A Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell is a great Guard skill choice for the build.

For playstyle, stunning enemies with Leap Slam and killing the whole pack with one or two Multistrikes of Cleave is what you should be doing. When you encounter tougher foes you should place down your offensive Totem and stack up your Impales by attacking rapidly: the more you attack, the higher damage you will deal. This is why the first few attacks might feel weak but the damage ramps up very fast after that. You should get used to swapping between Blood and Sand stance whenever needed.

Ascendancy, Passive tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Duelist – Champion)

  1. Master of Metal
  2. Unstoppable Hero
  3. Fortitude
  4. First to Strike, Last to Fall

Master of Metal provides an insane amount of damage in the form of additional hits for Impale, additional physical damage per Impale, and 20% Chance to Impale and additional Armour if you’ve Impaled recently, which is pretty much all the time.

Unstoppable Hero most importantly makes you immune to Stuns if you have Fortify; beyond that the offensive and defensive stats it provides are also very good.

Fortitude provides the Fortify buff for free, which will increase both our survivability and offensive power.

First to Strike, Last to Fall gives us that extra power we need when we get hit hard or simply choose to have on-demand Adrenaline buff.

Passive tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree for the build. We focus on picking up all the efficient Impale and Axe nodes along with a decent amount of Life. The only keystone notable we utilize is Resolute Technique, which is ideal considering we go the non-Crit route.

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 Lunaris is a great Pantheon choice for the build, as it provides important Movement Speed along with additional Physical damage mitigation.

Minor: Soul of Shakari – Poison immunity is always a good addition to a build. Other minor gods can be chosen depending on personal preference.

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

Cyclone Cyclone is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility you should use Leap Slam Leap Slam. Blood Rage Blood Rage is an offensive buff that should be active all the time once you have enough Life Regeneration to sustain it. Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell provides great amount of on-demand damage mitigation. Dread Banner Dread Banner should be used until you have picked enough Chance to Impale on the passive tree; after that your ideal buff setup looks like this: Pride Pride, Blood and Sand Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, 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. 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.

Cyclone (6-Link)

Cyclone Cyclone is a melee attack that can be used with both Two-Handed and One-Handed melee weapons. For this particular build we dual wield One-Handed Axes, which allows us to stack Impales very fast. We recommend one link that works great for both clearing and single target.

  1. Cyclone Cyclone
  2. Impale Support Impale Support
  3. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  4. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Ancestral Warchief (4-Link)

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief can improve your single target damage output by a great deal, even on a 4-Link.

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

Leap Slam (4-Link)

Leap Slam Leap Slam is your mobility skill which will let you dodge lethal game mechanics and make you more time-efficient in general.

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

Molten Shell (2-Link)

Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell provides great damage mitigation when needed, the skill must be activated manually for maximum efficiency.

  1. Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell
  2. Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

Other Gems

Pride Pride, Blood and Sand Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone is your ideal buff setup; Dread Banner Dread Banner can be used before you have reached 100% Chance to Impale. Blood Rage Blood Rage should be active all the time. Discipline Discipline can be 2-Linked with Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support in order to have a way to trigger First to Strike, Last to Fall.

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. For labyrinth enchant, look for “15% increased Cyclone Attack Speed”. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. Nearby Enemies take #% increased Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil Jagged Fossil)

Body Armour

A well-rolled rare Body Armour is ideal, it can act as a psuedo 7-Link. There are also some unique Body Armours that can do amazing work for the build: Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast, Carcass Jack Carcass Jack and Loreweave Loreweave. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (100)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Elder mod, Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. Socketed Gems are supported by Level 1 Maim (Serrated Fossil Serrated Fossil)

Gloves

Well-rolled rare Gloves should be used, there are no particularly powerful unique ones. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. % Increased Attack speed
  5. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks

Boots

A well-rolled rare pair of Boots is best in slot. Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots can also be considered. For labyrinth enchant, look for “% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you’ve Killed Recently”. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. % increased Movement Speed (at least 20%)

Belt

A well rolled rare Belt can be very powerful for the build. Belt of the Deceiver Belt of the Deceiver is a great budget Belt that can be used. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % increased Global Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil Jagged Fossil)

Amulet

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

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks

Rings

Well-rolled Steel Ring Steel Ring can provide a great amount of damage. Considering the build does not utilize any curses, you can also use a Curse on Hit ring with Warlord’s Mark, for example, which will allow you to drop Vitality Void on the passive skill tree. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least around 50)
  3. Curse Enemies with Level # Warlord’s Mark on Hit
  4. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks

Weapon

Well-rolled rare Siege Axe Siege Axes are best in slot. Jack, the Axe Jack, the Axe is a unique Axe that can carry you until you are ready to acquire better rare Axes. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. % increased Physical Damage
  2. % increased Physical Damage / # to Accuracy Rating (hybrid)
  3. Adds # to # Physical Damage
  4. % increased Attack Speed

Flasks

Instant or half instant Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask is very important to have, preferably with Bleed removal. Lion's Roar Lion's Roar provides a good amount of damage and defense. Other utility flasks like Basalt Flask Basalt Flask, Jade Flask Jade Flask, or any other based on content and personal preference can be used. Make sure to have Bleed, Curse and Freeze immunity on your non-unique flasks.

Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.

Jewels

There are no mandatory Jewels for the build. Having a Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Pride Pride mod for additional Impales can be very powerful, but expensive.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum life
  2. % increased Physical Damage
  3. % increased Physical Damage with Axes
  4. % increased Physical Damage while Dual Wielding
  5. % increased Melee Damage
  6. % increased Damage
  7. % increased Attack Speed with Axes
  8. % increased Attack Speed while Dual Wielding
  9. % increased Attack speed

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum life (at least 30)
  2. % Chance to gain Onslaught on kill (at least 4%)
  3. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  4. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks with Axes
  5. % chance to Blind Enemies on Hit with Attacks

Leveling

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

The character can be leveled with its signature skill since level 28 and feels great to do so.

Leveling Trees

Here is an early passive skill tree that picks up all the foundational passive nodes needed in the beginning of the character.

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.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support

At level 4, you should add War Banner War Banner and Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector for additional damage. Dash Dash helps out by improving your mobility early on. Blood and Sand Blood and Sand should be only used accordingly to the your current needs (stay in Blood stance while fighting tough enemies and switch to Sand stance while clearing). Molten Shell Molten Shell can be used whenever you need the damage mitigation.

By level 8, your Cleave Cleave link should look like this.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Maim Support Maim Support
  3. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  5. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  6. Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support

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

At level 16, you should add Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone.

By level 18, your Cleave Cleave link should look like this.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support
  4. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 24, you should add Pride Pride for additional damage improvement. You should also replace War Banner War Banner with Dread Banner Dread Banner.

At level 28, you should replace your Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector with Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief. At this point you should also replace your Cleave Cleave setup with the following Cyclone Cyclone link.

  1. Cyclone Cyclone
  2. Impale Support Impale Support
  3. Brutality Support Brutality Support
  4. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

FAQ

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.

What Map mods should be avoided?

The build cannot do Physical Reflect and Cannot Leech. Another rough, but manageable mod is No Regeneration.

Conclusion

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.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build got nerfed via the Cyclone changes. Impale remains the same on the other hand, which is surprising, considering how strong it is. The build is still very solid overall.

  •   

    Build added.

  1. Posts
    1

    Do you have an example of an endgame geared character I could look at.

  2. Vvckd

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    On 14/09/2019 at 1:55 AM, Thedirtymo said

    Do you have an example of an endgame geared character I could look at.

    Hey, unfortunatelly not.

  3. Posts
    4

    got 2 questions

    first did you make a mistake in typing ? cause the guide starts out saying we are taking dual swords scaling crit

    then few lines down it says we use axes and the node that does not allow us to crit ?

    confused me shortly

    second and my main question is how much aoe will we have compared to the slayer build

    i wanted to play cyclone and always wanted to make a champion character but im not sure if the aoe does not change much from when you get the spell

    its one of the few things that always annoyed me being that the spell is super slow and kinda small so how will aoe look with this ascendancy and build ?

  4. Vvckd

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    On 17/09/2019 at 7:43 PM, poextreme said

    got 2 questions

    first did you make a mistake in typing ? cause the guide starts out saying we are taking dual swords scaling crit

    then few lines down it says we use axes and the node that does not allow us to crit ?

    confused me shortly

    second and my main question is how much aoe will we have compared to the slayer build

    i wanted to play cyclone and always wanted to make a champion character but im not sure if the aoe does not change much from when you get the spell

    its one of the few things that always annoyed me being that the spell is super slow and kinda small so how will aoe look with this ascendancy and build ?

    Hey, fixing the typo shortly, sorry about that. When it comes to the AoE, Slayer is better. In this build though we utilize Impale, which Slayer cannot do. This results in tons of physical damage, which is also cheaper to scale, the AoE should be enough any ways.

  5. Posts
    4

    yub got my champion to 68 by now and the aoe is not bad :)

    its a bit of a shame you cant really see when impale is helping you or not as in i cant tell if i just got good dmg or how much of it impale is actually doing for me

  6. Vvckd

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    On 18/09/2019 at 5:37 PM, poextreme said

    yub got my champion to 68 by now and the aoe is not bad :)

    its a bit of a shame you cant really see when impale is helping you or not as in i cant tell if i just got good dmg or how much of it impale is actually doing for me

    The more you attack, the higher number of Impales you will have. The damage is kind of “ramping up” in a sense, you should definitely feel it against tougher enemies.

  7. Posts
    5

    Hey I was wondering, on the skill tree on the bottom you have a set of skills which are meant to benefit fortify support gem (the names on the skills tree have when fortify is activated.) Is this a mistake?
    Another thing that I found useful is using a ring that removes some of the mana, since the skill cyclone costs 6 mana you can keep using the skill without worrying about mana, I found a ring with -8 mana use. Also I dont seem to have enough dexterity to use some of the buff gems such as discipline.
    Thank you for the great build though!

  8. Vvckd

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    On 21/09/2019 at 2:05 PM, SetneuF said

    Hey I was wondering, on the skill tree on the bottom you have a set of skills which are meant to benefit fortify support gem (the names on the skills tree have when fortify is activated.) Is this a mistake?
    Another thing that I found useful is using a ring that removes some of the mana, since the skill cyclone costs 6 mana you can keep using the skill without worrying about mana, I found a ring with -8 mana use. Also I dont seem to have enough dexterity to use some of the buff gems such as discipline.
    Thank you for the great build though!

    Hey, the Fortify nodes are picked because we have permanent Fortify from Champion and the nodes affect the Fortify effect, not Fortify Support Fortify Support. The -# Mana cost of skills got changed and no longer affects channeling skills, such as Cyclone Cyclone. When it comes to the last question I am sure you’ve misspelled something because you do not need Dexterity for Discipline Discipline and the build does not use this aura at all. If you have Dexterity problems you can solve them by picking some on the tree and equipping item bases that provide additional dexterity, such as Jade Amulet Jade Amulet. Thank you for the kind feedback, glad you like the build.

  9. Posts
    5

    oh thank you, sorry i only recently bought poe i didnt realise about the champion having fortify

  10. Vvckd

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    On 22/09/2019 at 7:04 AM, SetneuF said

    oh thank you, sorry i only recently bought poe i didnt realise about the champion having fortify

    Thats great to hear, always glad to see new people coming to this great game!

  11. Posts
    5

    what stats would a preferable divine life flask have? can you please list. thanks.

  12. Vvckd

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    On 25/09/2019 at 9:08 AM, SetneuF said

    what stats would a preferable divine life flask have? can you please list. thanks.

    Hey, I like to always roll my Life flask half-instant with Bleed removal.

  13. Posts
    2

    Hello, Vvckd! First of all, many thanks for sharing build guides, they are helping a lot. I am kinda new player, and the cyclone champ is sure fun to play! But I am somewhat confused with a couple of things, hope you can make them clear, please. So, here we go: you said here above that this build doesn’t use Discipline aura, yet the guide itself does mentioned using Discipline linked with Blood Magic Support. Well, I tried that and this combo leaves me barely with any life to go with, so should I just forget about it completely or are there any ways to make it work?

    Similar situation with Pride aura: it consumes too much mana to be usable at all. Or am I missing something?

    Now in regard of passive points tree: would you recommend spending a couple of points to get Cloth & Chain (Increased Evasion & Armor + 12% Elemental Resists) instead of, say, getting two +5% max Life points?

    And the final question for today: could you, please, give your piece of advice on leveling skill gems for this build in particular. E.g., Maim Support should be lvl 1 only and so on. Maybe there is already a general guide on gems leveling strategy or is it always build-specific anyway?

    Thanks!

    Edited by El Mariachi on October 4th, 2019

  14. Vvckd

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    On 04/10/2019 at 7:02 AM, El Mariachi said

    Hello, Vvckd! First of all, many thanks for sharing build guides, they are helping a lot. I am kinda new player, and the cyclone champ is sure fun to play! But I am somewhat confused with a couple of things, hope you can make them clear, please. So, here we go: you said here above that this build doesn’t use Discipline aura, yet the guide itself does mentioned using Discipline linked with Blood Magic Support. Well, I tried that and this combo leaves me barely with any life to go with, so should I just forget about it completely or are there any ways to make it work?

    Similar situation with Pride aura: it consumes too much mana to be usable at all. Or am I missing something?

    Now in regard of passive points tree: would you recommend spending a couple of points to get Cloth & Chain (Increased Evasion & Armor + 12% Elemental Resists) instead of, say, getting two +5% max Life points?

    And the final question for today: could you, please, give your piece of advice on leveling skill gems for this build in particular. E.g., Maim Support should be lvl 1 only and so on. Maybe there is already a general guide on gems leveling strategy or is it always build-specific anyway?

    Thanks!

    Hey, I undestand how some things mentioned in the build guide might be confusing to new players and I apologize for that. The Discipline Discipline + Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support gem setup has only one purpose and it is to gain the Adrenaline buff. The Champion’s ascendancy node First to Strike, Last to Fall provides a very powerful buff called Adrenaline when you reach low life (<35%). By applying your Discipline aura, which reserves a large portion of your Life and then deactivating it you are able to go low life, which grants you the buff and you simply have it for 20seconds. This allows you to gain the buff before tough boss fights and quickly recover your life before heading into the fight. Pride Pride on the other hand is an aura that should be active all the time, it only reserves 50% of your maximum Mana; when you have enough damage and some form of Mana leech you should not have any Mana sustain problems at all. When it comes to the passive nodes question I’d recommend sticking with the Life instead of Armour, ES and resistances, since they are easily obtainable on gear. When it comes to level restrictions for the gems, I’d recommend leveling up everything as much as possible (except for Discipline Discipline).

  15. Posts
    2

    Appreciate your quick and complete answer, Vvckd! Yet I am still a bit confused regarding the Pride, Blood&Sand and Flesh&Stone combo: they reserve 85% of my mana (plus 10% for the Dread Banner atm), so I have barely enough to use Cyclone for a couple of seconds. But I am only at 40+ lvl so I assume the complete combo will be more feasible later in the game, right?

  16. Vvckd

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    On 04/10/2019 at 11:59 PM, El Mariachi said

    Appreciate your quick and complete answer, Vvckd! Yet I am still a bit confused regarding the Pride, Blood&Sand and Flesh&Stone combo: they reserve 85% of my mana (plus 10% for the Dread Banner atm), so I have barely enough to use Cyclone for a couple of seconds. But I am only at 40+ lvl so I assume the complete combo will be more feasible later in the game, right?

    Hey, if you are struggling with Mana simply run Pride Pride + Dread Banner Dread Banner. You are definitely low level to run them all.

  17. Posts
    5

    Hey,
    Could you please recommend what the best body armor, helmet and glove would be for this build? I don’t want to buy one that isnt good for the build.

  18. Vvckd

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    On 29/10/2019 at 9:30 PM, SetneuF said

    Hey,
    Could you please recommend what the best body armor, helmet and glove would be for this build? I don’t want to buy one that isnt good for the build.

    Hey, please check out the gearing section of the build guide. For each gear slot there is a detailed description and stat priority.

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