Shattering / Splitting Steel Impale Champion Build Guide (PoE Lake of Kalandra 3.19)

LunaWolve

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Introduction

Due to the latest balancing changes in, we do not recommend to play this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and are working hard to make it viable again.

The Champion ascendancy from the Duelist class is one of the best choices when you choose to build an Impale Support Impale Support-oriented character.

For this particular character we choose to dual wield One-Handed Swords, as they currently represent the strongest and most versatile option out of any dual-wieldable bases in the game.

If you follow along with this guide, it should be fairly easy to roughly mirror my setups, as I’ve league-started this particular build during Heist League as well, making every item I list in this build a “realistic” option to acquire for you during a league start as well.

Build Summary

The build does not require any build-enabling items, as I am setting it up as a league starter. We will be making use of the new and reworked STEEL abilities (mainly Shattering Steel Shattering Steel OR Splitting Steel Splitting Steel, as well as the in-built ability “Call of Steel”, which you will automatically acquire when you equip any of the new Steel gems.

There are, however, two important jewels that should be acquired as soon as possible and socketed into the passive tree:

  • Viridian Jewel Viridian Jewel with “#% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana”. This will be your ENTIRE Mana sustain. If you do not have this jewel, you will run out of Mana CONSTANTLY.
  • Lord of Steel
    with the mods “Call of Steel has 95-100% increased Use Speed” as well as “Call of Steel causes 45-49% increased Reflected Damage”.

For more information on these, please refer to the Gear Page.

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 likely going to be ideal.

Our optimal weaponry setup will be a main-hand Paradoxica Paradoxica and an off-handed The Saviour The Saviour. Of course, these will be the absolute end-game options and aren’t required.

Some more budgets options are Ichimonji Ichimonjis or Beltimber Blade Beltimber Blades. You can read more about the progression and the exact setups in the Gear page.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Easy to follow along with a high ceiling
+ Amazing scalability due to being a league starter
+ Absolutely ridiculous clear speed and fun mapping
+ Decent damage mitigation, thanks to Armour base + Champion ascendancy
+ Playing a pure Physical build means you don’t care about “Elemental Reflect” mods
+ EXTREMELY fun playstyle, with the ballista-like projectiles shooting out at high speeds, coupled with the “popping” of enemy packs thanks to Call of Steel

Cons

Potentially awkward scaling, due to pure Physical focus
Expensive to max out entirely, due to rare Uniques being BiS
Bad-Mediocre Bossing damage, depending on which Steel ability you’re using.

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

The build cannot do Physical Reflect.

Other mods that should be avoided but CAN be finished (with some hardships): Cannot Leech, No Regeneration, and Cannot Taunt.

Playstyle

Mobility wise, you will want to use Leap Slam Leap Slam and potentially (based on personal preference) Smoke Mine Smoke Mine to get around the maps; both abilities allow you to cross chasms and other environmental objects, allowing for a very fast traversal. If you DO opt into the Smoke Mine, make sure pick up a “Divergent” alternative quality version of it, as it will also permanently give you a free 10% attack speed bonus!

Offensively, you will want to keep your distance from enemies, as you do have some range on the abilities and standing near enemies in Path of Exile is oftentimes a fairly bad idea. Try to keep up your Blood Rage Blood Rage permanently for the increased Lifesteal, Frenzy Charge generation and overall attack speed steroid it provides.

Additionally, you will be able to place down an Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector in order to vastly improve your attack speed against tough monsters or bosses, as it applies its attack speed increase to any friendly targets nearby.

If the gem-slots allow, we might also consider adding a Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike in order to call in THE BOYS for some additional burst potential for the odd tough monster or map boss. You can drop the CWDT setup for a 4-link BOYS setup, if you don’t think you will require the additional defenses.

Defensively, we will be making use of a couple of defensive flasks like a Granite Flask Granite Flask of Ironskin. Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell is a great Guard skill choice for the build, as we will naturally be accruing a lot armour and it does incredibly well with the previously-mentioned defensive flasks.

For playstyle, you will first want to Leap Slam Leap Slam into a pack of enemies, to:

Outside of those specific situations, you will want to mostly keep your distance from enemies, managing your Steel Shards (max: 12) properly while also using the “Call of Steel” ability whenever you want to move on from a pack or require additional shards to clear an existing one. Keep in mind that you will likely be able to move on from a pack before entirely clearing it, as the “Call of Steel” will deal a non-insignificant amount of damage in an AoE around A: all impaled targets, as well as B: all impaled CORPSES. We want to try and avoid destroying corpses outside of our “Call of Steel” ability, in order to maximise the AoE damage that we can deal with our existing impales.

Passive Tree, PoB, and Gem Links

This is the Endgame Goal 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).

For more information, as well as full information about Gem Links, be sure to check out the dedicated page.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB & Gem Links

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.

Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Powers

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and should be moderately easy to acquire throughout the first few weeks of the league and will carry you to most of the endgame.

For budget options, you can refer to the Gear, Flask and Jewel page below.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Rare Body Armour
Gloves Rare Gloves or Great Old One's Tentacles Great Old One's Tentacles
Boots Tailwind Rare Boots OR Atziri's Step Atziri's Step
Belt Rare Belt
Rings Rare Rings
Weapon Ichimonji Ichimonji -> Paradoxica Paradoxica OR Jewelled Foil Jewelled Foil
Weapon Ichimonji Ichimonji -> The Saviour The Saviour

Gear, Flask & Jewel Page

Leveling

Focus on moving towards “Call to Arms” and “Point Blank” as early as possible, while picking up the nearby minor nodes. Aim to acquire “Point Blank” at around level 30~ or so, it’s a HUGE damage upgrade for the build.

Once you got “Call to Arms”, make sure to get yourself an “Enduring Cry” from act 3 and put it on your left-click, to use as a movement button. It will trigger on CD, keeping you healthy over your playtime.

Focus on getting all the attack-speed, dexterity and intelligence upgrades first. My path looked a bit like this.

Then moving on towards the other nodes that haven’t been picked up yet. Leave the scion life-wheel for a later time and focus on the rest of the tree first.

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, just as it is mine), 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 during Leveling

You should be able to simply use Splitting Steel Splitting Steel from the very beginning, as we get it immediately on our arrival in Lioneye’s Watch as a Duelist. Make sure to choose it as the reward!

Try to focus on any sources of “flat added damage” of any kind for your support gems. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support is usually a great choice for the early start.

Try out different setups and pick up all the gems listed in the gem page along the way. Those will very likely be your best-in-slot support gems, the second you can acquire them.

Once you clear the “Siren’s Cadence” quest in Act 1, you will be able to acquire the Shattering Steel Shattering Steel, which will likely be our main gem for the remainder of the game, but I’ll update this section with a definite answer once I’ve tried both of them out.

Gem setups for early leveling:

Level 1-8

Level 8-18

Level 18-31

Level 31-38

Level 38+

Lancing Steel Lancing Steel is fairly weak at the moment and should be avoided, in my opinion.

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, so try to get one as soon as possible. It should be extremely easy to acquire, even on your first character for the league, by simply hitting a “Viridian” jewel with a few Orb of Alteration Orb of Alterations or Chaos Orb Chaos Orbs, at best.

Alternatively you can also just buy a jewel like this for peanuts on the trade websites, they’re extremely common.

During single-target fights (usually bosses), make sure to apply your Poacher's Mark Poacher's Mark in order to sustain your mana, as the leech provided by the jewel will not be enough to sustain you.

Conclusion

This is a character to deal with all the content in the game and offer a great amount of scalability for the players that don’t want to start over with a new character every 2 or 3 days.

The Steel Impale Champion excels at dealing Physical Damage and makes great use of the Impale mechanic while maintaining very respectable survivability throughout the leveling process up to and including the endgame.

Changelog

  • Updated to PoE Sentinel 3.18

  • Guide checked for 3.14 Ultimatum and deemed viable (no changes needed).

  • Updated (minor updates) for Ritual 3.13.

  • Updated "Current" POB. Added more detail to end-game gem section.

  • Replaced "Greater Volley Support" with "Greater Multiple Projectiles".

  • Updated POB and Passive Trees. Added even more in-depth leveling advice, including a gem guide for levels 1-38+. Added important gear information. Added Gear Page.

  • Update #1: Added more in-depth leveling advice, after playing through all 10 acts with the build.

  • Updated with some of the new gem information.

  • Fixed the links on the page to lead to the proper sub-pages. Removed "Pinpoint" support from recommended gems, as it's not usable with the skill.

  • Build added.

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