Shattering Steel Berserker Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

11


Introduction

The Berserker ascendancy class has been an underdog for a very long time. The problem of the class is mainly that it heavily specializes in offense with some nodes that even increase your overall damage taken, instead of reducing it. With the Shattering Steel Berserker we aim to remain very strong offensively, while also achieving decent amounts of damage mitigation and life sustain in order to continue our slaughter.

Only the Berserker has the Rage mechanic in Path of Exile; Rage essentially gives you Attack damage, Attack speed, and Movement speed depending on how many points of Rage you have; it also applies a life degeneration effect, which we mitigate with good amount of life regeneration and life leech.

Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is an attack skill that requires a Sword or Axe in order to be used. This attack fires projectiles in a cone in front of your character and when the projectiles expire they deal area of effect damage; this essentially allows you to “shotgun” single targets. Shattering Steel also has 40% base chance to Impale, which allows us to take advantage of this mechanic too.

Build Summary

The build can be played on a budget, although it would be a good idea to have some currency saved up first. For this particular build we choose to dual wield Swords; ideally two Grelwood Shank Grelwood Shanks, although there are multiple budget options before that. The build can make use of Scaeva Scaeva, Ahn's Might Ahn's Might, and Beltimber Blade Beltimber Blade. You can also use decent rare Swords, but the two additional projectiles from Grelwood Shank and Beltimber Blade are an amazing damage boost. For body armours, a simple Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast can carry you all the way to endgame; Loreweave Loreweave is also a great choice. For other slots you can improvise and use certain unique items, and you should mainly focus on capping resistances, acquiring flat physical damage via Steel Ring Steel Rings and decent amount of life everywhere you can.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Once geared, the build has great potential
+ Can be started with low amount of currency
+ Decent clear speed

Cons

- Cannot do reflect mods
- Requires an active playstyle

Playstyle

Offensively, keeping up your Rage via your Warcry skill and moving forward aggressively is what you should be doing. Shattering Steel Shattering Steel covers a decent area, meaning you will probably have to strike two or three times in order to clear one side of the screen. Having your Banner skill in mind and using it effectively will make you that much more effective.

Defensively, you will mostly rely on life leech and War Bringer, which is like an instant Life flask every two seconds or so. Using Enduring Cry Enduring Cry all the time will also provide some Endurance charges, keeping up your utility flasks ensure you get hit for less damage.

For playstyle, the Shattering Steel Berserker requires a very active playstyle. Making good use of the War Bringer ascendancy node means you will have to use a Warcry every so often. You mostly rely on Leap Slam Leap Slam in order to move around. For single target, you should drop your Banner skill and place a totem. When hitting with Shattering Steel Shattering Steel you will have to consider the distance between you and the target for maximum damage output. Overall, the build requires some practice in order to be utilized to its fullest potential.

Ascendancy, Passive tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Marauder – Berserker)

  1. Aspect of Carnage
  2. Crave the Slaughter
  3. Rite of Ruin
  4. Flawless Savagery

Aspect of Carnage provides great damage multiplier, while also increasing your damage taken by 10%. Crave the Slaughter allows you to start making use of the Rage mechanic. Rite of Ruin triples the value of Rage; this ascendancy node also provides stun immunity while you have at least 25 Rage, the downside is easily mitigated by your Life Regeneration and Life leech. Flawless Savagery provides a great amount of damage and should be picked after you’ve invested into Critical Strike nodes on the passive tree, this is why we choose to pick it last.

Passive tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree you should aim for, although there is always room for improvisation; you can drop some life and pick some damage if you want to, or vise versa.

On the passive skill tree we focus on one handed and dual wield nodes, Sword and Critical Strike Chance/Multiplier nodes, and all the Life we can pick nearby. Keystone notables we take advantage of are Iron Grip and Point Blank; these two keystones help us scale our Shattering Steel Shattering Steel damage very efficiently.

Overall, the Shattering Steel Berserker easily achieves over 210% increased maximum life, while also picking all the damage nodes we will need in order to have good endgame potential.

Bandits

As in most critical-based builds, we recommend helping Alira for the additional 20% Critical Multiplier and +15% to all Elemental Resistances. This outweighs the two passive skill points that you will receive by killing all the bandits.

Pantheons

Major: Both Soul of Arakaali and Soul of Solaris are solid choices, since they can provide a lot of passive damage mitigation when fully upgraded. Choose between them depending on the content you are running.

Minor: We recommend the upgraded version of Soul of Ralakesh for most critical-based attack builds. The blind immunity proves to be very strong in certain situations, while the maim immunity is also helpful. The bleed mitigation is just another reason to pick this minor god power. Based on personal preference, other minor Pantheons can be used.

Gems

Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-link. For mobility, use Leap Slam Leap Slam. Enduring Cry Enduring Cry should be used all the time in order to take advantage of the War Bringer ascendancy node. Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector can be used for better single target damage. Dread Banner Dread Banner will provide additional chance to Impale enemies. A combination of Herald of Agony Herald of Agony, Herald of Purity Herald of Purity, and Arctic Armour Arctic Armour can be used, based on personal preference and what you need for the particular content you are running.

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.

Shattering Steel (6-Link)

Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is an attack skill that releases projectiles in front of your character. When the projectiles expire, they deal area of effect damage, this is why having additional projectiles added by several sources can result in the overlapping of different projectiles’ area of effect damage. We recommend one gem setup that works well for both clearing and single target damage output.

  1. Shattering Steel Shattering Steel
  2. Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
  3. Impale Support Impale Support
  4. Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support
  5. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Maim Support Maim Support

Leap Slam (4-Link)

Leap Slam Leap Slam will allow you move around very fast, and you will also get the Fortify effect for a short duration when you hit an enemy.

  1. Leap Slam Leap Slam
  2. Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support
  3. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  4. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Ancestral Protector (4-Link)

Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector will augment your single target damage.

  1. Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  4. Maim Support Maim Support

Other Gems

Enduring Cry Enduring Cry should be used all the time in order to generate Endurance charges and gain Life Regeneration. Dread Banner Dread Banner should be active at all times. Herald of Purity Herald of Purity and Arctic Armour Arctic Armour can be used for additional offence and defence, respectively. Instead of these buffs, you can run a 4-link Herald of Agony Herald of Agony gem setup in order to augment you single target damage further. Berserk Berserk will give you to ability to put out insane amounts of damage while also taking less damage by consuming your Rage. Steelskin Steelskin can provide a decent shield whenever needed.

Herald of Agony (4-Link)

  1. Herald of Agony Herald of Agony
  2. Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
  3. Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support
  4. Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support

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 helmet is best in slot; you can craft one yourself by using Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil and Jagged Fossil Jagged Fossil. For labyrinth enchants, look for “Shattering Steel fires an additional Projectile”. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. Nearby Enemies take 9% increased Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)

Body Armour

Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast and Loreweave Loreweave are two of the best choices when it comes to unique body armours. You can also use a well rolled Elder-based body armour. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. Attacks have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (Elder Suffix)
  5. Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 1 Maim (Serrated Fossil)

Gloves

Well rolled rare gloves are a great option. When it comes to you uniques, you can make use of Tombfist Tombfist and Haemophilia Haemophilia. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (70)
  3. % increased Attack Speed
  4. +# to Accuracy Rating (at least 300)

Boots

A well rolled pair of boots can be used in order to fill resist gaps if needed. Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots are also a great choice. Remember that movement speed is not really necessary, since we will be mostly relying on Leap Slam Leap Slam for mobility anyway. For labyrinth enchants, 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 (70)
  3. % increased maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)

Belt

A rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is best in slot. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
  4. % increased Projectile Attack Damage during any Flask Effect (Elder Suffix)

Amulet

A well rolled Elder-based amulet is best in slot. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage (Elder Prefix)
  4. Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage (Elder Prefix)
  5. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks

Rings

Two well rolled Steel Ring Steel Rings are 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
  4. % increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills

Weapon

Beltimber Blade Beltimber Blade and Grelwood Shank Grelwood Shank are two of the best unique swords for the build; you should be dual wielding two Grelwood Shanks once you have the currency to do so. Prior to them, you can use Scaeva Scaeva, Ahn's Might Ahn's Might, or any rare Sword with at least 250 pDPS.

Flasks

There are many flask choices that can increase your damage output considerably. Dying Sun Dying Sun adds additional projectiles to your Shattering Steel Shattering Steel. For more budget-friendly options, you should look for Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise. Taste of Hate Taste of Hate can be expensive, but very powerful. As in every other critical-based build, a Diamond Flask is mandatory, ideally you would want to craft “% Increased Critical Strike Chance During Flask Effect”, although this can get pricey. Divine Life Flask can be used in sticky situations, you should have it instant or half-instant with bleed removal suffix. For more defense you can use other utility flasks like Basalt, Granite, Ruby, Sapphire or Topaz. For more damage you can put in a Sulphite Flask.

Jewels

The Shattering Steel Berserker does not require any unique jewel. Rapid Expansion Rapid Expansion can be used early on if you decide to level with Ground Slam Ground Slam. Regular rare jewels should be prioritized over Abyssal jewels. Ideally, you would want one corrupted jewel with the mod “Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you”.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Attack Speed with Swords / while dual wielding / with one-handed melee weapons
  3. % Increased Physical Damage with Swords / while dual wielding / with one-handed melee weapons
  4. % Increased Damage
  5. % Increased Projectile Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 30)
  2. Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill (at least 5%)
  3. Chance to gain Unholy Might on Kill
  4. Any Sword damage mods

Leveling

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

We recommend leveling this build with Ground Slam Ground Slam, since Shattering Steel Shattering Steel can feel clunky until you gain additional projectiles from several sources.

Leveling Trees

Here is an example of an early passive skill tree that works for leveling with any weapon, allowing you to take advantage of all powerful unique weapons.

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. Simple unique weapons like The Screaming Eagle The Screaming Eagles and Story of the Vaal Story of the Vaal can carry you all the way up to Act IX Blood Aqueduct.

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. Ground Slam Ground Slam
  2. Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Ground Slam Ground Slam
  2. Chance to Bleed Support Chance to Bleed Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Maim Support Maim Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

FAQ

What map mods are impossible to do?

The Shattering Steel Berserker cannot do reflect mods, although you can choose to play with Brutality Support Brutality Support, which will allow you to only avoid Physical Reflect; this will require you to drop all the flasks that provide chaos or elemental damage.

Conclusion

The Shattering Steel Berserker is a frenzied brute that requires aggressive and active playstyle.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. With Impale remaining the same, the build is still as solid as before.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Legion 3.7. The build got buffed by a great deal via the Berserker ascendancy rework and the additional Impale passive nodes added on the tree.

  1. Posts
    19

    Hi!
    Thanks!
    Very Nice guide!
    But I can’t get enough dex to run the skill…
    Congrats the guide, like all other are awesome!

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    609

    Hey Fezao, thanks for the great feedback. When it comes to the Dexterity requirement early on, use things like Jade Amulet Jade Amulet and some gear with Dexterity rolls. Once you reach Duelist and head to Ranger you will have no issues with Dexterity. Also I have leveled this character with Shattering Steel Shattering Steel just for the sake of it, but I’d recommend leveling with Ground Slam Ground Slam up to level 66, when you can get your decent weapons. Ground Slam is a great leveling skill, while Shattering Steel might feel clunky early on.

  3. Posts
    19

    Oh Nice!
    Thanks for the reply!
    I will try!

  4. Posts
    1

    Great guide, thank you.
    1 question though. You talk about having the warbringer node unlocked. But how can I get warbringer if I use all points for the 4 nodes you have in the accendency segment. Or is there a way to get 10 points?
    Pretty new to the game. Sorry if I misunderstood something

  5. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    609

    On 09/08/2019 at 10:39 AM, Schokoman42 said

    Great guide, thank you.
    1 question though. You talk about having the warbringer node unlocked. But how can I get warbringer if I use all points for the 4 nodes you have in the accendency segment. Or is there a way to get 10 points?
    Pretty new to the game. Sorry if I misunderstood something

    Hey, you get 8 ascendancy points overall, the main idea is to drop Flawless Savagery for Warbringer if you like the Warcry playstyle, but you will also have to invest passive points in things like Battle Cry.

  6. Posts
    1

    should i use a corrupted shattered steel instead of normal one?

  7. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    609

    On 10/08/2019 at 2:00 PM, Raikiri said

    should i use a corrupted shattered steel instead of normal one?

    It depends if its properly corruped, ideally you’d want a double corrupted gem that is level 21 with 23% quality.

  8. Posts
    2

    Hey Vvckd!

    Gotta say really fun and solid build, but I am wondering what you would suggest as a neck enchantment with the oils?

  9. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    609

    On 15/10/2019 at 10:36 PM, Holymaim said

    Hey Vvckd!

    Gotta say really fun and solid build, but I am wondering what you would suggest as a neck enchantment with the oils?

    Hey, thanks for the kind feedback. Anything like Ambidexterity, Assassination, Discipline and Training would be useful.

  10. Posts
    2

    On 16/10/2019 at 4:39 AM, Vvckd said

    On 15/10/2019 at 10:36 PM, Holymaim said

    Hey Vvckd!

    Gotta say really fun and solid build, but I am wondering what you would suggest as a neck enchantment with the oils?

    Hey, thanks for the kind feedback. Anything like Ambidexterity, Assassination, Discipline and Training would be useful.

    Thanks for the response man, will see which one i’d prefer the most out of them, appreciated! I’ve never played Marauder before, but the rage mechanic and the engagement of the build is really really enjoyable and the instructions are very well made and clear. Never seen a Shattering Steel build before but it’s so satisfying!

    +1 well done, thanks again for the response :) all the best

  11. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    609

    On 16/10/2019 at 5:12 PM, Holymaim said

    On 16/10/2019 at 4:39 AM, Vvckd said

    On 15/10/2019 at 10:36 PM, Holymaim said

    Hey Vvckd!

    Gotta say really fun and solid build, but I am wondering what you would suggest as a neck enchantment with the oils?

    Hey, thanks for the kind feedback. Anything like Ambidexterity, Assassination, Discipline and Training would be useful.

    Thanks for the response man, will see which one i’d prefer the most out of them, appreciated! I’ve never played Marauder before, but the rage mechanic and the engagement of the build is really really enjoyable and the instructions are very well made and clear. Never seen a Shattering Steel build before but it’s so satisfying!

    +1 well done, thanks again for the response :) all the best

    Thank you very much for the kind feedback!

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