Shattering Steel Champion Build Guide (PoE Metamorph 3.9)

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Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Introduction

The Shattering Steel Champion is a type of character that heavily specializes in doing great amounts of physical damage while also Impaling enemies; when the Impale debuff is applied, the target will take additional physical damage each time it is hit. The Champion ascendancy has great syngergy with Impale in general, allowing us to build full physical damage with the Brutality Support Brutality Support gem and mainly focus on taking advantage of it.

Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is an attack skill that requires Sword or Axe in order to be used. This attack fires projectiles in a cone in front of your character; when 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 does not require a lot of initial investment and can even be played as a league-starter. For this particular build we choose to dual wield Swords; ideally two Grelwood Shank Grelwood Shanks, although there are multiple budget options before that. Prior to Grelwood Shanks, you can make great use of Scaeva Scaeva, Beltimber Blade Beltimber Blade or any decent rare sword with good pDPS (300+). The two additional projectiles from Grelwood Shank and Beltimber Blade are an amazing damage boost. For body armours, 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 items, you can improvise and use certain unique items, 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
+ Can be started with low amount of currency
+ Decent clear speed
+ Very good single target damage potential

Cons

- Cannot do physical reflect areas

Playstyle

Offensively, keeping up your Blood Rage Blood Rage and killing packs with one or two hits will be the majority of what you need to do in order to move forward. For single target damage, placing an Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector totem and striking as many times as possible in close range is what you should be doing. Stacking up Impales on tough bosses will result in great amounts of extra damage. Dread Banner Dread Banner in combination with the Shattering Steel Shattering Steel base chance and the Champion ascendancy will allow you to reach 80% chance to Impale.

Defensively, you will rely on great amount of armour for mitigating physical damage. This is achieved by using Vaal Grace Vaal Grace in combination with the passive keystone Iron Reflexes. The Vaal version of the aura is also very handy in sticky situations. You will also have a respectable amount of life leech to keep you healthy.

For playstyle, the Shattering Steel Champion is a tough, solid character that needs to stay aggressive for maximum efficiency. There will not be many things holding you back since you will have decent Life pool to rely on.

Passive tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree you should aim for.

For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree 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.

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

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 a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots
Belt Rare Belt
Rings Rare Rings
Weapon 2x Grelwood Shank Grelwood Shank

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 Champion cannot do physical reflect. Every other other mod should be doable, except for the combination of the “No Regeneration” and “No Leech” mods.

Conclusion

The Shattering Steel Champion is a unique character that can be considered “off-meta”. The build has great endgame potential, dealing only physical damage also bypasses enemy elemental resistances, which feels very good against endgame bosses.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Metamorph 3.9. The build receives a buff via changes to the Shattering Steel gem.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. Impale remains as strong as it was and the build is still very decent.

  •   

    Revisited and updated several sections for Legion 3.7. The build got a considerable buff.

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  1. Posts
    21

    Hi!!!

    I have a question.

    “Remember that Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is not tagged as a melee skill and does not benefit from melee nodes on the passive skill tree.”

    Seen this why do we take some melee nodes?

    Edited by Fezao on May 22nd, 2019

  2. Vvckd

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    On 22/05/2019 at 12:21 AM, Fezao said

    Hi!!!

    I have a question.

    “Remember that Shattering Steel Shattering Steel is not tagged as a melee skill and does not benefit from melee nodes on the passive skill tree.”

    Seen this why do we take some melee nodes?

    Sadly it is sometimes impossible to pass them because getting through them is simply the most efficient way to path on the passive tree. They also increase the damage dealt by your melee totem so they are not completely useless. The only thing that does not work is Master of the Arena and Born to Fight’s increased melee damage, the small node near Born to Fight that provides melee damage does not work too. Nodes that increase damage with melee weapons do benefit Shattering Steel Shattering Steel though, even though the skill is not tagged as melee, you are still attacking with melee weapons, I know it can sound confusing but there are only 2-4 passive nodes on the tree that do not fully benefit the skill.

  3. Posts
    21

    Thank you for reply.

    Exactly I asked for Born to Fight…

    I imagined it to be the shortest route for those who really matter, I really liked this build!

    Thanks again!

  4. Vvckd

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    On 22/05/2019 at 2:14 PM, Fezao said

    Thank you for reply.

    Exactly I asked for Born to Fight…

    I imagined it to be the shortest route for those who really matter, I really liked this build!

    Thanks again!

    Thank you for the kind feedback!

  5. Posts
    2

    Around what level should we trade ground slam setup for shattering steel?
    Or what gear requirement minimum to use it

  6. Vvckd

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    On 27/06/2019 at 2:33 AM, Vainya said

    Around what level should we trade ground slam setup for shattering steel?
    Or what gear requirement minimum to use it

    You can do that as soon as you ascend into Master of Metal, having some decent levelling swords helps out too.

  7. Posts
    5

    I’m having a difficult time dealing enough single target damage on bosses like The Shaper. What is your opinion on the Disembowling node instead of taking Iron Reflexes and the nearby nodes?

  8. Vvckd

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    On 15/07/2019 at 6:05 PM, Artorias said

    I’m having a difficult time dealing enough single target damage on bosses like The Shaper. What is your opinion on the Disembowling node instead of taking Iron Reflexes and the nearby nodes?

    Disembowling is a melee-only passive node, which means it does not apply to our Shattering Steel Shattering Steel. The most important thing when it comes to dealing single target damage with this build is positioning, since the bulk of our single target damage comes from the overlapping projectiles.

  9. Posts
    5

    On 16/07/2019 at 6:58 AM, Vvckd said

    On 15/07/2019 at 6:05 PM, Artorias said

    I’m having a difficult time dealing enough single target damage on bosses like The Shaper. What is your opinion on the Disembowling node instead of taking Iron Reflexes and the nearby nodes?

    Disembowling is a melee-only passive node, which means it does not apply to our Shattering Steel Shattering Steel. The most important thing when it comes to dealing single target damage with this build is positioning, since the bulk of our single target damage comes from the overlapping projectiles.

    Oh, you even mentioned it in the guide but for some reason I totally forgot to consider it when I was looking at the tree … thanks anyways, I will work on my positioning and gear a little more and get back to you

  10. Vvckd

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    On 16/07/2019 at 3:46 PM, Artorias said

    On 16/07/2019 at 6:58 AM, Vvckd said

    On 15/07/2019 at 6:05 PM, Artorias said

    I’m having a difficult time dealing enough single target damage on bosses like The Shaper. What is your opinion on the Disembowling node instead of taking Iron Reflexes and the nearby nodes?

    Disembowling is a melee-only passive node, which means it does not apply to our Shattering Steel Shattering Steel. The most important thing when it comes to dealing single target damage with this build is positioning, since the bulk of our single target damage comes from the overlapping projectiles.

    Oh, you even mentioned it in the guide but for some reason I totally forgot to consider it when I was looking at the tree … thanks anyways, I will work on my positioning and gear a little more and get back to you

    Yeah, its very counter-intuitive, I had some trouble getting in the right mindset when it comes to scaling a “melee” skill that is not actually melee, feels weird.

  11. Posts
    2

    You give 3 x a 4 link……that aint possible with Kaom’s boots ;)

  12. Vvckd

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    On 18/07/2019 at 5:03 PM, altijdwat said

    You give 3 x a 4 link……that aint possible with Kaom’s boots ;)

    These are only recommendations, except for the mandatory Shattering Steel Shattering Steel link. For example, you can run a non-linked Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector simply for the Attack Speed Multiplier whenever you need it.

  13. Posts
    2

    nvm :p

    Edited by altijdwat on July 18th, 2019

  14. Posts
    1

    Hi, Thoughts on Shattering steel vs Lancing whats better?

  15. Vvckd

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    On 14/09/2019 at 2:55 PM, Tungthepro said

    Hi, Thoughts on Shattering steel vs Lancing whats better?

    Hey, I’d say Shattering Steel Shattering Steel has maybe the same clear speed while also having much higher single target damage potential.

  16. Posts
    1

    What anointment(s) would you recommend? I’m currently using Weapon Artistry because it’s pretty cheap and generally good, but I don’t know all the options and such. For endgame, Vengeant Cascade looks intriguing, but I don’t know how it works with Shattering Steel.

  17. Posts
    1

    What about Iron grip?

  18. Vvckd

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    On 14/11/2019 at 8:27 PM, Albulinek said

    What about Iron grip?

    Hey, after experimenting with the keystone it is safe to say that Iron Grip is not that important, although it provides some extra damage.

  19. Posts
    1

    Hello, I’d like to point out a few wasted points on the skill tree. Namely the keystones Iron Reflexes and Point Blank are given by the uniques, so it should not be taken. You have 100% impale chance anyways as Shattering Steel’s 40% Impale Support’s 40% and Dread Banner’s 20% add up as such so the 3 impale points give only 10% impale effect and really minor damage buffs that is not worthwhile as the other impale node can provide 30% impale effect and should really be taken instead. If I did not consider something, please tell me. Really like the build so far though :)

    On 19/09/2019 at 6:50 PM, Aola said

    What anointment(s) would you recommend?

    I’m not OP, but Ambidexterity, Blade of Cunning, and Assassination all bump up DPS significantly.

    Edited by Hixill on December 2nd, 2019

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