Shield Crush was introduced in 3.15 and has been popular among the “True Melee” crowd ever since. It differs from most skills in that it doesn’t use your weapon to scale damage, and instead opts to scale its damage through the stats on your shield as well as actually hitting targets with the shield.
For long term players it has a playstyle similar to that of Lacerate in that the skill performs two overlapping sweeps in front of the character. Unlike Lacerate however, Shield Crush is actually a melee skill and has much shorter range.
Due to its short range and high frequency of attacks, it is best played as a very tanky character.
Emperor's Vigilance should be considered a signature item for this skill. It provides us with a massive ammount of armour, high energy shield and glancing blows. This means it helps scale our damage and our defense, in multiple ways that will be explained further later in the guide.
When combined with Seething Fury, these bonuses truly become massive and provides us with a ground foundation with which to build on.
Like other shield skills, our mainhand is purely a stat-stick as its physical damage and other normally valuable stats does absolutely nothing for us. We would either want a rare with global physical damage, or a unique that scales our damage through some other mechanic. For this build, that will be Replica Dreamfeather.
As we already want to stack armour on Juggernaut due to the Unbreakable notable, Replica Dreamfeather allows us to also use this stat to scale our damage.
This build is not fast, but it is beefy.
It is important to note that the EHP in this build is heavily inflated due to PoB calculating the Armour mastery for “armour applies to chaos damage” incorrectly. There is not much I can do to combat this, as I feel the mastery is way too strong to pass up. So just be aware, while this build is tanky, it is not as tanky as PoB claims it is.
Pros & Cons
+ Quite Tanky
+ Not complicated
+ Forgiving in terms of positioning
+ Very easy to comprehend character progression
+ Very reliant on specific uniques that are not always available early on
+ It can be difficult to fit chaos resistance into the build early on
+ Build is the definition of slow and steady
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
This is one of the builds real strengths, there’s absolutely nothing complicated to wrap your head around here.
We stack armour, we hit things with our shield and bonk them.
That said, there are certain key interactions that a player should understand to play this build at its most comfortable.
Shield Crush has relatively decent base damage and adds 5-7 added physical damage to attacks per 15 armour or evasion on our shield. In our case, with Emperor's Vigilance, that is (assuming a bottom roll of 1837 armour) a whopping 122 flat physical damage.
Seething Fury scales our crit chance and our crit multi through the energy shield on the Emperor's Vigilance allowing us a very comfortable base crit chance early on.
As we are stacking armour to fairly high point in this build, we will naturally be taking less physical damage than most builds. And as Unbreakable is permitting that armour to also apply to elemental damage we take (after resistances already reduces it) as well as scaling our damage through Replica Dreamfeather we want a lot of it.
Due to our boots of choice Dawnstrider our totem buffs will persist as we move around for 4 seconds. What this means, is that every 4 seconds we want to use our totem to maintain the buff. Always.
So, now that we know how everything interacts, works and why it works we can move onto the build itself and how to play it.
We Shield Charge between packs, pop our totem and start hitting things. If things hit us hard, we press molten shell. If we know we’re about to engage something that really hurts for a few seconds, we press vaal molten shell in advance. We keep enduring cry on leftclick and it will regenerate out health and give us a buff and we press blood rage if the buff runs out between packs.
That is it really, it’s pretty straight forward.
Defensive Layers and Damage Scaling
As previously mentioned we stack armour. Through our Unbreakable ascendancy and a mastery, a significant portion of this armour is also applied to our Elemental and Chaos damage taken. As a result, Armour is effectively preventing a very great deal of the damage we’re taking.
We also make use of overleech courtesy of Offering to the Serpent wich acts as a surprisingly powerful layer combined with our relatively decent life regen.
Our damage is scaled through a combination of increased physical damage, impale, critical strike modifiers and attackspeed. Once we acquire our hain hand, our armour also scales our damage.
PoB, Passive Skill Tree And Gem Links
All our guides use Path of Building.
We have a simple guide for you that shows how to import the build into Path of Building, you can find the guide here:PathofBuildingGuide
Path of Building
You can find the PoB here: https://pobb.in/NVQMNEeeBhUG
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Amulet||Carnage Heart OR Ashes of the Stars||Unique|
|Chest||The Brass Dome OR Rare Astral Plate||Rare/Unique|
|Gloves||Offering to the Serpent|
|Rings||Rare Amethyst Ring|
We have the privilege of just levelling as our signature skill from level 1!
There are certain things to keep in mind though, the first of which is that Shield Crush will not benefit from weapons you have found while levelling, for the most part. As a result of this, it is very important that you keep your shield up to date.
As anyone who has ever levelled up as Sword&Board knows, the game does not exactly shower us with good rare shields during the levelling process, and there isn’t exactly a “shield recipe” like we have for physical weapons during the campaign.
It is therefore of vital importance that we utilise our Crafting Bench during this levelling process. If you find a shield with flat armour on it, craft % armour. And vice versa. Try to keep your shield up to date with where you are, it will make things a great deal smoother for you.