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[3.12] Vaal Double Strike Impale Champion ft. Cluster Jewels


Well, as you may know already:
  • DW was nerfed quite hard. No damage multiplier while dual-wielding
  • Critical nodes were slightly nerfed on the tree. We lose about 120% Critical Strike Chance and 75% Critical Strike Multiplier (if I'm not making my calculations wrong).
  • Cluster jewels were nerfed as well, GGG killed COMPLETELY Warning Call/Cry Wolf/Mob Mentality on Medium Cluster Jewels. We cannot generate Rage charges through Warcries anymore. So we put Rage Support instead of Close Combat -> we are losing a bunch of damage here as well. We keep Close Combat here so much damage than the Rage support gem, we can play without Rage stacks without problems. If you want to generate them, I advise you to get a Timeless Jewel and locate the Chainbreaker new notable that generate Rage according to your mana regen at the cost of losing a bunch of them whenever you hit an enemy. For that, would be good to put the jewel in the jewel socket near the new "Forceful Skewering" passive location, near the Scion life wheel.
  • No Deep Cuts on Large Cluster Jewels as well, so we lose one impale stack.
  • Cluster jewels are WAAAAAAAAAY harder to craft this league, so I'm not quite sure what worth it is to going cluster jewels this time...
  • Battle Cry is now Admonisher, so we change the anointment for Bladedancer or Ambidexterity as we have Call to Arms on the tree that makes our warcries instant.
  • We keep using Enduring Cry to generate endurance charges. The rework made the warcry powerful, giving us more damage mitigation, a boost to the life regen, and elemental resistances per endurance charge.

Although I've started again with a Double Strike Champion (having a REALLY rough time generating currency at the moment, no loot, no good drops) I might say overall we lose about a third of the single-target damage. We still are deleting the content but at a slower pace.

Otherwise, I still recommend this build!
No changes at all! The tree stays the same as the last league.

BUDGET VERSION: => a guide for you to take. I suggest you follow this tree as you may want to start from something, then upgrading your gear from time to time. I'll try to come up with a version using Cluster Jewels.

ALTERNATE QUALITY GEMS NOTE: There could be some changes in my gem links depending on the alternate quality of the gems. There are some great versions so depending on which gem I find the gem link will be affected by this change. I'll try to keep this thread updated as long as I find the correct version of the gems I need.

Hello, guys! This league depicting the fact that it is pretty laggy and extremely rippy, there is one thing that brought us a powerful tool to boost our damage: cluster jewels.

Cluster jewels opened a big path for our builds to make them shine, but sometimes with a side cost, it stretches our options on the tree and we have to make decisions on getting more defensive options or more damage.

This was my starter (and the only one at the moment) character of the league and I wanted to bring back the old times of The Bois during Incursion league, so I decided to put the effort into it. Although the "statstick" glory days were left behind long ago, we were blessed with the Impale mechanic that it's actually shining and destroys everything.

I present to you my Impale Champion Vaal Double Strike featuring Cluster Jewels. Without further ado, let's get into the build.

- Champion. A well-rounded and All-in-one ascendancy both defensively and offensively.
- Abyssus for the win.
- Free Intimidate.
- 100% chance to hit because of the Taunt action.
- Adrenaline for burst damage and Impale chance.
- Good damage mitigation in conjunction with Lion's Roar + Master of Metal ascendancy.
- Good clear speed and nasty single target damage ft. The Bois.
- It can be done with a budget version.
- No need to swap gems while mapping, just against tough bosses like Conquerors, Guardians, Shaper, Sirus, etc...

- Double Strike is "too melee", this means you need to be too close to the target sometimes leading to undesired deaths.
- Although Abyssus is a powerful choice for this build, it rises up the chances of getting one-shotted unexpectedly.
- The usage of cluster jewels stretches our options on the tree from picking up defensive nodes in place of getting more damage.
- Reflect physical damage, cannot leech mods are a NO-NO map mods.
- Reduce life regeneration/minus max elemental resistance on maps are DANGEROUS. Remember we are using Abyssus.
- Kinda low in life. With our setup we reach 5.6K life, you would like to aim close to 6K or even above if possible.
- To reach the endgame and doing it smoothly without problems, you'll need to invest currency sometimes leading up the build to be pretty expensive.
- Gem swapping is annoying.



04/30/2020 -> hit level 97 and changed the Large Cluster Jewel.

07/24/2020 -> Current build on Harvest with no cluster jewels, just normal rare jewels. We have no space for Rage and we cannot generate charges through warcries anymore. We use here The Saviour with the "100% more damage" edited on it to reflect the damage of the clones on single target.

08/15/2020 -> Current build still without Cluster Jewels. We still use here The Saviour with the "100% more damage" edited on it to reflect the damage of the clones on single target.

Use the LocalIdentity fork for Path of Building. It will reflect the Impale damage.


Q: There are plenty of melee skills that shine better. Why Vaal Double Strike?
A: Well, I'm not a fan of the meta builds. Vaal Double Strike is not the best melee skill in this league and lacks on clear speed itself without support gems like Ancestral Call/Melee Splash. But well, it is a nasty single target skill, and even with cheap gear, it deletes the entire content.

Q: Why Close Combat instead of Ruthless?
A: I found that Close Combat gives you more single-target damage overall instead of using Ruthless in my 6-link Vaal Double Strike. Close Combat will calculate the DPS based on the proximity, and we are super close to targets.

Q: Which Ascendancy did you pick?
A: Champion. Free Intimidate, 100% chance to hit against Taunted enemies and we are taunting enemies all the time. Bosses like Guardians, Shaper, and Sirus cannot be taunted (it means they won't turn to hit you when taunted) but the effects on the Taunt action are applied so we are basically taunting bosses too. And finally the powerful Impale, and while we are impaling enemies we receive physical damage and armor buffs.

Q: Can I pick another ascendancy?
A: Sure. You can go Gladiator, Berzerker, Slayer, even Juggernaut, Assassin or Raider too!. The former is a good choice if you manage to balance your tree with block chance and damage. Berzerker is the best in terms of DPS and attack speed, the speedy boy. A thicc Juggernaut might be the safest option but you'll lack in damage. Assassin is a great choice but is squishy and the pathing route is quite tough. Raider has a balanced offer about tree choices and the ascendancy is really good for this build too.

Q: Is this SSF/Hardcore viable?
A: Yes and no... I do not recommend this build for Hardcore. Everything else is easily obtainable in SSF environments.

Q: Is this viable to run Delirium Simulacrums?
A: I didn't have the chance to run one Simulacrum yet, although I've completed plenty of Simulacrum sets... I don't think this build is viable to do that, the Simulacrum waves are tough, you know? You'll see yourself dying more than usual due to Double Strike been "too melee" for this league if you encourage yourself to do the Simulacrum. I'll try although to record a video with at least the 20/20 wave if I'm able to do it.

Q: Your gear is expensive/Is there a budget version of it?
A: Before all the gear improvements I made on this character, I was deleting all the content (until Sirus A7, I didn't try A8 that that point) with two 345 ~ 360 pDPS foils and a 6L Belly. Everything else was pure rares that covered my resistances and gave me physical damage and life. And yes, there is a budget version. See the "Budget Version" section, the gear presented there will be enough to get almost all the content, but I'm sure that you'll need to invest currency if you want to get through higher content once you hit A8 on your atlas.

Q: I don't like cluster jewels
A: And that's fine! You can build your tree without cluster jewels and still getting a respectable amount of damage. Cluster jewels are like a luxury option to rise up our damage output.

Q: I don't like your build
A: Well, pick another one. You are free to choose whatever you want to play.

Q: Can I suggest recommendations on your build to improve your character?
A: Of course you can! Everything that is an improvement to the build is very well welcomed.

Q: How do you make currency?
A: I just play the game... There is nothing much else I can say. If you are good detecting the meta market or if you have abilities to make currency faster, then exploit them. There is no secret recipe, I spend time playing the game and I play alone, so no guild, no team, no nothing. Trust me, play the game, and eventually you'll have the currency on your stash enough to improve your character little by little.

Q: I have some problems with survivability/I'm lacking in DPS. Can you check it for me?
A: Sure, if you know how Path of Building works, just share your PoB code in the comments and I'll be more than glad to help you!


- Start pickling the life and attack speed nodes from the start of the Duelist area. Link the Double Strike gem you find with the Chance to Bleed support. Once you get to level 4, replace the Chance to Bleed for Ancestral Call and Ruthless, everything obtainable very early in the game.

- As you progress with your character, pick up life nodes and other useful ones like Bravery, Dervish, Art of the Gladiator, Golem's Blood, and head up to the right zone of the tree.

- Remember to keep your resistances capped and make sure you use the weapon recipe: rare rustic sash, a Blacksmith Whetstone, and a foil. On the right side of the tree, pick up Thick Skin, Herbalism, Brutal Blade nodes. We will get into crit later. Now it's time to get into the left section of the tree. Your Double Strike should be linked at this point to Ancestral Call, Melee Splash and Melee Physical damage, swapping Melee Splash for Ruthless while bossing. Later on we will be replacing Ruthless for Close Combat. Get Auras, socket up Precision early on with War Banner, do not use Flesh and Stone yet nor Pride, socket them into your swap weapon, and use Herald Of Purity in the meantime.

- Do your fist lab and pickup Conqueror. Keep leveling getting life nodes on the left section of the tree => Heart of Warrior, Bloodless. Pickup Versatility for accuracy rating and some stats, you'll need them. Pickup Soul of Steel to raise your maximum resistances. Make sure your resistances are capped.

- Keep going into the left, pick up Juggernaut, Barbarism life nodes. Remember to use the weapon recipe to keep your foils updated.

- Now it is time to get into crit. At this point you should get your second lab done. Pick Worthy Fow and get the upper part of Disemboweling for juicy critical strike chance/multiplier.

- Before facing Kitava in Act 10, make sure you are running a couple of Blood Aqueducts to level up to 65 - 70. Do your third lab, pick Master of Metal, and head to maps.

- Now into maps, you will be filling your jewels sockets with regular jewels and cluster jewels. Do your last lab and pick up First to Strike, Last to Fall. The rest is just getting more crit damage with swords and melee crit. Spec into more life if you feel comfortable with your damage, keep your foils upgraded with the recipe, or at this point if you have currency buy two Ichimoji. They will be carrying you all the way until red maps with ease, and remember to keep your resistances capped. Now it's time to use some more Auras, activate Pride and Flesh and Stone. Look up to your mana, make sure you have enough to use your skills. Keep upgrading your gear, little by little. Every improvement will make a difference.

- The rest is history. Have fun deleting all the content!



I'm improving my gear bit by bit, struggling a little while trying to upgrade my swords and generating currency. But I've done all the content without much problems with this:

No cluster jewels, common jewels have attack speed with swords, generic attack speed, and critical strike multiplier while dual-wielding/with one-handed weapons or generic melee critical strike multiplier.

It took some time but I finally have my upgrades. Working on new Warlord rings with Vulnerability on hit and Crit multiplier for more pleasure. Harvest is AWESOME! I hope it does go core, at least some of its mechanics.


More toys to play! All these items were self-crafted. I'll try to post a PoB code soon!


Final upgrade. I'll miss Harvest so much :(


- Swords

Big pDPS foils. If you have the currency, aim for 470 ~ 500 pDPS foils and 1.85 ~ 2 APS (attacks per second => this is having at least 17% ~ 25% increased local attack speed on your foils). Double Strike scales with flat physical damage, so the more physical damage you foils have, more damage output.

- Body armour

Life, resistances, armour (very important for the physical damage mitigation). This is for normal rare chests. If you have an influenced one (Hunter influence, preferably) aim for life/increased maximum life + attacks have #% increased critical strike chance. The luxury would be a combination of the above + additional curse.
The ultimate goal is a minus mana cost chest + #% critical strike chance + additional curse + life (Hunter + Warlord influence). If you have the currency to do it, them go get it.

- Helmet

Abyssus all the way, hands down. The most powerful unique option for melee builds, with the side cost of taking more physical damage that could be scary sometimes, but we are pretty tanky so far. Aim for the highest crit multi and the lowest physical damage taken if possible, they could be a little expensive though. Another option that combines offense and defense is Starkonja's if you manage to cap your resistances somewhere or if you feel too squishy using Abyssus.

For rare options, something like this is pretty good too:

Life, resistances, nothing fancy there. The Enchant is not the best but it's still very good.

In general, for enchants go for the Blood Rage additional attack speed which is a well rounded enchant for every attack build.

- Gloves

These unique gloves opened a very powerful path for attack builds allowing us to get up to 5 implicit corruptions, sometimes with incredible results. There are plenty of combinations, but I went for +1 socketed gems/+2 to AOE gems/Vulnerability on Hit. For rich boys, the ultimate goal should be +1 socketed gems/+2 to AOE gems/+2 to Aura Gems/Vulnerability on Hit/Attacks have #% critical strike chance.

If you don't have currency to have a combination like mine (my gloves did cost 6 exalted) just aim for one corruption of your choice. I would recommend starting with the Vulnerability on hit, they are pretty cheap.

- Boots

Life and resistances. Nothing fancy. A powerful version for rich boys should be Elusive + Tailwind combination, life and resistances.

- Flasks

Nothing really special here. Anti-bleed life flask, Lion's Roar for more melee damage, an anti-freeze flask, Silver flask for Onslaught (more attack speed/movement speed), Diamond flask for the crits. If you have the currency, Bottle Faith + Cinderswallow with the crit mod combination is the endgame option.

- Jewelry
For rings:

Life, flat physical damage, resistances, stats if you need them, accuracy is nice too. Quality them with Abrasive Catalysts to rise up the flat physical damage and accuracy values. If you are comfortable with your damage, use Fertile Catalysts to get even more life. A powerful version would be steel rings.

For belt:

Life, resistances. Try to get some chaos resistances too. With all the major changes for the monster damage, chaos resistance is something to take into account and we should not let it pass. A powerful version would be a Hunter Stygian Vise with life + increased life, resistances, and the physical damage reduction against our hits mod.

For amulet:

For amulet, life, flat physical damage, stats, critical strike chance/multiplier. For anoints, in this case, we'll use Battle Cry. And why Battle Cry, you would ask:

Battle Cry provides us with instant Warcry because of the cluster jewels that we are using and will be explained in the next paragraph.

- Cluster Jewels
Large Cluster Jewel:

Deep Cuts for Impale duration and more impale stacks VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE THIS NODE ON YOUR LARGE CLUSTER, Fuel the Fight is a good node too to get rid of the mana leech node on our trees and 2 additional sockets to socket medium cluster jewels.

Medium Cluster Jewels:

Here is the main reason for using Battle Cry as the desire anoint on the amulet. Warning Call is a nasty warcry node giving us 50% increased melee critical strike chance and 35% critical strike multiplier every time we use a warcry skill. And Cry Wolf counts as we are surrounded by 10 enemies, and with the interaction of Enduring Cry, we have perma-endurance charges. Mob Mentality generates Rage stacks to give us more attack speed, more movement speed and more damage. To make this possible and more comfortable, bind your warcry skill to your left click on your mouse like this:

And every time you click on your mouse, without notice, you'll be generating Rage and endurance charges.

Small Cluster Jewels:

Try to get Feast of Flesh at least in one of your Small Cluster jewels. The life gained on hit is very helpful while mapping and bossing, it helps when you ran out of charges in your life flask. Try to get Fettle on the other one, is a big life node. Everything else on the small nodes is up to your choice and needs.

For regular jewels:

Attack speed/attack speed with swords, critical strike multiplier with one-handed weapons, melee critical strike multiplier, critical strike multiplier while dual-wielding, life... Well, plenty of mods out there.


On our body chest:
- Vaal Double Strike (mapping)
Vaal Double Strike - Multistrike - Impale - Ancestral Call - Melee Splash - Close Combat
For regular map bosses swap Melee Splash for Brutality.

- Vaal Double Strike (Bossing)
Vaal Double Strike - Multistrike- Melee Physical Damage - Impale - Brutality - Close Combat.
For tough bosses, we pump all our single target damage swapping Ancestral Call/Melee Splash for Melee Physical Damage/Brutality respectively.

- Auras. These gems will be placed on your gloves if you have the "+1 to Socketed gems" corruption. Otherwise, anywhere else.
Pride - Flesh and Stone - War Banner - Enlighten (lvl 3 which will 4 on your gloves)

- Movement skill
On helmet: Leap Slam - Fortify - Faster Attacks - Blood Magic.
Our classic movement setup.

- Support gems. These gems put them on your weapons
Berserk - Enhance (lvl 4) - Blood Rage.
Important here that Enhance is level 4. It will raise the Blood Rage additional attack speed and the attack damage from the Berserk.

Enduring Cry - Vaal Ancestral Warchief - Portal (to avoid using portal scrolls, do yourself a favor)

- Another support gems. Put them anywhere you have space, these are in my boots for example.
CWDT + Immortal Call setup, our guard skill.
Precision for more accuracy effective critical strike chance (level it up, up to the level you feel it's needed)
Summon Ice Golem for more effective critical strike chance and accuracy.

Support setup. I use this setup to generate charges that otherwise, I won't be able to generate like Power Charges or Frenzy Charges. I have them in my swap weapon:

The shield has Redeemer "+2 Minimum Frenzy Charges". I swap the weapons before entering battle. And it has a Bladestorm + Power Charge on Critical Strike + Increased Duration to generate Power Charges. And in that way I generate Power charges + Frenzy Charges. The Power Charges are easily obtainable against standing bosses like Conquerors or Shaper in his in-between phases but very hard against bosses that move around the arena like Guardians or Sirus.


- Help Alira for Bandits.
- For ascendancies, in order of importance: Conqueror -> Worthy Foe -> Master of Metal -> First to Strike, Last to Fall
- For pantheons: Brine King + Soul of Garukhan/Ryslatha while mapping. Soul of Solaris + Soul of Ryslatha against single bosses like Sirus/Shape/Elder.

Now the budget version. Remember that you'll be able to do most of the content I guess up to A7, but beyond that, you'll need to invest currency for sure

For flask and jewels, I'm listing the same I'm using because they are affordable, nothing expensive. On jewels and flasks you shouldn't be spending more than 30 chaos at top.

Some items are listed from my Standard stashes, but you get the idea. Everything you see here is easily obtainable with some time of gameplay even if you are a casual player like me.

And this is everything you need to know so far! I'll be adding videos with a compilation of Conquerors/Guardian kills. Some videos with clear speed sneak peek and showing why swapping gems is annoying ¬¬ lastly, I'll add a full Sirus fight for your delight. Stay tuned, exiles!
Last edited by Educmack on Sep 21, 2020, 1:49:43 PM
Last bumped on Sep 22, 2020, 10:46:51 AM
- Added A8 Veritania. New videos coming through the week. Stay tuned!

- Added A8 Forge of the Phoenix. Adding Red Elder fight too.
- Added Elder Fight.
- Added Hydra Fight.
- Added Shaper Fight.
- I'll be adding an Awakened 8 Sirus fight tonight if possible.

- Added A8 Drox, the Warlord fight video.

- Added A8 Sirus fight deathless! Enjoy!

- Adding notes about the overall changes made on the tree and how it affects the single target damage. You may expect a quite heavy nerf.

- Adding notes about 3.12, no changes on the tree so far.
- Adding a budget version PoB to follow as a guide as you may want to start from some gear base.
Last edited by Educmack on Sep 16, 2020, 7:52:11 PM
What do you think about replacing one foil with the saviour?
SQUAZZ wrote:
What do you think about replacing one foil with the saviour?

I would think that could be a powerful option. It's totally viable. And it would bring much more DPS output for sure due to the clones you summon every time you crit with the foil. I haven't tried that yet, but if you have the opportunity to test it, then great :)
Very well written guide, greatly appreciate the effort put into formatting, FAQ, and budget version. They way you've presented it all shows that you've thought about the audience for this piece, insead of the verbal diarrhoea that is often posted as "guides" on these forums. A huge thank you, and I am looking forward to giving this a try in 3.11!

All the best
TwistedFocus wrote:
Very well written guide, greatly appreciate the effort put into formatting, FAQ, and budget version. They way you've presented it all shows that you've thought about the audience for this piece, insead of the verbal diarrhoea that is often posted as "guides" on these forums. A huge thank you, and I am looking forward to giving this a try in 3.11!

All the best

Thank you for your time, dude. And greatly appreciated your comment! I hope you try this build next league. It literally deletes all the content.

I hope the next league will be better designed and more enjoyable than running and killing everything before a timer runs out...
Is bladestorm for sure the best ability to generate power charges on the shield?
It doesn't continue to generate power charges when you swap weapon sets right? thinking maybe a skill with an even faster attack speed might be more consistent, idk.
Shin_Gojira wrote:
Is bladestorm for sure the best ability to generate power charges on the shield?
It doesn't continue to generate power charges when you swap weapon sets right? thinking maybe a skill with an even faster attack speed might be more consistent, idk.

As far as I know, Bladestorm linked with those support gems, even if you swap back to your main weapons, still generates charges, I proved that myself during standing fights like Shaper or Sirus (bosses that have fight phases) or Conquerors who stand in the place even once the fight has started.

I don't check them in the POB code as it is somewhat random and sometimes it doesn't generate them (that's why I link the skill with PCoC to raise its critical strike chance of the base skill).

Aside from that, it is the skill I've chosen to somehow generate Power Charges, it's just to boost the single target damage. Sometimes I don't even use it, and you can completely avoid that and put some other gems to level them up. What is more useful tho is swapping the weapons before the fight to gain those 2 minimum Frenzy Charges from the shield as they are a great DPS boost.

Even more, if you have the currency to do it, what you can do tho is to buy a shield with +2 Frenzy/+2 Power charges, and swap weapons as long as you want before the fight, you'll have perma-charge generation as long as you swap your weapons quickly.

I hope somehow answered your question. Thanks for your time!
That answered my question. I'm a fairly new player, and didn't think that would work, very cool! I will be using that trick in most of my melee builds from now on probably.
Shin_Gojira wrote:
That answered my question. I'm a fairly new player, and didn't think that would work, very cool! I will be using that trick in most of my melee builds from now on probably.

Sure thing :) I honestly find very useful in using in my weapon swap a shield with minimum charges (Frenzy charges most of the time, as they grant attack/cast speed). Frenzy charges are very helpful on melee builds as you want as much damage output as you can sometimes to melt the bosses down.

Maybe I'll try this build again next league but min-maxing it, but I don't think it worths that effort. The damage is incredibly high even on a fair budget, and the Champion makes this build way easier to gear and play.

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