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Vaal Ground Slam Spam Berserker Build

Vaal Ground Slam Spam Berserker Build

Absurdly overpowered Vaal-spam build that utilizes Ground Slam and Berserker Class for massive AoE Physical DPS

Vaal Ground Slam Spam
Berserker Build

Updated for Patch 3.14

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Estimated budget: medium to very high
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Guide notes
May 28, 2021
-Build created
June 6, 2021
-Added gameplay video


Patch 3.14 and the Ultimatum League introduced a new very interesting pair of Gloves - Hateforge. That pair of Gloves allows the player to use Vaal Attack Skill by paying their Rage cost instead of accumulated Souls. Proper Berserker setup with War Bringer and multiple Warcries with greatly reduced Speed and Cooldowns, allow you to quickly generate Rage and nearly spam the Vaal Ground Slam. 

This build's final form requires Hateforge - currently the single-most expensive Unique in the game. Because of how strong the Item is, it currently costs over 300 Exalted Orbs. Rest assured, this build is fully viable as a standard Melee build with Ground Slam and a pair of regular Gloves. It will be "just" a regular Melee build with tons of DPS, solid defenses, and great AoE - the only difference lies in how often you will be able to Attack using your Vaal Ground Slam. 

Why Ground Slam? The answer is quite simple. First of all, it's the Attack with the shortest Soul Gain Prevention Time of 1 second - which means the Vaal Skill can be used at the highest possible frequency. It also is the only Attack in the entire game that can be Exerted by Warcries. At the same time it has high DPS, good AoE, and greatly increased damage to nearby enemies. You will often see Bosses get one-shotted if you buff yourself up before the encounter. 

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1. Gameplay

From the playstyle perspective, this is a standard Melee/Slam build. You are going to spam Warcries to Exert your Attacks and Hit the ground with your Ground Slam to create devastating fissures that hit enemies in a cone in front of your character. This build deals purely Physical Damage and benefits from Impale mechanic and increased Critical Strike Chance. This build, in its base form, is already an exceptionally strong Melee build with very solid defenses from very high Life and Armour Rating. Top it up with the Hateforge Gloves, and you end up nearly endlessly spamming one of the deadliest Melee Attacks in the game with a greatly increased radius. It's a perfect build for the Ultimatum encounters, as with a single Hit you will instantly kill most of the enemies on your screen. 

This video was recorded on a level 94 Berserker using Hateforge and random Rare equipment. We had some Currency invested in it - approximately 150 Exalted Orbs and Hateforge on top of it. This build can be still played as a regular Melee build with Ground Slam which we did until level 94. It worked incredibly, just that it wasn't able to clear Ultimatums so efficiently without spamming the Vaal attack

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • Vaal Skill spam provides INSANE DPS and AoE clear
  • very tanky with tons of Armour to reduce Physical Damage taken
  • complex but enjoyable and addictive playstyle
  • deals perfectly with most of the recently introduced mechanics including Ritual and Ultimatum
  • easy to level up
  • very expensive end-game Items
  • can't do no Leech and Reflect Maps


3. Leveling tips

You are going to level up using Ground Slam as your primary DPS skill from level one. You can grab a cheap Level 1 / Quality 20 for a couple of Chaos Orbs early on, and save the "Vaal" stacks for tougher enemies and Bosses. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Ground Slam setup
Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slam - Ground Slam is your primary DPS Skill. It also is one of the best Attacks for leveling because of high base damage and AoE
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - a core Support Gem for most of the Melee Attacks in PoE
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support - greatly increases your damage with each third consecutive attack. It has a low base level requirement and can be replaced later with Fortify or Brutality Support
Pulverise Support Pulverise Support - greatly increases your Melee/AoE damage at the cost of reduced Attack Speed
Curse setup
Vulnerability Vulnerability - enemies take more Physical Damage and have a chance to Bleed on hit
Auras and Banner setup
Pride Pride - offensive aura that grants more Physical Damage dealt to enemies
Dread Banner Dread Banner - increases the Impale Effect and your chance to Impale enemies with Attacks
Precision Precision - for Accuracy Rating and Critical Strike Chance which are both very important during the leveling phase. It's also a core Aura for your final version of this build
Utility Gems
Enduring Cry Intimidating Cry - enemies take more damage as they are Intimidated by this Warcy  and also Exerts your next Attacks to deal increased damage
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - summons a Totem that increases your Melee Damage
Leap Slam Leap Slam - the recommended mobility Skill for this build


Kill all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Born to Fight 2) Constitution 3) Art of the Gladiator 4) Bloodless

63 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Dismembering 2) Rampart (make sure to use Fortify Support at this point) 3) Steadfast 4) Barbarism 5) Disemboweling


Recommended leveling items:

LycosidaeLycosidae - fixes your needs for Accuracy Rating on lower levels, and you will be surely missing a lot of it
+(10-20) to maximum Life
+(120-160) to Armour
+(30-40) to maximum Life
Your hits can't be Evaded
+(3-5)% Chance to Block
Adds 250 to 300 Cold Damage to Counterattacks
Redblade TramplersRedblade Tramplers - a great mid-level Boots that provide bonus Life, Movement Speed, and added Physical Damage to Attacks
Adds (2-5) to (7-10) Physical Damage to Attacks
(5-10)% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold
(150-200)% increased Armour
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
25% increased Movement Speed
Unaffected by Burning Ground
DeidbellowDeidbellow - amazing leveling Helmet which boosts your Attack and Movement Speed - both greatly reducing the time you spend on completing the campaign mode
+(20-30) to Strength
+(20-30) to Dexterity
Adds 10 to 20 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(200-300) to Armour
20% increased Melee Damage
Cannot Leech when on Low Life
If you've Warcried Recently, you and nearby allies have 20% increased Attack, Cast and Movement Speed
GorebreakerGorebreaker - an amazing low-level Mace that offers very high Physical DPS at level 10
10% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold
(300-360)% increased Physical Damage
20% reduced Attack Speed
(10-20)% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold
(30-50)% increased Stun Duration on Enemies
Extra gore
Wurm's MoltWurm's Molt - provides Life and Mana Leech on lower levels which saves you a bunch of respec Points on your Passive Tree
+(25-40) to maximum Life
+(20-30) to Strength
+(20-30) to Intelligence
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

117 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)
117 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Flawless Savagery
  2. Aspect of Carnage
  3. War Bringer
  4. Defy Pain


Major God: Soul of Arakaali for 5% reduced Damage taken from Damage Over Time; 10% chance to Avoid Lightning Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Shakari 5% reduced Chaos Damage taken; 25% reduced Chaos Damage over Time taken while on Caustic Ground

Since Chaos Damage can hurt you a lot - at least in our case, the Chaos Resistance was quite low - so we have decided to pick two of the Gods that reduce the DoT and Chaos Damage slightly


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Vaal Ground Slam setup
Vaal Ground Slam Vaal Ground Slam - primary Skill used in this build. You will be mainly using the Vaal part of the skill with devastating DPS, increased AoE, and a 100% Chance to Hit. If you are not using Hateforge you will be simply using the regular Skill more often
Brutality Support Brutality Support - you will deal no non-Physical damage but the Physical Damage will be greatly increased, making it the core Support Gem for all purely Physical DPS Skills
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - more Physical Damage - pretty straightforward and core Support Gem in this setup
Pulverise Support Pulverise Support - more AoE and more Damage for AoE Attacks at the cost of reduced Attack Speed
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support - every third supported Attack will deal greatly increased Damage so you can expect Exerted Ruthless that Crit. to one-shot most of the content
Impale Support Impale Support - extremely important if you want to reach a 100% Chance to Impale with Attacks, and at the same time, increase its effect
[UTILITY] Warcry setup
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - regenerate your Life and generates Endurance Charges. Like all the other Warcries in this setup, you have to basically spam when off cooldown or keep a charge to work as an extra Instant Life Flask
Seismic Cry Seismic Cry - empowers your next Slam Attacks increasing its damage and reducing enemy Stun Threshold
Intimidating Cry Intimidating Cry - enemies take more damage from the Intimidate debuff, and also Exerts your next Attacks making it deal double damage
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - adds extra charges to your Warcries but also reduces their cooldown
[UTILITY] Aura, Stance, and Banner setup
Pride Pride - Pride is the best Aura for Physical DPS builds which increases your damage against enemies. The effect is increased the longer the enemy stays in its radius
Dread Banner Flesh and Stone - allows you to switch between Blood and Sand stances. It's recommended to use the Blood Stance for increased Physical Damage
Maim Support Maim Support - increases the effectiveness of Maim caused by the Flesh and Stone's Blood Aura
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the Mana Reservation Cost of linked Spells and Auras
[UTILITY] Blood Rage/Curse
Blood Rage Blood Rage - keep it at level 9, it gives more Life Leech and Attack Speed and allows you to generate Frenzy Charges
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - if you have the extra Curse affix on your Chest you can either use Assassin's Mark in this low-level Cast when Damage Taken setup, or apply it via a Ring affix. Keep it at level 7
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - level 5, will automatically cast linked Blood Rage and linked Curse each time you take 812 damage
[UTILITY] Various Gems
(no links required)
Leap Slam Leap Slam - the recommended movement Skill for this build. It's fast and has no cooldown which is the best pick to boost your mobility
Berserk Berserk - this Skill offers massive DPS burst for a short duration. It's best to use it before encountering a Boss, and if you Exert your Attacks, most of the enemies will be one-shotted
Molten Shell Molten Shell - the best Guard Spell for this build which increases your Armour Rating and grants a protective shield that absorbs some of the incoming damage. Put it under your left mouse button so that it's triggered almost automatically
Precision Precision - an amazing Aura that increases your Accuracy Rating and Critical Strike Chance. If you don't have Hateforge and use regular Ground Slam often, it's a good idea to upgrade it to the highest level possible based on your unreserved Mana
Dread Banner Dread Banner - increases your Chance to Impale and its' effectiveness on enemies
Blood and Sand Blood and Sand - if you have Hateforge, you can use a level 1 Precision and you should be able to cast Blood and Sand Aura. It increases your AoE Damage at the cost of reduced radius
[UTILITY] Vulnerability
(as Ring affix)
Vulnerability Vulnerability - it's best to apply Vulnerability Curse via Ring affix for a smoother playstyle. It's the best Curse for this build which boosts your Physical DPS

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6. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for this build. While this build primarily focuses on Hateforge Gloves and spamming your Vaal Ground Slam, it's also a fully viable Melee build without it - you are just not going to be able to use it as often and consistently, but you can still benefit from this Berserker's durability and massive AoE Damage. This build utilizes several Unique Items, out of which, most should be easily accessible and relatively inexpensive, whereas, all of them can be replaced with random Rares that boost your required stats.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Critical Strike Multiplier
  4. Added Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. Accuracy Rating
  6. Critical Strike Chance
  7. Armour Rating
  8. Attack Speed
rare helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet the best and most balanced option. We have focused on grabbing as much Life and Accuracy Rating here, but you may as well get it from the Rings and get more Resistance on the Helmet

Min. requirements:
+110 to Maximum Life
450 Accuracy Rating
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Nearby enemies take #% Increased Physical Damage

abyssus(Helmet) Abyssus -  if you want to greatly increase your DPS at the cost of defenses, this is the best way to achieve it. It makes it a bit harder to Carp Resistances though, and you will surely have to spend more on your other Rare parts
+(20-25) to all Attributes
Adds 40 to 60 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(100-125)% to Melee Critical Strike Multiplier
(100-120)% increased Armour
(40-50)% increased Physical Damage taken
Helmet enchantments:
40% increased Ground Slam Damage
Berserk has 30% increased Buff Effect
Rare Mace(Weapon) Rare Mace - the BiS and actually the only viable option for the Weapon. Just look for the highest possible base Physical DPS you can afford
Min. requirements:
400+ base Physical DPS
Optional stats:
Chance to Impale enemies with Attacks
Critical Strike Multiplier
Accuracy Rating
Redblade Banner(Shield) Redblade Banner - a mandatory Shield for this build. It greatly reduces the cooldown of your Warcries and they always have Infinite Power
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(80-100)% increased Armour
+(50-60) to maximum Life
20% increased Taunt Duration
+5% Chance to Block
50% increased Warcry Cooldown Recovery Rate
Warcries have infinite Power
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - a regular Body Armour is your best option. Aim to get the highest Life, Attack Crit. Chance and possibly extra Curse
Min. requirements:
+110 to Maximum Life
Attacks have +#% Critical Strike Chance
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
You Can Apply Additional Curse
High Armour Rating
rare boots(Boots) Rare Boots - mainly for defensive stats. If you want to invest some extra Currency in your Boots, just grab a pair with Tailwind or Cannot be Frozen affixes
Min. requirements:
+70 to Maximum Life
+25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently
#% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - we recommend getting as much Life, Accuracy, and Added Physical Damage here. You should have your Resistances capped without the Gloves, as eventually, you want to replace them with Hateforge
Min. requirements:
+90 to Maximum Life
400 Accuracy Rating
Optional affixes:
Damage while Leeching
Added Physical Damage with Attacks
Hateforge(Gloves) Hateforge - the build-defining Item. It's currently the single most expensive Item in the game, which costs several hundred Exalted Orbs. Luckily, it's not mandatory for this build and you can still play it as a very powerful Melee build with a pair of regular Rare Gloves, but you will be unable to spam your Vaal Ground Slam and experience the true nature of this build
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 30 Rage
(120-150)% increased Armour
(10-25)% reduced Rage Cost of Skills
Vaal Attack Skills not Used by Totems Cost Rage instead of requiring Souls
You cannot gain Rage during Soul Gain Prevention
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise  - the best option is to look for a Stygian Vise with high Life and Resistances. You can also get a Global or Physical Damage bonus on them
Min. requirements:
+90 to Maximum Life
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Damage/Physical Damage
Gain a Flash Charge when you deal a Critical Strike
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet  - you are looking to get all the necessary Intelligence here, extra Life, and possibly Pride Reservation cost reduction
Min. requirements:
+50 to Maximum Life
Pride has 20% reduced Reservation
40 Intelligence
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Critical Strike Multiplier
Recommended Anointments:
Blacksmith's Clout
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - you basically need to fix your Resistances here, and Vulnerability. Obviously, some extra Life is always good
Min. requirements:
+60 to Maximum Life
Non-Channelling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost
Curse Enemies with Vulnerability on Hit, with 20% increased Effect
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
#% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
Chaos Resistance
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Abyss Jewels - you are most likely going to use one Abyssal Jewel in your Stygian Vise. Just get extra Life and Critical Strike Multiplier
Min. requirements:
+30 to maximum Life
Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Damage if you've Killed recently
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - basically with extra Life, Crit. Multiplier and possibly some other damage amplifying mods 
Min. requirements:
Maximum Life
Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Area Damage/Physical Damage/Damage with Maces
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - you are going to use one Large Cluster Jewel, preferably one that boosts your Damage with Maces and Staves and can give you the Overlord Passive that grants you basically a permanent Fortify
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Devastator
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Overlord
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - you can use up to two Medium Cluster Jewel with bonuses to Exerted Attacks. Not only they will grant you increased damage but offer various Utility bonuses like increased Armour, Charge Generation, etc.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Lead By Example
1 Added Passive Skill is Mob Mentality
1 Added Passive Skill is Rattling Bellow
1 Added Passive Skill is Warning Call
Rapid Expansion(Jewel) Rapid Expansion - Ground Slam's threshold Jewel that allows you to generate Endurance Charges when stunning enemies and increase its radius. It's a rather inexpensive Jewel so you can try getting a Corrupted one with the "Corrupted Blood Cannot be Inflicted on you" mod
(8-12)% increased Global Physical Damage
With at least 40 Strength in Radius, Ground Slam has a 35% chance
to grant an Endurance Charge when you Stun an Enemy
With at least 40 Strength in Radius, Ground Slam
has a 50% increased angle
Replica Conqueror's Efficiency(Jewel) Replica Conqueror's Efficiency - increases your Maximum Rage and reduces the flat Mana Cost of Skills
4% increased Skill Effect Duration
+5 to Maximum Rage
Non-Channelling Skills have -9 to Total Mana Cost
Vaal Sentencing (Jewel) Vaal Sentencing - greatly increases your Critical Strike Chance with Vaal Skill, boosting your Vaal Ground Slam's DPS significantly
(80-120)% increased Vaal Skill Critical Strike Chance
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - one of the best Jewels in the game, pretty much all the builds that use any Aura want one, and in this case, you can get powerful Pride and Precision Aura mods
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>

Recommended Aura modifiers:
(8-12)% chance to deal Double Damage while using Pride
(40-60)% increased Attack Physical Damage while using Pride
(40-60)% increased Attack Damage while affected by Precision
+(20-30)% to Critical Strike Multiplier while affected by Precision
 lion's roar(Flask) Lion's Roar - Use Lion's Roar more Armour and high Melee Attack Damage multiplier. One of the best Flasks for this build
+3000 to Armour
Adds Knockback to Melee Attacks during Flask effect
Knocks Back Enemies in an Area when you use a Flask
75% chance to cause Enemies to Flee on use
(20-25)% more Melee Physical Damage during effect
Soul Catcher(Flask) Soul Catcher - a mandatory Flask for this build which boosts your Damage with Vaal Skills and reduces their Soul Gain Prevention time
10% chance to Dodge Attack Hits
10% chance to Dodge Spell Hits
Cannot gain Mana during effect
Vaal Skills have (80-120)% increased Critical Strike Chance during effect
Vaal Skills deal (80-120)% increased Damage during effect
Vaal Skills used during effect have (40-20)% reduced Soul Gain Prevention Duration

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze Immunity)
  2. Exerpimtenter's Diamond of Warding (Immune to Curses)
  3. Panicked Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Immunity to Bleeding)
lion's roarSoul Catcherdiamond flaskquicksilver flasklife flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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