POE BUILD – Might of the Crab Varunastra Assassin/Slayer

About this Build:
This build combined a number of things I wanted to try. First of all it uses the amazing looking Craiceann’s armour set from the Bestiary league and the Crab Barrier mechanic it goes with. It is also convenient that the armour and boots give relevant immunities. Additionally, it uses the Might of the Meek jewels, which I had been wanting to try for some time. They have good synergy with Varunastra. I made this on a whim, and the performance exceeded my expectations, so I decided to share the results.
The build was originally a block-focused Assassin/Gladiator, but as block has been nerfed for 3.4, I rebuilt it to be a more conventional Assassin/Slayer with a Shaped mace as a stat stick. The rebuilt version has considerably more DPS than the original, since stat sticks are a bit broken. You can get over a million Shaper DPS without flasks. A significant downside to the update is that I can no longer use the gorgeous crab claw shield MTX you can see in the above image.

Credit to: “thegagis” from path of exile forum.

Viability
I have found this build especially well suited for farming Über Labyrinth due to its absolutely amazing physical damage reduction and high mobility. Shaper, Elder and Über Atziri are also easy, once you reach end-game damage potential.
Über Elder was difficult for the original version due to its inability to control the arena, but the Assassin/Slayer has enough damage to pass that damage check of a fight.

Links
https://pastebin.com/GtxvKNAR Path of Building at level 95.
Direct link to the character in my profile
The character was originally made in Bestiary and has been upgraded in Standard, so you might want to strip a few levels and tone down my decadently expensive gear a bit for a realistic target in Delve.
Original links of the 3.2 Assassin/Gladiator version:

Path of Building for level 93
Skill Tree for level 93

Key Items

Four Might of the Meek jewels
Might of the Meek disables notable nodes and boosts minor nodes in its range by 50%. The effect stacks. The jewels are extremely effective in the Scion’s starting area and when applied to the damage nodes in Shadow’s sector of the skill tree.

 

The Craiceann’s set gives the build some life, plenty of armour, immunities to Stun and Bleed and nice boosts to Crab Barrier.

Varunastra allows us to take full advantage of the Might of the Meek boosted damage nodes from Shadow’s sector and to keep our skill tree compact by taking the hybrid weapon damage nodesfrom near Duelist and Marauder.

These stat sticks are the reason why shields and two-handers have been obsolete for a while now. Use one.

Other Gear
I like to use a Pure Talent jewel for some extra area of effect, extra attributes and the much needed extra base critical strike chance. On other gear I try to get as much life, damage and resists I can afford.
I am a big fan of the Darkness Entroned belt, but good Abyss Jewels might be prohibitively expensive unless you are shopping at exactly the right time. A rare Stygian Vise might be a more cost effective alternative.
A good Hatred Watcher’s Eye would suit the build, but with enough critical strike chance from elsewhere, it does not really justify the cost compared to a very good rare jewel.
Flasks are entirely up to personal taste and not essential for how this build works. My setup can be seen below.

Skills

Blade Flurry – Melee Physical – Vile Toxins – Maim – Inc. Critical – Faster Attacks

Blade Flurry enables massive DPS and does not use our off-hand mace, so I am confident it is the best offensive skill. With how much increased area I have managed to add up, its fairly comfortable even as a clear skill. I would not use Concetrated Effect, since it restricts your positioning too much. Vile Toxins provides a substantial more damage multiplier, since we have accumulated plenty of chance to poison from all the different types of weapon nodes. Faster Attacks is not optimal for damage, but allows me to reach maximum stacks and move sooner. Hypothermia might be a good alternative.

Whirling Blades – Faster Attacks – Fortify – Blood Magic

We get so many amazing attack speed nodes that Whirling Blades ultimately becomes the best way to move around. Earlier in the game it may be better to rely on a Quicksilver Flask.
CWDT – Inc. Duration – Immortal Call – Blood Rage

Immortal Call and Blood Rage are both good buffs on their own, but together they make sure we often have the life recovery rate buff from the Arakaali Pantheon active, which is just bonkers.

Ice Golem – Minion Life – Minion Elemental Resistance – Blood Magic

Since critical strike chance and accuracy are the two things we get the least of from the skill tree, the golem is more important for us than it it for most other melee builds. A CwDT setup instead of manually casting would be a good alternative.

Hatred – Herald of Ash – Enlighten

This is a straightforward way to get more damage. The upcoming Herald of Purity might be better than Herald of Ash. I will test it as soon as I can and update the guide accordingly.

Frenzy – Faster Attacks – Fortify

This gives us a reliable way to generate Frenzy Charges in boss fights. Otherwise Blood Rage keeps us stocked. Ancestral Warchief would a a nice damage boost instead if you can be bothered to micromanage one more skill.

Crab Barrier

Crab Barrier enables many of the mechanics in our armour pieces including a decent amount of extra damage on the gloves. By itself it gives a total of 30% physical damage reduction, and unlike armour, this is global and not just for hits, which makes it especially good against traps in the Labyrinth. I did not expect much from this mechanic originally, but it won me over with just how incredibly convenient it is.

Ascendancy

Assassin is mandatory since it allows us to run a crit build with Varunastra. Having access to easy Power Charge generation is also nice. You want to get Path of the Shadow as early as possible, so you can have access to the amazing damage nodes in Shadow’s sector of the skill tree. Slayer provides the amazing overleech mechanic, some damage and some area. It is not mandatory and you can freely experiment with alternatives if you happen to be tired of relying on overleech all the time.

Bandits and Pantheon

I definitely want 2 skill points since our skill tree is so incredibly point-efficient. None of the bandits can even begin to compete with what we can still get from the tree.
Arakaali’s Pantheon is great for how well the life recovery rate modifier works together with Blood Rage, Immortal Call, regeneration and life leech. As a minor pantheon I chose Shakali to get free immunity to poison, which is cute with how many immunities this build already has. You can change that to whichever other secondary pantheon you prefer.

Simple Leveling Guide

Early on this build levels like any other melee character; by using Frost Blades with the highest DPS weapon you can get your hands on. Skill point allocation might be slightly unusual though, since if you can afford the Might of the Meek jewels early on, the Scion area covered by the jewels is very cost effective and should be taken before travelling further.
You will want to do Normal, Cruel and Merciless labs as fast as possible, since getting Path of the Shadow and starting your way towards Soul Raker is important so that you can get some much needed Life and Mana Leech to make playing the game more simple. After that, I recommend taking life nodes first and worrying about DPS later.
You don’t need to worry much about gear until high tier maps, but at some point you need to start spending on rares that have both high life rolls and good stats for damage, at which point the cost of the character starts to go up. Since our sixth link, Faster Attacks, is relatively inefficient, you can upgrade some other gear first before saving for a 6-link armour.
Levelling should be fairly easy once you have all of the build-defining uniques.
Since Might of the Meek and Varunastra add obnoxious amounts of increases and multipliers to fairly modest base statistics of the weapon, you will eventually need to pay attention even to relatively small additional sources of flat damage or increased critical strike chance. This means that the character should be cheap to start with, depending on how easy the Bestiary uniques will be to get in Delve, but the payoff from spending more on slightly better items tends to be substantial.