Path of Exile Vaal Ground Slam Build Guide
With the introduction of The Awakening expansion into Path of Exile, new character builds became possible due to new Path of Exile items and features like the jewel system. The latter is true for many new builds in The Awakening, including this particular build, which makes good use of jewels for what is potentially a powerful build worth putting time and effort into. What was previously impossible has been made feasible, and these possibilities are definitely worth exploring in the game.
This build makes use of Vaal Ground Slam to great effect, which is an idea that seemed rather lacking before The Awakening came about due to the nature of Vaal skills. While Vaal skills are potentially powerful, they are limited by having to gather souls of slain monsters. This limits their use in actual combat, and that is quite sad since they should really be used more. With the inclusion of jewels, there are now ways to circumvent this limitation and make Vaal skills actually usable on a regular basis, including Vaal Ground Slam.
The point of this build is to make use of three specific jewels to sustain Vaal Ground Slam with max endurance and power charges to run it permanently, going around its limitation to harness its power. Aside from these three jewels, there are also Hegemony's Era and one notable passive skill to tie this build all together. It also makes use of the Hatred aura, which now has the ability to shatter enemies for 80% chance of gaining an additional soul from Chill of Corruption. As you can see, this build is layers upon layers to bolster its central pillar, which is Vaal Ground Slam.
The unique staff Hegemony's Era synergizes quite well with Vaal Ground Slam, especially with its natural knockback and ability to gain Power Charges. When combined with Blood Magic, Fortify, Faster Attacks, Added Fire Damage, Cyclone, and Concentrated Effect, it turns Vaal Ground Slam into a devastating weapon. To go with this, you must also acquire the Smashing Strikes passive keystone node as it also synergizes nicely with Vaal Ground Slam, increasing the physical damage and critical chance with Hegemony's Era and letting you gain Endurance Charges when you hit criticals.
This build is indeed hardcore viable, so you should be able to take it as far as you would want to. However, you need be wary of reflect since this build yields so much damage, so you might actually get yourself killed if you are not careful enough. To deal with this, you can use POE items like Arctic Armour, overcap fire and cold resistances, have 6000 armour and 4000 life minimum without buffs, have max endurance charges up, and follow the rest of the build. That is quite a lot that needs to be done, but at least it is a viable enough solution.
New builds like this should prove that a game like Path of Exile, which has been out for quite a while now, can still stay fresh as long as the developers at Grinding Gear Games come up with new well-designed content that goes well with everything else already in place.