Zeus Battle Boots
Thunder Gladiators Armor
Odins Battle Gloves
Empty Bottle of Vodka
I've dedicated a lot of my time this season to figuring out the build that I like the most, and it just so happens that the build I came up with also is the currently strongest end-game build when it comes to both wormholes, uber-reaper and uber-damien. It's also a completely new archetype that I don't think anyone has been able to build for in previous seasons, at least not successfully, and I've decided to call it Shieldin (for lack of a better name).
Due to the nature of the build it's extremely flexible, this means that you can replace certain parts of it without seeing much of a difference. I'm going to go through how this new build works exactly and what you can do in case you're missing some of the components, because like I said - it's very flexible.
The early-game version of this build consists of using either Azurewrath or Nightmare Slasher, combined with a Mirage. We run mirage because we use our talent points a bit different early on as we don't have access to better gear, and in turn it allows us to one shot hell mobs and clear inferno with ease, with just two satanics. Of course, if you wish to use Shadow Buckler instead, that works too, but you'll use your skill points differently then.
If you decide to run with the new runeword Mirage, which has a chance to make your skills be cast twice in a row, you're going to use the following skill points:
The only reason mirage works so good with this setup is because it allows us to spam shield slam and holy nova, and these skills are extremely powerful early on, especially the nova as it also heals you. The greatest part about running mirage is that you don't have to worry about being unlucky with procs! All you need is as much CDR as possible and you're good to go.
It's a more classical approach, but it's totally viable as well, although it's relying more on the luck-based side of the build because you're using procs.
Use the following skill points:
You can also consider going Dau runes with this as they're pretty common even from the start to maximize your damage output.
In the previous seasons the Paladin has been somewhat on the weak side of classes, but recently with the balance changes to both items and talents, he's become one of the most reliable ones. Combining both heals and stuns, he can dish out an extreme amount of damage in short amount of time, without suffering any penalty like dying.
The talents we're going for are what we'll be using for our final results, and if you're looking for a more early/mid-game approach, read the section above this one. I'm also quickly going to add that if Shock Aura get's updated, I will reconsider adding it to this build, but as of now, it's bad. Our build is mainly about using Steel Shields to do damage.
This is the bread and butter of the Shieldin and it's what makes him... well, a Shield Paladin. It's our main source of damage, and the great part about this skill is that it has two different synergies: Armor and Weapon Damage. These two amazing synergies allows us to be able to wear even tankier items and gain damage from it, instead of the opposite that is usually the case. After doing a lot of experimenting with all of the talents of Paladin, I've come to the conclusion that we want to put as many Goh 3 runes as possible in our sockets to maximise the damage output of this. Because we also use Azurewrath and Shadow Buckler, our APS is going to be naturally high, meaning that we're going to summon a lot of shields, so it makes total sense that we want to max this out as much as possible. We're going to put 25 points into this skill.
This is going to be our second damage ability, and it's going to be that because of our high APS which comes from our weapon and our shield. It helps us clear trash from the map we farm on so our shields can focus on killing the tankier enemies. We're going to put 25 points into this skill too.
We're going to put the other 25 points into this talent because we need more damage, but also we can use every heal we can get. This is basically like a crit that also heals you, except that it works for other members of your party too, so it's really a win-win situation.
Divine Shield is an extremely powerful shield ability and is what allows us to be so damn tanky. We put the remaining 20 points into this talent, and at that point it's going to give us a shield with roughly 700k HP, and with max CDR, this can be kept up at almost all times. Spam this at ALL TIMES if you want to live.
Holy Nova only gets a single base point, but that's not because it's bad - it's because we don't need to put more into it. Holy Nova is a circle that heals you for 3 ticks, and damages enemies if there's any healing left after you've been healed to full (it's called overheal). We want to spam this AT ALL TIMES together with Divine Shield to ensure we live.
Hammers are not going to be used in this build, because they're wonky and don't fit the playstyle. They can not properly hit all enemies we are facing, and they're mediocre against bosses at it's best. But because our already great single-target damage and insane AoE clear with Lightning Fury, we can skip using this completely, what a relief!
I'm usually not the one to include hero levels in builds because most of the times they're not relevant. However, they're extremely unique in this build and it's worth using this setup when doing wormholes.
There are basically two talents you can choose from, it all depends on how you want to play, but both of them are viable:
There's no point in going for strength or increased elemental damage, it won't make any difference to your DPS as all your shield damage comes from the talent points using Goh runes. Hero Levels don't matter when farming inferno though, then I would just recommend going for extra ruby drops.
After trying different variations of Azurewrath and Nightmare Slasher, I've come to the conclusion that the Azurewrath is better, especially because it has a way higher base APS which is crucial for our chain lightnings. When you're capable of doing Uber-Reaper however, you want to replace this with a Shadow Carver.
Only used to boost our attack speed, which helps our chain lightnings proc more often.
This is pretty much the best item in our entire build because it has both Lightning Damage %, Physical Resistance and All Talents. Our skills scale really well with all talents meaning we get even stronger when we use this amulet. Do not be fooled though, just because it scales well with all talents, doens't mean the All Seeing Eye is good, so don't use that.
This build requires a lot of CDR, preferably the max cap, and because his helmet has both lightning and cooldown reduction, it's an obvious choice.
You could argue that Zeus Armor provides you with slightly more damage, but I would still recommend Thunder Gladiator's Armor, simply because it has cooldown reduction and gives us way more health. Without this chest you're going to struggle in wormholes and end-game content as you wont be able to sustain yourself.
What do we hate in wormholes? Being frozen and killed. Using this ring, we will be immune to freeze, much like pyromancers who have a reduced frozen duration. Plus, the stats on this ring are excellent as it boosts our lightning damage further.
We're using this one because it does not only have lightning damage, but it also has attack speed. This helps us proc our chain lightnings even more. You could argue that monkeyskin belt is better, but it really isn't.
We don't need anything but more sockets for our expensive gems! This flask has no stats or any ability, but it's the only socket with 5 stats. This means we can add another 5 Goh runes to our arsenal.
This is basically the only pair of gloves that we can use. I've been fooling around a bit with the runewords, but they're not a very good choice in this build.
This is also the only lightning boots there is, and even though there are boots with elemental damage, these boots still have higher values than those.
This charm also comes with a passive: it has a chance to fire lightning balls, which also scale with lightning damage. This makes our clearing even faster! When you can beat Uber-Reaper, you want to get your hand on a Torch of Shadow instead, as it's a much better choice.
We're going to need Goh III (Goh 3) runes in every single socket for this build, it's going to be expensive, but it will be worth it. If you can't get a Goh 3 yet, a Hel rune will do fine (1.5% to all stats) as our skills have different synergies and this boosts them all. The build is very much viable without them too, but just don't expect to be able to do high wormholes then.
Because it's a very flexible builds, I'll suggest a few of the favorite items I love to run together with this.
The gameplay of this build is fairly straight-forward, but it differs a lot from it's cousin, the Shockadin build. Instead of being at a range of enemies, we're going to run directly into them and let the shields pulverize them. Don't worry though, the chain lightning will still hit everything, and you're not gonna die because of our shield and our heals. This also applies to end-game wormholes - as long as you stay away from traps, you're going to take almost no damage at all. Cooldown reduction is a crucial part of this build, so that's something we want to have as much as possible of.
Another thing worth mentioning is that when you're farming inferno, killing maggots is super easy and goes super fast because Holy Nova ticks multiple times, meaning that you can kill all maggots with one use of the ability. This is especially true if you use Mirage too.
It's very easy to play paladin overall, and you don't have to focus on playing "correctly" because there's not much you can do. As long as you're alive, you're doing it all fine, and the only things you should be spamming is basically Holy Nova and Divine Shield, and run around like a crazy person spamming your basic attacks to proc Lighting Fury, which will kill all trash even through walls and it has insane range too.
The end-game with Shieldin is surprisingly easy and it doesn't suffer in the way that other Paladin builds do. Because we're not relying on procs to do the majority of our damage, we're instead going to have a pretty solid and consistent DPS. This makes killing bosses efficient and easy, which is what you want when you reach end-game.
Fighting the Uber-Reaper is fairly easy except for a few of his moves since you're a melee character. You should always be avoiding his skulls and his scythes, and when he creates the fire pentagram you're going to have to rely on Lightning Fury if you can't get within melee range to him, which sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it. Other than that, kill his lanterns as quick as possible so he doesn't heal back up, and you're all good.
Uber-Damien is basically only tanky and proves to be no real threat to us. Even when he drops to half of his health we can literally stand inside of his floating head and barely take any damage, and his blood surges are pathetic too.
Here's where the build really shines, and where other builds fail for the Paladin. Not relying on procs means greater consistent DPS, meaning we can clear higher wormholes but also clear them at a much more efficient rate. Unless you're at the point when you do take damage through your shield, you can literally faceroll enemies as long as you avoid the traps.
When it's time to be careful, make sure you use the jump button to avoid certain enemy skills, and that you don't go too greedy when your shield or your heal is on cooldown. Don't be too cocky against tougher enemies, thinking you're immortal when you're not, and just be careful in general. Your damage output is going to be great, especially if you're running the Armor Reinforcement (damage reflection) hero level talent.
At the end you're going to face off the boss, which can prove to be difficult depending on the boss you get, because you're still a melee class overall, but that's not really this builds fault. Be careful with Parasectoid and Gabriel as usual, and pray that you don't get Kayako.
I really loved making this build from scratch and it took me a lot of time to come up with it. Today I'm just happy I get to share my discoveries with the other wonderful people who enjoy playing Paladin as much as I do! If you have any questions, hit me up on here or on Discord.