Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut - Path of Exile 3.24 (2024)

If you have played action RPGs for a while now, you know how hard it is to choose a class, especially when it comes to offense and defense. If you choose the former, you might have enough survivability to take on the tougher content. Conversely, going for a more defensive character might not be powerful enough to beat anything of value.

The good news is that there is a way for you to build a character in Path of Exile that gives you the best of both worlds. The build in question is none other than the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut.

With this build, you no longer have to think about going offense or defense because this covers everything. You are both tanky and powerful, which is why it has been one of the best builds in PoE for quite a while now.

So, if you are interested in creating this character, then read on. This is our comprehensive build guide for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut in Patch 3.23 Affliction League!

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Basics

The Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is one of the endgame builds in Path of Exile. But, you are probably wondering how it works considering that it is great in both offense and defense. Well, you have several mechanics to thank for that.

First and foremost, you are going to equip the Replica Dreamfeather. This is a unique one-handed sword that increases your attack damage for every 450 points of armor that you have. This is basically where the "armor-stacking" moniker comes from.

Speaking of which, how exactly do you get so much armor? Well, there are a lot of ways you can improve the said defensive layer, but one of the most important for the build is the Grasping Mail. This body armor can be acquired by doing Breach runs or by selling a full inventory of Breach Rings to a vendor.

Anyway, it can have a lot of unique effects. However, you should get one that has the mods, "Armour is Increased by Overcapped Fire Resistance" and "Evasion Rating is Increased by Overcapped Cold Resistance".

With the above-mentioned Grasping Mail equipped, you can then focus on increasing your fire and cold resistances to take advantage of the body armor's unique effects. If you are wondering why evasion rating is important in an "armor-stacking" build, that is because you will take the "Iron Reflexes" keystone passive as well. This converts all of your evasion to armor.

While the core premise of this build is to stack your armor value so high to reach absurd levels of damage, the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut can also be deemed as an aura stacker. That is due to the many auras you should activate in this build, such as Determination, Wrath, Purity of Elements, Purity of Fire, and Purity of Ice, among others.

Now that you know the basic mechanics of the build, what skill are you going to use to attack enemies? Well, you have Smite for that.

Smite is a melee skill in Path of Exile that allows you to whack enemies with a lightning-infused weapon. Doing so causes nearby enemies to take lightning damage as well, though it is important to keep in mind that they only get damaged once per attack.

What makes Smite interesting for the Armor-Stacking Juggernaut is that each time you attack using the skill, you get a temporary aura that grants you added lightning damage. Furthermore, you get a high chance of inflicting Shock on enemies, causing them to take even more damage as a result!

While it is quite tempting to create a character that has all of the bases covered, you have to bear in mind that the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is quite expensive to put up. All of the items you need cost a ton of PoE currency. So, only attempt this if you have saved up or purchased a lot of Divine Orbs or Mirrors of Kalandra.

Playstyle

Even though this build requires a lot of item interactions and mechanics to work, the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is surprisingly very easy to play.

There is a slight change in the way you play this build prior to Patch 3.24. You see, Grinding Gear Games has removed the ability for you to bind instant skills on the left click. This is because the company has added a new support gem called Automation that automatically activates instant skills for you.

While you can certainly add it to the build, that will take up one gem slot, so it is best that you just activate Berserk manually from here on out. Yes, it sucks that it has to be this way, but this is a change that you have to be comfortable with if you want to get the most out of this build.

Anyway, once you are inside a map, just run around in search of huge packs of monsters, and then kill them all with Smite! Be sure to use Vaal Smite whenever it is available to improve your overall damage output.

Ascendancy

There are multiple ascendancy classes that you can choose when creating an armor-stacking character in Path of Exile. However, this build uses the Juggernaut because it is quite tanky and has notable ascendancy passives that can benefit the build immensely.

Undeniable is an offensive node that grants you increased attack speed per 150 points of accuracy. What's more, your accuracy rating is equal to double your STR value. So, if you have 300 Strength, that equates to 600 accuracy! Not to mention that the node itself already provides you with a flat 500 increase in accuracy rating, which means that it is definitely an undeniable node to take (no pun intended).

Unbreakable is another great node that focuses on improving your armor, specifically by doubling the value provided by your equipped body armor. But, what makes this amazing for the build is that 8% of your armor applies to fire/cold/lightning damage taken from hits. This essentially means that the elemental damage you take is mitigated based on a portion of your total armor value. Despite the meager percentage, if you have more than 1 million armor, Unbreakable still reduces elemental damage taken from hits quite significantly!

Untiring is utilized in a different way in this build. You see, this notable ascendancy passive increases your life regeneration by 40%. However, this aspect is disabled because you are going to wear the Kaom's Spirit unique gloves. So, the life regeneration that this node provides is just a way to generate Rage much more quickly.

Unstoppable is pretty much just the cherry on top. This makes you immune to movement reduction effects, which is quite nice when you are on an eight-mod corrupted map. This notable ascendancy passive makes you immune to stun as well, virtually making you an unstoppable force!

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Notable Ascendancy Passives for Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut

Remember the specific Grasping Mail you are going to equip for this build? Since it helps you gain a ton of armor by improving your fire and cold resistance, you'd want to maximize that by taking Valako, Storm's Embrace from the Chieftain ascendancy tree. This is done by putting Forbidden Flesh and Forbidden Flame jewels on the passive tree with "Valako" as the matching modifier. Once you have it, all you have to worry about is increasing your fire resistance as high as you can via items and gems and your cold resistance will follow.

Gear

The pieces of equipment you are going to use for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut are quite expensive, most notably if you are going for crafting bases that have synthesized implicit modifiers. However, each piece of gear that you get feels like a noteworthy upgrade, so investing a ton of PoE currency into this build is not a bad thing.

Weapon

The only weapon that you are going to use for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is Replica Dreamfeather. This unique Eternal Sword increases your attack damage by 1% for every 450 points of armor that you have.

What's great about this weapon is that since it is a one-handed sword, you can actually equip two of these at the same time for twice the benefits!

Replica Dreamfeather provides physical damage, attack speed, armor, and accuracy rating - stats that all work in unison to improve the build in more ways than one. Do not be deterred by the "3% Reduced Movement Speed" modifier because that is easily addressed by the Unstoppable node from the Juggernaut.

If you are going to purchase these swords from the trade website, aim to get those with the following corrupted implicits:

  • % Increased Attack Speed
  • % Chance to Gain Onslaught for 4 Seconds on Kill
  • Melee Hits Have 12% Chance to Fortify
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Replica Dreamfeather

Body Armor

Another mandatory piece of gear for the build is the Grasping Mail, specifically with the mods that increase your armor and evasion rating based on your overcapped fire resistance and cold resistance, respectively. This particular Grasping Mail costs a ton of currency because other Path of Exile players know what this armor is used for, so prepare your Divine Orbs to acquire this.

If you are going to craft this Grasping Mail yourself, make sure to acquire the aforementioned mods and carefully use "Prefixes Cannot Be Changed" when rolling for your suffixes.

For the Eldritch implicit modifiers, spam the body armor with Grand Eldritch Ichors to get "Determination/Grace Has % Increased Aura Effect" and Grand Eldritch Embers for "% Increased Effect of Non-Curse Auras from Your Skills". Elevating these modifiers using Orb of Conflict is greatly encouraged.

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Grasping Mail

Helmet

For the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut, you are going to equip a self-crafted helmet with some specific explicit modifiers. It also has the veiled prefix mod that raises the level of socketed AoE gems by two. If you want to know how to craft this helmet yourself, refer to our ultimate crafting guide for the step-by-step process.

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Self-crafted Armor-stacking Helmet

One of the biggest changes that GGG has made in the 3.24 Necropolis League that has impacted the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is that the reduced mana cost of skills veiled mod on flasks will no longer roll. As a result, you might run into issues with mana, especially when you are using Smite at a rapid rate.

If you do not have the self-crafted helmet above, you can use the Honourhome instead. This unique helmet has modifiers that perfectly suit this build, including +2 to level of socketed gems, added lightning damage, increased armor/energy shield, and up to 20% reduced mana cost of skills.

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Honourhome

Gloves

Despite being nerfed in the 3.23 Affliction League, Kaom's Spirit is still a great pair of gloves for this build. You are wearing this simply as a way to generate Rage, enabling you to activate Berserk.

Since they are quite cheap nowadays due to the adjustments GGG has implemented in Patch 3.23, obtain some Kaom's Spirit Gloves and double-corrupt them in the Temple of Atzoatl. If this is too much of a hassle, then just purchase these gloves with the corrupted implicit modifier, "Curse Enemies with Elemental Weakness on Hit" to improve Smite's damage against enemies.

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Kaom's Spirit

Boots

March of the Legion is a staple among armor-stacking builds, so its inclusion here is non-negotiable. What makes these unique Legion Boots special is that socketed skill gems are supported by level 25 Divine Blessing Support.

For this build, you are going to use Vaal Grace and insert it into the boots. This turns Grace from an "always on" aura into something that you can activate to gain a boost to evasion rating when needed.

Because Vaal Grace itself has the "Duration" tag on it, you can buy a corrupted March of the Legion with "+2 to Level of Socketed Duration Gems" for best results!

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March of the Legion

Amulet

The Eternal Struggle provides a ton of value to the build, particularly when you get one that has the implicit mod, "% Increased Effect of Non-Curse Auras from Your Skills".

In addition, you gain a culling strike effect to your Smite attacks whenever the Searing Exarch implicit has a higher tier than the Eater of Worlds. Conversely, if the Eater of Worlds modifier is more dominant, your critical strikes inflict a debuff that reduces the action speed and damage of affected monsters.

Anyway, anoint the amulet with Charisma (Opalescent Oil, 2x Golden Oils) to gain 16% increased mana reservation efficiency and 6% increased effect of non-curse auras.

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The Eternal Struggle

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Rings

The ideal rings to wear for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut are synthesized ones that have increased Determination or Grace aura effect as an implicit modifier. Because synthesized bases can be crafted on, use Harvest Reforge Chaos to guarantee the chaos resistance suffix. Do this until you get T1 fire and cold resistances.

After that, lock the suffixes and use a Veiled Chaos Orb. Bench craft "+ to Maximum Mana" before going to Jun to unveil. When you unveil, pick the mod, "+ to Maximum Life, Regenerate 5.3 Mana per Second".

Head to the Crafting Bench once more and add "+ to Maximum Mana, 5% Reduced Mana Cost of Skills", and then use an Exalted Orb to fill the remaining prefix.

Don't forget to use Prismatic Catalysts on the rings to enhance the resistance modifiers even further.

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Self-crafted Synthesized Ring

Belt

The Mageblood is an amazing belt to use for this build as it can greatly boost your armor just by using the right combination of flasks and flask mods. It goes without saying that because this belt guarantees permanent uptime of several magic utility flasks, this is quite expensive to get. You could spend anywhere between 140 to 350 Divine Orbs depending on the seller and the corrupted implicit modifiers that it might come with.

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Mageblood

Flasks

  • Granite Flask/Ruby Flask
  • Basalt Flask
  • Jade Flask
  • Stibnite Flask
  • Taste of Hate/Bottled Faith

Flask Mods

  • 60% Increased Armour (of the Armadillo)
  • 60% Increased Evasion Rating (of the Impala)
  • 17% Increased Attack Speed (of the Dove)
  • 20% Additional Elemental Resistances (of the Rainbow)

The Ruby Flask used to be an amazing flask for the build, but it has received some changes that make it only second-best. That is why we have updated our POB to include the Granite Flask instead.

Why the change, you ask? Well, the Ruby Flask in Patch 3.24 no longer grants 20% reduced fire damage taken. Instead, GGG has changed it to “+5% to Maximum Fire Resistance.” While that is fine in the beginning, it becomes useless whenever you put every necessary item for the build together.

Together with the Basalt Flask, the Granite Flask is just too tough to beat at this point. Remember that because of the pair of Replica Dreamfeathers, your damage greatly improves the more armor you have.

The Jade Flask and Stibnite Flask are added into the mix because you will be taking the Iron Reflexes keystone passive, which basically converts all of your evasion to armor.

Despite the change to elemental flasks, the Taste of Hate is still a cost-effective option. This grants you extra cold damage, as well as physical damage from hits taken as cold damage when the flask is active.

Bottled Faith is another useful alternative. The Consecrated Ground this unique flask creates allows you to deal more damage on monsters that step on it.

While pretty much overkill for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut, you can opt for the Progenesis to make you virtually unkillable. However, if you ask us, stick to either Taste of Hate or Bottled Faith.

Jewels

To be able to activate plenty of auras in Path of Exile, you need to use some jewels that will make that possible.

The Voices is a unique Large Cluster Jewel that allows you to put up to three small/medium cluster jewels. This is quite useful, especially if you are going to slot in a few small cluster jewels to improve your mana reservation efficiency.

That said, get at least a couple of Voices that have the modifier, "Adds 3 Small Passive Skills Which Grant Nothing". This is so that you still have plenty of passive skill points to work with. If currency is not an issue, you can even go for 1-passive Voices!

Brutal Restraint is another great addition to the build. Use the POB's "Find Timeless Jewel" feature to help you search for a Brutal Restraint that adds "20% Increased Evasion Rating" and "8% Increased Effect of Non-Curse Auras from Your Skills" as bonuses to the notable passive skills in its radius.

There is a reason why the Watcher's Eye prismatic jewel is one of the staple jewels in PoE. That is because it grants you bonuses that are too hard to pass up, particularly when you have certain auras enabled. Anyway, obtain a Watcher's Eye with the following modifiers:

  • % Increased Attack Speed While Affected by Precision
  • Gain # Life per Enemy Hit While Affected by Vitality
  • Damage Penetrates % Lightning Resistance While Affected by Wrath
  • + to Armor While Affected by Determination
  • % Additional Physical Damage Reduction While Affected by Determination
  • You Take % Reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes While Affected by Determination
  • % Chance to Evade Attack Hits While Affected by Grace

The Impossible Escape jewel lets you allocate some skill points to the passives that are not connected to your tree. Get one with "Passives in Radius of Chaos Inoculation..." so that you can take Whispers of Doom and Influence.

Last but definitely not least, get a hold of Small Cluster Jewels (mana reservation efficiency) and use Harvest Reforge Fire/Cold until you get these explicit modifiers:

  • % to Fire Resistance
  • % to Cold Resistance
  • 25% Increased Effect (35% when using ilvl 84+ small clusters)
  • 1 Added Passive Skill is Introspection

As to how many small cluster jewels you should get, that depends entirely on how many Voices you put on your passive tree.

With the mana changes that were implemented in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League, you may have to add even more small cluster jewels to address any issues you may have with mana and the mana cost of your skills, in particular.

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Gems

The Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut uses plenty of auras to help achieve its maximum damage potential. Because of this, 95% of the gems that you use are set in stone, leaving almost no room to swap them out for something else. This is important to keep in mind as we navigate through the different subsections.

Body Armor

  • Vaal Smite
  • Awakened Added Lightning Damage
  • Awakened Lightning Penetration
  • Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks
  • Awakened Multistrike
  • Volatility Support

Since Smite converts a portion of your physical damage to lightning damage, it is supported by Awakened Added Lightning Damage, Awakened Elemental Damage with Attacks, and Awakened Lightning Penetration to elevate the damage of the skill to new heights!

Awakened Multistrike is a support gem in Path of Exile that makes your main skill repeat a few times. Each repeat increases the damage of the skill gem it supports. In this case, a single tap of Smite's hotkey will have your character initiate three attacks instead of one. Besides that, the third strike is even more devastating than the previous two!

Volatility Support is a relatively new support gem that basically increases the damage range of your Smite and Vaal Smite.

Helmet

  • Purity of Elements
  • Determination
  • Wrath
  • Enlighten (lvl 4)

When it comes to enhancing the damage of the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut, Wrath is definitely one of the auras that you should have active at all times. This provides flat lightning damage, which synergizes really well with the Smite aura.

As an armor stacker, Determination is another crucial aura for the build. When active, Determination grants you a huge boost to your armor. This works great with the other "% Increased Armor" mods on your other pieces of gear.

Purity of Elements helps you maximize the Grasping Mail's unique effects. This aura makes you immune to elemental ailments as well.

To ensure that you have enough mana to activate all of these auras, you will use a level 4 Enlighten Support gem too.

Gloves

  • Vaal Haste
  • Purity of Fire
  • Purity of Ice
  • Enlighten (lvl 4)

Purity of Fire and Purity of Ice raise your Maximum Fire and Cold Resistances by 5% at level 23, respectively. If you are going to put these gems into Kaom's Spirit, it is important that the gloves have the corrupted implicit, "+2 to Level of Socketed Aura Gems". It goes without saying that the gems themselves should be corrupted to level 21 using Vaal Orbs to achieve level 23.

Vaal Haste is primarily used for the "Vaal" portion of the skill, so that your attack speed is increased for a brief period of time.

Boots

  • Vaal Grace
  • Berserk
  • Inspiration Support
  • Empower Support (lvl 4)

Vaal Grace is just an amazing aura gem for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut. This is similar to Determination, albeit this aura grants evasion rating rather than armor. But, with the Iron Reflexes keystone passive allocated, all of your evasion is converted to armor anyway. The Vaal Skill is great for whenever you are in a rough spot. But seriously, you don't even need to activate it because of your incredible tankiness. Still, it's a nice thing to have for survivability.

Berserk is included in this setup as a way to boost your damage for a limited time. You do not even have to worry about manually activating the buff because you are going to bind this on the left mouse button.

Inspiration Support reduces the mana cost of Grace and Berserk. You could say that this is mandatory, especially considering that Grace is supported by a Level 25 Divine Blessing Support due to March of the Legion.

Weapon

  • Ancestral Protector
  • Molten Shell
  • Precision

The Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut has a need for speed and, as such, you want to increase that by any means necessary. One way to achieve an even higher attack speed is by putting down the Ancestral Protector totem. Do this whenever you are fighting tough monsters and bosses.

Molten Shell is the preferred guard skill for this build because it synergizes well with the amount of armor that you have. Because this is not linked to Cast When Damage Taken Support, you'd have to manually activate this when you are in a bind. Don't worry, this does not happen too often!

Of course, Precision provides a ton of value to the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut thanks to the "Undeniable" notable ascendancy passive. This aura even boosts your crit chance, making your Smite attacks even more devastating!

It is important to note that you can no longer bind instant skills on the left mouse button in Patch 3.24, which means that Molten Shell now has to be placed on a separate hotkey to activate.

Offhand

  • Conductivity
  • Defiance Banner
  • Vitality

Aside from Elemental Weakness, Conductivity is used to further increase your damage against affected targets. This spell effectively reduces the lightning resistance of cursed monsters, though you have to cast it manually since it is not supported by Hextouch.

For the most part, you do not even need to use Conductivity while mapping. Only utilize it whenever you are fighting tough monsters or any of the pinnacle bosses in PoE.

Vitality increases your Rage generation. Since mana is tight on this build, just level it up to the point where you still have enough mana left to activate your other skills.

Defiance Banner, although not mandatory, is still a welcome addition to the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut. When it is active, it increases your armor and evasion rating by 24% at level 20. Defiance Banner reduces the crit chance of nearby enemies as well, thus improving your survivability.

Tattoos

The Tattoos from a couple of leagues ago have finally returned in Patch 3.24. Although some of them have been readjusted, there are those that are perfect for the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut. Here are the ones that we recommend:

  • Tattoo of the Rongokurai Warrior

    • 6% Increased Armour
  • Tattoo of the Ngamahu Firewalker

    • +6% Fire Resistance
  • Tattoo of the Ramako Scout

    • 6% Increased Evasion Rating
  • Tattoo of the VAlako Shaman

    • 5% Increased Lightning Damage

Passive Tree

Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut - Path of Exile 3.24 (11)

Passive Tree for Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut

POB

Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut

Final Thoughts

The Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut is one of the only builds in Path of Exile where you do not have to think about focusing only on offense or defense. That is because this build has got all of those things covered!

Smite is a very easy skill to utilize. When you are mapping, just search for packs of monsters and whack them with your lightning-infused weapon until they are dead.

When you face the tougher content in PoE, you can drop your Ancestral Protector totem and apply the Conductivity curse to ensure that you deal the most amount of damage possible.

Although this build is expensive to put up, each piece of gear you get is worth the investment for sure.

The mana changes GGG has made in Path of Exile 3.24 Necropolis League are rough, especially the flask mod and the jewels. But, despite all of that, this build still works really well; you just have to follow the tips that were mentioned earlier in the build guide.

If you are going to try the Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut out, make sure to bookmark this page to guide you along the way.

With all of that said, good luck on your adventures in Wraeclast, Exile!

PROS

+Damage scaling is infinite due to the armor-stacking mechanic

+One of the "immortal" builds in the game

+Smite is easy to use and provides a ton of value for the build

+Can deal with pinnacle bosses without any issues

+Still works great in Patch 3.24

CONS

-Very expensive to put up

-Uses quite a lot of unique jewels, some of which cost a lot of currency

-Mana changes in Patch 3.24 are rough, so you have to adjust accordingly

Armor-Stacking Smite Juggernaut - Path of Exile 3.24 (2024)

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