Improving Shields

I have personally little experience with Shields to know how much Block Chance and Block damage absorb damage compared to more traditional forms like Seal or Ascension. From what I’m hearing around the forums, though, it’s not nearly enough to counter the opportunity loss of not DW for full offense or the skill cooldown reduction of a caster off-hand. It’s nice that Shields are a good source of Physical resistance to those class combinations who don’t normally have it, but the item and skill mods on the shields are nowhere near effective enough to warrant using over other items.

I wanted to bring some discussion on that. First lets look at Shield affixes:
Eldritch - +2 to Summon Guardian: If you’re using a Shield, it’s going to be for either Retal or Aegis attackers, so I have no idea what granting +2 to this skill will accomplish.

Of the Glacier - +2 to Ring of Steel: Is it just me, or are points + to Ring of Steel everywhere, and there’s practically no use to this skill outside of Bleeding builds. Why would a Cold build need +Ring of Steel? Especially when you have “Of Shattering” which is better in every conceivable fashion?

Of the Hurricane - +2 to Static Strike: You’re giving up Shields or DW weapons that often give +1 to all Demo Skills for… +2 to Static Strike? This doesn’t make much sense.

Stormcharged: No resistances on a Shield item that’s known for resistances? Not even Lightning Retaliation for a prefix that has Chain Lightning on Block?

Wraithwarded: It gives some resistances, but if some prefixes have Attack Speed, why not give this one Cast Speed?

of Annihilation - +2 to Wendigo Totem: Is there any Green Shield where someone would want this suffix?

Of the Sage - +2 to Mortar Trap: Mortar Trap in general is extremely hard to get all the bonus points necessary to hardcap the skill line, so you’re not doing it with this excuse of a bonus, especially when you have an off-hand that does Mortar Trap better than any Shield would do.

Bane’Gargoth’s Shield - If you’re going to be focused on CD Forcewave, I would think the +3 to Flame Touched should be instead one of the Canister Bomb / Grenado / Ulzuin’s Chosen group and let people really get their Burn damage going.

Chillblood’s Carcass - Goes for Cold Bone Harvest but then has %Vitality damage? For a S&B Ritualist that likely has no Cold damage synergy between the two?

Obsidian Bulwark - Gives 20% Crit Damage to Blast Shield when the only non-offhand, non-2H Weapon that gives +duration to Blast Shield is… a Physical damage item. While this Shield gives Physical to Fire conversion… okay?

Wradlith’s Bulwark - Even on Normal, bosses have 100% Freeze resistance, so why would a Spellbreaker focus on a Shield when it could go DW and get all the nice Dual Blades bonuses?


Mythical Maw of the Damned - clearly meant for some kind of Ritualist / Cabalist S&B melee. If there was a Shield WPS that raised the WPS pool for this class, this might be pretty neat. But what’s with the Blood Boil bonuses? How does that help a melee fighter in any conceivable sense?

Hyrian’s Bulwark - Shield Nightblade! Yeah! Seriously, why are we promoting Shield Nightblade as a thing when Dual Blades gives you multiple good buffs and access to DW WPS?

The Grey Knight - Cooldown Forcewave + Judgment? Warlords have around 200 things that are better than this. The other skills bonuses: Heart of the Wild and Mark of Torment - are entirely useless. Shaman has no Physical RR to really make it worth it - especially since you’re not doing 1H + Shield Savagery, and the Necro bonuses would better help a WPS combat Oppressor / Death Knight, not a cooldown caster one.

The Epic shields I’m not really going to touch as the only reason you’d use them is for patching up resistance holes until you get the good stuff.

I wanted to also make sure this thread on Shield WPS outside of Shattering Smash isn’t ignored.


Please, seriously PLEASE, stop asking for bonuses and conversions to be removed or changed. Just because you don’t find it useful, or there isn’t a build posted here that makes use of it, doesn’t mean it’s inherently useless, or that something wont be discovered and posted in the future.

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Are we still doing the “Crate’s decisions for skill bonuses can never be questioned!” in 2021? And with ALL CAPS to boot.

If you decided to read the Grim Tools Item Database for Shields, you will find that there are ZERO Green shields that have Lightning damage bonuses. Closest one is an elemental shield that gives no bonuses to Demo skills. But keep telling yourself that giving a green shield a suffix “of the Hurricane” will be just what a gun (melee?) and board Purifier needs.

Shields already have a hard time standing up to off-hands and DW weapons. There is no need to add completely useless affixes to make the situation worse.


Are we still doing the “Crate’s decisions for skill bonuses can never be questioned!” in 2021?

There’s nothing wrong with that, but your suggestions are way more questionable - removing bonuses from affixes as if you had omniscient over every build that could be made now or in the future.

But keep telling yourself that giving a green shield a suffix “of the Hurricane” will be just what a gun (melee?) and board Purifier needs.

Nice strawman. There were plenty of crappier suggestions in your post, you just cherry-picked the only one I half-way agreed with. Yes I find a lot of those other +2 bonuses good - on paper. They are good to have. Even +2 to Night’s Chill on a shield.

Shields already have a hard time standing up to off-hands and DW weapons. There is no need to add completely useless affixes to make the situation worse.

Wrong solutions. Except for Stormcharged and Wraithwarded. Those are sensible suggestions.

It’s an idea thread man, not his personal line of guaranteed changes. If you have hot ideas for things he spelled out, then spell them out. Z doesn’t like impacting in place builds. But I’m not sure how:

“There were plenty of crappier suggestions in your post”


“Just because you don’t find it useful, or there isn’t a build posted here that makes use of it, doesn’t mean it’s inherently useless, or that something wont be discovered and posted in the future.”

are supposed to mesh. How do you know they are crappy without an idea of what they would be used for? It’s not like these are brand new items in 1.1.9, most of these have been around as long as the game and nothing useful has popped out.


And how should I go into detail? See, this is why I do not elaborate because I’m already being demanded proof - like I’m supposed to post a grimtools link for every single shield he mentioned, using those affixes and skills to their full extend. My argument is that someone could make use of those affixes, maybe through discovery or thanks to a future balance patch, and that there’s plenty of ways to buff shields without having to remove those bonuses i.e. add flat damage to Chillblood’s Carcass.

Like fuck, do you really need a grimtools link to know that +2 to Mortar Trap is inherently good? OP admitted so themselves. So why suggest removing it???

And even if I did post a grimtools, I’m pretty sure I’d run into a brick wall because there’s a lot of people here who don’t give a shit about survivability and they expect you to come up with damage on a shield build that’s comparable to using an off-hand or a 2nd weapon. Maybe they should add a new difficulty setting for Crucible (because Gladiator has been baby play for years now) so people can appreciate the additional layer of survivability that comes with using shields.

As a frequent HC shield user, the (I’ll use a nice term here) complexity behind them are not so much as to what stats are on them so much as the issue is, in order to make the damage reduction side via the block mechanic, is difficult outside of using soldier and the shield maiden/obelisk devotion combination.

Having a shield where the block chance is 35% with a 1 sec block recovery is where you can see the real pain when an item like this is say, strapped on a elementalist or vindicator. Outside of the 2 devotions you can’t better the block chance and the recovery, beyond 2 components is just as bad.

Ends up with the shield blocking garbage damage and is on Cd when you need it. And that’s not getting into the amount blocked.

Even when the shield, in grimtools, looks really good on paper, it still didn’t beat out (in certain build combinations I been playing with) more ADCtH, phys res, etc.

The TLDR of it is if there was some way for masteries (outside of soldier and oathkeeper) to scale block chance and recovery, they might see more use beyond the must have a shield skills, otherwise the OP makes a lot of good points in terms of the question of why would you use a shield over a weapon or OH. Also devotion choices…idea I had was to make the nodes in maiden devo to be all dmg and not just physical.

Is it the Occulant shield…I would like the thing to give 10% block chance and 20% recovery as opposed to 8/8 via PB. That would make it like what (guessing here) 45% base block with 0.8 recovery. Now sure you could use it with soldier and abuse the buff but…no extra rr shred so there is a payoff to use with with say witch hunter. You could use it as a dervish but you wouldn’t be at full potential without that offhand weapon but it would shore up some defense.


Zantai is the only person you have to convince. Just arguing back and forth, yes or no, about suggested changes won’t.

Playing ye ol’ good policeman - bad policeman goes a long way convincing him. :smirk_cat:

Well, it can have its place:

But I strongly agree on Eldritch, Of the Hurricane (which probably should have something like +2 to Wind Devil or Maelstrom thematicaly), and Hyrian’s Bulwark. The most concerning thing is +3 to Celestial Presence (it’s a tri-ele shield… why would you need only fire RR?) and lack of % DoT.

So personally I would replace +3 to Celestial Presence with +1 to Soldier to open up some more options for elemental Cadence rather than just going DW on everything. % burn, frostburn and electrocute should also be added.

Nightblade part of it is somewhat questionable, but I guess the idea was to use it on Mageslayer somehow? But then this shield would need some % AS and CS to support both casting and melee side.

Granted skill is a difficult case: its CD is low enough to be semi-spammable, and DR is applied only for 2 seconds. This means you should use it as soon it’s off cooldown to maintain this Damage Reduction. Unless you play Inquisitor of course - in that case it’s unnecessary. It’s also a bad proccer because of low CD.

Oh, and one more thing (the most important one): this granted skill uses generic casting animation instead of Forcewave one.

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this layer of survivability comes mostly only in those cases when you have Soldier as one of your masteries and can increase %block chance, amount of damage blocked, etc. And still it won’t be a panacea.
Obviously, other masteries can’t afford this, and equipping a shield results ina significant damage loss and a very arguable tankiness.

and also some words about some shields and MAYBE what could be done:

Wradlith’s Bulwark - as was said, there’s no reason for spellbreaker to use this shield instead of going for Dual Blades and that juicy phys res. Also, all NB’s wps are for DW so you obviously don’t want to lose them too.
Obsidian Bulwark - shiled for a purifier, caster that always lacks mana; the supported skills are also meh as RoK is one of the clunkiest and weakest Inq skills.
Chillblood’s Carcass - shield supporting 1h cold BH when 1h BH is overall weak and shows sth only on Deathguard set. Makes little sense, as well as proc chance (it’s ridiculously low, so it may be increased for 100% on block or 33% on being hit).

Spellscourge Bulwark - good shield but lacks phys res, as I’ve said before.
Occulant - has some odd bonuses for PB for the sake of S&B Dervish … why?

In general, non-retal shields could use some significant buffs:

  • increase base damage blocked and reduce the time of recovery;
  • add phys resist to those that don’t have it;
  • let the shields add their flat damage to skills so they would make more sense.

Budget builder’s perspective on some MIs.

Item Opinion
Obsidian Bulwark Probably useable for budget Paladin with Vire’s Might or Aegis for support. +20% crit damage to Blast Shield is such a joke.
Bane’Gargoth’s Shard Not interesting without at least 50% phys to fire for forcewave. Consider %fire damage for Chosen Gaze, also for Malmouth Vanguard Cuirass, move %bleeding from it to Dreeg Combatant Spaulders, which needs it more.
Chillblood Carcass With 30% proc chance and 0.65 recovery the effective proc rate is somewhere around 2.2 seconds tops. That’s with an assumption that I’m inside the crowd with enemies setting off my block on recovery cooldown, while realistically with Bone Harvest I’ll be nuking crowds down from a distance. In which case the effective proc rate will be one proc in 5+ seconds. But the numbers are balanced around a 1s cooldown. There are also problems with itemizations, like I’d really want Death’s Whisper Hood (which has elemental damage and Resilience mod btw, was it meant to support Fire variant?) but it’s only available if I get to Homestead without picking Necromancer.
Scarab Carapace I like it’s mod but honestly I just have no idea what it’s good for. There are some hints at PRM but PRM needs a lot of things, like hardcapped nodes, casting speed, energy, all of which are easy with offhands rather than shields.
Wradlith’s Bulwark Tried it for levelling, felt like pointless overkill vs trash. Also if I want to use OFF on spellbreaker I’d want Spectral Bludgeon, if I use a Spectral Bludgeon then I’d probably want to use TSS too, if I want to use TSS I want a Rolderathis tome. Alternatively a budget cold CT with Mark of Nacrathan but then it’s same problems as previously but all together - no skillbonuses, no skillmods, no casting speed, nothing to help with energy management, and absolutely no gear to support cold CT aside from Harra set and a few other legendaries.

There are precisely 17 Shields at the level 94 range where you can apply these suffixes / prefixes (16 MI shields and the 1 craftable shield that provides Physical RR to Ill Omen). It is not a huge stretch to look at these shields and point out that a particular prefix / suffix doesn’t synergize very well with any of them. Using Mortar Trap on a Shield specifically doesn’t make sense because Mortar Trap - being a 3 node skill - requires a huge amount of skill points to be worth it, and there already exists an off-hand that not only also gives +2 to Mortar Trap, but also provides very useful mods for it.

Zantai has made it explicit in his rules that his team has their big-boy pants on and doesn’t need anyone coddling them. If they don’t want to do something, they’ll make it known. I’m pretty sure Shield affixes haven’t been touched in a while, and it’s not a stretch to ask them to update them for the more serious demands placed upon equipment slots.

If anything, a good number of these Shields can use the amulet treatment that was given some time ago and have +1 to Demo / Soldier / Inquisitor (I pick these because they are the most skill-hungry) placed on them so they can be used as a good stat-stick with resistances and more freedom to focus your skillpoints on their main damaging attack.


I agree with the point about Wradlith Bulwark on Spellbreaker. Although the shield itself has a chance to spawn with the “Hoarfrost” prefix, adding an extra chance to prolong the freeze on Mageslayer OFF + Aeon.

But still, this trick can also be achieved with Rolderathis Tome with the “Of Death’s Chill” suffix or Spectral Bludgeon with the “Rimefrost” prefix. And both items have special use in Spellbreaker too. The +2 to Night Chill sure is nice, but for cold build, it’s not that hard to reach 20/10 Night Chill.

As the nerf of shield tank (and retaliation), somehow I think wearing a shield is redundant (pretty much lower dmg output, dw/2handed/offhands work much more great), (except for retal builds still useful), there are so many better options. Havent touch my Warborn Warlord for months. So yes, pls buff shields.

I’m only a noob that made his first actually not dogshit build with a soldier/paladin bleeding build, but it was also evident for me pretty quickly that if you don’t go soldier, then you probably shouldn’t use shields at all.

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