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A question on blocking w. shield

Q1: If I have ‘good’ blocking % for my level, do I still need protections (elemental, void, poison, necrotic)?

Q2: Is the blocking itself the main defense?

Q3: Tying in two previous questions, does my block protection also now act as my ‘main defence’, negating the need for the protections in Q1?

I ask as I am A) not used to shield builds, and B) want to make sure I have some good defenses for endgame.

Side question: has anyone ever loaded up on the thorny and reflection affixes on armour/shields? If yes, thoughts? Curious to see how it might play/survive/thrive.

Thanks in advance.

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The short answer is, that Yes you can use block as main defense, but you will have to settle with dying some of the times - if you dont want that. It is a no go :slight_smile:

  • Long Answer
    It’s** some really good, but very difficult questions you ask - but i will try to answer them as best i can. Keep in mind, that a lot of how to build your characters defense is still a lot up for debate. But i will state my thoughts on the topic.

Q2: Is the blocking itself the main defense?
Blocking is right now a really good defense, due to how high the block protection is on the best shield in the game. 1600 block protection + t5 suffix for 600 block protection. There is no other way in the game, where you can get such a high defensive bonus, with such a low investment. This make blocking really good for low lever characters, that have not been invested a lot of time in - but it will begin to flat out in endgame (i will explain later).

Blocking however suffer from one crucial thing, and that is, you can’t maintain 100% block chance. If i remember correctly you can reach 93% block chance on a paladin (and on other classes even lower). This is really good, but it causes some issues. On top of that, blocking, is only reducing hit damage and not DoT’s. On sentinels and in general the more tankier classes, DoT’s tends to be their weakness. 1) Because glancing blow Does not affect DoT 2) Because tanky classes tend to have lower health gain / leech / regen - so they are even more vulnerable to DoT’s.

Depending on what purpose you have for the character, a 7% chance for not blocking can be fatal - especially for high level characters. If you only use blocking as main defense, you would most likely experience one shots now and then. Which in most scenarios forces characters to use a second layer defense.

Here you have the options, Health, dodge, Ward or increase your protections further.

Q1: If I have ‘good’ blocking % for my level, do I still need protections (elemental, void, poison, necrotic)?

This highly depend on what class and materie you are playing. If you stack protection, it will be additive with your block protection, each time you block - so it would still be really good on certain classes. I used it on my paladin as a main defense, with blocking as an secondary defense. If you however tend to use block as an main defense, you problably would like to focus a lot on poison and necrotic, since they tend, to cause the most problems with damage over time.

Stacking Ward trough gain on hit idols, or Holy aura with blocking, is an extremely good way to mitigate the drawback from Block protection, since there is no cap for Ward and it will increase you eHP by a lot. The ward will then be “saved” for the bad times.
If you are curious to learn a bit more about the ward stacking on protections and blocking, you can read one of my older posts: Have ward finaly found its way to protections build? - HolyCoffee

Health and dodge i think, would problably give you the highest effective health pool. But the problem with dodge, is again the consistency. And consistency, seems to be a big factor for ARPG’s.

Last points about blocking
So if you are playing a sentinel, you can also get some really good idols for block protection that gives 500 (best rolled). You can have 4x of them, which will be total of 2000. All this block protections is so SO good, for how low investment you are making.

But when you start to minmax your character, block protection is loosing its value. This is because, of how few ways there are in the game, that actually can %increase block protection. As far i can remember, ring of shields, is the only way to actually increase the block protection, although its with 50% (so its really good). So maybe on a fully completely insanely minmaxed character, maybe block protection is not the right way to go, because all the %increase amour and protections and %increase elemental protection does not scale with block protection. This means, that if you have a two hand, with t5 affix 600 elemental protection, you need to have around 150% increase protections, to make it give the same, as the base of the shield. Although 150% increased protections is a lot, it is definently achieavable to get close to that amount. and at that point, you need to ask yourself, if the damage you sacrifice from swapping to shield, uplifting the defense. It problably will not be. But due to how good health gain on block is, and the reduction to dmg on block - it’s an really close call. If arena was a lot “shorter”, the would definently be the way to go. But going trough 300+ wawes, and hoping for all one shots getting blocked is a long shot.

A last note i will add is, that rallying block in forge guard, is one of the best nodes for block users, since it will increase your flat protection, so it goes well with, a pure protection build. And health gain on block (and ward), is also really good, and was the main reason i did use block on my paladin :slight_smile:

Sorry the long ramble, and i am kinda thinking i am missing something. As you can hear, i don’t have a clear answer to block, it depends on a lot of stuff. And as you also problably can see, i am still conflicted rather a not it is in “general” better go block or not go block hahah, which is the reason the tone is changing so much haha.


Marc makes a lot of good points, though he’s forgotten one or two & it’s my pedantic-arse raison d’etre to remind him of the minor points he forgot!

  • % reduced damage taken on block (up to 11-15% on a t5 affix)
  • Forge Guards Regenerator with a high hit-rate skill like Shield Throw can generate an un-godly amount of hp per second on a pack

Basically, to boil Marc’s excellent post down a bit, block is an excellent defense if you can go balls to the wall on it & get as much % chance as possible (Paladin, but with honourable mentions for Forge Guard & Void Knight). DoTs, however, will ruin your day (especially if you’re sitting in several puddles & leeching/Regenerator-ing lots from a big pack & didn’t notice) as will Necrotic damage for some reason. And you will notice non-blocked hits as they feel a lot spiker, you’ll go from 80%-90% reduction on a blocked hit to 30%-50% on a non-blocked hit (which could be ~7 times more damage if you go from 90% damage reduction down to 30%).

Personally I wouldn’t go all block protection, no normal protections 'cause you’d take a massive amount more damage on those non-blocked hits and dieing really sucks when you then have to start a monolith/arena run from scratch.


@marc7694 @Llama8 Thanks for the details guys !
The defense mechanisms aren’t really clear IG so it’s good to have more informations.

I’m facing the blocking issue too (unseen necrotic creature destroyed my pally, 80+% block) but i’ll try to find a way to balance him.

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Wow…I agree with Dagde. I was hoping for an answer, and what I got far exceeded what I was expecting. Kudos. You addressed all my concerns and points in great detail and depth.


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The undead chicken either hit you with necrotic mortars or the champion version has a charged necrotic aoe which really hurts. The best thing in that case is to just not get hit.

Yeah this is insane how you can die fast with those enemies (the soul cages are sometimes annoying when they are in hordes too, but probably because i lack of DPS to wipe them fast).

If in doubt, disengage & move to somewhere where you can safely dps them down. As my (grumpy old) raid leader was fond of saying, “you can’t DPS if you’re dead, so don’t ****ing stand in the ****”.


Dam it’s some good question you guys ask - which is the main reason i actually want to use a lot of time to answer these questions. Because you are asking the right questions.

So in general necrotic and poison is the worst of the worst. As @Llama8 is saying, the biggest counter to these type of damage, is a “Move and attack style”. This is of cause easier at ranged, but it can be done on melee as well. Knowing the attack animations on each monster helps a lot, which makes Last Epoch such an amazing game, since playstyle actually matters a lot.

Because of how important speed is in Last Epoch, movement speed on boots, and movement abilities plays a big role in your survival. This is one of the reasons, why you will see the top ladder builds, using a lot of movement abilities, like Sentinel using Lunge. Mainly because you want to stay on your toes all the time, since most of the necrotic and poison (and a bit void) is area effects, that stays on the ground - and can therefore not be mitigated by hit effects like block. I first really realized the biggest benefit of speed on my wawe 616 on my Spellblade - if you are curious to read even more about the game, i highly encourage you to read this post Thoughtprocess, Discussion and "journey" to reach Wawe 616 i made in last patch.

Depending on rather you are ranged or melee, leech/health gain plays a big part. On ranged, leech is a lot better counter to DoTs, since you will almost always be leeching. Melee however, is facing some new issues, that they can’t always leech. Most of the scary monster in the game at the moment, are actually ranged monsters that use area effects (mainly also because of how the characters are build, which is a completely another topic i will not touch here haha - it would get to long). So in order to survive your movement towards the monsters , health regeneration is the best way to go, together with some leech and health gain on hit. Heath regeneration is fairly easy to come by, especially on sentinels, with the use of sigils (that is used in most of the sentinel builds). Health leech have the benefit, that you can get more leech for lower investment (on higher dmg builds). Leech generate over 3 seconds, and is therefore a good counter to DoTs, since 3 seconds will in most cases give you a lot of time, to get to the next pack, before it’s run out. Health gain on hit is also good but for another reason. This is instant, and will helps a lot while you actually in combat.

  • Edit: A important affix to point out, is the “Damage dealth to mana before life”, this affix, is so SO good on builds that don’t rely on mana. You can get 25% reduced damage, by slamming a T5 on helm and chest.

Right now, there is two uniqs, that are particular good to counter necrotic and poison. Orian’s Eye and Sunforged Greathelm. Orian’s Eye, is by far my favorite uniq in the game. This uniq, allow you to completely forget about void damage. This give you a lot of room for customization. On top of that, the base of the item, “reduce damage for DotS” is the best base you can get on any tanky build. What i usually do, is i am using this, and almost every suffix on any of my gear, is just to scale flat poison and necrotic protections. However this uniq is really rare to find. If you don’t have this item, rare amuelets, can give %increase protection to poison and necrotic, which is really good on most classes, since it usually is more difficult to find %increase to void, poison and necrotic, than %increase to elemental.

The sunforge helm is also really good, since it’s so easier to get armor. On the tanky builds, you usually have 90%+ mitigation, and with a good rolled sunforge helm, it will helps a lot in the mitigation of necrotic and poison.

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Orian’s Eye seems wonderful indeed !
I didn’t think about the “Damage dealth to mana before life” but it’s an interesting option (even if it’s not adapted for my current judgement/sigils build).

It seems that i was on the good path but you added a new layer of thought processes for the global vision of my gameplays/builds. So thanks for your well-explained posts.

@Llama8 Regarding the soul cage groups, that’s what i do. But, when they remains in all direction (sticky groups), it can take a very long time especially if they regen their lives :smiley:

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