[Outdated] Dual Wield Physical Damage Duelist/Marauder Build

Dual Wield Physical Damage Duelist & Marauder BuildAfter leveling several characters and even more full respecs I’ve had trouble finding a fun and effective build that I wanted to play with. That is until I decided to make my own dual-wielding Duelist class build focused on Dual Strike and Cleave as main DPS tools. The point was to make a melee character with strong DPS and even better survivability to be able to solo any content in Path of Exile.

Note that this build (which I named The Shredder) can easily be used on a Marauder as well with barely any adaptations. More on that below.

Important note: the build on this page is outdated. See this post for an updated version of the Shredder after the patch 1.0.0 nerfs to Cleave!


Why Dual Strike & Cleave

Dual Strike deals massive single-target damage and doesn’t need a 6-link item to be effective. With fairly decent weapons my Dual Strike deals 12k DPS with only 3 support gems (no +quality). You can easily obtain 4-link items throughout leveling and you will quickly notice how fast and easy it is to speed through levels with this build.

My Cleave currently deals 8k DPS, also with only three support gems again without +quality. It’s a good AoE tool to dispense groups of monsters and you will be using it a lot.

I haven’t found any other abilities which would work even nearly as well as Dual Strike and Cleave.


  • Not dependent on gear: you don’t need any specific expensive unique items to make this work. There are a couple that help greatly but they aren’t necessary to make the build work.
  • No 5 or 6 link items required: that’s right, you can deal tons of damage without having to spend a single exalted on an expensive chest.
  • High survivability: with Kaom’s Heart chest I currently have 5k health which is enough to survive in a majority of high-level maps. My resistances are maxed but with my build you can easily put just one or two points into specific elemental resistance if you’re lacking. I’m running Grace (evasion) and Determination (armor) auras and have 67% physical damage reduction at level 86, along with 38% block chance (dual wield).
  • Defensive skill tree build: most points are put into defensive stats for increased armor, health and resists. If you end up hating the build for some reason you could easily change the build to something else entirely with 10-20 regrets.
  • Great mobility: Leap Slam and +30% movement speed help you get wherever you want to faster, or even jump out of tough situations.
  • Versatility: you can do any kind of maps; you are virtually unaffected by reflect which is the bane of many other builds. Even Blood Magic maps are easily done, you just need to be a bit more careful due to low armor (since you won’t be able to use Determination).
  • Fun to play: obviously everyone enjoys different things, but dying constantly isn’t fun for me which is why I prefer this build. Also shredding everything in your path with 8 attacks per second is unbelievably entertaining to watch.


  • Needs high health and resist gear: fortunately these are the only two stats you need to focus on. If you desperately need a specific resistance you can always put one or two points into the skill tree. Nearly all of your gear should have +health, until (or if) you get Kaom’s Heart at which point you can focus on anything else (chaos resist, damage, IIR/IIQ).
  • Needs one mana leech item: you will need gloves, ring or amulet with 2% mana leech. It’s not hard to get but you may have to sacrifice more useful stats because of it.
  • Half regen maps: you might have somewhat decreased DPS in half-regen maps due to the inability to leech mana at a normal rate (funnily enough no regen maps can be done without issues).
  • Low IIQ/IIR: it’s hard to get Increased Item Rarity and Quantity on equipment for this build, but then again every build except dual spark totem has the same issue.

Of all the builds I’ve seen I have to say that this one may very well be the one with least downsides. You have plenty of damage, you’re incredibly durable, fast to level up, works great even with average equipment, and no particular monsters are a problem.

Passive Skill Tree

My current level 86 passive skill tree build (104 points). It’s for the Duelist class but as you can see it goes all the way to the Marauder starting points and can be used by either class.

Key points: take health, dual wield block chance, armor, and resistances. There’s only about 10 points into pure damage and regardless you will have more than enough of it. If you’re needing an extra few points you can always take away a couple from damage and put into a specific elemental resistance (next to Diamond Skin in Marauder section).

Skill tree progression

There’s no clear benefits to playing either of these classes each one has its own advantages. Marauders can get to resistances and Resolute Technique earlier, Duelist can pick up Block Chance and more damage. I recommend you play whatever class you prefer, you can get to most important skill points early enough to enable the build to work well with either one.

Note that the skill point progression is more of a suggestion or a guideline rather than set in stone. If you’re needing extra armor while leveling don’t be afraid to go for it, it’s always just a couple of points away. If you need extra Intellect you can also pick up Ancestral Knowledge (Marauder) or Wisdom of the Glade (Duelist) earlier, and you can always remove the points if you don’t need them later on. A huge upside to this build is its flexibility, and you will get about 15 respec points throughout leveling from quests which will be more than enough to fiddle around with a few points as you see fit.

As a sidenote, if you want to maximize your experience gain read my leveling guide. With my build you won’t even need a group, they’ll just slow you down.


  • Iron Reflexes: converts all your evasion rating into armour. It maximizes the benefits you get from both armor and evasion on gear, passive skill points that further increase it and Grace and Determination auras. Your physical damage reduction won’t be under 50% even with the worst of gear. I mainly prefer armor over evasion due to its consistency: it’s better to get hit for low damage than for high damage every other time. You can always react with flasks, Molten Shell or just run away if you’re taking too much damage, while with evasion you’re typically dead if you don’t dodge several times in a row.
  • Unwavering Stance: with this point you can no longer be stunned, and if you have Alpha’s Howl (pictured below with equipment) you can’t get frozen either. You’re literally unstoppable.
  • Resolute Technique: there’s no point in worrying about +accuracy and +critical on your equipment or worse in your passive skill tree. It’s a waste of stat, and potential damage you lose from not being able to critically strike is more than made up for by never missing attacks. Try to get to RT as fast as possible. It also makes sure your mana leech is consistent.

Other notes

  • Expertise (+30 Dexterity above Marauder starting location): I needed extra +dex to equip a weapon: one of my weapons requires 212 Dexterity and this build doesn’t waste any points into it. If you don’t find the need for it feel free to put a point (or three) elsewhere.
  • Just below expertise you can put a point into Ancestral Knowledge if you wish to level up your Hatred aura further, although it’s not necessary. There is already one +30 Int point, Wisdom of the Glade, which is necessary.
  • Why no Blood Magic? Because we can’t run three auras with it. Plus it’s not necessary as Mana Leech covers all ability costs.
  • Why Celerity (+8% movement speed)? It’s just one extra point and I like to move fast.
  • Why 1 point into Lightning resistance? I’m at 68% lightning resistance currently so this point makes up for lack of it on my equipment.

Recommended Equipment

As mentioned very few specific items are required. Once you start farming maps focus on getting as much health as you possibly can and try to max out your resistances. If you need a mana leech item just buy a ring or an amulet for 1 chaos. Using a Mana Leech gem is a possibility, but it will drop your DPS significantly unless you have a 5/6-linked chest.

Two items which are amazing for this build are Alpha’s Howl head and Kaom’s Heart chest.

Alpha's HowlAlpha’s Howl

Once you get it you will be able to run Hatred Aura, but more important you can’t get Freezed any longer. Getting frozen by bunch of caster skeletons is the number one reason why I died before getting this headpiece so set your goals towards obtaining this: it costs 2 Exalted Orbs at most with a maxed roll, but you can purchase it for just over 1 Ex as well if you’re patient.

Another upside to this headpiece is that it enables you to use a third aura (Hatred) due to its 8% reduced reserved mana for auras, and it also adds 2 additional levels to auras you use in this item so your Grace and Determination are at level 22 and have increased effectiveness.

Kaom's HeartKaom’s Heart

Pretty much the bread and butter of every melee build in this game, nothing beats a +1000 health chest. I got lucky and it dropped for me but otherwise you might need to spend even 25 Exalted Orbs or more for this item. It’s not a realistic goal if this is your first character so use a chest with high armor or evasion, high health, and resists. You could purchase one for far less than 1 Exalted, unless you want 5 or 6 linked sockets (which as mentioned isn’t necessary).

With several % health regen skill points and Kaom’s I have over 200 health regen/second in addition to life leech from items (and 2% from passive skill tree). 95% of the time I’m at max health, only in extreme cases you have to resort to using Flasks, Rejuvenation Totem, or escape the engagement.


Any kind of weapons will do. Obviously you’ll focus on physical damage rather than elemental, but the upside is they are much cheaper if you want to buy them. Having lifesteal is helpful but not mandatory. I prefer swords (Rapier, Foil etc.) for their higher attack speed.


My current weapons. Higher attack speed can sometimes cover for a lack of higher physical damage. I currently have 12k/9k DPS with these average swords.


In general your equipment should prioritize resists, health, armor and evasion (in that order). Get one item with mana leech so you don’t need to use a gem, and try to save enough currency to buy Alpha’s Howl: the ability to use Hatred aura will increase your DPS quite a lot.

Mana Leech Gauntlets

The stats are far below average on my current gloves but having mana leech is crucial to making this build work.

Skill Gems

Dual Strike

Dual Strike

Your main single-target ability. You don’t need +quality since it only increases your critical strike chance which you have 0% due to taking Resolute Technique in the passive skill tree.

Support gems: Multistrike*, Melee Physical Damage, Faster Attacks (none are required with +quality but if you’re rich of course get them).



Multi-target damaging ability. Having +20% quality increases its attack speed by 10% so buy it if you can afford.

Support gems: Faster Attacks, Multistrike, Melee Physical Damage.

Leap Slam

Leap Slam

Since it scales with attack speed you can jump around the map extremely fast. I find it very useful in many situations especially as an escape tool if things get rough, but you’ll also be able to leap over some ledges or jump to pick up your loot quickly.

Support gems: I use Faster Attacks, but none are required. Blood Magic is preferred so you don’t need to worry about the cost. No +quality required (adds stun duration).

Rejuvenation Totem

Rejuvenation Totem

Extremely helpful when you run out of health and want to regen quicker. Quality adds increased totem life, helpful but by no means necessary.

Support gems: none required, you can use Blood Magic or Faster casting if you wish.

Molten Shell

Molten Shell

Shield absorbing over 2000 damage at max rank? Yes please. It also adds 1000 additional armor, further increased by your passive skill tree. When you expect damage, walk into tons of melee mobs or fight against particular bosses it helps prevent a lot of damage and might just save your life. +Quality only adds chance to ignite monsters so don’t bother with it.

Support gems: none required, I use Blood Magic. Faster Casting is also a good choice. No quality necessary.



Adds 1300ish additional evasion rating at max rank, further increased by multiple points in your passive skill tree. Incredibly helpful as it increases your armor substantially. +Quality only adds radius so feel free to skip it.

Support gems: Reduced Mana, Blood Magic if you don’t have Alpha’s Howl and think you can afford losing 400 health. +Quality on Reduced Mana gem does not work on auras (intended).



Further increases your armor by 50%. A must have aura with no +quality required.

Support gems: Reduced Mana.



Unless you have high amounts of health you don’t want to use it at first. You can use it as soon as you get your Alpha’s Howl. +Quality only adds increased radius therefore not necessary. Be careful about Intelligence requirements: you might not want to level this gem past level 10 (it has miniscule DPS increase anyway).

Support gems: Reduced Mana. No +quality needed.

* Multistrike is not a frequent skill gem drop and you may have to purchase it (typically around 3 Chaos Orbs). It can not be obtained from quests. As an alternative you can use Added Fire Damage until you can obtain Multistrike.

All the other gems are easily acquired from quests or drops, and if you happen to need one you can easily buy it for as little as 1 Orb of Alchemy.

Gem rewards from quests

Skill gem Duelist Marauder
Dual Strike Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Normal) Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Normal), Mercy Mission (Act 1 Normal)
Cleave Dying Exile (Act 1 Normal) Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Normal), Mercy Mission (Act 1 Normal)
Leap Slam The Caged Brute (Act 1 Normal), Intruders in Black (Act 2 Normal) The Caged Brute (Act 1 Normal), Intruders in Black (Act 2 Normal)
Rejuvenation Totem Lost in Love (Act 3 Normal), Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Cruel) Lost in Love (Act 3 Normal), Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Cruel)
Molten Shell None. The Caged Brute (Act 1 Normal)
Grace Enemy at the Gate (Act I Cruel), The Caged Brute (Act 1 Cruel), Lost in Love (Act 3 Cruel) Enemy at the Gate (Act I Cruel)
Determination Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Cruel) Enemy at the Gate (Act 1 Cruel), The Caged Brute (Act 1 Cruel), Lost in Love (Act 3 Cruel)
Hatred The Caged Brute (Act 1 Normal), Intruders in Black (Act 2 Normal) Intruders in Black (Act 2 Normal), Lost in Love (Act 3 Normal)
Faster Attacks (x2) The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Cruel & Merciless), Sharp and Cruel (Act 2 Cruel and Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act 3 Cruel and Merciless) Mercy Mission (Act 1 Merciless), The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act 3 Merciless)
Melee Physical Damage (x2) Mercy Mission (Act 1 Cruel) Mercy Mission (Act 1 Cruel & Merciless), The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Cruel & Merciless), Sharp and Cruel (Act 2 Cruel & Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act 3 Merciless)
Reduced Mana None. Sharp and Cruel (Act 2 Cruel & Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act 2 Cruel & Merciless), Mercy Mission (Act 1 Merciless), The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Merciless)
Added Fire Damage (x1) The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Normal) The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Normal & Merciless), Sharp and Cruel (Act 2 Normal & Cruel), Sever the Right Hand (Act 3 Normal & Merciless), Mercy Mission (Act 1 Cruel)
Blood Magic Mercy Mission (Act 1 Merciless), Sharp and Cruel (Act 2 Merciless) Mercy Mission (Act 1 Cruel & Merciless), The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act 1 Cruel & Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act 3 Cruel & Merciless)

Just now when compiling the list above I noticed how Marauders have easier access to most skill gems you need so you may want to try my build with Marauders rather than Duelists. I hope the table helps you plan your quest rewards and figure out which gems to take. However none of these skill gems are expensive and you could buy everything you need for just a few Chaos Orbs.


If you’re running a 5 or 6 linked chest you can use Added Fire Damage as an additional support gem, or even as an alternative to Multistrike if you for some reason prefer. AFD deals less damage than Multistrike but only slightly.

Also you may want to consider using Increased Item Rarity and Increased Item Quantity support gems on Dual Strike once your Cleave is strong enough for fast clears. My Dual Strike linked with Culling Strike + IIQ + IIR support gems still deals 5k damage, more than enough to finish bosses and rare monsters for noticeably increased drops.

At later stages when your Cleave reaches about 10k DPS or above and you get your Kaom’s, you can consider completely removing Dual Strike. Four added gem slots will enable you to switch Grace for Haste (or even Purity) aura in your head piece, and use Grace, Anger and Wrath with a Blood Magic support gem. That way you can run 6 auras for increased damage at the cost of only 600ish health.

As a bonus you can also run Clarity for increased mana regeneration if you have problems in half-regen maps.


Rejuvenation Totem and Molten Shell are definitely not mandatory in this build. It’s just the way I like to play but you could switch them with some curses if necessary.

  • Enfeeble – affected monsters have reduced Accuracy, Critical and Damage. Even a rank 1 Enfeeble reduces monster damage by 25% so if you have trouble surviving in some situations or against particular bosses feel free to consider it.
  • Vulnerability – increases your physical damage by 25%-34%. Be careful about leveling it fully as level 20 Vulnerability requires 151 Intelligence.
  • Warlord’s Mark – you gain increased life and mana leech on affected monsters: 3%-7% life leech and 1-3% mana leech depending on gem level. You can easily level it to 20 as it only requires Strength. If you need extra life leech or can’t get mana leech any other way consider using Warlord’s Mark.


  • Normal: help Oak and get +40 health
  • Cruel: help Oak for +18% physical damage
  • Merciless: kill them all (+1 skill point)


I prefer using a setup of 2 health flasks, 1 hybrid (for cases if I run out of mana), 1 Granite and 1 Amethyst. You can see the flasks that I currently use below:


They aren’t perfect rolls (except the Hybrid one) but they serve the purpose. I think it’s very important to have one “instant recovery when on low life” flask for situations when you suddenly drop near death, due to my low Chaos resist I like having an Amethyst one in case it’s needed, and the Hybrid one helps in case you happen to run out of mana and need to Leap Slam or use a Rejuvenation Totem.

I also like all my flasks to have either bonus Armour or Evasion on use which is further scaled with the passive skill tree. Doubling your armor for nearly 5 seconds with a Granite Flask is crucial to surviving things like Vaal’s smash and such.

With the high movement speed and overall mobility of my Shredder build I never felt the need to use Quicksilver Flasks, although I did notice that many players often use 3-4 of them for reasons unknown to me.

Gameplay Videos

I recorded several map runs so you can watch the build in action. My full gear at the time of recording it is here. As you can see besides the two unique items my gear isn’t anything special.

You can watch many more of my boring map runs in this playlist, also embedded below.

If you have any specific map run requests or something else let me know!

Closing Thoughts

From all the builds I’ve seen the Shredder is the most versatile in my opinion. There’s no monsters or skills you need to be afraid of and unlike many other builds it doesn’t require 50 Exalted Orbs to be viable, in fact it doesn’t require any specific gear. It’s very flexible while leveling and enables you to overcome shortcomings on your equipment with a few skill points into armor, resistances or health which are always conveniently placed. The build’s extremely high attack speed (I’m currently doing 8 attacks per second) is a thing to behold and you’ll probably spend the first few hours laughing your ass off at how ridiculous it looks.

In all my Wraeclast adventures I came across one or maybe two dual-wielding Duelists with (possibly) the same build so this isn’t extremely popular among players. If you’re looking for a fun, effective, fast leveling, low-cost melee build that isn’t used by every other player than this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Questions? Feel free to ask me anything about the build and I’ll do my best to answer it.

There are 173 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Yes /

    Just one note, I would advice that you get the 2x 10% life passives on the left side near Bloodless rather than the 3 on the right side after Beef. You would spend 3 points getting the 2x 10% and 1x for 10 str as opposed to the 3x 6% life which is 18%.

    I started playing PoE a few days ago and the duelist is my very first class. I’m lvl 64 and have been dual wielding for a bit now with the insane APS (not quite 8/s though). Where my build differs a bit is I get Vaal Pact for the instant life leech and the AOE increase passives near Amplify. A mistake I’ve made is that I didn’t get any of the right side defensive passives, but I’m using regret orbs to try and change my build.

    Thanks for this guide

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      admin / Post Author

      You’re right about the life passives, that was a slight oversight on my part when making the progression.

      I prefer not taking Vaal Pact: takes additional 7 points to get there which is more than I can afford with this build, plus I have no shortage of lifesteal without it. 200 health regen/second (with Kaom’s) is actually quite an effective defense as well. I guess you could skip the nodes around Blood Magic (like this and it would work just fine, the downside is losing -20% health and 2% lifesteal.

      Another 10 points would be required to get to the AoE increase passives you mentioned since it’s all the way in Templar starting location, I suppose you could sacrifice life nodes close to Iron Reflexes for that but I doubt it’s worth it (-46% life, -20 dex, -30 str, -30 int — for 16% armor, +6% life, +10 int, +20% radius). Seems like a bad trade.

      I still like my build better but if you prefer some other points by all means go for it. Either way Regrets aren’t too hard to come by.

      1. Yes /

        Hmm. That second build you made looks very nice for a Vaal Pact build. What are your thoughts on the passive? (assuming that its convenient enough to reach)

        Also, I used to use a Blood rage gem. Would you consider changing your rejuv totem for one to put you over 8 aps?

        And lastly, what about removing cleave and putting a melee splash with your dual strike in a 5L piece (wep or chest). That way you dont have to keep alternating between attacks and you can select another skill to use, maybe a curse.

        1. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          I don’t think Vaal Pact is necessary, I dislike focusing too much on lifesteal on my equipment (getting high damage is hard enough :D ). Also health flasks are far too useful in critical moments to be replaced by something else, at least it’s how I like to play. If I drop to 10% on a boss it’ll be risky to get back in the fray to lifesteal. Also even without Kaom’s Heart you should have over or at least close to 100hp/second regeneration, and you can use a Rejuvenation Totem if necessary.

          I tried Blood Rage once while leveling, I dislike having to use it constantly. I never had the need for any active DPS boosts but you’re welcome to test it if you like, you can easily replace Molten Shell or Rejuvenation Totem, they aren’t that crucial to have. You will almost never get the low life bonus from the gem since it’s unlikely you will drop low often. Basically you would only get 4%+ life leech (you won’t need it) but also take quite a lot of chaos damage as a drawback.

          I tried Melee Splash on Dual Strike, it just didn’t have the damage like Cleave does. Also I think the radius is a bit lower as well (not sure). I also prefer Cleave because (and I know this is a weird reason) I don’t have to target/click on a monster; it’s a bit easier since recently due to the addition of monster health bars but I just got used to Cleaving.

          The only useful curse I’ve used on this build is Enfeeble. It can easily replace Molten Shell or Rejuvenation Totem, or even Leap Slam if you dislike it for some reason. You can leave it at rank 1, -25% monster damage is good, but I currently don’t even have a blue socket to use the gem (I could only get it on a weapon I guess). When I die it’s usually because I get 1-shotted or get hit by 10+ monsters with mods like double +100% damage and more critical: by the time I notice it I’m usually deal already and the curse probably wouldn’t even help.

          The build is overall pretty “fast” and you don’t have to stop to throw curses or buff yourself, which is really great for my style of play. You’re leaping from one monster group to another so quickly that stopping really takes the fun out of it :D

          I never felt the need to have more damage (possible because some of my other shitty builds on other classes had virtually no damage), but you’re more than welcome to experiment with Blood Rage, Frenzy, or something else. I’m sure it can work just as well.

  2. Joe /

    “funnily enough no regen maps can be done without issues” – could you elaborate on that?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I never bothered to look up for an an official confirmation, but from what I can tell half regen mod affects the mana leech rate as well, so basically I’m leeching half mana and every 10th attack or so is basic attack, not ability, since I have no mana to use it.

      On no regen maps the mana leeches at a normal rate and I have enough to use Dual Strike or Cleave constantly without any downtime.

      Hope that explains it. I have a no regen map run recorded and if you’re interested I’ll try and upload it later so you can see it goes flawlessly.

      1. Joe /

        Thanks for the quick reply :)

        I’ve got a very similar build and a rare 68 with no regen lying around (didn’t want to spend a chaos on it) – I’l give that a go now and see how it goes :D

    2. admin /

      I managed to upload several videos, they are pretty boring to watch but you can see how the build works and looks in action.

      Dunes (66) map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j46_rm7cq5g (solo run)
      Crypt (66) map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WD4WC8M6pI (solo run)
      Thicket (67) map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4hpzCQ52Ik (no regen mod + physical reflect)
      Cells (73) map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGlSks6OLIw (group run)

  3. jobo /

    Can you post your current gear w/ links?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author
  4. Lionel /

    I’ve look on your quest and reward, for the Bandit quest. Why not taking the +8 to all elemental resists?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      40 health is in my opinion superior considering how many points this build has in +health. But now that I think about it +8% resistances would definitely be better once (or if) you get Kaom’s Heart.

      I’ve read somewhere that devs are looking into enabling us to change Bandit quest rewards so it might not matter as much in the future. Anyway, I’d recommend 40hp for newer players and +8 resists for those with other characters who are more rich and may one day be able to afford Kaom’s.

      1. Lionel /

        therefore, it is much more advisable to get this 8% to all resistent? by the way, is it possible to follow your passive build but not the equipment that you recommended?

        1. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          The thing is, if you have Kaom’s you don’t really need any extra health, and if you have some other chest chances are it has +30 or more on elemental resistances (even all 3 aren’t hard to get). In the end I don’t think it matter much which rewards you take, feel free to take resists if you want.

          You can of course use any equipment that works for you. I doubt you can find anything better than Kaom’s and Alpha’s for those slots. Having a different headpiece means you can’t use Hatred aura, which adds substantial DPS. I just tested it with my gear: 10549 DPS on Dual Strike without Hatred, 12818 with.

          Kaom’s only adds defense, I think I’d die a billion times without it after level 83 and it would make further leveling nearly impossible. 5/6 linked chest would increase your DPS but decrease your survivability.

          Every item piece is optional. These two uniques work very well for me but you can do just fine without something else. I was level 80+ when I got both pieces and I managed just fine without them.

          1. Lionel /

            Hi there, So the main of all your equipment is this Kaom and alpha? Sorry for asking so many question, Quite new to this game and have just started. Currently following ur passive build and now 17 level. Just finish Act 1 and i only able to get cleave, dual strike shock wave totem and viper strike~

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            Yeah, Kaoms and Alphas are the only two specific, more expensive items I recommend getting, on all other gear just focus on life and resists.

            I included the quest rewards for gems so it should help you plan when you’re getting them. If you need any other gems just ask in trade chat I’m sure someone will be willing to sell it for 1 Alchemy, or even give it away for free.

  5. Lionel /

    Thanks for the advice. By the way, is there anyway to hunt this 2 item? high chance of dropping in which act? i want to try to hunt this 2 to test it out~

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      admin / Post Author

      Unfortunately no, it’s a random drop and you have to get pretty lucky. Alpha’s Howl is only 2 Exalteds so you can purchase fairly easily, but Kaom’s takes a significant amount of farm. Good thing is (as mentioned) you can do without them.

      1. Lionel /

        Alright, thanks. By the way, can i ask you something? those skill you recommended under skill gem, is it a must or best recommended for your guide? Currently Level 17, i love Dual strike, cleave and leap slam~
        Furthermore, i have no idea where to get the support gem~ T.T

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Skill gems listed are those that I’m using. Dual Strike and Cleave are main damage dealing abilities for this build and it’s unlikely anything else will work just as well (although you’re more than welcome to test something else if you want).

        Both Grace and Determination auras are incredibly useful and substantially increase your armor. Leap Slam is far too useful in my opinion to be skipped but if you feel you don’t need it you can use something else. Molten Shell and Rejuvenation Totem are useful in some situations. As I mentioned above the only decent alternate spell you might want to use is Enfeeble curse.

        All support gems you need can be obtained from quests, except for Reduced Mana which isn’t necessary anyway unless you want to run 3 auras.

        You can always adapt the abilities to your own play style, if you test something else I’d love to hear how it turned out for you, perhaps it’ll help someone else as well.

        1. Lionel /

          Hi there, Thanks for the advice. I will try the way u recommend, don’t mind if i change some and if i tried out something new, i will share with you~ Happy Gaming! Playing Singapore server, If got chance, lets play together~ ^^.v

        2. GoceDelcev /

          I am trying your build, and so far, its really easy to do the quests.
          I am currently level 33 or so and i just walk trough the maps. Currently at act III, going to kill the general soon.
          I am a bit perfectionist, so i go trough the maps, and don’t advance till i kill all the creeps.
          I am using cleave for creeps, and for bosses, mainly puncture and viper strike (the combination of those two seems to be doing lots of damage to bosses, along with cleave or single hit just for leeching). For auras i use only frenzy, no totems…
          Also, i usually just run trough the map and gather all the creeps together so i can kill them faster. :)
          The only way when i can die is when i gather too many dps creeps together with the boss and i don’t move fast enough to refill with vials…

          1. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            Unless you have really amazing leveling gear you probably will have to change your playstyle a bit, it gets harder in Cruel and Merciless.

  6. Lionel /

    Hi there, want to ask some regarding about skill gem. Like for example Dual Strike, does it matter in putting it on the boots or putting on the weapon. and those like aura gem,

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Skill/gem isn’t any different regardless of which equipped item you put it in, but boots can have 4 sockets and your weapon can only have 3, and having 1 additional gem socket can and will further increase your DPS quite a lot.

      You can put auras anywhere you like they are equally effective: I placed mine in the helmet since it has aura-specific bonuses. Until you get Alpha’s Howl feel free to put your aura gems wherever you have a free socket.

      Sidenote, you can use alternate weapons to level up gems which you don’t currently use but might need. The weapons have to be equipped but not active. If you switch a piece of your equipment and don’t have sockets for all the gems you need just place them in alternate weapons to make sure they keep getting experience.

      1. Lionel /

        Alternate weapon to level up gems? i don’t really understand what this means.

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        You can have two different weapon sets equipped at the same time (so basically like 4 swords), but only one of the sets can be active at any given time. Pressing “X” hotkey will quickly switch between them.

        You don’t gain any stats or benefits from inactive weapons in those slots but any skill gems in them still continue to gain experience and levels. If you want to test different skill gems and replace some of the skills you might end up using afterwards place them in alternate weapons to make sure they keep up with levels.

        If that doesn’t explain it let me know I’ll grab some screenshots :)

      3. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        I made a short vid which hopefully explains it better: http://youtu.be/OK0V5EoLrzI.

        It’s my first such video so I hope it’s not too lame. And I need a better mic.

        1. Lionel /

          Thanks, the video is okay for me. By the way, if you switch weapon those skill gems inside the inactive weapon will it also level up?

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          Yup, the gems still get experience and levels.

          1. Lionel /

            WOW! Thanks for the tips. I never knew that~ i will up my skill gem’s level. By the way, once max the gem level, can it still be sold to other people.

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            I typically keep certain support gems in alternate weapons and try to level them up to be sold later on. Level 20 Life leech, Life on hit, Reduced Mana always sell easily. You could get 1GCP for each, it ain’t much but it adds up and doesn’t require any extra work.

  7. lionel /

    Hi there,

    improve the quality of the gem will it fail?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      No using a Gemcutter’s Prism on a skill gem can’t fail. However, don’t waste them: GCP is a valuable currency and you don’t want to use them unless you already have a gem with at least 12% quality.

      +Quality gems aren’t necessary for this build to work so I would recommend you keep those for very late game when it’s the cheapest upgrade. Focus on getting decent items first, and for that you will need a lot of GCPs. Don’t waste them for now.

      1. Lionel /

        I’m able to get all the skill and support gem that you’ve recommended. Now the main problem is equipment. Gonna find better and nice equipment. Furthermore Kaom hearts have no socket, my dual strike and the support gem are all in my chest mail. If i get Kaom Heart i think i have find other alternative to slot in these gem. Any suggestion?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Don’t worry it might take quite awhile until you’re able to get Kaom’s. It’s pretty expensive and rare to drop, but well worth getting if you plan on leveling past level 85 (makes it 5x harder for you to die with it).

        I always keep at least one equipment piece for every slot that I previously used in my stash. It helps if you want to experiment with items, or if you get a new item often it lacks a particular resistance which may be supplemented by equipping some other other I had. It’s sort of like a game in itself trying to maximize the stats :D .

        Don’t waste too much currency on items below level 50. Once you start farming Merciless Docks and move on to Lunaris and maps you’ll start getting decent items . As I mentioned focus on health, resistances, armor/evasion. Your damage comes from decent weapons, not from “1-4 increased physical damage” on other items. 2500 health is a bare minimum for maps so you don’t die every other run, and keep your resistances maxed if possible. You don’t have to focus on Chaos resistance, just be careful around monsters that deal Chaos damage — high health pool (and a flask) will keep you alive long enough.

        1. Lionel /

          Okay, well i start to understand already, but my question is if you are using kaom’s heart, i believe that u will have no socket for you plate right. Then where do you put the those skill and supported gem
          Kaom’s heart u can put socket into it?

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          Cleave and Dual Strike in my boots and gloves, 3 auras + reduced mana in head, the rest in weapons (3 gem slots per weapon). Fits perfectly. You can’t put any gems in Kaom’s.

          1. Lionel /

            Got it, thanks for the tips. By the way, just an out of topic question. Do you have any guide for Shadow?

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            I posted some links to viable Shadow builds here, it might help. Never played a Shadow so I’m not very familiar with it. Players mostly tend to go Freezing Pulse or Ethereal Knives from what I can tell.

  8. Lionel /

    Hi there,
    I dunno where i go wrong, when im into cruel mode act 2, under the chamber of sin, i was bullied by a bunch of skeleton which cast lightning. my lightning resistance goes to 50% im not sure whether is’t enough or not. FYI, im level 44 and the mobs level is 43, im not sure whether it affects or not. Currently only able to on 1 aura to fight (Determination) and my defense goes up to 1500+ (Im not sure is’t enough or not). Furthermore, i realize that some other player they to tell me that cleave is quite useless when go into higher level, is hardly survive in cruel mode or merciless mode, what’s your opinion? Btw, the also suggest that dual strike is better to change to some other AOE skills when u reach merciless mode. What do you think?

  9. Lionel /

    In addition, How will it be if replace dual strike with Heavy strike? What is the difference? One recommendation from a player is link Heavy strike with melee physical damage, multistrike and life leech.
    Some player they were asking, why not max the whole circle of diamond skin rather then just stop at Diamond skin?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Heavy Strike works with Axes and Maces, I prefer using swords. Dual Strike works just fine for me though and I dislike the knockback mechanics. I never actually tried HS with my build so I can’t say for sure if it has equal DPS, but if you link it with Life Leech I doubt it can have the same DPS. Remember that Cleave also works only with Axes and Swords, which would mean you would have to get Axes: I never found a decent one to be honest. Seems to me swords are easier to obtain, and cheaper if you buy them.

      I got enough resists from my gear so I don’t need to put any more points into resistances, but the build is conceived in such a way that you can and perhaps should place a point or two into additional elemental resists if necessary. You will likely replace gear very quickly considering your level so take that into account. If you need a specific resistance spend a point or two, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      I’m not sure how much 1500 armor gives damage reduction at your level: try to stay above 40% physical reduction minimum, but note again that your gear will change often in the next 20 levels or so. Grace will also add a significant amount of armor. You should already be able to use both Determination and Grace if you link both with a Reduced Mana support gem.

      As for your other question, a larger group of casters bullies anyone almost regardless of resistances. The build is strong and durable but not invincible. You should find a group to do quests with and then farm easier areas like Fellshrine, Ledge or Docks to gain experience. Until you get maxed elemental resistances and possibly Kaom’s Heart 10 skeleton casters all focusing you will always be a problem. I suggest you try using your Rejuvenation Totem as bait and Leap Slam to dodge incoming missiles, it should help you clear such packs.

      Cleave has nothing to do with survivability directly, I don’t see why it would become useless in Cruel and Merciless. I am trying to level up Cyclone gem for the past couple of weeks and see if that’s a decent replacement, it appears it could potentially do more damage than Cleave so you’re welcome to try it out.

      If you want to you could completely skip using Dual Strike and just have Cleave, but your single-target DPS will suffer for it. My Dual Strike deals about 60% more damage than Cleave so it’s well worth using in my opinion. Plus there’s no other abilities that I need using so despite the apparent lack of gem sockets due to Kaom’s it’s not an issue.

      Hope that answers your questions.

      1. Lionel /

        If im not be able to on 3 aura at the same time, im only able to on 2. So just on Grace and determintion? Ignore the hatred? Furthermore, your explaination is clear, I’m getting a clear picture. By the way, dual strike is single target attack. Have u tried on using other thing besides this? What i’m trying to say is instead of Single target attack, replace it with other aoe effect skill?
        Some of my friend saying that they find that AOE skills are way much more better than single target attack. I like the speed that currently my dual strike do. But what is your opinion with AOE and Single target?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        You’ll use Hatred once you get Alpha’s Howl, it’s not expensive anyway. Your DPS should be okay without it anyway, but if your armor is decent and you feel like you don’t need Grace for now feel free to use Hatred.

        I’ve tried other abilities except Dual Strike but none have worked well for me: either the DPS was lower or I just disliked using them for whatever reason.

        Since you are able to use both single-target and AoE skills why not take advantage of that? Using only Cleave means your DPS is much lower when fighting a single monster, and there’s no point in having two different AoE abilities. Using Dual Strike only without an AoE ability wouldn’t make any sense in this game (except perhaps with Melee Splash).

        Basically AoE is a must-have and single-target abilities are not, but Dual Strike deals way too much damage to be ignored in my opinion.

        1. Lionel /

          For the dual strike have u ever tried to switch 1 of the support orb into melee splash? Which one would be possible to take out to replace melee splash as i really cant think of which can be replace as i also like the speed and damage of current dual strike. (Just that wanna try something new.) Another thing i wan to say is, so, your recommendation for my current stage is to use hatred and determination for the time being?

          PS: is there anyway to contact you more directly? i feel like got tons of question wanna ask you :-)

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          With 4-sockets you can’t use Melee Splash on Dual Strike because its damage would drop too much. I’ve tried it 5-linked before I had Kaom’s, it dealt less damage than Cleave (Melee Splash gem was only at level 12 or so but I didn’t think it would make enough difference even if fully leveled). I suppose Multistrike is the least required support gem on Dual Strike so replace it if you want and test your heart out. You might find it effective.

          Use whatever two auras you feel are best: if you need more armor use Determination and Grace, if you have enough physical mitigation then use Hatred for additional damage. It depends on your current gear. Personally I would always prefer more survivability rather than damage, you may kill monsters a tad bit slower but dying will start taking a significant chunk of your experience in Merciless.

          I actually prefer you asking questions here, that way it might help someone else too :D

  10. Lionel /

    Alright, For cyclone, will you still recommend to use Faster Attacks, Added Fire Damage, Melee Physical Damage for the support gem?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Yeah, I think the same support gems should work best as with Dual Strike.

      1. Lionel /

        Alright, thanks. By the way, replacing sword into axes will it be dealing more damage to mobs? Axe deal more damage than sword right?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        It depends on the weapon. I’m not sure but I think Axes more often have elemental damage mods and swords are easier to get with only physical damage. Besides, I would never trade my fast attack speed for a bit of damage :D

        1. Lionel /

          Ask u something regarding about reforging. What i’m currently doing is hunting for those normal item, with the link and sockets i want. then i upgrade the quality 1st & change the color of socket, tjen lastly use alchemy orb to improve its rarity? is this the correct way?

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          That is one of the ways sure, but I don’t think it’s worth using much currency before you hit Merciless Docks. Even Alchemy isn’t that cheap and would be better spent on higher level gear.

          I recommend you just focus on getting to level 70 as fast as you can and start farming Docks/Lunaris/maps for better gear.

          1. Lionel /

            Okay, Noted. Thanks for the advice. By the way, what is the difference between the cruel and merciless mode? mobs and the difference of penalties in dead?

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            Mobs are somewhat harder, your resistances are -60, and most importantly you lose 15% of your experience when you die. The loot is better though :)

  11. Pek /

    Could you please post either screenshots or a table of some sort, of the various gems you have in each item and how they are linked?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author
      1. Pek /

        Thank you so much, very helpful.

        Ugh, I somehow missed the part where I should get bloodmagic from quests ….

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        You don’t need Blood Magic. You’ll be using one item with a Mana Leech stat instead. Rings, amulets and gloves can have Mana Leech, it isn’t too difficult to obtain.

        Having Blood Magic would mean you have one less support gem slot to use for your abilities which would decrease their damage.

        If you need Blood Magic gem in earlier levels though:
        Duelist: Mercy Mission (Act I Merciless), Sharp and Cruel (Act II Merciless)
        Marauder: Mercy Mission (Act I Cruel & Merciless), The Siren’s Last Cadence (Act I Cruel & Merciless), Sever the Right Hand (Act III Cruel & Merciless).

        Alternatively, you should be able to get it for 1 Alchemy or Fusing from trade chat.

  12. Lionel /

    As my lvl is 50 and with my current set, gives me 1900+ dps for my d.strike 1000+ dps for my cleave.
    Armor with grace, im able to get 6000+ with 67% physical damage reduction. Current Hp 900+with 100+ energy shield.
    I don’t think im able to get into merciless dock that fast right? Any suggestion?
    Furthermore, Koam Hearts and Alpha howl, is really very very expensive. If i would like to buy orb, is there any website for purchasing? PS: im playing singapore server, if i purchase, will it credited into my acc?

  13. Profile photo of Admin
    admin / Post Author

    Docks are level 62, I recommend you try to get at least to level 55 in Fellshrine it should be much easier. If your gear is not on par and you have issues clearing just join a group and slack behind them, at your level you should be getting an enormous amount of experience per run so you’ll get to 60 and beyond very fast. And you’ll likely pick up some better gear along the way.

    I can’t quite recall but I think you’ll need at least 2000 health to do Docks relatively safely (and try to keep your fire resistance maxed). Again, group farming is a lot easier and faster and I highly recommend it for as long as its necessary.

    As far as I know buying currency (outside of the game) aka RMT is not allowed (nor reliable since you’re buying from 3rd parties) and might end up getting your account suspended. I’d advise against it. Even if you obtained both Alpha’s and Kaom’s (which would cost about $150-$200 for both) you’d barely have an incentive to farm further. Path of Exile is a grind for sure, but the promise of better gear is also what’s keeping us play it.

    Both gear and currency will come with time.

    1. Lionel /

      What is the basic level requirement should i have before entering Merciless mode? So, i should have around 2k life in order for me to survive in Merciless dock right? Okay, i will take note on that and i will try to grow my level ASAP. By the way, i have 1 question, Resolute technique can never deal critical strike, why you take rapier instead of sword?

    2. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Your level is fine to start Merciless, just stick to groups if you’re having trouble clearing anything. It’s best to dedicate time for farming, and as soon as you gain a level then go do quests: that ensures you don’t lose any experience if you die.

      I take rapiers due to their higher attack speeds.

      1. Lionel /

        Just wanna ask, only when we starts merciless, then the real hunting for equipment, weapon and orb starts right? Normally, Cruel mode item are just nice to use only, and for merciless mode, the things that we can loot are far more better right? i’ve just got a weapon which have 2% of physical damage leeched back as mana.. I find that is quite nice. I try to on 3 aura and my mana left 38/300. Not sure whether is this 2% effect are able to leech back sufficient mana for those skill that i want to spam.

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        You should keep your mana at about 80 at least, with a sufficiently leveled Reduced Mana gem and Alpha’s Howl it’ll be possible. My Molten Shell costs around 70 or 80 mana since I linked it to Blood Magic, with an extremely low mana pool it wouldn’t even be possible to use some abilities.

        Make sure you watch out for amulets or rings with mana leech (or gloves even). You’ll always want your weapons to have as much DPS as possible and keep mana leech on jewellery.

        The higher the area (level-wise) you farm the better the loot generally, or at the very least there’s more potential for better loot. Higher iLvl has an increased chance to roll higher base stats, basically. Orbs drop almost the same on any difficulty I believe, but there is a drop rate penalty if your level is much higher than the current area.

  14. Yes /

    Hmm. Why not use multistrike with cleave rather than the added fire dmg. I just tested it now and i actually gain dmg with multistrike over the added fire dmg gem (and not to mention the obvious speed boost)

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      This will be a lame answer. I’ve read somewhere that Multistrike doesn’t work with Cleave and I never even bothered to test it. I’ll check it out.

    2. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      You were right, Multistrike does work with Cleave. I should know better than to believe what I read on forums. And yes, it even has increased damage than Added Fire Damage. I have revised my build and added Multistrike as one of the recommended gems for Cleave.

      Thanks for the heads up!

  15. Pek /

    Some comments, note this is my first character so I’ve not inherited any currency or items from anyone/another char.

    Level 68 now farming merciless. I’ve had an issue with my dps, at least in my mind, so I swapped out Determination for Anger and kept Grace as strangely enough this gave me more armour. Odd given how iron reflexes doesn’t take into account the dexterity bonus.

    With Anger, my Dual strike is around 2200-2300 dps and cleave around 1600. I’m running Faster strikes with my dual strike and just added melee splash. My cleave (~1600 on the tool tip )only has physical melee damage as a support, so it’s been interesting trying to see which one actually does better damage for an AOE skill, to be honest it’s hard to tell. I’d love to be able to add faster attacks to cleave, but that’s just not on the cards at this point. Having said that from a utility point of view, it appears the splash from Dual strike has a 360% effect compared to cleave’s frontal arc, so there’s definitely a utility choice.

    One of my other issues is, I’m using Aurumvurux the unique sword. Low base damage, but the +to all resists is something which seems like I can’t make do without in merciless. And I believe it’s also hampering my DPS. Having said that, I haven’t really found a great alternative yet with adequate sockets :/

    I also just picked up Lioneye’s Paw today, which I am playing around with, I’m not sure if the reduced movement speed on low life will kill me at some point in time :/ Considering I can’t be stunned as it is with this build. The plus is , it gave me the 2 greens and 1 red (3 linked sockets) to allow me to add melee splash to my Dual strike.

    I’d love to hear any more thoughts or advice you have to someone following your build , and is feeling a little dps short-handed currently …

    ps Lionel, I play from Malaysia, we should link up sometime if you’d like :)

    1. Pek /

      Note: adding melee splash also lost 200 dps to my Dual strike …hmmmm

    2. Lionel /

      From malaysia, Nice to meet you. Feel free to add me, Char name is IcePaw_Bel.

    3. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Hatred should provide more damage than Anger. You have a lot of physical damage with this build and Hatred adds an additional 20ish percent. Anger has a flat amount of elemental damage which isn’t further scaled since you have no skill points for it.

      Depending on how much armor you currently have either Determination or Grace is better, just use the one that gives you more armor until you can use both.

      Try to get 4-links for your Cleave and Dual Strike, you should eventually get decent gloves or boots on your current level and it usually takes me 5-15 Fusings to 4-link those items. It’s hardly expensive and your DPS will be much higher with one or two more support gems.

      Aurumvorax has an extremely low physical damage and a fairly low attack speed for your level. It’s definitely holding you back. I think even a below average sword from Docks will be better in terms of DPS. Your boots have no resistances or health, two of the most important stats you need right now.

      Bottom line: get boots with resists so you can replace your weapon. 4-link your boots and gloves and use your main DPS abilities with 3 support gems. Even if you end up not maxed on elemental resists I think the DPS increase you’ll gain will be well worth it.

      1. Pek /

        Thanks bud.

        When you say 4 link the boots and gloves, so I should looks for suitable gloves and boots with the resists and life with 4 sockets on them? Then through crafting, link the sockets and change the colours of the sockets, is that right?

        Hahah, my gloves, I’m using the unique gloves that give mana leech and life leech, I can’t remember the name, but that’s probably holding me back too, unfortunately I’ll have to find mana leech elsewhere if I want to replace those as well :P


      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        If you have plenty of Alchemy Orbs you could try your luck with them, otherwise just farm farm farm ;)
        I typically just wait for something good to drop, adding sockets and changing their colors afterwards is easy and fairly cheap anyway. The only items I use Alchemy orbs on still are rings and amulets.

        Ask in trade chat for a mana leech (2%) ring with some resistances or health: it shouldn’t cost more than 1 chaos.

  16. Yes /

    This is to the OP and to everyone else who’s thinking of making this build.

    I started playing POE about 2 weeks ago now (you can even track my msgs here, the first post is mine as well as another one a bit later). The duelist is my first char and at around lvl 35 I noticed how awesome Dual Strike was. I am level 77 now. My gear is TOP END (Kaoms/6L alternate, 363 dps Soul Taker, 370 dps Corsair Sword, the rest is of similar quality). I can safely say that I represent what would happen if you completely maxed out your gear quality. Yet, for what I have spent on this gear, I am highly unsatisfied with what this build is able to achieve compared to what other builds (notably CI and facebreaker/infernal) are able to achieve at a fraction of the cost.

    The issue with using Kaoms is that you need to rely 2x 4L gloves and boots for your Dual Strike and Cleave. If you use the support gems mentioned in this guide (and they are the best choices), the issues is that your source of aoe is Cleave. It simply does not do enough damage. When I use a 6L, I am able to use Dual Strike with melee splash along with melee phys dmg+added fire dmg to do around 26k dps aoe. I can clear mobs well but the issue is then survability. I am not able to hold my own against lvl 71 map bosses which is where Kaoms comes in.

    Then there is the issue of mana. When I was around lvl 70, I would have a pool of around 120-140 mana (after auras) and 2% ML which was fine. My aps was around 5-5.5 then. However, as I began to get better gear and faster weapons (my aps is now 9.2), using dual strike which costs 55 mana each time on a 140 mana pool began to show its limits. I would attack then stop then attack again and it became very annoying after awhile. And this is keeping in mind I have 2 more mana passives south near the beginning of the Duelist Tree. After I got a Soul Taker, mana issues were solved but I can’t imagine most people could afford one.

    This guide is great, but I feel the build itself has its limits (not to mention the recent nerf on Iron Reflexes). And if you are looking at this from an efficiency standpoint, there are many other cookie cutter builds that are not only cheaper but faster at clearing maps.

    In my opinion, for a dual wield to be viable, there needs to be a better aoe spell (maybe infernal blow). Cleave does not cut it (no pun intended).

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Thanks a lot for your thoughts it’s much appreciated. You have better gear than I do and I haven’t been able to test it that thoroughly with high-end equipment.

      You are right though there are no decent AoE abilities for this build and Cleave is the only viable option for a 4-link item. I feel reducing the damage penalty on it would provide a significant but also much-needed buff to make the whole build even better.

      I haven’t been able to test a 6-linked Dual Strike with Melee Splash but I trust it’s much stronger, evidently so. But yes the survivability is decreased up to the point where high level maps are overly risky for soloing. Personally I would still prefer lower damage but higher defense.

      As for mana issues I haven’t had the same problems as you did. Not once so far (excluding half-regen maps) have I experienced a similar issue, but I suppose with certain equipment it may become a problem. I’m assuming it happened only when you were using Dual Strike with 5 support gems, as the increased mana costs may not be covered by the mana leech? I can’t say for sure but I don’t think having a higher attack speed weapon can have much of a difference on your mana leech rate (it shouldn’t have any difference).

      There are other more viable and more efficient builds in general for sure: dual totem spark being one of them. There are builds with higher DPS that work just as well if not better with sub-par equipment, but none of them I found to my liking. My build is just my own personal preference and I not once so far thought to myself that it’s boring to play — something I can’t say for every other build I tried before.

      My goal was to make a viable dual wield build based around Dual Strike and Cleave with little downsides, and I feel as I’ve somewhat accomplished it. The ability choices and skill tree build has a certain sense and synergy to it and it’s very likely I will continue using it. It certainly isn’t the only way to build a Duelist or make dual wielding work but it’s the best I came up with.

      Despite the Iron Reflexes nerf I don’t think it had much (if any) effect for this build. The upside is that physical damage is still considered relatively weak compared to elemental and it’s unlikely anything involved in my build will get nerfed anytime soon. There’s always hope there will be more buffs to Cleave or the passive tree involving the Duelist. The addition of Soul Taker was definitely a step in the right direction, although it’s very expensive.

      I regret if I wasted your time by recommending you a build you consider disappointing, it’s not my intention to mislead you or anyone else. I just recommended a build I personally use and very much like its play style.

      Either way I really appreciate you taking the time to provide everyone with your own experiences with the build, I’m sure it’ll help someone else make a more informed decision.

      I have one less relevant question though. I have 11 days and 14 hours played on my Duelist, not including all other characters (maybe as much combined). Other than having Kaom’s Heart (which I got from drop), right now I could barely afford a decent 6-linked chest. How did you manage to get 50+ Exalteds worth of gear in two weeks? I demand to know your secrets.

      1. Yes /

        “I regret if I wasted your time by recommending you a build you consider disappointing, it’s not my intention to mislead you or anyone else. I just recommended a build I personally use and very much like its play style. ”

        Absolutely not. In fact quite the opposite. Like I mentioned, I was very pleased to know that there was someone else who had built a dual strike duelist. I was about to give it up at around lvl 40 and remake a new templar or something when I saw this guide and stuck with it. So from a gameplay perspective, this build is not disappointing in the least. However, in terms of a “state of the game right now” perspective, I could have spent my currency a bit better.

        And that leads me into your next question about my wealth. I have a very strict policy against spending money on items (although I have bought 1 stash tab and that is all). Let’s just say that I made quite a fortune off diablo 3 and that I used that success to push me forward into PoE. That’s all I’m willing to say as of now.

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Ah, I think I can read between the lines ;) Thanks for answering.

    2. Pek /

      So how much cash did you spend buying currency?

      1. Yes /

        Not a dime (on items). Read my response to admin’s question.

        1. Pek /

          Well given your access to the highest tier of items in PoE, perhaps you’ll be able to add further input into this build if you stick with it. I think one of the caveats from the creator was it was ‘relatively’ cheap compared to other builds.

          1. Pek /

            But yes, cleave does seem to be a bit handicapped in terms of AoE damage , I’ll be sticking it out til i gear up more, and that’s quite a long way off.

    3. wtf /

      “Kaoms/6L alternate, 363 dps Soul Taker, 370 dps Corsair Sword” in two weeks? WOW. player like you destroy PoE with RMT

  17. Pek /

    Few additional questions

    1. Did you buy your Alpha’s howl with the appropriate links and sockets? Either way would you be able to give a rough estimate of the crafting orbs needed to turn one to 4l 2R/2G?

    2. What is your chaos resistance? And how much of it is an issue? What do you reccomend we aim for in terms of this stat?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I used about 15 Jeweller’s and maybe 15-25 Fusings — doesn’t take any more to link a unique item than a rare. I had to spend about 60 Chromatics to get RRGG socket colors (I think that’s more than the average you’d need to spend).

      My Chaos resist is at -30 or so, it’s not an issue at all. I still jump in a pack of 10 chaos-dealing vipers and rarely find myself in the need of a health flask. I sometimes just use my Amethyst flask as a precaution but I generally use it for Evasion/Armor more than the Chaos resist it gives me.

      1. Pek /

        Thanks again.

        With regards to your mana management.

        How much mana do you have in total?

        How much mana do you have after all 3 auras are up?

        What is your mana cost for DS and Cleave.

        What’s your mana leech%?

        Thank you.

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Total 497 mana, with all 3 auras up I’m left with 119 (378 reserved).

        Cleave costs 28 mana. Dual Strike currently costs 9 mana, however I’m testing it with different gem combinations at the moment (IIQ+IIR support gems). I had to change socket colors so I can’t switch back to provide you with exact numbers at the moment.

        My mana leech is 2% total.

        1. Pek /


          I am having mana issues now at level 74.

          382 mana total.

          If I use all 3 auras I have 58 mana left, haha, that’s with alpha’s howl and level 17 reduced mana gem.

          Dual strike costs me 26 mana and cleave 43.

          4% mana leech.

          I do run into some mana issues even if I only run 2 auras :/

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          Just below the Duelist starting area are two points you might want to consider, Mana and Mana Flows. Alternatively, above the Marauder tree you can spend 3 points, two of which will give you combined 10% reduced mana reserved by auras.

          I dislike spending points on it (and I don’t have any mana problems anyway), but you can try spending a few skill points to see if it helps. An additional item (ring or amulet usually) with +30-40 increased mana might help as well. You should always try to keep your available mana for at least two ability casts.

          However, I’m not sure if any of that will make a difference if you have mana issues even with 2 auras. What gems did you link your Cleave with? It should cost the same amount of mana as mine does.

        3. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          First of all I’m not good at math. I’ve thought about your problem and don’t really know the solution but this might help.

          Having 2% or 4% mana leech probably makes no difference: you can only leech 12,5% of your maximum mana per second. That would mean you can leech (I think) 47 mana per second, just little above what your Cleave costs (43 as you mentioned). Missing an attack here and there could cause you to run out of mana, do you have Resolute Technique passive?

          Also, I’m not sure why your Cleave costs more than mine. However you can use Added Fire Damage until you can better figure out where your mana problems lie: Multistrike increases the cost by 180% and Added Fire Damage by 130%, and the difference may be just enough for you to use Cleave without any mana issues. ADF deals slightly less damage than Multistrike but it’s close enough.

          Also increasing your maximum mana pool should provide you with an increased mana leech rate per second (don’t forget you also get 4 mana per level). Based on my own mana pool (497) I should be leeching 62 mana/second, 15 more than you. It probably makes a difference but I’m not sure. Try equipping a ring with +30 mana or so and see if that helps. If so spending a point in your passive skill tree temporarily might be an easiest solution.

          To recap:
          1. Try to increase your mana pool by 30 or so, if it works either use an item with increased mana or put a point in your passive skill tree. You might be able to remove the point once you gain 3-4 levels.
          2. Try to figure out why your Cleave costs so much mana
          3. Try removing a couple of points from attack speed if you have and place them into physical damage. You’ll attack slightly slower but your damage should remain the same.
          4. If all else fails use Added Fire Damage instead of Multistrike for now.

          I’d love to hear how it turns out and what the problem was so let me know if you feel like it :)

          1. MoManaMoProblems? /

            It’s definitely a combination of a lack of mana, which as you pointed out has a capped leech return/second, a not fully levelled reduced mana gem, and the cost of my cleave.

            I’m running cleave with the following gems, life on hit , cleave, multistrike, faster attacks, melee phys damage.

            I took the 8% mana node near the start like you suggested, and I’m now sitting at 104 mana with all 3 auras up. Still things can get bad if I miss a cleave, or cleave when I shouldn’t haha. But the situation has improved…this reduced mana gem is a pain to level :)

            I’m at 2500 life now, and I find LOH on cleave ( which circumvents the leech cap) is a great tool to heal up in hairy situations.

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            I’m glad you at least partially solved your mana issues. If you want you could try and purchase a level 20 Reduced Mana gem, they’re like 4-8 GCP right now but I think the prices should increase to about 10 over the next few weeks. You can just keep leveling your current Reduced Mana in weapon swap and when it hits level 20 sell it, so it basically wouldn’t really cost you anything.

            Life on Hit is probably is the main cause of your higher mana costs: I’m sure it’s very helpful but removing it might solve your problems completely so perhaps you’ll want to consider it.

          3. MoManaMoProblems? /

            Mana problems fixed. Took the two nodes (mana flows). Levelled the reduced mana gem. So looking sharp around 150 mana running all three auras, so things are fine now.

            With Kaom’s unavailable, and relatively still low life (sub 3k life) , without life on hit, you’re subjected to the 20% life/sec leech cap. Which leads to quite a few hairy situations :)

          4. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            Glad you managed to fix it.

            Whatever works for you: if you need Life on Hit currently to survive then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it. It’s a tradeoff for damage but as long as you’re alive, you keep doing the damage ;)

            Thankfully just a couple of skill points were enough to solve the problems.

  18. Lionel /

    Hi there, i wanna ask~ is rejunevation totem necessary? I’m think of replacing it with Decoy totem. What do you think?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Not necessary, I just prefer it. You’re welcome to use Decoy Totem if it works better for you.

      1. Lionel /

        Alright, i will test it out 1st. By the way, can standard player upgrade into hardcore player?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Nope, but you can “upgrade” from hardcore to softcore ;)

  19. lionel /

    Hi there
    Cleave + Melee physical damage + Added fire damage + faster attack better or Cleave + Melee physical damage + Multistrike + faster attack? What’s their main diff?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Added Fire Damage doesn’t increase the damage as much as Multistrike, but your ability will cost less mana. I just recommended it as a temporary measure until you can solve your mana issues with your Cleave.

  20. lionel /

    Hi there,

    Instead of leveling cyclone~ i add blood rage~ i find that it is quite useful for this build. What do you think? :-)

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I mentioned my thoughts about Blood Rage above. I dislike using it, don’t think it’s even necessary for my build. Sure it might increase my DPS somewhat but I don’t wanna bother using it constantly.

  21. rustyspade /

    When you do you level up your gems? On my first character I ran into serious mana issues have leveled up my main attack gems (lightning strike templar) running a few auras and support gems.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Generally you should always level up most gems as soon as you can, assuming your base attributes (Str, Dex, Int) can support it.

      Certain gems are very effective at level 1, an example being Enfeeble curse (-25% monster damage) and further leveling increases the +Int requirements considerably. Another good example is Clarity aura which does have an increased effect leveled but also an increased mana reserve cost, so keeping it at level 5-10 is often a good idea.

      I can’t think of any damaging ability or support gem that doesn’t get stronger with levels.

      Lightning Strike’s mana cost is 11 at level 1 and goes up to 13 at level 20, so the difference is fairly negligible and I’m pretty sure you should always level it up. Not sure what support gems you’re using with your LS but I doubt any of them have substantially increased mana costs with levels.

      Are you running any mana leech? You can get some on your gear, use a Mana Leech support gem, or even consider using Blood Magic, or Warlord’s Mark curse. I don’t really know what build you’re using from what you’ve said so I can’t be more helpful.

  22. MoManaMoProblems? /


    Have you considered the trade off switching out Alpha’s Howl for a regular helm with stats/life after getting auras up?

    Granted you lose the ability to not be frozen….

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I bought the head specifically because freeze kept killing me constantly (at least before I had Kaom’s). The only (at least that I can remember right now) anti-freeze alternative is Dream Fragments ring, but it doesn’t have any useful stats. Alpha’s Howl has plenty, especially the reduced mana reserved, giving me just enough to run 3 auras. Otherwise I’d have to put Grace with Blood Magic which would take roughly 400 of my health. So it’s a better tradeoff to just have a head without +health, at least in my opinions.

  23. Lionel /

    Hi there, i was thinking, what’s the different between using dual strike and double stike? which 1 its effect will be better? i see that double strike looks like deal higher damage (Correct me if im wrong)

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Double Strike also has a “Deals 70% of base damage” thingy so i don’t think it can deal as much damage as Dual Strike can. Fully leveled Double deals 76% increased physical damage, but still only after it’s already been decreased by 30%. Dual Strike just has 57% increased physical damage.

      Warrants further testing to see exactly how much of a difference in DPS there is between the two skills, I never compared two fully leveled gems.

      1. Lionel /

        Can i say that if you are using dual sword, is better to choose dual strike rather than double strike. Because double strike focus more on main hand melee weapon which i think it will more focus on the 1st weapon rather than combine both.
        And if im using something like sword and shield then i’m suppose to choose double strike, which can help me gain more damage than dual strike.

  24. Lionel /

    Hi there,
    Im here to thank you for such a nice guide, Level 70 Just got my alpha howl, and the build is pretty much exacly same (Almost the same) as you. Although i haven’t get kaom heart but most like this guide really suits me alot. I love the speed and the mana which never can be finish. (So far have no problem on soloing some maps, Just that some boss i do need help from others). Now trying my very best to save some orb for buying a kaom heart.
    Current stage d.strike dps can only go up to 10k if my blood rage is on. i choose another blood rage is because can leech back some life for soloing, although the most troublesome part is need to keep casting it from time to time. (but i’m okay with that.)
    Once again thank you. (Do you have any other guide? I like the explaination from your guide and if you do have any other guide by you, i do really wish i can test it out also.)
    Thank you

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I’m glad you like it. Some map bosses are more difficult than others especially with mods like extra damage. If you have trouble at any point farming them in groups should be even easier, and safer.

      Your damage on DS and Cleave should rise mostly by changing weapons. A couple of skill points here and there and fully leveled gems will give you perhaps another 2-3k, but getting a high DPS weapon should give you roughly the same. They aren’t frequent drops but with enough farming you’ll eventually find some good ones.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any other builds, and it’s unlikely I will anytime soon: I’m still having a ton of fun playing my Duelist. I just leveled a Marauder to 70 with a very similar build, switched the gear from my 87 Duelist and I’m now farming low-level maps for XP. I’m testing some mixture of elemental and physical damage, but it requires more levels and slightly different gear to be most effective. If I manage to come up with something equally effective I’ll be sure to publish it.

      1. Lionel /

        Hi there, Ask you something. Wat will it be like, if both your weapon change to Soul taker? i mean holding 2 soul taker. Will the DPS be more fantastic? What likely will be the pros and cons?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        I don’t think there’s any downside to using Soul Takers, other than being damn expensive. My DPS would likely double at least if I had two of them.

  25. Karister /

    Hi, thx for this guide. I play PoE from about one week and my first archer build was a complete fail. After some reading i found out it could be good with help of dozen of Orbs of Regrets and with hi-end gear. As I cannot afford it for now, I follow your melee character it works very nice and I would like to ask about some details.

    For now, my lvl49 character is like this:
    -3900 armour (64% reduction)
    -75% elemental resists
    -983 dps Cleave (multistrike + melee physical dmg + faster attacks)
    -for now I don’t use dual strike as it has much less dps due to no good support gems.

    And here are things I would like to know:
    1) I dropped Exhalted Orb. Should I keep it for future or better to exchange for other currency values and get support games for dual strike?
    2) I found armor with 5 linked slots at vendor npc. I made it rare item +20%q. It got 262 armour + 277 evasion so I hope it will fork for me for quite a time. And my question is what gem should go in 5th socket? Maybe dual strike so I will not need to buy another multistrike? Or life leech / life gain on hit? This one work very well for me. I can rush lots of mobs and drain enough hp to just stand and swing with swords. Without it is still not bad, but nothing to compare with life on hit gem in use. I truly love it.
    3) Mana. I have it low and 5th gem (life gain on hit) causes some issues with it. I took mana flows just at the beginning of duelist tree and it helpes a lot. Hovewer it’s 2 skill points less. Will I have more mana in high levels so I will be able to regret these 2 points? Or with 5 gems mana always will be a problem and I shouldn’t stay with life gain on hit?
    4) And finally Increased Item Rarity/Quality/Quantity. Which one would be best? I find quality quite nice as it allows me to slowly get GCPs from vendor (40%q in total quality gems). Also it is possible to put rarity or quantity gem in 5th slot in my armour. Good choice? If yes, which one is better? What exactly gives me item quantity + x%? it’s unclear. If I normally drop 1 item, I do not expect to get 1.x items from mob. How it works? x% more chance to get one more item from drop?

    Thx in advance. And once again: very good guide.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Your stats seem good enough for your level. Buying support gems for Dual Strike should be really cheap: Faster Attacks and Melee Physical Damage should cost 1 Alchemy each. Multistrike is a bit more expensive (don’t pay more than 1 GCP though), but you can use Added Fire Damage as an alternative. ADF is also good as a 5th gem in your chest with Cleave.

      You could put Dual Strike in your chest but your Cleave damage should certainly be higher by 20% or so if you use ADF. Just make sure your mana leech can sustain the increased cost. If not you can use Dual Strike in the fifth slot, or Increased Item Quantity, or even Blind if socket colors are an issue (although they shouldn’t be since it’s a hybrid AR/EV chest. I typically don’t have a need to use Life on Hit but if you need it or like using it go for it.

      You get 4 mana per level, that will slowly increase your total mana pool and might make up for the occasional lack of it at your level. Getting another 20 levels shouldn’t take too long, maybe 10-15 hours of gameplay in total. In case you find it necessary you could also always use a Mana Leech gem temporarily.

      Save your Exalted Orb. It’s definitely not worth buying any gear with it right now as you will outlevel it very quickly and selling items is too big of a hassle later on.

      You can’t get item quality with a stat. There’s only rarity (affecting the rarity of drops, as in whether items dropped are white, blue or yellow) and quantity (just affects the number of dropped items). If Increased Item Quantity and Rarity gems are your fifth socket choices then quantity is definitely better. Usually a mixture of both is good but as a general rule of thumb the same amount of Quantity is about 3 times more valuable than Rarity, so it’s definitely better to use IIQ gem (and you probably can’t even level up IIR fully anyway since it requires over 100 +Int). Quantity also affects currency drop rates, not just items.

      Hope that answers some of your questions.

      1. Karister /


        In fact, there is no item quality in stat, my bad. Why then some of dropped gems are +x quality and some aren’t? Pure luck? Is it influenced by IIR or something?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Luck, chance, RNG. You can’t really affect drop rates of +quality items.

        IIQ somewhat indirectly affects the drop of +quality items, since more items drop overall there’s a higher chance of some being superior.

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