[Outdated] Dual Wield Physical Damage Duelist/Marauder Build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Important note: the build on this page is outdated.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. Karister /

    Hi again :)

    I continue playing PoE and watched some guides about effective crafting/making money on Youtube made by some another nice and helpful guy. Though I have new question. ;) Today I saw on global chat ppl complaining that new patch changed Reduced Mana gem so that it no longer works with auras. They said that it makes them unable to use 3 auras. Does it affect this build in the same way? If yes, is it crucial for it? Right now I am level 69 and I use Grace + Determination. I hoped to buy Aplha’s Howl soon to add Hatred. Will it be impossible now?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Reduced Mana gem will continue working in the same way, but an “exploit” was fixed where auras would continue having reduced mana reserve costs even after you removed the Reduced Mana gem. If you have Alpha’s Howl you’ll have no problem using 3 auras, my build never relied on taking advantage of the unintended bug.

  2. Lionel /

    Hi there,
    What will happen if i take out resolute technique? will damage boost higher?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      No, chances are it will be lower. A 5-10% crit chance with like 85% chance to hit can hardly make up for 100% hit chance imo. Plus leech is more consistent.

  3. Lionel /

    Hi there,

    whats your current level? How much DPS are u able to deal now for your dual strike and cleave?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Level 87. I no longer use Dual Strike, my Cleave is now at 13k and my clear speeds are high enough. I haven’t tried it recently but Dual Strike should probably be around 17k with the current gear/build. I also sacrificed a bit of damage and health for item quantity and rarity.

      You can take a look at the screenshot below to see all abilities I’m using and current DPS:

  4. lionel /

    wat you use if you are not using dual strike?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Just Cleave. Once it reached over 10k DPs I didn’t have such a need to use Dual Strike, which opened up additional opportunities (most importantly more sockets). I’m using Purity now so I can use gear with less resists but more IIQ/IIR, and Anger makes doesn’t reserve much life but does further increase DPS.

  5. Lionel /

    Can this guide work well in hardcore/onslaught league?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I’m not sure, I suppose you could play extra carefully and it might work. Just yesterday I leveled another char with a slightly different build, died only 2 times until Act 3 Merciless, both were due to my carelessness. But it was on Standard. I did have access to a few uniques so it made leveling easier, but if you always keep 4-5 levels above the area you are in I guess chances of dying aren’t too great, and grouping would definitely make it even safer.

      I don’t have any experience playing in Hardcore so I can’t really say for sure how “safe” other builds are compared to mine either.

  6. Epic /

    Hi, first of all thanks very much for the build, I really like it. I just have a question, I like the idea of using DS (dual strike) as main skill, but leveling DS will required Dex, however with the Marauder build you’ve given , we will have no access to Dex nodes in early-mid game, Does that mean we are sticking with lv3 DS till late game? Or are we simply relying on gears for dex? but this will sacrifice too much?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Glad you like the build.

      It isn’t too hard getting +dex on items: just equip an Onyx amulet with +20 to all attributes and it should be enough to level Dual Strike to level 10 or so. Or you could spend three additional points and grab Expertise early (+30 Dex node in your passive skill between Marauder and Templar). Usually the items you’ll want to use have +dex on them so you should have enough to keep leveling Dual Strike, and it’s definitely recommended to level it up always since it further increases your damage. Max rank Dual Strike requires “only” 95 Dex — once you start working your way towards Iron Reflexes node you’ll pick up plenty of Dex points and should be able to remove Expertise.

      At endgame you’ll want to have 212 Dexterity to be able to equip certain high-end swords, but at that point you shouldn’t have any problems getting it anyway.

      1. Epic /

        Thank you for the reply,

        Just another question I hope you don’t mind, I understand that the reason you choose not to pick up Blood Magic is because of the three Aura you chose, the manna reserved simply makes it impossible, however, If i replace those auras with Anger, Wrath and Grace( works with Iron Reflexs?) would it be a good idea to pick up Blood Drinker and Blood Magic?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Grace does work with Iron Reflexes. Anger and Wrath combined won’t make up for the damage lost due to not using Hatred though. The thing is you can use Anger, Wrath and Grace with Blood Magic gem, all the while using Hatred and Determination (or Purity or even Haste) on mana. Basically by not going Blood Magic you can use 5 auras.

        On the other hand, Blood Magic is close by and you can always unlearn it afterwards if you change your mind, so use whatever feels best for you.

        1. Epic /

          Thanks once again , you made a really good point.

          What about the Blood Drinker? Would it be a good idea to pick it up on the way?(2 points) or later like after iron reflex?

        2. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          Depends if you have any lifesteal on your equipment or not. Even if you have just 2% on gear another 2% should be noticeable while leveling and if you’re in no rush to get any other specific points in the skill tree then pick up Blood Drinker. Perhaps you’ll replace some gear in a few levels and lose the lifesteal so having BD definitely helps; I wouldn’t recommend going without any lifesteal at all.

  7. Zad /

    Thanks for the guide! Helped me greatly in getting started and building a character that seemed to be to my liking. I’m now at around level 30 and trying to think whether there are any other (maybe better) options to build the skill tree. I am considering not using Iron Reflexes/Unwavering Stance at all since from what I read dodge is actually pretty solid in this game. What I mean is that it’s supposedly consistent: for example if you have 34% dodge and get hit 3 times you always dodge one of the 3 hits. Usually in games like this it is also (near) impossible to get very high armor or dodge, but getting both to something good is much simpler. I guess Resolute Technique is pretty much a must though if you don’t have points in accuracy/crits? I am also debating putting some points into mana nodes (maybe could use a extra aura or something), few more into resistances etc. Lots of options, but I lack any knowledge of endgame so maybe you can give me suggestions on what to focus on more. Overall I like to get the important stuff covered with points so I don’t need to look for gear with very specific stats (besides just choosing what’s best overall). I’ve put together a skill tree idea which focuses more on armor/damage, but maybe I should rather use some points in life/mana? Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated. Here’s the link: http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgQAmSu9gavFR35lTYTZbmm-p9JNwA_v42NwWNtT35uDhO907XrvYEsFLUCgIWDvTjIJKLUo29_vHcp08RjbW6_dDTqzNYadqkOcwYus6tP8Dq0UdTrtwdj8xWegh3ZKfZAKnrk0kyXfG_qkGSzpWz1qh7cXOJanMBku1I-53fIv7w6vp_aj73rTfnByA4eVZhut974n7fPdrKpyqXzZuc0UIFBHAdy-ingNns3SIVcN2WGpbk3jrFn-j9BHWK826AHnZ5spLmCIv9VEnrBz7Lbx9FO71e2bLRHVYEFXlxIgXovP-Hy4PfxYY8bYVamXtKy6

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      The skill tree build you linked is basically the same as mine, you just used all the remaining points. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to have 120/120 points. At level 87 I have 105 points to spend, and leveling further is pretty hard (and expensive).

      Resolute Technique is in my opinion a must-have since you need helluva lot of Accuracy both on gear and in the skill tree to get near 95% hit chance (which is the maximum you can have without RT). It’s a waste of skill points, and having to focus on Accuracy on your equipment along with other stats is too difficult — putting just 1 point into RT makes it obsolete.

      Iron Reflexes and Unwavering Stance are up to you: I like the consistency of damage reduction provided by armor so I definitely prefer it over having both Evasion and Armor. It also helps survive huge amounts of burst damage coming from bosses like Vaal or Kole. At level 30 (start of Cruel I’m guessing) you won’t have much trouble but the damage gets a lot higher in Merciless, especially in maps. Without Kaom’s Heart which you probably won’t be able to afford for some time you will get one-shotted every now and then when you don’t dodge such high-damage abilities. Getting stunned is extra annoying for me so I like having Unwavering Stance as well.

      You shouldn’t need any reduced mana points: with Alpha’s Howl you can run 3 auras in your head piece without problems, but you can pick up a couple of Reduced Mana Reserved points earlier if you want to use them sooner. Just note that “Reduced Mana Reserved” works for auras, while “Reduced Mana Cost” works for skills only.

      There’s not really a lot of options when it comes to optimizing my skill tree build. You have access to a lot of different nodes depending on your needs, but you basically always have to sacrifice one thing for another. Having 120 points like your tree does is definitely an ideal situation but highly unlikely to happen.

      1. Zad /

        Yeah I’m aware my skill tree is a bit far-fetched and very similar to yours. I guess you have gone over the different smaller possibilities and don’t really see a way to improve it? For example building the Marauder-end the way I have. What I was also thinking is not to specialize weapon-wise, but focus damage into dual-wield and one-handed melee damage so I have more freedom picking my weapons. What’s your take on this?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        My tree has only 3 weapon-specific nodes for Swords, obviously if you’re not using swords then you’ll just skip them. If you are using swords though those three points are very efficient damage-wise. Troll’s Blood (Marauder starting area) is pretty good actually, and two adjacent 6% life nodes are easily picked up as well. Since you skipped Unwavering Stance and connected the Duelist & Marauder the other way it took you only 4 points to get 22% health (near Vaal Pact) which I suppose might be more efficient.

        Two 6% elemental resist nodes you took probably won’t be necessary once you get some decent gear at later levels, and especially if you end up using Purity. Going for Finesse and Weapon Artistry near the Ranger tree is great but takes more points than you might be able to afford.

        I’d recommend you try making your build with 103 points (level 85): your options are much more limited then and it’s all about what you’re willing to sacrifice. It might give you some insight into why I picked certain points over others.

        In the end don’t sweat about it too much. You’ll get plenty of respec points via quests and using a few Regret Orbs if necessary isn’t overly expensive. Just build your character the way you like and worry about optimizing the tree later on when you’re level 80+ and have decent gear.

        1. Zad /

          Alright. Guess newbies like me who are playing their first character and are not familiar with endgame should just go ahead and follow the guide (for the most part anyway) :) Thanks a lot for your time!

  8. CoolBeans /

    I made a duelist and i cant level up my Hatred Gem because i dont have enough intel? Do i just need to find a piece of gear that has intel on it or should i just not use that gem yet?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Level 1 Hatred gem is pretty strong, you don’t even have to level it up much if you don’t want to.

      Level 1 – no int requirement, 15% cold damage increase
      Level 10 – 40 int requirement, 19% cold damage
      Level 20 – 66 int required, 25% cold damage

      You can either get a piece of gear with +int on it, or if you follow my build there’s a +30 intellect point in the passive skill tree you can use (there are two actually, which should be enough to level up the gem to 20 if you want: Wisdom of the Glade and Ancestral Knowledge).

      1. CoolBeans /

        Alright thanks a ton man!

  9. Curious man /

    Hello, thanks for the build,
    I am new to PoE, I’ve been doing some surfing and I’ve noticed with Marauder, most of players uses only Maces or Duel wielding, I am just curious, is there a particular reason why people don’t like using two-handed axes? I can’t seem to find any two-handed axes build out there.

    Thanks in advanced

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I have no clue, I’m not familiar with 2-handed builds. Perhaps it’s because maces have “Increased stun duration” implicit mod while axes have none, but it’s just a guess.

      Maybe someone else can provide an answer, sorry.

      1. Curious man /

        Ahh I see, So Dual Wielding gets the block,attack speed bonuses and Maces gets the Stun bonus while Axe gets no bonus? Sorry if this is stupid, completely new to this. Thank you.

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        I was talking about implicit mods on items. I’m not sure but I don’t think you get any bonuses for two handed weapons like you do with dual wield. But as I said I’m not too familiar with other builds.

  10. Arrowneous /

    I noticed that if I take the strength passive NE of Blood Magic that there is a +30 dexterity to the south (Quickness) and that will save you 1 passive from where you went to the NW of the Marauder. That also gives me the option of the + physical damage with swords node to the west with Cruel Blade.

    Easy to overlook that +30 dexterity but it saves you a precious passive for use elsewhere.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      It saves you 1 point true, but I went for the +30 dex point NW of the Marauder because it’s next to a +30 Int as well, which I may need depending on which items I have equipped. I wouldn’t recommend going for Cruel Blade as there are two Critical Strike Multiplier points along the way which are useless, but more importantly I don’t have extra 5 points to spend. If you really do need more damage it might be better to go for Blade Master then (just above Diamond Flesh): you’d get the same damage increase plus an additional 10% attack speed, all for 4 points.

      Nevertheless thanks for the heads up, going Quickness instead of Expertise still does require 1 point less.

  11. SHARP_ /

    Please read below if you also hated using CLEAVE and decided to QUIT this damned build…

    After a maraudone + Ice CI witch and an awsome CI Discharge Templar (all 80+) , I wished to have a duelist using a bow build. I noticed yours while I surveying among different builds and all of a sudden I decided to try yours but not a bow one. Damn it was so easy to lvl “up to Merci Docks”, I didnt die even one time :) But I learned how to die in Merciless docks (even as of 65lvl), frequently.. die..die..die.. damn I hated the build and this Cleave: among a mob group I kill one, then auto start to move and must target a new one again to start cleaving.. result : having a lot of dmg while running around like a headless chicken and death… Something was wrong.. a simple thing should be in front of my eyes and I was blind.. Then……. I discovered my noobish key bindings: I had put Cleave to LEFT Mouse which is also used in game mechanics for auto run… Noob Sharp_.. Stupid… Chicken Head… I changed Cleave to RIGHT mouse button and Dual Strike to left and ohhhhhhhhhhhh..
    Light is back.. stop dyeing anymore.. I was again a killing machine :)

    **** SOLOING Lunaris 3 including PIETY *****
    Now I am 70 lvl and stopped using Dual Strike but only Cleave in my 5L Chest .. Soloing a complete clearing of ” Lunaris 3 ” in 10-12 mins max (almost 10-15 mobs left) having 9-10 Million exp /run and SOLOING PIETY very easily only by cleaving…

    Conc: Admin, I thank you so much for this amazing build. You really worked hard on it and shared with us. Hope I can add some more for your build when I start end game mapping around 80-85 lvl. ( I am not planning to get Kaom’s Heart , all went pretty well up to now and lets see how the life becomes without that god damned expensive chest :) )

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Cleave definitely works best when on the right mouse button. I had the same “headless chicken” problem sometimes when I was using Dual Strike on my left mouse button, monsters often have small hitboxes and it took a few clicks sometimes just to target them. I use Cleave on both my left and right mouse buttons now so I never have those problems anymore. I guess I should have mentioned it somewhere, but I’m glad you managed to stick with the build that long regardless.

      My first, only, and by far the most valuable loot I got in PoE was a Kaom’s Heart from a trash mob just before Piety, so good luck farming Lunaris :D

      1. Epic /

        I don’t quite understand what’s been said. I am using my Cleve on Q, Normal Attack on lefty mouse and Dual strike on the right, Is this really bad?

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        You shouldn’t even be using a “normal” attack. Use either Cleave or Dual Strike, the damage will always be far higher than that of your normal attack — unless you’re really low level and can’t yet sustain using an ability constantly.

        Try using Dual Strike on your left mouse button and Cleave on your right, I’ve found it to be the most optimal setup for me.

  12. strixzo /

    Just wanted to thank you for this great guide. I started playing PoE again after a break and I was looking for a build using Cleave and found this and it has been very helpful and I’m really enjoying the build!

    I really like your other articles as well and I’m looking forward to your next entry :-)

  13. Zad /

    Had another passive skill tree variation idea, which I’m considering giving a shot when trees get wiped on release. It looks pretty good to me, but since I’ve only made it to act 2 merciless so far I wanted your opinion on it. For simplicity’s sake I’ve used your level 86 tree and just changed the main part which is the Duelist – Marauder connection. The trip takes more points, but there’s a lot of life nodes on the way which makes it look like a good thing in the long run. I’d miss that 2% life leech as it’s been very helpful and the tree as a whole would need reworking since too many total points are used currently:
    What do you think?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I have a very similar build on another character which I leveled to 80 just recently. Mine is missing some damage nodes I’d normally take but I was going to try a 2-handed build so I skipped pretty much every dual wielding node.

      Anyway, I was considering mentioning something like your build as an alternate one with more health and less damage, but I was waiting to see what changes to health and Kaom’s Heart are in store in the upcoming release patch. I’m guessing extra health will be very helpful if Kaom ends up being nerfed to the ground and in case (potential) buffs to base health or health nodes don’t end up being enough. Without Kaom I currently have only 2500 health which isn’t enough.

      I’m also currently using an amulet with +4% life leech so I don’t need the 2% from the skill tree either, but in case I have to make the switch to some other amulet having no life leech would definitely be a problem.

      Basically, you build is alright. In fact I’ll probably be switching to something like that because I don’t think health will be buffed enough to make up for the lack of current Kaom’s Heart. I already tested a 6-linked Cleave (with Added Fire Damage + Reduced Mana in two extra sockets), and I’m at 18k DPS or so, which is perfectly fine.

      Have to wait and see what happens with health at release to figure out if so many health nodes are necessary.

      1. Zad /

        Overall my aim was to get more life nodes and use a 5-6L chest endgame to have higher dps, but not much lower life compared to using Kaom’s. Some life leech from gear is hopefully not too difficult to come by either. Plus there’s a 1% life leech node between the Marauder start and Resolute technique when I get desperate x) Currently thinking about building the core part of the tree like this: http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAgQABS0OrRjbGS4b-h3KIWAl3yftKLUo2ykuKaUyCTSTPfxAoEOcR35QUFPfVElYY1jbXz9gS2CIYVJjcGVNbmlyqXTtdPF673y4fNmE2YTvjM-ZK5uDnrmfy6QZq8WsqrndvYG-p8APxBXE9sbY0k3Uj9_v51LvDu9O7-PyL_Pd9kgB3L6KeA2pbrXyrpN6uLc-xq48LVWpl7SsusGLrOrT_P4K8kXnY6ZXOuGI8U3jrFn-jw==

        After that there’s basically 4 choices I can see 1) get nearby dps nodes 2) get more life nodes from the Ranger side 3) get more life nodes near the Templar start 4) a combination of the previous 3. There will always be the possibility to use a couple of regrets to switch life nodes for dps or vice versa if necessary I’d imagine. Well, will have to wait and see what the release brings with itself like you mentioned.

  14. manos /

    which reward from bandits quest, in cruel mode, is the best for your build? 18% phys dmg / 8% attack speed / 1 passive point?

    ty :)

    1. manos /

      for dw marauder i mean :)

    2. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I mentioned Bandit rewards in the original post. 18% physical damage is probably best overall, but you can also take attack speed if you think it won’t cause problems with sustaining your mana (it might). Either way you can’t really go wrong, and somewhere down the line there will be an option to change bandit quest rewards anyway.

  15. Denravi /

    Yo , hello! Are you gonna update your build for the new passive skill tree? Many of the ways u went are totally misplaced now, and as a beginner i really have no idea how to continue now, i loved ur built btw ;)

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Hey, thanks for asking. I updated the post awhile ago basically mentioning I’m probably going to update it (there is a rough non-optimized new build link provided). But to be honest with how nerfed the build is now I’m not sure if I’ll even bother. I’d recommend you try some other builds, as my Shredder has half the damage it used to and even lower survivability making it borderline non-viable.

      I liked the build as well, so much in fact that I don’t even want to play any other. So chances are I won’t be playing at all if at least some of the nerfs aren’t reverted.

      1. Cpt /

        I agree until something is changed this build isn’t working. The DPS is extremely low now even tho I didn’t take so much life+ and when for attack speed and ended up with lower DPS than before which is absurd and I think I don’t have to mention the survivability with doing it so.

        I would like to thank you for the guide for the awesome build it once was (maybe it becomes viable one day again who knows)…but the patch somehow took the fun away since the builds are all over the place. People tell me that you don’t know how to play if you don’t know how to put points in the passive tree…well I don’t play 20hours per day and study the passive tree instead of my exams, I just want to have fun.


        1. Profile photo of Admin
          admin / Post Author

          You can study the skill tree all you want, it won’t change the nerfed Cleave and it’s now lackluster damage. A lot more points are now required in DPS (which isn’t a bad thing since we have more health), but on the other hand we also need more points into Armor and Resistances. Whichever way you put it both the damage and survivability of this build was significantly reduced making it nearly unplayable.

          Took me 13 minutes to clear Dried Lake (66) yesterday, I almost died once too. Two days ago I could easily solo 73 maps.

          Nerf to Cleave, aura changes and adding legacy items really killed all the fun for me and completely demoralized me to the point where I would rather just quit until something changes.

          I’m extra sad that I recommended the build to so many people as well and now it’s down the drain.

          1. Cpt /

            Resistance wasn’t such a problem in my case it was the armor and the horrible DPS that I got (even after using a lot of points for higher attack speed and damage it was still lower).
            I was thinking of trying something like this: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/491481
            But I got no idea how gear dependent it is for now.

          2. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            Yeah that’s pretty much exactly what I’m going towards right now. My skill tree is a bit different, but basically lot more damage points than before, using Dual Strike + Melee Splash.

            I’ll see if I can get a Bringer of Rain later today to compare DPS with and without.

          3. Cpt /

            I started with a new duelist (it’s annoying but what else can I do), I probably won’t have the currency to get the Bringer of Pain tho so I’ll be using normal gear to make it work…I can report as I come closer to merciless of how good it is.

          4. Profile photo of Admin
            admin / Post Author

            With Bringer of Rain (Dual Strike, Melee Splash, Added Fire Damage, Multistrike) my damage is 1k higher compared to when I’m using a 6-linked chest. BUT, I can’t sustain Dual Strike as the cost increases to 66 mana/attack, which is practically my entire mana pool after Hatred and Grace. Doesn’t work unless you also have a Soul Taker. I can sort of sustain it with mana by removing Added Fire Damage my but DPS drops by an additional 5k. Blood Magic would fix sustain issues, but not the damage.

            The biggest upside to The Bringer of Rain is that it’s cheap compared to getting a 6-linked chest. Downside, you need Dream Fragments so you can’t get Frozen (another 3ex), and you will lose any defenses by not having a chestpiece. And Soul Taker ain’t cheap either.

  16. Denravi /

    I really liked the playstyle of ur build alot, somehow any other builds just dont fit to me… I hope they revert some of the nerfs.
    It was the first time i really enjoyed the game the past weeks, and now it’s completely destroyed. Especially the Hatred mana reserve is just incredible by now.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I practically haven’t played any other build besides this one for the past 7-8 months. It’s unusual but I just can’t explain how amazingly fun it was for me. Whatever else I tried was either not fun (dual totems seriously?) or just weak without insane gear.

      I was also incredibly excited for the release patch, so when I logged in and saw my Cleave went down from 16k DPS to 8K in addition to having less armor and resists, it didn’t really motivate me to keep playing.

      I liked the build as well, and like you I hope the revert at least the Cleave nerf. I’m not even sure why it was nerfed; possibly because of quick leveling for race events or strong Elemental Cleave damage, but neither of those two reasons should really affect lategame physical cleavers. Sad day for all of us.

  17. AbztraK /

    what about Vaal Pact as a Keystone for this build?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Doesn’t do anything to help with lackluster damage.

  18. Zad /

    Gonna throw some more of my thoughts and experience to the mix. Managed to beat all 3 difficulties with this build 100% solo, ~95% self-found (got donated a few items by a person who died in hardcore, but no trading with other players of any sort besides that). This was in open beta following the original skill tree and other suggestions. 0 deaths in normal, about 10 each in cruel and merciless (most notable issues with Weaver, Vaal, Kole, Piety). No experience with any other builds in this game, but I really like the concept of this one and being able to solo things is very important for me as well. Plus for some reason I like str/dex builds way more than int ones in these kind of games.

    When the game was fully released I tried to make this build work out with 3 auras, but it was both difficult and didn’t seem worthwhile. After some reading/thinking it seems that 2 will have to do (grace (or determination) + hatred) and extra defense will come from Cast when damage taken (unleveled) + Decoy Totem + Enduring Cry + Enfeeble or something similar (idea from the Blender guide brought up by Cpt). Seems like Cleave needs to be replaced with Dual Strike + Melee Splash as well. Here’s my current passive tree plan. I’ve also created a little side-project Scion in Domination league with largely the same foundation except I’ll be using Spectral Throw with Greater/Lesser Multiple Projectiles support and a 2-handed weapon – planning to go for these passives. Both get about 160-170% life from nodes and it’s easy to switch out damage for life when necessary. I don’t like specializing weapon-wise so planning to take generic damage nodes only. I really like playing solo, fully cleaning areas and reading/listening to npc chats/lore so I’m moving forward rather slowly though. Maybe these trees (I haven’t tested either yet) can provide some inspiration to others. Would be very interested in any feedback or experience concerning them as well.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      The skill tree seems pretty good. Depending on equipment, overall that’s about the same build I’d recommend to most people. Depending on itemization it might be necessary to pick up a few more health points, so I guess new builds will have to be adapted to each individual player; which is actually a good thing, Path of Life Nodes was lame.

      I should be able to revise my original build in a day or two once I’m more sure about everything, but seems both of us already figured pretty much the same things.

  19. Lionel /

    Indeed this build im using until now, it also suits my style of playing~ so far doesn’t met any problem~ but in the future my change abit. :)

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