Shredder: Dual Wield Physical Damage Build

After patch 1.0.0 (PoE release) my old build got nerfed significantly. It required quite a lot of changes to be viable again and just didn’t have the same flavor. Nevertheless I decided to stick with it as pretty much every other build is boring to play for me. The old goals of the build are still the same: making a strong melee character with high survivability who is able to solo any content in the game. Despite strong nerfs the build still manages to do plenty of DPS and is even stronger than before in terms of survivability, but does require more expensive equipment to work as well.

I based the build on the Duelist class, but you can also adapt the skill tree slightly to work with Marauders, Templars, Scions and even Rangers.

Shredder - Dual wield physical damage buildContents:

Why Dual Strike

Pre-release Cleave was my main damaging ability, but it got nerfed significantly and Dual Strike used with Melee Splash came out on top as the best replacement. Dual Strike deals massive single-target damage, and linked with Melee Splash even in a cheap 5-linked item deals over 10k AoE damage. This setup doesn’t necessarily even need a 6-linked chest early on to be effective, so you can farm your way through lower level maps until you’re ready to purchase one.

The Shredder build used to be a lot stronger before 1.0.0 patch but it’s still viable if you want a physical dual wielder. It gets increasingly powerful as you obtain better gear (duh!) and it does enable you to solo almost any content in the game.

As a side note, other AoE abilities don’t work as well for this build. Cleave, Lightning Strike, Reave, or any other 1-hand skill linked with Melee Splash gem doesn’t deal the same damage. Cyclone is just as good, but it causes huge desync (lag) issues so I stay away from it.

Build Strengths

  • Not extremely dependent on gear: you don’t need any specific expensive unique items to make this build work. There are a couple that help greatly but they aren’t necessary to make the build viable, and you can start farming endgame maps with average rare items.
  • High survivability: with just a few health points in the skill tree you can easily reach 4,000 health and more. Paired with high armor, lifesteal, life regeneration and Endurance Charges you’re unstoppable.
  • Great mobility: using Leap Slam and overall having lots of movement speed helps you get into fights quickly, and if necessary jump out of harms way even faster.
  • Can’t get stunned or frozen: by using my skill tree and one fairly cheap unique item you’re completely immune to stuns and freeze, making sure you’re always dishing out damage regardless of who you’re fighting against.
  • Adaptable: skill tree is designed in such a way that you can easily pick up extra health or resistances if needed, and easily overcome the lack of defenses on your gear with just a few points.
  • Versatility: you can do any kind of maps; you are virtually unaffected by reflect which is the bane of many other builds. Blood Magic + double Reflect + Multiple Projectiles + Vulnerability… bring it on! Even Chaos damage doesn’t hurt you nearly as much as it does other builds.
  • 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 over 8 attacks per second is unbelievably entertaining to watch.

Build Weaknesses

  • 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.
  • Needs one mana leech item: you will need gloves, belt, 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 regeneneration” 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 nearly every build except dual Spark totem or summoner has the same issue.
  • Best gear is expensive: to be the most efficient it does require a 6 linked chest, Alpha’s Howl and preferably a Soul Taker.

Passive Skill Tree

The build is not updated for Forsaken Masters expansion, so the links below are broken. Here’s a screenshot of the old build if you need a starting point.

My current build: 109 points (level 90). It’s optimized for my own equipment based on my resistances, health and weapon types.  If you’re lazy you can use it as-is, but it will work best if you adapt it to your own gear. As such, remove sword and axe damage nodes if you don’t use those weapons, remove bonus resistances if you’re already over-capped, and add some extra life nodes if your life is low.

  • Why 5% reduced mana reserved: because then I can reserve 99% of my mana and use three auras: unless you have a Soul Taker (and Alpha’s Howl) it won’t be possible, so feel free to redistribute those points elsewhere.
  • Why no Blood Drinker: I have plenty of life leech on equipment. When leveling you’ll probably want to have a point in Blood Drinker at all times.
  • Why +6 to all elemental resistances: very efficient point and just enough to push me over the cap.
  • Why no Bloodless: 8% more health is great, but I can’t afford the extra points.
  • Why no Fencing: efficient node, but don’t have enough points for it.
  • Is 2% to maximum resistances worth it? Yes.
  • For other questions, see FAQ below.

My own build is provided just to give you an example how you can adapt it. Unless you have the identical items as I do, use the build below.

Recommended endgame build: 110 points (level 87-90).

This is a generic build designed to work the a variety of different equipment, and can easily be adapted to overcome any lack of stats on your gear: extra dexterity or intelligence is just 1 point away, as is extra health or resistances. If you lack certain elemental resistances (which is common for new players) simply remove a couple of points from damage nodes. Spending a few Orbs of Regret is better than not having your resistances maxed!

You’ll notice the build goes from Duelist to Marauder starting points and can be used by either class. Scion or Ranger classes can work as well, only 3-4 points need to be redistributed which I’m sure you can figure out by yourself (in other words I’m too lazy to create builds for those classes, besides it’s pointless: just connect the build in shortest way possible).

Skill Tree Progression

  • Duelist: 10 points (Leather and Steel), 16 points (Water Dancing for +dex, Steel Skin), 26 points (Blood Drinker), 32 points (Resolute Technique), 43 points (Warrior’s Blood), 55 points (Iron Reflexes, Unwavering Stance), 66 points (Thick Skin, Finesse), 70 points (Weapon Artistry, Aspect of the Panther). Keep taking health, resists or damage as needed, possibly in that order.
  • Marauder: 12 points (Diamond Skin), 24 points (Blood Drinker, Resolute Technique), 36 points (Master of the Arena; you might need to pick up Quickness for extra dexterity along the way), 43 points (Water Dancing, Leather and Steel), 52 points (Iron Reflexes, Unwavering Stance), 60 points (Thick Skin, Finesse), 74 points (Weapon Artistry, Aspect of the Panther, Berserking, Sentinel). Fill out other nodes as needed, focus on resistances and health first, not damage.

Don’t bother planning your skill tree with 120 points, you’ll never have that many! With other classes, just follow the starting points and connect to one of the skill trees provided above in the closest way possible, and work your way to important keystones and notable passives that give you most bang for your buck.

There’s no clear benefit to playing either of these classes early as each one has its own advantages: Marauder can get to resistances and Resolute Technique earlier, Duelist can pick up more damage and some much needed early +dexterity. 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. These builds are also made for softcore leagues: if you play on hardcore you will surely want to pick more health nodes earlier to be on the safe side.

Note that the skill point progression is more of a suggestion or a guideline rather than set in stone. If you need extra health or resistances 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 Hard Knocks or Wisdom of the Glade 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.


  • 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 aura. 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. Don’t take it too early.
  • 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. Do not take it before you get Iron Reflexes!
  • 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’s definitely worth it. It also makes sure your mana leech is consistent.

Other notes:

  • You may need extra Dexterity or Intelligence for certain weapons or skill gems. +30 nodes are usually just a couple of points away so don’t be afraid to take them.
  • Why no Blood Magic? Because we can’t run auras with it. Plus it’s not necessary as Mana Leech covers all ability costs.
  • Unless you suffer from frequent stuns, don’t pick up Unwavering Stance and Iron Reflexes too early. Usually you’ll want to take it in late Cruel or early Merciless.


Why Resolute Technique? Why go Unwavering Stance? Why no Endurance Charges? Why no Vaal Pact? Why this, why that… If you feel any of the keystones are or are not useful, then do or don’t pick them up. I provided the full build I use which suits my play style, and after playing it for a year I’m sure it works — for me. It’s by no means the best or only build you can make! Experiment and decide for yourself.

Skill Gems

Dual Strike

Dual Strike

Your main damaging 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 Splash, Melee Physical Damage. In a 6-linked chest add Faster Attacks and Reduced Mana, and if you happen to have a Soul Taker switch Reduced Mana with Added Fire Damage. +Quality is useful on all of these gems, but not mandatory.

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 usually 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

Helpful when you run out of health and want to regen quicker. Quality adds increased totem life, helpful but by no means necessary. Monsters also attack it so it can serve as a good distraction in larger groups, or even on boss fights.

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

Alternative: Decoy Totem.

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. You can also use it with a high level Cast When Damage Taken gem for added survivability.

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



Adds over 2000 additional evasion rating at max rank, further scaled 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. +Quality on Reduced Mana gem does not work on auras (intended).

Alternative: Purity (increases your elemental resistances).



You can use it as soon as you get your Alpha’s Howl, or before if you don’t need Grace. +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.

Immortal Call

Immortal Call

You should constantly have endurance charges from Enduring Cry on Cast on Damage Taken gem, so when necessary you can pop Immortal Call to become completely invulnerable to physical damage for up to 2 seconds.

Support gems: Increased Duration, Faster Casting or Blood Magic.


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

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)
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 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 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)
Cast When Damage Taken A Fixture of Fate (Act 3 Merciless) A Fixture of Fate (Act 3 Merciless)
Multistrike A Fixture of Fate (Act 3 Merciless) A Fixture of Fate (Act 3 Merciless)

Some quest rewards were slightly changed in patch 1.0.0, so the table may not yet be 100% accurate.

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.

Multistrike and Cast When Damage Taken are only rewarded at the end of Act III in Merciless difficulty, so you may want to purchase them from players earlier. Multistrike costs about 2-3 Chaos Orbs, Cast When Damage Taken (not really required early on) up to 10 Chaos.


  • If you’re running a 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.
  • If needed you can run Clarity aura for increased mana regeneration if you have problems sustaining your ability costs in half-regen maps. Keep it at level 10 or below, and you can even link it with Blood Magic gem since it uses a flat amount of mana/health rather than a percentage.

Cast When Damage Taken

This support gem has a lot of potential to add variety and survivability to your builds. You should typically just keep the gem on level 1, since leveling it further just increases the damage you need to take in order to activate skills. I recommend some of the following spells:

  • Molten Shell – auto-casting Molten Shell means you constantly have additional armor and damage absorption, without the hassle of casting it yourself.
  • Enfeeble – depending on the intelligence requirements you may not want to level this gem fully or at all, but even a level 1 Enfeeble curse reduces the damage of anything hitting you by 25%. Definitely a noticeable difference!
  • Enduring Cry – gives you endurance charges without having to cast the skill yourself. Makes you even more durable, and it’s especially useful for hard-hitting bosses since every endurance charge provides a fixed 4% physical damage reduction.

Alternatively, Rejuvenation or Decoy Totems are also very helpful. And in case you want to be extra annoying in groups, add Portal. Worth mentioning because I was asked many times, spells linked to CWDT don’t require or consume mana when cast.

Level 1 Cast When Damage Taken, linked with level 5 Enduring Cry and Enfeeble is easiest and probably best for beginners to use. You can also add Increased Duration if you have a 4th socket available. If your sockets allow later on you can also add another high level (15-20) CWDT and link it with Molten Shell and/or Immortal Call, or even add another Enduring Cry.


Rejuvenation Totem and Molten Shell are definitely not mandatory in this build, especially once you start using Cast on Damage Taken. If necessary you can consider using some of the following curses:

  • 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, although you should typically avoid having to resort to it.

Where to put all those gems?

Below is an example of how you want your skill gems set up in your gear. Socket colors are important, but you don’t necessarily need to use all of these skills or support gems to achieve the same effect.

Inventory setup

You still end up with a few leftover sockets, enough to make all of these abilities work just fine.

Recommended Equipment

With my old build the item requirements were even less important. Now, the build can basically work well with just Alpha’s Howl, but a decent 6-linked chest and later on a Soul Taker are very recommended if you intend to tackle highest level content. Previously the build was extremely cheap, but now you can gear up any other build for the same price so take that into consideration.

Overall your main focus is to get elemental resistances and health on most equipment. One item is required with 2% mana leech, it’s not too hard to get but you may need to sacrifice more useful stats because of it. Avoid using a Mana Leech gem because you will find it much better to have an additional damage increasing skill gem link to your Dual Strike.

One item that’s almost mandatory for this build is Alpha’s Howl. Having a 6L chest helps greatly as well, but there is a fairly cheap alternative. Lastly a Soul Taker is recommended once you obtain riches beyond imagination.

Alpha’s Howl

Alpha's Howl

Costs 2-4 Exalted, typically depending on roll.

The biggest upside to Alpha’s Howl is the freeze immunity. 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 3-4 Exalted Orbs with a maxed roll, but it’s priceless for this build.

Although it seems like a minor buff, the 8% reduced mana reserve cost is just enough to enable you to use a second aura on mana. You’ll be able to use Grace for additional defense or Hatred for a damage increase, and either of those will help greatly. As if that wasn’t enough, your auras will also get +2 additional gem levels and be slightly more powerful.

I definitely recommend you save any currency you have and try to purchase Alpha’s as soon as you can.

6-Linked Chest

6L chest - Rift Sanctuary

Unfortunately, better 6L chests are even more expensive.

6-linked chests don’t come cheap, but they do enable you to get extra damage on your Dual Strike. As a sidenote it makes no difference if you have a 4-link item for Dual Strike or a 5-link one: you can’t sustain Dual Strike + Melee Splash in a 5-link item with 3 damaging support gems without also adding Reduced Mana.

If you can afford the price and more importantly loss of stats on your chest piece, consider getting Tabula Rasa. It costs about 2-3 Exalted Orbs and will enable you to add Faster Attacks + Reduced Mana to your Dual Strike, thus increasing its DPS by about 25-30%. It’s up to you to figure out if you can play without armor, resistances and health provided by normal chests — it mostly depends on the quality of the rest of your gear.

Decent 6-linked rare chests are pretty expensive: the one pictured costs about 20 Exalted, and it’s far from being the best one. If you want to buy ANY 6-linked chest you’re probably not going to find one priced below 8 Ex.

Soul Taker

Soul Taker

Old legacy Soul Taker had much higher DPS but costs about 80 Exalted now. New version is nerfed but much more affordable.

Not necessary by any means, but it does open up additional opportunities. By having this unique axe you can remove the Reduced Mana gem in your chest and add Added Fire Damage, further improving your damage to likely well over 20k (depending on your weapons).

Legacy Soul Takers are insanely expensive so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your hands on one any time soon, but a new nerfed one should cost you about 50 Exalted and it’s still decent. You’re buying it because of its “insufficient mana” effect, not because of the DPS. Soul Taker also enables you to reserve your entire mana pool, allowing you to use a 3rd aura.

Either way leave it as the last item to go for, and set your goals towards it. You can do without it, but can never improve your DPS substantially without one.

Leveling Gear

If you want to level up a bit faster you might want to consider getting one of these two items: Wurm’s Molt or Slitherpinch. They will help sustain your ability costs early on and are really, really cheap. If you’re just starting in the game you probably won’t even be able to afford these immediately, but generally they cost about 1 Chaos Orb.

Leveling items: Wurm's Molt and Slitherpinch

I might be able to hook you up with these (on Standard league), just PM me in game (info below), or join my guild.

Bandit Quest Rewards

  • 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. You can never have enough Chaos resist so I recommend having an Amethyst Flask in case it’s needed: try to get one with increased armor or evasion on use so you can use it against physical damage as well. Hybrid Flask helps in case you happen to run out of mana and need to Leap Slam or use a Rejuvenation Totem, or in some instances when you can’t sustain Dual Strike on single-target monsters. Once you get Soul Taker you can switch Hybrid to Quicksilver or even another Granite Flask.

I prefer 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 hard-hitting abilities and enemies like Vaal or Kole.

Plenty of players often use Quicksilver Flasks, but there’s no reason to with my build. You have plenty of mobility to get away or run towards someone faster, and if you really feel the need for speed you can get a bonus movement speed mod on any other flask.

Gameplay Videos

The video embedded below is a short and incomplete Jungle Valley, level 72 map run. The map doesn’t have any mods to increase its difficulty, but it does demonstrate how well the build works in high level content. Weaver/Spinner of False Hope boss fight shown in the end of the video is considered one of the most challenging ones, but as you can see this build doesn’t really struggle with it.

I didn’t even use Endurance Charges and the flasks used are more as a precaution rather than a necessity. If you have any specific map or boss fight requests let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to record them.

Closing Thoughts

Shredder is a very versatile build that has little weaknesses. It used to be much, much stronger but it’s still viable for grouping or even soloing endgame maps, however it does come with a steep price tag if you’re dabbling in highest level content without a group. To get the most out of this build you will need some pretty expensive items, and with the same amount of currency spent you’re able to make many other builds work just as well if not better.

But, if you like the gameplay of a physical damage dual-wield character, this is it! There are some other dual-wield builds but none of them that I like playing nearly as much as this one. The Shredder is great for beginners as well since it’s extremely easy to play, but be warned you will have to farm intensively if you ever want to get over 20k tooltip DPS. Even with the best of items Shredder is somewhat weak DPS-wise compared to many other builds, so take that into consideration if you intend to choose it.

You’re welcome to discuss the build or ask me anything about it in the comments below.

There are 154 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Zad /

    First off thanks for updating the guide! Much appreciated.

    Secondly I got a couple of notes/questions which might be worth bringing up here:
    1) Seems like the Duelist skill tree progression is not quite right? At 80 points Iron Reflexes and Unwavering Stance have still not been picked up.
    2) It might be worth pointing out that connecting Duelist and Marauder trees from the edge is a viable option (my personal preference as well). Compared to your current tree it means 1 extra point spent on a 10 strength node, but it makes 2% life leech, 2 x 12% life, 2 x (12% damage + 6% life) nodes available, which are all useful and above average in terms of power in my opinion. The big pile of mostly 8% life nodes near Scion start will still be an option for anyone who wants a more defensive build.
    3) What do you think about additional maximum endurance charges? There are 2 of them nearby in the skill tree – one requires 2 points and the other 3 to be picked up. Additionally a max endurance charge could be obtained in Merciless from Oak rather than the passive point.

    Shame about the Cleave nerf – other than that the release seems to have worked out alright for this build. Hopefully it will be buffed up (unnerfed) or something better than Dual Strike + Melee Splash will become available in future updates.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      You’re probably right about points 1 & 2. Revised tree — this one seems better, what do you think? There is overall a minor loss of damage and health (from my original build), but in general I think it should work better for most players.

      As for RT and US, I’ll have to redo the progression since I messed up a couple of other things as well.

      I wouldn’t go for endurance charges for now because I think there’s a big chance the Cast on Damage Taken gem will somehow get nerfed. It’s just ridiculously strong right now and might not be as useful in a patch or two. Also, I’m currently more than tanky with my build and really don’t need extra endurance charges anyway, but since it’s just 5 points to get 2 more charges you can experiment with it if you like. I wouldn’t recommend taking EC from bandit quests for the same reasons, and who knows when they’ll implement “respecs” on bandit rewards. I’d never use Enduring Cry with this build if it weren’t for the new gem.

      As for the nerf, it was mainly because Cleave was strong in races and with Elemental damage, so this build was mainly collateral damage. Our damage did sort of remain the same because with the increased base health you can put a lot more points into damage in the skill tree so it sort of evened out, but only once you get a 6L chest. But I really liked using Cleave as an ability, Dual Strike + Melee Splash just doesn’t feel the same. Cleave is now (for physical damage) probably the worst ability to use: perhaps if they got rid of the physical damage penalty it might be worth considering again, but that’s unlikely.

      1. Zad /

        From my current observations that revised skill tree approach looks like the best and most flexible one to me. It lays good groundwork in the sense that all the best/most important stuff is picked up and there should be no issues with str/dex requirements (1 x 30 dex and 2 x 30 int nodes are all just 1 extra point if needed as well). There are also 2% life leech, max endurance charges and additional life/damage nodes available nearby depending whether you need a more tanky (for hardcore or when your gear is lacking for example) or damage-oriented build. Anyone specializing in swords can still go for the better sword damage/life nodes you have picked currently. Relatively easy to switch between them as well with regrets if the need arises.

        Good points about endurance charges. I’ll probably aim for a more damage-oriented approach myself for now (haven’t quite reached endgame neither level- nor gear-wise yet).

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Exactly what I was going for. You can pick up anything you need: extra health, resistances, life leech, intelligence or dexterity — all just 1 point away. My own skill tree looks a bit different as it’s based on the gear I currently have, and everyone will probably want to spend a few points elsewhere based on their own equipment as well, so this skill tree easily enables you to adapt as required.

        I’ll take a look at it again tomorrow and see if there’s any other opinions in the meantime, but it’ll probably update the skill tree in the guide to this new build.

      3. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Updated the post with new skill tree. Hopefully I didn’t mess up anything again.

  2. AbztraK /

    hey.. im buiilding my guy based on your old build.. can i still follow it? can i full respec some how? :( i hate that it isnt “viable” anymore cause i’ve already started im like lvl 25. what do i do?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      The build I posted in this comment above should work best. I doubt it’s much different from what you have right now.

      The build overall is still viable, just a lot more expensive and with lower endgame damage potential. I just don’t want to mislead anyone thinking it’s as good as it used to be pre-release.

  3. AbztraK /

    Based on your old build passive tree. i am right at the bravado node. with 4 skill points to spend.. 3 to get to bravado and 1 extra… what do you recommend me going for since things have changed? get bravado then where do i go from there… or dont go for bravado??

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Don’t go for Bravado. Takes too many points now that can be spent elsewhere more effectively.

      1. AbztraK /

        it’s kinda too late lol, i can get there with 3. and i actually have 6 points now. should i just go ahead and get it? and after bravado where would you recommend i go next. sorry for bothering

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        I updated the (hopefully) final build in the post, try to follow it I think it’ll be better. It really doesn’t leave a lot of room to “waste” 5 points to get to Bravado: you can get more damage with 5 points elsewhere, and 4% block chance isn’t worth it.

        It’s better to respec 3 points now, than 6 points later.

        1. AbztraK /

          thank you!

  4. PaulMuadDibKa /

    Am I missing something or isn´t this a Dual Wielding guide?

    If so, why arent you getting for lvl 13 the Dual Wiled Damage and Dual Wiled speed?

    Why do you get the Water Dancing????

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      28% physical damage and 3% attack speed, versus 16% physical damage and 14% block. It’s entirely up to you, I suppose you may want extra block earlier but I didn’t find it necessary since you already get some by dual-wielding. Dexterity from Water Dancing is also helpful if you need to equip any evasion-based armor earlier, since you’re going straight for Resolute Technique you won’t have to stop and pick up any additional dex for some time.

      As I mentioned in the post multiple times I believe, adapt the build to your own playstyle, equipment and needs. That’s when it’ll work the best.

      1. PaulMuadDibKa /

        Thanks man! Will do :D

  5. PaulMuadDibKa /

    Forgot to say thanks for the guide :D

  6. Terre /

    Thanks for the update!
    I still stick to cleave cause I really like that attack :)
    My DPS is near 7k with 8.7aps, currently lvl80.

    I’m looking to finetune my skill tree, and I have a question:
    I would remove a node that says “24% incr phys dmg while dual wielding” and instead take 2 nodes “12% incr phys dmg with 1H melee weapons & +6% to max life”, this saves me some points because the path is shorter. + I get the life bonus with it.

    The big Q is: Is there a difference between “phys dmg while dual wielding” and “phys dmg with 1H melee wpn”?
    I’d think it comes to the same result in DPS (for this build), not?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      You should always take the most efficient nodes, or those that will get you closer to more efficient ones. It doesn’t matter too much while leveling as it does in endgame when you’re really trying to maximize every stat.

      I always assumed “physical damage while dual wielding” and “physical damage with one handed melee weapons” was the same. I’ll try and find some spare Regrets to make sure it is.

      Just a tip, level up your Dual Strike and Melee Splash in alternate weapon slots, you might want to switch eventually because it does have higher damage. I prefer Cleave as well but it’s just not worth the damage loss right now.

      1. Terre /

        Thanks for the info!
        I took the shot and used my regrets and the phys dmg seems to be exactly the same.
        So that’s good news!
        I checked and my Dual Strike is already 8.5k dps so you are right, but I only use it for single target for the moment.
        Maybe I should experiment with Melee Splash later on…

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        admin / Post Author

        Ok thanks for checking it out, I didn’t have time to login today yet to test it myself. With a fully leveled Melee Splash gem (perhaps with quality) your damage on Dual Strike should remain roughly the same as it is without having splash. The biggest difference is that’s one gem socket you can’t use for another DPS-increasing support gem, but you do gain AoE damage in return.

        Anyway, if you’re happy with Cleave damage then feel free to continue using it, I’m just saying that eventually you may want to make the switch to Dual Strike + Splash for higher damage. Either way I hope you’re enjoying the build :)

        1. Terre /

          Wow! I did some tests with Dual Strike & Melee Splash… amazing DPS increase over Cleave… I got +5k increase (+12k now). And this is on a 5L chest with 1 slot reserved for mana leech. Gotta start saving for a 6L chest & Soul Taker ;)


    hey man, awsome guide, im starting up and trying to follow youre guide. If you are kind enough to loan me one of those leveling items would be awsome…I can give you back when get better. Currently lvl 11. That’s my ingame name GETSHREDDEDD :D Much thanks Awsome guide

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Thanks, I’d love to help you out. I’ll try to catch you online in an hour or two. By the way I’m on Standard league. Glad you found the guide helpful, hopefully you won’t regret it :)

  8. Montonius /

    Hi there. Thanks for your awesome guide; it’s been very helpful as I love to create all my characters as physical melee builds. You mentioned that the the Shredder build can be used for other character classes besides the Duelist and the Marauder. Could you put up the passive tree specs for these other classes, particularly the Shadow and the Ranger (maybe the Scion too), as I’d really like to try the build out with them but I’m having difficulty mapping out the best path to include all the passives to create the build from the other starting points on the tree. Again, great site and thanks for all your excellent advice.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      The build won’t work well with Shadow class, too many points go to waste and I’d advise against it.

      Ranger tree example
      Scion tree example

      As I mentioned just connect to my proposed build in the shortest/most efficient way you can. Takes 4 extra points with Scion, or 3 if you decide to go the damage route (although 3×6% damage is pretty bad, while 18% to elemental resists is awesome). For rangers you can go the straight 3x+10 dexterity route, or pick up Evasion+Life or Damage+Attack speed. Depends what you want to sacrifice elsewhere.

      With Shadow you’d have to spend like 20 useless points just to get close to the nodes you want, and it would be a terrible idea to try my build with this class. Templar is a bit more forgiving, but still there will be a lot of wasted potential.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  9. Lionel /

    Just saw this build and thanks to POE inform that need to reallocate the skill point. Im Using your previous dual wield guide but now seems like gotta change already. I’m also prefer cleave more than dual strike as using that, i might be able to replace melee splash to other thing~
    By the way, Thanks for updating such a good guide for user like me who did follow your step on the old build~ :-)

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Hope you stick with the build, I think it’s still pretty good. I prefer Cleave as well but it just isn’t worth it now, Dual Strike + Melee Splash deals much higher damage.

  10. Big Key /

    I’m a duelist and I just completed Lost in Love on normal. I’ve got a number of choices, but I’m not really sure what to take, and so far I don’t really have the bank to buy up everything I’m missing. My options are rejuvenation totem (which seems optional at this stage), enduring cry, and warlord’s mark. Enduring cry is sure fire endurance charges for immortal call, but warlord’s mark has much better utility, and has an increasing chance with level to grant a charge off every enemy cursed. What would be a good first pick?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      I dislike manually casting Enduring Cry, I only use it on Cast on Damage Taken gem. And I’ve been able to progress easily without endurance charges anyway, so you probably don’t need it either this early. You should take Warlord’s Mark only if you need the life and mana leech it provides, otherwise it’s not that helpful. I’d prefer Rejuvenation Totem, but that’s just my play style: extra health regeneration and another target for monsters to focus on in sticky situations has been most helpful for me.

  11. sean /

    Hey man, I’m going to be making this build shortly and i’m wondering what is the best skills for leveling this build early game?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Probably Reave. Switch to Dual Strike + Melee Splash on level 19.

      1. Finnept /

        I’ve reached the late twenties and Reave still has higher DPS for me than Dual Strike, as well as a lower base mana cost. The AoE is much larger after the first couple of swings, too. I’ve no doubt that your experience and knowledge of the game goes well beyond mine, though, so I’m sure I’ll end up using Dual Strike eventually. I’m just curious – what makes Dual Strike ultimately the better choice of the two for this build?

        1. Profile photo of Admin
          Admin / Post Author

          Keep using Reave if you prefer, but I recommend keeping Dual Strike + Splash in your alternate weapons so they still gain experience.

          Dual Strike deals higher damage for me, at least it was the last time I tested it. Also since I got plenty of damage now, I practically 1-hit most monster packs so I’d almost never have Reave stacked; Melee Splash (especially with quality) has a pretty good radius.

          1. Finnept /

            Well, that was a bit embarrassing. I got the names of Cleave and Dual Strike mixed up. What I meant to say is that Reave has higher DPS than Cleave for me. Dual Strike, of course, has the highest DPS, but I don’t have any support gems yet. I think I’ll just end up following this build pretty closely, though I may well experiment a bit with Reave later on. And don’t worry, I’ve been levelling all the gems this build suggests!

          2. Finnept /

            Oh boy, I just got my first Melee Splash gem. Forget everything I said, the AoE AND main target DPS rates are the best of any ability I have. Don’t even need Reave or Cleave any more. This is amazing.

          3. Profile photo of Admin
            Admin / Post Author

            Yup, I’m glad it works well for you! :)

  12. Toranc /

    What do you think about putting Infernal Blow + Melee Splash + Life Leech while leveling?
    You just leap slam in and blow them all up, as well as using Molten Shell for the durability.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      admin / Post Author

      Sounds good but then it’s not my build anymore, is it? I’d remove life leech though, just increases your mana cost for little benefit (get leech on gear instead). You can use whatever skills or builds feel best for you. If you intend to switch from 2H weapon to dual wield later on, just make sure you don’t waste any points into dual-wielding damage while leveling.

  13. Rard /

    Thanks for the build. Can be viable at hardcoreleague?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      It’s possible. I haven’t played hardcore and I prefer my careless play style (Leap Slam into a 10+ mob pack and wreck faces) pretty much as soon as I get Leap Slam, but it does cause occasional unnecessary deaths. With more careful play you could make it viable I think. The build is incredibly durable later on, but some 1H+shield builds are probably safer for Hardcore.

  14. Rard /

    Ok thanks. Maybe the same passive tree. Maybe some cjanges in def. But 1h + shield with doublestrike?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      Possibly safer, but I can’t further comment on that build since I haven’t played it myself.

  15. Profile photo of Tetanus
    Tetanus /

    Hey man. Great build! I am using very similar build in Nemesis. And I’ve cleared every difficulty in 2 days (except merci domi my gear still sucks). So it is more than doable. I am at 20kdps now, at 8.4 attacks per second on multistrike.
    Good tip for Nemesis/HC players: you can use 2 Cast on Damage Taken gems! I placed mine on weapons, got 1 linked to enduring cry and molten shell, and the other to enfeeble and decoy totem. This way your survivability is pretty damn high.
    One thing though. How do you deal with mana issues? I have 4% mana leech on my gear and i still cant support mana cost. I am forced to drink mana pot constantly and eventually had to take Mana Flows node in duelist tree. And those are 3 points i would really like to free up (oh yea, i started as a duelist, so i don’t need that 8% node that marauder need to take to progress to the east of passive tree). And i can’t even dream of using 2 auras.
    Got any tips for me?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      Glad the build is working for you, especially in Nemesis. I actually wasn’t sure if it was hardcore-viable but seems it can be afterall.

      Anyway, you hit a brick wall at this point, something that this build suffers from now unfortunately. As I tried to explain in the guide, you can’t sustain Dual Strike + Melee Splash with 3 additional damaging gems unless you also use Reduced Mana. Basically the choice is:
      4L item: Dual Strike, Melee Splash, Multistrike, Added Physical Damage
      5L item: Dual Strike, Melee Splash, Multistrike, Added Physical Damage, Faster Attacks
      6L item: Dual Strike, Melee Splash, Multistrike, Added Physical Damage, Faster Attacks, Reduced Mana

      If you want to use Added Fire Damage instead of Reduced Mana in a 6L chest you will need Soul Taker otherwise you can’t sustain ability cost with any amount of mana leech. Thus, the brick wall: cheapest Soul Taker is about 25 exalted on Standard (not sure about Nemesis, but probably even more expensive). However, your damage can nearly double when you have one.

      Before without Soul Taker I had 17k DPS, now I’m at 32k. The weapon itself didn’t help me much in terms of DPS on it, but It enabled me to switch to more efficient gear and not worry about mana leech at all, and I could also use Added Fire Damage support gem instead of Reduced Mana.

      17k DPS still isn’t bad, but doubling that makes you incredibly, incredibly strong. There is NOTHING that you won’t be able to kill, no map mod you can’t do. I can even DPS through Lightning Thorns, mobs just die before there’s even a chance for any damage to reflect back. It’s insane how powerful, durable and versatile this build gets once you have proper gear.

      Oh and as for auras, with Alpha’s Howl + Reduced Mana gem you should be able to use Hatred and Grace and still have enough mana to constantly sustain Dual Strike, but you probably will have to remove Added Fire Damage for now; my best guess is that’s causing your issues. If you still end up with too little mana, try switching Grace for Purity, since Purity only reserves 40% but is still very useful.

      1. Profile photo of Tetanus
        Tetanus /

        Thanks for response!
        I only have 5l in that exact combo for now. And i am mana starved with hatred alone… And for boss fights i switch splash for added fire.

        1. Profile photo of Admin
          Admin / Post Author

          Remove Faster Attacks and add Reduced Mana. You’ll drop from your 20k DPS to about 15, which should still be enough to clear most stuff easily. You really should be able to sustain Dual Strike (should cost about 31 mana/attack then). You’ll also be able to use Grace.

          Then work on getting a 6L, and add Faster Attacks again (in which case Dual Strike should be at about 36 mana, still enough to sustain it with 2% mana leech).

  16. Reactor /

    hi, i tryd your build after my first marauder got miskilled, i’m lvl 66 atm, i skilled the passives like in ur passive tree, my question is which 1hand weapons should i use and which attack speed and dps should they have, i tryd with 2 180 dps swords and got only 500 dps, attackspeed is with faster attack low and i die during not enough leech, pls need advice i got only around 1ex which weapons are needed to play smooth and get nice attack speed thanks

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      Normally you’ll just want to use whatever weapons have the highest DPS increase for you. 180 DPS is pretty low, you should be able to find near 300 DPS weapons for the 1ex you have. Still despite having such low DPS weapons, you should have a lot more than 500 DPS — that number should easily be achievable by level 30. Are you sure you got the right gem combos?

  17. Profile photo of ironopoLis
    ironopoLis /

    Can I spec the same way in normal difficulty? I’m thinking of starting a Marauder and this build looks sweet xD.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      I included skill tree progression for Marauders in the guide as well, it should provide you with the exact and possibly best path to get to most important nodes in the tree.

      1. Profile photo of ironopoLis
        ironopoLis /


  18. moon /

    I started playing PoE a week ago, created a lightning witch but around level 30 I found out that I didn’t like the playstyle much so I switched to your build and it’s a whole different story. I’m having so much even though my gear is (very) subpar. Thanks for sharing! :)

  19. Profile photo of ironopoLis
    ironopoLis /

    I’m wondering is the build still working as you would expect after the recent patch?

    Thanks in advance….I can imagine GGG and character builders are best friends :) the constant nerfs must be annoying.

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      It’s definitely weaker with the Cast When Damage Taken gem nerf, our survivability suffered a lot but both the gem and the build are still decent enough. I just hope this trend of nerfs doesn’t continue, as Shredders (and many other melee builds) really can’t take too many hits, and we may again see a majority of players building casters.

      Instead of nerfing every decent build in one patch after the other I’d like to see them focus on creating possibilities for new effective builds; adding a couple of trap-focused uniques just doesn’t give enough diversity.

      As for Cast When Damage Taken I think there were plenty of other ways to make it less powerful. For example they could have gotten rid of the damage component for linked skills completely so it could only be used as utility/survivability tool. Or add an internal cooldown on skills so they don’t get cast as often, or make it work with only one linked skill… or any number of other options. Instead they opted for a fairly complex and in my opinion unintuitive solution which requires spreadsheets.

      Seems like it’s one step forward, two steps behind.

  20. Ceddybeddy /

    Oh man, I’ve been having so much fun with this build, totally overpowered until Act3 merciless.

    What would you recommend with Cast When Damage Taken now? I feel like Molten shell is not the best choice anymore.
    I was thinking keeping Cast When Damage Taken lvl 1 and using Immortal call and enduring cry lvl1 as well, the invulnerability time is decreased but I can’t figure out if the decrease is significative.
    The armor from molten shell is drastically reduced though and using it manually doesn’t sound too much of a good idea considering the cast time

    Hum… any thoughts?

  21. Ceddybeddy /

    Sorry for the double post, re-read your guide and noticed I got confused with another guide as you do’nt even use those spells on Cast When Damage Taken.

    The nerf doesn’ t seem to hurt your buid too much though

  22. Sahasrahasla /

    It would be good to point out that on the video you didn’t have Soul Taker.

    Also, how are you faring now with the cast on damage taken nerf?

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      It’s alright, survivability is of course lower than before but the build’s viability didn’t really rely on CWDT anyway. Even adding a level 1 Enfeeble curse on it can be incredibly helpful.

  23. Brandonhaha /

    Wow, i cant believe you are constantly replying to commentators. thats amazing. well i really would like to add you as a friend in game, is hiuro, you? I first didnt have a build or anything, take care this is my first character, and i specced what i felt was best, and it worked till merciless, and i saw your build spcced a few points around and man do i love it. mines different but same as yours and i like that. just saying thanks for the help and items you posted. me first time playing, was hard to figure out was what good with what. but dam im learning quick. thanks again. ill try to add you again, my name is Ambidexterousfishstick

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      I probably won’t be online for the next 12 hours or so but you’re welcome to add me, I’ll accept when I can. Nice to know the build helped you, especially in Merciless where most players expect far too much from the build while having awful gear, so I’m glad you’re sticking with it.

      1. Brandonhaha /

        Sounds awesome, thanks for replying!!

  24. Lucable /

    Hello, is this build still viable with the recent 1.0.1 update? I am a level 73 witch looking for a new class and cool melee build with an in depth guide.

  25. ggrraauuww /

    Im following ur build but with the marauder class.
    Its my first char ever, so im totally new. (means i dont have rares etc farmed with other higher chars).
    Now i got the first gems, dual strike, leap, hatred, and im using them on blue and few yellow items.
    My char sux atm..
    DPS isnt that bad for now, but killing VaaL is almost impossible.
    Takes ages to kill him. Verry low attack speed.

    How do i know that? Well when i join a party i see lower chars having amazingly dmg, and attack speed..
    I come with my char and when they hit 5a6 times , i hit a unit 1time.

    Is there something i can do to fix this?
    What i do wrong?

    Thx guys

    1. Profile photo of Admin
      Admin / Post Author

      Bosses like Vaal have a lot of health when you’re in a full group, so perhaps that made you think you weren’t doing a lot of damage. Don’t know what your level or equipment looks like, but you should have about 2 or more attacks per second I think, depending mostly on your weapons.

      Also when starting with a Marauder it takes awhile to get to the damage-increasing nodes in your skill tree, most of which are near the Duelist starting area so it might be a bit slower at first. Once you reach level 35 or so it should go faster.

      Is your Dual Strike linked with any support gems? You should have at least one support gem with it if you’re level 20 or so.

      1. ggrraauuww /

        my dual strike isnt supported. saw i need to use it on a chest with more gem spots. Now im getting it more and more what ur points means.

        Im only playing poe for two days now. :)

        But i hope my char get better at level 35.
        Played normal mobs now in a party. And i see guys killing 10 mobs, while i kill two . :-) much higher dps but from the most, the attack speed is way faster then mine.

        I not gonne give up, and i keep playing. :-)

      2. Profile photo of Admin
        Admin / Post Author

        Finding an item with 2 or 3 linked sockets should be really easy, and your damage will increase roughly by 50% with every additional support gem (except Melee Splash), so don’t worry you’ll have plenty of damage. It takes awhile to get a grasp of everything in Path of Exile, and it would be a shame to give up too soon :)

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