Upon getting through the Ground Slam Marauder or any other melee builds in Path of Exile, you may want to go for another one that feels different. The Duelist is a strength and dexterity-based melee character class that combines close-range combat with agility and finesse, and some prefer it over the Marauder, which is a straightforward tank that just goes in and hits as hard as possible. With that in mind, here is a Duelist build that should change things up for Path of Exile players.
Before major changes were implemented, Cleave was a powerful damage-delivering ability, but was then nerfed significantly. This leaves Duelist players having to go for other more viable options for their builds, as while Cleave-centric builds are still being pretty good, they do require more expensive gear now.
That’s where the combination of Dual Strike and Melee Splash comes in as an alternative for those who still want to put down tons of damage while still staying alive to dish more. This skill combination is also applicable for Marauders, Templars, Scions, and even melee Rangers. However, we shall focus on the Duelist for now as it seems to be the most effective class for this build.
Take note that Dual Strike only works with dual wield, so you’ll have no shield and must gain defense through other means, mainly by increasing your life pool and having good gear.
Your progression should be in this order (as much as possible) — 10 points towards Leather and Steel, 16 points towards Water Dancing for Dexterity bonus and then Steel Skin, 26 points towards Blood Drinker, 32 points towards Resolute Technique, 43 points towards Warrior’s Blood, 55 points towards Iron Reflexes and then Unwavering Stance, 66 points towards Thick Skin and then Finesse, 70 points towards Weapon Artistry and then Aspect of the Panther. Along the way, keep taking health, resists or damage as needed.
You can get high survivability with just a few health points in the skill tree, great mobility with the use of Leap Slam, and immunity to stun and freeze. However, you do need a lot of high health and resist gear, as well as a mana leech item. You also get lower DPS in half-regen maps, and low Increased Item Rarity and Quantity stats, so take that into consideration.
As the primary active skill, Dual Strike lets you deal incredible single-target damage, and linking it with Melee Splash in even the cheapest 5-linked item lets you deal over 10,000 AoE damage, making it second to only Cleave from the beta. You won’t even need a 6-linked armor early on to be incredibly effective with it, so you can farm in lower level maps and climb higher in a shorter period of time. You’ll then hopefully farm more powerful gear during that time.
Other AoE abilities are not as good for this build, especially 1-hand ones like Lightning Strike, Reave, and even Cleave itself when linked with Melee Splash. Cyclone is the only one that can match the damage from Dual Strike, although you may have to contend with desync issues and cause tons of lag when you use it.
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