[1.2.2] The Dark Knight - Ki's Crit Staff Duelist | 200k+ DPS, 8k Life | Best Melee Clear

**DISCLAIMER:** I made this on STANDARD. I have incredibly expensive gear, because I wanted to push the limits of this build, not because it was necessary to run the build. You can definitely do this build on a budget (separate budget guide in spoiler below!).

Features of the Build
1. Manly as FUCK. This ain't no sissy ST/Wander build where you kill most of the mobs off-screen. You will leap your ass into the most intimidating of packs and start kicking ass and taking names. And you have 8k+ Life, a 23 second immortal call, instant-leech, and knockback/freeze on crit to back you up.

2. Clears VERY Fast. You will have either a 300k DPS Heavy Strike or 250k DPS Ground Slam nearly all the time thanks to a 16 second vaal haste (ridiculous up time in maps). The high damage per hit on staves also scales the overkill ignite from Herald of Ash incredibly for an unprecedentedly fast melee clear.

3. Engaging Play-style. A lot of people make OP builds on standard/dumpster leagues and get bored and either quit or move on to temp leagues. This build, while it is OP, requires you to manage your Endurance Charges & Immortal Call and be attentive to what you're leaping into, as you don't have the safety of off-screen distance. The efficiency and OPness of this build is directly proportional to how much you practice/play it. This, in my opinion, is what makes the build so unique and enjoyable. Additionally, you can use any number of skills with this build including ground slam, flicker strike, sweep, heavy strike, and glacial hammer -- all work extremely well with the same colors (RRRGBB).

4. It's Not Going Anywhere. Unlike other OP builds (LL ST/Wander) that use blatantly broken mechanics (1 node = 60% mana reservation reduction kappa?) and will almost assuredly be nerfed in 1.3, this one just manipulates a lot of small, relatively untouched mechanics (ie Abyssus + IC, Skill Duration Nodes + IC/Vaal Haste, Huge Damage per Hit + Herald of Ash Overkill). Additionally, this build presents enough of a barrier of entry for folks (see #2 below) that it will never get as hyped as builds like LL ST/Wander, which are comparatively much easier to play. This will help keep the build outside the range GGG's nerfbat.

1. Expensive to Do Correctly. You can definitely do this on a budget (master crafted staff, cheap abyssus, 5L carcass, etc.), but to get the most out of it, you will need to at least have a Hegemony's Era, which will run you ~20-25 ex (unlinked) on standard. If price is a concern to you, look at my budget version below and see if it's something you can swing.

2. Risky/Complicated Play-style. Basically the corollary of the build not being boring. For people looking for simple point and click builds or are not good at micromanaging skills, this is not the build for you. You have to be good about carefully getting charges/IC up before leaping into packs/rooms. You have to be conservative with refreshing IC on phys reflect maps. You have to remember to use Vaal Haste as it comes up. All of this will increasingly become muscle memory with practice, but you have to be willing to make mistakes and learn!

NORMAL BUILD: (No Romira's)
Level 90 Passive Tree
Level 100 Passive Tree

Level 90 Passive Tree
Level 100 Passive Tree

Normal - Kraitlyn - All Res (Or Passive, depends on your gear/resists)
Cruel - Kraitlyn - IAS (Or Oak/Phys dmg if you intend to use flicker strike)
Merciless - Alira - Power Charge (Or Endurance Charge with Romira's)

Without Romira's

With Romira's

1. Staff (High Phys --> High Crit Chance --> High IAS - Note: If you bench craft, use Lathi base)
2. Chest (Kaoms or a decent 6L works as well)
3. Gloves (Acuity preferred, but maligaros can work)
4. Amulet (Crit --> Phys --> Life/Accuracy)
5. Rings (Mana Leech (on one) --> Resists --> Life/Accuracy --> Phys)
6. Boots (Resists --> Life)
7. Belt (Resists --> Life)

BiS mirrored gear is what I have linked above.

Should I use Romira's Banquet?
I've been struggling with finding a way to incorporate the Increased AOE Gem into my 6L Ground Slam setup (not a problem for those using Hegemony's Era) without sacrificing so much DPS from losing Melee Physical Damage (--> 80% crit, 131k DPS) or PCoC (--> 57% crit, 152k DPS).

Replace my tri-res mana leech ring with
Romira's Banquet (which also has mana leech) and also replace my
atziri boots with
a rare tri-res pair to make up for the resists.

With my gear/tree, Romira's will on average give me the equivalent of 1 constant power charge (I've omitted the complicated math, but you can find equations/concepts I used here), which is to say that on average it gives me ~5% greater critical strike chance (the equivalent of a 50% crit chance node). Given that my base critical strike chance without any power charges is 57%, I'm left with choosing between two very different builds...

1. My Original Build -- Has 200k DPS, 80% critical strike chance (with 5 PC), and 16% more spell dodge (Atziri Step)

2. Build with Romira's + Rare Boots -- Has 168k DPS, 62% critical strike chance (on average), 20% more crit multi, 333 more accuracy (89% --> 91%), 2 more passive points (one from tree power charge and the other from bandit), and an extra gem slot to use Inc. AOE since I no longer have use of PCoC

So in the end, this alternative build sacrifices 32k DPS, 16% spell dodge, and will also be instant-leeching 22% less of the time than before....
....And gains the ability to link ground slam to Increased AOE gem (~45% increase in radius of attack) and also 2 extra passive points (depending on what you use these for, you can bridge the DPS difference to ~25k).

Common sense will tell you that any staff build will scale much better with %phys and %ias nodes than a 1-H weapon build by virtue of its ~1.5x greater base DPS. This is part of the reason I am so reluctant to give up the Melee Physical Damage gem from my 6L Ground Slam setup to make room for the Increased Area of Effect gem – it’s a roughly 70k DPS loss (200k --> 130k)

What may not be common sense is the mediocre importance of critical strike chance to staff builds and in particular my build. The popularized LL dagger/wanderer builds quite literally NEED to have capped critical strike chance, not because of how well it scales, but because it’s the only way they can survive hard reflect maps. Daggers/wands do a lot of small hits with less base damage, meaning as long as any single reflected hit doesn’t 1 shot them, instant leech on crit via Atziri’s Acuity allows them to leech back this reflected damage. Having as high a critical strike chance as possible allows them to do this with maximum consistency and reliability, which is a must at high levels, because even infrequent failure and subsequent death will make the L90-100 grind impossible.

A top-end crit staff build will never be able to run reflect maps abusing this mechanic. We hit so much more slowly with so much more damage packed into each hit, that any single reflected hit will 1 shot us (even my goddamn 2L leap slam has 1 shot me before), meaning we can't abuse the instant leech on crit mechanic like fast attacking, low damage per hit dagger/wand builds do. Instead, we deal with physical reflect with a near-permanent physical immunity via a 20+ second Immortal Call, and have no issue with elemental reflect to begin with, because the build has insignificant elemental damage (just Hatred and Herald of Fire).

So we’re left with the conclusions that %phys and IAS both scale ridiculously well with staves (as well if not better than crit) and that we don’t need (nor could we ever rely on) crit to survive reflect. In mapping, since we basically have permanent physical immunity, we only really rely on crit/instant leech on crit to survive spell damage. So the main concern in deciding if we want to use the Romira’s setup or not becomes, do we still have enough crit to reliably survive spell damage? I think the answer is yes, and in answering the question I have to precisely explain what Romira’s does exactly.

I made this chart based on my specific character’s stats: 532% increased critical chance and 9.01% base weapon critical strike chance.

Example Calculation
Chance of 3 consecutive non-crit hits with 95% crit (theoretical) and 89% accuracy:

(0.05 + 0.11) * (0.05 + 0.11) * (0.05 + 0.11) = 0.41%

“0.05” = The initial chance not to crit on a given hit is 5%

“0.11” = Even if you were to manage to initially roll a crit, for the crit to stay, I have to actually pass a second test based on your chance to hit (read more about it here). Because I assume 89%, I have a 11% chance not to hit.

Each term gives the % chance not to crit on any given hit, so the function above gives the % chance not to crit on three consecutive hits.

If you have any questions about the math, just ask.

Although the chart is tailored to my specific character, and so the critical strike chance differences are effected both by the Romira’s Banquet mechanic as well as the different chance to hit I have with each build, the individual impact of the quirky Romira’s mechanic is pretty clear. By giving you a power charge every time you fail to crit, it increases the chance you will crit on the next hit (until you reach your maximum power charges), significantly mitigating the possibility that you will get an unlucky, long string of non-critical strikes. On average, this mechanic gives me the equivalent of about ~1 constant power charge.

Given that I have a base 7.1 attacks per second with a 91% hit rate, I will have 6.46 actual hits per second, which is equivalent to 1 hit every 0.155 seconds. Given that my damage per hit and life-leech are high enough to instantly leech full life in one critical strike, with Romira’s and 3 maximum power charges, I will have a 95.9% chance to instant-leech full life within 3/5th of a second and a 99.39% chance to instant-leech full life within 1 second.

This data combined with my personal experience testing the Romira’s build lead me to conclude that I still have enough crit to reliably survive the hardest of maps. And with the Romira's build, I also now have a ridiculously larger AOE Radius.

Without Romira's:

With Romira's:

And what’s the DPS loss? Only 24k.

Without Romira's:

With Romira's:

Data shows (and personal experience confirms) that the new Romira's build does not noticeably impair survivability. Additionally, it not only helps me clear maps a lot faster, but also keeps me relevant when I map in parties with strong projectile-based characters. Although I have to switch back to a rare resist ring for Ele Weak maps, barring any defensive set-backs, I plan to continue using this alternative Romira's setup as my main mapping build.


Ground Slam
Without Romira's


With Vaal Haste:

With Vaal Haste + Atziri Flask:

With Romira's


With Vaal Haste:

With Vaal Haste + Atziri Flask:

Heavy Strike


With Vaal Haste:

With Vaal Haste + Atziri Flask:

Flicker Strike


With Vaal Haste + Atziri Flask:

Defense (No Endurance Charges):

Defense (With Endurance Charges):

23 Second Immortal Call:

16 Second Vaal Haste:

Noteworthy Small Variations of the Build
1. Wake of Destruction Mesh Boots
- The flat lightning damage will apply shock (50% inc. damage taken) on crit. Great for people that use ground slam as their main skill and leap slam as their exclusive mobility. Bad for heavy strikers or people that like both running & leap slamming as the boots lack 30% MS.

2. Carcass Jack
- This is the best DPS Chest for this build if you're doing the ground slam variant, and it's a much cheaper alternative to Kaoms. You are sacrificing a great deal of life (safety from spell damage) for faster clear speed. Something unusual but highly effective I have done with this extra 6L is a leap slam + curse on hit/assassin mark set up. This would let you forgo PCoC for Inc. Area of Effect on most maps.

3. Herald of Ice
- Herald of Ice gives flat cold damage (~3-5k DPS increase), but it's real value is its synergy with Hatred. Your crits can freeze and this will shatter frozen targets for AOE damage.
- You could remove blood rage entirely by using a 6% leech amulet, but then you would lose DPS from no frenzy charges. You can move blood rage elsewhere (replace spell echo or faster attacks on leap slam).

1. Replace Abyssus with Rat's Nest
- Very useful in situations that you cannot always keep charges up reliably. Massive loss to DPS but increase to crit chance makes your damage more consistent.

2. Merciless Help Oak (+1 Endurance Charge)
- Adds another ~4 seconds to your immortal call length, always nice. With a +1 endurance charge belt, you would hit close to 30 seconds!

3. Use a 6% Leech Amulet and Drop Blood Rage
- No regen maps or vulnerability + half-regen maps making using blood rage incredibly dangerous, due to BR damage scaling off maximum life and this being a life-based build. I normally roll over these maps, but if you don't want to do that, you always have the option of dropping blood rage entirely and using a 6% leech amulet.

1. Rainbowstrides
- You sacrifice 10% MS, 75 flat life, 16% spell dodge, a lot of evasion, and 1 second of IC (good luck getting RRGG on a +1 gem level rainbowstride) for 3 passive points (+20 all res will save 1 from bandit and 2 from getting +15 all res on tree), flat mana, and 25% block conversion to spell block.
- The spell block conversion mod translates to 9.25% spell block passively and 38.75% spell block total with Rumi's (18.75% more than if you didn't have rainbows)
- At the moment I like Atziri's Step, because I can overcap my resists perfectly for ele weak maps with a simple boots swap (tri-res rare boots), which I can't do if I remove my resist passives. Also Atziri's Step will be part of my future Uber Atziri build :)

2. Cyclone
- I hate the skill, but enough people like it, where I feel like I should give it a mention. Acuity leech is not reliable enough with the ~80% crit my build has to run cyclone off of mana. The links on skill would be Cyclone-Faster Attacks-Melee Physical-Blood Magic-Crit Dmg-PCoC/Area/Conc (GGRRBB)

Budget Variation of the Build (110 ex, 85 ex, & 50 ex versions)

Helm - Rat's Nest - 1 ex
Chest - 6L Carcass Jack - 30 ex
Weapon - 6L Hegemony's Era - 55 ex (17 ex unlinked + 3 ex jew + 35 ex fuse)
Gloves - Corrupt Legacy Maligaros - 4 ex
Belt - Honour Clasp Heavy Belt - 5 ex
Boots - New Rainbowstrides - 3 ex
Amulet - Victory Medallion Amber Amulet - 4 ex
Ring 1 - Dragon Whorl Amethyst Ring - 6 ex
Ring 2 - Torment Knuckle Unset Ring - 15 chaos

Cost of Full Gear Above: 110.5 ex
Cost of Gear Above with 5L Carcass: 84.5 ex
Cost of Gear Above with 5L Carcass + 5L Staff: 54.5 ex
Cost of Gear Above with 5L Carcass + 5L Staff + NonLeg Maligaros: 51 ex

**NOTE:** I bought nearly all of this gear in the span of 2-3 days. If you are patient in finding/buying gear or you bench-crafting your own, you can easily get the cost down to ~30-35 ex. Maybe even around 15-20 ex if you were to bench-craft your own staff as well.

Level 90 Passive Tree
Level 100 Passive Tree

I took Kraitlyn/Kraitlyn/Alira for Bandits.

STATS: (No Atziri Flask or Vaal Haste)
Ground Slam
6L With Increased AOE:

6L With Conc Effect (Single Target):

5L (No Melee Physical):

5L (No Inc. Area of Effect):

6L With Increased AOE:

6L With Conc. Effect (Single Target):

5L (No Melee Physical):

5L (No Inc. Area of Effect):

Without Endurance Charges:

With Endurance Charges:

With Endurance Charges + Rumi's:

19 Second Immortal Call:

16 Second Vaal Haste:

Duo Shrine Clear
Duo Courtyard Clear

- This build is a lot softer than the Kaoms version, which means you really need to do a few things differently/more particularly:
1. Keep up your endurance charges and immortal call before walking into rooms. When you see a pack and you happen to not have charges/IC, pop Rumi's immediately, back up to the max range your Enduring Cry will still work to pick up at least 2 charges, cast Immortal Cry, THEN go in
2. I must emphasize popping Rumi's RIGHT when you see a pack and don't have IC on. And even with IC, I almost always pop Rumi's anyways before jumping into big packs with spell casters, since you no longer have a huge life pool + instant leech to help tank spell damage. Note how beautifully Rumi's scales with rainbowstrides to enhance spell defense!
3. Unlike with the Kaoms version, YOU MUST TAKE LIFE NODES BEFORE DPS NODES. I have 5k life at level 90 with the full life nodes in the passive tree (not shown in the defense screenshots).

- If you still find yourself dying, irrespective of whether it's due to lack of skill or innate limitations of budget gear, don't worry about it, it should be fairly easy fix. Go through and try the following before freaking out:
1. Make sure you're specced into max life nodes... you should be...
2. Swap Carcass for Belly of the Beast (NOT lightning coil). You shouldn't have to change your resist gear at all. This will give you a much better life pool to survive against spell damage (which is the real problem), and hugely amp up your life flask recovery rate as well.
3. Drop blood rage, try and get 6% leech amulet (can always bench acc/crit), use life leech gem (maybe even replace increase AOE for it rather than melee physical?), and take vaal pact - this should help A LOT
4. Use a wooden stick on your flask keys to hit them all at once - this will reduce time between hitting your flasks before entering a room and starting to attack (leech), which is more important than you think.
6. Make sure you have and are using the appropriate resist flasks for certain map mods and bosses.
7. Swap Assassin's Mark for Temporal Chains or Enfeeble

- Ele Weakness maps give you a permanent -34% all res. The way my resists are currently set up, I can either keep my normal set up and carefully try and keep my 6 endurance charges up at all times (each charge gives me 4 all res for a perfect 24, which is exactly what I need to cap in ele weakness maps :P), or just use a swap helm (alphas if you want to run herald of fire as well) to run purity of elements, which works just fine and is actually safer (that's what I would do).

- You cannot do Ele Reflect maps with Hatred on, because you do not have acuity's. Swap Hatred to Haste (keep both of your Heralds on) and you will be fine. Be aware that with especially large packs, you life will noticeably go down some, but your leech should always catch up. With regards to ele reflect packs, you need to recognize them and act accordingly. You can still do them with Hatred on, but, depending on how large the pack is, you might either have to use a cold flask OR just not hold down your attack button (do it in bursts).

- Another downside of no acuity is no instant mana leech. If you don't have leap slam linked to blood magic, if you have vaal haste on, or anytime you run a half regen or no regen map, you will inevitably run out of mana and start auto-attacking. Carry a surgeon's mana flask (or hybrid life/mana flask) to use in these situations.

- For people running the higher spectrum of the budget builds (have 6L Hege Staff and 6L Carcass) whose next step is transitioning into the main build, get an acuity as your first big ticket item (NOT mirror staff!). Hopefully it's obvious by the previous two points, but just to reiterate - the instant leech is godsend in allowing you to survive the hardest map mods and play fluidly, never firing blanks. It alone will allow you to transition into the main build with Abyssus. The OPness of acuity really can't be understated.

- For people thinking about running this build on the lower spectrum budget, make getting a 6L Hegemony's Staff your first priority and a 6L Carcass your absolute last priority (even after jewelry and everything else). A 5-link is literally just fine. If you can afford a 6L Carcass or just happen to have one, I would make your 6th gem either Enhance (makes curses stronger, increases AOE), Culling Strike (Faster leap slams), Blood Magic (don't need to use mana or hybrid flask then), Endurance Charge on Melee Stun (Less enduring cry casting). Which you choose is personal preference.

- Even though sweep is better than ground slam in generating power charges with Hegemony's Era (more consistent knockback), assassin's mark is better than both, which makes this feature of sweep irrelevant (except on maps with the curse immunity mod). I personally prefer ground slam to sweep in general, because my clear speed is simply much better with it, it has much better stun rate (which between freeze and crit knockback allows you to perma-immobilize enemies), and it just feels more fluid and fun to play for me. But pick whatever you like, it doesn't matter. You can always alternate between the two since the links are exactly the same :)

- Because of Carcass, your "single-target" attack (conc. effect) AOE is actually fairly sizable. For some maps, you might prefer it for clearing over the Inc AOE. It definitely makes dealing with bosses with packs nearby or multiple bosses (ie Courtyard, Atziri trio) that much easier :)

Special thanks to Hegemony. I made my own iteration of his Nemesis Wukong build ~1 year ago using this baby (bought on standard unlinked for 10 ex :D):

I've been playing the build since then, slowly crafting BiS life-crit gear to use for it. I finally finished the last piece (the ammy), so I thought I'd share the end result with you guys.

Hegemony also happened to make his own guide rather recently for a similar build to mine sporting his new supporter staff. It's specifically geared towards being budget HC-viable with pretty redundant safety nets to prevent bizzare and unlikely (but possible) deaths. I encourage you to check it out if you're an HC player. My guide (both expensive and budget) is definitely oriented towards an SC mindset of ludicrous DPS and fast-as-hell clears, forgoing some redundant defensive mechanics to achieve this.

Thanks for looking! If you have any questions about choices I made in my build, please ask and make me justify them to you. If I can't, then you might have just helped me improve my build :D I'd also be more than happy to help you out with gearing or really anything else. Hit me up on this thread, via PM, or in game (IGN: KiPad).
IGN: KiPad

Mirror Services (/view-thread/778747): #1 Crit Rings for *ALL* builds (Low-life, CI, and Life), #1 1H Axe, #1 Ar Boots, #1 Life Rustic
Last edited by KiPad on Oct 24, 2014, 12:24:11 PM
"Manly as Fuck"

In-Game Name: BLOOBERRY_
Mall/Shop: 800001 ---------- Magic-Find Build: 746000

videos or rito
Every Class 100
Discord Fyndel#8812 if u cant catch me online in Poe
2 bad no acro B)
IGN: BaiBhai | BhaiBhai | Bhailo

i run almost the same build, but i use only highend items and not this crap for 5000 ex...
Added first video: http://youtu.be/zkCAEnoMBJg

More to come! Also I'll apologize once now -- I can only record on the absolute lowest quality without lag, because I have a shit video/graphics card. Sorry about that!
IGN: KiPad

Mirror Services (/view-thread/778747): #1 Crit Rings for *ALL* builds (Low-life, CI, and Life), #1 1H Axe, #1 Ar Boots, #1 Life Rustic
Always have fun :-)
Last edited by hiightech on Sep 25, 2014, 12:57:44 AM
2 3 more videos added. Planning to make vids for ele reflect one, double reflect, atziri, and some 6 mans. If there are other requests let me know :)
IGN: KiPad

Mirror Services (/view-thread/778747): #1 Crit Rings for *ALL* builds (Low-life, CI, and Life), #1 1H Axe, #1 Ar Boots, #1 Life Rustic
Last edited by KiPad on Sep 25, 2014, 12:42:44 PM
Dang, this build so manly, you see atziri double flameblast and go fuck it YOLO
IGN: BaiBhai | BhaiBhai | Bhailo


I know the feeling of playing with a IHD Graphics or something similar, hehe.

Last edited by tinx9 on Sep 26, 2014, 2:34:31 AM

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