[2.5] Dual Strike crit shadow using daggers (IR/Heart of Oak)

Hello community
This guide shall show you a way to use dual strike. In my opinion it is the most enjoyable skill in the game not only because of its simpleness (also graphic benefits) but also due to the flexibility - you can play it in so many different ways, focusing on the things you consider as the most important ones.

This guide will probably not be updated anymore. Instead it will be continued with this guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1999428


First of all I want to convince you how awesome this skill can be by explaining the "love story" between me and this skill...if you want to call it this way :D

I came back playing PoE with 1.1 and tested a lot of builds, finally finding Dual Strike.
Basically I oriented on this build: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/726414/page/1 in the first place, but changed many things in the process of finding my own way to play.
I have tried to keep this thread up as long as possible since there are other people who enjoy the gameplay with this skill.

Problematically it wasn't updated since 1.2 which is the reason why I decided to make my own guide.
Until now I haven't played any other build for more than maybe two weeks and I always kept returning to dual strike.

In the following parts I will share my current 2.2 build with you. Of course I appreciate any help, feedback or ideas. If you want to show me your dual strike build please feel free to do so, I probably will make a list of them in this guide (if there will be enough).


Basic idea

Similar to the 1.2 build this build is nothing you can tank or survive with for a long time if you are careless. The idea is to kill everything faster than it can kill you, which may sound a little trivial but works quite well. Please note that I do not want to give the impression that this build is very rippy - you will not die (or at least very rarely) if you use the defences and gimmicks this build offers.

With 2.2 there are some new things to consider, especially the new ascendancy classes. Personally I think that the slayer duelist class may be stronger than the assassin shadow class thanks to the melee splash and stun immunity while leeching.

Player stats
Dual Strike:cDZKR48
Note that this is without adding the damage of charges etc. to it, it should be at least 160k with them.

Pro's & Con's

+imo a lot of fun to play, does not get boring
+fast killing
+good survivability if used properly
+awesome dps

-not the cheapest build
-you need to play with attention since 2.0, since 2.1 maybe a little bit less
-reflect is the most common reason to rip since desyncs are gone
-it is hard to take very big hits

Passive Tree
My current tree, using Heart of Oak and the best allocations possible

Us/IR (thats the way I was playing it due to the vulnerability vs stuns, US seems to be not worth all the points after testing it)

Tree of 'totentanz' that is using Heart of Oak to deal with stuns (should work well too, personally I prefer Unwavering Stances)

Step by step passive trees

How do I play this build from early to endgame?

The new dagger Goredrill is a really amazing thing for leveling, if you can afford to get 1 or even 2 you shouldn't have any problems in the early stages, although any other dagger with good early damage should be fine (I never experienced big problems in early).

Ungil's Gauche can be used when reaching level 20, other daggers should also work well, I guess even Goredrill might work on that level.

At level 35 you should get Mightflay, back in the days when I was leveling this character I used them until level 60 without having problems, so yeah :D

You can get Mark of the Doubting Knight as a transition but it's not really necessary. Your aim for the endgame should be Bino's, until you can afford that you should use rare daggers with enough damage to kill enemies fast enough or stick with Mightflay until you need more damage.

For the rest of your gear I recommend rare items with life, resis and damage or good leveling uniques.

For skill gems I recommend Dual Strike only for big, single targets in early stages (rare monsters or bosses). You can either use Frost Blades or Reave, both should work well (I used Frost Blades until level 35).
I recommend to start combining Dual Strike with Melee Splash at the moment when you still can kill the big targets with Dual Strike, otherwise Frost Blades or Reave can be used until the endgame (level 35 aswell, in my case I linked dual strike, melee splash, melee phys and mana leech).
The reason behind that is that Dual Strike is originally more a single-target hit than an AoE. You should keep that in mind and only start using it with Melee Splash when you still get enough damage on the bosses.
Try to get Whirling Blades as soon as possible, it is a quite important skill for this build.
Add other gems like Hatred and some defence set-up when you have the links and gems.

((Since I realized that mana problems are a real thing until your damage outperforms that you should use 1 mana potion, I like the Hallowed one very much.
In addition to that you can use Clarity instead of Hatred if you get oom 24/7. As already mentioned mana leech (support gem) is a good option aswell.))
With 2.1 mana is almost no problem anymore, I didn't even take mana leech on the passive tree.

Bandit Rewards
I have chosen 40 life from Oak in Normal, a passive point in cruel and +1 frenzy charge in merciless. Taking the attack speed or physical damage in cruel works also very well.

Gear (please note that I already have payed a lot to afford this gear, it is possible to play also with only 4l or 5l and with worse daggers or cheaper boots, rings etc.)


Of course we are using daggers, I recommend Bino's for the awesome crit chance and the utility and a good rare dagger for good damage.

Chest piece

Belly is very nice, I get about 600 life actually. Other chests should works aswell, Belly is my personal #1.


Abyssus is must-have imo but if you don't like it you can use things like Rat's nest or a good rare helmet.


Maligaro's is extremely good, especially for the price you pay. Nothing is better except Acuity if you can afford it, good rares should work aswell.


Good rares are everything you need, movement speed is just quality of life because your main movement source is whirling blades.


Personally I prefer that one over other uniques or rares. It gives tons of life and strength (which is quite important for gems like melee phys, melee splash or enduring cry). Doryani's or a decent rare belt are also totally fine.


That one is quite strong imo but it could be even stronger. Having an amulet with crit chance + crit mult, life and added physical damage is everything you want.



Good rare diamond rings are expensive but totally worth to get. Fortunately I found Foe Knuckle by myself, giving me awesome extra leech, life and more attack speed. The other one is not that good but gives me enough resistances to reach max res.
If I could choose any ring I would get 2 diamong rings with triple res, life, additional phys and leech, mana leech is more important imo. Try to get life and some resistances at least.


Those ones are the best fitting ones I have crafted, try to get some resistances, life and attack speed. In my opinion those are the best mods to aim for, crit stuff and phys etc. is also very good.

As I already told there are so many different ways to play dual strike. I will show how I play it right now.

Main skill dual strike: dual strike + multistrike + melee physical damage + melee splash + physical to lightning + weapon elemental damage
If you are using 4l or 5l you should check different combinations to find the best one, phys to light works perfectly well together with herald of thunder and bypasses lots of risks of phys reflect.

1st 4l: Whirling blades + blood magic + fortify + faster attacks
Fortify is a very strong add-on to this build, I recommend using it. I have skipped Flicker strike for blood magic to be able to use whirling blades without going oom (3l is possible aswell if you are able to manage it without blood magic).

2nd 4l: CwDt (level 4) + Immortal Call (level 6) + Enfeeble (level 7) + Increased Duration
This is the main defence you will use, arctic breath did not work that great so I decided against it for now. Immortal call will safe you against any dangerous damage if you keep the endurance charges with enduring cry up. Enfeeble seems to be stronger than temporal chains since I am not using US anymore.

3rd 4l: Hatred + Herald of Thunder + Curse on Hit + Assassin's Mark
Hatred gives a lot of extra dmg and allows to freeze / shatter enemies because of crits.
Herald of Thunder doesn't give as much damage as Herald of Ash, but it is the best way to keep up power charges very steady if you use another curse on the CwDT set-up. If you calculate the extra damage from the power charges to the damage you gain from Herald of Thunder, it should be more than Herald of Ash.

1st 3l: Blood Rage + Enduring Cry + faster casting
Blood rage is very nice to use thanks to its frenzy charges, attack speed and some extra life leech. It should be on a weapon slot so that you can deactivate it by switching weapons while faster casting allows you to activate it fast enough. Enduring cry can't be triggered by Cast when damage taken anymore so you should use it by self-casting.

2nd 3l: Increased Duration + Vaal Haste + Vaal Grace
Vaal Haste and Grace work very well and you will be able to keep them up for about 10 seconds with increased duration.

How to play
Logically the passive things like hatred etc. should be active before / when joining areas. Try to get some endurance charges with enduring cry before jumping / while standing in big monster packs, otherwise immortal call may not last long enough to keep you alive. Enter monster packs by using mainly whirling blades (if you use flicker strike that works too, but it is riskier / less predictable) which gives you fortify.
Try not to stay too long at the same point, otherwise this might cost you your life.
I usually only use flasks when I really need them but it is safer to use them whenever you see something that possibly could kill you.

1st Map recorded: "New" Waste Pool (level 74) with ele equibrilium and only ranged monsters as mods: http://plays.tv/video/55ae4e77793d30b08c

2nd map recorded: Level 77 "Old" Shipyard fast run with Blood Rage: http://plays.tv/video/55d732aa573ad508a9?section=feed

1st Atziri attempt: http://plays.tv/video/55f87cd982176ea5e5/first-atziri-run-pathofexile?section=feed
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Sep 14, 2017 11:44:11 AM
Last bumped on Mar 15, 2018 3:30:22 PM
TL; I just skimmed trough it.

Reflect solution: use PhysToLight...

Also: I think Hypothermia is nooot a good choice. PCoC/Increased Crit Strikes/PtL are all better imho. And PTL solves the reflect issue!
Although I'd swap it for smtn else on lightning resist maps.
But, I haven't tested it, so... *shrugs*.

I like dual strike too, but, sadly, I find it lacking for pack clearing.
It's still one of the most powerful single target skills out there,though. Have you considered Reave in a 4l for packs?

--What do I know? I still play flicker. XD
My stride is my name. Keep me safe.

IGNs: Shadowrope/Ravenstrider/Feamor/Ameanas/Ashnamu
I am usually fine with clearing packs, it feels even better since 2.0 (I guess because of the change on melee splash) but yeah I see your point there. When I will have uploaded some vids we probably can take a better look on that :)

I really feel confident with hypothermia tho, before 2.0 I used added fire damage but hypothermia feels even better with that. I tested PCoC earlier but imo it is just a waste of 1 link since I generate them quite consistant with assassins mark.
I feel almost the same about inc crit strikes since my crit chance is very high and even higher with assassins mark and ice golem.

I'll probably add some character stats later to give a better insight.

I guess PhysToLight is worth a test although I have played with it before 2.0 and didn't feel as confident as with added fire damage. It may be good against reflect but personally I haven't died vs reflect since a month I guess and if you alch a mpa with reflect you can chaos, etc. that map aswell so it shouldn't be the main problem..

Will you use flicker with ice bite since the blood rage nerf? (just curious if there is another solution than that :D)

Thanks for the feedback!
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Jul 16, 2015 7:57:04 PM
Update: Added some Player stats to the current build, please ask if you want more of that.
Please can you add step by step level points passive thre: 20 -40 - 60 - curent three
Update: Added step by step passive trees. This is probably the way I would go but since I haven't leveled up in 2.0 I can't tell that well if it is the best one.
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Jul 17, 2015 9:10:36 AM
Completed 18 ChallengesAquaFreeze wrote:
Update: Added step by step passive trees. This is probably the way I would go but since I haven't leveled up in 2.0 I can't tell that well if it is the best one.

snx BRO!. Nice Build realy work it hard with dual daggers.
Last edited by 808mafia on Jul 17, 2015 9:27:47 AM
Actually I am thinking about changing gloves and belt to

because those 3,7k life feel very dangerous to play with.

Another thing I am thinking about it to change the cwdt set up since it kinda sucks imo (played it for some hours now).
Maybe I'll test spell totem + summon skeletons set-up, do you have any suggestions? :)
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Jul 19, 2015 4:41:39 AM
Update: Changed belt and gloves to get more sustainability, dps did get slightly reduced tho.
Also added Vaal Haste and Vaal Grace for difficult fights.
Just realized that I am able to reach over 200k dps on Dual Strike as a tooltip (Hypothermia not included)


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