ATHENA'S LA ARCHER DUELIST
(great for Softcore and Hardcore)
The recent buffs of the duelist tree have made them the strongest contenders for wielding the great powers of the bow and lightning arrow. Many people will say that the Ranger has better survivability but that is not exactly true. Yes the ranger has stronger survivability, BUT only in the early game. This does come at a great sacrifice. Rangers suffer from extremely weak damage and attack speed early game and make for a very painful leveling experience overall. They also require much more investment in gear to achieve what the duelist can achieve with no gear like for example (20% LMP, IAS gloves) etc..So if we use IAS as the example, a Duelist can have the exact same IAS as a Ranger decked out in quality gems and IAS gloves/quiver, but can surpass the ranger hugely with the same gear. So in essence, the duelist is stronger early game with damage, speed etc..and only gets much stronger as the game progresses, where the ranger caps out very quickly.
Now with the survivability debate, duelist suffer slightly in the department, and I mean very slightly. The ranger has access to a total of 48% extra evasion rating off the start while the duelist has access to 40%. That's only 8% difference. But luckily we can kill things much quicker and effectively to compensate. Not to mention (like I said earlier, the duelist is way more fun early game cause it doesn't take us hours between each bow attack :P
SO WHY ARE DUELIST BETTER?
-More projectile damage
-More attack speed (which is more damage and more fun)
-Access to same amount of survivability by late game/static blows AND Inner Force
THE BUILD FOCUS:
-High Attack Speeds
-High elemental damage
-3 auras (grace, anger and wrath)
-Static Blows (shock stacks)
-Inner Force (18%+8% buff effect further increasing damage and survivability)
THE SKILL GEMS/LINKS
5 Link Primary attack (AOE):
Lightning Arrow, Weapon Elemental Damage, Chain, Lesser Multiple Projectiles, Life on Hit
4 Link Secondary attack (single target)
Frenzy, Weapon Elemental Damage, Faster Attacks, Added Lightning
If your lucky and have a 5 link bow and chest, you can add another elemental damage gem to frenzy
4 Link Burst/Boss Skills (single target)
Bear trap x2, added fire damage, Increased critical damage
4 Link Auras
Wrath, Anger, Grace, Reduced Mana Cost
Early Game: Conductivity
Once you reach static blows, switch to Elemental Weakness
MAIN CURSE - Elemental Weakness
Secondary curses depending on maps
LEVEL 100 VERSION (LIONSEYE BUILD)
LEVEL 100 VERSION (TRI-ELE BUILD)
-help oak (40 life bonus)
-help kratin (8% attack speed)
-help oak (12% physical) up to you to chose
I personally chose 8 IAS because I love attack speed, makes the game more fun, and it allows more versatility. What I mean by versatile is the 12% physical is only a benefit if you plan to end up with lionseye. It is completely useless with a tri elemental bow as they roll extremely weak physical component. On the other hand, 8 IAS will be beneficial no matter what weapon you use.
-kill all 3 (for extra passive)
Hopefully this helps people out a bit more
END END END GAME OPTIONS FOR THE RICH
-insane life pool
-insane life regen
-limited sockets for abilities (Koams has no sockets)
-must have 5-6 link bow
-no room for a curse
-lower armor (which is offset by health)
-more pressure to get max resist on all the other slots
5-7 Aura build
-can run additional auras using combination of blood magic gem and mana (spec out of blood magic)
-extra auras like hatred and haste for more DPS
-much higher armor value (from chest AND determination aura)
-easier to get resist capped with tri resist chest
-much smaller life pool (maxes out around 5500 at level 90 with amazing gear)
-must have 6 link chest and 5 link bow
Both options are incredibly powerful and both are 100% viable. The choice will be up to you, and what you can afford. Personally if I ever could afford a Koams (which I know I will never be able to) I would go that route only because one of my friends runs 7 auras and conduit so me running them would not be necessary. Generally speaking theres always enough curses between friends not to have to run the 5-7 aura build.
My "route" for leveling is very generalized. Depending on your gear, and which league you play in, you will have to determine on your own which passives to go for in what order/priority. On hardcore, I rushed for a healthy amount of life nodes before anything else, while picking up the resist talents on the way. This meant I did not reach static blows until level 81. So I used conductivity curse up until that point. On softcore, I rushed for static blows very quickly which meant my life pool was a bit smaller in end game until I reached 80. I cannot tell you an exact route that is best, there are to many factors.
The lightning talents on the lionseye build and the elemental nodes on the tri ele build in the templar tree are the very LAST LAST passives to get. Those are reserved for when you are in the low to mid 90s. Do not focus on those at all.
For the new/poor players, obtaining a 5 link will be difficult so just be prudent with LA as you wont have the life on hit gem. What I did up until I 5 linked my bow, I always leveled life on hit in the offhand and swaped out weapon elemental damage on my 4 link LA, in those really challenging or reflect maps.
Make sure you cap resists and focus on life. Those who complain about my build are the ones who focus to much on damage and in return have no survivability. High damage will come later in game. You need to focus on what truly matters and that's staying alive. 300-500 buffed LA/LMP/Chain DPS is a very healthy number for early end game in 66-69 maps and docks/lunaris farm. Once you start farming those high areas good gear will drop and it wont take long to break the 1k LA dps barrier. 1k LA dps is more then enough to handle anything solo, anything beyond that is just gravy :)
Make sure you get some nice jewelry with added elemental damage like + fire, + cold, + Lightning, they all get amplified like crazy from your elemental nodes in the passives. Also try to get a quiver and belt with added elemental damage percentage rolls. These all help in scaling your DPS.
For the survivability issue, I picked up the 3 evasion passives (leather and steel) at the early part of the game. This gave me a solid boost to my armor when I reached iron reflexes. Once my gear became strong and my health was very healthy, I speced out of those 3 talents in order to use those 3 points to rush other important nodes. I would strongly recommend keeping those passives at least until you 5 link your Lightning Arrow with life on hit. Thats a safe time to remove those as your life will never really drop around large packs.
I know im forgetting some stuff but will frequently update as I think of them.
MY CURRENT GEAR FOR REFERENCE ON HOW TO BUILD