My 4th duelist and I think it's my most powerful to date.
My previous build was fun and pretty tanky which is good because it was for the 1 week race. They nerfed GS but the build can be found here http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/51056 if you are interested.
I'm updating this thread, I'm gonna leave alot of my original thoughts and update them with how I feel now that I spent 3-4 months with this toon between the two builds I did with it (72 and 81)
Video of the build in action - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpSz8JBJi7w (first version of the build this toon finished at 72, it's not the same one I took to 81)
Build [updated as of 12/6]
Onto the new one, here is the build for my 2h axe at lvl 81 2h Duelist Build
Oh btw I list it as a 2h build just because you can go mace or axe pretty easily. I don't like getting weapon specific nodes so it's pretty interchangeable. Just use whatever weapon you have the highest damage on. Hell you can even use a staff if you can get the int for it.
Let me be clear before you start this build. HC is in my name but this build doesn't get very good until late game. Early game it's not bad, generally melee doesn't have much issues there. From sometime in cruel (picking up BM) to sometime in ruthless (reaching mara area) the build is pretty rough. You can go HC with it but that section is tough and I had most of my issues with this toon in that area, especially starting from zero and being forced to find everything I was wearing. So for a race this build isn't that great but for fun use in taking your time lvling it it can be an enjoyable journey, especially with how aggressive you can play. TBH I'd probably used my GS duelist for the next race if I didn't have a build in mind prior to the start of the race (like right now).
With the style of play iron reflexes, unwavering stance, and blood magic (or the gems) become required.
Iron reflex - you need the armor that grace gives you. 1k+ armor before bonuses (thinking about leather and steel on my 2nd go through) is a big armor bonus.
*new* I've been thinking quite a bit about hybrid defensive. If you can reach 5-6k armor w/o IR and still be able to run grace (possibly use other eva gear) I think that combination would be far superior to pure armor. With how armor works at this time it's only useful until 6k then you'll notice the difference again at 50k. So I feel if you can get good enough gear to have 6k armor from a few pieces you'll benefit much more from having the last few pieces as evasion with grace. Grace alone gives about 20% evasion at about lvl 70 combined with more it shouldn't be too hard to get 30-40%. At which point rather than getting IR I'd take arrow dodging as projectiles hurt much more than melee attacks.
Unwavering stance - once I explain style of play you'll see why. Any time you get stunned you take a LARGE amount of damage in a short time. A very short stun could lead towards your death. I died a few times on the ledge because of it.
*new* I mentioned above my feelings with this. Higher life + evasion = hardly ever stunned. For this build to work, being able to stay aggressive, you'll need at least 3k life before starting maps and 4k+ will make you hard to kill. I'd almost advise dropping some damage and getting life, just relying on links for damage.
blood magic - I don't see many duelist being able to support 3+ a/s on mana. As this build won't get to 5-6 a/s you can use the support gems and run a bunch of auras with reduced mana cost. I do that often, I just decide this build I wanted to use that BM slot for DPS. I wanted a high DPS build.
*new* I still have yet to even consider running a duelist w/o BM or BM gems. Running a shadow at this time and I have about 20 nodes of mana, so BM FTW. If you can get a 6l though I think it would be better off using BM gem and running some auras but you'd be squeezed for sockets.
resolute tech - again, you'll see why but you could sneak by without it if you got more axe passives than I did. I know someone else is thinking of doing a 2h axe build and he told me he would have 96% accuracy, but I just don't like how often I was missing waiting to get those axe nodes. Maybe I'll spec out, but I doubt it, it's a big help.
*new* Dump this and get crit multi to use diamond flasks. With my marohi (which has lowered accuracy) at 81 I have 56% chance to hit. I hardly ever miss. The amount of dex you are getting pretty much covers all your accuracy needs. If you can get decent accuracy on gear (100-300) you'll be completely fine but if you worry about it grab some accuracy nodes to respec out of later.
*new* I watched Kripp play around with Vaal Pact last night and I must say with how I was able to get almost 30% life leech it might be a good option late game but it's so far out of the way that you'd have to make major changes. I think this is something I'd do with perfect resists from gear with +20% life leech (warlords/blood rage/gear). This would also be better off as something you do with mana because a few curses without attack could be a couple hundred life off the top and would result in some bad situations.
This build is aggressive and reckless.
Main skill - Sweep + AFD + AMD + FA + increased AOE (increased AOE is because I couldn't get 3R 2G on my 5l axe, I'm thinking once I can I'll go with culling strike. With quality it gives IAS and leveled it give a nice dmg bonus w/ no draw back)
*new* - Even w/o marohi I'd suggest getting concentrated effect. It's a huge damage bonus and having the mobs have to come in closer isn't a problem.
Single target - heavy strike + AMD + FA + Life leech (5th link when I get it will be AFD. I went with LL because this build is made around AOE so bosses without adds were a real problem. The added LL helped but it still needs work)
*new* at high lvls, once you get quality blood rage and a bunch of LL on rings, ammy and gloves, you'll be able to drop LL gem for added fire damage or whatever you'd like damage related.
Other skils - Leap Slam + Stun + FA + AMD (I couldn't get a blue for increased AOE so I went with AMD)
*new* knockback or hell, if you go evasion even blind would be good options instead of AMD and you can use just leap as a CC/travel skill
Blood rage + warlords mark + increased duration
*new* Still good, wishing they would make it so ID works with blood rage's reups. Only works with your original cast of it, not each time it's refreshed
Auras - Grace and anger (anger really not needed, just feels weird that my last 3-4 builds had 4-6 auras and this one has one)
*new* throw reduced mana cost on these if you feel like it. They are already pretty low in cost so it's more of a min-max type thing. Not required but not a bad thing either.
From above you can guess how I'm playing this. If you hit everything in sequence you can tank entire rooms. I forgot his name but I tanked the dry pennisula boss (big rock dude with invunl) and every minion around him while taking him down with a 1.5k sweep. If you don't know, he has a shit load of life and I was tanking probably 10-15 guys who couldn't die (it's default, I just wanted to see if it was possible).
So the sequence, in groups you don't think you can tank other words like 3-4 bears, is cast blood rage the first monster you see. Then leap slam into the group, while they are stunned/knockbacked cast warlord's mark, just on yourself or the group if you missed the middle then sweep until the last one is standing. NEVER STOP. The LL from warlord's mark and blood rage is what's keeping you alive. As you kill, you'll get frenzy charges and it will help clear the mob also keep your life up.
You'll also get endurance charges from warlords mark so at first you'll take a hefty amount of damage and see that health pool jumping up and down but as the fight continues it shouldn't move much unless you are tanking something that hits very hard. Even crowds of bandits with 3 frenzy charges and a haste aura rare haven't been able to break through this defensive, as long as I'm attacking.
*new* Carry 2 perpetual diamond flasks, 2 perpetual granites and 1 bubbling health flask (again, late game, use granite/health until you don't need as many health pots anymore). With the perpetual mods and warlords your flasks will recover very quickly. So every hard hitting pack, pop a granite. Every high health/blue/rare/unique pack pop a diamond. Use them freely, for the most part they'll always be ready to go, at least one of the two. In "oh shit" moment bubbling will give you enough life to get out of dodge in time.
*new* Gear - see middle of this page for high end gear ideas. First reply is the idea for cheaper and easier to obtain gear (i.e. stuff I easily found or made on my way to 70)
*new* Future improvements - I've considered going north to get the extra crit, life, few life regen nodes, and vaal pact. I've also already mentioned my ideas with armor/eva above. Basically it would be embracing a more "duelist"(ish) identity to this build as it's so easy to make as a mara and probably just as effective, if not more, than my original ideas. After seeing Kripp's CI templar version of this build I think with the access to increase AOE and inner force this build is actually better as a templar even though I disagree with his CI concept do to how easy it is to get stunned/shocked/frozen. I caught him at lower lvls a few times and it looked so annoying. I think he's close/over 70 and this build is working much better but I think he's be better off going life/ES over CI tbh.
This is going to be my build for the next 1 or 2 week race and I died way more often than I liked. I think I have 30 deaths, many early on pushing too hard when I had very little life. Most deaths are against brutus, merveil and vaal as there's no way to keep blood rage up and kiting with sweep isn't awesome. The struggles with Merveil are 100% due to low life. Brutus seems to bypass armor completely or he hits much harder than anything comparably. It's not like vaal is doing his melee attack every other shot, nor is vaal nearly as fast as brutus.
*new* Well it was my build for the next week race and I finished 8th on the week and 13th on the month. Merveil isn't bad if you can get decent life before facing her. At a high lvl watch out for lvl 68 Cell and Maze maps. Cell has Brutus who is a complete asshole. You drop into his room blind, he's fast as fuck, hooks you and GSs you. Even at 80 with 4k life and 6k armor he's a pain in the ass. Maze map has Vaal and he's only tough because his lightning hurts like all hell and he's spawning chaos damage adds like crazy. This combination is tough in act 2 merci, it's pretty insane on a lvl 68 map. I soloed him once (only chance I had to do so) but even with 8k HS DPS he takes forever to kill.
Thanks for reading.
Next I'll be testing this build on HC (FAILED!)
After my shadow if I do come back to duelist (frustrated with how it has a lack of identity, duelist really is just a mara/ranger wearing a red blouse. Feel free to read all my argument here)
Hope you enjoy the build but again be warned it does much better at higher lvls than it does at lower lvls.