Low-Level Dueling (LLD) PVP Beginner's Guide

This guide is meant to cover the absolute basics of Player-versus-Player (PVP) matches and Low Level Dueling (LLD) in particular. If you're new to LLD and/or PVP and this doesn't answer all of your questions, or if you are an experienced player with suggestions for the guide, please post below!

You can also view a nicer version of this guide on poearena.com

1. What is LLD?

A Player-versus-Player (PVP) format with a maximum character level of 28. Unlike High-Level Dueling (HLD) where anything goes, in LLD there are limits on the skills, gear and passive trees that you can choose from. Despite these limits, LLD has a lot of advantages:

1. There is less of a gear barrier for new players. Of course you still need good gear if you want to be competitive, but everything except 10/10 perfect gear should be fairly easy to acquire. A lot of cheap “leveling” uniques are also usable, and sometimes even best-in-slot, for certain LLD builds.

2. Once you have accumulated some decent gear, you can literally get a new character ready in about 2 hours!

3. The 7 classes each have a more defined identity, since skill trees are limited to a maximum of 34 passive points. This makes it easier to guess your opponent’s build, letting you counter them on-the-fly (either through gear changes or playstyle changes).

4. There are lots of competitive builds – off the top of my head, here are 10 builds/skills that I have personally seen win matches:

Example Builds
1-hander + shield (melee and/or Spectral Throw)
Traps (Bear, Fire, and some more creative ones!)
Crit Freeze Pulse
Cyclone with Life on Hit
Fire-based casters (using The Searing Touch, or really good Quartz Scepters)
Summoner (yes really!)
Explosive Arrow
2-handed Spectral Throw / Flicker Strike
Dual wield "1-shot" crit daggers

2. Rules

1. Your character cannot be any higher than level 28.
This gives you 34 passive points to work with if you do all the side-quests and kill all the bandits in Act 2, or 33 if you help a bandit.

2. Your character cannot have entered Cruel difficulty.
Just stop progressing after killing Piety and getting the 2 extra passive points from Grigor.

3. In Hardcore leagues, your character does NOT go to Standard if you die in a PVP match
PVP is actually the safest thing you can do in Hardcore!

3. Formats

There are several ways to get your PVP fix:

1. PVP queues
Talk to Greust and select “Join PVP”, or press b to bring up the PvP queues tab. Only level 28’s can join the queues named “Low Level”, so this is a good way to have an “official” LLD match.
From here you can join 1v1, 6v6, and Capture the Flag games.
Most matches are best-of-7 format on randomly selected PVP arenas (see section 7).
To see your character's lifetime match record, use the /pvp command in chat.

2. “Challenge To Duel”
You can right-click on any player in town, or right-click on someone in your friends list or chat log, and select “challenge to duel”. If they accept, you will be put into a 1v1 match against them.
Each duel is best-of-7 format on randomly selected PVP arenas (see section 7).
To see your character's lifetime match record, use the /pvp command in chat.

3. Sarn Arena
A free-for-all (FFA) PVP arena. Just join and kill anything that moves! When you die, you respawn so the carnage can continue.
The Sarn Arena is located to the far north of the Sarn Encampment, up the big flight of stairs.
As an LLDer, you will only have access to the Normal difficulty Sarn Arena. Technically you can join the Normal difficulty arena with a character up to level 40, but generally you will find level 28 LLDers in here.
This is also a good (safe!) place to test out specific skills or builds.

4. Tournaments
Official PvP Tournament Season 1 started on December 20, 2014. Tournament seasons consist of both LLD and HLD matches in a variety of formats. See GGG's official post about how tournament seasons work.
Various other groups have also started organizing LLD tournaments that anyone is free to join. These all use one of the methods above to play matches.
Check out the official PVP forums and poearena.com for tournament news.

5. Leo & Daily PvP Missions
Once you talk to Leo in the act 3 town, he will provide you with a daily PvP-related mission. He will also unlock the ability to make new Level 28 PvP characters instantly (without having to level them up from scratch) - you can do this from the character creation screen by clicking the "PvP Only" checkbox. You can't enter the Sarn Arena using one of these characters (this is something that GGG should fix eventually), but you can join any of the PvP queues or events (even FFA events) with them.

6. Cutthroat Events
So far these have been held as completely separate, short-duration leagues that have nothing to do with “normal” PVP. (Once GGG publishes something useful about Cutthroat I’ll link it here!)

4. Gear

Skill counts for something in PVP, but so does your gear! Here are some examples from my personal collection of what “pretty good” (but by no means perfect) LLD gear looks like:

Examples of Decent LLD Gear

The best LLD gear will have an itemlevel of 36. This is because there are some very good affixes at level 36 (mainly the “Rotund” life affix), and 36 is the highest itemlevel that gear can have without increasing the character level requirement above 28 (using the 80% rule for itemlevel vs. player level requirement on lower-level gear, 36*0.8 = 28.8 which gets rounded down to 28).

6-socketable items are a minor exception to this, since you need level 50 itemlevel for 6 sockets; although a 5 link is more than enough for many LLD builds and a level 50 item can be hard to craft for a level 28 player requirement.

Check out the official prefixes and suffixes lists to see what rolls are possible at itemlevel 36.

5. Acquiring Gear

Also check out the LLD Crafter's Guide!

1. Levelling Gear
You probably already have Decent LLD gear in your stash that until now you have just treated as “levelling gear”, so check your stash tabs! There are lots of cheap uniques that you can make good use of too.

2. Trading
You have pretty much the same trading options for LLD as you do for higher-level gear.
Using the community-generated search engines like poe.xyz.is and poexplorer.com, you can search for gear with a max level requirement of level 28.
Of course you can get lucky in the in-game trade chat too; people often post collections of “mediocre” or “levelling” gear (especially rings) with buyouts of only 1 or 2 chaos.
poearena.com also has forums dedicated to LLD trading.

3. Farming
Any zone with at least level 36 mobs or a level 36 boss is a good farming area for LLD gear. Some of the most popular farming areas include:

Normal Dominus: My personal favorite for farming rares, since I find the Upper Sceptre really easy to run, and each of the unique mobs on the roof drops a decent amount of loot. Dominus and the other uniques will drop level 38 loot which is a bit too high making a lot of the item types and some of the affixes useless for LLD, but I still find that it’s worth it.

Normal Piety: Piety drops level 36 loot which is perfect for LLD. If you’re good at running Lunaris 2 and 3 this might be the best farming strategy for you! Like Dominus she will still drop a lot of higher-level stuff that is useless for LLD (like Lordly Plates, Shadow Axes, Amethyst Rings, etc.) but when she does drop a lower-level item it has the best chance at getting perfect LLD rolls.

Cruel Twilight Strand: Cruel Hillock drops level 37 loot (which isn’t perfect but almost as good as level 36), and is obviously REALLY easy to farm. In Invasion league the extra Invader per zone made this farming strategy twice as efficient!

Cruel Mud Flats: the best place to farm itemlevel 36 base (white) items for crafting purposes.

6. Community

Here are a bunch of ways to find other people to PVP against:

1. Friends list
Friend people! I friend anyone that I fight a PVP match against or that is interested in buying LLD gear. And I’m usually up for a quick LLD match if you ask. I’m sure this is true for a lot of the other active LLDers too.

2. Guilds
There are a few guilds dedicated to PVP and/or LLD. Below are the ones that I am aware of. Talk to any of their officers if you want to join or just need some PVP advice:

Guilds that LLD/PVP

Calamity <LLD> - The guild I’m an officer for. We mostly LLD in Hardcore but some Standard too. Our guild leader posts lots of Twitch videos of LLD matches for your enjoyment!

Demigods <GOD> - not dedicated to LLD or PVP, but a few of these guys have good LLD builds in hardcore. Also check out Twitch streams from WillyWonka and Greendude.

Gladiators <XXVIII> - Merger of the former PVP28 <PVP28> and Ambushed <AMBUSH> guilds. A level 28 PVP based guild that also does some level 40 PVP. Mostly active on Standard but also the Standard challenge leagues.

Team Toilet Paper <TTP> - their guild leader is named LePvPMaster, how can you go wrong?

Insomniacs <FÏÑËST> - a big guild and not dedicated to PVP but some of them do.

Omniscient <ICU> - I'm not sure how much these guys PVP but at least HegemonyTV has done some PVP; check out his stream here.

3. Forums
Besides the official PvP Discussion Forum and PvP Feedback Forum, also check out the forums on poearena.com which is dedicated to PoE PVP. These are good places to look for build guides and other strategy too.

4. poearena.com
Check out the forums, read the build guides, and sign up for tournaments sponsored with prizes from GGG!

7. PVP Arenas

Below are links to full images of each of the PVP arenas. One of these is randomly selected for each best-of-5 match. The shape and size of each arena is fixed, but they are randomly populated with obstacles for each match.

Large (2v2+) Arenas - COMING SOON!

Sarn Arena (FFA)


- June 17 2014: initial version of guide posted
- June 19 2014: started section 7 on PVP arenas with images; expanded "3. Formats"
- June 22 2014: added images of Sewer and Sarn Arena maps; added first "inspiration" vid
- August 10 2014: added a new inspiration video and a note about map seeds
- September 13 2014: added link to Youtube playlist for Exile Arena Invitational tournament
- October 21 2014: updated Community section with new/changed guilds and guild tags
- December 8 2014: added a link to the in-progress LLD crafter's guide
- December 17 2014: made a few quick updates related to Leo, Season 1, and new PvP Forum

Planned/Suggested Updates
- A description/pictures of the "large" pvp arenas and maybe CTF arenas too
- Quick links to LLD builds that have been posted elsewhere
- Quick links to LLD/PVP strategy guides that have been posted elsewhere
- Add some pretty pictures and screenshots and stuff
Last edited by Bex_GGG on May 6, 2018, 5:49:58 PM
Last bumped on Sep 19, 2017, 6:45:00 PM
Dude OMG! You gotta put this on poearena not just the feedback section on poe!

This is sooo good.
IGN: @GreenDude
Last edited by GreenDude on Jun 17, 2014, 2:54:10 PM
Very nice beginner's guide! One suggestion is to add some tips about how to compete in each game mode and the specific rules for each one.
Nice guide!

I loved LLD in D2:LoD. D2 ended up being highly unbalanced based on the number of charms that really experienced/rich players could equip. I don't see that problem arising here as you have identified farming areas that anyone with a couple hours can work up to and collect some nice items.

Query: How can you verify that an LLD opponent has not been rushed all 3 difficulties and collected the extra skill points? This was a common practice in D2 and I think it would be done in this instance too to get the competitive edge.

Anyway, good luck with building the guide, I'll definitely be following it.
@vismajor: you cannot queue for lvl 28 pvp in act2 if you enter cruel. This is the reason we set a rule that forces everyone to use the queue system for their first match.
IGN: @GreenDude
+1 Thank you :)
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
GreenDude wrote:
Dude OMG! You gotta put this on poearena not just the feedback section on poe!

This is sooo good.

I can post a copy of this on poearena under... helpful resources?
Fightgarr wrote:
GreenDude wrote:
Dude OMG! You gotta put this on poearena not just the feedback section on poe!

This is sooo good.

I can post a copy of this on poearena under... helpful resources?

God yes.... You can copy/paste it in that section.

This is the best pvp guide we've seen, it belongs on poearena.
IGN: @GreenDude
Great guide!

Fightgarr wrote:

6-socketable items are a minor exception to this, since you need level 50 itemlevel for 6 sockets; although a 5 link is more than enough for many LLD builds and a level 50 item can be hard to craft for a level 28 player requirement.

With the +1 socket strongboxes in ambush, you can roll 6 sockets on itemlevel 35+ (and 5S @ 28+)...
"Fixing the endgame was hard - No matter how hard we buffed red maps, people would keep spamming Gorges.
So we turned Gorge into a red map"

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