[1.3 + 2.0] Sovyn's Lazy Pally - Tanky Templar with Max Block

Guide is current for Path of Exile 1.3. Build of the Week S04E07. (Scroll way down for the preliminary 2.0 guide in spoiler tags)

sovyns-lazy-pally_zps3bbe94a9
Hail and well met! :-)

Summary - The basic idea of this build is to have a very easy to play melee character with an excellent chance of blocking both attacks and spells, excellent avoidance especially versus projectiles, decent life, armour, and elemental resistances, all the while with an eye toward delivering a good amount of damage.

In keeping with the 'easy to play' theme, all of the defensive stratagems employed in the build must be passive, or at most, activated only occasionally.

No debuffs to repetitively cast, no endurance charges to worry about. Just wade right in there and smack 'em in the face. :) Stopping to check the loot, or to smell the roses as it were, is no problem for this build. Easy.

Although they may be helpful, the build does not require any specific unique items, making it doable for even those just starting out in Wraeclast.

For maximum flexibility, you can use virtually any melee attack skill gems and one handed axe/sword/mace/claw/dagger of choice.

Passive Skill Tree

20 point progression build (approximately level 18)

30

40 point progression build (approximately level 34)

50

60 point progression build (approximately level 49)

70

80 point progression build (approximately level 60)

90 point progression build (approximately level 70)

100 point progression build (approximately level 80)

110 point progression build (approximately level 90)

Completed build (113 points)

Total of Bonuses from Completed Passive Skill Tree

Stats & Buffs

Stats
+313 to Strength
+184 to Dexterity
+73 to Intelligence

Defense

Life
142% increased maximum Life
+94 to maximum Life
4% of Life Regenerated per Second
20% increased Life Recovery from Flasks
20% increased Flask Recovery Speed

Mana
20% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+8 Mana gained when you Block
19% reduced Mana Cost of Skills

Resistances
+12% Elemental Resistances while holding a Shield
+10% to all Elemental Resistances
+18% to Lightning Resistance
+18% to Cold Resistance
+18% to Fire Resistance

Armour
80% increased Armour

Evasion
48% increased Evasion Rating
Doubles chance to Evade Projectile Attacks (Ondar's Guile keystone)

Movement
4% increased Movement Speed
Ignore all Movement Penalties from Armour

Block and Stun
37% additional Chance to Block with Shields
410% increased Defences from equipped Shield
180% increased Block Recovery

Offense

Accuracy
Your hits can't be Evaded (Resolute Technique keystone)

Attack Speed
20% increased Attack Speed
18% increased Attack Speed with One Handed Melee Weapons
10% increased Attack Speed while holding a Shield
5% increased Attack and Cast Speed
4% increased Melee Attack Speed

Physical Damage
118% increased Melee Physical Damage while holding a Shield
96% increased Melee Physical Damage
16% increased Melee Damage
48% increased Physical Damage with One Handed Melee Weapons
72% increased Physical Damage with Swords

Area
16% increased Radius of Area Skills
8% increased Area Damage
+2 to Melee Weapon and Unarmed range

Gear

Shield - This is your most important tool.

For Most Folks - Possibly the best choice if you have access to one in the early to mid game is a Crest of Perandus unique shield with its high 31% chance to block. We do lose a good amount of evasion going this way, but it is a decent option nonetheless. If you were to use the Crest of Perandus into the end game, you would want to have a high evasion chest and helmet to make up for the low evasion on the shield. Another very affordable option is Thousand Teeth Temu. As this build relies on the shield as its main source of evasion (due to the Increased Defenses from Equipped Shield nodes on the passive skill tree), it is a good idea to look for a shield with plenty of this stat and Temu is a good start. You may also want to consider a magic or rare shield. See shield crafting examples below for more information. Honorable mentions for the unique shields include Lioneye's Remorse, and Daresso's Courage.

Free shield offer for new players
Free starter shield if you need it (standard league only). Choose from the list here in a separate thread. A few rules - one per person, must be playing my build, only "verified" items are left. Whisper Sovyn in game most afternoons pacific time to receive your choice. If I'm on but AFK I'll get to you eventually just be patient.


For Rich Folks - 33% chance to block, 700+ evasion rare vaal buckler with a high life roll. This rare would fit perfectly with the build as presented. Alternatively, Aegis Aurora may be useful if you can scrape together substantial armour and energy shield from your other gear. Rathpith Globe (gear with the intelligence stat required to equip) or perhaps Saffell's Frame may be useful as a source of spell block in certain end-game content such as Merciless Dominus and Temple Map Piety, just for example, but neither of these spell block shields are very expensive -- on a strict budget, these bosses can be safely skipped, or perhaps you can utilize a different source of spell block.

Shield Crafting Examples (Possibly only of interest for self-found or players new to the game):
At level 46 for example, you can get a Corrugated Buckler, which will serve you well. Look for one to start crafting.

First, we use four Armourer's Scraps on it to raise its quality to 20%.

Now we have a choice to make. Two options:

Option 1) For the very poor, we could then use a single Orb of Transmutation on it, and then use several Orb of Alteration until we roll a suffix "of Intercepting" with a 3% Additional Block Chance modifier. It took me all of five cheap Orb of Alterations in my testing, but maybe I was lucky. Then, if the item has only the one mod on it, use an Orb of Augmentation to bring it up to two mods.

Option 2) As I had a few Orbs of Alchemy and Chaos Orbs, I opted to go that way instead of the above method. I used 1 Alchemy to bring the item up to rare status, and 1 Chaos to re-roll the properties. Fortunately, it then had the 3% Additional Block Chance modifier:

If one has a lot of Chaos, one would keep re-rolling until the item has the 3% Additional Block Chance modifier and other desirable mods such as a good maximum life roll.

The next step for your shield slot is to find either a plain white Corrugated Buckler, or, preferably, wait for a Vaal Buckler with an ilevel ( /itemlevel command in game ) greater than 58. You would typically use 4 Armourer's Scraps to raise the quality to 20%, use 1 Orb of Transmutation on it to make it magical, and then craft it with Orbs of Alteration until it rolls an "of Walling" suffix with a value of at least 5%. That will suffice to max out your blocking with the completed build. In my testing, it took around 50 Alterations to roll Walling. If it only has the one property, hit it with an orb of augmentation. If it has a second property (other than Walling) that you like, and you are somewhat well off, you can then hit it with a Regal Orb to add a third property. /end shield section

Weapon -

For Most Folks - I suggest a hard hitting physical weapon with an attack speed suffix. As with all melee builds, you will need to constantly upgrade your weapon while leveling in order to keep your kill speed up. Look for rare one handed weapons with high physical damage percentage (XXX% increased Physical Damage) and flat physical (Adds XX-XX Physical Damage) and attack speed (XX% increased Attack Speed) bonuses. Preferably all three. Some flat elemental damage on top of these can't hurt, but the build does not emphasize elemental damage. Alternatively, a fun variation on the basic build uses Facebreaker gauntlets for some hand-to-hand action instead of a weapon. Just starting out, The Screaming Eagle works. An upgrade from that would be Brightbeak. After that, Mightflay. Then, For end game, you should aim for a weapon with 250 or more physical DPS, a very doable goal with Master Crafting.

For Rich Folks - Doryani's Catalyst is a relatively affordable unique and excellent choice. The Soul Taker unique is an interesting choice also due to its elimination of mana as a concern. If you have one, you may want to go with a rare weapon with 350 or more physical DPS as this may be the highest possible damage choice particularly for non-elemental attack skills (more about attack skills below).

Although a few sword damage nodes are included in the final stages of the build simply because there is currently no way to avoid taking them, you want to use the best weapon of any type that you have at a given time as that is likely to make more of a difference. Easy enough to compare.

Amulet -

For Most Folks - The Anvil is a unique amulet that is nearly required to max block earlier on -- assuming you can live with its drawbacks. Another top choice is Stone of Lazhwar, which is quite nice with this build, especially for maps. It will add a healthy chance to block spells with this build, which does make a noticeable difference in areas filled with spell casters. If you don't have those uniques, any amulet with a high life affix is a good choice. Other mods to look for include chaos resist, elemental resists, leech, armour, physical damage, mana regen, quantity/rarity. You could even switch them out as needed as the Stone of Lazhwar is not very good when in areas populated with melee monsters.

For Rich Folks - One of the above unique amulets with a good Vaal Orb corruption. Block is best; a modest 2% block corruption, which is typically actually quite affordable, is required to max out block for most. Spell block is also a fine choice for the corrupted mod. This is in the rich folks section because corrupting can take many attempts for the desired result -- it simply depends on luck as to how much it costs in the end.

With auras and your gear, I recommend balancing some combination of the item categories to follow to achieve 30% physical damage reduction and 30% chance to evade on your character sheet.

Helmet -

For Most Folks - Rare with high armour and/or evasion, life, any resists (chaos/elemental) you may need, optionally item rarity. Early on, good low-cost unique choices include Ezomyte Peak, Goldrim, then, in your 30s and 40s, Deidbell. Another affordable option for level 65, light on defenses, is Rime Gaze, which offers effectively a 5-link for your attack skill with the integrated level 15 Concentrated Effect support.

For Rich Folks - One option is The Bringer of Rain in place of a chest and helmet. Although you cannot use a chest armour with Bringer of Rain equipped, it offers effectively a 7-link for your attack skill, albeit with reduced gem levels. Alternatively, Alpha's Howl is a decent choice. If you use Alpha's, you would socket your aura gems in here. Abyssus is a choice if you want more DPS -- see chest section for more info. Most will opt for a rare helmet with high life roll (90+), high defenses and several 25+ resists -- simply a version of the budget recommendation above, but taken to the max.

Chest -

For Most Folks - The best armour-based chest you can find with armour bonus, life, resists (chaos/elemental), and as many linked sockets as you can get. Bramblejack is nice when just starting out.

For Rich Folks - Belly of the Beast is a good option a bit later on as it offers a lot of life -- it tends to be expensive with a high number of links. For most, I suggest an 5-link or 6-link rare Astral Plate or Glorious Plate with the mods listed in the "for most folks" section. The extra resists that Astral Plate provides will help you to free up other pieces of equipment for other things. You can alternatively go for an evasion-based chest (e.g. Carcass Jack) instead, but you would need unusually high armour on your other equipment to compensate. Another interesting choice is Lightning Coil -- excellent synergy with Abyssus above -- you should run a high level Purity of Lightning aura if you go this way.

Gloves -

For Most Folks - If not using Facebreaker, the inexpensive Slitherpinch may be useful for its leech if you are having trouble with mana. Most people will choose a nice 'rare' item instead of these uniques, but they have their place.

For Rich Folks - Rare with high armour, any resists (chaos/elemental) you still need, life, attack speed, physical damage, item quantity/rarity, roughly in that order of priority.

Belt -

For Most Folks - Rare belt with armour, life, resists (chaos/elemental) if possible. Wurm's Molt, or Perandus Blazon may be useful early on to help equip your items.

For Rich Folks - Rustic Sash with over 20% damage, 200+ armour, 50+ life and resists, or Meginord's Girdle or Immortal Flesh if your resistances are well over the cap in Merciless.

Boots -

For Most Folks - I do highly recommend boots with both life and 30% increased movement speed if at all possible.

For Rich Folks - As above, plus resistances (chaos/elemental) and armour bonuses. Alternatively, particularly with the Aegis Aurora, the Rainbowstride unique boots will serve you well.

Rings -

A Word About Leech - When you reach the higher levels, say, mid 60s and up, I recommend that one item have mana leech on it, most often this will be a ring. This will replace the blood magic support gem on your attack skill or any mana flasks you may still be using.

For Most Folks - Resists, life if possible as well. You can get by for a while in your mid levels with a 1% mana leech ring -- I recommend 2% when you start linking more support gems to your skill. If, after going through all of your other equipment choices above, you still do not have sufficient chaos resist (you at least want to get to around zero chaos resist), then this is a good place to get some, by choosing Amethyst Rings as your base items. Kaom's Sign may be useful for a fourth endurance charge. Blackheart is also a choice early on.

For Rich Folks - 2% mana leech ring with resists and 60+ life. Other ring 70+ life and high roll flat physical damage bonus plus one or more of item rarity/quantity/stats/resists. Dream Fragments is a convenience if you don't require the other things a ring can do for you. A high roll Le Heup of All is also a good choice. Other choices include Ming's Heart or Death Rush. Andvarius may be desirable in some situations.

Skill Gems

Auras and Buffs -
A 3-link item will get you started here, a 4-link is required later on.

At the moment, I am running the following auras and buffs on the mana globe:
Tempest Shield - With the Increased Effect of Buffs nodes we have taken on the passive skill tree, Tempest Shield provides a valuable 5 additional block chance and some minor additional damage.
Hatred for damage. Hatred goes really well with a physical damage based build as it adds a percentage of the physical damage as additional cold damage. The more physical damage you do therefore, the larger hatred's contribution.
Herald of Ash - This adds 15% of our physical damage as extra fire damage, plus a small amount of area damage periodically. About the best thing that we can fit in with the available mana.
Reduced Mana - Linking your chosen auras/buffs together with a leveled up Reduced Mana support gem is required. You can get a Reduced Mana gem for free from the 'Sharp and Cruel' quest in act 2 of Cruel difficulty and begin leveling it up. Add the auras/buffs on as you can. Consider starting with a single defensive aura early on and later transition to my setup. With the auras/buffs reserving your mana, you should have over 50 mana remaining, which is enough to use certain attack skills without pause.

Three or Four linked socket item (example: helmet): Tempest Shield (blue) - Hatred (green) - Reduced Mana (red). Fourth socket: Herald of Ash (red)

Honorable mentions / other options (as needed):

Grace for defense. Grace adds a considerable amount of evasion, even if you have little evasion on your gear. This goes well with the Ondar's Guile keystone that the build utilizes. I recommend instead of using this aura that you get a shield with high evasion.

Determination - Useful if your physical damage mitigation is a little bit low. Note that this aura increases the armour you already have and won't make up for a lack of armour from gear. Possibly better earlier on in the game when most incoming hits are small, due to the way armour works in PoE. I used this aura while leveling up.

Clarity - can be useful to run low level Clarity aura in some situations, e.g., if you can almost keep up with mana cost for a skill, clarity may provide a nudge in the right direction. Can be run with Blood Magic support gem in a pinch.

Purity of Elements - Can be an excellent crutch early on until you have adequate elemental resistances on gear. Not for endgame.

Purity of Lightning - Level this up as soon as you find it. Useful to activate before encounters such as Dominius, and, later, the Torture Chamber end game map boss. This is situational and not used all of the time.

Purity of Fire - Level this up when you find it. Useful for certain encounters that have a strong fire component, such as the boss in the Crematorium end game map. This is also situational and not used all of the time.

(Optional) Triggers -
Notes: These are optional but helpful for endgame. You can obtain at least one Cast when Damage Taken gem for free at the conclusion of the 'A Fixture of Fate' quest in Act 3 Merciless. You may wish to forgo the trigger gem and choose Multistrike from that same quest instead, if you do not yet have it.
First Cast when Damage Taken - Leave this trigger gem at level 1. I recommend linking this with Enduring Cry (level only to 5). When you have enough chaos resistance from gear, you can add level 5 Blood Rage for the three frenzy charges.
Second Cast when Damage Taken - Level this trigger gem up to approximately level 13-17 depending on the size of your life pool. Generally you want this to trigger at around half of your life. I recommend linking this with Immortal Call (level to less than or equal to the same required level as your trigger gem) and Increased Duration (level to max). If you want to use a 4-link for this one as well, I suggest Molten Shell (level to less than or equal to the same required level as your trigger gem).
Counter-Attacks - New in 1.3, the counter-attacks give us a way to passively curse our enemies for additional defense or offense and also do some free damage. As we are block specialists, we can utilize all three of the available counter-attacks. The counter-attacks and their associated gems can be leveled up all the way. I recommend the AOE counter-attack on block, Reckoning, and the counter-attack when you are hit, Vengeance, linked with Curse on Hit and your choice of curse: Enfeeble - very powerful against endgame bosses due to its ability to reduce their damage and critical strikes, or you can use Vulnerability (for physical attack skills) or Elemental Weakness (for elemental attack skills) here instead of Enfeeble in easy going areas for additional offensive capability. This Curse on Hit combo with the counter-attacks should ensure that the curse is always applied except when we evade. The third counter-attack, Riposte, is fitted into a spare socket, if available.

Three linked socket item (example, shield):

Cast when Damage Taken (red, see notes above) - Enduring Cry (red) - Blood Rage (green)

Three or four linked socket item (example, gloves):

Cast when Damage Taken (red, see notes above) - Immortal Call (red) - Increased Duration (red). Optional fourth socket: Molten Shell (red)

Four linked socket item (example, boots):

Reckoning (red) - Vengeance (red) - Curse on Hit (blue) - Enfeeble or Vulnerability or Elemental Weakness (blue, situational for defense or DPS)

Spare socket - Riposte:


(Optional) Movement -
It's always nice to move around swiftly through maps, especially in a party where people move very quickly and it may be difficult to keep up. Faster Attacks support helps to chain the movement skill more quickly.

Two or Three linked socket item (example, weapon):

Whirling Blades (green) or Leap Slam (red) or Shield Charge (red) - Riposte (green) in the spare socket. Optional third socket: Faster Attacks (green)

Attack skills -
Lots of freedom to choose here. You will want to choose only one or two different attacks. If two, choose one for area and one for single targets. We will need the rest of our items' sockets for the aura and utility gems. Your main attack skill will be socketed into your chest armor (unless you own Bringer of Rain) as that's the only one that can have 5 or 6 linked sockets. You can get by with just a 4-link for quite some time.

Recommended attack skill - Static Strike, obtained free as a quest reward for slaying Hillock, the very first boss encountered as you start the game. Best choice for most people as Static Strike will do the most damage.

Other viable attack skills - for Swords/Daggers/Claws: Reave, for Maces: Ground Slam, for Axes - Cleave. Or, Molten Strike. These four skills have built-in AoE damage at a very low mana cost, which is important. Don't forget that you can level up several extra attack skills by placing them in sockets on the alternate set of items in your weapon switch. You can then test them out later and decide for yourself which one appeals to you most.

4-Link: Attack Skill (green or red socket) - Melee Physical Damage (red) - Weapon Elemental Damage (elemental skills, red) or Concentrated Effect (physical skills, blue) - Multistrike (red). 5-Link: add Faster Attacks (green). 6-Link: add one of the following: Added Fire Damage or Melee Damage on Full Life or Life Leech or Blind.

Example -

For 5-link add:

For 6-link add one of the following (your choice):

The above are the safe, recommended choices, but if you are an experienced exile and can handle their mana usage problems with your handy Soul Taker or Blood Magic Support gem on your 6-link, other popular choices include Infernal Blow, Lightning Strike, Glacial Hammer, Cyclone, Dominating Blow, Heavy Strike with melee splash or Double Strike with melee splash.

For rich folks, I do recommend as much quality as possible on the attack skill gem and its associated support gems.

Mana Management -
I suggest for the mid levels that you consider using a Blood Magic support gem linked to your favorite attack skill. You may not find this until level 50 or so. Once you have it, link it with your attack skill gem. You may be reserving all of your mana pool to run auras/buffs around the mid levels, depending on your gear.

When you reach the higher levels, say, mid 60s and up, you probably have acquired a mana leech item or support gem and the intelligence nodes I suggested in the build and have leveled up your reduced mana support gems sufficiently that you can remove the blood magic gem from your attack skill and use the little bit of mana you have left after auras to use your attack skill. This is a good move because you can then potentially use another support gem with your attack skill, and your life globe stays a little bit fuller, generally speaking.

Flasks

At first, you will be using pretty much whatever you find. I'd suggest three life flasks and two mana flasks. The more uses they have, the better. For example, early on you will notice you can hit some of the life flasks three times instead of only two.

From the very beginning, you want to save up any flasks you find that have quality on them. You will be turning in to any NPC vendor several flasks at once that together total up to 40% quality. You receive a glassblower's bauble each time you do this. Save them up as you level.

When you start finding plain white hallowed life flasks, it's time to execute my plan.

I recommend two instant life flasks.

So, hit a plain white hallowed life flask with four glassblower's, this will raise the quality to 20%. Next, use a transmutation orb, then alteration orbs until the flask has a "Seething" or "Bubbling" prefix.

Make two. Put these on potion slots numbers 1 and 2. You will be tapping these anytime you get seriously hit, which should not be too often.

If you want to finesse it, you can try for useful suffix mods as well, such as Staunching (removes bleeding, essential to have this somewhere) or Dousing (dispels burning).

The instant flasks can be upgraded later to the level 65 Divine flasks.

For your remaining three flasks, I'd go with more life flasks for topping up between fights, but it's up to you depending on your needs. In my case I would choose Ample or Saturated life flasks of Iron Skin or Reflexes or even "of Resistance" if you find Necromancer's elemental curses to be a problem for you. Perhaps one of each.

Optionally, if you want some extra work, Ample Granite Flask of Iron Skin is nice if you get hit hard, to mitigate a follow up blow that may finish you off.

For those that wish to work a bit harder to enable the most out of their character, the new unique DPS flasks are a good choice. These need to be used at the best moment to make the most of them as they won't be available half of the time. Watching for those best moments takes some extra work. These flasks enable a high peak DPS output, for a few seconds. They are: Atziri's Promise (cheap), and Taste of Hate (rich folks only but maybe you will find one).

Finally, you may want one mana flask or hybrid flask handy for the end game when you are doing maps with the "of smothering" affix. This will be used situationally so keep it in your bag. It should not be needed normally as, if you are following my guide, you will have balanced your attack skill's mana intake to match the leech available on your gear by this time. I suggest a "Saturated" mana flask for this purpose, as you want the mana regeneration from the flask to more closely match your mana draw.

Bandits
As you progress through the game, the question will arise - what is the best way to do the bandit quest? The answer:
Normal: Side with Oak for the 40 life, or kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk if you like ease of re-allocation later.
Cruel: Kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk.
Merciless: Kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk.

Endgame Tips and Tricks

Spoiler
Act 3 end boss, Dominus: Have a flask with "Removes Bleeding." This will be helpful for Dominus' second form (the giant bug). When you notice the bleed icon, hit the flask to remove it.
Dunes (66), Spider Forest (69): The Blacksmith. In his second form, he can spawn zombies each time he leap slams. The zombies have a powerful chaos AOE when they die. Two ways to deal with it: 1) swap gems to single target only attack skill (no multistrike either), focus on boss, ignore zombies (this is the only option in most groups). 2) Stand toe-to-toe with Blacksmith and don't let up, so that he won't leap slam.
Museum (68): Pull and kill the other two bosses one at a time. Leave Alal the Terrifying until the end. For chaos resist on a tight budget, you can roll amethyst rings with alterations. Bosses that are a real threat (museum, for example), you can just pull them separately and switch rings for the chaos fight.
Temple (71) boss: Good ol' Piety. Get spell block. Bring Topaz flasks/Purity of Lightning aura/pack on Lightning resist gear. Fairgraves' Tricorne with its Cannot be Shocked mod is very good here.
Jungle Valley (72) boss: The only concern here is the big spider which has an attack similar to GMP/Freezing Pulse, except chaos damage. Bring chaos resist flasks/put on chaos resist gear.
Torture Chamber (72) boss: A lightning bonanza. Bring Topaz flasks/Purity of Lightning aura/pack on Lightning resist gear. Fairgraves' Tricorne.
Residence (74) boss: Basically Dominus first form, you will have seen him in Merciless by now. Manually evade the exploding monsters when you have the orange mark over your head. DPS on Dominus when not marked.
Maze (74) boss: Vaal Oversoul. Don't take consecutive lightning blasts and avoid the smash by running around to his back when he raises his mace arm. You can also use a movement skill to do this.
Plataeu (75) boss: Has a serious chaos damage aura, make sure you have some chaos resist gear on (I'd say around -20 should be fine).
Crematorium (76) boss: Like that firestorm unique mob in the second area of the game, except harder. Avoid the firestorm, or if you're very well geared you can try to tank it, just make sure the map doesn't have reduced max resist or elemental weakness mods. Spell block + Purity of Fire aura.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why not get Iron Reflexes?
A:
Spoiler
If you get Iron Reflexes, you give up our first line of defense, which is evasion. Evasion is not streaky, it is based on an entropy formula, guaranteeing you won't get hit several times in a row.

Blocking on the other hand is random.

So, if something makes it past your evasion, then your random chance to block is checked.

If something makes it past that, your armour is checked and your life is your final line of defense.

I don't suggest going all evasion, or going all armour. We need both.

The problem with the Iron Reflexes approach is not only that you get hit more often and in a more streaky fashion, but also that the delivery systems for certain kinds of damage will bite right through armour. A build like mine with some of both (and Ondar's Guile) will stop those things cold. Like splitting Voidbearers and named snakes, but there are many others. In maps, many of the projectiles are chaos damage. With Ondar's, which only works with evasion, we can get by without expensive chaos resist gear, otherwise, not so much.

For example, as of this writing, I have 39% chance to avoid melee attacks with my evasion, and double that (78%) chance to avoid projectile attacks. This is before my maxed block is ever checked. Before my armour or resistances are checked. Before anything is deducted from my life.

Obviously we need armour too (I have 42% damage reduction as of this writing) for physical hits that get through. Molten Shell and Granite flasks, if desired, are on top of that. You can do better here as I am self found so my gear choices are very limited.

Evasion as a first line of defense really does make the difference oftentimes of getting hit vs. not getting hit. For example, I usually do Kole without him getting a hit in.

We get a ton of evasion from just one piece - a high evasion shield - due to the nodes we take on the tree that increase defenses from shields.

The rest of the gear can focus on armour.


Q: I don't have enough dexterity, what to do?
A:
Spoiler
If you are finding that all of the good weapons that drop for you before level 60 require dexterity, you can get the Precision node near the Templar start and re-spec out of it at a later time. The Quickness node may be an option, depending on how far along you are. You can also, if required, use an Onyx, Jade, Citrine or Turquoise amulet. The common Perandus Blazon unique belt is very handy for a stat shortage situation as well.


Q: Is the Lazy Pally Hardcore viable?
A:
Spoiler
Yes it is! We have had many people reach well into their 80s using this build in both regular hardcore and the temporary hardcore leagues over the course of the last year. That said, no matter your choice of build, if this is your first time playing through Path of Exile, you want to start out in Standard league or the Standard ruleset temporary league to learn the ins and outs of the game before subjecting yourself to hardcore mode. There are many mechanics found in the game that are simply unfair if you are not prepared for them. When you can never die in Standard, you are ready for Hardcore.


Q: Can I play a Lazy Pally as a Scion, Duelist, Ranger, or Marauder?
A:
Spoiler
Yes, absolutely! Simply reference my 120 point build and remove the "Life and Mana" node and the two strength nodes at the start of the Templar area, and connect to the existing skill tree path via your preferred class starting nodes. We pass by all of the classes starting areas except the Witch and Shadow. Everything else is the same. This is simply an appearance choice. You will make a little bit of extra work for yourself though, as I only provide the progression builds for the Templar. You will need to make your own way with the other classes, but it's not difficult.


Q: What attack skill will do the most DPS? Or, what about X attack skill?
A:
Spoiler
DPS Comparison of various popular attack skills

Static Strike:

Static Strike - 31,517 DPS (53,579 DPS total with explosions)


Static Strike - BoR - 31,406 DPS (53,390 DPS total with explosions)

Reave:

Reave - 34,320 DPS


Reave - BoR - 34,089 DPS

Cyclone:


Cyclone - 17,862 DPS


Cyclone - BoR - 17,501 DPS

Lightning Strike:


Lightning Strike - 36,292 DPS


Lightning Strike - BoR - 35,741 DPS

Double Strike:


Double Strike - 25,597 DPS


Double Strike - BoR - 25,260 DPS
Last edited by Sovyn on May 27, 2015 11:37 AM
My Current Gear




My Current Tree (Link)

My Current Stats (Tempest Shield + Hatred + Herald of Ash + auto Blood Rage)

Defence:
lazy-pally-defense-03-09-15_zpszmrjl2dp
lazy-pally-life-03-09-15_zpszxle1mqg

Offence (Static Strike):
Peak DPS: 75,917 (Total Calculated DPS including Atziri's Promise Flask and Explosions not shown on tooltip plus Amplify)
lazy-pally-tooltip-peak-03-09-15_zpsfrmtez6c

Sustained DPS: 62,802 (Total Calculated DPS including Explosions not shown on tooltip plus Amplify)
lazy-pally-tooltip-sustained-03-09-15_zpsm2wawsbs
lazy-pally-offense-03-09-15_zpsiem4700b

Notes

For approximately the first year and a half that I casually played my lazy pally, I remained strictly self-found. Self-found means that I only used items that I found myself as a drop. You can certainly choose to either use nice items acquired by the trading scene that PoE offers, or expend currency to upgrade your equipment earlier on. I had chosen the most difficult route, that is, I was self-found and saved most currency for endgame crafting. However, following my defensively oriented build, I soloed all of Merciless difficulty and most Maps even with extremely modest self-found items, proving the viability of the lazy pally. I more recently decided to acquire gear by trading in order to be better able to tackle the new, more difficult endgame content Path of Exile has to offer. With the lazy pally, even gearing with some of the best choices does not have to be expensive. For example, the gear shown above cost me thus:

Thousand Teeth Temu 1 chaos
rainbowstride 25 chaos
Demon Gyre Prismatic Ring 20 chaos
Gloom Turn Amethyst Ring 9 chaos
Stone of Lazhwar, corrupted 36 chaos
pandemonium glance nightmare bascinet 8 chaos
rapture fist titan gauntlets 20 chaos
horror curtain holy chainmail 0 - self-found
chimeric bond rustic sash 10 chaos
all gems 0 - self-found and leveled

As you can see, the total cost of my endgame gear set as above was only 140 chaos so far (about 4 exalted), not including the weapon, making this an extremely low-cost build for endgame capability, at a time when hundreds of exalted are typically spent by most other builds for the endgame suit. This amount of chaos is easily raised by the two chaos recipe and minor trading during the course of gameplay. Admittedly, with patience and time on my side, I did benefit from the kindness of others relative to providing fair deals.

A five-link body armor is just fine as the build realizes relatively minimal benefit from a six-link.

Gameplay Videos

Build of the Week, Season 4, Episode 7

Atziri, full Apex of Sacrifice clear

Atziri, please note this is my very first attempt ever

Merciless Dominus

Maze Map Boss Vaal Oversoul

Torture Chamber Map Boss Shock and Horror

.....more new videos soon.

---

That's all folks - Discussions and commentary welcome!

Changelog:
02-06-2013 -- Original Post
<Lots and Lots of revisions>
01-01-2014 -- removed life regen nodes, life nodes, damage nodes near duelist start and added damage/life nodes, damage node, life node, intelligence node, and amplify
01-02-2014 -- Updated weapon section to be more weapon type agnostic, with some additional detail. Updated recommended skill gem section to include AOE attack skills for specific weapon types. Updated the linked sockets section to coincide with attack skill section.
01-10-14 -- Updated the gear/shield section for additional clarity.
02-04-2014 -- Updated gear section with some additional unique suggestions and a few mentions of chaos resist.
02-18-2014 -- Adjusted all progression builds to include a few key damage nodes around level 80.
03-05-2014 -- Updated skill tree links for compatibility with PoE version 1.1.0. Updated total stats (120 points), and miscellaneous changes to gear recommendations.
04-21-2014 -- Added a note about quality on attack skill and supports
05-08-2014 -- Added Molten Strike as a recommended skill for early game
07-14-2014 -- Finally added note about spell block shields in gear section
07-15-2014 -- Edited linked sockets section
07-23-2014 -- Added Melee Damage on Full Life back into my suggestions for 6-link
07-25-2014 -- Added a mention about Thousand Teeth Temu in the affordable shields section
07-30-2014 -- Added a video of the Lazy Pally killing Merciless Dominus
08-05-2014 -- Added a video of 74 Maze Map Vaal encounter
08-17-2014 -- Added a video of the 72 Torture Chamber Map Boss encounter
08-20-2014 -- Updated 120 point build tree and stats for 1.2 Forsaken Masters
08-20-2014 -- Added new progression builds for patch 1.2.0
10-02-2014 -- Added a mention of the Belly of the Beast unique chest
10-07-2014 -- Improved the aura section in the guide
12-10-2014 -- Began updating guide for patch 1.3
12-12-2014 -- Finished initial pass on 1.3 builds
12-14-2014 -- Finished the second pass on 1.3 build
12-31-2014 -- Changed recommended skill from Reave to Static Strike
01-01-2015 -- Updated trigger gem section to be consistent with what I'm currently using
01-06-2015 -- Completely overhauled trigger gem section for patch 1.3
02-03-2015 -- Tweaked the weapons area of the gear section to mention good uniques
02-26-2015 -- Added DPS comparisons between various attack skills to FAQ
02-28-2015 -- Added Bringer of Rain data to "What attack skill will do the most DPS" FAQ
03-07-2015 -- Minor skill tree improvements
03-21-2015 -- Revised flask section slightly
05-27-2015 -- Added preliminary guide for The Awakening (v2.0)
Last edited by Sovyn on May 27, 2015 11:29 AM
Guide for Path of Exile The Awakening (Version 2.0)

*Very Preliminary, Subject to Change*

Spoiler
Guide is current for Path of Exile 2.0. Build of the Week S04E07.

Hail and well met! :-)

Summary

The basic idea of this build is to have a very easy to play melee character with an excellent chance of blocking both attacks and spells, excellent incoming damage reduction, good life and resistances, all the while with an eye toward clearing monster packs efficiently.

In keeping with the "easy to play" theme, all of the defensive stratagems employed in the build must be passive, or at most, activated only occasionally.

No debuffs to repetitively cast, no endurance charges to worry about. Just wade right in there and smack 'em in the face. :) Stopping to check the loot, or to smell the roses as it were, is no problem for this build. Easy.

Although they may be helpful, the build does not require any specific unique items, making it doable for even those just starting out in Wraeclast.

For maximum flexibility, you can use virtually any melee attack skill gems and one handed axe/sword/mace/claw/dagger of choice.

Passive Skill Tree

Around level 76 your tree will look something like this (click here to view).
Level 83.
Level 91 - you'll use 1 respec point to remove Resolute Technique.
Level 95 - completed build - 118 points - my current skill tree.

Total of Bonuses from Completed Passive Skill Tree - click show
Stats & Buffs

4 Jewel Socket

Stats
+363 to Strength
+164 to Dexterity
+133 to Intelligence

Defense

Life
127% increased maximum Life
+50 to maximum Life
4.4% of Life Regenerated per Second

Mana
+8 Mana gained when you Block
15% reduced Mana Cost of Skills

Resistances
+27% to all Elemental Resistances (combined total)
+20% to Chaos Resistance

Damage Reduction
96% increased Armour
15% increased Fortify Effect
10% increased Fortify duration

Movement
Ignore all Movement Penalties from Armour
3% increased Movement Speed

Block and Stun
32% additional Chance to Block with Shields
400% increased Defences from equipped Shield
120% increased Block Recovery

Offense

Accuracy
90% increased Accuracy Rating (combined total)
+328 Accuracy Rating from dexterity

Attack Speed
48% increased Attack Speed (combined total)

Physical and Elemental Damage
378% increased Physical Damage (combined total, includes strength bonus)
39% increased Elemental Damage (combined total)

Critical Strikes
200% increased Melee Critical Strike Chance (combined total)
55% increased Melee Critical Strike Multiplier (combined total)

Area
16% increased Area of Effect radius
8% increased Area Damage
+2 to Melee Weapon and Unarmed range


Passive Skill Tree Jewels

For Most Folks -
shielding-jewel_zps2co9r5qg
New in PoE 2.0, Passive Skill Tree Jewels allow us to add meaningful stats into the four jewel sockets on the passive skill tree above. Jewels can be improved with 'Orb of Transmutation' and 'Orb of Alteration' which are rather plentiful. You will typically want to find Crimson or Cobalt jewels in the plain white or blue variety and use the orbs on these until you get a "Shielding Crimson Jewel" or "Shielding Cobalt Jewel". Repeat three more times as able so that you have four of these jewels altogether. "Shielding" provides 2% additional Chance to Block with Shields which is necessary for this build. If, for some reason you are over the 75% block cap, you want to go for "Thwarting" instead, which provides 2% additional Chance to Block Spells with Shields. This will only appear on the Cobalt Jewel and is a harder mod to get (rarer) than the Shielding.

For Rich Folks - As above but you can create up to four useful properties per jewel with your orbs of alchemy, chaos, etc. This will quickly get very expensive, or you can trade for what you want. In addition to the basic block, the possibilities include resistances, life, physical damage, attack speed, leech, and perhaps critical strike for the completed high level build.

Gear

Shield - This is your most important tool.

For Most Folks - Generally speaking, if you like to find your own items early on in the game, you will probably find a 'Kite Shield' with resistances and life on it at some point. This is fine for a while. Possibly the best choice if you have access to one in the early to mid game is a Crest of Perandus unique shield with its high 31% chance to block. We do miss out on a lot of armour going with a Crest of Perandus but it is a decent option until you reach Merciless difficulty.

As this build relies on the shield as its main source of armour (due to the Increased Defenses from Equipped Shield nodes on the passive skill tree), it is a good idea to look for a shield with plenty of armour on it. Therefore, you may want to consider a 'rare' (yellow item) 'Tower Shield' with high armour, block, life and resists. Another very affordable option and probably the best endgame choice for many people is Lioneye's Remorse. Honorable mentions for the unique shields include Titucius' Span, Chernobog's Pillar and Daresso's Courage.

Free shield offer for new players
Free starter shield if you need it (standard league only). Choose from the list here in a separate thread. A few rules - one per person, must be playing my build, only "verified" items are left. Whisper Sovyn in game most afternoons pacific time to receive your choice. If I'm on but AFK I'll get to you eventually just be patient.


For Rich Folks - Lioneye's Remorse with useful Vaal Orb corruption, e.g., Spell Block.

Or a rare 'yellow' item with 30% chance to block, 1500+ armour rare tower shield with a high life roll and some helpful resistances. This rare would fit well with the build as presented. Alternatively, Aegis Aurora is an excellent choice if you can scrape together substantial armour and energy shield from your other gear. Rathpith Globe (gear with the intelligence stat required to equip) or perhaps Saffell's Frame may be useful as a source of spell block in certain end-game content such as Merciless Dominus and Temple Map Piety, just for example, but neither of these spell block shields are very expensive -- on a strict budget, these bosses can be safely skipped, or perhaps you can utilize a different source of spell block.

Weapon -

For Most Folks - I suggest a hard hitting physical weapon with an attack speed suffix. As with all melee builds, you will need to constantly upgrade your weapon while leveling in order to keep your kill speed up. Look for rare one handed weapons with high physical damage percentage (XXX% increased Physical Damage) and flat physical (Adds XX-XX Physical Damage) and attack speed (XX% increased Attack Speed) bonuses. Preferably all three. Some flat elemental damage on your weapon is alright if you can't find a perfect weapon but won't make much difference. Alternatively, a fun variation on the basic build uses Facebreaker gauntlets for some hand-to-hand action instead of a weapon. Just starting out, The Screaming Eagle works. An upgrade from that would be Brightbeak. After that, Mightflay may be an option depending upon your attack skill choice below. Then, For end game, you should aim for a 'rare' (yellow item) weapon with 250 or more physical DPS, a very doable goal with Master Crafting. A type of weapon called a 'claw' fitting this description offers the additional benefit of regaining life and possibly mana as well while you attack. A weapon type called a 'thrusting sword' has the benefit of having additional base weapon range which could be useful depending on your attack skill choice (more about attack skills below). As an example, for most folks, a good set of weapons as you level up will look something like this:


For Rich Folks - For characters over approximately level 85, you will want a weapon with a good critical strike chance along with good damage. Doryani's Catalyst is a relatively affordable unique and excellent choice. Since it is so good for the cost, Doryani's Catalyst is what the final skill tree is designed around.

If you already have one (if not just get a Doryani's), you may want to go with a high critical strike chance rare weapon (sceptre, dagger, claw) with 350 or more physical DPS as this may be usable. If you are looking at this section before having taken Resolute Technique off of your tree, note that Doryani's still works very well (you can equip it at level 75) or a high physical damage rare without any critical strike chance is fine.

Amulet -

For Most Folks - The Anvil is a unique amulet that is nearly required to max block earlier on -- assuming you can live with its drawbacks. Another top choice is Stone of Lazhwar, which is quite nice with this build, especially for maps. It will add a healthy chance to block spells with this build, which does make a noticeable difference in areas filled with spell casters.

If you don't have those uniques, any amulet with a high life affix is a good choice. Other mods to look for include chaos resist, elemental resists, leech, armour, physical damage, mana regen, quantity/rarity. You could even switch them out as needed as the Stone of Lazhwar is not very good when in areas populated with melee monsters.

For Rich Folks - One of the above unique amulets with a good Vaal Orb corruption. Block is best; a modest 2% block corruption, which is typically actually quite affordable, can be helpful to max out your block depending on the shield and passive skill tree jewels you choose.

Spell block is also a fine choice for the corrupted mod. This is in the rich folks section because corrupting can take many attempts for the desired result -- it simply depends on luck as to how much it costs in the end.

Helmet -

For Most Folks - Rare with high armour, life, any resists (chaos/elemental) or base stats like intelligence you may need, optionally item rarity. Early on, good low-cost unique choices include Ezomyte Peak, Goldrim, then, in your 30s and 40s, Deidbell. Another affordable option for level 65, light on defenses, is Rime Gaze, which offers effectively a 5-link for your attack skill with the integrated level 15 Concentrated Effect support.

For Rich Folks - One option is The Bringer of Rain in place of a chest and helmet. Although you cannot use a chest armour with Bringer of Rain equipped, it offers effectively a 7-link for your attack skill, albeit with reduced gem levels. Alternatively, Alpha's Howl is a decent choice. If you use Alpha's, you would socket your aura gems in here. Abyssus is a choice if you want more DPS at the cost of some of your defense. Most will opt for a rare helmet with high life roll (90+), high armour and possibly energy shield as well for the Aegis Aurora shield choice, along with several 25+ resists -- simply a version of the budget recommendation above, but taken to the max.


Chest -

For Most Folks - The best armour-based chest you can find with armour bonus, life, resists (chaos/elemental), and as many linked sockets as you can get. Bramblejack is nice when just starting out. Tabula Rasa is an option if you can manage to max out your resists elsewhere. Example of a good goal for most folks:


For Rich Folks - Belly of the Beast is a good option a bit later on as it offers a lot of life -- it tends to be expensive with a high number of links. For most, I suggest an 5-link or 6-link rare Astral Plate or Glorious Plate or Saintly Chainmail (for Aegis) with the mods listed in the "for most folks" section. The extra resists that Astral Plate provides will help you to free up other pieces of equipment for other things. You can alternatively go for an evasion-based chest (e.g. Carcass Jack to improve your attack skill) instead, but you would lose some physical damage reduction. Another interesting choice is Lightning Coil -- excellent synergy with Abyssus above -- you should run a high level Purity of Lightning aura if you go this way.

Gloves -

For Most Folks - If not using Facebreaker, the inexpensive Slitherpinch may be useful for its leech if you are having trouble with mana early on. Most people will choose a nice 'rare' item instead of these uniques, but they have their place.

For Rich Folks - Rare with high armour, any resists (chaos/elemental) you still need, life, attack speed, physical damage, item quantity/rarity, roughly in that order of priority.

Note that Haku will craft up to 2% block on gloves when you reach level 6 with that master, so you may want to seek out otherwise ideal gloves with an open suffix for adding block.

Belt -

For Most Folks - Rare belt with armour, life, resists (chaos/elemental) if possible. Wurm's Molt, or Perandus Blazon may be useful early on to help equip your items.

For Rich Folks - Rustic Sash with over 20% damage, 200+ armour, 50+ life and resists, energy shield for Aegis users or weapon elemental damage, or Meginord's Girdle or Immortal Flesh if you are brave and well stocked with spell block.


Boots -

For Most Folks - I do highly recommend boots with both life and 30% increased movement speed if at all possible.

For Rich Folks - As above, plus resistances (chaos/elemental) and armour bonuses. Alternatively, particularly with the Aegis Aurora, the Rainbowstride unique boots will serve you well.


Rings -

A Word About Mana - If you are not using the Blood Magic support gem on your attack skill (more about attack skills below), I recommend rings with 0.4% mana leech on them. The Wurm's Molt belt or Slitherpinch gloves mentioned above will do at lower levels but most often your leech would come from your rings. Don't forget to check the town vendors as they sometimes have a "Thirsty" ring for sale which can be useful on new leagues. These leech rings can sometimes replace any mana flasks you may still be using or at least reduce the frequency of their use. Another option is the rings that master Elreon sells sometimes. You can check with him after each daily mission. The rings that he sells provide a discount on mana cost of skills which can make quite a difference for already low-cost melee abilities. These are plain rings but they can be improved easily.


For Most Folks - Leech if needed, resists, some life if possible as well. If, after going through all of your other equipment choices above, you still do not have sufficient chaos resist (you at least want to get to around zero chaos resist), then this is a good place to get some, by choosing Amethyst Rings as your base items. Blackheart is a choice early on.

For Rich Folks - If you are over approximately level 85, you will want one Romira's Banquet to generate Power Charges.

Other than that you need ring(s) with some combination of solid resists (including chaos), 70+ life, high roll flat physical damage, leech if needed and any needed stats to use your equipment. Attack speed is a plus as well. A high roll Le Heup of All is also a decent choice although a good rare ring can be better overall. Andvarius may be desirable in some situations.

Skill Gems

Attack skills -
Lots of freedom to choose here but I do have some strong recommendations as you will see below. Your attack skill will be socketed into your chest armor (unless you own Bringer of Rain) as that's the only one that can have 5 or 6 linked sockets. You can get by with just a 4-link for quite some time and a 5-link chest is usually quite affordable.


Recommended attack skill - Just Starting Out - Molten Strike, obtained free as a quest reward for slaying Hillock, the very first boss encountered as you start the game. You can also pick up Vigilant Strike as a reward for completing the 'Breaking Some Eggs' quest in early Act One. While Vigilant Strike is retired as soon as we get the Fortify support gem, working in a Vigilant Strike every five seconds while fighting the early bosses in the game will be quite helpful. After slaying Brutus, you will receive the Added Fire Damage support gem which you can link to your attack skill.


Recommended attack skill - Late Act One Normal Difficulty - Static Strike, obtained free from Nessa and available once you enter The Cavern of Wrath. This skill is an upgrade from Molten Strike because it offers a more convenient circular-shaped area of effect (AoE) damage. Along with Added Fire Damage, link this with Melee Physical Damage, a support gem obtained free from Silk in Act 2 normal difficulty after slaying The Weaver. At that same time you can obtain Weapon Elemental Damage and Faster Attacks, both from Yeena (Tab #2 in her vendor inventory) -- because of the mana cost don't rush to link these to your attack skill yet but do start leveling these for later. You can also pick up Concentrated Effect to try and see if you like it later on.

2vvndyg

Recommended attack skill - Mid-Act Three Normal Difficulty - Ice Crash, obtained free from Maramoa as a reward for slaying General Gravicius in mid-Act 3, normal difficulty. This is an upgrade from Static Strike because it offers a larger area of effect (AoE) size, and you won't have to target a specific monster, just hit the ground in the vicinity of the monsters which is a lot easier. Please note that this skill is limited to use with swords, axes, maces or the Facebreaker gauntlets so you will need one of these types of weapons. In addition to Added Fire Damage and Melee Physical Damage, link this skill to Fortify, a support gem obtained free from Siosa after helping him out in the Library. Fortify will passively provide you with a buff that reduces most forms of damage that you take. If mana issues are well under control and you have a small budget for upgrades at this point, the fifth link would be Faster Attacks or Weapon Elemental Damage or Concentrated Effect. Try them and see what you like best.

Other viable endgame attack skills: Cyclone and Reave -


Cyclone, purchased from Tab#2 in Clarissa's inventory, available after slaying General Gravicius in normal difficulty. Start leveling Cyclone up then but don't use it yet as you don't yet have enough life regeneration. Around level 70 you will start to have enough life regeneration and life total to support running this very high-cost skill with the Blood Magic support (also purchased from Clarissa, this time after helping Siosa in the Library). While the tooltip damage is lower than some others, Cyclone is one of the best melee skills because its actual damage in practice is hard to beat. Because Cyclone uses the base weapon range, long ranged weapons such as the thrusting swords will give it a bit more reach. As this is a movement skill it does take more practice to get the hang of than the previous skills. For Cyclone you typically link it with Blood Magic, Melee Physical Damage, Faster Attacks, Fortify and optionally Added Fire Damage or Concentrated Effect or Increased Area of Effect.


Reave, recently improved to max out its AoE size at only three swings instead of eight and usable with movement skills without losing its AoE size for efficient clearing. Reave works with Swords/Daggers/Claws only so you would need one of these types of weapons to give it a try. Reave is obtained as a rare drop in-game or you can trade for it, or get it from one of your other characters (a quest reward for entering The Cavern of Wrath on Shadow, Duelist or Ranger). For Reave, you would also need the Multistrike support gem, obtained free from Dialla as a quest reward in Act 4 normal difficulty. Melee Physical Damage, Faster Attacks, Fortify and optionally Concentrated Effect and/or Added Fire Damage.

Above I have recommended just a handful of skills, whereas Path of Exile offers many more choices. While nearly all of the many skills offered will work to varying degrees of success, the above are the safe, recommended choices. I have done the legwork for you and extensively tested all of the skills with my build and have concluded that these are the best choices right now in the current version of the game. These recommended attack skills all have built-in AoE damage which is important for clearing packs efficiently. Don't forget that you can level up several extra attack skills by placing them in sockets on the alternate set of items in your weapon switch. You can then test them out later and decide for yourself which one appeals to you most.


Other support gems you may want to experiment with that have not been mentioned thus far include Life Gain on Hit, Life Leech, Melee Damage on Full Life (useful for Aegis Aurora users), Blind, Reduced Mana.

For rich folks, I do recommend as much quality as possible on the attack skill gem and its associated support gems. For everyone else, you can use the vendor recipe method to get quality on your gems but you do have to level them twice so they will be complete by level 92 or so, making this a long-term goal.

Auras and Buffs -

At the moment, I am running the following auras and buffs on the mana globe:
Hatred for damage. Hatred goes really well with a physical damage based build as it adds a percentage of the physical damage as additional cold damage. The more physical damage you do therefore, the larger hatred's contribution.
Herald of Ash - Herald of Ash adds 15% of our physical damage as extra fire damage, plus a small amount of area damage periodically. About the best thing that we can fit in with the available mana. The quality bonus of Increased Fire Damage may be useful especially for those using the Added Fire Damage support gem on the attack skill.

Two socket item (example: shield): Hatred (green), Herald of Ash (red)

Honorable mentions / other options (as needed):

See all the options
Arctic Armour - If you take more damage than expected from fire or physical damage sources and you would like to exchange some offense for defense, you can choose Arctic Armour. Arctic Armour will chill monsters momentarily when they hit you and also cause you to take substantially less damage from physical and fire sources.

Determination - Useful if your physical damage mitigation is a little bit low. Note that this aura increases the armour you already have and won't make up for a lack of armour from gear. Possibly better earlier on in the game when most incoming hits are small, due to the way armour works in PoE. I used this aura while leveling up.

Clarity - can be useful to run low level Clarity aura in some situations, e.g., if you can almost keep up with mana cost for a skill, clarity may provide a nudge in the right direction. I used this while leveling up. Can be run with Blood Magic support gem in a pinch.

Purity of Elements - Can be an excellent crutch early on until you have adequate elemental resistances on gear. Not for endgame.

Purity of Lightning - Level this up as soon as you find it. Useful to activate before encounters such as Dominius, and, later, the Torture Chamber end game map boss. This is situational and not used all of the time.

Purity of Fire - Level this up when you find it. Useful for certain encounters that have a strong fire component, such as the boss in the Crematorium end game map. This is also situational and not used all of the time.

Herald of Ice - Adds a small amount of cold damage to your attacks. The quality bonus of Increased Cold Damage may be useful for Ice Crash + Hatred.

If you are using the Blood Magic support gem with your attack and movement skills, you can add Arctic Armour or Herald of Ice to the default Hatred+Herald of Ash.


(Optional) Triggers - Note: These are optional but very helpful for endgame.

Cast when Damage Taken (CWDT) - You can obtain a Cast when Damage Taken gem for free from Silk at the conclusion of the 'Sharp and Cruel' quest in Act 2 Cruel difficulty. Level this trigger gem up to level 9 and then stop leveling it. Link it with Summon Flame Golem (level only to 11). The Flame Golem will be your companion most of the time and add to your damage as well as providing some of his own in the form of fire spells. Next we link Tempest Shield (level only to 12). Tempest Shield provides 3% block and some minor additional damage. If you want to use a 4-link for this, I suggest Blood Rage (level 12) for the three Frenzy charges which will provide you some additional attack speed.

Yth2BMO

Three or four linked socket item (example, helmet):

Cast when Damage Taken (red) - Summon Flame Golem (red) - Tempest Shield (blue) - Blood Rage (green)

Counter-Attacks - As we are block specialists, we can utilize all three of the available counter-attacks. The counter-attacks and their associated gems can be leveled up all the way.

The Counter-Attacks provide a way to passively curse our enemies for additional defense or offense and also do some free damage. I have chosen Reckoning for this purpose as it applies the curse to more enemies than the other Counter-Attack skills could. Link with Curse on Hit and your choice of curse: Enfeeble - very powerful against endgame bosses due to its ability to reduce their damage and critical strikes, or you can use Vulnerability (for physical attack skills) or Elemental Weakness (for elemental attack skills) here instead of Enfeeble in easy going areas for additional offensive capability. If you want to use a 4-link item for this, optional choices include Blind (additional defense) or Herald of Thunder (an option after removing resolute technique at very high levels) for the final socket. The idea with Herald of Thunder is to curse when fast clearing easy monsters, whereas Reckoning works better on many bosses, so together they provide quite good coverage.

Three or Four linked socket item (example, boots):

Reckoning (red) - Curse on Hit (blue) - Enfeeble or Vulnerability or Elemental Weakness (blue, defense or offense, your choice) - Blind (green, optional) or Herald of Thunder (blue, optional)

The counter-attacks also give us a way to passively gain Endurance Charges for additional defense against physical attacks. I recommend the hardest-hitting counter-attack on block, Riposte, and the counter-attack when you are hit, Vengeance, linked with Endurance Charge on Melee Stun and Stun.

Four linked socket item (example, gloves):

Riposte (green) - Vengeance (red) - Endurance Charge on Melee Stun (red) - Stun (red)

(Optional) Movement -
It's always nice to move around swiftly through maps, especially in a party where people move very quickly and it may be difficult to keep up. Faster Attacks support helps to chain the movement skill more quickly. Add Blood Magic support if reserving 100% of mana. Most people will probably find Shield Charge to be nice for linear movement and it can be targeted to engage a monster as well. Because of its faster animation, Whirling Blades may be preferred over Shield Charge if one is using a sword, dagger or claw. If you are using an axe, mace or sword you can instead (or also) use Leap Slam for those times when you need to jump over a fence or gap for more efficient travel.

Two or Three linked socket item (example, weapon):


Shield Charge (red) or Whirling Blades (green) and/or Leap Slam (red) and/or Blood Magic (red) - Optional third socket: Faster Attacks (green)

Flasks

At first, you will just be using the best flasks that you can find from monster drops and quest rewards. Just starting out, I'd suggest two life flasks, one or two quicksilver flasks and one or two mana flasks. The more uses they have, the better. For example, early on you will notice you can use some of the life flasks three times instead of only two. Remember to upgrade the life flasks as you have access to better ones that refill more of your growing life pool.

From the very beginning, you want to save up any flasks you find that have quality on them. When you have enough quality flasks to total 40+ quality altogether, sell that group of flasks to any NPC vendor. You will receive a Glassblower's Bauble each time you do this. Save them up as you level.

Around when you start finding plain white Hallowed life flasks, it's time to execute my plan.

I recommend two instant life flasks.

So, hit a plain white Hallowed life flask with four Glassblower's, this will raise the quality to 20%. Next, use a transmutation orb, then alteration orbs until the flask has a "Seething" or "Bubbling" prefix.

Make two. Put these on flask slots numbers 1 and 2. You will be tapping these anytime you get seriously hit, which should not be too often.

If you want to finesse it, you can try for useful suffix mods as well, such as Staunching (removes bleeding, essential to have this somewhere) or Dousing (dispels burning).

The instant flasks can be upgraded later to the level 65 Divine flasks.

For your remaining flasks, I'd go with more life flasks for topping up between fights (especially helpful if your gear is not very good) but it's up to you depending on your needs. In my case I would choose Ample or Saturated life flasks of Iron Skin or even "of Resistance" if you find Necromancer's elemental curses to be a problem for you. Perhaps one of each.

Optionally, if you want some extra work, Ample Granite Flask of Iron Skin is nice if you get hit hard, to mitigate a follow up blow that may finish you off.

For those that wish to work a bit harder to enable the most out of their character, the new unique DPS flasks are a good choice. These need to be used at the best moment to make the most of them as they won't be available half of the time. Watching for those best moments and activating the DPS flask takes some extra work. These flasks enable a high peak DPS output, for a few seconds. They are: Atziri's Promise (cheap), and Taste of Hate (rich folks only but maybe you will find one).

Finally, unless you are using the Blood Magic support on your attack skill, you may want one mana flask or hybrid flask handy for the end game when you are doing maps with the "of smothering" affix. This will be used situationally so keep it in your bag. It should not be needed normally as, if you are following my guide, you will have balanced your attack skill's mana intake to match the leech available on your gear by this time. I suggest a "Saturated" mana flask for this purpose, as you want the mana regeneration from the flask to more closely match your mana draw.

Bandits

As you progress through the game, the question will arise - what is the best way to do the bandit quest? The answer:
Normal: Help Oak for the 40 life reward which will make your life total slightly higher, or kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk if you like ease of re-allocation later. Personally I took the skill point and don't regret it.
Cruel: Kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk.
Merciless: Kill all bandits for the skill point reward from the townsfolk.

Endgame Tips and Tricks

Spoiler
Act 3 end boss, Dominus: Have a flask with "Removes Bleeding." This will be helpful for Dominus' second form (the giant bug). When you notice the bleed icon, hit the flask to remove it.
Dunes (66), Spider Forest (69): The Blacksmith. In his second form, he can spawn zombies each time he leap slams. The zombies have a powerful chaos AOE when they die. Two ways to deal with it: 1) swap gems to single target only attack skill (no multistrike either), focus on boss, ignore zombies (this is the only option in most groups). 2) Stand toe-to-toe with Blacksmith and don't let up, so that he won't leap slam.
Museum (68): Pull and kill the other two bosses one at a time. Leave Alal the Terrifying until the end. For chaos resist on a tight budget, you can roll amethyst rings with alterations. Bosses that are a real threat (museum, for example), you can just pull them separately and switch rings for the chaos fight.
Temple (71) boss: Good ol' Piety. Get spell block. Bring Topaz flasks/Purity of Lightning aura/pack on Lightning resist gear. Fairgraves' Tricorne with its Cannot be Shocked mod is very good here.
Jungle Valley (72) boss: The only concern here is the big spider which has an attack similar to GMP/Freezing Pulse, except chaos damage. Bring chaos resist flasks/put on chaos resist gear.
Torture Chamber (72) boss: A lightning bonanza. Bring Topaz flasks/Purity of Lightning aura/pack on Lightning resist gear. Fairgraves' Tricorne.
Residence (74) boss: Basically Dominus first form, you will have seen him in Merciless by now. Manually evade the exploding monsters when you have the orange mark over your head. DPS on Dominus when not marked.
Maze (74) boss: Vaal Oversoul. Don't take consecutive lightning blasts and avoid the smash by running around to his back when he raises his mace arm. You can also use a movement skill to do this.
Plataeu (75) boss: Has a serious chaos damage aura, make sure you have some chaos resist gear on (I'd say around -20 should be fine).
Crematorium (76) boss: Like that firestorm unique mob in the second area of the game, except harder. Avoid the firestorm, or if you're very well geared you can try to tank it, just make sure the map doesn't have reduced max resist or elemental weakness mods. Spell block + Purity of Fire aura.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why not get Iron Reflexes or Unwavering Stance?
A:
Spoiler
Stuns happen when you are low on life. Life based characters don't get stunned easily. If we get low enough life to actually get stunned without Unwavering at high level we are dead anyway. I never see a stun at least on my high level Templar so the points would be wasted.

Iron Reflexes would only give me another thousand armour on top of the ten thousand I already have so it is a waste of points as well.


Q: Why not get some Evasion?
A:
Spoiler
Since 2.0, Ondar's Guile is now useless, that was a major reason for some evasion before. In addition, evasion does not make much of a difference in the average chance to get hit on a max block build -- 18% with some evasion vs. 25% with max block alone. Finally, with minimizing the amount of evasion we have and going for armour instead we have more passive effects going off like curses and stuns and endurance charges and damage from our counter-attacks and Tempest Shield duration refreshes. None of these things happen if you evade.


Q: I don't have enough dexterity, what to do?
A:
Spoiler
If you are finding that all of the good weapons that drop for you before level 60 require dexterity, you can get the Expertise node near the Templar start and re-spec out of it at a later time. The Precision node may be an option if that doesn't do it. You can also, if required, use an Onyx, Jade, Citrine or Turquoise amulet. The common Perandus Blazon unique belt is very handy for a stat shortage situation as well.


Q: Is the Lazy Pally Hardcore viable?
A:
Spoiler
Yes it is! We have had many people reach well into their 80s using this build in both regular hardcore and the temporary hardcore leagues over the course of the last year. That said, no matter your choice of build, if this is your first time playing through Path of Exile, you want to start out in Standard league or the Standard ruleset temporary league to learn the ins and outs of the game before subjecting yourself to hardcore mode. There are many mechanics found in the game that are simply unfair if you are not prepared for them. When you can never die in Standard, you are ready for Hardcore.


Q: Can I play a Lazy Pally as a Scion, Duelist, Ranger, or Marauder?
A:
Spoiler
Yes, absolutely! Simply reference my completed passive skill tree and remove the "Life and Mana" node and the two strength nodes at the start of the Templar area, and connect to the existing skill tree path via your preferred class starting nodes. We pass by all of the classes starting areas except the Witch and Shadow. Everything else is the same. This is simply an appearance choice. You will make a little bit of extra work for yourself though, as I only provide the progression builds for the Templar. You will need to make your own way with the other classes, but it's not difficult.


Q: Why not use Enlighten?
A:
Spoiler
For Rich Folks -

Enlighten - Please note that you will never catch me using this myself. This is for the super rich only but bears mentioning as some may own this gem already on Standard league. Linking your chosen auras/buffs together with a corrupted level 4 Enlighten support gem will reduce the mana reserved by the auras/buffs which may allow you to run certain low-mana-cost attack skills off of your mana with a mana leech item while utilizing all three of the auras/buffs mentioned above. The main benefit is being able to drop the Blood Magic support gem and use a fifth damage support gem on your attack skill in conjunction with the optional Herald of Ash for maximum damage. You can get a little more free mana by using Alpha's Howl mentioned above in the helmet section.



** END OF GUIDE **
Last edited by Sovyn on July 2, 2015 8:40 PM
"
I was curious to see how people responded to this.
I'm quite similar to yours minus the elemental damage.


Thanks for your comment. Looks good. I like how you snuck down there relatively early on and got Diamond Skin. One thing that occurred to me though, you could remove that strength node to the right of Ancestral Bond and go down through the shield nodes near the starting point instead to pick up some extra goodies.
Last edited by Sovyn on February 7, 2013 5:07 AM
-old info removed-
Last edited by Sovyn on March 23, 2013 8:29 PM
Hi, one question, which attack skill do you plan to use?
Each build is dependent on a particular attack skill.
Its really impossible to be master of all skills.

If you can tell us which skill you want to concentrate on, e.g. Lightning strike, groundslam,
etc. we can comment more.

gl.

Last edited by MxDGentle on February 7, 2013 8:35 AM
"
MxDGentle wrote:
Hi, one question, which attack skill do you plan to use?
Each build is dependent on a particular attack skill.
Its really impossible to be master of all skills.

If you can tell us which skill you want to concentrate on, e.g. Lightning strike, groundslam,
etc. we can comment more.


Hey there, thanks for your comment.

This passive tree build does not focus on reinforcing any single damage skill gem or weapon type. Instead, this build provides a strong survival platform, leaving the player the flexibility to choose his or her best one handed weapon, and to utilize his or her preferred choice of melee attack skill gem and support gems.

Thus the build is ideal for those who do not have everything already, perhaps even self found, and perhaps have little desire to enter the trading scene.
Last edited by Sovyn on March 23, 2013 8:36 PM
-outdated info removed-
Last edited by Sovyn on March 23, 2013 8:36 PM
It's been a while, and I have not had much time to play! However, I updated the original post with the all new spec for PoE 0.10.3. I'm level 49 now and plowing through Cruel Act 3 - no problem!

Just thought I'd update you all and bump this for folks interested in an easy to play melee build.

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