[2.5] Sovyn's Lazy Pally - Tanky Templar with Max Block

This Guide is Current for Path of Exile 2.5 Breach

An older version of this build was recognized in the official Build of the Week series, S04E07.

Hail and well met! :-)


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 warcries 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

22 point progression build (around level 20)(click here to view)
47 point progression build (around level 40)
62 point progression build (around level 50)
82 point progression build (around level 60)
93 point progression build (around level 70)
103 point progression build (around level 80)
111 point progression build (around level 88)
119 point completed build (level 96 - My Current Skill Tree)

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

3 Jewel Socket (stats from jewels not included below)

+333 to Strength
+234 to Dexterity
+103 to Intelligence


142% increased maximum Life
+84 to maximum Life
5.4% of Life Regenerated per Second
10% increased maximum Energy Shield
15% increased maximum Energy Shield from Intelligence
20% increased Life Recovery from Flasks
20% increased Flask Recovery Speed

+8 Mana gained when you Block
15% reduced Mana Cost of Skills
20% increased Mana Regeneration Rate

+43% to all Elemental Resistances (combined total)

Damage Reduction
80% increased Armour (combined total)
95% increased Evasion Rating (combined total, includes Dexterity bonus)
Nearby Enemies deal 8% less Elemental Damage

Ignore all Movement Penalties from Armour
7% increased Movement Speed

Block and Stun
31% additional Chance to Block with Shields
335% increased Defences from equipped Shield
120% increased Block Recovery
20% increased Stun Threshold


82% increased Accuracy Rating (combined total)
+678 to Accuracy Rating (combined total, includes Dexterity bonus)

Attack Speed
85% increased Attack Speed (combined total)
20% increased Attack Speed if you've Attacked Recently

Physical and Elemental Damage
373% increased Melee Physical Damage (combined total, includes Strength bonus)
40% increased Elemental Damage
Nearby Enemies Take 16% increased Elemental Damage

Critical Strikes
245% increased Melee Critical Strike Chance (combined total)
95% increased Melee Critical Strike Multiplier (combined total)
100% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies that are affected by no Elemental Status Ailments
45% to Critical Strike Multiplier against Enemies that are affected by Elemental Status Ailments
Critical Strikes ignore Enemy Elemental Resistances
Non-Critical Strikes Penetrate 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances

10% increased Radius of Area Skills
20% increased Area Damage
+2 to Melee Weapon and Unarmed range

Optional Skill Tree Choices

If you don't have expensive equipment with top of the line resistances, Diamond Skin may help.

If your equipment does not include a large chunk of the intelligence stat, and your gear requires it, you may consider spending one skill point on Ancestral Knowledge.

If you choose a melee skill with significant mana cost at high levels, or a primarily elemental-based skill, you may need to spend a skill point on the mana leech node circled above.

Passive Skill Tree Jewels

For Most Folks - New in PoE 2.0, Passive Skill Tree Jewels allow us to add meaningful stats into the three 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 Cobalt or Crimson or Viridian Jewels in the plain white or blue variety and use the orbs on these until you get a "Shielding Cobalt Jewel" or "Shielding Crimson Jewel" or "Shielding Viridian Jewel". Cobalt and Crimson Jewels have a slightly better chance of getting shield block than the Viridian. Repeat the process once or twice more as able so that you have two or three of these jewels altogether. "Shielding" provides 1% 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 1% additional Chance to Block Spells with Shields. If you can get a useful second modifier (called a 'suffix'), great, if not, don't sweat it.

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, and perhaps critical strike for the completed high level build.

Now in Path of Exile 2.2 we have the Reckless Defence unique jewel. I would recommend getting one of these. For your information, the best roll would be 4% block and 7% additional chance to receive a critical strike. Although you could technically use more than one, I suggest self control with this and limiting yourself to just one due to the additional critical strikes that you will have to absorb. 10% is fine and worth it overall but 20% or more, not so much.

Ascendancy Class

New in the Path of Exile Ascendancy expansion, upon completing the optional Labyrinth area, we can choose an Ascendancy class, which is a way to further progress our character. You get two Ascendancy class points each for completing the Labyrinth in Normal, Cruel, Merciless and Uber difficulties for a total of eight points to spend on the Ascendancy Class Tree. The Lazy Pally is an Inquisitor. The Inquisitor provides a massive upgrade to the efficiency with which we slay monsters. We take the path to the Inevitable Judgement notable node on the Inquisitor Ascendancy skill tree which provides an outsized boost to our critical strike capabilities as well as substantial elemental damage increases in practice, some of which may not reflect directly on our attack skill tooltip damage per second number but are very powerful in terms of 'rubber meets the road' monster slaying efficiency. Other than Inevitable Judgement, I would suggest Augury of Penitence for a defensive boost against elemental damage -- you take 8% less elemental damage. Lastly we take Instruments of Virtue for a damage boost.



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. For example:

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 'Tower Shield' with high armour, block, life and resists. For example:

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.

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

Or a rare 'yellow item' Tower Shield with 30% chance to block, 1500+ armour, 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 as detailed below.

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:

Another very affordable choice for level 66+ is the Callinellus Malleus mace.

For Rich Folks - For characters over approximately level 75, you will want a weapon with a good critical strike chance along with good damage. Depending on your attack skill choice, I recommend one of the relatively affordable endgame unique weapons. These include Bino's Kitchen Knife, Scaeva, or Doryani's Catalyst.

If you already have one (if not just get one of the above), 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. Or a high physical damage rare without any additional critical strike chance, although not ideal, will work acceptably.

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 physical damage, elemental resists, chaos resist, leech, armour, 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, the lowest roll, which is actually somewhat affordable, can be helpful to max out your block depending on the shield and passive skill tree jewels you choose. My amulet:

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. For example:

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 - 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. For example, here is a decent helmet I found myself and used for a long time:

Another option that I highly recommend and is my personal choice as an affordable way to maximize this build is The Bringer of Rain.

This is used instead 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. Bringer of Rain won't quite match the Damage Per Second (DPS) output of a 6-link chest with quality gems and it's harder to max out your resistances but it is lower cost. The last option that I'd like to mention is Abyssus. Abyssus is a choice if you want more DPS at the cost of some of your defenses. If you choose Abyssus, Lightning Coil and Purity of Lightning become your best choices for the chest slot and one of your auras, respectively, as detailed in other sections of this guide. I wouldn't recommend using Blood Rage with Abyssus equipped.

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 - If for some reason you decide not to use The Bringer of Rain instead of a chest, Belly of the Beast is a good option as it offers quite a bit of life -- it tends to be expensive with a high number of links. For rares, I suggest an 5-link or 6-link 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 - A 'rare' item with armour, life, resistances, and physical damage if at all possible. For Example:

The inexpensive unique Slitherpinch may be useful for its leech if you are having trouble with mana early on.

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

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. Belts I've used recently:

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 as yet another source of spell block. My boots:

Rings -

A Word About Mana - If you are not using the Blood Magic support gem on your attack skill (more about attack skills below), a ring with the mana leech property, e.g., "0.2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana" may be useful early on, before you attain the mana node recommended on my passive skill tree. The Wurm's Molt belt or Slitherpinch gloves mentioned above will work instead, but most often your leech would come from your ring(s). 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 trying to improve the build's critical strike capability, you will want one Romira's Banquet to generate Power Charges. Other than that you need ring(s) with some combination of solid resists (possibly 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. Rings that I have used recently, for example:

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.

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. Ice Crash 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 more efficient. 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 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. The fourth link will be Weapon Elemental Damage. If mana issues are well under control and you have a small budget for upgrades at this point, the fifth link would be Added Fire Damage or Faster Attacks or Concentrated Effect or Increased Area of Effect. Try them and see what you like best.

Recommended attack skills - Endgame -

At this point, here are some screen shots from my own tests to help you decide. Note these are peak solo damage output with everything mentioned in the guide active at once:

Blade Flurry
Blade Flurry is my recommendation currently for best gameplay. Blade Flurry is a ranged melee skill, which keeps you safer as you can strike from far away. The skill builds up power in 6 stages. At the 6th stage, there is a powerful 120% damage multiplier. Blade Flurry's tooltip damage figure is a little bit different than other skills as it represents the damage done per hit rather than damage per second (DPS). However, with a little math, we can determine the DPS. For example, in the picture above, you can see that the average damage is 11,294 and the attack time is 0.2. ((1 / 0.2) * 11294) * (1 + 1.2)) So, our theoretical peak damage output in this scenario is 124,234 DPS.
Blade Flurry can be purchased by a Scion, Ranger, Duelist, or Shadow from Clarissa after completing the quest, Sever the Right Hand in act 3 normal. If you only have a Templar character, you can get a friend to buy the gem for you, or you can trade with another player, or spend a couple hours leveling up an alternate character sufficiently high to get it yourself.
Support gem options include Melee Physical Damage, Weapon Elemental Damage, Added Fire Damage, Physical to Lightning (reflect may be an issue), Increased Area of Effect, Concentrated Effect, Faster Attacks (shown on 'attack time' portion of tooltip only), Melee Damage on Full Life (with Aegis Aurora), Increased Critical Strikes, Increased Critical Damage.

Earthquake(level 13 gem/0 quality) - Concentrated Effect(18/20) - Added Fire Damage(20/20) - Less Duration(19/15) - Melee Physical Damage(18/0 Bringer of Rain) - Faster Attacks(12/0 Bringer of Rain)
Earthquake -- This gem can be purchased from Clarissa after completing the quest, Sever the Right Hand in act 3 normal. Earthquake is a small area of effect physical damage skill that has a delayed larger area of effect aftershock. Unlike Static Strike, this aftershock effect can only occur once per delay period, rather than one for every hit. Earthquake has a smaller tooltip DPS figure than the other skills but with some math we can see that it is competitive. For example, in the screenshot above it shows 75K tooltip DPS with a 0.71 second delay between the first hit and the aftershock. The aftershock has a 1.72 damage multiplier at the example gem level. Our attack time is 0.25. (((75K * 0.25) * 1.72) * (2 - 0.71)) gives us an extra 41,602 DPS, for a total of just under 116K DPS total from Earthquake. The Less Duration support causes the aftershocks to occur more frequently, which is necessary in order to get the most out of this skill. To completely maximize the potential of Earthquake, you would use the Concentrated Effect support for maximum boss kill speed. For clearing ordinary monsters, you would manually swap Concentrated Effect for an Increased Area of Effect gem. As this is an easy-to-play build, I recommend a compromise between these two, which would be the Physical to Lightning support gem. In this case, Weapon Elemental Damage is better than Added Fire Damage, so the final "compromise" combination in a Bringer of Rain would be: Earthquake - Physical to Lightning - Weapon Elemental Damage - Less Duration.

Ice Crash(level 13 gem/0 quality) - Concentrated Effect(18/20) - Weapon Elemental Damage(20/20) - Added Fire Damage(20/20) - Melee Physical Damage(18/0 Bringer of Rain) - Faster Attacks(12/0 Bringer of Rain)
Ice Crash converts some of your physical damage to cold and has a nice circular area of effect size that encompasses most monster packs. However, in order to get the damage up this high for bosses, some people would choose the Concentrated Effect support which does reduce the area size. Because both gems are blue, the Concentrated Effect support could be exchanged for the Increased Area of Effect gem for clearing efficiency. More advanced choices for supports include Physical to Lightning and Elemental Focus. Despite sporting the highest tooltip DPS in the group, the boss killing speed is slightly lesser than the other skills mentioned because there is no secondary effect. Ice Crash is still close however. Also, with Ice Crash, the damage is weaker toward the edges of the area of effect so you want to keep things close to the center if possible.

Static Strike(level 13 gem/0 quality) - Multistrike(20/20) - Weapon Elemental Damage(20/20) - Added Fire Damage(20/20) - Melee Physical Damage(18/0 Bringer of Rain) - Faster Attacks(12/0 Bringer of Rain)
Static Strike -- To use this effectively in the endgame, you would need Multistrike, which is a support gem obtained free from Dialla as a reward in Act 4 normal difficulty while you are doing The Eternal Nightmare quest. Static Strike converts some of your physical damage to lightning. The most notable feature is that each hit has a delayed area of effect lightning burst in a slightly variable radius around you. The burst does only 60% of the damage of the primary strike but it is in addition to the tooltip damage. So for a single target, referring to the example above of 99K tooltip DPS we would actually have effective 158K DPS total with the explosions which are not shown on the tooltip. For fights that last longer than a second, Static Strike pulls ahead to the front of the pack.

Molten Strike(level 13 gem/0 quality) - Multistrike(20/20) - Weapon Elemental Damage(20/20) - Added Fire Damage(20/20) - Melee Physical Damage(18/0 Bringer of Rain) - Faster Attacks(12/0 Bringer of Rain)
Molten Strike converts some of your physical damage to fire. In addition to the initial hit represented by the tooltip, there are raining fire projectiles which each have a small area of effect that may or may not hit anything. Certainly not monsters behind you, leading to possibly less efficiency. The tooltip DPS of Molten Strike is higher but the boss killing speed is slower overall than Static Strike and about the same as Earthquake. Although the initial hit will, the projectiles do not benefit from any specifically 'melee' modifiers from supports, strength, or the skill tree. The math to figure out the total DPS of Molten Strike is unknown but I would venture a guess that it would depend on how many projectile(s) hit the desired target, over which you would not have complete control.

Honorable Mentions - Other viable endgame attack skills:


Cyclone Info

Cyclone - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage - Faster Attacks - Concentrated Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage
Peak DPS Shown - High Level / Best Gear (within reason) Just For Example (includes all self-buffs - Atziri's Promise flask, 3 Frenzy charges, 3 Power charges, Hatred, Blood Rage, Ice Golem)

The basic 4-link:

For a 5-link or 6-link, choose two (first two are for best damage):

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 gem. In the endgame, you will be able to sustain Cyclone with mana leech from your equipment or jewels and then utilize an additional damage support gem instead of Blood Magic. Cyclone is one of the best melee skills because its actual damage in practice is hard to beat -- many monsters are not very resistant to physical damage and Cyclone is all about physical damage. Being constantly on the move also helps you to avoid taking damage in many situations. Because Cyclone uses the base weapon range, long ranged weapons such as the thrusting swords will give it a bit more reach (within a budget, Doryani's Catalyst can't be beat though). As this is a movement skill it does take more practice to get the hang of than the previous skills. For example when Cycloning on mana you need to be careful to always stay on top of a monster or you will quickly run out of mana. For Cyclone you typically link it with Melee Physical Damage, Added Fire Damage and Faster Attacks then add one of two of Concentrated Effect, Weapon Elemental Damage, Fortify, Life Gain on Hit, Increased Area of Effect or Blood Magic.


Reave Info

Reave - Multistrike - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage - Faster Attacks - Concentrated Effect
Peak DPS Shown - High Level / Best Gear (within reason) Just For Example (includes all self-buffs - Atziri's Promise flask, 3 Frenzy charges, 3 Power charges, Hatred, Blood Rage, Ice Golem)

The basic 5-link:

For a 6-link, choose one:

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 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. Melee Physical Damage, Added Fire Damage, Faster Attacks and optionally Concentrated Effect, Increased Area of Effect, Fortify, Weapon Elemental Damage or Life Gain on Hit. Reave works with Swords/Daggers/Claws only so you would need one of these types of weapons to give it a try. Also, you would not go for the mace nodes I take in the level 85+ build. By that level you will be able to choose something that works with Reave if you really want to stay with this skill.

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. (See the question What tests have been done to find the best melee skill? in the FAQ, below for more information.) 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: If you are having mana problems you may use the Blood Magic support gem, purchased from Clarissa, this time after helping Siosa in the Library. Honorable mentions include Life Gain on Hit, Life Leech, Melee Damage on Full Life (useful for Aegis Aurora users), Blind.

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 -

Most folks will want to run 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. 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 so it 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 for a while during the low levels.

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 unless you use Lightning Coil in which case this is used permanently instead of Herald of Ash.

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. Before deciding, also read about Herald of Thunder in the counter-attacks section, below.

(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. Do not level this trigger gem, leave it at level 1.

Link it with a level 3 Golem gem. Your choice -- Summon Flame Golem: The Flame Golem will be your companion occasionally and add to your damage as well as providing some of his own in the form of fire spells. Summon Ice Golem: A slight upgrade from the Flame Golem for very high level characters with critical strike capability. Summon Chaos Golem: An option if you want a tiny bit more defense.

Next we link Tempest Shield (level only to 7). Tempest Shield provides 3% block and some minor additional damage.

If you want to use a 4-link for this, I suggest either Blood Rage (level 7) for non-Aegis Aurora users for the three Frenzy charges which will provide you some additional attack speed. If you do use Aegis, substitute Molten Shell (level 10).

If your gems are too high level you can reduce the level with the vendor recipes, either by one level at a time (gem + scour) or down to level 1 (gem + regret).

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

Cast when Damage Taken (red) - Summon Flame Golem (red) or Summon Ice Golem (green) or Summon Chaos Golem (blue) - Tempest Shield (blue) - Blood Rage (green) or Molten Shell (red)

Due to the 50,000 character per post limit, this guide is continued in the next post.
Last edited by Sovyn on Dec 2, 2016 4:15:43 PM
Last bumped on Dec 6, 2016 1:07:52 AM
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 one 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. Other good curse choices if you have mana troubles are Warlord's Mark or Poacher's Mark.

If you want to use a 4-link item for this, optional choices include the counter-attack when you are hit, Vengeance to apply your curse slightly more frequently, or Blind for additional defense.

Four linked socket item (example, boots):

Reckoning (red) - Curse on Hit (blue) - Enfeeble or Vulnerability or Elemental Weakness or Warlord's Mark or Poacher's Mark (your choice) - Vengeance (red, optional) or Blind (green, optional)

The hardest hitting single target counter-attack, Riposte is then placed in any available green socket.

If however you opt to not use The Bringer of Rain for some reason, the counter-attacks can also provide 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, helmet):

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.

Most people will probably find Shield Charge to be the ideal movement skill for the lazy pally, as it allows for very fast linear movement and, as it is an area of effect skill, it can grant you the powerful Fortify buff very efficiently as you move through packs of monsters. 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. Leap Slam can perhaps be used on your weapon swap (x key) for these times.

Support options:

Add Blood Magic support if reserving 100% of mana with three auras/buffs. If not reserving 100% of mana, linking Blood Magic here is optional but if you are using mana on your primary attack skill this will help to ensure that you have some mana available if you tend to use the movement skill extensively without monsters nearby.

Linking Fortify here is optional but highly recommended as this will free up a socket on your primary attack skill so that you can use a damage support gem instead.

Mana Leech support allows you to regain a small amount of mana if you intentionally try to target monsters with your movement skill. In conjunction with the Blood Magic support here it allows regaining some mana for your primary attack skill to consume.

Faster Attacks support helps to reduce the animation time of the movement skill in order to get around an area more quickly.

Three linked socket item (example, weapon):

Shield Charge (red) - Fortify (red) - Faster Attacks (green)


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 Lion's Roar (mid-priced) and Taste of Hate (rich folks only but maybe you will find one).

If you are very high level, you can look into the benefits of resistance (ruby flasks are popular) or granite flasks with the Surgeon's prefix, which enables the use of the flask more frequently as you deliver critical strikes with your attack skill.

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, or you are using the Blood Magic support gem. 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.

My Current Gear - Budget Setup

Here in this example you can view all in one place the equipment and gems suggested for endgame on a budget. This is useful so that you can see a somewhat optimized setup for an actual high level character using this build.


My Current Stats - Budget Setup (Merciless)

Defence (includes self-buffs Tempest Shield, 3 Endurance Charges, Granite flask):

Offence (includes all self-buffs - Atziri's Promise flask, Lion's Roar flask, 3 Frenzy charges, 3 Power charges, Hatred, Herald of Ash, Blood Rage, Ice Golem.) With some math we can calculate that this is 148,000 DPS at peak maximum:

My Current Gear - Premium Setup

Here in this example you can view all in one place the equipment and gems suggested for endgame for those with some currency. This setup does slightly more damage and is slightly tankier.

My Current Stats - Premium Setup (Merciless)

Defence (includes self-buffs Tempest Shield, 3 Endurance Charges, Granite flask):

Offence (includes all self-buffs - Atziri's Promise flask, Lion's Roar flask, 3 Power charges, Hatred, Herald of Ash, Ice Golem.) With some math we can calculate that this is 159,214 DPS at peak maximum:

Gameplay Videos - Path of Exile 2.4 Atlas of Worlds

Gorge Clear Speed Demo, 2 minutes, 19 seconds, less than 10 remaining

Gameplay Videos - Path of Exile 2.0 The Awakening

[Static Strike] Full Clear, Act 4 Merciless (Malachai)

[Cyclone] Full Clear, Act 4 Merciless (Malachai)

[Aegis Aurora] Shipyard Map Full Clear (credit: Phildo)

[Aegis Aurora] Tier 14 Shrine Map Boss (credit: Phildo)

Gameplay Videos - Path of Exile 1.3 and prior

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How much does all this stuff cost?
This will vary depending on how new your league is or if you are playing hardcore, lack of availability. With the lazy pally, even gearing with some of the best choices does not have to be expensive if you are a patient shopper. For example, my own gear shown above in the budget setup cost me:

Scaeva Gladius, 2 chaos
The Bringer of Rain, 5 chaos
Lioneye's Remorse, corrupted, 20 chaos
Romira's Banquet, 1 chaos
Stone of Lazhwar, corrupted 2%, 15 chaos
Cataclysm Grip Two-Stone Ring, 29 chaos
Rapture Fist Titan Gauntlets, 20 chaos
Chimeric Bond Rustic Sash, 10 chaos
Rainbowstride, 10 chaos
All gems, 0 - self-found and leveled
Reckless Defence Jewel - 1 chaos on temp. league, 15 on standard
Rare Jewels - average about 15 chaos each

.....Plus some minor currency for the three- and four-links, socket colors, and quality where applicable (all easy stuff).

As you can see, the total cost of my budget endgame gear set as above was approximately three (3) exalted, a very reasonable sum for someone my level, 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 currency is easily raised over time by the three chaos / three regal vendor 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, along with some good luck on drops, one of the perks of playing for a few years.

Q: Is the Lazy Pally viable for solo self-found play?
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.

Q: Is the Lazy Pally Hardcore viable?
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: What kinds of things can kill me?
While the Lazy Pally will feel invulnerable in most situations, there are a few cases where the game has a trick or two up its sleeve. These things of course kill nearly all builds out there if they are not avoided or if precautions are not taken. For example:

- Do not open ice nova strong boxes;

- Do not open chaos clouds strong boxes unless you have chaos resist over 0 (atziri's promise helps here);

- Do not open corpse explosion strong boxes without having first cleared all corpses in the area with devouring totem. After opening box, lead all monsters far away to kill them;

- Do not allow yourself to be near a 'Volatile' Nemesis rare when it dies in negative resistances maps;

- Do not attempt Storm Herald Nemesis rare in negative resistances maps without both max spell block and level 20 Purity of Lightning aura;

- Do not stand in the AoE of Flame Bearer Bloodlines monsters;

- Do not fail to back away and switch to a true single-target attack skill such as Heavy Strike (without multistrike or melee splash supports) when you see rogue exile Minara Anemina. She must be slain without damaging her minions;

- Do not attempt rogue exile Igna Phoenix in negative resistances maps;

- Do not attempt rogue exile Magnus Stonethorn in any situation. Never allow yourself to stand within his flameblast;

- Stay away from walls and corners when fighting rogue exile Dena Lorenni;

- Skip rogue exile Vanth Agile unless you have high chaos resistance. Note that this rogue can even appear in normal difficulty;

- Do not attempt any new (to you) map bosses or the optional final boss in Merciless without having first practiced extensively in standard league and honed your skills to a certain degree of confidence. All bosses can be defeated with observance of their mechanics and properly gearing for the encounter. However, many bosses are best skipped in hardcore at any level or levels 90+ if you do not wish to risk your character or experience. The risk vs. reward is just not worth it;

- Do not fail to hammer your 'Staunching' flask when you have the Corrupting Blood ailment or bleed;

- Do not fail to hammer the keys ALT + F4 on your keyboard if you notice that you are lagging out in any way.

Bear in mind I see people die to these things all the time with all kinds of builds so these are just some of the things to watch for in general in Path of Exile. This is not intended to be a complete list but it will help you.

Q: What to choose in the Act 2 Bandits quest?
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.

Q: Why not get Iron Reflexes or Unwavering Stance?
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?
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?
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: Can I play a Lazy Pally Duelist, Ranger, Marauder or Scion?
Yes, absolutely! Simply reference my completed passive skill tree and remove the 'mana regen and life' 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. Everything else is the same aside from the Ascendancy class. We pass near by all of the class starting areas except the Witch and Shadow. 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. I do believe the full-strength Inquisitor Ascendancy class (only available to the Templar) is the best choice for the Lazy Pally as it provides the most damage. We can get all of our defenses from gear. Other Ascendancy classes may work, some better or worse than others but are outside of the scope of this guide.

Q: Why not use Enlighten?
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 some combination of mana leech item(s), Clarity, Elreon rings, while utilizing two or 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 an optional aura/buff for additional damage or defense. You can get even yet a little more free mana by using Alpha's Howl mentioned above in the helmet section.

Q: Any Endgame Tips and Tricks?
Trials of Ascendancy / Lord's Labyrinth: I recommend removing the Blood Rage gem during the trap areas if you are using it. No point in having damage you take from traps set it off and reduce your life regeneration.

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.

Act 4 end boss, Malachai: When he raises his staff, use your movement skill to distance yourself in order to manually avoid his smash attack.

Dunes (68), Spider Forest (71): 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 (70): 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.

Quarry (70): Void Anomaly has a pink chaos rain. Skip unless you have at least -10 chaos resist plus Amethyst flasks (Atziri's Promise counts). Kill all adds to gain flask charges. This fight is a DPS check as well.

Temple (73) 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 (74) 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 (74) boss: A lightning bonanza. Bring Topaz flasks/Purity of Lightning aura/pack on Lightning resist gear. Fairgraves' Tricorne.

Residence (76) 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.

Plataeu (77) 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 (78) 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.

Academy (78): The Arbiter of Knowledge spits out a tornado each time you strike him. Hit him a few times then back away to safety and let the tornados dissipate, repeat until finished. Don't let too many tornados build up on you. Hitting harder but slower helps here.

Village Ruin (79) boss: Stonebeak, Battle Fowl - high chaos damage, skip this unless you have very high chaos resistance.

Maze (81) 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.

Q: What tests have been done to find the best melee skill?
Many melee skills have been extensively tested with various support gem combinations in an The Bringer of Rain, therefore Melee Physical Damage and Faster Attacks supports are a given. The skill gems are all the same level to ensure fairness.

Boss Kill Speed Tests: I have a repeatable routine where I slay all three bosses in the merciless Harvest (Doedre, Maligaro, Shavronne). Each boss has a different resistance so it is a good test and quite accurate sussing out the best skills from the lesser ones. Each of the three is timed very closely with a stopwatch and then added together for the total time for that run. The times shown are the averaged results of several runs with each combination.

Without further ado, here is the list of results ordered from best to worst:

Static Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
16.4 seconds

Static Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Less Duration - Multistrike
18 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Less Duration
18.25 seconds

Molten Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
18.4 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Physical to Lightning - Weapon Elemental Damage - Less Duration
19 seconds

Ice Crash(13) - Concentrated Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage
19.5 seconds

Lightning Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
20.5 seconds

Cyclone(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Weapon Elemental Damage
21.3 seconds

Wild Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
22.25 seconds

Molten Strike(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
23.7 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Less Duration
23.75 seconds

Static Strike(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
24.4 seconds

Ice Crash(13) - Concentrated Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Cold Penetration
26.4 seconds

Ice Crash(13) - Concentrated Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Hypothermia
27.7 seconds

Lightning Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Physical Projectile Attack Damage - Multistrike
29 seconds

Sunder(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
30.4 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
31 seconds

Frost Blades(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
32 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
32 seconds

Sunder(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
41 seconds

Clear speed tests: These tests involve clearing a Gorge map (T9) as quickly as possible. The clear is closely timed from start to finish. You will notice that the gem Increased Area of Effect is used here but not in the boss kill speed tests as it would have no benefit there.

Ice Crash(13) - Increased Area of Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage
3 minutes, 38 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Increased Area of Effect - Added Fire Damage - Less Duration
3 minutes, 47 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Physical to Lightning - Weapon Elemental Damage - Less Duration
3 minutes, 52 seconds

Ice Crash(13) - Concentrated Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage
4 minutes, 27 seconds

Earthquake(13) - Concentrated Effect - Added Fire Damage - Less Duration
4 minutes, 31 seconds

Static Strike(13) - Weapon Elemental Damage - Added Fire Damage - Multistrike
5 minutes, 2 seconds

Static Strike(13) - Increased Area of Effect - Less Duration - Multistrike
5 minutes, 3 seconds

Static Strike(13) - Increased Area of Effect - Weapon Elemental Damage - Multistrike
5 minutes, 26 seconds

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)
07-05-2015 -- 2.0 guide replaces 1.3 guide
07-08-2015 -- 2.0 progression builds updated
07-10-2015 -- Gem links updated for 2.0
07-12-2015 -- Passive tree rework to accommodate jewel changes
07-13-2015 -- Updated Total Bonuses from Completed Passive Tree section
07-16-2015 -- Updated CWDT and Movement skill sections
07-19-2015 -- Added 2.0 video, Malachai, Act 4
07-23-2015 -- Added Static Strike version of Act 4 video
07-30-2015 -- Revised attack skill gem section
08-03-2015 -- Added 'What kinds of things can kill me?' to FAQ
12-09-2015 -- Skill trees updated for PoE 2.1
12-28-2015 -- Updated Cyclone and Reave info
02-12-2016 -- Added Ascendancy Class information
02-29-2016 -- Guide fully updated for PoE 2.2 Ascendancy
03-15-2016 -- Added attack skill gem test results to FAQ
03-22-2016 -- Completely revised Recommended attack skills - Endgame section
06-03-2016 -- Guide fully updated for PoE 2.3
12-02-2016 -- Guide current for PoE 2.5


That's all folks - Discussions and commentary welcome!

Last edited by Sovyn on Dec 2, 2016 4:31:07 PM
- reserved -
Last edited by Sovyn on Jul 5, 2015 9:46:35 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 Feb 7, 2013 12:07:30 AM
-old info removed-
Last edited by Sovyn on Mar 23, 2013 4:29:13 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.


Last edited by MxDGentle on Feb 7, 2013 3:35:18 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 Mar 23, 2013 4:36:35 PM
-outdated info removed-
Last edited by Sovyn on Mar 23, 2013 4:36:52 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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