Dragon Claws - Molten Strike Dual-wield Claw Crit Evasion Build (beginner-friendly)

2.1 Update notes:
Spoiler

1. Updated skill trees
2. Got mana leech node instead of Gemini Claw

Hi, PoE players. I want to present you my build in 2.0 expansion, in Warbands league.
Guide is still in progress, tell me if i misses something important.

Idea behind my build:
We use Claw implicits to easily sustain HP/Mana pools. We dont need to deal any physical damage or leech from physical, so we can convert 100% physical damage into elemental. Going crit was chosen because it aloows to reach higher DPS and use decent base crit chance Claws have. Evasion is great both at mitigating enemy attacks and granting us additional layer of reflect protection (combined with elemental resists). Frenzy charges were buffed greatly recently, so we get as many as possible. With Blood Dance, we also have superior life regeneration (10.6% life per second). We use Blood Dance boots to generate Frenzy charges and HoT+CoH+AM combo to automatically curse enemies and generate Power Charges.
Edit - Blood Dance was nerfed, so it isnt a no-brainer anymore.

A story behind it:
Spoiler


I wanted to make a formidable melee build, that will be able to start from scratch in new league. I theorycrafted a lot, tested many different melee skills and playstyles. I overlooked many guides for melee, and was surprised, that no one shows formidable guide for Molten Strike. I remember, when it was just implemented, every melee player and his mother tried to use Molten Strike, and most guides were about that skill. Now, it seems to be forgotten, but i found that it still keeps its former power. Since i havent found any good guides for that, i decided to make my own.


Pros and cons of this build:
Spoiler

Pros:
1. Reflect proof - even running maps with (elemental) reflect is possible, because reflected damage gets mitigated by your resistances, evasion and dodge.
2. Cheap - no expensive gear is required. Also uses quality on non-popular gems.
3. Can be used from 1 level - no need for special leveling skills/passives.
4. Can run map mods, that affect life/mana recovery speed or remove regeneration. Actually, can run any sane map mods, if you're geared well and are careful.
5. Quckly recovers Surgeon Flasks. Edit - they were drastically nerfed.
6. Good at both killing packs and tough individuals with main skill.
7. Rapidly recovers life with Life gained on Hit, high Life Regen and even Life Leech (if you want to).

Cons:
1. Melee. No comments.
2. Gem colours for main skill dont match evasion chest - thus, hard to roll. It's still quite possible for 5-link.
3. Enemy's elemental resistance greatly reduces killing speed. It doesnt affect you HP/MP recovery much, though.
4. Prone VS super-hard physical hits. As most builds are, though.


Reasons behind my choices (answers to "Why"s):
Spoiler

1. Why melee?
Because i wanted to make melee build. I know, that ranged builds (especially with bow) are in better place, but i wanted to be melee and try all melee buffs in 2.0

2. Why Dual Wield?
Dual Wield allows us to get enough Life Gained per Hit even without LGoH gem. Also it grands extra DPS and allows to use some powerful dual-wield nodes/jewels.

3. Why Evasion/Acrobatics?
Evasion/Acrobatics allow to get the best protection without serious investments.

4. Why Claws?
Claws have "life/mana gained on hit", without that you wont be able to sustain your mana, and sustaining HP will be far harder too.

5. Why Molten Strike?
Molten Strike is the best skill for Life Gained on hit, due to many hits from magma balls. It also has astounding raw DPS power and releases magma balls even when you hit thin air.

6. Why 100% elemental damage/Physical 2 Lightning gem?
Dealing Elemental damage is safer VS reflect, also lightning Damage allows to shock enemies, greatly increasing DPS and making Herald of Thunder procs. It also allows up to get full benefit from Weapon Elemental Damage gem.

7. Why no leech?
We dont need it. Life/Mana are Gained on hit, and this is enough to quickly recover HP. We also have more than 10% life regen per second in combat. You still can leech life with Dyadian Dawn belt and/or
Atziri's Promize flask.
Edit - in 2.1 you can get "all-damage" life neech nodes in your tree, but those arent required, furthermore, life gain on hit is better for this build.

8. Why Point Blank?
Point Blank grants 43% MORE damage to Molten Strike's balls. Kinda good for 2 nodes, right?

9. Why Duelist/Can i use other class?
I chose Duelist because he probably has the best starting area for my build. But you can use my build as Ranger or even Shadow (isnt recommended - it is a worse choice), all you need is to switch few starting nodes.

10. Why GMP/Does Molten Strike shotgun?
yes, Molten Strike Projectiles CAN shotgun. Yes, i know, in 2.0 GGG removed shogunning from spells, but that doesnt affect Molten Strike in any way. Projectiles, released at the same time, cant hit the same enemy directly, true, but Molten Strike's projectiles dont hit directly, they expode and explosions can overlap (thus, making shotgunning). That's why GMP is a great support for Molten Strike. In 2.0, GMP was buffed greatly, and now it's well worth using!

Link to GGG answer about shotgunning:
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/911179/filter-account-type/staff
"
their AoE can overlap to damage things multiple times



OFFENSIVE skill tree for 114 nodes (93 level):

This tree keeps balance between offensive power and HP pool. 183% life (without jewels). Good choice for softcore.

DEFENSIVE skill tree for 114 nodes (93 level):

This tree follows "Path of Life nodes" and gets massive +240% life (without jewels). Good choice for Hardcore, or if you dont like dying.
It's actually better to start as Ranger or Maradeur for this tree, as you save up skill points, which could also be used for extra life nodes.
And it's still a crit build, yeah, baby...

Bandit Choices:
Spoiler

Normal - Help Oak for +40 Life. It's much better, than general life node.

Cruel - Kill all for +1 skillpoint. You can help Oak or Kraityn, too, but +1 skillpoint grants most versatility, and you can always get +15% damage or +6% AS node - not much difference there.

Merciless - Help Kraityn for +1 Frenzy Charge


Offences (with screenshots):
Spoiler

Offences with aura, herald and golem:
Spoiler




Offences with aura, herald, golem, all charges up and warcry (used VS few enemies to avoid abuse):
Spoiler







Defences (with screenshots):
Spoiler

Defences without charges:
Spoiler




Defences with all charges up:
Spoiler




Defences with all charges up and Jade Flask up:
Spoiler





Note - gear and stats are outdated.
My current gear:
Spoiler



I bought Hyrri's Ire 5-link and updated other gear accordingly. Aside from chest, other pieces are still pretty cheap.



Gear choices:
Spoiler

Weapons:
You need two claws:
1. A claw with implicit life+mana gained per hit. Gemini Claw is the best item base in endgame.
2. A claw with high imlicit life gained on hit. Great White Claw and Eye Gouger are both great for endgame. You can use Essentia Sanguis for this slot, but it isnt the best choice possible.

Both claws should have high attack speed (1.5+ prefferably), high critical strike chance (around 8% prefferably) and high physical DPS (around 200 DPS - and claw with that stats should cost several chaos). Base elemental damage is also welcomed, but physical damage is around 3-4 times better, than the same elemental damage value. Critical multiplier and increased WED is also nice to have, since both weapons benefit from it.

Other gear pieces:
1.

Blood Dance boots allow easily get Frenzy Charges by killing enemies. Also, it grants very high life regeneration when Frenzy Charges are up. That is very useful defensively-wise.
2. You need 155 Str for level 20 Molten Strike and you need 121 Int for Gemini Claw. Since my tree lacks int, you should get the rest with your gear. Note - Herald of Thunder required more int than Gemini Claw, but you can leave it underleveled if you lack int.
3. Elemental Resistances should be capped. Period. Chaos resistance can be good sometimes, but isnt mandatory.
4. Life. You need to get +Maximum life rolls on every gear piece (like every life build does). It's essential for survival.
5. Offensive stats - Increased (Global) Critical Strike Multiplier, flat Physical Damage, Increased Weapon Elemental Damage, Accuracy, etc Try to get Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier on your amulet. It's quite powerful mod for your DPS. Rustic Sash is also a great base belt's type for you.


Flasks:
Spoiler

1. You MUST always keep a "of Staunching" Flask at hand, cause you hit really fast and can easily get 10+stacks of Corrupted Blood from corresponding monsters in less than a second. If you dont dispel them immediately, in next 1-2 seconds you die.
2. Use Atziri's Promise. It's great both offensively and defensively, and it's very cheap to buy.
3. Get at least one Life Flask (prefferably - two) with "Seething" mod, so you will be able to instantly "fix" your life pool when shit happens. Divine Life Flasks are best for that purpose.
4. Get "Surgeon" prefix on every Flask (except Life ones) - it recovers charges really fast, and works even VS bosses.
5. Get Jade flask "of reflexes" to boost your evasion. It helps a lot!
6. Get a Flask with "of Warding" mod to remove (and be immune to) nasty curses.
7. Get a Sapphire flask of Heat and Topaz Flask of Grounding (on swap) to deal with chilled/shocked ground, aded elemental damage, etc.

Edit - with nerf of "Surgeon" prefix, it's no longer mandatory


Jewels:
Spoiler

Try to have "%increased life" on all your jewels. Then, try to find decent "increased" physical or elemental damage, critical strike chance and critical damage multiplier. Various mods for Elemental/Fire skills DO work for you, and they're quite "cheap".


Useful uniques:
Spoiler

1. Dyadian Dawn (belt)
A belt with decent stats, that allows to leech 0.6% attack damage versus chilled foes (and we chill them with Hatred). Life leech is good, but good rare belt can have much higher stats, so choice is up to you.

2. Belly of the Beast (chest) - very useful unique for many builds, and my build included. Grants high life, decent resists and great flask life recovery mod. However, it has pretty poor evasion value on it.

3. Hyrri's Ire (chest) - high-evasion chest, great when used with Darkray Vectors for ultimate 66%+ dodge. However, it has no life and no resist rolls on it.

4. Lightning Coil (chest) - chest with decent evasion and life roll, that offers superior anti-physical protection. However, it actualy REDUCES your resistances, so it would be pretty hard to cap them.

5. Daresso's Defiance - chest with decent evasion and life, that will often increase your attack and movement speed. However, it is isnt defensively-wise, and we got enough offence evven without it.

6. Rat's Nest (helm) - great DPS helm with high evasion value, movespeed and item rarity. Has no life and resist rolls, though.

7.Essentia Sanguis (claw) - has decent DPS and attack speed, and we dont care much about Ghost Reaver anyway. However, decent rare claw with increased crit chance can be better,

8. Darkray Vectors (boots) - nice boots if you want to bump your dodge chance/DPS. But you lose your life regen, and even with all Frenzy Charge Duration nodes, you Frenzy charges will still fade pretty fast. Amd you need to generate Frenzy Charges somehow!

9. Atziri's Step (boots) - boots with great evasion, life and spell dodge bonus. With Hyrri's Ire, you'll have 56% spell dodge, nice VS caster bosses like Megaera. But you still need to generate Frenzy charges somehow.



Gem choices:
Spoiler

Main attack (5-link):
Molten Strike - Multistrike - Physical to Lightning - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Weapon Elemental Damage
This setup is best for 5-link, but with 6 link added, you probably wont have anough mana for it. You will want to put Faster Attacks in your 6-th link, probably. Alternatively, you can put Fortify as 6-th link, to keep buff easily. It wont improve your DPS though, cause your main damage is dealt by projectiles.
Life Gain on Hit gem is a great defensive option, you'll recover HP in a blink of eye.

Secondary Attack:
Frenzy - Fortify (allows to keep frenzy charges, deal with Vorici missions and keep Fortify up in boss fights)

Movement Skill:
Whirling Blades - Fortify - Blood Magic (allows to move quickly through large areas, engage or disengage in combat and keep Fortify up when fighting packs

I comboed Frenzy and Whirling Blades into a single 4-link

Mana Reservation Skills:

Hatred (best offensive aura ever, also allows to chill and freeze enemies)
Hatred can be replaced with:
Spoiler
Herald of Ash (can be supported with Elemental Proliferation, but ATM it is nerfed into oblivion, so the difference isnt noticeable - 10% free mana pool will serve you better)
Arctic Armour (Whole combo adds you some physical/fire mitigation, but you cant chill/freeze/shatter enemies. DPS stays around the same VS packs, but gets lower VS bosses.
Of course, of you use Dyadian Dawn, you should use Hatred, and not HoA+AA.

Herald of Thunder - Curse on Hit - Assassin's Mark (automatically curses enemies so they take more damage and grant you Power Charges)
Assasin's Mark can be replaced with:
Spoiler

Warlord's Mark - good defensive option, allows to stack Endurance Charges and grants leech.
Poacher's Mark - good if you decided to replace Blood Dance. I think it's better to generate Frenzy charges, than Blood Rage, but choice is up yo you.
Punishment - another good offensive option, but buff is too short to rely upon.

Edit - Blasphemy with Enfeeble is a great defensive option in 2.1


Warcry:
Rallying Cry - Increased Duration - Increased AoE (grants DPS boost and high mana regeneration)
You can use Enduring Cry instead, if you face hard-hitting physical enemies.

Golem:
CWDT - Summon Ice Golem - Fortify - Minion Life/Minion&Totem Elemental Resistance
Ice golem grants great accuracy and critical chance boost, it's far better than Flame Golem.

Vaal Skills:
Vaal Grace - Increased Duration (great defensive skill for suriving hard encounters/bosses)
You can use 2 of them if you want

Counter-attack Skills (not required, especially Riposte):
Vengeance
Riposte

I also want to note Smoke Mine gem (started to use it recently). Quality is very important on it, get 20% quality gem. Links for it are following:
Smoke Mine - Increased Duration - Increased Area of Effect
(I linked it with Rallying Cry into 4-link)
If you see there is a hard-hitting melee tread ahead (certain bosses, mob types, etc), you can setup up to 5 mines and detonate them when needed, creating large blinding clouds for 9 seconds, that make it almost impossible to hit you. You can also use it as escape mechanics right after opening strongboxes, or in certain boss fights.

You can see how i linked all those skills in my gear section. You can try other way, though, and it depends on co,,om socket colours for you gear too.



Leveling:
Spoiler

It's pretty simple - you spawn at the beach, run through zombies to Hillock, slay him and receive Molten Strike as reward. From now, this skill will be your main attack for all game. Try to equip two claws as early as possible - their implicit mods are godly in early-game. Use mana potions to recover mana until you will be able to use Double Claw. Use Vendor recipe with Rustic Sash to get decent DPS on your claws (if you need it). Buy all skill gems you need from vendors, or get them as quest rewards. Here is the list of gems you will want to use, but wont be able to purchase from vendors (as Duelist):
Curse on Hit
Assassin's Mark
Minion Life
Smoke Mine
Vaal Grace (it's Vaal skill)


More coming soon

Have any questions or suggestions for my build in general? Please, write them in this thread, so other players will know about it too (and wont duplicate them).
IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Last edited by MortalKombat3 on Dec 21, 2015, 7:32:44 PM
Last bumped on Feb 24, 2018, 11:22:27 AM
i'd just like to ask, why not get the ambydexterity cluster? seems like a great node.
i'm creating a build of my own inspired on this, and i'll post my results later :D
"
Ekestoms wrote:
i'd just like to ask, why not get the ambydexterity cluster? seems like a great node.
i'm creating a build of my own inspired on this, and i'll post my results later :D


Well, it just has worse profit/skillpoint ratio than other clusters. We have to pick 2 close-to-useless nodes to reach that cluster (frenzy charge duration will be useless unless you use Darkray Vectors)
Getting block is bad idea for us, because we have Acrobatics (30% less block). Also, block isnt really useful unless close to cap. If you want avoidance, invest into Evasion and Dodge, they'll bring far more profit.
Summary - Ambidexterity branch itself, grants us +45% increased damage and +16% attack speed for 6 nodes spent. Not really much - i skipped lots of DPS cluster with almost same profit per point.
With good jewels, you better invest those 6 nodes into +2 jewel sockets.
For example, these two i bought in Warbands for few chaos:


And there are even better jewels for sale....
IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Last edited by MortalKombat3 on Jul 23, 2015, 7:58:35 AM
Added and updated few sections. More coming soon.
IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Updated several sections
IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Snakebite Gloves? Frenzy charges last about as long as blood rage and you get more AS and more damage. Been using a build similar to yours and at mecriless atm with 3 deaths (all could have been avoided if I didnt get lazy and leveled appropriately). And I run Ash over Thunder due to not needing that to apply my curses and I get more dmg out of it.

Last edited by Frozenheartt on Jul 27, 2015, 1:45:24 AM
"
Frozenheartt wrote:
Snakebite Gloves? Frenzy charges last about as long as blood rage and you get more AS and more damage. Been using a build similar to yours and at mecriless atm with 3 deaths (all could have been avoided if I didnt get lazy and leveled appropriately). And I run Ash over Thunder due to not needing that to apply my curses and I get more dmg out of it.



1. I dont use Blood Rage. It simply isnt worth it when you cant use Life Leech from it (and i cant, because i deal elemental damage). I gain Frenzy Charges with Blood Dance boots, it has even higher %chance to gain Frenzy Charge on kill, and instead of "granting" -4% life regen (as Blood Rage does), it grants me 7% regen instead!
Even if i choose to use other boots, i'd rather used Poacher's Mark curse to gain charges, and NOT Blood Rage.
2. What about "10% reduced frenzy charge duration per frenzy charge"? Even with ALL frenzy charge nodes on the tree (+90% duration), you will have just 12 second duration for Frenzy charges - believe me, that's pretty short. And what's the benefit? 14% increased AS and 42% increased accuracy? Lol, you can roll same AS on rare gloves and almost same accuracy too (and you dont even need to stack charges to gain those benefits)! Essentially, those are "rare" gloves with 3 good rolls and huge drawback. Verdict? Junk!
3. I use Herald of Thunder only for auto-applying curse (Assassin's Mark), and gaining Power Charges from it. +150% Increased Critical Strike Chance, life & mana per kill and making enemies more vulnerable - i find it worth 25% mana reserved.
On other hand, HoA gives just slight damage boost (around 10%). Nice, but not game-breaking at all.

IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Tried GMP for my build, and was satisfied with it.
Decided to skip several damage/AS nodes in Ranger's area, to get +4 life nodes instead.

With that changes, my build will have +226% Increased Maximum Life from skill tree + jewels at 92 level. I like, that now my build feels pretty tanky, hope you'll like it too!
IGN: MortalKombat
Molten Strike build guide: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1346504

There is no knowledge
That is not power
Thanks for posting this build, I'm going to run a duelist with it now. :)
can you post your stats?
SHOP : http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/682434

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