2.1 "Unlimited Blade Works" Tanky Hybrid, Dual-Curse BladeFall/EK Build

Yo exiles! So now that we've got a version of the new passive tree for 2.1, I decided to see what I could make of it. I initially intended to remake my crit EK Shadow build, but then saw the new Bladefall skill and decided to go for that instead. As Bladefall has only 5% base crit and we have the new Controlled Destruction support gem, I chose to go non-crit.

The build can be made with either a Witch or a Shadow. The Witch will get a bit more damage from her awesome starting Spell Damage nodes, but the Shadow can make up for it in tankiness by taking more of the Scion wheel and Unnatural Calm cluster ES nodes (DON'T take his Elemental Damage starting nodes - they're not ideal for this build).

It CAN easily be switched to an EK build with a small change in passives (see passive tree section).

How much does it cost? This isn't an expensive build (the 6-link isn't required and the GG ES shield I just happened to have available). I'd say the final cost would come to about 2-5 exalts (this is based on Standard league prices, mind you!) to finish it, mainly in order to get that max chaos resist. The Consuming Dark dagger isn't mandatory either. You CAN play with lower than max chaos resist (just the Ming's Heart + some chaos resist on gear should be comfortable enough) and so it can be started up with just a handful of chaos orbs in currency.

Is this build HC viable? Well, at level 80, I'm sitting on over 11k eHP (3.1k HP + 7.9k ES) and reflect doesn't bother me. For that matter, corrupting blood doesn't bother me either since it takes quite a while to chew through my eHP. I've been at over 10 stacks and just let it run its course rather than stop it with my flask. Also got Vaal Pact and 2 defensive curses going. So you tell me.

Passive Tree


She runs 4 auras - Hatred, Herald of Ash, Discipline and Clarity (low level, I keep it at lvl 1). I've managed to fit in all the good offensive nodes while still getting quite a lot of ES (217% + 54 flat) and life (111%). Whispers of Doom (just 4 points for it) allows us to go dual-curse without needing that shitty ring or boots. If you need Strength and/or Dexterity, you can temporarily allocate the dex and/or strength nodes between Witch and Shadow and replace them with gear later.

If you want to run this spec as an EK build, then just remove the Witch AoE nodes, path up top via her ES nodes and allocate the two Sniper nodes in the Shadow area. You actually gain 1 passive point that you can use for whatever. I'd recommend putting it into mana (the small mana node just above Dreamer is awesome for 1 point) as EK tends to be more mana hungry cos it's more spammy with its faster casting speed. Also replace Conc. Effect with Added Chaos in your gem loadout.

She uses ES stuff with high life rolls. Any chaos resist on gear will go a long way too since we're playing hybrid for the most effective HP. The Vertex and Ming's Heart are very helpful in this regard as they completely negates the Merciless chaos resist penalty and then some (The Broken Crown is a cheaper option with half the ES, but double the chaos resist). As Bladefall is an AoE skill, both Carcass Jack and Divinarius go well with this spec. The Magnate, Belt of the Deceiver and Doryani's phys belt all also go with the build, although a rare can be used instead.

I run 1 Ming's Heart + The Vertex + another 42% chaos res on other gear. 1 Amethyst ring with a t1 chaos resist role gets you to max chaos resistance. I also use Atziri's Foible amulet for the stat reduction and mana regen. I initially hoped it would be optional. It isn't. If mana still proves to be an issue then Dream Fragments ring is another option, besides the additional mana and mana regen you can get on the tree.

Don't forget Dexterity (thanks TheNippleman). Bladefall is a dexterity skill. Even with Atziri's ammy, a lvl 20 Bladefall will need 117 dexterity (lvl 21 requires 120) to equip. The tree will only net you a total of 94 dexterity. I get the rest on my other ring. I also get Strength on my belt (needed for Added Fire, Flame golem and Herald of Ash gems - Decoy Totem and Warlord's Mark can be kept low level). You can get stats on gear or passive tree. If your current gear lacks the needed stat, Haku can craft it on for you.

My Current Gear

Never mind the Essence Drain and Wither gems. I'm just leveling those for my next toon. :)

Alternative Gear Ideas
An interesting idea to explore would be to use a Darkscorn bow instead. This would do two things - it would make a total of 30% (25% from the bow + 5% from the passive tree) of your phys damage be done as chaos damage (which makes you less susceptible to reflect) and also makes 25% of the phys damage you take be taken as chaos damage (which is good as we have max chaos resistance, but virtually no armor). Voltaxic Rift bow gives 50% chaos conversion + 10% chance to shock, but no defensive bonuses.

If you use Pledge of Hands, you can get higher damage as you'd be able to fit in an Empower/Added Chaos Damage into the setup in place of Spell Echo.

The downside of these options is that you lose the ES, resists and life that a rare shield gives you.

Mortem Morsu claw and The Consuming Dark dagger would also allow for more anti-reflect chaos conversion without needing to sacrifice a shield for it. Apep's Rage wand would ADD (rather than simply convert) more un-reflectable damage, but significantly raise the cost of the skill.

Rathpith Globe makes for a decent unique shield with this build, although a rare is better.

Gem Links
Bladefall - Added Fire/Life Leech - Spell Echo - Controlled Destruction - Physical to Lightning - Concentrated Effect (Empower is another option - replace PTL with it if you decide to use it)

For EK: Replace Concentrated Effect with Added Chaos. DON'T use Faster Casting - your mana can't support it. If you want greater range, then replace PTL with Faster Projectiles.

Discipline - Hatred/Grace - HoA/Arctic Armor - Clarity (low level)

(HoA and Hatred for more damage, AA and Grace for additional survivability on HC)

CwDT - Ball Lightning - GMP - Blind/Chance To Flee (defense setup - goes well with the bit of evasion we get too)

Ball Lightning - Curse on Hit - Warlord's Mark - Enfeeble

Bear Trap - Trap & Mine Damage - Added Fire (Added Fire does two things - it adds a ton to the initial hit of Bear Trap and, thanks to the Consuming Dark, 75% of it is converted to ES-penetrating chaos damage which THEN goes on to poison the enemies as well! So they're taking damage even when BT is on cooldown. We haven't taken any trap nodes in this build, but all the phys dmg nodes do still work on Bear Trap. You COULD make this a 4-link BT by using Jaws of Agony shield, but then you lose out on all the stats that a good rare shield can offer you)

Flame/Chaos Golem - Whirling Blades/FlameDash - Decoy Totem

Pretty standard fare. Two life flasks with mods to cancel bleeding and curses. An Atziri flask or two is great since we do both phys AND ele dmg and so benefit twice. An Ample Quicksilver of Adrenaline to run around. And, if you can afford it, the new Coruscating Elixir unique flask comes HIGHLY recommended (else just put in another Quicksilver or whatever you prefer).

spell damage
spell damage while holding a shield
physical damage
area damage
Max ES %
Max life %

I always like just going with the passives on Bandits as it saves me regrets when the next reset comes along. If you don't mind that, however, then I'd suggest -
life (Oak)
phys damage (Oak)
Endurance Charge (Oak)
and take 3 points off the tree from somewhere

Map Mods
If you want to run top tier Ele Weakness maps without losing any resists, you need at least 109/110% (for lightning) resists (not chaos, only elemental) in Merciless, which translates to 169/170% while in your hideout. Currently, I'm pretty much exactly at that threshold.

Minus max resist maps don't require any change. Just play a bit more carefully. This is basically a test of your eHP, really.

No regen and lowered regen maps are a pain. Leeching (Warlords' Mark curse) through it all is tricky. You'll need mana pots. Not worth it, imo.

Blood Magic is also a pain. Unspec Ghost Reaver for them. Again, with life pots and leech (Warlords' Mark curse) you can do it.

Reflect maps are fine. Just make sure to curse everything or else play (a bit) slower.

Curse immune maps are also fine SO LONG as they don't also include mana regen cuts/Blood magic among the mods.

Poison on Hit/Desecrated Ground maps are a joke. :D

Well, that's it. Let me know what you guys think. Happy grinding! :)

PS: Bonus props for anyone who gets the reference of this builds' name. ;)
Last edited by Exile009 on Jan 6, 2016, 10:23:36 PM
Last bumped on Apr 22, 2016, 10:37:10 PM
Cleaned up and organized post under headings and spoilers. :)
Added an "Alternative Gear" section for more creative versions of this build.

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