[3.0] Dual Strike Crit Slayer using Thrusting Swords

Hello community!
This guide shall show you a way to use dual strike. In my opinion it is the most enjoyable skill in the game not only because of its simpleness (also graphic benefits) but also due to the flexibility - you can play it in so many different ways, focusing on the things you consider as the most important ones.

Table of content
1. Introduction
2. Basic idea
3. Pros and cons
4. Leveling guide
5. Gear
6. Gems
7. Passive tree
8. Bandits
9. Ascendancy classes
10. Enchantments
11. Pantheon system
12. Videos

First of all I want to convince you how awesome this skill can be by explaining the "love story" between me and this skill...if you want to call it this way :D

After the beta I came back playing PoE with 1.1 and tested a lot of builds, finally finding Dual Strike.
Basically I oriented on this build: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/726414/page/1 in the first place, but changed many things in the process of finding my own way to play.
I have tried to keep this thread up as long as possible since there are other people who enjoy the gameplay with this skill. Problematically it wasn't updated since 1.2 which is the reason why I decided to make my own guide.
Since the 2.6 patch I didn't feel very confident anymore and did a lot of testing until now. I ended up using the duelist class most of the time which is why I moved my guide to this section. You can find the guide I updated until 2.5 right here: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1329138

Until now I haven't played any other build for more than about one month and I always kept returning to dual strike. I think the main reason for me is that I can really experience this awesome game as good as possible with this skill. While many meta builds just run through almost everything and often clear offscreen this build allows the player to learn and enjoy much more. You will die a lot if you are new to melee and don't know certain monster's threats but you also will have a very satisfying time if you like this playstile.

In the following parts I will share my current 3.0 build with you. Of course I appreciate any help, feedback or ideas. If you want to show me your dual strike build please feel free to do so.

Basic idea
In comparison to the old build idea the focus changed from a glasscannon to a leechtank with a lot of damage potential. The reason for this is the constant improvement of PoE which results in many difficult monsters and bossfights which we want to run. With the glasscannon I did end up at tier 14 maps and couldn't run many mods which was pretty annyoing.

Because of that this guide's objective is to show you how to get the most out of the dual strike skill gem. We want to run almost any mod and be able to defeat guardians. Therefore there will be a lot of discussion about survivability and quality of life because the skill is melee and namelocking.

Pros and cons

+ a lot of fun to play, does not get boring
+ very good survivability thanks to slayer ascendancy
+ can run all mods but noleech and probably physical reflect (needs to be tested)
+ teaching gameplay, you will get better very fast
+ awesome dps
+ melee

- melee
- namelocking
- not the cheapest build
- the clearspeed is just ok-ish, probably 6.5/10

About the cons I want to add some comments. Melee usually goes ahead with less clearspeed (please don't consider blade flurry as melee, it has the tag and uses a weapon but in my opinion it is a spell). Namelocking skills use the weapon's range to attack which makes them the most realistic but also the slowest skills in the game. Countering this downside with thrusting swords (weapon range: 12) is very effective and will be discussed more detailed in the gear section. With being not cheap I don't mean that it won't cost a lot to start playing but a lot to run the most brutal map mods. You can consider this one also positive if you think of all the things that you can do to improve and upgrade your character.

Leveling guide
This part is very important if you are new to this game, to melee gameplay or to gameplay with namelocking skills. There will also be an ongoing improvement of this section being based on upcoming questions.

Step by step guide
If you can afford at the beginning I recommend getting 2x redbeak, goldrim and wanderlust for a much easier leveling process.
Checkpoint at 10 points
Until this point you don't want to use dual strike because you can't access the melee splash support gem. You can use cleave or any other melee skill you like at this point. For unique items I recommend 1x the queen and any other rare or unique weapon with good damage.

Checkpoint at 31 points
At this point you should be about level 30 or at least 28. I recommend going for cleave or dual strike, you can do as you please. Dual strike will have a little more damage and cleave a little more AoE. With the jewel slot you can use the appropriate threshhold jewel. I recommend buying a Lakishu's blade because you get multistrike support way earlier than it is possible otherwise. Use the queen in your offhand, there is almost nothing with better dps.

Checkpoint at 46 points
My recommendation is to go for resolute technique (RT) before you take the marauder life nodes. If you really want to play dual strike you should start playing with it not later than at this point. Changing the weapons for 2x daresso's passion is the most effective change right here. I recommend a 4link setup with dual strike - multistrike - melee physical damage - added fire damage. This should be the first time where you can experience the benefits of thrusting swords.

Checkpoint at 64 points
After the marauder life nodes I would go for the duelist leech because you want some good leech at this stage of the game. You won't be using RT for a long time, I did respec out of mine once I reached level 60. At this point you can acquire scaeva, a sword that is able to carry you into the endgame with ease. I recommend a rare sword with good dps for the offhand (250+ pdps costs less than 20c), if possible a thrusting sword with implicit crit multiplier. You won't need more than a 4link setup until the endgame.

Checkpoint at 91 points
This is the last stage before you reach mapping and the real grinding. At this point you need to decide on your own what you need the most when leveling up. You can go for more damage earlier or for even more life. You also should get rings with flat physical damage.

How do I play this build from early to endgame?
This section was pretty detailed in my old guide. Right now I have added some similar comments to the checkpoints above, if you prefer a seperate explanation of the tree and gear / gems please let me know in the comments or with pm.


In the endgame there are only rare thrusting swords that I would recommend.
Until tier 14 maps I was using swords with 291 pdps and 268 pdps. Rare swords can reach about 500 pdps and probably even more but are extremely expensive, I bought a 350 pdps sword for 6 exalteds and this is quite the limit I could afford when I was starting to play tier 15+ maps. Those swords should have a crit multi implicit and at least 1.7 attack speed and 6.5% crit chance. My current swords:

Body Armour:
The body armour should be 5linked by playing yellow maps and 6linked by playing red maps. You can choose between a rare and an unique body armour, for rares I recommend using the celestial justicar cards to get a 6link rare astral plate for a good price. Crafting with alchemy orbs and orbs of scouring or chaos orbs you should aim for a good life roll, some resistances and maybe armour or physical damage reduction. For uniques I can recommend lightning coil, cherrubim's maleficence and belly of the beast. Belly gives the most life and some resistances, coil is very defensive but not really necessary if you don't use abyssus.
I haven't tested cherrubim's yet but it should be pretty good on slayer. My current body armour:

Similar to the body armour you can choose between rare and unique ones. Using a rare helmet makes it easier to get the right enchantment and can be very good but doesn't guarantee that.
The strongest option right there is to buy a royal burgonet with the enchantment you want and to craft it. I would focus on a good life roll, some resistances and accurancy rating or some intelligence. For a unique helmets you can use starkonja's head, abyssus, devoto's devotion, rat's nest or the bringer of rain. Starkonja's and bringer are very good but also easy to get, rat's nest and devoto's increase the quality of life by a lot and abyssus boosts your damage extremely but makes you very rippy. All those choices have pros and cons but I prefer a rare helmet like this one:

Rare gloves with life, resistances, attack speed and maybe accuracy rating are very good. Other choices are maligaro's virtuosity for a cheap increase of damage, haemophilia if you want better map clear or atziri's acuity if you are very rich. Acuity is best in slot but it is nothing that you need on this build. Rare gloves like these should do the job just fine:

I can only recommend rare boots right here, 30% movement speed together with a good life roll and some resistances is very good. Mine did cost 5c and you can get far more resistances:

The amulet can be extremely strong if you choose to use a rare one but also very expensive. A very good alternative is the unique carnage heart. It works very well together with the slayer class and can be used from level 20 on. The price is pretty low which makes it even better until you can afford a really good rare one with life, flat physical damage, crit multi and maybe resistances or accuracy rating. I use a carnage heart right now:

The rings should be rare and have good life rolls and flat physical damage. Additional good mods are accuracy rating and resistances. A cheap alternative is le heup of all but personally I would just save for good rare ones. Mine did cost 130c together:

The belt should have a good life roll and some resistances. On a rare one you can get also the reduced flask charges used mod. Good unique alternatives are belt of the deceiver and perseverance. If you are rich you can of course use something like headhunter or the retch. Mine is a rare one which I bought for about 20c:

There are five flask slots and you should use a strong flask on every slot:
Slot #1:
You can't use no life flask on a budget and it is always safer to use at least one.
You can choose between a magic instant life flask or the writhing jar. I chose the unique flask because it also restores mana for certain situation and because you can use it at the beginning of a map to trigger your endless hunger and brutal fervour.

Slot #2:
A diamond flask is extremely strong for this build and I wouldn't even think about not using it. I recommend a diamond flask of heat.

Slot #3:
Almost every melee build uses the lion's roar unique flask. This one is extremely important for melee builds and mandatory for the endgame.

Slot #4 and #5:
Right here you can choose you own preferences, I recommend some strong mitigation flasks. A basalt flask is good against a lot of physical damage and atziri's promise is good against chaos damage. Other strong options are taste of hate and stibnite flasks / sin's rebirth if you can afford it.

The dual strike jewel is necessary, without it you would need to use melee splash and it would be far more difficult and expensive to reach the endgame. The other slots can be filled with good rare jewels. Recommended mods are increased life, increased physical damage, mana leech, crit chance, crit multiplier and resistances.


This is my current setup. You can change the faster attacks gem for other good gems, personally I think
or ruthless would be good alternatives.

4link #1:

My movement skill setup. It is probably possible to run it without blood magic but I don't want to run out of mana on no-regen maps. If you don't like whirling blades I can also recommend
. It is a little bit slower but definitely safer and more controlled.

4link #2:

I like this warchief totem setup a lot, it allows me to have another good source of damage and allows awesome bossfights with the lion's roar flask. The brutality gem can be used in your 6link when running elemental reflect maps.

Other gems:

About the other gems I am not completely sure about, I recommend hatred and herald of ash or arctic armour, blood rage with increased duration and maybe a vaal skill and a cast when damage taken setup with a curse and maybe immortal call or arctic breath. I am still not sure about the exact allocation but I will try to do it pretty soon.

Passive tree

Help Oak: Personally I think this is the worst choice to take, life regen and the small damage boost aren't worth a lot and the physical damage reduction is just defensive. This can be a choice if you play hardcore or want additional physical defense.

Help Kraitlyn: With this bandit we get movement speed which improves the quality of life a little bit, especially in town. The attack- and castspeed increases your damage and the speed of your movement skill. Some additional dodge chance is a pretty nice defensive addition. If you want the highest quality of life I recommend helping him.

Help Alira: This is my choice because all three mods of her are very helpful. While leveling you will enjoy the mana regeneration a lot. The additional resistances also make it easier to level. In addition you will have more freedom of item choices in the endgame. The crit multiplier is a very good damage improvement.

Kill all: Two passive points are alright if you don't prefer any other reward. You can get some ranger life nodes which isn't too bad.

My recommendation is Alira because her mods are very good from the beginning until the endgame. Helping kraitlyn and killing all are also reasonable choices because more quality of life or more passive points are both very valueable.

Ascendancy classes
There are many ascendancy classes this build will work with and I will explain the pros and cons of every viable class:

This is the class I feel the most confident with. I recommend taking bane of legends first, then endless hunger and brutal fervour so you have stun and bleed immunity when you start mapping. Finally I would take headsman. If you want to use kaom's roots for leveling you can instead take headsman second and brutal fervour last.
There are many awesome things this ascendancy provides and in my opinion you get the biggest quality of life out of all ascendancy classes. Thanks to the 20% culling there will be less trouble with bossfights, especially against tanky ones it will have a huge impact. A twenty second onslaught buff after every rare or unique monster kill means almost constant onslaught while mapping which is a huge benefit.
WIth 50% less physical reflect damage you don't need to fear rare physical reflect mobs at any time, some testing will show if it is possible to run physical reflect maps thanks to it. Some extra AoE and more damage if you have killed recently are some nice extras.
Many builds use leech as a main defense and it isn't differet right here. With both leech ascendancy nodes you will be able to leech a lot from very early on and you won't need to worry about stun and bleed, two very annyoing and sometimes pretty dangerous debuffs. Thanks to the endless leech you will also be able to get to dangerous ranged monster packs before they kill you which is an actual threat for a dual striker.
All in all I recommend this class to everyone but there are some other interesting classes.

This is the ascendancy class I have tested dual strike the second most time since 2.6 and it is quite similar to the slayer ascendancy in terms of strength. You will get a lot of block and spellblock which is an extremely strong defense. A very easy frenzy and endurance charge generation will give you some strong buffs while mapping but not against bosses. The bleed explosions allow you to clear big monster packs faster and easier.
In comparison to the slayer this ascendancy class might be even stronger but it provides way less quality of life. I recommend to use kaom's roots on gladiator because they definitely are the BiS boots. These boots have no movement speed which is quite annyoing in general and extremely annyoing in areas where you can't use your movement skill. You will also need to pay more attention because you don't have something like endless leech. If you want to play competitive this is the class for you but if you prefer more enjoyment and relaxed mapping I definitely recommend the slayer ascendancy.

In terms of damage the berserker class will probably reach the highest dps. There are strong leech nodes but because you won't have a fast leech rate you will need to take vaal pact or use atziri's acuity. This will be pretty expensive in terms of passive points or currency. In addition, the quality of life will be very low, using kaom's roots is mandatory.
All in all this class is the strongest one against bosses but for almost every other property the berserker is weaker than other ascendancy classes.

Definitely the most defense oriented ascendancy class that can be used. Tons of accuracy make it way easier to hit and crit and stun immunity is nothing to depreciate. This is probably the only class for which I would recommend using abyssus in 3.0 without creating a glass cannon.
All in all the juggernaut ascendancy is not too bad but it will be lacking certain features that make is reasonable to prefer instead of other ascendancy classes.

The raider is also possible to use, personally I enjoyed the speed very much. If you want to be as fast as possible this one is the class for you.
However, there won't be good defenses or huge damage increases at all which is why it isn't be the best ascendancy class you can use.

With the assassin you only focus on crit and waive almost every defense. Back in the time when daggers were very strong this would have been my first and only choice. Nowadays there are many more important features than crit and I would only pick this class if I had very expensive gear because it is possible to overtop the damage of the berserker class at a very late point in the game.

This one is still very unpopular because you get a little bit of everything but really no special or strong features. Personally I can't think of any improvements for my build in taking this ascendancy instead of the other mentioned classes. A month ago I played a poison version with 2x wasp's nest on the ascendant class but there were too many disadvantages in comparison to my current build.

There are three gear pieces that can be enchanted:

The probably most important spot for enchantments. Helmets usually don't have an implicit mod which is why there is no reason to discuss other valuable implicits. The helmet enchantment always affects an active skill gem. For this build there are several mods that should be mentioned. Of course there are some strong buffs for our main skill dual strike. You can choose between 90% increased crit chance, 15% increased attack speed and 40% increased damage (the values are the uber lab values). Other strong mods are the increased arctic armor effect, increased blood rage attack speed, increased curse effects, increased attack speed for the movement skill (leap slam or whirling blades) and less mana reservation of used auras. My personal favourites are dual strike crit chance and dual strike damage because they increase the damage by a lot. If you craft an own helmet or buy one I recommend watching out for one of these two mods. If you just enchant your own helmet any of the mentioned mods should be okay.

If you want to use rare spiked gloves I advise against enchanting them because the melee damage implicit is very good. Otherwise there are some interesting choices to think about. My favourites are the four enchantments "of spite", "of force", "of fury" and "of war". "Of spite" is a good choice because it creates chilling ground which can be a very strong defense. "Of force" just adds extra damage which is always quite nice. "Of fury" also adds extra damage in form of projectiles with long range. "Of war" creates some animated weapons who often are a good quality of life improvement. All in all I think all those choices are strong, personally I prefer "of force" and "of war".

Boot enchantments are pretty strong aswell and compete with the implicit resistances mod of the two-toned boots. The strongest ones for this build are "chance do dodge if you've taken a critical strike recently" and "increased attack speed if you've killed recently". Personally I prefer the attack speed enchant but if you lack resistances using and keeping the two-toned boots implicit is also a good choice.

Pantheon system
The new pantheon system introduces buffs from slaying mayor and minor gods:

Major Gods:
There are four major gods to choose. The Brine King adds defenses against stun, freeze and chill. We don't need any of these thanks to flasks and brutal fervour. Arakaali saves you from damage over time and lightning damage / shock. This can be good but DoT is no problem thanks to endless hunger and the other two major gods give better effects in my opinion.
Both Lunaris and Solaris help against certain threats. While Lunaris seems to be designed for defenses against huge monster packs Solaris saves you against single monsters and bosses. Personally I prefer Lunaris right now but crit scales very strong on monsters which is why I might change my opinion at a later time.

Minor Gods:
There are seven minor gods to choose. For this build the only useful ones are Gruthkul,
Tukohama, Yugul and Garukhan. If you like facetanking a lot I recommend using Tukohama, if you want or need to dodge dangerous skills this one is pretty useless. Gruthkul adds physical damage and enemy attack speed reduction, both should not be underestimated. Yugul is the minor god to take against reflect maps and dangerous cold damage monsters. Garukhan can save you from big hits and gives some quality of life. Personally I prefer Yugul, Garukhan and Gruthkul and switch between them depending on the map mods and the map boss.


Note: Right now I am running maps from tier 12 to 15 with level 93, no problems until now, many videos and maybe a video guide will follow soon. If you have already any comments, questions or requests please just ask. Thanks!
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Apr 6, 2018, 9:05:21 AM
Last bumped on Apr 7, 2018, 7:52:53 AM
Update: Added detailed bandit and enchantment discussions.
Update: Added the ascendancy class discussion.
Update: Added two new gameplay videos. I was pretty tired so I didn't pay any attention and still didn't die. Physical reflect sounds doable to me after running that residence map. Note that I still use 280 pdps swords which I bought very early so having not enough damage won't be a problem.
Update: Added an atziri run video and the pantheon system discussion.
Update: Added two new videos (tier 14 and tier 15) and the gear discussion. If you have any questions or tips I would like to hear them, thanks.

Ps: Added two additional videos, both tier 15. I ran dark forest for the first time since it did get the talisman boss so I didn't know anything about that fight.
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Sep 22, 2017, 4:25:52 PM
Update: Added two new videos, one springs run and a shaped tropical island with dangerous mods. The reason for this is especially the 60% less recovery which makes it impossible to tank high amounts of damage without instant leech. I recommend a very careful gameplay on such maps if you play slayer.
Another Update: Added two new videos, the first one is a moderately difficult waterways map with temporal chains. The second one is a pretty easy looking overgrown ruin maps. But only at first glance, I already told that the 60% less recovery is a deadly mod for slayer. At the boss fight you can see how hard this mod really is, especially for the slayer class.

Also added the gem section, if you have any good experiences with certain setups I would be very pleased to hear about.
Last edited by AquaFreeze on Sep 23, 2017, 3:50:11 PM
FUCK YEA UR BACK MANNNNN! LETS GOOOOO!New build i hope this goes well and have a lot of potential in the end.The only drawback of this is that i need to make another class now hmmm :D
tonyman2009 wrote:
FUCK YEA UR BACK MANNNNN! LETS GOOOOO!New build i hope this goes well and have a lot of potential in the end.The only drawback of this is that i need to make another class now hmmm :D

Thanks for the comment!

Update: Hydra is down, it is the first time I ever fought hydra by myself so it felt and probably did look very clumsy. Sorry for that, more guardians coming soon.

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