[3.5] Double Strike Assassin | 2-3m unavoidable shaper dps | 8k hp | high avoid | no 6-link

Double Strike Assassin

*Update: Just did deathless Uber Atziri! :-)

This build uses the "socketed items are supported by" affixes on weapons to simulate a 5 or even 6-link. I will be giving suggestions about different combinations of gear and different steps to take during gearing.
The main idea behind this build is to use (1) lots of abyssal jewels, regular jewels, abyssal gear and life nodes to get high % life gains, (2) use Kaom's Heart to make use of those life gain percentages, (3) use a claw (or sword) with inherent "socketed gems are supported by" affixes to mimic a 5-link setup, (4) and use abyssus (preferably legacy) to increase damage output, while mitigating some of the side-effects.

The positive and the negative
Positive aspects of this build:
- It's a melee build that doesn't use molten strike or cyclone and still achieves respectable damage output and a lot of defences
- The build doesn't require a 6-link, and the expenses can be scaled, although it's still not cheap
- Can handle all content and map mods
- Potato pc friendly
- Can become immortal with legacy atziri's acuity and legacy kaom's heart

Negative aspects:
- The build doesn't use molten strike or cyclone
- Melee distance means risk, and although it has 8k hp, it's still more risky than playing a ranged character
- Capping resistances takes some puzzling, due to lots of uniques
- The build doesn't use bloodseeker for end-game content, so there is no instant leech. This means that although you'll be able to facetank, you'll also need to be careful about your leech rate versus damage received (if damage received is higher than your leech rate, you'll die). In practice, this is only an issue during some boss fights
- Due to using a bunch of abyssal items and kaom's heart, the options for sockets are pretty low. I'm still trying to find optimal ways of doing things, but it's pretty basic. It'll be even more basic if you use kaom's roots in uber elder
- Double strike is single target, and so this build requires gem-swapping for single target / multiple targets to optimize dps

Passive tree (lvl 93)

Passive tree using voidheart / haemophilia:

Passive tree with bleed nodes:

We use Vaal pact and additional life leech increases to compensate for the absence of bloodseeker (the unique claw that gives instant life leech). Other than that the tree basically consists of all of the life nodes that are reasonably reachable and close enough to other interesting nodes. Nothing fancy is going on, except perhaps using acrobatics and phase acrobatics for extra defences (as the reduction in block is marginal).

Feel free to play around with the tree. It's basically a journey to optimize dps and still have enough survivability (life nodes and such).

Note that this build can also use swords, with only minor changes on the tree.

Bandits and Ascendancy

For bandits, just go 2 extra passive nodes. They're a great help!

For ascendancy, go for Deadly Infusion, Opportunistic, and Ambush and Assassinate. This will give us great crit potential and power charges.

Skill links

Main damage
Our main damage is coming from double strike. Note that I'm presenting the setup as a 6-link, in order of priority (left to right). If you have the "socketed gems are supported by" stuff on your weapon, you can keep this into account. Note that Path of Building shows the increases/decreases in dps by adding/removing certain gems. This is very useful as well.

Double Strike - Melee Physical Damage - Multistrike - Damage on Full Life - Maim - Ruthless

For trash mobs, you can replace Ruthless or Maim with Melee Splash.

Aim for a level 21 Double Strike gem, as it increases melee range by 1, which is quite useful. Ideally, you can also use Vaal Double Strike (level 20 or 21), as the Vaal ability is very strong on bosses!

Note that we use Damage on Full Life, as we are not concerned about minor hits due to life leech. Damage on full life also works with blood Rage when combined with multistrike, as we leech up to cap after the first hit, and then we get the Damage on full life proc for the remaining 5 hits of multistrike!

Aura setup
Note that our aura setup depends on whether or not you use Essence Worm and/or a level 3/4 Enlighten gem.

Main setup (again, in order of importance):
Hatred - Herald of Purity - Enlighten - Herald of Ash

Main setup with essence worm:
Herald of Purity - Arctic Armour / Purity of Ice/Lightning/Fire - Enlighten - Herald of Ash, with Hatred slotted in the Essence Worm ring

Main setup without Enlighten:
Hatred - Herald of Purity

Main setup without Enlighten, but with Essence Worm:
Herald of Purity - Herald of Ash / Arctic Armour / Purity of Ice/Lightning/Fire, with Hatred slotted in the Essence Worm ring

Note that while you can use a level 3 Enlighten gem, it'll reduce your mana significantly, which could be an issue. For me, it takes my mana down from 78 to 52. This may not seem like a lot, but with a mana cost of 18 per skill use, this means your chances of running out of mana are a bit higher.

Cast when damage taken setup

Our cast when damage taken setup is rather limited, as we do not have access to four link setups. Note that for cast when damage taken to work, it is important to stick to the level limits of gems (do not level them further!).

The main setup looks like this:
Cast when damage taken (lvl 1) - Immortal call (lvl 3) - Frost Bomb (lvl 1)

This will cause immortal call and frost bomb to proc often, which is what we want, as frost bomb adds to our DPS output (about 100k in my setup, so not a huge deal).

Another option is to use cold snap instead of frost bomb, if you cannot or do not want to use blood rage, as cold snap helps us generate frenzy charges.

If you do have access to four linked sockets, due to a different setup, it is very good to add Increased duration (max level!) to the link, as this will greatly enhance the effectiveness of immortal call and frostbomb.

Movement skill setup

To move around effectively, we're going to use whirling blades. As we have incredibly low mana, we'll also add blood magic, so that we can whirl around infinitely. In addition, it is often a good idea to proc fortify with whirling blades.

Whirling Blades - Blood magic - Fortify

Note that for fights with a lot of hectic one-shot possibilities, such as Uber Atziri in particular, it is advisable to replace Fortify with Faster Attacks. This will make the fight a lot easier. If you have access to four linked sockets for your movement skill setup, you should also add Faster Attacks.

Totem and bloodrage

For the remaining sockets, we'll be slotting a Vaal Ancestral Warchief. I like combining this with Blind, for the 10% chance to bind on hit, but you can also combine it with culling strike.

Vaal ancestral warchief - Blind

In addition, if you use a ring with a socket (which I highly recommend), you can add Blood Rage to it for frenzy charges.

Gear suggestions
I'll be giving gear suggestions in a tiered way, so that you can use a large variety of items and combinations, depending on your budget and what you have available.

Eventually, to use Kaom's Heart, we will make use of weapons that have the "Socketed gems are supported by ..." affix. Aim for at least two of these. These weapons are becoming more and more common.

You can look for these weapons on poe.trade using the following search query:

Note that this only searches for claws. You could set it up to look for swords as well.

Try to get a weapon that doesn't have ancestral call / melee splash on it, ideally, as these reduce your boss HP (you cannot swap them out like gems!). You could also try and craft these weapons yourself, of course!

Get a weapon with the highest amount of physical dps you can afford. Note that these weapons can be cheap, but also very expensive. Anything works, but the more you invest, the better your dps will be, obviously. So, just start with a less dps weapon, and work your way up from there. For me, I got a 380 physical DPS weapon with two of the affixes we need:

A better version of this weapon would include 1 more "socketed items are supported by" affix, and perhaps have more physical dps.

Easy to obtain
Just browse around on poe.trade for a weapon with the "socketed gems are supported by" affix. Use this search query:


Note that this is for Standard (but can easily be changed).

You can scale your weapon according to your budget and level. Note that once you have access to a bloodseeker and a five link armor, this is a preferable option.

Medium difficulty to obtain

A solid weapon with instant leech, which will take you to endgame, is bloodseeker (does not have to be corrupted):

Obviously, you will need at least a 5-link chest piece, such as a loreweave or belly of the beast (these two items are best-in-slot). Note that 6-linking is not really necessary. I'd get belly of the beast if you're low on currency. Loreweave is hyped (but also very good):

Unfortunately, there is really only one option for our offhand, as we rely on life (and mana) leech, and have a high critical strike chance:

Not using Lycosidae will really hamper you. I would really like to fit in Lioneye's Remorse for more HP (or some other cool shield), but the only way to get the "hits cannot be evaded" affix is by using The Effigon amulet, which requires Blind. This is interesting though.


The best option (only available in Standard) is a legacy Abyssus with a double strike-related enchant. The best double strike enchant is "chance to deal double damage", but it is really expensive and rare. The extra crit multiplier from the legacy Abyssus variant really adds up to the DPS for this build.

Easy to obtain
A rare helm with a lot of life and resists would be a great option, as this build does not have many options for resist % increases.

Another great option is to use a Bringer of Rain, which recently got buffed:

You can get to level 90 using BoR easily. After that, you'll need to do some more min-maxing for content like Uber Atziri and Uber Elder, and the downsides of BoR are too big of an issue.

Medium difficulty to obtain

Any non-legacy Abyssus would be preferable for the huge DPS boost (it'll still take you over 2 million dps with the other gear being the same as it currently is).

Another option is to use a Starkonja's Head, with a double strike enchant:

This is a more defensive option, and is great if you're running Loreweave or Belly of the Best.


The ideal chestpiece is a Kaom's. In my current setup, it adds a whopping 1750hp. If you're super rich, a legacy Kaom's will DOUBLE that, which is truly insane and can take you to 10k hp(!).

The reason Kaom's is ideal, is because the abyssal gear we are using (and the abyssal jewels) add a lot of % increases to life, as does the passive tree, so the flat life increase of Kaom's is insane.

Note that a regular Kaom's is not too expensive, but should only be used if you've got a claw with "socketed gems are supported by" affixes.

Easy to obtain
The easiest is to just use Bringer of Rain and skip the chest piece entirely. This allows you to focus on getting a nice claw with the "socketed gems are supported by" affixes. Recommended!

Medium difficulty to obtain
A five-link Belly of the Beast or Loreweave will get you a long way, but I'd still opt for Bringer of Rain, so just use these options if you've got some of these armors lying around.

However, one interesting endgame option (which I've used to kill Shaper and Uber Atziri with) is to use Loreweave (6-linked) with Starkonja's Head, and a any high physical dps claw (~350-380). So, you could also opt to do that.


Bubonic trail with one abyssal socket currently seems ideal for me. The explosions add to our clearspeed, and as we are using a lot of abyssal jewels, the damage increase is nice (30%). Additionally, the % life increases help Kaom's Heart's life increase get out of control.

Bubonic Trail is pretty cheap, so I'll skip listing other boots.


Ideally, you'd want a Stygian vise with increased elemental damage and resists. Synergizes well with Bubonic Trail and Kaom's heart (due to the abyssal jewel slotted).

I'm running around with this:

As with all items, prioritize life, and then resists. Getting the extra elemental damage regularly or as a craft is also great.

Basically, any belt with a lot of life and resists that is not a Stygian vise would be our second best option. You really need the resistances.


There is an interesting option with using The Effigon for "hits can't be evaded", but other than that you'd be best to use a regular amulet with a lot of life, resists, physical damage and crit multiplier if possible, in order of priority (e.g. prioritize life and resists if you're on a limited budget).


As you're running around with a lot of uniques, it makes sense to add resistances on one ring, and preferably have one that has a socket, so that you can slot Blood Rage. I'm using this:

Again, prioritize life and resistances, and then look for physical damage.

An interesting option is to have Poacher's Mark or Warlord's Mark on hit as an affix. These rings are very expensive and do not have a lot of options for mass resists unless you have a huge budget, though, but basically the current build does not apply resists, so this is a freebie if you can obtain such a ring.

For the other ring:
Ideal, first option (expensive / legacy)
You could use a legacy Voidheart to get permanent bleeds and more reliable dps. This saves a few nodes on the passive tree (but is not a big deal, as those nodes also add a lot of dps).

Ideal, second option (less expensive / more defensive)
An option that is more defensive, is to use an Essence Worm. You should use the second passive tree that I have provided (with bleed chance on the tree) to get your bleed chance to 30%. Using Essence Worm, we can slot Arctic Armour, which helps negate some of the downsides of Abyssus, and we can even swap Arctic Armour for Purity of Ice for the Uber Elder fight! So, this is a great defensive option that is just as good as using a legacy voidheart, although the clearspeed may be a bit lower.


Ideally, you'd want a 1 or 2-abyssal socket Tombfist, slotted with a Murderous eye (we already apply maim, so you don't really need a second abyssal socket). This synergizes well with bubonic trail and Kaom's heart and adds quite a bit of DPS. If you're rich, you could try and get a "curse on hit" corrupted one.

If you're incredibly rich, legacy Atziri's Acuity will basically make you immortal, as you can easily gain back the life you lose on attacks from instant leech, and have enough HP to survive big hits.

Easy to obtain
Another option would be to use Haemophilia for the bleed proc. You can then use the passive tree that does not include bleed chance. Note that this will reduce your DPS by a bit, but it's still a great option.


Use jewels with max life and resistances. A lot of your resistances will be coming from jewels, so keep that in mind. If possible, get crit multiplier or "attack speed if you've dealt a critical strike recently" on abyssal jewels. Mix and match to optimize your needs. Nothing fancy.


For flasks, there are a lot of options. For offenses:

For defence:

Acquire these one at a time. Note that I'd never buy an Atziri's Promise flask. Just run regular Atziri and get your own! Use Rumi's if you're facing a boss with a lot of physical damage.

Summary of what I'm using

Path of Building link to my current build

Note that I am using a legacy voidheart, so I'm trying the version without essence worm!

A lot of stuff is already in the PoB file, so you can play around with it. Paste the below URL into Path of Building:


Enjoy this build! Let me know what you think. I don't have any videos right now, but I've cleared Shaper / Uber Atziri / Guardians / Elder so far. I'm trying to get Uber Elder to spawn! :-)
Last edited by grindst0ne on Jan 5, 2019, 1:51:23 PM
Last bumped on Jan 16, 2019, 12:35:38 PM
any chance of a video displaying gameplay m9?
Yea,same.I still waiting for some gameplay vid
Alright, I'll try to record some videos this weekend :-). Thanks for checking out the build!
I uhh, kind of gave up on this build. I just don't like Abyssus, and you really need it to get the right amount of dps. I've reverted back to bloodseeker + loreweave + starkonja's (7k hp / 2mil shaper dps). It's also much more convenient this way for blood rage and having a few extra sockets and links is great.
man just when i was going for a new bulid thinking "melee, double strike, CRIT!" so i googled it up to see if there is anything like that and bum, this one. will check it out and make some changes that suits me. will have to see

also wtf man is this negative aspects?
- The build doesn't use molten strike or cyclone
its not a negative. i am lf DS only because its not molten or cyclone or BF. just because its not !meta! does not mean its negative
Well, the build works fine really. It's just that I don't enjoy Abyssus. I think you're best off running Arctic Armour if you're going for Abyssus (as you're stationary when you are attacking anyway, so you always get the 12% damage reduction). You can use an essence worm and get some blood nodes on the passive tree. It's also a bit preference-y as I don't really enjoy Vaal Pact that much. Right now I'm running a build with Voidheart + Vile Toxins as support, which works very well. I basically got rid of any vaal pact / life gain on hit nodes and just went with dps and life% increases. I also got rid of Phase Acrobatics on my tree, as it ate up 4 points and I don't notice it that much during playing (+I am now running with Loreweave, so I'm not too worried about being targeted by spells).

Note that I've also switched to Taste of Hate as the knockback from Lion's Roar annoyed me a lot during gameplay. You also don't really need a legacy voidheart for Vile Toxins, as it caps at 9 stacks of poison. A max-rolled voidheart gives 40% chance to add a poison. I'm sitting at 10.45 attacks per second. Poisons last 2 second, so 2x10.45x0.4=~8.4. So, you'll need a wee bit more attack speed off one of your rares or jewels to get to 9 stacks; 11 attacks per round seems like a solid idea.

This build nets me 7k hp and 2mil dps.

Last edited by grindst0ne on Jan 16, 2019, 12:38:07 PM

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