[1.2.0] Dual Claws Are Cool

!! As of July 7, 2015, 3 days before 2.0 Awakening release, this guide is officially retired. Previous edit before this one was September of 2014, shortly before I left town for several months without Path of Exile access. The game moved on while I was away. It happens. Link to more detailed reasons here.

Apparently the coolness factor of claws outweighs the fact that almost every other weapon type on DW gets better results more easily. I suppose that's a choice we all make.

Video link for this build
Video link 2 courtesy of Sparowes

If you have a question relevant to the build, please post it in the thread instead of spamming my forum PM inbox. You might get sage advice from other people who are also following the build, in addition to my response. And I get free publicity, so it's a win-win situation. (And anyway, as of 7/7/2015 I'm officially not going to update this.) Thank you for your cooperation.

This build is fully viable for both HC and SC.

Guide below is current as of 1.2.0, playtested through rippy high maps with a level 87 duelist. Let me know if I missed anything.

So why dual claws then?
Because it's fun. Because claw implicit mods stack for really crazy life leech, with the claw leech cluster in passive tree. Because, if you build around it, you can get away with ridiculous things that nobody in their right mind would dare to try, like true melee mapping with 2k HP. And by true melee I mean being right up in the centre of everything taking (and evading) hits all day, not some pansy groundslam or lightning strike build.

(Note: please try to have more than 2k hp for rippy high maps with lots of spike damage)

What exactly is this build?
Takes advantage of the Bloodseeker's unique effect (VP without the drawbacks) to gain ridiculous effective HP against sustained DPS. Between 9% from Bloodseeker, 8% from tree, and minimum 3% from the offhand claw, a quarter of your not inconsiderable damage is returned instantly as life; with a high attack speed, you can take every hit in a large group and come out with full HP.

Crit is neglected in favour of consistent high damage, because it is better to leech life consistently than in the bursts that crit gives. Do not rely on burst healing when taking sustained damage.

Pros and Cons
- Very, very high instant leech: if something doesn't kill you in one shot, it never will

- Doesn't take 1hko attacks well
- Desync. If you have nothing to leech from, it will kill you.
- Low base damage on Bloodseeker

Skills and supports
Multi-target: Dual Splash, Reave or Cyclone?
Option 1: Dual Strike - Melee Splash - Multistrike - Melee Physical Damage
The classical dual-claws setup, and the one with the highest tooltip DPS. This is technically the most efficient setup, as every other option attacks using alternate weapons. Also the most socket-intensive.

An interesting trick with the Multistrike gem is that you can target click anywhere, and even if the first attack hits air (as it does about half the time, silly melee) the other two will still connect to nearby mobs.

For a fifth gem linked to the AoE Dual Strike, I would use Added Fire for damage or Blind for survivability. For a sixth, I would use the other of the two mentioned before, or Increased Area of Effect. Other good options are Faster Attacks or Concentrated Effect, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Option 2: Reave - Multistrike - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire or Concentrated Effect
For the AoE nut in you. With an increased AoE gem, a fully stacked Reave hits essentially the entire screen. This is strictly not necessary, but man is it ever fun.

Option 3: Cyclone - Blind - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire or Increased AoE
This setup offers stun immunity as well as ease of play, and the 40% IAS from cyclone interacts very nicely with the dual wield attack speed bonus. Skip Blind if taking Unwavering Stance in the skill tree.

Option 4: Something Else Entirely
Go nuts and try it out - Frenzy, Lightning Strike, Spectral Throw, any skill which works with claws should work well enough. I mean, if it works with Reave, it'll work with anything. Right? Fair warning though, I make no guarantees to the efficiency of your damage output. And stay the @#$% away from double strike, it only uses the mainhand weapon and that's the last thing you want.

Which one is right for me?
Honestly, I would say test them all out. You might be surprised.

I make no promises that your damage output on any other skill will be equal to the dual-splash setup. That said, my current skill-of-choice is Cyclone and I wreck endgame maps with it, so it's clearly sufficient if not strictly optimal.

Note that not all your life leech is instant, with skills other than Dual Strike. This is because every claw-usable skill other than dual strike uses alternate weapons to attack, and Bloodseeker's instant life leech effect only applies to attacks made with itself.

With Bringer of Rain:
Dual Strike - Melee Splash - Multistrike - Added Fire
Reave - Multistrike - Added Fire - Concentrated Effect or Increased AoE
Cyclone - Added Fire - Increased AoE

An alternative to any of the 4th listed gems is Blood Magic. Don't worry too much about HP cost, it will all be leeched back immediately. (No, there isn't a 4th listed gem for Cyclone, it's hard enough as it is to maintain it 6 links on mana. Try cast on melee kill + detonate dead to replace AoE, maybe. I personally just go BM and load out on auras.)

Other skills:
Single target (optional if using dual-splash): Dual Strike - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage - Faster Attacks or Multistrike
Auras: Reduced Mana - Hatred - (pick from: Grace/Determination/Haste/Purity/Herald of Ash)
Utility: Blood Rage, Whirling Blades, Flicker Strike, Arctic Armour, traps, curses, totem
Extra defenses: Enduring Cry, Immortal Call, Molten Shell - Cast on Damage Taken

Notes on skills:

The primary dual strike (with splash multi) functions perfectly well as a single target attack. Particularly if a 5L is involved. The option exists to further optimise single target, but I personally would not bother. Reason for suggesting Faster Attacks, which provides strictly less DPS than Multistrike, is because FA allows greater control and some players might like that.

Yes, that is in fact Blood Rage on a HP character. Instant and extremely high leech, remember?

Arctic Armour I just swap in for Cells maps, though it's entirely possible to BM the primary attack and keep some level of AA running on mana leech while in combat.

Currently testing Viper Strike single-target.

This character can be built from a Ranger, Duelist or Shadow start. After 1.2.0 I'm leaning toward Ranger/Duelist for defensive reasons, although Shadow does start closer to a lot of useful nodes.

Remember, all of the build links are SUGGESTED builds, and you should always seek to tailor a build to your own play style, available gear and acceptable level of risk.

Your build should look similar to this (acro/block) or this (IR) around level 80, possibly with more HP and less damage nodes depending on your needs. The good thing about the build is it's almost completely keystone independent, so just take whatever nodes you need at whatever time you need them.

Other notes on keystones and routes:
- If you skip frenzy charges, you may have enough points to spec for ias/ipd to make up for losing the charges. (In that case, Blood Dance boots won't help you, fair warning.) It's an option.
- EB is viable if you find yourself lacking mana, though I prefer just picking up gear with +mana instead.
- CI is rather harder to play with, though definitely doable. Check the build list for guides specific to CI.
- VP is, well, the whole reason I use a Bloodseeker is to skip this keystone. In addition, it significantly cuts life leech. There are guides up which make use of it, if you want to look for them.
- It is possible to take Mind over Matter and use a BM gem for your primary skill. The increase in survivability from this setup is not to be underestimated, though it does cut into potential use of auras.

Bandit rewards
Normal: 40 HP (Oak)
Cruel: 18% IPD, 8% IAS or skill point (Oak, Kraityn or kill all, respectively)
Merciless: Endurance Charge, Frenzy Charge or skill point (Oak, Kraityn or kill all, respectively)

When in doubt, just take the skill point. It's fine.

First, get a Bloodseeker. If using VP, you may skip the Bloodseeker, but chaos resist on gear becomes absolutely necessary. (Or you can skip using Blood Rage.)

Stats to look out for on equipment:
Get a high physical damage claw as your first priority. This will be your offhand. Get two if you're using VP.
Naturally, you want as much of HP and resists as you can get.
Added mana and % mana regen are also good stats to look for, if you can get them in addition to the above.

Uniques good for the build:
- Bringer of Rain (7L with Blind, need I say more? Seriously, get this ASAP.)
- Carcass Jack (one can never get enough AoE radius)
- Death Rush and/or Ming's Heart. Both provide great chaos resist and damage, though with some drawbacks.
- Blood Dance or Darkray Vectors. The former provides more sustain than you actually need (unless VP), the latter provides a small amount of dodge chance.

This is not an exhaustive list. No way I can be bothered to go through the entire list. Instead, I recommend common sense.

Leveling up
Do whatever you like until you get access to your skill-of-choice. I'm kind of a fan of Molten Strike.

You should have absolutely no trouble until level 62 (Bloodseeker), barring desync, and even less trouble after that. It's a pretty fuss-free build even on mostly self-found items.

Walk right into them, or flicker right into them. Start attacking. If you appear to be desynced, hit flicker strike and see where that brings you, then start attacking again. Quickly, before you get killed.

Against bosses, use a granite flask if necessary and keep right on going. Possibly swap in a Lazhwar amulet for spellblock when necessary. Looking at you, Dominus.

Against Brutus, or anyone else with a 1HKO attack, use traps, Blind and a decoy totem or skeletotem. Or you could man mode melee kite him, which works fairly well but has literally zero margin of error. Or get more HP so that the attack does not 1HKO you. Problem solved.

Blacksmith knocks you back, sometimes interrupting your attacks; Blind, even more IAS or a decoy/skeleton totem fixes that real quick. He won't Leap Slam if you're standing right next to him already, so if you're careful you will never trigger chaos zombies. Which, by the way, it is entirely possible to straight-up kill even with -60% chaos resist.

The rest of the bosses? I guess you'll just have to figure that out for yourself. There's usually a viable strategy, though boss variety and difficulty have greatly increased since 1.0.0.

What's with the int nodes in passive tree?
Claws, and some gems, require int to equip. The build is pretty short of int nodes, going down toward duelist as it does. Feel free to meet your int requirements with gear instead.

Do you use a totem? If so, which one?
Not unless I'm facing a 1hko boss. I prefer that everything tries to attack me, that way they group up for easier killing.

Bloodseeker or VP?
Safer to work with a Bloodseeker, but you can get a lot more DPS with VP and a rare claw. VP is also a tad more expensive in terms of gear requirements. And of course it is much easier to find one Bloodseeker and one good rare on the market than it is to find two good rares. Since 1.1.0, I strongly recommend the Bloodseeker.

Why not crit?
From the other side of the fence, pre-1.1.0:
Xavyer wrote:
You ask/suggest me very often that this build with claws will lose a little damage and add a lot of leech aka survivability. Here's my answer for that:
By going claws you lose around 300% crit chance and 66% crit multiplier from dagger only nodes and dagger base bonuses. In other words with daggers you will have 90% chance do deal 10x damage, with claws you will have 60% chance to deal 6x Damage. Decide for yourself how 'insignificant' this is.
By doing that much damage with daggers i leech to FULL ES with EACH crit with only 10% leech that blood rage gives me. So there is no reason to have more leech. Claws do not have any positive sides for a crit build, you just lose dps.
While VP is not nearly as good as it was, and I believe a legitimate case can likely be made for going claws crit for the leech post-1.1.0, you'll have to figure out the passives yourself. Rest of this guide should still work fine though.

What gear are you using?
Slightly outdated, but a useful reference nonetheless

How's the build working out for you?
Any map any mod (pre-1.0.0) as long as it doesn't contain a 1hko boss; if it does, I have to actually do some prep work. I find it easier and safer than my ice shot ranger, and easily on par with my summoner in terms of absolute survivability. I can do double phys reflect on a vulnerability map, no problem. Character is currently level 84 and has been face-tanking 72+ maps with 680 armour (because I'm lazy and don't use end charges.) Also rolled one of these in Nemesis (duelist start this time) and it was extremely solid.

Armour, evasion and IR in 0.11.2
With ~350 dex from passive tree, a great deal of %evasion in this build actually comes from dex. It was very effectively converted to armour prior to this patch; afterward, not nearly so much. Essentially, the 0.11.1 build was able to get away with an incredible lack of survivability options because IR was just that powerful.

Personal math is as follows. I currently use a combination of armour and evasion equips for ~800 armour and ~1300 evasion in town, and about 90% increased evasion rating, mostly from dex. (4% per frenzy charge, woohoo?) Level 17 Grace grants 1195 evasion, so I have 3360 total when out of town. Therefore, I would choose between 800/3360 ar/ev and 2700/0 (down from 4200) when deciding whether IR is a good choice.

To offset this, I would take the duelist passives Steel Skin and Leather and Steel for total 80% increased armour, returning us (with IR) to the numbers we had in the previous patch and then some. Alternatively, I would add molten shell and/or enduring cry and immortal call to my list of utility skills, or start cursing with Warlord's Mark.

Actually, no, I wouldn't. As things stand, I have no trouble with most mobs anyway even without IR. What the IR change actually affects, for this build, is borderline cases: bosses hit a fair bit harder now, and some hits survivable in 0.11.1 are presumably not survivable in 0.11.2. Don't ask me which, I haven't met anything fitting that description yet.

In short: carry a granite flask, and enjoy getting hit only half the time.
List of relevant changes in 1.2.0
  • Added a new Strength/Intelligence skill - Herald of Ash: Channel fire through your hands, adding fire to your physical damage. If you kill an enemy with an attack, other enemies near them will be ignited for the overkill damage.
  • Added a new Dexterity/Intelligence skill - Herald of Ice: Channel ice through your hands, adding cold damage to spells and attacks. If you shatter an enemy, they explode and deal cold damage to enemies near them.
  • Added a new Dexterity skill - Poacher's Mark: A curse that reduces enemy evasion, grants you life and mana when you hit them, increases your flask charge gain and has a chance to grant you a Frenzy Charge when you kill them.
  • Player life per level has been increased from 8 to 12.
  • Blind now reduces hit chance by 50% rather than by 75%.
  • The mana cost of all skills has been revised.
  • Cyclone: This skill can no longer be supported by the Multistrike support gem.
  • Reave: The skill's base area has been increased by 17%. The area increase per stack has been reduced from 20% per stack to 15% per stack.
  • Viper Strike: This skill now adds 10% of physical damage as Chaos Damage and has a 50% chance to deal 175% of the attack's damage as chaos damage over seven seconds. The effect duration won't be refreshed by new attacks, but there is no limit to how many Viper Strike debuffs an enemy can have.
  • Clarity: The cast time of Clarity has been increased to 1.2 seconds to line up with other auras. The mana reservation of clarity has been increased and the mana regeneration rates adjusted.
  • Added Fire Damage: The mana multiplier has been reduced from 130% to 120%.
  • Chickens have been added to the Forest Encampment.

About the author
Kiri is a reroll addict with a penchant for big numbers, less popular skills, and building around specific items and playstyles.

Kiri is happy to take PMs and in-game questions, and will stream on request.
How to make a build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/510084
Current guides: N/A
Last edited by Kirielis on Aug 8, 2015, 7:19:45 AM
Build with VP by Rittz79
Hello fellow Clawusers!

I´ve been meaning to write a post here for quite some time, but Ive been busy playing ;)

I´ve been playing PoE since the release on Steam and have currently 400ish hours played on my character, hes atm lvl 87 and I´m currently doing lvl 73 maps with ease, hoping to get a decent pool of lvl 74 maps for further progress.

For me, using Blood Magic with my attack (dual strike) is doing wonders, I had alot of problems with mana earlier, especially during longer fights, even though I had 5% of the damage done returned as mana, aswell as some "increased mana regen" nodes.

Changing to Blood Magic made it possible for me to save up atleast 6 Passive Skill Points, aswell as being able to use 2 Auras (usually Hatred and Grace) without any hassle, Blood Magic is also really nice when getting Vaal Pact, which I did instead of getting the Bloodseeker claw, mainly because I Think it lack some dps, even though it´s probobly fully viable :P

The two most important things when I geared my character was getting enough resistances, I have 75% ress against Everything except for Lightning which I only have 70%, the other thing is to have atleast "47% Evasion" fully buffed so that I gain as much as I can from Ondars Guile, which is an awesome skill, making me almost immune to ranged attacks.

I´m also using the Eye of Chayula, simply because I really hate stuns, especially Stuns together with Desynch, it has ruined atleast 1 keyboard and 1 mouse for me ;) I probobly could get Alphas Howl instead of my current Helm aswell but I´m fine with getting rid of "Frozen" with my flasks for now.

When it comes to my Skill Gems, I´m using a lvl 1 Cast on Damage Taken, don´t know if its optimal, but it is better than using the lvl 20 version of the gem, using it at lvl 1 gives me pretty much a constant buff to 1215 armor, reducing damage taken with 12%, I could probobly tweak it up a bit but I don´t like to gamble with 20q gems :)

I´ve chosen to use a bit of armor/ eva gear, simply because I use alot of red skill gems, if I can avoid using thousands of Chromatic orbs on my gear, then that´s what I´m gonna do, fusing a 6 linked armor is enough of trouble, I don´t like the chances of getting an evasion chest with atleast 4 red slots..


When it comes to my skill tree, which is almost an identical copy of the Ops version of it, I would love to get rid of the Intelligence nodes, but I cant at the moment because it´s required while using Claws, my main goal has been to get as many of the "bigger" nodes to a lesser price than usual, not investing any Points at the bigger Groups of nodes.

The 8% increased mana node to the right of "Master of Arena" isnt really good for me, but it´s either that node or Golem Blood down South, which also doesnt benefit me at all unfortunatly.

Anyways, thanks alot to OP for the guide and the tips, it has helped me alot for one!
How to make a build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/510084
Current guides: N/A
Last edited by Kirielis on Dec 2, 2013, 10:35:00 PM

Some feedback:

* Under the build segment: core build-link is broken.

* Add a legend section for abbreviations. For instance, I don't think new players know what 1hko, MPD or AFD stand for.

Other than that: good job! Certainly looks interesting.

I'd be interested to see video footage from late game. :-)
IGN: lookaway, remurdered
Last edited by mmmonsterkill on Jul 16, 2013, 3:49:20 AM
Yes, the link is broken until I decide what I want to do with the melee cluster in ranger tree.

I'm happy to stream on request, as mentioned, but AFTER I get the character back up and running. 0.11.2 also reset his tree. Videos, I don't know, maybe I'll upload them to YT after streaming.

As for abbreviations...yeah, on it.

Also added a point as to why exactly multistrike is as good as it is, at least the way I play it. There's a very noticeable difference in ease of play.
How to make a build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/510084
Current guides: N/A
Last edited by Kirielis on Jul 16, 2013, 7:00:21 AM
Just one question why do you take frenzy charges if you dont use frenzy?
I use Blood Rage. Free frenzy charges and an extra 6% life leech for essentially zero cost.
How to make a build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/510084
Current guides: N/A

I am interested about your build ; i have a pretty similar build.

But i think, with the new evasion, your build could be great with a lot of evasion. With such build, you could evade a lot of hits and take all your life when you take a hit.

My shadow is only lvl 59 but i think that my build could give you some ideas for the build, as your build give me some ideas ;-)

As it happens, I did finish the respec eventually.

I feel that I do more damage than previously, I definitely have higher attack speed than before, I get hit less but the hits that do connect hit harder.

Will update first post tomorrow.
How to make a build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/510084
Current guides: N/A
I really see claws as inferrior to daggers but i must say OP do understand how to make a viable build, and that is a rare thing for the wolverines on this forum. :) This build will work, it is HP based witch makes it less gear dependant then CI. It does the same thing as CI dual dagger build, just kills slower. But it it less gear dependand and that is definately a plus.
Last edited by Xavyer on Jul 17, 2013, 7:03:02 AM
Yeah this build is very interesting, but i think that you need Vaal Pact no ?
It s very rare a build dual claws, without VP...

And i dont understand what are your defences ? armor ? eva ? both ? ES ? And why dont take the +12% all rez ?

I think full AS and HP is good to survive and make dmg as shadow, but have no skills on armor, ES or evasion, is it viable ?

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