Passive Skill Tree
Though there is typically not any vast amount of variance between melee skill trees, this build makes use of a few uncommon choices such as pathing towards and through Acrobatics. Instead of relying purely on Armour and Life Leech, this build takes a more evasion approach to defense, supported by vast amounts of Maximum Life and Life Leech.
Start out by picking up some Life and Physical Damage on the left side of the tree. This gives you a comfortable cushion of survivability that makes leveling feel like a breeze while snapping up enough damage to ensure you can roll over everything without any issues.
As you reach Part 2 and start progressing towards the latter Acts of the game, you will want to start grabbing up more defense and Life. By the time we reach Kitava in Act X you will want to have Acrobatics.
Once you have reached the end-game, the order of acquisition depends largely on whether you are league starting or whether you have currency available to you. Constitution should be a priority as you push through the 70s to add more survivability as you start maps.
If you have access to solid gear and weapons and want to really take your damage to the next level, you will want to immediately start snatching up as much Critical Strike and Multiplier on the tree as possible. Twin Terrors, Dismembering, Disembowling, and Heartseeker are some of the biggest possible damage upgrades if you have some Critical Strike to work with.
Vaal Pact can be acquired whenever you feel like you need it. If you do not have some Critical Strike or weapons to work with, grab up all the Impale nodes instead, as this is a great substitute.
Bladestorm is our main skill for both clearing and single target. This build dual wields 1-Handed Swords, as it is a Critical Strike stacking build, and therefore there is only one 6-Link to concern yourself with. Vaal Ancestral Warchief and Ancestral Warchief add millions of DPS each, and function perfectly well on a 4-Link.
Precision takes care of any accuracy issues, as Resolute Technique is not an option for a Critical Strike build. Blood and Sand is, of course, a necessity for Bladestorm to allow you to alternate between Sandstorm and Bloodstorm. For additional Impale chance and effect, we rely on Dread Banner. Flesh and Stone is also ideal for defense, and on single-target allows us to apply Maim Support for free. In fact, this aura is so strong in Blood Stance that the damage increase it provides (when supported by Maim Support) is almost exactly the same as a Level 20 Pride gem, at half the Mana investment.
This is our main skill for both single target and clear. There are plenty of gems that provide similar DPS values to those we recommend, however, we have found this to be the most stable setup with the highest quality of life.
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Close Combat Support
- Rage Support
- Ruthless Support
- Impale Support
There are a few other options that can also be added to the build, though they generally require white sockets applied by Vorici in order to be effectively used, as they only have niche value:
- Pulverise Support is one of the best gems for improving clear speed and experience per hour at the cost of single-target damage. A great choice to swap in if mapping is your only priority. If you do not mind gem-swapping, you can swap out Ruthless Support for this gem during clear to maximize speed.
- Concentrated Effect Support: Can be swapped in for Ruthless Support on bosses for a modest damage increase
- Multistrike Support: Has the highest potential damage increase but makes the skill very clunky and slows down mapping significantly. Can be swapped with Melee Physical Damage Support for bosses but is otherwise not recommended after the melee skills rework.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief 4-Link
This link to the Summon Ice Golem, as it adds needless Mana cost.
- Cast when Damage Taken Support (Level 10)
- Immortal Call (Level 12)
- Blood Rage
- Vaal Haste (damage) or Vaal Grace (stability)
Leap Slam 3-Link
This is our primary mobility skill and a means of procuring Fortify Support for added defense.