The Cleave Ascendant Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

15


Introduction

With the death of stat-sticks in Patch 3.5, people are forced to play “true” dual-wielding builds. Cleave Cleave is one of the best skills for this purpose. Attacking with two fast Swords allows us to build around critical strikes. Swords are chosen because they are arguably the best one-handed weapon when it comes to critical strike-based builds. Ascendant’s over leech from Slayer and the additional toughness and damage from Juggernaut make a great combination. This is one of the builds that does not require specific items and can be played as a league starter.

Build Summary

The great thing about Cleave Cleave is that you can use it since level 1. Combining the damage from two rare one-handed weapons will carry you through the content, as long as you replace weapons every 5-10 levels. The threshold jewel is a reward from The Act V quest, has a limit of 2, and is very useful. It basically provides free Fortify effect and increases the area of effect by a considerable amount. When it comes to mapping, two Scaeva Scaeva, Ahn's Might Ahn's Might, Dreadbeak Dreadbeak, or any rare Swords with at least 300 pDPS will carry you until red maps with ease.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great clear speed
+ Can be played on a budget
+ Amazing endgame scaling with gear
+ Cleave also has very respectable single target damage
+ Great survivability via over leech mechanic and great life pool

Cons

- Dies to elemental reflect
- Melee builds might not appeal to some

Playstyle

Offensively, keeping up Blood Rage Blood Rage is important. Moving around with Whirling Blades Whirling Blades and one-shotting packs of monsters with single Cleave Cleave multistrike is what the offensive playstyle is all about. Big chucks of cold criticals, due to the fact you are using Hatred Hatred, will shatter and freeze enemies. Keeping Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem alive is nice for the additional accuracy and critical chance.

Defensively, the over leech mechanic remains unchanged. Due to how powerful it can be defensively, we focus on building a huge life pool while also having enough damage to instantly leech it. The additional endurance charge generation from Juggernaut will give us 2-3 seconds of physical damage immunity via the Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support and Immortal Call Immortal Call gem setup.

For Playstyle, entering a new zone you have to keep in mind that you cannot regenerate life. Hit few monsters in order to store some over leech before you activate Blood Rage. Once you’ve got you leech up, you are ready to go aggressive, single multistrike of should be enough to kill a pack of monsters. For additional single target damage you should drop down your charged Dread Banner Dread Banner and an Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief totem. You should use Whirling Blades all the time, due to your high attack speed this is more efficient than running around for mobility.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Scion – Ascendant)

  1. Passive point
  2. Slayer Ascendancy
  3. Juggernaut Ascendancy
  4. Path of the Marauder

Heading to Duelist is the first thing we have to do. Keep in mind that all you get is a passive skill point so you can skip normal labyrinth early on and do it right before you are ready for the cruel difficulty. Ascending into Slayer allows us to start benefiting from the over leech mechanics. It also makes us immune to physical reflect and gives some area of effect. The Juggernaut provides stun and chill immunity, along with the Endurance Charge generation. The 1000 Accuracy Rating makes the transition to critical strikes very easy. Path of the Marauder allows us to start from the Marauder’s starting point on the passive skill tree which saves us some passive points.

Passive tree

Pick all the sword/one-handed/dual-wielding nodes before you start transitioning to critical strikes. Having around 4k life is what you should aim for by the end of Act 10 (level 68+). If you do not have that amount of life simply pick up some more life nodes on the passive skill tree.

This is an endgame version of the passive skill tree.

Note: For leveling passive skill trees prior to this one check out the leveling section of the build.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The critical multiplier and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Arakaali is a solid Major Pantheon choice, others can also be used based on personal preference.

Minor: Ralakesh makes you immune to blind and maim when upgraded; in general this is the best minor god choice.

Gems

The build’s main skill is Cleave Cleave. For mobility Whirling Blades Whirling Blades is the ideal choice, due to the build’s fast attack speed. Blood Rage Blood Rage is used for the additional attack speed and leech it provides, along with the very handy Frenzy charge generation mechanic. Both Hatred Hatred and Herald of Purity Herald of Purity should be active at all times for the great amount of damage they provide. Dread Banner Dread Banner allows you to utilize the Impale mechanic for additional damage.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Cleave (6-Link)

Cleave Cleave is the build’s signature ability. We recommend one 6-Link that works well for both clearing or single target purposes.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  5. Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
  6. Pulverise

Whirling Blades (3-Link)

Whirling Blades Whirling Blades will let you move around quickly, due to your fast attack speed.

  1. Whirling Blades Whirling Blades
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support

Immortal Call and Enfeeble (4-Link)

Both Immortal Call Immortal Call and Enfeeble Enfeeble will provide additional layers of defence to the build when triggered by Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support. All of the three gems mentioned above should be kept at level requirement of 40, while Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support can be levelled up to level 20.

  1. Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support
  2. Immortal Call Immortal Call
  3. Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
  4. Enfeeble Enfeeble

Hatred and Herald of Purity

Hatred Hatred is an aura that grants percent of physical damage as extra cold damage. Herald of Purity Herald of Purity is used for the additional flat amount of physical damage it adds to attacks. Both gems should not be linked with any support gems.

Blood Rage

Blood Rage Blood Rage adds great offensive benefits to most attack builds. The downside of the gem is the physical degeneration effect, which is easily countered by the over leech mechanic, which you have by ascending into Slayer.

War Banner

This banner should be active while clearing easy packs of monsters. Drop War Banner War Banner on the ground for the Adrenaline buff effect when fighting tougher foes, then press the banner button to pick it up and have it active again. This banner should not be linked with any support gems.

Other gems

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief can be used for the additional more damage multiplier if you have free sockets for it. Enduring Cry Enduring Cry provides additional defence when needed. Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem is useful for the additional Critical Chance and Accuracy Rating. The Precision aura can also be considered a viable mana reservation option.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. For survivability you should have gear with more life in general, along with levels in order to scale your life-pool through the life nodes on the passive skill tree. You should be able to reach 7,5k+ life when properly geared around level 90.

Helmet

Abyssus Abyssus provides an insane amount of damage but makes you very squishy. Other unique helmets are not really worth considering. Best helmet choice overall is a well rolled high armour-base. Any Cleave Cleave helmet enchant is useful, but the attack speed is best of all. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. # to Intelligence
  5. # to Armour

Body armour

Loreweave Loreweave and Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast are both great choices. An Elder chest piece with additional critical strike chance and life is also a very good option. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (100)
  3. % Increased Maximum life (Elder mod, Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. Attacks have #% to critical strike chance (Elder mod, can only roll on Elder-based Body Armours)
  5. Socketed Gems are supported by Level 1 Maim (Serrated Fossil Serrated Fossil)

Gloves

Tombfist Tombfist work well for the build, Haemophilia Haemophilia can be used for clear speed improvement. If you are struggling with your critical chance, Oskarm Oskarm is a great choice. Very good rare Gripped Gloves should be the best in slot when it comes to this gear slot. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. % Increased Attack speed
  4. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks
  5. # to Accuracy (at least 200-250)

Boots

Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots is best in slot. Try to enchant them with 16% attack speed if you have killed recently. Prior to these, use rare boots with life and resists. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % increased Movement speed (optional)

Belt

Rare belt is best in slot for the build, look for Stygian Vise Stygian Vise if possible. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills (at least 25%)

Amulet

Carnage Heart Carnage Heart is a decent choice while you are progressing with gear. It gets outclassed by a well rolled rare amulet. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks
  4. % increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills (at least 25%)
  5. % to Global Critical Multiplier
  6. % Increased Critical Strike Chance
  7. # to Accuracy (at least 250)

Rings

Resists should not be a problem, this is why the best choice is Steel Rings. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Adds # to # Physical damage to Attacks
  4. % increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills (at least 25%)
  5. # to Accuracy (at least 250)

Weapons

Use Scaeva Scaeva , Dreadbeak Dreadbeak and Ahn's Might Ahn's Might until you manage to buy or craft decent rapiers with at least 300 pDPS.

Flasks

Instant or half instant Life flask is mandatory for the build. Diamond flask is also mandatory in order to improve critical chance substantially. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise , Lion's Roar Lion's Roar and Taste of Hate Taste of Hate are all great choices both in offensive and defensive aspects. Basalt flask or any other utility flask is a good choice.

Note: Make sure to have bleed and freeze immunity on your non-unique flasks.

Jewels

Overwhelming Odds Overwhelming Odds is mandatory for the build. Make sure to place jewel in a slots where it has at least 40 Strength in the radius. This Strength does not have to be allocated!

In other jewel slots it is recommended to have abyssal jewels with chance to gain Onslaught and Unholy Might on kill. Regular rare jewels are also very beneficial for the build. Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Hatred Hatred mods will substantially increase damage but will cost multiple exalts.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum life
  2. % increased Attack speed
  3. % increased Physical damage with swords/ while dual wielding
  4. % increased Area damage
  5. % to Global Critical multiplier

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum life (at least 35)
  2. % Chance to gain Onslaught on kill (at least 4%)
  3. % Chance to gain Unholy Might on kill
  4. % increased Attack speed

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Leveling as Cleave Cleave is easy. Keep in mind that the gem gains radius with gem levels, so in the beginning the area of effect will be much smaller compared to the endgame. You can always level with some other skill and switch to Cleave later on if you want to.

Leveling Trees

Early on, focus on having around 300 life per Act. For example, if you are in Act 6, you should have approximately 1800 life. If you have enough life, simply pick up some more damage nodes nearby.

Early passive tree.

First head to Marauder and pick all the life and damage nodes, then go through the Duelist area and get the leech nodes before you have the Slayer Ascendancy.

You should transition to critical around level 70-75.

Useful leveling unique items

As you begin a new character there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Redbeak Redbeak and The Screaming Eagle The Screaming Eagle provide great amount of damage which can easily carry you up to Act IV.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

At level 4, pick Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector in order to improve single target damage output.

By level 8 your Cleave Cleave link should look like this:

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Maim Support Maim Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  5. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

At level 10, you can pick Leap Slam Leap Slam, which at this point is more useful than Whirling Blades Whirling Blades, since you do not have enough attack speed yet.

At level 16, you should add Herald of Purity Herald of Purity.

By level 18 your Cleave Cleave gem setup should look like this:

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  4. Maim Support Maim Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

At level 24, you should add Hatred Hatred for additional damage.

At level 28, replace Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector with Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief for additional damage output. If you have the links you can have the following gem setup for it.

  1. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  4. Maim Support Maim Support

At level 38, your Cleave Cleave link should look like this. Keep in mind this is a leveling gem setup that is meant to give most damage while leveling and should be replaced by the superior endgame gem setup mentioned in the Gem section above.

  1. Cleave Cleave
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  4. Maim Support Maim Support
  5. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  6. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support

FAQ

The build has no life regeneration, what do I do when I try to run Labyrinths?

When running Labyrinths you can simply on an Orb of Regret Orb of Regret and take out Vaal Pact. Once you are done with the Labyrinth you can put it back in.

How much Critical Chance is needed for a build to be relevant?

In every critical-based build anything above than 35% is considered enough. Remember that you also roll this chance twice with your Diamond Flask.

Conclusion

The Cleave Ascendant is a pretty straight forward build, easy to get into. If you have played any Blade Flurry Blade Flurry or Reave Reave Ascendant before, this is a pretty similar build, but definitely more powerful now. This is because of the changes made to stat-sticks. The Cleave Ascendant is overall very solid, durable and versatile build, that can start from scratch and farm its way up to absolute endgame. It also does not lack in any type of content.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build remains as before since it was not affected by any changes.

  •   

    Revisited the whole build guide and updated Passive trees and Gem sections.

  •   

    Improved Gem and Gearing sections.

  •   

    Updated passive trees.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.

  •   

    Made the playstyle section more descriptive, and improved the gearing section by providing more detailed recommendations.

  •   

    Reworked Gem Link and Gem Progression sections for improved visibility.

  •   

    Released Cleave Ascendant guide

5
  1. Posts
    2

    Having fun leveling my first Scion. Please post a Path of Building link for gem links and CWDT setup.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    Glad to hear you are having fun, all the information you need about gems is in the 5.Gems section. For CWDT specifically, take a look at 5.3.

  3. Posts
    2

    On 20/01/2019 at 6:27 PM, Vvckd said
    Glad to hear you are having fun, all the information you need about gems is in the 5.Gems section. For CWDT specifically, take a look at 5.3.

    What about Blood Rage and the support links?

  4. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    You do not need any support gems for Blood Rage Blood Rage. It should be just socketed in a piece of gear.

  5. Posts
    4

    hey. this build looks fun, going to try it:) leveling as i speak, i had most of the items listed here in my stash, exept loreweave / belly, so i’ll use my tabula until i can afford any of those chest pieces:)

  6. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    On 14/05/2019 at 2:02 AM, Maldrog666 said

    hey. this build looks fun, going to try it:) leveling as i speak, i had most of the items listed here in my stash, exept loreweave / belly, so i’ll use my tabula until i can afford any of those chest pieces:)

    Sounds good, GL & HF

    Edited by Vvckd on May 14th, 2019

  7. Posts
    2

    In theory, would Atziri’s Promise work really well with Sin’s Rebirth? (And the build in general?)

    Also, why Kaom’s Roots? I feel like Unwavering Stance mitigates Enfeeble a little bit and also i dont like the sound of not being able to evade attacks :P

    I also wondered why you didn’t go for Razor’s Edge in the Passive tree?

    sorry for all the questions :P I’m loving the build and doing a lot of mapping, which i’ve never done before, I even did Atziri for the first time and even without dying. Thanks for creating such a great guide!

  8. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    On 04/06/2019 at 5:26 AM, kathhound said

    In theory, would Atziri’s Promise work really well with Sin’s Rebirth? (And the build in general?)

    Also, why Kaom’s Roots? I feel like Unwavering Stance mitigates Enfeeble a little bit and also i dont like the sound of not being able to evade attacks :P

    I also wondered why you didn’t go for Razor’s Edge in the Passive tree?

    sorry for all the questions :P I’m loving the build and doing a lot of mapping, which i’ve never done before, I even did Atziri for the first time and even without dying. Thanks for creating such a great guide!

    Hey, both flasks you’ve mentioned are beneficial for the build. Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots give you the very important Stun and Freeze immunity, which can be Life saving considering the character is melee. Razor’s Edge is fine, but not as point-efficient as other nodes, you can pick it if you want to. Glad to hear you are having fun, thanks for the kind feedback.

  9. Posts
    2

    Hey, love the guide thanks.

    Just saw something that I think you might have missed, in the 3.7 patch notes it says:“Overwhelming Odds: No longer grants increased Area of Effect for Cleave based on the number of nearby enemies, and now grants +1 to Cleave’s radius for each nearby enemy, up to +10. This jewel is now limited to 1.”

    But the guide still says that you need 2 overwhelming odds jewels. Is there any other unique jewel that I should replace it with or just go for a well stated rare?

  10. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    On 18/06/2019 at 12:29 AM, Keadon said

    Hey, love the guide thanks.

    Just saw something that I think you might have missed, in the 3.7 patch notes it says:“Overwhelming Odds: No longer grants increased Area of Effect for Cleave based on the number of nearby enemies, and now grants +1 to Cleave’s radius for each nearby enemy, up to +10. This jewel is now limited to 1.”

    But the guide still says that you need 2 overwhelming odds jewels. Is there any other unique jewel that I should replace it with or just go for a well stated rare?

    Fixing that shortly thank you.

  11. Posts
    1

    just hit level 38, was about to start setting up the four linked gems, just realized….. you recommend kaoms roots. no gem slots. I happen to be using a 4-link boots for ancestral warchief right now, and a tabula for the 6 link cleave, but how in the world are we going to have a 6 link cleave, 4 link warchief, and 4 link cast when damage taken setup all at once like you recommend?

    Tombfist has abbysal sockets… am I missing some obvious way to stick all of these gems in my gear?

    Edited by ededd on June 28th, 2019

  12. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    On 28/06/2019 at 7:23 PM, ededd said

    just hit level 38, was about to start setting up the four linked gems, just realized….. you recommend kaoms roots. no gem slots. I happen to be using a 4-link boots for ancestral warchief right now, and a tabula for the 6 link cleave, but how in the world are we going to have a 6 link cleave, 4 link warchief, and 4 link cast when damage taken setup all at once like you recommend?

    Tombfist has abbysal sockets… am I missing some obvious way to stick all of these gems in my gear?

    Hey, these are just recommended links, not mandatory ones. Having your Cleave on a 6-Link is essential, everything else is customizable, you can have your totem setup in your Helmet and you can drop CWDT’s Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support and run it on a 3-Link in one of your weapons. You can also use rare boots instead of Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots.

  13. Posts
    2

    Hi, I’m a little confused about how the scion acendency works. How can u get
    Passive point
    Slayer Ascendancy
    Juggernaut Ascendancy
    Path of the Marauder
    wouldn’t that be 5 acendency because u would have to get the passive skill on marauder first? So it would be 1. passive 2. slayer 3. passive 4. juggernaut 5. path of marauder ?

  14. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    608

    On 26/07/2019 at 11:28 PM, Kalani said

    Hi, I’m a little confused about how the scion acendency works. How can u get
    Passive point
    Slayer Ascendancy
    Juggernaut Ascendancy
    Path of the Marauder
    wouldn’t that be 5 acendency because u would have to get the passive skill on marauder first? So it would be 1. passive 2. slayer 3. passive 4. juggernaut 5. path of marauder ?

    Normal lab – 20 str/dex + passive point
    Cruel lab – Slayer + 40str
    Merciless lab – passive point + Juggernaut
    Uber lab – passive point + Path of the Marauder

  15. Posts
    2

    Oh I see, so, getting the slayer doesn’t cost 2 points. Thanks.

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