Path of Exile: Legion Official Trailer and Developer Commentary
Path of Exile: Legion Official Trailer and Developer Commentary


  • The Duelist class excels in melee and ranged combat
  • This build easily transitions into a two-handed Slayer setup
  • Splitting Steel is an excellent ranged alternative to Perforate

The Duelist in "Path of Exile" is a hybrid Strength/Dexterity class that excels in melee and mid-range combat depending on the skills players decide to use.

There are tons of offensive and defensive options for the Duelist in the first few acts of "Path of Exile," but some of them do outperform the others in terms of raw damage output, utility and overall synergy with the nodes in the passive skill tree.

Here's one melee-oriented beginner's build that should be able to carry players up until Act 3.

Active Skills

This build will focus on stacking physical damage and effects like Bleed and Impale to easily ramp up DPS and set it up for a late-game Slayer or Gladiator setup.

This build will use Perforate with Blood and Sand for mob clearing and Dual Strike with either Maim or Bleed Support for single-target damage.

Perforate is great for the early game since it hits hard and fast over a relatively big area when Sand stance is active. Additionally, its Blood stance effect is great for dealing more damage to a tightly packed group of elites.

Complement these skills with Blood Rage, Leap Slam and Pride until Herald of Purity becomes available.

At Level 28, Perforate can be swapped out for Cyclone or Blade Storm.

Path of Exile - Cyclone
Cyclone deals excellent damage against big groups of enemies Path of Exile

Weapons and Armor

Ideally, players should look for two-handed swords, axes or hammers with bonuses to physical damage. This will let Sand Perforate one-shot trash mobs, which will make clearing faster and less troublesome.

Items with green/red socket links will be the best for the build as most of the required gems fall under these categories.

As for armor, stick with items that have high flat Armor values.


Take the red path and initial set of physical damage bonuses. Then, work towards the following nodes in order:

  • Destroyer
  • Merciless Skewering
  • Brinkmanship
  • Soul of Steel/Unwavering Stance

Soul of Steel is great for getting extra free survivability. Meanwhile, Unwavering Stance will let players tank through stun effects, but not other CC effects like freeze. Take the latter if enemy stuns become too problematic.

Feel free to spend points for attack speed and Dexterity. Otherwise, use the points to go to the Two-Handed Mastery branch.

Path of Exile - Phys Skill Tree
Duelist passive skills for a starter physical damage build in Path of Exile Path of Exile