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Impaling Cyclone Champion Duelist build

Impaling Cyclone Champion Duelist build

Swift Melee build with just ABSURD DPS

Impaling Cyclone
Champion/Duelist Starter build

Updated for Patch 3.8

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Guide notes
September 11, 2019
-Updated for Patch 3.8


With the 3.7 Update, Cyclone became the single-best skill in Path of Exile. It deals insane damage nearly with every character class and setup, has wide area coverage and amazing clearing speed. This Champion build revolves around Impale mechanics, which even further increases your damage, and with very high Hit frequency that Cyclone offers, you stack Impale within seconds. This build is one of the best Boss-slayers we have ever played, with all of them melting in seconds including Shaper and his Guardians. On top of that, this build requires no specific items, and with the Impale bonuses, your damage is high enough to make this one of the most powerful Starter builds for both regular and SSF modes.

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1. Gameplay

This is one of the most versatile and mobile builds we have ever played. You can swiftly travel with Whirling Blades between packs, and everything dies as soon as your press your Cyclone button. You have plenty of buffs including Dread Banner, Blood Rage, Ancestral Warchief, Vaal Haste, but even the toughest Bosses will die in seconds if you totally forget about them. For the defenses, you should make sure to have your Fortify buff at all times and avoid big damage spikes from Bosses. 

This build also utilizes the Impale mechanic, which saves a portion of the Physical Damage you deal, and has it added to your next Attacks against the same target. This provides approximately 140% MORE damage against affected enemies if they have the maximum number of Impale stacks on them. The DPS levels go beyond absurd in this build.

0:06 Tier 16 Hydra Guardian
0:26 Tier 15 Academy
0:41 Tier 15 Sunken City
1:05 Tier 16 Chimera Guardian
1:30 Shaper

The video was recorded on a level 88 Champion wearing Starkonja's Head and Bronn's Lithe. We also had two Rare Jewelled Foils with 370 Physical DPS each. This video was recorded in Patch 3.7, however, the gameplay hasn't changed at all since then

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • ABSURD DPS going up to over 10,000,000 effective Shaper DPS if you calculate Impale and Close Combat Support Gem
  • everything melts in seconds
  • extremely mobile build which uses Whirling Blades with greatly increased speed
  • one of the most satisfying Melee builds out there
  • great for a League Starter
  • can't do Physical Reflect Maps
  • can't do No Leech Maps unless you find a different reliable way to regenerate Mana


3. Leveling tips

With the buffs to Melee skills in Patch 3.7, leveling a Duelist/Champion is a piece of cake. On lower levels, you can use any AoE Attack that can be used with Swords, and switch over to Cyclone at level 28 for massive DPS buff and better AoE. Your primary goal should be to get:

  1. High base Physical DPS One-handed Swords
  2. Rare Rings/Gloves/Amulet with Life and added Physical Damage to Attacks bonuses
  3. Movement Speed bonus on Boots and possibly some of the following Unique Items: Foxshade, Daresso's Salute, Coward's Chains, Peregrine, Chitus' Needle
  4. Life and Elemental Resistances on all other gear slots (preferably Rare ones)

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Cleave setup
Cleave Cleave - one of the first Melee attacks available in Path of Exile. It deals decent Area Damage and has a wide AoE
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - increases the Physical Melee Damage you deal with supported skills
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support - increases the damage of every third Hit with Cleave
Maim Support Maim Support - this Gem will increase your damage and Maims enemies on Hit increasing Physical Damage they take and slowing them down
Bladestorm setup
Cyclone Cyclone - primary skill used in this build. It's a Channelled/AoE attack which deals Absurd damage with the correct setup and gear
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Impale Support Impale Support - grants a higher chance to Impale enemies, and its effectiveness
Close Combat Support Close Combat Support - grants high bonus damage as well as increases your Attack Speed with other Movement Skill for a short duration
Utility Gems
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - summons a Totem which increases your Melee Damage
Punishment Punishment - recommended Curse for this build
Whirling Blades Whirling Blades - the recommended Movement Skill which has very high Attack/Travel Speed
Blood and Sand Blood and Sand - a newly added skill which allows you to choose between Blood and Sand stance. Sand Stance increases your Area of Effect, making it perfect for the leveling phase
Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone - grants extra effects based on your active Stance


It's recommended to kill all the Bandits for two extra Passive Points or help Alira for extra Crit. Multiplier and Resistances

Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Art of the Gladiator 2) Master of the Arena 3) Dervish 4) Dismembering 5) Bloodless

62 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Swift Skewering 2) Blade of Cunning 3) Charging Offensive 4) Fatal Blade

Recommended leveling items:

BlackheartBlackheart - great physical DPS leveling rings. Available as soon as level one will grant you amazing DPS bonuses
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
5% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to 3 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(2-4) Life Regenerated per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
Meginord's GirdleMeginord's Girdle - powerful belt, giving a lot of flat physical damage attacks which scales extremely good with %increased damage from Blade Flurry channeling stages
+(25-35) to Strength
Adds 5 to 15 Physical Damage to Attacks
+25 to Strength
10% increased maximum Life
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
25% increased Flask Life Recovery rate

RedbeakRedbeak - first sword we suggest to use, you can start using since level 1

Physical Damage: 10.2–27.2
Critical Strike Chance: 5.00%
Attacks per Second: 1.59
40% increased Accuracy Rating
100% increased Damage when on Low Life
50% increased Physical Damage
Adds 2 to 6 Physical Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
+(20-30) to maximum Life
+2 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks

Lakishu’s BladeLakishu’s Blade - has very high Physical DPS and you can socket your Ancestral Warchief in here for the extra Support Gem

Physical Damage: (45 to 56)–(77.4 to 94)
Critical Strike Chance: 5.00%
Attacks per Second: (1.65 to 1.72)
+190 to Accuracy Rating
(60-80)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (5-8) to (10-14) Physical Damage
(10-15)% increased Attack Speed
(40-30)% reduced Stun and Block Recovery
20% chance to Avoid being Stunned
Socketed Gems are supported by Level 1 Multistrike

Daresso's SaluteDaresso's Salute - grants increased Melee Range and Movement Speed making it an exceptional leveling Amulet

+(16-24) to Strength and Dexterity
50% reduced maximum Energy Shield
+(30-40)% to Fire Resistance
+(30-40)% to Cold Resistance
10% increased Movement Speed when on Full Life
+2 to Melee Weapon and Unarmed Attack range
60% increased Melee Damage when on Full Life

FoxshadeFoxshade - my personal favorite leveling Armour for all Physical/Attack builds. It grants extra damage and Movement Speed

Adds 5 to 12 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+500 to Evasion Rating while on Full Life
(50-70)% increased Evasion Rating
10% increased Movement Speed


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

113 Points Final Skill Tree
113 Points Path of Building(PoB) link 

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Master of Metal
  2. Conqueror
  3. Worthy Foe
  4. Inspirational


Major God: Soul of Solaris 6% Physical Damage Reduction if there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50%  less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Cyclone setup
Cyclone Cyclone - your primary DPS skill used in this build. It's a Channelled/AoE Attack which deals absurd amounts of damage to all enemies near you
Brutality Support Brutality Support - grants very high bonus Physical Damage, but you can't deal non-Physical Damage with Supported Skills
Impale Support Melee Physical Damage Support - one of the core Support Gems for all Melee/Physical Attacks
Close Combat Support Close Combat Support - grants very high bonus damage based on proximity and increases Attack Speed of your other Movement Skills which greatly increases your mobility
Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support - on top of very high bonus Damage with Channelled Skills, you get additional damage reduction buffs
Impale Support Impale Support - increases your Chance to Impale and increases its effectiveness
Pride Pride - makes affected enemies receive much more Physical Damage
Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone - grants additional effects based on your active Stance
Maim Support Maim Support - increases Physical Damage taken by enemies Maimed by Flesh and Stone
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by Supported Skills
[MOBILITY] Whirling Blades
Whirling Blades Whirling Blades - one of the fastest Movements Skill in PoE which we use to quickly progress through Maps
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Fortify Support Fortify Support - Melee Hits with Whirling Blades will grant Fortify buff
Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support - makes Whirling Blades cost Life instead of Mana
[UTILITY] Golem/Phasing/Curse
CwDT Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast all Supported Spells after you take a certain amount of damage. Use level 11 of this Gem
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Attack and Cast Speed. Use a level 13 Gem
Punishment Punishment - recommended Curse for this build which increases your Melee Physical Damage and Attack Speed against Cursed enemies. Don't upgrade it above the level 14
Phase Run Phase Run - grants Phasing which increases your Movement Speed, and when you take any action while its' active, you will have your Melee Damage increased for a short duration. Do not upgrade above level 13
[UTILITY] Ancestral Warchief
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - summons a Totem which increases your Melee Damage while active
[UTILITY] Dread Banner
Dread Banner Dread Banner - increases your chance to Impale on Hit and its' effectiveness. Also reduces Accuracy Rating of nearby enemies
[UTILITY] Blood Rage
Blood Rage Blood Rage - grants increased Attack Speed, Life Leech, and generates Frenzy Charges
[UTILITY] Blood and Sand
Blood and Sand Blood and Sand - allows switching between Blood and Sand Stance. Sand Stance is best for farming/leveling and Blood grants extra DPS against Bosses
[UTILITY] Vaal Haste
Vaal Haste Vaal Haste - grants increased Attack, Cast, and Movement Speed for a brief duration

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended gear for this build. Keep in mind that it's a very flexible setup, you could possibly do it with Maces, Axes, or even Unarmed (with Facebreaker), however, this guide will not cover those variations. All the listed equipment can be replaced with random Rares with similar stats, which makes it a very decent Starter build as well.

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Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully
  3. Save you at least a couple of hours on planning your build!

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Physical Damage
  4. Critical Strike Multiplier & Critical Strike Chance
  5. Attack Speed
Starkonja's Head(Helmet) Starkonja's Head - very solid Helmet with a great defensive utility
50% reduced Damage when on Low Life
+(50-70) to Dexterity
10% increased Attack Speed
25% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
(100-130)% increased Evasion Rating
+(80-100) to maximum Life
150% increased Global Evasion Rating when on Low Life
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - always a decent pick. Will not give you as much DPS bonus as Starkonja's but you can get some extra Elemental Resistances from a Rare Helmet
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
25% Fire Resistance
25% Cold Resistance
25% Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies take #% increased Physical Damage(Fossil Mod)
Helmet enchantment:
40% increased Cyclone Damage
15% increased Cyclone Attack Speed
Jewelled Foil(Weapon) Rare One-Handed Sword  - Jewelled Foils should be your primary choice since they add extra Crit. Multiplier as their Implicit modifier
Min. requirements:
360 Physical DPS
1.75 Attack Speed
Optional affixes:
Increased Critical Strike Multiplier
Increased Critical Strike Chance
Bronn's Lithe(Body Armour) Bronn's Lithe - the best in the slot. It grants insane bonuses to Cyclone's Damage and your Attack/Movement Speed
+2 to Level of Socketed Movement Gems
10% increased Attack Speed
(35-50)% increased Damage with Movement Skills
(200-250)% increased Evasion Rating
10% increased Movement Speed
15% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've used a Movement Skill Recently
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - just standard stats here - Life, Elemental Resistances, possibly high Armour Rating
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
20% Fire Resistance
20% Lightning Resistance
20% Cold Resistance
Optional affixes:
Attacks have +# to Critical Strike Chance (Elder Armour)
Belly of the Beast(Body Armour) Belly of the Beast - always a decent pick if you want to increase your Life Pool
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
(150-200)% increased Armour
(30-40)% increased maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Extra gore
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - get pair with the highest maximum bonuses you can afford
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
35% Fire Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
35% Cold Resistance
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise - primarily focus on defensive stats; Life and Resistances, but extra crafted bonus Damage would also be nice
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
30% Fire Resistance
30% Lightning Resistance
30% Cold Resistance
Optional affixes:
increased Damage (Crafting Bench)
Belt of the Deceiver(Belt) Belt of the Deceiver - very solid and well-rounded option for the Belt Slot. The Intimidate is surprisingly good versus end-game Bosses
(25-35) to Strength
(15-25)% increased Physical Damage
You take 30% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
+(30-40) to maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
Nearby Enemies are Intimidated
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet 
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
60 Intelligence
Adds min. 11 Physical Damage to Attacks
30% increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Steel Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - with Steel Rings being the best Ring-base for this build. Make sure to cap your Resistances with those, and possibly get missing Intelligence for your Support Gems
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
30 Intelligence
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Spiked Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - defensive stats mainly. If you get a hold of Spiked Gloves with added Physical Damage to Attacks, then have more than enough
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
added Physical Damage to Attacks
Melee Damage (Spiked Gloves)
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
Physical/Melee/Area Damage
increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
increased Attack Speed
Murderous Eye Jewel(Jewels) Murderous Eye Jewel - same as regular Jewels, you can try checking up PoB for your personal stats, and verify whether it's better to get an Abyssal Jewel or a regular one
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
added Physical Damage to Attacks/Sword Attacks
increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Lion's Roar(Flask) Lion's Roar - grants very high bonus Melee Damage and Armour Rating
+3000 to Armour
(14-20)% Chance to Block during Flask effect
(6-10)% Chance to Block Spells during Flask effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Ample Diamond Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  3. Experimenter's Silver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
  4. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Lion's RoarLife FlaskDiamond FlaskSilver FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.