Act 1

Important

The class you pick at the beginning of the game determines which specialization (from here: Ascendancy class) you can choose later on. This build guide is designed for a Champion which is one of three possible Ascendancy classes you can choose as a Duelist class.

Level 01
Important

Once you start a new campaign, the game asks you if you want to hide all tutorials. I highly recommend not doing that if you are a new player since the tutorials will teach you a lot of basic stuff.

Level 01
Important

You either want to equip or sell blue or yellow items you don’t need to a vendor since you will get useful currency items by doing so (unlike in many other ARPGs where you just get gold). If you sell a magic or an identified rare item to a vendor, you will receive one or more Alteration Shards (20 Alteration Shards will transform into 1 Orb of Alteration). If you sell an unidentified rare item to a vendor, you will get one or more Transmutation Shards (20 Transmutation Shards will transform into 1 Orb of Transmutation). You will need several of those Orbs to buy gems during the campaign (but they will also drop from enemies). You can also buy some of them from vendors, but it’s not worth it most of the time during the campaign.

Level 02
Important

This is a highly recommended quality of life improvement. This way you won’t accidentally attack an enemy when you actually just want to move past him. This is a common reason why new players die.

Level 01
Important

There are a lot of currencies in Path of Exile and each of them has its own purpose. Going into details now, wouldn’t be helpful so just keep the following in mind: For the campaign and the first part of the endgame, you especially want to stockpile Orbs of Transmutation, Orbs of Alteration and Orbs of Chance. The preset loot filter highlights all named currencies (red color). Just make sure to pick them up.

Important

.. I recommend following this skill tree path which was explicitly designed to make the gaming experience as pleasant as possible for new players. That being said, it focuses more on survivability and comfort than damage, but the guide will elaborate on options to adjust the skill tree in order to be more damage centric later.

Level 02
Important

You get (G) Splitting Steel for completing the quest Enemy at the Gate.

Level 02
Important

If you’ve followed the tutorial notifications, you already should’ve placed (G) Double Strike into your weapon. Take it out and put in (G) Splitting Steel instead. I also recommend reading the description of the Splitting Steel gem to get an idea of how it functions.

Level 02
Important

You can increase the power of gems by connecting them with support gems. In order to connect two or more gems, they have to be placed in sockets of the same item whereby the respective sockets need to be connected (visibly indicated by a string between sockets). Connected gems/sockets are referred to as ‘linked’.

At this point, you have a weapon with two sockets [one (G) green socket and one (R) red socket] and one link. This is where you want to put both your (G) Splitting Steel and (R) Chance to Bleed Support (if you’ve followed the tutorial help notifications, you already should’ve placed Chance to Bleed Support into your weapon).

Level 02
Important

You can do this by left-clicking on your skills in your bottom right skill bar and choosing the respective option (at the top). If you don’t do this, the skill will be used where your cursor is at that specific moment. As a result, it often happens that you move to the position of the cursor instead of attacking monsters. In order to prevent that from happening, activate ‘Always Attack Without Moving”. This is basically recommended for almost all skills you use in this build, but (G) Dash (if you activate this for Dash you will dash backwards instead of forwards).

Level 02
Important

What does G-G-R mean? It indicates an item with two (G) green sockets and one (R) red socket which are all linked. If no 3-linked G-G-R item drops, just occasionally check the vendor in town. The preset loot filter also highlights G-G-R items (red color).

Level 04
Important

You get a Quicksilver Flask for completing the quest Mercy Mission. This flask allows you to move faster and should be an integral part of your flask setup for pretty much any build.

Level 04
Important

You get (G) Onslaught Support for completing the quest Mercy Mission.

Level 04
Important

If you don’t have a 3-link item yet, just level it in your second weapon set until you can do so.If you don’t have a second weapon set yet, just put the next weapon you find in there. You can select the weapon set by clicking on the II on the top of your inventory.

Level 04
Important

Use (R) Ancestral Protector as soon as possible. Otherwise just level it in your second weapon set until you can do so. You get this gem for completing the quest Breaking Some Eggs.

Level 04
Important

You get (G) Dash for completing the quest Breaking Some Eggs. Use this gem for better movement as soon as possible. Otherwise just level it in your second weapon set until you can do so.

Level 04
Important

You can buy (R) War Banner from Nessa in Lioneye’s Watch after completing the quest Breaking Some Eggs. Use this gem as soon as possible. It’s an aura, therefore you have to activate it once (you don’t have to use the active part of this gem).

Level 08
Important

You get (R) Maim Support for completing the quest The Caged Brute (Part 1).

Level 08
Important

Link (R) Maim Support with (R) Ancestral Protector as soon as possible. Otherwise just level it in your second weapon set until you can do so.

Level 10
Important

You get (G) Vitality for completing the quest The Caged Brute (Part 2).

Level 12
Important

You get (G) Shattering Steel for completing the quest The Siren’s Cadence.

Level 12
Important

(G) Shattering Steel is your new main skill for the time being.

Level 12
Important

You can buy (R) Steelskin from Nessa in Lioneye’s Watch after completing the quest Breaking Some Eggs. Use this gem as soon as possible. Make sure to set this skill as your default left click (to autocast it).

Level 01
Optional

For now, this is optional. You can do this later as well. Trials of Ascendancy are mazes within specific areas of the campaign – in this case, The Lower Prison.

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