[] The Melee King - maximum damage DW pierce Cadence Blademaster (sub 5 min Crucible, SR75-76)

When you see the throne of melee you can tell it belongs to pierce

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I like melee, and pierce is currently the strongest dmg type for close combat. Naturally, i wanted to make a strong pierce dual-wield build (i already have a 2H one).

The only problem is there is an obvious king of pierce DW - Belgothian set. So we can either follow the king or try to dethrone it.

Belgo Blademaster is a classic and it was minmaxed to the limit. It leaves small room to be creative as it takes up two vital slots for creativity and forces to use it’s ridiculously overpowered autoattack in conjunction with Blademaster’s WPS for huge attack multipliers.

Ok now, we wont go the easy way. Let’s challenge the king! Yes, pierce Cadence has also been built, many times before but the results weren’t a match for Belgo.

Spoiler: i can’t really say i succeeded with my dethroning as well. I did manage to make the build faster than Belgo but it’s more tricky to play and it has less survivability. But if you wanna know what a crazy person shows off a 4:45 Crucible run with a Cadence build and then asks for Cadence buffs (kinda), stay tuned.

The Build

dps is in Cadence with all permabuffs up > <<< Grimtools >>> > <<< Grimtools >>>

We focus on maximizing the Cadence damage output: classical double Reaver’s Claw for 5 target Cadence and almost capped Deadly momentum + fully converted and capped Lethal Assault for maximum WD value.

Originally i used pierce+bleed version of the build and it had even more dmg potential but i couldn’t make it stable.


Even though we have 3 green MI items, the build is not exactly green because the main value of the items is their base - +skills and conversion. The only thing you should look for is Amarasta’s Flurry suffix, it can be found on any of the green items used.

The easiest item to farm is Epaulets, they are raining like hell in the Tomb of the Eldritch Sun. Other affixes are pretty much irrelevant, just pick the best items you have to maximize the dmg and cover few res gaps left.

The build has 3 craftable items. Use them to increase physique or armor.

Skills and devotion

Skill destribution is nothing unusual for pierce blademaster except one thing - soft capped cooldown reduction for Shadow Strike. Not only it gives maneuverability, it makes for a good Blades of Wrath procer (Nightfall is a double area hit and with such high OA there is often at least one crit to proc BoW).

Devotion map is a place for experiments. I tried several of them, with different upsides and downsides. The one used for performance recordings was taken from @mad_lee 's Belgo BM specifically for direct comparison to Belgo as i thoroughly tested both builds.


This is an endgame build. The leveling process of Blademaster is covered in this thread by @Stupid_dragon. You can also check my own post about reaching the endgame farm with a fresh Blademaster.

Performance Update

In the Crucible the build feels more or less the same: nerfs of Amatok buff and beacons are somewhat compensated by +1 target to Cadence. In SR it is probably a little stronger now.

Here is 4:58 Crucible run with pierce res mutator:

Crucible 151-170 - 4:50 min (4:45 buff timer):





– So what was that talking about Cadence buffs? The skills looks fine if not OP!

The main source of survivability of a melee character is leech. Every autoattack skill in the game has a multiplier to the basic attack, even the puny Beronath’s Fury. But 2 out of 3 strikes of Cadence are basic, 100% attacks.

In the Crucible video you can see the leech dips when fightning a pierce-resistent Kaisan. You can only rely on 1/3 of your attacks. And what if two Cadence strikes in a row happen to be catched by fumble pools? That’s 8 attacks in a row with a very low leech rate.

The build has incredible attack dmg done by the best dmg type for melee but even 3.1k effective DA, 2.8k armor, 15% adcth, 25% impaired aim/fumble and 80% dodge on a proc, Serenity, Ghoul, Prismatic Diamond and overcapped AS can’t guarantee you safety because of how incredibly unstable Cadence is. It’s just not comfortable to play. In comparison, a Belgo set build with fewer layers of defense and lower DA value is simply immortal.

Instability shows in the dmg output as well: your Cadence strike lays waste on the enemies but the other two attacks might as well not hit at all. And it often takes 2 strikes to bring down a regular mob while any other autoattack skill would take just 1.

The staggering result of the build doesn’t come from Cadence, i can tell you that. First of all, it’s pierce. Not only pierce resistance is an oddity among the monsters of Cairn, it is also very easy to convert different dmg types into pierce.

Second stop is Reaver’s Claw. The one and only weapon for pierce Cadence. If it takes two outlier weapons to make the skill work, that’s not right.

Last but not least, Stormcaller beacons. Clearly a huge help for our build because they solve RR issue for a single RR class. But what will happen when the beacons see their deserved nerf? Meeting Kaisan while under armor mutator will be a nightmare for pierce Cadence.

Still, the net dmg output of Cadence is high. My suggestion would be to tone down the 3rd strike and maybe even Deadly Momentum for the sake of buffing the charge-up strikes to at least 133% WD.

It is simply not right that a minmaxed to the limit skill with a 40 point investment cannot match it’s rival - zero investment skill.


As a big fan of dw pierce builds this gets a :+1: from me

I haven’t got around to posting this one but it fits the bill for fast dw pierce melee, while also being unique. My fastest run has been pretty much in line with fluffs fantasy green belgo set up.

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Yeah that’s crazy result for this build!

I recently tried Reavers BM, does like 5:30. X1 managed to do 5:08 with SR set or something similar. Your time is faster though.

But again feedback is that extra target helps Cadence to succeed.

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That’s a nice build and a pretty accurate title.

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I did 5:06 with something similar to the banana’s build: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/xZy5EOwZ

@Plasmodermic did 4:51 with it and said it’s got potential for 4:30 but it was too glassy for his tastes.

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Sweet! Indeed looks like a fast one. I did try dual Brutallax Trickster myself but i haven’t managed to make it perform consistently at that time.

Yeah, my first iteration had lots of bleed and it looked like it had potential for absolutely stupid times. But unfortunately it was also unstable. Only this level of flat i have now allows me to survive Cruci more or less consistently.

First of all congrats on what is a good build. Any conversation or comparisons aside, it is a good build above all else.

However there are a few details about my build that I feel are left out.

  1. I’ve worked many hours, doing hundreds of runs of testing with Vanguard banner with which full purple has 5:01 and green fantasy 4:37.

It is very difficult to even begin to compare since everyone still seems to be using the Storm beacons, but easy to imagine that kill times would have been far easier if beacons abuse had been used. But as stated before I don’t take that into account since I wouldn’t (for myself) consider such a run as an example.

  1. Even if I were to do a run with beacon abuse, just for the hell of it, it’s no longer possible within the new patch since Belgo received a nerf at the very core (sadly) and also storm beacons (thankfully and understandably)

So the only one who gets the throne is Zantai :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Otherwise I’d just stick to calling them two dw builds that perform really well…And since it’s a thing of the past and nerfs were applied anyway, i’ll make the no buff/banner run available in memoriam good times :skull:

Well if no buff/banner can do it, surely it can be done :stuck_out_tongue: but yeah, he’s an asshole

Can we see a standard 3+1 run too?

Just a questiion.

With Amatok rune, does it really pay to invest 8 points into NJE just for mobility? Maybe you could push the times even further by maxing Blade Spirits? Or max Field command and Oleron?

EDIT: sorry, overlooked the explanation in op. Just a little thing:

Afaik. nightfall is a single area hit. SS itself is a double single-target hit. So the number of hits of SS is x+2 (x is number of enemies). Correct me if I’m wrong.

Your work and dedication to the build is incredible. And you run your own version of it which suits you more.

But i compared the performance to another version provided by @mad_lee and the same devotion maps were taken to make the results more clear. I managed a 5:03 (4:57 buff timer) run on it (it is also no green although Belgo has no real use of any realistic MI. Maybe Grava pants? Still hard to beat Harmony). And based on my testing i can say that the Cadence build has potential for an ever so slightly faster run. But the consistency isn’t comparable, Belgo is better.

When the nerf strikes, all is to be revised. At least for now i can’t refuse beacons because, as i found out, low FPS affects aggro in a bad way. I simply can’t use Vanguard because too many monsters are stuck near spawn on my current machine. Hopefully that’ll change in a week or two.

After i get a new laptop i can test with Vanguard without additional aggro issues.

Nightfall is also a hit with both hands. A dummy next to the target has two dmg numbers popping off of it.

i know, it also had storm beacons. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Guys stop using that stuff, it’s like sugar in all food products :smiley:

The purple belgo I used back in november-december would have probably had just ridiculous kill times with the beacon back then, I wouldn’t even have posted it. The green version I don’t even wanna think about it having ros rr on the whole map for free, in fact was even greater than ros back then.

Pretty much 80% of my GD experience :smiley:

Maybe it’s harder for you having access to the future of the game. But we live in the present and use all the best tools available at the present moment. When the nerf hits, we’ll see what is best.

If you are concerned about the op-ness of the beacons so much, why won’t you talk to mr. Z about their main merit - fixing aggro bug of Crucible?

If monsters would come at me willingly, as they should in this gamemode, i’d gladly use Vanguard with it’s ridiculous OA buff which, in my opinion, on paper comes on top of beacon’s RR. Even more so for pierce where you depend on crits so much.

Extra effects from beacons doesnt cause lower fps? :smiley: Guys be honest please. Its all about the map wide extra RR and trash clear that beacons provide :smiley:. I am actually dying to see how some of the builds perform on standard 3 buffs + 1 vanguard.

And i’m dying to try my builds on a proper machine where i won’t have half of the aggro issues.

Yes, i’m absolutely honest. The main bonus of beacons is solving aggro. RR and trash clear are also very good. But these affects can’t be compared to all the monsters coming to the center. At least for me. Maybe it depends on the playstyle.

Dunno man. My laptop is bad too and i get constant fps spikes in Crucible, also i don’t have some 144hz display and i rarely have aggro issues.

Well you’d have to take my word on that because currently my laptop’s GPU is dead and the CPU is unable to run the game and record in OBS at the same time :smile:

The difference in aggro between low FPS and very low FPS is very noticeable.

p.s. Not to mention attack speed is also negatively affected by fps drops as i researched recently (and made a post on it).

I’m not seeing it. But anyway, SS is a hell of a proccer, I’ve always been binding it to Rumor in many builds.

Actually i’ve tried that intensively as well and got drops in clear times. Turning on the debuff icons in GI i saw that Rumor is poorly spread and the application is not consistent.

Not sure about the reason but my guess is Nightfall is a hard hit and it kills most of weaker mobs before they got to pass the debuff on. So if you happen to kill you target you risk of living without Rumor for the next 2.5-3 seconds.

Honestly, it might be the case for you, however i dont really buy it. But its clear that that’s not the purpose of beacons usage in most recent runs of several. And the difference in timings are huge considering the beacons do a huge part of it clearing the trash. I mean what i’m trying to say is, is the build doing the job? the pilot? or the beacons?

Beacons improved so much times but also experience.

I barely have enough FPS to enjoy SR/Crucible and Mad Queen aura isn’t even red :smile:

But beacons are fun, they will be butchered, so ugh we will be back at Vanguard I guess. But I would say going Beacons it’s easier to pilot, since all the aggroing is done automatically and even targeting isn’t that important.

But at same time Crucible have always the problem with aggro the monsters. If that’s not changed and Beacons are nerfed, then overall Crucible experience will go down.