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Dancing Strikes Bladedancer Guide

Last Updated: February 21st 2024

Patch 1.0

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This build is a variation of the Shadow Daggers Bladedancer. When compared to its counterpart, this build offers a more Melee Bruiser playstyle. Where the other build wants to jump in and out of the fight, this one wants to stay in, using Dancing Strikes to move about quickly and apply Shadow Daggers while also gaining huge buffs in the process. Choose this build if you want a more Melee focused and engaging playstyle with a greater challenge.

Damage from this build comes from ramping up our buffs through Dancing Strikes and Smoke Bomb to deal huge Shadow Daggers Crits. Getting the most out of the build is not easy to pull off, but when everything clicks the result is very satisfying.

Overall, Dancing Strikes Shadow Daggers Bladedancer is a challenging build that will reward skilled players. It is capable of doing the hardest content but it won't be as easy as some other builds. The build is strongest in the Monolith of Fate, but with good gear can also tackle Dungeons. Due to the inherent danger of Melee playstyles It is not a good option for competitive Arena.

End Game Gear Planner

This build guide assumes you have a Level 70 Character. Reach Level 70 with our Bladedancer Leveling Guide.
If you are looking for a different playstyle, check all our Build Guides!

Pros
  • Unique Playstyle
  • Solid Monolith Farmer
  • Tanky With Good Gear
  • High Movement Speed
  • Very Good Damage With Buffs Up
Cons
  • Vulnerable When Not Moving
  • Buffs Are Difficult To Manage
  • Melee Playstyles Are Dangerous
  • Dancing Strikes Is Hard To Control
  • Dual Wield Setup Takes More Damage

Skills

Dancing Strikes

This skill keeps you in movement while performing a series of Melee attacks. The attacks themselves apply Shadow Daggers stacks and also build up buffs on you through Rhythm. Mastering this skill is the key to playing this build.

Click the Nodes at the bottom to see Skill Tree Progression

Passives

Passives provide powerful effects that dictate the playstyle of a Class and its Masteries. Remember that you can allocate Passives on the first half of all Masteries regardless of the one you chose.

  1. Since we're almost always moving Evasion is a huge damage reduction buff.
  2. With the right gear and the Haste buff from Agility we can spend a lot of time well over 100% Movement Speed, making the damage buff from this node strong even without a full investment.
  3. Blood Dance and Melee Damage Leeched as Health from gloves are our primary sources of sustain so get this passive as soon as possible.
  4. Crit Multi is hard to come by so All In is a huge damage buff. Shadow Daggers always crits so there's no downside here.
  5. Swift Assassin and Once provide extra benefit since Shadow Daggers has both Melee and Throwing tags.
  6. While Pursuit is a decent damage buff, the main benefit it provides is Movement Speed.
  7. Thanks to Focus Fire and Wound Maker we don't need to worry about taking Dodge or Critical Strike Avoidance modifiers in the Monolith of Fate.
  8. Perfection stacks provide large buffs to damage as well as Armor and Dodge from Confidence. We also take one point in Exuberance to double our stack generation.
  9. If you play hardcore, investing in Death's Door is always an option for additional DR. Note that unlike stamina the DR from this node only kicks in once you're already at low health. This means it won't protect from potential one shots when you're above the low health threshold.
Click the Nodes at the bottom to see Passive Tree Progression

Make sure to complete the Campaign to get all your Passive Points.

Gameplay

To maximize both our damage and defenses we want to keep moving as much as possible. We also need to be hitting enemies with Dancing Strikes as much as possible to maintain Rhythm.

Skill Usage/Rotation

  • Stay on the move and use Shift on cooldown
  • Use Dancing Strikes against tanky enemies and packs. Weave in Shift but try to stay in Melee range by going through the enemies. This will also maximize Shadow Daggers stacks.
  • In extended fights cast Smoke Bomb. Use it in between Dancing Strikes attacks. Do not use it directly before or after Shift or you will lose Rhythm
  • If the enemies become overwhelming, use Decoy to taunt them and buy some time.

Mapping

  • Run to the objective using Shift on cooldown. Most of the enemies nearby will be killed from Shadow Cascade and Umbral Blades. Shifting near enemies will make it easier for Umbral Blades to find its target.
  • Use [Dancing Strikes on Rare enemies along the way.
  • Upon reaching the objective:
    • If it's a single enemy cast Smoke Bomb then continuously cycle between Dancing Strikes and Shift until they are dead.
    • If it's a group follow a similar strategy by using Smoke Bomb on cooldown near large groups or tanky enemies, then target enemies with your Dancing Strikes/Shift rotation. If you start to feel overwhelmed at any point use Decoy.

Bossing

  • Use Smoke Bomb on cooldown as long as it's safe to do so.
  • Shift through the boss and then move into your Dancing Strikes/Shift rotation.
  • Use Decoy in emergencies when you need a breather or to keep adds off of you.

Advanced Skill Tips

Learn more about how to maximize your gameplay in the Build Scaling section of this guide.

Gear

Gearing in Last Epoch revolves around finding Items and then using the powerful Crafting System to enhance them. As long as an Item has Forging Potential left, players can upgrade or modify their Affixes up to Tier 5. However, the powerful Exalted Tier Affixes are drop only and can't be modified by players.

Using the correct Item Bases allows you to make use of their amazing Implicits, this is fundamental for gearing efficiently. Combine Implicits, Passives, Idols and Blessings to cap your Resistances and other defensive layers, while fitting as much Health related Affixes into your gear as possible. Plan ahead for your next upgrades and consider the final Empowered Blessings of your build while gearing. Finish up by farming Uniques with Legendary Potential and Sealing Affixes into Exalted Items to unleash all of your build's power!

Here are the Stat Goals for this build:

  • Capped Resistances
  • Capped Critical Strike Avoidance
  • 50-60% Endurance
  • 2000 - 3000 Health
  • 50 - 60%+ Dodge Chance (Pre Buffs)
  • 1500+ Armor (Pre Buffs)
  • 50%+ Armor Shred Chance
  • 175+ Flat Phys Damage
  • 100%+ Physical Penetration with Shadow Daggers
  • 125%+ Critical Strike Multiplier
  • 50% - 75%+ Movement Speed (Pre Buffs)
  • 60%+ Increased Mana Regen

Gear Progression

Starting Gear
Advanced Gear
End Game Gear
BiS Gear
Low Life

Milestone 1
Aim for good Item Bases with two valuable T5 Affixes. The Defensive rolls on T5 Suffixes are very important at this stage as they can easily cap all your Resistances when combined with Item Implicits, Idols, Blessings or Passives. Get a Weapon with double T5 offensive Prefixes as soon as possible.

Milestone 2
Make sure your Critical Strike Avoidance is capped. Remember that Woven Flesh is always an option early on. It can be farmed by killing the Abomination in the Fall of the Outcast Monolith Timeline.

Milestone 3
Get a good pair of boots with Movement Speed. Fit as much Health into your gear as possible. Hybrid Health and Increased Health are extremely valuable, but can be hard to find early on. Use regular flat Health until you find them.

Starting Gear Planner

Milestone 4
Fit any Increased Shadow Daggers Effect wherever you can without sacrificing too much defense. If you have any Large Shadow Idols with Increased Shadow Daggers Effect and don't need your idol slots for resistances, or were lucky enough to find one that also has Elemental Resistance use them.

Milestone 5
While you look for this basic set of gear, start farming your Empowered Blessings and continue to look for any Idols that can help you cap all of your Resistances momentarily or increase your Damage output. Be on the lookout for Stout Lagonian Idols with good rolls of Increased Health and Added Health. Use them as soon as you no longer need those slots for resistances.

Milestone 1
Once you cover your Void Resistance with a well rolled Grand Echo of Solarum Blessing, replace your Crusader Gauntlets with Engraved Gauntlets for their Endurance Implicit.

Milestone 2
Make sure you have enough Mana Regeneration to sustain the cost of Dancing Strikes.

Milestone 3
When all of your core Defenses are covered, start working on your Damage. Get Chance To Shred Armour on Hit on your Engraved Gauntlets. Also get Dexterity, Critical Strike Multiplier and any extra Increased Shadow Daggers Effect you can fit into the build.

Advanced Gear Planner

Milestone 4
As you finish up your Empowered Blessings keep a decent Health pool, capped Resistances, Endurance and Critical Strike Avoidance. Your goal is to have items with 4 valuable T5 Affixes, also known as T20.

Milestone 5
While they are not mandatory, Siphon of Anguish, Smoke Weaver and Wings of Argentus have insane synergy with this build and you should start farming them now. Siphon of Anguish can be easily farmed from Shade of Orobyss and Wings of Argentus drops from empowered God Hunter Argentus. Smoke Weaver is random world drop, so either use Rune of Ascendance or farm the Reign of Dragons Timeline for the specific Unique Echo reward.

Milestone 1
Upgrade your T20 set up with Exalted items, high value Sealed Affixes or ideally both. Obtain the Affixes included in the Planner, but prioritize the indicated Item Bases for their Implicits. Make sure to Seal highly efficient low tier Affixes. Ward and Ailment Cleansing on Potion Use is a priority on your belt to remove DoTs.

Milestone 2
Farm Smoke Weaver and Siphon of Anguish with Legendary Potential. Aim for the indicated Affixes in the Planner for each slot.

Milestone 3
Focus on finishing your Idol set up. Prioritize well rolled Increased Shadow Daggers Effect or Health Prefixes depending on whether you need more offense or defense. On your suffixes use Elemental Resistance as needed and switch to Increased Armour Shred Duration when resistance capped. Keep looking for double health Stout Lagonian Idols at the highest possible rolls.

End Game Gear Planner

Milestone 1
Keep upgrading your gear with Exalted Items and Sealed Affixes. Get every stat in the right place and in the correct Item Base. Min/Maxing your gear in Last Epoch can be pushed to the extreme as Items with multiple Exalted Affixes are technically possible.

Milestone 2
Get as close to perfect rolls for all of your Empowered Blessings and find all of your desired Idols with the best in slot Prefixes and Suffixes.

Milestone 3
Seal as much Dodge Rating on your boots as you can to further juice up your defenses. Sealed Added Physical Throwing Damage while dual wielding will further increase your damage. Sealing higher tiers of Endurance will open up an affix slot for more Health.

Advanced Gear Planner

Milestone 4
Continue farming Siphon of Anguish, Smoke Weaver, Bastion of Honour and Wings of Argentus with the maximum Legendary Potential you can find. Remember that some of these Items are extremely hard to get with multiple Legendary Potential. Good luck with the chase!

This setup goes full Low Life, which has the highest possible EHP (Effective Health Pool). It requires a lot of gear to get set up, but the chase is worth it if you want to push high Corruption.

Milestone 1
Farm a Cleaver Solution, Exsanguinous, Last Steps of the Living and Gloves with Exalted Experimental Ward per Missing Health. Cleaver Solution and Exsanguinous are random world drops. Last Steps of the Living drops from Formosus the Undying in Blood, Frost, and Death. The Experimental Gloves are from Exiled Mages. Make sure to remove Siphon of Anguish and any other sources of Leech you have.

Milestone 2
Once you've acquired the above items and made the switch, take the Death's Door passive. For guidance, click the Gear Planner to access the Low Life Passive tree

Milestone 2
Farm a Twisted Heart of Uhkeiros with at least 1 LP and slam Strength into it. A perfect rolled version will net you 32 Strength plus 20% increased health. Farm this from Emperor of Corpses in the Reign of Dragons Timeline.

BIS Gear Planner

Learn the basics for crafting gear with our Beginner Crafting Guide.
Check our Unique Item & Set Farming Guide and learn how to get them!
Want to know more about Legendary Items? Check our Legendary Guide!

Blessings

Completing a Timeline in the Monolith of Fate lets you choose one of several randomized Blessings from its unique pool. Their benefits are permanent and persist even outside of the Monolith of Fate.

Empowered Blessings are a fundamental part of all builds, so getting the correct ones for each is key.

The sooner you reach Empowered Monolith, the faster you can start farming your desired Blessings!

End Game Blessings
Normal Blessings
Empowered Combat Blessings
Empowered Drop Rate Blessings

Normal Blessings are not important as they are eventually replaced by Empowered Blessings. However they can still be a great source of Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance or Life Leech for your build early on.

Pick up these Normal Blessings on your way to Empowered:

  • Echo of Solarum
  • Bastion of Divinity
  • Survival of Might
  • Persistance of Will
  • Protection of Heorot
  • Resolve of Grael
  • Heart of the Caldera
  • Body of Obsidian
  • Bones of Eternity

Note: Don't target farm Normal Blessings. Get to Empowered Monolith as fast as you can.

Reaching Empowered Monolith unlocks all the level 100 Timelines and the ability to farm Empowered Blessings. Unlike Normal Blessings, these need to be farmed until you get the desired ones for your build. It is extremely important to get this set up as fast as possible to free up affix slots on your gear. Remember, the more value you get from your Blessings, the easier it is to craft efficient gear!

These are the core Combat Empowered Blessings for this build:

  • If you are lacking Resistances, start with Grand Echo of Solarum or Grand Bastion of Divinity .
  • If you are lacking Critical Strike Avoidance, start with Grand Survival of Might. A high roll on this Empowered Blessing can be combined with a tier 5 Critical Strike Avoidance to completely cap it.
  • Finish off with Grand Bulwark of the Tundra and Grand Body of Obsidian for a huge Armor buff.

These Empowered Blessings are flexible and depend on your current needs and goals.

These are valuable Empowered Drop Rate Blessings for this build:

  • Grand Sight of the Outcasts is very valuable to help you find Large Shadow Idols with Increased Shadow Daggers Effect and Elemental Resistance or Increased Armour Shred Duration. Once you find all your Idols, you can switch to the Grand Winds of Fortune and focus on Uniques instead.
  • Take Grand Subtlety of Slaughter to help you find more Smoke Weavers and the Exalted Daggers you will need to make good Legendaries.
  • Take Grand Might of the Siege and Grand Shadows of Infinity to help you find more Exalted Belts and Relics.
  • Lastly Grand Memory of Masters helps you find more Rogue Increased Shadow Daggers Effect Shard and Level of Dancing Strikes.

Learn how to farm Blessings fast with our Advanced Monolith Strategies.

Idols

Idols grant your character bonuses when equipped in the dedicated Idol Container. Unlock all the slots of your Idol Container by completing the Campaign and some of its Side Quests. Remember that some Idols are Class specific and you won't be able to equip them with other non-compatible Classes.

These are the Idols recommended for this build:

  • Look for Large Shadow Idol with Increased Shadow Daggers Effect or %Health and Elemental Resistance or Increased Armour Shred Duration. Use Shadow Dagger Prefixes If you need damage, otherwise go health. For suffixes take Elemental Resistances until capped then go with the Armor Shred.
  • You also want four Stout Lagonian Idols with %Health. Look for flat Health Suffix or Resistances if needed.
End Game Idols

Other useful Idol Affixes

Make sure to complete the Campaign to get all your Idol Slots.
Learn how to be efficient with Idols with our Advanced Idols Setups Guide.

Build Scaling

This build is focused around consistent movement with lots of large Shadow Daggers crits clearing everything in our path. The playstyle needs high Dodge because when we're going not getting hit we're at our best with all of our buffs up. We also want to ensure that we're taking the right stats to scale Shadow Daggers so Flat Damage, Crit Multi, and Physical Penetration With Shadow Daggers are what we push for.

Damage
Defense
  • Flat Melee/Throwing Damage: With 450% Added Damage Scaling from Shadow Daggers we can never have too much Flat Damage. Thanks to Shadow Daggers having both Melee and Throwing tags the Passive nodes Swift Assassin and Once will provide a double benefit. Try to get Melee Physical Damage on a Legendary Smoke Weaver to really boost your damage!
  • Physical Penetration With Shadow Daggers: Since we don't get Physical Penetration anywhere else in our build and we're only scaling Physical Damage, this stat effectively works as a multiplier for all of our damage. Prioritize your helmet and get as much as you can on your idols without sacrificing too much HP. If you're incredibly lucky and get a Wings of Argentus with LP, see if you can get insanely lucky and put a tier 7 Increased Shadow Daggers Effect on it to effectively double your damage!
  • Cooldown Reduction: Unlike most builds, Dancing Strikes doesn't scale off of Attack Speed. Instead it scales from Cooldown Reduction, making this stat far more effective for this build than most. Get it wherever you can.
  • Increased Mana Regeneration: While Dancing Strikes isn't crazy expensive baseline Mana Regen isn't enough, so get as much Mana Regeneration as you need to make the build feel good. Generally two tier 5 affixes should be enough.
  • Critical Strike Multiplier: Increases the Damage your Crits deal. We get 75% for free from All In. Stack the rest on gear.
  • Chance To Shred Armour on Hit: Each stack of this Ailment reduces enemy Armour by 100 for 4 seconds and stacks infinitely. Enemies have 0 Armour by default and it can go into the negatives. At -1000 Armour a target takes 23.7% increased Physical Damage, while at -4000 Armour it takes 57.2%. With the amount of hits the build has, the stacks ramp up quickly. We get a lot of Armour Shred from our skills, so with some Increased Armour Shred Duration on Idols and 50-100% Chance To Shred Armour on Hit on our gear we can easily shred a lot of Armour.
  • Dexterity: We get both Increased Damage and Dodge Rating from this stat. It's not a priority in gearing and we can get most of our Dexterity from passives, but fitting this in wherever we have room is a nice bonus.
  • Increased Damage: We get so much of this from Passives, Dexterity and Smoke Bomb that we don't really need it on our gear. Physical Damage on our Belt is nice to have but other stats take priority.
  • Evasion and Wings of Argentus: Since Dancing Strikes counts as movement these two sources provide a tremendous amount of reliable Damage Reduction. As long as you don't make a mistake and take a big hit while standing still you're very resistant to damage.
  • Dodge: The stats Dexterity, Dodge and %Dodge allow us to reasonably reach between 50% and 60% permanent Dodge before buffs and on top of Silver Shrouds. Getting two well rolled Smoke Weavers makes a huge difference for Dodge scaling. Buffs can keep us above 70% most of the time with bursts over 80%. The Elusive Node on Shift provides a significant Dodge boost for 1 second. The passive node Confidence will reward good play with a large burst of sustainable Dodge while Once will help to make up for some of what is lost after a mishap.
  • DoT Damage Reduction: Along with Evasion and Wings of Argentus which also provide reduction for dots, we have Prolonged Demise from the passive tree and Crimson Shroud stacks from Crimson Shroud. This build performs well against DoTs, but the Melee nature of it means you need to make sure you aren't standing in ground DoTs for too long.
  • Silver Shrouds: As long as you have one up, the next hit you take is Dodged instead. You also gain 100 Ward per Silver Shroud once they proc to Dodge the incoming attack. Use Smoke Bomb in high intensity fights to get a free dodge, or if you want to maximize your damage on a boss you can always try to time their mechanic with it instead of running away!
  • Glancing Blows: When we take a Glancing Blow we receive 35% less Hit damage. We only have 31% chance at base but we also generate more from Dusk Shrouds through Shroud of Dusk and Veil of Night. This equates to about 11% average damage reduction.
  • Armour Mitigation: Before the Throne of Ambition nerf this build used to scale Armour to an extreme, but we can still get a lot of damage reduction here. With Grand Body of Obsidian, Grand Bulwark of the Tundra, Increased Armour on our boots and Confidence we can get about 2700 Armour which equates to around 45% Physical and 32% non Physical damage reduction from hits.
  • Shift: This dash gives immunity frames while it's used thanks to the Shadowslip node. Time this Skill properly to avoid incoming damage or potential 1 shots. It also provides a significant boost of Dodge on use.
  • Decoy: Crazy support skill that Taunts. While Taunted, enemies focus the Decoy instead of attacking you. Can be used unspecced.
  • Health: This build can stack a decent health pool despite not having double suffixes from body armour. It's very effective when combined with all the other defensive layers this Bladedancer has access to.
  • Leech: Thanks to Blood Dance, Siphon of Anguish and Melee Damage Leeched as Health on our gloves this build has excellent leech. Even though we don't leech the throwing part of our damage it makes no difference since the leech we do have can top us off almost instantly.
  • Chill: This is an Ailment that greatly reduces the Action and Movement Speed of your enemies. We get ours from Coldsnap Strike on Umbral Blades, which frees up a suffix slot on our gear for other defenses.
  • Frailty: This Ailment reduces the Damage dealt by enemies by 6% for 4 seconds and it stacks 3 times. We get ours from Incapacitate on Shadow Cascade. This frees up a suffix slot on our gear.
  • Ward and Ailment Cleansing on Potion Use: Cleanse all Ailments on Potion use. This is especially valuable for clearing high damage DoT stacks.
  • Critical Strike Avoidance: Getting crit means we take double damage, so avoiding that is a must. We cap this through the blessing Grand Survival of Might and one tier 5 Critical Strike Avoidance suffix, preferably on our crafted ring.
  • Endurance: At cap this stat provides us with 60% damage reduction for any damage taken below our Endurance Threshold, which is 20% of our maximum health for this build. By scaling Endurance we mitigate the risk of one shots and also provide ourselves with a chance to recover from DoTs by out leeching them at low health.

Our Damage Explained Article covers all you need to know to scale Damage.
Learn all you need to know to scale Defense with our Defense Explained Article.

Loot Filter

Loot Filters are critical in Last Epoch. Making sure you highlight all the related valuable Item Bases, Affixes, Uniques and Idols is crucial to ensure your character's progression. As your gear gets better, remember to hide the rules that are no longer useful to avoid screen clutter.

Here is the Endgame Loot Filter for this build:

Learn how to load and make Filters with our Loot Filter Guide.

Video Guide

Summary

Overall Dancing Strikes Shadow Daggers Bladedancer is a good build that can deal with all the content in the game. It offers a unique playstyle that's heavy on Melee while maintaining a high level of agility.

  • Dancing Strikes offers a Unique playstyle for those who are looking for something different
  • Be a Rogue, but also a Brawler!
  • Fully embrace the playstyle of the build and enhance it with every component, making full use of the Evasion, Asuvon's Pact, Perfection and Confidence Nodes that reward you continuously moving around and not getting hit.
  • Use Decoy to distract and group your enemies. Take advantage of this to reposition and DPS.
  • Take advantage of Smoke Weaver, Wings of Argentus and Siphon of Anguish to really turbocharge the playstyle.
  • Shift can save you from incoming Damage. Time it perfectly for the Damage Immunity!

Credits

Written by McFluffin.
Reviewed by Lizard_IRL, Facefoot

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