Here is a Path of Exile duelist archer guide by Athena.
The recent buffs of the duelist tree have made them the strongest contenders for wielding the great powers of the bow and lightning arrow. Many people will say that the Ranger has better survivability but that is not exactly true.
Yes the ranger has stronger survivability, BUT only in the early game. This does come at a great sacrifice. Rangers suffer from extremely weak damage and attack speed early game and make for a very painful leveling experience overall.
They also require much more investment in gear to achieve what the duelist can achieve with no gear like for example (20% LMP, IAS gloves) etc..So if we use IAS as the example, a Duelist can have the exact same IAS as a Ranger decked out in quality gems and IAS gloves/quiver, but can surpass the ranger hugely with the same gear. So in essence, the duelist is stronger early game with damage, speed etc..and only gets much stronger as the game progresses, where the ranger caps out very quickly.
Guide continued after the page break..
Now with the survivability debate, duelist suffer slightly in the department, and I mean very slightly. The ranger has access to a total of 48% extra evasion rating off the start while the duelist has access to 40%. That's only 8% difference. But luckily we can kill things much quicker and effectively to compensate. Not to mention (like I said earlier, the duelist is way more fun early game cause it doesn't take us hours between each bow attack :P
SO WHY ARE DUELIST BETTER?
- More projectile damage
- More attack speed (which is more damage and more fun)
- Access to same amount of survivability by late game/static blows AND Inner Force
THE BUILD FOCUS:
- Lightning Arrow
- High Attack Speeds
- High elemental damage
- 3 auras (grace, anger and wrath)
- Static Blows (shock stacks)
- Inner Force (18%+8% buff effect further increasing damage and survivability)
- HIGH LIFE/RESISTS
5 Link Primary attack (AOE):
Lightning Arrow, Weapon Elemental Damage, Chain, Lesser Multiple Projectiles, Life on Hit
4 Link Secondary attack (single target)
Frenzy, Weapon Elemental Damage, Faster Attacks, Added Lightning
If your lucky and have a 5 link bow and chest, you can add another elemental damage gem to frenzy
4 Link Burst/Boss Skills (single target)
Bear trap x2, added fire damage, Increased critical damage
4 Link Auras
Wrath, Anger, Grace, Reduced Mana Cost
Early Game: Conductivity
Once you reach static blows, switch to Elemental Weakness
MAIN CURSE - Elemental Weakness
Secondary curses depending on maps