I start PoE build as a Shadow and, as such, went with the Assassin sub-class. You could also start as a Ranger, but do not forget to collect enough path of exile currency, and go with the Raider sub-class for even crazier attack speed. You could also run as a Champion for perma-fortify.
You’re going to use Dual Strike and Lightning Strike as your main attacks throughout the entire game. The synergy of these skills is excellent since you can hit enemies at range with Lightning Strike and kite them or get up close and personal and tear faces off with Dual Strike. Lightning Strike is great for open areas, clearing trash, and physical reflect monsters or volatile monsters you can’t get close to. Dual Strike is major DPS and you can clear most trash faster than LS with it in a lot of cases.
Since this is a life-based build, your end-game survivability comes from having a decent life pool, some block, and killing shit before the game even spawns it. Your life pool should be at least 5000 in the end game and your block chance should be a bare minimum of 25% without Rumi’s flask.
You will use Whirling Blades to dart around from pack to pack and/or to evade bad situations. It will also fortify you as you move into combat territory. If you feel the need for an alternate movement skill, like Leap Slam, you can put Bright beak and a defensive shield in your alternate weapon slots.
If between that and mana flasks you are still having mana problems, pick up mana regen on jewelry, find something with Mana-On-Hit, or simply don’t run certain auras that reserve your mana. You will deal less damage but it will also be less annoying. All other leveling gear, including a Tabula Rasa will work, provided you deal with the mana problem first.
As with any character, try to keep your resists high enough to minimize dying. Goldrim is an excellent helm to start for this. Your jewelry can provide flat physical damage and life (and resists if you’re lucky or rich) and you can run Jade and Granite flasks for additional defense.
Some people have asked which weapons are good to level with and the answer is: all of them. There are some nice unique swords, axes, claws, really anything with good damage that you can dual wield is fine. Lakishu’s Blade gets a shout out for the free Multistrike built in.