So what is a duelist build exactly? Other guides that I have seen so far focus much more on using minions or defensive measures to stay in the midst of battle. Staying in the fight is very important for gold/xp/flag bonuses/winning, but this guide will focus on making sure your opponent can't defeat you one on one, making them have to retreat or die. To accomplish this, I set her up for mana regen to fuel pounce and heal everytime the cooldown is up.
This is an ability based build which means that it is most powerful from level 5-18 when you have enough mana to use them, but before the enemy can increase their autoattack through items to outdamage you. If you are not winning the game by level 18 it will be increasingly harder to confront the enemy.
For skills, we always want to choose pounce when it is available. It is extremely hard hitting, and has the ability to interrupt (damage being the more important in our case). The damage will both kill the enemy/towers and force them to fall back so we don't die. It will stop teleporting AI/players from escaping, but other than that its not worth saving it for an interrupt in the majority of cases.
So for the first 4 skill levels it will look something like:
1. Pounce I
2. Inner grace I (You won't have the mana to both pounce and heal yet).
3. Heal I
4. Pounce II
And from then on a priority system:
Though if enemy priests are becoming a problem, I would obviously suggest Counter healing be moved up in priority to just below pounce. The same goes for an opponent outrunning you continously and inner grace.
In a typical game:
5. Heal II (first mana item at this point)
6. Inner Grace II
7. Pounce III
8. Heal III
9. Inner Grace III
10. Pounce IV (mana items finished around here)
11. Heal IV
12. Healing Wind I
13. Healing Wind II
14. Counter Healing (creeps upgraded around here)
15. Inspiring Roar
16. Life's Child
17. Magnificent Presence I
18. Magnificent Presence II
19. Magnificent Presence III
20. Silence I/Morale (You should be winning by now anyway)
Do not take Yeti's. From my limited experience with them, they stink and use up loads of mana/skill points for little value.
It is important not to run back to town more than a couple times. With Sedna's excellent hp regen and the mana regen we will be buying you will never have to heal at the crystal. Early game you will be starved for mana, but you still have enough passive regen to run away and fight other creeps instead of demigods.
That said, your first 1k gold, the three options are:
1. Banded Armor + Gauntlets of Brutality
2. Boots of Speed
3. Mana pots/teleports/capture locks
I prefer the first option, the added health from banded armor gives you more time to get off a heal, and more staying power. The gauntlets are a small bonus that will be replace for some powerful artifact item when you run out of slots, but damage is always good. Boots of speed are better for hunting down demigods, but likely you won't be able to kill a good player before they run, and you get a speed boost anyway from talents. Option 3 is always nice, but not my st yle. It would be worth experimenting with.
As for favor items, I have gotten a chance to experiment now that they are fixed. The fundamental choice is between Blood of the Fallen and Swift Anklet. Speed items are nice to control an opponent and force them to retreat from the battle sooner (or get killed), dodge in and out of combat, and ninja flags. However, against coordinated players I've found that I have to use the blood for the extra 800 health. More health means more time for your passive regen to work, resistance against burst damage, and time to get that heal off.
Once you get to 1750 gold, you will want to consider getting the first piece of the mana "combo" Vlemish Faceguard. If things are going well wait until 3250 gold to buy the second item Plenor Battlecrown at the same time, but these should take care of about half of the mana problems. When you get to 6500 gold, Hungarling's Crown will make sure you can spam heal and pounce as much as you like.
Some alternative options are Unbreakable Boots if you find your opponents are doing massive damage, killing you before you can heal in response. Boots of speed are decent too, but I usually don't have the occasion to buy them since the crown has filled up my 5th slot and its not worth selling the starting gloves.
Do not buy heart of life for this build. By the time you retreat behind a tower you will have enough mana to go to full health instantly and rejoin the fight anyway.
After the 3 mana pieces are complete, you should be at the point where you can power down towers solo and kill most opponents. With skilled opponents, Catapultasauri are needed instead for the final push into their citadel before they get too powerful. If you haven't won by now something went wrong, but the next puchase after is most likely giants. If you really need a boost to your own power/have extra cash Ashkandor and Girdle of the Giants are not bad choices. I've only really needed this when fighting Torchbearers or Queen of Thorns on cruicible, due to their extremely good creep killing skills.
This build is a framework for good play with Sedna. If you haven't mastered the basics, or aren't comfortable pushing midgame you will have trouble. Some tips for general play:
1. Never die, no excuses. (if you die, don't do it again! ^^)
2. If you are at full health/mana you should be as offensive as possible.
3. If you are at low health, farm creeps.
4. Use flags to force your opponents to fight, kill them.
5. Your heal is for your survival first, don't save someone so you can both die 5 seconds later.
Finally, any comments/suggestions are welcome. I have not tested this build against all team archetypes with skilled players, but it does work well in any of the matches I have played. Also good luck everyone!