Certainly start with 1pt in Critical Strike, then Jab. Due to the level limitations, the progress is pretty straightforward. Put a few pts in Cold Arrow early on, then proceed with CS from lvl18 onward, switch to LF at clvl30, getting 1pt FA for sake of crowd control and pour any saved-up points into CS. Once LF is maxed out, proceed with FA.
You'll be meeting first LIs by the end of Nightmare difficulty, thus it makes sense to have your backup ready by then. The third lightning skills comes as the last.
I just go 1 in prereqs, then everything into charged strike, and LF when it becomes available. Once those are maxed I work on freezing arrow and then cold arrow. After the build is done I like to put the rest of the points into lightning strike.
Many peolpe use gear stuffed full with envy jewels. I like to either equip an axe of fetchmar(spelling?), and later a goreshovel, or some armor with +max damage jewels. At 18 twink on tarnhelm, eye of etlitch(or enough angelic set parts to get +1skill from the ammy), a maiden jav(with as many skills as possible).
I've just entered nightmare with this build. lvl 50-ish, both LF and CS near max (1 or 2 more levels)
on players 1 CS kills every unit in 1 shot.
I put 3 tir runes (+2 to mana after each kill) in a maiden javelin (+1skills) giving me +6mana after each kill, resulting in permanent free mana.
LF is used for very big packs (10ish or more), then back to CS
I have a +1skills pilum and sigon's shield on swap for boss killing (much faster attack then with the maiden pike)
I find early game the +skills aren't important and it's better to get some+mana or +AR, since else you'll have to chug down manapots constantly. Just use normal attack to get through most of the game. (any low unique weapon will do)
I'm now running countess for some sols (lore+insight), after which the maiden pike will be stashed and replaced by a bow for FA, though atm there's only 2 points in it.
I did my Amazon as described in this really excellent guide.
After having played a long time only with Pierce and Decoy in the passive tree, aware of the trouble, that D/A/E might cause, I decided to test it myself and put my spare points in Valkyrie and D/A/E.
In my opinion, the benefits of a (in my case lvl12 with +skills) Valkyrie and even the benefits of D/A/E outweigh by far the animation issues. The Valkyrie helps a lot against the lighning spirits and with distracting enemy fire and is an excellent tank together with my defiance merc, especially in the WSK.
I don't have problems with the gloams (edit: dolls), as they usually die in a LF before they reach me. This might be the only case where the dodge animation could be an issue, however I never died to it.
While this matter is certainly up to personal preference, I am feeling much better with D/A/E and Valkyrie.
Gloams don't die to LF unless you have Infinity and Griffons eye/facets. They're immune to lightning.
However, on my strafer I liked valkyrie, because strafe can't kill fast enough to keep me safe. With a fishyzon I put points into synergies to make killing Baal(and CSing lone CI enemies) faster, because she CAN kill fast enough to keep me safe
I have a question: Can we use charge strike with a javelot equiped? the french tooltip say yes, but the arreat summit say no.
If we can't this meant that we need 3 different weapons for this build, which looks anoying.