[3.2+] Explosive Cleave / Lacerate Gladiator. Insane Clear Speed, Solid Defenses and Budget


Hey guys, this is my build guide for my Dual-Wield Explosive Cleave Gladiator.

This build destroys map content and is built very defensively and is based around the passive 'Gratuitous Violence' from the Gladiator Ascendancy. This skill explodes all bleeding monsters on death and deals 10% of their maximum life in physical damage.

To scale this damage exponentially, we use a variety of methods including lots of pure physical damage (not weapon damage), area damage, flame golem, jewels, frenzy charges, Herald of ash and Hatred.





+ Insane clear speed
+ Very Defensive
+ Arctic Armour
+ Insane mobility
+ Budget
+ High Block + Spell Block
+ Very Fun!
+ Talking Axe to keep you company


- Needs Fast Gameplay to maintain charges
- Can't Run Reflect / Blood magic maps



Passive Tree (For level 89)

Ascendancy Points: Blood in the Eyes, Gratuitous Violence, Painforged, Versatile Combatant.

Bandits: Oak


Passive Tree (40 points)

Passive Tree (62 points)

Passive Tree (81 points)

Passive Tree (109 points)



+ +275 to maximum Life
+ 182% increased maximum Life
+ 36% increased Evasion Rating and Armour
+ 82% increased Armour
+ 50% increased Block Recovery
+ 20% increased Stun Threshold
+ 9% additional Block Chance while Dual Wielding
+ 5.4% of Life Regenerated per Second
+ 40% increased Life Leeched per second
+ 20% increased Life Recovery from Flasks
+ +1% to maximum Fire Resistance
+ +6% to all Elemental Resistances


+ 10% chance to gain Onslaught on Kill
+ 233% increased Physical Damage with Axes
+ 23% increased Attack Speed
+ 26% increased Attack Damage with Main Hand
+ 20% increased Attack Speed with Off Hand
+ 23% increased Attack Speed with Axes
+ 52% increased Melee Physical Damage
+ 49% increased Physical Damage with One Handed Melee Weapons
+ 20% increased area damage
+ 15% increased area of effect
+ 110% increased Physical Weapon Damage while Dual Wielding
+ 16% increased Attack Speed while Dual Wielding
+ 26% increased Physical Damage with Attacks
+ 5% increased Attack and Cast Speed
+ +3 Jewel Socket


For jewels, one jewel we definitely need is the overwhelming odds threshold jewel for cleave. Apart from that, we generally want high life, physical damage, increased damage and area damage on our rare jewels. Other weapon bonuses are nice to have. If you have troubles with attributes or resistances, you can also get that on the jewels as well.


Cleave DPS (Charges and Onslaught Only)






For our weapons, we want Jack the Axe for the 100% bleed chance. The increased leech is also a very nice added bonus. Late-game we can obtain a very high DPS Axe with the vagan mastercraft. We also use Soul Taker because it allows us not to worry about mana issues and also allows us to reserve another aura.


For our helm, we use a Bringer of Rain. This is the best helm for a non-crit physical cleave build like ours as it provides a pseudo 7-Link, as well as great defenses through block, endurance charges and high life, evasion and armour.


No chest lol since it is incompatible with Bringer of rain. But I do recommend using a Belly of the Beast since it looks really cool on your character.

Gloves and Boots

For Gloves, we want high attack speed, life and resistances. For boots, we want high resistances, and Life as well. Try to get good movement speed on your boots as well. Also go for high armour/evasion gear.


For the Amulet, we want an amulet with high phys damage, life and resistances. Also try to get intelligence since we don't grab a lot of intelligence from the tree. Once you have more currency, you can afford better jewellery.


For our ring, we want high life, resistances and phys damage.


For the Belt, we ideally want a rare rustic sash with good resists and life. Try to get high armour as well if you can.


Cleave Setup

For Cleave the links are shown above. I prefer to use Increased AoE because it provides a significant boost to our clear speed. You can replace this with concentrated effect for bosses I also highly recommend getting quality on Cleave, since 10% increased attack speed is quite significant. Please make sure that these links go into your Bringer of Rain.

CWDT Setup

I like using Enfeeble for its great defensive bonus. I don't recommend using Immortal Call anymore, since the 2.3 change to 'Outmatch and Outlast'.

Mobility Setup

This is the main mobility setup which involves using Leap Slam. Faster attacks improves the animation and Fortify provides a great defensive boost. Soul Taker allows us to leap around freely without mana cost.

Aura Setup

This is our Aura setup and we use Herald of Ash and Hatred. This provides a significant damage bonus for our explosions, as well as damage for cleave. We also use Arctic armour for its great defensive qualities, as well as the fact that we stand still when we cleave. If you want to go more tanky though, you can use Grace instead of Hatred.

Buff Setup

Bloodrage allows us to gain Frenzy charges and provides us with some nice leech and attack speed. Enduring Cry allows us to keep up our Endurance Charges against bosses. This is important as it gives us 22% physical damage reduction against hard-hitting bosses. Make sure the Enduring cry is attached to blood magic since we won't have any mana.


We use an Flame Golem for the bonus to damage that also scales our explosions. You may also try using a Chaos Golem if you would like to go more defensive. Make sure your golem is attached to blood magic.

Single-Target Setup

For bosses, I recommend swapping out increased AoE for Concentrated effect for a massive DPS boost.


Generally, just use Earthquake to level, use a rare 2H Axe and keep upgrading your gear. When you get the increased AoE gem, you can switch to Cleave. Try using the Gryphon Jade Axe, or high pDPS rare axes. Once you reach level 59, buy your Soultaker, and then grab your Jack the Axe at level 65 and BoR at level 67 for a massive DPS boost.

Early Cleave Leveling Axes.


These are some luxury gear options you can use, if you have the currency for them. Keep in mind that these are not necessary to the build and are simply optional choices.


I get these questions quite often. Here are some answers.

Q. Why is my life so low?

A. Make sure you have 70+ life on all pieces of your gear. Make sure your BoR has 150+ flat life. Make sure that all your jewels have +7% maximum life like mine.

Q. Why is my DPS so low?

A. Make sure all your gems are supported in your Bringer of Rain. Make sure you have flat physical damage on all your jewelry. Make sure you have attack speed on your gloves. Make sure you are level 85+ and your gems are level 18+. Make sure you use concentrated effect for bosses.

Q. How are you using your skills without mana cost?

A. Soul Taker allows you to use melee skills without spending mana.

Q. Should I use Cleave or Lacerate?

A. This is entirely up to you. Both have different play-styles and are easily interchangeable.


Check out some of my other 3.0 Build Guides


Last edited by cookees on Mar 2, 2018, 2:05:03 AM
Last bumped on Aug 31, 2018, 11:56:28 PM
Wow this build is sick! Why not use whirling blades instead of leap slam?
TundrazaL wrote:
Wow this build is sick! Why not use whirling blades instead of leap slam?

WB only works with daggers, claws and 1H swords.
Man if you could work Vuln somewhere into the build it'd be pretty crazy. Of course you probably don't need the dips boost but throwing vuln on BM or blasphemy or something. Something to consider if you need more deeps at t12+

Yeah, sadly I can't use whirling blades while dual-wielding axes otherwise I would!


Hmm Vulnerability would improve my DPS by a lot, but it might not be necessary atm. I think if I can get my hands on a pair of gloves with 'curse enemies with vulnerability on hit', that would be pretty GG.
Last edited by cookees on Mar 10, 2016, 6:19:07 AM
This build looks fun. I will go with this for my second build.

I was wondering if we could use Earthquake instead of cleave? Also I got 5L belly. Would it be good enough or BoR is best for this build?

I don't think Earthquake would work well with this build since it only attacks with one hand at a time. Cleave attacks with both hands so we can generate both endurance and frenzy charges at the same time (from Outmatch and Outlast).

Hmm I think BoR is still the best for this build (unless you can get a 6L Belly), since it gives you a lot of bonus damage. You can level with belly until level 67 when you can equip BoR.

Good luck with the build!
Last edited by cookees on Mar 10, 2016, 7:48:32 AM
Well i checked wiki and it never mentioned EQ using only one hand. Are you sure EQ uses only one hand?

Edit: Also can you give some leveling tips? Like which skill to use, which uniques help alot etc. :)
Last edited by akinunal1337 on Mar 10, 2016, 8:56:35 AM
Yeah if you go dual-wield earthquake I believe you alternate hands but not attack at the same time like cleave.

Hmm I still think earthquake is the best way to level. Use like high dps 2h axes and maces until you get to higher levels and get the increased AoE gem for Cleave. Then you can switch to cleave with high DPS 1h axes. Upgrade to Soul taker, Jack the Axe and BoR when you can.
Last edited by cookees on Mar 10, 2016, 9:17:24 AM

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