[2.2] Varunastra Gladiator (budget, 78/78% block, 10k armor, 25k+ DPS)



Varunastra is a new weapon that came with the Ascendancy patch and is exclusive to the Perandus leagues. Its unique property of "counts as all one handed melee weapon types" is what makes the weapon amazing.

This property allows it to take advantage of a few choice node clusters that boost multiple weapon types simultaneously. Namely, the Deadly Dilettante and By The Blade clusters near the Duelist and Marauder sections respectively. The result is extremely efficient damage per skill point, which lets you spend more points on defenses without needing to compromise.

The Build

This build is meant to be a budget option for those unable or unwilling to spend an abundance of currency just to experience the end game. If you have the currency to spend, there are much better builds available to you. Additionally, I AM BY NO MEANS AN EXPERT so please take any information presented with a grain of salt. There may be more efficient skill tree routes, more mathematically effective choices, etc. However I will do my best to keep the guide updated with any additional information.

With that being said, here's a quick rundown of the build.

(Note that this is at level 72 with Tempest Shield and 6 endurance charges up.)

(Note that this is at level 72 with Hatred, Herald of Ash, and Flame Golem up. The skill gems are leveled as follows: lvl 17 Double Strike, lvl 17 Melee Splash, lvl 16 Multistrike, lvl 13 Melee Physical Damage, lvl 17 Faster Attacks, lvl 13 Added Fire Damage and all have 0% quality.)
Last edited by Endler on Mar 11, 2016, 12:52:03 AM
Last bumped on May 13, 2016, 7:19:56 AM
Passive Skill Tree

The passive tree is fairly straightforward, and will be the same no matter what skills you choose to use.

Low level:

During the low levels, you will want to focus on the Duelist area of the tree. Head down and take Defiance and Testudo first, then make your way to the right for Command of Steel.

Mid level:

Once you have the block chance nodes in the Duelist area, make your way over to the Marauder side. You can head straight for Resolute Technique, or you can pick up the Marauder block chance nodes first. Once you have both of those, make your way up into the Templar section and grab the block chance nodes there. By now, you should be getting close to being able to equip Varunastra, so fill out the Deadly Dilettante and By The Blade clusters before you hit level 64.

High level:

After you have your damage nodes for Varunastra, you should start grabbing endurance charges and then filling out your life and armor nodes. By now, you should be able to use your own judgement on which nodes to get and when to grab them.


For bandits, I chose to help Oak in Normal, kill all bandits in Cruel, and kill all bandits in Merciless. Getting the extra Endurance Charge from helping Oak in Merciless is also a viable option.


As per the title of the thread, your ascendant class will be the Gladiator. Get Painforged in Normal. Grab Versatile Combatant in Cruel ASAP for the 100% of block chance into spell block. The last tier is up to you, but my personal choice was Gratuitous Violence for the extra bleed damage.
Last edited by Endler on Mar 11, 2016, 12:50:58 AM
Leveling Equipment

Before we get into the main setup, there's a few honorable mentions in regards to leveling uniques.

First and foremost, get yourself one of these. You will be using this shield until level 70, so it's a great investment.

These two are optional, but they are fairly cheap and will speed leveling along quite a bit. They will last you until you manage to get the next item on our list.

This weapon will carry you clear into Merciless until you can equip Varunastra.

Main Equipment

The gear listed below is just an example of what I have managed to collect in the two days I have been playing this character. It is not in any way indicative of "the best", but merely what will suffice.

Now on to the gear you will use for the rest of your Exiled life.

These items make up the foundation of the build and are the most important. The build simply doesn't function without them. A 6-link armor with actual stats is better if you have one, but completely unnecessary. Likewise, Aegis Aurora would increase your survivability in tandem with said armor, but do not use it with Tabula.

The rest of your gear is focused on getting high life and resists. These will vary from person to person based on individual needs. Try to get attack speed on your gloves and rings. Don't worry about move speed on your boots, Whirling Blades is so fast you will never actually walk or run anywhere outside of town.
Last edited by Endler on Mar 11, 2016, 12:24:48 AM
Skill Gems and Links

I'm not going to list everything that you can use with Varunastra, I'm just going to list what I personally used and had success with. Feel free to use your personal favorite melee skill. They literally all work with Varunastra.

Main Attack
Double Strike - Multistrike - Melee Splash - Melee Physical Damage - Faster Attacks - Added Fire Damage / or Life Gain on Hit

This is your main attack. You hold down the mouse button and things die. If you are fighting particularly hard things and don't mind killing a bit slower, change out Added Fire Damage for Life Gain on Hit. This is a particularly good idea against Maligaro and Malachai as they can be a bit difficult without the added life gain.

Reckoning - Melee Physical Damage - Stun - Endurance Charge on Melee Stun

This setup will grant you passive endurance charge generation without needing to kill anything, enabling you to use Herald of Ash instead of Blasphemy and Warlord's Mark. The stun doesn't really work on bosses themselves, but since almost all bosses summon some sort of trash mobs you will still get your charges.

Whirling Blades
Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Blood Magic

I put this in my shield, but it can go in your weapon as well. In fact, it would be easier to roll the required sockets on your weapon so try to do that instead. Another option would be to use up a 4-link to add Fortify but it's not a big deal. Plus it would increase the mana cost which will end up causing you to lose more health. It's up to you.

Vengeance & Riposte
Vengeance - Riposte - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage
Vengeance - Riposte - Curse on Hit - Warlord's Mark

This one is up to you. Blasphemy + Warlord's Mark is more consistent but it would come at the price of not being able to use Herald of Ash.

Cast when Damage Taken
Cast when Damage Taken - Flame Golem - Tempest Shield - Molten Shell

This one is just pure convenience. It's up to you if you decide to have Flame Golem and Tempest Shield on manual cast.

Herald of Ash
*Summon Flame Golem
*Tempest Shield
Immortal Call

Immortal Call is for emergencies and shouldn't be linked with Cast When Damage Taken, as it is generally more effective to have the endurance charges for the damage reduction.
Last edited by Endler on Mar 23, 2016, 5:04:03 PM
Final Words

I hope this guide helped to shed some light on Varunastra as a viable budget option.

This is the very first guide that I have ever written, so I hope that everything is presented cleanly and is easy to read. I'm open to suggestions on formatting the guide or any ideas you might have to improve it.

As a side note, I am not capable of capturing video of the build in action. If you are willing to do so, please post a reply or send me a PM and I will edit the original post and give you credit for the video.

Thank you for reading, and above all else, have fun!
Last edited by Endler on Mar 11, 2016, 12:27:29 AM
great idea going to try this now :D good job on the guide sir
you cound run dual varunastra and go like dual wielding?
ditzydolly wrote:
you cound run dual varunastra and go like dual wielding?

Not with this build, unfortunately. While it is technically possible, it would require a complete rework of the entire skill tree and you wouldn't be anywhere close to as tanky. Your chance to block will be considerably lower. You would need actual armor with life and links to make up for the loss of the shield which provides the bulk of the 10k armor by itself. All those "increase shield defenses by X%" really add up with the Lioneye's Remorse and stack with all the "increased armor %" nodes.

If you want a dual Varunastra build, check out liamwpk's guide. https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1595347
I have meshed together like 2-3 different builds and have basically come to this exact same build. LOVE those 2 nodes with this sword. May not be top end, but it's pretty a badass weapon.

I have around 25k dps with Reave, running Hatred and Ash in a BoR setup. Great minds think alike TS :)

Reave is at about 6-7 attacks per second, which helps applying bleed to EVERYTHING fast and watching them explode.

Not trying to steal your thread, but here is my build:

Last edited by sheeeeeeets on Mar 11, 2016, 5:28:03 PM
sheeeeeeets wrote:
I have meshed together like 2-3 different builds and have basically come to this exact same build. LOVE those 2 nodes with this sword. May not be top end, but it's pretty a badass weapon.

I have around 25k dps with Reave, running Hatred and Ash in a BoR setup. Great minds think alike TS :)

How is your armor with Bringer of Rain? I have a double legacy BoR waiting for me in Standard league, so I might use it if I can manage to get an Aegis.

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