[2.2 - PHC] 7k Life, Max Block Blade Vortex (Gladiator)

This guide is for my level 85 max block blade vortex (gladiator) character. It is currently a work in progress.

The Idea
I wanted to make this guide to share the value of capitalization on the block and spell block ascendancy points in the Gladiator ascendancy tree. This ascendancy tree is so powerful because block cap can be reached without the need of Rumi's Concoction, Stone of Lazhwar, and other essential max block uniques required prior to Ascendancy.

In max block builds prior to ascendancy, maximum life was often an issue--even though max block may be reached, if you can't take the few hits that do get through, then your character will end up dying. The beauty of the southern portion of the passive tree is that there are lots of life and strength nodes. This helps us with maintaining a deep life pool in addition to being block capped (which is nearly 7k deep). The result is a durable character that can deal with nearly all damage dealt in the game.

Disclaimer: This is not a max DPS build. Blade Vortex does solid damage (7k tooltip buffed, level 19 gems) but can definitely be improve. As I continue to upgrade my gear, level gems, and move towards a 6-link, this damage will continue to improve.

Passive Tree, Gear, and Gems Explanation Video

Gems and Links

Main Skill

Blade Vortex - Echo - Controlled Destruction - Iron Will - Increased Duration

This is your main damage link. Increased duration is the 5th link because a) it adds a convenience factor, and b) it allows you to stack more blades on single targets. The first four links (BV, echo, controlled destruction, iron will) are your primary damage links.

Added Fire was considered with this being a physical spell, but the reason the duration gem won out overall was because many mobs will have elemental or fire resistances, making the gem not as efficient.

I am currently unsure what the most efficient 6th link would be.


Hatred + Warlord's Mark - Blasphemy

Hatred helps give a nice damage boost, which is important given the limited options for damage scaling for spells in the southern portion of the passive tree.

Warlord's mark allows us to be able to leech back life and mana, which is essential given the melee range of blade vortex. Additionally, the mana leech allows us to sustain this skill without heavy investment into mana and/or mana regeneration. Warlord's mark also generates endurance charges for us, reducing physical damage taken.


Whirling Blades - Blood Magic - Fortify - Faster Attacks

This set up allows us to gain physical damage reduction as long as it is up, and stacks well with the endurance charges generated from warlord's mark. It is linked with blood magic because of the limited amount of mana available, and the need to always be able to move in and out of dangerous situations. Faster attacks allows this skill to be used quicker.

Utility Gems and Supports

Rallying Cry - Blood Magic - Increased Duration

This set up helps us boost our damage. Additionally, it provides some mana regeneration, which is useful for running reduced regeneration maps, as well as magic packs or rare monsters that you can't leech from.

Cast when Damage Taken - Tempest Shield - Increased Duration - Blind

Give that we're a block build, tempest shield is a must. Having it on cast when damage taken allows it to be automated. It is linked with blind to help maximize the usefulness of the evasion that we do achieve from gear (~2k). Increased Duration increases both the duration of tempest shield as well as the blind duration.

Cast when Damage Taken - Blood Rage - Increased Duration

Frenzy charges are strong, so it is important to be generating them in some way. Blood rage achieves this for us, and its drawback isn't very great for this build, given the amount of life regeneration (6%+) achieved from the tree, as well as the life leech from warlord's mark. Cast when damage taken automates the casting process for us, and increased duration increases the duration this buff is active before it must be triggered again.

Current Gear


Normal - Oak for the health
Cruel - Aliera for the cast speed
Merciless - Kraityn for the frenzy charge

In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Last edited by kungfooe on Jul 5, 2016, 1:45:06 PM
Last bumped on Jul 20, 2017, 3:06:50 AM
Gear added. More updates to follow.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
you didnt post a tree...
bangaroo wrote:
you didnt post a tree...

Whoops, you're right. I just added it.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Video explaining passive and ascendancy trees, gear, and gem choices added.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Gems and their links section added.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Bandits ?
ZyppOc wrote:
Bandits ?

Great question. Oak (health) - Aliera (cast speed) - Kraityn (frenzy charge)

I'm adding this to the guide in the first post too.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Crematorium video added.

I hope to add several videos of top tier maps as well.
In since 0.8.0
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/kungfooe
Nice build idea with the duelist i am trying this out aswell.

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