[3.3] Unstoppable Gladiator 78% Max Block/Spells. Best Low Budget League Starter

This guide is based on the Gladiator build I played since Perandus League (March 2016), now fully updated for Bestiary League. Check the following highlights to see if you're interested in:

- 78% Max Block Attacks & Spells.
- You can facetank almost anything with this incredible tanky build, thanks to Max Block A/S, great Armour for physical reduction (plus endurance charges) and a 6K life pool.
- Recommended attack skill is Static Strike, one of the best Single Target melee skills in the game. But basically you could play wathever melee skill you like (Cleave, Reave, Sunder and so on).
- Can run any map of any tier, up to T15, all can be done deathless (including T14/T15 hard ones with nasty modifiers). All guardians can be done too, pretty straight forward.
- Extremely cheap end-game build. You can get all your gear up and running for end-game content for one exalted.
- Really beginner friendly build, but not limited to that. You can always improve it while you get some additional currency.
- Can do deathless Normal Atziri easily.

If you have any questions or improvements for this build, please feel free to leave a comment, I will really appreciate it.

Changelog (20/04/2018)

06/07/2018: Check for 3.3
25/04/2018: Minor Changes (new support gems for SS, POB pastebin)
20/04/2018: Full update for 3.2.
-- Previous history removed --
20/04/2016: Created


Build explanation:

General Concepts:

- This build is created around one single idea: make full end-game capabilities on a really CHEAP build.
- Reach 78% Max Block Attacks, and thanks to Versatile Combatant from Gladiator Ascendancy class get 78% Max Block Spells too.
- You will improve your stats progressively as you earn more currency. For example, a almost perfect roll for your Soul Taker Axe is expensive and greatly increase your DPS output.

Mandatory Gear:

- The Anvil Amulet: +3% Maximum Block Chance (being able to reach +78% Max Block) & +8% Block Chance. Additionally, we got great Life/Mana Gain on Block and up to +500 Armour.

- The Bringer of Rain Helmet: a perfect unique for a block build. You loose your body armour, but in exchange you got a extremely cheap 7L. The drawback for not having a body armour are relative since you get +550 Armour plus +800 Evasion combined thanks to Iron Reflexes Keystone, +150 life, great flat physical damage and really important stats for this build: +6% Chance to Block & 20% chance to get a endurance charge on block.

- Soul Taker Axe (not mandatory): Great DPS/APS combined with the "Insufficient mana doesn't prevent your melee attacks", allowing us to forget about mana concerns and being able to run 100% mana reservation for auras (Hatred + Arctic Armour + Herald of Ash). Soul Taker is not really mandatory, but is strongly recommended. If you decide to use another high pDPS axe, you could do it. Just consider mana issues and mana reservation from auras.

- Lioneye's Remorse Shield: 30% Block Chance, up to +1700 Armour, up to +180 life, incredible stats for such a cheap item.

- The Surrender Shield (not mandatory): when you got the currency, this is the first and most important change to make to your build. You switch from Lioneye's to Surrender, grating you "Recover 250 life when you block". An exceptional stat for this build (plus additional +1500 Armour after block).

Max Block Chance:

Finally, how we reach 78% Max Block Chance:
+30% from Lioneye's Remorse / The Surrender.
+8% from The Anvil.
+6% from Bringer of Rain.
+8% from Painforged Ascendancy point (when you get hit)
+3% from Tempest Shield Spell (casted with level 1 CWDT)
+4% from Ascedancy points.
+18% from Passive Skill Tree.
+1% from Jewel.
That makes +78% Max Block Chance to Attacks, and as stated before, thanks to Versatile Combatant all is applied to Max Block Spells.


Skill gems:

Main Attack:

This build is extremely versatile about your main attack choice, because of that, you can play almost any Melee Attack Skill you want. I recommend Static Strike because is one of the best Single Target DPS for Melee Skills and GV ascendancy gives you all the AoE you need, but again, try your own choice here.

- STATIC STRIKE + MULTISTRIKE + RUTHLESS + BLOODLUST (you spread bleeding with Shield Charge mostly)

While levelling and during first tiers on Atlas I played this time with MOLTEN STRIKE (using x2 Wildfire gems) mostly for AoE purposes before I could get GV ascendancy from Uber Lab. Same Support Gems.

Movement skill:


Another option here is LEAP SLAM, up to personal preference. In some cases, like Necropolis map boss fight, seems mandatory.


- HATRED + ARCTIC ARMOUR + HERALD OF ASH (thanks to Soul Taker we could reserve 100% mana and still can use any attack skill)


- CAST WHEN DAMAGE TAKEN (level 1) + TEMPEST SHIELD (level 7) + BLOOD RAGE (level 7) + ENFEEBLE (level 3, INT restriction). Keep CWDT at level 1 so it triggers often.
- ANCESTRAL PROTECTOR: incredible damage boost for bosses, Attack Speed scales better than Damage. This totem is an "attack" so apply to Soul Taker and don't need mana to be casted.
- VAAL LIGHTNING TRAP + VAAL HASTE + VAAL HASTE + INCREASED DURATION. Huge boost against bosses, don't forget to use it on high tier bosses.


Skill Tree & Ascendancy class:

Ascendancy Class:


Ascendancy Points:


Level 92 Skill Tree:




POB Pastebin (current char):




Current Gear:

- Basalt flask with enough "reduced charges used" could be exchanged for a Jade Flask of Reflexes with almost same results. Depending on map mods, this flask should be exchanged if necessary, for example with other utility flasks like Ruby/Topaz/Sapphire, etc.

- When you got the currency, go for a Taste of Hate, best in slot flask for this build:

Important stats:

- Cap elemental resistances.
- Life from gloves, boots, belt and rings.
- +25/30% Movement speed from boots.
- Attack Speed from gloves. New Spiked Gloves base gives you Increased Melee Damage too.
- Increased physical damage from belt. Elemental damage would be great too.
- Flat Physical Damage from rings. For this, new Steel Ring base is incredible if you can afford it.

Chaos Resistance:

I give a special consideration to this, because as you reach higher tiers you will have to give real importance to this matter. I decided to put +35% chaos resistance on gear (from rings/belt for example). For achieving that, I took Diamond Skin passive (+15% to all elemental resistances), so, dealing with resistances is affordable. Plus, Atziri's Promise gives you another +35% chaos resistance, more than enough all content in the game.

Jewel stats:

- %x Maximum Life from every jewel you can.
- +1% Block Chance from one jewel.
- Offensive stats like increased damage or attack speed. Attack speed is the most efficient modifier to look for.


Few words about the Atlas:

I decided to reduce this section and just take into consideration a few tips to keep in mind. For highest tier bosses, most important thing to do is knowing boss mechanics. This build allow you to tank most of the boss attacks, but not all, of course. Map mods change a lot what to expect from a particular boss skill, and maybe, just maybe, when you see the boss in front of your face, spending three seconds preparing some attack and you decide to just stay there and do nothing about it, well, is possible that you will spend a lot of flasks after that, or simply die if you're not at full life.

Pick the right flasks depending on map mods, please do.

I usually reroll Temporal Chains because I hate it, but is totally doable, just boring as hell. Enfeeble on Guardians is really bad, try to avoid it.

So, after that general consideration, there's little to say, except:

- T12 Necropolis: switch Shield Charge for Leap Slam, because ice barrier will lock you in and degen will kill you.
- T11 Lair & T14 Dark Forest: wolf stage will put you full Corrupting Blood stacks. Use one or two life flasks with long duration and Staunching affix to be immune. With this, boss fight is plain easy.

- Guardians: DPS feels kinda low when facing Guardians. After I moved to kill Guardians, I decided to make some changes on the build which improves a lot Guardian fights:

1. Exchange GV ascendancy for Violent Retaliation (great DPS increase against unique bosses)-
2. Respect two points (i picked life nodes) and go for Amplify. This improves your Static Strike AoE radius for clearing speed after you loose GV explosions.

Taking this things into consideration and having some knowledge on boss mechanics, any boss from T1 to T15 and Guardians are pretty straight forward and easy to do.


Levelling Tips:

Most important considerations:

- Always try to improve your weapon pDPS (physical DPS). Look for better weapons on poe.trade for your current level and exchange it every time you got the chance (my budget was no more than 1c-2c every time I changed weapon). At level 50 or so I go for axes, prior to that, I take the best pDPS 1H weapon I could get.
- Always try to take advantage from Ancestral Protector during rare and boss fights.
- Use Bismuth flask to deal with resistances if you need it.
- If you have mana issues, take advantage from Spirit Void/Vitality Void duelist area. Ideally use some Elreon's jewelry.
- Always improve your flask as you advance. Always.

Great Levelling Gear:

- Belt: Meginord's Girdle
- Shield: Crest of Perandus
- Helm: Goldrim
- Boots: Wanderlust, Sundance
- Gloves: Lochtonial Caress, Meginord's Vise
- Amulet: Atziri's Foible
- Chest: Tabula Rasa
- 1H Weapons: Limbsplit (L13), Flesh-Eater (L32), Nycta's Lantern (L41), Innsbury Edge (L47)

Attack Skill:

I choose MOLTEN STRIKE for levelling with x2 Wildfire Jewels.


Of course, you should pick your support gems depending on your level and links, but skill tooltip will give you all the info you need to choose.

Levelling Skill Tree:

Basically you will follow the skill tree with this priority:

- First go for Berserking and Resolute Technique, taking life on the way. At the end, you will respec this because you will go to Marauder area from the bottom of the tree (taking Unweavering Instance) but while levelling, Attack Speed feels so nice imo.
- Then go for Block Nodes, Life and Iron Reflexes. If you don't mobs will start to hit you hard.
- Finally go for DPS nodes like Cleaving and Slaughter.

While levelling, try to identify what you miss and focus on that (survivability, DPS, etc). There's not only one way to do this, just adjust whatever you need on the way. In my case, I strongly focus on Attack Speed for example, because if don't I simply fall sleep while levelling.


Other important stuff:

Things that can kill you (if you're distracted):

As stated in http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Blocking this two are the main source of damage you have to deal with:

Skills that can't be blocked

Some skills cannot be blocked. They can be a nasty surprise for players who rely on blocking attacks or spells. The following damage sources cannot be blocked:

- Damage Over Time, for example: Righteous Fire, Desecrate, Fire Trap or Caustic Arrow. [bleeding, poison, etc.]

- Secondary damage, for example: Explosive Arrows explosion (the attacks can be blocked, but explosions can come from terrain obstacles or minions). [really important this one: Detonate Corpses from minions or totems]


This section is a mess, I will try to make some nice videos when I can. I just keep here old awful videos pretty useless because build now works a lot better and smooth, but, for now on, is what I got.


CLEAVE: https://youtu.be/eO_9WpxSQQ4

SUNDER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAZVPRlItBE

EARTHQUAKE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxzrot_-Cws

STATIC STRIKE videos from previous version of the build (from Perandus League w/ Varunastra, pretty similar to actual performance with Soul Taker):

Twinned Academy Tier 11 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/O_BJSOp98DE

Wasteland Tier 13 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/maP1qC1rrfQ

Abyss Tier 15 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/XaX__qT-Pzc

Normal Atziri Trio: https://youtu.be/l5DGzvRISTg

Normal Atziri Kill: https://youtu.be/pBeeW4ymtZM

Malformation Tier 9 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/hm1W4sEBtQE

Gorge Tier 9 - 5.30 (almost) Full Clear: https://youtu.be/KavI1PSLaFk

Necropolis Tier 10 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/BsX3d6idM98

Volcano Tier 10 - Boss Fight: https://youtu.be/jpiZfPKy4nM

REAVE Setup w/ Varunastra - Springs Tier 11 w/ pretty nice drop: https://youtu.be/F5LQi7rToWY

Normal Atziri tips:

This build is great for deathless Normal Atziri:

- For trio, go first for Q'ura, after that, A'alai and finally Y'ara'az. You have to avoid hitting Y'ara'az during his reflect fire-stage.
- For Atziri, switch to Rise of the Phoenix shield to get +89% fire resistance with Ruby Flask.

Please, send me your thoughts, questions, opinions and ideas and I will try to improve this guide based on that.

Thanks a lot for reading this and hope you find this build so rewarding as it was for me.

Last edited by mas_mariano on Jul 6, 2018, 1:06:45 AM
Last bumped on Sep 22, 2019, 1:39:28 AM
Congrats for your build!

78% block and 100k dps look very nice :)
This build is fun the only thing i hate is the fact i didnt get the skill points for bandits (i respec'd from a leveled duelest already) other than that its amazing and i can afk in packs >:D (the bandit i got from my last build was hp|psychical|frenzy i wouldnt say its that bad since it fits perfect with the build i think :/)
Last edited by LooseTheUltimateGoose on Apr 14, 2016, 11:55:42 AM
Why do you put maces and axes perks in build where you fight with sword?


cmon dude, just read the last string of dis sword description
Oh, thank you :D

I was only looking on the perks.
Can Rumi's Concoction Granite Flask Increase block chance more ?
Do u realy need Quicksilver flask ?
Can Rumi's Concoction Granite Flask Increase block chance more ?

No. The max block chance for attacks and spells is 75%, thanks to Anvil amulet you got a +3 increase, up to 78%. This build already got 78%/78% so Rumi has no use.

Prior to 2.2, the only way i found to hit max block spells was using Rumi's (in addition to Stone of Lazhwar and Rainbowstride, etc). Now thanks to Versatile Combatant you have 100% block chance applied to spells.
Bromeek wrote:
Why do you put maces and axes perks in build where you fight with sword?



Take into account that Varunastra not only allows you to take full advantage of weapon specific passives such as Galvanic Hammer. In some cases it benefit doubles or triples times from bonuses like Deadly Dilettante because applies to each weapon type.

In the case of the 5 nodes in Deadly Dilettante area you got: 24% Attack Speed, 108% Physical Damage and 75% Crit Chance.

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