[2.6] Retaliation Gladiator

This is a variant of the Facebreaker Cyclone build that I have been playing on and off for several years. While the original build lost popularity over time as the meta pushed more toward clear speed, I decided to revisit it when Ascendancies were added after realising that I could do some interesting things with the retaliation gems that were added some time back and then promptly ignored by almost everyone.

Since then, I've found this to be one of the strongest builds I have played and an excellent choice for starting leagues, particularly since the Atlas of Worlds update and the subsequent focus on killing map bosses while under the influence of a large number of potentially punishing map mods, now that we are prompted to vaal so many of them.

In 2.6, with relic items all over, I chose this again as my league starter, since it seemed to me to be the build most likely to shine with the addition of relics, providing rngesus shines down upon me at some stage.

Video Guide

- Gearing is tight since 2 pieces are disabled
- It's playstyle is a little simple and some might consider it boring as a result

- It is simple, so there is nothing mechanically that can be turned off. Mods like hexproof are irrelevant
- It is Tanky AF. There are very few things that will bother it. Frankly it trivialises most map bosses
- Corpse destruction means that DD is a significantly reduced threat.
- Slightly slower than we've become used to in recent times.

Normal - Oak - Health
Cruel - Oak - Phys Damage
Merciless - None - Skill Point

Passive Tree - Lvl89

Current Gear

Ideally, both rings should be steel rings with as much physical damage and resists as possible, and contain a life roll. The two-stone ring used here is still a place-holder covering my resistances.

Both Riposte and Reckoning count as melee attacks. As a result they benefit from all the same damage scaling that cyclone does as well as the ability to generate bleeds. Obviously, they also benefit heavily from Facebreakers.

Bringer of Rain becomes an obvious choice, though a relic is clearly superior. Aside from the added block chance that would be gained, the legacy life roll was significantly higher which would only add to the capacity to avoid one-shots.

Anvil has almost no downside these days. In the past the movement speed decrease made it something that would make you cry when you realised you needed to wear it. In its current iteration though, with no modifier at all against move speed and only 10% reduced attack speed, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Jewels ideally should contain the following modifiers
- % damage
- % melee damage
- % melee damage while holding a shield
- % life
Getting all of these can be a tough call so generally you'll want, where possible, life and at least 2 damage mods.


If you do not have a Rumi's Concoction, a granite flask can be substituted, though Rumi's is certainly better. Additionally, a Taste of Hate if you have it available would be a superior option to the Basalt flask.

Endgame Boss Viability
This build was not designed with Guardians, Uber Atziri or Shaper in mind. It's main purpose is being capable of clearing at least 95% of maps and map bosses even with sometimes punishing mods applied. As a result I have not personally tested it against any of the above mentioned endgame bosses. That being said, it may have some viability against some of them.

Meanwhile, this is capable of doing 5 key uber lab runs on days where the layout is not too punishing. I don't advise it with 2 extra damage mods, but on a friendly layout it is quite capable. As such, saving your keys and going hard on a good day is a viable option.

Since Cyclone is not available early, you'll need to begin with something else with a physical base. Personally, I began with ground slam using 2 1-handed clubs and traded out one of the clubs for a shield as soon as reckoning and riposte became available.

Once the very early levels are complete you'll have a couple of options. If you already have facebreakers available, then infernal blow/melee splash is very effective and generally my skill of choice. If you prefer, Sunder is also quite usable

Please refer to the video guide for an idea of how to path the passive tree while levelling.
Last edited by Mutifex on Apr 13, 2017, 6:27:57 AM
Last bumped on Sep 11, 2017, 6:12:36 PM
Thank you very much c: ♥
Really like this build as a cheap & safe league starter. Curious to know, how deep were you able to take this? Uber? Guardians? Shaper?
ProfP wrote:
Really like this build as a cheap & safe league starter. Curious to know, how deep were you able to take this? Uber? Guardians? Shaper?

I was able to do most maps up to tier 15 without too much hassle. There were a few exceptions, I don't remember the exact maps but I remember there were 2 or 3 that gave specific issues. But out of the whole map pool, I can live with a small handful.

I didn't try any guardians with it or shaper. I need to put it back together on standard and work out what changes, I doubt very much. I took a brief look a few days ago but I was missing a bunch of passives so its gonna take me getting a break from farming currency for a day or so.. lol

But yeah, for me its been a really strong league starter for a while. The stuff it requires is generally cheap in most leagues and it takes you a very long way into maps, so by the time you really need something else.. you can usually afford it.

Will try to get an update out this weekend with luck.

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