[3.0] The Immortal Gladiator - Super Tanky Bulid For All Content, Updated with Uber Atziri Video
Updated 10/8/2017 with Guardians and Uber Atziri videos, more to come soon.
Tired of hitting flasks non-stop to stay alive? Exasperated at being punished for every misclick? Want a relaxing build that can even let you go AFK while fighting without consequence? May I present to you my guide for the (almost) immortal gladiator, or as I like to call it, a study in layered defenses. I am currently playing this build in Harbinger SC and have completed all content with it including Uber Izaro, HotG, Guardians, Shaper and Uber Atziri. As seen in the intro image above, even unflasked and unbuffed the build has enough defenses to safely go AFK inside most maps, without significantly compromising offense. This is my first build guide for the forums, and I will look to update it regularly. I hope you find this guide informative and can enjoy this build as much as I have.
Pro's & Con's
+ A very TANKY build that enables a relaxing and forgiving style of play. Great for playing the game without having to pay full attention.
+ Fast movement speed and sufficient clear speed to make running maps not feel like a chore.
+ Reflect immune, can do all maps mods except no leech.
+ Virtually proof to deaths caused by disconnection.
+ You will never die to unexplained one-shots. See tips section below for what you need to be careful of.
+ Flasks are non-core to the gameplay (though they do help), use them (or not) whenever and however you like.
- Not budget-friendly, to assemble the full build completely from scratch would cost approximately 30 exalted orbs in Harbinger softcore. A slightly budget version (for approximately 20 exalted orbs) is posted at the end.
- Slower than top clearspeed builds such as many pathfinders and raiders.
- Not a super fast Endgame boss killer, cannot ignore boss mechanics through raw DPS like top-end wanders, Brutus Lead Sprinkler or Doomflech Prism builds. While I have killed all endgame bosses deathless with this build, it's not a great build for chain farming them due to the slower speed.
A Sneak Peek at the Numbers
FULLY BUFFED at level 92, I was able to reach 6.1k life, 75% block/spell block, 48k armor, 46% spell dodge (75% when Vaal Grace is up), 52% evade against blinded targets, as well as over 760k dps using blade flurry. For most mapping purposes, 450-500k sustained dps can be achieved.
Courtesy of Path of Building
Notes: a slightly altered build that does not use The Red Nightmare is posted at the end.
For alternatives to coloring the Perfect Form please see the Tips section below.
The ideal helm enchant is the 40% increased blade flurry damage, but may be very difficult to get on a Formless Inferno. Other good helm enchants for this build include blade flurry AoE, blood rage attack speed, increased damage with AW totem active, and increased arctic armor effect.
These items are not required, but do provide strong benefits that are synergistic with the rest of the build. Get the belt with a +1 Endurance Charge corruption if you can. For Atziri's Steps look for ones with 16% (max) spell dodge. IMO the best boots enchant is probably 8% chance to dodge spell damage if you've taken spell damage recently, but several others are great too such as attack speed if you've killed recently, avoid being stunned if you've killed recently, life/mana leech if you've killed recently, increased movement speed if you haven't been hit recently, and life/mana regen if you were hit recently.
Look for items with a good amount of +life, resistances, and the stats you need for gems/Perfect Form. Look to cap lightning resistance and get as much cold and fire resistances as you can. Flat physical damage on jewelry is also very good, with steel rings being ideal but those can get very expensive.
Note: You need the "+1% chance to block with shield" mod on two jewels to reach max block. Because Varunastra counts as all one-handed weapon types, all axe/mace/sword/dagger/claw/melee and physical/with shield jewel mods apply, providing a lot of choices for good jewels.
Also, since the Perfect Form has a %dexterity modifier, you do not need 197 dex on gear in order to use it if the added %dex is enough to reach the threshold. For example with a +10% Perfect Form, you only need 180 dex from passives and items. Just temporarily equip another piece of dex gear before you put on the armor, then you can take the dex piece off.
At least 1 bleed removal flask is required. Atziri's Promise and Witchfire brew are both fairly cheap and very effective in providing both offense and defense to the build. Lion's roar is also a strong boost to offense and defense, but the knockback effect can be annoying at times, so mostly used on bosses. Taste of Hate is optional but a good 5th flask when cost-permitting, otherwise a Silver Flask of Heat (for freeze removal) is great too.
Ascendancy Class, Passive Tree and Bandits
Gladiator: Pick up Painforged after completing Normal Labyrinth, Versatile Combatant after Cruel, Gratuitous Violence after Merciless, and Violent Retaliation after endgame/Eternal lab. Alternatively, Outmatch and Outlast can be used instead of Violent Retaliation if the character is primarily used for running maps and does not expect to run many Endgame bosses.
Level 92 Passive tree
Kill them all, as we need all the passive points available. Beyond level 94 you could consider respec to Oak, depending on your playstyle.
Skills and Links
Primary Attack: Blade Flurry
Socketed in chest armor
Use Increased Area of Effect instead of Concentrated Effect for general mapping when your damage is overkill for the content.
Alternatively, Faster Attacks can be used in place of Maim if you are using a Perfect Form with 3Red 2Green 1Blue sockets. Replace ruthless with maim in the AW setup to apply the maim debuff.
Secondary Attack: Ancestral Warchief Totem
Socketed in gloves/boots/helm (I have it in gloves)
Movement Skill: Shield Charge
Socketed in weapon
Alternatively, thanks to Varunastra you can also use other movement skills such as whirling blades, leap slam etc. I like shield charge for the ease of proccing fortify, but other skills are perfectly fine too should you prefer.
Socketed in gloves/boots/helm (I have it in boots)
Utility Setup #1
Needs to be socketed in shield
Utility Setup #2
Socketed in gloves/boots/helm (I have it in helm)
Path of Building and Character Links
Here's the Path of Building pastebin for anyone interested to play around with the build. I've included both the standard and the alternate (without the red nightmare) skill trees.
My current character profile can be found at
In-depth Discussion of Build Mechanics
Defensively, this build is focused on building up multiple layers of different defensive mechanics against potential threats, and as a result is well-suited for a wide variety of situations.
Block - Block is one of the strongest defensive mechanics in the game and is both the most important and the first line of our defenses. We make full use of it by choosing the gladiator ascendancy. We pick up a total of 34% block chance from jewels and passives, 13% of which comes from The Red Nightmare jewel (which provides block based on fire and all resistance nodes in range) socketed close to Marauder start. The resistance nodes are used for the dual purpose of increasing our armor too. We use The Surrender shield with 30% block chance to reach 64% chance to block. Whenever we're hit, the gladiator Painforged ascendancy passive provides an additional 8% block chance, and we also use a low level cast when damage taken setup linked to Tempest Shield to provide a 3% block chance buff, to reach the block cap of 75%. We pick up the gladiator Versatile Combatant passive to convert all of our block chance into spell block chance as well for 75%/75% block.
Armor - The effect of armor in Path of Exile is handled by a rather confusing formula (see wiki: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Armour) and armor is generally viewed as ineffective for most builds. However, with sufficient armor values, it is still a valuable defensive layer against physical hits. In this particular build, we make use of the interaction between The Formless Inferno (armor is increased by uncapped fire resistance), The Perfect Form (evasion is increased by uncapped cold resistance) and Iron Reflexes keystone passive (convert all evasion rating to armor), together with items that have high base armor/evasion values (The Surrender and Atziri's Steps) and high cold/fire resistances to efficiently reach effective levels of armor. We also make use of a granite flask (+3000 armor), a stibnite flask (+100% evasion rating, which is converted to armor by IR), and a sapphire flask (+50% cold resist, which is converted to armor by the Perfect Form) in our setup for a strong temporary boost when needed.
Physical Damage Reduction - Beyond armor, we also utilize a number of other methods to help mitigate against incoming physical damage. We make use of 1) Fortify (proc on shield charge) for 20% reduced damage taken from hits; 2) Arctic Armor (free buff thanks to The Perfect Form) for +13% less physical damage taken when stationary (we're always stationary when using blade flurry); 3) Up to 4 endurance charges (generated by The Red Nightmare) for 16% physical damage reduction; 4) 8% of physical damage taken as fire damage (The Formless Inferno); and 5) 20% of physical damage taken as cold damage (Taste of Hate) for a total of up to 69% reduced physical damage taken or converted before armor (77% with full Tukohama buff).
Spell Dodge - The Perfect Form provides us with the Phase Acrobatics keystone passive, which gives 30% spell dodge, and we supplement this with Atziri's Steps boots which provides an additional 16%. This means that, when we also consider our 75% spell block, on average approximately only 1 in 8 spells can get through our block/dodge and hit us. This also means that while for most builds resistances are the first and last line of defense against spell damage, it is not true for this build. As a result, we can safely run elemental weakness (we're heavily over-capped on fire and cold resistances regardless) and -max resist maps and barely notice any effects. Finally, we further boost our dodge by using a Vaal Grace gem, which when active allows us to reach the spell dodge cap of 75% and attack dodge chance of 34%.
Life Recovery - We make use of a variety of recovery effects to keep our life up when hits do reach us. In short, we use passive life regen (4.4% per second), life leech (2% of damage), Soul of Tukohama (up to 2% life regen), as well as the 250 life recovered on block on The Surrender. The Surrender also provides a level 30 Reckoning counterattack, which can proc every 0.4 seconds, to give us constant leech when we block. Finally, our Atziri's Promise flask also provides us with a temporary boost to our leech (and damage) when in use.
Blind - Blind is one of the strongest debuffs against monster attacks by providing us a 50%(!) chance to evade attacks. We make use of blind by using a stibnite flask, which creates a smoke cloud on use (blinds all nearby enemies), and by socketing Blind Support gem in our The Surrender. When the reckoning counter attack is triggered, it has a chance to blind all enemies within the area of effect.
With so much of our effort focused on creating multiple defensive layers, we must therefore be very efficient in how we generate our offense.
Varunastra - Enter Varunastra. This weapon has the unique property of "counts as all one handed melee weapon types", which allows us to pick up some extremely efficient passive nodes. When using Varunastra, the damage bonuses on the Deadly Dilettante and By the Blade passive clusters which normally affect different weapon types, are applied in full. This means that the single Deadly Dilettante node alone is giving us 72% increased damage. Because Varunastra counts as all weapon types, you can also use every type of one-hand attack skill available. I used Blade Flurry in this guide for it's nice balance of high damage and AoE clear, but other skills such as Sunder, Earthquake, Cyclone, Cleave etc can all be adopted. Furthermore, with Varunastra the user is free to use any movement skill as well (whirling blades, leap slam etc). Since we're already starved for passives points and mods on items, we pick up the Resolute Technique keystone passive to guarantee hits on all our attacks.
Belt of the Deceiver - Belt of the Deceiver provides us with everything we want in this build: life, resistances, physical damage, crit damage reduction, as well as the "nearby enemies are intimidated" mod. When monsters are intimidated, they take 10% increased damage from all sources. We deal a combination of physical, elemental and chaos damage thanks to our buffs and flasks, and most of the time this debuff alone would be a 10% multiplier on our overall damage.
Flasks - Flasks are an efficient and effective way of boosting damage in PoE when it's needed. We make use of 4 unique flasks, Witchfire Brew, Taste of Hate, Lion's Roar and Atziri's Promise, all of which help boost our damage output.
Culling Strike - We socket the Culling Strike support gem in our The Surrender to provide culling on Reckoning. Culling strike instantly kills any monster that is at 10% of max life or below, which can be a big damage boost against monsters with very high health such as Guardians, Shaper and Uber Izaro.
While this build is nigh immortal against most monster types, there are nonetheless several things that you should be very careful of.
Damage over Time effects - Most of our defensive layers are used to mitigate against hits, and are bypassed completely by damage over time effects. Since some DoTs cannot be blocked or dodged, you should be extra careful against monsters that make use of them. Examples of these nasty bleed/poison effects in the game include corrupted blood packs (we carry a staunching life flask), K'aj Q'ura during the Atziri encounter, Shaper's beam attack and several Beyond monsters.
Switching to a pair of Death's Door boots can be invaluable for situations when you expect to face heavy bleed damage, such as for running through Uber lab traps.
Corpse Explosion - Corpse explosion (aka detonate dead) is not considered a normal spell hit and cannot be blocked or dodged. Therefore, they can be extremely dangerous to this build. Be especially weary of detonate dead lockboxes, detonate dead totems when you're close to bosses, and several Beyond monsters that use the spell.
Bearers and Volatiles - Since 3.0, bearers and volatiles can now be blocked and dodged. As a result, this build can survive most encounters with these effects unscathed. However, due to their potentially extreme levels of damage it is still not recommended to ignore them completely, since once in a while you could still get unlucky on block/dodge. If you do ignore them, be prepared to accept the (very) occasional deaths.
Coloring The Perfect Form - As a pure evasion armor with a high dex requirement, it can take a lot of chrome orbs to achieve the recommended 4R 1G 1B coloring used in this build. An alternative to using the Vorici bench (average of 4,656 chromes needed, per Vorici Calculator), is to color it using the Vorici socketing method. Here is an excellent guide by Windz on how this is done https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjDvO97CyWA.
Alternatively, you can replace the maim in the blade flurry links with Faster Attacks, thus only requiring 3Red 2Green and 1Blue socket in the Perfect Form. According to vorici calculator this would need just over 500 chromatic orbs on average to color. With this setup, we also replace ruthless with maim in our ancestral warchief setup to apply the maim debuff.
The Pantheon is an area where the build has a good bit of flexibility. On my character, I mainly use an upgraded Soul of Arakaali to provide a bit of protection against DoT effects (the bane of block characters) and upgraded Soul of Tukohama to provide a bit more damage reduction and regen. I switch Tukohama for Soul of Yugul when running maps with the reflect physical damage mod and for Soul of Ryslatha when I'm running labyrinth. Soul of Lunaris, Solaris and Brine King are also solid choices depending on your particular setup and the content you're running.
Finally learned how to use Nvidia experience to record, will update with more gameplay videos in the coming days. I plan to have videos showing both the boss fights and some more difficult maps in the near future. Mechanically I'm nowhere near some of the better players, so please bear with me :D
T15 The Beachhead Map
With a bit of AFK action at the end.
T16 Lair of the Hydra
More monster life + less armor/block chance + vulnerability map
The 30% less armor/40% reduced block chance map mod does make bosses more dangerous, but as you can see still doable without too much difficulty.
T16 Maze of the Minotaur
Vulnerability + increased monster damage map, with a test of passive tanking
I forgot to switch to concentrated effect for the boss, so the kill took longer than usual /facepalm. But as you can see even with these map mods it would be hard for Minotaur to kill me as long as fortify + endurance charges are up (no leech/flasks).
T16 Pit of the Chimera
Increased monster movement/attack/cast speed + extra damage as fire + increased unique boss life/AoE map.
Chimera himself doesn't do much, but his snakes are very OP when I'm at -60% chaos resist. I really should pick up 1-2 chaos resist items just to make this fight safer.
T16 Forge of the Phoenix
Increased monster AoE + increased unique boss damage and attack speed map
The Alluring Abyss Bosses (Uber Atziri)
I got nervous and made a couple of newbie mistakes during the Atziri fight, but still got lucky and was carried through by the build.
Tips for Alluring Abyss:
Double Vaals - Don't get slammed, it's other attacks don't do much
Trio - Keep fortify + enduring charges up, use flasks to kill Q'ura ASAP, his bleed is murderous, Y'ara'az and A'alai can be killed in either order, switching to Death's Door boots can make the fight less hectic (and in that case you can kill them in any order)
Queen Atziri - save flasks/vaal haste for the split phases
A quick showcase of the build tanking Uber Argus and Izaro, note that this was an easy lab day so fortify, endurance charges or flasks were not needed. For harder days you may need to use some or all of them.
Keep endurance charges up when running through lab traps, they're the only physical reduction that works against DoT, switching to Death's Door is also highly recommended.
T16 Vaal Temple Bosses
Elemental weakness + monster physical damage reduction map
Same as for Atziri, kill Q'ura first, and then Y'ara'az and A'alai in either order. If using Death's Door you can kill them in any order since you'll be immune to Q'ura's bleed.
Alternative Without The Red Nightmare
Without using the red nightmare jewel, we have to travel to the Ranger area to pick up the block passives needed to reach max block. This results in a build that's a bit less tanky than the normal build, but also has slightly more damage.
Level 92 Passive Tree
Stats in Path of Building
Go out, play the way you want, and have fun. Feel free to leave questions and comments on the build below. See you in Wraeclast!
Shoutouts to Evil_Bison for providing a great forum template and Openarl for making the amazing Path of Building program.
Last edited by Linxios on Oct 9, 2017, 10:03:50 PM
Last bumped on Jan 20, 2018, 4:40:13 PM
on Oct 4, 2017, 11:13:44 PM
Reserved for future use.
on Oct 4, 2017, 11:14:40 PM
I so want to do this build, but its too late, the item prices are up already, maybe next league
on Oct 5, 2017, 12:48:00 AM
Last edited by sherkhan on Jan 25, 2018, 7:59:22 PM
on Oct 5, 2017, 1:14:45 AM
I'll hopefully have time over the next couple of days to make and upload some videos.
on Oct 5, 2017, 1:59:02 AM
I love Melee, I love Block Builds. This looks really interesting and I think I'll give it a shot!
on Oct 5, 2017, 6:37:07 AM
on Oct 5, 2017, 7:36:34 AM
I would also like to see some videous, seems very slow on guardians. And how is this better/different from alkaizer secret kripp build?
on Oct 5, 2017, 10:30:34 AM
Looks great but looking forward to see some maps/bosses gameplay
Why waste good technology on science and medecine ?
on Oct 5, 2017, 10:54:24 AM
I don't have much to critique or so. Some more videos would be nice. Maybe add a section for other skill gems? This build with Cleave instead of BF sounds really nice tho. (You'll just need the Overwhealimng odds jewel) - maybe not millions of dps but stable and a nice MTX. (Yes I like Cleave, I'm guilty)
Maybe add some more Chest options? (Belly for life, Carcass for AOE/dmg...)
Also if you give up one 5% life node (Scion wheel), you can get a +2 block chance node, which gives you more freedom with your jewels.
I toyed a bit in PoB and we still would have about 480k (or so) shaper dps. Not the best, but enough.
Also (with cleave) another belt would come as an option.
Just my two cents.
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on Oct 5, 2017, 11:54:58 AM