[3.0] Unwavering Gladiator, Ice Crash, SSF Friendly and End Game Viable.

Stand your ground, child, keep your senses. The pain is fleeting, but victory is forever.

This is the official build thread for my kind of cheap, SSF friendly and maybe end game viable build. I've been running this build since Harbinger began, and I've enjoyed it and haven't had any trouble so far. Note that I don't play PoE that much, but I've killed all guardians, but I still haven't attempted Shaper, so I don't know if I can kill him. I haven't even gotten one Mortal piece for Uber Atziri so no attempts there yet either. Normal Atziri and Council are doable though, as well as Uber Lab. While leveling, I had no problem to kill any boss at all. I even killed Kitava act 10 just by standing still and holding M1, due to the tankyness of this build, and some decent pieces of gear found or crafted. All in all I would say that this is a very beginner friendly build.


Strengths and Weaknesses of the build


- Very Tanky, even if your damage output isn't the best*, you'll do great.
- Easy to craft gear for, if you're SSF you're probably gonna have to craft.
- Versatile Combatant, as most gladiator builds have, helps a lot with blocking even spells.
- Since the damage output isn't that big*, you can do reflect maps just fine.

* Even if the damage output isn't the best, clearing trash packs is still quick. Bosses do definitely take more time though.


- Limited damage output, about 100k tooltip dps with buffs+flasks. This depends on your access to flasks and great equipment, but it's tough to come by real great pieces as SSF. But this is not gonna be your multi million DPS 100 exalt budget build.
- No-leech maps definitely, at least map bosses. Can steadily clear the map but I'm pretty sure that I can't kill a high tier map boss on a no leech map (haven't tried cause I'm a pussy but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to).
- Less recovery rate map mod. Killing a high tier map boss is doable but it affects your leech significantly so you gotta be really careful.


Build mechanic introduction:

Basically, this build uses Ice Crash as its main attack, both when clearing and killing bosses, with numerous utilities that assist in their own little way, as will be described in the Skill Gem section.

This build uses the hybrid leech node above Iron Reflexes, which will be our only source of mana, and it will be more than enough.

A synergized combination of Iron Reflexes and Unwavering Stance makes the Gladiator very versatile, since you can't be stunned, and since Unwavering Stance removes your ability to evade attacks, Iron Reflexes mitigates this by converting all remaining Evasion to Armour rating for more physical damage reduction. A third keystone is used as well, Resolute Technique, since this is not a crit based build, RT is pretty important.

This build collects a lot of block nodes, since it's made for SSF, it's not easy to get your hands on an Anvil for example.

Furthermore, a lot of leech rate nodes are picked since we build towards the marauder/templar part of the tree, thus we cannot get Vaal Pact.

Just as most builds do, a lot of Health nodes are picked.

Depending on you weapon of choice, you will pick different nodes. But I've figured that Axe should work best with this build, since you get a good leech nodes with it, as well as Onslaught.

Gratuitious Violence helps with AoE clearing, a lot. Those explosions aren't a joke.
Painforged is kind of 8% more block chance, which is really nice, but we need to get Painforged in order to get the two much more important ascendancies for this build, Versatile Combatant (VC) and Violent Retaliation (VR). VR is basically a huge damage boost, especially against bosses. But VC is what makes us very tanky, since you can now block spells as well, which is just amazing.


Skill-gems, setups and thorough explanations:


Skill Gem (lvl, quality). If lvl = max, that means the maximum level that you can use with respect to strength (which you'll have a great abundance of), and especially intellect and dexterity. Usually this means lvl 20, but sometimes you might get away with a lower level or so if you're just below the intellect or dexterity requirement.

Damage setup:

- Ice Crash (max, 20q), Melee Physical Damage (max, 20q), Elemental Damage with Attacks (max, 20q), Faster Attacks (max, 20q), Concentrated Effect (max, 20q) for 5 links. As a sixth link I would suggest Cold Penetration, or something else that you might find good!

This is the main attack that you will be using, pretty simple.

- Reckoning (max, 20q), Culling Strike (max), Curse on Hit (max), Warlord's Mark (max, 20q).
This is something interesting that I just tried out. Since we block a lot, Reckoning will consequently trigger a lot. Therefore, Reckoning + Culling Strike effectively reduces the amount of health from a boss by 10%, since as soon as the boss will have 10% or less hp after your reckoning hits, the boss dies. Furthermore, as Reckoning triggers a lot, it will trigger our ghetto Blasphemy to effectively permanently curse monsters with your prefered curse. I like Warlord's Mark, but another great curse is Enfeeble which I absolutely reccomend if you feel like you need monsters to deal less damage.

Defensive Setup:

- Cast when Damage Taken (max, 20q), Tempest Shield (max, 20q), Summon Flame Golem (max, 20q).
The reason behind a maxed CwDT, since it doesnt trigger as often as a lvl 1 does, is that we mainly use this for Tempst Shield and Golem upkeep. Since Tempest Shield resets on block, we only need this to trigger once, so that we get that 3% block as well as a little bit of extra lightning damage from Tempest Shield. I'm using Summon Flame Golem there because it's nice to not have to resummon your Golem all the time (I actually need to get my CWDT to 20 before I can use it with my golem, but it's my plan).

- Cast when Damage Taken (1), Frost Bomb (10), Increased Duration (max, 20q), Immortal Call (3).
This way our Immortal Call lasts 0.70 seconds. Furthermore, if you've gotten some Endurance Charges from Warlord's Mark, our Immortal Call lasts even longer. Frost Bomb gives us cold penetration and reduces life regeneration on monsters quite significantly. This is very important for Consecration bosses such as Suncaller Asha.


- Leap Slam (max, 20q), Faster Attacks (max, 20q), Fortify (max, 20q).
Movement and Fortify setup. Slam into a pack of monsters to gain Fortify. I want to see if Blood Magic would be good on this one, since if we're backtracking your mana will get low as this build prefers no mana flasks.


- Hatred (max, 0q), Herald of Ash (max, 20q).
A while back I got my hands on an Enlightenment Gem (SSF luck), so when I get that to lvl 3 I will try to see if it's possible to use Arctic Armour (max, 20q) as well. If you're not playing SSF, a Soul Taker solves this issue so that you can use all three auras.


Leveling Tips:

Before you can use Ice Crash, I reccomend using Cleave with any suitable support gems such as Melee Damage, Faster Attacks, etc.

SSF tip:

While leveling, it's easy to clear the first few acts as long as you use suitable gear you find along the way. Deeper into the game, for example in Act 4, you might have to craft a weapon for yourself by alt-spamming, unless you find something nice. I reccomend that you pick up any piece of armour that you find good, and alt spam until you get nice stats. Since you're playing SSF, you'll have very limited access to currency, so I reccomend that you take it slow, pick up all rares that you find, identify them and vendor them. Early in the game, I reccomend you even pick up magic items, identify, and vendor them as well. It takes extra time, but you will need all the Alteration Orbs you can get your hands on in order to craft gear for yourself since you can't usually rely on dropped gear. When you reach mapping, you're gonna have to alt-spam on a lot of gear to get desired affixes.


Skill-trees & Ascendancy classes:

Ascendancy (Gladiator):

Gratuitous Violence, Painforged, Versatile Combatant, Violent Retaliation. I got them in this order, but in retrospect maybe it would be better to get pick Painforged+Versatile from normal+cruel lab, and then pick GV from merciless and VR from uber.


Lunaris and Gruthkul. Of course if you have other preferations, choose those, but these are the ones I'm using and this is merely a tip.


Kill all. Oak is kind of nice, but Jewel slot is definitely better.

Leveling Passive Skill Tree:

Points 1-12: Use Mana Flows noteable passive to gain mana regen until we reach the end of the next part of the build.

Points 13-26: Now that we have the 0.4% mana leech node we can unspecc Mana Flows to gain back 2 passives.

Points 27-47: We get our second keystone, Unwavering Stance, as well as the noteable Bloodless which gives us life as well as the no-leech modifier, so that certain monsters as well as bosses cannot leech from life from you which is really nice. Also some Axe nodes.

Points 48-63: We go back a little and get Hematophagy. We also go for more block and life.

Points 64-75: We focus on some more life nodes and finally get the last important keystone, Resolute Technique.

Points 76-85: Now we get the big axe cluster that we passed on our way to RT, and get our Onslaught buff!

Points 86-109: We get a lot more life nodes and block nodes, and some other goodies.

Points 110-123 (final): We finish off by getting one small life node in the beginning of the tree, some non-important damage nodes that we skipped, and some really nice armour nodes as well.

My current build (Path of Building)

Note 1: In the Path of Building data I've configured stuff like damage against Guardian/Shaper, enemies are bleeding, burning and chilled, Onslaught, Blocked from Unique, Consecrated Ground, Fortify, Endurance charges, and flasks are enabled, so the numbers might be a bit off, since for example during Phoenix we don't really regen flask charges that quick, at least not until late in the fight when the small birdies start spawning more and more frequently.

Note 2: That if you at any point need intelligence or dexterity, simply pick up the 30+ notables in the skill-tree and spec out of them later when you are able to cover these requirements via gear.


Gearing and stat priorities:

Defensive affixes, in priority:

1. Just enough Intellect and Dexterity to be able to use max level gems.
2. Elemental Resist cap
3. Life
4. Armour

Also try to get block rolls on your shield, if you're not using Lioneye's remorse (I reccomend this if you don't play SSF).

Offensive affixes, in priority:

1. Physical damage
2. Attack speed
3. Flat damage on accessories
4. Weapon Elemental Damage on accessories

My Current Gear:

Before I had Belly of the Beast, I used this self-crafted chest
Lots of armor, decent health roll, one low/mid tier resist.


Look for jewels with these stats:
- Life
- Damage (AoE, Cold, Axe, Physical, Melee, One handed)
- Attack Speed
- Block chance


Bleed removal flasks on health flasks, as after we get lots of corrupting blood or some other bleed effect we want to heal up. I use four utility flasks, one to remove curse effects (try to get increased duration and curse removal, amazing combo), as well three unique flasks for damage; The Wise Oak, Atziri's Promise and Lion's Roar. Now I've been kind of lucky with some drops, but Lion's Roar is definitely one of the items that makes this build pretty nice, and it works amazingly especially on Beachhead.
A great alternative is of course Taste of Hate, but I haven't gotten my hands on one of those bad boys yet.


Recommended unique items:

Lioneye's Remorse
The Anvil
Soul Taker
The Surrender

These items would probably be really good for this build. I have not had the luck to find any of them, and especially haven't been able to farm breaches for Surrender, but I'm sure that the Anvil would make a nice addition to this build.

I'm currently using
uniques, as I find them really good. The main weakness with Belly is the low armour/evasion. Ming's Heart is really great as well; while it does reduce your health, you gain a really big chunk of helpful Chaos resistance, as well a lot of extra damage as well which really helps out. The Flow Untethered is really amazing, and I never thought I'd complete a Harbinger item on SSF. The 20% increased life recovery rate, in addition to Hematophagy and Vitality Void passives, increases the leech rate so insanely much that it just kind of feels like a very ghetto VP. It is extremely fast to recover health with this. Additionally, the occasional Slipstream aura that you get is a really amazing boost to your movement and attacks per second, and all the other perks that you get from this belt such as less time with debuffs, less cooldown (I assume this affects CWDT), and a increased attack speed mod as well. I'm in love with this belt!

Other belts I reccomend are

Of these two, I would prefer Belt of the Deceiver because of the 10% more damage buff you get (or rather, 10% monster increased damage taken, but it's the same).


That's about it! Of course, if you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. I'd love some criticism in order to improve this build, especially with respect to damage output as it is pretty much the only weakness of this build.

Thanks for reading this guide, and remember to stay sane exiles!
Last edited by qjornt on Oct 31, 2017, 9:05:02 AM
Last bumped on Oct 10, 2017, 2:13:20 PM

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