[3.3] Gladiator Spectral Shield Throw pure phys bloodsplosion - easy and safe

Note: Spectral Shield Throw == SST
Note: 3.3 brought exactly 0 changes to the build

Build Overview

Brief: phys only, high block, bloodsplosions, spectral shield throw with single and crowd clearing setups. You will clear T15 and T16+ with it no problem.

Spectral Shield Throw had a bad start. Several streamers claimed its 'bad' or 'sh..' without really giving it a try. It seems some streamers arent really any good at evaluating stuff and are easily distracted.

SST is a nice skill with unique mechanic (how fresh it is to use a projectile skill that is not auto-scaled with GMP..) and pretty high impact damage. Forget about natural crit scaling - there is no point and hybrid shields are expensive because noone picks them up.

You CAN level with SST starting from lvl 16 when you equip your first leveling unique shield. Then you get Ewar's Mirage and.. sooner than you think you are in maps. Just buy shields from time to time, 1 chaos a piece. Your build reaches its 'end form' at lvl 67 when you can equip your end-game shield.

- very smooth map clear
- reasonable single target
- extremely tanky with right gear
- basic end-game setup is rather cheap
- very long upgrade path. if you wish to invest into the build, there are A LOT of chase items to look for
- explores elder/shaper itemization and allows for creative gearing
- the leveling as SST isn't as bad as certain 'pro' streamers claim
- enchant is not game-changing, you can ignore enchants and your build should work perfectly fine

- 3900 hp bow MF builds are faster
- 3900 hp bow MF build has higher MF
- end-end-game gear pieces are expensive or simply do not exist as we seek a VERY specific roll set
- end-game bosses do not die in 4 seconds
- some map mods and sextant mods are annoying or downright unplayable. 90% chance to avoid aliments is brutal.
- proximity shields.. annoying!
- maps with lots of clutter.. annoying!

Spectral Shield Throw - mechanics and scaling


What can we see here:
- it has 100% effectiveness for added damage. This means damage auras, flat damage (both phys and ele) and damage from (seriously stupid) Shaper/Elder offhands is 100% effective.

Damage scaling

- it scales from AR/EV equally. this means we can use AR or EV/AR shields. EV shields have lower values than AR shields.
While AR/EV shield has a higher top-top end (but we are talking TOP end here) and similar 'mid-tier values' there are two perks AR shields (or shield - Colossal Tower Shield. there are no other options) have
-- 10-20 flat life from implicit. not much? but it beats hybrid implicit rolls for sure.
-- EV is a very strong defensive mechanic and in every other build I would pick AR/EV setup BUT in this case evading attacks actually plays against us: hits you evade you cannot block (this is the order). Hits you didnt block will not heal you. It might sound weird - hit to get healed - but it works this way in practice. It wont affect end-game bosses as these cast spells/degens mostly - but general clear REALLY benefits from heal-blocking. note: you can blind enemies with Abyss jewel and get '50% evasion' easily vs endgame bosses.

- there are very little ways of scaling damage from the tree. 'projectile damage', 'projectile attack damage', 'attack damage when holding a shield', 'damage', 'global physical damage'. later two are the most important because these also scale Bloodsplosions.
- because there are not that many tree sources of 'increased' jewels and item rolls are of utmost importance. this also means geting quality from gems plays a higher than usual role. typical melee attack build can get ~400%+ increased from the tree. 10% means little then. in SST case this extra 10% increased has huge value
- flat phys from items is ok (it is never bad :) ) but your end-end-game rings should go for %increased projectile damage roll from Elder poll + flat damage. even mid-roll on Elder's %increased beats my quite allright Steel Ring

Elemental vs Physical
Physical (or converted). Elemental (from flat) has far less scaling than physical. Abyss jewels can get only 2 generic attack flat damage. 3rd roll is 'with a weapon type'. So you put yourself at a disadvantage from get go. Same with classic jewels - both damage.

I tried to make heavy crit (high ES shield) + added flat damage but the base numbers simply werent there. Sadly - esp after someone at GGG decided it is a good idea to add Shaper/Elder 'free Hatred' rolls - flat ele build in this case is self-gimping.

projectile speed is the king of scaling for clear speed. i cannot stress this enough. get it everywhere you can:
-- from the tree (ranger node)
-- from jewels (1-2 jewels worth of it)
-- from Chain's quality (yes, Chain)
-- from Faster Projectiles (Elder gloves)
-- from faster projectiles (global) from Elder Gloves. This affects gems anywhere, not only socketed into gloves!

difference between 'no proj speed' and 'specced into proj speed' is immense.

Chain vs Fork vs Pierce
- it depends. really. it depends
- Fork is nice for 'single setup' - when player uses one 6link and replaces it with a damage gem like Pierce or Generic Multiplier of Sorts. it provides some AOE and with careful aim can one shot packs. its main selling point is lower mana multiplier and lower 'less damage' penalty. it also has more concentrated 'work area' when the AOE starts quicker than with Chain. that immediate action is cool (before you get to proper chain setup)
- Pierce is great. for single target - as a multiplier and to kill adds. or when one uses single setup for both clear and single target. couple it with projectile speed AND helmet enchant or GMP. enchant is very expensive (and for this build the bonus of Shaper mods outweight the extra projectiles) but without extra projectiles you will leave FAR too many stragglers around
- Chain. IMO the 'go to' option. It auto-aims (thus achieves the goal of 'no stragglers'). It hits more targets than other options - thus applying bleed and poison everywhere thus triggering Bloodsplosions more reliably. With projectile speed high enough you will reach offscreen threshold.

people dissing Chain do so because their projectile speed - their force multiplier - is close to 0. My clear setup has ~140% increased projectile speed. Chain coupled with that is AMAZING.

This is more of a mindset thing. This build is NOT a DoT build. It uses bleed for a slight more multiplier. Bleed clears packs for us - because mob with 3% life will simply bleed to death. For some reason people expect DoTs to be usable only if they can be the ONLY things dealing damage.
Scale initial hit AND bleed and youll get far better REAL results (PoB is a PoB - it does not play the game for you. numbers ARE NOT everything!)

Point Blank vs Far Shot vs no modifier

Point Blank - ive used this keystone for 91 levels now and.. I just respecced out of it. Ive took notice of my playstyle and despite being rather tanky I still kept at a distance from 'real danger' type bosses thus making main selling point of Point Blank moot.

Far Shot - unless you are a Deadeye there is only one way to get it.

How lucky we are that this weapon not only gives us Far Shot but a) has an attack speed roll making our movement smooth b) provides 2 extra projectiles pretty much 100% of the time.
Advancing Fortress gives us 15% block and some life (and LGOH if using uncorrupted version). And that is a tough contender.

My go-to setup is weapon swap. Both choices are very strong and it is best to pick one that fits to the task at hand.



Gladiator. For block and bleedsplosions. Haemophilia gloves also grant splosions but these deal only 5% compared to 10% gladiator gives us.
Ascendancy order:
- Blood in the Eyes
- Gratuitous Violence (bloodsplosions)
- Painforged
- Versatile Combatant (if you do not have spell block from your shaper shield)
- Violent Retaliation (if you do. this also changes the gearing - i will not cover this variant)

Passive tree (lvl 91)


- (normal) %maximum life
- (normal) generic Damage, Global Phys Damage (these scale bloodsplosions), Attack Speed (generic, with shield, with weapon you use)
- (normal) projectile speed! it is the second most important (after pure damage) clear speed factor
- (abyss) gain Onslaught / Phasing

Single and Multi-target setups


SST main 'con' is bad single target. People solve it with gem swaps etc but there is a much easier way: use two link setups - this build is not starved for links so it is easy to do.

Single target in 6link chest and 4+1 link setup in gloves with Faster Projectiles (and other links if you manage to get them). Bloodsplosions are enough to cover your clearing even in red maps. If you run +max mob life mod just throw the shield two times or use single target setup to start the chain.

Single target:
- Physical Projectile Damage
- Brutality
- Damage on full life
- Maim
- Pierce (from chest)
- Unbound Aliments (or Item Rarity) - i have to use blue link due to corruption that i do not want to re-roll

Clear setup:
- Maim
- Physical Projectile Damage
- Chain
- Faster Projectiles (from gloves)
- Poison (from gloves)
- Faster Attacks (from gloves)

Gear in detail



Shaped Colossal shield rolled with 'flat AR' essences (of Dread). Your goal is 2000+ AR. Ceiling is around ~2800 but 2000 will be perfectly enough.

There are two shaper rolls you want to get: 'restore %life on block' and '%block chance applied to spells'.
The first roll basically makes you immortal. If you roll it - ignore other rolls. Shield with this roll and with no life roll is FAR (and I mean FAR) better than one with 120 flat life.
The second roll decides bit of your build and itemization. If you get it - you ignore the '100% spell block ascendancy' and fill the remaining %spell block with rolls from gear. If you do not get it - pick the 100% spell block

Bestiary recipe allows for 30% quality. In case of items with high flat, low % scaling - this means significant increase. Go for it if you can.

There are two - IMO comparable - options:

I saw several approaches focused mostly around damage (chain, added ele, penetration etc) but I noticed that damage is not something I need more of. 15% chance to block AND +40 life on hit (and SST hits A LOT) in one slot? Sign me up.

Corruption is optional but very nice. You should get reliable culls from movement setup anyway. Loss of LGOH from claw implicit is noticeable while clearing T14+ maps. Nothing stops anyone from keeping second weapon in inventory and swap when needed.

Alternative - and most probably the go-to end-game setup is:

Far Shot allows us for a more safe ranged playstyle (Point Blank range is.. rather meleeish). And because we Shield Charge/Whirl around - 2 extra projectiles for free. It is half of the helmet enchant.

Noticeable alternative mentions (leveling/clear):
The Gryphon (25% extra movement speed)
Prismatic Eclipse (up to 36% attack speed)
Ewar's Mirage / Touch of Anguish (+1 chain)


Nice stats, extra damage multiplier, free pierce effect, PHYS MANA LEECH! - what not to like here. 5 Link is good enough. I use 6link one but currently my 6th link is Item Rarity Support so..

Chest beats other options by sheer factor of.. cheapness. Alternatives like Yriel's Fostering (Maim or Bleed variants) are far more expensive. Great elder/shaper chest is great but there are just few that can compete with our default pick AND they cost a ton.


Life, resists, intelligence (very important!). I have no idea how expensive these rings are - found one and crafted another with one essence..
The amulet IS expensive and rightly so. Aim to get it. Absolute BiS is one with +1 curse but expect to pay an arm and kidney for that.

Note: phys damage on rings is worse than new shaper/elder 'projectile attack damage' rolls. Rings are where the sky is the limit. But expect to pay a TON for serious endgame ones. If you can get two with accuracy rolls - drop Resolute Technique and slot Inc Crit Chance as your last link


My aim was to get Flask Effect with reasonable secondary stats. Rustic base is great. Other option: Stygian Wise with bonkers rare Abyss jewel


Get one with 'increased area of effect'. This is used to boost the size of our Blasphemied Vulnerability and (minor) Enduring Cry 'collecting' range.
The first aspect is really important.
Note: the global increase applies to our bloodsplosions!


Movement speed, life, resists. Boring.


(upgraded to:

This slot is very important because it holds our 'clear xp globes' setup. You want to get:
as many 'supported by XXX Support' links as possible
life (or open prefix for life)
(ideally) %block roll (shaped)

remember that while 'supported by' is local, the second half of these mods is GLOBAL so make sure you get nice rolls for Projectile Speed, Damage with Bleeding and Attack Speed.

Life etc are nice extras



Jewels priorities:
+ %maximum life
+ %increased damage
+ %increased global damage
+ %increased attack speed (with shields, with one handed weapons, with weapon type, generic)

resists/attributes you miss (esp INT)

+ flat life (abyss)
+ onslaught on kill (abyss)

Watcher's Eye is an end-game option. Consider it if you like the build and playstyle. Mine was 4ex (in standard) and I could resell it for this price easily. Watcher's Eye price fluctuate WILDLY depending on the meta and streamers. I considered 4 rolls:
- 4-8 %block (Determination)
- Onslaught on kill (Haste)
- Unaffected by Temp Chains (Haste)
- 1-1.5% life leech (Vitality)
and one minor pick
- Immune to freeze (Purity of Ice)

two days of stalking sellers later and I managed to get one i liked. This gem covers all leech needs i have - saving me 3 points and i can finally run Temp Chains maps without pressure.

Before you impulse buy your jewel - remember that you have to run the auras! Getting 'Haste' + 'Determination' with no reduced mana reserved might be a serious 'buyers remorse' moment.

Gem Links


Gems in order of importance
Main clear setup (gloves):

+ from gloves:

Single target setup:

Cast when damage taken setup:

Curse and Aux (helmet)

+from helmet

Other links

Single links:

Auras depend on your Watcher's Eye. Haste is mildly effective (it is seriously weak), same as Vitality but coupled with Watcher's Eye they carry their weight.

Ancestral Protector (high level) is there for serious attack speed boost for our single target.

Get gem quality if it affects 'damage' or 'projectile speed'. This skill has lower than usual %increased scaling from tree and items so each 10% from quality means more than for other skills.


I use Regret Orbs during leveling. You'll get some respec points from quests and from natural Regret drops. If you do not want to spend currency on your leveling process - do more of the side quests that grant you respec points.

early levels:

Resolute Technique rush:

Preparing for first lab:

Enter the Bleedsplosions - second lab:

Approaching Act 9/10:

Final pre-maps step:

My current lvl 92 tree:
(leech nodes were removed thanks to 'leech'/Vitality Watcher's Eye jewel)

I play SC so my first priority while leveling is damage, then resists, then life. Use twink gear (Goldrim, Elron rings etc - just check what high-ilvl pieces with lots of low rolls you have in your stash and equip them)

Remember that your most important items are your FLASKS. keep them up to date, use gratnite/jade and two quicksilvers + one health or hybrit pot.

I do not rememer exact levels when i did Izaro and Uber Izaro but i think all my attempts were 'below' the advised level. Block builds with 2000 AR shields are known to trivialize Uber Izaro and this one does that as well.


lvl 88, gear pre-upgrades. Definitely too early to speed farm guardians (single target damage is.. bad) but it can be done without significant problems. my OBS introduces weird imput lag that makes me sometimes attack walls or stuff - sorry for that, couldnt be helped.

T16 map clear: https://youtu.be/qZY5bSCcpkY

T16 chimaera: https://youtu.be/QSwljjPZ4H8

Last edited by sidtherat on Jun 3, 2018, 6:35:59 AM
Last bumped on Dec 18, 2018, 2:58:35 PM
Which Shield did you use from lvl 16 for leveling?
that is actually pretty easy:

https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/List_of_unique_shields and check level reqs

lvl 16 - Kaltenhalt/Kaltensoul (fated and unfated version share the same EV value)

lvl 30 - Titucius' Span

you should find (like from the drops) something around lvl 40-50 that you can use till you get

lvl 54 - Atziri's Mirror

lvl 61 - Chernobog's Pillar

remember to Armourer's Scrap shields for more damage!

farm Bridge or Blood Aqueduct till 67 so you can equip your endgame shield. Shaped Colossal Tower shield or top AR/EV hybrid base (much harder to get hold on as people rarely pick them up).

Again - rolls on the shields do not matter IF you get %life regained on block
I did a build guide as a jugg using the same kind of idea. Princess Sabre is much better that ewar's for leveling it. It gives you so much more damage and the chain really isn't needed for clear.. Actually I seen much better clearing with pierce (which gives you more damage) then I did with chain.
Also level 70 unique shield (Lioneye's Remorse) is a great starting endgame shield that is low budget gives ton of life and armour. It is much cheaper than a well rolled endgame shaped/elder Colossal Tower Shield.
- gear (weapon choice)
- passive (lvl91)
- added skill mechanics section - SST is a very interesting skill to work with

there will be one final update before i conclude the build and move on - focus on end-end-game gear options
final update

got to lvl 92, died once (facetanking that 'big shot' from Hydra with mods). it isnt the strongest build ive ever played but it is definitely most fun i had in POE in last 2 years
sidtherat wrote:
final update

got to lvl 92, died once (facetanking that 'big shot' from Hydra with mods). it isnt the strongest build ive ever played but it is definitely most fun i had in POE in last 2 years

Hi mate,

Good guide. Any chance of adding in a levelling tree for 3-4 steps or just a general description of the way to go please? :)

I'm not as fast a leveller as some, so it's appreciated!

Thanks again for the guide! :D
Last edited by Converge57 on Apr 4, 2018, 9:55:56 AM
Sure. Ill prepare pob with few leweling stages but my real life got rough lately so it might be a day or two..
updated. it is a 'rough' estimate of what i did while leveling.

rush Resolute Technique, then fill in damage. do all the travelling early on when points come easily. Use Evwar's Mirage as soon as available, then switch to Advancing Fortress. That Life Gain on Hit will save you plenty often

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