[3.2] Death's Oath Max Block Gladiator

Hello and welcome to my second build guide of all time. This time we are here to discuss a build that has taken me several leagues, many hours, and numerous character re-rolls to get to this point. Now a few disclaimers before we begin:

1. Can it do shaper/uber elder/uber atziri?
a. I am not entirely positive. I think the dps of this build is far too lacking for such an undertaking. However, I am sure there is a lot of room for improvement and perfection that I have not done yet.

2. Is this build perfect?
a. That is a negative. I have tried many ideas and so many variations that it's not even funny. But I am sure the collective genius of the Path of Exile community has a few brilliant ideas that could help this build immensely.

3. Do you take criticism well?
a. If by "criticism" you mean suggesting alternatives then yes I do and will consider any advice you have to offer. If you are merely trash talking the build, then no I don't.

So now to the juicy bit that you all came here to see. Let's discuss the build.

*Max Block means innate tankiness that reduces the damage you take from most hits to 0.
*Gladiator Ascendancy and Anvil give you a cap of 82% block chance.
*Pretty much reflect immune. You aren't dealing a whole lot of physical or elemental damage. And since all the non-chaos damage is on block, you heal anyways.
*Deals a lot of chaos dot.
*Very low skill intensity (you don't need to use a bunch of different skills).
*Rather cheap to start mapping with

*I cannot, for the life of me, get more than 5k life
*Rather slow moving because of the lack of movement skill
*Some pieces can get rather pricey
*Highly dependent on blocking to survive, meaning if you don't block a big hit, you will likely die.

So to start things off you will obviously need a Death's Oath body armor to make this work.

As you probably already know, since you are looking for a Death's Oath build to begin with, this baby gives us that awesome Death Aura that we use to murder unsuspecting monsters around us. Now typically, people use CI with this body armor to completely negate the chaos damage we receive in return from killing things with this body armor. However, and I am quite sure someone out there will read this and contradict me, I have not ever personally seen a CI Gladiator. I am not even sure if that is a viable CI ascendancy honestly. But to make this work, we take quite a bit of chaos resist in the tree, through the Method to the Madness wheel and Atrophy wheel (and yes by quite a bit I mean roughly 30% which is not insignificant by any means).

To further help us mitigate the chaos burn that we take upon ourselves, we take Soul of Arakaali and at least its 4th tier upgrade to give us not only 5% less damage taken over time, but a whopping 25% chaos resist against damage over time. This helps us have a much easier time capping our chaos resist since that means we only have to hit 50% chaos resist to cap our resistance to the dot we receive from Death's Oath. This also helps us mitigate damage from other sources of chaos dot like poison, desecrated ground, and caustic clouds. As a secondary choice, I personally chose Soul of Shakari for the extra reduced chaos damage and reduced damage while in a caustic cloud (and while I have been super lazy I do plan on taking the time to get the poison immunity from that soul as well).

TL:DR Death's Oath is a must. Pick Soul of Arakaali and Shakari and upgrade both fully. Take some chaos res in tree.

Other (Mostly Necessary) Gear
There are, I am quite sure plenty of gear choices that are viable for this build, however, these are the pieces that I strongly suggest as they have helped me immensely:

Breath of the Council is probably the undisputed BiS for pretty much any build centering around Death's Oath (though I do however plan to try a build next league involving Edge of Madness with Death's Oath, maximizing the built in 1% inc chaos damage per level to devestate the hordes of monsters that populate Wraeclast. LOOK FORWARD TO IT!). This item gives you a ton of increased chaos damage, increased area of effect, and skill effect duration. On top of that it has an extremely high physical damage base that we can also utilize effectively on a Gladiator (more about that later).

The Surrender is an absolute monster of a shield in all honesty (minus the fact that GGG STILL won't give it 3D art which is depressing). This shield has a decent armor base that more than doubles itself on block. It has a decent hp base, decent block chance, and 250 life on block (which is super nice). It also comes with a built in lvl 30 Reckoning (important, but again will tie this in in a little bit, bear with me).

Naturally on a max block build, you generally want to take The Anvil amulet. It is a solid choice (especially since they removed the move speed penalty) due to the fact that it has a good chunk of armor, hp and mp on block, 8% flat block chance, and 3% to your max block. Now the downside is reduced attack and cast speed, which in my opinion, is worth it.

Allelopathy is a piece I did not originally plan on using, as I had hoped the damage without blight would be sufficient. However, Allelopathy, while not explicitly necessary, does help your single target significantly.

The last unique I suggest is actually the most flexible probably, and I am personally not 100% sure about it. Voll's Vision has really nice fire resist, some chaos resist, and armor. Added to that it has two unique effects when you dont have any corrupt items equipped, 100 hp/sec and up to 12% increased life. Both are extremely good in my opinion. If you consider 75% chaos resistance vs your degen of 450 damage per second, it comes to a total damage taken of 112.5 chaos damage per second. This means that by itself, Voll's Vision almost completely negates the degen we receive from Death's Oath. But again, this is a fairly flexible slot that could probably do just as well with a Rare helm with high life, fire res, and chaos res.

Let's talk Mechanics now

Alright so let's start with the ascendancy. Gladiator goes one of two ways, Max Block or Bleed. Honestly, bleed doesn't fit with Death's Oath so I ignored it completely. So I went with Max Block to give me a rather tanky character that can take a lot of hits, punish a lot of those hits back, and use Death's Oath to help make up for the, quite frankly, absurd clunkiness of Counterattacks. Yes, that's right, this is a Counterattack build.

Now before you moan and roll your eyes about it. Think about it. Counterattacks do not benefit from attack speed. Nor are they punished by reductions to it. They also don't care what your aps are on your weapon of choice, so choosing a high damage base is the best bet. So now we have a few layers of depth going on here. There's a high phys base in Breath of the Council, paired with two counterattacks (riposte and reckoning) one of which is built in to another solid unique choice. Add to that Gladiator not only doubles the damage of counterattacks, but gives us 8% increased physical damage per each block in the last 10 seconds, and a flat 80% increased physical damage if you block a hit from a unique in the last 10 seconds (which actually you get 88% increased from the unique because it procs both parts on each block). This gives us not only a rather high base damage for our counter attacks, but gives us a lot of potential damage the more we are hit. Great right? It gets better.

First off I would like to take a moment to explain that the tree (posted below is the PoB) is mostly geared towards block with shields, life, chaos damage, damage over time, chaos resist, and a tad bit of reduced mana reservation. This tree took a lot of tweaking and evolutions to get to it's current state and I am quite satisfied with it.

So back to the extra fun part. You have all heard of decay support right? Well it works kinda like Death's Oath, which we are already speccing damage for, so why not tack it on to one of our counterattacks? Perhaps reckoning since it applies damage in an area? (Though I genuinely believe either counterattack is a decent choice because most mobs will die before or shortly after they hit you so the decay is really only there to help with the single target damage). Decay needs to only be applied once every 10 seconds as well, making it a good choice to attach to a counterattack, since you should have a decent enough block chance to ensure that you block even the slowest of bosses once every 10 seconds. The other counterattack (probably riposte) we slap in a 4l with an added chaos gem to help give us some good supplemental damage.

Next we have the Allelopathy blight mixed with a wither totem to give us even more chaos damage over time and resistance penetration. Toss in a Witchfire Brew flask to give you a really disgusting Lvl 22 Despair, and you tear through most things rather well. I also personally prefer to run Storm Barrier on my blight for that extra little bit of defence. Personal preference, and I should probably be telling you to only run dps boosting gems.

Finally, our last layer is Tempest Shield to give us an extra 3% block chance, deal a lackluster amount of lightning damage, and tack cull onto it for a good finisher to help your clear out quite a bit. Cull is honestly optional (and quite frankly annoying when trying to catch beasts) and from my experiences, it is not very good in group play. However, I am a mostly solo player and I value the fact that I have the cull to help my clear out significantly. Test it, decide if you like it or not, take it off, your choice.

For our auras we run Determination and Purity of Elements. This helps us solidify our elemental resist (because quite frankly we don't have a whole lot of non-unique slots for rares to help us cap). To add to this, grab yourself a Watcher's Eye with increased block for Determination and a % of physical damage taken as cold for your Purity of elements. I think another solid option might be a Purity/Vitality Watcher's Eye, however that is far outside my budget.

Gem Setup

Body Armor:
Arcane Surge -> Efficacy -> Swift Affliction -> Less Duration -> Concentrated Effect -> Void Manipulation

Void Manipulation -> Efficacy -> Storm Barrier -> Controlled Destruction or Swift Affliction

Decay -> Void Manipulation -> Swift Affliction

Riposte -> Melee Phys -> Added Chaos -> Void Manipulation

*Helm and Weapon sockets are pretty much free to do as you please though you could very well set up a 4s Tempest Shield for extra damage or not. Up to you.

Tempest Shield -> Culling Strike -> Determination -> Purity of Elements

Wither -> Spell Totem
*could probably add in a shield charge but it would probably be rather slow and clunky so I just stick to my QS flask.

Tree/Path of Building


Content I Have Completed
Probably not as much as you guys would hope for me to tell you. I am currently lvl 79, have not done any red maps solo yet, and haven't done really any endgame content. However i do believe that this is a decent map farming character with a consistent clearspeed. I do consistently complete rare maps up to tier 10 (good luck getting red maps to drop) and there are only a few map mods to really watch out for. Reduced or no life regen are pretty brutal and reduced block chance is an obvious no-go zone. Other than that I haven't encountered too much that actually hurts. (The Brittle Emperor hurts though. A lot.) There isn't much that a curse immune flask wont help with honestly.

I will be adding more links to videos as I push harder content.

Currently all I have to present to you is a Shaped Excavation Breach. Small clip. Sorry.

To Wrap Things Up
I love it when a build comes together. When a vision that I have of standing on a mountain of corpses is realized. As a person who specializes in off meta and obscure things, this build was a great achievement in my book. It was a lot of trial, error, retrial, re-error... and quite frankly it was nightmarish to say the least. But I think it is a solid mapper. It might not be capable of doing all of the end game content, but I do think it turned out really great.

Like I said up above, I am encouraging you to challenge my choices and help me make it even better. From tree pathing decisions, to better gear choices, let me know what you think.
Last edited by MasterCeRo on May 2, 2018, 8:32:03 PM
Last bumped on May 1, 2018, 3:06:58 PM
friend could improve there by the link of the tree, videos a lot of people do not use this your biuld because it explains nothing.
friend could improve there by the link of the tree, videos a lot of people do not use this your biuld because it explains nothing.

I have a link to the Path of Building which includes the tree as well as my current gear. I also don't know how to make videos and post them on here so I am afraid that is a no go.

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