[3.6] What Happens When You Fully Invest Into Bleed Damage? Blood Magic Gladiator

I dumped like 25ex into a character to see how good physical attack builds, or more specifically bleed damage, is in the current state of the game. Check out the video below to see what happened.

Video Guide On The Character
https://youtu.be/ghbtRb2g16s

Weapon Crafting Video
https://youtu.be/lGbnRFOA3WY

Character Gear and PoB

Path of Building: https://pastebin.com/VmXubMsv



Video Script If You Would Prefer To Read

Hows it going, ItFightsBack here, and today I am going to go over a fully bleed focused Gladiator build I made in the Synthesis league. This is not only a typical build guide where I show off my super powerful character, but more of an exposé on the state of pure physical attack builds and bleeding in the current state of the game. That is not to say that the build is bad, but with the level of optimization on this character, I feel it is nowhere close to as good as it should be.

I will quickly go over the character. I crafted 2 axes myself from fractured of celebration siege axe bases using jagged and corroded fossils. The last video I uploaded goes through the entire crafting process. Both weapons have t2 flat phys, 60% chance for bleeding to deal 100% more damage, and crafted % phys with chance to impale. One is 375 pdps and the other is 368 pdps so with respect to bleed damage specifically they are effectively 600 and 588 pdps weapons. I spent 17ex making these.

Next I have a Circle of Guilt with implicit global phys damage, increased herald of purity buff effect, and herald of purity reduced mana reservation which is important as I am using blood magic. I have an impresence with corrupted +1 max res which allows blasphemy vulnerability to cost no mana. The other ring is a steel ring with essence crafted flat phys, intelligence that is needed along with life and resists. The belt is a stygian vise with life and resists, I should have a better one with some chaos res but whatever. The jewel is life and flat phys.

The gloves have t1 flat phys and life, essence crafted attack speed and more resists. Boots have life resists and move speed. I did not take the time to run lab for leech. The helmet I purchased with the reduced malevolence mana reservation, and crafted life and resists with pristine fossils. The chest I purchased already 6 linked for 6ex which has life and resists, and I spent 3ex to craft an additional curse onto it. I could definitely have more life on this character. The Cospri’s Will Unique chest armour would be a great place to start when making a build like this while providing a source of poison as well, however there is no life at all on it so you would have to stretch pretty hard to make this work in late game scenarios.

Flasks are an eternal life flask Catalysed of staunching, sulphur flask with freeze immunity, witchfire brew for damage over time and despair which causes enemies to take increased damage over time, a lions roar for more phys damage, and an aquamarine for curse immunity.

Before I go over gem links let’s look at the passive tree. I am a gladiator taking blood in the eyes for bleed chance and maim on hit against bleeding enemies causing them to take 10% increased physical damage. Gratuitous Violence gives more chance to bleed, bleeding enemies explode dealing aoe damage, and 25% more damage with bleeding. Outmatch and Outlast gives chance to gain frenzy and endurance charges, More physical damage at max frenzy and phys reduction at max endurance. Lastly is painforged which is block stuff.

On the rest of the tree, I have a ton of life, a couple leech nodes, a few bleed nodes, the axe wheel on the left side, a rapid expansion jewel to increase the ground slam angle, templar AOE nodes and reduced mana reservation which frees up around 400 life. I have resolute technique for hits cannot be evaded, blood magic and mortal conviction which gives 50% less mana reserved, and crimson dance allowing bleeding to stack up to 8 times while dealing 50% less damage. So at 8 stacks of bleeding I am doing 4 times more bleed damage. You may be wondering why Blood Magic since you have so much life reserved. Malevolence was not initially in the plan for the build which takes up 1300 life. I got the helm enchant and rolled with it. This build was planned more for a dps check than something I am going to play long term.

For gem links in the chest I have ground slam linked with melee phys, multistrike, brutality, unbound ailments which is important for increased bleed duration, and deadly ailments. Gloves have ancestral warchief with bloodlust, maim, and mele phys. Helm has vaal double strike with bloodlust, brutality, and melee phys. Boots have enduring cry, war banner, and herald of purity linked with bloodlust. Everything is linked with bloodlust so that only my ground slam is applying bleed stacks as the hits of everything else would overwrite the higher damage ground slam hits. Left weapon has malevolence giving more damage over time and skill effect duration, and vulnerability linked to blasphemy which causes affected enemies to take 39% increased physical damage and 30% increased phys damage over time. Lastly is leap slam, faster attacks, and fortify.

So you may be looking at this and think like I do that this build should melt anything in the game. It is not terrible, but it by no means is amazing. Looking at path of building it shows I have 12491 shaper bleed dps. That does not factor in the 60% chance to deal 100% more bleed damage on the weapons. That is effectively 60% more damage. 12491 times 1.6 = 19985 dps times 8 stacks is 159884 shaper bleed dps. That seems pretty pathetic. So if I were to compare that to my other damage over time build I get 346440 shaper dps with only a 5 linked level 21 vortex and a staff I bought for 40 chaos, and that damage comes out instantly, I don’t have to stack it up 8 times. That is also without factoring in the Elemental Overload, Arctic Breath, Cold Snap, and Vaal Cold Snap DPS that I can layer on top of it without any reliance on flasks for damage.

Let that sink in for a minute. If I factor in all damage sources I have just under 400,000 shaper dps. Vaal double strike and flasks only last for so long, and I do not see that this factors in the more damage ground slam does closer to targets. Let me know if I could have done something better, aside from a fossil crafted level 1 Maim on the chest which would bring the dps to 459,000. I could also boost the damage higher using Ruthless instead of multistrike, but if you actually play this game you know you constantly must be moving moving or you will die in almost all cases, so it is harder to reach your 8 bleed stacks. I don’t think the problem is with my build at all. Most of my gear is unobtainable by the average player. In my opinion this build should easily destroy everything in the game and yet it does not.

So let us look at how it might be made better. I will start with the crimson dance notable passive before I go into the attack stuff in general. Crimson Dance currently reads you can inflict bleeding on an enemy up to 8 times, your bleeding does not deal extra damage while the enemy is moving, and 50% less damage with bleeding. If this instead said bleeding you inflict can stack, and your bleeding does not deal extra damage while the enemy is moving, and bleed damage is not scaled by critical strike multiplier, then with 7.09 attacks per second, and 7.2 second bleed duration, I could reach 51 bleed stacks assuming I could attack uninterrupted for 7.2 seconds. That is very unlikely, but in that case I would hit just over 2 million shaper dps from bleeding alone. That is more along the lines of what I would expect from a build like this, and let me remind you that is with 2 600 pdps axes with respect to bleed damage. This would allow the potential for a build like this to be playable and feel decent. I am not done there however. I want to talk about % physical damage reduction and endurance charges on maps. This is a massive slap to the face to any pure physical build, and I will explain why it feels so bad. There is an equivalent % elemental resistance mod that can roll on maps, along with elemental equilibrium. This can lower the effective damage of an elemental build, but there are many ways to mitigate it. There are many sources of elemental penetration, there are curses, and there are sources of exposure that lowers resistances as well. When it comes to physical damage, there is nothing of the sort, the enemies are just harder to kill now and you have to deal with it. I did not know this until recently, but endurance charges currently give 15% physical reduction and elemental resistances to enemies, while only 4% to players. So a boss on a red map with 40% physical damage reduction, and monsters gain an endurance charge on hit, that you will definitely have to hit 3 times with have 85% physical damage reduction. Sure vulnerability causes enemies to take % increased physical damage, but the enemy is still going to mitigate 85% of that added damage. While I am on vulnerability, the physical damage over time does not currently scale with gem levels as does the raw increased physical damage taken. Anyways the point i am trying to make here is that there needs to be a way to mitigate enemy physical damage reduction. There could be a new stat along the lines of physical damage penetration, or armour breaker or whatever you want to call it. A perfect place to put something like this is on the Brutality gem. This gem gives a massive more physical damage multiplier while nullifying any chaos or elemental damage. With all of the very plentiful sources of physical damage as extra of an element, or non chaos as chaos, this gem needs to be WAY better. Leaving it exactly as it is while adding say a 20 % penetrate armour would feel really good. Sprinkling other sources of this in other areas would really open up the potential for pure physical damage builds. Using the brutality gem also massively lowers the number of useful flasks you can use. The last thing I want to mention is that there is also a mod that gives 65% chance for monsters to avoid bleed, blind, and poison in red maps. This just feels bad. I know ignite builds have to deal with a similar issue as well. Reflect maps already exist and can force you to not be able to run that map. This is not as big of an issue as the other things I mentioned, but I still think it should not exist as it punishes very specific niche builds. If there was a map mod that said monsters have a 65% to avoid lightning damage, players would be pretty unhappy about that.

That is all for me. If there are any other ideas you have about how pure physical or bleed builds can be improved let me know in the comments below. I really hope with the melee changes coming in 3.7 some things are done to address some of the issues that I raised here. However, even if they are, I doubt I will play it because without fractured items it is going to be so much harder to acquire weapons anywhere close to to the level that I currently have, but maybe they won’t need to be in order to play this type of build. I am ItFightsBack, Subscribe for more path of exile content, and thanks for watching.


Last bumped on May 11, 2019, 9:15:29 PM
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Last edited by uncrudable on Jun 5, 2019, 7:22:00 AM
You're not maximizing the character at all. In a nutshell - you're doing it wrong.

Ruthless and Chance To Bleed give more bleed damage than deadly or unbound. Deadly gives 10% less damage to hits - bleed is scaled off of the base hit - so that is a no no. Multi-strike is lowering your base hits as well, and your weapons have low base physical. Check my character "Idealistic" for a better representation of a strong bleed build.

Your choice of skill is lacking too. For single target, Blade Flurry is the obvious choice, and I swap in Reave for mapping. I have them linked to a pseudo six link in my gloves, and Vaal Double Strike is 6-linked (as it should be) in my chest.

You want to stack flat physical everywhere you can and then get the highest % more bleed modifiers you can get, which you're not doing. What does your sheet say per hand for physical damage?

"
Ruthless and Chance To Bleed give more bleed damage than deadly or unbound. Deadly gives 10% less damage to hits - bleed is scaled off of the base hit - so that is a no no. Multi-strike is lowering your base hits as well, and your weapons have low base physical. Check my character "Idealistic" for a better representation of a strong bleed build.


Ruthless in place of Multistrike is definitely better for overall bleed DPS as I did mention. Deadly Ailments is without a doubt better in all cases. Chance To Bleed does show a higher numerical bleed damage, but Unbound Ailments allows the applied bleed to last longer.

If your goal is to maximize a numerical DPS number without any respect to your clear speed, your approach is fine. The point I was making with regard to Crimson Dance is that if you want to play a "thousand cuts" themed build you are capped at 8, in which case maybe a slower high base damage is the only viable way to play it.


"
Your choice of skill is lacking too. For single target, Blade Flurry is the obvious choice, and I swap in Reave for mapping. I have them linked to a pseudo six link in my gloves, and Vaal Double Strike is 6-linked (as it should be) in my chest.


You can use whatever skill you like. Ground Slam is very comparable to Reave. But even in your case, I imagine if you wanted to maximize the damage from 8 total bleed stacks on a boss Heavy Strike would win. Blade flurry will give 7 smaller bleeds and 1 big one.


"
You want to stack flat physical everywhere you can and then get the highest % more bleed modifiers you can get, which you're not doing. What does your sheet say per hand for physical damage?


I am without a doubt stacking the most amount of flat physical damage I can get on my gear (unless I threw on The Warden's Brand and tanked my attack speed). Doubling my Herald of Purity Buff Effect does so as well (which gives a total of 50-74 flat phys). Per hand weapon damage is 3285-5738 and 3136-5792 per the in game character sheet. But I also have 7.09 attacks per second.


"
You're not maximizing the character at all. In a nutshell - you're doing it wrong.


There is what I am doing, and there is what you are doing. Neither is wrong. A different approach may be more effective, but I absolutely idealized the goal character I set out to create. I may have been able to build my character more around maximizing the effectiveness of 8 bleed stacks for boss bleed DPS in lue of being able to quickly clear maps.

Regardless, the issues I raised about pure physical and bleed builds are still relevant regardless of the approach, and the approach I took, attempting to make a cut you to death character, is not possible with cap on Crimson Dance.
"
Ruthless in place of Multistrike is definitely better for overall bleed DPS as I did mention. Deadly Ailments is without a doubt better in all cases. Chance To Bleed does show a higher numerical bleed damage, but Unbound Ailments allows the applied bleed to last longer.

If your goal is to maximize a numerical DPS number without any respect to your clear speed, your approach is fine. The point I was making with regard to Crimson Dance is that if you want to play a "thousand cuts" themed build you are capped at 8, in which case maybe a slower high base damage is the only viable way to play it.


How is Deadly Ailments better? It reduces your attack damage. Less* attack damage, which is multiplicative. Your bleeds don't have to last that long if you're constantly applying them, you're stacking 8, and if you're not continuously hitting the boss, you're going to die.

My clear speed is insane. Everything pops almost instantaneously. A higher base damage is the ONLY way to apply bleeds, as that is how the mechanic works. It's based off of the the base hit, then the multipliers and increased damage work off of that.

"
You can use whatever skill you like. Ground Slam is very comparable to Reave. But even in your case, I imagine if you wanted to maximize the damage from 8 total bleed stacks on a boss Heavy Strike would win. Blade flurry will give 7 smaller bleeds and 1 big one.


Blade Flurry gives 20% more damage with hits and ailments per stage. It is by FAR the best skill to use, there's nothing that comes close to it. Again, more is a multiplier. It's multiplicative, not additive.

"
I am without a doubt stacking the most amount of flat physical damage I can get on my gear (unless I threw on The Warden's Brand and tanked my attack speed). Doubling my Herald of Purity Buff Effect does so as well (which gives a total of 50-74 flat phys). Per hand weapon damage is 3285-5738 and 3136-5792 per the in game character sheet. But I also have 7.09 attacks per second.


You're not stacking the most physical damage you can get. Your weapons (the basis of every attack) have low base physical damage. I don't have a double purity ring, I'm in standard, but my sheet damage is almost triple what yours is: 8203-15099 and 7119-14071 - the APS is irrelevant here, and that's what I'm trying to tell you. You want the highest base physical damage you can get, because your bleeds are based off of that.

"
There is what I am doing, and there is what you are doing. Neither is wrong. A different approach may be more effective, but I absolutely idealized the goal character I set out to create. I may have been able to build my character more around maximizing the effectiveness of 8 bleed stacks for boss bleed DPS in lue of being able to quickly clear maps.

Regardless, the issues I raised about pure physical and bleed builds are still relevant regardless of the approach, and the approach I took, attempting to make a cut you to death character, is not possible with cap on Crimson Dance.


We're doing the same thing, you're just doing it less effectively. Sorry if I came off harsh or whatever, I didn't mean to. I'm just trying to help. My character clears maps outrageously well, I'm actually a little disappointed in the boss damage as well, but it's gotten outrageously better since I min-maxed my base damage. I looked at your tree, and it's not showing that you have Dirty Techniques selected? Deadly Ailments and Multi-Strike give you a combined 40% less attack damage. Sometimes I use Multi-Strike for clearing, but it's really not necessary. Everything pops with 1-2 shots because the base damage is so high. Swapping Reave to Blade Flurry (one gem) is very easy to gain a shitload of boss dps. Kinda like swapping AOE for Conc - pretty standard for most builds.

I agree that melee and bleed are not where they should be, but your representation of being "fully invested" isn't accurate. Try what I've said - your damage will drastically improve.
You both should do your homework before you start arguing, since both of you are wrong in some ways. Starting with the big one:

Ailments (bleed/poison/ignite) are NOT attack/spell. Any damage increases that specify "Hit", "Melee", "Attack" or "Spell" does not interact with ailments. That means things like Multistrike/GMP/Deadly Ailments don't lower bleed's damage, only the hit portion. Same applies to Lion's Roar and dual wield bonus not interacting with bleed in any way.

Should be obvious that not having enough attacking enough times will lower your bleed damage/clear potential. It's important to have high attack speed so you can always reliably apply 8 stacks in short-mid period of time, but too much attack speed will lower build's effective in boss fights.

Because of that, both of your builds don't really know if they're bleed or hit based.


@Cimmerian
Base Damage of a skill is essentially a multiplier. That makes Blade Flurry actually crap for bleed, outside of the maximum stack value that's mediocre. It's good to quickly apply multiple bleeds without multistrike tho. Groundslam is actually top tier skill for bleed, especially if you can only get in point blank range.

@ItFightsBack
Impale does nothing to increase bleed damage. Also with your level of attack speed, bleed duration does not matter much. I would even consider ditching multistrike. Chance to Bleed is one of the best support gems due to damage multiplier and very high amount of added physical damage.


Overall, there are better builds than what both of you present here. One of the earliest ones posted on the forums (after big ailment changes that is) has more damage with single standard bleed stack on stationary target than what you guys deal with fully stacked Crimson Dance right now. I suggest you to research the topic first.
/view-thread/2077932 - [3.7][HC] Caustic Arrow Raider, DoT Focused | 6k+ Health | All Content | In-depth
/view-thread/2247655 - [3.7] Crimson Bow Gladiator, Tornado Shot + Ballista | Pure Bleed Build
Last edited by DankawSL on May 11, 2019, 5:01:07 PM
The following modifiers will directly affect the damage of bleed:

Damage
Physical Damage
Damage over Time
Bleeding Damage
Trap, mine, minion or totem damage modifiers will also affect the damage of bleed if it is applied by a trap, a mine, a minion or a totem respectively.

Also, bleed is non-elemental ailment, so Damage from Ailments modifier will also affect the damage of bleed.

Flat Physical Attack Damage modifiers, being count in base attack damage, also affects bleed damage.

Other modifiers of increased/reduced/more/less type affecting hits (attack, melee, ranged, projectile, etc), as well as any damage modifier specific to the skill, do not apply to bleed.


I guess this conflicts with my understanding of bleed mechanics. It's based off of the base physical damage from the attack, but lowering the value of the attack doesn't effect the damage of the bleed? That's very contradicting. I believe that what they're saying is it won't increase or decrease bleed damage directly as ailments and bleed modifiers would, but it has to effect it because it lowers your base attack. Does that make sense? In my tests, the bleed damage is significantly higher when removing multi-strike.

What bleed build are you referring to?
Last edited by Cimmerian_ on May 11, 2019, 5:59:30 PM
Ailments are completely separate mechanic from actual hit damage caused by attack/spell that inflicts the ailment. Period. The changes introduced in the big ailment rework were designed SPECIFICALLY to separate them in order to remove double dipping. The only thing that is shared between both hit and ailment is the base damage (weapon/spell + added dmg) after conversions, afterwards they're calculated individually.

Easiest test you can do - open character sheet (C), pick your skill, check bleed damage, link the skill with Multistrike and see if the damage changed. Spoilers - it doesn't.

Also if your assuption were correct, Perfect Agony would be most useless passive on the tree, since you would need over 300% total crit multi to make up for 30% damage loss. Considering how much defense and increased damage you give up in order to make crit worth, it would be a downgrade in basically all scenarios. Right now, PA is at least somewhat usable on Assassin and Deadeye thanks to all the free crit chance/multi they get.

I was referring to [3.6] The BB King //1M Bleed-75%Block\\ Vaal EQ, All Content Deathless. There's quite a lot of bullshit in PoB that i've filtered, but when i checked it back in 3.4 or 3.5 it had ~300k stationary bleed dps on basic EQ. Right now with some adjustments could probably reach around ~400-500k, maybe more.

Have in mind that i've created bleed dps calculator, since PoB sucks at it.
/view-thread/2077932 - [3.7][HC] Caustic Arrow Raider, DoT Focused | 6k+ Health | All Content | In-depth
/view-thread/2247655 - [3.7] Crimson Bow Gladiator, Tornado Shot + Ballista | Pure Bleed Build
Last edited by DankawSL on May 11, 2019, 7:00:27 PM
I guess that makes sense. The reason I'm seeing such an increase is because I'm replacing Multi-Strike with Brutality.

I've swapped Reave for Cleave and it feels a bit better on single target. I like the free fortify as well, but Reave is definitely better for clearing. I use
Vaal Double Strike for single target anyway, and may just pop Vaal Warchief in the 6 link as well and make it a dual 5-link Vaal single target.

I still stand by Chance to Bleed, Brutality, and Ruthless being better for his build, and his weapons need to have higher base phys, but I stand corrected that the less hits are not effecting his bleed damage. Still needs work to maximize his build, as do I.
Last edited by Cimmerian_ on May 11, 2019, 10:27:58 PM

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