[3.9] SPEEDYBLEEDY Gladiator [League Starter] [Cheap] [Melee is Viable, what?]

Welcome!

I decided to write this guide due to the overwhelming response of MELEE DEAD after the patch notes revealed nerfs to fortify and high-end fossil crafted/multimodded chestplates and 2-Handed weapons.

I aim to prove that melee is in fact NOT dead, and to prove that I made this build that BARELY got touched by the nerfs, performing just as well in 3.9 as it does in 3.8. So lets get to it!

Build Rundown
The build focuses on a few things, mostly on attack speed, movement speed and bleedexplosions. We go fast, hit fast, and most importantly clear fast. The skilltree for the build is VERY generic, meaning you can use almost any melee skill as long as its usable with swords, allowing for a lot of flexibility in playstyle. My choice of skill is Bladestorm due to the synergies it has with sand/blood stance.

The basic mapping experience is as follows:

Pop flasks and run/leap slam to a pack, attack once, the pack explodes in a bloody POP, rinse and repeat.

For bosses you'll want to swap to blood stance, use both charges on your Vaal Double strike and then go to town on the boss, watching its health bar just melt away.


Path of Building
https://pastebin.com/3S4waKQ8
I strongly urge you to read the whole post to get the gist of the guide before commenting!

Leveling
For a league starter, nothing is more important than a smooth leveling experience, and thanks to the wonderful combination of Blood and Sand and Bladestorm, we have both SPEED in Sand stance and DPS in Blood stance.

In act 1 pick up a melee skill of your choice (Cleave for me), try to link it with onslaught support and a damage support ASAP.

Once you get Blood and Sand from entering the Flooded Depths buy Perforate and use it in Sand Stance for clearing and Blood Stance for single target. Get War Banner at this point too, you'll be using it for the rest of the game.

Keep upgrading your weapons as often as possible, this is the main source of your DPS. An easy way to check if a weapon is better is to just swap between your old and new weapon in town and checking the tooltip DPS, using the one that gives bigger numbers. Try sticking to dual wielding swords as the tree picks up sword nodes fairly early on.

Once you hit act 3 get Pride once you "rescue" Tolman and kill Gravicius for Bladestorm.

After this focus on getting better gear with proper links and better weapons to speed up your leveling.

Leveling Trees
Here are a few pointers on what to pick during leveling
30 skill points
50 skill points
70 skill points
91 skill points This should be completed right about the time you've hit mapping
111 skill points This is the endgame tree


Ascendancy


1st Lab: Arena Challenger

This speeds up leveling by a lot by straight up giving you 20% more attack and movement speed at (almost) all times.

2nd & 3rd Lab: Blood in the Eyes & Gratuitous Violence

Blood in the Eyes does very little for us during leveling except for some minor DPS boosting, so I suggest you skip the 2nd lab UNTIL youre ready to run 3rd lab, at which point you should run then back-to-back to get those oh so sweet BLEEDXPLOSIONS. After 3rd lab is when this build REALLY starts to POP (Ha!)

4th Lab: Outmatch and Outlast

This is a pretty sizeable speed boost, especially once you get the Frenzy Charge nodes. Also a nice defensive boost for the free Endurance charges, but nothing you cant live without so dont worry about doing Uber Lab until you're ready.

Gearing
This being a league-starter build, theres no REQUIRED Uniques, but I'll list some regardless.

[Weapons]
Rare 1-handed Swords with high pDPS, and an attack speed roll if possible

Uniques:

Ichimonji x2, not the greatest pDPS but the reduced mana reservation and increased effect of buffs leaves room for things like an Aspect of your choice or Flesh and Stone.

Scaeva, again, not the greatest pDPS but very respectable, easy source of life leech and some crit multi/chance.

Varunastra x2, very decent pDPS, and would allow for some creative shenanigans with the passive tree due to it counting as all 1-h weapon types, a good option if you want to dedicate the time to screw around with the passive tree

Dreamfeather x2, low pDPS but it has a really high damage ceiling if you intent to take advantage of the evasion scaling by using a high evasion chest like QOTF or Perfect Form and other high evasion pieces like Rats Nest or Starkonjas Head.

[Chest]
A Tabula or a rare armour with life and resistances

Uniques:

Belly of the Beast, Loreweave, Carcass Jack, all good uniques with different benefits, might be hard to colour some of these.

[Helmet]
A rare with life and resistances

Uniques:

Abyssus,
Starkonjas Head,
Rats Nest,
Devotos Devotion,
all DPS no defence, use at your own risk

[Gloves]
Rare gloves with Phys damage to attacks, attack speed, life and resistances

Uniques:

Oskarm, great way to get some free Life and Mana on kill
Tombfist, great if you want some abyss jewels in your build, free intimidate + maim is also great, lacks defense though.
Shadows and Dust, pure DPS with some nice mana leech, might allow you to refund some points in the tree. Oh and Rampage. Rampage is always nice.

[Boots]
Rare boots with a high movement speed roll, life and resistances. If you can land a pair, ones with spell/attack dodge chance would be great for survivability.

Uniques:

Atziris Step, perfectly fine boots, cheap, decent defence
Darkray Vectors, more speed, not a bad choice either

[Belt]
Rare Leather/Heavy/Abyss belt with life and resistances

Uniques:

Belt of the Deceiver, an all-around good belt, cheap, decent defences, more damage, whats not to like?
Doryanis Invitation (the phys damage version), really good resists, life leech and some damage.

[Rings]
Rare rings with added phys damage, life and resistances, a ring with warlords mark on hit would be great.

Uniques:
Le Heup of All, a decent ring all-around

[Amulet]
Rare amulet with anything you need, phys damage to attacks, crit chance, crit multi, life, resistances

Uniques:

Carnage Heart, great amulet for leech with some resistances, decent choice
Impresence (the physical version), big DPS increase due to free curse, limited defence though.

Flasks





You can also use this instead of a silver flask if you can get your hands on one

Gem links

Theres a few variations to every setup here, but I'll do my best to go through them:

Bladestorm - Multistrike - Melee Phys - Close Combat
These are the 4 more or less "mandatory" gems, after this you can choose between Brutality, Maim, Ruthless or Fortify depending on your own needs/wants. I wouldn't suggest Brutality until you've gotten yourself 2 swords that are PURELY phys damage, because early-game quite a lot of damage can come from your swords having lucky ele damage rolls.

Blood and Sand | Pride | War Banner |
If you really want to push it, you can add a Herald of Purity to this combo but you'll be left with very little mana, meaning you cant afford to spam if youre not hitting a target.

Leap Slam/Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Blood Magic
Pretty straightforward, just pick whichever movement skill you prefer

Vaal Double Strike - Close Combat - Bloodlust - Brutality
THE BOYS in all their glory, be sure to use Bladestorm at least once to get the boss bleeding for that heavy 59% MORE damage multiplier, you can choose to either continue Bladestorming (safer) or join in with Double Strike (more DPS)

Cast When Damage Taken (Lvl 8) - Steelskin (Lvl 14) - Increased duration
This is to make you a bit tankier when you get chunked, you can up the levels for more mitigation, but that comes at the cost of having to take more damage before the shield comes up, I found the sweetspot to be at ~1k damage taken = ~1k damage mitigated

OPTIONAL
If you happen to come across an Enlighten or two, you could always put on Flesh and Stone - Maim - Enlighten
If you only put Enlighten on F&S, you'll end up with minimal mana left, restricting your spamming ability a lot, but if you get another Enlighten and link it to your other "auras", you'll be left with a reasonable amount of mana.

Bandits

Kill all

Videos

I'll post videos during 3.9 when I have my SSF character up-and-running for authentic, easily obtainable gameplay! Wouldnt want to scam people into thinking a build is good, while having invested 60ex into it beforehand :)

Closing thoughts

This build/passive tree is very much a template, you can swap Bladestorm to any melee skill usable with swords and you'll be pretty much a-okay, so if you feel you dislike Bladestorm, be sure to try out other skills! While making this build I tried Lacerate, Cyclone, Reave and even Double Strike comboed with Ancestral call!

Its also very easy and viable to convert this build into a QOTF Evasion stacking Dreamfeather build, that sort of build has a way higher ceiling in terms of build capabilities, so if you do feel like you've hit the potential cap of this build, you could always change to that with minimal re-rolling needed. It'll be way more expensive though, just a warning.

Thanks for reading my guide! Comments / constructive criticism is always welcome below :)

Last edited by C_ore_X on Dec 11, 2019, 3:11:34 PM
Last bumped on Jan 7, 2020, 3:40:42 AM
Reserved
No jewel sockets?
"
Farinherfer wrote:
No jewel sockets?


We path near quite a few jewel slots, you pick them as you need them/get good jewels, but its not a high priority. The trees end at around lvl 90 to give you plenty of space for min-maxing and jewels.
Thanks for the build/guide. Having fun with it (level 84 right now).

Is the accuracy enough in the end?

Also do you think Life is enough without the Constitution note(s) at the Scion start area?
Edit: I somehow missed that you start getting there in your "endgame tree" sorry.
Last edited by ooFunky on Dec 18, 2019, 5:50:36 AM
HC viable?
"
C_ore_X wrote:
"
Farinherfer wrote:
No jewel sockets?


We path near quite a few jewel slots, you pick them as you need them/get good jewels, but its not a high priority. The trees end at around lvl 90 to give you plenty of space for min-maxing and jewels.


Sounds good! I just wanted to ask, I'll see what slots work best as I go!
Hey, I love you build, I stared the game last week and tried some witch builds but it was kinda boring, then I tried yours, now lvl~70, and it's really fun to play. Thank you for this.

I have a question, what gods would you pick in the pantheon ?

I picked Lunaris and Yugul but i'm not sure if it's the best choice.
I thought it would be good as the main weakness of this build is being stun or frozen.

(or maybe is there a unique armor piece you would recommend with "cannot be frozen"? Idk if rare items can have it)
Last edited by Surfingnet on Dec 21, 2019, 8:44:18 PM
"
Surfingnet wrote:
Hey, I love you build, I stared the game last week and tried some witch builds but it was kinda boring, then I tried yours, now lvl~70, and it's really fun to play. Thank you for this.

I have a question, what gods would you pick in the pantheon ?

I picked Lunaris and Yugul but i'm not sure if it's the best choice.
I thought it would be good as the main weakness of this build is being stun or frozen.

(or maybe is there a unique armor piece you would recommend with "cannot be frozen"? Idk if rare items can have it)


Glad youre enjoying it :)

Its totally up to you, I suggest you run a flask with "Immune to freeze" to not worry about that, and as for other pantheons I suggest using the Lunaris one for the upgrades and the clearspeed, and for minor pantheons I'd take maybe Shakari if youre having trouble with chaos dmg or Ralakesh if you can upgrade it, cannot be maimed/blinded is VERY strong.
"
Cavi3 wrote:
HC viable?


Can be if you are willing to take some HP nodes earlier and leave DPS nodes for later, this might make leveling a pain without twink gear but Im sure its doable

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