[3.12] Perforate Gladiator: DW Max Block | 90m+ DPS | Boss Destroyer!

TL;DR https://pastebin.com/J4nEZD3i

If you have any questions please come ask me at https://www.twitch.tv/vammalles
or at https://discord.gg/QwjuS4p

General Overview

This build is focused on Perforate as our main ability since it got some significant buffs as of the beginning of 3.11. With the ability to get up to 11 overlapping spikes with 7 base, 2 from helm enchant and 2 while having recently changed stance gives us a huge burst of damage that is enough to phase pretty much any boss within that short time window. This ability is also nice because in sand stance it has great AOE with more than enough damage to map comfortably and then you can very easily switch to blood stance to nuke bosses. Since we are using the Saviour which spawns two reflections that do 50% of our damage we are at a theoretical burst damage potential of about 93m DPS which is more than enough to blow through any boss phase.


-Insane single target damage
-Max Block
-Great budget option for red maps; Couple of exalts
-No gem swap between mapping and bossing


-Cannot run phys reflect
-Clear speed is only sufficient
-Piano flasks

To play this build it is required to understand how Perforate works as an ability. Perforate acts differently depending on what stance you are in. If you are in sand stance then perforate will create an attack with a large AOE that will attack everything near you. This is what you will want to be doing while running through maps. If you are in blood stance then perforate will create an attack with a very small AOE that creates multiple spikes that all hit the target. This is what you will want to do for any unique mob or boss. With Perforate in blood stance every spike that we spawn increases our damage in a multiplier fashion. So the more spikes that you are creating the more damage that you can push out. Perforate has a base spike count of 7. If you have the helm enchanted with Perforate creates +2 spikes then our total becomes 9. Lastly if you have changed stances recently your spike count goes up another 2 which puts us at a max spike count of 11. This means that for four seconds, which is how the term "recently" is defined in POE, we are doing 11 times our base damage. So when you are going to fight a boss and you want to burst them down here is what you need to do.

1. Make sure you are in sand stance
2. Place your Ancestral Warchief and Vaal Ancestral Warchief totems
3. Activate your three offensive flasks
4. Change your stance to blood stance

This will take some getting used to, but once you have mastered this you will be able to nuke/phase any boss almost instantly.


Skill Gems and Links

Here I am going to talk about how I prefer to setup the gems and links for most of my melee characters. There are many things that can be changed here depending on preference, but for now I will focus on how I prefer everything.

Be sure to pay attention to all the new alternate qualities that have been introduced in 3.12. There are a lot of good options that really help the build reach higher numbers than it should be able to.

Alternate Qualities
It seems PoB is still struggling with the alternate qualties for the gems. Sometimes when I reload a PoB the alternates disappear so I am just gonna post all of my alternates here.

Endgame Main 6 Link: Phantasmal Perforate
Budget Main 6 Link: Phantasmal Perforate and Divergent Multistrike
4 Link Auras: Divergent Flesh and Stone and Divergent Pride
Auras: Divergent Dread Banner
4 Link Block/On Hit: Anomalous Power Charge On Critical and Divergent Riposte and Divergent Culling Strike
3 Link Mobility: Divergent Smoke Mine and Anomalous Second Wind and Anomalous Enduring Cry
Totem Setup 1: Phantasmal Ancestral Protector

Main 6-Link

Perforate - Multistrike - Brutality - Fortify - Melee Physical Damage - Impale

Here is a core damaging six link which is the core of the build. I have chosen these links because they offer the most damage for our ability Perforate. Fortify is the only ability that technically isn't best in slot for damage, but because we spec into "Rampart" on tree it ends up giving us quite a bit damage and it is a great defensive for our non defensive build. Also when you can be sure to purchase the awakened versions of the gems listed. Multistrike, Brutality and Melee Physical Damage all have awakened versions that do more damage.

4-Link Auras

Pride - Flesh and Stone - Maim - Enlighten

Here are the bulk of the auras that we use in the build. All add a ton of damage and Pride allows us to get a Watcher's Eye that allows our Impale to last 2 additional hits. For this build to function with all the auras I have listed the Enlighten needs to be at least level 2 since that is when you start to gain a benefit from it as it reduces the mana multiplier by a small amount when linked to auras.

2-Link Auras

Blood and Sand - Dread Banner

Here we have our other two auras Blood and Sand and Dread Banner which help increase damage.

4-Link Block/On Hit

Vengeance - Riposte - Culling Strike - Power Charge on Critical

Since we are a block build I have decided to use Riposte and Vengeance to gain power charges and to also help kill bosses with Culling Strike. This is the only 4 Link I'm not sure how to make better.

3-Link Mobility/Heal

Enduring Cry - Second Wind - Dash/Smoke Mine

Here we have our main mobility skill Dash which can be replaced with other mobility skills such as Leap Slam, Flame Dash or Smoke Mine. We also have Enduring Cry which heals us for almost 2k and gives us endurance charges which mitigate damage and extend the duration of our Immortal Call. We connect Second Wind to both of these to reduce their cooldowns and to give Dash a second charge so that we can move more often.

Totem Setups Used Together

Ancestral Protector - Multiple Totems

Vaal Ancestral Warchief

Here we have our two totems that help us increase our stats and do a little bit of damage. When engaging a boss we will place one Vaal Ancestral Warchief totem and one Ancestral Protector totem. This way we get stats from both of them. Also worth noting is connecting multiple totems to Ancestral Protector so that you can have both a Protector Totem and a Warchief totem. If you use Multiple Totems Support be sure to not connect the Vaal Ancestral Warchief to it because you will burn both Vaal charges if you do. Culling strike could also be put on one of the totems if you did not want it with the Block/On Hit links.

2 Link CWDT

Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call

This build does not take a lot of damage because of how much it blocks, but when it does take damage it is nice to make sure we don't take a second hit right away without some mitigation. I currently have these leveled at Cast When Damage Taken level 7 and Immortal Call level 9, but this can be changed to preference as long as you make sure Immortal Call is still triggered by Cast When Damage Taken.


Here I am going to talk about what gear I have equipped and what stats you should be looking for on gear when trying to build this character for end game. It is worth noting that we do not use any abilities that require a lot of armour or evasion rating so the base of our gear is not that important for most of the pieces. In each category I will be listing the stats in order of importance. I am leaving out resistances and standard stats because depending on budget you will need to decide where it is easiest to get those.

Paradoxica: In the main hand
The Saviour: In the off hand

Perforate creates +2 spikes enchant
Nearby Enemies take #% increased physical damage

Body Armour
Try and get an Astral Plate base for the implicit which gives extra elemental resistances.

Attacks have #% to critical strike chance
#% change to gain a frenzy charge on hit

Try and get Spiked Gloves base for the implicit which gives #% increased melee damage

Adds # to # physical damage to attacks
#% increased attack speed

You have tailwind if you have dealt a critical strike recently

#% to global critical strike multiplier
Adds # to # physical damage to attacks

Try and get Steel Rings base for the implicit which gives adds # to # physical damage to attacks.

Get one ring with "Trigger Level 12 Assassin's Mark when you Hit a Rare or Unique Enemy"
#% to global critical strike multiplier
Adds # to # physical damage to attacks
#% increased attack speed

Ryslatha's Coil

For the jewels we get one Watcher's Eye and two regular jewels.
For the Watcher's Eye we want...
Impales you inflict last 2 additional hits while using pride
#% increased attack physical damage while using pride
I will say I do not have a double Pride Watcher's Eye, but if you have the money to go for it I would.

For the regular jewels I always make sure to get at least one with the implicit "Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you". The stats that we are looking for though are...
#% increased maximum life
#% to critical strike multiplier with one handed melee weapons/while Dual Wielding
#% to melee critical strike multiplier
#% to global critical strike multiplier

Some good alternatives, but not great alternatives are...
#% increased attack speed
#% increased global physical damage

The five flasks we want are...
Divine Life Flask
Diamond Flask
Bottled Faith
Lion's Roar
Quicksilver Flask

You can set them up how you want, but this is my preferred setup...
Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching
Experimenter's Diamond Flask of the Order
Bottled Faith
Lion's Roar
Surgeon's Quicksilver Flask of Heat

Depending on budget and the state of the league there are a couple of things you can do to get this build started.
No budget: If this is your first character for the league and you basically have no currency other than what you got from the Acts I would start by getting two Scaeva's. These swords are always cheap and work really well till you can get a Paradoxica and a Saviour.
Couple of Exalts: I would first look at the prices of our two main weapons as they are the most important part of the build. If possible I would try to get the Saviour before getting the Paradoxica. Saviour makes mapping much easier which is where this build kinda struggles especially earlier on. When looking at Paradoxica's depending on how far into the league try to find a Paradoxica at around 150 Physical DPS.


Save Alira!
The main reason we save Alira is for the Critical Strike Multiplier that she gives. The resists are also a nice quality of life as well especially when you first start mapping.


For our Ascendancy we choose Gladiator so that we can spec into these nodes... Painforged, Versatile Combantant, Violent Retaliation, Arena Challenger. This is the order I would get them in.

We take Painforged, Versatile Combantant and Violent Retaliation so that we can get to max block as easily as possible for a super strong defensive build.
We take Arena Challenger to gain the ability to get Challenger Charges which gives us both attack and movement speed.


Major God: Soul of Lunaris/Preference
Minor God: Soul of Shakari

For the Major God all of the options are honestly really good for different reasons. Since we are block we have a lot more flexibility and you can adapt the Major God to your liking. I take the Major God Lunaris to prevent as much damage as I can from spikers.

We take the Minor God Shakari to primarily deal with Hunter and some of the smaller enemies in maps that deal crazy poison damage.


Endgame: Disemboweling
Cheaper Endgame: Command of Steel
Double Curse: Whispers of Doom
More Life: Discipline and Training
Life and Damage: Tenacity
Cheap: Gemini

Leveling Guide

POB with 25, 50, 75 and 100 point trees. https://pastebin.com/J4nEZD3i

Here are links to the trees as well.
25 Point Tree
50 Point Tree
75 Point Tree
100 Point Tree

It is worth noting I do not put points into the jewel sockets till the end game because I do not know if people will have jewels worth putting in. Feel free to take the jewel sockets sooner if you have good jewels to put in!
Last edited by vammalles on Oct 10, 2020, 7:40:41 AM
Last bumped on Apr 16, 2021, 11:26:24 AM
Do you reach max block? I havent seen a block gladiator not using a shield, so I'm curious.
Last edited by tido22 on Oct 9, 2020, 3:38:26 AM
tido22 wrote:
Do you reach max block? I havent seen a block gladiator not using a shield, so I'm curious.

I do. Standing in hideout I am at 71%, but if I take a single damaging hit I spike up to 79% due to Painforged and with Violent Retaliation depending on the number of times that I block in the last 10 seconds I also gain more block chance. Between the two whether it is mapping or bossing you are pretty much guaranteed to have max block. It is possible to have true max block in hideout, but you would lose a lot of points on tree and would then be wasting the ascendancy.
Build looks fun and great guide thank you very much, can't wait to try it!!
Bayen wrote:
Build looks fun and great guide thank you very much, can't wait to try it!!

Thanks a bunch. It's only my second guide so if you have any input I would truly appreciate it. Always lookin to make the build better especially since it's my main build.
ill try it looks great , do you have discord?
chrrrome wrote:
ill try it looks great , do you have discord?

Yeah here is a link.


Feel free to pop on in.
Good build thanks, but Bottled Faith is expensive about 14 exa. Is there any substitute for a cheaper bottle?
Isn't explody chest mod better than frenzy?
Last edited by MiguelFg on Oct 12, 2020, 10:52:27 AM
MrKato2 wrote:
Good build thanks, but Bottled Faith is expensive about 14 exa. Is there any substitute for a cheaper bottle?

For the time being I would recommend just using a regular sulphur flask. The effects of consecrated ground are still nice.

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