[3.17] strTrader Max Block Bleed Lacerate Gladiator -- League Start & End Game v3.

What is going on? -- Last Updated March 17, 2022

Mern was able to min-max this build and finish Wave 30 of Simulacrum with the following PoB. The build is extremely tanky with 85/75 block and 6k life. Damage is also top tier. Hope everyone can draw some inspiration from his build.

Mern wrote:

PoB: https://pastebin.com/tNemWZkk

A big thank you to NoAimNecessary who took his time to convert my 3.15 leveling tree and mapped it to 3.17. With his permission, I am sharing the PoB here. The PoB contains path at 30/50/75/100 skill points which represents the leveling path for the League Start tree. The Transition tree represents respec out of Versatile Combatant into true max block.

PoB (as of 01/31/2022):

Keep in mind this build doesn't pick up speed until we finish the second Lab and get Gratuitous Violence. Before then, you can level with either Shattering Steel, Shield Crush or Lacerate.

Also, for the last Ascendancy point, you should get Arena Challenger. I forgot to update this for some trees in the PoB.

1. Blood in the Eyes
2. Gratuitous Violence
3/4. Arena Challenger/Painforged (order is up to you)

Patch note has been released and there isn't really anything worth while to talk about. The only uncertainty now is what Eldritch implicit we are getting for helmet/body/boots/gloves. The 3.16 gear is basically all influenced, so the new implicits need to be really strong. All in all, it does not look like this build need any special updating for 3.17. I will continue to play this build as always.

strTrader's Vision

To all Exiles following this build, whether successful (or struggling), please leave a short summary of your progression, thoughts and areas of strength/weakness of this build. I would like to have a statistical summary of everyone progress and improve the build upon that.

My beautiful champion, I knew I could rely on you. -- Piety of Theopolis

Change Log

[3.16] Scourge

Patch Notes Highlights (Buffs/Nerfs):

Updated Flesh and Stone: Now requires 25% Mana reservation (previously 35%).
Updated Reservation Efficiency: Reworked to allow us reserve more auras. With two L4 Enlightens, we can reserve Pride, Flesh and Stone, Herald of Purity, Tempest Shield, Blood and Sand, War Banner.
Updated Crafting Bench: Spell block on chest
Updated Awakened Gems: Reverted some changes in 3.15.
Updated Cruelty: No longer able to achieve full Cruelty buff on bosses (i.e. Sirus).
Updated Versatile Combatant: Reworked and no longer provides sufficient defense. Extra investment is required in spell block.
Updated Medium Curse Cluster Jewel: Notables moved to small clusters.
Updated Crafting Bench: Removed quality craft on weapon and armor.

[3.15] Expedition

Patch Notes Highlights (Buffs/Nerfs):

Updated Lacerate: Now deals 154% of Base Damage, and has 154% Effectiveness of Added Damage at gem level 20 (previously 123%).
Updated Cruelty: Cruelty buff now shows buff effect.
Updated Awakened Melee Physical Damage: Quality no longer grants a chance to Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds on Hit. Now grants "Supported Skills have 10% less Attack Speed".
Updated Awakened Brutality: Now has a 150% Cost and Reservation Multiplier (previously 130%). Quality no longer grants "Supported Skills Overwhelm 0-10% Physical Damage Reduction". Supported Skills now deal 40-44% more Physical Damage (previously 60-64%).
Updated Awakened Multistrike: Quality no longer grants "Supported Skills have 0-10% increased Attack Speed". First Repeat of Supported Skills now deals 22% more Damage (previously 20%). Second Repeat of Supported Skills now deals 44% more Damage (previously 40%). Third Repeat of Supported Skills deals 66% more Damage (previously 60%). Supported Skills now deal 25% less Attack Damage (previously 10%).
Updated Awakened Deadly Ailments: Now has a 150% Cost and Reservation Multiplier (previously 130%). No longer has "Damaging Ailments inflicted with Supported Skills deal Damage faster". Supported Skills now deal 45-49% more Damage with Ailments (previously 65-69%). Supported Skills now deal 80% less Damage with Hits (previously 10%).
Updated Fortify: Now has a 140% Cost and Reservation Multiplier (previously 130%). Supported Skills now deal 10-19% more Melee Damage (previously 20-34%). Supported Skills now deal 10-19% more Damage with Ailments caused by Melee Hits (previously 20-34%).
Updated Maim: Now has a 140% Cost and Reservation Multiplier (previously 115%). Supported Skills now deal 10-19% more Physical Damage (previously 15-30%). Enemies Maimed by Supported Skills now take 10% increased Physical Damage (previously 10-14%).
Updated Wound Aggravation Notable: now grants 5% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier while wielding an Axe or Sword (previously 10%).
Updated Rend Notable: now grants 5% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier (previously 12%), and 20% increased Bleed Duration (previously 30%).
Updated Compound Injury Notable: now grants 35% increased Damage with Bleeding you inflict on Maimed Enemies (previously 50%).
Updated Wasting Affliction Notable: now grants “Damaging Ailments deal damage 5% faster” (previously 10%).
Updated Blood Artist Notable: now grants 6% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier if you’ve Spent Life Recently (previously 14%).
Updated Lion's Roar: now has 7-10% More Melee Physical Damage during effect (previously 20-25%).

[3.14] Ultimatum

Patch Notes Highlights (Buffs/Nerfs):

Added Vanquisher cluster: Crush Enemies for 4 seconds when you Hit them while they are on Full Life, and grants 40% increased Physical Damage.
Added Veteran Soldier cluster: +10% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier, +20 to maximum Life, and 20% increased Physical Damage.
Removed Red Storm cluster: Attack have 15% chance to cause Bleeding
3O% increased Physical Damage.
Removed The Elder-influenced Weapon modifier that grants 60% chance for Bleeding inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage. In its place, Elder-influenced Weapons can now roll a new Local Bleeding Damage over Time Multiplier modifier.
Updated Flesh and Stone: Now requires 35% Mana reservation (previously 25%).


Search sections in this guide using the following code.

[1.1] Pro & Con
[1.2] Build enabling Ascendancy
[1.3] Build enabling Keystone
[1.4] Boss Showcase
[2.0] GEAR
[2.1] Weapon
[2.2] Shield
[2.3] Helmet
[2.4] Chest
[2.5] Gloves
[2.6] Boots
[2.7] Belt
[2.8] Amulet
[2.9] Rings
[4.0] GEMS
[4.1] Damage
[4.2] Movement
[4.3] Aura
[4.4] Shield
[4.5] Defense
[4.6] Other
[4.7] Optional
[5.0] FLASKS
[11.0] FAQ


3.17 Ready
As the title suggests, this build is centered around Gladiator Ascendancy for Duelist, using Lacerate as main damage skill and max attack/spell block as defense. We will be using axe and shield to take advantage of their inherent bleed damage. The below sub-sections contain general information on this build.

[1.1] Pro & Con

+ All content viable (excludes Aspirational Contents)
+ Strong survivability
+ Low to medium budget (20-50 ex)

- Average clear speed
- Damage scaling is limited due to Resolute Technique
- Bleeding stacks take some time to kill end game bosses

Below are general assessments of league contents:

[1.2] Build enabling Ascendancy:

Gratuitous Violence enables bleed explosion and is our mechanic for map clear. With Lacerate's AoE bleed attack Gratuitous Violence will create chain explosion within a pack of monster.

Gratuitous Violence exploding a pack of monster, the other pack was not hit by our attack and therefore was not able to bleed and explode:

[1.3] Build enabling Keystone:

Crimson Dance allows us to stack our bleeding up to 8 times but at the drawback of 50% less bleeding damage. This greatly boosts our single target DPS. I advise having decent attack speed and bleeding damage before getting this Keystone. More discussion on scaling bleeding damage in a later section. As you can see below, majority of our damage comes through bleeding which means we will not one-shot bosses but they will bleed out quickly.

Resolute Technique allow our hits not to miss which is needed for bleed to be applied. There is also a crit version for Lacerate with Paradoxica and Abysuss but that is not the focus of this build.

Call to Arms is used to instant cast Endurance Cry.

[1.4] Boss Showcase

[2.0] GEAR

3.17 Ready
Below are the mods you should be looking on non-unique, non-influenced gear (in general order of importance):

+ Maximum life - all slot
+ Resistance - all slot
+ Spell block - chest (crafted)
+ Flat physical damage - weapon, amulet, rings, gloves, abyssal socket(s) if applicable
+ Physical damage over time multiplier - weapon, amulet, gloves
+ Attack speed - weapon, rings, gloves

Below are the mods you will need on some gear (including jewel and cluster jewel):

+ Mana leech
+ Intelligence (minimum 73 for L3 Enlighten, 96 for L4 Enlighten)
+ Dexterity (minimum 100 for varies dex gems, 155 for L20 Blood Rage)

Below are the mods you will need on some influenced gear:

+ Spell block - helm, amulet

Below are the mods you do not need on any gear:

- Accuracy
- Critical Strike Chance/Multiplier
- Any offensive mods related to elemental damage


3.16 Mid-League Estimated Investment [Low budget, Current Gear]:
Weapon (Unique): Purchased [15c, -]
Weapon (Crafted): Crafted [-, 5ex]
Shield: Purchased [10c, 5ex]
Helmet: Crafted [-, 5ex]
Chest: Crafted [-, 2ex]
Gloves: Purchased [-, 4ex]
Boots: Crafted [50c, 5ex]
Belt: Purchased [-, 2ex]
Amulet: Purchased [-, 50c]
Left Ring: Purchased [-, 50c]
Right Ring: Crafted [-, 50c]

Investment excludes Aisling unveil on boots and helm.

Order of Upgrades:
Tier 1: Weapon, Ring/Gloves with Vulnerability on hit, Belt
Tier 2: Shield
Tier 3: Helm with enchant

3.15 Gear choice changes:
In 3.15, we need to invest more into our defensive layers, especially chaos resistance. I am also experimenting with enfeeble to increase our survival.

[2.1] Weapon

As briefly mentioned in introduction, we will be using axe as our weapon type since many axe skill tree nodes include bleeding modifier. This is the most important piece of gear.

In 3.14, bleeding mod 60% chance for Bleeding inflicted with this Weapon to deal 100% more Damage has been replaced with +(51–59)% to Damage over Time Multiplier for Bleeding from Hits with this Weapon. This was the biggest nerf for 3.14. Pre-3.14 Elder Siege Axe was (probably still is) the best in slot base for this build because of the base attack speed. More attack speed means you can apply more stacks of bleeding per second and more chance to roll higher instance of bleed:

By default, only the strongest (the highest damage-per-second) bleed application will actually deal damage at any given time. If Crimson Dance is allocated the 8 strongest applications will deal damage at any given time. -- Source: https://pathofexile.fandom.com/wiki/Bleeding

Attack speed is not the only consideration for maxing bleeding damage, what is also important (if not more important) is our base physical damage.

Potential damage from one bleed application is based on the base physical damage of attack that caused it: 70% per second... -- Source: https://pathofexile.fandom.com/wiki/Bleeding

Therefore you need to balance between attack speed and base physical damage in order to maximize your bleeding. As aforementioned, Siege Axe provides the highest APS, but Royal Axe provides the highest base (average) physical damage while other axe types fall in between. Testing using PoB yielded the same result; with the same weapon modifiers, Royal Axe produces the highest Combined DPS while Siege Axe the lowest Combined DPS. Yet, poe.ninja shows 77% of players use Siege Axe (week-6 snapshot, level 98+, sample size 30).

My conclusion to these observations is that in an ideal situation (i.e. hitting target dummy) Royal Axe beats Siege Axe. In reality during mapping and bossing, you are constantly moving, in order to keep 8/as many stacks of bleeding, you will need to have enough APS during the attack window. This is not to say Royal Axe is bad, we can still invest in attack speed to make it work (or work better).

In a future update to this guide, I might research into how much speed investment is needed for Royal Axe.

Finally we can talk about what mods to look for on your weapon.

P Adds # to # Physical Damage
P #% increased Physical Damage
P #% to Damage over Time Multiplier for Bleeding from Hits with this Weapon
S #% increased Attack Speed

Culling strike is a quality of life suffix for bossing but absolutely not mandatory. We have the option to get it through weapon swap, linking Culling Strike Support to our Ancestral Protector or on our gloves. You also want as much quality on your weapon as possible. Keep in mind that 48% Quality is equivalent to 48% increased Physical Damage.

How the 3.14 axe was crafted:

1. Buy an Elder Siege Axe iLv 83+
2. Perfect fossil to 28%+ quality
3. Two options below and you are looking for 2 required prefixes (one of which must be DoT multipler) and a open prefixes to craft the missing one
a. Harvest reforge physical or attack (or any other reforge but less likely)
b. Fossil craft with Jagged and/or Corroded
4. Harvest reroll suffix until we have attack speed or reforge speed with prefix cannot be changed. If you are really feeling lucky, you can reforge attack with prefix cannot be changed hoping for culling strike and attack speed. Keep in mind, when reforging attack, you run the risk of getting 3 undesired suffix thus breaking the item.

We can also multimod our axe if the situation allows (like the one above).

It turns out this axe I crafted (which is worth 10ex mid-league) is beaten by a 7c unique (day-7) or 65c (day-1) as per PoB. Shout out to u/TheHappyEater and u/Botatua who asked about my opinion on this axe. The lack of attack speed was not too much concern and I recorded a couple of boss kills with this weapon. The gears used in the video has more flat damage from two Steel Rings (it was not done intentionally). You must wonder why I am not showcasing with the same gear and the reason for that is all the gears in this guide (gems and cluster/jewels) are stored in inventory to create linkage. It is extremely tedious to re-socket/un-socket and put them back in the right location (and it looks something like this).


I did kill Uber Elder with this axe as well but there were some interruption in between so I did not finish the full recording. If you are interested, I can record a new one.



Based on my testing and cost of Jack, the Axe, it is probably the best in slot for early to mid league.

The following section discusses the damage output and at what point does
a crafted axe surpass Jack, the Axe. Since there are multiple factors influencing the outcome (especially attack speed), interpret at your own discretion.

Surpassing Jack, the Axe:


The conclusion of this discussion is at the bottom of this section. If you do not wish to read through the underlying assumptions, you can skip ahead. Keep in mind the results are derived based on a specific set of assumptions and should only be used as a broad reference range.

Before making a comparable axe, we need to understand how much damage Jack is dealing. The following calculation shows the DPS for 1 stack of bleed with the following condition:

1. All modifiers' roll on Jack is the lowest.
2. Removed the effect of Ryslatha's Coil (for simplicity)
3. All values in Blue can be referenced back to PoB, all values in Yellow are are adjusted using Jack (including Thirst for Blood).

I then backward calculated the required DPS need on a rare axe the result is shown below. To have the same bleeding DPS as Jack, the Axe, a rare axe with the same attack speed (APS 1.4) and without damage over time multiplier will need an average physical damage of 292. If the axe has damage over time multiplier (i.e. the minimum value of 37%) then the required average can be lowered to 235.

This is not a realistic scenario however, as discussed earlier, we need attack speed on our axe. In order to incorporate APS into our equation, we need to compare the cumulative bleeding damage across time. For Jack, the Axe, the APS is fixed at 1.40. For our rare, I used Siege Axe with 20% increase attack speed. This is the highest speed we can bench craft. This puts our rare's attack speed at 1.80. I set the attack time to 10 seconds so that Jack attacks 14 times and rare attacks 18 times.

Now let us look at specifically Jack's damage. Using the bleed DPS above (108k), we calculate the bleeding damage over 5 seconds (108k*5) which is 541k. With APS of 1.40, the time interval between each attack is 0.71s (1s/1.40APS). Therefore the bleed damage per instance of bleed between each attack is 77k (108k*0.71). Below is a bleed damage schedule from time 0s to time 10s. Each hit deals the average bleeding damage and is depleted over 5s. The total bleed damage at the end of 10s is 5,397k.

If our Siege Axe were to generate the same bleeding damage over 10s. It only needs 50k of bleeding damage per instance of bleeding between each attack. If I take this number and compute the physical damage needed on the axe (without DoT Multiplier), the result is 219.

Some numbers are colored in red, they are excluded from damage because the stacks of bleeding are caped at 8. This initially suggest some additional attack speed may be wasted, however we need to keep in mind that additional attacks give us more chance to roll higher bleeding damage which is not captured in the above scenario since we are assuming uniform damage per attack.

Conclusion: In order to have an equal amount of bleeding damage per 10 second interval. Our axe (with 20% increased attack speed) need to have the following average physical damage.

[2.2] Shield

3.17 Ready
The Surrender is the best in slot offhand. Our counter-attack deals double damage. The shield also gives us life and armor on block. The price of this shield has decreased dramatically over the past few leagues. In 3.14, I bought this shield for 8ex, but in 3.16 it costed only 2ex (at week 1). I think the main reason is the decrease in popularity of melee cyclone and Gladiators moving to more range based skills (SST, TS) which needed armor stacking shields and quivers.

Alternatively, we can use the following shields in white and yellow mapping.

[2.3] Helmet

3.17 Ready
Since 3.14, it is significantly cheaper to purchase helmet enchant on the right base. There are only 2 enchants we are interested in. Either will work and depending on your flat physical damage and increased physical damage, one enchant may be preferred over the other but only with marginal differences. I recommend getting the one with the better helmet base. The base you should choose is Royal Burgonet which gives the most base armor.

1. Lacerate deals (14-18) to (20-25) added Physical Damage against Bleeding Enemies
2. 40% increased Lacerate Damage

Level of Investment (cumulative):
T1 [50c-1ex]: Proper base with Enchant
T2 [1ex-2ex]: Elder base with Nearby Enemies Take Increased Physical Damage
T3 [5ex-6ex]: Awakened with Crusader Chance to Block Spell Damage
T4.1 [10ex]: Aisling unveil hybrid attribute or resistance (optional) -> Showcase Below
T4.2 [12ex]: Suffix cannot be changed and reforge life

[2.4] Chest

There is nothing special about the chest piece, you can replace it with anything you can get your hands on with good life and resistance. If we are crafting ourselves, we should use Astral Plate.

How this chest was crafted:

1. Get the chest base, I got mine as an iLv 76 drop which blocks out many good influenced mods. We can craft something much better with a iLv 83+ base
2. Perfect fossil to 28%+ quality
3. Bench craft +18% quality (higher quality has higher chance of socketing and linking)
4. 6-socket and 6-link the chest
5. Split it to either sell or save as a back up
6. Essence craft with Greed until we have a good mixture of resistance (in the above example, T3/3/5) and a open prefix.
7. Crafted #% Increased Maximum Life/Mana
8. Harvest enchant

[2.5] Gloves

Mods for gloves are very competitive especially with (double) influenced bases. I chose Apothecary's Gloves because the implicit increases our bleeding damage while Spiked Gloves' implicit does not. Below is a list of mods from low to high budget.

P # to maximum Life
S Resistance
P Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
S #% increased Attack Speed
S #% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier (Hunter)
S Culling Strike (Warlord)

How 3.14 gloves were crafted:

1. Awakening orb with Hunter and Warlord suffix. Awakening orb with duo prefix or suffix is a prevalent crafting method after Harvest nerf in 3.14. You can still Harvest reroll suffix or prefix using this method. In our case if we get an open suffix, we can craft suffix cannot be changed and Harvest reroll Speed modifier to get attack speed.
2. Harvest reroll prefix until we hit desired mods.

Conservatively speaking, the gloves will take 6 ex to make: Awakening Orb 3 ex, gloves' bases 2 ex, rerolling for suffix 1 ex.

I must admit Culling Strike is what you think you need but it does not feel good once you get it. Yes it increases Combined DPS in PoB by 10% but that is only on paper. In reality during mapping, the monsters will bleed out the remaining 10% before you can hit them again. Keeping in mind when a monster dies from bleeding, Gratuitous Violence will trigger (and it is equivalent to an AoE culling strike which can also cause chaining reaction). Culling strike is more a quality of life for killing bosses. The benefit of having a Warlord influence is that you can hit a good prefix such as maximum Frenzy Charge or increased Damage over Time. Keep in mind the culling strike mod on the Elder weapon is much better since it also increases physical damage:

Hits with this Weapon have Culling Strike against Bleeding Enemies (30–49)% increased Physical Damage.

For 3.15, the I decided to run a defensive curse (Enfeeble/Temporal Chain) to improve survivability. I bought this pair for 4ex and it also gives me +1 level Enlighten which (more than) covers for the cost difference between L3 and L4 Enlighten.

[2.6] Boots

3.17 Ready
Since we are running Resolute Technique, we do not need Tailwind/Elusive boots, but we can craft a good pair of bleeding boots.

Level of Investment (cumulative):
T1 [10c-50c]: Boots with life, resistance and movement speed
T2 [1ex-2ex]: Hunter two-toned boots with bleed modifier
T3 [5ex-6ex]: Elevated bleed modifier
T4 [10ex]: Prefix/Suffix cannot be changed and Aisling unveil hybrid attribute, resistance or movement speed -> Showcase Below

Detailed Crafting Process:

[2.7] Belt

3.17 Ready
There has been a lot discussion on whether Ryslatha's Coil is the best in slot for bleed build. Let us see why this belt is worth the price tag of 6-8 ex at league start.

Ryslatha's Coil provides MORE maximum physical attack damage and LESS minimum physical attack damage. These two modifiers affects both hit and bleeding damage; they are also applied multiplicatively to our damage (which is preferable to increased damage). Since both modifiers have a range (30%-40%), let us look at what happens if you have the absolute worst rolls:

30% more maximum physical attack damage
40% less minimum physical attack damage

To use a generic example with x minimum and y maximum, we can conclude that Ryslatha's Coil will give you more damage if our maximum damage is at least 1.33 times of minimum damage.

Now if we look at the calculation (including y/x ratio) below, we can see that the ratio will always stay above 1.33x. Therefore our final damage with Ryslatha's Coil will be greater than without it (highlighted in yellow). I have also looked at the worst possible scenario on our gears and it turned out even the lowest maximum damage is at least 1.5x of the highest minimum damage. For example:

Axe (T2): Adds (17–24) to (36–41) Physical Damage
Amulet (T2): Adds (9–12) to (19–22) Physical Damage to Attacks
Ring (T2): Adds (5–7) to (11–12) Physical Damage to Attacks
Gloves (T2): Adds (3–4) to (6–7) Physical Damage to Attacks

The above calculation proves that Ryslatha's Coil is a value-add regardless of the rolls, but why is it our best in slot for bleeding build? It is because Ryslatha's Coil expands our damage range. Since only the strongest (stacks) of bleeding do damage, the low bleed rolls are discarded. The below summary shows with all else being equal if More and Less modifiers are moving by the same magnitude, the bleeding damage will increase. In terms of overall Combined DPS, Ryslatha's Coil will provide 10-20% increased damage.

For belt enchant, there are a few options to choose from. There is no absolute best, so take what is offered:

Enemies Blinded by you have 30% reduced Critical Strike Chance
+300 to Armour while you have Fortify
Enemies Maimed by you take 8% increased Damage Over Time

[2.8] Amulet

For amulet, you should be looking for key modifiers for this build: physical damage multiplier, physical damage to attack and maximum life. I put maximum life last because life is available on all gears while physical modifiers are more restricted. With higher budget you can add modifiers to gem level. I recommend with the following order assuming all other modifiers between the two amulets are the same.

1. +1 to Level of all Physical Skill Gems
2. +1 to Level of all Dexterity Skill Gems, drop maximum life

For amulet anoint, many people are still using Command of Steel. It does not benefit bleeding damage anymore so I opted for Growth and Decay.

[2.9] Rings

3.17 Ready
With overall nerfs to this build since 3.14, we need the rings to provide more benefits than just resistance and attributes (although they are still the priority). Additional offensive power can come from Circle of Guilt (legacy version shown below) or Essence of Delirium.


3.17 Ready
For Cluster Jewels, Wound Aggravation is needed on all Jewels. Rend is the other Notable for Medium Cluster. For Large Cluster, we will have some options depending what is lacking for the build at the moment. We can change to something else as we progress our gear. These jewels should be relatively cheap to obtain. For example the Medium Cluster, the average Jagged fossil crafting is 22 tries on an iLv 50 base. For Watcher's Eye, if we choose to get one, we only need increased damage with Pride. Other Pride augments are not useful. If you are thinking about double damage with Pride, keep in mind that dealing double damage only affects our hit damage and not our bleeding damage.

Sometimes you may come across powerful Megalomaniac, you can reference the following ranking when choosing offensive Notables. Wish for Death is a flat 10% boost to DPS so it will vary depending on your damage. Although culling strike is desirable. It is not as useful unless fighting end game bosses. All other Notables use Exploit Weakness as a DPS benchmark.

Below is a write up on how to compare similar modifiers and their effect on DPS. You can use similar method to determine the "best" option for your build (not necessarily limited to this build):

Damage Analysis between Rend and Wasting Affliction
u/Botatua suggested to look into Wasting Affliction (28% usage*) as an alternative to Rend (50% usage*) and the result is surprising. But before that, let us talk about how PoB arrives at the Bleed DPS because it certainly hid some steps and may be confusing to anyone trying to min-max their damage.

*Based on filters using Keystones and Ascendancy Passives in Ultimatum league.

As seen above, we start with our Total Base Damage then multiply by all the factors underneath. All numbers used are referenceable in the PoB. Rend is 0.12 (or 12%)* DoT Multiplier and Wasting Affliction is 0.1 (or 10%)* damage rate multiplier. We then can use those number to determine under what condition is one better than the other.

*Numbers based on pre-3.15 values, the mechanic is still the same.

The result is that we should pick Wasting Affliction as long as the following condition is true. This holds true for the PoB in this guide and will be under most circumstances because DoT Multiplier is a much more accessible modifier than damage rate multiplier.

DoT Multiplier > 1.2x Damage rate multiplier

You may wonder why such relationship even make sense. It only makes sense between Wasting Affliction and Rend. A more generic relationship of deciding increases between multiplicative factors is as follow.

MIN(Factor 1, Factor 2)

This means we should always choose the Factor that is the lower of the two. It is not hard to understand with the below illustration. If our damage is increased by (a)*(b) and we are given a choice of (a+x)*(b) or (a)*(b+x), we should always add x to the lower factor.

The above analysis ignored Wasting Affliction's 20% increased Damage with Ailments and reduced bleeding duration for simplicity.

[4.0] GEMS

3.17 Ready
Gems are relatively straight forward with some room for variation. Some of the gems do not have quality as their quality do not benefit the build in a significant way. The most important alternative quality gem is Divergent Chance to Bleed and the second most important is Divergent Pride which I encourage everyone to use.

Other alternative quality gems are optional. Get them if you are min-maxing: Anomalous Flesh and Stone, Anomalous Herald of Purity, Divergent Tempest Shield, Phantasmal Ancestral Protector.

[4.1] Damage

You can swap out Cruelty for Fortify if you need more reliable defensive layers, however, Fortify stacks are difficult to maintain for this build. I eventually switched Cruelty for Swift Affliction because I couldn't get maximum Cruelty affect on bosses (i.e. Sirus).

The DPS ranking for Lacerate is as follows:

1. 21/23 Anomalous Lacerate
2. 21/20 Anomalous Lacerate
3. 21/20 Superior Lacerate
4. 20/20 Anomalous Lacerate
5. 20/20 Superior Lacerate

For those of you who have not played melee builds, Multistrike's repeated attacks automatically target nearby enemy regardless of your cursor location. As seen below, our initial attack is in the direction of the cursor but repeated attacks targeted enemies behind us. This means we can technically attack without aiming and greatly improves our mapping experience.

[4.2] Movement

This build does not have any mechanics that improves our movement speed significantly. To compensate, we are running Leap Slam with Lifetap to not worry about mana. You can swap in a Flame Dash and Second Wind for bosses, but I personally have not had any trouble with just Leap Slam. I would say Atziri is the hardest for Leap Slam but manageable (I would switch to Flame Dash). With one crafted reduced mana cost, we should have enough mana regeneration to drop Lifetap.

You have the option to use Lifetap early on.

[4.3] Aura

With one L4 and one L3 Enlighten (or two L3 Enlightens if you have +1 socketed gem level on gloves implicit), we can reserve up to five auras. This do require at least two -mana cost craft on rings or amulet. Gems set up for gloves are very specific because they require the most reservation which benefit the most with a L4 or L5 Enlighten. Also these gems benefit the most from +1 gem level; for example, Herald of Purity grants 1% more physical damage and Tempest Shield grants 1% more spell block while Flesh and Stone grants 1% increased damage).

Gloves (if you have +1 socketed gem level)

Helm or Boots

I initially used Blood and Sand as the sixth aura instead of Maim Support, however I realized that Maim Support provides more damage and reserves less mana (~2% less). We do have some trade off such as less AoE in Sand Stance. We only need L1 Maim Support with 0% Quality.

[4.4] Shield

The following set up is specifically for the Surrender. You can choose Melee Physical Damage over Life Gain on Hit depending on your priorities.

Thank you to u/TheHappyEater and u/Snackys for suggesting linking a secondary counterattack (i.e. Riposte) to increase the Life Gain on Hit. If you are struggling, you can try this set up as well (drop Melee Physical).

[4.5] Defense

It is difficult to fit in many defenses so I ended up just using Vaal Molten Shell. Before I had the five aura set up, I was running Immortal Call and Cast When Damage Taken and Vaal Molten Shell.

[4.6] Other

Enduring Cry compensates our life flask to provide immediate healing and occasionally provides Endurance Charges. Blood Rage provides extra attack speed and Frenzy Charges.

The guide previously recommended using Ancestral Warchief but after some consideration and testing, (Phantasmal) Ancestral Protector should be a better choice for this build because of the attack speed buff (thank you to u/tee_ess_ay). Regardless which totem we use, be mindful they are very fragile; if we only need the buff from the totem, we should place the totem at a safe location.

[5.0] FLASKS

3.17 Ready
Flasks are very straight forward. Except for Lion's Roar, all flasks set up are defensive. Freeze, bleed and poison immune are a must.


3.17 Ready
Bleeding and Hit damage are generally scaled by the same modifiers except melee damage where it only benefits Hit damage. Below is an incomplete list of INCREASED damage modifiers and what damage they scale. Increased damage is scaled additively.

Increased Damage (both)
Increased Physical Damage (both)
Increased Damage with Hits and Ailment (both)
Increased Damage Over Time (bleed)
Increased Damage with Ailment (bleed)
Increased Damage with Bleeding (bleed)
Increased Melee Damage (hits)
Damaging Ailments deal Damage Faster (bleed)

Damage is also amplified by MORE damage modifiers. These are mostly found on skill/support gems and Ascendancy passives. More damage modifiers are more powerful since they scale the damage multiplicatively.

Finally bleeding damage is also increased by damage over time multiplier which is scaled additively.

Below is an example of how each modifier affects your damage. There are other types of modifiers that affect our damage like increased damage taken, increased bleeding duration. Those modifiers are less common and will be omitted for simplicity.


3.17 Ready
The strength of this build is its defense (but lesser so compare to 3 leagues ago). If we are not pushing for level 100, we can comfortably trade off some life for more damage. I think 5k life is more than enough for all contents.

Based on PoB we have the following defense in hideout:

1. 70% chance to block attack and spell damage which will be increased to 75% with flask
2. 50% physical damage reduction with 7000 armor
3. Comfortably 5000+ maximum life

In combat:
1. 3 Endurance Charges
2. Blind

We used to be at 13000 armor and 6000 maximum life before the varies nerfs.

Even with these defense, death finds you. Other than physical reflect, I find the following situations deadly:

1. Corrupted blood: without immunity, sometimes you map too comfortably to react to sudden stacks of corrupted blood. Since there is also no cool down on our movement skills, we are constantly moving, causing more damage taken.

2. Freeze: mostly from opening strongboxes, be prepared to have an anti-freeze flask or craft it on boots.

3. Poison: with 50% damage increase to Posion, we want to aim for positive chaos resistance and poison removal flasks.

Due to the lack of insane damage, this build will struggle with 100% Delirium maps and Legion encounters.


If we are playing softcore, we can kill all bandit.

I choose Soul of Lunaris and Gruthkul for Pantheon which are very strong against 3.16 league mechanics.


Some PoB contains notes, please read it first.

[3.14 Original PoB solo leveled to L100] https://pastebin.com/bxFmDkPZ
[3.15 v1] https://pastebin.com/WsKxYdfQ
[3.15 v2] https://pastebin.com/FLLiXBqm
[3.15 v3] https://pastebin.com/mME5x3nH
[3.15 v4] https://pastebin.com/y8UFPP7T
[3.16 v1] https://pastebin.com/sw9kiJYd
[3.16 v2] https://pastebin.com/SredWeF8
[3.16 v3] https://pastebin.com/u1sKaH7J


You can find more discussion and thoughts on this build in the following Reddit posts.

There are no words to sway those who will not listen. -- Veritania, the Redeemer

strTrader Max Block Bleed Lacerate Gladiator Guide:
Last edited by strTrader on Mar 17, 2022, 2:39:22 PM
Last bumped on Jun 17, 2022, 1:27:01 PM
Looks like a nice guide, gonna try it. What is your bandit choice?
Rocke44 wrote:
Looks like a nice guide, gonna try it. What is your bandit choice?

Bandit: Kill all the bandits
Pantheon: Soul of Lunaris, Soul of Gruthkul. These are specific for Ultimatum league mechanic. You can switch to Soul of Solaris for bosses but I did not find that necessary.
There are no words to sway those who will not listen. -- Veritania, the Redeemer

strTrader Max Block Bleed Lacerate Gladiator Guide:
Looks really solid, cheap and tanky. I think I might go with something like this next league start. Tired of being Squishy
can you post a clear map video? and build still works well with low budget? ty bro!
can you post a clear map video? and build still works well with low budget? ty bro!

I have uploaded a video using "budget" gear. You can check it out in the guide.

Edit: Budget gear video has been removed in the guide to save space. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/02vUV_srxCk
There are no words to sway those who will not listen. -- Veritania, the Redeemer

strTrader Max Block Bleed Lacerate Gladiator Guide:
Last edited by strTrader on Sep 9, 2021, 12:11:20 AM
Not asking for any leveling guide, but which skill would you recommend until the switch to lacerate? Or you leveled using lacerate?

Everytime I tried leveling a glad with the actual skill it was 100% pain and always gave up.
BaldeFurtivo wrote:
Not asking for any leveling guide, but which skill would you recommend until the switch to lacerate? Or you leveled using lacerate?

Everytime I tried leveling a glad with the actual skill it was 100% pain and always gave up.

I use Sunder, personally, linked in with Multistrike, Fist of War and Melee Phys. Helped until I was able to get 1) a 5-Link, 2) more attack speed and 3) Crimson Dance. I think I didn't swap to Lacerate until about level 65, after I finished the 2nd or 3rd lab.
So what's the actual endgame theoretical DPS we can get on this build? Tank looks awesome. But 1.3 million DPS in the POB brings back memories of bossing with ED/C.
BaldeFurtivo wrote:
Not asking for any leveling guide, but which skill would you recommend until the switch to lacerate? Or you leveled using lacerate?

Everytime I tried leveling a glad with the actual skill it was 100% pain and always gave up.

This build will need some attack speed to feel remotely close to other league start builds. In Ultimatum I leveled with Eathershatter until I was able to find a decent weapon for Lacerate.
There are no words to sway those who will not listen. -- Veritania, the Redeemer

strTrader Max Block Bleed Lacerate Gladiator Guide:

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