[3.15] - Stonks heavy Strike Gladiator


So... to start, a lot of builds got destroyed during this latest patch, well I'm here to show you a build that has decent clear, scales from level 1 and is a solid boss killer.

I am, of course, talking about a gladiator build, because what else would be tanky enough to deal with this league than a guy with 79% block chance for attacks and spells, as well as (in my version) a 10k shield for heavy hits.

This will allow you to go full retard, with 72% chance of double damage with Heavy Strike, life recovered on block as well as a low mana cost. Clearing is made somewhat decent with the new Beheading Support, and mana cost is not as much as other attacks.

Basic concept

It's simple, with either a rare Shield that has "Recover 5% life when you Block"
or The Surrender unique shield, we sustain our life with 79% block chance.

We deal with heavy hits by stacking about 30k armour and using molten shell/vaal molten shell (skill is required to know when a boss is "preparing" to hit you with a heavy hit though, inexperienced players may want to put this in a damage when taken setup).

And, in order to deal enough damage, we stack chance for Double Damage with Weight of the Empire unique jewel (20% chance for Double Damage, limited to 2) and the helm enchantment for Heavy Strike, that gives 12% Double Damage. This, combined with the base 20% Double Damage of the skill itself, gives us a total of 72% chance for Double Damage.

We can also use a Watcher's eye for an additional 12% chance for Double Damage, which would give us a total of 84% chance for Double Damage.

This allows us to invest in defensive nodes and max block with a shield, all the while maintaining the damage output of other builds/skills.

To compare, if this build were a cyclone build, it would have a bigger mana cost and approximately half the damage. It would, however, be more brain-dead for clearing maps.


Pros : Huge damage and defense for relatively low investment compared to other builds.
Cons : Degeneration and damage over time can be a real problem for us. In order to try and combat this we use Vitality aura, and we have the possibility of using a Watcher's eye with life regeneration while affected by Vitality

Starting gear

Paradoxica (with impale chance and another nice mod like Attack speed or critical chance, would be best).
The Surrender (for life recover on block).
A good helm with Heavy Strike Double Damage enchantment can come later.
2 Weight of the Empire jewels.

These are the core items of the build, the rest is pretty much up to you, just get whatever gear balances out your resistances, gives you life and gives you nice bonuses (like attack speed, critical chance, impale chance/effect, critical multiplier). I'd like to point out that since we're stacking armour it's better to choose armour-based items and not evasion/energy shield.

It's also good to note that this build works well with Abyssus because we get so much physical reduction that the increased physical damage taken from Abyssus hardly affects us at all.

Gem setup

For clearing :
Heavy Strike + Multistrike + Ancestral Call + Fortify + Behead + Impale

For bossing :
Heavy Strike + Multistrike + Fortify + Impale + Melee Physical Damage + Brutality

My current gear/End game gear

Important Note : Some mods of my gear are legacy because my build was made in Standard, however these mods are not very important ones and can be ignored.


Important notes :
- For the flask in position 5, a legacy Soul Ripper, feel free to use what you want to replace this. I use this in Standard because if you time it well with the use of Vaal Molten Shell, you can have it up permanently. In league, however, this is not an option.
- On the lower bottom right of the skill tree is the "mana leech" nodes, I do not take this because I have mana leech on an equipped jewel. If you don't have (or want) a mana leech jewel, then take 1 mana leech node.


Note for leveling : Before getting a "Red nightmare" jewel, you might want to take the node "Defiance" and the node leading to it for some extra block chance.

Leveling tree : level 22


Leveling tree : level 40


Leveling tree : level 55


Leveling tree : level 77

The avatar showing Elreon kinda looks like "wtf did i just see?"
Last edited by Jaith on Jul 26, 2021, 10:17:19 AM
Last bumped on Sep 5, 2021, 6:34:06 PM
What about leveling tree, endgame? Is possible all content in the game? Can I use axe instead sword/mace?
swimhigh wrote:
What about leveling tree, endgame? Is possible all content in the game? Can I use axe instead sword/mace?

This build works with any one-handed weapon type, just make sure you get the right nodes.

All content is possible, you will need block reduction support for hall of grand masters and a healing/staunching flask for uberlab.

Just get out of degeneration zones when in boss fights (shaper beam, elder degen patches on ground...) and remember to use Molten Shell when the boss is going to do his "slam" move (like when Sirus says "Die" or shaper is going to do his teleport slam) this becomes easy with a bit of training and after a while you will only need to cast Molten Shell at the right time instead of even dodging these slam attacks.
It's better to use Molten Shell as a "prevention" guard skill than using it with cast when damage taken support, but this takes some practice.

Delving is also pretty good with this character (considering it's not a delve-specialized build), I have got to about depth 600.

Also, I just added different level skill trees.
The avatar showing Elreon kinda looks like "wtf did i just see?"
Last edited by Jaith on Jul 26, 2021, 8:05:41 AM
Thank! Looks good, will try
Leveling tree : level 22

broken link
Is it possible to use another weapn than paradoxica?

it is to expensive for me.
paradoxica already deals double dmg, this cannot stack with heavrystrikes/weight of the empire etc
is this good build good for general mapping and bosses?
I love heavy strike, but I'm curious how this build works without gg gear. The PoB is pretty much unreachable in league play for people with lives/jobs. If Paradoxica/The Surrender are "starting gear," I'm guessing it doesn't work well.
Thank you for posting a build of a very maligned skill.

I love physical damage builds and I'm looking for something with max block that isn't cyclone so this seems very interesting to me.

I'm starting my character now and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind answering some questions about the build/updating your build page.

1) What are the most desirable equipment and jewel mods to look out for?

2) Is it not worth it to invest in Cluster Jewels? (I'm glad if the answer is no, pun intended)

3) Your level 22 PoB link is broken. Would you mind fixing it if you have the time?

4) Are you recommending a Paradoxica or Replica Paradoxica? As pointed out in some comments, Paradoxica already does double damage that I don't think stacks, whereas there is a mod on Replica Paradoxica you can get that provides more % chance of dealing double damage.

5) To try and answer some of my own questions, I tried to look at your character on your profile but it's private. Would you mind sharing so we get inspired from your Heavy Strike character?

6) Would it be worth it speccing into Bleeding and Axes and taking the pertinent Glad nodes like Blood in the Eyes and Gratuitous Violence? Seems like this would help immensely with clear, wouldn't it?

7) What order do you recommend taking Ascendancies in?

8) What skill gems would you recommend using to level up and clear better? Ancestral Call, Melee Splash, Chance to Bleed come to mind for example.

9) You use Dash. Would it be ok to use another travel skill like Leap Slam or Shield Charge or would that be suboptimal? I prefer the latter skills.

If you find the time to answer these questions I would greatly appreciate it.



Edited to remove some questions I found my answer to in the OP's post and to add some other questions
Last edited by OzManiak on Sep 5, 2021, 7:01:25 PM

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