Blade Flurry Gladiator Build Guide (PoE Synthesis 3.6.)

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Introduction

The Blade Flurry Gladiator is a character that aims to get as much Block Chance as possible while also having a good amount of Armour and Evasion Rating. Gladiator’s Gratuitous Violence allows us to use single target setup for Blade Flurry Blade Flurry while also remaining with very high clear speed. This essentially means in a build like this the clear speed is almost the same as Reave Reave, but the single target is way better.

Having above 60% Chance to Block Attacks and Spells is a very strong way of mitigating damage. For the build, we choose to play with a one-handed sword since this allows to build around critical strikes. Swords have the best passive nodes on the passive skill tree when it comes to efficiency with one-handed Critical-based builds.

Build Summary

The Blade Flurry Blade Flurry Gladiator does not need any mandatory unique items, just recommended ones. It can be played as a league-starter. When it comes to mapping you can gear very easily for the beginning of it. Considering how Gratuitous Violence deals damage based on monster’s life it scales very well into higher map tiers.

A simple Scaeva Scaeva can carry you until red maps. After that you should spend some currency on a well rolled rapier that has decent pDPS, attack speed and critical chance. The build scales well with gear and you can feel the progress.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Amazing survivability
+ Great clear speed
+ Can be played with no investment, great league-starter

Cons

- Has a bit less single target damage compared to other top tier builds

Playstyle

Offensively, use Shield Charge Shield Charge to move around. Briefly hitting with Blade Flurry Blade Flurry will be enough to explode the whole monster pack via Gratuitous Violence. For single target your extreme survivability will let you stand still and obliterate bosses by keeping high stacks of Blade Flurry. Blood Rage Blood Rage should be used for additional Frenzy charges and attack speed since you will have enough life regeneration and leech to mitigate its downside. Dread Banner Dread Banner should be used for additional damage.

Defensively, capping your Chance to Block at 75% for both attacks and spells is completely realistic, which means only 25% of hits will actually hit you. Block is a defensive mechanic that is very underused considering its power. A good amount of Armour and Evasion Rating is easily obtainable. The little damage you take will be easily leeched back. Blade Flurry Blade Flurry has a decent area of effect, so you can keep your distance most of the time, you do not have to charge straight into packs of monsters.

The way % Chance to Block works is that every hit directed to you is checked by your % Chance to Block; if you roll a Block, you completely mitigate the hit’s damage. The % Chance to Block Attacks and % Chance to Block Spells are two different things in Path of Exile, but this build will gain both by ascending into Versatile Combatant, so you mainly focus on stacking up % Chance to Block Attacks, which translates into % Chance to Block Spells.

For newer players, it is important to note that there are many effects in Path of Exile that cannot be blocked, like ground effects, Corrupted Blood, bleeds, etc. So, while reaching 75% chance to Block (including spells) will make you very durable, it by no means guarantees you will not die. For example, to avoid Bleeding effects, make sure to have Bleed removal/Immunity on your flasks.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Duelist – Gladiator)

  1. Blood in the Eyes
  2. Gratuitous Violence
  3. Painforged
  4. Versatile Combatant

Blood in the Eyes provides a lot of utility and damage. Gratuitous Violence is what makes the build so efficient and fun to play. This boosts clear speed immensely. Painforged provides a nice amount of block chance if you were hit recently, or damage if you were not. Considering how hits can stun you even though you blocked the damage is annoying. Painforged makes you immune to stuns from hits you block. Double damage on counter attacks is also great. Versatile Combatant is the second big thing about this build. Spell block is a very strong defensive mechanic.

Passive Tree

Here is the endgame passive skill tree. First, pick all the life and damage around the Marauder and Scion starting areas and lastly go for the shield nodes. After that you are ready to spec into all the Sword critical strike nodes.

Note: For passive skill trees prior to the absolute endgame version refer to the leveling section of the build.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. This should generally be done in every critical-based build.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Arakaali has damage over time reductions. This type of damage cannot be blocked so it comes in handy for the build. The upgrades are also very useful because you can get 50% life recovery when your Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support and Immortal Call Immortal Call triggers and you stop taking damage from Blood Rage Blood Rage.

Minor: Many of the minor gods can be used although it is recommended to use Soul of Ralakesh. Again, the damage over time mitigation is great, also the blind and maim immunities are very useful.

Gems

The build’s main skill is Blade Flurry Blade Flurry, which you should ideally use in a 6-link. For mobility, you use Shield Charge Shield Charge. Blood Rage Blood Rage is used for the additional attack speed and leech it provides, along with the very handy Frenzy charge generation mechanic. Hatred Hatred and Herald of Purity Herald of Purity are your offensive auras that should be active at all times, along with the Dread Banner Dread Banner, which is very useful for the Impale mechanic.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Blade Flurry (6-Link)

Blade Flurry Blade Flurry is your main skill. You should channel this to 6 stacks and then unleash them for the damage that provides. We recommend two different 6-Links for this, depending on whether you are interested in clearing or single target.

For clearing, we recommend the following link.

Blade Flurry Blade Flurry Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support

For single target, we recommend the following link.

Blade Flurry Blade Flurry Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

Shield Charge (4-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge is your mobility skill. We recommend the following link.

Shield Charge Shield Charge Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support Fortify Support Fortify Support

Immortal Call, Enfeeble & Tempest Shield (4-Link)

Immortal Call Immortal Call, Enfeeble Enfeeble and Tempest Shield Tempest Shield are triggered by the Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support gem in order to provide additional defence, you should keep all these gems at level requirement 38 or lower. Enfeeble will reduce the damage and accuracy of monsters, while Tempest Shield provides 3% additional Block chance. Immortal Call is used in order to prevent deaths from Porcupines and also make use of Soul of Arakaali.

Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support Tempest Shield Tempest Shield
Enfeeble Enfeeble Immortal Call Immortal Call

Hatred

This aura gem adds additional cold damage based on the physical damage a character has, which the Blade Flurry Gladiator has lots of. Hatred Hatred should not be linked with any support gem since it will only increase the mana reservation.

Herald of Purity

This specific Herald of Purity Herald of Purity gem is used for the decent amount of physical damage to attacks it provides. Again, it should not be linked with any support gems for the same reasons as Hatred.

Blood Rage

The temporary offensive buffs this utility gem provides has great sinergy with the build. The downside of Blood Rage Blood Rage is a physical degeneration over time, which is easily countered but the good amount of life regeneration the build has. Blood Rage can be linked with Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support if you feel the duration is too short for your play style.

Dread Banner

This banner should be active while clearing easy packs of monsters. Drop Dread Banner Dread Banner on the ground for the increased beneficial effects when fighting tougher foes, then press the banner button to pick it up and have it active again. This banner should not be linked with any support gems.

Enduring Cry

Enduring Cry Enduring Cry is not mandatory and it is simply used to keep up Endurance charges for additional defence, the life regeneration it provides can also be handy in hairy situations.

Other Gems

Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem can be used for the additional accuracy and critical chance.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. Scaeva Scaeva will carry your damage early on. In order to improve survivability look for a decent shield and chest piece first. After that improve other item slots and lastly, start looking for a well rolled one-handed Sword.

Note: Not all of the stats listed down below are mandatory, they are just recommended in that specific order, the numeric values are a representation of what you should be looking for as a minimum.

Helmet

Abyssus Abyssus brings a great amount of offensive power to the build, the downside is mitigated by the your Blocks and Armour Rating. Keep in mind that taking the extra physical damage might be too dangerous in some encounters. Starkonja's Head Starkonja's Head is also a good choice, or you can always use a well rolled helmet instead. For the Labyrinth enchant, look for any of the Blade Flurry Blade Flurry enchants. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 80)
  3. Armour/Evasion

Body Armour

Loreweave Loreweave is arguably the best in slot chest piece for the build, and the most important stat you should look for on it is the Maximum Resistances roll, where you should aim for the 80% maximum. Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast is always a great choice. A high armour base rolled with Essence of Horror is also a very good option. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until cap)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 100)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil; Elder Prefix)
  4. Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Maim (Serrated Fossil)
  5. % of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Cold Damage (Essence of Horror)
  6. Armour

Gloves

Tombfist Tombfist can provide a lot of power to the build. Before these, use a well rolled rare pair of gloves. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until cap)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 60)
  3. Attack speed
  4. Flat physical damage
  5. Armour

Boots

Death's Door Death's Door helps deal with strong bleed that might be applied to you because of Abyssus Abyssus. Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots is another great choice. Rare boots also work well. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 60)
  3. Movement speed
  4. Armour

Belt

Rare belt is best in slot. Belt of the Deceiver Belt of the Deceiver can be used early in your gear progress. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80)
  3. Elemental damage with attacks (at least 20-25%)

Amulet

Look for a well rolled amulet with attributes you might lack (probably Intelligence). The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Flat physical damage (any amount is useful)
  4. Critical multiplier (at least 20%)
  5. Critical chance (at least 20%)
  6. Elemental damage with attacks (at least 20-25%)
  7. Accuracy (at least 150)

Rings

You should not have problems with capping elemental resistances so you can use Steel rings for the additional damage they provide. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 50)
  3. Flat physical damage
  4. Elemental damage with attacks (at least 20-25%)
  5. Accuracy Rating (at least 100)

Weapons

Main-hand

Scaeva Scaeva will carry you a long way. For red maps you should start looking for a rare rapier with at least 300 pDPS, minimum of 6% critical chance and 1.5 attacks per second. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. % Physical damage
  2. Flat physical damage
  3. Attack speed (at least 12-15%)
  4. Critical chance

Shield

For a starter shield you can use Lioneye's Remorse Lioneye's Remorse. Our endgame goal is definitely The Surrender The Surrender . Meanwhile use any rare shield in order to fill resist gaps and get some life. The Rare Affix priority is:

  1. Elemental resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum life (at least 100)
  3. Armour

Flasks

Instant Life flask is mandatory in every life based build, try also rolling a Bleed removal on it, since you Bleeding is one of the most lethal mechanics for the build. Diamond flask is needed for the additional critical strikes. Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise is a great offensive flask that also provides some chaos resistance and some life leech. Lion's Roar Lion's Roar is another unique flask that provides a lot to both offensive and defensive aspects. Taste of Hate Taste of Hate helps dealing with the downside of Abyssus Abyssus while also gives additional cold damage, Basalt flask can be used prior to it. Rumi's Concoction Rumi's Concoction can be used if you struggle with capping Block Chance.

Jewels

No specific unique jewels are required. The Red Dream The Red Dream can be used in order to easily generate endurance charges. If you choose to do that just drop some life nodes and pick up all endurance charges on the tree. Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye with Hatred Hatred mods can provide a lot of damage but such mods will be very expensive. Abyssal jewels can be used in order to have some Onslaught and Unholy Might uptime. Besides that the regular jewels should be more powerful.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Sword damage/Attack speed
  3. % Increased Area damage
  4. % Increased Melee damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 30)
  2. Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill (at least 5%)
  3. Chance to gain Unholy Might on Kill

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

Leveling the build from scratch is easy. Use skills like Frost Blades Frost Blades and Sunder Sunder until you get Blade Flurry Blade Flurry, and move around with Shield Charge Shield Charge. The clear speed will pick up when you manage to do the Cruel Labyrinth. The build easily gets into maps.

Leveling Trees

Use this this build before transitioning into critical strikes at 78 points.

While leveling, we recommend that you first pick pick all the Life and Damage nodes around the Marauder and Scion starting areas, and then go for the shield nodes.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Redbeak Redbeak and The Screaming Eagle The Screaming Eagle provide great amount of damage which can easily carry you up to Act IV.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are extremely rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have vast amounts of currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

Frost Blades Frost Blades Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support
Onslaught Support Onslaught Support

At level 10, you are able to add Shield Charge Shield Charge, which will help with your mobility.

At level 12, you should replace your Frost Blades Frost Blades link with the following one.

Sunder Sunder Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support Maim Support Maim Support

At level 16, you should add Herald of Purity Herald of Purity.

By level 18, your Sunder Sunder link should look something like this:

Sunder Sunder Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support Maim Support Maim Support
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

At level 24, you should add Hatred Hatred.

Finally, at level 28, you can transition into Blade Flurry Blade Flurry, your signature skill. We recommend the following link.

Blade Flurry Blade Flurry Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support
Maim Support Maim Support Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support

FAQ

Can This Build Do Reflect Maps?

No, the physical explosions created from Gratuitous Violence will obliterate you on physical reflect maps. The damage provided from Hatred Hatred will probably be enough to kill yourself on elemental reflect too.

Is There Any Type of Content the Build Cannot Do?

Except for the reflect maps, the build is very versatile and can do anything, as long as you are well geared and have damage and life. The block mechanic is extremely strong and will save you in many lethal encounters.

Conclusion

If the extremely tanky and safe melee build is your type of thing, this build should satisfy you. The damage is also good enough for endgame encounters. Considering it can be started from scratch without any investments makes the build that much better and accessible.

Changelog
  •    Updated passive trees.
  •    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.
  •    Made the playstyle section more descriptive, and improved the gearing section by providing more detailed recommendations.
  •    Reworked Gem Link and Gem Progression sections for improved visibility.
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  1. Posts
    1

    I love duelist builds, but I had a question. On the passive tree you have Aspect of the Panther (over in the ranger section), which is for dual wield. Weapon Artistry works for either, but unless I’m missing something isn’t Aspect of the Panther only for dual wielding?

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    114

    You should pick the two shield nodes below it, Thank you for the comment, the tree is fixed now.

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