Cyclone Blood and Sand Gladiator Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Furty

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About the Author

Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.

Author

Introduction

Cyclone Cyclone was a wildly popular skill in Patch 3.7 after the melee rework, receiving a redesign of its own and numerous buffs. Though Patch 3.8 Blight League has been accompanied by a few justified tweaks to Cyclone Cyclone — specifically to its Area of Effect and Added Physical Damage — the skill remains a powerful choice that can hang with some of Path of Exile’s strongest builds. With the Gladiator changes and reworks, this Ascendancy has become a fantastic all-rounder that blends offense and defense seamlessly, with organic Frenzy and Endurance Charge generation. Not only is this build dealing a lot of damage, but it is a brick wall of fortitude — with over 7000 Life, 6 Endurance Charges, Fortify Support Fortify Support, and a plethora of Leech and Armour, this build feels stable as a rock as you spin-to-win through Maps.

If you are looking to transition this build into the ultimate end-game destroyer, check out our Ultimate Cyclone Slayer Build for more information.

Build Assessment

Pros

+ Great League Starter
+ Good end-game
+ Great defenses
+ Multiple configurations
+ Very fast

Cons

Cyclone Cyclone is a polarizing “love it or hate it” skill
Requires careful play on difficult bosses to dodge mechanics
Cyclone Cyclone is not really viable until the end-game — leveling must be done using a skill such as Sunder Sunder

Playstyle

Cyclone Cyclone is a very simple and straightforward skill. Now a channeled ability, your character spins around and attacks extremely quickly — technically it is considered a movement skill, although it slows your character. By stacking a lot of damage, Attack Speed, Bleeds, and Movement Speed, our Cyclone Gladiator glides effortlessly through maps while shredding packs and bosses alike.

This is a primarily Physical damage build, which makes it relatively easy to itemize for, and a viable candidate for Solo Self-Found and Hardcore leagues due to its quick ramp up, great end-game, and cheap kickstart cost. Simply enter a map, Leap Slam Leap Slam into a pack, and Cyclone Cyclone through it to blow it to pieces. The new Gratuitous Violence Ascendancy keystone causes Bleeding enemies to explode and deal 10% of their Maximum Life as Physical damage, which is essentially a built in Physical version of Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart.

Passive Skill Tree

This is our recommended Level 100 Passive Skill Tree.

Start by making a beeline towards Resolute Technique, which is essential for this build. While Critical Strike stacking is possible, it is absolutely not necessary or really worth it and does not play towards the strengths of the Gladiator Ascendancy, which is why we instead opt for a much cheaper, easier to execute, and punchy version of the build. The Endurance Charges are extremely valuable once you reach the end-game and early Maps, and allow you to greatly extend your Immortal Call Immortal Calls for nearly permanent 25% reduction of Elemental and Physical Damage. See the Leveling section at the end of the guide for more information.

Gems

Cyclone Cyclone is our main damaging skill, and requires a fair amount of Dexterity to fully level up. Since it does not really shine until the end-game, we prefer to use Sunder Sunder to level up, which has high base damage, prioritizes the same stats, and uses the same items. This allows for a quick and clean transition to Cyclone when you are ready with no respeccing or gear swaps — simply ensure that you are leveling a Cyclone gem while making your way through Acts 1-10.

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief does exceptional damage and serves as our Vaal skill of choice, although the base totem, Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief, can also be potent for assisting with tough enemies and bosses. Warlord's Mark Warlord's Mark is used for additional Leech which is essential for this build. The 6 Endurance Charges that we have extend Immortal Call Immortal Call immensely, allowing us to maintain extremely high uptime on Elemental and Physical damage reduction.

Herald of Purity Herald of Purity and Herald of Ash Herald of Ash are used as our auras, as well as the new Blood and Sand Blood and Sand. Blood Rage Blood Rage adds some additional damage and leech, while Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike also reinforces our boss damage even further.

Cyclone Cyclone 6-Link

  1. Cyclone Cyclone
  2. Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Pulverise Support Pulverise Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support / Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support

As you might expect, Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support is far superior for smashing bosses, while Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support boasts much smoother clear. You can opt to swap them in and out as necessary, although Concentrated Effect is not usually necessary for Map bosses in average gear. It is highly recommended, however, that you use Concentrated Effect for tankier bosses, such as Shaper Guardians and above.

Sunder Sunder 6-Link

If you have not yet made the switch to Cyclone Cyclone, you should set up your Sunder Sunder as follows:

  1. Sunder Sunder
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief 4-Link

Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief can be used as necessary while clearing, but you should save some uses for the boss. The Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief itself does not need to be used, except for extremely tanky or long-lived enemies, where it should always be kept active to grant you the Melee damage bonus. It also does great damage on its own, which can be helpful when you need to move or kite around.

  1. Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief
  2. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  3. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  4. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support

Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support 4-Link

Immortal Call Immortal Call‘s damage reduction will have 100% uptime, provided your Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support is getting triggered, which adds a significant amount of safety in Red Maps.

  1. Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support (Level 10)
  2. Immortal Call Immortal Call (Level 12)
  3. Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support (Level 20)
  4. Warlord's Mark Warlord's Mark (Level 13)

Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike 4-Link

This is mainly here for bosses, allowing you a massive frontload burst of damage that will melt most Map bosses when combined with Vaal Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief.

  1. Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  4. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

Leap Slam Leap Slam 3-Link

A standard mobility link. Even though we have Fortify Support Fortify Support in our main link, it still pays to have it here for when you are hopping into fresh packs, preventing any unexpected bursts of damage.

  1. Leap Slam Leap Slam
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Auras 3-Link

These do not have to be linked together, though it makes no difference.

  1. Herald of Ash Herald of Ash
  2. Herald of Purity Herald of Purity
  3. Blood and Sand Blood and Sand

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon

Ascendancy Choices

Ascendancy

  1. Arena Challenger
  2. Blood in the Eyes
  3. Gratuitous Violence
  4. Outmatch and Outlast

Deal with the Bandits Rewards

Kill all the Bandits for the 2 Passive Points.

Pantheon Choices

Major Gods

  • Soul of Solaris is one of the safest choices out there when upgraded; immune to Critical Strike chains, reduced Elemental Damage, and chance to avoid ailments are particularly juicy.
  • Soul of Lunaris can be nice when starting out and you do not have the Solaris upgrades.

Minor Gods

  • Soul of Shakari is an excellent all around choice when upgraded, as it eliminates Poison as an affix.
  • Soul of Gruthkul is nice when starting out and you do not have upgraded Shakari.

Gear, Jewels, and Flasks

Armour

Helmet

Devoto's Devotion Devoto's Devotion is far and away the best choice for Cyclone Cyclone. It has everything we could possibly need: Dexterity in heaps, solid defenses, and most importantly, Movement Speed. If you are on a trade league, Devoto’s is very likely to be much more expensive than usual this league due to the influx of melee builds, many of which feature this item as the best possible Helmet. Try to pick one up with an enchant as early as possible before the price skyrockets. This is one of the most important pieces of the build and should be your first investment after acquire Mapping weapons.

A Rare helmet with an Armour base, such as an Eternal Burgonet Eternal Burgonet, is also a fine choice, particularly if you are still using Sunder Sunder. Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. % of Physical Damage taken as Fire Damage (Signature Mod – Redblade)
  4. +# to Attributes
  5. % Increased Armour
  6. +# to Armour

Chest

Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast is your go-to Unique chest. The large health increase offers a lot of additional survivability, while still granting us some Resistances and an okay amount of Armour. Belly is also fairly easy to obtain, even on Solo Self-Found, making it one of the most accessible and affordable pieces for its comparatively high impact.

A Rare chest, such as an Astral Plate Astral Plate, is a fine alternative when starting out. You should prioritize stats as follows:

  1. Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. % Increased Maximum Life
  4. % of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Fire Damage (Elder Prefix)
  5. +# to Strength
  6. % Increased Armour
  7. +# to Armour

If you do not have the Elder Prefix it can be better just to shoot for a chest with a really high Armour roll instead.

Boots

Movement Speed is of the highest importance once you begin to use Cyclone Cyclone, so you should definitely prioritize getting a pair with a good roll as early as possible, even if the Maximum Life and/or Resistance rolls are not exquisite. Armour bases are preferable. Prioritize as follows:

  1. % Increased Movement Speed (30%+)
  2. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  3. +# to Maximum Life
  4. % Increased Armour Rating
  5. +# to Armour Rating

Gloves

A pair of well rolled Spiked Gloves Spiked Gloves is typically the best option in most situations. Getting some Attack Speed on your gloves is a really nice boost but not required out of the gate. Prioritize your mods like so:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. % Increased Attack Speed
  4. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. % Increased Armour Rating
  6. +# to Armour Rating
  7. +# to Dexterity
  8. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life

A pair of 2 socket Tombfist Tombfist can also be quite comparable in the end-game, offering more Life, and slightly better offense, however, you will need high quality Abyss Jewels to make them worth the expensive cost.

Weapons

Dual-wielding axes is the absolute best option for virtually all situations using this build.

A well rolled Rare Siege Axe Siege Axe is the best option. They are generally not that difficult to craft yourself using Essences, but they can also be purchased. You should look for at least 250-300 Physical DPS on each axe when starting out, but you will want to increase this to 350+ Physical DPS per axe by the time you are hitting Red Maps. You are mainly looking for axes with high % Increased Physical Damage and Adds # to # Physical Damage rolls, as well as Increased Attack Speed (which can be crafted). Since we have no use for Critical Strike, this is all you really need.

Soul Taker Soul Taker is a solid option but not as good as high quality Rares. It is a good choice if you can pick it up around the time you are first entering the upper tiers of Red Maps, where it helps significantly with Mana and deals good damage. Ultimately you will want to replace Soul Taker with a Rare Siege Axe Siege Axe that has 400+ Physical DPS.

Jewelry

Amulet

Since we have no need of Elemental Damage or Critical Strike, itemizing for Jewelry is very easy and usually quite cheap relative to other builds. Prioritize affixes as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  4. % Increased Attack Speed
  5. +# to Intelligence (necessary for Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support)
  6. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
  7. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life

Rings

Rare Steel Ring Steel Rings are the best option for the end-game.

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. Adds # to # Physical Damage to Attacks
  4. % Increased Damage (Crafted)
  5. % Increased Attack Speed
  6. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
  7. % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life

Belt

A Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is the absolute best option for all situations. Prioritize stats as follows:

  1. [Uncapped] Elemental Resistances
  2. +# to Maximum Life
  3. +# to Armour
  4. Any of the Flask Mods

Jewels

Standard Jewels are generally always better than Abyss Jewels, since we prioritize Increased Attack Speed so highly.

  1. % Increased Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Physical Damage with Axes
  3. % Increased Attack Speed with Axes
  4. % Increased Physical Damage while Dual Wielding
  5. % Increased Attack Speed while Dual Wielding
  6. % Increased Physical Damage
  7. % Increased Melee Damage
  8. % Increased Area Damage
  9. % Increased Attack Speed

Any other mods you can get your hands on that modify Attack Speed, Physical Damage, or Melee Damage are all excellent choices.

Flasks

  • Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching
  • Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise
  • Lion's Roar Lion's Roar
  • Experimenter’s Jade Flask of Heat OR Chemist’s Basalt Flask of Heat
  • Alchemist’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline

Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.

Leveling

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

Start out with Ground Slam Ground Slam, which you should use until Level 12, when Sunder Sunder can be acquired. Sunder is a fairly potent leveling skill due to its high base damage and ease of use. Your Sunder links, in order of priority, are:

  1. Sunder Sunder
  2. Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
  3. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  4. Multistrike Support Multistrike Support
  5. Maim Support Maim Support
  6. Ruthless Support Ruthless Support

Just use what you can get until the gems become available — Maim Support Maim Support and Ruthless Support Ruthless Support are available very early, along with Onslaught Support Onslaught Support, but you will have to wait until Act II for Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support is an option in the meantime, if you are using a Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa.

Blood and Sand Blood and Sand is available right at Level 4, and should be picked up immediately. Remember to acquire Herald of Ash Herald of Ash and Herald of Purity Herald of Purity in Act II.

Leveling Trees

Changelog
  •   

    Updated for Patch 3.8 Blight League.

  •   

    Updated Gear recommendations.

  •   

    Updated Pantheon recommendations and Gear.

  •   

    Updated Cyclone links.

  •   

    Added new links for Blood and Sand gem.

  •   

    Guide added.

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  1. Posts
    4

    Its called blood and sand but i dont see that skill gem anywhere in ur build ??

  2. Posts
    1

    How do you generate the endurance charges? Or Frenzy for that matter?

    Never mind, im blind, forgot about the last ascendancy :)

    Edited by Riggorius on June 11th, 2019

  3. Posts
    1

    What’s the point of Brutality + Herald of Ash?
    Does the overkill burn even matter, and wouldn’t Pride be better?

  4. Posts
    4

    5.4. Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike 4-Link

    This is mainly here for bosses, allowing you a massive frontload burst of damage that will melt most Map bosses when combined with Ancestral Protector.

    Dont you mean Ancestral Warchief vaal

  5. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 12/06/2019 at 7:58 PM, Psycrow said

    5.4. Vaal Double Strike Vaal Double Strike 4-Link

    This is mainly here for bosses, allowing you a massive frontload burst of damage that will melt most Map bosses when combined with Ancestral Protector.

    Dont you mean Ancestral Warchief vaal

    Yes, one of those ancestors! Warchief is right :) Thanks for catching it.

  6. Posts
    2

    Curious, how do you handle the mana cost with the new 6 link cyclone you have set up? I have to basically spam my mana potions just to be able to continue my cyclone.

  7. Posts
    4

    On 14/06/2019 at 7:25 PM, Linix said

    Curious, how do you handle the mana cost with the new 6 link cyclone you have set up? I have to basically spam my mana potions just to be able to continue my cyclone.

    Did you buy gear with mana/life leech

    I got 1 ring and 1 amulet with mana leech and it keeps me up when there are enemies to leech from

  8. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 11/06/2019 at 5:53 PM, Arichist said

    What’s the point of Brutality + Herald of Ash?
    Does the overkill burn even matter, and wouldn’t Pride be better?

    The overkill feeds into the league mechanic, but in any case, I’ve updated the main link to no longer use Brutality Support Brutality Support and Fortify Support Fortify Support.

  9. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 14/06/2019 at 11:41 PM, Psycrow said

    On 14/06/2019 at 7:25 PM, Linix said

    Curious, how do you handle the mana cost with the new 6 link cyclone you have set up? I have to basically spam my mana potions just to be able to continue my cyclone.

    Did you buy gear with mana/life leech

    I got 1 ring and 1 amulet with mana leech and it keeps me up when there are enemies to leech from

    Exactly, having at least one piece is a massive help!

  10. Posts
    2

    Cool, good to know, thank you. Just gotta keep an eye out I suppose. RNG is not in my favor

  11. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 15/06/2019 at 10:44 AM, Linix said

    Cool, good to know, thank you. Just gotta keep an eye out I suppose. RNG is not in my favor

    No problem — try crafting it onto your gear if you can’t find it anywhere.

  12. Posts
    4

    On 15/06/2019 at 11:14 AM, Furty said

    On 15/06/2019 at 10:44 AM, Linix said

    Cool, good to know, thank you. Just gotta keep an eye out I suppose. RNG is not in my favor

    No problem — try crafting it onto your gear if you can’t find it anywhere.

    Or use Poe trade..you can get some cheap rings and amulets for starters with these stats

  13. Posts
    3

    Got any suggestions on what to put in the stygian vise?

  14. Posts
    1

    do you have a lvl 100 tree?

  15. Vlad

    Moderator

    Posts
    65

    On 20/06/2019 at 10:31 PM, happycrack said

    do you have a lvl 100 tree?

    Yes, it’s listed in the guide in section 4

    Edited by Vlad on June 21st, 2019

  16. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 20/06/2019 at 6:51 AM, sezs said

    Got any suggestions on what to put in the stygian vise?

    A Murderous Eye with Life and Physical Damage to Axe Attacks, plus whatever other nice stats or damage you can find or want to tack on.

  17. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 20/06/2019 at 10:31 PM, happycrack said

    do you have a lvl 100 tree?

    Check the Passive Skill Tree section of the guide.

  18. Posts
    1

    hi,
    can you tell me how to reach the 108 intelligence needed to use the “concentrated effect support” gem pls? cause in my case amulet is not enought..
    thx!

    Edited by Zemour on July 1st, 2019

  19. Furty

    Moderator

    Posts
    532

    On 01/07/2019 at 6:14 AM, Zemour said

    hi,
    can you tell me how to reach the 108 intelligence needed to use the “concentrated effect support” gem pls? cause in my case amulet is not enought..
    thx!

    You can only get it from gear or from the tree, so if you don’t have enough across your items you’ll have to put a point or two on the tree towards Intelligence (e.g. Hard Knocks).

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