Due to the latest balancing changes in Lake of Kalandra 3.19, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and are working hard to make it viable again.
Lacerate is a skill that often flies under the radar in the Path of Exile community. Despite Cyclone garnering a lot of the attention, Lacerate can reach similar heights on significantly less gear, and with a unique style and flair that few other melee skills have. This is partially because Lacerate is not really a true melee skill — in the end game, you will be able to obliterate packs nearly a full screen away, reminiscent of the Vaal Reave builds of old. Not only does it boast great damage through a combination of upfront hits and bleeds, but it also has strong across the board defenses that make it stable in any environment.
Lacerate remains a great league starter and one of the best melee skills for solo self-found due to its lack of reliance on critical strike or build-making uniques.
Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone transform the skill, giving it two separate sides to the same coin. While in Sand stance, Lacerate has an increased area of effect and angle of attack, but deals slightly less area damage. While in Blood stance, however, nearby enemies are maimed, attacks have a greater chance of inflicting Bleeding, and Bleeding deals more damage, you deal more area damage, but have a narrower angle of attack and less area of effect. This dichotomy gives you the flexibility to clear without comprising your boss damage in any way.
Lacerate scales into a proper end-game giant that can deal with virtually any boss and clear with ease. The bleeds the build takes advantage of gives the skill a fresh element that few builds incorporate and allow it to scale without relying on conventional damage stats like Critical Strike. Our Lacerate Gladiator is fast and powerful and feels totally fresh.
+ Excellent clear speed and movement speed
+ Ideal league starter as it requires no bottleneck Uniques
+ Flexible build path and skill choices
+ Long range melee skill grants more options in how you engage enemies and bosses
+ Well rounded late game
– Melee build; despite its ranged advantage it still requires proper positioning on end-game content and bosses
– Does not scale indefinitely due to Resolute Technique; even with the best gear damage is unlikely to exceed ~5m DPS
Path of Building
data for this build can be found here.
Included in the Path of Building are skill trees, all gem links and possible variations, and an example set of gear with room for upgrades. For simplicity’s sake, Elemental Resistances are not included on gear, and you can fill them in as you like depending on available gear.
We use the Path of Building Community Fork for all of our builds, which is highly recommended. If you are encountering errors importing the build, please ensure you are .
Playstyle and Build Mechanics
While Lacerate itself is a fairly straightforward skill, this build has a few moving parts that keep it feeling energetic, such as the Blood and Sand aura. Using Leap Slam we can move through the map quickly, using Lacerate to quickly rip packs apart.
The Gladiator Ascendancy keystones play perfectly into the strengths of this build; Arena Challenger grants the unique Challenger Chargers, which increase Movement and Attack Speed by 20%, further empowering our clear. Gratuitous Violence causes enemies that are Bleeding to explode and deal 10% of their Maximum Life as Physical damage, functioning as a sort of Inpulsa's Broken Heart for free. We generate all types of charges and apply Maim Support for free. Overall, there is no better choice for this build than Gladiator.
In Sand stance, our Lacerate has a greatly increased angle of attack and effective area, which makes clearing feel super smooth and relaxed. In Blood stance, however, the cone of attack is more focused and empowers our damage and bleeds, allowing us to melt down bosses and enemies without much trouble.
Passive Skill Tree
For more in-depth information on the ordering of skills and details and tricks about the tree be sure to check out our Passive Skill Tree and Gem Links page.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for budget or “GG” gear, see recommendations about Jewels or Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page in its entirety.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Amulet||Rare Amulet or Talisman|
|Chest||Belly of the Beast OR Rare Astral Plate|
|Gloves||Rare Spiked Gloves|
|Boots||Rare Titan Greaves OR Kaom's Roots (Uber Elder)|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Rings||Rare Steel Rings|
|Weapon 1||Crafted/Multi-modded Siege Axe|
For much more detailed information on the best gear, jewels, and flasks to use, be sure to examine our Gear Page in its entirety.
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
Start out with Ground Slam, which you should use until Level 12, when Lacerate can be acquired. Lacerate is a fairly strong leveling skill, and is a perfectly fine choice to use all throughout the leveling process and into Maps. Your links for leveling should be:
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Multistrike Support
- Pulverise Support
- Brutality Support
- Onslaught Support
Work in Fortify Support in place of Onslaught Support once you reach the second half of the game and have acquired a Silver Flask. Early on, linking Lacerate to whatever gems are available is fine until you reach the latter acts when Brutality Support and Multistrike Support become available. Be sure to grab Blood and Sand immediately at the start of the game, Flesh and Stone in Act II, and Pride at the start of Act III.
Rampart can be taken if and when Fortify Support is being utilized.
We recommend leveling as with a little more emphasis on the early Axe nodes, which you can respec out of later on in favor of more bleed damage, defense, and utility.
What Annointment Should I Use on my Amulet?
- Dirty Techniques is our current recommendation and is fortunately very cheap as well.
Check out the rest of the guide for more information: