This build guide was written, and intended, for newer players. It is simplified as much as we could, to ensure a new player would have an easy time playing and putting the build together. There is a hard cap on how far this build will go. It will take you through your first two void stones, but it will not scale into any serious endgame. If you are a seasoned player looking for a league starter, be advised, this is not really intended for you and you will have to make adaptions if you want to take it past that point.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about Lacerate itself.
Lacerate is a skill that often flies under the radar in the Path of Exile community. Despite Cyclone garnering a lot of 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 partial 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.
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 no longer scales into the proper end-game giant that could deal with virtually any boss and clear with ease. The bleeds the build takes advantage of give 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 extremely cheap to put together.
That shouldn’t scare you off of giving Lacerate a try though, it is iconic for a reason. Due to limiting factors placed on both bleed as a mechanic and the gladiator ascendancy, it can no longer reach the heights of old. It does however remain a unique ability with a fun and refreshing playstyle that requires no spesific items to get going and to reach high.
However, there are a few key items warrant special mention here due to their interaction with the skill.
First and foremost the dirt cheap Jack, the Axe. This cheap unique is borderline unbeatable for bleeds, and should be the first few chaos orbs you spend.
Secondly we have Ryslatha's Coil. This is essentially mandatory for the min max of any bleed build and is quite popular. Do not expect this to be cheap, but it is well worth it.
+ Excellent clear speed and movement speed
+ Ideal league starter as it requires no bottleneck Uniques
+ Very straight forward gear progression
+ Long range melee skill grants more options in how you engage enemies and bosses
– 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
Path of Building data for this build can be found here: https://pobb.in/7akwwD9TJ7Z2
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. This is also to prevent our newest and greenest users from copying items from the guide too exactly and passing on great bargains due to overly restrictive trade filters.
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 using the Community Fork.
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.
Frenzy charges are not sustainable on bosses until you do a little bit of gear optimisation, but this does not hurt the build meaningfully early on.
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.
Early on it is highly suggested that you stay in blood stance most of the time as Lacerate has a whopping 90% more damage with bleeding while in blood stance. This will make your earlier stages much smoother. If your damage is fine, feel free to bounce into sand stance on trashmobs however.
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 more information, see recommendations about Jewels or Flasks, or get more information on the items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page in its entirety.
|We ideally want Int, elder phys taken mod and life. Resistance is welcome.
|Rare Turquoise Amulet
|This is one of our best slots to look for “Physical Damage over Time Multiplier”.
|Rare Astral Plate
|We need this to have Redeemer Influence. We need the “frenzy charge on hit mod” and we prefer a high armour roll.
|Rare Titan Gauntlets
|We just want attacks peed and life. If you can get resistance here, that is amazing. Roll with Eldritch later.
|Rare Titan Greaves
|Our boots are there for Movement Speed, Life and Resistance. Nothing else.
|Ryslatha's Coil OR Rare Stygian Vise
|Ryslatha is our BiS belt, stygian is a good budget choice but will require a jewel.
|Rare Two-Stone Ring
|We want resistances and Life here.
|Unique Mark of Submission
|This ring is to automate Vulnerability.
|The valiant Jack, the Axe
|Jack gives us amazing Dot multi modifiers. This is near irreplaceable.
|Rare Pinnacle Tower Shield
|We mostly want the recover life on block mod here. In addition, amour rolls, life rolls or resistance rolls are bonuses. Chance to block of 15% or higher is jackpot, but rarely happens along with everything else.
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 Perforate, 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:
- Chance to Bleed Support
- Multistrike Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Brutality Support
- Lifetap Support
Early on, linking Lacerate to whatever gems are available is fine until you reach the latter acts when Brutality Support and Multistrike Support becomes available. Once they do, they HAVE to enter your link setup. Be sure to grab Blood and Sand immediately at the start of the game, Determination and Pride at the start of Act III.
Due to the balance changes of rares, blue mobs and the loss of the attack speed bonus for dual wielding we no longer recommend levelling as dual wield. Sword and Board is the way, and the levelling trees will reflect this.
What Annointment Should I Use on my Amulet?
- Acrimony is our current recommendation and is fortunately very cheap as well.
Check out the rest of the guide for more information: