This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
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 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, 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.
The 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 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
+ Hardcore viable
+ Amazing survivability
+ Great clear speed
+ Can be played with no investment, great league-starter
- Has a bit less single target damage compared to other top tier builds
Offensively, use Shield Charge to move around. Briefly channelling with 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 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 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 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.
Here is the endgame passive skill tree which achieves solid balance between offence and defense. As always, you have the freedom to drop few damage nodes to pick up more Life or vise versa.
For more information, be sure to check out the passive skill tree page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
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.
Leveling the build from scratch is easy. Use skills like Frost Blades and Sunder until you get Blade Flurry, and move around with Shield Charge. The clear speed will pick up when you manage to do the Cruel Labyrinth. The build easily gets into maps.
Use this this build before transitioning into Critical Strikes.
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 allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Redbeak and 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.
Using 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.
At level 10, you are able to add Shield Charge, which will help with your mobility.
At level 12, you should replace your Frost Blades link with the following one.
At level 16, you should add Herald of Purity.
By level 18, your Sunder link should look something like this:
- Onslaught Support
- Added Fire Damage Support
- Maim Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Ruthless Support
At level 24, you should add Hatred.
Finally, at level 28, you can transition into Blade Flurry, your signature skill. We recommend the following link.
- Blade Flurry
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Infused Channelling Support
- Maim Support
- Faster Attacks Support
- Close Combat
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 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.
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.