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Bleeding Split Arrow/Puncture Gladiator Build

Bleeding Split Arrow/Puncture Gladiator Build

The Best and most popular Bleeding build in Path of Exile for Patch 3.16 based on the Gladiator Class

Split Arrow/Puncture
Gladiator build

Updated for Patch 3.19

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Guide notes
July 30, 2020
-Build created
March 31, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.17
September 13, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.19
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Split Arrow/Puncture is currently the best combination of Bleed Skills in Path of Exile. It offers very high single-target damage, but also an insane clear speed with entire screens of monsters falling down to Split Arrow's Piercing projectiles. This build doesn't use Crimson Dance, as by maximizing the speed at which your Bleeding damage is dealt, it's nearly impossible to get to the 8 Stacks of Bleeding DoT. This build offers great clear speed with Bleeding enemies exploding on kill for 10% of their Maximum Life, which causes them to die instantly all over your screen. Gladiator is the best Class for this build, as it offers very high Bleeding damage enhancements, but also very high Movement and Attack Speed bonuses, with an additional Damage Mitigation from Endurance Charges and the "Outmatch and Outlast" Keystone. The build uses Assailum Unique Helmet - it forces its socketed Bow Skill Gem to be channeled, and at maximum stages, it increases the Bleeding DoT by 720%, and Hit Damage by 990%. This is where the Puncture Setup will be located - the Skill that causes the most Bleeding Damage against bosses, killing them with a single shot.

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1. Gameplay

This is a Ranged build based on Bleeding Damage over Time. However, with how fast your Bleeding DoT is applied to enemies, it feels like you would do all the damage with your initial Hits, making it a very enjoyable build to play. Split Arrow, thanks to Pierce and high base Physical DPS can take down entire screens of enemies within seconds, and Puncture is used to apply a much more potent Bleed effect against Bosses. You are also going to use Ensnaring Arrow with Ballista Totem to slow down enemies and increase the Projectile damage they take. For the defenses, you are going to have a decent Life Pool, high Armour Rating from Items and Iron Reflexes Passive, and high damage reduction from Endurance Charges, Outmatch and Outlast, and Soul of Steel Passives. For mobility, you can use Dash, which is apparently a faster Movement Skill than Blink Arrow because of the limited Attack Speed with Bows in this build.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • fantastic clear speed with multiple piercing projectiles and exploding enemies
  • solid single-target DPS from Puncture which can take down any Boss in the game
  • easy to gear up
  • all content viable
  • solid defenses with high damage reduction bonuses
  • can't do Reflect Physical Damage Maps
  • mediocre Leech


3. Leveling tips

Leveling with Bows is quite easy and fast. This is a Bleed build where most damage comes from Bleed DoT Multiplier sources that are not accessible on lower levels, so initially, you will focus on increasing your base Physical DPS (by upgrading your Bow and getting Items with Added Physical Damage to Attacks). Bleeding itself will be just an addition to your DPS on lower levels. You should be using the same skills during leveling as later on, not only they are quite good for that purpose, but they will also help you master them while you are progressing through the campaign - the transition into Maps should be very smooth. Below you will find the basic Gem links for the leveling part, as well as, some very useful Unique Items that you can try to obtain to fasten the process.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Split Arrow setup
Split Arrow Split Arrow - one of the first Bow Attacks which shoots several Arrows by default, offering good clear speed and high added Base Physical Damage
Chance to Bleed Chance to Bleed Support - adds high bonus Physical Damage to Supported Attacks
Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support - increases the Physical Damage of your Projectiles and the Bleeding it inflicts at the cost fo your Attack Speed
Maim Support Maim Support - increases the damage of your Split Arrow and inflicts Maim on enemies, increasing the Physical Damage they take and slowing them down
Puncture setup
Puncture Puncture - this is the primary single-target Skill used in this build which deals greatly increased damage with Bleeding
Chance to Bleed Chance to Bleed Support
Physical Projectile Attack Damage Support Vicious Projectiles Support
Brutality Support Brutality Support - greatly increases Physical Damage dealt by Supported Skills
Utility Gems
Summon Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - you won't be using a Golem on higher levels, but during leveling the extra Accuracy can be really useful
Vulnerability Vulnerability - the best Curse for this build which increases your Physical and Bleeding Damage
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - adds extra Physical Damage to your Attacks
Dash Dash - the recommended Movement Skill which increases your mobility


We recommend killing all bandits for the additional 2 Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

37 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Bravery 2) Golem's Blood 3) Bloodletting 4) Graceful Assault 5) Heavy and Deadly Draw

72 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Resolute Technique 2) Barbarism 3) Savage Wounds 4) Veteran Soldier 5) Relentless

Recommended leveling items:

Blackheart Blackheart - one of the best physical DPS leveling Rings which grants very high bonus Damage on lower levels
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
Adds (10-15) to (20-25) Chaos Damage to Attacks
Regenerate (10-15) Life per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
Meginord's GirdleMeginord's Girdle - an excellent Belt that grants high DPS and Life bonuses
+(25-35) to Strength
+25 to Strength
Adds 10 to 20 Physical Damage to Attacks
10% increased maximum Life
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
25% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Karui WardKarui Ward - pretty much the best Amulet for leveling with Bows
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(20-30) to Strength
+100 to Accuracy Rating
30% increased Projectile Speed
10% increased Movement Speed
30% increased Projectile Damage
SilverbranchSilverbranch - a very powerful Bow that is available as early as level 1
+1 to Level of Socketed Bow Gems
(80-100)% increased Physical Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
+10 Mana gained on Kill
+30 to Accuracy Rating
DrillneckDrillneck - an amazing Quiver that will also work just fine in low and medium Tier Maps. It grants Pierce so it either saves you one Support Gem or allows you to play efficiently without the Lioneye's Vision Body Armour
Arrows Pierce an additional Target
(8-12)% increased Attack Speed
+350 to Evasion Rating
+(40-50) to maximum Life
(10-14) to (19-24) Added Physical Damage with Bow Attacks
Arrows deal 50% increased Damage with Hits and Ailments to Targets they Pierce


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

115 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Unique Jewels)
120 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

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


Major God: Soul of Solaris: 6% Physical Damage Reduction if there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50% less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul: 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Split Arrow setup
Split Arrow Split Arrow - One of the primary Skills used in this build. It fires several piercing projectiles that will obliterate most regular and Rare enemies on your screen.
Vicious Projectiles Vicious Projectiles Support - One of the most powerful Support Gems for this setup. It increases both the Initial Hit damage and also DoT caused by Split Arrow.
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - It's better to spend Life than Mana on a setup that overkills most of the enemies it's supposed to deal with anyway.
Maim Support Maim Support - Maimed enemies move slower, but Maim caused by this support gem makes them receive more Physical Damage.
Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support - Greatly increases Damage over Time you deal with linked Skills.
Chance to Bleed Chance To Bleed Support - Grants more Damage with Bleeding, if you already have over a 90% chance to cause Bleeding on Hit, use Chain Support Chain Support instead.
[DPS] Puncture
(socketed in Assailum)
Puncture Puncture - This skill offers the highest Bleeding Damage out of all skills that can be used with Bows. It's used solely for taking down Bosses so you will be fine with it firing just one projectile.
Physical Projectile Attack Damage Support Vicious Projectiles Support - You may have this Gem added from an Elder Bow affix, so if that's the case you can use Maim Support instead.
Brutality Support Brutality Support - Alternatively use Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support.
Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support - More Damage over Time, but less Hit Damage. One of the best Support Gems for DoT Skills.
this setup should be cast as Snipe provided by Assailum Unique Helmet
[UTILITY] Vulnerability Curse
(granted by Ring affix)
Vulnerability Vulnerability - Increases Physical Damage and DoT you deal to Cursed enemies making it the best Curse for this build.
Dash Dash - the recommended Mobility Skill. It gives you a quick way to avoid Attacks and Spells and progress through areas faster
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - increases the number of Dash's Charges and increases their cooldown recovery speed
Malevolence Malevolence - Increases your Damage over Time Multiplier, and also allows you to use powerful Watcher's Eye Jewel with either even more Multiplier or the increased speed at which Ailments deal their damage.
War Banner War Banner - Nearby enemies take increased Physical Damage while this Bnnaer is active.
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - this Herald Spell adds Physical Damage to your Attacks, increasing your DPS.
Determination Determination - Grants you an additional and increased Armour.
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - Reduces Mana Reservation cost of Supported Spells. Has to be level 2 or higher to have any effect.
[UTILITY] Enduring Cry
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - Generates Endurance Charges and grants high Life Regeneration which works in a similar way to an Instant Recovery Life Flask.
[UTILITY] Ensnaring Arrow
Ensnaring Arrow Ensnaring Arrow - A very useful Bow Attack that slows down enemies and increases Projectile Damage they take. This Skill has to be cast once in a while and it will be then triggered automatically by your Mirage Archer.
Ballista Totem Support Ballista Totem Support - Totem that shoots with the linked non-Melee Attack - Enstaring Arrow.
Greater Multiple Projectiles Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
[UTILITY]  Molten Shell
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - Auto-casts Supported Spells after you take a certain amount of damage.
Molten Shell Molten Shell - Grants increased Armour and a protective shield based on 20% of your Total Armour Rating.

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended gear for our Split Arrow/Puncture Gladiator Bleed Build. This build has one specific Unique Item required - the Assailum, however, it's important to stack as much Physical Damage over Time Multipliers as possible, which kind of enforces you to follow up a predetermined route when equipping your character. While this build will work just fine with easily accessible Rares, if you want to have enough DoT DPS to take down end-game Bosses, some investments will be necessary.

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The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your Elemental Resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully
  3. You will save at least a couple of hours since all the item requirements are listed

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Physical Damage over Time Multiplier, Bleeding Damage
  4. Added Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. Armour Rating
  6. Spell Suppression Chance
  7. Chaos Resistance
Assailum(Helmet) Assailum - Assailum makes your Linked Bow Skill a Channeling Attack that can gain up to 6 stages, each stage increases Damage with hits by 165% and Damage with Ailments by 120%, it's a perfect fit for the Puncture setup to use during Boss fights.
Grants Level 20 Snipe Skill
Socketed Non-Channelling Bow Skills are Triggered by Snipe
Socketed Triggered Bow Skills gain a 0.05 second Cooldown
Socketed Triggered Bow Skills deal 40% less Damage
+(350-500) to Accuracy Rating
+(350-500) to Evasion Rating
+(7-10)% chance to Suppress Spell Damage while Channelling
+(7-10)% chance to Suppress Spell Damage while Channelling
Helmet enchantments:
40% increased Puncture Damage
30% increased Vulnerability Curse Effect
Ensnaring Arrow has 30% increased Debuff Effect
The Crimson Storm(Weapon) The Crimson Storm - A budget option that should be much cheaper than a Crafted or Elder Rare alternative. It offers no DoT bonuses, except for high added Physical Damage against Bleeding enemies.
6% increased Movement Speed
(60-80)% increased Physical Damage
(25-35)% increased Critical Strike Chance
50% chance to inflict Bleeding on Critical Strike with Attacks
Enemies you inflict Bleeding on grant (60-100)% increased Flask Charges
Adds (100-120) to (150-165) Physical Damage against Bleeding Enemies
50% chance to Maim Enemies on Critical Strike with Attacks
Veiled Suffix
Bow(Weapon) Rare Bow - The BiS option in the Weapon slot. You are looking for either an Elder-influenced type with Bleeding modifiers. You can craft additional Physical Damage over time Multiplier Mod.
Min. requirements:
130% increased Physical Damage
30% increased Damage with Bleeding
Adds 20 to 50 Physical Damage
+20% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier (crafted)
Optional affixes:
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
+#% to Damage over Time Multiplier for Bleeding from Hits with this Weapon
Bleeding you inflict deals Damage (22–25)% faster
Rare Quiver(Quiver) Rare Quiver - Another BiS option as it can grant additional Physical Damage over Time Multiplier on top of some extra damage and defensive bonuses.
Min. requirements:
70 Maximum Life
20% Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
80% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Maloney's Mechanism(Quiver) Maloney's Mechanism - An alternative place to socket your Ensnaring Arrow or Frenzy that will be fired consistently, requires some decent Mana Regeneration.
Has 3 Sockets
Trigger a Socketed Bow Skill when you Attack with a Bow, with a 1 second Cooldown
(7-12)% increased Attack Speed
+(50-70) to maximum Life
5% chance to Blind Enemies on Hit with Attacks
Lioneye's Vision(Body Armour) Lioneye's Vision - Our top recommendation for the Body Armour slot. It grants high Life, high Armour, and the extra Pierce Support for your Split Arrow setup.
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 15 Pierce
(200-250)% increased Armour
+(60-100) to maximum Life
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
+160 Dexterity Requirement
Enemy Projectiles Pierce you
Farrul's Fur(Body Armour) Farrul's Fur - it's great if you have a source of Aspect of the Cat, it's a Suffix that can be beast-crafted. It's the best source of Frenzy and Power Charges during long Boss Fights.
(100-150)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(80-100) to maximum Life
Aspect of the Cat has no Reservation
+2 seconds to Cat's Stealth Duration
Gain up to your maximum number of Frenzy and Power Charges when you gain Cat's Stealth
You have Phasing while you have Cat's Stealth
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Get a pair with the highest maximum defensive stats and high Movement Speed.
Min. requirements:
50 maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
Bleeding you inflict deals Damage #% faster
Optional affixes:
Chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike
Elemental Resistances
Boot enchantments:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - Stygian Vise with appropriate stats will be your best choice.
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
25% Fire Resistance
25% Lightning Resistance
25% Cold Resistance
Optional affixes:
Maximum Life% (Hunter Belt)
Increased Damage (Crafting Bench)
Ryslatha's Coil(Belt) Ryslatha's Coil - Another great Belt that boosts your base Physical Damage dealt with Attacks, one that you should definitely get at some point.
(20-30)% increased Stun Duration on Enemies
+(20-40) to Strength
(30-40)% more Maximum Physical Attack Damage
(40-30)% less Minimum Physical Attack Damage
Adds 1 to (15-20) Physical Damage to Attacks
+(80-100) to maximum Life
Gain 50 Life when you Stun an Enemy
Citrine Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - Try to get some extra DPS here with extra Life and any missing Attributes.
Min. requirements:
50 maximum Life
40 Dexterity
15% Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Elemental Resistances
Recommended Anointments:
Growth and Decay
Dirty Techniques
Steel Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - Should Cap your Resistances, and possibly grant some additional DPS. You should also get one Ring with Vulnerability Curse on it.
Min. requirements:
50 maximum Life
Curse Enemies with level # Vulnerability on Hit
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Primarily focus on defensive Stats here. Apothecary's Gloves offers an advantage - increased DoT.
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
80% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Thread of Hope(Jewels) Thread of Hope - A Very Large Ring variant placed between Vigour and Savagery allows you to allocate Disciple of the Slaughter and Unyielding, and Heavy Draw.
Only affects Passives in Very Large Ring
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
-(20-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - The Jewel which increases your DPS significantly. You can either get one that makes Ailments deal damage faster or with DoT Multiplier.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended Aura modifiers:
+(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage (10-15)% faster while affected by Malevolence
Viridan Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - These should provide extra Life and Damage Bonuses.
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Damage with Bows/Damage over Time
Elemental Resistances
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Large Cluster Jewel  - With some tinkering, you can fit one of these in your build to increase your damage.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Battle-Hardened
1 Added Passive Skill is Force Multiplier
1 Added Passive Skill is Master the Fundamentals
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
  2. Sulphur Flask with random ailment removal
  3. Silver Flask with random ailment removal
  4. Basalt Flask with random ailment removal
  5. Quicksilver Flask with random ailment removal
Divine Life FlaskSulphur FlaskSilver FlaskBasalt FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.