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Cleave Gladiator Build

Cleave Gladiator Build

A simple Physical Cleave build for dual-wielding Gladiator

Gladiator Build

Updated for Patch 3.19

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Guide notes
November 5, 2022
-Build created
Build Overview



Boss DPS:



Cleave is one of the simplest Melee Attacks - available at level 1, it should be familiar to every player. If dual-wielding, the Attack is still performed once but the damage gets combined and reduced. It makes it good for this specific archetype - normally when attacking while wielding two weapons, it is performed in an altering fashion where you switch the weapon with each Attack, but here it's always 60% of the combined damage of both Swords or Axes. We're using two Paradoxica Swords with around 200 DPS (later doubled) each, but it is possible to get better weapons, one-handed Swords are generally known for their high potential DPS. We've settled on the Gladiator due to its Keystones that enhance the dual-wielding archetype, and other utilities. Outmatch and Outlast is the source of Endurance and Frenzy Charges on kill, more damage, and reduced physical damage taken most of the time. We also recommend the Arena Challenger for more Attack and Movement Speed. It's a non-crit Precise Technique build that deals only Physical Damage boosted with Impale.

There are many defensive layers this build can accommodate. We've pursued the Block Chance gimmick of Gladiator with its Painforged and Violent Retaliation Keystones. These not only grant high Block Chance but also provide much more Physical Damage via miscellaneous additions of Violent Retaliation. Versatile Combatant is an often-overlooked Keystone, but here it is a source of Spell Block Chance. You're able to reach a 50% Chance to Block both types of Damage, and that's on top of a very high Spell Suppression Chance and Armour - upgraded by Iron Reflexes, Endurance Charges, Determination, Fortify, and Defiance Banner. It's a very tanky build, able to withstand most of the Spell and Attack Hits. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to defend yourself against omnipresent Damage over Time, this type of damage can be eased with Flasks, Life Leech, and Pantheon choices.

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1. Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to that of every Melee Build, you're using Cleave to deal damage, and Ancestral Totems for more Damage and Attack Speed during tough encounters. Leap Slam or Dash can be used as a movement ability. For a Guard Spell use Molten Shell. For Life Leech and Attack Speed be sure to always have Blood Rage active. For Auras use Pride, Determination, Blood and Sand, and Defiance Banner. A Curse we recommend is Vulnerability. You're also able to generate Rage easily with Vengeance linked up with Rage Support.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • deals moderately high Physical Damage
  • can run the cast majority of the maps
  • requires no unique items
  • high Maximum Life, block chance, spell suppression chance, and a lot of Armour ensure great survivability
  • melee builds have relatively short range


3. Leveling tips

Cleave is not particularly the most popular option during the leveling, but surely it can be used as such. In order to level up your Gladiator quickly you can refer to our in-depth Leveling Guide for Duelists using Melee/Impale Skills and if you want to use Cleave, you should be easily able to adjust your setup using the information included there.  Just make sure to use the corresponding Weapons it requires, add a secondary DPS source in form of Ancestor Totems for example, and try to refrain from allocating Critical Damage Passives as they not only offer negligible bonuses early on but are not the recommended route in this particular setup.


you should kill all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

28 Points Skill Tree
As you're using Splitting Steel, we recommend pathing through Fury Bolts, later to get more Maximum Life, Onslaught, Phasing, and Life/Mana Leech. Take the Jewel Socket if you have the Lord of Steel Jewel.

60 Points Skill Tree
Get more Maximum Life nodes, head for Reservation Efficiency, Merciless Skewering for Impale, Point Blank Keystone for damage, and then allocate Lethality and Blade of Cunning for more Critical Strikes Chance.

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

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

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Arena Challenger
  2. Outmatch and Outlast
  3. Painforged
  4. Violent Retaliation


Major God: Soul of Lunaris: 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

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] Cleave setup
Cleave Cleave - Cleave deals Damage in front of your character using both of your weapons for a single strike.
Multistrike support Multistrike Support - You attack with more Attack Speed but less Attack Damage, the Attack repeats additional times.
Impale Impale Support - Increases the Chance to Impale and its effectiveness, a very important game mechanics.
Pulverise Pulverise Support - Use it for more Area Damage and Area of Effect. It lowers your Attack Speed but it's still worth implementing. It can be replaced with Close Combat Support Close Combat Support if you like to stay close to your enemies.
Brutality Brutality Support - Linked Skill deal much more Physical Damage, but is unable to deal Chaos or Elemental Damage.
Melee Physical Damage Melee Physical Damage Support - More Melee Physical Damage but lower Attack Speed.
[UTILITY] Molten Shell/Blood Rage setup
Molten Shell Molten Shell - A Guard Spell that mitigates a portion of incoming Hit Damage for some time, it scales up with your Armour. We recommend the Anomalous version, especially if your Armour is high.
Blood Rage Blood Rage - Grants Life Leech, Frenzy Charges on Kill, and increases Attack Speed. It drains your Life over time.
Enhance Support Enhance Support - Increases the Quality of linked Skills. It's an optional, luxury addition.
[UTILITY] Ancestral Totems setup
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - A Totem that grants you more Melee Damage.
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - A Totem that grants you more Attack Speed. You can use the Phantasmal version for an increased buff effect.
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - You're able to place three totems for both Ancestral bonuses.
Maim Support Maim Support - Totems Maim the opponent reducing his Movement Speed and making it more vulnerable to Physical Damage.
[UTILITY] Mana Reservation setup
Pride Pride - Pride makes nearby enemies take increased Physical Damage, this effect is doubled after four seconds.
Blood and Sand Blood and Sand - You can switch between having more Area of Effect and less Area Damage and vice versa, depending on the Stance.
Determination Determination - Adds more and increases your Armour.
Enlighten Enlighten Support - Linked Spells have increased mana Reservation Efficiency.
[UTILITY] Vengeance setup
Vengeance Vengeance - After getting Hit it has a 40% chance to deal damage to all nearby enemies, but can't be used manually.
Rage support Rage Support - Grants 1 Rage on Melee hit. Rage increases your Attack Speed, Movement Speed, and Attack Damage.
[MOBILITY] Leap Slam/Curse setup
Leap Slam Leap Slam - Leap Slam is a great movement tool to move faster and jump over obstacles. You can also use Dash Dash, but it doesn't Hit and won't be able to apply Curses via Hextouch.
Hextouch Support Hextouch Support - It applies Hex Curse on Hit, which is Vulnerability in this case.
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - Linked Curse and Movement Skills cost no Mana, but Life instead.
Vulnerability Vulnerability - Cursed enemy takes increased Physical Damage. If you're able to cause this Curse via Ring Affix, put the Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support here instead.
[UTILITY] Defiance Banner
Defiance Banner Defiance Banner - Increases Armor and Evasion, nearby enemies have reduced Critical Strike Chance.

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6. Gear Setup

It is a Precise Technique Build, meaning you won't deal Critical Strikes, and your Accuracy must always be higher than the Maximum Life for the damage bonus. Most of the Items, if not all of them, are of Rare Quality. It allows you to easily cap Elemental or even Chaos Resistances and gain extra Spell Suppression chance. Accuracy can be found mostly in Gloves and a Helmet. Added Physical Damage can be gained from Jewelry. There's not much more you can do to gain more damage from the regular gear pieces, most damage comes from Weapons. You can go for the Paradoxica Weapon or Rare Swords with high base Physical Damage. You won't need any Cluster Jewels, but after reaching level 90 or so it will be the best option to gain more Damage. Remember to get a 100% chance to Impale, and if you can't fit all your Auras, be sure that you've tried to increase the Spell Reservation Efficiency by allocating masteries and nodes on your Skill Tree first. We've decided to use Swords and not Axes. If you happen to find good Physical Axes you can use them, but it would alter the Skill Tree significantly.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances until capped
  3. Accuracy Rating to be higher than Maximum Life
  4. Attack Speed
  5. Added or increased Physical Damage
  6. Spell Suppression Chance
  7. Block Chance
  8. Chaos Resistance
  9. Armour
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - A regular Helmet can provide a lot of Maximum Life, Resistances, Accuracy Rating, and Spell Suppression Chance - these are the most valued modifiers to look for.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
+400 Accuracy Rating
Optional affixes:
increased Global Accuracy Rating
Nearby Enemies take 9% increased Physical Damage
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Chaos Resistance
Devoto's Devotion(Helmet) Devoto's Devotion - A very cheap Helmet that can get you a lot of useful offensive modifiers with Chaos Resistance, Movement Speed, Dexterity, Evasion, and Armour. It does not grant Life or Elemental Resistances.
+(50-65) to Dexterity
10% reduced Global Physical Damage
16% increased Attack Speed
(150-200)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(15-25)% to Chaos Resistance
20% increased Movement Speed
Mercury Footprints
Helmet enchantments:
Cleave enchantments
Sword(Weapon) Rare Swords - You can get a Rare Sword with a lot of Physical DPS, there seems to be no limit on how good a weapon you can craft. Look for increased or added Physical Damage, Attack Speed, and Accuracy Rating.
Min. requirements:
around 400 Physical DPS
Optional affixes:
increased and added Physical Damage
Attack Speed
Accuracy Rating
Paradoxica(Weapon) Paradoxica - Look for modifiers for increased Physical Damage, increased Attack Speed, increased Damage per Endurance/Frenzy Charge, chance to deal Double Damage, and Accuracy Rating. It's not very expensive but can still be comparable in damage to a good rare weapon.
+25% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Attacks with this Weapon deal Double Damage
Veiled Prefix
Veiled Suffix
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - The basic Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances are the most important, you can get a lot of them on a Body Armour. Extra Curse and Spell Suppression Chance are also very good.
Min. requirements:
+100 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
increased Maximum Life
You Can Apply Additional Curse
Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost
Enemies you Kill have a chance to Explode, dealing a tenth of their maximum Life as Physical Damage
Farrul's Fur(Body Armour) Farrul's Fur - It's one of the best Armours for Melee builds, it makes Aspect of the Cat reserve no Mana, provides you with constant Power and Frenzy Charges, a lot of Maximum Life, and Phasing. You can go for the Replica version too, it might be even slightly better for this build. Just be sure that you have the Aspect of the Cat Suffix somewhere.
(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
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Boots are very basic, just get the Movement Speed, Life, Resistances, and some extra modifier like the Freeze immunity or Onslaught on Kill.
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
Cannot be Frozen
chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Gloves can grant you Maximum Life, Resistances, Accuracy Rating, Attack Speed, and Damage. Spiked Gloves could be good here, these increase your Melee Damage.
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
+400 Accuracy Rating
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical Damage to Attacks
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
increased Melee Damage
increased Attack Speed
increased Damage while Leeching (crafted)
Ryslatha's Coil(Belt) Ryslatha's Coil - It is by far the best Belt, it gets you not only a lot of Damage but also Maximum Life, and that's all you need. Remember to look only for ones with good rolls.
(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
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - If you can't afford good Ryslatha's Coil yet, just get a Stygian Vise or Leather Belt with a lot of Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances.
Min. requirements:
+100 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
increased damage
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet  - Rare Amulet is the most common choice, it has a huge variety of modifiers, and a lot of them are very useful. Maximum Life, Resistances, Accuracy, and added Damage are frequent and easy to obtain. For the luxurious mods seek increased Mana Reservation Efficiency for Pride and reduced Mana Cost of Skills.
Min. requirements:
+60 Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical Damage to Attacks
Accuracy Rating
increased Melee Damage
Non-Channelling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost
Pride has #% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency
Uul-Netol's Vow(Amulet) Uul-Netol's Vow  - If you happen to get a copy of this Amulet with high rolls, or ones that won't hamper your Resistances, you can use it to accommodate one extra Support Gem, like Close Combat Support Close Combat.
Has 1 Socket
Socketed Support Gems can also Support Skills from your Body Armour
+(-30-30)% to Fire Resistance
+(-30-30)% to Cold Resistance
+(-30-30)% to Lightning Resistance
+(-23-23)% to Chaos Resistance
Impresence(Amulet) Impresence (Physical)  - Impresence can be good if you're using one Blasphemous Vulnerability Aura. Full Power version which drops from Uber Uber Elder can be used to cast one extra Curse for free in the same fashion. It has good stats but provides you with no Resistances. Maddening Presence slows down and reduced damage of the enemies nearby.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
Adds (12-16) to (20-25) Physical Damage
+(400-500) to Armour
+(50-70) to maximum Life
(30-40)% increased Stun and Block Recovery
Vulnerability has no Reservation if Cast as an Aura
Gain Maddening Presence for 10 seconds when you Kill a Rare or Unique Enemy
Recommended Anointments:
Merciless Skewering
Dark Arts
Weathered Hunter
Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - Use Rings for Life, Resistances, Accuracy, added Physical Damage, and Vulnerability on Hit if you prefer to have it cast automatically. Steel or Vermillion Ring would be the best here.
Min. requirements:
+60 to Maximum Life
+40% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical Damage to Attacks
Chaos Resistance
Accuracy Rating
Non-Channelling Skills have -# to Total Mana Cost
Curse Enemies with Vulnerability on Hit
Jewels(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Life, Resistances, Accuracy, or specific modifiers for added or increased Physical Damage can be found on Jewels.
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
Elemental Resistance
Chaos Resistance
Increased Physical / Sword / Dual-wielding Damage
Brutal Restraint(Jewel) Brutal Restraint - Brutal Restraint can be used for extra Dexterity and additional modifiers for Notables in Radius. Some of them can be very useful. For the same reason, you can use Lethal Pride instead.
Denoted service of (500-8000) dekhara in the akhara of Nasima
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Maraketh
Forbidden FlameForbidden Flesh(Jewel) Forbidden Flame & Forbidden Flesh - Nearly all Duelist's Keystones, especially that of a Slayer are great, and it'd take too much time to list them all here. We've used Fortitude for permanent Fortify.
Allocates <<Random Ascendancy Notable>> if you have the matching modifiers on Forbidden Flesh
Allocates <<Random Ascendancy Notable>> if you have the matching modifiers on Forbidden Flame
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Your Auras are Pride and Determination. "Impales you inflict last 2 additional Hits while using Pride" Is by far the best modifier.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - There are tons of Notables to get from a Large Cluster Jewel, you're looking for a 6-node one with a base increasing Sword Damage, Physical Damage, Attack Damage, or Attack Damage while dual-wielding.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Vicious Skewering
1 Added Passive Skill is Feed the Fury
1 Added Passive Skill is Fuel the Fight
1 Added Passive Skill is Smite the Weak
1 Added Passive Skill is Force Multiplier
1 Added Passive Skill is Devastator
1 Added Passive Skill is Combat Rhythm
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Momentum
1 Added Passive Skill is Master the Fundamentals
1 Added Passive Skill is Hit and Run
Lion's Roar(Flask) Lion's Roar - A Granite Flask you can use for more physical Damage and to knock enemies back on Hit.
+1500 to Armour
Adds Knockback to Melee Attacks during Flask effect
Knocks Back Enemies in an Area when you use a Flask
75% chance to cause Enemies to Flee on use
(7-10)% more Melee Physical Damage during effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Quicksilver Flask with random ailment removal
  2. Basalt Flask with increased Armour
  3. Silver Flask with increased Attack Speed
  4. Life Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
Silver FlaskBasalt FlaskLion's Roarquicksilver flasklife flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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