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Lacerate "Budget-Slicer" Gladiator Starter build

Lacerate "Budget-Slicer" Gladiator Starter build

Very cheap Melee build based on The Bringer of Rain unique helmet which will allow you to easily get into mid-tier mapping on new Leagues

Lacerate "Budget-Slicer"
Bleed Gladiator build

Updated for Patch 3.13

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Guide notes
March 21, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.10
April 4, 2020
-Updated gameplay video
January 25, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.13


Gladiator is a typical sword & board type of character which offers very solid defenses regardless of your equipment. Thanks to Passive skills that increase your Block Chance, Gladiator is a perfect character to level up in new Leagues and/or play in the SSF mode. This build has very solid DPS and defenses, and with Melee changes introduced in Patch 3.7, it's a fully end-game viable build.

We have decided to build this Gladiator on The Bringer of Rain, in order to drastically cut costs. A fully geared character that can clear Maps up to Tier 15 with ease will cost just a few Exalted Orbs, making it one of the cheapest builds for low and mid-tier farming. The Bringer of Rain is a unique Helmet that offers a 7-link setup for just a few Chaos Orbs but makes you unable to use Body Armour. With it missing, you lose a bunch of valuable defensive stats that are compensated by Gladiator's high chance to Block and Armour Rating.

You can check our other Path of Exile builds right here


1. Gameplay

Lacerate Gladiator is a typical Melee character. It utilizes a one-handed Axe and Shield to slices through enemies. Lacerate attacks twice with your main-hand weapon creating two waves of force. Enemies right in front of you can be hit by both waves simultaneously, receiving full damage. Lacerate also deals more damage against bleeding targets. This build uses the Resolute Technique Passive, which saves you a lot of effort (and money) to reach enough Accuracy Rating on your gear to efficiently kill your enemies. While it is an insane damage buff up to mid-tier Maps, it limits your maximum possible DPS by making you unable to Critically Strike.

0:08 Tier 12 Conservatory
0:33 Tier 13 Underground River
1:02 Tier 14 Dunes
1:37 Tier 14 Ivory Temple
2:02 Tier 14 Vaal Pyramid
2:21 Tier 15 Volcano

Video recorded on a level 932 Gladiator on Standard mode using Bringer of Rain and Soul Taker. The entire gear cost approximately 2 Exalted Orbs which resulted in approx 300k fully buffed DPS without Impale. This video was recorded pre 3.13 but the gameplay hasn't changed much since

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • good sustained damage
  • capped chance to Block Spells and Attacks making up for amazing defenses
  • good as a League starter build
  • presumably one of the builds you want to look forward to in Patch 3.10
  • budget-friendly with no expensive item requirements
  • moderate AoE
  • at the current state, it has very limited end-game Bossing capabilities


3. Leveling tips

Leveling with Gladiator is a very easy task. You should have enough defenses just from following the recommended Passive Skill Trees and upgrading your gear with self-found stuff once in a while. Your main priority should be increasing your DPS output by upgrading the weapon (aim for one-handed Axes with the highest base Physical DPS) and getting equipment with flat Added Physical Damage to Attacks, and increases to Attack Speed. Below you will find several useful unique items that will greatly boost you during the leveling phase. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Lacerate setup
Lacerate Lacerate - primary Attack used in this build. It is recommended to upgrade it at the same time you level up your character
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - primary Support Gem for any Melee/Physical build
Multistrike Multistrike Support - makes you attack two more times with a greatly increased Attack Speed and slightly reduced damage
Maim Support Maim Support - Maims enemies, which increases the Physical Damage they take and slows them down
Shield Charge setup
Shield Charge Shield Charge - your primary mobility skill
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - increases your movement speed with Shield Charge
Utility gems
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - allows you to create a Totem that increases your Melee Damage
Vulnerability Vulnerability - the recommended Curse for this build
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - grants increased Attack and Cast Speed
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants added Fire Damage to your Attacks based on your Physical DPS. It also causes AoE explosions for extra clear speed


We recommend killing all the bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Art of the Gladiator 2) Defiance 3) Vaal Pact and Leech nodes 4) Harvester of Foes

60 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Splitting Strikes 2) Slaughter 3) Cleaving 4) Barbarism

Recommended leveling items:

BlackheartBlackheart - one of the best leveling Rings for melee classes
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
5% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to 3 Chaos Damage to Attacks
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(2-4) Life Regenerated per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
Meginord's GirdleMeginord's Girdle - an extremely powerful Belt, which equipped on level 8 will serve you for many many levels. You can easily keep it until you reach low-level Maps
+(25-35) to Strength
Adds 5 to 15 Physical Damage to Attacks
+25 to Strength
10% increased maximum Life
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
25% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Crest of PerandusCrest of Perandus - the best low-level Shield which grants very high bonus Life
Chance to Block: 31%
Evasion: 51
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(5-7.5) Life Regenerated per second
+30% to Lightning Resistance
0.6% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
+5% Chance to Block

Screaming EagleScreaming Eagle - one of the first unique Axes that can be used in Path of Exile. It also increases your Movement Speed which is a perfect attribute for leveling faster

Socketed Gems are supported by Level 2 Chance to Flee
Adds (10-15) to (25-30) Physical Damage
+(10-15) to maximum Life
+(5-7) Life gained on Kill
10% increased Movement Speed

Relentless FuryRelentless Fury - has very high base Physical DPS and also grants Culling Strike, Onslaught, and Life Leech. Truly the best pick for its' level

(60-80)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (3-5) to (7-10) Physical Damage
2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
Culling Strike
You gain Onslaught for 3 seconds on Culling Strike
Cannot be Chilled while you have Onslaught
GoldrimGoldrim - the best leveling Helmet in the game. It grants very high All Elemental Resistances bonuses, which makes it very useful until the early mapping phase
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

115 Points Final Skill Tree
115 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Blood in the Eyes
  2. Gratuitous Violence
  3. Painforged
  4. Violent Retaliation


Major God:

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

Minor God:

Soul of Shakari 5% reduced chaos damage taken 25% reduced chaos damage over time taken while in a caustic cloud


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Lacerate
(in The Bringer of Rain)
Lacerate Lacerate - your primary DPS skill. It's a swift Melee/AoE attack 
Concentrated Effect Concentrated Effect Support - grants very high DPS bonus at the cost of reduced AoE
Impale Support Impale Support - grants increased Chance to Impale which offers insane Physical DPS Bonus
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support - every third hit with supported skill deals greatly increased damage
Support Gems granted by The Bringer of Rain:
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - grants increased Attack Speed with supported skills
Blind Support Blind Support - grants a chance to Blind enemies on Hit
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support - increases Melee Physical Damage of supported skills
[UTILITY] Reckoning/Ancestral Warchief
(in The Surrenderer)
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - summons a Totem which increases your Melee Damage
Melee Physical Damage Support Melee Physical Damage Support
Culling Strike Culling Strike Support - makes supported skills instantly kill enemies below 10% Life
Reckoning Reckoning - counter-attack skill which is granted by The Surrenderer shield. If you don't have it yet, just keep the other three Gems as listed above
Vulnerability Vulnerability - the recommended Curse for this build. If you manage to get the Impresence Amulet, you can use it as an Aura around you. Otherwise, link it to a low-level Cast when Damage Taken Gem or try to get it via Glove Corruption
Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support - makes supported Curses work as an Aura around your character. Use it only with Impresence Amulet
[MOBILITY] Leap Slam setup
Leap Slam Leap Slam - recommended Movement skill used in this build. You can also use Shield Charge which is faster, but won't allow you to jump over cliffs and other obstacles
Fortify Support Fortify Support - melee hits with Leap Slam will grant the Fortify buff
Precision Precision - grants very high bonus Accuracy Rating and Critical Strike Chance
Blood and Stance Blood and Stance - allows you to change Stances, whereas Blood Stance grants more damage(used versus Bosses) and Sand Stance, which increases AoE (resulting in better clear speed)
Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone - grants additional bonuses based on your active Stance
[UTILITY] Dread Banner
Dread Banner Dread Banner - increases your chance to Impale and the effect of Impale, increasing your overall DPS
[UTILITY] Various utility Gems
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support  - auto-casts all the supported spells whenever you take a certain amount of damage. Keep this Gem at level 10
Blood Rage Blood Rage - grants increased Attack Speed, Frenzy Charge generation, and Life Leech. Use level 13 of the Blood Rage Gem
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - grants increases Attack and Cast Speed. Do not upgrade this Gem above level 12

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended items for this build. Keep in mind that this build is very straightforward and ALL the items listed below can be replaced with random Rares. If you decide not to use The Bringer of Rain just use a Body Armour that increases your Life and Elemental Resistance like Belly of the Beast(highest bonus Life), Carcass Jack(extra DPS), Daresso's Defiance(Onslaught buff), or similar. 

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Physical Damage
  4. Attack Speed
Bringer of Rain(Helmet) The Bringer of Rain - a build-defining item that grants cheap seven-links for our primary DPS setup
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 18 Melee Physical Damage
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 18 Faster Attacks
Socketed Gems are supported by Level 18 Blind
6% Chance to Block Attack Damage
Adds 20 to 30 Physical Damage to Attacks
(200-300)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(200-220) to maximum Life
20% chance to gain an Endurance Charge when you Block
Can't use Chest armour
Extra gore
Helmet enchantment:
Lacerate deals (14-18) to (20-25) added Physical Damage against Bleeding Enemies
40% increased Lacerate Damage
Jack, the Axe(Weapon) Jack, the Axe - a decent pick for the weapon slot. Grants increased Life Leech
(90-110)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (11-14) to (18-23) Physical Damage
(10-15)% increased Attack Speed
2% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Life
50% reduced Life Leeched per second
25% chance to cause Bleeding on Hit
Soul Taker(Weapon) Soul Taker - a very good choice with high base Attack Speed and very decent DPS. You shouldn't have any problems with your Mana Management, but it will surely be useful on no-Leech Maps
(100-140)% increased Physical Damage
Adds 10 to 20 Physical Damage
(20-25)% increased Attack Speed
+(20-25)% to Cold Resistance
Insufficient Mana doesn't prevent your Melee Attacks
Your Physical Damage can Chill
Rare Axe(Weapon) Rare Axe - can be potentially the best in the slot with high base Physical DPS, however, it will be also the most expensive option
Min. requirements:
380 Physical DPS
1.6 Attack Speed
Optional affixes:
Increased Damage with Bleeding
Added Elemental Damage to Attacks
The Surrenderer(Shield) The Surrender - one of the best Shields for this build. It grants very high defensive utility and the Reckoning skill for some extra DPS
Chance to Block: 30%
Armour: (1305 to 1513)
Grants Level 30 Reckoning Skill
(130-170)% increased Armour
+(65-80) to maximum Life
Recover 250 Life when you Block
+6% Chance to Block
+1500 Armour if you've Blocked Recently
Lioneye's Remorse(Shield) Lioneye’s Remorse - solid and budget-friendly option. It grants very high bonus Life but no Elemental Resistances and no offensive utility
Chance to Block: 30%
Armour: (1494 to 1727) 
(200-250)% increased Armour
20% increased Stun and Block Recovery
+(160-180) to maximum Life
5% reduced Movement Speed
-25 Physical Damage taken from Projectile Attacks
+5% Chance to Block
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - just aim for high defensive stats and preferably use a Strength base for extra Armour Rating
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
25% Movement Speed
40% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
High Armour Rating
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Belt of the Deceiver(Belt) Belt of the Deceiver - solid and inexpensive option. It can be also used during the leveling process
(25-35) to Strength
(15-25)% increased Physical Damage
You take 30% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
+(30-40) to maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
Nearby Enemies are Intimidated
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - using a rare amulet will require you to switch from Vulnerability Aura to a low-level Cast when Damage Taken Curse application
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
45 Intelligence
40 Dexterity
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical Damage to Attacks
Impresence(Amulet) Impresence (Physical) - one of the best options for this build. It also makes the gameplay much smoother with the free Curse/Aura
+(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
100% reduced Vulnerability Mana Reservation
Gain Maddening Presence for 10 seconds when you Kill a Rare or Unique Enemy
Recommended Anointments:
Master of Force
Revenge of the Haunted
Disciple of the Unyielding
Steel RingSteel Ring(Ring) Rare Rings
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Adds min. 9 Physical Damage to Attacks
Optional affixes:
Spiked Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - preferably Spiked Gloves for extra Melee Damage. Other than that, you aim for high defensive stats
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
Added min. 7 Physical Damage to Attacks
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
increased Melee Damage
Haemophilia(Gloves) Haemophilia - very good and inexpensive option for the Gloves slot. Haemophilia grants extra AoE by making slain enemies explode (similar to Gratuitous Violence Passive)
25% increased Damage over Time
+(20-30) to Strength
Attacks have 25% chance to cause Bleeding
(25-40)% increased Attack Damage against Bleeding Enemies
Bleeding Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 5% of
their Maximum Life as Physical Damage
25% reduced Bleeding Duration
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - these should provide extra Life and bonus damage
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Generic/Physical/Melee Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Attack Speed /Attack Speed while holding a Shield
increased Armour
Abyss Jewels(Jewels) Rare Abyss Jewels - Abyss Jewels should provide more DPS at the same price
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Added Physical Damage to Axe Attacks
Optional affixes:
increased Damage if you have killed recently
chance to gain Onslaught on kill for 4 seconds
Lion's Roar(Flask) Lion's Roar - grants very high bonus Damage and Armour making it one of the best utility Flasks for this build
+3000 to Armour
Adds Knockback to Melee Attacks during Flask effect
75% chance to cause Enemies to Flee on use
(20-25)% more Melee Physical Damage during effect
Knocks Back Enemies in an Area when you use a Flask
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - one of the best Flasks in Path of Exile which greatly increases your DPS and grants extra Life Leech
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Experimenter's Silver Flask of Warding (Curse immunity) 
  3. Ample Diamond Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
 Lion's RoarAtziri's PromiseDivine Life FlaskSilver FlaskDiamond Flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We will appreciate any feedback or comments that can help us improve our guides for you!

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