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Spectral Shield Throw Pure Physical Gladiator - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Spectral Shield Throw Pure Physical Gladiator - Odealo's Crafty Guide

A powerful Bleed-based Build based on Spectral Shield Throw which fires chaining projectiles

Spectral Shield Throw
Bleed Gladiator

Updated for Patch 3.12

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Guide notes
November 30, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.12
Major changes:
-Reworked entirely to be a Bleed/DoT build


Spectral Shield Throw is a very unique Attack which fires a spectral copy of your equipped shield that deals higher base damage based on your Shield's Armour and Evasion Attributes and has increased Critical Strike Chance based on Energy Shield. By equipping a shield with a high Armour Rating (preferably 2,500+), you end up with an Attack that has very high base damage, making it great for applying potent Bleed DoTs and allowing you to focus on getting Physical Damage over Time Multiplier and defensive attributes on your other equipment. This build can be easily played as a Starter build, which will offer amazing clear speed on low and Mid Tier Maps basically with 0 equipment, and as a Gladiator, you should be able to tank most of the content thanks to high Life, Armour, and Block Chance. You also benefit from a very powerful Spectral Shield Throw's Threshold Jewel, which greatly increases your clear speed by adding the extra Chain.

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1. Gameplay

Spectral Shield Throw is a ranged projectile Attack skill, so this is somewhat similar to Bow builds, though you shouldn't be afraid to get hit at all thanks to your high Block Chance and other defensive stats. Spectral Shield Throw will fire projectiles that will shatter on impact releasing additional smaller projectiles. Thanks to extra Chain, you will see tons of projectiles flying around your screen and applying very powerful Bleed DoTs. This build utilizes the Crimson Dance Passive, which allows you to apply up to 8 Stacks of Bleeding on a single enemy but with 50% Reduced damage. Overall, this can potentially quadruple your Damage over Time from bleeding if you can apply all 8 Stacks quickly. Thanks to the use of Gratuitous Violence, you will also cause enemies to explode dealing tons of Physical Damage in an area around them, greatly increasing your clear speed and overall enjoyment from playing this build. All you need to play this build is a high Armour Shield, Divide and Conquer Jewel, and extra Physical DoT multipliers on random rare gear. 

0:08 Tier 16 Underground River
0:30 Tier 16 Volcano
1:02 Tier 16 Pit of the Chimera
1:45 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
2:19 Tier 16 Sulphur Vents

This is the gameplay video from Patch 3.12 recorded on a level 93 Gladiator 5,500 Maximum Life and approximately 1.0kk Shaper DPS with Spectral Shield Throw (that does not include Shards that potentially chain back to your primary target)

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • good damage scaling based on your shield's attributes
  • amazing defenses from very high Life, Armour, and Block
  • good clear speed with tons of chaining projectiles that apply potent DoT and cause bloody explosions
  • budget-friendly and viable as a Starter build
  • very easy to Cap Resistances
  • vulnerable to Physical Reflect mods maps
  • mediocre single-target/Boss DPS


3. Leveling tips

Leveling up an SST character should be a breeze. All you really need is, is Armour on your shield and Divide and Conquer Jewel. Not many players are using Spectral Shield Throw, so getting the Jewel even on a newly started League shouldn't be an issue. Initially, you want some extra Added Physical Damage to Attacks as well, as the base Armour on your shield won't be as high as Crated end-game one, but there are plenty of cheap Items that will get the work done. Below you will find the basic setups for the leveling phase and several useful Unique Items that will help you rush through the campaign. It's also worth noting, that getting Gratuitous Violence should be your priority, as it greatly increases your clear speed. Even getting someone to rush you through the second Lab if you find it too difficult may pay up really quickly. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Spectral Shield setup
Spectral Shield Throw Spectral Shield Throw - one of the first available skills you will get from a quest reward after killing Hillock. It will do great until you get the Sunder skill Gem
Chance to Bleed Chance to Bleed Support - adds flat Physical Damage and grants increased chance to apply Bleeding
Vicious Projectiles Vicious Projectiles Support - greatly increases Physical Projectile Damage and Physical DoT applies by Spectral Shield Throw
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments - one of the core Support Gems used in this build which is accessible from level 8 so you should be easily able to equip it right after you start using SST at level 12
Reckoning setup
Reckoning Reckoning - deals extra damage and grants Life gained on Hit. As a Gladiator it will be triggered often enough to make it viable even on lower levels
Culling Strike Support Culling Strike Support - will have Reckoning instantly kill enemies below 10% making it a great way to finish off Bosses
Life Gained on Hit Life Gained on Hit Support
Utility Gems
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Protector - this Totem skill increases your Attack Speed
Vulnerability Vulnerability - recommended Curse for leveling if you need extra damage against Bosses
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - increases your Physical Damage
Dash Dash - the recommended Skill for increasing your Mobility. You can also use Leap Slam instead, which eventually both be used during late game


We recommend killing all Bandits for the 2 additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

30 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Art of the Gladiator 2) Master of the Arena 3) Defiance 4) Blood Letting 5) Golem's Blood

63 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Dirty Techniques 2) Testudo 3) Bloodless 4) Red Storm 5) Aggressive Bastion

Recommended leveling items:

BlackheartBlackheart - great DPS Ring for Physical/Attack builds. You can use two of these
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
Belt of the DeceiverBelt of the Deceiver - extremely powerful Belt that grants extra Life, Resistances, and Intimidates nearby enemies, increasing the damage you deal to them
(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
AurumvoraxAurumvorax - one of the best leveling Swords for this build. It grants a massive Physical Damage bonus which scales all the base added damage from SST itself. Also, covers up all your Resistances needs for the leveling phase
+25% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier(120-150)% increased Physical Damage
20% reduced Rarity of Items found
+(40-60)% to all Elemental Resistances
+3 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
Titucius' SpanTitucius' Span - amazing leveling Shield which has a very high base Armour for its level and greatly reduces projectile damage you take
+(10-20) to maximum Life
(60-80)% increased Armour
+(30-50) to maximum Life
-(80-50) Physical Damage taken from Projectile Attacks
200% increased Armour against Projectiles
+25% Chance to Block Projectile Attack Damage

LycosidaeLycosidae - another great Shield which has decent base Armour and solves all your Accuracy issues on lower levels. It may cost a bit though, so in many cases, you may be better off with a random high Armour Rare

+(10-20) to maximum Life
+(120-160) to Armour
+(30-40) to maximum Life
Your hits can't be Evaded
+(3-5)% Chance to Block
Adds 250 to 300 Cold Damage to Counterattacks


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building link

Ascendancy Points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Blood in the Eyes
  2. Gratuitous Violence
  3. Painforged
  4. Versatile Combatant


Major God: there are 2 Pantheon God's choices depending on if you are farming Maps or want to challenge one of the end-game Bosses


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%


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] Spectral Shield Throw
Spectral Shield Throw Spectral Shield Throw - your main DPS skill. It is a projectile-based Attack that throws a spectral copy of your shield. The skill's damage is based on your shield's defenses: Armour and Evasion Rating combined. The shield explodes on the first enemy hit and shatters into smaller projectiles that hit nearby enemies. By using Divide and Conquer, SST's projectiles will chain 4 additional times offering insane clear speed and applying multiple DoTs
Brutality Support Brutality Support - greatly increases the supported skills' Physical Damage, but as a downside, makes it deal no Chaos and Elemental Damage
Physical Projectile Attack Damage Support Vicious Projectiles Support - makes Spectral Shield Throw deal more Physical Damage and Physical DoT
Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support - grants high Ailment damage bonuses
Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support - increases the damage your SST deal with Ailments
Swift Affliction Swift Affliction Support - grants high bonus DoT damage
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Malevolence Malevolence - grants high DoT Multiplier making it the best Aura for this build. It also opens up interesting options for a Watcher's Eye Jewel that you can use
War Banner War Banner - increases Physical Damage taken by nearby enemies
Pride Pride - increases Physical Damage taken by nearby enemies. In most cases, you will be able to use a second 50% Aura if you get Charisma or Sovereignty Amulet Anointment. Otherwise, you can replace it with Herald of Purity for example
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by supported Auras
[UTILITY] Leap Slam
Leap Slam Leap Slam - one of the two movement skills used in this build. Leap Slam is a bit slower but will grant you the Fortify buff which is important vs. Bosses and on higher Tier Maps
Fortify Support Fortify Support - grants good defensive buff on melee hits with your Leap Slam
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - link this Gem to Leap Slam for faster movement
[UTILITY] Blood Rage and Molten Shell
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken Support - triggers your Molten Shell after you take a certain amount of damage. Keep this Gem at level 10 for more frequent casts
Molten Shell Molten Shell - grants a protective shield that absorbs some of the incoming damage and increases your Armour Rating. Keep this Gem at level 15 
Blood Rage Blood Rage - this skill will increase your Attack Speed and Life Leech and grant Frenzy charges on kills, but will drain your Life every second. You should use it at a maximum level so that it's not triggered when you don't want it to be
[UTILITY] Totem/Reckoning
Reckoning Reckoning - a counter-attack which will be triggered whenever you Block
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - grants increased Attack Speed
Culling Strike Culling Strike Support - this Gem can be linked to your Totem and Reckoning and will make them finish off low-life enemies instantly
Life Gain on Hit Life Gain on Hit Support - will grant some extra Life Recovery whenever you block
[UTILITY] Dash/Enduring Cry
Dash Dash - your main mobility skill
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - a Warcry which generates Endurance Charges, grants extra Physical damage mitigation, and instant Life Recovery
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - grants extra charges to linked spells and reduces their cooldown time
Blood Magic Blood Magic Support - makes linked Spells cost Life instead of Mana

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended gear for our Spectral Shield Throw Crimson Dance/Bleed Gladiator. All specific stat requirements are included. This section has been thoroughly reworked for Patch 3.12 and you should be able to easily deal with most of the in-game content if you follow it up. The Items were picked up to stay in a reasonable budget of around 25 Exalted Orbs, allowing most casual players to obtain it. Obviously, there is plenty of space for improvements here.

We are also giving you the opportunity to get PoE Orbs necessary to purchase all the listed gear. You can head over to our Path of Exile marketplace and find cheap PoE Currency there. Link to the marketplace can be found on top of this page.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully
  3. Save you at least a couple of hours since it's already planned out for you


Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
  4. Added Physical Damage to Attacks
  5. Armour Rating
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - is the best in slot item for this build. It offers high defensive utility and can increase your damage as well
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Nearby enemies take #% increased Physical Damage
High Armour
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - aim for the highest possible Life and possibly reduce the Mana Cost of socketed Attacks on it. You can take an Evasion base to easily match the required Socket colors and convert Evasion into Armour via Iron Reflexes
Min. requirements:
110 maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Maximum Life%
Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost
Elemental Resistances
Aurumvorax(Weapon) Aurumvorax - a great and budget-friendly option, which will however require you to remove one of the Auras or at least the War Banner
+25% to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
(120-150)% increased Physical Damage
20% reduced Rarity of Items found
+(40-60)% to all Elemental Resistances
+3 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
Ichimonji(Weapon) Ichimonji - our top recommendation for the Weapon slot. It reduces the Mana Reserved by your Auras and the effect of buffs on you. It also has some insane base Attack Speed
40% increased Global Accuracy Rating
(80-95)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (5-10) to (13-20) Physical Damage
(20-25)% increased Attack Speed
10% increased Effect of Buffs on you
5% reduced Mana Reserved
Allies' Aura Buffs do not affect you
Your Aura Buffs do not affect allies
Recommended Weapon corruption:
Resolute Technique - which saves you two Passives, and doesn't cost much for the listed recommendations
Rare Shield(Off-hand) Rare Shield - the only viable option for the Off-hand slot. It should have over 2,500 Armour Rating, whereas approximately 3,000 is the maximum it can have
Min. requirements:
2500 Armour Rating
Optional affixes:
Maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
Lioneye's Remorse(Shield) Lioneye's Remorse - the best Shield out of the Unique Shields available in the game, however, it grants a very low base damage bonus compared to Crafted Rares
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(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 - the best in slot item. Just aim for high Life, Movement Speed, and faster Bleeding DoT. You should also have empty affixes for some Resistances or Attributes
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
25% Movement Speed
Bleeding you inflict deals damage 5% faster
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Stygian Vise - Rare piece here is the BiS for this build
Min. requirements:
100 Maximum Life
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Maximum Life%
Armour Rating
Increased Damage/Global Physical Damage
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - it's very important to get Physical DoT Multiplier here, as it's one of the few items that can have it in this build
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
16% Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Dexterity, Intelligence
Reduced Mana Reserved
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Steel RingSteel Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - preferably Steel Rings with high flat added Physical Damage or Two-Stone Rings which will help you Cap Resistances while on a budget. One of your Rings should be used to apply Vulnerability Curse and also one should add approx. 40 Intelligence
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
40 Intelligence
Curse Enemies with Vulnerability on Hit, with 20% increased Effect
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - pick defensive stats and possibly Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - you are looking to use a Large Cluster Jewel as the Medium Jewels that can be allocated in it, provide the easiest Physical DoT Multiplier for you. On the Large one just try to look for Mana Leech and possibly additional Attack/Ailment bonus with Attacks
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fuel the Fight
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Prodigious Defence
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - you should use two of these with as much DoT multiplier as possible. There are plenty of Passives that will work for you, below you have the most common ones listed
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Exposure Therapy
1 Added Passive Skill is Wasting Affliction
1 Added Passive Skill is Vivid Hues
1 Added Passive Skill is Wound Aggravation
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Small Cluster Jewel - using Small Jewels is optional, but ones with the Fettle Passive grant quite a strong Life bonus
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fettle
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - one of the best DPS-wise Jewels for this build which can increase your DoT Multiplier while you are using Malevolence and/or make Bleeding damage to be applied faster
(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
Divide and Conquer(Jewel) Divine and Conquer - a mandatory Threshold Jewel for Spectral Shield Throw which adds extra Chain
(10-15)% increased Attack Damage while holding a Shield
With 40 total Dexterity and Strength in Radius, Spectral Shield Throw Chains +4 times
With 40 total Dexterity and Strength in Radius, Spectral Shield Throw fires Shard Projectiles when Chaining
With 40 total Dexterity and Strength in Radius, Spectral Shield Throw fires 75% less Shard Projectiles
Thread of Hope(Jewel) Thread of Hope  - getting Thread of Hope with a Medium Ring modifier is recommended. It allows you to pick up Razor's Edge and Cleaving Passives without having to connect them to your Tree - and actually, all the Passives that lead to it are useless in this build, so that's the only reasonable way to get those two
Only affects Passives in <size> Ring
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
-(20-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
Allocates Passives:
Razor's Edge
Escalation (optionally)
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Damage over Time
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Abyss Jewels - you should use one Abyss Jewel with the chance to grant you Onslaught
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on kill
Optional affixes:
Increased Damage if you've killed recently
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Rumi's Concoction(Flask) Rumi's Concoction - great defensive flask which helps you cap your chance to Block Spells and Attacks
+3000 to Armour
(14-20)% Chance to Block during Flask effect
(6-10)% Chance to Block Spells during Flask effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Experimenter's Basalt Flask of Iron Skin (Physical Damage mitigation)
  3. Experimenter's Sulphur Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  4. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Rumi's ConcoctionDivine Life FlaskBasalt FlaskSulphur FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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