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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 3.16

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Guide notes
August 12, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.15
January 14, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.16


Spectral Shield Throw is a very unique Attack that 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. Compared to the state from 3.15, in 3.16 the build has received some significant nerfs - it now uses Resolute Technique, and the Versatile Combatant is reworked thus optional.

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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 the 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. 


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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
  • end-game Bosses require expensive Shield with tons of Armour


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:

36 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Art of the Gladiator 2) Master of the Arena 3) Golem's Blood 4) The "Shield" cluster 5) Crimson Dance

71 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Constitution 2) Born to Fight 3) Veteran Soldier 4) Bloodletting 5) Bloodless 6) Call to Arms

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 that has decent base Armour and solves all your Accuracy issues on lower levels. It may cost a bit tough, 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:

105 Points Final Skill Tree (does not include Cluster Jewels)
123 Points Path of Building link (POB)

Ascendancy Points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Blood in the Eyes
  2. Gratuitous Violence
  3. Painforged
  4. Reigning Veteran


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 setup
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. It also has a built-in chain that boosts this build's clear speed
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
Swift Affliction Swift Affliction Support - increased the Damage over Time from Bleeding you inflict
Cruelty Support Cruelty Support - increases your Damage and Damage over Time
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - makes Supported Attacks cost Life instead of Mana and grants a buff that increases your Damage after spending enough Life on the linked Skill
Gems from Lioneye's Glare:
Pierce Support Pierce Support - increases the Projectile Damage and causes shard projectiles to pierce enemies
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - grants more Physical DPS which is the best type of multiplier you can have for this build
War Banner War Banner - it gives you increased Physical Damage, and Adrenaline when Placed
Pride Pride - increases Physical Damage taken by nearby enemies. The effect is increased over time, so make sure to stay in close range to Bosses to benefit from it
Tempest Shield Tempest Shield - Immunity to Shock and extra Spell Block Chance 
[UTILITY] Leap Slam setup
Leap Slam Leap Slam - the recommended Movement skill for this build which allows you to progress faster through  Areas and avoid incoming damage
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - link this Gem to Leap Slam for faster movement
[UTILITY] Corrupting Fever setup
Corrupting Fever Corrupting Fever - a buff that causes your Attacks to deal additional DoT Physical Damage, it will be refreshed automatically as you spend Life on Skills
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - increased Damage over Time and Skill Effect Duration
Brutality Support Brutality Support
[UTILITY] Ancestor Totem setup
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - summons a Totem that increases your Attack Speed. In this setup, it will also Maim enemies and kill them instantly below 10% Life
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - allows you to summon two Totems with each cast up to a maximum of 3
Culling Strike Culling Strike Support - this Gem can be linked to your Totem and it will have it finish off low-life enemies instantly
Maim Support Maim Support - your Ancestral Protector Totems will slow down enemies on Hit
[UTILITY] various gems
Molten Shell Molten Shell - the best Guard Spell for this build which grants a protective shield based on your Armour Rating. Socket it under your left mouse button which will cause it to be triggered nearly automatically
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - a Warcry which generates Endurance Charges, grants extra Physical damage mitigation, and instant Life Recovery
Blood Rage Blood Rage - increases your Attack Speed and allows you to generate Frenzy Charges. It should be cast manually vs. Bosses or can be linked to a medium-tier Cast when Damage Taken Gem if you want it to be triggered automatically
Enhance Support Enhance Support - increased Gem Quality, meaning more Attack Speed and Duration for Enduring Cry and Molten Shiell
[UTILITY] Vulnerability
(from Ring affix)
Vulnerability Vulnerability - the best Curse for this build which increases Physical Damage taken by affected enemies. It's best to be applied by your Ring, and if not, you can either cast it manually or have it triggered by Cast when Damage Taken

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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 3.16 and you should be able to somehow 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. The 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
350 Accuracy Rating
Nearby enemies take #% increased Physical Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
High Armour Rating
Chaos Resistance
Astral Plate(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
Lioneye's Vision(Body Armour) Lioneye's Vision - the BiS Body Armour for this build that grants very high Life, Armour Rating, and an extra 7th link for your primary DPS 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
Aurumvorax(Weapon) Aurumvorax - a great and budget-friendly option that grants a lot of Elemental Resistances
+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 - another good weapon that increases the effectiveness of your Auras and makes it easier to use them all
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
Prismatic Eclipse(Weapon) Prismatic Eclipse - it's still one of the best options, it grants a lot of Attack Speed with all green sockets
40% increased Global Accuracy Rating
+8% Chance to Block Attack Damage while Dual Wielding
Adds (60-70) to (71-80) Physical Damage
25% increased Global Physical Damage with Weapons per Red Socket
12% increased Global Attack Speed per Green Socket
0.4% of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana per Blue Socket
+2 to Melee Strike Range per White Socket
Sword(Weapon) Rare Sword, Mace, or Axe - You can find a lot of Physical or DoT mods that suit this build perfectly, it's worth checking out the market for such weapons
Min. requirements:
90% increased Physical Damage over Time
20% increased Physical Damage
30% increased Damage with Bleeding
Optional affixes:
Attacks have a chance to cause Bleeding
increased Attack Speed
+20% to Physical Damage over Time Multiplier (crafted)
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 a Physical DoT Multiplier here, as it's one of the few items that can have it in this build
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Dexterity, Intelligence
Reduced Mana Reserved
Non-channelling Skills have -# Total Mana Cost
Recommended Anointments:
Command of Steel
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:
Attributes (Intelligence mainly)
Curse Enemies with Vulnerability on Hit, with 20% increased Effect
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - aim for the highest defensive stat here; Life and Resistances
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Physical Damage over Time Multiplier
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Accuracy Rating
Damage while Leeching
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - you are looking to use two Large Cluster Jewels with 2-3 Medium Cluster Jewels depending on your level. The best ones are the Shield/Attack damage ones
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fuel the Fight
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Feed the Fury
1 Added Passive Skill is Smite the Weak
1 Added Passive Skill is Veteran Defender
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - you should use two of these with the same exact set of Passives that include Eye to Eye and Repeater to boost your Projectile DPS
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Eye to Eye
1 Added Passive Skill is Repeater
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 is the one that increases the maximum number of Impale Stacks while you are affected by Pride
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Unnatural Instinct(Jewel) Unnatural Instinct - allows you to gain benefits from Passives right below Scion's starting point including Block Chance and Block Recovery. Depending on your Resistances, you can either get additional ones' or take the Projectile Damage bonus from it, if you have them capped
Allocated Small Passive Skills in Radius grant nothing
Grants all bonuses of Unallocated Small Passive Skills in Radius
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Projectile Damage/Attack Damage while holding a Shield
Optional affixes:
Attack Speed
Accuracy Rating
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Abyss Jewels - you are most likely going to use one Abyssal Jewel in your Stygian Vise belt
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Optional affixes:
Increased Damage if you've killed recently
Rumi's Concoction(Flask) Rumi's Concoction - great defensive flask which helps you cap your chance to Block Spells and Attacks
+1500 to Armour
(8-12)% Chance to Block during Flask effect
(4-6)% Chance to Block Spells during Flask effect
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
  2. Experimenter's Basalt Flask of Iron Skin (Physical Damage mitigation)
  3. Experimenter's Silver Flask of Adrenaline (Increased Mobility)
  4. Ample Quicksilver Flask with random ailment removal
Rumi's ConcoctionDivine Life FlaskBasalt FlaskSilver FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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