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Path of Exile 3.13 build guide: Lacerate Gladiator

With melee builds getting much love again in Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas, there’s plenty of reasons to try out the Lacerate Gladiator.

path of exile comes to playstation 4 in december
Image: Grinding Gear Games

Melee characters in Path of Exile have been sidelined for a long time. It was only around Patch 3.9 that close-range combatants finally stood on equal footing with bow-toting and AOE-spamming classes. With the right POE Currency and POE items, they continue to shine in Echoes of the Atlas. A good example of that is the Lacerate Gladiator. 

Why Lacerate Gladiator? 

What makes this build a good choice is the fact that Lacerate can be just as good as Cyclone, a popular melee skill, with less gear. At the same time, Lacerate is not a true melee skill. While the build definitely is, Lacerate can be made to deal damage to enemies many yards away from you, and sometimes even those that can’t be seen on your screen. 

Synergistic with the bread-and-butter skill are the Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone skills. Sand stance gives Lacerate more range and a wider angle of attack at the cost of slightly less damage, while Blood Stance gives it the chance to maim and cause bleeding as well as deal more area damage in exchange for a smaller angle of attack, AOE, and range. 

This gives the build the versatility it needs, allowing the player to switch on the fly to whatever stance is needed at the moment. For clearing waves mobs, Sand stance is a no-brainer, while Blood stance is for bosses, strong and standalone enemies, and small groups of mobs. In fact, the latter is what gives the build a sense of uniqueness, and allows it to perform well in the endgame even without relying on critical strike. 

On top of Lacerate being a reliable skill, the build itself doesn’t rely on any POE Uniques, so it’s a good league starter since you won’t need to do a lot of PoE Trade early on. Plus, it has a rather flexible passive skill path. While there are important passive skills the build has to have, it doesn’t have a strict path those using it have to follow. As long as the build is functional in combat, then it’s good enough. 

Why Gladiator As Ascendancy 

Gladiator is the Ascendancy the build relies on because of the keystone passive Arena Challenger, which grants Challenger charges. That is a unique kind of charges, so there’s no other way to get them in the game. The passive skill requires you a Blood and Sand Stance skill gem. In Sand stance, you get Challenger charges for killing enemies, while you gain Challenger charges in Blood Stance by hitting a Rare or Unique enemy. This gives you another reason to keep switching stances. It can be seen as a hassle, but at the same time it can also be seen as something that gives the build a more active, hands-on gameplay. 

Another Gladiator passive that works for the build – or makes the build work – is Gratuitous Violence. It grants the Gladiator not only the chance to cause bleeding on hit, but also increases the damage dealt by the bleeding he causes, giving players the incentive to pick the skill up even if Blood and Sand can already cause bleeding by itself. 

What Other Skills 

With the mechanics of the build already laid down, let’s move on to its skill gems and links. First and foremost, would be its core skill, Lacerate. It has to have three awakened support gems: Multistrike, Brutality, and Melee Physical Damage. The last two would be Ruthless and Fortify support gems. 

While the build mostly relies on Lacerate, its secondary DPS skill, it also needs Leap Slam, as it’s also for the build’s mobility as well, allowing it to move in and out of combat. Have it with Faster Attacks and Blood Magic support gem. 

For utility, have Vaal Ancestral Warchief with Brutality, Bloodlust, and Melee Physical Damage support gems. Also, aside from Blood and Sand, the build also needs other auras such as Pride with Maim support, Flesh and Stone with level 3 or 4 Enlighten support. Blood Rage further increases your DPS as well.   

To reduce incoming damage, have your Cast Your Damage Taken setup be with Molten Shell, and include Increased Duration for good measure. Enduring Cry is another huge help, which taunts enemies but reduces incoming damage through Endurance charges. Lastly, it might not seem much, but Summon Stone Golem is a good way to further bolster defense and offense by a little. 

There’s no better time to take up the Lacerate Gladiator than now, while melee classes still have the limelight. Try it out for yourself – you’re going to love the feeling of being up close and personal.  

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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