path of exile

Path of Exile: Vaal Double Strike Gladiator Build Review

A while back, I did another version of the Vaal Double Strike Gladiator build. I didn’t get very far with it as I ended up getting distracted and switching to another build before finishing it off during Incursion league. But there had been a nagging itch that needed to be scratched, especially in that I had a spare Bringer of Rain lying in my stash.

I ended up following a guide and using someone else’s build from in forming the basis for my build. It takes a few concepts from both and combines them. The principle pieces of gear involved are the Bringer of Rain, a Soul Taker, an Impresence and a Surrender shield with honorary mention going to Haemophilia.

So gearing, I pretty much utilized the basic advice from the build guide. However, when it came to the skill tree, I differed slightly in that the guide suggested using Blood Magic and didn’t seem to update for the 3.4 patch introduction of the Herald of Purity.  The build I referenced employed a Herald of Purity along with Hatred for a bit of extra damage and used Blasphemy + Vulnerability and Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support in conjunction with the Rampage from The Surrender.

For the most part, I see this build as a split between being tanky and having decent offense. Damage-wise, it’s excellent against single target, primarily due to the use of both Ancestral Warchief and the Vaal portion of Double Strike. Although I will say that even without these, Double Strike alone with the mix of Atziri’s Promise and Lion’s Roar pretty much can take down a boss fast.

Clear-speed is somewhat mediocre. Often times you’ll end up having straggler mobs because you can’t outrange them or your bleed explosions don’t cover enough of an area. But you more than make up for the lack of area by having tremendous movement speed because of shield charge and your high attack speed weapon.

For leveling, I tried Sunder which felt very painful. So I switched to Tectonic Slam around 30 just to get more area coverage early on. Unfortunately, Tectonic Slam just doesn’t have great single target, which made leveling akin to drilling a hole in your penis. Ironically, I died more early on than in later levels.

Around 50 or so, I decided to trash Tectonic Slam and just move straight into Vaal Double Strike. I had been leveling it since the beginning, which made the switch quite easy. The real issue was just having enough area coverage. Even with Melee Splash and Multistrike, you really can’t blow large enough sections of a group up. It isn’t until you get the Blood in the Eyes ascendancy where you start to notice your ability taking off.

And for the record, I started off with Painforged. Pretty much you use this with Rampage and a shield. I’m not sure if I made a mistake in going that route rather than Blood in the Eyes after the first lab.  I suppose part of the rationale in going this direction is for a more defensive initial setup for leveling. But it did make the 40-56 or so pretty slow.

I felt that the build didn’t start to take off until around level 64 when I was able to switch to Impresence, Soul Taker and Surrender.  I still was missing some potions and The Bringer of Rain, but much of the pain started to seep away as I finally started clearing larger pacts more efficiently.

Cost-wise, this build isn’t that bad. Soul Taker cost me ~15c, the Surrender was ~40c, Impresence ~15c and I had a Bringer of Rain lying around from a previous build. Of course, this is late into the league but I consider this a fuck around type of build.

Right now, the biggest challenge I would say is just finding decent upgrades for my gear to get more life. The build I saw online used a Kaom’s Roots as well. It’s not a bad idea considering that your movement speed is pretty good with Shield Charge. You do get a little dinged from using the Bringer of Rain but in many ways it does make gearing a bit easier in the early stages.

Overall, I think this build is pretty solid. It’s fairly action packed but unfortunately starts off slow. I don’t like how you end up coming back to the main skill so late in the game. Reave probably could’ve worked a bit better but I think it faces a similar issue in not becoming effectively until later in the leveling process. Also, this build isn’t really a true league starter. While it’s not a tough build, you still have to find a Vaal Double Strike among other things. I do think it will have some end game potential based on the damage I’ve seen. However, I need to invest more into life to get away from being sub 4k life at the moment.


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