About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
Bladestorm is a relatively recent addition to Path of Exile, first introduced in Patch 3.7.0 Legion League alongside the melee skill and Ascendancy rework. While on the surface it might not appear all that different from Cyclone, there are a few key distinctions that make this skill its own. This build has not changed significantly in setup or power level in Patch 3.9.0 Metamorph.
For starters, the interaction with the Blood and Sand and/or Flesh and Stone auras allow you to modify the way the skill works at a fundamental level. Similar to other skills, such as Lacerate, the Sand stance is more geared towards clear, while the Blood stance can offer far more impact on lone and formidable targets.
Berserker also got a lot of attention from GGG, and received quite the facelift. No longer a feckless choice of Ascendancy, the new Berserker is a brutal beast that tears apart bosses and maps with savage glee. Boasting a unique Rage mechanic and built-in scaling mechanics, our Bladestorm Berserker has the potential to be both a league-starter and a late-game leviathan.
+ Excellent single-target and bossing capability (up to 8M DPS in end-game gear)
+ Phenomenal league starter — functional on low levels of gear and links
+ Decent clear speed relative to average builds — not quite on par with top-tier skills such as Tornado Shot or Essence Drain
+ Viable choice for both Solo Self-Found leagues and Hardcore
+ Unique feel that combines new game mechanics introduced in 3.7.0 Legion — Bladestorm and Berserker are both entirely new introductions
+ Strong defenses — 203% Increased Maximum Life
– Certain map mods are not possible or difficult to deal with (Physical Reflect, No Leech)
– Slight ramp up time before maximum damage is achieved
– Button heavy and requires constant “stance-dancing” to maximize damage (also a potential positive if you like active builds!)
Playstyle and Build Mechanics
Bladestorm is skill with a 360 degree area of attack. Unlike a similar skill that comes to mind ( Cyclone), Bladestorm is not a movement skill, and therefore you cannot move while casting it. It is also not considered a Channelling skill, and is unaffected by gems such as Infused Channelling Support. One of the upsides of this skill, however, is that it has two separate incarnations based on whether or not you are in Sand or Blood stance.
Alternating between Sand and Blood Stance:
The playstyle of this build is fairly easy to get a handle of in theory, but it does have a fair amount of button engagement that will keep your fingers and your brain busy. We use both the Blood and Sand and Flesh and Stone auras, and you will one of them on your bar to allow you to switch stances freely.
Bladestorm is a two part attack, but you only really need to concern yourself with the main component, which is when your player spins in place. This is the bulk of your damage. Using Bladestorm also creates a secondary effect, known as Bladestorms, underneath your character while it spins. You can have a maximum of three of these storms active at a time, and they deal additional damage and grant your character bonuses based on your current stance. This means there is some ramp up time before you hit peak damage on a boss, but only for a second or two at most.
Sand stance causes your bladestorms to travel forward, and standing in your bladestorms causes you to gain increased movement speed. We usually rely on Sand stance while clearing, as it offers the best speed as we move through an area. Blood stance is used when you have to deal with bosses or particularly dangerous Rares, such as Legion mobs, as it grants additional Attack Speed. Blood bladestorms are stationary, though this does not usually have any significant difference in feel.
To clear, simply Leap Slam into packs and Bladestorm. If your gear is appropriate to the content you are attempting, most packs should die more or less instantly, and you can immediately leap into the next set of enemies. If you encounter tougher targets, like the Syndicate or Legion Rares, you will want to switch to Blood stance in order to gain the additional Attack Speed while you are bladestorming.
Keep Blood Rage active at all times while you are clearing for additional damage and leech, as well as keeping your Frenzy Charges capped. There is no need to ever place your Dread Banner — we simply use it as a means of procuring additional chance to Impale as well as reducing the accuracy of enemies. Try to keep your Summon Ice Golem active whenever possible.
Cycle your chose Vaal aura as needed. We recommend using either Vaal Haste or Vaal Grace, both of which have a fairly high uptime. If you are familiar with the map layout, be sure to have your Vaal skills ready for the boss in advance.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief is our damaging Vaal skill for significantly boosting boss burst damage. You can even bring out the normal Ancestral Warchief for even more damage on bosses that really need the smack down. You can use the Vaal Ancestral Warchief while clearing too, although things often die too often for it to be properly effective. It is a fantastic ally against aforementioned tough targets, however, and really brings the pain against Syndicate encounters and the like.
Passive Skill Tree
For more details on the Passive Tree, skill acquisition order, and more, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page for in-depth information.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Powers page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page thoroughly.
Some example gear used by our character:
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Chest||Carcass Jack or Belly of the Beast|
|Gloves||Rare Spiked Gloves|
|Boots||Rare Two-Toned Boots (Cold and Lightning Resistances)|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Ring 1||Mark of the Elder|
|Ring 1||Rare Shaped Ring|
|Weapon 1||Rare Harpy Rapier OR Paradoxica|
|Weapon 2||Rare Harpy Rapier or base of choice|
For in-depth recommendations for gear, flasks, jewels, and crafting advice be sure to read our Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page.
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
Start out with Ground Slam, which you should use until Level 12, when Sunder can be acquired. Sunder is a fairly potent leveling skill due to its high base damage and ease of use. Your Sunder links, in order of priority, are:
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Onslaught Support
- Multistrike Support
- Maim Support
- Ruthless Support
Just use what you can get until the gems become available — Maim Support and Ruthless Support are available very early, along with Onslaught Support, but you will have to wait until Act II for Melee Physical Damage Support. Added Fire Damage Support is an option in the meantime, if you are using a Tabula Rasa.
Blood and Sand is available right at Level 4, and should be picked up immediately. Acquire Herald of Ash and Herald of Purity in Act II to help you level up. You can get Pride in Act III after doing Lost in Love and drop Herald of Purity.
You can acquire Bladestorm in Act III after defeating General Gravicius in the Sever the Right Hand quest. Bladestorm is viable as a leveling skill — feel free to swap it in immediately, although you may want to utilize some nodes or gems (such as Pulverise Support) in order to maximize area of effect, and thus leveling speed.
What Annointment Should I Use on My Amulet?
- Offense: Blademaster typically provides the greatest overall DPS increase of any one notable.
- Defense: Discipline and Training adds a decent chunk of additional Life.
- Utility: Graceful Assault provides Onslaught for clear and bosses with adds, allowing you to swap out your Silver Flask. This has the potential to be the best clearing option but sacrifices bossing capability slightly.
I’m Struggling to Maintain Mana, What Do I Do?
Get % of Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana on gear such as Gloves or Rings, or spec into some more Mana Leech on the tree.
What About Vitality Void?
Vitality Void is a great notable but not mandatory by any means. If you feel you need a little more Leech to bolster your build, this can be a great choice to open up a little more defensive potential. It is more of a matter of preference than of objective worth, or lack of.
How About Kaom's Heart and a 2-Hander?
Entirely possible, but this build is not written for this configuration. Feel free to ask in the comments and we can give you advice on how to facilitate this if you desire!
Check out the rest of the guide for any additional information: