Fire Blade Vortex Assassin Build Guide - Full Screen Explosions (PoE Ultimatum 3.14)




Due to the latest balancing changes, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and it might be revived in a later patch.

Explosion Mechanics and scaling them has really gained popularity in 3.6 Synthesis League’s Flashback Race where everyone played some variation of Wands with the “Enemies you kill Explode dealing #% of their Life as Physical Damage”. When people realized how easy it was to scale this mechanic to outrageous lengths, they started to explore with it. Eventually, that leads us to where we are today and this guide, with everyone (or at least a big part of the player base) having picked up on “Explody Chests”, as people call them, or even Wand variations if the League mechanic allows us to find any of those! Because of that, they’re generally extremely expensive (or require you to stack a ton of investment because they got nerfed) so we will be circumventing this problem by using a different kind of Explosion Mechanic.

People have been fans of builds that relied on Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart ever since the Unique got released. However, it wasn’t until Synthesis when the realization came in that one didn’t need a Lightning-based skill to actually make it chain explosions. This build relies on the proliferation of existing Shocks and Inpulsas’ potential to chain to achieve multiple screens of explosions. This way, we avoid having to invest into expensive pieces to achieve the same clear speed.

For those of you who are interested, the main difference between our version and the Crusader Rare Chest piece is that we give up an anointment, a Glove-slot which costs us Maximum Life more than anything, and lastly we can’t be running Badge of the Brotherhood Badge of the Brotherhood. Badge has tremendous potential in terms of DPS, which is the weak side of this build, but also is hundreds of Exalted Orb Exalted Orbs usually.

Build Summary

This build focuses on clearing maps as fast as possible. Worry not, it will still be dealing with map bosses fairly decently, but it is not a boss-killer. If you want it to reliably kill Conquerors, you will need to transition into a Headhunter Headhunter setup, and in any case it will never again excel at killing bosses like Shaper, Sirus and so on, ever since the buff to Monster Health and Resistances. Nonetheless, it is probably the best & fastest map-clearing build that exists in this current league.

The sole reason you want to play this build is so you can enjoy the chain explosions killing multiple screens of monsters effortlessly on a budget. This build gets going very cheaply and even decently upgraded remains fairly accessible. It’s only when you try to scale your build to the point where you can occasionally kill a boss deathless that it gets really expensive. At that point, it is no longer worth investing into it and you’re better off just having a dedicated boss-killer.

Pros and Cons


+ Incredibly satisfying build to play
+ Run around at lightspeed while everything blows up around you
+ Incredibly cheap to get going


Doesn’t have the throughput to reliably kill endgame bosses like Sirus
Requires a combination of Uniques which are hard to find in Solo-Self Found
Not the tankiest of builds so dangerous to play in Hardcore environments

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

You cannot run Elemental Reflect unless you roll the Sextant, and should avoid No Regeneration modifiers as well unless you bring in a Mana flask.

Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates

While the initial reaction of a lot of people was that Assassin was over-nerfed in PoE’s Echoes of the Atlas Expansion – mainly because of the anticipation that Assassin was one of the top dogs in the game – I’m pleased to let you know that it’s actually not that bad. If we summarize all the changes, you’re losing 8% Damage Reduction whilst Elusive, but you gain a 10% Damage Reduction back while there’s 2 or more Rare or Unique Enemies around you. On top of that, you’re also getting 6% Dodge and Spell Dodge from the increased Effect of Elusive that’s now granted by Mistwalker and its small node leading to it. If one checks the effective health pool an Assassin has, it actually has gone up if you weren’t Dodge Capped before (which this build never was, as it’s made to kill things before they kill you). Other than that, there’s a 15% Cast Speed loss, but you’re really only casting BV every once in a while, so it really makes no difference whatsoever whether you have a bit higher cast speed or not. I would argue that, from a defensive / QoL point of view, the build remained somewhat equal / plays out differently but isn’t necessarily nerfed!

Now, the so-called “big” nerf to Assassin was its Movement Speed’s nerfs. Whereas this was one of the most appealing things about Assassin for quite a while, they now removed a whopping 24% Movement Speed from the Ascendancy. I initially also felt like that was a lot, but due to how scaling movement speed works, and buffs to Elusive, it actually is not that relevant whatsoever. In the Path of Building this build uses, the effective Movement Speed one loses is a mere 3% overall, bringing you from 200% to 197% (that’s not even 2%) so, I would bet that no one is actually going to notice (as long as you have enough other sources of movement speed, because, of course, the fewer you have, the more noticeable it becomes).

On top of that, whilst doing these updates for 3.13, I should be including stuff like “Tailwind on Boots” in every build. Doing that would get you a positive 10% change to your endgame Movement Speed. The reason why I say “I should” is because of the re-introduction of Harvest league. It cannot be emphasized enough how incredibly strong its return is for gearing your characters. Getting 3-stat Cluster Jewels, +1 Power Charge & Unleash Helmets, or Tailwind on Boots are all so much more widely available to the public because of Harvest, that it is a lot more feasible to expect people to have good gear, making certain builds a lot more “viable” for the common denominator. I think that, because of that, this build will be better than it was in Heist where it already was considered an S-Tier mapping build!

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

Blade Vortex Blade Vortex‘s mechanics changed a little after the release of the Unleash Support Unleash Support. Since Unleash gives you 3 Blades every time it is fully charged, you now don’t need Mana to cast 10 Blades all the time, which frees up a lot of Mana. You will notice that your blade upkeep isn’t too important when running through mobs in maps, and that you’ll only really care about this when you are hitting a boss. Even then, hovering at around 9-10 is very easy and you’ll get the hang of it really fast!

The main benefit this offers you is that with a couple of blades out, which only requires a single cast, you’ll easily kill lower health monsters which will lead to multiple screens of monsters dying. This is the main reason we use Storm's Gift Storm's Gift, as it makes all the enemies you kill shocked. This allows them to explode, since you are unable to deal Lightning Damage as you convert all of your damage to Fire. Since the shocks you inflict initially also proliferate, this makes your explosions deal more damage. Since you will be killing monsters with these explosions coming from Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart, they will in turn be shocked again initiating the chain effect you require to keep on clearing the monsters.

Because of this, you don’t need to worry about stragglers and can just blast through maps at the speed of light. Sadly, this also means we are focused on picking up things that scale our clear speed rather than investing into defensive mechanics. We spend most of our points picking up damage to scale the explosions, increase their Area of Effect, and make you faster. This means the build struggles to reach 5,000 Life or more and doesn’t really focus on getting additional layers of defense. That’s one of its greatest problems against bosses. You can’t kill them fast enough to not be able to take multiple, hits thus you have to play very well to be able to take them down.

Nonetheless, the build reaches over 6 Million DPS if you invest into it which should be sufficient to make mapping very smooth, bosses melt, and monsters evaporate!

Passive Skill Tree, PoB, and Gem Links

You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.

More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB & Gem Links

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

Ascendancy, Bandits & Pantheon Power Page

Gear Summary / TL;DR

A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.

Gear, Jewel & Flask Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Hubris Circlet Hubris Circlet with a Power Charge, an extra Unleash Seal and Aspect of the Spider
Amulet Xoph's Blood Xoph's Blood
Chest Inpulsa's Broken Heart Inpulsa's Broken Heart
Gloves Storm's Gift Storm's Gift with implicit conversion
Boots Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, high Life & Resistances
Belt Leather Belt Leather Belt with high Life and Resistances
Rings 2x Circle of Anguish Circle of Anguish
Weapon 2x Void Battery Void Battery

Questions & Support

I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.

If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.


Since we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will be providing you a way to level up with Blade Vortex Blade Vortex. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.

In order to level this build as a Blade Vortex Blade Vortex build you need to make your way to level 12 to be able to use the gem.

Getting to Brutus & Merveil

For starters, create a Shadow in whichever league you want to start. Optionally, you can create a Scion and kill Hillock quickly to be able store the ###item:Onslaught-Support### it gets from running Tidal Island. Shadow can’t access this gem otherwise until Act III. Make sure to store the Onslaught gem and swap back to your Shadow to start leveling.

You will want to start out by buying an extra wand from the vendor. On top of that, pick up a Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine as a quest reward. After you’ve run the Mud Flats, you’ll proceed to kill Hailrake in the Tidal Island with Stormblast Mines.

From there on, you’ll be able to pick up your first Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask and an Orb of Storms Orb of Storms from your quest rewards and perhaps a Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support from the vendor. Your main Orb of Storms Orb of Storms and Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine links should look something like this:

  1. Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine
  2. Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support
  1. Orb of Storms Orb of Storms
  2. ###item:onslaught-support###

Note For those of you who don’t know how Orb of Storms interacts with Lightning Skills: Orb of Storms hits an additional time if you stand in it and cast lightning spells. So you want to drop your Orb of Storms in the surroundings of a pack and throw 1-2 mines to proc it faster for the best damage.

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support to your Orb of Storms Orb of Storms link and if you can afford to buy another one you can also add one to your Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine link.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

If you enjoy the playstyle of Orb of Storms Orb of Storms you can really keep doing this until you are done leveling and even beyond as it is the best leveling setup available right now. However, assuming you’d more enjoy the Blade Vortex playstyle, at level 12 you can setup your Blade Vortex Blade Vortex.

  1. Blade Vortex Blade Vortex
  2. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  3. ###item:Onslaught-Support###
  4. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support (optional)

You want to be picking up a Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder, Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots and should you get a 4th link Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support instead of the Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support is ideal!


  • Updated for Ritual 3.13.

  • Build added.

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