Low-Life Blade Vortex Occultist Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

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Introduction

The Low-Life Blade Vortex Occultist is a caster-based character that uses Energy Shield instead of Life, specializes in Spell Critical Strikes and applies multiple strong Curses. The build also achieves great survivability and sustain via Energy Shield Leech on the passive tree in combination with Energy Leech Support Energy Leech Support.

The build can be very efficient even on a budget, once you farm up some currency you can choose to invest into things like Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings in order to transition into Low-Life, which allows you to pick Pain Attunement for 30% extra overall Spell damage.

Build Summary

The build does not require any items in order to work and can be a great league-starter. Once you can afford some more expensive gear pieces, you can start looking for Heretic's Veil Heretic's Veil, which will help you better utilize your Curses. Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings will allow you to reserve a portion of your Life in order to be Low-Life all the time and benefit from Pain Attunement. Void Battery Void Battery has great synergy with the build, simply because we reach 6 Power charges by default.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Fast and smooth clear speed
+ Has great defensive mechanics
+ Great league-starter

Cons

- Energy Shield / Low-Life builds’ gameplay feels different than others and may not suit everyone’s playstyle

Playstyle

Offensively, keeping 3-4 blades spinning will be enough to explode monster packs via Profane Bloom. Once you face a stronger foe, stack up your blades and activate Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex for maximum single target damage output.

Defensively, the sustain of the build feels great. The Energy Shield Leech in combination with Vile Bastion will keep your Energy Shield full most of the time; once you get hit hard you can recover by using Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline. Strong defensive Curses like Temporal Chains Temporal Chains and Enfeeble Enfeeble are utilized via Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support.

For playstyle, Shield Charge into packs of monsters and they will die in a second. You will be able to take some hits here and there, since you will most likely have great Energy Shield pool and reliable amount of Energy Shield Leech in order to survive.

Ascendancy, Passive tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Witch – Occultist)

  1. Profane Bloom
  2. Vile Bastion
  3. Malediction
  4. Forbidden Power

Profane Bloom smooths out and improves clear speed by a great deal.

Vile Bastion provides stun immunity when you have Energy Shield, which is mandatory for every Energy Shield-based build. The additional way of sustaining your Energy Shield pool.

Malediction allows you to utilize an additional Curse; this node also gives you a lot of extra damage via the Gain mechanic it has, which synergizes very well with the build overall.

Forbidden Power gives us a lot of extra damage and encourages us to pick up the Power charges.

Passive tree

With this endgame passive skill tree you will have enough damage and survivability to tackle the hardest content. For keystone notables, we pick Chaos Inoculation and Zealot’s Oath. Besides them, we pick all the efficient Spell damage and Spell Critical modifiers, Energy Shield & Energy Leech, and Curse passive nodes.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The Critical Multiplier, flat Mana regeneration, and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Solaris is what suits the build best. If something kills the build it is most likely going to be one shot mechanic, this major god power helps to prevent that from happening.

Minor: Soul of Aberath is very useful for every Chaos Inoculation build. Stepping on Burning ground stops your Energy Shield Recharge, which can be very annoying at times. With this pantheon you do not worry about it at all. Other minor gods can be chosen based on personal preference.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you’ve killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex is you signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, you should use Shield Charge Shield Charge. The build can utilize a total of 3 Curses, we recommend having Enfeeble Enfeeble and Temporal Chains Temporal Chains in Heretic's Veil Heretic's Veil and have a Shaper-based Ring with Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark on hit. Discipline Discipline should reserve a portion of your Life via Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support once you have Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom. Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Vaal Blade Vortex (6-Link)

Blade Vortex Blade Vortex is a skill that allows you to Cast blades that spin around your character for a duration. You can have a maximum of 10 blades spinning at a time. Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex creates an independently-moving 10-stack Blade Vortex that helps out with single target damage by a great deal. We recommend one 6-Link that works great for both clearing and single target.

  1. Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex
  2. Energy Leech Support Energy Leech Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  5. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

Curses

Depending on your gear and level you should use one or two Curses as auras via Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support.

  1. Temporal Chains Temporal Chains
  2. Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support
  3. Enfeeble Enfeeble

Shield Charge (3-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge will increase your clear speed and mobility in general.

  1. Shield Charge Shield Charge
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Other Gems

Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline should be your defensive aura. Steelskin Steelskin can be used in order to mitigate incoming damage.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources.

Helmet

Heretic's Veil Heretic's Veil will allow you to run stronger Curses with reduced Mana reservation. A well-rolled rare Energy Shield helmet will also do the work. For labyrinth enchant, look for “30% increased Blade Vortex Duration”; Temporal Chains Temporal Chains or Enfeeble Enfeeble Curse effectiveness. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 250)

Body Armour

Ideally, you would want to use Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings in order to transition to Low-Life. Solaris Lorica Solaris Lorica can act as a budget version of this unique Body Armour. A well-rolled Vaal Regalia Vaal Regalia can also be used if you choose to play with full Life. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 600)
  3. +1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems (Shaper Prefix)
  4. Spells have #% to Critical Strike Chance (Shaper Suffix)
  5. Recover #% of Maximum Energy Shield on Kill (Shaper Suffix)

Gloves

Well rolled rare Gloves are best in slot. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (at least 150)
  3. # to Dexterity

Boots

Steppan Eard Steppan Eard and Sin Trek Sin Trek are great unique choices. Well-rolled boots should outclass them when you are ready to invest currency. For labyrinth enchant, look for Life & Mana Leech, Attack & Cast Speed, or Movement Speed. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. % increased Movement speed (at least 25%)
  3. Energy Shield (at least 150)

Belt

Bated Breath Bated Breath is a great choice for the build. A well-rolled Crystal Belt Crystal Belt or Stygian Vise Stygian Vise will eventually be the best you can get. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. # to maximum Energy Shield
  3. % increased maximum Energy Shield (Shaper Prefix)

Amulet

Solstice Vigil Solstice Vigil is a very good Amulet, although it can be expensive and you should not worry about it too much, since we do not really invest into Curses. Prior to it, use a rare Amulet instead. Shaper or Elder-based Amulets can be used for the additional damage mods they can roll. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage (Shaper Prefix)
  3. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage (Shaper Prefix)
  4. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage (Elder Prefix)
  5. Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage (Elder Prefix)
  6. % increased maximum Energy Shield
  7. # to maximum Energy Shield
  8. # to Dexterity, Strength

Rings

Dream Fragments Dream Fragments will allow you to not worry about Chill and Freeze effects, which can otherwise be lethal to Low-Life and Chaos Inoculation characters. Besides that, simply look for a well rolled rare Shaper-based Ring. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Curse Enemies with Level # Assassin’s Mark on Hit (Shaper Suffix)
  3. % increased Spell Damage (Shaper Suffix)
  4. % increased Global Critical Strike Chance (Shaper Suffix)
  5. # to maximum Energy Shield
  6. # to Dexterity, Strength

Weapon

Void Battery Void Battery is best in slot, and a well-rolled Wand or Dagger can be used prior to it. A simple Brightbeak Brightbeak will allow you to have faster clear speed early on. The rare affix priority is:

  1. % increased Spell Damage
  2. % increased Damage when on Full Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  3. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
  4. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
  5. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage
  6. Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage

Shield

A well-rolled rare Shield is best in slot. You can try to roll one by yourself: use Dense Fossil Dense Fossil on a Titanium Spirit Shield Titanium Spirit Shield at item level 86. Atziri's Reflection Atziri's Reflection is an extremely strong Shield choice for the build, but considering its price it is not worth going for. The rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistance (until capped)
  2. Energy Shield (preferably 300+)

Flasks

Playing a Chaos Inoculation build allows you to use only utility flasks. Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is mandatory in every Critical-based build; this is a good flask to have Curse immunity on. Stibnite flask creates a smoke cloud, which blinds nearby enemies; it should be rolled with Bleeding immunity. Basalt flask provides 15% physical damage reduction; it should be rolled with Burning immunity. Rumi's Concoction Rumi's Concoction can be used for the additional Armour and Block Chance it provides. Other utility flasks like Sulphur Flask Sulphur Flask, Jade Flask Jade Flask and Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise can also be utilized. Make sure you have Bleeding, Curse and Freezing immunity on your flasks.

Be sure to check out our Flask Crafting Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to set up your non-Unique flasks.

Jewels

There are no particularly powerful or mandatory Jewels that the build needs.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % increased Energy Shield
  2. % increased Area Damage
  3. % increased Spell Damage while holding a Shield
  4. % increased Global Physical Damage
  5. % to Critical Strike Multiplier for Spells
  6. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
  2. Energy Shield (at least 35)
  3. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  4. Any flat amount of damage added to Spells

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

The build can be easily leveled with its signature skill as soon as you can equip the gem at level 12.

Leveling Trees

Here is an example of an early passive skill tree prior to going Low Life.

Useful Leveling Unique Items

As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters.

If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 4, you can add Frost Bomb Frost Bomb for better damage output.

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for additional mobility.

At level 12, you should replace Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with your signature skill, Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex.

  1. Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex
  2. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  4. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  5. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

At level 16, your Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex should look like this.

  1. Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  4. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  5. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

At level 24, you should pick up Enfeeble Enfeeble, Temporal Chains Temporal Chains and Discipline Discipline in order to level up the gems.

At level 31, you should ascend into Normal Labyrinth and pick up Profane Bloom, at this point you should reserve a portion of your Nana via Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support in order to create a Temporal Chains Temporal Chains Curse aura.

At level 38, your Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex should look like this.

  1. Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  4. Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support
  5. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

FAQ

What map mods are impossible to do?

No Regeneration is rough, Reflect mods and Cannot Leech should be avoided at all costs.

Conclusion

The Low-Life Blade Vortex Occultist is an Energy-Shield-based caster that utilizes very strong Curses, which renders enemies helpless. The character deals great amounts of Spell Critical Damage and its Energy Shield Leech allows you to out-sustain a lot of incoming damage.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated several item recommendations along with passive trees. The build works as intended and is still very solid.

  •   

    Build added.

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