Changes to Cyclone in 3.23 Affliction
Cyclone got a huge buff to AoE in the Patch Notes giving it, in our build, approximately 20% more coverage than before. Additionally, the movement speed quality on gear was a huge buff to Cyclone’s mobility. Overall, you’ll be faster & have more coverage than before.
This guide has been constructed to offer players a joyful experience with an all-time favourite skill once again. Whether you want to sink currency into a build or just enjoy playing a Cyclone at lower power levels. This guide covers it all.
Builds that rely on a melee skill will always be more skill intensive than ranged archetypes. Additionally, you will be punished harder when you engage in content your character is not quite ready for yet as it will be harder to “out game” the difficulties in your path. However, if you’re set on playing what is one of the most fun skills in the game, this guide will be your best bet to getting there on acceptable budgets with acceptable progression along the way.
Cyclone is one of Path of Exile’s most well-received skill gems because of how fun it feels to play when you get to slay enemies. Usually, scaling its damage is incredibly hard because of the lack of availability of weapons that would carry you hard enough in the late game that it relied on really hard to get rare weapons. This guide, however, moves away from those rare weapons to give you a clear path & to upgrade your character and achieve the build’s fullest potential.
This iteration of Cyclone uses the Slayer Ascendancy to achieve a couple of specifics. First of all, it’s easily getting a ton of crit chance, through the Slayers base critical strike ascendancy (Overwhelm). Additionally, it gives you overleech, which is an incredibly strong, often underrated mechanic. It invests further into this archetype by grabbing extra Life Recovery Rate, Maximum Leech Rate & enough Leech to cap so you’re basically almost permanently leeching to full in a matter of milliseconds. This provides you with honestly a really enjoyable defensive layer, not having to worry that you won’t be recovering from a single hit if you’re picking up loot or whatever. Lastly, it provides solid damage and clear speed through its other perks.
Other than that, it uses some special tech & pathing to make sure it achieves enough tankiness to be comfortable for a newer player & remains a fun mapper for more veteran players who know which mistakes not to make. It also offers clear & specific paths towards being able to absolutely destroy pinnacle bosses but that requires a more offensive approach which will diminish your mapping fun.
Whilst its gearing can look challenging, we emphasized getting the build to a state where it can farm towards its endgame upgrade as smoothly as possible, albeit possibly in lower-tier content.
Pros and Cons
+ Incredibly Rewarding to Play
+ Fun & Streamlined Gear Progression
+ Fast yet still Durable
+ Potentially doable in SSF
+ Great clear & single target
– The very latest upgrades are big but also expensive
– You’re still in the fray while killing things, as is melee life
– Ill-advised to use Cyclone while going through the campaign
Map Modifiers to be Avoided
I honestly only avoided No Leech maps. Additionally, if you’re looking to not die, maps with Minus Max, Critical Modifiers or multiple damage mods will always be dangerous.
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
Whilst a lot of people nowadays try to scale Cyclone’s damage through the use of Shockwave Support we stayed away from that path, mainly because there are no step-up alternatives to a late-game Physical Damage Staff which is the weapon of choice for said builds. With the newly buffed Atziri's Disfavour, those builds now have an alternative as to how you work your way to endgame with Cyclone Slayer. This, more importantly, opens up the usage of unique weapons while working your way to a Disfavour. Uniques like Sinvicta's Mettle will get you to yellow or even early red maps, making it feasible to farm the actual gear for the build on the build, rather than having to play some sort of skill you’re not interested in, and landing on Cyclone eventually, after you’ve found said upgrades.
Obviously, as we’re unable to use the Shockwave Support because we’re playing an Axe-iteration instead of Staves, we’re looking for another way to amplify our damage. This is where impale comes in. While I want to not flood you with the mechanics behind Impale, it can be broken down into the following simple explanation. Impales are basically a portion of your hit, which gets stored and is then released on subsequent hits making it kind of function like double damage. This can get scaled, making it do more than your own damage or effectively netting your more than 100% to deal double damage. Sadly, this means the sources of scaling it are both limited & expensive. A Watcher’s Eye, for example, can easily be multiple divines, however, with most of the Melee player base staying away from impale, usually, they’ll be decently affordable and a huge upgrade to your Damage.
Lastly, because of PoE’s demand for sustain & durability, we worked in some defensive layers & auras to make sure you’re not falling flat at the earliest encounter. By no means does this mean you’re going to have to face-tank any telegraphed mechanics, but the build should be fairly solid while mapping and has enough burst to make you not care about 99% of bosses you will encounter. I’ve killed all non-pinnacle bosses with it and most of the Invitations as well whilst staying with the more durable mapping version of the build. If you’re interested in killing things such as Cortex, Feared, and Ubers, … you’re most likely going to need to build for a lot more damage & less QoL to be able to out-race them & their mechanics.
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, PoePlanner’s website offers you a non-PoB alternative to import the Pastebin into.
More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links, can be found on our dedicated page.
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.
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.
|Abyssus with Cyclone Enchant
|Rare Amulet with Attributes, Crit Multiplier, Life, Crit Chance, Phys to Attacks
|Rare Armour Base with Life, Resistances & Phys taken As Fire
|Rare Armour Gloves with Life, Attack Speed, Resistances & Damage while Leeching
|Rare Boots with Life, Movement Speed, Chill & Freeze Immunity & Resistances
|Really well-rolled Ryslatha's Coil
|Rare Rings with Chaos Res, Resistances, Life, Vuln on Hit and – Cost of Channelling Skills
Questions & Support
If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, or you have a specific question you request my private time for, you can buy me a coffee over at Patreon. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.
Even though we try to make our guides as complete as possible, obvioulsy it’s possible you still have questions. We have an entire mod-team readily available to support you & your questions on Discord. You can find us on the ARPG Vault Discord. Make sure to open a Guide Help thread so things stay clear in the main channels.
Even though we are very adamant about trying to give you a levelling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will recommend you use the standard levelling setups until after Act 10. For more information about levelling, we refer you to the following guides:
- Our step-by-step levelling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the levelling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for levelling, which helps you gear up your characters for the levelling process.
- Our beginner levelling guide , which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
All of the recommendations are to be found in the Path of Building, step by step. However, if you’re adamant about reading it here, here’s a brief summary:
Swap to Sunder as your main damage link as soon as you can find a 4-Linked item you add a Melee Physical Damage Support. Additionally, throw in a Blood Rage & replace the War Banner for a Herald of Ash.
Add a Vulnerability Curse
Try to check if you can afford a 5-linked item at this point. Adding a Brutality Support to your main links will do you a lot of good. If not, so be it. You aura setup should change to Determination & Pride. Other than that, you could un a Summon Stone Golem if you don’t mind actually recasting it.