Expedition League “Updates” & “Disclaimer”
While I generally put a lot of emphasis on updating all of my guides before a new league starts, I have decided against doing so at the moment. Many of the changes that came with PoE’s 3.15 Expedition league launch have pretty severe gameplay impact, which is incredibly hard to predict without having the appropriate software updated (like Path of Building). Therefore, I will give all my guides a pass and point out the obvious changes. Everything outside of this paragraph will stay untouched for 3.15 for now and will be updated accordingly over the course of the next weeks. This means that the information in this paragraph always supersedes anything written in the guide. Build updates will be prioritized in order of their popularity.
These are the changes I would undoubtedly make to this build:
- You will have to swap Awakened Deadly Ailments Support for Awakened Swift Affliction Support if you can handle the reduced Duration on Blade Vortex. Otherwise, Hypothermia Support is a decent backup.
- You are most likely dropping Coralito's Signature unless you have really high Chaos Resistance. A max roll Coralito’s probably adds around 15% DPS which still is a decent chunk.
This build got hit pretty hard given it was created around the Coralito’s Signature flask. You most likely will end up with around 2,5 million DPS at an acceptable level of gear. It does remain incredibly tanky though, so at least it has that going for it. I expect it to still be a fine mapper and something you could kill bosses with if you played it well.
Poison Blade Vortex has been rising in popularity as other builds dropped off making it to the point where it is right now: the most popular build in a league! The reason for this is that it combines really good clearspeed, very high survivability on an ascendancy that offers a lot of QoL in its movement speed, and conditional effects that are really strong.
Because Blade Vortex inherently has a lot of “hits”, it makes for an incredibly reliable way to apply a lot of poison stacks very fast. This makes it very suitable for a build that relies on stacking a lot of poisons on enemies to scale damage. We will be providing a build that offers a very good balance between clear, boss damage & survivability. Whereas there definitely are ways to increment either of those aspects, we felt that the build was strong enough in all those aspects to get away with being balanced between all of them.
You probably all heard or saw a Poison Blade Vortex build before! You run around with a decently long-lasting Blade Vortex, running through a pack and seeing it melt to your applied Poisons afterwards. Because of the time it takes for the Poisons to be applied and whittle the enemy down, you will need a decent amount of tankiness to be able to not die in those 2-3 seconds the enemies live.
The main mechanics you need to understand are Duration and amounts of Poisons stacked on the enemy. As there is no limit to the amount of Poisons one can have running on an enemy, and getting Poison duration really helps your (mainly single target) damage. Therefore, Assassin’s Noxious Strike is really important to keep up as much as we can. We do this by using a fast hitting Poison applier such as Blade Vortex. Because our Poisons last longer, eventually we will be getting to 40+ Poison stacks on an Enemy making them take 40 times the damage they would with a single stack!
Now, since you are a Blade Vortex build, you’ll have to be rather close to the Enemies at all times. This also implies you need to stand next to bosses or circle around them a decent amount of time to do maximum damage as you want to stack up your Poisons. Therefore, it is mandatory that we build a decent layer of defenses.
This build guide, when followed correctly, will offer you the most tanky Assassin you will have ever played! You can reliably hit over 6000 Life while having mechanics like “55% Spell Block if you haven’t blocked Recently”, “40% Less Damage Taken if you haven’t been hit recently” and 75/68 Dodge Chance. This means the character will rarely actually be hit to begin with, after which if it gets hit takes 40% Less Damage with a really high Life Pool. Hence, it is surprisingly hard to die on this Assassin.
Lastly, the main reason why this build is so attractive is its cost. A 6-Link Kintsugi will cost you about 6,5 to 7 Exalted Orbs and the entire build will be 10! This means that if you were to run a 5-Link, the build is basically free! Kill all bosses on a relatively tanky build with really respectable clearspeed on a budget? That sounds like something we all want, right!?
Pros and Cons
+ It’s incredibly cheap for a build in this category of power level
+ Incredibly easy to get going & upgradable as you go
+ Viable in all scenarios – Solo-Self Found & Hardcore
+ Very fast gameplay because of Assassin
– Damage isn’t instantaneous, monsters will always live 0.5-2seconds
– A lot of people already have played a lot of Blade Vortex and are a little bored of the skill
Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates
Poison Blade Vortex was arguably the most broken build in existence in Heist league. While it for sure wasn’t the most overpowered build, it was up there whilst being incredibly easy to gear for. None of that has changed. Echoes of the Atlas Expansion saw a lot of so-called “nerfs” to the Assassin Ascendancy, but Poison BV actually got a lot more tanky while it is at decent Elusive numbers. Sure, losing some damage reduction that is not tied to how big your Elusive effect is is annoying, because unconditional tank stats are obviously better than defenses tied to having uptime on another skill, but overall this build in particular maintains really high Elusive uptime through Withering Step resets.
Damage-wise, the build has taken a bit of hit mainly due to the changes to Toxic Delivery losing its 20% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage, but going from 8.5M DPS to 7M really isn’t problematic considering the showcased build was running two stat jewels, and no damage mods on Gloves, Belt, or Rings to keep gear accessible. Whenever you need more (honestly, do you ever need more?) than 7 million damage, you can use the re-introduced Harvest crafts to augment some Chaos Multiplier on Gloves, Chaos Damage on Belts / Rings or a 3rd stat on your Jewels. Harvest is incredibly broken for stuff like that and will push the build back to the damage it had before the patch notes, while making gear more widely available!
The build still is in an incredible shape and is ready for you to blast some Rituals with!
Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths
Blade Vortex‘s mechanics changed a little after the release of the Unleash Support. Since Unleash gives you 3 Blades every time its 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!
After explaining how to keep up your Blade Vortex, I’d like to talk about the layering of defenses this build offers. So, first of all, because you play an Assassin you get to use Mistwalker which gives you Elusive. Elusive is a buff that grants 15% Dodge & Spell Dodge as well as 30% Movement Speed but decays over time. We can keep this up permanently if we want through Withering Step as it resets the Elusive and makes it so you get a fully charged buff every time. This comes at the cost of a movement skill though as Withering Step consumes movement skill charges and makes it so you will never have a charge. IF we opt in to that playstyle, you will cap out on Dodge and Spell Dodge (which is effectively a 75% Less damage taken as you avoid it).
Next up, if you can somehow get a jewel with Corrupted Blood immunity and therefore run an Alchemist’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline, you can get up to 205% Movement Speed on the build, which makes you incredibly fast and makes it easier to avoid all incoming damage mechanically. However, should you not manually Dodge or roll a Dodge in game, worry not, you’ll have 6000 Life and a 40% Less Damage taken multiplier from Kintsugi & Wind Dancer which makes it that you will not get one shot almost ever.
Lastly, through Replica Mistwall, you alternate Spell & Physical avoidance through Spell Block and chance to Avoid Physical Damage. All of this layering makes you incredibly obnoxious for enemies to kill. Obviously, if you stand still in a Legion or in a Sirus storm, no build or build guide will ever be able to keep you alive!
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.
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.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||The Devouring Diadem|
|Gloves||Slink Gloves with high Life & Resistances|
|Boots||Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, high Life & Resistances|
|Belt||Stygian Vise with high Life Maybe Resistance or Flask Modifiers|
|Rings||2x Vermillion Ring – Life and Resistances – One of which with some Intelligence|
|Weapon||1x Cold Iron Point|
|Shield||1x Replica Mistwall|
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. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.
- 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.
In order to level this build as a 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 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 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 and an Orb of Storms from your quest rewards and perhaps a Swift Assembly Support from the vendor. Your main Orb of Storms and Stormblast Mine links should look something like this:
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.
Level 12 and Onwards Setup
If you enjoy the playstyle of 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. You will play Elemental Blade Vortex until after you’ve finished Normal Lab though!
On your road to Labyrinth, you want to be picking up a Herald of Thunder, Summon Skitterbots and should you get a 4th link Controlled Destruction Support instead of the Added Lightning Damage Support is ideal!
Time to Poison
When you finally made your way to Normal Lab and have finished you will need to pick up Noxious Strike. Combine this with a Coralito's Signature and the nodes Fatal Toxins and Toxic Strikes and you should be getting your Poison Chance up!
- Blade Vortex
- Lesser Poison Support OR
- Poison Support at level 31.
- Void Manipulation Support
- Unbound Ailments Support