Poison Blade Vortex had been rising in popularity because it was incredibly broken at some point in the past! It has now stagnated to the point where it can be considered as a build you can comfortably play, yet no longer something completely busted. The reason for this is that it combines really good clear speed, 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 number of Poisons one can have running on an enemy, 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 for 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 a super tanky iteration of the Assassin ascendancy! You can reliably hit over 5000 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 tons of Evasion paired with capped Spell Suppression. 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 Divine 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 map & early bosses on a relatively tanky build with really respectable clearspeed on a budget? That sounds like something we all want, right!?
Pros and Cons
+ Reasonably easy to gear & accessible early
+ Conventient powerlevels for its investment
+ Viable in all scenarios
+ 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
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 which sadly decays over time.
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 an avoid in game, worry not, you’ll have 6000 Life and a huge amount of Damage Reduction from Kintsugi & various other aforementioned layers of defense 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
If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, PoePlanner’s website offers you a non-PoB alternative to import the code from the above link. 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, Spell Suppression & Resistances|
|Boots||Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, Spell Suppression, high Life & Resistances|
|Belt||Stygian Vise or Leather Belt with high Life Maybe Resistance or Flask Modifiers|
|Rings||1x Vermillion Ring – Life and Resistances – Attritbutes & a Circle of Nostalgia|
|Weapon||1x Cold Iron Point|
|Shield||1x Replica Mistwall|
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.
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, you want to make a Witch. You need the Witch to obtain a few gems, stash them and then go on to level your Shadow as this class would otherwise not receive said gems.
You will want to start out by buying an extra wand from the vendor. On top of that, pick up a Freezing Pulse as a quest reward. After you’ve ran the Mud Flats, you’ll proceed to kill Hailrake in the Tidal Island with Freezing Pulse. This might be a tad slow.
From there on out, you’ll be able to pick up your first Quicksilver Flask from your quest rewards. You’ll need to also purchase a Holy Flame Totem. From Tarkleigh, you’ll be getting a Flame Wall and a Frostblink.
This leads to your rotation being a Flame Wall into a Holy Flame Totem making sure the Flame Wall is between the Holy Flame Totem & the Monsters you want to kill. As a surplus, in case monsters don’t die, use Freezing Pulse.
Tip: You can optionally buy and link a Summon Phantasm Support to your Holy Flame Totem.
Tip: Make sure to keep picking up Wands from the ground as certain types of wands offer Flat Damage to Spells by themselves. Upgrading those to higher values is of huge importance to your damage while leveling.
Tip: check Tarkleigh for boots with Movement speed
Stash all gems, flasks and wands. Proceed to log out and make your Shadow. You can then use those gems to get going.
Upgrades to make in Act 2
If you’re sticking with the optimal way of leveling, make sure to pick up a Herald of Thunder and a Summon Skitterbots in act 2. You get the first gem from killing Fidelitas, after which you can buy the second one from Yeena.
Time to Poison (Level 31 – Post Normal Lab)
Disclaimer: Leveling a Poison character is not necessarily the best. However, because most people enjoy leveling through the campaign with the archetype they’ve wanted to play, here’s houw you do it:
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
- Chance to Poison Support
- Void Manipulation Support
- Unleash Support (add this as soon as you hit level 38 and obtain the gem)
- Unbound Ailments Support