Poison Blade Vortex Assassin Build Guide - The DoT Machine (PoE Ultimatum 3.14)

TbXie

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Ultimatum League Updates

It finally happened. After being kind of the spells for years now, Blade Vortex Blade Vortex took a significant hit in the compartments where it actually outshone other builds. The Ultimatum Patch Notes introduced a significant nerf to both Duration & Radius for the BV skill meaning it’ll be less superior mechanic wise to skills that are hand casted on every pack. On top of that, the gem now deals about 18% less damage at level 20 meaning the build lost about 15% damage overall. Now, I don’t think the damage will be worrisome whatsoever because it’s still incredibly easy to land north of 7-9M Shaper DPS which is more than enough to trivialize the game.

All in all, I think that means the build stays incredibly tanky but will have a harder time actually being a solid “fast clearer” given its limited AoE. It might be necessary / advised to weaponswap in to Obliteration Obliteration to carry your clear and swap back to Cold Iron Point Cold Iron Point for bosses. Of course, the exact impact of the AoE and Duration nerfs will have to be playtested. I think the build is very strong still to start out with / for newer players.

Introduction

Poison Blade Vortex 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 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.

Build Summary

You probably all heard or saw a Poison Blade Vortex build before! You run around with a decently long-lasting Blade Vortex 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 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 Kintsugi will cost you about 6,5 to 7 Exalted Orb 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

Pros

+ 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

Cons

Damage isn’t instantaneous, monsters will always live 0.5-2seconds

A lot of people already have played a lot of Blade Vortex 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 easily 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 Blade Vortex‘s mechanics changed a little after the release of the Unleash Support 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 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 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 Kintsugi & Wind Dancer which makes it that you will not get one shot almost ever.

Lastly, through Replica Mistwall 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.

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, and Pantheon Powers

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 and Flasks Breakdown

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head The Devouring Diadem The Devouring Diadem
Amulet Impresence (Chaos) Impresence (Chaos)
Chest Kintsugi Kintsugi
Gloves Slink Gloves Slink Gloves with high Life & Resistances
Boots Two-Toned Boots with 30% Movement Speed, high Life & Resistances
Belt Stygian Vise Stygian Vise with high Life Maybe Resistance or Flask Modifiers
Rings 2x Vermillion Ring Vermillion Ring – Life and Resistances – One of which with some Intelligence
Weapon 1x Cold Iron Point Cold Iron Point
Shield 1x Replica Mistwall 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.

Leveling

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 Onslaught Support 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. Onslaught Support 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. You will play Elemental Blade Vortex until after you’ve finished Normal Lab though!

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

On your road to Labyrinth, 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!

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 Coralito's Signature and the nodes Fatal Toxins and Toxic Strikes and you should be getting your Poison Chance up!

Make sure to swap out your Heralds to Herald of Purity Herald of Purity and Herald of Agony Herald of Agony now.

  1. Blade Vortex Blade Vortex
  2. Lesser Poison Support Lesser Poison Support OR
  3. Poison Support Poison Support at level 31.
  4. Void Manipulation Support Void Manipulation Support
  5. Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support
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  1. Posts
    3

    Hello trying out the build here couple questions about it. when is is best to use plague bearer. also map mods to avoid? and best amulet enchantment. didnt see it posted on the page

  2. TbXie

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    The best annoint for Damage would be Corruption. You could also annoint Discipline of The Slaughter for some Frenzies or something Defensive like Soul of Steel.

    About plaguebringer, just whenever its fully stacked sounds best to me

  3. Posts
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    Awesome build! Just hit lvl80- wondering, does crit chance matter as we’re using Coralito’s Signature? Does crit do additional damage with this or not?

  4. TbXie

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    On 01/11/2020 at 1:15 PM, Dilemma said

    Awesome build! Just hit lvl80- wondering, does crit chance matter as we’re using Coralito’s Signature? Does crit do additional damage with this or not?

    Yes! Crit Chance definitely matters cause crit multi applies to DoT

  5. Posts
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    question, how is Arcane Surge Support suppose to be proc? keep only using my energy shield as a recourse spender and not mana. Which isn’t applying the buff unless I spam blade vortex enough to get into my mana pool.

  6. TbXie

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    On 01/11/2020 at 10:19 PM, Durbyn said

    question, how is Arcane Surge Support suppose to be proc? keep only using my energy shield as a recourse spender and not mana. Which isn’t applying the buff unless I spam blade vortex enough to get into my mana pool.

    You don’t, it’s a little tech for should you end up spending all your Energy Shield. It adds like no Damage whatsoever. But if you should run out of ES, it does activate, which means you’re using your tiny mana pool and arcane surge will grant you some extra mana regen.

    Nothing to worry about, its a rare case but we had a socket there so why not

  7. Posts
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    thanks for the information, I’m new to poe lol. about how much damage can this build effective do? and what gear should I look for as for upgrades beyond the gear guide gear?

  8. TbXie

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    On 02/11/2020 at 3:29 AM, Durbyn said

    thanks for the information, I’m new to poe lol. about how much damage can this build effective do? and what gear should I look for as for upgrades beyond the gear guide gear?


    If you have all the guide the gear tells you to have you should be fine. Is that the case?

  9. Posts
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    Played this as my second character is Heist SSF…crushed most of the content in the game in just a few short days.

    This passive tree in particular is fantastic. There are several guides for this kind of character out there, but they seem to put a lot of emphasis on having good cluster jewels. This version feels REALLY great to play with the skill effect duration from scion and the mana regeneration from ranger.

    thumbs up, highly recommended!

  10. TbXie

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    On 02/11/2020 at 5:00 PM, shhpeaceful said

    Played this as my second character is Heist SSF…crushed most of the content in the game in just a few short days.

    This passive tree in particular is fantastic. There are several guides for this kind of character out there, but they seem to put a lot of emphasis on having good cluster jewels. This version feels REALLY great to play with the skill effect duration from scion and the mana regeneration from ranger.

    thumbs up, highly recommended!

    Thanks for the kind words :)

  11. Posts
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    Hey there !
    First of all, I wanted to say that I fell in love with this build, the best thing I have done is rerolling my cyclone coc.
    I have just a few questions: for around 1M poison dps, how much do you think I could get up to with a corrupted dagger ?
    Second, could it be better in very late game to switch to the kind of OP bows you see on toxic rains players with a lot of gem level and a big damage over time quiver ? I was wondering if it would (or not) make us lose to much defensive ability.
    Thanks for building this thread, this is a very good job you’ve done.

  12. TbXie

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    On 04/11/2020 at 10:20 AM, leroinero1 said

    Hey there !
    First of all, I wanted to say that I fell in love with this build, the best thing I have done is rerolling my cyclone coc.
    I have just a few questions: for around 1M poison dps, how much do you think I could get up to with a corrupted dagger ?
    Second, could it be better in very late game to switch to the kind of OP bows you see on toxic rains players with a lot of gem level and a big damage over time quiver ? I was wondering if it would (or not) make us lose to much defensive ability.
    Thanks for building this thread, this is a very good job you’ve done.

    The reason why TR runs bows is because a) You need to wield a Bow to use TR and b) it’s not a physical skill so Cold Iron Point Cold Iron Point doesn’t work.

    Another comparison here is Fire Blade Vortex, this is probably the best comparison. The main reason why those builds give up Cold Irons is because it allows them a Quiver Slot for 50% Fire Conversion.

    What I’m trying to say here is that for physical gems that scale with levels, CiP’s are incredibly overpowered!
    Also, Mistwall is really strong, I wouldn’t want to give it up.

  13. Posts
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    Thanks for the fast reply !
    You are really helping and reading comments on your build is always good for all theknowledge it grants.

  14. Posts
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    Where did you put the Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance link gems?

  15. TbXie

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    On 15/11/2020 at 7:32 PM, Madrugo said

    Where did you put the Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance link gems?

    When I got my Empower to link to Plague Bearer, I dropped the Enchance on Despair due to socket limitations. Otherwise there’s a lot of “little” things you could do. Could move the Enhance from Withering and link Dash there for example to save the socket :)

  16. Posts
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    On 15/11/2020 at 10:11 PM, TbXie said

    On 15/11/2020 at 7:32 PM, Madrugo

    Where did you put the Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance link gems?

    When I got my Empower to link to Plague Bearer, I dropped the Enchance on Despair due to socket limitations. Otherwise there’s a lot of “little” things you could do. Could move the Enhance from Withering and link Dash there for example to save the socket :)

    After thinking for a while, I arrived at this setup:

    Chest: Blade Vortex 6 link
    Helmet: Plague Bearer 4 link
    Weapon: 3 Auras
    Shield: Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance
    Gloves: Withering Step 4 link
    Boots: CWDT+Immortal Call 2 link + Dash+Second Wind 2 link

    While I can’t get 2 Vermillion Rings, I’m using Portal and Stone Golem on 2 Unset Rings.

    PS: Great build! I was able to easily complete t14 maps (IQ + 80%) even though I was at level 72

  17. TbXie

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    On 16/11/2020 at 4:18 AM, Madrugo said

    On 15/11/2020 at 10:11 PM, TbXie

    On 15/11/2020 at 7:32 PM, Madrugo

    Where did you put the Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance link gems?

    When I got my Empower to link to Plague Bearer, I dropped the Enchance on Despair due to socket limitations. Otherwise there’s a lot of “little” things you could do. Could move the Enhance from Withering and link Dash there for example to save the socket :)

    After thinking for a while, I arrived at this setup:

    Chest: Blade Vortex 6 link
    Helmet: Plague Bearer 4 link
    Weapon: 3 Auras
    Shield: Despair+Blasphemy+Enhance
    Gloves: Withering Step 4 link
    Boots: CWDT+Immortal Call 2 link + Dash+Second Wind 2 link

    While I can’t get 2 Vermillion Rings, I’m using Portal and Stone Golem on 2 Unset Rings.

    PS: Great build! I was able to easily complete t14 maps (IQ + 80%) even though I was at level 72

    Great to hear

  18. Posts
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    I’m fairly new to POE (i think about 800 hours/2 leagues in) and this is by far, the best build I’ve tried. I didn’t try full delirious maps but everything else just melted. I tried using BV while levelling which wasn’t easy for my first time, then all of a sudden it kicked in and what a blast it was. I rerolled my assassin to try a Mathil build which ended up failing miserably- I’ll be trying one of your builds this time round, thank you!

  19. TbXie

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    On 19/11/2020 at 8:37 PM, Dilemma said

    I’m fairly new to POE (i think about 800 hours/2 leagues in) and this is by far, the best build I’ve tried. I didn’t try full delirious maps but everything else just melted. I tried using BV while levelling which wasn’t easy for my first time, then all of a sudden it kicked in and what a blast it was. I rerolled my assassin to try a Mathil build which ended up failing miserably- I’ll be trying one of your builds this time round, thank you!

    Thanks for the kind words!

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