Rage Vortex Berserker Build Guide (PoE Expedition 3.15)
Due to the latest balancing changes, we do not recommend playing this build anymore, as it does not meet the high standards we apply to our guides in terms of fun and performance. We are leaving it up as a reference and it might be revived in a later patch.
The Berserker ascendancy from the Marauder class is THE ONLY viable choice, when you choose to build a Rage Vortex-oriented character. For this particular character we choose to wield a One-Handed Sword and utilize a smooth progression towards the end-game state of this build, allowing you to easily follow along and build this character, based on your own budget limits and intent for it. We also utilise a couple of key Unique items, such as the Redblade Banner, to maximize the potential of the rage-based scaling that Rage Vortex provides.
The build itself is an amazing league-starter, as the barrier of entry is extremely low, but with the right investment and care, can easily tackle the entire game’s content, including delving, Uber-Awakener and Uber-Elder, as well as the highest of map tiers.
This build was used as my own League starter during the 3.15 Expedition league and has been performing amazingly well throughout all content, including the A8 Endgame Mapping.
This build will be converting it’s physical damage to cold, by way of using a Hrimsorrow early on, switching out later for a Hatred-based Watcher's Eye in the endgame.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable (with a few alterations)
+ Good clear speed
+ Great league starter
+ Extremely flexible build, allowing lots of customization
+ Options to increase DPS or survivability based on preferences
+ Pure Elemental means you don’t care about “Physical Reflect” map mods
– Not as fast as a zoom-zoom ranger build
– Intelligence/Dex can be an annoyance to acquire on this build
– Very expensive to max out, compared to spell caster or summoner builds
Map Modifiers to be Avoided
The build cannot do Elemental Reflect and (to a certain degree) Cannot Regenerate Life/Mana maps.
Other rough, but manageable, mods are No Leech and “Cursed by Vulnerability”.
Traversing the map using Leap Slam and Dash while keeping up Blood Rage permanently will make you a fast and effective mapper.
Place your Ancestral Warchief whenever needed (some specific Rare/Unique mobs or map bosses), as it provides a large amount of additional damage in a medium-sized radius around it. You want to use this in more stationary fights, rather than mobile ones.
You want to use your Enduring Cry on-cooldown in most situations to keep up your Endurance charges. We will be placing this on our left-click, to automatically trigger it whenever the cooldown is up. This will keep up full endurance charges 24/7, as well as providing a hefty amount of recovery every 3-4 seconds.
Use your Immortal Call whenever you’re about to jump into a pack of enemies. Try to dip out of combat if you run into a strong opponent and your Immortal Call is not up. Make sure to use it BEFORE you jump on the target, otherwise you might not get the chance…!
Lastly, you should get used to using your Intimidating Cry or Battlemage's Cry whenever your rage dips below 25 (using berserk) or whenever the initial buff they provide runs out (roughly 6~ seconds).
This is the Level 90~ Passive Skill Tree for the build.
We focus on picking up all the efficient Warcry, Sword, and Crit nodes along the way, as well as a ton of health, some defensively focused clusters, as well as the relevant Cold Conversion near the Ranger side of the tree.
Our full Gem Links, as well as more information including the Path of Building link and a few lower-level trees in order to have an easier time leveling 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
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety to understand the choices made for the recommendations here.
The build only has 2 (3) mandatory uniques, that cannot properly be replaced with rares:
- The Pandemonius
- Redblade Banner
- ( Hrimsorrow before you get the Watcher’s Eye)
Focus on obtaining these items first. The Pandemonius is generally expensive and should be considered your first big-time purchase. Until you can acquire it, simply use a rare amulet with as much Crit Multi, Phys to Attacks, Cold Damage Increases, Stats and Life as you can find.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Head||Rare Helmet with decent Chaos/Ele Resists and Life|
|Chest||Rare Body Armour or Loreweave or Carcass Jack|
|Gloves||Hrimsorrow or Rare Gloves with “Physical damage converted to Cold” with at least 25%|
|Boots||Rare Boots with Resists and Life|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Rings||Rare Rings to fill out Resists and Stats, as well as Life Gain on Hit (Elder/Hunter)|
|Weapon||Rare Foil with high physical damage (early) or Paradoxica (endgame) with focus on Physical DPS and Crit Chance|
As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- 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.
The character can be leveled with its signature skill from level 28 onward and feels great to do so. There are no requirements (neither gems nor items) to start this character from level 1.
Here is an early Passive Skill Tree that picks up all the foundational passive nodes needed in the beginning of the character.
You will want to pick up all the Warcry and Rage nodes on the tree first, before you make your way over to the right side, towards the Wind Dancer keystone and the sword nodes in the Ranger area.
For more information about leveling trees, passive skill tree order, etc. make sure to check the mentioned Passive Tree Page and PoB link page.
Useful Leveling Unique Items
As you begin a new character, there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. 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.
Using 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 Siosa in The Library in Act III Library, or Lilly Ross starting at Act VI, once you’ve completed the corresponding side-quest she provides.
For leveling setups, you have a ton of different options, depending on what ability you prefer to level with. Personally, I prefer Smite as my main ability until level 28, but you can also go with Cleave if you prefer that playstyle.
From level 1, you should use the following link.
At level 4, you should add War Banner and Ancestral Protector for additional damage.
Dash helps out by improving your mobility early on.
Blood and Sand should be only used according to the your current needs (stay in Blood stance while fighting tough enemies and switch to Sand stance while clearing). Molten Shell can be used whenever you need the damage mitigation.
By level 8, your Cleave link should look like this, going down the list depending on how many links you have available.
- Cleave or Perforate or Smite
- Maim Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Chance to Bleed Support
- Onslaught Support
- Ruthless Support
At level 10, you should add Leap Slam for additional mobility. If you’re using Perforate, you may also pick up Intimidating Cry at this point, for added burst potential and damage.
At level 16, you should add Flesh and Stone. If you’re using Perforate, you should also switch out your Intimidating Cry for Seismic Cry, which will provide you with extra clear speed, damage and survivability, thanks to the knockback it provides.
By level 18, your Cleave or Perforate or Smite links should look like this.
- Cleave or Perforate or Smite
- Melee Physical Damage Support
- Rage Support
- Close Combat Support
- Onslaught Support
- Ruthless Support
At level 24, you should add Pride for additional damage improvement. You should also replace War Banner with Dread Banner.
At level 28, you should replace your Ancestral Protector with Ancestral Warchief. At this point you should also replace your Cleave setup with the following Cyclone link.
Starting at level 31, you should replace one of your Cyclone links with a Fortify Support.
You can start replacing your gem setup to be more in-line with the late-game setup for Rage Vortex, once you’ve acquired the 2nd Ascendancy, as well as equipped your Redblade Banner.
Do NOT attempt to use this ability without having those two requirements fulfilled, as it WILL be absolutely terrible to play.
How to Deal with Mana Problems? The Skill Tree Does Not Have a Single Node of Mana Leech.
Having a single jewel with “Gain 2 Mana for each enemy hit by your attacks” will solve all your Mana problems. Alternatively you can keep the mana-leech node on the bottom right corner of the tree.
What if I Have any Questions not Covered Here?
Feel free to leave a comment down below, join the PoE Vault Discord or try to catch me over on my stream to ask me directly.
Infinite Rage, Ice Explosions and Floating Cyclones the size of Jupiter? The Cold Conversion Rage Vortex Berserker makes all these dreams come true!