About the Author
Furty has been playing Path of Exile since the release of the Onslaught League in 2013, and has a deep and diverse well of experience within the game. Equally comfortable playing on Hardcore, Softcore, and Solo-Self Found Leagues, recent ladder results include finishing at Rank 5 on the Legion SSF League playing Essence Drain and the Betrayal League at Rank 186 playing Elemental Hit. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his occasional streams on Twitch.
This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
The Triple Herald Blade Vortex Elementalist has become an iconic staple of the Path of Exile meta since its rise to power in Incursion League and a fast favorite amongst exiles everywhere. Truly a capable jack-of-all-trades, this build feels comfortable in virtually all environments, whether you are blasting through a Shaper kill or disintegrating groups of enemies as you plough through maps. Perhaps most importantly, this build is a very viable League Starter and can be played to great effect in the SSF leagues. In fact, a variant of this build was the first to reach Rank 1 & 2 of the Incursion HCSSF ladder, which is a true testament to the build’s ability to excel in all environments.
This build deals nearly exclusively Elemental damage, which stems from the Herald auras themselves as well as our Blade Vortex damage, which is converted from Physical to Elemental. The high amount of Critical Chance we end up with allows us to move through maps like a blender, freezing and shattering the entire screen using Herald of Ice, Herald of Ash, and Herald of Thunder. A healthy amount of leech and Atziri's Promise ensure that we are always sitting at a comfortable amount of health, provided there is a target to hit.
+ Very fast clear speed
+ Formidable defensive capability (7.0-9.0k EHP, able to utilize Mind over Matter and Acrobatics), powerful life leech
+ Good single target damage output, Guardians/Shaper are easily doable
+ Satisfying explosion chains
+ Immune to physical reflect
– Blade Vortex mechanics can feel clunky to some players, particularly before you acquire Increased Duration nodes/enchant
– Melee build means that you actually have to do mechanics
– Certain map mods are not possible/not efficient (Elemental Reflect, Hexproof, No regen, No leech)
This build is very relaxing, and a ton of fun to play. Blade Vortex plays similarly to Righteous Fire builds, with the player dashing into packs with Shield Charge or Whirling Blades while Blade Vortex and Herald chain shatters take care of the rest. The Triple Herald Blade Vortex Elementalist is a true all-rounder, but unlike others that fall into this category, it feels incredibly powerful in virtually all environments. This is a build for blasting through bosses and maps while satisfying explosions and colorful lights erupt all around you. Let us get started.
Passive Skill Tree
For more details on the Passive Tree, skill acquisition order, and more, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page for in-depth information.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Powers page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page thoroughly.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Chest||Inpulsa's Broken Heart|
|Boots||Rare Two-Toned Boots (Cold and Lightning Resistances) or any other base|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|Ring 1||Mark of the Shaper|
|Ring 1||Rare Elder Ring|
|Weapon 1||Rare Shaped Dagger or Sceptre|
|Weapon 2||Rare Shaped Dagger or Sceptre|
For in-depth recommendations for gear, flasks, jewels, and crafting advice be sure to read our Gear, Jewels, and Flasks page .
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.
Start out with Freezing Pulse and use it to quickly push through Act I until you reach Merveil’s Caves. Pick up Blade Vortex from Nessa, which can be used from Level 12 and is a fantastic level skills. In Act I you can link it to:
- Blade Vortex
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Arcane Surge Support
- Increased Critical Strikes Support
- Onslaught Support
Begin to work the other recommended gems as you level up. Be sure to pick up Vaal Blade Vortex as early as possible and acquire all the Herald auras, as well as Controlled Destruction Support and Physical to Lightning Support, in Act II. You will also want to purchase Hrimsorrow very early on, even when league starting.
Which Annointment Should I Use for my Amulet?
- Arcane Potency: One of the best damage options, granting additional Critical Strike and Multiplier.
- Exceptional Performance: Gives you that really great feeling of Blade Vortex lasting forever and a high quality of life option.
- Whispers of Doom: Allows both Temporal Chains and Elemental Weakness simultaneously. Not as potent for this build as with certain others, and rather expensive, but still one of the best options for making the build more complete.
- Graceful Assault: Grants Onslaught during clear which results in movement speed and the highest possible clock times for maps at the cost of damage.
How Many Stacks of Blade Vortex Should I Clear With?
Depending on the Map tier, you will need varying levels of Blade Vortex stacks to instantly kill packs, but 2-3 stacks is generally suitable. With many Path of Exile builds, the true optimization comes through managing your flasks correctly, and this one is no exception — do not overlap whenever possible, but do not let your charges stack up and get munched.
Should I Keep Arcane Surge Active?
Arcane Surge Support is not necessary for clearing, but should consistently procced during bosses for the additional damage bonus. If you’re using Flame Dash to proc Arcane Surge, you can keep it active for clearing without any loss in clear speed.
5-Link Inpulsa vs. Tabula Rasa
In most situations, the 5-Linked Inpulsa's Broken Heart will outperform the Tabula Rasa, or indeed, any Rare or Unique 6-Linked Chest. On single targets such as bosses, the difference is a little murkier, and the 6-Linked Chest will likely outperform Inpulsa. Regardless, we always recommend making the swap to Inpulsa as soon as you are able to purchase and equip one.
How Much Currency Will it Cost Before I Can Blow Up My Entire Screen?
Not very much, although the exact cost varies from league to league. Inpulsa's Broken Heart is the only real item necessary to kick the build into high gear, and even then, it is possible to continue leveling without it (if you are SSF, for example). You should easily be able to kit yourself out for less than 2 Exalts and be blasting through maps in no time.
Acrobatics and Mind Over Matter — Optional?
Yes, Acrobatics is entirely optional. In fact, having both Mind over Matter and Acrobatics is not necessary, particularly for experienced players, although if you feel your damage is adequate for the content you are aiming to clear, there is not much a reason to swap them out. A potential alternative when dropping Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics is to acquire more Life, damage, and an extra Jewel slot.
Yes, Mind Over Matter is also an optional keystone. While most players opt to have at least one of Mind Over Matter or Acrobatics, the build clears fine and still feels very stable with neither. If you’re struggling with Mana reservation, for example, consider dropping Mind Over Matter temporarily. You should aim to have a minimum of around 450 unreserved Mana to consider running Mind Over Matter. While you will often be “out of Mana”, Blade Vortex does not have a high cost to cast, and lasts for a reasonable amount of time once active, especially with skill duration nodes and helm enchant. This is another reason why linking Blood Magic Support to your mobility skill is advised. If you decide to drop Mind Over Matter, you can also feel free to drop Notables such as Deep Thoughts and Dreamer (if Intuitive Leap is used). This allows you to reallocate 4-7 points for additional utility, maximum Life, or pure damage.
We recommend doing some testing for yourself once you’ve reached the end-game, and see what you feel most comfortable with.
But What About This Shaped Item?!
There are virtually limitless ways to optimize gear in Path of Exile, and with some of Shaper, Elder, and Delve mods available, there are some ultra-rare and one-of-a-kind items out there. These are not really suitable as guide “recommendations”, but if you spot a juicy piece that fits into the build, make sure you test it in Path of Building first, or ask here in the comments!
Check out the rest of the guide for any additional information: