[3.6] Triple Herald Blade Vortex Elementalist

3.6 Update

Blade Vortex base damage has been nerfed by approximately 18%. Not good, but the build is still viable. The skill tree has changed a bit, here's updated PoB: https://pastebin.com/edXXNQd4

This is the Triple Herald Elementalist Blade Vortex build - my attempt to make the Elementalist great again. Great all-rounder, viable for all content.

Please don't pm your questions to me directly, post them in this thread.
If you have problems with your character, read the FAQ section first.


Good clear speed - red map run video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj3dsHfvBEk or T16 Guardian map clear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osrGaMzyHCQ
Good single target damage - Shaper kill video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsVP1pwkhy0
Pretty tanky - 7-8k eHP
Fairly cheap to gear, not gated behind rare/expensive uniques. Good league starter, SSF is possible.
Scales exceptionally well in the end-game.


Blade vortex mechanics may feel clunky to some
Have to be in melee range to deal damage

Build Theory

The renewed Elementalist ascendancy offers a good synergy with the Blade Vortex skill and the heralds.

The Pendulum of Destruction gives a very visible and welcome AoE boost or elemental damage boost when you need it.

The build uses all three elements via damage conversion and extra elemental damage:
Cold with the Hrimsorrow gloves
Lightning with the Physical to Lightning support
Fire with the Herald of Ash and the Added Fire Damage support
Whatever extra elements you get from the shaped weapons

So when using the Mastermind of Discord ascendancy with all three Heralds you get that 25% elemental penetration on everything.

With the Shaper of Desolation all your hits - not just critical ones - apply elemental ailments.

The Beacon of Ruin makes your elemental ailments stronger and spreads them to all nearby enemies.

The build is fairly beefy:
* Over 200% increased life can get you up to 7k hp if you invest into it. With Mind over Matter you can get up to 8k EHP.
* The damage is great so you kill most everything before they get to hit you.
* Lots of cold damage means that things get chilled and frozen all the time.
* Herald of Ice shatters almost everything so you leave no bodies for that nasty detonate dead or those pesky porcupines.
* Very agile with Whirling Blades as a movement skill - threats are easy to dodge. Also fortify.

Note that leech is mandatory for this build. Do not omit warlord's mark curse.

Skill tree, Bandits, Pantheon

Skill Tree

Level 93 tree: poeplanner
PoB: https://pastebin.com/G6jjuufr

The most notable change is that we now take the Spiritual Aid cluster, specifically for its "Increases and Reductions to Minion Damage also affect you" notable property. The reason why it matters is that the minion damage modifiers become global and therefore boost all heralds as well as Inpulsa explosion damage. It also allows us to utilize the 40% damage bonus from Bone Helmets, resulting in 109% increased global damage. We also allocate Celestial Judgement getting 36% increased generic elemental damage as well as 5% elemental penetration. These changes compensate the Inpulsa explosions nerf and considerably buff the heralds damage.

Late in the game once you have good weapons that ideally have mods that scale Inpulsa damage (generic elemental, lightning, or area damage) and have access to great jewels, you can refund the Spiritual Aid cluster nodes and take jewel slots instead.

MoM is optional, good early on but once you get enough life it can be refunded. Spare mana can then be allocated to use Herald of Purity or Aspect of the Spider.

End Game Tree

Once you are high level and rich enough to afford warlord's mark ring and good jewels (life + 2 damage mods) I recommend the following tree: poeplanner

* MoM has to go because Aspect of the Spider is available again and it is too good to miss out
* Go for the second curse with the Whispers of Doom cluster. Use Herald Of Thunder / CWDT setup same way it was used for Warlords Mark before the ring. Use Enfeeble for safety or Elemental Weakness for extra dps.
* 6 jewel slots


Help Alira (or take 2 points).


Pendulum of Destruction -> Mastermind of Discord -> Shaper of Desolation -> Beacon of Ruin


Major: Brine King (prevents stunlocks)
Minor: Gruthkul (phys damage reduction) or Shakari (poison immunity)


General Notes

Aim to have at least 70 life on every rare piece of gear. Do not overlook mana regen and flat mana mods. Always make sure your elemental resists are capped.


Dual wield either 2 Daggers, or Dagger and Foil, or 2 Foils.

Stats to look for:
* Critical chance for spells
* Spell damage
* Elemental damage
* Crit multiplier
* Damage added to spells
* Gain % of physical damage as [element] damage (shaped weapons mod)
* Elemental resists penetration

Shield is also an option if you prefer to use Shield Charge as a movement skill, it is faster and arguably better for mapping where you don't need to maximize your damage output. You can use scepters with shields.


Inpulsa's Broken Heart is the BiS armor for this build.

It boosts both single target damage (via the increased shock effectiveness and increased damage mods) and AoE (via the shocked enemies you kill explode mod).

Until you obtain Inpulsa's, use any rare or unique armor, preferably with life and resists.


Bone Helmet

Very common drop, provides 30-40% global damage increase when the Spiritual Aid notable is allocated. Good choice early in the league or for SSF.

Starkonja's Head

Lots of life, crit chance, attack speed and very importantly up to 70 dex - this build can be dex starved.

Alternatively use any rare helmet with life and resists.

Best helmet lab enchantment is 30% increased blade vortex duration.



Important part of the build to get the 50% cold conversion. Very common and cheap item. Fated version (Hrimburn) is only marginally better, don't chase it but upgrade if the opportunity arises.

In the Betrayal league it is possible to craft double conversion gloves that would be a better choice since they can have other useful mods as well (life, resists etc).


Rare boots with movement speed, life and resists.

Best lab enchantments are:

* 16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently - for mapping
* Damage Penetrates 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven't Killed Recently - for end game bosses


Stygian vise with life and resists.


Rare with life, crit multi and whatever else you can get - crit chance, resists etc
If you are rich then look for shaped amulets with the Gain % of physical damage as [element] damage mod on top of the above.

Yoke of suffering https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Yoke_of_Suffering is a good damage option but unfortunately it doesn't have any life on it.


Life and resists. Cast speed, mana regen and flat mana is a bonus.

Warlord's mark curse ring for leech and extra tankiness (endurance charges).
Note that this ring is recommended but not required. If you can't get one you will need to obtain warlord's mark curse from gems. It will be explained later in the Gems and links section.

Warlord's Mark elder ring can be paired with Mark of the Shaper ring for a very solid damage increase:


Crit multi, Life and some extra damage mod(s).


* Life
* Quicksilver
* Atziri
* Diamond
* Sulphur/Silver/Stibnite

Craft antibleed, antifreeze and curse immunity.
Replace Quicksilver flask with Basalt or Taste of Hate once you start using Whirling Blades.

Wise Oak can be an excellent option but only if you manage to balance all your elemental resistances.

Flasks management is very important for this build. You can almost double your damage output by using all your utility flasks at once.

Useful Incursion Gear Mods

0.4% of Cold Damage Leeched as Life or 0.4% of Lightning Damage Leeched as Life - source of extra leech, especially useful in hexproof maps

Chance to Dodge Attack Hits or Chance to Dodge Spell Hits - extra damage avoidance

% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Lightning (Fire, Cold) Damage - extra physical damage mitigation if you are using a rare helmet

Gems and links

Blade Vortex

Blade Vortex - Added Fire Damage - Controlled destruction - Physical to Lightning - Increased Critical Strikes - Efficacy / Power Charge on Critical / Increased Critical Damage / Concentrated Effect

Replace Added Fire Damage with Hypothermia once you get the Beacon of Ruin ascendancy node.
Last slot is situational. Use Conc effect on tough bosses, and a support of your choice for mapping.


Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Culling strike

If using shield replace Whirling Blades with Shield Charge if you like it better.
If using MoM replace Culling strike with Blood Magic.

Orb of storms

Orb of storms - Arcane Surge (level 5/6) - Power Charge on Crit

This is the "give me more juice" button. Arcane surge gives 13% more damage, extra cast speed to spin up the blades faster and some mana regen on top of that. And you also get power charges when it crits. If you are already using PCoC with Blade Vortex, replace it with Blind here.
Important: keep Arcane surge low level so it gets triggered by a single cast of orb of storms.


Lightning golem is the best for this build. Allows to move faster with whirling blades or shield charge as well as spin up vortex blades quicker.


We use all three heralds: Ash, Ice and Thunder.

Here is how we are going to utilize them:

Herald of Ash doesn't hit and doesn't trigger any on kill events, so just leave it alone and use as is.
Herald of Thunder is going to be linked to Curse On Hit - Warlord's Mark gems. This doesn't reserve any extra mana and reliably curses enemies around you while exping. The fourth link is going to be Blind - our chance to evade jumps to over 50% against blinded enemies.

Herald of Ice can be used on its own, however if you have enough spare links and mana you can try the following combination, it works great if you don't have Inpulsa's armor yet:

Herald of Ice - Culling Strike - Onslaught - Ice Bite

Do not use this setup with Inpulsa's armor as it steals herald's kills most of the time.
If you have Inpulsa's and want to clear even faster you can use this setup borrowed from the autobomber builds:

Herald of Ice - Ice Bite - Innervate - Increased Critical Strikes

This will however reserve a lot of mana so you will need to either switch to Watcher's jewel based mini-MoM or unspec MoM altogether which would have a negative impact on survivability.

If you are not using MoM you can squeeze Herald of Purity in as the 4th herald.


CWDT (12) - Immortal Call (14) - Increased Duration - Warlord's Mark (14)

This setup serves two purposes: it triggers Immortal Call to prevent all physical damage for the duration, and also casts the Warlord's Mark curse. The latter is required in single target situations (bosses) where the curse cannot be applied by the herald.
You don't want to keep your CWDT too low level as you don't want your endurance charges to be consumed every time someone looks at you funny. Level 12 appears to be a good balance, although you may keep it lower early on.

Here's the cheat sheet for all gem links:

Body: Blade Vortex
Weapon1: Orb of Storms - Arcane Surge (5-6) - Power Charge On Crit
Weapon2: Herald of Ash - Herald of Ice - Golem
Helmet: Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify (+ Blood Magic with MoM)
Gloves: Herald of Thunder - Blind - Curse On Hit - Warlord's Mark
Boots: CWDT (10-12) - Immortal Call (12-14) - Increased Duration - Warlord's Mark (12-14)

You can use blood rage if you can sustain it (have enough regen).

If you have the Warlord's Mark curse on hit ring, you can remove Warlord's Mark gems, opening up a few slots. There are no hard and fast rules on how to use these extra slots, here is a few possible ideas:

* Add Frost Bomb to your CWDT setup. It adds 25% cold penetration when triggered and we do deal quite a big deal of cold damage. It also greatly reduces enemies life regen which is useful against high regen targets.
* Link golem to CWDT to have it automatically resummoned.
* Link heralds to Enlighten support to free up a bit more mana for MoM.
* Add Blind to Orb of Storms setup.
* Add Flame Dash as an extra movement skill for lab or rough terrain when you need to jump which you cannot do with whirling blades or shield charge.



Simply keep on spinning and whirling blade into packs while popping flasks. Everything gets chilled, shocked and frozen and then just explodes.

How to handle tough map mods:

Elemental reflect - can't do, reroll
Hexproof - use Berek's Grip ring
No regen - bring a mana flask
Can't leech - heavy flask work, consider rerolling


Drop orb of storms to get arcane surge going, spin up to max blades, pop flasks and go to town.
Use Concentrated Effect if your dps is lacking.


15 points

Pick Witch starting spell damage nodes followed by life/mana nodes.
Level with Freezing pulse, switch to Arc or Firestorm at level 12 if you like, or start using blade vortex straight away although it is going to feel clunky early on.

25 points

Head over to the templar area.
Don't forget to level blade vortex gem in a spare slot. You'll need to get some extra dexterity on gear (jade amulet) and/or take the Precision node.
Take Herald of Ash as a quest reward and start using it.

39 points

Go to the scion life wheel to get some extra life and regen. If using firestorm or BV as your leveling skill, take the duration cluster sooner rather than later. Take the Amplify node for extra AoE.
Do the first lab around level 35-38 and get the Pendulum of Destruction ascendancy node. Start using Blade Vortex. Recommended 4 link setup is Blade Vortex - Added Fire Damage - Controlled Destruction - Physical to Lightning. When you get 5 links, add Increased Critical Strikes support. You will also need a source of leech to solve the sustain issues. Do the Siosa library quest, buy Warlord's Mark and Blasphemy gems from him and use them along with Herald of Ash.

55 points

Dexterity is becoming a bottleneck now so it is time to move towards the shadow area. Take a jewel slot and put Assassin Haste (quest reward) there. Do the second lab when you have around 2-2.5k life and take the Mastermind of Discord ascendancy node. Add Herald of Thunder as your second herald.

73 points

Take the Devotion life cluster in the templar area followed by the Celestial Judgement notable. Then take life nodes in the shadow area and then the Annihilation notable above the witch start.
Buy Hrimsorrow gloves and switch to aura-less Warlord's Mark setup described in the Gems and Links section and start using all three heralds.

88 points

It is probably a good idea to get MoM now.
Take the Spiritual Aid cluster followed by Purity of Flesh life cluster.

107+ points

Follow the same strategy - alternate between taking damage and life nodes. Allocate jewel slots once you obtain decent jewels. After 107 points all that remains is to take the Acrobatics nodes (refund Precision at some point).

Recommended leveling weapons:


Help, I feel squishy

Make sure that:

* Your elemental resists are capped
* You have 70+ life on every rare piece of gear
* You have a source of leech (warlord's mark curse or at least Berek's Grip ring)
* You have taken enough life nodes on the tree (specifically scion life cluster)
* You have taken Mind over Matter and have at least 500 unreserved mana
* You are using recommended flasks
* You are using instant ("Seething" or at least "Bubbling") life flask
* Your weapons are at least as good as Divinarius unique dagger
* Your gems are linked exactly as suggested in the gem links cheat sheet

Can I use Essence Worm with Hatred?

Hatred adds around 15% more damage - very good indeed.
However you are losing a ring slot that could provide over 100 life (with Coral ring) and 80-100 elemental resists. You will also not have enough mana left for MoM.
If you are content with this trade-off and prefer to run a glass cannon version of the build - you can. The choice is yours.

If we are talking about the end game however then the answer is no. You would be better off with the Mark of the Shaper ring paired with an elder ring - the damage bonus is the same if not better while adding some life and not reserving any extra mana.

Is 5L Inpulsa's better than 6L rare armour?

5L Inpulsa's is better as long as you've got the Beacon of Ruin ascendancy.

5L setup: BV - Hypothermia - Controlled Destruction - Physical To Lightning - Increased Critical Strikes

Why take Mind over Matter if we don't have that much unreserved mana?

Blade Vortex is precast which means that it still goes on and keeps damaging (and leeching) even if we run out of mana. Our movement skill is linked to Blood Magic so we don't need mana to use it either.
While some extension to the life pool is always welcome, we take it to boost our recovery rate. Since we use leech as our primary defense mechanics, adding mana leech and mana regen increases our total recovery rate by 25-30%.

How do I deal with chaos damage in Incursions?

Swap for the Ming's Heart ring and use Atziri's flask liberally.


With Inpulsa's Broken Heart

Shaper - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsVP1pwkhy0

T16 Guardian of the Hydra - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osrGaMzyHCQ

T15 Carcass - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4YbmpmCZAM

Red Elder - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csTX1lUQZks

T16 Guardian of the Phoenix (by TheGrammaton) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5DhYg7cong

Without Inpulsa's Broken Heart

Shaper - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hETDlIarQxQ

T15 Carcass with triple damage mods and vulnerability - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfudKOOOlls

vs the Elder (yellow tier) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbrwz_nzXAI

T11 Mesa Vulnerability, -Max Res, Hexproof - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvfNk21r-CE

Last edited by DirtyDot on Mar 9, 2019, 7:59:06 AM
Last bumped on Jan 2, 2020, 7:35:54 AM
great build! i'm enjoying it so far :)
great build! i'm enjoying it so far :)

get this for leveling, it would feel even better:

DirtyDot wrote:

get this for leveling, it would feel even better:

i will!

on a sidenote, the 4 offcolours on the belly are relativly easy and not that expensive to craft with jewelers. the fusings afterwards might make it expensive if you're unlucky though
I'm very interested in this build, there's one question i have though:

Where do you get your mana sustain? and if it's on a shaper ring with warlords mark on hit, what would you do before you get one of these?

i can't buy one because i'm playing SSF
FreddyRamsone wrote:
I'm very interested in this build, there's one question i have though:

Where do you get your mana sustain? and if it's on a shaper ring with warlords mark on hit, what would you do before you get one of these?

i can't buy one because i'm playing SSF

early on just use blasphemy-warlord's mark instead of one of the heralds
then you can get some mana/mana regen on gear and perhaps use mid-level clarity to sustain via regen

if your mana is not too bad and just needs a bit of help sustaining while exping, use Herald of Thunder - Curse on Hit - Assasin's mark
you can also link Mana Leech support to your Heralds - it actually works and reserves no extra mana
Last edited by DirtyDot on Mar 17, 2018, 4:14:49 AM
added video against the Elder (yellow tier) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbrwz_nzXAI
T15 Carcass with three damage mods and vulnerability - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfudKOOOlls
Very cool build, I am looking for a elementalist build and this looking very promising.

Can you make your characters public so we can see the items you are using?
Last edited by vempire_ghost on Mar 19, 2018, 9:01:52 PM

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info