ShakCentral’s Vortex Occultist: Beginner-Oriented | All Content | Budget | HC, SSF, & Console

IF you've somehow stumbled across this guide, it's being redone in a new style HERE. It will take a while, but you can follow along in that thread. This guide is severely outdated.

Put on an extra layer, exile; It's about to get a lot cooler in here!

Welcome to my guide! The Cold DoT Occultist is a beginner friendly build that's great for Hardcore, Softcore, Solo Self-Found, and console gameplay. It's tanky, has very good dps, and requires 0 uniques. Within this guide, you'll find videos, mechanic explanations, a Path of Building code, a thoroughly detailed, color-coded leveling guide, gearing options, and more!

Credit: This guide is inspired by the incredible Enki Arc Witch guide. PoE has many skills that deserve guides as thorough as Enki's and I'm happy to contribute to the community.

I’ll answer questions as I’m able, but check the guide first for answers. You can also join my discord server and ask questions in the Path of Exile channel here. Thanks!


To-Do List

Add Spine of the First Claiment to cheap uniques
Add section on non-minion node tree
Add trade links for item searches
Add enchantments section
Heavy edits on the end-game gear.
Add section on dual (3?) curse setups
Gear links of stuff I have and pictures of stuff I don't have - budget gear and cheap uniques are done, end-game is halfway done.




Pros and Cons
Build Concept
New Player Help and Tips
Path of Building and Online Skill Tree
Build Mechanics
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon
Gem Links
Leveling - Full Guide
Changelog Link



Uber Elder Kill (See Note Below)

Yes, I died twice. It was my 2nd Uber Elder ever, and I clearly haven't mastered the fight. The build crushed the fight, with the 25% HP phases over almost instantly. I used a webcam so you can laugh at my badness :)

Deathless Shaper
Minotaur Kill
Depth 299 Ahuatotli, the Blind Kill
T16 4-Sextant Map + Abyssal Depths
T15 142% Quant 3-Sextant Map
Red Elder Is A Joke

Uber Atziri, Uber Elder coming soon!

Pros and Cons

High Effective Health Pool
Chill and freeze mechanics from our spells are a huge defensive boost
Kill things while moving out of harms way or to the next pack
0 Unique Requirements
Can start maps on a 100-200 Alteration budget
Hardcore, SSF, and console viable
Flexible gearing options


Clear isn’t god-tier without sacrificing defenses
Single target is high, but not bursty
Spell visuals for Vortex and Cold Snap are slightly transparent and buying MTX to fix this isn’t always an option.

Build Concept - Console Player Note Inside

This build has 3 goals:
-Doing high amounts of Cold Damage Over Time.
-Using curses, chills, and freezes to lower the chance of taking a hit.
-Stacking Energy Shield to comfortably absorb the hits that you do take.

When you combine those 3 things, you have a build with mid-to-high tier clearing and good single target damage that is extremely survivable against the hardest bosses that Path of Exile has to offer.

A Note on League Starting, Hardcore, and Solo Self-Found

One of the best parts of this build is its adaptability. It’s an absurdly cheap league starter; the Path of Building link has a set of budget gear that can reach 5500 Energy Shield, 75% capped resistances, and 125K+ DPS on a 4-Linked Vortex in all blue (magic) gear. It’s a resilient Hardcore build, with a large amount of Energy Shield that regens faster the more you kill. Finally, it’s great for SSF players, as it requires 0 uniques to function at a high level. Everything outside of the Low Life variant is optimal using almost all rare items, many of which can be fossil-crafted at a low cost.

For Console Players

I believe that Vortex competes with Winter Orb, Cyclone, and Righteous Fire as some of the best skills to play on console. The movement is very fluid due to the joystick, and you just Vortex at your feet as you move. Be careful near tight turns and doorways, as console is more rubber-bandy than PC. Note that Cold Snap targets and will be much harder to place correctly. Therefore, Vortex cooldown recovery reduction is one of the most valuable things you could stack on the console version. As trading is a nightmare on console, check the ultra budget section for an easy way to get into maps on your own.

New Player Help and Tips. Skip This If You're Not New

This section is information to assist new PoE players. Pick the things that are helpful and ignore the rest. Some of these I learned 3 years ago, and some of them I learned within the past few weeks. Hopefully something in here helps you. If you’re struggling with basic concepts, just ask. I can always add more to this section.

First of all, never be afraid to take your time, ignore trading and "the meta", and have fun with the game! Level slowly and learn things like positioning, when to go fast, which boss fights are hard and worth practicing, etc. The game is complicated, so chew your food!


ES = Energy Shield
DoT = Damage Over Time
PoB = Path of Building
4L/5L/6L = 4,5, or 6 linked gear
WP = Waypoint
TP = Using a Portal Scroll
SSF = Solo Self-Found
HC = Hardcore Mode
CI = Chaos Innoculation
LL = Low Life (google "Pain Attunement poe")
BBG/BG/RRR etc = Skill Gem Links (Blue,Green,Red)

Loot Filters:

You need a loot filter to play PoE. Monsters drop a TON of loot, but 98% of it is complete trash. Loot filters tell the game what show on the ground.

If you’re brand new, take 2 minutes to do the following, and you’ll be set for months. Go to Select “Regular” in the dropdown menu labeled “Strictness”. Go to the “Download” tab, rename the filter “Leveling”, and download. Go back to the overview tab, change the Strictness to “Strict”, name this filter “Maps”, and download. In PoE options, scroll to the bottom of UI. Click “Show folder” and the location for loot filters will open. Drag your two filters from your downloads folder into the folder. Close options and re-open. Go to UI and use the dropdown menu to select the appropriate loot filter.


I’m not giving a setup tutorial, but AutoHotKey is incredible. I use the following: a logout macro to save lives and time, and a /hideout macro to go there instantly from town. Macros can help with trading, partying, etc. Just educate yourself on what’s legal; don’t get yourself banned.

Use Without Moving and Move Only:

For nearly all skills, you should click the skill in your bar and check the orange button to use the skill without moving. This prevents your character from chasing enemies or not using a skill at all due to distance/targeting. Also, set left click to the footprint icon that says “move only”. This will stop you from using basic attacks. While some games utilize basic attacks, there is virtually no reason to ever be basic attacking in PoE after the Twilight Strand. You can sustain mana easily, and skills are so powerful that you will almost never intentionally want to basic attack. In addition, basic attacking makes you run toward the enemy if they aren't in melee range. This means a mis-click may drag you directly into your demise.

Experience Penalty:

“Safe zones” for leveling start at 3 levels higher or lower than current character level. A level 5 character has no exp penalty in any zone between levels 2 and 8. The exp safe zone increases by 1 level every 16 character levels. At lvl 16, the safe zone is 12-20, and so on. This allows characters to progress faster and still retain normal experience. Hit tab to show the full map in-game. You can check zone level in the top right of the tabbed screen.

Path of Building and Online Skill Tree


Path of Building is a build planner that lets you pre-plan a passive tree (or in this guide’s case, 14), test gems and links, add gear, and import your characters. It’s an incredibly valuable tool, and I'm not sure I'd be playing Path of Exile without it. Download PoB here. I would hazard a guess that many players would agree with me when I say that I spend as much time in PoB as I do playing the actual game.

To see this build in PoB, click "Import/Export Build, then "Import from Pastebin..." and enter the copied code above.

For those who are on mobile or don't have PoB installed, you can view the skill tree here

A Note On The Minion Nodes

We are taking minion nodes because of Spiritual Aid. It is a minion node that grants the player any increases and decreases to minion damage. This gives us, in many cases, more damage scaling than we could get on player-focused nodes, as the minion damage nodes are often significant damage increases.

Build Mechanics and What We Scale


Stun Immunity: Chaos Innoculation characters have a 50% change to be stunned when hit. While it might not seem like a big deal, a 50% chance is still begging to be killed while immobilized. Non-occultist CI characters have to factor stun immunity into their build; we get it naturally from our ascendancy and we will be stun-immune after Cruel Labyrinth, long before we switch to CI.

Vortex and Cold Snap: These skills share many similarities. Both cause a hit of cold damage, leaving behind an AoE that deals cold damage over time and chills enemies. Both skills gain AoE with gem quality. Vortex has higher damage over time, while Cold Snap does more damage with its initial hit and grants Frenzy charges. Vaal Cold Snap adds both offense and defense to the build. It causes a large burst of cold damage, freezing all hit enemies. A cold DoT effect surrounds the caster, dealing high damage and granting Frenzy charges.

Keep in mind this text, shared by both skills: “Modifiers to spell damage apply to this skill’s damage over time effect.” This means that when we stack spell damage, we gain damage on both the upfront hit as well as increasing the DoT.

Chill: Chill is an ailment applied by dealing cold damage to enemies. Chills last for 2 seconds and slows enemy action speed from 1 - 30%. The action slow percentage is based on the percentage of their life dealt by the hit of cold damage. Frozen targets are also chilled, and will remain chilled for 0.3 seconds after unfreezing (we modify this amount).

Our build is reliant on chill for both offense and defense. Here is how we modify normal chills:
60% increased effect (89% for Cold Snap)
Nearby chilled enemies deal 10% less damage with hits
Every 4 seconds, nearby chilled non-unique enemies freeze and uniques have 33% chance to freeze
20% chance to freeze chilled enemies
60% increased duration
Enemies become chilled as they unfreeze
Spells deal 39% more damage to chilled enemies

Bonechill Support is not currently working in PoB. This Cold Snap support makes chills more effective. It gives Cold Snap 44% increased chill effect, chilled enemies take 29% more damage, and enemies take increased damage based on chill effect.

Freeze: Cold damage can also freeze, slowing all action speed by 100%. Crits with cold damage have a 100% chance to freeze. Freezing is a survivability boost, as killed frozen enemies shatter, preventing corpse interactions such as Detonate Dead or porcupine spines from killing you unexpectedly.

Our build also modifies freeze in advantageous ways. Here is what we gain from our build:
Every 4 seconds, nearby chilled non-unique enemies freeze and uniques have 33% chance to freeze
20% chance to freeze chilled enemies
Enemies become chilled as they unfreeze
20% chance to freeze (beyond normal chance)
40% increased freeze duration

Energy shield: Energy Shield grants us a large flat amount of rechargeable health, as opposed to the armour and evasion defenses that mitigate incoming damage. Due to our positioning on the skill tree and the Occultist ascendancy, we are able to amass a very large amount of Energy Shield relatively easily, along with modifiers to recharge and regen this shield quickly. 8500+ Energy Shield is both easy to obtain and fairly cheap.

Chaos Innoculation: CI sets our life total to 1. In exchange, we become immune to Chaos damage. The tradeoff is well worth the downside, but we must take a few things into consideration. This is where our ascendancy comes in. The Vile Bastion node gives us stun immunity while we have ES. The Low Life version trades CI for increased damage and about 90% of the CI ES pool.

Cold Damage and Damage Over Time: Scaling cold damage will affect both the upfront hit of Vortex/Cold Snap as well as the damage over time of the skill, while scaling damage over time will affect only the ground effect of our skills.



Gearing Theory

A cold damage over time Occultist is extraordinarily gear-friendly. With our ascendancy we require very little gear to get to maps, and two damage spells make up for low damage early on.This build gets started on a tiny budget. With less than 100 Alts, I self-crafted a base set of Ultra Budget gear to test this; all blue items with mid-tier resist and ES rolls. With 100-200 alts, you can be at 5500+ ES, capped resists, and have 100k+ DPS, allowing you to break into low-tier maps and begin saving for serious upgrades.

Self-crafting your gear is not only simple, it’s practical if you learn/know what you’re doing. Fossils, fractured items, and external sites like poe.db and PoE Affix make it easy to learn how to get certain mods on items.

Crafting Methods

Crafting can be as easy or overwhelming as you make it. Know your budget and have an estimated cost of crafting to avoid bankrupting yourself halfway to a great item. The more specific and “high-end” the item is, the more expensive to make or buy it. Here are the basic ways that people craft in PoE:

Transmute/Alt/Aug Spam: Used to craft basic magic gear to fit a specific purpose or be a stopgap before a larger upgrade. We use this to craft our budget gear below. Make blue items with transmutes and use alts / augs to look for a second mod. This can bleed into the next method.

Alt and Regal Spam: This is used to craft basic upgrades, but is also used as a starting point for crafting the best items in the game. Alt spam, looking for two tier 1/2 rolls. Regal the item, looking for another good roll. Once you have desired rolls, craft a 4th mod or multimod for a godtier.

Essence Crafting: Essences are alchs that let you pre-determine a single mod on an item. They can be useful for targeting specific mods, like resists, attack speed, life rolls, etc.

Fossil Crafting: This is becoming my favorite hobby in PoE. Fossils are socketed into resonators and used to craft rares. Fossils and resonators are found in delves. Most fossils add types of mods to an item and prevent other types of mods.

Cheap socket coloring for 1-4 Links

This method requires you to delve a small amount for socket recipes, but you can color gear cheaply by using Jeweller’s Orbs. Hitting multiple off-color sockets can be difficult. For instance, we need an item with R-R-R-G links on a pure Int base. Reduce the item to 2 sockets in your crafting bench (cost: 1 jewellers). Use 25 chromatics to color both sockets to desired colors. Then up the item to 3 sockets (3 jeweller’s per attempt). If you don't hit the needed color, craft the item back to 2 sockets and repeat. Using the bench to do this will keep the original two socket colors. Repeat until you have the correct colors. If a 4th specific color is required, repeat this process, swapping from 4 sockets to 3 at 10 jewellers per.

Item Level

Items in PoE have an item level, determined not by the item base, but by the zone level and rarity of monster that dropped the item. Press Alt on an item to see its item level. Item level determines the tier of rolls an item can have. Example: The highest life that can roll on body armour is 120-129. However, a body armour found on Twilight Strand in Act 1 can only roll 3-9 life, because this value is capped by the item level. For most high-end crafting, the highest item level base is preferable so Tier 1 mods can roll. Check PoE Affix to view the top ilvl for each slot.

Ultra Budget Gear - Just Killed Kitava


Once you kill Kitava, assess your gear. If an item has decent ES and resists, keep it! For the rest, your process is simple: Go to the Blood Aqueducts and kill monsters. Look for gear to drop with ES bases. Note: You may have to hold Alt to see white gear if you have any reasonable item filter. Once you have a decent ES base for your needed items, use Alts on gear until you roll either flat ES or a decent resist. Once you hit a mod you are looking for, go to your crafting bench and craft which ever piece is missing. In minutes you’ll have a set of gear with ES and resists. On your weapon, look for cold damage over time multiplier and/or % cold damage. If you have Alchs or Regals to spare, use them on body armour for maximum ES gains.

If you rolled decent ES, have resists capped or very near capped, and have a little bit of added damage from a weapon, you should be able to quickly go CI with 5500+ Energy Shield. This should keep you going through white tier maps as you save currency and item bases for upgrades.

Flasks and Jewels


NOTE: GGG has mentioned some updates to mana in their 3.8 Development Manifesto. If mana is unsustainable in 3.8, we will likely need a mana flask with the spoiled "Enduring" mod, to allow our mana to regen even after filling up. If this happens, I would drop either the Sulphur or Basalt Flask.

We use the following flasks:

Quartz for phasing and dodge, Sulphur for damage and regen, Granite for flat physical reduction,Basalt for % physical reduction, and Quicksilver of Adrenaline for max movespeed.

I recommend the "Ample" or “Chemist’s” prefix if you can roll it. The 4 non-Quicksilvers should have: Grounding, Warding, Staunching, and Dousing. You can’t be frozen due to your Uber Lab ascendancy, but until you ascend for the final time you can use “of Heat” suffix in place of Dousing.

Witchfire Brew is a great offensive option with a high DoT roll. If you run Witchfire Brew, consider adding an Evasion "package" with a Jade Flask of Reflexes and Sin Trek boots (below).

Your Jewel slots flexible. If you take the jewel node to the right of the Witch start, you can slot Intuitive Leap and gain power/endurance/frenzy charge generation, 10% ES, mana and mana regen for only 3 points. In the high-end category, you can purchase Watcher’s Eyes with “%ES regen while affected by Discipline” and “Cold Damage Over Time While Affected By Malevolence”. If you are slotting rare jewels, Cobalts and Hypnotic Eyes are the way to go. For Cobalts, you’re looking for "% cold damage", "damage over time", and ES mods. Hypnotic mods to look for are "damage over time while wearing a shield", "chance to gain phasing on kill", "increased effect of chill", "chance to hinder", and resistances.

The Upgrade Path - Starting Yellow Maps

As you work your way through white maps, one of two things will happen with your gear. Either you will feel somewhat squishy due to a low-ish ES pool and potentially slightly under-capped resists, or you will find that your damage is underwhelming. It’s time to start upgrading.

One big note on crafting: value dexterity rolls. Dexterity is a huge sticking point of this build, and having a good dex roll on jewelry or other gear can make a huge difference, saving you skill points and allowing for more diversity.

Cheap Uniques

Here are a few uniques that could be picked up in trade league for exceptionally cheap prices. These can either be a gap filler while you build currency or can remain as strong gear options for a long period of time.


Earendel’s Embrace - 48-58% increased damage for 1C or less.

Heartbreaker - This dagger is just great. 1 alch for 60+% inc. damage, some ES QoL, and Culling Strike.

Divinarius - 1 alch for 50+% inc. damage, crit chance, mana on kill, and global AoE.

Bated Breath - If your resists are ok, BB gives damage and a large amount of ES. Can be your end-game belt.

Ascent From Flesh - Not very budget at 5-8C, but it’s a great belt and has some very nice QoL with phasing mods.

Berek’s Pass - Good cheap ring that gives cold damage, resists, and ES for ~1C.

Tasalio’s Sign - 1 alch for good cold damage boost, cold res, and some defenses.

Dream Fragments - Not super budget at 3-5C, but if you don’t have Uber Lab done yet it gives you cold res and saves you from freeze/chill.

Timetwist - Again, not super budget at 5-10C, but lots of ES, mana regen, cast speed, and unaffected by Temp Chains is fairly nice.

Vis Mortis - 2 Alch body armor with 375+ ES, mana, and minion damage. No resists.

The Beast Fur Shawl - I love this body armour. 410+ ES, spell damage, AoE, and ES recovery rate.

Rainbowstride - These boots are awesome. 90+ ES, good movespeed, and all resists. You can wear these for a long time.

Steppan Eard - Good ES, super movespeed.

Sin Trek - 3C for Dex, good ES, and very good movespeed. Can be your end-game boots.

Voidbringer - +1 to ele gems, crit chance, good ES, and flat ES on kill. Careful of mana cost, as mana is an issue for this build.

Allelopathy - Ignore Blight mods. Good ES, increased DoT and AoE. Solid.

Asenath’s Mark(and upgraded Chant version) - Decent ES, mana regen, movement speed.

Doedre’s Scorn - Put your Enfeeble in here. Good ES and ele damage.

Martyr’s Crown - High ES.

Chitus’ Apex - Low ES but all res, mana, exp gain, and dmg.

Rime Gaze - This is the best cheap unique for this build. Provides a link to Cold Snap, has a double damage mod, high ES, and mana. A small downside but crazy value for 1C. Can be your end-game Helmet

Rathpith Globe - Decent ES.

Saffell’s Frame - Low ES, but great for damage and resists.

Zeel’s Amplifier - No resists, but good damage, decent ES, and a ton of AoE.

Damage upgrades

To begin pushing your single target damage to higher levels, we want to improve our overall damage while also reducing enemy cold resistance as much as possible. To do this, we will begin by upgrading our weapon and our helmet.


As written in the leveling section, you want to be unveiling every weapon you can find from Syndicate encounters. If you have found the “trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” mod, you’re good to go. If you’re in a trade league, see if anyone you know has that mod available.
If you can get your hands on some fossils and resonators, the best cheap way to do this is to jam a Bound and Pristine fossil into a 2 socket resonator and roll them on a sword; I use a Tiger Hook for the % dodge chance. If you can get your hands on a shaper sword, you also have a chance to hit a few nice mods. You’re looking for 3 things: “Minions deal X% Increased Damage”, “X% Increased Damage While On Full Life”, and an open suffix. It may take a few tries, but don’t give up! If you don’t have access to fossils yet, you can spam your highest tier Essences of Fear.
You can then craft the trigger mod into the open suffix. You will end up with a weapon that gives you over 100% increased damage and alternatingly casts Orb of Storms, Storm Brand, and Frost Bomb as you move around and cast your main spells. At this point, take Elemental Equilibrium on the passive tree. You will now hit enemies with your lightning skills, giving them -50% cold res, and then further shredding resistance with Frost Bomb. This is a buff.

Crafting preference: Shaped Hubris Circlet > Hubris Circlet > Shaped Bone Helmet > Bone Helmet. Take the best option you can get. Once again, fossils are the way to go. Dense and Frigid fossils are the requirements, and a Shuddering fossil improves your odds of good mods if you have a 3 socket resonator. You’re looking for good Energy Shield rolls and “Nearby enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance”. Once you have both, you’ll be solidified in this spot for a long time, upgrading only for an even better and more expensive helmet in the end-game.

For a shield, simply find a good Spirit Shield base and slam Dense + Aetheric fossils until you hit a good spell/cold damage roll and decent ES. Alch and Chaos spam if needed/desired. You can also use a huge variety of Essences; Anger/Hatred/Wrath for guaranteed resists, Woe for flat ES, or your pick of Loathing, Misery, Scorn, Sorrow, Insanity (but seriously save Insanity for gloves), or Horror.

There are two specific mods you’re looking for: A prefix of “Increased Cold Damage”, and a suffix of “% Increased Energy Shield From Body Armor”. Be prepared to re-craft after hitting cold res instead of cold damage a bunch of times.

Crafting Mid-Tier ES Armour Slots

I have very little to say here, because there’s… well… very little to say. Whether you are using Alt + Regal, Alch + Chaos, Fossils, or Essences, the goal is as much ES and resists as possible. One thing to note: don’t neglect your damage, as killing enemies grants you massive ES regen.

End-Game Gear

If you’ve followed the upgrade paths in the guide, at this point you will likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of 8k-10k ES, easily capped resists, and enough dex to get by. Now it’s time to push the build into the final stages. This gear will allow you to take on basically anything, given enough encounter knowledge and practice. There are 2 end-game options for gearing here - Straight CI and Low-Life with Shav’s. They use nearly identical gear, with the body armour being the only difference in the normal version of the build.

Note: There is a CI version of this build that uses Atziri’s Reflection and Coward’s Legacy to achieve the Low-Life Pain Attunement while maintaining CI. This will be covered, but I have included the belt slot on its own below, assuming no Reflection.


Your end-game weapon can be one of several bases. You can go with a spell damage wand, an elemental damage sceptre, or an attack dodge tiger sword. As you will be crafting nearly all your own mods on the weapon, it does not have to be Shaper or Elder, although you could potentially hit very nice mods for both Shaper and Elder in the Quality of Life department.

The goal here is simple: Use any crafting method to begin the craft: A temple weapon with high minion damage, alt spam for T1 Spell damage, etc. The goal is to start crafting on a weapon that has 1 or more top-tier prefixes; ensure that all prefix rolls are desirable as permanent mods.

Craft “Prefixes Cannot Be Changed”. Unless you only have 1 suffix mod and it’s desirable, Annul off all suffixes. Now craft “Can Have Multiple Crafted Modifiers”. Craft “Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use A Skill”. Now fill out the remaining affix slots with damage mods. Spell Damage, Cold Damage, and Damage Over Time are all great. You should end up with a weapon that has the following crafts: Multimod, Trigger, and 4x damage mods.

3.6 Synthesis Note: Crazy synthesized bows with at least +3 to gems, % spell damage, and the Inpulsa explosion effect could be absolute best-in-slot for this build. This would also use the Soul Strike quiver. I’m not currently covering that in this guide.


Unless you’re going the Atziri’s Reflection or synthesized bow route, your shield is all about defenses. You want high flat ES and % ES rolls and resists if you can get them. Your end-game shield should have 450+ ES. Synthesized implicits for shields can be incredibly powerful, granting a ton of ES, curse immunity, 10% reduced mana reservation, etc.


I’m starting with the rings for a reason. Rings are vital for granting you as much resistance as possible. The main bulk of ring mods you are looking for are Energy Shield and as much resistance as you can possibly fit. The closer to capped you are after your rings, the more damage and ES you can fit into the build in other slots. You will want to ensure that there is an open prefix to craft “% Faster start of Energy Shield Recharge”. Resist bases will help with capping, but Opal rings are so good for damage and Moonstones can help reach those crazy ES levels. Finally, rings are great places to put your Aspect of the Spider if you are planning to run it.


Crafting your end-game belt is incredibly rewarding for your build, and can be done on a medium budget at a comparatively cheap cost to some other end-game items.

First, acquire either an ilvl 84 Crystal Belt base or Stygian Vise. As you can probably guess, Crystal is best for defenses, whereas a Stygian can provide a ton of damage or other QoL through the jewel slot. It does NOT need to be a Shaper/Elder base, so they are fairly cheap. Next, gather some Dense and Frigid fossils. In addition, adding Aetheric or Shuddering fossils can add a larger chance of rolling either spell damage or movement speed / Onslaught during flask effects. Combining all 4 can yield some truly sickening belts. Start slamming resonators, and stop when you hit a sick belt. Be prepared to roll cold res a LOT when trying for cold damage.

You can also wear the Baited Breath (See Cheap Uniques) if your resists do not need help. BB gives a TON of ES with a good roll.


For your Amulet base, you can choose a Dex, Str, or hybrid base if you need the attributes, or a Marble Amulet if your attributes are ok and you have Zealot’s Oath. Mods to look for: Flat ES, %ES, Resists, cold damage over time multi, cast speed. This is another good slot fo Aspect of the Spider, and if the previously mentioned mods are on the amulet, crafted AoE or a multimod with AoE and the previous mods will turn your amulte into something great.
Alternatively, you can wear a Solstice Vigil amulet for free Temp Chains. You will likely want to add the +1 Curse on either a piece of gear or the passive tree node at the top. This gives you more damage and opens up another good helmet enchant, but will make resists harder to cap and ES lower. Your call.


Your gloves can either be a highly defensive slot, with 225+ ES, lots of resists, etc, or they can be a damage dealing powerhouse with a Fingerless Silk base, a cold DoT mod, AoE, and +1 to AoE gems crafted on. An Essence of Delirium grants “socketed gems deal 30% more damage over time”, while Shaper gloves can have a cold DoT mod. If using fossils, socket the typical Dense + Frigid, with Aetheric being the choice for a 3 socket resonator. If your gloves have any mods that affect the damage over time or AoE of socketed gems, be sure that Vaal Cold Snap is socketed in this item. The glove slot is also a great place to pick up a chunk of dexterity if you can roll or craft it.


Firstly, Sin Trek boots (See Cheap Uniques) are very cheap and are perfectly viable as your end-game boots. Defenses, move speed, and attributes are all great. If you’re not using Sin Trek, the boots are all about defenses and as high movement speed as you can cram into them. If you can’t find boots with good resists, 135+ ES, and at LAST 30% movespeed, wear Sin Trek. There’s not a lot to say here; boot slot is simple.


The best enchant for this build is 30% Vortex Cooldown Recovery Speed. Vortex damage is also good, as is Temp Chains Effect if running the Solstice Vigil amulet.
Once you have the base, you can either try to craft a damage helm with “Nearby Enemies Have -9% to Cold Resistance” and/or the AoE and +1 to AoE gems craft, or you can simply load up on massive ES and resists.

For the damage helm, use the Dense + Frigid fossil combo until you hit the -9% mod and decent ES. Ideally, you’re looking for 250+ ES. For the pure defensive helm, look for good resists and ideally at least 375 ES.

Body Armour

Finally we arrive at the final slot. This is where CI and Low Life differentiate themselves. For a CI build, the goal is simple: Massive Energy Shield. 550+ is a good start to end game. In 3.6 Synthesis league, people are running around with 800-900 ES like it’s just a walk in the park. The sky’s the limit. Craft Dex on the chest to finish it out and call it a day.
For low life, we obviously make use of Shavronne’s Wrappings. This requires higher ES on the other slots to keep us as safe as the CI build, but the damage gained from Shav’s is just stupendous. The transition from CI to low life in this build is stupidly simple: Equip Shav’s and spec into Pain Attunement. It’s really that simple.

Atziri’s Reflection Variant

If you have money, want chaos immunity, and can’t live without Pain Attunement, purchase an Atziri’s Reflection and Coward’s Legacy. Legacy gives a small ES boost, MS, & attributes, but also curses with Vulnerability. This grants the “low life” effect and allows us to take Pain Attunement.
Assuming you don’t want to die from Vulnerability with 50% inc effect, you need Atziri’s Reflection. This makes us unaffected by curses. We’re now CI and Low Life at the same time. Reflection also provides a large amount of ES & resists.

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon


We are an Occultist. As such, we gain a massive amount of Energy Shield, uninterruptible ES regen and recharge, enemy cold res stripping, and survivability from freeze and chill.

Our ascending order is the same for Softcore, SSF, and Hardcore: Vile Bastion > Void Beacon > Frigid Wake > Profane Bloom.


I strongly recommend killing all for the two passive points. Oak’s regen and damage reduction is nice, but we can get more benefits with points. Kraitlyn is semi-appealing, but we’re not Shield Charging and we can still get more benefit from points. Finally, Alira is the least attractive option, as we can’t use crit multi, resists are easy to cap, and we have other mana regen.


Post-Uber Lab, we cannot be stunned, frozen, or chilled. We’re not life based and don’t use life flasks. We’re immune to chaos damage, and damage over time can’t be reflected. Finally, our flasks give us majority uptime on shock, curse, bleed, and ignite immunity. This narrows our considerations.

For major Pantheon, Lunaris and Solaris are the only choices. Solaris helps against bosses, while Lunaris helps during mapping. The white and yellow map upgrades to each pantheon provide the biggest benefit, with the red map upgrade being less of an improvement. I take Solaris, as I’m rarely threatened by trash and would prefer help against bosses.

For minor, Gruthkul, Abberath and Ralakesh are good options. I prefer Gruthkul for the increased defenses.

Gem Links

CI Gems:

Weapon: Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb - Storm Brand

Shield: Flame Dash - Arcane Surge - Faster Casting

Body: Vortex - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia - Efficacy - Elemental Focus - Swift Affliction

Note that these gems are in order of linked importance. If you have a 4L, drop Ele Focus and Swift Affliction, etc.

4L: Blasphemy - Enfeeble - Enlighten - Vaal Discipline

4L: Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Efficacy - Hypothermia

4L: Immortal Call - Cast When Damage Taken - Increased Duration - Phase Run

Alternate Skills: Portal, Vaal Breach

Low Life Gem Changes:

Drop Blasphemy/Enfeeble/Enlighten

Shield: Clarity - Vaal Discipline - Blood Magic

4L: Hatred - Malevolence - Faster Casting - Flame Dash

The only gems which do not provide a benefit to our build when qualitied are the following: Orb of Storms and Frost Bomb (minor damage increases, not what we use them for), Arcane Surge, Discipline (if playing solo; quality if in a party), Immortal Call, and Cast When Damage Taken. Use the previously mentioned vendor quality recipe for the rest.

Enlighten quality improves the rate at which it gains experience, so you can drastically cut down on the leveling time of the gem by getting it to 20%


Vortex For Dummies:
Last edited by ShakCentral on Oct 9, 2019, 2:48:24 PM
Last bumped on Dec 16, 2019, 10:13:04 AM



3.8 Leveling Update
With balance changes and new discoveries, different leveling skills fall in and out of favor. As of 3.8, the below leveling guide is perfectly viable, but Orb of Storms is the current hotness. If you want to try this out, you just need to make a few small changes.

First, buy Lightning Tendrils early on and level it while you follow the guide below. Once you have a +1 lightning wand, socket Orb of Storms + Onslaught + Added Lightning Damage. Cast Orb of Storms, stand inside the radius, and Tendrils.

Once you hit lvl 16, buy Tempest Shield from Yeena in Act 2 (make sure to wear a shield), and replace Tendrils with Shield. Enjoy watching everything blow up. Make sure your Orb of Storms is always up or your DPS will be literal 0 with this approach.

The PoB has 10 leveling trees, 1 per act, for your reference. Additionally, there is an embedded picture at the end of each of the Act sections to assist you in skill tree planning and pathing order.

A Note on Currency: While leveling, you will constantly and rapidly find gear upgrades throughout the first 8 or 9 Acts. There is very little need to spend any currency on gear outside of fixing a resistance or two. Your gear is much better saved and used starting around Blood Aqueducts on preparatory gear to get you into CI and maps.

Hardcore Players: This build is “weakest” before taking CI, as the build is stretching somewhat for health while also preparing for CI. This is not new to hardcore players and CI vets, but go slow, take health passives earlier, and be careful about rare monster mods. I've had dozens of promising characters take a trip to standard because I didn't notice a Tormented Martyr or an "Allies Deal Substantial Extra Physical Damage" rare. You’re near impossible to kill in the late game, so don’t kill yourself because you wouldn’t spend a half hour gaining 3 levels in Blood Aqueduct.

Color code:
Blue / Green / Red - Acquire this gem
Pink - This notes the first time you enter each zone. If you're leveling with this guide up on a second monitor, it's easier to go back-and-forth between game and guide.
Purple - Labyrinth Trials and Labyrinth runs

Act 1
Make a Scion. I know it's weird, but the Scion gets the very important Onslaught gem early on, while the Witch does not.

Note: If you're brand new to PoE, you don't have the Scion unlocked yet. Just start two steps down at "Create a Witch", and ignore Onslaught.

Give the Scion a well-thought-out name, like “sdggjgsdglw”. Ignore the first zombie, get Onslaught from the beach chest and basic attack Hillock to death (seriously). Enter Lioneye’s Watch.

Check Nessa for BBB/BBG wands (Buy BG wand if there are none). Take the GREEN gem from Tarkleigh (for later use) and check for movement boots. Stash items and log out.

Create a Witch. Get Arcane Surge from the chest and keep it level 1 for now. After Hillock, get stash items and check for wands/boots. Buy Explosive Trap. Run to The Coast Waypoint (WP).

Go to Mud Flats and do quest. Get Submerged Passage WP and go to Coast. Enter Tidal Island and kill Hailrake. Exit to character select and load in; don’t use your Hailrake TP scroll.

Get you a Quicksilver Flask from Nessa and buy Orb of Storms. Get Frost Bomb from Tarkleigh and check wands / boots. You want 2 items with BG links now. Gems should be linked as follows: Explosive Trap with Arcane Surge, and (if you’ve hit lvl 4) Frost Bomb with Onslaught.

Go to Submerged Passage and run to The Ledge. If you find The Flooded Depths while running, place the TP and keep going. When you find the narrow stair ramp, drop a portal if you haven’t already.

Run the Ledge. Frost Bomb should one-shot most skeleton packs, allowing you to run and maintain Onslaught and flasks.

Run The Climb and into Lower Prison. Take WP to town and enter the portal that you placed earlier.

Run Flooded Depths in Submerged Passage and kill Dweller. Talk to Tarkleigh for a skill point and Nessa for Added Lightning Damage. When you’re lvl 8, link this with Explosive Trap. Buy or craft +life gear if needed. You will need Dex soon, and it will remain an issue throughout. Get a Jade Amulet when you can and upgrade to a Citrine in later Acts.

Go to Lower Prison. If you find the Labyrinth Trial, run it now or wait until you have Flame Dash. Question your existence while running the indecipherable Upper Prison.

Enter Warden’s Chambers and kill Brutus. You automatically get the next WP, so go town and get Flame Dash from Tarkleigh.

Run Prisoner’s Gate to The Ship Graveyard WP. Find and run The Ship Graveyard Cave, grab Allflame, and run to The Cavern of Wrath WP.

Go to Ship Graveyard WP, kill Fairgraves, and go to town. Buy Storm Brand from Nessa and get skill point from Bestel. If you don’t have an Iron Ring, buy one from Nessa and sell it back to her with the green skill gem from the Scion quest reward to get a Topaz Ring. Use a Transmutation Orb on your BBG wand, then trade Nessa the Topaz Ring, wand, and an Alteration Orb to get a BBG Wand with “+1 to the Level of Socketed Lightning Gems”.

Link Storm Brand to Onslaught and Added Lightning, Run Cavern of Wrath to The Cavern of Anger and kill Mervail.

Act 2
Run The Southern Forest to The Forest Encampment.

Run The Old Fields and find The Den. Complete the quest and continue through Fields to The Crossroads WP. Go to town and pick up your second Quicksilver. You will spend 2 Alteration Orbs later in Act 2 to purchase gems. Additional Alts should be used on the new flask to try for the “of Adrenaline” mod for increased movespeed.

Go to Crossroads and head NW to The Chamber of Sins. In Chamber Level 2, complete Labyrinth Trial and kill Fidelitas. Get Cold Snap from Gruest.

Go to Crossroads and head SE to The Fellshrine Ruins. Find The Crypt and complete the Labyrinth Trial.

Go to Crossroads and head NE to The Broken Bridge. Kill Kraitlyn.

Run to The Riverways WP. If you’re helping Alira, go north to The Wetlands and kill Oak. If you’re killing all bandits (recommended), continue West to The Western Forest. Get WP, kill Alira, and kill Captain Arteri. Run to Weaver’s Chambers and kill Weaver.

Go to town, get Controlled Destruction from Silk and chrome your +1 Lightning Wand to B-B-B links if possible for Storm Brand, Controlled Destruction, and Added Lightning. Buy Faster Casting and Elemental Focus from Yeena.

Go to Riverways, head North to The Wetlands and kill Oak. Get WP, poison the roots, and go town. Talk to Eramir for 2 skill points, then go Lioneye’s Watch and talk to Bestel for skill point.

Run Vaal Ruins, Northern Forest, The Caverns, and Ancient Pyramid. Kill Oversoul.

Act 3
You didn’t forget to do the Lower Prison Labyrinth Trial in Act 1, did you?! Also, from this point on, 4-linked gear can drop. If you get a 4L with BBBB or BBBG colors, socket Storm Brand, Controlled Destruction, Elemental Focus, and Added Lightning / Onslaught.

Run The City of Sarn and save Clarissa. Run The Slums to The Crematorium. Do the Labyrinth Trial and boss. Go to town, get Discipline from Maramoa, keys from Clarissa, and buy Enfeeble.

Go to Slums and into The Sewers. Find the busts and run to The Marketplace WP.

Get skill point in town, go Marketplace, and run The Catacombs for the Labyrinth Trial.

Go to Marketplace to The Battlefront WP. Get Ribbon Spool from nearby cart, and run The Docks.

Find Sulphite and run Battlefront to Solaris Temple. Get Talc from Dialla, go into the Eternal Laboratory, and grab the Cold Damage craft. Go to Sewers to blow up the butthole.

Run The Ebony Barracks, kill Gravicius, go town. Take any gem from Maramoa and buy Vortex. You can now either swap into Vortex / Cold Snap, or remain Storm Brand for now and pick up Lightning Spire Trap for bosses.

Go to Ebony Barracks and run Lunaris Temple. Kill Piety, get skill point, go Ebony Barracks.

Run to Imperial Gardens WP. Head NW to The Library and complete quest. Purchase as many of these as possible: 2x Hypothermia, 2x Efficacy, Blasphemy, Increased Duration, Swift Affliction. If currency allows, go town and buy up to 6 more Vortex gems to level in weapon swap.

Go to Imperial Gardens. Complete Labyrinth Trial, run The Sceptre of God, and kill Dominus.

Act 4
Run The Aqueduct to Highgate. If you have your main spell in a 4L, make wands with spell damage rolls. Trade a wand, a magic or rare Chain Belt (rare gives higher rolls), and 1 Blacksmith Whetstone.

Run The Dried Lake. Kill Voll and run The Mines. Free Deshret in The Mines Level 2: Electric Boogaloo. Run to The Crystal Veins WP.

I agree with Enki’s guide that this is a perfect time to run Normal Labyrinth. Go to The Sarn Encampment, enter The Aspirant’s Plaza, kill Izaro, ascend to Occultist, and take Wicked Ward.

Buy some fire resistance rings if you’re under-capped and run Kaom’s Dream to Kaom’s Stronghold and kill Kaom. Run Daresso’s Dream to The Grand Arena and kill Daresso. Go to town and get Bonechill from Dialla. Buy Cast When Damage Taken and stash it; we want it level 1.

Go to Crystal Veins and run Belly of the Beast Levels 1 and 2. Defeat Piety, run The Harvest quest, and kill Malachai. Run The Ascent and enter The Slave Pens

Act 5
Run The Slave Pens and enter Overseer’s Tower.

Run The Control Blocks, get the Miasmeter (top left), and run to Oriath Square WP.

Go to town, get skill point and a choice of Stibnite or Silver Flask. Don’t neglect your resists. You’ll need more soon!

Run Oriath Square to The Templar Courts and into The Chamber of Innocence. Kill Innocence. The zone permanently changes after this fight. Go to town and take the Waypoint to a changed Chamber. Go through the door into The Torched Courts.

Run to The Ruined Square. Tag WP outside The Ossuary, then run The Ossuary.

Run The Reliquary and go town for skill point.

Run The Ruined Square to The Cathedral Rooftop and kill Kitava.

Act 6
Surprise! Your resists suck now. Fix them.

Run from Lioneye’s Watch to The Twilight Strand and clear the zone. Go town and buy Immortal Call, Phase Run, and Increased Duration from Lilly. If you don’t have 6 Vortex gems leveling in your weapon swap yet, get them going.

Your gem links should now be as close as possible to the following:

Vortex - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia - Efficacy (+ Elemental Focus and Swift Affliction if you got super lucky with 5/6 links or have a Tabula Rasa)

Immortal Call (lvl 3) - Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 1) - Increased Duration - Phase Run

Cold Snap - Bonechill - Efficacy - Hypothermia

Blasphemy - Enfeeble - Discipline - Anything (Enlighten will go here later)

(In shield) Flame Dash - Faster Casting - Arcane Surge

(In weapon) Orb of Storms, Storm Brand, Frost Bomb (No need to link)

Run The Coast to The Mud Flats and kill Queen. Run The Karui Fortress, kill Tuko, and go town for skill point. Run Karui Fortress to The Ridge to The Lower Prison. Complete the Labyrinth Trial, enter Shavronne’s Tower, and kill Shav/Brutus. Grab the crafting recipe inside!

I recommend doing the two skill point quests in Act 6 (Killing Abberath and The Puppet Mistress) once you reach Act 8 or 9. Go Prisoner’s Gate WP to The Western Forestto The Riverways. Grab WPs each zone and a crafting recipe from Alira’s old camp in W. Forest.

Run Riverways to The Southern Forest to The Cavern of Anger. Pick up the banner inside and run to The Beacon. Complete the escort quest and light the beacon.

Travel to The Brine King’s Reef and go fishing. Take Weylam’s boat to The Bridge Encampment.

Act 7
Run The Broken Bridge and find locket. Run to The Crossroads WP, go to town and turn in locket for your choice of flasks. If you’ve already found a Granite or Basalt flask, take the one you don’t have yet. If you have neither, take the Basalt.

Go to Crossroads WP and South to The Fellshrine Ruins and into The Crypt. Complete Labyrinth Trial and run Level 2 to get Maligaro’s map.

Go to Crossroads WP and North to The Chamber of Sins Level 1. Kill Maligaro in his map. Complete the Labyrinth Trial in Chamber 2 and enter The Den.

Run The Den to The Ashen Fields and fight Gruest. Get The Northern Forest WP and run The Dread Thicket for Fireflies. I recommend leaving Gruthkul until Act 10.

Go to town, run N. Forest WP to The Causeway. Find quest item near the end and run to The Vaal City WP. Go to town for skill point, set Yeena on fire and run The Temple of Decay Levels 1 and 2 to kill Arakaali. Enter The Sarn Ramparts.

Act 8
If your power level is high enough, run Cruel Labyrinth and take Vile Bastion.

Go to Prisoner’s Gate WP (Act 6), find the Valley of the Fire Drinker, kill Abberath. Go to The Riverways WP (Act 6), run The Wetlands, find The Spawning Grounds, kill The Puppet Queen. Go Lioneye’s Watch for 2 skill points.

Run The Sarn Ramparts to The Sarn Encampment. Run The Toxic Conduits to Doedre’s Cesspool and kill Doedre.

Keep right and run The Quay. Stay South, find the Ankh, and the Resurrection Site. Kill Tolman and run The Grain Gate, killing the Legionnaires. Run to The Imperial Fields WP and go town for 2 skill points. Go to Imperial Fields WP and run The Solaris Temple 1 and 2 and get the Sun Orb.

Go to Doedre’s Cesspool WP and go left. Run The Grand Promenade to The Bath House WP. Complete Labyrinth Trial and run to The Lunaris Concourse WP. Leave High Garden skill point for post-Act 10.

Run The Lunaris Temple 1 and 2 and get the Moon Orb.

Go to Lunaris Concourse WP, run to the center of The Harbour Bridge, and kill Solaris/Lunaris. Enter The Blood Aqueduct.

Act 9
Run Aqueduct to Highgate. Run Cruel Labyrinth if you haven’t yet.

Run The Descent to The Vastiri Desert WP. Run to The Foothills WP, run The Boiling Lake, and kill the boss.

Go to Foothills WP and run The Tunnel. Complete Labyrinth Trial and run The Quarry WP.

Run The Refinery and kill boss. Bring Powder and Acid to Sin.

Take Vastiri Desert WP. Find the Storm Blade and look for a sandstorm blocking an area. TP, talk to Sin and the PDA couple, TP back to Vastiri. Enter The Oasis and kill boss.

Go to Quarry WP and find Shrine of the Winds. Kill boss. Go to Highgate and pick up 2 skill points.

Go to Quarry WP, run The Belly of the Beast. Run The Rotting Core. Kill the 3 mini-bosses, then kill The Depraved Trinity. Travel to Oriath Docks.

Act 10
Go The Cathedral Rooftop and save Bannon. Run the Rooftop to The Ravaged Square and get the WP. For your flask reward, if you have either a Sulphur or Quartz flask, take the one you don’t have. If you have neither, take the Quartz.

Go to The Northern Forest WP in Act 7. Enter The Dread Thicket, kill Gruthkul, TP for skill point.

Go to The Bath House WP in Act 8. Enter The High Gardens, find Pools of Terror, kill Yugul, TP for skill point.

Go to Ravaged Square WP in Act 10 and run to The Control Blocks. Kill Vilenta, TP for skill point. Run The Ossuary and complete Labyrinth Trial.

Run The Torched Courts and into The Desecrated Chamber. Kill boss, TP, talk to Bannon

Run Merciless Labyrinth if able and get Void Beacon. It will be harder after Kitava lowers your resists.

Run The Canals to The Feeding Trough. Kill Kitava. Your resists suck again.

Post-Act 10 Pre-Maps
Get 2 skill points in Oriath.

Run Merciless Labyrinth if you haven’t.

Fix resists. Check the PoB for an all-blue set of ultra budget starting gear.

Farm The Blood Aqueduct if desired/needed.

Pick up and I.D. every single veiled weapon that you come across, and ask your friends if you can unveil their weapons if you’re in a trade league. You want to find “Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” ASAP! This will be used later to automatically trigger Elemental Equilibrium for our benefit. See the weapon section in gearing for more.



4/8/19 - Major shuffling; moved everything except leveling and changelog to top and moved leveling into first comment space.
4/7/19 - Cheap uniques added. Video recorded and posted of Minotaur fight
4/5/19 - Shortened Ultra Budget Gear and replaced with new examples. Shortened flask section and added Witchfire Brew and Bottled Faith pics. added jewel slot pics.
4/5/19 - Slight update to PoB code - 4% more ES by changing 2 nodes. Moved New Player section closer to the beginning and added acronym section. Added embedded pictures to the end of each Act's leveling section.
4/4/19 - Added to-do list, updated PoB with new weapon/jewel mods, added ultra budget gear links and started high-end gear.
4/4/19 AGAIN! - Tons of great feedback and pointing out a few minor errors. Continuing to fix minor errors and will update throughout the day.
4/4/19 - Edited, uploaded, colored/syntax'd and WENT LIVE! Guide is up!
4/3/19 - Chunk work on gearing, simplified end-game gearing section. Beginning editing to 50k character limit.
4/1/19 - Work on gearing and formatting. Sectioned off the desired sections and prepped for chunk work on gearing.
3/29/19 - Large chunk of work on Gearing. Upgrade section, cheap uniques, belt crafting.
3/27/19 - Moved PoB section toward beginning of guide so new players will see it sooner. Wrote initial gearing theory and crafting basics section.
3/26/19 - Indirect build work: making currency for high end item demonstrations, crafted Ultra Budget gear in-game
3/25/19 - Build mechanics explanations, added purple coloring for Lab trials and runs in leveling section. Added new player help as its own section and added a note on hardcore in leveling section. Wrote ascendancy, bandit, and pantheon section. Colored gem link section and added which gems to quality
3/24/19 - Acts 8-10 color coded and edited. 2250+ words from Act 1 - Post-A10. Added initial intro and pros/cons
3/23/19 - Acts 1-7 color coded and edited
3/22/19 - Acts 2-10 done but unedited, prep work for video guide.
3/21/19 - Gem links, Act 1 Guide, Various layout adjustments (font, sizing, spacing, etc)
3/20/19 - Planning and Outline, PoB Passive Trees, Gem links, and Ultra Budget Gear
Vortex For Dummies:
Last edited by ShakCentral on Sep 3, 2019, 9:46:04 AM
Reserved 2x. If I start putting guide stuff in here, I've reached 100k+ characters and someone needs to put me out of my misery.
Vortex For Dummies:
Last edited by ShakCentral on Apr 4, 2019, 11:34:27 AM
Thansk for the guide, to make this guide as noob friendly as possible, you should also give some poe/trade links for items with predefined criteria.

This will help people who never played poe and want to buy some gear for the first time.

Also, put some item references in your breakdown, so people can see what kind of gear it requires at a first glance (i.e. all uniques? all rares?).
Thanks for the feedback! There will be additional sections added as I have time to add to the guide. I think I'll put a "to-do" section in for now so at least people know what's coming.

I do reference at the very beginning that it requires 0 uniques.
Vortex For Dummies:
I got this lvl 84 ED Occ character on Perma-HC and I wanted to spend the free full tree regret to make it into something more fun.

My focus would be to Delve, and, ofc, not to die.

What can I expect from it ? (Im on a 5L) with 600 ES + 300 on Helmet, 350 on Shield, 180 on Gloves, so its smth around 6.5k ES pool atm, cant check cause Im at work.

Can you add a section with the ideal gem links and progression ? like ... 4L, then 5L then 6L ?
Pity the emperor who sits alone on his throne.
6.5K ES is plenty to start low-tier mapping with, and a 5L will carry your damage for a while. I've done Shaper and Elder deathless on a 5L multiple times at ~8500 ES or more.

I'll clarify in the links section, but the gems are in order of importance already. IF you only have a 5L drop Swift Affliction unless the gear is B-B-B-G-G linked.
Vortex For Dummies:
6.5K ES is plenty to start low-tier mapping with, and a 5L will carry your damage for a while. I've done Shaper and Elder deathless on a 5L multiple times at ~8500 ES or more.

I'll clarify in the links section, but the gems are in order of importance already. IF you only have a 5L drop Swift Affliction unless the gear is B-B-B-G-G linked.

Its a 3G2B atm but I suppose I'll have to re-color it anyway

How does it handle Uber-Izaro, as Perma-HC is pretty much dead and I'll have to farm the enchants ?

Pity the emperor who sits alone on his throne.
Keeping in mind that I'm lvl 93 in Synthesis, Uber Izaro is an absolute joke. I've run 10-ish Uber Labs in the past few days and as long as you just pay attention to the Wind Slash move, it's laughable. The ES regen is incredible for the lab itself and I've never died with this character in Uber Lab.
Vortex For Dummies:
Quick notes (played the build 3 times, 96 & 98 in SC, 94 in HC)

Don't forget about prismatic fossils, they do the same for the belt and make your gear not go all in on cold resistance since it's very likely to hit if most of your gear is crafted with frigid fossils, it gives access to @rez on belt.

Dense fossils on belt / rings are amazing, especially coupled with a high end body armour (look for X% Energy shield form body armour)

Discipline mana reserved reduction can save up the sovereignty points and get back the damage elsewhere, saves a lot of money if you're going for damage over vortex CD reduction.

Apep's Supremacy is worth mentionning.

You mention Cold damage over time multiplier on the amulet without mentioning that it appears only on shaper amulets (and didnt add it to the PoB)

The weapon crafting method is missing the fact that going for T1 Cold Damage over time Multiplier yields the best result over the mentionned T1 spell damage. The second best way is to isolate the pristine fossil suffix "60% increased damage on full life" which will result in the second best way of crafting the weapon.

Getting a literal stat stick ring is a great way of not spending 2 points on that ugly 30 STR node you currently have in your PoB (Physique). Overall saving points on the tree is actual damage rather than getting the damage on your gear which might end up being more expensive for the same end result.

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