[3.7] CI Vortex Mana Guardian - 75/75 Block, 90% Physical Damage Reduction, 1.2M+ Dps. [HC Viable]

Hello exiles,

Does your current build leave you wondering if perhaps Cast on Death / Portal might be a good idea?
Do you prioritize picking up loot over finishing off mob packs?
Are you just tired of dying, but still want to be able to do all the content in a reasonable time frame?
Would you like to be able to stand in that nasty red AoE from the Legion mobs?

If so, then perhaps you'll enjoy this build. It was born out of my frustration of getting off-screened randomly by Legion packs. After half a season of ED/Contagion, I reached a point where I simply needed something different. It started as another standard HoAG/Mana Guardian build but i quickly remembered how much i disliked Pet AI, and so I began the search for a viable alternative while maintaining the un-killable & tanky feeling of a mana guardian.

I wanted a build that had limited to no hard requirements on gear, and had the option for me to self-craft my gear where possible, as I've recently come to enjoy crafting. I feel like this build met those expectations and ultimately exceeded them.


+ No Pants!
+ Capable of running all map mods (Cannot regenerate Mana is a crappy one though)
+ Max Block/Spell Block without sacrificing dps.
+ Gear flexibility
+ Very low skill cap (see the UE video for demonstration)
+ Relatively cheap to get rolling, with the ability to grow over time
+ Super tanky. Can afk in Maraketh Legion pack on T16 with juiced mods.
+ No enchants required
+ Easy and cheap six link.
+ Hardcore Viable
+ Bosses very well. Facetank
+ Chaos Inoculation - Ignore some of the most annoying damage in the game.


- Not meta speed clear.
- Uses a fair amount of crafted gear, which may not be desired always.
- No room for MF gear.
- Capable of running all map mods doesn't mean you actually -want- to run them all.

Path of Building

If you don't want to read the rest of this and just want to see the PoB, here it is. There are some comments in the Notes section that explain things at a high level.

Build Overview

Max Block - We achieve this by using the Lethal Pride Jewel of Kiloava, which doubles our block chance, but blocking now only stops 50% of the damage. This helps you very early on, reach max block while you are leveling and haven't acquired all your gear. You can ultimately get rid of this at the cost of some dps (for me it was a 150k dps decrease), by swapping out your neck to a corrupted Stone of Lazwhar. Recommended for Hardcore, but definitely not needed for softcore. If you do that, you no longer need the Lethal Pride Jewel, and can allocate those points elsewhere in your tree (I recommend Lethal Assault on the far right)

Physical Reduction - Memory Vault combined with reserved mana grants us Armor

Damage - Cold Damage over time multiplier everywhere you can get it. You can swap your helm for a Rime Gaze if you really want the damage and are ok losing some Phys Reduction. After that prioritize spell damage and cold damage.

We use a Malachi's Artifice, Unset ring which grants Elemental Equilibrium to ONLY the spell socketed in that gem. (Storm brand in my case). I would highly recommend a blue skill gem, as there is a little bit of fire resistance on some of the uniques and it makes balancing your resists easier. Ultimately which skill gem you use is up to you, just don't use something that does cold damage. You must also ensure you have NO added cold damage to spells on your gear or it breaks the EE setup.

Our shield grants us ES every time we block. The more ES you have the more it replenishes. This actually means its advantageous to be getting attacked by many, weaker mobs, and is part of why you can safely stand in Legion packs. (The Maraketh spear throwers can shock you. If that happens, all bets are off, you'll die most likely unless you are NOT using the Lethal Pride Jewel and are instead true max block)

Using the Blue Nightmare gem, we gain a total of 15% increased chance to block spell damage, which dramatically helps our cause. Not required, but certainly something to work for. It was the most expensive item for me in this build coming in at 1.5ex


A few notes about the gear below. You do NOT need to have the crafted boots, and honestly I'd almost recommend you don't. I thought it would be cool to be immune to chill, and Im finding the movement speed cost to be not worth it. Instead, get the highest MS you can, with cannot be frozen and you are good.

Alternately, you can run a Dream Fragments, and equip some Rainbow strides, both of which are super cheap, as you work towards the crafted boots and Mark of the Shaper ring setup. I ran that for the majority of the league.

Until you have a +4 Empower, your DPS will be better with a 5b1g version of Skin of the Loyal. Put Swift Affliction where I have Empower. I only use Concentrated Effect while doing Guardians/UE/Shaper. You can easily run Increased Area of Effect while mapping.

Current Gear


Below are some kill videos. I recommend the Chimera one in particular as it includes a Legion clear. It was also the first time I've ever recorded a video, and can confirm Streamer RNG is 100% real.

Uber Elder - https://youtu.be/QxcCcV4UUG4
Minotaur - https://youtu.be/1VCtdAzScaQ?t=200
Phoenix - https://youtu.be/VXhJuKAUm_o?t=138
Legion & Chimera - https://youtu.be/XqnnhrDbKJ0?t=76
Hydra - https://youtu.be/Hdwfj5IJ5Xs?t=210

Crafting Section

As I mentioned, crafting my own gear where possible was something I wanted to be able to do. It gives me a decent currency sink, and feels really rewarding. I'll break down my crafted pieces here and explain what I used to craft each one.


Requires iLvl 80+ Shaper base.
The neck was made using Aetheric & Frigid fossils. Perfect rolls you are looking for the following (in priority order):
Cold damage over time multiplier - Suffix (of Shaping)
Increased damage per 15 Intelligence - Prefix (of Shaping)
Cold damage - Prefix (Subterranean, from Frigid Fossil)

Cold damage - Suffix (Floe)
Spell damage - Prefix (From Aetheric Fossil)

The damage per int, is hard to hit, and not required. My build has about 550int, so it grants 36% increased damage. If you hit that, but miss cold, or spell damage, feel free to keep.


Requires iLvl 80+ Shaper base.
Your gloves are heavy utility. Use them to fill in gaps in resists or stats.
Alt spam for Cold damage over time Multiplier. Regal and Exalt Slam if/when you can.
Alternately you can buy these pretty cheap with a few of the stats you are looking for. They were always cheap (under 10c)


Requires iLvl 84+ for maximum resists.
I chaos spammed these, but you could just as easily Alt/Regal them.
Use Leo in research to get a free Exalt slam.

You can also use Fossils, in which case use Dense + Prismatic, or whichever element you need for resists.

Leveling Guide

I'll circle back to this and fill it out in greater detail, I actually leveled using SRS to 22, then HoAG until i could equip memory vault, but I'll give a more detailed outline if needed.
Last edited by b0redom on Jul 30, 2019, 10:25:17 AM
Last bumped on Oct 6, 2019, 11:47:39 AM
Interesting build.

Looking forward to some leveling infos, might give it a try. Currently playing a TS champion, insane damage and quite tanky, but not tanky enough for my taste.
Last edited by Lycidas0815 on Jul 30, 2019, 8:40:19 AM
Thanks, I'm updating crafting info right now and then I'll get to leveling. I didn't actually level as vortex because i switched to this after the fact, so I'm re-leveling another character to verify that what I post is not only possible, but also doesn't suck.
b0redom wrote:
Thanks, I'm updating crafting info right now and then I'll get to leveling. I didn't actually level as vortex because i switched to this after the fact, so I'm re-leveling another character to verify that what I post is not only possible, but also doesn't suck.

Awesome, really looking forward to your own leveling experience.

Started a fresh templar with some leveling gear (tabula, goldrim etc.) and leveld pretty smoothly with freezing pulse until I could equip vortex. Running it with increased area of effect right now and it is already decent as a clearing skill.

Uniques I found helpful so far: light of lunaris (500%+ ES roll) gives alot of defenses, especially with "arcane guarding". Voolkuur's guidance, poison with cold damage is funny. Watcher's eye with cold damage multiplier while affected by malevolence. Tulborn for PC and some cold damage.

I picked up the juicy templar nodes, all life nodes and breath of rime/heart of ice. Looking good so far.

Hey, just wanted to say a quick thank you for this build.

I set it as my goal this league to beat Uber Elder and after failing twice on other builds, I tried yours and made it on the first attempt.

I played it with a slight variation, I used Shapers Touch and allocated some additional Strength on the tree to get above 10k ES.

I leveled with Vortex as soon as I could and it felt smooth.

I personally have two more recommendations for the build:

Vaal Discipline gives additional security against Uber Elder, since it can be used willingly instead of having to hope for lucky regeneration timing.

I used Orb of Storms instead of Storm Brand, since it behaves similar to Vortex in a sense, that it gets pretty much placed right below your character. So no need for aiming.

Apart from that, wonderful build, which deserves more attention.

Btw, your current gear does not include the amulet, which I had to look up in the PoB in the end.

Edit: Just realized I am logged in with the wrong account, the character in question can be found here:
https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/ZephyrothLP/characters (NoOneIsPromisedTomorrow)
Last edited by Zephyroph on Sep 1, 2019, 8:40:45 AM
Interesting build, but there's one thing I don't understand: You allocated Avatar of Fire. So your Storm Brand does fire damage and due to Elemental Equilibrium the foes fire resistance is +25%. But with Cold Snap and Vortex you also deal fire damage (due to Avatar of Fire = Deal no non-fire damage). What's the point I'm missing??

And what corruption on the HC amulet dou you mean?

And why do you have lightning resistance so damn low? Only 18%...
Last edited by Bushfeind on Oct 5, 2019, 11:16:36 AM
Ok, I didn't know historic jewels before. Now I understand the Avatar of Fire allocation.

And the low lightning resistance is a bug of Path of Building not taking the effect of the Malachai's Artifice ring into account, right?

But what corruption on the amulet do you mean? Just 4-5% chance to block?

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