[3.14] ShakCentral's Vortex For Everyone



A Reference for the Rest of Us!

     Do you hate having to choose between high damage builds and ones with great defenses? Do you want a single build that can take on deep delves and still crush Awakener 8 Sirus? This guide is your stop for all things Vortex. Whether you want a character easily geared in SSF, a safe boss killer, or just a build that deals constant damage with maneuverability, you'll find what you need inside!

Discover how to:

✔️ Level quickly in a new league and transition to Vortex cheaply

✔️ Craft your own gear and save a lot of $$

✔️ Transition to Chaos Innoculation and then to the very powerful Low-Life version

✔️ Crush end-game bosses while avoiding all of their moves

...and more!





May 7 Update: Sections 3.1 and 3.2 have been updated! Glancing Blows has been moved to the upcoming FAQ (in progress; tldr - Don't use it) and there are now several ways to build out your gems. Enjoy!

April 28 Update: My filters have been remade, and are available on my public profile for PC and console. PC players have a custom sound zip they need to download and extract to use the filter. See section 2.6 for instructions. Enjoy!

The 3.14 YouTube guide is live! Check it out here, and click here for a gameplay video of the 3.14 setup.

My thoughts on the changes to "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill:
Spoiler
"
ShakCentral wrote:
I'm expecting a lot of questions about the trigger change, so to clarify:

We only ever need EE and hexes for bosses. We almost instantly kill all white/blue/yellow monsters. To ensure we have EE and hexes up 100% on bosses, we are now handcasting Storm Brand linked to Hextouch and your 2 favorite hexes. This alone will provide 100% EE uptime, but we'll also be using the trigger for helpful spells, like OoS to proc Elemental Overload, Frost Bomb for exposure, and Tempest Shield for a long duration block buff that also deals lightning damage for EE.

In short, we're totally fine and stronger than ever.

Current comments for 3.14 start on page 339

3.14 POB: https://pastebin.com/1iyNu0PX

Changes from 3.13 TO 3.14 (There's a lot):

Spoiler

- The leveling guide and notes in PoB have been updated to reflect the new suggested leveling links.

- Updated numerous sections to remove outdated information or update grammar and/or spelling.

- Made very slight changes (less than 5 points each) to the leveling and CI trees

- Overhauled a large amount of the Low-Life build including the tree, gem links, and a few items

- The main defensive focus is now constant Energy Shield regen through Zealots Oath

- Intuitive Leap has been replaced with a Large Thread of Hope

- There is now a larger focus on cluster jewels, with a recommended 2 large, 4 medium, and 2 small clusters. The cluster jewel section has a lot more info on this. There is a 0 cluster tree for budget builds or people who don't like cluster jewels

- Recommendation for end-game Low Life is to run Vile Bastion and Malediction, but Profane Bloom is still a personal preference options

- New skill setups include Tempest Shield in a trigger wand, Storm Brand selfcast to apply hexes, and Vitality and Clarity as auras

- Minor gear changes including needing an unset ring, moving Elusive from the skill tree to the boot slot, changing the boot enchant to crit, and moving to as many as 14 jewels.

- I'm sure there's more that I missed. Ask me questions here or in the Discord. Have fun!


If you have questions about Vortex or just want to hang out with PoE players, my Discord is active and is a good place to hang out and learn: https://discord.gg/tkzCFtN. PLEASE read the guide first!




Foreword
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Shameless Self-Promotion

     I do a ton of PoE content outside of this guide. Here's where to find me:

I stream on Twitch 3x a week: Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday at 8:30pm EST. We've got emotes, sub badges, memes, highlights, channel rewards, and tons of H2O. Check it out here!

My YouTube channel is also a good place to be, especially for Vortex content! I've got Vortex guides, summaries of fun temporary leagues, and a few challenge series' I'm hoping to get back to when PoE performance is fixed. Click here to check out the channel.

I cannot stress enough how good the Discord is. This is the place to get build advice, ask your PoE questions, stay updated on streams, events, and important build developments, etc. Come hang out with thousands of other PoE players! https://discord.gg/tkzCFtN




About the Author

     I began playing Path of Exile during open beta in 2013. After a several years on and off the game, I returned to PoE in 2017 and have been playing regularly since. I streamed PoE irregularly from 2018 through early 2020, but it's become one of my favorite ways of interacting with the game and the community and my streams have been regular and growing for about a year. I love writing as well, and am excited to contribute to the community in this way.

     I enjoy playing spell builds and I fondly remember the days of clearing Merciless Dried Lake with Vaal Spark in 30 seconds flat.



Dedication

     As always, to Enki, whose Arc guide inspires me in my content creation, writing, and dedication to the game. ❤️❤️❤️


Why Make A Vortex Guide?

     As mentioned at the start, this actually isn't my first Vortex guide. I really love the skill, and it has been one of my favorite builds since 3.5. Although Occultist has seen several nerfs in the last 2 years, the build remains top tier and is now in the strongest place its ever been. I've redone the guide multiple times, as much of the skill tree and items have changed since the original guide.

     My goal is for this guide to be the one-stop-shop for all things Vortex. Whether you're playing CI or Low Life, this is the place for you.



My Other "Guides"

     The first guide in the "For Dummies" series was Tornado Shot For Dummies. It's VERY outdated because of the huge Tornado Shot nerf over a year ago, but you can still check it out!


This guide is an overhaul of my first guide on Vortex, which can be viewed here.


Table of Contents
Spoiler

Part 1: Introduction to Vortex
 1.1 - How Does Vortex Work?
 1.2 - Why Play Vortex?
 1.3 - The Pros & Cons of Vortex
 1.4 - Path of Building (PoB) Code
 1.5 - Videos


Part 2: Leveling
 2.1 - Leveling With No Gear
 2.2 - Leveling With "Twink" Gear
 2.3 - Full Leveling Guide
 2.4 - Leveling Guide Summary
 2.5 - Live Item Searches
 2.6 - Shak's Loot Filter


Part 3: Playing Vortex (3.1-3.5 is 3A; 3.6-3.8 is 3B)
 3.1 - Elemental Equilibrium (Major 3.14 Changes - Please Read)
 3.2 - Gem Links
 3.3 - Flasks & Immunities
 3.4 - Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers
 3.5 - All Things Jewels
 3.6 - Assembling Your Early Mapping Gear
 3.7 - When, Where, and How to take Chaos Innoculation
 3.8 - The Ultimate End-Game: Low-Life Vortex


Part 4: The Part of Tens
 4.1 - Ten Cheap Uniques That Can Substitute For Expensive Gear
 4.2 - Ten TV Shows to Watch While Deep Delving
 4.3 - Ten Builds To Play If You Need A Break From Vortex


Part 5: FAQ, Index, And Changelog
 5.1 - Frequently Asked Questions
 5.2 - Index
 5.3 - Changelog



Part 1: Introduction to Vortex

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 1.1 - How Does Vortex Work?
        
Spoiler

How Do the Main Gems Work?

Vortex is an instant cast spell. It deals a hit of Cold Damage in a circle around the player and leaves behind a ground circle that deals Cold Damage Over Time (DoT).

Some notes on Vortex mechanics:

        1. Instant speed casts do not interrupt your character's movement.

        2. The ground circle stays where it was created, at the location of the player.

        3. Vortex applies "increased spell damage" and "more spell damage" mods to its Damage Over Time.

        4. The Frostbolt interaction in the Vortex gem description is not used and can be ignored.


Cold Snap is very similar to Vortex. It also deals a hit of Cold Damage and leaves behind a ground circle of Cold Damage Over Time.

The main differences from Vortex are:

        1. Cold Snap has a cast time.

        2. Cold Snap is targeted; you choose where to place it.

        3. Cold Snap has a chance to generate frenzy charges on kill, and has a cooldown that can be bypassed by spending a frenzy charge.

        4. Cold Snap has a Vaal skill version that charges up by killing enemies or damaging unique enemies. When the Vaal version is activated, it creates a large circle of continuous Cold Damage at the player's feet and follows them around for a few seconds. It deals very high damage and gives guaranteed frenzy charges on kill. After using Vaal Cold Snap, there is a short cooldown before it can be charged again.


How Do You Build Around Vortex?

The build is simple concepts with a high degree of flexibility. The main pillar of the build is that Vortex has near-perfect "DPS Uptime" (my own term; not an official phrase), which allows the rest of the build to function smoothly. DPS uptime is the percentage of time during a fight when enemies are taking your full damage. You will often see build guides that claim an absurdly high amount of DPS, but that number is highly conditional and almost never realistic.

If you can do 100 million DPS under perfect conditions, that's great. But as soon as you use a movement skill, cast a buff, or use almost any other skill, your DPS slows or in some cases drops to 0 until you can attack or cast again. Nearly all builds take time off from dealing damaging to dodge, use cooldowns, etc. This brings their actual DPS significantly lower than advertised.

Vortex is full damage, all the time. We deal full damage immediately at instant speed. Once Cold Snap has been cast, simply refreshing the skills on cooldown is enough to keep them doing full damage indefinitely. What do we do with all of our free time? We block, dodge, reposition, use Flame Dash, etc. All this while always maintaining our full DPS.

Vortex wants to do 3 things, none of which require extensive game knowledge or complicated calculations:

        1. Stack Spell Damage, Damage over Time, and Cold Damage to deal high damage to enemies.

        2. Stack Energy Shield and other defensive layers to become as tanky as possible due to our melee range main skill.

        3. Utilize curses, freeze and chill ailments, and manual dodging to neutralize enemy attacks and stay safe.


A full Vortex build goes through 3 stages in its lifetime, indicated by the balance between Life and Energy Shield. While the first 2-3 stages do not have any required uniques, be sure to save up your passive respec points and any Orbs of Regret that you find.

Stage 1: Leveling and early maps. A hybrid Life and Energy Shield build.

Stage 2: The CI transition. After accumulating needed gear, the build shifts to Chaos Inoculation to become immune to Chaos Damage and rely solely on a large pool of Energy Shield.

Stage 3: The build removes Chaos Inoculation in favor of a low-life build with Shavronne's Wrappings. This build has both the highest possible damage and defensive utility and is insanely strong, bordering on broken when maximized.

 1.2 Why Play Vortex?
        
Spoiler
Quality of Life

Vortex makes a strong case for being the best all-around build in the game. While the ultra-fast gameplay of Ice Shot or the pure tankiness of Earthshatter can be fun and rewarding, these builds can often be insanely expensive to gear out or have noticable gaps in their ability to run certain content. Vortex is very good at turning the game's toughest maps and enemies into manageable and enjoyable content with gear that can be as much as 100% self-crafted.


Gear Requirements and SSF

Good news: there are no specific gear requirements until you decide to fully max out the build. There are uniques that make the build better, and some are obviously required for the min-max Low Life variant. However, Vortex can be played into maps in all self-crafted blue (Magic) gear. You can play the CI version of the build in SSF very comfortably. I've demonstrated in the past that the build can achieve 4500+ ES, capped res, and 100k Vortex DPS (Not counting Cold Snap) in all blue/magic self-crafted gear.


Vortex vs Melee Skills

Vortex's advantage over melee skills is in its defenses and DPS uptime. Where melee builds constantly switch between attack and movement, Vortex has constant DoT dps while never having to stop moving. It can be actively finding a safe position while damaging the enemy and keeping them cursed.


Vortex vs Ranged Skills

Vortex can't compete with the speed of a dedicated clearing build like Ice Shot, but it makes up for it with survivability and bossing prowess. Vortex needs no gem, gear, or build swapping to do all content from T1 maps to Sirus and beyond. Its survivability in comparison to ranged classes is laughably superior.


Vortex vs Other Spell Skills

Vortex is the king of tanky spellcasters. Its combination of curses, ailments, and Energy Shield stacking and regeneration allows it to cruise through trash mobs and take down bosses in ways that most spellcasters cannot. It may not have the absolute highest DPS of any spell build, but it can dish out its damage and survive to tell the tale.

 1.3 The Pros & Cons of Vortex
        
Spoiler
Pros

One of the safest builds in the game
Can do nearly all content and easily farm Sirus and Maven
Damage Over Time cannot be reflected, so you can do Reflect maps by Vortexing at your feet or swapping into Wintertide Brand (it doesn't hit) and pulling mobs into the DoT
Can reach 11-13k ES, 10+ million DPS on Vortex with min/maxed gear, and a large number of defensive layers


Cons

We struggle with 2 map mods. "Cannot regenerate" maps require Cinderswallow Urn + a mana flask, and Ele reflect can be done in 3 different ways but is slow.
Not a high clear-speed build (though you can still go fast if you get good with Cold Snap placement)
Legions & blighted maps aren't great. You can still run them fine, but we have the same issues with these that melee builds have
Can't clear Hall of Grandmasters (but who can?)

 1.4 Path of Building (PoB) Code
        
Spoiler

Unless you really know what you're doing, do not just yoink the PoB and leave! Vortex is incredibly flexible and open to your own skill tree and gem interpretations, but as you get more specific in uniques and playstyle, the tree options tighten up a lot.

3.14 PoB : https://pastebin.com/1iyNu0PX

A couple of quick notes:

- Be sure you have the PoB Community Fork installed! There aren't many people still using the old OpenArl version, but if you are, you can find the community fork here

- Since 3.11, a lot of people have been reporting error code "302" when importing PoBs. This happens when Pastebin flags the code as potential spam. If that happens to you, just go to the actual link and copy the larger full code into the left-side import window in PoB.

 1.5 Videos
       
 

Part 2: Leveling

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 2.1 Leveling With No gear
        
Spoiler
If you are new to Path of Exile or starting with thousands of players in a new league, you're starting with no items and no currency. You're in luck! Vortex requires nothing to get going and is absurdly cheap to play as CI. Don't worry about unique items! My recommendation is simply to save as much currency as possible for future gear and only spend what you need to make the build functional or purchase solid upgrades. Head down to section 2.3 and start with the Full Leveling Guide. Take your time and enjoy!

 2.2 Leveling with "Twink Gear"
        
Spoiler

        There are a few unique items that will allow you to truly zoom through the leveling process. If you want to twink your character and get to maps ASAP, slap these bad boys on and crush everything.



 2.3 Full Leveling Guide
        
Spoiler

The full leveling guide for Vortex can be viewed here. This allows me to host future leveling guides all in one place and reduces the character count for this guide.

 2.4 Leveling Guide Summary 
        
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Passive Tree

Here is the full tree for leveling. See the full leveling guide for a section-by-section breakdown.



Gems

This is ripped straight from the full leveling guide:

- Vortex + Efficacy + Elemental Focus + Hypothermia

- Creeping Frost + Efficacy + Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Elemental Focus

- Malevolence, Clarity, Vitality (Level Clarity and Vitality as attributes and mana/health regen needs dictate)

- Orb of Storms + Hextouch + Frostbite

- Flame Dash + Arcane Surge + Second Wind

- Vaal Cold Snap + Bonechill (can't get this until Act 4)

2.5 Live Item Searches
        
Spoiler

To use this section in a new league, do the following:

        1. Click on the link of the gear you want to live search.
        2. To the right of the search bar, change the league to the current temporary league.
        3. Click the live search button on the left side.

This process is illustrated in the following (professionally commissioned) image:



Leveling Gear

Wanderlust

Goldrim

Lifesprig

Lochtonial Caress


Uniques

Axiom Perpetuum


Tabula Rasa

Cheap Humility Div Cards (1.5c or less)


Rares

30% MS Boots with 75+ Resists

5c or less ring with 120+ resists

2.6 Shak's Loot Filter

Spoiler
I have created Vortex-specific loot filters for use on all platforms. PC players have a Leveling+Ossuary filter, a Strict filter for mapping, and a Very Strict filter for endgame. Console players have a Leveling+Ossuary filter and a general purpose Strict mapping + endgame filter.

To use the filters, click here for the item filters page on my PoE profile. Click "Follow" and the filter will be added to your list of item filters in PoE. You can simply click the reload button to apply any future filter updates. You can also make a copy to further edit for yourself, although copies will not update when I release future versions.

PC PLAYERS: To use the PC filters, you MUST download the custom sound files and extract them into the same folder as your item filters. Click here to download the custom sounds for the filters. If you have feedback on the filter, there is a dedicated channel in my Discord for filter feedback. Thank you!



Part 3A: Playing Vortex

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3.1 - Elemental Equilibrium (Major 3.14 Changes - Please Read)

Spoiler
Based on the amount of questions I see, this is the most confusing mechanic in the build. Furthermore, 3.14 has seen a drastic change in our use of this keystone, so I want to fully explain it here.

There is a LOT of info in this section, and much of it has changed AFTER 3.14's launch, so take it slow and read through this section multiple times if needed.

Elemental Equilibrium is a keystone that says "Enemies you hit with Elemental Damage temporarily get +25% Resistance to those Elements and -50% Resistance to other Elements". This looks bad for Damage over Time builds because we continuously do damage of our main element. However, EE is actually a large damage boost. Here's why:

They key word in the Elemental Equilibrium keystone is "hit".

Vortex and Cold Snap each hit the enemy once on cast; the ground circle never hits. Because of this we can use EE by hitting with other elemental damage while our ground effect is active. Here's the info on our new use of EE:

1. We do enough damage to normal/magic/rare monsters that we don't need EE to kill them. We do enough to them that even triggering the EE "negatively" from Vortex/CS hits doesn't matter.

2. Because EE is not needed except for bosses, I've done a large overhaul in the recommended setups for skill gems, auras, and the need for a wand with "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill".

Previous versions of the build would require obtaining a trigger wand that automatically cast spells like Orb of Storms and Storm Brand that continuously hit enemies with lightning damage to trigger EE in a positive way.

We would also use the Blasphemy Support to turn our curses into auras to make use of Profane Bloom. As explained in section 3.4, Profane Bloom is no longer the best ascendancy choice, and we no longer use Blasphemy Support.

Because of these factors, an opportunity arose. We now take Storm Brand out of the wand and link it with Hextouch and 2 curses. Frostbite is mandatory, but the second curse can be Temporal Chains for defense or Elemental Weakness for damage.

When fighting a boss or other tough monster, cast Storm Brand on the enemy. It will attach, lower its cold res by applying EE, and apply both curses to the enemy. You can have 3 Storm Brands out at a time for multi-boss fights.

This allows us to replace the trigger wand gems with quality of life skills while still maintaining EE on the only enemies that need it. The new gems setups are listed below.

3.2 Gem Links

Spoiler

Alternate Quality Gems:

Spoiler
Here is a list of gems with alternate quality bonuses that are better than the default versions. Don't overspend on them, but pick them up if you have the opportunity.

Anomalous Vortex - 20% Cold Damage (Divergent for cooldowns is also fine)

Anomalous or Divergent Hypothermia - Supported Skills have +20% chance to Freeze Enemies which are Chilled, Enemies Frozen by
Supported Skills have -4% to Cold Resistance

Anomalous or Divergent Bonechill - Supported skills deal 10% increased Cold Damage, Supported Skills have 10% increased Effect of Chill on Enemies

Divergent Clarity - 5% increased Damage on Full Mana

Anomalous Malevolence - You and nearby allies have 10% increased Skill Effect Duration

Anomalous or Divergent Second Wind - Supported Skills have 10% reduced Cooldown Recovery Rate, Supported Non-Instant Skills have +1 Cooldown Use, Regenerate 1% of Life over 1 second when you use supported skills

Anomalous Hatred - You and nearby Allies have 20% increased Chill and Freeze Duration


VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ: The gem links for Low-Life have seen a large change. Read section 3.1 if you haven't already. We have multiple sockets/links now that can be modified for personal preference. I'll first list the links that stay the same no matter which CI/LL version you choose, and then I'll list all of the possible variations for the remaining gems, along with my personally recommended setup.

As a final note for CI players, I am working on a CI overhaul to change the CI build to an ES regeneration version along with Low-Life. The CI gems are unchanged for now, but not for long. Stay tuned.




Mandatory Gem Links

Vortex

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




Vaal Cold Snap with Helmet 5th Link

Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Efficacy - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia

NOTE: If you are wearing Rime Gaze or a generic helmet, Hypothermia is your 4th link. If you have a helmet with "Socketed gems are supported by Hypothermia", then use Controlled Destruction as your 4th.




Movement Skill

Flame Dash - Arcane Surge (lvl 6)

For the CI build, fill out this item with Second Wind + Faster Casting

For all Low-Life variants, separate the sockets into 2 separate B-B links (to avoid having the auras reserve too much mana through Arcane Surge support) and use Vaal Discipline + Clarity





All Low-Life Variants: Unset Ring

Vitality



Chaos Innoculation (CI) Links


Spoiler
Wand Gems - Get "Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill" automate EE and cursing.

Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb - Storm Brand


4-Link:

Vaal Discipline - Malevolence - Enlighten - Frostbite Shield


Shield:

Cast When Damage Taken lvl 1 - Immortal Call lvl 3 - Increased Duration



Low-Life Links (4 Total Variants)


NOTE 1: You can use a non-Prism Guardian shield if you don't have one. Instead of 3 auras, simply use Arrogance linked with Malevolence and an unlinked flex socket.

NOTE 2:There are several places in the upcoming variants in which you can swap in and out a variety of "Quality of Life" gems to make the build your own. I've listed my favorite 3: Tempest Shield, Frost Shield, and Void Sphere. Other good options to try out include Decoy Totem, a Golem, or Steelskin among others.



The High Utility Variant - NO trigger wand, QoL focus (My recommended setup)
Spoiler
This version is my current favorite and I believe it is the strongest, but has the most buttons to press. It does not use a trigger wand, instead hand-casting spells for improved defenses and quality of life. NOTE: You can still use this version with a trigger wand. You'll lose some control over the placement of your skills, but it will be less clicking.


Wand Gems

Tempest Shield - Frost Shield - Void Sphere


4-Link

Storm Brand - Hextouch - Frostbite - Temporal Chains


Prism Guardian Links

Zealotry - Malevolence - Hatred


The Modern Classic Variant - Trigger wand, High E.E. Uptime focus
Spoiler
This version goes all-in on trying to trigger Elemental Equilibrium on every possible monster by using 2 lightning spells in a trigger wand in addition to Storm Brand for dual-cursing


Wand Gems

Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb - Tempest Shield


4-Link

Storm Brand - Hextouch - Frostbite - Temporal Chains


Prism Guardian Links

Zealotry - Malevolence - Hatred


The Wrist Brace Variant - Trigger wand, Blasphemy Curses focus
Spoiler
This version is for fans of Wrecker_of_Days. If you want to relax and have everything possible automated for you, this is your variant. Note that for any Blasphemy variants, you'll need to roll and use 2x Self-Control notable on either your Small Cluster Jewels or your Aura Effect Medium Cluster Jewels. Otherwise, you won't be able to get your reservation low enough for all of your auras.


Wand Gems

Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb - Tempest Shield


4-Link

Blasphemy - Temporal Chains - Frostbite - ANYTHING! This is a flex spot. Frost Shield or Enlighten 3+ is my recommended choice


Prism Guardian Links

Zealotry - Malevolence - Hatred


The Upside Down Variant - NO trigger wand, Blasphemy Curses focus
Spoiler
This version is people who just like Blasphemy. No trigger, just QoL gems and auto curses. Note that for any Blasphemy variants, you'll need to roll and use 2x Self-Control notable on either your Small Cluster Jewels or your Aura Effect Medium Cluster Jewels. Otherwise, you won't be able to get your reservation low enough for all of your auras.


Wand Gems

Tempest Shield - Frost Shield - Void Sphere


4-Link

Blasphemy - Temporal Chains - Frostbite - ANYTHING! This is a flex spot. Frost Shield or Enlighten 3+ is my recommended choice


Prism Guardian Links

Zealotry - Malevolence - Hatred

 3.3 Flasks & Immunities
        
Spoiler

        Flasks are a huge part of PoE. Immunities are a huge part PoE. Luckily, you can get a lot of your immunities on your flasks!

Vortex builds use their flasks and immunities to become even tankier and reduce any chance of missing DPS Uptime.


Flasks

The desired 5 flasks for Vortex are as follows: Rumi's Concoction Granite Flask (Unique), Cinderswallow Urn Silver Flask (Unique), a Quicksilver Flask, a Quartz Flask, and a Basalt flask. Optional/niche flasks will be further below.



        - Rumi's Concoction is an incredible flask. Tons of armor and block are exactly what we want, and with a shield, Rumi's, and Glancing Blows allocated, it's almost impossible not to be block capped.

        - Cinderswallow Urn is expensive, but its effectiveness is legendary. You are nearly immortal while this flask is active. The ES recovery is amazing, and if you can pick up an movement speed unveil, you'll never go back to different flask.

        - A Quicksilver flask is essential to your sanity and safety. Moving at a high rate of speed helps you dodge attacks, move between packs quickly, and maintain flask charges.

        - A Quartz flask makes Vortex fully functional. Being able to Vortex in the actual center of a pack is a huge boon to the build, and it would feel awful to go without one.

        - A Basalt flask further amplifies the effect of the Rumi's armour. It gives us more phys reduction, and another base on which to put an immunity.

Other options for viable flasks include Sulphur, Jade, and the Witchfire Brew unique.


Immunities

Immunities in Path of Exile are a big, big deal. Bleeding will kill you in a second. Being frozen is death. Poison and Ignite prevent ES recharge. Curses make you worse at everything. Shock just negates the benefit of your defenses and gets your face pounded in.

Some are more impactful than others, but overall you want to be immune to as many status ailments and negative effects as possible. Let's look at how.

Immunity to:

        - Freeze and Chill: Our ascendancy makes us immune to Freeze and Chill!

        - Stun: While leveling and as Chaos Innoculation, Vile Bastion provides stun immunity. Once we swap to Low-Life, we get it from Presence of Chayula amulet.

        - Bleed: Early on and potentially through your entire character's life, you will get your bleed immunity from the flask suffix "__ Of Staunching". In the late-game, you can Vaal jewels or buy one to get the "Cannot be Inflicted With Corrupting Blood" implicit. These can be expensive but well worth it.

        - Curses: Roll a flask to get the "__ Of Warding" suffix. Very important for higher tier maps.

        - Shock: Shock immunity can be achieved through the flask suffix "__ of Grounding". If you have 2 unique flasks, this would be the final immunity I put on my 3rd non-unique flask.

        - Ignite: You can roll the "__ of Dousing" suffix or take care of this via Pantheon power.

        - Poison: You can roll the "__ of Curing" suffix or take care of this via Pantheon power.

 3.4 - Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
        
Spoiler


Ascendancy

Normal Lab & Cruel Lab - After your first two labs are done, you will have both Void Beacon and Vile Bastion. You can take them in either order. Take Void Beacon first if you want more damage, and take Vile Bastion first if you want more defenses.

Merc Lab - Take Frigid Wake. It gives utility, a huge damage boost, and grants Freeze/Chill immunity.

Uber Lab - Take Malediction. Start using 2 curses in a 4L with Storm Brand and Hextouch.

As of 3.14, I no longer recommend Profane Bloom. We don't scale AoE, so the pops aren't as useful as they are in AoE scaling builds like Bane. Keeping Vile Bastion allows us to go Low Life without needing Presence of Chayula, and the ES regen it provides is incredibly useful throughout the entire game.


Bandit Reward

Just kill the Bandits. The passive points are very important, and we gain very little overall from the 3 other options.

If you don't mind spending more currency, helping Alira while leveling can be extremely beneficial. The resists and mana regen are very valuable early on. If you help Alira, you can later trade 20 Regret Orbs and an Onyx Amulet to Eramir in the Act 2 town to have your reward set to the +2 skill points.


Pantheon Powers

Major: Solaris is the go-to here, as trash mobs don't pose a threat, and will help more against high health bosses. Lunaris is an option for clear speed.

Minor: Garukhan and Gruthkul are great for smoothing of incoming damage. Abberath is helpful, as burning ground is a problem for ES. Shakari is an option for low-life builds that are concerned about Chaos damage.

 3.5 All Things Jewels
        
Spoiler

Unique Jewels

Spoiler

LARGE Thread of Hope

The old Intuitive Leap socket has been replaced with a Large Thread of Hope. This allows us to pick up 5 extremely useful nodes and saves a ton of pathing points.





        Energy From Within

EFW is a great jewel for the combination life/ES nodes on the tree and gives us a great boost to our Energy Shield total.





        Watcher's Eye

Watcher's Eye has randomly assigned mods that grant bonus effects based on auras that the player has equipped. They will be extremely expensive, but if you can get your hands on a Watcher's Eye, here are some good mods to look for:

        -ANY "while affected by Clarity" mod except for "% of Damage taken from Mana before Life while affected by Clarity"
        -ANY "while affected by Discipline" mod except for "+# Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline"
        -ANY "while affected by Malevolence" mod except for "Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage #% faster while affected by Malevolence"



Normal Jeweling

Spoiler
Vortex can use Cobalt regular jewels or Searching Eye abyss jewels. Best jewel corruptions: Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you, Increased Area of Effect, Increased Damage, 1% Reduced Mana Reserved

Cobalt mods to look for:

        -Spell damage while holding a Shield
        -Increased Cold Damage
        -Maximum Energy Shield
        -Chance to Block Attack/Spell Damage while holding a Shield
        -Faster start of Energy Shield Recharge (HUGELY BENEFICIAL; BEST STAT)
        -Energy Shield Recharge Rate
        -Spell Damage
        -Damage over Time
        -Area Damage
        -% Chance to Freeze and Freeze Duration
        -Cold Damage over Time Multiplier

Searching Eye mods to look for:

        -Damage over Time while holding a Shield
        -Maximum Energy Shield
        -Increased Effect of Chill
        -% Chance to Block Spell Damage / Attack Damage if you were Damaged by a Hit Recently
        -Increased Movement Speed if you haven't taken Damage recently or if you've killed recently
        -Damage Penetrates #% Elemental Resistance if you haven't killed recently
        -% Chance to Gain Onslaught or Phasing on kill



Cluster Jewels

Spoiler

Sizing

Cluster Jewels come in 3 sizes: Large, Medium, and Small. For the final Low-Life Vortex build, you'll want 2 Large Cluster jewels, 4 Medium Clusters, and 2 Small Clusters.

- For Large Clusters you're looking for the "12% increased Cold Damage" implicit. They can have 8-12 passive skills, and you always want as few as possible.

- For Medium Clusters, 2-3 with the implicit mod "3% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills" and 1-2 with the implicit mod "+4% to Cold Damage over Time Multiplier." They can have 4-6 passive skills (4 and 5 are both optimal for Mediums).

- For Small Clusters, you want 2 with the implicit mod "6% Increased Maximum Energy Shield." They can have 2-3 passive skills.


Rolling Large Clusters

For your Large cluster jewels, you want to have 3 notables for optimal skill point pathing. Ideally you want a combination of the Deep Chill, Disorienting Display, Prismatic Heart, and Cold-Blooded Killer notables.

Crafting Note: Rolling a third notable on Large Clusters can be difficult. Harvest crafts can help with this.

- Start by obtaining a craft from a yellow "Vivid Scorpion" monster that says "Reforge a Rare item with new random modifiers, including a Cold modifier". You want to use this until you have 2 prefix notables.

- Then find the purple "Wild Spikeback" monster and their craft that says "Reforge a Rare item, keeping all Prefixes". This will help increase your odds of hitting the third notable.


Rolling Medium Clusters

For your aura implicit Medium clusters, the most important notable is Replenishing Presence. If you roll a second notable, First Among Equals and Vengeful Commander are the only 2 worth allocating

For your cold DoT multi implicit Medium clusters, the most important notable is Brush with Death. If you roll a second notable, there are several worth allocating, but the best are Vile Reinvigoration, Deep Chill, and Exposure Therapy.


Rolling Small Clusters

For your Small cluster jewels, you want to roll the notable Energy from Naught for a huge boost to your Energy Shield total.

Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Last edited by ShakCentral on May 7, 2021, 11:50:52 PM
Last bumped on May 11, 2021, 11:12:27 PM
Part 3B: The Full Vortex

Spoiler

 3.6 - Assembling Your Early Mapping Gear
        
Spoiler
Kitava is dead, and the game has actually begun. Now what?

The great thing about Vortex is that you can progress enough to take down Awakener Level 8 Sirus in all self-crafted gear. Unless/until you decide to go all the way to the Low-Life version of the build, there are literally Z E R O required unique items. So how do you get there? Let's take it step by step. Our first goal is to be able to get into maps (PoE's endgame) comfortably and effectively. Here's how to do it:



Phase 1: Item Acquisition

Spoiler

Click anywhere on this sentence to download a loot filter made specifically for farming early mapping gear for Vortex.

• Place the loot filter in your filter folder and make it your active filter in-game. Take the Waypoint for the Ravaged square in Act 10 and enter the Ossuary.

• Start farming laps around the Ossuary square. When you get back to the door, reset the zone and go again. Pick up the normal items and currency that you already would, but be on the lookout for these:


Spoiler


Pick up all of these ugly looking highlighted items. These are either the highest couple of item bases for Energy Shield items, resistance rings, or Dex/Str amulets.

• Run levels around the Ossuary until you have 2 of each highlighted item type (2 wands, 2 helmets, etc) and at least 4 rings. Note: Make sure you get 2 wands and 2 shields. You should be swapping to a shield right around the end of the story.

Once this is complete, you have all of the items you'll need to get mapping until you can make the commitment to Chaos Inoculation! Head back to your hideout and let's get to work.



Phase 2: Gear Assessment


Spoiler
Take a few minutes and look at your current gear (the gear you are wearing from completing the Acts). Determine if any of the gear is usable for a while. You're looking for high life rolls, Energy shield rolls, and multiple elemental resists. As an example, in SSF Harvest League, I found this insane pair of gloves in Act 7 of the campaign:


I was able to use those gloves all the way until my transition to Chaos Inoculation. Look at your gear and see if there are any rares that could be useful for a while. Usable rares can save you quite a bit of early crafting currency.



Phase 3: Gear Crafting

Spoiler

Once you've determined what items remain for you to craft, get out the LOWEST level base from the 2 items of each type that you farmed from the Ossuary. You'll be working on them in this order (skipping any that you have a rare for):

• Body Armour > Wand > Shield > Helmet & Gloves > Boots > Belt > Amulet > Both Rings

For the upcoming crafting, pay close attention to the current PoE league and see if there is a way to craft more deterministically or simply using the league mechanic. In Harvest league, crafting usable rares was absurdly simple. In other leagues, you may need to keep an eye out for rare drops. Your crafting methods should go in this order:

• League mechanic if applicable
• Mid/high tier Essences (If you have Scouring Orbs)
• Transmute/Alt/Aug/Regal


If the league mechanic and your essences don't do you any favors, you'll need to take matters into your own hands. You'll be using Orbs of Transmutation to turn your white items into blues, and then using Orbs of Alteration and Augmentation to hunt for desired mods. For reference below, here's what I mean if I say "roll for ES" or "roll for resists":

• Roll for ES: An Energy Shield roll (+# to Maximum Energy Shield or % increased Energy Shield) of mid-tier 4 or better.
• Roll for resists: An elemental resistance roll (#% Fire/Cold/Lightning Resistance) of mid-tier 3 or better.



Body Armour : The most important thing is to 5-link your Armour ASAP. 4 links are acceptable for very early mapping, but a minimum of a 5-link is essential quickly.

Beyond that, you're looking to maximize your ES. Roll for a huge ES mod if possible, and look for a Resist suffix. Body Armour is a great item to Regal to rare and add either another ES mod or a resist.



Wand : I'll do a more in-depth look at wand mods in the Chaos Inoculation section. For now, look for a good prefix mod. You're ideally looking for one of the following: 50%+ increased Spell or Cold Damage, 24% or higher Cold Damage over Time multiplier, or +1 to Spell or Cold skill gems. Another good target to Regal Orb and craft damage on.

3.14 Update: A new wand vendor recipe has been added to Path of Exile that gives a wand with +1 to Level of All Cold Spell Skill gems! This is a good wand to start with, as you can Augment, then Regal, and if either of the two new mods are good, you can craft another damage mod and end up with a really nice starter weapon.

The recipe:
- 1 normal rarity wand
- 2 or more skill gems with a "cold" tag and at least 40% combined quality.

This will be tough to get early in SSF due to the lack of quality gems, but if you level 2 cold gems to 20 and then trade them to a vendor with a GCP, you can use the 2 gems for the recipe as they'll now be lvl 1 with 20% qualiy.



Shield : Roll for ES and resists. Shields can naturally hit % Increased Spell or Cold Damage and +1 to Cold skill gems, and those are also acceptable if you get them.



Helmet & Gloves : Roll for ES and resists. We'll worry about the nasty stuff like Hypothermia/-9% resist helmets and Cold DoT Multi gloves in the next section.



Boots : Roll for decent Movement Speed if you can handle the ES hit. You'll want to be as mobile and fast as possible. Then go for resists with the suffix. Good target for Regal Orb if you hit 25% or more Movement Speed.



Belt : ES and Strength. Try to get a decent 30 or higher roll on Strength as a much-needed attribute boost and then get an ES roll for the prefix



Rings : Roll your rings to fill out your resists and attributes. The most important thing they do is to help cap resists. Don't be afraid to Regal Orb to chase Dex or resists.



Amulet : Amulets are the wild card. They can roll flat ES, % max ES, Spell Damage, Str / Dex, resists, and % cold damage. You can roll them before or after rings, but keep in mind the need to cap resists and go from there with whatever you need most.



Budget Anointments

Spoiler

There are more expensive (and potentially powerful) anointments listed with the amulets in the CI and LL sections.

Anointments are listed in this order:
• Oils Needed
• Name of Notable
• Effects


• Clear, Clear, Clear
• Alacrity
• +30 Dexterity

• Clear, Clear, Sepia
• Beef
• +30 Strength

• Clear, Sepia, Teal
• Diamond Skin
• 24% inc. Armour, 3% inc. Movement Speed, +12% Ele Resistances

• Sepia, Amber, Verdant
• Path of the Savant
• +20 to Intelligence, +20 to maximum Mana, 16% inc. Spell Damage

• Amber, Teal, Teal
• Sanctuary
• +4% Chance to Block Attack & Spell Damage while holding a Shield, +12% Elemental Resistances while holding a Shield

• Sepia, Teal, Azure
• Dreamer
• 20% inc. maximum Mana, 15% inc. Mana Regeneration Rate, 5% reduced Mana Cost of Skills

• Teal, Teal, Teal
• Mystic Bulwark
• 15% inc. max Mana, 6% Spell Block Chance, 1% inc. Mana Regen Rate per 1% Spell Block Chance

• Clear, Azure, Azure
• Prodigal Perfection
• 15% inc. max Mana, 10% inc. Spell Damage, 2% inc. Spell Damage per 100 Max Mana, up to 40%



Your budget gear can carry you into mid-tier maps even depending on your damage. Once you have some currency and maybe a few nicer gear pieces, you can begin to work toward end-game milestone 1: Chaos Inoculation!

 
3.7 - When (and How) to go Chaos Inoculation
        
Spoiler

What is Chaos Inoculation?

Spoiler
If you're new to PoE and unfamiliar with Chaos Inoculation (CI), here's the summary:

• CI locks your life total to 1.
• CI makes you immune to chaos damage.

This means that your health pool is 100% Energy Shield. Therefore, you need a LOT of it. In return, you never have to worry about any amount of chaos damage. Trust me, it's worth it.

CI adds multiple build aspects to consider that alter how you play the game. Health regen and (for our build) leech are no longer viable ways of refilling your life pool. Instead, your Energy Shield will begin to rapidly refill after not taking damage for a short time. Normally ES stops recharging as soon as you take damage, but the Wicked Ward notable allows your recharge to continue through damage as long as it began in the last 4 seconds.

As an important note, be aware that activating Vaal Discipline instantly restarts your ES recharge and is a great "panic" button.



When Do I Switch To Chaos Inoculation?

Spoiler
One of the most common questions I am asked about Vortex regards the switch from a hybrid Life/ES build to Chaos Inoculation. Nearly every time I'm asked, people say "What level should I be to switch to CI?" To be blunt, this is the exact wrong approach. I could be level 99, but if my gear doesn't have enough ES and resists, I will swap and get destroyed.

The better question is "How much Energy Shield do I need before switching to CI?". The answer varies a bit based in your previous experience, but here's a rough guideline:

• I'm new to PoE, or I have 0 CI experience: Try to reach 6,000 Energy Shield before committing.
• I have medium PoE experience, or this is my 2nd/3rd CI character: 5500-6000 before swapping.
• I'm an experienced PoE player and my daughter is named Shavronne: Swap as soon as you have 4k or more and can dodge projectiles/spells consistently

The most helpful thing you can do for your CI swap is not gathering mass amounts of ES. Instead, you need to learn to dodge avoidable damage. Practice serpentining as you approach enemies with projectiles. Learn to recognize ranged vs melee mobs at a glance. Flame Dash to the side and circle around tougher packs to avoid being shotgunned by their overlapping projectiles. The better you are at not taking damage, the earlier you can safely swap to CI.

Now that you’ve taken the Chaos Inoculation keystone, what do you do? You’re going to need some damage. This is the push and pull between the CI and Low-Life version of Vortex. CI builds can stack up huge amounts of Energy Shield, so their main holdup is in getting enough damage to feel good and kill efficiently. Low-Life builds have damage in spades, but their unique items leave them with a lower health pool, making defenses a larger concern.




Spell Damage vs Cold DoT Multi vs +1 Gems

Spoiler
It's very helpful to know the differences in damage between Spell Damage, Cold Damage over Time Multiplier, and +1 to Gem mods.

As a baseline for this comparison, I am using a previous Vortex PoB with mid-level CI gear, appropriate flasks, etc. When I equip a Prophecy wand with a 40% spell damage implicit and ZERO mods, I am at 380,600 DPS. We'll edit that wand with 1 mod a few times and compare the damage increases.

After modifying that same Prophecy wand, here are the new damage numbers:

• Base damage with no wand:      380,600 Vortex DoT DPS

• Max Spell Damage (109%):      450,700 DPS
• Max Cold DoT Multi (38%):       473,900
• +1 To All Spell Gems:               437,332
• +1 To All Cold Gems:                433,700

• Low T2 Spell Damage (86%):    435,900
• High T4 Cold DoT Multi (23%):  437,100

It's important to note that % increased cold damage is functionally identical to increased spell damage, and damage over time multiplier is functionally identical to cold damage over time multiplier.

As you can easily see from the numbers above, Cold Damage over Time multiplier is the best damage stat by a significant margin. I've also included the closest roll at which the damage numbers are the most similar between all stats, which means that until you get to 86% or higher spell damage, or 23% or higher Cold DoT Multi, +1 gems is best, as it has no roll range.




A Note For Newer Players

Spoiler
I want to take a few words and stress the importance of patience and using your time efficiently from this point forward through the end of the guide. If you're an experienced player, feel free to skip down to the actual gearing below.

Some of the items that will be shown and recommended here require a significant investment of either time, currency, and often both. I understand that if the most currency you've ever had is 40-50 Chaos, the prospect of spending multiple exalts just for a white item to further craft on is extremely daunting. Don't freak out.

There's nothing wrong with making minor upgrades to your early mapping gear and just mapping until you hit a wall in progression. However, if you want to take on all of the game's toughest content, you'll need to focus. Pick up a quad tab if you don't have one. Pre-roll multiple maps and then just bust through them, dumping everything into your quad tab each map. Once you've done your pre-rolled maps, roll a new set from the map drops and keep going. The more you play the game, the more currency you make. After your quad tab gets 80% full, make a plan to empty it into your regular tabs. Once you've built up a solid pool of currency such as Jeweller's Orbs, Chances, Fusings, etc, use a trade site to convert it to Chaos, and then Chaos > Exalts. You'll quickly begin to stack up currency, and you can start to plan for larger purchases. Once you have the required currency, move on to the section below.




End-Game CI Gearing

Spoiler
Some of the end-game gear choices have multiple options that include unique items. Vortex is beautiful because of its versatility, but that also means that I can't make every choice for you. Evaluate your needs and budget and form a plan.


Body Armour :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

For end-game CI body armour, you want as much Energy Shield as you can possibly get. The concept is very simple: Go for T1 (or as high as possible) rolls for both flat ES and % ES. Resists are a nice bonus, but this is primarily your big item for a huge portion of your ES pool. If you can hit some nice ES rolls or buy a good piece, you can use the Unveiled Quality + Dexterity craft to the item for more ES and some much needed attributes as well. There is the occasional player using Skin of the Loyal as a chest, but that's a mistake.




Wand :

First Choice: Rare w/ Specific Suffix Craft
No Alternate Choice

Your wand exists for two purposes. First, you want as much damage as you can possibly get through a combination of spell damage, cold damage, damage over time, and +1 levels to spell or cold gems. See above for damage calculations based on mod type. Second, your wand needs to have the suffix craft "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill". As soon as you have this on your wand, allocate the Elemental Equilibrium Keystone and your damage will skyrocket. See section 3.1 for details on both unveiling the Trigger mod and Elemental Equilibrium.

Just to re-iterate: DO NOT use a wand with the mod "Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells". This will ruin your EE and actually lower your damage.




Shield :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

Your end-game Shield has a huge amount of possibilities. It can be a massive source of Energy Shield, a big damage boost through implicits or mods, a mana reservation reducer, and more. You'll have to assess your goals and decide how you want your shield to end up.

Although some shield bases provide spell damage implicits, I firmly believe the optimal choice is a Titanium Spirit Shield for maximum Energy Shield.

Shaper-influenced Shields of ilvl 68 or higher can roll the mod "Recover (3-5)% of Energy Shield when you Block". This is an absurd mod, bordering on broken status. I believe this should be your number 1 choice for shield mods if you can get it; it's not a common roll, and buying them is not cheap.

Shaper shield can also roll the mod "socketed Gems have either 10 or 15% reduced Mana Reservation on ilvl 68 and 80 shield respectively. This is a great mod for reducing or eliminating your reliance on Enlighten, but make sure the appropriate auras are placed into the shield sockets.

Finally, shields can naturally roll "+1 to Level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems". This is a nice damage boost from a normally defensive item.

Beyond those mods, high ES is desirable, and resists are not unwelcome.




Helmet :

First Choice: Rime Gaze
Alternate Choice: Rare

CI and Low-Life are identical when it comes to the helmet slot. Rime Gaze is a fantastic helmet, it adds a TON of damage to a normally defensive slot, it has a large amount of Energy Shield, and it's incredibly common and cheap. Because of this, I can't recommend anything else as a first choice for a helmet. Socket your Cold Snap into it and you'll be set right to level 100.

If you're SSF and don't have access to a Rime Gaze, a rare with ES and resists is fine.

Shaper helmets can roll "Socketed gems are supported by level (16/18/20) Hypothermia", granting your Cold Snap a free 5th link. Additionally, Redeemer helmets can roll "Nearby enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance".

The thing about Rime Gaze is, these influenced mods are rare enough that rolling both of them together on a helmet could be very, very expensive, and still wouldn't give even half of the damage increase of Rime Gaze. If you're looking to absolutely maximize your Energy Shield pool, you can go this route, but otherwise be happy with the cheap best in slot unique.




Gloves :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

Gloves are pretty simple. The ideal base is an ilvl 80+ Shaper Fingerless Silk Glove. ilvl 80+ Shaper is more important than Fingerless silk base type if you have to make a choice between the two. For the most part, you're simple rolling for ES and resists/attributes on gloves. However, ilvl 80+ Shaper gloves can also roll a Cold DoT multi mod, and that's what you want more than anything. Fingerless Silks also give you spell damage if you can get them, but as with wands, Cold DoT multi beats spell damage in a head's up match. All in all, a simple gear piece.




Boots :

First Choice: Rare
Alternate Choice: Sin Trek

Your first choice for boots should be a 30-35% Movement Speed pair with ES and resists. Again, this slot isn't super complicated.

There are a number of quality of life and speed mods that can be rolled on boots, but none of them are required. Redeemer influence has chance to gain both Onslaught on kill and Elusive on critical strike, Hunter has Tailwind if you've crit recently, and Delve crafting can hit a few nice but niche mods as well. If you can get any of these, awesome! If not, just get fast and get some defenses.

Sin Trek is a solid budget choice for boots, but they carry no resists.




Belt :

First Choice: Bated Breath
Alternate Choice: Rare

Bated Breath is similar to Rime Gaze. It's so good for such a cheap cost that I feel forced to recommend it. It has no resists, but its offensive and ES benefits are absolutely massive. It's another incredibly cheap unique that can push your ES significantly higher.

The best use of the belt slot would be a Shaper-influenced Crystal Belt. They can roll the mods "#% increased Energy Shield from Body Armour" and "#% increased Elemental Damage". Fossils can also roll mods like Cold Damage and increased flask effects.




Rings :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

Your ring slots may be your most important gear pieces. These little circles do a lot of heavy lifting. Your rings will carry the bulk of your resists, add damage, and maybe even boost your Energy Shield recharge.

The most important thing is to use your rings for as many resistances as possible. If you're able to get capped easily enough, you can grab an Opal Ring base for damage, or a Moonstone Ring base for more ES. Otherwise, get a resist base and fill the ring up with resists. You're looking for 4 basic things on a CI ring:

- Resists
- Energy Shield
- Attributes (high dex/str rolls)
- "Faster Start of Energy Shield Recharge" crafted mod.




Amulet :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

Amulets fill a couple of important rolls for CI. They should provide a large amount of needed attributes, as many resists as possible, and then help to boost damage.

Shaper amulets can roll a huge amount of great Vortex mods, including increased damage per Intelligence, Cold DoT multi, reduced mana reserved, and increased Movement Speed. Redeemer influence can also grant a couple of helpful mods. Hunter influence can grant Cold DoT Multi a well as +1 to Intelligence skill Gems.




Mid-Level Anointments

Spoiler

There are cheaper and more expensive anointments listed with the amulets in the Early Mapping and LL sections respectively (3.6 and 3.8).

Anointments are listed in this order:
• Oils Needed
• Name of Notable
• Effects


• Sepia, Amber, Crimson
• Entropy
• 23% inc. Damage over Time, 10% inc. Skill Effect Duration

• Verdant, Azure, Crimson
• Flash Freeze
• 24% inc. Cold Damage, 20% inc. Projectile Speed (Unused), 20% inc. Chill Effect, 10% Freeze Chance

• Sepia, Crimson, Crimson
• Ash, Frost, & Storm
• 30% inc. Ele Damage, 20% inc. Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments & 20% reduced Effect of them on you, 10% chance to Freeze, Shock & Ignite

• Sepia, Teal, Black
• Divine Judgment
• 50% inc. Elemental Damage

• Sepia, Violet, Black
• Mental Rapidity
• 10% inc. Cast Speed, 20% inc. Mana Regen, 10% inc. ES Recharge Rate

• Sepia, Sepia, Opalescent
• Potency of Will
• 25% inc. Skill Effect Duration

• Sepia, Teal, Opalescent
• Deflection
• +4% Chance to Block Attacks w/ Shield, +4% Chance to Block Spells w/ Shield, 40% inc. Defences from Shield, +8% Chance to Block Projectiles Attacks

• Amber, Azure, Opalescent
• Amplify
• 10% inc. AoE, 20% inc. Area Damage

• Clear, Black, Black
• Lethal Assault
• 18% inc. Damage, 10% inc. Projectile Speed, 10% inc. Area of Effect

• Amber, Crimson, Opalescent
• Command of Steel
• +3% Chance to Block Attacks w/ Shield, 1% inc. Damage per 1% Chance to Block Attacks

• Violet, Crimson, Opalescent
• Disciple of the Unyielding
• +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges, 8% chance to gain End. Charge on Kill, 8% inc. Damage per End. Charge


3.8 - The Ultimate End-Game: Low-Life Vortex

Spoiler
What is Low-Life?

Spoiler
If you're unfamiliar with Low-Life builds (LL), here's the summary:

• Low-Life builds take the Pain Attunement keystone, which grants 30% more spell damage when on "Low-Life".
• A character is on Low-life when their life is below 50% of its maximum value.
• Typically, Low-life is achieved by using Blood Magic or other means to reserve at least 50% of a character's life pool, granting a permanent 30% more damage bonus.
• Low-Life builds should have a solution for Chaos damage, as reserving most of your life pool and then being hit by Chaos damage will kill you nearly immediately.


Vortex achieves Low-Life by using Shavronne's Wrappings, Prism Guardian or a shield socketed with the Arrogance support gem. Prism Guardian/Arrogance allows you to achieve Low-Life while granting yourself some auras, and Shavronne's Wrappings prevents chaos damage from bypassing your Energy Shield, meaning you still take chaos damage as normal, but it drains from your much larger ES pool.



When Do I Switch To Low-Life?

Spoiler
Technically, you can switch to Low-Life Vortex as soon as you have Shavronne's Wrappings, an Arrogance reservation setup, and Pain Attunement allocated. However, Low-Life can't reach the ES levels of CI Vortex because Shavronne's Wrappings caps at about 1/3 of the ES of a CI body armour, and other uniques such as Prism Guardian will also lower your achievable ES total. This makes dodging and learning attack/spell/boss patterns even more important. If you have trouble surviving as CI, imagine having 2/3 of your ES pool and also taking full chaos damage.

If you're newer to Vortex or PoE, I highly recommend taking your time with the Low-Life swap.

I'll quote from the CI swapping section in 3.7: "The most helpful thing you can do for your [Low-Life] swap is not gathering mass amounts of ES. Instead, you need to learn to dodge avoidable damage. Practice serpentining as you approach enemies with projectiles. Learn to recognize ranged vs melee mobs at a glance. Flame Dash to the side and circle around tougher packs to avoid being shotgunned by their overlapping projectiles. The better you are at not taking damage, the earlier you can safely swap to [Low-Life]."

There's very little to lose from staying CI a bit longer, getting more ES on your non-body armour or shield slots, and swapping comfortably, and a lot to lose by swapping too early and dying constantly while halting your progress. If you're more experienced, lace up your Wrappings and get to work.



End-Game Low-Life Gearing

Spoiler
Because of the required uniques, Low-Life gear is a bit less flexible than the choices for CI. However, I will include options of alternate items wherever possible.

The gearing below will allow you to do basically everything in the game, minus a few map mods. If you're a dedicated min-max player who wants to see what Vortex can do with a full league of investment and dedication, here is the PoB from DonBrawler, one of the Discord mods and one of the top Vortex players in PoE: https://pastebin.com/7z9hMrwf . Don was able to push the build to 20 million DPS, 12,000 Energy Shield, and around 4,000 ES regenerated per second by the end of Ritual league (3.13). You can invest a nearly limitless amount of currency into the build, and it will keep improving. With that being said, here is the baseline gear for Low-Life:

Body Armour :

First Choice: Shavronne's Wrappings
No Alternate Choice

Shav's Wraps are the item that lets us play as Low-Life. Without Shavs, nearly any hit of Chaos damage would instantly kill us. It has low ES but good lightning res, and is the most iconic piece of the Low-Life build.




Wand :

First Choice: Rare
Alternate Choice: Spine of the First Claimant

Reposting from 3.7 CI wand: "Your wand exists for two purposes. First, you want as much damage as you can possibly get through a combination of spell damage, cold damage, damage over time, and +1 levels to spell or cold gems. See above for damage calculations based on mod type. Second, your wand needs to have the suffix craft "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill". As soon as you have this on your wand, allocate the Elemental Equilibrium Keystone and your damage will skyrocket. See section 3.1 for details on both unveiling the Trigger mod and Elemental Equilibrium.

Just to re-iterate: DO NOT use a wand with the mod "Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells". This will ruin your EE and actually lower your damage."




Shield :

First Choice: Prism Guardian
Alternate Choice: Rare (Not recommended)

Prism Guardian is the recommended choice here, as it gives us the highest damage by allowing us to socket 3 auras that the item automatically supports with a reduced mana reservation Blood Magic. It turns on our Low-Life status while granting a boatload of DPS.

Alternatively, this section from 3.7 CI shields is true: "Shaper-influenced Shields of ilvl 68 or higher can roll the mod "Recover (3-5)% of Energy Shield when you Block". Shields can also naturally roll "+1 to Level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems". This is a nice damage boost from a normally defensive item."




Helmet :

First Choice: Rime Gaze
No Alternate Choice

This gear slot is exactly the same as for CI, so I'll just quote from 3.7: "CI and Low-Life are identical when it comes to the helmet slot. Rime Gaze is a fantastic helmet, it adds a TON of damage to a normally defensive slot, it has a large amount of Energy Shield, and it's incredibly common and cheap. Because of this, I can't recommend anything else as a helmet. Socket your Cold Snap into it and you'll be set right to level 100.

If you're SSF and don't have access to a Rime Gaze, a rare with ES and resists is fine.




Gloves :

First Choice: Rare
No Alternate Choice

Like the Helmet before it and the boots ahead of it, the Gloves are a source of ES, damage, and resists are are interchangeable between CI and LL. From section 3.7: "Gloves are pretty simple. The ideal base is an ilvl 80+ Shaper Fingerless Silk Glove. ilvl 80+ Shaper is more important than Fingerless silk base type if you have to make a choice between the two. For the most part, you're simple rolling for ES and resists/attributes on gloves. However, ilvl 80+ Shaper gloves can also roll a Cold DoT multi mod, and that's what you want more than anything. Fingerless Silks also give you spell damage if you can get them, but as with wands, Cold DoT multi beats spell damage in a head's up match. All in all, a simple gear piece."




Boots :

First Choice: Rare
Alternate Choice: Sin Trek

Same as CI. From 3.7: "Your first choice for boots should be a 30-35% Movement Speed pair with ES and resists. Again, this slot isn't super complicated.

For a lab enchant, get "120% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven't Crit Recently."

Redeemer boots can roll "10% chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike."

Sin Trek is a solid budget choice for boots, but they carry no resists."




Belt :

First Choice: Rare
Alternate Choice: Bated Breath

The belt for LL is interesting, because the recommendation is basically the reverse of CI. While Bated Breath is excellent for its cost, you can get so much out of a Shaper Crystal Belt. From 3.7: "They can roll the mods "#% increased Energy Shield from Body Armour" and "#% increased Elemental Damage". Fossils can also roll mods like Cold Damage and increased flask effects." You can get Cooldown Recovery Speed, Spell Damage during flask effect, etc etc. Shaper Crystals are insanely good, and can be combined with another influence types for some nutty belts. This is a slot I hope to have more detailed crafting info on soon.




Rings :

First Choice: Mark of the Shaper + Unset Elder Rare
Alternate Choice: Rares (1 Should be an Unset ring)

Note: You want an unset ring to socket your Vitality gem into. If you don't have one, you'll have to take out either Arcane Surge or Zealotry, and both are very useful.

Mark of the Shaper has tons of damage, life that your Amulet can convert to ES, % ES on top of that, and a damage implicit to boot. On the pairing Elder Ring, you want an unset ring with an emphasis on fixing resists and attributes, as the Mark of the Shaper ties up your other slot.

Alternatively, get rings as you would for CI. From section 3.7: "The most important thing is to use your rings for as many resistances as possible. If you're able to get capped easily enough, you can grab an Opal Ring base for damage, or a Moonstone Ring base for more ES. Otherwise, get a resist base and fill the ring up with resists. You're looking for 4 basic things on a CI ring:

- Resists
- Energy Shield
- Attributes (high dex/str rolls)
- "Faster Start of Energy Shield Recharge" crafted mod."




Amulet :

First Choice: Presence of Chayula
Alternate Choice: Rare + Vile Bastion

Presence of Chayula is a crazy strong unique. Bringing Chaos res to 0% is significantly stronger than it looks if you're newer to PoE. "Cannot be stunned" is a mod that allows you to respec out of Vile Bastion if desired. It also gives you a large amount of ES by converting a % of your life to your ES total.

I highly recommend Tranquility as an anointment. It's expensive, but it gives you a ton of damage and is why some players run Crown of the Inward Eye as a helmet. Additionally, using Tempering or Fertile Catalysts on PoC can bring the life-to-ES conversion up from 20% to 24%, granting even more ES.




High-Level Anointments

Spoiler

There are budget and mid-level anointments listed with the amulets in the Early Mapping and CI sections respectively (3.6 and 3.7).

Anointments are listed in this order:
• Oils Needed
• Name of Notable
• Effects


• Clear, Teal, Golden
• Growth & Decay
• 20% inc. Damage over Time, Regen 1% of Life /second, +10% to DoT Multiplier

• Amber, Indigo, Golden
• No Witnesses
• 10% chance to gain Elusive on Kill, 25% increased Elusive Effect

• Clear, Opalescent, Silver
• Overcharged
• 8% chance to gain a Power, Frenzy, or Endurance Charge on Kill

• Amber, Opalescent, Silver
• Mystic Talents
• +30 Int, 16% inc. Spell Damage, 25% inc. Mana Regen Rate, +14 max Energy Shield

• Azure, Golden, Golden
• Tranquility
• 5% inc. max ES, Transfiguration of Soul (Increases & Reductions to Max ES also apply to Spell Damage at 30% of their value)
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Last edited by ShakCentral on Apr 30, 2021, 3:33:22 PM
NOTE: Part 4 hasn't been updated for 2 leagues, and the index in part 5 is from Tornado Shot For Dummies. I'm trying to update them, but actual guide updates have higher priority

Part 4: The Part of Tens

Spoiler


 4.1 Ten Cheap Uniques That You Should Try
        
Spoiler
1. Bated Breath


Bated Breath is a fantastic belt that can be used very early on. You can kill the Vaal Oversoul with it, never remove it, and still be using it at level 95. Ridiculous item.


2. Rime Gaze


If you made it this far but forgot to read the gearing section, Rime Gaze is the actual end-game helmet for the build! It's kind of nuts to me that this is a 1C item. It has insane damage and almost always would cost at least 5-10 exalts to get a better rare helmet, if one exists at all.


3. Sin Trek


Sin Trek is another item that can be used right to level 100 with no issues. 30% MS, a very solid amount of ES, and some attributes mean that if yo ucan offset the lack of resists, you have a very nice pair of boots at a tiny cost.


4. Timetwist


Timetwist is great if you're resist capped. ES, Cast Speed, Mana Regen, and Skill Effect duration are all welcome. Temp Chains immunity means we can be more liberal with what maps we run and provides some great quality of life.


5. Voidbringer


Voidbringer is another nice home for your Cold Snap, giving +1 level to gems. It has decent ES, and although it raises our mana cost of skills, the ES on kill effect is just ridiculous. This item can carry you through early maps before you're super tanky on the ES gain alone.


6. Doedre's Scorn


Obviously, this is where you socket your curse(s). That's really it. That's the whole gimmick. Very nice helmet.


7. Rainbowstride


Rainbow Stride is another great pair of boots. While I wouldn't consider taking this to endgame, the spell block is SUPER nice, resist are rarer and more welcoem on uniques, and the MS is decent for early mapping.


8. Dream Fragments


If you're having issues with mana and don't have a current course of reliable freeze/chill immunity, Dream Fragments works wonders.


9. Rathpith Globe


Rathpith is a little weird, as you need some life regen to make this item work. It has a decent chunk of ES, spell block, and decent spell damage. Don't kill yourself.


10. The Beast


The Beast is one of my favorite items. I have no idea why it's so cheap. 400+ ES is nothing to scoff at, 40% spell damage is big, AoE and ES Recharge rate are awesome, and the downside is easy to work around in a build with this much chill and defenses. Use it proudly.



 4.2 Ten TV Shows to Watch While Farming Bosses
        
Spoiler
The Undisputed: The Office. Not even going to explain why. Just watch it, then watch it again, then never stop.

Hulu Comedy: Brooklyn 99. Excellently written and consistently laugh-out-loud funny.

Zombie Show: Z Nation. YES, it's absurdly corny and meandering. But it's great because it doesn't take itself too seriously and is phenomenal as background mapping material.

Food Show: Chef's Table. Much of the story of the dishes shown on the show is an audio and visual companionship, which leaves a lot of enjoyable content to listen to as you farm.

Docu-series: Our Planet. Documentaries on Earth that are beautiful, relaxing, and informative.

True Crime Adaptation: Mindhunter. Mostly told through dialogue and extraordinarily binge-y. Be aware of the massive amount of potentially traumatic material related to the retelling of sexual crimes.

Easy listening: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Jerry Seinfeld has coffee and talks with other comedians. It's really that simple.

Absolutely Terrible Guilty Pleasure: Supernatural. Best soap opera of all time. Fight me.

Hulu Drama Classic: Lost. 4 8 15 16 23 42. You know it, and you either love it or hate it. I love it.

Best YouTube Show: Hot Ones. The best interviewer on the planet sits down with celebrities and interviews them while both parties chow down on increasingly hot wings. It's great to watch people's personas fade as they lose feeling in their face, and it's consistently hilarious.


 4.3 Ten Builds To Play If You Need A Break From Vortex
        
Spoiler

I Need Speed: Poison Blade Vortex Assassin

I Need A Break From DoTs: Miner Saboteur

I Need A Break From Cold Damage: Flame Wall Righteous Fire Chieftain

I Need A Break From Killing Monsters Myself: Kay's Spectre Summoner

I Need A Break From Clicking: Cyclone Gladiator

I Need A Break From Broken Mechanics: Arc Elementalist

I Need A Break From Expensive Builds: Essence Drain Contagion Trickster

I Need A Break From Spells: Earthshatter Juggernaut

I Need A Break From Playing Witch: Caustic Arrow Ranger

I Need A Break From Path of Exile: MTG Arena


Part 5: FAQ, Index, And Changelog IN PROGRESS

Spoiler


5.1 Frequently Asked Questions
        
Spoiler

5.2 Index
        
Spoiler
Super WIP

A


B


C
⚫ Chaos Innoculation (CI) - 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8
⚫ Cold Damage Over Time Multiplier - 3.5, 3.6, 3.7

D


E


F


G


H


I


J


K


L
⚫ Low-Life (LL) - 1.1, 1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8

M


N


O


P


Q


R


S


T


U


V


W


X


Y


Z



5.3 Changelog
        
Spoiler
⚫ 10/2/19 - Added 25+ terms to the index and updated the note at the beginning of the guide.
⚫ 9/26/19 - Updated PoBs to reflect a more realistic lvl 90 Tree by default. Continued work on index.
⚫ 9/24/19 - Nearly done with Part 3. Updated Post Title. HUGE CHANGE: Added numbering system for sections within each part. Will make indexing and referencing much easier.
⚫ 9/23/19 - Totally forgot to update this as I've continued work on the guide. 3.5 of the 5 sections are complete. The Index will need to be created, and I still have to finish jewels, end-game gearing, purchase order, and a few other items. Getting close!
⚫ 9/10/19 - Table of Contents structure placed into body of guide. Spoilers and colors modified and put in place.
⚫ 9/9/19 - Forum post created. Marked as Work In Progress. For Dummies intro, dedication, and Table of Contents sections put in place.
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Last edited by ShakCentral on Sep 25, 2020, 4:57:32 PM
Accidental reservation. After a long day of edits I somehow quoted my entire guide and made a new comment. Very stable genius here.
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Last edited by ShakCentral on Jan 3, 2020, 3:41:20 PM
Still very legal and very cool :)

Thanks for this, I just found my next league starter I think.
"
LabRat001 wrote:
Still very legal and very cool :)

Thanks for this, I just found my next league starter I think.


I've played PoE for something like 10 league launches, and starting Vortex is by far my favorite. It's absurdly cheap on day 1, but then you somehow find yourself easily downing Uber Elder like 4 days later..
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Last edited by ShakCentral on Jan 3, 2020, 3:42:21 PM
Looks like a descent build. Can you use HoI to boost clear speed?
any tip for crafting wands?
used tons of fossils and alters but nerver happened to get cold damage over time multiplier + +1 cold skill gem or spell damage.
Playing this build as a CI until I reach lvl 83 and can transition to low-life as a T16 farmer. Should I be using normal Cold Snap or Vaal Cold Snap? Can't find any playstyle mechanics info with regards to how you play the build. I also don't find myself ever using Tempest Shield, can I swap that out for a Portal gem instead?
Hey,

thanks for redoing it, looking forward to the finished version! :)

I propose you put in paragraph about how EE stops to work if you have added cold damage on the gear, i think (not entirely sure!) your old guide was missing this.
Personally i didnt know that for the longest time and was always wondering why EE seemed to make things harder, and enemies were always listed with the cold resistance...

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