[3.5] Path of Exile Herald Blade Vortex Elementalist
This particular Path of Exile build is centered around one of the better skill choices in Betrayal League, but with a slight twist. If you’re using the suggested gear, such as Inpulsa’s Broken Heart, you’ll be scaling tons of Elemental Damage, all while being fairly tanky with lots of Life.
The Elementalist Ascendancy makes for some really amazing DPS increases, and the flexibility of Blade Vortex as a skill makes it very fun to play once it gets going. This thing can really melt mob packs, and with good Movement Speed, it’s a decent farming build for XP and general mapping.
- Great DPS and AoE makes it a good map farmer
- Tanky enough and with good DPS, this build can easily handle Guardians
- SSF viable
- GG gear is pricey
- Mechanics may feel weird to newer players
- Some map mods are extra dangerous, like Elemental Reflect
Here is the Endgame Passive Tree
Late in the game once you have good weapons that ideally have mods that scale Inpulsa’s damage (generic elemental, lightning, or area damage) and have access to great jewels, you can refund the Spiritual Aid cluster nodes and take jewel slots instead.
MoM is optional, good early on but once you get enough life it can be refunded. Spare mana can then be allocated to use Herald of Purity or Aspect of the Spider.
Upgrade all of these.
Major God: Soul of Brine King
Great defensive option for mapping. If facing some bosses with lots of DoT, opt for an upgraded Arakaali.
Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul
Gruthkul is a great option for defence during mapping. The damage reduction can get you out of some tight spots. Could also be replaced with Tukohama for more damage reduction if you find yourself playing a more sedentary style.
Kill All for the bonus Passives
Ascendancy skill points
Preferably in this order:
Pendulum of Destruction -> Mastermind of Discord -> Shaper of Desolation -> Beacon of Ruin
30% Increased Blade Vortex Duration (Best)
40% Increased Blade Vortex Spell Damage
0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you’ve Killed Recently
Damage Penetrates x% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven’t Killed Recently
x% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you’ve Killed Recently
Commandment of Blades
You could also use these Corruptions on Gloves:
Curse Enemies with Level (10–12) Elemental Weakness on Hit
+1 to Maximum Frenzy Charges
(4–6)% increased maximum Life
(8–10)% increased Attack Speed
Leveling Items and General Tips
You’ll find a list of different Unique items down below for weapons and other gear slots. These are not necessary by any means. We included the list in this guide to give you a wide array of options to choose from.
You can follow the guides below for a couple different leveling options depending on your preference.
Start with the skill the game gives you at the start, it’s decent enough to get through early levels as long as you’re slotting some supports to increase DPS. Pickup a Tabula Rasa to make this process much easier.
Start with Firestorm, with Added Fire Damage
From Level 12 use the following link setup, adding new Gems when you can, and swapping to the full 6L setup down below when you have the gear to support it. Levels listed are rough approximations of levels you can slot these in.
Blade Vortex – Onslaught – Faster Attacks (Level 18) – Added Fire Damage (Level 8) – Physical to Lightning (Level 18)
Clarity – use for Mana Regen from Level 1, remove later when Mana Leech picks up the slack.
Heralds – Use ASAP, and then keep running it, adding new ones in as you get the Mana and Regen to spare.
Lightning Golem – Use ASAP, and then keep running it
Once you get to 28-30, just transition to using the main skill gems setup down below. Keep your gear focused on Resists, Life and Crit pure DPS and leveling is easy.
- Victario’s Flight (Boots)
- Tabula Rasa (Armour)
- Wanderlust (Boots)
- Lochtonial Caress (Gloves)
- Slitherpinch (Gloves)
- Le Heup of All (Ring)
- Goldrim (Helm)
- Meginord’s Girdle (Belt)
- Worm’s Molt (Belt)
- Perandus Blazon (Belt)
- Giantsbane (Gloves)
- Blackheart (Ring)
- The Princess (1h Sword)
Efficient Farm Locations:
Act 1: The Ledge
Act 2: The Fellshrine Ruins
Act 3: The Docks
Act 4: The Dried Lake
Act 5: The Chamber of Innocence
Act 6: The Ridge
Act 7: The Temple of Decay lv1-2
Act 8: The Harbour Bridge
Act 9: The Blood Aqueduct
Act 10: The Ossuary
Avoid these map mods:
* Players cannot Regenerate Life, Mana or Energy Shield
* Cannot Leech Life/Mana from Monsters
* Monsters reflect % of Physical Damage
* Monsters reflect % of Elemental Damage
Be careful of these map mods:
* Monsters have #% increased Critical Strike Chance / +#% to Monster Critical Strike Multiplier
With high evasion, attack should almost never crit you. Spell on the other hand can still hit hard.
* Monsters fire 2 additional Projectiles
Scary mod on some bosses and monster types. Some monsters are still able to spam out too many projectiles to handle.
* Area contains two Unique Bosses
Your goal to survive this mode is a combo of extreme DPS and Life. The faster you can down the bosses, the less threat they pose.
* #% increased Monster Movement Speed / #% increased Monster Attack Speed / #% increased Monster Cast Speed
Some bosses are going to be too fast to hit effectively, meaning you’ll spend more time than you normally should kiting them. This combination with Temporal Chains is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
* Players are Cursed with Vulnerability
Negated during mapping with a Warding Flask, but not against bosses. Bleeds from bosses can kill you easily.
* Players are Cursed with Temporal Chains
I would personally avoid this on high-tier maps.
Swap one of your Rings for a Berek’s Grip to allow you to still have decent DPS. High-Tier maps might want to be rerolled.
If you are a brand new Path of Exile player, feel free to check out our various POE guides for noobs.
Final Skill Gem Setup
You’ll find recommendations for different attack skill setups for this build below. The basic buff and aura setups are down there too.
=== ATTACK SKILL ===
Blade Vortex -> Hypothermia -> Controlled destruction -> Physical to Lightning -> Increased Critical Strikes -> Efficacy (Concentrated Effect for bosses)
6th slot becomes somewhat situational once you get the Beacon of Ruin ascendancy.
=== SECONDARY ATTACK ===
Orb of Storms ->Arcane Surge lvl 5 -> Power Charge of Critical
=== MOVEMENT ===
Whirling Blades -> Faster Attacks -> Fortify (+ Blood Magic with MoM)
=== AURA/UTILITY ===
Herald of Ash
Herald of Ice – Ice Bite -> Innervate -> Increased Critical Strikes
Herald of Thunder -> Blind -> Curse On Hit -> Warlord’s Mark
=== CWDT ===
Cast when Damage Taken lvl 12 -> Immortal Call lvl 14 -> Increased Duration -> Warlord’s Mark lvl 14
Build Uniques / Example Rare Gear
In this section you will find all the suggested items for this build. We always try to include optional gear in our listing, or try your own assuming you get similar stat rolls. Aim for high-quality Rares if you’re replacing Uniques. The Minimum/Optional requirements listed assume you’re using Rares as a replacement for listed Uniques (where possible).
Depending on your gear choices, you can go for either a lot more DPS at the expense of Life, or go for more defensiveness by sacrificing a portion of DPS. This is your choice. In most cases, I would prefer Life personally, as it’s just a bit more forgiving. If you’re a new player, this may the path for you.
Life is super important for survivability, especially at end-game. Although be careful not to forsake too many damage mods for it or you won’t be able to kill mobs quick enough for your defenses to handle incoming DPS.
Cold Damage conversion is a great source of damage, so either using a Unique with a decent roll or a rare with the specific Betrayal League crafted mods is really useful.
Mana Regen, Flat Mana and Increased Mana mods will be really important here, since you’re running so many Auras.
Critical Strike Chance and Crit Multiplier are really useful for scaling damage, and weapon slots, especially Elder/Shaper Rares, are a great source of these.
There are a couple of options for this build. Dual wield either 2 Daggers, or Dagger and Foil, or 2 Foils. Make sure to get tons of life on every piece of gear.
Stats to look for:
* Critical chance for spells
* Spell damage
* Elemental damage
* Crit multiplier
* Damage added to spells
* Gain % of physical damage as [element] damage (shaped weapons mod)
* Elemental resists penetration
Starkonja’s Head is a great choice due to massive damage buffs and crit chance, so use it as a cheap stop-gap, although replace it with one of the more expensive options above when ready, preferably when you have a Helmet with the BV damage enchant.
100 maximum Life
Minions Deal Increased Damage (If using Spiritual Aid notable)
Increased Maximum Life Elder mod
Inpulsa’s Broken Heart is the BiS armor for this build. The scaling and conversion gained by using Inpulsa’s is just too good to pass up.
A high-end Rare can do in a pinch with this build, assuming you get the right base and high rolls.
There are several ways to further increase the effectiveness of a Rare here, but a GG-level set will massively increase the currency cost, as a high-end Armour that fits these parameters would potentially be Mirror-service-worthy.
- A +1 Level to Socketed Gems Corruption is useful if you’re using a Wise Oak to plug resist holes.
- Getting Reduced Attribute Requirements can really help if you’re struggling with attributes. This can also free up Jewel Affixes. This would allow you to further increase your DPS. Although getting this mod combination will be extremely hard, and will cost a lot of currency, so bank on just using a crafted affix instead.
- Getting a high, or possibly Legacy, Increased Life and/or Chaos Resistance roll really helps with survivability.
100 maximum Life
Increased Maximum Life Elder mod
Mana Regen/Maximum Mana
Reduced Attribute Requirements
Abyss Belts with Life and Resistances are a good option for more difficult end-game sections and bosses. Other Rares might do in a pinch, but not having good rolls can make you a lot more squishy than is tolerable. Abyss Jewels are also a great source for damage buffs as well. Buffing your damage and Life is the best bet here with Abyss Jewels.
Elder/Shaper variants are good too, assuming you can get a good combo of Life and Resists on them.
A good Unique is a Cyclopean Coil. The added life and Attributes are extremely useful, so this is a definite necessity for full potential if you’re struggling before being fully geared.
Gloves can be one of the more flexible gear slots while leveling, pick any Unique Gloves which focus on buffing needed Attributes or damage types and you’ll be fine for leveling. Once you hit end-game, opt for a high-end Rare ASAP. If you need help choosing Unique Gloves, refer to the leveling items section above, or go to this list.
Once done leveling, it’s time to switch to the Hrimsorrow as the added conversion potential is all but essential for this build.
Rare Gloves with buffs to main damage types are great. You can also get Leech here as well. If you’re using a Rare, you need to find a Crafted mod with Cold, Lightning and/or Fire Conversion for the build to work.
60 maximum Life
7% Attack Speed
Physical Damage Converted to Cold
Rare boots with max rolled Life, Resists and Movement Speed are great as a generic choice, but you may find yourself a bit more prone to taking hits than you would like. This one is more of a personal judgment call. Here’s the basic requirements for Rares in this slot.
70 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
Any Uncapped Resistances (>25%)
If using a Rare, Get a Shaper/Elder and stack as much Life as you can on your Amulet to prevent feeling too squishy. Extra flat added damage of multiple types is good here too. Gain x% Physical as Elemental or Elemental Penetration work great in this slot as well. Stack multiple mods for Critical buffs for the best outcome.
60 maximum Life
10% All Elemental Resistances
% of Physical Damage Leeched as Mana
Added Elemental Damage
Rare Two-Stone Rings are great for this build and it’s Elemental Damage. Use the stats below as a guide for that. An Elder/Shaper that applies Warlord’s Mark on Hit can also save on gem slot, so find one of those if you wish.
60 Maximum Life
X% Increased Cast Speed
X% Elemental Damage with Attacks
Uncapped Resistances (>25%)
Taste of Hate – An incredible defensive choice for this build. The DPS boost for Cold scaling is also really useful for tanking through DPS.
Atziri’s Promise – This is a must-have due to the way your Resistances are set up. Chaos Damage can be really deadly from some bosses, so opt for this, especially on bosses where Chaos Resists are usually an issue.
- Catalyzed Life Flask of Staunching (Immunity to Bleeding)
- Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Immunity to Freeze)
- Sulphur Flask of Warding (Remove Curses)
You can swap these mods around if needed due to RNG.
Your Jewels slots, will be a primary source for extra damage and attributes. The PoB link has some example jewels, but you should generally aim for a bit of Dexterity and Intelligence as an additional Affix. That leaves plenty of room for added buffs to Elemental Damage and other buffs.
Abyss Jewels that have a chance to gain Onslaught can also be used in a slot for a damage increase.
Rare Jewels can run with the following stats:
5-7% Increased Maximum Life
X% Increased Global Physical Damage
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