Forum Index Witch [3.8] ShakCentral's Vortex For Dummies - WIP FROM T-SHOT GUIDE - 2.5/5 PARTS & LVLING GUIDE DONE


A Reference for the Rest of Us!

     Do you hate having to choose between a build with high damage and a build with great defenses? Do you want a single build that can take on deep delves as well as crushing Uber Elder? This guide is your one-stop-shop for all things Vortex. Whether you want a character that you can gear yourself in SSF, a safe boss killer that can take down the hardest content with ease, or a build with near-100% DPS uptime while still being able to constantly maneuver around, 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 $$

✔️ Adjust your build for delving and take on that deep content

✔️ Make bosses a joke with your constant DPS while avoiding all of their moves

...and more!

10/9/19 NOTE: This build will be a work in progress for a bit. I directly ported over the Tornado Shot guide and am adjusting for Vortex while being able to keep all of my formatting in place. This will be a heavy update to my first forum post; my old Vortex guide which can be viewed here.



My Other Guides

The first guide in the "For Dummies" series was Tornado Shot For Dummies. Check it out, and stack up that currency!

About the Author

     I began playing Path of Exile in 2014. After a several-year break to begin a family, I returned to PoE around 2017 and have been playing steadily since. I streamed Path of Exile content for a while on Twitch, especially my participation in the “Kammell” races in 2018/19, but have taken a step back from streaming as my wife and I have begun foster care. I love writing, and am excited to contribute to the community in this way.

     I enjoy playing fast builds, and fondly remember the old days of clearing Dried Lake with Vaal Spark in 30 seconds or less.


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

Why Make A Vortex Guide?

     This actually isn't my first Vortex guide; my previous guide hasn't been updated in a while, but can be viewed here. I really love Vortex, and it has been one of my favorite builds since 3.5, although Occultist was nerfed pretty hard. Nevertheless, other players have proven that the build is still viable, and I was happy to return to it. I'm re-doing the guide, as I want to keep it in the new "For Dummies" style, and much of the tree pathing and items have changed in the past 6-9 months.

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

Table of Contents

Use the Index! Gems, uniques, terms, and more have been indexed for easy location. If you're looking for something specific within the guide, that is the place to start.

Part 1: Introduction to Vortex
 1.1 - The Mechanics of Vortex
 1.2 - Why Play Vortex?
 1.3 - The Pros and Cons of Vortex
 1.4 - Path(s) of Building and Brief Build Theory
 1.5 - Videos

Part 2: Leveling
 2.1 - Leveling in a fresh league or With a New Account
 2.2 - Leveling with twink gear
 2.3 - Full Leveling Guide
 2.4 - Leveling Guide tl;dr
 2.5 - Converting to Chaos Inoculation

Part 3: The Full Vortex
 3.1 - Gem Setups
 3.2 - Immunities
 3.3 - Flasks
 3.4 - Jewels
 3.5 - Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers
 3.6 - Trade League Live Searches
 3.7 - Gearing For Low and Mid-Tier Maps
 3.8 - Gearing For Godhood
 3.9 - Full Purchase/Craft Order
 3.10 - The DIY Mentality: Crafting Your Own Gear

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


 1.1 The Mechanics of Vortex

How Does the Gem Work?

Here is the default spell visual:

Vortex is an instant cast spell that causes both an initial hit of Cold Damage as well as leaving behind a circle on the ground that deals Cold Damage Over Time.

There are a few things to note about the mechanics of this skill:

        1. Instant cast means that casting Vortex does not interrupt your characters movement or cause a pause in any way.

        2. The Vortex is created at the feet of the caster. It does not move with the caster.

        3. Vortex (And Cold Snap, which will be discussed much more later) applies increased to your spell damage to its Damage Over Time.

        4. The Frostbolt interaction can be ignored, as this build does not utilize Frostbolt in any way.

How Do You Build Around Vortex?

Vortex builds have a simple concept that pairs with a high degree of customization and flexibility. Vortex has incredibly high DPS "uptime", a concept that I will mention throughout the guide, so I will explain here.

DPS Uptime : DPS Uptime refers to the percentage of time in combat in which enemies are taking damage. If you have to stop Flame Dashing to cast Fireball, you lose DPS uptime. If your Mirage Archer is still firing Tornado Shots while you're moving, you don't lose DPS uptime. This is a large reaosn why some melee builds can put up absurd damage numbers in Path of Building but struggle against actual content. If you can do 5 million DPS but you spent half your time Leap Slamming to avoid Shaper balls, you're not really doing 5 million DPS. Vortex has phenomenal DPS uptime, as it creates its damage instantly while moving, and the damage remains around to kill more enemies afterward.

Vortex builds want to do 3 things, none of which require extensive game knowledge or complicated calculations involving damage conversion or other mechanics:

        1. Vortex wants to stack a combination of generic Spell Damage, Damage over Time, and Cold Damage to achieve a spell that deals high damage for its duration.

        2. Vortex wants to stack a large amount of Energy Shield and other defensive layers to become as tanky as realistically possible.

        3. Vortex wants to utilize curses and and ailments like freeze and chill to the greatest extent possible to neutralize enemies and keep it safe and efficient.

1.2 Why Play Vortex?
Quality of Life

Vortex rivals Righteous Fire for the best combination of damage, survivability, and relaxing gameplay. Whereas the zoom-zoom style of play offered by Tornado Shot can be fun and incredibly rewarding, it can also be a strain on your fingers, eyes, and attention. Vortex is very good at turning some of the game's toughest content into a relaxing and enjoyable jaunt.

Gear Requirements and SSF

To put it simply, there are no specific gear requirements. Are there uniques that make the build better? Absolutely, and some uniques are required for the higher end Low Life variant of the build. However, Vortex can be played with high effectiveness in all self-crafted blue (Magic) gear. I've demonstrated this in the past, and will record a video of the early map gearing process in all blues. The build can achieve 5500 ES, capped resistances, and over 60,000 Vortex DPS (Not counting Cold Snap) in all blue self-crafted gear. Is good build

Vortex vs Melee Skills

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

Vortex vs Ranged Skills

Vortex will never be able to approximate the speed of a focused clearing build like Tornado Shot or Kinetic Blast, but it more than makes up for it in (again) survivability and bossing DPS. Vortex is the rare build that needs no gem swapping, build swapping, or gear swapping to take on all content, from T1 maps, to Atziri, to Uber Elder, to deep delves, to safe and fast Elder T16 farming. It's survivability in comparison to ranged classes can barely even be calculated.

Vortex vs Other Spell Skills

Vortex is among the kings of survivable spellcasters. Its combination of curses, chill + freeze, and Energy Shield stacking allows it to cruise through trash mobs and safely and quickly wear down bosses in ways that most spellcasters cannot. It may not have the high end DPS of Blade Vortex or Divine Ire, but it can dish out it's damage and survive to tell the tale.

 1.3 The Pros and Cons of Vortex

One of the safest builds in the game
Can do all content and easily farm Uber Elder
Damage Over Time cannot be reflected, so you can do Reflect maps by Vortexing at your feet and pulling mobs into the DoT
Can reach 11-12k ES, ~1 million DPS on Vortex alone, and a dizzying array of defensive layers


Not a god-tier clearing build like Tornado Shot
Does not have infinite scaling like some attack builds
Can't effectively clear Hall of Grandmaster? I don't know - there's very few cons to this build

 1.4 Path(s) of Building and Brief Build Theory

I'm going to start with the obligatory, "Unless you really know what you're doing, please do not just yoink the PoB code and leave." I don't know if I've ever seen people debate a build's skill tree as much as I've seen in the comments on other Vortex guides. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - Vortex is INCREDIBLY flexible in its skill tree options. However, as you get more specific in uniques and playstyle, the tree options tighten up a good bit.

PoB : PLEASE check the notes section, as there are 5 different skill trees, and gem/item/jewel setups that differ between each tree.

A full Vortex build goes through 3 and sometimes 4 stages, each utilizing a very different looking skill tree. While the first 2-3 stages of the build do not have any required uniques, be sure to save up your passive respec points and any Orbs of Regret that you find; you'll be spending a LOT of them.

Stage 1: Early end-game, life-based build \still using an Orb of Storms leveling setup.

Stage 1b: Some players prefer to use their main skill while leveling, even if it slows them down. Stage 1b is the same as 1, just slower and using Vortex the whole way.

Stage 2: The CI transition. After accumulating gear, the build shifts to Chaos Inoculation and goes full time Vortex if it hadn't already.

Stage 3: The build abandons Chaos Inoculation in favor of a low-life build with Shavronne's Wrappings. This build has both the highest possible defenses AND damage and is incredibly strong.

I can't emphasize enough just how insane a fully completed end-game Vortex build is. You have over 10,000 Energy Shield, 1,000,000+ DPS on Vortex, 300,000+ DPS on Cold Snap, ~40% Physical Damage Reduction, 100+% Movement Speed, nearly or fully capped Attack AND Spell block, 10% Attack and Spell dodge, 0% or higher Chaos Res (Most builds have around -60%), and an incredible amount of safety due to chill and freeze.

 1.5 Videos
Coming Soon!

Part 2: Leveling


 2.1 Leveling in a Fresh League or With a New Account
        If you're new to the game, starting with 100,000 other players in a new league, or a speedrun addict (*raises hand), you're starting with no items and no currency. Luckily for you, the build requires nothing and is absurdly cheap even if you're switching to CI. Don't worry about unique items for now. Just move down a couple of sections and start with the Full Leveling Guide. Take your time and enjoy!

 2.2 Leveling with Twink Gear

Uniques That Help The Leveling Process

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

Tabula Rasa
Simple Robe
Click to expand
Leather Cap
Click to expand
  • +44 to Evasion Rating
  • 10% increased Rarity of Items found
  • +36% to all Elemental Resistances
  • Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
  • No metal slips as easily through the fingers as gold.

    Wool Shoes
    Click to expand
  • +5 to Dexterity
  • +10 to maximum Energy Shield
  • 24% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
  • 20% increased Movement Speed
  • Cannot be Frozen
  • All the world is my home.

    Driftwood Wand
    Click to expand
  • 10% increased Spell Damage
  • +1 to Level of Socketed Spell Gems
  • 27% increased Spell Damage
  • 7% increased Cast Speed
  • +16 to maximum Life
  • +15 to maximum Mana
  • Regenerate 8 Life over 1 second when you Cast a Spell
  • From the smallest seeds

    To the tallest redwoods,

    Life endures in Wraeclast.

    Lochtonial Caress
    Iron Gauntlets
    Click to expand
  • 14% increased Attack Speed
  • 14% increased Cast Speed
  • +30 to maximum Life
  • 10% reduced maximum Mana
  • 10% chance to gain a Power, Frenzy or Endurance Charge on Kill
  • Conduit
  • Why cling to your sanity? It offers you nothing.

    Surrender to me, and I will grant you everything.

    Bated Breath
    Chain Belt
    Click to expand
  • +14 to maximum Energy Shield
  • +18 to Intelligence
  • 10% increased Damage
  • +28 to maximum Energy Shield
  • 20% increased maximum Energy Shield
  • 50% increased Energy Shield Recharge Rate
  • At knifepoint, a moment's hesitation means death.

    Axiom Perpetuum
    Bronze Sceptre
    Click to expand
  • 12% increased Elemental Damage
  • Adds 2 to 5 Fire Damage to Spells
  • Adds 3 to 6 Cold Damage to Spells
  • Adds 1 to 10 Lightning Damage to Spells
  • 5% increased Cast Speed
  • 117% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
  • The worst of Axiom were imprisoned by more than iron.

    Nycta's Lantern
    Crystal Sceptre
    Click to expand
  • 30% increased Elemental Damage
  • +2 to Level of Socketed Fire Gems
  • Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 10 Fire Penetration
  • Socketed Gems deal 63 to 94 additional Fire Damage
  • 23% increased Spell Damage
  • 188% increased Physical Damage
  • +8 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
  • 25% increased Light Radius
  • Left in her tomb by the lynch mob,

    the flame inside still blazed bright after her death,

    and so did hers.

     2.3 Full Leveling Guide

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

     2.4 Leveling Guide tl;dr 

    Passive Tree

    Here is the full tree for leveling. See the full guide for an Act-by-Act breakdown.


    This is ripped straight from the full leveling guide. Here are the links in order to level as Orb of Storms / Wave of Conviction and level some of your end-game gems:

    Orb of Storms + Elemental Proliferation + Chain + Ice Bite.

    Wave of Conviction + Physical to Lightning + Added Lightning + Faster Casting

    Lightning Spire Trap + Trap and Mine Damage + Advanced Traps + Elemental Focus. If you've found a 5L/Tab, Use Controlled Destruction + Lightning Penetration

    Herald of Ice + Onslaught + Curse on Hit + Conductivity

    Herald of Thunder (Unlinked) + Flame Dash + Arcane Surge

    You should be leveling as many of the following gems as possible, roughly in this order: Vortex, Discipline, Malevolence, 2x Efficacy, another Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction, 2x Hypothermia, Swift Affliction, Bonechill, Storm Brand, Frost Bomb, and Tempest Shield. These are all for Vortex later, so they can be leveled unlinked in any available slots or off-hands.

     2.5 Swapping from Orb of Storms to Vortex

    Measure Twice

            I highly recommend farming either Blood Aqueducts or Tier 1 maps as Orb of Storms, while picking up pure ES bases to assemble your initial set of Budget Gear, as displayed in the PoB. As far as using Vortex, it shines in a 5-Link, but you can swap from Orb of Storms as soon as the support gems are high enough level to be comfortable. Don't forget to save your Orb of Storms gem and a few of the supports for later!

            The process of crafting your initial CI gear is easy. First, if you have Rares with a combination of ES and resist(s), keep it and use it! For the rest, quality the white item to 20%, Transmute it, and Alt spam, looking for 1 good resist, a good % or flat ES roll, or ideally both. Look for tier 3+ ES rolls and tier 4+ resist rolls. You can equip and use the items as you complete them. Just be aware that until you actually take Chaos Inoculation, your main concern will be Chaos Damage, as it will bypass your growing ES pool and directly drain from your shrinking life pool. Once you have 5500+ ES and capped resists, you're ready to transition. Take CI, start using Vortex if you weren't already, and get off to the races!

    Part 3: The Full Tornado Shot - Still T-Shot Guide - 3.1-3.7 Done


    3.1 Gem Setups


    The links are in order of importance

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

    Cold Snap

    Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Efficacy - Hypothermia

    If you have a Helmet with "Socketed Gems Are Supported By Level X Hypothermia", socket Elemental Focus instead for the 5-link.

    Movement and Tempest Shield

    Flame Dash - Arcane Surge - Tempest Shield

    Weapon Slot Elemental Equilibrium Triggers

    Check out the Elemental Equilibrium section for more details.

    Storm Brand - Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb

    Chaos Inoculation Auras and Defenses

    Cast When Damage Taken - Enfeeble - Immortal Call - Increased Duration

    You can either Leave Immortal Call at lvl 1 and Enfeeble and IC in the appropriate range, or you can level it up so it only procs on big hits.

    Clarity - Vaal Discipline - Malevolence - Enlighten

    Low-Life Auras and Defenses


    Blood Magic - Clarity - Malevolence - UNLINKED Vaal Discipline

    Blasphemy - Enfeeble - Temporal Chains - Enlighten

     3.2 Immunities

            Immunities are a huge part of survivability in PoE. Vortex uses its immunities to become even tankier and reduce any chance of missing uptime on DPS.

    All of the desired immunities can be Beastcrafted onto flasks through the Menagerie, if you are able to roll a flask with just a prefix mod.

    Freeze and Stun Immunity

    One of the biggest advantages of being an Occultist is in the immunities offered to the build through the ascendancy. As an Occultist, Vile Bastion gives you stun immunity and Frigid Wake grants Freeze and Chill Immunity. As soon as you complete Merciless Labyrinth, you will not have to worry about these immunities again.

    Bleed Immunity

    Bleed immunity will typically be achieved through flasks. You're looking for the "of Staunching" mod on your flask. In the late-game, you can Vaal jewels or buy one to get the "Cannot be Inflicted With Corrupting Blood" mod. The example jewel is not a Vortex jewel, but is shown for the mod.

    Concentrated Divine Life Flask of Staunching
    Click to expand
  • 30% increased Amount Recovered
  • 25% increased Charges used
  • Immunity to Bleeding during Flask effect Removes Bleeding on use
  • Whispering Siege
    Searching Eye Jewel
    Click to expand
  • Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you
  • Adds 9 to 20 Fire Damage to Attacks
  • Adds 6 to 13 Cold Damage to Bow Attacks
  • Adds 2 to 24 Lightning Damage to Bow Attacks

  • Curse Immunity

    Curse Immunity is important, especially for higher tier mapping. Roll flasks to get the "of Warding" mod to become curse immune.

    Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Warding
    Click to expand
  • 50% reduced Amount Recovered
  • 135% increased Recovery rate
  • 50% of Recovery applied Instantly
  • Immune to Curses during Flask effect Removes Curses on use

  • Shock Immunity

    As our Freeze/Chill immunity is covered outside of flasks, you may be able to work in shock immunity to the build and further smooth out your incoming damage. Roll flasks to get the "of Grounding" mod to become shock immune.

    Ample Silver Flask of Grounding
    Click to expand
  • +19 to Maximum Charges
  • Immunity to Shock during Flask effect Removes Shock on use

  •  3.3 Flasks
    Main Flasks

    The only unique flask used by the majority of Vortex builds, either CI or Low-life, is Rumi's Concoction. Other unique flask options are discussed below, but Rumi's as the only unique flask gives us a lot of utility options in the remaining 4 slots. A Quicksilver flask is all but mandatory. Roll Adrenaline and any prefix that you like. A Basalt flask is another great option to pair with a Rumi's or other Granite flask for a large buff to armour and damage reduction.

    Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
    Click to expand
  • 24% increased Movement Speed during Flask effect
  • 25% increased effect
  • 33% reduced Duration
  • Basalt Flask
    Click to expand

    For the remaining two slots, I like starting with a Quartz flask. The phasing is invaluable to our Vortex placement, and the dodge chance adds another layer of defense to the build. If you're running Zealot's Oath for the ES regen, a Sulphur flask can provide both great damage and some fantastic ES regen.

    Ample Quartz Flask of Grounding
    Click to expand
  • +20 to Maximum Charges
  • Immunity to Shock during Flask effect Removes Shock on use
  • Ample Sulphur Flask of Warding
    Click to expand
  • Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
  • +13 to Maximum Charges
  • Immune to Curses during Flask effect Removes Curses on use

  • Optional Flasks

    There are a few flasks you could use to fill out any remaining flask slots. Until you have a Corrupting Blood jewel, I highly recommend using non-unique flasks with the immunities discussed above. Here are some options for usable flasks in your final two slots:

    Surgeon's Stibnite Flask of Resistance
    Click to expand
  • Creates a Smoke Cloud on Use
  • 20% chance to gain a Flask Charge when you deal a Critical Strike
  • 21% additional Elemental Resistances during Flask effect
  • The Wise Oak
    Bismuth Flask
    Click to expand
  • During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
  • During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates 12% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
  • The summer sun dries the soil and burns the leaves.

    The autumn rain extinguishes the flames.

    The spring bloom shades the wet earth.

    Nature is an eternal tug of war.

    Chemist's Granite Flask of Staunching
    Click to expand
  • 23% reduced Charges used
  • Immunity to Bleeding during Flask effect Removes Bleeding on use
  • Witchfire Brew
    Stibnite Flask
    Click to expand
  • Creates a Smoke Cloud on Use
  • 50% increased Charges used
  • 37% increased Damage Over Time during Flask Effect
  • Grants Level 21 Despair Curse Aura during Flask Effect
  • "Think of those that cursed us, judged us,

    and burned our sisters upon the pyre.

    Think of their names as you drink,

    and even their children will feel what we do to them today."

    -Vadinya, to her coven

    Alchemist's Jade Flask of Reflexes
    Click to expand
  • 61% increased Evasion Rating during Flask effect
  • 25% increased effect
  • 33% reduced Duration

  •  3.4 Jewels

    Unique Jewels

            Lethal Pride (Kiloava)

    Before I describe the jewel, I will warn you to double, triple, or even quadruple check if you buy a Lethal Pride jewel from another player. MAKE SURE IT'S A KILOAVA LETHAL PRIDE! I ran into SIX scammers in a row when I bought this as a test. It's one of the easiest scams to run in PoE.

    When a Lethal Pride Kiloava jewel is socketed, it turns nearby Keystones into Glancing Blows:

    This keystone is incredibly valuable and smooths incoming damage by a huge amount. You'll want to socket this into the top right of the tree, converting Eldritch Battery to Glancing Blows. If you've ever noticed a huge amount of Vortex players inexplicably taking EB on sites like, this is why.

            Energy From Within

    EFW is a great jewel for the combination life/ES nodes on the tree. If you have one, socket it here:

            Watcher's Eye

    Watcher's Eye is a jewel that has randomly assigned mods that grant bonus effects based on auras that the player has equipped. 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

    Vortex can use Cobalt regular jewels or Searching Eye abyss jewels. Resists or attributes can be useful for either jewel type.

    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

     3.5 Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers

    Following Normal Lab, begin by taking Vile Bastion for better Survivability throughout leveling.

    After Cruel Lab, take Void Beacon. This is negligibly beneficial until we are using Vortex full-time, and you can wait on Cruel lab if desired.

    After Merciless Lab, get Frigid Wake. Now we get a ton of utility and our Freeze/Chill immunity. Hugely beneficial ascendancy.

    Finally, after Uber Lab, take Profane Bloom. The explosions help with damage, but applying curses to hexproof enemies is the real benefit here.

    Bandit Reward

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

    Pantheon Powers

    Major: Solaris is the general go-to here, as trash mobs don't pose a high threat, and the benefit will be felt more against high health bosses. Lunaris is still an option for clearing and delving.

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

     3.6 Trade League Live Searches

    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




    Lochtonial Caress


    Axiom Perpetuum

    Tabula Rasa

    Cheap Humility Div Cards (1.5c or less)


    30% MS Boots with 50+ Resists

    5c or less ring with 120+ resists

     3.7 Gearing For Low and Mid-Tier Maps
    Getting Gear in Blood Aqueducts

    For this section, I'm assuming you're either playing SSF or are interested in saving your currency while gearing for low-tier mapping. Mapping gear for Vortex can be bought for as little as an alch a piece to get going into maps.

    Gearing yourself for the change to CI and to get into maps is a very straightforward process. It can be done extremely cheaply and in a very relaxing manner. Here is the process:

    Step 1. Go to Blood Aqueducts.

    Step 2. Remove your loot filter completely. No, not the default filter - NO filter. Trust me, I'm a doctor.

    Step 3. Clear Aqueducts. You will be picking up the following:

            - Rares, currency, and div cards. ID all of the rares and sell for Alterations, as this is your main currency used to craft your starting gear.

            - Energy Shield items with a level requirement of lvl 55 or higher. This is why we take off the filter - so the white items show up.

            - A Chain Belt with 17+ ES implicit and a Dex, Str, or Dex/Str Amulet. Don't worry about rings for now.

    Once you have a complete set of items sans-rings, go to your hideout. Make your white items blue, and begin rolling them with Alterations. You're looking for rolls for the following mods:

            Prefixes: Tier 4 or better Flat Energy Shield or Increased % Energy Shield

            Suffixes: Tier 3 or better of any non-Chaos resistance.

    If you only roll one of these, Augment for the other. For your Wand, roll for Spell Damage or Cold Damage Over Time for a Prefix and % Increased Cold Damage for a Suffix. For your boots, you could skip an ES roll and try to get 25% or higher Movement Speed.

    Once this is complete, equip the items and check your resistances. Buy or farm Aqueducts for Rings to shore up the needed resists.

    Check the PoB for a set of blue budget items that can easily get you into maps. As you begin to accumulate currency, I recommend rolling for higher damage on a Wand and/or Shield, as higher damage will help both your clear and survivability.

    As you begin mapping, you should have 5500+ Energy Shield, capped resists, and then as much damage as possible.

    Mid-Tier Mapping Gear Check

    As you farm currency, begin to make rare item upgrades that will help you shore up any weaknesses. As the build is very straightforward, you really only need to continue to focus on capping resists, keeping your ES pool as high as possible, and then upping damage as much as you can until you reach late-game.

    As better gear starts to become a priority, here is what to look for on gear:

    Wand: Damage Focused. Your wand is one of your main sources of item-based damage. Your wand should have as many as possible of Cold Damage, Damage over Time, and Spell Damage mods. If you are able to purchase in trade league or unveil it in SSF, adding the mod "Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use a Skill" is one of the biggest damage upgrades you can make. Once you have this mod on a wand, take Elemental Equilibrium and be sure that the Frost Bomb / Storm Brand / Orb of Storms setup from the PoB is socketed in your wand. This will cast those spells as you Vortex around, greatly lowering enemy cold resistance.

    Shield: Damage / Defense Hybrid. Your shield can be a large source of ES for your build. The implicit Spell Damage on Spirit Shields is also great for damage. Shaper Spirit Shields can roll the "Recover % of Energy Shield when you block" mod, which is one of the best mods we can get for sustain and survivability while our ES recharge is down.

    Body Armour: Energy Shield Powerhouse and links. Your main concern with body armour is rolling as much Energy Shield as possible on at least a 5-link. You'll want a Vaal Regalia with all 3 prefix rolls being flat ES, %ES, and the %ES + increased Stun and Block recovery mod. Try to roll at least 500 ES for a good mid-tier map chest.

    Helmet: Resist Shredding and/or Defenses. If you have a very tight budget or low access to delve materials, just craft ES and resists on the helmet and call it a day. If you can get your hands on some Frigid and Dense fossils, you can roll for a good ES helmet with "Nearby Enemies have -9% To Cold Resistance".

    Boots: Movement Speed and Resists. Look for a decent amount of ES and as much resistance as you can find on a pair of boots with at least 30% Movement Speed.

    Gloves: Attributes and Defenses. Grab some ES and resists and stack up the Str and Dex that the build needs so much.

    Rings 1: Damage, Defenses, and Resists First of all, if you've unlocked the "Faster start of Energy Shield Recharge" mod, definitely put it on the rings. Aside from that, shoot for rings with Cold Damage and whatever resists you're missing.

    Amulet: Damage and Resists Try to get some resists as well as Cold Damage or Area Damage on a Str or Dex base.

    Belt: Flasks and Defenses. Get a Crystal Belt with some Resists if needed, some Flask related mods, and maybe some % damage if you can get it.

     3.8 Low-Life Build: Destroying the End-Game

    Assessing Your Goals

    When you're gearing your character with big-time items, you need to stop and decide what you're actually going for. For Vortex builds, there are two general directions to take the build - deep delving or super high-tier map and boss content. Deep delving will sacrifice some defenses for the sake of very high freeze chance and damage, where high tier mapping has a perfect mix of high defense and mitigation and good-to-great DPS. You need to give yourself some direction.

    Core Items and Mods

    Shavrone's Wrappings

    Shavronne's Wrappings
    Occultist's Vestment
    Click to expand
  • 9% increased Spell Damage
  • 135% increased Energy Shield
  • 10% faster start of Energy Shield Recharge
  • +38% to Lightning Resistance
  • Reflects 1 to 250 Lightning Damage to Melee Attackers
  • Chaos Damage does not bypass Energy Shield
  • Shavronne's apparel became ever more extravagant

    as her body and soul became ever more corrupted.

    Shav's is the item that allows us to go Low-Life without constantly dying to Chaos damage. The Energy shield recharge is nice as well, but the bottom line is tat without Shav's, you're not going low-life.

    Presence of Chayula

    Linking an image, as I somehow cannot find my Presence. Too many stash tabs I guess? Idk.

    Presence does a few very important things for the low-life build. Firstly, it takes care of our stun immunity, allowing us to respec Vile Bastion into Malediction in our ascendancy. We lose some ES regen, but we gain an additional curse and more damage.

    PoC also gives us a healthy chunk of Energy Shield, some nice rarity (especially for SSF), and brings our Chaos Res to a 0, which is very nice for mitigation, as most builds are at -60%. This keeps the common mitigation theme of smoothing out incoming damage as much as possible, preventing damage spikes that lead to deaths.


    Both build focuses will want basically the same helmet. First, acquire a Hubris Circlet with an appropriate Lab Enchant - Temp Chains Effect or Vortex. Roll Frigid and Dense fossils to get good Energy Shield and "Nearby Enemies Have -9% To Cold Resistance". Multimod or craft as needed to add more ES or resists.

    ALTERNATE OPTION is a Heretic's Veil. This allows for a double curse setup including Temp Chains and helps with mana. We'll see a similar alternate option in the Shield section.

    End-Game Bossing and T16 Farming

    Deep Delving

     3.9 Movement Speed Build Full Purchase Order

    This purchase order is made from a combination of experience, item costs, Grimro's YouTube guide, and other forum build guides.

    Leveling - Toxic Rain / HoA

            -Quill Rain
            -Death's Harp
            -Lochtonial Caress
            -Wurm's Molt

    Blood Aqueducts Farming

            -Storm Cloud
            -The Servant's Heart Prophecy
            -The Tempest
            -Hyrri's Bite
            -Alchemists' Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
            -Diamond and Silver Flasks with immunities
            -Farm Humilities - Tabula Rasa
            -Fill out rare gear per section 3.7; Helmet, Gloves, 30MS Boots, Rings, Amulet, Belt

    White and Yellow Tier Maps

            -Lioneye's Fall (This is a bit expensive, but is MASSIVE for the build. Get ASAP.
            -Atziri's Promise flask
            -Shadows and Dust, Thunderfist, or 1-socket Tombfist Gloves
            -If using non-Rampage gloves: Bisco's Leash
            -Unique helmet of choice; Starkonja's or Devoto's (No +1 yet)
            -Rigwald's Quills
            -Dying Sun
            -6-Link Queen of the Forest
            -2 The Taming rings
            -2-Socket Tombfist
            -2-Socket Bubonic Trail
            -Corrupted Blood implicit jewel

    Red Maps and Higher

            -2 Inspired Learning jewels (Optional)
            -Devoto's or Starkonja's with +1 Enchantment
            -Solstice Vigil
            -Dex-stacking bow

    Beyond this point, you can begin corrupting extra gear, Divine Orb all of your items, or go for the ultimate item: A Corrupted +1 Chain Rigwald's Quills. It's slightly rare.

    3.10 Truly Unethical: Legacy Gearing in Standard League
    In Standard league, Magic Find is definitely the way to go for Tornado Shot. Legacy items give you many more options for increased item quantity than exist now in temporary leagues. DeMiGodking102 has the best Legacy TS guide anywhere, and you can find his gear and recommendations about three quarters of the way through his guide here.

    The short version: Almost everything can have item quantity rolls in addition to extra life, resists, and flat damage. You'll be tankier with great damage and finding an obscene amount of loot. Have fun!

    Oct 09, 2019 17:54:39 PM

    Part 4: The Part of Tens - STILL T-Shot Guide - Not Done


     4.1 Ten Cheap Uniques That Can Substitute For Expensive Gear
    1. Lioneye's Glare

    Lioneye's Glare is a consistently 1 Chaos weapon with respectable damage, high attack speed, and it always hits. Great starter weapon while The Tempest is above 20c on day 1 of new leagues.

    2. Prismweave

    Prismweave is a great cheap belt that functions as a very respectable abyss jewel. With a lot of added damage to attacks and increased elemental damage, this belt is a great way to up your damage at very little cost. It even has some resists!

    3. 1-socket Bubonic Trail

    Bubonic Trail is a great unique boot, giving a lot of movement speed and life, granting the very nice Death Walk ability, and allowing for more jewels, which Tornado Shot desperately desires. However, Trails with 1 Abyssal socket go for 1 Chaos or lower after a few days of a new league, while 2 Abyssal socket pairs go for upwards of an exalt. Snag a pair early on and you'll be very happy with the benefits.

    4. Maloney's Nightfall
    Maloney's Nightfall is a cheap quiver that provides a nice blend of defense and offense. While its implicit doesn't do very much, the extra life and smoke clouds are very nice to have early on while the build is uber squishy, and the extra damage and attack speed can definitely be put to use.

    5. Rat's Nest

    Despite being outshined by its bigger brothers Starkonja and Devoto's, Rat's Nest has always been a very cheap and fine helmet, providing quite a lot of stats for its small size.

    6. Daresso's Defiance

    Daresso's is an interesting piece. It has very solid Evasion and Armour, a nice chunk of life, and some cool survivability mechanics that have you swapping between Endurance charges for smaller incoming damage and then Onslaught to get out of the way once you do get hit.

    7. Shadows and Dust

    Shadows and Dust is a very solid glove with crit and crit multi and is one of the cheapest ways that our build can gain access to the Rampage effect. I've used these gloves into the mid/high 80's multiple times.

    8. Le Heup of All

    Le Heup adds a nice amount of damage and resists to an early build, and the rarity definitely doesn't hurt.

    9. The Warden's Brand

    The Warden's Brand is an ultra-cheap way of boosting your damage near the time you start farming Blood Aqueducts. No resists and reduced attack speed hurts, but it adds a good amount of damage and the Frenzy charge generation helps to offset the downside.

    10. Sacrificial Heart

    In Sacrificial Heart we have an ultra-cheap jewelry piece that adds a large amount of flat damage. It basically acts like a souped up abyssal jewel, with the Vaal skill mods being a nice bonus.

     4.2 Ten TV Shows to Watch While Farming Blood Aqueducts
    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. One of my favorite things to listen to while running endless Shaped Arcades as they delve into what truly makes things "funny".

    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 Tornado Shot

    I Need A Break From Insane Speed: Vortex Occultist

    I Need A Break From Skipping End-Game Bosses: Glacial Cascade Mines Saboteur

    I Need A Break From Squishy Builds: Max Block Dual Strike Guardian

    I Need A Break From Killing Monsters Myself: Mass Minion Support Necromancer

    I Need A Break From Off-Screening Enemies: Ground Slam Berserker

    I Need A Break From Broken Mechanics: Arc Elementalist

    I Need A Break From Expensive Builds: Orb of Storms Assassin

    I Need A Break From Attack Builds: Storm Brand Inquisitor

    I Need A Break From Playing Ranger: Righteous Fire Cheiftain

    I Need A Break From Path of Exile: MTG Arena

    Part 5: FAQ, Index, And Changelog IN PROGRESS


    5.1 Frequently Asked Questions

    5.2 Index
    This is a bad idea. Here goes.

    *Currently Indexed Through 3.3

    ⚫Additional Projectiles - 1.1, 3.5, 3.8
    ⚫Area of Effect (AoE) - 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.5

    ⚫Bosses - 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.7, 4.3

    ⚫Claws - 1.4, 3.4
    ⚫Clearspeed - 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 3.7, 3.8
    ⚫Currency - Intro, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 3.7, 3.8

    ⚫DeMiGodking102 - Foreward, 3.10
    ⚫Dexterity - 1.2, 3.1, 3.8, 3.9

    ⚫End-Game (broad) - 1.2, 1.4, 2.4, 3.3, 3.8, 4.3
    ⚫Evasion - 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 4.1

    ⚫Farming - 1.3, 2.5, 3.7, 3.8, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2
    ⚫Flasks - 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9
    ⚫Flat Added Damage - 1.1, 3.4, 3.7, 3.10, 4.1

    ⚫Gem(s) - 1.1, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1
    ⚫Grimro - Foreward, 3.9


    ⚫Impale - Foreward, 1.1, 1.4

    ⚫Jewels - 1.4, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9, 4.1


    ⚫League(s) - Intro, Foreward, 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.1
    ⚫Leveling - Intro, Foreward, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.9
    ⚫Life - 1.2, 1.4, 2.4, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.10, 4.1
    ⚫Links - 1.1, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5, 3.8, 3.9

    ⚫Magic Find - Foreward, 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 3.8, 3.10
    ⚫Map(s) - Intro, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4.2
    ⚫Mechanics - 1.1
    ⚫Melee - 1.2, 3.4
    ⚫Movement Speed - Foreward, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9


    ⚫Unique(s) - 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 3.9, 4.1

    ⚫Path of Building - 1.4
    ⚫Pierce - 1.1

    ⚫Quantity - 1.4, 3.10
    ⚫Queen of the Forest - 1.2, 3.8, 3.9

    ⚫Range/Ranged - Foreward, 1.1, 1.2
    ⚫Rare (items) - 1.2, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9
    ⚫Resistances - 1.2, 2.5, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.10, 4.1

    ⚫Shaper Items - 1.4, 3.8
    ⚫Single Target - 1.1, 1.2
    ⚫Spell(s) - 1.2

    ⚫Tornado Shot - Literally everywhere. Why the hell are you looking this up?







    5.3 Changelog
    ⚫ 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.

    Oct 09, 2019 17:54:57 PM

    Also Reserved

    Oct 09, 2019 17:55:11 PM

    Accidental reservation. After a long day of edits I somehow quoted my entire guide and made a new comment. Very stable genius here.

    Oct 25, 2019 15:46:59 PM

    Still very legal and very cool :)

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

    Oct 26, 2019 06:56:00 AM

    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..

    Oct 26, 2019 14:57:14 PM

    Looks like a descent build. Can you use HoI to boost clear speed?

    Nov 02, 2019 12:57:48 PM

    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.

    Nov 05, 2019 11:07:22 AM

    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?

    Nov 16, 2019 19:16:13 PM


    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...

    Nov 19, 2019 13:26:21 PM
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