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Blade Vortex Chieftain Marauder Build

Blade Vortex Chieftain Marauder Build

Tanky Chieftain build with Millions of DPS accessible on a reasonable budget

Blade Vortex
Chieftan build

Updated for Patch 3.12

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Estimated budget: medium
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Guide notes
September 19, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.12
Major changes:
-No longer utilizes Intensify Support which is replaced by Unleash


Blade Vortex is a Physical Spell that spawns ethereal blades that orbit around you dealing damage to all nearby enemies. You can summon up to 10 Blades, and with each Blade active your DPS goes up drastically. Also, by using Chieftain we utilize 100% Physical to Fire Damage Conversion, and very high defensive bonuses. This build is very tanky and offers Millions of realistic Shaper DPS without any exceptionally expensive Items required. The only downside is that it requires quite a few specific Uniques to truly shine, and a Crafted Bow which will cost approximately 7-8 Exalted Orbs with just the most required stats.

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1. Gameplay

Blade Vortex is a Spell that has to be played in Melee Range as it has a quite low radius, however, by using Chieftain Ascendancy Class we can easily reach enough defensive stats to allow that playstyle. You should have up to 7k Maximum Life, 10k Armour Rating, and high Life Leech. We also recommend using Intensify Gem, which to some extent requires you to be stationary against Bosses to fully utilize its potential. The playstyle is pretty straightforward, you Flame Dash into big packs, cast few Blades and obliterate enemies. Against Bosses, you will also cast Wave of Conviction to apply Fire Exposure. Armageddon Brand can be used to apply Combustion debuff on enemies, and possible the second Curse via Curse on Hit Support Gem (assuming you have the Whispers of Doom Anointment on your Amulet).

0:07 Tier 17 Shaper
0:42 Tier 14 Maze
0:52 Tier 16 Colosseum
1:20 Tier 16 Overgrown Shrine
1:45 Tier 16 Promenade

This video was recorded on a level 91 Chieftain with Asenath's Gloves, Signal Fire, Kaom's Heart, and Devouring Diadem. We have used Master of Force Anointment and just one Curse. Also, the Bow didn't have 4 Blue Sockets, so Controlled Destruction was replaced with Culling Strike which caused approximately 25% DPS drop. This video was recorded in Patch 3.9 but the gameplay hasn't changed since then - we may update it in the following weeks

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • good clear speed
  • insane DPS
  • can do all content
  • solid defenses
  • 0 Mana Issues thanks to Eldritch Battery
  • high Life Leech
  • slow to level up without respeccing half of the Skill Tree
  • requires a bunch of specific Uniques
  • hard to get the perfect Socket colors on Bow


3. Leveling tips

Leveling is a bit tricky with this character. You don't get any Spell Damage nodes early on, and you may find it hard to get all the Dexterity/Intelligence Gems on lower levels if you can't find anyone to buy them for you. The good part is that most of the Blade Vortex's damage comes from Skill Gems and you should be fine without having to refund a lot of your Passives later on. On lower levels, you should focus on increasing your defenses (Life/Resistances) and Mana Regeneration Rate so that you can use Blade Vortex without any issues. There are a lot of interesting Uniques that will help you get through the earlier levels with ease - we have listed them below.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Blade Vortex setup
Blade Vortex Blade Vortex - primary Spell used in this build. It has solid base DPS and it should carry you through early levels without any Spell Damage related Passives
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - adds high Fire Damage based on the Physical Damage of Supported Skill
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - on lower levels makes casting Blade Vortex much faster. Later on, you can replace it with Unleash Support which will summon few Blades with each Cast
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - increases Blade Vortex's Elemental Damage
Armageddon Brand setup
Armageddon Brand Armageddon Brand - Armageddon Brand is also a good addition during leveling. It deals high AoE damage and applies Combustion debuff, increasing your overall DPS
Combustion Support Combustion Support - increases Fire Damage and applies a debuff to Ignited enemies
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Utility Gems
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Attack and Cast Speed - use while you still have empty sockets, most likely up until Maps
Assassin's Mark Flammability - one of the recommended Curses for this build
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants high bonus Fire Damage based on your Physical Damage and causes AoE Fiery explosions when killing enemies


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

33 Points Skill Tree 
Priorities: 1) Heart of the Warrior 2) Constitution 3) Potency of Will 4) Elemental Overload

63 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Heart and Soul 2) Light of Divinity 3) Devotion 4) Divine Judgement/Fury/Wrath

Recommended leveling items:

Xoph's InceptionXoph's Inception - a decent leveling Bow which grants added Fire Damage and will heal you for quite a lot as most of the enemies will be Ignited by your Armageddon Brand
(70-90)% increased Physical Damage
+(20-30) Life gained on Killing Ignited Enemies
Gain 20% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
10% chance to Ignite
Signal FireThe Signal Fire - the best Quiver for this build, which just happens to have a level 24 requirement
Adds 4 to 8 Fire Damage to Bow Attacks
10% increased Attack Speed
+(80-100) to Evasion Rating
+(10-30) to maximum Mana
Gain (25-35)% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
50% of Physical Damage Converted to Fire Damage
Adds 5 to 10 Fire Damage to Bow Attacks
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - grants high DPS bonus and All Attributes which will be required for sure when playing Marauder Spell Caster character
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - one of the best leveling Boots for this build. Not only they grant high bonus Movement Speed, but also a decent Mana Recovery mechanic
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
5% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed
10% increased Movement Speed for you and nearby Allies
GoldrimGoldrim - the best leveling Helmet in Path of Exile which fixes your Elemental Resistances for at least a few entire Acts
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)




4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

114 Points Final Skill Tree
114 Points Path of Building(PoB) link 

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Ngamahu, Flame's Advance
  2. Hinekora, Death's Fury
  3. Tasalio, Cleansing Water
  4. Ramako, Sun's Light


Major God: Soul of Solaris 6% additional Physical Damage Reduction while there is only one nearby; Enemy 20% chance to take 50% less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Tukohama While stationary, gain 2% additional Physical Damage Reduction every second, up to a maximum of 8%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Vaal Blade Vortex
Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex - the primary Spell used in this build which deals high base Physical Damage which is fully converted to Fire in this build
Empower Support Empower Support - mandatory Support Gem when you are using the +3 Bow. It will allow us to easily reach level 26-28 on Blade Vortex Skill Gem, greatly increasing its base damage
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - grants very high bonus DPS at the cost of reduced Ballista explosions radius
Unleash Support Unleash Support - creates several Blades with each cast
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support - increases your Spell Damage greatly at the cost of reduced Critical Hit Chance. If you have hard times getting the 4th blue on your Bow, you can temporarily replace it with Culling Strike Support
[UTILITY] Armageddon Brand setup
Armageddon Brand Armageddon Brand - used to apply Combustion debuff and your second Curse. Use the Curse on Hit if you have the Whispers of Doom anointment or you didn't manage to get Asenath's Gentle Touch just yet
Combustion Support Combustion Support - makes enemies Ignited by Armageddon Brand have reduced Resistance to Fire Damage
Curse on Hit Support Curse on Hit Support - will make Armageddon Brand apply your Curse
Flammability Flammability - one of the recommended Curses for this build which reduces monsters' Fire Resistance
(in Devouring Diadem)
Anger Anger - grants extra Fire Damage to your Spells making it the best Aura for this build
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants added Fire Damage to your Blade Vortex. If you are using Circle of Anguish, then its effect is further amplified
Zealotry Zealotry - the second Curse we are going to use. Zealotry increases your Spell Damage and creates Consecrated Grounds
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces the amount of Mana Reserved by Supported Spells
[UTILITY] Immortal Call
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will trigger Immortal Call automatically after you take enough damage. Keep this Gem at level 1
Immortal Call Immortal Call - grants a strong defensive buff for a short duration. Keep this Gem at level 1 so that it matches CwDT Support Gem's level
[UTILITY] Flame Dash and Wave of Conviction
Flame Dash Flame Dash - Movement Spell which is used to increase your mobility in this build, and helps you avoid big Spell and Attacks quickly
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - applies Fire Exposure to enemies Hit, reducing their Fire Resistance

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for our Blade Vortex Chieftain. This build requires a number of specific Unique Items, and while it still would work with random Rares, it would require you to adjust Skill Gems so that it works correctly. Out of the most important changes when you still don't have them, you should take into consideration that:

  • Without the Devouring Diadem, you will be unable to use all three Auras (drop Zealotry in that case) and you may have hard times managing your Mana because you won't have Eldritch Battery with Energy Shield Leech working
  • Asenath's Gentle Touch offers extra Curse, if you can't afford it yet, don't invest in Whispers of Doom Anointment (just grab Master of Force which is relatively cheap) and apply your only Curse via Armageddon Brand
  • The Signal Fire grants you 100% Physical to Fire Conversion, and I wouldn't recommend playing the build without it 

The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully
  3. You will save at least a couple of hours since all the item requirements are listed

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Fire/Elemental Damage
  4. Added Physical/Fire Damage to Spells
  5. Attributes
Devouring Diadem(Helmet) Devouring Diadem - mandatory Helmet for this build. It allows us to use two Auras and Herald of Ash at the same time, and makes Mana Management easy thanks to Eldritch Battery combined with ES Leech from Heart of Flame Passive
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Socketed Gems have 20% reduced Mana Reservation
Trigger Level 15 Feast of Flesh every 5 seconds
(180-220)% increased Energy Shield
10% chance for Energy Shield Recharge to start when you use a Skill
Eldritch Battery
<One Veiled Mod>
Helmet enchantment:
30% increased Blade Vortex Duration
40% increased Blade Vortex Spell Damage
Rare Bow(Weapon) Rare Crafted Bow - you need to increase your Empower's level by 3 with this Item, allowing you to scale Blade Vortex DPS. You can just hit +1 to Level of Socketed Gems and multi-mod it. Crafting it with Essenced can yield the best possible results
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
+2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
Optional affixes:
Chance to deal double Damage
Adds Fire Damage to Spells (Essence of Anguish)
Spell Damage (Essence of Woe)
The Signal Fire(Quiver) The Signal Fire - the BiS Quiver, which allows you to convert 100% of Blade Vortex's Physical Damage to Fire
Adds 4 to 8 Fire Damage to Bow Attacks
10% increased Attack Speed
+(80-100) to Evasion Rating
+(10-30) to maximum Mana
Gain (25-35)% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
50% of Physical Damage Converted to Fire Damage
Adds 5 to 10 Fire Damage to Bow Attacks
Kaom's Heart(Body Armour) Kaom's Heart - grants very high bonus Life and has decent Armour Rating. You can replace it with a random Rare with high defensive bonuses while leveling
Has no Sockets
(20-40)% increased Fire Damage
+500 to maximum Life
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - primarily look for high bonus Life and Movement Speed, then just try to add missing Resistances and possibly Chaos Resistance
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
35% Fire Resistance
35% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
high Armour Rating
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Adds 45 to 68 Fire Damage if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Stygian Vise - Abyssal Socket makes this Belt the best possible choice for this build
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
35% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
Elemental/Fire Damage
Armour Rating
Chaos Resistance
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - the best choice for this build as we need to have a lot of added Dexterity
Min. requirements:
65 maximum Life
60 Dexterity
20 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Spell Damage
Recommended Anointments:
  • Whispers of Doom (double Curse with Asenath's)
  • Master of Force (single Curse)
Opal RingOpal Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - preferably Opal Rings for max DPS or Two-Stone Rings to make it easier to cap resistances
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
20% Fire Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Curse enemies with level # Flammability on Hit (Delve Mod - would allow using two Curses without the expensive Asenath's Gentle Touch Gloves)
Circle of Anguish(Ring) Circle of Anguish - grants very high DPS bonuses via upgrading Herald of Ash's effects. This Synthesised Rings can be very expensive with the right bonuses
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
<One to three random Synthesis implicit modifiers>
+(20-30) to Strength
Adds (20-25) to (26-35) Fire Damage
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
<Two Random Herald of Ash modifier>
Recommended modifiers:
(40-60)% increased Fire Damage while affected by Herald of Ash
Herald of Ash has (70-100)% increased Buff Effect
Asenath's Gentle Touch(Gloves) Asenath's Gentle Touch - the BiS pair of gloves. It grants Temporal Chains Curse, Blinds enemies, and causes corpses to explode for massive damage. Optionally they can be Corrupted for Elemental Weakness
+(20-30) to Intelligence
+(60-80) to maximum Life
+(60-80) to maximum Mana
Curse Enemies with Level 10 Temporal Chains on Hit
Non-Aura Curses you inflict are not removed from Dying Enemies
Enemies near corpses affected by your Curses are Blinded
Enemies Killed near corpses affected by your Curses explode, dealing
3% of their Life as Physical Damage
Might of the Meek(Jewels) Might of the Meek - socketed to the right of Marauder's Starting Point and below Constitution, should provide around 250 Maximum Life, 20% Increased Armour Rating and 20 Strength. We don't have any Notable Passives allocated in its range
50% increased Effect of non-Keystone Passive Skills in Radius
Notable Passive Skills in Radius grant nothing
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - we are looking for Watcher's Eye with Anger bonuses to Fire Damage
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended modifiers:
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Fire Resistance while affected by Anger
Gain (15-25)% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage while affected by Anger
(40-60)% increased Fire Damage while affected by Anger
Abyss Jewel(Jewels) Rare Abyss Jewels - with flat Physical Damage Added to Spells and Life bonuses. Also, if you get the Chance to hinder, it will cause Monsters to be slowed even more combined with Temporal Chains
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
added Physical Damage to Spells
Chance to Hinder on Spell Hits
Optional affixes:
increased Damage if you have Killed recently
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Spell Damage/Area Damage
Optional affixes:
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - one of the best Flasks in the game which grants very high bonus DPS and Life Leech while being very cheap
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - grants high Fire Damage Penetration, as your Fire Resistance will be most likely always the highest with Tasalio, Cleansing Water Passive
+35% to all Elemental Resistances
During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Experimenter's Granite Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Atziri's PromiseThe Wise OakLife FlaskGranite FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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