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Blade Vortex Poison Assassin Build

Blade Vortex Poison Assassin Build

Complete guide on one of the deadliest Assassin builds in PoE

Blade Vortex
Poison Assassin build

Updated for Patch 3.14

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Estimated budget: medium
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Guide notes
September 20, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.12
Major changes:
-None, this still remains one of the best Assassin builds (both as a Starter, and a regular one)
October 14, 2020
-Updated gameplay video
January 21, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.13
April 17, 2021
-Updated for Patch 3.14


Blade Vortex is a Physical Spell that creates multiple ethereal blades that orbit around your character dealing massive damage based on the number of blades spawned. This build offers Millions of Poison DPS thanks to massive Poison damage scaling and numerous stacks applied by 10 Blades flying around you damaging enemies with a greatly increased Hit rate. At the same time, this build offers very solid defenses based on Dodge, Mistwalker, and a reasonable Life pool. This is one of the most powerful Assassin builds in the current Patch 3.10, and supposedly the most cost-effective one. You don't need to spend tons of Exalted Orbs on extremely expensive Cluster Jewels and specific Uniques to make it work. 

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1. Gameplay

This is a very swift Spell Caster build based on the Blade Vortex Spell which deals purely Physical and Chaos Damage in this build as you aim to get the highest effective Poison DoT. You are going to use Unleash Support that helps you build up 10 stacks faster, and when you got it simply rush through Maps recasting Blade Vortex once in a while. You can also use Plague Bearer for some additional DPS against Bosses on tougher Rares - the damage reduction won't really affect your clear speed as you are overkilling the majority of the content with your Poison, and when popping it against Bosses it will help you melt them faster. It's just a single socket too. For the defenses you will be reliant on Dodge and Elusive, you can also pick up Withering Step to get you some extra temporary bonuses (sadly, it shares its' cooldown with Flame Dash so you won't be able to use it efficiently on regular Maps)

0:08 Tier 16 Leyline
0:29 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
0:51 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix
1:40 Tier 16 Sulphur Vents
2:01 Tier 16 Tropical Island

This video was recorded on a level 93 Assassin dual-wielding Cold Iron Point Daggers in Patch 3.12. Our character had 4,500 Maximum Life and approximately 5,700,000 DPS at 10 Blades if you included maximum possible Poison stacks

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • amazing clear speed
  • Top Tier DPS both AoE and single-target
  • solid defenses based on Life, Dodge, and Elusive Passive
  • all content-viable
  • can do most Map mods
  • can be played on a budget
  • low Life  Pool with reliance on Dodge rolls can kill you occasionally
  • mediocre self-sustain


3. Leveling tips

You can level up this character easily with Blade Vortex. As an Assassin, you will need to add up some Mana Regeneration mechanics on lower levels, but DPS-wise you will be more than good to take down all the Bosses in campaign mode. You can also help yourself with Agony Crawler from the Herald of Agony. You may have trouble with Mana and Attribute requirements of Malevolence, so you can add a few Support gems to Herald of Agony, which will get you a deadly Minion, and with Blade Vortex and 100% Chance to Poison, you will build up Virulence stacks pretty easily.

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 just with its' based damage, and you will still Poison enemies with it
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
Poison Support Poison Support - grants high chance to Poison enemies, which combined with a few Passives and Herald of Agony will easily reach 100% Chance to Poison
Vile Toxins Vile Toxins Support - grants high bonus DPS both to direct Hits and Poison DoT
Herald of Agony setup
Herald of Agony Herald of Agony - this is a must-have Herald Spell for this build, which also happens to be a great leveling weapon with Blade Vortex. Just add up a few Support Gems to it and it will melt enemies 
Minion Damage Support Minion Damage Support - increased Agony Crawler's DPS
Pierce Support Pierce Support - grants Pierce to your Agony Crawler's projectiles greatly increasing your clear speed
Vicious Projectiles Support Vicious Projectiles Support - increases the Physical Damage of your Agony Crawler's projectile attacks
Utility Gems
Flame Dash Flame Dash - the recommended mobility Skill for this build
Despair Despair - the best Curse for Poison builds which greatly increases your damage
Plague Bearer Plague Bearer - if you have enough damage against normal enemies, but lack DPS against Bosses this is a great one socket addition to this build. It will reduce your DPS overall, but you will get an extra burst against Bosses on tougher enemies


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

35 Points Skill Tree 
Priorities: 1) Trickery 2) Fangs of the Viper 3) Fatal Toxins 4) Herbalism

61 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Swift Venoms 2) Growth and Decay 3) Atrophy 4) Will of Blades

Recommended leveling items:

LifesprigLifesprig - the first unique Wand that you can use in PoE. It grants high DPS bonuses, Maximum Life/Mana bonuses, and a great Life Recovery mechanics
(8-12)% increased Spell Damage
+1 to Level of Socketed Spell Gems
(20-28)% increased Spell Damage
(5-8)% increased Cast Speed
+(15-20) to maximum Life
+(15-20) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (6-8) Life over 1 second when you Cast a Spell
Amplification RodAmplification Rod - amazing Wand which grants you a cheap 6-link for your Blade Vortex on merely level 36. If you are using this Wand, don't add Faster Casting or Unleash Support to your setup
(15-19)% increased Spell Damage+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 1 Increased Area of Effect
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 1 Spell Echo
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 1 Controlled Destruction
+(10-30) to Intelligence
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - grants high DPS bonus and All Attributes which will be required for sure when playing this build. You will need a bunch of Intelligence for various Gems used here
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
PraxisPraxis - the best leveling Ring for this build. It will solve all your Mana issues, and if you are playing with Amplification Rod, you will need a bunch of Mana to cope up with Blade Vortex's increased Mana Cost
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (3-6) Mana per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit




4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree - the recommended setup with 2 Large Cluster Jewels, 3 Medium, and 3 Small ones used. The Skill Tree doesn't include Passives allocated via Thread of Hope and Cluster Jewels - please refer to the Path of Building link for such details
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link 

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Noxious Strike
  2. Toxic Delivery
  3. Opportunistic
  4. Mistwalker


Major God: Soul of the Brine King You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds

Minor God: Soul of Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attack Hits if you've taken a Savage Hit Recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Vaal Blade Vortex
Vaal Blade Vortex Vaal Blade Vortex - the primary DPS Spell used in this build. It deals massive over 10 Mil Shaper DPS when you are fully buffed and you have 10 Blades flying around you
Unleash Support Unleash Support - allows you to create up to four Blades with a single-cast greatly increasing the smoothness and speed of this build
Vile Toxins Vile Toxins Support - increases your Hit Damage based on the number of Poisons on the enemy and Poison Damage as well
Deadly Ailments Support Deadly Ailments Support - increases your Damage over Time from Ailments significantly
Poison Support Poison Support - grants 60% Chance to Poison, and increases the damage you deal with Poison
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments Support - increases the Damage and duration of your Ailments
[UTILITY] Wither
Wither Wither - Wither reduces the monster's Resistance to Chaos Damage. By casting it via Multiple Totems, you can easily build the maximum 15 stacks without losing your own DPS
Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support - this Support Gem will allow you to create Totems that will automatically cast Wither
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - allows you to summon more Wither Totems to build up stacks faster
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
(in Devouring Diadem)
Malevolence Malevolence - the best Aura for DoT builds which increases your Damage over Time and offers various bonuses via Watcher's Eye Jewel
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - this Aura type Spell summons two Minions which will Chill and Shock enemies for you
Despair Despair - the best Curse for this build which you will be using as an Aura in this build
Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support - allows you to use Despair as an Aura around you, and thanks to Impresence, it will not reserve any Mana
[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
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
[UTILITY] Herald of Agony
Herald of Agony Herald of Agony - grants increased Chance to Poison and Poison Damage
[UTILITY] Flame Dash
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
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - allows you to have more charges for Flame Dash which greatly increases your mobility
[UTILITY] Plague Bearer/Withering Step
Plague Bearer Plague Bearer - it's a very unusual Spell which reduces your Poison Damage but lets you accumulate a  portion of it and store it. When you use Plague Bearer, the damage accumulated will be dealt with in an area around you, which offers a great extra burst against Bosses and tougher enemies (for example you accumulate it against adds during Bosses immunity phases, and then unleash for extra damage)
Withering Step Withering Step - grants an improved Elusive buff and Withers nearby enemies
Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the recommended gear for our Blade Vortex Poison Assassin build. This build uses several unique but most of them are optional, and this build will work just fine with random Rares. The only Item that we would recommend not skipping is the Devouring Diadem as it allows you to Reserve 100% of your Mana and fixes all the issues related to Mana-management.


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 - our most recommended Helmet for this build. It allows you to use your Aura, Skitterbots, and Herald of Agony without having Mana related issues
+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
Cold Iron Point(Weapon) Cold Iron Point - the BiS Daggers for this build. You should dual-wield them. They will add tons of damage at a very low cost, and the downside is negligible since you don't want to deal any Elemental Damage anyway. You can also try getting corrupted one with a chance to grant you the Unholy Might buff 
30% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+3 to Level of all Physical Spell Skill Gems
Deal no Elemental Damage
Carcass Jack(Body Armour) Carcass Jack - grants high AoE radius and Damage making it one of the best Armours for this build. The extra Evasion and Energy Shield also comes in handy
(120-150)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(9-12)% to all Elemental Resistances
(40-50)% increased Area of Effect
(40-50)% increased Area Damage
Extra gore
Carnal Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Rare piece is a great choice as you can Craft the extra Curse on it giving you additional Passive from Amulet Anointment instead of Whispers of Doom. Also, you can get it to cause slain monsters to explode dealing high Physical Damage
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
You can apply an additional Curse
Optional affixes:
Enemies you kill Explode, dealing 3% of their Maximum Life as Physical Damage
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:
65 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
70% Total Elemental Resistances
45 Strength
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed 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
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Damage/Global Physical Damage
Chaos Resistance
Impresence(Amulet) Impresence (Chaos) - the best choice for this build as it allows you to use Despair Aura without Mana reservation cost and adds other valuable bonuses
+(10-16) to all Attributes
(30-40)% increased Damage over Time
Adds (17-19) to (23-29) Chaos Damage
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(17-23)% to Chaos Resistance
Despair has 100% reduced Mana Reservation
Gain Maddening Presence for 10 seconds when you Kill a Rare or Unique Enemy
Recommended Anointments:
  • Whispers of Doom (double Curse with Asenath's)
  • Dirty Techniques (max DPS - if you have the Rare Crafted Armour or prefer to use only 1 Curse)
Two-Stone Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - just aim for the highest Life/Resistances combination. Rest is irrelevant 
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
120% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Circle of Nostalgia(Ring) Circle of Nostalgia - the BiS DPS-wise Ring for this build. On top of up to three implicit modifiers, Attributes, and Resistances, it gives you an astounding 60% Bonus Chaos Damage and 10% more Damage with Poison with the recommended rolls
+(9-13)% to Chaos Resistance
<One to three random Synthesis implicit modifiers>
+(10-20) to all Attributes
Adds (15-20) to (21-30) Chaos Damage
+(17-23)% to Chaos Resistance
<Two Random Herald of Agony modifiers>
Recommended modifiers:
(40-60)% increased Chaos Damage while affected by Herald of Agony
Herald of Agony 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
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - a Malevolence Watcher's Eye is one of the best Jewels for this build. It grants up to over 20% Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier which is hard to replace with any other Jewel
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended modifiers:
+(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage (10-15)% faster while affected by Malevolence
Thread of Hope(Jewels) Thread of Hope - this is another extremely important Jewel in this build if you plan to go Cluster Jewels. It saves you a lot of Passives to get to some of the most important notables. Make sure to get one with the "Very Large Ring" in its properties
Only affects Passives in a Very Large Ring
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
-(20-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
Passives to take:
Revenge of the Hunted  + adjacent Life
Heart of Oak
Swift Venoms
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
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - this should provide extra Life and damage bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Large Cluster Jewels - we recommend using two Large Cluster Jewels with three of the following Passives
Recommended Passives:
1 Added Passive Skill is Grim Oath
1 Added Passive Skill is Wicked Pall
1 Added Passive Skill is Unwaveringly Evil
1 Added Passive Skill is Overwhelming Malice
1 Added Passive Skill is Touch of Cruelty
1 Added Passive Skill is Unholy Grace
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Medium Cluster Jewels - we recommend using two to three of those socketed in the Large Jewel listed above
Min. requirements:
1 Added Passive Skill is Exposure Therapy
1 Added Passive Skill is Low Tolerance
1 Added Passive Skill is Brush with Death
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Small Cluster Jewels - the best way to utilize small Cluster Jewels is to make them grant a ton of extra Life for your character. Use two of these
Min. requirements:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fettle
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
Coralito's Signature(Flask) Coralito's Signature - the single-best Flask for Poison Assassin builds in PoE. It makes your DPS skyrocket while active
Your Critical Strike Chance is Lucky
Take 30 Chaos Damage per Second during Flask effect
25% chance to Poison on Hit during Flask effect
Your Critical Strikes do not deal extra Damage during Flask effect
(50-75)% increased Duration of Poisons you inflict during Flask effect
Grants Perfect Agony during Flask effect
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
Atziri's PromiseCoralito's SignatureLife FlaskQuartz FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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