Cyclone is one of the “Pillars” of Path of Exile. This skill was introduced in 0.10.3 “Open beta version”, and till our days keeps the position of one of the most popular and strongest melee abilities. If you are just a beginner in PoE, or already an experienced player – Cyclone will be a great choice. It’s also one of the most versatile skills. You can not only do damage with it directly but use it to trigger some other abilities during its channeling or when you deal a critical strike. In this guide we will take a look at some classic PoE Cyclone builds, from the beginning and till the endgame.
Pros and Cons
Before we start, let’s take a quick look at some strong and weak points of Cyclone:
- Easy to learn – simple and sometimes even meditative gameplay.
- Almost indefinite damage scaling – with enough amount of currency you can do crazy things.
- Great Boss killer as well as mapper.
- Good or even perfect survivability depends on Ascendance.
- Since Cyclone is a channeling skill, you get full control of your character, which means it’s easy to dodge boss mechanics and dangerous abilities while still doing damage to enemies.
- If you are looking for complex gameplay – Cyclone is not the best choice.
- Can be extremely expensive in high-end versions, so be ready to spend a lot of currency.
As you can see, the hardest thing about any Cyclone build is how to get enough currency for the high-end version. Like many other builds, starter gear won’t be expensive (exception league start), but because of Cyclone being “meta”, some important pieces of top gear may cost a lot. So, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time grinding and collecting currency, you can just get some, using services on our website.
Playstyle and Mechanics
Any Cyclone build in PoE has similar gameplay – you hold your “Cyclone” button and your character will move toward the cursor. If you put the cursor close to your character, he will move slowly and if you put it on your character – he will simply spin around in place. So gameplay looks pretty simple – you navigate your character through your enemies and during boss fights you can just spin in one place.
Scaling Cyclone damage is pretty simple in terms of mechanics. Here is the list of what stats to aim:
- Flat Physical Damage
- Critical strike chance
- Critical strike Multiplier
- Attack speed
Area of Effect is your secondary important stat and it’s more about quality of life, as well as movement speed. Since Cyclone makes you move 30% slower while channeling, for comfortable gameplay you should have boots with at least 25-30% movement speed. And in the endgame version, you need boots with Tailwind and Elusive mods.
Example of endgame boots
Cyclone build variations
There are a lot of various cyclone builds. You can use almost every Ascendency in Path of Exile and make Cyclone work and do it well. For example, you can make Chieftain and rely on fire damage and totems which will buff you and assist in combat. Or you can make Raider with Full elemental conversion and rely on Dodge, Evasion, and Movement Speed. But the true King of Cyclone in PoE is Duelist and all of his three Ascendancies.
Gladiator is the most tanky version and probably the best choice if you want to play Cyclone build on hardcore. This ascendancy allows you to reach a huge amount of Block and Spell Block with little investment, which makes you quite tanky at the beginning and almost immortal in high-end gear. Also, Gladiator is the best choice if you want to go for bleed damage over time.
Champion is somewhere between pure DPS and pure Survivability. As Champion, you still can reach a decent amount of Block chance, but there will be some problems with getting Spell Block. So to survive you will rely on damage reduction from Fortify and life regeneration.
Some people will say that Slayer was made for Cyclone and Cyclone was made for Slayer. As a Slayer, you usually don’t have Block or Spell Block at all. But at the same time, you have a unique mechanic called “overleech” which means that you keep regenerating life from life leech even when you reach a full life. That means if you get hit while overleech is active, you will instantly regenerate missing health even if you don’t attack enemies.
So what Ascendancy to choose? There is no ultimate choice but for many people, Slayer is the only “True King”. At the same time this Ascendancy has the most potential in terms of DPS scaling, so let’s take a look at Cyclone Slayer build.
In this guide, we will take a look at two variants of the passive skill tree. First variant is the basic one – without cluster jewels. It will be good for league start or if you don’t have enough currency for a good high-end version of the build. And second is the complete version, with cluster jewels and a high character level. Also, here is a link for Path of building, so you can look at both trees and BiS gear for your character: PoB
Basic skill tree:
Basic skill tree example
For the basic version, our priority is Damage with two-handed weapons, maximum life, Critical strike chance, Critical strike Multiplier. Also, be sure that you have at least 95% Hit chance. Fortify effect is a good choice for defense when attack speed and impale effect are our secondary good stats for the damage scaling.
For the starter version, our first Ascendancy point will be “Brutal Fervour”. It will give you more survivability and make your gameplay more comfortable.
Our second talent will be “Overwhelm”. It will give you an insane amount of damage because our starter weapon usually doesn’t have enough critical strike chance.
“Impact” is our third Ascendancy talent, which will solve our Accuracy issues as well as give us a lot of Area of Effect.
And the last talent will be “Endless hunger”. This talent gives us one of the most important things for every Cyclone build – stun immunity.
High-end Skill tree:
Endgame skill tree example
As you can see, there is a little difference between basic and endgame versions. We just drop some axe, two-handed, and impale nodes and change them for cluster jewels.
You will need two Large cluster jewels and four medium. The large ones should be for Axe and Sword attacks and the medium are for Channeling skills. On large clusters you should have “Feed the Fury”, “Martial Prowess”, and “Fuel the Fight” talents. Medium ones should have “Rapid Infusion” and “Precise Focus”
Large Cluster Jewel
Medium Cluster Jewel
The main difference between basic and high-end versions is “Headsman” talent instead of “Overwhelm”. While “Overwhelm” is really strong at the beginning, with cheap weapons or unique ones without increased critical strike chance modes, it becomes weaker when you get a really good endgame weapon.
So, what should we choose for our Slayer? You can build your character with two one-handed swords – rare Jewelled foils or unique Paradoxica. Or you can take Starforge and in high-end setup swap it to a crafted rare Exquisite blade. In this guide we are using two-handed axes.
You can start with any good rare axe with good physical DPS or take Atziri’s Disfavour. When you get enough currency you should swap it to a good two-handed axe with a lot of Physical damage, Critical strike chance, Attack speed, and extra Quality.
Our starter weapon Endgame crafted axe
In the beginning, all you need from armor is “Maximum life” and “Elemental resistances”. Your endgame helmet will be Abyssus, so you will need more elemental resistances from other sources. The best option is to use Two-toned boots with good resists and an Astral plate because of its implicit. Best gloves for us are rare Spiked gloves with Flat Physical damage, Attack speed, Life and Accuracy. But in the beginning, you can just use something cheaper with life and elemental resistances. Our endgame chest must have a lot of different mods, and the more of them it has the more it will cost, so be ready to spend some money. It must have “+% to Attacks Critical strike chance” and “Socketed attacks have -# to total mana cost”. Second mod makes Cyclone cost no mana, so we can reserve all of it for our auras. Also “you can apply an additional curse” mod allows us to use a “mark ring” which increases our Critical Strike Chance. Also on the Luxury chest, we want to have stun avoidance. It allows us to swap “Endless Hunger” to “Bane of Legends” in our Ascendancy.
Endgame Amour examples
In our build we need two rare steel rings with a lot of Flat Physical damage and Life. Critical strike Multiplier is a great stat too as well as elemental resistances. And in the High-end version, one of your rings must have “Curse enemy with Vulnerability on hit” and the second one with “Assassin’s mark”. You can start with life + elemental resistance rings, but at the endgame, you should get some with curses and stats described above.
Our amulet also should have Flat Physical damage and Critical strike Multiplier. Other stats can be Area damage or resistances you lack. For late game “Feller of foes” is a great anointment. It gives us a lot of Crit Multi and Accuracy and isn’t so expensive as well.
And, finally, our endgame belt – Ryslatha’s coil. It’s a really strong item for any Physical attack build and there are no exceptions.
Endgame Jewelry examples
We need only 2 unique flasks – Lion’s Roar and Bottled Faith. The second one is pretty expensive and you can start without it, but it’s extremely powerful, so I recommend you to get it as soon as possible. Our other three flasks are Life, Quicksilver, and Diamond. Life flask should have “remove bleeding” and “instant recovery”, when the other two curse and freeze immunity.
Our unique flasks
Our main and the only DPS link is Cyclone. The best supports for it will be – Brutality/Awakened Brutality + Infused Channeling + Impale + Fortify + Melee Physical damage/Awakened Melee Physical damage.
Second 6-link will be used for our auras. We will need Pride, Precision, Dread banner, Flesh, and stone + Maim and Enlighten. We have to link Flesh and stone with Maim, because this aura maims enemies around your character by default (while in blood stance), and the Maim support gem increases the damage that takes enemies, maimed by supported skill.
For movement we will use Dash + Second Wind. Dash is a really good and comfortable movement skill and, with “Second wind”, it gets extra charge and cooldown recovery speed.
Our defensive link is – Cast when damage taken + Immortal call + Increased duration. The main thing about this link is that you want maximum uptime of immortal call on your character. But when you level up your Cast when damage taken support (cwdt), the amount of damage you have to take to trigger the linked skill gem is increasing. That means you don’t want to level up “cwdt” gem, to trigger immortal call more often. And that means you can’t level up your immortal call higher than lvl 3, because your cwdt can only trigger gems required level 38 or lower. So we need lvl 1 “Cast when damage taken”, lvl 3 “Immortal call” and lvl 20 “Increased duration”.
For bosses, we can use the Ancestral warchief totem to buff our character as well as doing some extra damage with the totem itself. The link will look like Ancestral Warchief + Multiple Totems support + Culling strike + Faster attacks support.
As you can see there are few sockets left. One of them we will use for Blood rage. It will give us attack speed and frenzy charges. And the other two we can use for Portal + Faster casting support, so we don’t need portal scrolls at all.
Pantheon, Bandits, leveling tips
Our build is crit based, so we definitely need Critical strike Multiplier. That means that Alira is the best bandit for us. In Pantheon, we will take Soul of Lunaris because of its movement speed boost and good defensive attributes. Soul of Shakari is a pretty good minor god because we don’t have a lot of chaos resistance and sometimes poison damage and Caustic ground can be painful for us.
For leveling, you will need any high dps unique or rare weapon, Goldrim helmet, Tabula Rasa, and any rings with resistances and/or physical damage. Here is some examples:
Some good leveling gear