That actually helped me quite a bit. I tried my luck again with the vortex and figured out a few things in the process.
Bowl: fluffily packed, below the rim as always.
The best hole pattern for the foil is around the rim, two circles of about 12~14 holes one inside of the other. No holes anywhere near the center. Two to three coals depending on the shisha you're using.
The vortex needs a lot
of heat to start up. A windcover is almost essential if you're not using nats. Once the bowl is at the right heat, it conserves its heat rather well throughout the session. I got great smoke with Nakhla two apples and it never got harsh using QLs (I know, sue me). I can't imagine the results with CH coals or exoticas.
Once I'm done experimenting, I'll write a noob's guide for the vortex