Cold Snap Vortex Occultist Build Guide (PoE Expedition 3.15)

GhazzyTV

131

INTRODUCTION

This Cold DoT-oriented build is a great introduction to Chaos Inoculation builds (CI). Unlike a lot of other CI builds, this does not generate any sort of Energy Shield leeching, but instead manages defensive stats via slowing enemies down, and after ~1 second without having taken damage, it will start Energy Shield Recharge, which is, thanks to Wicked Ward, not stopped when you take damage for the next 4 seconds. Basically, you become close to immortal during that window and the damage dealt by this build is placed on the ground in the form of Vortex Vortex, making damage uptime very efficient.

Due to the super tanky approach this build promotes, it is one of the best suggestions I can give a new player that wants to practice end-game bosses, play in Hardcore, or just who just wants to play a CI build.

Below you can see the build in action from my YouTube guide. Do note that the video might be outdated in terms of information, and you should always look at this guide to make sure you have the updated version.

BUILD OVERVIEW

In this section I will outline the pros, cons, & the general playstyle. This will allow you to determine if the build is for you or not!

PROS

+ Beefy – The build is designed to have an insane amount of Energy Shield and thanks to CI you are immune to Chaos damage.

+ League Starter – There are no mandatory items to make this build work, which makes it a very solid league-starter. This is of course if you’re experienced with CI builds.

+ Bosser – Due to how tanky the build is, it allows for silly mistakes when fighting end-game bosses without being too punishing.

+ Unique Play Style – Since the damage dealt is in the form of a Damage over Time effect on the ground, the playstyle is focused on dropping your damage on the ground and then running around dodging whatever the enemy attacks are.

CONS

CI – The reason for me to put this in the Cons department is because you’ll need to be experienced with CI builds, or at least have somewhat of a clue of what you’re doing to play this type of build smoothly. This build is a great introduction for CI, but despite that I want this to be very clear to anyone reading the guide!

Ignites are Scary – Since the build focuses on unstoppable Energy Shield Recharge thanks to Wicked Ward, having DoTs on you can be devastating. This is solved by a Dousing flask to remove Ignites. Make sure you have that flask ready!

Mechanically Tricky – The build utilizes some pretty tricky mechanics to perform optimally. This guide will cover all of them, so if you’re unfamiliar with these mechanics I would strongly recommend making sure you read through the entire guide!

PLAYSTYLE

When you’re clearing maps, the idea is to drop Vortex on the ground for each enemy pack you encounter, which somewhat limits the build’s clear speed. However, when you have Vaal Cold Snap Vaal Cold Snap ready to go, you will literally be running through everything and it will just fall over. However, this is only when the Vaal skill is ready that it gets the clear speed surge.

Bosses weep at the sight of this build. You can make plenty of mistakes and still manage a fight without any major problems. Thanks to the defensive design of this build, it is therefor a perfect build to practice end-game bosses with.

DAMAGE SCALING AND DEFENSIVE LAYERS

The build abuses a variety of mechanics for both damage output as well as defensive layers. The defense is focused entirely around having a massive Energy Shield pool, and by lowering the time it takes before your Energy Shield Recharge starts you become next to immortal thanks to Wicked Ward.

When it comes to the offensive aspect of the build, it is very important to note that Vortex has an initial hit component but that we only care about scaling the Damage over Time it leaves on the ground right after. This allows us to abuse mechanics like Elemental Equilibrium in a pretty cool way, where we trigger 2 different consistently-hitting spells to proc Lightning EE rather than Cold, so whenever we cast Vortex enemies will have increased resistance to Cold, which is then immediately overwritten by the Lightning spells, making sure enemies have negative Cold resistance.

PoB, PASSIVE SKILL TREE & GEM LINKS

The PoB community fork created by Localidentity is the only version being kept up to date, so make sure you have the correct version: PoB Community Fork.

Here is the Cold Snap Vortex Occultist Low Budget PoB and for a quick glance over the finished skill tree for this version, check out this link.

Here is the Cold Snap Vortex Occultist High Budget PoB, and for a quick glance over the finished skill tree for this version, check out this link.

You can find more information this, as well as about all of the build’s gem links, on our dedicated page.

PoB, Passive Skill Tree & Gem Link Page

GEARING

A lot of the end-game gear can easily be crafted, to learn how to craft as well as learn how to craft specific items check out my crafting guides here.

You can read more details about our gearing recommendations on the dedicated page, but for now you can see a summarized version below.

Gear Page

Item Slot Item Name Rarity
Head ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Amulet ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Chest ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Gloves ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Boots ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Belt ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Rings ES then Res/Attributes as needed Rare
Weapon Spell, Elemental or Over Time Damage modifiers – Preferably with the bench crafted “Trigger socketed spell when you use a skill” Rare
Shield High Energy Shield is the name of the game here Rare

ASCENDANCY, BANDIT & PANTHEON RECOMMENDATIONS

You can read about the recommended Ascendancy, Bandit choice, and Pantheon Power recommendations for this build on our dedicated page.

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Power Page

LEVELING

The current meta of leveling through the Campaign Acts 1-10 is to simply use very specific spells. However, this guide is not designed to guide you to finish Kitava in 2 hours; it is a build guide. With that said, the following suggestions for leveling make sure you don’t have to use any Orb of Regret Orb of Regret to change your build when you reach maps. Since the build is going for CI, this does demand that you invest into Life nodes on the tree prior to being able to have enough gear to transition in to CI. Due to this fact, your gear that you find during the campaign might not be good enough, forcing you to spec into more life nodes, which can lead to the requirement of investing a couple of Orb of Regret Orb of Regret when it’s time to change.

WHEN TO TRANSITION FROM LIFE TO CI

This is the hardest topic to tackle for any CI builds. The TL;DR is that you play with Life or Life with ES as your eHP source until you have enough gear to have X Energy Shield after switching, where X is whatever amount you feel comfortable with. An example of that is that I would feel comfortable switching with around 3000 Energy Shield, around level 65-70 on this build, whereas someone who is less experienced with CI builds might want to have 4000+. There are literally no good way to “check how much ES you’d have after switching” without manually checking it. This comes with experience playing the game, so if you are new to this I will cover how you can manually check this in this section of the guide!

First, you need to make sure you focus on having gear with Life on it to handle leveling through the Acts, and prepare Energy Shield-focused gear prior to switching. You’ll want to be able to achieve around or above 4,000 Energy Shield at the moment when you transition. To verify that you have resistances capped and that you’re going to reach this number you need to do the following:

  1. You need to make sure you have Path of Building: The PoB community fork created by Localidentity is the only version being kept up to date, so make sure you have the correct version: PoB Community Fork.
  2. Once this is installed, you can go to the “Import” button at the top left and either import your character directly from there or just put the points out on the tree as you have them in-game.
  3. After this you’ll want to “CTRL + C” whilst hovering over the items you want to equip when you switch from Life to Energy Shield from in-game. Then go back to PoB and click the “Items” section in which you can then “CTRL + V”, and it will automatically paste the item from in-game in to PoB. You need to do this one by one for each item. This allows you to equip those pieces in PoB and make any required adjustments on the tree to then very smoothly see the exact Energy Shield you’ll have after doing said changes on the left hand side!

I want to stress how important it is to always make sure you triple check your resistances, Attributes & Energy Shield before applying these changes to your character in-game so you don’t end up wasting currency and/or time because you forgot any of those crucial details! Also make sure that you have the Discipline Discipline aura enabled in PoB under the “Skills” section.

BEFORE YOU ENABLE VORTEX

Vortex is not available until level 28 and I would personally not bother using it until level 38 due to Bonechill Support Bonechill Support. The skills listed below are the ones I prefer to use until I hit level 8:

Once you reach level 4 you are able to purchase Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support; this will be of great addition to your Stormblast Mines for single target. At level 8 you will be able to purchase Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support & Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support, both of which will be very solid to put together with both Stormblast Mines as well as your Frost Bomb for clearing.

Stormblast Mines

  1. Stormblast Mine Stormblast Mine
  2. Swift Assembly Support Swift Assembly Support

Either one of these or both if you have a 4-Link:

  1. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  2. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

Frost Bomb

  1. FFrost Bomb Frost Bomb
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 12, you will be able to enable Storm Brand Storm Brand and later on you will be able to purchase Brand Recall Brand Recall, which will be very helpful as you are leveling through the early acts. Do note that you get some re-spec points from just doing the mandatory quests through the acts; with this in mind you can deviate slightly from the leveling trees and pick up some extra spell/elemental or Lightning damage early on to do more damage if you feel safe enough. The Brand Recall can be in any blue socket in your gear without any links.

Storm Brand

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

In Act 2, you can pick up some better support gems for your damage output such as:

Storm Brand

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

Either one of these or both if you have a 4-Link:

  1. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  2. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

Since the decision is to use the skills all the way to level 38, we would want to run some Herald skills available to use during Act 2 after Chamber of Sins (level 16):

  1. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice
  2. Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder

In Act 3, we get to pick up some juicier Auras. We either keep our Heralds or switch to Wrath Wrath. I prefer to keep the Heralds personally.

Once you reach level 38, you want to use 2 very specific skills and change your Aura(s) for Malevolence Malevolence as your damage focus is at this point in doing Damage over Time rather than your direct hits:

Cold Snap

  1. Cold Snap Cold Snap
  2. Bonechill Support Bonechill Support
  3. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
  4. Efficacy Support Efficacy Support

Vortex + Creeping Frost

  1. Vortex Vortex
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
  4. Creeping Frost Creeping Frost

If you’re wearing a Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa or simply don’t have the correct color set-up, these are the remaining support gems we want to use:

  1. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  2. SSwift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support

For more general leveling advice, we recommend the following guides.

QUESTIONS?

To guarantee that my guides are tools you can utilize to enhance your experience in Path of Exile, all you need to do is post your question in the comments and I will personally attend to them as soon as possible.

FINAL NOTES

As much as I love making build guides, it is very crucial in a game like Path of Exile that you play the game the way you enjoy playing it. With that said, if you’ve made any tweaks to the build compared to what I’m showing in this guide I would love if you’d posted it in the comments! It’s an effective way to show other approaches and it helps me grow as a build guide creator!

I hope you found the build guide useful and I wish you all many Exalted Orb Exalted Orb drops!

Changelog

  • Build was checked and updated for 3.14 Ultimatum (no major changes needed).

  • Build added.

8
  1. Posts
    2

    Hello, it’s kind of awkward and somewhat a shame for me to say, but I play PoE since Beta, but never had the time, or a good PC to play above 10fps, always tryharded as I could, but never managed to find my way to the real endgame (Never went past t11, t12 or so, never reached even lvl 90 or even dropped an Exalted orb, if I remember correctly) and now I managed to have some time and some sort of a non-optimal-but-playable-PC, and am really bored of those Cyclone/Block/Tornado/~meta~builds that I never manage to really gear up and end up leveling another char just to abandon it by being bored or disapointed by my noobiness. I do understand almost all game mechanics related to the Tree or Unique interactions, but i’m really not able to do my way from leveling to farming. I cant find a reliable source of farm once I hit maps, ending with no currency and not even able to sustain my map pool.

    I may be somewhat outdated on bosses mechanics – I hear you guys talking about some endgame bosses, but when I last really put some effort on the game, Act IV Malachai Merciless was something and as I can remember, U Atziri was the top-edge boss in the game, along with Izaro. Then Atlas came and I dropped the game because my PC was a pieceo’sh… and couldn’t run PoE.

    Now I’m back and willing to try out the game, leveled some chars the last couple weeks, am still out of currency but got myself some Tabulas and kind of 20~30 chaos to buy some cheap map-starting gear. I always wanted to try some CI builds because I’ve seen it shining for quite some time on streamers/tubers of PoE but never had the courage to try or the currency to even start these without getting frustrated. I feel with this guide I may be able to finally achieve some stuff and become a better player. Thank you, that was an amazing guide, top-notch one of the best I’ve ever read. Well designed, well explained, good leveling tips and the in-depth sections about the gameplay mechanics and build interations are so minuscious that I’m gonna feel stupid if I can’t make it work.

    Sorry for any typos. English is not my main language.

  2. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    @DAVINCI:

    Thank you for taking the time to post this reply, I’m just glad people are finding my guides useful!

    If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to post, I do my best in keeping up with responding to each and everyone :)

  3. Posts
    2

    Hello, it’s me again. Right after the day I commented here, I had to make a unexpected worktrip, so I just got home today. I’m leveling it right now, but using Icicle Mines instead of these lightning mines. The Frost bomb link remains, but I added a 3L Holy Flame Totem/Combustion/Summon Phantasm. That way, I can drop my totem and Frost Bomb in packs and just walk away in safety and faster area-moving. It’s going smooth until now. Almost Act IV already in under 1 hour, with no struggles in bosses so far. Icicle Mines helps to oneshot almost everyone of them if I prepare my ground pre-fight. Can’t wait to reach 38 and start using Vortex.

    Anyway, just wanted to let this idea to others who might want to try this build as I am doing.

    Now, I am unsure about where to go first in the tree while leveling… I’m using the PoB Bugdet tree. Started right path, going to the far right Cold DoT little wheel, also got those life nodes right out of witch start, aswell as these area nodes.

    I may have missed the part where you indicate where to go first, or that’s up to me to decide where to go first, balancing defense vs dmg?

  4. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    Ultimately up to you where you want to go. For the most part you have to decide to focus on offensive or defensive nodes which is all based how good your gear you’re wearing is. In SC for example I focus a lot more on offensive nodes whilst in HC I want certain thresholds met in terms of eHP & resistances based of where I am in the campaign before I focus on offensive nodes.

    Since this fluctuates so heavily due to what the persons gear look like the lvling trees in the guide are very generic and should work no matter what type of gear the person is wearing.

  5. Posts
    6

    Hello. Will this build be updated for 3.13? I would like to start a new league on it. Thanks.

  6. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    @Erifis:

    Absolutely, I’ll be updating all my guides live on stream right after patch notes arrive!

  7. Posts
    2

    this looks like alot of fun for the next league but i’m new. should i try this next league?

  8. Posts
    2

    Ran this build as a league starter in Heist, and it was so strong I kept it all the way through endgame. This was also my first real attempt at CI. I ended up running Vaal Disc in an unset ring and used the socket it freed up for a Divergent Void Sphere. Void Sphere let me vacuum things into my Vortexes, and control the area to a ridiculous degree. Used the Divergent version for full conversion, allowing me to ignore physical reflect in high tier maps (where I started to notice it on large packs). If you can manage to get your hands on an Anomalous Second Wind Support (was a little pricey), you gain a 5th charge for Flame Dash and Void Sphere gets 3 uses. You do have to make sure you don’t get a corrupted Second Wind under 20% quality as it only gains the extra charge at 20%, so anything less makes it worse than a normal 20/20 Second Wind because of the longer CDR. None of this is needed at all, but was a pretty fun QoL change once I implemented it. Build was a blast!

  9. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    @Noblehippo:

    Keep in mind that this is a CI build which in general is not new player friendly, however, I’ve made this guide to specifically be an introduction to CI for new players. So if you feel up for the task to learn that transition this build is absolutely great!

    @Kaorasu:

    Awesome to hear and nice little touch with the Second Wind / Void Sphere approach! :)

    3.13 Update Video: https://youtu.be/FJA2uoOUV_8

  10. Posts
    1

    Hello Ghazzy, great build but those pob links are not updated for 3.13 (i have pob fork) it says please convert tree to 3.13.

    I dont want that pob to breakdown because of the convertion. Any updated POB anywhere?

    Thanks boss

  11. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    @Nasty Mack:

    For now you just click the “convert” button, PoB is updated but not fully updated so I will have to wait for the full update before fine-tuning every single PoB of all guide threads to remove that button :)

  12. Posts
    6

    Hello. Thanks for updating this build. Question: which map mods should i avoid? Elemental Reflect and No Regeneration or No Regeneration is doable? Thanks.

  13. Posts
    2

    @Erifis Ele Reflect is slower clear but doable as long as you watch the initial hit from Vortex (which will be higher this league thanks to the change to Frigid Wake). Once enemies wander into the Vortex, you’re fine though. The initial hit isn’t even too bad as long as you watch the amount of enemies you directly drop it on.

  14. Posts
    6

    On 14/01/2021 at 4:24 PM, kaorasu said

    @Erifis Ele Reflect is slower clear but doable as long as you watch the initial hit from Vortex (which will be higher this league thanks to the change to Frigid Wake). Once enemies wander into the Vortex, you’re fine though. The initial hit isn’t even too bad as long as you watch the amount of enemies you directly drop it on.

    Hello. Ok. Thanks for reply.

  15. GhazzyTV

    Moderator

    Posts
    448

    Small note on that, no regen is okeyish if you bring a mana flask but it’s god awful annoying to run.

    Ele reflect is the same, if you hit “too many” enemies at the same time you one shot yourself and you have to put the vortex down then kite enemies in to the dot ground to kill them which is, again, god awful annoying to run.

    Not impossible though!

  16. Posts
    6

    On 14/01/2021 at 6:17 PM, GhazzyTV said

    Small note on that, no regen is okeyish if you bring a mana flask but it’s god awful annoying to run.

    Ele reflect is the same, if you hit “too many” enemies at the same time you one shot yourself and you have to put the vortex down then kite enemies in to the dot ground to kill them which is, again, god awful annoying to run.

    Not impossible though!

    Hello. Got it. Thank you for your reply. I wish you more rest. You look tired in the last videos.

  17. Posts
    1

    On 14/01/2021 at 7:12 PM, Erifis said

    On 14/01/2021 at 6:17 PM, GhazzyTV
    a

    Small note on that, no regen is okeyish if you bring a mana flask but it’s god awful annoying to run.

    Ele reflect is the same, if you hit “too many” enemies at the same time you one shot yourself and you have to put the vortex down then kite enemies in to the dot ground to kill them which is, again, god awful annoying to run.

    Not impossible though!

    Hello. Got it. Thank you for your reply. I wish you more rest. You look tired in the last videos.

    Im practicing it right now,as im a very lazy person,ive put the vortex on left click and just run a clarity instead of faster casting on flame dash(i think il keep it that way to keep my lazy play style) so no regen maps i think get countered like that pretty ok ,and sybils can counter ele reflect i guess if you got a some really op gear and can slot it for a map/boss.

  18. Posts
    6

    On 15/01/2021 at 7:36 AM, Nayfear said

    On 14/01/2021 at 7:12 PM, Erifis

    On 14/01/2021 at 6:17 PM, GhazzyTV
    a

    Small note on that, no regen is okeyish if you bring a mana flask but it’s god awful annoying to run.

    Ele reflect is the same, if you hit “too many” enemies at the same time you one shot yourself and you have to put the vortex down then kite enemies in to the dot ground to kill them which is, again, god awful annoying to run.

    Not impossible though!

    Hello. Got it. Thank you for your reply. I wish you more rest. You look tired in the last videos.

    Im practicing it right now,as im a very lazy person,ive put the vortex on left click and just run a clarity instead of faster casting on flame dash(i think il keep it that way to keep my lazy play style) so no regen maps i think get countered like that pretty ok ,and sybils can counter ele reflect i guess if you got a some really op gear and can slot it for a map/boss.

    Hello. Thank you for reply. I got a point on this thing. I really appreciate what i got so many (for me) answers on my newbie question. So thank you and good luck in new league!

  19. Posts
    3

    Am I’m blind or are there no leveling trees?

Please log in to reply.