Frostbolt & Glacial Cascade Totems Hierophant Build Guide (PoE Metamorph 3.9)

Vvckd

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Guide Format

This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:

Introduction

Totem builds are very good when it comes to focusing on survivability since they let you be very mobile while the fight is happening. They also solve issues like reflect, with which you might struggle when self casting spells. We are looking at Frostbolt Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade spell totems. We chose these skills because they have very high base damage, Frostbolt has great clearspeed, while Glacial Cascade excels at single target damage. The build can be played as Life-based with Mind over Matter, or even Low Life with the Mind over Matter variant. The Life-based version of the build is great for league starter or if you have little currency to invest into the build, while the Low Life variant requires more expensive items. Hierophant fits perfectly into the equation here, since it provides a lot of totem perks, along with additional mana modifiers.

Build Summary

Overall the build is very cheap to start and does not requires specific uniques to make it work, except for the threshold jewels. The build mainly focuses on critical chance and multiplier, spell damage, mana and life modifiers, or mana and energy shield if you decide to go Low Life. What will allow you to start playing the build is having at least one Frozen Trail Frozen Trail socketed, and Ancestral Bond on the passive skill tree. For Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade you should purchase two The Long Winter The Long Winter, this can wait until you start doing maps.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Cheap to start
+ Feels safe to play
+ Very good clear speed

Cons

- Have to swap skills and jewels depending on type of content
- Totem builds might not appeal to some players

Playstyle

Offensively, place down two totems per screen of monsters and move on, totems will do the work. You would want to drop down an Orb of Storms Orb of Storms in order to trigger Power Charge On Critical Support Power Charge On Critical Support setup to generate power charges. Four link Flame Dash Flame Dash allows you to have Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support at all times.

Defensively, the build feels safe to play due to the nature of the skill. It is a cold-based skill so everything hit by totems is either frozen or chilled. Staying a screen away from foes is completely realistic. Great mana pool with a more powerful version of Mind over Matter adds a lot of effective life pool to the build.

For Playstyle, your job is to make sure your totems are always up. Stay behind them and let them do the work. In the free time you have while fighting tougher foes use your utility Orb of Storms Orb of Storms setup to generate Power Charges. Utilizing Shield Charge and Flame Dash will prove to be more efficient for movement than just running around.

Passive Tree

The Life variant is playable without any big investments.

For the Low Life variant you will need some currency.

For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Soul Mantle Soul Mantle
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Rare Boots
Belt Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise
Rings 2x Kikazaru Kikazaru
Weapon Rare Rune Dagger
Shield Rare Shield

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

You can start leveling as a totem build as soon as you have Ancestral Bond and proper gem links (preferably 4-link). Even without leveling unique items, the build is pretty easy and straightforward to level and you should not have any issues. You can level with both Frostbolt Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade, depending on personal preference and threshold jewels acquired.

Leveling Tree

This is what your passive skill tree should look like around level 60.

Useful Leveling Uniques

As you begin a new character there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Lifesprig Lifesprig will help early on if you socket your spell into it.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.

In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.

From level 1, you should use the following link.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 10, you are able to add Flame Dash Flame Dash, which will help with your mobility.

By level 18 your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse link should look like this:

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  5. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  6. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

At level 28, you can finally start using totems. While leveling, you should prioritize Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade, because it is superior to Frostbolt Frostbolt, which might lack in single target damage at this time.

  1. Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

At level 38, your totem gem setup should look like this.

  1. Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
  5. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

FAQ

Why Frostbolt Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade instead of Arc Arc when it just looks stronger?

Arc remains one of the strongest spell gems at the moment. This means it might get nerfed soon. This tends to be the case with many overpowered skills like Kinetic Blast Kinetic Blast, Flameblast Flameblast‘s burn etc. You can choose to play Arc totems since it is viable at the moment for sure, it is very similar to this build guide when it comes to gear and gem setup. In the end the Frostbolt clear speed is great and the Glacial Cascade blows Arc’s single target off the water for sure.

Why would I choose to play a totem build instead of self-cast?

The totem builds have few perks that make them very useful. First, you are less likely to run into mana problems. Second, reflect is not an issue. Last but not least, is it way easier to stay away and place totems to do the work for you instead of staying close to targets, in that sense it is safer than a self-caster.

Conclusion

If you like totems in general I think this guide provides majority of what you need to know about spell based totem builds. It also explains a cheap and easy way to start a totem build along with a more expensive version of it. In the build you can see a big variety when it comes to play style in the sense that you can swap few items and gems in order to improve the single target immensely or just keep using Frostbolt Frostbolt for optimal clear speed.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Metamorph 3.9. The build still plays as before and is just as solid.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build received a great buff via the changes to Hierophant.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Legion 3.7. Improved Gem and Gearing sections along with replacing old passive skill trees.

  •   

    Improved Gem and Gearing sections.

  •   

    Updated passive trees.

  •   

    Revisited and updated for Synthesis 3.6.

  •   

    Made the playstyle section more descriptive, and improved the gearing section by providing more detailed recommendations.

  •   

    Reworked Gem Link and Gem Progression sections for improved visibility.

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  1. Posts
    2

    I didn’t find Glacial Cascade to be worth it for single target damage. I was able to clear most content with just frostbolt. I also feel this build lacked a lot of suitability. It didn’t have a solid defensive gem set up. I added a, Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 9), Immortal Call (lvl 11), Lightning Golem (lvl 11) into an item and linked Clarity because I didn’t have anywhere else to put it.

    I also swapped out faster casting with cold penetration support and that made a massive difference.

    Not sure this is really an ‘original’ build. Very similar to Lifting Nerd Bro’s build. https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1931084

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    955

    Hey Thoddiver, nice additions you have made there. Most build guides are indeed “guides” and leave a lot of room for improvisation based on personal preference, thank you for sharing your way of doing things, it sounds interesting. The build guide is completely written by me so I would say I crafted this one, although when it comes to making a build guides there can always be similarities when people go for the same skill/ascendancy.

  3. Posts
    3

    On boots, kaoms heart is suggested.

  4. Vvckd

    Moderator

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    955

    On 23/05/2019 at 3:28 PM, Sral94 said

    On boots, kaoms heart is suggested.

    Thank you kind sir, will fix that shortly.

  5. Posts
    3

    Hi Vvckd, I’ve been following this build since the start of the league and thank you very much for posting it, I’m still very much new to the game and every day I learn something new that’s why I wanted to ask you something if you dont mind so bear with me please. As you know LiftingNerdBro as a similiar build for frostbolt totem, which I didnt test because I opted for your’s but I was wondering if you when making this build had tested in path of building his build and see the stat difference. I’m mainly saying this because I still can’t compare that well items with slightly different modifiers and I don’t know if dagger (critic chance+spell power) n shield is stronger than Taryn’s Shiver Maelstorm Staff. His build seemed a bit bulkier and yours a bit more glass canon but again Im not that good comparing so if you could tell me your opinion as a experiend veteran player I would be very thankful. Second question is a bit different with the add of oils in the current league do you think its better to change soul mantle + kikazaru rings for 2 rare rings in order to do blights maps? havent reached that state of the game yet so I dont know how strong the waves are but from what I’ve heard its not that easy. In the same subject you can put a passive skill on your amulet with the oils mechanic which one should I put? What do you think?
    Omg I started writing so enthusiastically that I wrote so much I’m so sorry and if you read all of this “you are my hero”.

  6. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    955

    On 19/09/2019 at 9:44 AM, XpeKtRuM said

    Hi Vvckd, I’ve been following this build since the start of the league and thank you very much for posting it, I’m still very much new to the game and every day I learn something new that’s why I wanted to ask you something if you dont mind so bear with me please. As you know LiftingNerdBro as a similiar build for frostbolt totem, which I didnt test because I opted for your’s but I was wondering if you when making this build had tested in path of building his build and see the stat difference. I’m mainly saying this because I still can’t compare that well items with slightly different modifiers and I don’t know if dagger (critic chance+spell power) n shield is stronger than Taryn’s Shiver Maelstorm Staff. His build seemed a bit bulkier and yours a bit more glass canon but again Im not that good comparing so if you could tell me your opinion as a experiend veteran player I would be very thankful. Second question is a bit different with the add of oils in the current league do you think its better to change soul mantle + kikazaru rings for 2 rare rings in order to do blights maps? havent reached that state of the game yet so I dont know how strong the waves are but from what I’ve heard its not that easy. In the same subject you can put a passive skill on your amulet with the oils mechanic which one should I put? What do you think?
    Omg I started writing so enthusiastically that I wrote so much I’m so sorry and if you read all of this “you are my hero”.

    Hey, first of all thanks for the kind feedback. I have checked many of LiftingNerdBro’s stuff and I can agree he is a great content creator. I do not remember checking his build specifically, but what I wanted to create is super budget-friendly spell totem build that is hardcore viable. There are many things you can do in order to improve your endgame potential drastically if you want to heavily invest into gear. For example, you can go Low-Life for the 30% overall damage increase; this will require you to acquire a lot of specific gear though, which might be expensive. Taryn's Shiver Taryn's Shiver is a good choice for the build and you can use it if you want. The Soul Mantle Soul Mantle and two Kikazaru Kikazaru rings is another example of a “free” damage we take advantage of, which is mainly done to stay as budget-friendly as possible as I mentioned previously. I mainly focus on writing budget-friendly and effective build guides which allow people to farm up some currency and get a better understanding of the game’s mechanics. When it comes to the annointment system I’d recommend putting on whatever you have the oils for (Spell damage, Critical Chance/Damage with Spells etc., mainly focus on damage increases)

  7. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    955

    On 20/09/2019 at 8:10 AM, XpeKtRuM said

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and reply. I can say that Soul Mantle Soul Mantle and the Kikazaru Kikazaru rings give you a good understanding of the curses system and makes you acquire a specific game style which I like. I can say indeed that in the start I wasnt doing that much dmg but with only a 5 link and jewels the dmg output is amazing for such a cheap build I can really see that comparing with the MF ranger I’m doing. I’m gonna keep with the dagger shield combo since I think anointing the amulet with Backstabbing can really enhance the frostbolt in what it does best. Again I thank you for helping me with the comment and the guide itself!

    Good luck and stay safe exile!

    Edited by Vvckd on September 20th, 2019

  8. Posts
    9

    Is there any reason i shouldn’t be using winter orb in my totems if i follow this build?

  9. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    955

    On 18/12/2019 at 9:45 PM, boogeiyman said

    Is there any reason i shouldn’t be using winter orb in my totems if i follow this build?

    Hey, Winter Orb Winter Orb is a channelling skill and honestly I have never tried it on Totems. Try it out and see if you like it.

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