Frostbolt/Glacial Cascade Totems Hierophant Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

7


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.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Templar – Hierophant)

  1. Pursuit of Faith
  2. Ritual of Awakening
  3. Divine Guidance
  4. Sanctuary of Thought

Pursuit of Faith brings 1 additional maximum totem, improving single target damage further, along with a lot of quality of life in the form of cast speed, damage and totem duration. Ritual of Awakening allows the build to place two totems per cast. The totem placement speed makes the build feel very smooth and fast. Divine Guidance improves Mind over Matter by additional 10% of damage taken as mana before life. It also provides 150 flat mana, which modified by passive tree and items can translate into more than 500 maximum mana. Sanctuary of Thought reduces mana costs substantially while also provides great amount of energy shield to the build. This is very strong when it comes to Low Life. If you choose the Life-based variant of the build you can also consider Conviction of Power for additional damage.

Passive Tree

The Life variant is playable without any big investments.

For the Low Life variant you will need some currency.

On the passive skill tree we mainly focus on Life/Energy Shield and Spell Damage, Spell Critical Multipliers and Totem nodes.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira. The critical multiplier and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: The Brine King helps deal to with stun locks. Soul of Lunaris can help you deal with chaining projectiles. Other god powers are useful too, no specific pantheon is irreplaceable and every one can be used based on personal preference and content you are aiming to clear.

Minor: Soul of Shakari’s poison immunity is very useful. When playing Low Life, Abberath brings quality of life. Other gods can be considered based on specific situations.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you’ve killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Depending on the type of content and your goals, you can choose between Frostbolt Frostbolt for clearing, or Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade for single target encounters. For mobility, use Flame Dash Flame Dash, this is also a reliable source of Arcane Surge procs. Orb of Storms Orb of Storms helps with Power charge generation. If you feel like you could use some more mobility and not only rely on Flame Dash’s charges, you can also use Shield Charge Shield Charge.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Frostbolt and Glacial Cascade (6-Link)

Both skills are exceptional at what they do, swapping gems between types of content is fairly easy. In general use Frostbolt Frostbolt, if you feel you are lacking single target damage put in Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade instead.

For clearing, we recommend the following link.

  1. Frostbolt Frostbolt
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
  5. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

For single target, we recommend the following link.

  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. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

Flame Dash (4-Link)

Use Flame Dash Flame Dash in order to jump over edges and save time. Keep Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support low level to trigger it with every Flame Dash cast.

  1. Flame Dash Flame Dash
  2. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  3. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Orb of Storms (4-Link)

The Power charge generation via this gem setup is very useful, especially in a spell-based builds like this one. Put down an Orb of Storms Orb of Storms down whenever you feel safe in order to gain the charges.

  1. Orb of Storms Orb of Storms
  2. Power Charge On Critical Support Power Charge On Critical Support
  3. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Shield Charge (3-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge is simply used for the additional mobility it provides.

  1. Shield Charge Shield Charge
  2. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support
  3. Fortify Support Fortify Support

Other Gems

For low-life, you should run Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline linked with Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support in order to reserve a portion of your life. High level Clarity Clarity is recommended, although you can drop it if you use Clear Mind Clear Mind. Steelskin Steelskin helps defensively by providing Life buffer for a short duration.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. Besides the skill-specific jewels, you should look for gear with life/energy shield and spell damage and critical strikes modifiers. When playing low-life you should have some way of preventing stun-locks, this is where Eye of Chayula Eye of Chayula comes in handy. You should also have a way to prevent chaos damage bypassing your energy shield, Solaris Lorica Solaris LoricaShavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings and Coruscating Elixir Coruscating Elixir will do the work.

Helmet

A rare helmet is best in slot. For Frostbolt Frostbolt look for cast speed or damage enchant. For Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade look for any of them, they are all good.

Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)
  3. # to Maximum mana
  4. # to Dexterity / Strength

Low Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy shield (at least 250)
  3. # to Maximum mana
  4. Chaos resistance
  5. # to Dexterity / Strength

Body Armour

When it comes to body armours we have few choices. For Low Life we definitely need Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings or Solaris Lorica Solaris Lorica. The Life-based version can utilize Soul Mantle Soul Mantle very well, practically allowing you to run a 7-link totem. Then you can also add Cold Penetration Support Cold Penetration Support to your setup. To counter the strong curses applied on you every single time a totem dies you have to use two Kikazaru Kikazaru rings, which will reduce curse effectiveness on you by 80%. Use rare body armour with life and resists until you can afford these. Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa is also a great choice early on.

Gloves

A rare pair of gloves is best in slot for both Life and Low-Life variants.

Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 60)
  3. # to Maximum mana
  4. # to Dexterity / Strength

Low Life based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Energy Shield (at least 100)
  3. # to Maximum mana
  4. # to Dexterity / Strength

Boots

For the Life-based version you can choose Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots. It provides stun immunity and a lot of flat health.

For Low-Life, Skyforth Skyforth is definitely the best choice; it will deal with the stun problems which lets you drop Eye of Chayula Eye of Chayula. Skyforth Skyforth can be very expensive though. Instead of them you can use Steppan Eard Steppan Eard. The best boot enchant from the labyrinth is “Damage Penetrates 10% of Elemental Resistances if you haven’t killed recently”, which is active at all times since you never kill; your totems do. For a rare pair of boots, use any that have life/energy shield, elemental resistances and movement speed.

Belt

A well rolled rare belt is best in slot. You can use Stygian Vise Stygian Vise for an additional abyssal socket, which might be the most beneficial choice. Consider Leather Belt Leather Belt and Crystal Belt Crystal Belt for additional survivability.

Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 80)

Low Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum energy shield
  3. % increased Energy Shield from Body Armour (Dense Fossil)

Amulet

When it comes to the Life variant of the build, a rare amulet is best in slot. For Low Life you will probably have to play with Eye of Chayula Eye of Chayula or Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula for the stun immunity, or you can just deal with stun in another way, like Skyforth Skyforth, Valyrium Valyrium or Soul of the Brine King.

Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (at least 50)
  3. Gain % of physical damage as extra elemental/chaos damage (only for Glacial Cascade)
  4. # to Maximum mana
  5. # to Dexterity / Strength

Low Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. % increased Energy shield
  3. Gain % of physical damage as extra elemental/chaos damage (only for Glacial Cascade)
  4. # to Maximum mana
  5. # to Dexterity / Strength

Rings

As mentioned in the body armour section Kikazaru Kikazaru is mandatory when using Soul Mantle Soul Mantle. If you choose not to play with these, you can just use rare rings with life and resistances. For Low Life version you can use unique rings like Dream Fragments Dream Fragments, Lori's Lantern Lori's Lantern and Valyrium Valyrium.

Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. #% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. # to maximum life (at least 50)
  3. # to Maximum Mana
  4. % increased Cold damage
  5. % increased Cast Speed
  6. # to Dexterity / Strength

Low Life-based Rare Affix Priority

  1. #% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Energy shield
  3. # to Maximum Mana
  4. % increased Cold damage
  5. % increased Cast Speed
  6. # to Dexterity / Strength

Weapons

For clearing with Frostbolt Frostbolt it is recommended using a Dagger and a Shield.

Rare Dagger Affix Priority

  1. % increased Spell damage (at least 40%)
  2. % Increased critical chance with spells (at least 80%)
  3. % to Global critical multiplier
  4. % increased Cold damage
  5. % increased Attack speed (for Shield Charge Shield Charge)

Rare Shield Affix Priority

  1. #% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. Maximum Life (at least 80) / Energy shield (at least 250)
  3. % increased Spell Damage
  4. % Increased critical chance with spells (at least 80%)

Note: For single target Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade you can benefit greatly from a shaper stat-stick weapon. Replace your Dagger with it or you can even go full glass cannon by dual wielding two shaper stat-sticks.

Flasks

Life and Mana flasks are mandatory when playing the Life variant, if not just drop the Life flask. Diamond flask works great in every critical build. Silver flask – There is no other way to gain the onslaught effect so we chose to have it via a flask effect. Last flask slot is up to personal preference, use any utility flask you feel like is useful for particular content. When it comes to Glacial Cascade Glacial Cascade, Atziri's Promise Atziri's Promise provides a lot of damage while being very cost efficient. For defence, Rumi's Concoction Rumi's Concoction is a decent choice.

Jewels

As in every totem build, it is recommended to use Spire of Stone Spire of Stone. Your totems can get stun locked sometimes and it feels very clunky and annoying when this happens. Clear Mind Clear Mind can be used if you decide to not run Clarity Clarity. Obviously The Long Winter The Long Winter (x2) and Frozen Trail Frozen Trail (x2) are mandatory depending on the skill you are using.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % increased Maximum life/Maximum energy shield
  2. % increased Maximum mana
  3. % increased Critical Strike Chance with Cold Skills
  4. % to Critical Strike Multiplier with Cold Skills
  5. % increased Cast Speed with Cold Skills
  6. % increased Totem damage
  7. % increased Damage
  8. % increasedCast speed

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. # to Maximum life (at least 35)/Maximum energy shield (at least 35)
  2. # to Maximum mana
  3. Any flat amount of damage added to spells

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 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.

3
  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

    Posts
    464

    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

    Posts
    464

    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
    464

    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
    464

    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

Please log in to reply.

Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close