Max Block Vortex + Cold snap Occultist (3.9)

Shaba

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Introduction

Hello everyone. I am Shaba and this is my first build. I started playing PoE in Legion and the following build contains elements that I have gathered from multiple sources to get it to this form, from all three leagues.
Although i cannot say i have theory crafted this build from scratch, I am very pleased with the state of the build at the moment.

Build summary

This is not your typical league starter build although it could be played from the start, but not with the following setup.
You would have to use a Hybrid setup for leveling, once you get to maps and you are able to start farming some currency switch to CI, then after you have enough currency to gear up for the endgame, switch to the LL setup I am currently running. I will not go into detail about the Hybrid or CI builds because that would mean a very long build post and there are other builds available for these setups.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

- Very tanky. (8k+ ES, 75% attack block, 70%+ spell damage block).
- Easy to play even for new players. You basically use only a couple of spells.
- Bossing. Using DoT spells gives you the necessary time to dodge incoming attacks and you are constantly moving.
- Can be started on a budget

Cons

- Clear speed. This is not a particularly fast mapper, but also not the slowest.
Hard to run map mods:
- Elemental reflect -> you can actually run these maps but you would have to cast vortex so that the initial hit does not hit any monsters and then let them degen.
- No regen -> your ES is considered a recharging element so it is not affected by the no regen mod, but you would have to run an Enduring mana flask.

Play style

The mechanics of a Vortex Vortex + Cold Snap Cold Snap setup are pretty straight forward: you run/Flame Dash Flame Dash towards enemies, place down a Vortex and wait for the enemies to die. Using a Quartz Flask Quartz Flask will grant you Phasing, which allows you to avoid collision with enemies and you will be able to get in the middle of a pack, lay a Vortex down and then simply continue running or Flame Dash to the next pack.

For bossing you will also use Cold Snap Cold Snap and Vaal Cold Snap Vaal Cold Snap to improve single target DPS. Cold Snap is also useful in situations where you want to deal damage from far away.

Elemental Equilibrium is a big DPS boost and you can proc it very easily using wand with “Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” craft. The sockets should be Storm Brand Storm Brand -> Frost Bomb Frost Bomb -> Orb of Storms Orb of Storms
Although many of you may know how EE works, I will explain it for the new players: Each time you deal elemental damage to an enemie, the enemie gets +25% elemental resistance to that element, and -50% resistance to the other elements.
Thus, we are dealing lighting damage in the first place with Orb of storms, reducing 50% resistances to cold damage (our main source of damage), apply the Frost Bomb which deals cold damage and applies -25% cold resistance, and then apply once again EE with Orb of storms and Storm brand. Basically the enemies we hit more than once will have -75% cold resistance a.k.a BIG DPS BOOST

Skill Tree, Ascendancy and Gem Links

Skill Tree

Here you can find a level 93 skill tree – my current setup
Please keep in mind that at lvl 94 the best possible upgrade would be specing out of Coldhearted Calculation and the small node beneath it and getting the jewel below the Faith and Steel notable. I would choose this particular jewel socket for the +20 strength which will allow me to level up Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell more.

Ascendancy

1. Void Beacon
More damage from the -20% cold resistance
2. Frigid Wake
Very powerful offensively and defensively. More damage, more freeze, less damage taken from hits and let’s you free up a flask slot because you do not have to use an “of Heat” flask.
3. Profane Bloom
More damage and some survivability. Bossing becomes easier because now they can be cursed with Temporal Chains or Enfeeble.
4. Malediction
I have chosen Malediction because I wanted to anoint Tranquility and still be able to use two curses. Later on we will have +1 curse from Awakened Blasphemy Support which means we can respec into Vile Bastion for even more ES regen. Otherwise we don’t benefit that much from Vile Bastion because we will be using Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula for stun immunity.

Gem Links

Body armour – Vortex Vortex – 6-Link

Vortex Vortex
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
Swift Affliction Support Swift Affliction Support
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

Helmet – Cold Snap – 4-Link

Vaal Cold Snap Vaal Cold Snap
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support
Bonechill Support Bonechill Support
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

Wand – EE Support – 3-Link (links not necessary)

Storm Brand Storm Brand
Frost Bomb Frost Bomb
Orb of Storms Orb of Storms

Shield – Auras – 3-Link

Malevolence Malevolence
Hatred Hatred
Vaal Discipline Vaal Discipline

Gloves – Curses + VMS – 4-Link

Enfeeble Enfeeble
Temporal Chains Temporal Chains
Awakened Blasphemy Support Awakened Blasphemy Support
Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell

Boots – Utility + Mobility – 2 × 2Link

Flame Dash Flame Dash
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

Tempest Shield Tempest Shield (lvl 7)
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support (lvl 2)

The CWDT setup is mandatory helping us to get max block. You can find your preferred balance between the two links.
You could skip faster casting with Flame Dash and simply use Phase Run Phase Run in the CWDT setup as well.

Bandits and Pantheons

Bandits

Kill all. The two passive points are most beneficial. This is not a critical based build and we can easily max out our resistances from items.

Pantheons

Here we have a couple of good major and minor gods to choose from:

Major:
Soul of Solaris is the best option for end game due to the damage reductions this god provides. Once it is fully upgraded we benefit the most from this choice.
Soul of Lunaris is a good option for mapping in the early stages for some more clear speed.

Minor:
Soul of Gruthkul for more physical damage reduction. Remember, you need to get in melee range more often than not.
Soul of Abberath this is particularly good for the immunity to burning ground.

Gear

Body Armour

As with any low life build, Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings is best in slot. We are not immune to chaos damage so the chaos damage does not bypass energy shield mod is crucial. We also benefit from the faster start of ES recharge mod.

Helmet

A rare helmet with Vortex damage enchant is best in slot for this build. You can easily craft on a white energy shield base helmet just with the Vortex damage enchant using Frigid Fossil Frigid Fossil and Dense Fossil Dense Fossil until you get the following mods:
- Nearby enemies have -9% to cold resistance
- Maximum energy shield
- Increased energy shield
- Cold resistance
You should be able to get all these mods and still have an opened suffix so you can craft an additional resistance from the crafting bench.

Wand

In my opinion Opal Wand Opal Wand is the best base for this slot for the 42% increased spell damage. We are looking for the following mods (for the best possible outcome):
- Increased spell damage
- Cold damage over time multiplier
- Increased cold damage
Once you hit these three mods you can multimod and add “Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” and “Adds x to y lightning damage to spells”.

Otherwise you can use any wand that gives you increased spell damage and cold damage over time multiplier, as long as you have a suffix open so you can craft the trigger socketed spells mod and it does not have “Adds cold damage” or “Adds cold damage to spells”. This is very very important! Otherwise any spell you cast will have a bit of cold damage, which will nullify the effect of Elemental Equilibrium.

Shield

Prism Guardian Prism Guardian is best in slot for this build because for literally all the stats it gives us. This will be our Aura setup so it benefits from the +2 Aura gems, 25% reduced reservation, and Blood Magic. This will enable us to reserve life instead of mana without using a Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support. The shield also gives us 25% all resistances and some dexterity which helps with the requirements of Hypothermia and Swift affliction.

Gloves

Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves are best in slot due to their implicit. Look for
- Maximum energy shield
- Increased energy shield
- Elemental resistances
Later on you can use a Hunter base to also get +% Cold damage over time multiplier which is a big DPS increase but it comes with a pretty high cost.

Boots

Here you will have two options. Either a pair of Rainbowstride Rainbowstride which is very beneficial to the build giving us chance to block spell damage, 20% all resistance and 25% increased movement speed, or a pair of rare sorcerer boots for even more resistances, more energy shield and more movement speed.
They are both very good options and it strictly depends on what jewelry and jewels you will have available. In my opinion, as long as you can cap out your resistances Rainbowstride Rainbowstride will be the better option because of the chance to block spell damage they provide.

Jewelry and Jewels

Rings

On both rings you should have an open prefix so you can craft “% faster start of energy shield recharge” and on one of the rings you should also have an suffix open to craft Aspect of the spider (beastcrafting).
Mods to look for:
- Maximum energy shield
- Increased maximum energy shield (Crusader base) OR Increased spell damage (Crusader base) – Only if you feel you have enough ES and you want more damage
- Elemental resistances

As bases you could look for Two-Stone Ring (Cold / Lightning Resistances) Two-Stone Ring (Cold / Lightning Resistances) if you need the resistances, Moonstone Ring Moonstone Ring if you need the extra Energy Shield, or Opal Ring Opal Ring if you have resistances and enough ES and you just want more damage.

Because you can have only two prefix explicits you can either go for Increased max ES or Increased Spell damage on the crusader base ring, the third prefix being dedicated to the faster start of ES recharge craft.

Amulet

Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula is best in slot. Except the rarity mod on this amulet, all of the other mods are extremely beneficial to any low life build. After using defensive catalysts on the amulet, with a maximum life of 1.1k we gain 264 flat energy shield which is then increased by our passives.

Belt

A rare Crystal Belt Crystal Belt is best in slot for this build. You can easily get a 150 flat energy shield and 70% elemental resistances with a multimoded crystal belt.

Jewels

- Lethal Pride Lethal Pride – look for one with “under Kiloava” – this jewel will be socketed to the right of the Essence Surge notable, converting either Eldritch Battery or Chaos Inoculation into Glancing Blows which will help us with maxing out block.

- Thread of Hope Thread of Hope – look for one with -11 or -10 (if you can afford -10) all resistances, but with a “Large” ring mod. If you get anything other than “Large” on the modifier, you will not be able to allocate the necessary notables on the tree. The jewel will be placed in the jewel socket to the left of the Mystic Bulwark notable, and it will allow you to take Wicked Ward, Arcane Focus, Practical Application, Arcanist’s Dominion, Light Eater, Breath of Rime and Heart of Ice without pathing to these notables.

- Energy From Within Energy From Within – This jewel will be socketed beneath the Melding notable and will convert the life modifiers it covers into energy shield modifiers instead.

- Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye – Look for one with “Faster start of energy shield recharge while affected by Discipline”. If you can get one that also has Malevolence damage over time multiplier mod, that would be a great increase in DPS but it comes with a realy high cost. Remember, the Discipline mod is more important for this build!

Flasks

When you play an Energy Shield based build you can of course skip the life flask and use another utility flask. Mandatory for this build is Rumi's Concoction Rumi's Concoction which helps us max out attack damage and spell damage block.

My current setup is:

Chemist’s Basalt Flask Basalt Flask of Staunching – bleed immunity and phys damage reduction

Experimenter’s Quartz Flask Quartz Flask of Dousing – ignite immunity and Phasing

Rumi's Concoction Rumi's Concoction – for attack and spell block and armour – armour synergises well with Vaal Molten Shell Vaal Molten Shell

Experimenter’s Silver Flask Silver Flask of Warding – curse immunity and Onslaught. this could easily be any other base, but I just like Onslaught. Other helpful base sould be Stibnite Flask Stibnite Flask

Ample Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline – the suffix is the important one. Another useful prefix would be Experimenter’s for the increased duration.

Conclusions

It is known that the Vortex Occultist is a pretty safe character to play, but this iteration just takes defenses to the next level while still being able to kill bosses pretty easily. You should end up with around 900k Shaper DPS with the OK gear, and somewhere around 1.7-2 mil Shaper DPS with really expensive gear and jewels (like Malevolance dmg/Discipline ES recharge Watcher's Eye Watcher's Eye).
With this verion of the build you will Enfeeble, Temp Chain and Hinder your enemies while they simply melt away.

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