Monstrous Vortex Cold Snap Low-Life Occultist Build Guide (PoE Ultimatum 3.14)

TbXie

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Ultimatum League Updates

In Ultimatum League Vortex Vortex surprisingly dodged the nerf bat. However, some of its utility got tackled a bit through the Trigger Wand Nerf. It remains to be seen effectively how annoying this is for a variety of builds but I honestly feel like a 24 second ramp versus a 12 second ramp won’t be the biggest of issues for most builds. Trigger Wands were a bit too powerful anyway. Other than that, the build, again, lost a bit of its aura effect from Cluster Jewels but still remains a viable damage dealer whilst being ridiculously tanky.

Introduction

While Vortex Vortex is an ancient skill when it comes to PoE gems, it has only somewhat recently picked up popularity. Initially, Vortex was clunky skill and best used as an On Hit effect rather than a Damage over Time mechanic. It wasn’t until 3.5 Betrayal League when Vortex became an instant cast, was castable significantly more reliably due to cooldown changes, and saw its Damage over Time numbers doubled that the skill really got picked up by a lot of high-end players. They soon realized that because of the decently high inherent damage numbers, the build could reach immensely potent defenses while remaining acceptable DPS.

That League also included the a new way of scaling Damage over Time mulitpliers and Cold Damage wasn’t left out! The new modifiers that were named “Damage over Time Multiplier”, which came in different variations (e.g. Cold Damage over Time Multiplier) gave Vortex and any other DoT skill a more multiplier that scales all of your damage after all of your increased damages. Damage over Time skills were the only build archetype that lacked this way of scaling before this patch. Lastly, the Occultist ascendancy also got a rework which introduced a decent chunk of Cold Damage over Time Multiplier in the Ascendancy, allowing Vortex and Occultist to go hand in hand from that point onwards.

All in all, that resulted in a build-archetype that gets most of its damage from Gear, Skill Points, and Gem Levels, and was able to focus on picking up significant amounts of defenses in the tree. Therefore, the build is capable of reaching over 9,000 Energy Shield and a decent chunk of further mitigation. Because of that, and because the mechanics behind Vortex Vortex, you’ll be able to safely kill bosses without any issues.

Build Summary

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Kills any boss in the game while staying safe
+ Solid choice to learn boss fights as you’ll have a lot of spare time
+ Doesn’t require any high end Rare items
+ Hardcore viable as it is incredibly tanky

Cons

Doesn’t reach optimal numbers easily in Solo-Self Found
Low Life builds require a couple of items to get going

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

Elemental Reflect will kill you, and on top of that you should most likely avoid No Regeneration maps since your ES Regen is such a big part of your survivability package.

Echoes of the Atlas Expansion Updates

Ritual League introduced a bunch of changes to Ascendancies and Occultist was no exception. Whilst a lot of Ascendancies had a lot of numerical changes, some swapping around of tags on notables and what not, Occultist kept it fairly simple. The main change that affects us for this build is Frigid Wake’s change to no longer grant Cold Damage over Time Multiplier but More Cold Damage instead. For this build, changing both the small node from DoT Multi to increased Cold damage and the Frigid Wake change is effectively a 5% DPS Boost! The DPS difference is there and it has made the build a tiny bit stronger (even though this build had no business being stronger).

Other than that, Occultist has received some minor QoL. Profane Bloom, which causes monsters to explode for a quarter of their HP on kill, has been buffed to have a higher proc-rate. I don’t think this was needed but I’m not complaining! Other than that, Vile Bastion has became twice as efficient as before, making you to only need 5 monsters killed recently to cap out its 10% Energy Shield Regen. Lastly, there were very minor changes to the Aura Effect Cluster Jewels this build gets which ends up losing you a little bit of damage but nothing major.

Very uneventful changes for this build and it will still be as good as it was before all of these changes!

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

When you cast a Vortex Vortex, it will place a pool of Cold Damage over Time under you which remains there for a duration. While the pool does initial hit damage, you’re going to only care about the Damage over Time portion of the skill. Because Vortex has a cooldown, it is often paired with another Cold skill to semi circumvent the inconveniences this introduces while mapping. We opted to use Vaal Cold Snap Vaal Cold Snap, because it helps significantly in generic mapping but is also useful to apply some debuffs on bosses while retainingits usefulness otherwise.

At the pinnacle of your front-loaded damage, the build deals just shy of 4 million boss damage while you are running around and dodging. The uptime of your damage therefore is incredibly high. To put that in perspective, that means it kills a Shaper phase in about 5 seconds when everything comes together correctly. Most of the damage comes from stacking Auras and scaling them through Cluster Jewels, being Low-Life, damage rolls on gear, and your Ascendancy. That’s why most of your passives and your non-damage-oriented pieces of gear get to focus so much on stacking Energy Shield which leads to having 9000 or more. If you were to really push it and perhaps give up a tad of your damage. the build easily even reaches upwards of 10.000 Energy Shield.

So, as mentioned before, the way we decided to scale the build is by buffing Auras up as much as we could through Cluster Jewels. The main advantage of this route is that while we’re boosting the damage of the build quite significantly, it also giving us access to a stronger Discipline Discipline aura and Replenishing Presence notables, which will eventually lead to the build having a really solid amount of Energy Shield Regeneration. Between Occultist and those Clusters, you’ll reach over a thousand Energy Shield regen per second, which means your recovery is incredibly solid. Combined with stuff like Wicked Ward, which makes ES Recharge uninterruptible, and some faster start of Energy Shield Recharge the effective recovery this build has is effectively even higher! This means that as long as you don’t get one shot, which is fairly hard with 9000 Energy Shield, you will almost never die.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB, and Gem Links

You can find an optimized Path of Building here. Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, we also have a PoePlanner for you. Do note that PoE Planner does not support Cluster Jewels and some specific unique jewels and it is highly recommended you install Path of Building to follow builds most optimally.

More information about the Passive Skill Tree, as well as all the Gem Links can be found on our dedicated page.

Passive Skill Tree, PoB & Gem Links

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.

Ascendancy, Bandit & Pantheon Power Page

Gear Summary / TL;DR

A lot of this is explained more in depth in the Gear Page, however we will provide you with a basic idea of what gear you’re looking for in this short summary.

Gear Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rime Gaze Rime Gaze
Amulet Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula
Chest Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings
Gloves Sorcerer Gloves Sorcerer Gloves with high ES, Aspect of the Spider and Resistances
Boots Sin Trek Sin Trek
Belt Bated Breath Bated Breath
Rings Mark of the Shaper Mark of the Shaper and Elder Ring with ES/Resists
Weapon +1 Spell/Cold Skills Wand with Cold DoT Multi & Spell Damage
Shield Prism Guardian Prism Guardian

Questions & Support

I made it a habit to check all comments in my guides on a daily basis. Obviously, there might be occurrences where getting a reply might take longer but I really do try to get back to you as soon as possible. I prefer you making remarks, suggestions or asking questions that way as it allows others to read through the comments, providing them with a potential answer to their question, without having to wait for me again. If I have somehow missed your question, you can try reaching me on our Discord.

If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, I have a Patreon you can check out. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.

Leveling

Since we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will be providing you a way to level up with Vortex Vortex. If you are looking for the most optimal way to level a character to maps, we refer you to the following guides.

In order to level this build as a Vortex Vortex build, you need to make your way to level 28 to be able to use the gem.

Getting to Brutus & Merveil

For starters, create a Witch in whichever league you want to start. Optionally create a Scion and run to town to store an Onslaught Support Onslaught Support for your Witch. She does not get access to Onslaught until Act 3 Library.

Make sure you have two wands at all times while leveling for that extra chunk of Damage! Get a second one off of the vendor at Level 1 if you didn’t get one from Hillock. Use the following setup to kill Hailrake.

  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap

After Hailrake & the Mud Flats, grab a Frost Bomb Frost Bomb linked to Onslaught Support Onslaught Support. This should one-shot most packs.

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support to your Frost Bomb. If you have a spare Orb of Transmutation Orb of Transmutation you can add a Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support to Explosive Trap Explosive Trap too.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

From level 12, after killing Merveil, you’ll be setting up for your road to level 28. It might be a little rough for some bosses, but you should eventually be fine with this setup.

  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap
  2. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  3. Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support
  1. Frost Bomb Frost Bomb (or Storm Brand Storm Brand if you prefer)
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  1. Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder
  2. Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots

Swapping to Vortex

When you reach level 28, you’re pretty much just going to try and get to your late game gem setup as fast as possible. Make sure to run at least a 4-Linked Vortex Vortex:

  1. Vortex Vortex
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  4. Efficacy Support Efficacy Support

Additionally, fit whatever you can fit in your sockets from your late game setups such as Frost Bomb, Frostbite and Malevolence.

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  1. Posts
    4

    Hey! I keep getting an error when I use the pastebin saying that mine isn’t updated yet but I have the newest version.

  2. TbXie

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    On 14/11/2020 at 4:12 PM, Booletj said

    Hey! I keep getting an error when I use the pastebin saying that mine isn’t updated yet but I have the newest version.

    Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

  3. Posts
    4

    On 14/11/2020 at 5:21 PM, TbXie said

    Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

    I have no idea what I’m looking at on PoB’s Fork or even know how to use it.

  4. TbXie

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    1284

    On 14/11/2020 at 7:10 PM, Booletj said

    On 14/11/2020 at 5:21 PM, TbXie

    Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

    I have no idea what I’m looking at on PoB’s Fork or even know how to use it.

    You download it from that link, it will install and that’s it. From then on, you will always be running the community fork version

  5. Posts
    2

    Hey there !

    First, let me thank you for all the details and explanations in all your builds, very interesting and very educative !

    The main problem i encounter with this build is to find medium cluster jewels with the notables needed… Nothing on official site and nothing on Poe Trade. Is it that rare? I mean if we need to get 4 of them and the only way is to loot them, it’s very deterrent. Any thoughts on this? i’m on a Standard League.

  6. TbXie

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    1284

    On 14/11/2020 at 11:10 PM, IchidaiSanzen said

    Hey there !

    First, let me thank you for all the details and explanations in all your builds, very interesting and very educative !

    The main problem i encounter with this build is to find medium cluster jewels with the notables needed… Nothing on official site and nothing on Poe Trade. Is it that rare? I mean if we need to get 4 of them and the only way is to loot them, it’s very deterrent. Any thoughts on this? i’m on a Standard League.

    I’m getting 111 results in Standard.
    Here’s the search link

    Sadly they’re stupidly overpriced in Standard but I guess Standard players are kind of used to that nowadays :(

  7. Posts
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    WTF ? _

    I tried multiple times and i only got the corrupted unique one with 4 passives…

    I must have missed something. Thanks for quick reply and yes it’s so expensive haha

  8. TbXie

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    On 15/11/2020 at 5:22 PM, IchidaiSanzen said

    WTF ? _

    I tried multiple times and i only got the corrupted unique one with 4 passives…

    I must have missed something. Thanks for quick reply and yes it’s so expensive haha

    No problem, you’re welcome

  9. Posts
    4

    On 14/11/2020 at 10:49 PM, TbXie said

    On 14/11/2020 at 7:10 PM, Booletj

    This is gonna sound stupid by I download it but just confused as to what to run or how to run it. Could I get an ss of the skill tree? that’s all I really need.

    On 14/11/2020 at 5:21 PM, TbXie

    Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

    I have no idea what I’m looking at on PoB’s Fork or even know how to use it.

    You download it from that link, it will install and that’s it. From then on, you will always be running the community fork version

  10. TbXie

    Moderator

    Posts
    1284

    On 16/11/2020 at 11:50 PM, Booletj said

    On 14/11/2020 at 10:49 PM, TbXie

    On 14/11/2020 at 7:10 PM, Booletj

    This is gonna sound stupid by I download it but just confused as to what to run or how to run it. Could I get an ss of the skill tree? that’s all I really need.

    On 14/11/2020 at 5:21 PM, TbXie

    Every build I release will use the community fork of Path of Building, which is maintained and updated in a much more regular fashion than the original one. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

    I have no idea what I’m looking at on PoB’s Fork or even know how to use it.

    You download it from that link, it will install and that’s it. From then on, you will always be running the community fork version

    If you’ve downloaded it, you run the file you downloaded. But make sure to go to the link, go to releases and download the latest .exe.
    Once you’ve downloaded the .exe install it by running it.

    Then open Path of Building, which ‘ll automatically, press the import button and past the pastebin in the “import from pastebin” section. It’s as easy as that.

  11. TbXie

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    1284

    Here’s a screenshot but I highly advise getting PoB Running

  12. Posts
    4

    Hello,

    Thanks for this guide.
    I don’t understand something, you are taking a support gem who is reducing by 100% critical chance on Vortex and you are taking a passive name Elemental Overload : you deal 40% more elemental damage if you did a critical in the last 8 seconds. What’s the reasoning behind this ?

    What are you suggesting me for the rings in budget options ?

    What are you suggesting me for the second large cluster jewel ?

    Thanks ?

  13. TbXie

    Moderator

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    1284

    On 04/12/2020 at 1:26 AM, Pompachaleur said

    Hello,

    Thanks for this guide.
    I don’t understand something, you are taking a support gem who is reducing by 100% critical chance on Vortex and you are taking a passive name Elemental Overload : you deal 40% more elemental damage if you did a critical in the last 8 seconds. What’s the reasoning behind this ?

    What are you suggesting me for the rings in budget options ?

    What are you suggesting me for the second large cluster jewel ?

    Thanks ?

    Cause you proc Elemental Overload with the Storm Brand in your weapon. So basically, the buff will always be up because of Storm Brand, thus giving your Vortex 40% MORe damage.

    Both Clusters are in the path of building? I don’t really get the question here.

    Budget ring options are whatever you pick up from the ground until you can afford the 10-15c to pick up the 2 suggested rings :)

  14. Posts
    4

    Thanks

    I have no computer and so no POB

    Ok I found a way with a friend ?

    I have 2 more questions. You socketed the jewel near Melding passive but right now I’m looking at my PS4 and it just gives %energy shield

    I saw you used the same larger and medium cluster jewel twice, the passive are stacking up ?

  15. TbXie

    Moderator

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    1284

    On 04/12/2020 at 10:06 PM, Pompachaleur said

    Thanks

    I have no computer and so no POB

    Ok I found a way with a friend ?

    I have 2 more questions. You socketed the jewel near Melding passive but right now I’m looking at my PS4 and it just gives %energy shield

    I saw you used the same larger and medium cluster jewel twice, the passive are stacking up ?

    You mean energy from within with the jewel? It converts life to energy shield in a circle around it and yes, passives from Clusters do stack.

  16. Posts
    4

    Yes I know what the jewel does but I have 0 passives with life in the circle, it’s only energy shield,I don’t know if it’s a tooltip bug…

  17. Posts
    4

    Energy from within removes all life modifiers and makes them into energy shield within range of the jewel instead. If a node have 6% life 4% energy shield before you put the Energy from within jewel in the socket it will now have 10% energy shield and no life at all and the tooltip changes to reflect this

  18. TbXie

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    shows you which nodes you need to convert with the jewel. Before you have those jewels, it indeed doesn’t do anything more than give you 6% Energy Shield

  19. Posts
    4

    Okay it is changing the tooltip as well ? I didn’t know about that, thanks guys !

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