TbXie's Wintertide Brand Occultist Build Guide (PoE Necropolis 3.24)




If you have ever wanted to try a damage over time (DoT) build that doesn’t feel clunky because it is rather squishy, you’ve come to the right place! This Occultist combines so many layers of Defenses that I’d argue its nearly unkillable. Between a decent chunk of Armour, a decent chunk of Energy Shield recovery on Block paired with a fairly reasonable amount of Block Chance and Spell Block, Immunity to Chaos Damage, all while being an Occultist with superb Energy Shield recovery and an Energy Shield pool of about 8,000, it is fair to say that this is probably one of the more tanky builds you’ll ever play.

Scaling-wise, Cold Damage over Time scales best with Cold DoT Multiplier, which is why Occultist is the ascendancy pick of choice! It gives you a pretty big amount of damage while, as mentioned, also adding to your defensive capabilities quite a lot. If you push the gear an extra mile, this build really goes a long way. On budget stuff, you’ll be able to kill everything that’s in your way, but if you start to invest into your items a little more, you’re more then likely going to be taking this build further than you’ve previously had on other DoT builds.

Build Summary

Pros and Cons


+ Decent Pinnacle killer with great clear
+ Relies on very cheap gear to get going
+ Loads of HP Pool / Block Chance to make for a smooth playstyle


Pretty heavy on the Uniques – not SSF-friendly
With the rework of Determination, Aegis Aurora is now a tad expensive
Damage over Time builds aren’t for everyone

Map Modifiers to be Avoided

No Regeneration is incredibly annoying to run, as you’re relying on ES regeneration quite a bit. Otherwise Elemental Reflect is annoying because Vortex will kill you so you’d have to not use Vortex or any other skills that hit (basically anything but Wintertide).

Playstyle, Mechanics & Strengths

While brands have to existed for a decent chunk of time, a couple new brands were introduced in PoE’s 3.11 Harvest League. These brands brought new brand mechanics in the sense that they were scaling with attachment duration. Wintertide Brand Wintertide Brand is no different, as it gains damage for every stage it reaches. For it to reach stages, it needs to be active for a while. Other than, for example Penance Brand Penance Brand, Wintertide actually remains stacked while being detached, making it a little less important to instantly scale all its stacks up.

Wintertide Brand more particularly gets an extra stage of damage for every time it activates. It activates 4 times per second as a baseline and has a maximum of 20 stages (or 24 stages if you have a Helmet enchant), which means it would take up to 5 seconds for the brand to reach its maximum DoT DPS. Luckily, these brands that scale with attachment duration usually scale their activation frequency by increasing cast speed! Therefore, cast speed is the biggest quality of life increase you could ever get. By getting extra cast speed, the build gets its maximum damage output in under 2 seconds instead of having to wait 5 seconds, which is why we prioritize picking up some cast speed.

Other then that, Wintertide Brand has a couple of very clear benefits. One of them is how well it pairs up with Vortex Vortex and Vaal Cold Snap Vaal Cold Snap to amplify its damage. Vortex is the easiest way to make use of the damage multiplier of Bonechill Support Bonechill Support multiplier! Cold Snap gives you Frenzy Charges whenever enemies stand in its area, making for another way of greatly amplifying your damage! Even though Vortex is no longer an instant cast, I still recommend putting it on Left Click & proccing it by pressing shift whenever you want to apply the Bonechill Debuff. Obviously, if this suits you better, you can bind it to another key.

All in all, I personally feel like this is a very balanced and well-rounded build that deals with all the game’s content fairly well! It is really nice for those who want to learn how to deal with Chaos Innoculation builds, as most of its pieces are easy to obtain / Unique items which means you don’t have to worry to much about Energy Shield’s complicated gearing process! Since it combines Block with Mitigation and Recovery, it’s most suited to tank a lot of monsters simultaneously without issues, and therefore really forgiving to play. And all of that is while maintaining multiple millions of Shaper DPS.

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. You can find PoB’s Fork, by LocalIdentity, here.

If you are not comfortable with Path of Building, PoePlanner’s website offers you a non-PoB alternative to import the code from the above link. 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, Jewel & Flask Page

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rime Gaze Rime Gaze
Amulet Citrine Amulet Citrine Amulet with a lot of Attributes, Mana Reservation Efficiency, Resistances and % maximum Energy Shield
Chest Vaal Regalia Vaal Regalia with as much Energy Shield as possible, resistances and some attributes
Gloves Sorcerer Gloves Sorcerer Gloves with as much Resistances & Energy Shield as possible
Boots Sin Trek Sin Trek
Belt Bated Breath Bated Breath
Rings Mark of the Shaper Mark of the Shaper & Rare Elder Influenced Ring w/ Resistances
Weapon Rare Wand with Spell Damage, +1 Cold Skills, Cast Speed and Trigger Mod
Shield Aegis Aurora Aegis Aurora

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.


Even though we are very adamant about trying to give you a leveling experience that lies as close to your endgame playstyle as possible, we will recommend you to use the standard leveling setups until after Act 10. Wintertide Brand Wintertide Brand just doesn’t function that well until you have some of your stuff going. For more information about leveling, we refer you to the following guides:

Getting to Brutus & Merveil

For starters, create a Witch in whichever league you want to start.

Pick up an Explosive Trap Explosive Trap from the vendor to start your journey and go to kill Hailrake and clear Mud Flats. Set up the following links after Mud Flats:

  1. Frost Bomb Frost Bomb
  1. Explosive Trap Explosive Trap

After killing Brutus, you will be adding an Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support to your Frost Bomb.

Level 12 and Onwards Setup

From level 12, after killing Merveil, you’ll be setting up for your road to level 28. You should be breezing through content at this point, as these skills are really strong while leveling.

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support

At level 28, swap your Storm Brand Storm Brand for Armageddon Brand Armageddon Brand as it is a bonkers leveling skill.

Whenever you’ve completed your second Labyrinth is when I’d recommend (or “allow”) the transition to Wintertide Brand. Before that, it’ll feel very bad.

Questions & Support

If you enjoy my content to such an extent that you’d like to support me and my work, or you have a specific question you request my private time for, you can buy me a coffee over at Patreon. At no point should you feel pressured to contribute, but if you do, your support means more to me than you will ever imagine.

Even though we try to make our guides as complete as possible, obvioulsy it’s possible you still have questions. We have an entire mod-team readily available to support you & your questions on Discord. You can find us on the ARPG Vault Discord. Make sure to open a Guide Help thread so things stay clear in the main channels.


  • Updated for 3.22 Trial of the Ancestors

  • Updated for Ritual 3.13.

  • Build added.

For any questions or support please join our Discord (PoE-Vault Discord)