I think static blows is worth it, at least for its duration bonus -- and perhaps even the 2 talents that follow it.
At 375% crit multi I am able to shock most bosses in lower maps, and nearly all non boss mobs in higher maps. The dps difference between ALD and any other gem is significant by a large margin.
Taking it for duration seems wrong as well. Critical hits, especially at your multiplier, are going to have those shock stacks last quite a while, long enough to get a few casts, and at 30 some odd % crit chance, if you can cast 3 times or so under crit shock duration, then you have reached the perma shock duration breakpoint.
I have no doubt you can critical shock bosses. That is not my issue with the build. You aren't even going to be able to static blows shock the boss, or most yellows / blues, especially in a party.
While the fast cast may be a good option, I just dont feel its the best option. It is close enough to ACD in terms of dps that you can use it if you like casting faster, but you will still be less effective versus reflect mobs with it -- and that is a pretty big deal.
That is blatantly inaccurate. You are more effective version reflect mobs. You do overall less damage per cast, allowing you more flexibility, in addition to the life leech effect being refreshed more often. Holding down Freezing Pulse vs Reflect is just bad play, and should not be a basis for why you don't like a certain support gem.
Basically this is why ALD is the best support for this build for damage:
20 or 30% chance to shock
Each of the 5 projectiles can trigger. If one of the first few hits triggers shock, the next lightning hit does 40% more damage, and its easier to shock. I would guess that non crits will shock most mobs 0-2 times each cast. Some dps increase.
each of the projectiles applies shock, and the effect cascades.
first projectile crit + base shock
second projectile crit x1.4 + base shock x1.4
third projectile crit x1.8 + base shock x 1.8
fourth projectile crit x2.2 + base shock x 2.2
fifth projectile crit x2.2 + base shock x 2.2
That is not how it works. First of all, if you are able to shock it the first time, it wont be any easier to shock it the second time, the shock will only last longer, but that is the only effect.
I am confused on why you start to describe Static Blows, then go on to give me a description of critical hit process of Freezing Pulse.
In either case, each projectile does work individually, however they are not going to be calculated individually for the purposes of critical hits. The 5th Projectile does the same damage as the first.
Now, which way it works, I do not know. It could place the perceived shock stacks before damage is calculated, in which case all 5 would get the benefit of 3 shock stacks, and would explain your massive damage when you critically hit. Or it could place all 3 shock stacks after, and you get no benefit at all on the first cast. I am willing to be the former in this case.
But one thing is for sure... They did not code a skill that hits all 5 projectiles at the same time, but they each calculate individually in sequence. That would be a nightmare for big game companies to tackle, and while I respect the hell out of GGG, its extremely impractical for them to code this skill as such.
The entire effect has increased effect in groups, where they can do more damage from your shock stacks, as well as others shocks allowing you to cascade yours more easily.
Again, shock stacks do not cascade other shock stacks. It does not make them easier, it only makes them last longer.
You aren't shocking anything with static blows in a group, Krip. You now have to do 2.5x the lightning damage as monster HP just to get the min shock duration.