[2.6] Crystal - Crit Freezing Pulse - 307k-410k DPS, 10.5k ES, CI, Occultist

Welcome to my latest witch build. I think it works pretty well.



New 2.5 videos
Using Cold to Fire, without Lesser Multiple Projectiles, but with 2 Snakepit rings.

T15 Core
level 93, 270k DPS
T15 Abyss
level 93, 270k DPS
T15 Colosseum
level 92, 284k DPS, Enfeeble, died once, from reflect monster
T14 Shrine
level 92, 284k DPS, Beyond
T14 Springs
level 92, 284k DPS, Double boss
T12 Death and Taxes
level 93, 270k DPS, fast

Old 2.4 videos

Using Lesser Multiple Projectiles (not Cold to Fire),
and at level 92 started using 1 Snakepit ring (adds 1 more projectile).

level 92, 155k DPS, died once
T15 Overgrown Ruin
level 88, 126k DPS, died once
T14 Springs
level 87, 125k DPS
T14 Shrine
level 92, 146k DPS, Temporal Chains
T13 Plaza
level 92, 146k DPS
T13 High Gardens
level 92, 155k DPS, 60% Less Regen
T13 Sulphur Wastes
level 91, 171k DPS (Elem. Focus), Beyond, Elem. Weakness

T13 Gorge
level 89, 146k DPS (Elem. Focus)
T13 Beacon
level 85, 137k DPS (Elemental Focus)
T10 Death and Taxes
level 85, 111k and 127k DPS, deathless, bit slow

And being already too overpowered for these:
T11 Shaped Vaal City
level 92, 155k DPS, Beyond
T11 Precinct
level 92, 155k DPS, Beyond, slipstreams
T7 Oba's Cursed Trove
level 90, 133k DPS



My previous setup was cheaper about 12ex (without Snakepits).
The final setup sums to about 20 exalts.

- Chest was 3.5-4ex (690 ES). The new one was 6ex (786 ES).
- 2 wands, about 1-2ex each
- Rest of gear also about 1ex each piece. Some new ones were 2-3ex.
- 6 jewels, about 20 chaos each (up to 1ex)
- 2 Snakepit rings, 1ex each (with high stats)

This is a pretty scalable build. So you could even start it with no currency and in time get better gear (even as self found, I did that earlier with Freezing Pulse).
So for Life and Life + ES parts which last some time during leveling (to about level 60), you could probably even get away with Tabula Rasa and gear up to 1ex.

The most expensive part comes when switching to CI and ES gear, since we need a high ES chest, preferably 6L but 5L can do it too.
But I think it won't be possible below 6ex total for decent ES and DPS, for maps.

Pros and Cons (TL;DR)


- Lots of ES. Now at 10k without shield.
- Good damage and fast clear speed.
- Safe thanks to leech. 2% ES and mana from Warlord's Mark as Blasphemy. Good for fast ES regain after spikes. Uses Vaal Pact and Ghost Reaver.
- Safe thanks to cold damage freezing (can have more chance if needed).
- Atziri viable. Didn't do deathless yet though.
- Power charges from ascendancy. All charges possible (with 2 Blasphemies).
- Dual curse, from ascendancy. Not essential.
- Can do Hexproof maps and reduced/no regen. Use more mana flasks and some caution.
- Fun with 2 CWDT setups (Cast When Damage Taken), 1 casts Temporal chains. Free to use other skills.
- Possible as solo self found. But needs currency, so not as first character.

- Expensive. It needs like 6-10 exalts to get ES gear, wands, and many jewels.
- Can't do elemental reflect maps. But reflect monsters are okay (mostly).
- Can't do blood magic maps. Won't cast since CI is 1 life.
- Not for beginners. ES needs some getting used to. Life is easier to restore.
- Prone to freeze. Using unfreeze mana flask.
- Prone to stun. Doesn't disturb that much, but happens often.
- Needs a 6L with high ES (expensive). Can be 5L, but with 25% less DPS.
- Needs dual wands. Shield will drop DPS a lot, to about 66% of it.
- No armor or evasion. Using Rumi's Concoction for physical mitigation and more block.

Main skill and damage


Freezing Pulse + Spell Echo +
Controlled Destruction + Increased Critical Strikes +
Cold to Fire + Added Cold Damage.

For 5L drop Added Cold Damage. For 4L also no Increased Critical Strikes.

Update: With 21 levels on few gems, I got 307k DPS up to 410k with 5 power charges.

This is the default setup and gives 284k tooltip DPS.
At level 92, with just golem and 6 jewels (is 188k without jewels).
Critical strike chance is 53% and multiplier 556%.
With 5 power charges it becomes 385k, then with Vaal Haste it's 450k.
With also 3 frenzy (2nd blasphemy) at 482k, with Vaal Haste it's 550k.

This (final) setup is not using LMP but with 2 Snakepit rings has the same 3 projectiles. With 1 Snakepit it's still possible, but spread is quite small.

So, other (early) option is to use Lesser Multiple Projectiles instead of Added Cold Damage. Gives me 200k DPS now.

Another default is swapping Added Cold Damage with Cold Penetration. Gives less tooltip DPS but deals more effective damage for monsters (or maps) with cold resistance. Does 232k DPS.

Next is swapping Increased Critical Strikes with Elemental Focus.
This is if you know you won't be able to freeze anyway (e.g. because of map mod, or a boss). Gives more DPS 318k, but crit chance down to 34%. Not very needed.

OLD version: 155k DPS, without Cold to Fire and with Lesser Multiple Projectiles.

Freezing Pulse + Spell Echo + Controlled Destruction + Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Increased Critical Strikes + Added Cold Damage.

This was the default setup.
At level 89, I got 131k tooltip DPS, with golem, without charges.
This then goes up to 201k at max charges: 4 power, 3 frenzy, 3 endurance,
when running 2 blasphemies Warlord's Mark (leech and endurance) and Poacher's Mark (frenzy). Power charges come from Occultist ascendancy skill Forbidden Power (link).

At level 92, I'm using 6 jewels for damage only and got 155k tooltip DPS with just golem. With 4 power charges 195k (and Vaal Haste makes it 226k).
With also 3 frenzy it's at 239k (Vaal Haste makes it 276k).
Critical strike multiplier is at 513%, got more from jewels.

Support skills

Lightning Warp + Faster Casting + Less Duration

For quick traveling. Putting quality in all gems makes it faster.

Blasphemy + Warlord's Mark (level 17 - check strength)

Grants 2% ES and Mana Leech, and 30% chance to grant Endurance Charges.
Another option for 2nd Blasphemy (for extra damage) is Poacher's Mark, generates frenzy charges. Other good Blasphemy (as 2nd) would be with Frostbite.


Adds 303 ES. Which in practice gives 10497 ES, and 8992 without it (so computed, I got 4.97x ES multiplier).
On easy maps I didn't use it and instead had either 2nd Blasphemy or Herald of Thunder.

Summon Lightning Golem

Seems to be the best one for more damage here, gives 9% increased cast speed.

Rest is rather optional:

Vaal Haste (level 17 - check dexterity) + Increased Duration (level 20)

Great for bosses and more clear speed. Increases Cast Speed by 35% and movement speed by 19%, for nearly 10 sec.

Herald of Thunder + Curse on Hit + Frostbite

I don't use it anymore, can't afford to reserve.
Discipline and Warlord's Mark with Blasphemy are quite essential at end game, can't skip any.

The 2 Cast when Damage Taken setups below are mostly for fun and utility (not for extra damage). Important here is Temporal Chains slowing down, chilling or freezing from cold and a tiny chance to shock. Plus they do signal when you get hit too much (e.g. a reflect monster or extra damage).


Cast when Damage Taken (level 8) + Greater Multiple Projectiles (level 20) +
Freezing Pulse (level 15) + Arctic Breath (level 11)

other options here (cold projectiles) that will get more with GMP:
(note that Snakepit ring also adds projectiles here)


Cast when Damage Taken (level 8) + Temporal Chains (level 11) +
Arc (level 12) + Cold Snap (level 14)

other options here (that won't get better with GMP):

Generally power charge generation from ascendancy is good.
This was just a test for other ways to get power charges for Elementalist.


So one is having lowest (level 1) CwDT with Arc (level 8) and Power Charge on Critical. Additionally used also Blade Vortex (level 8) to have that last longer, but just when close to monsters.
Other option it to cast Orb of Storms manually (with Power Charge on Critical), which gets charges faster but is no fun to wait for it. So I don't recommend any.




At level 93 with my current gear and setup, tooltip DPS in hideout with just golem:

On a map, with 5 power charges:

And just for fun, chasing highest tooltip DPS. With: Elemental Focus support,
charges: 5 power, 3 frenzy (2 blasphemies), Vaal Haste, Atziri's Promise flask, and some lightning from golem as well as some chaos from ascendancy.
Lasts very shortly and otherwise unpractical.


Left is normal, right is with Rumi's.
So basically capped resists, and not much more.

With Rumi's (link) I gain also 3k armour and 21% physical reduction, and chances to block attacks 37%, spells 14%.

I think 15% chance to block comes from dual wielding and 6% evasion from passive tree.
Movement speed is 31% (25% is on boots) and that's not much (I got it 2x increased on tree).



I chose Occultist for energy shield bonuses (ES % increase and 100 ES extra).
Also power charge generation, 10% is low, but it works.
Normally I have 5 power charges when clearing and 3 endurance charges (could also have 3 frenzy).

A nice plus is dual curse ability. But this is not essential (can do just fine with 1).
I got Warlord's Mark with Blasphemy, Temporal Chains with CWDT, and optionally either:
- Second blasphemy with Poacher's Mark (for frenzy) or
- Herald of Thunder + Curse on Hit + Frostbite
Other option to achieve dual curse (or more) is to use the skill on the tree, which is close by, in 3 points reach, or Doedre's Damning unique ring (link).

Elementalist is great for more damage and dual golems. I tried it shortly so here is the comparison. Both don't use the unique jewel for more ES and used the default Freezing Pulse gem setup (old, with LMP). Also both using Discipline and Warlord's Mark only.
- 20% less ES, I get 8.4k instead of 10.1k.
- 26% more damage, with 5 jewels and 2 golems I get 195k tooltip DPS. Occultist had 155k with 6 jewels and 1 golem. But reached 195k with 4 power charges.
- No power charge generation, so damage stays the same. Occultist has it for free in ascendancy.
- I'd say less survivability. Elementalist has this 50% reduced reflect damage ascendancy node but this felt for me worse than Occultist having more ES.
So I don't recommend it.

Here is the tree at level 90: Poeplanner. It is a bit different, I took the upper chain with cold damage (in practice it does exactly the same DPS increase as the dual wield cast speed below).

Another option is Scion. She has both Power charge (Assassin node) and Frenzy charge (Raider node) generation in ascendancy. But also less ES. No dual curse either.
Here is the tree (around level 89): Poeplanner.
Still, it is quite fun build with a lot of DPS.
It had 301k DPS with just golem and reached 478k with 4 power and 3 frenzy (553k with Vaal Haste on top).
This is quite similar to Occultist, if we had frenzy generation (2nd blasphemy or poor chance with Overcharged on tree, 4 points needed, meh).
Being Scion though, she makes a lot of noise when casting, witches are naturally better and quieter at that :D.

I'll also mention that this build could be done with Shadow as either Assassin (power charges with Unstable Infusion) or Trickster (frenzy charges with Swift Killer).
But I see no benefits and surely as said before less ES. Only occultist has more ES and power charges.

Tree and leveling


For bandits, I killed all on all levels, for 3 more skill points.
But you could also consider 1 more Power Charge (Merciles, Alira) and maybe 5% increased Cast Speed (Cruel, Alira). Wiki here.

I leveled this with Freezing Pulse only and Tabula Rasa.
Later switching to my leveled, quality gems and wands from my life based witch.

First as life only (picking ES nodes), using life flasks and 2 quicksilver.
Then having both life and ES, and switching to ES only gear when ready (6k ES total would be good). Look for final gear to buy and then just use it when you meet its requirements.
No regrets are needed this way, it may take longer, but life is easier to restore.

Go through ascendancy when possible (without dying).

This is of course just my loose proposition of progression. Go any other way you see fit, or pick jewels when you need them, same for the +30 Strength or +30 Dexterity and resits (left-middle, Fire & Lightning Walker).

15 points: Poeplanner
Quite slow, since only 1 spell damage point and rest only ES points.
Then finally 1st jewel for damage here.

22 points: Poeplanner
Finally some critical chance and damage.

40 points: Poeplanner
More ES on left. Then some traveling to right to get cold damage and critical multiplier.
Close by are 2 jewels. And if you need earlier: +30 Strength, +30 Dexterity, and on left: Fire and Lightning Walker for more resists.

54 points: Poeplanner
Going further right to get more damage, critical chance and multiplier.

71 points: Poeplanner
A lot of traveling down to get Vaal Pact. But also getting close 2 jewels (now 3 total).
Some ES and resists in middle right. And far top right to have Ghost Reaver (last). Just before CI.

81 points: Poeplanner, with CI now
Picking CI and the big ES nodes behind it. Be sure to have good ES gear (expensive) when you swtich. About 6k ES finally should probably be good. More is needed later.
Then going left top for crit.

90 points (level 67): Poeplanner
Bottom middle near Harrier, pick the big ES. And then below, more crit.
Far right middle, 2 nodes for projectile damage (Sniper). Above, 2 red nodes for more ES.

98 points (level 75): Poeplanner
Got 2 more jewels, 1 top near CI, 1 top left (now 5 total).
Backed out 2 points with Frost Walker. But keep that part if don't have capped resists and it helps.
Marked +30 Strength right, and in the middle Practical Application (+20 Str, +20 Dex). But this could be done earlier if needed for gem requirements. This fits exactly my gems requirements at 144 Strength and 146 Dexterity final.
Completed the circle with crit, right top, near Doom Cast. This really does increase damage (like 9k DPS more, but less than 2 nodes with Cold Walker).

115 points (level 92): Poeplanner
Took top middle chain with dual wield cast speed (Dark Arts).
Changed top middle connection going through +1 Power Charge, and then backed 1 point above jewel.
More ES using nodes near scion to feel more safe, now at 10.5k ES (depends on gear).
I went for Nibleness, 3 nodes with cast speed (instead of Shadow's start, it gives 4% movement speed as extra, I got slower boots).
Finally last jewel (6 total), right of scion, from Harrier through 6% spell damage.



My current gear:

earlier options (some cheaper):

So basically as much ES as possible on each piece, but also with a lot of resistances.
(780 chest, 400 helmet, 190 gloves, 190 boots, 80 belt, 100 ascendancy, 300 discipline).

I recommend getting on each piece 2 resistances around 40% (or more), and high ES. This is final and does cap resists when using 2 Snakepit rings (which have only about 30 cold res). Without Snakepits it's much easier.
I don't have any resists on amulet, but have 2 on chest.
Earlier I used unique boots. Have high ES, but no resists.

I have dual wands, since the damage gain is significant, and thus I don't have a shield. But to compensate I tried to have more ES on gear.

For wands try to get above 20% Cast Speed, as much Spell Damage as possible (above 70% or even above 100% if nothing else) and some Critical Chance (above 70%) and/or Multiplier (above 20%) will be good addition too. Of course, scale this down for earlier gear.

Ah and I do seem to miss strength a lot, so I'm using +30 on tree, and have +38 on belt. On top of that +22 (to both strength and dexterity) on amulet.
Warlord's Mark is red and requires it, I'm using lower level too (17), 2% leech stays the same, but area gets lower.
Dexterity increase is needed if you use Vaal Haste (I am, level 17) or Poacher's Mark (rarely).

Amulet is quite good here, spell damage, cast speed, ES increase and crit chance.

For rare rings I had one with spell (elemental) damage and cast speed increase.
The other adds crit chance, and has to cap resistances.

I started using unique ring Snakepit (link) and later using 2 of them (needs a lot more resists on gear).
Using both is key in this build for high DPS, since we have a free slot not using LMP and not having DPS penalty from LMP.
Got both for 1ex (I recommend 30-40% more cold damage and 9-10% cast speed). It does a bit more damage (like 2k only) compared to my rare ring, but the 1 extra projectile is great and does in effect more damage.



Current, sorted from most damage to least:


In the end I'm using 6 jewels for damage only. Those can be around 20 chaos (to 1 exalt) each.
Jewels are quite important, they do +51% damage: 285k versus 188k without them.
I was using 1 unique jewel for Life to ES transform, But it gives me 11075 vs 10492 ES, so only 583 ES extra, 5.5% that's not much.

Things to look for when picking jewels (best first):
- Critical Strike Multiplier (for Spells, with Cold Skills - scales damage the most now)
- Spell Damage (or Projectile Damage, Cold Damage, Spell Damage while Dual Wielding etc.)
- Cast Speed (or Cast Speed with Cold Skills, or while Dual Wielding etc.)

Critical Strike Chance doesn't do much (has low values) and won't scale after Diamond flask).
Chance to freeze, as a bonus (4th). 5% on tree is near anyway, I got 10% freeze now which feels good and can perma freeze. With Cold to Fire it does less often though.

Having 3 of them on 1 jewel gives best results. Best jewels are with 2 multiplier mods (and 1 other). As you can see I got multiplier on each jewel now.
Also higher roll values for all are better (but more expensive).
It's usually difficult to find those since there are many combinations. Recently found 2 good ones:
- multiplier with spells, multiplier with cold skills, and look for any other usable for DPS
- spell damage, crit multi, and projectile damage (bit worse)
Like with every buy you pay more if you want it fast, but if you wait you can get something good and cheaper.

When comparing I just use 1 jewel and switch all to see how much more damage they give, the base tooltip DPS without jewels was 101.8k (old values). And so the first 2 jewels (2x crit multiplier) seem to be the best and give 111.1k so +9.5k DPS each (+9%), next 2 jewels give each about 109.6k so +7.8k DPS.
So each jewel gives about 7-9k more tooltip DPS. This totals in 153k DPS (+50%) for all 6 of them and is quite significant.



Those are quite important, but don't have to be exactly the same as here.
Unfreeze and bleeding remove mods are a must though.

Rumi's is great for bosses dealing physical damage. If not Rumi's then use a granite flask. I got no armour, so this is needed and also adds a chance to avoid.

Diamond flask is great for bosses and tough monsters (e.g. a lot of life or having cold res.). Also good for more clear speed. It adds more damage, not sure how much. I got crit chance now 52% and when using it gets rolled twice (too bad tooltip DPS doesn't change).
I got reduced charges mod on it (can use more often) and remove curses.
Other option would be Atziri's Promise but it's less extra damage (only 15% more).

Mana flask to unfreeze and unchill (of Heat).
Used (not too) often. Normally leech does regen ES and mana. But for those cases when this isn't enough it's needed.
Since I have 1 life with CI, I am quite prone to freeze and stun. Stun doesn't disturb that much, but freeze does. Mana flask needs less charges, holds more uses and lasts longer than Sapphire flask.

Second Mana flask to remove bleeding (of Staunching).
For maps that have 40 and 60% reduced or no regen, this flask is crucial.
I have bleeding immunity on it. Seems to happen less often than freeze.
The first mana flask is slower, lasts longer. This one is faster if needed.

Quicksilver. Well the fastest one and with 3 uses. My character is a bit slow to run. I even had 2 such flasks when leveling. Also fast movement is quite essential with some bosses.

My characters page here. This one is EllisseXY.
IGN: VanessaXY, Hideouts: 1729744, Build: 1746064, Witch CI
Last edited by crystalrgb on May 26, 2017, 1:02:34 PM
Last bumped on Oct 5, 2017, 10:30:13 AM
Added 2 more videos with T14 and my first T15, and leveling skill trees.
Moved videos to top.
IGN: VanessaXY, Hideouts: 1729744, Build: 1746064, Witch CI
Is it also possible to do this with ice-spear as main skill?

Sure. The reason I didn't, was that at level 20: Freezing Pulse does 689 to 1034 cold damage, and Ice Spear does 548 to 822.
But I think Ice Spear does more damage further, and Freezing Pulse is more effective closer, fades away (unless you put quality in it so it's faster).
IGN: VanessaXY, Hideouts: 1729744, Build: 1746064, Witch CI
Added Pros and Cons (TL;DR) section on top.
And 1 more T13 video.
Expanded leveling/trees section with description.

Also mentioned all charges possible and damage at 201k tooltip DPS with all charges (4 power, 3 frenzy, 3 endurance).
Now at level 89, with 130k base tooltip DPS with just golem.
IGN: VanessaXY, Hideouts: 1729744, Build: 1746064, Witch CI
Last edited by crystalrgb on Oct 9, 2016, 6:34:21 AM
Im gonna give this a try never built a CI Nor a freese pulse ! will keep people updated on the progress
Starting this build right meow! This looks fun! Thank you for sharing :)

Also wanted to add - thank you so much for you well-thought-out thread. Any questions I might have had were answered and your leveling guide is top-notch and made things a breeze!

Last edited by sinisista on Oct 12, 2016, 6:51:08 PM
Hi, your build is awesome.

I'm currently trying it with my char , but I only reach 20k dps at lvl 82. I know my skill tree differs from yours, however i took all critical nodes like you.

Also your gear is much better than mine.

Still i wonder why I have so little dps. it's just the gear and skill level?
Hi Awefawer, thanks.
I've looked at your character just now (Alcachofa, level 86) and spotted few (quite big) changes that sum up to having much less damage, so (in order of importance/more damage):

- You are using a shield, not 2 wands. Sure it is more ES, but for me it's like 82k vs 134k tooltip DPS (with just 1 wand). Additionally, my wands are quite expensive and have more damage increases (more cast speed too).
- You are using just 2 jewels. I have 6 and 5 are just for damage (nothing else), each having like 3 stats that increase something. Usually each jewel increases DPS by about 6 to 7k. If I now take them all out, I get 100k DPS instead of 134k. But yeah, those jewels are over 20 chaos each. Jewels scale damage better than just points on tree, this way you can invest currency into more damage not just skill points.
- You have a 5L chest not 6L. Sure it's the most expensive part but 6L is like 20k more damage. If I take out Added Cold I get 108k DPS vs 134k.
- You are using lower level skill gems than you could (i.e. level 20 for each in chest). Next, you don't have 20% quality in Spell Echo. Also Controlled Destruction (20/20 ofc) instead of Faster Casting is more damage.
- Your tree is not optimal for damage. You didn't take the far left side (has some damage and cast speed (Light of Divinity). Instead you got the less damage 10% nodes at witch start. Next, in left middle of tree, you took a lot of intelligence travel points, 8%, 10% damage (so at least 5), instead of just having 2 intelligence to connect upper and middle of tree, through jewel.
- You didn't take the dual wield chain which sums to 20% more cast speed.
- You took few points (like 7) for more mana regeneration, to not have a mana flask, I see. Well I got them spent for damage (nothing for mana). Mana flasks fill best, use very little (just 6-8) charges. And mostly the 2% leech is enough. If you ask me, all mana points on tree suck, need too many of them to have a difference. I need 68 mana per cast 0.18sec. So I would need 378 mana regen per sec and I got just 23. Ridiculous. Leech and flasks, and tree points into damage or ES, that's my idea.
- I got a bit more damage increases on gear: gloves, (even chest), rings (cast speed). Your amulet is great already.
- If you take occultist's 2nd curse (when having 8 ascendancy points), I'd recommend loosing the 3 skill points on top of tree to have 1 more curse. IMO is just not worth, could go into next jewel, more damage.
IGN: VanessaXY, Hideouts: 1729744, Build: 1746064, Witch CI
Last edited by crystalrgb on Oct 31, 2016, 1:30:32 PM
Have u considered using cold pen instead of added cold, for six link?

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