(Unsupported) Odif's Build Guides for Newbies: Wintertide-Vortex Inquisitor

I am no longer supporting this build.
Due to Archnemesis mods on rares, I no longer think this build is viable.

Greeting Exiles!

This build is for a Templar-Inquisitor using Wintertide Brand and Vortex for damage.

This build guide is specifically designed for Newbies!
(Also works as a league starter for experienced players)

All my previous newbie focused build guides were for minion builds, but I realize some folk do not like to play minion builds, so here we are.

What makes it so Newbie friendly?

It uses a very buffed chill effect, to slow monster action speed a LOT.
This means that its GREAT for newbies to learn boss fights, as everything is going in slow motion.

It's a tanky build that uses no required uniques, no cluster jewels, no empower or enlighten gems, and super simple game play action.
(There are 2 uniques that really help the build, but you can make do without them, and they are in no way needed to start mapping.)
(Skin of the Loyal and Replica Soul Tether.)

It progresses through Acts 1-10 with ease.

There is a VERY detailed leveling section, with exactly what quest rewards to take, what to link to what skills, what supports to swap out in what acts, etc.

It needs minimal gear to start maps.

It scales well with investment.

It's a dot (damage over time) build, and dot builds are easy for newbies

Build Overview

This is a cold dot build, we do cold damage over time to slay our enemies while chilling them so they act so slowly we can dodge most of their damage.

We use Wintertide Brand and Vortex for damage.
We apply cold exposure with Frost Bomb
We curse with Frostbite.

We use Determination, Malevolence and Summon Skitterbots for auras.

We reserve almost all our mana with auras.
We use Lifetap support on all but one of our skills, so we spend life to cast skills. The one skill we use mana on, we use to proc Arcane Surge for more damage.

For defense we use a little block, some armor, we chill our enemies to make them behave in slow motion, we have 95% reduced effect of curses on us.
We have a LOT of life regen and energy shield regen! We have a lot of damage taken recouped as life, and we have decent life gained on kill.
We also stack as much life and as much energy shield as we can get.

This is a NEWBIE build, meaning some choices have been made that are not "optimal" for maximum dps, but rather choices are made to make it easy for newbies to use the build, and do well with it.
If you are an experienced player, feel free to modify it to your liking.

Map Mods to avoid

No Regen
Elemental Reflect
(We can do elemental reflect with some modification, but I just reroll those maps, its easier.)

Why Inquisitor for Cold Dot?

Inquisitor is very tanky, and the super simple playstyle is why I think its best for newbies to do Cold Dot.
Yes, Occultist does more damage, but is squishier and has to deal with administering multiple curses.

Feel free to try this with Occultist, I am sure it would work too.

Can experienced players use this guide?


Yes, This guide works great as a league starter for experienced players.
It clears fast, particularly if you are good with managing Quicksilver flask usage.

Pros and Cons


Can use rares in every slot. Uniques help in some cases, but are not needed.
No Cluster Jewels
No expensive Empower or Enlighten gems
Good map clearing
Can map with cheap starter gear, yet scales with investment.
Easy simple play style
Great way for newbies to learn boss fights, as bosses are massively chilled (slowed) so you have time to see and react to what they do.

Mediocre Boss killing speed (but safe, due to super chilled bosses)
Damage does not scale well for doing endgame bosses.

Winertide Brand Explanation

Wintertide Brand is a brand, obviously.

Brands are cast on the ground, and jump to nearby enemies.
If an enemy dies with the brand on it, the brand will go to the ground and attempt to leap to a new target.
Brands have separate timers for how long they can be on the ground, and how long they can be attached.

Wintertide applies a cold dot to the enemy its attached to. The dot persists a short time after wintertide expires or leaves the mob.
While attached, and only while attached, multiple wintertide brands stack damage.

Each wintertide brand gains stacks the longer it remains attached. Stack gain rate is effected by cast speed. There is a hard cap of 20 stacks. The more stacks, the more damage it does.

We can have 5 Wintertide brands up at a time, with a max of 3 on any single target. (You get 3 brands at the start, then later you get a passive skill to make it 5)
Since Wintertide brands do more damage the longer they are attached it is VITAL that you NEVER over write an old brand with a new one.
You can see how many you have by looking at the buffs in the top left of your screen.

When wintertide expires or leaves an enemy it does an aoe, that puts a short duration cold dot on all nearby enemies.

We use a mastery to cause wintertide to switch targerts every time it activates, thus causing it to spread through packs quickly. Activation speed is effected by cast speed.

Wintertide Brand is a GREAT clear speed skill, but is mediocre on single target.

Vortex explanation

Vortex is a instant cast cold spell, centered on the player, and has a cooldown.
When Vortex goes off, it does an AoE hit of cold damage, and puts a circle of cold on the ground. Any mob whose hit box touches the cold circle takes cold damage over time.

We are scaling the DoT of Vortex, not the hit.

Vortex is a GOOD single target skill.

If you are using frostbolt projectiles, Vortex will be centered on the frostbolt projectiles instead of the player. We do not do this in this build. So Vortex for us is ALWAYS centered on the player.

The higher gem level Vortex gets, the bigger the circle, and the shorter the cooldown. (And more damage, of course)

Instant cast spells may be cast while moving, they do not interupt the casting of other spells, in fact may be cast in the middle of casting another spell.

We put Vortex on our left click, so it automatically goes off on cooldown as we move.

Since, for us, Vortex is always centered on us, it is not a great clear skill, but it is AMAZING for killing mobs chasing us. Just run away from a mob that chases (melee mobs) and watch them die in the Vortexes you leave behind.

Vortex does good single target damage, with the downside that you have to get close to the boss to make sure the boss's hit box is touching the cold circle Vortex leaves behind.

PoB explination

This is a hypothetical level 94 snapshot
The gear assumes you have spent a bit extra currency: A Skin of the Lords body armor, a +1 all skill gems weapon, a +1 cold gems ammy that is annointed with Golem's Blood, a corrupted 20/20 Wintertide gem, a corrupted 20/20 Vortex gem and the rest of the gear is garbage.

er...What is PoB?

PoB is Path of Building, a third party software, that lets you plan and share builds.
It is completely optional.
There will be browswer based skill trees linked below.

If you want PoB, make sure you download the community fork
(google search "path of building community fork")

Skills and Gem Links

Wintertide Brand (4b-r-g chest)
Supported by LifeTap, Efficacy, Bonechill, Controlled Destruction, Hypothermia
(Supports in order of importance)

Vortex (3b-r helm)
Supported by Lifetap, Controlled Destruction, Efficacy
Place Vortex on your left click, so it auto casts as you move!

Gloves or Boots(3r-b)
Molten Shell and Vaal Cold Snap both supported by Cast when Damage Taken and a level 1 Lifetap

Boots or Gloves (2B,r,?) (free socket)
Determination, Summon SKitterbots, Malevolence
(No links needed)
(Free socket can be Portal, or whatever)

Weapon 1 (3b)
Frost Bomb linked to Increased Area and a level 5 Arcane Surge

Weapon 2 has 3 skills (2b-r)
Flame Dash, Frostbite all supported by a level 1 Lifetap

Gear for starting mapping

Notes on Gearing for Starting Maps

We use ES base gear when possible. We want to stack ES
You will need 2 items to have dex, and 2 items to have str on your gear to start mapping.
After you get your Uber Lab done, you get 50 str from the last Ascendency points, and you will no longer need strength on gear.

Always get as much Life and resists on your gear.
You do NOT need to over cap your resists, we are 95% immune to curses.
Chaos resist is optional in early mapping, but is very nice if you can get it.
Bonus if the gear has +max ES and/or +%increased ES
Bonus if the gear has +life regen or +%life regen

Chest (ES Base) (4b-r-g)
Any 6 link ES chest will get you started in mapping.
Corrupted 6 links can be had relatively cheaply at league start.

Helm (ES Base) (3b-r)
Rare with Life and Resists

Weapons (either 2 wands or 2 melee weapons)
Get as much damage as you can afford on your weapons.
Weapons are our prime source of damage.
Possible mods are:
+1 to all cold spell skill gems, +1 to all spell skill gems, +% cold damage over time multiplier, +%damage over time multiplier, +%increased cold damage, +%increased spell damage, +%increased elemental damage.
Faster casting is a little helpful too.
Examples of some wands you may be able to afford at start of mapping.

Boots and Gloves
Rares with Life and Resists
One needs to be ES base, the other Armor base.
Armor base needs 3r-B
ES Base need 3b-r
Make sure the Boots have Movespeed, at least 25%, 30% preferable.

Rings, Ammy and Belt
Rares with life and resists will do.
Cast speed on rings is a nice bonus.

Get a corrupted jewel with "corrupted blood cannot be inflicted on you"
At this point you will not be able to afford any other good mods, but you might get lucky.

Passive Skill Tree (browser based)
(with leveling trees)

Ascendancy, Bandits and Pantheon

Iquisitor Ascendancy order
Pious Path
Augury of Penitence
Righteous Providence

If you want, you can swap the order of the last two Ascendency nodes, if you need the 50 str from Righteous Providence more than you need the dps and defense of Aurgury of Penitence.

Kill All

Major: Soul of the Brine King
(Make sure to Capture Litanius to make you immune to freezing)
Minor: Your Choice, Soul of Ryslatha or Soul of Garukhan

Anoint for Amulet

Anoint your amulet after you have a valuable enough amulet to justify the expense of the anoint.
See the Gear Upgrades section for what to look for in an amulet.

You have a choice as to what to Anoint

For More Offense
Season of Ice (Gold, Indigo, Black)

For More Defense
Golem's Blood (Gold, Gold, Teal)

Gold oils are expensive, so make sure your amulet is worthy of the expense.

As a temporary measure, you can anoint a cheap amulet with +30 dexterity (clear, clear, clear) or +30 str (clear clear speia)
This will help you meet stat requirements early.
You can easily get these oils in just a few Casia missions as Clear is the most common drop, and Sepia the second most common.

What is Anointing?

Randomly, in maps, you can find Cassia, she gives you a mission to clear some corruption from the map. The mission can drop oils, which can be traded. After the first mission you can (and should) invite Cassia to your hideout.
She has the ability to "anoint" an amulet with a Notable from the passive tree, but it costs 3 oils. Some anoints are cheap, some are expensive. Gold is the most expensive oil, it can cost 100c at the start of a league, so its silly to anoint a 5c amulet with 100+c of oils.


Life flask crafted to instantly recoup life
Basalt flask with remove bleeding/corrupting blood
Quicksilver flask (+% movespeed is nice here)
Granite flask (+% armor is nice here)
Quartz flask
Where the extra affix mods are does not matter, except movespeed needs to be on the Quicksilver.
Anti bleed and bonus armor can be anywhere, that leaves 1 extra spot for a mod.
Your choice, but anti shock or anti ignite is always nice.

Play Style

As long as you cast a non instant skill every 4 seconds, you keep up your consecrated ground.

Run through maps, casting a single Wintertide Brand on each pack.
If the pack has a yellow mob, cast Frost Bomb on the yellow mob.
Drop a Vortex on the yellow mob.
Everything dies! (to quote the witch)

On bosses, run in tight circles around the boss, to keep Vortex on the boss.
Avoid boss attacks.
Use Vaal Cold Snap on bosses to keep Frenzy Charges up.

Keep 3 Wintertide Brands on the boss.
Cast Frost Bomb every 5 seconds or so on the boss.
Keep your curse up on the boss.

Flask as needed.

Gear Upgrades

All of the below upgrades are dependent on PRICE, in some leagues some things are more expensive, others cheaper.

Get a Skin of Loyal.
The price of this item varies a LOT, so if it is too expensive, get a nice rare with lots of ES and other nice mods.

You cannot modify the socket color of The Skin of the Loyal, you must buy it with the right colors. 4b-r-g, UNLESS you can also afford a Empower support level 4, then drop Hypothermia support and swap in Empower, then you need 4b-2r for colors.
If you have currency to burn, you can corrupt or double corrupt this chest.
Desirable corruptions are: +1 socketed gems, +2 socketed Aoe gems, +2 socketed Duration gems.

The best belt upgrade is a Replica Soul Tether.
These are crazy expensive early league, and get cheap late league.
Upgrade when it seems cost effective.

There are two ways to go here, buy two expensive 1 handed weapons, OR buy an expensive staff, Cane of Kulemak.

1 handed weapons choice (more expensive, higher damage ceiling)

Get as many good mods on your wands as you can afford, +1 all cold skill gems, +1 all spell skill gems, +% cold damage over time multiplier, +%increased cold damage, +%increased spell damage. Of less use, but still useful, +% faster cast rate.
The more good mods it has, the more the wand costs.

Cane of Kulemak Choice (less expensive, lower damage ceiling)

Cane of Kulemak is a staff that drops with 3 random unveiled mods.
The mods are always boosted much higher than can be found on other items.
With the right 3 mods they are very nice for this build.
They vary in price a LOT, so it's hard to predict how much they will cost each league, BUT...BUT...the mods we want are not in demand, so it should not be too expensive.

You want the following mods on the Staff
+%Cold Damage over Time
+%Cast Speed
+%Increased Cold Damage
+%Increased Spell Damage

These should be relatively cheap.

You don't need to 6 link, saving more currency.
You will have to make it 6 socket, and get the colors right.

A shaper influenced helm can get a prefix "Socketed gems are supported by level 20 Increased Area of Effect", and a suffix "Socketed gems are supported by level 20 Hypothermia"
Helms can also have "socketed gems do 30% more elemental damage" if crafted with an Essence of Horror.
You can buy or craft such a helm.
To craft, buy a high ES base Shaper Helm, at least ilvl 80, preferably ilvl 83, and spam Essence of Horrors on it, until you get what you want.

This is expensive.

A less expensive option is to have ONE of the two mods, Supported by Hypothermia or Socketed gems do 30% increased elemental damage.

You can invest a LOT into an amulet, get what you can afford.
Possible mods:+% cold damage, +%damage over time multiplier, +1 all intelligence skill gems (hunter), +1 all cold spell skill gems (redeamer)
The desired Anointments for this build are relatively expensive, deserving of an expensive amulet to put them on.

Possible mods: +%increased cold damage, curse enemies with frostbite on hit (redeamer)(delve),
Curse frostbite on hit frees up a gem socket and makes for one less button to push. Self casting is a bit stronger curse, as it gains doom.

Possible mods: +%increased cooldown recovery rate (crusader), chance to gain an endurance charge on kill (redeamer), chance to gain onslaught on kill (redeamer), cannot be frozen, cannot be chilled.

Fingerless silk gloves can have an implicit of up to 16% increased spell damage
Apothocary's gloves can have an implicit of up to 18% increased damage over time.
Possible mods: +%cold damage over time multiplier (shaper)(hunter), +%faster cast rate (shaper), +%increased damage over time (warlord)

Required mods: Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you, increased %max life.
Possible mods: Cold damage over time multiplier, damage over time multiplier, cold damage, spell damage, damage over time.

Watcher's Eye
Possible mods:
+(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
(8-12)% increased Recovery rate of Life and Energy Shield while affected by Malevolence
Unaffected by Bleeding while affected by Malevolence
Unaffected by Poison while affected by Malevolence
(5-8)% additional Physical Damage Reduction while affected by Determination
You take (60-40)% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes while affected by Determination

Global Chat Channel for this build
type "/global 8123" in chat (without the quotes)
This will let you discus this build with others.
(The channel is also used for my other newbie builds.)
I will be in this channel, when I am logged in.

Last edited by Odif on Jun 18, 2022, 10:42:32 AM
Last bumped on Aug 16, 2022, 5:37:05 PM
Obsolete info
Leveling with this Build, for Newbies

I recommend doing all quests as you level, along with league mechanics. This will cause you to be over leveled, which helps a lot. This is NOT necessary, if you want to rush, you can.

When you get to town at level 2, check the wand vendor (nessa) and the armor vendor (tarkleigh) for linked BRR and BBB items.
Do this EVERY time you go to town, until you get them.
(BBB item is for Flame Wall then later for Wintertide Brand, BRR for Holy Flame totem
I cannot stress this enough, DO THIS EVERY TIME YOU GO TO TOWN, until you have both.
At low level, gem links are more important than stats.

(This assumes you are league starting. If you already have a Tabula Rasa and other leveling gear, you don't need to buy 3 link items.)

You will need dex on your gear.
I suggest buying a Jade amulet from Nessa.
You will also need some strength on gear early on.
I suggest buying a Heavy belt from nessa.
Even white items are ok, you NEED the stats.
When you get your crafting bench in Act 2, you can craft strength and dexterity on your gear as needed.

You just killed Hillock and made it to the first town.

Take Purifying Flame as your first reward.
Head out into Act 1. (remember to check the vendors)

How do I buy gems?

In acts 1-4, the vendor that sells wands and flasks also sells gems (tab 2)
They sell all gems that are offered to you as quest rewards PLUS some others.
These gems are sold PARTIALLY LEVELED, so when you can buy from them do so. They do not sell all gems, which ones they sell are class dependent. I.E. if you are a Witch they sell mostly caster gems.

In act 3 there is a side quest in the Library. When you do this, you unlock a gem vendor in the library that sells all Acts 1-3 gems in the game except the few that are drop only.
This vendor sells all gems at level 1.
this vendor requires you have the currency in your inventory, which can be annoying.

In act 6, after you do some quests, a in town gem vendor is unlocked, She sells all gems in the game that are not drop only. She sells them at level 1.


You will need wisdom scrolls to buy the first few skill gems.
Later you will need transmutation orbs to buy skill gems.
Still later you will need alteration orbs to buy gems.
Transmutation orbs are a bit scarce early on so...

Sell unidentified blue items for transmutation scraps.
Sell identified yellow items for alteration scraps.
You need several transmutation orbs, so sell LOTS of unidentified blue items early on.
I recommend picking up ALL blue items in Act 1 and selling them unidentified.
Once you have a surplus of transmutation orbs, stop picking up blue items.

Sell armor scraps and blacksmiths whetstones to get more wisdom scrolls.

Later in the game you will get more transmutation orbs and wisdom scrolls than you can deal with, so the above only applies to the first few acts of the game. Later on, save your armor scraps and blacksmith whetstones, and stop picking up blue items.

You will always need Alteration orbs.
(crafting good flasks at high level can take hundreds of alteration orbs for each flask)
So make a habit of picking up yellow items, identifying them, and vendoring them.
To make for less trips to town, you can choose to only pick up the smaller items, gloves, helms, boots, daggers, wands, rings, amulets, and belts.

NOTE: In the below details, only quests that give access to needed gems are listed. I still recommend you do ALL quests.

Brief Leveling overview

Purifying flame till level 4 (approx)
Holy Flame Totem and Flame Wall till level 13 (approx)
Wintertide Brand and Frost Bomb till level 28 (approx)
Wintertide Brand, Vortex and Frost Bomb thereafter
In late Act 7, do Cruel Lab, switch over to using Life instead of Mana to cast spells, via Lifetap support

The build is a bit slow until you get Wintertide Brand at level 13.
Over leveling (kill everything) helps mitigate this.
Don't be discouraged, once you get Wintertide Brand, the build is AMAZING.

Act 1

Goals for Act 1
Holy Flame Totem linked to Added Fire Damage and Added Lightning Damage.
Flame Wall linked to Efficacy and Arcane Surge (level 1)
Transition to....
Wintertide Brand linked to Efficacy and Arcane Surge (level 1).
Frost Bomb unlinked (optionally linked to Efficacy)
Movement: Frost Blink transition to Flame Dash
Auras: Vitality and level 1 Clarity

(Only quests that give needed gem rewards are listed. Do all quests!

Do Mercy Mission quest
Take Quicksilver Flask and Arcane Surge as reward.
(It's ok if Arcane Surge is level 2 when you get it, just don't level it up any more.)
Link to Purifying Flame for now.

Do Breaking some eggs quest
There are 2 rounds of rewards.
Take Flame Wall in the first reward.
Take Frost Blink as a reward in second round.
Buy Holy Flame Totem from vendor.
Link Flame Wall to Arcane Surge (level 1)

You can have 1 totem up at a time.
You can have 3 flame walls up at a time.
Holy Flame Totems projectiles gain a LOT of damage when they pass thru Flame Wall.
Place your Totem down, then put a flame wall right in front of it.
Put additional flame walls on top of enemies.

Enter Lower Prison and take Way Point back to town
Take Added Lightning Damage as reward
Buy Added Fire Damage and an Efficacy from the gem vendor.
Link Added Lightning and Added Fire to Holy Flame Totem
Link Efficacy along with Arcane Sure (level 1) to Flame Wall

Brutus Killing Tips
Keep the totem in between you and Brutus. This is the top, and only, priority.
Put down Flame Walls, when you can, but move to make the totem in between you and Brutus!
The totem will taunt him, and it makes the fight easy.

After you kill Brutus
Take Flame dash as reward, replace Frost Blink.
Buy Vitality and Clarity from the vendor.
Vitality is priority over Clarity, if you are short of transmutation orbs.
(see CURRENCY above)
Keep Clarity at level 1.
(to keep a gem at level 1, instead of left clicking the little box to level it up, RIGHT click it. This will freeze the level of that gem. It will show up in your inventory screen, at the lower left, you can level it there with a left click if you need to.)

Enter Cavern of Wrath.
Take Way Point back to town.
Buy Wintertide Brand from vendor.
Assuming you are level 13, you will have the Brand Mastery that makes Wintertide Brand work really well.
Discard Holy Flame Totem and Fire Wall
Link Efficacy and Arcane Surge (level 1) to Wintertide Brand
Buy Frost Bomb from vendor, optionally buy a second Efficacy and link to Frost Bomb

This is where the build takes off.
Wintertide Brand is AMAZING as a leveling skill.

It is easy mode for the rest of the campaign, due to Wintertide Brand.

Act 2:

Goals for Act 2
Wintertide Brand linked to Efficacy and Controlled Destruction, (faster casting)
Frost Bomb linked to Arcane Surge (level 1)
Movement: Flame Dash
Auras: Vitality, Clarity (level 1)

Binding orbs can be found as early as Act 2.
When used on a white item, they turn it yelllow, and FORCE 4 linked sockets on it.
If you should find some, use on a pure ES chest, for your Wintertide Brand and if you get a second one, save it for act 3 to use on a pure ES helm for Vortex. It may be worth using chromes early on, on a 4 link, to get desired colors, BUT only if the item is the proper base. I.E. ES base items are more likely to get blue colors.


Do Sharp and Cruel quest
Take Controlled Destruction as a reward
Link to Wintertide Brand
Move Arcane Surge (level 1) to Frost Bomb
Buy a Faster Casting from vendor.
Link to Wintertide Brand if you have a 4link (4b)
If not, level Faster Casting in your weapon swap, until you do have a 4link.

Act 3

Goals for Act 3
Wintertide Brand linked to Efficacy and Controlled Destruction, Faster Casting
Vortex linked to Controlled Destruction, Efficacy (hypothermia)
Frost Bomb linked to Arcane Surge (level 1)
Movement: Flame Dash
Auras: Determination, Vitality, Clarity (level 1)

Mana will start being an issue.
Use Mana flasks liberally.
Remember to upgrade your mana flasks.

4 links start dropping in Act 3 and can sometimes be found in a Vendor. Keep your eye out for the right colors,


Do Lost in Love quest
Take Frostbite as reward
Buy Determination from vendor

Do Sever the Right Hand
We do not need the reward
Buy Vortex from the vendor
Link with Efficacy and Controlled Destruction (hypothermia if you have a 4 link)
(buy Efficacy in Act 1 and Controlled Destruction in act 2)
Make Vortex your Left Click skill.
This will cause it to auto cast on cooldown while moving.

Act 4

Goals for Act 4
Wintertide Brand linked to Efficacy and Controlled Destruction, Bonechill
Vortex linked to Efficacy, Controlled Destruction, Hypothermia
Frost Bomb linked to Arcane Surge (level 1)
Movement: Flame Dash
Auras: Determination, Vitality, Clarity (level 1)


Do The Eternal Nightmare quest
Take Increased Area of Effect as reward
Link to Frost Bomb along with Arcane Surge (level 10
Buy Bonechill from vendor.
Link to Wintertide Brand, replacing Faster Casting

Acts 5-6

You now have your base skills, and its time to focus on life and resists on gear.
Killing Kitava at the end of act 5 will give you a permanent -30% to all resists, and Killing Kitava at the end of act 10 will give another permanent -30% to all resists, so you need to start looking for gear with the right sockets that also has life and resists on it. Elemental resists are more important than chaos resist.

The other thing is to start looking for is flasks with good mods, like a life flask with anti bleeding.

It should be going easy here, with only your addiction to mana flasks holding you back.

Act 7 and Cruel Lab

The 3rd trial for Cruel Lab can be found in the Chamber of Sins level 2.
After doing that, you can do Cruel Lab
Cruel Lab is a level 55 zone, I like being level 57 or higher before I do it.
After doing Cruel Lab you will get Pious Path ascendancy node.
This gives us so much life and energy shield regen, we can now afford to switch over to using life to cast spells, and discard our mana flask.

This involves recoloring our gear, or buying new gear with the right colors.

Helm (3b-r)
Vortex linked to Lifetap, Efficacy, Controlled Destruction

Body Armor (3b-r) or (4b-r) or (4b-r-g) (depending on if you have a 4 link, 5link or 6link chest)
It may be worth buying a 5 link chest at this point.
Check prices, you may be able to afford a tabula, or a cheap corrupted 6 link.

Wintertide Brand linked to Lifetap, Efficacy, Bonechill, Controlled Destruction, Hypothermia

Flame Dash and Frostbite linked to Lifetap (level 1) somewhere in your gear.

Leave Frost Bomb to use Mana so it can proc Arcane Surge.

We stop using Vitality and Clarity (level 1)
We start using Summon Skitterbots and Malevolence
(Buy Skitterbots in Act 6, and Malevolence in Act 3)

If you have the gem links available, Link Molten Shell to Cast When Damage Take and Lifetap (level 1)

Leveled Lifetap can be purchased in act 1 from vendor
Level 1 Lifetap can be purchased in act 6 from vendor
Molten Shell can be purchased in Act 1
Cast When Damage taken can be purchased in Act 4

Acts 8-10

Easy Mode
Just cruise thru these acts, rejoicing in the power of Wintertide Brand

Do Merciless lab before killing Kitava.

You have killed act 10 Kitava, what now?

Do the questline that gives you access to maps.
Try and get all the gear listed in the Base Gear section.

Make sure your elemental resists are at 75% or higher.
If you can, get chaos resist to 75, but this is optional.
You can use your crafting bench to supplement gear you buy.

Start Mapping!

I have moved my General Newbie Help files to a single location.


All newbies should click on that link and read the "General Information for Newbies" section.
Last edited by Odif on Jun 18, 2022, 10:41:59 AM
Last edited by Odif on Jun 18, 2022, 10:42:13 AM
thank for helping new players!
Last edited by ariyako on Jan 3, 2022, 2:05:46 AM
Ya, I have not made the PoB yet.
Ok, the guide is complete, although I expect some tweaking as I go along.

I made a Reddit post advirtising it.

Ok, fixed the PoB link
Seems the original one I posted had Mind over Matter allocated.
Opse, typo.

Your builds are always interesting to look upon, Odif, thanks for that ! Newcomers really should take a look.

Some thoughts:

I never tried Wintertide Brand, but according to poewiki Elemental Focus doesn't prevent chill effect for some reason. If so, it would be a very good support, better than Efficacy even when taking account of duration (my math might be wrong though) or Hypothermia (that's for sure).

Do you need to put emphasis on Vortex duration ? If not, Swift Affliction support may prove better than Efficacy, else again Elemental Focus is a good option.

Unless you absolutely want to use Arcane Surge support, I think you could consider running Eldricht Battery. You don't have any Energy Shield recovery mechanic, so it doesn't appear as a great loss not having ES protecting life. On the other hand, you could fully reserve mana (running Vitality or supporting Skitterbots with unbound ailments) and replace all Lifetap supports with better options.

Ok, I modified the skill tree a bit.
We have more life, and a bit less damage.

A new PoB and new poeplanner is up.

This was in response to my play testing.
PoitelMarto wrote:
Your builds are always interesting to look upon, Odif, thanks for that ! Newcomers really should take a look.

Some thoughts:

I never tried Wintertide Brand, but according to poewiki Elemental Focus doesn't prevent chill effect for some reason. If so, it would be a very good support, better than Efficacy even when taking account of duration (my math might be wrong though) or Hypothermia (that's for sure).

Do you need to put emphasis on Vortex duration ? If not, Swift Affliction support may prove better than Efficacy, else again Elemental Focus is a good option.

Unless you absolutely want to use Arcane Surge support, I think you could consider running Eldricht Battery. You don't have any Energy Shield recovery mechanic, so it doesn't appear as a great loss not having ES protecting life. On the other hand, you could fully reserve mana (running Vitality or supporting Skitterbots with unbound ailments) and replace all Lifetap supports with better options.

The Elemental Focus thing was a bug, they fixed it a while back.
I tested it, it DOES stop chill.
After more testing, Elemental Focus prevents WINTERTIDE BRAND from chilling, but does NOT prevent Vortex from chilling.

I like duration on Vortex, but swift affliction is certainly an option.

We have MASSIVE ES recovery from Inquisitor.
Inquisitor gets ES regen equal to Life regen.
It is the primary reason we use Inquisitor over Occultist.
It allows us to stack ES in a useful way to be WAY more tanky.
(The other reason we go Inquisitor is 95% curse immune. I love ignoring curses SO much.)
Last edited by Odif on Jan 13, 2022, 12:49:37 PM

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