[3.23] Eye of Winter Triggerbot Assassin: >5000 projectiles per second (update + league start guide)

Eye of Winter Triggerbot Assassin:
This build use a chain-triggering mechanic with Eye of Winter returning projectiles to generate thousands of shards per second with near screen-wide clear and then focus them down for single-target damage. ~20 Million single-target DPS on a 65 divine budget (at time of writing), scalable to >100 Million DPS at high investment. League-start compatible for patch 3.23 (but you'll be going Armageddon Brand until maps). Note: projectile spam can lead to slowdowns in dense content; high quality hardware recommended. You've been warned.

Current character's status (Affliction League)

3.23 League Start Video Guide
Full-Investment Build Guide Video (3.22)
Budget Build Guide Update Video (3.22)

Skill showcase:

Clear-speed showcase:

The Feared (84% quant) bossing showcase:

Build Overview:

This build centers around the use of Eye of Winter and Arcanist Brand combined with returning projectiles from Nimis. This tech forces the shard projectiles from Eye of Winter which normally fly out in a wide spiral to be focused down to a single point at the character, enabling strong single-target DPS. Additionally, the build sets up a chain of triggering events with Brand Recall and then uses triggerbots to double all instances of triggered spells. This creates a multiplier to the number of Eyes of Winter which are generated with a single skill use. Altogether, this results in generating over 5000 projectiles per second, over 1000 of which are capable of shotgunning on single targets.

This build guide contains gearing and passive tree suggestions for investment levels from virtually nothing at league start up to a full-investment version requiring Mageblood + 100 divines. All mechanics of the build will come fully online by around level 85, but I have also provided a leveling section that includes a thorough guide for completing the campaign and early maps with Armageddon Brand and then transitioning into Eye of Winter and progressing with it. The build is league-start viable when following this guide, but it won't be the fastest or most efficient in that scenario. It really shines at higher investments. If your goal is to min-max the league start economy, I suggest looking elsewhere.

While I've tried to make the guide as detailed as possible, the mechanics behind the build are relatively complex; I do not suggest this build for newer players. Apart from the specific stats required to enable the mechanics outlined in the guide, the build’s gearing is flexible so consider it as a skeleton that can be built on and branched off of.

Offenses: 9/10 (8/10 budget build, 4/10 league start)
· Straightforward to reach 10s of millions of boss damage per second.
· Breaking 100 million dps is possible with Mageblood.
· Close to screen-wide coverage with our projectiles
· Easy to focus damage for single-target, no gear swapping needed.
· Corpse explosions for clear speed and fluid mapping.
· Peak damage depends on character positioning.
· Skills activate from triggerbot position.

Defenses: 7/10 (5/10 league start)
· Reasonable life pool (4k life, 1k energy shield)
· >30% additional elemental reduction on top of resistances
· Capped spell suppression
· Life and energy shield on hit (instant leech) with many projectiles
· Relatively low physical max hit, cannot tank pinnacle boss slams

Quality of Life: 8/10 (6/10 budget build, 6/10 league start)
· One or two button playstyle in maps, plus two for curses on bosses
· >150% movement speed (~100% on budget)
· Ailment immunity
· Stun immunity (partial on budget)
· Curse immunity (partial on budget)
· Crowd control from freeze
· Permanent phasing (not on budget)
· Projectile spam can lead to slowdowns, texture downgrading
· Brand / skitterbot playstyle not for everyone

Path of Building:
3.23: League Start through Endgame passive trees, skill guide, and leveling tips

Legacy builds for additional ideas and gearing suggestions:
3.22: Budget, minimum viable build for post-campaign, level 71
3.22: Budget, endgame, level 94
3.22: Full investment, endgame, level 100

Notes on the PoB: Path of Building cannot accurately estimate DPS for this build archetype - it does not know how many Eyes of Winter we're generating so it just uses our arcanist brand trigger rate. The PoB average damage per hit number is accurate though. To estimate DPS, multiply the hit damage by the number of projectiles (EoW shards) generated and then again by the ratio of projectiles you think will hit the enemy. For single target, 50% is a reasonable assumption. This is discussed in more detail in the mechanics section.


Eye of Winter + Arcanist Brand + Nimis

Baseline Eye of Winter:

At baseline, Eye of Winter (EoW) is a skill which fires a single "eye" projectile from the character which itself deals no damage, but as it travels it releases a total of 31 shards which deal cold damage on hit. These shards spiral outwards from the eye with 8 of them being released in a single spiral when the eye dissipates. Additionally, the shards get a more multiplier to their damage at the end of their flight. The downside of the skill, however, is that it is very difficult to target the shards with the baseline skill.

You can overcome this by using the unique ring Nimis which provides the mod "Projectiles return to you." This lets you use the character's positioning to influence the path of all EoW projectiles, both the main eye and the secondary shards. By standing on top of enemies, you can force a large percentage of the shards to hit them instead of flying off in every direction. The downside of Nimis, "your projectiles are fired in random directions," can largely be ignored because the EoW shards are already going in all directions anyway.

By default, EoW has a very long maximum range which typically means that the eye projectile would only return upon colliding with the terrain. This can be overcome by linking EoW to Arcanist Brand (AB). AB will automatically trigger linked spells which means it's great quality of life because it keeps recasting our skill for us, but more importantly it contains the line "Projectiles from supported skills have 4.8 meters maximum range." This line overwrites the maximum range of the EoW eye projectile, forcing it to return to the character. By reaching a "sweet spot" in projectile speed, the eye will dissipate at the character's position, leading to more hits against the enemy and getting the "end of flight" damage bonus.

Eye of Winter + Arcanist Brand + Nimis:

In order to have the EoW dissipate at the character and achieve maximum single-target DPS, the eye needs to have sufficient projectile speed so that it can travel out and back to the character prior to dissipating. The sweet spot for projectile speed with this skill is approximately 175% generic projectile speed OR approximately 100% generic projectile speed plus Vengeant Cascade which provides 150% increased speed to returning projectiles. This build reaches the needed projectile speed with a helmet enchantment, alternate quality skill gems, medium cluster jewel notables, a high tier weapon suffix, and the amulet annointment.
Patch 3.23 Note: Lost helmet enchantment and quality on alternate gems for projectile speed. Can make it up with dual wielding wands, an extra medium cluster jewel, or a combination of the two

Chain-Triggering and Triggerbots:

To gain large multipliers to the number of projectiles we create and our damage, we use a sequence of triggering events alongside Triggerbots. The triggerbots come from the Saboteur ascendancy notable "Perfect Crime" which we access via Forbidden Jewels.

The triggerbots cause all activations of triggered skills to instead occur twice, once at at each bot's location. The build takes advantage of this by setting up a chain of triggered events. We socket the skill Brand Recall (BR) into a weapon with the mod "trigger a socketed spell on using a skill."

Any time a skill is used and BR is off cooldown, it will trigger twice, activating all of our brands two times. This build takes all sources of increased maximum brands, so we have 7 total brands, meaning we activate arcanist brand 14 times. Arcanist Brand itself is triggering Eye of Winter - each of these triggers are ALSO doubled. The result is that a single activation of Brand Recall causes 28 Eyes of Winter to be created, which then in turn each create 31 shards, leading to a massive amount of projectiles.

Using a level 21 Sniper's Mark curse, we can cause each of those shards to split towards 5 additional targets, multiplying our projectile number into the thousands. We then simply scale the cooldown recovery rate of Brand Recall and maximize the damage of each individual shard.

Solving Mana Costs:

Brand Recall spends mana for each activated brand. When chain-triggering, those mana costs add up very quickly. If you run out of mana, the triggers will not occur. To solve the mana cost issue, we reduce the cost of Arcanist Brand and Brand Recall to zero by stacking sources of "reduced mana cost of skills."

First, we use Divergent Inspiration which provides 44% reduced cost (with the quality) as well as some damage scaling for our elemental damage and critical strike chance.
Patch 3.23 note: Divergent Inspiration removed from the game. Net loss is 5% reduced mana cost; can easily make this up with a jewelry prefix.

Second, we use a Militant Faith Timeless Jewel with the line "1% reduced mana cost of skills per 10 devotion." Taking passives within the radius of our timeless jewel then gives mana cost reduction.

Finally, in the high investment version of the build, we use the crafted flask suffix with increased flask effect and obtain permanent uptime on its effect with Mageblood. The flask alone provides 47% reduced mana cost.

At lower budgets, Mageblood is not an option so we make up for this by taking several more passive points around the timeless jewel, crafting reduced mana cost on the rare ring, and pathing to the Dreamer and Righteous Decree notables on the passive tree. Please see the Path of Building links to compare the different versions of the tree. This allows us to offset the mana cost reduction that we lost from our flask and therefore still reach zero cost.
Budget, endgame, level 94
Full investment, endgame, level 100

Scaling Damage:

This build takes the Assassin ascendancy so scaling critical strike chance and damage are obvious options. With the ascendancy notables, a brittle ground boot implicit, and per-power charge scaling on the passive tree, it is straightforward to reach 100% critical strike chance. Again using the ascendancy passives, the passive tree, and a Critical Damage Support gem, the full investment version of the build reaches ~500% critical strike multiplier.

We pick up another more multiplier by using a Militant Faith from Dominus which provides the Inner Convictino keystone. This gives us 3% more spell damage per power charge so we take all sources of +1 Power Charge on the passive tree.

Since we are using Divergent Inspiration in our main skill links for it's mana cost reduction, we carefully balance the mana costs of our support skills (curses and Convocation) using a regular quality Inspiration. This way, they will have non-zero mana costs and therefore generate inspiration charges on use. This provides a 25% more multiplier to Eye of Winter when at full Inspiration charges.

Finally, we use two offensive auras, Hatred and Zealotry for their more multipliers as well as Herald of Ice for the additional flat cold damage and clear speed that it provides. Using two curses, we reduce the enemies cold resistance (Frostbite) and cause them to take increased damage from projectiles (Sniper's Mark).

All told, the high investment build has each shard causing just under 100k damage per hit against enemies on our brittle ground and on low life. When not under these optimistic conditions, the average hit damage is closer to 72k. To estimate the DPS for the build against single targets, you multiply the per-shard hit damage by the number of shotgunning shards we generate per second (1710) and then by the ratio of shards that we estimate actually hit the enemy. 50% is a fair estimate for this value.


This build uses a standard Eternal Damnation / Loreweave combination to achieve additional elemental damage reduction on top of standard resistances.

The build caps spell suppression at 100%. In the high investment version of the build, we use a quartz flask with increased flask effect. Since this flask also provides phasing, we take the spell s uppression mastery for another guaranteed 8% suppression. Alongside the whole of the Instinct wheel on the passive tree and three rare armour suffixes, we reach 100%. On the low investment version of the build, a Watcher's Eye with the "additional chance to suppress spell damage while affected by Grace" is used to make up for the lost flask.

The build's largest vulnerability is against physical damage. Using a Determination aura, an increased effect granite flask and a flask suffix, we reach just under 19k armour. This is sufficient for general purpose mapping but will not provide sufficient mitigation against large physical hits such as boss slams.

For physical damage over time, we get bleed immunity by stacking 100% chance to avoid through a boot implicit and the Tolerance wheel on the passive tree. Taking the Tolerance wheel also provides access to the protection mastery for corrupted blood immunity. While there are other sources of immunity to bleed and corrupted blood, we are forced to take passives near our timeless jewel in order to achieve enough devotion to solve mana costs, so this is an effective use of the passive points.

The build's recovery is mostly in the form of leech. We get access to life leech from the Doryani’s Lesson notable on a large cluster jewel. For energy shield leech, we take the light eater passive wheel on the skill tree. This wheel also provides us access to the leech mastery in order to get 10% instant leech. This instant leech gives us 19 life and 9 energy shield on hit. Since we’re generating so many projectiles, this is a very effective form of recovery.

In the high investment version of the build, Progenesis is used to increase our effective health against hits. We guarantee uptime on Progenesis, even against bosses, by using a Watcher's Eye with the mod "gain a flask charge when you deal a critical strike while affected by precision." Since this version of the build uses Mageblood, all flask charges are funneled to the unique flask so uptime is guaranteed. We combine this with a total of 30% recoup from the Infused Flesh wheel on the passive tree to completely offset the life loss over time from Progenesis. In the budget version of the build, this layer of defense must be given up.



This guide will show the rare gear from my high-investment character. For gearing at a lower budget, see the suggested gear in my budget path of building or refer to the low investment build guide video.

Trigger Weapon:
There are several options of trigger weapon archetypes; I suggest using a wand and shield combination for a well-rounded character, but there are higher DPS options if you are willing to forego some defenses. Here is a video with suggestions for other options.

Our weapon has several mandatory mods and then a few mods for scaling damage. Projectile speed is almost required to reach the necessary amount for returning projectiles, and the unveiled trigger mod is needed to enable the trigger chaining mechanic. It will be difficult to find a suitable weapon on trade, so it will likely need to be crafted.

Start from a fractured projectile speed spell damage base. I have chosen to use a base with 188 intelligence requirement. Note that you can squeeze out a little more spell damage on the implicit, but you will not have as much room for tattoos which I think provide a lot more to the build.

You will then use deafening essences of woe which guarantees a high spell damage prefix mod along with the fractured speed mod. Spam these essences until you receive +1 level to cold or all spell skill gems alongside the spell damage mod.

The craft of exile website estimates that this will take on average 269 essences. If you have three prefixes at this point, you can proceed. If you have only two, you’ll need to fill the third prefix, preferably with a caster mod.

At this point, craft “prefixes cannot be changed” and use a veiled chaos orb. This guarantees a veiled suffix. Craft a damage over time multiplier on the crafting bench to block mods and then unveil with Jun, looking for the trigger mod. It may take several attempts to land the correct unveil. If you don’t get the trigger mod, select something else, and reattempt this portion of the craft. Note that the veiled chaos orb runs the risk of filling your suffixes in which case you will need to land a 2/3 annul to reattempt the process. If the annul removes one of the important prefixes, you’ll need to restart the craft. Once you land the trigger mod, craft critical strike multiplier and you have your finished weapon.

Rare Armour:
The rare armour pieces are straightforward. We look for a mixture of high life, suppression, chaos resist, attribute, and elemental resistance rolls. Simply verify that you're capping resistances and meeting attribute requirements while assembling the build.

The gloves will require at least the crafted version of the +1 pierce mod. You will also likely need to roll the eldritch implicits on all gear yourself. The helmet is best crafted by starting with the lab enchanted base, then rolling with essences.

In the high investment version of the character, the mana reservation efficiency from both the explicit and implicit mods on the helmet are mandatory to fit all our auras. Spam essences of loathing until you hit acceptable suffixes: two high attribute, resistance, or suppression mods alongside the MRE essence mod. The use eldritch embers to make the exarch dominant and roll the prefixes looking for a high tier of life with eldritch chaos. Finish the items with the benchcraft and eldritch implicits.

Rare Ring:
The rare ring slot is very flexible; use it to patch any gaps in the build. Critical strike multiplier is likely the best essence modifier. Note that you do not need a fancy synthesized implicit but there are plenty of good options in the ring slot for some quality of life.

In the high investment version of the character, we use the crafted prefix to add flat fire or lightning damage to our skills (whichever you're missing, or both) or take generic % increased damage. The former allows our critical strikes to shock and ignite in order to benefit from the Sadist cluster jewel passive. In the low investment version of the character, you'll instead need to use the "5% reduced mana cost of skills" craft.


For flasks, we use four magic flasks with the increased effect enchant and prefix. Our bases will be granite, quartz, diamond, and quicksilver. You can get the suffixes in any order but you’ll want a tier one shock avoidance suffix to enable ailment immunity with stormshroud, an increased armour suffix to scale physical mitigation, a tier one chance to avoid stun mods for stun immunity, and the reduced mana cost craft. You’ll run the quicksilver flask 99% of the time but swap in a similar elemental damage reduction flask like a sapphire flask when you run bosses.

In the budget version of the character, we will be using similar flasks, but swapping out the armour base and suffix for evasion versions. The non-Mageblood flasks will be enchanted with "used when full" on the crafting bench and should have useful prefixes like "gain a charge on critical strike," "increased duration," or "increased charge recovery."


Our unique gear is straightforward; Eternal Damnation is our amulet and will be anointed with Vengeant Cascade. Finding a version with a high positive chaos resistance roll is helpful for capping resistance, but not mandatory if you can make it up elsewhere. Many of the stats on Loreweave are useful for our build, but the most important roll is getting the 78% maximum resistance roll. The next most useful stats would likely be a high life roll and a decent amount of attributes. A four flask Mageblood provides excellent quality of life. Finally, the rolls on our Nimis are not critically important, but the more dexterity you’re able to get the easier it will be to reach attribute requirements on the build.

For our final flask slot, we will use Progenesis for the increased effective health that it provides us. It's also helpful for helping top off the last bit of chaos resist needed to overcap. The health loss over time is offset by recoup from the passive tree, as discussed previously.

Unique Jewels:

Our final gear pieces are the unique jewels. We use the forbidden jewels, an Impossible Escape to save us 6 passive points, and a Militant Faith with reduced mana cost as discussed previously. The next best mod on the Militant Faith is probably the elemental resistances per devotion mod to relieve pressure on our gear suffixes, but there are other good options as well. A Watcher’s Eye with the flask charge generation mod is mandatory for unique flask uptime, but try to find one that also has other useful mods. Finally, use the Stormshroud jewel to transform our 100% chance to avoid shock into complete elemental ailment immunity.

Gem Setups:

Main Skill: Arcanist Brand / Eye of Winter

Our main skill is our 6-link Arcanist Brand / Eye of Winter setup socketed in our body armour. Since we have a high critical strike chance, Increased Critical Damage support is a very effective link. We use two awakened gems: Added Cold Damage and Cold Penetration supports. The awakened versions grant an additinoal level to our eye of winter and provide a chance to inflict cold exposure on hit. The final link is divergent inspiration. This helps solve our mana problems, provides a more elemental damage multiplier, and gives a little extra critical strike chance.
Patch 3.23 note: Divergent Inspiration removed from the game. Net loss is 5% reduced mana cost; can easily make this up with a jewelry prefix.
Patch 3.23 note: Alternate quality EoW / AB removed from the game. Loss of projectile speed can be recovered with additional cluster jewels or dual wielding wands.

Brand Recall:

Our second damaging ability is our brand recall setup. This must be socketed in our trigger weapon to enable the chain triggering mechanic. We use an alternate quality Anomalous Brand Recall to get more cooldown recovery rate which increases our brand activations per second. Since brand recall doesn't deal damage directly, we can go all in on the cooldown recovery by supporting with Enhance for additional quality. Note that you could instead use Empower here; the cooldown recovery scaling for Brand Recall is identical per gem level of Empower or Enhance. Ideally, you would like to use both exceptional supports, but in order to properly reduce our mana costs, we are forced to use Divergent inspiration as our final link.
Patch 3.23 note: Divergent Inspiration removed from the game. Net loss is 5% reduced mana cost; can easily make this up with a jewelry prefix.
Patch 3.23 note: Alternate quality Brand Recall removed from the game. Cooldown reduction per quality moved to standard version of the gem. No net change.

Support Skills: Curses and Convocation:

Our two offensive curses are self-cast for bossing and are placed in our glove slots. We also use convocation which recalls all minions that are following us. This is used to reposition our triggerbots which tend to wander away towards enemy packs. We again use Inspiration support to lower mana costs for these three skills. However, importantly we are using regular quality instead of divergent in this setup. This means that the mana cost for these skills will not be reduced all the way to zero. Our convocation will cost 1 mana and our curses will cost 5 and 8 mana. Since these skills are spending mana, they will generate inspiration charges on use. The inspiration charges generated from these skills will provide the bonuses to our main damage skills. We bind convocation to our left mouse button so that it will be used on cooldown, making sure that our triggerbots are well-positioned and that we have full uptime on inspiration charges.

Auras and Movement Skill:

The rest of our sockets will be used to fill out auras and a movement skill. We’ll need two level 4 enlightens to afford mana reservation. We use Haste for a little bit of movement speed and some cast speed for quality of life. This could be swapped out for Grace for more survivability if needed. Our other permanent auras are zealotry, determination, herald of ice, and a level 1 precision. The precision is just used to gain flask charge bonus from our watcher’s eye.

In the budget version of the build, we do not have the mana reservation efficiency to fit a third large reservation aura. We drop Haste entirely, and opt to use Grace instead of Determination, since it provides access to spell suppression on Watcher's Eyes.


Assassin is used to scale our damage with critical strikes and power charges.

We take the bottom two nodes on the ascendancy wheel: Unstable Infusion and Deadly Infusion. This provides us an additional maximum power charge, grants an easy way to reliable generate our power charges, and provides extra per-power charge scaling which helps us cap our critical strike chance.

Ambush and Assassinate on the left side of the tree provides critical strike stats against enemies that are on full or low life. Additionally, we get culling strike which acts like a 10% more damage source against bosses.

Finally, we take Mistwalker as a defensive option. This grants us elusive on critical strike which provides a nice additional layer of hit avoidance. Since we hit so frequently we will have very high uptime on elusive so we can rely on the “no extra damage from critical strikes while elusive” line for crit immunity.

If you are switching to the character prior to completing your fourth labyrinth, leave off Ambush and Assassinate. I would not suggest attempting the character prior to finishing the campaign.


In the high-investment version of the build, the large pantheon choice is flexible; use whatever you prefer. I typically use Lunaris for mapping for the additional damage reduction and a little extra chance to avoid projectiles. I will then switch to Solaris for bosses. In the budget version, we do not have full stun immunity, so use Brine King for the 4 second pseudo-stun immunity.

For a minor pantheon, I suggest Soul of Yugul. This helps reach high levels of reduced curse effect (along with tattoos) and gives 50% reduced reflected damage. Alongside the elemental mastery for reduced reflected damage, this build is immune to reflect for quality of life. In the budget version of the build, we do not necessarily take the elemental mastery for reduced reflected damage, so choose whatever small pantheon you find most useful.

League Start and Leveling:

Several of build's mechanics require access to stats and effects that are only available to characters in maps; specifically the trigger mod on weapons and the reduced mana cost jewelry crafts are only available from endgame Betrayal encounters. Additionally, several "mechanical" support gems are required to enable the build's interactions so it is only really viable with a 5- or 6-link. Because of these two factors, we will tackle the campaign and leveling using Armageddon Brand.

At league start, you can progress with Armageddon Brand through the Atlas and switch once your character is in the mid-to-upper eighties or later. Beyond league start, you can swap over just after the campaign if you have purchased or crafted gear using another character.

Armageddon Brand Leveling/Campaign Guide:

Refer to this comprehensive Path of Building setup which contains act-by-act skill trees to follow, gem links, and a detailed notes section guiding your progression.

You will progress through the campaign on the Shadow/Saboteur ascendancy. In act 1, you will be using Stormblast Mine for clear and supplementing with Orb of Storms and Bear Trap. In act 2, you will add in Skitterbots and Herald of Ash for damage and kill all three bandits for their passive points. In act 3, you will prepare to swap your main skill over to Armageddon Brand by picking up Flammability and completing Siosa's quest in the Library.

At level 31 after taking Eldritch Battery, you can swap to Armageddon Brand after purchasing any required gems from Siosa. Spamming Armageddon Brand works well for clearing with Herald of Ash. For single-target damage, supplement with your self-cast Flammability and use Brand Recall on cooldown to trigger all of your Armageddon Brands to activate. By standing near rares/bosses when you Recall, they will be hit with up to 7 of of the falling fireballs for a quick burst of damage.

You'll want to upgrade your weapons to basic rares with whatever mixture of spell damage, fire damage, flat fire damage to spells, and cast speed you can find. Benchcraft whatever stat might be missing.

Progressing into act 4, replace Controlled Destruction in your main links with Concentrated Effect after allocating the Elemental Overload keystone on the passive tree.

In act 5, drop Herald of Ash to make room for Purity of Elements once you have completed the mana reservation efficiency wheel on the passive tree. This will prepare you for the resistance penalty from Kitava.

Part 2 of the campaign progresses without major modifications to the build; just follow the act-by-act skill trees. Before facing Kitava for the second time, replace Discipline with Grace after taking Light Eater, Deep Thoughts, and the mana mastery on the skill tree. Continue to upgrade your gear with basic rares that you find on the ground.

Once you hit maps, immediately focus on rolling useful flasks and enchant them whenever you have the opportunity. You can continue to upgrade your weapons to smooth out the progression through white and yellow maps, but you don’t want to invest too much into them because they won’t be useful to you once you transition over to Eye of Winter and Arcanist Brand. You’ll likely want to focus on Betrayal encounters early on; you’ll need to fill out your benchcraft options. Specifically, we’re looking for the reduced mana cost jewelry mods and any weapons with the “trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” mod. Continue your Atlas progression at as low an investment as possible. Once you reach levels in the mid to upper eighties, you can start thinking about getting ready to swap over to eye of winter.

Preparing to swap to Eye of Winter / Arcanist Brand

In this section, I will cover the gearing requirements for your character before you will be able to swap to eye of winter.

Projectile Speed:

The first requirement of Eye of Winter with returning projectiles is having 175% increased projectile speed so that the eye projectile fully returns to your character prior to dissipating. In this build, we reach this breakpoint by using two projectile damage medium cluster jewels with the Aerodynamics and Streamlined notables, providing thirty percent projectile speed each.

This is paired with a wand with a high tier suffix mod, granting in excess of fourty percent by itself. Early on in progression, just look for one with the projectile speed mod and as much spell damage, flat cold damage to spells, and increased cold damage as possible.

Finally, use the Vengeant Cascade annointment which provides 150% increased projectile speed when projectiles are on their return path. Make sure you have a reasonably good amulet that you don’t mind using for a while as you’ll be spending Verdant, Indigo, and Opalescent oils on the annointment.

Trigger Weapon:

The next required piece of gear is a weapon with the mod “trigger a socketed spell on using a skill, with a 4 second cooldown.” Note that there is ALSO a crafted version of this mod. However, the bench-crafted version has an eight second cooldown which will result in you triggering brand recall only half as much, so do NOT use that type of mod.

If you can get projectile speed AND the trigger mod on the same weapon, that’s great, but it is not necessary to do so. At this point in progression, you will be dual wielding so it’s acceptable to get the trigger mod on one weapon and the projectile speed on the other. Fill in the other affixes with as many useful damage mods as possible.

Energy Shield and Energy Shield Recharge:

The next requirement for swapping will be having enough energy shield and energy shield recharge for the significantly increased skill costs that come from triggering brand recall. We will address this by dropping Summon Skitterbots for the Discipline aura which provides BOTH the needed flat energy shield as well as increased energy shield recharge.

You’ll further increase your recharge rate when you swap over to the new passive tree which includes the Essence Infusion wheel which provides another 60% increased recharge rate.

Additionally, if you’ve been running Betrayal as suggested, you can craft the minus flat mana cost mod on your jewelry to further offset your spending.


To address survivability, you will acquire a source of life leech by using a large elemental damage cluster jewel. The only mandatory notable on this cluster is Doryani’s Lesson, so look for an 8-passive version to minimize pathing. Versions of this cluster with three notables will be very expensive early on, so it’s fine to use a one notable version and then upgrade later.

You will pair this with the Light Eater passive wheel to get energy shield leech and then turn your leech into on-hit healing via the leech mastery’s instant leech option.

Finally, you will want to have at minimum a 5-link for your main skills before swapping over. Since two supports are needed just to enable the mechanics, we will need as many links as possible to fit in damage supports. Your essential gems will be Arcanist Brand, Eye of Winter, Returning Projectiles Support, Cold Penetration Support, and Added Cold Damage Support. I suggest acquiring these gems prior to getting ready to swap and pre-leveling them in your weapon swap.


Will be updated as questions arise.

Could you explain why you use the '% mana cost reduction' craft instead of flat '- mana cost' craft? It looks like flat reduction is better on pob?

If you use the '- mana cost' craft, it will reduce the cost of Convocation and your curses to zero as well. You WANT to be spending mana on those skills so that you generate Inspiration charges with the support skills. The main links are able to benefit from the % more multiplier and increased crit chance granted by inspiration charges even though those skills themselves do not generate the charges.

It's totally possible to instead use the '- mana cost' craft, but you'll have to balance the mana costs differently. This is the way I found to be most efficient.

If you're interested in early build progression, you can use either. Particularly, when you're still on Eldritch Battery just use whatever gives the largest reduction.

What do you think about the two transfigured EoW gems revealed compared to the base gem for the build?
Numerically, their different base damages roughly balance each other out with the different "more multipliers" at dissipation, so we'll call it even there.

I originally got really excited about the '50% more projectile speed' on EoW of Transience...until I read closer and realized that it doesn't release projectiles on the final spiral. You're essentially going from 31 shards per eye to 12 so I don't think there's any way the proj speed is worth it.

Same basic problem with "of Finality" - it only releases on the final spiral so you're losing a bunch of projectiles there too.

The transfigured versions seem like they would be useful if you don't have another way to "aim" the shards; since we're using Returning Projectiles / Nimis, we've already got that taken care of and therefore the "normal" version is going to be the best for this build.

3.23 League Start Video Guide
Full Build Guide Video
Budget Build Guide Update Video

My Other Build Guides:
Ethical Crit Impending Doom + Hexblast Occultist: The 6699 Build
Sacrifice Ignite Pathfinder: self-cast Blackflame Hexblast
Corpse Explosion Autobomber - Ignite Proliferation Chieftain

Thank you for your interest in my build; if you have questions or suggestions feel free to drop them in the posts below. I try to check at least semi-regularly. If you would like to see more content of this type the best way you can support me is by subscribing to my Youtube channel. Thanks again!
Last edited by _Atollo_ on Jan 9, 2024, 11:55:57 AM
Last bumped on Apr 6, 2024, 4:10:25 AM
Reserved for additions by the author.

Patch 3.23 Changelog:
- Modifications to mana cost reduction tech to account for loss of Divergent Inspiration
- Modification to sources of "increased projectile speed" to account for loss of helmet enchantment, alternate quality EoW / Arcanist Brand
- Changed ratings of build due to loss of QoL from tattoos
- Addition of Armageddon Brand leveling guide
- Addition of Eye of Winter transition guide
- Addition of act-by-act skill trees / Path of Building guides
- Added league-start video guide

Patch 3.24 Changelog:
- Removal of mana cost flask suffix really hurts the build at the high end. Currently looking into solutions (other than Eldritch Battery). Worst-case scenario, you can use the pre-Mageblood tree that just picks up a bunch of "reduced mana cost of skills" passive nodes and change the crafted jewelry mod to "-X cost of non-channeling skills."
Last edited by _Atollo_ on Mar 22, 2024, 2:09:43 AM
I've watched your video on YT and that's why i'm here. For me the aestetics of the build is equal and sometimes even more valuable than actual meta. So defenitely will try it in the next league, starting with arma brands, however. Hope, the nerfs won't destroy the build
Thanks for the video and text guide. They were pretty inspiring to me and I decided to try the build out in The Blast from the Past event.
I play exclusively ssf, so had to do some tinkering, but it was fun to play, I might actually start 3.23 with it.
Here's what my character looked like, I didn't get trigger craft nor life leech cluster and also forgot to include CWDT-Immortal Call, but it still felt nice - only had one death - cursed with frostbite by necromancer and then ambushed by cold snappers
Last edited by Kruskader on Nov 24, 2023, 2:18:34 AM
Is there a way to League Start this ? looks amazing
Juanzito wrote:
Is there a way to League Start this ? looks amazing

I am working on the league start guide, trees, etc and will update the post with it when it’s ready. FYI, it’ll be Armageddon Brand through at least yellow maps
Arma brands are really fine and provide decent clearing and levelling. Looking forward to seeing the updated guide. Great job
Could you explain why you use the '% mana cost reduction' craft instead of flat '- mana cost' craft? It looks like flat reduction is better on pob?
123Abbott wrote:
Could you explain why you use the '% mana cost reduction' craft instead of flat '- mana cost' craft? It looks like flat reduction is better on pob?

If you use the '- mana cost' craft, it will reduce the cost of Convocation and your curses to zero as well. You WANT to be spending mana on those skills so that you generate Inspiration charges with the support skills. The main links are able to benefit from the % more multiplier and increased crit chance granted by inspiration charges even though those skills themselves do not generate the charges.

Make sense?

It's totally possible to instead use the '- mana cost' craft, but you'll have to balance the mana costs differently. This is the way I found to be most efficient.

If you're referring to early build progression, you can use either. Particularly, when you're still on Eldritch Battery just use whatever gives the largest reduction.
Last edited by _Atollo_ on Dec 6, 2023, 2:19:33 PM
I've done some arma brand recall sabo for the events at the end of ancestor, it feels pretty great. This is a tempting starter thanks.

What do you think about the two transfigured EoW gems revealed compared to the base gem for the build?
Last edited by hoozimajiget on Dec 6, 2023, 3:19:17 PM

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