[2.4] {HC} Occultist CI Crit Freezing Pulse - Ascendancy Update



This is a hardcore build I came up with while beta testing for the Awakening. Most of all caster defenses had just be stripped, auras were being over hauled, mechanics were changing and almost everything was being handed to Melee characters on a silver platter. This is a culmination of the testing I did for casters during the beta and has evolved quite nicely into its current form.

EVERYTHING IN THIS GUIDE APPLIES TO 2.4

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Please note, I highly recommend checking the spoiler at the bottom of the page for any questions you might have. There you will find the 2.1 iteration of the build that is still completely relevant and is extremely detailed. This Ascendancy section is more of a summary.

This build has become... really fucking good. Its twice the build it was before Ascendancy.

At level 90 I expect you'll be between 12k-15k ES with 30-40k DPS.

This is a build summary including changes for Ascendancy. You can see the order in which you spend your Ascendancy points at the bottom and a build spoiler including all the information you'll ever need.

DEFENSIVE LAYERS:

Immune to stun on full ES
Whirling Blades Fortify
Double curse CWDT with Frost wall
Freezing enemies on crit
30-40% physical mitigation with no armor investment
59% block and 31% spell block with Rainbowstrides and Rumi's Concoction
50% evasion without evasion gear
10% chance to dodge spells and attacks via Quartz flask
Avoidance stun through Leo's helmet mod and Witch casting nodes
53% faster recharge of ES with jewels and Leo's mod for rings (deliciously fast recharge means you don't need leech)
Zealot's oath with stone golem for ES regen per second
Vile Bastion where killing an enemy grants you 0.5% ES regen
If you start to regen your ES after taking damage then your ES recharge will not be stopped by regen for 4 seconds (which is almost a permanent effect of Vaal discipline if you get to recharge, made easier with 50% faster recharge).

That was just your defenses I listed there, see that there are so many. You don't spec or invest solely into one or two big defenses like most classes do, you don't master any of them. Instead, you have layers. You have a little of everything to either not take damage completely, or to react when damage is taken with an automated enemy slowing and ES recharging beacon of cold light.

You'll end up with this at level 90:



Here's a quick levelling guide before you get CI. Try to spot the differences between the main build, and note theres more spell damage/cold damage here since its better early game before your crit can scale.



Here's my current gear:

Level 90 gear





The only really good items here are my Amulet and Shield. The amulet cost 20c and the shield cost 1ex, although both should have been 2ex+. The chest I crafted at around level 60, I bought the white 5L for 3c and rolled one stack of alts onto it to get resplendent flat ES roll, regal and master craft. This is a cheap, easy and very efficient way to not only get a piece of useable gear, but something that can carry you to T10 maps if you get lucky with a resist. For 5c its last me 30 levels and will probably last another 10. I also crafted my dagger, rolling for T1 spell crit and then just crafting on Spell Damage, these are the only two mods you want. Flat elemental added spell damage and crit multi are other desirables, there just isn't really any in the league right now. The ring has Leo's level 3 master craft of 10-20% faster recharge of ES, which for our build where we stack faster recharge on gems, this gets you up to 50% faster recharge, which is absurdly good. Then the Rainbowstrides (perfect) to compliment Rumi's flask, which I got a fucking great enchant on to give me 1.5% life regen when hit, something I really really needed with ZO.

ASCENDING:

Normal Lab: 35-40
Cruel Lab: 60-65
Merc Lab: 80

I ascended Merciless at level 81. I attempted Merc lab at 76 with something like 8.5k ES and 10k DPS on Freezing Pulse. Even with Frost Bomb and Assassins Mark, it didn't feel like enough damage and the fight was too hectic for me to control. I levelled up, got some drops and upgraded gear and got my es to 9.5k and FP to 20k DPS. I actually just breezed through Merc lab despite being CI so there is hope for us yet. You need to take the traps slow and stay calm, since they are so lethal for CI. Wait for a good layout and make sure you're gearing and use Whirling Blades.

You want Wicked Ward first, then Vile Bastion, and Forbidden Power last. Your crit doesn't scale until 75+ and you want to stay alive until then. The Occultist class is ridiculously good for CI.

GEM CHANGES:

You should be able to see all the links in my gear. I've opted to run one Vaal discipline instead of two, but kept increased duration and fast casting, since they both synergise well with the new gem, Frost Bomb. This OP little shit is great for taking away life regen but also cold resist, which couple with cold penetration lets you do almost double damage when its within range. I did use this with increased AoE, but prefer the duration so I only have to cast it once while killing a pack of mobs. Its great for bosses and is a really nifty little thing to help ele resistant mobs.

Now using Stone Golem instead of Ice or Chaos golem, since Stone golem provides more passive defense with Zealot's Oath than chaos and Ice golem only gives 1% crit chance. Its up to you which you use, but I prefer the life regen. This is on a two link with minion life, separated so Arctic Armour doesn't get the mana multiplier and reserve more mana than it should.

Lastly, Freezing Pulse. You will now be running FP > Spell Echo > Faster Casting > Cold Pen > LMP. You can drop PCoC all together thanks to the Occultist class and in hindsight having single projectile freezing pulse was.... really bad. Ascendancy really fixed the flaws my build had before, although there is a tough time.

LEVELLING ISSUES WHILE SELF FUNDED:

The main pain of this build is through the latter part of Cruel up to Dried Lake merc. Your damage starts to drop off since you invest almost entirely on trying to stay alive as life/es hybrid while levelling and pathing out to the necessary spots for your nodes in the tree. Playing this through again was quite painful but as you hit level 75, the build really opens up and accelerates and becomes what it should be. The harshest levels are through level 55-75. This is the point where you are transitioning from hybrid into CI, which does demand some currency and sacrifices a bit of your damage scaling. I went CI around level 64 and ended up with about 5k ES, very low and I was struggling for currency. When I was farming merc Dried Lake here it got pretty bad, since most builds are starting to ramp up their clear speeds when yours is actually declining sharply. These are the inherit problem levels that come with CI, and for the build since you aren't scaling your crit enough to be able to do consistent damage until around level 75. I dropped PCoC and went almost non-crit (around 30%) while levelling at this time, speccing into some spell damage and most importantly, mana. I noticed you really need some good mana regen on all your jewelry and a few nodes on the tree (the best ones are the 3 mana and mana regen at Witch's start point). This is because Lesser Multiple Projectiles adds a huge mana cost on your mana pool of only 150-200 unreserved. Level clarity as much as you can and don't get your crit nodes until 70-75, when you can spec out of spell damage and get all crit at the same time.

ASCENDANT SUMMARY:

At level 81 after doing merc lab, I'm feeling quite accomplished since doing lab as CI is no joke and the build is really kicking itself into high gear now. My clear speed is decent enough for solo play, my damage is great and my survivability is so good thanks to everything from Occultist.

This build feels so good now after Ascendancy. If you get through some of the tougher challenges of being CI, you're rewarded in the end. #nobandwagonfeelsgoodman



Please find enclosed all images, information and in-depth guidiance on the 2.1 interation of the build. Almost everything here is valid to 2.2, so if you're considering playing this build then all the information you will need is here. I recommend reading through this and then summarising with the Ascendancy update, since this is the flesh of the build guide.


Background:
About 3-4 weeks into testing the Awakening beta, I ragequit fairly hard and didn't come back to PoE until I rolled this character.

This was my first roll in about 7 months, into a fresh league, with no backing of currency and no party-play. This was a solo build, funded with things the character found. There is no frills, no gimmicks and very few of the current meta's manifestions inherit with most other builds. This was the anti-build, when they were making defensive options less and less viable for the top half of the tree, I found a few ways to improvise how to keep a caster alive.

I had originally designed this build to be using Ice Spear but after levelling with Freezing Pulse and trying to transition, even when using a quality Ice Spear over my regular Freezing Pulse, it was always about half of the speed, half of the damage and half of the comfort. It was hard but I gave up on the idea of Ice Spear, since everything in the build applied just as well to Freezing Pulse without changes.


This won't be the fastest clearing build you've ever played, its not designed for party play. You won't get youtube videos or reddit threads about it. But it will work on a budget. It will get you to end-game content. And as long as you've had some practice, it will keep you alive.

This build has killed merciless Malachai on hardcore.

If you want something different to what everyone else is doing to get you through the toils of hardcore, this build did pretty well for me, currently sitting at level 90 with 43k DPS and 12k+ ES and comfortably clearing T11/12, however I'm sure its capable of more if I had the motivation.

WHAT YOU WON'T BE USING:

Life leech. Life regen. Armor. Evasion. Mind over Matter. Cast on fucking Crit. Lightning Coil. Stun immunity. ES gain on hit. Totems. More than one unique item. Unique jewels. A huge currency bank.

Yes, you read that correctly. You won't be using any of these things.

WHAT YOU WILL BE USING:

A double defensive curse CWDT.
Energy Shield... lots of it.
A natural ES recharge, amplified through jewels for faster start of recharge.
Freezing Pulse with crit - high damage, good in all stages of levelling, freezing multiple targets.
Arctic Armour. The chilling ground alone synergies well with Freezing Pulse on close enemies.
Frost Wall. Yes, that is still a skill, part of your CWDT setup.
CI's accessibility to utility flasks and the Witch's flask nodes.
A FUCKING QUARTZ FLASK.
Avoidance to stun while casting nodes, and....
Leo's most OP crafting mod, up to 35% chance to avoid being stunned.
A shield and Rainbowstrides, for that small bit of block and spell block.
Fortify, procced through Whirling Blades.
Two Vaal disciplines with increased duration for (some) seconds of panic button "oh shit" moments.
Chaos golem, later transitioned into an Ice golem. This little bastard is your personal damage sponge.


THE BUILD:



Before going CI, you're probably want to going to aim for something like this:



You'll notice here I've specced out of crit and into spell damage which is what I would do for levelling, most will be explained in...

PATHING:

What you do for the first twenty levels doesn't really matter. I would begin by getting Occultist's Dominion first, followed by value points in Frost Walker (specced out of later), going to Deep Wisdom, the ES nodes and Life and Mana. You'll want to pick up those stun avoidance nodes as soon as possible, since its highly desirable for the Witch's squishy nature and you'll need that dex pretty early for Herald of Ice. I'd probably then go along to the right to crab Nimbleness for the move speed and more stun avoid, followed by heading up through crit to Deep Thoughts and Cruel Preperation. I'd then take these earlier levels to travel, both towards your double curse Whispers of Doom and Unnatural Calm (both grabbed after Act 4 when you have access to CWDT), but before that go towards Purity of Flesh and Sovereignty. After this you can follow up by grabbing small nodes for DPS, crit, stats and whatever you like, until around level 60 where you'll be going CI.

LEVELLING:

Getting standard Hybrid gear while levelling with an ES base, a wand with some spell crit and spell damage, some stats for Dex and Str which you'll be needing and all the other basics like resistances and mana regen is what you want to aim for while gearing up for level 60. Use whatever you want really, just don't die and remember that your ES will get burned a lot faster at these lower levels, even when it seems like you have a lot.

You'll be running Clairty, Herald of Ice, Arctic Armour and Discipline as your auras, or as many of them as you can afford. If you're having trouble balancing your mana, heading to Sovereignty will help you a lot, but the value mana and mana regen nodes at the start of the Witch tree should give you all you'll ever need, easy to spec in and out of it. Get a little bit of mana regen on one piece of jewelry and you should be fine.

You can link Freezing Pulse to things like Added Lightning, Faster casting and Lesser Multiple Projectiles earlier on, but your 4L setup around the end of Act 4 wants to be:

Freezing Pulse > Faster Casting > Spell Echo > Cold Penetration

You might be cringing at the idea of not using LMP, GMP or Life Leech but I got to level 90 quite comfortably without the use of any of these. I'll elaborate more on gems and links later on.

WHEN TO GO CI:
Looking back at my screenshots, at level 64 I had 1.3k life and 4.7k ES. I was in act 4 of Cruel, over-levelled since this was the period I had the most trouble with when testing in awakening beta. Looking back, Normal act 4 was more difficult. At this point I could have honestly went CI around level 60, providing you have at least 4k ES. You'll end up with something like 5-6k ES, depending on your gear but the best way to tell is if you ever feel like your energy shield is actually being bursted down to a point where you still have to use life flasks. If you feel like the only time you use life flasks is for chaos damage, like I found in Dried lake in Cruel, then its probably time to go CI. If your energy shield is not being taken low enough to resort to relying on your life, you're better off going into CI and respeccing your points to get an extra 1k ES instead of being super vulnerable to chaos damage, however, if it makes you feel more comfortable to rely on life and invest more into it that's up to you. It depends how much practice you've had with an ES build, if you feel comfortable with the play and if you ever need to use life potions for anything other than chaos damage. As I said, around level 60 with around 4k ES towards the end of Cruel/start of Merciless, you should be ready to take that Chaos Inoculation.


GEARING:

I'll carry on talking about levelling gear.

Around level 50, your most expensive pieces of gear will be a pair of Rainbowstrides and a clean white 5L ES chest. Rainbowstrides are still on my feet at level 90 and I would be hard pressed to change them out for anything other some really GG ES boots or Skyforth, for obvious reasons. They're available early, provide great ES, good move speed, a really nice 20% all res, some mana which you'll be needed and some spell block. There's no reason these shouldn't be on your feet, unless you're like me with a foot fetish and like looking at the Witch.

I'll make a sub-section here for crafting, since what most people consider your most core pieces of gear are your most easy to roll and craft and can be done so at a low level; your dagger and chest piece.

Crafting:

Your dagger is very, very simple. Grab whatever Dagger has the highest implicit crit available to you at your level. roll it with alts until you get Crit chance for spells, augment it, regal it, then craft Spell damage with Catarina. Ez pz. Any other mods are just bonuses.

While levelling I used something like this:



Around level 50, buy a white 5L ES base chest.

Go to: http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Item_affix#Energy_Shield

Roll it with alts until you get the highest available tier of Local energy shield available for the ilvl of the chest. Hope to augment and regal it for some sort of a resist, then send it to Haku and get up to 68% Increased Energy Shield and you're good to go. My chest cost me around 5 chaos this way around level 50 before going CI and I rolled a couple of others on the side. If I got lucky and it was an improvement, I'd swap it out. Aim for a 400-500 chest piece with this method and you'll be getting the most bang for buck you can imagine. Its simple and cheap and it works. This is a bit better than what I would have had at level 50, but it carried me until 90:



Everything else you should already know if you're a hardcore regular, just get your ES and Life as high as possible while making sure your resistances are capped and you have enough Dex for your gems and gear.

END GAME GEARING:



This is the gear I'm currently running with and it should answer most questions about your late game gear.

Your chest needs to be 5L'd with 500+ ES, your dagger needs as high of a crit chance as possible (make sure its for spells and not local crit) and crit multi with added (x) damage to spells are desirable with around that 40% spell damage mark. Your shield wants to have at least 90% crit and 300+ ES, all other stats are bonuses or to help you cap your requirements. I stacked Dex on my gloves and helmet where necessary (you can craft the dex onto both) while trying to get as much ES and resistances that your budget can allow. You'll remove this requirement for your helmet later on and spec into a node of dex on the tree and I'll explain why later. Your belt is straight forward and actually very cheap, get any chain belt with +40 ES and resistances and you should be looking at around 10 chaos, use a blessed orb to get the most out of the implicit. Your rings should aim for Int, as much ES as possible, some mana regen and resistances, crit is an expensive bonus, as is the craft for % increased ES which costs a divine from masters. Talisman league gives the opportunity to get the amazingly good % Increased Global Defenses amulet, which you'll want to buy with another mod of % increased ES. If you can find one like this with some extra crit, spell damage or resistances, you're gucci. Your boots are Rainbowstrides and they are beautiful.

When you manage to level up the master Leo to level 5, you'll be able to gain access to the most OP mod available to CI users: chance to avoid stuns. This is huge. Get as much ES and Int as you can on your helmet, a resist or two but make sure that it has a suffix available to craft. 25-35% is a huge amount of chance to stun when paired with your avoid stun while casting nodes and if you've got the currency, roll it until you get as high a stat as possible. Credit to this little gem goes to: @Banjoe_____

GEMS, LINKS AND JEWELS:

You'll be able to see my links in the gear above, but just in case....

Whirling Blades > Faster Attacks > Fortify (Needs to be on your dagger, very important)

Cast When Damage Taken > Enfeeble > Temporal Chains > Frost Wall

Chaos / Ice Golem > Minion Life > Minion Speed / Elemental Resistance

Freezing Pulse > Faster Casting > Spell Echo > Cold Penetration > Power Charge on Crit

Vaal Discipline > Vaal Discipline > Increased Duration > Faster Casting

Auras : Discipline, Herald of Ice, Arctic Armour, Clairty

Six link:

If you hit the dream and get a six link, you have some options. LMP / GMP is the obvious choice here, I've been putting this in at lower level maps for quality of life and then going back to a single projectile with Cold Pen for boss fights but if you're doing any serious content, always use Cold Penetration, always. Since its hardcore, although I haven't really missed the leech it is the obvious choice if you can invest the 1 point into Ghost Reaver, since it will fix one of your biggest weaknesses: prolonged damage from many sources. If you're greedy as fuck, get Increased Critical Damage.

Jewels:
My jewels are very simple, I want Increased ES % and faster start of recharge, with some sort of damage on top. Stacking these jewels gives me 31% faster start of energy shield recharge, with tree nodes giving me 5k ES regen per second. This has eliminated almost all need for Leech or life regen.



BANDITS:

Skill point, Skill point, Power charge. Done.

FLASKS:



Whatever you do, don't fucking roll a sapping flask. This takes your life to replace mana and if you're CI, this will kill you.

Your flasks are one of your main sources of defense and for good reason, since its very easy for a CI user to get the absolute most out of Utility flasks and we increase this with the Alchemist nodes.

I've posted the Granite I used before I got a Rumi's. You can keep your Granite and Jade flasks up at almost all times, just be aware when you might struggle for charges. If you see a group of monsters and they're coming straight for you, fucking pop them before they hit you and not afterwards. These flasks will provide you with 50% physical damage mitigation and 50% evasion, which are increased a little bit from the ES nodes on both the Ranger and Templar sides which you venture into for other reasons. This is a huge amount of defense and its all from pushing CI to use as much as its available to, instead of stacking these stats on gear.

I use a mana flask for Staunching because Bleed and Degens are your most dangerous types of damage source, especially when you don't use leech. Unlike Freeze, however, you don't need this to be a constant immunity, more of a "purge". Mana flasks have the best flask usage in the game. With a Divine Mana flask of Staunching, this gives me six fucking charges to purge a bleed from puncture or corrupting blood, while giving me unlimited mana if my regen isn't enough.

Your quicksilver is possibly the flask I would most consider to change, since you'll be using Whirling Blades for mobility and only use your quicksilver to get around in confined spaces where you can't whirl and blade. It does, however, have a 7 second uptime with Alchemist and you can use it 3 times with an Ample prefix. I roll the Heat suffix here since it gives me 21 seconds of freeze immunity. Unless you're in some PVP scenario, this should be all you'll ever need.

And the best, yet least used until last. The quartz flask. When the Ascendancy changes come through, this baby will finally be in the spotlight, however I do believe it to be one of the strongest flasks in the game for opening boxes and when you're CI. One of your biggest weaknesses is getting surrounded by melee mobs that might not hit you for a lot of damage but they might be able to stun-lock you. At this point you'll try to move but you won't be able to, because of the way AI pathing works they will surround you in a closing circle until you can't move out. At this point I would use Whirling Blades, Fortifying myself and get the fuck out with the help of my granite and jade flasks, providing a nice sudden boost in both defenses and mobility. However, in rare circumstances, you'll find it hard to do this and you'll be cornered. I strongly believe this to be one of the most dangerous situations to CI users and being able to phase through all of those enemies in a panic moment and get out to safety is priceless. Popping all of your flasks before opening a strongbox will not only give you all those defenses but this is where the situation I just described happens the most. I feel very comfortable opening boxes with a Quartz flask and it gives you more confidence to go balls deep into large packs of monsters. Since you'll be shattering almost all of your enemies via cold crit, you don't leave any corpses, which is also great for box opening with detonate dead. I roll Heat suffix on my Quartz since ignite is a degen and in hectic situations, I don't want to be unable to regen for 4 seconds, so this not only purges it but makes me immune long enough to regen and kill the pack/escape.

WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS:

I'm going to give you your weaknesses first since I'm not arrogant or oblivious enough to think this is a perfect build or makes you immortal. You're never safe in Path of Exile, you will die in hardcore, this is almost inevitable unless you're part of the elite 0.1% of highly skilled players.

Always stay at a distance, kite mobs as much as you can. When they get closer, you'll do more damage and have more chance to chill them. When you crit, you'll freeze them. Use this to your advantage. You don't have to rush in for any of this cast of crit, lets run gorge in 1 minute bullshit. This is hardcore and you want to stay alive. Stay at a distance, let mobs come to you and kill them before they get to you. Arctic Armour will chill enemies in melee range and if you attack them as well they should freeze. Use whirling blades to keep your distance or play it cool and dance through enemies to proc fortify.

Getting surrounded by many melee mobs, as stated before, is very dangerous. Always try to avoid it and always have your flasks up and running when you think shit's about to go down.

Your clear speed is not that great, however it does improve. If you take it slow and steady and don't roll crazy map mods I promise you'll stay alive. If you rush in you put yourself at a disadvantage. This build is not made for taking sustained damage in small areas, which means...

Kaom is the most frightening boss you'll come across outside of maps. Normal Kaom was the hardest thing in the game for me, since it was a new league, I was a fresh spawn and I had pretty bad gear. If you're well geared your life will be much easier. The hardest part of this build is levelling. If you can get into Merciless, you're good as gold and you'll have a hard time dying. However if you're going to die, its probably in the Act 4 of Normal and Cruel. Keep this in mind and try to upgrade your gear as much as possible as soon as you enter Highgate. Aqueduct was where the cool kids hung out during the beta and you should do so too if Dried Lake feels too scary. Always try to over-level for act 4 and play very cautiously through Kaom and Daresso's area - they are the most dangerous tilesets in the game for you, since they're filled with many small monsters in closed spaces with degens.

Avoid Vagan. He's just a dick and you don't need anything he's selling.

Outside of those weakeness, your strengths shine pretty well. You will freeze or kill almost anything that tries to approach you (as long as you're hitting it) because of Freezing Pulse's mechanics of gaining damage at the start of the projectile. As things get closer, they take more damage and makes them more vulnerable to chill and freeze. If they're right on top of you, they're also going to get chilled through Arctic Armour. Take this, Enfeeble and Temporal Chains, which will be on everything as soon as you take damage, everything is very slow, hits less often, hits less hard, takes more damage, is frozen/chilled for longer and generally has a really shit time when trying to attack you. Your frost wall is also something I haven't mentioned, which is fucking great against all types of Melee mobs. Take too much damage up close too soon and 3 frost walls will instantly separate you from your attackers. If this fucks you over too much, you can Whirling Blades through the walls to safety or use that OpieOp Quartz flask.

All of these things also work great in PVP.

A little story about what I survived:

In this build I took the most damage I've ever taken in Path of Exile in one instance and I don't believe I would have survived if I was anything else. I was in a Bazaar, tier 10 map with 100%+ quantity. I should have taken a screenshot of the map mods, but from memory.... Monsters had increased crit chance and crit damage, Frenzy charges, Power charges, 70% extra lightning damage, 70% extra fire damage, 25% more damage and a couple of other mods which I think were exiles and humanoids. I've never really had trouble with the Bazaar boss (however Crematorium, Necropolis and Jungle Valley bosses you will want to avoid) but I got charged by one of the elements, I'm pretty sure it was either lightning or ice. It crit me and shocked me and I took over 10k damage. There were also the ranged humanoids from the grand arena whailing on me at this point, but I popped all of my flasks and whirling blades out to safety, having my shield recharge in a second. I had just over 11k ES at this point, and after the hit I had around 700 ES. This is the most damage I've ever taken and although a tanky armor build would have worked well here, this was an insane burst of elemental/physical damage, while shocked and crit. You are amazing at taking big one-shots like this, however the prolonged smaller instances of damage over a long period of time are more deadly. You won't get one shot but you could die a death of a thousand cuts.

GALLERY:

Here you'll find some screenshots of while I was levelling, so if you're following this build you can give yourself some targets or see a little bit of where you need to be. The ones at the end are the moment I hit level 90.



And here we are with my current gear, hopefully this should let you see everything you need to. I posted my defense twice, one without flasks up and one with them up. You'll see I have 71% crit chance with 380% multiplier, 43k DPS (revised build) and 12.1k ES.



SUMMARY:

There is more detail here than some of you need to know, but hopefully this should answer most questions you'll have if you end up deciding to try this build. You don't use a lot of the current meta's ResidentSleeper tactics but instead end up with an off-beat way to stay alive and deal some pretty decent damage. Your clear speed is not the best as I stated but I haven't pushed this very far, with a 6link and GMP I imagine it would be much more pleasant but I don't have 15 exalts ready to drop as a lot of other builds seem to state as a pre-requisite. I said before but this was my first character rolled in 7 months into a fresh league played completely solo and I reached level 90 in hardcore Talisman with some decent stats, however the league is pretty vanilla. Take it slow and you'll stay alive as long as you can make it out of Cruel.

CI Cold crit was always an old favorite way back when and its definitely still effective.
3.3 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2184026
IGN- Skadiiii
Awakening Beta Build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1280231/
2.2 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1584182
Last edited by Lachesys on Nov 7, 2016, 6:48:38 PM
Last bumped on Feb 18, 2017, 4:53:56 AM
Nice guide, Just what I was looking for. An old school build that does the job for HC and isnt going to be nerfed anytime soon like every other build I invested heavily into have been. Thanks for a easy to follow and well written guide :)
"
Nice guide, Just what I was looking for. An old school build that does the job for HC and isnt going to be nerfed anytime soon like every other build I invested heavily into have been. Thanks for a easy to follow and well written guide :)


Thanks very much, let me know how it goes :).



I just added a section for when to go CI, since its usually people's biggest dilemma and I forgot to add it in.
3.3 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2184026
IGN- Skadiiii
Awakening Beta Build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1280231/
2.2 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1584182
I've been planning a CI FP Crit build for a few weeks and this is really insightful and well written.

I'm still hesitant about not running Chayula. Your amulet is solid, but I would still trade 30% ES, a little crit and some cold resist for never having to worry about stun, ever (plus opened crafting slot on helm and attributes on Chayula).

My biggest hurdle was deciding on ZO or using leech. Leech has no options for casters outside the gem (one less link) or Warlord's (lots of issues - unreliable on CWDT/Heralds, sometimes out of range with Blasphemy, curse immune maps/mobs, etc.). ZO is good, but need heavy point investment. How safe did you feel with nothing but recharge? Was the dual defensive curse setup necessary to survive (I'd like to avoid using that)?

"
s4ntana wrote:
I've been planning a CI FP Crit build for a few weeks and this is really insightful and well written.

I'm still hesitant about not running Chayula. Your amulet is solid, but I would still trade 30% ES, a little crit and some cold resist for never having to worry about stun, ever (plus opened crafting slot on helm and attributes on Chayula).

My biggest hurdle was deciding on ZO or using leech. Leech has no options for casters outside the gem (one less link) or Warlord's (lots of issues - unreliable on CWDT/Heralds, sometimes out of range with Blasphemy, curse immune maps/mobs, etc.). ZO is good, but need heavy point investment. How safe did you feel with nothing but recharge? Was the dual defensive curse setup necessary to survive (I'd like to avoid using that)?



There are situations where stun immunity would have allowed me to actually progress instead of backing out all-together. The crema boss is an example of this. I do feel like the amulet slot makes you give up soooo much, and the one I'm wearing only cost 20c, even if it was a bargain. Its your choice at the end of the day, stun is always an issue with CI, however please see my next post.

If you're using ZO, you need to have nodes that scale the life regen, otherwise its totally pointless. It is then another stat that you have to stack onto gear and I feel like you already require too much it makes gearing up too specific. During the awakening beta, I was testings CI ZO, getting both Quick Recovery and Sanctity from Templar. I would now never get Quick recovery since you don't need the mana regen to run AA and there are better nodes for mana recovery, so you miss out on the life renen, and I would still get Sanctity but only after level 90 and the build I'd outlined since I think you need everything else more, which means you run it like this to level 90 with no regen/leech (as I did) so what's the point? The 1% regen from a node, if you have it stacked on 2-3 pieces of gear, actually does quite a lot. But in the situations where you need to rely on leech, you're probably taking too much damage anyway and need to back out and the best thing that regen via ZO gives you is a lessened effect of degens, and as long as you roll your flasks right you are immune to degens outside of Burning Ground and Bonespire.

The duel defensive curse was a must for me. I skipped maps with curse immune, it does so much for you. Once you try it you might see why. I don't honestly know what you'd replace for it on a CWDT setup. Ascendancy will only buff this, as I'm about to add.
3.3 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2184026
IGN- Skadiiii
Awakening Beta Build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1280231/
2.2 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1584182
After just seeing the Occultist skill nodes from the upcoming Ascendancy expansion, I'm feeling pretty fucking good since this does nothing but buff the build I have outlined.

You gain an extra power charge which brings the total to 8 and if the 10% to gain power charge on crit is enough to sustain power charges then this means you can get by with this node and Assassins Mark, allowing you to drop PCOC and use another gem on FP, like Increased Critical Damage, LMP/GMP, Life Leech or Hypothermia. This is huge.

The curse buffs here go along nicely since this now means you can stack 3 curses onto enemies and have assasins mark self cast onto enemies, synergising with the statement above and also making enemies take a lot of increased damage. You could also sync up assassin's mark with curse on hit to your golem.

Wicked Ward and Vile Bastion are..... insane buffs. Since you're not stun immune, any buff to this is a huge asset. Immune to stun while on full energy shield is a huge saving grace. Alongside this, you can also get 1% life regen which makes it more viable to run Zealot's Oath instead of stacking life regen when the scaling is too underwhelming. Wicked Ward will give you an insane boost to ES just from the +100 alone, since this is scaled roughly 250% when you include the multiplier gained from Int. Giving you extra recharge rate and being able to regen through damage is... just a huge buff to this build, meaning you no longer have to rely on leech or life regen as I had already outlined in this build.

As long as nothing too major happens to the topside of the tree and the rest of the CI / Freezing Pulse mechanics, the Ascendancy expansion will be nothing but a big fucking buff to this build.

Ascendancy Occultist skillset
3.3 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2184026
IGN- Skadiiii
Awakening Beta Build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1280231/
2.2 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1584182
Last edited by Lachesys on Feb 12, 2016, 5:32:46 AM
you are wasting way too many nodes...

http://i.imgur.com/ixnqGn5.png
ign: klavesnica
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drzpicu wrote:
you are wasting way too many nodes...

http://i.imgur.com/ixnqGn5.png


You're right. I originally drafted this build to run Zealot's Oath since I used it in beta, but when using it in this build it just felt pretty pointless without taking any nodes to scale it, so I didn't take it and never changed the pathing.

I've respecced and updated the main post with the revised build. I used the 3 points gained to spec into Snowforged on the right side of the tree. Losing the int lost me about 140 ES and some negligible mana, but with Snowforged my DPS increased by a whopping 7k, up to 43.5k DPS on tooltip.

Thanks for the oversight!

P.S. Just killed Merciless Malachai.
3.3 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2184026
IGN- Skadiiii
Awakening Beta Build: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1280231/
2.2 HC CI Cold Crit: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1584182
Really nice guide mate, I laughed really hard at some points too :D
Refreshing to see a guide for non-meta builds, and even though I've been playing hugely expensive glass cannons for the past few years in HC, I may go back to something as simple as a selfcast freeze pulser, since that was one of my first characters when I started playing PoE, many years ago.

Just one tiny little new thing you should be using IMO, it's this: http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Energy_From_Within
A 11% one costs maybe 1-2 chaos, and if you put it in the spot below melding, you get a huge %ES boost, 51% increased ES to be exact (40 from melding + whatever roll the jewel has). You'd have to change your tree a bit and take melding of course, something like this: https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAAAwMA34rpAkuuGyXZW20ZLYsRUCL0H8c1uWwLK3inKx1PkycsnL6KL51_xgVCoS8W835ZEZaio0GWJjwOSAceUXQPxK6z0PVd8uOElS6O6Tt8TLMqCysKDdHw1aaZuMogbtAfRX5wUhEvAx5jQ4_6SVFQMO_rDlyJ0x9B7Bjr9dteavqMNnC7LL9knREPFdfyHayYhq7313RVVmOESJuhXypca49GGGrDbR0UOVL60o5kWAdmnhcv96a3MWTntvqMdlXWnjyApClPa7dXlOw4hX3VpoKbhXtmVO-I-TfXz0mx
From my experience in playing - almost exclusively - CI chars in HC, the melding/Energy from within combo is hard to pass up for additional defense.

cheers mate

Edit: Just found this new item, pretty insane for leveling with FP I say :P
http://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Bitterdream
Last edited by therealjcool on Feb 17, 2016, 1:35:53 PM
Hey,

I'm looking to start 2.2 as this build going Occultist, but I am curious about what you think of the Elemental Overload new keystone. Could it make going non-crit viable?

I ask because going non crit will likely be easier to gear early in the league.

Also how expensive are white 5-links at the start of the league? Should i just get a decent base with a 4L and craft it to start until they drop in price?

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