[3.0] Balance - A CwC Frostbolt EE MoM VP guide

Welcome Exiles! Today we shall discuss how to utilize the skill Storm Burst as a platform to toss tons of Frostbolts around, generally melting content with little to no effort, requiring no particularly strong gear, having quite reasonable survivability, Instant Life Leech, screen-wide clearing, and comical levels of reflect-resistant damage.

Time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!
• -130 Elemental Penetration.
• 91.35% ideal / 70.59% realistic crit chance.
• Instant Life Leech caster w/ 5000+ HP.
• Viable EE Mechanic.
• MTX.
• Main skill clears majority of screen with pierce.
• Most expensive unique in the build is 2 chaos.
• Can function with little to no gear.
• Fast clear speed. 5-link movement skill.
• Can run majority of map mods.
• Does not rely on curses to perform.

• MoM + Warlord's Mark for Mana Leech is dependent on max_mana_leech rates.
• Not stun immune, however Brine King moderately negates this.
• Missing defensive auras.
• Don't play this build with a friend running Anger.
• EE mechanic requires that you aim. Swapping Vortex gem for bosses if desired can be tedious.
• Doesn't have fun in Hexproof, but it's manageable.
• In 1998, The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer's table.

Self-buffed hideout tooltip, 5-link, Penetration of course not accounted for. Level 19, non-quality gems.

At level 83:

PoB Pastebin

At level 93:

PoB Pastebin (Mirror-worthy items)
Lets break down what's actually going on:

In 3.0, Storm Burst was added as a channeling skill, one of two lightning-based channeling skills that were the first of their kind in terms of damage type. In addition to this, Vortex was buffed to gain a free 40% More multiplier when cast on a Frostbolt that originated from the player. These two ideas are at the heart of our build, but to put it together we need to revisit an older mechanic that typically doesn't fit into Elemental damage builds:

Elemental Equilibrium does not play well with others, typically. Most builds that add elemental damage do not find use in it, since keeping damage types separate or not directly dealing elemental damage yourself has been the mainstay method to utilize this keystone (Namely, RF builds). And prior combinations of casting and channeling skills did not have a viable platform to separate damage types.

In the past, Cast while Channeling was limited to Scorching Ray, Incinerate, Flameblast, Blade Flurry, Blight and Wither. If you will notice, Damage Conversion only works in one direction. This means that all elemental damage has for the most part been bypassed by the time we reach Fire, completely with Chaos skills, and would require a LOT of love to make work in an attack skill. But Cold to Fire has potential, and now we have a Lightning channel to proc EE for us!

But that's not enough to make a good build on it's own, we still needed a little bit of love for damage conversion to make sense. Enter the often underutilized Realm Ender:

With this staff, we essentially get to have an 8 link with a level 5 cold to fire gem support and level 4 Empower. Concerns over power capacity abated. It's important to recognize here that level 5 cold to fire adds extra cold damage to our skills in addition to damage conversion, so increases to cold damage work with that little bit of extra efficiency.

And just because we can at this point, lets throw in free GMP without a damage loss with two Frozen Trail threshold jewels:

By now, we have a lot of cool things going on, but how does it all come together? Take a look at this screenshot to demonstrate how our setup functions:

Since we're using Storm Burst with Cast While Channeling, in between waves of Frostbolts are several Storm Bursts which reset our Elemental Equilibrium stack, since Multiple EE strikes will overwrite each other. Thusly, every successive wave of Frostbolts should have a majority of their targeting primed to be struck by Fire/Cold damage. A Pyre ring is used to move as much damage into Fire as possible for the greatest effective spell conversion contribution. At this point in the process, we are not reliant on curses to bring monsters into negative resistance values, and thus benefit from having an additional 'more' multiplier to our damage as every point of resistance lower than 0% on a monster is 1% 'more'.

Penetration Maths
Resistance Penetration is something that becomes better the more of it you have, and does not have a 'true' diminishing returns limit. It does however have the more reasonable expectation that penetration will not outperform other opportunity costs that may be of greater value to our raw damage.

Math is not my favorite subject, but I will take a few points from the wiki as talking points:
Mark_GGG wrote:
There is no minimum limit on effective resistance imposed by the game mechanics.

It can be shown that resistance penetration is more effective in terms of damage dealt against targets with higher resistances.
The formulas represented in the wiki express an exponential regime that implies that increasing penetration against targets with higher resistance stats is increasingly effective in increasing damage output. Understanding where exactly that line exists and when say... Fire Penetration would be more meaningful that Controlled Destruction is not within my scope to comprehend (I just blindly listen to PoB's %damage outputs due to sort by DPS gems).
However there is great potential in the build to increase damage with better cursing.

Our sum resistance penetration is as follows:
-25 Fire Penetration from Mastermind of Discord (on lightning skill use, always)
-40 from Elemental Weakness (in Voidbringer gloves for +1, Level 21)
-50 from Elemental Equilibrium (Cycles constantly)
-15 from The Wise Oak (10-15, easy to get max)
-130 with only 1 pen curse active.
[in a fantasy universe where we dual curse pen...]
-45 from Flammability (instead of Warlord's Mark)
-175 with 2 pen curses.
[if you do an awkward skill point grab...]
-3 from Heart of Flame (6 points out of tree)
-2 from Celestial Judgement (3 points out of tree, with rerouted pathing)
-40 with Fire Penetration (Hard to decide what to drop for it, all choices are superior to this)
220 with unreasonable commitment and attachment issues. (Megumin is that you?)

From this, we can see that there is a lot of penetration potential however unlikely to achieve.
Additionally, curse effectiveness (Skittering Runes, Whispers of Doom, etc.) could increase the penetration curses somewhat also. I do believe this much penetration is nonsensical because increasing the base damage prior to penetration 'more' is more meaningful. I defer to better mathematicians on this subject.

My character at level 83:

For internal testing, note that I am using a Snakepit ring and a blue +1 curse amulet. Far better options exist for these, a well crafted Opal ring for example would be ideal. I have no aspirations for any unique necklace, so use whatever you wish here.

Ideal Gear:
Higher crit Voidbringers. More crit in general.
Vaal corruption for +1 curse could be on a better amulet.
Vaal corruption on a ring/pyre for '6% damage taken gained as mana' would feel really nice with MoM.
Cloak of Defiance / Carcass Jack / Well rolled rare Astral Plate.
As much strength, life, and crit wherever possible. Resistances before damage.


The 'Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds' is a huge quality of life. I've vaal'd perhaps 20 pyre rings so far with no luck, and will continue on so that I can continue testing with a better secondary ring.

Still no luck in lab enchants. Of course 40% Frostbolt damage would be ideal.

More to be added here as league progresses.
Main Skill - 6 Link Realm Ender:

6th socket:

Swap-in for difficult content:

Implied gem links:

Storm Burst + Cast while Channeling + Frostbolt + Elemental Focus +
Controlled Destruction

6th link options:
Empower / swap Life Leech
Increased Critical Strikes / Increased Critical Damage / swap Vortex

Links here have some leeway, and for boss fights we can even swap in a Vortex for Controlled Destruction for a really nice bit of extra damage. That tactic is slower clearspeed though, so I don't bother typically during mapping. Also, if you choose to take Empower for your 6th slot, you can always alternate a Life Leech gem to help for particularly difficult encounters / Curse immune content.

Movement Skill:

Lightning Warp feels great as a 4-link dedicated to casting it faster. Our movement skill is also our primary source of shock on targets to trigger our herald of Thunder, so I've been testing Innervate. We warp around often enough though that it's really not required to keep HoT uptime high. In addition, I've been socketing Power Charge on Crit to increase our availability of Power Charges, and so far that's been a nice boost to overall crit and damage.


I had been running both golems with a minion life support here, and keeping a high-leveled cast when damage taken setup to fully automate golem production. However, Since I removed Arcane Surge from our movement skill links (Since it lowers duration of arcane surge) I wanted to take advantage of the interaction between consuming endurance charges with Immortal Call & Increasing the duration of buffs connected to Immortal Call. Therefore, self-cast immortal call paired with increased duration offers a great slot for Arcane Surge (Albeit at a lower level then I would have preferred).

Herald / Cursing:

Until you get a +1 curse amulet, use whispers of doom to ensure that your curses do not fight with each other. Both are great to support our survivability and damage. Despite a majority of our damage existing in Fire, I found EW to ultimately be optimal for consistency. You're free to interpret as you wish here with Flammability or Assassin's Mark for personal preference. Also, if you don't want to be bothered with Herald + Shocking with Innervate, there is room here to simply replace HoT with Orb of Storms, gain more of our mana back for higher estimated hit points, and remove innervate from lightning warp and instead run increased critical strikes there.

Cast when Damage Taken:

Frost Bomb gives our cold damage a slight bit of love. Even though frostbolt is primarily shifted into fire, when we decide to utilize vortex for single target damage we still have a cold damage component DoT that cannot be converted and benefits 100% to this reduction. It is also useful for pesky life regen encounters. Fourth slot is just room for Flame Golem.

Anywhere it fits:

For me, these fit as the 6th slot unlinked in my chest armour, the 4th link in the immortal call setup, and the 4th slot in helm. Running minions in helm would be an improvement overall since you can roll +2 to minion gems in helm, however it's not important enough to state as a requirement for the build. Also, both minions cannot be in helm, so it's up to you to choose how to make those fit.

Level 40 Tree

Level 60 Tree

Level 92 Tree

The major difference between the two trees is acquiring the Constitution wheel near Scion, all of the juicy Staff nodes for Crit, and Purity of Flesh. More HP can be acquired earlier, but remember that this primarily is a ranged casting platform and most difficult content can be either kited or completed away from your character. Vaal Pact should be a very early pilgrimage after acquiring Elemental Equilibrium.

The build requires 2 Frozen Trails. I recommend buying several and corrupting them until you craft one with 'You are Immune to Silence'.

Priority on Jewels should be to improve our critical damage, spell damage, and life. Prioritize stats when shopping for jewels in this order:

Life % -> Crit Multi -> Crit Chance -> Cold Spell Damage -> Staff Spell Damage -> Fire Spell Damage ->
General Damage.

An example of a very inexpensive jewel you could use starting out would look like this:

Ascendancy: Elementalist
Order of Ascendancy selection is recommended:
1. Pendulum of Destruction
2. Mastermind of Discord
3. Paragon of Calamity
4. Liege of the Primordial

The rationale behind this is that Mastermind works brilliantly when paired with Elemental Equilibrium, and Cruel Lab is just about when you should pick EE up. I love Liege, but going for it early means we really miss out on Mastermind until after Über Lab, and that's just a real let down. Paragon third is essentially a requirement due to reflect damage being a thing.

Bandits: 2 passive points

2 Passive points are just so nice to have, that I prioritize taking them whenever possible. In theory, Alira is better for the build. Depends if you want to have fun or min/max.

Major: Soul of the Brine King
Minor: Soul of Abberath / Yugul

For most everyday mapping, run Abberath. Since we're VP, we can't benefit from Regen. This means that burning ground is just a complete nuisance for us. If you want to run a reflect map, just remember to swap over. Brine King is amazing for dealing with most if not all of our stun concerns. We have reasonably high HP and 30% block chance, so stun shouldn't ever occur more frequently than once or twice in a particularly difficult map. Capturing the Eroding One from the Cavern Map can be a really nice upgrade to make stuns even less important.
Q: Why did you name the build Balance?
A: Since we are constantly changing the enemy resistance modifier, the damage from the build only comes from us keeping a Balance of elemental damage incoming. Thematic name.

Q: Why are you running Herald of Thunder in an Elemental Equilibrium build?
A: Elemental Equilibrium specifically outlines that multiple EE strikes will overwrite each other. This means that as long as we intersperse pure elemental damage hits of any size between our main damage, we will gain the full benefit of -50 Resistance.

Q: I don't like Realm Ender, can I use a different weapon or 1-hander/shield instead?
A: Of course, this configuration is merely the optimal solution that I was able to come up with. I could even see more defensive auras utilized for more serious Hardcore players who want layered defenses. I never felt the need for it up to tier 11 maps though, which at the time of writing this guide at level 83 was my ceiling for map pool.

Q: Is Pyre really necessary? Don't you hate that ring?
A: Pyre's position in the build is mixed, of sorts. Ideally we would have zero cold damage left over in our Frostbolt, so that when we choose to swap in a vortex the ground DoT effect could receive 100% EE uptime. However, since we cast so rapidly with CwC, it essentially is the same. Running a second Pyre did not improve this interaction, and running no pyres was a net loss to damage due to less scaling from spell increases to both cold and fire. There is a point where level 5 cold to fire's extra damage contribution makes leaving Pyre in your stash reasonable, but with even moderate build investment into fire it really outperforms most other alternatives.

Q: Your Path of Building link states you have Power Charges?
A: Yes, every time we block we have a chance to earn a Power Charge due to Whirling Barrier. That means we only have a 10% chance to gain a charge, on top of a 30% block chance. This is relatively small, but it does happen on occasion. I don't feel heavier investment into power charges is worth the effort, but a curse could be swapped out for Assassin's Mark should you choose.

Q: Why did you choose to make this build instead of work on your Arctic Breath build?

Q: Is this build Hardcore Viable?
A: Probably, but don't quote me on that.

Q: Can this build do Shaper?
A: Who knows. When someone finds out I'll tell you.

Q: Why not make a simpler build that doesn't suck.
A: Because I never got to be on Legends of the Hidden Temple as a kid, and it's affected my development.
Reconsidered how we obtain Arcane Surge. Removed Shock Nova and minion life/arctic armour to facilitate the addition of self-cast immortal call to buff arcane surge,
as well as adding PCoC on lightning warp where surge used to be, and some general movement of skill gems.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Last edited by Kwitch on Aug 31, 2017, 5:37:46 PM
Last bumped on Jan 8, 2018, 5:03:07 AM
Will give this build a go. I play sandard, so what changes if I use the classic 100% pyre?
H3avyM3tal wrote:
Will give this build a go. I play standard, so what changes if I use the classic 100% pyre?

100% cold damage converted into fire just makes the EE effect stronger, leaves less damage in cold during successive waves. The net result should be larger single hits.

If you want to try this in less than a 6 link, you can prioritize ICS over EF and those crits can end up being meaningful ignites on top of shocking. I was expecting all prerequisite shock to apply from the CwDT setup and LW, but that's a quality of life preference.

And finally, reflect content is quite manageable provided you do not let your frostbolts travel off-screen. You have to 'walk' with them to ensure the CwDT warlord's mark can apply. The 50% reflect reduction from Elementalist, plus the 25% from Yugul is required for reflect maps. A ruby flask should not be required, but of course may make it less 'spikey' while you wait for leech from the travel time of projectiles. The suggestion for a 'Damage taken gained as Mana' Vaal corruption on a ring would help tremendously, but you likely don't want to spend all day corrupting 100% pyres to obtain that. Perhaps they are easier to find on Standard.

Good luck, and let me know how it works out for you! I'll try to post a video today conditions permitting.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Last edited by Kwitch on Aug 19, 2017, 1:29:12 PM
Really neat idea.

“No matter where you are in life, no matter what you’ve contributed to creating, no matter what’s happening, you are always doing the best you can with the understanding and awareness and knowledge that you have.”

hey, love your guide! May i know how far can this build goes? Maybe guardian or sharper?
Is CoD really better than life armor? Should we just invest those 3 sp in the MoM nodes?
namida905 wrote:
hey, love your guide! May i know how far can this build goes? Maybe guardian or sharper?
Sadly this is the first league that I am testing it, but it's been a great little map and boss clearer so far. I will press hard on leveling to get you that info asap.

H3avyM3tal wrote:
Is CoD really better than life armor? Should we just invest those 3 sp in the MoM nodes?

I'm using life armor myself, really I only had it in the PoB link for future testing and to see whether or not it could help counter the mana depletion issues that arise with taking damage vs. mana leeching cap. It may in fact hurt the build overall just due to more damage being taken from mana, didn't buy one to test yet.

I tend to prefer armour/life body armours myself, as as such you'll see that's what I'm currently using. With less uniques and more rares, we should easily reach 5000+ hp. Builder has us cap out at around 5700.

Investment into 3 more Mana nodes sounds nice, considering the lack of other alternatives for increasing survivability within range.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Kwitch wrote:

• In 1998, The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer's table.

Hahaha, good shit man. I played your arctic blast build about a year ago on whatever the temp hardcore league was, had a blast. Will likely give this one a shot as well!
For the weapon links - for 5 link, do we drop CD for LL if we need it, becasue you only mentioned 6 link. Is CD the gem to drop anyway?

Are the gem lvls you linked suggested? Or should we just lvl everything up (minding arcane surge oc)?
Last edited by H3avyM3tal on Aug 20, 2017, 2:30:30 AM
H3avyM3tal wrote:
For the weapon links - for 5 link, do we drop CD for LL if we need it, becasue you only mentioned 6 link. Is CD the gem to drop anyway?

Are the gem lvls you linked suggested? Or should we just lvl everything up (minding arcane surge oc)?

My current lightning warp is level 17, which has a wonderful cost of 104 mana. Arcane Surge could be leveled to 12 at this point for more buffs of it's kind, which I would advise. Making sure that each level of surge can still be activated 100% of the time is a chore, but a worthwhile one.

Thanks for reminding us to keep checking that and leveling it up accordingly.

As per your primary question, I've been experimenting with how it feels to drop EF over CD, because EF prevents Herald of Thunder from ever triggering from our main skill.... but the damage loss is quite significant. CD seems like the gem to drop if you want/need a red socket early for the purposes of leech.

I believed life leech would be best as a 6th socket option with an empower swap, since realm ender already has gem levels in it empower just becomes that much better (and therefore a great main 6th gem over ICS/ICD). And it grants the build flexibility.

But yeah sure, go ahead and drop CD with LL as your primary alternative. I was not entirely happy with EF damage loss here, despite the mechanical improvement.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info