[3.2] Beginner Guide - Frostbolt Elementalist (with 10c Budget Gearing Video)


This is a very beginner friendly build that is fun to play on a budget!



For some context, this video was made in about week 3 or 4 of Harbinger league. So things will likely be a bit different if you are gearing up earlier in the league.



Read comments in video description.

EDIT: I didn't realize how crappy the video looked when it was up on YT. Sorry! I'm not sure how to fix that exactly.



I fully recognize there are other people out there doing a better job at this, so here are a lot of links to some beginner starter builds, helpful links, tools, and guides!

Engineering Eternity's Beginner Youtube Series

He also has other useful guides as well as starter builds!

NeverSink's Loot Filter

There is no "best" loot filter. This is just the one I use. I also strongly recommend you learn to use their "filterblade.xyz" site to customize your own filters. Very easy!


Used for buying and selling items, maps, currency, etc.

It's not the best system, but it's what we have.


Great site for learning (or remembering) item prefixes and suffixes and more!

Others are Exilemods.com or Poeaffix.net


Great site that tracks prices of all major PoE items and currency.

PoE Lab

This site is a must for when you reach the Labyrinth. It has everything you need to know about tackling and even mastering Izaro's Labyrinth!

PoE Trade Macro

This little tool is great for general price checking and checking item info and more! Here's a video from ZiggyD explaining: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbC_Sg53kTM

Path of Building App

Extremely powerful tool for planning builds, testing and theorycrafting


Also great for planning builds

Path of Exile Wiki

This should be your first source of information before heading to the forums or Reddit. It will have most of the information you could ever need.

More Dmg vs. Increased Dmg Explained!

ProjectPT doesn't play anymore, but this is still a great video explaining this concept.

3.2 Update

I created a path of building general template you can play around with: https://pastebin.com/n2eY4qwU

Elementalist: This was generally considered by the community to be a disappointing ascendancy revamp in 3.2. However, I feel it will be a good league starter for beginners and this build pretty much just got all buffs! So I decided I'd update the build and repost it. (More below).



+ Beginner Friendly
+ Solid League Starter for building currency and mapping
+ Budget Friendly
+ Fun and Satisfying to Play
+ Has an Awesome Skill Effect Microtransaction if you feel like it!


- Weak single target after about tier 7 maps (eventually you may wish to skip bosses unless you figure out a better single target solution)
- Inquisitor is likely a stronger option, but I find this will be simple and fun for beginners (see section below)


Witch - Elementalist


Ascendancy Points:

1. Shaper of Desolation - This is allows for chilling, shocking and igniting. The buff rotates through 4 second buffs granting your skills chill, then shock, then ignite, then all three. (No change in 3.2);

2. Beacon of Ruin - A main feature of the build - Allows all of our Elemental Ailments (Freeze, Chill, Shock and Ignite) to proliferate out to nearby enemies. This is great for frostbolt because we are always chilling, and usually freezing. This spreads to enemies behind since frostbolt pierces all targets. This works well with hypothermia support. In 3.2 this was buffed to increase the effectiveness of shocks, chills and freezes;

3. Paragon of Calamity - This node has been reworked. It now allows 0.5% of elemental damage to be leeched as life! This is very nice for our build as it allows us nice survivability. Additionally, now we take NO reflected elemental damage. This is fantastic as it removes any need to invest in reflect and you can still run elemental reflect maps (be warned that (as far as I know) this does NOT effect the projectiles from elemental thorns damage monsters. This can be dangerous but they have a fairly obvious bubble like effect around them);

4. Liege of the Primordial - This change was fantastic for us. We now get a general buff for each golem (20% each, so x2 = 40%) This is great because previously it wasn't great running an ice golem for frostbolt unless you were crit based. Now we also get 25% effect of buff for each golem (so x2 = 50%). So with 2 golems we get: from lightning golem 9% Attack and cast speed x 1.5 = 13.5%, and from fire golem 20% increased damage x 1.5 = 30% increased damage.

Other great ascendancies:

Inquisitor - Very strong and fast, great for going crit

Ascendant - Inquisitor + Elementalist (pretty solid but I think I'd rather go Inquis or Elementalist straight up)

Hierophant - Much better for Frostbolt totems, but you can do self cast too now and get some nice benefits.

Bandits:Anything but Oak! You can kill them all for skill points; if you choose to go crit you might want Alira (or you might want the regen and resists); or Attack, Cast and Movespeed from Kraitlyn



Remember that this is just a recommendation and you should feel free to choose your priorities as you wish. You can also easily pick up extra strength and dexterity as needed (you can respec these later). If you want more dps, grab more dps first. If you want more life, grab more life first.

Additionally, if this isn't your first character or you have money to buy 1 or 2 of the Frozen Trail jewels, I'd recommend rushing to get those jewel sockets.

Passive Tree (11 Passives)

- Spell damage
- Life and mana nodes
- Fire Walker (for leveling - you can pick up frost and lightning walker for leveling too if you like. Eventually I’ll drop these as soon as I switch to frostbolt)

Passive Tree (24 Passives)

- Elemental Overload (EO) - This is a huge DPS bonus right out of the gate! We don’t get bonuses from crit but that’s okay as we are going to do a non-crit build anyway. So if we are doing non-crit, how do we proc EO? That is what Orb of Storms is for. It doesn’t do much damage, but it hits all the time, so you can reliably get crits from it to proc EO. Later this will also be a Curse on Hit option)
- HP and Mana regen
- Mind over Matter - This is a great ability that allows you to take some damage from your mana pool rather than life, thus upping your “effective” health pool. We’ll run clarity to sustain mana early. Make sure to run a mana pot (preferably not “instant recovery” but "half instant" is fine) to make sure you always have enough mana to keep casting even when taking heavy damage. Make sure you keep upgrading your mana flask and when you reach level 50, you might want to use 4 glassblower baubles on each upgraded flask to increase quality before transmuting it (making it magic) (you can always use them on other characters after you upgrade).

Passive Tree (35 Passives)

- Lots of great stuff in the Templar area

Passive Tree (47 Passives)

- Some more life
- Jewel socket (with 40 int in radius for our Frozen Trail Jewel which you receive as a reward after killing a boss in act 5 - remember, you don’t need the Int “allocated” in radius)
- More ele damage and penetration (penetration cuts through monster resists and essentially acts as a “more” damage multiplier)

Passive Tree (63 Passives)

- MOAR life!

Passive Tree (79 Passives)

- Respec the Flame Walker if you haven't
- Head up above witch for life
- Head to grab cold and freeze chance

Passive Tree (Level 81 or 104 Passives)

- Life and ES, and some projectile damage in shadow area
- Grab Celestial Punishment (you can get it earlier if you want)

After this, fill in as much or as little life and damage you want. Also consider: jewel slots (see below), flask effectiveness (Alchemist node), possibly +1 curse (whispers of doom).


Non-Crit: I chose to go non-crit because I felt it was more beginner, starter, and budget friendly.

Freeze: As we barely crit with frostbolt, I chose to look for as much freeze chance as possible to have lots of defense. This also works well with elementalist which has 10% freeze, shock and ignite from the minor ascendancy nodes. You can also get more freeze with items and jewel mods.

Elemental Overload: This is great for leveling even if you do change to crit later. Huge buff, and easy to proc with our Orb of Storms setup


Frozen Trail (x2)

The main feature of the build and the only required unique.

If you're trading, get one jewel right away. You can path right to the first jewel slot and level with frostbolt and frostbolt totem. You can buy another, but you might as well wait until you get one from the quest.

If you are Solo-Self-Found (SSF) you can still do this build but you'll need to wait until around level 43 when you get a jewel from a quest in Act 5. You will also need to level a separate character to Act 5 and get the second jewel.

General Jewel Search

Ideally you want a) % Maximum Life; and b) any other two helpful mods

My rule of thumb is that you shouldn't pick a jewel socket unless it costs two or less passives to reach. And then only if you have a jewel with three helpful mods (and the money to buy the jewel, which can be expensive)

I've linked to a general jewel search that you can use or modify if you like (you'll need to update it to the current league). Note that it is currently set to 5c maximum and some of the search items will need to be removed for frostbolt specific searches (they are far easier to remove then add back!). The search link above is a wide search for most cold spells.


Gearing Guide Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9mdb0j8fG4

For some context, this video was made in about week 3 or 4 of Harbinger league. So things will likely be a bit different if you are gearing up before that.

At Level 82, my character with this budget gear has 5000 life, 700 ES, Mind Over Matter with 2000 mana (with 1/2 reserved for Heralds). It is also Elemental Weakness Capped. (I also had a few crafting mods I could add on a couple pieces).



We are using a Sceptre for the elemental damage or penetration and mods like spell damage, cold damage, elemental damage to spells (strongly prefer "cold to spells"), and attack speed.

The attack speed is to increase the speed of shield charge.

If you go crit, you'll want similar mods, but crit chance/multi and you'll want a dagger.

You can also go with a Staff and get +2 (or later +3) to cold spell gems. (You will have to use flame dash or lightning warp for movement)

Uniques: Spine of the First Claimant Kind of a nice unique, eventually you'd get better, but it'd be good weapon for a while.

Doryani's Catalyst
A very nice unique, but also pretty expensive. Might be able to get a similar rare for much less. The added leech is nice, but not really necessary as we get it from Elementalist.

Taryn's Shiver

If you are fine with using a staff, this is a great item! Has everything we want (spell damage, cold damage, cast speed, freeze chance). But the best reasons to go with this are the +2 to cold gems which is a big dps boost, and the "frozen enemies take 20% increased damage". This is like another more damage multiplier vs frozen enemies and with our high freeze chance that is very nice! Again, you'll need to use a different movement skill.


Just a shield for charging. Anything with lots of life and whatever else you need. Shields have lots of new mods for either offense or defense.


Nothing special.


Nothing special. You could shoot for a Belly of the Beast later.

Crystal Vault

This is an interesting new fated unique option I'd like to add.

Anytime you take phys damage it will be mitigated by your capped cold res, so that's nice in itself, but you will also "take cold damage" from the hit (from either fire damage or phys damage!) causing Paragon of Calamity to proc giving you 40% increased cold damage, and causing you to take 8% reduced cold damage (both for 4 seconds).

Because this is only 2c for a high cold res roll, I think it's worth considering. The downside is of course the loss of a life roll on your chest slot (though it frees up resists elsewhere with 75% cold res). If you use this unique, I'd consider either a Sapphire flask (to increase max cold res) or a high level purity of ice (35% mana res) or both. This along with paragon of calamity (and the Wise Oak if you have it perfectly balanced) offers a big damage reduction and some extra damage from PoC.


Here I would suggest looking for a nicely rolled pair of shaper's gloves with:

Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Blind / #% Global chance to Blind Enemies on hit

Then I'd socket my Orb of storms set up in this.

Another option if you have the money is to get gloves with:

Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Slower Projectiles / #% increased Projectile Damage; and
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Faster Casting / #% increased Cast Speed

This will give you a pseudo six link! Definitely worth keeping an eye out for or setting up a trade alert for.

Also consider: Winds of Change gloves.


While there is nothing specific, I strongly urge you to shoot for boots with the Life and Mana Leech enchant (the higher the better).



Rashkaldor's Patience is an option if you don't have better.

The Halcyon and the Pandemonius are very strong upgrades if you have money.


If you want and you can fit it in, a Snakepit is a nice upgrade with an additional projectile, 40% cold damage, and 10% cast (at max rolls).

Or Tasalio's Sign or Berek's Grip.


You don't need a unique, but I'm using Doryani's Invitation for the cold damage, cold damage leeched as life, and 10% freeze chance during flask effect.

You may not want to lose the huge flat life potential from a rare belt.


I like to have a life flask with bleed removal (preferably instant recovery), a life flask with freeze removal; a QS Flask with increased duration, increased movespeed or both (must be iLvl 16); a Silver Flask for Onslaught (faster cast/attack/movespeed); and a Mana flask as we are MoM (get whatever mod you want, curse removal might be a good idea).

You can get a nice damage and survivability boost with "The Wise Oak". Requires some monkeying with your resists, but it's a great flask.


Main DPS Setup

As soon as you hit 70, can look for a level 20 frostbolt. They will take a while before people start posting them as it takes about til lvl 90 to level a gem to 20. (They will be quite expensive early, but if you can get one it will be a big dps boost)

Frostbolt, Spell Echo (or Faster Casting), Controlled Destruction, Cold Penetration, Hypothermia, Slower Projectiles

Added Cold Damage, Empower (lvl 3 or 4)

As noted above, look for a pseudo six-link shaper gloves set-up.

Curse/Elemental Overload/Arcane Surge Setup

Orb of Storms + Curse on Hit + Frostbite (or temporal chains) + Arcane Surge (lvl 6)

- We use Orb of Storms because it has good radius, and it lances out and hits all the time. It's almost like just self casting a curse! Plus, it hits enough that it will crit often enough to proc elemental overload. Finally, I use it to proc arcane surge. I keep arcane surge low enough to proc on each Orb of Storms cast. (I would rather have a lower level buff always active than a higher level buff intermittently up).

If you can get this in an elder's gloves with Blind Support for a pseudo 5-link that's another level of defense!

Single Target

I honestly don't have a great answer for single target. So I currently have Frostbomb linked with increased duration, a LVL 20 Decoy Totem (so it can stay alive!) and Minion and Totem resists.

Dropping Decoy totem helps with boss encounters, and frost bomb helps to lower their resists.

If you have a better single target solution that's budget and beginner friendly let me know!


Vortex with Rime Gaze or Similar Elder item (Probably much better)

I tried adding in a Vortex setup, instead of frostbomb. Vortex generally casts at your character location, but if you cast it on a frostbolt it will explode on the frostbolt location and deal 40% more damage (as of 3.0). It's not the greatest solution, but it gets less clunky as you practice with it. It requires some good rotation on bosses between Orb of Storms, Decoy, Frostbolt and aiming the Vortex, but it may make bosses smoother when you get the hang of it. It can also be dropped prior to opening boxes or essence monsters or as a defensive slow.

Completely optional if you want to try it.

Other options would be a Shaper item or Elder Item with mods like:

Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Hypothermia (Shaper)
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Increased Area of Effect (Shaper)
Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells (Shaper - I believe this is a global mod so it would be good for frostbolt too)
Socketed Gems are supported by Level # Concentrated Effect /
#% increased Area Damage (Elder)

With Rime Gaze you get the innate lvl 20 concentrated effect + Vortex + Controlled Destruction + Efficacy + Cold penetration.

I bought this for an alteration, and the level 20 vortex was pricey, but if you level it yourself or buy a lvl 15-19 it shouldn't be that much. This required me to drop Doryani's Invitation to do this as I needed the life and resist from a belt (though with better gear you could keep doryani's if you wanted).

I also picked up one with a +freeze chance for 16c

CWDT Setup

CWDT + Immortal Call + Increased Duration

Just be careful not to overlevel the gems linked to CWDT or they won't cast automatically. Also, don't level them higher than your strength allows.

Mobility Setup

Shield Charge+Fortify+Faster Attacks

Very good movement ability and activates damage reduction with fortify

Other options are (flame dash + faster casting); or (Lightning Warp + reduced duration + swift affliction + faster casting)

Aura Setup

Herald of Ice

For more damage and damage from shattering enemies

You can also use arctic armor or herald of thunder


You want Lightning Golem and Flame Golem (either will be fine until you can use 2) - May want to consider linking them to CWDT so you don't need to keep resummoning or link them to Minion Life to make them tankier


If you don't have money for Frozen Trail, are SSF, or are starting the beginning of a league or event/race

LVL 1 - Freezing Pulse + Fire Trap (Get Frostbolt! Level frostbolt in a weapon in your weapons swap slot so it's ready to go when you swap to frostbolt)

TIP: You can craft a +1 cold gems wand or sceptre by trading a vendor: 1 magic wand or sceptre + 1 alteration orb + 1 elemental resist ring (cold resist for cold gems, fire resist for fire gems)

Resist rings can be created by trading 1 iron ring + one skill gem (strength gem for fire, int gem for cold, dex gem for cold)

LVL 2 - Grab Quicksilver flask. Use a transmute on it as soon as you can afford it. Be on the look out for more as you may wish to run two QS flask, two life, and one mana. (note you can "mule" a 2nd QS by leveling another character to lvl 2 and killing Hailrake)

LVL 4 - Frostbomb and Orb of Storms (you can use orb of storms and arcane surge together just don't overlevel your arcane surge. It should proc on every OoS cast)

LVL 8 - Freezing Pulse + Added Lightning

Lvl 10 - Flame Dash; Clarity

Lvl 12 - Switch to Firestorm+Added Lightning; & Firestorm + spell totem (You'll want one or both in +1 fire gems wand or sceptres. by level 15 be on the lookout for 3-link Quartz Sceptres that have 20% elemental damage implicit (highest for level)

LVL 16 - Heralds (ice and thunder if you have the dexterity)

LVL 18 - Firestorm+Faster cast+Controlled Destruction; Faster casting+Flame Dash; Firestorm Totem+controlled destruction or faster casting; Orb of storms + increased crit strikes (for more consistent Ele Overload procs)

LVL 24 - Frostbite (and flammability if you want while leveling)

LVL 28 - None - You can test other skills if you wish

LVL 31 - Help Siosa in the Library for all gems; Grab Cold Penetration and Fire Penetration. Link Fire pen with firestorm; You can pick up shield charge+faster attacks+fortify if you can use it. Cannot be used with wands.

LVL 34 - Fire golem or Lightning Golem or Stone Golem

LVL 38 - Spell Echo instead of faster attacks in firestorm. Note: You may wish to stick with faster casting as spell echo will lock you in place while it repeats the spell cast (Curse on hit/Cast When Damage Taken - you may have to get these from Petarus and Vanja in Act 4)

LVL 43 - Kill Avarius - Change to frostbolt (Get Frozen Trail from quest, buy 2nd Frozen Trail if you can)

Frostbolt + (spell echo or faster cast) + Cold pen + controlled destruction

If you have Frozen Trail right away:

Lvl 10-15 - Rush to first socket, and switch to frostbolt. Use Frostbolt+faster cast+added cold, and Frostbolt totem+faster cast;

Lvl 18 - Frostbolt+Faster Cast+Controlled Destruction

LVl 31 - Frostbolt+Faster Cast+ Cont. Destr.+ Cold Pen

Lvl 38 - You can test spell echo if you want.

Leveling Uniques

Goldrim; Tabula Rasa; Lifesprig; Karui Ward (if leveling Frostbolt); Le Heup of All (if you have $$); Lochtonial Caress; Reverbation rod; Elreon's Rings (-7 or -8 mana cost per spell); Axiom Perpetum; Spine of the First Claimant

Other Starter Builds


Zizaran's Ancestral Warchief Totems

ZiggyD's Scorching Ray

LiftingNerdBro's Hierophant Quad Totem Frostbolt

NeverSink's Archer Guide

This is a great guide for beginners looking at playing bow builds, not just Tornado shot.

PewPewPew's Beginner Firestorm Build

Some other great beginner or starter skills that are strong on no specific gear:
- Essence Drain+Contagion
- Fire Nova Mine
- Righteous Fire Totems
- Flameblast Totems
- Sunder
- Earthquake
- Bladeflurry


Last edited by jolsen26 on Apr 17, 2018, 12:14:20 PM
Last bumped on May 18, 2018, 8:18:37 AM
Looks really good. Glad to add this to the build guide forums.

Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Balance: poeurl.com/btzp
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
Vortex gets a 40% more multiplier if cast on a frostbolt instead of yourself. Maybe try that for bosses? I just started experimenting with that combo myself on a spare character in standard. Still leveling the gems though so not sure yet how I'll like it.
stoudtlr wrote:
Vortex gets a 40% more multiplier if cast on a frostbolt instead of yourself. Maybe try that for bosses? I just started experimenting with that combo myself on a spare character in standard. Still leveling the gems though so not sure yet how I'll like it.

Thanks that's a good idea. I'll see if I can find a way to make that work and see how it feels. I noticed the huge buff on that when the patch notes came out. I'll see if I can move the decoy totem as a stand alone and do a four link vortex instead of the frostbomb.

Maybe with a Rime Gaze as a helm.

I tried out a single target option going with vortex. After the 3.0 patch, it does 40% more damage when cast on a frostbolt.

It's not the best solution. But after you get the hang of it, it's get a lot less clunky to use. It can also just be cast at your location prior to opening a box or essence monster, and dropped as a defensive slow if you're kiting something.

I added this to the gem setup.
Nice build and easy to start.
One question here, for a 5-L frostbolt, should I use ice bite or hypothermia for better damage?
Nice build!
I've been leveling my first character with it, but I'm at level 28 now and I haven't got Frostbite yet.
Did I lost a mission or something like that? Or the leveling is wrong?
CrazyGuy82 wrote:
Nice build!
I've been leveling my first character with it, but I'm at level 28 now and I haven't got Frostbite yet.
Did I lost a mission or something like that? Or the leveling is wrong?

It is from the "Lost in Love" quest: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Lost_in_Love

Should get it as a reward from either Maramoa or you can buy it from Clarissa after finishing that quest.

If you're leveling with frostbolt and the threshold jewel(s) it's not necessary but it is nice to throw on packs of mobs or just for tough single target mobs/bosses as it will penetrate their resists. If you're leveling with firestorm and switching to frostbolt later, you should use flammability instead.

Good luck!
It is from the "Lost in Love" quest: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Lost_in_Love

Should get it as a reward from either Maramoa or you can buy it from Clarissa after finishing that quest.

If you're leveling with frostbolt and the threshold jewel(s) it's not necessary but it is nice to throw on packs of mobs or just for tough single target mobs/bosses as it will penetrate their resists. If you're leveling with firestorm and switching to frostbolt later, you should use flammability instead.

Good luck!

Guess I haven't done this quest yet.

I'm not leveling with frostbolt, I'm gonna pick the one on act 5 then figure out what I'll do next
Any Path of Building so far

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