[3.1] The Touhou Boss - Having a blast with Frostbolt!
I am a simple man. All I want is to laugh like a supervillain while running around the shattered corpses of my enemies as the game gives a vivid reminder of just how amazing my murder-spree is and cheers me on to continue, while being basically immortal as I'm annihilating everything. This guide will teach you to happily achieve this. There are builds which are probably much more efficient than this one. The point of this is to have fun and feel like a Touhou boss.
The How and Why
This is optimized for fun, but doesn't compromise on clearing maps. In order to do this, a build has to feel OP, like pre-nerf Vaal Pact OP. And we need to shoot a lot of stuff everywhere. And run right into packs of monsters in time to see them explode. We also need a lot of loot. So that sets the priorities for the build - feeling OP, shooting stuff, and looting.
Self cast Frostbolt Inquisitor is one of the few ways we can achieve both sufficient damage, area of effect, and have extra gear slots for awesome stuff. The core of the build is two items. The first is Atziri's Splendour, for the +100 life / +100 mana on kill, which since applied instantly is basically pre-nerf Vaal Pact level of immortality when clearing a map. The second, which is perhaps the most important, is Bisco's Leash. It gives the Rampage modifier which is very strong defensively, and also gives the best thing PoE has to offer: the kill-streak counter.
There are a few tricks to adding intensity in any form of art. That kill-counter is basically one of the classics (done to death in action movies, from The Matrix to Deadpool). It will make your play-style more intense by both rewarding fast clearing (with higher increased item rarity), but also by cheering you on. It could be argued that the only thing more classic is adding a countdown - I'll inform you of that once I stop being a middle aged man with a full-time job and can farm a Headhunter. Or you could inform me.
This build is not great for bosses. Only once you get some higher end gear can you reliably kill them, and even then you aren't going to be face-tanking. Elder on red maps beat me with ease. Though that might be because I suck. It feels like I spent more time writing this guide while idling in the background than actually playing.
This build does not have the best clear speed out there. Despite the nerf, Queen of the Forest builds just run faster and the brightbeak + shield charge/leap slam combo is ridiculous, and I'm sure that you can say "but MY build just deletes everything for free" and be absolutely right.
This build is not particularly strong before mapping. Too many gems and items only kick in later.
This build is about fun. Clear speed is good, it's relatively lag-friendly (I've had sub-70ms connections maybe once or twice in PoE, ever, and experience lag spikes and frame drops a lot), and there is a progression to the items that you can easily follow - you can start at very low investment and work up. Once the build starts rolling, it is incredibly satisfying. Also, other than elemental reflect, this build can clear any map modifier.
And like any Frostbolt build, two Frozen Trail jewels.
I'd also recommend two Ventor's Gambles, and if you feel you have enough damage, Bisco's Collar.
The armor is obvious (Tabula for leveling, because of course it is), and so is the belt (go with a Stygian for leveling); the build is based on them. Upgrade the belt when you already do over 20k DPS, and you should be fine.
For leveling, Axiom Perpetuum offers a nice boost of flat damage and critical strike chance for spells, things that harmonize nicely with what we intend to do.
What I'm actually using shows the priorities needed for this build: Critical strike chance for spells is the highest value, the % of elemental damage as extra chaos damage is the second strongest modifier, then critical multiplier, resistance piercing, flat damage, spell/elemental/cold damage bonuses, and so on at that descending order.
The prices on these things vary wildly, but the "as extra chaos damage" modifier is what makes these expensive; you can go without it well into t14s, but that may slow down your ability to upgrade boots from DPS to defense.
The absolute standard leveling boots, no surprise here. Wanderlust is a classic for good reason.
Once you can use until you have enough damage:
Cold damage is great for Frostbolt, and critical strike chance for spells is ridiculously strong with cold spells. Mutewind Whispersteps are great and can be used from relatively early on and well into red maps.
At this point you have enough damage, so you're looking for 30-35% move speed, life, and defense (elemental resists should be unnecessary). Ideally, 35% movespeed, t1 chaos resistance, t1 extra life, and a +1 to skill gems corruption. I personally am using this:
Since it would probably be getting expensive to offer a significant upgrade. The +1 to skill gems is a great home for the two Herald skills and Enlighten.
Super late game:
Yes, you're so filthy rich at this point now that you do over 100k DPS after switching your amulet to Bisco's. You have over 5.5K Life+ES, and maybe you even got Headhunter as your belt. At this point you should go full-on greed because you can. Hey, why not?
Start off with Asenath's Gentle Touch the moment you can use it, and replace it with better ones with the Temporal Chains on Hit corruption once you are ready for an upgrade. I'm currently using this (because everyone corrupts their Shaper's Touch and it always ends up cheap):
This is the seventh link in our Frostbolt skill; Temporal Chains on Hit offers very strong defense, and is by far the most harmonious with the build idea of shooting lots of stuff everywhere.
Level up with Goldrim. Yes, everyone does it. Yes, that's because it's great. Wasn't that a great discussion we all had at a certain point? So glad we're over that.
Devoto's Devotion is hands down amazing. Movement speed and chaos resistance, along with not-completely-terrible defensive stats. Get it enchanted with Frostbolt Cast Speed, or if you can't find that, with Frostbolt Damage.
Le Heup of All offers all we need when leveling; resistances, stats, and a bit of a boost for damage.
The extra rarity is nice, and the damage is even important at low levels.
The real world:
Of course, once we have big-boy currency, Ventor's offers superior resistances, magic find, and life.
These rings are just too sweet to even consider something else.
Karui Ward is great for leveling, offering movement speed and stats, damage and projectile speed.
Later on, the Warped Timepiece offers movement and cast speed, which are two things that we could always use more of.
Bisco's Collar is a strong option, but 3.1 saw its price skyrocket to the point where all the items mentioned up to here put together are cheaper. Late game it is a fantastic option as you should already have all the damage, defense, and quality of life you need.
Here there is a divergence from the standard: I'd recommend having at least one hybrid flask, possibly two, instead of two life flasks. Frostbolt is *very* mana intensive, and while we're clearing a map we have basically infinity life and mana (even on no regen maps), it might take a while to regen naturally against bosses and patience is for people who don't want things to explode as much as we do. For the rest, Atziri's Promise adds some damage and a bit of leech, Rotgut is a natural choice since at our clear-speed it's basically always active, and for the last one there's a choice between Dying Sun (though we don't really need that as we already have plenty of area of effect) and Wise Oak (though we don't really need that as we have plenty of damage)... but that's quality of life. Early game just make it three hybrids and two quicksilvers.
Passive tree and Jewels:
The passive tree (recommendations)
Good on GGG for adding such a comfortable tool to the site. Basically: get the first two Jewel spots, stack life, and then go for life, crit, cast/move speed, and more jewel locations.
As for the jewels; we need 2 Frozen Trail jewels at the first moment they can be used. Trade for a second one. They don't have to be perfect, but the area of effect they offer enables Frostbolt to be much more effective at erasing the mobs who get in our way. For the rest, life, cast speed, and chaos resistance in that descending order of importance are what we need. The rest is quality of life.
Jewels like this are great; first priority is extra life, then cast speed, then chaos resistance.
You can also get Abyss jewels with flat +life, and those are great... One of them will actually give you more life than a 7% will, and a second will as well after you've taken all the nodes and use Shaper's Touch w/ Headhunter because you can.
Bandits, Ascendancies, Pantheon:
The choice of bandits is actually pretty flexible. Alira is great if we want to lower expenses; those extra resists make our Ventor's cheaper, and the crit multiplier is very nice before we stack up enough from our passive tree. Two passives is also nice. I like Kraityn, as later on we have enough resistances and damage, but you can never have enough cast and movement speed.
Ascendancies are pretty standard stuff: Righteous Providence -> Inevitable Judgement -> Instruments of Virtue -> Augury of Penitence (not nearly as important as the first three).
Pantheon doesn't really matter. I prefer Soul of Arakaali, but that's because I get occasional lag spikes and might not press the potion to stop bleeding fast enough. Soul of Abberath is nice for not caring about burning ground.
Starting with the main skill:
4L: Frostbolt, Spell Echo, Controlled Destruction, Increased Crit
5L: Frostbolt, Spell Echo, Controlled Destruction, Increased Crit, Life Leech
6L(pre Atziri's Splendour): Frostbolt, Spell Echo, Controlled Destruction, Increased Crit, Life Leech, Hypothermia
6L(post Atziri's Splendour): Frostbolt, Spell Echo, Controlled Destruction, Increased Crit, Empower, Hypothermia
Frostbolt has massive DPS gains per level above 20, and Atziri's Splendour offers enough sustain to make life leech superfluous.
4L movement: Faster Casting, Less Duration, Lightning Warp, Portal. Portal is a simple quality of life choice, and if you're already getting the supports which make that spell not suck, you already have the ones which make Lightning Warp better. While levelling, Flame Dash also allows you to scale walls when needed, but lightning Warp is far more flexible and nicer around traps.
About movement skills
You may ask yourself "but why not shield charge?" and look at the dual wielded daggers. It's a nice skill, but the higher crit chance and extra chaos damage modifiers from a dagger are what allow us to forgo DPS items and Jewels, as well as getting greedy on life in the passive tree. Rebuilding around a shield, even if you get one with amazing offensive stats, will slow down the kill rate, which is what gives us the massive instant regen offered by Atziri's Splendor.
Whirling blades is a stronger choice, since it's harmonious with dual daggers. But it just isn't nearly as strong as Lightning Warp with both less duration and faster cast. Lightning Warp is the best obstacle clearing skill in the game, bar none; with Rotgut basically permanently running, its move speed is unparalleled.
Flame Dash is a strong choice, and the only choice early on, as Lightning Warp without Less Duration is too slow.
4L Cast When Damage Taken: Cast When Damage Taken, Immortal Cry, Longer Duration, Molten Shell. Don't bother leveling up Cast When Damage Taken or Immortal Cry, raise Molten Shell to the highest level supported by that. It's great defense that should trigger frequently.
About CWDT skills
The core of it is the standard Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Cry + Longer Duration combination, while keeping the Cast When Damage Taken at a low level to give us a lot of effective physical defense. Adding Molten Shell into the mix makes sense because it gives us extra physical HP and armor.
Also, it helps the aesthetic of the build having more glowy stuff. Never underestimate how fun it is to be glowy when we're awesome.
4L Heralds: Herald of Ice, Herald of Thunder, Enlighten, Empower... ideally in a +1 socketed gems boots. Empower is a bit over the top, and spending a 4L on this is a bit much.
Why Herald of Thunder?
tl;dr: because we wanna shoot lightning bolts too.
But seriously, that's enough to get enemies slowed when they're coming at us from angles that we aren't steamrolling. This improves our effective reaction time, and lowers the risk of playing aggressive significantly. The extra added damage is nice, as is the ability to add the shock status effect because we crit a lot, but mostly it is surprisingly good defensively.
1L: Lightning Golem.
2L: Cast on Death + Portal.
That leaves you 9 spaces for gems to use however you see fit.
To the point, this build loves open spaces. Atoll is one such map where the projectiles continue unimpeded, Dunes is basically a killgasm in action, Belfry is tons of fun, and so on. This build loves high mob density, as Frostbolt offers infinite pierce and plenty of AoE. It also hates doors, because the collision detection hates me.
This build can handle any map modifier except elemental reflect, which immediately murders it. Temporal Chains slows us down and get annoying, but no regen does not impede this build except for boss fights.
About the development of the build:
I started out with a similar build in 3.0, but have since refined it and made it incorporate some of the OP glory that is 3.1 modifiers (before they're nerfed to hell in 3.2). The %# Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage is ridiculous, and gets the DPS to a point where killing bosses isn't too hard. I used this build as a league starter. It's perfectly viable for that, as there is only one expensive piece of gear you need at level 75 to make it work. If you save up all your currency and use the minimum needed, you can basically 6L your armor by the time you can use it. It's not quite as fast a league starter as Sunder builds, but it definitely handles red maps better, which is where it truly shines.
While this build is fast, it isn't the absolute fastest in clearing a map. But we can more than make up for that with increased item quantity and rarity due to how interchangeable everything is. For enough DPS, all you really need is boots and daggers (and later on just the daggers), for sustain the body armor, and the rest is about quality of life. The itemization for it, as such, starts out cheap but things can be swapped for more and more expensive options which will continue to be rewarding. The longer you play this build, the quicker it farms, and the more you can improve it.
Also, the most fun modifier in terms of play style that I've ever had is Rampage. The most fun sound to hear is the shatter sound as everything explodes around you. Farm efficiency is something this build has in spades, but far more important is just how satisfying it is to play. This combines all of that.
I don't have time to game hard-core. Most of the time I spend logged on is while doing other things, hoping for a trade, and occasionally run a map if I have a few minutes to spare. This build is basically my only character this league; there are incremental upgrades to gear, and it's starting to get really expensive to improve it more. It's great for anyone who has casual gamer time, but wants the full-on experience. I'm sure someone can optimize this build far better than I can; I'm also sure that with an unlimited budget this build can get completely god-tier. Alas, I am a middle-aged programmer that has to do real people stuff (I rate real people stuff at 3/10, would not recommend)... I'm just here to share a build that makes this game really fun.
Q and A:
Q: Why do mobs not lay down loot and spontaneously explode when I'm near?
A: Obviously you're playing this build wrong. When I play it they do just that. Also, I'd recommend setting Frostbolt to the right mouse button.
Q: I only laugh manically part of the time, what gives?
A: You aren't murdering things enough. They should be murdered more.
Q: Look at this improvisation on this build! It's so much nicer with Headhunter! What gives?
A: Headhunter works on this build very well. My main execution of the build (now on standard) has one. It synergizes very well with the Shaper's Touch gloves, and adds a lot of beefiness that the build can really use. It is also not quite as fun to play as Bisco's Leash.
Q: If you have so little time, when did you write this guide?
A: Yeah, next time I'll just farm more instead.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it. Even if you don't, I hope I managed to convey how much of a blast I'm having while using it.
Last edited by Jnnkzn on Mar 2, 2018, 8:35:40 AM
Last bumped on Mar 2, 2018, 8:44:11 AM
on Feb 10, 2018, 1:34:15 PM
added to the listing.
You may include parts to your guide such as which map mods you don't particularly care for, add a jewel that you use as an example so players can easily shop and compare for their own (since your build has 7 jewel sockets [2 frozen trail] I am surprised this was glossed over).
Also some players prefer to use shields for shield charge as a movement skill, would you consider the viability of this and dropping one of your daggers? I'm sure the lack of what some would call a 'viable' movement skill is a negative mark (I however really like highly-invested lightning warp), and your video doesn't really show you using it either so it's kinda meh.
Hot Flashes: poeurl.com/bPZT
Shocking EleHit: poeurl.com/bZXo
on Feb 17, 2018, 11:11:39 PM
Taken into advisement. I think Jewels are one of the places where this build is flexible; I linked an example Jewel, but the priorities given are pretty specific and I don't want to come off as "do this or you fail"... the point of this build is to have fun.
Also, movement skills in general don't offer too much to this build. I use LW in maps where there is clutter, and generally at no other times. Once the movement speed ramps up (and this build crosses +50 movespeed by the time it can equip Devoto's), it's just somehow more satisfying to run through your projectiles.
I've added a bit discussing on why not shield charge; basically this build relies on Atziri's +100 Life/Mana on kill for defensive purposes. A shield will force a lot of changes in the passives in order to compensate, and those would come instead of other defensive passives. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I really like that the two daggers are the only needed DPS gear. If you go super-expensive (my character now has all 21/20 gems in the 6L, uses Headhunter as a belt, etc) then you can probably drop a dagger for a shield with a strong crit roll, but I seriously don't have much time to tweak things.
edit: thanks for the comments though, these have helped me update the guide.
Last edited by Jnnkzn on Mar 2, 2018, 8:45:25 AM
on Mar 2, 2018, 8:44:11 AM