[3.4] Freezing Pulse Totem Hierophant | Cheap, Starter, Guide, Guardians, Shaper

3.4 Update
There weren't any changes to Hierophant or Freezing Pulse. The changes on the skill tree are a slight buff. We are saving 2 points getting to Holy Dominion and Light of Divinity.

The main change for us is the shield charge nerf, and the buff to Phase Run, Flame Dash and Lightning Warp. The one thing that still makes Shield Charge attractive is Fortify. A 20% overall damage reduction is just incredibly strong and we have no way to apply fortify with movement spells. With Silver and Quicksilver Flask our Shield Charge is still decently fast. Phase Run can now be cast instantly, I think that just running and spamming your totems will be pretty fast as well. At last Wands ARE viable now, if you happen to find a good wand (preferably with cast speed for movement spells), and you wanna run with Flame Dash/Lightning Warp, do it. Would be nice if some people can report back how it feels using those movement spells now.

Regarding Delves: The build should be pretty safe in low to mid-tier delves thanks to the freezing. If you wanna go really deep, you will probably run into damage problems. Freezing Pulse is an amazing skill for fast mapping, but it doesn't have the highest damage potential.

3.3 Update
3.3 gave Freezing Pulse a suprising big buff. We get just flat out more damage and the damage fall-off is limited to 50% at the end of projectiles and not 0%. In my opinion Freezing Pulse was already the best Totem skill for mapping and now that shouldn't be in question anymore.

Because of less damage fall-off it's not as important to scale projectile speed anymore. It will still be nice to have to kill stuff off-screen. But we can probably drop Karui Ward or the projectile speed enchant. During league start you could try not running the Faster Projectiles gem, but you might wanna have at least some projectile speed, which Karui Ward could provide cheaply. (until we have 20% quality gem)

I will not to be able to play or respond here during the first days of league start. I will also probably choose another leaguestarter this time (for variety). So it would be nice if you could report how comfortable you feel with scaling less projectile speed. I wish you all a fun und successful leaguestart.

Since there doesn't seem to be a current guide for this powerful build, I decided to write one and give back to the community which helped me with other build guides. Feel free to make comments and suggestions to make this guide even better.

- NO gear requirements (except 2 threshold jewels), so cheap and SSF viable
- Transitions nicely from levelling to mapping without any problems and big investments
- Easy to cap resists
- Easy to reach 7k-8k EHP with 40% MoM
- Able to clear maps up to T15 comfortly
- Very safe because we freeze all minions except bosses instantly
- Can go Magic Find
- Can run all map mods (I would reroll Ele-Reflect since your totems 1 or 2-shot themselves, but clearing the map is possible)
- Can reach 1.5 million Shaper DPS (300k DPS per totem) - this is specific damage gear, 80-100k DPS is enough for mapping
- Possible to kill guardians and shaper with some investments

- No leech
- Totems

Why not Frostbolt?

- higher base crit
- faster projectiles, so faster freezing and clearing

You can still try frostbolt. It's essentially the same skill tree, so just swap the gems and threshold jewels. (and you don't need projectile speed, so replace faster proj)

Pastebin: (for "Path of Building") https://pastebin.com/Mk5kpPUZ

Video (T12 Shaped Dunes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vbW4I5M47c
For Videos of Guardians and Shaper see the corresponding section.

Gameplay style
You run around (or shield charge) and place totems preemptively. You don't wanna shield charge directly into a large pack of mobs before freezing them. When we need more DPS we can cast Frostbomb (linked to Arcane Surge) and Projectile Weakness for a huge damage increase.

MoM (Mind over Matter) explained
With the Mind of Matter keystone and the Divine Guidance ascendancy, 40% of our Damage is taken from mana before life. This means we optimally want to have a Life/Mana ratio of about 60/40.

There are many powerful mana nodes on the tree and we should look to have a lot +Mana on our gear in additon to +Life. I am currently on about 4200 Life, 2800 Mana (which is a 60/40 ratio) with just a tabula. That's 7k EHP.

You don't wanna run auras with MoM and we don't really need to. That also allows us to equip a Clear Mind jewel.

Gem Links:
Mandatory Links:
Get those as soon as you start mapping. Don't complain about your damage if you don't use a Curse, Frost Bomb and Arcane Surge.

Main skill: Spell Totem - Freezing Pulse - Faster Casting - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia - Cold Penetration
- If you want your projectiles to travel farther, you can use Faster Projectiles, it also means the damage doesn't fall off that fast.

Frostbomb + Arcane Surge + Phase Run + Increased Duration
(pay attention that your Arcane Surge is low level so that it procs with one cast, for this combination it's level 4)

Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Enfeeble + (Increased Duration)
(Cast When Damage Taken should be lvl1, Immortal Call lvl3, Enfeeble lvl5)

Shield Charge + Faster Attacks + Fortify
(if you use wands: Flame Dash/Faster Casting/Arcane Surge or Lightning Warp/Faster Casting/Less Duration/Swift Affliction)

Projectile Weakness + Flame Dash + (Faster Casting)
(We need 155 Dex for level 20 on Projectile Weakness which is hard to get for us. But it's totally fine to leave the gem at a lower level, since we only lose a little bit of DPS against bosses)

Summon Lightning Golem

Decoy Totem for Bosses
Vaal Haste / Vaal Grace + (Increased Duration)

Alira, since both CritMulti and ManaRegen are very good for us and resists are never bad.

Pursuit of Faith - Ritual of Awakening - Conviction of Power - Divine Guidance

Don't be scared of labs. You can do every lab as soon as you reach the required level. If you have a 6link and Freezing Pulse lvl18, you should be fine to solo Uberlab (on SC).

Major: Brine King, if no Kaom's Roots, else probably Solaris
Minor: Gruthkul


Most people overprioritze getting damage from the gear. Make sure you cap your resists and get as much life and mana (mana is life for us!!!) as possible on your gear.

Start out with a regular dagger or sceptre with:
- Spell Damage, Elemental Damage
- Critchance for Spells
- Critmulti
- Added Damage to Spells

3.4 Update: You can also use Wands, the disadavantage is you can't get fortify, but it's viable now. If you use wands, you probably want cast speed for your movement spells.

- +Life
- Critchance for Spells
- +Mana
- +Resists
- Spell Damage (expensive to get with the other stats)

A Tabula should be one of your first investments. Getting a unique or rare 6link armor is not a high priority since we can easily reach 7k EHP without it. So you might consider getting a +1 Tabula to boost your damage.

The standard option would just be a regular body with Life, Mana and Resists.

If you wanna invest to make your character perform even better for mapping, you should probably get a shaper chest. Look for:
"+1 to Active Skill Gems" gives us around 10% more damage
"Spells have +#% increased Critical Strike Chance" gives us around 8% more damage with a Controlled Destruction setup. Divine it to get a Roll close to 1, a Roll over 1 is only available on ilvl84 chests and its probably hard and expensive to find a good one.
"Socketed Gems are support by level x Item Rarity" is actually really nice for MF.

This is a chest I found myself and you could consider using with crafting Life on it. There are better chests out there.

Unique option: Some people opt for a Soul Mantle to get an effective 7-link. But you have to use 2 Kikazaru rings then to lower curse effectiveness on yourself.
Read the Variants section and the Disclaimer, Soul Mantle is NOT strictly the best choice for this build and I chose not to equip it.

Another very strong option is Loreweave. The big selling point is getting 80% max resists (divine until you get this). You also get some life, mana, critchance and eledamage. Loreweave is probably best in slot for our build. Unless you get an insane shaper chest.

Look for:
- 30% movement speed (on boots)
- +Life
- +Mana
- +Resists
- +Dex (we need a little bit of Dex somewhere)

Helmet enchant: All are viable. Freezepulse Damage gives slightly more DPS than castspeed. But get a castspeed one if it's cheap. I personally favor the Projectile Speed since we sacrifice less DPS than with a Faster Projectiles gem.
If you can't find good pre-rolled helmets with enchants and you don't wanna roll your own, taking a Starkonja's is a fine choice, we need the dexterity and critchance and attack speed is still useful for shield charge.

Boots enchant: Often underestimated. And you can even farm the enchant yourself. The "10% Elemental Penetration if you have not killed recently" works well for us because the totem kills don't count for us. It gives us roughly 7% more damage which is almost as good as the Helmet Enchants. "2% of Life and Mana regenerated if you have been hit recently" is a nice defensive option.

Unique options
Boots: Kaom's Roots gives us more life and stun immunity. We can easily get resists elsewhere and don't need the gem links. The biggest sacrifice is the movement speed.

Look for:
- +Life
- +Flask effect duration (very nice to get on a belt)
- +Resists

Optimally we are looking for a Stygian Belt, so we can equip an Abyss jewel.


You probably want to get your hand on a Karui Ward as soon as you can, the projectile speed is amazing for us, especially in the beginning when we don't get it somewhere else. The other stats are all very useful, especially dex+strength for the gem and gear requirements.

Before the Freezing Pulse buff, Karui Charge (fated version of Karui Ward) was my overall recommendation as amulet. So feel free to use it as long as you want. With the buffs we don't need projectile speed that much anymore, so you can upgrade into a good amulet with life and critmulti. Critmulti is one of the best damage stats for us. A good amulet like that won't be cheap.

Another unique option is Pandemonius. Apparently the blind on hit works with totems as well, so Pandemonius gives us some nice safety especially for HC. It is expensive though.

Stats on rings/amulet:
- Life
- Mana
- Critmulti, Spell Damage (only amulet)
- Resists
- Mana Regen
- Castspeed
- Increased Cold Damage
- Crit Chance
- +Dex (we need a little bit of Dex somewhere)

Of course 2 Threshold jewels and a Clear Mind.

My gear: (before going magic find)
Gear is from 3.2. I would suggest slightly different gemlinks now.


Flasks are very powerful and often underestimated by new players. Make sure you get these flasks soon and when you start doing maps craft new flask with 20% quality and needed affixes. (Bleed, Freeze and Curse immunity are important, as is more movement speed)

While leveling you wanna use a mana flask instead of Basalt. As well as in No-Regen maps.

Leveling and skilltrees
Note: If you are ever in need of dexterity, just pick one of the +30 dex nodes which are available to us.

- Start out with Freezing Pulse + Arcane Surge + Onslaught (just one of those supports is fine of course). We need a BBG wand (also pickup one BBR wand for later). If you can get your hand on an Explosive Trap (Templar doesn't get it, you could mule it), that would be helpful in Act1 Boss Fights. You should keep Arcane Surge at level 1 for now, we want it to proc as often as possible.
- At lvl4 switch to Frostbomb + Arcane Surge + Onslaught and enjoy the speedy levelling with Frostbomb. You will still need Freezing Pulse (or Explosive Trap) for bosses.
- Get Clarity and Flame Dash at level 10. (we drop Clarity when we get a Clear Mind jewel). Also get Added Lightning as a support against bosses.
- With level 12 we start using Arc Totems. Until you get Ancestral Bond you should still use Frostbomb as well. Craft a +1 Lightning BBR Wand (topaz ring + magic wand/sceptre 3-linked BBR + Alteration Orb). Links: Arc + Spell Totem + Added Lightning
- You can take any Herald gem to boost your damage a bit. Drop them later when you spec into Mind over Matter.
- Replace Added Lightning with Controlled Destruction once you get it

Skill tree around level 20

- When you get Ancestral Bond, you get 2 Totems, but can no longer use Frost Bomb. Link Flame Dash to Faster Casting and Arcane Surge.
- You can start looking for BBBR 4link. The 4th link will be Faster Casting.

Skill tree when you reach level 43

- Around level 43 we should finish the quest in act5 which gives us a Freezing Pulse threshold jewel. Invest your first chaos/alchemy to buy a second jewel and place them in the fresh acquired slots on our skilltree. Replace Arc with Freezing Pulse. (if you are SSF you should stay Arc Totem until you find a second jewel, the skilltree is pretty much the same, levelling another character to act5 is not worth the time).
- In Act 4 we can buy Cast When Damage Taken and Immortal Call and link them. We also get a Lightning Golem.

Skill tree when you reach around level 55

- We started picking up some crit nodes and got a Diamond Flask from the Silver Locket Quest in act 7.
- If you did the Fallen from Grace quest in Act 6, you can buy all gems now from Lilly. You might wanna have a look at the "Gem links" section and see if you can add more useful gems or start levelling support gems. But don't try to get that exact setup right now. It's usually not worth to invest jeweller's or chromatics in levelling items (if you are in desperate need of gemlinks use essences on 4-links you find).

Skill tree when you reach maps (or slightly after)

- Try to get your hands on a Tabula. This should be your first big investment. You can buy single gear pieces for 1c if you are not resist capped or just have really awful gear in some slot.
- If you have found or bought decent gear pieces, color and link them. You should try to complete your gem links now and get decently rolled flasks.
- Try to get your Freezing Pulse gem up to 20% quality (or buy a 20/20 if it's not leaguestart).

Skill tree at level 90

FAQ: Why is my DPS so low? / Common mistakes
Several people asked about this and all of them didn't follow the guide properly.

A very important note is that our actual damage is much higher than the tooltip damage. The tooltip damage doesn't account for:
- Hypothermia damage against chilled enemies
- Curses
- Frost Bomb
- Elemental penetration from "Conviction of Power"
- Diamond Flask
- Certain Boots Enchants
If you are standing still in hideout, it also doesnt count:
- Power charges
- Silver Flask
- Damage boost from "Pursuit of Faith"

So if your tooltip is around 20k, you can actually reach around 100k actual DPS per totem. Because you can have 4 totems, that is 400k DPS and totally enough for T15 maps.

Now the most common actual mistakes were:
- Not using Projectile Weakness and/or Frostbomb with Arcane Surge, which gives you a huge damage boost against strong enemies.
- Not using a Diamond and Silver Flask.
- Not taking mana nodes on the tree or getting mana on gear.
- Trying to get too much offensive stats/gear.

Variants: Soul Mantle / Shimmeron
Disclaimer (READ THIS BEFORE): Soul Mantle or Shimmeron can give you a lot more damage, but it is absolutely not necessary and my choice was to not equip either of them. Look at my video or look at my MF gear, those characters clear up to T15 just fine. If you feel that you desperately need more damage, check the guide again, you are most likely doing something else wrong. And if you really want more damage (which is totally fine), make sure your other gear has good life/mana and resists, because you will be sacrificing defenses.

First Option: Soulmantle + Dual Kikazaru
Soulmantle gives you a 7-link and a 5th totem. We use 2 Kikazaru to negate most of the curse effects on us. We should be able to cap our resists and get life+mana on other gear pieces.

Only go Soul Mantle if it's 6-linked. Else you don't get the benefit of the effective 7-link. (the addtional support should be Added Cold)

We should also use a Self-Flagellation jewel (probably instead of Clear Mind) to get a big damage boosts out of our own curses.

Second Option: Dual wield Shimmeron
Shimmeron got change in 3.4, we now also take the Lightning Damage per second, which was reduced to 200 per second. With 2 Shimmerons and 75% Lightning resistance, that's 100 damage per second. That's something we can outheal, but of course it makes us less durable when we suffer consistent damage from other sources.

In addition to that we sacrifice the defense stats of our shield and fortify. It is a huge damage buff though, about 40-60%.

If you are in SC and don't mind the occasional death or you wanna push deeper delves and need the damage, Shimmeron might be an option.

Of course it's also an option to have dual wield Shimmerons as a weapon swap against bosses.

Pastebin with skilltree for Shimmeron (you wanna invest in Powercharges): https://pastebin.com/UnRD2YPf

Magic find
You can wear lots of magic find items and still cap your resists, reach 7k EHP and reach over 100k DPS per Totem which is enough for mapping. It requires some investment though. I could even get most of resists on Brightbeak/Helm/Shield/Chest/Belt, so I didn't have to invest more than 100c for the Ventors.

The 60% Manaregen on Goldwyrms is actually really nice for us. This should probably be your first MF item.

Gear from 3.2: (would recommend other gemlinks now)

Guardians and Shaper
With high end gear you can reach 300k shaper DPS per totem and actually farm guardians and shaper quite comfortly. I would NOT suggest gearing up like that if you wanna mainly do normal maps. You will be faster and get more drops with Brightbeak and MF gear.

All guardian maps are rare and corrupted
Pit of the Chimera (full run): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4cQyotHYKw
Lair of the Hydra (boss fight): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH_0yhX_iC8
Forge of the Phoenix (boss fight): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeWtGc8VHJw
Maze of the Minotaur (boss fight): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jECjurmxLTk
Shaper (full run): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOJwkrcZqng

I had deathless runs of Hydra, Minotaur and Shaper, but unfortunately there were not recorded properly. You can propably judge that most of my deaths in these videos are avoidable. I mess up a lot not dodging big attacks, not using flasks properly and not using Vaal Lightning Trap.

Pastebin (including shaper dps): https://pastebin.com/AYGJkvsg

Gear (Shimmeron was only used for bossing, Brightbeak+Shield in weapon swap):
Last edited by VisorX on Oct 14, 2018, 11:26:46 AM
Last bumped on Nov 18, 2018, 1:13:10 PM
Very nice, currently level 74 in BHC doing freezing pulse hierophant.
This guide is very informative and is gonna help me out alot.
Thank you for taking the effort to write it.

Very nice. Very nice indeed.

I was planning on playing flame totem, but i think i like Freeze Pulsing more.

Hope to see some videos though.

Thanks and have fun!
I'll try to record a video. Hopefully my PC can do this.
coming back for this new league and gonna give your build a try to start fresh :D
Aksys wrote:
coming back for this new league and gonna give your build a try to start fresh :D

Great to hear. Please give feedback if anything is unclear in the guide or if you have additional questions.
Hello! Thanks for this informative build!
Do you have enough health to kill the bosses on the maps? I just play in HC and I do not want to take chances.
Completed 16 ChallengesBellark wrote:
Hello! Thanks for this informative build!
Do you have enough health to kill the bosses on the maps? I just play in HC and I do not want to take chances.

You can reach 7k EHP rather easily and while fighting bosses, you can focus on manually dodging all damage. Often the bosses will also attack your totems and not you. So this character is actually one of the safer map boss killers I have played.

If you get close calls getting stunned, you might wanna consider getting Kaom's Roots.

Also if you are fighting red beasts in maps, those are often scarier than map bosses, especially because you don't know what they will do.
Last edited by VisorX on Mar 9, 2018, 8:51:09 AM
Nice guide, thanks.

I'm running something similar, but hadn't thought about the frost bomb.

Also I'm running Arctic Armour to have at least a little bit of physical hit damage reduction, but I'm not sure it's that efficient. I might drop it of the clear mind jewel.

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