[3.5] Freezing Pulse BM JUGG - Solid league starter with potential to grow with investment

Hi guys! I'm RhoaPower and I like to play PoE with my own builds 99% of the time. I just think it's more fun that way and the one time I tried copying someone else's build it wasn't fun for me.

Making guides for some of my favorite/best personal build ideas is also part of the fun! So I decided to share my league starter for Betrayal here in the forums. I only played Delve at the very end, but I did have some time to test this build a bit and it was pretty consistent and enjoyable.

Please keep in mind that this guide is a work in progress and I will update it as I progress in the league. But it should give you the general information you need to make a solid Freezing Pulse BM JUGG at league start on Friday!

The idea is to make a relatively practical self-cast spell build and take advantage of the mobility and tankiness of the Juggernaut. Self-cast is not exactly in a good place in PoE right now, but its shortcomings can be somewhat mitigated by taking the Blood Magic keystone, which makes you lose all your Mana and use Life to cast spells instead. This way you don't have to worry about mana sustain (one of the big problems with self cast) and can just spam away with your Freezing Pulse.

By the way, the build doesn't necessarily have to use Freezing Pulse as the main spell and can be used with other spells if you prefer, possibly with a few adjustments to accomodate. I chose Freezing Pulse because it's relatively easy to give it good coverage for pack clearing with 2 First Snow jewels, enabling it to fire 5 projectiles. Combined with the skill naturally piercing all enemies, this makes for pretty smooth coverage without too much investment. (The places to socket the First Snow jewels in order to activate them can be seen in the passive tree image below).

Planned Level 90 tree with Ascendancy

Planned Level 90 tree in Path of Building (with average gear and key uniques): https://pastebin.com/iDxfnF8f

Gem Link Setup

Main skill link setups as you progress with leveling:

3-Link setup for leveling (socket this in an item with +1 to cold gems):
Freezing Pulse, Arcane Surge, Lesser Multiple Projectiles (switching to Added Cold Damage for bosses)

Freezing Pulse, Cold to Fire, Spell Echo, Combustion

This 4-Link setup and the next ones below assume that you've now got Blood Magic on the tree and at least one First Snow jewel that is correctly placed.

Freezing Pulse, Cold to Fire, Spell Echo, Combustion, Fire Penetration

6-Link in a staff with +3 to gem levels:
Freezing Pulse, Cold to Fire, Spell Echo, Combustion, Fire Penetration, Lv. 4 Empower

Controlled Destruction provides slightly more DPS than Fire Penetration for single targets, but the build doesn't get a whole lot of Crit Chance, so I decided to go with Fire Penetration as it has no downside and this way I get to see crits a bit more often. This is also related to why I chose Combustion over other potentially similar choices: it increases the number of times I ignite things, and those ignites are necessary for the graphical pleasure of Pyre explosions :).

Other utility links:

Flame Dash + Faster Casting
Enduring Cry (for Endurance Charge maintenance when needed)
Your favorite CWDT setup

Apart from this there's some room for your personal preferences in terms of supporting skills. You may want to use a Golem or Totem to supplement damage, for instance.


Ring Slot 1:
The only required unique for the build is the Pyre ring. Together with the Cold to Fire Support gem, it allows us to convert most of the cold damage from Freezing Pulse into Fire damage, while still being able to do other types of damage (which wouldn't be the case with the Avatar of Fire keystone, for example, which we don't take). This is relevant for being able to use the unique flask Atiziri's Promise, for example. Equiping this ring also allows us to explode enemies when we kill them, which makes the build quite enjoyable to play :).

Ring Slot 2:
The other ring slot is free to use a rare ring, likely a Diamond or Opal for extra damage, or a resist ring if you're lacking resists.

The Marauder is a bit far from the usual Critical Strike nodes in the tree, but it has access to nodes that improve Critical Strike while wielding a staff, which makes the Staff our weapon of choice. A great staff to get the build going is the Realm Ender, with its free Cold to Fire support and +3 to gem levels. However, if you decide to invest more into the build and promote it from league starter to endgame farmer, you'll want to upgrade into a rare Eclipse Staff with +3 gem levels and as many damage mods as you can get. The staff is where we socket our main spell and therefore it must have as many linked sockets as possible, aiming for a 6-link if you decide to take the build into the endgame.

Body Armour:
There's also plenty of freedom for personal preferences in the body armour slot. Some solid choices would be Loreweave, a Shaper chestpiece with + Critical Strike chance to spells, or Kaom's Heart. But any yellow chestpiece will do, and it doesn't need to be a 6-Link because that's what we use the staff for.

Here's where we equip the second strongly recommended unique for the build. The fact that we use Blood Magic allows us to use the Omeyocan unique boots while ignoring its downside, since we are considered to be at "No Mana" and therefore can't lose mana but still get the Onslaught effect (+20% Movement Speed and +20% Cast Speed). Together with some investment on Movement Speed on the tree, the Juggernaut Movement Speed increases, and maybe the use of Kaom's Heart (which has no penalty to Movement Speed), we can potentially reach permament 70% Movement Speed, which makes simply walking through maps pretty comfortable and decreases the amount of movement skill spam needed. However, the Omeyocan is relatively rare and expensive, so only consider getting one if you are investing a bit more effort into this build. They won't be available super early in the league. The build works just fine without them, but these boots are a great way to take more advantage of the fact that the build uses Blood Magic.

[That covers the most important gear slots. More info on the other slots coming soon]

Leveling Tips

Tip 1: It's perfectly viable to level up with Freezing Pulse from the start. However, the Marauder doesn't have access to the Freezing Pulse gem nor good support gems for it in the early levels. To get the gems you need to get started, you can create a Witch and quickly kill Hillock with her. The Witch gets the Arcane Surge support gem from the special chest in the first area, then gets Freezing Pulse as a quest reward after killing Hillock. You can then stash both Freezing Pulse and Arcane Surge, create your Marauder and use them for leveling.

Tip 2: if you're more serious or concerned about getting good support gems for your Freezing Pulse, you may choose to keep playing with the Witch a bit more, until you get to the Prison waypoint. When you do, go back to town and you'll get access to gems such as Added Cold and Added Lightning damage, as well as Lesser Multiple Projectiles for coverage (the Marauder doesn't get any of that until doing the Library quest in Act 3). This is not required if you don't feel like playing the Witch for a little extra time, but it's an option.

Tip 3: you can craft a Wand or Sceptre that will cover your leveling needs as far as damage from Freezing Pulse goes. To do so, buy a Wand or Sceptre from a vendor that already has 3 linked sockets. If it isn't Magic (blue), turn it into a Magic item using an Orb of Transmutation. You may get lucky and get the desired mod right away, which is +1 to level of socketed cold gems. If you don't, sell the Wand/Sceptre together with a Sapphire Ring and an Orb of Alteration, and you'll get it back with that mod in it. Add another mod with an Orb of Augmentation and you may get lucky and get a second useful mod. If you don't, it's ok, the main one was the cold gems mod. Socket your Freezing Pulse into this new item and support it with Arcane Surge + a third support of your choice, such as added damage, added projectiles or Iron Will (which the Marauder can get).

Tip 4: when assigning your passive points to the tree as you level, try to go for the damage ones as early as possible. Notice that those points are not very near the Marauder part of the tree; they're in the Templar and Witch trees. But make sure you go for those first, otherwise your damage won't be as high and your leveling not as fast. There's no need to rush to get Blood Magic because Arcane Surge will deal with your mana sustain in the early levels.

Tip 5: on the topic of mana sustain before you get Blood Magic, you can also get a unique jewel that grants elemental damage and mana regen from a quest in Act 2, and you should help Alira for the bandit quest in order to get some early regen as well, and resists + damage for the future.
Last edited by Rhoa_Power on Dec 7, 2018, 6:18:08 AM
Last bumped on Feb 10, 2019, 9:27:31 AM
Really Interesting. Definitely gonna try it as starter.
Eldino wrote:
Really Interesting. Definitely gonna try it as starter.

Thank you! I've added some leveling tips to help new players who may not know some tricks to help in the early parts of the game.

I'll try to add some more info before launch if I have the time.
Is it HC viable?

What life pool are you expecting to have with Kaoms?
DrB00M wrote:
Is it HC viable?

What life pool are you expecting to have with Kaoms?

Yes, it definitely should be HC viable. While I don't play HC myself, I keep my /deaths at 0 most of the time.

Life pool should be 7.2k with Kaom's at the very least at level 90. This depends a bit on how many other uniques you want to use. If you want heavier investment into tankiness and life pool it should get closer to 8k with endgame gear.

That plus the fact that you are a Jugg and you get all the tanking-focused ascendancy passives should make for a pretty safe build.
Would love if you please upload a Path of Building for us. Thanks again.
This looks interesting, could you link a PoB build for us or explain gem links if you have the time, much thanks.
Thank you all for your interest in the build!

I've added a pastebin link for importing the build into Path of Building for those interested. That import has some theoretical rare items and uniques that I believe would fit the build well, but a lot of it can change to fit your personal preferences.

I've also added a section explaining the main Gem Link Setups.

Since a few people have become interested, I recorded a quick video of me playing a test version of the build in Standard league. This is at level 70 with pretty mediocre gear, so please take that into consideration. This video is only meant to show what the gameplay with the build looks like with the key items equipped:
Last edited by Rhoa_Power on Dec 6, 2018, 11:10:42 PM
Just over an hour to go! Have a great league start everyone, and hope you enjoy the build if you decide to use it :)
Hey Rhoa, how is this build treating you? Still haven't started, probably gonna be tonight.

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