[3.5] Inva's CI/LL Vortex DoT | 3.3 million Shaper eDPS | 13k ES | Sub 2min Uber Elder | Videos

Google my name 'Invalesco POE' and you'll find out!

Having played so many builds over the years, Vortex/Cold Snap Occultist, although not one of the faster paced or flashier ones like my non-crit HoWA, crit HoWA or Frost Blades builds, is nonetheless one of the more balanced builds in terms of offense/defense with a safety-oriented gameplay style.

Join me on my journey as I attempt to make the server's most powerful and optimised Cold DoT occultist!

545k unbuffed hideout Vortex Tooltip (Jan 2019)

Path of Building

Combined effective Shaper/Guardian DPS (Vortex and Cold Snap) is approximately 3.3 million. Would be 2.7 million without my +2 Shavs.

Keep in mind that I have personally edited in a stat 'Nearby enemies take 22% increased elemental damage' on my jewel to hopefully more accurately project the effective DPS based on the 2nd part of Bonechill's 'Enemies in chilling areas from supported skills have cold damage taken increased by chill effect' stat which is not reflected on PoB. I have 121% increased chill effect so my chilling areas chill enemies (and amplify my Vortex and Cold Snap's damage) by approximately 22%.

My Gear

458k unbuffed hideout Vortex Tooltip (Dec 2018)

Path of Building

Note: one of the reasons I am able to achieve such a high damage tooltip is because I have managed to farm up enough currency for a +2 duration gems corrupted Shavs. I do not expect everyone to be able to achieve this. Without the corrupted Shavs, my damage tooltip would be 361k, which is still pretty high, but is more easily achieveable.

Current going rate of +2 duration gems Shavs as of 5/1/2019:



Vortex is our main DPS skill and is best linked to Empower/Hypothermia, Swift Affliction, Efficacy, Elemental Focus and Controlled Destruction to achieve a maximal balance of DPS and Vortex Cooldown Recovery. Hypothermia actually outdpses Empower slightly and is also cheaper, so I would expect you to use Hypothermia first. Empower gives a slightly reduced cooldown and is only worth it if you have a level 4 Empower.

Vaal Cold Snap/Cold Snap is our supporting skill and is used mainly in clearing trash mobs (Vaal Cold Snap) and chilling bosses to further amplify our Vortex DPS. It is best linked to Bonechill, Empower and Efficacy

Bonechill linked with Cold Snap allows us to amplify the damage dealt by Vortex.

If you look at the wording on the Bonechill gem, it increases Cold damage over time taken by monsters by a flat amount (30% for level 21) as well as an additional amount depending on how much the enemy is chilled for. Chilling areas from Cold Snap by default have 10% chill effect. This is further increased by chill effect modifiers.

This build has a minimum of 50% increased chill effect from the tree, 20% increased chill effect from Cold Snap and 45% increased chill effect from Bonechill for a total of 115% increased chill effect. This means that Cold Snap's chilling areas have a minimum of 21.5% chill effect and will amplify our Vortex damage by a minimum of 30 + 21.5 = 51.5%

CI is slightly easier to build and gear for because you can ignore chaos res on gear (although admittedly you really only need the Vertex Vaal Mask and maybe 1 other high chaos res roll on a piece of gear) and you can achieve higher levels of ES (probably about 2k more) with a high ES end-game chest as compared to Shavs. However, the DPS output ceiling will be much lower than Low-Life because the latter has a 30% more damage output modifier from Pain Attunement. In this guide, I will outline how to level as a starting character, transition to CI and then transition ultimately to Low-Life when you've farmed enough to purchase a Shavs.

Keep in mind though that you can still complete the game as CI, and I have done Shaper and Guardians with pretty much budget gear and a 5L (as shown in the videos below), but it is only natural to transition to Low-Life from CI if you want to get the most damage out of your character.


The goal is to reserve enough of your HP with blood magic and auras so that you have less than 35% HP left and can benefit from Pain Attunement as well as cast/trigger non-cold elemental skills in regular intervals to benefit from both Elemental Overload as well as Elemental Equilibrium. Zealot's Oath is a nice defensive keystone to have, seeing as we've got a decent amount of %life regen from the tree and can also benefit from %life regen mods on jewels/gear and flasks/consecrated ground.

CI (transition phase)
Both uniques are pretty cheap at the moment.

Beast Fur Shawl in particular is a good affordable chest with decent ES, AoE, Spell Damage and the all-important increased ES recovery rate, which benefits both your ES regen as well as your ES recharge rate.

The power of ES regen with the Beast Fur Shawl
Low life
Shavs will never be truly cheap, but it is essential if you want to build for low-life. Vertex is a very useful helm for low-life characters given the high ES, +1 gems and chaos res. An appropriately corrupted Vertex is a very good end-game helm and is reasonably cheap at the moment (~10c or so). Rime Gaze will outdps Vertex for sure, but a corrupted Vertex is great for having better ES (and not much shabbier offense), better ES recharge and chaos res compared with Rime Gaze.

Getting a double corrupted +2 to Duration/AOE/Cold Gems x2 would be great for pure DPS output. For more fluid gameplay however, I would recommend a Vertex helm with the Vortex has 30% increased cooldown recovery speed enchant.

• Get to kill mobs while running around like a headless chicken.
• Cheap starter build with high endgame potential.
• High defensive capability with high offense.

• As a spellcaster, you will in general not be as mobile as an attack-based character.
• Map clearing may not be as fast as some other builds, notably archers.


Level 95 CI on a budget
Shaper and friends on a 5L
Maze of the Minotaur - vulnerability and extra damage
Pit of the Chimera - more monster life, less curse effect
Lair of the Hydra - temp chains, more monster life, +ele resists

Gear/Gems used in the above videos and PoB pastebin

Early Game
The goal is to stack life on gear, DPS nodes, sufficient HP nodes and rush to EO to improve DPS output and enable you to level as quickly as possible. I would use Winter Orb instead of Vortex/Cold Snap initially as we won't have enough AoE to make Vortex/Cold Snap clear speed as fast as Winter Orb.

36 Points
63 Points

Mid Game
Only swap over to using Vortex when you've grabbed both AOE clusters and all the cold damage over time multiplier clusters. Start keeping an eye out for suitable ES gear and/or picking up ES base items to craft on.

89 Points

Switching to CI
Once you have enough high ES gear, its time to make the leap and respec to CI! Yes, you will have to use respec points for this. Ensure you have approximately 1.4k base ES from gear, ascendancy and Discipline as well as the Energy from Within unique jewel before respeccing.

106 Points

Switching to Low-Life
You can switch any time once you get a Shavs. All you need to do is level up so you have an extra point, respec a point from CI (so you now have 2 points), and place those points in both Pain Attunement and Arcane Vision.

Level 96 Low life

Bandit Choices
Kill all for the +2 passive points

Ascendancy Order
Void Beacon --> Vile Bastion --> Frigid Wake

CI: get Soul of Lunaris and Soul of Ralakesh/Garukhan
LL: get Soul of Arakaali and Soul of Shakari

Unique Jewels
Might of the Meek - great jewel to build around

to be socketed above (and to the left of) Blast Radius
Unnatural Instinct - QOL jewel. Not essential

Note: a rare jewel will easily outdps Unnatural Instinct. The benefit of Unnatural Instinct is primarily to provide QOL in the form of regen, skill effect duration and AoE. I got mine relatively cheap at the start of the league but given the prices now, I would not prioritise this jewel.
Energy from Within - the ES jewel

Rare Jewels
Your desired stats are, in terms of decreasing priority:
1. %Increased maximum energy shield
2. %Cold damage over time multiplier
3. %Damage or any other useful stat (resists/+attributes)
4. %Damage or any other useful stat (resists/+attributes)

Some examples of my collection of jewels for your reference:

POE.trade link

Note: there is no need to spend extravagantly to obtain excellent 4 mod jewels right off the bat. Most of my jewels were obtained via purchasing great (and cheaper) 3 mod jewels before using the free exalt (if you ignore the investment of time) from Leo 3 (Research Syndicate) to get the 4th mod.

You have two options.

The cheaper option would be to purchase a 1-hand weapon with high %minion damage, regal/annul and proceed to multicraft it. Remember to pick a base with high implicit %dmg.

For the above option, the mods you want crafted are:
1. %cold damage over time multiplier
2. %increased damage over time
3. %cold damage
4. Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill

The other option which is more time-consuming and RNG-dependent (but also higher DPS-yielding) option would be to purchase a high ilevel Opal Sceptre, transmute and alt until you get a T2/T1 prefix %Cold damage over time multiplier, regal it, annul it and then multicraft it.

Example of my craft:

Note: please use a normal (non-elder/shaped) weapon for this. Elder/Shaped weapons have a higher number of affixes which will lower your chances of landing T1/2 cold multi.

For this latter option, the mods you want crafted are:
1. %spell damage
2. %increased damage over time
3. %cold damage
4. Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill

Reasonably cheap uniques you can use till end-game


The ideal helm would be a Shaped Hubris Circlet with the following mods:
1. High ES
2. Nearby enemies have -9% to cold resistances
3. 20% increased Effect of Chill and Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 20 Hypothermia

The best way to craft this sort of helm would be to use a combination of Frigid, Dense and Prismatic fossils.

The Vertex Helm and an ilevel 84 non-shaped Hubris helm with the mod 'Nearby enemies have -9% to cold resistances' are closely matched in 2nd place.

Ideal Enchantment from Lab: 30% increased Vortex Cooldown Recovery Speed
Boots: ES, 35% Movement Speed, Res | POE.trade link
Ideal Enchantment from Lab: %life and mana regen when hit

Rings: %Cold damage, ES, Res with open prefix | POE.trade link
Amulet: %Cold damage over time multiplier, ES, Res with open prefix | POE.trade link
Gloves: ES, Res, %Cold damage over time multiplier | POE.trade link

There is unfortunately a scarcity of good gloves with %cold damage over time multiplier at the moment so you may want to craft your own with alts/regals/annuls and multimod.
Shield: ES, Res, Spell Damage (optional) | POE.trade link

Belt: ES, Res, +/- 1 free suffix slot to craft Aspect of the Spider | POE.trade link

Basically, the idea is to maximise the %Cold damage over time multiplier stat as that is your main DPS suffix on gear. Aspect of the Spider is best crafted on belts as they are the cheapest gear to upgrade/replace and also have the least valuable suffixes otherwise available. For instance, Shields can have %curse effect crafted, Rings can have %damage crafted and Amulets/Gloves can have %Cold damage over time multiplier crafted. That said, if you have a GG item that you're certain will be tough to find upgrades for and there is a free suffix slot (even after mastercrafting), feel free to beast craft Aspect of the Spider on that piece of gear.


Chest 6L: Vortex, Controlled Destruction, Empower, Swift Affliction, Efficacy, Elemental Focus

Helm 4L: Vaal Cold Snap-Empower-Efficacy-Bonechill

Weapon 3L: Storm Brand, Incr. Crit Strikes/Stone Golem, Frost Bomb

Shield 3L: Flame Dash-Faster Casting-Arcane Surge

Gloves 4L: Blood Magic-Discipline-Clarity, Arctic Armor (not linked to Blood Magic)

Boots 4L: CWDT-Immortal Call, Blasphemy-Temporal Chains

Discipline, Clarity, Frostbite/Temp Chains (blasphemy)
Low life
Discipline, Clarity, Temporal Chains (blasphemy), Arctic Armour, Aspect of the Spider


Silver Flask of Staunching + Alchemist Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline: Use both together for that immense burst of speed to run away from Uber Elder/Large bosses while they get ticked down by your damage, or for clearing as many mobs as possible for the duration of your Vaal Cold Snap.

The other 3 flasks and their respective uses are:
1. Experimenter's Sulphur Flask of Warding - Sustained curse immunity + damage
2. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of the Order - Sustained regen + dodge + phase run
3. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask - Sustained movement speed

For those of you who are following this build and need the %life regen flask craft, feel free to pm me in game for it. It'll be 6 Glass Baubles (cost price) with no extra fee needed.

1. Avoid ele reflect maps.
2. No regen maps are doable but tedious.
3. Disable clarity and make sure you have >10% unreserved HP in Hall of Grandmasters map (there is an annoying exile with culling strike in there.
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Last edited by Invalesco on Jan 16, 2019, 11:17:18 AM
Last bumped on Jan 22, 2019, 7:11:50 AM
The linked skill trees are broken
Completed 11 ChallengesNickisibbern wrote:
The linked skill trees are broken

thanks for the heads-up! have edited them.
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Cerberus limb paired with aegis Aurora is good and cheap till you get to end game gear. Gives a 400 es shield, armor some evasion and +5 Max cold res. Worked real well for me
Sorry for the dumb question, but how does elemental equilibrium work with this build?
I think swapping Controlled Destruction for Bonechill in your Cold Snap links would add a significant amount of damage
Completed 23 ChallengesBinner08 wrote:
Cerberus limb paired with aegis Aurora is good and cheap till you get to end game gear. Gives a 400 es shield, armor some evasion and +5 Max cold res. Worked real well for me

That's a good thought, added it in!

Completed 6 ChallengesJesterMcgee wrote:
Sorry for the dumb question, but how does elemental equilibrium work with this build?

Its not a dumb question, I haven't explained it in the main page so I'll add it in. We use Storm Brand to trigger Elemental Equilibrium which reduces the enemy resistances.

Completed 27 ChallengesVerdonne wrote:
I think swapping Controlled Destruction for Bonechill in your Cold Snap links would add a significant amount of damage

I considered that before, but dismissed it purely based on controlled destruction adding a more significant multiplier. However, as per your suggestion I've read abit more into detail with regards to its mechanics and have found that it can indeed support/boost Vortex damage. As such, I will be adding it in. Thanks!
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Is there a way here to trigger EO I'm not seeing? or is it there as purely a 'just incase' scenario?
Completed 29 ChallengesFoFDarkness wrote:
Is there a way here to trigger EO I'm not seeing? or is it there as purely a 'just incase' scenario?

There are 2 ways to go about it.

You can either have storm brand as a stand-alone skill and self-cast it every once in a while to trigger EO, or you can craft/buy a weapon with a free suffix, mastercraft 'Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill' on it and enjoy near 100% uptime on EO without having to manually press extra buttons.

Just to showcase the beauty of the above-mentioned mod:

This is my crafted weapon:

As you can see, I've got 3 skills socketed in there.

Here's a gif to show how the 3 skills get autocast in turn whenever I use flame dash (or any other skill for that matter).

Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
A build thread about min-maxing? This is my kind of thread!

I'll chip in my PoB (10.5k ES, 2.5m shaper DPS): https://pastebin.com/g6TQ79MK
Also, how does the build actually feel to play? Here's a red elder carry: https://youtu.be/2mUTOwOSQ0g
And since we're showing tooltip DPS, this is my hideout Vortex and Cold Snap tooltips: https://imgur.com/a/5Vg1PpM

Let's go around some of the differences between my version and OP's build:
- I use a might of the meek on the jewel north of the witch starting area: this, combined with also taking the Heart of Ice part of the upper wheel, is basically comparable to a perfectly rolled rare jewel for a much lower price tag.
- instead of pathing through the extra jewel slot near Chaos Inoculation I go through the Written in Blood wheel fully, getting some extra ES and forgoing what is a relatively inefficient jewel slot to pick up (it's basically losing 3 nodes and 6% ES to get a jewel slot, slightly better if/when you grab a clarity watcher's eye due to the extra mana but definitely not worth it before)
- the points I don't invest in majors near the might of the meek area go into extra skill duration for the added quality of life and marginal DPS increase (having to refresh dots less often means we interrupt EE less often as well, although this does not show up in PoB)
- I go for the slightly more survivability-oriented Precision and Sanctity nodes (anything to make flame dash more responsive!) over the slightly more damage-oriented Fangs of the Viper and Entropy nodes: this is mostly personal preference and doesn't represent a major change
- I also pick the extra curse node: witchbrew + temp chains will cover most of your mapping needs, with frostbite only kicking in during bosses.

For pantheon choices I go Lunaris over Arakaali for the added movement speed while mapping, but it's a relatively minor difference.

Concerning gear, I think Rime Gaze is absolutely insane to run in the build and I don't think I'll upgrade it, but this does require sacrificing our belt slot to Bated Breath to somewhat counteract the heavy recharge penalty. I could get some cold damage over time multiplier on my gloves/amulet, but I haven't found suitable replacements yet and that's why it's not on there currently.

Concerning skill links, my steup is fairly different:
- vortex is linked to empower rather than swift affliction. Again, the minor DPS loss from having to refresh more often doesn't show anywhere, but you do get a slight cooldown reduction on vortex (about 0,06 seconds) which is always nice
- going from controlled destruction to empower on cold snap would be an about 10k dps increase (4k over a level 21 controlled destruction): a fairly minor upgrade I'm not gonna invest in considering I also want to try other builds!
- I find phase run fairly nice to run even with a quartz flask, as the latter does not provide increased movement speed
- I don't think clarity is needed: we want a mana flask anyways to have a spammable antibleed and that should solve most of your mana issues, since on bosses you shouldn't be spamming your skills to avoid resetting your EE too often
- I run faster casting linked to flame dash, the skill feels way too clunky to use without it

All in all the build is very powerful and presents a few different ways to tailor it to your specific playstyle.
Last edited by Maxpoggi on Dec 29, 2018, 10:55:08 AM

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