[3.5] CI Cold DoT Trickster - Insane DPS - Super Tanky - Bfreeze Through All Content

Hi Aul!

This is my first ever build guide, so please provide whatever feedback you feel would be helpful, or any questions you may have! I felt like making a guide because not only did I have so much fun with this build, but I was able to handle every piece on content in the game with ease (Uber Elder, Uber Atziri, Aul, Kurgal, etc), and I also made a few tweaks here and there which made it feel like my own. Maybe I'm wrong and my "tweaks" were super obvious or well-known, but still, here is what took me to 100 for the first time ever in Betrayal. Yea I Pure Breachstone'd the last 5 levels or so but don't hate... so did you. PoB pastebin at the bottom in case you just wanna fast-forward :). Also, I will be cleaning up/updating sections of this as time goes on if people seem to like it/I get some feedback. If you have any suggestions for things to improve, or any comments at all, I'm all ears!

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Cold DoT:

- Damage penetration does not work with the Cold DoT and is vastly outclassed by affixes that lower enemy resistances, like the Frostbite curse, Elemental Weakness curse, or the fossil-crafted modifier on helms which lowers nearby enemy resistances.
- Flat cold damage added to spells will affect the initial hit of Vortex or Cold Snap, but will do nothing to affect the DoT, so don't prioritize that mod at all if you want to stack Cold DoT dmg, which is what this build is all about.
- You don't need to worry about getting Crit Chance/Crit Multi on your gear, unless it's specifically Cold Damage Over Time Multiplier. And you want that. Ohhh... yes you want that, everywhere you can. Also, Crit Chance isn't needed because you will be proc'ing Elemental Overload even without any Crit Chance on your gear.
- Strength/Dex requirements can get tricky (no pun intended) at times, so always look out for them on good pieces of gear.


Not gonna lie, I decided to go with Trickster for my cold DoT build after watching Tarke talking it up pre-Betrayal. I had some regrets early on watching so many others like Octavian play Occultist and tear things up, but after really settling into the build, I'm glad I went Trickster. This build already had plenty of ES regen (400-500 per sec), and the zoom-zoom benefits of Trickster make the build awesome for mapping (no mana cost of movement skills... which is basically essential when you are reserving almost all your mana, and free power/frenzy charges). Oh, and I didn't even mention the best part about Trickster for Cold DoT: Patient Reaper. Patient Reaper not only gives you % of mana/ES on kill (INSTANT... HUGE), but also gives you 70% increased recovery rate of ES/mana after any mob killed by your Cold DoT... so there is basically 100% uptime on that. Combine that with your ES regen and your recovery with a kiiiinda expensive Watcher's Eye jewel (I'll get into the Watcher's Eye jewel later), and you are tanky AF. With lvl 20 Discipline you should easily be around 8000-9000 ES with 400-500 ES regen per sec.



Let me preface this section by saying this the best end game gear I have been able to acquire after playing probably more than I should have this league. Scaled down ES gear for the build is very easy to acquire, mostly focus on ES and capping your resistances, and growing into the build.

What made this character so much fun to play (which I think holds true for any PoE character), is that it performed well with low budget gear, but there was always room to upgrade, even 1-2 months into the league. It's really fun when you are tearing down mobs and bosses, but at the same time, in the back of your mind you know it's possible to tear 'em down even faster.

Lets start with the most important:

6L Vortex in CHEST:

I decided to go with Vortex in my 6L as my main damage dealer. I have seen a debate between Cold Snap vs Vortex in the 6L. IMO... if you are running Vaal CS (which you definitely should since it is the bread and butter clearer of maps for the build... and when I say butter I really do mean it cuts through T16 mobs like a hot knife through butter), you get more than enough DPS out of Vaal Cold Snap by putting it in a 4L. On top of that, the cooldown of CS is considerably longer than that of Vortex, and when you don't have power/frenzy charges to bypass the cooldown (like in boss fights), Vortex feels SO MUCH better. And back to that, Vortex is INSTANT CAST. Which means you can cast it while running or zoom-zooming. Cannot emphasize enough how awesome instant cast is. Running around maps and popping Vortex every pack of mobs without having to stop should convince you enough that Vortex is the right choice for your 6L.

Running most content I will swap out Hypothermia for Increased AoE cause everything just dies anyway. Swap in Conc effect for endgame bossing if you want to really see the deeps climb to unnecessary levels.

Oh and about the crafted mod "You Can Apply an Additional Curse". It's hard not to go for double curse when Frostbite and Elemental Weakness both exist. For full DPS mode go with both of those... or if you wanna get some defensive you use Enfeeble or Temporal Chains. More on curses below.

4L Vaal Cold Snap in GLOVES/BOOTS/HELM:

This one really depends on what gear you have. Definitely link Vaal CS to Bonechill, as that will significantly increase your DPS on mobs that have Vortex and CS overlapping.

If you don't have Soul Ripper, clear speed is still pretty good casting Vortex and then cleaning up the scraps with CS. If you DO have Soul Ripper, your mapping game just went from 0 to infinity and beyond. I would recommend linking Vaal CS to an Increased Duration gem (I don't because the boots provide that for me... and they also provide duration for my Vortex #PogChamp) to make running through maps even more smooth.

4L CWDT Setup:

YOU NEED AN ES GAINED ON HIT WATCHER'S EYE FOR THIS TO BE EFFECTIVE. And boy is it effective. Maybe this isn't a budget friendly part of the guide, but if you are able to acquire a Watcher's Eye with ES gained on hit, this CWDT setup will save your life time and time again. Link lvl 1 CWDT to Firestorm for distant mobs, Orb of Storm for closeby mobs, and Ball Lightning to rip through packs... and you will seemingly be insta-filling your ES every time you get hit. The Watcher's Eye jewel was like 4-6 ex early in the league so jump on it early is this is your league starter.


Not much to say here. Get as much spell damage and ES on your shield as you can, and fill out your resists and str/dex. Shield charge is nice cause you cause use it with a variety of weapons. Make sure to link it to 20% quality Fortify to increase the Fortify duration.


Same as for the shield. Fill out your resists and your str/dex requirements.

To really push the DPS, try to craft/acquire a fossil crafted stygian like one shown above. Hopefully with more ES :P


I would say this is the most important damage source for the build, and although that is somewhat true, it's also kinda not. There is one very important thing which I don't think I've emphasized enough:


Get it on your weapon. Get it on your jewels. Get it on your ammy. Get it on your gloves. Every single one of these items you have should have cold DoT multiplier on it if you want to maximize the DPS on this build.

I spent waaaaay too many alts trying to craft a T1 cold Dot sceptre so I just ended up buying the one above with the "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" modifier on it. This modifier is HUGE. Before I got this sceptre, I was running Enlighten along with Blasphemy + Elemental Weakness + Frostbite in a Heretic's Veil to allow myself to dual curse. "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" in the sceptre basically allows you to dual curse without Blasphemy, and throwing in the Frost Bomb just makes it that much sweeter, and it opens up your mana pool to be able to reserve other things like Haste for QoL movement or Vitality for even more ES regen (make sure you spec into Zealot's Oath). These Sceptres are decently acquirable now, but who knows what GGG might do about multimodding which could make it harder to get sceptres like this.

Speaking more about double curse, if you don't have the ability on your chest, you will need to travel a bit to get Whispers of Doom at the top left of the skill tree. Having it on your chest simply saves about 4 skill points so it's not totally essential.


Although 2 of the mods on this item are absolute garbage, I can't see myself getting a better amulet ammy time soon. The Cold DoT Multiplier mod combined with the 1% Increased Damage per 15 Intelligence (which gives me like 30% increased damage with a meager 452 INT) is hard to come by. I started out with amulets that simply stacked ES, Spell Damage, and Cold Damage... like these:


Not much to say other than this ring is pretty dope (thanks ZiggyD!). I put Storm Brand in it to get 100% lightning res and also apply -50% cold res to any mob it affects.


This, like the Boots/Gloves, is highly variable and depends on what you want to do. I run Discipline and Haste as a quality of life, but you can always swap out Haste with Purity of Ice for Uber Elder or Aul, or Vitality if you want more regen. Also consider swapping into a CWDT + IC setup if you don't care for the addional regen from the Stone Golem.

People have differing opinions on when to switch from life to CI, but I say if you can afford the gear and you are already into maps, start acquiring your ES gear. The transition isn't as bad as some may make it seem.

Obviously prioritize capping your resists first and foremost. As the bulk of the damage of any spell caster build comes from the level of the gems themselves, focus first on getting high ES gear, capping those resists, and getting at least a 5L. This will take you easily into yellow/early red tier maps.


The most important stat on the Watcher's Eye is the ES gained on hit for the CWDT setup described above. For the other jewels in the skill tree, I decided to go with normal jewels (not abyss jewels) since those can roll cold DoT multi whereas abyss jewels cannot. Obviously prioritize ES% / Cold DoT multi / Spell Dmg / Cold Dmg / Area Dmg
For the abyss jewel in your belt (let's be honest, does anyone NOT run a Stygian Vise these days??), prioritize ES, DoT, and the Onslaught buff if even more amazing if you like to zoom-zoom.



But wait, you are CI... how do you not get perma stunned/frozen?

And also the Pantheon: Soul of the Brine King. With this Pantheon and the stun recovery the build has, you might notice I tiny hiccup here or there when mapping, but you will never get stunlocked. Also, any flask like the one above will prevent chill/freeze and it be up almost always when mapping, dunworryboutit :)

Oh and I chose the minor Soul of Garukhan for even more zoom-zoom.

I'm sure there are some things I forgot to mention. Depending on the feedback I get, I will continue to update and answer questions. I just wanted to share this build with you guys since I've had so much fun with it myself!

Last edited by Spokodude on Feb 11, 2019, 8:14:51 PM
Last bumped on Mar 8, 2019, 6:31:24 PM
Can you post info on how to level to this point?
Clear speed? Any video?
No video, so didn't read.
Any update for 3.6?

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