[3.9] Gryph's CI Vortex + Coldsnap Trickster || Uber Elder+Everything Else
This Guide is a WIP. I will add to and adjust it as I have time. Thanks for looking!
Vortex continues to be an excellent league starter. This upcoming league in particular looks good for us as Vortex builds are typically very strong for Bossing as we effectively interact with boss mechanics due to our mobility.
The scarcity of old end game content, specifically Elder and Uber Elder, will make obtaining a good Watcher's Eye much more difficult. ES on Hit Watcher's Eye combined with CWDT + Ball Lightning has been my go-to defensive recovery for generic mapping/delving. I imagine these are going to be more expensive/hard to obtain.
Patch Notes Stuff and My Thoughts
The 'of Crafting' crafted suffix which previously allowed you to craft any number of additional mods on the item now allows you to craft up to three mods on the item. This affects existing items (items with the mod will now be limited to 2 additional crafts), however any items with more than the allowed number of crafted mods will keep those mods.
This will make crafting our end game weapon a lot more difficult. Rather than seeking to isolate a single mod we are going to have to try for 2-3 good mods together. I think fossil crafting will end up being the best way. Pristine + Aetheric + Frigid can produce some nice results.
The Veiled and crafted modifiers with hybrid defenses (Armour, Energy Shield or Evasion) and life have had their values halved, and their tier progression split by item type.
Another hit to our eHP in the form of lesser crafted mods. Not a huge deal, but unfortunate nonetheless.
It's a small nerf overall and I don't think we'll REALLY notice with all the other defensive layers that we have.
There are now +level of all spell gems available on 1 hand caster weapons AND 1H Pure Int Shields. This is a nice buff for dps.
This is good to know when shopping Watcher's Eyes!
Added a video to showcase the needlessly tanky version of this.
Wands are an option for shield charge now! Now are the best weapon base.
3.7 Tree is basically the same. Just take 2 points for Wicked Ward and ignore the witch start ES nodes as they are bad now.
RIP Occultist. The main reason to go Occultist is now available to all classes. This is a HUGE buff to our build. Trickster took a minor hit, and ES on the tree took a minor hit. Overall I still think this is a buff. I would definitely consider Apep's Supremacy as a cheaper shield (cheaper than Reflection anyways) option to combo with Wicked Ward--you know, because mashing Occultist together with Trickster isn't going to be overpowered at all...
Trickster got nerfed a little bit. We lose 18% Attack and Cast Speed, 10% Spell Dodge, and Ghost Shrouds are now less Frequent (1 every 2 seconds). Overall this isn't that big of a nerf for us. Especially considering the access to Wicked Ward.
Dense Fossils are still good, but worse than before.
Synthesis rares are gone now. So we're back to Shaper bases and uniques.
All that said, our ES number is going to take a hit, but I think that's fine.
Vortex as A League Starter
Vortex + Coldsnap combo make for a very strong league starter build. We require minimal investment in gear and no uniques are required for the build to function.
That said, some things to think about as you start as a trickster:
Brief low level guide
Cold Snap requires level 16 (Rescue Helena, Act2)
Vortex is 28 (Kill Gravicius, Act 3)
I recommend leveling with Stormblast Mine from level 1 to 16.
Continue using it in conjunction with Cold Snap until 28 when you get Vortex.
At this point you can probably drop it entirely and use Cold Snap+Vortex for forever.
Make sure you complete Siosa's quest (Act 3) to find the golden pages in the Library to gain access to Hypothermia and Efficacy supports.
Take Bonechill Support and link with Cold Snap in Act 4 after completing The Eternal Nightmare quest.
Aim for these 2 4L's after level 38:
Cold Snap - Bonechill - Hypothermia - Efficacy
Vortex - Hypothermia - Efficacy - Elemental Focus
Use the little drop down menu in the bottom to switch between, 45, 60, 90 points, etc...
If you don't have Path of Building, go download it. It's free. Or use these:
Allocate Elemental Equilibrium once you have access to a weapon with the "Trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill" mod.
Hybrid vs CI
At the start of the league, getting enough ES from gear can be difficult. Don't be afraid of staying Hybrid right through the mid 70's. Typically I recommend to have around 5k ES before switching. You may be comfortable with less. I typically go CI as soon as possible (2k-4k es around act 7)
Useful Uniques for leveling/low maps
I started Synthesis league with Cold Snap/Vortex Occultist. Got her to 94 before starting a second character. Loved the build, loved the playstyle but I really wanted to try out the new Trickster buffs as I have a long-time love for shadows...They reminded me of my favorite class from Diablo 2--the Assassin. And so I rolled a Divine Ire Trickster and...didn't care for it, so I rerolled another Trickster when I decided Divine Ire wasn't for me.
This time I chose to go with Cold Snap + Vortex again after messing around with PoB for a while.
When I say it can do everything, I do mean EVERYTHING
- Any map mod (Ele reflect, I'm looking at you)
- Farm Uber Elder
- Deep Delves in the mine
- Uber Atziri and her trio are an actual joke
- Aul, and other Delve bosses
Uber Elder with latest gear. Sloppy, but Deathless.
T16 Forge of the Phoenix Elder Guardian with Abyss Boss. Just a random gameplay video.
These videos were done with about half of my current DPS.
I will work on videos with a more budget friendly setup in the future.
Enriched Chayula Run just beacuse
TL:DR just want your PoB
I am constantly making small changes to the build because there are a lot of good and very viable pathing options. This is what my Legion character currently uses:
Example of some high end gear
This is your end game. Wands now work with shield charge and so are the best option available. Scepters are still fine, just mind the strength requirement.
Note: In order to fully utilize Elemental Equilibrium we must have an open suffix on our weapons for the Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill mod.
A simple rare like this one is perfectly acceptable. This cost me 2c + 3c for the craft.
Be sure your base is at least item level 78 before crafting on it
Making Your Weapon
All you need to do to make this is Alt spam your base of choice until you hit the Heartstopping prefix. Once this happens it is highly recommended you imprint the magic base. Like, do it, just do it. You will need a Craicic Chimeral for the imprint recipe.
Imprint it, Regal, Annul, pray, repeat until successful.
If you hit the mod with a suffix on the blue item, you'll need to do this process twice. Once to remove the bad suffix, then reimprint with JUST the Cold DoT mod, and then go for Regal+Annul.
Once you've isolated the Cold DoT on your weapon, Mulimod and you're done.
Or just buy a rare dagger/scepter with some good damage mods and craft "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you use a Skill"
It's a suffix, it's 3c. I believe in you.
As a side note, the odds of hitting Cold DoT Multi T1 is roughly 1/3000.
I've done this three time now. First took ~400 alts and the second ~4,500, and my current one took ~1200. You will want a lot of alts to start off.
Also it is potentially easier/cheaper to buy a wand/scepter rare with the mod and try to annul down to it. Just have to find them cheap to be worth risking it.
For starters, The vertex is both readily available and is a VERY strong helmet for stacking both Evasion AND Energy Shield. The +1 Gems makes this a great place to put your Auras (Enlighten) or you 4L Cold Snap (more dps).
This was crafted with Dense+Frigid Fossils. Ideally you would get a shaped base and go for Hypothermia Support as well (For 5L Cold Snap, see below)
For a helm enchant, I would go for Mana reserve on Discipline/Malevolence, Vortex Damage, Vortex CDR, or anything you find useful. Mana reserve enchants will let you use Aspect of the Spider more easily.
Ahh, Reflection. The heart of the build (for me). This +
allows us to be both CI and LL simultaneously. Comes with the added benefit of having very reasonable EV/ES values, huge INT for more ES%, All res, and curse "immunity"
This is the end game shield for DPS. NOT REQUIRED for the build to function. That said it has never been cheaper (I was able to buy the cards for about 7ex total)
Apep's Supremacy is another Excellent defensive option. Now that we have access to Wicked Ward, stacking faster start of ES recharge is a very viable defensive strategy. They're also like 1ex instead of 10. Even less if you get the Apex of Sacrifice on your own.
I used something like this before reflection. If you can get 300+ES on an EV/ES shield you're doing good.
A pure ES shield is also perfectly fine and probably easier to get. A fun ES on Block shield is great for defense with this option too.
Oh hey, ANOTHER great EV/ES Unique. Sin treks are the best budget ES option available and they come with Evasion to boot (pun intended). Go with these until you can afford better.
This was an interesting choice for me. Trickster Ascendancy already gives us 10% spell dodge, so I wanted to add to that. These are the Temple Boots with 30%MS+11-12% Spell Dodge. I regal'd+Annul'd and then Multimodded. This takes me from dodging 1/10 spells to 1/5 spells. and goes up to 32% Dodge with Quartz Flask up. Seems good to me.
Dream Fragments on legs. You can also make something like this (with or without onslaught implicit) I like these because I like having Freeze+Chill Immunity. Can't be made on Temple Dodge boots and will have much less ES than other options because the Cannot Be Frozen is a Prefix. I crafted with Scorn Essences (and Annuls) to get some Spell dodge, but using alts for T1 Flat ES and two good suffixes (resists/int) would be perfectly acceptable.
As for enchant, I would go with Movespeed if you haven't been hit recently, Life+Mana Regen if you have been hit recently, or Spell Dodge if you've been hit by a spell recently.
I like having my pseudo 5L for Cold Snap. Using Essences of Delirium for the 30% more DoT to socketed skills is a way to do it if you don't have Hypothermia support on your helmet,
Now that Synth gloves are gone, these are basically BiS. 200es+Damage. Alt spam+annul+multimod.
If you don't care about the 5L CS, just go for ES+Resists. You can also craft +1 AOE gems if you have an open prefix.
The bread and butter of the Trickster Ascendancy. Go with a High Evasion/ES chest. Because of how the Trickster buff works, every 6 EV on the chest=1 ES on it allowing us to stack evasion for maximum defensive values.
Arcane Surge Support
While you can get Arcane Surge in other places, the support gem itself grants 10% more damage to the supported skill. This equates to 21% more damage to your Vortex when you have it on your chest. (I don't have enough sockets to put it with Flame dash)
That said, you don't *need* it. you can just drop something from CWDT setup for Flame Dash+Arcane Surge if you want it. OR skip it altogether.
I recommend grabbing a 6L Sadist Garb to start. Get one with at least iLvl 73 for T1 Flat roll. Then just roll Dense+Aetheric Fossils until you get something decent.
You can also just use an EV/ES Atziri's Splendour or Generic EV/ES Chest like these:
If you're using Atziri's Reflection
Otherwise a rare Crystal belt with ES/Resists/Strength
Ascent from flesh is a reasonable budget option that you can also use for leveling.
If you're going all in on the ES Recharge strategy then you can use Bated Breath for lots of ES and 50% Increased Recharge Rate
I go for mark of the Shaper and an Elder Rare for maximum dps. Also the Anomalies generated by the ring do a lot of damage as they are Cold DoT. Mine have been as high as 600k, for example.
By the very nature of this play style, ES Recharge is a major defensive mechanic vs bosses. So 2 Rare Rings with ES, ES%(Temple mod), and crafted Faster Start of ES Recharge is a very viable defensive option.
ES, ES%, Attributes for gear, resists.
You can also get Cold damage over time multiplier on a shaped amulet. So that's an option as well.
The high budget option would be to go for a Malevolence Aul's. Zealotry is an option too since it also gives a free DPS boost + ES%.
If you take the Aul's Route, you can use a second 50% reserve Aura. I am using Hatred for more DPS. Zealotry and Grace are also good options.
Note: this makes your resists that much harder to cover.
Rare jewels with ES% and a couple damage mods or required resists.
Get a watcher's eye with useful mods. That's really it. I went for ES on hit and CWDT+Ball Lightning in addition to the Storm brand and orb of Storms proccing off of my weapon. This makes you almost invincible when charging into pack of monsters. It's EXTREMELY nice when delving into darkness or just running the mines in general. Less useful against bosses, but noticeable.
Other modifiers you can look for:
Discipline ES Recovery Rate
Discipline Faster Start of ES Recharge Rate
Clarity X% of Mana Gained as Extra ES
Then, depending on your choice of Grace or Malevolence you can go with one of those.
Malevolence Cold DoT multiplier
Malevolence Bleed Immunity
Grace Evade %
1. Patient Reaper
2. Ghost Dance
3. Escape Artist
4. Prolonged Pain
There are many ways to build this tree. Based on your play style you may wish to take more AOE or not. I don't because I feel it's not needed. Some people will disagree.
Note: Only take Pain Attunement if you can afford Atziri's Reflection+Coward's Legacy
Level 90 For Pre Reflection Users:
Level 91 with Pain Attunement
Ash, Frost, and Storm: I take this mostly because I need the resists. it comes with decent damage and helps with Ele Reflect maps. Lower budget builds will have an easier time capping resists and may not need this.
Bandits: KILL 'EM DEAD!
Brine King for major pantheon will make you all but immune to stuns.
Soul of Lunaris if you have the 80% Chance to avoid Stuns boots enchant is another good choice.
Yugul for Reflect Maps
Abberath for burning ground if you care.
Ralakesh for things like Uber Elder or Uber Atziri or default.
Skill Gems and Links
You can see what I use on gear, but I will add an explanation here soon. Like the actual next thing will be this. But real quick:
Grace or Malevolence?
This is up to you. Grace gives more defense, Malevolence more offense. I would usually default to Grace though as my DPS is pretty high as it is. That said, I use Malevolence because of my watcher's eye. It makes Malevolence give me 39% more dps. And that is a lot. Like a lot a lot. If you get a good Grace Watcher with a Discipline mod, go with Grace.
Grace gives me 10k Evasion and an additional 10% chance to evade on its own.
Either one is good. Take your preference.
Vortex - Efficacy - Hypothermia - Elemental Focus - Controlled Destruction - (6th Link)Swift Affliction
4L Vaal Cold Snap
Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Hypothermia - Efficacy
You can slot this into gloves with the Essence mod "Socketed Gems deal 30% more DoT damage" Other options include a shaper helmet with Hypothermia Support (5th link Ele focus then), Elder Boots with Increased Duration Support (Good for Vaal CS for Legion encounters), or really anywhere.
Discipline - Malevolence - Enlighten - Flame Dash
IF You are using for the explosions, use HATRED instead of Malevolence. Physical Explosions scale off of Hatred very nicely.
If you are using then you can add Hatred or grace to the build. This will be the 4th link. Flame Dash can go elsewhere.
This one is a bit dependent one what Watcher's Eye you end up with. If you have one with ES gained on Hit Discipline, then I recommend these:
CWDT - Ball Lightning
I have Vaal RF slotted into my third link for bossing. other options include:
Enfeeble level 5 for more defense
Leveled Flame Dash + Arcane Surge onto a 4L if you don't have Arcane Surge on chest.
Shield Charge 3L/4L
Shield Charge - Fortify - Faster Attacks
This can go into your shield. Or, onto a 4L and put Flame Dash in the 4th link.
Weapon only 3L
Storm brand - Frost bomb - orb of Storms
These proc your Elemental Equilibrium and Apply Cold Exposure They are a must.
A Note On Elemental Equilibrium
Per a special request here's a little blurb on EE, how it works, and when to take it with this build:
EE works as such: When an enemy is hit by an element, that enemy receives +25% resistance to that element and -50% to the others. IE: If the enemy is hit with lightning they become more resistant to lightning and more susceptible to Cold and Fire.
Cold Snap and Vortex have a single initial hit and then deal their damage over time. The actual DoT damage does not proc EE so if we can override the first hit with lightning or fire damage then we get a MASSIVE bonus to our DPS.
This is done with our weapon (see gear section).
We use rapid-firing duration based lightning spells in the weapon with "trigger a Socketed Spell When you use a skill" craft in order to apply the Cold Res Debuff.
Note: you cannot have cold damage to spells anywhere on your gear as this will completely nullify the EE buff and grant monsters +25% Cold res instead. Pretty wand with lots of Spell damage and Cold Damage Over Time Multipler? OPEN SUFFIX for the CRAFT?!? Adds 1-2 Cold Damage to Spells...
IT'S A TRAP!!!
You should also avoid cold damage to attacks on jewelry and things. It's not as bad since the spells will overwrite it but still...try not to.
Most likely you will never notice the damage difference against white/blue/most yellow mobs. But with the really beefy legion rares and bosses the damage boost is incredibly noticeable and acquiring this setup is one of the greatest DPS boosts you can achieve for relatively cheap.
Standard League Mirror Service
Two copies have been made so far. For more information see below.
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Dec 12, 2019, 5:50:15 PM
Last bumped on May 11, 2023, 12:43:43 PM
on Mar 30, 2019, 12:15:18 AM
on Mar 30, 2019, 12:16:28 AM
Added a Shaper Video
on Mar 30, 2019, 2:55:01 PM
Hey, could you add me so i can ask a few questions? Thanks!
on Apr 2, 2019, 5:47:22 PM
Hi, if you have questions feel free to ask here as other people might have the same questions.
I will be making some updates. Uploading videos for Aul, Chayula, Uber Elder. Gear update.
On my to-do list: Budget-ish gear section. You don't need a Reflection to do well with this build. haha.
on Apr 2, 2019, 8:07:43 PM
I've been leveling with this build, currently level 41. I'm very new, (only ~60 hours. First build got to level 89 but super low dps, right now I already have more dps than I do on that char).
Whats a good strategy for defense in the early game? Building ES doesn't work well (too expensive to constantly upgrade/can't find good enough pieces). I go a mix build but I've found myself dying with this a lot as you have to stay in close range for vortex.
Like you said leveling gear, the most difficult piece for me to find is the shield. What's a good shield piece or is a good spell damage rare the way to go?
Mobility. As someone who's only played ranger, I'm struggling on appropriate situations on what mobility move to use. Flame dash vs shield charge.
In your build, you have storm brand-frost bomb-orb of storms tied together on your weapon. When do you use these?
on Apr 2, 2019, 10:10:16 PM
With Vortex you only need to cast it near enemies, then you can walk away/dodge. Also I would utilize Cold Snap for most of your trash clearing as well. My strategy is usually to snipe packs with cold snap and keep vortex on top of myself for the mobs that charge into me.
In the early game I would recommend picking up some of the life nodes to help, then specc out of them when you go CI later. There are also a plethora of cheap uniques that you can use to get through the storyline. Some that I recommend that are roughly 1-3c:
I personally go for CI anywhere between Act 7 and Act 9. Typically once i have 4k es or so.
For leveling, Glitterdisc will go a ways. But you will want to upgrade before maps. A rare ES shield will go a long ways. You can also go with an EV/ES shield. That is my preferred route so as to stack some nice evasion.
This shield can get you into maps and is very cheap
I use shield charge as my primary mobility in conjunction with my quicksilver flask and I use flame dash to get over obstacle/cliffs/walls/memory decay.
You want to use that setup after you get Elemental Equilibrium. The purpose of the lightning spells is to proc EE. Since we are Cold DoT and our spells only "hit" once, while OOS and Storm Brand hit many times, we apply -50% cold res to everything that matters. Huge dps boost.
You will also need a scepter/dagger/any 1h weapon with an open Suffix for the "Trigger a socketed Spell when you use a skill" The craft itself is only 3c as long as you can find someone to do it (or if you have it unlocked, do it yourself).
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Apr 2, 2019, 10:50:41 PM
on Apr 2, 2019, 10:47:56 PM
Thank you for the really indepth answer! I'll let you know how it goes when I reach maps.
on Apr 2, 2019, 11:03:14 PM
Made some updates:
Added Uber Elder Video
Added more in depth gearing guide
on Apr 3, 2019, 4:12:43 PM
Great build. Love it. I skip Shield charge personally. I don't find it necessary though it might be nice in some situations with a lot of movement space without mobs to kill (Shaper realm, some large maps)
Also my tree is a bit different to make use of minion damage on my scepter. (Thank you @Gryphenprey !)
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." - William James
"People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln
on Apr 3, 2019, 8:56:37 PM