[3.7] Occultist CWC Icestorm Theory Crafting

This is my first attempt at formulating a build, so please forgive my obvious mistakes/typos if any. And feel free to help me examining the viability of the build (SC recommended).
I usually play in the Chinese server but I will try to reply to any enquiries as soon as I can.

To start with, this build exploits the buffed cyclone skill gem to provoke the intrinsic ice storm skill on the unique staff, namely, Whispering Ice.

This bad boy.

With the cast when channelling support gem, the ice storm skill can be provoked around 3 times per second, with theoretically 10 impacts per cast per second. The DPS of ice storm is further increased through increased skill duration as multiple impacts occur which stack on each other.
With around 6.5s skill duration, 3 casts/s, and 10 impacts/cast*s, a maximum of 195 impacts/hits with ice shards may be achieved.

Both the attack and defence mechanisms of this build are based on the assumed 195 hit/s hit rate. The defence mechanism exploits the discipline mode modifier of energy shield gain on hit, and as we multiply the 20-30 energy shield gain per hit with 195 hit/s hit rate, around 3900-5850 instant energy shield gain per second is obtained.

Without further ado is the pastebin link for the CWC icestorm occultist build: https://pastebin.com/EsBbMat0

Points to be noted:
1) This is a theoretical build not yet proven viable in the legion league.
2) Due to the unique equipment requirements, it can not be used as league
3) The build lack physical damage reduction, which may be troublesome as
merely two defensive skills are adopted in this build, respectively,
immortal call and steelskin
4) pastebin link updated with further optimised tree, we are now at 120k per impact!

Thank you for your time and hope you enjoyed this build/idea.

Last edited by Inluca on Jun 20, 2019, 4:29:27 PM
Last bumped on Jul 13, 2019, 4:25:39 PM
WI CWC build isn't a new idea, you know. Neither is using Discipline ESGoH Watcher's Eye with it (aforementioned link -> Gear -> Jewels). It works well, though, you were right about that.

e: also, Watcher's Eye is useful but not *needed* until, like, red maps or even guardians. This build can be used as league starter, all you need is to get the staff itself, and IIRC its card is grindable.

double edit: you're forgetting about Spell Cascade, which casts 3 instances of Icestorm with each CWC proc :)
Last edited by zecoratul on Jun 19, 2019, 11:25:50 PM
zecoratul wrote:
WI CWC build isn't a new idea, you know. Neither is using Discipline ESGoH Watcher's Eye with it (aforementioned link -> Gear -> Jewels). It works well, though, you were right about that.

e: also, Watcher's Eye is useful but not *needed* until, like, red maps or even guardians. This build can be used as league starter, all you need is to get the staff itself, and IIRC its card is grindable.

double edit: you're forgetting about Spell Cascade, which casts 3 instances of Icestorm with each CWC proc :)

WI CWC is not new yes, but the integration of cyclone as the channelling skill is, which enables movement during casting and betters the mapping/bossing experience (I suppose). The ES gain on hit is not strictly required, but it is a nice thing to have since we have 50% reduced ES regen or leech. And yes, spell cascade would be useful for mapping, but since we are moving constantly, it might not be necessary (not tested yet). Before constructing this BD, I had a read through most of the existing WI builds so that I wouldn't neglect the obvious, however, spell cascade for mapping and ES GoH source are the two thing worth noticing. Thank you for bringing it up aha.
Last edited by Inluca on Jun 20, 2019, 3:42:29 AM
Played WI with CoC back in the days and was looking for a 3.7 version, thanks.
Sounds interesting but I think the defensive must be one-shot-secure, after that everything else is negated through the Watcher's Eye instant ES recharge.
Might be quite expensive, the jewel is currently like 2.5-3ex. On the other hand ES gear might be a bit cheaper in the melee focussed meta.

PS: Just bought The Pandaemonium for a different build (FB raider) and I think it can massively help this one with defense. Area blind = 50% less hits received. Of course, you lose those sweet ~120 all attributes. No Elemental Focus allowed in this case (I suggest Hypothermia that also add further defense through freeze chance).
If your number are anywhere near accurate hit damage should not be a problem, ever. (195 x 120k is overcapped for any content)
So I'd rather put some defense in there. What do you think?

PPS: Can you explain why EE? I think it will not work because of the very frequent cold damage hits? How do you plan to hit with other elements more quickly than Ice Storm?

Also, where do the Frenzy Charges come from you checked in PoB?

Last edited by Jasmira on Jul 13, 2019, 10:55:31 AM
Well I guess OP is not there right now so I'll just note down some tips and hints I collect while leveing this build.

Changes I had to make
As a quick summary of everything below:
- No EE, it's nonsense
- Swap Void Beacon for Vile Bastion to become stun immune (super-important)
- No Elemental Focus, chill/freeze is your life insurance. Take Hypothermia instead for even more chill and freeze.
- No manual cursing with OoStorms. It's really really clunky and annoying. Swap for Blasphemy+Enlighten (Lvl3+). Also guarantees 100% uptime of Malediction and stuff.
- Adjusting Flasks. Atziri and cold penetration flask are OK but for the remaining slots you should rather go defense than offense.
Life Flask of Staunching, obviously.
- *THINKING* about swapping Flame Dash for Leap Slam with Fortify. Build has issues with physiscal damage so this might help. Also faster movement and bigger gaps breachable. Problem: you lose your Arcance Surge source. (LWarp maybe?)

Moving this top to stand out.
TL;DR: Do not calculate with the Hit damage OP wrote about. There are most-have changes to the build that will reduce those numbers by at least 35-40%. (details below)
That's still enough to mow through everything including bosses, just don't expect the DPS mentioned in the original post.
If I set up PoB correctly it should be nearer to 81k than 120k per hit with concentrated effect (boss fight).
Let's assume the 195 hits/s stay true (I think concentrated effect is necessary to hit the boss with all) this would be something like >15m DPS which is still insane and higher than most other builds, even ones focussed to bring down bosses only. And this one has crazy clear speed as well...
So yeah, no problem, but keep it in mind :D

Things I noticed that challenge this build:
1. EE is useless from what I see. Indeed, it's counterproductive. There is no way on earth to hit an enemy with different element quicker than Icestorm hits so EE will actually reduce your DPS.
I *assume* wave of conviction and/or golem were meant to provide EE boost but with Icestorm hitting so often it's impossible to make this work. --> DPS drop of ~24%!

2. Stun insta-gibs you. Even tiny stuns will interrupt your channeling. Since ES leech and gain are the only things keeping you alive any stun is potentially deadly (especially in the thick of dangerous mob groups, like Legion).
As stun is based on your life (with CI it calculates off the life you would have if you had not taken CI) and you have very little life with this build, you will get stunned A LOT.
This means you have to take 'Vile Bastion' ascendancy (also providing % of ES per second). This means Void Beacon is out of the question, another ~12% DPS drop.
Caveat: do not start mapping without Vile Bastion... you are warned.

Taking talents to avoid stun is not enough (and a huge waste of points anyway). You never reach 100% and that's exactly what you need.

3. Freezes are just the same. Once frozen you are dead. Means you have to get a Flask with charge gain on crit and freeze immunity or limit yourself in some equipment slot like freeze immunity ring (whose other stats are pure crap). I guess the movement flask is a good choice here. It limits your 5th flask slot. Don't forget to pop it before opening anything that might freeze you...

4. Getting 3 red sockets for CWD is painful if you want 'blue' gear only. Just saying this because each roll is 125 chromatic or ~20c.

38 is when the fun begins
It starts off at 38, for leveling just take Freezing Pulse + some area spell like Firestorm. 38 means you can use CwC. WI is ready at 33 and Icestorm is way better than whatever you used before, so use it manually while waiting for CwC.

Use Blasphemy or suffer!
One thing for leveling and mapping: I strongly feel that Blasphemy + Doublecurse >> Zealotry. You will lose maybe 15% hit damage but you get an insane amount of comfort from blasphemy.
Why? Because Orb of Storm interrupts your channeling and makes the whole experience very clunky.
Also it only hits a few enemies so not much curse.

More importantly even than not having to care about cursing is that Blasphemy will allow you to make 100% use of your Profane Bloom and Malediction, something no Curse on Hit can ever accomplish (except vs Bosses).
The explosions from PB are nice but what counts is Malediction with its insane +10% and 16% added chaos damage. Try to keep that up (it lasts only 4 sec) with Curse on Hit and you will know what clunky feels like...

I should add you will need level 3 or 4 Enlighten to keep Discipline up as well. While on leveling gear you will also need to invest 1-2 talent points to get 4% reduced reservation.
You can actually do without that (1% mana left is enough to cyclone) but you won't have enough mana for Flame Dash...

No Curse on Hit should be required for anything but the hardest bosses. For Uber Elder you can still exchange the gems (same colors all). Everything else is MUCH smoother with Blasphemy. My opinion.

Regarding Ascendancy, go PB -> Male -> Forbidden Power -> Void Beacon << Vile Bastion . Don't fall for PoB warrior stuff, yes VB gives more BAM but Forbidden Power gives much larger area.
Update: Vile Bastion or every Stun is potentially a death.

Whatever you do, NEVER ever use Elemental Focus.
This build gains unf*ckinglievable defense through Freeze. I am only 62 right now but EVERYTHING normal and Rare is basically insta-frozen and shatters. Even some bosses get mini-frozen all the time and can do nuffing.
I'd say Freeze is one of the defensive must-haves for this build. Due to the screen-wide range of Icestorm you can freeze dangerous mobs (like Arc-ers or machine-gun-demons) from a safe distance.

Watcher's Eye yes/no
Well, you get quite a lot of ES leech from talent tree and with 7k ES+ that means some pretty crazy ES per second.

However, what Watcher's gives you is INSTANT ES PER HIT. Did OP mention Icestorm hits 10 times a second? Per Cast. Per enemy. Stacking because of its nice duration.

Yes, it costs ~2ex. Yes, 25-30 per hit might seem little.
Trust me, though, it will refill your ES like nothing you have ever seen. Even on single target (boss), with just 3 or 4 instances of Icestorm running at the same time it's already a whooping 750-1000 ES per second. Now imagine what it's like on mob groups, especially big ones (LEGION!!!!)... it boils down to instant refill, faster than anything can damage you.

So a VERY worthwhile investment.

Clear Speed / Boss damage
This league I have played (albeit not excessively) Frost Blade raider and the very popular ED trickster.
It is difficult to compare the general 'speed' of clearing maps but I'll try.
First off, this build moves while dealing damage which opens up some time-saving because you can avoid dangerous attacks without stopping your DPS. You can also move into the general direction of more mobs and do not have to stand still to deal damage.
That said, your damage has a slight ramp-up phase and movement with WW is slow while the other 2 builds can move rapidly between mob groups (with ED even dealing damage while doing so because of DoT). Raider in particular moves extremely fast.

So far it seems to me this build is slightly slower overall but deals much better with tough single targets. ED damage is mediocre versus bosses (although to be fair the trickster can move much faster than we can while dealing full damage) and raider even has to switch gems to be any good in this department. Icestorm simply doesn't care.
However I guess it's a good idea to switch into less area gem if you're dealing with small model bosses. You want all hits to connect, after all.

How much ES to start maps?
I tried to switch to CI with only 4.8k ES and regretted it. With ~5.8k it already becomes much more bearable but you still cannot dive thoughtless into the thickets mob groups. I fear to have a brain-afk session something like 7.5k+ are indeed required.

Impossible map mods
Ele Reflect. Duh.
No regen is a pain in the ass because you have such low available mana.
No leech can be a bit iffy depending on how many damage mods there are. Don't try this without Watcher's.

NEW: Delve
Just ran my first delves with this build and WOW is it great down there! The extreme mob density means you can mostly stay in infinite whirlwind, keep your anti-freeze flask popped and melt everything down. No ramp-up times, pure mayhem. Fun!
You can also stay infinite time in darkness without flares by pelting mobs if you have Watcher's Eye with ES gain on hit. Quite nice to get down those long dark stretches if you only want the reward at the end.

All in all I'm quite happy with it so far and really glad to have a non-mainstream build that works :D

Final Summary 20190725
I'll stop playing the build. It is very fun while clearing but has problems with tough mobs and bosses that deal high, consistent and hard/impossiblet-to-avoid damage. (like Kitava map boss, several legion rares and basically all situations where there's a lot of area damage everywhere, since Cyclone is too slow to avoid it and without Cyclone you do not deal enough damage).
It would be better if cyclone target and spell target were seperate but as it is, you have to cyclone roughly where you want your damage to go down which means you are too near the enemies and take a lot of damage.
With very high-end equip it might be possible to reach the ES levels OP shows in his PoB template. I do not have that kind of currency, though. Even then I guess it's no difference since the problem is not so much your ES as the rate you can replenish it.
The main issue is the missing defense layers. With some dodge/evade or high block it could work. It is hard to imagine a build like that, though, it would have to reach far-away areas of the skilltree or make use of counterproductive uniques.
Last edited by Jasmira on Jul 25, 2019, 2:33:07 PM

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