[0.11.0] Aimlessgun's Cold Caster Guide [Now with RF/PA section] Videos! [

This guide is under construction to reflect changes upon PoEs release.

RF/PA Build (DOES NOT WORK IN RELEASE): Added a RF/PA guide in the third post of this thread, a natural evolution of this original build once you get enough levels and wealth.

I've been getting a few questions due to this build being high on the ladder (first character to hit 1 billion XP in Open Beta), so this is a guide to the cold caster on a Shadow.

This is a type of build that has been around for a long time. It's been run a lot, and there are many ways to do it well. A lot of this guide will be general advice for cold casters, and my specific build is not the be-all-end-all way to do them.

What is a cold caster?

Good question! When I say 'cold caster' I am referring to a character that uses Freezing Pulse and Ice Spear as their main attacks. Freezing Pulse has some of the highest AoE DPS in the game if you are up close, and Ice Spear has great long range single target DPS and freezelocks enemies like nothing else. As you might guess, these two skills complement each other perfectly.

What is a cold caster good for?

They are pretty good at everything. They have high DPS and good AoE, and their freeze gives them additional survivability. They are good solo and in groups, where people will appreciate you freezing everything up to and including map bosses. Lastly they are good at PvP (though this build is not optimized for PvP).

HC: I have recently confirmed a more defensive variant of this build as HC capable in the 1wk race for all pre-map content. Sadly a desync of recordsetting distance prevented me from trying maps :(

Notable stats?
In my current gear which is almost entirely self found except Maligros and a one ring, I have 10160 tooltip Freezing Pulse DPS, for an effective point blank DPS of over 30000. I crit 45% of the time with it. Things freeze and die in short order.

Quick introduction video doing a Wharf run. Audio commentary explaining basics of the build.

Introduction to maps. Basics of mapping in POE, followed by running a 69 map while talking about mapping for this build in particular. (go to 2:40 to skip the really basic stuff).

Quick archer pack tutorial.
Ways to deal with chaos dmg per second and reflect damage map mods.

PS: An untwinked lvl 70 fresh out of Sarn grinding will have a more difficult time than shown in these vids!

DPS Spreadsheet You'll have to download this to edit it and put in your own stats. Use exilepro's build summary tool to easily get the totals for your passives.

Passive Setup

HP/ES at 90
CI at 90 (powercharge build)

You want a good mix of crit, crit damage, and spell/cold damage, with some cast speed, maxmana and mana regen as well. And you want at least a decent amount of HP. You also need to end up with enough STR and DEX. This build provides those things.

It's a balance though, and can easily be tweaked. Don't feel tanky enough? There are HP nodes easily available. Want moar deeps? There are DPS nodes available. Going all the way to both the Witch and Templar start areas opens up a lot of options.

When to get which passives?

I would base this on need at the time. In general though, the build progresses from the shadow area to the witch area to the templar area in order. (under construction)

Dex Requirements

The build ends up with 82 DEX without any DEX gear, and you'll need 109 to use every lvl 20 dex support. So I'm assuming you will get some DEX on your gear somewhere, but if you don't, it's no big deal to take another +30 dex node.

Comparing to Chaos Innoculation, Kripp's Build and RF/PA
These three builds are better once you get the gear. In my opinion, this build is the best out there for starting out all the way up to midlevel gear. But once you have 40+ exalts to drop on beastly ES gear, or Kaoms/Taryns, or Shavronnes, then this build starts to get outclassed.

The exception may be CI, as in the current default economy getting good ES pieces is increasingly affordable.

Shadow vs Witch

You can run this on either, or on templar even. Witch gets better mana regen early. Shadow gets the crit engine running faster. Shadow also gets Lesser Multiple Projectiles as a quest reward, a non-negotiable must-have gem, saving you some trading. Witch and Shadow trees will end up looking exactly the same. Witch progression would go to shadow area first for crit and dex, and then to templar area past lvl 50.

Eldritch Battery and Inner Force?

You can modify the build to get Eldritch Battery and Inner Force, though a cold caster does not rely on tons of auras like say an elemental wander does. Currently I rely too much on my ES for additional defense to do this, so I would recommend also getting more HP nodes.

Body and Soul/Nullification?
As your ES gear improves relative to your HP these nodes get more and more attractive relative to HP nodes. Also, they are a great option if you want to reduce your offensive nodes in favor of defense.

Another way to boost your defense and specifically make up for lack of resist gear are the shield passives in the templar area, taken in this build.

Skill Setup

Freezing Pulse:
If possible, acquire a high quality Freezing Pulse gem early. The quality bonus on FP is insanely good.

LMP (lesser multiple projectiles) is the most important support. This gives you 3 pulses, and since they are so wide they will all hit. LMP applies a 0.7 dmg modifier, but then you multiply that by 3 and end up with a 2.1x multiplier. This is literally a double damage gem.

Note: You can 'upgrade' to Greater Multiple Projectiles. It costs more mana, and does more potential DPS. I found that it was difficult to hit with every projectile at longer ranges though, and the mana cost wasn't worth the possible DPS. If you find a GMP, I'd recommend experimenting for yourself.

In a 4link, the other two are:
-Faster Casting. It's a big DPS upgrade and more casts = more freezing.
-Faster Projectiles. This makes Freezing Pulse go farther, hit more enemies, and do more damage because the damage falloff is also scaled outwards. It adds very little to the mana cost to boot. IF you have a high quality Freezing Pulse gem or make a tanky character, you can replace this with one of the other gems, but I love it. Even if you are right in the face of an enemy, faster projectiles allows you to hit more enemies behind them, for example killing melee mobs right on top of you while also freezing their archer friends in the back.

The 5th link is very flexible in my opinion. You can go for:
-Added Chaos Damage: The highest tooltip DPS option.
-Cold Penetration: More DPS than Added Chaos vs cold resistant enemies.
-Increased Critical Strike Damage: 3rd highest DPS.
-Increased Critical Strikes: mediocre tooltip DPS increase, but 'defensive' in the sense that you are freezing enemies more often.
-Mana Leech: If you hate mana flasks.
-Life Leech: I don't think you should need it, but if you are dying a lot it will help.
-Added Lightning: Recent theorycrafting information has made this gem look a lot better. However its usefulness is incredibly situational and context dependant. Right now, for this build, it looks like it shines vs medium HP enemies like elites and rares, is irrelevant against white mobs that will get 1 shot, and is useless against high HP map bosses.

New in 10.5, Power Charge on Critical
This support is pretty much straight up better than Increased Crit Chance. If you modify the build to drop other DPS passives and pick up power charge passives, and drop Added Chaos/Lightning for PCoC, you will lost a bit of DPS while gaining quite a lot of crit chance. This is a pretty good trade because you get more freezing = more defense, but keeping up the power charges can be annoying.

You can put this support on Ice Spear as well, if you don't mind the extra effort involved :) It works well as Ice Spear will have 100% crit with the charges up.

Ice Spear:
Faster Casting, Increased Crit Damage, Cold Penetration all good choices. Elemental Proliferation is fun with it as well. I actually have Life Leech on my Ice Spear at the moment, which allows me to attack elemental reflect enemies.


Your main curse is Frostbite. Big damage increase and enemies freeze more, great stuff.

I also recommend running Enfeeble or Temporal Chains. There are some enemies which call for a defensive curse, especially things that cannot be frozen effectively like story bosses.


There are so many totem options, and feel free to be creative. Here are the three I think are the best

Summon Skeletons: Super cheesy, only requires a 2link. Trivializes a lot encounters as the enemies fight infinite skellies. Use if you are dying a lot.

Ice Spear + GMP + Faster Casting: Freeze everything, and do good DPS to boot. Part defensive, part offensive. You can also try Elemental Proliferation over GMP, I'm undecided on whether its better or not.

Spark + Fork + Faster Casting: Highest DPS option, because spark will stack shock on enemies and increase your DPS by 120%. However, provides no defensive bonuses and the totem dies very fast in a lot of situations.

Firstly, you should buy a Reduced Mana support gem to link to these.

Clarity is the most important. If the mana reserve starts to eat your whole pool, stop lvling it for a while. But you will want to eventually lvl it all the way.

Discipline post nerf is a shadow of its former self, but is still useful. Grace is also solid, though you will have to either get some dex on gear or get another +30 DEX node to run it at high levels.

Purity is great if you have the mana to run it and you need the resists. If you put Mana Leech on your FP in a 5l or 6l, you can dump Clarity for Purity.

It is unlikely that you will be able to run more than 2 auras, but you might get a third on there if you are swimming in +mana gear.


Summon Zombies is a useful meatshield to use in difficult areas. You'll have to constantly resummon them, but its better than dying.

Whirling Blades is an excellent escape skill if you are using a dagger.



Dagger preferred, specifically a Kris which will have 80% crit as an implicit mod. This provides more DPS than a wand's 20% spelldmg implicit, and allows you to use Whirling Blades. I recommend crafting on daggers with transmutes as soon as you see Copper Krises drop in late Act2 to try and get spelldmg, spellcrit, and/or +cold skills. A perfect wand is better than a pperfect dagger however, since daggers cannot roll spelldmg.

If you find a great wand though, by all means use it. I am currently using a wand.

In my opinion it's rarely worth it to DW daggers or wands.

Everything Else:

Load up on as much life and resists as possible with good sockets until you are as tanky as you need to live. Don't worry about DPS too much until you are at that point.

If you feel tanky enough, then amulet, shield and glove are the places you can start looking for DPS. Amulet can get a big +crit dmg mod which is a massive DPS increase. Shield can get spelldmg and spellcrit. For gloves the only good DPS option are Maligros Virtuousity, but they are utterly amazing.

You also want a bit of mana and mana regeneration. It's not vital to stack a lot of it, but you'll want some.

Lastly, with the linked build you will need a bit of DEX. Either from an Onyx amulet, or Maligros, or some other random bit of gear. Otherwise you'll have to take one more +30 agility node.

ES, EV, or Armor?

Pure ES gear is preferred, getting a decent ES buffer greatly improves your survival even though the build focused on life. However, lvling up with limited gear choice, go for whatever has the best HP/resists and sockets, don't worry so much about the exact armor type.

Also, it would be easy to modify the build and get the Body and Soul hybrid armor/es passives in the templar area and run with some armor. This will improve your defenses vs. things like flicker strike and archer packs while reducing it vs. spells/elemental.


Firstly, don't go crazy spending your orbs trying for these mods while lvling up. If you get them on transmute, great, but save your alterations for other things (IMO).

2 HP flasks, try to get at least one "Seething" that you can spam for instant heals, and at least one "of Heat" for dispelling freeze. 1 Quicksilver Flask, used properly it is the most valuable flask in the game. Try to get "Surgeon's" mod on it, this will make it recharge on critical strikes. Then either 2 mana flasks or a hybrid and a mana flask, try to get Surgeon's here as well. Optimally you will also have "of Warding" on a flask somewhere to dispell curses.

If you use Mana Leech, or have great mana regen gear, you can replace the mana flask/flasks with Granite or even another Quicksilver.

Standards for Maps?

I'd hope for around 3k tooltip DPS on Freezing Pulse, 3k+ combined HP/ES (at least 2k of that should be HP), and 50%+ to all resists except Chaos. Capped resists and 4k combined HP/ES are better, of course :p



First off, this build is not designed to 'tank' anything for sustained periods, and defensively relies a lot on the player. The idea is to use movement and freezing so you take very few hits, while your high DPS quickly clears out threats. You'll have to be alert for when bad situations might happen and be prepared for them (for example, seeing a big pack of elite flicker strikers on the edge of your screen and quickly quicksilvering out of range to drop a totem before they all flicker onto you).

Freezing Pulse does more damage the closer you are. This means you have to figure out how close you can afford to get to enemies without dying. This is a learning process, and sometimes you will make bad decisions :)

But remember, if something is very tough, you have the option to hide behind minions, Ice Spear, and freezelock things down from infinite range. It will be slower, but it's faster than dying.

Positioning is also important in that you want to hit as many things with Freezing Pulse as possible. Move around so that your pulse goes through the maximum number of enemies. This not only increases your DPS, it keeps you alive by freezing/chilling more monsters.

For most boss enemies in maps, I recommend Ice Spear freezelocking them unless you are confident they won't kill you if you FP. Once you get FP to a 5link, it will do more potential single target DPS at close range than Ice Spear at long range, but often it just aint worth the risk.

Large packs of ranged monsters are dangerous to this build as well, capable of exploding you while you go in for Freezing Pulse. Approach them by spiraling in, moving sideways a little while moving towards them. Then, after each cast, sidestep a little bit. If done properly most of their projectiles will miss.


Dangerous Mods:
Suicide: Blood Magic, Elemental Reflect. Just reroll.
Borderline Reroll: Chaos Damage per second. Advise putting Ice spear in your 5l or 6l and fighting at ultra long range for the whole map.
Just be Careful: Vulnerability. Elemental Weakness + Extra Dmg as element.
Annoying but not dangerous: Enfeeble, Cold Resist

Dangerous Enemies:
Tier1: Flickerstrikers, Poison Alchemists
Tier2: Chargers (Rhoas, Elite Blackguard) Tentacle Miscreations
Tier3: Poison Arrowers, tripleshot chaos snakes, fire alchemists

As soon as you enter a map, immediately identify the enemy types and be ready to deal with them. For example if you see poison arrow archers, be watchful for the poison cloud, if you see flickers, keep your minions up to distribute the flicker strikes, etc.



Help, my mana sucks and I always run out!
This is a problem with the Shadow start, for all shadows. Until you get to the witch start area mana can be bad. I recommend acquiring Paua rings and amulet as early as possible, and trying to get mana and mana regen on them.

Once you have the witch regen and maxmana passives, and a bit of regen and mana on your gear, you should be able to run a 4link Freezing Pulse fairly easily, and once you get a higher level clarity you can run FP almost completely off regen.

Look for the 'Surgeons' mod on your mana flasks to keep you supplied with charges.

Bandit Rewards?
I went mana > skillpoint > skillpoint. I took mana over HP because of the aforementioned early shadow mana issues, but either one is good. Taking the 4% cast speed in Cruel is also fine.

Should I level my gems?
Yes. Except Clarity, if it is eating your whole mana pool. Stop lvling it for a bit then, but when you get more mana, lvl it again.

You switched to RF/PA. Is this build bad now?!
No. This build is great for starting and for midlevel gear. RF/PA is for when you get enough cash to buy a Shavronnes and nice ES gear (a point which I have reached finally!)

More questions to be added if I think of them or people ask them :p

Thanks for reading!

PS: My current gear. This gear is a vast upgrade over what I started maps with. Also, because I have a 6l running mana leech, this allows me to drop Clarity for Purity.

Last edited by aimlessgun on Nov 1, 2013, 11:29:40 AM
Awesome, gonna give this a try, any chance you can show your passives in stages? Like what your tree looked like at level 20, 40, 60, 80, if you don't know maybe estimates? As much as I want to use this build its gonna be hard guessing where to go in the first levels before i get near to 80 :) Thanks.
Righteous Fire Build

This is a very different setup that the above cold caster build, but I'm keeping it in this thread because it's a natural evolution once you get the wealth. Also there are already other RF/PA guides on the forums, didn't want to clutter things up even more ^ ^

First, a warning: You cannot make this build without being rich, rich enough to buy Shavronne's Wrappings and get decent ES gear in other slots. This is also an end game build, meaning you won't level up with it.

Second, some history. Let's go back in time, to almost exactly a year ago when RF was just released...*cue harp music*

In the skill feedback thread...
aimlessgun wrote:

I'm going to move heaven and earth to use this skill in PvE because 70% more spell damage is completely broken if you can actually have decent uptime on it.

And I guess that is the test behind this skill? Give players a insanely overpowered effect with a ludicrously restrictive mechanic and dare them to break it.

And then if people do break it, any build that can successfully leverage 70% more spellpower is just going to be flat out better than every other caster build in the game, and have to get nerfed into the ground.

Back then, we couldn't break it. My RF/PA efforts failed due to chaos damage and constant ES degeneration, and that was that...for a while. But Open Beta brought RF two huge boons: Chaos Resist and Zealot's Oath. This allowed Invalesco to make his successful RF caster build, which offered great power but also great danger.

But what really put things over the top was Shavronne's Wrappings, shattering the last chain on RF's power and unleashing the beast you see today. The prediction at the end of my old post may yet come true, but let's enjoy this while we can :D

What is this build good at?
Ludicrous DPS without being a glass cannon (the only build with more DPS is a glass cannon RF/PA build!). Solos well and carries groups.

Reflect. Only a god can kill a god. Not an HC build because of this.

Notable Stats?
45-75k DPS on Freezing Pulse (90k+ possible with a conduit guy in your party).
85% res all, 15k+ armor with granite up (which is pretty much every time you need it), 3500 EV, 7-8k ES, 50-60% block and a possible 50%+ spellblock. And for entertainment purposes only (not a setup you'd map with!!).

I play with HvR often, and he streams at http://www.twitch.tv/havoc616. There are vids of old play sessions if the stream isn't online. Here's a 2-man double Piety with GMP.

Intro vid soon :p

Spreadsheet with DPS and EHP. The EHP part is probably somewhat impenetrable for many, I'll try to make it more user friendly if I have time.

How RF/PA works.

First, the benefits. Level 20 Inner Force Righteous Fire is 113% MORE spelldmg. It's a double damage buff. Enough said.

Righteous Fire with Inner Force burns you for 130% of your HP per second, and keeps going until you either change zones, go to 1 HP, or use a Dousing flask. This is bad. Thusly, you make sure you have as little HP as possible and as much energy shield and fire resist as possible. Shavronne's prevents chaos damage from getting through your shield. Zealot's Oath combined with Vitality aura and one regen passive makes your shield constantly regenerate, counterbalancing the burning of Righteous Fire.

Life Leech support with Ghost Reaver replenishes your shield, as it will never 'naturally' regen due to constant RF burning.

At this point you throw in Pain Attunement because there's no downside and you can run 3 auras off your HP.

You can do some math and calculate the burn vs your ES regen, but due to certain map mods, you will want to continually increase your regen and decrease the burn even if it balances out in normal conditions. Approximate benchmark: If you have 800 HP, you want at least 6k ES.

Passive Setup

Level 70
Level 80
Level 90
Level 95
Level 100 >.>

I don't list anything earlier than 70 because this is a build you do a big respec to, not something you level with.

What makes this build different from other RF/PA builds?
Block stacking and power charges. I'm sure someone else out there is using these, but I havn't seen a guide on it.

What should I level with instead, and how many regrets will I need?
Well, I think my original cold caster build in the first post is good for that ^ ^
If you save all the quest reward respec points, you should need 15-20 regrets.

Getting more ES?
There's that second nullification circle, sitting there, being tempting. You can give up two things to get it (at around lvl 90).

First is offense, dropping Heart of Ice and the Bloodthirsts. If you want manly DPS though, you won't do that (it was hard enough for me to cut Throatseeker from this build!).

Second thing is block. But the block is going to give you way, way more effective hitpoints than that 50% increased ES. That's why I chose the block nodes :) You can see the comparison for yourself in the spreadsheet, but let me throw some quick example math at you.


Base ES: 2000
Base block: 35% (with Tempest Shield)

I can drop 8 block nodes to get 58% increased ES at level 90, bringing my +ES% from +260% to +318%. This increases my ES from 7200 to 8360. Factoring the 35% block, vs physical attacks without granite up, you get ~12900 effective hitpoints.

With the block nodes, your block goes to 57% with ES remaining at 7200, producing an EHP of 16700. That's 30% more EHP.

Now, there are many different incoming damage types that will yield different EHP comparisons. More ES yields higher EHP vs reflect (can't be blocked) and more regen to counter the RF burn in bad maps. So choosing the ES is defensible.

Bandit Rewards
Ideally, skillpoint, skillpoint, power charge. Sadly I got rewards with the HP/ES build in mind and don't have that 7th charge ;_; (wtb bandit respecs GGG)

Gear (Important!!!)

As I mentioned earlier, you need this.

Same as any spellcaster build, spelldmg, spellcrit, cast speed, crit damage, get as many of those mods in as high amounts as possible. Redbeak is an option if you spent everything on Shavs and you can't afford a good wand/dagger :)

For rares, use the Titanium Spirit Shield base for the 30% block. Look for tons of ES (400+), block%, spelldmg and spellcrit.

High roll Rathpith Globe is a very intriguing shield to use. The ES is less than a rare, but the spellblock is an enormous boost to your EHP vs spells. You can stand in front of a bunch of skeleton mages and tell them how many fucks you don't give about their attempts to kill you.

Saffel's Frame is decent despite low ES, as it protects you from reflect and can let you overcome the RF burn with worse gear or in bad maps. You give even fewer fucks about spelldmg with this on, but the inability to block attacks (tentacle spitters, rhoas, etc) is a killer.


With the spellblock taken into account, high roll Rainbows are best in slot for this build, unbeatable by even the godliest rare. Otherwise just get a rare with movespeed and as much ES and resist and mana as possible.

Rare with as much ES and resists as possible, with DEX if possible. You can wear Maligaros if you feel like doing even more DPS. I don't advise using both Malis and Rathpith at the same time, because your total ES will get pretty low and threaten the burning/regen balance.

A wise man would wear Eye of Chayula all the time. I am not a wise man, and I despise that amulet so much I try to wear it as little as possible.

You can get away with a DPS amulet in a larger group, except on GMP or Chain maps. Look for some combo of spelldmg, critdmg, crit, cast speed, ES%, ES, mana, mana regen in that order.

ES, resists and mana.

Heavy Belt base is the best, saves you a passive. For mods get resists, ES, and armor if you can. Flask recovery mods are decent as well.

Look for as many of these as possible: cast speed, cold damage, mana, mana regen, ES, DEX, STR, resists.

Dream Fragments is good but not mandatory (in pve) if you have a Heat flask or two.

If you're not still capped resists in Ele Weakness maps, get a super resistance ring specifically for those maps.

Lori's Lantern may range from mediocre to good to disgustingly overpowered, pending full understanding of the Unlucky mechanic.

Alternate Weapon Set
Springleaf shield. This gives you another 6% ES regen. In maps with bad mods, your RF may outdmg your regen, and you'll want to swap to this if you foresee that you won't be able to lifeleech of anything for a bit.

The swap weapon can either be Ephemeral Edge, which is absolutely perfect for a regen swap, or a weapon with +2 fire skills, which you use to cast Righteous Fire at the start of a map.

Surgeons Granite of Iron Skin
Surgeons Quicksilver of Adrenaline
Surgeons Sapphire Flask of Heat/antishock/antibleed/Warding
Surgeons or Cautious Hybrid or Mana Flask
Another hybrid or mana flask, or a Topaz flask.


Freezing Pulse
LMP, Life Leech, Power Charge on Critical are set in stone for this build. You can replace LMP with GMP but that pretty much locks you into using Mana Leech.

The last two slots will be blue and green, and can be some combination of Faster Casting, Increased Crit Damage, Added Chaos Damage, Added Lightning Damage, Faster Projectiles, Mana Leech.

One of the 5th-6th slots MUST be green so you have the option of using Mana Leech for half recovery and no regen maps. With a cheaper support setup, you can run Faster Projectiles for this green slot in normal settings, which doesn't show up a lot on your DPS tooltip but is extremely useful.

The blue slot is really up in the air. And tooltip DPS alone won't tell the whole story. Obviously Added Lightning has extra benefits, but even comparing Faster Casting to Increased Crit damage has complexities relating to overkill and damage granularity (which I'll write about later). The variance of obstacles in the game prevent cut and dry analysis, which is why you'll have to decide what you like best based partly on what 'feels' best to you :)

Ice Spear
This is the secondary complementary attack in the HP/ES build. Sadly, I simply don't have the gem slots to run it anymore. I do carry it in my inventory though, and may swap it into the 6l for horrible maps and tough bosses.

The nice thing about RF/PA is that pretty much every spell you'd want to use is going to deal high damage. That means you can play as a sporker in a pinch. This can be great if your group doesn't have another way of stacking shocks, or in indoor maps where the sparks bouncing around like crazy can be more effective than FP.

To convert to spark, replace FP with Spark, LMP with Fork. Bam, you're a sporker. This is made even easier with...

If you want to make the spork conversion even more convenient, you can run a Spork totem with Faster Casting, Fork and Spark. Elemental Proliferation is also an excellent choice in place of either Fork or Faster Casting (less totem damage, more shock stacking)

Ice Spear is still great, supported by Faster Casting and GMP.

Feel free to be creative with other options. I might try Firestorm for the lols once I get it lvled up.

Tempest Shield
5% block is the primary benefit here, but the damage reflect is pretty decent and is boosted by RF and PA. Just link it to Reduced Mana, damage supports will just balloon the reserve cost unmanageably.

You can run six of these bad boys, three on HP and three on mana. Link everything to Reduced Mana, naturally.

HP: Purity, Vitality, Haste or Determination (I prefer Haste)
Mana: Discipline, Clarity, Grace

For the HP ones, equip the Covenant or Malachai's Simula, cast HP auras, unequip covenant, cast mana auras. Thankfully you only need to do this once.

The HP auras will bring you below 35% HP and activate Pain Attunement. If for some reason you have to run fewer auras, the absolutely essential ones are Purity, Vitality and Discipline. Without these the RF burn will eat you up.

Frostbite, or Elemental Weakness if you're using Spork totem and/or Added Lightning support on FP.

Enfeeble is the defensive curse of choice. You'll need to put RF on your alternate weapon set to run two curses though.

Lightning Warp: Good for getting around.
Blood Rage: More dps! Don't run this in maps where RF is outburning your regen already.

General Gameplay

In most aspects, you play it like the HP/ES FP build. However due to life leech and Ghost Reaver, you can be much more aggressive, stay in fights longer, and actually tank many enemies instead of always attempting to never be hit (this is not license to play like an idiot and just tank everything coming your way!!)

The biggest change is flask management, namely, your resist flasks. Keep your fingers on these! They are often all that is standing between you and a horrible reflect death.

Since I switched to this build, reflect is the only thing that has killed me. I'm going to list the various dumb ways I've died, so you can learn from my mistakes :p
-Reflect aura hidden under cannot die aura.
-Trying EK in ele reflect map, phys reflect rare snuck up amidst spell effects.
-After converting from Spork to FP, forgot to swap my Topaz for Sapphire. Though I had popped Sapphire before attacking reflect pack, it's actually Topaz.
-Partymember quintuple curses reflect enemy in -max map offscreen from me, Sparks wander over there (make sure whoever is cursing knows not to put DPS curses on reflect stuff!!).

In the end, its mostly about paying attention. This is pretty difficult if you're grinding maps all day, and not a skill I really possess to a sufficient degree ^ ^


There are three mods that are bad for this build in terms of balancing your regen and the RF burn. From least to most problematic:

-Vulnerability, reduces your regen by 69%
-Half regen
-Minus max resists, increases RF burn damage from anywhere between 100% to 167%

Just Vuln, or just half regen, you should be fine if your ES gear is good enough. A high roll -max is pretty much always annoying to deal with. A combination of more than one of these is dangerous as well.

The danger isn't the damage in combat, when you're leeching, but the degeneration while you're moving between packs. Be very watchful of your ES and make sure it hasnt dropped too much before you engage the next pack. Beware of pushing too hard trying to find new targets to leech from. Don't forget to swap to Springleaf when necessary.

From a pure danger aspect, Elemental Reflect is the big killer. On it's own, it's mostly ok, just be careful of DPSing groups of monsters. Sapphire/Topaz flasks make it pretty safe. However, combined with -max res, you may want to considering rerolling the map (the rest of your party is unlikely to be thrilled with this mod combination as well).

Just -max resist alone is horrible though. In an ele reflect map, you're careful all the time. In a -max resist map, you might let your guard down, relax, and then suddenly a reflect pack shows up and you die before you notice. Not a map mod for slouching down in your chair and relaxing!

For dangerous enemies, it's the usual suspects, chargers, discharge flickers, tittie bitches.

For dangerous bosses, Brutus and Vaal are by far the biggest threats. Piety can be bad but is unlikely to kill you instantly like these guys can. You can block the smash attacks, but even with 57% block that's not a gamble you want to make. Keep them at the edge of your screen at all times, DPS them with Ice Spear (I keep Ice Spear in my inventory at all times just in case I need it).

My gear right now:

Last edited by aimlessgun on May 29, 2013, 3:30:11 AM
Really interesting, thanks for putting this together. Couple questions about the build, I'm doing one that's very similar, currently lvl 52.

- What about going down to Nullifcation to grab the extra ES and the +10% resist?
- I have been getting the chaos resist nodes to lessen the load I need on gear, will reallocate them as my gear gets better.
- Do you feel any incentive to get Inner Force? Why or why not?
- What did you choose for the bandit quests? Assuming Life in Normal but did you grab cast speed in Cruel or the skill point? Assuming skill point as well in Merciless.
- After getting all the mana talents in the witch starting area, did you have mana issues until you got to the Templar starting area? If so, how did you work around this?

My build, for reference:

Breklin wrote:
Couple questions about the build, I'm doing one that's very similar, currently lvl 52.

Nullification is pretty good, I don't think it's a bad idea to take it. I also think I might take the 16% chaos resist node, hasn't really killed me yet but its come close.

Only running 2 auras, Inner Force seems like it isn't worth the points. But I havn't done the math, it might be worth more than 4 comparable regen or es nodes.

For bandits I went mana, skill point, skill point actually. Life is also good but I was sufficiently annoyed by the early mana issues.

I didn't have mana issues running to templar start. Freezing Pulse on a 4link is pretty cheat if one of the links is faster projectiles.
Last edited by aimlessgun on Jan 29, 2013, 11:25:42 PM
Does this use Armor / ES or what? I R nub. Great Guide though.
kulnan wrote:
Does this use Armor / ES or what? I R nub. Great Guide though.

Thanks :)

Good question. With this build, you use ES armor for more buffer. However, you could easily do a variant that wore armor gear and took the Body and Soul Armor/ES passives near the templar start. This means less defense vs. elemental but better vs. physical dangers like rhoa charge and flicker strike. To get enough STR you'd probably only need one more 30 STR node, a heavy belt and an onyx amulet.
Yesterday i created a shadow and try out your guide. And i say only one word : AWSOME.

I follow your guide, but one question.

Any benefit from Chain support gem with freezinPulse or iceLance?
Also i dont understand the Chain mechanism 'cause i dont have it.

Just a noob question.

As far as i know, chain does not work with any ability that automatically has the ability to pierce targets (as in not stop when it hits them, which is what freezing pulse does).

Along those lines, fork would not be any benefit either - but I can't say I've tried it.
Yup, you don't need or want Chain for cold caster (saves you a bunch of money!)

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