[3.15] ShakCentral's Cold DoT For Everyone

     Do you hate having to choose between damage and defense? Do you want a build that can cruise through red maps, safely clear deep delves and league content, and also defeat all end-game bosses? You're in the right place - welcome! This guide is your stop for Cold Damage Over Time. Whether you want a character that's great for SSF, a safe boss killer, or a build that lets you learn game mechanics while staying safe and mobile, you'll find what you need inside!

Discover how to:

✔️ Level quickly and safely without any required items

✔️ Craft your own items and save a lot of currency

✔️ Transition to Chaos Inoculation and the VERY powerful Low-Life version

✔️ Crush end-game bosses while avoiding all of their moves

...and more!


❄️ 9.8.21 UPDATE: The 4-6 month long guide re-write is about 99% done! The last thing I'm updating is a brand new "Progression Guide" section in Part 4. I'm really happy with the current guide. Thanks for your patience!

Trade League / Low-Life PoB: https://pastebin.com/gHcTuuvP

SSF / Chaos Inoculation PoB: https://pastebin.com/CY1QufiY

3.15 / EXPEDITION INFO: To reduce power creep, Patch 3.15 nerfed player damage and flasks along with increased mana costs. Cold DoT remains very strong, and I appreciate your patience as I worked for weeks to update the guide and PoBs. Thank you!

❄️ Current comments for 3.15 start on page 402

Guide Re-write & Recent Changes

A short summary of the recent additions and updates to the guide prior to and during 3.15:

- Continued edited in Foreword, Parts 1, 2, and 3 for clarity and brevity.
- Part 3 was 100% re-written. Sections were moved and combined for better informational flow.
- Parts 4 and 5 were outdated and have been updated.
- Recent additions include Crafting help and info on Anointments, Catalysts, and corruptions.
- A progression guide is in progress for both SSF and Trade to help players with item upgrades.
- PoBs: Colored Notes, config instructions, leveling trees, and separate Low-Life and CI PoBs.
- Filters made and added to my public profile. See 2.6 for custom sounds that PC players need.

Shameless Plugs
The guide has grown beyond the forums into an awesome community. Find us here:

❄️ Click here to join the Discord! This is the best place to be. We have a large group of helpful and skilled players. New updates release to Discord first for feedback and testing.

❄️ I stream on Twitch Tue/Thurs/Sun around 8:30pm EST. Catch me live at twitch.tv/ShakCentral.

❄️ My YouTube channel is filled with video guides for Cold DoT and gear crafting, private league updates, and more. Check out https://www.youtube.com/c/shakcentral to watch.

❄️ I update my To-Do List daily. It contains planned guide updates along with Discord, YouTube, and Twitch improvements. Click here to view.


About the Author

     I started playing Path of Exile during open beta in 2013. I played irregularly for a few years, but have been playing PoE almost exclusively since late 2018. I stream PoE regularly and it has become my favorite way of interacting with the game and the community. I obviously love writing as well, and am always happy to contribute to the community any way that I can.

     I enjoy playing spellcasters and I fondly remember the days of clearing Merciless Dried Lake over and over with Vaal Spark in under 30 seconds.


     The guide is dedicated to the great Enki, whose Arc guide inspires me in my content creation, and dedication to the game.

Why Did I Make A Vortex Guide?

     I first played Vortex in 3.6 Synthesis League as an SSF character journal, but I quickly realized I had found a legitimate build and began writing a guide. Cold DoT has been my favorite build since, with Occultist surviving several nerfs and still remaining top-tier. I update the guide constantly, averaging nearly one update per day since version #1 in October 2019. Whether you're playing SSF or trade, softcore or hardcore, this is the place for you.

My Other "Guides"

     The first guide was Tornado Shot For Dummies. It's VERY outdated because of the huge Tornado Shot nerf that followed the guide's release, but you can still read it if you want to!

This guide is an overhaul of my first guide on Vortex, which can be viewed here.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction to Cold DoT
 1.1 - How Does Cold DoT Work?
 1.2 - Why Play Cold DoT?
 1.3 - Pros & Cons
 1.4 - Path of Building (PoB) Codes
 1.5 - Videos

Part 2: Leveling with Cold DoT
 2.1 - Fresh Leveling
 2.2 - Leveling Items
 2.3 - Full Leveling Guide
 2.4 - Leveling Guide Summary
 2.5 - Live Trade Searches
 2.6 - Shak's Loot Filters

Part 3: Playing Cold DoT (Split into 3a and 3b)
 3.1 - Ascendancy Points, Bandit Rewards, and Pantheon Powers
 3.2 - Skill Gem Links
 3.3 - Obtaining Your First CI Items
 3.4 - Flasks and Jewels
 3.5 - SSF / Chaos Inoculation
 3.6 - Trade / Low-Life

Part 4: Crafting and Build Progression Guide
 4.1 - Crafting Help
 4.2 - Anointments, Catalysts, and Corrupting Items
 4.3 - Build Progression Guide (SSF in progress)

Part 5: Alternate Uniques and FAQ
 5.1 - Uniques You Should Check Out
 5.2 - Frequently Asked Questions

Part 1: Introduction to Cold DoT

 1.1 - How Does Cold DoT Work?
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Skill Gem Mechanics

Cold DoT uses a combination of Vortex, Cold Snap, and Creeping Frost.

All 3 skills hit opponents with Cold Damage and create a circle of chilled ground that deals Cold Damage over Time. Increases to Spell Damage also increase their Damage over Time, and each skill can overlap with the other 2 for more damage.

Each skill has characteristics that separate it from the others:

Vortex is instant cast at your feet. If desired, you can assign it to your movement skill so it auto-casts whenever it comes off cooldown.

Creeping Frost is a projectile that leaves chilled ground on contact. CF's chilled ground moves toward enemies and is a great clearing skill when given additional projectiles.

Cold Snap has a 25% chance to grant a Frenzy Charge when monsters die in its chilled ground, and spending a frenzy charge bypasses its cooldown. Cold Snap also has a Vaal version that creates a large Cold DoT circle around you, dealing high DPS and giving automatic frenzy charges on kill. Vaal CS has a cooldown after use.

How Do We Build Around Cold DoT?

The build centers around Cold DoT's near-perfect "DPS Uptime", a term I use for the percentage of time when you are dealing damage in a fight.

Many guides claim to have high DPS, but as soon as they move or do anything else, their DPS drops to 0 until they attack again. Cold DoT is 100% damage almost 100% of the time, giving us time to curse enemies and use defensive skills safely.

A well built Cold DoT character does 3 things:

        1. Stacks damage multipliers to deal high DPS.
        2. Stacks Energy Shield and auras to become as tanky as possible.
        3. Curses, freezes, chills, blocks, and dodges to avoid damage.

Most Cold DoT builds go through multiple stages from leveling to end-game. The first 2 stages have no required uniques, while stage 3 is a Low-Life build that requires 1 unique and can use 5-7 more. Low-Life items can be difficult to find in SSF. The stages are:

Stage 1: Leveling and early maps. This stage uses a life-based skill tree while assembling our early mapping items.

Stage 2: The CI transition. After acquiring Energy Shield equipment, we take the Chaos Inoculation keystone. This sets our life to 1 but makes us immune to Chaos Damage. We now rely only on Energy Shield for a health pool. Most SSF players will stay at this stage.

Stage 3: We remove the Chaos Inoculation keystone, equip Shavronne's Wrappings, and take the Pain Attunement keystone. When built correctly, this stage has both the highest damage and defenses and scales very well with currency investment.

 1.2 Why Play Cold DoT?
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It's An All-Content All-Star

Cold DoT is one of the best league starting builds in Path of Exile, and with investment can take down all content in the game. While ultra fast mapping or unkillable builds can be fun, many "broken" builds are expensive to start or can't run certain content. Cold DoT is very good at taking on anything.

Item Requirements and SSF

There are no specific item requirements unless you go Low-Life. Cold DoT can be played into red maps in self-crafted items, and even an SSF version can farm endgame content with investment, dedication, and game knowledge.

 1.3 Pros & Cons
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Great for SSF with craftable items and farmable uniques/div cards
Can do nearly all content and farm Sirus and Maven with investment
Multiple ways to run Reflect maps
Can reach 9,000+ ES and 5+ million Full DPS on with high investment


Not a high clear-speed build
Legions & Blighted Maps aren't great. You can do them, but we have similar speed-clearing issues as melee builds
Can't run Hall of Grandmasters (but who can?)

 1.4 Path of Building (PoB) Codes
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There are very few questions that aren't answered in the guide, PoB Notes, or FAQ.

Trade League Low-Life PoB : https://pastebin.com/gHcTuuvP

Solo-Self Found Chaos Inoculation PoB: https://pastebin.com/48hBnbqB

Some additional advice:

- Be sure you have the PoB Community Fork installed! You can find the community fork here.

- The PoBs have a LOT of skill trees. In the bottom left of the skill tree window, there is a dropdown menu to select the correct tree.

 1.5 Videos

Part 2: Leveling with Cold DoT

 2.1 Fresh Leveling
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If you're new to PoE or Cold DoT, you're in luck! It requires nothing to get started and is cheap to play as CI; don't worry about uniques for now. Save as much currency as possible for future items, and only spend what you need to make the build functional.

Head to section 2.3 and start with the Full Leveling Guide. Take your time and enjoy!

 2.2 Leveling items
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There are a few uniques that will allow you to zoom through Acts 1-10. If you want to get to maps ASAP, slap on these bad boys and crush everything.

 2.3 Full Leveling Guide
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The Full Leveling Guide can be read here. Hosting it in another forum post saves a lot of space here and lets me host all future leveling guides in one place.

 2.4 Leveling Guide Summary 
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Passive Tree

Here is the full tree for leveling. See the full leveling guide for a section-by-section breakdown.

Ascendancy and Bandits

1st / 2nd / 3rd Labs: Vile Bastion > Void Beacon > Frigid Wake.

Kill all bandits.

Gem Links

Level in Act 1 with Frost Bomb / Orb of Storms for clearing and Stormblast Mine + Added Lightning for single target.

Final leveling links:

- Creeping Frost + Controlled Destruction + Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Swift Affliction

- Vortex + Efficacy + Controlled Destruction + Hypothermia

- Malevolence, Clarity, Steelskin (Level Clarity/Skin as attributes and mana allow)

- Storm Brand (lvl 1) + Hextouch (Buy in Act 4) + Frostbite

- Flame Dash + Arcane Surge

- Vaal Cold Snap + Bonechill (Act 4 gem reward)

2.5 Live Trade Searches
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To use this section in a new league, do the following:

        1. Control+click on the link you want to search (Control clicking opens a new tab so you don't leave the guide).
        2. To the right of the search bar, change the league to the current temporary league.
        3. Click the live search button on the left side.

This process is illustrated in the following (professionally commissioned) image:

Cheap-ish Leveling Items




Lochtonial Caress

Axiom Perpetuum

Tabula Rasa

Early Mapping Items

5-Link The Beast Fur Shawl (Body Armour)

Well-Rolled Rime Gaze (Helmet)

Well-Rolled Bated Breath (Belt)

10 Chaos or less starter mapping wand

5 Chaos or less starter mapping shield

5 Chaos or less starter mapping boots

5 Chaos or less starter mapping gloves

5 Chaos or less starter mapping ring with attributes

5 Chaos or less starter mapping amulet with attributes

2.6 Shak's Loot Filters

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I've made Cold DoT-specific loot filters for all platforms. PC players have a Leveling/Ossuary filter, a Strict mapping filter, and an end-game Very Strict filter. Console players have the Leveling/Ossuary filter and a general purpose Strict mapping/endgame filter.

To use them, click here for my profile's item filters page. Click "Follow" on any filter and it will be added to your in-game item filter list. Simply click the refresh button to apply future updates. You can also make a copy to edit yourself, but be aware that copies do not update automatically.

PC PLAYERS: To use the PC filters, you MUST download these custom mp3s and extract them into your item filter folder. Click here to download the custom filter sounds. If you have any feedback or questions, there is a filter chat channel in my Discord. Enjoy!

Part 3a: Playing Cold DoT

3.1 Ascendancy Points, Bandit Rewards, and Pantheon Powers

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Labyrinth 1 & 2 : Vile Bastion and Void Beacon can be taken in either order. Void Beacon and Frigid Wake are a lot of damage, but stuns will be an issue, so i recommend Vile Bastion first.

Lab 3 : Frigid Wake. It's a huge damage boost and gives general utility and Freeze/Chill.

Lab 4 : Malediction. Start using 2 curses in a 4-Link with Storm Brand and Hextouch.

I no longer recommend Profane Bloom. We don't scale AoE, so the "pops" hit almost nothing. Keeping Vile Bastion lets us be Low Life without a mandatory Presence of Chayula, and the ES regen is useful for all content. Consider re-rolling boss fights or maps with Hextouch.

Bandit Reward

Kill all 3 Bandits. The 2 points are very important, and the other options don't offer as much.

Pantheon Powers

Major: Lunaris is the choice for more speed and some useful defensive benefits when fully unlocked.

Minor: Garukhan or Gruthkul are great for smoothing of incoming damage, and Abberath is helpful for ignite/burning ground issues.

Be sure to use your Divine Vessels to upgrade the powers whenever possible.

3.2 Skill Gem Links

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Section 2.4 and the Notes tab of the PoB have the leveling gems for Acts 1-10.

Alternate Quality Gems:

The following "Anomalous" gems are worth using:

Vortex - Cold Damage
Hypothermia - Chance to Freeze Chilled Enemies
Bonechill - Increased Cold Damage
Malevolence - Skill Effect Duration
Hatred - 20% Chill & Freeze Duration

What Gems Do I Quality?

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Gems to 20% quality no matter which variant you're playing:
- All damage links (Vaal CS quality is hard; it's nice but not required).
- All 4 Hextouch links and Flame Dash
- Arrogance and Steelskin (if using)
- Only quality auras if playing in a party.

Quality is USELESS for the following gems: Tempest Shield, Arcane Surge, Orb of Storms, Frost Bomb

Universal Links for both Trade and SSF

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You have a choice of links in your Body Armour. Running Vortex as a 6-link allows for more control over your Vortex placement and lets you use a Guard skill on left mouse, but has lower damage.

Running Vortex and Creeping Frost as dual 5-links with 4 damage supports gives significantly better single target DPS, but doesn't allow for a Guard skill on left click, as Vortex will be autocast.


Vortex - Cont. Destruction - Hypothermia - Swift Affliction - Ele Focus - Inspiration


Vortex - C. Frost - Cont. Destruction - Hypothermia - Swift Affliction - Ele Focus


Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia OR Efficacy

NOTE: If you're wearing Rime Gaze, Hypothermia is your 4th link. If you're wearing a helmet with "Socketed gems are supported by Hypothermia", use Efficacy.


Flame Dash - Arcane Surge (lvl 6) || Vaal Discipline - Clarity.

-Make sure both auras are not linked to Arcane Surge (It will multiply their reservation.)
-For Expedition League (3.15), Low-Life can swap Vaal Discipline with Zealotry in Prism Guardian. This allows you to play around the "Culling Strike" monster remnant.

SSF / Chaos Innoculation Links

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Frost Bomb - Increased Duration || Immortal Call OR Tempest Shield

The third gem slot is determined by your Body Armour links. With a Vortex 6L, use Immortal Call. With 2x5-Links, use Tempest Shield


Storm Brand (lvl 1) - Hextouch - Frostbite - Elemental Weakness


Malevolence - Sigil of Power - Defiance Banner

Low-Life (LL) Links

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Frost Bomb - Sigil of Power || Steelskin OR Tempest Shield

The third gem slot is determined by your Body Armour links. With a Vortex 6L, use Steelskin. With 2x5-Links, use Tempest Shield


Storm Brand (lvl 1) - Hextouch - Frostbite - Elemental Weakness


Zealotry - Malevolence - Hatred

-As stated in the Flame Dash links: for Expedition League (3.15), Low-Life can swap Vaal Discipline with Zealotry in Prism Guardian. This allows you to play around the "Culling Strike" monster remnant.

If you don't have Prism Guardian, your shield links are Arrogance + Malevolence and an unlinked gem of your choice.

3.3 Obtaining Your First CI Items

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Loot Filter

My "Leveling and Ossuary" item filter displays the best starter items for early endgame in a bright teal & pink color scheme. See section 2.6 to download my item filters.

Finding Item Bases

As you progress through Acts 9 and 10, collect item bases to craft for the early endgame. Farming Merciless Labyrinth or the Act 10 Ossuary is the best way to get high level items for mapping; Merc Lab gives the highest item bases, while Ossuary also lets you farm the league mechanic simultaneously. If you're playing SSF, try to get multiples of each item base for crafting, so you have a craftable "fallback" item.

Crafting Priorities and Methods

As much as possible, you want to craft in this order: Wand first, followed by ES items with sockets: body armour, helmet, boots, gloves, and shield. Then craft your belt, amulet, and rings to fill out resistances and attributes.

Before crafting anything, however, assess your current equipment. You may already have a good wand or other items that you can use for early mapping to save currency.

For crafting methods, ALWAYS start with the current league mechanic! It can usually be farmed profitably in the Act 9 Quarry or Act 10 Ossuary, and over 50% of the 3.x patches have given loads of loot and currency. You can usually find some good items for minimal effort.

2 quick SSF examples of league mechanic crafting/farming:

1) In Expedition League (3.15), I used the crafting vendor Rog and entered Act 10 with 2 "+1 to level of Cold/Spell Skill Gems" wands and a 200 ES body armour with triple resistances. This cut down on my crafting costs significantly.

2) I spent just 15 minutes farming Ultimatums in patch 3.14 in the Act 9 Quarry. I completed the Ultimatums and filled my inventory to sell rares and cheap uniques for Alterations and Alchemy Orbs. Here's my loot from 15 minutes:

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Raw crafting currency, multiple item bases for crafting, a Granite flask, and Clayshapers that sell for 5-10c and could fund almost all of my early items in a trade league.

When you've identified the items you still need to craft, start with Essences, Fossils, and Binding Orbs and try to get usable rares. Don’t Alchemy or Chaos spam, as those currencies are better for trading or map rolling. If you need more currency, farm more league mechanic or Heist Contracts.

If you're unlucky and don't roll good items, you'll fall back on Alterations. For remaining items, Transmute to make items blue and use Alts + Augments. You're trying to roll a good Energy Shield prefix and a high resistance or Dex/Str suffix. You can then Regal Orb if you have any and craft a 4th mod from your crafting bench. At the end, you will have a good set of starter mapping items and be able to blast through white maps easily while looking for upgrades.

SSF Crafting Example

To show the crafting process and costs, I farmed the Ossuary for 2 full sets of equipment. I used the Transmute > Alteration > Regal method to fully craft both sets of items. Each set has capped resistances, and I tracked every single currency orb I spent. Note that this assumes you'll craft every item with this method, which is not realistic. It's very likely that using Essences, Fossils, Binding Orbs, and the league mechanic will cost you significantly less currency than I spent. Here are the 2 sets of equipment:

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 3.4 Flasks & Jewels
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Flask Choices

In trade league, our flasks of choice are Rumi's Concoction Granite Flask and Overflowing Chalice Sulphur Flask, along with Quicksilver, Quartz, and Iron flasks.

        - Rumi's Concoction gives us physical mitigation through armour and block.

        - Overflowing Chalice gives increased damage and helps us refill our other 4 flasks for greater uptime.

        - Quicksilver and Quartz flasks are both offensive and defensive. Moving quickly through monster packs helps with DPS as well as dodging attacks and quickly recovering flask charges. You can get a Quartz from Weylam's quest in Act 7.

        - An Iron flask gives you a flat amount of mitigation from your next hit and can help you survive one-shots with more regularity.

Other viable flask bases include regular Granite or Sulphur flasks for early league or SSF, Jade + Stibnite Flasks, and the Witchfire Brew unique.

Flask Suffixes

For flask suffixes, Bleeding is the number 1 early concern. Make sure you have at LEAST one Staunching flask if you don't have a Corrupting Blood immunity jewel yet. Once this is taken care of, use your remaining flask suffixes to address your problem ailments. Get Curing to remove Poison, Dousing for Ignites, or Grounding for Shocks. You can also roll "Runeflaring" on Iron Flasks for more Ward or "Iron Skin" for more Armour.

Don't forget that if your flask has a single prefix modifier, you can beastcraft a chosen suffix through Einhar's Menagerie.

Instilling Orbs and Triggers

Patch 3.15 reduced the power level of flasks and nerfed the charges gained from monsters, but it introduced a powerful new way of handling flask usage: Instilling Orbs. These enchant your flasks to trigger when a certain criteria is met, allowing you to automate your flasks in 2 different ways; each with an upside and downside.

Method 1: Strategic Defense. This method matches Instilling Orb triggers to relevant ailments or conditions. Examples would be having a Curing flask that triggers when you are poisoned, or a Dousing flask that triggers when you are ignited. The upside is that your reactionary defenses are automated, with the downside of losing the general utility and quality of life that your flasks provide, since they are primarily triggering defensively.

In addition to triggering on ailments, there are several additional defensive triggers such as "Used when you take a Savage Hit" or "Used when you Hit a Rare or Unique Enemy, if not already in effect". These are particularly good for defense against boss fights or tougher single enemies.

Method 2: Full Speed Ahead. This is my current favorite setup. For this method, you need at least 2 flasks with the trigger "Used when Charges reach full". Your remaining 3 flasks can be any combination of the previous "use when full" mod OR "Used when an adjacent Flask is used". By slotting your flasks so that any "adjacent" triggers are next to "when full" triggers, your flasks will be 100% automated as soon as you hit your first enemy in each zone. The upside of this method is maximum uptime on all of your flasks, with the downside of possibly not being able to use them defensively if they are low on charges due to automation.


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Unique Jewels

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There are several unique jewels that are strong for this build. The 3 best are:

A LARGE Thread of Hope

Thread of Hope allows you to allocate skill points in its blue circle without being connected to your other passive skill points. This allows us to pick up 5 or more useful notables without any wasted points.

2 notes: Threads come in 4 sizes, so make sure you use a large. Also, the size WILL change if you use a Divine Orb, so be careful about re-rolling the "- Elemental Resistances" modifier!

        Energy From Within

EFW is simple and gives a great boost to our Energy Shield total.

        Watcher's Eye

Watcher's Eyes have random mods based on specific auras. They can be EXTREMELY expensive, but if you can afford one, here are the mods to look for:

      -Any CLARITY mod except "Damage taken from Mana before Life"
      -Any DISCIPLINE mod except "Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit"
      -Any MALEVOLENCE mod except "Damaging Ailments deal Damage faster"

Regular and Abyss Jewels

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Cold DoT mostly uses Cobalt or Searching Eye jewels. Other Jewels types can roll useful modifiers, but at a much lower rate. Ideally you want 3-4 good mods in addition to a good corruption.

The best jewel corruption is "Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you". Try to get one ASAP, even if it doesn't have any other good modifiers on it. It's that important; you can replace it with a good jewel later.

Increased Area of Effect, Increased Damage, 1% Reduced Mana Reserved, and cannot be Hindered/Silenced are also good implicit mods to look for on jewels.

Cobalt mods to look for:

        -Cold DoT Multi / Spell or Cold Damage / Damage over Time / Area Damage
        -Spell damage while holding a Shield
        -Max Energy Shield
        -Chance to Block (Spells > Attacks)
        -Energy Shield Recharge Rate
        -Chance to Freeze

Searching Eye mods to look for:

        -Damage over Time
        -Max Energy Shield
        -Chill Effect
        -Chance to Block Spell Damage if Hit Recently
        -Movement Speed
        -Onslaught or Phasing on kill

Cluster Jewels

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Cluster Jewels come in Large, Medium, and Small sizes. You'll want up to 1 Large, 2-3 Medium, and 2-3 Small clusters for a fully endgame build.

- LARGE Clusters should have a "12% increased Cold Damage" enchant. You also want the lowest passives possible; 8 is best (try not to use anything higher than 9).

Note: Spell Damage, Elemental Damage, or even Fire/Lightning Damage large clusters can work if you're SSF or have low currency. All have at least 3 usable Notables

- MEDIUM Clusters should have the "12% increased Cold Damage over Time" enchant. Only use ones with 4 or 5 passives, not 6.

- SMALL Clusters should be "6% Increased Maximum Energy Shield" with 2 passive skills.

Rolling Large Clusters

For Large clusters, you want 3 good notable passives (2 is fine for budget or SSF players); ideally some combination of Deep Chill, Disorienting Display, Prismatic Heart, and Cold-Blooded Killer notables.

Using Frigid fossils is a cheap way of getting 2 notables, and will occasionally roll a 3rd notable.

Rolling Medium Clusters

For a perfect Medium Cluster, you want Brush with Death + Vile Reinvigoration. These are VERY difficult to roll and can cost multiple exalts in trade league. Brush with Death is arguably the strongest notable passive we can get in the game, so you can Alteration spam for one; the average is about 80-100 Alterations.

Rolling Small Clusters

For your Small cluster jewels, you can roll for either Energy from Naught (+100 Energy Shield) or additional Brush with Death notables. Note that if you don't care which notable you get, do NOT use Dense fossils, as it removes Brush with Death from the modifier pool. Alt spam for your desired notable.

Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Последняя редакция: ShakCentral. Время: 8 сент. 2021 г., 15:43:13
Last bumped on 16 сент. 2021 г., 15:22:45

Part 3b: Playing More Cold DoT

3.5 SSF / Chaos Inoculation

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Chaos Inoculation Basics

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If you're new to PoE or Chaos Inoculation (CI), here's what you need to know:

• CI sets your maximum life to 1, but makes you immune to chaos damage.

This means that your "life" pool is 100% Energy Shield, so you need a LOT of it. However, you never have to worry about any chaos damage.

CI alters how you play the game. Life regeneration and leech are no longer viable. Instead, your Energy Shield will rapidly refill after not taking damage for a short time. ES stops recharging when you take damage, but the Wicked Ward keystone allows your recharge to continue through damage as long as recharge began in the last 4 seconds.

As a couple of additional notes, activating Vaal Discipline starts your ES recharge and is a great "panic" button, and there are a few ways of maintaining constant Energy Shield recovery or regeneration outside of the recharge period (see the FAQ for the important differences between recharge, regeneration, and recovery).

One of the most common questions for new Cold DoT players is when to switch to Chaos Inoculation. If you want a pure numerical answer, I recommend that new Cold Dotters try for 5,000 Energy Shield. Players with some experience can swap between 4-5k, and long-time Cold DoT veterans can switch as soon as they're able.

If you're concerned about dying, the most helpful thing you can do is not gathering mass amounts of ES. Instead, you need to learn how to dodge avoidable damage. Remember that monsters aim their spells and projectiles based on where you first entered their aggro range. Practice Flame Dashing into a pack, dropping Vortex, and then very moving very slightly to one side before dashing to the next pack. That tiny amount of movement will cause most attacks and projectiles to pass you by, and your survivability will skyrocket. The better you are at avoiding damage, the earlier you can swap to CI.

CI Cold DoT is cheap, safe, and effective. Compared to the Low-Life version, Chaos Inoculation has more raw Energy Shield, but struggles with damage. Therefore, CI players should be focused on stacking as much damage as possible.

CI Items

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Here's what to look for in the endgame. Crafting guides for SSF are in Section 4.1.


For modifier comparison, the +1 to Cold or Intelligence Gems mod is roughly equivalent to 22-23% Cold Dot Multi or 80-85% Spell Damage. Cold DoT Multi is our best stat at tier 1. The Wand modifiers in importance order:

• Cold DoT Multi > +1 to Cold/Spell Gems > High Spell/Cold Damage > Generic DoT

Be sure to avoid "Cold Damage to Spells", as this ruins EE (see FAQ). You should also avoid the vendor recipe for a +1 to Cold Gems. The mod is nice, but there is no deterministic way to craft it beyond that vendor recipe.

A perfect wand has +1 to BOTH Cold and Spell gems. However, these are very expensive to buy or craft. There is a method (see 4.1) you can use in SSF or Trade to get ~95% of a +2 wand's damage at around half the typical cost.

Here are 2 wand examples. The 1st uses the crafted method in 4.1. The 2nd is an ok wand I used in SSF to lvl 92.


Your endgame shield can focus on damage or defenses. The best defense would be ilvl 68+ with Shaper or Crusader Influence. These can recover 3-5% of your ES on block. Alternatively, any shield can roll mods such as Increased Spell/Cold damage, +1 to Cold gems, and Spell Crit Chance.

Good Influenced modifiers:

- Elder and Warlord's physical damage reduction
- Elder and Crusader's increased damage per attack block chance
- ALL Redeemer suffixes

Body Armour

The Body Armour is simple. You want the highest Energy Shield and linked sockets possible. My examples are SSF items; you can reach higher ES in trade.

The most important thing for your Body Armour is to upgrade from 4 to 5 links as soon as possible. This will allow your DPS to increase enough for mapping and early endgame to feel smooth.

Good Influenced modifiers:

- Shaper and Warlord's +1 Active Skills
- All influence types' "Physical Damage taken as __"
- Shaper and Crusader's ES on Kill
- Crusader's enemy explosion or Hunter's Additional Curse
- Shaper and Redeemer's Ele Reflect Immunity


Rime Gaze is the best helmet for Cold DoT and is a very common unique drop for SSF. You can use Chance Orbs on Mind Cages and make unique helmets in the Menagerie to try and get it; this is how I got mine at lvl 75 in Expedition League. If you don't have one, just get as much ES as possible.

Note for Gloves/Boots: previous Cold DoT versions wanted "Aspect of the Spider" on any item slot. Due to ilvl mechanics, we now want it on our wand (See 4.1).


As you progress, you'll usually want Fingerless Silk Gloves for the damage implicit. Hunter influence can roll Cold DoT Multiplier, and using an Essence of Delirium will add a "More Damage over Time" mod.


Get 25%+ movement speed and resists/attributes where you can. It's worth running Merciless or Uber lab to farm for the Mana Regen enchant for boots. Rainbowstride is a great unique alternative.


A Crystal Belt is a huge ES upgrade. Shaper or Crusader influence is great, as over 50% of their belt mods are useful. Bated Breath is a common unique like Rime Gaze that works very well. Heavy Belts are an option for attribute-starved characters.


Your Amulet can do a lot of heavy lifting for resists, attributes and even damage. Citrine Amulets are usually best. Shaper, Redeemer, and Hunter have great amulet mods, so look out for influenced gear.


Like your Amulet, Rings are primarily where you fill out resists and attributes. If you're capped, you could look at specialty bases like Moonstone or Opal Rings for more ES or DPS. Crusader has good prefix mods, while Redeemer and Hunter have good curse on hit suffixes.

Wearing a Sibyl's Lament and allocating the Yugul minor pantheon allows you to run Elemental Reflect maps and/or farm Atziri.

3.6 Trade League / Low-Life
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Low-Life Basics

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If you're new to Low-Life builds (LL), here's how they work:

• Take the Pain Attunement keystone, granting 30% more spell damage when "Low-Life".

• A character is on Low-life when their life is below 50% of its maximum value.

• Low-Life is usually achieved by reserving at least 50% of a character's life total.

We achieve Low-Life by using Prism Guardian or Arrogance Support to reserve our life pool. We then equip Shavronne's Wrappings, preventing chaos damage from bypassing our ES. This combo allows us to gain the Low-Life damage increase and the benefits of 1-3 extra auras.

Technically, all you need for Low-Life is Shav's, but most players wait until they have Prism Guardian as well. Low-Life can't reach the ES levels of CI because Shavronne's Wrappings, Prism Guardian, and other uniques lower your achievable ES total. This makes dodging and learning monster patterns even more important. If you're new to Cold DoT or PoE, take your time moving to Low-Life.

Low-Life Items

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Because of the required uniques, Low-Life gear is a bit less flexible than the choices for CI. Options for alternate items are includes wherever possible.

Keep in mind that this guide is intended for new and semi-experienced players, and the items discussed here are end-game but NOT fully min-maxed. With maximized Low-Life items, Cold DoT can do very high damage and has a smooth investment curve.

Some of the items are the same or similar to their CI counterparts.


As with the CI wand, the best way to get a very powerful endgame wand is to craft one yourself. Acquire a mass of Deafening Woe Essences and use the crafting method in Part 4 to make a powerful endgame wand.

Just to re-iterate: DO NOT use a wand with the mod "Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells". This will ruin your EE and actually lower your damage."


First Choice: Prism Guardian
Alternate Choice: Rare

Prism Guardian is the recommended choice here, as it gives us the highest damage by allowing us to socket 3 auras. It turns on our Low-Life status while granting a TON of damage.

Alternatively, this section from CI items is still true: "Your endgame shield can focus on damage or defenses. The best defense would be ilvl 68+ with Shaper or Crusader Influence. These can recover 3-5% of your ES on block. Alternatively, any shield can roll mods such as Increased Spell/Cold damage, +1 to Cold gems, and Spell Crit Chance."

Body Armour

Shavronne's Wrappings let us play Low-Life. Without Shavs, chaos damage would kill us. You can use a 5-link for a while, as Pain Attunement itself is functionally a 6th link.


Like the CI version, Rime Gaze is best-in-slot. It's very cheap, gives a ton of damage, and has decent Energy Shield as well. Always run this.


Gloves can give a surprising amount of damage. Fingerless Silk Gloves have a spell damage implicit, Hunter influenced gloves can roll Cold DoT Multi, and using an Essence of Delirium will guarantee a "More Damage over Time" modifier. After that, go for as much Energy Shield, attributes, and resists as possible.


Trade league Cold DoT boots are pretty simple. Get 30% Movement Speed and as much Energy Shield, resists and attributes as possible. Be sure to get the Uber Lab mana regen enchantment ASAP, as this will make a huge difference in your quality of life.


Your belt is the same as the CI version, so I'll quote it here: "A Crystal Belt is a huge ES upgrade. Shaper or Crusader influence is great, as over 50% of their belt mods are useful. Bated Breath is a common unique like Rime Gaze that works very well. Heavy Belts are an option for attribute-starved characters."


Presence of Chayula is a crazy strong unique. Bringing Chaos res to 0% is significantly stronger than it looks. It also gives you a large amount of ES by converting a % of your life to your ES total.

Using a rare amulet is an option. Shaper, Hunter, and Redeemer have the best Amulet mods, so look out for them if you're going the rare route.

Tranquility is the best anointment. It's expensive, but it gives you a ton of damage, and using Tempering or Fertile Catalysts on your amulet can also bring the life-to-ES conversion up from 20% to 24%, granting even more ES.


Mark of the Shaper gives a ton of damage. On your Elder Ring, you want an unset with as many attributes and resistances as possible.

Part 4: Crafting and Build Progression Guide

4.1 - Crafting Help
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Crafting Intro

To be clear, this section is NOT aimed at crafting 6 Tier 1 mod, mirror-level items. If you're at that point, I'm happy for you, but you're now beyond the scope of this guide.

This section is for players who want to make good endgame gear for their character using the cheapest and most appropriate crafting method. Some items (like the wand) are more expensive, while others are always cheap. Most of the crafting methods, Delve and Harvest especially, make use of modifier tags such as "cold", "caster", etc. This is a bigger crafting topic beyond this guide, so I suggest looking it up and/or playing around on Craft of Exile.

For fun, I'll throw up a semi-serious scale on each item for both trade league cost and SSF time investment. The approximate scale:

💰 - Low expected cost
💰💰 - Takes some effort and/or farming to get the currency
💰💰💰 - High cost, impactful item, and worth working toward as a large upgrade

⏰ - Easy SSF craft. Requires a small amount of easily obtainable materials
⏰⏰ - Requires more materials and might benefit from dedicated farming
⏰⏰⏰ - You'll need to do quite a bit of focused farming for these crafts

These are not proportional, particularly for SSF time estimates. Multiple ⏰ crafts could take a while to complete back to back, while lucky drops, lucky mod rolls, or stacked deck reveals could drastically decrease the time investment required for a ⏰⏰⏰ craft.

Final SSF Crafting Note: SSF players should be farming essences early and often. They are extremely powerful for crafting and can be set up easily. Once you have 11 watchstones and 2 completed Maven invitations in Haewark Hamlet, you can self-sustain rapid Essence farming:

Take the Haewark Hamlet passives for Essences. Put 2 watchstones in each inner Atlas region and 1 watchstone in the other 3 outer regions. Haewark Hamlet is now the only region in which tier 3-5 maps can drop. You can now rapidly churn through maps for Essences, knowing that each T3-5 map that drops will also be for Haewark.


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If you'd prefer this in video form, click here to view the video guide.

Your wand is one of your most important items, and you want to invest a sizeable portion of your budget (in trade league) and farming focus (in SSF) on making a great one. Due to trade league prices on +1/+1 Cold + Spell gems wands, I highly recommend using this self-crafting method even in trade league. Most +2 level wands go for dozens of exalts in trade league, but you can make your own EXTREMELY powerful wand with 95% of a +2's DPS for 5-10 exalts. This is the wand we will be crafting:

How to Craft:

Step 1. Go to the Act 1 Coast and obtain an item lvl 2 driftwood wand.

Step 2. Use Deafening Essences of Woe until you hit “+1 to level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems”.

Step 3. You need an open prefix and suffix. Use Orbs of Annulment if you don't. If you annul the Spell Damage or +1 Cold Gems, begin again at Step 2.

Step 4. Use your Crafting Bench or a trusted friend to craft “Prefixes cannot be changed". This locks the Spell Damage and +1 Cold mods. Use an Orb of Scouring to remove all suffixes. You now have a rare wand with only 2 prefix mods.

Step 5. Use your Crafting Bench or a trusted friend to craft “Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers”. Craft an "18-20% Cold Damage over Time Multiplier" suffix and a "21-30% increased Damage over Time" prefix.

Step 6. Remember that your wand is item level 2. DO NOT SLAM AN EXALTED ORB UNLESS YOU LIKE RANDOM TIER 10 MODS. Obtain the Fenumus beast through trade or in Einhar missions and fight him in the Menagerie to add the "Level 20 Aspect of the Spider" craft to your wand and finish it off.

Expected costs and notes:

-There are "breakpoints" after steps 2 and 3 in which SSF or budget-limited players can stop for any period of time, craft 1 good mod on, and build up enough Essences or currency to remove the crafted mod and finish the wand later.

-SSF or budget-limited players can also use Woe Essences that are 1-2 tiers below Deafening. This will reduce your DPS due to lower spell damage, but may be much easier to obtain in bulk.

-Swap to CI for the Aspect of the Spider fight, or you will get murdered.

-26 Deafening Woes is the average to hit +1 Cold. This is typically around 1 exalt in trade.

-I would expect to spend 5-10 exalts in trade league to obtain this wand.


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If you're crafting a "Recover % Energy Shield on Block" shield, I recommend using Shaper influence over Crusader if possible. Crusader shields can roll an additional suffix modifier with a mod tag that's the same as "ES on block", making it harder to roll.

Crafting "Recover % ES on Block"is simple. The mod has a "Defense" tag, so the best way to craft is to spam Dense Fossils.

ES on Block requires ilvl 68. Higher ilvls allow other mods to be higher tier, but also adds new modifiers to the available pool, lowering the chance to hit "ES on Block". An ilvl 68 shield can hit ES on Block every 5 fossils on average, but has a much lower ceiling on power level.

Crusader Shields between ilvls 68-74 have the same Dense Fossil spam odds as a Shaper Shield, as the other Crusader mod can't roll until ilvl 75.

Body Armour

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Obviously, Low-Life uses Shavronne's Wrappings. For high Energy Shield CI items, you can go with either Dense Fossils or Essences of Woe.

Deafening Essences of Woe are harder to come by than Dense fossils in SSF, but will roll similar ES amounts for 50-75% of the trade league cost. 500+ ES (after a bench craft) can be rolled in around 6-12 Deafening Woes or 20-30 Dense Fossils.


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(⏰⏰ for Redeemer Helmets)

Ideally, you want to be wearing a Rime Gaze. The only time you shouldn't be wearing one is if you haven't found it yet in SSF.

If you need to craft a rare, use Dense Fossils or Harvest Defense Reforges on non-Redeemer helmets. If you can get a Redeemer helmet, use Frigid Fossils or Harvest Cold Reforges to obtain the "Nearby enemies have -9 Cold Resistance" mod (and if you're very lucky, "% Phys taken as Cold").


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By now you're probably sensing a theme. If you don't have Hunter-influenced gloves, get a pair of Fingerless Silk gloves and spam Dense Fossils for high Energy Shield or Str/Dex Essences for Attributes.

If you have Hunter gloves, spam Frigid Fossils or Harvest Cold Reforges to roll Cold DoT Multi.


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You'll want at least 25% Movement Speed on your boots. It takes an average of 2 Shuddering Fossils or 8 Scorched Fossils to hit 25+%. If you have Redeemer boots, I recommend the Scorched Fossils, as they can block the only "bad" Redeemer boots mods. It's pretty basic here. Look for that MS alongside decent Energy Shield, resists, and/or attributes.


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⏰⏰(The time investment is getting a Crystal Belt; the craft is easy)

High-end, expensive belts for Cold DoT can be absolutely ridiculous, but making a good belt is actually very easy.

Get a Crystal Belt. If it's not influenced, guarantee a high attribute by using Rage or Sorrow Essences and look for a high ES roll.

If you can get your hands on a Shaper or Crusader Crystal Belt, spam Dense Fossils for multiple high tier ES rolls.


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No Ratings - too many options

The Amulet is the most versatile item slot for Cold DoT. Just a quick list of the options available for endgame:
- Presence of Chayula
- Non-influenced generic ES and resists/attribute focused
- Non-influenced generic Spell + Cold Damage focuses
- Shaper/Crusader Influenced w/ very powerful suffixes
- Hunter/Redeemer Influenced w/ +1 Intelligence/Cold gems

For SSF players with non-influenced amulets, I recommend literally any combination of Aetheric, Dense, and/or Frigid fossil spam (this also includes Caster/Defense/Cold Harvest crafts), giving you great chances to hit spell or cold damage alongside multiple Energy Shield mods.

For Shaper, Hunter, and Redeemer amulets, Frigid fossils will hit good cold modifiers, but can also be combined with Dense fossils for Energy Shield rolls.


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For at least one of your rings, you want do the non-influenced belt method and use Rage or Sorrow Essences, looking for double high attributes or a good resist.

Using Aetheric fossils on Crusader, Redeemer, or Hunter amulets can grant some nice mods.

Cluster Jewels

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I won't lie; cluster jewel crafting is not fun. If you're looking to make your own, here's what to do.

Large Clusters: Prismatic and/or Frigid fossil spam, looking for 2-3 Notables.

Medium Clusters: You're looking for Brush with Death. Just Alteration spam; it takes ~80-100 to hit.

Small Clusters: These can also from Brush with Death. If you want more ES, Alteration spam for Energy From Naught (usually takes 30-50)

4.2 - Anointments, Catalysts, and Corrupting Items
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In the endgame, completing Blight encounters for Cassis will drop oils. Oils are used to anoint certain item types. Blighted maps, rings, and amulets can be anointed. Ring anointments only affect Blight encounters. The current Blight meta is stacking Scout (purple minion) Towers, so use either 2 Amber Oils or 1 Teal and 1 Violet to give your Scout Towers increased damage or range.

The important anointment is your amulet. Amulet anoints grant a Notable passive skill. The more powerful the notable, the higher tier the oils to anoint it. Remember that anointments are on the item, not your equipment slot; the anointed notable is removed with your amulet.

It may take a while to build up oils in SSF, but for only a few Chaos in trade league you can anoint your early endgame amulet with either:

Name: Divine Judgment (Recommended)
Oils Required: 1 Sepia, 1 Teal, 1 Black
Effect: 50% increased Elemental Damage


Name: Disciple of the Unyielding
Oils Required: 1 Violet, 1 Crimson, 1 Opalescent
Effect: +1 to Minimum Endurance Charges, 8% chance to gain an Endurance Charge on Kill, 8% increased Damage per Endurance Charge.

Once you've settled on either Presence of Chayula or a rare endgame Amulet, the best-in-slot anointment is always the same:

Name: Tranquility
Oils Required: 1 Azure, 2 Goldens
Effect: 5% increased maximum Energy Shield, Transfiguration of Soul (Increases & Reductions to Max ES apply to Spell Dmg at 30% of their value)

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Catalysts are a currency from Metamorph League that add quality to jewelry items, enhancing the implicit and explicit modifiers on that item. There are different types of Catalysts, and you cannot mix types; using 5 Fertile Catalysts and then 1 Intrinsic Catalyst will "reset" the quality to 1. These are the best catalyst uses for Cold DoT:

Tempering Catalysts enhance defense mods. Use on Presence of Chayula or a high energy shield belt. The interaction with Presence converts more of the 20% Life > ES conversion, adding 4% more conversion at 20% quality.

Fertile Catalysts enhance life mods. These can also be used on Presence for the same conversion, although these are more expensive in trade league. Remember that you can't mix Catalyst types, so get 20 of either kind.

Imbued Catalysts enhance caster mods. Any Ring or Amulet with a large spell damage roll can use these. The most powerful use is on Mark of the Shaper for a double-digit spell damage increase.

Intrinsic Catalysts enhance attribute mods. Use this on any jewelry with 2 high attribute rolls (see the crafting guide in 4.1)

Prismatic Catalysts enhance resistance modifiers. This is pretty obvious.

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If you're brave (or foolish) enough to corrupt or double corrupt your items, here are the best Cold DoT corruptions to look for:

#% chance to gain a Power Charge on Critical Strike
#% increased Area of Effect
#% increased Critical Strike Chance

# to Level of Socketed Gems
+#% Chance to Block
#% to maximum Chance to Block Attack Damage
#% Chance to Block Spell Damage
#% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Cold/Chaos Damage
#% reduced Area Damage taken from Hits
#% reduced Damage taken from Projectiles
You take #% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
# to Level of Socketed Duration/AoE/Aura/Curse Gems
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield

Body Armour:
# to Level of Socketed Gems
#% increased Damage
#% to all maximum Resistances
#% reduced Chaos/Cold/Fire/Lightning Damage taken
You take #% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
# to Level of Socketed Duration/AoE/Aura/Curse Gems
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield

#% increased Effect of Cold Ailments
# to Level of Socketed Cold Gems
# to Level of Socketed Duration/AoE/Aura/Curse Gems
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield

Curse Enemies with Despair/Elemental Weakness/Enfeeble/Temporal Chains on Hit, with #% increased Effect
# to Level of Socketed Gems
#% increased Cast Speed
+#% to Spell Critical Strike Chance
# to Maximum Frenzy Charges
# to Level of Socketed Duration/AoE/Aura/Curse Gems
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield

#% chance to Dodge Attack/Spell Hits
#% chance to Dodge Attack/Spell Hits while moving
# to Level of Socketed Gems
#% increased Movement Speed
# to Level of Socketed Duration/AoE/Aura/Curse Gems
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield

#% increased Area of Effect
#% increased Critical Strike Chance during any Flask Effect
#% increased Skill Effect Duration
#% increased maximum Life (Only if Low-Life and using Presence of Chayula)
#% increased maximum Energy Shield
#% increased Movement Speed during any Flask Effect
Hatred/Discipline/Malevolence/Zealotry has #% increased Aura Effect
#% increased Intelligence/Dexterity/Strength
+#% to all Elemental Resistances

You can apply an additional Curse
#% Chance to Block Attack Damage
Grants Level 21 Clarity/23 Malevolence
#% to all maximum Resistances
#% increased Movement Speed
#% Chance to Block Spell Damage
Hatred/Discipline/Malevolence/Zealotry has #% increased Aura Effect
#% increased Intelligence/Dexterity/Strength
+#% to all Elemental Resistances

Bleeding cannot be inflicted on you
Cannot be Ignited/Poisoned
#% increased Cast Speed
Hatred/Discipline/Malevolence/Zealotry has #% increased Aura Effect
#% increased Intelligence/Dexterity/Strength
+#% to all Elemental Resistances

4.3 - Build Progression Guide
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This progression guide will walk you through the full Cold DoT build. This will take you as far as you want to go, from SSF budget options to multiple mirrors worth of investment in trade league.

This is NOT a guide on how to make currency what to farm for materials. This is simply listing the order to take in your item upgrades.

SSF / CI Progression



SSF item progression is significantly different from the checklist of trade league purchases. Because of this, the SSF Progression Guide is separated into 4 tiers of collective upgrades for each item slot (The Tier names are just a reference; you don't need all upgrades from "The White Map Tier" to progress to yellow maps).

Depending on your item drops, available crafting materials, and the current league mechanic, some equipment slots will progress faster than others. Your main priority should be to identify your worst items and work on upgrading them, and these groups of upgrade tiers should help with that identification.

As a reminder from the intro above, this is simply a list of goals for each item slot. Crafting methods are in section 4.1, and always consider how best to use the current league mechanic to obtain item upgrades.

"The Act 10 Tier" - Endgame Prep

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Wand: Any wand with 2 or more good modifiers such as 50+ Spell Damage, 15-20+ Cold DoT Multi, +1 Cold/Spell gems, etc.

Shield: 40+ spell damage or +1 cold gems will help a lot with early mapping, but mostly look for high ES.

Body Armour: 300+ ES and a 4-Link.

Helmet: Rime Gaze is one of the most important early goals. If you don't have one, roll high Energy Shield and try to offload resistances to other items, as Rime Gaze does not have any.

Gloves: 90+ Energy Shield and Dexterity/Strength/resistances.

Boots: 20+ Movement Speed, 80+ Energy Shield, Dexterity/Strength/resistances.

Belt: Heavy Belt with 30+ Energy Shield, Strength/resistance (Flask mods are ok too).

Amulet: Fill out resists and attributes as needed. Other good mods are spell/cold damage and Energy Shield.

Rings: Fill out resists and attributes as needed.

Other Items, Gems or Important Goals:

☐ Obtain Vaal Cold Snap and Vaal Discipline

☐ When you have both Vaal gems, level Vortex gems in all offhand sockets

"The White Map Tier" - Early Mapping Upgrades

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Body Armour:







Other Items, Gems or Important Goals:

"The Yellow Map Tier" - Medium Investment and Focused Upgrades

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Body Armour:







Other Items, Gems or Important Goals:

"The Red Map Tier" - Targeted and Specific Final Upgrades

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Body Armour:







Other Items, Gems or Important Goals:

☐ Acquire a wand with multiple damage modifiers for early maps.

☐ Acquire a 4-5L Body Armour with 300+ Energy Shield

☐ Acquire a 4L Helmet, Boots, and Gloves with 80+ ES and attributes/resists

☐ Acquire a Shield with either high ES or damage along with attributes/resists

☐ Acquire a Heavy Belt with an ES prefix and attributes/resists

☐ Acquire 2 Rings and an Amulet that fill out the missing attributes and resists you need. If you are capped, look for damage mods.

☐ Make sure at least 1-2 flasks have Bleed Immunity.

☐ OPTIONAL: Use PoB’s Import feature to import your character. Swap to CI on the passive tree, and use Ctrl+C on your CI items in-game and Ctrl+V to copy them into PoB and check your ES totals

☐ When you’re comfortable with your starting ES total, switch over to CI in-game, make sure all skill point quests and your third lab are done, and get to maps.


☐ Our un-targetable uniques (Rime Gaze, Bated Breath, Overflowing Chalice, etc) are common. If you don’t find them, use other methods to try for them. Menagerie fights and the Tier 2/3 Unique room in the Temple of Atzoatl are good methods for targeting them

☐ ilvl 72 allows Body Armours to roll T3 “% ES” and T2 resists. Use Jewellers and either fusings or Harvest crafts on your first 72+ Vaal Regalia to upgrade from a 4L to a 5L

☐ Save your Blight Oils. As soon as you have 1x Sepia/Teal/Black and a decent Amulet, anoint Divine Judgment (This may be much later in the process, but start saving oils immediately)

☐ Try to get Corrupting Blood immunity on a jewel as early as possible. Vaal any Viridian or Cobalt jewel with 1-2 good modifiers.

☐ Getting a level 21 Vortex (and Creeping Frost if you’re using that) is a high priority. As soon as a Vortex gem hits 20, Vaal it for a level 21. Once you hit it, move on to Creeping Frosts or __


Trade / Low-Life Progression


- While leveling, just don’t spend currency. You replace items very quickly, and you want to save every bit possible for a quick and smooth transition to endgame. In a trade league, you can linearly target upgrades, so every single currency item you save is working toward the next purchase.

Acts 9-10

☐ Use the trade links in section 2.5 to acquire items for your CI transition. Focus on getting Rime Gaze, Bated Breath, and a good starter wand.

☐ Your CI swap timing depends on preference. I typically like to swap early, finish skill point quests and the third lab, and then kill Kitava and go straight to mapping. However you like to do it, get to maps and swapped to CI.


☐ As soon as you can afford a 4 or 5 linked Shavronne’s Wrappings, get one. Socket Arrogance+Discipline+Clarity into your shield and swap to Low-Life.

☐ Acquire items with much more ES. Aim for 125+ on Boots with 25%+ move speed, and 150+ for Gloves.

☐ Level 21 Vortex (And Creeping Frost if using)

☐ Amulet with Cold DoT Multi and/or % Energy Shield and resists/attributes. Anoint Divine Judgment with a Sepia/Teal/Black Oil

☐ Prism Guardian

☐ Large Thread of Hope

☐ Rumi’s Concoction & Energy From Within

☐ 6-Link Shavronne’s Wrappings

☐ Level 21 Vaal Cold Snap

☐ Rime Gaze with preferred Labyrinth enchant (40% Vortex damage is most common)

☐ Endgame Wand - Make yourself (See section 4.1)

☐ Mark of the Shaper & Elder Unset Ring

☐ Brush with Death + Vile Reinvigoration Medium Cluster

☐ Awakened Ele Focus, Controlled Destruction (x2), Swift Affliction

☐ Presence of Chayula (Not mandatory; can wait for very expensive + gem levels amulet)

☐ Tempering Catalysts on Chayula & Azure + 2x Golden oils for Tranquility Anoint

☐ ilvl 82+ Elder Unset with T1/T2 Strength AND Dexterity

☐ Crusader Crystal Belt with flat ES, % ES, and maybe Crusader suffix(s)

☐ 8 passive Large Cold Cluster with 3 notables

☐ 2x Small ES Cluster with Energy From Naught (or Brush with Death)

☐ Brush with Death + Vile Reinvigoration Medium Cluster

NOTE: This is the breakpoint where items become VERY expensive and powerful

☐ Fingerless Silk Gloves with high ES and Cold DoT Multi OR More Damage over Time

☐ Redeemer Boots with high ES and multiple movement speed mods.

☐ Wand with +1 to level of all Spell Skill gems AS A FRACTURED MODIFIER. Can then craft it using the 4.1 method (slightly altered) for a +2.

☐ +1/+1 Amulet

☐ 21/23 gems

☐ Watcher’s Eye with 2-3 Cold DoT modifiers

☐ Double Corrupted items: Prism Guardian, Shavronne's Wrappings, etc

Part 5: Alternate Uniques and FAQ

 5.1 - Uniques You Should Check Out
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5.2 - Frequently Asked Questions
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This FAQ originated in the Discord and is updated there more often.

❄️Does the Elemental Focus Support prevent us from freezing and/or chilling?

ANSWER: No. Elemental Focus only prevents the initial "hit" of Vortex and Cold Snap from freezing and chilling. The damage over time pools on the ground are not affected by the downside of Elemental Focus and will still apply our ailments.

❄️How do we deal with porcupines? I get one shot all the time!

ANSWER: Flasks. Physical mitigation is one of our weakest defensive areas. To get around this, make sure you have both a granite and basalt flask and have them active when taking on porcupine packs. In addition, on-kill ES recovery from Cinderswallow Urn and/or Brush with Death will help you smoothly get through the packs.

❄️My wand has "Adds x to x Cold Damage". Does this mess up Elemental Equilibrium?

ANSWER: No. "Adds x to x Cold Damage" is a local mod that only affects attacks. The only added damage you need to avoid of any element is specifically the mods "Adds x to x Cold Damage TO SPELLS".

❄️Why don't we run Profane Bloom anymore?

ANSWER: Vile Bastion and Malediction are better. Our build doesn't scale AoE, and 10% ES regen is significantly more valuable than a tiny pop. Hexproof can be annoying for bosses now, so consider rerolling tough boss maps if they roll hexproof and your damage is a bit low.

❄️Why don't we run Blasphemy? Self-casting curses is bad...

ANSWER: Like Elemental Equilibrium, we don't need to curse anything other than a boss. Curse or not, any rare or lower monster dies almost instantly. To run Blasphemy and keep our auras, we'd need to run different cluster jewel notables. Applying curses on hits of Storm Brand allows us to run aura effect, ES regen, and recovery cluster jewel notables and put our mana reservation toward max level Vitality/Clarity and Aspect of the Spider. Give it a try!

❄️I bricked my map by Vaaling into Elemental Reflect and/or No Regen. Can I still run it?

ANSWER: Yes! For ele reflect maps, you have 3 different ways to run this mod.
1. You can replace your Vortex gem with a (leveled) Wintertide Brand and remove your trigger gems if you're using a trigger wand. Wintertide Brand never hits, so it never reflects.
2. You can select the Yugul minor pantheon and swap a Sibyl's Lament ring into your LEFT ring slot. This will make you immune to reflected elemental damage.
3. You can roll Watchstones looking for reflect immunity and then only use that stone for reflect maps.

For no regen maps, you'll just need a Cinderswallow Urn and a mana flask. Use your Cinderswallow to stay up on mana and go fast to keep it full. If you ever run out of mana or flask charges, use your mana flask to get a top off and get going again.

❄️Why don't we play Trickster instead of Occultist?

ANSWER: Like many other aspects of the build, this can be personal choice. Trickster is more defensive and has easier access to movement speed and some minor quality of life improvements. Occultist has significantly more DPS and Malediction is very powerful. With Vile Bastion, Occultist even matches much of Trickster's previous advantage in ES recovery.

❄️Is there a difference between regeneration, recharge, and recovery?

ANSWER: Yes, and it's very important to know the difference!

Regeneration of any resource is a constant effect that is only limited by how much you can stack per second. Energy Shield does not naturally have any regeneration, and we only gain this by allocating the Zealot's Oath keystone.

Recharge is an effect that is specific to Energy Shield. Recharge naturally begins after not taking damage to Energy Shield for 2 seconds, and recharge restores Energy Shield at a base rate of 20% per second. Faster start of recharge and increased recharge rate will modify how soon and how fast you get the recharge.

Recovery is a catch-all term that encompasses ALL gaining of life/mana/ES. Regeneration, recharge, leech, _ "on hit", are all considered recovery. Because of this, increases to recovery across the board are very powerful, as they will increase both our regeneration and our recharge.

❄️Why don't we cap block and use Glancing Blows?

ANSWER: Glancing Blows was severely nerfed and we can gain more defensive power per point by taking other nodes. The Glancing Blows nerf is way worse than it looks. You take 30% more damage on block now (65 is 30% higher than 50), and the amount of ES we gain on block from a Shaper shield mod is dwarfed by our new focus on ES regen.

GB was also moved on the skill tree and requires a large point investment to reach it, which would cripple our ability to grab the cluster jewels we now use.

❄️Can you please explain Elemental Equilibrium? I don't get it.

ANSWER: I'd be happy to help! You're not alone; this can be very confusing. EE "procs" for 5 seconds when an enemy is hit with Elemental Damage. They gain resistance toward the element or elements that hit them, but they lose TWICE as much resistance to all other elements. An enemy can only have 1 "proc" of EE at a time, meaning that previous EE procs are overridden as soon as the enemy is hit again.

Vortex and Cold Snap hit when they are cast, but their Damage Over Time circle doesn't hit. You can override the bad EE proc by using a skill that hits constantly to apply EE procs in a beneficial way. The best way to do this currently is with Storm Brand or Orb of Storms.
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Последняя редакция: ShakCentral. Время: 14 сент. 2021 г., 9:24:59
Parts 4 and 5 have been reworked and are now located in the comment above after Part 3B.
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Последняя редакция: ShakCentral. Время: 31 мая 2021 г., 10:09:52
Reserved comment for the future.

Using this comment space to petition GGG for a change to the default forum font color. This default tan-on-black is really rough to look at. The inability to edit colors on spoiler tags enhances this issue (afaik this is a BBCODE limitation).

By contrast, this is the color #c0c0c0. I use this as the default for Cold DoT for Everyone, but having to add a [.span color="c0c0c0"][./span] on the ends of every single block of text is frustrating and incredibly time-consuming. Any default font color closer to a light grey or white is both more readable and visually appealing. PLEASE GGG
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Последняя редакция: ShakCentral. Время: 9 сент. 2021 г., 10:32:31
Still very legal and very cool :)

Thanks for this, I just found my next league starter I think.
LabRat001 написал:
Still very legal and very cool :)

Thanks for this, I just found my next league starter I think.

I've played PoE for something like 10 league launches, and starting Vortex is by far my favorite. It's absurdly cheap on day 1, but then you somehow find yourself easily downing Uber Elder like 4 days later..
Vortex For Dummies: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2661120
Последняя редакция: ShakCentral. Время: 3 янв. 2020 г., 15:42:21
Looks like a descent build. Can you use HoI to boost clear speed?
any tip for crafting wands?
used tons of fossils and alters but nerver happened to get cold damage over time multiplier + +1 cold skill gem or spell damage.
Playing this build as a CI until I reach lvl 83 and can transition to low-life as a T16 farmer. Should I be using normal Cold Snap or Vaal Cold Snap? Can't find any playstyle mechanics info with regards to how you play the build. I also don't find myself ever using Tempest Shield, can I swap that out for a Portal gem instead?

thanks for redoing it, looking forward to the finished version! :)

I propose you put in paragraph about how EE stops to work if you have added cold damage on the gear, i think (not entirely sure!) your old guide was missing this.
Personally i didnt know that for the longest time and was always wondering why EE seemed to make things harder, and enemies were always listed with the cold resistance...

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