Arctic Breath

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Last bumped on Jul 12, 2020, 11:18:24 AM

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I tried Arctic Breath for awhile instead of Cold Snap in a DoT focused build that uses storm brand to proc EE and help with EO, frost bomb for additional cold resistance debuff and has vortex in a pseudo 5L for added damage and for bonechill for my main 6L. I also use temp chains and spider aura to slow things to a crawl.

They both have nearly identical cast times but cold snap once the cast is finished immediately applies a much larger area instantly where I wanted it. Arctic breath has what feels like one of the slowest moving projectiles in existence head towards it before blowing up in a smaller area that grows very slowly and does less damage.

The fact that it doesn't have a cooldown isn't super relevant as cold snap bypasses it's cooldown with frenzy charges which it generates on it's own with kills and against bosses the effects don't stack so you don't really need to keep casting it.

You can fix the area and speed issues of Arctic breath by using stuff like GMP and/or faster proj but those are links that could(and would be for cold snap) focused on damage. Considering Cold snap already covers a sufficiently large area for clearing in my build without any need for even an increased AoE gem the simple fact is Arctic Breath is just a vastly inferior skill to Cold Snap and they both serve basically the same purpose in a DoT focused build.

I haven't got to the real kicker yet either: Cold snap has a vaal version which is incredibly powerful. So by picking Cold snap I get more damage normally with over 150% MORE damage with the vaal skill active and it's all faster. I have considered using a 6L staff to have all 3 cold dots going but between Cold Snap, Vaal Coldsnap, Storm Brand(for EE), Frost bomb and Vaal RF... things die to quickly. I typically don't even make it to casting vaal RF on map bosses or rank 3 syndicate bosses so adding in another spell to cast seems... silly.

Last edited by Drekor on Dec 13, 2018, 5:05:44 PM
Occultist, level 89. CI. Vile Bastion and Frigid Wake paths.
The following is from the point of view of a Cold DoT-based character.

Arctic Breath was tremendously underwhelming for me -- so much so that I've completed excised it from my build a little ways after the initial experimentation phase. Vortex and Cold Snap do everything Arctic Breath does but better, and I don't know of many builds that can afford to support a third damage skill.

The skill feels clunky to utilize, and requires too much investment to feel equitable to just using Cold Snap and/or Vortex. The projectile has to travel, its AoE is under-utilized unless you invest in Pierce, its ground coverage is poor unless you invest in multiple projectiles. The fact that the ground AoE moves towards enemies is almost never relevant -- it seems to only move if there's nothing in the AoE already, and it moves fairly slowly.
It simply has too many weaknesses to overcome to enable it to function as a worthwhile clearing skill (especially since it has to compete with the Cold Snap - which is long-ranged, no travel time, has a Vaal version, and covers a wide area; and Vortex - which is instant-cast and does more damage). Arctic Breath feels almost like how Essence Drain feels if you use it without Contagion (not a perfect analogy, but close enough).

Arctic Breath's only significant mechanical advantage over Cold Snap and Vortex are its lack of a cooldown -- a hard sell when Cold Snap and Vortex's cooldowns are rarely relevant due to their cooldown bypass and high cooldown recovery stats respectively, in addition to the fact that the build does not generally need to chain cast spells anyways, further de-emphasizing the concern for such a limitation.

I feel like the skill needs one or more of its weaknesses shored up to give it a place in Cold DoT builds -- whether it be by giving it Pierce, faster travel speed, additional projectiles, higher base damage, increased Area of Effect, increased Chill effect, chilling ground activation on each Chain, or more. Right now it's just not worth it, in my opinion, to invest in the many dimensions it needs support (at the cost of your actual damage) when better options are available via Vortex and Cold Snap.
Last edited by Tykero on Dec 13, 2018, 6:29:13 PM
I'm so glad of this feedback. I played AB as my league starter. Planning trickster and using cold snap + frost bomb until kitava act 10. I just can't stand using AB. Being grounded target make great for pierce but the projectile are so slow that I was able to cast AB and cold snap but the DoT of cold snap kill everything before the AB projectile reach the mob. My thought is: make like fireball, keep the DoT cap so the pierce/chain/fork don't be OP and make we maximize the DoT so we HAVE TO kill the frist mob fast enought and the DoT area don't disapear reaching the last mob without killing the frist one.
I am using it as a support skill to apply bonechill for my Cold Snap, and it started working very well once I got it socketed in a "cast on skill use" wand, together with bonechill and hypothermia. If you don't auto-cast it, it feels like it takes forever to cast - travel - spread.
Tykero wrote:

Vortex and Cold Snap do everything Arctic Breath does but better, and I don't know of many builds that can afford to support a third damage skill.

82 Occultist (Void Beacon, Vile Bastion), CI Heartbound Loop

After some unsuccessful generic-cold and cold-crit attempts early in the league to test out new cold spells, I settled on a CWDT-Autocaster to try and get Arctic Breath to do something. Vortex has felt amazing to use since I equipped the gem and Cold Snap is still Cold Snap and great, but like the above poster said, it's hard to support a third damage skill. That's where loop came in; it somewhat streamlines the process of applying clunky spell combos.

I've tried using a high level CWDT and Arctic Breath to get the most out of the DoT scaling, and I've tried using a low level CWDT and Arctic Breath to get the most out of the lack of a cooldown, and frankly it feels like it just doesn't do enough in either case. Maybe I wasn't shotgunning it correctly, but it feels like the initial hit damage of the spell is too low to make it useful as a spammable skill (it's embarrassing how bad it is compared to Freezing Pulse), and the DoT is... well it's a third DoT at least? For trash clearing, it's outclassed by Vortex which gets incredible coverage via Frostbolt; notably, this doesn't require one of the links to be GMP for Vortex (which already has about 40% more damage than Arctic Breath).

As a single target DoT (no GMP), it does about as much damage as Cold Snap, so the highest praise I can give it is that you can stack them together and support them with the same things. It represents ~100% more damage, compared to the ~40% you'd get from running another damage gem on your Cold Snap, assuming 100% uptime of both spells.

Trying to fit Arctic Breath into your core damage setup is an exercise in ending up starved for gem links. It's worse clear than the 6L Vortex + 2L Frostbolt-GMP, and it's worse at single target than a 6L Cold Snap. It truly is the third-pick for Cold DoTs.
Last edited by IfYouSeeKay on Dec 13, 2018, 5:45:18 PM
Lvl 80 Necro, using it along with Winter Orb for some bonus damage while my minions draw aggro and beat on stuff.

I've put it into Sire of Shards staff and stuck a nice Greater Volley in as well.

That means: 9 Projectiles in a Nova. With a bunch of + Area Effect and Duration I can literally freeze just about the entire screen.

It's pretty cool.

I am playing SSF and just got to T5 maps, so it's not like I'm being optimal or crushing with it, but I personally quite like it.

I can see why veteran players who want to streamroll the content aren't thinking much of it, but for more casual players, I think it's a cool looking skill for those nice and chill, slow and steady map clears.

My character name is VulArctic, started as an AB character. I'm hoping that changes are made to the initial hit damage, so people can either scale the DOT or the initial hit like how Incinerate is. The reason I made this character was to play it like the old arctic breath, having all the projectiles explode on my target and using the overlap for lots of damage.

The damage on the initial hit is mediocre, and why is the projectile speed so slow? Is there a reason for the horrible speed? I hope that the "casting animation" of this skill can be improved as well.
I am bit underwhelmed by arctic breath as well. I have used it in winter orb CwC setup, but the damage seems so sad. For example ball lightning with slower projectiles seems much better. Even arc without good synergy ( no use for gmp) seemed better CwC skill.

Still using AB but that is mostly because I am stubborn. Thinking of going crit with ice spear sooner or later.
Without soundling like an asshole this Rework was a flop, having the projectile explode on cursor without being able to "shotgun" was a bad idea, the speed at which the projectile moves also is really bad, like really bad.

The base damage is awful, but imo you could overtune this ability and it would still feel bad to use.

How would you remedy this skill rework?

- Buff the projectiles base speed
- let the projectile fly towards your cursor but explode only on contact / max travel distance.
- The AoE Damage over time needs to be able to overlap, like iceshot (Aoe blasts from different arrows are able to hit the same enemy twice at high aoe values).

Overall this skill was really underwhelming, visually, aesthetically, and gameplay wise it failed for me on all fronts. BUT with that being said I hope this doesn't deter you from working on updating it more and updating other skills.
Last edited by Thegzagenius on Dec 13, 2018, 6:36:31 PM

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