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Arctic Breath

Above is my profile. Character "HamFraHemsedal". I play an AB DoT build, in which I Flame Dash into the middle of a pack, throw an AB and move on. Cold Snap is straight up more damage, but I'm committed to AB for now. I have Vaal Cold Snap in gloves, which deals about 17% less damage than AB with only ONE damage support. That said, I think the current damage numbers of AB are OK, but not up to par with its competitors (CS and Vortex), which makes no sense to me, as the DoT doesn't stack anyway.

The main issue I have with AB isn't its projectile speed nor the AoE per se. I think some of the mechanics are pretty cool, but not unique at all; the skill lacks identity, IMO. One of the main issues to me is the bad interaction with chain, pierce and fork, because it only applies its ground effect on the last hit or the end of its travel (targeted point). This was hugely disappointing to me, and I believe that to be the main flaw of the skill. If it applied on every hit, it would be able to clear packs much more efficient.

As mentioned, I do not think the skill has any identity whatsoever, which should be a huge problem. It's called "Arctic Breath", but it just shoots a slow-ass projectile, that then does the same as CS and Vortex, just worse. The projectile animation was way cooler prior to the remake, too.

I have a few ideas off the top of my head:

1. Make it a real breath. A non-channelling, cone-shaped breath which leaves a chilling area that deals cold damage over time. The initial breath does not hit nor deal damage, but applies X (Bonechill? Brittle?) to targets in the area. The chilling area left behind has a base chill effect of 15% (or 20 even); this is to encourage the use of Bonechill Support. A threshold jewel could be introduced to widen the cone.

2. If you're set on keeping it as a projectile skill, here's another take on that: Make skill more comparable with Essence Drain, in that the projectile itself DoTs the target on hit, while also creating a cone-shaped chilling area (which deals DoT) BEHIND the target. Keep the mechanic where the area moves towards enemies, but let the movement speed of the area scale with something (cast speed, projectile speed, movement speed, W/E).

3. Make it a channelled skill... Though I would not like that :( A cone-shaped channelling skill, that applies a debuff. After an enemy reaches X number of stacks of the debuff, it freezes with a base duration of X seconds. The skill itself could act a bit like Incinerate, meaning that it would hit and not apply a DoT like Blight. A chilling area could also be incorporated, making the skill a bit more interesting and opening up additional build opportunities.

I hope this helps. Love the game, love the league, love you guys.

Best regards,
Best regards,
I have been playing a Cold Snap + Vortex trickster. After experimenting with AB, I feel that flame dashing into packs and using vortex immediately upon arrival is actually way more effective and SAFER than trying to rely on Arctic Breath to arrive at the target destination. Why allow mobs to take actions when I can just jump on their face and destroy everything with vortex followed up by a cold snap to clean anything I missed? What's even safer, if I feel the need to even do it, is just cold snap spamming at range. It fulfills everything it needs to without any trouble. Syndicate encounters? You know how everyone is complaining about syndicate one-shot mechanics and visibility? I don't have these problems (except for Cameria ice, because it practically renders invisible). If I have even one of either cold snap or vortex down covering an area, I know everything in that area is either dead or no longer a relevant threat. So, I just play syndicate encounters by making sure my coverage is good. It takes almost no time to kill everything anyway, because the damage scaling has become insane. I should know, it's about three times what I felt like it used to be with cold snap alone, having played cold snap builds for two leagues prior.

I know this thread is about AB, but you can't talk about AB without talking about the skill which now overshadow it harshly, because AB is trying to fill a role that is already filled. We need it to be an actual breath skill, not a lazy projectile.
So I'm playing the same cold Dot occultist everyone is, but I've also tried scaling just raw cold damage and projectiles with Dying sun and multiproj etc. I think the problem is you're spreading yourself too thin here. Why would you play a projectile AND a dot build when you can play one or the other that are just better. Its the same thing with a lot of POE skills these days. Pick a path and perfect it, jack of all trades arent really viable in end game maps.

So back to arctic breath itself....even with dying sun, its literally just like using a regular cold snap. The added projectiles literally are like taking 3 AOE nodes on the tree. Yeah you can overlap the *hits*, but the hits are weak compared to the dot. I think a good change would make multiproj spread out more, so you can do more of a fork than just a larger single area. Also the speed of the projectile, I could shoot it, make a brand new BV elementalist and level it up and kill that mob before the proj hit. Just my two cents!
Last edited by Gr33kG33k on Dec 14, 2018, 11:25:44 AM
No skull, no play
No fun allowed.™
Jess_GGG wrote:
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Level 80 Cold DoT Occultist (Frigid Wake and Vile Bastion) using Cold Snap (CS) as primary damage and Arctic Breathe (AB) as the secondary DoT. Going 2 Curses (Temp Chains and Frostbite) and Frost bomb as utility skills to improve defenses and damage.

I picked up AB as a secondary DoT to supplement the CD period of CS primarily due to the range it offers vs Vortex. Quickly learned through playing that there was almost zero point to use AB in the build as CS provides more damage, more area and instant travel speed make CS the much better clear skill. Only reason I haven't switched over to Vortex vs AB as the second DoT at this point is because first time SSF and my twins hitting the terrible twos so squeezing in 1 hour a day the best case scenario so gear is pretty garbage (2.8k ES with CI, yes you can laugh now), so the range actually helps get a DPS boost in for bosses.

Pure number wise Vortex when compared to AB is just better. Factoring that most builds can not support 3 damaging skills so focusing Vortex over AB is the natural best avenue to take as the second damaging skill in the Occultist Cold Dot Archetype. This is even before considering the significant AB downsides of slow projectile speed, long cast time, small AoE and super slow creeping frost which practically doesn't move.

Overall, I do think there is a niche for AB as skill and really do thematically like the creeping frost aspect and I think this is were an opportunity exists to improve the overall feel of the skill.

It would be interesting if the creeping portion of the skill would get faster and cause a greater chilling effect for each AB AoE up to the cap of 10 instances. Not sure if its possible but potential even combining the AoEs when the overlap with each other to create one large moving area. This would then offer utility not found in Vortex and CS. When factoring in bonechill, the increased chill affect it would help create an mathematical alternative to Vortex or CS due to making it easier to reach the breaking point of 30% chill and thus increasing the damage taken.

Additionally, it could also open up an alternative play style where you are trying to keep the creeping frost at maximum stacks/AoE which could lead to it being "potential" used as a clearing skill.

CI Occultist level 89 trade sc.

Although Arctic breath has quicker cast time, than Cold Snap, it feels longer, because of projectile travel time, and crowling chilling area after it hits a target moves very slow. you can cast Cold Snap in a middle of a pack and everyone will be hit, but AB can hit 1 enemy in front and aoe will spread from that point therefore only half of a pack will get damage. CoolDown on Cold Snap is nothing, because if you keep killing mobs with it you will have Charges all the time.

I tried to use all Cold DOT skills in one build for more overlapping dot, but in practice AB just don't fit in any combat situation, Cold Snap and Vortex have enough damage for quick map clear and for boss killing.

Arctic Breath feels like very very very slow version of Essence Drain. ED also have cast time and proj trevel time, but with Contagion it spreads very fast and feels satisfying.
Last edited by OrKToS on Dec 14, 2018, 5:14:20 PM
I created a character for Arctic Breath. Level 84 Pathfinder Hardcore

I went Pathfinder which I know is a bit suboptimal damage wise, but I love flasks and wanted to test the ruby/topaz/saphire flask changes.

I took all the cold damage over time multipliers, and well as cold damage wheels trying non-crit. I picked up the pierce nodes by shadow and tried all sorts of combinations.

Self Casting felt pretty good damage wise because it can shot gun. However the projectiles were very slow compared to Freezing Pulse. Freezing pulse also didn't need pierce nodes.

I put Freezing Pulse on totems with multi-totem support while self casting arctic breath. I put arctic breath on multi-totem support while self casting freezing pulse.

Wherever freezing pulse was, that's where it seemed my damage was coming from. My arctic breath felt more like a damage over time supplement that I could add on if I felt it necessary for a rare monster or something.

I was intending freezing pulse to just freeze things while they get damaged by arctic breath's pool or my self casts... but really it just felt like freezing pulse casted and killed faster while hitting harder up front.

I leveled up pretty much all of the projectile cold skill gems including Ice Spear, Winter Orb, Frost Bolt. Winter Orb, Ice Spear, and Freezing Pulse seem to have risen to the top for me, though I haven't really given Frost Bolt another try because I know it works well.

Since Freezing Pulse was outperforming Arctic Breath even when I invested fully in to cold damage over time multiplier (which freeze pulse doesn't even benefit from), I instead decided to change my tree to Crit.

Crit Freeze Pulse with my current gear 118 point tree:

Non-Crit Arctic Breath with my current gear 118 point tree:

Swapping in Freeze Pulse: Damage 140k -> 210k and it's up front instead of over time, and the tree is unoptimized at this point for freeze pulse. The projectiles are faster, the freeze is more dependable.

Hard to see why I would use Arctic Breath unfortunately. I know there is a shotgun effect, but the projectiles just feel so slow, and freezing pulse seems to just do better anyway.

Last edited by Seeders on Dec 14, 2018, 1:20:17 PM
I really wanted to make this work as well but ultimately am falling into the same thing every single other comment has and am transitioning to cold snap + vortex.

To make it more useful here is what I suggest:
Projectiles travel AT LEAST 50% faster.
The cast time kind of sucks, but it gives reason to socket faster casting or stack cast speed, I think it's fine on it.
The creeping ice patch needs to move 2-3x faster. It doesn't have to zoom around the entire map seeking targets, but it needs to be somewhat useful. Right now it's almost like a herald of ash dot.

The projectile speed really hurts it. Instead of building it with a 4 link herald of ice setup for clearing via the projectiles and supplementing the dot for bossing, you end up sacrificing too much to make it useful and it's usefulness falls too much.

So far the only usable way I've built it is using winter orb CWC arctic breath. Orb does all of the clearing (and does it very well) and arctic for harder single targets. In this setup it works quite well actually depending on supports. It constantly hits them, dots them, slows them and randomly freezes them. It's t he closest I've gotten it to being useful and usable but as a MAIN SPELL this shouldn't be it's only useful application.
lvl 89 occultist. Tried Arctic breath/vortex but switched to cold snap/vortex by swapping gems due to its unreliable zoning capabilities.


When coupled with GMP or LMP,the aoes overlap because how close the projectiles are to each other when casted. Although multiple projectiles might hit the same target or different targets within the same 3 feet distance, the spell gets wasted with the aoe overlapping on the same target.


If the multiple projectiles are spread like soul rend, covering a 90-120 angle, arctic breath could cover a wider range and have its unique charm/gimmick. The spread will reduce overlapping over the same enemy, turn arctic breath into a zoning mechanic and the "crawling" speed will finish the mob.
LMP could cover 90 angle so 2 projectiles will be at the edge of a mob.

One thing that could be cool is to have a special jewel for Arctic breath. The jewel would cast Arctic Breath in a nova pattern (if 2 are equipped?).

lvl 89 occultist
I feel like they are not bad, the Lethal assault, increased area with projectile speed, really helped in this patch. But Vortex/Cold Snap still way better.
I feel like the special gimmick of this skill is the moving DoT that no other skill have, but it's SUPER SLOW.
IF the moving cold DOT ground moves faster definitely this skill would be in pair with vortex/cold snap clear speed.
So my suggestion is just INCREASE the movement speed of the cold DOT ground of the arctic breath.

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