[3.11] Wintertide Brand Occultist/Trickster | 8-9M Dot dps| Fast Clear | Detailed explanation
Wintertide brand is a new cold dot brand skill introduced in 3.11. It has a pretty similar mechanics with penance brand which i played as a starter and after trying this brand out i was not disappointed.
However, the mechanics of wintertide brand is slightly complicated as compared to cold dot skills like vortex or cold snap, so you will definitely need to take some time to read up on my explanation of the mechanics
Alternatively, you can check out my stream at https://www.twitch.tv/astariftt.
Try not to PM me in game or forums for questions, drop them here in the thread or come by the stream, its easier for me to answer questions on the thread as your question might benefit others as well. I am pretty much afk 95% of the time just doing trades while i am in game
Vengeful commander got nerfed from 30% to 20%, no big deal
Alternate quality gems are generally not amazing for this build
Glancing blow nerf is not much of an issue, we have a good enough ehp pool to not be 1 hitted by most hits. Being able to block and avoid damage fully might have been better with wicked ward.
I wouldnt say this is a big hit to our survivability at all
If you are curious as to how the build is played, check out the videos
Videos taken on A8
Uber Elder 2 min deathless run
A8 Sirus cut from stream, using a level 19 wintertide brand gem here btw
T16 underground river + 4 sextant + bestiary scarab + crusader influence
Good clear due to the brand explosions proliferating
Touch and go playstyle, after setting up low life most mobs will die from a cast
We are able to handle mechanics much better because this is a dot playstyle
Dps is deceptively high(read the mechanics column)
Perma chill bosses
Pretty ridiculous single target dps
Bypasses proximity shield because dot
Build can feel abit wonky due to delayed damage
Wintertide brand do not start feeling smooth until you set up lowlife
You dont start using wintertide brand at level 12
Invulnerability aura is a giant bitch
Our Defenses - Occultist
6-9k ES(depending on your gear and version of PoB
Flesh and stone blind/less damage taken
Always chill enemies Vortex on floor
Quartz flask for phasing and dodge
50% block with glancing blow up
Malediction 10% less damage dealt on enemies
Frigid wake 10% less damage dealt on enemies, Chill/freeze enemies nearby sometimes
Wicked ward ES recharge
Our Defenses - Trickster
6-9k ES(depending on your gear and version of PoB
Flesh and stone blind/less damage taken
Always chill enemies Vortex on floor
Quartz flask for phasing and dodge
50% block with glancing blow up
Wicked ward ES recharge
Base 2% ES on kill
70% chance to evade damage with ghost shrouds up
6% reduced dmg taken on full ghost shroud, 4% ES of evasion rating gain when hit
10% chance to dodge spell hits while ghost shrouded
Key build mechanics
You have to absolutely take some time to read this, because wintertide brand and how we scale it is pretty specific
Wintertide brand and how it works
** you have to read this **
Wintertide brand has a few parts to it skill. As a base line, it does a fixed amount of cold dot damage per second. We are not able to increase the frequency as to how often this damage is dealt(even if we stack a million% cast speed).
The second part of the skill is a charges stacking mechanic. As long as the brand is attached on an enemy, the brand gradually gain charges. The charges are not stacked on the enemies, but the brand. As the brand gain charges, it affects the cold dot damage component on the first part of the skill(20% more per stage)
When we talk about activation frequency in this brand, we refer to activation frequency on how often the brand gain charges to increase the cold dot damage component, not the frequency on how often the brand deals damage.
That being said, using swiftbrand in this brand is a huge dps loss because you reach maximum stage faster, but you do not actually benefit from the dps boost from reaching maximum stage.
However, we also do not want to be over stacking duration on this build, because we actually want to scale harder on damage and we want the brand to progress to the third part of the skill.
The third part, is what i call the explosion part, where the brand unattach itself in 2 possible scenario.
The first being the end of the brand's attach duration, second is what the brand actually kills the mob from the cold dot damage.
When an explosion occurs, a secondary debuff(this is 2 seconds with our current set up, not affected by swiftbrand) is applied to all nearby enemies(including the main target). This debuff deals the damage equal to how much dot damage the brand was before it detaches. Simply put, with our set up its a 20 stacked wintertide brand damage
From my experience, this cold dot debuff works similarly to ED/contagion, meaning it chains to nearby enemies.
To calculate the damage for this dot, simply set in pob for winter tide brand stack to be at 20
Explosion's debuff do not stack, so this is a perpetual "4th" winter tide brand damage at maximum stack on boss fights
All in all, if our brand do not kill the target/end its attached duration, our clear do not exist. So we want to either achieve 1: kill shit fast, 2: use swift brand and force explosions early.
Early on we will run swiftbrand, but i drop it as the character reaches end game and starts using lowlife set up+ all auras up
Btw, wintertide brand never hits, it will never trigger elemental equilibrium
This calculator from BrokenGlassFactory from reddit is pretty accurate on how much dps the brand does
Original post: https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/hbjtz4/wintertide_brand_dps_calculator/
How do we utilize elemental equilibrium + elemental overload in this build
As a cold dot skill, we can benefit heavily from elemental equlibrium(-50 res of element not hit)
As we never hit with wintertide brand, as long as we recently touched the enemy with either fire damage or lightning damage, we get a perpetual -50 cold res.
However, vortex actually hits enemies, meaning if we weave in vortex for bone chill(we get more damage from bonechill-ed vortex), we will give the enemy 25 cold res instead of reducing it. Also, we link a adequately leveled arcane surge with vortex, to trigger arcane surge
So in this case, we will always weave in orb of storm to deal lightning damage and crit hits(we dont need high crit chance, but if we crit, we are gucci for 8 seconds) + apply 2 curses because we are an occultist.
So as a rule of the thumb, we will be weaving in vortex + orb of storms constantly as we winter tide thru maps and bosses.
Cast orb of storms(procc elemental overload, 2 curses) + vortex(arcane surge, bonechill)
Pre-cast wintertide brands on boss feet while he roleplays(or do it on the feet before you trigger the fight)
Use vaal RF after the boss starts prancing around +1-2 seconds(this is when the first brand reach maximumpower)
Stay safe distance/melee range depends on boss mechanics(I HIGHLY DO NOT RECOMMEND staying too close to sirus on p1-3, the instant meteors will kill you)
Recast brand every 4 seconds(it last 4 seconds in our set up) together with orb of storms and vortex.
Run around, avoid mechanics and watch the boss life drop fast
Why Wintertide Brand?
Its new, its fresh, it does not have the weakness of other cold dot builds(if bosses move, the brand is tied to them like parasites)
Visually its appealing yet not intrusive
Also, a passive playstyle with high damage is always a good to have in poe
Before we go into why Occultist, there is also a why trickster column next. Because both ascendancy are amazing with this skill
Occultist has access to +1 curse and a decent amount of curse effect. This allows our curse(frostbite and elemental weakness) to be more potent and actually feel very impactful on bosses
We actually apply less damage dealt to enemies with our curse and our chill, thus fortifying our Ehp further.
Occultist has a very nice cold dot branch in ascendancy, also giving us freeze/chill immunity, which is great for an ES build.
Also, tricksters are overused for dot based builds, occultists are pretty great too
Patient reaper is my favourite ascendancy on trickster, opening up cinderswallow's flask slot for another defensive flask
Prolonged pain is a flat out 20% more damage multiplier, however it does prolong the duration of the brand/explosion debuff
Ghost shrouds are great and tricksters are built more towards the avoidance direction moreso than the mitigation direction of occultist.
Trickster has alot of cast speed modifier on ascendancy, allowing us to get to higher stacks of wintertide brands earlier.
DPS might look lower, but trickster reaches max power earlier
tldr of both ascendancy;
Trickster stronger in sustain/recovery due to patient reaper, occultist is stronger straight out in a dps fight
My current set up in 3.11, everything is budgeted around 15 EX
Bottled faith is not required, i use it because i am addicted to it. Using a Sorrow of the divine over it is fine
Highly recommend getting awakened controlled destruction
Before we go into PoB, do make sure you are using the PoB community fork. Else there will be random issues or bug when you try to load my pob links
Also if you are having issues with the PoB link(error 301), add a "s" after the http before the ://, link should be https://(link)
I removed the S because some were getting error 302, which was fixed by removing the S
POB and skilltree explanation
Current set up:
Tree is pretty much similar, because there isnt really much to tweak and change.
The dps shown in PoB is as of 20 stacks on wintertide, cold dot damage. It does not include debuff damage nor the take in account the dps while stacks are building up. It also only calculates one brand uptime on enemy, just 3x the number and poof, theres your actual dot damage with 20 stacks excluding explosion damage.
Cluster jewels notable:
MUST HAVE 100% DEFINITELY NEEDS:
Debatable, we want minimum 1, but i went with 2 for clear
Big dps boost here
15% increased damage taken while 3 brands are on enemy. Huge huge dps boost here btw
Very good to have
Decent dps boost thanks to hatred aura
Energy from naught(small)
100 flat ES sounds small, but this is a huge amount of ES after throwing in all our % increased ES
Good cast speed for brand, some duration and attachment range
Here because its suffixes on large cluster
There will definitely be questions regarding this notable. I would say this is a great notable only assuming you are at leveling stage/your damage isnt fully boosted with our lowlife set up. At the end game set up, i do not recommend this because the brand hopping isnt really great nor does it add any sort of dps. At the end game, we want our brand to deal enough damage and explode, killing everything nearby instantly, not hop around and deal tiny dot damage everytime it jumps to a new target.
Lastly, the explosion debuff do not stack, having holyconquest make wintertide brand jump around applying sub par debuff does not really help greatly in clear
tldr; good for leveling, drop at end game when you are like level 90 with the dps set up nicely
Occultist: Go straight to frigid wake, go straight to malediction
Survivability: Escape artist, prolonged pain
Just dps: prolonged pain, escape artist
Alternate quality gems:
Alternate quality 1 orb of storms is good for map clear for cursing more targets
Alternate quality 1 malevolence is decent for duration
Main 6 link:
Wintertide Brand - Efficacy - Elemental Focus - Controlled destruction - Swift affliction - (Swiftbrand/Hypothermia)
As explained in my mechanics column, swiftbrand is there to detonate brand early for clearspeed. Early on without full dps nicely set up yet, this is key to our clear speed, because brands will detonate faster.
Awakened controlled destruction is really good as a 1st big gem upgrade
Hypothermia is just simply more dps, allowing us to kill enemies fastter and trigger explosions earlier
On weapon 1:
Flame dash - - Second wind + Vaal righteous fire
Flame dash is great without a fixed travel distance(dash) or a delay(lightning warp)
RF is there for damage, easy
Hatred Malevolence Zealotry
We can run 3 50% auras on the shield with our set up, yes
Vortex - Bone chill - Arcane surge level 7 - Swift affliction/culling strike
Arcane surge within level of triggering it on 1 vortex cast
Culling strike vs swift affliction is totally based on your choice. Vortex cull on hit or more vortex dot damage
On Gloves - For Occultist
Orb of storm - Elemental Weakness - Frostbite - Curse on hit
On Gloves - For Trickster
Orb of storm - Frostbite - Curse on hit - Culling strike
We use this to curse, to trigger elemental overload, elemental equilibrium. If you leave this out, except to loss more than 50-60% dmg
Discipline - Enlighten - Haste - Flesh and stone
Taking out enlighten will not impact us greatly, i just wanted to have more free mana for cast and not rely too heavily on mana flasks.
Haste is here because theres no better aura and i love to run faster, have my stuff cast faster.
Flesh and stone is a staple for ES builds for extra mitigation and evasion
+++ Frost bomb on ring
If you cant get an unset ring for frost bomb, you have to sacrifice some mana fluidity to replace enlighten with frost bomb
We use a wand/sceptre/dagger and a shield
No replacement. We need this. For corruption, only consider after you can afford the resist(we lose the 12% resist when corrupted). Socketed gems increases are good
We want dot multiplier, ideally both cold and normal dot. Cast speed is great to have here, but not super super important where it makes or break the build
Mainly, we want:
Dot/cold Dot multi
+1 spell/cold skill gems(this is rare and expensive, if you cant throw in load of exalts, ill skip this)
Spell damage/crafted cold damage(as high as possible roll, this is a prefix)
Everything else isnt important but good to have:
Chaos res(free slot for resist actually, but chaos res is easy to get this league due to chaos slams)
High end upgrades:
+1 spell/cold skill gems
Wands/sceptres with malevolence/hatred aura effect(hunter/redeemer influence)
Unnerve on hit(hunter influence)
Btw, dont use the 1ex spell damage craft, theres an 8 chaos cold damage craft thats 6% less increased damage. I wouldnt value potential 6% increased dps over an ex(this is a tiny dps boost btw)
Dont get despair curse on hit, despair is our weakest curse
Dont prioritize spell crit, its not useful for us
Dont get crit multi, its useless
We run low life, so we look for shavronne's wrappings.
Look for a high es roll, then hillock it in fortification for 28% quality.
No CI, we lose auras
ES and resist.
As much es as possible, get some res here because gloves cant roll as high end of ES as helms do, so we want to throw more budget on res here and budget on ES for helm.
This is a slot where there are 2 choices.
1: highest possible es, good res and movement speed
2: anti chill/freeze, highest possible es boots
Same as gloves slot, we want to cap resist
DO NOT GET TAILWIND BOOTS, brand dont benefit from tailwind.
Elusive isnt that good because it competes with a prefix for ES roll
We want ES here, ES and more ES, couple with resist. Ideally some inteligence roll because it gives us more ES
Helm rolls are important for a build that uses shavs because this is another big ES slot that gives us the chunk of base ES
This gives ES and Dps. However, i am not a fan of the reduced recharge rate mod. Supported by concentrated effect might be good if we socket vortex here, but overall i prefer a rare helm as a high end upgrade, since we rely mainly on wintertide for dps
Neck and anointing
We want maximum possible ES% and flat ES here
Else, the true end game for me will be
Key mods we look here is the immunity to stuns. I really hate stuns or being stunned, so having this amulet gives us a huge amount of survivability
We will run tranquility if we get presence of chayula
Else for a cheaper alternative, assuming you are saving for a presence of chayula
Ash, Frost and Storm
Mark of shaper buffed with 20 imbued catalyst
The other ring HAS to be elder.
My ideal ring is an unset ring just so i can throw in a frost bomb in it
We want Strength here together with good ES roll
Strength saves us some passive to fulfil stat requirement(Flesh and stone/herald of ash purity)
This is what i have currently
The next move is to crusader slam and % es and we are gucci
We will need an anti bleed, anti curse flask. So in most cases we run 3 utility flasks
1: Enduring Mana flask is mandatory, nothing else can sustain how we burn thru our mana
2: quicksilver flask, we like speed
3: quartz flask, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, WE NEED TO RUN THRU MOBS
4/5: Expensive or niche flasks
Rumi's concoction is great for the block chance
Sorrow of the divine is great to get some ES regen(its lowered due to wicked ward, thats why i dont allocate zealot's oath normally)
Next, we want cinderswallow. I cannot emphasize how amazing cinderswallow is and how much survivability boost it gives ontop of the free green fire mtx and extra dps it gives
For the crafted mod, go for movement speed, crit isnt that good for us
Lastly, i am addicted to bottled faith, i put it into every build i do. BUT this is never a required item, just a novelty and extra dps push item
For 4/5th flask,
Cinderswallow is a must if you are an occultist.
Bottled faith is the highest dps boost.
Rumi is the highest survivability boost after cinderswallow
Sorrow of the divine is a bottled faith replacement
For cluster jewels, refer to PoB column
We use 2 thread of hopes.
1 north of witch, large. We allocate:
Heart of Ice
Breath of Rime
Practial Application(drop if you overcap dex/str)
Snowforged(this is roughly 3.7% dot cold damage and crit chance for consistency on orb of storm, drop if you dont need it)
1 West of templar, very large, we allocate:
Using 2 thread of hope might be taxing on resist, but we have lots of slots to compensate for it, not forgetting prism guardian gives a fat 37% all res
Energy from within north east of scion, convert melding wheel into pure ES
Many mods are good, but keep within budget
Cold/dot multi with malevolence
Cast speed zealotry/increased damage taken on consecrated ground(only if you have bottled faith)
Increased cold damage hatred
TLDR gearing priority for power spikes(from start to end)
Start as life version, then build towards a hybrid.
Our power spike goes straight to lowlife set up with shavs/prism guardian. Once we set up this, our dps is pretty much set to be great.
Lunaris with divine vessel completed
Abberath because i hate floor on fire+ reduced ignite duration is great
Kill all for 2 points
Wintertide brand is honestly, terrible for leveling. I would suggest going for vortex/cold snap for leveling.
Personally, i leveled as a typical storm brand build and i would advise to change into wintertide after you finished cruel lab
Q: I cant run all the auras needed
A: Take all the required aura reservation nodes. We need a mana flask for sustain
Q: why not trickster
A: Trickster is good, i explained why trickster too, you can go trickster if you like it more
Q: My dps is low
A: refer to Key build mechanics section. Once you have low life set up, dps would almost not be an issue
Q: is this deep delve viable
A: Hardly, we might chill everything, we dont really explode stuff/shatter. Not destroying bodies - death at low delve(thats like 400+ for me)
Q: HCSSFBTWTFABCD viable?
A: we use too many uniques, if you can find them in SSF, yea its probably viable
Will add more in future
Last edited by Astarift on Sep 17, 2020, 8:43:42 AM
Last bumped on Sep 21, 2020, 1:20:36 PM
on Jul 19, 2020, 2:52:48 AM
Uber elder video added
Trickster friendly set up posted
on Jul 20, 2020, 12:01:58 AM
Hey, I´m thinking to try this build, this seems to be a very nice build, my only question is, what do you think to level a pj to 100 doing maps with this?... will be tanky enough?... Thanks
Thanks in advance...
on Jul 24, 2020, 3:35:19 AM
If you are looking to level to 100 with this i believe you will be investing more into this build yes? Honestly with my current set up, which excluding bottled faith, i put everything together within 15 ex. If you can throw in 15 to 20 more EX min maxing the energy shield, getting to 10kES would probably bring you tanky enough to not die to burst. Cinderswallow is absolutely mandatory for mapping 10000000000% in this case.
With my simple set up, most mobs dies within 1 cast of the brand, which means you can just tag and run most of the time.
I would invest abit more into chaos res on free slots(chaos res is super achievable thanks to harvest chaos slams). With a base line 0% chaos res after act 10, we are decently safe to most things
This build absolutely destroys all end game bosses tho, nothing is really much of a challenge
Last edited by Astarift on Jul 24, 2020, 4:25:29 AM
on Jul 24, 2020, 4:25:08 AM
Thank you for all the explanation in detail. It really helps me understand this new skill and having great fun.
Just one reminder. I believe that the Thread of Hope at north of witch suppose to be large.
Thanks for the article again.
on Jul 24, 2020, 4:38:43 PM
Yes, its large, not very large i made a mistake there
on Jul 25, 2020, 4:29:16 AM
Thinking of trying this build out! I love the Occultist Ascendancy. Do you have any advice on what nodes to go for first while leveling?
Last edited by Acideyez on Jul 26, 2020, 5:16:16 PM
on Jul 26, 2020, 5:02:41 PM
I would level not using wintertide brand and go with vortex/cold snap first, going for elemental overload and a vortex set up should be great
on Jul 26, 2020, 11:12:01 PM
Thanks for the guide.
How long do the brands last on bosses or that is how often do you have to keep casting.
on Jul 27, 2020, 2:05:35 PM
In my exact set up in end game its 4 seconds, 3 cast every 4 seconds + keep up vortex and ball lightning, which are pretty much instant cast anyways
on Jul 27, 2020, 11:47:47 PM