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[3.12] PoE Heist Occultist Vortex Cold Snap Witch Beginner Build (PC,PS4,Xbox,Mobile)

PoeCurrencyBuy Date: Sep/14/20 09:10:39 Views: 9948

This PoE 3.12  Witch Occultist Vortex Cold Snap DoT Build is a beginner friendly build that's great for Hardcore, Softcore, Solo Self-Found, and console gameplay. It's tanky, has very good dps, and requires 0 uniques.

[3.12] PoE Heist Occultist Vortex Cold Snap Witch Beginner Build (PC,PS4,Xbox,Mobile)

Quick Jump

Pros & Cons

  • + High Effective Health Pool
  • + Chill and freeze mechanics from our spells are a huge defensive boost
  • + Kill things while moving out of harms way or to the next pack
  • + 0 Unique Requirements
  • + Can start maps on a 100-200 Alteration budget
  • + Hardcore, SSF, and console viable
  • + Flexible gearing options
  • - Clear isn't god-tier without sacrificing defenses
  • - Single target is high, but not bursty
  • - Spell visuals for Vortex and Cold Snap are slightly transparent and buying MTX to fix this isn't always an option.


Skill Tree

Ascendancy: Vile Bastion > Void Beacon > Frigid Wake > Profane Bloom.


For major Pantheon, Lunaris and Solaris are the only choices.

For minor, Gruthkul, Abberath and Ralakesh are good options.

Bandit: Kill All

Passive Tree & PoB

Path of Building Link: https://pastebin.com/jji8BtDF

PoE 3.12 Occultist Vortex Cold Snap Witch Passive Skill Tree





Gems Setup

CI Gems

Weapon: Orb of Storms - Frost Bomb - Storm Brand

Shield: Flame Dash - Arcane Surge - Faster Casting

Body: Vortex - Controlled Destruction - Hypothermia - Efficacy - Elemental Focus - Swift Affliction

Note that these gems are in order of linked importance. If you have a 4L, drop Ele Focus and Swift Affliction, etc.

4L: Blasphemy - Enfeeble - Enlighten - Vaal Discipline

4L: Vaal Cold Snap - Bonechill - Efficacy - Hypothermia

4L: Immortal Call - Cast When Damage Taken - Increased Duration - Phase Run

Alternate Skills: Portal, Vaal Breach

Low Life Gem Changes

Drop Blasphemy/Enfeeble/Enlighten

Shield: Clarity - Vaal Discipline - Blood Magic

4L: Hatred - Malevolence - Faster Casting - Flame Dash


The only gems which do not provide a benefit to our build when qualitied are the following: Orb of Storms and Frost Bomb (minor damage increases, not what we use them for), Arcane Surge, Discipline (if playing solo; quality if in a party), Immortal Call, and Cast When Damage Taken. Use the previously mentioned vendor quality recipe for the rest.

Enlighten quality improves the rate at which it gains experience, so you can drastically cut down on the leveling time of the gem by getting it to 20%


Gear Setup

Starting Yellow Maps

As you work your way through white maps, one of two things will happen with your gear. Either you will feel somewhat squishy due to a low-ish ES pool and potentially slightly under-capped resists, or you will find that your damage is underwhelming. It's time to start upgrading.

One big note on crafting: value dexterity rolls. Dexterity is a huge sticking point of this build, and having a good dex roll on jewelry or other gear can make a huge difference, saving you skill points and allowing for more diversity.

Cheap Uniques

Here are a few uniques that could be picked up in trade league for exceptionally cheap prices. These can either be a gap filler while you build currency or can remain as strong gear options for a long period of time.


Earendel's Embrace - 48-58% increased damage for 1C or less.

Heartbreaker - This dagger is just great. 1 alch for 60+% inc. damage, some ES QoL, and Culling Strike.

Divinarius - 1 alch for 50+% inc. damage, crit chance, mana on kill, and global AoE.


Bated Breath - If your resists are ok, BB gives damage and a large amount of ES. Can be your end-game belt.

Ascent From Flesh - Not very budget at 5-8C, but it's a great belt and has some very nice QoL with phasing mods.


Berek's Pass - Good cheap ring that gives cold damage, resists, and ES for ~1C.

Tasalio's Sign - 1 alch for good cold damage boost, cold res, and some defenses.

Dream Fragments - Not super budget at 3-5C, but if you don’t have Uber Lab done yet it gives you cold res and saves you from freeze/chill.

Timetwist - Again, not super budget at 5-10C, but lots of ES, mana regen, cast speed, and unaffected by Temp Chains is fairly nice.


Vis Mortis - 2 Alch body armor with 375+ ES, mana, and minion damage. No resists.

The Beast Fur Shawl - I love this body armour. 410+ ES, spell damage, AoE, and ES recovery rate.


Rainbowstride - These boots are awesome. 90+ ES, good movespeed, and all resists. You can wear these for a long time.

Steppan Eard - Good ES, super movespeed.

Sin Trek - 3C for Dex, good ES, and very good movespeed. Can be your end-game boots.


Voidbringer - +1 to ele gems, crit chance, good ES, and flat ES on kill. Careful of mana cost, as mana is an issue for this build.

Allelopathy - Ignore Blight mods. Good ES, increased DoT and AoE. Solid.


Asenath's Mark (and upgraded Chant version) - Decent ES, mana regen, movement speed.

Doedre's Scorn - Put your Enfeeble in here. Good ES and ele damage.

Martyr's Crown - High ES.

Chitus' Apex - Low ES but all res, mana, exp gain, and dmg.

Rime Gaze - This is the best cheap unique for this build. Provides a link to Cold Snap, has a double damage mod, high ES, and mana. A small downside but crazy value for 1C. Can be your end-game Helmet


Rathpith Globe - Decent ES.

Saffell's Frame - Low ES, but great for damage and resists.

Zeel's Amplifier - No resists, but good damage, decent ES, and a ton of AoE.

Damage upgrades

To begin pushing your single target damage to higher levels, we want to improve our overall damage while also reducing enemy cold resistance as much as possible. To do this, we will begin by upgrading our weapon and our helmet.


One Handed Sword
6% chance to Dodge Attack Hits
+13 Life gained on Kill
Minions deal 56% increased Damage
57% increased Damage when on Full Life
Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill

As written in the leveling section, you want to be unveiling every weapon you can find from Syndicate encounters. If you have found the “trigger a socketed spell when you use a skill” mod, you’re good to go. If you’re in a trade league, see if anyone you know has that mod available.
If you can get your hands on some fossils and resonators, the best cheap way to do this is to jam a Bound and Pristine fossil into a 2 socket resonator and roll them on a sword; I use a Tiger Hook for the % dodge chance. If you can get your hands on a shaper sword, you also have a chance to hit a few nice mods. You’re looking for 3 things: “Minions deal X% Increased Damage”, “X% Increased Damage While On Full Life”, and an open suffix. It may take a few tries, but don’t give up! If you don’t have access to fossils yet, you can spam your highest tier Essences of Fear.
You can then craft the trigger mod into the open suffix. You will end up with a weapon that gives you over 100% increased damage and alternatingly casts Orb of Storms, Storm Brand, and Frost Bomb as you move around and cast your main spells. At this point, take Elemental Equilibrium on the passive tree. You will now hit enemies with your lightning skills, giving them -50% cold res, and then further shredding resistance with Frost Bomb. This is a buff.


Crafting preference: Shaped Hubris Circlet > Hubris Circlet > Shaped Bone Helmet > Bone Helmet. Take the best option you can get. Once again, fossils are the way to go. Dense and Frigid fossils are the requirements, and a Shuddering fossil improves your odds of good mods if you have a 3 socket resonator. You’re looking for good Energy Shield rolls and “Nearby enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance”. Once you have both, you’ll be solidified in this spot for a long time, upgrading only for an even better and more expensive helmet in the end-game.


For a shield, simply find a good Spirit Shield base and slam Dense + Aetheric fossils until you hit a good spell/cold damage roll and decent ES. Alch and Chaos spam if needed/desired. You can also use a huge variety of Essences; Anger/Hatred/Wrath for guaranteed resists, Woe for flat ES, or your pick of Loathing, Misery, Scorn, Sorrow, Insanity (but seriously save Insanity for gloves), or Horror.

There are two specific mods you’re looking for: A prefix of “Increased Cold Damage”, and a suffix of “% Increased Energy Shield From Body Armor”. Be prepared to re-craft after hitting cold res instead of cold damage a bunch of times.

End-Game Gear

If you've followed the upgrade paths in the guide, at this point you will likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of 8k-10k ES, easily capped resists, and enough dex to get by. Now it's time to push the build into the final stages. This gear will allow you to take on basically anything, given enough encounter knowledge and practice. There are 2 end-game options for gearing here - Straight CI and Low-Life with Shav's. They use nearly identical gear, with the body armour being the only difference in the normal version of the build.

Note: There is a CI version of this build that uses Atziri's Reflection and Coward's Legacy to achieve the Low-Life Pain Attunement while maintaining CI. This will be covered, but I have included the belt slot on its own below, assuming no Reflection.


Your end-game weapon can be one of several bases. You can go with a spell damage wand, an elemental damage sceptre, or an attack dodge tiger sword. As you will be crafting nearly all your own mods on the weapon, it does not have to be Shaper or Elder, although you could potentially hit very nice mods for both Shaper and Elder in the Quality of Life department.

The goal here is simple: Use any crafting method to begin the craft: A temple weapon with high minion damage, alt spam for T1 Spell damage, etc. The goal is to start crafting on a weapon that has 1 or more top-tier prefixes; ensure that all prefix rolls are desirable as permanent mods.

Craft “Prefixes Cannot Be Changed”. Unless you only have 1 suffix mod and it's desirable, Annul off all suffixes. Now craft “Can Have Multiple Crafted Modifiers”. Craft “Trigger a Socketed Spell When You Use A Skill”. Now fill out the remaining affix slots with damage mods. Spell Damage, Cold Damage, and Damage Over Time are all great. You should end up with a weapon that has the following crafts: Multimod, Trigger, and 4x damage mods.

3.6 Synthesis Note: Crazy synthesized bows with at least +3 to gems, % spell damage, and the Inpulsa explosion effect could be absolute best-in-slot for this build. This would also use the Soul Strike quiver. I'm not currently covering that in this guide.


Unless you're going the Atziri's Reflection or synthesized bow route, your shield is all about defenses. You want high flat ES and % ES rolls and resists if you can get them. Your end-game shield should have 450+ ES. Synthesized implicits for shields can be incredibly powerful, granting a ton of ES, curse immunity, 10% reduced mana reservation, etc.


I'm starting with the rings for a reason. Rings are vital for granting you as much resistance as possible. The main bulk of ring mods you are looking for are Energy Shield and as much resistance as you can possibly fit. The closer to capped you are after your rings, the more damage and ES you can fit into the build in other slots. You will want to ensure that there is an open prefix to craft “% Faster start of Energy Shield Recharge”. Resist bases will help with capping, but Opal rings are so good for damage and Moonstones can help reach those crazy ES levels. Finally, rings are great places to put your Aspect of the Spider if you are planning to run it.


Crystal Belt
+79 to maximum Energy Shield
25% increased Cold Damage
+305 to Armour
+10 to maximum Energy Shield
+39% to Cold Resistance
12% increased Energy Shield from Body Armour
+29 to Strength

Crafting your end-game belt is incredibly rewarding for your build, and can be done on a medium budget at a comparatively cheap cost to some other end-game items.

First, acquire either an ilvl 84 Crystal Belt base or Stygian Vise. As you can probably guess, Crystal is best for defenses, whereas a Stygian can provide a ton of damage or other QoL through the jewel slot. It does NOT need to be a Shaper/Elder base, so they are fairly cheap. Next, gather some Dense and Frigid fossils. In addition, adding Aetheric or Shuddering fossils can add a larger chance of rolling either spell damage or movement speed / Onslaught during flask effects. Combining all 4 can yield some truly sickening belts. Start slamming resonators, and stop when you hit a sick belt. Be prepared to roll cold res a LOT when trying for cold damage.

You can also wear the Baited Breath (See Cheap Uniques) if your resists do not need help. BB gives a TON of ES with a good roll.


For your Amulet base, you can choose a Dex, Str, or hybrid base if you need the attributes, or a Marble Amulet if your attributes are ok and you have Zealot's Oath. Mods to look for: Flat ES, %ES, Resists, cold damage over time multi, cast speed. This is another good slot fo Aspect of the Spider, and if the previously mentioned mods are on the amulet, crafted AoE or a multimod with AoE and the previous mods will turn your amulte into something great.

Alternatively, you can wear a Solstice Vigil amulet for free Temp Chains. You will likely want to add the +1 Curse on either a piece of gear or the passive tree node at the top. This gives you more damage and opens up another good helmet enchant, but will make resists harder to cap and ES lower. Your call.


Your gloves can either be a highly defensive slot, with 225+ ES, lots of resists, etc, or they can be a damage dealing powerhouse with a Fingerless Silk base, a cold DoT mod, AoE, and +1 to AoE gems crafted on. An Essence of Delirium grants “socketed gems deal 30% more damage over time”, while Shaper gloves can have a cold DoT mod. If using fossils, socket the typical Dense + Frigid, with Aetheric being the choice for a 3 socket resonator. If your gloves have any mods that affect the damage over time or AoE of socketed gems, be sure that Vaal Cold Snap is socketed in this item. The glove slot is also a great place to pick up a chunk of dexterity if you can roll or craft it.


Arcanist Slippers

66% increased Energy Shield
13% increased Rarity of Items found
+17% to Cold Resistance
+29% to Lightning Resistance
30% increased Movement Speed
+33 to maximum Energy Shield

Firstly, Sin Trek boots (See Cheap Uniques) are very cheap and are perfectly viable as your end-game boots. Defenses, move speed, and attributes are all great. If you're not using Sin Trek, the boots are all about defenses and as high movement speed as you can cram into them. If you can't find boots with good resists, 135+ ES, and at LAST 30% movespeed, wear Sin Trek. There's not a lot to say here; boot slot is simple.


The best enchant for this build is 30% Vortex Cooldown Recovery Speed. Vortex damage is also good, as is Temp Chains Effect if running the Solstice Vigil amulet.

Once you have the base, you can either try to craft a damage helm with “Nearby Enemies Have -9% to Cold Resistance” and/or the AoE and +1 to AoE gems craft, or you can simply load up on massive ES and resists.

For the damage helm, use the Dense + Frigid fossil combo until you hit the -9% mod and decent ES. Ideally, you're looking for 250+ ES. For the pure defensive helm, look for good resists and ideally at least 375 ES.

Body Armour

Vaal Regalia
Quality: +20%
Energy Shield: 571
+99 to maximum Energy Shield
34% increased Energy Shield
+36% to Cold Resistance
36% increased Stun and Block Recovery
64% increased Energy Shield

Finally we arrive at the final slot. This is where CI and Low Life differentiate themselves. For a CI build, the goal is simple: Massive Energy Shield. 550+ is a good start to end game. In 3.6 Synthesis league, people are running around with 800-900 ES like it's just a walk in the park. The sky's the limit. Craft Dex on the chest to finish it out and call it a day.
For low life, we obviously make use of Shavronne's Wrappings. This requires higher ES on the other slots to keep us as safe as the CI build, but the damage gained from Shav's is just stupendous. The transition from CI to low life in this build is stupidly simple: Equip Shav's and spec into Pain Attunement. It's really that simple.

Atziri's Reflection Variant

If you have money, want chaos immunity, and can't live without Pain Attunement, purchase an Atziri's Reflection and Coward's Legacy. Legacy gives a small ES boost, MS, & attributes, but also curses with Vulnerability. This grants the “low life” effect and allows us to take Pain Attunement.
Assuming you don't want to die from Vulnerability with 50% inc effect, you need Atziri's Reflection. This makes us unaffected by curses. We're now CI and Low Life at the same time. Reflection also provides a large amount of ES & resists.


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