Since the Occultist is one Ascendancy I’m missing on my list, I decided to give the Vortex/Vaal Cold Snap build a try. Although I’m still working on leveling my to maps, I wanted to add some feedback on what I’ve encountered thus far.
The build is a DoT type of build where Vortex is used to suck the life out of foes with its massive cold damage. For the most part, the damage is quite high so that all except for high life foes will practically disappear in the radius. Cold Snap provides an extra layering of chilling enemies and damage as well as potentially giving you frenzy charges.
However, the thing that makes this build cool more than anything is using a weapon with a triggering a socketed spell when using a skill. Pretty much you’re guaranteed to fling out three more abilities with Frost Bomb, Storm Brand and Orb of Storms whenever you activate either skills. Frost Bomb helps provide a small debuff to lower cold resistance while the other two add a little more damage.
You augment this build with Blasphemy Support in using Temporal Chains and Enfeeble curses. Pretty much you run into melee range, curse everything around you and drop your Vortexes as fast as possible. For beings with more life, you add Cold Snap into the mix.
Now, the build doesn’t really require any special items outside of the aforementioned weapon with the craftable ability. The rest of your gear you’ll probably want lots of energy shield on as ultimately, your goal is to hit Chaos Innoculation. That makes gearing pretty reasonable since you can focus on the main defenses.
The primary weakness I’ve seen is that Vortex is a cooldown ability. As you level it up, the cooldown is gradually reduced but not to the point where you can spam overlapping circles to really destroy enemies. Also, you are very much attribute starved with regards to dexterity and strength. I ended up going shield charge, which relies heavily on strength. You probably can skip out on that and focus more on dexterity with phase run linked to increased duration. But I prefer shield charge overall.
Leveling is pretty slow. You start out with Freezing Pulse and must wait for Vortex around level 28. Because the area covered is small and the cooldown large, your clear speed is mediocre. With an early dependency upon energy shield and having no minions to help out, I felt that leveling was a chore. The build really didn’t take off until post level 60 where I was able to really start using a variety of gear I saved up.
At the moment, I burned out on the play style. It’s not an entirely horrible build just slow and a bit boring. The mechanics on paper look cool but I found myself wanting to do something else just before hitting maps.