Despite having an older Vortex/Cold Snap Occultist character, I decided to start from scratch a brand new version. I had read about a Spellslinger version, which employs Creeping Frost, Frostbolt and Cold Snap into the Spellslinger portions. This intrigued me as I felt that I never gave my Occultist character a fair shake.
I can’t talk much about her since she’s currently only starting Act 5 and is level 45. However, I think part of the way I’ve been building her is interesting. The problem I’ve had with Vortex in the past was the Cold Snap portion where you had to coordinate both skills, which are under cooldowns, to get them to behave properly.
So Spellslinger helps a little because using Frostbolt and Cold Snap helps automate part of the casting along with using a cheap level 1 Frenzy to do the heavy lifting. With a Frozen Trail gem that you can socket early on, you can fire off two more Frostbolts and lay down a Vortex which gets echoed in coming into contact by the Frostbolts.
Where the early leveling part gets really interesting is using a Poet’s Pen to handle the Trigger Socketed Spell by adding Storm Brand, Frost Bomb and Orb of Storms into the mix. I believe the idea is to eventually use Storm Brand and Orb of Storms to trigger Elemental Equilibrium (which I have yet to get) to really reduce your enemies’ resistance against your cold attacks.
Combined the effects are pretty fun thus far. The hard part I’ve found is timing with your Frostbolt and Vortex cast. I’m thinking that I might try to add a second Frozen Trail since Vortex can interact with up to 5 Frostbolts in terms of the split.
What I like so far is the different interactions and abilities being used here. The only thing I’m missing at this stage is a good curse. I’ve seen people use the Witchfire Brew for Despair and Enfeeble. Also, I think Frostbite is another one I’ve seen. I might move Orb of Storms out temporarily and insert Frostbite in that slot to see if that will improve my bossing DPS.
What I’m not a fan of so far is the general squishiness of the build. Not a lot of built in resistance and basic defenses early on. You pretty much go ES and focus on either low life or CI. Low life is far easier because the gear is straight forward and pretty generic for this type of build. What’s good is that you get to use a Prism Guardian for three auras.
My only worry is lab and the traps inside. By the time I get to the last two, I think I should be okay. I ran a low life Scion that didn’t seem to have any issues with lab. But then again I had so much regeneration from Discipline that the traps were trivialized. I think I’m going to try to work in Discipline into this build once I get more mana reservation reduction. That should help tremendously.
But the next two acts might get a little rough just because of the resistance and that line between getting the upper tier gear vs the point where your current gear just doesn’t have enough of anything. Once I get to act 9 though, the game falls into place and it becomes an issue of just making it through the merciless lab.
That said, the full ascendancy looks really cool especially with the double curse part. I haven’t decided how I’m going to handle that. I might look into a Blasphemy setup. I want to automate as much of the casting as possible. Either way, I’ve got some ways to go on this build.