This Cold DoT Occultist Is Stronger Than Ever! – POE 3.21 Crucible League Starter

The Crucible league announced and what other build would be good to start with it then my favorite build Cold DoT Occultist. I’ve been using this for the past four leagues. So, I can safely say this is the best starter and this time even got more powerful with the new skill cluster – Cold Cluster.

Skill Itself

Let’s see what things we got. On the damage side, our skill choice is almost all Cold DoT skills: Vortex, Creeping Frost and Cold Snap.

Vortex is actually an icy blast that deals with icy damage to enemies. Over time, it explodes and leaves a swirl around you. This vortex is the source of cold damage to enemies.

Creeping frost. You fire an icy projectile that bursts on impact and start dealing cold damage overtime in the area.

Cold snap. You create cold damage over time zone in a targeted area and this zone will be expand itself. We will also use the Vaal version of this skill for even more damage and speed up our Clarity in maps.

Damage Increase

The build will use 3 curses to boost our damage even further, namely: Frostbite to lower the enemy cold resistance, Elemental Weakness to reduce this even further and Punishment. If you do not used Punishment curse before, this curse will start working when the enemy reaching low life 50% health and it will boost our damage to the moon.

All of these curses we will apply with one single button, Arcanist Brand. Most of our damage is coming from the gem levels and the passive tree. That’s why this is a very good build to start with it.


On the defensive side: Using Grace aura for evasion rating, so we almost can’t die from the monsters’ basic attacks or projectiles. Because of using grace, we can use Ghost Dance Keystone. When we take a hit, we will recover 3% of our evasion rating as an energy shield. We can do this 3 times in a row before the stacks recharge.

Determination for the physical damage reduction. In Path of Exile Crucible, they nerved the Molten Shell, so we need to say goodbye to this skill because now to benefit from this guard skill like before the patch, you need a double amount of armor in your build which is almost impossible for an Occultist.

So, from now, we will use Immortal Call for our guard skill with cast when damage taken. Now, we almost can’t be touched by physical attacks only danger left for us is the spell damage, but we have a solution for this. That is using Spell Suppression on gear and passive tree, which is preventing half of the spell damage when we are taking spell damage.

Thanks to our Ascendancy Frigid Wake, I’m really like to not rely on the flask uptime with chill and freeze immunity. We have stun immunity (Vile Bastion) because the Ascendancy has built in immunity if you have energy shield, which we will always have.

Item Explanation

Because this is a league starter, we can’t have big items on the first day of the league. That’s why we have very basic items on our current list. So, if you want to improve your weapons and armors faster, you should prepare a lot of necessary POE Currency in advance.

Only 1 item worth to mention is the Rime Gaze Mind Cage unique helmet. It is not needed, but it’s good to have. This is very cheap on the first day of the league and it gives us huge damage boots and a little survivability. You can get this item for 4 or 5 Chaos Orbs on the first day easily. After that, it may be even cheaper.

The New Life Mastery And Mana Mastery

The other very surprising thing is that we will not use life mod on our body armor because we got a new mastery, which is giving us 15% maximum life if our body amour doesn’t have life mod. So, we can use energy shield and evasion rating prefixes on our body armor. This is why you see in custom mods under the Configuration tab.

Also, for now till we get the new PoB, I allocated a random Life Mastery to simulate the new mastery. The other big changes for our tree we got back the Mana Reservation Mastery as Mana Mastery.

This is why we are allocating the Mind Drinker and taking a random Mana Mastery to simulate the new mastery that will take this place. This is why you see 12% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills line in custom mods under the Configuration tab.

Passive Tree

Speaking of Passive tree, I would like to emphasize the following points. The tree building itself is really straightforward. You only have 2 choices when you start leveling: the path left or right.

In the early acts, I suggest to you start pathing towards the right side of the tree towards Elemental Focus Support and Entropy. Take all the life nodes you see here, but skip the jewel sockets for now.

You will only allocate this when you have no other nodes to take. You will not travel down for the Spell Suppression. Instead, you will pathing towards Grow and Decay. Ignore the suppression node here for now. Take Snowforged and travel to Season of Ice and travel to Influence and take Arcane Sanctuary. This is for the early levels. This should be enough till you get gem levels. If you want to level up your gems faster, then POE Currency buy will a good choice.

Also, I have a golden rule for leveling: If I’m lacking damage, I will start taking damage nodes. If I’m dying, I start taking life nodes. Simple as that.


We are taking Occultist as our Ascendancy because this is the only Ascendancy in the game that synergies really well with the Cold DoT skill. The notables in order are the following:

In your first lab, you take Void Beacon, which is a really good node early in the leveling process. It will increase our damage since most of the enemies have high life regeneration with this node. We will completely nullify their regeneration.

Second lab, we take a Frigid Wake. This is what I’m really like in this Ascendancy. You will be freeze and chill immune, so we don’t have to rely on the flask uptime. Also, it gives us more cold damage and we take less damage from the chilled enemies.

Third lab, you take Vile Bastion for stun immunity and you will regenerate energy shield if you killing enemies up to 10% per second. When you complete the Uber lab, take the Unholy Authority as your last Ascendancy. This will give us an extra curse and we can apply curses on Hexproof Enemies.

Gems And Links

Starting with main skill setup in our body armor, we are using two active skill gems, namely Vortex and Creeping Frost, and our links are the following: Swift Affliction, Controlled Destruction, Inspiration and Hypothermia.

We need to socket these gems inside our helmet if you are using a Rime Gaze unique helmet and buy POE Currency. So the links are the following: Bonechill, Controlled Destruction, Swift Affliction and Vaal Cold Snap.

These are Auras setup in our boots: Malevolence for the damage over time multiplier and increased skill effect, duration Grace for the evasion rating, Clarity for the mana regeneration and Determination for the increased armor and more armor for us.

The curse setup in our gloves are Frostbite, Elemental Weakness, Punishment and Arcanist Brand. We are applying these three curses with Arcanist Brand, so we don’t have to push three buttons in the boss fights.

Defensive setups in our main hand weapon are Cast when Damage Taken, Immortal Call and increased Duration. The Immortal Call is on level 10 and Cast when Damage Taken is on level 8. Otherwise, you will have to take even more damage to proc the Cast when Damage Taken.

Our movement skill setups are Frostblink or Flame Dash. It’s up to you what you want to use. Also, we are linking Arcane Surge to this but I disabled because Arcane Surge got nerved and they removed more spell damage proportion. This is why I’m disabled to simulate the nerf. Also, we are using Frost Bomb and when you get the Eldrich Implicits on your gloves to inflict cold exposure on hit, you can remove this gem.

Also Read: What To Farm In POE Crucible League?

Pantheon And Bandits

These are the Pantheons we are using:

  • Major God: Soul of Solaris for the bossing and when you just doing maps, switch to Soul of Lunaris.
  • Minor God: Soul of Garukhan for the reduced shock effect on you. Also, when you doing your quest for the Bandits, we kill all.

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