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Eye of Winter Witch Occultist Build

Eye of Winter Witch Occultist Build

A build for Occultist that uses one of the newly added skills - Eye of Winter. Combined with Hydrosphere it works really well.

Eye of Winter
Occultist Build

Updated for Patch 3.15

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Guide notes
August 4, 2021
-Build created
August 7, 2021
-Added gameplay video


Eye of Winter is a newly added Cold Skill - it's a Projectile that shoots other Projectiles as it moves forward, but cannot deal damage itself. When the main Projectile ends or collides with terrain, it releases a secondary, more powerful wave of projectiles. It can be used in a clever way - to chain it off the Hydrosphere. Eye of Winters has to Chain either by equipping Snakepit Unique Ring in a left ring slot or by linking it with Chain Support. Hydrosphere is a Spell that creates a sphere of water that Drenches enemies, lowering their Elemental Resistance, and continuously deals Converted Cold Damage. After Hitting it with Eye of Winter, the Skill will Chain off of it and repeat the sequence, while Hydrosphere linked with Bonechill increases the damage enemies receive.

Occultist is seemingly the best Ascendancy Class for this build as it is great at dealing damage with Cold Spells and using Cold ailments. Moreover, Occultist is great at utilizing Power Charges and constructing their whole damage output based on them. With Forbidden Power, Infused, Instability, Overcharge from a Passive Skill Tree, and Warlord's Helmet Mod, two Void Batteries, the character can have up to 10 Power Charges. With Badge of the Brotherhood - 10 Frenzy Charges as well. The build is based on reaping the benefits of having such a large number of Charges and combines them with Void Batteries, all that is afterward needed to increase your damage is Cold Penetration, Critical Strike Chance, and Multiplier. The build is Life-based with around 6k of Maximum Life that also has a lot of Dodge Chance thanks to Acrobatics Keystones and Elusiveness. Vile Bastion combined with Eldritch Battery is an elegant solution to all your Mana issues - your small amount of ES now protects Mana and is used to cast spells. The build is not particularly defensive-oriented but it's not a glass cannon either.

You can also check our other Path of Exile builds right over here Odealo's Crafty Guides - Full List


1. Gameplay

The gameplay consists of casting Eye of Winter into Hydrosphere which should be constantly moved around in such a way to absorb your projectiles. Use Lightning Golem to increase your damage and Steelsking as a Guard Spell. Flame Dash is the mobility Spell that you can link with Arcane Surge. Occasionally Vaal Righteous Fire and Frost Shield are to be used to increase your damage and survivability. Hatred, Zealotry, and Herald of Ice are the Mana-reserving Skills that with reduced reservation should be up at all times.

This video was recorded on a level 94 Occultist with a total of 10 Power Charges. While it allows you quite comfortably farming most of the content, you should consider it a very expensive glass cannon build, and there are surely better options in that budget. But if you are a fan of Diablo 2, possibly you want to try out the GGG's take on the popular Frozen Orb from the Sorceress's arsenal

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • really good single target and AoE
  • one of the best clear speeds
  • good defense - lots of Life, and the Chance to Dodge 
  • it can be quite expensive to upgrade your items - on top of regular mods, you will need some extra, relating to Power Charges 
  • unique items are expensive as well - check if you can afford them before you start


3. Leveling tips

Equip a pair of Wands with increased Spell Damage, you can use Vendor recipes for that or enchant the weapon with the right Essence. After the first completed Lab, it is recommended to equip two Storm Prison Unique Wands that'd give you more Maximum Power Charges and Power Charges on Kill. For your first ascendancy, you should pick Forbidden Power. Now your damage and AoE scales with Power Charges which you should have 7 of. The damage you deal at this point is so good that you can use any Spell you're comfortable with, but link it with "Increased Critical Damage Support Gem", you have a high chance for Critical Strike so increasing your Critical Damage is obviously a good idea. At Level 60 you will be able to wear Badge of the Brotherhood, at level 68 equip two Void Batteries.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Winter Orb setup
Arc Arc - Any Spell with a base Crit Chance above 6% is good for a start, at level 28 you can start using Eye of Winter Eye of Winter
Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support - with a lot of Power Charges your Crit Chance is high, but your Crit Damage is disproportionally low, use this Support Gem to equalize it
Power Charge on Critical Support Power Charge on Critical Support - increases your Critical Strike Chance, has a chance to provide you with Power Charge as you land a Critical Strike, and increases your damage per Power Charge
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - reduces the Mana cost of skill, increases your Crit Chance and Elemental Damage
Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - improves your mobility by allowing you to instantly dash
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - faster casting for Flame Dash
Arcanis Brand setup
Arcanist Brand Arcanist Brand - attaches to an enemy and activates linked spells, useful when dealing with bosses
Frost Bomb Frost Bomb - Frost Bomb applies cold exposure to enemies reducing their resistance to Cold Damage. Use it only alongside Spell that deals Cold Damage such as Eye of Winter Eye of Winter
Frostbite Frostbite - a curse that lower enemy Cold Resistance, to be used with Cold Spell as well


KIlling all three Bandits for two Passive Skill Points or Help Alira for Mana Regen, Crit Multiplier, and Elemental Resistances

Leveling Skill Trees:

32 Points Skill Tree
Take Instability by taking the path as presented here, then go for more Maximum Life, and Disciple of the Forbidden

68 Points Skill Tree
Allocate Infused and Overcharge, increase your Maximum Life, Critical Strike Chance, and Multiplier


Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - a decent ring that you can use for more Elemental Resistances and some Attributes
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - the Helmet that mostly fixes your Elemental Resistances
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - the best leveling Body Armour that allows you to link any 6 Gems right from the start
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
Storm PrisonStorm Prison - Storm Prison grants you an additional Maximum Power Charge and this single mod alone makes it one of the best leveling Wands
(11-15)% increased Spell Damage
(40-60)% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to (35-45) Lightning Damage
(15-25)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
(25-35)% chance to gain a Power Charge on Kill
Victario's AcuityVictario's Acuity - As you're using a Spell that is also a Projectile, you can use this Amulet for more Damage. It also provides you with some other useful stats.
+(16-24) to Dexterity and Intelligence
+(30-40)% to Lightning Resistance
+(8-10)% to Chaos Resistance
10% chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on Kill
10% chance to gain a Power Charge on Kill
5% increased Projectile Speed per Frenzy Charge
5% increased Projectile Damage per Power Charge

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

117 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels nor Intuitive Leap and Thread of Hope)
117 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Forbidden Power
  2. Void Beacon
  3. Frigid Wake
  4. Vile Bastion


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

Minor God: Soul of Ryslatha Life Flasks gain 3 Charges every 3 seconds if you haven't used a Life Flask Recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Eye of Winter setup
Eye of Winter Eye of Winter - The Spell that is used as a main damage-dealing ability. Use it to cast a Projectile that deals damage by shooting additional, smaller projectiles coming from its center. Combine it with Hydrospehere and have it chaining to maximize its efficiency.
Power Charge on Critical Strike Support Power Charge on Critical Strike Support - Increases your Damage per Power Charge and your Critical Strike Chance. It's a crucial Gem in our setup, as it's the main way to generate Power Charges (and scale damage significantly)
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - Lowers the Mana cost of your Skill, grants you Critical Strike Chance, and Elemental Damage. If you don't have mana issues, you can replace it with Cold Penetration SupportCold Penetration Support, preferably an Awakened version of it.
Ice Bit Support Ice Bite Support - It's used to generate Frenzy Charges and increase your damage that scales with these Charges by adding Cold Damage to your Spell. It makes Frozen opponents more susceptible to damage. If you already have Frenzy Charge generation from other courses, such as BOdy Armour, replace it with Awakened Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support, preferably an Awakened version of it.
Chain Support Chain Support - Makes your Eye of Winter bounce off of Hydrosphere. If you've chosen to wear Snakepit, you don't need this Support Gem, and you can replace it with Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support.
Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support - Makes you repeat the Spell a second time in rapid succession greatly increasing your damage
[UTILITY] Hydrosphere setup
Hydrosphere Hydrosphere - This allows you to bounce your Eye of Winter after it hits it as long as your projectiles can Chain. As your Eye of Winter hits terrain or ends, it releases more and faster projectiles. Hydrosphere itself can Chill and Drench opponents which is useful
Bonechill Support Bonechill Support -  Enhances Chill effectiveness and makes targets take more damage
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - improves Cast Speed of Hydrosphere
Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support - increases Chill effectiveness and its duration
[UTILITY] Frost Shield setup
Frost Shield Frost Shield - creates a zone where your ES is drained and you take less damage, it also increases your Critical Strike Chance
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support - increase the Duration of linked Spells
Increased AoE Increased Area of Effect Support
[MOBILITY] Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - the main Mobility Spell, it suits the build the most
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - you can store more charges of Flame Dash to use in a rapid succession
[UTILITY] Steelskin
Steelskin Steelskin - a guard skill that decreases the amount of damage you take
[UTILITY] Mana Reservation setup
hatred Hatred - an Aura that increases your Cold Damage, which is the type of damage you're dealing
Heral of ice Herald of Ice - adds Flat Cold Damage to your Spells, it also makes Shattered enemies explode dealing AoE damage
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - lower the cost of Mana Reservation for all linked Spells
Zealotry Zealotry - gives you more Spell Critical Strike Chance, Spell Damage, and has a chance of creating Consecrated Ground as you hit Rare or Unique enemy
[UTILITY] Golem setup
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - Lightning Golem increases your Cast Speed. It will also kill enemies below 10% Life instantly thanks to Culling Strike Support
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - as your Golem may die often, link it with this Support Gem so that it will be summoned automatically after you take damage
Culling Strike Support Culling Strike Support - your Golem will instantly kill enemies below 10% Life


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5. Gear Setup

Two Void Batteries and Badge of the Brotherhood are obligatory uniques. Wands are a bit expensive, but the Amulet is what makes this build so costly. It's not a great league starter. There are some mods that scale with your Power Charges increasing your damage or other utility stats - those will be mentioned.  You should Generally look for Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances, especially on Gloves, Belt, and Jewels as these do not offer any unique for this build, rare, or mandatory affixes. Around 150 Strenght and 120 Dexterity are required, and to be looked for on your gear pieces.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS, Life, and ES to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Damage per Power/Frenzy Charge
  3. Elemental Resistances
  4. Critical Strike Multiplier
  5. Critical Strike Chance
  6. Strength and Dexterity
Blizzard Crown(Helmet) Rare Helmet - Blizzard Crown is a base good base for a Helmet, it adds a lot of Cold Damage to your Skills. You will need to have +1 to max Power Charges on it later in the game.
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
Optional affixes:
Nearby Enemies have -#% to Cold Resistance
Maximum Energy Shield
Chaos Resistance
Helmet enchantments:
Eye of Winter enchantments
Void Battery(Weapon) Void Battery - The most optimal choice for Power Charge stacking builds, it not only increase your damage per Charge but extends your Limit on their maximum number. You will need two of them.
(36-40)% increased Spell Damage
80% reduced Spell Damage
(10-20)% increased Cast Speed
(50-65)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+(40-50) to maximum Mana
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
25% increased Spell Damage per Power Charge
ES Armor(Body Armour) Rare Armour - Your source of Frenzy Charges is Ice Bite, but if you happen to own a Body Armour with Chance to gain Frenzy Charge on Hit, you can replace it with some other Support Gem. Look for Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances.
Min. requirements:
70% Elemental Resistances
100 Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
10% chance to gain Frenzy Charge on Hit
Enemies you Kill have a #% chance to Explode, dealing a tenth of their Maximum Life as Physical Damage
Elemental and Chaos Resistances
Maximum Energy Shield
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Your Badge of the Brotherhood increases your Elusive effect by 100%, that's why you need a source for it. Boots offers such a mod and it's pretty much mandatory.
Min. requirements:
10% chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike
60 Maximum Life
25% Increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently
Elemental and Chaos Resistances
chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Gather as much Life, Elemental Resistances, and Dexterity as you can here.
Min. requirements:
80 Maximum Life
80% Total Elemental Resistances Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage
Increased Damage with Hits against Chilled enemies
Adds # to # Cold Damage if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently
Rare Belt(Belt) Rare Belt - Look for a solid Stygian Vise, with high defensive stats. At least 100 Maximum Life and 100% Total Elemental Resistances.
Min. requirements:
100 Maximum Life
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
#% increased maximum Life
increased Damage with Hits against Chilled Enemies
Badge of the Brotherhood(Amulet) Badge of the Brotherhood - It sure is expensive but the Frenzy Charges you will receive will increase your Damage and Cast Speed by 40%, and with the right Annoiment, the damage will increase by another 80%. It grants you a lot faster Cooldown Recovery Rate of Travel Skills and improved Effect of Elusive.
+(16-24) to Dexterity and Intelligence
(7-10)% increased Cooldown Recovery Rate of Travel Skills per Frenzy Charge
(7-10)% increased Effect of Elusive on you per Power Charge
(20-25)% chance to lose a Frenzy Charge when you use a Travel Skill
(20-25)% chance to lose a Power Charge when you gain Elusive
Your Maximum Frenzy Charges is equal to your Maximum Power Charges
Recommended Anointments:
Disciple of the Slaughter
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - It is important to find a ring that Curses enemies with Frostbite or Elemental Weakness on Hit, preferably Frostbite. Opal or Diamond bases improve your damage, while Two-Stone or Vermilion are defensively oriented. Added Cold Damage per Frenzy Charge is a Redeemer Prefix that's really beneficial - at least one ring with such mod is required.
Min. requirements:
Curses enemies with Frostbite on Hit
60 Maximum Life
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Added Cold Damage per Frenzy Charge
Chaos Resistances
Snakepit(Ring) Snakepit - By putting it in your Left Ring Slot you can ditch the otherwise mandatory Chain Support  Chain Support in your main DPS setup. It also increases your Cold Damage, Cast Speed, and Cold Resistance.
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
(20-40)% increased Spell Damage
(5-10)% increased Cast Speed
Left ring slot: Projectiles from Spells cannot Chain
Left ring slot: Projectiles from Spells Fork
Right ring slot: Projectiles from Spells Chain +1 times
Right ring slot: Projectiles from Spells cannot Fork
Projectiles from Spells cannot Pierce
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Abyss Jewels - you can put one in your Stygian Vise if you're using such Belt, look for Maximum Life and some offensive mods
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
chance to gain Phasing on Kill
Critical Strike Multiplier
added Spell/Elemental/Cold Damage while Dual Wielding
added Spell/Elemental/Cold Damage
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Maximum Life increased by 7% is the most important mod, additionally, aim for mods to increase your damage or Corrupted Blood immunity

Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Critical Strike Multiplier
Elemental Resistances
Increased Spell/Elemental/Cold Damage while Dual Wielding
increased Spell/Elemental/Cold Damage
Strength or Dexterity

Intuitive Leap(Jewel) Intuitive Leap - After putting it next to Fervour it allows you to allocate Heartseeker and Herbalism. It's an expensive Jewel for finishing touches.
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - An expensive, but the most impactful Jewel that there is. You should aim for mods that correspond to the Auras you're using.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended Aura modifiers:
Critical Strikes Penetrate (8-10)% of Enemy Elemental Resistances while affected by Zealotry
Adds (58-70) to (88-104) Cold Damage while affected by Hatred
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Cold Resistance while affected by Hatred
Thread of Hope(Jewel) Thread of Hope - with Large Ring you can allocate four additional useful Notables after you put this Jewel next to Instability
Only affects Passives in <size> Ring
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
-(20-10)% to all Elemental Resistances
Unnatural Instinct(Jewel) Unnatural Instinct - Another very expensive Unique Jewel that can provide you with a lot of damage and durability. The recommended placement for it is the socket next to Melding.
Allocated Small Passive Skills in Radius grant nothing
Grants all bonuses of Unallocated Small Passive Skills in Radius
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewels - Doryani's Lesson is a much-needed source of Life Leech, but if you happen to stumble upon a similar mod somewhere else it is not required. There are also other Notable Passives you can find on Large Cluster Jewels that can be of use.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Blanketed Snow
1 Added Passive Skill is Blast-Freeze
1 Added Passive Skill is Disorienting Display
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewels - Vast Power scales AoE with Power Charges so it's obviously one to look for, it can be found alongside Magnifier witch is a great option as well
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Magnifier
1 Added Passive Skill is Vast Power
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - increases your Damage and Critical Strike Chance, an expensive Flask that has can be easily replaced by a cheaper alternative
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(20-40)% increased Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
(100-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Flask effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding for 1 second if used while afflicted)
  2. Experimenter's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
  3. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of Curing (immunity to Poison for 1 second if used while afflicted)
  4. Bubbling Life Flask of Heat (immunity to Chill and Freeze for 1 second if used while afflicted)
Life FlaskBottled FaithQuicksilver FlaskDiamond FlaskQuartz Flask

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