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Winter Orb Elementalist non-crit PoE build

Winter Orb Elementalist non-crit PoE build

Winter Orb is one of the most overpowered Spells in Path of Exile in its current form

Winter Orb non-crit
Elementalist Starter build

Updated for Patch 3.8

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Guide notes
September 11, 2019
-Updated for Patch 3.8


Winter Orb, in its current form, is one of the most overpowered spells in Path of Exile. It is a channeled spell that creates an Orb above your head, which shoots icy projectiles on nearby enemies. Those projectiles explode on impact and deal damage in a small radius. Thanks to damage from several projectiles overlapping, Winter Orb has insane DPS which caused this to be the most commonly used Spell in the Betrayal League. Even with the slight nerfs in 3.6, this is still going to be an awfully powerful skill with close to none contenders. Elementalist class, which is recommended for this build, grants the highest possible DPS and makes this build fully viable for a League Starter build. 

Channeling Winter Orb builds up stages, which increase the rate of fire of your Ice projectiles, which makes Cast Speed one of the primary attributes in this build and allow much smoother gameplay.

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1. Gameplay

This is a very fast-paced build with insane clear speed and decent mobility. You don't need to build up a lot of stages to deal with most of the enemies, while the newly added Passives related to Channelled Spells, and Infused Channelling Support Gem, should grant you more than enough survivability stats to allow dealing with Bosses. Depending on your current gear and level, you may find yourself avoiding only the highest damaging Spells and Attacks, ignoring most of the other threat. This build is based on high Life and Dodge Chance that should make it considerably easier for beginners as well. 

0:06 Tier 16 Maze of the Minotaur
0:39 Tier 15 Shaped Bog
1:09 Tier 13 Shaped Orchard
1:31 Tier 14 Basilica
1:55 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix

This video was recorded pre 3.7 - please wait for a new one

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • amazing single-target and AoE DPS
  • no specific expensive uniques required
  • very good defenses thanks to high Life pool and Dodge Chance
  • smooth transition into mapping and end-game content
  • very good clear speed
  • vulnerable to elemental reflect map mods
  • reliant on Dodge rolls versus end-game Bosses


3. Leveling tips

Leveling shouldn't be a problem for this Witch character. You can use Freezing Pulse on earlier levels, which is an amazing cold-based Spell with wide AoE and high base damage. When you reach level 28 you can start using Winter Orb which will allow you to clear everything on your path relatively easy. The only issue you may find is Mana Management. Praxis Ring is highly recommended, and just one of the will let you spam Winter Orb efficiently, allowing you to focus on progressing through the campaign. Below you will find the basic skills that can be used during leveling (obviously, as you level up, find items with more sockets, and new Support Gems become available, use them in accordance with the final Gem setups) and several recommended unique items.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Freezing Pulse setup
Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse - great leveling spell which is available right after starting the game. It provides high base damage and has high clearing potential
Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support - adds flat Cold Damage to supported skills
Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support Lesser Multiple Projectiles Support - increases the number of your Freezing Pulse's projectiles
Winter Orb setup
Winter Orb Winter Orb - the core skill used in this build. It can be used starting at level 28
Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support 
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support - increases the damage of supported skills against chilled enemies
Utility Gems
Lightning Golem Lightning Golem - the recommended Golem for this build. Lightning Golem increases your Cast Speed and the rate of fire of your Winter's Orb projectiles
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - grants added Lightning Damage to your spells
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - grants additional Cold Damage to spells  and causes AoE explosions when you kill Frozen enemies
Frostbite Frostbite - if you need some extra damage on the lower levels you may also use this Curse


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

31 Points Skill Tree 
Priorities: 1) Heart and Soul 2) Frost Walker 3) Discipline and Training 4) Devotion 5) Light of Divinity

65 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Elemental Overload 2) Blast Radius 3) Coldhearted Calculation 4) Coordination 5) Singular Focus

Recommended leveling items:

Goldrim Goldrim - one of the best leveling helmets in Path of Exile. It grants a lot of Elemental Resistances which should cover up all your needs for those for the entire leveling process
+(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)
Lochtonial CaressLochtonial Caress - a very cheap pair of leveling gloves. They grant very high Cast Speed bonus and generate all three types of Charges
(10-15)% increased Attack Speed
(10-15)% increased Cast Speed
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(15-10)% reduced maximum Mana
10% chance to gain a Power, Frenzy or Endurance Charge on Kill
Karui WardKarui Ward - grants amazing DPS boost to this build by increasing the damage of both Freezing Pulse and Winter Orb's projectiles. It also grants extremely valuable Movement Speed
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(20-30) to Strength
+100 to Accuracy Rating
30% increased Projectile Speed
10% increased Movement Speed
30% increased Projectile Damage
PraxisPraxis - extremely useful leveling Ring for all spell-caster builds. It reduces the Mana cost of Spells eliminating Mana issues
+(20-25) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
(3-6) Mana Regenerated per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
Axiom PerpetuumAxiom Perpetuum - a very solid leveling weapon for spellcasters
(4-6)% increased Cast Speed
(100-140)% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Fire Damage to Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Cold Damage to Spells
Adds 1 to (10-12) Lightning Damage to Spells


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

114 Points Final Skill Tree
114 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Pendulum of Destruction
  2. Mastermind of Discord
  3. Shaper of Desolation
  4. Beacon of Ruin


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 Gruthkul 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Winter Orb
Winter Orb Winter Orb - your primary source of DPS. A channeled spell which shots multiple icy projectiles in quick succession
Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support - newly added Support Gem in Patch 3.6 which grants high bonus damage to Channeled Spells and damage reduction bonuses while channeling 
Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support - increases the number of Winter Orb's projectiles
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
Cold Penetration Support Cold Penetration Support - supported skills ignore some portion of the target's Cold Resistance
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - greatly increases Spell Damage at the cost of reduces Chance to Critically Strike
[UTILITY] Herald of Ice
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - grants added Cold Damage to your Spells and causes AoE explosions greatly increasing your clear speed
Onslaught Support Onslaught Support - Herald of Ice will have a chance to grant you the Onslaught buff which increases your Attack and Cast Speed
Curse on Hit Support Curse on Hit Support - Herald of Ice explosions will apply supported Curse
Projectile Weakness Projectile Weakness - increases the damage with Projectiles against Cursed enemies
[UTILITY] Herald of Thunder
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - adds additional Lightning Damage to spells
[UTILITY] Immortal Call and Vaal Righteous Fire
Vaal Lightning Trap Vaal Righteous Fire - Vaal skill which greatly increases your Spell Damage for a short duration
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast supported spells after a certain amount of damage is taken. Do not upgrade this Gem above level 11
Immortal Call Steelskin - grants a protective buff which absorbs some of the incoming damage. Keep this Gem at level 16
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support - extends the duration of supported Spells
[MOBILITY] Shield Charge setup
Leap Slam Shield Charge - your primary mobility skill. Helps you progress through maps much faster
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support  - faster movement with Shield Charge
Fortify Support Fortify Support  - grants the Fortify buff
[UTILITY] Cold Snap setup
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - use at level 1 in this setup
Cold Snap Cold Snap - chills enemies and increases your Cold Damage against them thanks to Bonechill Support Gem. Do not upgrade Cold Snap above level 7
Bonechill Support Bonechill Support  - increases the effectiveness of your Chill and Cold Damage based on the Chill effect
[UTILITY] Lightning Golem
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - grants increased Attack and Cast Speed
[UTILITY] Frost Bomb
Frost Bomb Frost Bomb - area Spell which debuffs enemies with Cold Exposure, reducing their Cold Resistance

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended gear for this Winter Orb Elementalist build. Several gear options are usually included for each slot with the exception of awfully expensive end-game gear as this is usually accessible to less than 1% of players. 

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The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your Elemental Resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Spell Damage/Cold Damage
  4. Cast Speed
  5. Elemental Damage Penetration
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - we recommend grabbing a Rare Helmet regardless of your budget. If you need a better one, just try getting similar stats on a Shaper Helmet with added Cold Damage to Spells or with Delve affixes that reduce nearby enemies' Cold Resistance
Min. requirements:
70 to maximum Life
35% to Fire Resistance
35% to Lightning Resistance
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies have # reduces Cold Resistance
Added Cold Damage to Spells
Helmet enchantments:
Winter Orb has +2 Maximum Stages
Winter Orb deals 40% increased Damage
Doryani's Catalyst(Weapon) Doryani's Catalyst - a very solid and our preferred choice for the weapon slot. It grants all the important stats and extra Leech while being relatively cheap
32% increased Elemental Damage
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 20 Elemental Proliferation
Adds (65-85) to (100-160) Physical Damage
(11-15)% increased Attack Speed
(6-10)% increased Cast Speed
(30-40)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
0.2% of Elemental Damage Leeched as Life
(80-100)% increased Elemental Damage
Rare Sceptre(Weapon) Rare Shaper Sceptre - this will be the best in the slot option, however, you have to be ready to spend a bunch of Exalted Orbs on that piece. There are a lot of very powerful Master crafts that make this weapon exceptionally powerful
Min. requirements:
60% Spell Damage
Added min. 26 Cold Damage to Spells
Damage Penetrates Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Cast Speed
Chance to gain Arcane Surge when you kill enemy/Cast Speed
Chance to deal double damage
Spiked Shield(Shield) Rare Shield - we recommend getting Spiked Shield for the extra Dodge. It shouldn't be also hard to find a piece with Life, Spell Damage, and at least one or two extra affixes

Min. requirements:
90 to maximum Life
50% Spell Damage
40% Mana Regeneration Rate
Optional affixes:
Cast Speed
Elemental Resistances

Inpulsa's Broken Heart(Body Armour) Inpulsa's Broken Heart - simply the best in the slot. Grants insane DPS buff and extra AoE explosions when killing Shocked enemies
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(20-50)% increased Damage if you have Shocked an Enemy Recently
(25-40)% increased Effect of Shock
Shocked Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 5% of
their Maximum Life as Lightning Damage which cannot Shock
Unaffected by Shock
Carcass Jack(Body Armour) Carcass Jack - another solid option which should be a little cheaper when compared to Inpulsa's
3% reduced Movement Speed (Hidden)
(120-150)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(9-12)% to all Elemental Resistances
(40-50)% increased Area of Effect
(40-50)% increased Area Damage
Extra gore
Pandemonius(Amulet) Pandemonius - the best amulet option for this Winter Orb build. It grants amazing defensive utility, on top of increasing your Cold Damage and Cold Penetration

+(20-30) to Dexterity
(20-30)% increased Cold Damage
+(35-40)% to Cold Resistance
Chill Enemy for 1 second when Hit, reducing their Action Speed by 30%
Blind Chilled Enemies on Hit
Damage Penetrates 20% Cold Resistance against Chilled Enemies

Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - will be always a good pick for the leveling phase. Just aim to get additional Spell Damage and high defensive stats
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
25% increased Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - preferably Opal Ring which is the best base for this build
Min. requirements:
60 to maximum Life
6% Cast Speed
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Elemental Damage
Maximum Mana
Dream Fragments(Ring) Dream Fragments - as of Patch 3.8 we can no longer Leech Mana, so this Ring's extra Mana and Mana Regeneration will be extremely useful. It also grants Freeze Immunity
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
20% increased maximum Mana
50% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+(30-40)% to Cold Resistance
Cannot be Chilled
Cannot be Frozen
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - get a pair with the highest possible Life, Elemental Resistances, and Movement Speed bonuses
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
20% increased Movement Speed
29% Fire Resistance
29% Lightning Resistance
29% Cold Resistance
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Adds 45 to 68 Cold Damage if you've been Hit Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - preferably Stygian Vise base
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
40% Fire Resistance
40% Lightning Resistance
35 Strength
Command of the Pit(Gloves) Command of the Pit - this pair of gloves provide high damage bonus and Arcane Surge buff
Has 2 Abyssal Sockets
(6-10)% increased Cast Speed
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
With a Ghastly Eye Jewel Socketed, Minions have +1000 to Accuracy Rating
With a Hypnotic Eye Jewel Socketed, gain Arcane Surge on Hit with Spells
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels
Recommended affixes:
increased Maximum Life
increased Spell Damage/Spell Damage while holding a Shield
increased Cold/Area Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Abyss Jewel(Jewels) Abyss Jewels - at least of those is required if you are using Command of the Pit Gloves
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
added Cold Damage to Spells
Optional affixes:
increased Damage if you have killed recently
chance to Hinder enemies on Spell Hit

Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - one of the best Flask in Path of Exile which is also very cheap

2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect

Dying Sun(Flask) Dying Sun - grants additional Winter Orb's projectiles and increases their explosion radius increasing your single target DPS

(-10-10)% increased Charges used
(15-25)% increased Area of Effect during Flask Effect
Skills fire 2 additional Projectiles during Flask Effect
Suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Heat (immunity to Freeze and Chill)
  2. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
Atziri's PromiseDying SunDivine Life FlaskDivine Life FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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If you have any other build requests, or suggestions regarding this Winter Orb Elementalist build, please let us know in the comments below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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