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Path of Exile Hardcore Frost Witch Build

Path of Exile Hardcore Frost Witch Build by rz2yoj

Hello. This is my guide / request for feedback for playing a hardcore frost witch.

Other Witch Builds:
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Path of Exile Hardcore Frost Witch Build 


The build I'm using focuses primarily on staying alive, like any hardcore build should. Losing a hardcore character sucks. Some people find thrill in dying or having close calls on hardcore, but I prefer the thrill of being safe, staying alive, and not wasting time. So this build sets out to do that. The build does so by stacking very high energy shield, picking up Chaos Inoculation, staying at range from tough enemies, and freeze-locking foes into submission. But before getting the "how", let me go into the "why" (scroll down if you don't care why).

Why are you writing this?

One of two things is going to happen when I post this:

a.) Someone will find it useful. - Great! This is what I'm hoping for.

b.) Someone will tell me it sucks (and why it sucks). - Great! I can take that into consideration and change course if necessary.

Why a witch?

I like ranged, mage-type characters. Personally, I think they're more fun to play but they also have serious advantages in the realm of survivability: Most importantly, mage classes tend to be good at staying and getting out of harm's way. Being a ranged class, there's no reason to ever get surrounded. It's also easy for us to get away from enemies via tricks like freezing them or blocking their path with a frost wall.

Why a frost witch?

Freezing! Duh. Elites are trivial when we can just freeze-lock them into submission. If you start attacking a single target at range using Ice Spear, it's pretty unlikely that they'll be able to do anything in the least bit threatening before dying. Chilling enemies is useful for survivability too. Our other choices would be fire, lightning, summoner, and physical. The only one of these that I personally might consider using for hardcore would be physical, but I haven't tried it yet and I'm not going to go into that right now (It's largely a matter of preference anyways.).

Why Chaos Inoculation?

As a caster and intellect user, we're going to gravitate towards items with energy shield. We're going to end up with a very large energy shield, and a relatively small amount of life. Thus we'll have a gaping weakness: chaos damage. We can eliminate this weakness. Being immune to poison, life degeneration, and other forms of chaos damage is incredibly useful. This decision became a bit questionable since open beta, but at level 50 or so, I think it's still worth-while.


Our bread-and-butter skills will be Freezing Pulse and Ice Spear. We'll be gearing for straight energy shield. In most cases, if a piece has more energy shield than what you're using, you should equip it. There are exceptions when you get to the point where you really have to optimize your sockets, but until at least level 31, you should have more than enough sockets to use everything you get. We'll be passive-skilling for straight energy shield (surprise!). Somewhere around level 50 or so we'll be picking up the game-changing Chaos Inoculation skill. I'm gonna write the next few sections of this guide in a sort of walk-through format since many aspects of the frost witch's strategy change from difficulty to difficulty.



Of course, when you're first washed ashore you'll want to equip any gear you can find. When you get to the point where you have to make choices in gear, gear for the highest energy shield. Keep an eye out for a good wand. The wand damage doesn't affect your dps, so a good wand has multiple high increased spell damage modifiers. Since these are percentage based, you don't ever really outgrow them. Find a wand with high spell damage modifiers and three linked sockets, and you'll probably be using that for a very long time. Also, look out for good amulets and rings: Like wands, you can find amulets at early levels that you'll use for a very long time. Use either amulets with high mana regeneration or an well-rolled dexterity or all stats amulet (so you can meet the requirements for the support gems you'll get). You can find increased energy shield percentage stats on amulets too which is a big plus. For rings, you'll want to pocket the best resistance rings of each type that you can find, as well as the biggest life ring(s) you can find. You'll likely want to swap these in and out depending on the upcoming battles / areas. For areas with high chaos damage, I like to use life rings, but for other areas I typically use two resistance rings to keep everything capped at 75%.

You'll need to find something with 3 links: 2 green, 1 blue for Freezing Pulse by the time you get Faster Projectiles and Lesser Multiple Projectiles.

I don't really recommend using any currency items other than armourer's scraps and transmutation orbs on gear at this level unless it's on an amulet, ring, or wand.

Transmute any plain quicksilver flasks you find. If they're good you'll never replace them. If you have glassblower's baubles, this is a good place to use them before transmuting them. I use two right now:

As far as prefixes go, "surgeon's" and "ample" are awesome since they improve the odds that your charges will be there when you need them. For suffixes, I consider an "adrenaline" flask to be a must-have, and "heat" flasks can be lifesavers when you get frozen at a bad time (At least take one to Tidal Island.).


Pick up Raise Zombie for your first skill. Whenever you're feeling uncomfortable or lonely just whip them out. It's the next best thing to playing with friends.

Use Fireball or your default attack until you get your second skill: Freezing Pulse. It's a close-range conal attack. Be careful. Hover over everything so you know what you're getting in melee range of. Be especially wary of mobs with multiple projectiles. When you're in melee range of them you'll get hit three times per volley and drop fast.

The third skill you'll get is Ice Spear. It's a ranged ability with two forms: The first form pierces enemies. After about 10 yards or so, it'll turn into the second form. The second form doesn't pierce enemies but has 600% increased critical strike chance. That means before taking anything else into account, it'll have a 49% chance to crit, which means it'll freeze enemies very often.

For your fourth skill, pick up Clarity. With Clarity up, you should find your need for mana flasks dramatically decreases (or disappears entirely).

For your support gem, Adding Lightning Damage and Fork are both completely useless for you. Minion Life is somewhat useful, but what you really want to do here if possible is trade Fork for someone else's Faster Projectiles. If you can't trade for Faster Projectiles, you should buy one and use it with Freezing Pulse. It'll increase your range and damage significantly.

For your next skill, pick up Raise Spectre. Keep him around in the tougher areas. Raising ranged enemies tends to work better.

For your second support gem, you want to trade someone for Lesser Multiple Projectiles if possible. Otherwise get Increased Critical Damage for Ice Spear. If you didn't trade for it, buy Lesser Multiple Projectiles, and put it on Freezing Pulse (I bought one for 2 alchs, but you can probably find cheaper.). Note that you'll need something with 3 links: 2 green, 1 blue.

Pick up Frostbite when you're offered it and keep it up on anything that doesn't already die in 1-2 hits.

For the last reward of the difficulty, go with either Minion Damage or Cold Penetration. Minion Damage is kind of all-around marginally good, but Cold Penetration can be really helpful for things like Merveil. Odds are by now you've seen one of them drop, so you can just pick up the other.


The first thing we want to do is pick up our energy shield buffs on the right side. Then we're gonna make our way to the energy shield nodes in the middle, on the templar side. Before we get to the chaos damage mobs we'll also want to pick up that Chaos Resistance node. We're aiming for something like this:

Skill Tree

Pick up and drop those resistance nodes as needed using your quest reward respec points.

Once you cross the river in act 3, you can drop the Chaos Resistance node to get more energy shield.


Around level 13 or so, there's a cave in the ship graveyard that's full of mobs that use flicker strike (we call this "Flicker Strike Cave"). Pull them slowly and carefully. If you accidentally bite off more than you can chew, there's no hope of escaping them.

Take the extra resistance from the bandit tribes.

The most challenging part of normal difficulty comes when you get to the areas with mobs that deal chaos damage. When you get to the forest encampment be sure to do all of the quests on the right side first, so that when you first contact the chaos mobs (which are in the areas to the left side of the encampment), you'll out-gear them a bit. At that point (or at least before the Vaal caves), equip some life gear (e.g. coral rings), and proceed with extreme caution.

I recommend doing Vaal Oversoul with another player. The constructs can be dangerous and it's much easier to let a life-based class take care of them since we don't have Chaos Inoculation yet.

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1 comment:

Dmitrij Melichov said...

Heya, and thanks for your guide! Any chance you'll update it with the further development of the character, past Normal?