Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide – Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)

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Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)

Freezing Pulse Totem Hierophant is one of the strongest league starter builds in the entire game as it is able to utilise gem swaps to reach millions of DPS on less than a single exalt budget whilst still having strong clearspeed and offering the safety provided by totems automating DPS independently of your character's actions.

If you're looking for a character that can easily get into red maps and eventually kill the entire endgame on a lower budget than other builds, Freezing Pulse is the build for you!

Below you will find a highly detailed guide that will hold your hand right from the very first minutes of a new league up until you've generated enough money to reroll to a more expensive character, however higher investment iterations of this build will be provided for those whom enjoy the build and want to take it to higher levels.

3.15 Updates:


ALL POBS have been updated. This guide is now fully up to date.

This guide will receive further updates following the release of the 3.15

Expedition Announcement Update:
Build got nerfed by approximately 37%. I have play tested these nerfs and whilst they obviously hurt the build, I can still do Sirus 9 on a budget of less than 1 exalted orb. I still expect this to be a strong league starter that will allow you to generate currency fast for a reroll. Of the 13 league start builds I had prepared, coincidentally this build got hit the least, with some of the worst cases facing a damage reduction of 59 and 61% respectively.

Video Guide: https://youtu.be/CJZnJDylFl4

1. Levelling Guide
2. League Start Gear Progression + POBs
3. Core Mechanics Explanation
4. Cluster Jewels
5. Gem Links
6. Gear + Budget Options
7. Filters
8. Pantheons & Bandits

How to contact me:

If you have any questions to ask, feel free to hit me up on stream. I stream 7 Days a week typically although I am currently on a break, I will resume at the launch of 3.15.

Stream: https://www.twitch.tv/fyregrass
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLSvRMVdMRIgFwiMmtz5sVg

If you want PoB related help I highly recommend coming to stream, often my discord gets filled up with 50+ messages and I have frequently run into the problem of falling behind, and then doing a PoB review only to be told that in the last 3 days the user has changed the build up heaps in my absence. I do not do PoB Reviews during the first week of a league so that I can focus on progression, but will begin doing them afterwards.

Levelling Guide:

Video Levelling Guide: https://youtu.be/OL4d4NNTCuU

The following is an explanation of the steps you should take at the start of a league in order to efficiently league start as Freezing Pulse, getting to maps within 4 hours.


We begin the campaign utilising Stormburst Mines, Holy Flame Totem & Flame Wall, taking the skeleton of our Freezing Pulse tree whilst optimising it for the levelling tree, eventually transitioning to Cremation + Armageddon Brand, taking this build into maps until we have acquired a 5-Link Soul Mantle, A Taryn's Shiver and a couple of Jewels, upon doing so, we use the 10-12 passive refunds earned during the campaign to respec our fire nodes into the cold/totem based tree. We typically transition upon finishing the Merciless Labrynth (3rd Ascendancy) and this usually occurs late in white maps or early in yellow maps, however the Cremation/Brand set up can be used right into red maps without every moving to a 5 link.
Included below is a link to a levelling skill tree that I highly recommend using, it contains an act by act breakdown throughout the early campaign as shown below


Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)
Note: Throughout Act 1, you want to be picking up and vendoring magic (blue) items for transmute shards, whilst saving Wisdom Scrolls to Identify and sell rare (yellow) items for orbs of alteration. We will use these later to buy skills and equipment. You will also need 2x essences and 2x Iron Rings (or 2x Ruby Rings), be sure to acquire any essences you can whenever you find them.
You need:
2x Orbs of Transmutation by the end of Act 1
3x Orbs of Alteration by the end of Act 2
1x Orb of Alchemy & 1x Orb of Chance by the end of Act 3
1x Orb of Alchmey by the end of Act 4
3x Orbs of Chance, 4x Orbs of Transmutation, 1x Scroll of Wisdom and 1x Orb of Alchemy by the start of Act 6 at an absolute minimum in order to buy gems from Lilly to begin levelling up for maps

Act 1:

1. Take Purifying Flame upon beating Hillock and deposit it into the Stash for later (maps), Sell everything you have to a vendor except the Glacial Hammer gem which you will use later as part of a Vendor Recipe. Buy 2x Wands and buy Stormblast Mine. Use Stormblast Mine to get to Submerged Passage, take the waypoint back to The Coast, clear Tidal Island, pick up the Portal Scroll that drops off Hailrake, log out (do not use Portal Scroll).

2. Hand in completed quests, Take a Quicksilver Flask + Onslaught Support from Nessa and then buy Flame Wall from Nessa. Take Frostblink + Holy Flame Totem from Tarkleigh's Quest Rewards. It's ideal to put Frostblink with Onslaught Support.

3. Take the waypoint back to Submerged Passage, as you clear through this area, you can/should use the portal scroll when you encounter the bridge, as you can come back here later to kill Dweller of the Deep. if you aren't confident in completing Step 4 within the next 15 minutes, its best to detour and kill the Dweller of the Deep now instead.

4. Clear up to Brutus using Frostblink + Holy Flame Totem to kill packs of enemies quickly while refreshing Quicksilver Flask charges. You can enhance Holy Flame Totem with Flame Wall by placing it in front of Holy Flame Totem's projectiles.

5. Upon beating Brutus, take the waypoint back to town and take your previously placed portal back to the submerged passage to kill the Dweller of the Deep. When you beat the Dweller, logout and back in to quickly return to town. Obtaining Flame Dash + Combustion from the Caged Brute quest reward.

6. Clear through the rest of Act 1 being sure to obtain the Allflame and complete the Fairgraves quest. Upon reaching Caverns of Anger, take the waypoint back to town and obtain Storm Brand as a reward from The Siren's Cadence, after this, purchase Clarity, you can use these gems immediately. Also purchase War Banner.

7. You can kill Merveil by keeping Holy Flame Totem up in conjunction with Flame Wall + Storm Brand. Spam Stormblast Mine when all the other skills are active, if you manage to generate lots of undetonated mines at once, you can place down War Banner to deal double damage temporarily. Remember to Re-Use it afterwards to pick it back up off the ground.

Act 2:

1. Complete Act 2 as normal using the skill set used to defeat Merveil. Continue to look for alteration orbs, transmutes, Iron/Ruby rings, in addition to any Blue-Blue-Blue and Red-Blue-Blue socketted/linked gear.

2. Obtain Herald of Ash after completing the Intruders in Black quest. Use it for some passive extra damage on Holy Flame Totem. Also obtain a 2nd Quicksilver Flask for killing the Great White Beast.

3. Upon beating Root of the Problem, purchase Wave of Conviction + Desecrate from Yeena. Kill all Bandits for the +2 skill points.

4. After completing Sharp and Cruel, take Controlled Destruction as a reward and purchase Elemental Focus. You can utilise these immediately in your Holy Flame Totem links, however you will need to attach Combustion Support to Wave of Conviction going forward since your totem will no longer ignite.

4. Upon reaching Vaal Ruins or Northern Forest, you should reach level 20, this is the point in which you will craft fire damage wands that you will use for the rest of the campaign. You want wands with ideal sockets, use an Orb of Transmutation on them to make them magic items (blue). Next, Vendor 2x Iron Rings with Glacial Hammer + Any other Strength/Red Skill Gem to a vendor to obtain Ruby Rings. AFTER (not before!) this step, use Essences or Orbs of Alchemy on your rings to make them rare items (yellow). Finally, Vendor your 2x Magic Wands, 2x Rare Ruby Rings and 2x Orbs of Alteration to obtain 2x Wands with Tier 6 Added Fire Damage. This will double your damage and be enough to carry you through the rest of the campaign.

5. Complete the rest of Act 2.

Act 3:

1. Obtain Flammability from completing the quest Lost in Love at the start of Act 3. Also buy Anger for much later on, it is only marginally stronger than Herald of Ash at this point however it becomes much stronger as it levels up and once you change skills.

2. Upon beating ‘Sever the Right Hand', you should return to town to obtain Armageddon Brand as a quest reward. You can ALSO purchase Cremation at this stage if you have an Orb of Chance. It is important to return to town as soon as you find one if you haven't found one yet because this skill deals most of your boss damage from here on out.
Note: Ideally you want to link Controlled Destruction + Elemental Focus to Cremation whilst linking Combustion Support + Armageddon Brand. If you can't obtain Cremation yet, link its support gems to Armageddon Brand and leave Combustion Support linked to Wave of Conviction.
Use Armageddon Brand to clear zones and Desecrate + Cremation to kill bosses and magic packs (if needed).

3. Obtain the Jade Amulet from The Ribbon Spool quest reward as it will allow you to level up your dexterity based skills.

4. Beat Lab and Ascend at the end of Act 3, taking Conviction of Power.

Act 4:

1. Upon killing Malachai, you want to obtain Ignite Proliferation as a quest reward and then buy Immolate Support.
2. Set up the following links:
a. Armageddon Brand + Immolate Support + Combustion Support + Ignite Proliferation Support
b. Cremation + Elemental Focus + Controlled Destruction + Pinpoint (Buy from Lilly in Act 6)

Act 6:

1. Complete Lilly's Quest in order to purchase Smoke Mine and Pinpoint Support
2. Buy the following gems and try to find room in your links to fit the following gems in, in order to level them up in time for maps:
High Priority
Hypothermia Support – Orb of Chance
Added Cold Support – Orb of Transmutation
Cold Penetration Support – Orb of Chance
Greater Multiple Projectile Support – Orb of Alchemy
Spell Totem SupportSpell Totem Support – Orb of Transmutation
Ice Spear – Orb of Transmutation
Freezing Pulse– Scroll of Wisdom

Low Priority:
Increased Critical Damage – Orb of Transmutation
Hatred – Orb of Alteration
Sniper's Mark – Orb of Alteration

3. Obtain your 3rd and 4th Ascendancy points after the end of Act 7.

Acts 7-10:

1. Obtain your 5th and 6th Ascendancy points right before completing Act 10 as Kitava will reduce your resists and make it much harder to kill. If you feel too squishy, you can do Merc lab after the campaign.

Ascendancy Order:

Conviction of Power > Pursuit of Faith > Ritual of Awakening > Divine Guidance


League Start Gear Progression + POBs:

I have replaced the 3.13 PoBs instead with a set of PoBs and instructions designed to guide you through a league start. I have carefully tested each of these PoBs in various Trade and Simulated SSF league starts to ensure they work as intended. If you are reading this mid league, just jump into it at whatever point suits your budget.


Levelling PoB:
Use this PoB from Level 1 until you have completed the Campaign and obtained the following items:
1. 5 Linked Soul Mantle
2. Taryn's Shiver
3. Self-Flaggelation
4. Clear Mind (Optional)
5. Rain of Splinters
6. 2x Kikazaru Rings
After obtaining these items and being at least about level 80, you can move onto the next PoB. The Levelling PoB's Arma Brand/Cremation set up is very strong and can be used right through to red maps, as long as you are levelling the gems listed in the levelling guide, you are in absolutely no rush to make this transition.

Day 1 Budget Totems:
eHP: 5.8k
DPS: 2.7m with Ice Spear gem swap
Price: 40c (Day 1)

Don't be fooled by the stats listed above, due to splitting damage taken with mana, you run approximately only 3.2k life and this means many melee hits will stun you, leading to your death, additionally the damage listed above is achieved with level 20 gems, you likely will take an entire day of map farming to actually hit level 20 gems. I have personally tested this PoB and it is sufficient to do everything right through to Sirus 8, however I would recommend upgrading it from here.
We have two different directions I would recommend taking the build from here, a tankier build and a more DPS orientated build.

Midrange Tanky Totems:
eHP: ~7.6k
DPS: 9m
Price: 25-30ex (Week 1)

This iteration of the build utilises the Enduring Composure/Immortal Call set up on top of layering 40% Mind over Matter with having the benefit of unlucky hits against you (Damage is rolled twice and the lowest hit it chosen). Whilst not totally immune to death, it is certainly very forgiving and allows you to take quite a few hits before death. I would recommend this direction for newer players.

Midrange Arn's Anguish Totems:
eHP: ~7k
DPS: 13.5m
Price: 25-35ex (Week 1)

This iteration of the build leans upon converting our permanent Endurance Charges into Brutal Charges via the Arn's Anguish belt granting us 24% MORE damage and using Militant Faith to gain 15% MORE damage via our permanent Power Charges. This combo alone accounts for almost a third of all our damage when combined. We also utilise Atziri's Reflection as a means of opening up a second damaging aura (Zealotry) for 19% MORE damage and a helm enchant which grants us 12% MORE damage.

God-Tier Tanky Totems:
eHP: ~7.8k
DPS: 17m
Price: 100ex+ (Week 1)
This builds upon the previous tanky PoB adding corrupted uniques, a two mod watchers eye, +2 wands and an enchanted Viridi's Veil. This build is insanely tanky for the amount of damage it outputs.

God-Tier Arn's Anguish Totems:
eHP: ~7k
DPS: 36m
Price: 100ex+ (Week 1)
Much like the above PoB, this iteration of the build focuses almost exclusively on damage and runs a number of powerful corruptions, a +2 wand, an awakener slammed/prefix rerolled amulet and a 2 mod Watcher's Eye as well as an expensive large cluster jewel.


Core Mechanics Explanation:

In this section I will explain precisely how our build comes together, how it attains its damage output and how to utilise its various tools correctly.


Freezing Pulse
This ability rocks high base damage that diminishes over time as the projectile travels. It is ideal while clearing or bossing with this skill to cast it reasonably close to enemies. This allows it to deal maximum damage AND have a higher chance at freezing.

Ice Spear
This ability works opposite to Freezing Pulse, in that it gains considerable damage (Approx 71% MORE) after it travels a short distance. For this reason, when boss killing, you should try to keep totems positioned a moderate distance from your enemies. When fighting bosses that attack/chase your totems, you will have an easier time managing this by summoning 1 totem first and allowing this to take aggro, then summon the other 3 totems at a distance so that you are only dealing with a damage penalty from 1 totem.
It is important to know that Ice Spear is one of the few abilities in the game that can ‘Shotgun' meaning that multiple projectiles can all hit the same target, whereas Freezing Pulse and most other skills do not work this way. This is why we seek out additional projectiles in this build via sources such as a Helm Enchant, Rain of Splinters, Dying Sun and GMP.

Gem Swaps
This will be explained further in the gem swap section but this build obtains alot of its power from being able to gem swap between Freezing Pulse and Ice Spear as well as optionally swapping two of its support gems as well. Freezing Pulse is a vastly superior skill for clearing maps as its damage is more immediate, it has a larger effective AoE and provides better freezing capability. Ice Spear on the other hand is weak at clearing maps but offers insane boss damage, especially against bosses that position independantly of your character (Sirus, Conquerors).

Soul Mantle
Being a totem build, we MUST utilise Soul Mantle, this body armor provides us with a free support gem AND +1 maximum totems making it the strongest totem body armor by a mile. It comes with a penalty however that involves cursing the character.
There are multiple ways to mitigate curses entirely:
1. Warding Flask – Not recommended as the effect falls off during boss fights
2. Kikazaru x2 + Sanctum of Thought Notable – Provides a total of 100% reduced curse effect. This is the weakest option as it costs 2x damaging auras but it is also by far the cheapest option
3. Viridi's Veil – Provides Hexproof making us effectively curse immune as long as we wear a magic ring. This is the best option defensively as it makes enemy damage against us unlucky
4. Atziri's Reflection – Gives us the ability to be unaffected by curses. This is the strongest option as we give up the least amount of bonus damage
We can also take advantage of self cursing via the Self-Flaggelation Jewel which grants us 10-20% increased damage per curse affecting us.

CWDT Immortal Call + Enduring Composure:
Enduring Composure is a small cluster jewel notable that gives us an Endurance Charge per second if we've been hit recently. In other words, every time we take a hit, we get max endurance charges for 12+ seconds. By combining this with Cast When Damage Taken/Immortal Call at Lvl 1 with a 20/20 Inc. Duration support, our IC consumes the Endurance Charges to give us 2.5 seconds of 25% reduced ele damage taken and 59% phys damage reduction. Overall this costs us 3 passive points and 3 gem sockets.

We only run this in the tanky set up because our regular set up uses permanent Endurance Charges, which prevent our Immortal Call from consuming them.

Blind provides us with effectively a 50% evasion chance, in this build we currently obtain it via Pandemonius. This is also why the tanky builds do not eventually drop it in the God-Tier PoB in favour of rare amulets.

We use Sniper's Mark primarily for massively improved Boss DPS as it offers the best multiplier available to us. We usually cannot level it up to 20 fully but it remains the strongest option for us anyway.
We also attain Frostbite via a CWDT set up in some of the PoBs as it will improve our clearspeed marginally and will be over-written vs Bosses.

Elemental Exposure:
We obtain this via attaching Frost Bomb to Arcanist Brand or by hardcasting it. Unlike curses, it's not reduced vs bosses making it a very strong source of additional damage against bosses.

Arcane Surge:
We link a level 1 Arcane Surge Support to Flame Dash or Vortex in order to gain this buff every time we flame dash/vortex allowing us to keep 100% uptime of this buff without having to try hard. This buff is worth 10% more damage.

We can also gain this via a cluster jewel in our budget set ups.

By attaching Bonechill support to Vortex (on left click), we can force a 14% chilled ground onto the enemy which in turn provides us with 14% MORE damage.

Cull grants us 11% MORE DPS. We obtain these via a Bladeblast/Cull Totem set up. Because we don't use Multiple Totem support in our main link (as it offers inferior damage), we are able to use it here to raise the totem limit to 6 with this skill.

Ritual of Awakening:
This Ascendancy grants us more damage per totem, in order to fully benefit from this, we use the above mentioned totem set up to keep ourselves at 6 totems for 30% MORE damage.


Cluster Jewels

We mostly run cluster jewels as a way to access perma onslaught via the Sleepless Sentries Notable and also to fit an extra jewel socket into our build for our Watcher's Eye. However our mediums grant us about 12% More Damage each making it worthwhile to pick up a couple in the position on the tree where it is most efficient. You want to obtain clusters between the Templar and Witch borders.


Medium Cluster Jewels
Generally you want 1x Totem Cluster Jewel and 1x Projectile Cluster Jewel in your medium slots.
You will want 4 or 5 passive jewels, as this allows you access to the jewel slot + 2x notables for only 4 points.

Sleepless Sentries + Snaring Spirits/Ancestral Inspiration/Ancestral Reach
Tradesite Link: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Ultimatum/Yv290YRIY (~50-100c)

This medium cluster provides us with perma Onslaught and some additional damage/utility depending on the second notable you pick up.

Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)

Repeater + Shrieking Bolts
Tradesite Link: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Ultimatum/2L3052Ysk (~10-20c)
This cluster jewel set up provides roughly the same damage output as the Totem jewel making it a potent and efficient way to spend your points. You should scour/alch these bases until you hit this combo if you can't find one for sale as they are relatively easy to hit.

Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)


Large Cluster Jewels
Our Large Cluster setup is not particularly important, however we have a budget and a premium option which I will explain below. We mostly use this set up to access medium and small clusters, so don't stress this too much if you can't afford the premium option as the budget option is MUCH more accessible.

Premium: 10% Cold Damage per node, 8 passives, Prismatic Heart + Blanketed Snow + Widespread Destruction
Tradesite Link: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Ultimatum/bVkE2BRTL (10ex+)

Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)

This set up positions the unimportant suffix notable (widespread destruction) in the middle at the back allowing us to get the two strong notables + 2 jewel sockets for a mere 5 point investment. Jewels like this cost about 10-20 Exalts usually and its hard to warrant actually investing this much into the build unless you are going for PoE.Ninja leaderboard spots.


Budget: 10% Spell Damage per node, 3 notables, 8 passives
Tradesite Link: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Ultimatum/6KBoP3kfG(~10-40c)

Fyregrass' Comprehensive Freezing Pulse Totems Guide - Act 1 to Maven 9 (Updated for 3.15)

This option is way cheaper and not ‘that' much weaker than the premium option. We only care to take the 2 notables closest to the jewel sockets so that we spend 5 points to reach the medium clusters. This cluster jewel can be easily obtained by using Aetheric Fossils on an 8 passive base with at least ilvl 68.
You want it to have Practised Caster as one Prefix Notable, and either Sap Psyche or Thaumophase as the Suffix Notable. For the second Prefix Notable, you want any of the following: Ancestral Inspiration, Burden Projection, Conjured Wall and Mage Hunter.


Gem Links:

5-6 Link Damage Set Ups:


Generic 5/6 Link Set-Up:

This set-up is useful if you only want to swap a single gem at a time for bossing/mapping. All gem set ups assume a 3 Blue/3 Green set up as it is unrealistic to have 4-5 off colours or white sockets too early in a league. Feel free to further customise this to suit your own needs.

1. Cold Penetration (Awakened)
2. Hypothermia
3. Increased Critical Strikes
4. Increased Critical Damage
5. Added Cold (Awakened) – 6th Link
6. Freezing Pulse (Mapping) OR Ice Spear (Bossing)

Dedicated Ice Spear: (Body Armor)

1. Ice Spear
2. Cold Penetration (Awakened)
3. Elemental Focus (Awakened)
4. Increased Critical Damage
5. Greater Multiple Projectiles (Awakened)
6. Added Cold (Awakened) – 6th Link

This set up offers us the largest boss DPS possible but requires 3 gem swaps for bosses. I'd recommend this set up for Sirus/Conqeurors or if you wanted to have a dedicated boss killer.

Dedicated Freezing Pulse: (Body Armor)

1. Freezing Pulse
2. Cold Penetration (Awakened)
3. Increased Critical Damage
4. Increased Critical Strikes
5. Hypothermia
6. Added Cold (Awakened) – 6th Link

This set up provides the best clearing DPS. We DO NOT use multiple totem support in our main link as it only provides about 19-20% MORE DPS which is less than our weakest support gem, Added Cold, which provides about 30% MORE.


The utility gems provided below are applicable only to the Budget PoB, if you want to use higher investment PoBs, you can consult those PoBs for more relevant utility gem set ups.


Arcanist Brand: (Staff)

1. Inc Duration
2. Sniper's Mark
3. Vaal Righteous Fire
4. Vaal Haste

This set up grants 40% More DPS via Sniper's Mark and some large temporary damage buffs via our Vaal Skills for bosses.


Bonechill: (Boots/Helm/Gloves)

1. Vortex
2. Bonechill
3. Increased Duration
4. Increased Area of Effect/Vaal Haste

This grants us 14% More DPS via the Vortex/Bonechill combo. As a 4th Gem you can either make the Vortex effect larger or run Vaal Haste if you prefer, this is entirely up to you. Put this on left click and it will auto cast as you move without interupting movement.


Cull/Exposure: (Boots/Helm/Gloves)

1. Wave of Conviction
2. Culling Strike (Support)
3. Spell Totem
4. Multiple Totems

This set up grants you a 5th and 6th totem to provide 10% MORE DPS via Ritual of Awakening, it also grants 11% MORE DPS via Cull. Only cast this at bosses and only cast it once, otherwise you will need to recast all your Ice Spear Totems to get 4x DPS totems back up.

Flame Dash/Arcane Surge: (Boots/Helm/Gloves)

1. Flame Dash
2. Arcane Surge (Lvl 1-3)
+ (2x links of 2 gems)
1. Cast on Death
2. Portal

This utility set up gives us about 10% MORE DPS via arcane surge passively while using Flame Dash and also gives us access to checkpointing via Portal COD.



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