[1.2.1] Crit Glacial Cascade Build - Cheap & Powerful - 1.3 passive tree added

This build uses glacial cascade as the primary damage ability, supplemented by cold-snap for perma-freezing large groups of monsters (including bosses).

Build can be run with bare-bones caster gear (only requiring a couple of 4-links) to and still be fully capable of running high end map content.

Strand Map

Highest level map I had at the time, should be evident from the video how trivial the map was.

Passive Tree


* High damage with minimal gear investment
* Shock / Crit based for maximum damage
* Life based, meaning cheaper to gear and less vulnerable to stun / status ailments
* No uniques required
* Permafreeze enemies for maximum survivability


* Can struggle with elemental reflect
* Relies mostly on HP pool for defence, with little armour/evasion

Glacial Cascade Vs. Freezing Pulse
My 2 cents

Like so many things in this game, when it comes to choosing one or the other - it's a trade off, each skill has its benefits over the other, and both are fine choices. Glacial cascade's main weakness is that it does not cover a large amount of screen, meaning clearing can *sometimes* potentially be slower, though I feel it makes up for it by the points listed below:

A few reasons I like Glacial cascade over freezing pulse:
* Tooltip DPS is deceptive - as cascade often hits an enemy more than once - the bigger the enemy the more times it hits them meaning BIG damage.
* Damage not based on distance - you'll be doing full damage at all distances, except for point blank, and at the *very* tail-end of the cascade
* Do not need to waste a link for LMP or GMP, so you can use it for something else instead
* Does not require increased projectile speed


Normal - Assist Oak (40hp)
Cruel - Kill all for point
Merciless - Assist Alira (power charge)

Skill Gem Setup

Glacial Cascade
Glacial cascade + power-charge on crit + added-lightning damage + spell echo
Cold Snap
Cold snap + elemental proliferation + cold penetration + increased area of effect
reduced mana + clarity + herald of ice + hatred
Assassin's Mark
---Optional extras---
4-link: Cast when damage taken (level 2) + Molten shell (level 8) + cold snap (level 9) + enduring cry (level 5)
2-link: spell totem + summon skeletons


Coldsnap w/ elemental proliferation
Use this to perma-freeze large groups of enemies. The proliferation effect (you will see a small blue circle around enemies feet) means that any enemies that get close to their status-affected kin (i.e. by entering said blue circle) will have the same freeze timer applied.
This means that high-hp rare monsters or even bosses, can have a lengthy freeze timer applied to them, provided you freeze a low hp unit nearby. Killing the low HP unit will end the proliferation effect unfreezing any of their previously afflicted allies (so prioritize high-threat targets first!).

Glacial Cascade
Enemies at point blank, or at the very tail-end will only take 1-hit at most - maximize your hits by positioning yourself so that enemies are somewhere in the middle!

Assassin's Mark
This curse is amazing, use it all the time!
Massive damage bonus, plus has the added benefit of giving power charges, meaning you have the ability to spam more cold-snaps and can maintain your 7 power charges that much more easily.


Stats to aim for
Wand / Shield: 80-100% increased critical strike change for spells / cast speed / % spell damage
Amulet: Crit chance / crit multiplier
Gloves / boots / armour / rings etc: high HP / max (and over-cap if possible) resists

Uniques wish-list
(any/all of these would go well with the build)
* Carcass Jack
* Maligaro's Virtuosity
* Doryani's Invitation (cold variation)
* Kaom's heart
* Voidbringer
* Divinarious
* Doryani's catalyst
* Rathpith globe
* Atziri's Acuity
* Taryn's Shiver
* saffel's frame (for elemental reflect maps)
* Atziri's promise (flask)

Dealing with Elemental Reflect
is tough!

If you're really wanting to do elemental-reflect maps, there are a few things which can make it more do-able:

* Equip saffel's frame shield (+4% max cold resist)
* Purity of ice aura (+4% max cold resists)
* Carry sapphire flasks (+13% max cold res w/ flask passives)
* Aim for a 5-Link cascade with a quality life-leech socketed

For large groups of enemies, chug your sapphire flask, so you don't gib yourself. Otherwise hp pots/life-leech gem should be helpful for maintaining your health against smaller groups.

My Gear

Please note! Carcass Jack is absolutely *not* a prerequisite, it is a nice-to-have.

Questions / constructive criticism welcome.
"there is no spoone" - The Matricks
Last edited by Zeekin on May 8, 2015 12:02:51 AM
How would this change if starting from witch?

Also, would it be worth it to try and grab heart of ice, sacrificing some crit chance or something?

Also, would the freeze be as effective as is in groups, when mobs have more HP?
Last edited by monkeydave on Aug 30, 2014 1:21:50 PM
Thumbs up from me for what looks to be a perfectly viable first charachter build in a fresh league. No fancy stuff needed. Not even a 5 link. Good stuff.

Only a passive tree for lvl 87 though? Surely a few trees for leveling could be added to help out players attempting this.

I was torn between glacial cascade and freezing pulse when i made my first charachter on rampage. I ended up picking fp in the end. This looks better to be honest. Not requiring lmp or is projectile speed reliant is a huge advantage when leveling.

This build seems pretty fun, I've been really wanting to level a frost build.

I'm still very new and I kind of like the idea of having the option to switch to Freezing Pulse or maybe even Ice Spears if I decide I like to play with those more.

It feels like the only nodes which kind of tie you to Glacial Cascade are the area of effect nodes. Would you recommend picking those up as soon as you pass them? I guess it's easy to refund those nodes anyways.

Also would this build be viable for Hardcore leagues? It has ~150% life but no armor / evasion bonuses.
In answer to the Q's:

You can likely start this build from any of the three classes - witch / templar / shadow - with no real difference asides from aesthetics, which is one nice thing I guess about how the passives worked out.
If I had to pick from the three either, witch/shadow is probably better as you have better respecing options (if you choose to deviate for whatever reason), whereas if you go templar you're kind of stuck with the inc. aoe nodes/elemental damage nodes - you won't be able to change later.

With regards to heart of ice - to pick this up would take another 7 points, and you get 71 extra cold damage, a little basic maths tells you that's about 10.1% cold damage per point, so if you think that is worthwhile, go for it. However I would say that the best damage increase you're going to get is more likely to come from crit multiplier. I'm not sure what you'd drop to get up there!

Passive tree progression - prioritize AOE nodes and life nodes.
Asides from this, just get *everything else* as you go. Because your damage is not gear based (not to the same extent as melee anyway) passive progression is not nearly as important IMO.
In the early levels damage is much less important than survivability as it is later on.

"there is no spoone" - The Matricks
Minor advantage of starting as witch: You can grab the ES/Mana regen node. Beats the mana regen near Templar because of the +14 ES.
Had a few different people ask if this build was hardcore viable, short answer is 'yes' but you would have to be vigilant about elemental reflect and high physical damage spikes.

At the very minimum I would want to have immortal call paired with a lvl20 cwdt gem and increased duration. I would also consider getting a lightning coil for the phys reduction.

I didn't have these in the original build as I have only died a couple of times in total (if you're playing hardcore though, you obviously can't afford even one death) using this build, mostly to Haku rocks, once to champion devourers, and I think once on that ormecs unique map, and a couple of times to elemental reflect from not paying attention.

I would also probably pick up the other three health nodes that I skipped over in the shadow section of the tree. If you plan to use this in hardcore you should always be ready to deal with elemental reflect - so build accordingly, if you're not you'll likely meet an untimely fate.
"there is no spoone" - The Matricks
Last edited by Zeekin on Aug 31, 2014 7:01:01 PM
Why u select cast speed nodes near shadow and witch start ?

24% cast speed vs 60% ele damage
Completed 8 Challengeszaza333 wrote:
Why u select cast speed nodes near shadow and witch start ?

24% cast speed vs 60% ele damage

Cast speed is a *more* multiplier whereas %ele damage is an *increase* multiplier - you get the best results when mixing the two.

Also, %ele doesn't increased the physical damage that cascade deals, so it only gives a partial benefit, so I prioritise it less highly.
"there is no spoone" - The Matricks
Can you link the armor that you used in the video please? Trying out this build right now, so far so good!
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