The Cold Cannon [HC] Projectile CoCS Wand ~ Avoidance / Flask / Coil / Resistance Tank

A note about 1.3: This build is virtually unchanged by 1.3, unlike many other CoCS builds. You may need to tone down on the attack speed of the wand, but I think 1.5 APS still works pretty much the same. The only real relevant nerf is to Lightning Coil, which really doesn't change much for this build.

Hey, just another build post of mine. For now it's an information dump subject to reorganization, overhaul, updates, etc. randomly. Keep in mind this is more of a showcase rather than a guide. I hope to make a video soon to show how it works. ... But maybe Chris can do it for me? :)

This build is my own take on a tanky Cast on Critical Strike character, designed to be able to complete most content in the Beyond league including Atziri. I must note that this was quite an expensive character to put together, and requires a different kind of playstyle to use correctly.

Special thanks to ChesterSam for his character writeup.

This is a defense-oriented build. That's not to say its damage is low, because it's actually quite high for a hardcore build. If you want to go fully offensive, I recommend variants of the ShatterChuck build.

The Cold Cannon

This name is derived from the main gem combination and focus on certain modifiers:

  • Barrage
  • Greater Multiple Projectiles
  • Power Charge on Critical / Assassin's Mark
  • Cast on Critical Strike
  • Ice Spear
  • Freezing Pulse

Using this setup, Barrage fires 8 projectiles rapidly with your wand. If you have a successful critical strike, each wand hit can proc Freezing Pulse and Ice Spear in multiple projectile form. Because they are spells, the 5 that shoot out per proc can overlap and shotgun enemies. They also have damage added to them by the Herald of Ice and Herald of Lightning buffs.

Both spells provide 60% increased projectile speed with 20% gem quality. I also take Ballistic Mastery and Sniper from the passive skill tree which provide 15% and 10% increased projectile speed respectively. So by stacking these modifiers the range and speed of Barrage and the two spells scales ridiculously.


Passive Defenses
  • Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, Atziri's Step, Vaal Grace for dodge and spell dodge
  • Evasion gear, Ondar's Guile, and Jade Flask of Reflexes to trivialize attacking enemies
  • Lightning Coil to negate 1/3 of physical damage from hits
  • Saffell's Frame, Purity of Fire/Ice/Lightning, and optional Ruby/Topaz/Sapphire Flasks for high maximum elemental resistances
  • Good life potential for a dexterity build (5.5k feasible with great gear and high level)

Focus on Flasks
  • Unlimited flask usages with the Surgeon's prefix
  • Greatly buffed life flasks with the Herbalism and Profane Chemistry nodes
  • Constant bleed/curse/shock/freeze dispel and prevention
  • Long-lasting flasks with the Druidic Rite node
  • Optional severely underrated flask modifiers from belt:
    • 10-20% reduced flask charges used
    • 10-20% increased flask duration

Gem Choices
  • Cold damage leech and optional Vaal Pact
  • Quickly freeze/chill enemies with cold damage
  • Enfeeble to both reduce the damage and chance to hit of enemies
  • Smoke Mine for strongboxes
  • Cast When Damage Taken/Increased Duration supporting Enduring Cry and Immortal Call

Normal defenses at level 83
Jade Flask at level 83

I'm sure you notice that the evasion isn't very good without the Jade Flask up. However that doesn't matter, because the Jade Flask can always be up. This is because not only does it have the Surgeon's modifier allowing flask charges to replenish on critical strikes, but the duration reaches 8 seconds with the Druidic Rite node and 20% flask quality.

Passive Skill Tree

Less Life, More Defenses

  • Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatics, Ondar's Guile, Evasion
  • Critical strike chance/multiplier
  • Charisma, for just enough unreserved mana
  • Attack speed and movement speed
  • Intelligence and Strength notables, for attribute requirements
  • All the best flask nodes
  • Projectile speed and damage
  • Maximum life
  • Accuracy

Alternate Versions


Unique Items

Lightning Coil

This item provides one of the integral aspects of the build's defenses. With "40% physical damage taken as lightning damage", puts that 40% against our lightning resistance. With said resistance capped at 83/84%, almost exactly a third of physical damage from hits will be negated.

Combined with the Cast When Damage Taken setup, it prevents the occurrence of near-instant deaths due to bursts of high physical damage.

Saffell's Frame

This is another integral defensive item for the build.

+4% to maximum resistances is a pretty massive amount of mitigation when stacked with the three specialty Purity auras. It should be noted that this also raises the maximum chaos resistance, and is the only way to do so.

The spell block is also considerable when layered with spell dodge. Also, one cannot forget the 30% increased spell damage it provides, which is actually a quite nice damage boost.

Atziri's Step

Good life, high movement speed, high evasion, and the only way you can get spell dodge other than from Phase Acrobatics and Vaal Grace. This is an obvious choice.

Rare Items


Although it is a rare item, it should be seen as unique. The modifiers needed on it are pretty much set in stone, and the combination of them is so rare that you might as well craft it yourself. Later in the guide I explain exactly how to do so.

Basically, high critical strike chance and good attack speed is necessary. Next in importance is cold damage leech, provided by Catarina's crafting bench at reputation level 6. If you can, get spell damage, spell critical strike chance, and critical strike multiplier.

Keep in mind that not a lot of intelligence is gathered on the passive skill tree, so you'll want a wand with a small an intelligence requirement as you can get. This is another reason I recommend using an Engraved Wand, as it only requires 131 intelligence to wield.

Helm and Gloves

I include these both because they serve largely the same purpose. As rares, you'll need to stack as much life and resistances on either as possible.

If you can, use base items with evasion on them. However, one of them will likely need to be strength-based so that it can have 4 red sockets for the Cast When Damage Taken setup.

If necessary, you can also get intelligence and/or strength on either to help with attribute requirements.


This is one of your best ways to accumulate damage modifiers. It is possible to get high spell damage, cold damage, critical strike chance, and critical strike multiplier but quite costly if all together.

Of course you'll also want as much life as you can get on it. It is also one of the best ways to get intelligence and strength for attribute requirements. Because of this, I recommend getting an Agate Amulet for this purpose.

Diamond Rings

Other than providing a lot of critical strike chance implicitly, you'll want to stack as much life and resistances onto them as you can. Doing so can be quite costly.


This slot can provide quite a lot of important modifiers. This item provides the most life any single one does in your set, so try to aim high in that regard. And by that I mean, look for belts with a lot of life and strength on them.

Other than that, it also provides quite a lot of resistances. However, if your resistances are already overcapped, you can get one or both the increased flask duration and reduced flask charges used modifiers for obvious reasons.


Timing: Flasks and You

Staying alive with this build means paying attention to details at all times. You will probabl die if you don't play it correctly. This is because it is highly reliant on using your flasks with immediate timing.

Mana Recovery and Bleed Dispel

Having this is the only way to continually cast Barrage, but also provides constant life regeneration and will save you from Corrupting Blood countless times. That's right, this build does not use any other form of mana recovery!

With the correct support gems Barrage costs 15 mana per use with a ~0.4 second attack time. Your unreserved mana pool should be at 55+. In my case, if I continually attack I will not have enough mana after 5 uses. With a critical strike chance of 80%+ you are bound to refill the flask at least once, so you can use it continually as you attack. I usually drink the flask every other time I use Barrage.

I'm not joking about saving you from Corrupting Blood countless times. With Cast on Critical Strike you will reach 20 stacks immediately. With your finger always on the key for this flask, you can can always dispel the bleed.

Attack Defense

With this you will always have ~50% chance to evade attacks, even with okay gear. That means, with Ondar's Guile, you will cap your chance to evade projectile attacks with this flask. With 20% quality and Druidic Rite, my flask effect duration is 7.2 seconds, which is more than enough time to refill the flask in battle.

Chaos and Curse Defense

Though you can have good chaos resistance from your gear, certain enemies in Beyond can still wreck you with degeneration auras and poison bombs. If you want to be able to facetank them, this flask helps quite a lot. It is also keeps you curse immune for 5.04 seconds with Druidic Rite and 20% quality.

If you get a monstrous amount of chaos resistance on gear, you can replace this with another flask of your choice. Quicksilver is probably the best choice, not only because movement speed boosts are extremely helpful offensively and defensively, but it will also last longer. A Diamond Flask may also be useful for insane burst damage, but the lack of of the Surgeon's modifier would be problematic.

Life Recovery and Shock/Freeze/Chill Dispel

These two options are definitely sufficient for keeping your life full. One provides very fast recovery, and the other provides instant recovery for the moments you need it. Although the Shock dispel flask doesn't have the Surgeon's modifier, it is very rare that you do get shocked, even with a Lightning Coil equipped. The Freeze/Chill dispel flask is especially useful for strongboxes that freeze you on activation.

Though this build has good maximum life and high damage mitigation, it is mostly reliant on avoidance mechanics such as evasion, dodge, spell dodge, and manual avoidance with movement. If you are hit in high level maps it will definitely still hurt, so you must be very attentive and use these flasks appropriately and with good timing.

Wands, not Daggers or Bows

Wands are the best choice with this build because:

  • High base critical strike chance.
  • Spell modifiers.
  • Solid attack speed.
  • One-handed, allowing you to use a shield.
  • Can use Barrage.
  • Elemental damage life leech can be crafted onto onto them.

The problem with daggers is mainly their attack skill options. Spectral Throw is very bad for single targets. Cyclone has a high mana cost and requires you to be in melee range. Double Strike needs Multistrike to compare to other skills for CoCS.

The problem with bows is that they don't provide spell damage bonuses and don't allow you to wield a shield. For example, Windripper, which I consider to be the best bow for Cast on Critical Strike, has a comparable base critical strike chance and base attack speed combination to wands but provides no other bonuses.

Cold: Ice Spear, Freezing Pulse, Herald of Ice
In my opinion these three are the perfect fit for this build.

Cold damage is the most defensive damage-type because it can chill and freeze enemies, of course. However, because this build basically lives in the Dexterity section of the tree, we can also get +1% to maximum cold resistance from Survivalist easily. So not only is it innately defensive, but when it comes to reflected damage we are most safer against it than fire or lightning. Because Herald of Ice is also used, it is also greatly benefited by focusing on cold damage.

Not only that, but because one element is used, the "cold/fire/lightning damage leeched as life" modifier that can be crafted onto wands is much more effective. There's also the fact that Ice Spear and Freezing Pulse are an amazing combination for Cast on Critical Strike.

Ice Spear has a high base critical strike chance and excels at long range because in this build it reaches the critical strike chance cap in its second form. Freezing Pulse also has a high base critical strike chance and excels at close range because of the diminishing damage mechanic. However, that is overcome by stacking projectile speed increases, which is what is done with this build.

Both can be supported by Greater Multiple Projectiles, which also benefits Barrage. When supported, the multiple projectiles can overlap and hit the same enemy all at once. So when you are right next to an enemy, every projectile will "shotgun" for massive damage.

Both innately pierce through enemies, allowing for high damage to multiple targets with one cast. Ice Spear only does this in its first form, but Freezing Pulse always pierces. Other projectile skill choices (such as Arctic Breath and Fireball) cannot pierce through enemies without stacking the "chance to pierce" modifier, which requires the Pierce support gem to be capped.

With both skills overlapping and shooting out with high projectile speed you have high single target, multiple target, long range, and close range potential.

The Leveling Process

First off, I should say I strongly recommend first getting all the necessary gear for the build before starting to level the character. The 6L Lightning Coil is pretty much mandatory for survival in level 70+ maps in Beyond, and of course the rest of your gear revolves around negating its drawback. It is possible to use a Tabula Rasa temporarily, but I recommend farming Piety/Dominus with it until you get the currency to buy a 6L Lightning Coil. You will also need a level 19 Reduced Mana for your Purity auras when you switch to Cast on Critical Strike so they don't reserve too much mana.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk about the easiest way to level. Basically you should use a projectile attack of your choice and standard leveling uniques such as Goldrim. This way you can fill out the tree without ever having to respec points because the amount of projectile damage and attack speed nodes taken.

I strongly recommend using Spectral Throw and/or Molten Strike with two-handed unique weapons, but Tornado Shot with Death's Harp should also be a solid option.

Personally I went the Spectral Throw route with Molten Strike for single targets. I used the weapons in the following order as soon as I could equip them:

Dual Last Resorts

Level 13: Limbsplit

Level 21: Edge of Madness

Level 35: Dual Mightflays

Level 44: Rigvald's Charge

Level 51: Terminus Est

This is one is totally optional. Its DPS really isn't that much more than Rigvald's Charge.

Cheap High pDPS 2H

You want Spectral Throw unsupported until you get to level 12. From there, link it to Added Fire Damage and Life Gain on Hit. Then when you reach level 19, link it to Lesser Multiple Projectiles. At level 31, switch Added Fire Damage out for Physical Projectile Attack Damage but keep leveling the former. When you start using dual Mightflays, you can switch Life Gain on Hit out for Added Fire Damage because they already have 15 life gain on hit modifiers. Switch back to Life Gain on Hit once you switch to Rigvald's Charge, and that will be what you use until you switch to Cast on Critical Strike. I recommend doing this all in a 4L Goldrim:

While leveling, use just the Hatred aura. When you take Charisma (aura nodes) on the tree, you should link Hatred and Herald of Ash to Reduced Mana. They will be your mana reservation buffs until you switch to Cast on Critical Strike. Grace is unnecessary but still a good option if you want better evasion.

You will need a mana flask to be able to use Spectral Throw consistently until you are able to sustain mana with mana leech. I recommend using a Wurm's Molt throughout the leveling process. You will be able to sustain mana with leech once you switch from Edge of Madness to the Mightflays, which is when you should switch your mana flask out. Sliverpinch gloves are also a solid choice instead of Wurm's Molt, or any gloves/jewelry with both life and mana leech.

When you switch to Cast on Critical Strike, I recommend not using Herald of Ice yet so you can get used to the method of mana recovery with a flask. When you feel comfortable, that's when you should start using Herald of Ice.

Crafting a Wand

It's very hard to come across a wand that fits the exact criteria needed for this build, so crafting one is an option if there just aren't any available.

This is an example wand crafted entirely with this build in mind, and I will let you know how to make it or something better.


  • Wand base of choice, ilvl 73+
  • 2 Exalted Orbs
  • 4 Chaos Orbs
  • A lot of Orbs of Alteration
  • A supply of Regal Orbs, Orbs of Scouring, Orbs of Transmutation
  • Any other currency required for master crafting

I must stress that the wand have an ilvl (item level) of at least 73, but preferably 79. This is for the top tier local strike chance (Incision: 35-38%) and the top tier spell damage (Glyphic's: 70-74%) respectively.

First, let's go over the base wand to use. Attack speed is important in the build, so the Carved Wand (1.5 base attacks per second, 8% base critical strike chance) is preferable. Because the default version of the build has little Intelligence taken on the skill tree, Imbued Wand can be an annoyance to use because of its Intelligence requirement (188). Engraved Wand is a second tier of this weapon class, but the only differences between it and Imbued Wand are the implicit increased spell damage (only 3% of a difference) and the Intelligence requirement (131) so it is preferable.

End Product Customization

Now you must plan exactly what modifiers you want on your wand. The prefixes are all obvious, as there isn't much to choose from. And two of the suffixes are set in stone.

  • Spell Damage
  • Hybrid Spell Damage/Maximum Mana
  • Cold Damage Leeched as Life

  • Local Critical Strike Chance
  • Can have multiple Crafted Mods

The third suffix is dependent on a matter of preference. Your choices are:

  • Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  • Spell Critical Strike Chance
  • Local Attack Speed
  • Local Accuracy Rating
  • Projectile Speed
  • The list goes on...

Having a plan in mind for the end product keeps you informed on different decisions in the crafting process Now let's get to the actual crafting steps:

1 - Roll for Incision

Incision is the aforementioned top tier affix of wand local critical strike chance. What you want to do is use an Orb of Transmutation to make the wand magic, and use Orbs of Alteration until you come upon Incision. Keep in mind it is a somewhat rare modifier, so be sure to have many Orbs of Alteration. It is preferable for it to alone without a prefix.

If you do have a prefix rolled with Incision, only proceed if it is either any tier of hybrid spell damage/maximum mana or a high tier of spell damage.

2 - Roll for a Good Rare Mod

Once you have Incision, you will want to use a Regal Orb to turn the item rare. The aim is to roll an affix that is in the list for your customized end product. Keep in mind you want it to be higher tier than the ones offered by the masters.

Personally, with the current way Catarina's master crafting works, she does not sell hybrid spell damage/maximum mana. So it or a high spell damage roll (higher than what Catarina offers) would be preferable. I aimed for the hybrid modifier with my example wand.

If you do not roll a preferable affix, it is your choice whether you'd like to continue crafting or use an Orb of Scouring to try again. It'll still work if you get an undesirable affix, you just have to sacrifice a prefix/suffix spot.

3 - Master Crafting

Now that you have a rare item, it can be crafted further using masters. First (and I do mean first), you will need the "Can have multiple Crafted Mods" modifier from Elreon, which costs 2 Exalted Orbs. It is only available with a reputation level 8 Elreon, so seek a master crafting service if necessary.

From there, you will want "1% Cold Damage Leeched as Life" from Catarina, which requires reputation level 6. Then craft the rest of what's on your end product plan. Spell damage from Catarina, the third suffix, etc.


There you have it! Congratulations on creating your own main weapon.
same name in-game
Last edited by iao on Jan 16, 2015, 4:07:49 AM
sounds great , may try this later :)
Thanks oscartse! This is a pretty odd build with some new concepts, so if you do try it please make sure to post your thoughts.
same name in-game
A few updates. I added Vaal Pact and Softcore passive skill tree links and did some general clarification.

I'd like to record a video doing a full clear of the Shrine map but I want to do it once I have solidified my gem setup, because this build is the epitome of "make a video so we know wtf you're even talking about."

Mainly I'm wondering how I can fit Elemental Weakness and maybe even Vaal Haste in. It could mean putting the Cast when Damage Taken chain in the Saffell's Frame without Increased Duration or maybe even getting rid of it entirely. I just don't know if it's safe to do so, yet.
same name in-game
Last edited by iao on Sep 26, 2014, 4:47:45 PM
Cool build man. Good stuff. And I think you are going to get a clear speed buff on Monday when HoI gets AOE and damage buffs!
My Phys Crit Split Arrow Ranger Guide:

My Poison Arrow Ranger Guide:
Thanks man! Yeah I've been planning something like this out for awhile. I'm just glad I was able to get enough currency and time to try it out! And yeah, the Herald of Ice buffs should be really cool for the build.

Edit: I've made a few updates to the flask section. I think I've completed the perfect flask setup for this build after finally making a Surgeon's Amethyst Flash of Warding. Now all that's left when it comes to flasks is getting a belt with "reduced flask charges used" which should be a pretty significant buff.
same name in-game
Last edited by iao on Sep 27, 2014, 8:37:16 AM
What's your crit chance with and without power charges up? I've been leveling something similar to what ChesterSam posted but it seems like you have to squeeze as much crit chance from gear as you can (max on wand, diamond rings, crit on amulet, possibly 70+% rat's nest).

And yeah, flasks are a very formidable form of defense. You could give the magnate belt a try until you get your ideal rare. It has +50% charge recovery.
Have you tested arctic breath vs freezing pulse?
IGN: NNQQ, Sporkay, Rands_
Without Power Charges I'm at 53% critical strike chance and with them I'm at 80.6%. I can get another 3.3% with a second Diamond Ring, another 5.5% from Maligaro's Virtuosity, and up to 8.2% from a Rat's Nest.

So it's possible to hit the cap even with a bad Rat's Nest, but I don't find it necessary to do. I don't really have any problems when it's already this high. I would definitely like a second Diamond Ring though so I can almost reach the cap with a level 21 Assassin's Mark.

Speaking of a level 21 Assassin's Mark, I might buy a bunch of Saffell's Frames for a science spree to get +1 to Level of Gems.

The Magnate really isn't very good for this build unless you use it in a softcore league. Base maximum life and overcapping resistances with a good belt is too important in my opinion.

As for Arctic Breath, I have indeed tried it. It's good, but I prefer Freezing Pulse because the projectile speed, the innate pierce (important for multiple target one-shots), and it seems easier to shotgun with all 5 projectiles. It's not as obvious to tell with Freezing Pulse shotgunning, but I do know that the 2 sidemost Arctic Breath projectiles don't shotgun unless you go directly next to an enemy. Plus, Herald of Ice brings the damage per hit closer between the two skills.
same name in-game
I died! ;( I'm currently farming a ton of currency to rebuild the character though.

It was to Megaera desync. I was at full health, kiting around the boss room with a Surgeon's Ruby Flask up constantly. Then all the sudden while I was at full life, I desync-teleported across the room already dead, surrounded by those skeletons that spawn from her fire bombs.

I wish I was streaming so I could show how bullshit some deaths can be. Oh well, it's the nature of the game! I should be making the character again in around a week after I have around 35ex farmed up. ^^
same name in-game
Playing on standard atm. Ive killed atziri twice so far with this shitty gear.

pretty god damn easy. 3.6k hp

Last edited by TomRaidcrash on Sep 29, 2014, 11:16:24 PM

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