[2.3] Beginner-friendly Easy-Peasy Ice Nova Dual-Totem
The intention with this build is to make something even a L1 completely fresh player could pick up and have fun with. There are no charges to keep up, no complex skill interactions, no required unique items, and both life and mana replenish themselves.
It will probably not be the most viable after mid-level mapping without significant investment. Up until then though, it'll freeze and shatter most things.
The freezing and shattering is why I think this build is just so much FUN!!!! :-D
What this build is:
What this build is not:
This build is designed for a Witch, but can be played as a Templar without changes to the skill tree (though the levelling guide below will not be accurate).
The build is not gear-dependent, but of.c. better gear will make the build better. I haven't traded for any of the gear I've used in this build, but I did have a stash (built up over 1.5 years of playing) of self-found items.
Ice Nova Totem
When placing the totems right, not only will you be able to do damage in a huge area, they'll also shield you as mobs have difficulty passing their AoE due to being frozen. Given that the totems do the damage, you're mostly free to dodge damage manually, and can place the totems far ahead to scout out areas off-screen, and kill mobs before they can reach you.
Particularly useful is the ability to 'shoot around corners'. The totem will fire at what it can see, not what you can see.
The main characteristics for the build is decent regeneration (life and mana both), high cold damage, expanded AoE, and a decent life + energy amount.
The life and mana regeneration is also for ease of use. When I started I found it quite difficult to use flasks effectively, so for this build I chose to basically take those out of the equation until you need them against bleeding/freezing/etc.
High Cold damage:
The freezing effect is dependent on how much cold damage you do. It is thus more important to do high damage than have a fast rate of fire (within reason).
Ice Nova is an AoE effect, so we want as big an area as possible. The bigger the area, the more enemies you hit. Note that I use Concentrated Effect which may seem counter to this, but the damage increase is just too big. Increasing the AoE as much as possible counter the diminished area from Concentrated Effect to a degree.
Life + Energy Shield pool:
At L84 I currently have 3400 Life and 1500 Energy Shield. This is decent, but not enough to get into close in-fight. As a spell caster, you fight from a distance, and is protected by your killing speed and your totems freezing effect.
The freezing effect of the totem will protect you from most damage, but staying away from damage is your first line of defence.
You will need extra Dexterity as some gems are Dex dependent. The build as is has two +30 and one +10 node, which may be enough, but you probably need some from gear as well.
Stay at a distance, and stay moving! This can't be repeated enough!
Place your totems ahead of you, and use them to guard your back. Most mobs will have difficulty passing the frozen zone. Against projectile enemies, have something between you and them, then 'shoot around the corner' by placing the totem so it can reach them.
More descriptive of how I play is: Place totems, watch the shattering from a safe distance :-p
Oak, Skill point (maybe Alira), Skill point
Having quality on the Ice Nova gem helps as it increase the AoE.
5L: As 4L plus
6L: As 5L plus either of these
The extra Energy Shield is worth a lot. Given you don't have the highest life pool, extra Energy Shield is the second best thing.
Mana supply (if needed):
This is not used very much, but is very useful against elemental reflect mobs that cause your totems to die a lot. This combination provides you with no-cost spells for 15+ seconds.
Golem and meat shields: (add support gems as you want)
I use the Stone Golem as the life regen provides a good measure of protection. You could also go for Flame or Chaos golem depending on your preference.
The Vaal Summon Skeletons is the best possible extra meat shield you can get, and is also very useful against difficult bosses.
The build as designed only use one curse, Frostbite, and use Freezing Pulse with GMP (don't level this) to quickly apply it. You could go dual-curse if you want and add Elemental Weakness, but this will either require you to have a 5L staff, or lose the GMP effect.
You'll also need +1 curse from an item, for example Doedre's Damning or Windscream.
Important gear stats:
You'll want maxed resists (of course), enough mana regeneration, life, as much spell/elemental damage as you can get, and if possible some extra mana.
There are few items which increase the AoE, but they can be useful. Particularly Carcass Jack is very useful.
My Gear at L84
The main item to suit this build would be a 6L +1/+2 staff with plenty of spell/elemental/cold damage as well as possibly other goodies. Add in a L4 Empower Gem, and you'll do some very serious damage (double that of L20 Ice Nova, minus the gem you'll be replacing with Empower) and an extra chaining. This will however be very expensive!
Other uniques of interest:
Doryani's Catalyst may suit this build well, but is not much better than a decent wand.
Rime Gaze is a very decent helmet if you don't have a 5-6L chest. It provides a L15 Concentrated Effect, a good amount of energy shield, and extra damage and mana. I prefer Mindspiral though.
Taryn's Shiver is a decent staff, but a good wand and shield with damage are better.
Blood of Summer gives a lot of extra area, but not many other significant benefits.
Divinarius is an option for dual-wielding. Decent spell damage, and extra area. Given it is crit-centered, you probably need to use something else than Controlled Destruction for the totem to get the full benefits, but the extra damage will be hard to make up for.
The following Map affix should be especially considered before attempting them with this build.
20 Skill Points
40 Skill Points
60 Skill Points
80 Skill Points
100 Skill Points
Level any way you want until you get Ancestral Bond, then start using the dual Ice Nova Totems.
This build is quite forgiving with regard to the order skill points are allocated, so if another progression than the above suits you better, go for it!
[2.2] Stats at L84 (Ice Nova L20)
Defensive stats (buffed)
Offensive stats (buffed, without curses)
With and without Pendulum of Destruction
Last edited by Cyzax on Jun 6, 2016, 4:06:20 PM
Last bumped on Sep 11, 2016, 4:58:41 PM
on Apr 1, 2016, 6:54:21 PM
[2.3] This build is still just as viable :-)
Last edited by Cyzax on Jun 6, 2016, 4:06:44 PM
on Apr 1, 2016, 6:54:33 PM
I've now got the character at L87, and the build tree is complete.
I'm at 14695/16526 DPS per totem, 3.5k life, 1.5k ES, and basically freezing and mostly shattering everything in sight. It is a very fun build :-D
on Apr 19, 2016, 1:22:29 PM
Hi! I found your build interresting and so i wanted to try it. Leveled via 2l freeze pulse with ease. But once i swapped to ancestral bond and started using 3l ice nova totems in a +1 sceptre, my DPS just sinked and it's unplayable. It takes horrible amount of time to take down a zone boss, rare or even a champ pack. Does it have to be at least that 4L to work? Will this become better in the future, if i make it trough the rough beginning?
on Apr 28, 2016, 5:30:20 AM
3L will not be enough. You should aim for 5L, and 6L if you can. This is not special for this build, but is general for most of them. This is espacially true when using Spell Totem since that takes up one gem slot.
Generally, you have your attack skill in the chest armour, 5-6L, or in a 2H weapon.
Hope this helps, and sorry for the long reply time. I generally don't have time to play or answer in the weekend :-(
on May 3, 2016, 3:40:10 AM
Looking at the changes for 2.3, this build is still viable :-)
on Jun 6, 2016, 4:07:08 PM
Hi there, I liked your build and tried it out, worked really well, fun and easy. Question: why don't you use Soul Mantle for totem triplets? I'm using this setup:
It mitigates the lack of single target damage really well - nothing stands too long against three totems. For the debuff I'm spamming this:
Your unique robe probably gives a considerable damage boost as well, but I find the flexibility of three totems quite appealing. But I notice none of the current totem builds utilize Soul Mantle anymore. I don't understand why, though.
on Jun 20, 2016, 12:23:21 AM
Thanks for your post :-)
Soul Mantle definitely is usable, IF you can stand the downside. Given that I designed this build as a beginner-friendly one, I decided against recommending Soul Mantle, but as you say it definitely gives a lot of extra damage.
on Jun 20, 2016, 4:25:15 PM
Soul mantle in low level maps is awesome. Things get bad in high level maps.
Problem with Soul mantle is two fold. First it gives you curse when you totems die which is manageable. 2nd and the main problem is lvl 14 spell totem. A lvl 14 spell totem has 1878 health where a lvl 20 spell totem has 6448 health.
At high lvl maps bosses/mobs with high damage will take down lvl 14 totems like toothpicks. Which forces you to spam totems and flasks to deal with the barrage of curses coming your way. It kind of feels like your totems are working against you.
Avoid soul mantle if you plan take a character to end game.
on Jun 23, 2016, 1:11:34 PM
This looks nice and fun,is it still viable in 2:4 ?
Last edited by Banfae on Sep 9, 2016, 6:46:16 AM
on Sep 9, 2016, 6:21:18 AM