[2.3] Freezing Spark Totem - Sire of Shards

Since I found a Sire of Shards staff, I've wanted to make a build for it. Given I'd never used Spark before, I wanted to try that as well, but with a twist. Using the Three Dragons helmet, the sparks will freeze, not shock!
The focus next came to maximising the amounts of sparks you could have, and make them cover as much area as possible. With this build, the ground will be completely covered with sparks, also beyond what you can see.

The freezing is very effective defensively, and the killing is fast and can often clear out areas you haven't even gotten to yet :-D

What this build is:
  • Cheap
  • Lazy
  • Fun (very!)
  • Easy

What this build is not:
  • Expensive
  • Complex
  • Top-end
  • Gear-dependent
  • Tanky

  • Lightning Resistant mobs
  • Single-target

This build is designed for a Scion, and benefits a lot from the Scion being Ascendant as this enables getting 100% pierce.

The build is not gear-dependent apart from Sire of Shards and Three Dragons, 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.

Spark Totem

  • VERY easy to use
  • Huge AoE
  • Indirect damage
  • Freeze, immobilise and slows enemies (with Three Dragons)

  • Not as high damage as more direct means
  • Not as good against Single-target
  • No leech

When placing the totems right, not only will you be able to do damage in a huge area (several screens worth), they'll also shield you as mobs have difficulty passing the 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.
Build explanation
The main characteristics for the build is decent regeneration (life and mana both), high spark damage and LOTS of long-lived sparks, HUGE AoE, and a decent life amount.

Decent regeneration:
The life and mana regeneration is for ease of use. You don't need that much mana for this build, but do need regeneration of it. For this we use both passive node as well as a low-level Clarity aura. We use the Stone Golem for its life regeneration as well as some passive skill tree nodes.

High Spark damage:
The freezing effect is dependent on how much lightning damage you do (when using Three Dragons). It is thus more important to do high damage than have a fast rate of fire (within reason).

Lots of Long-lived Sparks:
Sparks are not normally long lived. We take the passive nodes that increase duration. With a high level Spark skill and being Ascendant, we get 12 sparks per cast from each totem. This is a LOT of sparks at a time.

The sparks travel unpredictably, but we're using Faster Projectiles to make them travel a huge distance. They'll hit targets far beyond the ones you can see from where you place the totems.

Life pool:
At L84 I currently have ~4000 Life plus some 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. Always, ALWAYS be on the move!

You will need extra Dexterity as some gems are Dex dependent. The build as is has +60 from the Ascendant tree and +15 from the normal tree, as well as some from Sire of Shards. This may be enough, but you probably need a little from gear as well.

Play style:
Stay at a distance, and stay moving! This can't be repeated enough! STAY MOVING!
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.
Maximise the amount of sparks the totems generate. This means you don't necessarily want to kill the mobs as fast as you can, but want them to last a little longer so you fill the area (and a huge area beyond what you see) with sparks.

More descriptive of how I play is: Place totems, watch the destruction from cover or a safe distance :-p
Skill tree
Finished skill tree: 110 Skill Points

The build have two Jewel slots, and both should have 3% chance to freeze jewels in them (with suitable other mods). I use these:

After you finish the skill tree, any additional points should go towards getting more 3% freeze jewels in the tree. There are three jewel slots within easy reach.
Ascendancy Class
For the scion there is not much choice, so Ascendant.

Pick the following main nodes:
  • Deadeye - Most important for the 50% pierce
  • Slayer - For the extra damage against unique/rare enemies

Oak, Skill point (maybe Alira), Skill point
Spell links
Main skill:

For higher damage against bosses, change Faster Projectiles to Slower Projectiles. The sparks will not go nowhere near as far, but will have much higher damage and be concentrated in a smaller area.

5L: As 4L plus

6L: Some possible choices here, with lots of more options. Use your imagination :-)

Lightning Penetration would be my preferred choice however.

Damage Enhancers:

Note that you may not be able to use the Herald until you're in the mid L80's since you need to have enough free mana.

Mana Regeneration

Keep it as low level as you can while not running out of mana. I found L5 suits me.


You can't use any of the escape skills that has a duration as we've chosen the passive skill tree nodes to increase duration. Leap Slam works quite well though.

Protection (if needed):

I don't use this very much, but is very useful as extra protection.

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.


I use dual-curse in the chest (need 5L). This is not strictly necessary, but I find it works well. For the +1 Curse I use the Windscream boots.
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.

My Gear at L84

The following Map affix should be especially considered before attempting them with this build.

  • Hexproof: Curses will not work
  • Grounded: Lightning resistance
  • Mirrored: Elemental reflect (totems will need recasting frequently)

  • Balance: Elemental Equilibrium
  • Smothering: Lower regeneration rates
  • Hemomancy: Blood magic (AVOID!)
  • Stasis: No regeneration (AVOID!)
  • Temporal Chains: Avoid on principle (as it is just too boring)

Levelling guide
Progression example:
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 Spark 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] Videos
L70 Vaal Pyramid Map (using Slower Projectiles)
L76 Catarina Mission (using Faster Projectiles)
[2.2] Stats at L84 (Spark L19)
Offensive stats (buffed, without curses)
Defensive stats (buffed)
Misc stats
Please post any suggestions, comments or questions in this thread, not in PM's.
Last edited by Cyzax on Jun 6, 2016, 4:08:09 PM
Last bumped on Jul 3, 2016, 10:04:44 PM
[2.3] This build is still just as viable :-)
Last edited by Cyzax on Jun 6, 2016, 4:07:57 PM
seems solid.

but why is the 6L option a "chance to flee"-gem?

need explanation for this decision, i see no reason.
i mean, even blind works better, or faster casting.
elpadremg wrote:
seems solid.

but why is the 6L option a "chance to flee"-gem?

need explanation for this decision, i see no reason.
i mean, even blind works better, or faster casting.

It's an option :-)
I like it since it'll be defensive, and given the distance the sparks travel it'll not diminish the damage significantly (though not add any either). Note that I do prefer Lightning Penetration, but I like to give options :-)

You're right about Faster Casting (will add that to the list), but given a choice between that and Lightning Penetration, I would choose LP.
Last edited by Cyzax on May 9, 2016, 1:49:12 PM
Hello guys. Just tried this freezing spark totem and it felt great to play. Flying sparks everywhere that decimates every monster in its path. Just have a question though. Why did you choose the slayer class for ascendancy? Would it be better for Hierophant for the extra totem? Thanks a lot!
divineness wrote:
Hello guys. Just tried this freezing spark totem and it felt great to play. Flying sparks everywhere that decimates every monster in its path. Just have a question though. Why did you choose the slayer class for ascendancy? Would it be better for Hierophant for the extra totem? Thanks a lot!

Thanks :-)

The extra totem wouldn't do much good. It would only be for totem skills the helm... and the build uses the staff for totems. You'd also lose some DEX which you'd have to make up otherwise to use some of the green skill gems.

Good question though, and I probably should have explained that.
Thanks for taking time to answer my query. Another one that I will shoot. I am excited to get the ascendancy path for Deadeye and currently running through cruel trial, but I force to succumb to Izaro, even only during the 2nd phase. I know that single targets are the Achille's heel of this build, but it pains me to deal with Izaro's swift strikes and not leaving much chance to inflict damage in return. Any suggestions you can give me to overcome this "trial"? Thanks a bunch!

Edit: I just defeated Izaro and gained Deadeye ascendancy class. Maybe the change on labyrinth layout made it somehow easier to defeat him. The last layout was giving him charges that make him stupidly powerful. This time around, it was only the lieutenants that are present. I'll be keeping this in mind when I try for merciless labyrinth. Anyhow, back to regular grinding!
Last edited by divineness on May 13, 2016, 11:11:25 PM
A good way of handling single target is to use Slower Projectiles instead of Faster Projectiles.
The sparks will not travel as far, nor as fast, but they'll hit much harder.
Looking at the changes for 2.3, this build is still viable :-)
Just started playing your build. I simply love freezing enemies so I bet I'm gonna enjoy it! Any way you could tell me if it's viable for HC league? Atziri etc? And also your recommendation about leveling - what lvl should I start using spark totem? Thank you! Great stuff

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