[On Hold] Glacial Cascade Totems [ALL Content in the Game]

Decided to put all my guides on hold for the moment. Thanks for your support if you've used this build or supported my content in the past.


Whats up guys! I’m one of the many players who came from D3 when PoE 3.0 got released. This is my first build guide created for PoE and the purpose of the guide is to share my build, my experience, and the things I learned along the way. This guide is very comprehensive and interested readers can find information on everything from detailed gearing options to explanations of different game mechanics.

As advertised, this build is capable of doing all current content in the game and I personally use this build as a tried and true league starter to progress through the story and complete my atlas.

Quick Reference:
Final Skill Tree

  • Spell Totem – Glacial Cascade – Multiple Totems - Cold Pen* – Controlled Destruction - (Inc Area of Effect + Faster Casting) or (Conc Effect + Ele Focus)
  • Shield Charge/Whirling Blades – Faster Attacks – Fortify - Blood Magic
  • Elemental Weakness/Frostbite* – Arcane Surge – Increased Duration/Area of Effect
  • Cast When Damage Taken – Steelskin – Enfeeble/Temp Chains/Frost Bomb/Phase Run – Increased Duration
  • Hatred
  • Lightning Golem
  • Flame Dash
  • Frost Bomb

Item Stat Priority
  • Weapon: Shaper Gain %Phys as Extra > +Cold/Phys Gems > Spell Crit > Crit Multi > %Spell Damage > Cast Speed > +Spell Damage > Resists > Mana > Mana Regen > Dex
  • Shield: Spell Crit > Life > Spell Damage > Resists > Cast Speed > Mana > Mana Regen > Dex
  • Helm/Gloves/Armor/Boots/Belt: Life > Resist > Mana > Dex
  • Amulet/Rings: Elder Gain % Non Chaos as Chaos > Shaper Gain % as Extra > Crit Multi > Life > Resist > Cast Speed > Mana > Mana Regen > Crit Chance > Dex
  • Rare Jewels: Life > Crit Multi
  • Abyss Jewels: Life > %Phys as Extra Fire > Crit Multi > Crit Chance > Damage to Spells

Hardcore Skill Tree Variant

Latest PoB: - https://pastebin.com/hwwG65tW

YouTube: New Video for 3.7 Legion League!

Full Playlist of all my videos related to GC Totems since the start of the guide!
A couple highlights from the above series:

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/thi3n

Update Log:
3.13 Updates:
  • Some slight changes for this build. Multiple Totem Support becomes basically mandatory. I think the build will still be great in 3.13 and will function as a great league starter. People in general have been freaked out by the totem changes and might make this a sneaky inexpensive build because of peoples aversion to totems.

3.12 Updates:
  • Some HUGE changes for the build as Glacial Cascade has been updated. I will have to make some modifications to the guide to talk about new positioning and I will be removing any instance of "Long Winter Jewel" and conversion since all of that is taken care of now. I will be playing this build as a league starter in 3.12
3.11 Updates:
  • No meaningful updates for the build. Might add a section about cluster jewels but that's it.
3.10 Updates:
  • GC totems survives another patch. Potentially some new mods/gems to look at but basically the same for the last few patches. GGG has slowly nerfed "Gain as Extra" mods with the latest nerf being to "Tacati" temple modified weapons. They are still great early league choices for the build.
3.9 Updates:
  • GC remains unchanged in this patch. Remains to be seen what uniques or new modifiers are added/changed. Shaper Gain as Extra and Elder Non Chaos as Chaos has been nerfed (again) but are still high on the stat priority list.
3.8 Updates:
  • Added + Cold Gems to weapon priority.
  • No anointment priority, anything that saves travel is great. Heartseeker/Throatseeker are cheap choices.
  • Final Skill Tree updated - leveling trees are unchanged.
3.7 Updates:
  • Added Frostblink as the mobility skill to get over walls, mentioned linking to Bonechill for extra value.
  • Shield Charge with wands!!!
  • Removal of synthesized implicit mentions throughout the guide.
  • Removal of Immortal Call and changes to Warlords Mark mentions.
  • Adding a utility Orb of Storms that contain links like Mana Leech support, Power Charge on Crit, Curse on Hit, etc.
3.6 Updates:
  • Renamed Celestial Judgement to Divine Judgement with new tree changes.
  • Removing old gear snapshots as I make room in this guide (Post has reached character limit).
  • This build was buffed. GC itself got a light tap (Damage down 16.2%, Cast Speed Up 12.5%) but Hatred was a massive buff. We get both benefits of Hatred and overall it is just straight up more damage.
  • Full cold conversion is more important than ever. Cold as extra Chaos is the preferred craft.
  • Shield section updated to talk about the power of +2 Minimum Frenzy Charges, Immunity to Curses, and Shaped +1 Totem mod (spoilers - they're all great options).
  • Update to amulet section to mention Yoke/Pandemonius as interesting but not necessary unique options.
3.5 Updates:
  • Added a question about why my PoB is different than the "Final Tree" in the 7. Questions I've Answered
  • Overall the stat stick nerf hurts us slightly. There is now a real decision between going dual wield vs weapon + shield (that can have a +1 totem veiled mod). Like most things in this build it will be individual.
  • Bonechill support is interesting... I'm considering something like Arctic Breath - Bonechill - Curse on Hit - Frostbite
3.4 Updates:
  • I used this build to league start with in Delve league and it went great! Feel free to look at the 2. Gear snapshot or the PoB where I made some decisions to mix it up a little bit for individuality sake. I have played the build so many times I decided I wanted to try something different by going Kikazaru this league with Acro/Phase Acro and it went great! Uber Elder down in 3 days! Since I know I'll get the question: I still prefer flasking away curses and using Essence Worm as opposed to using Kikazaru.
  • 3.4 was a fairly non-intrusive patch for this build. No nerf to Glacial Cascade. No nerf to Stat Sticks. No nerf to anything relevant for our build.
  • Aul's Uprising added to Amulet options.
  • Removal of Attack Speed as a stat prioritization. Removal of references to Brightbeak. (attack speed will likely be added back to the guide at some point but we need to understand if local vs global attack speed will determine what effects which movement abilities - they have done a rework to shield charge and a supposed "evening out" of all movement abilities)
  • Leveling Trees updated.
  • Mention of Acro/Phase Acro for endgame defensive options.
3.3 Updates:
  • The build has completely survived in 3.3 and I used it as a league starter myself. Uber Elder down in 4 days of the league start (gear snapshot added).
  • No nerf to Glacial Cascade. No nerf to Shaper Stat Sticks. No nerf to anything relevant for us.
  • New skill! Vaal Impurity of Ice means a few things for our build.
    • Inquisitor has been removed from this guide. RIP Inquis.
    • After testing, Vaal Impurity of Ice needs help with Increased Duration and potentially Efficacy support. I didn't like using it personally.
    • Due to the lack of sustain over long fights and because it only works with Cold damage I think it is still worthwhile to use Elemental Weakness and prioritize Damage Pen as a stat.
  • Added mention of new useful corruptions throughout the in-depth item section. %life, etc on boots, %spell crit on gloves
  • Mention of Celestial Judgement notable in the leveling section (as an option for late game if you feel you want 32% Increased Elemental Damage and 5% to each pen for 3 points.
  • Added Swords as a weapon option since the Crit Multi implicit of foils are certainly competitive with Crit Chance implicit of Daggers.
  • The Princess added to the list of possible leveling uniques.
  • Attack in Place for "Tips and Tricks". This is relevant for the Shield Charge users.
3.2 Updates:
  • 3 YouTube videos added to Videos section. 2 deathless kills (one with commentary) as well as our first death-filled Uber Elder kill early in the league.
  • Added Support for Hierophant! The guide has gone through a bit of a revamp since the Ascendancies have as well. Quick reference, Gems and Links are all updated with considerations to Hiero.
  • Added gear snapshot at start of Bestiary League. Shaper down less than a week in with Hierophant!
  • Added note about Phase Run in a CWDT setup in the Utility section of Gems and Links.
  • Inquisitor remained relatively untouched. The skills, gear, and jewels remain the same while a few new items now appear as alternatives for the build.
  • Added Atziri's Reflection to Shields Section
  • Moved around some stat priorities in the In-Depth gearing section.
  • Added comment about Hiero not needing Orb of Storms once they get Conviction of Power Ascendancy.
  • Added a "League Start" at the bottom of Tips and Tricks. Hierophants look for Hrimsorrow to allow use of cold pen!
  • Added notes about Hierophant vs Inquisitor in Questions section
  • Changed all references to "Threshold Jewel" to "The Long Winter Jewel" to avoid confusion.
  • Added Notes for Cold Pen in light of Hiero in the Gems Section as well as Vaal Clarity and mention of a 4-link Lightning Warp Setup!
  • Added notes in the weapons about going dagger/scepter and how Sambar Scepters and damage pen is now a useful stat for Hiero
  • Added snapshot of my final gear at the end of 3.1 Abyss League in the Gear Section.
3.1 Updates:
  • The Long Winter Jewel is not required. The build functions fine as is. Try it if you like it!
  • Leveling section added with gem links and leveling trees. Use Elemental Weakness while leveling before ascending!
  • Pantheon section updated. Added a mention for long fights to switch to a Life Flask with Curse Removal and switch to the Ryslatha Pantheon.
  • Controlled Destruction over Increased Crit Strikes in the main damage setup if Glacial Cascade is ~33% chance to crit in hideout with Controlled Destruction linked!
  • Gem Quality priority section added in Gems and Links for the SSF people of the world.
  • Added Blood Magic as a support for the movement ability - this helps with situations where mana is getting drained.
  • Added more "Tips and Tricks": Totem Placement, Movement abilities, Elder/Shaper items, etc.
Gear section overhaul! Added Elder/Shaper item comments.
  • Flasks. Diamond Flask with Increased Duration and Curse removal. Added alternative for long fights (Life Flask with Curse Removal and switch to the Ryslatha Pantheon)
  • Belts. Increased Flask Duration added as required for belts also notes about the new Abyss Belt (Stygian Vise).
  • Boots. Added note about prioritizing Armor/ES over Evasion when using Kaom's Roots.
  • Gloves. I now mention Insanity Essence Crafting for min/maxers.
  • Jewels. Notes about new Abyss Jewels and The Long Winter Jewel. Added a bit about the Watcher's Eye for the super rich.

  • 1. Pros and Cons
  • 2. Gear
  • 3. Gems and Links
  • 4. Bandit + Ascendancy + Pantheon
  • 5. Leveling + Skill Trees
  • 6. Tips and Tricks
  • 7. Questions I've Answered
  • 8. Thank you + Other Guides

1. Pros and Cons
  • Do it all. Any map mod. Any boss. If you want to fill out your atlas and see all the content in the game with one character then this is a good build play.
  • Safe. Totems by nature are safe because of distance and reflect going to totems instead of the Templar. On top of that Glacial Cascade is a huge area of effect spell that freezes.
  • Mind over Matter. Speaking of safe, MoM is one of the best defensive Keystones and is straightforward to gear for.
  • Beginner and League-Starter friendly. Leveling, mapping, and progressing the build feels smooth.
  • Huge Single Target Damage. The mechanics of Glacial Cascade can hit the same enemy more than once with the same cast. Swapping of skill gems can lead to “More” multipliers if needed.

  • Totems are not for everyone. Players seem to love or hate them. That being said, this version of totems can be a lot more “active” than other totem builds. I obviously love totems and maybe you will too after playing this build!
  • Have not personally tested Hardcore. Some people on this thread have mentioned a variation in the guide for Hardcore which involves dropping the Shadow crit area for the scion life wheel.
  • Can't use a Spell Totem MTX. This is due to Spell Totem inside of Soul Mantle. I know the guide is ending here for some people.
2. Gear
None of the uniques are mandatory for starting out. In order to progress into the late game you will definitely want Soul Mantle but this build functions fine as a league starter on as little as a 4-link.

In Depth Gear Explanation
I put dex on pretty much all of my gear recommendations because it is a suffix and competes with important things like cast speed/crit/resist. While we can pick up a 30 dex node in our passive tree we'll generally have an easy time finding dex somewhere like the implicit of our amulet or a spare suffix somewhere on a piece of gear. Elder/Shaper items can give us free links for quality of life things like Culling Strike/Blind or Increased Area/Duration/Crit Strikes.

Rares. Shaper Weapons are preferred for the Gain as Extra mods. The ultra rare Atziri's Mirror should be mentioned for Self-Flagellation builds for the few lucky enough to get one. Some other uniques to consider before you can get Shaper weapons: The Princess, Divinarius, Axiom Perpetuum, Doryani's Catalyst, and Trolltimber Spire. Look to craft Spell Crit/Spell Damage/Non-Chaos as Chaos/Multi if you have room on your weapon/shield!

Stats to look for: +1 Totem (shield) > Shaper Gain %Phys as Extra > +Cold/Phys Gems > Damage Pen* > Life (shield) > Critical Strike Chance for Spells > Critical Strike Multiplier > Spell Damage > Cast Speed > Added Damage to Spells > Resists > Mana > Mana Regen > Dex

*NOTE: Pen can be found in the implicit of a Sambar Scepter and/or as a Shaper mod.
Soul Mantle. It really changes the way we play the game. The flasks revolve around playing around the drawback of getting cursed. It should be obvious why this item is good for totem builds. Pre-Soul-Mantle consider items like Tablula Rasa Simple Robe or rares/uniques with as many links as you can afford. For those going for juicy corruptions the + 1 Sokceted Gems and +2 Socketed AoE Gems are great as well as % Damage.

Stats to look for (if you’re using a rare): Shaper Spell Crit > Life > Resist > Mana
Rare. Of Reflection Enchant creates a mirror image that can prove useful for survivability but is in no way required. The spell damage implicit of Fingerless Silk gloves are also nice to have. Insanity Essence crafting should be mentioned for absolute min/maxing for more attack/cast speed on your movement ability. Some great corruptions include % spell crit (applied to the base of the spell!) and %life. Hrimsorrow is a good unique for the early game.

Stats to look for: Life > Resist > Mana > Dex.
Kaom’s Roots. Unwavering Stance makes us immune to stun and allows us to pick up a different Pantheon for more survivability. A variety of lab enchants are nice to have but not necessary: Lightning Damage, Crit, or Life/Mana Regen after being hit. Some useful corruptions include Endurance Charge, %life, and %dodge/spelldodge (dodge is different than accuracy/evasion).

Stats to look for (if you’re using a rare):Life > Resist > Movespeed > Mana.

NOTE: If you use Kaom's then you cannot evade attacks so prioritize Armor or Energy Shield base items in the other slots. This also nullifies blind as a useful stat (from a Golem or Orb of Storms link or from abyss jewels).
NOTE: "Haven't Crit Recently" boot enchants function great with Totem builds!
Rare. Rustic Sash is a nice base because %Physical works with our Glacial Cascade. Stygian Vise is best in slot if you can get a good Abyss Jewel (more on this in the Jewel section below). Uniques like Belt of the Deceiver and The Tactician that have global phys are great as well.

Stats to look for: Life > % increased Flask effect duration > Resists > % reduced Flask Charges used > Life Flask recovery rate
Rares. Essence Worm Unset Ring is the only unique we consider. Kikazaru and Self-Flagellation is a budget combo you can use but I don’t recommend it for the late game, see the Questions section for a more in-depth response.

Stats to look for: Life > Resist > Crit Chance > Cast Speed > Mana > Mana Regen > Crit Multi > Spell Damage > Dex
Rare. Biscos is the ultimate mapping neck but a good rare will be nice to have for end game content. Uniques like Yoke of Suffering, Aul's Uprising, Pandemonius, and Impressence (Frostbite) should be mentioned as well.

Stats to look for: Elder Gain % Non Chaos as Chaos > Shaper Gain % as Extra > Crit Multi > Life > Resist > Cast Speed > Mana > Mana Regen > Crit Chance > Dex
Rare. Glacial Cascade damage helmet enchant is a luxury here and another helm enchant to look for is Increased Lightning Golem Effect. The extra attack/cast speed is great! If you are looking to use Fossils for crafting, consider the Frigid/Pristine combination!

Stats to look for: Life > Resists > Mana
  • Diamond Flask with Curse Removal. Increased Duration or Reduce Charges are good pairings.
  • Atziri’s Promise. We receive both added chaos benefits from the flask because the % Physical works off of our pre-converted Glacial Cascade and the % Elemental works with the post-converted portion.
  • Instant Life Flask that removes bleed/burn/poison/freeze is also quite nice depending on the encounter. For long boss fights use a Curse Removal Life flask with the Ryslatha Pantheon power.
  • Onslaught/Quicksilver/Mana/Hybrid/Taste of Hate/Wise Oak can be used as well depending on playstyle. I find Quicksilver with increased effect and added movespeed is great quality of life for mapping with Shield Charge. Taste of Hate and Onslaught are competitive flasks for high damage bossing. Wise Oak for with high overcapped Cold Resistance. Instant Mana or Hybrid flasks work great because Mind over Matter can sometimes leave us stranded or if we are doing no regen maps.

Rares. The only unique Jewels worth considering are Clear Mind (if Essence Worm) or Self-Flagellation (if Kikazarus) but honestly rare jewels offer better value when trying to min/max. For the ultra rich there exists the Watcher's Eye Prismatic Jewel which can give bonuses based on the aura you're using. More on this in the Auras section of 3. Gems and Links

Stats to look for on Rare Jewels: Life, Crit Multi, Crit Chance, and Attack/Cast Speed.
Stats to look for on Abyss Jewels: Life, %Physical as Extra Fire Damage, Crit Multi, Crit Chance, and Damage to Spells.

NOTE: The Long Winter Jewel is not required. The build functions fine as is. Try it if you like it!
NOTE: Remember there are a few ways to search for Multi:
  • Global Critical Strike Multiplier, Critical Strike Multiplier with Spells, Critical Strike Multiplier with Elemental Skills, Critical Strike Multiplier with Cold Skills, Critical Strike Multiplier while Dual Wielding

NOTE: Below is a list of sample gear I used along with what content I was able to do with that gear. These gear choices are not always optimal. As a content creator I will try things out if they are new or different or just for variety sake. Use these gear snapshots as possible inspiration and not as an end-all-be-all for gear choices. The above In Depth Gear Explanation has my recommendations for new players trying the guide.

3.3 Day 4 Uber Elder
3.4 Day 3 Uber Elder
3. Gems and Links
Elder/Shaper items can give us free links for quality of life things like Culling Strike/Blind or Increased Area/Duration/Crit Strikes.

Spell Totem
Maps : Glacial Cascade – Multiple Totems - Cold Penetration – Controlled Destruction – Increased Critical Strikes*Increased Area of Effect – Faster Casting

Bosses: Glacial Cascade – Multiple Totems - Cold Penetration – Controlled Destruction – Increased Critical Strikes*Concentrated Effect – Elemental Focus

  • *NOTE: Empower, Hypothermia, Increased Critical Strike Damage, etc. might be better for your current setup. Path of Building will be a great tool to see what gems will work best.
  • Alternatives: If you have less links, the gems are in order of importance. If you are on a Tablula or a 5-link Soul Mantle continue to do the Aoe/Conc swap.
  • Remember our Glacial Cascade does physical damage and then it is converted to cold. Hatred works off of the pre-converted physical damage.
  • NOTE: If you have Shaper Gain X as extra Y mods on your weapon/amulet this becomes less necessary so experiment with going Hatredless for a higher life/mana pool!

  • Consider using this while leveling or even in the late game as a way to get mana which is not only your spell fuel but effective HP as well!

  • It may be worth working in a different aura like Haste/Grace/etc. if you get a Watcher's Eye that gives you useful stats like flat damage, dodge, spell dodge, Energy Shield based on mana, etc.
Arcane Surge
Frost Bomb - Arcane Surge
  • A good tool for Cold Penetration

Elemental Weakness/Frostbite - Arcane Surge - Increased Area of Effect/Increased Duration
  • Make sure not to overlevel your Arcane Surge so you can get the buff from casting the curse once. (There is a mana threshold for how much mana needs to be spent in order to trigger Arcane Surge, look at the curse on your bar to see the final mana cost if you have mana modifiers from your gear/gems/jewels).
Cast When Damage Taken – SteelskinIncreased Duration – Enfeeble/Temporal Chains/Frost Bomb/Assassins Mark/Phase Run
  • Don’t overlevel your gems. You need to keep these gems relatively low level because we want CWDT to proc at a lower life threshold. By keeping it low – it also limits what level of spell it can cast, so feel free to level up Increased Duration but the Steelskin and the curse of choice needs to stay in line with CWDT. Personally, I keep CWDT at level 1.
  • Phase Run users need to make sure that Phase Run is casted last in the sequence or else the cast of Steelskin will take you out of Phase Run. In a 4 link the first spell that is cast is located in the top left and follows a clockwise circle to the bottom left.

Whirling Blades/Shield Charge – FortifyFaster Attacks – Blood Magic – Culling Strike
  • Try them both out and see which you like better.
  • Shield Charge:
    • Larger hit box to get Fortify on safely.
    • It scales off of movement speed AND global attack speed so the playstyle of hitting Quicksilver Flask between packs is nice.
  • Whirling Blades:
    • You get to use two daggers/swords which will be a huge boon to offensive stats.
    • Whirling Blades can be cast whether or not you click in range. (Shield Charge will by default walk your character to the range that is necessary to perform the Shield Charge. Attack in Place is a workaround to this issue).
    • Scales only off attack speed but you do get a bonus to attack speed when you dual wield.

Flame Dash
  • [li]It's something to get over walls with. If extra links then Faster Casting and Arcane Surge are great additions.

Frost Bomb
  • [li]Applies Cold Exposure and prevents Regeneration.

Lightning Golem
  • Gives cast speed and attack speed, both of
    which are useful for our build.
  • Can be annoying to recast and keep up so try having a high level Cast When Damage Taken. Culling Strike, Blind, and/or Increased Item Rarity are good ways to get more value from your golem.

Other Nice to Haves

Vaal Lightning Trap
  • Great way to apply shock on tough rares or bosses.

Vaal Haste
  • For all the speed demons.

Vaal Impurity of Ice
  • Doing a great Inquisitor Impersonation.

Vaal Grace
  • Great all around Defensive buff in sticky situations.

Quality Priority
Glacial Cascade (1%) > Every other support (.5%) > Increased Critical Strikes (1%CC)
4. Bandit + Ascendancy + Pantheon
  • Help Alira. Kill them all is an alternative.

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

Alternatives: The order and importance of the last two Ascendancies are flexible. Hardcore players might want more survivability and Softcore players might want more damage.

  • Major God - Lunaris with Avoid Projectiles that have Chained. If you don’t have Kaom’s Roots then use Brine King with Stun and Block Recovery
  • Minor God – Gruthkul or Ryslatha (it’s personal preference but I prefer Gruthkul for mapping and Ryslatha and a Life Flask with Curse Removal for long fights)
5. Leveling + Skill Trees
No uniques are required as this build is fine for a league start - but if this isn't your first character of the league then these will make the process easier: Lifesprig, Goldrim, Tabula, Wanderlust, Belt of the Deceiver, Axiom Perpetuum, The Princess, Hrimsorrow, Elreon -Mana Cost jewelry (resists/str/dex a plus!), and buying skill/support gems with quality ready to be socketed in!

NOTE: Templars do not get access to Hatred until act 3 Siosa. Also all gems are available from Lilly after completing Act 6.

Alternatives: If you have a favorite way of leveling (Abberaths Hooves, Poets Pen, Sunder, etc.) then do that!

1. Low Level Tree

The early tree is a bit awkward and has a little bit of setup. The pathing is to allow us to pick up everything we need later for the switch into GC Totems. The tree is very dex light so grab a 30 Dex node if you need it.

MainSkill: Freezing Pulse - Arcane Surge
MainSkill2: Flame Totem - Added Lightning
Utility: Frost Bomb - Onslaught
Mobility: Flame Dash - Faster Casting

Leave Arcane Surge low level! Frost Bomb with a +1 Cold Gems wand/scepter can 1 shot most packs.

2. Switch to GC Totems

Time to grab Ancestral Bond and when in doubt, life it out. Use Elemental Weakness!

MainSkill: Spell Totem - Glacial Cascade - Multiple Totems - Controlled Destruction
SupportSkill: Elemental Weakness - Arcane Surge - Increased Area of Effect

Gems to level if you have free space: Increased Crit Strikes, Concentrated Effect, Cold Pen

3. Normal and Cruel Lab

Start picking up Crit and Multi to go with the ascendancy points. Now that we care about crit, replace Controlled Destruction with Increased Crit Strikes in the main setup.

MainSkill: Spell Totem - Glacial Cascade - Multiple Totems - Increased Crit Strikes - Increased Area of Effect/Concentrated Effect
SupportSkill: Elemental Weakness - Arcane Surge - Increased Area of Effect
Utility: Cast When Damage Taken - Steelskin - Increased Duration - Frost Bomb
Golem: Lightning Golem
Aura: Hatred
Mobility: Whirling Blades/Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify

After you complete Act 6 Neesa will have all the skill gems you may have missed.

4. Final Skill Tree

Towards the end game we want Dex so we can level Hatred and Lightning Golem so head over to Shadow. Grab jewel nodes then fill out close mana nodes.

If you plan on taking this build to 100 there are many options:
  • Power Charges. Overcharge and Instability grant 1 extra power charge each. Make sure you grab the Spell Damage per power charge behind Instability if you go this route.
  • Life/Mana. For some people survivability is the bottleneck and grabbing more effective health will prevent getting 1-shot.
  • Divine Judgement. 3 nodes gives you 32% Elemental Damage and 5% of each pen, compare this with a Jewel Node to decide if you think this is good enough value for your build.
  • Throatseeker. Crit Multi is great and this is usually my personal choice.
  • Precision. Attack Speed for your movement ability and some Dex if your build is needing that.
  • Acro/Phase Acro. One of my favorite defensive options in the game.

4.b. Hardcore Variant

Alternatives: These trees are guideline, go off the beaten path and make the build your own! The nodes you're probably looking at as the "weakest" are the flask nodes but try playing with them first! Our flasks do a ton of work with this build!
6. Tips and Tricks

Totem Placement
  • The sweet spot of the totem is midrange. Glacial Cascade looks like it is a cone, but there are actually circles of damage within the cone. If a mob is big enough or if it is standing in the right spot then it can be hit by two circles. (If a mob is running away it can actually be hit three times!) The ideal spot for a boss would be at the front-edge of the last explosion of the Glacial Cascade.
  • Try blocking hallways, checking around corners, or putting them between you and monsters that shoot projectiles. Triangle patterns or straight line patterns for boss encounters depending on the mechanics of the fight. Plenty of fun/creative ways to use totems and you'll discover ways to make the playstyle your own!
  • Totems do not "snapshot" your damage. Things like power charges, gold piles in vault, and any curses that might be on you are dynamic. Make sure you clear your curses while your totems are casting.

Movement Abilities
  • Link your movement ability to Blood Magic! Mind over Matter is a great defensive Keystone but sometimes it can work against you. Getting all your mana drained when you're in a sticky situation can spell death if you can't get out. Blood Magic allows us to move and proc Fortify in the stickiest of situations.
  • While mapping, try and proc your fortify by using your movement ability on mobs on the outside of density. Not only is it great to keep moving (dodge projectiles) but gaining Fortify can mitigate the damage that you do take!
  • Conversely, don't always feel like you need to have Fortify up! Better than taking reduced damage is taking no damage. Use movement abilities first and foremost to dodge heavy damage!
  • Turn on your Always Attack Without Moving. This is great for using your Shield Charge when you want to (Whirling Blades already does this). Instead of your character running to the location needed by default it will immediately cast Shield Charge in the direction of your mouse.

  • Elder/Shaper items can give you free links for quality of life things like Culling Strike/Blind or Increased Area/Duration/Crit Strikes.
  • Experiment and make the build your own! I've mentioned this all over the guide but it needs to be said again: Your playstyle and gear will dictate what's "best" for the build. If you don't care about freezing enemies and your gear is good enough to one-shot most things... then just use Ele Focus support! If you can't stand how Shield Charge "feels" then use Whirling Blades instead. If you want to use Kikazaru and Self-Flagellation because you're bad at flasking away curses then go ahead. Want 7K life? Reach for the Scion life wheel and take out Shadow Crit.

League Start
  • Stone Golem is great for Lab and when you have low levels of gear! Frost Bomb, Decoy Totem, Enduring Cry, and Clarity aura can be considered as well!
  • Get yourself a pair of Hrimsorrow gloves to make Glacial Cascade 100% cold. This allows you to use Cold Pen support which is a big boon to damage!
7. Questions I've Answered

What about X Item? What About Y Support? What about Z Ascendancy?
I always encourage people to make the build their own. All of my guides are just that, guidelines. Take what is useful and apply your own ideas and create ways to make it work for your situation.
Why is your PoB different?
The PoB link has the latest time I've played the build. However, I play the build so much that I mix things up to just to do it. One league I tried Kikazaru, one league I tried flask removal, dagger/shield, dagger/dagger, Phase Acro, Power Charges, etc... The main reason I try out different things is really to hammer home a point I made throughout the guide: Don't be afraid to try things and make the build your own!
Multiple Totems Support
Simply put, it's not a support gem that I think Hierophants should be using.

It is a good support gem at face value. But the more totems you already have, the less additional totems start to matter. For example: Going from 1 to 3 totems is like gaining 200% more damage. Going from 4 to 6 totems is like gaining 50% more damage. From a pure amount-of-totems vs the less multiplier standpoint it's slightly worse than a support gem that would give you 20% more damage if you have 5 Totems already (1 from naturally having a totem, 1 from the Keystone, 1 from the Ascendancy, 1 from Soul Mantle, 1 from Shield Veiled Mod). This assumes perfect DPS where all 7 totems are now hitting, rarely is this the case.

The Multiple Totems Support gem also does some other things. With quality it gives additional Totem Placement Speed (something Hiero already has a lot of). Multiple Totems Support also allows you to place 2 totems at a time (something that Hiero already has with Ritual of Awakening). It is my opinion that Multiple Totems Support is made for Non Hiero builds to be successful totem classes. Inquisitor may resurface as an option again.
Shamanistic Fury
4 points for increased damage and a little totem placement speed is poor value when I compare it to nodes like Heartseeker or a Jewel Socket. If your build is stronger with Shamanistic Fury instead of those things then go for it!
Hierophant vs Inquisitor
Hiero is the overall better choice. To stay objective let's talk about the pros of both Ascendancies.

Some good things about Inquis:
  • Resistance Melt. No need for Elemental Weakness, Frostbite, and/or Cold Penetration Support. At the highest levels of gear this Ascendancy is top tier when it comes to bossing. In 3.3 Vaal Impurity of Ice makes this Inquisitor benefit less impactful since Hiero's now have access to a similar effect for cold only. While Inquis does it better (all elements) the other benefits of Hiero outweigh Inquis.
  • Less totems to keep up. Again another nod towards bossing. While PoB warriors might have better shaper DPS with all 5 totems, all 5 flasks, etc. Fewer totems to keep up means more flexibility in hectic fights where a boss is killing totems with AoE.
  • Instruments of Virtue. If your bottleneck is movement abilities then the huge cast/attack speed of this Ascendancy 2 pointer is hard to beat.

Some good things about Herio:
  • Totem placement speed. Faster placement and activation of the skill being cast. This quality of life helps in all aspects of the game. Getting 5 totems up and firing will take no time at all.
  • Easier to gear. Soul Mantle is even less required in this version because going from 4 to 5 totems is less of a DPS upgrade than going from 2 to 3 totems. Soul Mantle is still fantastic for the free link however and it is still 20% MORE damage if you have all 5 totems going at a time.
  • Free Power/Endurance Charge Generation. Conviction of Power generates power charges automatically and lets you drop a setup like Orb of Storms and Power Charge on Crit. This has some hidden benefits like opening up boot enchants where you Haven't Crit recently.
The Long Winter Jewel
Currently Disabled.
This option is cheaper and lazier but make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. You will still receive 20% of some very relevant curses:

  • Enfeeble: 5% reduced crit chance, 6% reduced crit multi, 6.2% LESS damage
  • Elemental Weakness: -7.8 to all elemental resistances
  • Flammability/Conductivity/Frostbite: -8.8 to respective resist and chance to be inflicted with corresponding ailment when being hit.
  • Vulnerability: 7.8 increased physical damage taken and chance to be inflicted with bleed/maim when getting hit.

Kikazaru users need to plan for the case where you are cursed with both a level 20 Elemental Weakness and a level 20 Flammability/Conductivity/Frostbite. Finding sources to overcap 17% can be difficult which often means losing Kaom's Roots which means losing Solaris for Brine King.
You will lose your mana pool and render Mind over Matter useless. Even dropping MoM nodes, reaching for more life, and getting extremely good life gear you will have trouble matching the effective health pool of even the most mediocre Mind over Matter Templars.
Gear Upgrades
Check the in-depth gearing section for the piece in question. There is more to this guide than the quick reference! Gear advice is going to be pretty specific to what you already have. I do my best to list what I feel are the best value in stats in terms of priority on a specific piece. However, you might be geared in such a way that something with a different priority will effect your tooltip/health/movement abilities in a better way. Path of Building is really the only way to see if a specific piece will work better for you. If you're apprehensive about dropping a lot of currency on a weapon or an upgrade because you're not sure how much better it is I highly recommend using PoB!
Helm Enchant
GC Damage and the Lightning Golem effectiveness enchant are all great options.
Leaving gems low level
This was something I struggled with as a new player also until I took the time to read the gems. There are two main gems that have requirements that aren't always met:
  • Cast When Damage Taken. Simple. This gem will cast linked gems when you take damage. What does leveling up the gem do? It increases the threshold of damage you need to take to cast the ability (this is a negative) but also allows you to use higher level gems which are more potent (this is a positive). Make sure your level requirement of gems matches with the level of CWDT that you are using.
  • Arcane Surge. Again, reading the gem does wonders here. You only get the buff of Arcane Surge if you spend the mana required to get the buff. Leveling up Arcane Surge will increase the potency of the buff but also increase the mana threshold needed to receive the buff. A level 7 Arcane Surge for example requires you to spend 32 mana in order to get the buff. A level 20 Orb of storms linked to Increased Duration or Area or CritChance will cost around that. Look at the skill in your bar to see what it is after your increases/reductions. You may have passives or pieces of gear that effect the mana cost of your abilities so the value listed on the gem itself may not be accurate.
Hall of the Grandmasters
Try putting in Scorching Ray instead of Glacial Cascade into your setup!
8. Thank you + Other Guides
  • Of course big thanks to the original Pizza Sticks Guide – lot of ideas and input from that guide.
  • Exodus820 on reddit who introduced me to the build and has been helping with tips and tricks of the trade! Congrats on his world first Shaper in the Chinese realm with this very build!
  • magicrectangle and RushBone who have been active on the thread with both ideas and answering questions!
  • Thank YOU for reading! I appreciate the success stories in the thread.
  • Special shoutout to all the people who drop by and hangout on Twitch as well as my Followers/Subs!

Other Guides:
Last edited by thi3n on Apr 20, 2021, 4:37:48 PM
Last bumped on Sep 11, 2019, 9:21:50 AM
hey, what is highest tier map you've run so far?
Hi there!

How is your survivability compared to Pizza?

Why did u go for Devotion and Alchemist isted of Totemic Mastery or Mana and Life Regen. or Constitution?

Im on Pizza and started mapping but feel so squishy...
ImagDragon wrote:
hey, what is highest tier map you've run so far?

He's done literally everything except for uber atziri since he's cheap. Shaper, t16/t15s/atziri/uber lab etc...
hey, what is highest tier map you've run so far?
Yep as Anavels (shoutout to my twitch viewer!) mentioned - I've done everything except Uber Atziri so far. I literally did shaper on my first try without knowing the mechanics of the fight at all. I think due to there being less room in the Atziri fight I need to learn the mechanics beforehand. The non Uber version of Atziri was a joke though. Literally phased her without her casting any abilities. I died once to the 3 guys because I didn't know about the degen aura they leave behind.

Hi there!

How is your survivability compared to Pizza?

Why did u go for Devotion and Alchemist isted of Totemic Mastery or Mana and Life Regen. or Constitution?

Im on Pizza and started mapping but feel so squishy...
I think the survivability is better because GC casts a huge instantly and also freezes.

The points on the tree are pretty flexible. If you wanted to lose the shadow crit nodes and flask nodes to reach down for scion life nodes for example that would be fine. I really like the flask nodes for the build because our flasks provide a ton of synergy (covered in the build).

My theoritical version :) more ele res (15%) and ele damage. Waht do u think?
The flask nodes are pretty important if you're using the self-curse chest. It's also more damage. The elemental damage is just a nice to have because it's working with post-physical conversion (so it's buffing your damage but not a full 100% of the skill. Spending 6 nodes to get 15 all res seems like poor value when you compare it to spending 2 points to grab a jewel that can give 7% life and 8 all res for example.
Last edited by thi3n on Aug 28, 2017, 12:52:39 PM
What about some videos, m8?
What about some videos, m8?

If you have access to twitch.tv you can check out my shaper kill last week as well as my mapping and gearing experiences: twitch.tv/thi3n
hey can we have Hall map run please? Build seems cool and really fun.
Former old diablo 2 median player.
Hi thi3n!

Very good build and very similar to mine in fact haha.

I was thinking of publishing my build but I dont know if it's worthy anymore because of the existence of two or three very similar ones.

However, I am playing HC SSF Harbinger and Im very oriented to build up additional defense layers, so I put much more efforts and points in survavility than in DPS.

These are my additional layers of defense:

- 4 End charges with "lvl 10 CWDT + Inmortal Call + Increased Duration": So when I receive high damage I proc the IC around 3 seconds of physical Inmunity (the time to save my ass and wait for Mana and ES regen while I exit the dangerous zone).

- Dual Curse Setup:
+ Temp Chains manually Casted + Arcane Surge (combo)
+ Orb of Storms + PCoC + Curse on Hit + Enfeeble (double combo)
+ Curse Effect Nodes ( this gives +30% Curse Effect to both curses and nodes are not far away in my tree)

- Finally:

Unlike your build, I didnt go towards the Shadow Crit Nodes because I already had enough DPS with Soul Mantle. Instead of that, I took the Scion life nodes (and curse nodes as stated before).

-Asdendency Synergizing with Sulphur Flasks + Curse Inmunity : I took the Consecrated Ground Ascendancy Nodes instead of Instruments of Virtue and Augury of Pertinence.

Although I still need the Pious Path Ascendancy Node, but Im still afraid of Uber Izaro.

This Ascendancy synergizes very very well with these flasks (I can have the Diamond and Sulphur almost always up):

My passive tree, you can tell me what do you think (always in the context of HC League):

HC SSF Harbinguer : Templar Inquisitor, LVL 94 (RIP).
STANDARD : Templar Inquisitor, LVL 97 (ALL CONTENT DONE)
Last edited by lourun_coria on Aug 29, 2017, 5:14:15 AM

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