[3.7] Ice Spear Miner - Fun & Fast Machine Gun Simulator, Great League Starter
Hey guys, once the news dropped that Ice Spear would be reworked for 3.5, I was 100% committed to going all in on it for league start. Its a skill that I had played around with when I was brand new to the game and then again in Ambush league as part of a Cast on Crit setup, and I've been itching to try it out again.
I've always liked the skill thematically; a high range, high crit but slow to fire projectile without any AoE component. Ice spear used to be the equivalent of equipping your character with a long-range sniper rifle. Sadly, as the game grew, Ice Spear began to show its age and fell out of use in favor of faster clearing and better scaling skills. With the 3.5 update, Ice Spear has been transformed from a sniper rifle into an assault rifle, and it is a ton of fun once again.
Not a whole lot changed for the build in this update, it didn't gain or lose any damage (thankfully), and the gear choices are very league independent by design. The only thing of note, really, is the loss of the nice mana nodes behind the Mind over Matter keystone. There is a net decrease of about 2.5% total effective hit-points by dropping those nodes. However, shifting those points over to the Arcane Will cluster in the witch starting area grants nearly the same amount of mana, and even more regen than before.
All-in-all, the build has been relatively untouched by the 3.7 changes, which is a good thing. It should remain a very solid build that is capable of all content on a reasonable budget. Enjoy 3.7, and let me know if you have any ideas to improve the build. Also, new videos are always appreciated!
Edit: Also, if you're using Cloak of Defiance, there isn't any reason to take the Mind over Matter Keystone anymore. I would suggest you either use that point to get more life/mana or possibly use it to pick up Wicked Ward for a bit more defense.
With the addition of some more flat Life and Mana Regeneration on the tree, this build got a small, but significant, defensive buff. Additionally, the base damage of Ice Spear and the Critical Strike Chance cap were both increased, resulting in a small boost in damage.
The 3.6 Update is mainly centered around self-casting as well as a few new chaos and holy themed spells, so it was unlikely that this build would be affected too much, but I'm happy to see that it avoided the nerf hammer and was actually buffed (lol).
Videos I'll be blunt, I'm really bad at Path of Exile, so these videos may not be very impressive. I've written this guide in the hopes that someone who is actually good at the game will play it and take it to its full potential. If they want to provide better videos for me to post, that would also be very appreciated.
As you can see, the damage is very nice, and once you get used to the place, fire & go playstyle, it clears maps quite fast as well. On top of that, this build can be fairly tanky and is very budget friendly. So, what do you need to get started?
Required Items & Some Math
... And that is basically it. I ran my first red elder of the league for a guild mate using a 5-linked Tremor Rod, though the 6-link is very much recommended for melting end game content. While Tremor Rod is the only required unique, there are a few others that I very highly recommend.
But why Tremor Rod, it has that nasty 35% less Mine Damage modifier on it?
The new version of Ice Spear scales dramatically based on the number of projectiles you're able to fling at targets, using Tremor Rod allows you to always have multiple mines firing multiple projectiles even during sustained casting and allows you to fire your mines twice before they expire.
Adding in Minefield to your 6-Link setup results in more detonations and even more projectiles, but the damage penalty you take from using Minefield over another support gem isn't worth it in the end. As you place more mines per cast, you also begin to replace mines that have yet to be detonated and are still arming, resulting in a loss of efficiency. The Tremor Rod, +1 Mine helmet and Demolition Specialist combo has very little loss due to overwriting mines that have yet to finish arming.
So what does it all mean anyway? Basically, under perfect conditions where you're able to sit deal uninterrupted DPS, you can detonate an average of about 16 mines per second. Combine this with the 7 projectiles fired by Ice Spear (with the helmet enchant and GMP) and you'll be launching an impressive 112 projectiles per second. My current character can reach about 77k average damage per Ice Spear against Shaper while my flasks are up, resulting in a fairly staggering 8,600,000 sustained DPS against endgame bosses.
In addition, the front-loaded burst damage is actually even higher, if you place all of your mines before detonating, you'll be able to activate them twice in the span of about 0.4 seconds (due to the 0.25 second rearming time and 0.2 second detonation cooldown, technically if you time it perfectly, you could detonate them a second time after only 0.25 seconds). This means that you'll be able to load up 126 projectiles and fire them on command over the course of half a second, dealing about 9,700,000 burst damage in one go.
These numbers can be pushed even higher with the addition of Righteous Fire and Vaal Righteous Fire for a completely unnecessary 16,700,000 sustained DPS during the buff effect. In practice it is very unlikely that you will hit these numbers as they rely on all of your temporary buffs being active at the same time and every Ice Spear projectile reaching its target. Even without any of your temporary buffs active, you should have more than enough damage to do all content in the game, however.
Highly Suggested Items
Cloak of Defiance is great for this build, the high mana cost and fast placement rate of your mines require a great deal of mana regeneration to sustain continuous damage. Cloak of Defiance provides a large amount of flat mana as well as some additional mana regeneration, on top of all of that it pushes the standard 70/30 Mind over Matter split to 60/40, allowing us to invest more into mana (for more mana regen) without sacrificing effective hit points.
Atziri's Foible, similar to Cloak of Defiance, provides a massive amount of mana and mana regeneration. On top of that, it reduces the stat requirements of your gear and gems, allowing you to mostly ignore the stat requirements on those items.
You may be noticing a trend here, Dream Fragments is another great source of mana regeneration. On top of that, it will make you immune to freeze and chill (which compliments the shock and ignite immunity you get from the saboteur ascendancy quite nicely). The ring also provides a large amount of cold resistance, meaning you won't have to get much elsewhere.
A rare shaped helmet with the Place an Additional Mine mod is a huge upgrade for this build. It allows you to drop the Minefield support in favor of another support and will improve your damage dramatically. In addition, the Ice Spear fires an additional Projectile uber lab enchantment is recommended (although not required).
On my character I am using a Clear Mind for extra mana regeneration and a significant amount of spell damage while I am not reserving any mana.
In addition, I have a Watcher's Eye with the mana recovery rate and damage taken from mana before life while running clarity modifiers. This allows me to reach even higher amounts of mana regeneration (letting me sustain casting of my mines even while arcane surge is not active) and also allows me to invest even more into mana as my Mind over Matter life to mana ratio effectively becomes 50:50.
I am running a level 1 Clarity aura linked to Blood Magic (so as not to interfere with my Clear Mind jewel. This is an end game optimization that is not required for the build, but makes me significantly more tanky than I would be without the jewel.
Beyond unique jewels, you should look for jewels with Life, flat cold damage to spells and critical strike multiplier.
Watcher's Eye Alternative
For 3.6 I've been playing this build once again, however this time I am playing in a private league. One of the great things about this build is how accessible almost all of the gear is, even the shaped helmet with the Place an Additional Mine modifier is relatively easy to acquire. The Watcher's Eye is one item that still eludes me, however.
I've yet to come up with a good solution to replace the 10% of Damage taken from Mana before Life modifier on my Watcher's Eye from 3.5, but the increased Mana Recovery Rate modifier also appears on shaped belts. This mod is very important, as it allows you to sustain the mana cost of placing your mines indefinitely. In 3.6 I am currently using a belt with this mod until I am able to acquire a Watcher's Eye with the combination of mods that I want, assuming that ever happens.
My Gear Please ignore any gems socketed in these items as they may be incorrect.
If possible, try to get your resistances balanced to make the most use out of a Wise Oak flask; or at the very least, prioritize your cold resistance so that it is your highest resistance. Alternatively, you could swap Wise Oak for the more expensive Dying Sun, which would likely result in higher damage output but lacks the defensive benefits of Wise Oak. As I've been completing more content I've begun to realize that the build really just doesn't need more damage and I've been prioritizing defenses over offense when the choice is present.
Passive Tree and Path of Building *Please note that my tree is optimized around having 50:50 life to mana ratio due to my Watcher's Eye jewel, if you are planning to play this build with a 70:30 or 60:40 ratio, you would need to drop some of the mana nodes in favor of extra life in order to achieve the most effective hitpoint spread.
Additionally, I highly recommend you help Alira during the storyline quest: Deal with the Bandits. The additional resistances, mana regeneration and critical strike multiplier are all great additions to this build.
Leveling Information and Gem Setup
The tree is very similar to most other miners, I recommend you start leveling with Explosive Trap until you can use the 5-Link setup of: Ice Spear + Remote Mine + Minefield + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Trap and Mine Damage. Please note that if you have a 4-Linked Tremor Rod, you can forgo the Remote Mine support.
It is also imperative that, before you begin using ice spear, you get the Piercing Shots node on the passive skill tree. The second stage of Ice Spear has built-in pierce, but while the skill is arming, it can still be blocked by nearby enemies. The 2 initial pierces are all you should need on this build.
If you have a Tremor Rod, replace Remote Mine with Controlled Destruction.
Additionally, once you acquire a shaped helmet with the mod: Place an Additional Mine, replace the Minefield support with either Increased Critical Damage or Elemental Focus. Elemental Focus has a significant DPS advantage over Increased Critical Damage, however it prevents your Ice Spear from freezing and shattering enemies which is great quality of life while mapping. I suggest using either Elemental Proliferation (once your damage is high enough) or Increased Critical Damage while mapping and swapping to Elemental Focus for endgame bossing.
Another endgame optimization which might be available to you in order to eke out a little bit of additional damage once your gear is fairly well advanced is swapping out Cold Penetration for Added Cold Damage. I would only recommend this if you are using Frost Bomb and Wise Oak in conjunction with either a helmet with the Delve-specific modifier Nearby Enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance or the Labyrinth boot enchantment Damage Penetrates 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven't Killed Recently. These additional sources of elemental penetration reduce the effectiveness of the Cold Penetration support relative to the flat added damage of the Added Cold Damage support.
Order of Ascendancy points
You should pretty much always take Pyromaniac first, as it is your main defensive mechanic and also reduces the Mana cost of your mines so that they are easier to sustain.
Secondly, if you feel confident in your defenses, go for Bomb Specialist. If you are taking more damage than you are comfortable with, take Born in the Shadows.
Your third ascendancy node again depends on your defenses but also on your gear. If you already have a helmet with the mod Place an additional Mine and you are confident in your defenses, take Demolitions Specialist (or Bomb Specialist, if you took Born in the Shadows before). If you're feeling a bit squishy, take Born in the Shadows.
For your last node, take either Demolitions Specialist or Born in the Shadows, depending on which is still available to you.
How do I get 3 Green and 3 Blue sockets on my Tremor Rod?
Getting the right socket colors on your Tremor Rod can be a bit tricky as it is a strength and intelligence base with a natural inclination to roll red and blue sockets. The good news is that, because Tremor Rod is a lower level base, the stat requirements on it are not high enough to make rolling green sockets cost-prohibitive.
According to the Vorici Chromatic Calculator, the average cost of rolling 3 green and 3 blue sockets on a Tremor Rod by throwing Chromatic Orbs at it is about 546. You can bring that number down by using the crafting bench option At least one Green Sockets, which costs 4 Chromatic Orbs per try but should only take an average of 110 attempts.
Another option, for those who are planning to 6-link their own Tremor Rod, is to use the jeweler method, which can guarantee 3 green and 3 blue sockets on the crafting bench by using a large quantity of Jeweler's Orbs. The initial step in this method is to force the first three sockets to be green by using the crafting bench option which costs 120 Chromatic Orbs. To get the remaining 3 sockets, you use the crafting bench option to craft 4 sockets onto an item. This will leave the original 3 sockets as they were and craft a new fourth socket with a random color. If you do not get a blue socket as your fourth socket, you use the crafting option to make an item with 3 sockets and repeat the process until the fourth socket is blue. Once you have 3 green and 1 blue socket on your staff you repeat the same process using the 5 socket crafting option and reverting back to 4 sockets if you do not get the desired colors. The same method applies to getting the sixth socket.
Some other options that use league specific mechanics to craft white sockets are also available in 3.5. White sockets can hold any color of gem, so they are perfectly acceptable alternatives to green sockets.
In 3.5, you can manipulate Vorici into the research branch of the Syndicate, where he will give you the option to craft white sockets on to an item for you using his crafting bench in the reseach safehouse. Ideally, you would use an item that already has a mix of green and blue sockets so that you are more likely to get a usable combination of green and blue and white sockets.
Beast crafting also provides another option for crafting white sockets, although the white sockets will always be placed in the first position available. Using this method, you would want to ensure that you do not have green sockets in the first few spaces, as they will be replaced.
Finally, using the tier 3 corruption altar in the incursion temple, you can get an item with all white sockets, although you could also end up with nothing. Good luck!
Cast When Damage Taken
I currently use two Cast When Damage Taken setups, the first is purely defensive: Cast When Damage Taken + Immortal Call + Increased Duration + Phase Run. It is important to note that I have over-leveled my Phase Run gem so that it still benefits from the linked Increased Duration support but I am able to self-cast it instead of relying on Cast When Damage Taken to trigger it.
My second Cast When Damage Taken setup is a mix of offense and defense: Cast When Damage Taken + Projectile Weakness + Increased Duration + Frost Bomb. Like the above setup, I have over-leveled my Frost Bomb so that I can self-cast it, this is purely down to preference though as it will work just fine when triggered by Cast When Damage Taken.
It is very important that, if you are following the above suggestions and also have a helmet with the Place an additional Mine modifier on it, you use the Immortal Call and Phase Run setup in your helmet. Because the gems socketed into your helmet will be supported by the Remote Mine support gem, using Projectile Weakness or Frost Bomb in your helmet will not work. Immortal Call and Phase Run cannot be supported by Remote Mine, so they are perfect for using in this item slot.
Projectile Weakness should be the best offensive curse available to you, and as an added bonus, it also gives you some knockback chance. The mix of offense and defense it provides is great in all situations, but you might consider swapping it for something like Temporal Chains or Enfeeble if you want something even more defensive.
With the addition of the Bonechill support, Siphoning Trap becomes a cheap source of additional damage on top of already providing a solid defensive buff. Bonechill causes enemies to take increased damage based on the chill effectiveness of the chill which is applied to them, the combination of a 20% quality Siphoning Trap + Hypothermia + Bonechill provides an 84% increased chill effect without any investment on the tree.
Another benefit of Siphoning Trap is that it directly applies a chill to enemies within its area of effect, meaning that you do not have to meet a damage threshold to apply the status effect. On top of all of that, Siphoning trap also provides a flat 356 Life regeneration and 19 Mana regeneration while any enemy is affected by it.
As an alternative to Siphoning Trap, Lightning Spire Trap is a good source of shock, which likely provides an even greater damage output but lacks the defensive properties of Siphoning Trap. I would recommend that you try both and choose to run whichever you prefer.
Flame Dash is my main movement skill aside from Phase Run. However, I am also using Flame Dash to trigger Arcane Surge, which provides a significant damage boost. My Current 4-Link is Flame Dash + Faster Casting + Arcane Surge + Increased Duration. It is important to match the trigger threshold of Arcane Surge with the Mana cost of your Flame Dash so that it triggers every time you use the skill.
That's all for now, if you have any questions, please let me know. I hope you enjoy playing Ice Spear as much as I have.
Last edited by LepreConMan on Jun 15, 2019, 6:54:01 PM
I've also been experimenting with the 3-Link setup of Siphoning Trap, Hypothermia and Bonechill to achieve an 84% increased effect of chill, however I'm not sure how that would fit into the damage calculations. Regardless of the damage boost, it provides you with a nice amount of regen and I highly recommend fitting it in if you can.
Frost Bomb and Projectile weakness are also great additions, I have both of these on a Cast when Damage Taken setup. Finally, I have a 4-Link Flame Dash with a level 8-9 Arcane Surge, Faster Casting and Increased Duration. This gives you a nice damage boost and mana regeneration buff for a few seconds every time you use Flame Dash.
I'm going to be unable to play for the next few weeks, however I'll still be around to answer any questions.
Last edited by LepreConMan on Dec 21, 2018, 3:05:52 AM
Looking at your gem setup posted in the op, is there any reason you use the detonate mines skill gem tied to BM/Clarity? Bit of a PoE noob so not sure if you're using it to fill a gem slot or it has some interaction to it.
Clarity is linked to blood magic so as not to interfere with my clear mind jewel that requires I have no Mana reserved. The detonate gem just happens to be in there because it was the only place I could fit it in.
Some of the gems are in the wrong places on my gear from those snapshots, my projectile weakness curse should not be in my helmet for instance since it is supported by the remote mine support from the shaper mod. I updated the PoB link so the gems should be in the correct locations on there. My profile is also public if you want a more up to date look at my gems, the character name is LepreTuggler. On my phone atm, so, sorry for any confusion.
Looking at your gem setup posted in the op, is there any reason you use the detonate mines skill gem tied to BM/Clarity? Bit of a PoE noob so not sure if you're using it to fill a gem slot or it has some interaction to it.
i am confused about the need for detonate gem also, since remote mine comes with one already.
For me, it's mostly just quality of life so that I can choose which hotkey I want it on without re-binding the detonate key in the settings.
You could also set it up on a spell totem to have your mines auto-detonate. There actually wouldn't be much of a benefit, DPS-wise to using a totem for detonation in conjunction with manual detonation since the number of mines you can detonate is already balanced against the number of mines you can place (in the recommended setup). If you used minefield in your 6-link setup in addition to some cooldown reduction gear, you might possibly see some shift in DPS, but I haven't looked into those numbers much. The main bottleneck is arming time, so I'm not sure anything would even change really.
In the end it just boils down to preference, some people prefer auto detonation via totems so that they don't have to worry about spamming the detonate hotkey against bosses. I just prefer manual detonation and wanted to change the hotkey without hassle.
i was thinking something like that. i remember several leagues ago when i played a miner, i had to rebind. this time however i didn't, i just put it on the skill bar like any other spell. either it was changed or my game is some how different. it does still show up in default position though as D, along with what i bound it to.
spell totem works, i like manual also, and i like it in a cwdt. they hit me, i hit back, lol. thanks for the clearing up!
Last edited by clobberhead on Dec 28, 2018, 6:45:25 AM