[3.6] ColdXplosive Ice Trap Saboteur - All Content Viable & SSF Friendly - (Life + EE version)

22 April 2019
Added Delve boss fight Ahuatotli, the Blind Lv.83 in depth 260-ish.
Updated current gears with some explanations/notes.

13 April 2019
Added Synthesis Lv83 Twisted Synthete boss fight clip.

12 April 2019
Updated with Deathless Uber Elder gameplay!!! With some minor gear changes to beat Uber Elder. Replaced synthesis boss Altered Synthete to lv83 version.

10 April 2019
Added synthesis Lv83 Augmented Synthete boss fight.

07 April 2019
Replaced the synthesis mini boss fight (Rewritten Synthete) with a Lv.83 one, which is equivalent to T16 shaper's guardians or tankier I believe.

06 April 2019
Added T16 Eradicator Elder Guardian boss fight gameplay.

05 April 2019
Uploaded mapping and delving showcase, added two synthesis mini boss fights to video clips.

04 April 2019
Added syndicate mastermind boss fight to video clips section, edited Introduction section.

04 April 2019
Added gameplays of pure xoph, constrictor, enslaver, purifier, minotaur and phoenix boss fights.

03 April 2019
Added gameplays of red elder, hydra and chimera boss fights.

Hi there exiles, this is my second try to write another simple build guide and any criticism is welcome. I started playing Path of Exile during the last month of Harbinger League, which is 3.0 and instantly get hooked and spent quite a lot of hours since then. To be honest I'm still learning towards other build mechanics and architects as PoE is pretty massive with every new league, so bear with me if there is any mistake or weird decision making because I'm just a casual player that wanna beat the end game, complete some challenges as well as having some funs.
First of all, I decided to play SSF in Synthesis league and beat Uber Elder for the first time on my own. Therefore the build has to be a bosskiller but doesn't sucks at general map clearing, so I end up by playing a trapper once again but change from arc to ice trap instead since it is buffed massively in terms of number. I do like to play at slower pace this league because I'm tired of magic finding "zoom zoom" around til I have a hard time on my eyes to catch up with the fast motions on Windripper build I did in Betrayal farming to in order to buy my first Mirror of Kalandra in PoE.
By searching through all the trap build guides, there is very little existence of Ice Trap before the launch of 3.6 Synthesis. Across some of the Ice Trap builds I found doesn't appeal to my liking and playstyle so I theorycrafted my own Ice Trapper.
After playing Ice Trap for about 3 weeks and putting this build into real test, I can now say it done pretty well throughout most of the contents even with poor gears.

Video Clips
**Most of the recorded gameplays are uploaded and updated, currently working towards spawning another Cortex Synthesis Boss because the first attempt I got rekt and failed horribly.**
Uber Elder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx_fhqptgTg
The Shaper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0FUP5E0mlI
Syndicate Mastermind (Lv.83): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-_9juGMI7o
T14 Red Elder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVVQHlv9oDk
Uber Atziri: still missing 1 mortal fragment in ssf lul
T16 Guardian of Minotaur: https://youtu.be/D61uU782VNQ
T16 Guardian of Hydra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9eS3tYA_mw
T16 Guardian of Chimera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlY6meXQMUc
T16 Guardian of Phoenix (1 death): https://youtu.be/icnMJGc2a6Q
Delve Boss Ahuatotli, the Blind: https://youtu.be/2Dce3DKIK4g
Pure Xoph's (1 death): https://youtu.be/70q7BRVzLHE
T16 Elder Guardian Enslaver: https://youtu.be/dY--nPddBcE
T16 Elder Guardian Eradicator: https://youtu.be/lThKVBkHlK0
T16 Elder Guardian Purifier: https://youtu.be/yCyLgfVQoUw
T16 Elder Guardian Constrictor: https://youtu.be/8jhpBbrBS4U
Mapping Showcase: https://youtu.be/p4pfkBpt8lQ
Delving Showcase: https://youtu.be/klGRyzji4Ro
Synthesis Mini Boss (Altered Synthete Lv.83): https://youtu.be/aU36sm8pD_U
Synthesis Mini Boss (Rewritten Synthete Lv.83): https://youtu.be/5_9C0fcZnI0
Synthesis Mini Boss (Augmented Synthete Lv.83): https://youtu.be/XWqcL3sRQx0
Synthesis Mini Boss (Twisted Synthete Lv.83): https://youtu.be/QnbzZfEe_8g

Build Mechanic and Theory
The build mechanics are focused on Life for Survivability and Elemental Equilibrium (EE) for damage boost. Elemental Equilibrium, a single Keystone on the skill tree that boost your damage by at least 30% without any investment on gear is pretty insane in my opinion and I'm not sure if/how it will be changed on next leagues/expansions. So, enjoy the OP shit while it still available for Synthesis league :).
To proc EE buff, simply use storm brand/orb of storm during tough encounters or boss fights. It might seems a bit clunky but it can be solved easily by supporting it with faster casting to make the playstyle smoother and easier to pull off.
By being restricted to EE, I have to avoid any "added cold damage spells" on my gears so it won't messed up the EE buff.
For defensive layers of the build, I aim for at least 200% increased maximum life, Acrobatics & Phase Acrobatics for dodge and spell dodge as well as Blind in the Shadows and Pyromaniac ascendancy that provides blind aura and huge life regen. Aside from that, we are also scaling crit that provide more chance to freeze monsters with Ice Trap, even map bosses will be frozen too. :)
The main aura will be Clarity for easy sustain of mana usage, then followed by Zealotry for DPS boost. At the start of early mapping you can safely drop the Zealotry aura if your mana regen cannot keep up with the mana cost of traps spamming. Then use either Arctic Armour or Purity aura if resistances aren't capped at 75%. Zealotry is nice to have, but totally unnecessary until you reach red tier of maps. By the time of reaching red tier mapping, mana pool and regen should have been manageable with some %increased mana regen on gears. Otherwise just pick up some mana regen nodes on the skill tree.

Similar as other trapper playstyle, never ever try to facetank any big hits. If you do try to facetank like I did, pray hard on evade/dodge RNG blessing :D. Simply throw all your traps before the boss fight begins, and then aggro the boss afterward to trigger all traps at once for massive burst damage.
When having hard time against tough target(s), simply use storm brand to proc EE to and drop a Frostbomb on the target(s) to gain massive DPS buff. Frostbomb is very useful against target that have massive regen mod, such as Red Beast.
Siphoning Trap is quite under-rated skill since it doesn't provide any DPS boost. However, it is very strong for crowd control by applying chill effects to enemies nearby the trap once activated thus slowing their action speed significantly. At the same it also provide good amount of life + mana regen, especially for delving.
For endgame mapping, the clear speed is good enough with Increased AoE skill gem and quicksilver + silver flask as well as phase run that doesnt make backtracking feels that bad. With flask and phase run we are getting around 180% increased movement speed which makes walking/running feel good enough without spamming movement skills too much and are relaxing to play in slower pace.

Advantage vs. Disadvantage of Ice Trap
+ Good burst damage and single target DPS.
+ 6k+ Life and good life regeneration rate.
+ Can run all map mods.
+ SSF Viable.
+ Not relying on any unique gear or enchant, which is quite budget I think?

- Clear speed is mediocore.
- Optimal DPS setup can be clunky for players who prefer less buttons to press.
- No Regen map mod is a bit tricky but can be done by not reserving any mana and bring a mana flask.
- Effective HP (eHP) won't be as high as most Mind Over Matter (MoM) Trapper builds.

Ascendancy Progression
Pyromaniac >> Perfect Crime >> Chain Reaction >> Born in the Shadows

Ascendancy choice is actually pretty flexible and totally up to personal preference. Some players prefer Born of the Shadows first for safer start when leveling. Perfect Crime is also good choice as first ascendancy point for the DPS boost.
I was picking Born in the Shadows last because I was using Stibnite flask until Lv.90 and not having a single Diamond flask drop then I realize I disabled it to show on my lootfilter by accident xD.

Final Passive Skill Tree
Path of Building (PoB): https://pastebin.com/HSdybR5f
Current Lv.97 Passive Skill Tree

Final Skill Gems & Links
Main Skill (6-link)
Ice Trap - Cluster Trap - Trap & Mine - Hypothermia - Cold Penetration - Inc. AoE/Conc. Effect

Prioritize on getting a Lv.21 Ice Trap as it will give 10-15% more damage approximately, quality on Ice Trap doesn't matter that much as it's just 10% increased AoE. Other skill gems are good to have 20% quality, except Hypothermia which isn't that much of difference.
Added Cold damage provides slightly more DPS than Cold Penetration, but cold penetration provides consistency of damage output, especially on map mod "Enemies has extra elemental resistance".

Single Target Setup (4-link)
Storm brand - Faster Casting - Arcane Surge Lv.7 - Culling Strike/Power charge on crit

Storm brand is used to proc the EE buff for single target or tough enemies. Despite of Storm brand cast speed and activation frequency has been nerfed, faster casting will compensate that nerf. Low level arcane surge to proc the buff on every cast of storm brand. Power charge on crit is used early on, then swap it to culling strike later on after you pick up the Blast Cascade node in Skill Tree for power charge generation.
Feel free to change to Orb of Storm if your prefer that way as they both serve the same purpose.

Utility (4-link)
Siphoning Trap - Bonechill - Increased Duration - Phase Run

Siphoning Trap is amazing for crowd control and sustain of life and mana. It applies chill to synergize with Hypothermia on Ice Trap for single target, the chill effect is then boosted by Bonechill. Phase Run is just a quality of life to run faster and phasing thru everything.

CWDT Setup (3-link)

CWDT Lv.1 - Immortal Call Lv.1 - Enfeeble Lv.5

Just a generic defensive setup, nothing fancy. It helps to prevent spike physical damage to be temporary immune to physical hits for a short duration of time. The reason of keep this setup at low level is to ensure the enfeeble curse being applied consistently every time you got hit.

Movement Skill (3-link)
Flame Dash - Faster Casting - Portal

Portal is just a quality of life so I don't have to pick up portal scrolls anymore.

Aura (3-link)
Clarity - Zealotry - Enlighten

Enlighten is totally optional here, good to have extra mana unreserved if mana regeneration rate is lacking on gears.

Debuff - Frostbomb

Can be linked with Spell cascade/arcane surge/increased duration if there's any extra socket available. Without any support it is fine by itself.

Other Utility/Aura that can be considered if you can fit them in are:
Vaal RF (more DPS during skill effect)
Aspect of Spider (DPS increase and defensive layers)
Bear Trap (more DPS of course, but need some aiming/baiting skill to proc it successfully)
Focus (4s shock from ring veil mod, chance to deal double damage from weapon/shield veil mod)

Current Gears in 3.6 SSF Synthesis League

To ease the Uber Elder boss fight, I have swapped one of my opal ring to
This is a quality of life change to ignore the chill and freeze caused by Elder's ice spears which I can't avoid them sometimes so that I can keep moving/dodging Shaper's bullets all the time.
I have also replace the quartz and silver flask with
for extra DPS and flask sustain throughout the long fight.

Updated Latest Gears (22 April 2019)
Just a minor change/upgrade to my current setup as a preparation for next Cortex boss fight if I have enough luck to spawn it again. The gears listed above are still capable to beat all contents with ease.

Replaced the talisman that has carried me long enough, the extra chaos damage from non-chaos damage is giving a good amount of flat damage and I have some exalts sitting in my stash so decided to multimod it.
The trap throwing speed is a big QoL improvement and actual dps boost against targets/bosses that you have to constantly dodging. Other mods are just life and AoE crafted. It isn't the best multimodding but it is good enough and better than my old amulet.

Minor DPS boost over the old one, have couple spare opal rings in my stash and used a Shrieking Essence of Hatred and I got the best outcome I hope for, which is T1 life and little bit of mana with open prefix/suffix for mastercrafting.

Been ID-ing more than 200 fossil shields, never got a good one. So i throw some leftover essences to craft my own. Spamming some shrieking essence of greed and screaming essence of scorn finally yield me this beefy shield with open prefix. Then mastercraft it with cold as extra chaos damage.

This helm is crafted with pristine fossil, mainly for life and capping my lightning resist.

Gear Explainations
Any Wand/Dagger/Sceptre is fine. Just look for %increased Spell /Cold damage, %critical strike chance for spells, gain % cold damage as extra chaos, %critical strike multiplier.
For a budget starter, maybe a Divinarius is good enough to carry you to red tier maps without problem.
For the easy highest dps weapon, ilvl85 shaper Opal Wand is the best to craft I think. Alteration spam until you hit the Tier 1 "Gain 16-20% Elemental Damage as extra chaos". then regal, annul the unwanted prefix/suffix and multimod it. Or go with the safer way by spending 2ex to craft prefix cannot be changed and scour the 1-2 unwanted suffix, then multimod it.

Rare Fossilised Spriti shield or any hybrid shield that can roll spell/elemental damage and spell crit is fine. Affixes to look for are Life, Spell/Cold damage, Spell Crit, Gain Cold damage as extra chaos. Mana, Mana regen, Elemental resist are good to have as well.

Any rare helmet with tons life and resist, with open prefix is good to craft "phys taken as fire damage" veil mod. Or simply look for a crafting based temple helm with similar phys taken as ele damage incursion mods. I got my T1 life roll with lucky Aug/Regal , so I use it right away.
For unique helms, maybe Starkonja or any other helms that provide good stats and life are fine.
Helm enchant that is good to have: Ice Trap Penetrate 10% cold resist.
By using Pristine + Frigid fossil crafting a rare helm, you can get a delve suffix with "nearby enemies have -9% cold resist" and good life roll. This is another DPS boost option. I regret so much after reroll my tier2 life helm with the delve suffix so much just because there's no open prefix :3.

Body Armour:
Probably any rare 6-link chest is fine, but prefer to get Evasion or Hybrid Evasion/ES base to roll 5 green and 1 blue color on sockets. Just look for life and resist.
I manage to 6-link the Kintsugi chest with less than 200 fusings, becuase it was the only best drop I had early on so I stick with it for a long time and it does provide very good defensive stat for evasion based characters. Surprisingly, Kintsugi synergize very well with Saboteur blind aura as we are taking hits less often, but when first damage hits it always be 20% less. And 20% less damage taken is also applied DoT and other damage types I think as long as we didn't get hit recently.
For other unique chest options, Carcass Jack improves clear speed and dps boost. Shroud of lightless, Loreweave, Belly of the beast, Perfect Form are all great with bonus life and defense.

Any Shaper glove is fine, we only need to spam alteration on crafting until we hit the +1 additional Trap thrown to boost both clear speed and dps. Then Augment/Regal the shaper glove and hope it hits something good and master craft life on it.

Any rare boot with tons of life, resist and 30% movement speed.
Unique boot maybe an Atziri's Step for extra spell dodge. Or look for rare boot with incursion mod that provides 30% movement speed and extra dodge/spell dodge.
The most ideal DPS boot enchant will be "damage penetrates elemental resistance if you haven't kill recently". Otherwise, life regen and extra dodge chance when hit are solid for defenses.

Rare amulet with life and crit multiplier, other good affixes to have are spell damage, cold damage, crit chance, mana, mana regen and some missing dex/str.
Ideally you want either open prefix/suffix to craft increased AoE or trap thowing speed.
Unique amulet offensive choice: The Pandemonius, defensive choice will be Solstice Vigil that provide free temporal chain curse.
Rings: Rare rings with life, cold damage, mana, mana regen, resist, dex/str.

Stygian Vise with Life, Cold damage and some resist. Prefer to have an open suffix to craft trap throwing speed. Can be crafted by using Pristine + Frigid fossils.

Flask: These are the flasks I'm using when mapping/delving. Even bossing I don't feel the need to change them cause I'm just lazy :P.
Life flask (Bleed/Freeze removal)
Quicksilver of Adrenaline (for more movement speed)
Diamond Flask of warding (constantly immune to curses)
Quartz Flask (bleed/freeze removal)
Silver Flask (bleed/frezee removal)
Other good options for DPS boost/defense: Wise Oak, Atziri's Promise, Sulphur/Basalt flask.

For normal jewels, look for %maximum life, spell damage, global crit multiplier, trap throwing speed, crit multiplier with ele skill, crit multiplier for spells, crit multiplier for cold skills, cold damage.
For Abyss jewels, look for life,global crit multiplier, damage penetrate ele resist if haven't kill recently and resist/stats as well as mana and mana regen are good to have too.

Bandits & Pantheons
Bandits: Alira
Provide resist, mana regen and global crit multiplier. Unless you are having a very nice 4 stats jewel, otherwise she still provide the best stat from the start to end game.
Major = Soul of Brine King to prevent stun lock.
Minor = Soul of Shakari to reduce chaos damage taken and immune to poison once upgraded. Minor gods are very flexible, switch to any based on situation/preference.

Progression of passive skill tree as below:
15pts - starts with the trap nodes, then life and crit.

30pts - pick up more life and take the trap throwing speed clusters.

47pts - move towards clever constrcution and master sapper for more trap throwing speed, then take the remaining life nodes on ranger area.

62pts - move to witch area and take more life.

78pts - pick up more life again at templar side and getting the first keystone of the build.

93pts - path towards scion life wheel to fill up more life.

111pts - take the alchemist, acrobatics and phase acrobatics first for some quality of life on flask and survivability, then fill up the remaining power defense nodes.

*Please note that the leveling skill tree is just a brief guideline, so feel free to adjust it accordingly to personal preference.

Progression of gem links as below:
Level 1-4:
Explosive Trap - Lesser Poison

Level 8:
Explosive Trap - Added Cold - Multiple Trap
Frostbomb - Arcance surge (Lv.1)

Level 10: Flame Dash, Clarity, Siphoning Trap.

Level 18:
Explosive Trap - Trap & mine - Multiple Trap
Flame Dash - Faster Casting

Level 28: Ice Trap - Trap & Mine - Multiple Trap - Added Cold

Level 31:
Ice Trap - Trap & Mine - Multiple Trap - Cold Penetration/Hypothermia
Siphoning Trap - Advanced Trap

Level 38:
Ice Trap - Trap & Mine - Cluster Trap - Cold Penetration/Hypothermia
Siphoning Trap - Bonechill - Advanced Trap
Stone Golem

At Act 6 onward, you can buy all the remaining required gems from Lily NPC and use them as long as there are free socktets available.

Start using storm brand for single target after EE is allocated in the skill tree, then progress throughout the rest of the story.

1. Why cluster trap over multiple trap? Aren't multiple trap gives more dps and throw same amount of traps at the same time?
Cluster Trap allow traps to be thrown and spread more evenly on your mouse pointer, therefore they are easier to be triggered at the same time from chain reaction asendancy and resulting more dps and consistent clear speed. Whereas multiple trap throwing traps as a straight line, which can awkward and harder to trigger most of the traps unless having very big traps trigger AoE.

2. Why Cold Penetration over Added Cold and Elemental Focus?
Added Cold damage provides slightly more DPS than Cold Penetration in PoB, but cold penetration provides the consistency of damage output, especially on map mod "Enemies has extra elemental resistance".

3. Are there any specific uniques are required to enable this build?
None, just put up all rare gears with tons of life and capped your resist you are set. Some uniques are nice to have but totally unnecessary if you are tight on budget.

4. This build is dealing elemental damage, how does it became immune to elemental reflect and sustain life/mana in no regen map mods?
Traps mechanic work similarly as totems, which mean traps are the one that deal damage and killing enemies while you are not killing/hitting anything. In no regen map, just deactivate your aura and replace them with Arctic Armour if you want, then replace silver flask with a mana flask. As you cannot regen life, take your time and not rushing into monsters to get surrounded and died.

5. Is Elemental Equilibrium worth it?
Going EE is really worth in my opinion, especially as a life based character and tight budget. It's at least 30% DPS boost when you proc the EE. The only downside of play EE is probably have to avoid any sort of added cold damage to spells in your gears.

6. Is Mind over Matter (MoM) better than pure life based?
MoM is still the easier way to get very high eHP, but need to bring a mana flask which I personally dislike. I prefer to have a silver flask so I can move slightly faster while mapping.

7. How about Edritch Battery (EB)?
It is worth it only if you are using a Tinkerskin unique chest imo.

8. How about Bear Trap for extra DPS?
In theory it is another boost of DPS, but I feel it is much clunky to use on tough situations so I rather stick with frostbomb instead. You have to aim your trap position or bait the boss into it to trigger the effect, and most of the time I feel like it is too much effort to do so while frostbomb had better AoE and served the similar dps boost already.

9. What is the Ice Trap DPS?
This build have over 1 million DPS with some simple calculation and assumption of buffs present.
With most of the realistic buffs being ticked on PoB, Ice Trap has 120k damage per hit. With 0.43 trap throwing rate and 4 traps per throw, the real DPS will be:
4 traps / 0.43 throwing speed = 9.3 traps thrown per sec
Total DPS = 120k x 9.3 = 1.1 million damage per sec.

10. Why use Zealotry over Hatred aura?
Zealotry is actually much better than Hatred, as it creates consecrated ground when you hit an enemy (10% chance). Enemy that stands on this ground effect will take increased critical strike chance from all source of damage. With storm brand we are enabling this buff very frequently on tough target or boss. Besides that, the extra 6% life regen provides from consecrated ground provide more sustainability to facetank most map bosses when the character is gearing well enough.

Last edited by hmwgbworld on Apr 22, 2019, 10:13:24 AM
Last bumped on Apr 22, 2019, 9:33:00 AM
looks fun. I wonder if lightning trap would do the clear part?
Liollzl wrote:
looks fun. I wonder if lightning trap would do the clear part?

Yes, I think lightning trap can probably do well on the clear part with 5-link shaper helmet (that comes with trap & mine support suffix) or use a Hungry Loop unique ring. But then you have to give up some of the current utility setups in order to fit in.
Or you can also do gem/helm swapping with the current storm brand setup.
Thanks for the build, I'm playing in private league with my brother and loving it so far :).

I got lucky and a tinkerskin dropped, do you recommend using it and if so should I take Eldritch Battery? If I do this would I change clarity / run MoM? or are their any other changes you would recommend making for this item?

Thanks for any help :).
Last edited by Aussie90 on Apr 20, 2019, 4:17:18 AM
Aussie90 wrote:
Thanks for the build, I'm playing in private league with my brother and loving it so far :).

I got lucky and a tinkerskin dropped, do you recommend using it and if so should I take Eldritch Battery? If I do this would I change clarity / run MoM? or are their any other changes you would recommend making for this item?

Thanks for any help :).

Sorry for the late reply, I will recommend use the Tinkerskin as it is a good chest for trapper in general.

You can still play as life version of Ice Trap by using Tinkerskin without taking Eldritch Battery or MoM and it should work just fine. However, you might consider to drop Chain Reaction ascendancy node and take Explosive Expert instead so your traps are triggering independently to gain life & es on every trigger of traps.

If you choose to take Eldritch Battery, I think MoM would be a good choice for defense here and you can run Discipline (remove clarity since you are spending es now) and fully reserve your mana for auras, then get some ES on gears and drop both Acrobatic and Phase Acrobatics.
Last edited by hmwgbworld on Apr 22, 2019, 9:33:19 AM

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