[3.7] The Human Blender - Double Malice Ice Nova w/ Avatar Of Fire!
This is a build guide for my Legion league Assassin character. It uses dual-wielded Cospri's Malice with Cyclone to cast Frostbolt and Ice Nova in sequence, using the double-cast property of Ice Nova when cast near Frostbolt projectiles to get a big damage boost. It uses the main 6-link for a Cyclone setup that also includes an extra Ice Nova gem for a large damage boost.
It boasts some pros and cons:
- ~8.5m burst DPS
- Surprisingly cheap, the jewels are 1-2c for sick 3-props
- Very maneuverable, smooth Cyclone gameplay
- Way more flexible and powerful than I expected
- Acro/Phase Acro and perma-blind on everything nearby
- Perfect accuracy, no accuracy gearing requirements
- Messy screen
- Optimisation is a monster task
Uber Elder demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi60XcYFeRo
DPS calculations, with boss adds (Frenzies up, no Assassin single-target bonus, no full/low life, not including Cull, Vortex down):
Nova 1: 164871.7 x2 x7.5
Nova 2: 164274.8 x2 x7.5
Frostbolt: 217766.6 x7.5
Total = 6,570,447
Total w/ VRF 29% More = 8,475,876.63
This build relies upon a new pairing introduced in the game in 3.7:
This pairing immediately gives us perfect accuracy. This completely frees us from having to run something like Lycosidae or a high-level Precision and a Tempered Mind jewel. With critical strike checks rolling your accuracy twice, this is very important for maximising our crit rate with Cyclone. We also get some very nice bonuses from Flesh And Stone; namely, all nearby enemies are blinded (giving us a base ~60% chance to evade anything nearby) and damage we take from everything that isn't blind is reduced by 11%.
The Effigon has 10% Fire Penetration on it, so naturally we converge into using Avatar of Fire to convert everything to Fire damage. This also gives us access to a lot of other benefits, like taking Snowforged, good pathing past Heart Of Flame and Arcane Potency, and Combustion.
Two Cospri's Malice weapons are used; one contains an Ice Nova setup, and one contains a Frostbolt setup. The Frostbolt one should be in your right hand to cast first. Both use Cold To Fire to convert their damage, and then one of those should run Combustion. The other may run any DPS gem; Ele Focus seems best, and putting Focus on Nova and Combustion on Frostbolt gives the best DPS output. We also need a Frozen Trail jewel to make sure we have multiple Frostbolt projectiles to spawn Novas from; it also helps a lot in clearing maps.
The main link is your utility Cyclone. I use an extra Ice Nova setup in here for extra damage; it's around 35% of the build's DPS output in these links.
This build appears to work best as an Assassin. Assassin gives us access to crazy amounts of crit chance and some multi. We also get a significant movement speed boost and culling strike, which works well in a rapid-hitting build like this for ~11% More Damage. Shadow tree pathing is also very good for this build.
Path of Building: https://pastebin.com/32BKmNyb
Note some interesting features of this tree. I go quite far down the right side to collect Acrobatics, partly because we need the Dexterity. I also don't spec Doom Cast or even Annihilation, despite pathing very close to both, since I am so close to crit cap. I originally took Fatal Blade to get the build going, as well as Divine Fervour for more Cyclone crit, but that fell off in usefulness completely over time. Power Charges are also useless for us, taking 2-pointers is not worth it.
For tuning your attack speed, you can spec and unspec Retribution, Precision and Coordination.
Help Alira if you want to cap resists more easily, it's efficient but you may not need the resists and the regen is useless. Kill all otherwise.
Major Pantheon choice would be Soul of Lunaris. Minor can be anything but Garukhan, Ralakesh and Shakari seem the best.
The right hand (left slot on your character screen) should have Frostbolt/Cold to Fire/Combustion. The left hand should have Ice Nova/Cold to Fire/Elemental Focus.
Cyclone, Increased Critical Strikes and Faster Attacks maximise your procs. Cast on Crit/Ice Nova/Cold To Fire is an extra DPS setup. Note that this setup only procs every other hit, since we hit twice as fast as the cooldown. Optionally you can fit another Frostbolt in here for more procs, but I can't find a way that that does not reduce your overall DPS, since the other links are all important. In a 5L setup, you would probably just drop Cold To Fire.
Our Aura setup consists of Flesh And Stone, Herald of Ash and Zealotry. Zealotry has fractionally less DPS than Hatred, but gives 6% life regen against bosses and opens up some wacky Watcher's Eye mods. You can get a 10% Taken modifier on top of the Precision 15% Attack Speed roll for very cheap, 1-2Ex, and it's virtually BiS!
Given a -4 mana cost craft on a ring, Vortex with Arcane Surge and Increased Duration should cost 32 mana; enough to proc a lv7 Surge. Don't go higher than level 7 unless you want to have to cast Vortex multiple times to activate it. Vortex also gives us access to Chill in an Avatar Of Fire build, for the crit bonus on Malice. Vaal Righteous Fire benefits from the Duration link too, so it lives here.
These fit nicely in the helmet slot as your mobility skill 3-link and the level 1 Precision. Precision costs no mana and gives us access to great Watcher's Eye mods. Leap Slam is fine too.
Having an Elder chest with base crit to attacks is a solid choice for getting Cyclone crit high, and for consistency while the Diamond flask is down. Other options are Carcass Jack, Belly of the Beast, Farrul's Fur if you build for it, and Daresso's Defiance is fine I guess. Loreweave, Perfect Form, you name it, the sky's the limit.
These two helms are very strong choices for this build. They provide a lot of important perks. Attack speed is important, life is good, evasion is good, crit is good, movement speed is good, and we have a very high Dexterity requirement (212) to equip Malice. Importantly, you can get a corrupted Starkonja's with Fire Damage Leeched As Life for fairly cheap, giving us access to spell damage leech.
BIS here would likely be a -9% Fire Resistance Fossil-craft helm, with big life, resist and/or dexterity rolls.
Enchants are Cyclone Attack Speed and Ice Nova Damage. Not much else works for us. Perhaps a reservation enchant is useful. Vortex AoE and the Curse effect rolls technically work.
Life, resistances, attack speed, and damage rolls. There are a lot of available damage rolls. Several of the Temple mods work well (Damage vs Burning or Chilled enemies) and we can use Damage during Flask Effect, % Elemental Damage, or the implicit Spell Damage on Fingerless Gloves. Melee Range is OK but since we need to be within Flesh And Stone range it's not ideal. Doedre's Tenure kind of work as pure DPS.
Commandment of Spite is the ideal enchant, giving chilled ground AoE when we get hit. This makes sure we get the crit buff from Malice without needing to use Vortex as well as helping us survive.
Atziri's Acuity would be cool. Shadows And Dust give access to Rampage as well as some more crit.
I'm using Matatl boots, with 30% Movement Speed 12% Spell Dodge, life, resists and crafted 25% Attack Dodge while Focused. Enchant is flexible but the movement speed, spell dodge or flat cold/fire rolls appear to be best.
The ultimate boots would be cooldown recovery speed boots with life, resistances and high movement speed. However these are inordinately hard to obtain and I won't recommend them here. They allow you to have a completely flexible belt slot.
You can hunt for nice corruptions on these too.
Lots of cool things are now rollable on rings. First, you need a -mana cost craft on one of them. This makes Cyclone free to cast. After that, Poacher's Mark on hit works well for the life gain on hit and Frenzy charges. Assassin's Mark also works great before you have high enough crit, and is also a little more damage in general. Other than that, life, resists, % Fire Damage, % Cold Damage, attack speed, global multi, spell damage, crafted stuff, whatever. Opal, Diamond, Coral or resist bases are all cool.
Mark of the Shaper becomes an option if you are running an Elder ring for Poacher's Mark too; it gives a very large amount of damage, but resistances start to get hard to cap.
Hotswap a Pyre to deal with Porcupines and Delve Wetas.
Unless you are very wealthy and can get good Cooldown boots, the belt should be a shaped Leather belt with 14% or more Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed, as well as life, resists, and optionally spell damage and movement speed. The key stat is the cooldown recovery; and no, you *cannot* use crafted recovery speed, unfortunately, since it doesn't go high enough.
The Flow Untethered is an option when you need to really go fast.
A few unique options in Wise Oak and Cinderswallow Urn. Quicksilver, Diamond and Life round it out. Dying Sun is great for clear speed.
You require a Frozen Trail for the build. The options for rare jewels are extremely nice; we can use many of the crit multi rolls as well as % Fire and % Cold, Attack Speed rolls, and of course life and resists. We can very cheaply get jewels with combinations of Attack Speed with Swords, Fire Damage, multi with Cold Skills and multi with Spells. Nobody wants these, as they require an Avatar Of Fire caster that wants Attack Speed! We also benefit very heavily from crit multi rolls, since we have near-cap crit chance, so get two of those at minimum on each jewel.
Watcher's Eyes provide several very good options. Precision Attack Speed and Precision Multi are both excellent. Zealotry % Damage Taken and % Penetration are very good. The above jewel was extremely cheap, since there are so few builds that can use it. Swapping out to Hatred gives access to the base crit mod, but we can't use the Cold Pen variant.
Optimising Cast On Critical Strike Triggers
CoC and Cospri's Malice have an internal cooldown. This cooldown is shared between different things in important ways, which are important to know:
- Two Cospri's Malices will share a cooldown for the *same* skill in both weapons
- Two Cospri's Malices have a separate cooldown for *different* skills (either one in each weapon or both in one of them)
- Cast on Critical Strike will share a cooldown for the *same* skill in the same link
- Cast on Critical Strike links will have separate cooldowns for *different* skills in the same link
- Cospri's Malice procs a single spell only when you crit with that weapon
- Each Cast on Critical Strike link will proc *one* linked spell when you crit with the linked attack, taking it in turns
- Cospri's Malice and Cast on Critical Strike do not share a cooldown for the same skill, you can proc both of them when hitting with a single Malice
- Cyclone hits with alternating weapons, taking turns
This cooldown is listed as 150ms. This is... misleading.
I wrote a forum guide on most of the interactions here:
Safe to say, it's complicated; but there are some simpler rules you should remember.
First, the 150ms cooldown behaves as a 165ms cooldown (5 server frames) internally. Then with 14% or more Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed on gear, it acts like a 132ms cooldown (4 server frames). To get to 3 server frames (99ms), you would need 52% Increased Cooldown Recovery, which as far as I know is not possible.
Having a listed attack rate of exactly 6.06 attacks per second with Cyclone means having one attack per 5 server frames. Naturally, you should aim for 6.06 casts per second with no cooldown recovery. An attack speed of exactly 7.57 attacks per second gives an attack per 4 frames, which corresponds to having 14% or more cooldown recovery.
1. You should aim for exactly 15.14 attacks per second on Cyclone. Having more than this will reduce your damage.
2. You also require an absolute minimum of 14% Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed on gear. Having less is at minimum a 20% DPS loss, and at worst, around 33% less.
I told you it was hard to optimise.
Other Variations To Consider
There are a few choices that you can make:
- Remove Ice Nova from the 6L setup and use only utility gems. Fortify, Rage, Combustion, Culling Strike, Additional Accuracy (for non-Effigon variants), Power Charge on Critical (for non-Assassin variants) or Curse on Hit all give a ton of utility and flexibility to this build.
- Switch Zealotry for Hatred. This opens up other Watcher's Eyes, including the Hatred base crit one. Then you can free up your chest slot, at the cost of some very pricey Watcher's Eyes.
You can also build into Avatar Of Fire using a Xoph's Blood. This requires that you solve your accuracy problems some way other than an Effigon. This can be done by putting a Tempered Mind above the Witch start for ~1400 flat accuracy, and then taking the Acuity wheel for accuracy, dex and attack speed. This allows the build to gain significantly more life.
Other Ways To Build Malice Ice Nova
Scion Assassin-Anything can give you some improvements over Assassin in this build. Assassin is mostly useful for the speed, cull and of course the crit and power charges. Scion Assassin can provide those at a reduced effectiveness, generating power charges and such but with a little less base crit. You can build around this and get more damage from Scion Inquisitor to pair with it, or take any utility Ascendancy you like, and getting the rest of the crit for Cyclone should be fairly easy. You will likely get a lot more life, as well as some movement speed and accuracy if you use the Unnatural Instinct jewel in the top-right Scion socket. That could be a very nice alternative, especially if you consider not using The Effigon.
The Slayer Ascendancy provides some very serious competition for the build with the new base crit on Overwhelm, but the pathing changes radically and is extremely uncomfortable.
There are plenty of other options for different Cospri's Malice Nova variants in general. I think the Cold-based Assassin version is completely fine. I've been fiddling with Path of Building and getting slightly less damage from the Cold version than from this version, as well as having to manage other fiddly things like Vortex Bonechill being more important for damage and also placing Frost Bomb. It also doesn't benefit from the Effigon penetration; so you could use a Pandemonius and Tempered Mind/Precision/gear to cap accuracy. There is also the option of using Noxious Strikes with some added physical damage to spells and attacks; this gives us poison on all our hits and we can easily stack 20 poisons extremely quickly for 2% extra base crit. This doesn't work with Avatar Of Fire, unfortunately, even with Volkuur's Guidance!
Berserker? You what? Berserker CoC? Yes! There is a new jewel introduced in Legion:
This jewel straight-up gives you 25% More crit on your Cyclone. Get one, put it somewhere, get some stats from it too, and go to town. Aspect of Carnage and Flawless Savagery are really good picks for the build, but you may be overdoing it with Rite Of Ruin's absurd Attack Speed bonuses.
Inquisitor and Trickster can do virtually the same build with the same trick; the problem with any of these is capping your Cyclone crit, so if you can do that, you can do anything!
Last edited by SpiritKid on Dec 3, 2019, 6:38:57 PM
Last bumped on Aug 27, 2020, 1:48:50 PM
on Jun 23, 2019, 2:18:32 AM
Hi, why do u use 2 ice nova (in chest and sword). They dont share cd?
on Jun 23, 2019, 11:11:53 AM
Correct, CoC and Malice do not share a cooldown, even for the same skill. I'll update the guide to reflect this! Thanks.
on Jun 23, 2019, 6:57:31 PM
what do you think of using shroud for elemental penetration
on Jun 25, 2019, 2:16:39 AM
Unfortunately Shroud would only apply the penetration to one of the Ice Nova casts, not to everything. It makes it fairly weak. Also the weakest damage link on the chest is Cold To Fire, which is gigantic considering Avatar of Fire.
on Jun 25, 2019, 6:01:50 AM
i see thanks,
i should be looking for a 14% AS cospri right or would 13% work too
your opnion on the soul tether+doryani combo for alot of extra survival
Last edited by alls92 on Jun 25, 2019, 7:09:15 AM
on Jun 25, 2019, 6:41:26 AM
Video please. TIA
on Jun 25, 2019, 7:34:32 AM
13% vs 14% gives you a 1% attack speed difference, it's very slightly relevant; the attack speed tuning is down to your personal gear. I haven't spent the extra to get the 14% Malices yet but they are slightly better.
Soul Tether/Doryani would work pretty well if you can get some GG boots. You have a lot of Int to scale the ES and the survivability is very welcome.
I may do a video today...
on Jun 25, 2019, 4:37:26 PM
"The Frostbolt one should be in your right hand to cast first.".
I'm guessing this is so the ice nova casts on the frostbolt right ? I'm just asking because I tested that a long while ago and I'm pretty sure it didn't work at the time, and I've been away from poe for a long time (before Ice nova was modified).
If that works, this is clearly the second build I'll made this league.
on Jun 25, 2019, 5:51:15 PM
My thinking was more towards being able to pull more survivability.l especially when your top fire tree says fire damage leeched as ES so I was considering going more ES heavy. In a t15 map I was doing a white hyrri archer 1 shot me from full but queen hyrri can't even one shot me from normal attack which got me really thinking am I too paper
If let's say we give up on the 14% CDR how much in term of damage would it hurt us? In return we get about I think 1k ish or more in eHP.
My experience with the build is as I am still doing the ice variant not speccing avatar yet I see alot of survivability from blind and freeze my guessing is that fire variant just pop everything instantly.
Lastly with how much AS we are pulling would a 5% chance to shock gem be good to pull up our DPS too
Last edited by alls92 on Jun 25, 2019, 6:28:18 PM
on Jun 25, 2019, 6:26:12 PM