[3.20] Ice Shieldmaiden Scion Build

Hello and welcome to my build thread and the only build I've ever posted on these forums. The Ice Shieldmaiden (formerly Glacial Hammer Shieldmaiden), a build made by a lazy person (me!) for other lazy persons who just want to have a chill and relaxing experience playing the game.

No stress, no fuss, just play your way through the entire game as you run through damn near everything for a straightforward hammering experience. It's good as league starter all the way to the Maven, A8 Sirus, Simulacrum (wave 30 - yes, I finally managed it), and some pinnacle bosses. You don't do it by blowing up the screen.

You do it by literally facetanking everything they throw at you.

You can facetank Uber Eater of Worlds, while doing enough damage to not take half an hour to fight him. You can facetank everything the Maven throws at you. Did you accidentally touch one of her spinning beams that stop you from healing? No problem, just walk up to her and bash her on the face with your mace until the debuff goes away; it's not like she can hurt you, not really. When Sirus drops the meteor geysers or the Eater of Worlds starts its expanding circle beam thing, other, lesser builds have to walk around to avoid the damage; you, instead, can step right in it and use it to simply refill your flasks - while maintaining eye contact with the bosses, to establish dominance.

Our attack skills of choice are Glacial Hammer and/or Ice Crash. I'll explain fully in the skills section. Hat tip to Drakne514 for suggesting Ice Crash.

The main draw for the build is blocking. Max out your block. That was the start of it, chiefly because of the number of builds out there that seem to be walking around with "max block but using Glancing Blows". I personally think Glancing Blows, well, blows. The increase in block at the expense of letting some damage through might be attractive, but the 65% completely ruins for me. Going from 50% block to 75% block essentially halves incoming damage, so going from 50% to 75% but letting 65% of damage through is actually worse overall.

It's great if you have big life/ES recoup numbers though.

So in the quest for max block I realized that all the good block nodes are on opposite sides of the tree.

That's not a problem for a Scion.

Pros and Cons

+ You can punch way above your weight with a small investment.
+ It's a really tanky build.
+ You have very deep multilayered defenses. At times you'll feel like there's nothing you can't block.
+ It is very straightforward, so it's very easy to change and fit your playstyle without breaking some weird interaction or particular must-have tree nodes.

- It's a little slow. There's no getting around it, which can be a problem for some of the content (Legion chiefly, and high levels of Delirium; Incursions are not really a problem).
- There's an expensive (regrets-wise) tree switch in the middle of it after ascendancies.
- Gear is very niche, which makes it hard to find - likely having to rely on self crafting.
- Damage comes late.

By the numbers, you do ~5M DPS with the tankier version, and ~6M DPS with the slightly less tanky version. The gap used to be much larger before the curse nerfs.

10M DPS might be possible sacrificing some life and tankiness, see notes at the bottom on possible alternative items.

In action, it looks something like this: https://youtu.be/cXgKbkFmI8Q

3.20 Sanctum Update:

Sanctum is an absolute pain in the butt with this build. Once you ramp up damage you can chug along by stunning and freezing the guardians in there (ironically, that makes the non-corrupted version of the main weapon better for Sanctum than the corrupted one), but it's a pain.


You can get one of these bad boys and it'll change the shape of the build like nothing else:


It cost me a divine to get the Invocation for the implicit, and it allows one to economize on no less than 4 points on the tree - an absolute bargain. On top of that, there's both spell and regular block available (though you'll only ever get to have one of them - spell block is better IMO since you can max regular block more easily).

Keep this in mind as you read the rest of the build. I used another characted with Bane as the main skill to faceroll Sanctums and acquire relics.

Instead of just throwing a Path of Building link, I'm going to explain how the build operates from a basic tree, and how to customize it to your liking. If you want a TL;DR go to the bottom, I'll post PoB links with the full build there.

NOTE: PoB links are for 3.19 with custom edits to simulate the hextouch nerfs in the curses. I'll update them once PoB updates, all it'll do is change the calculations slightly but makes no difference to how the character's built.

Understanding the Build.

To understand what this build does, have a look at this tree. This is the basic split tree that everything else is going to be based on.


What you have is half the tree on the Duelist side, which you use to grab both regular block and Armour/Evasion nodes for your defences, and half on the Templar side, which you use to grab Elemental Overload, spell block, and some basic elemental damage and survivability wheels. You achieve this by taking advantage of the Scion's ability to start from other classes' start point.

If you look around that tree, you'll notice there's plenty of wheels that do whatever it is you want to do. Armour/Evasion aplenty. Mace damage and masteries on both Duelist and Templar sides. Accuracy wheels. More life. Leech. Elemental damage. You can take whatever you need based on your preferences and what gear you've found.

A full tree with everything you'd need from it defensively would look like this:


The objective of the build is to start from that tree, then clip out branches as your gear gets better and better. You do this by increasing the amount of block and spell block in your gear, acquiring the right jewels (including cluster jewels), and building up mana reservation to run auras.

This means your ascendancies are chosen. Gladiator on the Duelist side, and Inquisitor on the Templar side, going all the way to Path of the Templar so you can allocate from the Templar's starting point.

There are TWO ways to build this character. As a Tank, or as a Humvee. The reason for that is the following auras:

Hatred + Grace + Determination + Herald of Ice

Hatred is a MUST. You always, always have it because of how damage is scaled up in this build.

1. Grab as much flat cold damage as you can.
2. Multiply it by increased cold or elemental damage from gear and tree.
3. Add more damage via Hatred and Elemental Overload.
4. Eldritch Implicits to round off the build (more on that below).

That leaves you with three auras and, realistically, only enough mana reservation for two. So you either run one defensive aura and Herald of Ice, or you run both defensive auras and no Herald of Ice.


This is the standard set of gear both configurations of the build will use. I'll expand on how to craft it afterwards.


Weapon: Our weapon of choice is Frostbreath. It has attack speed, added flat damage, and a juicy double damage against chilled enemies, which are literally all enemies you'll encounter. Corrupted (and this is important) so that we get Fortification on Hit. Fortification is an added layer of defense that, while not amazing, does help top up tankiness.

However, you can literally use whatever before you get Frostbreath. The high block and high defenses will compensate for it.

Amulet: Stone of Lazwhar, Corrupted for "You can apply an additional curse". This amulet gives a massive boost to spell block, and because it's a common drop, you can trade it in for not a lot with that corruption - or even corrupt it yourself. The extra curse is a big source of extra damage, even with the nerfs, so it's absolutely required.

Both Frostbreath and Stone of Lazwhar are common enough drops that, in trade league, you should be able to find them double-corrupted relatively cheap - they'll drop like that from the Vaal containers in the Vaal Temple. For Frostbreath, flat damage is what you want. For the amulet, you want a boost to one of your auras (Hatred or your defensive aura of choice).

Shield: The cornerstone of the build. You want 15% spell block, as much regular block as possible, and the Crusader's "1% extra damage per 1% chance to block", which is a huge boost. Double-block shields like this are rare, so 100% this will have to be self-crafted.

Body Armour: You want an Armour/Evasion chest piece, with a boost to defences, phat extra life, and 10% Spell block. 10% Spell Block is a veiled modifier, so you'll need Aisling's bench or veiled chaos orbs.

Helmet: You want mana reservation, which you'll get from essences, and accuracy, which you'll need in your gear. Other than that, pretty standard.

Boots: Not much you want from this, other than the fact that you can have synthesized boots with 2% chance to block spells - which might be useful, keep an eye on trade for them. The rest is the usual boots (move speed, life, resists, and whatever extra goodies you may want from them).

For Lab enchant, you want added flat cold damage when you've been hit recently. Your first layer of defence is block, so you get "hit" a lot. Absolutely brilliant.

Gloves: You absolutely, 100%, want attack speed and high accuracy for suffixes, and life and flat cold damage for prefixes. Optional (and not showcased), the incursion suffix that'll add cold resistance and cold damage.

Ring: This is a competitive slot, where you'll want resistances, added elemental damage, flat cold damage, life... ONE ring in common for both build configurations, because the other slot changes between builds.

Belt: Not shown, because it'll be radically different between builds.



Chest: You can simply look for a body armour that has the spell block modifier with life and armour and call it a day. They'll drop, and people will sell them. If you want to craft the body armor I showcased (with %life and +life), you are going to need:

1. A body armor with big %armour/evasion boost and INCURSION life (the double % and +), and one open prefix.
2. At least one open suffix.
3. Craft "prefixes cannot be changed".
4. Hit it with a veiled orb.

If you unveil the right prefix, then done! If it's a suffix, and you still have an open prefix, you can use Eldritch Currency to wipe the suffixes and try again. This is fine because you will want eldritch implicits on your body armour (I went hatred effect and frenzy charges when near a unique enemy).

If prefixes are full, there's no choice but YOLO annul and pray. If you brick the item, go find a new one.

It's not a terribly expensive craft, just a little annoying that you'll brick a few items before getting there.

HOWEVER, if you find an incursion body armor with full prefixes, you can try the Aisling bench.

For the suffixes, once you have the right prefixes (with the 10% spell block, divine it if you must but accept nothing less), suffixes are crafted via Harvest. Craft "prefixes cannot be changed", then Harvest craft Physical. Additional physical damage reduction is the only suffix with the "physical" tag and it's the one I recommend, so it's guaranteed. If you don't like the suffixes, Eldritch currency will let you try again.

Shield: Unfortunately, nerfs to Harvest plus the dilution of the affix pool with (formerly) conqueror-only mods has made crafting the shield a bit of a crapshoot. Basically, you will get double-block by spamming these:

Until you hit T1 spell block. The Alteration Orb way would require some 70,000 for hitting double block at T1/(T1/T2). Block affixes have no tags, so they can't be targeted by targeting said tags, and the tag pool is too large to reliable exclude enough of them via fossils to make a difference.

It's about 60 essences to hit T1 Spell block (as per Craft of Exile). Once you have it, if you're lucky, you'll have room in the prefixes to craft "suffixes cannot be changed" and reforge life with Harvest. More often than not, this only adds a single life mod and nothing else. To clear undesirable mods, you'll have to YOLO annul with

This all sounds worse than it really is. All you need is the double block and some life, anything else is just gravy. Once you have that, you want an open prefix to do a Crusader Orb slam for the "% damage per % block" mod - it's literally the only thing that can roll as a prefix so it's guaranteed, just make sure you don't have an open suffix, by crafting something random if necessary. Realistically, you'll probably end up with a collection of shields with different suffixes.

Ask me how I know.

If you have a lot of them and, unlike me, you've been using Deafening essences to ensure max physical block, you can use the surplus to gamble in Alva's temple for double corruption. There's corruption implicits for block and spell block. But this is just gravy and not strictly necessary.

Gloves: As with the chest, Eldritch currency will make our life easier. You craft attack speed via essences:

And spam it until you get a big accuracy number. After that, craft "suffixes cannot be changed" and reforge via Harvest, if necessary, for life OR cold (you really, really want flat added cold damage, but the crafted added cold damage isn't bad at all).

HOWEVER we know 3.20 will introduce fracture orbs via Harbinger. If they're not extremely rare, you can use them to try and fracture the cold modifier of an appropriate pair of incursion gloves:

Then use essences as before. I personally tried no less than nine times before I gave up this league, which leads me to believe that either fracturing is weighted, or I'm rottenly unlucky. Regardless, this would be the endgame item for your gloves (with appropriate Eldritch implicits).

If you find a pair of incursion gloves like that but which affect Lightning or Fire instead of cold, you can change them to work on cold by using the Harvest craft that changes the type of resistance an item has. Super handy.

Helmet: Nothing to it. Literally essence spam with mana reservation until you get accuracy again.

And as before, Eldritch currency to either eldritch chaos spam or reforge via Harvest and "suffixes cannot be changed".

As for the Lab enchant, either get Frostbite curse effect, or Ice Crash/Glacial Hammer damage - your choice. Curse effect will be more flexible.

An additional thing you could want to find is +Level of socketed AoE gems, and place Auras in here. It's either a veiled mod for +2, or crafted for +1. And like before, you get it via protecting suffixes with Suffixes Cannot be Changed + Veiled Chaos, or via Aisling bench.

Boots: Literally nothing special, standard crafting for boots, specially if you use a synthesized base with +2 to spell block.

Curses and Eldritch Implicits


The build relies on double-cursing for a good chunk of the damage scaling, since neither Glacial Hammer nor Ice Crash have great gem scaling. With the nerfs to curses in 3.20, the importance of good Eldritch implicits in gear has become higher. There's four slots where you can use them, and you'll use them in all four.

1. Helmet: Curse effect for the Searing Exarch (Frostbite scales higher than Elemental Weakness), Damage or Cold Penetration for Eater of Worlds. Alternatively, mana reservation if you're having trouble - more mana reservation to be able to run your stance will be a great help.

2. Body Armour: Increased Hatred effect is #1, from Eater of Worlds. For the Exarch, you can go with plain increased cold damage, or, if you're bossing, go with "gain a frenzy charge when in the presence of a unique enemy". Having Frenzy charges during boss fights will do more than the flat damage.

3. Gloves: You can inflict exposure with the gloves, which is, of course, the best choice from Eater of Worlds. Exarch has more choices: Extra strike targets if you're going Glacial Hammer, Herald of Ice effect if you're going Humvee, or an all-rounder like attack speed or flat cold damage added (which, if you remember, scales very well since it's added at the start of the damage amplification chain).

4. Boots: The only good option to scale up your damage is increased action speed. It's nice, don't get me wrong, but overall you might be better off with synthesized boots (corruptions on boots aren't great in general for this build).

The Eldritch implicits really are BiS for this build. Typical corruptions such as +gem levels won't help much since, as mentioned, these melee skills don't scale particularly great with gem levels. You can fill up holes in the build, too, with block chance on chest readily available and resistances in several slots. Those are really only temporary, so don't go all crazy on them.


There's a lot to unpack here, so we'll go one group at a time.

=== Main Attack ===

1. (Anomalous) Glacial Hammer = (Awakened) Multistrike = (Melee Splash OR Ruthless) = Hypothermia = (Awakened) Added Cold Damage = (Awakened) Elemental Damage with Attacks


1. Ice Crash = (Awakened) Multistrike = Concentrated Effect = Ruthless = (Awakened) Added Cold Damage = (Awakened) Elemental Damage with Attacks

Ice Crash vs. Glacial Hammer:

The obvious difference between the two is that Ice Crash is a superior AoE which doesn't need Splash Damage support. However, Glacial Hammer doesn't need it either for boss fights, including Pinnacle bosses, and it has built-in culling at a massive 30% against frozen enemies, which feels very, very nice indeed.

Eldritch implicits allow for extra targets with melee strikes as well, increasing the usefulness of Glacial Hammer.

The other big difference is that we will use Blood and Sand to scale up Ice Crash damage, which puts even more pressure on mana reservation. Glacial Hammer will be more relaxed from that point of view, which is not something you should underestimate.

If you want the flexibility of being able to use both Ice Crash and Glacial Hammer, you'll need one white socket on your body armour. Chromatic orb it until you get 5 red and 1 green, then use Vordici's bench to add white sockets (realistically, 1 socket). You'd have to be mighty unlucky to hit the green socket when turning one white.

=== Auras ===

2. Enlighten = Hatred = (Grace = Determination = Herald of Ice)

Choose two from the three in ( ), which determines whether you're going Tank or Humvee. Place them in your helmet.

=== Chill ===

3. Vortex = Bonechill PLUS Cast When Damage Taken = Molten Shell

Literally what it says on the tin. Scale up that chill effect for extra damage and double damage with Frostbreath.

=== Curses ===

4. Reckoning = Awakened Hextouch = Frostbite = Elemental Weakness

Hextouch has been nerfed for a -35% curse effect. So this is the "cheap" setup, the endgame situation would be to get ring(s) with CURSE ON HIT, which has a flat effect and no penalty for automation. Thanks to the -35% curse effect, this is a big boost in DPS, but it's also going to be expensive/difficult to get the right rings.

Importantly, however, if you move the curses to your ring(s), you will be able to free up this entire group of gems, potentially allowing you to add things like blind support or culling strike support to Reckoning, or even slot a totem (which I tend to avoid).

=== Other ===

These will go on Frostbreath and your shield. In no particular order:

* Divergent Tempest Shield: Huge mana reservation hit, but will allow you to max your spell block. Absolutely get Divergent variant (2% extra block via quality), and once you're rich enough, consider corrupting it for level 21 (with 20+ quality) for an extra 1% block. 1% matters.

* Precision: With optional arrogance support. A single level of PRecision will give a nice bump to your crit% chance, which helps activate Elemental Overload.

* Blood Rage: Source of Frenzy charges and attack speed. Also the reason why you'll never have Energy Shield.

* Defiance Banner: More defences.

* Blood and Sand: Great damage scaling for Ice Crash. Definitely prioritize it over Defiance Banner, if necessary, if you go Ice Crash.


There are three jewels (other than cluster jewels, which will be specified in the PoB) that you want. Shoot for them, or just slot whatever until you get them.


1. Unnatural Instinct.

Place that bad boy right here:

By placing it right by the Scion start, and changing the route to the OTHER side of the path, you "lose" the increased ranged damage small passives, and gain the rest. This includes damage, life, and a whooping 9% chance to block. The main purpose of this is to save points in the tree that can be better allocated.

2. Lethal Pride.

Plop it in the middle of the Duelist area:

Use Path of Building to search for the one that works best for you. You can get armour, melee damage, %life, and even life leech (the one on my screenshot gives 8% life, 40% melee damage, 20% armour, and reduced damage from crits). Life leech can be extremely valuable for building your cluster jewels, so don't sleep on it.

3. Watcher's Eye.

The #1 priority is flat cold damage with Hatred. As I said, the damage scaling is such that initial flat damage can be the most impactful. All-Hatred Watcher's eyes can be expensive, but additional damage can come from not just Hatred, but also from attack speed with Precision, so that helps a lot.

4. Nothing, that's it. This doesn't leave a lot of room to get immunity to corrupted blood, so that can be a problem. The best (albeit annoying) way to get it is going to be corrupting small cluster jewels for mana reservation, which you will certainly be using.


Simple. You want to use flasks that let you gain charges when hit. Why? Because when you block, the game still counts it as you being hit and fills up your flasks. This is huge, because you block a LOT.

And as I said, attacks that consist of rapid-fire hits, including some Pinnacle Boss attacks, do nothing but give you charges. It's great.

As far as the enchant goes, "Use when full" is great for mapping, but "Use when hitting a unique enemy unless already in effect" is a great option for bossing.

So that's the basics. Now, how to put it all together.

TL;DR Starts here.

=== The Tank ===

PoB: https://pobb.in/4nnx3Orzrex_

The tank plays using both Grace and Determination, losing the big, big damage scaling that comes from Herald of Ice.

To make up for it, we scale up our damage using this beauty:

Look for it double-corrupted if possible, but even the default isn't bad (the implicit gives armour and evasion, which then get multipled, which then scale up in damage). Not only do you get chunky damage, but you also get Onslaught with your fortifying Frostbreath. On top of that, if you add the Lab belt enchant that adds 30% accuracy while you have Onslaught, you're halfway to solving your accuracy issues.

This build also will use a second rare ring, something like this:

Endgame-wise, the Tank can use TWO curse rings, one for Frostbite, and one for Elemental Weakness, and completely economize on the Hextouch curse slots, gaining flexibility (including having a counter-attack culling strike AND a totem). The Tank uses a single large cluster jewel, a single small cluster jewel, and a Megalomaniac:

: The Large Cluster Jewel has Prodigious Defence (for block), and the rest are your choice. Martial Prowess or Gladiator's fortitude are my top choices, and one leech (more on that below).

: Small cluster jewel for mana reservation, with a Notable for Grace, Determination, or Hatred mana reservation.

: Megalomaniac with Prodigious Defence OR Second Skin (for block), a second Notable for mana reservation on Grace, Determination, or Hatred (not the same as the small cluster), and a third which can be empty.

Between the Large Cluster, the Megalomaniac, and the Lethal Pride, the Tank needs to cover both mana and life leech needs. You don't need a lot, but you do need both. Note that, until you get the clusters, the tree gives you all the leech you need from the Vitality Void/Spirit Void wheel on the Duelist side of things.

=== The Humvee ===

PoB: https://pobb.in/EIjMvxuUzfmg

The difference with the Tank is that, by using a single defensive Aura, this build makes room for Herald of Ice for an extra ~20% DPS. Since either Armour or Evasion will be low, using Perseverance to scale damage is not that great. Instead, a Stygian Vise with good life and a juicy Eye jewel are used. Also, the second ring slot is filled with this:

A top-drawer Circle of Fear ring is the item of choice. A good selection of implicits can scale damage even further.

This leaves a single rare ring capable of carrying a curse-on-hit for endgame rings. If going this way, replace the gems in boots and gloves with the following setup:

Vortex = Awakened Hextouch = Bonechill = Elemental Weakness

Molten Shell = Cast When Damage Taken

This leaves two slots available for Totems, if desired, or even arrogance Precision to free up even more mana to alleviate reservation pressure.

The second advantage of the Humvee is the availability of jewel slots (two, to be precise), which can be used to round off the build. This is so because the Humvee uses TWO large cluster jewels instead of one. The second large cluster jewel has the exact same requirements as the first one (Damage While Holding a Shield), and can add an extra 3% to block and spell block, freeing up the build a little.

Extra Considerations and Alternative Items


There are a few items that are worth considering for this build, which I don't necessarily have in hand but are not exactly hard to get. What is hard is fitting them in the build improving what is already there.

1. Heatshiver: The new version of the Heatshiver helmet is a powerhouse of elemental damage. It adds 1% of cold damage as extra fire damage per 1% Chill effect on the enemy (which is typically 30% or close for this build), and adds 100% of cold damage as extra fire damage against frozen enemies, which happens very often thanks to all that cold damage you do.

It's a chunky amount of DPS, but it has a drawback: Mana reservation. Not only the mana reservation you get from the essence spam, but also, potentially, Eldritch implicit mana reservation if you're having trouble running all your auras. Plus life, and also, and very importantly, accuracy.

Mana reservation can be mitigated with a corrupted Heatshiver carrying the "Socketed Skill Gems get a 90% Cost & Reservation Multiplier" implicit. It won't help as much as the flat reservation mod, because the 10% reservation you can get from an essence applies globally (including on your stance, banner, and Tempest Shield skills). As far as accuracy, you will have to compensate somewhere. And that's quite difficult.

2. Rainbowstride: The new, re-designed Rainbowstride pair of boots has up to 20% spell block, which is AWESOME. Unfortunately, boots are a very, very competitive slot, so it's not as straightforward as it sounds. If you find these boots early, use them immediately. Can't think of better boots before you start working on endgame gear. But later on, they're useful only to replace gear. And corruptions on boots aren't particularly great either.

It's not quite enough, even if perfect, to remove Tempest Shield (which would be the big payoff) unless you allocate more spell block on the tree or, potentially, get a corrupted double-block shield with extra spell block implicit. Which is hard. Also, Tempest Shield does give you shock immunity, although that's not as crucial. So that's a very aspirational goal.

So, what piece of gear can you replace if you run Rainbowstride? Remember that there's an opportunity cost when compared with good boots, so the replacement has to be worth it.

- Shield: A really, really, Big D*ck Swagger shield with massive block and no spell block. It has to be a pretty damn awesome shield. No, Aegis Aurora isn't sufficiently awesome since you have no Energy Shield. No, Emperor's Vigilance isn't sufficiently awesome because it allocates Glancing Blows. It'd have to be a massive armour shield with big life recoup, or some other shield that has great sources of damage. Remember, in its final form, your shield not only has block, but it'll give 1% damage bonus per 1% block. So that's a really big one.

- Stone of Lazhwar: Replacing the amulet sounds obvious, right? Well, not so fast. If you're going to replace the amulet, you are going to need another source of extra curse. Which, realistically, means corrupting whatever amulet you want to use when replacing the Stone of Lazhwar until it gets the right implicit. NOT easy. And also, it has to cover the opportunity cost of what you lose on the boots (Eldritch Implicits can give action speed, which is surprisingly massive). It's not impossible, but the amulet has to be really, really good. +Level to curses, elemental damage, mana reservation, all the trimmings, plus the extra curse. Remember, you can Trade a double-corrupted Stone of Lazhwar cheaply, so the new amulet will be competing with the extra aura effect from the double corruption too.

- Body Armour: Of all the possibilities, replacing the body armour is probably the one that'll give the best return. As before, remember the opportunity cost of the boots you're replacing. Additionally, if you use a unique body armour, you lose the Eldritch Implicits too. Consider options carefully.

That said, there are some pretty great chest armours in the game, so this is probably worth exploring.

3. Curse on Hit rings. As mentioned, that'll bypass the Hextouch setup and increase curse effect substantially. Additionally, you can get Vortex/Bonechill/Hextouch/Single Curse on a 4-link setup, which will open up slots. Totem and Arrogant Precision (for Heatshiver) are the candidates here.

A few tests on PoB puts damage for the Humvee, if we sacrifice some life and armour, at almost 10M on paper (5.5k life, 42k Armour, 6k Evasion for 41% chance to evade, but has to use totems, and anoint Panopticon).

In practice it's less because the totem dies. Still, this could be the way. Also, the Humvee has room for +1% spell block on the rare jewels the Tank has no room for.

Something to keep in mind :)

Getting There

You start life as a Duelist Scion, which is a very comfy way to start life to be honest. Early on you have much more block than spell block, and because of mana requirements you won't be running Hatred for the extra damage. Regardless, as a Duelist, and you're spoiled for choice when it comes to how you want to boost your defense and damage. You will have to respec out of some of it, as mentioned, but you have a sizeable amount of refunds out of questing anyway, so don't be afraid of it.

You want your Frostbreath as soon as you're strong enough to wield it. Another item I strongly recommend, and even kept in the PoE build, is the Lycosidae Unique Shield.

The one I had is particularly juicy with the corruption, but even the standard one will do. It's got life, it's got block, and it's got Your Hits can't be Evaded, which is what it's all about. That's absolute gold when leveling, as you won't have to worry about your accuracy at all. Definitely invest in that extra degree of freedom.

When to switch is a good question. I did so as soon as I had the points to get the Spell Block I wanted (68% in my case), and there is a noticeable dip in damage but uptick in survivability when you do. I was clearing red maps 3-5 levels above my own at that point. A bit slow, but rather safely. Note that initially you'll be running Tempest Shield and Hatred, before you can start getting enough mana reservation for at least one defensive aura.

What Comes Next

As before, I'm still workshopping this, and of course ideas/feedback would be awesome, but I have to say I'm enjoying what I'm getting. It's supremely comfy playing and feeling safe. While pavement kissing is inevitable in PoE, it's rare enough that I'm more surprised than frustrated these days.

Also, potentially, there's nothing in this build that says it *has* to be Glacial Hammer or Ice Crash. The max block + defenses requirements are very much their own thing, and the damage comes from a single skill, plus support gems and straight-up boosts from gear affixes (i.e., this isn't one of those "take these three/four/five unique items and the particular interaction of all the parts makes this crazy build" thing). So theoretically this could work with a lot of skills.

If you made it to the end, go back and read the parts you skipped.

Just kidding (mostly at my expense, I know it's long and rambly), thanks for reading and hopefully you'll find this useful!

Peace out-
Last edited by Walkiry on Dec 28, 2022, 12:52:05 PM
Last bumped on Apr 3, 2023, 12:26:25 PM
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Thanks for the novel build. Will try it out
Thanks for the novel build. Will try it out

At first I thought you meant it reads as a novel because it's long LOL. I'd love to hear how it works out for you, I'm still tweaking it. Just added Elemental Overload, which is working great for me.
An update on this is that I'm playing the Atlas Invasion event for fun. It's got a super rough start, but it becomes very smooth sailing very fast. For a number of reasons:


These things are dropping faster than the vaal orbs people use to boost them. So, 6-link as soon as you can buy any support gems. Glacial Hammer itself is the starting skill of the Templar, so you can just make one and throw it in the stash.


There's really no good starter maces/scepters for this. So I did Spectral Throw with the toucan for a couple of acts. Brightbreak is pretty good once you get it, so at level 20-ish you can swap. Because they drop a LOT.


I only became aware of the massive boost Tempest Shield received last week, and I've been working on how to put it into the main build (you can and will give a good DPS boost by freeing tree points, but it's tight and it's expensive - there's a reason people do life reservation for that much aura stacking). But as a starter? Well, that's a different story. By the time you hit the second Lab you'll max out attack block and with those three get close to the 50% spell block you'd get with Versatile Combatant, so the starter build becomes even easier. Even without the shield (which has the higher level requirement of those three) you can still do better than you would with Versatile Combatant thanks to the amulet and TS.

A few of the bosses are still overtuned, but this is the perfect event to try out this build quick. Got Frostbreath one level later than the minimum level requirement, been swimming in Lazwhars, it's seriously so smooth. And it's hilarious to be walking down a corridor and suddenly have a bright yellow beam fill it because you've got a Shaper at the end of it beaming you down LOL.

Here's what it looks like at 62, facerolling everything... with 10 unallocated points: https://pastebin.com/cXxJuciD
Last edited by Walkiry on Dec 25, 2021, 8:37:17 PM
Thank you for the build idea, playing it in Atlas Invasion and may do it as a league starter next league for the stress free nature of it.

I have one question about the Mace Mastery that makes all damage with maces and sceptres chill. I dont know if Im missing an interaction but isnt that a wasted point since we already chill everything anyway just by doing cold damage?

Artophwar wrote:
Thank you for the build idea, playing it in Atlas Invasion and may do it as a league starter next league for the stress free nature of it.

I have one question about the Mace Mastery that makes all damage with maces and sceptres chill. I dont know if Im missing an interaction but isnt that a wasted point since we already chill everything anyway just by doing cold damage?

Thanks for the feedback. It worked really well for me in Atlas Invasion too, though with the holidays I decided not to try and sink too much time into it.

I might be wrong about this, but I'm not sure if chill has 100% chance of happening depending on damage and mob resistances. I freely admit that my testing has been quite subjective: Running through maps with and without it and seeing whether more "stragglers" remain in big groups after hammering them. The idea was, given that chill = double damage, there should be more survivors if I don't double the damage, which happens if they're not chilled.

So it's been a very subjective test. If I'm misunderstanding the mechanics then that's one point in the tree that can be recouped, and there's plenty of good places to put it! :D
Are you planning on updating the build for 3.17? Does the change to Glacial Hammer and loss of the jewel affect the build much?
Artophwar wrote:
Are you planning on updating the build for 3.17? Does the change to Glacial Hammer and loss of the jewel affect the build much?

Yep, the plan is to still update it. Losing Winter Burial means having to go the melee splash route, which isn't ideal, but I think it'll still work well as a starter build. Hopefully I'll have the answer in a day or two.

My gut feeling is that leaning on Tempest Shield and now having 100% conversion to cold right off the bat will make up for much of it in the early to mid game, but mana reservation will be more important than ever.
Good to hear, looking forward to the update. :)
League's about to start, but PoB hasn't. So here's the temp* updated version until I can properly build it in PoB.

The changes are a bit of a pain because we lose free splash damage from Winter Burial, and the damage from flat +Cold damage support has been nerfed, but with the new setup I was testing at the end of the league (Tempest Shield and Double Cursing) it makes up for it mostly. Overall, I expect it'll play just about the same.

It's a good build for bossing, not because it's fast, but because it's safe. We'll see how it plays with the new league mechanic :)

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