[2.0 Warbands League] Spectre's Ice Shot Critical Failu-I mean...

First off, I would like to give a shout out to Raiz2, whose Ice Shot guide for Beyond league I used as the basis for this build. There have been some changes to his guide given the changes to the talents, but overall it has not lost a lot of the compatibility. The guide can be found here.

In short, I am used to being the one that is called upon to figure out how to make things work. I take pride in that, and even though this is my first guide for Path of Exile, I fully intend to bring that level of commitment to this as well.

Ice Shot is a skill that is overlooked many times because it provides less DPS than other shots, but makes up for this by being a sturdy AoE-like attack. With Pierce chance and critical strikes offering more potential with this skill than many others, it will provide strong control via slow and damage potential.

I will continue to update this thread as best I can as people ask question, or subsequent patches necessitate a need to do so because of changes.

My current skill node decisions can be found

To begin with, we’ll go over the core active skills of the build. These are the abilities that will not be “cast on critical hit” or “cast on damage taken”.

Ice Shot

Requires level 4 to use. Quality adds 0.75 % to the slow effect’s duration (base is 0.88 seconds at level 1, and 1.65 seconds at level 20 gem). The attack chills the target(s), slowing attack and movement speeds, as well as exploding and creating an ice path on the ground. With Pierce, multiple patches of ice can be created. The attack deals increased physical damage (3% at level 1 and 57% at level 20), and converts 40% of the total physical damage into cold damage. The explosion will also create a cone effect, dealing full col damage to enemies behind the initial target(s). Dexterity-based gem. [Quality Ice Shot is not needed, as the build will quickly take down large packs of enemies.]


Requires level 10 to use. Quality increases the radius by 1% per level. This gem adds an additional amount of cold damage to your attacks, based on your total amount of physical damage (26% of physical damage added as cold at level 1, up to 36% at level 20). This gem reserves 60% of your mana while activated. Dexterity-based gem. [Quality Hatred is not needed, as increased AoE isn’t a necessity.]

Herald of Ash

Requires level 24 to use. Quality adds 0.75% more fire damage to your attacks per level. The aura adds a flat 15% fire damage based on your physical damage (before any quality). Additionally, while the aura is active any enemy you kill will “explode”, causing nearby enemies to burn for damage equal to the amount of “overkill damage”. For instance, if you kill an enemy at 400 life with a 1,000 damage attack, the nearby enemies will “burn” for 600 damage (100% of overkill damage will be proliferated at level 1, and 157% of the damage will be proliferated at level 20). The explosion is a “degeneration” effect and will not be affected by Reflect abilities. This gem reserves 25% of your mana while activated. Strength-based gem. [Quality is definitely a consideration, as it will increase your DPS.]


Requires level 31 to use. Quality increases the radius by 1% per level. This gem gives you a flat increase to your Evasion, which is your predominant form of defense with this build (395 evasion at level 1 up to 2,016 evasion at level 20). This is your single defensive aura. This gem reserves 60% of your mana while activated. Dexterity-based gem. [Like Hatred, quality is not needed because increased aura is useless.]

Assassin's Mark

Requires level 19 to use. Quality increases the chance for enemies to grant a Power Charge by 0.5% per level. Curses all enemies in an area, increasing their chance to be critically hit (5% at level 1 to 9% at level 20), critical damage taken (20% at level 1 to 39% at level 20), giving life and mana on kill (15 life and mana gained on kill at level 1 to 24 life and mana gained on kill at level 20), and giving a chance on killing a cursed enemy to gain a Power Charge (20% to gain a Power Charge on kill at level 1 to 29% to gain a Power Charge on kill at level 20). Power charges increase your critical strike chance by 50% per charge. This is your primary and only real curse. Intelligence-based gem. [Quality is acceptable because of the increased chance for slain enemies to give you a Power Charge, which also increases your DPS.]

While some people believe that Puncture is good for single-target DPS, Ice Shot will be more than acceptable to do what you need.

Some Basic Information on Status Ailments

1.) Ignite: Associated with Fire, an ignited (or burning) enemy will take 20% of the hit that caused the burning damage to begin for 4 seconds; in other words, they will burn for an additional 80% of the damage that caused them to start burning (this only applies to the fire portion, not the entire attack). So, if yo hit an enemy for 1,000 damage and cause it to burn, it will take an additional 800 points of damage over 4 seconds. Critical Hits with fire damage have an innate 100% to Ignite an enemy. As a degeneration effect, it will not be affected by support skills (except “Increased Burning Damage”) but is affected by passive nods that increase burning damage or elemental damage. It will also not affect you if a mob has "Reflects Elemental Damage" mods.

2.) Shock: Associated with Lightning, an enemy that is shocked will take 50% additional damage from all sources for a period of time. Critical hits have an innate 100% chance to cause the enemy to be Shocked, and will apply after the hit that gives them the debuff, as the time spent shocked is decided by the damage dealt.

3.) Chill: Associated with Cold, a chilled enemy will move, attack, and cast 30% slower. This debuff is only applied for non-critical hits, or critical hits if the enemy is immune to the next phase.

4.) Freeze: Critical Hits by cold attacks will Freeze an enemy, preventing them from moving, attacking, or casting spells. If an enemy is killed while frozen, it will grant experience and loot, but leave no corpse behind. This can be used to prevent second-stage enemies from spawning (such as Shield Crabs in the Submerged Passageway). Freeze can be extended by passive nods, or the Temporal Chains curse.


First off, I want to touch on uniques while leveling. There are simply some uniques that make builds extremely viable, and some that are build-defining (Facebreakers, for example). I have always attempted to push away from uniques as “mandatory” for any build until end-game. With that being said, there are some uniques that will be cheap to buy, and viable for tens of levels.

Death's Harp: Increased critical strike chance, critical strike damage, attack speed and physical damage makes this weapon incredible for leveling. Adding a second arrow—and thus a second attack at no additional mana—makes this weapon far superior to almost any other you can find. Available at level 32. You will find yourself using this for quite an amount of time, even until you get Infractem or Chin Sol! Available at level 32.

Foxshade: Evasion chest piece, it adds Dexterity for accuracy, physical damage, and increased evasion at low life. The damage increase alone makes this item awesome for leveling, and it took me until level 55-ish to switch out my chestpiece. Available at level 25.

Karui Ward: Offering faster projectile speed and movement speed, this can severely cut down on leveling progression, as the attacks will strike faster. It doesn’t offer much more, though, and you’ll probably find yourself losing it relatively quickly for resist necklaces. But at level 5 there’s not much better!

Hyrri's Bite: Offers bonuses to all three stats, as well as Life on Hit and increased attack speed. This is a solid quiver that usually runs for two Chaos or less, so grab it if you can! Available at level 10.

Fairgraves' Tricorne: High evasion rating, increase in maximum mana, and cold damage for your helmet. A relatively solid choice until level 35, when you switch to your permanent helm. Available at level 12.

Now, things to keep in mind while using this build while leveling.

Mana is an issue. Even with decent mana regeneration, you’re going to pretty much be chugging down mana flasks continuously, which isn’t so bad when you have really good clear times. Lots of mobs dying means almost continual at-capacity flasks, which certainly helps you. With that being said, until you hit higher levels, running two or more auras is going to be a no-go, even in parties where someone is running Clarity. As such, you’ll want to prioritize running Herald of Ash, as the on-kill proc is very powerful at all stages of the game, and it reserves the least amount of mana for a very solid amount of DPS increase. The other auras require a solid amount of reserved mana and as such pale in comparison to Herald of Ash, especially with mana issues while leveling.

Next, you’ll need to keep a track of your evasion. Even grabbing passives that increase our Evasion rating is not enough to help with mitigating damage completely. As with any Evasion build, movement is key. Moving to evade as many attacks as possible is important, even after you have a Dodge chance. Don’t bank on RNGesus saving you while killing Kole or what-have-you. You’ll want to aim for a minimum of 40% evasion.

Finally, I opted to lose a few defensive skills in order to get some +30 Strength and +30 Intelligence nodes. While leveling, I found that those two stats were difficult to maintain in order to keep gear active, as well as gems. You’ll be using a solid amount of INT and STR support gems in this build, and being able to level them when they ding is very important to keeping this build viable.

That is really the only negative aspects of the build while leveling.

Now, the positive things:

Clearing areas is super easy with this build. Elemental Proliferation with a bunch of burning damage is a huge beatstick, so with high critical strike chance, critical damage, and base damage you’re going to clear enclosed areas very, very rapidly. Even open areas—like The Ledge or The Climb—will not be an issue so long as mobs are grouped relatively tightly.

Boxes—the ones you use currencies on and mobs spawn when you open them—will die before the game registers it happening. Consistently I have had the game require an additional ten seconds to make sure that, “Yup, shit is dead.” before opening. You’ll spend more time waiting for the boxes to open than actually killing stuff.

Keep in mind, the on-kill elemental degeneration from Herald of Ash will also affect mobs that will appear in the area. A case in point is Holy Water mobs in Solaris Temple: if you kill a pack of mobs and the burning happens, when they spawn in that area they will be burning as well and taking the damage. Once again, this cuts down on experience-grinding times. Yay!

Things to Note About This Build

1.) Elemental Proliferation matters in that if you cause an enemy to burn, or shock it, the status ailment will transfer to other mobs around it. This is part of the reason the build is so strong. Even if the affected mob dies, it will still spread the burning or shock to enemies because of the corpse. Destroying the corpse (such as with Infernal Blow’s on-kill proc or Shattering with a crit cold attack) or raising the corpse will prevent this from happening, as there is no corpse left.

2.) Pierce chance is intrinsic to this build because being able to hit multiple targets with one attack increases your chance to proliferate status ailments, as well as offering a very solid DPS increase.

3.) While using other attacks until level 32 (when you get your Death’s Harp) is viable, using Ice Shot is also a very solid idea. You don’t lose out on too much, and the slow provides a lot of survivability in lower levels, allowing you to fix mess-ups.

4.) The build is (relatively) cheap. I’ll go into that in a bit.


Gearing is probably one of the hardest things to do right. There are some items that will, obviously, be solid choices. So let’s get into them.

Stat Priority:

Below 40% Evasion:

Physical Damage > Elemental Resists > Evasion > Critical Strike > Critical Damage > Cold/Fire Damage > Pierce

Above (or at) 40% Evasion:

Physical Damage > Elemental Resists > Critical Strike > Critical Damage > Cold/Fire Damage > Pierce = Evasion

Even as a Crit build, you want to prioritize flat Physical Damage increases, because it increases your DPS via non-crit attacks. That’s a given. I rank elemental damage increases lower than critical strike chance/critical damage only because in testing, the critical strikes with higher elemental damage for some reason did less overall DPS than higher critical chance/crit damage with lower elemental attacks. I’m still trying to diagnose why that is, and I hope to understand it soon. It may simply be because of talent choices.

As said, your primary form of defense is evasion (I’m not taking into account range or your Life). Obviously, you want to maximize your elemental resistances because spells do not give a damn about your Evasion: you simply can’t evade them, so your elemental resistances play a large part in your survivability in high-spellcaster maps. The normal maximum you can have is 75% in all three elemental resistances, as well as Chaos resistance.


On to the actual gear.


Best: Chin Sol
Acceptable: Infractem

I found Chin Sol to be superior because of overall stat distribution. However, Infractem with Drillneck could be an interesting combination, as Drillneck increases your damage by your Pierce chance, and Infractem gives you a 100% Pierce chance. Testing is required!


Best: The Three Dragons

This is the only helmet you should consider. By making it so your cold damage causes burning and your fire damage causes shocking, it almost guarantees Elemental Proliferation is on-duty “24/7”. It substantially increases overall DPS by not risking enemies being shattered via high-crit builds. Add to that elemental resistance and you have one of the better helmets around!


Best: Any Rare Gloves with +PHYS Damage.

There’s really no gloves that are unique that are super effective in this field. An argument can be made for Atziri’s Acuity, but I’m not sold on the loss of Evasion, especially with us taking Acrobatics.

Body Armor:

Best: Daresso's Defiance

I've given the various uniques a try, and I'm convinced that from a purely defensive standpoint, Daresso's Defiance is the winner. While you might find a few rare chestpieces offering you a DPS increase via explicit +damage mods, the defensive capabilities of this chestpiece are huge. It would be easy enough to get close to the 40% soft cap I suggest with this build, and so that allows you to find more armor offering damage boosts.


Best: Atziri’s Step

Obviously, there’s not too much in terms of pure tier when it comes to boots. If you can get the Step, good on you. If not, get a solid pair of boots with increased movement speed and resists. Not much that can be said for this.


Best: Drillneck

This is, by far, the best quiver you can get. With Chin Sol it will provide you with increased damage based on arrow pierce chance, as well as targets being closer (and being knocked back). The damage is superb. Downside: a badly rolled Drillneck can cost 2 Exalts, so it’s not exactly easy to purchase.

Barring this, if you find a quiver with Critical Strike Chance or Physical Damage as well as at least two resists, use it. There’s plenty out there cheap with three resists on it and will offer you some solid DPS improvements.

Amulet, Rings, and Belt:

There’s nothing much to say about this. Use these slots to increase damage if you can, or to mix-and-match to increase your resists. Rings and Amulets can give you a flat Physical Damage increase, and Rustic Sash-type belts can give you a percentage-based increase to the same.

I've created an easy-to-read Excel spreadsheet for gemming. It should help with my thought process and for determining gem slots, priority, and the like!


The build is extremely fun and viable at all stages of the game with minimal currency use. For a new player it is recommended as it will offer great survivability at all levels as long as you are playing, and is quite forgiving in that regard. The build is also cheap to run and maintain.

Questions, comments, and concerns can be left in replies to this thread. As I get more questions, I will update the thread (and try to answer the question directly in a reply).


Q: Why stay away from lightning damage?
Lightning Damage while using The Three Dragons helmet will cause you to chill opponents, or worse freeze and shatter them. Because of the way Elemental Proliferation works, if an enemy dies the elemental effects will still proliferate if there is a corpse. Shattering a mob causes there to be no corpse, so no elemental status ailments to proliferate. Overall, this cuts down on your total damage potential because you lose out on status ailments transferring to other mobs.

The idea is to use elemental proliferation to spread burning and shock to nearby enemies on the killing of one, and allow that to whittle down multiple enemies while you (safely!) kill the other creatures. In short, it's to maximize clear speeds.

Q: What bandits?
That depends on what you want. I advise "Kill > Oak > Kill" for the overall damage potential via skill points and the 18% Physical Damage increase. however if you're looking for more HP, going "Oak > Oak > Kill" is also acceptable.

Q: Is there a version for Hardcore leagues?

This is only a preliminary build, but I tried for a few hours to get one going with Ranger. Simply put, it's far more difficult to do, so I pushed into the Duelist as the starting character class and I came up with the following:

Hardcore Build

Here is the spreadsheet.

It should be noted that you're sacrificing about 35% of your overall DPS in order to gain a sizeable--I would say close to 80%--amount of survivability. In hardcore leagues, that is important.

Feel free to check my math on this one, by the way. No hard feelings if someone finds out my averages there are wrong.

Since this is a hardcore build, I figure you'll probably like to know what gems to get in a first-time playthrough or self-found playthrough. Let this be a guide, not a be-all-all, and make decisions based on playstyle and what you need.


Mercy Mission: Poison Arrow
Breaking Some Eggs: Ice Shot
The Caged Brute: Lightning Arrow
The Siren's Cadence: Added Fire Damage
Intruders in Black: Hatred
Sharp and Cruel: Fork
Lost in Love: Herald of Ash
Sever the Right Hand: Lesser Multiple Projectiles


Enemy at the Gate: Immortal Call
Mercy Mission: Life Leech
The Caged Brute: Grace
The Siren's Cadence: Faster Attacks
Sharp and Cruel: Mana Leech
Lost in Love: Pick one
Sever the Right Hand: Increased Burning Damage
A Fixture of Fate: Elemental Proliferation


Mercy Mission: Pick One
The Caged Brute: Haste
The Siren's Cadence: Pick One
A Fixture of Fate: Cast when Damage Taken

Q: How does Pierce work?

Pierce is a mechanic that works on projectile attacks. It offers a chance for your attack(s) to pass through targets, continuing on to targets behind the initial one. The attack will deal full damage to enemies it pases through or stops at.

To determine if an attack will pierce, the game rolls a "d100". For those who have played Dungeons and Dragons before, you know how it works. The game rolls this figure against your "Pierce Chance", found on your character sheet. If the number (which you don't see) is below or at the number you do see, the attack will pass through the initial target. Each subsequent target will have the same thing rolled against them. The importance in this build is that each successful hit against a target has a solid chance of proliferating Burning or Shock around them, or killing them outright and allowing the "on kill" proc of Herald of Ash to happen.

Why Curse on Hit rather than the traditional Curse tactic?

I switched out the usual curse four-link (<Curse> > Increased Duration > Faster Casting > Increased Area of Effect) for the new tactic. Curses can be fickle, and because of that it can gimp DPS and lead to RIPs that should not happen. By attaching the curse to a secondary attack, it allows us to maintain some DPS, put range between us and the creatures (assuming you are using Chin Sol), and still apply the curse as we keep going. I have found this, in testing, to be a more viable tactic than hard-casting the curse itself.


Reserved for future use.

Important Posts

Hardcore Duelist Viability


04 January 2015: Finally decided on Daresso's Defiance being BiS for chestpieces.
06 January 2015: Added a "hardcore" build.
07 January 2015: Basic housekeeping for the thread, and made it a bit prettier in structure.
25 April 2015: Added section about important posts, and added experiences as a duelist in hardcore.
26 April 2015: Added to the hardcore duelist section.
03 May 2015: Changed Curse tactic and gems on the helmet.
14 May 2015: Added my Excel spreadsheet for gemming.
13 July 2015: Updated with a preliminary skill tree for the expansion.

About the Author

I was the principle raid leader for a major raiding guild in WoW. From Wrath of the Lich King to partway through Mists of Panderia I led the guild through progression raids, helping to take server firsts early in the guild's life and continue to do so until I stopped in MIsts. On the guild forums, I primarilly focused on making sure that theorycrafting for builds looked proper (math has never been a strong suite of mine) as well as my usual officer duties. I have eight years of progression raiding experience behind me.

In EvE Online I have held numerous positions in many different corporations, but was always the go-to guy for ship fittings and the like.
Last edited by Quendishir on Jul 13, 2015, 4:46:02 PM
Why avoid lightning damage? Just wondering cuz I was doing ice shot physical to lightning lmp with the three dragons helm.
With the amount of critical strike chance you have, a critical hit with lightning damage means you will freeze/shatter your enemies. With elemental Proliferation, it's not as effective as simply proliferating shock and burning damage, simply because of the damage potential. Also, if the enemy should shatter, that means yo don't get the Elemental Proliferation because there is no corpse left behind.
Made my decision on BiS for chestpieces.
Thanks for the detailed guide, love the style. Easy to read and understand even for the new players. Just make the build section pop, the link is kinda lost :)
is this viable in bloodlines? got sick of tornado shot last league and want to try something new bow wise. Also thanks for the guide, well writen and clear.
Eldrim wrote:
is this viable in bloodlines? got sick of tornado shot last league and want to try something new bow wise. Also thanks for the guide, well writen and clear.

As I stated previously, this guide is leaning towards softcore more than hardcore leagues. The problem is that it doesn't have all the HP increases you'd find in a HC build, but I'm sure I could put something together.
Updated with a hardcore variant.
Managed a bit of time to do some housekeeping with the post!
Too many IAS in tree. Attack speed useless for this "one-shot-all" build.

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info