[2.2] A Storm of Ice and Fire - Avatar of Fire CI Whispering Ice - Uber Viable!

New Videos!
https://youtu.be/A1BL_M_OwUw 2.2 Uber Atziri
https://youtu.be/8c-Ku_RxE6E 2.2 Wasteland Clear
https://youtu.be/MJsegnPAQBQ 2.2 Raider Ascendancy Demonstration - Gorge Clear

Old Videos

There are a few whispering Ice builds out there already. Why use mine over the others? I think my icestorm tooltip will speak for itself:

I will be upfront in saying that this is not a budget build. If you want whispering ice to perform admirably, you need ~10 exalts of investment. I have invested far, far more into my personal build.

Also, this is not a build for budget PCs. There's a lot of VFX spam going on while playing and you need a good PC if you want a playable framerate. Party members may not appreciate your presence.

So, why play Whispering Ice? Because its fun as hell, and it looks cool as hell. There are stronger builds out there - cyclone, caustic arrow, bladefall (yawn). You don't play these because they are unoriginal and boring - that's why you're looking at this build. You want something interesting.

Pros and Cons

-Fun, unique build
-Looks freaking awesome
-Staff provides a free 7-link, and no need for more than a 4-link on your armor.
-Can run most map mods, -maxres + elemental reflect combo and bloodmagic are about the only showstoppers
-Surprisingly tanky with high damage output
-Can kill Atziri with relatively low-end gear(!)
-This build gives you the Specialist achievement (woo!)
-Infinity wisdom scrolls

-Highly restrictive gearing
-Not cheap if you want to tackle Tier 10+ maps
-Graphically intensive, may be problematic for you or party members
-Highly mobile enemies can be hard to handle

To do this build you need a Whispering Ice. No way around that. These are cheaper than they used to be, but are still probably expensive early on in a temp league. This is the only required piece of gear for the build. The rolls on the staff don't matter hugely, with high %int being more important than cast speed.

Note that any support gem socketed into The Whispering Ice will affect your icestorm skill, regardless of whether the sockets on the staff are linked. This means that a 6-socket The Whispering Ice functions as a 7-link at a fraction of the cost of any other 6-link staff.


Offense (Conc. Effect - Elemental overload not active)


Stats with Astramentis instead of my OP amulet


Hideout tooltip (conc. effect)

Tooltip with EO active (conc. effect)


Build Theory

Intelligence is the most important stat for this build - it gives us ES, icestorm duration, base damage AND damage scaling, and mana. Stacking a lot of this stat lets us be both tanky and an offensive powerhouse.

With 50% increased intelligence (doable, but difficult) each 10 int node provides 15 int, which gives us the following:
3% increased maximum energy shield
1.5% increased spell damage
+1.5-4.5 base ice storm damage
+0.0225 seconds ice storm base duration
+7.5 base mana

That's a lot of benefit from a 10 int node!

To that end, we avoid most nodes that don't provide int themselves or are not next to ones that do. Why take nodes that "only" provide damage when we can get so much more from others? Accordingly, nodes like Heart of Ice that are normally considered good are skipped in favor of nodes that benefit us in more than one way. The build even routes around normally good nodes in order to get more intelligence.

Unfortunately, the gear that provides us with the most intelligence is pretty lacking in the resistances department. To alleviate this, we need an absolute ton of resistances from our passive tree and on our jewels. This is why we use Scion as our class - easy access to jewel slots and resistance nodes.

Why Avatar of Fire?

Cold to Fire is a very powerful gem. It adds a fraction of cold damage as fire damage - this directly adds to our base damage, and gets scaled by all our modifiers. Combined with Avatar of Fire, it also converts 100% of our cold damage into fire damage. This means we do a single damage type, making our penetration gem effective, and most importantly means we get to "double dip" on cold and fire damage increases - both %increased cold damage and %increased fire damage will improve our damage with full effect. This makes the Snowforged node very strong, providing a full 50% increased damage. Jewels can also have both increased cold and increased fire damage, and we get the full benefit of each.

Compared to a pure ice damage build, Avatar of Fire gives us a very large damage increase. Note that because the icestorm skill created chilled ground, enemies affected by the skill are still chilled even if we do pure fire damage.

So How Much DPS Does Icestorm Even Do?
This is actually pretty difficult to measure in any meaningful way, but we can do some calculations if we want to feel better.

In the tooltip listed higher in this thread, our "Avg. Damage" is shown as 13,300. This is the damage per ice spear that falls from the sky. Icestorm drops one of these every 0.1 seconds, and with my 4.5 second skill duration that means that 45 spears should fall per cast.

Now, not all of these are going to hit a given target. Against smaller creatures, maybe only 2-3 per cast will strike the target. If we assume that a creature is hit three times, it will suffer 13,300x3= 39,900 damage from one cast. With a cast time of 0.31 seconds, that would be 128,000 DPS to small targets! But wait, that damage takes place over the 4.5 seconds of the skill duration... so this is not a DPS measurement that makes any real sense. You cast the skill, and some unspecified time later your target will die - it is not immediate, and this means a lot of casting and then running off to the next pack while a group dies behind you. Make sure your loot filter makes noise for important drops!

We can get a more meaningful DPS calculation against large, stationary bosses like Atziri. These creatures have enough health to sit in an icestorm for the full duration and have big enough hitboxes that most or even all of our ice spears can hit them.

Let's be generous to our target and assume that only half the ice spears from an ice storm hit it. In practice you can achieve even more than this, but its hard to say with certainty. If half the spears hit, our target takes 13,300 x 23 = 305,900 damage over 4.5 seconds. Multiple icestorms can overlap, so dividing by our cast time makes logical sense here and we can estimate a sustained DPS of 986,000! Wow! This is, however, only after 4.5 seconds of continuous casting, which you rarely get to do in a boss fight.

Now, I don't claim that this build does almost 1 million DPS because that's a silly calculation based on some very specific circumstances. You can be assured though that the clearspeed is quite acceptable as my videos should show.

What do you need in order to kill Uber Atziri with this build?

I want to clarify a few points regarding this matter, since the character I showcase in this build guide has evolved considerably since its original incarnation to become overpowered in every sense of the word.

You do not need legacy standard items to run Uber with this build.
You do not need Skyforth to run Uber with this build.
You do not need a 900 ES chest to run Uber with this build.
You do not need perfect jewels to run Uber with this build.

This build first killed Uber in Warbands league, before Skyforth was a thing and with no legacy items. And this was before Ascendancy classes - the build is only stronger now!

What you do need are the following:
11,000+ ES
5000+ icestorm tooltip with conc. effect
Boots with 20% or more movement speed

That's it.

Skill Tree


Here's our skill tree. Note that we get the Alchemist cluster which is an incredibly strong multiplier to our defensive flasks. If you've ever played a build that takes this cluster before, you'll understand why I take it in this build.


We take the long path down to Uwavering Stance for stun immunity, which is absolutely essential for this build.

For my Ascendancy points I choose to take Berserker and Elementalist. Berserker is mandatory, but elementalist is not - I'll go into the options for Ascendancy points below.

If you get your hands on a pair of skyforth boots, then you can skip the long road to unwavering stance and get more intelligence from your skilltree. This means using a rather different tree, which should look something like this:


We replace the Brute Force Solution directly south of our start with a Fertile Mind, and add another Fertile Mind in the nearby jewel slot as well.

The jewel slot south of the skill effect duration nodes are actually some of the more efficient nodes on the tree for getting intelligence, which is why we grab them with the Skyforth variant of the build.

The reason for this is that the radius of this jewel slot overlaps with the radius of the jewel slot immediately south of the start, and when both have a Fertile Mind slotted, something interesting happens:

We get +20 int from two of these +10 dex nodes, while somehow lowering our dex in the process. In total, counting both jewel nodes and the dex nodes along the way, we get 108 intelligence for 6 nodes. Nice!


Normal - Kraityn +10% all resistances - we need those resists!
Cruel - Alira +5% cast speed - it's better than a skill point, though only just.
Merciless - Kill them all, we don't need more max charges.

Ascendancy Points
This build got a hell of a lot better with Ascendancy. The Scion is able to take two mini-ascendancy perks from the other classes, and these let us pick up some nice stuff.

Three of our Ascendancy points are spent getting Berserker. This gives us leech without needing to use a support gem, as well as 10% more damage. We pay for this by taking 5% increased damage ourselves, but this penalty is pretty minor.

Our other three points have some options, depending on your playstyle and how much offense or defense you need. I've tested a bunch of these, and here are some of the best options:

Offense - Elementalist. With a fire golem active, we gain a very significant boost to our damage. The extra elemental penetration is a nice boost as well, and the reduced elemental damage mostly counteracts the penalty of Berserker.

Balanced Offense/Defense - Occultist. A nice boost to ES and some passive ES regen. We also gain increased damage whenever we kill a cursed enemy, which is all the time thanks to blasphemy.

Defense - Heirophant. The 8% of mana added as ES will grant you over 1000 ES after all modifiers are accounted for. If you need a large boost to ES (maybe you're wearing a Black Sun Crest?) then this could be useful to you. Unfortunately the totem bonuses are wasted here.

Map Clear Speed - Raider. Yes, Raider. The 10% chance for a frenzy charge on kill is enough to keep you at full charges if rushing through a map, which means Onslaught all the time, baby! 12% more damage, 32% cast speed, and 20% move speed! This is a crazy fun way to play. Unfortunately, raider does not offer an int node on the way there like the others do. In addition, its bonuses do not help at all versus bosses like Atziri. But if you are the type to run Gorge maps all day, then look no farther than the Raider.


Here's what I use. It was very expensive. You do not need gear as good as mine to kick ass with this build! Below, I'll talk about what else you can use.

My Gear:

I'm not actually wearing the Astramentis - instead I use the obscenely strong Eyes of the Greatwolf, but I want to showcase gear that is realistic to acquire.


Brute force solutions go in the socket by the templar area, and the two sockets on the way to Unwavering Stance.

Fertile mind goes in the socket on the way to Vaal Pact.

Gear Options:

Weapon: The Whispering Ice. Duh.

Chest armor:
Most of your ES comes from here. Priorities - 1. As much ES as possible. 2. As much int as possible. 3. Resists

Helmet: Black Sun Crest works well here if you're using Perandus Signets as it provides a whopping 19% increased intelligence. I would not suggest wearing one unless you can manage more than 8k energy shield without it though. A rare helmet with high ES/ high INT and resists works well too.

Boots: Move speed! Following that, high ES, INT, and resists. Good boots are very expensive. Sin trek is an acceptable cheap option since they provide decent ES, move speed, and intelligence.

If you are filthy rich, you can use Skyforth which provides stun protection and lets you skip Unwavering Stance. I will detail the tree changes you need to make below.

Gloves: Rare - High ES, INT, resists.

Amulet: Good: Rare amulet with +int, +allstats, resists. Better: Astramentis. A rare amulet can rival Astramentis for +intelligence, but Astramentis has the added benefit of being unique which works well with Perandus Signet.

Best: A rare talisman with +int and %increased attributes. Good luck.

Rare rings with +intelligence, +all stats, +energy shield, resists
Perandus Signet

Perandus signet is the top choice here in terms of more intelligence. 2% increased intelligence per equipped unique becomes 10% or more with enough uniques, meaning each ring slot is providing you with 100 intelligence. This alone wouldn't be competitive with certain rare rings, but Perandus Signet also gives us an absolute ton of mana regeneration, which we direly need. Its expensive however, and you NEED very good resists to be able to use them. In standard, legacy Signets provide 3% int per unique and are even better.

Bated Breath
Perandus Blazon
Fire Doryani's
Rare chain belt - +ES/resists

Bated Breath and Perandus Blazon have the benefit of being unique (comboing with Perandus Signet) and providing intelligence of their own. I personally use Perandus Blazon because of the increased flask effect duration. Bated Breath provides more ES and a lot more regeneration when using Vaal Discipline, Auxium provides a ton of ES and alleviates the need for an anti-freeze flask. If you want a little bit more leech, fire doryani's provides that alongside resistances and some increased damage. A rare belt works well too, this is a great gear slot to patch up your resists.

Our flasks are very important for preventing damage and making us highly tanky. Since we have Alchemist, our flasks have 30% more effect and last 12% longer - this is a big deal! Elemental resistance flasks give +8% maximum resistance and last a bit longer, granite flasks provide immense armor, quicksilver flasks make us incredibly fast. This empowerment applies to unique flasks too! Rumi's concoction gives more block chance (I have 51% block when rumi's is active) and Basalt Flasks mitigate 26% physical damage.

What you NEED:
One Bleed Immune Flask
One Freeze Immune Flask
One Curse Immune Flask
One Ruby Flask (for reflect). This can also fill one of the above rolls.
What you want:
Granite Flask/Basalt Flask
Quicksilver flask
Topaz/Sapphire Flask
Taste of Hate/Rumi's Concoction/Divination Distillate

Of the nine jewel slots we grab, three require Fertile Mind, one Brute Force Solution, and the other five are free for rare jewels. These jewel slots let us patch our weaknessess and increase our strengths. Resistances are great here, as its hard to get resists from our gear. Intelligence, damage, and energy shield are perfect. Its relatively easy to find jewels with bold increased cold and fire damage modifiers, and we get to benefit from both!

On your jewels, you want any of the following:
-Spell Damage
-Cold Damage
-Fire Damage
-Area Damage
-Spell Damage when using a staff
-Cast Speed
-Cast Speed when using a staff
-Cast Speed with cold skills (even with avatar of fire, icestorm is a cold skill)
-Increased Energy Shield

Jewels with 4 of these are pretty hard to come by, but three should be pretty manageable.


We use a RRBBBB Staff for this build.
R - Fire Penetration
R - Cold to Fire
B - Faster Casting
B - Spell Echo
B - Elemental Focus
B - Flex Slot: Increased Area of Effect for mapping, Concentrated Effect for Bosses

Controlled Destruction is eschewed in favor of utilizing the keystone Elemental Overload, which provides 40% more damage for 8 seconds whenever we crit. Its not as good as controlled destruction, but it doesn't take a support gem slot to use!
Whatever you want! I am currently using Flame Golem supported by minion life and minion resistance on a L20 CWDT for a tanky summon that provides a distraction while providing me with a nice damage boost.
You use these slots for a second CWDT setup, more vaal auras, or anything you feel the need for. Maybe ground slam/leap slam - fortify - faster attacks could even be worth trying, we are using a melee weapon after all.

Cast When Damage Taken - Increased Duration - Immortal Call - Frost Wall

Immortal Call lasts provides protection from spike damage, utilizing our endurance charges generated by Warlord's Mark, which come back very quickly. Frost wall keeps melee attacks and projectiles alike out of our way, though party members will find this highly annoying! Use with care. If you don't want to use frost wall, then replace this slot with whatever you want. Orb of Storms is a good option for proccing Elemental Overload more often, since it hits multiple times.

Enlighten - Blasphemy - Warlord's Mark - Arctic Armor - Discipline / Flame Dash

Blasphemy Warlord's Mark is an amazing defensive curse, providing 2.2% leech with a 20Q Blasphemy as well as providing endurance charge generation. Previous versions of this build used Clarity for mana sustain, but Warlord's Mark obsoletes that as well. The chance to stun is not to be ignored, either - many enemies are stunlocked entirely by icestorm when cursed! The radius of the curse is large enough to cover most of the screen at max level. Arctic Armor provides physical and fire mitigation, helping reduce damage from two of the most dangerous damage types. Discipline provides nearly 2k ES with all our modifiers.

Enlighten is not required, so your chest can operate with as little as a 4-link. If you have some serious reserve reduction (from an enchant, passives, or Lv4 enlighten) then you can try to cram in yet another reserve skill - Purity of Elements and Herald of Ice are both decent choices.

Increased Duration - Rallying Cry - Vaal Discipline (x2)

Rallying cry provides additional mana regen and damage. Vaal Discipline is an excellent panic button, bringing us over 15k energy shield while regenerating it massively.

How to level as Whispering Ice
Hey! This staff requires level 33. Surely you dont want to wait until level 70 when you've respecced your build to use it? Its crazy fun to level with!

Accordingly, I've prepared a tree that both allows for effective leveling with icestorm and can respec into our final build using no more than the respec points you are given for completing all the quests. Orbs of regret are expensive!

Prior to hitting 33 I suggest leveling with firestorm, as it has a similar feel and is considered a powerful leveling skill. Try to nab a +1 to fire skills wand or staff.


Leveling as a pure ES character is nearly impossible, so we want some life. We have 24 passive respec points to work with if we complete all the quests, so we want no more than 24 nodes in our leveling tree that are not in our final tree.

At the start of merciless (Lv60) your tree should look something like this:

Around level 70 (once you have good ES gear!) you'll want to respec into Chaos Inoculation, Ghost Reaver and Unwavering Stance. If you've used my tree above, it will only take around 20 respec points to change into this build.


Level 80 tree:
Beyond level 80 head into the shadow area for more intelligence and our final jewel slot.

Links While Leveling

When leveling, you likely want to use Spell Echo - Elemental Focus - Controlled Destructon - Fire Penetration - Faster Casting - Reduced Mana. Mana costs are really hard to sustain while leveling, so some of these may need to be swapped for cheaper alternatives. If you find yourself unable to run all your support gems, use item rarity as it has no mana multiplier! Free loot!

Frequently Asked Questions About This Build

Q: Can this build start as Witch instead?

A: Scion is by far the best choice for a WI character. The starting position provides the best access to int nodes, resistance notes, and Unwavering Stance, all of which are required by this build. Additionally, the Scion Ascendancy class is the best class for Whispering Ice - the free leech from Berserker is amazing and it is the only Ascendancy class that gives intelligence.

Q: Can you use Shavs with this build and make a low life variant?

A: You can, but it won't be as good as you'd like it to be. The base ES on Shavronne's Wrappings is quite low compared to a decent rare ES chest, and it provides no base intelligence. Ultimately you trade a very considerable amount of ES and chaos immunity to gain 30% more damage and 1-2 additional auras, which makes the build very much a glass cannon.

Q: Are Perandus Rings worth it in temp leagues? They only provide 2% increased intelligence per equipped unique!

A: Absolutely still worth it. Even if you have only 800 base intelligence (which is low for this build), then the rings will provide 80 int each if you have five uniques equipped (amulet, ringx2, belt, staff). Rare rings can provide 66 intelligence with perfect rolls while still providing other benefits, but good luck actually finding a ring like that. And the higher your base intelligence becomes, the better Perandus rings are comparatively.

Q: Can I use controlled destruction instead of faster casting on icestorm?

A: Absolutely! You'll need some other way to proc controlled destruction in this case, such as CWDT ice spear or by casting orb of storms, but this can definitely be a viable alternative. Try not to become overly focused on your tooltip damage though - cast speed matters! The faster casting gem takes me from .41 seconds to .31 seconds cast time, which is equivalent to 32% more damage!
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Last edited by Baalorlord on Mar 31, 2016, 4:56:33 PM
Last bumped on Jan 29, 2017, 6:33:12 PM
I like it! Good Job.
[3.2] ✮ MrBones Wild Ride Dancing Dervish Melee Skeleton Summoner ✮ [400%+ Movement Speed]

i have a question, what do you mean by double dipping?
Do you mean that snwoforged gives you 50% increased fire damage?
arkandor wrote:

i have a question, what do you mean by double dipping?
Do you mean that snwoforged gives you 50% increased fire damage?

Yes, exactly that. We get the full benefit of both increased fire damage and increased cold damage - snowforged gives 50% increassed damage, quality on cold to fire gives 20% increased damage, and my jewels are giving ~40% increased damage each.

This makes cold to far a far larger damage increase than any other support gem.
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Thanks for the reply, i might play it myself but i have another question.

Did you consider Eye of Chayula (or other ways of stun avoidance) instead of going all the way to unwavering stance. It would free a lot of points to go crit or aura notes, or is Astramentis so strong to justify this many passive points for unwavering?
Last edited by arkandor on Aug 10, 2015, 10:52:25 AM
arkandor wrote:
Thanks for the reply, i might play it myself but i have another question.

Did you consider Eye of Chayula (or other ways of stun avoidance) instead of going all the way to unwavering stance. It would free a lot of points to go crit or aura notes, or is Astramentis so strong to justify this many passive points for unwavering?

Here's a breakdown on Eye of Chayula vs. Astramentis

Astramentis provides 90 more intelligence (assuming an avg roll). In order then for Eye of Chayula to be a better option, we need to get 90 int worth of value from the skill tree (not necessarily in the form of int) from the nodes that we save.

We spend 12 nodes getting to Unwavering Stance. Thanks to brute force solution, four of the +10 str nodes become int nodes instead. We also get a +30 int node along the way. In total, our 12 nodes get us 94 intelligence, 40 strength, and stun immunity.

Is there anywhere on the tree we can get 184 (94 from tree, 90 from astra) intelligence or similar for 12 nodes? Messing around with gear tells me that 10 base intelligence corresponds roughly to 9% increased damage. Its also 3% increased ES (we have 57% increased intelligence, so 10 base int = 15.7 actual int) and 8 mana.

Ultimately, Astramentis is giving us the equivalent of 162% increased damage, 140ish mana, and 54% increased energy shield for 12 nodes. Can we beat that elsewhere? Heart of Flame and Heart of ice would be 142% increased damage for 10 nodes.... and no ES. The unnatural calm wheel would give us 48% increased ES, but no damage for 6 nodes. I can't find anywhere on the tree that gives us similar value per node as using unwavering stance and Astramentis.

Another issue is that without astramentis and those strength nodes along the way to Unwavering Stance, we have only about 100 strength and 70 dex! We need 111 dex for Hypothermia and 151 str for Rallying Cry. Fixing THAT problem will cost even more nodes or require sacrifices on our gear.

This comparison really shows the power of the intelligence stat with this build. We're getting significant offense AND defense with every 10 int node, which lets us journey to opposite sides of the tree in search of the most efficient nodes.

TL;DR The 100 all stats on Astramentis is well worth the journey down to Unwavering Stance.
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Last edited by Baalorlord on Aug 10, 2015, 12:24:16 PM
Added video of Uber Atziri kill.

:D :D :D :D :D

Is this the first Uber kill with a Whispering Ice build?
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Last edited by Baalorlord on Aug 10, 2015, 2:24:50 PM
Hey, can you upload a video of the first two fights?

Then I can add your build to https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/982394
IGN: Chundaziri
8/8 Ambush/Invasion Complete - 21/06/2014
8/8 Warbands/Tempest Complete - 10/08/2015
Chundadragon wrote:
Hey, can you upload a video of the first two fights?

Then I can add your build to https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/982394

I'll have to do another run for that, but happily. I need some better flasks before I make another run, hopefully I can have an improved video within a week or so.
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Baalorlord wrote:
Chundadragon wrote:
Hey, can you upload a video of the first two fights?

Then I can add your build to https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/982394

I'll have to do another run for that, but happily. I need some better flasks before I make another run, hopefully I can have an improved video within a week or so.

That's awesome and yes you would be the first with a Whispering Ice =)
IGN: Chundaziri
8/8 Ambush/Invasion Complete - 21/06/2014
8/8 Warbands/Tempest Complete - 10/08/2015

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