This build is a versatile and viable in endgame with few key items and a 5 link. Core concept of this build is to go full melee with high freezing chance, shattering mobs in most cases up to Tier 12 map. It's not a MF build but can casually reach 100% IIR without Item Rarity gem.
This helps the build progression in temporal leagues alot without suffering from low damage/defences and I believe this build will carry you to push further in super endgame.
Gnar, Eater of Carrion vs Berserker
I was about to 2 shot'ed by Doggy boss with dual strike in a Village Ruin Map. This is an obvious case when we need flat damage reductions like Endurance Charges, Immortal Call, Arctic Armour, Lightning Coil or Taste of Hate.
I didn't have enough resistances to use Lightning Coil so decided to try Juggernaut on current setup.
- Dropped Unwavering Stance, Life nodes, DEX and Iron Reflex for another Jewel socket, Scion Life wheels and Mace damage nodes under Duelist. Loss of damage is acceptable. Armour is at same level as before and also I can evade now.
- Changed pathing to duelist clusters and picked Fangs of Frost for another 8% Cold Penetration and 52% Cold Damage. 6 points for those might not worth at all especially without Weapon Elemental Damage. I Will respec into mace damage nodes. HP went down to 5.1k from 5.3k
-Dropped Sunder after 5 linked Glacial Hammer to go full melee build rather than staying half build just for an utility skill. Also peak damage was too high to survive in physical reflect maps.
-Added Frost Bomb in the CWDT link for 20% cold resist reduction.
-Daresso's Defiance with Wyrmsign unique gloves procs Rampage as you kill mobs. Better with the Taste of Hate unique flask or some more armour nodes in the tree.
In fact, I couldn't find any reason to go Heavy Strike other than to counter Elemental Reflect map mod though the burst damage on the threshold jewels effect is a big bam. It's simply from the limit of the synergy in the skill link.
If there is a reasonable way to utilize Bleed and Bloodlust gem with 2 handed mace, Heavy Strike could be a thing. Instead, I tried dual wielding Rigwald's uniques on some high end maps at the last moments of the league.
- Bloodlust instead of Weapon Elemental Damage.
- Faster Attacks instead of Cold Penetration.
- Reverse Knockback Cyclone in the 4+1 link on the gloves to bleed.
It's basically same playstle with Glacial Hammer, stun and knockback for defense, reverse knockback Heavy Strike to slaughter all mobs in the splash range.
I could faceroll Twinned Wasteland bosses which I couldn't with Glacial Hammer.
Consecrated Ground effect on the dead bodies of summoned minions is hard to break even with Glacial Hammer on my setup. It took too long to kill and died upon a critical charge while running around on a interval of Vessel of Vinkter Flask charges.
It's possible to break even with Heavy Strike's damage and also pull them off from the ground effect by reverse knockback hits without going out of melee range. Wasteland boss doesn't use the charging skill at the melee range at all. Flasks are refilled as they summon minions.
This skill tree itself can barely support the mana cost of 6 link Heavy Strike since I swapped Cold Penetration for Faster Attacks (the amount of leeching is more than enough but the leeching rate.) I recommend to have +max mana on accessories or put another point in the leeching nodes below duelist starting nodes.
For a start, I began with 2 hand mace and common leveling gears swapping skill gems and jewels. Nothing specially to be told but I could reach Act 4 Merciless with those gears.
At the beginning in a challenge league, I'd recommend to keep finding upgrades on the main weapon, 2 handed mace and the main defence, body armour as you level.
Once you achieved a 5 link on a decent gear, you are good to go with Glacial Hammer solely.
3 : Glacial Hammer >Melee Physical Damage >Multistrike (Faster Attacks earlier)
4 : Melee Splash (Weapon Elemental Damage for a single target like Daresso, King of Swords)
5 : Cold Penetration
6 : Weapon Elemental Damage
Swap Melee Physical Damage in 5 link or Weapon Elemental Damage in 6 link for Life Gain on Hit in elemental reflect maps.
After Lv.90 and further to maintain enough map pool, you should be able to run most of map mods up to Tier 12. You will need one 6 link at least, hopefully one on the body armour and another on
the mace with Vagan's "Gems in this item are Supported by level 1 Blood Magic" crafting mod to use all skills on life without losing damage in some cases.
I could reach Lv.90 without any problem running Tier 8-10 maps with a 5 link on the Lightning Coil and 4 links on a 460 pDPS mace and other pieces.
Skill Gems and Build Mechanics
Main skill : 50% of physical damage is converted to cold damage and the elemental portion of damage scaling only works on the cold damage. Main source of the cold damage in this build is converted from the weapon physical damage of 2 handed mace therefore, physical damage modifiers are basically prior in the base damage scaling till the physical damage scaling gets less effective as it's stacked. All kind of scaling is used and balanced between physical, cold and attack speed in the skill links.
Physical damage scaling
Attack Speed scaling : Faster Attack gem can be used before the level required for Multistrike gem or when total attack time with Multistrike is too long to avoid deadly damages.
In this build, I picked only Multistrike(and gears with attack speed mods) to use Cold Penetration gem to damage and freeze enemies with high cold/elemental resist instead of Faster Attack gem in the skill link.
Cold damage scaling : Those gems are essential for the build both in offensive and defensive wise. You can check the difference by swapping Cold Penetration for Faster Attack gem. Faster Attack can be a choice for a few situations in the maps with Temporal Chain and/or Chilled Ground mod. I still recommend Cold Penetration with using Vaal Haste gem.
I felt a small but noticeable difference in the freezing rates on white/blue mobs between 60% to 100% increased cold resist in Tier 13+ maps. I assume that this is one of the last walls to break. Unfortunately I couldn't achieve better mace or more levels in time.
Area damage scaling : Splash damage area scales as the level of gem and also with other mods in passives and items. I recommend to start leveling as soon as possible and use once you achieved a 4 link in addition to Melee Physical, Multistrike. Till then, you can use Ice Crash for area damage.
I could keep using only Glacial Hammer as the main damage source with this gem in most cases including on the boss fights except for Rigwald, Atziri herself and Avatar of Thunder. This simplified my skill choices greatly thus resulted in smooth gameplays and higher DPS.
Temporal ability boost
Movement and utility : Leap Slam should be used with Blood Magic gem since all of Mana leftover is used for attacking to adapt in any situations including reduced/no regen map mods as well as to cover the cost of summoning golem. Blood Magic is used in the main skill links only when all of mana is reserved. I recommend to level more than one Blood Magic gem as well as Increased Duration gem to arrange skill links in the build progressions.
Defence : This build is heavily centered around Glacial Hammer. Those defensive mechanics listed below don't save you always. You should be saving Flask charges and Enduring Cry for the expected near-death situations after hard engaging.
To counter Elemental Reflect mod, simply swap Weapon Elemental Damage gem for Life Gain on Hit and leap on every packs to proc Fortify as well as with Sapphire Flask. There was no choice as long as I tried with Purity of Ice, Life Leech gem and Sibyl's Lament Coral Ring. You can also use Heavy Strike with Weight of the Empire threshold gems (swap Cold Penetration gem for Faster Attacks, Weapon Elemental Damage for Fortify though it's not safe if you didn't drop Hatred.) You better not run -max resist mod with reflect.
Supports : Arctic Armour is the only defensive buff other than the mediocre amount of armour even after picking Iron Reflex, damage conversions and Fortify or Vaal Grace when ready in this build. You will be lacking flask charges often in the hardest situations in Tier 13+ maps thus it's prioritized after Hatred over Heralds to get used to the required playstyle for this build.
Enlighten is necessary to have more mana leftover. I dropped Herald of Ice for Herald of Ash when I got Lv.4 Enlighten, to swap with Purity of Fire on mana with using Blood Magic gem in the main skill links when necessary.
Life leech in this build barely maintains your life when using Blood Rage in no regen maps. I recommend to drop Blood Rage at the first to body-check some damages when you are not sure if you can kill tough mobs within Vinkter flask and Vaal skill's duration.
Crit or Non-Crit ?
Like many of us thought of with Glacial Hammer and Shattered Chains Jewel, I bought
- good base physical damage
- very good cold damage
- very slow attack speed
- low critical chance as a crit 1 handed weapon
You might be able to freeze most of mobs on crits for a blink moment at the worst case or find a better rare sceptre but there are 2 things you have to deal with.
Gearing and build progression - Mace crit nodes and Dual Wield Crit nodes are mondatory and those are placed almost at both ends of the skill tree. Also you will have to collect every possible attack speed mods. Chances are slim to have the mod on all gears as well as resists, crit mods and all.
Skill Links - Pure single target skill must have splash damage to kill a specific mob among the crowds of mobs. There is no support gem to drop in the 6 link. Going Slayer is the most viable way but still you will have to find critical nodes without Critical Strike Chance gem. Could drop Melee Physical Damage for Physical to Lightning Damage gem to go full elemental damage scaling with Call of the Brotherhood unique ring but it's already losing the sense and the stability. I'd rather go non-crit with dual weilding Doryani's Catalyst.
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Last edited by finisterre on Aug 12, 2016, 10:35:20 AM
Hey could u please update ur talent tree? it says its outdated, even the link for ascendancy.
Thanks for asking. Link for the Berserker skill tree is now updated for Ascendancy.
At lv.95, we better have more survivability. I dropped 1 jewel socket and optimized pathing for another life circle.
You can just drop STR nodes and put somewhere else if you don't use Shattered Chains jewels.
Though you need a good mace, Juggernaut is also cool (Unrelenting and Unstoppable which perfectly fix weak points of the previous build in defenses and also adds some damage.)
Frenzy charge or Endurance charge ?
Endurance charge is only used when engaging in deadly situations (and will be consumed if you using CWDT Immortal Call) or sustain life while boss fights (if it's not no regen map.) 3 Endurance charges are enough for that purpose.
I'd recommend to utilize Frostbite and play more aggressive rather than relying on Endurance charge.
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Last edited by finisterre on Mar 29, 2016, 12:05:31 AM