[2.6] The Curse Whisperer - Tri-Curse CI Whispering Ice EleRaider - Viable for Everything

2017-03-03: Updated for 2.6. Replaced the nerfed Pyre and 1 gem with Cold To Fire, Avatar of Fire and a good ring.

This build is based on Baalorlord's Whispering Ice + Avatar of Fire idea, which I enjoyed greatly and improved upon before my version of the build became quite a bit different from the original. I adapted this build for three other classes since then:

The power level of all versions is pretty close and the differences are only in the Ascendancy perks specific for each class. The Scion's strength is her speed: she can clear maps, run through the Labyrinth and gain xp faster than the other versions. The other classes were buffed significantly in the recent expansions and do more damage than the Scion who fell a bit behind and needs a buff. But Scion's damage is still enough for everything.

This build can do everything in Path of Exile. No boss is too hard for it, most are too easy. Watch the videos below to see how it performs against all the hard stuff.

Featured video: Tier 16 map run

In ordinary mapping, it's so flexible and safe that you can use MF gems while routinely clearing top tier maps with most of the random mod combinations.



After 1 month in a temp league:

Defense (with Discipline)

Icestorm tooltip in hideout (with just the golem)

Icestorm stats in combat (with the golem, EO and frenzy charges)

Standard league:

Defense (with Discipline)

Icestorm tooltip in hideout (with just the golem)

Icestorm stats in combat (with the golem, EO and frenzy charges)

Build theory

This build is based on Intelligence which provides both offense (Icestorm damage) and defense (ES, leech amount). Converting cold damage to fire maximizes the offensive and defensive power.


The Whispering Ice grants you a unique skill - Icestorm - that scales with your Intelligence stat and uses any support gems in the staff without the need to link them (a free 7-link).

The initial cold damage is converted to fire. This lets us take advantage of both Fire and Cold damage modifiers, as well as several multiplicative (MORE) damage modifiers and Flame Golem.

Ascendancy adds several more great improvements to our DPS: Elementalist and Raider Ascendancy classes (a.k.a EleRaider).

More details

Icestorm is a high DPS skill. Its true DPS is hard to calculate, and it can vary depending on too many things, so the game only shows average damage per hit. Icestorm hits 10 times per second by producing a small AoE explosion in a random spot within the area of attack. What makes this build really shine is resistance penetration (see below). Resistant enemies, including all serious bosses, take a much larger percentage of our damage than they do from most other builds.

We use several support gems that increase the damage multiplicatively:

Fire Penetration is equivalent to 38-152% MORE damage depending on the enemy resists. It can make the target's resists negative, so against an enemy with no Fire resistance it makes their resistance go to -38% resulting in 38% MORE damage. A boss with max Fire resistance (hard capped at 75%) would take only 25% of incoming fire damage without penetration. But this gem penetrates 38% of it and makes them take 25+38=63% damage dealt, or 152% MORE.

Ascendant Elementalist class adds another 5% resist penetration, increasing our damage modifier from penetration to 172% against bosses and other resistant enemies.

Concentrated Effect is 55% MORE plus 10% increased. Reduced area of effect is increased back by the Blast Radius and Amplify nodes.

Cold To Fire is similar to 30% MORE plus 20% increased damage.

Converting Icestorm damage to fire maximizes the offensive bonus of Flame Golem to 50% with Ascendant Elementalist.

Cast while Channelling is 10% MORE plus 10% increased. And it sets the casting speed of Icestorm to 0.35 sec which is much faster than it could be cast directly.

Scorching Ray is used to cast Icestorm (via Cast while Channelling) while also doing its own burning damage and applying up to -24% fire resistance debuff on the target which stacks with Fire Penetration.

Ascendant Raider class adds another 12% MORE damage while clearing maps (3 frenzy charges).

Because this build is not a crit one, we use a secondary skill to trigger Elemental Overload's 40% MORE damage benefit. Orb of Storms works the best because it can benefit from the increased AoE and skill duration.

Warlord's Mark causes everything that's not a boss or curse immune to be stun locked by Icestorm.


CI and high Intelligence provide a very large amount of ES from just 4 items (body armor, gloves, boots, belt), Discipline aura and a few ES nodes in the tree.

Life Leech, Ghost Reaver, Vaal Pact and Warlord's Mark combine for very efficient ES and mana leeching.

CI makes you immune to all forms of Chaos damage, including poison.

Arctic Armor, Fortify, Enfeeble reduce incoming damage. Temporal Chains, Arctic Armor and the chilled ground created by Icestorm greatly slow all enemies. Warlord's Mark stun locks almost everything. Immortal Call protects against damage spikes. Unwavering Stance grants stun immunity. Auxium provides excellent defense against freeze and chill. Flame Golem distracts the toughest enemies and takes a lot of hits for you.

More details

Life Leech Support leeches 2% of the Icestorm damage as ES.

Warlord's Mark adds another 2.4% ES and mana leech. However, it doesn't work on Curse Immune enemies and its effect is reduced to 1.2% leech against bosses. Also, Warlord's Mark makes killed enemies give you endurance charges reducing incoming physical damage and increasing the duration of Immortal Call. And it lowers most enemies' stun threshold to where they get permanently stunned by Icestorm and unable to deal any damage to you.

Enchanted boots add another 0.4-0.6% ES and mana leech as long as you keep killing something.

Enfeeble makes the enemies deal 36% LESS damage (15% LESS if boss). Enchanted helmet (with a lot of luck) can take that to 45% LESS (18% LESS if boss).

Fortify reduces incoming damage by 20% for all hits. If the hit is elemental, Ascendant Elementalist reduces it by another 4%.

Arctic Armor makes you take 13% LESS damage from fire and physical hits.

Fortify, Arctic Armor and Enfeeble combine multiplicatively as they are applied on different stages of the hit damage calculation. For example, an Enfeebled monster landing a physical hit on you will deal only (1-0.36) * (1-0.20) * (1-0.13) = 0.45, or 45% of the damage it would deal without Enfeeble, Fortify and AA, i.e they hit you for 55% LESS damage. For bosses (60% less effect of curses) this number is 0.57, or 43% LESS damage.

Arctic Armor, Fortify and Ascendant Elementalist also protect you against reflected elemental damage. Elemental reflect causes you to hit yourself for a portion of the fire damage you deal to the enemy. But this build takes 34% LESS (0.76 * 0.87 = 0.66) reflected damage and can easily outleech it (see: Dealing with map mods).

High level CWDT + Immortal Call + increased duration nodes make you immune to physical damage for extended periods of time when you take a serious hit while ignoring small hits.

A character with no Life from gear or the tree would normally get stunned very often by high level enemies. Unwavering Stance makes you completely immune to stun.


This build does not rely on flasks and can take advantage of any flasks you want to bring to the particular situation for the best performance. In the video section you can see me using Quicksilver flasks for speed running through easy stuff and Sulphur flasks for the toughest encounters.

Ascendant Raider has Onslaught while killing, for 20% extra movement speed, reaching over 120% total speed during trash clearing (from the boots, flasks and Onslaught).

Very high Intelligence means very large mana pool. Warlord's Mark leeches mana faster than it can be spent. This allows us to reserve almost all of the mana and still not run out of it while constantly casting, even in no-regen maps.


Important: Always 20q your staff and chest armor before attempting to 6S them (and linking the armor). Quality improves your roll by a lot. You can do it a lot cheaper than Vorici with average luck, as long as it's 20q.

Mandatory uniques


Keep in mind that 6S requires ilvl 50 or higher. A lower ilvl staff is Ok for leveling, but you will want 6S eventually.

Astramentis solves all stat requirement issues and provides a huge amount of damage and ES via its high Intelligence (which is also boosted by the staff and helmet). Some amulets from the Talisman league can do better but they are very rare and expensive.

The implicit mod can be easily rolled to 16 with a few Blessed Orbs. A low explicit roll (below 90) can be turned into a high roll (over 90) with a Divine orb or two.

Recommended uniques

Black Sun Crest boosts your Int. Look for at least 13% increased Int. +1 gem level bonus is nice too.

This helmet also makes it easier to obtain a good enchantment (see the Enchantment section). You can use more than one Black Sun Crest with different socket colors and enchantments and swap them depending on the target.

Doedre's Damning allows you to use 3 curses.

Perandus Signet adds a lot of Int at high levels. A really good rare Opal ring with a lot of Int and other useful mods can work well too.

Standard league only. The legacy Pyre with 100% conversion lets you drop Avatar of Fire for 2 skill points, use a higher DPS gem (Elemental Focus or Controlled Destruction) instead of Cold to Fire, and helps with resists. Don't use the new (40%) version of this ring, it's not good.

Rare armor/gloves/boots

Int is the main stat to look for. Try to get at least 40 Int on the rare armor/gloves/boots, ideally 50 or better. Int is more important than raw ES because Int gives you ES and DPS. Moderately decent amount of ES on the item is fine as long as Int is very high.

Body Armor is the primary source of ES, look for one with very high ES (700+), 40 Int or better, and a resist mod.

Gloves and boots have to provide resists. Look for ones with high Int, at least 120-150 ES and decent resists. For the boots you want 30% (or at least 20%) movement speed. For the gloves, the new Fingerless Silk base is the best because it has an implicit damage mod. But it's a small bonus compared to all the MORE modifiers we use, it's worth about the same as 10-15 Int.

You can add 30 Int or 30% any resist via crafting if the item has less than 3 suffixes.


Int Crystal Belt

Essence crafting introduced in 2.4 added this fantastic option: a belt with high Int, ES, resists and extra movement speed. You need an Essence of Spite to craft a belt with Int.


This is the 2nd best option after the essence-crafted Crystal belts. Protection against freeze and chill is nice.

Other belts

These are all viable options with various benefits but they are nowhere as good as the Int Crystal belts, and not worth giving up Auxium either (IMO).


You will need 2x Fertile Mind and 3x Brute Force Solution to convert Dex and Str nodes on the way to important things to Int, with their own Int on top of that. Izaro's Turmoil is the perfect DPS jewel for this build. Rare jewels with good mods can be even better. Resist/damage jewels can also be used if you are struggling to balance the resists.

The following mods are good on rare jewels:
+12-16 to Intelligence
14-16% Increased Spell damage while wielding a staff
14-16% Increased Fire damage
14-16% Increased Cold damage
10-12% Increased Spell damage
10-12% Increased Area damage

To calculate the value of a jewel, simply look at the sum of the values of these mods on it. Int is better than the same amount of Increased damage. Int will increase Icestorm damage by almost the same amount as a damage mod, but it also increases ES.

Jewel placement



Helmet enchantments are the most useful, but also hardest to get. There are 360 of them. What's worse, you have to replace your previous enchantment with a totally random new one, so if you get something even remotely useful you have to think twice before losing it in hopes of getting a better one. However, using a unique helmet (Black Sun Crest) lets you eliminate the risk: bring a second helmet to enchant instead of the one you are using and switch them whenever you find a better enchantment than the one you have. Ideally you want to have multiple helmets with different enchantments to use against different targets.

Here's the list of helmet enchantments that are good for this build:

30% increased Enfeeble Curse Effect = cursed enemies deal 9% LESS damage
30% increased Temporal Chains Curse Effect = cursed enemies are 12% slower
30% increased Warlord's Mark Curse Effect = +0.6% extra ES and mana leech from WM
36% increased Arctic Armour Buff Effect = 4.5% LESS damage from fire and physical hits


There are 15 different boot enchantments, so it's a lot easier to get the one you want compared to the helmet enchantment lottery. One of them is very good for this build. 'Recently' means in the last 4 seconds.

0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you've Killed Recently


There are 13 different glove enchantments and only one of them is useful good for this build:

Cast Commandment of Reflection when Hit - a temporary clone to distract the enemy

However, if you have Fingerless Silk gloves, enchanting them is a bad idea because you lose the increased damage implicit mod.

Enchant your boots first, then gloves (if not Fingerless), then start playing the helmet lottery.

Do the Endgame Labyrinth to get the strongest version of the enchantments, especially the helmet one. In lower difficulties they are much weaker.

My gear

After 1 month in a temp league:

Standard league:


Arctic Armour lv 20, ideally 21
Ball Lightning lv 4
Blasphemy 20/20, ideally 20/23
Cast while Channelling 20/20, ideally 21/20
Cold To Fire 20/20, ideally 21/20
Concentrated Effect 20/20, ideally 21/20
Curse on Hit 20/20, ideally 20/23
CWDT lv 1
CWDT lv 20
Discipline lv 20, ideally 21
Enfeeble 20/20, ideally 21/20
Faster Attacks 20/20
Fire Penetration 20/20, ideally 21/20
Fortify any level, ideally 20q
Immortal Call lv 20
Leap Slam any level
Life Leech any level
Minion Life 20/20
Orb of Storms lv 17 or better
Scorching Ray 20/20, ideally 21/20
Summon Flame Golem 20/20
Temporal Chains 20/20, ideally 20/23
Warlord's Mark any level, ideally 21/20

Elemental Focus 20/20, ideally 21/20
Item Rarity 20/20, ideally 20/23
Culling Strike 20/20

Recommended priority of adding quality:
- Faster Attacks
- Blasphemy
- Curse on Hit
- DPS gems: CtF, CwC, Fire Penetration, Concentrated Effect
- Golem
- Fortify
- Temporal Chains
- Enfeeble
- Scorching Ray
- Warlord's Mark

Uber Lab farming is the best way to add quality to your gems. You can often find treasure chests filled with random quality gems to vendor for the GCP recipe.

If you are not into Uber Lab farming, then:
- for all gems except the DPS ones, level the gem to 20 or buy an uncorrupted 20/0 gem, vendor the gem + Gemcutter Prism to get a 1/20 gem, and then level that one. You can get them to lv 17-18 in no time, and that is enough for them to be efficient;
- for the DPS gems, level 2 copies at the same time (or buy 20/0) and then vendor one copy with GCP and re-level it in the swap weapons.


Weapon RRRBBB: Life Leech, Cold To Fire, Fire Penetration, Scorching Ray - Cast While Channelling, Concentrated Effect (or Elemental Focus).

Scorching Ray must be linked to CwC. No other links are required, Icestorm automatically uses all support gems in the staff.

The 6th socket:
- Concentrated Effect for max DPS against bosses
- Elemental Focus for slightly lower DPS but larger AoE for map clearing
- Item Rarity for better loot, if the map is easy enough

In the Standard league, you can also swap Fire Penetration for Item Quantity.

For the top bosses, a swap staff for MF culling can be quite useful. RRRBBG: LL, CtF, FP/IQ, SR - CwC, IR, Culling Strike. Swap to it when the boss is at 10% life or less.

Chest 5L: CWDT (lv 1) - Ball Lightning (lv 4) - Curse of Hit - Enfeeble - Temporal Chains.
Important: CWDT needs to be lv 1 and BL must be lv 4 or lower, do not level these gems! CoH can be any level, 20/20 is highly recommended. Enfeeble and TC must be lv 6 or higher, do level them. This setup will not work with low level curse gems or high level CWDT/BL.

4L: CWDT - Immortal Call - Summon Flame Golem - Minion Life.

3L: Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Fortify.

2L: Blasphemy - Warlord's Mark.

Remaining sockets: Discipline, Arctic Armor, Orb of Storms, and a gem of your choice (e.g. Enlighten for more free mana, Enhance for stronger curses (6L chest), Vaal Discipline, Vaal Lightning Trap, Lightning Warp, Portal, etc).

Other than having to put the 5L into the body armor, the rest can be placed depending on the sockets you have. You will have to off-color 3 sockets in at least one item, so be prepared to spend 200-300 chromatic orbs.

The final curse comes in at lv 80. Until then you can put Enfeeble into 3L with CWDT-IC, summon the golem manually, and the body armor links are not even needed. You can use the body armor to get around the coloring issues until you are higher level and doing high tier maps.

You can also place the Leap Slam link into the Black Sun Crest wasting its +1 gem level bonus, until you get enough chroms to color everything for the optimal setup.

Skill tree

Lv 91 tree

This build is fully functional as early as lv 65, and fully safe at lv 80 (see the Leveling section). After that you just add Int/damage/ES upgrades every 2-4 levels and go as high as you want.

Kill - Kill - Kill

Skill points are far too valuable to spend on anything the bandits have to offer. If you are really struggling with resists, you can help Kraityn in Normal (and achieve the major goals 1 level behind the schedule).


Ascendant Elementalist + Raider

Elementalist is the elemental DPS class: +5% resist penetration and 30% increased damage from the matching golem, 4% reduced incoming elemental damage.

Raider is fantastic for mapping and leveling. You constantly have 3 frenzy charges and Onslaught as long as you keep killing mobs, amounting to 12% MORE damage, 32% increased cast and attack speed, and 20% increased movement speed - all of which in turn makes killing mobs faster.

And you also get 2 skill points and 80 Int from the Ascendancy nodes.

Play style

- Run around, see a pack of mobs, hit them with Scorching Ray + Icestorm.
- If they are not dead yet, pop Orb of Storms and keep channelling Scorching Ray.
- Don't be afraid to tank. This build is VERY tanky. Moreover, you want everything you hit to be close enough to leech from.
- You never run out of mana and can pre-cast Icestorm on triggered bosses.
- Warlord's Mark aura covers most of the screen and provides ES and mana leech and endurance charges, plus it makes Icestorm stun lock almost everything.
- Anything that manages to hit you gets chilled, Enfeebled and Temp Chained and can't really hurt you anymore.
- Whenever you take enough damage to notice it, Immortal Call triggers and makes you immune to physical hits for a short time.
- Your golem pops automatically when you take damage and distracts the enemy.
- Leap Slam to obtain Fortify, hop across the terrain and over Labyrinth traps.
- Be careful, of course. While you can faceroll almost everything, this build still cannot survive the attacks that are meant to 1-shot, such as Atziri's Gigantic Flameblast, Malachai's Teleport Slam, etc. Facetanking high DPS bosses should be done with caution. Use Leap Slam often to get Fortify when it expires. Depending on the map mods, you should be wary of elemental or physical damage that is not a problem without those mods.

Important: This is NOT a ranged attack build. You want to keep everything within your WM aura. If you are not leeching from the mobs you are killing, you are more vulnerable. The only times you should be attacking from range is when fighting high level bosses that can 1-shot you.


This build doesn't depend on flasks to function, so the choice is entirely up to you. All flasks have to be utility ones, because life flasks don't work with CI and mana flasks won't work because you leech mana faster than you spend it and you are almost always at full mana.

I currently use these flasks for most of my mapping in high tiers:

Ruby flask of Staunching protects against bleeding and reflect. Anti-freeze and anti-shock flasks are always a good idea. Quicksilver flasks with extra movement speed make things go really fast.

Dealing with map mods

This build can do any map mods and almost any combinations of them.

Mods that grant monsters extra damage, speed, projectiles, AoE: this build is very tanky and can take a lot of punishment. Just be more careful. The same goes for the curses on you and lowered max resists.

Mods that grant monsters more life or resistances: they die a little slower, makes no difference otherwise. You have huge DPS and resist penetration.

Elemental reflect: this build easily outleeches even the top reflect mod, as long as you stay near the mobs you are hitting (i.e. they are covered by the WM aura; avoid range-killing in reflect maps). Because all our damage is fire, we enjoy the 13% LESS incoming fire damage benefit of Arctic Armor, and that works with reflect. However, map bosses have 60% less effect of curses, and that greatly diminishes the amount of ES leeched by Warlord's Mark. Bring a Ruby flask. Do not combine ele reflect with leech immunity. Pay attention to the modifiers on the mobs: some may be Curse Immune and must be mixed with other mobs to leech from while killing. Lowered max resists and Elemental Weakness also spell trouble: better leave the boss alone if you really have to run a map with such a combo. Beware of Necromancers: they can cast Flammability and Elemental Weakness. Have an anti-curse flask with you and don't combine ele reflect with 'inhabited by undead'. Take out Doedre's Damning and put Sibyl's Lament in the left ring slot:

Leech immunity: without the ability to leech you cannot tank well and have to range kill everything; be very careful and avoid reflective rares like plague. Do not combine this with ele reflect.

Hexproof: without the curses you are much more vulnerable to attacks and lose a big source of ES/mana leech. Swap Blasphemy and Warlord's Mark for Clarity and Rallying Cry. Do not combine this with ele reflect and be careful around reflective rares (mix them with other mobs to leech from).

The % reduced regen mods are not a problem at all, you will not even notice them. No Regen is fine as long as there is no leech immunity. Pop Orb of Storms before Scorching Ray, and stop casting just before the last enemy dies. Or click off Arctic Armour to have more room for error.

Dealing with specific bosses

See the Boss Guide (moved to a separate post instead of posting a copy for each version of the build; it works the same for all versions)


Problem: It's hard to stay alive after switching to CI.
Cause: You are either not using WM+Blasphemy aura or trying to range kill everything instead of face tanking, or you are not using Int+ES items.
Solution: Use WM+Blasphemy and keep everything within your aura. Use the recommended items (see Leveling).

Problem: Not enough mana for WM+Blasphemy aura while leveling.
Cause: You are using Clarity.
Solution: Stop using Clarity. Your two auras should be Discipline and WM+Blasphemy.

Problem: Not leeching enough to stay alive while leveling, even with all mobs in the Blasphemy+WM aura.
Cause: Your DPS is too low, because your Int is too low and/or you are using wrong gems in the staff.
Solution: Use the recommended gear and gems. Make sure you don't neglect to take the jewel sockets as per the Leveling guide, they make a lot of difference while leveling. With appropriate DPS you will easily outleech everything in the storyline content. You MUST use gear with Int AND ES. Re-read the Leveling section starting from "Reaching lv 39" in case you overlooked or forgot something.

Problem: Constantly running out of mana while leveling.
Cause: You are either not using WM+Blasphemy aura, or staying too far away from the enemy, or not using Scorching Ray+CwC.
Solution: Use Scorching Ray+CwC and WM+Blasphemy, keep everything within your aura.

Problem: Getting perma-frozen or stun-locked.
Cause: You don't have protection against freeze and stun yet.
Solution: Until you get Unwavering Stance, don't leap into mob packs. Just cast Scorching Ray/Icestorm and get close enough to leech from them. Carry an anti-freeze flask.

Problem: Leap Slam is very slow.
Cause: Your Faster Attacks gem is too low level or has no quality.
Solution: Level the Faster Attacks gem and add quality to it. Leap Slam is still a slow attack, but it will be a lot faster with a 20/20 Faster Attacks.

Q & A

1. Which version is the build is the best?
It really depends on your goals and personal preferences. The Witch is very powerful all around and almost immune to reflect, I usually recommend trying the Witch first if you haven't played this build yet. The Templar is very good at boss killing and has nice party support perks. The Marauder is fast and strong, good for clearing and running the Lab, a good boss killer too. The Scion has great clear speed and xp/hr which matters a lot if you plan on leveling above lv 94, although that class is in need of a buff.

2. Is this build HC viable?
Yes. It's extremely tanky and leechy. Just remember that this is NOT a ranged attacker build and don't try to range/off-screen everything. Your main defense is leech. Avoid leech immuninty, Hexproof and ele reflect maps to be safe. Don't tank the attacks that are meant to 1-shot you. Be careful while leveling, outlevel the content by a safe margin. Don't try to faceroll dangerous bosses until the build is complete (lv 80).

3. What map mods should I avoid?
You don't have to avoid any mods, but if you don't want to take risks, avoid these:
- Leech immunity. Without the ability to leech you have to range kill everything, and a random reflective rare means trouble. You can do this mod, but only if you really have to.
- Combination of elemental reflect with Hexproof.
- If you are trying to level above 94 or playing in HC, avoid ele reflect and curse immunity altogether to be safe.

Everything else is fine.

4. Can I play this as LL with Shavs?
You can but it will be not very good. You will have a lot less ES, chaos/poison damage will be a thing, and you won't be able to survive the top encounters. The extra auras from reserving life will not compensate for losing so much ES and Int. The 30% MORE damage from Pain Attunement is absolutely not worth the pain. We already use several multiplicative (MORE) damage modifiers.

5. What about Skyforth?
Too expensive, no Int, low ES, no resists and no real stun immunity anyway. You can still get stunned at the worst possible time. You can buy amazing body armor, gloves and boots, plus all the required uniques, i.e. your whole set of gear, for less than the price of Skyforth.

6. Can I play this as another class?
Yes. You can play as Witch, Templar, Marauder, or perhaps Ranger (I haven't tried that yet).

7. Can I MF with this build?
Yes, even in the highest tiers. This build has much more power than you need to clear most maps with most mods. You can always trade some of that power for more/better drops. Swap Concentrated Effect for Item Rarity (+70% IIR). If you are in the Standard league, swap Fire Penetration for Item Quantity (+44% IIQ). This will only lower your DPS without making you any less safe against most enemies. Against the top bosses you can use a swap staff with MF gems and Culling Strike. You can go even further by using items with inferior stats/resists that have MF, depending on how easy the map is for you.

8. Isn't leveling as CI hard?
Not for a build that does tons of AoE damage and leeches ES. The combination of WM+Blasphemy aura with Life Leech makes sure your ES is always replenished. Just don't play a range attacker. Get close to the mobs you are killing. See the Leveling section.

9. Can I drop Unwavering Stance and use all those points elsewhere?
Stun immunity is very important for this build in endgame content. You can easily get stunned (or even stun locked) and die in the top tier maps without it. This build has no Life from items or the tree and no physical defenses. Our defense is leech, and getting stunned is very bad for your ability to leech. Items such as Skyforth or Valyrium don't offer stun immunity, you can still get stunned at the worst possible time. Unwavering Stance costs only 5 skill points. All nodes on the way to it are used for good things, except 5. When considering an alternative to US, simply check if 5 skill points can compensate for the loss of Int/ES/resists/other good things and give you more power. With Skyforth and Valyrium they can't. If new alternatives become available in the future, they will be considered.

10. What about Hyporthermia?
Hypothermia is weaker than the weakest DPS support gem we use (Elemental Focus) and does not work on chill immune targets. All current endgame bosses are immune to chill.

11. What about Heretic's Veil?
No Int, losing 15% Int bonus from Black Sun Crest will hurt. Still won't have enough mana to run all curses as auras. Lv 22 Blasphemy is just more radius but it would lose 20q on Blasphemy (additional 10% curse efficiency = 0.2% leech from WM). Not worth the sacrifice.

12. What does Orb of Storms do?
It triggers Elemental Overload. Orb of Storms crits per hit, i.e. very, very often. In some endgame boss fights Orb is also used to curse the enemy (see the Boss Guide).

13. Why convert the damage to fire?
Adding fire damage mods on top of the cold damage ones is good for DPS. Ascendancy comes into play for even more DPS. Dealing with elemental reflect is a lot easier when it's fire because of Arctic Armour. See Build Theory for more details on the offensive and defensive bonuses of the damage conversion. It also makes it much easier to find good jewels.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 3, 2017, 7:13:20 PM
Last bumped on Sep 10, 2017, 8:35:41 AM
Leveling Guide

Leveling with the Whispering Ice is a blast. You can start using it at lv 33 and switch to CI at the same level (although since CwC was added to the game it makes more sense to switch at lv 39). This way you get used to the play style and feel very comfortable by the time you graduate from the storyline content into the maps.

Video: Leveling as CI with the Whispering Ice (Templar version)

Don't listen to the people who say that leveling as CI is hard. It is for other builds, but not for this one, as long as you use the recommended items and take tree nodes in the recommended order.

It does not get any harder at higher levels and diffculties, as long as you do the recommended upgrade in A4C.

Other than the staff and jewels (that may cost 1-5c depending on the league), all other items used for leveling to 70 can almost always be found on poe.trade for 1 alc or less (with a total budget of 10-20 alc plus the staff). Some of the items for leveling can be easily crafted with minimal currency investment.

Before starting

This build is based on The Whispering Ice. You must have the staff before proceeding past lv 39 with this guide. If you don't have the staff, you can level any way you know how, but this guide will not work after lv 39 without Icestorm. Other skills such as Firestorm will not have enough dps/leech for safe and fun leveling as CI.

It is highly recommended to obtain Pyre before lv 39 (or at least before A4C), although a ring with high Int and some resists can work too. If you already have Astramentis, it will make everything trivial.

And the first jewel. It has to be Fertile Mind.

The following items, or similar, must be obtained before lv 39:

Everything before lv 39 is way too easy and you can use any self-found gear to get there.

Useful twink items for trivializing lv 1-39:

Don't skip quests that give skill or respec points:
Act 1: A Dirty Job (+2 respec), The Dweller of the Deep (+ skill), The Marooned Mariner (+1 skill), The Way Forward (+1 skill)
Act 2: Deal with the Bandits (+1 skill), Through Sacred Ground (+2 respec)
Act 3: Victario's Secrets (+1 skill, +2 respec), Piety's Pets (+2 skill)
Act 4: An Indomitable Spirit (+1 skill, +2 respec)


Your starting skill is Spectral Throw. Use it to kill Hillock and throw it away. Take Lightning Tendrils as your reward from Tarkleigh. You will be using it until lv 39. If you already have twink gear - great. If not - you'll still do fine. Use wands, not any other weapons.

You will be leveling as life+ES hybrid until lv 39. Any self-found gear with life and ES will do.

Lv 2: Buy a Paua amulet from Nessa for mana regen.

In the skill tree, go up and right via Harrier and head for Crackling Speed:
Lv 13 tree

The Climb: Rescue Navali. Get prophecies from her any time you find silver coins. They can be extremely helpful. Save crafting prophecies for lv 33.

Axiom Prison: Go to town, take Added Lightning Damage as your reward from Nyssa and support Lightning Tendrils with it.

Lv 10: You can start using Clarity or Rallying Cry to help with mana. However, Scion doesn't get either gem and needs to buy it from another class.

Next, grab the resist nodes:
- Fire/Cold/Lighting Resistance
- Sentinel
then some ES:
- Arcane Focus
- Deep Wisdom
and start preparing for greatness:
- Ghost Reaver
- Vaal Pact
- Snowforged
Lv 38 tree

Act 2: Go West, open the passage, finish The Way Forward, kill Alira, kill The Weaver, take Controlled Destruction as your reward from Silk.

Lv 18: Add Controlled Destruction to Lightning Tendrils.

Lv 20: Equip Astramentis if you have it and say good-bye to stat requirement woes.

Finished Crematorium: Take Warlord's Mark as your reward from Maramoa. Do not level this gem if you don't have Astramentis, because you won't have enough Str to use it after converting your Str nodes to Int at lv 39.

Lv 24: Buy Discipline from Clarissa and start using it.

Help Siosa in the Library, take Fire Penetration as your reward. Buy Blasphemy from Clarissa.

Killed Voll: Take Summon Flame Golem as your reward from Oyun and start using it.

Lv 38: If you have Astramentis, you can start using CWDT - Immortal Call.

Reaching lv 39 is the turning point of your experience: you can equip your Whispering Ice and spec into CI! Do it! Refund Crackling Speed, take CI, Infused Shield and Vaal Pact:
Lv 39: A4 Normal

You need 59 Str to equip the staff. If you don't have Astramentis, you need an amulet with as much Int as possible and some Str. Look for a rare amulet that has Int or Int+Str implicit, Int explicit and optionally All Stats and extra Str. Example:

Stop using Clarity. Your two auras should be Discipline and Warlord's Mark/Blasphemy.

Stop using the twink gear. From now on, you must be wearing gear with as much Int and ES as you can find. Your armor, helmet, gloves and boots must have Int AND ES. No need to buy the top rolls this early, just look for cheap items with Int, ES and some resists.

Special mentions:

Shavronne's Pace is by far the best boots for leveling all the way to 70. They are very cheap and common and give you 35% inc movement speed (you are always at full life with CI). Get them.

Icetomb is very common and cheap. It has good Int, ES, takes care of your cold resist and makes you immune to chill.

Doedre's Scorn is another cheap unique great for leveling, and it gives you extra damage for cursing the enemy too. This helmet is good until you reach 1200-1300 Int, somewhere around lv 80-85. After that Black Sun Crest will become the top option.

You can craft your own armor easily with no budget at all. You must have met Haku and Catarina by now. Don't ignore them. Helping them once or twice gets them to lv 2, and you can invite them to your hideout or just place their crafting benches there (type: /claim_crafting_benches).

All you need from the armor at this point is a level-appropriate amount of ES (example: see the wiki for ES gloves; at lv 39 you want Embroidered or Silk gloves) and 20+ Int. Pick up the drops of those types. If you happen to find a magic or rare drop with 20+ Int and extra ES - that's great. If not, you have options:
- if you have a rare drop that already has 20+ Int: craft increased %ES on it (Haku)
- if you have a rare drop without Int: craft Int on it (Catarina)
- if you have a white drop: use a transmutation orb and hope for Int or ES, then use an augmentation orb.

Use the belt slot to get as much resistance as you can.

Your staff should be at least 4S / 2L and have these gems in it, in the order of importance: Scorching Ray, Cast while Channelling, Life Leech, Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction (5S), Cold To Fire (6S). SR must be linked with CwC. No other links required, all support gems in the staff apply to Icestorm automatically.

From that point on, you will be steamrolling everything on your way through the game. Use Quicksilver flasks to move fast, with various useful mods such as anti-freeze, anti-bleed, extra resists, etc.

Important: If you try to range kill everything, you lose the massive advantage of the WM aura. Don't be afraid to get close to the enemy! Very few enemies can really hurt you through that leech, stun and chill. The radius of the aura is very small at first, but it will grow substantially as you level the gem and take Blast Radius.

- 4 jewel sockets that you passed by (2x Fertile Mind, 1 Brute Force Solution, 1 Izaro's Turmoil or rare Int/dmg; see Gear-Jewels)
- Exceptional Performance (below the start)
- Blast Radius (near the Witch start)
Lv 43: A2 Cruel

You can do the Normal Labyrinth at this point. Dodge Izaro, don't tank him. Take 40 Int and skill point near Witch Ascendancy.

Next, through the Witch area:
- Occultist's Dominion
- Frost/Fire Walker
- Elemental Overload
- Avatar of Fire
Lv 53: A4 Cruel

Elemental Overload: Start using Orb of Storms to trigger it.

Avatar of Fire: Convert your damage to fire for the double-dipping bonuses and resist penetration. Your staff must have Cold to Fire now. Gems: Life Leech, Cold To Fire, SR - CwC, Fire Penetration (5S), Elemental Focus (6S).

A4 Cruel: Upgrade your gloves, belt and non-unique jewelry before facing Cruel Daresso and Malachai. Get more Int, ES, and start looking for resists for Merciless.

Next, grab a couple of things from the Shadow space:
- Coldhearted Calculation
- Nullification
and head into the Templar area:
- Light of Divinity
- Faith and Steel
- Elementalist
- Retribution
- Amplify
Lv 64: A4 Merciless

Finish the storyline content if you care about it, or grind to lv 80 quickly in the Lake, or head into the maps. Don't forget to free Deshret.

Lv 70: Wear your endgame gear and do the Labyrinth on Cruel and Merciless: take Elementalist Ascendant and 40 Dex, then skill point and Raider.

Now it's time to take the journey down the tree and get stun immunity for the endgame content, and then finish the build by adding the 3rd curse:
- Socket between Scion and Marauder (Brute Force Solution)
- Hard Knocks
- Unwavering Stance
- Whispers of Doom
Lv 80: safe and sound

By then your staff really should be 6S. Gems: Scorching Ray - Cast while Channelling, Life Leech, Cold to Fire, Fire Penetration.
The 6th socket:
- Concentrated Effect for tough bosses
- Elemental Focus for map clearing
- Item Rarity for MF'ing
SR has to be linked with CwC and optionally with EF for more damage. CE, FP and LL never need to be linked.

You are good to go for all content in PoE! Do the Endgame Labyrinth and grab the hybrid 20 Int/Dex and 20 Int/Str nodes. Farm Uber Lab for xp, currency, maps, sellable frags and uniques, random quality gems for the GCP recipe. Get the leech enchantment for your boots, then start enchanting the helmet. And keep working your way through the Atlas.

Video: Uber Lab farm run (Marauder)

After that, you just add more and more power:
- Lv 82: Templar area socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Lv 84: Witch area socket (Izaro's Turmoil)
- Lv 87: Socket between Witch and Templar (Izaro's Turmoil)
- Lv 91: Shadow area socket (Izaro's Turmoil)

At this level you can farm T16 and the Shaper once your gear is good enough to survive them.

And the final levels, should you decide to go that far:
- Refund Nullification and/or Faith and Steel if your resistances are good enough. You can also change your Normal Bandit reward to Kraityn to get 10% all resists for 1 point.
- better curses: swap the useless Curse Cast Speed node near Whispers of Doom for the two Curse Effect nodes.
- more DPS: Trickery, socket south-east of the start (Fertile Mind), socket near Whispers of Doom + either Might (Brute Force) or Agility (fertile Mind), Catalyse, Thief's Craft, Ballistic Mastery.

You can switch between those options every time you level up. Refund something smaller, grab something bigger.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Apr 8, 2017, 2:57:32 PM
Why Orb of Storms? I cant see what it does to this build?

Other: I really like this style of Whispering Ice, more than the original. :D
Last edited by StorgutBorsit on Mar 21, 2016, 6:24:11 PM
StorgutBorsit wrote:
Why Orb of Lightning? I cant see what it does to this build?

It helps trigger Elemental Overload. This is not a crit build, and Icestorm crits per cast instead of per hit, so normally you only crit 1/20 of your casts. If you want to take advantage of EO's 40% MORE damage bonus, you need to use a skill that has either a very high innate crit chance (such as Ice Spear), or produces a lot of separate hits over time.

Orb of Storms is a perfect match for this build because we already have very large Extended Duration and Increased AoE modifiers for Icestorm and our defenses, and there is a good spot for the gem in the 4L with RC where it gets Inc AoE and Inc Dur supports. As a result, you drop this orb on the ground and it zaps enemies in a decent radius non-stop, triggering EO at least once per 8 sec, which is precisely what we need. And it lasts 20 sec without needing to recast it.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 21, 2016, 6:28:07 PM
Ohhh, I see. Thats a really wise choice then :)
Now I must look where I put my Vaal Discipline :(
StorgutBorsit wrote:
Ohhh, I see. Thats a really wise choice then :)
Now I must look where I put my Vaal Discipline :(

I was using two Vaal Disciplines in 2.1, and they actually saved my butt a few times. But this build became much more powerful in 2.2 and doesn't need the VD crutch anymore. The more damage you do, the more ES you leech (1.5% from Berserker + 2.4% from WM = 3.9% leech!). With the new MORE damage multipliers we got in 2.2, nothing short of Core Malachai can damage you faster than you leech. I replaced the two VD gems with Enfeeble and Orb of Storms respectively.
What do you think of foregoing Arctic Armor to run Enfeeble on blasphemy for better uptime? Enfeeble should be better damage reduction than AA, assuming you can find room for the slight reservation increase.
[Build Guide] - Whispering Ice CI Avatar of Fire
Baalorlord wrote:
What do you think of foregoing Arctic Armor to run Enfeeble on blasphemy for better uptime? Enfeeble should be better damage reduction than AA, assuming you can find room for the slight reservation increase.

I've experimented with different options while incorporating Enfeeble. Slightly larger mana reservation can be solved by taking one 4% reservation node near CI. Unfortunately, there is no good way to get both AA and Enfeeble aura without taking all possible reservation nodes and Enlighten lv 4 on top of that, and it's not worth giving up that many nodes. Not to mention the cost of lv 4 Enlighten and 6L.

But AA is too valuable to replace because it reduces your own reflected damage, without it reflect is a more serious issue. And it works in Curse Immunity maps. And against enemies that are outside of the curse radius. And against Lab traps too.

CWDT Enfeeble has its own advantage: it debuffs range attackers that are outside of the WM aura range. Enemies close to you are covered by WM and are already leeched from and stunned.

Against bosses, AA and Enfeeble have pretty close overall value. AA is a 13% reduction for physical and fire hits. Enfeeble cuts all damage dealt by the monster by 33% (or even 36% if used as an aura), but bosses reduce its effect by 60%.

AA and Enfeeble stack with each other multiplicatively because they apply on different sides of the hit. But if you have to pick between them, I would still pick AA. Using Enfeeble as CWDT allows us to apply it selectively - to the enemies that actually hit you. And that's exactly what we need. Would be nice to enfeeble them before they land their 1st hit rather than after, but I don't see a good way to incorporate that other than casting Enfeeble manually. That's a viable option for the people with fast fingers, but I prefer not to increase my APS.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 22, 2016, 2:20:31 PM
hi one question . do you think this build is also viable as a templar ( with templar ascendancy class ? )
DBB2003 wrote:
hi one question . do you think this build is also viable as a templar ( with templar ascendancy class ? )

Doubt it. Inquisitor has some decent bonuses on par with our Elementalist, but nothing as good as Berserker. And I don't see a way to connect the lower part of our tree to the Templar start. Unwavering Stance is extremely important, and 28% to all resists would be very hard to replace.

Scion is really the only way to go for this build.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 22, 2016, 4:30:17 PM

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