[2.4 ATLAS] Qlbuto's CI Whispering Ice... Necromancer ?!

Greetings once again, exiles.

Remember me ? Yeah, the Frenchie that posted a newbie Arc Hierophant build back in Prophecy.
Well, I am back with another build, this one uninspired by anyone (or at least, I have not seen anything like this one, yet), and I am very proud of what it has become, so I figured I might as well share it with you guys.
Warning though, this is not as beginner/budget friendly as my previous guide.


"Haha, Necromancer, really ? Better go Elementalist."
Well, as a Whispering Ice character, you definitely HAVE to stack Intelligence. This comes with a price, as most (unique) items with Intelligence on them do not have elemental resistances. Besides, Necromancer allows for a very nice defensive mechanic that I will present later in this build guide.

"It's a spell build. No WEDu with spells."

- I am playing this build in Standard League (eww Standard), it is level 84 as of last update -

PROs and CONs
+ Fairly easy to play
+ Immunity to chaos damage
+ Wall of tanky minions
+ Very defensive (chilled ground, block, temporal chains, energy shield leech)
+ You can cast an Icestorm on an area, leave it and let it kill everything that is inside

- Not very budget friendly (if you want to maximize the damage)
- Huge mana costs
- Vulnerable to elemental reflect (pure cold damage)
- Not a top-end build (fly, you meta fools !)

Condensed Version
For you, people who have no time to lose (I know there are) ... Here it is.

Skill Tree (level 100)

How does the build work ?
Simple. It relies on an item called Whispering Ice
This staff grants a skill called Icestorm.

How does Icestorm work ?
Well it looks like an icy version of Firestorm. Except it also leaves patches of chilling ground where it lands.

It also features a very unique mechanic, as it scales with your INTELLIGENCE.
Your goal, is to stack as much Intelligence as possible to deal damage to the ennemies.
This also comes with the benefit of scaling ES and Mana (which helps with mana regeneration, and you will need it !) to absurd levels, allowing us to take CI.

We also take some skill effect duration on the tree and the Necromancer's ascendancy tree to help us stacking many Icestorms on one point, increasing the spell's sustained DPS.

Ok. I get how this build's offense work. What about defense ?
First, a nice pool of ES, protecting your only Health Point (as you are CI).
Second, Icestorm's innate chilling ground slowing ennemies in the hailstorm's area down.
Third, GMP Arctic Breath on damage taken, exploding in a large area of chilling ground to slow foes that are attacking you.
Fourth, Temporal Chains. Slowing your ennemies further down as you hit them with either Icestorm or Arctic Breath.
Fifth, a wall of tanky minions. With my Chaos Golem and Zombies at my side, the ennemies hardly ever choose to aim at me (and I hardly ever get stunned).
Sixth, Bone offering. Yes, it is for minions. But thanks to Mistress of Sacrifice from Necromancer's ascendancy tree, it also benefits us. This is, in my opinion, one of the most overpowered form of defense, and since we benefit from skill effect duration nodes, it gets better ! Trust me, getting (total) 40% block and spell block is a very nice boost !

Icestorm Tooltip, self-buffed in hideout:

Estimated DPS (thanks to the creator of the Firestorm DPS calculator tool !):

Self-buffed, in hideout (no Bone offering, no flasks):

Important to note: I am currently not cold resistance capped (72%). I have flasks against this. My Purity is not level 20 yet.
I am not Elemental Weakness / Single Elemental Curse capped either so be careful around this kind of maps. Use your anti-curse flask.

The Build
90 points
100 points
110 points
Level 100, 121 points

Skill Tree features 2 important jewel sockets on the right side of the tree.
You will socket an Energy from Within near the Melding (Life and ES) cluster for an additional 23 to 27% increased ES total.
You will socket a Fertile Mind in the socket near the Dexterity nodes to get an additional 86 to 94 Intelligence total. This is the absolute best spot to place one of these.

Why no Elemental Overload ?!
I found out that I could not maintain Elemental Overload, so I dumped the nodes to take some more damage elsewhere. It seems that Icestorm rolls critical only once per cast and not once per impact, with 5% critical strike chance, this makes it difficult to proc Elemental Overload.

For bandits, you will take:
Normal: Kraityn - Trust me, you will need those +10% elemental resistances.
Cruel: Alira - 4% cast speed, not too bad.
Merciless: Kill'Em All ! - You do not generate charges, an additional skill point will give you so much more.

For your ascendancy (Necromancer !), you will take (assuming you are levelling with Whispering Ice as soon as you can equip it):
Normal: Mistress of Sactifice - For that sweet skill effect duration, and Bone Offering if you can already socket it.
Cruel: Commander of Darkness - You will NEED that elemental resistance, it is also good for your damage.
Merciless: Flesh Binder - You will not start to get most of your minion/zombie nodes until level 70, so this node will not be effective until then. With 6 zombies and your Chaos Golem, it allows you to get 10% unpenetrable physical damage reduction. More than nothing.
Endgame: Spirit Eater - More of a comfort node: you do not use spectres, and you are already immune to chaos damage (while not dealing any yourself), so you might as well deal a bit more damage when you got recently hit.

Whispering Ice grants you the Icestorm skill. YOU DO NOT NEED TO LINK IT, 6 sockets (EVEN UNLINKED) on the item = 7-linked skill.

You will use this setup in your Whispering Ice:
Concentrated Effect Support, Spell Echo Support, Elemental Focus Support, Controlled Destruction Support, Life Leech Support, Cold Penetration Support.

You could replace Elemental Focus Support (not Controlled Destruction Support, otherwise you would be negating Hypothermia Support's effect AND lowering your damage for nothing) with Hypothermia Support to freeze monsters (at the price of less dammage, but I found out it would be overkill on the defensive side.

In your Helmet (+2 to minion gems):
Raise Zombie, Summon Chaos Golem, Minion Life Support, Fortify Support.
This will grant you one of the most tanky minions possible on a 4-Link.

In your chest (5-Link, 6 sockets):
Cast When Damage Taken Support (level 1), Arctic Breath (level 4), Greater Multiple Projectiles Support, Bone Offering (level 8), Increased Duration Support.
Clarity on his own socket.
Your CwDT setup, chilling ennemies and boosting your and your minions' block chance. Also Clarity.

In your Gloves/Boots (4-Link):
Flame Dash, Convocation, Desecrate, Faster Casting Support
Utility setup, movement skill, corpse generation (for both raising zombies and defense) and minion support.

Arctic Armour, Discipline, Purity of Elements, Enlighten Support
Your auras and buffs. Arctic armour for tankyness against physical attacks, Discipline since you are CI, Purity of Elements to cap your and your minions' elemental resistances.

Weapon: Whispering Ice, required for this build.

Helmet: Try to get a high-elemental resistance (priority), +2 to minion gems helmet. There are (unfortunately) no uniques with +2 to minions gems...

Chest: Beast Fur Shawl, Best Fur Shawl.

Gloves: Asenath Gentle Touch, and later you can try to get a pair of unique gloves with a "Curses ennemies with level 12 Temporal Chains on Hit" vaal corruption.

Boots: I chose Rainbowstrides for the elemental resistances, and also because I had a pair with a nice "+1 to socket gems" vaal corruption.

Jewellery:Astramentis is the absolute Best in Slot. 2x (legacy !) Perandus Rings are the reason why I stack so much unique items on this build, as it gives me more Intelligence (I am also the proud owner of 4 of these legacy rings), and then Doryani's Invitation (cold variant) for more damage, leech, and elemental resistances.

Flasks: 2 Flasks against Physical damage (and bleed), 2 Flasks against reflect (also curse, and freeze, one of CI builds' worst ennemy), 1 Flask for movement speed.

Improvements to be made
I am not a top player (yet ?). If you have anything to say, a change in the tree, something to add I forgot to do here, or if you spot some broken english, please tell me.
There will be no videos, my PC is not strong enough for it (somehow).

No questions asked as of now.

29/09/2016, 09:45 CEST: First version of the build, still missing images in "Offence" and "Defence" parts.
29/09/2016, 10:44 CEST: Added the images in "Offence" and "Defence" and flask setup.

Who am I ?
My player name is Qlbuto, I am French and I have been playing Path of Exile since the end of Open Beta and following its progress since then. I am kind of a casual player and have been on and off a few times, sometimes playing other games like Age of Empires 2 HD, League of Legends, Rocket League, Darkest Dungeon, Skyrim (*sigh*), Warframe and Minecraft.

I often play on Steam (IGN: Qlbuto) so you can add me and ask questions about the game if you wish. Not sure if my advice can be useful though.

- Sorry for bad english -
Last edited by Culbuto on Sep 29, 2016, 4:47:11 AM
Last bumped on Oct 2, 2016, 5:46:18 PM
Some of the questions I KNOW will be asked, I might as well answer them now.

Are there any map mods to avoid ?
- Elemental reflect maps: You deal only cold damage. Your leech and flasks against reflect help, but are not sufficient for dealing with these maps (you will slowly degen your ES until you die).
- Elemental Weakness maps: You are barely elemental resistances capped.
- Minus maximum resistance: Threat to all builds.
- Elemental curse: Make use of your anti-curse flask.
- Slower regen: Leech helps, but be careful.
- Vulnerability: Be careful around heavy hitters if your minions are not their target. Stuns.

Is this build HC viable ?
I do not have any experience in Hardcore and am more of a casual player.

As for the ability of this build to survive... I died 3 times (as of build posting) on this build.

First time was a death to lag (litterally) in Normal Harvest. I encountered a pack of floating eyes thingies, my screen froze, an unexpected disconnection occurred, when i came back, /deaths answers me you died 1 time(s). Nice.

Second time was the Cycloner's Sweep bleed from Atziri. Did not pay attention, had no bleed flasks left (I double-tapped it unintentionnally...), died stationnary from the bleed while leeching.

Third time, strongbox's vaal DD with friends while summoning new minions from Desecrate corpses. I was shocked since I was so far from the box, but somehow it reached me.

Is this build Atziri viable ?
Yes, it is, very much so. Just be aware of Trio.

Is this build uber Atziri viable ?
Untested yet, can not say. Should be.

Is this build uber labyrinth viable ?
I do not know. Every time I get in uber lab, my game crashes to desktop in the middle of it.

Is this build Shaper viable ?
Untested yet. I am still in middle-tier maps. Should be.

Last edited by Culbuto on Sep 29, 2016, 4:53:50 AM

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