[2.6] The Curse Whisperer - Tri-Curse CI Whispering Ice Inquisitor - Viable for Everything
2017-03-02: Updated for 2.6. Replaced the nerfed Pyre and 1 gem with Cold To Fire, Avatar of Fire and a good ring.
This is the Templar version of my Tri-Curse CI Whispering Ice build. The other versions:
The power level of all versions is pretty close and the differences are only in the Ascendancy perks specific for each class. The Inquisitor has a very nice synergy with consecrated ground (and Sulphur flasks), high casting speed, and a free 'Elemental Vulnefeeble' aura.
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: A deathless Shaper kill
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.
These were recorded in different leagues with different class versions of the build but it works the same for all versions.
All Endgame Bosses (2.5 Witch)
Hall of Grandmasters (2.5 Marauder)
Xoph's Domain (2.5 Marauder)
Esh's Domain (2.5 Marauder)
Tul's Domain (2.5 Marauder)
Uul-Netols's Domain (2.5 Marauder)
Chayula's Domain (2.5 Marauder)
Tier 16 Guardians (2.4 Templar)
The Shaper (2.4 Templar)
Shaper Slam (2.4.1 Templar)
Uber Lab (2.4 Templar)
Uber Atziri (2.3 Witch)
Regular Atziri (2.3 Witch)
The Pale Council (2.3 Witch)
Leveling as CI (2.4 Templar)
Older videos from the pre-Atlas maps:
Twinned Bosses (2.2 Scion)
Mapping with Reflect + No Regen (2.2 Scion)
2.4 Essence league, after 3 weeks:
Defense (with Discipline)
Icestorm tooltip in hideout
Icestorm stats in combat (on consecrated ground, with Elemental Overload and Instruments of Virtue active)
Defense (with Discipline)
Icestorm tooltip in hideout
Icestorm stats in combat (on consecrated ground, with Sulphur flask, Elemental Overload and Instruments of Virtue active)
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.
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:
Spell Echo results in two casts with 71% MORE cast speed, equal to a 156% MORE damage multiplier (2.0 / 2*(1-0.71) = 2.56), plus 10% increased (additive with other increases) on top of that.
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. An enemy 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.
Concentrated Effect is 55% MORE plus 10% increased. Reduced area of effect is increased back by the Blast Radius and Amplify nodes.
Elemental Focus is 50% MORE plus 10% increased. The chilled ground created by Icestorm works regardless of this gem, it's a completely separate effect.
Cold To Fire is similar to 30% MORE plus 20% increased damage.
Augury of Penitence makes all enemies on the screen take 16% increased elemental damage which applies multiplicatively with our DPS (same mechanic as Vulnerability) and is equivalent to a 16% MORE damage modifier.
Sanctify grants 40% increased damage on consecrated ground and creates consecrated ground on kill and on getting hit, synergizing perfectly with 40% increased damage from Sulphur flasks that create consecrated ground as well.
Pious Path grants 25% increased attack and cast speed on consecrated ground.
Instruments of Virtue grant 30% increased spell damage as long as you keep casting and 30% increased cast speed as long as you use an attack every 4 sec.
Because this build is not a crit one, we use a secondary skill to trigger Elemental Overload's 40% MORE damage buff. 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 hexproof 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. 1500 Int = 300% increased ES. Compared to that, all tree nodes that grant increased ES are insignificant and can be ignored.
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.
Pious Path grants immunity to chill, freeze, shock and ignite on consecrated ground, as well as additional ES and mana regen. Sanctify creates consecrated ground on kill and on getting hit.
Arctic Armor, Fortify, Enfeeble, Augury of Penitence 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.
Life Leech Support leeches 2% of the Icestorm damage as ES.
Warlord's Mark adds another 2.4% ES and mana leech (with 20q Blasphemy and curse effect nodes). 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).
Augury of Penitence makes all enemies on the screen deal 8% LESS elemental damage (stacking with Enfeeble).
Fortify reduces incoming damage by 20% for all hits.
Arctic Armor makes you take 13% LESS damage from fire and physical hits, including reflected fire damage.
Fortify, Arctic Armor, Enfeeble and Augury of Penitence combine multiplicatively as they are applied on different stages of the hit damage calculation. For example, an Enfeebled monster landing a fire hit on you will deal only (1-0.36) * (1-0.08) * (1-0.20) * (1-0.13) = 0.41, or 41% of the damage it would deal without Enfeeble, Fortify, AA and Augury, i.e they hit you for 59% LESS damage. For bosses (60% less effect of curses) this number is 0.55, or 45% LESS damage.
Arctic Armor and Fortify 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 30% LESS ((1-0.20) * (1-0.13) = 0.7) reflected damage and can outleech it with some effort.
Sanctity grants a 25% chance to create a long lasting consecrated ground every time you get hit. Which in turn increases your leech amount thru DPS and makes you immune to chill, freeze, shock and ignite, plus grants you ES and mana regen (Pious Path).
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.
Very high Intelligence means very large mana pool. Warlord's Mark leeches mana faster than it can be spent. This allows us to reserve 85-90% of the mana and still not run out of it while constantly using a skill that costs over 100 mana per cast, 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.
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.
Black Sun Crest boosts your Int and allows you to use Enlighten as soon as you get one without waiting to level it, and later on (Enlighten lv 3+) gives you mana for extra casts of Icestorm. Look for at least 13% increased Int.
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.
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.
These are all viable options with various benefits but they are nowhere as good as the Int Crystal belts.
You will need 2x Brute Force Solution and a Fertile Mind to convert Str and Dex 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.
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.
Note: Do the Endgame Labyrinth to get the strongest version of the enchantments, especially the helmet one. In lower difficulties they are much weaker.
2.4 Essence league, after 2 weeks:
Arctic Armour lv 20, ideally 21
Ball Lightning lv 4
Blasphemy 20/20, ideally 20/23
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
Elemental Focus 20/20, ideally 21/20
Enfeeble 20/20, ideally 21/20
Enlighten lv 3, ideally 4
Faster Attacks 20/20
Fire Penetration 20/20, ideally 21/20
Fortify any level, ideally 20q
Immortal Call lv 20
Increased Duration 20/20, ideally 20/23
Leap Slam any level
Life Leech any level
Orb of Storms lv 17 or better
Spell Echo 20/20, ideally 20/23
Temporal Chains 20/20, ideally 20/23
Warlord's Mark any level, ideally 21/20
Controlled Destruction 20/20, ideally 21/20
Item Rarity 20/20, ideally 20/23
Culling Strike 20/20
Recommended priority of adding quality:
- Enlighten (if you are leveling it yourself)
- Faster Attacks
- Curse on Hit
- DPS gems: CtF, Spell Echo, Elemental Focus, Fire Penetration, Concentrated Effect (in any order, they all give 10% inc damage at 20q)
- Temporal Chains
- Inc Duration
- 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 Enlighten and 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 6S (no links required!) RRRBBB: Life Leech, Cold To Fire, Fire Penetration, Spell Echo, Elemental Focus, Concentrated Effect (or Controlled Destruction).
The 6th socket:
- Concentrated Effect for max DPS against bosses
- Controlled Destruction 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, SE, 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 (20/20) - Enfeeble (lv 20) - Temporal Chains (lv 20).
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.
Your body armor doesn't need to be 6S unless you can make it 6L. If/when you get a 6L chest, add Enhance.
4L: Enlighten - Blasphemy - Warlord's Mark - Discipline or Arctic Armor.
3L: CWDT - Immortal Call - Increased Duration.
3L: Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Fortify.
Remaining sockets: Arctic Armor or Discipline, Orb of Storms.
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. If you want the optimal setup, you will have to off-color all 3 items, and 2 of them will be in that 200-300 chrom range:
Helm BBBR (use Vorici 2B or 3B): Enlighten - Blasphemy - Warlord's Mark - Discipline.
Gloves/boots RRRB (use Vorici 2R or 3R): CWDT - Immortal Call - Increased Duration.
Gloves/boots RRGB (use Vorici 1R): Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Orb of Storms.
You cannot use AA until you obtain Enlighten (lv 2+ if placed in the helmet, lv 3+ otherwise), and you don't really need it until high tier maps. The final curse comes in around lv 87. Until then you can put Enfeeble into 3L with CWDT-IC 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 don't really need AA or the 3rd curse until high (red) tier maps, so if you lack sockets or chroms you can do without them in most places.
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.
Lv 90 tree
This build is fully functional as early as lv 65, and fully safe at lv 87 (see the Leveling section). After that you just add damage/ES upgrades every 1-3 levels and go as high as you want.
Kraityn - Kill - Kill
If you already have good gear with enough resists, you can enjoy an extra skill point instead of helping Kraityn. You can always respec Kraityn into the skill point for 20 Regrets later.
Augury of Penitence makes all enemies on the screen deal 8% LESS elemental damage and take 16% MORE elemental damage (the actual mod says '16% increased' but it's applied multiplicatively on the monster side, in the same way that Vulnerability works).
Sanctify creates (25% chance) a patch of long lasting consecrated ground whenever you get hit or kill something, plus grants 40% increased damage on consecrated ground.
Pious Path adds even more benefits on consecrated ground: immunity to chill, freeze, shock and ignite, 25% increased cast and attack speed, 4%/sec ES and mana regen.
Instruments of Virtue grants 30% increased spell damage as long as you keep casting, and 30% increased cast speed and 20% increased attack speed as long as you use an attack at least once in 4 sec
All this works really well with the play style of this build, especially when Sulphur flasks are used.
- Run around, see a pack of mobs, cast Icestorm on them, Leap Slam into the middle of the pack. Note: this may not work well with certain enemies until you obtain stun immunity (lv 78: Unwavering Stance) and freeze protection (Auxium or Pious Path). Until then, just cast Icestorm and run close enough to leech from them without getting into the pack. Or Leap Slam onto the closest mob.
- If the mobs are not dead yet, pop Orb of Storms and cast another Icestorm.
- Don't be afraid to tank. This build is VERY tanky. Moreover, you want everything you hit to be close enough to leech from.
- 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 (that's most of them) for up to 3-4 sec.
- 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. Sulphur flasks synergize perfectly with the Inquisitor Ascendancy, I choose ones with movement speed for faster clearing. Quicksilver flask adds even more movement speed to run to the next pack after killing one.
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 most of the time. No Regen is fine as long as there is no curse or leech immunity, just keep everything within your WM aura. If you have to do a combo of No Regen with curse or leech immunity, bring mana flasks and swap Doedre's Damning and Warlord's Mark for Praxis:
Problem: It's hard to stay alive after switching to CI at lv 33.
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. Mana flasks and Rallying Cry can help as well.
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 33" 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 range killing, or not using Rallying Cry.
Solution: Use Rallying Cry and mana flasks. If after lv 31, use 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 and Pious Path or Auxium, don't leap into mob packs. Just cast Icestorm and get close enough to leech from them.
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 Scion has awesome clear speed and xp/hr which matters a lot if you plan on leveling above lv 94. The Templar is very good at boss killing and has nice party support perks.
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 85). If you don't do anything too crazy it would take an effort to RIP with this build.
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.
- Combinations of elemental reflect with curse immunity, Elemental Weakness or -max res.
- If you are trying to level above 94 or playing in HC, avoid ele reflect and curse immunity 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 much 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 if I don't have Enlighten?
Without Enlighten you can't run 3 auras and have to choose between these options:
a) play without Arctic Armor: less tanky, but you'll be fine until reaching the top tier maps;
b) take the 4% reduced reservation node near CI and another 4% near Leadership (2 nodes): this is the same as Enlighten lv 3 at the price of 1 less jewel socket.
6. 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.
7. Can I play this as another class?
Yes. You can play as Witch, Scion, Marauder, or perhaps Ranger.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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. It's not the only target in that part of the tree either: without Diamond Skin it would be a lot harder to max resists. 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.
11. What about Hyporthermia?
Hypothermia is weaker than the weakest DPS support gem we use and does not work on chill immune targets. All current endgame bosses are immune to chill.
12. 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.
13. What does Orb of Storms do?
It triggers Elemental Overload and Mastermind of Discord. 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).
14. Why convert the damage to fire?
Adding fire damage mods on top of the cold damage ones is good for 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, 7:14:08 PM
Last bumped on Dec 26, 2017, 9:32:24 PM
on Oct 5, 2016, 12:57:33 PM
Leveling with the Whispering Ice is a blast. You can start using it at lv 33 and switch to CI at the same level. 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
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 (that may cost 1-5c depending on the league), all other items used for leveling from 33 to 70 can almost always be found on poe.trade for 1 alc or less (with a total budget of 10-12 alc plus the staff). Some of the items for leveling can be easily crafted with minimal currency investment.
This build is based on The Whispering Ice. You must have the staff before proceeding past lv 33 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 33 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 33 (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 three jewels. One must be Fertile Mind, they are very cheap. The other two ideally Izaro's Turmoil, but those can be expensive early in a new league, so cheap jewels with 2 useful mods will do until later.
The following items, or similar, must be obtained before lv 33:
Everything before lv 33 is way too easy and you can use any self-found gear to get there.
Useful twink items for trivializing lv 1-33:
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 Glacial Hammer. Use it to kill Hillock and throw it away. Buy Frostbolt from Nessa and use it until lv 12. If you already have twink gear - great. If not - you'll still do fine. Use wands, not any other weapons.
Lv 2: Buy a Paua amulet from Nessa for mana regen.
In the skill tree, go up via the Int nodes, grab Retribution and head right, to the jewel socket:
Your first 10 skill points (lv 10)
Submerged Passage: Go to town and take Flame Totem as your reward from Tarkleigh. Use it to help kill big packs, rares and bosses.
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, buy another copy from her, support Frostbolt and Flame Totem (or just have them all in a 3L until later).
Lv 9: Put your first jewel into the socket.
Killed Brutus: Take Clarity as your quest reward and start using it. You can also start using Rallying Cry for dps and mana boost - requires some Str.
Keep moving right, through Foresight, towards the next socket and Harrier:
Lv 18 Tree
Cavern of Wrath: Take Firestorm as your reward from Nessa and use it as your main skill until lv 33. You can also buy Searing Bond as this level to add to Flame Totem (plant it near the enemy that doesn't die instantly).
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: Support Firestorm and Flame Totem with Controlled Destruction. Insert the 2nd jewel.
Lv 20: Equip Astramentis if you have it and say good-bye to stat requirement woes. Help Kraityn.
After Harrier, take Vaal Pact, the jewel socket near it (Fertile Mind), and Ghost Reaver:
Lv 29 tree
Finished Crematorium: Take Warlord's Mark as your reward from Maramoa.
Lv 24: Buy Discipline from Clarissa and start using it.
Lv 30-32: Save these 3 skill points. Help Siosa in the Library, take Blasphemy or Fire Penetration as your reward, buy the other gem from Clarissa.
Reaching lv 33 is the turning point of your experience: you can equip your Whispering Ice and spec into CI! Do it! Use the saved points to take CI and Infused Shield:
Lv 33: A3 Normal, just before Dominus
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. Mana regen on a ring could be helpful too, although you should have enough mana as long as you keep mobs within your aura and use RC and mana flasks.
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.
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 body armour; at lv 33 you want a Silk Robe or a Mage's Vestment) 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 and have these gems in it, in the order of importance: Faster Casting, Life Leech, Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction (5S), Cold To Fire (6S).
Example gear/stats at lv 33 (A3 Normal, just before Dominus):
These are the items used in the video above:
Items like these (except WI) can be bought for 1 alc each or cheaper. This gear is good to go until lv 53.
Icetomb is very common and cheap. It has good Int, ES, takes care of your cold resist and makes you immune to chill. It requires lv 39. If you can't find a better body armor at lv 33, craft something simple and then get Icetomb at lv 39.
Another lv 39 upgrade. 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.
From that point on, you will be steamrolling everything on your way through the game. Use Quicksilver and mana flasks. Mana can be a little tight while leveling, but that problem will go away soon enough as your mana pool grows, as well as your WM aura radius.
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.
- Arcane Focus
- Deep Wisdom
- Blast Radius
Lv 44: A2 Cruel
Killed Kaom and Daresso: Take Spell Echo as your reward and replace Faster Casting or Controlled Destruction (if 6S).
You can do the Normal Labyrinth at this point. Dodge Izaro, don't tank him. Take Augury of Penitence.
- Deep Thoughts
- Occultist's Dominion
- Fire and Frost Walker
- Elemental Overload
- Avatar pf Fire
Lv 53: A4 Cruel
Elemental Overload: Start using Orb of Storms to trigger it.
A4 Cruel, lv 51-53: Time to upgrade the gear before facing Cruel Daresso and Malachai. Need some more ES, and start looking for resists for Merciless.
New chest, helmet and gloves - all from the 1 alc price segment. This gear is good to go until lv 70.
Stats (with Flame Golem):
Lv 54: Close the tree loop by taking the Int node to the left of EO. Refund Foresight and the two ES nodes next to it. You don't need them. 750 Int = 150% increased ES. This build's ES is based almost entirely on Int, not those tiny +%ES nodes.
- Potency of Will (down from where the Foresight bridge was)
- Avatar of Fire
- Coldhearted Calculation (Shadow area)
and finish the good stuff in the Templar area:
- Light of Divinity
- Int node between Light of Divinity and Retribution, refund the Dex node that was taken at the start
Lv 64: A4 Merciless
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, Spell Echo, Fire Penetration, Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction (6S).
Do the Cruel Labyrinth. Dodge Izaro, don't tank him yet. Take Sanctify.
Finish the storyline content if you care about it, or grind to lv 70 quickly in the Lake, or head into the maps. Don't forget to free Deshret.
Lv 70: Wear your endgame gear and do the Merciless Labyrinth (Pious Path).
You can grind to lv 80 in the Lake easily or work on completing maps for the Atlas bonus. You should be safe enough in low- and mid-tier maps despite non-maxed resists. Keep upgrading your gear.
It's time to undertake the journey down the tree to get stun immunity and max resists, and then get the 3rd curse. It takes a while, but this build is based on Intelligence, and you've been taking mostly Int nodes so far. That doesn't change. You just take Str nodes and convert them to Int with the Brute Force Solution jewels:
- Templar area jewel socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Ancestral Knowledge
- Marauder area jewel socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Unwavering Stance
- Diamond Skin
- Whispers of Doom
Lv 87: Safe and sound
By then your staff really should be 6S. Gems: Spell Echo, Life Leech, Cold to Fire, Fire Penetration, Elemental Focus.
The 6th socket:
- Concentrated Effect for tough bosses
- Controlled Destruction for map clearing
- Item Rarity for MF'ing
I personally have been using IR as my 6th gem most of the time in the maps. Everything up to T14-15 is easy enough, and mana is tight if your Enlighten is still not lv 3 (Icestorm costs a lot less mana with IR than with CE).
You are good to go for all content in PoE! Do the Endgame Labyrinth and take Instruments of Virtue. 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 at lv 86
Then just add more and more power:
- Lv 88: Catalyse (it's 20 Int, converted from Str)
- Lv 90: Witch area jewel socket (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)
At this level you can comfortably farm T16 and the Shaper once your gear is good enough to survive them.
And for the final levels, should you decide to go that far, a few choices:
- (1 point) replace the useless Curse Cast Speed node near Whispers of Doom with the two Curse Effect nodes (+10% curse efficiency)
- (1 point) Lightning Walker or the 4th resist node near Diamond Skin (this may allow you to wear gloves/boots/armor with higher Int instead of resists)
- (2 points) Faith and Steel (ES and resists)
- (2 points) Nullification (ES and resists)
- (3 points) Jewel socket between the Scion start and Vaal Pact (Fertile Mind; a Dex node nearby is converted twice!)
- (3 points) Trickery
- (4 points): Shadow area jewel socket (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)
You can switch between these options every time you level up. Refund something smaller, grab something bigger.
If/when you manage to overcap your resists by 10% or more, you can respec Kraityn into a skill point for 20 Regrets.
Last edited by Kelvynn on May 5, 2017, 5:34:38 PM
on Oct 5, 2016, 12:58:01 PM
Feel free to request strats for anything
For some of these fights where the boss produces extreme amounts of elemental damage, you need to use a Purity aura (of Fire, Ice or Lightning, depending on the encounter). This is how you can use a Purity aura:
- remove CWDT from the curse link in the chest armor
- move Warlord's Mark to the red socket where CWDT was
- remove Ball Lightning and move Orb of Storms to that blue socket instead
- put the Purity gem into a red socket instead of WM (Purity of Fire), blue socket instead of Blasphemy (Purity of Lightning), or a spare green socket (Purity of Ice; I have a spare helmet just for the Shaper).
This setup allows you to use a Purity aura while Orb of Storms tri-curses everything in its range. You will need to pop the Orb near the boss before facetanking them, and don't forget to pop a fresh orb before the old one expires or whenever the boss moves. This will only work against the bosses that don't move too much.
Video link (turn on annotations)
You need a Topaz flask.
Enter the room and head straight to the pyramid on the right. It will trigger as you approach. The left one will trigger 5 sec later. Stand in the center of the room. When the Vaal appears, pop Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorm on it (you may run out of mana, that's normal since you cannot leech until it goes active). Keep casting Icestorm.
When the Vaal goes active, watch its life bar. When it reaches 50%, turn around, pop new Orb and start casting Icestorm on the left Vaal. The right Vaal should be either dead by then, or submerged. The left Vaal will submerge before it dies. Cast 1-2 Icestorms on the adds and start spamming Icestorm on yourself.
The submerged Vaal (or both) will emerge at your location. Pop a Topaz flask, Leap Slam onto them to get Fortify and continue spamming Icestorm to finish them off. Watch out for the Vaal Smash attack: if you see them raise the appendage with the big ball - move behind them. Most of the time they will either fire their lasers or cast chain ball lightnings, you can outleech it easily with a Topaz flask.
Video link (turn on annotations)
You need a Ruby flask and a flask of Staunching.
The fight is triggered by approaching the trio. You can move straight to the pillar above without triggering it. Pre-cast Icestorm on the archer, then move forward and pop Orb of Storms. Keep casting on the archer until she is dead. Don't stand in one spot longer than 5 sec. Watch out for her Rain of Arrows attack. If you see her raise her arm, move away from your current spot, but not too far, need to keep leeching.
When the archer is dead, move out of the black ground, cast Icestorm on the center of the room (where adds spawn) and try to catch the fire guy when he is not on fire. If he is on fire, run/leap until he cools down. Dodge the melee guy, he cyclones past you and ends up in the other end of the room. Tank and kill the fire guy when he is not on fire. Cast Icestorm on the adds once in a while. If he catches fire again, run/leap and dodge him until he cools down again. Use the Ruby flask all the time while tanking him and remember to Fortify.
When the fire guy is dead, move out of the black ground again, cast Icestorm on the adds, refresh Orb of Storms and spam Icestorm on yourself. The enraged melee guy will charge at you. Pop the anti-bleed flask and faceroll him, with an occassional Icestorm on the adds as they spawn.
Video link 1 (turn on annotations)
Video link 2
My current setup that works for all versions of the buils is:
This is enough for 2 Atziri phases and 2 Statue phases. Recharging phases almost always happen before you run out of flasks. The Wise Oak is optional, it's just very nice to have here. Purity of Fire and Ruby flasks guarantee that fire resist will be your top one in this fight, therefore you get 20% fire penetration.
This build is too slow to reliably dodge Flameblasts in the Uber version of the fight (they are faster and larger than in the regular version). We use Purity of Fire and Ruby flasks to survive them. Swap WM for PoF, put WM into the armor 5L instead of CWDT. Swap Orb of Storms and Ball Lightning. Orb will now tri-curse everything while you use PoF as the 3rd aura alongside Discipline and AA.
You can move on the first two rows of tiles near the entrance without triggering the fight. Put a portal somewhere there in case you run out of flasks and need to refill them. Move one tile forward and pre-cast a bunch of Icestorms on Atziri. Then pop a Ruby flask, move a couple move tiles towards Atziri and stop.
Atziri will often start with a Flameblast, ignore it (you will be fine with Purity + Ruby + AA) and cast Icestorm on her. Then see what she does next and act accordingly. Most of the time Atziri will throw spears or do 1 round of Stormcalls (dodge them) and either go into the recharging mode or fade.
Recharging mode: just stand with Atziri and spam Icestorm on her. All spawns will die and refill your flasks. When you see the last of the spawns approach the center and die, use Vigilant Strike to Fortify, cast Orb of Storms, pop the Warding flask and a Ruby flask just before Atziri goes active and spam Icestorm.
Single Flameblast: ignore it, don't run (AA protects you when stationary).
Stormcalls (red or yellow): keep casting for 2 more seconds while looking for a safe spot near you, then move to that spot just before the Stormcalls explode.
Spear Throw (single or volley): ignore it but pop the Staunching flask if you get Bleeding.
Giant Twin Flameblasts: pop the Quicksilver flask and run to a safe corner. The two Flameblasts are centered on Atziri and you. The easiest way to dodge them is to stay in the center of the room, that way one of them always happens in the center. And then you just need to run to any corner that's not near Atziri's current position (she always walks away from you).
Statues: When Atziri fades, move to the very center of the room, cast Orb of Storms, target the front statue and look above its head as it starts to fade in. If you see the Mirror there, quickly target the opposite statue. Start spamming Icestorm. When the statues completely fade in, pop Ruby, The Wise Oak and the Warding flask and keep casting. You will eat a Flameblast and will need to dodge Stormcalls 2 sec later. If your DPS is high enough, the targeted statue will die before even doing the Stormcalls. Target Atziri as she fades in, pop Ruby+Warding again (but save Oak for the statues) and cast on her.
Rinse and repeat 3 times with random recharging breaks.
Elementalist can take advantage of her anti-reflect Ascendancy and pre-cast Icestorm on the front statue without the risk of dying to reflect. Ascendancy alone if not enough against 100% reflect, so use Sibyl's Lament in the left ring slot:
You can facetank Dominus easily, but he can 1-shot you with his Touch of God/Light of Divinity attack (massive Lightning+Physical hit) if you are not careful. If you want to facetank him, bring a Topaz flask and a Granite/Basalt flask and use them when he announces this attack. Or just get away from him.
Malachai is very slow, even more so when cursed with Temporal Chains. Most of his attacks can be easily avoided. Facetank him, use Fortify, spam Icestorm and outleech all of his damage. But beware of the special attacks described below, and get away from him when he becomes shielded with the red bubble - you can't leech from him when he is shielded and you need to kill something else (Piety or a heart).
Malachai uses fire and physical damage for most of his attacks. But his Tentacle Portal has Elemental Conflux, i.e. it freezes, shocks and ignites. You can tank and leech through it if you pop anti-freeze/shock/ignite flasks (or just a Sulphur flask if doing it with the Templar). It's an AoE attack similar to Firestorm/Icestorm that produces a number of small hits over time in a cone-shaped area. Your chance of getting hit is much lower when you are not in the middle of it. You can just move aside and keep leeching.
If you see Malachai slowly submerge into the floor, cast a couple of Icestorms on yourself and move away. He will emerge where you stood and do a huge AoE that will 1-shot you if you are still there.
In the first half of the fight (with Piety), Malachai uses an attack similar to Dominus' Touch of God that will definitely 1-shot you if not avoided: he raises his scepter and it glows red, then he smashes it in front of him. Watch out for this attack and get away fast. Or just don't facetank him in this part of the event at all. You need to damage Malachai until he becomes shielded and Piety attacks, then kill Piety, and do that twice. Worm adds spawn to help you regain flask charges and give you Fortify (leap onto them). They are small but easy to see thanks to the WM aura illuminating them.
In the second half of the fight (after porting down), Malachai no longer uses the scepter smash attack and can be facetanked easily, as long as you get away when he submerges/emerges. Zombie adds spawn to help you with flask charges. At 75%, 50% and 25% of his life bar, Malachai will teleport to one of the hearts, break it and become shielded. When he is shielded, you cannot leech from him. Move to the active heart and kill it quickly, you can leech from it. They always activate in the same order, you can anticipate it and move to the next heart beforehand when you see Malachai's life bar approaching 75, 50, 25%. When the last heart opens, a fire ring appears and starts chasing you slowly. It does a big fire degen when you are in it. You can outleech it, but it's dangerous combined with Malachai's tentacles and some map mods. Stay outside of the fire ring. Malachai teleports around often, leap onto him until the fire ring comes there.
For the Twinned version of Malachai, be extra careful in the first half of the fight because one of the two bosses is permanently shielded and cannot be cursed or leeched from. Double fire rings at the end hurt a lot too, you need to dodge them.
Hall of the Grandmasters
This is the only place where you need to play a ranged attacker instead of staying close to the enemy. Swapping Concentrated Effect for Increased Area of Effect trivializes this map.
Bring flasks against everything: curse, ignite, shock, freeze, bleed. Chemist Sulphur (15/60) is the best because you don't get a lot of charges there, and the extra damage buff is nice.
Cast Icestorm for a few sec directly in front of each inactive wave of grandmasters before triggering it. Use the statues for cover, otherwise leap forward to apply the curses faster.
At the end of each wing, stand at the bottom of the stairs and cast Icestorm at the middle spot at the top. Dodge anything that charges at you.
There are two notable enemies very dangerous to this build:
Kriath (wave 5-6): very strong CWDT retalliation with Fireball (MTX), Ethereal Knives (MTX) and Freezing Pulse. If you are not behind a statue, get away quickly. He is easy to kill from a distance and usually dies to the pre-cast Icestorms.
mull_gubben (wave 9-10): max block, impossible to leech from, destroys you with CWDT abilities for hitting him. DO NOT HIT HIM. Get away as fast as you can and kill him with Scorching Ray unlinked from Icestorm (no CwC). Bring a swap weapon with pure SR just for mull_gubben:
While Izaro is arriving, pop Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorm near the edge of his platform (casting on the platform before it's fully raised won't work). When he's up, Leap Slam onto him and Icestorm him to death.
There is an annoying design flaw in the first two trials: when you get Izaro to that trial's life threshold (70% and 40% life respectively), he becomes immune to damage and cannot be leeched from, but he stays active for up to 5-10 more sec and keeps attacking you. Once you see that his life bar stops moving and he says the phrase confirming that you won the trial - get away from him, dodge him and cast on the adds if there are any.
In the final trial Izaro has exactly 1 trick that can trouble this build: he glows with a green circle around him and 3 sec later teleports you onto a random trap if you are in his circle. Get away from him when you see the circle, and leap back onto him when it's gone (if he's still alive). With some practice, you can learn to initiate a Leap Slam shortly after the circle appears, and then you instantly leap back to him right after he teleports you.
If you want to farm the Lab for the max number of keys, you need to let Izaro get max power (see the Wiki for details). With max buffs, Izaro's main attack can hit you for 6.5k damage in Merciless and 7.5k damage in the Uber Lab through Fortify. If you have less ES then that, you need to dodge his main attack or just don't let him get max buffs on that day.
Every 15 sec she uses Lightning Thorns to reflect a portion of incoming damage as lightning. It's visible as a circle of thin white lines connecting the floating candles around her. It lasts 3-4 seconds. Dodge her attacks until it appears, then kill her quickly. Bring a Topaz flask if you want to be more safe. The Witch version of this build can outleech her Thorns with a flask without waiting.
This boss is similar to Shavronne and uses Ice Thorns (reflects damage as cold). There is usually plenty of time before the first use of that ability. Cast Icestorm on it, pop Orb of Storms and kill it before it has a chance to use Ice Thorns. If you are too slow and see it freeze up solid: leap onto the adds (they come at the same time) to refresh Fortify, pop a fresh Orb of Storms and cast on the adds but away from the boss. Bring a Sapphire flask if you want to be more safe.
There are two bosses at the end of the map that look like regular Blackguards. The caster one has two special abilities: one creates a circle of the ground that makes any mob in it retaliate with massive lightning damage to every hit, the other one creates a circle on the ground that makes you very vulnerable to lightning. Wait for the circles to appear, then cast Icestorm 2-3 times where it will hit the caster boss but far enough away from the circles (she always pops them on somebody else). Then stop casting and wait for the next circles. Rinse and repeat until the caster boss is dead. You can pull the other mobs (including the melee boss) and kill them far away from the caster boss, and then come back to finish it.
This map's boss encounter features two random Chaos Renegades Warband Leaders. One of them, Kalria the Fallen, respawns as Kalria the Risen when killed, who uses Detonate Dead. If you see Kalria, kill her first, both the Fallen and the Risen, before the other boss. Or stay away from the other boss'es corpse until Kalria the Risen is dead.
Minotaur does half-physical-half-lightning damage. He tries to smash you with his mace, makes rocks fall from the ceiling in circle shaped areas and spawns adds. None of that can seriously threaten this build unless the map has extra damage mods or -maxres (which can be countered with Purity of Lightning, Topaz and Basalt flasks).
However, Minotaur has one extremely powerful attack - Burrow, when he goes underground, moves to his target and then produces a massive AoE physical+lightning hit. This very similar to Teleport Slam or Touch of God and can 1-shot you. However, this attack is only used against the enemies who are outside of the Minotaur's melee range. He can sometimes use Burrow when you are running to him from the entrance. But it's easy to dodge by just running to his initial spot.
Facetank him. Stay with him all the time. Use Vigilant Strike to get Fortify. Remember to use flasks. Adds spawn to help you refill them and trigger extra leech (from the boot enchantment or Berserker Ascendancy). Stay away from the lightning coils in the room. They activate during the fight and create barriers that deal lightning damage, shock and slow you.
Chimera deals physical and chaos damage. His attacks are very fast but not deadly with Enfeeble and Temp Chains. Facetank him.
At 75%, 50%, 25% the Chimera disappears and 4 waves of adds come from the 3 gates in the room. The adds are dogs (melee, cause bleeding), snakes (ranged) or goats (leap slam) in a random order. The last wave in each add phase contains a mini-boss. None of them can threaten this build except the goats with +crit mod (they leap from the distance and can get lucky with big crits).
When all adds in the add phase are dead, Chimera reappears in the middle of the arena, does 1 round of attacks and disappears while patches of fog fill the arena. He is hiding in a random fog patch. You get hit by a fast and hard hitting physical projectile every 1 sec until you run into Chimera in the fog. Pop flasks and run through the fog (the patches disappear when you run through them) and find the Chimera within 5-6 sec.
Bring Basalt, Granite and Quicksilver flasks like these:
Ideally they should have the increased duration prefix (Experimenter's) and these 3 suffixes between them: increased armor (of Iron Skin), increased movement speed (of Adrenaline) and anti-bleeding (of Staunching).
Don't do this with Vulnerability or extra cold or lightning damage (fire is Ok).
Phoenix deals some physical and a lot of fire damage in a small arena. Adds (small phoenixes) spawn around the room during the fight and shoot slow moving fire projectiles. Small fire tornados move around randomly and deal fire damage. For each 10% of the boss'es life lost you get an extra add and a stacking -1% max fire res debuff on you.
Use Purity of Fire (see above). Facetank the boss. Refresh Orb of Storms often. Fortify. Kill the phoenixes as they appear. Bring Ruby flasks to be more safe, although that's not necessary unless you are doing it with -maxres or %more life.
The massive fire explosion attack deals damage proportional to the boss'es max life. Get away from him when he starts the explosion animation if you are doing it in a party or you are not very well geared.
Do not tank the boss near a wall. If you are standing near a wall and he cyclones at you, the wall will block his movement and instead of hitting you 1-2 times and moving past you he will hit you many more times.
Hydra deals half-physical-half-cold damage. She has 3 attacks: a barrage of projectiles, a massive single projectile that forks (preceded by a very slow animation) and a cold version of Blast Rain. She constantly tries to run away from you and wants to attack from range. There are also balls of cold damage that fly across the room in straight lines and cold Vortexes appearing on the floor where adds die. Every now and then the Hydra disappears and adds spawn, then she re-appears in a random spot after about 5 sec and starts attacking again.
There are two approaches to this fight:
a) Dodge all of Hydra's attacks and the hazards of the room while casting on her (cast-move-cast-move). This is generally safer than the other approach but the fight takes much longer.
b) Leap onto the Hydra and facetank her until she moves. Then leap again. You need better gear for this, but the fight goes much faster.
Avoid mods that slow you down of give the Hydra extra speed. Extra damage mods aren't pleasant either. If you have to run it with extra damage, approach A is much safer than approach B.
Bring anti-chill flasks. The amount of cold damage in this fight makes it unsafe without flasks even with Auxium or Pious Path (if Templar). My choice:
Each one of these provides 20 sec of chill immunity. Adds help refill flasks.
The Shaper does massive amounts of cold damage and has a '1-shot' physical attack. Use Purity of Ice (see above) and bring flasks to protect you against chill, cold and physical damage. This is what I use currently:
Only use The Wise Oak is your fire resistance (above the cap) is higher than your cold resistance. Purity of Ice adds 41% cold resistance, so the Ruby flask is used together with The Wise Oak to get fire resistance back on top.
Before getting to the Shaper you have to defeat 4 map bosses chosen at random from a fixed pool that can range from extremely easy (Spinner of False Hope, General Gravicius) to really dangerous (Daresso, Malachai, Rigwald). Always bring a Staunching flask if you don't want to lose portals to a random encounter with Rigwald, Dominus or corrupting/bleeding trash.
After dealing with them you can enter the portal to the Shaper's arena. Zana fights on your side there. You get to fight the Shaper 3 times and he gains a new dangerous ability each time.
Shaper fight 1 ends when you get him to 50% life. He uses 4 attacks:
1) Melee hit. Very weak.
2) Cold+fire laser beam.
3) Barrage of yellow cold damage balls.
4) Teleport Slam that deals enormous physical damage.
Place the Orb near him and facetank him. Fortify. He will melee you when you are next to him, with an occasional laser beam that can be outleeched as long as the Orb is placed. Or adjust your position slightly to get out of the beam. He will only use the ball barrage against ranged attackers. If he initiates Teleport Slam, pop the physical mitigation flasks and do not move (Arctic Armor protects you when stationary).
At some points the Shaper will become invulnerable and open a portal near Zana. Adds come from the portal and attack the closest enemy (who is Zana unless you move between her and the portal). Protect Zana. Kill any adds that get near her, move your target towards the portal slowly while you keep casting, and move there yourself. You need to be standing right at the portal/Shaper by the time it closes. Then the Shaper becomes active again.
Floating balls of ice spawn in random spots around the arena and move about slightly until you get within about 1/3 screen of them. Then they start chasing you. If they catch you, they turn into a Vortex on the floor that deals cold damage over time and chills you. Do not leave the Shaper or the portal to try and dodge the balls/vortexes. The vortex damage can be easily outleeched as long as you have the Shaper or the portal adds to leech from (and Orb of Storms nearby). Use anti-chill flask if you have to tank in a vortex.
Once you get the Shaper to 50% he teleports you to an area filled with trash and you need to get back to the arena. The longer you take the more he heals up. At the end of that area you encounter a mini-boss (The Unshaped/Uncreated) that uses Frost Bolt, Vortex and a very slow Vortex Slam attack that deals massive cold damage but is very easy to dodge. Once he is dead, a portal to the Shaper's arena appears.
Shaper fight 2 ends when you get him to 25% life. He uses the same abilities as in fight 1 plus one more: Bullet Hell. The Shaper rapidly teleports all over the arena producing a large number of small purple projectiles dealing about 10k cold damage each. Zana creates a large red protective bubble in the middle of the arena that absorbs the purple projectiles. If you let the portal adds get Zana down, she will go to 'rest' at the bottom of the arena and won't protect you against the next Total Chaos resulting in a 99% guaranteed death. If you let the floating balls of ice turn into vortexes in the middle of the arena, they may eventually cover all space inside the bubble resulting in a guaranteed death and possibly making the fight unwinnable.
After teleporting 8 times, while the last of the purple projectiles are still flying around, the Shaper reappears at one of the edges of the arena at random (often at the bottom, outside of your screen!) and initiates one of his ranged attacks or opens the add portal. This is the most dangerous time of the Shaper encounter. Unless he decides to open the portal, you must move to dodge his attack while the purple projectiles are still flying around. Dodge the Shaper's next attack and the projectiles, get near him, pop Orb and facetank him again.
At 25% he teleports you to another trash-filled area and you need to get through it and defeat the mini-boss while the Shaper is healing up.
Shaper fight 3 ends when you kill him. He uses all of the abilities from fights 1 and 2 plus one more: Shadow Clone. The clone looks like a lighter image of the Shaper. It appears for 10 sec at a time and uses the same melee attack, ball barrage and laser beam as the Shaper but deals less damage. Fortify and use flasks if you are getting shot at by the clone while tanking the Shaper.
Facetank the Shaper. Ignore the clone as long as you have solid Icestorms going on the Shaper, dodge them both whenever you need to get back to the Shaper after a red bubble phase. Remember to pop Orb of Storms near him. Avoid letting the floating balls of ice land in the center of the arena. Kill adds. Hide inside Zana's bubble from the purple projectiles. React quickly at the end of the Bullet Hell phase. Be smart with the flasks. If you run out of the Granite/Basalt flasks and see the Shaper initiate another Teleport Slam - wait 1 second (to let him target it on your current position) and then run/leap away, then you have to dodge his next attack and get back to him. If your DPS is high enough, each phase shouldn't last more than 2 Slams.
Use The Wise Oak+Ruby when the Shaper uses the laser beam, it gives you a few seconds to do that extra DPS.
Once the Shaper is almost dead, you can cull him with your swap MF staff for better loot.
There are 3 bosses: a dog, a bull and a knife thrower. The bull uses a reflect aura similar to Shavronne's but fire based. It glows with a sun shaped graphic and then becomes reflective for a few sec.
Leap on the knife thrower and hit all 3 bosses. The dog and the bull will charge you, and then it doesn't matter if the bull lives long enough to use the reflect or not. With 3 sources of leech you'll be fine.
The boss is a huge goat that does a lot of physical damage with Leap Slam. Extra damage mods or +crit mod can hurt a lot. Make sure you are using AA. Fortify often. If you are not well geared or there are dangerous mods, swap Ball Lightning and Orb of Storms so that the Orb curses the boss before he can land a hit on you. Once he is Enfeebled and Temp Chained he should be much more manageable.
Rigwald (Dark Forest, Lair)
The arena consists of 5 different parts, each with a different mechanic. They are randomized in each instance, you don't know which one you get where. Rigwald always starts in the center. If you don't kill him quickly he can teleport to a different area at random.
There is one area that should be avoided: it pops a large green circle on the ground that chases you, it's a massive phys degen. If that happens to be the center area (1/5 chance), try to lure Rigwald elsewhere. But fighting him in that area is a really bad idea.
All other areas seem to be ok. Some spawn adds that are very useful as additional sources of leech.
Rigwald himself seems to do only phys dmg. His regular melee is weak. His barrage of wolves attack can be easily dodged or outleeched with appropriate flasks. The trouble comes when he turns into the wolf. In the wolf form he is invulnerable, hits very hard and fast and applies massive bleeding.
Bring a couple of Quicksilvers, Granite/Iron Skin, Basalt and an anti-bleed flask. Pop a Quicksilver upon entering the arena and run straight to Rigwald. He's one of the 'talkative' bosses, but he's immediately vulnerable. Even with moderately decent gear he can be killed before he has a chance to turn into the wolf. If you are undergeared, pop Quicksilver and run away for 10-15 sec when he starts turning into the wolf, he gives plenty of warning and does a long animation when he does that.
Lair has a simplified version of Rigwald without the mini-arenas.
Do not do him with Vulnerability, monster/boss speed or boss damage mods. At least until you are well geared. When you are well geared, you can just kill him in the first 5 seconds of the encounter before he has a chance to do anything.
The boss does a big explosion every time a curse on him expires (or is overwritten). Kill him from range.
Breach domains have a fully revealed map, you can study it, plan your path, walk through the whole area to see everything before opening the breach. It's a good idea in Uul-Netol and Chayula domains.
Always look at the 'monsters remain' counter in the map info. If it's more than 1 (the boss) - go find the Tormented Spirits or Rogue Exiles and kill them! Dealing with them while on a timer is a really bad idea.
When you touch the breach, it starts expanding and you get a 20-30 sec timer that starts ticking down. If you let it reach zero, everything despawns. Killing regular trash adds a small amount of time to the timer, killing a rare adds several seconds. Once the breach expands to the last room of the gauntlet, the timer disappears and a portal to the boss room appears.
Difficulty: Xoph and Esh < Tul < Uul-Netol and Chayula. This is the domain itself, how hard it is to keep up with the timer. The whole difficulty is reaching the end of the gauntlet before the timer expires. All bosses are easy if you are prepared for them. Tul and Esh are actually the most dangerous for this build.
- Take out Temporal Chains.
- Replace Enfeeble with Flammability.
- Replace Doedre's Damning with a Breach Ring with as much Int/All Stats as you can find, such as:
You will be using two curses: Warlord's Mark (Blasphemy aura), plus Flammability (trash) or Enfeeble (boss).
- Swap Concentrated Effect for Controlled Destruction.
- Swap Life Leech for Increased Duration.
- Bring a Quicksilver flask or two, with extra speed:
- Atziri's Promise is good to have for more DPS:
- Never stop for more than 1 second. Constantly move forward and cast.
- Do not pick up any loot. Every second counts in the Uul-Netol and Chayula domains. You can pick it up later.
- Do not go after the rares. They are not worth your time. Most of them will die to the long duration Icestorms behind you, a few may survive and you'll finish them off later while collecting loot. You don't need to kill everything to beat the timer.
- Swap Inc Duration back for Life Leech.
- Swap Flammability back for Enfeeble.
Xoph: Total pushover, don't need any special preparation.
Esh: The boss teleports around (follow him), spawns stationary Ball Lightnings that later return to him (avoid them) and does a very large Shock Nova (get to the boss, it hits a lot harder on the outer edges). Bring a couple of Topaz flasks of Grounding to be safe:
Tul: Rares use AoE chill effects. The boss does cold damage, spawns cold damage totems and uses a cold-based attack similar to Incinerate+LMP. Bring a couple of Sapphire flasks of Heat:
Optionally can also use Purity of Ice (see the Purity setup at the start).
Uul-Netol: Twisted area full of narrow corridors and walls, low monster density, hard to keep up with the timer because of the monsters being too spread out and hiding behind walls. Everything does physical damage, but not enough to worry about. The boss does something like Ground Slam. All rares have Corrupting Blood. Bring a staunching flask:
Chayula: Trash has a lot of life, rares teleport and spawn clones. Everything does physical and chaos damage. The boss can get perma-stunned, otherwise it cyclones around.
All bosses spawn breach hands during the fight, touching which spawns weak adds for more leech if needed.
Last edited by Kelvynn on May 4, 2017, 5:56:09 PM
on Oct 5, 2016, 12:58:15 PM
thanks for this guide! inspired me to start over in this league after i rage deleted my warchife totems marauder.
Last edited by zlowred on Oct 6, 2016, 3:31:19 AM
on Oct 6, 2016, 3:30:19 AM
How much deeps does this build have compared to witch?
on Oct 6, 2016, 3:58:37 PM
A little less than the Witch with similar items, but close enough. It varies depending on the situation. Most of the time the Witch will do more DPS (she has higher Icestorm tooltip and resist penetration). But the Templar shines at facetanking the bosses when he can stand on consecrated ground and spam Icestorm with 55% increased cast speed from his Ascendancy. I haven't tried to measure it because my Templar is in the league with moderately good gear and my Witch is in Standard with godly gear, but I suspect that he kills the Shaper faster.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Oct 6, 2016, 4:38:32 PM
on Oct 6, 2016, 4:36:03 PM
Alright, making this templar version now in Essence, got quite a bit currency to spend on it after getting some luck with 6-links. :) Seems like a great build and just what i'm looking for. Thanks!
on Oct 7, 2016, 7:20:03 AM
How do you deal with the reflect compared to witch build?
on Oct 7, 2016, 8:27:24 AM
The Witch version is almost immune to reflect, you can do reflect+EW-maxres maps and barely notice it. The other versions (Scion and Templar) have to be very careful in reflect maps, always carry a Ruby flask for random reflect rares. They can't do reflect-maxres and can only do reflect+EW if your fire res is overcapped or just bring a bunch of Ruby flasks and run them all the time (but not worth it unless you really have to). Make sure you are using AA too. I had somebody complain about reflect deaths on a Scion while not using AA (duh!).
The Witch takes only 19% damage from reflect. The Scion takes 70%, the Templar 74%. So if you want to do a lot of reflect maps - the Witch is the obvious choice. But it's easy to just reroll maps these days and avoid annoying mods altogether, not just reflect.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Oct 7, 2016, 2:15:51 PM
on Oct 7, 2016, 2:15:05 PM
Can anyone have issue with fps drops below 30 when icestorm covering most of the screen or half screen? Or its just my problem? My specs i5 3350p, 8gb ram, 2gb gtx 770.
on Oct 8, 2016, 3:59:59 AM