[3.0] Glacial Hammer Gladiator


Since the introduction of the new Glacial Hammer threshold jewel (Winter Burial) I wanted to test a corresponding build. And hence the Legacy league was prolongated I had the chance to test it extensively. It turned out to be by far my most appealing build: fast to play, resilient, strong defensive and offensive abilities. That's why I want to share it with you. The Standard character is Clau_GH in my profile. For my Harbinger League character look for _Claudiu_ in my profile (not yet final).

Charge (with Shield charge) into a pack of enemies, hit them. Thrash mobs will be instantly dead, stronger mobs will be frozen or at least chilled. If they start hitting you, Frostbite will apply, making them more vulnerable to your damage. After the entire pack is dead - rinse and repeat with the next pack.

Small gameplay Demonstration (T15 Beachhead)

Path of Building Pastebin Link

For Bosses/Breaches - use Vaal Haste, Ancestral Protector, The wise oak, Atziri's Promise to push your dmg way over 200k...


* High offence
** Full cold damage:
*** 340k+ in Path of Building vs. chilled enemies (which most of your enemies will be), 210k+ vs. Shaper (chilled, with frenzy charges)
** 42%+ Cold penetration
** Frostbite (additional 42+% cold resistance reduction, +13% chance to freeze)
** Frost Bomb (20% cold resistance reduction)
** Additional 20% cold penetration with The wise oak
** Full area damage due to the threshold jewels
** 3 Frenzy charges (due to Outmatch and Outlast)

* High defence
** 5.700 Life at lvl 94
** 62%-70% base block/spell block, 78% block/spell block if any damage taken
** 30% reduced damage from critical strikes (Belt of the deceiver)
** 30% Chance to freeze (+13% from Frostbite) - you freeze nearly every mob which doesn't insta-die except for bosses
** 13.000+ armour (50%+ phys dmg reduction)
** Cap resists
** Arctic armour
** Fortify and 3 Endurance Charges (triggered by Shield Charge)

* Not really expensive
** In the final version probably under 10 Ex - the most expensive piece is the 6L armor but it works well on a 5L too

What is the build capable of?

All maps up to Tier 16 (including all guardians)
Almost all map mods excluding:
* Elemental reflect in combination with reduced maximal resists or elemental weakness
* No leech/no life and mana regen maps

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding builds is: is it Shaper-viable?
Up to now - I didn't manage to kill him yet (only hat 2 attempts). Got deathless to the second phase, but the Vortex management is somehow not my thing.

Item requirements:

2x Winter Burial
Doryani's Catalyst
Devoto's Devotion
Lioneye's Remorse
Belt of the deceiver
The anvil (Bisco's collar/The pandemonius)

Fill the rest with items with:
Added physical damage
Elemental damage with weapons
High armour

My gear:


Update: Added Frost Bomb to the setup, removed the higher Immortal Call

Body armour:
Glacial Hammer + Ruthless + Melee physical damage + Elemental Damage with Attacks + Cold penetration + Hypothermia

Switch Hypothermia for Faster Attacks when fighting chill/freeze immune mobs and/or Ruthless for Multistrike if you want more display DPS.

Vengeance+ Reckoning + Curse on hit + Frostbite

Shield Charge+ Fortify+ Endurance Charge on Melee Stun + Ancestral Protector (max Lvl)

Cast when damage taken (max lvl) + Molten Shell (max lvl)+ Summon Lightning Golem (max lvl)

Cast when damage taken (lvl 4) + Immortal Call (lvl 6) + Frost Bomb (lvl 12)

Hatred + Herald of ice + Arctic armour + Enlighten (Lvl 3+)

Bandits choice

Kill all 3 bandits and recieve the 2 skillpoints from Eramir.


Painforged -> Versatile Combatant -> Violent Retaliation -> Outmatch and Outlast

Amulet choice
As you might see, I listed 3 amulet choices: The Anvil, Bisco's and The Pandemonius.
At the beginning, I played a lot using The Anvil. Good amulet, allows for a capped block and spell block chance. But the entire build has low to none item rarity and quantity. This makes the character good for unlocking maps, killing bosses, but not necessarily for endgame farming. After I reached lvl 93, I wanted to start farming currency through mapping. Therefore I replaced The Anvil with Bisco's only switching back to The Anvil for tough bosses. And yes, it is worth it, I strongly recommend Bisco's to everyone. And since I some time forgot to switch back to the Anvil for some guardians, I realised, the build has enough defence without The Anvil even for the Guardians. And for my second Shaper attempt, I did not went back to The Anvil but searched for an amulet which provides me with the most added damage. And in this case - it was The Pandemonius. And although I didn't make it to my second attempt, the damage boost over The Anvil was visible, while still not having any issues with anything but the Shapers Bullet Hell.

Therefore my current recommandation would be:
If you build is well balanced - use Bisco's for anything except Shaper/Uber-Atziri/tough Guardians and switch to The Pandemonius for the endgame bosses.

On Ruthless vs. Multistrike
In the original version of the build, Multistrike was used. However the addition of Ruthless to the game has provided us with an alternative. According to Path of Building the damage provided by both gems is pretty similar. Therefore I took Ruthless into the build and got rid of Multistrike.

Since the freeze/chill duration is based on the damage delivered, and the build relies on chilled enemies (especially when using Frostbreath during leveling, but also when using Hypothermia), bigger hits are better than more frequent ones. Additionally the mana consumption of the build with Ruthless is lower than the consumption with Multistrike.

On Doryani's vs. Frostbreath
Since I use Frostbreath as weapon in the Harbinger League, I am now able to better compare Frostbreath with Doryanis. During the leveling process up to the maps there is no question: get Frostbreath. Playing now maps up to tier 4-5 I start realising some disadvantages of Frostbreath:

The initial hit:
Since the enemies are not necessary frozen or chilled prior to your first hit, the damage provided with your initial hit is way lower than with a Doryani's.

Elemental Equilibrium maps:
In Elemental Equilibrium maps, having +flat cold damage on your weapon is a huge disadvantage, because every attack will provide cold damage and trigger EE with frost damage leading to increased resists. If you have a pure physical weapon like Doryanis, and e.g. flat lightning dmg on some other pieces of equipment, your shield charge might trigger EE without cold damage, which results in a huge advantage for you.

Because of the two reasons I still stick with the recommendation: Frostbreath for leveling, Doryani's for the endgame.

On Endurance Charges

Endurance Charges benefit the build in 3 different ways:
* They reduce the physical damage taken and add elemental resistances
* Having Outmatch and Outlast adds additional 10% physical damage reduction when we are at maximum endu charges
* The Endurance Charges increase the duration of the two Immortal Calls incorporated in the build (and since I get this question often: Yes, Immortal Call works without Endurance Charges as well, but it lasts shorter than when it can consume Endurance Charges).

Since we have so many advantages from Endurance Charges it makes sense to generate some. There are some ways to do that:
* using Unique Items like Lochtonial Caress or The Red Nightmare
* incorporating Curses in the build like Warlord's Mark (a low lvl Warlord's Mark linked with the low Cast When Damage Taken for example)
* using the Endurance Charge on Melee Stun Support Gem in combination with Shield Charge

All options are feasible, but in this build, the combination of Shield Charge and Endurance Charge on Melee Stun is incorporated (kudos to Bluenickelz). It works perfectly with thrash mobs, but is mostly not working on bosses (or Harbinger mobs). But since almost every boss has some thrash mobs around... I have most of the time 3 Endurance Charges up and am very pleased with the solution.

On Chaos Resistance

I know a lot of people who run around with -60% Chaos Resistance and are perfectly fine with that. I am not, since this makes the build extreme vulnerable to any degeneration/poison. Therefore I always try to get to a positive chaos resistance. Since we use Devoto's, the basis for this request is already set. If one gets a solid ring (with high Intelligence and Mana Regeneration in addition to Life and some flat physical damage) it is possible to use Ming's Heart (one with only 5% Life reduction!) as the other ring in order to get to a positive Chaos Resistance. Since Ming's transforms some of our base physical damage to chaos damage it might even add more damage to the build than a regular flat phys ring. But this usually costs a lot of life. Therefore I aim for a rare ring with high Chaos Resistance in addition to our usual requirements (Flat physical damage, Life, Elemental Resistances) and try to get additionally some gloves/boots with Chaos Resistance.

On Mana Regeneration and Intelligence

Since we are using Doryani's, 113 Int is a base requirement for the build. From the passive skill tree we only recieve like 60 Intelligence (if we omit Mana Flows and Versatility, otherwise we already have 80 Int). Therefore at least 53 Int on equipment are required for Doryani's. My solution here was a ring with 53 Intelligence. I would not recommend having multiple items with low Int bonuses - it is simply better to have one ring/equipment piece which already fulfills the side requirements and focus on damage/life/resists on the other items.

In general, the build has pretty low mana requirements. Nevertheless, it is not possible to fully rely on the built-in mana regeneration and the mana leech from the node close to Vitality Void. Therefore some additional mana regeneration is required (50% is enough while using Ruthless, Multistrike requires some more). Once again, one can rely on a ring with some mana regeneration.

Thus, my preferred solution was: have one ring for the "side" requirements (Int and Mana regeneration) and the other one concentrated on the "main" requirements.

Last edited by chedrich on Oct 10, 2017, 5:21:42 PM
Last bumped on Nov 5, 2017, 7:54:47 AM
Leveling info for the Harbinger League:

I started using Molten Strike because it already has some area dmg without using any additional skill gems (like melee splash). As soon as I got a Glacial Hammer skill gem I started leveling, but not directly using it.

Skill tree development:

Start heading towards:

Master of the Arena -> Bravery -> Art of the Gladiator -> Mana Flows
(Mana Flows can be omitted if you get some good jewelry with mana reg and int)

then continue with

Golems Blood -> Testudo -> Retaliation

After Retaliation I took the jewel slot close to Golems Blood, bought an Winter Burial jewel and switched from Molten Strike to Glacial Hammer.

This was somewhere around lvl 33.

After that - head for the second jewel slot close to Berseking, then Berseking itself, and then Constitution.

Next steps:

Warrior's Blood -> Solidity -> Heart of the Warrior -> Born to fight -> Strong Arm -> Barbarism -> Resolute Technique

You should reach RT somewhere in the low to mid 5x range...

At 50 get yourself a Frostbreath, it greatly increases the damage.

After RT, go for:

Tireless -> Sanctuary -> Blunt Instrument -> Catalyze -> Elementalist -> Discipline and Training

Since the endgame is coming closer, some leech would be recommendable... Therefore head to:

Vitality Void -> Retribution

After reaching Retribution, you should be somewhere in the range of the high 6X or low 7X level and close to Kitava. By reaching 70, Lioneye's Retribution is usable. Grab one if you can afford it. It might also be time to get the Belt of the Deceiver and The Anvil if you don't have them by now.

From my experience, if you have somehow solid gear, any labyrinth including merciless is doable as soon as you unlock it. So just take the corresponding ascendancies as soon as they are available.

Additional info: I was able to do all standard game content on a 4 link (Glacial Hammer + Ruthless + Faster Attacks + Elemental Damage with Attacks) including Kitava and the merciless lab. Since Kitava felt a little bit slow (the order in which I built up the skill tree this time was a little bit more defensive) I switched to a 5-link when I started maping.
Last edited by chedrich on Aug 11, 2017, 10:18:16 PM
Since you can chill bosses in 3.0 wouldn't Frostbreath be better dps wise?
According to Path of Building you will loose about 10k DPS (~5%) against enemies that are chilled. Additionally you loose some life leech (the 0.2 ele leech from Doryani's).

So I would rather recommend leveling with Frostbreath, but using a good Doryani's for the endgame.
Last edited by chedrich on Aug 5, 2017, 4:48:22 AM
Please, can you explain how outmatch and outlast works? you can't generate any endurance charge, am i right? Or is it ascendancy node only for frenzy charges?
Last edited by BubbleGhost on Aug 5, 2017, 5:34:38 AM
Hello, its possible play this build as templar Inquisitor?
What's bandits should i choose?
BubbleGhost wrote:
Please, can you explain how outmatch and outlast works? you can't generate any endurance charge, am i right? Or is it ascendancy node only for frenzy charges?

Yes, we use Outmatch and Outlast only for frenzy charge generation. If you have the feeling you are too fragile and need more physical mitigation (might occur during leveling), there are some options to avoid that:

a) Use Warlord's Mark instead of Frostbite as curse - Easy, reduces damage but makes you way more solid, provides additional mana and life leech and endurance charges.

b) Use a Lightning coil as armour - More expensive, requires higher resistances on items (due to the -40% lightning res), might be somehow mitigated using Frostbreath instead of Doryani's (you get 50% additional fire resistance on Frostbreath).

winterwolf86 wrote:
Hello, its possible play this build as templar Inquisitor?

Yes, sure, but you need either modifications to the skill tree (in order to use Reckless Defence jewels) or a different item setup. I will look into it tomorrow and try to provide a solution...

A possible skill tree is:


Instruments of virtue -> Sanctify -> Pious Path -> Augury of penitence

Using 2 Winter Burial and 3 Reckless Defence jewels.

Still the defence is inferior to the Duelist but the dmg output should be way higher.

BubbleGhost wrote:
What's bandits should i choose?

As of now I got the skill points. The advantages from Oak (would otherwise be my choice based on the setup) are not high enough to justify loosing 2 skill points in the final version at lvl 92.
Last edited by chedrich on Aug 5, 2017, 5:01:36 PM
Last edited by quocthong on Aug 7, 2017, 4:42:32 PM

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