[3.1] The Blinding Blizzard - Whispering Ice Berserker - Viable for Most Everything

2018-02-27: The newly reworked Berserker will not be good for this build in 3.2.
Here's the 3.2 Scion version




This is the current version of my Whispering Ice build. It can be played as Life or CI. The life-based version excelled in 3.0 after ES was nerfed, and it can still do fine in 3.1, but the VP nerf made it weaker. CI was not viable in 3.0, but ES leech got un-nerfed in 3.1, so now CI is back on top.

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: The Shaper

In ordinary mapping it's flexible and safe enough to clear any tier maps with most of the random mod combinations while using Item Rarity for better loot.

I have achieved lv 100 and completed 40/40 challenges on my own merit in the Harbinger league with this build.
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Videos


Stats
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3.1 Abyss league

Defense



Icestorm tooltip in town




Build Theory
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This build is based on The Whispering Ice. Icestorm damage scales from Int, therefore Int is the main stat.

Key mechanics: Avatar of Fire, Vaal Pact, Pain Reaver, Elemental Overload, Arctic Armour, The Brine King, Chaos Inoculation (CI version), Ghost Reaver (CI version), Mind Over Matter (Life version).

Offense
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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, which makes it easier to find good jewels and takes fewer tree nodes to achieve good DPS.

More details
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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 a number of ways to increase the damage multiplicatively ('MORE') and additively ('Increased'):

Fire Penetration is equivalent to 38-152% MORE damage depending on the enemy resistances. 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. Endgame bosses with 40% elemental resistance take 98% of your damage with this gem instead of 60% without it, or 98/60 = 63% MORE damage. An enemy with max Fire resistance hard capped at 75% (such as a boss in a map with the extra resistance mod) 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 damage.

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

Converting the damage to fire lets you take double bonus from the Snowforged node, as both Fire and Cold damage modifiers apply to it, and the Increased Fire damage mod on Kaom's Heart.

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

Scorching Ray is used to cast Icestorm (via Cast while Channelling) while also applying up to -24% fire resistance debuff on the target which stacks with Fire Penetration. And it costs only 5 mana, making it safe to use Mind Over Matter without running out of mana.

Elemental Focus is 50% MORE plus 10% Increased damage.

Aspect of Carnage is 40% MORE damage.

Because this build is not a crit one, we use a secondary skill to trigger Elemental Overload's 40% MORE damage bonus. Orb of Storms crits very often.

Arcane Surge grants 13% MORE damage for 4 sec on each use of Orb of Storms or Flame Dash.



Defense
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Pain Reaver and Vaal Pact (and Ghost Reaver with the CI version) combine for very efficient ES/life and mana leeching.

Arctic Armor, Fortify, Enfeeble, Tukohama and a non-trivial amount of Armour greatly reduce incoming damage and more than compensate for the 10% increase from Aspect of Carnage.

Arctic Armor and the chilled ground created by Icestorm slow all enemies. Blind makes them miss you.

Cyclopean Coil makes you immune to shock and ignite.

The Brine King takes care of stun, chill and freeze.

Yugul, Arctic Armour, Purity of Fire and Sibyl's Lament make it safe to do maps with elemental reflect. (to be tested in 3.1)

More details
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Pain Reaver leeches 1% of your damage as life and mana. If you've killed recently (within the last 4 sec) it adds another 2% life and mana leech on top of that. A boot enchantment can add 0.6% life and mana leech on top of that, while killing. In the CI version, Ghost Reaver converts that life leech to ES leech.

Vaal Pact increases the maximum ES/life per second leech cap to 40% and doubles the leech rate within that cap.

Enfeeble makes the enemies deal 33% LESS damage (9% LESS if endgame boss). A helmet enchantment (with a lot of luck) can take that to 42% LESS (18% LESS if endgame boss).

Fortify reduces incoming damage by 20% for all hits (although Aspect of Carnage increases it back by 10%). Vigilant Strike gives you a 12 sec Fortify.

Tukohama grants 8% physical damage reduction while stationary (additive with Fortify).

Arctic Armor makes you take 13% LESS damage from fire and physical hits, including reflected damage, while stationary.

Fortify, Tukohama, Arctic Armor and Enfeeble combine as they are applied on different stages of the hit damage calculation. For example, when you are tanking an Enfeebled monster, its physical hit on you will deal only (1+0.1-0.20-0.08) * (1-0.36) * (1-0.13) = 0.46, or 46% of the damage it would deal without Enfeeble, Fortify, Tukohama and AA, i.e they hit you for 54% LESS damage.

Rite of Ruin (with the CI version) reduces damage taken by 6% and makes you immune to stun if you've killed recently, plus increases your attack speed to get Fortify faster.

Mind Over Matter (with the Life version) takes 30% of incoming damage from mana before life. Very high Intelligence makes for a very large mana pool that is then used as your extra EHP.

Blind lowers the enemy's chance to hit you by 50%, making them miss a lot of their hits. The Whispering Ice has an implicit 18% Block mod, letting you block some of the hits.

Int is always the highest stat, usually followed by Str and Dex. This order of stats makes the Cyclopean Coil belt render you immune to shock and ignite.

Arctic Armor, Yugul, Fortify, Sibyl's Lament and (optionally) Purity of Fire protect against reflected elemental damage. Elemental reflect causes you to hit yourself for a portion of the damage you deal to the enemy, up to 18% in high tier maps, which is then lowered by your Fire resistance. With this build, only 0.18 * (1+0.1-0.25-0.4-0.2) * (1-0.13) * (1-0.79) = 0.008, or 0.8% of your damage is reflected back to you. Which is completely negated by Pain Reaver. (to be tested in 3.1)



Utility
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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.

All map mods are doable with this build, including almost all possible combinations.

Crave the Slaughter gives you additional 15% movement speed out of combat.



Skill tree


Bandits
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Kill them all
None of the new bandit rewards in 3.0 are worth 2 skill points for this build.


Ascendancy
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Berserker

Pain Reaver leeches 1% damage as Life and mana always, plus another 2% if you have killed recently (within the last 4 sec).

Crave the Slaughter adds 25% attack speed if you've been hit recently, increasing the speed of Vigilant Strike in combat. And it grants 15% increased movement speed if you haven't been hit recently which is really nice for clear speed.

Aspect of Carnage adds 40% MORE damage dealt at the price of 10% increased damage taken. That's a great bargain since the MORE modifier is multiplicative (all your damage is simply multiplied by 1.4) while the Increased modifier is additive and only affects the sum of the Increased and Reduced damage (such as Fortify).

Rite of Ruin (CI version only) grants extra defenses while clearing and faster Vigilant Strike (i.e. Fortify) against bosses.

Cloaked in Savagery (Life version only) leeches 100% damage as Life and gives you 50% increased damage if you've been hit hard recently (Savage Hit = 15% of the max Life). Plus a bonus 25% attack speed to get Fortify faster.

Take the Ascendancy nodes in this exact order as you do the Labs.


Pantheon
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Major: The Brine King
Never worry about stun, freeze and chill. Add all 3 upgrades.

Minor:

Option 1: Tukohama
8% reduced physical damage taken while stationary. Use for facetanking the big hitters.

Option 2: Yugul
25% reduced reflected damage taken. Use against elemental reflect.

Option 3: Gruthkul
5% reduced physical damage when getting hit a lot + (upgrade) 8% slow on the enemies that hit you. Use for routine mapping.


Gear
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Mandatory uniques
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The build is based on this item.

Keep in mind that rolling 6S manually with jeweller orbs requires ilvl 50 or higher. Vorici lv 6 can force 6 sockets on any ilvl staff.

Only one link is required in the staff (Scorching Ray - CwC). Icestorm automatically uses all support gems in the staff without the need to link them.

Important: Always 20q your staff before attempting to 6S it. 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.

Recommended uniques
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Astramentis solves all stat requirement issues and provides a huge amount of damage via its high Intelligence (which is also boosted by the staff and belt). 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. 100 Str = 50 Life, so Astramentis does give you some Life as well (for the Life version).

Some Talismans or Shaped amulets can do better but they are very rare and expensive.


Cyclopean Coil provides a lot of Int (and Life for the Life version) while making you immune to shock and ignite (your stats will always end up in this hierarchy: Int > Str > Dex). It also adds 1% Increased damage per 5 of your lowest stat. With Astramentis your lowest stat is usually about 200 Dex, so that's 40% Increased damage right here.


Life version only! Kaom's Heart gives you about 1k extra Life compared to a good rare chest. That extra 1k is very useful. It makes the endgame encounters a whole lot less painful.

The price for the increased survivability is the loss of 6 sockets and any Int or resists that you could get on a rare chest (although the Increased Fire dmg mod partially compensates for 0 Int).

A good ES/AR rare chest is definitely OK for almost everything, and even the endgame can be completed without Kaom's Heart. But if you can afford Kaom's, it's the best option.


Standard league only! The legacy Pyre with 100% conversion lets you drop Avatar of Fire for 3 skill points, use a higher DPS gem (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.

Gloves, boots, helmet, chest
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Use rares. The most important stat is Int, followed by ES (CI version) or Life (Life version) and resists.

Cheap option:

Black Sun Crest boosts your Int (look for at least 13% increased Int). +1 gem level bonus is nice too. This is a DPS option. You gain about 1k tooltip damage at the price of some ES/Life. With the nerf to VP in 3.1, survivability is more important than raw damage for most of the content. But it's still an option for when you need to kill really fast.

Rings
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Rare rings with 50+ Int and as much total resistance as you can find. If it has ES (CI version) or Life (life version) or an open prefix to craft it - even better. The best would be an Opal ring with %Inc Fire or Cold damage (crafted with Anger or Hatred essences), T1 Int, ES/Life and two resist mods.

Jewels
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You will need 2x Brute Force Solution and 1x Fertile Mind to convert Str and Dex nodes on the way to important things to Int, with their own Int on top of that. Another Brute Force Solution can be used until you find something better than 44 value (see below). Izaro's Turmoil is the easiest to find 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 max 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



CI version only. War for the Atlas expansion (3.1) introduced this jewel. It's rare and has two random mods that add extra effects to various auras. The mod that's important to this build is the flat ES gain on hit with Discipline. It's a very powerful supplement to the capped ES leech, especially for clearing maps with nasty mods. It works wonders against packs of dangerous enemies that could do more damage than 40% of your ES per second (the leech cap).

The second mod is not important, although something like taking N% of physical damage as cold/fire with Purity of Ice/Fire is nice against some bosses. The ultimate 2nd mod is "20% mana added as ES with Clarity" (you can run Clarity lv 1 for 34 mana to make it work), but the price tag on that jewel is many times more than the rest of the gear combined, and it's not really necessary for anything.

Jewel placement
- between Marauder and Templar: Brute Force Solution
- between Scion and Duelist: Fertile Mind
- Templar area: Brute Force Solution
- between Templar and Witch: Izaro's Turmoil or rare
- Witch area: Izaro's Turmoil or rare
- near Scion start: Brute Force Solution, Izaro's Turmoil or rare
- between Witch and Shadow: Izaro's Turmoil or rare
- Shadow area: Izaro's Turmoil or rare

If you have The Watcher's Eye, put it in any socket that can have Izaro's or rare.

Enchantment
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This build does not need any enchantments, they are all optional. If you get something useful - great, but you'll do just fine without any of this.

Useful enchantments:

Helmet
30% increased Enfeeble Curse Effect = cursed enemies deal 9% LESS damage

Gloves
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.

Boots
0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you've Killed Recently = extra leech
Damage Penetrates 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven't Killed Recently = extra DPS against bosses
Adds 45 to 68 Cold Damage if you've been Hit Recently = extra DPS against bosses

My gear
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CI version in the Abyss league
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PoB pastebin link: https://pastebin.com/KwwuQHLH


Life version in the Harbinger league
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Gems
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Ancestral Call any level, ideally 20q (if not using Kaom's Heart)
Arcane Surge lv 6 (match the cost of Orb of Storms while leveling)
Arctic Armour lv 20, ideally lv 21
Ball Lightning lv 4
Blind 20/20
Cast while Channelling 20/20, ideally 21/20
Cold To Fire 20/20, ideally 21/20
Concentrated Effect 20/20, ideally 21/20
Curse on Hit 20/20, ideally 20/23
Cast When Damage Taken lv 1
Cast When Damage Taken lv 10 (if not using Kaom's Heart)
Discipline lv 20, ideally lv 21
Elemental Focus 20/20, ideally 21/20
Enfeeble 20/20, ideally 21/20
Faster Attacks 20/20
Fire Penetration 20/20, ideally 21/20
Flame Dash lv 15 (match the cost of Orb of Storms and Arcane Surge)
Immortal Call lv 12 (if not using Kaom's Heart)
Increased Duration 20/20 (if not using Kaom's Heart)
Orb of Storms lv 17 or better
Purity of Fire lv 20
Purity of Ice lv 20
Purity of Lightning lv 20
Purity of Elements lv 20
Scorching Ray lv 1
Spell Cascade 20/20, ideally 21/20
Summon Chaos Golem lv 12 (if not using Kaom's Heart)
Vigilant Strike 20/20

Optional:
Culling Strike any level
Item Rarity 20/20, ideally 20/23

Recommended priority of adding quality:
- Curse on Hit
- Cold To Fire
- Other DPS gems: CwC, Fire Penetration, Concentrated Effect, Elemental Focus, Spell Cascade
- Increased Duration (if not using Kaom's Heart)
- Faster Attacks
- Enfeeble
- Vigilant Strike
- Ancestral Call (if not using Kaom's Heart)

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 non-DPS gems, 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 weapon.


Sockets
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No links higher than 4L is required for any targets.

Weapon
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6S RRBBBB: Cold To Fire, Fire Penetration, Scorching Ray - Cast While Channelling, Concentrated Effect, Elemental Focus. It can work even with 4S (without CE and EF) during leveling, but at much lower damage.

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

For faster clearing, swap EF for Spell Cascade. It makes mapping much more enjoyable (if your GPU can handle triple Icestorms).

I carry 2 staves: one with SC for the clearing and one with EF for the bosses.

The 6th socket can also be used for Item Rarity for better loot (but lower DPS), if the map is easy enough.

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

A swap staff can be used for MF culling too. RBBBG (5S): CtF, SR - CwC, IR, Culling Strike. Swap to it when the boss is at 10% life or less.

Do not level Scorching Ray if you are playing the Life version! In some encounters your mana will get depleted because of MoM and you will not be able to cast a high level SR. You can easily regen or leech 5 mana in 0.35 sec to keep casting SR lv 1, but not a higher level one. SR's own DPS is nothing compared to Icestorm's. Even for the CI version, SR lv 1 is just fine.

Gloves, boots, helmet, chest
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4L: CWDT (lv 1) - Ball Lightning (lv 4) - Curse of Hit (20/20) - Enfeeble (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 must be lv 6 or higher, do level it. This setup will not work with low level curse gems or high level CWDT/BL. You want this link to trigger as often as possible, so CWDT must stay at lv 1. BL higher than lv 4 will be too high level for it to trigger. Enfeeble lower than lv 6 will get triggered by CWDT directly instead of getting procced by BL, and will thus only target a small area and lose the increased effect from CoH.

Optional: If you are using a 5L chest, add Blind to that CWDT link.

4L: Orb of Storms - Arcane Surge - Flame Dash - Blind. Level Arcane Surge to trigger on Orb of Storms (not higher than its mana cost). Level Flame Dash to cost enough mana to trigger Arcane Surge. The final levels are: Orb lv 20, AS lv 6, FD lv 15.

In the CI version you already have Blind in the chest link, so you can use Culling Strike here instead.

4L (if not using Kaom's Heart): CWDT lv 10 - Immortal Call lv 12 - Increased Duration 20/20 - Summon Chaos Golem lv 12.

3L: Vigilant Strike - Ancestral Call - Faster Attacks. If you are using the Life version with Kaom's Heart you will have to drop one of the supports from this link and place your self-cast Golem here.

Place in any free sockets:
Arctic Armour
Discipline (CI version only)

How to off-color 4 sockets?
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The easiest way to get 3 or all 4 R/G sockets in the Int gear is to use Jewellers instead of Chromatics. Using Vorici, keep adding a new socket and removing it until you get the color you want. Adding a socket doesn't change the colors of the existing sockets.






Auras
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CI version: Discipline and Arctic Armour.

Life version: Arctic Armour is the only aura that's always on. The rest of the mana is used by Mind Over Matter.

An additional Purity aura (of Fire, Ice, Lightning or Elements) is used when necessary, for Elemental Weakness maps, +ele dmg maps, or bosses that deal extreme amounts of damage of a particular element.


Flasks
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This build doesn't depend on flasks to function, so the choice is entirely up to you. However, a Staunching flask is highly recommended for mapping.

This is my everyday mapping set:

Two high speed Quicksilvers make trash clearing a lot faster.

A Basalt flask for an occasional heavy hitting boss. Heat suffix for an occasional freeze and heavy chill (mostly for the strongboxes). Chemist prefix allows it to be used twice without recharging.

For the Staunching flask, my choice is Chemist's (4-use without recharging) Sulphur, because it gives additional DPS and does not end the moment your life is full.

5th flask (depending on CI or Life version):

Getting rid of nasty curses is always a good idea. For the Life version you need to carry at least 1 life flask.


Play style
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Run around at high speed with Quicksilver flasks and Flame Dash.

See a pack of mobs, hit them with Scorching Ray + Icestorm. If they are not dead yet, pop Orb of Storms on them and cast more Icestorms. If they are nasty, hit something with Vigilant Strike to get a 12 sec Fortify and tank them.

While tanking, move as little as possible. Arctic Armour and Tukohama only work while stationary. But dodge potential 1-shots unless you are confident that you can survive them.

Use flasks and Purity auras as needed.


Dealing with map mods
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This build can do any map mods and virtually any combinations of them. Notable cases:

Elemental Reflect
Use Yugul, Purity of Fire and Sibyl's Lament in the LEFT ring slot:

and bring at least one Ruby flask (some bosses have no adds for extra Pain Reaver leech). I swap my regular (Sulphur) Staunching flask for a Ruby one:


Elemental Weakness
Use Purity of Elements instead of Chaos Golem or Flame Dash.

Extra damage as Fire/Cold/Lightning
Use Purity of that element (PoF instead of Ancestral Call; PoI instead of Faster Attacks; PoL instead of Chaos Golem).

-Maximum resist
Use a Purity aura of the most dangerous element there (something that the boss uses, or +dmg on the mobs). If nothing specific, use Purity of Fire for an occasional reflecting or Volatile rare. You can always switch to a different Purity for the boss.

No Regen, Monsters Poison on Hit (Life version)
Use Scorching Ray lv 1
Life version only: use a ring that makes Scorching Ray completely free to cast, such as Praxis or an Elreon ring:

Or bring a slow acting mana flask in case your mana gets drained by MoM:


No Leech
This is the single worst mod for this build. It's very rare and it's usually worth rerolling the map. If you really can't avoid it, DO NOT TANK, just range kill everything. Life version: bring some life flasks.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 2, 2018, 1:27:53 AM
Last bumped on Jun 11, 2018, 10:33:17 PM
Leveling Guide
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Leveling with the Whispering Ice is a blast. You can start using it at lv 33, but it makes more sense to switch at lv 39.

If you don't have the staff yet, you can level with Sunder or Molten Strike all the way through the 10 Acts, but it will start losing efficiency somewhere around lv 45-50 if you don't take melee-oriented tree nodes, which you will need to refund when you switch to Icestorm.

Don't skip any quests that give +skill points.

Lv 1-38
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Use 1h axe or club in the primary hand. Any self-found weapon will do, just look for decent damage.

Cheap unique to trivialize it:


Use a claw in the offhand for Life on Hit. Any claw will do. Keep updating them as you level up to get more LoH. They often roll +Attack Speed and extra damage. Use the essences you find along the way to roll random rare claws (and 1h axes if you don't have a unique).

Use any gear with Life and Armour. Rustic Sash for physical damage. Jewelry with resists and stats as needed.

Start
Your starting skill is Heavy Strike. You will find Ruthless in the large chest on the beach. Take Molten Strike as your reward from Tarkleigh for killing Hillock and use it until lv 12. If you retrieve the Medicine Chest for Nessa, she will reward you with Ancestral Call. Whenever you find an item with 2-3 linked red sockets, support Molten Strike with Ancestral Call and Ruthless.

- Up from the Marauder start
- Born To Fight
- Shaper
- Constitution
- Sentinel, Lightning and Cold Resistance
- Up to the Witch area
- Cruel Preparation
- Down to the Duelist area
- Art of the Gladiator
- nodes leading to Vaal Pact
Lv 38 tree

Submerged Passage
Go to town and take Ancestral Protector as your reward from Tarkleigh to help you kill rares and bosses. Buy Vigilant Strike from Nessa for more safety.

The Climb
Rescue Navali. Get prophecies from her any time you find silver coins. They can be extremely helpful.

Axiom Prison
Go to town, take Added Fire Damage as your reward from Nessa, buy another copy from her, support your primary skill and Ancestral Protector with it (instead of Ruthless). Do the Lab trial in the area.

Cavern of Wrath, Lv 12
Go to town, take Sunder as your reward from Nessa and start using it. From here to lv 39 just annihilate everything in front of you with Sunder and use the totem to help with the bosses. Alternatively, you can just keep going with Molten Strike + Ancestral Call if you prefer to be up close and personal with the enemy.

Act 2
Take Herald of Ash as your reward from Greust when you kill Fidelitas. Take Melee Physical Damage as your reward from Silk when you kill The Weaver. Don't forget to claim your reward from Bestel for opening the Passage. Kill all bandits. Do the Lab trials in the Chamber of Sin and The Crypt.

Lv 18
Start using Herald of Ash. Support Sunder and Ancestral Protector with Melee Phys Damage + Added Fire Damage. Alternative option: Molten Strike - Ancestral Call - Melee Physical Damage.

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

Act 3
Buy Hatred from Clarissa after the Crematorium and start using it together with Herald of Ash. These are your two auras until you switch to Icestorm.

Whenever you find a red 4L item, use Sunder - Melee Phys Dmg - Added Fire - Ruthless. Or the alternative option: Molten Strike - Ancestral Call - Melee Physical Damage - Added Fire Damage.

Help Siosa in the Library. He will sell you any gems you need.

Do the Lab trials and the Normal Lab. Normal Izaro is trivial with Sunder or Molten Strike. Take Pain Reaver.

Act 4
Take the Chaos Golem as your reward from Oyun for killing Voll. Don't forget to free Deshret. Take Curse on Hit as your reward from Dialla for killing Kaom and Daresso.


If you still don't have the staff by the time you hit lv 39, you can continue with Sunder or Molten Strike until you get it. And don't take Vaal Pact until you are ready to switch to Icestorm. You will also want to take some melee support nodes in the tree if you don't want your damage to fall behind the game difficulty, but don't take more than you can refund, and save 1 more refund point for Born To Fight that you took at the very beginning.

The Big Switch (lv 39)
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Refund Born To Fight. Take Vaal Pact and Wisdom of the Glade (30 Int node near VP).

Replace the melee/phys jewels with Brute Force Solution (near the start), Fertile Mind (on the way to the Duelist area). Int is very important. If you don't convert the Str/Dex nodes to Int with Brute Force/Fertile Mind, your damage will be much lower than you'd like and you'll be about 10 levels behind the good schedule.

Your staff should be at least 4S (BBBB): Scorching Ray - CwC, Concentrated Effect, Elemental Focus. Buy a lv 1 Scorching Ray from Siosa and DO NOT LEVEL THIS GEM. Only SR - CwC need to be linked. No other links are needed (see Sockets). If you have a 5S staff, add Controlled Destruction. For 6S add Cold To Fire.

If you don't have Astramentis, get a rare amulet with 50+ total Int between different mods. Use Int rings with resists. Chest/gloves/boots/helmet with Int, Life and maybe some AR (not necessary but nice). Belt for the rest of the resists.

Cheap armor that's awesome for leveling:


Buy CWDT lv 1 and DO NOT LEVEL THIS GEM. Link it with Enfeeble and level that to lv 5. After that, if you have a 4L item, use CWDT lv 1 - Ball Lightning lv 4 - Curse on Hit (level it) - Enfeeble (level it). But if you don't have a 4L then keep Enfeeble at lv 5 and linked with CWDT lv 1. See the Sockets section for the explanation why these levels.

Aura: your only aura should be Arctic Armour. Buy Purity of Elements and level it in any free socket. You can also use it if your resists are not maxed, but it's better to have max resists already. You will need this aura later.

Buy Orb of Storms and use it to trigger Elemental Overload (it crits very often). Level it. Buy Arcane Surge, link it with Orb of Storms and keep it at the level where it gets triggered by the mana cost of your current level Orb. If you have a 3L for it, add Blind to this link.

Another useful link is Vigilant Strike - Faster Attacks, if you have Astramentis to afford the Dex requirement.

My items at lv 39 in the Abyss league
Spoiler



Note: Asenath's gloves need to be replaced around lv 50-55. TC is Ok to use for leveling, but eventually Enfeeble becomes a much stronger defense for this build.



From that point on, the rest of the Acts will look like this:
Video: Steamrolling lv 39-67 in 3.0

Use Flame Dash or Leap Slam as an optional movement skill.

Lv 40-67
Spoiler

- Elemental Overload (and start using Orb of Storms)
- take the sockets between Templar and Witch and near Scion whenever you have any useful jewels
- Occultist's Dominion
- Heart and Soul
- Deep Wisdom
- Potency of Will
- Frost Walker
- Fire Walker
- Avatar of Fire
Lv 53 tree

At the end of Act 5 your resists will be permanently lowered by 30%. If that un-maxes your resists, start using Purity of Elements to compensate. You don't need to change any items (except Asenath's gloves if you use them; at this point Enfeeble becomes a much better curse than TC).

Do the Cruel Lab whenever you unlock it. Cruel Izaro is gimp. Take Crave the Slaughter.

When you take Avatar of Fire, start using Cold To Fire

At this point your staff should have these gems: Scorching Ray - CwC, Cold To Fire, Concentrated Effect, Fire Penetration (5S), Elemental Focus (6S).

Next:
- Snowforged

Branch into the Templar area:
- Light of Divinity
- Elementalist
- Retribution

and then into the Shadow area:
- Coldhearted Calculation
- Trickery

Lv 67 tree

Do the Merciless Lab (take Aspect of Carnage) and then finish the storyline. At the end of Act 10 your resists will be permanently lowered by another 30%. I recommend doing the Merciless Lab before Kitava for that reason, as well as 40% MORE damage from Aspect of Carnage.


The Decision (lv 67)

This is where the Life and CI versions split. By now you should already decide if you are going with Life or CI. You can switch later, but it will be more expensive. At lv 68-70 you can equip your endgame gear and head into the maps. You don't have to get the best items yet, just upgrade them gradually. MAX YOUR RESISTS! You won't do well in the maps without max resists.

As of patch 3.1, I find the CI version to be more powerful and less expensive than the Life version. But personal experiences may vary.

Life version
Spoiler

Grab more Life nodes:
- Discipline and Training (Templar area)
- Devotion (Templar area) and the 6% Life node behind it
- Bravery (Duelist area)
- Blood Siphon (Shadow area)

Start using MoM:
- Mind Over Matter
- Inspiration

At this point you should try to max your resists without any Purity auras so that your mana serves as your extra Life with MoM. Your only permanent aura should be Arctic Armour.

Add more sockets:
- Templar area socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Witch area socket (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)

and some more Life and Chaos resist:
- Purity of Flesh

Lv 89 tree (life version)

Do the Uber Lab whenever you unlock it. Don't let Izaro get buffed on your first run. Take Cloaked in Savagery.

The build is complete at lv 89 and is capable of beating the endgame.

Level as high you like. Simply add more and more Life nodes to increase your tankiness and make the game easier. Your DPS will not increase much from leveling, unless you decide to take another jewel socket (between Witch and Shadow) instead of more Life. The choice is yours.


CI version
Spoiler

Level to 72 with the same gear. You can use Purity of Elements + another Purity aura to keep your resists maxed after Kitava. Save the 4 skill points that you get at lv 68-71.

At lv 72:
- take the ES bridge through Arcane Focus to Deep Wisdow
- refund the life/mana nodes between Occultist's Dominion and Deep Wisdom
- refund Cruel Preparation and the small life node leading to it
- take Chaos Inoculation
- take Ghost Reaver

Lv 72 tree (CI version)

Your two auras should be Discipline and Arctic Armour. In addition to them, you can use a Purity aura of your choice.

Grab more ES nodes:
- Faith and Steel
- Foresight
- Path of the Savant

and more sockets:
- Templar area socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Witch area socket (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)
- between Witch and Shadow (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)
- Shadow area socket (Izaro's Turmoil or rare)

Lv 91 tree (CI version)

Do the Uber Lab whenever you unlock it. Take Rite of Ruin.

The build is complete at lv 91 and is capable of beating the endgame.

Level as high you like. Simply add more and more ES nodes to increase your tankiness (down from Deep Wisdom; or take Nullification if you need more resistances).

Last edited by Kelvynn on Feb 17, 2018, 1:10:43 PM
Boss Guide

Feel free to request strats for anything.

Uber Lab
Spoiler

Video (CI)
Video (Life)

Minor power: Tukohama

Flasks (CI):

You always need a staunching flask. For the Life version it's a good idea to also bring 1 or 2 life flasks. The rest should be Quicksilvers, preferably with 3 uses (extra charges or reduced charges). High speed Quicksilver flasks let you run through most traps without taking much damage.

If you are playing the Life version, use the life flasks as you take damage while running. You can also use Ryslatha instead of Tukohama, that way you can stop and recharge your life flask(s) if you run out of charges. CI version can always stop and recharge ES.

Izaro deals pure physical damage. Depending on the weapon he has on that day, he can use Leap Slam, Reave, Shield Charge, Sunder and Voll Slam. The Goddess on Izaro's back has a fire based ranged Mortar attack. Depending on the day, Izaro can get buffed with increased damage dealt, reduced damage taken, extra elemental damage, chance to shock/freeze/ignite, elemental resistances, attack and movement speed, curses on you, or various adds.

Stand near Izaro's circle while he is arriving. Pop Orb of Storms and cast Icestorm just outside of the circle (you cannot cast on Izaro until he attacks). With a 5 sec Icestorm duration you can pre-stack 14 Icestorms there that will instantly hit Izaro the moment he goes active. Just before he does, pop the Sulphur flask to deal even more damage. DO NOT MOVE. AA and Tukohama only protect you while stationary. When Izaro leaps or walks up to you, hit him with Vigilant Strike to get Fortify.

In the first two trials he usually stays around for 10-15 sec despite you dealing enough damage to beat him almost immediately. If there are adds, cast some Icestorms on them too for extra leech.

In the final fight, Izaro should be dead within 2-3 seconds (at lv 78+ with 1400+ Int and 20/20 gems) if you are doing it solo, but it can take longer if you are carrying others. Izaro has one extra ability in the final fight: a green circle glows around you and teleports you to a random trap 3 sec later. Simply dash to another spot (a safe one) and continue casting Icestorm on Izaro.

The only real danger is when Izaro has charges. His damage can increase by 300% and he can pack quite a punch. If you have less than 6k hp, do not let him get fully charged (which will never happen unless you wait on purpose in the first two trials). Everything else should be fine with 3.5-4k hp (maybe even less). For the full charge Izaro you may want to bring a Basalt flask to mitigate his first attack.

If you are doing this for the first time, at a low level (lower than 83) and with crappy gear (less than 3k hp) - do not let Izaro get any buffs. See the wiki for more information about preventing Izaro buffs vs getting more keys.


Tier 16
Spoiler

Video (CI)

Each of the Guardians requires a special approach and flasks. I swap some of my flasks depending on the encounter.

Tukohama is the minor power to have for all of them. They all deal a lot of physical damage partially converted to another element.

Hydra
Spoiler

Hydra constantly moves and wants to attack from range. She has 3 physical bow attacks with 50% of the damage converted to cold:
1) Barrage
2) Rain of Arrows
3) a massive single projectile Forked Shot preceded by a very slow animation

Balls of cold damage fly across the room in straight lines. There are safe areas between those lines, after doing this fight a few times you should be able to find them easily. The balls also don't reach the opposite end of the arena, so there is more safe space at the very edge (see what I mean in the video above).

Every now and then the Hydra disappears and adds spawn. The adds drop small Vortexes where they die. After 5 sec, Hydra re-appears in a random spot in the room and starts attacking again.

Flasks:

2-3 Sapphire flasks with good duration should be enough. The Wise Oak is optional. If you don't have it, you don't need the Ruby either, just bring another Sapphire.

Additional aura:
Purity of Ice (swap out Faster Attacks)

Strategy:
Run towards Hydra along the bottom of the arena. Stop in the gap between the turrets. Pop Orb and start casting Icestorm on the Hydra. Follow her with the cursor and keep casting on her. She will try to run off-screen, but won't go too far, you can still target her. When she does the animation for one of her attacks, pop a Sapphire flask.

Stand still (for AA and Tukohama protection). Only move to another safe spot along the bottom edge of the arena if the Hydra runs completely off the screen (this can happen sometimes after the add phase).

If you have The Wise Oak, pick a moment to use it this way: pop Basalt + Ruby + The Wise Oak and do not use Sapphire at the same time. Since you are using Purity of Ice, your cold resist is the highest uncapped resist and the Ruby flask is needed to bring fire resist back on top to activate the fire resist penetration from The Wise Oak. You cannot use Sapphire at the same time, so Basalt is used to defend against the big attacks. You can use this combo twice during the fight.

Chill and freeze won't be an issue as long as you have a fully upgraded Brine King.


Minotaur
Spoiler

Minotaur has 4 physical attacks:
1. Regular mace hit with 30% damage converted to Lightning.
2. Mace Sweep with 30% damage converted to Lightning, often causes shock.
3. Burrow: he goes underground and pops up at the targeted location dealing high damage. This is only used against targets outside of his melee range.
4. Mace Slam: higher damage hit creating a circular area of falling rocks (similar to Firestorm but physical damage).

There are several pairs of Tesla coils in the room. They activate as Minotaur takes damage and create lightning barriers that slow and shock you if you touch them. Small stone golem adds also spawn, helping to refill your flasks and trigger extra leech.

Flasks:

Need physical mitigation here, so bring some Basalt flasks. The Wise Oak + Ruby is optional for more damage.

Additional aura:
Purity of Lightning (swap out Chaos Golem unless you have another blue socket option, such as an Unset ring). But if the map has a +fire or +cold damage then you need to use PoI or PoF since the Minotaur will be doing more fire/cold damage than lightning.

Strategy:
Enter the arena, take the lower path, stop at the Tesla coils at the bottom. Pre-cast some Icestorms on a spot between you and Minotaur, then Flame Dash there, pop a Basalt flask, cast Orb of Storms and stand still. AA and Tukohama only work when not moving. When the Minotaur gets near you, hit him with VS for Fortify.

If you have The Wise Oak, use it together with Ruby to make fire resist your top uncapped resist and get extra fire penetration.

When he is about to die (or you are about to cull him), Flame Dash out of the falling rock area, otherwise you may die to the rocks after Mino is dead (and you can't leech anymore).


Phoenix
Spoiler

Phoenix deals physical damage with added fire damage (similar to Anger). He has 2 attacks:
1. Cyclone.
2. Firebomb: a massive Fire explosion with a -50% Fire resistance debuff (additive with your total Fire resist; this is not resist penetration).

For each 10% life lost by Phoenix, you get a -1% max Fire resist debuff, and a small phoenix add spawns that shoots fire damage projectiles. These adds respawn 5 sec after getting killed. Small fire tornadoes also spawn and roam around randomly dealing fire damage.

Flasks:

3 Ruby flasks with extra duration should be enough. The Wise Oak is optional.

Additional aura:
Purity of Fire. Swap out Flame Golem (Life) or Ancestral Call (CI).

Strategy:
Pre-cast Icestorms on the center of the room, then Flame Dash there, pop Orb of Storms and stand still (very important! AA will not protect you while moving). Phoenix will Cyclone to you. Hit him with Vigilant Strike. When he starts the Firebomb animation, pop a Ruby flask to counter it. After he's done with that, move to the corner near the door, refresh Orb of Storms. When he geats near you again, hit him with VS for fresh Fortify.

Keep casting Icestorms on him. Kill some adds once in a while, but don't break from casting on Phoenix for more than a couple seconds at a time.

If you have The Wise Oak, use it any time you want.


Chimera
Spoiler

Chimera does pure physical damage. He has 3 attacks:
1. Flicker Strike.
2. Frontal cone melee hit, causes bleeding.
3. Circular AoE melee combo.
None of that does enough damage to cause trouble for this build.

Every 25% Chimera disappears and 4 waves of adds come from the 3 gates in the room (in random order):
a) Dogs: melee, cause bleeding;
b) Goats: use Leap Slam;
c) Snakes: ranged, shoot poisonous projectiles, chaos damage.
With the final wave of each add phase, a mini-boss comes from the right gate.

When the adds are dead, Chimera re-appears in the center of the room, attacks for 1-2 sec, then disappear again, and smoke clouds fill the room. Chimera hides in a random smoke cloud and must be found by running though that cloud. You get hit with his default melee attack every 1 sec until you find him.

Flasks:

The Staunching flask is for the adds, and the rest are for the smoke phase. For the Life version, bring a life flask instead of one of the Quicksilvers.

Optional swap (Life version only):
Left ring <-> Praxis or an Elreon ring

Strategy:
Pre-cast Icestorms on the center of the room, then Flame Dash there, pop Orb of Storms and stand still. Chimera will Flicker Strike to you. Hit him with Vigilant Strike to get Fortify and keep casting on him.

When the adds spawn, move to the right gate and kill them there. Cast Icestorms on yourself, pop Orb, use VS for Fortify. You will quickly kill the adds that come out of that gate, and then the ones that come from the top gate. The ones that come from the left gate will stay there and won't come. After the mini-boss is dead, cast Icestorm on the center of the room and dash there. The adds from the left gate will come to you. Try to get a fresh Fortify before finishing them off.

When the last add dies, cast Icestorm on yourself. Chimera will re-appear near you, hit you a couple times and start the smoke phase. When you see Chimera, pop the flasks in the order of their duration: Granite and Basalt for mitigation, Quicksilver for speed. Whichever one lasts the longest - hit it first, etc. Run through the very middle of every smoke cloud. You must bump into the hiding Chimera, the detection radius is very small. Life version can use the life flask to repair some damage while running. When you find him, stop running and start casting Icestorm on yourself. He will Flicker to you.

Life version only: if the map has No Regen or Poison on Hit, you will need a swap ring to make Scorching Ray free to cast. Your mana will get drained by MoM during the smoke phase while you can't leech.



The Shaper
Spoiler

Video (CI)

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: to 50%, to 25%, and finally to the kill. At 50% and 25% he banishes you and Zana to a large maze area filled with random trash, and you need to find your way from the bottom to the top of the maze and kill a mini-boss (the boss of the Laboratory map) that uses Frost Bolt, Vortex, Spectral Throw and a special 'Vortex Slam' (with a very slow animation). Killing the mini-boss opens a portal back to the arena. The Shaper slowly regenerates life while you are getting back to him. He gains a new dangerous ability in each fight.

The Shaper has 4 attacks:
1. Melee physical hit. Weak.
2. Golden beam of fire + cold + lightning damage. Preceded by a short animation. Targets your location at the start of the animation.
3. Barrage of golden projectiles that deal high cold damage with 25% resist penetration. 3 barrages are fired, each targeting your location at the time. Only used when he cannot hit you with melee, or when there is another target in the room (i.e. you are not alone).
4. Teleport Slam: a massive physical AoE hit. Preceded by a slow animation. Targets your location during the animation.

After each attack, the Shaper randomly decides to use another attack or do one of the special abilities:
1. Portal: the Shaper becomes invulnerable for 25 sec and opens a portal that spawns random adds that attack Zana. If they manage to get Zana to 0 hp, she goes to 'rest' at the bottom of the map for 30 sec.
2. Bullet Hell: the Shaper becomes invulnerable, teleports randomly 16 times between 8 spots at the edges of the room and fires 12-projectile novas at each spot. They are the same exact projectiles as in the Barrage attack, but with a purple graphic. If Zana is not 'resting', she creates a red protective bubble in the middle of the room to shield you from the projectiles. After firing the last nova, the Shaper immediately initiates his next attack from that random location (which can be off-screen!) while the projectiles are still flying around. This is the most dangerous moment of the fight. This ability is used only in the 2nd and 3rd fight.
3. Shadow Clone: a slightly faded mirror image of the Shaper pops for 10 sec and attacks you randomly with the melee hits, the beam or the ball barrage. It is invulnerable and cannot be leeched from, but does less damage than the Shaper himself. This ability is used only in the 3rd fight.

Balls of ice spawn randomly around the room. If they see you (their awareness radius is about 1/3 of the screen) they start chasing you. If they touch you, they turn into a Vortex on the ground that deals cold damage over time and chills. These balls spawn more frequently in the 2nd and 3rd fight.

Flasks:

Granite and Basalt to mitigate the Slam. Make sure your Basalt flask can be used twice without recharging (i.e. has 23%+ Reduced Charges Used). Staunching for Dominus, Rigwald and random trash that can cause bleeding. Quicksilver is used at the end of the red bubble phase to dodge the next attack easier. Life version can bring a life flask instead of Quicksilver to repair the Vortex damage when not leeching.

If you have The Wise Oak, use it as combo together with Ruby. Since you are using PoI, you need Ruby to bring the uncapped fire resist above cold to get the extra fire penetration.

Minor power:
Tukohama (to help mitigate the Slam)

Additional aura:
Purity of Ice (swap out Faster Attacks)

Gem swaps:

CI version:
Orb of Storms <-> Ball Lightning

Life version:
CWDT <-> Flame Golem
CoH <-> Arcane Surge
Enfeeble <-> Flame Dash

In this configuration, your Orb will curse the Shaper without waiting for him to hit you, while using Flame Dash will trigger Arcane Surge.

Strategy:
Walk up to the Shaper and pre-cast Icestorms on him while he is talking. Pop Orb of Storms when he is about to finish his speech. Then act depending on what he chooses to do.

Melee: keep casting.

Beam: If you don't have the Watcher's Eye jewel, move out of the beam and keep casting.

Slam: use Granite, Basalt, and The Wise Oak + Ruby if you have it and keep casting on yourself. Stand still! AA and Tukohama won't protect you when not stationary. If the Shaper starts the Slam animation while you are moving, do not tank that, Flame Dash away.

Portal: cast some Icestorms on Zana. When she is safe, start shifting your target towards the portal and moving to it. You need to end up standing at the portal and casting on yourself. When Zana begins closing the portal, hit it with VS, pop a fresh Orb and keep casting.

Bullet Hell: if there are any ice balls around, run to them quickly and turn them into Vortexes, then stand in the red bubble. You have about 5 sec before the purple projectiles start to fly. It is absolutely paramount to avoid ruining the space within the bubble with the Vortexes. If an ice ball comes at you during the bubble phase, you have a small amount of safe space inside the bubble to move and make the ball land on the edge of it.

The Shaper teleports around firing the projectile novas 16 times. Get used to counting the explosions (4 explosions x 4 times), and be ready for his next attack. He often stops outside of the screen! You must dodge his first attack, while the last of the purple projectiles are still flying around. Pop the Quicksilver flask if you have it, get near him, pop Orb of Storms and start casting on him. If his next attack is the Ball Barrage (3 series of 3 golden balls) then you need to dodge them, move 3 times between Icestorm casts on him. If he uses another attack, stay where you are and keep casting on him (or on yourself if he goes for the Slam).

Clone: ignore it, keep casting on the Shaper and pay attention to his next move. If the Shaper opens the Portal while the clone is still around, you need to start casting on the adds ASAP, for a source of leech.

If the ice balls come while you are tanking the Shaper, adjust your position slightly to get out of them, but don't lose melee contact with the Shaper, or he may fire the ball barrage. Never let the ice balls land in the middle of the room, where the red bubble spawns (unless they come during the bubble phase; see above).

If you die and have to re-enter the arena, use the same tactic as after the red bubble phase: dodge the ball barrage, otherwise just cast on the Shaper.

Don't forget to pop fresh Orb of Storms near the Shaper when he moves.

Once the Shaper is almost dead, you can cull him (with the swap staff or FD+Cull).


Atziri/Uber
Spoiler

Video (CI)

The map has 3 boss encounters, each preceded by a maze filled with trash and totems. The trash consists of the Vaal Fallen (slow moving melee dudes), Spark-casting skeletons, Chaos projectile-shooting Vaal Constructs, and fast moving snakes that cause bleeding.

In the regular version of the map (The Apex of Sacrifice) everything is lv 70 and trivial, and the only danger (other than never doing it before and not knowing what's going on) is killing yourself by casting on Atziri's Mirror or the Dual Striker when he's on fire. You don't need to bring any special flasks for The Apex of Sacrifice, just do it with your regular mapping setup.

In the Uber version of the map (The Alluring Abyss) everything is lv 80 but has a LOT more hp and deals DOUBLE damage (that's double from lv 80, or something like 5x more damage than in the lv 70 version).

Minor power:
Gruthkul (upgraded). Unlike most other boss encounters, you don't get to facetank big physical hits here. Slowing everything that hits you is more useful.

Additional aura:
Purity of Fire

Flasks for the Alluring Abyss:

Quicksilver for trash clearing and to dodge the Dual Striker when he's on fire and Atziri's giant twin Flameblasts. A couple of Ruby flasks of Warding to deal with Atziri's regular Flameblasts and reflected Enfeeble. The Wise Oak for more damage (fire is your top resist with Purity of Fire). And the Staunching flasks must always be with you.

Vaals
Spoiler

There are two Vessels of the Vaal in the room. They are modified versions of the Act 2 (and the Maze map) boss Vaal Oversoul. Once activated, they can do 6 things:

1. Summon adds.
2. Go underground for 3 sec and possibly move to you.
3. Shoot lasers 3 times in a row. Deals moderate Lightning damage and always shocks (but you are immune to shock with Cyclopean Coil).
4. Shoot several Ball Lightnings in an arc formation. Deals small amount of Lightning damage at close range, but the damage increases significantly with distance (reverse Point Blank).
5. Vaal Smash: a massive physical hit with 50% damage converted to Fire. This is the single hardest hit in the game (to my knowlegde). Preceded by a slow animation. Only used in melee range.
6. Cast a very concentrated Icestorm on you. Oh, the irony!

Killing one Vaal makes the other one 'enrage': it grows in size and becomes twice as fast, but doesn't do any higher damage.

Strategy:
Enter the room, go straight to the right Vaal and stand near it for at least 5 sec. This will ensure that the second Vaal will activate 5 sec after the first one, and you will have that extra time to kill the first one before dealing with the second one.

When the first Vaal starts emerging from the black cloud, cast Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorms on it. When it's fully visible, pop The Wise Oak and the Sulphur flask.

The first Vaal will start summoning adds. Keep casting on it. Most of the time it will be dead within 5 sec. However, sometimes (rarely) it can go under before dying. You won't need to worry about it either way, it will die quickly after it resurfaces.

When the first Vaal is half dead, recast Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorm on the second Vaal. Pop the flasks again. It will also start by summoning adds, but since you didn't have 5 sec to pre-stack 15 Icestorms on it, it will not be dead within 5 sec. After the add summoning sequence it will go under for 3 sec.

Pop a fresh Orb and start casting Icestorm on yourself (it will also kill off the adds). When the Vaal emerges from the floor, pop the Sulphur flask, keep casting Icestorm, but look what's at the end of the appendage that points at you:
a) A sharp end: it will shoot the Laser or Ball Lightnings. Ignore it, keep casting.
b) A ball: Flame Dash ASAP! This is either the Vaal Smash 1-shot attack or the concentrated Icestorm (you won't be able to see it because of your own Icestorms but your ES/life will start going down).


Trio
Spoiler

There are 3 mini-bosses standing in the left corner of the room.

1. A'alai ('the Archer bitch') deals pure physical damage. Most of the time she uses Rain of Arrows, but sometimes casts a very dangerous 'Rain of Spikes' (which is actually Firestorm with physical damage instead of fire and a different graphic).

2. Y'ara'az ('the Dual Striker') uses Dual Strike (physical damage). Every 15 sec buffs himself for 5 sec with Fire Enrage: +50% movement and attack speed, gain 200% of physical damage as extra Fire damage, reflect 650 damage as Fire when hit.

3. Q'ura ('the Cycloner'): uses Cyclone with very high movement speed and Cleave that causes heavy bleeding (borrowed from Dominus' 2nd form). He also drops red colored patches of Desecrated ground that deal chaos damage over time.

When any of the 3 bosses die, a large black cloud spills out from their corpse that deals massive physical damage over time and remains on the floor until the end of the fight, and the remaining bosses instantly heal to 100% hp. When A'alai or Y'ara'az dies, adds start spawning from their corpse ('whip' and 'machine gun' demons). After killing 2 bosses, the last remaining boss grows in size and starts using much more dangerous versions of their abilities.

Strategy:
Enter the room, walk up to the pillar above you (it's just outside the boss trigger radius) and pre-cast Icestorms on the archer for 5 sec, cast Orb of Storms and step forward to activate the bosses.

Kill the Archer first. Watch what she is doing. If she raises her arm - that's the Rain of Spikes animation, Flame Dash ASAP! Dodge the other 2 bosses and keep casting on the archer until she is dead.

The Dual Striker must be the 2nd to die. You can tank him when he is not on fire (hit him with VS to get Fortify). But if he catches fire (Fire Enrage) - get away and dodge him, he will 1-shot you if he manages to hit you while enraged. You can cast Icestorm on him even when he's enraged, 650 damage reflect is nothing compared to your leech amount. Kill adds as they appear.

Once the Dual Striker is dead, get away from his corpse (the black cloud will spread from it shortly), pop a fresh Orb, kill adds and faceroll the Cycloner. Use the Staunching flask to avoid getting bled. Once he is dead, dash away from the desecrated ground he dropped.

Make sure not to kill the Cycloner before the other two. If you leave the Dual Striker as the last boss - you are screwed, he will wreck you (he will enrage for 10 sec at a time instead of 5, hit even harder, and you cannot cast on him while he's super-enraged: he reflects 3k fire damage per hit). If this happens, dodge the Dual Striker while he is on fire and cast on him for 5-10 sec at a time between the enrages. You can tank him when he's not enraged.

If the Archer is the last, she will cover the room with long lasting (30 sec) Rain of Spikes that will be a lot harder to dodge.


Atziri
Spoiler

Atziri will randomly use:
1. Stormcall: red circles appear in random spots and explode in a sequence a few sec later, dealing high Lightning damage.
2. Empowered Stormcall: yellow circles appear in random spots and explode in a sequence a few sec later, dealing massive Lightning damage.
3. Flameblast: regular size, centered on you or your golem, dealing high Fire damage. Always ignites (but you are immune to ignite with Cyclopean Coil).
4. Empowered Flameblast: two very large Flameblasts centered on you and Atziri, dealing gigantic Fire damage with 10% resist penetration.
5. Spear Throw: throws her spear at you 2 times quickly, dealing moderate physical damage and causing bleeding.
6. Empowered Spear Throw: throws an arc of spears, dealing moderate physical damage and causing bleeding.

Atziri reflects 2% of all damage and curses when hit with them (she will not reflect Blasphemy curses though, since Blasphemy does not hit).

At 75%, 50% and 25% Atziri fades away and 4 statues fade in. One casts the red Stormcalls, one casts Flameblast, one uses Spear Throw, and the last one holds up the Mirror that reflects 100% damage back at you. Killing any statue makes them all die, and Atziri re-appears in the center of the room.

At random times during the encounter, Atziri goes into the bubble in the center of the room for 30 sec, and slow moving adds spawn at the edges of the room and walk towards Atziri. If they reach Atziri, she absorbs them and heals herself.

Unlike most other bosses, you cannot cull Atziri until she finishes all 3 Statue phases. She doesn't have a lot of hp, you can bring her all the way to 0 easily, but she will just go into the next phase and restore herself to 25-50-75% after that.

Strategy:
Enter the room, move forward to the next floor tile (it's just outside of the boss trigger radius) and pre-cast Icestorms on Atziri for 5 sec. Cast Orb of Storms, pop a Ruby flask and Flame Dash forward. Then stop, cast Icestorm on Atziri and act depending on what she chooses to do:

1. Flameblast, she opens with that most of the time: do not move (AA only works when stationary).
2. Spear Throw: pop a Staunching flask.
3. Stormcalls: you can keep casting for 2 more sec, then dodge the red/yellow circles if there are any on you.
4. Empowered Twin Flameblasts: get out of them ASAP. Use the Quicksilver flask.

Bubble: stand in the center of the room with Atziri and cast Icestorms on yourself. When the last of the adds are about to reach you, hit Atziri with Vigilant Strike to get Fortify, cast Orb of Storms, pop the Ruby flask and keep casting Icestorms.

Statues: When Atziri fades away, STOP CASTING, go to the center of the room, target the spot where the front statue pops and wait for them to start fading in. Look above the head of the front statue. You can see very early if it's is holding the mirror above its head or not. If the mirror is there, quickly target the opposite statue. Pop Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorm. Pop 3 flasks: Ruby/Warding, Sulphur/Staunching and The Wise Oak - you need maximum damage to kill the statue quickly. Do not move. You will eat the Flameblast, but Enfeeble, AA, PoF and Ruby flask will save you. After 2-3 sec you need to move to dodge the Stormcalls, if there are any on you. They may be a bit hard to see at first with the Icestorm ground, but it's easy to get used to looking for the red circles there.

The targeted statue should be dead within 5 sec. If you make a mistake and cast on the Mirror, it will kill you instantly, but don't respawn just yet. Stay dead for a few sec and let your Icestorms kill the statue, then respawn before Atziri comes back.

The Flameblast from the statue in Alluring Abyss can hit you randomly for 5-7k damage (through AA, Enfeeble, PoF and Ruby). If you have less than 7k ES/life, you can either take the risk (it rarely hits for full 7k) or get used to the timing and dodge that Flameblast with Flame Dash or Quicksilver flask.



Hall of Grandmasters
Spoiler

Video

Hall of Grandmasters is a PvP map. It's nothing like any monster/boss encounters in PoE. There are 4 wings. Each wing contains 10 waves of 5 Grandmasters (AI-controlled copies of player characters). Each of the first 9 waves starts inactive behind a force field that's removed when you get near it. The 10th wave is immediately active and located on an elevated platform for tactical advantage.

This build is not designed for PvP, but it can clear this map. However, you will need to use different flasks, patheon powers, swap some gems, and bring a special swap weapon.

There are two types of Grandmasters particularly dangerous to this build:
1. Max block with massive CWDT retaliation.
2. Crit archers/wanders.

Major power: Solaris (fully upgraded).
This neutralizes the crit-based enemies and most of the super nasty stuff they do.

Minor power: Gruthkul (upgraded).
Slowing the enemies as much as possible is the best defense against them.

Flasks:

You need flasks against bleeding, curses, freezing and burning (you are immune to ignite, but Burning Arrow can still afflict you with burning damage over time). The 5th flask is up to you. I bring another anti-curse one because you get cursed a LOT here.

Auras:
Discipline and Purity of Lightning. Arctic Armour is useless here because you rarely stand in one place, and almost all damage is elemental. The most dangerous damage dealers use lightning, hence the choice of the aura.

Gems/Links:

All sockets are the same as in the regular setup, but some gems need to be swapped.

CWDT lv 1 - Frost Wall lv 10 - Temporal Chains lv 5
This is a standard PvP defensive link. TC is your curse for this map. Slowing these enemies is much more important than enfeebling them. Frost Wall is a life saver against archers/wanders. DO NOT USE Ball Lightning here! You must be able to eliminate all hits if you want to kill the max block enemies.

Orb of Storms - Inc AoE - CoH - Temporal Chains
Stronger curse for anything that decides to chase you, and some more DPS when the Orb crits and triggers Elemental Overload.

Flame Dash - Faster Casting
You want to dash as fast as you possibly can here.

CWDT lv 10 - Immortal Call lv 12 - Inc Duration
Defense against physical hits. Same as in the regular setup, except no Chaos Golem.

Stone Golem - Faster Attacks - Blind
Stone golem is the tankiest one. It's used as a decoy to attract enemy fire. The support gems are completely optional here, there is just nothing better to do with red and green gems, and these sockets are too expensive to re-color.

Glove enchantment "of Reflection" is extremely good for this map. It creates a clone when you get hit. That clone taunts the enemies and is not easy to kill.

Weapons:

In the primary weapon, replace CE with Spell Cascade. This loses a lot of DPS but lets you cover the whole wave of enemies with each Icestorm and kill dangerous archers/wanders off-screen. It's a very worthy trade-off.

The swap weapon can be any 5L (or even 4L) staff, although WI is a very good choice because of its +1 level bonus to support gems.
Scorching Ray - Burning Damage - Elemental Focus - Controlled Destruction - Swift Affliction or Efficacy. All lv 20.
This is for max block enemies. There are many of them there. Icestorm is inefficient against them. But pure SR does not hit and cannot be blocked or dodged.

Strategy:

Stand just far enough from the inactive enemies behind the force field. Recast the golem if it's not at full health. If there are minions with Proximity Shield up, wait for it to expire. Pop Orb of Storms in front of you. Pre-cast Icestorm in front of you for 5 sec. Step forward into your Orb and immediately Flame Dash backwards behind your starting spot. This will trigger the wave of enemies. Some of them will attack your golem. Some will rush to the spot where you were 1 sec ago (i.e. your Orb) and get slowed by it. Cast Icestorm on them.

If anything Lightning Warps, Whirling Blades, Cyclones or just runs to you: dash further back, swap to your SR staff and fry them. It's the 'max blockers'. You can tell them by the use of Tempest Shield, Molten Shell and the lack of regular attacks as they try to get near you. Most of them just want to get hit by you and destroy you with CWDT. Make sure NOT to cast Icestorm on them, get away from any active Icestorms. You will need to swap between your two staves a lot, get used to it.

Once the max blockers are dealt with, swap back to the primary staff and advance carefully, kill the ranged enemies from max distance (or completely off-screen). You can use your golem to scout ahead, it will move to where you cast Icestorm.

When you get to the end of the wing: stand in front of the stairs, pop Orb of Storms and start casting Icestorm on the top of the stairs. When you see an incoming Lightning Warp, dash backwards, swap to the SR staff and fry the arriving enemy. After fishing out all max blockers that way, use the small step approach to off-screen the archers/wanders.

When things look dangerous, never hesitate to retreat and re-approach. Retreating often lures the enemy into following you through your Icestorms.

There are some particularly dangerous enemies that need to be approached with extra care. You will learn to recognize them after a few runs. Each Grandmaster has about 50% chance to spawn, so you get random combinations of them on every run.

Notable Enemies
Spoiler

|||DanziGG|||
Spoiler

Crit Lightning Arrow Inquisitor with mirror gear. He spawns exclusively in the 9th wave of the first wing on the right. He should die to the pre-cast Icestorms. But if he manages to survive, you will need to advance very carefully and kill him off-screen. Stay away from the Frost Walls that he pops on you, LA hits harder near walls. Solaris neutralizes most of DanziGG's crits, but he can still do insane amounts of damage.

'The Gubbens'
Spoiler

mull_gubben, scoli_gubben and all the copycats (Zami, uhhhhWTF, etc) using mull_gubben's setup with Reckless Defense, max block, CI, Tempest Shield, leech immunity and CWDT attacks. They only differ in how much defense they sacrifice for offense. The 'pure gubben' ones have no offense whatsoever but are virtually unkillable with hit damage. All they do is chase you and hope that you hit them, then they destroy you with Tempest Shield and CWDT. Others have some offense going on while still managing very high block chance.

If it Lightning Warps, Whirling Blades, Cyclones or simply runs to you without attacking and it has ES, Tempest Shield and/or Molten Shell - it's a 'gubben'. Fall back, stop casting Icestorm, get away from any residual Icestorms, swap to the pure SR weapon and fry them.




Breach Domains
Spoiler

Video

Use Spell Cascade instead of Concentrated Effect for clearing.

Xoph
Total pushover. Just kill with the regular mapping setup.

Esh
Use Purity of Lightning. He teleports around, chase him. He uses Shock Nova that deals more damage on the outside than on the inside, stay near Esh. He spawns lightning balls that move away from him and back to him. Don't stand near those.

Tul
Use Purity of Ice. He does a cold version of Incinerate, don't stand in it.

Uul-Netol and Chayula
Swap Enfeeble for Flammability. Use Quicksilver flasks for speed and Sulphur for damage (my recommended mapping flasks work well here; see Flasks). Don't stop for longer than it takes to cast Icestorm on each pack. Leave all loot to pick up after you are done. Don't chase any stragglers or rares. Keep moving forward.

Do Uul-Netol first, probably more than once, before you try Chayula. Once you are able to keep Uul-Netol's timer above 30 sec, then you are ready for Chayula.

The bosses are pushovers and die easily. It's all about clearing the trash fast enough.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Feb 20, 2018, 6:38:13 PM
Q&A and Troubleshooting
(coming soon)
Already tried your Elementalist build in the past and it was really fun, curious how a life-based version will do.
Awesome work yet again! Probably will make this in 3.0 since I love berserker the most :) I'm playing ssf and can't get the top-tier INT gear though, so I'm wondering what tooltip dps (~approx) on Icestorm I should aim before trying Shaper? I have every unique needed, including jewels, except Perandus Signet.
Last edited by Steamr0ller on Aug 4, 2017, 3:10:42 AM
"
Steamr0ller wrote:
Awesome work yet again! Probably will make this in 3.0 since I love berserker the most :) I'm playing ssf and can't get the top-tier INT gear though, so I'm wondering what tooltip dps (~approx) on Icestorm I should aim before trying Shaper? I have every unique needed, including jewels, except Perandus Signet.


I second this question. Even after such a long league I was still unable to find Astramentis/Brute Force jewels in SSF. The only time I saw an astramentis was when the Pewrandus guy offered and I was a wee bit short of the required number of coins.

To fully enjoy this build SSF just wont do. I only had 7K ES and still managed to do all maps till tier 15 at which point I I was getting one shotted/dying fairly regularly.

Planning to play non-SSF for this league just to play this build at its full potential.
Thumbs up for trying to make this work in 3.0! I really enjoyed the ES version in 2WTurmoil.

Just a quick questoin regarding the Bandits choice. As I struggled with resists a lot I wonder if the +resall and mana regen from ALira isnt worth it?
Im planning to do whispering ice build but not convert to fire,instead remain ice and use new unique gloves which let cold dmg poison enemies.What do you think? still planning to go as berserker.any recommendatios?
"
Steamr0ller wrote:
Awesome work yet again! Probably will make this in 3.0 since I love berserker the most :) I'm playing ssf and can't get the top-tier INT gear though, so I'm wondering what tooltip dps (~approx) on Icestorm I should aim before trying Shaper? I have every unique needed, including jewels, except Perandus Signet.

Tooltip on Beta with 20/20 gems was something like 8.3k. I had something like 1430 Int. I'll add the Boss Guide when I get there. The Shaper is not very different with Life, it's still a facetank strategy, but there are different flasks and a couple of different things to watch for as Life. I'll do him in Standard before the league and post it at some point.

Big kudos to those playing in SSF. This build is not an easy one for that. WI cards are common enough, I found 4 in the Beta without even looking for them, already had the staff by then. But Astramentis is not going to be easy to find in SSF. Many cards were relocated in 3.0 though, maybe that one will be easier to find now, no idea.

"
Completed 10 Challengespoe2nd wrote:
Just a quick questoin regarding the Bandits choice. As I struggled with resists a lot I wonder if the +resall and mana regen from ALira isnt worth it?

15% all res didn't look worth 2 points to me. We don't need mana regen, lv 1 SR is the way to go because MoM gets drained by damage over time now, high level SR is bad in some situations. I balanced my resists with rings and belt even when using Kaom's Heart.

"
Completed 6 Challengesnekropolis wrote:
Im planning to do whispering ice build but not convert to fire,instead remain ice and use new unique gloves which let cold dmg poison enemies.What do you think? still planning to go as berserker.any recommendatios?

I haven't looked at the new Pale Court uniques yet. It's possible that they may make staying with cold damage worth it, or not. On Beta fire gave me significantly higher DPS than cold with the same number of points invested. And SR's 24% effective penetration is really nice. I'll check out the new items too, of course.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Aug 4, 2017, 9:52:49 AM

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