[3.0] Self Cast Glacial Cascade


Much was made during Beta for 3.0 about the changes to Glacial Cascade and there were some insane mine damage builds using this skill. I've seen only a couple of builds for self cast Glacial Cascade so perhaps this build will interest you.

Who is this build for?

Are you a DPS tool tip warrior? Then this is not the build for you! At least, in its current version that is. I can't see it doing the Guardians, Shaper or Uber Atziri any time soon.

It will do mid-tier maps very comfortably and clear speed is very good. I'm finding the new density for breaches is a bit of a pain as you get swarmed at the start from all sides but once that is under control, you're all good!

Damage against bosses is tracking OK. It's not Blade Vortex and won't vaporise Izaro in a couple of seconds but it is pretty decent. Just took on the boss in the Temple map which had enfeeble on my character and cascaded him down within two zones. A new weapon combined with Hatred has helped.

Currently with EO and Storm Surge active plus all charges up my tool tip for Glacial Cascade is sitting somewhere around 105,000 dps. This may not seem like a huge number but you also need to factor in the massive amount of cold penetration this build has:

37% from Cold Penetration
20% from Frost Bomb
6% from Elementalist Ascendancy
44% from Frostbite curse
Total = 107% Cold penetration.

This build is really for people that like the visual aspect of Glacial Cascade and the visceral pleasure of watching frozen enemies explode on your screen!


First of all, credit to Pohx who's 3.0 Beta video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev-VLVgE7RI gave me some great inspiration for this build.


5/6 link (body armour)
Glacial Cascade : Controlled Destruction : Cold Penetration : Ice Bite : Spell Echo :
Options for 6th link: Arcane Surge, Elemental Focus, Concentrated Effect, Empower
Yes, you really need a 5 link fairly early on. Just buy a white 5 link Evasion/Energy Shield body armour and roll an Alch at it.

For min/maxing you want to get your Glacial Cascade to 20/20 and corrupt it to level 21. The additional damage is quite noticeable.

UPDATE - I finally upgraded my gear to include a 6 link and got a chance to test some of the 6th link gem options. While Elemental Focus is more raw power I didn't like how it removes the possibility to inflict ailments. The visceral 'crunching' noise when you freeze things is one of most enjoyable parts of the build. I found that I much prefer Arcane Surge for map clearing and swapping out Concentrated Effect for boss fights.

Arcane Surge doesn't have as much of a more % increase but it feels a lot better while mapping. The more % damage plus the increased cast speed certainly feel good with the build. Additionally, the extra mana regen really works well with our MoM keystone which can leave us short of mana after a big hit. This part of Arcane Surge helps our recovery enormously.

Lastly, you don't lose your freeze chance. Faced off against Haast and I can't tell you how satisfying it is to freeze that punk!

4 links (helmet, boots, gloves)
Blasphemy, Warlords Mark, Frost Bomb, Vaal Summon Skeletons Only the first two gems need to be linked, the others can be solitary or linked, it doesn't matter.
Shield Charge, Culling Strike, Spell Totem, Blight. Again, these do not need to be in a 4 link. A pair of two links would be just as good as you need Shield Charge and Culling Strike to work together and Spell Totem and Blight to work together.
Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 8), Immortal Call (lvl 10), Vortex (lvl 11), Blind

3 links (left hand, right hand)
Ice Golem, Stone Golem, spare
Herald of Ash, Vaal Haste, Frostbite

EDIT - Alternate skill for 3 link can also be Hatred, Vaal Haste, Frostbite. You will reserve a lot more of your Mana doing this which reduces your defences due to MoM. Plus, you run the risk of a big damage burst leaving you without any mana and unable to cast a spell for a moment. In a pinch this could get you killed.

I'm currently running this version though because the damage boost is significant, which means greater leech plus things die quicker and that means better survivability. Try both and see which works best for your play style

Before we get into the gear, let me explain what's going on with the links. With the main skill we use Ice Bite to generate Frenzy charges. This gives us additional flat cold damage and extra for each Frenzy charge, but these are also More multipliers for our damage, so well worth the investment.

Warlords Mark provides life leech but also Endurance Charges which help with overcapping resistance, incoming Phys damage reduction and increasing duration for Immortal Call.

For general mapping you should be able to just Shield Charge to where you want to be then spam your GC till everything is frozen and dead.

For powerful rares or bosses you combine a number of skills. Drop your Frost bomb which applies -20 to Cold resistance, slows enemy health regen and eventually explodes for extra cold damage. Then you cast your spell totem which is primarily just to reduce an enemies movement speed, keeping them in the killing zone and away from you for as long as possible. Now cast Frostbite for even greater reduction in Cold resistance for the enemy. Now just cast away with GC to chill, freeze and explode everything in front of you.

When the boss has less than 10% life left you can also Shield Charge in and instantly cull them to save some additional time. Be careful doing this though as it's an attack, not a spell and our accuracy will be low so you can actually miss the boss and you're now closer than you'd really like to be!

Lastly, here's what you need to know about Glacial Cascade. It is a Physical spell that then converts 60% of its damage to cold. This is noteworthy due to how conversions occur and other items interact. Basically it remains a physical spell so any increases to physical damage will benefit the base damage, which then helps our cold damage.

Because we're relying a lot on cold penetration (around -100% cold resistance in total) it would be best if we end up with total cold conversion and we can achieve these through either gear or the tree.


Build enabling Uniques
We actually have a lot of flexibility here but there are some good options to start with. There's really only three items that are the core of the build and none of them are super expensive:

Carcass Jack is just too good to pass up for this build. Everything here works for us including Evasion, Life, Resists and most importantly the area damage and range. With this your GC will basically be hitting the edge of the screen which is perfect.

The Princess Sabre gives us a whopping 30% of Physical damage as added Cold damage. This is huge! You could probably beat the damage with a very good wand or scepter but I haven't dropped one yet. Doryani's Catalyst could also be very good but I don't have one to test yet.

EDIT - I have finally replaced The Princess Sabre with a well rolled Rare Sceptre. This upped my DPS by around 15% so it was a worthwhile upgrade. If you're going to go this path you probably want to look for a Void Sceptre due to the increased elemental damage, plus you want spell damage (or cold spell damage), + # to # added Cold Damage to spells, plus increased cast speed. Increased Crit doesn't actually add to your damage directly so you don't need that, but it will help to trigger Elemental Overload so it's a nice bonus. Also, if you have a spare slot to add the crafted cold damage leech that's just the icing on the cake!

KaltenSoul is also a bargain and perfect for this build. Just like The Princess, this shield provides an additional 15% Cold Damage, plus boosts our cold resist to 80% along with redirecting 20% of fire damage to our boosted cold resists.

You could then fill out all your other slots with rares if you so choose which will allow you to easily cap your resists and get a good amount of life. This is an Evasion build so you want to mostly go for Evasion items but hybrids or the odd off item will be fine too.

Other options but beneficial uniques


Hrimburn Gloves are brilliant for the build. They convert the remaining physical to cold so we're at 100% cold damage which then saves us three skill points. You could use something else if you really wanted, but these are close to best in slot.

Either of these are great for the build but I'm happily using the Belt of the Deceiver for the extra survivability from the Crit reduction.
The Magnate runs a very close second thanks to the Flask Charges and if I get some decent flasks I might move back to it. Either one will serve you well, and once again, they are bargain items.

Doedre's Scorn is a nice little bonus to damage for the build. You get an initial 20% increased elemental damage, and because we use two curses you get a further 40% increased damage. Plus, if you're using Hrimburn any cold ignites will also benefit. The +2 Curse is also a nice assist.

I was using Mindspiral for a long time and the damage taken gained as mana can be helpful in a pinch, but I find mana regen is very good so you can probably manage without.

If you still want the damage taken gained as mana you could also use these boots as well. You get a much higher gain with these boots as well as some move speed, but there's not much else they have to offer.

Other gear

For your amulet you want Spell Damage, Cast Speed and then any combination of other items you need such as life, evasion, resists, etc. For the truly rich, get a +1 to Curses amulet and you can respec 5 skill points.

Rings I would recommend Diamond to give us a little extra chance to crit. This is not a Crit build but you want to crit about once every 8 seconds and this should do the trick. Then just the usual life and resists.

Another option if you can afford it are Opal rings which give you up to 25% increased elemental damage as their implicit. Definitely a good damage gain for the build.

Any other remaining slots, you know the drill by now: Life, resists, move speed.


Whatever you can afford. You'll want at least one life flask, a flask with anti-bleed and another with anti-freeze but otherwise, whatever takes your fancy. For boss killing try the Atziri's Promise.


This is where you need to spend most of your currency believe it or not. You will get so much of your damage from these so they are worth investing in. What you're looking for are:

Increased Damage
Physical Damage
Area / Cold / Spell Damage
Cast Speed
Crit Chance

My Current Gear (not fully optimised yet)



Kill them all for the two points would be my advice. Two points will get you another Jewel slot which nets a lot more than any of the bandits.

You could actually choose a couple for this build:

1% of Life Regenerated per second
2% additional Physical Damage Reduction
20% increased Physical Damage

6% increased Attack and Cast Speed
3% chance to Dodge Attacks
6% increased Movement Speed

Just don't chose Alira as we do not benefit from Crit multi so that reward would be a complete waste.

Skill Tree

40 Points

60 Points

80 Points

100 Points

In this batch of points you'll need to complete the three main labs to get your Ascendancy. Go the Path of the Ranger picking up Raider along the way. This allows us to leap across and pick up the evasion and life nodes.

114 Points (level 88)

From here on you're just picking away at whatever takes your fancy. More life, more evasion, another jewel slot. The only major shift would be if you get a +1 Curses amulet and then you were spec out of Whispers of Doom and go all the way out to Phase Acrobatics.

Complete Uber lab, travel to the Witch path and pick up Elementalist.

1 Normal - Dexterity plus Passive Point
2 Cruel - Raider plus Passive Point
3 Merciless - Path of the Ranger plus Intelligence
4 Uber - Passive Point plus Elementalist

So, what about reflect I hear you ask? Well we have a couple of things working for us here:

- First of all, this is not a 1 billion DPS super Crit build, so we're not going to throw a huge amount of damage back to ourselves.
- Our Cold Resistance will be at 81% thanks to Kaltensoul and the extra point gained from the skill tree.
- On top of this our Pantheon Minor God (Soul of Yugul) provides a 25% reduction to reflected damage, plus if you capture Asphyxia (which is pretty easy) once you get the first amount of reflected damage then you gain a further 5% reduction. This is where I currently am and I haven't died to reflect yet. I've run a Vaal side area with elemental reflect and with some caution was able to complete it.
- Once you get your Uber Lab reward and take Elementalist you'll gain an additional 50% reduction of reflected damage for a total of 75% plus the Minor God will get you to 80%.
- And lastly, we will also have some life leech with Warlord's Mark and possibly a little extra if you can craft it on a sceptre, use Doryani's Catalyst or craft it as a corruption.

I'll try and update this in the next couple of days and tidy it up a bit plus add some extra comments where needed.

There's a couple of options I haven't explored yet including Vaal Pact which could help with survivability.

Sorry, no video cause my potato can't handle it.
Last edited by Aldora_the_Summoner on Sep 2, 2017, 10:04:16 AM
Last bumped on Aug 21, 2017, 8:44:06 AM
Reserved for future updates

26 Aug 17
Made some updates relating to alternate weapon, use of Hatred instead of Herald of Ash, plus added details about reflect.

Lastly, have revised comments relating to single target boss damage in the preamble.

27 Aug 17
Added some comments in the gem section regarding the 6th link and added Arcane Surge to the gem list.

Also adjusted my earlier comments about boss fights and map clear speed as both of these have improved.

2 Sep 17
Hit level 90 and gained last points for ascendancy. Updated gear slightly.

I experimented briefly with substituting Temporal Chains for Warlords Mark and there's definite benefits here with both slowing enemies allowing you to either manually dodge or lay down additional damage on them as well as prolonging any freezes you cause, however I found myself running out of mana a couple of times. It turns out that Warlords Mark is really very effective for this build.

You could perhaps manually cast Temp Chains instead of Frostbite but I still think Frostbite is the better choice.

Next test for improvement will be once my gems are all 20/20 and then purchasing a +1 Curse amulet and respecing the 5 points to Vaal Pact. With the amount of uniques we use our life is not as high as we'd like so I can't see us face-tanking in end game but the instant leech should be really good.

Currently I'm sitting around 4,600 life, 400 unreserved Mana (for MoM) plus about 800 ES. On top of that we have 3 Endurance charges up almost constantly till our Immortal Call triggers, plus overcapped cold resist with diversion of 20% fire damage to cold. With the play style it's turning out to be a pretty solid and fun build.

It would be perfect to get a reduced Hatred mana reservation enchant on our helm but that's like winning the lottery. Additionally, there is scope for the rich player to gain more life on Jewels (four of mine don't have life on them) plus better flat life and mana roles on rings, amulet and boots.

Any extra levels from this point onwards would be either to add more life, or possibly branching out to Charisma to reduce our mana reservation and slightly improve our Hatred aura.
Last edited by Aldora_the_Summoner on Sep 2, 2017, 10:20:37 AM

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