[3.2] Paws's Glacial Cascade Miner - HC viable for all content

Hello everyone!

I started Bestiary HC as a miner and was so surprised at how fun and refreshing it was that I decided to share it with you.


I am impressed at how good this build is on a budget and how much it can be scaled by gear.
Glacial Cascade Mines works great, from a league starter to an end game build.
Glacial Cascade is a physical damage spell that also converts 60% of physical damage to cold. The damage can be fully converted to elemental and still be scaled by things like Hatred.

I started as a Saboteur as it provides a lot of quality of life for the build and with the 3.2 changes to the ascendancy, vastly increased the survivability.



+ High Damage
+ Good defence
+ Can do all map mods (no regen and 90% chance to avoid ailments are both annoying)
+ Can do all content in the game
+ Decent speed
+ Can choose when to deal damage or not deal damage (bestiary... you know)
+ Shatters <3


- Requires two buttons to play (place down mines then detonate)
- Shatters (can be laggy or annoying for beasts)
- Part of the defence requires recent use of skills (the regen)


I started Bestiary HC with this build day 1, with no knowledge of mines, how to play them, no uniques, no gear etc. The character is still alive, a lot of fun and with so many crafting possibilities to improve it further.

This section covers levelling for a new league / on a budget and it levels with mines from the start.
If you wish to level otherwise, you can (example would be Poet Pen VD, right-click to 70). For levelling gear, except the standard options, there is also Bitterdream as a weapon(surprisingly).

From level 1 until level 12, you can level with Freezing Pulse and Fire trap.

Pick up Remote Mine and Minefield to level up for when you can use them.

At level 12, you have two options:

Level with mines: Fire nova mine - Minefield - Faster casting or Controlled Destruction
Level with traps: Lightning Trap - Multiple Traps - Added Lightning and use Fire Trap + Flame Surge for bosses

Once you reach level 28, you can start playing the actual build: Glacial Cascade Mines. Here are the links:

Glacial Cascade - Remote mine - Mine Field

Glacial Cascade - Remote mine - Mine Field - Increased Critical Strikes / Increased Area of Effect

Glacial Cascade - Remote mine - Mine Field - Increased Area of Effect - Increased Critical Strikes

Glacial Cascade - Remote mine - Mine Field - Increased Area of Effect - Increased Critical Strikes - Trap & Mine Damage

Use Concentrated Effect instead of Increased Area of Effect for bosses (from level 38).

Use Physical To Lightning instead of Trap and Mine Damage if you do not have full elemental conversion from other sources (helm enchant, glacial jewels etc).

Once you can, get a Detonate Mines gem and link it to a Spell Totem.

Use the totem on stationary targets (Abyss cracks, bosses etc). I recommend manually detonating while clearing.

While weird at first, it feels much faster and smoother than placing the totem down for every pack.

Likewise, get a Detonate Mines gem and add it to your Cast When Damage Taken setup. It helps detonate any mines in case you get stunned or swarmed by monsters.

Levelling Trees:

You can modify the trees as you like, depending on how you feel about your health pool or damage.The trees are templates, not mandatory.

With that in mind, there is one node that I feel is mandatory and that is Volatile Mines (instant detonation). The quality of life it provides is great. Other nodes that I recommend are Mind over Matter (defence) and Clever Construction.

20 points
37 points
53 points

You can get more damage or defence as you see fit. Use the next trees for options based on your own needs.

71 points
91 points

Final tree

My current tree: http://poeurl.com/bRiT

You can drop some damage nodes and take Acro/Phase Acro for more defences during mapping.

Final tree: http://poeurl.com/bRvq

Smoother Gameplay Tips

Ok so, if you're new to mines, you'll want this as soon as you swap to mines.
I levelled without it for quite a while and this little change made the gameplay so much better.

Here is the numlock trick video:

The other advice I can provide is to use Smoke Mine for movement speed (worth it after you get used to placing one every ~10ish seconds).
Also get used to manually detonating mines for clearing maps.


You can kill all for points or use Alira if you plan on many uniques (like quantity farming setup on a budget).

The following section explains in-depth the defence and offense of the build.


1. Damage

Before you're all "???" as to this being the number one defence, keep in mind that if nothing can reach you, you're safe. Damage plays an important role. Bosses that have "big scary attacks" that usually require moving tend to just melt and die.

Still, better to be aware of mechanics as 'phased' bosses sometimes still queue their attacks up.
The way mines work, you can place all 11 and detonate them, which should kill most map bosses before they actually attack.

2. Mind over Matter

This build enjoys a big mana pool to mitigate some of the damage taken and redirect it into your mana pool.

Initially, you have 30% from the node on the tree. This can be changed by several methods:

1. Rare shaper chests can be rolled to provide up to 10% damage taken into mana
2. Cloak of Defiance as a unique also provides 10% and a big mana roll on top
3. Watchers Eye provides up to 10% of Damage taken from Mana before Life while affected by Clarity

Keep in mind, your mana pool must be increased to keep up with the amount of damage you take into mana, for it to be fully effective.Likewise, your mana regen should also always keep your mana at high values.

3. Cold damage aka freezing and shattering

Remember those annoying act 3 monsters that die and explode in spikes? Yes, the porcupines.Or detonate totems, beyond, detonate boxes etc? Well, this build tends to make life easier as most monsters will be shattered and not be an issue anymore.

4. Life regeneration

With the changes to the ascendancy, Saboteur now has up to 20% life regen as long as mines have been detonated recently (1% per mine).

This is an amazing change for mapping especially and dealing with any type of degens. The only downside is having to place down mines to activate it.

5. Flasks

Often overlooked when it comes to defence, flasks provide a lot for any build.

In this situation, you have the following flasks:

Divine Flask - If you want an instant health flask, this is your choice.

A. Unique flasks

Keep in mind that you cannot use all the unique flasks listed here, but depending on your budget and needs, these are the ones you should look at:

Lavianga's Spirit - Vaal clarity in a bottle. This flask is amazing for mapping, breaches etc. The only downside is number of unique flasks you can fit in.
Atziri's Promise - Damage in a bottle that scales from both sources, physical and elemental. Also great for fights that require chaos resist (chayula, fenumus etc)
Wise Oak - Tricky to balance resists, but nice for both defence and offense if you can handle resists.
Taste of Hate - Great defensive flask that also adds damage.

B. Utility flasks

Quicksilver Flask - Mandatory for mapping, your clear speed is mostly limited by your movement speed. Can be replaced with a unique flask for special bosses.
Diamond Flask - Crit build, crit flask, use it, love it, increase your dps.

While those two are always wanted, the following can be used based on what fight you're up against or what you feel you're lacking.

Sulphur Flask - Small damage increased, can be used multiple times, regen ground
Granite/Basalt Flask - Some extra physical damage reduction, useful for certain bosses (Hydra, Minotaur, Purifier etc)

Let's talk suffixes! Now that you've chosen your flasks, you'll have to roll them.

For mapping, you need the following:

The suffix 'of Adrenaline' - Can't go wrong with moving faster
The suffix 'of Staunching'- Bleed removal, useful for lab traps, leaping creatures that decide to bleed you etc
The suffix 'of Warding' - Curse removal is always useful, you can keep it up 100% while mapping and lets you not be elemental weakness capped etc by removing map curses

6. Blind

We get blind on nearby enemies because of the ascendancy nodes. On top of that, the node also provides 10% less damage taken if a target is blinded.

Blind is a debuff that lessens the chance to hit of the mob by 50%. That means that you have a higher chance to evade an incoming attack. Combined with dodge, it offers another layer of defense.

7. Acrobatics & Phase Acrobatics

I haven't felt the need for the extra defence, but I did consider it.For mapping, you can drop some damage nodes and take up Acro & Phase Acro. Together with Vaal Grace and all other defences, this should keep you absolutely safe while mapping even on harder maps or more reckless playstyles.


Minor Gods

Soul of Shakari - Very useful for certain situations. Upgraded, it's great to have for mapping, for Fenumus (spider spirit beast), Constrictor (elder guardian) etc because of poison immunity.

Soul of Tukohama - Can be used for encounters where you'll be stationary or expect higher physical damage (example: Purifier elder guardian)

Soul of Ryslatha - Labyrinth in case you need flask charges for traps

Soul of Ralakesh - Can be used for lab traps and atziri (spear)

Major Gods

Soul of Arakaali - Useful for Fenumus, Uber Elder, any degen fights, certain maps (beyond mod) etc

Soul of Solaris - Damage reduction for physical and elemental, no extra damage from critical hits if recently crit

Soul of Lunaris - Some physical damage reduction and movement speed, the go to for most maps


Because Glacial Cascade already has an innate 60% conversion to cold damage, we can achieve 100% elemental conversion.

With all damage being converted to elemental, damage penetration becomes more useful and there are several sources to obtain it:

Boots enchant (10% pen)
Ascendancy (10% pen)
Skill Tree (10% pen)
Flasks (up to 15% pen)

Likewise, Glacial Cascade is a physical damage spell and can be scaled by anything that grants extra elemental damage from physical damage. This includes the following:

Hatred (%phys damage as extra cold damage)
Taste of Hate (%phys damage as extra cold damage)
Atziri's Promise (%of phys and elemental damage as extra chaos damage)
Shaper weapon mods (%phys damage as extra cold, lightning, chaos or random element damage)
Elder amulet mods (%of non-chaos damage as extra chaos damage, %phys damage as extra fire damage)
Shaper amulet mods (%phys damage as extra cold/lightning damage)

While Glacial Cascade only has 5% base crit chance, going for spell crit is still the best option when it comes to damage.

Mines have a node that provides power charges when the mine is detonated targeting an enemy (Blast Cascade), which means the charges can be maintained on bosses also.

Likewise, the pathing allows for global crit and spell crit to be taken on the tree without having to travel for it.

You can have up to 11 mines placed down prior to a boss fight starting, which results in a high amount of burst damage.


Here is a short description for the Ascendancy nodes:

Bombs Specialist - 2 additional mines placed at the same time, mine laying speed, damage.
Demolitions Specialist - AoE per mine (up to 88%), mine arming speed, great quality of life
Pyromaniac - Shock and Ignite immunity, up to 20% regen, this node is a great defensive choice
Born in the Shadows - Enemies are blinded, 10% reduced damage taken, a good defensive node if you plan to be close to the targets

The order in which you take them is up to you. I went for quality of life over defensive nodes personally:
Demolitions Specialist -> Pyromaniac -> Born in the Shadows (uber lab)

If you want, you can go for Explosives Expert (damage and damage and, well, damage) over Born in the Shadows.
Likewise, if you're using Kaom Roots as boots, you cannot use the blind node.


Here are the links used by the build:

Spell Totem - Detonate Mines (quality matters for both here)
Smoke Mine - Vaal Grace - Vaal Clarity (if no flask, no watcher jewel) - Increased Duration
Hatred (in Essence Worm)
Flame Dash - Faster Casting
Cast When Damage Taken ( level 5 max) - Immortal Call (level 7 or lower) - Detonate Mines
Frost Bomb

The main links are changed based on your gear.

If you lack full elemental conversion (from helm enchant, threshold jewels for GC, watcher eye hatred conversion etc), then you need Physical To Lightning instead of Trap and Mine Damage as a link to make full use of the elemental penetration picked up on tree, ascendancy and potentially flask.

Likewise, if you have a clarity watcher's eye, then you need a level 1 Clarity linked with Blood Magic (level 20) if you're using the Clear Mind jewel. Otherwise, just the Clarity gem.

Glacial Cascade - Remote Mine - Minefield - Increased Critical Strikes - Increased Area of Effect / Concentrated Effect - Trap and Mine Damage

I personally just run with Smoke Mine, but if you prefer to shield charge / have a good IAS (increased attack speed) roll on your weapon, then use the following links and drop Smoke Mine:

Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify


Budget/Starter Version

I started the league with this build and kept it to self-found gear until around 94 when I decided to invest into it. Here is a detailed breakdown of what to look for in each slot, as well as a basic search for such items (customize it to your own needs):

1. Helmet

A rare helmet with life, mana and resists is all you need as a starter. The build only requires high life/mana rolls for it to gain tankiness.

Preferably pick a base that uses the colors you need for your links (armor/es usually work best).

Search example:

http://poe.trade/search/nosihihazimana (no evasion bases shown, medium range values)
http://poe.trade/search/eomahazuoyoriu (no evasion bases shown, high life values)

For league start, I recommend keeping a search up for ilvl 68 shaper helms and using alterations to get "Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Remote Mine / Place an additional Mine" rolled (suffix).
Usually they are fairly cheap. That shaper mod alone is a huge damage increase:

http://poe.trade/search/humatakehanigo (ilvl 68 shaped base)
http://poe.trade/search/anakanasoohari (ilvl 82 shaped base)

2. Gloves

Rare gloves with life, mana and resists is what you'll always want in this slot. If you can get some chaos resistance, gloves don't tend to be replaced often.

Search examples:

http://poe.trade/search/ayotawonowarih (medium life, mana, resists and chaos res)

Always try to get high life and mana rolls on gloves and keep searching for upgrades. At least in HC, I found it difficult to find good pairs.

You can also use Hrimsorrow for early conversion if you wish, as they are usually cheap.

3. Boots

Rare boots with life, mana, movement speed and resists is what you want.
The movement speed matters a lot as the faster we move, the faster we clear/dodge.
Try to always get 25% or more movement speed even on a budget.

Here is a search example for boots:

http://poe.trade/search/nookasimoyahos (average life, mana, 25% movement and some resists)
http://poe.trade/search/manonatabaukod (higher life, mana, 30% movement and some resists)

4. Rings

One ring slot is reserved for Essence Worm which allows us to run Hatred without reserving mana.

While this might be a bit expensive at league start, it tends to become cheaper after first week and should be the first upgrade to farm for.

http://poe.trade/search/inusaraituimam (Essence Worm)

For our other ring slot, I can safely assume you've figured out what we want. Yes, it's life, mana and resists. Configure the search for your own requirements.

Here is an example search:


5. Amulet

Rare amulets are a great source of damage and defence. If possible, try to look for life, mana and critical strike multiplier.
Amulets are also great to fix attributes requirements, like strength or dexterity.

Here is a basic search for amulets, without including resistances:


If you're looking for a unique amulet, you can use Yoke of Suffering. It provides a good amount of resistances and damage, at the cost of life and mana:
Wiki for Yoke of Suffering

6. Belt

You want life and resistances for a belt.
If you have a spare suffix, you can mastercraft either mine damage (tora 4) or flask duration (tora 5) as well.
If you have a spare prefix, you can mastercraft movement speed (tora 6).

Here is a basic search for the belt slot:


You can also opt to go with Darkness Enthroned if you have some decent abyss jewels and don't need resistances:


7. Body Armor

I used a Tabula Rasa up to 94 because I didn't want to bother rolling a chest. But if you feel like you're a bit squishy or want more health, you can buy a cheap 6 link base and throw a greed essence on it.

Usually at the start of the league, you can farm a Tabula in the Blood Aqueducts in a few hours.

Likewise, Pen and Cage (t2/t3 maps) have a chance to drop 'The Chains That Bind' card. This can be a goal to upgrade from a Tabula or a 5 link.


You can also keep a search up for the colors you need in case people post corrupted armors for sale:

http://poe.trade/search/rosamanaritago (6 link rare using the colors needed)

As the rest of the slots, you want high life and mana rolls and then resistances.

If you want to use a unique chest, you can use Carcass Jack for some extra damage and life.

8. Weapon

For weapons, you want to focus on the following at the start of the league, before shaped bases are available:

1. Critical strike chance for spells
2. Crit Multi
3. Spell Damage
4. IAS (if you shield charge)

Preferably, the weapon should be either a dagger (crit), foil (crit multi) or a sceptre (elemental damage).

Dagger search
Sceptre search

Once you have access to shaped bases or the market has them available, you can look into getting a shaped base to craft yourself or buy one crafted. Shaped bases offer the following rolls that highly increase the damage of GC:

Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage (prefix)
Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage (prefix)
Gain #% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage (prefix) (best roll to look for as it scales all other conversion sources)
Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Damage of a random Element (sceptre, suffix)

You can use alterations to hit one of the rolls and augment/regal, then craft critical strike chance for spells on it as a budget starter weapon.

Example of a search:

http://poe.trade/search/korimitooohuma (sceptre)
http://poe.trade/search/arorazorumerey (dagger)

If you feel comfortable enough, you can dual wield the "statstick" shaper weapons (will not be able to shield charge).

9. Shield

For a shield, you want life, mana and critical strike chance for spells.

Here is an example search:


10. Jewels

If you do not have another method to convert your damage to full elemental, then you want the glacial cascade threshold jewels first.
The Long Winter (need 2 of them):

If you have Essence Worm, then you want a Clear Mind jewel. A good rolled one is a good damage boost until you can find a good rare jewel:

http://poe.trade/search/eraugubarootos (goes up to 60% spell damage)

For the rest of the slots, you want jewels that give you the following:

1. Life
2. Crit Multi (global, elemental or cold)
3. Damage (spell damage, area damage, physical damage etc)

If you're going for abyss jewels, you want:

1. Life
2. Crit Multi
3. Flat phys to spells
4. Cold to spells

Here are example searches for both:

http://poe.trade/search/saomasikituzuo (normal jewel, 2 prop)
http://poe.trade/search/okikoaroesiuka (normal jewel, 2 prop, to regal)
http://poe.trade/search/etoamtekokohom (normal jewel, 3 prop, more expensive)

http://poe.trade/search/uosinuasizukuk (abyss jewel, 2 prop)

Expensive Gear Choices

One of the things I love about this build is the amount of currency you can spend on it and still have upgrades available.

I'll try to cover most of the expensive choices that you have, but if you're reading this section, it means you can figure out for yourself some as well.


You can craft yourself an amazing helmet if you have the budget for it.
Using Essence of Horror (30% more elemental damage), you want to look for the following shaped mods as suffixes:

Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Remote Mine / Place an additional Mine (mandatory)
Socketed Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Trap And Mine Damage /#% increased Mine Damage

2. Body Armour

If you want your 6 link to be in the chest, you should aim for the following rolls on your shaped body armour:

+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems (prefix, GC scales very well with levels as it's a spell)
Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance (up to 1.5%, suffix, allows you to drop crit for pen in links)
#% of Damage is taken from Mana before Life (prefix, optional for defence)

3. Weapon

A good shaper statstick will probably keep you busy for a while as you have many good prefixes and suffixes to go for. In the case of sceptres, you can roll the following:

Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Lightning Damage (prefix)
Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage (prefix)
Gain #% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage (prefix, requires i85 for t1 roll and is the best roll to get for damage scaling)
Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Damage of a random Element (suffix)
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level # Increased Critical Strikes / #% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (suffix)
Damage Penetrates #% Elemental Resistances (suffix)

4. Jewels

With the exception of 4 prop jewels for the build, you also have the Watcher's Eye jewel that can be used:

Adds (58-70) to (88-104) Cold Damage while affected by Hatred
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Cold Resistance while affected by Hatred
+(1.2-1.8)% to Critical Strike Chance while affected by Hatred
(40-60)% increased Cold Damage while affected by Hatred
(6-10)% of Damage taken from Mana before Life while affected by Clarity
(10-15)% chance to Recover 10% of Maximum Mana when you use a Skill while affected by Clarity
(works per mine detonation, amazing mana recovery, but does not return mana if spell totem detonates them)

5. Amulet

You can craft an elder amulet for the following prefix, which should be a huge damage boost:

Gain #% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage

The Pandemonius can also be used for damage as a medium budget choice.

6. Bestiary Uniques

A special mention can be made for the "set items" introduced in the Bestiary League. Another alternative that is fairly expensive is Farrul's Fur and Farrul's Bite.

By taking an extra power charge and frenzy charge and 1 duration node for each (gained by taking the charge), the chest piece will keep you at full frenzy and power charges on top of giving you the benefits of the cat aspect without reserving mana. You can either get the aspect as a suffix on a rare item or from the helmet.

The helm provides up to 50% increased damage and 1% base crit. Even without the helm, you can potentially drop crit from the tree or the gem itself in the links for pen.

Farrul's Fur Link
Farrul's Bite Link

My Gear

My setup changes based on the content I am doing. I swap in Atziri's Promise and a chaos resistance ring for Chayula and change certain flasks or pantheons based on the fight I am facing. Not all of those items are not linked above, but explained throughout the guide.

Lab Enchants

For helm enchants, you want 40% of Glacial Cascade Physical Damage Converted to Cold Damage.

This enchant lets you drop the two GC jewels or Physical To Lightning and get more damage.

For boot enchants, you can either go for a defensive one or an offensive one:

2% Life and Mana regen (defensive)
10% damage pen (offensive)

Other options are 120% crit or flat lightning damage.

For gloves, you can go with "of Light" to create consecrated ground when critically hit for extra regen or pick an offensive one that you like.


3 man Shaper with bad totem positioning (learned to self-detonate more often)

2 man Chayula run

If you want to see more videos, I stream 6 days a week on Twitch. You can also check VODs for more gameplay and footage of the build. Did 3-4 man elder runs with only me dpsing to test damage with both statsticks and Elder still phases quickly.

Twitch link: https://www.twitch.tv/pressstarttopaws/


Should I use The Long Winter jewels or no?

Personally I do not think they are required or needed for GC Mines, but they are useful as temporary jewels until you can enchant your helm. I used Physical To Lightning instead and had no issues on budget gear clearing all maps up and including t15 ones.

Special thanks

To my Slowpoke team for making me write this faster and reading it before I posted it.
To Lee and Kekz for making me curious about mines in the first place.
To each and every one of you for reading the guide.

Thank you for reading!

Last edited by Kisaryn on Mar 31, 2018, 6:14:49 PM
Last bumped on Aug 30, 2018, 7:34:17 PM
Just an FYI - Three tree in the PoB link and the "Final Tree" are different. PoB tree is an extra point and the pathing on them is different.

Edit: The 119 Point "Final Tree" appears to be your current Level 96 tree Vs I assume theory crafted ideal 120 Point tree which is the PoB tree
Last edited by PJP2810 on Mar 31, 2018, 6:02:28 PM
PJP2810 wrote:
Just an FYI - Three tree in the PoB link and the "Final Tree" are different. PoB tree is an extra point and the pathing on them is different.

Edit: The 119 Point "Final Tree" appears to be your current Level 96 tree Vs I assume theory crafted ideal 120 Point tree which is the PoB tree

That's because the "final" tree is my current tree, while the PoB is the next level tree that requires some regrets and is slightly better optimized. So yes, your assumption is correct.

Edit: I added the PoB version alongside mine as well.
Last edited by Kisaryn on Mar 31, 2018, 6:15:33 PM
I'm Commander Sheppard, and this is my favorite guide on the Citadel.

No, seriously, excellent work as usual.
Well written and I can confirm its a very solid build!
@komis reroll when?
Nice build! i start a gc miner when i see your build, but i have a question, i have a helmet with lvl 22 remote mine, i think in go for a 5l with the helm but, what are the links if i dont have a watcher eye, put increased critical or physical to lightning?
is there anything i should or can aim for to actually fully min max miner in std that i wouldnt normally be able to do in a league?
is there anything i should or can aim for to actually fully min max miner in std that i wouldnt normally be able to do in a league?

In standard you have a higher chance to get a mirror worthy statstick and also a horror crafted helmet. You can check the expensive gear choices and go from there.

Denitos wrote:
Nice build! i start a gc miner when i see your build, but i have a question, i have a helmet with lvl 22 remote mine, i think in go for a 5l with the helm but, what are the links if i dont have a watcher eye, put increased critical or physical to lightning?

If the level 22 remote mine the one that has "place an additional mine" or the damage one? You can go for a 5 link helm (up to 8 link possible) early on as well. Links depend on your other gear as stated in the guide. If your helm has the GC enchant or if you're using the two threshold jewels for GC, then you can go for inc. crit.

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