[3.3] Assassin Frost Blades League Starter | SSFHC Friendly

Video guide coming soon!

What it do:
Spoiler

This build utilizes Assassin as an easy means of damage and critical strike reliability to make Frost Blades feel great, shattering screen after screen of monsters. Molten Strike creates an easy way to clear pesky rares and bosses. Since the build mainly focuses on projectile and elemental damage, Molten Strike benefits from 90% of the tree.

I've planned the tree and gear around things easy to obtain in an SFF atmosphere; that being said, it'll be super easy to obtain this stuff in trade league. You wouldn't have to grind Prisoner's Gate for The Wolverine divination card for corrupted claws in hopes for a Touch of Anguish; or craft yourself a rare; or scour the ground for a usable claw.

I played a build similar to this in the recent Flashback event in SSFHC and got hooked on Frost Blades. Since then, I've wanted to revisit the skill and give it proper time and craft it up from the bottom to the top. I felt like I didn't have enough time in the Flashback even to push another character, and I might've gotten burned out and disappointed in the skill, not because of the situation I was in.


Pros:
-Fast clear
-Shattering
-Corpse Removal
-Aesthetically pleasing
-Easy to reach a comfortable mapping state
-Requires just Merc Lab to start shattering everything
-Uber Lab not required for the build to feel amazing

Cons:
-Takes a bit of time to setup
-Levels faster as Sunder
-Single target requires a unique or elder helmet to shine(Doable without one, though)
-Can't push late game bosses without significant investment
-Requires levels and decent rares(or Kaom's Roots) to push life to a comfortable level

Skill Tree and Bandits:
Spoiler

19 Points
37 Points
61 Points
85 Points(Transition to crit)
105 Points(Transition for claws)
115 Points

https://pastebin.com/YzGq6wZx - Slightly Ideal Gear(includes leveling trees)
https://pastebin.com/Vd2jnEL7 - Current Character Test Character(featured in the clear speed vids)

For leveling, I'd mule out a sunder on a Marauder or another class which can fetch it. You'll use this character to mule out a second threshold jewel, Wildfire, for Molten Strike. If you're playing a trade league, you don't have to worry about this step.

Sunder - Onslaught - Chance to Bleed/Maim/Added Fire until you get Melee Physical Damage. I use a pretty standard dual-wield Sunder setup to level up this build. If you're more interested in learning how to level fast as a Sunder dude, I recommend checking out DeadandDoom. He has a youtube and twitch. This is where I found my basis for leveling for the most part. I highly recommend Herald of Ash and using Purity of Elements(if you're struggling with resistances).

As a whole, Assassin offers us easy crit scaling in the form of base crit, and more crit chance verses dudes on full life, and on low life; on the skill tree, I try to scale crit chance less, and put more points into life and attack speed to take advantage of this. You'll see in the pastebin with the final tree that it's easy to reach 95% crit chance, but it's only 85% effective. That means our accuracy is holding us back, not our crit chance. Don't destroy yourself trying to push for accuracy, but it is nice to pick up if you can find it.

For Bandits, I take Alira. It's difficult to cap resistances on league start, and in SSF especially; plus, the crit multi is killer!


Skill Gem Setup:
Spoiler

Frost Blades - Added Cold - Elemental Damage with Attacks - Multi Strike - Ancestral Call - Cold Pen

Molten Strike - Added Cold - Elemental Damage with Attacks - Multi Strike (In Wyrmsign or Elder Helm)

Whirling Blades - Fortify - Faster Attacks

Herald of Ice - Curse on Hit - Poacher's Mark - Onslaught

Cast When Damage Taken(1) - Immortal Call(3) - Vaal Haste(or Grace) - Inc Duration

Hatred - Portal - Flame Dash

You can drop Vaal Haste and Inc Duration if you end up picking up Kaom's Roots and need to cut some links, then move Hatred to the Cast When Damage Taken setup. As for the Portal and Flame Dash, you can use whatever you want there (Frost Bomb, Vaal Grace, etc).

One quick note: Whirling Blades doesn't feel great until you pick up Berserking and have quality on Faster Attacks, and Whirling Blades itself; t's passable without all that, but know that it will get WAYYYYYYYY better later on.


Gear:
Spoiler

Current test gear in Standard:


Here I purposefully used shoddy gear in order to simulate a league start/SSFHC. This is quite obtainable stuff within the first few days of the league. Eventually you want to work toward Dual Touch of Anguish. In SSF, it's harder to gather these, but it can be done through the Divination card The Wolverine. I aim to get these first or second week of the upcoming Incursion league. Until then, I'll use whatever rare claws I can craft or ID. The Twins is another great way to get a crafting base if you're already farming those maps(Ivory Temple and Moon Temple).

In regards to the other pieces of gear, Wyrmsign can be replaced by Rime Gaze or an Elder Helmet with Conc Effect. The setup is quite flexible, and if you can't find a source of Conc Effect, Molten Strike will still do wonders compared to Frost Blades for single taget (at least for our build).

Most of the gear you're just aiming for life and resistances; fill in strength when you don't need resistances or an intelligence roll on jewelry to save yourself one point on the tree. Getting accuracy is also super vital, since the build requires a bit to crit more consistently; don't kill yourself over it, though. Manage your res's first, then worry about the fluff later.


Flasks:
Spoiler



Amethyst instead of Sulphur. You want to make sure you have bleeding on a utility because it makes it more automated to remove corrupted blood, as in you don’t have to think on it much. Then you want warding on a stibnite, so it can be up 90% of the time during your maps. And freeze on your health flask, and on your Amethyst or another utility.

If you have Kaom’s Roots you can ignore those rolls and get something else you want, like Shock immunity. If you feel safe doing Atziri in SSFHC(or you’re playing SC, or trade league) Atziri’s Promise is a strong dps increase. If you don’t feel safe getting this, I like Amethyst because Chaos res is hard to get, and those snakes are pesky. Other than that, I go with Stibnite(for the smoke cloud), Granite, and Basalt. This makes the character soak up hits quite well, and you still get some miss chance from the enemies blinded by Stibnite smoke cloud.

You could go Acrobatics on the tree, and then replace the granite with a Jade or something else. It’s all prefernce. Just make sure you have warding, 2 freeze, a bleed, and then a flex spot. In the flex spot you can use shock, armour, evasion, whatever you feel is lacking. Or a unique flask like Atziri’s, and forgo the extra flask mod.


Ascendancy and Pantheons:
Spoiler

Pantheon:
Major- Lunaris(Helps evade projectiles if improved, and good for physical damage reduction)
Minor- Shakari(Chaos mitigation. Improved is slightly difficult to obtain (T13 Map)

Ascendancy:
Unstable Infusion - Ambush and Assassinate - Deadly Infusion

Opportunistic isn't that great for the build, but if you get Uber it's the best option. It grants you extra damage verses most bosses and rares while mapping. I prefer to take Deadly AFTER Ambush and Assassinate because the MORE crit chance is overall better feeling than the base crit chance you get off of Deadly. That being said, it's only Cruel and Merc lab we're talking about here. You'll have both relatively soon so this is mostly just preference anyways.


Jewels:
Spoiler


These bad boys are all we really need to shine concerning jewels. That being said, you can still find room in the build to squeeze in a rare jewel or two, one being an abyss jewel on your belt. I'd recommend flat life, Onslaught on kill, flat physical damage, or crit multi for Abyss jewels(Resistances if you need them). As for rare jewels, it's almost the same: Life, attack speed(make sure you have all applicable tags; attack speed with claws, attack speed while dual wielding, etc), physical damage while dual wielding, projectile damage, etc(Once again, resistances if you need them).


Videos:
Spoiler

Vaults(T9)
Belfry(T10)

I know it's not spectacular, but I think it's fine for the gear and gems the test character currently has. It's sort of the whole point behind this test, to see what the character can do in limited circumstances, and improve it from there. I'll update this section more as the new league progresses and I adapt the character's tree and gear according to what it needs.

I'll be adding a video guide to the top of this page as well, once I do the recording(s) and final touches of it tomorrow, or the next day.


Closing Notes:
Spoiler

I loved my Juggernaut Frost Blades, which inspired this build. From just a little testing, playing around with the Assassin has been a blast. Assassin feels easier to get off the ground, compared to Jugg; it starts critting more consistently earlier in the process; downside is that it's less tanky. It needs some adjustments to really shine, but most of this will come from gem levels, quality on gems, and tweaking the gear. I don't want to spend too much time ironing the build out right now, as I want to save my excitement for the build for Incursion.
Last edited by WaifuGate on May 29, 2018, 1:31:16 PM
Last bumped on Dec 2, 2018, 2:45:36 AM
Nice guide, i'm gonna try this as my league starter for inc. :P

What would be the perfect endgame armor? Just a rare with life/resist or is there some nice unique option?:)

Thanks for the guide.
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Completed 4 ChallengesIntamnius wrote:
Nice guide, i'm gonna try this as my league starter for inc. :P

What would be the perfect endgame armor? Just a rare with life/resist or is there some nice unique option?:)

Thanks for the guide.



Loreweave would probably be best in slot. The amount of defense you gain from the extra resistance cap is insane, and you get to do -max resistance maps without worrying. Until then, I'd use a Tabula or whatever 6L rare you can get with life and resistances.
Nice build, thanks
Do you think this build can scale well into the late game? Seems interesting I'd try something similar in hc.
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acamat wrote:
Do you think this build can scale well into the late game? Seems interesting I'd try something similar in hc.


I think scaling it to end game in hardcore would be tough. I took it to T3 maps and didn't bother killing the bosses because it was too risky. Maintaining both HP, magic find, and damage is super difficult in HC. Even in SC, the best I could really push it to was T13 or 14 maps and I skipped the boss every time. I think a better option might be the BV variant for Elementalist(basically a BV build with souped up heralds). It plays similar, but it does way more single target damage. The drawback is that you have to cast BV; you might be able to strap Increased Duration onto one of those set ups and maintain it for longer, on top of specing for more duration on the tree. Then you'd only have to cast BV with Echo to get 6 stacks going quick, and it'd last for awhile.

You're also free to try scaling to this end game with less MF and more damage and life pieces. I just don't think it'd be super effective. But I'm just some guy on the internet right? Follow your memes.
Hey guyz !

First of all, thanks for the build man, i am currently trying it in Incursion HC, lvl 40 and the feelings are there! I will follow your steps and try to post some feedbacks around lvl 70 (if no rip ^^), i just have some difficulties with int for now (but thanks to rings i manage to keep it up, losing some res in the process), and a bit scared about res for the future huhu
Anyway thanks again, keep up the good work mate!
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Completed 3 ChallengesD4rkScream wrote:
Hey guyz !

First of all, thanks for the build man, i am currently trying it in Incursion HC, lvl 40 and the feelings are there! I will follow your steps and try to post some feedbacks around lvl 70 (if no rip ^^), i just have some difficulties with int for now (but thanks to rings i manage to keep it up, losing some res in the process), and a bit scared about res for the future huhu
Anyway thanks again, keep up the good work mate!


Thanks man! I ended up shooting for a different build and got a little burned out on HC. I kept trying to push the ladder early in SSF and there just wasn't the same atmosphere as the Flashback race. I think I'm going to stick to chilling out unless there's a race to avoid that in the future.

Interested to see how it all pans out. I did something similar with a Jugg during the flashback which is what got me theorycrafting up on this Assassin variation. Hope it brings you good results and good times mate!
ssf friendly or no?
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ssf friendly or no?


Yeah. You can use any claws for the build. You can target the unique claw cards and such. I'm pretty sure there's a section about it in the guide that goes into details.

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