[3.6] The Blizz Sorc - Icestorm/Winter Orb CI Occultist - Viable For Everything
2019-04-09: Added my stats and gear in the Synthesis league and some new videos.
2019-03-21: Spell Cascade was fixed in patch 3.6.2. Welcome back, Spell Cascade!
2019-03-17: Adjusted the gems in the staff. Controlled Destruction is back for clearing. Spell Cascade is still broken, currently using unlinked Elemental Focus instead.
2019-03-11: Updated the trees.
2019-03-07: Updated for 3.6.
2019-03-01: Added the final video for the Betrayal league.
This is latest evolution of my Icestorm build based on The Whispering Ice unique staff. The main idea is to be super tanky and faceroll everything in your way without having to dodge almost anything. No boss is too hard, most are too easy. All maps with most any mods are a joke. I've been using this build to do 40/40 challenges on my own merit in many leagues, this is my go-to build to get things done.
Mapping video (T16)
Boss video (Uber Elder)
This version was inspired by the new skills introduced in 3.5 and the buffs to Occultist. It uses Cold damage, heavy chill effects and energy shield leech.
[3.6] Mapping video (Hydra)
[3.6] Hall of Grandmasters
[3.6] Syndicate Mastermind
[3.6] Synthesis Bosses
[3.5] Uber Lab at lv 72
[3.5] Mapping video (Minotaur)
[3.5] Uber Elder
[3.5] Delve 600
[3.5] Finishing the Betrayal League in Style!
The 3.4 Ascendant version has more videos from the previous leagues.
This build is based on The Whispering Ice. Icestorm damage scales from Int, therefore Int is the main stat.
The build is immune to stun, freeze, chill, shock, ignite and all forms of chaos damage.
Key mechanics: Chaos Inoculation, Energy Leech, Elemental Overload, Arakaali, Arctic Armour, Herald of Ice, Vile Bastion, Frigid Wake, Cyclopean Coil.
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).
Winter Orb is used to channel Icestorm while providing a nice clear speed for trash.
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'):
Concentrated Effect is 55% MORE plus 10% Increased damage.
Elemental Focus is 50% MORE plus 10% Increased damage.
Energy Leech is 40% MORE plus 10% Increased damage while leeching.
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.
Arcane Surge grants 12% MORE damage for 6 sec on each use of Frost Bomb or Flame Dash.
Because this build is not a crit one, we use a secondary skill to trigger Elemental Overload's 40% MORE damage bonus. Winter Orb crits often enough.
Void Beacon debuffs cold resist on everything around you by -20%. Frost Bomb adds another -25%. Fossil-crafted helmet adds another -9%. And all that applies on top of 38% Cold Penetration from the gem and 11% penetration from Heart of Ice and Divine Judgement. That brings the total resist penetration of this build to 103% against important targets. Which is equivalent to 172-392% MORE damage depending on the enemy resistances.
How resist penetration works
Penetration can make the target's resists negative, so against an enemy with no Cold resistance it makes their resistance go to -103% resulting in 103% MORE damage. Endgame boss'es 40% elemental resistance becomes -63% and they take 163% of your damage instead of just 60% without it, or 172% MORE damage (163/60 = 2.72). An endgame boss with the extra resistance map mod (80% uncapped cold resistance) would take only 25% of incoming cold damage without penetration. But this build lowers their resistance to -23% and makes them take 123% damage dealt, or 392% MORE (123/25 = 4.92).
Bonechill makes any enemy that is hitting you take 55% increased cold damage (they are chilled by Arctic Armour for base 30% chill * 1.84 chill effectiveness) which is equivalent to a 55% MORE damage modifier.
Energy Leech, Ghost Reaver, Ethereal Feast, Light Eater, Heart of Ice and Arakaali combine for very efficient ES leeching.
Arctic Armour, Fortify, Enfeeble, Frigid Wake, Tukohama/Yugul and Chaos Golem greatly reduce incoming damage.
Enemies that hit you are chilled and blinded.
Most of the enemies are frozen, even bosses occasionally freeze/stagger.
You are immune to stun, chill, freeze, shock, ignite and chaos.
Energy Leech leeches 1.9% of your damage as life. Tree nodes add another 2.6%. A boot enchantment can add 0.6% ES and mana leech on top of that, while killing. Ghost Reaver, Ethereal Feast and Light Eater increase the leech cap from 10% to 30% of the maximum ES per second, as well as increase the leech amount to fill that cap faster.
When you take a significant hit, CWDT triggers Blood Rage and immediately stops its degen with Immortal Call. This activates the Arakaali bonus, increasing your leech rate and leech cap by another 10%.
Vile Bastion and Wicked Ward grant a large amount of ES regen and recharge. Zealot's Oath, Shaper and a Sulphur flask add more ES regen.
Enfeeble makes the enemies deal 16-33% LESS damage. A helmet enchantment (with a lot of luck) can take that to 42% LESS.
Fortify reduces incoming damage by 20% for all hits. Vigilant Strike gives you a 12 sec Fortify.
Frigid Wake makes all nearby enemies hit you for 10% LESS damage.
Tukohama grants 8% physical damage reduction while stationary (additive with Fortify). Chaos golem adds another 4% reduction on top of that.
Arctic Armour makes you take 13% LESS damage from fire and physical hits while stationary.
Fortify, Tukohama, Chaos Golem, Arctic Armour, Enfeeble and Frigid Wake 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 - 0.33) * (1 - 0.1) * (1 - 0.20 - 0.08 - 0.04) * (1 - 0.13) = 0.36, or 36% of the damage it would deal without your defenses, i.e they hit you for 64% LESS damage.
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 too.
Any enemy that hits you gets slowed by 55% by Arctic Armour with greatly increased chill effectiveness.
Vile Bastion grants stun immunity.
Frigid Wake grants chill and freeze immunity.
Chaos Inoculation grants chaos immunity.
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.
Winter Orb freezes many enemies on hit. Frigid Wake freezes everything on the screen for 0.6 sec every 4 sec, including even bosses (with a 33% chance).
Winter Orb, Frigid Wake and Herald of Ice make trash packs freeze and shatter.
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.
Kill them all
None of the bandit rewards are worth 2 skill points for this build.
1. Void Beacon
2. Frigid Wake
3. Wicked Ward
4. Vile Bastion
Can go for Vile Bastion first if you want to have more ES earlier, but Void Beacon gives more damage earlier, and freezing things is fun!
a) Arakaali + Queen of the Great Tangle
50% increased ES recovery is awesome for tanking. 3 frenzy charges are good for clear speed.
b) Solaris (fully upgraded)
A solid defensive choice if you are not using Blood Rage.
Minor: Tukohama, Yugul, Gruthkul
Yugul is for the top cold-based bosses (Hydra, Shaper, Elder, Uber Elder, Aul) and elemental reflect maps. Tukohama for facetanking hard hitters (such as the Syndicate). Or Gruthkul if you like it better (works well in the Delves). Upgrade them all.
The build is based on this item.
Keep in mind that rolling 6S manually with jeweller orbs requires ilvl 50 or higher. Crafting bench can force 6 sockets on any staff.
Only one link is required in the staff (Winter Orb - 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 via the crafting bench with average luck, as long as it's 20q.
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.
Shaped amulets and Talismans can do better but they can be very expensive and may require Str and Dex from other sources.
Cyclopean Coil provides a lot of Int while making you immune to shock and ignite (your stats will normally 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 150 Dex, that's 30% Increased damage right there.
Gloves, boots, helmet, chest
Use rares. The most important stat is Int, followed by ES and resists.
(Syndicate) 3-star Hillock in Fortification can put 28% quality on your rares.
3-star Vorici in Research can convert up to 3 socket to white.
Body armor can have a 6% Increased Attributes mod. Shaper ones can have up to 12% Increased Intelligence mod (ilvl 83+). Those are the best ones. With some luck and a bunch of Alterations, you can hit the %Int suffix + a high tier ES prefix and then multi-mod (2 ex cost) the rest.
Helmets can have a fossil-crafted mod "Nearby Enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance" which is great for this build (use Dense + Frigid fossil).
Rare rings with 50+ Int and as much ES and resistance as you can find. Ideally it should be corrupted with %Increased Int (see Corruption).
You will need 3x Brute Force Solution to convert Str nodes to Int, with their own Int on top of that. 1-2 additional Brute Force Solution or Fertile Mind can be added at the high levels. See the Leveling Guide for the high level options.
The same node can be converted by multiple overlapping jewels. In this build, two small Str nodes near the Scion area are double-converted for 20 Int each.
And some rare jewels with good mods. 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
+8-10 to Strength and Intelligence
14-16% Increased Spell damage while wielding a staff
14-16% Increased Cold damage
10-12% Increased Spell damage
10-12% Increased Area damage
Str/Dex balance: You want to keep Str above Dex, so that Cyclopean Coil makes you immune to ignite. The tree gives you one extra +10 Str node near Ethereal Feast, but the two Str nodes between overlapping Brute Force Solutions double-convert to Int with -20 Str. As a result, your Dex gets slightly higher than Str. To fix this issue, either use rare jewels with the '+8-10 Str and Int' mod, or simply use a rare jewel instead of Brute Force Solution in the socket near the Scion start.
Watcher's Eye has 2-3 random mods that add extra effects to various auras. The mods useful to this build are:
+(20-30) Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline - a 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 30% of your ES per second (the leech cap).
(20-30)% increased Energy Shield Recovery Rate while affected by Discipline - extra leech (it increases the leech cap!) is very useful against bosses.
Gain (12-18)% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity - a lot of extra ES. Run lv 1 Clarity for 34 mana.
If you can find a jewel with more than one of these mods, it's awesome. However, such a jewel can cost more than the rest of the gear combined, and it's not really necessary for anything.
Note: Watcher's Eye is optional! It's not required for the build to function, but VERY nice to have.
Might of the Meek fits nicely into the Witch area socket, increasing the Int gain from the nearby small Int nodes and empowering the Heart of Ice wheel. You lose Frost Walker, but the upgrade is worth it.
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. Boot enchantments are the easiest to get, and they are the most useful - they prevent you from running out of mana.
Do not use crappy items with useful enchantments, they are not worth the sacrifice.
30% increased Enfeeble Curse Effect = cursed enemies deal 9% LESS damage
30% increased Frostbite Curse Effect = extra damage
Winter Orb has +2 Maximum Stages = extra clear speed
Winter Orb has 3% increased Area of Effect per Stage = extra clear speed
40% Increased Herald of Ice damage = extra clear speed
N% Reduced Mana Reservation for Discipline or Arctic Armour = extra damage against top bosses (allows using Bonechill with Purity of X)
36% increased Arctic Armour Buff Effect = extra damage and defense
Cast Commandment of Reflection when Hit - a temporary clone to distract the enemy
0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you've Killed Recently = extra ES leech + mana leech.
Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently = extra ES (with ZO) and mana regen.
You don't need Uber Lab for the boot enchantment. Merc or even Cruel Lab will do.
Rings, amulets and belts can get %Increased Int (+Str or Dex).
Jewels can get extra damage, reduced mana reservation, or immunity to Maim, Silence, Hinder or Corrupting Blood.
Do not corrupt the staff! 18% block is an excellent defensive mod, and there are no good Vaal mods for staves that would help this build.
Arcane Surge lv 1-4 (match the mana cost of Frost Bomb)
Arctic Armour lv 20, ideally lv 21
Ball Lightning lv 4
Blood Rage lv 1
Bonechill 20/20, ideally 21/20
Cast while Channelling 20/20, ideally 21/20
Cold Penetration 20/20, ideally 21/20
Concentrated Effect 20/20, ideally 21/20
Controlled Destruction 20/20, ideally 21/20
Curse on Hit 20/20, ideally 20/23
Cast When Damage Taken lv 1
Cast When Damage Taken lv 20
Discipline lv 20, ideally lv 21
Elemental Focus 20/20, ideally 21/20
Energy Leech 20/20, ideally 21/20
Enfeeble 20/20, ideally 21/20
Flame Dash lv 20
Greater Multiple Projectiles lv 20, ideally lv 21
Frost Bomb lv 20
Herald of Ice 20/20, ideally 21/20
Immortal Call any level
Spell Cascade 20/20, ideally 21/20
Summon Chaos Golem lv 20
Vigilant Strike 20/20
Winter Orb lv 20, ideally lv 21
Purity of Fire (or Vaal Impurity) lv 20
Purity of Ice (or Vaal Impurity) lv 20
Purity of Lightning (or Vaal Impurity) lv 20
Frostbite 20/20, ideally 21/20
Ancestral Call any level
Vaal Discipline lv 20
Vaal Righteous Fire lv 20
Enlighten lv 3
Recommended priority of adding quality:
- primary DPS gems: CwC, Concentrated Effect, Cold Penetration, Elemental Focus, Energy Leech
- secondary DPS gems: Spell Cascade, GMP
- Curse on Hit
- Herald of Ice
Uber Lab farming is a good 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.
(Syndicate) 3-star Tora in Research will add 200M xp to any gem, i.e. instantly turn a lv 19 gem into lv 20.
Sockets and Links
No link higher than 4L is required. However, a 5L chest is very nice to have. And a 5L staff is nice for clear speed.
Using 2 staves is highly recommended. You can clear trash with one staff, then press X to swap to the other one for the boss or another hard target.
Pro tip: when assigning gems to the skill bar, check the option to 'Always Attack Without Moving' for Winter Orb and Frost Bomb. On both weapons.
If using 1 staff:
Winter Orb - Cast While Channelling, Controlled Destruction, Cold Penetration, Concentrated Effect, Spell Cascade. It can work even with 3S during leveling, but at a lower damage.
Winter Orb must be linked to CwC. No other links are required, Icestorm automatically uses all support gems in the staff. You can, however, link Winter Orb to Controlled Destruction and Cold Penetration if you want.
For bosses swap Spell Cascade for Elemental Focus, and optionally swap Controlled Destruction for Energy Leech if you feel that you aren't leeching enough.
If using 2 staves:
For trash clearing: Winter Orb - CwC - GMP - Controlled Destruction - Cold Penetration, Spell Cascade. Ideally you want to 5L this for a great Winter Orb action (link all but SC).
For single target: Winter Orb - CwC - Energy Leech - Cold Penetration, Elemental Focus, Concentrated Effect. Can 5L this one too (link all but CE), but against the bosses WO damage is not important. Icestorm will do all the damage as long as WO is linked with CwC.
If your staff is only 5S, drop CP until you get 6S.
Gloves, boots, helmet, chest
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 have a 5L chest, add Blind to that CWDT link. If your chest is 6L, add Herald of Ice for even greater curse proliferation.
Optional: Frostbite instead of Enfeeble for greater clear speed.
If using Arakaali and Blood Rage:
4L: CWDT lv 20 - Blood Rage lv 1 - Immortal Call any lv - Summon Chaos Golem lv 20.
Important: Blood Rage should be between CWDT and IC. They trigger in that order, and that's important. Do not insert Blood Rage until you upgrade Arakaali. Read the section 'About Blood Rage'.
If using Solaris:
4L: CWDT lv 20 - Vortex - Immortal Call - Summon Chaos Golem.
Note: You do not need endurance charges to use Immortal Call. It works just fine without them.
A white socket (obtainable from Vorici in Research) lets you switch between Blood Rage/Arakaali and Vortex/Solaris setups easily.
3L: Frost Bomb - Arcane Surge - Flame Dash. Level Arcane Surge to trigger on Frost Bomb (not higher than its mana cost).
2L: Vigilant Strike - Ancestral Call (optional).
Ancestral Call makes VS very easy to hit, otherwise you will have to target it much more precisely.
2L: Arctic Armour - Bonechill.
Place in any free sockets:
Discipline or Vaal Discipline
Herald of Ice
- but make sure not to link any auras with Arcane Surge (it increases mana reservation);
- make sure not to link Herald of Ice with Bonechill either.
Optional: Vaal Righteous Fire instead of Ancestral Call or Chaos Golem. This is an extra DPS option, it gives you a 28% MORE damage boost for 5 sec when you need to kill something quickly. However, Vigilant Strike requires a much more precise targeting without Ancestral Call.
4L: Discipline - Arctic Armour - Bonechill - Enlighten lv 3
This allows you to keep using Bonechill when you need to swap Herald of Ice for a Purity aura for certain bosses. Without Enlighten you have 100% mana reserved in that case and have to take out Bonechill.
How to off-color sockets?
The easiest way to get 3 or all 4 R/G sockets in Int items is to use Jewellers instead of Chromatics. Using the crafting bench, 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.
Discipline, Arctic Armour, Herald of Ice.
Purity auras (of Fire, Ice, Lightning or Elements) can be used when necessary instead of HoI for Elemental Weakness maps, +ele dmg maps, or bosses that deal extreme amounts of damage of a particular element. A white socket for Herald of Ice (obtainable from Vorici in Research) allows you to swap Herald for any Purity easily.
When using a Purity aura, take out Bonechill. You need some mana to cast WO. Unless you are using Enlighten (see Sockets).
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, Quicksilver is really nice for clear speed, The Wise Oak and Atziri's Promise are useful against bosses, and Sulphur gives you nice ES regen in addition to damage.
Play style and clear speed
Run around at high speed with Quicksilver flasks and Flame Dash. Use other flasks as needed.
See a pack of mobs, drop Frost Bomb on them and hit them with Winter Orb + Icestorm. If they are not instantly dead, channel WO some more. 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 only works while stationary. But dodge potential 1-shots unless you are confident that you can survive them.
Keep WO at high stages for clear speed.
If you need to kill trash faster, you can swap Enfeeble for Frostbite and trade a bit of safety for damage.
This is not a 'clear speed' build, it's a 'do everything' build. It's designed primarily for facerolling the endgame content. It can't use fast movement skills or do damage just by moving. But it can clear any maps with virtually any mods reasonably fast, very safely and without skipping or leaving any mobs behind. Constantly mapping in high tiers with massive item quantity and pack size eliminates the map drop issue, the pool of red maps always grows.
30-35% ms boots and high speed Quicksilver flasks help a lot.
About Blood Rage
The link CWDT - Blood Rage - Immortal Call is used with Arakaali pantheon to greatly increase the leech power and survivability against bosses, deep delves, the Syndicate, etc. as well as increase clear speed.
How it works: you receive a big hit, CWDT triggers Blood Rage that gives you a physical degen and then immediately triggers Immortal Call that stops all physical damage. This triggers 50% increased ES recovery from Arakaali for 4 sec.
Blood Rage (even lv 1) lasts longer than Immortal Call and the degen remains on you for a few more seconds. If you are hitting anything and leeching, you won't notice it. If you are not leeching, ZO will negate most of it, and you can always hit a Sulphur flask to regen ES instead of degen.
However, it's not suitable for some situations, such as:
- Chimera: taking damage when you can't leech
- Lab and trials: traps hit you but there is nothing to leech from
- Elemental degen such as burning ground: IC won't stop it, Arakaali won't trigger
It's easier to just take out Blood Rage for these situations and use Solaris.
Dealing with map mods
This build can do any map mods and virtually any combinations of them. Notable cases:
Use Yugul (upgraded). Swap Herald of Ice and Bonechill for Purity of Ice. Use Sapphire flasks. Wear Sibyl's Lament in the left ring slot.
Swap Herald of Ice and Bonechill for Purity of Elements. Or just carry a flask like this one:
Extra damage as Fire/Cold/Lightning, -Max resist
Bring some Ruby, Sapphire or Topaz flasks. Or use Purity of that element instead of Herald of Ice and Bonechill (fire: swap Ancestral Call, ice: swap Herald of Ice, lightning: swap Bonechill).
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.
Reduced ES Recovery
This affects your leech amount (but not the 30%/sec leech cap). If your DPS is not high enough to reach the cap with this mod, be careful and don't facetank more than you can outleech. Once you are easily outleeching everything and not seeing any difference, you can ignore this mod.
Bring a slow acting mana flask:
or use Winter Orb lv 1. If you have the leech enchantment on your boots, you don't need to worry about it as long as you keep killing trash or boss adds.
There is a Leveling Guide in the next post.
How do I kill this boss?
There is a Boss Guide in the Ascendant version of the build for now. Use it for the general strats. Not everything on it applies to the Occultist version. It will be adapted for Occultist eventually.
One notable case is Atziri. Occultist is not immune to reflect and has to be careful there. Use Yugul and lv 1 Winter Orb so that it won't insta-kill you if it randomly decides to hit the mirror. Stop casting immediately when Atziri disappears and wait for the statues to start appearing to make sure you target a non-mirror one.
How do you turn your cursor green?
My stats and items in the Synthesis league
After 1 month in the league (Lv 97):
11730 ES in hideout
13536 Icestorm tooltip in hideout
Last edited by Kelvynn on Apr 17, 2019, 12:55:05 AM
Last bumped on Jan 14, 2020, 5:16:05 AM
on Dec 7, 2018, 3:55:04 AM
Leveling guide (3.6)
Leveling trees for PoB
Leveling with the Whispering Ice is a blast. You can start using it as early as lv 33 with some inconvenience, or at lv 39 where it starts really kicking ass.
However, if you don't have the staff yet and don't think you will get it early enough, then your leveling experiences may vary. This guide is specifically designed for Icestorm.
Remember to complete side quests that give +skill points.
A1: Dweller of the Deep ('the Granddaddy crab')
A1: The Marooned Mariner (Fairgraves)
A1-2: The Way Forward (the seal in Western Forest)
A3: Victario's Secrets (platinum busts)
A4: An Indomitable Spirit (Deshret)
A5: In Service to Science (the Miasmeter)
A5: Kitava's Torments (the Reliquary)
A6: The Cloven One (Aberrath)
A6: The Puppet Mistress (Ryslatha)
A7: Queen of Despair (Gruthkul)
A7: Kishara's Star (the Causeway)
A8: Love is Dead (Tolman)
A8: The Gemling Legion (the Grain Gate)
A8: Reflection of Terror (Yugul)
A9: Queen of the Sands (Shakari)
A9: The Ruler of Highgate (Garukhan)
A10: Vilenta's Vengeance (Vilenta)
Uniques to trivialize leveling
Wear any self-found gear with Life, jewelry with resists. Use dual wands or wand + spirit shield for max spell damage.
Take Arcane Surge from the chest in Twilight Strand. Kill Hillock and take Freezing Pulse as your reward from Tarkleigh. You will be using Freezing Pulse until lv 28. Support it with Arcane Surge. Buy a Paua amulet from Nessa for mana regen.
In the skill tree:
- Arcanist's Dominion
- Frost Walker
- Heart and Soul
- Cruel Preparation
- Heart of Ice
- Breath of Rime
- Elemental Overload
41 point tree
Take Spell Cascade as your reward from Nessa.
Take Frost Bomb as your reward from Tarkleigh and use it together with Freezing Pulse, it's awesome at low levels. If you have a 2L for it, support it with Spell Cascade.
Go to town, take Added Lightning Damage as your reward from Nessa and support Freezing Pulse with it. If you have a 3L, keep Arcane Surge too.
Go East and kill Fidelitas. Take Herald of Ice as your reward from Greust.
Go West and kill Alira. Open the passage and claim your skill point reward from Bestel. Kill the Weaver. Take Concentrated Effect as your reward from Silk and start leveling it in any free socket. If you have two 3L items, add it to Frost Bomb - Spell Cascade.
Kill Kraityn and Oak and claim your skill point reward from Eramir. Poison Lorrata and take Faster Casting as your reward from Yeena.
Start using Herald of Ice. Support Freezing Pulse with Faster Casting (instead of Arcane Surge). If you have a Tabula Rasa: FP - FC - Added Lighting - Added Cold - Arcane Surge - LMP.
After completing the Crematorium quest, take Discipline as your reward from Maramoa and start leveling it (don't use it yet).
Kill Gravicius and take Winter Orb as your reward.
Start using Winter Orb - LMP - Added Lightning - Arcane Surge (or Added Cold). You will need some Dex, an amulet is the easiest way to get it.
Help Siosa in the Library. He will sell you any gems you need.
Take the Chaos Golem as your reward from Oyun for killing Voll. Don't forget to free Deshret. When you kill Kaom and Daresso, buy Cast While Channelling from Petarus and Vanya.
If you still don't have the staff by the time you hit lv 39:
Keep going with Winter Orb until you get the staff. Links:
1. Winter Orb - CwC - Freezing Pulse - GMP. Take a 30 Dex node (Agility) to be able to use GMP.
2. Frost Bomb - Spell Cascade - Concentrated Effect.
Once you reach Act 6, you can farm The Incantation card in A6 Western Forest, but this is just an SSF option. You really should be able to buy the staff by then.
Switch to Icestorm
You can switch to Icestorm at any level past 38, as soon as you get the staff.
Your staff should be at least 3S: Winter Orb - Cast While Channelling, Spell Cascade (swap to Concentrated Effect for bosses). Only WO - CwC need to be linked. Linking WO with support gems is completely optional. When you get more sockets, add Life Leech (4S), CE (5S), Elemental Focus (6S).
If you don't have Astramentis, get a rare amulet with 50+ total Int. Use Int rings with resists. You will need some Str and Dex. Without Astramentis, you can either find them on the jewelry or take +30 Str/Dex nodes near Elemental Overload (refund them later when you get those stats elsewhere). Chest/gloves/boots/helmet with Int, Life and maybe some resists and AR (not necessary but nice). It is VERY important to have Int on everything! Your damage and leech amount scales from Int.
Cheap uniques good for leveling with WI:
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.
Auras: Discipline, Herald of Ice, Arctic Armour.
Link Arcane Surge with Frost Bomb and keep it at the level where it gets triggered by its mana cost.
Another useful link is Vigilant Strike - Ancestral Call.
From that point on, the rest of the Acts will be a cakewalk.
- jewel socket between Witch and Templar (if you have a jewel for it)
- Potency of Will
- Ash, Frost and Storm
- Faith and Steel
- Templar area socket (Brute Force Solution)
- Holy Dominion
- Light and Divinity
- Divine Judgement
- Deep Wisdom
77 point tree
Do the Normal and Cruel lab whenever you unlock them. Take Void Beacon and Frigid Wake.
At the end of Act 5 your resists will be permanently lowered by 30%. You may need to upgrade some of your items to stay at max resists.
When you kill the Brine King, use his Pantheon power until you complete the Uber Lab and become immune to stun. Use Tukohama as the minor power.
After you complete the tree above, start taking Int nodes on the tree in preparation for the next step:
- 4 Int nodes going left and up from the Witch start
- path towards Ghost Reaver
- Ethereal Feast
- Light Eater
Switch to CI
The best time to switch to CI is lv 69. This way you can switch to ES gear right there (lv 69 is the required level on the top ES bases).
Make sure to prepare your ES gear before switching. If you haven't killed Kitava yet, get 105% resistances (you will lose 30% for killing Kitava).
You need 11 respec points for this. Do the side quests if you don't have Regret orbs.
Tree before switching to CI
Do the switch:
- refund Cruel Preparation
- refund Heart and Soul
- refund Shaper
- refund 4 spell damage nodes between the start and Arcanist's Dominion
- refund 2 cold/elemental damage nodes above Frost Walker
- take Chaos Inoculation
- Ghost Reaver
- Ethereal Feast
- Light Eater
Tree after switching to CI
Wear your Int/ES gear. Replace Life Leech with Energy Leech. Do the Merciless lab (take Wicked Ward). Head into the maps and work on the final tree:
- Arcane Focus
- Path of the Savant
- Coldhearted Calculation
- socket between Witch and Shadow (rare)
- Shadow area socket (rare)
- socket near Light Eater (Brute Force Solution or Fertile Mind) + 30 Str or Dex node nearby
- Zealot's Oath
- socket between Templar and Marauder (Brute Force Solution)
- socket near the Scion start (Brute Force Solution)
Lv 93 tree
Whenever you do the Uber Lab (it's possible even at lv 70 with semi-decent gear), take Vile Bastion.
After the Uber Lab, if you still have only 1 staff, swap gems in it depending on what you are killing (see Sockets). But the ideal setup is using 2 staves: one for trash and one for bosses and swapping between them with 1 key press ('X').
Might of the Meek jewel opens some more options (see the main guide).
The build is complete at lv 93 and is capable of killing everything in the game, as long as you are geared appropriately.
High level options
- Arcane Will (extra ES for 2 points)
- Soul Thief (extra ES and leech for 2 points)
- Trickery (20 Int + inc damage for 2 points)
- Ancestral Knowledge (40 Int for 3 points)
- socket near CI (Brute Force Solution or Fertile Mind) + 30 Str or Dex node nearby (4 points)
- if you have Might of the Meek, you can take 1 small Int node nearby for 15 Int
Last edited by Kelvynn on Apr 16, 2019, 5:48:56 PM
on Dec 7, 2018, 3:55:16 AM
(reserved for boss guide)
on Dec 7, 2018, 3:55:28 AM
TL;DR - links to useful posts in the thread
Crafting a good Regalia
Imprinting vs repeated alt spamming
How to unlock the 6% attributes craft
Crafting 6% Int rings in the Synthesis league
Last edited by Kelvynn on Apr 17, 2019, 10:24:24 PM
on Dec 7, 2018, 3:55:39 AM
on Dec 7, 2018, 4:04:58 AM
Yeeess hypppee, hopefully it will work with winter orb ;O
on Dec 7, 2018, 4:05:30 AM
Hype train is real!
on Dec 7, 2018, 5:11:51 AM
I wish you all the best for this new evolution of your always wonderfully explained Whispering Ice builds !
I'll be sure to hang around and read carefully your ideas/comments !
Thank you also for all our discussion previously.
Have a nice and fun Betrayal League guys !
on Dec 7, 2018, 5:24:46 AM
Yes! I've never played an Occultist before and now I will!
Shavronne wrapped Kaom's waist,
with her gilded purple boots.
"You want my sockets?"
on Dec 7, 2018, 5:52:14 AM
Thanks Kelvynn! I miss playing whispering ice, winter orb seems a nice channeling skill for Icestorm! i go with this for start build i hope damage delivers! Bonechill i suppose is descarted because its not really DOTS, but you have any theory about GMP to the mix?
on Dec 7, 2018, 6:05:17 AM