[3.5] CheeQu's CoC Ice Nova Assassin - Up to 7m Shaper DPS + Amazing Clearspeed [In-Depth Guide]

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Greetings Exiles! This guide will teach you how to properly handle a CoC (like Vagan) and how to unleash its full potential. So sit back and enjoy as I breakdown every single detail regarding game mechanics, interactions and minmaxing in this all-in-one build I made for 3.5.

Shaper 7m DPS (1st phase 100% to 50% life)

Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix Clearspeed

Guide Updates:
24.12.2018: Guide created.
25.12.2018: Added more Passive Skill Trees for different levels.
26.12.2018: Added leveling section. Switched a gem to fit in Dread Banner. (Big thanks to niemand12 for the idea!)
27.12.2018: Updated and improved Mana problem solutions in the "Important Notes & Gameplay Tips" section.
28.12.2018: Updated gem section to add more options and improved readability.
29.12.2018: Updated leveling section. Added more gem setup and pantheon options.

9.01.2019: Big update including new Passive Skill Tree, new Order of Gearing and Gear Progression, as well as some changes to the Gem Setups. Also a small update in the Leveling section.
10.01.2019: Polished the guide overall. Improved readability and added some small details.

Offense: Up to 7m Shaper DPS (~2 sec per phase) • Amazing clearspeed and Movement Speed.

Defense: ~8000 EHP @lvl 90 • Fortify • Perma Blind combined with some Evasion • 42% Less Damage of Enemies through Enfeeble with Curse Effectiveness (also reduces enemies' Accuracy, Critical Strike Chance and Critical Strike Multiplier) • 80% Elemental Resistances, 25%+ Physical Damage mitigation with Basalt Flask • Perma Chill/ Freeze • 36% Block Chance • 5% Dodge Attacks and Spells • Fast and reliable Life Leech combined with ES Gained on Hit • Life Flask + some Life Regeneration • And our best defense: Everything dies instantly!

Weaknesses: Melee • Can be hard to dodge stuff with Cyclone • Not the cheapest build out there (not very expensive either).

End-Game PoB*: https://pastebin.com/e6zZEEr1 (With Stage 2 gear. Includes DPS calculation in "Notes" tab).

* PoB (Path of Building) is a program used to plan builds with great detail. Check it out if you haven't already! The code above can be used to import this build into PoB.

_________________________{ HOW THE BUILD WORKS }_________________________

I suggest reading this →
With the latest 3.5 patch, CoC (Cast on Critical) was resurrected. Combine that with the changes on Ice Nova, how it interacts with Frostbolt and also the addition of a new gem - Bonechill - and we have this abomination of a build.

Cast on Critical: Our basic Support Gem. We link this to a Melee Skill (Cyclone in this case) and every time it Critical Strikes, we trigger (proc) a supported Spell (Ice Nova in this case).

Ice Nova + Frostbolt: Is our main damage source. Ice Nova deals Area Damage around the caster. If there are at least 2 Frostbolt projectiles around us, Ice Nova is cast 2 times out of these projectiles instead, effectively doubling our damage. It will pick the 2 nearest frostbolts to our character automatically, so we want to have frostbolts very close to us at all times (which we do). Ice Nova also deals more damage if the enemy is Chilled.

Bonechill: The new Support Gem. Enemies Chilled by a supported Spell (We will use Vortex for this) have Increased Cold Damage Taken based on the strength of that Chill.

How we combine all of this: We will use Corpsi's Malice which also procs a socketed Spell on Melee Critical Strike to spawn our Frostbolts, then our chest links for the Cyclone CoC Ice Nova. We also drop a Vortex on the Enemies (instant cast, can use it while cycloning!) with Bonechill on a 4-link setup to Chill enemies, slowing them down (for defense) and increasing their Cold Damage Taken for our single target DPS.

Why Assassin? Assassin will help us cap our Critical Strike Chance with basically no investment and boost our damage tremendously, allowing us to invest in tankyness easier. Assassin also offers some Movement Speed, Culling Strike, Reflect protection, 100% Critical Strike Chance against Full Life Enemies which helps in clearing packs fast, and free Power Charge generation.

Why Cyclone? Cyclone has 50% more Attack Speed but also hits twice per Attack making it faster than competitors such as Blade Flurry. This means we will benefit from the maximum possible CoC triggers per second with basically zero investment in attack speed as you will see below. Cyclone also offers smooth and fast clearspeed.

____________________{ PASSIVE SKILL TREE & ASCENDANCY }____________________

Level 46 Tree: Click Here - Don't forget to remove "Coordination" node later.

Level 71 Tree: Click Here

Level 78 Tree: Click Here

Level 85 Tree: Click Here

Level 91 Tree: Click Here

Level 98 Tree: Click Here

Ascendancy Order: Unstable Infusion ⇒ Deadly Infusion ⇒ Opportunistic ⇒ Ambush and Assassinate.

Tip: After level 80, when you travel through +10 Intelligence/ Strength/ Dexterity nodes for jewel sockets (or other important node wheels), you could skip those +10 stat nodes for something more beneficial (like a 10% Increased Elemental Damage node) and remove it later once you have enough levels to reach that jewel socket.
For example, at lvl 92 you should get the Light of Divinity node, at lvl 93 the Divine Favour node and at lvl 94 you should respec these 2 nodes and get a jewel socket.

* Level 98 Tree with Phase Acrobatics:
Click Here - This improves our effective "Attack Avoidance" Chance from about 72% (we already have that much because of Evasion, Blind and Block combined) to about 81%, our "Spell Avoidance Chance" from 0% to 30% and a solid increase in Life Recovery Rate from our life flask with the Herbalism node, in the expense of 750 EHP, 8% Damage, 15% Cold Resistance and 5% Elemental Resistance..

As you can see, since the attack avoidance chance is already pretty high (meaning we avoid about 72% of the Attacks through Evasion, Blind and Block) Acrobatics doesn't offer much benefit. Phase Acrobatics on the other hand improves our Spell Avoidance chance by a solid 30%. Personally I believe it isn's worth it, as 30% spell avoidance isn't as reliable as raw EHP. Factor in the 8% damage and resists sacrificed and the choice becomes even easier for me.

Even without the Pandemonius amulet (which means no Blinded enemies), Acrobatics only improves "Attack Avoidance" from about 45% to about 56%. Again, not that great.

That said, this build is very flexible and depending on your preferences and goals, you can choose to go for this and get the benefits of the Spell Dodge mechanic.

____________________________{ GEAR & UNIQUES }____________________________

The MOST IMPORTANT part while figuring out our gear, is to make sure our attack speed does not exceed the CoC trigger limit. CoC can trigger a spell reliably 6.06 times per second (it has a 165ms cooldown)** (increased by the "Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed" mod of at least 14% - keep reading to see why we need at least 14%)**.

Therefore, we need to make sure we hit enemies slightly slower than 6.06 times per second and NOT more than that, as it will reduce our DPS.

Cyclone hits 2 times per "Attack". So 3 Attacks per Second or slower is about the optimal attack speed we want (unless we have 14%+ Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed on our belt or boots).

** "WhAt aRe yOu talkIng AbOut?! The CoC cooldown is 150ms, not 165ms!!!" - Check This post by u/psychomap which explains why this is and which also explains why we need at least 14% Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed for it to have any effect whatsoever.

"How to achieve 3 Attacks per Second?" With a 8% or 9% Attack Speed (NOT more than that) Cospri's Malice, Starkonja's Head, no attack speed on the rest of the gear and with this specific tree, we should reach 3.0 Attacks per Second WHILE NO ONSLAUGHT FLASK IS USED (don't use it for single target. We can still use it for better clearspeed through packs though since we crit many enemies and which means attack speed doesn't matter that much. We can also just use a Basalt Flask instead).

Once we have at LEAST 14% Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed from our belt or boots, the maximum CoC triggers per second become 7.57, as explained by the post i linked above. So the optimal Attack Speed for Cyclone would be 3.75 Attacks per Second or slower.

To achieve that, we will upgrade to a 14% Attack Speed Cospri's Malice and also use our Onslaught Flask on bosses from now on. Simple as that!

If you want to keep using Basalt Flask instead of Onslaught, take the "Coordination" node in the passive skill tree and 8% Attack Speed (not more than that!) from rare gloves or a jewel. Coordination node and 8% Attack Speed with swords from a single jewel is the most cost-effective way to do this. (Big thanks to Aim_Deep for this idea!).

You can always check your Attack Speed at your hideout (Don't forget to select Cyclone. If you have around 2.0 Attacks per Second you are looking at Default Attack). Look for 3 Attacks per Second or 3.7 Attacks per Second with 14%+ Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed. Make sure to also test it with Onslaught Flask if you plan to use this flask.

Want to play Devoto's for more clearspeed? Read this →
Since you are doing this for clearspeed, I'll assume you also use Silver Flask. For this, it is required to get 14%+ Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed from belt or boots. Then you need 8, 9 or 10% Attack Speed on Cospri's Malice, not more than that.

Again, test your Cyclone's APS at your hideout to make sure.

Keep in mind that this version will be less tanky.

Playing with an Aura Bot? Read this →
Without 14%+ Incresed Cooldown Recovery Speed: Replacing Starkonja's Head for a Rare Helmet, 8% Attack Speed on Cospri's Malice and no Onslaught Flask will let you use Haste up to level 7. You can use Onslaught on packs if u want as you will crit many enemies and attack speed doesnt matter that much or use Basalt Flask instead.

With 14%+ Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed: Replacing Starkonja's Head for a Rare Helmet and 8% Attack Speed on Cospri's Malice and using Onslaught Flask will let you use Haste up to level 23. Again, if you want to keep using Basalt Flask instead of Onslaught, take the "Coordination" node in the passive skill tree and 8% Attack Speed from rare gloves or a jewel.

Remember that when you replace Starkonja's Head you will need more dexterity from rares overall to be able to equip Cospri's Malice. And in any case don't use Vaal Haste.

Gear example (somewhere between stage 1 and 2). Ignore gems, check gem section later on.

Order of Gearing and Explanation: (Leveling gear is in the leveling section later)

Stage 1: The Core - Once this gear stage is completed and assuming you're at a reasonable character level, you should be able to complete everything, including Uber Elder.

1) Gifts from Above - Very cheap item. Amazing Critical Strike Chance, survivability with Consecrated Ground and Increased Damage.

2) Lycosidae - Hits cannot be Evaded + some Life. No need to invest in Accuracy with this item.

3) Cospri's Malice (8% or 9% Attack Speed, NOT more! check spoiler above) - This item makes this build come alive. Increases our DPS by a mile and lets the fun begin.

4) Frozen Trail - Allows us to not socket GMP on Frostbolt and socket Life Leech instead (remember we need at least 2 Frostbolt projectiles for our Ice Nova). Should also be easy to get a useful corruption on this one. Also keep in mind that you don't actually have to allocate 40 Intelligence in radius, it just needs to be there.

We only need 1 Frozen Trail since we just need at least 2 Frostbolt projectiles at once for the interaction with Ice Nova. An extra Frozen Trail would be a waste of a jewel socket compared to a good rare jewel.

5) Starkonja's Head - Lots of Dexterity (needed to equip Cospri's Malice) and lots of Life. Using the less tanky Devoto's Devotion instead of Starkonja's Head for greater clearspeed is possible but be careful not to exceed attack speed limit for optimal CoC DPS (will be impossible to do without a 14%+ "Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed" on belt or boots - see the spoiler below for more information).

6) Loreweave - 80% Max Elemental Resistances is MANDATORY here, good Elemental Damage and Critical Strike Chance and Life rolls are also great, but of secondary importance. This is an amazing chest in every way.

7) The Pandemonius - Not really a "core" item, but a really amazing choice for this build. It greatly improves single target and offers perma blind on enemies increasing survivability.

- For Rares, try to have 90+ Life on all of them for this stage.
- For Jewel sockets, try to have 7% Increased Maximum Life and a Critical Strike Multiplier mod (best available jewel mods for this build are shown further below).

Stage 2: The Overpowered - These upgrades will improve both Damage and Survivability. Great to have if you want to push for higher levels or farm End-Game Bosses.

8) Watcher's Eye jewel with "30 Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline - When you get this, drop Herald of Ice and socket Discipline. This will increase EHP by about 1000 and also improve sustain greatly, since Gain on Hit mods work in conjunction with Life Leech. Damage is very slightly reduced, but it is definitely worth it, as it will increase again with the next upgrade.

9) Mark of the Shaper - This replaces Gifts from Above. Combine it with an Elder ring (preferably a Coral ring with 90+ life). Compared to gifts from above, this ring increases both our damage output and also our EHP by a significant amount.

10) Rare Belt with Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed (at LEAST 14%, more than 14% doesn't matter and less than 14% is completely useless) - Improves damage even more. Check the important spoiler above to see why we need at least 14%.

11) Cospri's Malice (14% Attack Speed) - After getting Cooldown Recovery Speed, we now need this extra Attack Speed (again, check the spoiler above for more info). Sell your old Cospri's Malice and buy a new one.

- For Rares, try to increase to 105+ Life on all of them for this stage.
- For Jewel sockets, try to have 7% Increased Maximum Life + 2x Damage mods (best available jewel mods for this build are shown further below).

Stage 3: God Tier - These next items are expensive and not necessary at all. If you want to have some fun and take this build to the extreme, this is how to do it:

12) Unnatural Instict + 2x Might of the Meek jewels - Once you get those you will have to change the tree. Click here for the lvl 98 Tree. All 3 of these jewels are socketed at the scion starting area, with Unnatural Instinct at the right side. Also note that Cospri's Malice needs to change again and has to be 13% Attack Speed or lower.

This whole change by itself will not affect Life or DPS. However, it will offer you:
A) 23% Attack speed and 16% Movement speed. That is basically the benefits of an onslaught flask (If you used Silver Flask you can now drop it for free and use Basalt Flask. If you used Basalt Flask already, then you benefit from the better clearspeed and from savings from attack speed investments which you can now respec).
B) 84% Elemental Resistances. This enables us to cap resistances while using an extra unique item, which means we get a big benefit from our next upgrade:

You can choose either #13 or #14 as the next upgrade, depending on if you want more damage or Vaal Pact for more sustain.

13) Bubonic Trails with 2 Abyssal Sockets - We lose 2 gem sockets (drop Unbound Ailments and Decoy Totem. Use BlasphemyEnfeeble in Bubonic Trail. Discipline moves to a 4-link with the Leap Slam setup. Don't link Discipline in the Vortex setup as Arcane Surge will make Discipline reserve more Mana, so move Vortex setup to the shield). To make this an actual upgrade, make sure you get good Abyssal Jewels with 40+ Life + 2x Damage mods (best available Abyss jewel mods for this build are shown further below). Try to use at least one of each of these types of Abyss jewels: Hypnotic, Murderous, Searching. Do not use a Ghastly Eye jewel, these don't have anything good to offer and they are not worth it. If done correctly, these boots should increase damage by more than 10% and also Life by about 50.

14) Atziri's Acuity or High-end Crafted gloves with ~120% Increased Damage - To do this upgrade you will need to get lots of resistances from your 2 remaining rares, the belt and the ring (do not sacrifice the Cooldown Recovery Speed mod and the Shock nearby Enemies while Focused mod or this won't be worth it). From these two combined you will need about 70% Fire Resistance, 70% Lightning Resistance and 40% Cold Resistance. Ideally you want your resistances to be the same for the best use of the Wise Oak Flask. It shouldn't be too hard to achieve considering you've spent so many exalts already! If you choose Atziri's Acuity, it will give you the benefit of Vaal Pact for even more sustain and also offer some Critical Strike Chance. This is my recommended item since damage is crazy high already.
If you want even more damage though, you can craft or find rare gloves with: 1) ~90 Life, 2) (30–50)% increased Damage with Hits against Chilled Enemies, 3) (24–28)% increased Damage during any Flask Effect, 4) (37–43)% increased Damage while Leeching and the hybrid mod: 5) (20–22)% increased Elemental Damage if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently + (15–16)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance.

- For rares, again you want 105+ Life on all of them.
- For jewels, you can spend even more exalts to get 7% Increased Maximum Life + 3x Damage mods (best available jewel mods for this build are shown further below).
- Other than that, if you have some Mirrors laying around, getting crazy corruptions or even double corruptions on your items (like +1 to socketed gems loreweave, Enfeeble on hit Atziri's Acuity), is the last thing to improve on.

Rare Items: From our Rare items we need the most possible Maximum Life we can get, Elemental Resistances and some Dexterity. We need about 30 Dexterity from one rare to be able to equip Cospri's Malice, assuming we have Starkonja's Head already.

Energy Shield is the best base for this build defensively since at some point we get ES gained on Hit.

Also, definitely try and get the new craftable mod "Shocks nearby enemies for 2/3/4 seconds when you Focus" on your ring. Basically free 20% more (not "increased") damage!
What is "Focus"? When you have an item with any "Focus" mod (like this ring) you will get a usable skill in your skill bar which is instant cast (can use it while cycloning) and it applies the effects described buy the mods. Focus lasts for 4 seconds with a cooldown of 12 seconds (lowered by the "Increased Cooldown Recovery Speed" mod).

Other good prefix mods (we need suffixes for resistances) include:
Belt: Increased Cold Damage, Increased effect of Flasks, Increased Damage, Energy Shield, Armour.
Rings: Life/ Mana Gained for each Enemy Hit, Cold Damage leeched as life, Added Damage to Spells, Increased Damage, Energy Shield.

What about a Warlord's Mark on Hit ring?
Warlord's Mark offers Life/ Mana Leech and Endurance Charge generation if you kill enemies.

I don't like this curse in this build because with the Cospri's Malice setup we can leech Life fast and reliably, Mana isn't really a problem and most importantly, the Endurance Charges are not there when we actually need them (against bosses). So this Curse doesn't offer much at all compared to Enfeeble, which increases survivability by a lot in every situation.

The only benefit of such a ring would be that you don't have to reserve Mana for a curse, allowing you to increase your damage by using something else and by replacing Life Leech gem in Cospri's Malice with Elemental Focus. But again, that comes at the cost of much needed survivability, so think carefully before dropping Enfeeble.

Rare Jewels: #1 Priority is "% Increased Maximum Life", followed by "Increased Critical Strike Multiplier" (Cold/ Elemental/ Spell), followed by "Increased Damage" (Cold/ Area/ Spell/ Spell while using a Shield).

Rare Abyss Jewels: #1 Priority is "40+ Life", followed by "Adds Cold Damage to Spells" (normal or while holding a Shield), followed by "Increased Critical Strike Multiplier", followed by "chance to Hinder Enemies on Hit with Spells" followed by "Damage Penetrates 2% Elemental Resistance if you haven't Killed Recently", followed by "Adds Fire (or Lightning) Damage to Spells". Movement Speed and Phasing mods can also be good.

Honorable Mentions:

- Kaom's Roots is a good choice if you want to run Uber Elder more safely. Check your elemental resistances if you run these.

- You can also have Jaws of Agony with the 3-link Ice Traps ⊶ Cluster Traps ⊶ Multiple Traps in your weapon swap (press X in-game) and spam Ice Traps if you want to start a fight with maximum Power Charges. However this isn't needed, I prefer using my weapon swap to level up other gems.

- A Watcher's Eye with "Gain (14-18)% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity" combined with a level 1 Clarity can increase Energy Shield by a lot in the cost of a Gem Slot. It's very expensive though and not that important since our ES sustain is limited (ES on hit) and won't help us sustain big amounts of ES. You also have to sacrifice some damage since you have to replace a rare jewel.

_____________________________{ GEMS & LINKS }_____________________________

Gems in each piece are listed in order of importance, as well as in their respective gem colours for your convenience.
For leveling gems check the leveling section.

To color your items cheaply, use the Vorici Chromatic Calculator site (click here). You can also use the Jeweller's method (Google it if you don't know what this is).

Body Armour: CycloneCast on CriticalIce NovaIncreased Critical StrikesHypothermiaElemental Focus or Fortify or Concentrated Effect or Increased Area of Effect.

I recommend Elemental Focus as the 6th link for starters, as it will offer reliable damage and can easily be swapped with Concentrated Effect should you wish.
If you want to be sure you have Fortify up ALL the time and don't want to Leap Slam/ Shield Charge around every 5 seconds, Fortify as the 6th link is a great choice. Damage will be more than enough for mapping or bossing and this is what I personally run with most of the time for smoother playstyle. I do swap it for Concentrated effect though for End-Game Bosses where I use Shield Charge instead to generate Fortify instead.

You can experiment with these and see which you prefer, especially if you have a white socket in your chest (can be acquired through beast crafting, Vorici syndicate member on research, or corruption).

Eventually, try to get lvl 21 Ice Nova and 20% quality on all support gems.

Cospri's Malice: FrostboltIce NovaLife Leech.

Very important: Make sure Frostbolt is socketed above Ice Nova. Gems are triggered in order from top to bottom and we want Frostbolt to always trigger first. Remember Ice Nova's interaction with Frostbolt: If there are at least 2 Frostbolt projectiles around us, Ice Nova is cast 2 times instead of 1, effectively doubling it's damage. We also use Life Leech support as these two spells will have enough damage and proc rate to help us reach Maximum Life Leech Rate very fast (in just 0.35 seconds against a single target, instantly in packs), giving us the freedom of not using Warlord's Mark or investing in leech via uniques.
Why use a second Ice Nova here?
Cospri's trigger cooldown is the same as CoC, meaning we can trigger 6 spells per second. We don't need 6 Frostbolt casts per second, however. If 2 spells are socketed, the trigger will alternate between them, resulting in 3 Frostbolt and 3 Ice Nova triggers per second. This Ice Nova - like our main one in the chest - also interacts with the Frostbolt projectiles and is cast 2 times per trigger. This combination offers way better damage, as well as more hits per second which is important for reaching our maximum Life Leech Rate faster (9 hits per second with this combination vs 6 hits per second without Ice Nova).

Shield: Shield Charge or Leap SlamFaster AttacksFortify.

Choose your movement skill of choice (Shield Charge will feel smoother with this build). Pretty basic setup to generate Fortify.

Note: We do not use these movement skills to move fast around the map but only to generate Fortify when needed. Pure Movement Speed with Alchemist's Quicksilver of Adrenaline + Flask nodes at skill tree + Silver Flask (if you use it instead of Basalt) is the preferred way to achieve faster clearspeeds.

Helmet: BlasphemyEnfeebleHerald of Ice (replaced with Discipline when we have the Watcher's Eye shown in the gear section) ⊶ Phase Run or Decoy Totem or Vaal Righteous Fire or Enlighten.

Important: If you are having Mana Problems with this setup, check the "Important Notes & Gameplay Tips" section of the guide.
Also important: Have Quality on the Blasphemy gem for Increased Curse Effect of Enfeeble.
Use Warlord's Mark instead of Enfeeble for leeching life until you have Cospri's Malice with the above-mentioned gems.

Herald of Ice is replaced later on with Discipline once we have a Watcher's Eye jewel with "+30 Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline". This improves survivability greatly, with a very small reduction in DPS. Definitely worth it.

For the 4th gem on this setup we have lots of options as you can see. Pick the one that suits your play style.

Gloves: Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 1)Immortal Call (lvl 1)Frost Bomb (lvl 10)Summon Chaos Golem (lvl 3).

Do not level up these gems more than what is shown so that we can trigger them faster and more often (read CWDT information on poe's wiki here if you don't know why).
Frostbomb for extra damage, Immortal Call and Chaos Golem for Physical Damage mitigation.

Boots: VortexBonechillUnbound AilmentsArcane Surge (low lvl).

SUPER IMPORTANT SETUP! ALWAYS USE THIS VORTEX ON BOSSES AND TANKY ENEMIES. It increases our Damage through Bonechill, our Critical Strike Chance through the Cospri's Malice mod, our Ice Nova Damage through Hypothermia and Pandemonius' Cold Penetration against Chilled Enemies, it provides Arcane Surge for even more Damage and Mana Regeneration and it also slows down enemies' Action Speed (similar to Temporal Chains). So especially against high HP enemies that we can't normally Chill just by using CoC Ice Nova, this setup doubles our Damage Output. Never forget to use it!

Vortex is now instant cast, which means we can use it while cycloning! We also link it with Unbound Ailments to increase the effect of Chill, further increasing Bonechill's damage and slowing enemies' Action Speed even more (yes, "Increased Effect of Chill" works with the ground effect of Vortex).

Lastly, make sure Arcane Surge level is not too high, so that it grants the buff with only 1 cast of Vortex. For me, that is lvl 5 Arcane Surge for a lvl 20 Vortex.

________________________________{ FLASKS }________________________________


Life Flask: Catalysed Eternal Life Flask of Staunching or Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Catalysed Hallowed Hybrid Flask of Staunching for No Regen maps, to also get your Mana up).

Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Heat.

The Wise Oak - Make sure Cold Resistance is the highest of your Elemental Resistances to benefit from this flask's Cold Penetration.

◈ In this slot it's either Chemist's Silver Flask of Warding (Don't use it for single target as it will increase attack speed above the optimal and reduce DPS, check the spoiler under the "Gear & Uniques" section) or Chemist's Basalt Flask of Warding for more Physical Damage mitigation. Both with at least 23% "Reduced Flask Charges used" so that they don't use more than 30 out of 60 charges per use.

Tip: For fights like Uber Elder/ Shaper/ Mastermind/ Delve Bosses/ Breachlords where Curse Immunity is not needed, the new crafted mod "(60-80%) Critical Strike Chance during Flask Effect" is a great choice.

Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline. Try to get exactly these mods max roll on this one. I can't stress enough how noticeable the difference is.

__________________________{ BANDITS & PANTHEON }_________________________

Help Alira. Kill Oak and Kraityn. From this we get Critical Strike Multiplier, some Elemental Resistances and Mana Regeneration - all of which are very much needed for this build.

Major God: Lunaris. Offers useful Physical Damage mitigation and Movement Speed through packs. I also recommend upgrading this god as it offers Dodge and Chance to avoid projectiles.

Solaris is the best defensive option against end-game bosses like Shaper, Elder, Mastermind, Guardians etc. Definitely upgrade this as well when possible.

Minor God: Gruthkul. More Physical Damage mitigation. Upgrading this god also reduces enemies' Attack Speed when they hit you by 8% (quite a lot!).

Garukhand can be a good alternative for mapping after upgrading it for 6% Movement Speed.

Yugul can also be used against encounters involving Cold Damage such as Elder or Shaper.

________________________{ LABYRINTH ENCHANTMENTS }_______________________

Enchantments in each piece are listed in order of Importance.

Helmet: 1. 30% Increased Enfeeble Curse Effect (#1 for 99% of cases), 2. 40% Increased Ice Nova Damage (#1 against Shaper, Elder and their Guardians, Delve Bosses and Syndicate Mastermind, as these have 80% less curse effectiveness so Enfeeble losses value), 3. 100% increased Effect of the Buff granted by your Chaos Golem, 4. 12% Increased Ice Nova Area of Effect.

Boots: 1. Damage Penetrates 10% of Elemental Resistances (offers the most damage but is hard to get), 2. Adds Lightning Damage if you haven't Killed Recently (not far behind in terms of damage actually), 3. Adds Cold Damage if you've been Hit Recently (better damage than the previous one but requires you to get hit), 4. Increased Movement Speed if you haven't been Hit Recently, 5. Regenerate % Life and Mana per second if you were Hit Recently.

Gloves: 1. Commandment of Flames on Hit, 2. Commandment of Tempest on Hit, 3. Commandment of Blades on Hit, 4. Commandment of Winter when Hit.

____________________{ IMPORTANT NOTES & GAMEPLAY TIPS }___________________

◈ Don't forget to drop a Vortex on tougher enemies at the start of the encounter to increase your damage and slow them down. Also at the start of the encounter, use the "Focus" skill from the rare ring to Shock enemies.

◈ When clearing with Cyclone, I advise you to "click" Cyclone to a point close to your character, so that you don't travel far with it. Traveling far reduces your movement speed and also your ability to dodge stuff as you can't change direction until you've reached your Cyclone's destination.

◈ Avoid Elemental Reflect Maps and No Leech maps. These are doable if you want, but risky.

◈ When using Enfeeble and without a "of Warding" flask, treat "Hexproof" mod on maps as an extra damage mod.

◈ Use Hybrid Flask for No Regen Maps to get your Mana up. Reroll the map if you don't have one yet.

◈ Make sure Frostbolt is socketed above Ice Nova on Cospri's Malice, as we want it to trigger first.

◈ Having Mana problems? Eventually the tree will offer you enough Mana Regenartion. However, until that happens try:

1) Using Cyclone further away from your character. Cyclone drains Mana every time you change direction with it, so spamming it on top of yourself will greatly increase its Mana cost (do this only if you have Mana problems).
2) Not using your Quicksilver Flask against bosses for the same reason as above. This is probably the tip that will save you the most Mana. For this reason, I put my Quicksilver on the 5th slot to have better control of when I want and when not to use it.
3) Don't spam Vortex needlessly, one Vortex every 2-3 seconds should be enough.
4) The Arcane Surge buff offers some nice Mana Regeneration, so try to have that active.
5) If that's not enough, use Enlighten support (lvl 2, 3 or 4) linked with your Auras.
5) If that's not enough either, get "Deep Thoughts" on the passive skill tree.

_____________________________{ LEVELING TIPS }____________________________

Big thanks to HDTanel for helping me set up this section!
If you have any tips to improve this section, please let me know in the comments!

Key mods to look for while leveling: Maximum Life, Increased Damage (Spell/ Cold/ Elemental/ Area), Elemental Resistances, Movement Speed.

Flasks: Upgrade your Life Flask regularly. Try to have 2 Quicksilver Flasks (preferably with the mod "of Adrenaline"). Get a Diamond Flask and a Silver Flask when you have access to them. Try to get the mod "of Staunching" for Bleed removal as fast as possible.

Good Uniques to get early on: Lifesprig, then switch to double Axiom Perpetuum, Goldrim, Tabula Rasa, Belt of the Deceiver, Wanderlust. Also, Seven-League Step (expensive) if you want to level up even faster.

Extra Uniques for when you switch to CoC: Widowmaker for good Critical Strike Chance, Gifts from Above (part of the main build as well), Maligaro’s Virtuosity, Doedre’s Damning for double curse (double curse helps until we get our core items), Lycosidae (part of the main build as well). Use Light of Lunaris or a rare shield with Life, Spell Damage, Critical, Elemental Resistances etc. if you don't have currency for Lycosidae just yet. Funnily enough, even at this level we get the maximum of 6 CoC triggers per second with just these items, the level 42 skill tree and a Silver Flask (we probably won't always crit yet though).

Note: The levels at which the following gems are listed is based on their required level. Depending on your quest progression, you might unlock these at a slightly higher level than what is shown.

Levels 1-11: Freezing PulseArcane Surge (lvl 1). Keep Arcane Surge at level 1 for now, as we want it to give the buff with just 1 cast.

- At level 8: Support Freezing Pulse with Added Cold Damage and Added Lightning Damage (keep Arcane Surge for later).

- At level 10: Flame DashArcane Surge (lvl 1).

Levels 12-44: Switch main spell to Storm Brand and also pick up Blade Vortex for additional single target DPS. Support these with Added Cold Damage and Added Lightning Damage. It's preferable to have them on seperate links.

Also, go for the "Runesmith" node on the passive skill tree for more Brand damage and an additional brand.

- At level 16: Use Herald of Ice and Herald of Thunder.

- Also at level 16: Pick up Brand Recall and link it as Flame DashArcane Surge (lvl 1)Brand Recall. Brand Recall will bring all the brands to you and activate them. Use it on packs to one shot them, or for single target.

- At level 18: Links for Storm Brand and Blade Vortex changed to:

Storm BrandElemental FocusControlled DestructionAdded Lightning Damage. Add Onslaught and Lightning Penetration and if you have a Tabula Rasa.

Blade VortexAdded Cold DamageAdded Lightning DamageControlled Destruction.

- Also at level 18: You can add Faster Casting to your Flame DashArcane SurgeBrand Recall setup.

- At about level 30 and after you complete Siosa’s quest, it’s a good idea to buy many of the build’s main gems from her to start leveling them up.

- At level 31: Get this 4-link setup to help with single target DPS (remove Blade Vortex): Lightning Spire TrapTrap and Mine DamageAdvanced TrapsAdded Lightning Damage.

- At level 34: Get Ice Golem (lvl 3) and don't level it more than level 3 as we will use it in our CWDT setup later.

- Also at level 38: Get Cast When Damage Taken (lvl 1)Immortal Call (lvl 1)Ice Golem (lvl 3).

Level 44-100: After: 1. Completing the first labyrinth for Power Charge generation, 2. Having a Diamond Flask, 3. Having a weapon with good Critical Strike Chance (Widowmaker is great as suggested earlier) and 4. Having a 4-link item for CycloneCast on Critical StrikeIce NovaIncreased Critical Strikes you can switch to CoC Ice Nova! You can switch to it later if you want to improve your items some more.

You can start using the build's main gems, but with some differences for now:

- Keep Lightning Spire trap 4-link to help with single target DPS for now.

- If you have a Tabula, use CycloneCast on CriticalIce NovaIncreased Critical StrikesFrostbolt (have a Frozen Trail jewel first) ⊶ Hypothermia.

- If you have access to a Doedre's Damning ring, switch out your heralds for BlasphemyWarlord's MarkAssassin's Mark, or if you don't have the ring, use Herald of Ice and BlasphemyWarlord's Mark.
In any case, keep leveling Herald of Ice, as we will use it later.

- Ice Golem instead of Chaos Golem since our Critical Strike Chance isn't that great yet.

When you complete the second Ascendancy replace Doedre's Damning with a rare ring (or Gifts from Above if you don't have it yet) replacing Assassin's Mark with Herald of Ice (keep Warlord's Mark). Also replace Ice Golem with Chaos Golem.

Keep Warlord's Mark until you get your Cospri's Malice, then switch it for Enfeeble.

______________________________{ THANK YOU }______________________________

Thank you exiles for taking the time to read my guide, I greatly appreciate it! This is my first guide ever, so any thoughts and feedback is welcome.

I'd also like to give special thanks to Mrpetrov, for the endless discussions we've had in the comment section about min-maxing and who helped get this build to max potential with ideas like the inclusion of Unnatural Instinct and Bubonic Trails among other things.

Also big thanks to Aim_Deep, who also took part in the discussions and provided alternative ideas.

I will keep updating and improving the guide as much as possible, hopefully even for the next league if it survives the patch notes day. (ggg plis don't nerf our CoCs)
Last edited by CheeQu on Jan 11, 2019, 2:05:35 PM
Last bumped on Aug 3, 2020, 2:37:02 PM
Seems like a great build!

Quick question: is there any other skill to use instead of cyclone that doesn't make we lose a lot of dps?

I'm an old CoC fan, but I hate cyclone gameplay lol.
Last edited by narutorage on Dec 24, 2018, 10:36:20 AM
Great build, been looking for something like this that can clear some end game content.

Quick questions:

- How does this build do in low depths? Like 350 depth or so.
- How does it deal against syndicate members? They have the hobby to one shot people.
Amazing build,it combines crazy clearspeed in mapping and also amazing boss killing ability cuz of its huge damage and burst. New CoC meta is back! I suggest you try this build it is so much fun :D
I've been looking for a good guide on this, thanks! Looking forward to your leveling tips as I haven't created this character yet, still putting gear together.
1 crit trigger 1 spell, so since your cospris has 2 spells in it, i believe you need to crit 12 per second (6aps)
I'm doing a version a bit different but just wanted to say I highly recommend playing a CoC Ice Nova. The build is insane.

iTsLee wrote:
1 crit trigger 1 spell, so since your cospris has 2 spells in it, i believe you need to crit 12 per second (6aps)
I was under this assumption as well.

Also he hasn't put out a leveling guide yet but if you're impatient here is what I personally did.(there could be a better/funner way)
leveled arc traps(6L) and LST(4L)(Can do explosive trap - lesser poison for single target until lvl 28) with a typical trap tree and gem setup and nothing special outside of your typical reroll gear (tabula, lifesprig, wanderlust, etc.). I got the major trap nodes and still pathed nearly the same as the CoC skill tree otherwise. The main quest should give you quite a lot of respec point to take out the trap nodes and I just switched over at lvl 70 in blood aqueducts. The damage almost never felt lacking
Last edited by KohZe on Dec 24, 2018, 12:24:45 PM
Awesome guide, have been waiting for the return of COC for the longest time. In your opinion, would a league start with this build be possible at all? Thanks again!
Hi, I do not really some of the mechanics. Why ice Nova in cospri while you are already triggering the one in the chest?

Does the ice Nova triggered on chest interacts with the frostbolt from cospri?
I've been following an iteration of this while trying to make it work for Occultist.

I think it would work though would be inferior overall(lack of crit vs dual curse)

Any thoughts on the viability of occultist for it?

Swapping skill points from your tree to occultist and filling the blanks shows a 20k ish average ice nova dps loss from body armor, likely due to the 9% less effective crit chance, didn't change around anything skill wise to compensate dual curse though.
Last edited by XaalNero on Dec 24, 2018, 1:53:34 PM

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