[3.9] Ice Nova Hierophant | All Content | Millions+ DPS | Much QoL | Such 11k+ ES and Armor

Welcome Exile!

This is the Freezing Santa, ;)

3.9 Update: Buff via Ivory Tower unique Armor and woke Gems (unsurprisingly).

Updated PoB: (pretty expensive and ideal Gear)


If you are uncomfortable with the Ivory Tower and want more Chaos Resistance you can look for more on rare items or allocate 'Cleansed Thoughts' which doubles Chaos Resistance.

Another possibility would be to fit in a Purity of Elements instead of Haste or Zealotry which A) would free up resistance suffixs on rare items to get chaos res and B) enables you to benefit from a Watchers Eye Mod which gives up to 50% Chaos Resistance while affected by Purity of Elements and C) leaves more Mana unreserved to soak more chaos damage.

I found nothing like that was needed as long as I got chaos res on 2 or 3 of my rares. (Dual resist crafts tend to be really good for getting some Chaos res going.)

Please be considerate that it will propably take quite long to update all Videos etc to 3.9.

3.8 Update: Buffs. Buffs everywhere. :)

I do not think going Indigon is worth it with the way it got nerfed - (imo GGG overnerfed the item - the maximum spellpower cap was enough) and it requires even more investment (via fevered Minds) to make it work due to the spellcost rework from Synthesis. And this Build never lacked in Damage before - and that got buffed anyhow from the 3.8 changes to the passive tree.

3.8 PoB update:


For Annoitments on the Amulet go for either Tranquility if you want more damage or Transcendance for more tankyness. Crusader is worthless to us since we already got Transfiguration of Mind from the Ascendency. Mystic Talents isn't bad either if you can afford nothing else.

I might update this as the league goes on.

It is an ES-based Crit-Caster which is highly viable despite the current melee focused phys-meta! (Cyclone anyone?)

At it's core this is an Low-Life Pledge of Hands Hierophant useing the very strong IceNova - Frostbolt interaction to deal damage while stacking Mana as the defensive stat.

10K+ES are easily doable while having 10k Armor to (ab)use the new and improved (vaal) Molten Shell - Immunity to all Elemental Ailments are included as is effective Stun Immunity. For sustain this build uses Leech powered by Ghost Reaver.

This build can be somewhat expensive to push into high tier maps, but since the current prices for ES gear are generaly low it is quite affordable overall. (Watcher's Eye excluded since 3.9 since it got stupid expensive with UElder being haggard to do.)

Disclaimer: I am not a big league player - I find playing league and leveling boring and to be a chore. I do enjoy making builds though - that's why I give people I know and trust builds of mine -on request- to play during league. I gotta do what I like in the game - making builds - and others enjoy cheap builds (since they tend to be slightly off-meta - at least till I post a guide ^^'). Anyhow! The reason I say this is because the Videos and ItemLinks in this thread will be provided by YT_HB and not me.

A big shoutout to the people who have found my guides helpful and enjoyable and donated anything from a couple chaos to a headhunter to me in standard, where I mostly reside. Even though this gear doesn't mean much for those peeps since they are not playing standard, it ment a lot to me and enables me to churn out guides and builds. Thank you guys so much! You know who you are! :)

Special mention to YT_HB and TheGagis who endure my constant babbeling about the latest builds.

In short:
A 10k+ Life, Ghost Reaving, Immune to all Elemental Ailments, ES Caster who shatters/freezes all enemies, paired up with a couple Million DPS.

If you absolutly feel like you have to contact me you can do so ingame @Zirinae

Without further lamentation lets take a look at how the build performs:


All recorded Videos are deathless:

T17++: Uber-Elder


T17: Shaper


Aul Depth 447:

Delve Depth 500+:

Hall of the Grandmaster:


Here is a t15 map at level 76 - to show off how strong the build is even on low levels with low level gems (lv 15 or so):


Legion 5 Way Battle:


(Please keep in mind that the character was a work in progress at the stage shown here. ;) )

T16: Enslaver:


T16: Purifier:

T16: Eradicator:


T16: Constrictor:


Red Elder:



Disclaimer: As always with my Build-Guides do take a look at the PoBs/GemLink sections instead of blindly copying items and gem-links from here.

I will go over the Build Mechanics and its links as I post the items - I found this to be the better way to go about builds and explain the mechanics then to make a seperate sections that noone really reads - and this way most people can put the mechanics I am talking about into relation to the gear used in this build.

Also please note that the gear linked here is good - but by no means at all maxed out. I explain and elaborate on each gearpiece what is important and what could be improved with it if you want to spend more currency.
Even like this though this build does some casual couple million DPS - the actual DPS is not reflected in the PoB however - see the explanation for that at Pledge of Hands in the Gear Section. I am not talking some random nonsense here - you can clearly see the build push Shaper or UElder in seconds towards their next phase in the Videos. :)

Gearing in general for this build is kinda simple:

Tier 1: This build is an ES build that stacks mana and scales it damage primarily via Crit - this means the following rolls on rare items should be the ones to look out for:

[Mana, ES, Crit Multiplier, Crit Chance]

Tier 2: Obviously other stats can as well be useful if they benefit a caster:

[spelldamge, +xy damage to spells, castspeed etc.]

Utility Tier: All the other stuff that we can make good use out of:

[Resists, Stats to wear our items/gems etc.]

Those more general and unspecific things out of the way, on to the more specific gear:

Weapon: Pledge of Hands:

This is pretty much the centerpiece of this build - it is a unique staff that tends to be fairly cheap. Getting it 6linked is propably the only real expense. Remember to quality up the staff (ideally via betrayal to 28% quality) before you try to fuse it - quality on an item improves the chances for a 6-link to happen.

The increase to mana with which the staff rolls synergises very well with the Hierophant on principle - the Hierophant being the premier manastacking class in the game.

What really makes this staff shine and so extremely good is its unique modifier 'socketed gems are supported by level 30 Greater Spell Echo Support' - this mod, not unlike its cousin 'Spell Echo' uniquely interact with Ice Nova when cast on a Frostbolt.

Usually Spell Echo (and greater Spell Echo) act kinda like the Multistrike Support for Melees - the support makes you repeat hits but locks you in place for a bit for those repeats to occur. When casting IceNova on an Frostbolt however the 'lockdown' for the repeat does not apply; thus removing the drawback of the support. Here is a gif where you can observe the novaexplosions appearing and going on long after the character stopped casting/is moving again already:

We take advantage of this mechanic by useing both Greater Spell Echo (via Pledge of Hands) and Spell Echo at the same time.

Chest: Shavronne's Wrapping:

The mandatory item for playing LowLife Builds. The drawback of a Shavs tends to be its low inherent ES value compared to rare items - as a Hierophant though we are less dependant on the ES roll of items since we get most of our Energy Shield from stacking Mana.

The Shavs enables us to reserve our lifepool for auras and heralds and by doing so we also are able to benefit from the passive keystone 'Pain Attunment'.

The Shavs for this build does *not* have to be 6-linked! This makes this whole thing kinda cheap!

Update 3.9: The Ivory Tower Unique Armor can replace the Shavs - make sure to get some Chaos Resistance on your Rare Gear though. You do not need to cap it and the drawback from Ivory Tower is kinda negligable on a Hierophant but be aware of that. Annoit Cleanesed Thoughts if you feel like you need more ways to negate Chaos Damage. I wrote a bit more at the beginning of the guide in the 3.9 Update at the top of this page.

Boots: Skyforth:

Mandatory Boots for this build - they used to cost 140EX a couple leagues back. Now they change hands for about 40c.

They are basically made for the Hierophant: They roll with *a lot* of Mana on them which essentially makes them compareable to really high ES boots on the Hierophant; they give effective Stun Immunity since we are Mana stacking like crazy *and* give us a Method to generate PowerCharges.

Really solid boots - easy to devine too since they only have one stat. The best enchant on them is either Cold Damage or Elemental Penetration.

Amulet: Atziris Foible:

Another mana related unique item.

We take it for the Mana benefits it provides and the requirement reduction of gems and gear. Just a really solid item that fits perfectly into this build. The implicit does not really have a lot of worth for us, so feel free to corrupt foibles you find. Getting Movementspeed or +max resistances on it could be nice, it isn't needed by any stretch of the imagination.

Helmet: Memory Vault:

Another unique Mana related item - this helmet provides us with a crapton of Armor for each point of Mana we reserve. Since we tend to reserve ~10k Mana that means we get over 10k Armor just from this helmet. And that is baseline, before any % increases we might pick up on the talentree.

This helmet and its huge phys mitigation/Armor is a big reason why this build is viable in the physical damage focused melee meta. It is also the reason we get so much out of Molten Shell unlike other casters.


Rare gloves to fill in resists. A Manaroll on them would be ideal - as would be getting an inherent 5link on a shaped pair (even more ideally on fingerless gloves). The Blind or Faster Casting shaped mods would line up nicely with the Frostbolt setup. None of that is mandatory however and those gloves here are just fine and do the trick - but feel free to get something better. :)
As for enchants: Anything frost related will do just fine - Commandment of Winter etc. Also always good is 'of reflection'. In general the glove enchantment isn't all that important if you do not play something that uses regeneration or is a summoner I feel like.


A Rare Belt to fill in resists primarily. Getting a bit of ES on it doesnt hurt - if you really want to go all-out you can use frigid fossils to craft increased cold damage on it. Be aware though that this will make your resulting belt unable to roll fire resists. If you do not know the pitfalls of crafting I would suggest just buying something fitting. A Crystal Belt would also make a good alternative to a stygian vise.

The Abyss Jewel in the belt is mostly just the same stuff we tend to always stack: ES, Mana and crit related things.


Ring 1:

A shaped ring to fill out our curse slot with Assassin's Mark on hit. Other then that our usual stats: ES, Mana, crit related things. This is also a solid slot for resists and stats.

Ring 2:

Same as the first ring but this time even easier to get since it doesn't need to be shaped for the Assassin's Mark.


Uniques, uniques everywhere! :P

Watcher's Eye:

This is what propably costs the most in the build. We stack Mana - and as such we ideally want the Clarity mod: 'Gain xy% of your Maximum Mana as extra Maximum Energy Shield' which obviously does a lot for us since we are stacking Mana.

The Build works just fine without such a Watchers Eye - but it will miss about 2k ES. The Build is still very workable with 'only' 6-7k ES but if you can only afford one specific Mod on a Watcher's Eye, it should be this one.

Other then that we can make use of Discipline, Hatred and Zealotry Mods:

Hatred offers two good mods for us - Crit and Penetration. Crit would be best out of all the secondary mods we can get.

Discipline could give us the ES on Hit mod which is decent, but super duper expensive in combination with the Clarity one due to the HoWa builds out there. Propably not worth it to buy unless you have it lying around. Or are just filthy rich! :P
Increased ES Recovery would be another Disc mod that is useful for us.

Zealotry has a couple good mods that are all okay - I am to lazy to list them all.

Precision has a neat Crit-Multi mod that can be worth it as well.

3x Grand Spectrum:

We stack Mana and those Grand Spectrums give us a crapton of Mana. We need 3 of them to get the most out of them. Always use either 3 or none. Since their roll is fixed people tend to like to corrupt them to get a good implict going. Not needed, but nice QoL. Try to find stuff that makes you immune to silence and corrupted blood. Other corrupts can be good as well, but thats just a luxury at this point.

Tempered Spirit:

Gives a crapton of Mana in the Assassin Node - thats where we use it. Transcendent Spirit doesn't do anything for us, you can run the non-upgraded tempered Spirit!; I just had one flying around, that's why you see it here. (Check PoB if you are unsure of where exactly to place it - the link is at the end of the guide)

Healthy Mind:

Gives a lot of Mana in the Witch Slot. Nothing more to be said here really - good and cheap jewel to get corrupts on. (Check PoB if you are unsure of where exactly to place it - the link is at the end of the guide)

Talent Tree:




(Vaal)Ice Nova + Spell Echo + Controlled Destruction + Cold Penetration + Hypothermia + Concentrated Effect

This is the setup in our Pledge of Hands. The most important support gem is Spell Echo. Conc Effect can be switched out for Increased Area for mapping purposes or if you simply do want the novas to cover more range. Other supports like Increased Critical Strikes work fine as well - do check in PoB which supports are the best for your own character. In PoB I added a Level 1 Arcane Surge to the Chain which we gain from our Ascendancy.

Ideally all gems should be lv 21/23. Level being more important then Quality. Lv 21/23 gems are pure luxery - lv 21/20 is propably way more realistic; so aim for that.


Hatred + Zealotry + (Vaal) Discipline + Enlighten + (Vaal) Clarity + Precision

This is our aura setup. Putting them in a sixlink to make 5 auras benefit from the enlighten is efficient. However a six-link is not needed. A 4 + 2 link setup is enough. In that case do not link up Clarity and Precision with the other gems. Clarity and Precision use a fixed amount of mana from our pool instead of a percentage making them really cheap for a manaphant with his giant Manareserves. As such they do comperativly benefit not as much from an enlighten relativly spoken.

All gems should ideally be lv 21; or in case of the enlighten lv 4. Quality is unimportant for them outside of group-play.

Boots - Gloves - Helmet:

The following links can be interchangably used in the last three gearslots:

(Vaal) Haste + Herald of Ice + Blood Magic + Enlighten

With this setup we reserve our lifepool away to not only benefit from the aura/herald used but also to benefit from Pain Attunment. Take note that the lv 4 Enlighten and a lv 21 Blood Magic support *are* mandatory for this to work; as well as the tree-nodes which reserve mana-reservation upkeep. If you can not afford this to do this consider to deactivate Herald of Ice and/or put Precision from the Chest-setup into it and level it up as far as your reserve allows. (As mentioned before Precision does not have a fixed percentage upkeep) If you do not understand what is happening here try to read up on reservationupkeep on the wiki first before you ask in the thread.

Ideally the gems should be level 21 for Haste (20 quality if you play in a group) if your stats allow for it. I had to use a lv 20 Haste since I was lacking a couple points of dexterity. Herald of Ice should be lv 21/20 and Blood Magic lv 21 (quality is unimportant); The Enlighten should ideally be lv 4.

Summon Ice Golem - (vaal) Molten Shell - Frost Bomb - Cast when Damage Taken

This is our CwdT setup. We use Molten Shell to make use of the high amount of armor we gain from the Memory Vault. Ideally we would have all gems at lv 21/20; but some gems might not be able to be taken quite that high due to a lack of attributes. So level them as high as your gear allows. Make sure the gems at their respective level are supported by the CwdT support gem and that gems level. (Read the tooltip of the gem, it isn't hard to understand)

Frostbolt - Greater Multiple Projectiles - Faster/Slower Projectiles - Flame Dash

Our Frostbolt setup. The only really mandatory support gem for this is GMP. Use fast or slower projectiles depending on encounter and what you feel more comfortable with. As explained we cast our nova on a frostbolt - some people prefer the frostbolts to be really fast and cover a lot of ground; others prefer them to be slow to enable as much hits from our novas to hit a boss as possible. Flame Dash does not need to be linked. It is pure utility.
If you have shaped gloves with an inbuilt 'faster casting' link consider to put this setup in it.



Atziris Promise -> for more damage

The Wise Oak -> for more damage and defense. Make sure frost resistance is the one stat you overcap the most if you are unable to balance your resists. Balanced resists would be ideal. Only the resist number in brackets on your charactersheet matters for this.

Cinderswallow Urn
-> Bananas recovery while killing as well as some movementspeed

A Diamond Flask for more Crits

A Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline since we gotta go fast ;)

We do not need flasks that deal with elemental ailments, we are immune to them. The Diamond Flask can be used for Bleed Immunity if needed.


Kill All!


The Pantheon choices are up to you and the situation you are in. So I would propably take Lunaris for things with many monsters like Delves and Blighted Maps. Solaris for Bosses.

For the minor Pantheon choice I would propably go for Poison Immunity to save a a flask slot. That is kinda minor though overall. And in general you can choose whatever you want. The Build doesn't really rely on any of those bony to function. They are just nice-to-have things ultimately.



Please check the beginning of the guide on thoughts on the Ivory Tower.


For Annoitments on the Amulet go for either Tranquility if you want more damage or Transcendance for more tankyness. Crusader is worthless to us since we already got Transfiguration of Mind from the Ascendency. Mystic Talents isn't bad either if you can afford nothing else.

I might update this as the league goes on.

Last edited by Cyrix1337 on Feb 22, 2020, 12:16:54 PM
Last bumped on Apr 16, 2020, 2:52:42 PM
Last edited by YT_HB on Aug 23, 2019, 5:44:42 PM
I'm not really familiar with spell echo but does the support gem stack with the spell echo granted by the staff?
I'm not really familiar with spell echo but does the support gem stack with the spell echo granted by the staff?

Yes, and that's why it's so crazy. It's basically a 52% more multiplier (if the math in the wiki is correct).

Wiki wrote:
Greater Spell Echo causes supported spells to repeat twice (instead of once), but has no cast speed modifier (instead of 51-70% more cast speed). Repeats deal more Spell Damage and have increased Area of Effect per Repeat. Can combine with Spell Echo Support, that adds 3rd repeat with 105% more Damage. The effective DPS multiplier (including the more cast speed) of a 20/0 Spell Echo Support is 1.53, of Greater Spell Echo Support is 1.35, and of both together is 2.33.[1] The spell damage multiplier of a 20/0 Spell Echo Support is .9, of Greater Spell Echo Support is 1.35, and of both together is 1.525

Path of Building does not currently (v1.4.140) implement Greater Spell Echo Support. In order to simulate DPS with the staff the "Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 30 Greater Spell Echo" mod must be replaced with "Socketed Gems deal 52% more Spell Damage" when using Spell Echo Support, or with "Socketed Gems deal 35% more Spell Damage" when not using that support.[1]

This support does not appear to affect skills such as Blade Vortex which don't hit directly from the cast.
Last edited by YT_HB on Aug 24, 2019, 9:14:56 PM
I'm not really familiar with spell echo but does the support gem stack with the spell echo granted by the staff?

It not only stacks as YT_HB mentioned (which is good on its own) but it also has a unique interaction with Ice Nova - as described in the Guide. :)

It makes the staff competetive for hierophants that use icenova - like this build here. For almost all other classes/skills you would propably want a rare staff, but for this specific combination Pledge of Hands is Best in Slot.

Which is neat! Unique items that are BiS tend to be a cheaper then Mirrored Rares which are BiS otherwise, usually.
elemental reflect?
Are you able to run the those maps with reflect reduction and sapphire flask?
LegendaryOne wrote:
elemental reflect?
Are you able to run the those maps with reflect reduction and sapphire flask?

No Idea! I usually just reroll those maps as is normal. But this is something to test out for sure! :)
Cyrix1337 wrote:
LegendaryOne wrote:
elemental reflect?
Are you able to run the those maps with reflect reduction and sapphire flask?

No Idea! I usually just reroll those maps as is normal. But this is something to test out for sure! :)

I didn't try to get to a point to handle the ele reflect. I just rerolled like usual.
I currently don't have character to test but here's what I would do if it was a map I wanted to run.

Attempt to get the sextant mod that negates reflect first as its the best option

1. Run a sapphire flask
2. Soul of Yugul
3. Ash Frost & storm notable
4. Sibyl's Lament Left ring slot


so 15% of the damage from reflect less 20% and reduced by resistances...

Anyone wants to try any/all of these please provide feedback.

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