[3.20] Ice Dancing Queen - Icestorm/Cyclone/CI - Viable For Everything
Turn Wraeclast into a skating rink and pirouette all over the endgame!
Demo video: Mapping in T16 (budget gear)
Demo video: The Maven (well geared)
The main idea is to be tanky and mobile enough to faceroll everything in your way. 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.
Uber pinnacle bosses (with the Trickster and Occultist versions):
[3.19] Uber Shaper
[3.19] Uber Uber Elder
[3.18] Uber Cortex
[3.19] Uber Exarch
[3.19] Uber Eater
[3.20] Uber Maven
[3.20] Uber Sirus
Some older videos:
[3.18] Uber Invitations
[3.16] Simulacrum Wave 30
[3.16] SSF Endless Delve
[3.15] Uber Lab at lv 72
[3.12] 100% Delirium T19
[3.10] Aul at 1k Depth
[3.8] Uber Elder
This build is based on The Whispering Ice unique staff. Icestorm damage scales from Int, therefore Int is the main stat.
The build is immune to stun, shock, ignite, freeze, chill, corrupted blood (optional), and all forms of chaos damage. It also heavily mitigates curses.
Key mechanics: Int stacking, cold damage with a lot of resist penetration, AoE freeze, Chaos Inoculation, Block, ES leech, ES regen, 2-3 curses, Elemental Overload, Arcane Surge.
Is this a good league starter?
The answer REALLY depends on your personal play style and league goals.
Leveling with Icestorm is super easy. But it's not the fastest way to move forward, there are MUCH faster builds. It uses cheap leveling uniques. But they don't become widely available until a few hours after the league start.
If you want to race through the Acts and into the maps as soon as the servers unlock then this is not something this build can do. But if you are in no hurry, or starting late, then sure enough, this build is a cheap and easy way to cakewalk through the storyline and start mapping. It doesn't require any expensive gear or 6L items even for the endgame content.
Use the Community version of PoB.
3.19 Leveling trees
3.19 Budget Cluster version (lv 92)
3.19 High End Full Build
Note that there is a disconnected node at the Templar start. Take it when you do the Uber Lab (Path of the Templar).
Kill them all
Ascendant: Occultist, Inquisitor, Path of the Templar - in that order
Major: Solaris (fully upgraded)
Minor: Yugul (upgraded)
When can I switch to the cluster tree?
As soon as you obtain a Large Cluster jewel of the Cold type with no more than 10 nodes and two Split Personality jewels with Int+anything. You don't need the perfect jewels to clear any maps and start killing endgame bosses. The cheapest versions will do. Roll the cluster jewel to get Cold To The Core, and you are good to go. Work on better jewels later.
Other versions of the build
Ascendant is super easy to level and gear up, and it takes care of all problems you may encounter. If you have never played a Whispering Ice build before, start with the Ascendant.
There is also an Occultist version. It's a bit "more advanced". Its main feature is AoE explosions resulting in an awesome clear speed. It also does a bit more damage than the Ascendant. However, it's harder on mana, does not regen ES, and is not immune to stun and curses. All those issues can be dealt with, but you have to have some experience with the build and understand how it works. This version got hit by nerfs in 3.20 and may not be viable anymore.
A Trickster version was added in 3.19 and proved to be the strongest by far, almost unkillable. I highly recommend playing this version until it gets nerfed.
!!! This is an Int stacking build. It scales from Int in multiple ways. Other than the build-enabling weapon and very special boots, every single piece of gear must provide a high amount of Int. Do not neglect Int on your items.
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 CwC needs to be linked to Cyclone, the rest of the links only make you spend more mana. 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. You can do it much cheaper than via the crafting bench with average luck, as long as it's 20q.
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.
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).
Shaper/Crusader amulets can do better but they can be very expensive and may require Str and Dex from other sources. Upgrading Astramentis to a good rare amulet should be one of the final steps.
Use Intrinsic Catalyst for max stats and anoint it (see Anointment).
The Stampede lets you cyclone at 150% movement speed without using Quicksilver flasks. This comes at the price of Int, ES and resists of good rare boots. But this is a Blight league unique and it can be anointed with one of the two very powerful mods used by this build. The quality of life these boots provide is simply awesome and is well worth sacrificing some stats.
Helmet, chest, gloves
Use rares. The most important stat is Int, followed by ES and resists.
Go for these upgrades when you can afford them:
Hunter helmets can have a 10% increased Intelligence mod.
Shaper and Crusader body armors can have a 12% increased Intelligence mod. Also, 6% increased Attributes can be crafted on any body armor.
Eldritch currency can be used to craft Unnerve and extra damage per Int on any decent Int/ES/resist gloves.
See > this post < for some tips how to craft such items. Harvest got nerfed, no more prefix rerolls, it's harder now.
Ideally a synthesized belt with %Int, flat +Int and more useful mods. Aspect of the Spider can be beast-crafted on it as well.
- String of Servitude with high %Int
- Cyclopean Coil with high %Attr
Rare rings with 50+ Int and as much ES and resistance as you can find. Ideally they should be Synthesized with the 6% Int implicit. Use Intrinsic Catalyst for more Int, or Prismatic if you are struggling to max resists.
Astramentis is great. But eventually you can upgrade it to a rare amulet with percentage and flat Int and extra damage per Int. The most expensive versions (Shaper/Crusader dual inflienced) can have double %Int/Attr mods.
Always use Intrinsic Catalyst.
Note: Replacing Astramentis will result in a big loss of Str and Dex. Always check in PoB before doing that. Make sure you can still use all items and gems. Str and Dex gems can be downgraded to a lower level. Cyclone (Dex) doesn't need to be higher than lv 1. You can take 30 Dex or Str node near Elemental Overload. Most importantly, check if the damage gained by this upgrade is worth the trouble. Only very good rare amulets are really better than a high-rolled Astramentis.
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.
Helmet is a big lottery (reduced mana reservation for the auras would be nice).
None of the glove enchantments matter.
Do not use crappy items with useful enchantments, they are not worth the sacrifice.
You have 2 items that can be anointed: amulet and The Stampede boots. Anoint them with:
1. Tranquility (Golden, Golden, Azure) - a huge damage boost.
2. Steelwood Stance (Teal, Teal, Azure) - a major defensive feature.
If you are just starting and can't afford Golden Oil yet, grab a cheap 30 Int node (Clear, Clear, Amber).
You will need several Brute Force Solution and Fertile Mind jewels to convert Str and Dex nodes to Int, with their own Int on top of that.
The same node can be converted by multiple overlapping jewels. In this build some small Str and Dex nodes are double-converted for 20 Int each.
These jewels are cheap and can be used to get useful corruptions:
- immunity to Corrupting Blood: great for mapping, must have for Sirus
- 1% cold or elemental penetration
- 2% mana reservation efficiency: if you are running out of mana
Rare jewels with good mods can be used in the other sockets that don't have Str/Dex nodes nearby. 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 mixed attributes (Int/Str, Int/Dex or All Attr)
+8-10% all resists
14-16% Increased Spell damage while wielding a staff
14-16% Increased Cold damage
10-12% Increased Spell damage
10-12% Increased Area damage
Pure Talent gives you 25 All Attr for playing a Scion and 5% resist penetration for taking one of the Templar starting nodes (via Path of the Templar).
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).
(8-12)% of Physical damage from Hits takes as Fire/Cold/Lightning damage while affected by Purity of Elements - additional phys damage mitigation.
Gain (6-9)% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity - a lot of extra ES.
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, just nice to have.
Cluster jewels take the build to a whole new level. They add a huge amount of Int and damage. But they are expensive and not available early in a new league.
The main part of the cluster version of the build is the Large cluster jewel with two Split Personality jewels at the very end of a long and winding tree. The longer the tree path from the start to them, the more Int and ES they provide.
The large cluster needs to be of the Cold type, with the Cold To The Core notable. Ideally, it should have 8 nodes and another useful notable such as Blanketed Snow.
To see the exact placement of the notables, you need to copy the jewel from the game (Ctrl-C) or the trade website (the Copy button), paste it into PoB (Items -> Create Custom -> Ctrl-V -> Add to Build), and put it into any empty socket at the edge of the tree.
2 Split Personality jewels with Int+ES should be placed into the farthest cluster. If you can't afford Int+ES, use Int+Armour as a cheap alternative.
Megalomaniac jewels can have any 3 random cluster notables. The most valuable ones are worth getting even when there is nothing else good on the jewel. They can also be found on Medium or Small clusters.
- Cold to the Core: more damage
- Blanketed Snow: more damage
- Genius: more Int
- Master of Fear: more damage
- Wish for Death: culling strike
Forbidden Flame/Flesh jewels let you add another Ascendancy node. It's an expensive high end option not required for the build to function, just very nice. For this build, these Scion Ascendancies are worth using:
Arcane Surge Support, ideally 21/20, x2
Ball Lightning lv 1
Bonechill Support 20/20, ideally Divergent
Cast When Damage Taken Support lv 1
Cast When Damage Taken Support with REQUIRED lv matching Immortal Call, ideally Anomalous 20q
Cast While Channelling Support lv 15-16
Clarity, ideally lv 21
Cold Penetration 20/20, ideally Awakened
Concentrated Effect Support, ideally 20/20
Cyclone any level
Discipline lv 20
Elemental Focus Support 20/20, ideally Awakened
Elemental Proliferation Support lv 20, ideally Divergent 20/20
Elemental Weakness 20/20
Enfeeble 20/20, ideally 21/20
Frost Bomb lv 1
Frostbite lv 20, ideally Divergent 20/20
Frostblink lv 20
Hextouch Support 20/20
Hypothermia Support lv 20, ideally Anomalous 20/20
Immortal Call lv up to your Str, ideally Anomalous 20q
Increased Duration Support lv up to your Str, 20q
Inspiration Support 20/20, x2
Intensify Support 20/20
Purity of Elements lv 20, ideally Anomalous 20/20
Vortex lv 1
Frost Shield, ideally lv 21
Culling Strike lv 1
Phantasmal Wave of Conviction 20/20
Don't bother obtaining expensive 21/20 (or Awakened lv 6) gems for the staff. It already gives them +1 level, and there is no difference between lv 21 and 22, with the exception of Arcane Surge.
Sockets and Links
Carrying two staves and swapping between them with X is the best setup:
For map clearing: Cyclone - CwC lv 15, Inspiration, Arcane Surge, Elemental Proliferation (5S), Hypothermia (6S). Cyclone must be linked to CwC. You don't need to link anything else. Icestorm automatically uses all support gems in the staff. CwC should be lv 15 or 16 (> here's why <).
For single target: Intensify, Inspiration, Arcane Surge, Concentrated Effect, Elemental Focus (5S), Cold Penetration (6S). No links required.
You can kill most bosses even with your AoE freezing staff that you use for clearing the map. But they die a lot faster with a dedicated single target setup.
5L: CWDT lv 1 - Ball Lightning lv 1 - Hextouch (20/20) - Enfeeble (lv 20) - Frostbite (lv 20)
Important: CWDT and BL need to be lv 1, do not level these gems! Hextouch can be any level, 20/20 is highly recommended. The curses must be lv 6 or higher, level them up. 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. Curses lower than lv 6 will get triggered by CWDT directly, apply to a small area and eat all your mana.
If you don't have a 5L chest yet, drop Frostbite (or Enfeeble if you feel safe enough).
If you get a 6L, take Whispers of Doom and add Elemental Weakness as the 6th link.
Gloves, boots, helmet
4L: CWDT - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Frost Bomb lv 1
Eventually replace Frost Bomb with Phantasmal Wave of Conviction 20q for a more efficient application of Cold Exposure (note that it must be Phantasmal and 20q). Use Immortal Call level depending on your Str. Anywhere between lv 10-17 is good. The REQUIRED level of CWDT should match the REQUIRED level of IC to trigger it.
Do not place this link into the item with Aspect of the Spider. ID will increase its mana reservation!
2L: Vortex - Bonechill
Optionally add Culling Strike for the bosses.
Place in any free sockets: aura gems and any extras (Frostblink, Frost Shield). Make sure not to link the aura gems to any supports that can increase their mana cost.
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.
3. Purity of Elements
4. Aspect of the Spider (optional)
All flasks are optional, this build does not depend on flasks for anything.
Heres what I currenty use:
If you get your resists right, The Wise Oak provides a solid damage bonus (and a bit of defense). Atziri's Promise is good for damage too.
Rumi's is great for block and phys mitigation - important defenses.
Making all these flasks trigger on rares and bosses lets you clear maps without ever worrying about flasks.
Cyclone and Frostblink through the map, freeze everything. Drop Vortex on packs and rares to make them take more damage via Bonechill.
For the boss, switch to the single target staff and melt it. Use Frostblink to move without interrupting your casting and losing Intensify stacks. Use Vortex when near the boss for extra damage and culling. Use Frost Shield for extra mitigation.
Dealing with map mods
This build can run any maps with almost any possible mod combinations. Most of them can be ignored, except a few that require special attention:
Mana flasks that don't end on full mana. And/or rings crafted with the mod that recoups some damage as mana. Generally this is too annoying and you should try to avoid it.
If you don't have a Watcher's Eye jewel with +ES gain on hit, then don't face tank anything, kill everything from range. Watcher's Eye trivializes the clearing, then you just need to be careful while tanking endgame bosses.
Yugul mitigates 50% of reflected damage. For the other 50% use a swap ring or a cheap Watcher's Eye with an anti-reflect mod.
This mod will greatly reduce your leech. Be careful around bosses that do persistent damage (e.g. Eradicator).
Reduced Chance to Block
This mod will make you take more damage. Can be dangerous in combination with other extra damage mods.
-12% to Maximum Resistances
You'll be taking a bit more elemental damage, but very few things hit hard enough to hurt this build.
You constantly drop consecrated ground (50% curse mitigation) and use Yugul (30% curse mitigation). This lets you pretty much ignore curses.
Detailed leveling guide is in the next post.
Get to lv 33-38 any way you can (for example: Icicle Mines - Minefield plus Skitterbots). Or the good old Freezing Pulse.
As soon as you are able to use the staff, switch to Icestorm. At lv 38 start cycloning. Or go with the self-cast Intensify setup for massive damage. Keep your resists maxed. Switch to CI after taking the ES leech nodes whenever you feel comfortable - around lv 52-58, definitely should be CI by lv 70.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Mar 30, 2023, 1:17:05 PM
Last bumped on May 14, 2023, 9:42:12 PM
Leveling Guide (3.19)
PoB Leveling Trees
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)
And the useful early game upgrade recipes
White boots + Quicksilver + Orb of Augmentation = 10% ms boots
N% ms magic/rare boots + Quicksilver + Orb of Augmentation = N+5% ms boots
Magic wand + Ruby/Topaz/Sapphire ring + Orb of Alteration = +ele dmg to spells
You can get to lv 33-39 any way you like. I like blowing everything up with Icicle Mine.
Hillock: Buy Stormblast Mine from Nessa and play a miner.
Medicine chest: take Arcane Surge and level it in a free socket.
Drain the underwater passage: take Frost Bomb and Frostblink, buy Swift Assembly and support Stormblast Mine.
Play style: drop Frost Bombs as you walk past mobs. You don't need to kill them all, it's enough that some of them die. When you see a particularly juicy pack, a rare or a boss: pop Frost Bomb, throw 3-4 mines, then hold Detonate and keep throwing mines.
Prison or Brutus: take Added Lightning and support Frost Bomb with it.
Merveil Caves: buy Icicle Mine and replace Stormblast with it.
The Weaver: take Concentrated Effect and level it in a free socket. buy Controlled Destruction and support Icicle Mine with it. Whenever you find 4L - add Arcane Surge to Icicle Mine. If you have 3L for Frost Bomb - add CD to it.
Crematorium: take Purity of Elements and start using it
Gravicius: take Cyclone
Library: buy Inspiration and Discipline and level them in free sockets. Buy Clarity and start using it.
Lv 33 (optional): can start using self-cast Icestorm. Support it with Inspiration (red), Arcane Surge (blue), Intensify (blue), CE (blue). You can add more supports (Elemental Focus, Cold Penetration) if you have more sockets but it will cost a lot more mana. 3-4 supports is already fine. Don't need any links in the staff!
Voll: take Frost Shield
Kaom/Daresso, lv 38: buy CwC
Recommended cheap uniques for leveling from 39 to 70:
Auras: Clarity, Purity of Elements, Discipline.
Start cycloning. The staff should have at least 4 sockets, and only 1 link is needed (Cyclone - CwC).
Sockets in the staff:
1. Cyclone (green).
2. CwC (blue, linked to Cyclone).
3. Inspiration (red).
4. Arcane Surge (blue).
Optional sockets: Concentrated Effect (blue), Elemental Focus (blue), Cold Penetration (green).
Mana may be tight. If you keep running out of mana, use fewer gems in the staff. Don't waste mana by cycloning when there are no enemies around (it's very slow anyway). Mana flasks and/or Praxis ring can help too.
You may need to get some Str and Dex from gear to meet the requirements. And just go with Int, resists and life.
Once you are using Icestorm, do the Normal lab and keep rolling. Upgrade your items as you get more currency. Do Cruel lab when it unlocks too (Act 7).
Other useful skills:
CWDT - Immortal Call - Enfeeble
Vortex lv 1 + Bonechill
Frost Bomb lv 1
Get ES leech nodes and go CI around lv 56-58, before Act 8.
Then just grab some ES and more damage and steamroll the rest of the campaign. You should arrive at lv 69 just in time for Kitava. Do Merciless lab before Kitava (30% resistance hit). Make sure to have Granite and Basalt flask for Izaro.
Video: Leveling with WI (old)
And if you are still not CI - now it's definitely time to switch and get some ES gear for mapping.
Last edited by Kelvynn on Dec 8, 2022, 1:33:36 PM
Last edited by Kelvynn on Jan 15, 2021, 2:50:06 AM
welcome back. I am really super happy that you are back in wraeclast.
And you uber elder fight looks really really hillious. I try it now in std with my gear from the last leagues. i never could kill him. Will see if it works with cyclone.
great video and cool musik. I like your ideas to make every league a new picture and guide. I never saw a guide so detailt and easy to start with.
on Sep 6, 2019, 1:55:03 AM
Awesome work look forward to the leveling guide
HURRAY FOR THE CWC CYCLONE BANDWAGON!!!
This variant was a blast to play in 3.7; the mobility of cyclone just makes mapping so smooth.
Also, is occultist mini Ascendancy still best? If you never stop cycloning you will never be stunned as Cyclone comes with stun immunity while channeling it.
Just some food for thought.
Last edited by Gryphenprey on Sep 6, 2019, 2:48:41 AM
on Sep 6, 2019, 2:45:53 AM
Because Kelvynn is back and he has always the greatest ideas when it comes to Whispering Ice build variants i think i will jump also into Cyclone-IceStorm bandwagon for this league and put to rest the previous Winter Orb setup of his build :)
For those interested in numbers(stats) for this build with endgame gear (almost perfect gear i can say) and level 100 character here is the PoB pastebin code of my approach based on my Legion character (Vanilla_IceStorm lv 100)
Bellow is a screenshot from the PoB with the tree and numbers from Path of Building updated 3.8 tree
Last edited by lilianmarius on Sep 6, 2019, 4:15:25 AM
on Sep 6, 2019, 4:13:32 AM
If we could get Whispers of Doom notable enchant on the amulet to get free 2nd course maybe taking Champion mini ascendancy instead of Occultist mini ascendancy would be an option.
But then again there is also Tranquility notable enchant than can be anointed on the Amulet and we don't know yet how OP that enchantment is for our build.
Also the 1.5% ES regen from Occultist mini ascendancy helps a lot when using Blood Rage to bypass the physical degen of it.
Last edited by lilianmarius on Sep 6, 2019, 5:45:12 AM
on Sep 6, 2019, 5:43:54 AM
Maybe use skitterbots over AA to get shock+chill auras? And Golem Commander might be nice for two golems with more effect?
Last edited by foojin on Sep 6, 2019, 7:00:16 AM
We don't have free gem sockets for golems(not even for one but for two). Also skill points spent to get Golem Commander can easily be spent to get more Intelligence always.
Regarding skitterbots, i am not familiar with this new skill how can this one improve this build, can you detail please?
on Sep 6, 2019, 7:39:41 AM