[3.10] Wip - Crit Staff Glacial Hammer Inquisitor, great beginner build, great for Ps4/XBox.

3.16 Disclaimer:
Every league I want to come back to this guide and bring it up to speed and improve it and this league is no different. I'm playing on console though so league start is very delayed and since the whole tree and a lot of other details change, I want to play this build again before I update the guide.
But here is my preliminary PoB for 3.16: https://pastebin.com/z9cHghX9
I've been playing this build as my main in every single league since 3.9 and it's still my go to comfort and favorite build. I keep trying other meta and non meta skills but nothing can beat the crunch and simple scaling and great crowd control of Glacial Hammer. I mostly played in SSF too and it's not that much worse. You often won't find a Winter Burial but that is just a straight damage nerf since you lose one link to Melee Splash which is also worse than the jewel splash. Unfortunately there are no cold clusters in reach to get the 40% phys to cold so that will still be a job for your glove slot.

Work in Progress disclaimer:
Preliminary PoB (at least it has leveling trees): https://pastebin.com/7eyjhJWX (I'll try to complete the PoB on the first day of Delirium)
and you can look at my Blight character tk_EisAmStiel on my console account or my 3.9 version: tk_Calippo

Tldr: Crit and Staves are good, Crit and Cold are good, let's put this together and add enemy resistance ignoring from the Inquisitor Ascendancy for smooth obliterating of Rares and Bosses, automatic Charge generation, some tankiness, Winter Burial jewels to turn Glacial Hammer into a clearing skill and you got a build that feels great and just works without any investment or rare stuff.

3.10 -not much changes for this build. We get a few % more aoe on a cluster. Cluster Jewels themselves are cool and we path by 2 good jewel slots but I haven't found a "must have" cluster jewel for this build. Fortify on hit is nice but there aren't many more other good supports so we might as well stick with it. Freeze proliferation isn't interesting to us since we proliferate our whole attack which freezes. everything else seems to be more sidegrades but you can now choose to specialize more into area of effect or blocking if you want.

Who am I?
Hi, I'm Simon aka trollkind. I play PoE since closed Beta, never missed a league but also never got really far into endgame as I'm an altoholic and spread myself too thin across too many games and other interests and I'm one of the slowest players alive I guess. I love to make my own builds though and most turn out at least "viable" especially in this power creep.

Who is this build for?
If you're new to the game and don't want to instantly get spoiled by an all content trivializing meta build, if you are looking for a build that requires little special gear and doesn't have some complicated mechanics that only start to come together after acquiring a bunch of expensive and rare items. You can easily level as this and it will slowly grow mechanically and in Power. It's designed to not have any roadblocks and should be able to do all content. I did my first deathless Mastermind and deathless Atziri with it (filthy casual, I know). It has great crowd control and a crunchy impactful feeling.

Who is this build NOT for?
The zoom zoom veterans that scoff at any build that doesn't dish out 2+ Shapers/second DPS and clears two screens per click.

Common complaints and worries:

So this is a zero DPS build?
Not at all. It can do 1mil+ on Shaper with Buff Flasks, some Shock from your Totems, the two totems themselves, the optional Bonechill from an Arctic Breath totem. For serious focused single target. Unfortunately I only got to Tier 9 maps but the bosses still felt like T1 bosses as I finally just got a 5L and 6L should do the same with red maps. Rares die in 1-4 hits, bosses in 3-5 while they are frozen. It certainly didn't feel like low DPS but depending on your experience with op builds, it might.

I played Glacial Hammer/2 handed weapons before and they sucked!
That may have been true in the old days but that was before Ancestral Call multiplying our attacks with almost 360° autotargeting and longer reach and an attack animation that hit's everything it sweeps over, giving 2 handed weapons (especially staves) a lot more coverage. The Winter Burial jewels then give us 100% cold splash without a gem slot and it also shotguns! This makes Blight a breeze and if 3 Syndicate members spawn near each other, they die three times as fast. Any boss with lesser monsters around them has a very bad day and all of that with minimal investment into area of effect. It seems to proliferate in a way I haven't fully figured out yet but it's magnificent to behold.

Probably. The freezing works out as a great defensive tool and my only deaths in Blight were to insanely stacked projectiles from Blight lanes while my game was at 1 fps. You should know what to do though, basic rules of movement and engaging enemies safely. You totems also help a lot and you can have some more anti lag/dc defense with reactionary attacks.

SSF? you said this build wouldn't need any rare gear.
Well, unfortunately it really needs the Winter Burial jewels and Hegemony's Era is such a perfect early endgame item that I wouldn't recommend it for SSF. Should you find one Winter Burial jewel, you might try it though. Just craft your own Warstaff for mapping and use Hrim gloves or annoint Winter Spirit later on. You can somewhat target farm unique staves but there are so many unique jewels that chances are very slim that you will find a second Winter Burial.

2h wepaon attack animations are too damn slow!
There seems to be a breakpoint around 2 attacks per second (0.5s attack time) that uses a faster attack animation without the huge windup and feels a lot better. You should reach this around the end of the campaign. You can use something to get Onslaught, like a Silver Flask to reach this earlier.

Knockback? That's so annoying.
Eh, it's ok. We hit rather slow but hard so most fights are over before your target can move that far. It's also fun to bully a boss into a corner, frozen and pushed around and you can play knockback pingpong with your totem! Also Metamorphs are immune, which is nice.

Alira for sweet Mana regen while leveling, resistances and crit multi.
If you are a Pro and know that you will have fantastic jewels in late game and get there soon, you might be better off with Killing all for the 2 passive points.
For those on the fence, go with Alira now and respec your bandit choice later.

Offensive and Veteran variant:
Righteous Providence -> Inevitable Judgement -> Augury of Penitence -> Sanctuary
Recommended for new players who league start with this build:
Sanctuary -> Righteous Providence -> Inevitable Judgement -> Augury of Penitence
Basically Sanctuary is mostly used for life and mana regeneration and shouldn't be needed if you have decent gear and skills but can still be very nice to have in Labyrinth runs and help new players survive and have a smoother leveling experience.

Gem Links:
6L (Staff or Body Armour):
Glacial Hammer - Ancestral Call - Elemental Damage with Attacks - Fortify - Ruthless - Melee Physical Damage
If you're stuck with a blue socket, use Increased Critical Damage, if stuck with a green socket Hypothermia.
2nd 6L (Staff or Body Armour):
Vaal Ancestral Warchief - Physical to Lightning - Pulverise - Elemental Damage with Attacks - Ruthless - Melee Physical Damage
4L Aura Setup:
Hatred - Blasphemy - Assassin's Mark - Precision (Level 1)
use Frostbite instead of Assassin's Mark until you get Inevitable Judgement
4L Mobility/Utility:
Leap Slam - Faster Attacks - Vengeance - Endurance Charge on Melee Stun
4L CWDT: (I'm still finetuning this one)
Cast When Damage Taken (Level 1) - Cold Snap (Level 7) - Bonechill - Increased Duration
For Survivability you could also use:
Cast When Damage Taken - Cold Snap - Steelskin - Increased Duration
but I found self casting Steelskin in anticipation better for Metamorph and the more frequent Cold Snap triggering meant good Frenzy charge uptime. So I used the low level variant, skipped Bonechill and put a max level Steelskin there instead.

Depth Perception has all we want and is very cheap:
15% increased Global Accuracy Rating
+20 to Dexterity
25% increased Critical Strike Chance
+100 to Accuracy Rating
This gives us the last points of Dexterity we need and usually brings me from 95% to hit to 100%, the crit bonus is just the cherry on top.
If your gear already has more than enough Accuracy and Dexterity, please write here what you annointed instead. Good candidates are Lust for Carnage or Blood Drinker to get Life leech from Attack Damage with either 8% Life or 12% attack Speed or you could go for more block chance with Steelwood Stance.

Mods to look for on Rares:
-Elemental Resistances until cap
-Phys Damage to Attacks
-Crit Chance/Multiplier
-Generic Damage
-Chance to deal double damage

-Attack Speed
-Elemental Resistances until ~30% over cap
-Chaos Resistance until 20-30%
-Cold Damage to Attacks
-Cold/Elemental Damage
-Anything positive for Power Charges

Still Ok:
-Lightning Damage to Attacks

-Freeze Chance (we're freezing with crits)
-Stun/Poison/Bleed (only our totem is dealing some physical damage)

... is not a troll
Last edited by trollkind on Oct 22, 2021, 1:08:06 PM
Last bumped on Apr 22, 2020, 12:58:20 PM
I'll once again league start with this but again will probably have little time in the first week because of work. I'll try to update and complete this guide early in the league though.

Good leveling uniques:
The Peregrine
500 accuracy is a lot and will keep you ahead of the curve through the whole campaign. The mana leech with your own mana regeneration is more than enough for prolonged fights. 10% Movement Speed on a helmet, lovely. The Lightning Resistance and Item Rarity is bonus but appreciated. In fact, this helmet is still on me in maps. There's just too many good things on it.

Wake of Destruction
Simply for the huge Lightning Damage to Attacks bonus. This makes your weapon rolls a bit less relevant until the end of the campaign.

The Stormheart
Very solid base and elemental damage, great crit chance and better chance of shocks before we get our crit chance up and the totem going.

First Leveling Tree.

Act I:
-Use any 2h Mace, Staff or even a scepter if you find a good one but the 1h animations are slow with very little coverage. Staff is ideal as it hits the most enemies but early staffs will probably not have good melee rolls. Don't try to craft them.
-Enemy at the Gate: Smite is a very decent elemental attack leveling skill. You might want to use that until you can socket your first Winter Burial jewel.
-Mercy Mission: Get the Ancestral Call gem and support Glacial Hammer/Smite. Go back to Nessa and buy a Ruthless Support. Use that if you have 3 red linked sockets, otherwise level it for now. If you have a green link, you could also get an Onslaught for some speed boost on kill but don't level it too far since we won't have much Dexterity.
-Breaking some Eggs: Get the totem gem Ancestral Protector and let it tank for you and kill stragglers. As your second gem reward you can use Frostblink for a thematically fitting movement spell but we will soon get Leap Slam and use that for the rest of the game since it has no cooldown, stuns and gets pretty fast eventually. You could get a Frost Bomb gem from Nessa to help debuff tough bosses/metamorphs but it's an extra button to press and we will ignore resists at some point and it only helps with Cold damage. You could also get a War Banner gem since it buffs accuracy and the physical portion of our damage for a small mana reservation.
-As soon as you get an ok weapon, just hit a group of enemies once, what dies, dies. Don't try to full clear zones or you'll be frustrated with melee. Later on with 100% hit and almost 100% crit, everything will vanish into ice shards with one hit, don't worry about it feeling clunky right now.
-The Prison: Get the Added Fire Damage gem. We won't use it for long but it's at least scaling elemental weapon damage.
-The Caged Brute: it's Leap Slam time! Will feel somewhat slow for now. Link a Faster Attacks to it once you get it in Act II.
-Save up Essences of Hatred and Contempt to use on white/normal Warstaves. The first one is Iron Staff and can drop from the Ship Graveyard zone onwards (highest item drop level is zone level +2 from rare and unique enemies). If your weapon is falling behind on DPS and you find a Warstaff base, use 4 Blacksmith's Whetstones for 20% quality and use an essence (or Orb of Alchemy if you're desperate or rich) to make it rare. Good luck!
-The Siren's Cadence: None of the free gems are useful for us.

Act II:
-Choose to help Alira to make mana a non issue. Crit Multi and the resistances will also help of course. If you already have a fantastic jewel, you might go for the passives instead but you could always respec later if you get one.
-Intruders in Black: I'd go for Herald of Purity for the Phys damage and minions that help with stragglers and distracting monsters are a nice bonus. Herald of Ice sounds fitting but you don't scale pure cold damage enough to make the explosions worthwhile and as soon as you slot in a Winter Burial, everything explodes into ice shards anyway.
-Sharp and Cruel: Pick Elemental Damage with Attacks and also get a Melee Physical Damage gem from Yeena. These of course should be linked to your main attack if possible. Your totem is a good spot to support if you don't have enough links for your main skill.
-Other gems to consider are Physical to Lightning which I use with the totem to get occasional shocks, since the totem doesn't get your cold conversion but your great crit stats and elemental scaling. Faster Attacks and Endurance Charge on Stun for your Leap Slam. This will smooth out Endurance Charge generation/conservation especially if linked with the Vengeance retaliation attack in early Act III.

If you have a Winter Burial jewel ready, get the jewel slot just north from the intelligence side, otherwise fill out the staff wheel except the two northernmost small nodes and keep looking for a Winter Burial in the Trade Market on consoles or on https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Metamorph/aBZpSe. Just get two if available and go for the second jewel slot early. If no jewels are available just advance towards the next leveling tree. If it's not the league start anymore you might as well look for 14-15% Cold Damage and/or a nice corrupted implicit. Just be aware that a corrupted implicit will raise the minimum level requirement.

Next leveling tree until after the first Labyrinth

Act III:
-Lost in Love: You won't use any of the gem rewards long term but Frostbite can help with highly resistant or healthy enemies for now. You can buy a Vengeance gem from Clarissa now though. This counterattack can keep you safe on a disconnect and generate some Endurance Charges for you with the Endurance Charge on Stun Support.
-Sever the Right Hand: None of the rewards are for us unless you don't have a Winter Burial and still level with Smite, then you might want to give Ice Crash a try to get into the cold side of things. You can buy an Ancestral Warchief gem from Clarissa now and should replace your Ancestral Protector with it. If you're in trade league or got lucky with Vaal areas, use a Vaal Ancestral Warchief instead. You can have the normal and Vaal versions summoned at the same time and together they are a huge boost for boss fights.
-A Fixture of Fate: Get your free Fortify gem and link it to your main attack if you can. You can also buy a Pulverise from Siosa for your totem (since the Warchief does aoe damage unlike the Protector) and a Blasphemy to link with your Assasin's Mark to help your crits and Power Charge generation. Also get a Hatred aura gem to complete your aura setup. Check your Dexterity before leveling it too far unless you're close to a +30 Dexterity node.

Act IV:
-Breaking the Seal: Choose the Ice Golem as a reward. It enhances accuracy and critical chance, two things we care about. If you get tired of resummoning it, combine it with a Cast When Damage Taken support we'll get in the next questline. It's also ok, to just not use it as it's a minor bonus.
-Rapture/Kings/Eyes: None of the reward gems are really good for us. In my opinion Ancestral Call is a lot better for this build than Multistrike. You only want to hit once and move again. With Winter Burial and the Staff animation hitbox, you're already hitting everything around you. So there's also no need to combine AC and MS for clearing. You would just gimp your damage. You could get an increased Are of Effect gem and use it for any area skill until you need that socket for something else.
-You should get a Cast When Damage Taken (CWDT) gem now though and use it with Steelskin and Cold Snap. As a fourth link either use Increased Duration for longer protection and chilling ground/Frenzy generation or Bonechill for increased cold damage taken by enemies on Cold Snap's chilling ground. This also enhances the chilling effect. You could also skip Steelskin entirely (or self-cast if you have a spare socket), at least for now and just support Cold Snap for more offense. If you use CWDT only for Cold Snap, then keep both gems on a low level (support gems aren't level restricted by the CWDT gem) to trigger it more often. Note that Cold Snap has a cooldown of 3 seconds and might start to eat Frenzy Charges to trigger again, negating the frenzy generation bonus somewhat. Cold Snap damage will suck anyway and the chilling ground has a fixed 10% effect at every level. There is a % increased effect of chill on Cold Snap that levels but it's minor compared to the bonus of a high level Bonechill support.

Act VI:
-After doing the first quest for Lilly, you unlock her as a vendor for all non-drop-only gems (at Level 1) so use that to buy anything you migth still miss for your end game skill setup and start leveling them in your second weapon set if you're lacking sockets.
-Use this time to look over your gear. Do you have upgrades in your stash? Should you craft a new weapon from a vendor base? You should at least fix up your elemental resistances now that Kitava has lowered them all by 30% (your crafting bench in your hideout can help with that). This act is full of strong elemental damage and even the next zone will be a pain if you lack fire resistance.

-We get a lot of Skillpoints in these two acts and you should use them to get most of the traveling on the skilltree done so once you hit maps and the levels slow down, every point gives you something nice. Dip into all of the Health clusters and take the big nodes, saving the 4-6% single nodes for early mapping.

Act IX:
-Start looking for a Hegemony's Era and try to get one with a crit chance of 8%+. Attack Speed and Damage rolls should at least not be the lowest rolls either but get what's available and affordable for now. You should keep looking later on for a really well rolled second one that you can try to 6 link while you use your mediocre one as a 5 Link.
Basic Linking
First use Blacksmith's Whetstones to get the Weapon Quality to 20% as that will also be a bonus chance for a better crafting outcome. You can get this to 28% if you happen to get Hillock into Transportation on the Immortal Syndicate. Then use Jeweller's Orbs to try and get the staff to roll 6 sockets. You can spam apply the orbs while you hold shift and it will stop automatically on a maximum socket roll. Always keep a few orbs to adapt other gear upgrades to your needs. If you don't get 6 sockets with your Jeweller's just get 4 linked sockets for now and try again once you get around another 50 orbs or buy more Jeweller's Orbs if you don't want to wait, most towns have an NPC Vendor that sells them, so if you trade them with a player, don't bus them at a worse rate. Also keep an eye out for 6 socket items as they sell to NPCs for 7 Jeweller's orbs, probably your main source of them.
Finally use Orbs of Fusing to try and get your 6 sockets linked. Do this slowly and one at a time as this can be very expensive (about a 1/1000 chance) and stop if you get 5 links and don't have hundreds of more Orbs at the ready.

*Leveling tree in progress*
... is not a troll
Last edited by trollkind on Mar 13, 2020, 5:44:14 PM

Map Mods:
The Good:
-Elemental Equilibrium and everything that buffs enemy resistances: We ignore enemy resistances, so we can ignore those mods.

The Bad:
-Physical Reflect: Take out Vengeance. I haven't killed myself with Leap Slam yet. Totem kills itself eventually. Would still run it.
-No Regen: Leech (get this on gear) and potions are usually enough. AssMark has Life and Mana on kill and most stuff dies in a few cheap attacks, so you might not even notice the mod.

The Ugly:
-Elemental Reflect: You could have an alternative Sunder or Earthquake Setup and take out the elemental gems from your Totem but you'll be really gimped for damage and personally I don't run that mod unless I have to. But at least it's possible with switching around a few gems if you are stuck with a map with that mod. Also disable Hatred of course.
... is not a troll
Last edited by trollkind on Mar 2, 2020, 5:13:10 AM
In the https://pastebin.com/7eyjhJWX PoB-build there are no gems like Leap Slam, Frost Bomb, War Banner, Faster Attacks, Vengeance (described in this guide). There is no even room for them.
Jhssutrx wrote:
In the https://pastebin.com/7eyjhJWX PoB-build there are no gems like Leap Slam, Frost Bomb, War Banner, Faster Attacks, Vengeance (described in this guide). There is no even room for them.

Thanks for the reminder. I've been too sidetracked by slipperyjim's Gucci League. I don't have gem setups for leveling in the PoB yet. I hope the guide still makes it somewhat clear what can be used with what.
The PoB still has an Arctic Breath totem setup that while interesting, doesn't warrant those gem sockets and also needs investment into mana reservation to be used. So those 4 sockets are up for mobility and utility. I'd say: Vengeance + Leap Slam + Endurance on Melee Stun + Faster Attacks.
War Banner is only an optional aura for leveling before we have our final aura setup. Frost Bomb is only used until our Inquisitor ascendancy gives us resistance ignorance and then should be replaced by Cold Snap for chill and Frenzy generation.
Sorry for the incomplete guide. I'll probably only have time to flesh the guide out for the next league in late March. Hopefully a bit sooner but I hope this clears things up for now.
... is not a troll
After Slipperyjim's Gucci League ended and playing a bunch of other characters, I'm coming back to this as it's still my favorite build in the last leagues and just feels so smooth.
I'll work more on the guide as I level and concentrate on it for the rest of the league but I still only have a few hours per week until I'm done with a project towards the end of March. Hopefully in time with 3.10 and I might even league start again with this build as it just works so well in all content and doesn't rely on certain items being available early on.
... is not a troll
How do you have enough mana to run all of the auras?
My wife is trying out this build but I keep thinking it needs melee splash for greater effect on target on mobs.

I'm also thinking maybe a second 6l staff with that gem for mobs and another one similar but with your set of gems for the bosses?

But we are new at this game (relative to its depth) and neither of us is quite sure. We're also playing level 70s right now, so still fairly early, so we're thinking there will be some evolution, so it might not be worth doing the alt-6l Melle Splash staff?

Other than these musings, fun build.
Oops, I'm surprised people are finding this guide and playing it. Sorry for leaving it untouched for so long. Once more, I've been distracted by other games and for some time I feared this build would be bad for this league. It's not, it's not the greatest but it's solid. Here's to hoping I can muster up the energy to revise the guide with a more clear leveling section and the updated PoB.

To the questions:
Vendictus73 wrote:
How do you have enough mana to run all of the auras?

There shouldn't be a problem ever. We get some auras for early leveling but they are just placeholders. Check the gem section in the first post for the actual aura setup of the build. It should be just Hatred, Blasphemy + Assassin's Mark (Frostbite until you get resistance ignoring on crit from Inquisitor) and a level 1 Precision. Did you maybe level your Precision gem? It's reserving a flat amount that goes up every level. This build works on very little mana thanks to our attack being cheap and not spammed but with little mana scaling a higher level Precision ruins it quickly. If you did, just get a fresh Level 1 gem and throw away the leveled one.

Horrux wrote:
My wife is trying out this build but I keep thinking it needs melee splash for greater effect on target on mobs.

I'm also thinking maybe a second 6l staff with that gem for mobs and another one similar but with your set of gems for the bosses?

But we are new at this game (relative to its depth) and neither of us is quite sure. We're also playing level 70s right now, so still fairly early, so we're thinking there will be some evolution, so it might not be worth doing the alt-6l Melle Splash staff?

Other than these musings, fun build.

Thanks, glad it's used by Beginners. I'm happy for any Feedback about any unclear concepts or misleading wording.
Splash is provided by the Winter Burial unique jewels. The Melee Splash gem is a worse version of that, only hitting for 50% of your damage and using up a gem slot. At level 70, the build should be working and hitting everything in at least the middle 50-60% of the screen. Ancestral Call + Staff hitting a larger area + Winter Burial splash is all you need. So I wonder if any of those components are missing from her build? The only other problem I can think of is having bad to hit chance. We need flat accuracy on some gear slots and once you find a good amulet and get a few oils from Blight, look at the Anointment section in my first post.
At level 70 I also hope you could invest in a Hegemony's Era staff? It usually doubles my DPS from my previous leveling staff and makes early mapping a blast and they only cost a few chaos now. I always buy two, one mediocre and cheap to use immediately (crafted to 4L or 5L) and one well rolled to try and 6 link.

I also thought about a weapon swap for bosses without the Ancestral Call gem. I think the best candidate would be increased critical damage. Since that's a blue gem it needs different colors, so unless you got a white socket on your main one (and I wouldn't risk that with my freshly 6 linked staff) it's not a gem swap but needs a second 6L. I never got that far to think it's necessary. Single bosses are the least problems damage wise. It's rather the league/sprinkled in content that sometimes very tanky and those usually have other monsters around them, making Ancestral Call shotgunning rather a DPS boost.
So it's an absolute luxury option that should rather be invested into a different boss focused higher DPS build if it feels needed.
... is not a troll
So, I'm also playing this build and having tons of fun with it, thanks for it! This is my first real char and I used it as league stater in PS4. I'm currently at level 90 and more or less comfortably running red maps as long as the mods aren't too bad. This is my current status (it deviates a bit on the passives due to the large cluster I found with which gives me a ton of dps): https://pastebin.com/G28XMGzg

I've been able to amass a handful of exalts so far, and if they ever fix Niko missions I should be able to get even more revenue stream (this guy delves really well, most encounters I can pretty much just stand still and hold square, but I haven't been able to go deeper than ~130 so far due to lack of sulphite).

If you don't mind taking a look at my POB, would you be able to recommend what kind of upgrades you think would be improving this build the most moving forward? I've been theorycrafting a few things, but for example for staffs I haven't been able to outdps my Hegemony's era without going with crazy rolls that would require 100s of exalts.

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