[3.9] Self-Cast Ice Nova Necromancer - Millions of DPS, Great AOE, and Tanky! - All content
This is a modified version of the build originally created by a friend of mine. The build is very strong. Good DPS, clear speed and tankiness. Lots of people liked my previous build, which was insanely strong. I would say this build is as strong as the previous one, so I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as well.
-Tanky (10k combined life and ES, 88% chance to evade, 33/21 block chance, capped chaos resist, lots of sustain mechanics, chill/freeze)
-Great AOE coverage
-Good single target damage (estimated Shaper DPS is 6M+)
-Inexpensive to start, scales very well with investment
-Can do all content, T16 metamorph is not even a threat
-Cannot play the build with a low-end PC
-Not newer player friendly because you cannot see what enemies are doing
-Some map mods are not possible to run
How This Build Works
Ice nova + frostbolt.
This build uses ice nova and frostbolt as main skills. When you cast ice nova while frostbolt is nearby, ice nova is cast on top of frostbolt. More importantly, ice nova produces two explosions if multiple frostbolt projectiles are neaby, doubling your DPS.
Pledge of Hands.
Spell gems socketed in this staff are supported by greater spell echo. It makes the spells to repeat two additional times. We use spell echo support as well to make ice nova to repeat three times.
Importantly, when ice nova is cast on frostbolt, the spell repeats three times but the cast animation does not, effectively increasing your cast speed by 300%.
With these interesting interactions combined, you get 700% more DPS for (almost) free. This is why we get millions of DPS with little invest in damage.
Scold's bridle + CWDT + frostbolt.
One problem of the ice nova + frostbolt combination is that you have to cast frostbolt before ice nova, and this can be tedious. To address this issue, this build uses Scold's bridle and Cast when damage taken support. When you cast ice nova, you take damage from Scold's bridle and trigger frostbolt automatically. This setup makes this build very smooth to play.
Spirit Offering + CWDT.
Of course, we need a recovery mechanics to counter the self-damage. We use spirit offering for this purpose. Spirit offering is triggered every cast or every two casts of ice nova, which is more than enough to counter the self-damage. For my character, spirit offering recovers 1858 ES, and each cast of ice nova deals 532 damage. Therefore, spirit offering not only counters the self-damage but also recovers a good amount of ES.
Mistress of sacrifice is essential because you need the spirit offering effect on you. Because spirit offering consumes a lot of corpses, Copse pact gives you up to 140% increased cast speed, which is very good for 1 ascendancy node. The shock effect also increases your DPS by 10-15%. Essence glutton gives you mana and mana regen, which are needed to support the absurd amount of mana we spend.
Read This Before Trying This Build
Level 1 cast when damage taken (CWDT) requires you to take 528 damage to trigger supported spells. If you get too mucn physical damage reduction, you will not be able to trigger spells every time you cast ice nova. Therefore, avoid getting armour and physical damage reduction unless you know the math. This includes armour from flasks and physical damage reduction from Pantheon. Also, Don't use guard skills because they reduce the damage you take.
Some shrine effects give you physical damage reduction. If you take those shrine effect "by mistake", right click the buff icons on the top left of the screen to cancel them.
You cannot run elemental reflect and no regen maps. In addition, "immune to elemental ailments" is dangerous, so reroll this mod whenever possible.
Budget gear is given at the bottom of this section
My current gear
Pledge of Hands and Scold's Bridle are essential items. The Pandemonius is not an essential item, so you can use a rare amulet instead.
For rings, unset rings are recommended for both slots. I could not find good unset rings, so decided to use one two-stone ring.
Watcher's eye with the "15-20% of damage gained as mana over 4 seconds while affected by clarity".
You can use watcher's eye with the "increased mana recovery rate while affected by clarity", but in this case you need 60%+ mana regeneration from rings or boots enchant.
elemental resists until capped.
Very good mods to look for:
Increased effect of offerings on body armour (hunter mod)
crafted mod "gain 10% of maximum life as extra maximum energy shield" on body armour
cold damage leech from helmet implicit
life gained on hit by spells from rings
reduced mana cost of skills from rings and jewels. However, make sure your mana cost of ice nova is 132 or higher, otherwise you cannot trigger CWDT every time you cast ice nova.
Chaos resists are not required but should be eventually capped.
Because you gain ES based on your maximum life, always prioritize life over ES.
For rare jewels, look for life, ES and crit multi. Corrupted blood immunity is essential, so make sure you get it from jewels.
For life flasks, forbidden taste is recommended if your chaos resist is capped. Before you cap it, use a standard life flask like this.
Unique items that are worth considering
The gloves give you +2% chance to crit, which is very strong. Because we use 800 mana in less than one second, we can keep the buff effect. The only downside of these gloves is the lack of resists.
These boots give you ES on hit, resists, ES and evasion rating. The downside is the lack of life.
All you need is Pledge of Hands and Scold's of Bridle. Both of them are cheap at the time of writing. 6-link on the staff is ideal but not necessary. If you use 5-link, use unique gloves "Voidbringer" as well to increase the mana cost of ice nova.
It is important to trigger CWDT every time you cast ice nova, so your mana cost should be 132 or higher. You can use a 5-link body armour. In that case, drop culling strike support.
For other pieces, use standard rare items with life, ES and elemental resistances.
(vaal) ice nova
cast when damage taken (level1)
frostbolt (level 11 or lower)
greater multiple projectiles
(awakened) curse on hit
culling strike or slower projectiles
I'm testing slower projectiles support now. I'm feeling that slower projectiles is better for single target DPS at the cost of area coverage. So far I prefer slower projectiles because area coverage is still good.
cast when damage taken (level 1)
spirit offering (level 8)
desecrate (level 7 or lower)
cast when damage taken (level 1)
arctic breath (level 8)
power charge on critical
Other gem slots
cast when damage taken (level1) - frost bomb (level 10) - (purifying flame or volatile dead)
Use purifying flame or detonate dead if you use two unset rings. purifying flame creates consecrated ground, which increases your crit chance by 100%. Volatile dead consumes three corpse per cast and increases your cast speed. I found that my PC couldn't handle the increase in cast speed, so I decided not to consume more corpses.
Buy a 21/0 (vaal) ice nova gem when you hit level 72. It's very cheap. Also, make sure you check the prices of both ice nova and vaal ice nova. For some reasons, vaal ice nova is often cheaper than ice nova. From my experience, vaal ice nova is pretty weak for this build, so use ice nova if vaal ice nova is more expensive.
Our aura setup is grace-clarity-aspect of the spider. You can replace grace with an offensive aura, like Zealotry. However, I found my dps to be more than enough, so I decided to look for more defense.
Passive Tree & PoB
Bandits & Pantheon
Bandits: Help Alira.
Pantheon: Soul of the brine king, Soul of Shakari
Don't take physical damage reduction from Pantheon! It reduces the self-damage and destroys the concept of this build!
freezing pulse-arcane surge
ice nova-arcane surge-added cold damage-added lighting damage
frostbolt-lesser multiple projectiles
ice nova-arcane surge-unleash-hypothermia-controlled destruction-inspiration
frostbolt-greater multiple projectiles-slower projectiles
After you complete the second lab, use the following setup as well.
cast when damage taken (level1)-spirit offering (level 8)-desecrate (level 7)-spell cascade
Use ice nova normally for clearing. Use of frostbolt is recommended in boss fights, when you need high DPS.
These uniques are not required but accelerates your leveling.
Tabula Rasa: easy 6-link
Wanderlust & Nomic's Storm:You want to move faster, right?
Goldrim:Tons of elemental resists, no life though.
Praxis:Solves a mana problem caused by early 6-link.
Astramentis:You won't have attribute problems anymore. Also gives you roughly 50 life.
At first, you can use any weapons. However, stick to a staff once you start to take staves nodes in the passive tree. After level 40, buy a staff with a temple mod (spell damage + gain non-chaos damage as extra chaos or cold damage + added cold damage to spells).
For rare armours and jewellery, look for life and elemental resists. It is important to cap elemental resists after act 5.
My Other Builds
The build is yet to be optimized, and any feedback is appreciated.
Last edited by N0esy on Jan 13, 2020, 2:14:47 AM
Last bumped on Jan 17, 2020, 12:11:34 PM
on Jan 8, 2020, 9:33:38 PM
on Jan 9, 2020, 4:26:23 AM
My body is ready
on Jan 9, 2020, 6:47:05 AM
Added a leveling guide and some discussions on gear and skill gems.
on Jan 10, 2020, 1:11:41 AM
Would it be viable to eventually take the build CI ? maybe grab ghost reaver and some other nodes?
Loving the build, by the way, crushing t16s trying to farm currency.
just die occasionally.
on Jan 10, 2020, 4:43:51 AM
No, you cannot take CI because spirit offering heals you based on your life.
on Jan 10, 2020, 12:17:45 PM
Thank you for this Guide. I love the playstyle and not having to press 3+ buttons all the time just for my skills. Im not fully geared yet but T16 are no problem, so far the build of the league for me.
on Jan 11, 2020, 8:15:16 AM
hi mate really enjoying the build would you mind looking at my gear and surgesting my next upgrade please
on Jan 11, 2020, 8:48:52 AM
1. You should use grace aura. Although you are not using unset rings, you have an empty slot in you body armour.
2. Buy level 21 vaal ice nova. It costs only 30c now.
3. Look for more life from your gear. Your gloves have no life. You can also consider using temple gloves with the "increased damage against chilled enemies" mod.
4. I would use stygian vise instead of crystal belt and socket an abyss jewel with the corrupted blood immunity implicit. Corrupted blood is very dangerous for this build, so it's high priority. It's OK to use a shitty jewel as long as it has the immunity implicit.
on Jan 11, 2020, 10:22:51 AM
thank after some new purchases i now have the following gear
Item Level: 83
Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you (implicit)
5% increased maximum Life
+15% to Fire Resistance
13% increased Damage with Two Handed Weapons
Place into an allocated Jewel Socket on the Passive Skill Tree. Right click to remove from the Socket.
on Jan 11, 2020, 11:51:24 AM