[3.11] CI CoC Ice Nova Assassin - Max Block

[HSC 3.11] CI Cast on Crit Ice Nova Guide

72% attack block
75% spell block
gain 5% energy shield on block
Chaos Inoculation
Ailment immune
Stun immune

Video of a map / conquerer:

Video of Sirius Kill:

Shaper Kill:

Character Name: Dot_wtb_simulacrums
Profile: https://www.pathofexile.com/account/view-profile/Ammeron77/characters

Path of building: (currently setup for single target dps)

I recently posted a video to reddit and have received a lot of questions about the build. There are a lot of things you can do wrong that aren’t clear just from looking at a POB. I’ll outline some of the main things you need to be looking for to make the build work.

This build was made in harvest league with access to absolutely ridiculous crafting options, so in the future gear like this will not be available. The core of the build will still function on budget friendly gear, the main loss will be boss damage.

There are four main stats that a relevant for the core of the build to function. Three of these stats are directly related to cyclone – Accuracy (chance to hit), Critical Strike Chance, and Attack speed. The fourth stat that ties everything together is Cooldown Reduction.

First let’s talk about accuracy. Reaching 100% chance to hit on cyclone is extremely important. We obviously need to hit the target in order to crit and proc ice nova. However, the way accuracy and crit function in this game make it even more important. Accuracy measures the chance to hit for an attack. Attacks make a second accuracy check to confirm a critical strike. If the second check fails, it will only deal a normal hit, even with 100% crit chance. You’ll want to aim for around 3000 accuracy rating to reach 100% hit chance on cyclone. The slots you can look for accuracy are: helmet, gloves, amulet, rings. You’ll want 3 pieces of gear with high accuracy rolls. This along with the precision aura gem lvl 20 giving us around 700 accuracy should get you to 100% hit.

Critical Strike Chance
The next important stat is Critical Strike Chance. As an assassin the crit chance of ice nova is easily going to reach 100%. However, we still need to invest in sources of crit for cyclone, as we only proc ice nova’s when cyclone crits. Ideally, we aim for 100% critical strike chance on cyclone. I will go over options for this in the gearing section below.

Attack Speed
Attack speed is the next piece of the puzzle for your dps. This is where a lot of people get things wrong. Baseline the Cast on Crit gem has a 0.15 second cooldown (150ms). Logically this would tell you to go for 6.66 attacks per second. This is not the case. The games servers run on a 33ms tick rate. Meaning the server only updates your actions every 33ms. There is a lot of complicated math and workings behind the scenes and you can read a great post by u/spiritkidpoe if you care to learn the details. https://www.reddit.com/r/pathofexile/comments/e5pyr8/the_cyclone_cast_on_critical_strike_cooldown/

TLD of this:
0% cooldown reduction: 6.06 attacks per second
14% cooldown reduction: 7.57 attacks per second
52% cooldown reduction: 10.1 attacks per second

Cooldown Reduction
There are 3 sources of cooldown reduction in the game for this. 22% cooldown from a level 5 awakened cast on crit gem. 20% cooldown reduction mod on a shaper belt. 15% cooldown reduction on shaper boots. Going for the 52% cooldown (10.1) aps breakpoint can only be done by having all 3 sources of cooldown reduction. Generally, for cospris with a shield this is not worth it. In order to hit 10aps with a shield it requires heavy attack speed investment as well as having all the cooldown rolls on your gear. It can definitely be done and has its advantages, but in my opinion it’s not doable for the CI ailment immune setup. This build goes for the 7.57 aps breakpoint, getting our cooldown reduction from awakened cast on crit gem. For cooldown reduction you only need enough to reach the breakpoint, any more will do nothing – but it also doesn’t hurt you to have more. For any of the attack speed breakpoints we use price is right rules – get as close as you can without going over. Having the wrong attack speed can be up to a 37% damage loss in the worst cases.

Finally, I’ll go over the gearing and stats you’ll want to look for. Here is the path of building for my current character: https://pastebin.com/5iu5MXW2 (I’ve annointed whispers of doom on the amulet to simulate +1 curse from awakened curse on hit). The general crafting process for most gear this league is to use an awakener orb to get 2 of the good mods you want. And the target craft the rest of the mods with augment and remove/add seeds. A good website you can use is https://poedb.tw/us/mod.php to check what mods and what tags the mods have for the item you are crafting.

Obviously, our weapon will be Cospri’s Malice Jewelled Foil. The stats we care about on it are attack speed and added cold damage to spells. For myself I actually have slightly too much attack speed, so I’ve divined my Cospri’s down to 9% attack speed to stay under the 7.57 aps breakpoint.

For a shield there are a few options. Since the build is focused on block / es on block we go for a titanium spirit shield. The mods you are looking for in order of importance:
-Socketed Gems have 15% reduced mana reservation
-12% chance to block spell damage
-#to maximum energy shield
-%increased energy shield
-%increased cold damage OR +1 level of all Cold Spell Skill Gems (wouldn’t go for these mods outside of harvest league)

The helmet we use will be a rare Hubris Circlet – ideally with Ice Nova enchant if you have the budget. The stats we are looking for in order of importance:
-#to maximum energy shield
-%increased energy shield
-bench craft avoid ailments
-Nearby enemies have -9% to cold resistance
-+1 to maximum power charges (wouldn’t go for this mod outside of harvest league)

Body Armour
Our chest will be a rare vaal regalia. Stats in order of importance:
-Enemies you kill explode, dealing 3% of their life as physical damage
-#to maximum energy shield
-%increased energy shield
*-attacks have 1.5% to critical strike chance (you can go for this mod for higher cyclone crit if you chose not to use a hatred crit watchers eye, I chose not to go for this mod)

For Gloves you will want either Sorcerer Gloves or Fingerless Silk Gloves for more damage and slightly less energy shield. Stats in order of importance:
-#to maximum energy shield
-%increased energy shield
-bench craft avoid ailments
-resistances (if you can find sorcerer gloves or fingerless silk gloves with the hybrid incursion mod that gives +48% cold resistances / 50% dmg with hits against chilled enemies they are best in slot. I would not recommend using incursion gloves on a bad base or with bad stats just to get the damage mod. Prioritize accuracy and energy shield and go for the incursion mod as a bonus)

The boot slot we use rare sorcerer boots. The stats we are looking for in order of importance:
-30%+ chance to avoid elemental ailments (shaper mod)
With this mod, crafted avoid ailment on gloves, crafted avoid ailment on helmet, and the arcane swiftness node on the tree – we have 100% ailment immunity
-#to maximum energy shield
-%increased energy shield
-movement speed
-tailwind if crit recently

The Amulet slot has a few options. The simplest option is to buy “The Pandemonious” amulet from breach. This amulet gives an absurd amount of damage as well as blind on hit which is a good defensive option. The main downside of this is that amulet slot is a great place to get a lot of stats and energy shield. And this build needs a TON of dex. This is why I went for a rare amulet. The best base is a Citrine Amulet – which gives dexterity and strength, both of which we need. I also used attribute catalyst to grant even more attributes. I chose to anoint Deflection node on the tree to cap out block chance. Alternatively, Sanctuary is the same node only with all resist instead of es from shield, you can go this route if you need resistances. You can anoint something like tranquility if you are looking for damage. The stats in order of importance:
-% global critical strike multiplier
-damage penetrates 10% cold resistances OR +1 level of all cold skill gems OR +1 level of all intelligence skill gems (I wouldn’t go for these mods outside of harvest league)
-crafted % increased maximum energy shield
-#to maximum energy shield

For one of my rings I went with a Circle of Fear from synthesis. This ring gives us everything we want, dex, tons of damage, and reservation for herald of ice to make everything fit. There are many good implicits you can get on this ring, so see what is available when you purchase one. For my other ring I went with a rare opal ring, the stats that are important are as follows:
-%increased maximum energy shield
-#to maximum energy shield
-adds # cold damage against chilled or frozen enemies (I wouldn’t go for this outside of harvest league)
-% increased spell damage (I wouldn’t go for this outside of harvest league)
-curse enemies with level 12 assassin’s mark on hit (I wouldn’t go for this outside of harvest league)

In the belt slot my recommendation would be a Crystal belt. You can use a stygian vise if you care more about damage, but you sacrifice a lot of energy shield. Stat priority:
-%increased maximum energy shield
-#to maximum energy shield
-damage with hits against chilled enemies (wouldn’t go for this outside of harvest)
-spell damage during flask effect (wouldn’t go for this outside of harvest)

Stun Immunity
This build has a 100% chance to avoid being stunned. We get 50% chance to avoid stun through the flask craft that comes from the cinderswallow flask. Once you know the craft this can be put on any flask. We get an additional 20% chance to avoid stun through the arcane swiftness node on the tree. Our last 30% chance to avoid stun comes from something unique to harvest - add an implicit modifier to a jewel. You can get 10% on a jewel.
I am using 3 different jewels that have this mod to reach 100%. Outside of harvest league you will need to take the lucidity node on the tree to reach 100% stun avoidance during cyclone.

There are a couple of cluster and unique jewels used in this build.

Thread of hope
I use a Thread of hope in the leftmost templar jewel socket. This allows us to allocate retribution, precision, sanctity, and glancing blows keystone without taking any travel points.

Frozen Trail
In the right shadow socket, I use the frozen trail unique jewel, this gives our frost bolt extra projectiles. When you cast ice nova with frost bolts in the air it will cast on two frost bolts for every cast. So, this jewel essentially doubles our damage.

Watcher's eye
For a watchers eye I use critical strike chance with hatred. Since I opted to not go for the attack crit on my chest, the hatred watchers eye caps out my cyclone crit as well as giving herald of ice and ice nova significant amounts of crit. The other mod that is very valuable on a watchers eye is 8% chance to block spell damage while affected by discipline. This caps out our spell block and helps out a ton defensively.

Militant Faith
I also use the militant faith timeless jewel in the socket by pain attunement keystone. This jewel converts all travel points into +10 devotion. Devotion is a stat unique to the militant faith jewel and grants different bonuses on each noteable. We don’t care about any of this. The main thing that this jewel does is change the keystone’s in its radius to a different keystone. There are 3 different keystone options and they are determined by the name of the jewel. The keystone we want is Inner Conviction which comes from the High Templar Dominus version. Any militant faith jewel can be divined to change the name and keystone it grants. The Inner Conviction keystone grants 3% more spell damage per power charge and makes you gain power charges instead of frenzy charges. This is fine for us as we don’t use frenzy charges anyway, as they give too much attack speed. Militant Faith also has two secondary rolls that DO NOT change when you divine them. The two best mods your looking for here are 4% increased area damage per 10 devotion and 4% increased elemental damage per 10 devotion. We take a total of 90 devotion in travel points, so these mods are fairly significant.

For cluster jewels there are a few options.

On a large cluster jewel the best mod to get is blanketed snow, giving 10% cold pen. All other mods are personal choice, personally I recommend Widespread destruction for better clear. Sadist is also very good, especially if you go for the shock medium jewels.

On medium cluster jewels I chose magnifier and vast power, mainly to scale aoe as well as still have some damage. The more aoe you get on this build the better the chain clear feels.

Rare Jewels
For rare jewels the stat priority is as follows:
-%increased maximum energy shield
-%critical strike multiplier with cold skills
-%critical s trike multiplier for spells
-%critical strike multiplier with elemental skills
-%global critical strike multiplier
-%increased cold damage
-spell damage while holding a shield

Abyss Jewel
Since I am using cinderswallow we need to get added fire damage somewhere to ignite. This also helps activate our sadist large cluster node. I chose to use an abyss jewel with fire damage to spells. Generally, you can get a pretty good jewel cheap since the added fire won’t be valued on a cold jewel. Alternatively, you could go with a ring prefix craft from the bench such as adds # cold damage / adds # fire damage.
Good mods on abyss jewels are:
-#to maximum energy shield
-#cold damage to spells
-#cold damage to spells while holding a shield
-%global critical strike multiplier
-%critical strike multiplier if you’ve killed recently

There are a few different flask setup's you can run depending on what you want to focus on.

Alchemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenline.
I'd pretty much always recommend running this flask for the movement speed.

Diamond Flask of Warding.
I get a lot of questions about this. With my current setup i have 100% crit chance on cyclone even without a diamond flask. However i still run a diamond flask for a few reasons. First off on the first pack or starting a boss with no power charges, it can be rough trying to get crits before they stack up. Secondly diamond flask buffs the crit of our herald of ice and explode chest, which helps with clear speed.

Cinderswallow Urn Silver Flask.
This flask is entirely a mapping flask. The 3% es on kill is amazing, and the 10% inc dmg taken vs ignite is a nice bonus. If you plan to focus on boss killing do not use this flask, it uses 40/60 charges and is very inefficient for a boss fight.

Sulphur Flask of the Order.
You will want one flask with this suffix, for 50% chance to avoid being stunned. I chose to use a sulphur due to the fact that it gives increased damage and consecrated ground, helping our crit even more. It also has 3 uses, meaning it is easy to keep our stun immunity up.

The Wise Oak Bismuth Flask.
This flask is just all around good damage, and a small defensive boost. Just make sure your uncapped cold resistance is your highest.

Bottled Faith Sulphur Flask.
This flask is a bossing flask. It is absolutely insane. It gives 2% base crit as as well as 10% increased dmg taken to enemies on consecrated ground. It is also a Sulphur flask meaning it grants consecrated ground and 40% increased dmg, with 3 uses. This flask is absolutely absurd for bossing. If you plan to boss use this flask over cinderswallow, and exchange the blue sulphur flask for an silver flask.

Bandit: Help Allira.

Our Ascendency choice is Assassin. For Ascendency points I chose Deadly Infusion, Unstable Infusion, Opportunistic, and Ambush and Assassinate. Ideally, we could pick up mistwalker and drop opportunistic but with the current setup it just gives too much attack speed. You could drop cinderswallow / onslaught and go mistwalker but I prefer having onslaught always rather than variable elusive. The dodge from elusive doesn’t scale very well since we are focusing on block. A lot of people don’t value ambush and assassinate. Even though we have extremely high crit chance, the 100% more crit and 40% multi on full life is extremely valuable for the explosion chest and herald of ice. This node is what allows us to chain clear screens along with aoe investment.

Finally, I’ll go over the links and gem setup.

In the Cospri’s we use Ice Nova, Frostbelt, and Frost bomb. The frost bomb will auto trigger applying cold exposure.

In my gloves I have a 3l herald of ice: Herald of ice, Awakened increased area of effect, and Increased critical strikes. I also have my portal gem in here.
In the helmet I have Vortex, awakened curse on hit, frostbite, bone chill. Vortex applies frostbite on hit, as well providing a chilling area for bone chill, causing the enemy to take increased cold damage.

In the shield we have our two biggest auras. Discipline, Hatred, and level 4 enlighten. Having these socketed in the shield makes our mana reserve work.
In the boots I have dash, arcane surge, and second wind for our movement skill and to proc arcane surge. I also have precision gem unlinked in the boots.

6link Ice Nova Gems
In the chest for the main 6link I have cyclone, hypothermia, awakened cast on crit, inspiration, ice nova, and awakened added cold. There are a lot of choices here for links and I will go over why I have chosen not to go with some other higher damage gems.

Concentrated Effect: At first glance this gem seems like it could still be good, since most of our clear is pop chest / heralds and not the ice nova. Unfortunately, since everything is linked, cyclone also receives the reduced area of effect. I personally did not like having the smaller cyclone so I chose not to use conc.

Elemental Focus: Pretty self-explanatory here. A huge portion of our build relies on chilling / igniting as well as freeze being an extremely strong defensive mechanic. This gem is trash for this build.

Controlled destruction: This gem has potential, but the main downside being the 100% reduced crit also applies to the cyclone. Having the reduced crit chance on cyclone is a very big downside. Technically I now have enough crit that this gem could be good, but I still prefer having extremely reliable crits. If you still have 100% crit with cyclone with this gem, it could be an option.

For leveling I would just play orb of storms / stormblast mine.
You can swap out stormblast mine for ball lightning later. Wear x2 Axiom Perpetuum sceptres and Maligaro's Virtuosity gloves at level 21. Use increased critical strikes gem and go crit as soon as possible. You will demolish everything once you get decent crit. Take Unstable Infusion for your first lab so you can go crit. Crit chance will be your main focus since you are using maligaros gloves, increased dmg is also insane while leveling..

That should be everything you need to know about the build. I wrote this guide quickly to answer the bulk of the questions I've gotten, so I am sorry if there are any mistakes. Hopefully this guide helps you out and answers some of your questions.

Last edited by Ammeron77 on Jul 12, 2020, 1:45:47 PM
Last bumped on Mar 7, 2021, 8:32:45 AM
Nice, now with some colours and spoiler/hide buttons pls ? xDDDD Looks like its a ~30ex build.

Saw ur two videos about triggering IN explosion corpses in 2 off screen not bad.
@execreth - @eledhyr - @arthasspaw - @edherisctf - @douchebagontheway_hd

@the_pest - @ioneshotbosses_eightkai
30 ex my ass. Just the white helmet is 30 ex. It's a multiple mirrors build. Every rare piece of his gear is easily 30+ ex. Except for gloves maybe, not sure. Almost done crafting scuffed version of his gear with basically 1 less mod on every piece and I regret so much that I didn't go with something else.

Sick build tho, but crafting this is such a pain, even with harvest.

Also thanks for the guide.
You CAN self craft all of this gear without spending "multiple mirror's". Check my profile, I crafted every item I'm using.

Thanks for the guide, this will help me finalize some things. Build is bonkers!

Edit: helm and chest are still being crafted on, for the record. Gloves probably next.
Last edited by Thisisnotsully on Jul 4, 2020, 6:15:21 PM
Very cool build, i'm crafting the itens to start!
But, how should i craft the shield? Fossil? Get 2 mods and target annul?

Have to do quality and white socket on armour and tailwind + ES on boots
Last edited by RulesBreaked on Jul 4, 2020, 7:31:52 PM
what do you think about intuitive leap in witch zone to get herald 20% aoe + blast radius + power charge
How much EX does it take to make the build work? It's enough for me to take 5 times as long for bosses. The map clearspeed would be important to me though.
Hey how bad is it to have additional cdr cause i could use my belt and boots then
Why do you have pain attunement? Unless I'm not understanding something, it doesn't work with CI builds at all.
Tojara9 wrote:
Why do you have pain attunement? Unless I'm not understanding something, it doesn't work with CI builds at all.

He is using militant faith to change that node Pain Attunement to Inner Conviction

I'm interested in the build too, but would like to know roughly how much I would need to spend for this build to feel good. I've had a look around, and man, this stuff is incredibly expensive.
Last edited by BrettLee on Jul 5, 2020, 10:25:09 AM

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