[3.15] Shock Nova CoC Assassin (6M+ DPS, stun and ailment immune)
This is a two button build, using cyclone to cast shock novas, and vortex to apply curses and place our enemies in chilling areas.
This build is very tanky in the end-game, with ailment and stun immunity, fortify, endurance charges, life gain on hit, and leech. You can gem swap to Ball Lightning for even more tankiness but less damage. Or you can drop layers of defence for even more damage if you like.
The only required unique is the Algor Mortis gloves, which greatly increases damage taken by our enemies and allows us to Sap enemies, making them deal less damage to us.
This is a medium-high budget build, although I league started it in 3.15 and was able to incrementally upgrade most pieces of gear.
The high-end version uses a sceptre with the crafted mod "Hits Can't Be Evaded", and a cluster jewel with the "Overlord" notable to grant us fortify. I have also included a lower budget accuracy-based version using a rune dagger.
^ with the changes to ailment thresholds in 3.15, you can actually shock Sirus for 50%!
Path of Building: (make sure to use the PoB Community Fork)
early game accuracy/dagger version: https://pastebin.com/ven9BaiJ
end-game sceptre version with fortify: https://pastebin.com/kEb24TZ1
About this Build
+ easy cyclone CoC playstyle
+ more damage than ball lightning
+ can league start and incrementally upgrade gear
+ tanky with high regen from leech/life gain on hit
+ stun and ailment immune
+ life based build is cheaper to gear than low life/CI builds
- melee build
- less regen than ball lightning
- not as tanky as some low life/CI builds
I leveled as lightning slinger (I used Fyregrass' leveling guide for storm brand here) until around level 85 or whenever you can farm enough CoC gear. Take Alira and use a well-rolled Praxis ring and spellslinger feels totally fine for leveling (I went into yellow maps with it).
Attack speed and cooldown recovery
CoC builds must carefully select an attack speed to ensure you don't attack too quickly (see this reddit post for details).
For this build:
0-13% cooldown recovery (CDR): stay below 6 attacks per second (APS)
14-51% CDR: stay below 7.5 APS
52%+ CDR: stay below 10 APS
I recommend getting at least one piece of gear with 14% CDR to start (this comes from belts, boots, or Awakened Cast on Critical Strike at level 3+), allowing you go above 6 APS.
ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR APS/CDR BECAUSE YOUR DAMAGE CAN SUFFER A LOT IF YOU ATTACK TOO FAST (UP TO 50% OF YOUR DPS LOST). If you are lucky and get gear to increase your APS above a breakpoint, drop some attack speed until you can figure out a way to get more CDR.
Stun and ailment immunity
Stun immunity is very important for cyclone because you are constantly in the middle of mobs. You can also get some nasty desync effects if you get stunned while cycloning.
Stun immunity is achieved by:
To achieve ailment immunity:
Skills triggered by Cast on Critical Strike now cost mana.
We can reduce the mana cost of Shock Nova to be negligible using:
MAKE SURE YOUR CYCLONE OR SHOCK NOVA COSTS AT LEAST 1 MANA TO PROC INSPIRATION. If you take Lucidity on the tree for stun avoidance, Cyclone will be free so you may need to shuffle around your Elreon -mana cost crafts to ensure at least 1 mana cost for shock nova.
If you can't find enough reduced mana cost, take the Mind Drinker node on the right side of the tree for mana leech, or run a low level clarity.
End-game gear in Expedition:
In the early game, use a rune dagger with high critical strike chance and useful mods such as lightning damage to spells, increased lightning damage, increased spell damage, or critical strike multiplier.
If you have the "Overlord" notable on a cluster jewel, use a sceptre (Karui sceptre is the best base). These are very hard to craft - the best way is to start with a fractured base with either a high roll of attack speed or critical strike chance, and then use essences of Loathing, Zeal, or Woe until you hit a good combination of mods.
Usually you can use as fast of a weapon as possible, and drop attack speed on the tree until you are under your CoC cooldown recovery breakpoint. If your weapon is still too fast - look into getting more cooldown recovery on gear.
For more details on crafting a sceptre, check out N0esy's guide (section: gear > sceptre).
Once you have a very good sceptre, you can craft "Hits Can't Be Evaded" for 3 exalts (unveiled from Vagan in Betrayal). This will let you drop precision and accuracy on your gear/tree.
A large part of your life sustain comes from your rings.
You want shaper or crusader rings with the mod "life gained for each enemy hit by your spells". If you're crafting your own, shaper rings are preferred because the mod occurs more commonly on it.
One of your end-game rings should have the shaper mod "Trigger Level X Assassin's Mark when you hit a Rare or Unique Enemy". Either level 8 or 12 is fine. You will need to allocate Whispers of Doom (+1 curse) or use a +1 curse Hunter Chest to use Assassin's Mark.
Other useful mods are reduced effect of curses on you, added lightning damage to spells or against shocked enemies, and of course life. You can also look for dexterity on a ring (you need about 100 dex in this build).
You want an open prefix on at least one of your rings to craft -mana cost.
Your amulet is another strong source of life sustain.
You want % lightning damage leeched as life on your amulet (either from the temple mod, or from crusader amulets).
Other useful mods on your amulet are life, crit multi, dexterity, and an open prefix to craft -mana cost. +1 lightning gems on a crusader amulet is also nice, but rare.
If you want ailment immunity, anoint "Crystal Skin" in conjunction with the other ailment avoidance nodes on the tree and crafts/mods on chest, shield, and boots.
Your shield is a good source of life/damage. Look for the crusader/elder mod "% increased damage per chance to block attack damage", spell/lightning damage, and life. +1 lightning gems is also good (but rare).
Craft ailment avoidance as a suffix, unless you are lucky enough to roll it (for example, on a hybrid evasion/es shield).
If you are lucky, you can find an ilvl 74 or lower uninfluenced shield with spell/lightning damage, life, and full suffixes (or two suffixes and one crafted). In this case, a crusader's exalt ensures the % damage per chance to block attack damage mod.
You can get started with any 6-link. Evasion/es bases are the easiest to color, and we don't really use any of armor/evasion/es as a primary defence. Look for high life, resists, and an open prefix to craft ailment/stun avoidance.
In the end-game, you can craft/buy a hunter chest with nice influenced mods. The ideal chest would have "you can apply an additional curse", +1.5 to attack crit, and +1.5 to spell crit. The most important mod is attack crit, followed by additional curse, followed by spell crit. If you are crafting your own, use harvest's "reforge attack", "reforge crit", or "reforge caster" to guarantee one of these mods.
You can finish stun avoidance on your helm. Either craft it onto a helm with nice life/resists (and an open suffix), or use essences of scorn (screaming is sufficient) until you hit a nice combo of mods. I prefer using essences because it gives you flexibility on the craft to fix resists/attributes.
There are a couple useful helm enchants: "Wrath (or Zealotry) has 15% reduced reservation" will let you fit auras in easier in the early game. "15% increased cyclone attack speed" is best in the end game, when you can afford an Enlighten and have high cooldown recovery so that you can scale attack speed to 7.5 or 10.
The crusader mod "nearby enemies have -9 to lightning resistance" or warlord mod "+1 to maximum power charges" are both good DPS boosts. An ideal helm would have these mods combined with an awakener's orb. However, it is hard to craft helms with these mods and maintain stun immunity, so I haven't done so yet.
Look for a high roll on the "Enemies in your chilling areas take increased damage" (at least 30%+). The differences in other mods is negligible.
You can also look for a nice corrupted pair (+attack crit, +spell crit, % attack speed, % life are all good implicits). Make sure they don't apply any curses because these will override the ones you already have. Even elemental weakness on hit is bad, because a 20/20 elemental weakness applied by hextouch/vortex will be stronger than the one applied by algor mortis.
If you are crazy and playing this build in SSF without Algor Mortis, the temple mod gloves with increased crit against shocked enemies is okay. Or in the early game, you can find gloves with accuracy/resists/stats to carry you to higher content.
Movement speed, life, and resists are fine, with an open suffix to craft ailment avoidance. Eventually you want boots with cooldown recovery and room to craft ailment avoidance - or shaper boots with both cooldown recovery and ailment avoidance.
If you can find boots with good (filled) suffixes, you can craft "suffixes cannot be changed" and use a veiled chaos to have a very high chance of unveiled a strong movement speed mod, then craft life on top to finish.
The ideal boots would have tailwind, cooldown recovery, and ailment avoidance. However this is extremely hard to craft, you would probably just have to buy them from somebody lucky for 50+ exalts. If you find boots with tailwind, cooldown recovery, and an open suffix, you can multimod "suffixes cannot be changed", use a veiled chaos to get a movement speed mod, and then craft on ailment avoidance. However, your boots will likely not have any flat life on them, so I'm not sure how good this crafting strategy is.
Leather belt or stygian vise with life and resists to start.
Cooldown recovery can be rolled on shaper or crusader belts, but can also now be unveiled with Aisling. This means that you can find cooldown recovery belts for relatively cheap.
To make an endgame belt, take an elder/hunter leather belt or stygian vise with +life and +%life (for example, rolled with pristine fossils or harvest reforge life). Make sure it has full prefixes, craft "prefixes cannot be changed", and use a veiled chaos and pray that you unveil cooldown recovery. This can take 2-3 tries, so it is quite expensive (2ex per try).
You want the "Overlord" notable, either on a large mace/staff cluster (8 passives) or on a Megalomaniac medium cluster. These can be expensive, so you can use a rune dagger until you can afford one and swap to sceptre.
You can also use large lightning clusters with various nice passives (Overshock, Doryani's Lesson to get leech somewhere other than amulet, Storm Drinker, etc.). In this case, you can drop the "Heart of Thunder" cluster on the tree. However, this is only worth it if you have very nice rare jewels to socket into your large clusters (double crit multi + life, at the very least).
Life, crit multi (for lightning skills is the best, but also for spells, elemental skills, or global multi are also ok), attack speed (as long as you don't go over your CoC breakpoints!).
Corrupted blood immunity (if you wear a stygian, try to slot in your CB jewel here).
As always, fix your resists or stats on jewels (dex is one I needed, for example).
There are several nice watchers eye mods. I chose vitality (life gained on hit) and zealotry critical strike chance. Wrath critical strike chance is also good.
Militant Faith (make sure to get the Dominus version) is also very strong (see PoB for my positioning in the tree). For secondary mods, I chose reduced mana cost and elemental resistance. However, other mods such as increased elemental damage are also strong.
For my utlity flask setup, I use diamond, quicksilver, sulphur, and silver.
A Surgeon's Diamond Flask (chance to gain flask charge on crit) is essential, and you should have very good uptime on it, even during bosses.
I rolled Surgeon's on all of my flasks as we crit very often. I do standard flask piano, although you can set them up for autouse to your liking.
Drop Silver flask if your APS is too high for your CoC cooldown breakpoints. It feels really good to have onslaught for cyclone, though, because of the extra move speed.
I went for poison, bleed, and curse removal on flasks. If you are not ailment immune, then you can set up autouse as you please for freeze removal.
Bottled faith and wise oak are good unique flasks to use, however I prefer the higher uptime of using Surgeon's flasks, which you will get back during longer boss fights.
cyclone - [awakened] cast on critical strike - [anomalous] shock nova - [divergent] inspiration - [awakened] added lightning damage - increased critical strikes/[awakened] lightning penetration
Anomalous shock nova applies much stronger shocks. However, the damage is about the same using a 20/20 anomalous or 21/20 regular shock nova, so don't worry about it until endgame.
Use increased critical strikes support until you can cap your melee crit without it (e.g. with assassin's mark, +1.5 crit on hunter/elder chest, and/or +0.75 attack crit corruption on algor mortis). Then you can swap to a higher DPS gem like lightning penetration.
Divergent inspiration can be used to reduce mana cost (so that you can use less nodes on the tree or swap reduced mana cost jewels).
You can gem swap to ball lightning for particularly tough multi-boss fights where you need the extra regen (for example, the maven Breach invitation).
vortex - hextouch - conductivity - arcane surge (level 1-6)
Vortex applies our curses and creates a chilling area to take advantage of the damage boost from Algor Mortis. I bind vortex to spacebar and hold it down when engaging mobs (you can also put it on left click if you like).
If you manage to get a +1 curse hunter chest, replace arcane surge with elemental weakness and put arcane surge somewhere else (either on flame dash, one of your cwdt links, or an unset ring with assassin's mark trigger).
I level up arcane surge so that 2 casts of vortex still trigger it. Because we take so much reduced mana cost, even a level 1 arcane surge is sometimes not triggered by a single vortex.
zealotry - wrath - enlighten
If you don't have enlighten, take reduced mana reservation nodes on the tree or use a reduced mana reservation helm enchant for Wrath or Zealotry. If you don't have a "Hits Can't Be Evaded" weapon yet, use precision too.
cast when damage taken (level 1) - immortal call (level 1-3) - tempest shield (level 1) - wave of conviction (level 1)
You can add increased duration to immortal call and put it in a separate CWDT setup. Keep CWDT at level 1 and level up immortal call to a maximum level of 3.
flame dash - second wind
Use whatever movement/vaal skills you prefer, for example vaal righteous fire or vaal grace if you like. I also use withering step as a movement speed boost (it can be used while cycloning, or to move between packs).
The most important level 21 gem is shock nova. Awakened Cast on Crit is important to hit cooldown recovery, and Awakened Added Lightning Damage is also quite strong (especially at level 5).
Thanks for reading!
This is my second guide ever and I have been a bit more brief with the details. I'd be happy to add more information about crafting and progression if there is enough interest!
Last bumped on Aug 14, 2021, 2:22:32 AM
on Aug 9, 2021, 5:14:56 AM
on Aug 9, 2021, 5:15:12 AM
Sorry, why do you have Smashing Strikes nod taken in a Sceptre tree?
on Aug 9, 2021, 7:04:07 PM
It gives 10% chance for endurance charge on melee crit - so about one endurance charge per second. It makes immortal call more powerful and having the endurance charges up helps anyway.
You can also use Enduring Composure on a small armor cluster, but I like having the endurance charges up before I get hit rather than after. Also takes up a jewel socket.
You can of course drop this node for extra dps/jewel socket/etc if you don't care for endurance charges.
on Aug 9, 2021, 7:24:34 PM
Nice guide - thanks for sharing your build! Looks quite strong but do you happen to have any videos for how this plays in 3.15?
on Aug 9, 2021, 7:29:44 PM
My internet is pretty bad so I can't easily upload too large of clips, but I can try later. Any requests for content? :p
edit: I ran a couple conquerors and shaper guardians I had up (sorry for bad video quality but you get the idea): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dvLZPSCQOI
Last edited by efun on Aug 10, 2021, 12:54:57 AM
on Aug 9, 2021, 9:05:21 PM
Whoa another legendary build from the CoC master himself! 🇭.🇾.🇵.🇪
on Aug 9, 2021, 11:38:32 PM
That was quick, thank you! Looks pretty good - I'm probably done with PoE for 3.15 but will keep this build in mind as 3.16 rolls around.
Last edited by 0llowain on Aug 10, 2021, 4:35:07 PM
on Aug 10, 2021, 4:34:49 PM
I've min-maxed some more and now sitting around 12M DPS: https://pastebin.com/vYScyMvn. The main upgrades are cluster jewels (overshock for 60% shock - confirmed on Sirus; and unnerve/cull on medium curse cluster). Also fit in a +1 power charge/-9 lightning res helm (fixing stun immunity on abyss jewel). As long as they don't nerf ailment thresholds next league this build should be in a good spot!
I've also cleared the feared (at around 8M DPS) although I did die 3 times (sorry no video, the recording lags me some and didn't want to lose the fight). N0esy has a deathless video of the feared on his guide for the Scion version so you can get an idea of how it goes (Scion is even tankier with recovery on block and higher HP, but higher investment).
on Aug 14, 2021, 2:22:32 AM