[3.17] Kaimer's Frost Blades Frenzy Stacking Raider

This build started as an attempt to make my first build from scratch. I had played a raider build a while back and enjoyed the movement speed that came with frenzy charges so I started with the core concept of stacking frenzy charges.

The first character I leveled this league was a seismic trap saboteur. The single target damage with seismic trap is quite good so when making this frost blades character, I decided this build could focus more on clear rather than single target since I already have a strong bosser. Keep that in mind before you decide to invest into this build; the focus is more on fast mapping than bossing.

That said, this build can do bosses with well executed gameplay. It will be more challenging than the more meta builds but it's not impossible. One interesting thing about frost blades clear being so strong is that I've found I don't need to invest anything at all in ways to improve the clear which means all of the investment can be focused on single target damage. With crazy min-maxing, I think this build could get to around ~10m DPS which would feel amazing.

Path of Building:
This POB uses the community fork so you'll need to have that version installed to view the POB properly.

This is my character's current skill tree and gear. There is certainly more progress to be made (I'm working on a +1 frenzy charge implicit shield at the moment) but I am able to run T16s safely at the current level of investment.


1. Amazing clear. Frost blades clear is insane at a base level and it is improved upon through the build.

2. Strong defensive layers. This build utilizes a combination of evasion, armor, spell suppression, high movement speed, chill/freeze, fortify, life gain on hit, leech, and cast when damage taken molten shell to stay alive. All of these layers together make for a pretty large effective hit pool.

3. Insane movement speed. This is by far the fastest character I've ever had and most of it comes incidentally through other sources. This build can zoom through maps like it's nobody's business.

1. Moderate single target damage. Frost blades is a subpar single target skill and you can feel it when you fight a tankier mob. This build can be used to kill bosses but it will not be as effective as other builds that focus on higher single target damage.

2. Low regen. Any source of degen will be annoying if you don't have a target from which to leech.

3. Not a starter. I estimate I've spent ~40-60 ex on this build so far. It would have gone much slower had I league started with this build. Being able to start with relatively strong gear makes the leveling process feel much better than it otherwise would.

Skill Gems:
Frost Blades:
Frost Blades -> Multistrike -> Ruthless -> Elemental Damage with Attacks -> Nightblade -> Ice Bite

Hatred -> Grace -> Determination -> Enlighten (level 3)

Defiance Banner

Assassin's Mark -> Mark on Hit

Frost Blades -> Hextouch -> Frostbite -> Culling Strike

Whirling Blades -> Faster Attacks

Dash -> Second Wind

Molten Shell:
Anomalous Molten Shell (level 18) -> Increased Duration -> Cast when Damage Taken (level 14)

Awakened versions of the gems that have them will obviously be improvements.

This build goes raider to maximize the value of frenzy charges.

The ascendancy nodes in order of importance are: Way of the Poacher -> Avatar of the Slaughter -> Quartz Infusion -> Avatar of the Veil

Through this combination of nodes we get frenzy charge generation, 1 additional maximum frenzy charge, attack speed/attack damage/evasion rating/movement speed per frenzy charge, permanent phasing, 40% spell suppression, 50% elemental ailment avoidance, and a -20% cold exposure applied to nearby enemies.

We kill all bandits to get the 2 passive points. This build is very starved for passive points.

While leveling, I ran Alira for the easy mana regen and extra resistances.

Major: Soul of the Brine King (cannot be stunned if you've been stunned or block a stunning hit in the past 2 seconds) with Puruna, the Challenger (cannot be frozen).

Minor: Soul of Shakari (50% less duration of poisons on you and cannot be poisoned while there are at least 3 poisons on you) with The Restless Shade (5% reduced chaos damage taken and 25% reduced chaos damage over time taken while on caustic ground).

Stun/freeze immunity from the major pantheon selection is incredibly strong. The minor pantheon selection has a few other potential options but with my current gear, chaos damage is my biggest weakness so that's why I'm running Shakari.

Defensive layers:
1. ~5k life. I'd like this to be higher and it could likely get to around 6k with fully min maxed gear. As it is, this is more than enough to survive moderately dangerous T16s.

2. ~38k evasion and ~17.5k armor with flasks up. According to POB, this equates to an 82% chance to evade an 55% physical damage reduction against Sirus. You may notice that the POB shows a 63% physical damage reduction; that is because the watcher's eye I'm using currently has the additional physical reduction when affected by determination mod.

3. Capped spell suppression. Spell suppression is an incredibly strong mechanic and getting capped makes this build feel way tankier than it otherwise would. A large chunk (54%) of suppression chance for this build comes from the tree via the Entrench notable as well as the Quartz Infusion ascendancy node. The other two sources are found on our helmet and chest.

Additionally, we gain an additional 100% increased critical strike chance (!) from our spell suppression mastery. This makes the suppression investment incredibly efficient as we're getting very useful offensive and defensive stats simultaneously.

4. High movement speed. It is harder to quantize the value of movement speed in terms of defense compared to other stats but it is undeniable that movement speed heavily influences a character's survival chances. From my experience leveling this build to 96, I find that for the first time in my POE career I'm able to keep up with the super juiced and aura-ed rares in maps. This build gains 11% movement speed per frenzy charge simply via nodes we would be taking anyways for offensive/defensive purposes. This on top of the additional movement speed we get from elusive and our quicksliver flask makes us zoom in a very satisfying way.

5. Chill/Freeze. We are a crit-based cold build so all of our damage will freeze (and therefore chill). This is not true against higher health mobs and bosses but we do still keep them frozen and chilled relatively well which feels very good. Additionally, removing corpses is an incredible QOL feature for any crit-based cold build.

6. Fortify. I stumbled upon this one by accident: when trying to find a good eater of worlds implicit for my chest, I ran out of ichors and ended up with melee hits have 8% chance to fortify. After running a few maps and wondering why I had the fortify buff I realized how useful this mod is for this build. Since this build scales the melee damage portion of the damage rather than the projectile portion, this is effectively 100% uptime of 20 stacks of fortify which is about a 25% increase to our maximum hit taken!

7. Life gain on hit. We get 38 life gain on hit from our claw. With our attack rate of 6.42 attacks/second, we have effectively ~240 life gained per second against a single target (that does not count towards the leech cap!). This number scales incredibly well with the number of mobs hit (as I believe each projectile hitting triggers the effect as well) to the point that I feel effectively immortal when there are a large number of mobs on the screen.

8. Life leech. We get cold leech on this build via the incursion modifier on our amulet which grants T1 cold res as well as cold damage leeched as life. POB shows this as ~930 life gained per second with room for about 100 extra life gained per second till the cap based on the current gear. This coupled with the life gain on hit from our claw gives a net ~1200 life gained per second (which is about a quarter of our life pool).

If you are not able to get an amulet that has this mod, there is a 1 point passive that grants 0.3% of attack damage leeched as life off of the taste for blood notable that you can grab until you find another source.

9. Molten shell. This build uses cast when damage taken linked with molten shell to provide an additional layer of mitigation when taking large chunks of damage. Based on my experience running T16s on this character, the average damage absorbed by the molten shell buff is ~4k which feels very nice.

Offensive scaling:
This build scales damage through a number of means: added flat cold damage, increased cold/elemental damage, as much more elemental damage/cold damage as we can get, as much cold penetration as we can get, attack speed, critical strike multiplier, intimidate, and culling strike. The total sum DPS per POB with my character's current gear against Sirus is ~3.1m which, while not eye-opening, is at least enough to comfortably run T16s.

1. Added flat cold damage. We get a majority of this flat damage from ice bite which provided both a base cold damage added as well as an additional chunk per frenzy charge. Frost blades, mark of the elder, and our boot enchant provide the remaining damage.

2. Increased cold/elemental damage. The largest potion of this comes from the tree. We also get a little bit extra from our threshold jewels, our skill gems, and whatever else we can fit on our gear.

3. More cold/elemental damage. We want every bit of this we can find. There are two sources currently: hatred and our elemental damage with attacks gem.

4. Cold penetration. We get a significant amount of reduced enemy resistance and penetration in this build via our threshold jewels, exposure via the avatar of the veil ascendancy node, and frostbite. This effectively multiplies our DPS by ~45% which is a huge multiplier.

5. Attack speed. As with any attack based build, we appreciate any attack speed we can get. This is especially true for this build as we gain life on hit which scales very well with attack speed. Just about all of the attack speed this build gets is from the tree. The remaining bit comes from the shield suffix, a flask mod, and onslaught which we get via a silver flask.

6. Critical strike multiplier. A massive chunk of critical strike multiplier form this build is gained via the nightblade skill gem. The nightblade support does a few things: provides elusive on crit, additional base critical strike chance while elusive, additional critical strike multiplier for skills supported by nightblade, and increased effect of elusive from supported skills.

An interesting interaction with those effects is that scaling elusive effect also scales the critical strike multiplier gained via the nightblade support. As a result, we find another situation where we can gain a great deal of both offensive value and defensive value by scaling a single stat (elusive). We spend a few points on the tree to grab additional elusive effect which heavily scales our damage. The remaining critical strike multiplier comes from the tree and whatever we can get from jewels.

7. Intimidate. Intimidate is a debuff that increases the attack damage enemies take by 10%. The attack mastery 'Ruthless Hits Intimidate Enemies for 4 seconds' allows us to apply intimidate to enemies since we are running ruthless as one of our damage links.

8. Culling strike. We are able to link our hextouch frost blades with culling strike which gives us an effective 10% dps increase.

This build uses a few very easily obtainable and inexpensive uniques. The most expensive uniques are the bottled faith (5.5 ex) and the watcher's eye with increased critical strike chance while affected by hatred (4.5 ex). Mark of the elder is 10c, and the darkray vectors and threshold jewels are all 1c. I'll discuss the uniques first and then the rares as there's more room for flexibility with the rares.

1. Boots. Darkray vectors are by far the best choice for our boot slot. The maximum frenzy charge is the reason and the movement speed and evasion rating per frenzy charge are massive bonuses. The reduced frenzy charge duration is negligible due to the increased duration we obtain via the tree and the lightning res is nice as we are a bit starved for res with this build.

For the enchant, I believe cold damage if you've been hit recently is the best damage option. Other options are attack/cast speed if you've killed recently, damage leeched as life if you've killed recently (if you can't find another source of leech), movement speed if you haven't been hit recently, and damage penetrates 10% of enemy elemental resistances if you haven't killed recently. These aren't particularly hard to farm so use whichever is the most useful for you at the time.

2. Ring. Mark of the elder provides a massive amount of flat and increased damage as well as some increased maximum life which is greatly appreciated. The caveat to using this ring is that you will need to have a shaper ring in your other ring slot. This narrows down your ring options a good deal so I suggest investing a decent amount on a shaper ring that you don't see yourself replacing. Abrasive catalysts are incredibly cheap and provide some easy damage as well.

3. Bottled faith. It's one of the best DPS flasks in the game. We are able to get max crit with a diamond flask so we get to use a bottled faith instead. Not much else to say.

4. Threshold jewels. Fight for survival is such an amazing threshold jewel. It gives us excellent scaling by providing damage and cold pen, and the
additional projectile speed is very nice as it increases the distance the projectiles travel when they're fired. We would use more of these if we could.

5. Watcher's eye. One of the easiest ways to scale critical strike chance is to increase the base critical strike chance of your attacks. Because of this, the increased critical strike chance while affected by hatred is the most useful watcher's eye mod we can get. If you can find one that has that mod as well as any one other useful mod for a reasonable price, grab it and run. Other potentially useful mods include flat armor, physical damage reduction, or reduced extra damage from critical strikes while affected by determination, or chance to suppress spell damage or movement speed while affected by grace. The unaffected by vulnerability or enfeeble mods are not that great but better than nothing.

Weapon: Rare gemini claw.
As with most attack based builds, your weapon provides a very large portion of your damage. We use a gemini claw as our base because it provides both life and mana gained on hit. The life gain on hit has been discussed earlier; the mana gain on hit is our primary source of mana regen and means we never have to worry about mana (along with our amulet and ring -mana cost crafts that we will see later). There are bases that have higher base DPS and might be worth using if you don't have to worry about mana. I haven't experimented with a different base yet but it could be a could way to get some extra DPS if it works.

Increased flat phys, % increased physical damage, and % increased critical strike chance are the most important mods for the claw. Anything other than that is a bonus. Other good stats would be attack speed, critical strike multiplier, and cold damage.

Shield: Rare shield with evasion rating.
The shield needs to be a dex base in order to be able to roll attack speed on it. Ideally you'd use a str/dex base to get the additional armor. If you're using your shield to cap your spell suppression chance, you need the base to be item level 86+. If not, 85 is fine.

Life, attack speed, and res/attributes are the most important affixes for the shield. Additional max res is amazing as well if you can get it. Craft % of cold damage as extra chaos damage for an easy damage boost.

You can also use a suffix on your shield to get spell suppression if you need to. The reason I get it on my chest and helm instead is because they both require implicit modifiers from the new ichors/embers so I can't get influenced mods in those two slots.

Helmet: Rare str/dex base.
There is only one useful enchant (% increased frost blades damage) so get an 86+ ilvl base with this enchant. The base needs to be 86+ in order to roll T1 spell suppression chance. The higher the armor, the better.

Life, chance to suppress spell damage, res, and attributes are the most important affixes for the helmet. The prefix craft +1 to level of socketed projectile gems/projectiles pierce an additional target is very nice and worth trying to fit in if you can.

You need to get the eater of worlds implicit that provides increased mana reservation of skills in order to fit all of your auras. There are a number of searing exarch implicits that provide a bit of damage as well.

Body armor: Rare 6 link str/dex base.
Needs to be ilvl 86+ because you're using this item to fit a spell suppression chance mod. The higher the armor, the better.

Life, chance to suppress spell damage, res, and attributes are the most important affixes for the chest. If you can fit it, the crafted % increased life/% increased maximum mana craft provides a good bit of life.

You need to get the eater of worlds implicit modifier that provides melee hits have X% increased chance to fortify and this provides a large benefit towards survivability. You also need to roll the searing exarch implicit modifier +1 to all maximum resistances, and ideally +2 if you are able to. I have not been able to roll this so far but I think it would be a nice boost to the defensive layers.

Gloves: Rare spiked gloves.
Need to be ilvl 85+ because you're spending a good bit of currency on these. The mods you end up having on this slot in particular will affect a lot of your other gearing choices.

These gloves are made by using an awakener's orb to create an ilvl 85+ spiked gloves with the hunter prefix 'Strike skills target 1 additional nearby enemy' and the warlord prefix '+1 to maximum frenzy charges'. You're looking for it to either roll higher than a crafted life roll or have an open prefix to have life crafted on. My first pair had no useable suffixes so I made a second pair that hit T2 accuracy and T6 cold res and an open prefix to craft life which is about as good as I could hope for. You can probably buy a pair of these but a good one will cost you a lot of currency.

This slot is, in my opinion, the most difficult to fill because the build improves a lot with those two specific modifiers and the suffixes you end with as a result will determine what affixes you will need to fill on gear. If you end up with a base with crafted life and the two necessary affixes, it can be worth it to purchase harvest reroll keep prefixes to try and hit better suffixes rather than trying to craft a new base entirely. The harvest craft costs ~1.5-2 ex while making a new base could easily cost 3-6 ex (or more depending on your luck rolling the bases).

Amulet: Rare agate amulet.
As I mentioned earlier, I use the amulet slot to get cold leech. I bought an amulet relatively cheaply that had the life, fire res, cold res/leech, and critical strike chance and then used a redeemer's exalted orb (which hit the % damage per frenzy charge luckily enough) and then crafted on non-channeling skills have -7 to total mana cost. You will need this item to have an open prefix for this craft as it is necessary for mana purposes. It is worth spending the currency recrafting until you hit -7.

Life, res, attributes, and cold damage leeched as life are the most important affixes for the amulet. You can get attack leech via a point passive on the tree but I think it's more valuable to get in on the amulet because it provides a high amount of cold res and we're pretty res starved on this build.

You will need to annoint Whispers of Doom via 3 gold oils in order to be able to apply two curses simultaneously. This is a massive DPS increase due to how well frostbite scales the damage of the build.

Ring: Rare shaper ring.
Needs to be ilvl 84+ to roll the highest tier res modifiers. The ring needs to have shaper influence in order for the mark of the elder to provide it's conditional increased attack damage. As I mentioned earlier, this limits your options for this ring pretty significantly. I suggest either spending a good bit of currency investing in a good shaper ring with any useable base (res, crit, life, steel ring) that has an open prefix to craft -mana cost to skills or crafting your own and then itemizing around what you end up with (along with the gloves). Harvest rerolls with cold/fire/lightning and life can get you some good starter options pretty easily if you want to try and craft a ring instead.

Life, res, attributes, and an open prefix to craft -mana cost to skills are the most important affixes the ring. It will be easier to get this ring first and build the rest of your gear around it like the gloves. This is probably the second most important slot to fill.

Belt: Rare stygian vise.
Needs to be ilvl 86+ to roll the highest tier of elemental damage with attack skills. I used a hunter base to have access to the % increased maximum life prefix but there are other options for DPS as well.

Life, res, and attributes are the most important affixes for the belt. Elemental damage with attacks is an easy prefix to craft on for a bit of extra damage and turbulent catalysts are a very cheap way to get a bit more out of the craft if you can fit it.

The most important modifier for jewels is the corrupted reservation efficiency implicit as we struggle to fit enough mana reservation in this build. Other than that, the most important modifier is either flat or % increased maximum life followed by any applicable critical strike multiplier modifiers. If you can't find jewels with multiple critical strike multiplier rolls, you can swap on out for something else that scales your damage like attack speed, flat cold or physical damage, etc.

As mentioned earlier, one of our flask slots will be filled with a bottled faith. The second will be filled with a divine life flask with either seething or bubbling prefixes for the instant life recovery and immunity to bleeding/corrupted blood for x seconds if used while affected by them. You can also get corrupted blood immunity from a jewel implicit but it doesn't prevent other sources of bleed so I prefer the flask modifier even through you have to press it reactively when you start bleeding.

The other three flasks slots will be filled with granite, silver, and quicksilver flasks respectively. The quicksilver flask should have a T1 % increased movement speed during flask effect roll and the highest % chance to gain a flask charge when you deal a critical strike roll you can get. The other two flasks need to have these two suffixes between the two of them: a T1 attack speed during flask effect roll and a T1 % increased armor during flask effect roll. One of these flasks (whichever you wish to have the most uptime; I chose the granite flask) needs to have as high of a % chance to gain a flask charge when you deal a critical strike roll and the other can roll whatever prefix is most efficient for the flask's uptime based on it's base.

Regarding the chance to gain a flask charge on crit modifiers: poewiki.net has this to say regarding that modifier: 'Flask charges gained this way can only occur once every 100ms and gives a charge to one flask at a time.' That means with one flask with this mod, the flask gets an effective 10 charges/second, two flasks get an effective 5 charges/second, or 3 flasks get an effective 3.3 charges per second. I decided to use two of these affixes (on my quicksilver and granite flasks) since splitting them between three flasks felt like it wouldn't generate enough flask charges for reasonable uptime. As it is, two doesn't feel like I have enough uptime against bosses but I also may be doing something wrong with this mechanic as I don't understand it incredibly well.

Other gearing notes:
Mana reservation and mana costs of abilities:
It is a struggle to get enough mana reservation on this build. To that end, we take the charisma notable and associated passives as well as the reservation mastery that provides 15% increased mana reservation efficiency of skills. We also grab the evasion mastery that grants 25% increased mana reservation efficiency with grace. Finally, we get the remaining reservation efficiency from our jewel slots implicits. The threshold jewels are relatively cheap to get with this implicit because frost blades is not a highly used skill. The rares are also relatively easy to fill here and it can be worthwhile to buy jewels that have 3 useful mods and try corrupting them to hit the implicit if there aren't any available. The watcher's eye is a bit of pipe dream and I'd suggest not planning to get that implicit on that slot. I currently have 4 of my 5 non-watcher's eye jewels with the reservation efficiency implicit and that leaves enough mana unreserved along with the rest to cast all of my skills.

We also need to have the crafted -mana cost to skills prefix on both our amulet and our ring. These two affixes along with our gemini claw solve our mana problems entirely. It is relatively crucial to have these two modifiers along with a gemini claw in order for mana to not feel like a problem.

Melee strike range:
There is a helm craft that provides +2 to melee strike range that might be worth considering over the projectile pierce craft I suggested earlier. I'm relatively certain the pierce is a much better option for mapping purposes but if you're focusing on bossing damage, I could see the argument that the extra range could help you stay a bit further away from the bosses than you would otherwise be able to. That said, we already have a huge amount of strike range thanks to frost blades scaling to I don't think the craft would be too impactful overall. It's easy enough to switch between the two as well if you feel it necessary.

As with any crit-based build, you need to have a 100% chance to hit in order to maximize your DPS. This was a requirement that I was able to fill reasonably easily as both my helm and gloves rolled T2 accuracy which made filling up the rest easier than it otherwise would have been. If you are having trouble reaching the accuracy cap, there are a number of places you can try to fit in some extra: jewel modifiers, swapping out some nodes on the tree, and crafted modifiers on pieces that can have it are all ways to get some extra accuracy.

Critical strike chance cap:
As with any crit-based build, you need to have a 100% chance to crit in order to maximize your DPS. To this end, there are a number of choices I made to do this as effectively as possible and spend resources elsewhere. Assassin's mark provides a huge bonus to this via both the curse's effect and the power charges that it provides. A high base critical strike chance on your weapon will also make hitting the crit cap much easier. Our watcher's eye modifier increasing base critical strike chance while affected by hatred is also incredibly efficient and the most important watcher's eye mod as a result. Elusive via nightblade and the passive tree provide a majority of the remaining necessary % increased chance to crit.

While gearing up, I suggest swapping out your silver flask for a diamond flask with the same mods to make it easier to reach the crit cap. Once you get enough from other sources, you can swap the diamond flask to the silver flask.

A note regarding the bottled faith: the build is designed to be at 100% critical strike chance without the bottled faith active. The damage boost from the flask comes from the 40% increased damage from the base and the increased damage taken to enemies affected by your consecrated ground modifier.

Cold conversion:
We do not require any gearing to get full physical to cold conversion as we get 60% base conversion from the frost blades skill gem and an additional 40% conversion from the cold mastery.

Attributes/resistance cap:
It was a struggle to fit all of the necessary attributes and resistances on this build. You need to prioritize hitting your attribute minimums and resistance caps as the build does not function without them. As you replace your gear with better pieces, you'll be able to fit in more damage via freed up affixes.

Priorities when gearing:
These priorities may shift a bit depending on your current gear and gem setups but generally speaking, this is how I prioritize with respect to gearing:

Attribute and resistance caps -> spell suppression chance cap -> life -> critical strike chance cap -> accuracy cap -> mana reservation efficiency -> -mana cost to skills crafts -> maximum frenzy charges -> other sources of damage (flat phys/cold damage, increased %phys/cold damage, attack speed, critical strike multiplier, etc.)

With respect to pieces of gear to focus on first (besides uniques), I suggest the following order:

Gloves -> rare ring -> helmet/armor for suppression chance cap -> amulet -> weapon -> shield/belt/jewels

Corrupted implicits:
I am not yet at this point of min-maxing but getting useful implicits on your uniques is a good way to get some extra damage/survivability. For the boots, % chance to suppress spell damage, movement speed, and % increased life are good options. There may be an implicit that provides more DPS on the ring than its default implicit but it's useful already so I don't think it's too important.

Potential upgrades:
There are a few things I'm working on to improve the damage of the build. One is a shield with a synthesized +1 to maximum frenzy charges implicit mod that I think will be amazing once I get it crafted. A double hatred watcher's eye would be incredible as well although they're quite expensive. Corrupting my gloves and hitting +1 to maximum frenzy charges would also be absolutely insane but that's relatively improbable so I'm not counting on that.

Last bumped on Apr 16, 2022, 1:03:11 AM

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