Hi, I’m Chris Wilson from Grinding Gear Games. Today’s Build of the Week episode showcases a Glacial Hammer Duelist created by a Path of Exile community member called gilrad. This build is all about freeze-locking the entire screen by using Glacial Hammer and a lot of cold damage to freeze an individual target, then relying on the Elemental Proliferation support gem to apply this effect to all nearby monsters. This provides a large margin of safety for a melee build and allows you the freedom to kill monsters in whatever order you prefer. It’s also very satisfying to play. The primary attack used is Glacial Hammer, supported by Melee Splash, Multistrike, Cold Penetration and Elemental Proliferation. This last gem causes any freezes you inflict to apply to all nearby monsters. This build uses a cool trick with its choice of weapons. Because Glacial Hammer only works with maces and staves, if you have a sword in your off-hand, you never actually hit with it. Normally, this is worse than just wearing a shield, but the Prismatic Eclipse sword provides very interesting bonuses that still apply even if it isn’t directly used to attack monsters.
In addition to the 10% block chance, the three red sockets contribute a 75% damage increase to the main weapon. A lucky corruption roll of this item resulted in cold damage leech, which applies to all damage you deal. The primary weapon that is augmented by these bonuses is Doryani’s Catalyst, which is a very solid choice for this build due to the elemental damage increase and leech. Romira’s Banquet is a good choice of ring to use. Its mana and mana leech are useful, and it contributes greatly to the rate and magnitude of your critical strikes, but the most interesting part is how it helps you space out these crits, which fits perfectly with the way the build plays.
The Doryani’s Invitation belt is used for its cold damage, cold life leech and chance to freeze while you’re using flasks. The Hrimsorrow gloves provide Physical to Cold damage conversion and hence substantially improve your freezes. These gloves have been corrupted to inflict the elemental weakness curse on hit, which saves the effort of having to apply it manually during combat. The hatred aura is of course used for a big boost to cold damage. The synergy between this aura and the selected uniques mean that almost all damage dealt is cold damage with leech. This greatly affects the duration of the freezes that occur. There are two cast-on-damage-taken gems used at different levels so that they have different thresholds. The one that triggers more often casts Enfeeble and Enduring Cry. The less-frequent one casts rejuvenation totem and immortal call. This build also runs a second copy of Glacial Hammer, supported by Cold Penetration, Melee Physical damage and Faster Attacks.
This is useful against bosses or when there are no targets to proliferate to. The passive tree layout of this Duelist involves allocating a substantial amount of dual wielding passives before heading on a skillgrimage to the Templar start location to grab powerful elemental damage and life nodes. The only keystone used is Iron Reflexes. Because this build doesn’t have to travel far to get several keystones, there’s a high concentration of good notables picked instead. This character is almost a budget build.
If you swap a few of the expensive uniques like Romira’s Banquet or the two Atziri items for decent rares, then the entire character is quite affordable and the build still works almost as well. The core thing that makes this build interesting – freezing masses of monsters – is inherently defensive and fun to play. This character can handle most content, but struggles occasionally with very high-life enemies such as act bosses. Because of the reliance on corrupted items and the use of two Atziri uniques, it’s a great example of a distinctive Sacrifice of the Vaal build.
Like this one, next week’s Build of the Week will be selected from the class forums on pathofexile.com. See you then!.
As found on Youtube