Hey there, welcome to another Path of Exile guide, this time with an Ice Crash Berserker, one of the fastest and most heavy hitting builds you’ll ever play. The build will be rated on 5 different categories: defense and survivability, mapping and clearing speed, bossing and single target damage, cost, and viability as a league starter. Right off the bat, this has been my league starter in Ritual and it was an absolute blast to play, reaching red tier maps in no time. And that was done with a mix of basic and mid-tier gear, with pretty much none of the recommended best-in-slot uniques. Even those are actually quite common and cheap ones, so you can pimp your character with a really small investment.
Overall the build is quite a low budget one, moreso when considering the performance you get in return. Of course, once you get into the best-in-slot territory, sky’s the limit, especially for the weapon, but your character’s power will increase proportionally.
Defense-wise you’re not exactly a tanking beast, but neither are you a glass cannon. On top of a decent chance to block, plenty of armour and life leech when using the appropriate items, a really strong defensive layer actually comes from your huge damage output. You’ll perma-freeze most things that survive more than 1-hit, including ritual packs, legion rares, metamorphs, red beasts, and pretty much all map bosses that aren’t immune.
And with the generous area of effect for Ice Crash, this permafrost field will cover almost half the screen. This actually comes in very handy in Maven crucible fights where you can sometimes freeze multiple bosses at the same time, when they’re clumped together.
However, the freezing defensive mechanism greatly depends on your own skill as a player, as its efficiency depends on positioning and timing. Fortunately, your insane attack speed, most of it obtained from the Berserker ascendancy, also translates to incredibly fast leap slamming, allowing you to very quickly relocate and place your character exactly where it’s needed. This is especially useful in mechanical boss fights such as Sirus, Maven or Uber Elder – you can rapidly alternate between dealing damage and repositioning to avoid dangerous boss moves or arena hazards.
Still, keep in mind, that mostly relies on your own abilities – the build won’t hold your hand or do stuff for you. The tools are there, but you need to use them properly. The ascendancy doesn’t just provide huge attack speed but movement speed as well, and when you combine these you obtain one of the fastest mapping characters out there, quite similar to top-end Ranger builds, but without relying on evasion-like defense.
However, there are some map mods which are impossible to run: elemental or physical reflect and no life regen. The reflect ones are bypassable using sextants, but no regen is impossible and I’ll explain exactly why in the next section.
But, before diving into the guide proper, just a reminder if anything is unclear or you have any questions about the build, you can find me streaming on Twitch at twitch.tv/navandis (link to the schedule in the pinned comment and video description). I’m live 4 or 5 times a week and you’ll get to see every upcoming build being put together, leveled up and fine-tuned before it becomes a guide such as this one.
Finally, the most up to date Path of Building link will always be found in the pinned comment and video description. As usual, the guide is divided into seven main sections: build overview, passive tree and leveling, ascendancy, pantheon, gems and links, gear flasks and jewels and finally “pros & cons”.
So, with that out of the way, let’s start with the build overview. The build’s main skill, Ice Crash, slams the ground dealing cold damage in 3 very large concentric circles, with the inner one dealing the most damage. A target can only be damaged by one of these stages each time you slam, but you don’t really need to actively aim or anything like that. You hit and enemies around you take more or slightly less damage, depending on which circle they’re in.
This also allows you to dictate the range in boss fights, as you don’t have to stand right next to your target.
Ice crash converts 100% of physical damage into cold, and this allows you to basically scale both physical and elemental damage. In addition, its huge base damage also makes it ideal for a crit build and this is what helps you freeze pretty much everything apart from the toughest bosses. The other key aspect of the build is using the Berserker ascendancy and its Rage mechanic, granted by “Crave the Slaughter” passive. Attacking enemies will build up a new resource called “rage” which increases your attack speed, damage and movement speed. In fact, the entire Berserker ascendancy is all about massive attack speed and massive damage.
When you pair it with Ice Crash, one of the hardest hitting skills in the game, you end up with incredible DPS. However, the Berserker does stay true to its name as the ascendancy doesn’t provide any defense whatsoever.
In fact you actually get a significant life degen debuff which you’ll need to offset through various means, primarily Vitality aura and life leech. The whole process is quite simple: you hit stuff and build up rage. The more rage you have, the stronger the life degeneration debuff, but the faster and harder you hit.
This in turn allows you to constantly and efficiently life leech your way back to full HP. Once you manage to balance out the degen, it’s smooth sailing from then on and everything else about the build is incredibly simple. Grab a staff, smash your enemies to bits and leap to the next pack. Against bosses or in other fixed fight scenarios such as Rituals you can drop an Ancestral Protector totem for a massive damage boost. As for defenses, first and foremost your ability to freeze pretty much everything in a huge area around your character is a significant survivability boost.
However, it relies on you actually attacking stuff and proper positioning will directly increase your overall tankiness. Add a generous amount of armour, endless life leech, blinded enemies missing half their attacks against you, incredible mobility, and you get a pretty tough nut to crack. While it sounds like a lot to take in, don’t worry, as usual, I’ll talk more about all these in the passives, gems and gearing sections respectively.
And speaking of that, let’s actually start with passive tree and leveling. You start off as a Marauder and before getting Ice Crash at level 28, you can level up using Smite, Ground Slam or Glacial Hammer.
In fact you can even run two setups, like Smite and Glacial Hammer, one for clearing and one for single target damage. In either case, you can find a few leveling setups in the Path of Building guide aid. As for the passive tree, for this build I went with a non-cluster jewels version. While you could theoretically squeeze out more DPS with very good cluster jewels, they’ll also cost an arm and a leg, so I won’t bother including them in the guide.
In the first few acts you’ll go for generic two-handed weapon passives such as “Born to Fight” or “Butchery”, but as you progress though the 2nd part of the campaign you’ll start picking up more staff specific nodes.
For example, “Smashing Strikes” or “Whirling Barrier” provide endurance and power charges when you deal a critical strike or block something. In turn, these charges will reduce physical damage taken and increase your crit strike chance respectively. And speaking of blocking, “Steelwood Stance”, “Serpent Stance” and “Whirling Barrier” allow you to reach around 30% chance to block both spells and attacks, with an appropriate weapon base.
Still on the topic of staff specific nodes, these also tend to significantly favor crit and elemental builds, and looking at passives such as “Ophidian Aim”, “Smashing Strikes”, “Blunt Trauma”,“Serpent Stance” or “One with the River”, you’ll immediately understand why. All these perks were simply too good to pass, making staffs the perfect weapon type for this build.
However, that’s not to say there aren’t a couple of awesome weapon-agnostic nodes that you’ll pickup on the way.
For example, “Versatility”, “Precision” and “Art of the Gladiator” will help you cap your accuracy, a hugely important stat for crit attack builds. Then you have stuff like “Divine Fervour”, “Holy Dominion” and “Divine Judgement” with some massive bonuses to elemental damage, an obvious choice for a pure cold damage build. Finally, the small “Berserking” wheel increases your rage cap to 70 and slows down its decay, allowing you to more easily reach and stay at full rage. I will however talk in depth about the rage mechanic in the Ascendancy section.
On the defense front, we’ve already talked about the decent chance to block, but the left side of the tree is also full of amazing life nodes. Without traveling too far you have an easy access to passives such as “Bravery”, “Heart of the Warrior”, “Constitution”, “Tireless”, “Discipline and Training”, “Devotion”, to name just a few. Literally the very best life nodes in the entire passive tree are right on your path. Now, remember how I said earlier that you need a lot of life regen? Well, “Master of the Arena”, “Warrior’s Blood”, “Combat Stamina” and “Sanctity” already cover more than half of that.
If you feel like you need more life, you can drop Divine Judgement and maybe even the extra Endurance node next to “Devotion”, then fill in the “wheel of life” around Constitution. You can even grab the two additional nodes next to “Purity of Flesh” and all these should get you quite close to 7k HP. As for the “Deal with the bandits” quest in Act 2, the best choice is to help Alira. She’ll give you a solid crit strike multiplier bonus as well as 15% all elemental resistances, making both leveling and end game gearing much easier. And that’s about it for the passive tree and leveling.
In the next section I’ll be covering the Ascendancy class which improves pretty much every single aspect of this build. The Berserker is hands-down the most action packed, high-octane ascendancy out there, just stupidly fast and fun. True to its name, it provides no defense at all, which is why a lot of people tend to avoid it. However, a good build can definitely reap all the benefits the Berserker brings, while working around its downsides.
So, with the first points grab “Crave the Slaughter”, the signature passive of this ascendancy class.
With it, whenever you hit with an attack you gain a new resource called Rage. Each point of rage provides increased damage, attack speed and movement speed. With “Crave the Slaughter” you can have up to 60 rage, but this cap is increased to 70 after picking “Berserking” from the passive tree. However, rage starts decaying if you haven’t generated any in the past 4 seconds, or if you haven’t been hit in that timeframe. This further reinforces the need to play this build more actively, to maintain its high damage output.
The more time you waste between monster packs or before going into a boss fight, the less overall DPS you’ll have. After completing Cruel Labyrinth, take “Flawless Savagery”, yet another pure offensive passive – it simply provides a very solid amount of flat physical damage, crit strike chance and crit multiplier.
Follow it up with “Rite of Ruin”, the two-edged sword of the Bersker ascendancy. First, it triples the bonuses provided by each rage stack. This means at full rage you’ll gain 210% increased damage, 105% increased attack speed and 42% increased movement speed.
However, with great power comes great degeneration: you lose 0.1% life per second for each rage stack, meaning a massive 7% of your total life while at full rage. While this might sound like a huge amount, in practice it’s completely offset by the various life regen passives we take and a Vitality aura. Later on, you can add a Watcher’s Eye jewel with a Vitality aura mod, and the endless leech provided by “Offering to the Serpent” gloves. “Rite of Ruin” also provides stun immunity while you have at least 25 rage, a buff which should be almost permanent.
Finally, with your last ascendancy points take the “Blitz” passive – every time you deal a crit you gain up to 20 blitz charges, each providing more attack speed while reducing your critical strike chance. The tradeoff is absolutely worth it – not only is the bonus flat out stronger than the downside, in terms of pure damage numbers, but by attacking more often you will inherently deal more crits anyway. Keep in mind that blitz charges will decay if you haven’t dealt a crit strike in the past 5 seconds. Once again, keep fighting and your DPS will be stellar. Twiddle your thumbs and admire the scenery and your damage will be garbage.
With the ascendancy out of the way, we can take a quick look at the Pantheon choices.
Generally speaking, Pantheon choices are situational and there isn’t a “best” pair that will outperform all others in any scenario. However, there are certain options that complement specific builds quite well in a wide range of situations. For this particular case, here are my recommendations: For the major god I’d recommend Soul of Solaris, a pretty well rounded defensive choice, especially useful in most boss fights. It also reduces the overall danger of incoming crit strikes by lowering the chance they’ll apply elemental ailments.
The alternative would be Soul of Arakaali, improving your defenses against damage over time, such as ignites or poisons. However, none of these bonuses will affect the damage you take from “Rite of Ruin” ascendancy passive.
Finally, for the minor god “Soul of Tukohama” fits the playstyle of the build perfectly – you get a solid amount of life regen and physical damage reduction while stationary. And since spaming Ice Crash kinda requires you to stand still, these bonuses will have a pretty high uptime. Having covered the Pantheon choices, we can now focus on one of the most important aspects of any build: gems and links.
Heist league has introduced alternate qualities for both active skills and support gems. These provide different bonuses than the default versions of the gems and in some cases they might add a bit more damage or utility. While none of these are mandatory nor do they add a lot of DPS, you’ll find the alternate quality gems in the Path of Building guide aid.
Some might be dirt cheap while some might cost over 50 chaos, so it’s up to you if you wish to invest anything into them. With that out of the way, as usual, I’ll start off with the main skill, Ice Crash and its supports.
Support gems are listed in order of their importance, so if you can only get a 5-link then just drop the last gem I’ve mentioned. First you have “Multistrike”, which should come as no surprise – with this support each Ice Crash will repeat twice, dealing more damage each time. It also increases its attack speed by quite a large margin, making your overall gameplay feel silky smooth even if you’re using a slow two-handed weapon.
Then there’s “Elemental Damage with Attacks”, which simply adds a metric ton of elemental damage, followed by Pulverise, increasing your area of effect and area damage. Next you have “Inspiration” a really interesting support – first, it significantly lowers Ice Crash’ mana cost, which is actually far more important than it might seem at first.
With a lower cost for your main skill you’re able to reserve more mana with auras such as Vitality or Precision, increasing both your damage and resilience. Then, as you spend mana with Ice Crash you’ll gain inspiration charges, which increase your crit chance and elemental damage. Keep in mind you can pre-generate these charges before a boss fight spamming Ice Crash without hitting anything. Finally, the last gem in this setup is “Fortify” – while it’s not the absolute best DPS support, you’ll gain the buff with the same name when hitting enemies with Ice Crash.
This Fortify buff reduces damage taken from hits by 20%, a godly amount for such a low effort.
Then you have your utility and defensive setup: “Molten Shell” linked with “Increased Duration” and “Second Wind” supports, for a longer uptime and lower cooldown. “Molten Shell” creates a damage absorption shield based on how much armour you have and it will soak up around 4000 damage when you have your granite flask up. The way I use this skill is to bind to my left mouse button, replacing the default “move”. As I keep the button pressed, it will move my character as usual but also cast Molten Shell on cooldown, without interrupting movement. Last gem in this setup is “Berserk”, the super saiyan button for the build.
This ability consumes your rage stacks but provides huge DPS and defense bonuses. Now, obviously once you’re out of rage and the buff wears off, you’ll be in a worse shape as you need to rebuild your rage, which is your main source of damage.
However, timing Berserk right can trivialize most boss fights. For example, in the last stage of a Sirus fight you can quickly build 70 rage, activate Berserk, pop your flasks and you’ll very likely kill the boss by the time the buff wears off. The more familiar you are with the various boss fights, the more benefit you’ll be able to get from this ability.
Next, you have a simple “Cast when Damage Taken” setup – this trigger gem will cast any linked active skills, after you take a certain amount of damage. A higher “Cast when Damage Taken” gem will be able to cast a higher linked gem, but it would also require a lot more damage to be triggered. As such, for this particular setup we’ll keep the trigger gem at level 1 so it fires as often as possible. You then link it with a level 8 “Frost Bomb” – this spell applies a -25% cold resistance exposure debuff on enemies and reduces their life regen.
Not only will your targets take a lot more damage, but Frost Bomb also counters Maven’s healing in encounters witnessed by her.
Then add a level 5 Frostbite curse in this setup, to further reduce enemies’ cold resistance. Finally, you have a manually cast level 20 Blood Rage – this buff increases your attack speed by a fair amount, but also applies a physical damage over time debuff on yourself. However, this DOT will be entirely offset by your life regen, so you don’t really need to worry about it. In addition, killing an enemy while having Blood Rage UP refreshes the buff’s duration, and has a chance to give you a Frenzy Charge. These charges will in turn increase your damage and attack speed even further.
Finally, if you haven’t yet gotten the best-in-slot amulet or other sources of elemental damage leeched as life, you can temporarily use a “Divergent” Blood Rage gem instead. Moving on, you have an auras setup and there are a few very important elements you need to understand here. Exactly how you juggle with all these, highly depends on your character, gear and budget.
First and foremost, make sure you didn’t skip the “Sovereignty” node from the passive tree. Then, by reducing the mana cost of your Ice Crash through Inspiration support and a -mana cost body armour, you can afford to reserve pretty much your entire mana pool with auras.
There are also two auras which reserve a flat amount of mana: Vitality and Precision.
Unlike most auras which have a fixed percentage cost, these two will reserve more mana as you level them up. So, you can intentionally keep them at a lower level until you can afford the full reservation cost. Finally, the best-in-slot amulet, Replica Hyrri’s Truth provides the Hatred aura and reduces its reservation cost by 50%. Since you won’t however be able to get everything sorted until you have proper gear, here’s the priority order for your auras: level 20 Vitality, level 20 Precision, Hatred aura from the unique amulet, Blood and Sand and finally Herald of Purity.
Otherwise put, if you can’t manage to activate them all, temporarily hold off on Herald of Purity. There’s also a more advanced alternate 6-link auras setup, for a lot more damage, but that requires quite a bit of juggling with your gear so everything fits. However, I’ve included that in the POB guide as well. Vitality provides some much needed life regen to offset “Rite of Ruin” ascendancy passive. Precision will help you cap your chance to hit and increase your crit strike chance as well.
Hatred is just a massive extra chunk of cold damage, while Herald of Purity adds a good bit of flat physical damage which then gets converted into cold by Ice Crash.
Finally “Blood and Sand” should only be used in blood stance for a solid bonus to area damage. Up next you have a pretty loose utility setup which should be socketed into your weapon. First there’s Leap Slam, the build’s mobility skill linked with “Faster Attacks”. With the insane at tack speed this build has, leaping actually ends up much faster than walking.
Add an “Ancestral Protector” totem which is generally used only in fixed combat scenarios such as boss fights, rituals, Maven’s crucible, Delve nodes, etc. This totem provides a massive attack speed bonus and deals some decent damage of its own, so make sure you actually summon it in such fights. Link it with Culling Strike, which will have your totem instantly kill any enemy at or below 10% HP, which does indeed work on big bosses such as Sirus or Shaper.
The last two gems in this setup are quite flexible: you can go with a Stone Golem for life regen or an Ice Golem for extra damage. You can then add a Holy Relic as well for even more life regen.
Or, you can go with some more passive benefits such as Blind support and Blood Magic. You can even just go full damage and link your Ancestral Protector with Brutality and Melee Physical damage.
The point is, while all these provide good bonuses, they’re not mandatory, neither is it a must to link all of them together, meaning you don’t actually need a 6-link weapon. With the gems out of the way, it’s time to take a look at the recommended gear for this build. In this section, for each gear slot I will outline three tiers: basic, mid-tier and best-in-slot.
Generally speaking, prices increase significantly with each tier, but so do the benefits that the items bring. The “Notes” tab in the Path of Building guide contains trade links to help you find and buy the necessary gear. You can tweak the filters according to your budget and character at that time. Your main goal is to cap your elemental resistances and get as much life as possible, while equipping as many of the best-in-slot unique items as possible. The 2nd big priority is to reduce the mana cost for Ice Crash, which can end up completely free.
This is done through Inspiration support, as well as a -15 mana cost mod on your body armour.
With these two, Ice Crash will cost exactly 1 mana, so you can spam it non-stop. However, if you can’t yet afford the body armour, then you should be able to find cheap -mana cost rings or even craft them yourself. If neither of these are an option for some extraordinary reason, use an Enduring mana flask and activate fewer auras. The rest of the affixes should be a mix of life regen, chaos resistance and damage ones, mostly in the form of physical, cold, attack speed, accuracy and crit mods.
Starting from the top, an excellent basic-tier helmet is the dirt cheap “Voll’s Vision” – as long as you can cap your elemental resistances somewhere else, this helmet is the perfect choice for such a low price. You get a really big chunk of life, some chaos resistance and 100 life regen if none of your equipped items are corrupted. And let’s face it, there’s really no reason for you to walk around using corrupted items at that stage in the game.
A good mid-tier one can be a rare helmet with 90+ elemental resistances, 80+ maximum life, some chaos resistance or accuracy, ideally on a pure armour base. This should allow you to maybe get better accessories with more damage mods instead of resistances.
Finally, for best-in-slot you have two options: “Crown of the Inward Eye” or “Abyssus”. The first one provides a lot of defense and utility in the form of a huge amount of life, armour and even mana, which will allow you to activate more auras. Its “Transfiguration of Body” mod also grants a decent damage bonus, as it translates to “Increases and Reductions to Maximum Life also apply to Attack Damage at 30% of their value”. On the other hand, Abyssus is all about huge DPS but at the same time greatly decreases your physical defense.
It comes with a massive amount of flat physical damage as well as crit multiplier, two mods which aren’t normally found on this gear slot.
A huge amount of armour, as well 20+ all attributes further increase the value of this item. However, all these come at a cost: 40 to 50% increased physical damage taken. Still, I would generally avoid using this item, unless you feel you need more damage and at the same time you’re very tanky already. Moving on to your weapon, you’ll be using a two-handed staff and we went with this weapon type for the additional block chance and excellent nodes on the passive tree. A basic staff should have 400+ physical DPS, along with some crit strike chance or crit multiplier.
Flat or % increased cold damage are also decent affixes you can look for or craft using your hideout crafting bench. For mid-tier you have the excellent “Hegemony’s Era”. With good physical damage, increased attack speed and crit chance, as well as extra block chance and power charges generation, nothing is wasted on this great unique. This staff will easily take you to red tier maps, so do your best to get one as early as possible.
Finally, for best-in-slot, you should aim for 500+ physical DPS, crit strike chance and crit multiplier, as well as some attack speed.
Ideally it should be on a “judgement staff” base, for the spell block implicit. Up next is the body armour and this is mostly a defensive slot. At basic-tier you need at least 5-links and the Ambu’s Charge unique is a great, cheap, option. It comes with lots of life, elemental resistances, armour and life regen, as well as an additional way of generating endurance charges. A perfect match for this build.
For mid-tier, you can either upgrade your Ambu’s Charge to a 6-link or go for a rare one with 90+ life, 70+ total resistances, on a pure armour base. Additional chaos resistance or life regen are always more than welcome. When it comes to best-in-slot, an ideal one should have pretty much the same stats as a mid-tier one, but in addition the Warlord specific suffix “Socketed Attacks have -15 to Total Mana Cost” This will make your Ice Crash cost only 1 mana, allowing you to spam it pretty much non-stop and activate all of your auras.
If you’re really rich, then you can go with a double influenced Warlord + Hunter or Redeemer body armour. Affixes such as “Attacks have % increased critical strike chance”, “Nearby Enemies are Blinded” or “% chance to gain a frenzy charge on hit” are all great additions for this gear slot.
Moving on to gloves, on basic ones look for 60+ life and elemental resistances, along with some flat physical damage. If you can, get some accuracy or dexterity as well, to cap your chance to hit and have enough DEX to level up your green gems.
On mid tier ones you’re aiming for pretty much the same stats but with attack speed instead of accuracy or DEX. A “Spiked Gloves” base would be ideal for the extra melee damage bonus. As for best-in-slot, my recommendation is a pair of “Offering to the Serpent” synthesized gloves.
The big selling point for these is the fact that “Life Leech effects are not removed at Full Life”. Normally, when your character’s HP is full any ongoing life leech is immediately removed and wasted. With these gloves, any life leech effects will keep going, basically acting like automatic buffered up life regen. This is especially useful as you keep building up rage stacks and the life degen from “Rite of Ruin” ramps up. Apart from this, the gloves come with a few more decent mods in the form of attack speed, damage while leeching and up to 25 all attributes.
Furthermore, being a synthesized item, these gloves can roll up to 3 implicit modifiers, some of them actually really useful for this build: cold damage, attack speed, accuracy, life regen, etc.
I can’t list them all here, but you’ll find trade links in the “Notes” tab of the Path of Building guide aid. Now keep in mind, you actually need a source of life leech and the easiest way to get that will be from your amulet, either as a mod or a temporary anoint. A divergent quality Blood Rage gem can also provide elemental damage leeched as life. For boots, an excellent pair of basic ones are the unique “Redblade Tramplers” – movement speed, some life, a bit of resistance and solid amount of armour.
But the real selling point is the added flat physical damage, an affix that is not normally found on boots. Mid-tier ones should have at least 25% movement speed, 70+ life and 60+ resistances, and maybe some DEX if you haven’t gotten enough for your gems yet. And as best-in-slot you’re looking for more or less the same mods, but with higher numeric values and perhaps with some chance to dodge spells or attacks.
While you’re not an avoidance type of character, bits of dodge and evasion here and there will add up and make you more tanky. If you can afford it, Hunter influenced boots with the mod “You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently” will push your damage to the next level.
Tailwind increases your overall action speed, which includes movement and attack speed. It’s a great buff which will have an almost permanent uptime, even in boss fights. However, don’t expect boots like that to be cheap or easy to craft. Up next is your belt slot, and for basic and mid-tier it should have about 90+ life, 70+ elemental resistances, elemental damage with attacks skills, all on a rustic sash base for the physical damage implicit. For best-in-slot replace the base with a Stygian Vise for the extra jewel socket.
Also, if your elemental resistances are already capped, then look for some chaos resistance instead. On basic amulets look for flat added physical damage, a good amount of life and some elemental resistances.
Ideally, on a Turquoise, Citrine or Jade base so you can squeeze out some extra DEX from the implicit. Mid-tier ones have more or less similar affixes but add a “% of cold damage leeched as life” mod. As I mentioned earlier, there aren’t any other easy to obtain sources of life leech with this build, so it’s pretty important to get it on this gear slot.
Other good mods here would be crit. multiplier, flat cold damage, % increased damage with elemental attacks or accuracy.
For best-in-slot, the undisputed optimal choice is “Replica Hyrri’s Truth”, an item that appears to have been designed specifically for this build. First of all, it provides a level 22 Hatred aura skill and reduces its mana reservation cost by 50%, allowing you to squeeze it in among all the other auras. Keep in mind you actually need to activate the skill, it’s not enough to just equip the amulet.
Then, you get a shitton of flat physical and cold damage, as well as critical strike multiplier adding up to a huge amount of extra DPS. And as if that wasn’t enough, the amulet also comes with a beefy “cold damage leeched as life” mod, solving that problem as well. Finally, the cherry on top, it can roll up to 65 dexterity and between this item and the best-in-slot gloves you really don’t need any other source of DEX. Amulets can also be anointed using oils dropped from Blight encounters to add a notable passive to them, without changing the item in any other way.
For this particular build the best DPS option is “Fangs of Frost” for a whole bunch of cold damage and cold resistance penetration.
If you feel like you need more defense, then “Golem’s Blood” is a very good alternative, providing a good HP boost, as well as extra life regen. Lastly, if you don’t yet have any source of life leech then you can temporarily anoint “Soul Raker” instead. Up next we have rings and their main purpose is to squeeze out as much damage as possible. On basic ones look for 40+ maximum life, just enough resistances to be capped, along with some flat physical damage and maybe some accuracy or DEX.
If you don’t have a -15 mana cost body armour yet, then you can look for “non-channeling skills have -mana cost” mods on rings.
Mid-tier ones should have pretty much the same affixes, just higher numeric values, as well as some critical strike chance or flat cold damage. As for best-in-slot, you should ideally go for a “Mark of the Elder” unique paired with a shaper influenced ring. “Mark of the Elder” has a decent amount of flat cold and physical damage, increased max life and up to a whooping 80% increased attack damage bonus, if your other ring is a shaper item. Luckily, shaper rings roll one of the best mods for this build, namely “trigger Assassin’s Mark when you hit a rare or unique monster”. Assassin’s Mark is a curse which increases your critical strike chance and crit multiplier against affected targets.
While you already have the Frostbite curse in your cast when damage taken setup, Assassin’s Mark will overwrite it against rare or unique monsters. Now, apart from that mod, you should look for at least 40 or 50 life, and any other damage affixes such as flat physical or cold damage, increased critical strike chance, elemental damage with attacks, etc.
Up next are jewels and while you’ll only have 3 or 4 sockets, they can be an excellent source of DPS, life and utility. On regular jewels you’re looking for maximum or flat life, flat physical or cold damage, attack speed, critical strike chance and multiplier or increased cold damage. The damage mods can come in a variety of formats and while I can’t list them all here, you can find trade links in the “Notes” tab of the Path of Building guide.
In addition, you should have at least one abyss jewel with the mod “% chance to blind enemies on hit with attacks”. Blinded enemies have a 50% chance to miss you, so this is a really strong defensive layer for such a small investment.
Finally, you should also look for a “Watcher’s Eye” unique jewel with the affix “Regenerate % of Life per second while affected by Vitality” – these are quite common so they shouldn’t be too expensive and they really do make a big difference for your survivability. If you can afford it, you can search for a Watcher’s Eye with both the Vitality regen mod and a Precision or Hatred one, for a big damage increase.
Fair warning though, such a jewel won’t be cheap at all.
Moving on to flasks, these are quite an important component of this build and they will greatly boost your overall damage and defenses. First, you need a Seething Divine Life Flask of Staunching. Instant healing is a real life saver and bleeding removal is absolutely mandatory while mapping. Then, since this is a crit build, an Experimenter Diamond flask is a must-have. Lucky crit chance means the game rolls twice to determine if a hit crits, then applies the best result.
In practice this means you get a much higher effective crit chance while the flask is active so make sure you use it constantly. The suffix should be “of Heat” for chill and freeze immunity. 3rd one is Lion’s Roar unique flask – it grants you a huge amount of physical damage, and lining it up with “Berserk” will have you simply erase map bosses.
4th flask is a Chemist’s Silver flask, providing you the “Onslaught” buff which increases your attack and movement speed. The suffix needs to be “of Warding” for curse immunity – curses are encountered really often while mapping and they can be really crippling, greatly reducing your defenses or damage output And for the last one, if you somehow haven’t yet fixed your mana cost issues, then go with an Enduring Eternal Mana Flask.
“Enduring” affix means the effect doesn’t end when your mana is full, providing constant regeneration without needing to time your flask usage. As soon as you can sustain your Ice Crash cost without the mana flask, replace it with the incredibly strong “Taste of Hate” – not only does it greatly boost your cold damage, but also reduces the cold damage you take yourself.
Now, to wrap up the gearing section, here are some excellent leveling uniques which will help you easily progress through the campaign. With the gearing out of the way, it’s time to take a final look at the pros and cons of the build so you can understand if it’s what you’re looking for. Starting off with the Pros: An excellent league starter, it’s very cheap to gear up for the first few tiers of mapping, and this will help you generate currency quick and get a head start a incredibly mobile and fast-paced build, thanks to the countless attack speed and movement speed buffs provided by your ascendancy Amazing clearing speed; the build is very efficient at quickly killing large packs of mobs without any downtime.
It will be hands-down one of the fastest mapping characters you’ll ever play. Really fun build! I know this is an often-overlooked aspect in Path of Exile, but it’s always great to play a build that just feels right.
Very easy to play, without complicated mechanics or complex gearing. You just leap around, slam the ground without aiming and everything freezes and dies.
Definitely beginner friendly. Damage scaling is absurdly high – with proper investment you can definitely push this character to over 20 million DPS, without sacrificing defenses. This makes it a great build for a long term project. As for the cons: your defense is not extraordinary – while you do have several layers of damage avoidance and mitigation, the reliance on freezing enemies also means your own skills as a player are rather important. Proper positioning and getting the jump on enemies before they can start hitting can make the difference between life and death.
Cannot run all map mods – no regen maps are a no-go, while elemental and physical reflect ones will get you killed in short order. Still, the reflect maps can be easily ignored or bypassed using the sextant mod which grants immunity to reflected damage Visibility can become a problem – with Ice Crash covering half the screen, it’s sometimes hard to see ground effects underneath.
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