Cyclone Cast on Critical Ice Nova Assassin Build Guide (PoE Sentinel 3.18)

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Introduction

Cast on Critical Strike (colloquially known as CoC) builds have long been one of the iconic build archetypes in Path of Exile, offering an engaging and very unique experience that can tear through maps and decimate bosses with little effort. Cast On Critical Strike Support Cast On Critical Strike Support reigned triumphantly as one of the most potent and entertaining build archetypes in the 3.11 Harvest league, but changes to the Thread of Hope Thread of Hope gem have shaken up its defenses somewhat.

Playstyle

This build has a very classic and iconic feeling that still persists despite many overhauls in how it can be played.

Overall, this build can be one of the most fast-paced, exciting, and well rounded in the entire game. It excels in practically every respect, and has plenty of changes and permutations that can be made to customize it to preference, or upgrade it further towards god status.

Build Assessment

Pros

+ Strong damage output

+ Well-rounded defenses

+ Melts all types of content; Bosses, Mapping, Delving, Labyrinth, etc.

+ Extremely fast clear & movement speed

+ Extremely fast kill times (Uber Elder, Sirus, Aul the Crystal King, Mastermind, etc.)

Cons

Moderate cost required to get rolling in the end-game (Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice)
Can be configured in many different ways based on stats and budget

Cyclone Cyclone requires prescient positioning on spooky bosses

Can feel squishy when league starting or if you cannot afford baseline gear

Path of Building

Path of Building for the build can be found here

Included are the skill trees, gem links, and an example set of gear with room for upgrades. Resistances have been excluded as they can be filled in on any piece as needed and available.

We use the Path of Building Community Fork for all of our builds, which is highly recommended. If you are encountering errors importing the build, please ensure you are using the Community Fork.

Playstyle

This build clears everything extremely quickly but does require a bit of finesse when carving through a map. Players who love smashing through content but have a measured and precise style of play will enjoy this build the most, as it does require and reward careful movement in certain cases.

Cyclone Cyclone is used as the trigger spell for our CoC build, due to its extremely high attack speed and relatively generous range of effect. Cyclone is technically a movement skill, and it can be a polarizing choice for this reason. That said, the sheer power of Cyclone when compared with alternatives, such as Blade Flurry Blade Flurry, make it the clear winner.

Cyclone Cyclone can be channeled continuously, but you’ll want to weave in Flame Dash Flame Dash uses to skirt dangerous areas or traverse map blockages. Criticals with Cyclone Cyclone will trigger our Ice Nova Ice Novas, which are socketed in both our main 6-link (with Cyclone and Cast On Critical Strike Support Cast On Critical Strike Support) as well as the skills in our Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice, our weapon of choice. Frostbolt Frostbolts, also socketed in Cospri’s, will trigger additional Ice Novas, resulting in a satisfying helping of freezing and screen shattering that absolutely tears apart the enemies on screen.

This build also incorporates skills like Vortex Vortex to increase our damage on sturdy targets and bosses. There are plenty of personal adjustments and customizations to be made, if desired, allowing you to adapt the build to further specialize towards a specific style of play. For example, if you really enjoy the security of playing with a Decoy Totem Decoy Totem on tough bosses, there are multiple “optional” gems that could be swapped out to accommodate personal preference.

Cerebral use of Flasks is relatively important to maintaining maximum damage and clear speed, as we do rely on The Wise Oak The Wise Oak and the Diamond Flask quite heavily to maintain our absurd damage output. While liberal use is advised, be careful not to “munch” charges by re-activating them too early and wasting any remaining duration. Additionally, due to Cyclone Cyclone’s status as a movement skill, certain care must be taken when using flasks that affect movement speed. Using a Quicksilver Flask will cause your character to travel farther and faster, which can be detrimental for uptime on a boss. There is no hard and fast rule; becoming comfortable with the skill and how your character moves is the main optimization and can only be developed with practice and muscle memory. Using Mageblood Mageblood is the ideal solution to this, however, it may not be within the reach of every player.

Passive Skill Tree

This is our recommended skill tree for the build, in its final configuration as Low Life.

For more details on the Passive Tree, an early game Life version, skill acquisition order, and more, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page for in-depth information.

Passive Skill Tree and Gem Links

Gems

We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.

Passive Skill Tree and Gem Links

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon

Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.

Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheon Powers

Gear Summary / TL;DR

These items strike a balance between power and cost-effectiveness. If you want to explore more options for Gear (both budget and high-end), Flasks, or get more information on alternatives and specialty items, please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels, and Flasks section in its entirety.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head +1 Maximum Power Charge Hubris Circlet Hubris Circlet
Amulet Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula
Chest Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings
Gloves Rare Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves_
Boots Rare Tailwind Boots (Sorcerer Boots Sorcerer Boots or Two-Toned Boots (Fire and Cold Resistances) Two-Toned Boots (Fire and Cold Resistances)
Belt Rare Crystal Belt Crystal Belt or Mageblood Mageblood
Ring 1 Circle of Fear Circle of Fear (Reduced reservation / Cold damage)
Ring 2 Rare Ring
Weapon 1 Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice
Shield Prism Guardian Prism Guardian

Gear, Jewels, and Flasks

Leveling

As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.

We recommend starting with Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse, which works well with Lifesprig Lifesprig if you have one. If you have another character to pass Storm Brand Storm Brand to you at Level 12, this is ideal for leveling. Alternately, you can opt to use Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse until Act III where Storm Brand Storm Brand can be acquired from the Fixture of Fate Library quest. Blade Vortex Blade Vortex is another great option that can be used until Act III (or all the way until maps if you choose) as either your primary leveling skill or as an additional means of boosting single target damage in an off-link.

Use this Level 48 Passive Tree as a general reference if you are leveling with Storm Brand Storm Brand. You will need to respec a few points later, but nothing drastic.

Passive Tree Storm Brand

In order of priority, the Storm Brand links are:

  1. Storm Brand Storm Brand
  2. Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
  3. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  4. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  5. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

If you are using a Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa, simply fill in the other gem sockets with whatever supports are available from the vendors until you reach Act II and Act III for the other gems.

Link Brand Recall Brand Recall to Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support (Level 3) and Flame Dash Flame Dash. This is a great leveling link and should be acquired as soon as possible.

At Level 12 you can also acquire Blade Vortex Blade Vortex. Link it to Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support, Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support, and Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support as soon as possible.

Herald of Ice Herald of Ice, Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder, and Clarity Clarity should be used as early as possible.

Once you reach Act III and can acquire Lightning Spire Trap Lightning Spire Trap, set up the following 4-link, replacing your Blade Vortex Blade Vortex link:

  1. Lightning Spire Trap Lightning Spire Trap
  2. Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support

You can play Storm Brand Storm Brand into early mapping if you like, which may be easier for league starter characters until Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice can be acquired. Take a look at our full Storm Brand guide for tree reference if you plan on respeccing later.

You can transition to Cast On Critical Strike Support Cast On Critical Strike Support as early as level 44, when Widowmaker Widowmaker can be acquired. Ideally, you will also want to have a Diamond Flask, which is really essential before you get your second Ascendancy node, Deadly Infusion. Refer to the links and Passive Tree earlier in the guide for more details. Instead of Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder, use Frostbite Frostbite with Blasphemy Support Blasphemy Support instead to provide you with a nice damage boost. Enfeeble Enfeeble or Temporal Chains Temporal Chains are also great alternatives if you feel like you need a bit of extra defense.

FAQ

Which Annointment Should I Use on my Amulet?

The Tranquility notable is your best bet.

Cast on Critical Strike Mechanics Explained

Cast On Critical Strike Support Cast On Critical Strike Support can only trigger a maximum number of times per second, which is just over 7 times per second, due to an internal cooldown. Cyclone Cyclone hits twice with every hit, and therefore we want to have a “Attacks Per Second” (APS) of 3.5, which would result in 7 total attacks per second. Since this is just under the maximum trigger rate of Cast on Critical Strike, this gives us the best chance of attaining the maximum possible triggers since there is almost no overlap.

This cooldown can be further reduced when considering Cooldown Recovery rate on your Belt, & Boots, make sure to Import your character into Path Of Building to calculate the cooldown and the necessary attack rate to optimise the amount of procs of Cast On Critical Strike to get the most damage out of this build.

How Do I Calculate DPS?

Calculating DPS for this build is not as simple as merely ticking the right boxes in Path of Building. You will have to done a daisy chain of napkin math — none of it particularly complex — to accurately account for the various effects of the build. I made a comment demonstrating to a reader how to calculate DPS which I have re-pasted here for your convenience. When inputting your Ice Nova Ice Nova and Frostbolt Frostbolt damage you must put in the damage it does when it Critically Strikes (taking the multiplier into account) because we nearly always deal Critical Strikes. We then multiply by a decimal of our Critical Strike (e.g. 0.95) to account for the percentage of times that we do not crit. If you are using a second Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice with Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support you will also need to take this into account.

Originally posted by Furty on June 23rd 2019:

Using my gear from Synthesis League:

6L Ice Nova Ice Nova: Ice Nova Ice Nova hit (223,011) * 2 (Frostbolt Frostbolt procs) * 7.57 (triggers per second with CDR) * 0.95 (Crit Chance) = 3,207,567 DPS

Cyclone Cyclone: 47,000 DPS

Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice Frostbolt Frostbolts: Frostbolt Frostbolt hit (69,433) * 7.57 (triggers per second with CDR) x 0.95 Crit Chance) = 499,327 DPS — Divide by two, since Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice procs alternate between socketed gems — 249,664 DPS

Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice Ice Nova Ice Nova: Ice Nova Ice Nova hit (52,766) * 2 (Frostbolt Frostbolt procs) * 7.57 (triggers per second with CDR) * 0.95 (Crit Chance) = 758,933 DPS — Divide by two, since Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice procs alternate between socketed gems — 379,466 DPS

Combined DPS Calculation: 3,883,697 DPS

Bonechill Support Bonechill Support applied by Vortex Vortex: 3,883,697 DPS * 1.3 = 5,048,806 DPS

Shock: 5,048,806 DPS * 1.2 = 6,058,567 DPS

Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire: 6,058,567 DPS * 1.4 = 8,481,994 DPS

Righteous Fire Righteous Fire 6,058,567 DPS * 1.4 = 8,481,994 DPS

Righteous Fire Righteous Fire and Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire: 8,481,994 DPS * 1.4 = 11,874,791 DPS

These calculations were done with Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support as my 6th link, as “Shaper DPS” should be calculated using gems I would use on Shaper or Uber Elder. This is an extremely complicated build with many layered interactions between damage, ailments, and triggers — unfortunately, there is no way in Path of Building to automate this calculation. Good luck!

What About Lycosidae Lycosidae?

Lycosidae Lycosidae is still a perfectly viable choice and can be used all throughout the end-game if you prefer not to mess around with Accuracy.

Cospri’s Malice Explained

Gems trigger from top to bottom in Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice, as explained earlier in the guide. This item will trigger automatically from our Cyclone Cyclone, so there is no need to do anything beyond socketing the gems. The gems socketed in Cospri's Malice Cospri's Malice alternate between triggers, therefore the Ice Nova Ice Nova socketed in Cospri’s will trigger half as many times as your main 6-Link.

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