This build guide is split over multiple pages, both to prevent it from getting too long, as well as to help you better find the information you are looking for. In addition to the current page, which presents general information about the build and also contains a Leveling and FAQ section, we have the following pages:
Today we are looking at a very solid build that places mines and detonates them in order to obliterate enemies. Mines are always placed at the feet of the character and can be detonated by an additional key bind. Most non-melee skills can be supported by Blastchain Mine Support in order to be turned into a mine. Saboteur is a great choice since it provides a lot of areа of effect, chance to place additional mines, mine throwing speed, Blinding nearby enemies, Immunity to Shock and Ignite, and lastly but not in terms of importance, great sustain via Pyromaniac.
The skill chosen for the build, which we turn into a mine is Glacial Cascade. Due to the skill mechanics, this ability can hit one target multiple times with a single cast. It is also a physical spell, which means the build benefits from shaper stat-sticks. To bypass the additional work of detonating the mine after placing it, you can link Detonate Mines with Spell Totem Support gem. With this gem setup you can summon a totem that detonates all mines you place. This works well when encountering tough bosses. Vaal Clarity also complements this combo well, since you might have some mana problems while placing so many mines quickly.
The build can be started with no currency at all. Even on a 4-Link you can comfortably clear up to yellow maps without issues. All you need in order to start playing is 4-Link item and level 28. Link Glacial Cascade with Blastchain Mine Support, Swift Assembly Support and Controlled Destruction Support. The levels that Glacial Cascade gets will carry you through the content. Later on it is recommended to get two thresh hold jewels The Long Winter. This will provide additional burst and physical to cold conversion. The conversion gets better the more cold penetration you have.
Although in this build we will be mainly discussing the Life/Mind over Matter variant, you can also play a Low-Life version. The low-life version requires further investment and at least having Shavronne's Wrappings.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ One of the best single target damage dealers in the game
+ Smooth levelling experience
+ Can be played on a budget
+ Reflect does not matter
- Due to the skill mechanic clearing can feel clunky sometimes
- Might be slower when it comes to clear speed, compared to other builds
Offensively, place mines while keeping your distance from enemies. When detonated, mines will target the closest monster. Considering that you can manipulate the way mines aim, positioning can be key in most situations. The big cold damage bursts will freeze and shatter monster packs and even some bosses. Use the Detonate Mines totem/ Vaal Clarity setup mentioned in the introduction when feels necessary.
Defensively, the large life pool combined with Mind over Matter, Acrobatics, Phase Acrobatic, the blind and sustain from the ascendancy take care of most things passively. Steelskin can be used for additional damage mitigation. Movement skills like Shield Charge and Whirling Blades and Flame Dash also can save you in fatal situations.
For Playstyle, keep your distance whenever possible and place one set of mines, it should be enough to clear most packs. Sometimes letting monsters get near you is not so bad, since they will be blinded via Born in the Shadows ascendancy. Using Mind over Matter means if you get hit hard your mana might be drained to 0 and you will not have the ability to stay offensive. Efficient use of a mana flask should be enough to deal with this problem.
This is the endgame passive skill tree.
For more information, be sure to check out the Passive Skill Tree page.
Ascendancy, Bandits, and Pantheons
Our Ascendancy, Bandit, and Pantheon Power page goes into detail about all the choices you need to make in these regards.
We go over all of the gem links this build uses in the end-game on our Gem Link page.
Gear Summary / TL;DR
These items provide a good balance between offense and defense and are enough to deal with the endgame, although there is definitely a room for improvement. Please ensure you read the Gear, Jewels and Flasks page in its entirety.
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As a reminder, we have several guides to help you level up a character.
- Our step-by-step leveling walkthrough, which allows even more experienced players to save time and speed through the leveling process.
- Our guide to Unique Items for leveling, which helps you gear up your characters for the leveling process.
- Our beginner leveling guide, which answers many of the questions new players might have and will set you on the right path.
As a Shadow, pick Freezing Pulse. This spell will carry you to level 12 when you can get Icicle Mine. This gem combined with Minefield Support will get you to level 28 quickly, then you can just start using Glacial Cascade. The build is pretty straight forward and not confusing at all. While levelling you can use Clarity aura to deal with mana problems, running Hatred at early levels is not really necessary.
Leveling Passive Trees
This is what your passive skill tree should look like around level 62.
Useful leveling uniques
As you begin a new character there are few unique items that can boost your power exponentially. Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters.
Using Tabula Rasa will allow you to have 6-Link gem setups early on, which is why we show such examples below. If you cannot get Tabula Rasa (or another item with a 6-Link), then simply prioritize the first gems in each link provided below.
In order to acquire gems that are not available to your class as a quest reward, simply ask a friend to buy them off vendors for you, or buy them yourself from Sioasa in The Library in Act III Library.
From level 1, you should use the following link.
At level 8, your Freezing Pulse should look like this.
At level 10, you should add Flame Dash for additional mobility.
By level 18, your Icicle Mine link should look like this.
By level 31, your Glacial Cascade link should look like this.
- Glacial Cascade
- Blastchain Mine Support
- Swift Assembly Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Cold Penetration Support
- Hypothermia Support
Is there any type of content the build cannot do?
The Glacial Cascade Saboteur miner excels at everything the game has to offer. It is great at Delve, Bestiary, Incursion and Betrayal. It can even one-shot Izaro which make it reliable Labyrinth runner.
What makes mine builds better boss killers than other builds?
The mine play style is way more different than other builds. The thing that a mine build is better at than others is that it can setup damage before the encounter starts and deal a great burst of it, that can “phase” bosses in matter of 3 seconds or less.
This is one of the builds that costs literally nothing to start and can farm its way to end game. Many of the top-tier boss killers use Glacial Cascade mines due to its insane burst potential. Placing and detonating mines is just another way to control your damage output in a sense. Also bosses that are not instantly triggered and take some time to spawn let you place down 15+ mines and just annihilate them when they are spawned. Clear speed can feel a bit clunky sometimes but the build does the job. End game you will end up with 8k effective life pool at the very least, this puts the character in a very safe spot.