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:
Ice Spear was an unused skill for very long time. With its rework in 3.5 and its damage buff in 3.6, it became a very powerful clearing and boss killing tool. Its base damage and high critical chance have the potential to clear the whole endgame.
We choose to play totems, since the mechanic of the skill feels clunky when self-cast. The Ascendant class is a great choice for the build, simply because you can get an additional totem via the Hierophant ascendancy, while at the same time you get additional projectile perks via the Deadeye ascendancy.
The build achieves over 180% increased maximum life on the passive skill tree and focuses on critical strike and totem nodes. This results in a build that has very good endgame potential.
The Ice Spear Totem Ascendant does not require any big investments and can be played as a league-starter. Simple items like Tabula Rasa can carry you a very long way. Besides that, we focus on Critical Chance to Spells, Spell Damage, and Life. The additional maximum totem mod on Shield was moved from being a Betrayal mod to a Shaper mod in 3.6, which should make it easier to acquire in the long run.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Good clear speed
+ Great boss killer
+ Good survivability for a totem build
- Feels clunky in indoor maps
- It is annoying to do Elemental Reflect maps since totems one-shot themselves
Offensively, placing totems on the ground will place two totems, instead of one (the default). Placing totems away from monsters will allow Ice Spear to transition into its second form, which has an immense chance to critically strike. One pair of totems should be enough to clear nearby monster packs. Against tougher foes, you can use certain skills in order to augment your damage: Frost Bomb lowers enemies’ Cold resistance, and Frostbite is a powerful offensive curse for every Cold-based build.
Defensively, a great life pool along with a lot of free mana and Mind over Matter will take care of most hard hits you will take. Like all totem builds, this build is very safe through its very nature. Simply summon totems and stay behind them; if they die just replace them and keep your distance.
For Playstyle, you should mainly consider how Ice Spear works. The projectiles have two forms. After certain distance is travelled, the Ice Spear projectiles enter their second form, which adds a 600% Critical Strike Chance and 30-49% Critical Multiplier. This benefit is very powerful and you should play around it, meaning you ideally want to place your totems some distance from their intended target.
This is the endgame passive skill tree you should aim for.
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.
|Item Slot||Item Name|
|Chest||Rare Body Armour|
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.
The build can be played once you pick up the Ancestral Bond keystone on the passive skill tree, this can happen very early on. Until then you can use spells like Freezing Pulse or any leveling skill you prefer.
These are the first steps you should take on the passive skill tree if you want to start using totems as early as possible, keep in mind that can feel kind of clunky since the spell’s damage scales later on, when you invest into critical strike nodes.
This passive skill tree is a representation of where you should be once you have picked Path of the Templar ascendancy (around level 70-75).
Useful Leveling Unique Items
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. Lifesprig can fill your damage needs early on.
If you are a new player (or if this is your first character for the league), then note that obtaining these items will be very difficult, if not impossible. They are rare drops, which you can otherwise only acquire if you have saved up currency, so do not focus on them too much, and instead simply look for items that match the affix priorities listed in the gearing section above.
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 4, you can add Frost Bomb for additional damage.
By level 8, your Freezing Pulse link should look like this.
At level 10, you should add Flame Dash for the mobility it provides.
At level 16, you can add Herald of Ice for additional damage.
By level 18, your Freezing Pulse link should look like this.
- Freezing Pulse
- Onslaught Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Faster Casting Support
- Arcane Surge Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
Note: This gem link can carry you up until Blood Aqueduct, although the single target might lack; for smoother clearing you can socket in First Snow.
Once you have picked up Ancestral Bond you can start using Ice Spear totems, keep in mind this can feel clunky early on and you would preferably want to do it if you at least have Tabula Rasa. This is the gem link for level 38.
- Ice Spear
- Spell Totem Support
- Multiple Totems Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
- Hypothermia Support
What map mods are hard or impossible to do?
Both Elemental Reflect and no regeneration map mods are very hard and annoying for the build. Chaining mods should be avoided until you upgrade your Soul of Lunaris.
What content does the build excel at and what is it bad at?
Ice Spear does great in outdoor maps and can feel kind of clunky in indoor areas. The build is good at both clearing and boss killing, and it is one of the better spell totem builds.
The Ice Spear Totem Ascendant specializes in placing machine-gunning totems that shatter enemies with ice projectiles. If you enjoy staying behind and summoning totems in order to clear content, you will probably like this build.