Ice Spear Totems Ascendant Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

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Introduction

Ice Spear 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.

Build Summary

The Ice Spear Totem Ascendant does not require any big investments and can be played as a league-starter. Simple items like Tabula Rasa 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

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Good clear speed
+ Great boss killer
+ Good survivability for a totem build

Cons

- Feels clunky in indoor maps
- It is annoying to do Elemental Reflect maps since totems one-shot themselves

Playstyle

Offensively, placing totems on the ground will place two totems, instead of one (the default). Placing totems away from monsters will allow Ice Spear 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 Frost Bomb lowers enemies’ Cold resistance, and Frostbite 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.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree, Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Scion – Ascendant)

  1. Passive point
  2. Hierophant
  3. Path of the Templar
  4. Deadeye

First, we should head to the Templar Ascendancy. Hierophant provides the very powerful “one additional maximum totem”, along with some Mana perks and a free Arcane Surge buff. Path of the Templar will allow you to save quite a few passive points by starting from the Templar starting point on the passive skill tree. Deadeye provides one additional projectile and a version of the “Far Shot” mechanic; the Pierce and Bleed damage reduction are also useful.

Passive Tree

This is the endgame passive skill tree you should aim for. Our mainly keystones are Ancestral Bond and Mind over Matter; besides that we focus on picking Spell Critical Strike nodes, Life, Mana, and totem nodes.

Bandits

For this specific build we should help Alira in Act II. The critical multiplier, flat mana regeneration, and 15% all elemental resistances are stronger than the 2 passive skill points.

Pantheons

Major: Soul of Lunaris will allow you to avoid chaining projectiles, which can be lethal for such a build. To fully upgrade the Pantheon power, capture The Infernal King in Caldera Map, Jorus, Sky’s Edge in Temple Map and The Gorgon in Sulphur Vents Map. In order to do that you need to have Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular map, then just kill the map boss and give the captured soul in the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Minor: There are many beneficial minor Pantheons for the build; we recommend Soul of Ryslatha for the better Life Flask sustain. Capture Gorulis, Will-Thief in Infested Valley Map to fully upgrade this Pantheon power.

Gems

Ice Spear Ice Spear is the build’s signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, both Shield Charge Shield Charge and Flame Dash Flame Dash can be used. Frostbite Frostbite, Frost Bomb Frost Bomb and an Orb of Storms Orb of Storms gem setup can be used in order to augment your single target damage. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem can be summoned, since it will probably not die very often. Vaal Clarity Vaal Clarity will improve your mana regeneration. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice can be used for additional damage, or you can also not use any aura if you choose to socket in the unique jewel Clear Mind Clear Mind.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority (starting from the top left, going to the right on each row of the links), meaning that if you lack the required number of sockets to fit all the gems, the first ones to drop are the ones at the bottom (with the bottom right being the last). Also note that in-game, as long as the sockets are linked, it makes no difference at all what order the gems are placed in.

Ice Spear (6-Link)

Ice Spear Ice Spear is a Cold-based spell that fires a barrage of projectiles, which have two forms. The second form occurs after the projectiles travel a certain distance. The second form gains an immense boost to Critical Chance and Multiplier, along with very nice Projectile Speed. You should always try to place your totems in such a position that they have the opportunity to utilizes the projectiles’ second form. We recommend two different links for clearing and single target.

For clearing, use the following link.

  1. Ice Spear Ice Spear
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  4. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  5. Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

For single target, use the following link.

  1. Ice Spear Ice Spear
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  4. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  5. Cold Penetration Support Cold Penetration Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

Shield Charge (3-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge is a mobility skill that can be used to move around quickly. When you hit enemies with this skill you will gain the Fortify buff, which provides additional damage mitigation.

  1. Shield Charge Shield Charge
  2. Fortify Support Fortify Support
  3. Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support

Orb of Storms (4-Link)

Orb of Storms Orb of Storms can be dropped on the ground in order to curse enemies and provide Power charges.

  1. Orb of Storms Orb of Storms
  2. Power Charge On Critical Support Power Charge On Critical Support
  3. Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support
  4. Frostbite Frostbite

Other Gems

For auras, you can use Vaal Clarity Vaal Clarity and Herald of Ice Herald of Ice. Flame Dash Flame Dash will help out with mobility. Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem can be summoned for the additional Cast speed and Attack speed. Steelskin Steelskin is a Guardian skill that synergizes well with the build, it should be manually activated.

Gearing

Capping your elemental resistances is essential and it should always be your top priority in any build; it should be the first thing you do when gearing up a character. Obtaining a 6-link, while very powerful and certainly recommended, can potentially be very expensive (requiring an average of 1500 Orbs of Fusing, obviously depending on your luck); as such, this should not really be a goal for you while gearing up, and you should instead settle for a 5-link until you have enough resources. A simple Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa will carry this build a long way. A Shaper-based Shield with one additional maximum totem is an endgame goal.

Helmet

A rare helmet is best in slot. Look for any Ice Spear Ice Spear helmet enchant, except for the “% Chance to gain a Power Charge on Critical Strike with Ice Spear”, as this only works when you self-cast the skill. Use a regular helmet with life and resistances early on, since the other mods might be expensive and hard to get. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil)
  4. Projectiles Pierce an additional Target (crafted, Betrayal mod)
  5. Nearby Enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance (Frigid Fossil)
  6. +# to Maximum mana (at least 50)

Body Armour

A corrupted Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa for the +2 Levels to Projectile Skills can work as an endgame chest piece. A well rolled Shaper-based body armour can be very powerful. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance
  4. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  5. +# to Maximum mana (at least 50)

Gloves

Well rolled gloves are best in slot, preferably Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves for the additional damage. Use regular rare gloves with life and resistances before you can afford the other recommended mods. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. Projectiles Pierce an additional Target (crafted, Betrayal mod)
  5. +# to Maximum mana (at least 50)

Boots

Look for well rolled rare boots. For endgame boss encounters, you can also use Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots. For enchant, look for “#% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven’t Crit Recently”. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (60)
  3. % increased Movement Speed (at least 25%)
  4. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)

Belt

A well rolled Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is a great choice for the build. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % increased Cold Damage (Frigid Fossil Frigid Fossil)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil Prismatic Fossil)

Amulet

A well rolled rare amulet works well for the build. The Pandemonius The Pandemonius allows you to penetrate 20% of enemies’ Cold resistances, but can be pricey. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Critical Multiplier (at least 20%)
  4. Maximum Mana (at least 40)

Rings

Well rolled Opal Ring Opal Rings are a great choice. There are no particularly powerful unique rings for the build. The Rare Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. +# to Maximum Mana (at least 40)
  4. % increased Cold Damage
  5. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier (Deafening Essence of Scorn Deafening Essence of Scorn)

Weapon

A well rolled spell Dagger is best in slot if you choose to use Shield Charge Shield Charge. If you prefer to only rely on Flame Dash Flame Dash, you can also use a wand. The Rare Dagger Affix Priority is:

The Rare Dagger Affix Priority is:

  1. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  2. % increased Spell Damage (at least 40%)
  3. % increased Attack speed (for Shield Charge Shield Charge)
  4. Gain #% of Cold Damage as extra Chaos Damage (crafted, Betrayal mod)

The Rare Wand Affix Priority is:

  1. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  2. % increased Spell Damage (at least 40%)
  3. % increased Cast speed
  4. Gain #% of Cold Damage as extra Chaos Damage (crafted, Betrayal mod)

Shield

We would ideally want to have a rare Shaper-based shield for the additional totem mod. The Rare Dagger Affix Priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. +1 to maximum number of Summoned Totems
  4. % increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  5. % increased Spell Damage (at least 50%)

Flasks

Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is mandatory in every critical-based build. An Instant or half-Instant Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask should be used, preferably with Bleeding removal Suffix. Since this is a Mind over Matter build, we should use a Mana Flask; Lavianga's Spirit Lavianga's Spirit is a great Mana flask but can be pricey. Utility flasks like Quicksilver Flask Quicksilver Flask, Silver Flask Silver Flask, Basalt Flask Basalt Flask can be used. Make sure you have Freeze, Bleeding and Curse immunity mods on flasks.

Jewels

There are no mandatory unique jewels for the build. Rain of Splinters Rain of Splinters is relatively cheap and provides the very handy 2 additional projectiles. If you choose to run your mana non-reserved, you can use Clear Mind Clear Mind.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % increased Maximum Life
  2. % increased Cold Damage
  3. % increased Totem Damage
  4. % increased Projectile Damage
  5. % increased Damage
  6. % to Critical Strike Multiplier with Cold Skills
  7. % increased Cast Speed while holding a Shield
  8. % increased Critical Strike Multiplier for Elemental Skills
  9. % increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. Maximum Life (at least 35)
  2. Maximum Mana
  3. Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells while holding a Shield
  4. Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells
  5. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier
  6. % increased Cast Speed

Leveling

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

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 Freezing Pulse or any leveling skill you prefer.

Leveling Trees

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 Tabula Rasa allows you to have a 6-Linked skill as early as you get the gems. Wanderlust Wanderlust gives a decent movement speed, which will make your leveling that much more efficient. Goldrim Goldrim provides a lot of elemental resistances, this will let you worry less about gearing when approaching certain Act encounters. Lifesprig 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.

Gem Progression

Using Tabula Rasa 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.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support

At level 4, you can add Frost Bomb Frost Bomb for additional damage.

By level 8, your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse link should look like this.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for the mobility it provides.

At level 16, you can add Herald of Ice Herald of Ice for additional damage.

By level 18, your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse link should look like this.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Onslaught Support Onslaught Support
  3. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  4. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
  5. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  6. Added Cold Damage 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 First Snow.

Once you have picked up Ancestral Bond you can start using Ice Spear 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 Tabula Rasa. This is the gem link for level 38.

  1. Ice Spear Ice Spear
  2. Spell Totem Support Spell Totem Support
  3. Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support
  4. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  5. Greater Multiple Projectiles Support Greater Multiple Projectiles Support
  6. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support

FAQ

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 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.

Conclusion

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.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build is just as strong as before, not much has changed.

  1. Posts
    5

    This seems like a nice league starter for 3.8. However, wouldn’t it be easier to level with Cleave Cleave and Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector, until you get Ancestral Bond? From my initial testing, it seems to work a lot better than spells which have no damage support (other that wands) and trouble getting levels due to the lack of intellect early on.

    Edited by Noceo on August 23rd, 2019

  2. Vvckd

    Moderator

    Posts
    464

    On 23/08/2019 at 1:27 PM, Noceo said

    This seems like a nice league starter for 3.8. However, wouldn’t it be easier to level with Cleave Cleave and Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector, until you get Ancestral Bond? From my initial testing, it seems to work a lot better than spells which have no damage support (other that wands) and trouble getting levels due to the lack of intellect early on.

    Levelling as melee is always a good choice, you can do it for sure!

  3. Posts
    1

    In the passive tree I notice that there are no passives taken connected to the start of the tree. How is that possible? Did you refund or is the point of the tree to take the quickest route to the highlighted passives?

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