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:
The Whispering Ice unique staff has been in the game for long time, although it has several problems when building around. The staff essentially introduces a new spell you can use in order to deal damage, called Icestorm. In patch 3.6 Icestorm got buffed by reducing its cast speed from 1 second to 0.75 and its Critical Strike chance got buffed from 5% to 6%. This makes Icestorm much more viable than before.
With The Whispering Ice unique staff we aim to get as much Intelligence as possible in order to scale the skill’s base damage; we also choose to go for Critical Strikes, since Icestorm’s Critical Chance is decent. Playing an Intelligence-stacking build has great synergy with having a lot of Energy Shield, which is why we choose to go Chaos Inoculation. Since we are using a staff we lose some Energy Shield from the Shield slot, which is why we choose the Occultist ascendancy class; this class also provides the best Energy Shield sustain mechanics in the game, an easy way to sustain Power charges and smooths out clear speed with Profane Bloom.
In order to get started, you only need The Whispering Ice; it is super cheap since no one uses it. The other great thing about this staff is that you do not need to 6-Link it, all you need is to 6-socket it with the right colours and all the support gems you put in will affect the Icestorm spell. When it comes to the other items, we mainly focus on good amounts of Energy Shield and Intelligence. Overall, the Whispering Ice Occultist can be very cheap to start and has the room for improvement when you collect some currency.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Great survivability
- Mediocre clear speed/mobility
Offensively, casting Icestorm once or twice will be enough to clear packs of monsters. When it comes to boss killing, you should use all the free time you have to spawn Icestorms, which will last longer and deal more damage depending on the amount of Intelligence you have. For mobility, you should use Flame Dash.
Defensively, Icestorm’s chilling ground is a great defensive mechanic. The great Energy Shield pool in combination with Wicked Ward, Vile Bastion, and Energy Shield Leech will allow you to tank immense amounts of damage. Arctic Armour can provide additional damage mitigation. The build can also make use of Mind over Matter.
For playstyle, you should cast while moving forward, in a sense you need to “pre-cast” the Icestorm wherever the mobs will be when you pull the aggro, so by the time they start chasing you they will enter the Icestorm and die. Bosses that reposition fast will be kind of annoying to deal with, since you will not be able to stack a lot of Icestorms for maximum damage output, but are still manageable.
This is the endgame passive skill tree we recommend. We mainly focus on Energy Shield, Energy Shield Leech, Cold Damage, Intelligence, and some efficient Area of Effect, Staff and Critical Strike nodes. The two main keystone notables we pick are Chaos Inoculation and Zealot’s Oath.
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 Vaal Regalia|
|Weapon||The Whispering Ice|
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.
You can start using The Whispering Ice since level 33, and it has enough damage to carry you through the leveling content and smoothly transition into mapping.
This is an early version of the passive skill tree. We pick some life nodes before transitioning to Chaos Inoculation, then the life has to be respecced.
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.
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 10, you are able to add Flame Dash, which will help with your mobility.
At level 16, you can pick Arctic Armour for additional defense.
By level 18 your your Freezing Pulse link should look like this:
- Freezing Pulse
- Onslaught Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Added Cold Damage Support
- Arcane Surge Support
- Faster Casting Support
At level 24 you can pick up Discipline for additional defense.
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Hypothermia Support
- Energy Leech Support
- Faster Casting Support
- Cold Penetration Support
- Efficacy Support
What are the weak points of the build?
The Whispering Ice Occultist has mediocre clear speed, but compensates with the extreme single target damage potential against static targets.
What map mods cannot be done with the build?
Elemental Reflect and No Regeneration.
The Whispering Ice Occultist is a very unique Cold self-casting build. It specializes in calling down very strong chilling blizzards in order to shatter enemies into pieces.