Vaal Ice Nova Inquisitor Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

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Guide Format

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:

Introduction

The Vaal Ice Nova Inquisitor is Critical-based caster that excels at clearing areas as fast as possible. Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova is an amazing Vaal skill when it comes to clearing monsters screen-wide with a single button.

The Inquisitor ascendancy greatly helps us specialise in dealing huge chunks of Critical Damage that also penetrates enemies’ resistances, which fixes many of the Ice Nova single target problems.

Build Summary

The build is very budget-friendly with the option to go Low-Life when you reach endgame. Going Low-Life can get pretty expensive, but you will also have the ability to use an additional aura and Pain Attunement for 30% more Spell Damage overall. For this particular build guide we will focus on the Life version, since it is still very effective while also being very cheap and can even be used as a league-starter.

Pros & Cons

Pros

+ Hardcore viable
+ Great clear speed
+ Budget-friendly
+ Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova clears whole screens of monsters in a single cast

Cons

- Bad physical damage mitigation
- Mediocre single target

Playstyle

Offensively, using Spells and Attacks in sequence will improve your clear speed by a great deal, because we pick up the Instruments of Virtue ascendancy node. It is easy to utilize this, since you will be using Shield Charge Shield Charge to move around and cast Ice Nova Ice Nova all the time. Besides that, you should keep your distance and make sure your Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is active. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice will smooth out your clear speed via its cold explosions.

Defensively, we achieve a respectable Life pool, along with Freezing everything in our path, rendering enemies helpless.

For playstyle, we aim to clear as quickly as possible. For mobility, we use Shield Charge all the time, since this is the most efficient way to move around. One or two casts of Ice Nova will be enough to kill most monster packs. A Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support setup can be done with Herald of Ice, which will allow you to utilize Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark for better Critical Strike Chance and Damage, which is also a reliable way to sustain Power charges.

Passive Tree

This is what the endgame passive skill tree looks like.

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.

Gems

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.

Our recommendation:

Item Slot Item Name
Head Rare Helmet
Amulet Rare Amulet
Chest Carcass Jack Carcass Jack
Gloves Rare Gloves
Boots Rare Boots
Belt Rare Stygian Vise Stygian Vise
Rings Rare Rings
Weapon 2x Rare Rune Daggers

Note: Here you have the freedom to choose between going for more damage via dual wielding powerful Rune Daggers or choose the more defensive option of wielding a Shield and a Dagger.

Leveling

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

The Vaal Ice Nova Inquisitor can be leveled with its signature skill since level 12 without any investment, but we recommend leveling with Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse for smoother leveling experience.

Leveling Trees

This is what your passive skill tree should look like before you transition to Critical Strikes.

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 will 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 in Lifesprig Lifesprig.

  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 better damage output.

At level 10, you should add Flame Dash Flame Dash for additional mobility.

At level 16, you should 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. Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support
  5. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  6. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

At level 38, your Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse link should look like this.

  1. Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
  4. Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support
  5. Spell Echo Support Spell Echo Support
  6. Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support

FAQ

What map mods are impossible for the build to do?

You will one-shot yourself to Elemental Reflect. No Regeneration maps are also impossible/near impossible to do.

Does the build have enough damage for endgame encounters?

Once you are well geared you should have enough damage and survivability to deal with endgame encounters, as long as you are experienced and know the fights.

Conclusion

The Vaal Ice Nova Inquisitor can shatter whole armies of foes with a single Vaal Ice Nova. The character is a Critical-based Cold caster that excels at clearing fast and has respectable Life pool along with enough single target if properly built.

Changelog
  •   

    Revisited and updated for Blight 3.8. The build is as good as before, unnafected by changes.

  •   

    Build added.

  1. Posts
    15

    I see that with some Vaal Ice Nova builds out there, an expensive rare weapon with -soul cost of Vaal skills is really powerful. For this build would you recommend it or is it fine without?

  2. Vvckd

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    643

    On 18/07/2019 at 5:28 PM, CiesterNR said

    I see that with some Vaal Ice Nova builds out there, an expensive rare weapon with -soul cost of Vaal skills is really powerful. For this build would you recommend it or is it fine without?

    I played this build very recently and I have to say it clears Legions extremely well without any investment. The mod you’ve mentioned will be useful for sure but it will be very expensive, for the beginning you are better off putting your currency in other places when it comes to gear.

  3. Posts
    15

    Oh that’s really good to hear

  4. Posts
    1

    Question :

    You reference two distinct 6-links (the Vaal Ice Nova, and the Freezing Pulse). How can you do this as well as having the shield/dagger equipment as recommended? Is the 2nd 6-link on weapon swap for when you want to use the Ice Nova or is that in the armor and you switch between FP and shield charge? I’m a bit confused.

  5. Vvckd

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    On 21/07/2019 at 1:23 PM, Havarti said

    Question :

    You reference two distinct 6-links (the Vaal Ice Nova, and the Freezing Pulse). How can you do this as well as having the shield/dagger equipment as recommended? Is the 2nd 6-link on weapon swap for when you want to use the Ice Nova or is that in the armor and you switch between FP and shield charge? I’m a bit confused.

    As stated in the levelling section, the recommended 6-Link is provided with having Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa in mind, of course, after you are done with the early levelling content you will replace Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse with Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova.

  6. Posts
    1

    HI! Yesterday started to do your build and make few maps and wanna say that it’s awesome! And now i wanna ask you about other skill in a free sockets, what in your opinion will be best in these slots? Maybe i’m little stupid and should do it myself.. i just need some advice sir. Help :)

  7. Posts
    3

    You referenced a more expensive Low-Life version, where can I find a build for this? I assume i have the currency to go for it and would be really interested!

  8. Vvckd

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    643

    On 25/07/2019 at 10:17 PM, LOLHysteria said

    You referenced a more expensive Low-Life version, where can I find a build for this? I assume i have the currency to go for it and would be really interested!

    Basically you need Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings and Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula and Energy Shield gear. Then you can respec all the Life on the tree and pick up Energy Shield and Pain Attunement. Reserving a big portion of your Life with an aura and Blood Magic Support Blood Magic Support will result in you being Low-Life all the time and overall increase your Spell Damage by 30%. Shavronne's Wrappings Shavronne's Wrappings prevents you from dying to Chaos damage while Presence of Chayula Presence of Chayula provides a good amount of Energy Shield and solves your Stun problems, having well rolled Energy Shield pieces in other item slots is also expensive.

  9. Posts
    2

    When do we swap Freezing pulse for vaal ice nova?Because i swapped it at act 5 with the 6link setup,but the damage was terrible(Gem levels – increased critical strikes-6// increased critical damage lvl8//increased area of effect lvl3//concentrated effect lvl 7)

  10. Vvckd

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    643

    On 19/08/2019 at 9:16 AM, WBBG said

    When do we swap Freezing pulse for vaal ice nova?Because i swapped it at act 5 with the 6link setup,but the damage was terrible(Gem levels – increased critical strikes-6// increased critical damage lvl8//increased area of effect lvl3//concentrated effect lvl 7)

    Once you get Inevitable Judgement and have enough Crit Chance(at least 40%) you should be good to go.

  11. Posts
    2

    Thanks!

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