Vaal Ice Nova Inquisitor Build Guide (PoE Blight 3.8)

Vvckd

11


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.

Ascendancy, Passive Tree , Bandits, and Pantheons

Ascendancy (Templar – Inquisitor)

  1. Instruments of Virtue
  2. Righteous Providence
  3. Inevitable Judgement
  4. Augury of Patience

Instruments of Virtue will allow you to start using Shield Charge Shield Charge early on, which will improve your overall speed by a considerable amount.
Righteous Providence will improve your Critical Strikes, and this is the first step in transitioning to Critical Strikes.

Inevitable Judgement is the reason Inquisitor is so powerful: ignoring enemy elemental resistances with critical strikes is very powerful, especially against bosses.

Augury of Patience provides great balance between defense and offense.

Passive Tree

This is what the endgame passive skill tree looks like.

As in most builds, we recommend investing into Critical Strike nodes later, preferably after level 60. In the beginning, we focus on picking up Life, Spell and Cold damage along with some Mana nodes.

For more detailed information on how to progress your passive tree while leveling, please refer to the leveling section of the guide..

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: All major Pantheon powers can be beneficial for the build, although Soul of Solaris is probably the best choice in general.

Minor: Same as major Pantheons, all minor ones are useful for the build. We recommend Soul of Gruthkul, which improves physical damage mitigation.

Pantheon powers can be upgraded by using Divine Vessel in the Map Device while you are activating the particular Map that contains the boss you need. Once you have killed the boss and captured his soul, you need to deliver the vessel to Sin in Oriath.

Gems

Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova is your signature skill, which should ideally be used in a 6-Link. For mobility, use Shield Charge Shield Charge. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice is used for the additional cold damage to spells it provides, along with the very handy cold explosions when an enemy is shattered. Flame Dash Flame Dash can be used in order to jump over map terrain.

For all the gem links we provide below, keep in mind that we list the gems in order of priority, 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. 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.

Vaal Ice Nova (6-Link)

Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova is an area of effect Cold spell that deals its damage in a nova around your character. The Vaal version of the skill creates a new Ice Nova on every enemy hit, resulting in a great chain reaction of Ice Novas that obliterates the whole screen. We recommend two 6-Links for clearing and single target.

For clearing, use the following link.

  1. Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
  4. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  5. Increased Area of Effect Support Increased Area of Effect Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

For single target, use the following link.

  1. Vaal Ice Nova Vaal Ice Nova
  2. Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support
  3. Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support
  4. Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support
  5. Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support
  6. Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support

Shield Charge (3-Link)

Shield Charge Shield Charge is your main source of mobility. Hitting enemies with this skill will also give you a Fortify effect for better damage mitigation.

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

Herald of Ice (3-Link)

Herald of Ice Herald of Ice creates a Cold explosion when you kill Frozen enemies; we use that explosion in order to curse nearby enemies via the following gem link.

  1. Herald of Ice Herald of Ice
  2. Curse On Hit Support Curse On Hit Support
  3. Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark

Other Gems

Flame Dash Flame Dash can be socketed for additional mobility. Steelskin Steelskin can be used for additional damage mitigation. Depending on your Mana situation you can add in additional Mana reservation buffs like Arctic Armour Arctic Armour, Hatred Hatred or Zealotry Zealotry.

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 can carry you a long way. Besides that, having decently rolled rare items will be good enough to clear most game content.

Helmet

Well rolled rare Helmet is best in slot. For enchant, look for Ice Nova Ice Nova AoE or Damage. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)

Body Armour

A well rolled Shaper-based Body Armour is also very powerful. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. Spells have +#% to Critical Strike Chance
  4. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)

Gloves

Well rolled rare pair of Gloves is best in slot. For item base, look for Fingerless Silk Gloves Fingerless Silk Gloves for the additional damage provided by the implicit mod. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (70)
  3. % Increased Attack Speed (for faster Shield Charge Shield Charge)

Boots

Well-rolled rare boots are best in slot. Against tough endgame bosses, Kaom's Roots Kaom's Roots can be used. For enchants, look for Attack and Cast speed if you’ve killed recently. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (80)
  3. % Increased Maximum Life (Pristine Fossil Pristine Fossil)
  4. % Increased Movement speed

Belt

A well rolled Stygian Vise Stygian Vise is best in slot. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (90)
  3. % Increased Cold Damage (Frigid Fossil Frigid Fossil)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil Prismatic Fossil)

Amulet

A well rolled rare Amulet should be used. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. Global Critical Strike Multiplier (at least 25%)
  4. % Increased Spell Damage
  5. % Increased Cold Damage

Rings

Well rolled Ventor's Gamble Ventor's Gambles can also be used. Regular rare rings are also a good choice for the build, preferably Opal Ring Opal Ring for the additional damage the implicit mod provides. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. +#% total Elemental Resistances (until capped)
  2. +# to maximum life (50)
  3. % of Cold Damage Leeched as Life (Frigid Fossil Frigid Fossil)
  4. % increased Elemental Damage (Prismatic Fossil Prismatic Fossil)
  5. % increased Cold Damage

Weapon

The build will benefit most from a well rolled rare Dagger, since Daggers implicitly provide Global Critical Strike Chance, they also have high base Attack Speed, which will improve your Shield Charge Shield Charge speed by a great deal. The Rare affix priority is:

  1. % Increased Spell Damage (at least 40%)
  2. % Increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells (at least 90%)
  3. % Increased Attack Speed (at least 15%)
  4. % to Global Critical Strike Multiplier (at least 25%)

Shield

A well rolled Shield is best in slot. The Rare affix priority is:

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

Flasks

Diamond Flask Diamond Flask is mandatory in every Critical-based build; this is a good flask to have Curse or Freeze immunity on. Divine Life Flask Divine Life Flask should used as Instant or half-Instant along with Bleeding Removal suffix. For the other flask slots you can improvise, we recommend having Basalt Flask Basalt Flask and Granite Flask Granite Flask flasks. Make sure you have Bleeding, Curse and Freezing immunity on your flasks.

Jewels

There are no mandatory Jewels for the build, you should prioritize regular Jewels over Abyssal ones, as long as you have at least one Abyssal Jewel with % Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill.

Regular Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Maximum Life
  2. % Increased Damage
  3. % Increased Area Damage
  4. % Increased Attack/Cast Speed
  5. % Increased Cold/Spell Damage

Abyssal Jewel Affix Priority

  1. % Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
  2. # to Maximum Life (at least 30)
  3. Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells while holding a Shield
  4. Adds # to # Cold Damage to Spells
  5. % increased Cast Speed if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently
  6. % increased Attack Speed if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently

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

    Moderator

    Posts
    464

    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

    Moderator

    Posts
    464

    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

    Moderator

    Posts
    464

    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

    Moderator

    Posts
    464

    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!

Please log in to reply.

Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close
Close