[3.11] Frost Blades Raider - Super Beginner Friendly - League Starter - SSF Viable



In case you are a totally newer player, I have included various alternative 'beginner friendly' segments, which will explain the mechanics in a more beginner-friendly manner without confusing you with all the 'cryptic' terminology.

As a quick disclaimer, this build isn't meant to take on end-game content. While almost any build could potentially do all content with enough currency investment, the point of this build guide isn't to provide you with the best character but rather to provide totally newer players with a way in order to get familiar with various concepts in Path of Exile.

Additionally, I am still upgrading this build and making this changes to this guide at the time of writing. Let me know if I can improve the build or in the guide in any way :-)

Changelog

20/8/2020: Upgraded gear and added links to the trade website.


Should I play this build? (Pros and Cons)

I am a newer player, should I play this build?

* This build will teach you how various mechanics in the game Path of Exile work, and which concepts to focus on in case you decide to make your own build in the future.
* This build doesn't require any sort of investment (there is no real need to trade with other players for specific items). You will be completely fine during the campaign of PoE without any real 'special' items.
* You will be able to shred a lot of enemies very quickly if you follow this build correctly.
* It is very difficult to die with this build, as there are a lot of different mechanics that we use to avoid taking damage.

* While you are able to clear a lot of enemies, fighting bosses with this can be a bit tedious. This build is focused around doing a lot of damage to enemies, but not really that much when it comes to bosses.
* While we do have a lot of defenses, there are a few aspects that rely on RNG. Statistically, there is a good chance that you will just die due to 'unlucky dice rolls'.

I am not new, what are the pros and cons?

* Solid for league starting. Works on very minimal budget, suitable for SSF. No mandatory uniques (with the exception of quest rewards).
* Good clear speed, even on a 4-link. Great clear speed on a 6-link.
* Great survivability; tons of defensive layers.


* Defenses rely heavily on RNG-based mechanics (especially dodge). Don't expect to be immortal. THIS IS NOT A HARDCORE VIABLE BUILD!!! Play this in Hardcore at your own risk!
* No defenses against ground-effects, DoTs and chaos damage (this can partially be remedied with gear or the Pantheon).
* Terrible single-target damage, especially on a budget.
* Dies to elemental reflection (obviously).



Basic mechanics explained



As you can see from the video above, whenever we hit an enemy with Frost Blades, we will shoot out multiple icy projectiles from the back of the enemy. These secondary projectiles allow us to reach massive clearing potential, as hitting one enemy will basically allow us to do damage to various other enemies.



This basically means that whenever you attack with Frost Blades, it takes the physical damage and turns 60% of that to cold damage. In this build, we'll aim to turn 100% of the physical damage to cold.

Additionally, this does mean that we will need to acquire the most physical/cold damage possible from our weapons because this will provide us with massive benefits.

The base weapons that we will be using are going to be claws


As you can see, the claws have an implicit modifier which grants us life whenever we hit an enemy. The secondary projectiles that Frost Blades fires out will grant us life gain on hit as well.

When it comes to this build's defensive measures, they are explained in depth in the appropriate section, but I'll give a brief rundown.

We will try to make sure that the enemies are able to attack us as infrequently as possible. Even if the enemies do attack us, there is a high chance that we will avoid the attack.
In the instance that we do take damage, we will reduce the incoming damage as much as possible, while trying to regain or lost life as quickly as we can.


Leveling Guide for newer players

For this leveling guide, I have made a custom loot filter that will highlight all of the items which are relevant to you: https://www.pathofexile.com/item-filter/9lmMQfO

Act 1

For every act, I have created a small cheat sheet that you can refer to in case you are confused on where to go.
Act 1 cheat sheet

1. Twilight Strand.
2. Lioneye's Watch.
3. The Coast
4. Tidal Island (Kill Hailrake, get medicine chest, go back to town).
5. Mud Flats (Find 3 glyphs here)
6. Submerged Passage (alternatively, one could do the Fetid Pool for an optional quest). If you come across a large bridge, make a portal there and cross the bridge.
7. The Ledge
8. The Climb (Go back to town and enter your Portal).
9. The Flooded Depths (Kill the Dweller of the Depths and go back to town)
10. The Lower Prison (There is a small 'gauntlet' that you should complete here).
11. The Upper Prison
12. Prisoner's Gate (Piety will block the road forward, so you need to go to the Ship Graveyard)
13. The Ship Graveyard.
14. The Ship Graveyard Cave (get the Allflame and talk to Fairgraves in the Ship Graveyard)
15. The Cavern of Anger.
16. The Cavern of Wrath.


When you make a new character, you will need to make a Ranger. I know it sounds pretty weird to make a ranger while this skill appears more melee-esque. In Path of Exile, there are no class-restrictions when it comes to abilities (or gear).

After killing the very first enemy, you will get an ability called Burning Arrow. While this won't be used at all after the first , it will serve as a solid introduction for the later mechanics.

While this is a pretty good ability by itself, the main thing to consider is the item that we will put that gem into, namely the Crude Bow.


In case you haven't noticed it, the 2 green slots in this bow are connected by a little line. This means that these slots are part of the same 'gem link'. Once you put your secondary gem, called Pierce Support, in the bow as well you will be able to see the action unfold.


If you've taken a look at the skill tree, it seems quite overwhelming. As such, I would recommend you to allocate the points like this.


When you get to the town called Lioneye's Watch, you are able to pick up your skill gem reward from Tarkleigh.


Pressing the small exclamation marker on top of the skill gems will provide you with more information about the gem itself.

Additionally, you should purchase a claw and a shield from Tarkleigh and look out for any non-weapon item with green-green-red sockets. In the instance where you can't find any items with green-green-red, having green-green will suffice for now.


My suggestion here is to get rid of Burning Arrow and equip Frost Blades together with Pierce Support in the same item.

Here is an example of what I would recommend to buy and what to avoid:


If done correctly, here is what your current gameplay should look like:


After completing a certain quest, you are able to acquire new items. The 3 most important things here are a quicksilver flask, onslaught support and ancestral call support. At this point, I would recommend either using

or


Here is what your current gameplay should look like:

You might also notice that you aren't dealing a lot of damage to bosses. To remedy this, I would highly recommend using the setup Puncture - Chance to Bleed.

For movement skills, I would recommend using Dash.
So, to sum up, here is what I would recommend to use when it comes to gems:




(You can purchase Maim from Nessa when you reach the Lower Prison).


Alternative suggestion

If you are willing to put in some extra work to create another character to acquire a setup that will make bosses easier, you can do so by following this sub-guide.

Starting off, you would want to make a Templar and head towards the Submerged Passage. For leveling skills, you can use pretty much anything. My main suggestion would go to either Freezing Pulse or Frostbolt (Bonus tip: You can put your Onslaught Support in your stash tab and give this to your Templar).

After completing both the quests in the Submerged Passage and the Tidal Island, you will be able to acquire the following items for your build. Ancestral Protector, Frost Bomb, Ruthless and Chance to Bleed are all really important here.

If you put these in your stash tab, you will be able to give these newly acquired items to your Ranger.

Your gem setup should be as follows:





Remember to keep Frost Bomb at level 1. There is no need to level up the gem!

This setup does require you to have access to both a red-red-red and a blue-blue-green gem link. Since my filter doesn't highlight these links by default (as I won't expect many people to do use this alternative setup), you will either have to manually buy these items from vendors or create your own ones with either Harvest or Chromatic Orbs.

Additionally, if you are lacking the strength/intelligence to equip the gems, I would recommend buying a Lapis Amulet and a Heavy Belt from Nessa, as these provide you with Intelligence and Strength respectively.


(Bonus bonus tip: You can sell your Freezing Pulse and Elemental Proliferation Support to a vendor along with iron rings to create yourself Sapphire Rings. These rings will be useful against the boss of act 1).

Why this setup works:
If one were to use this setup, you will have access to both Ancestral Protector and Frost Bomb. Both of these gems will allow you to increase your boss-killing potential. Ancestral Call helps you by providing you with attack speed in addition to dealing damage itself. Frost Bomb helps you by reducing the enemy's Cold Resistance by 25% (This is a flat reduction, so 30% cold resistance will get reduced to 5% for instance).
Additionally, Frost Bomb and Frostblink can occasionally grant us the onslaught buff when linked correctly, which will boost our movement- and attack speed.

Here is what your gameplay should look like if you've set it up correctly:



After you kill the boss of the Upper Prison, you will be able get your second movement skills. These ones are Smoke Mine and Whirling Blades.
The way to move around at this point is to yeet your Smoke Mine, detonate it and then just use Whirling Blades.





Additionally, linking Whirling Blades with Blind Support is pretty decent.
Although we won't get much use out of it right now, having Whirling Blades linked to at least one other green gem is pretty decent.

Before fighting the boss of act 1, it is important to consider your current weapons and resistances. My main recommendation at this point is to pick up some random claws off the floor (either Sharktooth claws or Awls) as well as getting yourself some Sapphire Rings for cold resistance. If you are looking to upgrade your current weapons, you can do so right now with either Essences or the Harvest mechanic (Which will only be useful for the 3.11 Harvest League)



Bear in mind that it isn't strictly neccesary to upgrade your weapon to rare at this point (however, it is still a good idea to upgrade them); You will be perfectly fine if you are using normal weapons. The most important thing at this point is to get rid of your basic Nailed Fist and start using an Awl.



Act 2

Act 2 cheat sheet

1. Southern Forest
2. Forest Encampment.
3. The Old Fields.
4. The Den.
5. The Crossroads.
6. The Chamber of Sins 1.
7. The Chamber of Sins 2 (Be sure to complete the 'gauntlet' here. Travel back to town after killing the boss and grabbing the Baleful Gem).
8. Travel back to the Crossroads
9. The Fellshrine Ruins
10. The Crypt level 1 (Be sure to complete the 'gauntlet' here. The Crypt level 2 is for an optional side quest).
11. Travel back to the Crossroads.
12. The Broken Bridge (Kill Kraityn).
13. Travel back to town.
14. The Riverways.
15. The Wetlands (Kill Oak, travel back to the Riverways).
16. The Western Forest (Kill Alira and kill the blackguards guarding the road).
17. The Weaver's Chambers.
18. Travel back to town.
19. Travel back to Lioneye's Watch and receive your quest rewards.
20. Travel back to the Wetlands and enter the Vaal Ruins
21. Vaal Ruins.
22. Northern Forest.
23. Dread Thicket (You will get your personal hideout (homebase) here).
24. The Caverns.
25. The Ancient Pyramid.

Welcome to act 2. For this guide, I would recommend you to allocate your skill points like this:


There aren't any major changes that we will make going forward. For now, just keep following the story and remember to check the cheat sheet if you get stuck.

The only changes that we will make here are the following:

1. Remember to check your gear properly at this stage. Right now, you want to focus as much effort as possible on getting elemental resistances. Later on in the acts, you will find two-stone rings, which will be your primary way of getting your resistances at this point.
Additionally, getting life, resistances or both on gear can be a huge help! As a rule of thumb: If you hold alt over an item, you can see something called the 'item level'. If the difference between the item level and your current level is greater than 15, I would suggest to get a replacement for the item.


2. By progressing the quests, we will be able to acquire new skill gems. The primary ones that we will be using are 'Herald of Ice', 'Blood Rage', 'Faster Attack Support' and 'Elemental damage with Attacks Support'.
My suggestion would be to use this setup:
Frost Blades - Ancestral Call - Pierce/Onslaught (Use this for clearing)
Frost Blades - Added Cold Damage - Elemental Damage with Attacks (Use this for bosses)
Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks
Puncture - Chance To Bleed - Melee Physical Damage (This might not really be necessary anymore if you are using the Frost Blades setup recommended for bosses)

3. Since the claws require you to have intelligence, and the red supporting gems that we use require strength, you might run into some issues. While you could easily grab a Heavy Belt and a Lapis Amulet, they might not be sufficient enough.
In a situation like this, I would advice to temporarily grab some nodes with strength/intelligence on the skill tree.
If you are willing to spend 4 points to temporarily boost those stats, you could allocate your passive points in this manner:



Act 3

Act 3 cheat sheet

1. City of Sarn
2. Sarn Encampment
3. The Slums
4. The Crematorium (Complete the 'gauntlet' here. Go back to Clarissa after getting Tolman's Bracelets and get the keys to the Sewers)
5. The Sewers (Pick up 3 busts here)
6. The Marketplace
7. The Catacombs (Complete the 'gauntlet'. Leave afterwards)
8. The Battlefront (Pick up the Ribbon Spool near the waypoint).
9. The Docks (Find the Thaumatic Sulphite).
10. The Solaris Temple 1.
11. The Solaris Temple 2 (Go back to the Sewers after receiving the Infernal Talc)
12. The Ebony Barracks (Kill general Gravicius)
13. The Lunaris Temple 1.
14. The Lunaris Temple 2 (Kill Piety and get the key to the Scepter of God).
15. The Imperial Gardens (Complete the 'gauntlet' here)
16. The Scepter of God.
17. The Upper Scepter of God.
18. After completing this act, go back to the Sarn Encampment and interact with the plaque on top of the stairs.




When it comes to your setup, don't really worry too much about any of the gem types for now. No matter which of the 2 setups you were using up to this point, you will soon reach a point where those 2 will converge.

From this point forward, you will start to get 4-linked items to drop.
My suggestion would be to look out for any links that are red-red-green-green or red-green-green-green.


The Library
At this stage in the game, you will have access to an NPC called Siosa. This ghostly fella will provide you with all of the necessary gems.
Here is a list of all of the gem links that we will be using from now on.

Frost Blades - Ancestral Call - Elemental Damage with Attack - Ice Bite (Use this for clearing)
Frost Blades - Ruthless - Elemental Damage with Attacks - Added Cold Damage (Use this for bosses).
Whirling Blades - Fortify] - Endurance Charge on Stun - Faster Attacks
Ancestral Warchief - Stun - Blind
Smoke Mine - Second Wind - Frost Bomb
Frostbite

Maximum amount of currency required:
* Scroll of Wisdom: 4
* Orb of Transmutation: 5
* Orb of Alteration: 7
* Orb of Chance: 4

In case you are confused, here is a list of the gem locations at Siosa.
Gem Locations








If done correctly, you should now have these gems:


After you are done with this act, go back to the Sarn Encampment.
Interact with the plaque on top of the stairs. Enter the portal that opens up.



Act 4

Act 4 cheat sheet

1. The Aquaduct.
2. Highgate
3. The Dried Lake (defeat Emperor Voll)
4. The Mines 1
5. The Mines 2 (Search for Deshret's Spirit)
6. The Crystal Veins
7. Kaom's Dream
8. Kaom's Stronghold (Defeat Kaom, go back to town afterwards)
9. Daresso's Dream
10. The Grand Arena (Defeat Daresso, go back to town afterwards)
11. The Belly of the Beast 1
12. The Belly of the Beast 2
13. The Harvest (defeat the 3 bosses here, then defeat Malichai. Go back to town.)
14. The Descent


Skill tree:



I don't really have any major advice for this act. My only word of wisdom would be to grab the "Tribal Fury" node on the tree as quickly as possible and start using the Multistrike gem instead of Ancestral Call.


Act 5-6

Act 5 cheat sheet

1. The Slave Pens
2. The Overseer's Tower
3. The Control Blocks.
4. Oriath Square.
5. The Imperial Courts.
6. The Chamber of Innocence.
7. The Torched Courts.
8. The Ruined Square.
9. The Ossuary (Grab the staff).
10. The Reliquary (Grab the 3 artifacts).
11. The Cathedral Rooftop


Act 6 cheat sheet

1. Lioneye's Watch
2. The Twilight Strand (Kill all monsters)
3. The Coast
4. The Tidal Island (optional quest, good reward).
5. The Mud Flats
6. The Karui Fortress
7. The Ridge.
8. The Lower Prison (complete the trial of ascendency)
9. Shavronne's Tower
10. The Prisoner's Gate (Kill the Faun).
11. The Western Forest
12. The Wetlands (Kill the Puppet Mistress)
13. The Southern Forest
14. The Cavern of Anger
15. The Beacon.
16. The Brine King's Reef.

Skill tree:



As I am still writing this guide at this moment, I won't really have much to say at this point. My only major advice is to grab the jewel called "Fight for Survival" from one of the quest rewards.

After defeating the Act 5 boss, ALL of your resistances will get a -30% penalty.
For this reason, it is really important to take a proper look at your gear. Whereas you could have been getting by with whatever you just found lying on the floor, you will actually start to pay attention to your gear now!

First of all, make sure that the majority of your items have at least 40 to maximum life and at two 20% resistance modifiers (It is preferred to have these even higher).
As a rule of thumb, you should preferably be around 1600 life with 75% to all elemental resistances when leaving the act 6 town.

In the instance where you are unable to acquire this gear, there are a few things to do.

Trading

The most common way for players to acquire items in Path of Exile is simply trade this with other players. The website https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest allows players to both and sell their items for ingame currency. The most common currency items at this point are Chaos Orbs and Orbs of Alchemy.

Here are a couple of premade search queries, but feel free to search for items on your own:

Weapon: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/nlnmnQJH0
Shield: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/WQnrRVbIm
Helmet: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/JE74maYcl
Gloves: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/mZnYm2ZH6
Body Armour: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/pYnvL6bU0
Boots: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/8lvpZEZcV
Belt: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/bknRZnzCL
Ring: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/3jlYy7gU5
Amulet: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Harvest/LB4oVnVSn


Essence Crafting

As I am still writing this guide, I'll keep this section brief.
Basically, the 2 essences that we will mostly be using are 'essence of greed' and 'essence of hatred'
I would recommend to use an Essence of Greed on your boots, Gloves, Body Armour and Helmet.
For the Essence of Hatred, I would recommend using this on your weapon, your belt and your amulet.
On your rings and shield, I would recommend using either an Essence of Hatred or an Essence of Sorrow/Rage (if you lack intelligence or strength).


Fossil Crafting

Once again, I'll try to keep this section brief.
In the act 4 town, you've met a guy called Niko. He will provide you access to the Azurite Mine, where you can get various items. The type that we are interested here are fossils.
Even though the mine looks pretty intimidating, you can think of it as a grid.


As you can see, I've marked various squares with a blue color. This means that they are spaces that can contain fractured walls. If you were to blow these walls up, you are quite likely to find fossils (or other hidden treasures).
At Niko, you can purchase resonators for Sulphite. These resonators will be used to socket fossils, which will influence the crafting outcomes.

Here is what I would recommend to use on each armour type:
* Body Armour: Pristine or Metallic.
* Boots: Pristine
* Gloves: Frigid
* Helmet: Pristine
* Amulet: Pristine and frigid
* Ring: Pristine and frigid.
* Belt: Pristine
* Weapon: Frigid and Prismatic.
* Shield: Prismatic and Pristine.


Harvest Crafting (3.11 Only)

For now, I would recommend to use Weta (Life), Dustspitter (Lightning), Scorpion (Cold) and Ape (Fire) seeds.
My recommendation is to spam 'reforge as a rare item with ... modifiers' until you hit some good rolls on the attributes that you are hoping for. If you hit an type-specific affix with terrible rolls, you could hold onto that item until you get a 'remove a specific modifier' craft.

My recommendation for farming seeds (pun intended) is to either run the Coast or the Twilight Strand in act 6 over and over, constantly resetting the area by ctrl-clicking the entrance.


Act 7-10

Act 7 cheat sheet

1. The Bridge Encampment
2. The Crossroads
3. The Fellshrine Ruins
4. The Crypt (Complete the trial of ascendency here. Get Maligaro's Map)
5. The Chamber of Sins 1.
6. Maligaro's Sanctum.
7. The Chamber of Sins 2 (Complete the trial of ascendency)
8. The Den.
9. The Ashen Fields.
10. The Northern Forest
11. The Dread Thicket (Get the fireflies).
12. The Causeway (Get Kishara's Star)
13. The Vaal City
14. The Temple of Decay 1.
15. The Temple of Decay 2.

Act 8 cheat sheet

1. The Sarn Ramparts
2. The Sarn Encampment (Feel free to do the labyrinth again if you feel confident).
3. The Toxic Conduit.
4. The Quay (Search for the Ankh. Defeat Tolman).
5. The Grain Gate (Kill the Gemling Legionaires).
6. The Grand Promenade.
7. The Bath House (Get the Wings of Vastiri, do the trial of ascendency).
8. The High Gardens (Kill Yugul).
9. The Lunaris Concourse.
10. The Lunaris Temple 1.
11. The Lunaris Temple 2 (Get the moon orb).
12. The Harbour Bridge.
13. The Solaris Concourse.
14. The Solaris Temple 1.
15. The Solaris Temple 2 (Get the sun orb. Return to the Harbour Bridge).

Act 9 cheat sheet

1. The Blood Aquaduct.
2. Highgate.
3. The Descent.
4. The Vastiri Desert.
5. The foothills (Open the entrance to the Oasis).
6. The Oasis.
7. The Boiling Lake (Kill the boss here).
8. The Tunnel (Do the trial of ascendency).
9. The Quarry (Feel free to farm seeds here. Kill Shakiri).
10. The Refinery (Kill the boss here).
11. The Belly of the Beast.
12. The Rotting Core (Kill the 3 bosses).

Act 10 cheat sheet

1. The Oriath Docks.
2. The Cathedral Rooftop.
3. The Ravaged Square.
4. The Torched Courts.
5. The Desecrated Chambers.
6. The Ossuary (Do the trial of ascendency).
7. The Control Blocks (Kill Vilenta).
8. The Canals.
9. The Feeding Through

Skill tree:



At this point, I don't really have anything to add to this leveling section. My only advice at this point is to MAKE SURE THAT YOUR RESISTANCES ARE IN CHECK!
Even though having 60% instead of 75% resistance doesn't really seem that important, it is!
My main advice here is to flip your way of thinking. Instead of thinking 'I resist 60% damage', you should be thinking 'I take 40% damage'.




Leveling Guide for non-newer players

Disclaimer: This leveling guide will assume that you won't have access to a Tabula or any other leveling items. If you do have those, feel free to use them (bear in mind that having an early 6-link will potentially lead to mana issues).
Early leveling

Bear in mind that this leveling process is just for people that want to have the 'frost blades experience' early on. If you want to level with something completely different, such as caustic arrow, feel free to do so (going for something bow-based also allows you to use ballistae against the early bosses :-))

At level 2, I would recommend to start using Frost Blades with Pierce Support. At this stage of the game, the Corroded Blade basetypes will do the most damage. I would recommend switching from two-handed swords to claws when you can get Whirling Blades.

I would recommend a skill tree like this. You will do more damage than the skill tree that I recommended for newer players in addition to having the 20 strength/intelligence node (as well as getting 10% increased flask effectiveness)



The gem links that I would recommend are:
* Frost Blades - Ancestral Call - Pierce/Onslaught (personal preference)

* Puncture - Chance to Bleed - Maim
* Dash
OR
* Frost Bomb - Onslaught - Frostblink
* Ancestral Protector - Ruthless - Maim/Chance to Bleed



Gem Links


This is the main skill that we use to deal damage. In case you don't have access to a 6-link, you can alternatively use fortify on your whirling blades.
Bear in mind that this isn't the only setup available. You can also go with hypothermia if you have enough chance to freeze, or you can with ruthless if you want to fight bosses (which isn't really recommended on this build).


While Whirling is primarily used for movement, we'll also use it in this build to apply blind and stuns to enemies. In addition to this, we can use this to generate endurance charges. These will be used for Immortal Call, but they can also serve as a quick way to get some addition physical damage reduction.


In addition to providing us with some more damage, the Ancestral Warchief is also able to provide a culling strike alongside Ruthless (which has a high chance to stun). Due to faster attacks, the ruthless attacks are triggered as often as possible.


Our Cast When Damage Taken setup. We use Immortal Call for the less damage taken in addition to the chaos golem for the little bit of the physical damage reduction. It's up to you if you want to have Blood Rage in this setup. I personally prefer to trigger this manually.


Smoke Mine is our primary movement skill here. Because both Frost Bomb and Smoke Mine have a cooldown, Second Wind Support is used here to 'double dip' from the bonuses.
Frost Bomb is used to apply -25% cold resistance to the enemies.
If you want to, you can also link frost bomb with increased duration and getting rid of second wind support for smoke mine.


The herald, aura and curse. These don't have to be linked at all.


Skill Tree, bandits, Pantheon

POB: https://pastebin.com/M81kK4zM

Picture in case you can't access the PoB:


Bandits: Kill all
Minor God: Gruthkul
Major God: Lunaris


Gear

Gear that I used when I reached maps



The goal with this first gearset was to get a proper 'foothold' in the early maps. I primarily focussed on life and resistances here (I actually got too many elemental resistances, I easily could have gotten chaos resistance instead of the certain elemental ones).

My current goal with this build is to get more chaos resistance on my gear while getting a weapon with more damage. At the current stage in the build, I am able to get through T1-10 maps with relative ease. I even handled the regular mobs decently on a T14 map, but I struggled against the boss as expected.

Current gear (Still in the process of upgrading)




Trade links to purchase items (level 68+)






Potential uniques that can be used if not on SSF

Weapons

Bloodseeker.
Even though this weapon doesn't provide any life gain on hit, the instant life leech does cover that aspect. However, bear in mind that this weapon leeches physical attack damage as life. Since all of our damage is converted to cold, we won't get much use out of it unless the 'cold damage conversion' nodes are unspecced. At that point, we will become vulnerable to physical reflection again.

Touch of Anguish.
While these claws don't really provide us with a lot of attack speed in addition to the lack of increased physical damage, the fact that skills chain an additional time could be really great for clearing. If you were to dual-wield 2 of these claws, you could double this chaining bonus at the cost of your shield.
If you want to try these out, they are quite fun to use, but not really what I would personally use.


Boots

Darkray Vectors
These are one of the best unique boots that you could get if you are using frenzy charges. First of all, having an additional frenzy charge on your build is always a nice thing to have. In addition to this, we can benefit a lot from the increased dodge chance per frenzy charge. If one were to get up to the theoretical maximum of 12 frenzy charges, we would get 24% chance to dodge as well as 60% increased movement speed.


Rings

Precursor's Emblem.
These rings can be incredibly expensive based on the mods!!! It is not necessary at all for this build! Any rare ring will suffice just fine.
The way how these rings work is that, by combining 3 specific items at a vendor, you are able to create a ring with frenzy, endurance and/or power- charge utility.
In this instance, I would recommend either a two-stone ring with frenzy-frenzy-endurance modifiers or a sapphire ring with triple frenzy modifiers.
Endurance charge stats to look out for

* 10% chance to gain an endurance charge on kill
* 1% chance to dodge attack hits per endurance charge
* 4% chaos resistance per endurance charge
* 5% increased damage per endurance charge
* +1 to maximum endurance charges

Frenzy charge stats to look out for

* (6-8) to (12-13) cold damage per frenzy charge
* 1% chance to dodge attack hits per frenzy charge
* 8% increased evasion rating per frenzy charge
* 1% additional physical damage reduction per frenzy charge
* +1 to maximum frenzy charges






Explanation of the build


Offensive mechanics

As a quick rundown, this build aims to convert all of the physical damage to cold damage. This means that, in addition to being immune to physical reflect maps, we will be able to focus our attention on the enemy's cold resistance.

For clearing, I am using the Tribal Fury Node. This does seem quite different from other builds, as you would preferably swap out Ancestral Call and Elemental Damage with Attacks between bossing and clearing. However, since this build is aimed at newer players, I feel like swapping out these gems constantly will be quite tedious for them.
With newer players in mind, I've also not focused a lot on critical strikes, which is why I am using the Resolute Technique. This means that newer players won't have to worry about accuracy and critical strike mechanics at all.

For bossing, I do try to reduce the cold resistance as much as possible by using Frost Bomb and Frostbite. In addition to this, Fight for Survival and Fangs of Frost really help with the penetration as well. This build only uses one Fight for Survival, as I don't want newer players to waste time just to get a new character to act 5 in order to grab that gem. Of course, if they are inclined to do so, they can absolutely go for it!
In addition to this, Vaal Ancestral Warchief is a HUGE damage boost against bosses.

However, this is all that I really have in terms of offensive capability. This build is more focused on defense to ensure that newer players don't really die too often.


Defensive mechanics

Rundown on the defensive layers
In addition to this life gain on hit, we will have numerous other defensive layers in this build.

Defensive layer 1: Affecting enemy attacks.
* Enemies get blinded. This reduces their accuracy and causes them to miss their attacks more often.
* Frost Blades causes enemies to get frozen/chilled, reducing their action speed or nullifying it altogether.
* Enemies get stunned in certain situations for brief periods.
* If the Soul of Gruthkul Minor God has been upgraded with Erebix, enemies that have hit us will have reduced attack speed.

Defensive layer 2: Avoiding damage.
* Around 60-65% chance to dodge attack damage. If you are able to get your hands on the Darkray Vector boots, you will be able to gain increased dodge chance for each frenzy charge.
If the Soul of Lunaris Major God has been upgraded with Shock and Horror, we will have an additional 5% chance to dodge.
* If we fail to dodge, we will have an effective 60% chance to evade attacks. Since evasion is entropy-based, this WILL make us dodge 3 out of 5 attacks.
Addendum: Due to the Wind Dancer keystone, we will have 40% less evasion rating if we haven't been hit recently, but 20 more evasion if we have been hit recently.
* Although this build doesn't focus on block, we still have a block chance of 10-20%.
* We aim to get as much 'chance to avoid elemental ailments' as possible to ensure that we don't need to take an anti-freeze flask. Without any other modifications, the chance to avoid freezing from the tree is 70% (which can be raised up to 100% if Arcane Swiftness and Elemental Focus are taken). Additionally, we are able to get 'chance to avoid elemental ailments' on our shield as well. If this is raised high enough, we won't even need anti-ailment flasks.
As an added bonus: This elemental ailment avoidance also works against brittle, sap and scorch.

All in all, this gives us a very low chance to even receive damage. It is difficult to put an exact number on this, due to the fact that the values for evasion and dodge depend on our current situation.

Defensive layer 3: Mitigating damage
* If we haven't been hit recently, we will take 20% less damage due to Wind Dancer. This means that the first hit that we take most likely won't be fatal.
* We will have the Fortify buff on us quite often, which will grant us 20% less damage taken as well. (This combination actually doesn't give us 40% less damage taken, but rather 36%.)
* This build usually has between 25 and 60% physical damage reduction. While this can be pushed higher with better armour, this build won't really use this as those items can be quite expensive to acquire as a newer player.
* This build can have 77% lightning resistance and 78% fire/cold resistance. While this can be pushed higher through anointing Anointed Flesh, bear in mind that that does require the expensive golden oils in addition to the opportunity cost of not getting any other notable.

Defensive layer 4: Regaining lost health.
As mentioned before, the Imperial Claw bases are able to provide us with 48 life gain for each enemy hit. In addition, we will have a Life Leech cap of 20% of our maximum life per second. While the Life Gain on hit of 48 life doesn't seem that great, bear in mind that we will be able to scale our attack speed quite high. Due to the fact that we will hit a lot of enemies with Frost Blades, we will be able to get a lot of life from just one single attack. If possible, try to get your hands on a Vaal Breach, which will serve nicely against bosses that don't summon any adds (be sure to get enough Souls before going into a boss arena). In addition to providing us with Life Gain on Hit, we will also be able to trigger the Soul of Lunaris effect.


How this build is still able to die
First of all, despite the fact that this build has so many defensive layers, bear in mind that the vast majority of those are based on RNG.
There is no guarantee that we are able to freeze, stun or blind enemies. Nor is there is any guarantee that we will dodge, evade or block a specific attack. Even though evade is entropy-based, we might just be so unlucky to evade the minor attacks while still getting hit by fatal blows.

In addition to all of this, we are not immune to ground effects. In combination with the low chaos resistance, we are very likely to die to desecrated ground or attacks from El-Heizmin. Of course, you are able to get your chaos resistance up to 75% with the use of either gear or jewels, but bear in mind that that comes at the expensive of other stats.



I have a lot of currency to invest, and I really like the Frost Blades playstyle. What should I do?

My honest recommendation is to follow another Frost Blades build guide if you have the currency.

This build guide isn't really aimed at high-budget versions. While you could obviously keep investing currency into builds, bear in mind that the build will completely change by then. For instance, many of the high-budget Frost Blades builds are crit-based, while this is a non-crit build.
To compare this to the Ship of Theseus, if you keep replacing gear on a build with more and more expensive gear, you will not have the same build that you started with. In addition to this, you will need to make drastic changes to the skill tree in order to accommodate those changes.
To give an example, let's say that you have a lot of currency to invest into dodge. By doing that, you might just raise the dodge chance up to a point at which you won't need to have Acrobatics anymore. This means that you have 5 extra skill points to spend on the tree in addition to having more armour/block.
Additionally, if one were to get hunter/warlord gloves with 'strike skills strike an additional target' and '+1 to maximum frenzy charges' (or +2 with the corruption), this would completely change the entire build. Tribal Fury would be pretty much useless, and there needs to be more focus on utilizing the frenzy charges with other gear.

So yes, while you CAN keep investing more and more currency into this build, at that point it is no longer the original 'beginner friendly' version that I have set out to create.

Last edited by Timmytimmy123 on Aug 20, 2020, 7:11:58 AM
Last bumped on Aug 19, 2020, 4:38:26 AM
What tier maps can this build do and how much have you upgraded your gear?
I'm currently around T8-10 maps on SSF, however T13-16 maps aren't really a big issue either (with the exception of bosses).
I haven't tried out Shaper/Elder Guardian maps with this build yet.

The gear could be upgraded a LOT (especially if one were to get into influenced basetypes, which I try to avoid as much as possible). Additionally, you could get cluster jewels with Blanketed Snow, Blast Freeze, Cold Conduction and Stormrider.

Please update your Gear and please tell me what to look for when buying weapons and a shield?

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