Vaal Ice Nova

it is a binry skill: clear entire screen(s) or fizzles without any effect



if it crits it is amazing (tested up to lvl 69 map it is 71lvl char) one shots everything

it charges fast enough. scales amazingly well with +aoe nodes and gem
This is a bad Vaal skill. Good Vaal skills do one of two things: either help deal with powerful threats by killing them quickly, or help deal with them by providing some form of defense or utility. This is essentially an AoE with Chaining, and as such it's only good against masses of mobs and not good single-target damage against dangerous threats. It also doesn't provide utility.

I believe the way to fix this skill is to add chilled ground to the effect (most likely removing the chilled ground effect from Vaal Cold Snap, which is fine with just a guaranteed freeze). On way to do this might be to redesign the skill to replicate the effect of a Freezing Shrine.
A shining light in a sea of stagnant bong water.

Last edited by Rachel_GGG on Sep 31, 2018 0:61:72 PM
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ScrotieMcB wrote:
This is a bad Vaal skill. Good Vaal skills do one of two things: either help deal with powerful threats by killing them quickly, or help deal with them by providing some form of defense or utility. This is essentially an AoE with Chaining, and as such it's only good against masses of mobs and not good single-target damage against dangerous threats. It also doesn't provide utility.

I believe the way to fix this skill is to add chilled ground to the effect (most likely removing the chilled ground effect from Vaal Cold Snap, which is fine with just a guaranteed freeze). On way to do this might be to redesign the skill to replicate the effect of a Freezing Shrine.


your self-created definition of vaal skill is your opinion. in most cases it is harmless as it by accident covers the general opinion but in this case i think you went to far. ice nova is a very potent trash-clearing utility with unique mechanic that thrives on throngs of mobs. this thing on a map with 'large packs' can easily refill itself.. invest into AOE and this thing can clear few screens away. do not underestimate it just because it a) does not fit your definition of vaal gems b) has pitiful single target
I'm going to agree with ScrotieMcB on this one. Right now, I am testing vaal molten shell, vaal storm call, vaal spark, and vaal ice nova, and I can't seem to figure out why this gem is so weak. First off, my guess is that the actual gem ice nova is probably too weak by virtue of the fact of how much damage the level 20 spell does in its cast time. The other thing is that compare this gem in terms of its burst to vaal storm call. Storm call hits 6 times, but with any amount of haste, it hits 7 times, plus a big hit, that we don't know how strong it is. Lets assume this gem hits 5 times. The base damage of vaal storm call is 2303 dmg (for 7 hits of lvl 20 base not including the big hit) and the base damage of vaal ice nova is 1037.5 (assuming it hits 5 times at level 20). I know that actual amount of times is highly variable, but this gem isn't even certain to hit 5 times. Maybe this gem gets a lot better with AoE, but from what I am looking at right now, the amount of souls required for this gem should equal storm call, not where it is now (at the very least), and the base spell (and by default the vaal gem) should probably be buffed by about 20% considering its damage and cast time. It has a 5% crit and no native bonus to freeze. The purpose of the gem is burst, and I don't think it cuts the mustard at the moment.

I would use vaal cold snap (in place of this gem) or even go back to cold snap with cast when damage taken, but I am really looking for a cold spell that can do some burst (even if only able to cast once in a while).
Last edited by Zindax on May 5, 2014, 6:39:35 AM
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Zindax wrote:
I'm going to agree with ScrotieMcB on this one. Right now, I am testing vaal molten shell, vaal storm call, vaal spark, and vaal ice nova, and I can't seem to figure out why this gem is so weak. First off, my guess is that the actual gem ice nova is probably too weak by virtue of the fact of how much damage the level 20 spell does in its cast time. The other thing is that compare this gem in terms of its burst to vaal storm call. Storm call hits 6 times, but with any amount of haste, it hits 7 times, plus a big hit, that we don't know how strong it is. Lets assume this gem hits 5 times. The base damage of vaal storm call is 2303 dmg (for 7 hits of lvl 20 base not including the big hit) and the base damage of vaal ice nova is 1037.5 (assuming it hits 5 times at level 20). I know that actual amount of times is highly variable, but this gem isn't even certain to hit 5 times. Maybe this gem gets a lot better with AoE, but from what I am looking at right now, the amount of souls required for this gem should equal storm call, not where it is now (at the very least), and the base spell (and by default the vaal gem) should probably be buffed by about 20% considering its damage and cast time. It has a 5% crit and no native bonus to freeze. The purpose of the gem is burst, and I don't think it cuts the mustard at the moment.

I would use vaal cold snap (in place of this gem) or even go back to cold snap with cast when damage taken, but I am really looking for a cold spell that can do some burst (even if only able to cast once in a while).


this is HORDE remover. you decide when to cast it. when you decide to cast it on 5 mobs.. tough. but noone forces you to. there are plenty of situations when there are 30 mobs on screen/almost on it. then these mobs simply disappear.

it has ZERO single target potential. it has ZERO small group potential. it is not 'targeted' spell. it is spell equivalent of carpet bombing with 1000 bombers. and in this aspect it excels

but surely - id like to buff the dmg even more :)
You're absolutely right that you don't have to cast this spell until a favorable circumstance, but consider the purpose of a CwDT gem when linked to a vaal gem. You encounter lag, take a bit of damage, and reach a dangerous situation. Then your vaal gem goes off and you leech back part of the burst damage you dealt, temporarily putting you in a better situation. What you are looking for is a decent bit of burst since you need souls to power this thing.

So while you absolutely control when you expend the ability, are you expending it when you need it and does the gem do what you need it to do? You may have control of when you use the ability especially if you don't link it to CwDT, but the ideal circumstance to use the gem may not occur when you take damage. If you link it to a high level CwDT and life leech, and it goes off when you take damage, how many mobs does it hit? That's really what this is about. Who really cares if you can use it and kill a bunch of mobs that weren't about to hurt you in the first place. So you bother to walk right in the middle of the them and take the time to set off the gem. If you have the time to do that, are you really expending the ability when you need it?

And like I said, I'm just testing the gem. Maybe it isn't for me (but maybe it gets much better with the quality bonus), but my gut call is that it's weak. I might be better off getting rid of vaal spark and vaal ice nova and trying discharge with arctic breath instead. It might not be amazing but its useful to have a few CDs go off that don't need souls. We'll see. I'll keep leveling them for now, but I'll stick an arctic breath in with my discharge in my alternate weapon/shield just in case.
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Zindax wrote:
-a desire for defense-
personally, cast on damage taken makes vaal skills fire off at "wrong" (read, suboptimal) times for me. but if the goal was to have an AoE and slowdown in large area for leeching and utility, i suggest vaal cold snap instead for the ground chilling (and freeze on hit but thats a little eh i heard/seen).

however vaal ice nova has extra hits at delays which, although weaker, provide a "longer" leeching that you wanted.

edit: below explained better about cwdt.
Last edited by soul4hdwn on May 5, 2014, 10:29:04 PM
i would not EVER use CWDT as any form of healing, esp 'emergency' one. cwdt procs when it procs, having no control over healing i call dangerous. it might be good with devouring totem/rejuv totem or decoy totem. is great with 'function' casts like end cry etc but spell to heal for any significant amount requires huge dmg burst that in most cases is wasted due to overheal or procs when not needed

in general linking dmg spells to cwdt is an.. interesting concept that never actually considered viable (Due to no control)

i think that you simply try to use it for its unintended purpose and as such receive unfavorable results

my experience with this gem is that i managed to refill the souls count on use. it can clear everything on screen and off-screen if mobs are nicely clumped. this simply speeds clears up. and for that it works perfectly. try it sometime on map with 'monsters fracture'..

Well, I have 65% block and 37% spell block (with tempest shield), and depending on which wand I use, flame totem can blind. So fast attacks don't really hurt me. So generally, when a high level CwDT procs for me, I need it to. In other words, it isn't a 10 damage hit that procs it for me. I use it to supplement my life regen and to help my leech get closer to the max rate, not necessarily due to one ability (I have three leech gems, two linked to two different CwDT gems and 4 different vaal skills at the moment in 2 different 4L). It may be failsauce and I wouldn't know until I actually test it on hard content. But generally, I built a defensive character that needs offensive cooldowns. It is quite possible that this gem gets quite nicer with the quality bonus, but for now storm call is definitely my favorite on the short timer.
Last edited by Zindax on May 6, 2014, 6:44:38 AM
It can be added to strongbox solutions - Fire Trap(3), Freeze Mine(5), plus the splendid Vaal Ice Nova, along with Decoy Totem or Lightning Warp on a 4-link(I never use CWDT for any of my caster).

Usually damage of the above three is enough to kill any normal box enemies without need of moving a bare inch(and severely damage blue/rare/exile) if you're specialized in elemental.

Two-handed - Mop
Dual Wield - Slippers
One-handed & Shield (close combat) - Brush & Basin
One-handed & Shield (ranged) - Hair Dryer & Mirror
Main-hand & Off-hand (evil witch) - Sponge & Soap

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