[3.15] Frostblades Slayer Starter that clears the entire game

Are you tired of builds that claim to be "budget" or "starter" that cost 50ex? Or how about builds that claim they have 3mil dps, but then you notice they ticked every box in PoB and in reality their dps is 600k?

I am and that is why I wrote this build


This is a starter build with great clear due to frostblades and great single target due to the chosen damage mechanics. And all it requires is 2x 3chaos unique swords and optionally 3c unique gloves "Oskarm"


In addition, it was relatively unaffected by the recent nerfs when compared to other builds - It lost about 25% of its total damage when including flasks.




Build Idea
Spoiler

Ichimonjis are a great weapon with a drawback - Low critical strike. The build idea is to mitigate this with the Slayer ascendancy. This will give Ichimonjis a 8% critical strike chance, in addition to good attack speed and reduced mana reservation. Ichimonjis are so good infact, that they have the same DPS as dual wielding 450 pdps foils. This makes them an excellent starter as you get the damage of 5ex weapons for 3c

Also make sure to read "Hydrosphere" paragraph for more information.


Example videos
Spoiler

Here are some examples from an older league (delirium)
In none of these videos does damage get as high as the "Upgraded gear" version of this build - I simply did not have enough currency.
These videos are also before overleech node was moved, which means it had much less survivability.

Early Awakener level 1 Hunter with weak gear
Early T12 map clear with weak gear
A6 Baran with bad gear
Juiced T16 map with medium upgraded gear
Entire Shaper encounter


3.15 Videos
Spoiler


3.15 Expedition Videos -
Since the nerfs with this league, I decided to upload some more recent videos because people were having problems in the endgame.

Here is a example video of Tier15 map with garbage gear - Every item other than body armor and one ring(20c) is 10c or cheaper. With this I can still clear Tier16s and Conqurers. Keep in mind that by the time you reach Tier16s you should already have upgraded your gear way past the one displayd in this video.
And in case you wonder why boss damage was low, I couldn't see chilled ground thanks to spider web and was standing on top of it and wasted my berserk/adrenaline.
Tier15 Map
If you are wandering why I am using whirling blades, read upgraded Skillgem section

Videos with better gear:
Shaper related
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Got a Shaper guardian from Zana, Example of Bossing DPS - Shaper Guradian Hydra
Shaper Guradian Chimera
Shaper Guradian Minotaur
Shaper Guradian Phoenix with Metamorph
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Conqueror Related
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First time I did Sirus with this character this league
A6 Sirus
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3.15 Results - Read this if you want to try out this build
Spoiler

So you could definitely feel the nerfs of 3.15. Biggest issue was lowered crit chance from losing diamond flask - Made mapping feel worse due to not as much HoI shatters. To counteract this I reccommend getting a Hatred Crit chance watchers eye.

Second biggest problem was oneshots - This is an issue with every build and melee characters are affected the most. I found that trying to use armor was useless as it didn't help with the nerfed flasks. Unless you have chest piece with very high armour it is better to go all out on damage and high speed playstyle. As long as you play reasonably well, you won't get one shot THAT often, maybe once every 3-4 maps, depending on what mods you roll on them.

Endgame content with the level of gear that my character has -

Sirus - A8 Sirus doable deathless quite easily with the equipment I have. I don't know if Whirling blades was always this way, but you don't get affected by Sirus quadbeam if you go through it. This was not the case with leap slam at least when I last played it. This makes Sirus MUCH easier. Unless he cucks you by constantly sitting next to a storm or putting his meteor maze over degen ground you should not have any issues.
It might be better to respec Vaal Pact before the fight, as getting clipped by storm when entering the arena or invulnrebility phases and then ending up with 30% life is not fun.

Timeless monolith - 4 ways easy, 5 ways doable. In 4 ways you freeze bosse so you just run from 1 boss to the next and attack them to death. In 5 ways they have too much health so you need to dodge their attacks as well. 5 way wasn't that fun since it took a while to kill each boss.

Simulacrum - No.
Since frost blades is a skill with limited amount of enemies hit, getting swarmed by 100 monsters will kill you unless you can kill them in 1-2 hits. The damage was not there in Wave 18, maybe someone with a better PC would be able to do better, but I can't even move with 5 fps and screen completely cluttered.

Uber elder - Doable, but probably not deathless, unless you are better than me, which you very well might be.
The damage is obviously there, and elder icicles do not oneshot you soas long as you don't take 2 of them in a quick succession or in combination with another damage source, you should heal back to full. It was just a lot of running around trying to DPS while getting blasted from all sides with projectiles. Avoid shaper balls and you should be able to clear uber elder.

Maven - Did not even attempt to do any of the 5 hard invitations, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you would die 6 times without taking 30% life off a single boss.

Conquerors - Fairly easy, you should not be dying to any of them. Hardest one is Hunter. If you can't kill him fast enough and he starts running around the arena, his snakes are going to probably kill you at least once.


Conclusion - The items I have are a 100c body armor, The pandemonious which was 2.4ex, shaper ring for 1ex and rest of the gear was around 1-1.5ex combined.
Fairly budget build and it performed well for its cost, especially considering it was a melee strike build.

If you wish to play it, 5ex will be enough, price will probably drop as league goes on and a budget version where every item other than body armour was 10c or less was still able to do tier16 maps.

You can look at my gear, and see that there are still many easy to slot in damage upgrades to be had - Awakened added cold, Hatred crit watchers eye, Bottled faith, better jewels, and better Assassins mark ring.

At the bottom of the guide, in the "Expensive gear" section are tips for putting more currency into the build.




Pros and Cons
Spoiler

Pros:
Frostblades are a great skill for clearing, and still have great single target DPS with this build.
The build is cheap
The build has plenty of survivability
Engaging and Fast gameplay

Cons:
Still technically melee - Can't just ignore boss mechanics and run around in a circle while your totems do all the work.
Skill based gameplay - Can't facetank bosses, need to actually know the mechanics.


Ascendancy
Spoiler

With recent changes, you no longer have to invest 4 points to get slayer overleech. This means that Slayers now gained 2 extra points to invest into heavy damage which their other nodes give them. Overleech also allows you to use "Damage on full life" support - Although with recent changes, other gems might outperform it.

1 - Bane of Legends
2 - Headsman

For the early attack speed/flat damage these 2 nodes are the best as Overwhelm requires some crit multi and overleech is not needed this early.

3 - Overwhelm
4 - Brutal fervor

Overwhelm is basically a 30% more multiplier.

Overleech will give you 10% less damage taken and help you with the degen from blood rage that gets its degen buffed by abyssus. When combined with Vaal Pact, overleech will keep healing you for 2.5k life every second so if you are really confident, you can even throw away your life flask.


PoB/Damage numbers
Spoiler


If you are not using PoB Community Fork, displayed damage will be a lot lower because It doesn't take into account Skitterbots/Headsman

The damage in PoB is the damage you have when you enter Sirus/Shaper fight and have no buffs available to you. During map bosses/conquerors this damage is likely around 3-4 times higher due to buffs/Conditional passives(like killed recently or enemies near you)

READ HYDROSPHERE PARAGRAPH FOR MORE ACCURATE DPS

Starter gear - https://pastebin.com/bygFc8bg - 1.2m DPS


Upgraded gear - https://pastebin.com/h2iEsV8C - 6m DPS


During mapping/conquerors you have access to Rage, Berserk, Adrenaline, Vaal Ancestral Warchief, Frenzy charges. These buffs massively increase your damage.



Defensive mechanics
Spoiler

Since this build uses an Abyssus as upgrade, it needs some defensive mechanics to mitigate the downsides. These defensive mechanics are listed in the build in different places, but I will bring them all out here for clarity.

Overleech - 10% reduced damage taken
Endurance charges - Physical damage mitigation
Fortify, Inc Fortify effect from tree - Physical damage mitigation
Armor, Vaal Molten Shell - Shield to reduce damage taken, Emergancy Vaal Molten Shell
Frost Blades - Freeze/Chill
Pandemonius - Blind

Optional: Vaal Pact.
Vaal Pact doubles your life leech and removes life regeneration. If you have high enough damage you will leech for over 2k life per second. However in early-mid maps the your damage is not enough to keep you permanently at max leech and pack density is not high enough to always have leech on. I personally suggest not using it until you have upgraded gear with a lot more damage.

After gear upgrades: Arctic armor
Arctic armour will receive a buff shortly that gives you Freeze immunity. It also helps you by reducing the damage you take and Chilling anything that hits you.



Gear breakdown
Spoiler


Starter gear - Starter gear consists of only 3 cheap uniques. These are 2x Ichimonji and Oskarm.

Ichimonji - Great weapon that you will keep using permanently. If you want a damage increase you need 10+ex foils + enlighten level 4.

Oskarm - Gives a lot of damage through Assassins mark and QoL by not having to manually cast it.

Rest of your gear is rare and because you also help Alira, getting capped resistances will be extremely easy. Thanks to this you can prioritize damage/life when gearing your character. Best damage mods are flat phys or flat cold damage, followed by %elemental damage on attacks.

Life should be present on every item, but try to prioritize resistances on armor pieces, that way you can stack as much damage as possible with jewelry.

In 3.15 unique flasks were gutted, This means that only Atziri's Promise is still worth using. Diamond flask was also nerfed from giving almost 30% more damage to only 10%, but it is still worth using.


Upgraded gear - Most of our upgrade will come from powerful uniques.

1: Abyssus - This alone will give you around 45-50% more damage. It comes with a downside of taking more damage. This is mitigated by slayer overleech/vaal pact which will heal you for almost 50% of your health every second. Our choice of skill, Frost blades, also helps us with using Abyssus. Frost blades clear most of the trash monsters on your screen with the ranged blades, or at the very least chill/freeze them. This means that you won't be getting hit a lot. Our next item also helps us with Abyssus.

2: Pandemonius - Pandemonius is a bunch of damage, combined with survivability thanks to "blind enemies on hit" mechanic. Essentially you can think of this as doubling your health pool.

3: 2 Jewel tombfist - An excellent Abyss jewel can give you around 7% more damage. A 30-50c Abyss jewel can do arund 5%. Combine that with Intimidate, which gives 10% more damage, and you Can see that These gloves are around 20% more damage.

4: Mark of the elder - Just flat damage, and a lot of it. Make sure to quality it


5: Shaper ring - Shaper ring for Assassins mark + Mark of the elder damage. Other mods on this are not that important, I'm sure Assassins mark + life + Flat phys will set you back quite a bit.

6: Bottled faith - A lot of damage, but very expensive.

7: Rare gear - Rest of your gear is rares. Cap your resistances, Stack life, Stack damage and also Stack armor if you can afford it. Changing Steelskin to Vaal Molten Shell at this point would further increase survivability.

Optional: Cinderswallow Urn - Since this build uses overleech with Vaal Pact, it is like a life flask is permanently activated on you. This means that you can drop your life flask, and instead run a cinderswallow flask for the "Recover 2% of life on kill". Right now we still don't know what kind of uptime flasks will have after the updates but this would be a great upgrade as it also frees up the silver flask slot for another defensive flask(like Basalt or Granite) or another damage flasks if that is what you want.



Gem Setups
Spoiler

Aura setup -
Thanks to ichimonjis you have an extra 10% of reduced mana reservation. This means that you can run Hatred+Skitterbots+War Banner+Precision Lv1 without enlighten. I suggest using "Herald of ice" during mapping, and changing it to Skitterbots during encounters when you need it. Since the damage of this build is very high, the only time I activated Skitterbots was during hard boss encounters like conquerors/Sirus/Shaper and others. Skitterbots are not needed for map bosses, even in t16.


Damage Setup -
Mapping - Frost blades, Added cold damage, Multistrike, Inspiration, Rage, Ancestral call

Bosses - Frost blades, Multistrike, Added cold damge, Inspiration, Elemental damage with attacks, Rage

In 3.15 thanks to diamond flask nerf the build lost a lot of critical strike, this is really noticeable during mapping when you don't get Herald of ice chains and aren't shattering dangerous monsters like porcupine. So I switched Damage on full life for Inspiration since Damage on full life is conditional, and Inspiration helps with crit/mana

Movement -
Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Lifetap
In 3.15 the best defense ise to never stay in the same spot for more than a second. Leap slam has lower cast speed than whirling blades which is why I switched the gems. Whirling blades allows you to constantly and smoothly move while killing the overtuned Sirus dominated rares or Expedition Runic monsters.

Buffs -
Rest of your gems are buffs that don't need links.
Ancestral protector, Vaal Ancestral warchief, Blood Rage, Berserk, Steelskin.


UPGRADES -
When you get enough armor, switch out Steelskin for Vaal Molten Shell.

Since after gear upgrades we no longer use War Banner, you can instead instead use Hatred-HoI-Arctic Armour setup for mapping. I reccommend doing this when you can afford an Enlighten gem, because then you can switch to Hatred-HoI-Skitterbots for endgame bosses where Arctic Armour is not needed.

Awakened gems - Awakened gems cost A LOT and increase damage by around 25%. For this reason this should be the last upgrade you do. Exceptions being Awakened Ancestral Call and Awakened Added Cold damge as they are the most effective and relatively cheap.



Hydrosphere
Spoiler


If you path over to Tribal fury or use Gloves with "Strike skills target extra enemy" then Hydrosphere will let you shotgun the boss with frostblade ranged blades, that will make this build deal about an additional 80% more damage in conjunction with Point blank. To do this, simply place your hydrosphere right infront of the enemy and attack. One of your attacks will hit the enemy, the other will hit the hydrosphere, and the ranged blades coming out of the hydrosphere will also hit the enemy.

Tribal fury is also very effective in situations where there are huge amounts of monsters rushing you at once like Simulacrum or Juiced triple Beyond maps. So definitely don't think of it as only a boss killing node.


By having a "Chain hook" skill in your weapon swap, you can also use Hydrosphere to generate rage before going in for a big boss that doesn't have monsters before them, like Sirus. In order to do that just place dow a hydrosphere and chain hook it until you have 50 rage. You can also get frenzy charges with Frenzy skill, but those won't last long because you can't generate them in combat so it is up to you whether you think having them for 10 seconds is worth the hassle.


It is my estimation that with Hydrosphere, Pointblank, Rage and Tribal fury, the starter version of this build will do around 2.3mil DPS to Sirus instead of 1.2 and Berserk will allow you to push it to around 3.5 for a short duration.

Also note that "Icy blades" DPS is inaccurate in PoB, due to some Attack speed in our build only affecting melee skills, but "Icy blades" are ranged. This means PoB shows them as having less attack speed than the main Melee hit, but since they both come from the same skills, they actually have the same attack speed.



Cluster jewels
Spoiler

Since cluster jewels are not a guarantee, they are not included in starter version of this build.

Since I can not figure out a way to get more value out of them than the regular tree, they are not included in the upgraded gear version either. The problem is, that the left side of the tree holds most of our life and right side of the tree holds most of the damage. This means you can't really drop either of them to make room for cluster jewels.

However, thanks to Diamond flask nerf, for smooth map clear Critical strike is needed. If anyone can figure out a way to slot Critical strike cluster jewels into this build without losing more damage or all of your life from the regular tree, let me know.




Leveling guide
Spoiler

When starting the league, I reccommend first muling a frost bomb and Added cold damage with a witch/Scion or a shadow. You get them quite early, after about 8-15 minutes of gameplay depending on how fast you are. Scion is the only one who gets both gems as a reward, others have to buy one from Nessa.

Your gem progression should be like this:
1)Frost blades - Ruthless - Ancestral call
2)Frost blades - Added cold damage - Ancestral call
When getting a 4 link add "Elemental damage with attack skills" in there.

Rage is good, but early on there isn't enough monster density to keep up high rage, but buy the gem and level it. In act5 you can switch out elemental damage with Rage.

That will be the final 4 link setup, 5 and 6 links will be the following:
5 - Frost blades - Added cold damage - Ancestral call - Rage - Inspiration
6 - Frost blades - Added cold damage - Ancestral call - Rage - Inspiration - Multistrike

For the bossing gem setups, see PoB

The reason you don't put Multistrike in early is simple - Before maps you don't have a lot of flat damage, if you slot in multistrike, you will probably need to attack each pack twice. With pure damage gems, you can jump from pack to pack using Frostblades only once per pack.


As for the rest of the gems, simply slot them in when you find gear with proper sockets/links. Most important sockets are Auras(Hatred, HoI, War Banner) and buffs(Ancestral protector, Hydrosphere, Blood rage, Berserk). If you want to try highrolling, you can buy an Ancestral warchief whenever you find a vaal orb and try to get a vaal version. Or you can simply wait till they go up for sale for 1c.

Rest of the gems you can buy when get to maps and have enough currency to get sockets, links and to recolor them.



Weapon progression -
Use axes instead of swords until you reach maps. Axes have higher damage, and there are plenty of generic damage or life nodes to take. When you get to maps(or around level 60 or so) you can buy unique swords(Ichimonjis if you found all the chaos neccessary, or Scaeva/Prismatic eclipse if you only have a little bit of currency).

Remember the phys damage recipe - Rare rustic sash, weapon, and Blacksmiths wheatstone. Use this every 2-3 acts on the higher level weapon base.


Skill tree progression -

First go right and take Fangs of Frost and Winter spirit. Then when you get to around level 25 or so tak all 3 mana leech nodes for QoL. Next take life nodes with %life regen per second mods. Next start taking generic damage nodes, if you can respec later also grab Feller of foes for the axe damage.

Keep taking life and generic damage nodes until you get yourself your first unique swords when you get to maps. Then start taking all of the high value sword nodes.


Gear Upgrades
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Medium upgraded gear

Spoiler

- Abyssus for the big damages, After all killing things fast is the best form of defense.

- Upgrade your chest piece to have a lot of life and resistances. I used an essence on a 6link and got lucky with the resistance and armor roll. It costs around 100chaos to buy a chest with life and res like this.

- Belt is another place to get tons of resistances. I got this belt by buying a belt with full suffixes for 30c and annuling of the useless suffix. Gamble for sure but it worked out and turned my 30c into 2.5ex

- More life, More resistances. You will be leap slamming everywhere, so it is not really neccessary to get movement speed, which will lower the price by a lot.

- Full damage amulet. Since I got tons of resistances on other items I could ignore them on the amulet, giving me 3 damage mods and + life

- Damage and accuracy to get hit chance to 100%.

- Ring for massive life and 2 damage mods.

- Jewel for damage. Life is good, but shoots the cost way up.

- Jewel to put in the Stygian vise. The rolls are on the low side, but it was cheap and gives 7% more damage. Early on great abyssal jewels are not easy to find.




Expensive gear
Spoiler

This will be text only, as I never play enough to actually get gear like this.

Helmet - When you have enough damage, you should switch out abyssus to increase survivability.
Helmet with delve mods "increased cold damage taken" and Shaper "increased elemental damage taken" should be used.

Next you would want to switch out the Tombfist. Temple mod gloves with "attacks deal increased damage against chilled targets" along with a high attack speed roll will give you around the same damage as a tombfist, but it is more expensive.
Add to that hunter mod "Strike skills target an extra enemy" which allows you to respec Tribal fury for 5 extra passive points to invest into more damage.

Switching those uniques for rares fixes your resistances a little bit, so you can afford to drop a resistance mod on your body armour for "Attacks have +2% to crit chance"

With all of this done, your damage should be the same, if not better than an abyssus, except you won't take 40% more damage anymore.

After this all that's left to do is to switch out Ichimonjis for different weapons, like Paradoxica or a high DPS foils. You can also switch to a 2handed sword as Ichimonjis were the weapons used cause they were cheap.
If switching weapons, you can also respec the "Overwhelm" slayer ascendancy, as other weapons have higher crit chance than ichimonji so they won't benefit from it as much.
Dernière édition par TeL_, le 13 août 2021 03:30:14
Dernier bump le 24 août 2021 08:57:51
Nice man. Really looking to play frostblades this season. Just not sure if I want to duel wield or the 2handed variant, thanks :)
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thehitt a écrit :
Nice man. Really looking to play frostblades this season. Just not sure if I want to duel wield or the 2handed variant, thanks :)


Thanks, I looked at the 2h version and honestly the damage output was insane. However I believe my build will outperform that one as a starter or in general as a build that doesn't have seemingly infinite currency. You can't go wrong with either though, as that one was also really strong.
That low cost, I just dont have the time that I used to. Also seemingly the drop luck lmao. Im going to use yours as a starter for sure and maybe try a new skill down the line :D


Appreciate your time with this guide good luck in the season

Dernière édition par thehitt, le 22 juil. 2021 17:10:02
After looking thru so many starter builds, i guess this is the one for me. It looks damn good and I have never try frostblades before. Anyway to reach you if i have any questions/problems?
Where did you capture your "cheap gear" pastebin? Start of maps or comfortably clearing T16s?

How does your mana sustain work? 66 unreserved in the cheap gear pastebin, 34 for frostblades, 9.73 attacks per second. Is it that single mana leach passive that keeps you afloat? Is this forgiving of mistakes? I can see a bad leap slam leaving (54/66 available mana) you without enough mana to move again or attack which would be dead in the water, right?
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shoichi91 a écrit :
After looking thru so many starter builds, i guess this is the one for me. It looks damn good and I have never try frostblades before. Anyway to reach you if i have any questions/problems?


You can post a question here if you have any, I will probably see it within a couple days or so, at least in the beginning of the league. You can always PM me as well.

"

Where did you capture your "cheap gear" pastebin? Start of maps or comfortably clearing T16s?

How does your mana sustain work? 66 unreserved in the cheap gear pastebin, 34 for frostblades, 9.73 attacks per second. Is it that single mana leach passive that keeps you afloat? Is this forgiving of mistakes? I can see a bad leap slam leaving (54/66 available mana) you without enough mana to move again or attack which would be dead in the water, right?



Starter gear can clear the most of the game, including A8 Sirus as long as you know the mechanics. I have not tried to do Maven or The Feared with it, that might be too hard.

The build leeches 128 mana per second, and since frostblades has Multistrike support it actually only casts 3 times per second which means 100 mana used per second. Leap slam is connected to lifetap to not have any mana problems.
Mana reserved in PoB is also using Skitterbots instead of HoI, so during mapping you have more mana available to you.
you have stolen my league start with this build! i planned on ice trapper but seeing one of my favorite skills in frostblades put to such efficient use and cheap items has swayed me to start this thank you for your service!
Dernière édition par newbii3, le 23 juil. 2021 05:17:31
I took witch to brutus and got added lightning damage gem, according to wiki scion gets frost bomb and added cold damage, is this a mistake?

You're suggesting using frostbomb until we find decent 2x 1h weapons and 3link for gems?
ign: Krowa_IX HC | RacingCow races
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Chaosu a écrit :
I took witch to brutus and got added lightning damage gem, according to wiki scion gets frost bomb and added cold damage, is this a mistake?

You're suggesting using frostbomb until we find decent 2x 1h weapons and 3link for gems?


Scion probably gets it as a reward, Witch can buy it from Nessa after reaching lower prison. It doesn't really matter which one you use, I just personally used witch but Scion is just as capable.


Frost bomb is a good skill for early since it does a lot of damage and can be linked to onslaught, so yes you can use Frost Bomb like all the speedrunners use it. It also serves a secondary purpose, as it gives bosses Cold Exposure and helps you kill them faster with Frost Blades. I generally do a gem swap and put in ruthless in place of Ancestral Call when doing Campaign bosses since they got their health buffed. So frost bomb will further increase the damage.

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