This Warlock Build specialized in the Icey-cold Lich skill tree. We throw out a ton of frost spears which quickly and infinitely stacks extra damage from cold death thanks to the Deathbringer set. We also make use of the immense power the Sun & Moon legendary item set offers, resulting in a really high frost damage multiplier. This build levels really smoothly, and quickly phases through mythic anomalies as soon as you get your set pieces.
For general leveling tips, I’ll direct you to my ‘tips for smooth leveling’ video I published a few months ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9kJj2fhHrM.
For this build you can start with Frost Spear and Serrated spikes as your main skills. Frost Spear is a basic spell that costs nothing, and Serrated Spikes fires four Frost Spears on a 3 second cooldown.
At level 10, you can take the Ritual of Perforation, which passively gives your Frost Spears a chance to pierce enemies, and lets you spend a soul to activate it, causing your spears to deal AOE damage on impact.
By level 20, you can take Frigid Star, that throws a ball that shoots out a bunch of spears as it travels forward. You can also take Soul Warp for more mobility, and also the bone chill and cold death passives on the bottom, for more damage.
Then you can take Spirit of Torment, that gives you a chance to spawn a wandering spirit on hit, and Corpse Shatter for more AOE. Then start putting points into the reaper tree, for the ritual of souls to increase your stats, and masochism to get health regen and damage when hit. I’ll talk about these skills more in-depth on the endgame skill tree portion.
You can continue putting points into all the passives left over, until you get the Activating Items that let you switch over to the end-game skill tree.
This build has a few activating items, in the form of two sets and a lesser rune. I want to talk about these items before we get into the endgame skill tree,
First is the Sun and Moon two-piece generic set.
Wearing both the Ring and Necklace will multiply your frost damage 3 times when you cast a fire spell, and your fire damage when you cast a frost spell, lasting 7 seconds. I put a lot of resources into getting a high percent frost damage, so I get over a 2100% damage boost from this effect, which is a huge portion of my total DPS.
Next is the Deathbringer’s Raiment 4-piece Warlock set. The 2-piece effect makes the Cold Death passive skill deal 10% more damage each hit, stacking infinitely, which really helps with single-target damage. The 3-piece effect will double corpse shatter’s trigger chance, and spread the cold death stacks from the lest effect to enemies hit by the corpse shatter, which is great for clearing areas of tough enemies. I don’t use the fourth piece of this set because there were better options in the helmet slot.
A Lesser Rune of the Devouring Star will change how the skill Deathly Barrage works. With this equipped, the skill will now spawn one single star instead of 3, and any frigid star you throw into it will be absorbed, gaining up to 200% of it’s damage and refreshing it’s duration. This rune lowers the AOE capabilities of Deathly Barrage, but more than makes up for it with massive, infinitely scaling damage.
Max out the first 2 passives of the Lich tree for Crit Damage and Mana.
Take Soul Warp and all it’s passives, to get 15% evasion, and a soul refunded when you cast it.
Frigid Star in the middle of the tree is the main skill now that we have more cooldown reduction, so take it and all of it’s passives that cause enemies to take increased damage, and gives it a 25% chance to double-cast. You only need to put one point into bone chill to unlock cold death and corpse shatter, which are huge damage boosters thanks to the Deathbringer’s set. Frozen Veil is a great defensive passive, it gives you a shield every time you gain a soul, stacking up to 5 times, with a 10 second cooldown once it breaks. Only put one point in death’s breath to unlock spirit of torment, which you max for more passive damage.
Ritual of Perforation is important to give the frost projectiles pierce chance and AOE, but also for an rune I’m using. I only put one point into the ritual, but maxed out it’s passive that gives sorcery damage bonus. The Frozen Core passive gives cooldown reduction, and coldhearted gives frost damage when you gain a soul, which are both stats you want.
Then get Deathly Barrage, and it’s passive that reduces it’s cooldown when you cast another skill. Remember that with the Devouring Star rune, you can throw Frigid Stars into the Deathly Barrage to absorb their damage. I had 2 points left over at the end, so I put them into Deathly Barrage’s Anguish passive for some stun chance.
In the demonologist tree, max out the first two passives for health and damage reduction,
then spend only one point into Hell Pit, and max out it’s passive that weakens enemies to take more damage. We can now cast Hell Pit to activate the Sun and Moon set, getting over a 2100% damage boost to frost skills.
Now to the Reaper tree, max out the first 2 passives for health and overpower, then max out the next 2 passives for health on hit and masochism. Masochism gives you a buff whenever you take damage up to 5 times, increasing your regeneration, which isn’t that great for this build by itself, but the Dark Pleasure passive gives you 3% increased damage per stack, and then the Dark Souls passive increases masochism’s max stacks by your amount of souls. This build gets up to 20 souls, for 25 masochism stacks, totaling up to 75% increased damage. Then take soul feast at the top for a chance to regain health and mana whenever we regain a soul, which you have a 100% to gain whenever you cast soul warp, thanks to the soul thief passive. You should max out Ritual of SOULS, this is a huge damage and survivability boost for this build. When it’s in an active slot, you’ll get a percent boost to your damage, health, and mana stats per soul carried. You can activate it to spend all your souls for another %boost to those same stats, and then gain the souls back, effectively getting double the effect. This build gets enough ritual effect to get 12% increased stats per soul, with a maximum 20 souls, resulting in a total 480% increase to health, mana, and damage, if you can get back up to 20 souls after spending 20 souls, which is possible if you’re killing enough enemies and casting soul warp off cooldown. This ritual gives us bonus mana, which cosmic cape converts to damage, which then again gets multiplied by this ritual, resulting in some really high flat damage numbers, which then get multiplied by a very high percent of bonus frost damage.
When it comes to Masteries, you should max out the Lich row as soon as possible, which is 94 points, or at least enough to get to the final “Frost Affinity” that makes skill points spent in other trees also increase your frost damage, which we are trying to stack. You can lower the cooldown of Frozen Veil, increase it’s shield strength, get 15% more mana, increase the damage of cold death, get an additional soul from soul warp, and reduce the cooldown of all lich skills on the way to frost affinity, which are all amazing points.
Then spend 35 points in the three middle rows, to reach the strong perks on the 6th points, getting ritual effect, damage reduction, and evasion. Ritual effect is extremely important for this build, letting ritual of souls further scale our stats, so we get even more of it from the 2nd point. Cooldown reduction and Effect Duration are also extremely important stats we get from the fourth points.
You can start spending points in the Reaper mastery row, starting with effect duration, moving onto Dark Bargain that takes 10% of mana as damage before health. Necromantic Blessing after that lets you escape death every 3 minutes, as long as you have a shadow ritual equipped. Then you can get increased effect of masochism, increased stats per nearby enemies, and bonus damage to all elements. Finally at the end of this row, you can take even more ritual effect.
Then get the rest of the points back on the 3 middle rows, ending with Lord Sorcerer, to get 25% extra sorcery damage. On the way there, you get frost damage, all resistances, overpower, and damage to all elements.
You can spend just a few points in the demonologist row, just to get some damage stagger and critical hit damage, but the rest of the points here are worthless.
Last, spend points into the corrupter tree, to get to the Spirit of Torment Synergy, getting 75% increased damage for them. On the way there, most of the points are worthless other than 5% evasion.
Then pour your remaining, infinitely scaling mastery points into Mana and health, at nearly a 2:1 ratio. Mana scales damage for us, so you don’t have to put points into the damage node, until you start getting diminishing returns on mana.
In the helmet slot I have Weyrick’s Crown, a True Legendary that gives 4% increased mana, health, and damage per gem you have socketed into your gear. With prismatics, you can get up to 21 gems, that’s an 84% bonus to your stats, just for having this item equipped. I have a greater rune of the LifeGuard in here, another true legendary helmet that simply gives up to 50% damage reduction from all sources, even indirect damage. I chose to use the Weyrick’s Crown main item, for the 20% gem strength implicit, because gem strength is really powerful.
If you don’t have these true legendary helmets, you can wear the fourth deathbringer’s set piece on your helmet slot, it’ll give you 40% damage reduction instead of the 50% you get from lifeguard.
The accessory is Cosmic Cape, that converts 70% of your maximum mana into 1.5 times flat damage. We stack a ton of mana on this build, I try to roll it on any item that I can, I have a bunch of mana gems, and get huge bonuses to mana from ritual of souls, and weyrick’s crown. With 20 souls, I go from 2.7 million damage, down to 65 thousand when I take off cosmic cape. The flat damage from this item is insane, and gets further scaled by the massive 3000% bonus frost damage I have thanks to sun and moon. The rune in here is Iceheart, that gives frozen veil an extra stack per soul held. Once you get 20 maximum souls, this potentially turns frozen veil into a huge shield, up to 200% of your maximum health.
The amulet is Moon, which I already talked about in-depth in the activating items segment. I have a rune of greatness on this slot, which increases the greater rune cap by 1. This lets me equip four true legendary runes, instead of 3, which I use later in my weapon slot. If you don’t have the true legendaries to warrant the rune of greatness, you can use a lesser rune of the Star of the Pure for 30% stronger shields.
The offhand is the Deathbringer’s Chronicle, part of the Deathbringer’s Raiment set, that we looked at in activating items. I have a Greater Rune of Jon’s Book of Souls, which increases the maximum soul cap by 10, and causes any excess souls you would gain to float around you, waiting for the next time you spend souls to refill you gauge. This increase to maximum souls, and the way to re-gain souls quickly is perfect for this build, that often spends them on ritual of souls for massive stat increases.
The chest piece is the Deathbringer’s Robes, with a greater rune of Elementium. Elementium makes it really easy to cap your resists, which is good for this build, since I try to roll many minor enchantments into cooldown reduction, effect duration, and gem strength, rather than the resists mosts builds would get. Elementium makes all of your resistances increase by 60% of your highest one, so you’re rewarded for funneling all of your resists into one. I chose poison resistance, but you can pick any, it doesn’t matter. Once you get to 130% all resistances, you can play through the highest difficulty content and not worry about being under cap.
The weapon is the Deathbringer’s Staff. I have a mythical version equipped, which is available to craft when you have the Ancient Beasts DLC, which I’ll talk about more in the next segment. Turning a set weapon into a mythical weapon will give it extra stats, and allow you to put a second rune into it. The first rune is a lesser rune of Perforation, that simply gives projectile skills 100% increased damage while you have Ritual of Perforation on your skill bar. The next rune is a greater rune of Simulacra, which is why I needed the rune of greatness. Simulacra gives your spells a 25% chance to be duplicated by a magic clone, dealing 300% more damage. Not only does it look really cool when this duplication effect procs, the extra damage is really noticeable, so this true legendary is a must have. If you don’t have a Simulacra, and have an empty rune slot, you can use the Brimstone Staff lesser rune for 20% more sorcery skill damage.
The boots are Darkwalkers, that make soul warp no longer consume souls, and always travel as if consuming the max amount. With these boots, we are now guaranteed to gain two souls every time we cast soul warp, with no cost. I have a lesser rune of the sentry, making sentry skills deal more damage and last longer, but lose radius. Deathly Barrage is a sentry skill, the halved radius seems to have no effect on it, since it’s technically a projectile skill rather than an AOE skill.
The ring is Sun, and the rune is the Devouring Star, both of which were talked about in activating items.
For stats on these items, you may have noticed that I rolled Mana and Frost damage wherever I possibly could, these 2 stats are the ones I stack to get a ton of damage. I try to get a lot of cooldown reduction because all of my skills have a cooldown, and effect duration to let my rituals last longer. I also try to get a lot of gem strength, all of my jewelery pieces have frost damage square gems, giving a total 175% frost damage that will be multiplied by 3 when Moon is active. My helmet, chest, and boots all have square mana gems to scale damage, and one diamond evasion gem each, for survivability. My staff has 3 square critical hit damage gems, and my offhand has one square overpower gem to get to 90%, and one square cooldown reduction gem.
Also one last thing about items, health potions are kind of useless since I can have over 400 thousand health from ritual of souls. Instead of health potions, I use a codex of healing touch that I can activate to put a buff on me, healing 5% of my health per second, which is way more than potions. To get this, you can gamble for scrolls until you get 100 scrolls of healing touch, then trade them in at the transmuter with a spell codex to turn it into an infinitely usable active item.
The Ancient Beasts DLC added a whole bunch of new ways to progress your build in the endgame. Check out my video here: https://youtu.be/bVxXyZJrpqE if you aren’t aware of what this DLC adds, because I’m not going to go over every detail here.
First, let’s look at expeditions and the passive nodes tied to them. You could in theory max out every single point in all of these passives if you invested a ridiculous amount of time, but for the purposes of this guide, I want to look at some of the most impactful nodes, to give you an idea of where to invest your time, starting with the small ones.
You probably want to start with the north part, up here you can get frost damage, cooldown reduction, and most importantly: increased base damage for frigid star and deathly barrage.
On the east path, you can get flat mana, damage reduction and bonus to sorcery skill damage.
In the south path, you can get gem strength, evasion, and overpower.
Lastly, on the west path the only really useful thing is flat health and some health on hit.
Near the end of each direction, in between the tier 7 missions, you’ll find Ritual Effect Nodes. You want to max these out as soon as you start getting yellow crystals, these nodes are so powerful for scaling ritual of souls. At the very end of each tree, you’ll also find four nodes that add 1 additional maximum soul, but costs 10 yellow crystals each. The cost is well worth it, as soon as you can start doing endless dungeon anomalies, I suggest you save up for these points.
Then you can start spending your yellow crystals to max the frost damage nodes up north, remember that every point of frost damage you get will be multiplied by 3 thanks to the sun and moon set. The cooldown reduction up north will be useful as well. Then you can spend your yellow crystals to max out the passives that are good for this build, especially Mana in the east, and gem strength in the south. You should get the critical strike chance nodes at the end of all four directions, since this build gets a decent amount of critical damage, every percent of crit chance will go a long way.
Then you can spend the remainder of your resources on the nodes to the north that increase the base damage of Frigid Star, and Deathly Barrage. There are 400 points between them, so you’ll be grinding for a while if you want to max it, but every point you put in does make a noticeable difference to your damage.
As for your ancient beast, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, but if you’re starting in the northern area, it makes sense to start with the northern pet. The triangle artifacts aren’t very impactful, I just have 30% longer killstreaks and auto-break chests, but feel free to put whatever you want, they don’t have any real combat effects.
The Rhombus artifacts on the other hand, give me a ton of power in the form of plus 1 level to all ritual skills, and 1 more maximum soul, now at 20.
The star artifacts give 3000 mana, which is a lot, and 6000 health, which is a decent amount.