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Glacial Hammer Slayer Build

Glacial Hammer Slayer Build

A non-crit build that utilizes the new Precise Technique Passive to deal tons of AoE Cold Damage with melee attacks

 Glacial Hammer Trauma
Slayer build

Updated for Patch 3.23

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Guide notes
December 1, 2023
-Updated for Patch 3.23
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Glacial Hammer is one of the first skills you've probably had a chance to experiment with as a Path of Exile player. It's a very simple Melee Strike, but a very effective one - it basically is an attack enhancement. Glacial Hammer has a very high chance to Freeze enemies, increases the effectiveness of Freeze and Chill, has increased Strike Range, and Added Cold Damage. The unique aspect of this skill is its enormous single-target damage, it's possibly the single-best Attack in the game in this category. Since the Patch 3.17, the skill converts 100% of your Physical Damage to Cold making it even easier to assemble. The build wasn't expected to perform well as a fast mapper, and it definitely isn't one, but it is still at an acceptable level due to the abundance of Frenzy Charges and Shattering mechanics. The famous Heatshiver Helmet massively increases overall Damage by adding Fire Damage sourced from Cold, even after the tuning made in the Affliction League. 

The best option to scale your Damage is new Trauma Support, which grants you additional Physical Damage based on the amount of Trauma Stacks, which you obtain every time you strike any monster. It will also deal a bit of Damage back to you, so you will have to Build defensively to counter that. This way of scaling your Damage greatly reduces the importance of your Weapon, as you can use very cheap Frostbreath Mace to deal Double Damage, and later on, upgrade it to a proper Weapon with lots of Attack Speed and Elemental Penetration. 

The Slayer's HeadsmanNotable greatly improves your performance against Bosses, thanks to the improved Culling Effect. Masterful Form will increase your Damage after combining it with Arn's Anguish, but you can also choose it for the defensive aspect it grants by default. The Impact is chosen for a better clear speed and damage. To reduce Physical Damage you should use Uniques such as Lightning Coil, Dawnbreaker, easily sustainable 20 stacks of Forticiation, and tons of Armour. 

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1. Gameplay

It's a simple-to-play build: jump using your Leap Slam until you spot any opponents, try to land right in the center of a pack of enemies, swing your weapon a few times using Glacial Hammer, and continue the loop. During boss fights deploy your Ancestral Totems for more Damage and Attack Speed. A level 1 Frost Bomb is better to be cast automatically, it grants a lot of utility bonuses. The Auras you should use are Hatred, Precision, Herald of Ice, Determination, Defiance Banner, Blood and Sand, and Aspect of the Cat. Have constantly enabled Blood Rage too. As your Guard Spell use Molten Shell, and for a Curse - Frostbite.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • Has exceptionally high boss DPS, as Slayers usually do
  • Good defenses, lots of Armour
  • Trauma Support greatly reduces your gear requirements
  • It's quite fast and versatile
  • Melee Build with a bit of ramp-up time
  • can't run Elemental Reflect maps


3. Leveling tips

Start with a Strike Skill. It can be Glacial Hammer or Frost Blades. It's much easier to invest early on into general Attack Damage rather than a Specific Cold or Elemental one. To be able to fend off a surrounding mob of enemies use Ancestral Call Support, and pick an Attack mastery for extra range. Not long after the first few acts we recommend turning right on your passive skill tree, that's where Cold Attack Damage can be easily found. Allocate the passives near Fervour, these are some of the best ones. You can allocate a Precise Technique, but it requires keeping track of your Health and Accuracy which might be troublesome and slow you down. If you're using Glacial Gammer, seek mostly added-to-attacks type of Damage.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Glacial Hammer setup
Glacial Hammer Glacial Hammer - It's the Strike Skill used for leveling, and then later on as a proper end-game Attack.
Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support - Strike Skills target additional enemies for better AoE.
Ruthless Support Ruthless Support - Every third Attack deals much more Damage.
Added Cold Damage Added Cold Damage Support - Adds Cold Damage to your Attacks.
various Gems
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - A Totem for more Melee Damage.
Frostbite Frostbite - A Curse that lowers Cold Resistance.
Blood Rage Blood Rage - Grants you Life Leech, Attack Speed, and a chance for a Frenzy Charge on Kill.
Precision Precision - Used for more Accuracy and Critical Strike Chance, it's good with Precise Technique.
Hatred Hatred - More Cold Damage and Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage is great as you convert 100% of it to Cold already.
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - Adds Cold Damage to Attacks and explodes shattered enemies.
Leap Slam Leap Slam - A movement Skill, particularly useful during Labirynth trials.


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points.

Leveling Skill Trees:

25 Points Skill Tree
Pick Master of the Arena, Art of the Gladiator, and Tribal Fury

62 Points Skill Tree
Allocate more Maximum Life, Reservation Efficiency, Cold Damage, and Elemental Damage nodes

Recommended leveling items:

BlackheartBlackheart - Adds Damage, increases Damage, and grants some Maximum Life.
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
Adds (10-15) to (20-25) Chaos Damage to Attacks
Regenerate (10-15) Life per second
10% chance to Cause Monsters to Flee
The IgnomonThe Ignomon - It adds Damage, Accuracy Rating, Evasion, Dexterity, and Fire Resistance.
(12-20)% increased Rarity of Items found
20% increased Light Radius
Adds (18-24) to (32-40) Fire Damage to Attacks
+(100-150) to Accuracy Rating
+(100-150) to Evasion Rating
+20% to Fire Resistance
Nearby Enemies are Blinded
Meginord's GirdleMeginord's Girdle - Great for the first few levels, it grants Damage, Maximum Life, and Cold Resistances.
+(25-35) to Strength
+25 to Strength
Adds 10 to 20 Physical Damage to Attacks
10% increased maximum Life
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
25% increased Flask Life Recovery rate

GoldrimGoldrim - It has a lot of Elemental Resistances.

+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)
RedbeakRedbeak - It is a good Sword for the first few acts, and has good DPS.
40% increased Global Accuracy Rating
100% increased Damage when on Low Life
50% increased Physical Damage
Adds 2 to 6 Physical Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
+(20-30) to maximum Life
+2 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

96 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Unique or Cluster Jewels)
120 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Impact
  2. Bane of Legends
  3. Headsman
  4. Masterful Form


Major God: Soul of Solaris: 6% Physical Damage Reduction if there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50%  less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul: 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Glacial Hammer setup
Glacial Hammer Glacial Hammer - A Strike Skill that deals a lot of Cold Damage to a single Target. Every third Attack Freezes enemies and deals more damage. 
Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support - Increases the Elemental Damage you deal with Attacks.
Ruthless Damage Ruthless Support - Every third Attack is much more powerful, which makes Freezing Bosses even easier. 
Trauma Support Trauma Support - the main source of Physical Damage in this Build. Every time you Hit an Enemy, you will gain a stack of Trauma for a certain duration, increasing your Damage, but it also damages you. 
Trinity Trinity Support - With Heatshiver you will be able to generate Resonances, making Trinity the BiS Gem.  If you can't generate enough Resonance, use the Cold Penetration Support
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support - increases your Damage against Chilled Enemies, so nearly always. 
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Hatred Hatred - You deal more damage and gain extra Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage which is good with damage conversion.
Precision Precision - It's used only to get enough Accuracy for the Precise Technique. You might not need it at all, in such case, you can use the Vitality Aura for more Life Regeneration. 
Determination Determination - Adds and increases Armour for physical mitigation.
Defiance Banner Defiance Banner - Increases your Armour and Evasion Rating while reducing the Critical Strike chance of nearby opponents. 
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - Linked Spells have increased Mana Reservation Efficiency. It's optional, but very useful. Link it with your most Mana-Reserving Auras. 
[UTILITY] Ancestral Totems setup
Ancestral Warchief Ancestral Warchief - Totem that grants you more Melee Damage.
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - grants you more Attack Speed as it stays active, use the Phantasmal version for more Attack Speed.
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - Allows you to summon both Totems at the same time.
[MOBILITY] Leap Slam setup
Leap Slam Leap Slam - A Movement Skill you can use to jump and move faster.
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - Leap Slam can be used with greater speed.
[UTILITY] Molten Shell
Molten Shell Molten Shell - Guard Spell that reduces the damage you take from hits for a short time, it scales up with your Armour.
[UTILITY] Ancestral Call
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - A Warcry that regenerates a big amount of Life and generates Endurance Charges. 
[UTILITY] Blood Rage
Blood Rage Blood Rage - Increases your Life Leech, Attack Speed, and Frenzy Charges. It Drains your Life over time.
[UTILITY] Frostbite
Frostbite Frostbite - Best Curse for this build, it lowers Cold Resistance. With Heatshiver, use Elemental Weakness Elemental Weakness instead.

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5. Gear Setup

It's an Attack that converts all of its Physical Damage to Cold. The most efficient way to increase your DPS is to look for added Cold or Physical Damage to Attacks and to put the Heatshiver Helmet on. The character deals no Critical Strikes, but your Accuracy Rating must be higher than your Maximum Life. You will have to look for it on a Helmet, Gloves, Jewels, and Jewelry. To fit in all the Auras, we've used a Mana Reservation Efficiency Cluster Jewel which might be Expensive. To generate Endurance Charges we used Replica Farrul's Fur, one of the most expensive Body Armours. It's the easiest and most elegant way to do so, as the Armour is great on its own. Combined with Arn's Anguish, these charges will grant you more damage instead. Find a way to apply Frostbite on hit, and to cast Aspect of the Cat. The best mods are the ones that scale up your damage with Frenzy Charges.


Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Accuracy Rating (until activating Precise Technique)
  4. added Physical or Cold Damage
  5. increased Attack Speed
  6. Mana Reservation Efficiency
  7. Chaos Resistance
  8. Armour
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - Look mostly for Life, Resistances, Accuracy Rating, and a Cold Damage Reduction for nearby opponents.
Min. requirements:
+70 maximum Life
+80% Total Elemental Resistances
Accuracy Rating
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies take #% Increased Cold Damage
Heatshiver(Helmet) Heatshiver - It's the best option. It significantly increases your Damage, and with Galcial Hammer you're guaranteed to Freeze. It's also cheap.
(80-100)% increased Evasion Rating
60% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
Gain 1% of Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage per 1% Chill Effect on Enemy
Gain 30% of Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage against Frozen Enemies
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - It should be only a transitioning Armour so don't invest too much in it, just enough to get a lot of Life and Resistances.
Min. requirements:
+100 maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
You can apply an additional Curse
Lightning Coil(Body Armour) Lightning Coil - it grants tons of Physical Damage Reduction. By lowering the Physical portion of the Hit, your Armour is also more efficient. Capping Resistances might be a bit harder. 
Adds 1 to (20-30) Lightning Damage to Attacks
(90-120)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(60-80) to maximum Life
-60% to Lightning Resistance
50% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Lightning Damage
Frostbreath(Weapon) Frostbreath - A weapon that deals Double Damage at all times in this Build. It's very good and definitely cheap. It's only downside is the quite low Attack Speed. 
15% reduced Enemy Stun Threshold
Adds (26-32) to (36-42) Physical Damage
Adds (26-32) to (36-42) Cold Damage
(8-14)% increased Attack Speed
+(40-50)% to Fire Resistance
(35-50)% increased Chill Duration on Enemies
Attacks with this Weapon deal Double Damage to Chilled Enemies
Mace(Weapon) Rare Mace or Sceptre -  eventually you will want to replace your slow Weapon with a good Rare, but it has to be very good to not lose Damage. You should look for high Attack Speed, Elemental Penetration, Accuracy, Hatred Aura effectiveness, Extra Physical Damage as Cold, or Double Damage chance. 
Min. requirements:
1.8+ Attack Speed
Optional affixes:
Hits can't be Evaded
Attacks with this Weapon Penetrate 15% Elemental Resistances
Hatred has 40% increased Aura Effect
Gain 10% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage
Dawnbreaker(Off-hand) Dawnbreaker - it is the best Shield you can equip, as it grants tons of Physical Damage Reduction in the form of Damage-taken conversion. It also has a great chance to Block, and you will Scorch Enemies in Close Range when you do so, lowering their Resistance further. 
(150-250)% increased Armour
+(20-25)% Chance to Block
-1% Chance to Block Attack Damage for every 200 Fire Damage taken from Hits Recently
(10-20)% of Cold Damage taken as Fire Damage
(10-20)% of Lightning Damage taken as Fire Damage
(10-20)% of Physical Damage taken as Fire Damage
Scorch Enemies in Close Range when you Block
Shield(Off-hand) Rare Shield - at first, you should use a Rare Shield that has simply lots of defensive stats. Maximum Life, Resistances, Armour, reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes, and Physical Damage Reduction should be present here in great quantities, but you can also find some offensive modifiers like Attack Speed or Mana Reservation Efficiency.
Min. requirements:
+100 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Block Chance
Optional affixes:
Increased Armour
Socketed Gems have 30% reduced Reservation
Physical Damage Reduction
reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - here you should look for maximum Life, a bit of Movement Speed, and Resistance. You can also get a chance to gain an Onslaught on Kill, or certain Ailment Avoidance. 
Min. requirements:
+100 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
100% chance to Avoid being Frozen
5% increased Action Speed
Life Regeneration Rate
25% increased Movement Speed
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - another great piece to get lacking Resistances and Attributes, as well as a solid amount of maximum Life. You can also get some Damage with Elemental Attacks, or improve your Flasks.
Min. requirements:
+100 maximum Life
+70% to Total Elemental Resistances
30% increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
Optional affixes:
increased Damage
increased Maximum Life
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - Prioritize Life and Resistances, then look for Accuracy, added Damage, and some missing Attributes.
Min. requirements:
+70 Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Adds Physical Damage to Attacks
Accuracy Rating
increased Area of Effect
Physical Attack Damage Leeched as Mana
pandemonius(Amulet) The Pandemonius - a very good Amulet for any Cold Skill. It grants plenty of Penetration and Cold Damage, but the Blind aspect is quite wasted in this Build. 
(20-30)% increased Cold Damage
+(35-40)% to Cold Resistance
Chill Enemy for 1 second when Hit, reducing their Action Speed by 30%
Blind Chilled Enemies on Hit
Damage Penetrates 20% Cold Resistance against Chilled Enemies
Yoke of Suffering(Amulet) Yoke of Suffering - With this Amulet and Heatshiver on, you will Shock, Freeze, and Ignite, which would make your enemies take 15% increased Damage. Shock is a nice addition to a build to deal more damage. On top of that, the Amulet grants some Resistances.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(10-20)% to Fire Resistance
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
+(20-40)% to Lightning Resistance
30% reduced Duration of Ailments on Enemies
(5-10)% chance to Shock
Enemies take 5% increased Damage for each type of Ailment you have inflicted on them
Your Elemental Damage can Shock
Recommended Anointments:
Divine Judgement
Opal Ring(Ring) Rare Rings - Besides Life and Resistances look for the offensive or utility mods such as the ones listed here. Opal Rings are great for their inherent added Damage.
Min. requirements:
+70 maximum Life
+70% to Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Melee or Elemental Damage
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Accuracy Rating
increased Attack Speed
Added Physical Damage to Attacks
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - Life, Attack Speed, and Accuracy Rating are the most important mods. With Eldritch Implicits you can inflict Cold Exposure and get additional targets for your Strike Skills. 
Min. requirements:
+70 maximum Life
+500 Accuracy Rating
15% increased Attack Speed
Inflict Cold Exposure on Hit, applying -10% to Cold Resistance
Optional affixes:
% increased Damage while Leeching
+1 to Maximum Frenzy Charges
Strike Skills target 1 additional nearby Enemy
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Cold Penetration or added Cold Damage with Hatred are the best offensive mods you can find, but generic Attack Damage modifiers from Precision are also good. 
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Lethal Pride(Jewel) Lethal Pride - You can use it to gain additional Strength and some suitable modifiers as you put it near Savagery and Vigour.
Commanded leadership over (10000-18000) warriors under (Akoya-Kaom-Rakiata)
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Karui
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - These should provide extra Life and various damage bonuses for Maces or one-Handed Weapon. It is the best source of Attack Speed for this Build. Accuracy and Reservation Efficiency are also great.
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
increased Physical/Area/Melee Damage with a one-handed melee weapon
Increased Mana Reservation Efficiency
increased Global Accuracy Rating
Attack Speed
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - We've used just one Large Cluster Jewel. If you don't have a Mana Leech source get Fuel the Fight Notable. For more Damage pick Martial Prowess.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fuel the Fight
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Overlord
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Blast-Freeze
1 Added Passive Skill is Blanketed Snow
Taste of Hate(Flask) Taste of Hate - It adds a lot of Cold Damage to your attack which is sourced from your Physical one, and even more Damage-taken conversion to make you more durable. 
+50% to Cold Resistance
20% less Cold Damage taken
(10-15)% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Cold Damage during Flask effect
Gain (10-15)% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage during effect
30% chance to Avoid being Chilled during Flask effect
30% chance to Avoid being Frozen during Flask effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Life Flask with Bleeding removal
  2. Quicksilver Flask with increased Attack Speed bonus
  3. Granite Flask with increased Armour Rating bonus
  4. Silver Flask with reduced Mana Cost of Skills
granite flaskSilver FlaskLife FlaskTaste of HateQuicksilver Flask

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