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Whispering Ice CI Ascendant Scion build

Whispering Ice CI Ascendant Scion build

Powerful build based on Whispering Ice Staff and the unique Icestorm Spell which offers endless scaling with Int Attribute

Whispering Ice/Icestorm
Ascendant Scion build

Updated for Patch 3.8

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Guide notes
October 9, 2019
-Build created
October 18, 2019
-Added gameplay video


Whispering Ice is one of the most interesting Staves in Path of Exile, which can be used starting at level 33 and it grants the user a level 1 Icestorm Spell. Since the Spell is among the affixes on this item, all Support Gems Socketed will work even without any links. This makes Whispering Ice an excellent leveling weapon that scales its' damage with the Intelligence attribute that you are obviously going to gradually increase. Since you do not need any links, and Whispering Ice is really easy to obtain, this build can be played with literally no items, but scaling Intelligence to several thousand, can be extremely expensive as well, and at the same time very rewarding. This build is based on the Scion Ascendancy, which allows us to reach the highest possible Intelligence level. 

You can also find our other Path of Exile builds right over here: Odealo's Crafty Guides - Full List


1. Gameplay

This build is based on triggering Icestorm by linking Cyclone with Cast while Channelling Support Gems. These two links are the only two that are required, and when they are socketed in Whispering Ice alongside all the other recommended Support Gems, you will get to create many instances of Icestorm in a short time span, with nearly 0 Mana Cost. The damage from each Icestorm's Hit is rather low, but with multiple Icestorms covering up your entire screen, both your single target DPS and AoE are exceptional. This build also utilizes Chaos Inoculation and Energy Shield. Since we aim to reach at least 1,500 Intelligence and it significantly increases our Maximum Energy Shield, it's just natural that we should go that way. Thanks to that, we can only focus on stacking Intelligence and Jewel nodes on the Passive Tree, while our Items and Intelligence attribute will provide a very substantial Energy Shield Pool.

0:06 Tier 15 Canyon
0:40 Tier 16 Colonnade
1:11 Tier 16 Lair of the Hydra
2:00 Tier 16 Forge of the Phoenix
2:28 Tier 16 Ramparts

This video was recorded on a level 90 Ascendant with approximately 2,000 Intelligence 

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • very good AoE
  • solid single-target DPS when you get multiple instances of Icestorm over your enemy
  • enjoyable playstyle
  • can be played on a budget with no links required
  • solid defenses based on high Energy Shield, Leech, and Stun and Ailments immunity
  • vulnerable to Elemental Reflect Maps
  • clearing end-game content requires significant investments in Intelligence Gear


3. Leveling tips

This build offers very convenient leveling since you can use a quasi-seven-linked setup starting at level 33. We will assume that you are going to use Whispering Staff for the leveling process, and that's how the following Skill Trees have been optimized. Initially, you should use Freezing Pulse for the first 33 levels, and then switch to Whispering Ice at level 33. Also, it's recommended to play a Life/Hybrid character until level 75-80 when you can equip gear with higher Intelligence attributes and go full Energy Shield. Below you will find the base Skill Gem setups and several useful Uniques for the leveling part.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Freezing Pulse setup
Freezing Pulse Freezing Pulse - Cold/Projectile Spell which offers decent damage and good clear speed if you get the Threshold Jewel for it
Added Cold Damage Support Added Cold Damage Support - adds a bunch of additional Cold damage
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - increases your Casting Speed, which is quite important since we don't get any from the Passive Tree
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support - grants very high bonus Spell Damage at the cost of reduced Crit. Chance
Whispering Ice setup
Cyclone Cyclone - a channeled Attack which will trigger Icestorm
Cast while Channelling Support Cast while Channelling Support - triggers Icestorm as you channel Cyclone, greatly reducing the Mana Cost
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - grants high bonus Elemental Damage but makes Icestorm unable to Freeze
Utility Gems
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - grants extra Cold Damage and causes AoE Explosions when you slay Frozen enemies for extra clear speed
Frostbite Frostbite - recommended Curse for this build which greatly increases your effective DPS
Zealotry Zealotry - recommended Aura for the leveling phase which increases your Spell Damage and creates Consecrated Grounds for extra Life Regen.



We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passives Points which is the only viable option here

Leveling Skill Trees:

32 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Arcanist Dominion 2) Heart and Soul 3) Frost Walker 4) Elemental Overload

66 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Cruel Preparation 2) Heart of Ice 3) Utmost Intellect

Level 80 Life/Hybrid Tree

Passive Skill Tree which is one of the recommended spots to switch to full Energy Shield and the following Tree:

Level 80 Energy Shield Tree

Recommended leveling items:

AstramentisAstramentis - one of the best Amulets for this build, and at the same time an Amulet with a very low-level requirement, making it one of the best items you can use during leveling
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(80-100) to all Attributes
-4 Physical Damage taken from Attack Hits
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - provides all the important stats we need during the leveling, and up to 30 bonus Intelligence
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - amazing leveling Helmet which covers up all your needs for Elemental Resistances during the early levels
+(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)
Coward's ChainsCoward's Trial - great leveling Belt which grants bonus Damage, Movement Speed, and Attributes
+(9-20) to maximum Energy Shield
+(10-15) to all Attributes
(20-25)% increased Damage
(5-10)% increased Movement Speed
Damage from Enemies Hitting you is Unlucky while you are Cursed with Vulnerability
You are Cursed with Level 10 Vulnerability
The Whispering IceThe Whispering Ice - build-defining Item, and at the same time, one of the best Items for the leveling phase if you are scaling Intelligence
+18% Chance to Block Attack Damage while wielding a Staff
+1 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
Grants Level 1 Icestorm Skill
Plays Whispering Ice sound on killing a rare Monster (Hidden)
(8-12)% increased Cast Speed
1% increased Spell Damage per 10 Intelligence
(14-18)% increased Intelligence


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

120 Points Skill Tree
120 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Templar Ascendancy - Inquisitor
  2. Witch Ascendancy - Occultist
  3. Path of the Templar


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 Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attacks if you've taken a Savage Hit recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Icestorm
(Whispering Ice - only Cyclone + CwC require links)
Cyclone Cyclone - this is our primary Active Skill Gem which will trigger Icestorm. Link it only to Cast while Channelling Support to minimize its Mana Cost
Cast While Channelling Cast while Channelling Support - will trigger Icestorm when you channel Supported Skills
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - grants very high bonus Area Damage at the cost of reduces skill radius
Cold Penetration Support Cold Penetration Support - this Gem will let Icestorm Penetrate through the enemies' Cold Resistance
[UTILITY] Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended Movement Spell used in this build. It will also trigger Arcane Surge with each cast 
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - keep this Gem at level 7 and it will grant Arcane Surge buff with each Flame Dash cast. Arcane Surge increases your Spell Damage, Mana Regen. Rate, and Cast Speed
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
[CURSE] Frostbite and Temporal Chains setup
CwDT Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will trigger Ice Nova which is used to apply both Curses. Use this Gem at level 1
Ice Nova Ice Nova - Area Spell which only applies Curses and Bonechil debuff. You should keep this Gem at level 1
Curse on Hit Support Curse on Hit Support - causes Ice Nova to apply Supported Curses
Frostbite Frostbite - reduces monster's Cold Resistance
Temporal Chains Temporal Chains - slows down affected enemies making it one of the best defensive Curses in Path of Exile
Bonechill Support Bonechill Support - will increase the effect of Ice Nova's Chill, and cause it to increase damage taken by enemies
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - grants additional Cold Damage and causes huge Ice explosions
Discipline Discipline - increases your maximum Energy Shield making it a mandatory pick for this build
Clarity Clarity - increases your Mana Regeneration Rate
Flesh and Stone Flesh and Stone - great defensive Aura which allows you to use Sand Stance, blinding nearby enemies and reducing damage from enemies that are further away
[UTILITY] Immortal Call and Frost Bomb
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast Immortal Call after a certain amount of damage is taken
Immortal Call Immortal Call - grants a very potent defensive buff, reducing all Elemental and Physical Damage taken by you for a short duration
Frost Bomb Frost Bomb - applies Cold Exposure to affected enemies, increasing Cold Damage taken by them
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find all the recommended and required items for this build. This build only requires The Whispering Ice Staff, and all the other gear is optional. Obviously you will want to stack as much Intelligence as possible, but this build will still do fine on lower Tier Maps with just basic gear. One of the best things about this build is that allows you to progress easily simply by increasing bonus Int on your gear.

At this point, we would love to invite you to visit our Path of Exile Marketplace where you can buy cheap PoE Currency in case you are unable to complete your build.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Elemental Resistances
  2. Intelligence
  3. Cold/Spell Damage
  4. Maximum Mana
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - the best option for this build, since it offers high defensive utility and Intelligence bonus
Min. requirements:
150 Energy Shield
70% Total Elemental Resistances
35 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies have -% to Cold Resistance
Black Sun Crest(Helmet) Black Sun Crest - grants very high bonus Intelligence, but it will require you to adjust Resistances and Energy Shield bonuses on other parts
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
(100-150)% increased Armour
40% reduced Light Radius
(5-15)% increased Dexterity
(5-15)% increased Strength
(5-15)% increased Intelligence
Helmet enchantments:
30% increased Frostbite Curse Effect
Whispering Ice(Weapon) The Whispering Ice - build-defining Weapon. There is simply no way to play it without this Staff which luckily is easy to obtain thanks to very common Divination Cards
+18% Chance to Block Attack Damage while wielding a Staff
+1 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
Grants Level 1 Icestorm Skill
Plays Whispering Ice sound on killing a rare Monster (Hidden)
(8-12)% increased Cast Speed
1% increased Spell Damage per 10 Intelligence
(14-18)% increased Intelligence
Vaal Regalia(Body Armour) Rare Armour - Shaper Armour with increased Intelligence is the BiS option
Min. requirements:
450 Energy Shield
35 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
% increased Intelligence
Elemental Resistances
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - you should aim to get a Strength/Intelligence base to make it easier to acquire the right Socket colors
Min. requirements:
120 Energy Shield
35 Intelligence
25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
maximum Mana
Elemental Resistances
Boot enchantment:
Adds 45 to 68 Cold Damage if you've been Hit Recently
Cyclopean Coil(Belt) Cyclopean Coil - the only viable option for the Belt slot which grants insane bonus Intelligence and Ailments immunities
+(25-40) to maximum Life
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(5-15)% increased Attributes
Cannot be Frozen if Dexterity is higher than Intelligence
Cannot be Ignited if Strength is higher than Dexterity
Cannot be Shocked if Intelligence is higher than Strength
1% increased Damage per 5 of your lowest Attribute
Astramentis(Amulet) Astramentis - a very solid choice which grants very high bonus Intelligence. Rare Amulets can be significantly better, but they will cost at least several Exalted Orbs
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(80-100) to all Attributes
-4 Physical Damage taken from Attack Hits
Lapis Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - possibly the BiS option, but also an extremely expensive one
Min. requirements:
60 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
#% increased Damage per 15 Intelligence
#% increased Attributes
Elemental Resistances
maximum Energy Shield
Rare Rings(Ring) Rare Rings - you can either use Opal Rings for extra Damage, Moonstone Rings for extra Energy Shield, or Two-Stone Rings to make it easy to cap Resistances
Min. requirements:
40 Intelligence
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Elemental/Cold Damage
maximum Energy Shield
maximum Mana
Fingerless Silk Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - preferably Fingerless Silk Gloves but most other types are also viable
Min. requirements:
100 Energy Shield
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Maximum Mana
Glove enchantment:
Commandment of Frost
Brute Force Solution(Jewels) Brute Force Solution - grants high Intelligence bonuses. For exact locations where you can put them please check the PoB link
+(16-24) to Intelligence
Strength from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Intelligence
Fertile Mind(Jewels) Fertile Mind - similar to Brute Force Solution, but this one converts Dexterity in radius. Put it close to the two +30 Dexterity Nodes and bottom-right beneath the Scion's starting Point
+(16-24) to Intelligence
Dexterity from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Intelligence
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - this Jewel will be very expensive, but it should grant nearly 400 base Energy Shield and additional bonuses
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
Gain (12-18)% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity
Abyss Jewel(Jewels) Abyss Jewels - priority is maximum Energy Shield, Intelligence, and bonus Damage after you have killed recently. Flat Cold Damage is still ok but will be less effective
Recommended affixes:
maximum Energy Shield
Damage if you have killed recently
Optional affixes:
Flat added Cold Damage to Spells
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - grants very high bonus DPS and Life Leech which comes in handy during Boss fights
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - grants high Cold Damage Penetration if you manage to make it your highest uncapped Resistance
+35% to all Elemental Resistances
During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Experimenter's Quartz Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  2. Experimenter's Quicksilver  Flask of Adrenaline (Inc. Movement Speed)
  3. Experimenter's Basalt Flask of Staunching (Bleed immunity)
Atziri's PromiseThe Wise OakQuartz FlaskQuicksilver FlaskBasalt Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.