[1.1.8.1][Guide] Trozan's Ice Shard - A cold Warlock Beginner Guide

Introduction

Welcome to my first Warlock guide intended for new players or SSF enthusiasts !
The thread guides you through the not-so-easy levelling of one of the most powerful caster builds of the game, provides cheap lv100 setups you can use to farm your gear, and various links to end-game specs for you to later transition into. It is made for levelling in softcore, solo self-found, without veteran mode toggled, and with both expansions.
To remain concise, basic mechanics (devotions, components, monster infrequents…) are not covered, but various resources are linked at the end of the thread, and the people on Discord are there to answer any question.

Build Description

This is a kite, pure caster focusing on Trozan’s Sky Shard, a nuke AoE spell consisting of meteors dropping on your foes.
The side skills are debuffs and utility to enhance Trozan’s and proc devotions, and you can use a component skill as a filler spell if you want something to spam during cooldowns.
As a kite build, it is squishy and requires good gameplay (positioning, cooldown management) to work well. As such it is not advised for hardcore gameplay.

Summary

Build Overview

  • Basic, affixless setup (click me)
    This is a very cheap and target-farmable setup, the stats are balanced without affixes to allow flexibility with any roll you get.
    The only RNG part is the Seal of the Night, the blueprint is a random drop but it should drop quickly from doing totems in Ultimate. Other options are a Seal of Skies, or Deathchill Bolts to be 100% budget. The belt and medal are craftable and cheap if you want specific rolls.
    Here’s what my own setup looked like.

  • Eastern set setup
    The next step towards end game is using the epic Eastern set. It has great stats and a strong proc to step your dps up. Don’t hesitate to farm a good Rolderathis’ Tome (Glacial/Thunderstruck/Sandstorm prefix) since this is what most end game specs use. Affixes on belt and medal should cover resistances first.

Levelling Guide

Factions
  • Kymon’s Chosen or Death’s Vigil
    Side with Death’s Vigil as some of their faction armours are useful. You can also buy the blueprint for a lv35 belt with +1 to Arcanist.

  • The Witch Cults
    We will later use Bysmiel’s Cult’s faction gear, I advise siding with them in elite and ultimate to raise their reputation quicker.
    In normal mode, look at the faction vendors and the movement augments they sell, to see which one you prefer. I sided with Dreeg for the teleport ability.

  • The Outcast and Barrowholm
    Side with them to gain access to their augments.


Attributes

Mostly in physique for core defensive stats, you may want to keep a dozen free points in case you need more spirit to equip some gear.


Skills
Levels 1 to 5

We begin as an arcanist, one point in the mastery bar and the rest on Panetti’s Replicating Missile.
We’ll be spamming it until we reach lv5 and gain access to the Spirit Guide.

Levels 5 to 20

When you can, respec from Panetti’s, advance to 5 points in the mastery bar then take Olexra’s Flash Freeze (OFF) to at least 10/12.
At lv5, you gain access to weapon components that grant skills. Our options are Chilled Steel and Searing Ember, though the former is ice themed, the latter synergizes better with OFF. A single cast of OFF takes care of most mobs, your component filler spell is there for the rest.

Put then 5 more points in the bar and max Trozan’s Sky Shard (TSS) : we got our main skill.

Now we unlock our second mastery. Choose occultist and invest 10 points in the mastery bar, 1 points in Curse of Frailty (CoF) and max out Vulnerability. Resistance Reduction is an important mechanic, it will enhance our damage, especially against resistant enemies.

At lv15, you can use an upgraded version of your component skill, by crafting either Deathchill Bolts or Flintcore Bolts at a blacksmith.

  • My lv19 setup
    Note : Don’t hesitate to be more flexible with your skill points if you find gear with relevant skill bonuses or modifiers. Here, my amulet gives me more Offensive Ability (OA) if Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange (IEE) is toggled. Be careful however as some modifiers may be detrimental to you, for example the same amulet would convert my damage away if Blood of Dreeg (BoD) was active, so I’ll later need a replacement before I take BoD.

Levels 20 to 35

Back to arcanist, our next objective is Shattered Star, invest in the mastery bar until rank 20, put one point in Nullification for utility (it will be useful, trust me), and Frozen Core to profit from the Spectral Bludgeon bonuses, then straight to rank 40, and max Shattered Star. If you think you take too much damage, a few points in Maiven’s Sphere of Protection helps negating incoming damage.

Levels 35 to 65

We continue down the arcanist line by maxing the mastery bar and Star Pact for the valuable Cooldown Reduction (CDR).
Then, get Overload to at least 12/12 for the Offensive Ability, to fully utilize the critical damage from Shattered Star. Progress in the occultist mastery to grab Blood of Dreeg for another heal, and max Aspect of the Guardian for the resistances.

As you enter elite, you can respec the points from OFF as it outlives its usefulness.

Levels 65 to 100

The main skills are in place, work towards the final build by putting points in what you need at the moment : Frozen Core, Inner Focus, Devastation for offense ; Maiven’s Sphere, Mirror of Ereoctes, Wasting via Bloody Pox for defense.
Use a Seal of the Night or Seal of Skies when you find the blueprint to gain a little dps.


Items

When gearing, I advise prioritizing healthy resistances and relevant skill bonuses before anything else. My goal is getting 60% to all resistances when entering elite, and 80% for ultimate. As a rule of thumb, at least 25 OA and DA, and 100 hp per level is the bare minimum I aim for. Always keep an eye on faction stuff for useful gear and augments.
Here are some important items to get while levelling :

  • Spectral Bludgeon (1H weapon)
    Details: Act 2, Monster Infrequent, lv20+
    It makes TSS pure cold damage, adds a large amount of frostburn damage and allows us to solely focus on cold. The OFF modifiers are also a nice addition.
    It drops from ghost enemies, an early place to farm them is a cave just before the first Rovers camp. It is also sold by the skeleton merchant in Steps of Torment.

  • Rolderathis’ Tome (offhand)
    Details : Act 2, Monster Infrequent, lv24+
    More ranks, more focus, less cooldown, the perfect off-hand for TSS. With it, you can reliably hit an enemy with all 3 projectiles, making the skill an actual boss killer.
    Acquire it by killing Rolderathis in a cave blocked by rumble in the Flooded Passage, you will need dynamite. Be careful, he highly resists cold damage and does a fair amount of cold too. I advise getting some Resistance Reduction in the devotions before and having high cold resistance yourself. Remember that you can reduce his damage with Nullification if needed.

  • Bone Talisman (relic)
    Details : Act 2, Quest reward, lv18
    Acquired by not giving the old talisman to the Rovers, this relic provides a good damage buff and can help if energy is tight.

  • Sanctuary (relic)
    Details : Crafted, lv25
    I recommend using it if you get the blueprint as the defensive proc is strong, and the reduction to the physique requirement of armours is very useful since you don’t get much physique from the masteries.
    The blueprint is a random drop, or can be bought from Hyram the vendor in Steelcap District (Ashes of Malmouth).

  • Haunt (relic)
    Details : Crafted, lv35
    The earliest relic giving a very useful +1 Arcanist, as well as a few good stats. The granted skill is a debuff doing a bit of cold damage, as well as a source of fumble, great defensive stat against melee hitters.
    The blueprint is a random drop, or can be bought from Hyram the vendor in Steelcap District (Ashes of Malmouth).

  • Eastern set (Mythical version)
    **Details : Random drop, lv58/94
    Powerful and best-in-slot set supporting our main skill. Even end game specs use the mythical pants and gloves so you know it’s great. It is not necessary but a great upgrade if you are lucky to drop it.

  • Eternity (relic)
    Details : Crafted, lv90
    Rare and expensive, this relic is your end game goal. The proc is very strong both offensively and defensively as well as fun to play with. If you happen to drop the blueprint, definitely go for this relic.


Devotions

Our first focus will be getting Resistance Reduction as early as possible, to make killing Rolderathis easier as we want his book and he heavily resists cold. The pathing is a little complex so a fair amount of respecing is involved.
If you feel like fiddling with the path, you can try Turtle for a decent defensive utility, or Tsunami for more aoe damage and some defence in the form of fumble.
(+) means to take the node or constellation, (-) means to respec it. Unless stated otherwise, take the full constellation.

  • (+) Crossroads Eldritch
  • (+) Bat
    • Bind : The component skill you chose
  • (+) Quill
  • (-) Crossroads Eldritch
  • (+) Crossroads Ascendant
  • (+) 3 points in Rhowan’s Crown
    • Bind : Curse of Frailty
  • (+) Crossroads Chaos
  • (+) Crossroads Primordial
  • (+) Eel
  • (+) Murmur
    • Bind : Trozan’s
  • (-) Crossroads Chaos
  • (+) Amatok
    • Bind : Haunt or Bloody Pox
  • (+) Empty Throne
  • (-) Quill
  • (-) Crossroads Ascendant
  • (+) Behemoth
    • Bind : Arcane Will
  • (-) Bat
  • (+) Lizard
  • (+) Solemn Watcher
  • (-) Lizard
  • (+) Dryad
    • Bind : component skill
  • (+) Chariot of the Dead
    • Bind : any toggled buff
  • (+) Finish Rhowan’s Crown
  • (+) Ultos
    • Bind : Bloody Pox, move Amatok to Devastation or Haunt


Build Explanation

A quick explanation of the skills and devotions I use and why, and how they work.

Skills
  • Trozan’s Sky Shard
    The star of the show.

  • Curse of Frailty + Vulnerability
    Very valuable Resistance Reduction debuff so we max out Vulnerability. Additional points in Curse of Frailty are purely for quality of life as it increases the radius.

  • Blood of Dreeg + Aspect of the Guardian
    The former is a (strong) self heal and buff that grants Offensive Ability.
    The latter is a massive defensive buff, giving resistance to physical damage, the build’s most dangerous threat, as well as taking care of our poison resistance.

  • Devastation
    We only convert around 1/4 of its damage so it’s only a decent AoE ability, I use it mainly to proc Blizzard consistently where AoE is needed. Cooldown Reduction is very useful to get more Devastation uptime thus more Blizzard.

  • Bloody Pox + Wasting
    A great devotion proccer among crowds, and the Wasting node debuffs the enemy’s Offensive Ability, which effectively means more Defensive Ability for us.

  • Mirror of Ereoctes
    A 3s invincibility skill, as useful as it sounds. Increasing the rank and Cooldown Reduction greatly improves the frequency at which we can use it, and it’s an important part of our defensive arsenal.

  • Nullification
    The second defensive tool of an arcanist. Useful to strip any deadly debuff or DoT off you, or to negate an enemy’s elemental damage. Or both, with good positioning. Definitely worth a few points.

  • Olexra’s Flash Freeze
    A large “debuff” that freezes lesser enemies and deals slight damage. Though useful in normal difficulty to clear trash mobs, its damage falls off quickly and the skill becomes mostly pointless.
    For that reason, it is not used in the final build but you could add it if you wanted more Crowd Control to farm Monster Totems.


Devotions

The build features an unusual array of defensive devotions to grant sustain to the build, compared to the popular way of health leeching through Bat, Scales, Wendigo… The reason is that we don’t have easy ways to convert those abilities’ damage to cold, thus I went for self-healing devotions that prove very effective thanks to Cooldown Reduction.

Offensive Devotions :

  • Rumour (Murmur)
    A debuff with Resistance Reduction that spreads among targets, with a little more Offensive Ability reduction on the enemy.

  • Elemental Storm (Rhowan’s Crown)
    Creates a pool of good AoE elemental damage, with a large amount of Resistance Reduction.

  • Blizzard (Amatok)
    Large and strong cold AoE damage with some Crowd Control.

  • Hand of Ultos (Ultos)
    Mainly used for the kind of Resistance Reduction it provides, which is most effective against highly resistant enemies. The proc does some okay AoE damage since our %lightning damage isn’t too low, and the devotion nodes give %cold and %frostburn damage to make it worthwhile.

Defensive Devotions :

  • Dryad’s Blessing (Dryad)
    Very short cooldown heal ability with great nodes on the way. The buff grants a bit of armour, it’s always appreciated on a caster with inexistant armour to begin with.

  • Wayward Soul (Chariot of the Dead)
    Decent heal with a rather long cooldown, but the proc gives a generous amount of defensive stats. It benefits a lot from Cooldown Reduction to upgrade the uptime.

  • Giant’s Blood (Behemoth)
    Large heal with a large cooldown. We get a bit of health regen from the buff, and some very needed max health from the nodes.
    It is best bound to Arcane Will so that it procs faster but only when you need it most.


Performance

The build allows you to farm rogue-like dungeons, nemesis and totems to acquire gear. It has not been tested in Crucible or Shattered Realm (yet!) as I advice having higher quality gear to attempt that.

Steps of Torment


Port of Valbury


Bastion of Chaos


Ancient Grove


Lokarr

The full Eastern set allows for a powerful cheap setup capable of killing Lokarr, although the fight remains difficult. Lots of kiting is required, mirror saves you in potato moments, and you should carry aether clusters to be extra safe. And you could use potions for more HP, OA, DA…


End Game Builds

  • End-game build
  • Druid version for end-game



Thanks and Postface

I’d like to thank Nery and Evil_Baka for their awesome guides I copied inspired myself from :heart:

Feel free to leave some feedback or ask any question about the build or mechanics, and thanks for reading !

31 Likes

Awesome build!

I am grateful for all players posting beginners builds.

I have a sketch about TSS/Sigils cold Lock in my topic, but never finish it. So good you made it! :slightly_smiling_face:

4 Likes

Thanks Nery, I agree we need moooar beginner guides :stuck_out_tongue:

I would have loved to include the Sigils but the conversion options just aren’t convenient enough, I didn’t like my own sketches with it (and the magi shoulders are too hard and expensive to farm)
How did your sketch perform ?

Here’s the link to my sketch:

WOW, year ago. Don’t remember how it performs. Just the idea to use belt for vitality to cold conversion.

I am realy in love with this build. First time I play a not-dot-caster. Nuking stuff with spells feels great.

https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eZPjB4G2 at act 1 in ultimate right now.

1 Like

Glad you like it, thanks for the feedback !

1 Like

Ive never had much interest in TSS, but this build guide is beautiful. Great color scheme, and very well organized. Easy to read, easy to follow. This is so well made Im now actually interested in exploring TSS! Will be following this guide when I do.

Thank you for putting the time and work into this. It is a great contribution to an awesome community. Im looking forward to trying it!

2 Likes

Yeah. Nothing bad to say about it. The whole level process was realy smooth. Never got any Problems.

defense are good enough. Sometimes you need to kite a little but its ok.
Offensive its a blast. At the point I got all my devotion points and got ultos + bloody pox its so much fun. Mob groups die with course + bloody pox combo and devotion procs :smiley:

2 Likes

Kiting is part of the Trozan experience, or was, when you get some mythical Trozan pieces to use the Sigils of Consumption, you’ll be leeching enough to stand your ground :stuck_out_tongue:

Great color scheme

I was afraid it was too childish or something, thanks for clearing my doubts.

1 Like

This is exactly what I’m looking for. Now I can start my HC Warlock following this guide. Thank you! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like

Ui Hardcore… Good luck :smiley:

the build is IMO ultra squishy. Thats me right now: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVLYXlLZ
farming totems and dungeons for better gear. 9 000 hp and not much armor. No way to leech. But 3700 OA TROLOLOOL

It is indeed really glassy, I wouldn’t take it into hardcore unless you love adrenaline (which is probably what hardcore players want :stuck_out_tongue: )

Getting Mirror to 12/12 and not being shy about using it is a large part of the defence, as its cooldown gets really low. You can also aim for a Glacial/Thunderstruck prefix on your off-hand, physical resistance is very valuable and it’s a good investment of your time as most Trozan builds will use that off-hand.
Anyway, congrats on the upgrades Dabuwa, things should get better now with that scepter (and nice OA lmao, enjoy the crits everywhere)

1 Like

Very nice looking guide and strong build with so many “garbage” items! :smiley: inspiring

1 Like

Ohh, nice - TSS budged build. My first character was spellbinder TSS and it was a failure so I respecced it but I never got the idea of nuking enemies with “ice meteors” out of my head.

Welp, it’s time to make another alt…

I always appreciate beginner’s builds because I love leveling with self-found gear and slowly “growing” your character. To me “journey” to level 100 is more important than end-game so every build that has “natural power progression” is always welcomed.

2 Likes

I want to say thank you for this build. It’s a blast to play as a new person to the game! I’ve tried some other builds as well, (not to mention many hours of gameplay just stumbling around) and this is surprisingly right up my alley (I’m more of a ranged killer ala D2’s Amazon, not a kite bomb).

And to the developers: I haven’t had this much fun with an ARPG since D2.

1 Like

Is there any room for Time Dilation devotion? or is Star Pact enough for cdr?

The devotions are where you can be creative, I chose to use the very high cdr of the build to stack healing devotions, but you can also do a more offensive setup including bat (that you’d convert with a gargoyle belt) for healing, or as you wish, go for TD and abuse mirror as the main defence mechanism. I didn’t test those 2 last setups but they should work very well, so go ahead :ok_hand:

1 Like