Dec 102013

A pair of Freezer Burns and their canine companions
A pair of Freezer Burns and their canine companions

Last weekend I had a real Eureka moment. A discovery. A breakthrough.

There I was, playing with my Gamer Girl, me on Mawry my completionist-in-progress, her on Majicka the character she built to accompany me, both of using the same build.

Eureka! It is the build! Out of all the builds I’ve played (and I have played many different builds), this is the single most dominant build yet encountered.

Most. Dominant. Build. Evar.

I have to qualify that statement a little as I have only played it in Heroic content, so cannot attest to its Epic qualities. My Gamer Girl has, and it seems pretty dominant there too, but I will withhold bestowing Greatest Ever until I get some Epic time in too.

Speaking of my Gamer Girl, one of my favorite things about this build is that it is hers. She came up with it. Her. All by herself. I named it (it needs a name, right?) but it is her build in every way.

But enough with the superlatives. Time to get crunchy! I’m not going into every detail as I normally would since this is only as of level 14. Also, Mawry has nine past lives contributing to these numbers and I am not factoring them out. Nonetheless, here are the highlights:

Freezer Burn

Halfling Druid

STR 10/18
DEX 10/19
CON 18/25
INT 14/16
WIS 16/30
CHA 8/10
HP        345
Fortitude  19
Reflex     11
Will       22
Spellpoints                1300
Cold/Lightning Spellpower   158*
Fire/Acid Spellpower         98*

*In water elemental form while Druid of Winter is active

Arcane Prodigy, Augment Summons, Empower, Mental Toughness, Improved Mental Toughness

52 points in the Seasons Herald tree, maxing out everything cold and SLA-related

Look at that crazy spellpower at level 14! Hit points could use a buff, and will get Toughness next level. Dexterity save is low too, one has to have the appropriate resistances and protections in place to minimize elemental spell damage.

She gets crazy spell criticals too. 8% from enhancements, 2% from feats, 14% from crafted Lore weapons. So much damage!

In practice, Empower is on all the time. I summon everything I can which at level 14 means a hireling, a wolf, and a Djinni or Huge Stone Elemental, all of which are superior to normal summonses due to being Augmented and having bonus CON from to the Pack Aptitude spell.

Then I run. As fast as I can. I DOT up whatever I encounter, the first monster gets the practically free spell-like ability (SLA) Creeping Cold, the next monster gets the regular-but-still-very-cheap Creeping Cold, the next gets a practically free Lightning Bolt SLA. If there is a fourth monster, or a boss, out comes Greater Creeping Cold and/or a second non-SLA Lightning Bold. If I get outnumbered, I have the best persistent AoE in the game in the form of Ice Storm.

The druidic DOTs are the most effective spellpoint/damage spells that I have encountered. The best part is that they actually increase in damage with each tick; no need to stack them up as a wizard or sorcerer would do with Niacs Biting Cold. One cast kills most opponents.

So I just keep running. The monsters freeze and die behind me, and anything that survives with a few remaining hit points will either get left behind or finished off by my summonses.

Incredibly powerful. Hardly anything resists cold damage, but when something is encountered, there is still fire damage. Not as overpoweringly puissant but still sufficiently effective, and I expect it to be even more so in Fire Elemental form (which I believe I get next level?).

Really. Jaw-droppingly fast and powerful.

In practice, my Gamer Girl and I are both running this build at the same time. Actually I tweaked it a tiny bit, her character has more WIS and less INT, mine gets extra skills which I put into Heal so I can be self-healing too. I bring a cleric Hireling but I use the Divine Vitality more than the healing.

My Gamer Girl’s character is not as self-healing but it matters to her less, she is a better buttoneer than I and takes less damage. We have other minor differences: I build special scimitars (Ice Lore IV/Lightning Lore IV with red augment slots for Glaciation and Magnetism) and sometimes hit things with them, she just buys whatever cheap auction item weapons have Lore on them and never hits anything.

But I digress. The point here is what happens when we run together: OMG. Devastation everywhere. The only real problem we have is that it is sometimes difficult to coordinate which monster gets which DOT and we occasionally double-DOT.

Watch this run through Purge the Fallen Shrine, on Elite, at level 13:

Note how often in this video I am trying to catch up to my Gamer Girl who has already DOT’d up most of the bad guys by the time I arrive.

I’ve seen people mocking caster-centric Druid builds on the forums and it amazes me. Have these people ever played one? Or seen it in action? Better and cheaper DPS than a Sorcerer. Self-healing equal to or better than a Warforged Wizard. Unique abilities like Water Elemental form, unique buffs like Pack Aptitude, unique DOTs like Creeping Doom. Killer-cheap SLAs.

How is this not as good as it gets?

Answer: it is. This is as good as it gets. Play one and see.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  10 Responses to “The Freezer Burn: The Most Dominant (Heroic) Build Ever Played (So Far)”

Comments (10)
  1. Good to see you back, and on form. Belated congrats to you both.

  2. Oh, the inhumanity!
    That’s some spell-fire there. I’ve still never built a spell caster, but I’m getting lured to making a Druid someday.

  3. I don’t have Druid-capability, but I wonder how much of this I can adapt to my Wizard and Sorcerer.

    For instance, the Pale Master can likewise have 3 summonees (Summon Monster, skeletal knight, and hireling), DoTs (Lesser and standard Death Aura), self-healing (ditto). I never heard that Ice Storm was the “best persistance AoE in the game”, but I can try it. Wizards can cast anything.


    • I am not sure. Your PM wizard can be really good at instakill spells, something that is not really available to a Druid.

      A sorcerer can come closer to this playstyle, especially an Ice Savant, but there are differences there too; a sorceror’s SLAs are blasting nukes rather than DOTs.

      Could be fun to try though πŸ™‚

  4. I’d don’t mean to burst your bubble but Purge the Fallen Shrine isn’t a great example – a FVS with Blade Barrier, Cometfall, the occasional Holy Smite and an archon to polish stuff off can do that quest without stopping aside from clicking the pillars….and will be half done before you finished summoning all your woodland friends.

    Not saying that the build isn’t very good just your sampler isn’t the best. Also elite level 16 and above quests or almost any epic hard/elite quest and those low reflex saves will cause you some problems.

    As to the build itself – personally I would go Wis18/Con16….though DCs are not as important for the DOT spells you listed – having a better DC for Earthquake will be a life saver in epics where your dots won’t one shot kill stuff……Earthquake and Ice Storm…..that is game changing.

    • Purge was selected not for its difficulty (although it can get hairy) but rather for it’s brevity. It is more easily video’d than, say, Relic of a Sovereign Past

  5. While I congratulate you on having found a fun build, it is not necessarily novel. What you’ve made is essentially what every cold-caster druid is already doing. Furthermore, I question the choice of halfing as a race. Surely going with a dwarf for more HP or human/helf for better healing amp is better than the halfling’s +1 to all saves, which is really all you are getting out of the race in this case (the halfling racial tree has practically nothing for this and you apparently haven’t invested any points in the tree anyway). As for speed, spoonwelder makes a fair point (I arrived at the same conclusion independently after watching the video and before getting to the comments). Either a cleric or a FVS can wreck this quest almost with blade barrier alone (and many other quests besides). And choosing a quest where at least half the mobs are vulnerable to cold makes it a questionable demo. Perhaps a demo of Raid the Vulkoorim or Trial By Fire would be more effective, although I am certain you’ve moved beyond this level range so far. How has the build done in areas like Gianthold, Vale, IQ, Wheloon, or Reaver’s Reach?

    Another note, how do you deal with traps? Did either you or your Gamer Girl splash rogue or arti? Do you simply avoid quests where evading certain traps is more or less mandatory? Do you deal with these by rezzing on the other side? The latter is a perfectly valid strategy for trap-heavy quests, but is only dependable in most cases by duoing or with a well-parked hire, and even then, not always. Plus, it means sucking up a death penalty to XP, damage to equipment, etc.

    Regarding play style, meleeing with two scimitars which are simply implement sticks seems mostly pointless. You can certainly do it to finish off a slivered mob, but I don’t think the potential damage you might be taking is worth the effort. Unless it’s a caster mob, let the summons deal with it or let it follow to your next AoE DoT.

    • In Gianthold, half of the quests completed in less than two hours (and we are not fast players). Utter dominance continues. Regarding traps: we ignore them, or when not ignorable, get a hireling. Although neither strategy will suffice for the upcoming Crucible swim.

  6. Think that’s fun? Wait til you get Earthquake…

  7. I took my first druid to L20 using an ice caster. I went 18 druid/2 monk for the melee capabilities in the early levels. Next life on her, Ilythia/orien, I am going to try pure druid and see if it works any different. I echo the outstanding nature of the season’s herald tree. I have her up to L27 now and I can assure you that it works very well In epics. Earthquake is marvelous especially if you have PL sorcs and/or the +5 evocation necklace from Friends in Low Places. Its going to sit down most/all enemies. I then cast ice storm and the almost free storm of vengeance on them. Both shiradi and primal are pretty nice to run in each offering benefits depending mainly on your playstyle and preference. Definitely a good build though and so much easier than figuring out how many natural attacks you should take in wolf form.

What do you think?

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