Mastery: Paladin (Defence / Storm)
Build: Armoured Ice Shard caster
This a build for a playing an armoured Ice Shard caster. Ice Shards in the Storm mastery is a pretty powerful option for a pure caster type character, however, it does have the drawback of requiring you to stand still and spam the skill and does its best DPS when enemies are closer to you.
Arthas is my second Ice Sharder. My first was a pure caster Druid (Nature / Storm) build that got around Ice Shard’s range drawback by using Nature’s Briar Ward to shield her from enemy attacks and let her spam Ice Shard without worrying about her paper thin armour getting shredded apart (build for her also on Steam). My Paladin build tackled it by making the caster a walking tank who can take a hit while spamming spells. Defence’s Armor Handling talent helps you get around some of the Strength requirement on armour and shields and with some more from your gear you can get a caster clad in heavy armour.
My Paladin was built with Atlantis masteries and skills but the expansion should not be required.
- Powerful anti-group attacks
- Fairly tanky
- Anti-resistance debuffs in Squall for legendary difficulty
- Ice Shard is a very stationary attack, you don’t hit and run, you stand still and spam
- Very mana consuming
- Not as good for single targets or far off targets
- Can be a little gear dependent
Run completed with the xMax mod (xmax setting)
Your primary RMB attack. You’ll need to stand still and spam the attack. The base skill is not a priority. It will just increase the base damage of the skill. Instead you want to max out it’s Torrent synergy skill ASAP as it will increase the number of Ice Shard’s projectiles turning it into a frontal conal anti-group attack. Next max Velocity to give your shards pierce and increase the cold damage and projectile speed. The base skill can be increased afterwords whenever you feel you need to buff the skill’s damage.
An aura that buffs your attack damage with cold and lightning damage and applies a smaller buff to your pets. Drop only a single point into the base skill. You’ll be casting spells instead of attacking so the base skill won’t help you. You also will be using Wisp to buff your damage instead of doing damage itself so not really important there either. Instead you’ll want to max the Heart of Frost synergy skill to buff your Ice Shard’s frost damage and also max the Static Charge synergy if you’re planning on using Lightning Bolt (which you should).
Generates a wind storm that does slight damage and applies useful debuffs. Max the base skill to increase the storm’s radius and impair ranged attacks inside it. It’s Obscured Visibility synergy skill applies an additional debuff, reducing damage and resistances by a percent. As your primary damage source is cold based, enemies with large cold resistances will be difficult to fight and the debuff will be a big help.
Wisp is a one point wonder. It has god tier dodge and avoid projectiles chance. This makes it pretty much unkillable except for AOEs. Wisp’s primary role in the build is not to do damage itself but to instead buff you with it’s synergy skill Eye of the Storm. Maxxed out, Eye of the Storm will give you a good boost to your cold and lightning resistance as well as a big bonus to your elemental damage. Even with only a single point in the base skill your wisp will survive fine in 99% of fights. Arc Discharge isn’t needed but if you can drop a single point into it if you want.
One point wonder for the chance to stun enemies after getting hit. You can put points into it late but it’s a really low priority and shouldn’t receive any extra points until you’ve pumped up the important skills.
Armor Handling boosts your Armor Absorption and reduces strength requirements for wearing armour and shields. Should be maxxed early on so you can equip high Str gear without cutting back on your Int.
Battle Awareness will give you a bit more Defensive Ability to mitigate damage from melee attackers. It will give you an extra 180 DA at 16/16. Focus boosts your shield block chance, good to max for legendary but I’d make other skills a priority before then. Iron Will is a terrific synergy which gives you great stun resistance and reduces how long you are trapped, frozen, skill disrupted and pets mind controlled. Really helps against annoying foes. You only need 7/6 in the skill to get the cap (80%) in general practice, more points in the skill can help for times that enemies have skills that lower your resist I guess but that’s not particularly often.
I’d suggest maxxing the base skill as you should have the free points to do so. You’ll likely need to use some of your gear slots to reduce energy cost, increase energy, reduce requirements, etc. and it will give you a good source of DA outside of your gear freeing you up to get other requirements without worrying about DA in legendary.
Most of the buffs are for physical damage builds but the buff to your survivability is always useful and it’s still a good one point wonder skill if as a pure caster. No reason not to invest a point. Downside is the long cooldown, the large size makes it harder to navigate and you can’t enter caves and such.
Optional skill for countering magical enemies. Drains energy and negate enemies buffs. Spell shock with do damage based off energy drained and disrupt skills.
Diversifies your damage a bit with some lightning damage with short stun. Has a short cooldown so can’t be spammed. Has a very good range and it’s synergy skill Chain Lightning causes the bolt to arc from the target to hit other close by enemies. Lightning Bolt can be put into your LMB.
Short term buff that will give you damage absorption for cold and lighting damage. It’s Reflection synergy skill will give you a chance to have damage reflected. You’ll need to refresh the buff a regular intervals and getting maxxed resist for cold / lightning isn’t too difficult even in legendary so probably on the low end of the priority list.
Still it can provide protection from these damage types allowing you to concentrate on stacking other resists with your gear and Wisp can provide you some resists with it’s synergy resists as well. After getting your primary skills maxxed up you can add some points here. Reflection’s not as useful but you can put points there as well if you free points from elsewhere.
Good one point ability. Gives a nice boost to absorption and block for a limited time. Good when fighting crowds. Not really needed until legendary but you can drop a point into it if you want early. If you have a bit of CDR and max the skill you can get the cooldown below the skill’s duration letting you effectively keep it up permanently as long as you remember to recast it.
Rally provides a decent immediate heal to you and any pets / players close enough to you. Rally needs points put into it occasionally as you level so as to keep the heal relevant so will need investment to be effective long term. The Inspiration synergy boosts your total speed by 10% and gives you extra energy regeneration. The Defiance synergy will boost you a short buff after using rally to elemental resistance and boost your damage reflected.
Didn’t decide to pickup Rally this time through I see it could be useful for emergency heal and a point in Inspiration for extra speed. I doubt that Inspiration’s energy regen would really impact your huge energy drain. Defiance isn’t really too useful, Storm provides good ways to mitigate cold / lightning and fire resistance is pretty easy to max.
A charge type skill. In this build it will just be used to get up close to enemies like archers quickly so you can spam ice shard directly into their face while applying a bit of CC from the skill. Only need to drop a single point into both skills really.
Another charge type skill. Shield charge is probably more useful but you could try using two if you want.
An Atlantis exclusive skill, Unyielding Phalanx summons a stationary line of warriors for a short time that fight anybody that comes within melee range for them. Extra points increase their health and summon duration time.
As the summons can’t move positioning is key. Not useful against ranged enemies unless you drop them right under their feet or LOS them into a narrow corridor. When they can get at something, through, they put out some good damage.
An Atlantis exclusive skill, Perfect Block grants you perfect damage immunity and movement speed buff. The buff lasts only 1.1 seconds through and you are also unable to attack or cast during it. Useful for emergencies (like avoiding Typhon’s meteors) but you need to time it right.
As for Shield Smash, Disable and Pulverise they are not recommended because you will simply not be attacking with your weapon. Don’t care too much for Adrenaline’s healing effect and Defensive Reaction doesn’t really fit into the build. I’ve already maxxed casting speed normally and don’t really care about boosting my movement speed a bit.
Haven’t really tried out Thunderball yet much, been using Lightning Bolt instead, feel free to use it instead of Lightning Bolt if you like the skill.
Final Skill Trees
- Defence mastery = +12 Str, +16 Dex, +400 Health
- Storm mastery = +8 Dex, +24 Int, +168 health, +120 energy
Health: Not a priority but you can put a few points (such as those that get rewarded from quests) into it if you want to top up your health a bit.
Energy: Build drains your energy like crazy, extra points here are not worth it through, get energy gains or cost reduction from gear and just buy potions
Strength: Enough Str combined with your Requirement Reduction gear to equip your weapon, armour and shield.
Intellect: Your primary stat, boost it up
Dexterity: You need enough to equip your gear at a min. If you want to use legendary Stonebinder’s Cuff’s then you need 435.
This is my final equipment loadout. Capped casting speed, decent DA, armour and health and enough energy to cast Ice Shards decently. I didn’t have any energy reduction unfortunately, used chest piece for requirement reduction and burned through pots like crazy and needed to do a quick farm run of to restock every now and then. Only +2 to skill from my helm but no skills that need to +4 to work well.
Poison, Lightning and Bleed resists were pretty sub-par. Lightning resist issue was easily negated with Wisp buff and Energy Shield. Bleed isn’t really a problem outside of few areas. For Poison, I min-maxed a bit with alternative gear mostly for Poison related boss fights.
Weapon: Basically it’s going to be a stat stick as you won’t actually be swinging it at anybody. BIS imo is Persephone’s Caress, it provides a huge buff to cold and frostburn damage. If you don’t have one then something that provides useful passive buffs (+cold damage, energy reduction, +skill, more survivability, etc.) is a possible alternative.
Chest: I’m using an upgraded Odysseus’ Armour for its large requirement reduction. A good alternative is a green / monster infrequent socketed with Golden Fleece for its energy reduction so you don’t drain your energy quite as fast.
Hands: BIS is Archmage’s Clasp. Even if I’m playing a ‘tanky’ character I’m still playing a caster and Clasp provides a big chunk of casting and CDR. A single piece of Int gear won’t make a huge difference. Alternatives include something Stonebinder’s Cuffs for +skill or something to cover your resist holes.
Rings: Hale for more +%Str / Health, Socrates for +%Int / Energy, Occult for casting speed, etc. socketed with Demon’s Blood for Vitality resist. Alternatively you may swap out one for a ring with good resists that cover your other gearing holes. As well, Captain’s SIgnet (both), Alke (Weapon), Timaios (Armour) are options for reducing Str requirements on your gear.
Helm: A green / monster infrequent with Crystal of Ereberus (+2 skills or the one with buff to resists) or Cunning of Odysseus for %Int buff. Otherwise something to cover missing resists.
For other pieces, whatever you find that covers resists holes and the like.
At level 2, unlock Storm Mastery. Pickup Ice Shard. Afterwords, dump all points into Mastery Points except for one to unlock Velocity. The goal is to each mastery level 24 to unlock Torrent. Once you get a few points into Torrent you’ll finally start to be able to use Ice Shard to mow down packs swiftly.
Unlock Storm Nimbus and increase synergy skills, unlock lightning bolt for secondary damage type, squall for CC, a point into Wisp and get synergy.
In Defence, max Armour Handling when you’re ready to switch over to heavier Str gear. Not too many skills you’re really need, level up the mastery and invest in Battle Awareness and synergies and one point into Quick Recovery for now.
Or you could just make an Accomplish character like me and start with all the important skills ready to go.
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