Grinding Gear Games, the developer and publisher of Path of Exile, launched the new Harvest expansion on June 19. The new update included changes and re-balances to skills and passive tree. They also introduced new war cries, with one of them being Infernal Cry, which causes enemies to explode and deals fire damage. In this Infernal Cold Assassin build we will use a Cold to Fire conversion build to utilize maximum damage, as well as go over gear, flasks and more, to get you ready for endgame!
Infernal Cold Assassin – Path of Exile Endgame Build
The latest update for Path of Exile added a new skill which we will utilize in this full Cold to Fire conversion build. Throw in the additional seal for Unleash, for maximum damage, alongside the increase of elusive effect, you will reach the maximum spell dodge chance of 75% and capped attack damage avoidance of 95%.
Converting all damage into fire is one of the easiest ways to build up damage in Path of Exile: Harvest. You can make this build as an Elementalist, an Occultist, an Inquisitor, a Trickster, or an Assassin. But we are choosing the Assassin to take advantage of its 100% critical strike chance with Ice Spear, as it’s an easy way to scale explosions from Infernal Cry, in addition to the buffed up Elusive.
With some investment, Winter Orb is quite decent on its own for general clear speed for a few reasons: It doesn’t require a target, it keeps casting while you move, and its hits overlap. Then we cast Ice Spear linked with the Unleash support gem, it casts three times, dealing a mass of spears. Combined with the explosions from our Warcry, and over burn from Herald of Ash, it’s unstoppable. Sound like your kind of build? Continue on to see how we’ll achieve it.
Infernal Cold Assassin Pros & Cons
- A very fast build
- Can clear all content
- Winter Orb auto aims for the nearest targets, debuffing and cursing them without having to stop moving.
- 100% critical chance with Ice Spear, and up to 6 million damage.
- Very tanky with a maximum attack avoidance chance of 95% and spell avoidance 75%
- Doesn’t require cluster jewels to function.
- Depends on flask maintenance, making it harder to go against Sirus and bosses without adds.
- Small life pool, so more susceptible to physical damage if you get unlucky.
- Not cheap to gear up.
- Uses many unique items, and it is tight on resistances.
Build Concept & Function
To clearly explain how this build works, I will break down its core concepts which includes how Winter Orb, Ice Spear and Infernal Cry all work.
How does Winter Orb work?
Winter Orb is a channeling skill, with 10 stages you can achieve. With a cast time of 0.15 sec, you can press and hold right click for only 1.5 second to reach maximum stages. The orb stays above your head, shooting projectiles towards enemies on its own, without you having to aim. It continue shooting projectiles (at a slower rate) after you stop channeling, and start moving. This has a huge advantage for those who want a faster playstyle, it allows you to move between monsters packs quickly, so you keep all your temporary buffs and power charges up all the time.
Increasing the duration of Winter Orb makes it last longer, and loses stages at a slower rate. But that’s not necessary to make it work for you, as you can re-gain stages very quickly after you move or cast another spell.
With two “Beltimber Blade” swords, you have an additional 4 projectiles fired by Winter Orb, that’s equal to the “Greater Multiple Projectiles” support gem, minus the negative damage multiplier.
Projectiles from Winter Orb can hit the same target, allowing a kind of shotgun effect, short range but powerful damage. With “Combustion Support”, it debuffs enemies, making them take more fire damage. Adding “Infused Channeling” you gain a global damage buff. That’s why Winter Orb is good to set up enemies for massive Ice Spear hits.
How does Ice Spear work with Unleash?
Here comes the heavy hitter, as Ice Spear hits with 30 projectiles, or 40 projectiles with one cast, it makes it ideal for single target damage. Projectile counts are as follows:
- 2 standard projectiles from base skill
- 4 additional projectiles from two “Beltimber Blade” swords
- 2 additional projectiles from “Dying sun”
- Then comes Unleash, repeating the skill, and shooting 8 projectiles 4 additional times (within same cast time of skill)
- 4 Seals from Unleash takes 2.36 seconds to fully replenish. But you can shoot them at any moment, with any number of seals ready.
You can calculate your maximum single target damage by taking the “Average Hit” damage from Path of Building, and multiply it by the number of projectiles that hits the target. While noting that initial projectiles does full damage, and repeated projectiles do 10% less damage at skill level 21.
Total hit damage = (Average hit * number of initial projectiles) + (Average hit * number of initial projectiles * unleash seals * 0.9)
So without Dying Sun, and if your average hit damage is 200k, it goes as follows:
Total hit damage = (200k * 6) + (200k * 6 * 4 * 0.9) ~= 5.5 million damage
With Dying Sun, total damage can reach more than 7 million hit damage (on paper). In reality it’s like 60-70% of that (due to some projectiles shooting too far to the side, missing the target if the boss hit box is not very large).
Note that aiming your cursor further away from your character while casting Ice Spear, will make projectiles shoot in a narrow degree, allowing a better chance for them all landing the same target. While aiming with a cursor closer to your character allows projectiles to spread more in widely, and hit more targets in larger packs. So be mindful of such mechanic.
Ice Spear phases
Projectiles from Ice Spear have two phases, or forms. It is as follows:
- Shards shoot from your position, travel a short distance as a normal projectile, before changing to the second phase.
- Shards gain 100% additional critical strike chance, move much faster, and pierce everything in the second phase.
This behavior encourages a ranged playstyle, and keeping a safe distance, while dealing massive damage. Unleash needs some time (about 2.36 sec) to recharge the whole 4 seals, so you will not be spamming it non-stop. Instead, you will channel Winter Orb in the meantime, to keep as close as possible to the 10 stages. Remember to only use fully loaded Ice Spear against Unique and Rare monsters.
The huge critical chance guarantee from Ice Spear causes it to always do critical hits, which always ignite, shock (if you have Yoke of Suffering), and give you an Elusive buff. In addition to being immune to reflect damage.
How does Infernal Cry work?
Every 8 seconds you can use Infernal Cry to cover enemies in ash, causing them to take more fire damage depending on total power of enemies within range. With Normal enemies providing 1 Power, Magic enemies providing 2, Rare enemies providing 10, Unique enemies providing 20. At maximum 35 power, you get enemies to take 20% more fire damage. Working with the “Deep Breaths” node anointed by Cassia, you may get 20% more power, gaining a maximum buff with even a smaller number of monsters nearby.
In addition to fire damage taken, enemies killed during Infernal Cry’s duration will explode, dealing 8% of their maximum health as fire damage, which is pretty awesome. Explosion damage scales with % damage, % fire damage, % elemental damage, and % area damage, and leaves no corpses behind. These explosions can chain upon themselves, allowing multiple explosions to hit the same target in some scenarios. It also can benefit from critical strike chance, and critical strike multiplier, which we have decent values for.
Additional mechanics that Infernal Cry provides but we don’t utilize is the “Exert”, and “Combust” attacks, since we don’t actively attack, and only cast spells.
Cooldown for Infernal Cry can be brought down to 5 seconds, with “Second Wind” support, and anointing “Deep Breaths”. You will also have two uses during the cooldown time. This makes it available to use wherever you like, whether you use it against bosses, or large groups of enemies.
How to Cast Infernal Cry Faster
Here are some recommendations of how to increase cast speed for Infernal Cry:
- Level 20 Infernal Cry provides 38% increased Warcry Speed by default
- “% increased Warcry Speed” mod on Redeemer Amulet (Up to 35%)
- Alternatively, craft “% increased Warcry Speed” on normal Amulet from crafting bench (Up to 20%)
- Link Urgent Orders Support gem to Infernal Cry (Up to 59%)
- Anoint “Admonisher” node from Cassia for additional 30% warcry speed
If we could achieve a total of 147% warcry speed from adding some modifiers from the list, calculations will go as follows:
1 / 0.8 = 1.25 casts per second (base)
1.25 * ( 1 + 1.47 ) = 3.09 casts per second (modified)
1 / 3.09 = Modified cast time of 0.32 seconds
The 0.32 cast speed has a faster cast time than Ice Spear, so Infernal Cry can be ideal for clearing maps with Winter Orb, and not having to cast Ice spear against every Normal or Magic pack.
You should also use Infernal Cry against bosses, for the “increased fire damage taken” debuff.
Skill Tree Progression / Path of Building / Ascendancy / Bandits
Path of Building:
Copy and import this link in offline tool “Path of Building” to see the entire character build:
Link of 3.11 build: https://pastebin.com/pBud65Nc
First Lab (40 points)
You start from the Shadow area, going through elemental damage small nodes, reaching for “Trickery”, go right to “Assassination”, and “Coldhearted Calculation”. Now spend two points for “Lethal Assault” , four more points to “Blood Drinker”, and stop there for now.
From “Coldhearted Calculation” take four intelligence points towards “Snowforged” wheel, and take it.Three more points for “Deep Wisdom”, then “heart and soul”.
Before going for the First Lab, make sure to go back to “Blood Drinker” and go south to grab “Acrobatic” and “Phase Acrobatic” key nodes.
Second Lab (70 points)
We travel a lot on the passive tree here, and go to all the interesting nodes from Witch to Templar areas.
Keep going west, grab “Arcanist Dominion” , and both “Frost Walker” and “Fire Walker” on top of it. Then, continue towards “Retribution”, “Discipline and Training”, then “Light of Divinity” and “Holy Dominion”. Find the shortest route to the “Arcane Potency” wheel, and take it, it’s good to get this early to help your critical strikes scale better.
Before going to the second lab, get some extra life from “Written in Blood” wheel in north east of tree (just above where we started in the shadow area), and “Blood Siphon”
Third Lab (95 points)
During some point in this phase we will grab “Avatar of Fire” and convert all our damage into fire damage. This transition needs to be smooth, with the right equipment ready, all active and support skill gems aligned in the right way. You can get it early as time you start hitting Maps, or you can keep mapping for a few levels with cold damage until you are ready. So this is flexible in terms of choice.
Now we will continue from where we finished in the Second Lab phase, get to “Doom Cast” through “Critical Strike Multiplier” nodes, since they are more valuable than critical strike chance.
Get to the “No Witnesses” wheel for a precious extra 45% elusive effectiveness, which translate to 14% increased speed, 7% attack dodge chance, and very a important 7% spell dodge chance. At this point, and without any gear at all, you will have 65% attack dodge chance, and 55% spell dodge chance when elusive procs. This is a huge defense on its own, that stacks with other dodge chance and evasion chance you get from gear.
We get more life from “devotion” and adjacent nodes, “Purity of Flesh” , and “Quick Recovery”. The “Melding” wheel can be a very attractive life source, and it also gives some energy shields as an extra layer of defense. You can decided to take it now or later.
At this point we should start to get the important critical strike nodes, such as “Throatseeker”, and maybe “Annihilation”. Otherwise, skip “Annihilation” and go straight for “Thunderous Salvos” for that extra seal for Unleash, it would add a whole lot of additional projectiles.
Again, don’t forget switching to “Avatar of Fire” at some point.
Final Lab (Level 90 with 113 points)
Here we will only go for straightforward final touches to our build. On top of the Witch area, east from “Thunderous Salvos” , take “Cruel Preparation” and take all fire nodes up to “Heart of Flame”. Spend three more points to get “Spell damage per Power Charge” and “Instability”, then grab any other remaining life nodes you have left.
Now your build is good to go against any endgame content. However, there’s a small final push we can do if we have the points to perfect this build.
Endgame (Level 95 with 118 points)
If you can get your hands on a “Transcendent Flesh – Crimson Jewel” , you can can put it in the Templar area of the tree for a massive 49% critical strike multiplier. It grants almost 10% more to damage multiplier, so here’s how you can maximize it’s benefits:
- Remove “Devotion”, and all points adjacent or leading to it (so Holy Dominion is final allocated node in this line).
- From “Purity of Flesh” wheel, allocate two Intelligence nodes on the outer path of the tress.
- Allocate another Intelligence node leading to the jewel socket, and the socket itself.
- Place “Transcendent Flesh” in it.
- Count total un-allocated Strength within the Jewel range, it should be 70 (20 From devotion, 10 from Divine Fervour, and 4 small nodes with 10 each).
If you manage to pull all this off, you can have yourself a great source of damage. Now you will need to get some extra Strength from your gear to compensate for lost Strength.
For the last 4 points, you can either spend it to get “Divine judgment” for massive damage, or spend it on some quality defenses such as “Survivalist” and jewel sockets. Hypnotic Jewels generally provides all you need, damage, attributes, and life, if you get good ones. We now have access to 3 of them for merely 2 points each.
- Unstable Infusion
- Deadly Infusion
Skill Gems and Links
Here are some advisable skill gem and links:
- 4 Link Winter Orb (3B1R): Winter Orb-Infused channeling-Combustion-Cold to Fire
- 4 Link Winter Orb (On Frostferno helmet) (4B): Winter Orb-Infused channeling-Combustion-Efficacy
- 5 Link Ice Spear (On Shroud of the Lightless Body Armour) (3B1R1G): Ice Spear-Unleash-Controlled Destruction-Cold to Fire-Added Cold Damage
- 6 Link Ice Spear (3B2R1G): Ice Spear-Unleash-Controlled Destruction-Cold to Fire-Fire penetration-Added Cold Damage
- 6 Link Ice Spear (Without Yoke Of suffering Amulet) (4B2R): Ice Spear-Unleash-Controlled Destruction-Elemental Focus-Cold to Fire-Fire penetration.
- 3 Link Whirling Blades (2G1R): Whirling Blades-faster Attack-Fortify
- 3 Link Buffs (1B1G1R): Vaal Righteous Fire-Hatred-Herald of Ash
- 1 Link Infernal Cry (1R): Infernal Cry
- 3 Link Curse setup (2B1G): Projectile weakness-Spell cascade-Arcane Surge(lvl9)
- 4 Link CWDT (1B3R): Cast When Damage taken-Steelskin-Wave of Conviction-Increased Duration
Alternative Curse Method and Better Gems Setup:
As you can see, we will be a bit tight on gem sockets. So now we need to create a way to apply curses to hit automatically to save some sockets. We can either get:
- Curse Enemies with Level (10–12) Elemental Weakness on Hit (corruption on Gloves)
- Curse Enemies with Level (5-8) Flammability on Hit (Suffix on Warlord or Delve crafted Ring)
- Curse Enemies with Level 10 Assassin’s Mark on Hit (From Oskarm Unique Gloves)
With any of these alternatives, you can free up three gem sockets, which can be used to improve other skills:
- 3 Link Infernal Cry (2R1G): Infernal Cry-Urgent Orders-Second Wind
- 4 Link Infernal Cry (2R1G1B): Infernal Cry-Urgent Orders-Second Wind-Increased Area of Effect
Or use two separate “Cast When…” damage taken setup, to proc wave of conviction more often, while having maximum protection from Steelskin:
- 3 Link CWDT (3R): Cast When Damage taken(lvl 20)-Steelskin(lvl 20)-Increased Duration
- 2 Link CWDT (1B1R): Cast When Damage taken(lvl 1)-Wave of Conviction(lvl 7)
Early Leveling Gear
Below you will find some recommendations for weapons, armor and accessories needed for early leveling.
- Use any wand, scepter, or dagger with these modifiers while leveling:
- cold or spell damage
- cast speed
- +1 to cold gems
- Buy two Beltimber Blade swords, and use them when you hit level 66
- The typical unique armour that helps any build level up faster are: Goldrim (For resistances) – Wanderlust (For movement speed, mana regeneration, and freeze immunity) – Tabula Rasa (For easy 6 links)
- You can use Heatshiver Unique Helmet from level 20 for some damage, resistances, evasion, and mana regeneration.
- Buy Frostferno Helmet, or use the fated Prophecy “A vision of Ice and Fire” to get it. Use this from level 60 onward, and place your Winter Orb in it.
- Oskarm Unique gloves are very helpful for both offense and defense. It also saves us gem sockets.
- Use your rare armour pieces to get maximum resistances, attributes, and proper socket colors for your skills, additional dodge chance is also good.
- If you have good Abyssal jewels, Darkness Enthroned is a perfect belt to use in early game.
- Karui Ward Amulet is also great early on, for attributes (Dex, Str), damage, and speed.
- Le Heup of All ring is a generic leveling item, with generic damage increase, resistances, and all attributes.
- Dream Fragments can be easy source of freeze and chill immunity, and huge mana regeneration. At the cost of having no damage and small defense bonus.
- Rare rings on other hand is good to cap your resistances, you can easily get +120% total resistances from a ring that cost only 1-2 Chaos. You can also get life and flat added cold damage.
Below you will find some recommendations for weapons, armor and accessories that will be required for endgame content.
- Two Beltimber Blade swords, with one or two of the good corruptions:
- (10–15)% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
- (15–20)% increased Area of Effect
- Shroud of The Lightless is the best cheap body armour you can get. You only need to five link it, as it has the 6th link built-in.
- Don’t forget to craft good Abyssal jewel to use in this chest, with flat damage, life, and critical strike multiplier.
- Rare evasion based body armour can have way more defenses, but will be expensive to craft, and harder to get right socket colors. Good affixes to have is
- % chance to Dodge Attack Hits
- Nearby Enemies are Blinded (Redeemer prefix)
- % chance to gain a Frenzy Charge on Hit (Redeemer suffix)
- % chance to Dodge Spell Hits (Crafting bench)
- Frostferno with one or two good corruptions:
- +2 to Level of Socketed Duration Gems
- +2 to Level of Socketed Projectile Gems
- % increased Effect of Shock
- +2 to Level of Socketed AoE Gems
- +2 to Level of Socketed Cold Gems
- Oskarm Unique gloves.
- Otherwise, a Rare Fingerless Silk Gloves with life, resistances, and Incursion mod “added Fire Damage against Burning Enemies
- On top of that, you can add Redeemer influenced to the gloves for these mods:
- % Global chance to Blind Enemies on hit
- Adds Cold Damage if you’ve dealt a Critical Strike Recently
- Atziri’s Step Unique boots, for the spell dodge chance.
- Yoke of Suffering Unique Amulet is an overall good choice. We only deal fire damage, but with this Amulet we will also shock 100% of the time from critical strikes. The reduced ailment duration will also make our ignites stronger.
- Otherwise, an Elder Amulet can give us lvl 22 Hatred Aura, and save us one gem socket.
- Redeemer influenced Amulet does have a range of interesting affixes, if you want to go deep into crafting:
- % reduced Mana Reserved/Hatred has % reduced Mana Reservation
- % chance to Evade Attack Hits
- +2% to maximum Chance to Dodge Attack/spells Hits. So it’s the only source for this special modifier.
- +1 to Level of all Cold Skill Gems
- As this build becomes tight on resistances, I highly suggest using simple rare rings to cap your resistances. Opal rings are good for damage, while the Vermilion Ring is good for life.
- Malachai’s Artifice Unset Ring with a constant Cold damage source (such as any physical minion with Hatred Aura), can provide more damage through Elemental Equilibrium. However, the negative elemental resistances for two types, needs to be compensated for through other gear slots.
- In case you can stack reduced mana reservation, you can use Herald of Purity in Malachai’s Artifice. So you have a maximum up time, and have a minion that auto spawns.
- Darkness Enthroned, with two well crafted jewels can give the most damage and life at endgame.
- Stygian Vise with one crafted jewel can have more resistances, and attributes, but less damage and life.
Uber Lab Enchant
A great source to improve your character is getting enchantments on each of your three slots:
It’s very unlikely (almost impossible) to get the right helmet enchantment alongside the right corruption on Frostferno. However, you might stay with normal Frostferno for a long while until you get your corrupted one. In that case look for one of these enchantment:
- Ice Spear fires an additional projectile.
- Winter Orb have +2 Maximum stages
- Winter Orb deals 40% increased damage
- Assassin’s mark/Projectile weakness/Flammability has increased curse effect.
- Steelskin takes an increased amount of damage
- Ice Spear travels reduce distance before changing form, (which is a quality of life, but doesn’t affect damage).
- Herald of Ash has reduced mana reserves.
- Hatred has reduced mana reserves.
This one is important to help you gain more damage or overall better defense. So pick up one of these options:
- Adds Fire damage if you’ve killed recently. So it helps clear speed.
- Damage Penetrates 10% enemy Elemental resistances if you haven’t killed recently. So it helps single target damage.
- 8% chance to dodge spell hits if you’ve taken spell damage recently. So it helps capping your dodge chance.
- 70% increased mana regeneration rate if you’ve cast a spell recently.
- Quicksilver Flask can be used in early leveling. However when it comes to endgame, your Elusive buff will remove the necessity of this flask.
- Quartz Flask adds 10% dodge chance to spells and attacks.
- Jade Flask adds a 3000 evasion rating.
- Any Life Flask of your choice.
- Enduring Mana Flask
- Dying Sun unique Flask which is expensive, but provides high damage.
Make sure to get bleed immunity, and ignite immunity from Flasks suffixes. Because all our evasion and dodge doesn’t help against damage over time and ground effects.
Soul of Lunaris: provides great evasion, dodge, and physical damage reduction.
You have two options:
Soul of Garukhan: So you get movement speed and more evade chance.
Soul of Shakari: So you get almost poison immunity, as dodge chance doesn’t help against DoTs.
Hardcore/SSF (Solo Self Found) Viable or not
Solo Self Found (SSF) is doable, because you can target farm all of the required uniques. However, it would be extremely time consuming and very frustrating. Also, another disadvantage would be you’d be less efficient until you get all required items.
On the other hand, Hardcore is not impossible with luck based defenses (dodge/evasion). You will get unlucky once, your damage avoidance will fail, and if the enemy gets lucky with a critical hit, that will be the end of you.
For the Rich Guys
If you don’t have a budget, and willing to spend whatever is takes to take this build to new heights, you will find these items below a great assistance:
- Awakened Support gems. e.g: Awakened Unleash.
- Dual curse corruption on Amulet
- Shroud of the Lightless with +2 to socketed Projectile gems corruption
If you found this build useful and want to check out more of our Path of Exile content, be sure to read/watch our Path of Exile: Harvest Expansion Overview to find out more about the latest update. Or if you are interested in our guides, check our Ice Crash WarZerker build.