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Ice Shards Sorcerer Leveling Guide

Last Updated: May 21st 2024

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Season 4 - LootA-Tier

Welcome to the Ice Shards Sorcerer Leveling Guide. This Cold Sorcerer build uses primarily Ice Shards to deal damage. Both these skills are already excellent against single targets and for AoE situations we have Fireball and Ice Shards Enchantments plus Aspect of Piercing Cold.

The build struggles a little bit with AoE before level 15, but once you unlock your first Enchantment slot all problems disappear. From that point on the build only becomes stronger and stronger as you unlock more skills and the second Enchantment slot.

As far as Cold-themed Sorcerer builds go, this one is the strongest. Unfortunately, more iconic Cold skills such as Frozen Orb and Blizzard have a large part of their power budget allocated into large AoE and Chill, which leaves them extremely weak against Bosses.

Overall this feels fairly good while leveling and can eventually transition into an endgame build focused purely on Ice Shards dropping Fireball and Blizzard.

Ice Shards Sorcerer Leveling Setup
Pros
  • Good Mobility
  • Decently Tanky
  • Not Very Mana-Hungry
  • Great Single Target Damage
Cons
  • Long Cooldowns
  • No AoE at Early Levels
  • Struggles vs Unstoppable Enemies
  • Needs Some Codex of Power Aspects

Season 4 - Loot Reborn

In Season 4, the Season Theme revolves around helping out the Iron Wolves. Compared to past themes, this one does not offer any borrowed power as the entire game has been redesigned with new itemization and crafting options, increasing player power substantially across the board. Instead, you can gather reputation similar to the Vampire Bounty Board from Season 2 to unlock rewards that supercharge your leveling journey to 100 with extra items, crafting materials and eventually even a Resplendent Spark to craft an uber unique.

We recommend to follow the seasonal questline until you unlock the reputation system, check which rewards suit you most and then follow your regular leveling path. To learn more, check out our full Season 4 guide for more information.

Skill Showcase

Ice Shards is our main damage skill. It's great at killing lone high HP enemies such as Elites or Bosses. With ricochets from Enhanced Ice Shards and Offensive Aspect of Piercing Cold it also becomes pretty decent in AoE.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Getting Started

To start off we have to put 2 points into Basic Skills to unlock the other sections. We use Arc Lash because it deals AoE damage and later on it even gives us Movement Speed with Flickering Arc Lash upgrade.

Unlocking Ice Shards

We spend the next 3 points to unlock and fully upgrade our main skill - Ice Shards. At this stage of the game it's an almost entirely single target skill, so use it to demolish Elites and Bosses, for everything else Arc Lash usually does a better job.

Skill Tree Progression

Adding Defensive Skills

After spending 6 points we gain access to the Defensive skill cluster. Here we instantly fill up our skill bar with Teleport, Flame Shield, Ice Armor, and Frost Nova.

The latter two skills are really important because they both allow our Ice Shards to ricochet to an extra target, which lets us kill large groups of enemies twice as fast. Additionally, at level 10 you unlock the ability to imprint Legendary Aspects on your gear. When the campaign takes you near it, complete Dead Man's Dredge dungeon and imprint Offensive Aspect of Piercing Cold onto one of your Rings.

Powering Up

We spend the next few levels pumping ranks into Ice Shards and picking up useful passives such as Glass Cannon and Elemental Attunement.

At level 15 you unlock your first Enchantment slot, so we must put a point into Fireball. The Fireball Enchantment is invaluable when it comes to killing large hordes of small enemies, which is something our build was struggling with up until now.

More Defense and Mana Generation

Next we put one point into Protection passive, max out Frost Nova and unlock Frigid Breeze.

Dropping the Arc Lash

Finally, we unlock our Key Passive Avalanche, to proc it (and also Frigid Breeze) easier, we switch to Destructive Ice Shards. Next thing you should do is clear Witchwater and add Prodigy’s Resource Aspect to your Ring. After that you should have enough Mana to cast Ice Shards all the time and you can remove Arc Lash and replace it with Blizzard.

We use Blizzard to Freeze enemies when Frost Nova is on cooldown and let our Enchantments kill them all. To conserve Mana, don't cast Blizzard more than twice.

Final Passives and Upgrades

At this point our build is largely complete so we just pick up useful passives and skill upgrades to boost our damage and survivability. Apart from leveling up you can get 10 skill points by completing Renown objectives, so don't forget to do your side quests!

Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently. 

Sorcerer Enchantment Slots

Enchantments are extremely important to any Sorcerer build. In fact, the moment you hit level 15, you should drop whatever you were doing and go unlock your Enchantment Slots! You must have at least one rank in a skill to put it into Enchantment Slot but it doesn't have to be on your skillbar.

Slot 1 - Enchant Fireball. This effect lets you easily destroy large hordes of small enemies while also dealing heavy damage to any Elites that happen to be caught inside.

Slot 2 - Enchant Ice Shards. This power fires a single Ice Shard (normally you fire 5 per cast) at every Frozen enemy approximately twice a second. As a result, your Frost Nova becomes a powerful AoE nuke which can easily kill anything short of a Boss.

Unlocking the Enchantment Slots

Once you hit level 15, you automatically start the "Legacy of the Magi" Priority Quest. Complete it to unlock your first Enchantment Slot. The second Slot unlocks on it's own when you reach level 30.

Learn more details in our full Enchantment Slots Guide.

Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities

Generally you want to have 1H Weapon + Focus instead of 2H Weapon, mostly because Focus can roll Cooldown Reduction and it's by far the best stat you can have. However, during leveling you won't lose that much CDR, so if you find a high DPS staff feel free to go for it. Always go for higher DPS over weapon's stats during leveling. The useful stats to look out for are:

  • Weapon: Resource Cost Reduction, Intelligence, Vulnerable Damage
  • Focus: Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction.

Hint: Press SHIFT over an item to compare it to what you're wearing!

Armor

Armor pieces typically grant us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves which offer a tidal wave of Offense. Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm: Mana Per Second, Cooldown Reduction.
  • Armor: Mana Per Second, Frost Nova Ranks.
  • Gloves: Ice Shards Ranks.
  • Pants: Armor, Intelligence.
  • Boots: Mana Per Second, Movement Speed.

Jewelry

Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet: Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction, Movement Speed.
  • Rings: Attack Speed, Intelligence, Crit Chance

If you have sockets on your items, fill them with the following;

  • Weapons: Sapphire
  • Armor: ‍Ruby
  • Jewelry: Skull

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Legendary Aspects

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specific Dungeons located around Sanctuary. For leveling there are a few aspects that can significantly help us if we have the funds to imprint them:

Top 3 Codex Leveling Aspects in Order:

AspectDungeon
1. Aspect of Piercing ColdDead Man's Dredge
Fractured Peaks
2. Prodigy’s AspectWitchwater
Hawezar
3. Aspect of ControlSunken Library
Kehjistan
4. Storm Swell AspectOnyx Hold
Dry Steppes

Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they are constantly replaced while leveling. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet, Rings, or Gloves instead.

Learn more details in our article covering the Codex of Power.

Helpful Legendary Aspects

There are more helpful Legendary Aspects for the Firewall Sorcerer that can either be found in the Codex of Power or Extracted from an item drop. Note that all Legendary Aspects can be found from item drops, and dropped Aspects can have higher rolls frequently making them significantly better than ones sourced from the Codex of Power.

  1. Frozen Memories
    • Great Aspect that helps us with both damage and Mana.
  2. The Conceited
    • This Aspect gives you a nice damage boost when your Ice Armor is active.
    • If you find this, drop 1 point in Protection passive so that you can activate the buff by using your other skills.
  3. The Accelerating
    • This gives you a bunch of Attack Speed almost all the time because Ice Shards can proc it easily even if your Critical Strike Chance is low.
  4. Shredding Blades
    • This aspect just gives us free Vulnerable Damage bonus which comes in handy after we switch to Destructive Ice Shards.

Discover every Sorcerer Legendary Aspect in our Sorcerer Overview.

How To Level

In Diablo 4 you level by completing the Campaign, collecting Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers, completing Helltide activities, grinding Dungeons, or interacting with the Seasonal mechanics. While there are many ways to level up in Diablo 4, not all of them are made equal.

Campaign Leveling

  • For your first character in Diablo 4, completing the Campaign provides the best gameplay experience and gives you access to key unlocks like your Mount.
    • If you don't have your Mount, you MUST progress the Campaign until you complete the quest Donan's Favor at the start of Act 4.
    • After obtaining your Mount you can skip the remainder of the campaign at any time.
    • The Campaign is the slowest way to level, but it's worth experiencing the Campaign and Diablo 4's storyline at least once.
    • To play Seasonal Content you need to have completed or skipped the Campaign.

Seasonal / Alt Leveling

  • Complete the Seasonal questline, progress your Seasonal Journey to unlock Legendary Aspects and work on your Seasonal powers.
  • If your account is below Rank 5 Renown in each zone, focus on completing your Renown.
    • This only needs to be done once per realm (Softcore / Hardcore).
  • Complete the Dungeons needed for any Legendary Aspects from your Codex of Power.
  • From level 1-50 you should focus on getting experience in Helltides by combining Helltide activities with Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers or complete Gathering Legion Events.
  • After level 50 you need to balance leveling up, Glyph Experience and participating in Endgame activities like Helltide, Tree of Whispers and Bosses. The fastest experience possible after reaching World Tier 3 is completing Nightmare dungeons with monsters exactly 10 levels above your current level. Check out our Nightmare Dungeon Tier List for the best Nightmare Dungeon layouts!
  • Around level 30-45 you should move to World Tier 3.
  • Around level 50-65 you should move to World Tier 4.
  • Alternatively: Get boosted by a friend to World Tier 4 then leech experience/loot and Glyph exp (post 50), in Nightmare dungeons.
  • Find the most efficient way of leveling your character in detail in our Speed Leveling Guide.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Let's look at some tips and tricks to remember when leveling up!

  • Level Up Your Potion. You need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion.
    • Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many Elixir recipes!
  • Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing.
    • This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.
  • Don't Imprint Your Best Aspect Onto Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly.
    • It is a better idea to put your best Offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.
  • Sacred is just better. Between level 30 and 50 you're able to beat the Capstone Dungeon and enter World Tier 3, you gain access to powerful Sacred items which have higher item power and better stats. Getting a Sacred weapon significantly improves your farming speed.
    • The same happens with World Tier 4 and Ancestral gear.

Summary

  • The Ice Shards Sorcerer is fun and powerful leveling build.
  • Shoot everything that moves with Ice Shards.
  • For even better effect, first make sure that it stops moving by casting Frost Nova.
  • Only use Frost Nova when there's 3+ enemies nearby to make its cooldown shorter.
  • Use Teleport, Ice Armor and Flame Shield to stay alive.
  • Unlock your Enchantment Slots ASAP.
  • Look out for helpful Legendary Aspects in the Codex of Power.
  • Read the Next Steps above to continue your journey.

Credits

Written by Northwar
Reviewed by Chewingnom

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