After my Red Suit build I continued testing several nova shields or generally shields that deal damage. When I got a Frozen Heart I ignored it at first because it seemed kinda boring. But since I got one with the Phasegrasp nova anointment I used it later on to crunch some numbers and determine how those novas interact with Amara’s skills. Shortly after equipping this shield I noticed enemies around me being frozen without the shield getting damaged at all…
Turns out the novas from the anointment directly interact with the Frozen Hearts special effect. No matter the action skill element enemies will get frozen to the constant novas. Even when you’re attuned to fire and deal fire damage with the novas they’ll still freeze. And they do that quite efficiently. I’ve seen cryo-resistant enemies with beefy shields getting frozen with a single nova. That’s insane.
I tested other nova shields with that anointment but I couldn’t find any special interaction on those. This seems to be unique to the Frozen Heart.
So, what benefits the most from frozen enemies in close range? Correct, melee and explosions due to elemental effect multipliers (300%). I put both melee and explosions in a build (Face-puncher + White Elephant) and this is the result:
Alternative Skill Tree (in case the official calculator is down)
The Eternal Fist
We use this in order to get the maximum duration out of a Phasegrasp cast so that the nova anointment on the shield will proc as often as possible.
The augment doesn’t really matter. You can alternatively use Stillness of Mind or Revelation but I found that Allure offers slightly better crowd control.
We want to be attuned to fire damage mostly in order to make good use of One With Nature and because 99% of the enemies in the game have a red health bar.
Root to Rise
Usually, I don’t use this skill, ever. That’s because it makes it more difficult to make use of the health-gating mechanic (if above 50% health enemies can’t one-shot you, you stop taking damage at 1% health for a short amount of time). But thanks to a Knife Drain relic we’ll gain more than 50% health in a single shot of the Face-puncher. So, the extra health can be quite useful.
The splash damage bonus interacts multiplicatively with the sticky grenades from White Elephant and the novas from the shield. That’s huge damage buff. The damage reduction is nice to have.
A huge amount of survivability. Enemies that aren’t frozen will have a hard time bringing us down.
We want to be as fast as possible to close gaps quickly in order to make use of the novas. This skill is perfect for that. The shield regen delay bonus is also good to have to recharge the shield and gain the benefit of the shields inherent healing nova sooner.
Find Your Center
More damage for the Face-puncher.
One With Nature
Our should will be down a lot and then the most dangerous element is fire. But since we’re attuned to fire (action skill element) we’ll gain a lot of defence by using this skill.
Do Unto Others
This skill doesn’t do a whole lot for us but I like to see these orbs flying around from time to time. There aren’t a lot of useful alternatives we could spend this skill point for.
Another defensive layer. Allows for more careless gameplay.
Even more damage to our Face-puncher.
We use this only for the reload speed bonus. The other bonuses are rather pointless since we can’t switch modes and weapon swaps aren’t used either.
It’s just there in order to progress further down the tree. The little increase in elemental effect chance is hardly noticeable on the shield novas and sticky grenades but it’s still more useful than Do Harm that does absolutely nothing for our action skill (The Eternal Fist).
Just a bit more reload speed for the Face-puncher, especially useful when combined with a Phasezerker class mod.
We want as much uptime on Phasegrasp as possible in order to get the most out of the freezing novas. When using a Phasezerker class mod and a bit of cooldown reduction on a class mod or and/or artifact a few points can be reallocated. But there aren’t a whole lot of better options.
More accurate Face-puncher = more damage. Simple.
On non-elemental weapons, Infusion is almost always beneficial. The damage will get boosted by Tempest.
Buffs Infusion’s converted damage, the sticky grenade damage (White Elephant) and the shield’s nova damage. It’s a no-brainer.
Yet another damage bonus for our Face-puncher.
To make this build work we need two specific items, the gun and the shield. The gun isn’t really necessary if you actually melee enemies.
We only need a single weapon for everything: The Face-puncher. It benefits from both gun and melee damage. And since the game considers its projectiles to be melee attacks it will proc our melee relics and get further boosted by frozen enemies. If you want to actually melee enemies this item isn’t required.
For maximum damage use a Redundant one since each pellet can proc a separate instance of White Elephants effect. When it comes to anointments either +100% weapon damage or +125% splash damage (when using White Elephant) are the best ones.
Aurelia’s Frozen Heart is the cornerstone of this build. It’s the only item that is 100% required and we need one with the Phasegrasp nova anointment that constantly procs the freezing effect.
There are two relics that are extremely useful in this build:
White Elephant is great when paired with the Face-puncher since each shotgun pellet has the chance to attach a sticky grenade. Try to get a Knife Drain version since it allows us to be nearly invincible while dishing out a lot of damage simultaneously. Try to get one with Area of effect (splash) damage on it because it will buff the sticky grenade and shield nova damage.
Bullet Vamp (non-legendary) / Cut Purse (legendary prefix) allows us to shoot an enemy once with the Face-puncher and have a full shotgun ammo pool. Keep this in your inventory and switch to it from time to time when running low on ammo. All the other stats on it don’t matter.
There are a lot of options:
- Avenger for One With Nature and Illuminated Fists
- Brawler for Arms Deal
- Rabbit for all of its bonuses
- Tiger for Restless and Wrath
- Warrior for Arms Deal and Jab Cross
- Phasezerker for +45% gun damage and +45% cooldown reduction
- Nimbus for Tempest
- Breaker for the damage reduction, Find Your Center and Jab Cross
More importantly, try to get one with as many splash damage and radius bonuses as possible. Both the shield novas and White Elephant sticky grenades will benefit from this multiplicative bonus.