Are they strong
It depends on the rest of your build. For best results:
- Max the tree
- Get 300% casting speed (occult rings are good for that)
- Buff your INT up
- Make sure to have enough energy/energy regen so that you can cast ice shards often without getting drained
also get the second mastery warfare and dual wield "persephone's caress" , you'll have a bonus of +200% cold damage and +100 hp regen/second (BS is just too awesome with enough -recharge)
Yeah, but choosing a fight mastery as a second one means you can't invest as many points in INT. However it is up to you. There are many good ways to make ice shards good.
This guy has it totally legit, recharge, energy cost, and damage-wise, despite the low ratings. Head - something of concentration -> -20%, Archmage's Clasp -> -40%, Polaris -> -15%, and Talisman of the Jade Emperor -> -25% = -100% recharge
x2 Persephone's Caress = +200% Cold Damage, BS, and Eye of the Storm.
Also includes awesome music from D'Agostino.
-Recharge isn't needed for the ice shards. It can be useful for the skills you are using to support ice shards.
If you are just starting out you won't have a lot of -recharge gear for a while. You need some fast cast and -energy cost gear, both of which can be purchased in shops on rings and amulets. And relics found even in act 1 are useful.
Just don't pump up your shards skill much early on. A few points in shard, a few in synergies, heart of frost, and the second wisp skill, and run up your secondary mastery tree for more health and energy.
If you want to go pure mage Nature is a good choice for your secondary mastery. The Oak line will give life, reduce the energy cost of your shards, and give resists. Later when you find -recharge gear you can work in Briar Ward. And you can pick up wolves for tanks (after normal.) Nature also has plague for a debuff.
Dream is also a good choice for a secondary mastery for a pure mage although it has different advantages than the nature tree--mainly crowd control.
Ice Shards doesn't need -% Recharge because it does not have cool-down period.
It need Fast Cast instead.