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"The Witcher 3": Griffin Set Piercing Cold Sign Build

Copyright CD Projekt Red

Copyright CD Projekt Red

I usually don’t play magic focused builds on my first playthrough. But I did make an exception when I first saw the Piercing Cold mutation on the Blood and Wine expansion. It looks so cool and badass. It can effortlessly end a fight, which is very effective on quest where you need to keep an NPC (non-playable character) alive.

Yup, this is the first build that I created when I first played Witcher 3. By default, relying on signs alone during the early game is not as effective as swords during combat. But it will change once your level gets higher and your equipment gets better. Not to mention how your perspective will alter once you experience how overpowered Piercing Cold is.

The real challenge in obtaining this build is unlocking the skill during your first play through. You can only get Piercing Cold once you unlock mutations, which is only available during Blood and Wine expansion. Although you can unlock the quest of Blood and Wine early, the enemy levels there are high, which makes it difficult if your character level is too low than the in-game recommendation. But with the right build and excellent reflexes, I’ve seen a dedicated player online (forgot his name just Google it) unlock it as early as level 18 (he’s really good). I have been able to unlock it at level 27.

Let’s proceed with more details of this build.


  • Speed killer.
  • Can easily wipe out group of enemies.
  • Griffin set can easily be obtained early game.
  • Blue Mutagen is easy to obtain.


  • Not as effective on bosses and large enemies.
  • The build is weak until you get the Piercing Cold, which is only available once you unlock mutations.


  • Aard Sweep – The most important sign skill that complements well with Piercing Cold. Piercing Cold works best when cast in 360 degrees.
  • Far-Reaching Aard – Increases the area of effect of your Aard.
  • Aard Intensity – Increases the effectiveness of Aard.
  • Shockwave – The extra damage won’t hurt.
  • Delusion – It’s a must-have skill even if it won’t be used for combat. The most important use of Delusion is during conversations. You’ll save a lot of effort and coin from this skill. Plus you’ll get some experience and good results.
  • Melt Armor – Weakens the defense of even the largest enemies.
  • Firestream – The skill will unleash the full damage potential of this build’s massive sign intensity.
  • Igni Intensity – Increases the damage of your Igni.
  • Sustained Glyphs – Make Yrden last longer.
  • Magic Trap – Aside from the continuous damage that it can deal, the skill complements with entanglement.
  • Yrden Intensity – Increases the intensity of yrden.
  • Supercharged Glyphs – Yrden is more effective when it can deal damage. Although it won’t be effective on enemies in new game plus, the stamina regen bonus is still useful.
  • Exploding Shield – Knocking back enemies when they hit you.
  • Active Shield – For healing your character. Useful when fighting enemies that deals high damage.
  • Quen Intensity – Makes your shield tougher.
  • Griffin School Technique – This skill is like it was made for Griffin set. It increases sign intensity and stamina recovery.
Copyright CD Projekt Red

Copyright CD Projekt Red


Griffin School Gear – Griffin set focuses on powering up your signs. The only thing that I don’t like about this set is its appearance.


  • Greater Veles Runestone – Increases your sign intensity.
  • Entanglement – With entanglement, you can easily cast Magic Trap and Yrden at the same time, maximizing the advantage of the six-piece bonus of the Griffin set.
  • Greater Glyph of Aard – Increases your Piercing Cold damage.
Copyright CD Projekt Red

Copyright CD Projekt Red


Piercing Cold – This build is nothing without this mutation. So what does Piercing Cold do? It makes Aard overpowered, by adding freezing effect on it. Enemy will die instantly if they’re knocked down by Aard and frozen by Piercing cold at the same time. But it doesn’t stop there, frozen foes that wasn’t knocked down will receive large amount of damage instead. Once you try Piercing Cold, your Aard will never be the same again.

Play Style

Your bread and butter skill is Aard with Piercing Cold mutation. You can easily end the fight by just spamming this skill, since most of the enemy encounters in this game are group of normal size enemies.

When it comes to dealing with large enemies and most bosses, Piercing Cold can still slow or freeze. Not to mention that the damage it deals is still decent. But of course, that is where Igni and Yrden comes in handy. The combination of Igni Melt Armor and Yrden Magic Trap can continuously sap away enemies health no matter how big they are. Otherwise, you can just burn them away by unleashing the full damage of this build’s sign intensity with Firestream.

Don’t forget how more powerful this build will become once you unlock the six-piece bonus from Griffin set. If you haven’t read it yet, Yrden size will increase to 40%, then staying inside Yrden provides bonus stamina regeneration, damage reduction from enemies, and massive increase to your sign intensity.

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