[Guide] General Guide for Wizards in Inferno [PRE 2.0 PATCH]

  • #1
    Posted this on reddit also, but wanted to post here too. Here's a link to my post on reddit: http://www.reddit.co...rds_in_inferno/

    INTRODUCTION
    This guide is intended only to cover the basics of the wizard class in inferno; i.e. what the popular builds are and how to gear your wizard in a general sense. A friend of mine just hit 60 on his wizard and asked me to write something up for him so I decided to make it into this post in case anybody else is interested. It’s a general guide; if I don’t mention your build or your strategy it doesn’t mean I think it sucks, I’m just posting general information on what I perceive to be the popular builds/strategies. The guide is geared towards preparing for and clearing act3/4 inferno, and eventually farming act 3.

    BUILDS

    BLIZZARD KITING BUILDS
    Example: http://us.battle.net...ROQS!Ydf!bbbYZZ

    Strategy:
    This build’s strength comes from the use of two combos: Blizzard’s strong 60% slow + Venom Hydra’s stacking DOT pools, and Teleport + Illusionist. To play this build you want to engage from max distance (preferably the very edge of the screen) by dropping a hydra about halfway between you and the mobs and then dropping a blizzard on top of them and then a line of blizzards between you and them. This way the mobs will walk through your blizzard trail while slowed and take continuous damage from both the blizzard and the venom hydra. When possible, you spam your signature spell to add damage. Continue this while kiting. When/if the mobs eventually get to you, you take a hit (which is reduced to 35% of your HP by force armor) and then teleport away. Since you have illusionist, you can do this every time you take a hit. For sustainability in the longish fights vs. elites you need some form of healing - life regen/sec is the most effective in combination with force armor.

    This is the build I used to clear inferno and after trying numerous other builds its what I’ve come back to and currently use to farm act 3. A lot of people find it boring but its very efficient. Since 1.0.3 I have not had to skip a single elite pack in act 3 while farming and I generally die less than once an hour farming act 3.

    Pros/Cons:
    +Least gear dependant of all the builds, great for new 60 wizards, but still scales well
    +Extremely safe due to permanent Blizzard slow + Illusionist/Teleport
    +Great AOE damage from Blizzard + Venom Hydra + Piercing Orb
    -Some people find it boring
    -You have to kite a lot, you can’t stand and tank like the prismatic armor builds
    - Relies somewhat on skillful play to avoid taking hits

    Choices/Variants:
    Signature Spell - I like Piercing Orb for better AOE damage and for shielding/invulnerable minion packs, but some people prefer Magic Missile - Seeker.

    Blizzard - Stark Winter is a viable alternative to Snowbound.

    Teleport - Some people prefer Fracture to Wormhole, both are fine.

    4th Skill - I recommend Force Weapon at lower gear levels, but once you get enough DPS you can switch to Diamond Skin, or if you find yourself dying too much. Some people think Familiar - Sparkflint is better than Force Weapon. Some people like Mirror Images or Frost Nova here too, but I don’t think they are as strong.

    CRITICAL MASS BUILDS
    Example: http://us.battle.net...YXhj!gWY!YZcbcZ

    Strategy:
    These builds are based primarily on utilizing high crit rate and the Critical Mass passive to constantly refresh cooldowns such as Frost Nova and Diamond Skin. Some use Prismatic Armor instead of Force Armor and build fairly tanky so that they can stand in melee range. They rely either on Spectral Blades or Energy Twister - Wicked Wind to trigger Critical Mass as much as possible. The Energy Twister variants are probably more gear dependant because you will need AP on Crit gear in order to not run out of AP, but the Spectral Blades variants probably require more defensive/resistance gear. These are the builds I have the least experience with, so I would refer people to http://www.windupwizard.com/ for more specifics on what’s probably the most popular variant of the build.

    Pros/Cons:
    +Much less kiting required, can often stand still and spam abilities
    +Some consider it more fun/exciting, possibly more fast paced depending on the variant
    +Able to put out massive dps - see the video of the Belial kill on the link above
    -More gear dependant than the force armor builds
    -Not nearly as safe as the blizzard/vhydra build since you are in melee range and don’t have teleport
    -Requires careful play to make sure the combo doesn’t “fizzle out”

    Choices/Variants:
    Spectral Blades vs. Wicked Wind
    Prismatic Armor + Tanky gear vs foregoing that and relying on Diamond Skin + Frost Nova spam.
    Lots of variance in the damaging abilities used - some use meteor, some explosive blast.

    ARCANE ORB BUILDS
    Example: http://us.battle.net...XOQS!YdU!YbaYZZ

    Strategy:
    These builds are kiting builds similar to the Blizzard build above, but replace Blizzard with Arcane Orb + Temporal Flux for the slow. At higher gear levels it’s possible to drop Temporal Flux altogether due to the damage output of Arcane Orb. The basic strategy is similar to the Blizzard build above; engage from max range, drop Hydra and spam Arcane Orb while kiting. When you get caught, you rely on Illusionist + Teleport to get away.

    Pros/Cons:
    +Less gear dependant than the Critical Mass or Archon builds
    +High burst damage from hard hitting Arcane Orbs
    +Fairly safe kiting build
    -Not as safe as the Blizzard build since you are using a weaker/less reliable slow
    -More gear dependant than the Blizzard build
    -Relies on kiting, which some find boring

    Choices/Variants:
    Orb - Tap the Source is the most popular rune for Arcane Orb, but some people use Obliterate or Celestial Orb. To use these you probably need to add a signature spell, likely Magic Missile - Seeker.

    Hydra - Arcane Hydra can be used instead of Venom Hydra to make the build safer by adding a more reliable slow. It is less damage, but not tons less and is perfectly viable/safer. Probably better at lower gear levels.

    Teleport - Again, some prefer Fracture to Wormhole.

    3rd and 4th Skills - Any combination of Diamond Skin / Force Weapon / Familiar - Sparkflint / Frost Nova / Mirror Images is fine.

    Passives - At higher gear levels you can drop Temporal Flux for something else.

    ARCHON BUILDS
    Example: http://us.battle.net...jOQS!Ybg!YcacZZ

    Strategy:
    These builds revolve around being in Archon the most time possible and using it to quickly melt everything. They are the most gear dependant, but probably also the most efficient at the highest levels of gear. Your buffs such as Energy Armor, Force Weapon and Familiar persist into Archon form, which itself also adds 40% resists/armor. The goal is to buff your dps as high as possible, pop archon, and maintain it by killing tons of mobs to get a bonus to the duration from each kill. Once Archon ends your goal is to refresh it as quickly as possible so that you can do it again. Actually killing things with Archon is self-explanatory, just hold down right click and point at the mobs. Don’t forget that you likely don’t have an escape or CC spell though and will quickly die if you allow anything to actually get to you and hit you.

    Pros/Cons:
    +Insane speed/efficiency at high gear levels
    +Hilariously fun to melt entire screens of enemies in 1-2 seconds and champ packs in 5-10 seconds
    +Great AOE damage, great single target damage, trivializes certain boss fights
    -Most gear dependant build
    -Not very safe while in Archon form due to no escape spell or CC
    -Weak/vulnerable when Archon is on cooldown

    Choices/Variants:
    Archon Rune - I think Improved Archon, Teleport or Pure Power are the best. Some people use Slow Time.

    What you do when you aren’t in Archon is up for debate. Some people take Arcane Orb and try to farm or at least clear white mobs with that while Archon is down. Another strategy (the one in the build linked above) is to take Critical Mass and either Wicked Wind or Spectral Blades to try to refresh Archon as quickly as possible. I prefer the latter.

    GEARING YOUR WIZARD FOR INFERNO

    Tools:
    The Wizard DPS spreadsheet, the best way to compare gear and decide on potential DPS upgrades:
    https://docs.google....dNdS1TeWc#gid=1

    The EHP calculator, an essential tool if you’re using force armor and very useful regardless:
    http://rubensayshi.g...lculator/#intro

    The maximum values of stats which can appear on gear of different slots:
    http://www.d3rmt.com...maximum-values/

    Offense - Your primary offensive stats are int, crit chance, crit damage, attack speed and bonus damage, and not necessarily in that order. The relative value of all of these stats depends entirely on how much of them you already have, and the only good way to figure it out for you individually is with the DPS spreadsheet I linked above. Just as an example, for me with my current gear my equivalencies are as follows: 1% crit = 27.28 int, 1% crit damage = 4.47 int, 1% IAS = 22.29 int, and 1 average bonus damage = 2.52 int. Bonus damage is an often overlooked damage stat that can be very valuable and can often be found on jewelry for less cost than its worth because people overlook it. Stacking crit + crit damage is really the only way to get very high dps.

    2h vs 1h + source is an endless debate, but after trying both extensively I prefer 1h + source, mostly because you can get crit chance on the offhand which I think at higher gear levels pushes 1H+OH over any 2h. If you are just starting out in inferno a good 2h may be cheaper and a better way to go initially.

    Defense - Your primary defensive stats are vit, % life, bonus armor (which includes strength), resistances (which includes intellect), life regen, dexterity (everybody should have at least 100), movement speed (which includes IAS), and for some builds life on hit. Which of these stats and how much of them you want depends very much on whether you are using force armor or prismatic armor, which I’ll address more below.

    Gearing by slot:
    As you’ll have noticed from the link above, various different stats can appear or can not appear on different slots, and in different amounts. That means there is a strategy for which stats you want to look for on each slot. Generally, the slots you should focus on for offensive stats are your jewelry, helm, bracers, gloves, weapon and offhand, while you should focus on defensive stats on your shoulders, chest, legs, belt, and boots because, except for legendaries, those slots can’t spawn the good dps stats. Every slot should have some amount of int.

    DPS gear:
    Helm - You want the highest int and crit chance you can afford. A socket is nice, but not necessary and sometimes artifically inflates the price. Use a calculator to compare your gain from the % life on the socket to what you can get on an unsocketed helm in terms of vit and % life. This is one of the two slots (gloves are the other) that can spawn particularly high int, so this is a relatively cheap place to get a lot of it.

    Gloves - You really want int, crit chance and crit damage all on this item. This slot, along with the amulet and the weapon, is the best place to look for crit damage. These three slots (gloves/ammy/weapon) are likely going to be both the most expensive and the most worth spending on. Again, one of the two slots that can spawn especially high int.

    Bracers - Again you want int and crit chance here. There are a lot of these on the market, probably due to crafting, so this is a slot you can get a very good value on.

    Amulet - Similar to the gloves, but more expensive. Int, crit chance and crit damage are all mandatory. Bonus damage is a nice plus as well, and can lead to you getting more of a bang for buck on this slot. For example, an amulet with +15-25 damage adds 20 average bonus damage, which for me would equate to an additional 50 int in terms of dps. IAS would be great but unless you are super rich you aren’t getting all of that on one amulet.

    Rings - Crit chance and crit damage both spawn on this item, but the crit damage modifier on rings is fairly low and adds a ton to the cost of the item. Its often a better idea to skip it in favor of getting more crit chance, some bonus damage, or some IAS.

    Weapon - If you’re just starting out this is going to be one of your biggest purchases, and is also your biggest opportunity to both get a ton of value or to vastly overspend. Basically, weapon DPS is highly overvalued by a lot of people, and the stats on the weapons are undervalued, although that is becoming less true as more people are figuring this out. For example, with my current gear I could replace my 789 dps weapon (with 126 int, 65% crit damage and a socket with a 90% crit damage gem) with a 1450 dps blue weapon with no stats and I would lose dps. A 1500 dps blue weapon with no stats would very slightly raise my dps. Obviously such weapons don’t even exist. The point is to use the spreadsheet when you make this purchase and actually figure out which weapons are best before you overspend for listed dps. Another thing is that weapon speed on a 1h matters when you are using an offhand and have bonus damage from gear, so you are generally going to want to buy either a sword, wand, or dagger. The 1.3 speed 1h axe can be acceptable too if it has good enough stats, but a 1.2 speed mace or spear needs much higher stats to be better so they probably won’t be cost efficient for you.

    Offhand - Bonus damage is king on this item. Here’s a thread explaining some of the math on why that is:
    http://www.reddit.co...ds_and_why_you/
    Basically at a minimum you want the numbers on the offhand to add up to 400, for a total of 200 bonus damage, bare minimum. Don’t buy anything less than that. 450 total is better and what you’ll want eventually, and 500 total is near perfect. The biggest stat to look for on this item is crit chance. You really want a source with the highest bonus damage and crit chance that you can afford.

    Defense gear:
    Shoulders - Int/vit/resists/life regen. Nothing special here, probably the most boring slot for wizards. I wore a blue archon spaulders with 170 int / a bunch of vit for the longest time, because there just isn’t anything special here. Probably best to pick up something like that if you’re on a budget. Good slot to get your resists as they are usually cheaper here than on chest/pants.

    Chest - One of the two slots that can spawn a particularly high vit, the other being the pants. Also the slot that can spawn the most life regen. If you’re using a force armor build you want life regen here. Also, its almost always best to get one with 3 sockets.

    Belt - Sort of like the shoulders, nothing really special here. It can spawn high strength so sometimes that’s a good find as strength = armor and you get 65% more of it from energy armor. Like shoulders, a good slot to get your resists as they are usually cheaper than on chest/pants.

    Legs - Another slot to get your vit from. Get one with 2 sockets, it's almost always better.

    Boots - 11%+ movement speed is mandatory, and 12% is better. This is a slot that can spawn high dex so it’s a good place to make sure you’re over 100. Another good spot to grab resists potentially.

    Force Armor vs. Prismatic armor builds:
    If you’re going for prismatic armor you’re going to need a lot more EHP and resistances. If that’s the case, there really isn’t much to say other than just get as much as you can afford. However, for force armor its much more tricky.

    Force armor reduces any hit to 35% of your HP, but it cannot reduce the hit by more than 100% of your HP. Therefore, Force Armor does one of four things when you get hit:
    A) The hit is for less than 35% of your HP. Force Armor does nothing.
    B ) The hit is for more than 35% of your HP but less than 135% of your HP. The hit is reduced to 35% of your HP.
    C) The hit is for more than 135% of your HP but less than 199% of your HP. The hit is reduced by 100% of your HP and you live with a varying amount of life left depending on how hard the hit was.
    D) The hit is for more than 199% of your HP. Since Force Armor can only reduce it by 100% of your HP, you die.

    I wrote two large posts about this in the past, one pre-1.0.3 and an update after 1.0.3. You can find them here:
    http://www.reddit.co...ent_use_out_of/
    and here:
    http://www.diablofan...032#entry951032

    The short story is that for Act 3 inferno you want 117.5k EHP in order to not take more than 35% of your life from any hit. This is fairly easy to obtain. Also, fire and physical are the most common sources of damage so you can fudge a little bit by getting those to 117.5k EHP while shorting the others a little.

    Obviously, there are various ways to get to 117.5k EHP, because vit, % life, resistances and armor all contribute. However, the optimal way to do it is by raising resistances and armor as much as possible while reducing vit and % life. You will still need a good bit of HP, probably at least 20k, but if you can get to 117.5k EHP while keeping your life low your survivability will increase dramatically because you will get a much larger benefit from heals. This makes the life regen stat very strong. If you can get to 117.5k EHP with 20k hp, then 1k of life regen will full heal you in 20 seconds and heal a hit that is absorbed by force armor in 7 seconds.

    AP on Crit:
    This stat is important for some builds and only appears on Wizard Hats, Sources, and Wands. It’s expensive on good items and part of what makes the critical mass and arcane orb builds more gear dependant.

    ABOUT ME

    I’ve played a wizard as my main character since release. I cleared inferno on 6/7/12, pre-patch: http://imgur.com/4bbB6
    My profile: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Morphos-1475/hero/1467
  • #2
    Awesome post bro! Especially in gearing POV!

    I would like some advice on EHP since I can't understand it at all. Currently I am running with 60k dps, 31k hp, 3600k armor and 500 AR. I recently upgraded some items and got these numbers. I went to A3 to test it, and still got punished... I would like to know if the values are ok to do the act, or should I invest in a little bit more gear in general.
  • #3
    Quote from n0vaes

    Awesome post bro! Especially in gearing POV!

    I would like some advice on EHP since I can't understand it at all. Currently I am running with 60k dps, 31k hp, 3600k armor and 500 AR. I recently upgraded some items and got these numbers. I went to A3 to test it, and still got punished... I would like to know if the values are ok to do the act, or should I invest in a little bit more gear in general.


    Plug your numbers in to the calculator here: http://rubensayshi.g...lculator/#intro

    I don't know if the numbers you listed are buffed or unbuffed. Assuming they are buffed, thats about 172k EHP. That is more than enough to reduce hits to 35% of your life when using force armor, but if you aren't using force armor you will probably die in 2 hits to most Act 3 mobs.
  • #4
    Awesome post, thanks for sharing.
  • #5
    MEGUSTA. Thanks!
  • #6
    really great guide, thanks so much.... now please go level a WD and report with your findings :D

    One question, do you know of a site somewhat like the one you list for max values on items, but instead for weapon dps by ilvl? Im constantly wondering is my ilvl 25-59 weapon that just dropped has awesome dps for its lvl...
  • #7
    Awesome post. Everything I was interested in knowing found in one spot.
  • #8
    Nice summary.
    I think that you should add mirror images as 4th choice skill for blizzard/hydra build. The image AI sucks but after switching to this skill from diamond skin and getting used to it, i cut my deaths by ~50% in act 3.

    The good thing about MI is that it will make you "clean", meaning that it will break you out of jail/freeze/slow and it will also remove some nasty things such as diablo`s melee dot and act 3 succubus debuff. The bad thing is (only from what i have seen) that in their infinite wisdom, Blizzard has decided not to implement any kind of diminishing return on CC skills (or any other kind of a limit) that mobs can cast on you. So you will on occasion break out from one jail just to instantly get caught in another. This can partially be negated by illusionist passive.

    How i use it:
    Do not cast it if the mobs are close to you and you cant take a hit. You should try to outrun them instead because MI can "push" you closer to the mobs.
    Do not cast it if you are fighting mortar enemies because it might just push you into that volley... You can cast it if you want to get into melee though to get into mortar deadzone.
    It is really good against archer type mobs, you just have to cast it and make a quick, short step back. This will place your images in front of you. But if you step too far back they will run after you and regroup behind your back (/facepalm).
    If you cast it whille hugging a wall or any other "edge" kind of object, you can avoid the annoying push (works for me most of the time)
    Use it offensively as well... it is great for making mobs stand still in those poison pools.

    Sorry for the long post.
  • #9
    Quote from Morphos

    Boots - 11%+ movement speed is mandatory, and 12% is better. This is a slot that can spawn high dex so it’s a good place to make sure you’re over 100. Another good spot to grab resists potentially.


    Is that a typo and meant to be high INT?
    My EHP and DPS Spreadsheet, mostly useful for wizards.
    My wizard, mostly useful for killing demons and collecting loot.
    Wizard CM DPS Simulator, written in Matlab, release version 1.01
    Comprehensive CMWW Guide, including gear and build suggestions, plus Uber strats
    Arcane Mines Guide, detailed guide for the highest dps wizard build, including vids
  • #10
    Is that a typo and meant to be high INT?

    I doubt it, 500 dex will give you 20% dodge AFAIK. That is a TON of mitigation considering that most people think of dex as a wasted stat on a wizard. That said, 500 might be a bit too much and there is really no point in going over it imo, considering that 100 gives you 10% AFAIK. So i think that if you can grab relatively painless to your other stats, do it.
  • #11
    Quote from safka

    Is that a typo and meant to be high INT?

    I doubt it, 500 dex will give you 20% dodge AFAIK. That is a TON of mitigation considering that most people think of dex as a wasted stat on a wizard. That said, 500 might be a bit too much and there is really no point in going over it imo, considering that 100 gives you 10% AFAIK. So i think that if you can grab relatively painless to your other stats, do it.

    100 will give u 10% as base, I have like 650, thats like 23% dodge, though I never looked for dex, those were bonus stats, but the dodge has saved me a few times though its not something to rely on....
  • #12
    Quote from Loroese

    Quote from Morphos

    Boots - 11%+ movement speed is mandatory, and 12% is better. This is a slot that can spawn high dex so it’s a good place to make sure you’re over 100. Another good spot to grab resists potentially.


    Is that a typo and meant to be high INT?


    No I meant dex... You want at least 100 dex on your gear for the 10% dodge, and 500 gets you to 20%. Since boots can spawn much higher dex than other slots, its a good place to pick up the dex for "free." Obviously you're looking for high int boots with movement speed, its just that you're more likely to find good dex as a bonus stat on boots.
  • #13
    I have 124k EHP with my current gear and I get one hited by demonic tremor champion of act 3 recently, although I got force armor up

    what am I missing?
  • #14
    Quote from Goldroger_82

    I have 124k EHP with my current gear and I get one hited by demonic tremor champion of act 3 recently, although I got force armor up

    what am I missing?

    demonic tremors have 2 different attacks, the "2 claw" or whatever attack will 1 shot u with that EHP(around 120), so u can either avoid places with tremors or up your ehp a little(I think 150k EHP) should be sufficient not to die in one hit to that double attack, but there will be some good damage bleeding through force armor.
  • #15
    Oh thanks, I will need a list of mobs that hit that hard to avoid this kind of situations because I don't want to sacrifice DPS right now in order to get more EHP
  • #16
    Quote from Goldroger_82

    Oh thanks, I will need a list of mobs that hit that hard to avoid this kind of situations because I don't want to sacrifice DPS right now in order to get more EHP


    I would actually love to see a list of damage amounts of the more extreme mobs and/or bosses so we could have other threshholds to possibly gear around. Unfortunatelly I haven't seen any such lists yet.
    My EHP and DPS Spreadsheet, mostly useful for wizards.
    My wizard, mostly useful for killing demons and collecting loot.
    Wizard CM DPS Simulator, written in Matlab, release version 1.01
    Comprehensive CMWW Guide, including gear and build suggestions, plus Uber strats
    Arcane Mines Guide, detailed guide for the highest dps wizard build, including vids
  • #17
    First of all GREAT post man... very good info for us mages :)))

    so 1 question ,i am trying to find a build to farm more efficiently act3 cause atm i havent found one.. so i am back to act1 farmin..

    my stats are:

    32 k Life
    51 k DPS
    37 % crit
    270 % crit dmg
    400 all resists

    I am using a Hybrid ARCANE ORB build with blizzard since some weeks now..

    Can u guys suggest me a good archon build for act3 farmin plz ? or a good build for my gear... at the moment i can do all act3 except 1 or 2 elite types... but my problem is i am not doing it fast enough..

    thanks in advance
  • #18
    Hi guys on the subject of EHP, I've been testing this out with a naked (gasp!) wiz
    Theres a damage range to hits so I have listed the max:

    Colossal Gol - 159k (the big hit)
    Phase beasts(elite) - 128k (bonus! Firechains 29k)
    Swift skull cleaver - 177k
    Demonic tremor - 160k dodgable big hit, 100k 1hand hit
    I was also under the impression that elites get a 25% dmg boost? Can someone confirm
    Testing was done till 30sec death timer respawn reached and I remade

    So it looks like 180k is the min you can get away with atm

    I also dont think you should include dodge chance in EHP calcs for force armour. However successful hits will often 'bleed' through if you're dancing on the edge.
  • #19
    Can you tell me why you don't have Prismatic Armor in your Critical Mass build? Also, Glass Cannon, seriously?

    Your Critical Mass build pros and cons are all wrong, and the comment about either Prismatic OR Diamond Skin / Nova made me giggle a bit. :)

    Also, for further reference, you really may want to be a bit more specific with regards to how to gear each build...
  • #20
    I really appreciate your work and cross post here. I'll be trying a few of these builds to take a break from the standard venom hydra + piercing orb + blizzard spec. Hopefully I can find something better that suits my style and gear that way.
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