Foreword and Table of Contents
This is a guide and build compendium for Manald Heal Lightning Wizard - a rotation based Archon build that uses Manald Heal as its main source of damage. The basic mechanics as well as the different gearing choices will be explained in detail and will hopefully clear up some regular questions rumoring within the community. Specifically, this guide is split into three bigger sections:
- Basics: Covers item, skill, and gem choices.
- Variants: Presents the various builds for Nephalem Rifts, Bounties, Speed Greater Rifts, Rift Guardian Killer in high group Greater Rifts, and solo pushing Greater Rifts.
- Mechanics: An in-depth analysis of common recurring questions, mostly regarding the solo push variant.
- Playstyle: Q&A on how to play the Hydra/Coe GR variant in GR pushes (group and solo).
If you’re new to the MH Tal/Vyr Wizard, we recommend thoroughly reading the first section. While there are already a ton of existing guides for this wizard, they often do not distinguish between the different variants and gearing choices; the second section is meant to clear up this confusion. The third and final part of this guide, covering advanced mechanics, is what hasn’t previously been covered, to our knowledge. It is targeting more advanced players who already have a deep understanding of this build and are seeking to min/max the solo push variant.
Archon Tal/Vyr iterations of Wizard were popularized mainly in Season 6, not only as a single DPS build but also as one of the most potent torment farming builds. With the subsequent Patch 2.4.2 Blizzard nerfed overlapping archon instances with The Swami from being multiplicative with each other to being additive. The go-to Arcane Tal/Vyr Wizard farm build was missing its strongest multiplier and was rendered useless for T13 farming at that point (the nerf at hand made it so the build would only do roughly a quarter of its original damage on a 100 archon-stacks overlap).
With Patch 2.4.3 Blizzard introduced new Legendary Affixes to existing Legendary Items, one of which was Manald Heal.
Manald Heal, as a separate 140.0 multiplier, quickly compensated the nerfed ~3.8 multiplier from 2.4.2, such that farming builds incorporated it; leading to MH Tal/Vyr setups. The same multiplier was embedded in solo iterations, leading to a ET-MH Tal/Vyr solo push setup that is still being run by a few players as of today. Nowadays, we define the meta pushing build for solo wizard, created by Luu#1987 and popularized by /u/xTonyJ, as a rotation-based Convention of Elements (CoE) variant. The guide at hand explains all the basics, mechanics and gearing choices leading up to said solo variant, including Torment farming iterations along the way.
TL;DR: Here’s a summary of the common items and skills present in every variant.
Equipped Basic Items
- Tal Rasha's Elements (5 pieces)
- Requires you to play four different elements in your build. Each elemental stack boosts your damage by 750% and resistances by 25%.
- Vyr's Amazing Arcana (3 pieces)
- Strongest 4 piece bonus in the game - granting you 1% Armor, 1% All Resistance, and 1% Attack Speed per Archon stack.
- Manald Heal
- Main source of damage. Our goal will be applying its damage proc as frequently as possible.
- Fazula’s Improbable Chain
- This belt jump-starts our Archon rotation by granting us up to 50 initial stacks for the important Vyr 4-piece bonus. The higher we go in Greater Rifts, the more important it is to get a perfectly rolled secondary of 50 stacks (more on that in the mechanics section).
- This slot is exchangeable with the cubed items. However, Starfire is incorporated in all presented iterations due to its sheer power as a separate multiplier.
Equipped Situational Items
- Nemesis Bracers
- A no-brainer for Torment farming efficiency.
- Ancient Parthan Defenders
- Main source of damage reduction for solo pushing. A maximum legendary affix value is mandatory.
- Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer
- Main source of damage reduction for group speed farming. Base item for Hardcore iterations.
- Lacuni Prowlers
- Additional source of attack speed, which is needed to hit the Hydra breakpoints for a group RGK setup. Sadly, due to its default rolls, it's not possible to get the %ranged reduction secondary.
- Avarice Band
- In combination with Boon of the Hoarder probably the best Torment farming efficiency item combination.
- Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
- Allows us to quickly reset Archon. Requires a resource-spending attack (usually Arcane Torrent or Ray of Frost). Can be used in group speed Greater Rift setups (not uncommon at the start of the season) and in Torment farming iterations. Recommended for beginners.
- Convention of Elements
- Used for solo pushing and group Greater Rift speed farming. Build defining. Requires you to play a specific cooldown reduction breakpoint in solo. NOTE: Not recommended for beginners; only start playing with CoE once you have mastered this build and you have high CDR.
- Mandatory for torment farming and group speed Greater Rift farming. Sets your Archon downtime to 0 seconds, if you kill multiple elites within one Archon instance.
- Aether Walker
- Mandatory for solo pushing to keep your damage reduction up via Ancient Parthan Defenders and Teleport:Calamity.
- Starfire is incorporated in all presented iterations due to its sheer power as a separate multiplier.
- Serpent Sparker
- Mandatory for group pushing in a RGK setup. Effectively doubles your damage.
- Cosmic Strand
- For the bounty variant - maximizes movement speed. Can only be cubed since we need to wear the Tal orb.
- The Swami
- Exchangeable with Fazula’s Improbable Chain via Tal Rasha's Brace. However, it's highly recommended to cube The Swami and wear Tal Rasha's Headpiece due to inferior secondary affixes on The Swami (this is extremely relevant for solo iterations).
- Fazula’s Improbable Chain
- Can be cubed, but shouldn't (see The Swami explanation above). Should only be cubed if you don't own a 50 stacks variant but you need 50 stacks to hit your Disintegration Wave breakpoint.
- Ring of Royal Grandeur
- Mandatory to activate Tal Rasha's Elements 6PC bonus and Vyr's Amazing Arcana 4PC bonus. Should be cubed and not worn due to its default rolls.
- Manald Heal
- Mandatory. Frequently cubed especially at the start of a season. It's recommended to equip Manald Heal due to RoRG’s default rolls.
- Avarice Band
- In combination with Boon of the Hoarder probably the best torment farming efficiency item combination.
- Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
- Commonly used for season start. A lazy man's item for Torment farming in later stages. Also has relevance for group speed Greater Rift farming.
- Convention of Elements
- Besides Manald Heal your strongest damage multiplier. Only used in higher Greater Rifts (solo or speed farming).
You can skip this section, if you are only interested in mandatory minimum requirements: Lightning damage on bracers (all variants), Arcane Power on Crit on source (all variants except for CoE group GRs), 62.63% minimum CDR (68.24% with Gogok) and 3.34 APS on Archon overlap (solo push), 62.63% minimum CDR (68.24% with Gogok) and 4.02 APS on Archon overlap (group push). We highly recommend players interested in solo pushing to read this section to help them evaluate their mitigation choices.
- %Lightning Damage: Mandatory for all variants. Only available on bracers and necklace in this setup. You need at least one instance on one of these two items to ensure your Archon will be Lightning. The value itself doesn't have to be a maximum roll since Manald Heal's damage proc doesn't scale with it. You should always get this roll on bracers instead of necklace, since the necklace has more valuable primary affixes that increase your damage output (CHC, CHD, AVG) or CDR.
- Attack Speed (IAS): The only attack speed roll on gear that is mandatory for all variants is the one on the weapon; it's the only source of multiplicative attack speed. All other attack speed rolls are determined by your stack value on Fazula’s Improbable Chain in combination with your base weapon attack speed. In certain situations (for solo) the Enchantress ability Focused Mind can free up the attack speed roll on chest.
- Average Damage (AVG): Severely underrated (especially by both newer and advanced players) primary affix; since to most players it's unclear how to evaluate this affix. Rolls by default on offhand and mainhand. Other eligible slots are jewelry. For solo you have the luxury to roll one jewerly slot with average damage if and only if you have perfect CDR on all other items; yielding the exact minimum CDR breakpoint of 68.24% (Gogok included). In group push you'll need the "free non-CDR" roll to be attack speed to hit your Hydra breakpoints.
- Critical Hit Chance (CHC): No-brainer DPS primary affix. Maximum roll on every available slot for all variants.
- Critical Hit Damage (CHD): No-brainer DPS primary affix. Maximum roll on every available slot for all variants.
- Intelligence (INT): Maximum roll on every available slot except Jewelry for all variants except group pushing. This is where you'll need quadfecta gloves (IAS, CHC, CHD, CDR).
- %Elite Reduction: Only available slots are offhand and chest. Offhand is out of the question due to the DPS stats available on this slot. By far the strongest reduction affix available in the game (will take a large amount of attempts to roll it at the Mystic as well since it's an extremely rare affix).
- Armor: Mandatory on pants and boots. Preferred on shoulders compared to %Life. Optional (but not recommended) on chest.
- All Resistance: Mandatory on boots. All Resistance has a high influx on Intelligence classes due to the fact that 10 points of intelligence grant 1 All Resistance. Not recommended on any other slot (there are more valuable mitigation primary affixes on other slots).
- Life per Hit (LpH): Most underrated defensive primary affix. Only needed for Greater Rifts in solo push or speed farming (not needed for group pushing). Available slots are helmet, bracers, jewelry, weapon, and gloves. Jewelry and weapon are out of the question due to the DPS stats available on these slots. Helmet, gloves, and bracers have the same maximum LpH (11975) values yet different maximum vitality values (helmet, gloves: 1000, bracers: 650). Therefore bracers are the most efficient LpH source. Due to the nature of wizards having very high mitigation with Archon stacks while having a low health pool, LpH with absolute recovery values yields tremendous amounts of recovery per second (reference explanation). For this reason, the preferred potion for this wizard is the Bottomless Potion of the Leech with up to 20k LpH (for both solo and group speed farming).
- %Life: Only realistic slots are shoulders and chest. It's a common mistake to believe that Energy Armor:Force Armor and Magic Weapon:Deflection only scale with your health pool. Both abilities also scale with increased mitigation since both Deflection's shield and Force Armor's threshold take damage reduction into consideration. Furthermore %life increases your absolute health pool, reducing the relative effectiveness of your LpH. %Life is still a good and valuable stat, however, replacing it with a direct mitigation stat can be more beneficial to you.
- Crowd Control Reduction (CCR): Nearly useless for group setups, but very important affix for solo. It can only roll on helmet and jewelry (up to 40%). Having two pieces with CCR is a difference of night and day for tricky affixes such as Nightmarish. Highly recommended to have at least one item rolled with it (easiest is Tal Rasha's Headpiece).
- Ranged/Melee Damage Reduction (%ranged/%melee): Can roll on necklace, bracers, and chest. Ranged damage reduction is preferable by far of the two, but melee isn’t too bad either since most elite affixes are melee.
- Life per Kill (LpK): Besides LpH, your most potent recovery. Mandatory to have on one item at least. It can roll on chest, pants, jewelry, weapon, and belt. Chest has %ranged and necklace has %ranged and CCR rolls available, all of which take priority over LpK. LpK is easily accessible on pants. It takes priority over single resistance on belt if and only if it's your only source of LpK.
- Single Resistance: Mandatory on pants, helmet, and gloves. Acceptable and optional on belt and jewelry. Impossible to get on shoulders (since Vyr shoulders always come with All Resistance) and not recommended on boots (since we want All Resistance). Generally speaking, you should look out for the following single resistance priority:
Physical > light = cold > fire > poison = arcane
- Arcane Power on Critical Hit (APoC): Mandatory for solo push and any variant that uses the Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. Optional utility for Torment farming with Avarice Band. Only available on offhands and wizard hats. You should prefer to have APoC on offhand so that you are not forced to equip The Swami (inferior defensive secondary affixes in comparison to Tal Rasha's Headpiece).
- Cooldown Reduction (CDR): For solo: You need to have an exact minimum of 68.24% CDR (Gogok included). This will yield a 31.76s cooldown of Archon, which give you an exact window of 240ms to reactivate Archon in order to not desynchronize with your CoE rotation. That specific breakpoint is reached if you have max CDR rolls on your weapon and all other items except for one. Any other increase of CDR beyond 68.24% is purely utility (widening the window you have to reactivate Archon) and therefore allowing you to be "less precise" with your timings. For groups and Torments you simply follow the rule "the more, the better" - there are no specific breakpoints for you to hit.
- Pickup radius: Purely utility. Don't actively gear towards it, but it’s nice to have.
Note: If you are still unsure about maximum rolls and where to get your desired primary/secondary affixes, make sure to check out d3maxstats.com by zwische.
- Gogok of Swiftness
- Both CDR and IAS are essential and Dodge is nice to have as well. Therefore, this is a default gem for any variant (can be dropped in bounty builds due to its unreliable uptime in that case).
- Zei's Stone of Vengeance
- Fitting choice due to multiple ranged multiplier choices (Power Hungry, Starfire). Its secondary legendary affix can be a lifesaver while in Archon versus troublesome monsters (such as ghosts). Offers the highest damage boost if you are more than 40 yards away; otherwise Bane of the Trapped is superior - so make sure to always stay at max distance!
- Bane of the Stricken
- Self-explanatory gem for pushing to speed up the Rift Guardian kill at higher Greater Rift levels.
- Bane of the Trapped
- Self-explanatory. Commonly used in Torments and group speed Greater Rift farming. Dropped for pushing.
- Esoteric Alteration
- Self-explanatory choice for the start of the season or for beginners who are trying to learn the build.
- Bane of the Powerful
- DPS choice for a bounty setup. Drop Gogok of Swiftness for this gem, since Gogok’s uptime in bounty runs isn’t very high.
This section covers the basic skillset used for Tal/Vyr iterations. The basic skills that are required in every common build can be found here: https://eu.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#..mSQO!Vbh!..accY
- Archon - Combustion: Contradictory to the Vyr 2 piece bonus (granting all archon runes) picking this specific rune is mandatory. Clicking Archon with the Combustion rune equipped will grant you the Tal-Rasha fire stack - this only works if and only if you have the rune equipped. After the initial Combustion blast, Archon will then change its element depending on your highest elemental damage upon casting; therefore we'll determine Archon to be lightning via equipping any %lightning damage on the bracers slot. Lightning Strike, Lightning Disintegration Wave, and Teleport scale with attack speed whereas Slow Time, and Lightning Blast are cooldown based skills that, however, don't scale with cooldown reduction. Our main focus will be to min/max our setups for Lightning Disintegration Wave with regard to its breakpoints.
- Lightning Blast: Base animation length: 0, speed coefficient: 1.0
- Archon Teleport: Base animation length: [unknown], speed coefficient: 1.5
- Lightning Strike: Base animation length: 25, speed coefficient: 1.0
- Lightning Disintegration Wave: Base animation length: 60, speed coefficient: 3.0
- Teleport - Calamity (Base animation length: 7, speed coefficient: 1.0): Teleport obviously allows you to get through the rift quickly and/or escape danger, but it also procs the arcane stack for Archon. Furthermore, for solo pushing Teleport is your main source of damage reduction outside of Archon with Ancient Parthan Defenders. Teleport is scaling with attack speed.
- Energy Armor - Force Armor (Base animation length: 16, speed coefficient: 1.0): Energy Armor is scaling with the size of your health pool and with your mitigation. The more Archon stacks you have, the higher the toughness threshold for Force Armor becomes. While at the start of the rift any damage instance will instantly make use of your cheat-death passive, Force Armor will save you later on multiple times once your mitigation is ramped up via Archon stacks.
- Magic Weapon - Deflection (Base animation length: 16, speed coefficient: 1.0): The rune's wording isn't precise. Shields you gain that are not being used will stack for their duration (separate timers). You not only gain a shield each time you perform an attack, but also each time your character uses an ability. In Archon that means each time you use Lightning Blast or Slow Time you'll gain a 3% shield. Outside of Archon this means that also Frozen Nova or Explosive Blast while channeling with a channeling skill with give you an additional shield. On average (only channeling Lightning Disintegration Wave) you can expect to have 6-7 shield stacks while not taking damage.
- Free Slot: Defines the variant.
- Free Slot: Defines the variant.
- Paralysis: Main passive that is obviously mandatory since otherwise Manald Heal doesn’t work. The in-depth mechanics of this skill are weird, inconsistent, and usually misunderstood; for a detailed description on how Paralysis and Manald Heal work exactly see below.
- Evocation: No-brainer. We need cooldown; we see cooldown; we take cooldown. Fortunately this passive's cooldown is working as intended - it's not a dead passive like for other classes.
- Unstable Anomaly: No-brainer. In a perfect world you wouldn't need this. It's too unstable to not use it though.
- Free Slot: Defines the variant.
There are three remaining abilities to choose: two active skills and one passive. One of the skills needs to be a cold damaging spell to proc the fourth Tal Rasha element, the second usually is a utility or damage amplification skill.
- Blackhole - Spellsteal (Base animation length: 19, speed coefficient: 1.0): Mandatory in solo push and also commonly used for 2 player variants. In combination with precise Teleport micro and monster pulling/packing this is by far your strongest non-Archon damage buff. The "top" monster sets for solo pushing revolve around maximizing Blackhole stacks prior to your burst damage.
- Hydra - Lightning Hydra: Mandatory in group push; commonly used for speed groups. Hydra's Manald Heal damage instance has the Lightning Rune skill multiplier 2.55 and your character's attack speed as separate multipliers; we consider both multipliers to be a bug (inconsistency with game mechanics). Therefore, Hydra is scaling with attack speed such that it not only attacks faster but also its Manald Heal damage instance hits harder. In a min/maxed group push setup Hydras will do ~90% of your overall damage or in other words: they'll do roundabout 40 times more damage than you *on a single target*. However, in situation with many monsters it is less effective and can actually be detrimental, therefore it should not be used in Torment rifts. See the mechanics section below for details.
- Arcane Torrent - Static Discharge (Base animation length: 60, speed coefficient: 3.0): Mostly used for Zodiac variants for resetting Archon in Torment farm and speed Greater Rift variants. Requires to have at least one source of APoC geared (preferably offhand). Both the impact of the projectile and its bolts are eligible to apply a Manald Heal damage instance; yielding a very good overall DPS combined with excellent resetting utility.
- Slow Time - Stretch Time (Base animation length: 16, speed coefficient: 1.0): Only used in group push variants in combination with Hydra:Lightning Hydra to reach a specific breakpoint. Archon's Slow Time will grant the same rune which results in a double-dip of overall 20% increased attack speed. Both Slow Time instances buff allies.
- Frost Nova - Frozen Mist (Base animation length: 0, speed coefficient: -): Best skill to get the Tal Rash cold stack since it has no casting animation and costs no Arcane Power. Usually only used in Torment variants.
- Magic Missile - Glacial Spike (Base animation length: 25, speed coefficient: 1.0): Mandatory in group speeds and solo push. In comparison to other generators Magic Missile allows you to reliably stack Bane of the Stricken from range. The Freeze is decent utility that can save you from time to time.
- Ray of Frost - Cold Blood (Base animation length: 60, speed coefficient: 2.0): Semi-strong ability to reset Archon; weaker than Arcane Torrent:Static Discharge due to the a lower speed coefficient. Yet, it provides a Tal Rasha cold stack in combination with Zodiac variants while resetting Archon making it a potent overall choice.
- Spectral Blade - Ice Blades (Base animation length: 16, speed coefficient: 1.0): A two-player generator variant while being paired with a support monk; performs better than Magic Missile:Glacial Spike in terms of stacking Bane of the Stricken. However, requires you to be in melee range.
- Blizzard - Snowbound/Frozen Solid (Base animation length: 26, speed coefficient: 1.0): Outdated. In all variants either Frost Nova:Frozen Mist, Spectral Blade:Ice Blades or Magic Missile:Glacial Spike will be straight up better choices. Mentioned for the sake of completeness since it's still commonly used. Frozen Solid can be a good replacement of Frozen Mist for beginner players, as extra CC provides additional safety while outside Archon. However, the high Arcane Power cost (especially since it can be cast multiple times quickly) can be detrimental.
- Power Hungry: In addition to Zei's and Starfire another ranged-based and separate damage multiplier. Can be switched out for Audacity + Bane of the Trapped for melee Torment farm variants (faster Death Breaths pickup).
- Audacity: Complementary melee passive to Power Hungry. Only used in Torment farm variants.
- Blur: A flat 17% toughness increase, another commonly seen option.
- Dominance: Often overlooked. Especially useful for low-level speed farming on hardcore.
- Conflagration: Group buffing passive. Only used in Fire-Archon four man setups.
- Galvanizing Ward: A much larger shield than Dominance; especially useful for high-level rifts once you’re used to evading incoming damage to gain its shield. Often used on hardcore in combination with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer.
- Illusionist: Not a very popular choice anymore, but mentioned for the sake of completeness. Mostly used at the start of the season, when longer Archon downtimes are more common.
- Hoarder-Avarice MH Tal/Vyr
- Frost Nova:Frozen Mist for fast Tal Rasha cold stack. Arcane Torrent:Static Discharge for out of Archon DPS. Power Hungry is used as the 4th passive. APoC on offhand is highly recommended. High CDR rolls on (nearly) every item are required to minimize downtime in rifts with few elites, since we have no Obsidian Ring to reduce Archon downtime. Recommended setup for maximum efficiency as well as if in need for gold (empowering every single rift in a season), but for beginners and at the start of the season the build below is preferable.
- Zodiac MH Tal/Vyr
- Frost Nova:Frozen Mist for fast Tal Rasha cold stack. Arcane Torrent:Static Discharge for resetting Archon. Power Hungry is used as the 4th passive. APoC on offhand is mandatory. Recommended setup for beginners as well as early season key farming, as it doesn’t have any high CDR requirements and works well at lower gear levels overall.
Power Hungry and Zei’s require maximum distance - if you’re closer than 30 yards Power Hungry is useless, and Bane of the Trapped is better than Zei’s whenever you’re closer than 40 yards to your target. Observe your gameplay and adjust your skill/gem choice accordingly. In these two builds Zei’s is chosen in the first build because it’s usually run later in the season when we don’t need to pick up as much loot anymore and therefore can maintain more distance; Audacity in the other build assumes that we’re often in melee range and have something to balance the lower multiplier from Starfire/Zei’s (Zei’s still remains a good choice as third gem here).
- Aether-Wormhole MH Tal/Vyr
- Aether Walker together with Teleport:Wormhole lets you constantly teleport without using Archon. With Cosmic Strand you can have both Wormhole and Calamity, which gives you an arcane Tal stack and also procs Warzechian Armguards. Optimal level for bounty farming is T11 or T12 depending on your gear/level, but if you for some reason do T13 or just lack damage you can switch Illusionist for Power Hungry or just run Zodiac MH Tal/Vyr variant with In-Geom swapped for Aether Walker and Warzechian instead of Nemesis Bracers.
The general idea here to use Teleport constantly to quickly reach your destination. Once there you can pop Archon and use your 8 second 4Tal power window to quickly kill whatever needs killing. Note that if you hold down Teleport button you will eventually run out of Arcane Power and also very likely to teleport into walls/obstacles, thus it’s recommended to pace your teleports and make sure each one moves you 50 yards closer to your destination.
The one exception to this rule is when you need to do a very long but simple run (_e.g._ kill Siegebreaker, run across Dalguhr Oasis); in this case you should use Archon for movement, as Archon’s Teleport is also affected by Cosmic Strand but costs no Arcane Power.
Speed Greater Rifts
- CoE-Hydra MH Tal/Vyr
- Hydra:Lightning Hydra and Magic Missile:Glacial Spike fill the free active ability slots. Power Hungry is used as the 4th passive. Common and recommended mid to end season XP farm setup.
- Zodiac-Hydra MH Tal/Vyr
- Ray of Frost:Cold Blood and Hydra:Lightning Hydra fill the free active ability slots. Power Hungry is used as the 4th passive. APoC on offhand is mandatory. Commonly used at the start of the season - especially when CDR rolls throughout the gear are imperfect. Recommended to switch to CoE-Hydra later on.
Plain and simple - you run around and kill stuff. Note that dropping Hydra is a bad idea in situations with multiple targets (>5) around; it can still be useful if the other two wizards are in Archon, you’re confident they’ll kill all remaining mobs, and therefore in just a few seconds there’ll be only 1-2 yellow elites left. Obviously in a well-coordinated group that also means the wizards should try to alternate their Archon downtime.
Push Greater Rift (Group)
- Hydra MH Tal/Vyr
- This build has changes made to the basic ability setup: Magic Weapon:Deflection is dropped for Slow Time:Stretch Time - the attack speed double-dip from Slow Time is needed to reach the relevant breakpoints on Hydra. Unstable Anomaly is dropped for Conflagration in combination with %Fire for %Lightning on bracers (optional). Hydra:Lightning Hydra and Magic Missile:Glacial Spike fill the free active ability slots. Power Hungry is used as the 4th passive. Attack speed rolls on the gear are allowed to be imperfect as long as the breakpoint is reached (4.0159 is needed whereas 4.08954 is reached with full max attack speed rolls).
This build is covered within the Playstyle section of this guide.
Push Greater Rift (Solo)
- CoE MH Tal/Vyr
- Blackhole:Spellsteal for a huge damage buff in prior to Archon; Magic Missile:Glacial Spike as a cold skill with decent utility and a ranged ability that can stack Stricken. A high skill cap solo build that requires you to maximize your monster packing to maximize Blackhole stacks prior to your burst. Due to the nature of this build, solo pushing can be very frustrating if no Paralysis doesn’t proc when you need it.
This build is covered within the Playstyle section of this guide.
Push Greater Rift (Solo) - Hardcore
- CoE HC MH Tal/Vyr
- While you can play the SC build also on HC, this build has been established as a “safe alternative” with a bit more defensive playstyle. In general it follows the same rotation as in softcore pushing, but in hardcore you might not want to play as offensively and stand in the middle of monsters to proc Ancient Parthan Defenders. Therefore, bracers are swapped to Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer and also Galvanizing Ward is taken as the fourth passive over Power Hungry. Again - this is a more safe variant due to those two additional shields, which obviously comes with a damage loss (Power Hungry) as well as a more defensive playstyle.
Rotation is the same as in softcore, however, in between Archon you don’t teleport into the mobs but just try to stay safe and not get hit (important for Galvanizing Ward). This also requires to be on the lookout for a “safe space” during the Archon rotation - as in: “Where do I go once my Archon runs out?”
This section is done in a Q&A style, which should hopefully make this guide easier to follow and clear up basic knowledge.
What are the damage multipliers for a Manald Heal damage instance?
These are the multipliers that define your Manald Heal damage instance:
MH-Multiplier = * Mainstat * Tal-Rasha-6PC * Starfire * Convention-of-Elements * Bane-of-the-Stricken * Zei's-Stone-of-Vengeance * Bane-of-the-Trapped * Power-Hungry * Audacity * Oculus * (1 + %Primary_Affix_Elite_Damage) * (1 + #Swami * 0.06 + #Fazula * 0.06 + #Kills * 0.06) * (1 + %Magic_Weapon + %Blackhole_Spellsteal + %Gem_of_Efficacious_Toxin + %Strongarm + %Unity + %Falter)
whereas "#Swami" denotes the number of archon stacks from the previous rotation; "#Fazula" denotes the belt value for the current rotation (might be 0 if Archon is down); and "#Kills" denotes the kills/assists in the current rotation (might be 0 if Archon is down or unlucky). By courtesy of Cratic#1413 here. All multipliers are fully dynamic and can't be snapshotted. It's noteworthy that the MH-Hydra-Multiplier (Manald heal damage instance procced by a Hydra) has additional multipliers.
What are the damage multipliers for a Manald Heal damage instance caused by a Hydra?
These are the multipliers that define your Hydra's Manald Heal damage instance:
MH-Hydra-Multiplier = * MH-Multiplier * Hydra-Lightning-Skill * Character-Attack-Speed
By courtesy of Cratic#1413 here. The multiplier Character-Attack-Speed is snapshotted upon cast of the Hydra.
The ability section mentions "Base animation length" and "speed coefficient" as skill specific values. Can you elaborate?
Base animation length (b_anim) and speed coefficient (s_coeff) are parameters that define the breakpoint table of a specific skill. Each non-channeling skill needs a specific amount of frames to resolve, hence frames per animation (FPA). The Diablo 3 engine renders at 60 frames per second; a frame depicts the smallest possible unit. A FPA value has to be an integer which is why attack speed is naturally cascaded meaning not every increase in attack speed decreases the FPA for your skill. For non-channeling skills you can calculate a breakpoint table as following:
FPA = floor( (b_anim - 1) / b_anim * 60 / (APS * s_coeff) )For Magic Missile (base animation length: 25, speed coefficient: 1.0) this yields FPA = floor( 24/25 * 60/(APS * 1.0) ). For channeling skills you can calculate a breakpoint table as following:
FPA = floor( 60 / (APS * s_coeff) )For Archon's Disintegration Wave (base animation length: 60, speed coefficient: 3.0) this yields FPA = floor( 60 / (APS * 3.0) ). In summary: base animation length and speed coefficient are nothing but parameters that define the breakpoint table of a skill over variable attack speed. A more thorough explanation is given in apo#2677's compendium.
How does Manald Heal/Paralysis work exactly?
Paralysis behaves differently for skills with an inherent speed coefficient = 1.0 (damage hit skills) and speed coefficient > 1.0 (channeling skills).
- Inherent speed coefficient = 1.0: These skills have a flat 15.0% chance per attack to proc Paralysis on the target. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, that instance will additionally apply a Manald Heal damage instance. For instance Spectral Blade:Thrown Blade applies three hits per animation - each hit will apply a Manald Heal damage instance if Paralysis is procced for that attack.
- Speed coefficient > 1.0: These skills have a different chance per damage instance to proc Paralysis for your character. The proc-chance for Electrocute is 7.804555427071125%; the proc chance for Lightning Disintegration Wave and Arcane Torrent is 5.086232538105606%. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, it opens a 67 frame window on your character. Each damage instance within that specific window from the same skill will additionally apply a Manald Heal damage instance to all targets hit.
In short: "Hit" skills proc Paralysis on a target. "Channeling" skills proc Paralysis for your character and open a frame window (this also means you can proc it without hitting a target, e.g. in town). At this point it is also worthwhile noting that while a Paralysis window is open, each damage instance within that window can reproc a new window (there is no ICD) giving you the possibility to chain Paralysis procs.
Patch 2.5.0 states for Manald Heal "The number of procs generated by channeled skills while using this item has been reduced by 25%". What does that mean?
For speed coefficient > 1.0 (channeling skills) the Paralysis window length on your character was nerfed. Prior to 2.5.0 it was 90 frames (1.5 seconds) long. With 2.5.0 the window length was nerfed by 25% to
67 = floor( 90 * (1 - 0.25))frames. The proc chances of skills remain untouched.
So how relevant is a low FPA for Lightning Wizard in terms of overall DPS and overall Paralysis proc chance?
FPA is of highest relevance; it not only depicts how frequent you apply Manald Heal damage instances once a window is open but also how frequent you roll the dice to open a window (or reopen while one is already open). Let's compare 7 FPA with 5 FPA in terms of DPS increase (%inc) over one second and in terms of proc chance (%proc) having the chance to open a window over one second:
5-dmg = ( floor(60/5)+1 ) * DMG = 13 DMG 7-dmg = ( floor(60/7)+1 ) * DMG = 9 DMG %inc = 13/9 - 1= 44.44% 5-proc = 1 - (1-0.05086232538105606)^(floor(60/5)+1) ~= 49.27% 7-proc = 1 - (1-0.05086232538105606)^(floor(60/7)+1) ~= 37.49% %proc = 49.27% - 37.49% = 11.78%
Therefore 5 FPA not only yields 44% more Manald Heal damage instances but also a 11.78% increased chance to open a Paralysis window over one second compared to 7 FPA.
So what are the FPA Breakpoints that I should be aiming for?
Your goal is to gain 5 FPA at 3.334 APS when overlapping Archon versus the Rift Guard only with your Fazula stacks.
This Excel-Calculator will help you determine if you reached the desired FPA with your Fazula+Weapon combination (common sources of attack speed for the input variables are: Paragon 10%, Gogok 15%, Enchantress 3%, Chest 7%).
But Fazula does not only give attack speed to reach my 5 FPA Breakpoint. Archon stacks translate into damage. Don't I have to consider that aswell?
You do. /u/Northwar gave an explanation to this (private subreddit). In summary: A value lesser equals 45 is never worth it; 47+ is acceptable for group speeds (high Archon stack influx); 48 and 49 are acceptable for solo; for group push (RGK) variants 49+ is mandatory.
Alright, I see. Is there any other way to increase my luck when it comes to proccing Paralysis? I hate this RNG when doing solo rifts!
There is no trick to it besides the awareness of your FPA breakpoints; gearing such that you at least have 5 FPA on Lightning Disintegration Wave and knowing what Archon stack value you need to reach for your next rotation to be at 4 FPA. To further clarify: The interesting question is how many MH procs do we get after attacking for, say, 10 seconds. To answer this question we use Monte Carlo simulations (sample 10^6):
|FPA||average amount of procs||%of attacks that proc||dmg compared to previous BP|
It's clear that hitting a breakpoint provides enormous increase in damage, and that's why it's worth sacrificing damage affixes to get it, even when it lowers your sheet DPS dramatically.
One more interesting thing to analyze concerns solo pushing with the CoE variant. In this variant you only care about your DPS during 4 seconds, when your 4 stack Tal Rasha, lightning CoE and Blackhole:Spellsteal all overlap. What interests us, is the probability of getting no procs/some procs/lots of procs during the overlap duration. To answer this question we once again refer to the Monte Carlo method. Simulating 10^6 CoE cycles resulted in these distributions. During the 4 second CoE lightning rotation one can expect an average amount of 16.4 Manald Heal damage instances at 6 FPA, 21.9 at 5 FPA, 31.2 at 4 FPA. More importantly, the chance to not have any Manald Heal damage instances at 6 FPA is 12%, 8% at 5 FPA, 4% at 4 FPA. Cleary, minmaxing FPA such that you enter the Greater Rift with at least 5 FPA on your overlaps is mandatory and your goal should always be to gather enough Archon stacks such that you ensure 4 FPA on your next rotation.
How do I know how many kills I need on my Archon to make sure I'll have 4 FPA for the next rotation?
You can again use the previously linked Excel-Calculator. Within the input variables make sure to set FPA = 4; afterwards increase your "IAS from Gear & Paragon" until you reach the needed attack speed breakpoint with your Weapon + Fazula setup. As an example: With Enchantress (3%), Chest (7%), Gogok (15%), 50 Fazula and 7% Weapon you'll need 33 Kills to guarantee 4 FPA for the next rotation (68% IAS in total). The second you'll see 83 Archon stacks, you are good to move (e.g. you want to skip the rest of the map).
Within Cratic#1413's Hydra Mechanic's Thread it's stated that a Paralysis window can be cancelled/closed via a Hydra proccing a Manald Heal damage instance via Paralysis. Is that correct?
Correct, yet imprecise. Let's take a look what the thread says:
“When Hydra is used in combination with any other lightning skill to proc MH, Hydra takes precedence, and will interrupt and even prevent your other skills from proccing MH. This has been tested for both single target and multi-target.”
Hydra itself is not the issue here. If you have a Paralysis window open on your character (opened via a skill that has an inherent speed coefficient > 1.0), any skill with a speed coefficient = 1.0 will close your window as soon as that skill procs Paralysis. It's not only Hydra that can close your window and interfere with your Lightning Disintegration Wave; it's just the most commonly used skill that triggers this side effect.
So what about Archon's Lightning Blast? According to the ability section it has a speed coefficient = 1.0? Is it correct to never use it?
It will cause the same issue as Hydra - any speed coefficient = 1.0 skill will. For instance casting Energy Twister:Storm Chaser prior to Archon can trigger the same side effect once you are damaging in Archon. As for Lightning Blast: It's safe to use it if you can ensure that you won't hit a single enemy with it - it yields a Magic Weapon:Deflection stack after all.
If a window is closed/cancelled via a speed coefficient = 1.0 skill, when can the next window be opened? After the cancelled window would have run out?
No. A window can be opened on the next damage tick instance of a speed coefficient > 1.0 skill.
I see. What about group speeds with Hydra? When do I decide to drop Hydra; when shouldn't I?
Once again, Monte Carlo simulations are used to determine this. Since 18 FPA Hydra breakpoint and 4 FPA Lightning Disintegration Wave breakpoint are very close together, we will evaluate two situations: 24 FPA Hydra and 5 FPA Lightning Disintegration Wave, 18 FPA Hydra and 4 FPA Lightning Disintegration Wave. Procs are counted over 10 seconds (10^6 samples):
|Scenario||Wave procs||Hydra procs||# of targets to break even|
|5 FPA, no hydra||62.2||0||n/a|
|5/24 FPA, 1 hydra out||38.4||11.2||3.3|
|5/24 FPA, 2 hydras out||28||22.5||4.6|
|4 FPA, no hydra||88.1||0||n/a|
|4/18 FPA, 1 hydra out||48.8||15||3.02|
|4/18 FPA, 2 hydras out||34.1||30||4.4|
The conclusion is pretty straightforward: Hydras eat roughly 40% to 60% of your procs. You should cast Hydra when you can hit only 3 or less targets with your Lightning Disintegration Wave; for 2 Hydras this magic number is 4.
Alright. I guess we covered attack speed but what about cooldown reduction for solo and group push?
Wizard has a 16 second CoE rotation (arcane, cold, fire, light). Archon has a duration of 20 seconds, which rules out 16 second cycle. The Swami’s stacks last for up to 20 seconds so any cycle longer than 32 seconds won’t have double Archon stacks overlap. That means your only option is to play 32 second cycle and click Archon on every other CoE-Light. With a 100 seconds cooldown you'll need at least 68% CDR to not desynchronize with your CoE over time - this is a non-disputable value you need to reach for you to play the group/solo push at all. You'll be aiming for 68.24% CDR, which means maximum CDR roll on all slots but one jewerly slot. One imperfect CDR roll on any item will obligate you to play CDR on all available items on your gear. Any additional CDR past 68.24% is considered to be utility since it merely widens the window for you to re-click Archon in time.
This section is done in a Q&A style, which should hopefully make this guide easier to follow and clear up basic knowledge.
Group: Hydra MH Tal/Vyr
I checked the Leaderboards and in S10 a different build was run within the 4-Man meta?
That is correct. Back in S10 people played the cow-exploit. It led to a non-rotation based RGK variant where you’d synchronize your final burst manually.
So what are my contributions to group play and how do I play those?
You give 20% attack speed (Slow Time:Stretch Time and Archon:Slow Time) and a 6% critical hit chance buff to all allied units. At a certain greater rift level your contributions only revolve around providing the rift clearer with these buffs - it is out of the ordinary for you to contribute towards killing separated elites.
Besides the obvious buffs you have a good amount of mobility allowing you to be at the zBarb’s service. Blocking/scouting crucial pylons spots or body pulling a Juggernaut towards a potential conduit spawn are generic tasks of any RGK, if and only if the zBarb is actively asking for those.
Got it. Besides those buffs mid rift I am there for the RG. How do I play it?
There are three different states.
- Out of archon: Depending on RG you either stand melee within Inner Sanctuary or range. In both cases you place a Slow Time:Stretch Time on top of yourself and you stack Bane of the Stricken via Magic Missile:Glacial Spike. Before clicking Archon you make sure you cast 2 Hydras while being affected by Slow Time:Stretch Time and you have to make sure that you have a Slow Time:Stretch Time to stand in when being in Archon while ranging the RG at 50 Yards.
- In archon with overlap: You are standing in a Slow Time:Stretch Time and you have Archon:Slow Time activated. You are at 50 Yards to the RG. 2 Hydras are out attacking the RG. You are using Disintegration Wave to stack Bane of the Stricken.
- In archon without overlap: You are in melee range of the RG (if you can survive) and you use Archon:Strike to stack Bane of the Stricken. Archon:Slow Time is activated.
This is all you have to take care of to play the build correctly.
Solo: CoE MH Tal/Vyr
What does the basic playstyle look like?
It’s a rotation based playstyle that always follows the same cycles.
- get up to 15 Gogok stacks while packing monsters outside of Archon
- click Blackhole:Spellsteal three seconds into CoE-Fire
- click Archon and teleport into an Oculus if one is at least 30 yards away from your main target(s); “wiggle” on top of the pull with Lightning Disintegration Wave
- start moving once:
- everything is dead or
- incoming damage is too high or
- you reached the minimum amount of stacks to ensure 4 FPA on your next rotation or
- your Tal-Rasha stacks wear off
- body pull monsters for the next ~10-12 seconds until you drop out of Archon
- rinse and repeat at 1
That is the rotation you are playing.
I struggle surviving on my pushes at GR X. How do high tier players survive past GR X?
Awareness, experience and skill. Troubles in terms of survivability very often boil down to either missing skill/experience (improper/imprecise teleport) or misusage of abilites. While the first one can be trained the latter one is caused due to a lack of information. The worst mistakes during solo pushing are the ones you are not aware of. As for the build at hand you are not allowed to use Teleport:Calamity on the same set of targets within three seconds. In addition to this you are not allowed to cast Blackhole:Spellsteal on targets that you expect to stun with Teleport:Calamity. If you still decide to do so your damage reduction buff of Ancient Parthan Defenders will wear off and you are bound to die. Both Teleport:Calamity and Blackhole:Spellsteal increase the crowd control resistance of monsters yielding them to be immune at some point if you decide to repetitively apply those skills.
Not really sure. So there is a hidden resource "crow control resistance" on monsters that I have to play with?
Yes. Certain control impairing effects (to be specific: hard-cc) increase the crowd control resistance of the target. For every second of hard-cc applied to a target, it will gain 10% resistance to all hard-cc effects, stacking up to a cc-resistance maximum of 95%. The cc-resistance of a monster has a natural decay rate of 5% per second if and only if there is no hard-cc applied to the monster. As an example: Applying a 3 second stun to a 0%cc target will stun the target for exactly 3 seconds and increase it's cc to 30%. Reapplying the same effect right after the duration will yield a
3 * (1 - 0.7) = 2.1second stun with an overall 51%cc once the stun is applied. The maximum %cc is 95%; once the reduced duration of a hard-cc effect is less than 0.65 seconds (cc-threshold) the effect will be ignored and the target is immune to that specific occurrence. In that example: The target with 51%cc is immune to a 1.3 second stun effect since
1.3 * (1 - 0.51) = 0.637 < 0.65. However, a 1.5 stun effect would be applied for a duration of
1.5 * (1 - 0.51) = 0.735syielding 58.35%cc. Additionally, once a monster reaches 65%cc (knockback threshold) it becomes immune to knockback effects and therefore cannot be displaced anymore (e.g. Harpoon, Cyclone Strike, Blackhole will fail to move these monsters). And at last: If a monster is successfully knockbacked, its cc-resistance will be increased by 40% (flat additive increase). In total as an overview:
|Classifier||max CC-Resistance||CC-Threshold||Knockback Threshold|
|Champion (Blue)||95%||0.65s||65% *|
|Rare Minion||95%||0.65s||65% *|
|Rare (Yellow)||95%||0.85s **||65% **|
* certain monster types such as Mallet Lord can have a 0% threshold
** values are 0 if elite has the Juggernaut affix
So, stunning the same monsters over and over again leads to my Ancient Parthan Defenders dropping off?
Yes; and that's when you die. As a beginner: Outside of Archon pick three spots and teleport in a triangle. It will lead to inferior packing for Blackhole:Spellsteal stacks but it will max out your defense. Once you've mastered triangle teleporting you can reduce the amount of teleports to prevent monsters from spreading further, increasing the packing to maximize Blackhole:Spellsteal stacks in prior to your burst.
I tried triangle teleporting; yet I am still dying?
Check your follower. He is an eligible source of hard-cc effects and he can screw your cc resource management. For instance The Ess of Johan is a commonly used follower item that will apply a knockback giving a flat +40%cc increase to all targets displaced. This effect can - if unfortunate or not aware of it - kill you. The same goes for follow abilities, which is the reason why high tier players don't use certain skills on followers.
What if both skill choices of a follower apply cc to the target?
Use neither of them. Deal with the blinking symbol that the follower wants to be trained (you cannot deactivate it).
But I used one of them once already. How do I unlearn it?
You don't. You need to level a new character.
Alright. I am still dying though? How do people survive on these high tiers??
Awareness, experience and skill. You have the first one now. Gaining the latter two is entirely up to you now.
Got it. What am I looking for in a rift?
Lightning Wizard is not as fish heavy as most people consider it to be. Only at the very extreme DPS limits of your character your are exclusively looking for a Festering Woods + Vile Swarms combination. It's extremely common for high tier wizard to clear past floor 5 due to the builds inherent mobility - it's very uncommon to clear only on floor 2 Greater Rifts with a double Festering Woods combo since for the most part it's rarely needed (if that happens you'll see insane clear times on the leaderboard with 10-11 minute clearing times). The rule of thumb is that you are looking for at least one open map with a good monster set to make enough time for the RG - on all other floors you are only looking to keep up in time.
I see. What monster set should I be looking for?
By far the best: Vile Swarms. Nothing comes remotely close for Lightning Wizard. Swarms have no collision; meaning with clutch teleport micro you can get +60 Blackhole:Spellsteal stacks on top of the Demonic Tremors. Opinions differ on the specific tier order of the next best monster sets: We define Bees/Accursed and Mini Spiders as tier 2; Conjurer/Helions, Ghost People and Destroyer/Carrier as tier 3. With Vile Swarms, Ghost People, Mini Spiders and Conjurer/Helions you can stay ahead of time with trash only. With Bees/Accursed and Destroyer/Carrier (low progression values) you'll have to additionally burst elites - due to the easy follow type behaviour of these two monster sets (commonly resulting in +110 archon stacks) it's an achievable task. Vile Swarms provide you with the combination of good progression, good follow type behaviour and a regular high stack count (giving you the possibility to kill elites - not a necessity!).
What about elites and their affixes?
The only thing that is really dangerous to you are control impairing effects during CoE-Fire. Desynchronizing your rotation can instantly kill a run for you if you decided to play the CDR minimum cap of 68.24% without any CCR on gear - the only way for you to catch up in that situation is a contingency channeling pylon (click it to get back in sync). A ghost elite with Vortex + Fire Chains + Nightmarish is a prime example of a pack that can end your run. As per usual it's not recommended to DPS Illusionist or Teleport elites unless you make sure you don't cc them once in prior to archon, such that your Paralysis procs hold them in place while actively damaging.
Wait. So, I have to handle Illusionist/Teleport differently?
You don't have to. You can if you want to kill them (for instance leftovers of a conduit). As an example: If you Blackhole:Spellsteal an Illusionist/Teleport elite right before Archon you'll give it increased %cc meaning your Paralysis stun will be of significant shorter duration - that elite can use his abilities earlier while you are still actively damaging with an open Paralysis window; meaning he can already teleport or split.
What about Rift Guards?
Don't be afraid to go into melee for maximizing Bane of the Stricken versus certain Rift Guards while in Archon without an overlap. Test out whom you can survive in melee. Outside of Archon range any RG and don't forget that with Teleport:Calamity you can interrupt animations of a Rift Guard.
Credits and Shoutouts
- Cratic#1413 for his work and compendiums on MH: #1, #2
- apo#2677 for his theorycrafting primer on basic mechanics: #1
- Luu#1987 for his solo pushing variant (current meta)
- /u/Bear_666 & /u/zhanji_ts for their work/testing on PTR on the group pushing variant
- /u/xTonyJ for his solo efforts popularizing the current solo meta
- zwische for his lookup source d3maxstats.com
- /u/d07RiV for his tool d3planner.com that is frequently being used in these guides
- /u/LoOLo0 for his lowbob challenge in S10; showing what skill can achieve even with low paragon/gear/gems
- /u/Leviathan111 for his review and opinion