Diablo® III

Melee/Tank Wizard Build

Making my way through hell (solo) with a melee/tank wizard build. Figured I would post it here and run through the equipment and skills:


The idea is to always have diamond skin up and when you don't, to be recovering more life than you're losing. Of course, this build requires alot of gear with +vit and +int on it, preferably a nice 1-handed weapon with a tank shield.


  • Spectral Blade, Thrown Blade: The bread and butter of the build. Combined with Magic Weapon with Blood Magic, it allows you to recover 4.5% of your left per hit (it normally hits 3 times), per monster. Essentially, it allows you to tank most mobs as well as deal nice damage to them due to Magic Weapon and Familiar.
  • Blizzard, Stark Winter: This skill is fairly interchangeable with Frost Nova, but I personally like snaring mobs coming at me while dealing constant damage. Combined with Cold Blooded (passive), it allows me to deal 20% more damage than I normally would, which is a pretty large increase.
  • Diamond Skin, Enduring Skin: Allows you to keep diamond skin up for 8 seconds and absorb damage until it runs out. This skill is pivotal when using a melee wizard. Combined with Critical Mass (passive) and Energy Armor (Pinpoint Barrier), the chance to land a critical hit increases and cooldown on diamond skin decreases. Additionally, with spectral blade's increased range, you'll have a larger chance to score a critical hit.
  • Magic Weapon, Blood Weapon: Necessary for this build. Magic Weapon with this rune allows you to recover 4.5% of your health on every hit, since Spectral Blade often hits 3 separate times. With the increased radius of Spectral Blade, you'll be hitting a wider range, allowing for even more health recovered.
  • Familiar, Sparkflint: This skill is also kind of interchangeable, as Wave of Force or Frost Nova could go in this position. However, I enjoy the damage increase, so I've left Familiar in this slot.
  • Energy Armor, Pinpoint Barrier: To be able to tank damage, energy armor is a given. The 65% armor increase is crucial and you really don't need the arcane power with this build. Pinpoint Barrier allows for an increased chance to crit, reducing the cooldown on your Diamond Skin from Critical Mass. Combined with Galvanizing Ward and Magic Weapon, Blood Weapon, you'll be recovering alot of health fairly quickly. When times get sticky, you typically have Diamond Skin to fallback on as your "oh !@#$" button.
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  • Critical Mass: Again, this reduces the cooldown time on all skills, but is extremely important to keep Diamond Skin up, which is quite possible with Energy Armor increasing your crit chance.
  • Galvanizing Ward: Constant health recovery, self explanatory for this build.
  • Cold Blooded: I messed around with the final passive skill quite a bit. Originally I had Blur in there to reduce melee damage by 20%, which was helpful. I found the combination of Cold Blooded with Blizzard to be extremely helpful taking care of rare packs and large numbers of enemies though, so I kept Cold Blooded here.
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    It goes without saying that you're going to want alot of +vit and +int gear. Vitality increases your life, and while you theoretically shouldn't need a ton of life, you kind of do when battles get sticky.

    Intelligence serves 2 purposes and is absolutely vital. First and foremost, it increases your resistances. When facing Molten, Plagued, Electrified, etc. mobs, you want your resistance to be as high as possible to tank damage. Without a ton of resistance, you'll probably get melted, though it depends how high your health is. Secondly, it also increases your damage. This is also pretty self explanatory, as you need to actually be able to kill things.

    Other useful mods include +damage (necessary to do more damage), +str (increases your armor, which is nice), +% life (increases your health a ton), +increased attack speed (great for Spectral Blades), and any gear involving damage reduction or increased block chance.

    Personally, I run a 1-handed weapon with a high Ruby, a tower shield to block, and a bunch of +int, +vit gear.

    Where you'll run into problems:

    Believe it or not, most mobs aren't bad with this build. However, knockback really puts a dent in this build since you won't be able to hit or recover damage while flying across the screen.
    Edited by noble#1104 on 5/18/2012 2:25 PM PDT
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    85 Blood Elf Priest
    Well this doesn't help if you aren't high enough to use the abilities I am dieing before I can GET to this point /facepalm

    Don't get me wrong I can see this being an awesome build..but it really doesn't help me now only being 52 ;(
    Edited by Acaiberry#1256 on 5/18/2012 7:21 PM PDT
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    You can do this from 35+
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    85 Blood Elf Priest
    05/18/2012 07:24 PMPosted by Kennith
    You can do this from 35+

    There are a bunch of runes that you cannot add until 55 and 57
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    And you can use something else in place of those runes.
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    You do reliaze that Monks and Barbs just take 30% less dmg than DH / Wiz and Which doctors. So your gimping your self by a 30% damage mark
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    The +65% to armor from energy shield as well as the much higher resistances due to intelligence being the wizard's main stat more than compensate for the 30% reduction barbs and monks have. Additionally, Diamond Skin helps a ton and you'll be able to keep it up most of the time.

    As mentioned in my original post, you do need some gear for this build (mainly gear with vit and int), but it is a viable alternative to other builds. I just wanted to post it because many people on these forums are complaining about the wizard sucking. That's not true--you just have to be creative.
    Edited by noble#1104 on 5/18/2012 8:03 PM PDT
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    Just as an added note, this build also gives you +44% damage done (+10% from magic weapon, +12% from sparkflint, and +20% assuming you have blizzard up with cold blooded). That's more than barb and monk builds that I have seen as well. Plus life leech is dependent on how much damage you do.
    Edited by noble#1104 on 5/18/2012 7:51 PM PDT
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    I use this a similar build to what you have. Except I don't use cold blooded. I use blur in place of that, and I replace blizzard with Frost Nova with bonus crit rune. And I use Ray of Frost with sleet storm rune for AoE.
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    90 Draenei Shaman
    I've been using a version of this build as well. So far it works great, but I'm only lv 43.
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    Re-read blood magic on the magic weapon again. you gain 1.5% of your damage caused as health. You don't gain 1.5% of your health per hit. And past Act 1, you wont ever be able to heal faster than enemies are hurting you (unless you are mad overleveled).
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    Can't wait to try this out ^.^
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    you deff can use this build at low level i have been since low lvl and i tanked diablo on normal with it at lvl 30 easily with one other wizard. just interchange things you dont have, utilize the spectral blade obviously, arcane orbit, both shield spells and your choice etween arcane hydra or blizzard. i use mirror to get out of trouble or to start some as well. im happy to see this build working as good for you in hell because its not for off but a few runes from what i use now.
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    (Sorry for my bad English)
    Good, but has not reached perfection.
    Im too played MELEE/TANK WIZARD.
    Before criticizing pay attention that my build is constantly changing on the bosses. Below is my main spec on packs http://eu.battle.net/d3/ru/calculator/wizard#WhXOYd!afg!ccaZYb
    I came to the conclusion that it is better to be here this
    1) Explosive Blast (Chain Reaction) > Blizzard (Stark Winter)
    2) Diamond Skin (Crystal Shell 15sec=21707absorb) > Diamond Skin (Enduring Skin 8sec=10853absorb (8+8=16sec?)) which is better?
    3) Wave of force and Frost Nova much better than Magic Weapon and Familiar srly
    4) And do Blur in passive. Otherwise it will be difficult to hell and inferno
    p.s. The more saves, stuns and knockbacks, the better in hell and inferno!
    Edited by Sparco#2184 on 5/19/2012 12:55 AM PDT
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    90 Tauren Druid
    I'm in Act II Hell soloing right now with this build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#WhYlXf!afb!YYZZaZ

    Working great. It's pretty self explanatory, I think.
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    I found http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#WkOYSX!gTf!YcYYZa that variation to be a better mix of surv and damage (read damage as , what i can get away with so the game doesnt go at a snails pace). Will prolly end up switching some stuff if it doesnt work as well in inferno, i dont get why people dont use arcane dynamo tho. With only 80 Ap you wont be spamming meteor and it actualy sincs up nicely with the counter.

    But yeah i find it redoncoulous that the facerollyest build (for me so far atleast) on the "glasscannon" class is a build that makes me tankier then my monk and barb friend. Was actualy realy funny last night, tanking a packs of plagued and molten on hell diff while my barb friend was to chicken to meele :))
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    The +65% to armor from energy shield as well as the much higher resistances due to intelligence being the wizard's main stat more than compensate for the 30% reduction barbs and monks have. Additionally, Diamond Skin helps a ton and you'll be able to keep it up most of the time.

    As mentioned in my original post, you do need some gear for this build (mainly gear with vit and int), but it is a viable alternative to other builds. I just wanted to post it because many people on these forums are complaining about the wizard sucking. That's not true--you just have to be creative.

    Second this. Spectral Blade ain't really my thing, although I like the idea and I like the idea that Blizzard added the option of essentially allowing us to play a bit like an enchantress from Diablo 2 (where Blizzard was also often an important skill, by the way). I think people that complain just haven't played around enough with their class just yet and haven't seen how strong some builds can actually be even with mediocre gear. Just because someone does something on inferno it doesn't mean it's the only way.

    I also think that some people just honestly have a poor understanding of their class and don't quite understand what works just yet and what doesn't, partly due to the above of not having played the game enough so they know the class well enough.

    Like I posted in the other thread - I run with a hydra + shock pulse + meteor build and it works great for me. I don't really have many issues killing nor surviving for most of the part. I mean, what I'm trying to say is - I've done a couple of hell Belial runs because it's a pretty good boss to run in public games because you get one super unique, one elite pack and a boss in not that much time and you get about 2.5k gold for the effort as well, and so many people just stand in the green poo he spits out and die it's amazing. It's not rocket science how to move or where to move. And if you can't do such a simple thing, then I also understand that it might be easy to complain about how some things "don't work", since you obviously don't do it right.
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    Cold Blooded only increases your COLD dmg done to monsters not all dmg, but i can see this build working nicely especially with some crit on gear
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    58 Orc Death Knight
    Dude legit build i have been trying to figure out a tank wizard build too and wasnt even close to this build, i was using diamond skin and ice armor, and my right click was arcane orbs. But this build is much more effective as i am starting nightmare mode and decimating mofos, thanks a lot bro :)
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    Very good base build. thanks for your post, it helped me a lot.
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