This is a guide for people who would like to run efficiently, without huge RMAH/AH cost, in MP levels 4 and below both now but more importantly, in preparation for 1.05.
If you dont meet the above criteria, and are wondering why im not using BIS (best in slot) choices and am instead using rares or legends, this is purely from a cost perspective. Im sorry if my gear choices are a bit rich for the average wizard, but some of the gear may serve as a good reference for those with slightly more cash or feel like running with high MF.
I could write a archon guide for the rich, but as most of us wizards either haven't hit the jackpot or dont feel like using a credit card, ill go with this.
Ill go slot by slot and with both price and build in mind.
Now why run archon? Well to start, the resist/armor bonus is enormous. To top that, the permenant max arcane with 300% of your base dps without using improved archon, and ability to shoot through things like waller, is nothing to be scoffed at.
First off, Ill let you know I run with 0 APOC (arcane power on crit). Nor do I recommend it. If you find a good roll, then add APOC, you about double the price. So although its very handy at the moment for refreshing archon, its not going to be almost at all handy after the patch, and therefore isnt worth investing in. As for a skill build, if your running with less than 100k dps or find yourself with more than half your time in archon cooldown, you should probably swap you rightclick from sparkflint out for the elusive magic hydra. Not only does it let you do a fairly efficient hybrid, but if your running boss fights, you can walk up, drop your hydra, then archon, for 360 effective base dps. I run CM as it does help quite a bit, and prismatic, but after the patch will definitely be switching to storm armor. If you want a rough reference, if you wondering if you can run storm, when you pick up a protective room, right click your prismatic armor, and youll be running MP2 for damage effectively. Galvanizing ward is quite useful if you can keep archon up that long. Glass cannon is nice if you can handle it with your resists, and wormhole for mobility.
I much prefer pulse to either storm chaser, or magic missile. The coefficient isnt terrible at the moment, and it means you can run with absolutely no APOC, and since its getting nerfed to oblivion, its not viable for the long term.
All-right, now lets work on both basics, then slot by slot. Long story short, to run archon fast and efficiently, you need 24 ms, 100k damage +, lifesteal, and enough resists and health that you dont kill yourself on reflect damage mobs.
Helm - You want highish int, critical hit chance, + armor or resist all, maybe vit, and maybe an open socket if you can afford it. An open socket is a huge bonus, but you pay out the nose for it. For example my current helm with 180 int, misc. resist, with + armor, open socket and almost max crit only cost me 1m.
Shoulders - This is a great slot to get budget resists/vit/armor. You would like 120+int/50+ all res/vit with bonuses being another resist and + armor. Shouldnt cost you much at all, my current cost me 2m.
Gloves - We all know trifecta with high int and all resist cost more than a first-born child. And prehaps with a good reason. However, the whole point of this exercise is to max resists where its cheap, and max damage where its cheap. Gloves are best used to max dps. What people fail to understand which we can use to our advantage is that +armor is just as good as all resist, and +vit adds to your eHP (effective health points) which is almost as good and only falls a little short when running against reflect. So here is when you can make a tactical move. High AIS decent crit chance with decent int/vit/+armor are actually hugely cheaper than the exact alternative gloves with all resist. Purely because people have an inability to use gear spreadsheets. I have a personal one which works a treat and I very much like that ill share with anyone who would like. But for example, my current gloves ran me 6m a few weeks ago on a bid and are much better on both defence and damage than an average trifecta. Sorry about the wall of text on gloves but they are probably the hardest to buy of any slot.
Chest - Since im a !@#$% for 24 movement speed this is where a bargain wiz would get 12% from off a Tyreals might. You can get a decent one with 180 int, and pay close attention to both elite damage (runs 3-4%, 4 is a bonus) and to %damage to demons (runs 5-15%, 15 is a huge bonus if your in act 3-4). Shouldnt run you any more than 10m. You can try for a bad lacuni, you can try for a legacy lacuni or Tyreals, and you could go for a compass rose, but thats probably the most expensive of the lot. If you are super poor then a chest or hate paying more for ms, grab one with ~80 int, ~120vit, ~60+ all resist and at least 2 open sockets and shouldnt run you more than 1m.
ASIDE: Why go 24ms? Well, archon is 100% about being able to kill mobs to keep archon up. Therefore damage ~ movement ~ efficiency. So a sacrifice of 5k in dps when your at 100k dps for 12% move speed is worth it since when in archon you do 300% dps. Now here is where I could go into a long winded speech about % damage VS output but I wont bother. To each their own. At least try 24%ms. If you hate it and cant manage the dps then fair enough. But at least give it a go.
Belt - A decent WH is great, but obviously out of the price range of most poorer folk. If your looking for another belt, rares have plummeted in price, and one with 140+ int, 60+ vit, 50+ allresist, and + armor shouldnt run you more than a few mil if you keep an eye out and buy one a bid.
Pants - Another great spot to buff your vitality and resists while keeping some decent damage. I found my pants and unfortunately they would run you 30m but similar ones with 100+ int, 150 vit, 50 all resists, and + armor affix with 2 sockets should be less than 10 million. Now you can run -20 off all those slots without armor and you shouldnt be in for more than 2m.
Bracers - If you dont have 24ms already, Lacunis are nice. However they are very very expensive compared to others. Legacy arent a bad price, but strongmans bracers or rares shouldnt run you more than a few million for 150+int, some all resist, and some decent crit chance.
Boots - Rare boots are honestly, the best choice for now. There are huge buffs comping to sages seekers for the next patch, although a decent pair of firewalkers is a good choice if you can snipe one, dont splash out on boots until 1.05. That money is better spent on other slots. Just make sure you get some with 120+ int, some decent 40+ allresist, 10+movement, and hopefully some vit or + armor, but i wouldnt spend more than 2m on any of them unless you find a bargin.
Now lets move into jewellery and weapons.
Jewellery - Going to be nerfed to all oblivion next patch so this would only be for a bargin upgrade. As for stats to prioritize, since we are running archon, AIS (attack speed) > CD (critical damage) > CC (critical chance) in terms of price. Average damage and high int with some resists are bonuses but really dont get carried away since anything you buy now will be completely redundant next patch. But a 50 int, 30 all resist, +7 ais, 25 CD ring shouldnt set you back more than a few mil.
Similar goes for amulets. A decent attack speed >6, critical damage >50 ammy shouldnt be more than a few mil. For reference i paid 5m for mine before the announcement of i63 rolls so if anything the price should have come down. Both my rings i found myself so arent a good pricing reference as both have CC which is more a luxury than anything on archon.
Main - Lifesteal is pretty much mandatory, as is either 80+ critical damage or an open socket. Would search for a minimum of 100 int. Firstly by looking for int you eliminate other class competition, and secondly, int is a huge dps bonus. People often underestimate how a 1k dps weapon with little or no int is actually quite a bit worse than a 950 dps weapon with 250 int. Fast attack speed trumps dps as well. Swords with int are much more inexpensive than wands even though they share the same attack speed. Black damage is a bonus as it pairs with about 2% more damage with percent bonus damage items like storm crow, tal rashas allegience, and zunimassas trail. As a reference, my sword cost me 6m on a buyout.
Off hand - Well first off, high damage and high crit are an absolute must. As a incredibly rough estimate 10 int ~ 1 critical chance, so a source with 100 int and 8.5 crit chance is similar to a 180 int source, with the very much added advantage of refreshing your archon sooner.
Triumvates are actually going for much cheaper than they should, the + damage has often been under appreciated, and is more potent than one would realize unless you can pump it into a spreadsheet. A decent tri shouldnt cost you more than 10m, and will add close to 10k dps over an equivalent rare. Very much worthwhile. I wouldnt suggest paying the premium for an occulus or a tal rashas since the price for similar dps runs you an extra 10-50 million.
As a reference I paid 8m for my source.
TL:DR - if your poor/hate the RMAH and want to archon and want to run efficiently, or arent scared of losing your dignity by running less than MP6, you should give this a look.