Diablo® III

Bargain Archon Guide 101

Well Ive been asked to write an archon guide, mainly at behest of Aimless among others.

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.
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my thought for this is that stormcrow(500k) and zuni boots (legacy)1m is best in slot when in a budget.
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Bump for interests sake.
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Stormcrow is nice for non archon builds, but sadly LOH doesnt proc through archon so its not as useful as you might imagine. Legacy zunis are alright for AIS, but truely inferior when it come to damage/resist/vit. Really only useful for max AIS build or the desprate CM/WW builds. TBH rares of both helms and boots are better bang for buck.
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Bump for a good read. I'm trying to upgrade my gear for a good archon build. Would you reccomend Tal armor over Tyrael's if you could afford it for the attack speed?
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Well, im of two minds on the tal rashas. Really nice dps yes, really good if you plan on being able to crossover into a CM/WW build for hellfire runs yes, but to afford a decent one.... Really not worth it. Plus then you have to find 12 movespeed and/or resists so you dont insta kill yourself on reflect elsewhere which is a huge pain in the butt.

So if you happen to luck out on a all resist one or one with decent vit then great, but if your planning to commit to archon like i did, a zuni set offers a huge bonus over tal rasha at the moment. Maybe after sets drop in price it would be a nice option, but for 10m, hard to beat a tyreals.
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Hmmm... guess I could do a great investment consultant then...
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This is great idea since cm is not so bargain anymores and is always on the chopping block in one form or another.. thanks a lot Stever. fantastic.
Edited by Aimless#1700 on 10/6/2012 3:48 AM PDT
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Hey Stever, I've been testing this build for about ~30mins and I really like it in comparison to my CM/Twister build. I was wondering if you could take a quick look at my gear and tell me what I really need to upgrade, I'm having trouble getting passed 63k DPS.

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Speaking of upgrades, just got myself some, and would be happy to pass my old tryeals, firewalkers, and rings alone for 20% below what anyone can find as the lowest buyout.

If your confused just click through the 4 images up the top.


Feel free to shoot me an offer, hope to help some wizzys getting in on the action.
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i have archon/mf setup on my lvl5 paragon wiz(only using cheap gear) but mainly suitable for farming act 2(voa etc) due to low dps and ar.
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Do you think that I should swap out my 950 dps APOC wand for one without APOC with higher DPS?
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@sky, yes a higher lifesteal one hander with int would do you yards of benefit, probably not your first concern in terms of gear. I specifically left andariels out of my recommended for a reason. Although it offers nice dps for bottom prices, most underestimate how much the fire taken gimps you. At least find one with some decent all resist and <10% fire damage taken. I know most of the times i die either either to a nasty occultist pack or mollocs. Cant imagine how rough it is trying to run archon on 60k dps. You could get a huge boost upgrading your right ring as well, not to mention im a bit confused why you have a apoc triumvirate with no arcane skills. Would be better served trading that up for one with higher dps and no apoc if your keen on archon.
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I had the Trium because I just swapped from CM/Twister build. Thanks for the tips, I upgraded my weapon but forgot the life steal(adjusting that now, DEFINITELY needed), my DPS jumped up to 72k though.
Edited by Sky#1197 on 10/6/2012 6:40 AM PDT
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What's the rational behind cd>cc? Cc lets you cool down archon faster, assuming cm.
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Not to threadjack, but I have already written quite a bit on the Sustained Archon build.

Not intended to be a guide originally, but I think it has more useful info than what's presented here.

Couple of things I dont agree with here:
1) I dont agree with order of IAS>CD>CC.
I'd rank CC>IAS=CD, CC is very helpful on resetting archon. The other two is just 'filler' to push your DPS up, get it if you can, but CC is something that you should strive for.

2) I believe teleport is a wasted slot, dont know why you want teleport wormhole. With archon build, you basically have two 'free skill slots' to get back Archon to reset ASAP. Teleport doesnt contribute in that role. Mobility should be the least of your concern when out of Archon.
Edited by eLINminator#1776 on 10/6/2012 10:57 AM PDT
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@ both herby and elim: reasoning behind IAS>CD>CC is purely price, and price alone. If you take the exact same dps on your spreadsheet with an ais/cd ring VS an ais/cc or cc/cd ring, youll be paying double if not triple for it. As handy as refresh time is, if you can buff your damage first, you should be able to ride out the timer in archon, and therefore small bonuses to reduction are only handy when you pop archon and take a wrong corner and it ends prematurely.

I agree for the wealthy that CC is ideal, however if one was borderline dps/resists to get themselves from magic dragon kite build to archon, you get better bang from buck not buying CC on jewellery, but instead picking it up in cheap places (source, bracers, helm)

As for wormhole, i think the mobility is really handy. Unless you can perma keep it up, and play waypoints well, which most people dont, blinking around the map when you die instead of running there saves you a heap of time. Why bother with two refresher skills? Sure SC is great now... but going to be useless in 1.05 even when running apoc and it means you have to get close and personal, which bargain archons dont want to be. And besides, the only other rune i can see as being equal would be diamond skin. But when im in a dry part of a map id much rather right click my archon, quad blink to the next packs, refresh my armor and spark and archon again then having to run there.
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You should probably let people know unless they have over 20ish CC%, then CD will add marginal damage to their output. You NEED high enough CC for CD to have any effect.

Some other tips for Archon - run it solo, use an enchantress and hook up a maximus and attack speed rings/ammy. the demon tanks for you and procs every 5 seconds, and the fire chains can crit and help proc CM for faster reset.
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I would agree with both of those, however, I run my templar as an MF bot instead. Enchantress isnt looking as appealing in 1.05 with that armor nerf.

Archon is by definition a solo skill build and is pretty bad in groups unless your sitting 200k dps plus.
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