Diablo® III

The Wizard Build Compendium

The Wizard Build Compendium

Welcome to the Wizard Build Compendium! Are you new to the class and not sure what kind of wizard you want to play? Are you a grizzled veteran, bored of your tried-and-true spec and looking for some new inspiration? Or are you an inveterate forum lurker trying to find that guide to that build you read that one time that had that video that'll help you win an argument with a barb over in the general forum? Whatever brings you to this thread, if you're looking for wizard builds, you've come to the right place!

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Post Outline

This post has 4 main sections:
  • Intro, a brief summary of the main categories of wizard builds and how they work.
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  • Build Compendium, what you're probably here for, a listing of wizard builds, organized by category, with links to guides or specs where I can find them.
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  • Useful Info, a list of links to posts with useful info about how the wizard class works that aren't really guides in and of themselves.
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  • HALP, the part where I ask you to help me keep this post current and accurate, because it turns out I don't actually know anything about the wizard class.

Allez cuisine!

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INTRO

(If you already know about wizard builds in general and just want links to specific guides, feel free to tl;dr this wall o' text and skip to the next section.)

So far, the combined wisdom of collective wizardry has developed builds that primarily fall into five broad categories:

Kiting Wizards depend on long-range skills and mobility to kill their enemies before they're in any danger, and when that doesn't work, run away. This is probably the easiest type of build to gear into, because all you really need is a little move speed and as much damage as you can muster. Kiting tends to become very inefficient at high MP levels, however, because as monsters get more and more health, the amount of time you have to spend running from them increases, and time spent running is time spent not doing damage. All in all, this means kiting wizards are generally not efficient above MP 4, and not really viable at all above MP 6 (though YMMV).

Archon Wizards focus on the Archon skill ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/class/wizard/active/archon ), and keeping it active as much of the time as possible. Typically, this means combining the ability to kill a whole lot of enemies very quickly with some form of cooldown reduction, usually the Critical Mass passive. The skills used to back up Archon vary from build to build, but usually focus on doing a whole lot of damage and moving around very quickly, to maximize the amount of time you spend killing stuff. Archon builds are generally more expensive to gear for than kiting wizards, because they only work with relatively high DPS, but because they don't care about arcane power or attack speed, they can still be fairly affordable. Archon wizards are extremely efficient at low MP levels in solo games, but fall off quickly as enemy health increases, because if you can't kill fast enough, you'll have trouble maintaining an erection...I mean, maintaining archon mode.

CM-Based Wizards combine Critical Mass ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/class/wizard/passive/critical-mass ) with spammable attack spells to reset the cooldowns on skills like Diamond Skin, Frost Nova, and Explosive Blast in order to cast them way, way more often than the good lord Blizzard ever intended them to be cast. The various flavors of CM wizards can achieve totally badass feats like perma-freezing enemies, dealing over 8x sheet DPS, and being constantly covered in diamonds. If you want to play wizard efficiently at high MP levels, CM is almost certainly the way to go. Unfortunately, because Blizzard insists on nerfing it further into the ground every single patch, CM is also the most expensive build category to gear for, with most builds requiring large amounts of attack speed, APoC, and critical chance to be effective, all of which are expensive as balls. Also hard on the fingers if you don't use keyboard macros. Hope you stole daddy's credit card and a wrist brace.

Melee wizards focus on front-line tanking, usually in conjunction with the Spectral Blades signature spell ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/class/wizard/active/spectral-blade ). They are often very similar to CM-based wizards (using the Critical Mass passive to reset DS and other cooldown skills), but differ in that they don't require a "wind-up" period of casting before they get up to speed the way traditional CM builds do, typically play more aggressively, and depend on straight tankiness rather than the ability to permafreeze enemies for survival. Melee builds often make excellent low-MP rushers, which means they can be a good choice for Paragon farming. However, their lower DPS multiplier and lack of permafreezing generally makes them fall off in comparison to straight CM-based builds when it comes to high MP's and co-op play (though some melee builds can provide other benefits to parties besides CM's signature permafreezing).

Other Wizards don't fall comfortably into any of the categories above. They usually suck, which is why they're sitting here in this lamesauce "other" category at the end of the section. You should play them if you like to feel edgy and different, if being put into a category makes you feel claustrophobic, or if you're trying to convince Blizzard to stop nerfing CM (protip: it's not going to work).

I'm also including a section on specialized wizard builds, that aren't designed to be your main farming spec but to achieve some specific purpose.

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BUILD COMPENDIUM

Kiting Wizards

Archon Wizards

CM-Based Wizards

Melee Wizards

Other Wizards

Specialized Builds

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USEFUL INFO

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HALP

So, you've read through the compendium, but you're a Good Guy Greg, right, and you want to know what you can do to help? Awesome! Here are a few things that might make this post better:
  • Is there a build listed that's missing a guide? If you can find me one, or even better, write a good one yourself, lemme know and I'll update accordingly.
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  • Did you just come up with a totally badass build that's going to blow all these out of the water? Awesome! Write a guide for it, let me know, and I'll stick it on the list.
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  • Did I miss a build that should really be on here? Of course I did! So tell me about it and I'll make sure it gets added.
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  • Did I say something stupid, out-of-date, or just plain wrong in this post? Tell me about it, and if you explain to me convincingly why my post makes me look like a dumbass, I'll change it.
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  • There's something pretty obvious missing from this thread, which I'm sure you noticed if you came here looking for it: anything about how to play Wizard in Hardcore. Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to say anything about that, because I've literally never played a Wizard in Hardcore. But if one of you fine folk who has wants to write up a guide on how to do so, complete with build suggestions, I'd be very happy to link it here.

If you need to let me know about any of these things, just post in this here thread, and I'll see what I can do.

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Alright, folks, that's all for the Wizard Build Compendium. Thanks for reading, and enjoy wizard-ing it up!
Edited by AS00#1295 on 1/5/2013 4:31 PM PST
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CREDITS: Where we thank the badasses who actually made the threads I just linked to.
  • Aimless: The Shockquefy and Shaggalicious builds, co-creating the Shocknadoshards build, and some research and forum-arguing that led to our modern understanding of the CM/WW build and its relation to APS.
  • Alex: The Sleet Storm CM build.
  • Aphraell: The CM/WW/Meteor build, and coming up with the idea for this post in the first place.
  • Apo: Work on the APS and WW tick rate research.
  • Boozor: The Rockanadoes build.
  • ChangBooster: The All-Arcane Kiting Build.
  • Chopain: The updated build for CM/Mirror Image.
  • Coxis: The kiting wizard thread.
  • DoctorDoom: The ranged frost mage build.
  • EigenVector: The Counter Attack Wizard build.
  • eLINminator: The Sustained Archon guide, the UberDeath build, and research into mob density for archon farming purposes.
  • Emperor: The Raining Meteors build.
  • Guybrush: Research on proc coefficients, and work on the APS and WW tick rate research.
  • holyfork: The CM/WW DPS tests.
  • HuRT: The acronym thread.
  • Jaetch: Archon speed levelling research.
  • JAMES: Forked Lightning Build guide (for Blizz/Hydra).
  • Kieble: The EHP thread and the Wizard EHP/DPS calculator.
  • krali: The Blizzard XP farming build.
  • Loroese: The CM/WW guide.
  • MasterJay: Co-creating the Shocknadoshards build.
  • Naabski: The Glass Cannon Ray of Frost build.
  • PieHole: The ShockNadoShards guide.
  • RobertVarga: The Melee Buff Wiz.
  • Rock: The Spectral Blade Build guide.
  • RulerEric: The No-Spinup Healing Blade guide.
  • Schenko7: The hybrid archon guide.
  • Seolfor: Making a really helpful thread about how Triumvirate works, even if nobody seems to have read it, and the alternative RoF kiting build.
  • Shaggy: The CM/LL Shower build.
  • Shandlar: Work on the APS and WW tick rate research.
  • Stever: The Bargain Archon Guide.
  • Strifen: The CM/Meteor Shower build.
  • Tenryu: The CM/Mirror Image guide.
  • ZzEzZu: Compiling the proc coefficient info.
Edited by AS00#1295 on 1/5/2013 4:26 PM PST
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(reserved)
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Alright, post away. If you approve this message, throw me a sticky request!
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C'est une bonne chose
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Reserved.

I'll edit this occasionally. Hopefully this will save getting random friend requests everyday regarding buids.

Everyone NEEDS to "Request Sticky" in top right of post under login details
Edited by Aphraell#1269 on 11/13/2012 9:10 PM PST
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+1.. sticky request, bookmarked and liked.

Now all we need is a mod to press the sticky button ;D
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nice ! good job, bump for awareness ! requested sticky too !
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Coxis now correctly given credit for the kiting wizard thread. Didn't even have to change the order to stay alphabetical!
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Coxis now correctly given credit for the kiting wizard thread. Didn't even have to change the order to stay alphabetical!


Hey-- It doesn't get any more convenient than that!

Glad to do my part. :)
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Added Chopain's newer, up-to-date version of CM/Mirror Image.
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Sticky Requested. Reserving front page post for possible future needs.
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goood work all
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Sticky requested
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What a fantastic effOrt. Kudos and sticky requested.

Ty for crediting me :) for a while I was like the sole Trium advocate, trying to shout as loud as I could, how it's the BiS source (except perfect rolled Chants, and then too it's price performance is hugely better)

Ironically, I was the biggest skeptic of naabski's RoF wizard. He ran it with Hydra and I just didn't see it pack enough AoE punch, even at 200k dps.

In this period Naabski has turned, and become a true Archon believer. He swears by a life steal Skorn and runs Archon with either RoF or Disinti or ATorrent (all hard hitting channel spells)

I on the other hand swore by Archon-Fork Lighnting, but seeing how much it sucks on mp7+ with 250K+ paper dps, I went looking for another build.

I found that kiting build in a RoF variant. The build lacked aoe and I had been trying to squeeze in the best aoe spell ie Molten meteor into the build.

I was able to, see my profile, this spec is mP7-8 tested and approved. To bake in regular meteor usage you need to completely avoid Attack speed on your gear, gimping your paper dps.

But, this build is all about DMg per spellhit, rather than Damage per sec. Two million meteor crits and a 53% crit Rofrost is awesome. The additional 12% RoF crit and +20% from cold blooded doesn't show on paper dps, so the flaunt value is low.

People regularly question me in mp7 über runs, but my sustained DMg output and survivability surprises most.

I've always been a contrarian, whether it was Trium vs all or now RoF-Meteor-Storm armor.

I have very decent AllRes, Armor and ViT, plus with Meteor-CM and RoF-Cm, my diamond skin is rarely down. All else fuked, I tele out. gee gee

PS: against ubers I switch out my left rare ring for a RoF Soj, even lower paper dps, even more carnage :)

(yes in theory Disinti sounds better, but tested it extensively, the extra crit on RoF from gear makes it far better Single target and molten meteor is far better aoe)
Edited by Seolfor#1633 on 11/14/2012 4:41 AM PST
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A few things you could add if you're interested, I made a big post breaking down how EHP works and why balancing is good for wizards here:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6933915251

I also made a DPS/EHP calculator designed around wizards to get detailed information including that for CM/WW wizards with the 20% Cold modifiers.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6893609842

Just thought I'd point out some helpful threads that exist, take em or leave em.
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The hybrid build you have is a little wrong......

You need to place Blur instead of Glass Cannon

See my profile for legitimacy of being able to run the build at mp 7-10.

Glass Cannon is our worst passive for this build, it makes anything at mp 7+ melt us. I have over 800 resists unbuffed/345k dps w/blood magic....so I have backing on this. For the lower mp lvls....yes I can see glass cannon being good in this build, but if you're able to run this you may as well go sustained archon. It's worth noting that you will need at least 2%+ life leech to run this build at all effectively.

*note*

This build with gear like mine is basically the sustained archon past mp 5.
Edited by Schenko7#1939 on 11/14/2012 6:12 AM PST
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Sticky requested.
May I suggest putting Guybrush and Apo up there as well..
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Seolfor's RoF build added as an alternative to Naabski's; links to Kieble's DPS/EHP calculations added; hybrid archon build corrected; credits updated accordingly.

JedT, I'm not familiar with the people/builds you're suggesting, can you provide me with links or at least pointers for what I'm looking for?

Thanks for the support, all.
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Just hit 60 on my wiz, and this is exactly what I was looking for! I was expecting having to sift through dozens of posts, but it was all right here... Thanks!
Edited by Bandages#1605 on 11/14/2012 9:41 AM PST
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