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Presentation: The Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB), using the SKORN
It seems that most of the wizard players are running with either the infamous SNS build or the Archon build these days. Right now SNS happens to be the best and easiest spec to run. Unlike most wizard players, I went on a different route because I wanted to experience something different. Also, some people think that a 2-handed weapon for a Wizard is not viable on higher MPs, well, I'm here to prove you all wrong.
So, I've been testing, sharpening and trying to perfect my Sleet storm / Blizzard build for the past 2 months now. With the nice Blizzard damage buff since the 1.0.7 patch, I figured it'd be a good time to write up a detailed guide on how to gear for and play the spec efficiently. So here it is, my new build that I came up with.
Please note that this guide ONLY covers the Sleet storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB), and does not include ANY other Ray of frost runes or other builds. I'll be splitting this guide into 3 short sections:
1) Sleet storm Mechanics and Basic PlayStyle
2) Passive/Active Skills
3) Basic Gearing/stats requirements
*Please note that this guide will be a work in progress over the next few days and will be updated as any new informations comes in*
Here's the build tab: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#ZlShTQ!XgW!YbZacY
You can look at my gear in my profile: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Heroscaper-1533/hero/16740696
Here are videos of me playing my Sleet storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB) at around 120k DPS unbuffed (with enchantress), using the Skorn and melting MOBs at MP8. Sheet DPS for the Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB) simply isn't as important as many players believe it is, because Sleet storm can crit. at over a million damage to mobs per tick. So the damage output with all the skills combined can easily reach over 2.5 million damage (AOE) on a critical hit:
Video of me playing Sleet storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB):
• MP8 (Act 3) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NngMQ_uSEWc
• MP9 (Act 2) : Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjqtg82DLEk&feature=youtu.be
• MP9 : Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OByB7AgA7w&feature=youtu.be
Note: This build still works like a charm even with the Arcane power on crit Bug fix after the 1.0.7a patch. However, in order for that spec to work, you cannot go higher than 1.10 attack speed if you choose to go with the Skorn route, because you will run out of AP too quickly VS the elites or single target elites.
Edited by Heroscaper#1533 on 3/12/2013 7:16 PM PDT
1- Sleet Storm Mechanics and Basic PlayStyle
Sleet Storm is a standing still channeled ability that spends 16 arcane power per attack cycle, where each attack cycle depends on your APS (attacks per second). In each attack cycle you deal 280% weapon damage per tick, meaning that this skill benefits from high damage weapons. Sleet Storm also has a proc coefficient of 0.187 for each target hit, which is quite low for Life on hit, arcane power on crit. or when using the 'critical mass' passive. Because of the Sleet Storm low proc rate, high arcane power consumption, but big amount of damage to many targets, it is best to go for Life steal, Critical chance and critical damage over life on hit and attack speed.
Because of the fact that you cannot move while channeling Sleet Storm, it leads to a situation where you need to be in melee range, which requires you to have very high EHP in order to survive the beatings. Simply put, you want to be standing on your targets while playing the Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB) spec, especially VS enemies with a small hitbox.
1. Cast Blizzard on top of the chosen MOBs,
2. Teleport at the center of that MOB
3. Channel Sleet storm and spam Explosive blast / Diamond Skin until the said MOB is decimated
4. Teleport to the next closest MOB
5. Rinse and repeat step 1, 2, 3 and 4
Note: You NEED to Maneuver quickly around the MOBs and especially the elites to avoid standing on affixes such as Plague, desecrator, molten, arcane sentry, etc. Because of the nature of this channeling skill Sleet Storm, you will need quick reactions and hand dexterity to play with this spec because if your eHP is not high enough, you will die quickly to the constant beatings that you will receive. This build does not rely on perma freezing the MOBs so you have no choice but to face tank them and avoid being overpowered.
Your main sources of survivability will be your high Life steal %, your eHP and your quick reactions / hand dexterity to get out of danger when it occurs. If you are usually on the slow side, is clumsy, have stone hands or like to watch TV during game time, then you will die a lot as this build is not made for you lol. Personally, I enjoyed it alot because it requires constant predictions / reactions and movement dexterity. Basically, this build is as close as you can get to an arm wrestle match between you and the MOBs. You will understand what I mean when you will try it out, as it takes time to get used to it.
With that said, this leads into an interesting situation with gearing, where this build basically requires a higher amount of effective hit points (eHP) then SNS or Archon, because you don't rely on the perma-freeze gimmick. While SNS hits very fast, but for lower damage at a time, Sleet Storm plays more like a Reckless serial killer, tanking MOBs straight in their faces with only Life steal provided by the Skorn, where you stand on top of mobs and just overwhelm them with pure damage and high mitigation. Because of this, the gearing requirements lean towards All Resists, Armor, and Vitality in order to have higher eHP.
2 - Passive / Active Skills
You really don't get too many options on passives if you want high efficiency.
Passive 1) Cold blooded
Sleet Storm and Blizzard deals cold damage, so this passive is here to maximize your DPS. This is a no brainer. A 20% damage boost is magnificent.
Passive 2) Critical Mass
Used to reduce the cooldown durations of both Explosive Blast and Teleport.
Passive 3a) Astral presence
Used to regenerate arcane power. If you have enough arcane power, you can drop that passive.
Passive 3b) Blur
Melee damage reduction is almost a must in MP9 and MP10 if you are low on eHP. That 20% is very noticeable.
Passive 3c) Power Hungry
Power Hungry can be a solution at higher MP levels to regenerate arcane power. You still run out of AP every so often, but it is still an effective way to manage AP. However, the idea of relying on health globes to fuel your offense can seem hard to accept, because sometimes the globes will be all over the place and other times they don't drop as often making this option not very consistent.
Required Active Skills
You pretty much need these 4 abilities in order for the spec to work well enough.
Skill 1) Ray of Frost: Sleet Storm
This is basically what this build is all about. Everything you do is focused around this skill. Sleet Storm is basically your main damage dealing ability.
Skill 2) Blizzard - Snowbound
Blizzard is simply a secondary skill used to slowdown enemies and to provide you some extra Life steal. It also has synergies with Cold Blooded, so this is a no brainer IMO. Since it's an AOE for a long duration of time, you don't really need to babysit that skill. I use the Snowbound rune because it costs less arcane power, which means, I have more in reserve for Sleet Storm. Also, MOBs shouldn't last more than 3-4 seconds with this build if you play it right, so there's no reason to use any other runes.
Skill 3) Magic weapon - Force Weapon or Blood magic
Magic Weapon is important to raise your basic weapon damage. An extra 15% on weapon damage might not appear to be worth it on the DPS sheet, but the hidden secret is revealed when you crit. Indeed, as example; without Force weapon my critical damage with Sleet Storm is only 800K (with 500% bonus to critical damage). With Force weapon, this number can climb up to 1 million damage! That's a difference of 200k damage, which is absolutely huge. Note: If your Life steal % is not high enough on your weapon, then you can swap “Force Weapon” for “Blood magic” for that extra 1.5% life steal.
Skill 4) Teleport: Fracture or Safe passage
Teleport is needed for escaping dangerous affixes and also to move more fluidly throughout the battlefield. That means you will end up standing in affixes such as molten or plague which can potentially kill you if you don't move around. We can also note that Teleport does not interrupt Sleet Storm, so this is another no brainer. I use the Fracture rune only for the show... The best rune is probably Safe passage here though. Note: Calamity rune doesn't fit with the philosophy of this build. You want MOBS as close as possible to you, not knockbacking them and chase after them later...
Optional Active Skills
Choose 2 of these skills for the last 2 skill slots depending on your eHP.
Skill 5a) Storm Armor: Shocking Aspect or Reactive Armor
Used for extra damage output. That lightning bolt coming from the sky deals huge damage when using the SKORN. Since Storm armor does proc Life Steal, it is a very nice option. Attention: if you don't have enough eHP for you MP level, do not use Storm armor.
Skill 5b) Energy Armor: Prismatic or Absorption
It is mainly used for that extra damage mitigation if your basic eHP is not high enough in relation to your MP level. However, Energy Armor decreases your maximum arcane power by 20, which is an handicap. The Absorption rune is actually a somewhat decent rune for the build. It'll give you extra armor if you need it, and since you're getting hit a ton, the AP return helps sustain the build.
Skill 5c) Ice Armor: Jagged Ice or Ice reflect or Crystallize
It is mainly used for that extra melee damage mitigation if your basic eHP is not high enough in relation to your MP level. If you don't need that extra all resistance from ''EA Prismatic'', definitely go for Ice Armor instead. Also, the chilled and frozen effects comes in handy. I personally prefer Ice Armor over Energy Armor if you need more eHP. Note: Jagged Ice rune does proc Life Steal, which is a nice bonus.
Skill 6a) Explosive Blast: Unleashed
This is basically for additional AOE damage and life steal. I personally use the Unleashed rune because it consumes less arcane power. Also, the Explosive blast skill does not interrupt Sleet storm, so this is a nice fit with this build. With the SKORN, this one hits like a truck!
Skill 6b) Diamond Skin: Diamond Shards
This ability gives you additional damage mitigation if you feel that you don't have enough. The diamond shards rune can gives you additional AOE damage. The downside is, it takes too long to trigger with this build. Most of the time, I already decimated the MOBs before the diamond shards even triggers. It is more useful against Elites packs though. Other runes can also be chosen if necessary.
Skill 6c) Slow Time: Time Warp
Slow Time: Time Warp could be a viable option. However, sometimes it can be dangerous to use on elites with the Electrify affix. Since it slows the charged bolts down, they can stack up VERY quickly and if you're not careful, they'll burst you down like crazy since they'll all hit you at once and you can't heal through it sometimes (especially when combined with the mob's normal attacks and other stuff that might be going on). You can either just not use the ability on those elites, or you have to learn how to position correctly to avoid the charged bolts. I personally don't like it, because it interrupts the Sleet Storm channeling, which is like a waste of an attack turn just to cast it.
Edited by Heroscaper#1533 on 3/13/2013 11:14 AM PDT
3- Basic Stats & Gearing requirements:
Because of its higher eHP requirement and high damage, the Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB) requires expensive gear. Overall, you can actually sacrifice attack speed for critical damage as long as you meet the eHP requirements. So basically, on a piece of gear you should go with Critical chance, Critical damage and all resistance/Armor instead of Critical chance, attack speed and all resistance/Armor on the regular SNS spec. On a low budget set costing under 30 million gold you can do really well at lower MP level.
For low budget Sleet Storm Gearing for MP5 and under, I would suggest at least:
• All resistance: 500
• HP: 35k
• Armor: 4k
• Life Steal: 4%
• Critical chance: 30%
• Critical damage bonus: 350%
• DPS unbuffed: 70K
For high budget Sleet Storm Gearing for MP6 and higher, I would suggest at least:
• All resistance: 700
• HP: 40k
• Armor: 4.5k
• Life Steal: 5.5%
• Critical chance: 40%
• Critical damage bonus: 450%
• DPS unbuffed: 100K
As you upgrade gear, just get more DPS without dropping the defensive stats.
Please note that Sleet Storm DPS gearing should be focused around Critical Chance, Intelligence, high damage weapon and as high Critical Damage as possible. Attack Speed is low priority because it drains arcane power while increasing chance of wasted tick turn due to overkill.
Please note that if you can't finish off white MOBs under 5-6 seconds, then you shouldn't be at this MP level. Go to the one below until you can kill white MOBs under 5-6 seconds. You can use the Blizzard skill as indication knowing that it last 6 seconds. Elite MOBs shouldn't take more than 15-20 seconds at MP8 and maybe 25 to 45 seconds on MP9. In order for that skill to work, you cannot go higher than 1.10 attack speed, because you will run out of AP too quickly VS the elites or single target elites.
Strenghts of this build:
• White MOBs are a walk in the park
• Face tanking MOBs & elites are a joy to watch
• extremely high damage output
• Very fast & proactive style of play with high pace action
• It's beautiful on screen
Weaknesses of this build:
• Single target elite can take a long time to kill
• Frozen, nightmarish and extra health are your worst elite affixes
• Requires high eHP
• Can run out of AP if your DPS is not high enough
• It requires good reflexes and hand/finger dexterity to maneuver you character fluidly
I would like to note that my gearing patterns tend to rely on legendary items with very strait forward upgrade paths. Gearing like this means it take less time to buy the gear and later resell it. However, you can also save money upfront if you are willing to spend time searching for individual rare items with similar stats.
These are recommendations for the Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB), build. The final decisions are yours to make:
• Helm: Storm Crow. Get an AR roll (try for 60+). You should go for Critical Chance if you have a high budget.
• Shoulders: Vile Ward. Obviously get one with Int (180+). Get higher int or add in Vitality/Life % if you have a large budget.
•Chest: Zunima Marrow. Get one with extra armor. Add in additional Stats such as higher Int, Vit, life% or life regen based on your budget.
• Bracers: A rare item with high crit chance, int, vitality, armor and all resistance. Otherwise, Lacuni prowlers with good rolls if you are on a high budget.
• Belt: Witching Hour for that extra critical damage. On a budget the rolls don't matter. On a high budget go for a high Int, vit and AR/armor roll.
• Pants: Blackthorne's Jousting Mail or Depth Diggers. Try to get one with high armor or all resistance. On a higher budget you can go with high Int, high Vit, or AR/Armor rolls.
• Ring 1: Stone of Jordan (SOJ), Litany of the undaunted or a good rolled rare with crit chance, crit damage and AR/Armor. If you need the AR, get a litany. Pick the SOJ with critical chance to Ray of frost and a high bonus damage to elites (25%+). The extra arcane power can comes in handy. IMO, SOJ is BIS here.
• Ring 2: Zunima Pox: This is to get access to the 3 pieces set bonus (+55 all resistance). Pick one with high crit chance and high armor or vitality.
• Boots: Zunima Trail. Get any rolls on a low budget, go for Int (170+), Vit and All resistance if you have a higher budget.
• Amulet: Get AR/Vit/Life% if your AR is under 400 and your HP is under 40k. Otherwise take DPS stats. On higher budget, get Tal Rasha's allegiance with high crit chance and int.
• Gloves: Get AR/Vit/Life% if your eHP is subpar. Otherwise take DPS stats.
• Weapon: Skorn. On a low budget go for int and 4% life steal socket. For a higher budget go for 5.5% life steal and 300+ int and 170%+ crit damage.
Note: Going with the 1 handed route is a bit tricky because you will then need to balance your attack speed with your arcane power on crit. Otherwise, take the highest life steal one handed weapon possible for your budget.
• Offhand: Occulus or Tal rasha's glare. The extra arcane power on crit is a must if you choose to go with the 1 handed weapon route. Choose one with at least +2 seconds to Blizzard's duration. You would obviously want rolls with high crit chance, Int and Vit.
Note: Going with the Skorn is less expensive IMO, because you only spend your money for one slot instead of two. You will also hit like a robot on steroids!
Note: As for you information, my current gear cost me around 300 millions. I can do MP8 and under with ease. MP9 takes a bit longer to kill than MP8, but it's no big deal. That extra step to MP10 is tricky because you basically need even higher eHP while maintaining your high DPS, which is quite hard to achieve. At MP10, the Sleet Storm Blizzard Blast Build (SSBB) would need to cost probably close to 1.5 billion dollar in gear to get going effectively.
I hope that this guide will help you guys who are interested in running a similar build and I hope it shows you an interesting route that is different to the popular wizard builds. I honestly believe that this build at MP9 and lower can match if not surpass the total DPS output wise of any other wizard specs! My gear is only in the higher tier of the average range as I would like to see some billionaires try this build on MP10 and hear some feedback and what they think about it.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate.
Edited by Heroscaper#1533 on 3/12/2013 7:00 PM PDT
I tried my own variation of it when Malakai posted about it and his video, and although Teleport Calamity doesn't "fit the philosophy of this build," I love Calamity for non-spectral, non-archon builds, and I would still use it over Blizzard and Explosive Blast because I personally enjoy knocking back mobs.
Fair enough, but personally, I prefer to use Teleport as a Defense/escape route skill. Chasing after the monsters after the knockback with Calamity rune is kind of annoying though for me.
I'll have one available here in a couple of hours when it's done uploading to YouTube.
Awesome work on the guide, Heroscaper. You really covered just about everything for the build. A few things you might want to add, however:
1)- Energy Armor: Absorption is actually a somewhat decent rune for the build. It'll give you extra armor if you need it, and since you're getting hit a ton, the AP return helps sustain the build. It's not the best option, but it's an option nonetheless.
2)- The key to higher MP levels I've found is Power Hungry. It's what I use in the MP10 video I'm uploading right now. You still run out of AP every so often, but it's by far the best option available if you're going to tackle MP10 with this build (unless one of us finds something better along the line, of course).
3)- Maybe add a section about Slow Time: Time Warp since it's a viable option. But make sure to add that it can sometimes be dangerous to use on elites with the Electrify affix. Since it slows the charged bolts down, they can stack up VERY quickly and if you're not careful, they'll burst you down like crazy since they'll all hit you at once and you can't heal through it sometimes (especially when combined with the mob's normal attacks and other stuff that might be going on). You can either just not use the ability on those elites, or you have to learn how to position correctly to avoid the charged bolts.
Anyhow, great job again on the guide. I really enjoyed it. :)
P.S. - Those Depth Diggers are amazing. Want to buy!
Edited by Malakai#1265 on 3/12/2013 10:02 PM PDT
Thanks Malakai !!
Your version of this build is amazing as well, but just a bit different, can't wait to read yours.
I was wondering since you're the one with the best gear for this spec and probably the top Sleet storm player around here, if you could try it out (SSBB) on MP10 and tell me how it went.
I'm pretty confident that you would do well since your DPS and eHP are way higher than me. If i can do MP9 without any difficulty, MP10 should be more than viable for you.
Yeahh hehe, I sniped that Depth diggers for only 20 millions last month LOL !! But I would happily trade it for your Mara's amulet :p
Edited by Heroscaper#1533 on 3/12/2013 10:58 PM PDT
Thanks for the excellent writeup, Heroscaper.
One thing I noticed with this build is that it resets cooldowns much slower than the standard CM/WW build.
I'm experimenting with taking out Critical Mass altogether and replacing spammable skills with ones that you only need to cast once or twice per elite pack.
What do you think of something like this?
Melee Blizz/Hydra/Sleet Storm build :-)
1) Since you're not spamming other spells, all of your AP is dedicated to just channeling Sleet Storm. This should help with "running out of AP" problems.
2) Mammoth Hydra + Conflagration for more DPS
Edited by DomonKassui#1611 on 3/12/2013 11:43 PM PDT
Thanks for the excellent writeup, Heroscaper.
Thanks Domon !! :D
The thing with Hydra is that this skill is bugged as hell and the damage output is super weak compared to Explosive blast or Diamond Shards.
First of all, Hydra does not proc Life Steal, but it does proc Reflect Damage against you !! Other major issues are also present.
You can look at these two threads for all the bugs involving Hydra: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7004448075
With that said, I would stay away from the Hydra skill until Blizzard decides to fix it... if they even intend to do it of course... :(
Also, dropping Critical mass means that your Teleport will take the full 15 seconds cooldown to reset, which is like a life time, as you won't be able to escape death if you're fighting against dangerous affixes like Plague, Arcane, etc.
If you don't want to use critical Mass relating skills, swap it for illusionist for escaping purpose.
Edited by Heroscaper#1533 on 3/13/2013 2:00 AM PDT
great to have another options for higher MPs! Especially I got a lucky skorn drop (1300dps) days ago!
Thanks for the detailed write up.
One correction though, hydra does not proc reflect damage, I run it all the time, this has been the case since one or two patches ago.
Edited by ChrisF#1188 on 3/13/2013 4:58 AM PDT
There are a few of us out there, carving our niche.
Toss in your firstborn child and we have a deal.
BTW, I don't plan on making a guide myself. I had my fill of writing guides back in the day for Phantasy Star Online, Wizardry 7 and 8, and Baldur's Gate 2. You should post a link to this guide in the Wizard Build Compendium sticky at the top of the page.
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