So I have been playing around with a build that uses meteor shower as its main attack for the past week and I'm hoping to share it with some people looking for a new build. I sat long and hard thinking of a fun build that wasn't CM/WW that I could use in a higher MP to provide a benefit to my group. So far I've done a lot of MP 6-7 group farming and ubers on 8/9 and meteor shower has been working great. I personally will still use Archon for solo farming but for the times when I'm bored of that, or when I'm doing higher MPs and ubers with a group and want to benefit the group more I'll switch over to my meteor build. Anyways I find the fun factor pretty high up there because it reminds me of a lot of how my D2 meteor sorc used to play. I have always wanted to play a meteor wiz in d3 and with the 1.05 buffs to meteor and the right gear and abilities choices it's very doable. Here's my take on how to do it.
I'm going to give a breakdown of how it works to hopefully give more people a chance to try it out. I am open to critique on the build and if people have ideas of how to expand on it.
The basis of the build is that you can play very similar to a CM/WW wizard but will have a lot more burst damage coming from meteor shower. The big part where the build differs from a standard CM/WW wizard is that you don't always need to be in meele-range to deliver your full damage potential. You can play more like a traditional ranged wizard from afar just dropping meteors when you want to. I find that this gives the build a lot of diversity and lets you gauge the situation depending on whether you need to go in for crowd control with frost novas or stay near the back with meteors.
Skill choices: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#YPjXTS!geX!Ybaacc
MP 9 Ubers (SK and Mag): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGuMhNcbJIw&feature=plcp
A1 MP6 Festering Woods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfbynXPnAjo&feature=plcp:
A3 MP6 Core, Tower, Crater 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11r-Ar7JQho&feature=plcp
Breaking it down
Frost Nova - Deep Freeze: Frost nova is pretty key to any grouping based build. I find that the utility it provides is huge not only to yourself but your group allowing everyone to do more damage and increasing survivability. For this build there's no replacing it, you won't quite be able to spam it as a CM/WW wizard when only hitting one or two targets but on larger groups it will refreshing as fast as you cast it. Deep Freeze rune synergizes best with the build because an added 15% crit tends to push you over the edge letting you spam meteor shower as fast as you can. More crits mean more AP and chances to proc shocking aspect. While the Deep Freeze rune has given me the best results I think that other runes such as Bone Chill and Cold Snap could potentially work based on play style and preference.
Meteor - Meteor Shower: I find that meteor shower works best with this build because of the fact it breaks up the meteors damage into 7 consecutive attacks for 104% weapon damage putting the potential damage of one meteor shower cast at 728% weapon damage. The fact that it breaks up the attack into 7 strikes also makes it work nicely with + ap on crit gear giving that many more chances to crit and refresh AP, allowing you to spam more meteors. Secondary benefit comes from the fact your shocking pulse is going to have more chances to proc further dealing 35% AOE damage. I've tried all the meteor runes, and there's no contesting that meteor shower is the best for this build.
Familiar - Arcanot/Sparkflint: The familiar is useful for either the + AP regen or + damage buff it provides. I feel depending on your crit, ap on crit, and ap regen you can use sparkflint over arcanot but the safe route here is taking Arcanot. It's entirely up to you and situational though, try out both and see how it works for you.
Diamond Skin - Crystal Shell: Pretty much a necessity to any wizard build, diamond skin with crystal shell will let you play like a CM/WW wizard when necessary and overall increasing your survivability. I don't think any other rune is viable here, going from 10k - 20k from crystal shell rune is too big to pass up. I played around with Prism and I find it didn't work very well because the buff-uptime isn't all that great (10k diamond skins break way too fast).
Storm Armor - Shocking Aspect: Storm armor is pretty powerful now after 1.05, shocking aspect rune never changed, but 100% weapon damage strikes are nothing to scoff at. The best part though comes from shocking aspect which does wonders when stacked with meteor shower. Pretty much a must have for the huge damage buff shocking aspect adds to your meteors, you can definitely tell when your storm armor is down.
Magic Weapon - Blood Magic: Magic weapon here because of the flat + damage buff it provides and the secondary benefits of the lifesteal. With 3% lifesteal on my weapon it's not enough to out-do the effects of reflect damage. With the extra 1.5% from magic weapon reflect is easily manageable. Force weapon can be used but I don't think the 5% damage is worth the lifesteal and the knockback can be detrimental when you're trying to keep things in frost nova.
Critical Mass: Staple passive ability here, no alternative for this one with every crit refreshing the cooldown on nova and diamond skin.
Astral presence: The 2 AP regen and +20 max AP works wonder for being able to utilize meteor as your full time nuke. The +20 extra max AP means that combined with your - meteor cast orb you can drop 3 meteors off of a full AP bar as opposed to 2 meteors, makes a big difference.
Conflagration: Have room for 1 damage based passive, a few options here. I like to go with conflagration because of the consistent 10% damage it is going to give to meteors. Other options are glass cannon for 15% more damage flat but because of the nature of the build and the fact often you'll be in meele range providing CC I don't like to use it because of the -10% survivability hit. Cold blooded is another decent option giving you 20% more damage on targets you have frost nova'd, you can try using that but I think the 10% fire damage suits the build better.
My Profile: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Strifen-1543/hero/4693149
Low-mid range benchmarks for this build
40% crit hit chance 200% crit damage 15 AP on crit 2.5% life steal 40k hp 600 all res -5 meteor orb 25% attack speed (on about 3 items)
You definitely don't need top end gear to make this work. Most people geared for CM/WW could use the same type of gearing for this. In terms if importance critical hit chance is the number one thing to look out for, followed by making sure you have at least 18 + ap on crit ( 30 is ideal) and 2.5% + lifesteal. For the most part It's the same type of stuff you will be needing AP on crit and stacked + crit chance. The only difference being that I don't think life on hit is needed for this build and that life steal is preferable.
Mainhand: A necessary item for this build is going to be a good wand. You want a wand for the moments you don't have AP, the wands secondary attack helps a lot giving you more sources of being able to crit and gain AP. In terms of stats you definitely want a wand that has 9 or 10 AP on crit, and one with 2.5 % + lifesteal. Ideally look for weapons with a socket, ap on crit, lifesteal, crit damage, and max arcane power. Chantodos will can work but I don't like the fact you can't have one with AP on crit, socket, and lifesteal. With that said one can work fine but a rare with all the above stacks would be better unless you already have a good Chantodos offhand.
Source: In terms of gearing for this build the first thing you want to look out for is source that has - 5 meteor and + 10 AP on crit. The - 5 meteor cost is going to be a flat 10% efficiency per cast of meteor and you will need the AP on crit to keep dropping meteors. For secondary stats high + int and + vitaility with 9-10 crit is what you want to look out for. I think Tal's offhand is well suited for the build but there's plenty of good options out there.
Armor: Pretty standard stuff here, you want to make sure that you're maximizing the amount of crit you can get per slot. That means rings and amulet should all have + crit, as well as gloves, bracer, and helm. I don't think you need a stormcrow for this build but if you have a good one than go for it. I wouldn't bother with gearing for life on hit. Meteor shower can do a lot of damage and between lifesteal and blood magic you'll be fine for reflect and will have plenty of self healing.
3. Playing the build
A big part of the build is making sure your wand attacks are connecting with whatever you're aiming it. So when you're casting meteors try to make a conscience effort to aim at whatever you're casting at and not just around it. This way you'll trigger wand attacks when you dont have AP to recast feeding you more AP. Another big thing is making sure you can keep your deep freeze 15% crit buff rolling from frost nova. Positioning yourself and dragging mobs so you can frost nova 5 or more targets is something you should always be mindful of. Be careful wading in a group of mobs and/or training bigger packs, a lot of this comes down to playing around with the build and knowing your limits. Eventually you'll be comfortable walking face first into a pack of 20 + mobs, dropping frost nova for 15% crit and then melting everything in a few casts.
In terms of the control scheme this will differ from each person depending on what works best but I find that having frost nova on left click and meteor on right click the best way to play this. When I need to frost nova I can just hold down L-shift and left click. when in a big group all you need to do is hold down left click + shift to keep casting frost nova and then keep hitting right click to cast meteors. Then your other hand is free to cast diamond skin as much as you possibly can.
4. Final Remarks
I am by no means saying that this build is better than the standard CM/WW build. I think that CM/WW has the potential to do more dps than this build but it has a higher ramp up time needing multiple wicked winds to be hitting the mob to surpass meteors dps. CM/WW also has more CM procs per average allowing you to frost nova more, both are really great builds. With that said there's a lot I really like about CM/meteor shower, your damage is front-ended and dropping 3 meteors off of a full AP bar is huge burst. You also have the luxury of playing at range when you want letting you sit back out of harms way dealing your full damage. On packs with multiple mobs meteor shower is giving you enough crits to the point where you can spam frost nova/diamond skin as fast as you can. While both builds are good in their own ways I think meteor is a more fun way to play. If you have any comments or feedback let me know I'll watch this thread and post feedback. I will also recording some more footage of doing high MPs and ubers with meteor shower.