Ray of Frost/Tal Rasha's Build Guide (2.0.5)

Wizard
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Hi everyone,

I’ve read a lot of very helpful builds on these forums, so I wanted to share the Tal Rasha’s/Light of Grace Ray of Frost build I’ve been working on to help out anyone that might be considering trying a cold wizard. With this build and my current gear I can clear T5 very effectively, and it remains fairly solid in T6. By the end of this guide I hope to convince you that RoF can stand toe-to-toe with any channelling build out there.

As a side note, my day job is as a research scientist, so I’ve done a fair bit of number crunching (because what RPG isn’t fun without spreadsheets!) and the build has been optimized to the best of my ability. I’d be happy to hear any suggestions.

The Concept:

This build turns Ray of Frost into a face-melting hate-beam of death that slows enemies, debuffs them, shocks them, burns them, and hits them with four volleys of meteors all at once. This build will do this infinitely, and all you need to do is left click.

Specifically, the aim is to get all four Tal Rasha’s meteors and all four ticks of elemental exposure into the Ray of Frost channel. With the right gear, you will not need any additional cast-able spells to achieve this.

My Gear:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/VitaminZ-1426/hero/28807547

The Build:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#ZNjSOY!YWSR!cZYYZZ

You will need:

Offhand: Light of Grace
- This item is mandatory to make RoF into a viable channel on par with disintegrate. Try to get one with 4APoC, and for BiS stats, +damage to Ray of Frost.

Set: 4pc Tal’s Rasha’s Elements (Chest/Belt/Helm/Amulet)
- Either all four pieces or three plus Ring of Royal Grandeur – which three pieces you have is not critical. For BiS stats, you’ll want +damage to Ray of Frost on the helm and +cold damage on the amulet.

Weapon: Thunderfury is the strongest in my opinion for the amazing lightning proc, but Azurewrath is a close second with its +damage to cold and high chance to freeze.

Gloves: Frostburns are helpful as the proc coefficient on RoF is decent and will greatly improve CC, but these gloves are not mandatory. It is very difficult to find them, and even harder to find a well-rolled pair, so any legendary trifecta will do.

Skills:

Left click: Ray of Frost – Snow Blast
This build does not require a primary skill, and should give you enough AP to infinitely (or close to infinitely) channel RoF with one of the stronger runes. Both Snow Blast and Black Ice are amazing; use either according to your preference. I prefer Black Ice solo and Snow Blast in a party, as Black Ice will not proc if your party members kill enemies, turning Black Ice into a very expensive Cold Blood rune.

Right Click: Black Hole – Absolute Zero
A crowd-control skill that can massively buff your damage, I consider this skill a must-have. I prefer Absolute Zero to the Spellsteal rune as the damage lasts much longer, and with a bit of CDR can approach 100% uptime.

Familiar – Arcanot
This spell helps achieve an infinite channel on one of the more expensive RoF runes, and procs the arcane portion of Tal Rasha’s set and Elemental Exposure. If you have enough resource cost reduction, consider switching to Canoneer.

Magic Weapon – Ignite
This spell buffs your damage and procs the fire portion of Tal Rasha’s and Elemental Exposure.

Energy Armor – Pinpoint Barrier
This spell provides a great boost to both toughness and damage. Note that we do not care about maximum AP, as we are aiming for an infinite channel. If more toughness is required, consider switching to Prismatic Armor.

Sixth Slot – Free
I have genuinely not found a sixth skill that I would consider essential, and that is what I like about this build. Feel free to use whatever suits your playstyle best. Personally, I like teleport (fast runs/tough situations), frost nova (more cc), and slow time (nice buffs/cc).

Note: I’ve tested an alternate setup using Familiar – Sparkflint and Magic Weapon – Force Weapon. This setup will greatly increase sheet DPS, but you will lose the arcane proc on Tal’s/EE as well as 2AP regen – making it difficult to sustain an infinite RoF channel and requiring a switch from RoF – Snow Blast to Cold Blood. Testing using timed Ghom runs showed the DPS of these two setups to be essentially the same, though more resource cost reduction could give Sparkflint/Force Weapon the edge.

Passives:

Cold Blooded: Provides a nice boost to damage.
Unwavering Will: We will be a turret most of the time, and this skill nicely buffs toughness and damage.
Elemental Exposure: Provides a huge increase to damage, as we will be using all four elements.
Glass Cannon/Blur: Use the former if you have sufficient toughness, the latter if you don’t.

Gameplay:

This build makes RoF an extremely powerful four-element infinite channel. With Thunderfury equipped, left clicking will launch all four meteors from Tal’s set (RoF – cold, Magic Weapon – fire, Familiar – arcane, and Thunderfury – lightning). Enemies will also be slowed (RoF), shocked (TF), ignited (Magic Weapon) and debuffed massively (Elemental Exposure x4 + Cold Blooded). All this on your left click. It feels awesome to use and the damage output is substantial.

You also have two secondary skills for crowd control and maneuvering. Cast black hole on those huge mobs to buff your damage, then lay waste with RoF. The last skill is free and can be used as you like; I prefer cc or maneuverability for high torments.

Alternative Build

Credit to Smacken for this one:

Ray of Frost - Cold Blood
Black Hole - Absolute Zero
Familiar - Canoneer
Magic Weapon - Force Weapon
Energy Armor - Pinpoint Barrier
Hydra - Mammoth Hydra

Briefly, substituting Snow Blast for Cold Blood greatly improves resource management, allowing you to swap from Arcanot to Canoneer. Swapping Ignite for Force Weapon gives your DPS a boost, and using Mammoth Hydra in your sixth slot adds considerable damage as well as the fire proc from Tal Rasha's. Though you do lose the utility of a defensive spell in slot 6, this build has the highest damage output of any of the RoF variants I've tried (tested at Ghom).

Additional Notes:

- Ray of Frost has an auto-targeting feature that many find annoying if they are used to Disintegrate, which doesn’t. I can say that after playing my RoF wizard a great deal, you eventually adapt to using it, and – believe it or not – it can even become helpful. It just takes some getting used to.
- Arcane Dynamo is not included with this build, as the meteors from Tal’s set will proc your AD stacks. While it is easy to keep track of the four meteor cooldowns in simple, well-separated fights, longer or more complex fights in which your meteor cooldowns diverge greatly make the gameplay with AD substantially more frustrating, particularly on high torments.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this guide helpful. I’ve found this build a lot of fun to play and highly effective at that. Lastly, please comment if you have suggestions; I’m always happy to try to improve my build.

-VitaminZ
This was very helpful actually. I wrote off my LoG a few weeks back, but maybe it's time to give it another go.

How do Snow Blast, Cold Blood, and Elemental Exposure interact? (1.15) * (1.1) * (1.2)? or (1.15 + 0.1) * (1.2)?
Great question, and thanks for the feedback. I have not tested this, but from what I have read, I would predict it to be (EE+CB)*SB, or (1+ 0.2+0.1)*1.15. EE and CB both cause enemies to take more damage from all sources, and thus would be the same 'category' of debuff - and in other cases (for example, +damage to ray of frost, or +damage to cold) it appears these are generally programmed as additive. Since Snow Blast affects only RoF, I would suspect it's multiplicative with the other two. (But this is only my best guess.) I'd also add that the difference between the two scenarios (1.495 if additive, vs 1.518 if all multiplicative) is probably too small to test effectively ingame.
ive been planning on achieving a build very similar to this as my end game, just havent quite obtained the gear, nice explanations of elemental interaction for the tals set and EE, and good choices for survivability vs dps vs cc...was planning on ultimately using azure+frost for a near perma-freeze with enough points dumped into IAS and blackhole to monitor lapses, including the RoF with increased chance to freeze and blizzard with freeze chance
05/19/2014 03:16 PMPosted by amer
ive been planning on achieving a build very similar to this as my end game, just havent quite obtained the gear, nice explanations of elemental interaction for the tals set and EE, and good choices for survivability vs dps vs cc...was planning on ultimately using azure+frost for a near perma-freeze with enough points dumped into IAS and blackhole to monitor lapses, including the RoF with increased chance to freeze and blizzard with freeze chance


Thanks for your comments and I'm glad it was helpful. I used to run Azurewrath + Frostburns + Familiar/Icicle + Frost Nova/Cold Snap before finishing Tal's set, and the freeze rate is really impressive. The one thing I'd recommend against, however, is stacking IAS - it ramps the cost of channelling up very quickly, making an infinite RoF very hard to sustain. So if you have the luxury, it's better to go with CC or CD for damage on rings/amulets/gloves. The freeze rate overall will probably be quite similar, as you won't run out of AP or need to cast primaries. Good luck!
Some maths for y'all. Started thinking about RoF and ran some numbers. They seem great but I'm sure I got something off.

Let's assume 1.5M Elemental Elite DPS (this means your sheet DPS * %Cold Skilss * Elite Damage Increae). That's a very manageable threshhold for most people I believe. Now for our damage buffs that don't show up on the sheet.

Passives
Elemental Exposure - 20%
Cold Blooded - 10%
Arcane Dynamo - 60%

Skill Based
Snow Blast - 15%
+RoF Skill - 30% (conservative number)
BH Absolute Zero - 15% (conservative assumption 5 enemies per BH)

So with all these damage multipliers, looks like we end up somewhere in the range of 27M eDPS from RoF alone. Add in special procs and other damage multipliers from gear and I bet you could easily get to 40m eDPS.

Of course how it plays out in the game is another story, especially when running AD.
This is pretty much the exact build I've been running. My last run just produced a tal's belt (500int/500vit!!!), and a cold andy's so my gear's a little different and my attack speed is now too high, have to use cold blood.

I went a bit different than you, rerolled my TF to arcane, use sparkflint for fire and the imo absolutely essential magic weapon deflection. Get 3 meteors all the time, and 4 when I have the nephalem globe.

With archon being all the rage, I've decided to give up on LoG, I'm going to try to get a +2 mirrorball and run glacial spike with vyr's.
05/19/2014 04:24 PMPosted by myDingling
So with all these damage multipliers, looks like we end up somewhere in the range of 27M eDPS from RoF alone. Add in special procs and other damage multipliers from gear and I bet you could easily get to 40m eDPS.


That's right. :) Mine is currently ~27M from only RoF without arcane dynamo, ignoring a) Thunderfury, b) meteors, c) Magic Weapon's Ignite effect d) Familiar damage and e) other spells/effects. So I think it works pretty well.
05/19/2014 04:55 PMPosted by Tahqa
I went a bit different than you, rerolled my TF to arcane, use sparkflint for fire and the imo absolutely essential magic weapon deflection. Get 3 meteors all the time, and 4 when I have the nephalem globe.


Congrats on the belt! I actually tried really hard (!) to reroll my TF to arcane for just this reason, but was not lucky enough to hit it with a good damage roll (the reroll cost on my TF is absurd now). This is a great suggestion to incorporate all 4 effects from EE into RoF without an arcane familiar.
According to the Mechanics thread, Cold Blooded is actually an additive buff in the section with skill% and other self buffs like magic weapon.

I'm wondering if using MW:Ignite and Conflagration (passive, not MM) might actually work out to be better (and better even than Force Weapon), if indeed MW:Ignite actually applies Conflagration.
What about using Shard of Hate instead of Thunderfury. Ray of Frost procs the Freezing Skull so often its like a second ray of frost going.

Also wanted to add that you can throw in 4 piece vyr's bonus as well and use that last slot for Cold Archon. This gives you much needed burst. I've been using this in T4 and T5 and it's decent. Although, I still feet AT/Archon is better for T5. T6 is still tough for me.
Nice. I've been running a similar setup after I got a LoG in my endless, ongoing hunt for Mirrorball, but Ignite/Arcanot or Cannoneer seems like such a huge DPS loss compared to Force Weapon/Sparkflint. You can make up the arcane proc with Black Hole - Spellsteal, which is kinda decent. Black Hole's long cooldown means you're not getting that Star Pact or EE stack with perfect uptime without great CDR, so sometimes I consider just ignoring the arcane bit of it all completely. Its hard to say what might be best without some serious math I suppose.

I'm running Skysplitter because I'm the world's unluckiest !@#$%^- and will never find Thunderfury and thankfully it works quite well, still covering the lightning proc close to perfectly. I was using a very poorly rolled Azurewrath for a while and the freeze procs were fantastically effective, but damage upgrade of the Skysplitter was worthwhile.

RoF's high proc coefficient is a great boon, as not only does it give non-trash returns on LOH, but APOC is really quite strong with it. With 8 APOC (not possible with most helms unfortunately I know, but I don't have anything better yet), no Arcanot or Astral Presence I can still channel for a very long time against 3+ targets, and my crit is pretty average.
05/19/2014 08:18 PMPosted by Calikill
What about using Shard of Hate instead of Thunderfury. Ray of Frost procs the Freezing Skull so often its like a second ray of frost going.

Also wanted to add that you can throw in 4 piece vyr's bonus as well and use that last slot for Cold Archon. This gives you much needed burst. I've been using this in T4 and T5 and it's decent. Although, I still feet AT/Archon is better for T5. T6 is still tough for me.


From my experience an equal rolled SoH will always beat out a TF or AW. Even slightly worse weapon dmg and proc dmg on a SoH beats a higher weapon dmg and weapon proc TF as far as proc dmg is concerned. The rate of procs for a TF and SoH when wielding a RoF build is also very similar (maybe SoH edges out TF by a smidge).

So yeah SoH should definitely be considered as a RoF weapon especially if you get a beast 2400dps one like Calikill's.
Im running something similar. Only big difference is our armor where I use Ice Armor (Ice Reflect). I find that Frost Nova hitting often and helps staying alive.

I usually do rifts with 4 players and this build kills trash and elites quite fast. Solo T4 is easy cake and T5 also can do quite nicely. Havent really tested T6 yet, but probably need some upgrades on my items to play efficiently there.

Im planning to get rid of the RoF rune Cold Blooded for more dmg. Need to test how tough it is sustain "infinite" RoF with other runes.

Any suggestions how to improve my setup here?

Link to my Wiz: http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/profile/bababooey-2118/hero/14462533
05/19/2014 08:02 PMPosted by grippgoat
According to the Mechanics thread, Cold Blooded is actually an additive buff in the section with skill% and other self buffs like magic weapon.

I'm wondering if using MW:Ignite and Conflagration (passive, not MM) might actually work out to be better (and


I've tested this actually, and cold blooded edges out conflagration very slightly on damage for my current spec.
05/19/2014 08:18 PMPosted by Calikill
What about using Shard of Hate instead of Thunderfury. Ray of Frost procs the Freezing Skull so often its like a second ray of frost going.

Also wanted to add that you can throw in 4 piece vyr's bonus as well and use that last slot for Cold Archon. This gives you much needed burst. I've been using this in T4 and T5 and it's decent. Although, I still feet AT/Archon is better for T5. T6 is still tough for me.


I would love the opportunity to test out a Shard of Hate, but haven't found one yet. :(

Also, I have actually specifically avoided archon because - and I could be wrong here - if you've got BiS stats for ray of frost, I think archon would actually reduce your damage. For example, I'm running +43% RoF damage and +15% Snow Blast, neither of which would be active in archon form. Because of this, I've opted for more defensive stats on my remaining gear.
05/19/2014 11:07 PMPosted by bababooey
I usually do rifts with 4 players and this build kills trash and elites quite fast. Solo T4 is easy cake and T5 also can do quite nicely. Havent really tested T6 yet, but probably need some upgrades on my items to play efficiently there.

Im planning to get rid of the RoF rune Cold Blooded for more dmg. Need to test how tough it is sustain "infinite" RoF with other runes.

Any suggestions how to improve my setup here?


Not really to be honest, your setup looks really solid! If you can find strongarm bracers with +cold, they work amazingly well with black hole, which counts as a knockback.
05/20/2014 01:30 AMPosted by VitaminZ
05/19/2014 11:07 PMPosted by bababooey
I usually do rifts with 4 players and this build kills trash and elites quite fast. Solo T4 is easy cake and T5 also can do quite nicely. Havent really tested T6 yet, but probably need some upgrades on my items to play efficiently there.

Im planning to get rid of the RoF rune Cold Blooded for more dmg. Need to test how tough it is sustain "infinite" RoF with other runes.

Any suggestions how to improve my setup here?


Not really to be honest, your setup looks really solid! If you can find strongarm bracers with +cold, they work amazingly well with black hole, which counts as a knockback.


Ok!

I know I also need to find better Tal's amulet where I could get cold dmg. That would be nice buff.

I hope this thread gets some love since I dont see much talk about RoF build in the forums :(
Hmm... started to think that maybe I could switch teleport to frost hydra. That would increase dps nicely, but then again that teleport gets me out of trouble pretty often. Better test that out tonight.
Thanks for the build post VitaminZ. This was insightful. I think we are doing the same build but are taking a little bit of a "round about" different way to get there. I would like to provide my 2 cents as I have been analyzing it also. Let me know if you would like to clear some rifts sometime.

I found your way very interesting utilizing the Thunderfury. I have absolutely no experience with how bad @$$ this combo might be.

The route I took to get the 4 elements was:
  • -Sparkflint to get the Fire Meteor
  • -Power of the Storm to get the Lightning Meteor
  • -Event Horizon to get the Arcane Meteor
  • .
    I found these 3 spells to be a fantastic combination. Sparkflint provides the damage boost. Power of the Storm, IMO, is the greatest arcane preserver for a channeling build due to the way it stacks with your attack speed while Arcane Power per Second is fixed, and provides less benefit with higher attack speed. Event Horizon is an amazing escape to get out of absolutely any situation. Waller affixes will completely block RoF and its pretty easy to die in a sticky situation when you are not hitting anything.

    I also feel Deflection is a "must have" with this build and advise against Glass Cannon on higher torments.

    Although this is just my perspective I know there are many different ways to get there.

    I am still experimenting pretty heavy with gear as I continue to find more pieces. Right now I am enjoying the Crimson set bonus. I am also considering a switch to a 3 piece Vyr's in the future and maybe swapping out teleport. You know what they say, if you cant beat'em join'em. Unfortunately, Archon seems just too powerful to pass up.

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