[2.5.0] (S10) MH Hydra Mechanics + Builds

Wizard
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Welcome Wizards, adventurers! A new season, S10, is on the horizon, and a new post is warranted.

This post will focus on the MH Hydra, specifically the lightning hydra, which can now proc Manald Heal.

Mechanics info summed up from the testing and ideas of many players, also including but not limited to:

Adria - Darnet - Tee - Vox - xTonyJ - Christos - Cybah - aloc - MasterJay - StoleOwnCar - Zhanji - Troupster - Bear

If you are looking for last season's post on most Manald Heal mechanics, here is that link:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/d3/topic/20752649109

EDIT (8/28/2017): Check out also sVr's in-depth guide on MH Tal/Vyr:
  • http://www.diablofans.com/forums/diablo-iii-class-forums/wizard-the-ancient-repositories/228381

Definitions
  • Dynamic: MH proc damage will adjust due to the buff or debuff. Same Hydra as cast has it's MH proc damage adjusted dynamically at the time the buff or debuff takes effect.
  • Snapshot: the buff, skill, or item bonus only affects MH damage if the buff was active at the time the hydra was cast. If the buff was not active at the time the hydra was cast, that hydra does not benefit from the buff, skill, or item bonus.
  • Single Stack Swami = One stack of swami, base this is 50 archon stacks with fazulas. One stack icon displayed on UI.
  • Double Stack Swami = Up to two stacks of swami. Note: damage between these two stacks are currently additive. Two stack icons displayed on UI.
  • MH = Manald Heal
  • CHC = Crit Hit Chance
  • CHD = Crit Hit Damage
  • AS = Attack Speed

MH Hydra Mechanics
  • Attack Speed is factored in as a damage component for Hydra MH procs. Higher AS will increase your hydra MH proc damage. Hydra MH proc damage scales 1:1 with any AS increase or decrease.
  • Higher AS also increases Hydra attack rate and adheres to Hydra Attack speed breakpoints. See a list of those in the link below:

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/d3/topic/15270729572
  • The 255% Lightning Hydra skill damage (as listed on the hydra skill tooltip) is also factored in to the MH Hydra damage formula.
  • Assuming no changes in dynamic or environmental buffs or debuffs, a hydra that is cast will deal the same amount of MH proc damage throughout it's duration. This amount is an average of damage.
  • Skills and items that have a ranged requirement base their MH Hydra proc damage on the location of the hero, not the hydra.
  • Skills and items that have a location based mechanism base their MH Hydra proc damage bonus on whether or not the hero is located within that spell or effect.
  • Each hydra has 3 heads, this means you can have up to 6 hydra heads active.
  • Each head has 15% chance to proc Paralysis, and therefore MH. (Yes, it's the same chance regardless of which head cast.)
  • Hydra is treated as a speed coefficient = 1 spell. This means when your hydra head procs paralysis it will proc manald heal exactly one time. It does not have a "proc window" mechanism.
  • The extra damage from archon stacks increases MH Hydra damage dynamically. However, the attack speed from Vyr4 that increases your sheet AS (and therefore could be used to increase hydra damage) is a snapshot mechanic. This means the hydra damage that you calculate as gained from AS must rely on single stack swami values.
  • Slow Time: Stretch time - both the benefit to your hydra damage and hydra attack rate require the hero to be positioned within the bubble. However, since the damage portion is snapshot, you need only be within slow time when casting hydra to benefit from this. However, the attack rate of the hydra updates dynamically, so if you're relying on this skill to meet Breakpoints, you'll need to be within the slow time for it's duration.
  • Slow Time: Stretch Time can be stacked twice, by using both the non-archon form slow time and the archon form's slow time. You can get 20% AS gain from this skill when it is stacked up twice. See here for a quick test on that: (https://youtu.be/Xx_PgpYzN1M?t=595)
  • Tasker and Theo (TnT) does not increase the damage of the hydra. However, TnT can be used to push the attack rate of the hydra to higher Hydra AS breakpoints. Note: TnT by itself does NOT increase the base chance for paralysis. This stays at 15%.
  • CHC on gear and from skills (even debuff type skills) does increase MH Hydra proc crit chance.
  • CHD on gear and from skills does increase MH Hydra proc damage.
  • Etched Sigil cast Hydras cannot proc MH.
  • To my knowledge, Mirror images cannot proc MH.

These items, gems, gear affixes, and skills increase MH Hydra proc damage and are dynamic in nature:
  • Power Hungry
  • Audacity
  • Starfire
  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance
  • Convention of Elements
  • Bane of the Powerful (Multiplier only)
  • Bane of the Trapped
  • Deathwish
  • Orb of Infinite Depth
  • Slow Time: Time Warp
  • Strongarms (Also noted procs within last 1s of 6s window, confirming increase to 6s duration)
  • Any damage debuffs such as Elemental Exposure or Cold Blooded
  • Mantle of Channeling
  • Oculus Ring

These items, gems, gear affixes, and skills increase MH Hydra proc damage but require snapshot:
  • Black Hole: Spellsteal
  • Taeguk
  • Magic Weapon
  • Unwavering Will
  • Familiar: Sparkflint
  • Gogok (Hydra damage AS portion only. The Attack rate portion is dynamic)
  • Pain Enhancer (Hydra damage AS portion only. The Attack rate portion is dynamic)
  • Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan (Note: this item can also decrease MH hydra damage because of the legendary effect)

These items, gems, gear affixes, and skills do not increase MH Hydra proc damage:
  • Elemental % damage on gear
  • Hydra %Skill Damage (on gear)
  • Enforcer Gem
  • Furnace (in cube)
  • Bane of the Powerful (elite damage portion only)
  • Arcane Dynamo

If you'd like to look at the source of this info or any of my tests please look at my [2.5.0] testing playlist, or reference the MH hydra thread below, where other testers contributed:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KocceLYhS4KU2a0hVSa8JU
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/d3/topic/20753187415

The 2.5.0 MH proc 25% "channeling" nerf:

The nerf reduced the length of time in which MH can proc once paralysis occurs (to 1.125s down from 1.5s). To restate, the proc rate was NOT nerfed.

It affects not only the skills listed on Mantle of Channeling / Taeguk, but also spells which have a speed coefficient > 1.

Skills such as:
  • Disintegration Wave (Archon Beam)
  • Arcane Torrent: Static Discharge
  • Electrocute

So for your speed farming builds using archon that would destroy almost anything in less than 1.125s anyway, the nerf has little to no impact.
Its only for higher GRs, RGs, or high HP mobs that youll notice the drop in procs / damage.

Hydra Combination MH proc BUG:

When Hydra is used in combination with any other lightning skill to proc MH, Hydra takes precedence, and will interrupt and even prevent your other skills from proccing MH. This has been tested for both single target and multi-target.

Bug report:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/d3/topic/20753677495

What does this mean?

Likely if you are in a group speed setup and you are the Single target DPS, if you want to deal more MH damage with the lightning beam, you'll have to withold casting your hydra (trash clearing). If you want to deal single target MH hydra damage instead, cast hydra (for RG and maybe elites that are at low density).

MH Hydra is in a weird position with the MH Hydra bug. Players will have to either work around this bug or neglect it entirely when pushing in a group setup. Wizard might end up simply buffing the WD and helping the barb pull in adds. Possible solo builds also suffer greatly here. It's the reason why my non-archon builds only include the lightning hydra, and not other lightning skills.

This isn't to say a solo build with hydra and (likely) archon wouldn't work, skill placement just wouldn't be very efficient.

Builds

Starting with limited listings, but will update with any other meta defining or really unique / interesting builds as the season progresses.

Here is the playlist for my builds in 2.5.0:
  • https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

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Non Archon Builds:

[2.5.0] FB6 Hydra MH solo (with build guide - GR90+):
  • https://youtu.be/99MSj2kW65s?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/88755
  • http://www.d3planner.com/918609998

[2.5.0] Tal6 Hydra MH solo (GR90+):
  • https://youtu.be/OZb_Q-1g9F8?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/88756
  • http://www.d3planner.com/740723551

Both should be able to hit about GR90 once fully augmented, good gear, 1200+ paragon, etc.

The Tal6 has higher damage potential, but has much lower defense, and is harder to manage resource with as well.

Between the two, I prefer the Firebird non-archon build so far for soloing.

[2.5.0] Tal6 Electrocute Multi-Purpose Farming (TXII) - Guide + Gameplay
  • https://youtu.be/TB-lZhfiOqo?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/88758
  • http://www.d3planner.com/933982528

Super fun farming build. Broken Crown / DB farm / Gold farm / Key & legendary farm capable. Can do up to T12 4p fairly readily.

Basic idea: blow up packs of enemies with Manald Heal and Electrocute.
Use high AS gear + paragon + Legendary gems to proc MH more regular.

Optional Swap: Swap out Gogok for Wreath of Lightning. Wreath spreads PE quicker, but lowers your base AS breakpoint. I've found it better in high density rifts, where Gogok seems better for low density rifts.

I've been running with Ice armor swapped for BH:Supermassive, since you don't need Ice Armor if using Wreath. Nice for grouping ranged packs.

Lots of utility and room for swaps. Hope you like it. =)

[2.5.0] Tal6 Electrocute MH - Low GR Speed Build + Guide (GR50-60)
  • https://youtu.be/6RBNKBWfVO0?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/89642
  • https://www.d3planner.com/247511230

Tal6 Electrocute MH for low gem leveling. Hybrid build (group or solo). Works best at GR 50-60. Main focus is trash clearing, which makes it a great complement to the Shadow DH and Archon Wiz / In-Geom builds, since these builds tend to focus more on elites. Runs should be in the 2-3 minute range.

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Archon Builds

Zhanji, Bear, and Troupster's builds are a good starting point if you're itching to get started with archon. They put together two ranged builds, one with zodiac and one with CoE.
  • https://youtu.be/S2V5ZyKKqMo
  • Zodiac: http://www.diablofans.com/builds/87336
  • CoE: http://www.diablofans.com/builds/88079

[2.5.0] Tal/Vyr MH - T13 Comfort Build + Guide (Archon)
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/90351
  • https://www.d3planner.com/722646684
  • https://youtu.be/OkXPh6SLSWo?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

Torment farming build. Great for T13, and would work great early season for farming T11/T12 as well.

I did not like having to manage archon in torments, turns out having near perma-archon in a highly mobile setup is what made it work for me.

Build also has more AS for quicker paralysis / MH procs, and doesn't have a range requirement.

For footage, I removed INT from paragon, and only assigned 100 points to other categories. Gameplay shown at 12k INT. Threw in a GR 70 run at the end to show you can use it for quick, efficient, low GR gem leveling as well.

[2.5.0] Tal/Vyr MH - Archon Beam for Lower Speeds

This is the speed build I've been running for lower speeds with just the archon beam. Can be used in casual (non-meta) group comps and also in solo.
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/89064
  • http://www.d3planner.com/794197806
  • https://youtu.be/z-y3CsWkQoE?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

The core build sacrifices Starfire for quicker startup with Pig sticker (or any dagger with AS / CDR). Nemesis and In-Geom for quick runs. Stretch time and deflection.

Cast slow time when in archon form, but typically do not cast this spell when outside of archon, since it will consume extra zodiac if your in-geom is down.

Alternates/Variations:
  • Use starfire instead of pig sticker for extra ranged multiplier.
  • Time Warp instead of stretch time for extra damage option.
  • Use ABB bracer instead of Nemesis for more defense. Optionally you can also swap Power hungry to Galvanizing ward. This will lower damage slightly, but help with tankyness, since ABB doubles shields.
  • If missing quad gloves (no AS on glove), then roll AS on your second ring or Amulet (wearing a RoRG with INT / AS / CDR is acceptable in this case).
  • For slightly higher speeds where you want more power - run pig sticker with starfire in the cube (no in-geom)

It's fairly easy to roll an ancient dagger with appropriate stats (took me about 45 upgrade rares to get one with adequate affixes though), so this will be good to start with earlier in the season.

[2.5.0] Tal / Vyr Ranged MH Hydra w/ Zodiac - Variation for Group Speed GRs
  • http://www.d3planner.com/791818321

This is likely the build I'll likely be running at the beginning of the season for group speed runs (3 to 4 player with support). You can swap out Teleport for Spellsteal or Event Horizon, per your preference. Wearing RoRG (INT / AS / CDR) is acceptable until you find a good Manald.

Depending on what level of clear you are at for speeds, consider swapping out Stricken for Trapped. This will get more damage for the rift, and should be the better option if you are already killing the RG quickly (~45s).

[2.5.0] (GR100+) TalVyr MH Hydra - Melee Fragment CoE - Group Build + Guide
  • http://www.diablofans.com/builds/90066
  • https://www.d3planner.com/141482274
  • https://youtu.be/BqTX_AnZtzs?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

Melee Fragment CoE Archon MH Hydra build for group play. Harder build to play, considering you have to maintain your rotation even with strict CDR requirements, move through the rift and coordinate with your group all during.

Some benefits I feel the melee version affords:
  • Higher defense / restoration with Barrier Blades and Safe Passage
  • Can stand in the pull spot more often outside archon to help survive, this also depends on elite affixes - I found desecrator and arcane to be too high damaging. You'll probably still have to dodge molten explosions.
  • Easier to maintain double bubble positioning on RG.
  • Stacks Stricken faster, hits max on blading, so more consistent in terms of scaling damage (will work better for high HP RGs in my opinion).
  • Cold archon beam won't proc paralysis, which is great for helping your barbarian and not incuring additional CC resist penalty on mobs.

Some ancillary tasks of the STDPS role during the rift portion:
  • Pick up globes when barbarian isn't near
  • Aggro monsters from opposite direction barbarian is pulling
  • Buff the WD with Stretch time
  • Finish off low HP elites if they are in low density - communicate with your group if staying or skipping
  • Survive / Live so you can make it to the RG without holding back the group and losing time.

I didn't mention in the guide, but it might be possible to unassign Area Damage from paragon, that way you'd have 0% AD. This might reduce server lag when in high density.

Use force stand to help cast blades. Particularly useful for gaining shield when no enemies nearby, or when in density and you can't click on target accurately.

Alternate skill swap is trade out Safe Passage for Twister:Gale Force. This would buff the Witch doctor's damage 15% when you are out of archon, but you wouldn't gain as many archon stacks, plus it costs gear affixes (must roll APoC), and lessens mobility and defense.

Spectral blade legendary damage % doesn't matter for this build. You can use an ancient Fragment even if it has a low legendary damage roll. Use Serpent's Sparker or Fragment of Destiny, whichever is better.

Play in the video just below 13k INT / level 100 gems. Completed both 97 and 99 rifts, and can definitely go higher. RG at the beginning of video is from a GR99 as well.

Here is (a rather long, 27m) Stricken theorycraft in which I optimized the Melee Fragment CoE build and compared it with the Ranged Starfire / Zei CoE MH Hydra build.
  • https://youtu.be/3yax0WlOogM?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

Summary: I think Melee is better due to higher multiplier by the 4th (sometimes even the 3rd) archon cycle.

Additional thoughts:
  • Melee better for Power pylon or Saxtris stricken stacking.
  • Ranged harder to manage the max range multiplier bonuses (compared to melee maintaining melee multipliers).
  • Ranged incurs more travel time.
  • If Ranged not even hitting AS BPs of the melee build, even more stricken stacking advantage for Melee.


-----

Below are my current Lightning Hydra archon test build listings. If you happen to get a chance to run any of these, let me know if they hold up or not. Thanks!

Here is the ranged cold archon (with Zodiac) where we use Trapped instead of Gogok. The intent for this build is pushing group GR.
[Credit Christos and StoleOwnCar for help & ideas]:
  • http://www.d3planner.com/636195453

Below is melee archon v1 (fast stricken stacking) zodiac build. Might not be enough to overcome the loss of multipliers, but so far has been fun to at least test out. Intent again is for pushing group GR.
  • http://www.d3planner.com/274047014
  • https://youtu.be/8rv7mCqnSa4?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KocceLYhS4KU2a0hVSa8JU

Melee archon v2:
  • http://www.d3planner.com/298710738
  • Including Time Warp instead of Stretch time
  • Swapped out Gogok for Taeguk

V2 stacks stricken slightly lower than before due to the loss of Stretch time. loss of hydra damage is at least 5% from not having stretch time, which is something to consider, along with the aforementioned that time warp debuff is additive.

However this setup would buff the WD at least 20% damage, still be able to hit 3.33 hydra breakpoint, and kill the RG reasonably quickly. Kill speed on RG should be similar to that of ranged zodiac setup (one that uses gogok) with the added benefit of clearing the rift portion faster.

CoE blades / Fragment of destiny test build idea:

Use Fragment of Destiny and Spectral blade. This will give max stricken stacking when outside of archon. You'd swap out Starfire to fit in Fragment. Swap MM for Blades.

Ranged would still be highest damage i'm thinking but if you wanted it so that you didn't have to transition into ranged position before lightning cycle, melee might work too.

Ranged:
  • http://www.d3planner.com/955340660

Melee:
  • http://www.d3planner.com/843601759


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Thank you for reading, have fun in season 10! Please comment and share your thoughts, and remember:

Embrace the madness within. Surrender your self. Be one with the hydra. =)
I would like to say " Thank You Cratic "

Your posts and others are GREAT to read and use for examples of/for Wiz's ..
Great Stuff Thank You -- Adria - Darnet - Tee - Vox - xTonyJ - Christos - Cybah - aloc - MasterJay - StoleOwnCar - Zhanji - Troupster - Bear

Yup a LIKE

Thank You ALL
MC
03/22/2017 06:14 PMPosted by Cratic
  • Slow Time: Stretch Time can be stacked twice, multiplicatively, by using both the non-archon form slow time and the archon form's slow time. You can get 1.1 * 1.1 or 1.21 = 21% AS gain from this skill when it is stacked up twice. See here for a quick test on that: (https://youtu.be/Xx_PgpYzN1M?t=595)


  • Isn't Stretch time additive with itself, which is additive with your sheet AS increase?
    Yep, another legendary effort.

    I like your style.
    Which build is the best for a HC Wizard?
    03/23/2017 01:38 AMPosted by homerjnick
    Which build is the best for a HC Wizard?


    If you want to go MH AND pushing GRs, then firebird is your best shot.
    03/23/2017 02:59 AMPosted by Somehow
    03/23/2017 01:38 AMPosted by homerjnick
    Which build is the best for a HC Wizard?


    If you want to go MH AND pushing GRs, then firebird is your best shot.


    How far do you think you can go with it?

    I did a GR90 last patch in HC with a Sunwuko LTK Monk and for this patch I am aiming for GR95 or at least to better that GR90.
    So, since i dont like Archon ( and FB) the only option for me will be Tals with Hydra.
    Looks good on your video and i will try it out.

    Btw, i didn't knew % light dmg etc does not work with it...really weird.
    I wasted so many souls and mats to get an Amulet with %light/CD/CC.... Damn.

    Thanks for the infos.
    Cratic, aren't the highest pushing builds still relying on archon for the swami stacks?

    Also for your Tal build, I fail to understand the purpose of ray of frost. Wouldn't it be better to use a low AP hungry spell such as the 10AP cost blizzard and swap your magic weapon rune ? Or even remove the spell and have the +33% damage frost nova one instead?
    03/23/2017 03:42 AMPosted by Groot
    So, since i dont like Archon ( and FB)


    The FB one is without archon too. The tal one with arlyze and APD should be rather tanky as well, but inconsistant so care.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

    Why doesnt he show the COE wiz gear like he shows the gear for other 3?
    03/23/2017 05:42 AMPosted by Weezy
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsBZISJpoL0KlTnEHs10e4TORyKmbYBQq

    Why doesnt he show the COE wiz gear like he shows the gear for other 3?


    https://youtu.be/S2V5ZyKKqMo sorry i meant to link this one
    03/23/2017 04:26 AMPosted by Somehow
    03/23/2017 03:42 AMPosted by Groot
    So, since i dont like Archon ( and FB)


    The FB one is without archon too. The tal one with arlyze and APD should be rather tanky as well, but inconsistant so care.


    I know but i dont like the FB Set too ^^
    Actually, the only Wizard Set i like is tals....The others don't feel good to me.
    And even Tals is sometimes annoying with continuously spamming skills that don't do any dmg .
    03/22/2017 10:33 PMPosted by MagicTurtle
    Isn't Stretch time additive with itself, which is additive with your sheet AS increase?

    You are right! my mistake here, they are additive with themself, thanks for correcting me. I've updated the post.
    03/23/2017 04:07 AMPosted by Somehow
    Also for your Tal build, I fail to understand the purpose of ray of frost. Wouldn't it be better to use a low AP hungry spell such as the 10AP cost blizzard

    You need something to proc the pain enhancer, and Sleet Storm does this very well. It is higher cost, but it is easier to use (can move around with it). In high density, it returns a decent amount of AP through APoC. It's also easier to keep up your tal bonus with RoF.

    Blizzard with Snowbound would work better for low density situations I think, but maybe not as efficient for high density. I haven't tested with snowbound but it sounds like it might work well. Good idea!

    You can also use RoF Cold Blood for better resource on single target, but this would get you less PE procs.

    I also tested with cold EB and Arcane torrent flame ward. Better for defense on paper, but really hard to play.
    Great work mate, will try the non-archon builds and resurrect my Wiz.
    Nice write up as always, thanks a bunch
    I absolutely hate playing Archon, so I've been looking for a build that doesn't use it. I'll be trying these out. I may finally be able to play my Wizard again and do decent GR solo without having to play Archon.

    Too bad that I don't have a decent SS though. I thought I did, but I must have salvaged it. Thanks for the solid effort mate!
    03/23/2017 06:27 AMPosted by Cratic
    03/23/2017 04:07 AMPosted by Somehow
    Also for your Tal build, I fail to understand the purpose of ray of frost. Wouldn't it be better to use a low AP hungry spell such as the 10AP cost blizzard

    You need something to proc the pain enhancer, and Sleet Storm does this very well. It is higher cost, but it is easier to use (can move around with it). In high density, it returns a decent amount of AP through APoC. It's also easier to keep up your tal bonus with RoF.

    Blizzard with Snowbound would work better for low density situations I think, but maybe not as efficient for high density. I haven't tested with snowbound but it sounds like it might work well. Good idea!

    You can also use RoF Cold Blood for better resource on single target, but this would get you less PE procs.

    I also tested with cold EB and Arcane torrent flame ward. Better for defense on paper, but really hard to play.


    WHat about swapping the frost armor rune to the one that does aoe damage? Does it proc tal on cast? Because that'd be both a tal stack and aoe PE procs for the 25 AP. I know we'd lose the 60% armor bonus and have to replace taeguk so maybe it's not worth it, but it'd free a spell slot that could be used for black hole spellsteal and teleport can now have the safe passage rune. Swap taeguk for a defensive rune.

    I think the 25% damage reduction makes up for the 60% armor bonus, we lose the damage bonus of taeguk but earn way more damage reduction through esoteric alteration (for instance), and we gain a 10% damage reduction + burst bonus through the spellsteal damage bonus.

    I'm just throwing ideas q:
    +1 for your post !

    A question about non-archon builds : Does the "[2.5.0] Tal6 Hydra MH solo (GR90+)" is now better than the "[2.4.3] (GR94+) Tal AT:SD Manald Heal + Aquila + Deathwish" build ?

    I mean, if I wanna push GR in solo without Archon, with build is the most efficient in 2.5.0 ?

    thx in advance

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