Chewingnom has been playing games such as World of Warcraft, Diablo III or Path of Exile competitively for the longest time. As a theorycrafting and outside-the-box thinking enthusiast, Chewingnom is always looking deeply into game mechanics and gameplay optimization. Most known by the community for his zBarb gameplay shared on his Youtube channel, he is also the mastermind who introduced the idea of pixelpulling to Diablo III, a crucial aspect of the metagame nowadays. If you're looking for him, he's probably thinking about the next innovative build or playing with a highly coordinated team for new ranks!
Published on November 8th, 2020
Last updated on April 10th, 2022
Wizards are renegade spellcasters who use their bodies as vessels for arcane energy, forsaking the more careful path favored by other magic users. They manipulate all manner of forces to disintegrate, burn, and freeze their foes, and they can control time and light to teleport, create powerful illusions, and deflect incoming attacks.
Wizards grip wands and staves to focus their less potent magics, blasting at their enemies while gathering the energy or time necessary to destroy them in a dazzling hail of arcane might. With few exceptions, Wizard attacks consume Arcane Power. As living artillery, Wizards are well suited to rely on long-range destructive power with a great mobility while also being one of the tankiest classes in the game, and often fight in melee range.
Masters of elements with a full collection of deadly spells.
Use advantageous shielding mechanics to stay alive.
Wizards are in a pretty good position with many competitive builds in push and efficient in both pushing and speed Greater and Nephalem Rift farming. Wizard builds have a wide array of skills to choose from with a lot of flavor.
In group play Wizards are currently not the best fit for Trash or Rift Guardian Killer even though Firebirds is a decent contender in both roles. Similarly, their support build does not justify a spot in most cases. In XP farming groups the situation is pretty similar with Firebirds being a decent choice while zWizard can take a spot in some very specific setups.
Magic-users hail from academies throughout Sanctuary – from Xiansai to Caldeum – bearing monikers like "sorcerer" and "mage," but those who would refer to themselves with the derogatory epithet "Wizard" are as similar to their fellow spellcasters as a lion is to a kitten. Wizards and sorcerers both wield the hidden mysteries of the arcane; there, the commonalities end.
Wizards are known for a number of qualities: not only rebelliousness and flair, but also disdain for the endless lessons and prattling about caution and safety that echo from academic schools of magic. Wizards’ superior attitudes seem to stem from their natural talent – their ability to wrestle the ambient force of magic into submission and direct it to their ends by will and instinct. Any accidents that might occur due to their lack of finesse are unfortunate… but that rarely stops Wizards from indulging in their unstable power.
If they can only master their double-edged gift and avoid destroying themselves, these upstart arcane prodigies may be able to finally reach the destiny that they see on the horizon.
Wizards use Arcane Power to cast their most powerful skills. Arcane Power regenerates at a pretty fast rate over time but Wizard spells consume a lot of it.
Most Wizard builds don't care about Arcane Power too much; they generally have Arcane Power on Critical Hit (APoC) to take care of it. This makes every critical strike dealt to an enemy generate Arcane Power calculated using the proc coefficient of the hit. Magic Weapon Conduit works similarly but on every hit rather than critical strike.
Wizards are casters, however they can equip all kinds of Two-Handed Weapons besides Polearms. They generally equip One-Handed Swords or Wands alongside special Off-Hands named Sources. They can also equip Wizards Hats.
Wands are unique Wizard items that have the same base stats as regular One-Handed Weapons, but also can roll certain class-specific stats:
+10-14 Maximum Arcane Power
Wizard exclusive Off-Hands are Sources. They come with a big chunk of damage (up to 485-600 when Ancient) as an extra primary stat. They can also roll some class-specific stats:
+3-4 Arcane Power on Critical Hit
+10-15% Damage to any Wizard Skill
+10-14 Maximum Arcane Power
Wizards also have a unique Armor piece, Wizard Hats. They are similar to normal Helmets with the addition of some class-specific stats:
Each element (Arcane, Cold, Fire, Lightning) has its own unique stack with a 8 second duration.
Once you have 4 stacks, refreshing any stack adds 2 seconds to the duration of the three other stacks. This means by alternating two abilities of a different element (after hitting 4 stacks) you'll be able to continuously refresh the set buff.
The 2,000% damage buff per stack is self-additive, for a total 8,000% separate damage multiplier (x81).
Tal Rasha's Elements is a very versatile Wizard set, as it provides bonus to all damage and thus can be used with any skill. It also has 3 special set pieces (Amulet, Belt and Source) which allows for the craziest gearing combinations. However, since its only bonus is a generic damage multiplier it competes against Legacy of Dreams which is generally stronger.
This build uses Tal Rasha's Elements in combination with Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Aughild's Authority as well as the supporting legendaries for Frozen Orb : Unstable Scepter, Triumvirate and Wizardspike. The build is unfortunately quite weak when it comes to pushing Greater Rifts and not great for speedfarming.
This build uses Tal Rasha's Elements in combination with Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Aughild's Authority as well as Wand of Woh. The build is not strong but has a lot of flavor and is a decent solo farmer whether it's Nephalem Rifts or Bounties due to its good scaling with Cooldown Reduction and In-Geom.
The Meteor that revives you from the Firebird's Finery(2) Bonus has a 60 second internal cooldown (ICD) and resets when you die.
The Ignite DoT of Firebird's Finery(2) Bonus has a maximum range of 200 yards. Once you exceed this distance to an ignited enemy the DoT is removed from the target. The Ignite DoT is also removed when you change Greater Rift floors or die.
You gain Combustion stacks from Firebird's Finery(4) Bonus very quickly when channeling Disintegrate. Combustion stacks decay at the rate of 2 per second.
Teleport Cooldown is reduced by up to 100% at 50 Combustion stacks, but still has a minimum cooldown of 0.5 seconds.
The Ignite DoT benefits from "Fire skills deal X% more damage" and include Critical Hit Chance and Damage (1 + CHC * CHD) as a damage multiplier but cannot proc Area Damage. Like any DoT, crit debuffs applied on monsters such as Iceblink, Multishot Wind Chill or Conflagration don't work.
Firebird's Finery(6) Bonus procs benefit from "Fire skills deal X% more damage" and can critically hit but cannot proc Area Damage. Crit debuffs like Iceblink or Conflagration do work.
Firebird's Finery(6) Bonus cannot proc from effects with a proc coefficient of 0. Thus Etched Sigil and Wand of Woh procs do not trigger the (6) Bonus!
Blizzard Apocalypse, Mirror Images and Hydrado not proc the (6) Bonus either.
Firebird's Finery does not buff any specific skill, it instead proc a massive Ignite every time you hit a monster with a Fire skill. This means you can virtually play this build with any Fire skill. While Mirror Images used to be a great way to proc it, it got gutted in Season 25. Nowadays, the best ways to proc Firebird's Finery are Explosive Blast with Cooldown Reduction and Deathwish as well as Spectral Blade Flame Blades with as much Attack Speed as you can stack.
This build uses Deathwish and massive Cooldown Reduction to proc an unhealthy amount of Firebird's FineryIgnite procs. It is a rather tanky build and has a lot of mobility thanks to Teleport. It is a pretty good speedfarmer whether it is Bounties, Greater Rifts or Nephalem Rifts.
This build uses Fragment of Destiny and The Shame of Delsere as well as a massive amount of Attack Speed to generate as many Firebird's FineryIgnite procs as possible. It is a very fun and fast-paced melee Wizard build. It is however not great for Keyfarming or Bounties since it is a pure melee build.
Delsere's Magnum Opus
Delsere's Magnum Opus
(2) Bonus reduces the cooldown of Slow Time by 3 seconds every time you cast Arcane Orb, Explosive Blast, Energy Twister, Wave of Force, Magic Missile, Spectral Blade or Shock Pulse.
(4) Bonus provides you with a 60% damage reduction while you have a Slow Time active. Allies gain 30% damage reduction.
(6) Bonus grants you 12,500% increased damage (x126) with Arcane Orb, Explosive Blast, Energy Twister, Wave of Force, Magic Missile, Spectral Blade and Shock Pulse against enemies affected by Slow Time during the last 5 seconds.
Archon Slow Time works to proc Delsere's Magnum Opus Bonuses but they do not stack with Slow Time.
Delsere's Magnum Opus buffs a wide array of Signature Spells and Arcane Spenders. However, the only skills with enough supporting legendaries to be worth using are Arcane Orb and Energy Twister.
This build uses The Twisted Sword, Etched Sigil and Valthek's Rebuke in order to release devastating Energy Twisters onto the battlefield. Power-wise this build is doing quite well and dominates the Delsere's Magnum Opus leaderboards.
This build uses Unstable Scepter, Triumvirate and Wizardspike to fire Frozen Orbs onto the enemies from safe distance. This build has a decent power potential but is unfortunately outclassed by the Energy Twister variant using the same set.
Vyr's Amazing Arcana
Vyr's Amazing Arcana
(2) Bonus grants Archon all runes. Its element is determined by your highest Elemental Damage Bonus.
(4) Bonus makes Archon stacks also increase your Armor, All Resistances and Attack Speed by 1%.
(6) Bonus provides you with 0.15% damage reduction per Archon Stack and makes them grant you 100% damage per stack (additive with themselves) instead of 6%. In addition, you gain an Archon stack every time you hit an enemy with an Archon ability. At 667 stacks you achieve full invincibility as the damage reduction exceeds 100%.
The Swami and Fazula's Improbable Chain are the most common and mandatory combo for any Archon build. The Swami stacks are additive with each other and with Archon stacks, forming one global separate damage multiplier.
Vyr's Amazing Arcana buffs Archon stacks so that they bring you a massive amount of Attack Speed and damage buff. The set's main purpose is to be used in combination with Chantodo's Resolve but it is also possible to create Reverse Archon variants using other Wizard skills such as Arcane Orb.
This build uses the Vyr Bonuses in conjunction with Chantodo's Resolve to unleash powerful waves of destruction while in Archon form. This build has very high mobility and is very reliant on Cooldown Reduction.
This build uses Vyr's Amazing Arcana in combination with the supporting legendaries for Frozen Orb : Unstable Scepter, Triumvirate and Wizardspike. This is a Reverse Archon build, taking advantage of The Swami stacks and Vyr Bonuses while outside of Archon. This is a very complicated build to master, relying on very tight timings and perfect execution to deal good damage bursts.
The Typhon's Veil
The Typhon's Veil
The Typhon's Veil works with all Hydra runes besides Mammoth Hydra, as it is not a multi-headed Hydra. The intended playstyle of this set is to never take any damage whatsoever by using the numerous shield mechanics available to the class.
The number of active Hydra heads is displayed on the skill bar. Keep an eye on it when you start taking damage. Make sure to set up Hydras immediately when you start a run, die or change zones in order to gain the Toughness buff. Refresh Hydras a lot when your shields are broken and you need time to recover.
Serpent's Sparker allows you to cast a second Hydra, effectively doubling all bonuses gained from the The Typhon's Veil set in addition to its 300% separate damage multiplier. The maximum number of heads using this item is (2 + 3) * 2 = 10 for a total of 20,000% separate damage multiplier (x201) from the (6) Bonus and 80% damage reduction from the (4) Bonus.
The Typhon's Veil buffs Hydra by granting them more heads and buffing their damage.
This build uses Serpent's Sparker, Winter Flurry, Fragment of Destiny and The Magistrate to unleash the fire power of Hydras onto the enemies. With Frost Hydras sniping monsters from far away, this is a decent speedfarmer as well as one of the best Bounty builds in the game for Wizard.
No Six Piece Set
Legacy of Dreams/Legacy of Nightmares
Wizards can also build around Legacy of Dreams gem which provides a 98.5x damage multiplier at 13 Ancient items. With the ability to benefit from The Swami and Fazula's Improbable Chain to make Reverse Archon builds but also from Wizard shielding mechanics to create Shi Mizu's Haori setups, LoD Wizard builds are not to be underestimated.
For Energy Twister and Frozen Orb, Legacy of Dreams is by far the better choice while for Hydra, LoD and Typhon's Veil have a fairly similar potential.
Support Wizard can bring a decent amount of additive damage and a great pixelpulling with Ranslor's Folly but has to fight against better alternatives, preventing them from making it into any META team.
This build uses The Twisted Sword, Etched Sigil and Valthek's Rebuke in order to release devastating Energy Twisters onto the battlefield. Unlike its Set counterparts, this build can include the Archon special items (The Swami and Fazula's Improbable Chain) as well as the crazy Shi Mizu's Haori, making it one of the best Greater Rift pushers in the game.
This build uses Serpent's Sparker, Winter Flurry, Fragment of Destiny and The Magistrate to unleash the fire power of Hydras onto the enemies. Unlike its Set counterpart, this build is the only way to play around the Mammoth Hydra rune and can also include Shi Mizu's Haori, making it a very strong Greater Rift pusher.
This build uses Unstable Scepter, Triumvirate and Wizardspike to fire Frozen Orbs onto the enemies from safe distance. Thanks to Reverse Archon and Shi Mizu's Haori setups this build can easily outperform its Set counterparts, claiming the title of the strongest Frozen Orb build in the game. Unfortunately, it is outclassed by Energy Twister on the No Six Piece Set leaderboards.
The heir of the almighty S tier LoD Star Pact“Bazooka” build which dominated the game for a few seasons, combining Reverse Archon and channeling multipliers such as Deathwish and LegacyEtched Sigil alongside Arcane Attunement and Star Pact scaling with Arcane Power as well as Arcane Dynamo. Nowadays, this build is unfortunately more of a meme than anything else due to all the nerfs to it.
The support Wizard (usually called the zWiz because they do "zero" damage) has been a niche, off-meta, supporter for quite some time. It's one of the tankiest supporters out there, thanks to Delsere's Magnum Opus(4) Bonus, and can provide up to 68.5% damage reduction, 113% additive damage, 16% Critical Hit Chance as well as a Pixelpull with Ranslor's Folly.
Apart from (6) Piece Sets, Wizards have 43 unique Legendary and Set items, providing bonuses to various skills and in some cases even altering their behavior.
Fragment of Destiny
Wand of Woh
The Twisted Sword
The Grand Vizier
The Smoldering Core
Light of Grace
Myken's Ball of Hate
Orb of Infinite Depth
Halo of Arlyse
Halo of Karini
Fazula's Improbable Chain
The Shame of Delsere
Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer
Crown of the Primus
Dark Mage's Shade
Below are listed select few items that have mechanics, which aren't immediately obvious from their description.
The Element Type of Wave of Destruction fromChantodo's Resolve is fully dynamic and matches your current highest element at all times.
Wave of Destruction from Chantodo's Resolve benefits from Elemental Damage Bonus if and only if an Archon rune with the same Element Type is selected on the skill bar. Selecting an incorrect rune on Archon leads to Wave of Destruction not gaining any Elemental Damage Bonus even though "all runes" are granted via Vyr's Amazing Arcana (2) Bonus.
Wave of Destruction uses your current Attacks per Second (from your details sheet) as a separate damage multiplier. The faster you attack, the harder it hits. This multiplier caps out at 5.0 Attacks per Second with a reduced scaling for a final value of 5.0 * 1/1.75 = 2.857. Any further Increased Attack Speed % past that point does not increase WoD damage anymore.
Activating Archon consumes all Chantodo's Resolve stacks immediately; however, any lingering abilities, such as Explosive Blast and Arcane Torrent that were cast out of Archon already grant you newChantodo's Resolve stacks for your next rotation.
When channeling Arcane Torrent, Ray of Frost or Disintegrate, the Deathwish 325% damage multiplier is activated after 60 frames of channeling (1 second) and lasts for as long as you channel, dropping immediately when you interrupt the channel.
Being teleported by Wormhole Elite affix doesn't cause you to lose the Deathwish damage multiplier.
Due to this 1 second delay, it is not always optimal to teleport into an Oculus Ring proc during a damage burst.
Etched Sigil has an Internal Cooldown (ICD) of 59 frames.
An Energy Twister can only spawn when Arcane Torrent, Ray of Frost or Disintegrate ticks and Etched Sigil is off cooldown.
You can spawn one Energy Twister every 60 frames when your channeling abilities' Breakpoint is a divisor of 60 (2 FPA, 3 FPA, 4 FPA, 5 FPA, 6 FPA, 10 FPA, 12 FPA, 15 FPA, 20 FPA, 30 FPA). On other Breakpoints your Etched Sigil has a longer cooldown.
The first Energy Twister (the parent) must be selfcasted. It does not matter for any consecutive Twister that merges into the parent if it's selfcasted or not. Twisters cast by Etched Sigil cannot proc Area Damage. That is due to the fact that only a selfcasted Energy Twister can proc Area Damage.
Any Arcane Energy Twister rune casted by Etched Sigil (when channeling) consumes Wave of Force Arcane Attunement stacks.
Fragment of Destiny
The Attack Speed bonus of The Shame of Delsere and Fragment of Destiny are multiplicative with each other and with other bonuses. This means using both grants you a 1.5 * 1.5 = 2.25 Attack Speed multiplier to all Signature Spells.
The damage bonus stacks from Fragment of Destiny are additive with each other, combining into a 300% separate damage multiplier at 10 stacks. To gain and keep the stacks, you need to actually hit enemies. Each enemy hit adds another stack, so you won't have to attack 10 times in AoE situations.
Halo of Karini
This item provides you a 5 second buff (seen on your buff bar) when you electrocute an enemy at least 15 yards away (around 1/4 to 1/3 of a screen).
Keep in mind the range requirement! If you keep standing in melee range without other enemies further away, you will be in trouble.
The Shocking Aspect is generally used for high Greater Rifts to guarantee consistent uptime of this buff. When staying too close to enemies - even with a large pull around you - it can happen that a streak of consecutive hits will not activate Halo of Karini and choosing the rune prevents this from happening.
Manald Heal applies 14,000% Weapon Damage to targets stunned with Paralysis.
Paralysis behaves differently for skills with an inherent speed coefficient = 1.0 (damage hit skills) and speed coefficient > 1.0 (channeling skills).
If the speed coefficient is 1.0: These skills have a flat 15% chance per attack to proc Paralysison the target. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, that instance applies a Manald Heal damage instance. For instance Spectral Blade applies three hits per animation - each hit applies a Manald Heal damage instance if Paralysis is procced for that attack.
If the speed coefficient is > 1.0: These skills have a different chance per damage instance to proc Paralysis for your character. The proc chance for Electrocute is 7.804%; the proc chance for Arcane Torrent Static Discharge is 5.086%. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, it opens a 67 frame window on your character. Each damage instance within that specific window from the same skill also applies a Manald Heal damage instance to all targets hit.
The takeaway is that On-Hit skills proc Paralysis on a target while Channeling skills proc Paralysis for your character and open a 67 frame window (this also means you can proc it without hitting a target, e.g. in town). At this point it is also worthwhile noting that while a Paralysis window is open, each damage instance within that window can reproc a new window (there is no ICD) giving you the possibility to chain Paralysis procs. Additionally, there is an anomaly where while there is a window open created with a channeling skill (speed coefficient > 1.0), any damage hit skill (speed coefficient = 1.0) immediately closes that window. This effect can drastically decrease your damage when attempting to deal damage with channeling abilities while also incorporating any non-channeling Lightning abilities.
Orb of Infinite Depth
Orb of Infinite Depth grants you stacks even when Explosive Blast is coming from Wand of Woh.
The damage reduction is self-additive up to 80% at 4 stacks.
Pulls normal monsters only and pixelpulls them ignoring their hitboxes. Ranslor's Folly tries to pull enemies within 30 yards twice a second. This is extremely useful to benefit from Area Damage.
This usually works best when cast on an empty spot somewhere between all of the monsters you would like to pull. Certain monsters do not stack very well when the spot you cast on is already occupied.
Each twister attempts to pull surrounding monsters 2 times per second, however each monster can only be pulled by this item once every 6 seconds.
If you only cast one Energy Twister, it can pull the same monsters twice: immediately upon appearing and right before disappearing.
Energy Twisters cast by Etched Sigil can proc the pull, while the ones cast by Mirror Images cannot.
Due to the Crowd Control Resistance, you can't pull enemies together endlessly. Try to get everything in with a single cast.
The Shame of Delsere
The Attack Speed bonus of The Shame of Delsere and Fragment of Destiny are multiplicative with each other and with other bonuses. This means using both grants you a 1.5 * 1.5 = 2.25 Attack Speed multiplier to all Signature Spells.
The Twisted Sword
The first placed Energy Twister (the parent) snapshotsAbsolute Zero, Spellsteal, Arcane Attunement.
Any consecutive Twister, which merges into the parent, adapts all multipliers from its parent.
It does not matter for any consecutive Twister, which merges into the parent, whether it's selfcasted or casted by Etched Sigil.
Each time the parent grows from a merge its duration is reset.
Each parent can be merged a maximum of 4 times.
Each time a Twister merges into a parent, the traveling direction of the parent can change even if Valthek's Rebuke is equipped.
Wand of Woh
The three additional casts from Wand of Woh cannot proc Area Damage.
The Explosive Blast cast by Wand of Woh inherits the rune selected from your skill bar.
The Wizard has a wide variety of passive that mainly revolve around stacking shields and the different elements. Core passives include Evocation, Elemental Exposure, Galvanizing Ward or Arcane Dynamo. For more details, check out the list below:
Mechanics Grants a stack each time you use a Signature spell up to a maximum of 5. Your next non-Signature spell will have a separate multiplicative multiplier of 1.6 applied to it.
Best use Great passive if you play a build that hits hard only a few times and not with high frequency; it imposes the restriction of playing a Signature spell though which limits its usefulness significantly. It's a very defining and nice niche passive though.
Mechanics Grants +20 Maximum Arcane Power, exactly the same as the secondary affix on Wands, Wizard Hats and Sources, and an additional 2.5 Arcane Power Regeneration per Second to the base of 10.0 Arcane Power Regeneration per Second.
Best use Usually investing into Resource Cost Reduction, for example via Captain Crimson's Trimmings, or rolling the primary affix Arcane Power on Critical Hit is a better choice then attempting to "regenerate" your ressources. Hence, due to these better choices, this passive only has limited usage; mostly during leveling.
Mechanics A separate multiplicative and global damage multiplier of 1.3 against enemies within 15 yards.
Best use The go-to DPS choice for any melee fighting Wizard build. One of the most commonly picked Wizard passives in history of the class.
Mechanics A separate damage reduction of 17%.
Best use A great passive during the leveling process, however, for nearly every build other strong choices exist that are more important than the damage reduction at hand. If at all this passive is to be considered filler, if nothing else fits in your build (which is very unlikely).
All stacks share the same duration. Each stack adds +0.5 seconds to the base duration of 3 seconds.
All stacks refresh at the same time and debuff at the same time.
Stacks refresh when you kill a monster.
If you lose the shield due to taking too much damage, all stacks are dropped.
Best use Galvanizing Ward is a strictly better choice to protect your hit points for Squirt's Necklace with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer.
Mechanics Applies a debuff on the target that lasts 3 seconds. The 10% damage buff is additive and applies to party members as well. The debuff is unique meaning it does not stack from multiple Wizards.
Best use Unfortunately 10% conditional, additive damage is not great. If you have an open passive and you'd want to include additional damage, you should rather consider Elemental Exposure or Unwavering Will; that is if you have a build where you can remain stationary. Only for Wizard support builds this passive is a default include.
Mechanics Applies a debuff on the target that lasts 3 seconds. The target has a 6% increased chance of being critically hit. The debuff is unique meaning it does not stack from multiple Wizards.
Best use Unfortunately not a great DPS choice whatsoever, however, a default include for Wizard support builds. If you have an open passive and you'd want to include additional damage, you should rather consider Elemental Exposure or Unwavering Will; that is if you have a build where you can remain stationary.
Each stack is a debuff for one of the following elements: Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning.
Each stack is unique and refreshes its own duration when re-applied.
Any ability with a proc-coefficient > 0 applies a stack of its respective element. This inherently means that abilities casted from Etched Sigil do not grant any stacks.
The elemental range on the Weapon applies its respective stack with all abilities if the elemental range is of the type: Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning. The only exception to this is Hydra, which only applies the stack of the Hydra element itself.
Does not grant a damage bonus to party members.
Each stack is a unique debuff on a target meaning multiple Wizards in the group compete for the debuff.
The Magistrate has a special interaction. Hydra applies the stack of the Hydra element itself. The Frost Nova casted by your Hydras does, however, apply the Cold stack as well as the stack for the elemental range of your weapon.
The damage from each stack is additive to each other adding up to a total of 20% extra damage. The multiplier is a separate multiplicative global multiplier.
Primordial Soul sets the bonus per stack to 10% (40% total). Everything else remains exactly the same.
Best use The best DPS choice after Audacity and Power Hungry; however, arguably the most complicated passive in the game. The element of the damage range on a weapon only matters when this passive is being played, elsewise it's absolutely inconsequential what element a weapon rolled with. This also leads to insane weapon requirements when attempting to roll a perfect weapon.
Mechanics Grants flat 20% Cooldown Reduction.
Best use Amazing passive if you play Archon or an Explosive Blast with Wand of Woh. Elsewise an underwhelming passive that doesn't provide any interesting mechanic.
After 5 seconds of not taking damage you receive a shield.
If the damage you took only damaged your shields it still counts as "taking damage".
The shield has no maximum duration.
The shield snapshots based on your maximum life (not current life).
Best use By far the best shielding passive in the game and the best choice to protect your hit points for Squirt's Necklace with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer. It's very surprising that the shield refreshes after 5 seconds even though "you didn't really take any damage" and only your shields did. This is not in line with the wording of Squirt's, which does not drop when only your shields take damage.
Mechanics The damage increase as well as Armor and All Resistance penalty are all additive.
Best use One of the worst passives in the game, by far. The cost of the passive at hand is massive, while the upside is nearly neglectable. Sometimes used in Nephalem Rift builds, where Goldwrap makes toughness irrelevant.
Mechanics The passive activates even if the damage taken is only on your shields. After taking 15% of your maximum Life as damage, the cooldowns of Mirror Image, Slow Time and Teleport are reset. After using any of these aforementioned abilities, including Archon Teleport, you gain a 30% Movement Speed Buff.
Best use Amazing utility passive, especially great for efficient farming. A default include for Nephalem Rift farming.
Mechanics Paralysis behaves differently for skills with an inherent speed coefficient = 1.0 (damage hit skills) and speed coefficient > 1.0 (channeling skills).
Inherent speed coefficient = 1.0: These skills have a flat 15.0% chance per attack to proc Paralysis on the target. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, that instance applies a Manald Heal damage instance. For instance Spectral Blade Thrown Blade applies three hits per animation - each hit applies a Manald Heal damage instance if Paralysis is procced for that attack.
Speed coefficient > 1.0: These skills have a different chance per damage instance to proc Paralysis for your character. The proc-chance for Electrocute is 7.804555427071125%; the proc chance for Arcane Torrent Static Discharge is 5.086232538105606%. If Paralysis is procced by a damage instance, it opens a 67 frame window on your character. Each damage instance within that specific window from the same skill also applies a Manald Heal damage instance to all targets hit.
In short: "Hit" skills proc Paralysis on a target. "Channeling" skills proc Paralysis for your character and open a frame window (this also means you can proc it without hitting a target, e.g. in town). At this point it is also worthwhile noting that while a Paralysis window is open, each damage instance within that window can reproc a new window (there is no ICD) giving you the possibility to chain Paralysis procs. Additionally, there is an anomaly while a window is opened with a channeling skill (speed coefficient > 1.0), any damage hit skill (speed coefficient = 1.0) immediately closes that window. This effect can drastically decrease one's damage when attempting to damage with channeling abilities while also incorporating any non-channeling Lightning abilities.
Best use Only use this in conjunction with Manald Heal; unfortunately these type of builds are not viable nowadays.
Mechanics The ranged counterpart of Audacity. A separate multiplicative and global 1.3 multiplier against targets 30 yards away from you.
Best use Rarely used since Wizard is DPSing in melee range for the most time. At most some Frozen Orb might use it due to its fixed travel distance.
Mechanics You gain 5 extra Arcane Power when you use a Signature spell.
Best use Usually investing into Resource Cost Reduction, for example via Captain Crimson's Trimmings, or rolling the primary affix Arcane Power on Critical Hit is a better choice then attempting to "regenerate" your ressources. Hence, due these better choices, this passive only has limited usage; mostly during leveling.
Applies a debuff for 2 seconds on a target each time you hit it with a Arcane ability.
Does not work with the Arcane Damage Range from a weapon.
Is unique and therefore does not stack multiple times or from multiple Wizards.
Best use One of Wizard's worst passives. Never use it. Ever.
Grants you a 400% shield of your Maximum Life for 5 seconds. You are not immune; you can still die!
Knockbacks and stuns all targets in a 50 yards radius around you.
The 3 second stun applies first. Monsters are immune afterwards.
Best use Our cheat-death passive. A must include for Hardcore players.
After remaining stationary for 1.5 seconds you gain a buff.
The buff grants 20% additive Armor.
The buff grants 20% additive All Resistance.
The buff grants 10% additive global Damage.
The buff lingers for 7 Frames (93 ms) after you start moving.
Best use Quite the useful passive, specifically early season when you appreciate the tankiness a lot. Especially great for channeling builds incorporating Deathwish and Etched Sigil. Once you have decent toughness from other sources though, and especially from Paragon, you should rotate it out for the multiplicative passives Audacity and Elemental Exposure.
Primary skills deal a little damage and are free to cast. Known as Signature Spells for Wizards, they do not generate Arcane Power when cast. However, most builds can solve their resource issues with Arcane Power on Critical Hit, and Signature Spells are mainly used to proc Firebird's Finery, Bastions of Will, Triumvirate or Arcane Dynamo.
Damage Dealing Skills
These are the main build-defining skills. Pick one of these, a Set that buffs it, 2-3 supporting Legendaries and you got yourself a build.
Energy Twister and Arcane Orb are the two main spenders of the Wizard. They have a lot of supporting legendaries and can be used with many sets. However, the only viable rune for Arcane Orb is Frozen Orb while Energy Twister generally goes for Wicked Wind. Hydra is an untargetable Pet dealing a good chunk of damage and having different builds to choose from. Meteor is a skill that has decent supporting legendaries with Star Pact being able to pull immense damage bursts in one hit. Explosive Blast is lacking supporting damage multipliers but its low cooldown and number of consecutive hits makes it the skill of choice to proc the Firebird's Finery bonuses. It is also included in many builds to proc Orb of Infinite Depth.
Wizards have 3 channeling skills: Arcane Torrent, Disintegrate and Ray of Frost. These skills are not dealing damage by themselves. Wizards generally use them to proc the damage multiplier from Deathwish or as a utility skill to proc Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
Wizards can choose to have one of three Armor skills: Ice Armor, Storm Armor and Energy Armor. Only one of these can be active at any given time. They grant various utility bonuses to the Wizard. In pretty much all scenarios, your Armor will be Storm Armor in combination with Halo of Karini for its tremendous 80% damage reduction. Yet in some specific builds, Ice Armor in conjunction with Halo of Arlyse + Ancient Parthan Defenders can be used.
All the other Wizard skills can be grouped together. They are used to round up the builds with extra defensive, offensive and mobility buffs, or to proc certain Sets or Legendaries.
Widely used mobility and defensive skill, it allows you to move around monsters at very fast pace to dodge attacks and projectiles. The Safe Passage rune is the most popular rune for its 25% damage reduction buff while Wormhole can be used for speedfarming purposes.
This skill is mostly used with Deflection to generate shields to protect Squirt's Necklace or with Conduit to nullify Arcane Power issues.
Widely used damage buff cooldown skill thanks to Spellsteal or Absolute Zero for Cold builds. Event Horizon can be used by Supports sometimes to remove Elite Affixes.
Archon is a very interesting cooldown skill generally used in conjunction with The Swami and Fazula's Improbable Chain to capitalize on the stack system. While in Archon form, you gain an Archon stack granting you 6% damage for every monster you kill. You can deal damage while in Archon using Vyr's Amazing Arcana and Chantodo's Resolve or outside (Reverse Archon builds), generally with Legacy of Dreams.
This utility skill slows down monsters and their projectiles but is mainly used with the runes Stretch Time or Time Warp for offensive purposes. It is however required to use this skill to deal damage with Delsere's Magnum Opus.
Used with Bone Chill or Deep Freeze as a damage buff cooldown in some builds.
Completely forgotten skill, its only niche cases are Arcanot to deal with Arcane Power issues in some farming builds and Sparkflint to get more Firebird's Finery procs.
Does not have any supporting legendary, its only use is to proc Winter Flurry affix for Hydra builds.
Wave of Force
Deals virtually no damage, has no supporting legendary and is only used by Arcane builds with the Arcane Attunement rune as a big damage multiplier in density.
The best way to proc Firebird's FineryBonus by a long shot for a few seasons, it is now completely useless.
Below are listed select few build-relevant skills and their mechanics are explained in detail.
Arcane Orb Frozen Orb
This skill fires in a straight line from your character towards your cursor position and explodes precisely 40 yards away.
The final explosion deals the most damage by far but its AoE is really small. It deals 950% weapon damage twice in succession because of Unstable Scepter, for a total of 1900% weapon damage.
The main orb deals 635% weapon damage to enemies it passes through while the shards deal 315% weapon damage to all enemies along the path.
Frozen Orbs spawned by Wizardspike benefit from all the damage multipliers but won’t deal Area Damage.
When Wizardspike procs from your own Frozen Orb, they overlap so well that it is only noticeable from the higher amount of frost shards emitted by the two stacked orbs.
Being in Archon form grants a 30% global separate damage multiplier.
Archon and The Swami stacks instances are additive with each other to form one global separate damage multiplier.
Archon Slow Time inherits the Slow Time rune equipped on your skill bar. Crown of the Primus works on Slow Time. Slow Time and Slow Time effects stack for Exhaustion, Time Warp and Stretch Time runes.
Archon Teleport benefits from both Aether Walker and Cosmic Strand.
With Vyr's Amazing Arcana(2) Bonus, all Archon Abilities snapshot their Elemental Type upon Archon cast to your current highest element.
Each Archon Abilities' damage is dynamic with its current Elemental DamageBonus (according to its Elemental Type) which is not always your current highest element.
Archon Strike's Attack Speed is fully dynamic with Increased Attack Speed. Any Attack Speed gained during Archon speeds up Archon Strike and any IAS lost slows it down.
Archon Disintegration Wave tickrate is snapshotted upon entering Archon. Any Attack Speed gained (or lost) during Archon has no effect on its tickrate. The 50 stacks granted from Fazula's Improbable Chain are accounted for.
Black Hole Absolute Zero
The damage bonus from Black Hole Absolute Zero is additive with your Cold Elemental damage. As a consequence, "Cold skills deal X% more damage" affixes (Mainly found on Bracers and Amulet slots), grants a lower relative damage increase to builds using Absolute Zero.
Hydra Mammoth Hydra
Hydra Mammoth Hydra only has one head, hence it does not work with The Typhon's Veil. This is why this rune is best used with the Legacy of Dreams setup presented at hand.
Hydras does benefit from Pet damage bonuses but Attack Speed is not a damage multiplier for them. Unlike most pets, Attack Speed increases the rate of their attacks upon reaching Breakpoints instead.
Mammoth Hydras target the closest monster and start to cast expanding Fire pools (the layers), dealing damage and expanding by 10 yards every 0.3 seconds, up to 50 yards.
These layers spawn in front of the Hydras and take about 1.8 seconds to expand to their full length of 50 yards. Layers last for 3 seconds after they are fully expanded, for a total duration of 4.8 seconds. This means one layer ticks 16 times, once every 0.3 seconds.
This mechanic creates a ramp-up period to reach maximum damage potential. This is why positioning Mammoth Hydrasless than 5 yards in front of the monsters is extremely important because the layers reach the monsters and damage them instantly. If the monster is more than 5 yards away, you lose one tick per layer (6.25% damage), two ticks (12.5% damage) if the monster is more than 15 yards away… and so on.
When the Mammoth Hydra expires after 15 seconds, or is replaced by a new one (in which case the oldest instance is replaced), its remaining layers are orphaned, meaning they do not benefit from your damage multipliers anymore.
Meteor Star Pact
The base damage of 740% weapon damage can be increased to up to a total of 4080% with a perfect 167 maximum Arcane Power and a Channeling Pylon. Realistically that value will be around 3600-3650% (or less if you don't wear a Wand) because you have to cast Wave of Force Arcane Attunement right before your nuke as long as there is enough density around you.
Resource Cost Reduction only applies to the base cost of the skill, meaning that a 8% RCR roll (e.g. on your Shoulders) will add ~3 more Arcane Power to be consumed for a Star Pact cast. This adds 60% weapon damage or ~1.5% overall damage to the impact.
Mirror Images cast some spells equipped on your skill bar with the assigned rune. They cast Flame Blades, Hydra and Explosive Blast.
They last for 7 seconds, meaning they can each cast up to 7 skills by default as their Flame Blades and Explosive Blast have a base 60 FPA. Tasker and Theo works but only allow them to cast up to 9 skills (42 FPA Breakpoint). Slow Time Stretch Time also buffs their Attack Rate, allowing them to do up to 11 casts when combined with Tasker and Theo (36 FPA Breakpoint). However in the latter case, their first cast is going to be Slow Time so they do 10 effective casts.
Mirror Images' HP pool takes a percentage of your HP pool as base (50% for Duplicates) then scales similarly to other Pets, adding your Vitality * 100 to this base HP and using your HP % as a separate multiplier. This means your HP pool double dips into your Mirror Images' HP pool.
Like most Pets, Mirror Images scale their toughness with All Resistances while Armor and Damage Reduction sources have no effect besides Enforcer. They benefit from Dodge Chance (War Cry Veteran's Warning) and double dip All Resistances buffs like Mantra of Salvation. Inspiring Presence Life Regeneration is also double dipped by them. Mirror Images summoned while Shield Pylon is active do not get the invulnerability effect.
Casts from Mirror Images proc your Arcane Power on Critical Hit if you have some on your equipment.
They can be crowd controlled (frozen, jailed, knocked back...) but they are affected by Crowd Control Reduction on your equipment as well as Ignore Pain Mob Rule and Inner Sanctuary Temple of Protection Crowd Control Immunity.
Mirror Images are not affected by Fragment of Destiny, Mirrorball and The Shame of Delsere.
Mirror Images can proc the Firebird's Finery(2) BonusMeteor upon dying a first time.
Mirror Images have a pretty bad AI and often run away instead of attacking with Flame Blades. This is due to specific monster immunities and aggro mechanics, which affects some monster types but also Shielding and Juggernaut affixes as well as some Rift Guardians. The best way to avoid that is summoning them while surrounded by monsters or in a tight spot.
Wave of Force Arcane Attunement
Is a separate multiplier for any Arcane ability.
Has a maximum cap of 125 targets which equals a 6.0 multiplier.
The character is buffed when the "Wave" stops traveling. Any Arcane ability casted while the Wave is still traveling does not consume Arcane Attunement. This means Black Hole Spellsteal can be cast immediately after Wave of Force Arcane Attunement without consuming the resulting WoF stacks. This needs some practice to pull off!
In combination with The Twisted Sword, only the first ArcaneEnergy Twister needs to be buffed by Wave of Force Arcane Attunement. The four additional merges do not remove the buff.
Overall Wizard is a class with a lot of flavor, perfectly fit for anyone who loves ranged and caster playstyle! The skill mechanics of the Wizard class are very interesting and Archon especially opens a lot of possibilities as well as deep theorycrafting opportunities about the class which I personnally enjoy a lot!
Written by Chewingnom. Reviewed by Northwar & Raxxanterax. Updated by Chewingnom.