In Depth Critical Mass CDR Wizard Guide

In Depth Critical Mass CDR Wizard Guide by PKCarwash.


I got tired of kiting everything, so I decided to experiment with a build that would let me stay in the thick of things, and mage-tank it.

It's a really satisfying build to use, and it's a lot different than the way I see most wizards playing. It's worth checking out.


+ Unquestionably the best AoE build for Wizard
+ VERY high survivability, and CC output.
+ Can solo easily, but also provides massive utility to co-op play
+ Very fun to play
+ You don't have to kite things for half an hour


- Ranged units can be trouble
- Item dependent later on (what isn't?)
- RNG (Can be overcome with items)
- Requires high level skills

Build Examples:

The Basics

The gist of this build is to stack as much attack speed and crit as possible, and use the Critical Mass passive to reduce the CD's of the rest of your spells. With good items you can literally cast long CD spells like frost nova, and diamond skin more than once per second.

As a secondary goal, you will stack as much HP regen/Life on hit as possible with NO VITALITY to make full use of the force armor rune.

The goal is to have enough HP regen to heal back 35% of your life per second or more, while having as little HP as possible, so attacks against you take down less of your diamond skin.

With zero +vitality, you diamond skin can take around 20 hits before running out, which gives you plenty of time to reduce the CD and cast it again.

Required Passives
  • Critical Mass (Reduces your CD's by a ridiculous amount)
  • Paralysis (Main nuke is high hit/second lightning nuke, so it porcs often)

Situational Passives

  • Glass Cannon (You wont take any more damage due to diamond skin, so it's free damage, only use if you have good gear)
  • Galvanizing Ward (If you need more HP regen)
  • Arcane Dynamo (Makes Explosive Blast do 75% more damage)
  • Evocation (More CDR, better if you don't have good gear yet)

Required Skills

  • Shock Pulse [Living Lightning] (Highest rate of attack so it procs literally dozens of crits per second, costs 0 AP)
  • Diamond Skin [Crystal Shell] (This becomes your HP bar)
  • Frost Nova [Cold Snap for single target, Deep Freeze for AoE] (Perma-Freezes enemies)
  • Energy Armor (Force armor makes your diamond skin able to tank a ton of shots before it goes down) (Pre-Inferno, you can use pinpoint barrier for the extra crit, since you don't need the damage reduction as much)

Situational Skills

  • Wave of Force ("OH CRAP" button + extra stuns...highly recommended)
  • Hydra [Venom] (deals MASSIVE DoT with attack speed, great for champion packs and single target)
  • Explosive Blast [Chain Reaction] (No cast animation, so you dont have to stop spamming to use it. With critical mass, you can cast this multiple times/second, best for AoE)
  • Enchant Weapon [Force Weapon] (15% more damage, but honestly not that great in this build.)


Int, life regen, and sockets are always something to look for on any item, but some items can't get certain's what to look for.
  • Amulet - Crit chance, Attack speed, Crit damage
  • Belt - Chance to freeze
  • Boots - Chance to immobilize
  • Bracers - Crit chance, Chance to knockback
  • Chest - Nothing special
  • Gloves - Attack speed, Crit chance(huge), Chance to stun, Crit damage
  • Helm - Crit chance, Chance to fear, Bonus crit to explosive blast, Arcane power on crit (good for co-op, lets you spam high cost spells)
  • Pants - Nothing special
  • Ring - Attack Speed, Crit chance, Crit damage
  • Shoulders - Nothing special
  • Dagger (For fastest base attack speed) - Attack speed, Chance to CC
  • Off-handIncreased shock pulse damage, Crit chance, Extra damage


Followers are mostly personal preference.
  • Scoundrel - 3% passive crit, some CC (crowd control)
  • Enchantress - good AoE CC's
  • Templar - extra healing, and some CC


  • Try to peg ranged enemies with your first frost nova, so things don't get spread out. If you get them with the first one, it is easy to keep reapplying the freeze.
  • For single targets, only use your nova, and WoF to stall for time for your Diamond skin to come back up again. Your CD's will be longer for single targets, so try to chain your CC's as efficiently as possible. Use them to interrupt telegraphed attacks.
  • If you are in too deep, its better to stay and try to tank it than to run. Not attacking = no CDR, and your defensive skills are no good while they are on CD.

Theory crafting time

With items I could buy on the auction house right now, I could get these numbers (If I wasn't so poor >.<)
Crit chance = 44.5%
Attack speed = 2.685/s
Chance to CC on hit
  • Stun- "up to" 10.2% (Im not sure exaclty how much power surge gives)
  • Freeze - 4.5%
  • Fear - 5%
  • Immobilize - 4.5%
Currently I am at 22% crit, 2.38 attacks/s. With 5% on hit CC, and I can almost perma-stun single targets, and I can perma-interupt bosses (Killed Rak on hell without him casting a single ability)
With 44.5% crit, decent attack speed, and good on-hit procs, even bosses can be permanently stunned


Honestly I think this is the single best Wiz build that has been discovered so far. It has high survivability, and the most utility of any build I've seen. It is incredibly fun to play, especially the AoE varriant (you can spam Explode so fast, you run out of AP) and it doesn't take too much to get you started.

Let me know what you think, leave a comment with suggestions/improvements. If there is enough interest I can also make a video.
Thanks for reading.

CM/WW Wizard Simulator

Also check out this useful Diablo III CM/WW Wizard Simulator.