Melee / Tank Wizard Build

Diablo 3 Melee / Tank Wizard Build by noble.

The Build:!gfW!cYYcaZ

Making my way through hell (solo) with a melee/tank wizard build. Figured I would post it here and run through the equipment and skills:

The idea is to always have diamond skin up and when you don't, to be recovering more life than you're losing. Of course, this build requires alot of gear with +vit and +int on it, preferably a nice 1-handed weapon with a tank shield.

  • Spectral Blade, Thrown Blade: The bread and butter of the build. Combined with Magic Weapon with Blood Magic, it allows you to recover 4.5% of your left per hit (it normally hits 3 times), per monster. Essentially, it allows you to tank most mobs as well as deal nice damage to them due to Magic Weapon and Familiar.
  • Blizzard, Stark Winter: This skill is fairly interchangeable with Frost Nova, but I personally like snaring mobs coming at me while dealing constant damage. Combined with Cold Blooded (passive), it allows me to deal 20% more damage than I normally would, which is a pretty large increase.
  • Diamond Skin, Enduring Skin: Allows you to keep diamond skin up for 8 seconds and absorb damage until it runs out. This skill is pivotal when using a melee wizard. Combined with Critical Mass (passive) and Energy Armor (Pinpoint Barrier), the chance to land a critical hit increases and cooldown on diamond skin decreases. Additionally, with spectral blade's increased range, you'll have a larger chance to score a critical hit.
  • Magic Weapon, Blood Weapon: Necessary for this build. Magic Weapon with this rune allows you to recover 4.5% of your health on every hit, since Spectral Blade often hits 3 separate times. With the increased radius of Spectral Blade, you'll be hitting a wider range, allowing for even more health recovered.
  • Familiar, Sparkflint: This skill is also kind of interchangeable, as Wave of Force or Frost Nova could go in this position. However, I enjoy the damage increase, so I've left Familiar in this slot.
  • Energy Armor, Pinpoint Barrier: To be able to tank damage, energy armor is a given. The 65% armor increase is crucial and you really don't need the arcane power with this build. Pinpoint Barrier allows for an increased chance to crit, reducing the cooldown on your Diamond Skin from Critical Mass. Combined with Galvanizing Ward and Magic Weapon, Blood Weapon, you'll be recovering alot of health fairly quickly. When times get sticky, you typically have Diamond Skin to fallback on as your "oh !@#$" button.
Build continued after the page break..


  • Critical Mass: Again, this reduces the cooldown time on all skills, but is extremely important to keep Diamond Skin up, which is quite possible with Energy Armor increasing your crit chance.
  • Galvanizing Ward: Constant health recovery, self explanatory for this build.
  • Cold Blooded: I messed around with the final passive skill quite a bit. Originally I had Blur in there to reduce melee damage by 20%, which was helpful. I found the combination of Cold Blooded with Blizzard to be extremely helpful taking care of rare packs and large numbers of enemies though, so I kept Cold Blooded here..

It goes without saying that you're going to want alot of +vit and +int gear. Vitality increases your life, and while you theoretically shouldn't need a ton of life, you kind of do when battles get sticky.

Intelligence serves 2 purposes and is absolutely vital. First and foremost, it increases your resistances. When facing Molten, Plagued, Electrified, etc. mobs, you want your resistance to be as high as possible to tank damage. Without a ton of resistance, you'll probably get melted, though it depends how high your health is. Secondly, it also increases your damage. This is also pretty self explanatory, as you need to actually be able to kill things.

Other useful mods include +damage (necessary to do more damage), +str (increases your armor, which is nice), +% life (increases your health a ton), +increased attack speed (great for Spectral Blades), and any gear involving damage reduction or increased block chance.

Personally, I run a 1-handed weapon with a high Ruby, a tower shield to block, and a bunch of +int, +vit gear.

Where you'll run into problems:

Believe it or not, most mobs aren't bad with this build. However, knockback really puts a dent in this build since you won't be able to hit or recover damage while flying across the screen.