Wizard Inferno Build

Wizard Inferno Build submitted by Absolute.

This build is not overpowered in any way, so there is no fear of any sort of "balance adjustment" on Blizzard's part. It's also more of a guideline than an exact build, as there are at least some limited alternatives to proposed skills.

Worth mentioning also, is that this is not intended for those who now have 50 million worth of gear on them--but rather for those who are struggling in Inferno. So, without further ado:


Build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#bliSXO!YfW!bbbZaY

Shock Pulse (Piercing Orb): Reasons behind using this are various and significant, but the most prominent lies in its power and versatility; it deals 105% of weapon damage, pierces not only through all enemies, but also through a decent amount of objects (some walls, columns, and rubble), and may reach enemies out of sight. It should also be mentioned that because the orbs sway from side-to-side as they fly towards enemies, a pseudo-splash effect exists--meaning that all enemies within the limits of the orbs' reach are hit.

Blizzard (Snowbound): Nearly self-explanatory, Blizzard does what blizzards in general tend to do: pelt the soft-bodied flesh constructs with icy shards and death-inducing winter-cold winds (in this case, enemies--although they are not always so soft-bodied). It deals 210% of weapon damage over 6 seconds in a particularly small target area and tends to slow mobs down to a point.

As the Wizard flees cowardly aw--. As the Wizard gracefully kites and moves around and/or away from the enemy on sure footing, he or she will pause for approximately 1 to 2 seconds to cast and re-cast Blizzard and Hydra. The former activates instantly and therefore deals damage the second it's cast (unlike an alternative, like Meteor) and slows them down, while the latter dishes out the main body of damage.

Important: Blizzards do NOT stack. If one were to cast two Blizzards in one area, the damage dealt would NOT double.

Snowbound is not part of this build--it is merely a preference. It reduces the cost of Blizzard from 45 to 20, which is extremely significant for a build that only has a max of 80 Arcane Power.

Hydra (Venom): A skill loved by all who understand its marvelous secrets. A skill that if nonexistent would make the Wizard a class so useless the only reason to actually use one would be nostalgia. On paper, it looks ridiculously under-powered and only advisable to players with some sort of upper limp handicap. In actuality, this is the most prominent skill when damaging champion packs.

It deals 18% of weapon damage a second by the way of a poison pool (horrifyingly acidic poison) and spews poison spit at enemies for (what is assumed) 28% weapon damage. The strategy used here reflects that of what was said in the above Blizzard's informational bubble.

Alternative: There are certain users who prefer to use a different type of Hydra. So far, Arcane is the only other considered choice. Where it lacks the damage possessed by its venomous counterpart, it makes up for it by having instant splash-damage effects and a potential part in a combo that deals with passives. The latter is really the more important, as one of the passives (Temporal Flux), slows enemies hit by Arcane spells down by 30% for 2 seconds.

And, while this may be somehow incorporated into a build not unlike this one, Blizzard with Snowbound will keep most enemies going slow enough for the Wizard to properly run awa--kite. Yes, kite.

Magic Weapon (Force Weapon): Another skill that's now practically synonymous with "Wizard." Its 15% increase in damage to your weapon may increase damage by up to approximately 25% with low-end gear and significantly more with high-tier gear. The 2% chance of a force-push must also be mentioned, as it stacks up with other equipment; and therefore may be used to (if the collected force-push % is high enough) keep mobs at a distance--so that Jedi friends are given enough time to reinforce the young Wizard during their time of peril.

Diamond Skin (Crystal Shell): Short, but sweet. Tough as nails, and yet as fragile as glass. Hated for its necessity, and yet loved for its accessibility. The Diamond Skin is yet another one of those skills that's simply a part of what the Wizard is. For 6 seconds, it absorbs 21,707 damage. On its own, it would almost be unimpressive. It is when combined with the following skill that it shines like the brightest star in the galaxy and beyond (and a long, long time ago--far, far away).

Energy Armor (Force Armor): Once the epitome of perfection, a pale hope in the blight that Inferno spreads throughout the Diablo world. Before Blizzard took it upon themselves to redesign this skill, it was the most overpowered defense possible. It is no longer what it once way; but in no way does that mean it's unusable. Arguably, it is still the preferred choice for Wizards who do not possess titanic pools of health--50k and higher, or akin. Energy Armor itself increases armor by 65%, but that is not the reason for its use.

Guide continued after the page break..

Force Armor: Many misunderstand how this was nerfed. Many believe that this is how it works:

Luke has 20k Hp. Suddenly, he loses his footing as the ground under his feet trembles and welts, sending a shroud of sand so thick no eye could hope to see. A roar that breaks spines into pieces could be heard. Luke peers through the now dispensed dust and sees something too terrifying for words--three skeletal beings linked by chains that stared right into his eyes.

Death, it meant. Before he could escape, one hits him with an attack intended to deal 10k damage. His magical barrier, however, holds up, and his life only drops by 35%, to 13k hp. He flees for an instant, chewing on an energy bar and healing up to his full 100% health. The beings, however, would not give up, and chased him down. This time, a critical shot of 21k damage landed right into Luke's face--instakill.

How it actually works (worry not, story-time is over):

Ex. 1: Luke has 10k Hp. Luke is hit for 9k damage. Force Armor reduces that to only 35% of his health--leaving him with 6500 Hp.
Ex. 2: Luke has 10k Hp. Luke is hit for 15k damage. Force armor absorbs 10k (the maximum amount of Hp Luke has) of that 15k damage and leaves him with 5k Hp.
Ex. 3: Luke has 10k Hp. Luke is hit for 20k damage. Force armor absorbs 10k of that 20k damage--leaving him with 0 Hp.

Cool? Cool.


Glass Cannon: Increases all damage by 15% and decreases armor/resistances by 10%. It is a must. As simple as that. A must.

Galvanizing Ward: Increases armor duration by 120 seconds (on top of the two minutes already present) and provides a life-regeneration rate of 310 a second at level 60.

Alternatively, one may choose to forego this passive and go with something a little more direct; but direct isn't always the way to go.

Cold Blooded: Cold damage done to chilled and/or frozen enemies is increases by 20%. This is to build on the relatively low damage that Blizzard as a skill provides. At the very least, it will kill more efficiently.

Alternative passives:

Any. Use any that look like they may reflect your play-style.

How to choose a weapon

To avoid spending currency on a weapon that would be better suited for a melee class, one must first understand how utterly worthless on-screen DPS is to a Wizard in Inferno.

White monsters may be massacred by any means at hand--from a basic attack to a combination of several spells. Whichever way it's done, white mobs are of no consequence and should never be taken into consideration when building the Wizard both skill-wise and gear-wise. It is the elites that one should always consider. It is the mobs with ridiculous health pools and infinitely better and more damaging attacks than you, yourself, have at your disposal.

When dealing with such champion packs, a Wizard does only what he or she can: cast Hydra, Blizzard, and kite like they've never kited before. While the Wizard is on the move, and the dark forces of the Sith on the Wizard's tail, the greatest percentage of damage dealt is channeled through Hydra--whose damage is dependent on weapon damage (not the damage done per second, but the damage done per hit).

Average weapon damage is calculated simply by taking the minimum, (say, 500) the maximum (1000), adding them up (1500) and dividing by two (ending in an average damage per hit of 750). It is that 750 that skills like Hydra and Blizzard use as base.

A weapon with lower DPS and slower attack speed may provide much more damage than a weapon with higher DPS and faster attack speed if the right condition are met--that condition being that the average damage of the former weapon is higher than the latter.

It may also happen that a weapon with a high DPS and fast attack speed has a high average damage. Simply put, when a search for weaponry is afoot, one must seek out the highest average damage accessible--within limits, of course, as will be explained below.

Since attack speed not only affects the time between attacks, but also the animation, a Wizard with a low enough attack speed will not last long enough to dish out the potential damage at their finger tips. He or she must be quick enough to spam Hydra and Blizzard with barely a break in stride as they move out of the way of attack. Taking that into account, weapon speed cannot be too low.

A total character attack speed of approximately 2.0 should be reached to safely allow a Wizard to cast both Hydra and Blizzard in nearly an instant. This 2.0, however, may be reached in ways beyond just the attack speed of a particular weapon. If, for example, a weapon's attack speed rests at 1.30 (which is too low for comfort), necessary steps must be taken to increase it to that desired 2.0. If we take the 1.30 weapon as an example, one would need approximately 55% combined increased attack speed from equipment such as rings, amulets, gloves, helmets, shield, etc. to reach it. Any more attack speed, and the Wizard is getting nothing out of it. Any less, and he or she might as well just sign that Will the Sith have been asking to be signed.


Into detail, this little green one shall not dwell.

Let it just be said that 12% faster running speed is highly advised for those tricky little kiting adventures. The Wizards know--they knows how to run well.

Sockets are practically mandatory--especially with the low prices of Flawless Squares and below.

Resistances a Wizard must work out on his or her own. Work, it is not of the little green one.

The higher the HP, the safer a Wizard is. Simpler than that it cannot be.

A shield's blocking chance may save you once in a hundred encounters, while an orb will serve you continuously with a significant increase in damage--upwards of 8k (8k DPS, which may not mean much--but damage is damage, and an orb with 100-400 damage adds 250 damage to weapon damage) if chosen wisely.