Wizard Stormchaser CM Build Review

Wizard Storm Chaser CM Build Review submitted by Lok.

1. References to information on this build

I ran across the Stormchaser build by Magicrhombus with this video


Using this talent build: (http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#VQhXYO!Zbg!cZcaZc) and this writeup. I start with these links first because there is a lot of valuable information there, and the guys who came up with this deserve credit.

I am reviewing this build here because Diablo3 Blog did not have anything on it, and it is worth playing before it gets nerfed. I took a wizard stuck in act 2 that I had abandoned, and in 2 weeks and just downed Diablo in inferno with maybe 1M gold worth of gearing put in.

2. Overview

The basic gist is to try to get critical mass to go off as much as possible via the use of energy twister with the stormchaser rune. I am writing this review to point out this build so people can have fun with it before Blizzard sucks the fun out of the game again and nerfs it.

Why Stormchaser? Energy twisters have a proc chance per tic of the twister, and they persist for 6s, potentially hitting many foes. Previously people used the Wicked Wind rune for Energy Twister, but the proc coefficient got nerfed. Critical mass requires 2 things (a) a critical hit to occur, and (b) the proc chance for the spell to occur. It is fairly easy getting a high crit rate (will discuss later), but finding a spell with a decent proc chance makes a difference.

When Blizzard nerfed Wicked Wind, they overlooked Stormchaser, and it functions as a viable substitute. Other spells will work here, but not as well as Energy Twister/Stormchaser. For instance most meteors have a 60% chance to proc, and they can crit for each target in its blast radius, and perhaps the fire afterburn also procs.  Originally I loved using Meteor/Star Pact instead of Stormchaser, but have gone to Stormchaser. Star Pact reduces Meteor from 60 AP to 35AP, letting you spam more of them and generate more procs for the same AP, and reduce cooldowns. But the rates are not as high and the frost nova lock down is not as good with Meteor spam.

There are two ways this build will likely disappear. First is proc rates being nerfed. I think it likely they will leave meteor alone, but Stormchaser may get the axe. The second way is via the upcoming changes to crowd control, which will discourage CC spam as you will ramp up CC resistance to levels where you can not lock down stuff. The good news is that if you moderate your Frost Nova casting instead of just spamming it, lock down may actually be easier. At that point you may be running with star pact meteor on your left, and a slew of other stuff.

3. Gearing

To do this build well, you will want Arcane Power on Crit, Crit rating, Intelligence, resist all, enough vitality to survive a hit or two, life regeneration, crit hit damage, and I like a bit of max arcane power. Here is what I did with slots

main hand- wand with socket (green gem), AP on crit, max AP- I paid about 200K gold for a low 800ish rare and it works fine.

off hand- source with AP on crit, Max AP. Sources are a pain to search since they disable the damage sort field for some reason I dont understand. If you add the min damage to the max damage and divide by 2 you get the average damage added by the source. 200 avg damage is pretty high and expensive. I got around 170 avg damage with a bit of intellect for 500K, and began with a cheap one with around 150 avg damage that I found for 5K gold, so you can get on the train cheaply, then  upgrade later.

head- wizard hat with AP on crit, Max AP, and crit hit chance, and whatever else you can pick up. Wizard hats are pretty cheap since only 1 class can use them, so you can do well here.

Shoulders, belt, bracers- int, all res, life regen, and vit
chest and legs- int, all res, life regen, vit, and maximize sockets
boots- like shoulders, only I pick up movement speed
rings, amulet- crit hit chance, crit damage, and whatever else you can get
getting higher armor is helpful but not essential

I spent no more than 200K per slot and was able to get going on the build.

Where I am
AP on crit 25-30
Max AP 40
Crit Hit chance 30-35%
Crit Hit Damage ~180%

4. The Build
The build I have settled in on is


  • Stormchaser on the left is what you spam and use on barrels etc. The AP on crit is what lets you spam it.
  • Heavy hitting meteor/molten impact is on my right- during lockdown, I dont have a lot of free moments to spam star pact meteor, so having a big one hit hard and burn hard works better. Tried the lasting burn version, but that was not as effective as the one with the better up front damage.
  • frost nova/deep freeze with the +15% chance to crit for 12 when you freeze 5 rune- this buff is up a lot and takes your crit hit chance to the 50ish range, making lockdown even more impressive
  • diamond skin/crystal shell with the enhanced amount absorbed- you are spamming this, and with defensese fairly reasonable, if they can not dish out more than you can absorb, your lifebar does not move, which is why piles of vitality are not needed in this build. I run with around 25K health in inferno/act 4 and it works fine
  • teleport/safe passage with damage reduction rune- the fun thing about this build is because you are shortening cooldowns so much, you are pretty much playing like you have the illusionist passive, and this is up alot.
  • energy armor/prismatic armor with resists rune- this really helps keep the damage received below the amount diamond skin can absorb
  • critical mass- the passive that makes everything shorten
  • blur- 20% melee damage reduction helps keep incoming damage below diamond skin
  • galvanizing ward- mainly for the life regeneration. What happens is ranged stuff, or things that somehow evade lockdown that dish damage to you can over time put you perilously low. Life regen repairs any damage you did take between battles and during lockdown, letting you top off. Between this passive and items I was able to easily get 700 life per second, which is ample

Here are the things I tried, and why they are not in the build

  • a. other Energy Twister runes- they don't proc as much as Stormchaser
  • b. Explosive Blast, the point blank area of effect physical damage explosion on 6s cooldown- I had to pick between meteor and this, and this is only useful in melee range, wherease meteor is useful for ranged and melee
  • c. ray of frost/sleet storm- tried this on the right, you have to hold it down, which prevents spamming of twister, do doesnt work
  • d. arcane torrent/deathblossum- affects individual targets, killing packs is faster with meteor
  • e. arcane orb- does not hit as hard as meteor
  • f. mirror image- was fun, used the rune where duplicates explode, but damage is low, and tendency of images to push you to a new position can ruin positioning. Storm chaser by itself is very low
  • g. the other meteor runes- do not hit as hard as the one I use. Meteor swarm is too disperse, and you in general want a tight cluster, tighter than the spread of meteor swarm
  • h. living lightning- this was fun on the right- would build 3 stormchaser charges on left then release with a living lightning, felt like charge up/finish routine from rogues, but had no real ranged option
  • i. spectral blades- started off with this on left, stormchaser on right until I realized that I wanted to be spamming twister, not blades. Life regen replenishes health better than blades.
  • j. archon- this was really fun. With critical mass, I could quickly reset cooldown on Archon. Most of the stuff that would not die easy via the melee mix of twister, nova would drop fast to archon. If you love full time archon, this is the way to get it.
  • k. wave of force- busts up clusters iwth knockback, ruining the builds performance

5. Tactics

You "pull" in this build with an opening salvo of meteors. Stuff comes to you, and you frost nova, meteor, and begin the three fingered spam routine of hammering frost nova, stormchaser, and diamond skin nonstop with the occasional break to toss out another meteor.

Stand in the corner, face out. This is an old original Diablo tactic you used to use with charged bolt. The idea is by standing in a corner, you limit the angle of approach to you by the enemy to a 90 deg arc that has a high percentage chance of them getting whacked by a twister. Furthermore when you stand in a corner, stuff packs into the meteor radius and frost nova radius to get at you. This can be an all-or-nothing strategy with some champion packs as they can drop ground effects and kill you, but for many packs they get on perma lockdown and die quickly.

Meteor Kite. While running away target the ground ahead of you, cast meteor, run past it just enough so that those chasing stand in the target zone. This is a bit tricky to learn, but works very well with those enemies that have an AI that sends them running away when you get close. The big hitting meteor will grind them down. Yes you lose out on the burn damage, but most of your damage is from the impact hit (390%) and not the burn (90% over 3s).

Slow fallback- works well against guys who drop stuff on the ground. When stuff gets too thick, fall back slightly out of range, drop a meteor, and resume on fresh ground when they close.

Narrow halls are your friend. Seems like twisters path along the path, so if the path narrows, the space not filled by twisters is less, and you get multiple tics landing per twister.

6. Problems

  • electrified: spamming twisters point blank into electrified foes equals pain. There are dead spots in the electricity spam, stand in one if you can see it. Otherwise kite by nova, meteor run, or port. If you stand at maximum twister range from them, you will take less electrical damage.
  • arcane enchanted, frozen orbs, molten, plague- stuff on  the ground can build up to damage that exceeds your diamond skin, so you need to maneuver into holes in the orb radii, or clear ground. I took out Duriel in act 4 with no problem standing in the frozen orbs because the diamond skin would see me through the freeze, but if you get multiples of these, it becomes challenging
  • shielding, horde: at least one guy is not going to be locked up in frost nova, and whack you. It is best to meteor kite until numbers thin to a more manageable number
  • reflect, normally a huge problem, is less of one because of diamond skin spam. However if you get it combined with other things, it can really eat up your absorb from diamond skin and make things less safe.

7. Thoughts to the Blizzard weenie if upon reading this wants to nerf

Hey guys, I am that old dinosaur player that was playing Diablo 1 when it came out and writing on the strategy boards. I have your attention now, and I am going to take advantage of it. Right now I see a mentality of nerf first, beef second which is annoying. I would rather the beef come before nerfs. You are right, Inferno damage is so high it drives people into a limited number of builds, and it should be nerfed.

 I am under the impression you guys are slow to fix this because without a huge hurdle in end game, people will be able to solo end game content and get bored and quit. I saw this in AC2 where devs reduced xp per kill to slow people down from reaching the content free end game. I would submit to you that this is a more relaxed affair of a game where people just hang and play together and farm drops, so there really shouldnt be as much of a worry about slowing end game progression.

Next, if you nerf damage, really examine reflect damage. It is messing up DPS builds in a huge way and needs to be toned way down. If you are playing a glass cannon, your primary threat should be avoiding getting hit, not getting killed by your own DPS every other boss pact.

Next consider an AH free 3rd mode of play. Many consider the AH as ruining this game, and driving people away from drops they find to bargain hunting on the AH. I would call it "live-off-the-land" mode in which you have no AH, but drop rates are higher on legendaries so players would see more of them as they did in old school diablo. Right now drop rates on legendaries are throttled because of AH devaluation, but if you have a mode with no AH, you can crank up those rates and give the average Joe who hates the AH a taste of them. Friends could trade drops with each other by dropping them on the ground, and this would bring back more of the old style of play.

Next really look at some of the damage skills. I remember back in MUDS imms would come up with a cool new class, create a billion redundant damage skills, and think that was cool. Runes right now have some of that issue. So your chakram boomerangs, and that is different than other chakram, but is it useful? Can you actually live with it? I look at most of the Chakram runes and say nifty, but no way would I ever have to try and routinely kill with this. In the original Diablo the different spells killed in different ways that were highly effective.

Seems like we have variety in these runes, but variety of the useless kind. It does not matter how much you jack up that boomerang Chakram, its pathing is annoying and is a pain to use and no real clear situational use. I would rather have a "Massive Chakram Hat" that spins on my head in a 10yd radius killing anything that comes close, than I would rather have 2 beams that intertwine. Think about your terrain- open, doorways, halls, corners...think about what varieties of spells should shine in those terrains and make them.

Immunities v. Multiple affixes- this game departs from previous versions in ramping up boss difficulty by mutliple affix combos rather than immunities. It used to be you would have 3 orthogonal damage types per class, and you had to break out the right one for the right boss. With these multipe affixes, it is a pain trying to figure out what htey are. WIth immunities it was easy..your spell would fizzle. I think some variety was achieved here, but design was lost. Remember some of the old unique bosses in D1?

Right now unique guys are act bosses, and the other ones which drop garbage and are annoying. Think you need to re-examine mini bosses (not act bosses) and give them a different payoff than champ packs/act bosses. Also think act bosses need a much higher chance to drop legendaries, since people bypass them now.