1.0.8 Wizard Sustained Archon Guide

Diablo III 1.0.8+ Wizard Sustained Archon Guide submitted by eLINminator.

I've recently successfully transitioned into Sustained Archon mode, here are some tips that I found , some of these tips might seem obvious, but it wasn't to me, hopefully it'll make some else' transition to archon easier.

First, Sustained Archon(or Perma Archon) as the name implies, means you stay in Archon mode for most of run, at least 90%. Please do not mistake this with random build with Archon in it. Some people go for hybrid CM build and put in Archon as temporary boost, which I think is weaker. Go either pure CM stunlock build or Sustained Archon. Archon build is End game build, and it's very high-end gear dependent, if you fail to meet the Gear Check, you're better off going back to your old builds rather than forcing Archon, it took me many attempts at re-gearing before I was able to do it.

Pro: Fast efficient build. No other build comes close to the raw efficiency of this build. Great for xp/rare farming. With 1.05 comes monster power, which means even lower gear requirements for entry level Archon users.
Con: Not group friendly. You will not be able to Sustain archon because you're not making all the kills. Not saying you wont be effective, but you wont be efficient, which is the main reason for this build. CM builds are much more group friendly.

Guide continued after the page break..
Gear Check
- 100k dps, post-buffs, this is bare minimum, anything below this and you wont be able to sustain archon. 
- you need life steal, not life on hit.
- 24 Move speed
- How much AR/Armor/Vit varies, it's all about Effective HP. You need to be able to survive fighting elites toe-to-toe.

Breaking down the skills of the Archon Build.

Here's my 1.04 build:

Here's my 1.05 build:

Archon Build for Ubers:

1.08 HC Archon Build

Must have skills
Familiar, sparkflint - for dps
Force weapon - for dps
Armor - Pick the one that suits your needs the most.
Prismatic armor = defense + defense ; Pinpoint Barrier = defense + offense;
Storm Armor(Scramble) = offense+ mobility; StormArmor(Thunderstorm) = offense + offense; 
Archon - newbie archon users should use improved archon for 25% dps buff. Your next goal should be try to convert to Teleport Rune ASAP, teleport makes runs SO much faster. Teleport rune is so good that it can be used as Offense(reposition yourself), Defense(away from danger), Mobility(faster map traversal), no other archon option matters. If you havnt tried Teleport rune, I suggest you try it out, you really have to experience it for yourself, it's so good, you probably wont go back to any other rune again.

That leaves you with two optional skills, the main goal of these two skills should be to get you back into Archon mode ASAP.

Optional skills

- Diamond skin - great defensive boost, good synergy with CM and high crit which you already have.
- Ray of Frost - nice single source dmg, good for burning down elite packs, weak vs multi enemies, average cm proc(.33).
- Arcane Torrent , cascade - Similar to RoF, more powerful vs multi enemies. Get couple of minus cost items and you can cast this forever.
- Energy Twister - Storm Chaserwas best proc coefficient(.5) for 1.04, now that StormChaser is nerfed, Mistral Breeze is good alternative. The need to be close range makes it difficult to use.
- Fork Lightning - Great vs swarm of enemies, fast attack. Low Proc Coefficent.(.167)
- Teleport Calamity - You'll one shot all white trash , Great vs swarm of enemies, bad CM coefficient.
- Disintegrate - weak version of archon beam. Prism, PowerOfStorm, SoJ to lower cast requirements.
- Magic missle - high cm coefficient(1.0), doesnt cost mana, kinda low dmg, bad vs multi enemies. The 100% pierce rune is good choice here.
- Arcane Orb - high ae dmg, runs out of mana quick without lots of APOC.
- Teleport wormhole - use this only if you're out of archon alot, which you shouldnt be.
- Living Lightning - fastest archon recharge signature spell.

- Alternate attack, CM recharger, many like Stormchaser as CM charger, i find it to be too clumsy to use because you need to get up close. It shouldn't really matter really because you shouldn't be relying on it anyway because you should be aiming to be archon 90% of time. So it could be arcane orb, disintegration, or even magic missle.

- I personally use Ray of Frost(now Disintegrate), as it lets me finish off the odd elite packs with a little kiting, or if I see a pack first, I kill it just like that with RoF, without activating archon. If you activate archon on 1st pack you see, you will probably lose archon after fight ends and have to wait the full 1.5 mins for it to recharge. Diamond skin has cm synergy to reset quickly, and if i can survive, i can kill stuff with ray of frost, even by 'stuttering' RoF with no mana.

Must have passives:
CM - for resetting Archon quickly

Optional passives:

Glass Cannon - Desirable if lacking DPS. +15%dps -10%defense, so your net is only 5%. It's sad that this is still top of the list for most people because wiz' passives simply suck.

Galvanizing Ward - galvanizing ward is crucial to smooth out the edges, there'd be times when you pop archon, then immediately run into pack, u finish off pack, then run into drought of mobs, and you lose archon. galvanizing lets you 'bank' your saved archon secs in case you run into such drought.
Evocation - lowers cooldown of Archon, replace Galvanizing Ward in multiplayer games where you wont be able to sustain archon anyway.

Blur - good vs elite phasebeasts, that's about it, you shouldnt need this. Good in HC for improved survivability.

Areas to Run:

Currently, best area to farm is Act 3, so that's what this will be optimized for. You need to run in areas with huge mob concentration, which translates into more xp and more monster deaths to fuel your Archon timer.

[Optmized Archon Run] 
keep depth2
crater 2

General Tips

- You should not be dying a lot, especially not while in archon mode, dying early while in archon means you need to wait a long time for it to refresh.
- You should be in Archon mode at least 90% of time, anything less is just a standard glass cannon build.
- Dont forget you have Arcane Blast while in Archon mode, which doesnt interfere with Distintegration Wave channeling, I use it for extra dps while facing beefy mobs like Tremors, Golgors, Phasebeasts. Or if you want to attack something without stopping, like clear a road block, use Arcane Blast. Use it liberally, it charges quick, and CM lowers the cooldown.
- dont waste time opening chests and breaking objects. i only open resplendent chests.
- you should NOT be picking up every single rare and blue drop because you dont want to be sorting through your inventory while on Archon timer, only pickup high lvl items, you can 'alkaiser' it and only pickup legends. I pickup i63 only, and potions/tomes. Doesnt interfere too much for me. Only pickup high gold stacks that are close to me, 500+. I try to pickup enough items that my inventory is full at end of run, but not so much that I have to make 2 town runs in a single session.
- get in habit of looking and deciding what drops to pickup with "show item key" , while you're laser beaming stuff down.
- Accidents do happen and sometimes you need to wait for archon to recharge, instead of charging forward as weak glass cannon, id items or make town runs. For short delays, less than 20 secs, I identify a few items, for big mistakes, 1min+, i make town runs to sell/repair. hit the 'hard areas' for you right before a town run, because you'll have downtime anyway. Note this should be few and far between, obviously if you 'run out' of things to do and still waiting for archon to recharge, then you're probably not ready.
- you need lifesteal, lifesteal enables you to go toe-to-toe with elites while they're beating up on you, and lifesteal let you play more aggressively. Being more aggressive means you keep attking and moving, instead of wasting time dodging attacks.
- start by walking around using standard attack above, only pop archon when you see huge pack of mobs, this will save you few precious seconds. dont forget to refresh all skills, flint/armor/force weapn before you pop archon.
- galvanizing ward is crucial, because you expect archon to be up for long time. sometimes my archon lasts even longer than the extended galvanzing ward, and i'm walking around in vanilla archon. 
- you can cancel Archon by right clicking on Archon icon. You should do this when you see your buffs are about to run out and you're faced with swarm of white trash. Just retreat back, cancle Archon, reapply buffs, pop archon, and charge back into the frey.

Gearing Up
- archon gear, i like andariel visage , it's VERY cheap head piece for head, it boost my dps by 10k, end game will be good mempo. witching hr is also good, but tht's quite expensive now, that boost my dps by about 15k. generally, aim for inc atk speed and crit chance.
- you need 24 Move speed minimum, some good examples are, boots + lacuni bracer, or inna pants, or tyrael's might. lacunis are great for people on a budget, they only get expensive if you want +crit.
- 2H weapons are great starter weapons when you're on a budget, Skorn is almost designed to be an Archon weapon. For the price of Skorn, you cant get the same bang for the buck with 1h + source. High end Archon users will shift toward 1h + source.
- Stone of Jordan, get it , use it. It's huge dps boost vs elites, no other ring will come close to the dps of this ring. yes, even your 1 billion gold trifectas.
- i favor crit chance>IAS>crit dmg, in that order, generally speaking, you gear whatever way you want to meet the minimum requirements. i.e. dps+24ms+LS 
- If you like picking up gold... who doesnt? Get Pickup Radius, while it's not required, it sure is very helpful!
- Get a Hellfire ring, even if it sucks, the 35% xp bonus is awesome, much better option than forcing your way up to next MP. The xp bonus gained is equivalent of going up 2 MP levels. 
- if you're serious about paragon lvls, get hellfire + leoric's. it'll make the later paragon lvls less of a grind.

Follower Tips
- Enchantress - equip her with a Maximus for some demon tanking action. It procs a lot, so you can fall back and let demon tank if you're in trouble. Tormentor is also nice for mass charm procs. Azurewrath does wonders for single target freeze.
- Scoundrel - equip with a Windforce, and choose multishot, and Cold SOJ, then you can have snare/knockback and use Cold Blooded passive for extra 20% dmg. Buriza is popular choice for mass frozen enemies.
- You can also equip follower with Puzzle ring for random goblin spawn, best with Templar.

More Advanced Tips:
- ignore single mobs, especially the "fatty" types, i.e. Tremors and Golgors , worms. You waste a lot of time just DPSing it down. Unless there's immediate danger, I only stop to fight when there are 3 or more mobs, just keep moving!
- know your limits, have a good understanding of how much punishment you can take, sometimes it's best to stand there continually laser beaming, because you stop dpsing when you move to dodge an attack, losing valuable seconds.
Here are some sample scenarios:
1) there are 20 mobs on screen, you see a couple fireballs headed your way. You stand your ground and absorb the hit , knowing that the lifesteal would kick you right back up. 
2) You are laser beaming 3 Heralds and all 3 begin to launch their poison attack at you, which would probably be lethal if you just stood there for couple seconds. You hold your ground and continue to attack, because as soon as they die, their tentacle attack will disappear. It takes about 2 seconds for Heralds to windup and tentacle to reach you, in that time you should have already lasered it down.
3) A tremor/golgor is winding up to attack you. You move away, because even if their attacks are not lethal , they have a knockback that'd stop you from dpsing. All the more reason to avoid them.
- position yourself so that you are hitting at least 2 mobs with your laser beam, move if you have must to establish better position. this is especially critical on elite packs. you need to be laser beaming most if not all elite mobs at once.
- the archon beam has extreme reach and can cut through many obstacles that'd normally be blocked. e.g. enemy Waller's walls, stairs. Take advantage of this so that you're hitting them and they have no way to hit you back.
- due to the extreme reach, you have full control over who you want to kill first, Take out mobs that you're most vulnerable to first, which is probably a ranged type. With experience, you should know which mobs give you the most trouble, and take them out first.
- dont start attacking as soon as you see something on screen, i walk up almost until melee range then start laser beaming, this way my beam hits more stuff.

Known nuissances/bugs with Archon:
- magic weapon - blood magic 's life steal doesn't work in archon form.(fixed in 1.05)
- when you teleport home(portal, not the spell), if you lose archon, your teleport portal spell gets cancelled.
- not group friendly, archon timer extension should be based on monster deaths, not player kills. (acknowledged by bliz -http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7004456089#12 )
To be fixed in 1.08
- archon activated by left mousclick (on bliz bug list)
- cm doesnt reset archon's teleport or slow(Fixed in 1.07)

[1.05 Updates]

- So I've had people ask me what skills to use to refresh archon now in 1.05. 
The answer is "YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!"
The strength of this build lies in PERMA archon.
If you're constantly seeking to refresh Archon, you're not running the build correctly, and in most cases, you're in the wrong MP level.

- So what MP level should I be in?
You should be in the MP that you can face roll with EASE. Specifically, the MP that your StormArmor can one shot stuff. Sustained Archon has always been fast rolling facemelting build. If you're not face melting stuff with ease, you're not taking advantage of the strength of this build.
Simple test, whites should not take you more than 1 second to melt, packs should not take you more than 5 seconds.

- Do not let your ego dictate which MP level you choose to run.
There is no shame in running at MP1, it's a shame to run 'archon build' in MP5 and struggling to keep archon up. 

- If there's a choice between 100% archon uptime and 80% archon uptime, downgrade your MP and choose 100% uptime. The xp/mf bonus is so negligible that 100% uptime is the clear choice in terms of efficiency.

- Ask yourself, what is your goal? MF/rare hunt? XP/paragon? Infernal Hunt?
MF/Rare - You go with lowest MP , more kills = more drops. the mf bonus is negligible
XP/paragon - You go with lowest MP, more kills = more xp. the xp bonus is negligible
Infernal machine item hunt- You go with highest MP you can handle, in which case, the perma archon build is less than ideal in this situation, go with CM.

- Give Storm Armor - Scramble a try, it's a dps buff and mobility buff combined.
24 ms + Scramble = VROOOOOOM
24 ms + Scramble + Fleeting Shrine = SPEED HACK.

- Do not let your ego dictate which MP level you choose to run.
I cant stress this enough.

What MP should I be doing?

base 100..53......66......100.200....000 000
1....150..80......99......114.110....025 025
2....225..119.....149.....120.260....050 050
3....326..173.....215.....132.296....075 080
4....457..242.....302.....144.338....100 120
5....639..339.....422.....158.386....125 165
6....895..474.....591.....173.440....150 215
7....1253.664.....827.....190.500....175 275
8....1755.930.....1158....208.570....200 340
9....2457.1302....1622....228.650....225 420
10...3439.1823....2270....250.742....250 570

HP = HP multiplier for that MP
DPS1 = minimum DPS required for that MP
DPS2 = roflstomp for given MP
(DPS values are postbuff - before archon)
DMG = monster damage multipler for that MP, these numbers are post nerf
EHP = EHP estimate for that MP, i just threw this in as rough estimate, the starting point is probably off, but the idea is the same. Will require further tuning.
MF/XP = MF and XP bonus for given MP, i added to info here to show how much you are gaining by moving up in MP. (i.e. probably not worth it)

With the xp boost of 1.07 for Monster Power, you should be striving for DPS1 column. 
DPS will give your breathing room, more suited for HC crew.

Now before people say , "lolz, i can do MP-X and I am below your min dps!".
Being able to DO archon and running archon efficiently are two totally different things. (I am surprised so many people still dont get this idea and it's really annoying me)
These numbers are for "EFFICIENT" archon runs, to me that means flying through act3 in ~20mins while hitting the best areas.


How do I deal with Reflect Damage packs?

In order of effectiveness:
- Get Life Steal , via weapon and Force Weapon(Blood Magic)
- LoH is not ideal, but it helps nevertheless.
- Increase your EHP (+vit, +life, +armor, AR, physical resist)
- Shoot 1 RD mob at a time.
- Bring to area with other regular mobs, and drain trash to fill backup or hope for health pot drop.
- Life on kill items

I saw so and so claim they get 80m xp per hr, how do they do it?!!! 

First I like to say, a lot of people exaggerate their xp/hr.
For example, they do a "10 minute run", hit a good streak of mobs and get 10mil xp. They stop the clock here.
And they claim, well, 6x10 = 60m xp per hr.

Then they go about id/sell/sort items and reload game, which takes 5 mins.
Also, due to zone variance, doing same run, same route will net different xp values, upto 20% variance.
On their next run, doing exact same route, might actually only net 8m per run.
So their 'effective xp per hr' is actually 4x10 = 40m per hr instead of the 60/hr that is claimed.

So how do I increase my xp per hr? 

In order of effectiveness:
- Increase your dps. faster kill = faster runs = more xp.
- Get xp bonus items, leoric/hellfire ring on you and your follower, ruby gem in helm
- Pickup less stuff. id/sell sessions are very time consuming and inteferes with your xp session. When you stop picking up items/rares or even gold. Your runs will be MUCH faster, resulting in more xp.
- Increase your MP ONLY after you've done facerolling previous MP. Most people push up in MP and only end up hurting their xp/hr. Your optimal MP might very well be MP0.

kill rate > xp items > dps > mp

Can you look at my char and see what can be improved? 
Read the Gear Check section. Most frequent suggestion is Life Leech on weapon and 24 Move speed. Given that, it's all about dps.