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Diablo 3: Guide to ET/CM Wizard

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Energy Twister Critical Mass Wizard Build Guide

Description

Your very presence on the battlefield chills the blood of your enemies as you twist arcane forces into a wicked wind of slow destruction, freezing those around towards their icy graves... quite literally

Pros biggrin.gif
- Much more action oriented (lots of key spamming)
- The more mobs around you, the better it becomes
- Invulnerable as long as you keep things frozen
- Huge amount of build variation makes it viable for solo and team play
- More fun than kiting (personal opinion thumb.gif)
- Great matchup against champion affixes that make life difficult for kiters
- It's fun playing a no kiting caster at times (also personal opinion thumb.gif)

Cons mad.gif
- Very CC and anti-CC vulnerable. If you cannot freeze them or they disable you... GG! thumb.gif
- Nightmare/Knockback into Arcane Sentry or Waller/Jailer on Desecration will cause you much nerd rage if you are use to kiting and not use to getting trapped
- Depending on spell build variation, you have to perform lots of mid range evasion may be necessary due to lack of escape skill (my escape is to move out of the way biggrin.gif)
- Squishy when you stop proc'ing crits and freezing people
- The above mentioned makes it very difficult at times against single enemies, especially if they are kiters or have shielding.

Stat Prioritization

1. Critical Chance on Hit - Your bread and butter. This entire build revolves around critical hits to take advantage of the Critical Mass and reduce your cool downs to 0 instantly.
2. Critical Damage on Hit - This, along with Intelligence and weapon damage, heavily influences your damage output. The reason I consider this more important than Intelligence is because all gear can use Int, while only some gear can use Crit Dmg.
3. Intelligence - This is obviously needed for damage, though how much can be heavily debatable. Some argue survivability over damage and that is a valid argument as well. Ideally, the spamming of Frost Nova from critical hit overload should be enough to keep you alive.
4. Arcane Power on Critical Hit - This is a very underrated property for Wizards and is fairly important for Wizards. I suggest that you have at least 15-20 to keep your AP constantly topped off. Please note that the max you can stack arcane on crit is 30.
5. Life on Hit - I consider this typically more important than Resist All or Vitality simply because with this build, you are keeping them frozen most of the time. LoH combined with this build is very effective in keeping your life topped off.
6. Resist All - You will not always be able to keep things frozen permanently. As the number of mobs around you decrease, your opportunities to crit multiple targets diminish as well. During these lulls in crit hits, you will get hit eventually and the idea is to have enough resistances to survive. Will you always survive? No.
7. Vitality - Ideally you want enough to break 30K, but it is enough to have just more than 25K. I would peg the minimum at 20K however.
8. Life Regeneration - One who follows my posts in this thread have probably seen me supporting life regeneration more than LoH, so it would be no surprise if one is confused why I would not only put LoH higher than life regen and have life regen so slow on this list. The reason for this is because this is not a kiting build. You do not spend a lot of time running away from the enemy in this build. You want to stick close and attack them repeatedly, hence LoH is more useful. Life regeneration however is still useful as you will get banged up in the middle of enemies every now and then.
9. Increased Attack Speed - A person (nerdybeat) had suggested IAS (I agree that it has merit) as a stat to consider as well. Initially I left this off, because this build works fine without it due to high crit chance and Critical Mass constantly bringing cool downs back to 0 and the fact that IAS raises prices almost exponentially. However, IAS is still a great stat that synergies very well with this build as well. It helps you spam Energy Twisters faster which means a few things; greater initial approach damage, more single target viability due to casting more tornadoes on a single target, and the inevitable increase of crit procs and LoH return that comes from a higher casting rate. Good call!

Spells

Required
1. Frost Nova w/ Deep Freeze - You want to start off by freezing as many people as you can, preferably at least 5. The reason for this is because with the DF rune, if you freeze more than 5 people with one Nova, it boosts your crit chance by 15%, which is HUGE.
2. Energy Twister w/ Wicked Wind - It does a ton of AoE DoT (area of effect damage over time) and has the chance of proc'ing crits very often. The optimal way to use this is to spread a couple on the densest group of mobs to mass proc crits and stack a couple of more on the mob/elite/rare you want to kill first.

Optional:
1. Spectral Blades - While Spectral Blades can really help out with this build, it is not strictly necessary. With sufficient AP on crit, your AP pool should always be full for you to spam Energy Twister. If you do wish to use this as well, I suggest for the rune either Deep Cuts or Healing Blades depending on if you are trying to go tanky or DPS.
2. Diamond Skin - While very helpful in keeping you alive during the string of unlucky non-crits as well as safely approach large groups of monsters, it is not essential and can be dropped for a offensive spell. I would use for the rune either Crystal Shell or Enduring Skin if you plan on using this skill. Another variation is to use the Diamond Shard rune. It provides substantially less protection, but it is a dual threat spell that is both offensive and defensive.
3. Energy Armor - The point of this build is to keep mobs around you constantly frozen, meaning they should not be attacking you. That being said EA w/ Force Armor/Prismatic Armor synergized with the passive Galvanizing Ward is a great way to increase your survivability. Pinpoint Barrier can also be used as a rune to give you a 5% crit chance bump if you prefer that.
4. Explosive Blast - This is a great offensive addition to this build as Explosive Blast does a ton of AoE damage with a fairly large radius. I personally prefer using Chain Reaction for the increase in crit proc opportunities, but Short Fuse is a popular pick as well.
5. Venom Hydra - Venom Hydra combined with the constant freezing of Nova makes for a huge amount of DoT due to mobs being unable to move out of your own mini plague puddles. It is also a great weapon against mobs that kite you, such as those annoying bees/wasps in Act 2.
6. Slow Time - Or Bubble Boy as I affectionately call it, is a great support spell. There are a couple of varieties that you can choose from in terms of rune usage. I personally prefer Time Warp to make enemies inside take 20% more damage, but Stretch Time is also great when you are paired with classes that benefit more from the 10% IAS.

You can also use Archon, Magic Weapon, Familiar, or Mirror Image, but I personally do not think they synergies very well with this build, at least in comparison with the aforementioned spell suggestions.

Passive
1. Critical Mass - This is the one passive that is 200% NOT replaceable. This is what makes the build works by reducing your CD's by 1 second per crit. Without this, you are nothing.
2. Evocation - People underestimate just how much a difference the 15% CDR makes in the long run. It is replaceable however, if you want to swap something out for something else.
3. Galvanizing Ward - I personally prefer using this passive for 2 reasons; it increases the amount of time you can keep EA on to, I believe, 5 minutes and it gives you a 300+ increase in life regeneration which can go a long way in helping you sustain through the occasional dinks.
4. Blur - This can replace Galvanizing Ward as your survivability passive. It works really well in combination with this build due to the fact that you are always in melee range of the mobs. The 20% melee damage reduction goes a long way in helping you survive those one hit kill melee attacks from Pain Mongrels and the like.
5. Glass Cannon - If you are confident in your ability to keep crit procs constantly going, GC can provide a very noticeable DPS bump. People with godly gear can also afford to use GC as they can literally tank it.

Other Considerations - Astral Presence and Cold Blooded

Play Styles

Solo:
- Find a big group of monsters or lead a small group into a big group
- Cast a few Energy Twisters in the big group as you approach them to start the damage
- Cast Frost Nova when you reach the edge of the big group to freeze AT LEAST 5 monsters and improve your crit chance by 15%
- Spam ET on the monster you want to kill first and spread out a few more where the group is most heavily concentrated to maximize crit opportunities
- Cast Frost Nova as soon as it becomes available again

Follower: You want to use either the Enchantress or Scoundrel due to their kiting ability, crowd control (charm and hex VS blind, slow, and poison) as well as quality support abilities (armor increase VS crit chance increase)

Team:
- Find and lead big group of enemies into an open area*
- Throw down a few ET behind you as the enemies chase you into the open area
- Turn around and close in on big group and cast Frost Nova to make sure you get at least 5 enemies frozen
- Spam ET on the monster you want to kill first and spread out a few more where the group is most heavily concentrated to maximize crit opportunities
- Cast Frost Nova as soon as it becomes available again

* The reason you want to lead them into an open space is to allow kiters to continue being able to safely kite and for WW barbarians to continue running around. While a CM Wizard is able to keep enemies frozen in a narrow corridor or choke point, your teammates will probably not be too happy about it.

Team w/ Squishy Kiters:
- This is what I call the Bubble Boy build and I use it exclusively for kiting teammates that have trouble staying alive. It involves using Slow Time with the Stretch Time rune.
- Find and lead big group of enemies into an open area
- Throw down a few ET behind you as the enemies chase you into the open area
- Drop a Stretch Time bubble somewhere away from the group of enemies but still within range for the kiter to attack. This serves as protection for your squishy kiting friend as well as increases his attack speed by 10%
- Turn around and close in on big group and cast Frost Nova to make sure you get at least 5 enemies frozen
- Spam ET on the monster you want to kill first and spread out a few more where the group is most heavily concentrated to maximize crit opportunities
- Cast Frost Nova as soon as it becomes available again

Gear Itemization per Stat

1. Critical Chance - Gloves, Helmet, Bracer, Offhand, Rings, and Amulet
2. Critical Damage - Weapon, Gloves, Amulet, and Rings
3. Life on Hit - Weapon, Amulet, and Rings
4. Arcane on Critical Hit - Wizard specific gear; wands, wizard hats, and sources
5. Intelligence and Vitality can both be rolled on any gear.
6. Resist All can be rolled on any armor gear (helmet, bracer, gloves, ect)

Ideally, it would be great to have all the possible required stats on each respective gear, but in reality that is very expensive. We are talking about 10+ million gold per gear at least. What this means for those less wealthy is that we have to be smart about prioritizing what we look for in each gear category to maximize effective DPS/survivability for the price. Here are my suggestions:

1. Helmet - While a grand archmage hat would be ideal here as you can encompass crit chance, damage, arcane on crit, and everything else, it is simply not financially viable. I would look for an archon crown that focuses on high crit chance (4-6%), decent intelligence (80+ range), and decent resist all (50+ range).
2. Bracers - For bracers, the only stat specific we are looking for is crit chance, so you will want to look for something with crit chance from (4-6%), decent intelligence, and decent resist all. Beyond that, vitality and life regeneration seems to be fairly common among bracers as a stat roll.
3. Amulet - With amulets it is a bit more tricky. Amulets are literally able to encompass all the stats you want so it makes it a bit difficult prioritize what you want. I prefer to focus on critical damage here as the max crit damage difference between 1 amulet and 2 rings is -5% whereas the max crit chance difference will be -2%. 1% critical chance translates to roughly 10% additional crit damage, so focusing on crit damage means a max difference of about 15%. I would also try to look for LoH in the 300-400 range, along with decent intelligence.
4. Rings - Like amulets, rings are hard to prioritize as well. Like it was explained earlier, choosing between crit chance/damage on amulet vs rings is really a toss up. Since I prefer going crit damage on amulet, on rings I would focus on maximizing crit chance (4-6% each), with decent intelligence, and LoH in the 100-200 range.
5. Gloves - For gloves, the 2 stats you want to focus on maximizing are crit chance and crit damage. I would look for gloves with high crit chance (8-10%), high crit damage (40-50%), and decent intelligence (80+). Beyond that, it is really a toss up whether or not you want to look for something with vitality or resist all.
6. Source - For sources, things can be a tricky because there are so many great stats that are useful on a source; max arcane power, critical chance, arcane on critical hits, increased damage, ect. I know I am probably going against the grain, but my suggestion is to forgo intelligence here if you have to and focus on high crit chance (8-10%), source damage (as high as you afford), and arcane on crit. After you filter your search to these 3 categories, I would then look for vitality and max arcane power.
7. Wand - Yes, that is right, a wand. There are far too many benefits of using a wand and I will go into that more later. Unless you plan to spend upwards of 10 million gold, we are probably looking at a 700-800 DPS wand with the stats that we want. Here, I would focus on crit damage and LoH first and foremost. Ideally, we want something that has native high crit damage (80-100%), high LoH (800-959), and a socket, but currently those are nigh impossible to find outside the RMAH. A good number to aim for would be 60-80% crit damage and a socket for LoH or 500-600 LoH with a socket for crit damage. In addition to LoH and crit damage, try to find a wand with 10+ max arcane power and arcane on crit.
8. Boots - IMHO, one should simply get Sage Seekers with 80+ intelligence and preferably similar vitality. The reason I say this is because stat/gold, I feel like Sage Seekers are the best deal for boots; it guarantees high armor, 50+ resistances, and 12% movement speed.
9. Everything Else - Here is where you take advantage of the fact that we now only have 3 stats to worry about; intelligence, resist all, and vitality. This means for shoulder and belt we want to look for very high intelligence (150+), vitality (100+), and resist all (70+), preferably with healthy dosages of life regeneration (100-200) tagged on.

Wand VS Other Weapons - So many probably wonder why I prefer wands over other types of weapons. The reasons for this are the following:
- Standard 1.40 attack speed, placing it in the higher echelon of faster attacking weapons
- Wizard specific properties such as increased crit chance for Energy Twister, max arcane power, and arcane on crit synergies very well with the Critical Mass build in discussion.
- Only wizards can use wands so you are only fighting other wizards to buy loot from the GAH opposed to all other classes for other weapons.

Source VS Shield - Honestly this is hard to say. There are definite benefits for choosing a shield over source; much higher survivability due to availability of very high armor and resist all rolls in addition to the requisite high crit chance. Unfortunately, you lose out on source damage and wizard specific properties, such as increased Spectral Blade damage, max arcane power, and arcane on crit.

Strength and Weakness against Enemies

Strong against:
- Plague
- Molten
- Missile Dampening
- Mortar
- Horde
- Fast
- Vortex
- Illusionist

Mediocre against:
- Desecration
- Arcane Sentry
- Fire Chain
- Invulnerable Minions*

Poor against:
- Shielding
- Nightmarish
- Knockback
- Frozen

* At first due to the fact that you can still freeze Invulnerable Minions, I considered them fairly easy. However, the reality is, the invulnerable minions are really an x-factor depending on the other prefixes. For example, if the combo affix includes any 1-2 of the poor match-up affixes or you are down to the combo itself and can only crit one target, things can go south pretty fast as well. On the other hand, if you are surrounded by mobs and they have something like mortar, reflect damage, and plague, they become super easy.

Enjoy! biggrin.gif
Edited by OC'ing Noob - 8/8/12 at 9:47am
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post #2 of 7
I'm surprised this hasn't got more attention, thank you! +rep
post #3 of 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingqi53 View Post

I'm surprised this hasn't got more attention, thank you! +rep

No problem! Hope it helps you! I haven't really been pushing people to read this beyond my initial posting in the D3 Discussion thread, so that might be why. headscratch.gif
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post #4 of 7
Thanks for the guide! Overall agree with the provided info. Obviously some of it comes down to personal preference, but I think you went over all the benefits of certain itemization/spec differences. +rep!

My Profile

(that is self buffed with prismatic energy armor)

I personally roll with 15 AP/crit, it keeps me topped off when I need the AP. If there were some stats I am looking to build on that wasn't in the guide, it would be IAS. I am not specifically looking for it, but I really like how easier it is to get the frozen cycle going when I can throw up tornados faster.

Overall, my damage is low but obviously that's a bit normal for this build due to other stats. This is definitely a lacking build for single target - not that you can't do it, you just do it very slowly.

I am able to farm mode act 2 with MF gear for kills, with act 3 being difficult on some of the ranged elites - but typically get through it all.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdybeat View Post

Thanks for the guide! Overall agree with the provided info. Obviously some of it comes down to personal preference, but I think you went over all the benefits of certain itemization/spec differences. +rep!

I personally roll with 15 AP/crit, it keeps me topped off when I need the AP. If there were some stats I am looking to build on that wasn't in the guide, it would be IAS. I am not specifically looking for it, but I really like how easier it is to get the frozen cycle going when I can throw up tornados faster.
Overall, my damage is low but obviously that's a bit normal for this build due to other stats. This is definitely a lacking build for single target - not that you can't do it, you just do it very slowly.
I am able to farm mode act 2 with MF gear for kills, with act 3 being difficult on some of the ranged elites - but typically get through it all.

Thanks for the feedback! It was much appreciated and the guide has been updated accordingly in regards to IAS. Those are some nice stats, very fitting for an ET/CM wizard. biggrin.gif Here is where mine currently stands. I still need a lot more LoH and crit damage, but it's coming along nicely!

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Yea, so weird having my damage so low after hitting over 55-60k with my old build/gear. Obviously it works though! Looks like you are set pretty well for the spec too with ur stats! I just picked up a LOH wep and happen to have a little on one of my rings - and it is nice. Obviously the idea is to freeze lock everything, but sometimes it takes a few seconds (faster IAS helps) to get the combo going, so LOH can keep you up for that time. I also find it helpful in A2 so I can literally tank and stand in plagued/molten/etc while damaging the pack(s). A3 is just too much damage to do that for me right now.

For solo, what follower do you use? I use scoundrel for the 3% crit that brings me to 40% overall, which is nice.

In your guide you mention life regen, I see yours is pretty up there - do you notice it helping? I am assuming with ur LOH and that regen it's probably about the same as having higher LOH.
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Originally Posted by nerdybeat View Post

Yea, so weird having my damage so low after hitting over 55-60k with my old build/gear. Obviously it works though! Looks like you are set pretty well for the spec too with ur stats! I just picked up a LOH wep and happen to have a little on one of my rings - and it is nice. Obviously the idea is to freeze lock everything, but sometimes it takes a few seconds (faster IAS helps) to get the combo going, so LOH can keep you up for that time. I also find it helpful in A2 so I can literally tank and stand in plagued/molten/etc while damaging the pack(s). A3 is just too much damage to do that for me right now.
For solo, what follower do you use? I use scoundrel for the 3% crit that brings me to 40% overall, which is nice.
In your guide you mention life regen, I see yours is pretty up there - do you notice it helping? I am assuming with ur LOH and that regen it's probably about the same as having higher LOH.

For a kiter, it is quite a shock as well as revelation once they realize that DPS is not always everything. Don't get me wrong though, there is nothing wrong with a healthy glass cannon build, just simply that there are other ways to accumulate massive damage output. For melee wizards, it is all about sustained AoE DoT as opposed to high bursts or turret channeling. Typically a kiter will just fire a few quick bursts and move on. Melee, a lot of times when you want to run really bad, you just got to hunker down and try to live through it. biggrin.gif

It is either Scoundrel or Enchantress in Act 3 for the open areas where they can roam, and Templar in the actual dungeons where having him act as a choke point and AoE stunner is great. I have enough crit chance at this point in time to compensate for the Scoundrel's 3% and seem to enjoy the Enchantress's increased armor aura and Hex spell. Scoundrel has more DPS however.

Life regen always helps no matter what class or build. The problem however is that it becomes much more ineffectual in this build. The thing is, unless your resistances are high enough, the life per second is not going to matter much when you have 3-4 things around you that can one shot you and you can't move. I use a combination of life after kill, life leech, and life regenerate to compensate for my lack of a singular LoH attribute. LOL
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Logitech G9X X-Trac Ripper JDS Labs ODAC > Swans M200MKIII or Schiit Lyr >... 
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Dell UltraSharp U2412M Logitech G15 (Red) Corsair HX850 Corsair Obsidian 350D 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech G9X X-Trac Ripper JDS Labs ODAC > Swans M200MKIII or Schiit Lyr >... 
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