Diablo 3 Wizard Builds
The D3 Wizard has access to 25 different active skills with 5 different runes and 15 different passive skills, but you can only equip 6 active skills and 3 passive skills at a time.
These restrictions lead to the possibility of literally millions of different rune combinations and passive skills, but how can you truly know what the best builds are?
Fortunately for you, in this Diablo 3 Wizard builds guide, we will be revealing some of the best Diablo 3 Wizard leveling builds and farming builds that you can get in Diablo 3.
Note that since PvP is going to be added into Diablo 3 down the line, we will be waiting for PvP to go live for a bit before adding PvP builds to this builds list as we have no idea how PvP will be implemented just yet.
Basis for the Diablo 3 Wizard Builds List
Before we jump into builds, you should note that the best leveling builds are also the best farming builds, the primary difference being that once you are at level 60 and are farming content, you will have access to more abilities and runes.
Instead of separating builds based on leveling and farming (since the two are really one in the same), the builds will be instead separated into solo and group play.
When you are playing solo, you need both offensive and defensive skills in order to protect yourself. You need to be able to do it all and as such this build will be less offensively oriented.
When you are playing in groups, you can sit back at range and deal damage from a safe area. You will still need one or two escape abilities in order to deal with annoying enemies that teleport you or enemies that sneak up behind you, but you do not need to load up entirely on defense either.
If you are farming hard enemies, then you will want to stick to the solo build, but if you are farming easy enemies, you can drop some of the defense and go with the solo build.
With that said, we will look at some specifics below:
Diablo 3 Wizard Builds – Solo Play
- Ray of Frost. Use the Snow Blast rune. This is your main Single-target damage ability.
- Arcane Orb. Use with the Arcane Nova or Tap the Source rune. Tap the Source pairs well with Prism (see Diamond Skin).
- Magic Missile. Start with Charged Blast and then change over to Attunement. This is your basic skill to use to regain arcane power when you are out. If your Arcane Power regeneration gets to be very good, you can replace this skill with the Familiar with the Arcanot rune for more Arcane Power and have no Signature skills.
- Diamond Skin. Use the Prism rune. This allows you to cast Arcane Orbs for very cheap, particularly with Tap the Source. This makes Diamond Skin both a solid defensive skill as well as an offensive skill.
- Energy Armor. Start with Pinpoint Barrier and move over to Prismatic Armor for more difficult game modes. This skill offers a large amount of defense.
- Skill of choice. This could be Archon for dealing with tough encounters, Wave of Force to act as an escape when you are surrounded, Teleport to act as an escape or to travel quickly, or Familiar for the raw damage buff. The choice is yours as the previous 5 skills cover all of your basic needs.
For passive skills, I recommend Blur (nice defensive boost), Evocation (reduces cooldown on Diamond Skin, which in turn boosts damage by boosting up-time of Prism), and either Cold Blooded (huge damage increase for Ray of Frost) or Galvanizing Ward (for extra survivability). If your survivability is fine, you can swap out Blur or Evocation for Astral Presence as well.
This particular build is not very flashy but offers good killing power with high survivability. Ray of Frost is used against boss enemies whereas Arcane Orb is used to take out packs of enemies. Use Diamond Skin before engaging packs of tough enemies, as this allows you to cast Arcane Orb for a reduced cost 6 seconds in addition to protecting you from attacks.
Note that if you are able to survive with Astral Presence and the Familiar with the Arcanot rune, you can drop Magic Missile entirely. These two skills will give you an extra 4 Arcane Power regeneration per second, allowing you to use Ray of Frost and Arcane Orb virtually indefinitely when you pair them with Prism and Tap the Source (reduces Arcane Orb’s cost).
With that said, this only works with slower weapons; with fast weapons you will want to instead use Attunement with Magic Missile paired with the Prodigy rune instead of the Astral Presence rune. This will result in higher net damage and more Arcane Power regeneration.
Diablo 3 Wizard Builds – Group Play
When you are playing in a group, survivability becomes a lot less important whereas being able to buff the group becomes a lot more important. As such, our Diablo 3 Wizard build for group play ditches some of the survivability offered by the solo build in exchange for extra damage and buffs.
- Ray of Frost. With the Snow Blast rune, this is still your number one damage dealer against single targets. No other ability comes close.
- Arcane Orb. With the Tap the Source rune, this skill is basically free while Diamond Skin is up. Use it regularly.
- Magic Weapon. This is a flat 10% enhanced damage and as such is a great buff. You can use the Conduit rune to get back extra Arcane Power or Force Weapon to boost the damage bonus to 15% extra damage.
- Familiar. With the Sparkflint rune, this is another 12% bonus damage for you. When combined with Magic Weapon it will charge up your Ray of Frost and Arcane Orb.
- Diamond Skin. With the Prism rune, Arcane Orb and Ray of Frost are basically free to use for 6 seconds. This is also your one escape in case you get surprised from behind.
- Magic Missile -or- Hydra. See below the passive skill section for details on which to pick, depends on how Sparkflint works.
The passive skills I recommend are Astral Presence or Prodigy (extra Arcane Power), Cold Blooded (extra Frost damage), and Conflagration (bonus damage to enemies from all sources after taking fire damage).
There is a bit of an unknown here that is not yet resolved. The Wizard has a passive skill called Conflagration which increases the damage an enemy takes by 10% for 3 seconds after taking fire damage. This damage bonus is applied to everyone in your group, which makes it very useful for group play.
The problem with Conflagration is that the Wizard does not really have much in the way of Fire skills. The Sparkflint rune for the Familiar says the Familiar becomes “fiery” but does not state whether or not the damage dealt is Fire or Arcane damage. If it is Fire damage, this will allow your Familiar to apply the 10% damage buff from Conflagration while providing you with a 12% damage buff at the same time.
The point is, if Sparkflint applies Conflagration, you can get away with not using Hydra, as in this case your Familiar will apply Conflagration for you and your group. If Sparkflint does not apply this debuff, you will want to use an unruned Hydra or Hydra with the Mammoth Hydra rune. Regular Hydra is very good at applying Conflagration to single targets whereas Mammoth Hydra applies it to groups of enemies.
Should you not need Hydra, you can replace Hydra with a Signature spell like Magic Missile or Electrocute. Both of these will provide a nice damage boost. If you do decide to equip a Signature spell, I would recommend Magic Missile with the Attunement rune. This will let you recover Arcane Power quickly during boss fights. If you use a fast weapon you will need to go with Magic Missile / Attunement / Prodigy to keep your Arcane Power up.
The final thing to note is that if you choose Hydra, this build does not use a single Signature spell. The reason is because you should do most of your damage while Diamond Skin is active, as Diamond Skin reduces the cost of Arcane Orb to practically zero. Engagements with packs of enemies rarely last more than 6 seconds, so you can pop Diamond Skin, kill everything, then while Diamond Skin is on cooldown run towards the next pack of enemies.
The trick is to use a slow weapon. Using no Signature spells is not an option with a fast weapon and does not work well. Try to use a two-hand club or staff as this allows you to get away with Ray of Frost and Arcane Orb barely costing more Arcane Power than your regeneration rates.
Think about it this way: if you are regenerating 12 Arcane Power per second and your abilities cost 20 Arcane Power, if you use a slow staff which only attacks once per second, you will only be spending a “net” 8 Arcane Power when Diamond Skin is not active. When Diamond Skin is active, this drops to a net 1 Arcane Power cost.
This means that you spend almost no Arcane Power when playing with this build with a slow weapon; when there is kiting or downtime you can regenerate your Arcane Power. You can also get extra Arcane Power from gear.
Diablo 3 Wizard Builds Guide
By using the D3 Wizard builds outlined in this guide, you will have a lot of success with the Wizard. The solo builds offer both single-target and AoE damage combined with high survivability, whereas the group build build trades that survivability in order to increase your damage by a solid 30%+ while even allowing you to enhance the groups damage.