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I'm currently playing a Wizard in Diablo III. I'm in Nightmare and can solo with the rest of them, but I've heard Wizards are tough solo-ers in Hell/Inferno.

Anybody knows of a solid Diablo III Wizard builds that are effective in Hell solo?

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15 Answers 15

Honestly there is really no build that will work 100% of the time.

Luckily because of the way that the Diablo talent system is set up you can switch out and try different things. Everyone has a different playstyle and every enemy type has different resistances, speed and ranges. What may work well for one mob may be worthless for the next.

For example I play a barbarian who tears through mobs and has great crowd control, but then when I reached the Act II boss I was getting stomped because I wasn't using enough single target abilities. I switched up my build and killed him, then went right back to my regular play style. I suspect I will have to switch up my build numerous times to deal with Hell/Inferno. It is a part of the game.

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You may want to rethink this strategy when you get level 60. You essentially lose 75% magic find (due to nephalem valor falling off) if you change specs between monster packs or bosses. A solid build is one that can handle an array of situations without having to be re-built everytime. –  nzifnab May 23 '12 at 20:04
    
@nzifnab I had no idea what that was, but I've only changed my skills up once so far so that doesn't really worry me too much. End bosses won't be the ones with the best loot anyway. Still, playstyle and many other factors should be taken into consideration. Blizzard intentionally made the skill system this way to test the waters not make a cureall build. And if there is only one build that can do it then they failed miserably. Also I heard Barbarians suck in late game so I am doomed anyway you look at it. –  Emerica. May 23 '12 at 20:11
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Sorry! Nephalem valor is a buff that you receive when you hit the level cap (60). Every champion or elite pack you kill gives you one stack (to a maximum of 5 stacks). The buff's capabilities are twofold: Each stack provides a 15% bonus to magic find (75% at 5 stacks), and when you're at 5 stacks bosses (skelly king, act bosses, etc) will drop improved loot (I always get at least 2 rares, sometimes 3, as well as 5-8 blues). So it's not quite true to say bosses won't drop good loot; they most certainly will. If you respec or leave the game you lose all stacks. –  nzifnab May 23 '12 at 20:19
    
Also... in my 4-player group we pretty much have to have a barb for tanking or we'll fail miserably. <3 barbs. –  nzifnab May 23 '12 at 20:20
    
@nzifnab Yeah, I've been soloing it so far. All of my friends far outleveled me. And that is a really awesome concept. Meaning you don't have to build a damn MF character just to go looting. This buff stacks onto your current MF right? –  Emerica. May 23 '12 at 20:22

I'm in Act 1 Hell, and this is the build I'm using: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#ilXPOR!faX!abYZbb

I play solo exclusively, so I have to be very self-sufficient with regard to damage and escape. So I'll drop a Blizzard, Hydra, then Disintegrate until they get close. If they're not dead, drop another Blizzard, run away through it to get some distance, turn and fire again. Rinse, repeat.

For elites, I alternate between Mirror Image and Diamond Skin to keep me alive until the cooldown on the other one resets. Attack strategy depends heavily on the affixes, so a Shielding vs a Mortar is very different, for example.

I prefer Venom hydra to Lightning due to the fact that it's much more effective against casters and ranged, which I find are harder for me in general due to the fact that I can easily outrun/outmaneuver melee mobs.

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How does this build not run out of AP constantly? –  user2298 Jun 13 '12 at 6:29
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@user2298 no constant casting will occur, this is an attack and kite build. Arcane Power regenerates fast enough that you won't ever run out of AP as you won't be constantly attacking. –  kalina Jun 14 '12 at 12:36

I've been playing Inferno in a group and solo. This is my build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#aZcXlQ!WTX!aZbZaZ

Act 1 Hell isn't really a good gauge if your solo build is doing really well... My build has changed several times because the later acts and difficulties required more CC and escape mechanisms.

You need a lot of control if you want to solo the hard champion packs, but they are all entirely doable with a good wizard build. The 60% slow on blizzard is a godsend and all but 'fast'-modified champion packs will be hard pressed to close the distance on you if you kite properly.

The main problem is fast, or mortar monsters. With fast you just need to do more running than usual.. Diamondskin-Frostray to single target the close ones when skin is off cooldown (Diamond skin with the reduced cost rune makes these ray abilities take almost no arcane power), teleport around if you're getting chased too close.

With mortar the best way is to KEEP RUNNING as far away from them as possible. Drop blizzards and arcane orbs behind you (If you pop diamond skin you can get off 5 or 6 arcane orbs instead of like 3 or 4, due to the cost reduction...it's amazing). If you have a circular area you can kite, use that; if it's just a single hallway when you reach the end you can wormhole-teleport to the other side and resume kiting.

Never stand still against mortars, those things hurt. I use magic missile & frost ray to pick units off. Again...diamond skin + frost ray is amazing.

I cannot emphasize enough how important something that controls the monsters is. I like blizzard but you might be able to get away with the 30% passive slow for arcane spells (but that's half as much as blizzard provides) or other forms of slow/cc.

Good luck!

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As an addendum to the above advice... in addition to not standing still, Do Not Run In a Straight Line... They can/will hit you doing that too. –  DiabloMonkey Jul 13 '12 at 20:34

This is the build I have right now. We're in act 2 of Hell

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#iUmOSj!Xbf!bbYYZa

It's been working out so far, my group has hit a couple tough spots, but we're progressing. Basically with both Magic Weapon (Force Weapon) and Familiar (Spark Flint), my damage increases by 27%. I'd love to go pure Glass Cannon with the 15% increase passive, but I don't think I could afford the negatives. The Energy Armor is wonderful with the 65% armor increase; I also can't take more than 35% of my max health's damage. I've read some interesting strategies about just completely ignoring vitality with that rune so that you regen to full life faster.

With all those buffs, my main attacks are focused on disintegrate and electrocute. I basically sit back from afar and shoot disintegrate into the crowd. When one of their heads pop, it can do a 400% damage explosion. When I run out of mana, I spam electrocute till my arcana refills (which isn't very long). When stuff looks tough, or I just feel like it, I'll go Archon (which still retains all the buffs), pop a slow time, jump in the center of stuff, hulk smash till the slow time runs out, run out of the crowd, ray them.

-- I'm interested in nzifnab's build though. I find the toughest time my party has is with anything that's speedy and moving all over the place (like those imps). I've been thinking about changing my build up into a giant time slowing machine, maybe I'll try it out.

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The no vitality energy armor exploit has been fixed. Now the damage reduction is capped at 100% of your health - so if you go low vit, almost no damage is taken away from the attack. –  Desiato May 27 '12 at 14:57
    
That's a bummer @Desiato, I only just reached the level to get it. It's still nice to lessen massive damage attacks. When I reach level 60, this is the build I'm thinking I want: us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#ZcmOSj!Ybf!baccZa I figure with the Energy Armor's Prismatic Armor bonus, I can ignore the negatives of Glass Cannon. –  Mantarays May 27 '12 at 15:52

Your build is what I used to do before I discovered Shock Pulse with Piercing Orb rune. The problem with the disintegrate build is that you spend too much arcane power and there is no way you will not drain it all. When you do, you don't have energy to escape or place more blizzards, etc if your mobs are not dead. Shock Pule with Piercing Orb solves this. It is a primary spell that does not take any arcane energy and it does long range aoe damage through multiple targets just like disintegrate (obviously not as much dmg though). This build is much better.

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Currently solo in Hell Act 2 and this one works for me (for some boss fights e.g. butcher I use teleport[fracture] to avoid damage, and energy shield[Force]).

This is DPS build.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#acXlOS!XfY!YcacbY

Tactic is basically rampage until you hit a champions, than kiting with blizzard and orbs. When diamond shield[crystal] is ready or they have vortex, go in with shield on and use primary to quickly regenerate arcane per hit (+4 on each hit), rinse and repeat.

Good thing about this build you are DPS so you don't have to kite lesser mobs, diamond skin + orbs and you are good. Of course this works in 90% of the cases, you will need to tweak for certain situations.

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I have to agree with plee on the Shock Pulse with Piercing Orb rune. I spent countless hours trying to get the right build. I'm level 58 and I finally I found a build that works for me with devastating power against mobs. Elites it is still quiet powerful but since I'm a wizard I cannot sustain too much damage so kiting is necessary with this build. Here is my build and my skill rotation. This build you have to go into your options and select elective mode to customize.

  • Primary Skill: Shock Pulse (Rune - Piercing Orb) - Like stated in earlier threads. Large AOE damage through multiple targets

  • Force: Blizzard (Rune - Snowbound) - Huge amount of AOE dmg to mobs with reduced arcane power cost +20% passive boost

  • Defensive Skill: Diamond Skin (Rune - Enduring Skin) - Simply stated more time to Spam Shock pulse then run like hell

  • Force: Hydra (Rune - Venom Hydra) - +18 for mob and little green puddle help with additional damage

  • Defensive Skill: Teleport (Rune - Wormhole) - No explanation needed

  • Conjuration: Energy Armor (Rune - Force Armor) - Obvious choice to use until nerfed

  • Passive Skill: Cold Blooded - Always need the +20% boost for frozen which works with blizzard and Shock Pulse

  • Passive Skill: Galvanizing Ward - Give me life :)

  • Passive Skill: Glass Cannon

Keep Hydra and Energy Armor active whenever you are fighting.

Use Teleport as a means to escape enemies.

Use Blizzard to help kite enemies around.

Use Diamond Skin to negate oncoming damage for up to 8 seconds.

Use Shock Pulse on enemies going through Blizzard.

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How can Shock Pulse get +20% from Cold Blooded when it does lightning damage ? Do you assume your target in a Blizzard, thus chilled ? –  Kim Jul 9 '12 at 21:53

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#ZiXdOS!YaX!bZaabZ Is what I'll generally use. I'm lv 57, usually solo. Blur i often switch out for cold blooded for extra boss dps, and energy armor, I change the rune to force armor for bosses. Force weapon is obvious, and i make a somewhat uncommon choice of using two beams. Cold beam is something of a primary for me, its casting cost is low enough that it's effectively negligible, and disintegrate with chaos nexus is amazing at dealing with crowds, and small things that swarm close and are hard to hit. On diamond skin i often switch out for prism because it ends up making ray of frost almost free, as does storm armor with power of the storm. If i really need to knuckle down for pure dps, I'll switch energy armor for familiar and use sparkflint for the extra dps and +20% damage. Force push is great for killing crowds and giving you some breathing room, its not for everyone, but it's saved my ass too many times to count

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Just so it's clear, I don't really plan on accepting any one answer to this question, because it just wouldn't make sense and/or be fair in the context of the question. I have +1'd several of your answers which I've tried out and they work well.

Figured I'd put up what I have been using, though, as for me its the best build I've used yet.

Let me know what you think!


My D3 "Arcane" Wizard Build

Build Strategy:

  1. Pop up a Hydra between you and a pack.

  2. Torrent the pack. For normal enemies, prefer spreading the Torrent across the whole pack (rather than focus on one enemy) to get the Disruption de-buff on most them. This let's your Hydras (with splash damage thanks to the Arcane rune) make short work of them.

  3. If anyone gets too close, or you're low on health, pop your Crystal Shell Diamond Skin. If you have plenty of Arcane Power and your Hydra is still up, stand your ground and keep Torrenting! Only in desperation (such as when Diamond Skin wears off) start kiting.

  4. When low on Arcane Power, kite w/ Magic Missle.


Build Philosophy/Justification:

  • The backbone of the build is Temporal Flux, which essentially makes all the attacks in this build as effective as vanilla Ray of Frost for CC. With the splash Arcane damage from the Hydras and the Penetrating Magic Missle, the CC on this build is surprisingly effective.

  • The primary spam skill is Arcane Torrent w/ Disruption. I'm surprised how many people overlook the +15% damage from Torrent with Disruption. Yes, its only for Arcane damage, but that's the only kind of damage I'm dealing :-)

  • Diamond Skin w/ Crystal Shell is extremely helpful in this build. Crystal Shell is often overlooked in favor of Enduing Skin. However, in Hell, packs swing so hard the extra 2 seconds from Enduring Skin won't make a difference when the damage limit is reached. Crystal Shell doubles the damage limit, and therefore makes it last ultimately twice as long as any other Diamond Skin rune.

  • Magic Missle w/ Penetrate is a (very)-poor-man's Disintegrate :-) With Temporal Flux, it becomes a useful CC skill, with decent damage as well for when low on Arcane Power.

  • I could preach about Arcane Hydra all day; it's a kiter's dream. A champion pack giving you trouble? Throw down your Hydras and run around; you'll keep doing damage while avoiding getting hit, regenerating Arcane Power, and/or waiting for the Diamond Skin cooldown. The splash damage is great, and coupled with the CC from Temporal Flux makes Arcane Hydra incredibly useful in both offense and defense.

  • Magic Weapon w/ Force and Force Armor are obvious choices. +15% damage and a small chance to Knockback is huge, especially for the Hydra damage. +65% armor is something you just can't live without. I'll consider going Prismatic Armor when I get to level 60.

  • I use Critical Mass to help lower Diamond Skin's cooldown. Usually I hit my Diamond Skin while Torrenting, and I get maybe 2-3 crits right off the bat. This isn't even counting my Hydra's crits which make it possible to have a 2-4 second reduction in cooldown. However, this is the one slot in the build that could very safely be modified. I sometimes put in Prodigy or Power Hungry to help fuel my Torrent'ing. Blur is always a strong choice as well, and Evocation might make for a more consistent cooldown reduction.

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  • Magic Missile with the last rune - This allows me corner-shooting and absolutely no targeting, especially when there are fast mobs running and jumping around

  • Blizzard with the lowered arcane power cost rune - Just spam multiple areas to be safe or while kiting

  • Diamond Skin with extra absorb points

  • Venom Hydra

  • Magic Weapon with 15% dmg and knockback

  • Armor with 40% resist or 35% max dmg, depending on how tanky you are


The passives are Glass Cannon, Prodigy and surprise-surprise to me last night - Arcane Dynamo. Using 1.7 speed wand + 3 x 15 speed rings-amulet (maybe even some more life 15% chest and head) gives me almost three attacks per second. 5x Arcane Dynamo buff almost refills every 5-6 sec and extra 75% Hydra-Blizzard just melts mobs. I just switched farming from Act 1 Inferno to Act 2/Act 3 because Act 1 was complete one shotted.

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With right equipment, soloing hell is pretty easy with a wizard. Inferno, on the other hand, is pretty damn hard. The build I've used in hell was:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#bcQlOS!YfX!bYZYbZ

Left click: shock pulse with piercing orb for huge AoE. You can also use Spectral Blade with Thrown Blade rune for extra damage but you need to be careful since you will be within melee range. Another choice is Electrocute with Surge of Power rune to spam Arcane Orb more.

Right click: Arcane Orb with Tap The Source rune. You can use the Oblitarate rune but lower arcane power cost (combined with the +40 max arcane power coming from other skills) makes this skill spammable.

Defensive: Teleport with Wormhole. No explanation here, you NEED this skill. Especially on Inferno where Diamond Skin is pretty useless since it will expire in 2-4 hits.

Force: Blizzard with Stark Winter rune. This slot is the most flexible one in this build, you can select any skill. I chose Blizzard because of the slow it gives.

Conjuration: Energy Armor with Energy Tap rune. +%65 armor really helps and +20 maximum arcane power is just too good to pass. Plus,you get a pretty good regen by Galvanizing Ward.

Conjuration: Magic Weapon with Force Weapon rune. Again, no explanation needed, extra damage is always good. You can get the Venom rune if you want.

Passives: Glass Cannon, Astral Presence and Galvanizing Ward. You can afford the minus armor and resistances from Glass Cannon in hell just make sure to change it when you reach Inferno. Astral Presence lets you spam Arcane Orb more but you can change it with another passive if you want.

For inferno, I modified the build slightly to grant more survivability by sacrificing the damage output a little. Here is the build:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#acQlOS!Xdf!aYZYYZ

Changed the left click with Magic Missle for more damage. Changed the rune in Energy Armor to prevent one-shots (I have 4000 armor, 23k life and around 350-400 all resists but I still get one-shot in Inferno a lot). Dropped Glass Cannon in favor of Illusionist (this saved my ass more then I can remember).

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Just thought I'd add my 2 cents; I have tried lots and I mean lots of different builds on my wiz, and even though they each have their ups and downs I have found a few that I believe to work the best, through trial and error. As far as kiting goes, some people are better at it than others, so this build will help those that are not as good as some. http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#aecRXQ!TYU!cacaaY.

The first thing I do is use torrent and drop a hydra. Fire as many orbs as you can, teleport away, and drop hydra again. Start firing missles while running away from the mobs. Once your power is up torrent again and orb as many as possible. They should be dead by this time; if not, repeat. Diamond skin is a must for stronger mobs, but over all the teleports and slows make it easy to kite even for the worse kiters out there.

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On my wizard I have found that regardless of the build it's your equipment that makes the money. My wizard on hell does 27,000+ dps and can crit over 100k. The best way is to to stack intelligence on everything except your rings, amulet, weapon and source. On those you want to focus more on damage and not as much intelligence.

Then for my skills they are setup like this:

Active

  • Arcane torrent w/ Cascade
  • Slow time/WoF/Disintegrate/Teleport/diamond armor <- this one is my right mouse click and is a wildcard
  • Storm Armor w/ Power of the Storm OR Energy Armor w/ Force Armor
  • Familiar w/ Sparkflint Or Familiar w/ Arcanot
  • Magic Weapon w/Conduit or Magic Weapon w/Force Weapon
  • Archon w/ Improved Archon

Passive

  • Galvanizing Ward
  • Glass Cannon
  • Astral Presence

Ok now I will explain this. Currently I am level 60 but for the most part I have had the same build through Nightmare and Hell. Also I haven't spent more than 100k on my gear so don't think I've spent millions on gear.

Arcane Torrent works great. It has a lot of damage and a small area radius after it hits which makes it good for crowds. The Cascade feature makes it so it has a 100% chance of launching a new Torrent from an enemy that gets hit which makes it even better for crowds. I use this on my left mouse click.

My right mouse click is my wildcard. Usually I use WoF, Teleport or Diamond Armor but that's because you have to stay flexible for different occasions.

I think Storm Armor is best because you lose a lot of Arcane Power fast and that prevents it from happening as quickly. But I'll use Energy Armor in a pinch for boss fights since my vitality isn't that high (true glass cannon lol).

Magic Weapon is a must. At first I thought it was for melee but then I started using it and and it significantly increases your damage. I like Conduit because it helps with the Arcane regeneration since I'm not using a Signature spell. But Blood Magic is helpful too if you are having health issues.

Familiar is also a must, whether if it's for damage or Arcane regeneration. It is definetely worth using.

Archon - well I've used Archon since I unlocked it. It helps in a pinch and in boss fights and really cleans up huge mobs fast.

My passives I believe are self-explanatory.

I'm rolling through Act IV Hell right now and not having any issues.

In Act III Hell my buddies (both barbarians) were bring massive mobs to me to try and kill me (because they are just nice like that) and I just mowed them down with this build. They were having a lot of issues without me rolling with them. They both are over 55 (one's 58 and the other is 60) and they were dying left and right when they wandered off.

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I've been playing with an arcane orb + arcane hydra build and it's done great through act 4 hell. The idea is that your hydra will provide constant automatic slow and you just shoot arcane orbs and waste everything in your path.

As long as you use a slow 2h weapon you'll never run out of AP with astral presence regenerating for you, and often normal mobs will be 1-or-2-shot.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#cQXijO!XYU!YYaaaZ

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Could you summarize the primary features of your link in your answer? It helps keep answers useful in the event of link rot. –  Sconibulus May 9 '13 at 16:21

FYI: there's the Critical Mass (a.k.a Melee Wiz) build too. Here's a link to the version of the build that I use: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#VhXYOQ!gXW!ccaZca

In order to make this build work, you need items to increase:

  • Intelligence
  • Critical Hit Chance (ideally over 30%, but over 20% works on Act I)
  • AP on Crit (over 10)
  • Life on Hit
  • Resistance to All Elements (I have over 400, but someone said over 700 is ideal)

Using this build, I can farm on Inferno on Act I and II without dying. On Act 3, I only have issues with Elite Packs. If I paid millions of gold for items, I'm sure I could do better, but in general, I pay on average 20k gold per item.

To use this build, I make sure Energy Armor is up, then teleport next to a pack or the foe I want to kill, use Diamond Skin, then spam Frost Nova, Energy Twister, and Explosive Blast. And use Diamond Skin again if my health goes down. And you can also teleport again to get that 30% less damage for 4 seconds.

Note: this works for the current build (v1.0.4); I heard it kind of works in the v1.0.5 PTR. In v1.0.5, Energy Twister will probably have to be replaced with something else.

Note: for the weapon, try to get one with a good attack speed; I try to make sure I have at least 1.4 attacks per second.

Note: Critical Hit Damage is nice to have too. It'll make battles shorter.

Note: If you can't get a lot of Resist All, try to increase Vitality.

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