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Diablo 3 Wizard Guide and Inferno Builds

Updated on October 18, 2014

Diablo 3 Wizard Guide and Inferno Builds

This page is a Diablo 3 Wizard guide and also includes various Diablo 3 Wizard builds (including Wizard Inferno Builds). If you are looking to start a Wizard or stuck on a particular difficulty then this Diablo 3 Wizard guide will prove to be an invaluable resource.

Learn more about the Wizard, the Wizard's resource (Arcane Power), the must have skills and which gear to purchase in this comprehensive Diablo 3 Wizard guide.

The Wizard is the spell caster available in Diablo 3, relying on defensive abilities, powerful area of effect attacks and a fast regenerating resource to dispatch the minions of Hell.

Don't forget to stop by our poll and tell us what difficulty your Wizard is currently up to in Diablo 3.

Images on this page are sourced from the official Diablo 3 website and used for review, commentary and educational purposes.

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Diablo 3 Wizard

Guide & Builds

Diablo 3 Wizard Guide & Build Overview

diablo-3-wizard-overview
diablo-3-wizard-overview

The Wizard is the spell-caster class in Diablo 3 and has some similarities to the Sorceress in Diablo 2. The Wizard uses ranged attacks and the power of the elements to freeze, burn, poison and electrocute their enemies. Unique equipment for Wizards includes orbs, wands and wizard hats.

The Wizard's key features include an unrivalled elemental mastery, area based attacks allowing you to control the flow of battle, protective orientated spells to build up your defences and endless energy allowing you to constantly use your abilities.

Wizard Overview - Official Diablo 3 Website

The Pros - The Strengths Of The Wizard In Diablo 3

  • A fast regenerating resource.
  • Good battlefield control (through slows and utility spells).
  • Strong area of effect damage, allowing you to destroy waves of demons at once.
  • Strong defensive and escape orientated abilities.
  • Wide variety of skills and abilities.

The Cons - The Weaknesses Of The Wizard In Diablo 3

  • Reliant on defensive spells and kiting.
  • Lack of 'hard' crowd control (such as stuns).
  • Gear dependant, especially at higher difficulties.
  • Reliant on several skills making build diversity difficult.

Diablo 3 Wizard

diablo-3-wizard-resource-arcane
diablo-3-wizard-resource-arcane

The Wizard Resource: Arcane Power

Wizard's rely on Arcane Power to cast their skills in Diablo 3. The resource is fast regenerating allowing you to constantly use your basic skills. However, due to the low maximum amount of Arcane Power Wizards must think carefully before unleashing their more powerful skills as you will quickly deplete your Arcane Power resource.

There are many runes for skills that offer large Arcane Power reduction (sometimes higher than 50% reduction). Wizard's are also able to gain Arcane Power quickly through runes or the Prodigy passive that provides Arcane Power every time you hit with a signature spell.

Some Diablo 3 Wizard builds will require careful Arcane Power management or particular Arcane Power improving gear to use effectively.

The Best Wizard Stats - Important Stats To Have On Wizard Gear

When building your Wizard in Diablo 3 there are a number of important item stats that you will need to maximise in order to survive:

  • Intelligence: as your primary stat intelligence directly changes your damage output and increases your resistances. It should always be on the top of your list of preferred stats.
  • Vitality: this stat changes the amount of health you have. While Wizards do not need as much health as the melee classes of Diablo 3 they still require a decent amount. If you are dying often or too easily then consider boosting your vitality. Note that a high amount of life is useless without armor and resistances to back it up.
  • Armor/Resistances achieving high levels of armor and resistances are vital in Hell and especially Inferno. Without these key stats your high amounts of life are ineffective.
  • Attack Speed: depending on the skills that you decide to use attack speed can be a very effective way to increase your damage output. While large amounts of this are not needed attack speed does impact your casting speed which makes it easier to kite enemies.
  • Critical Chance/Critical Damage: these two stats are extremely strong and will go along way at improving your damage output. Critical Chance is available on a number of items while Critical Damage is most often found in high amounts on weapons (also available on gloves and jewelry). Critical strikes can be used to cause extra damage, reduce skill cool downs or restore Arcane power.
  • Movement Speed: during Hell and especially Inferno you will be doing a lot of kiting enemies. Movement speed will prove invaluable in these situations allowing you to survive more often. It is has a hard cap of 25%, I recommend movement speeds boots as a minimum (12%).
  • Maximum Arcane Power: if your build is Arcane power reliant then increasing the maximum you have available may allow you to cast an extra spell or two. This will be very build dependent though as there are better ways to improve Arcane Power management (passives or using runes that reduce casting costs).
  • Wizard Skill Bonuses: there are many skill related bonuses specifically for Wizards. These may extend the duration of certain spells or reduce their casting cost. They appear only on high level items and are very build specific.

Diablo-3-Wizard-banner
Diablo-3-Wizard-banner

The Best Wizard Skills - The Must Have Wizard Skills

The Diablo 3 Wizard skills listed below are considered to be the strongest skills available to the Wizard and will generally appear in your Wizard builds more often than other skills.

  • Signature Spells: these are your bread and butter skills that are a mixture of single and multi target abilities. Most builds will contain one or two of these skills. Either to generate Arcane power or to provide a skill that can be used regardless of your available resource.
  • Arcane Orb: is unlocked very early and offers a powerful and reliable area of effect spell throughout the game.
  • Diamond Skin: a must have in later stages of the game as it allows you to absorb a set amount of damage (however, it drops off in late Inferno because of this).
  • Magic Weapon: this skill provides a free damage boost and is a great way to boost your damage without upgrading your equipment.
  • Disintegrate: a very powerful beam that is capable of hitting many enemies at once, it is particularly effective during Normal/Nightmare and parts of Hell. It's effectiveness drops off on later difficulties when enemies are faster and more dangerous (not allowing you to stand still and cast).
  • Hydra: the Hydra is a powerful Wizard spell in later difficulties as it allows the player to cast it and run around while still dealing damage. The Hydra runes all offer something unique making for a great variety of builds. The Venom Hydra rune for example is great to combine with Blizzard while the Lightning Hydra is great for enemies that move around a lot.
  • Teleport: often a must have skill for Wizards as it allows you to easily escape danger.
  • Blizzard: Blizzard offers Wizards an area of effect slow and is a great skill to create distance between you and your enemies.
  • Energy Armor: this skill is a must have during the later stages of Hell and Inferno. It provides a massive armor boost and with the Force Armor runs can greatly reduce incoming damage.

The Best Wizard Passives - The Must Have Wizard Passives

The Diablo 3 Wizard passives listed below are considered to be the strongest passives available to the Wizard and will generally appear in your Wizard builds more often than other passives.

  • Glass Cannon: This passive synergies great with the Wizard playstyle that focuses on damage and kiting as opposed to absorbing hits. This should always be included in one of your passive skill slots.
  • Cold Blooded: If you use Blizzard (or another cold spell) in your build then this is a great way to boost your damage.
  • Prodigy: Prodigy is a great way to recover any lost Arcane Power and works well with high Arcane Power skills. It allows you to quickly recover lost Arcane Power and use your hard hitting skills more often.
  • Astral Presence: Provides a great boost to maximum Arcane Power and regeneration. This skill works great at countering the maximum Arcane Power lost from Force Armor.
  • Illusionist: This passive is extremely effective in Hell and Inferno where most (if not all) hits will exceed the 15% requirement. This allows you to have Teleport and Mirror Image up 100% of the time after you take a hit, improving your survivability immensely.
  • Temporal Flux: This skill gives you the added slowing power that may be the difference between surviving and dying. While 30% may not seem like much, combined with a fast attack speed or an area of effect ability it can be very powerful.
  • Galvanizing Ward: The health regeneration aspect of this passive is great to recover health between enemy encounters and if you are lazy (like myself) you only have to recast your armor spell every 4 minutes instead of 2. As you unlock more passives it is unlikely you will use this in your build though.
  • Arcane Dynamo: This skill works great when combined with a hard hitting non-signature spell. The idea being that you build up stacks and then use your hard hitting Arcane Dynamo enhanced skill for massive damage.

Diablo 3 Wizard Tips

Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno Builds

Diablo 3 Wizard Builds

Don't forget that these Diablo 3 Wizard builds are simply guidelines. There is no need to follow these exactly, they are designed to simply provide you with some build ideas. Ultimately your build will depend on your preferred playstyle and available gear.

These guides are made using the Diablo 3 Skill Calculator and may require the use of elective mode.

wizard-build1
wizard-build1

Wizard Build - Early Game Build

Required Level 12

This Diablo 3 Wizard build is a very simple early game build.

Magic Missile provides great single target damage with its extra damage rune and is also free to cast making for easy Arcane Power management. Arcane Orb offers you great area of effect damage along with Frost Nova and Wave of Force which also double as defensive skills.

The passive for this build does not really matter as you have limited available, simply choose which one compliments your play style.

See This Diablo 3 Wizard Build On The Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

wizard-build2
wizard-build2

Wizard Build - Mid-Game AOE Focused

Required Level 33

This Diablo 3 Wizard build focuses on heavy multi target damage which is very effective during the level 33-50 stages of the game when defences are not as important.

It focuses on using Blizzard to slow enemies while dispatching them with Disintegrate and Archon if necessary. With Electrocute runed to hit 6 enemies and the Prodigy passive you can quickly regenerate Arcane Power when necessary. Storm Armor reduces the cost of your spells further while Teleport offers an escape skill.

Passive skills are mainly focused on increasing your Arcane Power and damage output.

If you find yourself needing more survivability you can look at using Force Armor. You can also try farming (or buying) a better weapon as this will allow you to dispatch enemies before they reach you. Also consider using the Illusionist passive to improve your survivability.

See This Diablo 3 Wizard Build On The Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

diablo-3-wizard-cold-build
diablo-3-wizard-cold-build

Wizard Build - Cold Wizard

Required Level 51

This Diablo 3 Wizard build is a fun single element focused build that works great in both single and multiplayer game setups.

The build focuses on dealing entirely cold damage and combining this with the Cold Blooded passive and the Bone Chill Frost Nova rune for large amounts of damage.

By using both the Energy Tap rune for Force Armor and Astral Presence you can ignore signature spells all together and use Ray of Frost for a large period of time.

See This Diablo 3 Wizard Build On The Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

wizard-inferno-build
wizard-inferno-build

Wizard Inferno Build - Blizzard/Venom Hydra

Required Level 54

This Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno build is currently the most popular used by Wizards (skills, passives and runes vary slightly between player).

The basic idea of this build is to rely on Blizzard and Venom Hydra for damage. Blizzard creates a large slow which leads to enemies standing on Venom Hydra poison pools for high amounts of damage (and paired with Cold Blooded is very effective). While this requires high amounts of kitting the build has proven very successful for many Wizards.

Using Shock Pulse: Piercing Orb gives you more great multi target focused damage allowing you to dispatch enemies quickly. If you are interested in having a single target ability then Magic Missile is a great choice (either with Seeker or Charged Blast).

Defensive spells are covered by Teleport and Energy Armor which allow you to tank hits effectively but also allows you to escape when necessary. But these can be replaced with other combinations including Frost Nova or Mirror Image based on your preference.

Passives focus on giving you more damage but can be mixed and matched based on your playstyle. Other popular passives include Temporal Flux (if taking Magic Missile), Astral Presence, Galvanizing Ward and Blur.

See This Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno Build On The Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

wizard-inferno-build-2
wizard-inferno-build-2

Wizard Inferno Build - Arcane Kiting

Required Level 60

This Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno build is similar to the above build in that it is heavily reliant on kiting to be effective. It is very powerful in Act 1 and 2 of Inferno but drops off rapidly in Act 3 onwards (where Blizzard/Hydra is stronger).

This build focuses on using the slow from Temporal Flux to slow enemies by using Arcane damage focused abilities. Magic Missile is your single-target focused damage and is best runed for more damage but the Seeker rune is also effective as you can fire (and hit enemies) you may not be able to otherwise. Arcane Orb provides you with a strong area of effect damage/slow skill and is combined with Arcane Hydra to ensure enemies are constantly slowed.

Defensive options are again covered by Force Armor and Teleport (with Fracture rune to give you some extra time to deal damage) combined with Magic Weapon for stronger DPS. These skills can be changed to suit your preferences including Frost Nova, Mirror Image or Diamond Skin (great for Act 1 Inferno).

Passives are also very flexible with the only requirement being Temporal Flux. If you find yourself needing more Arcane Power then consider adding Prodigy or Astral Presence.

See This Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno Build On The Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

What Is Your Diablo 3 Wizard Build? - Did You Find This Diablo 3 Wizard Page Helpful?

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    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 4 years ago

      Great work.Great lens !!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice lens.

    • sepiapulpo profile image

      sepiapulpo 5 years ago

      Good work, this is one of the top Diablo 3 lenses here. Thanks!

    • profile image

      roony672 5 years ago

      I have never played Diablo 3 but liked the earlier versions, I will have to give it a go.

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: I do use DiabloProgress and you make some good points. I really just want to wait for the crowd control changes to be implemented to see if tanky critical mass builds remain useful (those that rely on freezes mostly).

      I will add a critical mass build in some shape or form once the dust settles.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @SimilarSam: There is something called www.diabloprogress.com. It shows the rankings of top players. Critical Mass and Wicked Wind is still very powerful as a build for tanks even for not so well-geared players (low heroscore) but decent paragon level (10 or more). For the dps players, Critical Mass is used with improved archon (for high heroscore) and teleport archon (for low heroscore). Critical Mass is still triggered by either spectral blade or WW. Personally, I used to be a wiz tank. When the WW got nerfed, the wiz tank became an easier build to get through act 3 and 4 because they also nerfed the monsters (no invul minions, not so powerful fire chains and no enrage). I think everyone should know it. Now, I'm giving up some tanking power for dps because of the paragon ladder.

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: After the recent nerf to the proc co-efficient on Wicked Wind and now the changes to how CC is calculated in Diablo 3 I removed it from this page, it is no longer as effective as it once was.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This guide won't get you to comfortably farm act 3 inferno. It's missing the Critical Mass - Wicked Wind (CM WW) build, otherwise known as the Wiz Tank. Critical Mass is by far the best passive allowing infinite freeze, infinite diamond skin, infinite archon.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm on act 2 on Inferno.

      My build is:

      http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#UROjS...

      Best def is to rip mobs ass as fast as possible

      I often use Archon, just need to see a pack of weak mobs near to wipe them fast and get some seconds.

      The 80% bonus resist from force armor and Archon are awesome.

      In Archon form I can tank everything 'till Butcher act 1

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @carny: Try replacing one of your passives with Illusionist (level 27) it will increase your survivability greatly. Also consider Diamond Skin.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Finally! The blizzard+venom hydra build allowed me to survive in act 1 of inferno. I have a lot to learn about kiting but at least I'm not dead all the time anymore.

    • carny profile image

      carny 5 years ago

      I tried the AoE build in Nightmare, but I seem to die a lot. This happens when I get teleported by a Vortex elite or trapped by a Jailer one, and my teleport is on CD. Basically I can escape the teleport / jail once, then if they trap me again in 16 seconds I'm screwed :)

    • profile image

      bloodpressureguy 5 years ago

      Some great builds here. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      christina-watson-73 5 years ago

      Great lens

    • squidoogiftsfor profile image

      squidoogiftsfor 5 years ago

      Only just discovered this ... great lens!

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Try enabling elective mode. Use this link for details: http://www.ign.com/wikis/diablo-3/Elective_Mode

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Am I the only one noticing that you can't use blizzard and hydra at the same time or am i wrong?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Tried replacing hydra with teleport.... nice to escape with :)

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: I have been meaning to update this page for a while, I just recently reached Diablo on Inferno difficulty and have noticed that Teleport is a must have. I'm also disappointed how useless the Arcane build is in Act 3 onwards.

      I will add the attack speed/crit build later on, it requires more gearing than the other options though making it out of the reach of most to successfully pull off (I am slowly gearing for it).

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm sorry but by your comments not having teleport in your build is death in inferno behond act I. The arcane build is crap once you enter act III. You may want to rework your article to include a build that will work for all 4 acts. Which currently is the IAS, Crit auto attack.

    • JohnGcorner profile image

      JohnGcorner 5 years ago

      Thx for this guide, I play Barbarian but thinking of trying a mage now.

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: It has been fixed, thanks for pointing that it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks! My frost wizard is working great.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Why have the "Galvanizing Ward" passive for the Cold Wizard build?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks! My frost wizard is working great.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      WOW!!!! It works!!!