Saturday, 18 July 2015

[PTR 2.3] State of the WizArt

After playing on PTR for a couple of days I wanted to write down my impressions on the new patch and the state of the wizard.

I have all the sets and tested a lot of new builds that were made possible/viable by Kanai's cube. One of my favorites is the DelRasha Frozen Orb build, but I also tried out pure Vyr's, Tal's, Delsere's and even Firebird builds just to test some stuff.

This post is full of my own ideas and my personal opinions on the design choices, so feel free to disagree!

Vyr's Amazing Arcana

The 8 items set!

I already made a post about the new Vyr's set before, but this was before PTR season 4 launched. With the new season exclusive belt for the Archon build, the whole setup becomes a lot stronger (maybe too strong as it is right now), but I have the feeling that the problems stay the same. I have no idea why Blizzard thought it would be a good idea to change Chantodo's the way they did. Having a build, were you are forced to wear two sets in addition to two additional items (Swami + new belt) is just bad design in my opinion.

There are way better ways to make an Archon build viable, without forcing you to wear 10 items.

The last two skills even have the same name but the legendary affixes don't work in Archon form.

In addition to that, I would change the Chantodo's set, so that is independet from Archon and just grants an aura of destruction or whatever. Let the stacks last for 10 seconds or something, but stop forcing us to wear 2 sets to make a build work.

TLDR: Could be so cool if it was designed differently. Being forced to wear ~10 items is no fun.

Tal Rasha's Elements

The set is still very strong, but with the nerf to crowd control the Aether Walker build that enables Wizards to solo GR60+ on live is out of the game. I'm not sure if this is good or bad yet. It was a fun build, but it also was the only viable build for pushing grifts as a wizard and the changes to cc were really needed to stop this WD perma stun stuff. Turning enemies into statues is just a boring way to progess in my opinion.

Instead DelRasha seems to be the new top Tal Rasha build. The crowd control and especially projectile control of the set is great and the damage output is also great, thanks to F+R and RoRG in Kanai's Cube.

The raw damage output of a pure Tal Rasha build is probaly still the highest (you can wear Focus + Restraint andConvention of Elements), but without crowd control options it is only a viable choice in multiplayer.

I also tried a fun build with Halo of Arlyse and Aether Walker + Ancient Parthan Defenders, but even with the additional crowd control of your novas you will die at GR50+. It's the closest I've come to reproducing the old Aether Walker stun build. Maybe with some tweaking it could work. I tried the same build with a Wand of Woh and Explosive Blast instead of Meteor, but your damage output is way higher with Meteor. You also don't always have to be up close to your enemies in order to deal damage with Meteor. The build works great even at TX, but Meteor is just better.

Another idea I had wasto combine 6pc Tal's and 4pc Vyr's but of course that didn't work as planned. The main problem is that you don't get the Swami buff when you cancel Archon manually, which basically was my idea for the build. I thought you could get a 300% damage boost everytime Archon was ready if you just cancel it and just play a normal Tal Rasha build with this buff. But without Vyr's 6pc bonus Archon is just too weak. Furthermore you have to decide if you want to use Nilfur's Boast or the new Archon belt. I tried both and think that the belt is the better option because of the defensive bonus, but without the Swami buff on cancel it just feels too weird to play :D

I guess that's how The Swami is supposed to work and that it's not a bug, unfortunatly.

TLDR: Pure Tal Rasha is a thing of the aetherial past.

Firebird's Finery

For the first two days or so, the game decided that I should play a Firebird wizard and a Firebird wizard only. So I rolled with it and I had a lot of fun. I found a Serpent's Sparker pretty early and put it in the cube. Additionally I cubed a pair of Hexing Pants and my RoRG. I played that build through T7 and it does still good damage.

Problem is I never really liked Firebird's and the playstyle unfortunately hasn't changed in the new patch. You still run around casting your Blizzard's and Hydra's everywhere and try not to get hit until everything burns to death. This works out great but becomes harder and harder in the greater difficulty levels. And having to wait for your enemies to die is really bad for multiplayer. You feel like you don't do any damage, because everyone else is directly killing stuff, while you are dodging attacks.

Another problem is that every other wizard set gives you some kind of defensive bonus now (Archon stacks, allres from Tal's, slow time from Delsere's). A free revive is nice, but just not as good as a permanent toughness buff.

Firebird could be easily made viable again by adding some supporting legendaries. Something like Quetzalcoatl that halves the duration of your DoT would do wonders and an item like Ancient Parthan Defenders that reduces your damage taken for every burning enemy would improve your survivability and also support the playstyle of running around casting Blizzard on everything that moves.

TLDR: Still have to dodge attacks and wait for everything to slowly burn to death.

Delsere's Magnum Opus

I really like Delsere's. The playstyle is very engaging and different. The only problem is that the damage just isn't there.

I cubed a Furnace and with an ancient Triumvirate I am able to play t8 comfortably.

I made a post about my DelRasha Frozen Orb build here and I tested two versions of this build. One with 6pc Delsere's and 4pc Tal's and the other way around. The conclusion is, that Frozen Orb is stronger with 6pc Tal's and enemies don't have to be in your slow time bubble for you to do damage.

Another thing that really bugs me about the set is the skill synergy. I used Teleport - Fracture, which summons two decoys for 6 seconds after you teleport. The decoys cast Slow Time all over the screen, but the problem is that their bubbles aren't affected by your items. Enemies hit by your Arcane Orb don't get the damage bonus from Delsere's if they are in a bubble of your decoy. At least I used a cold build, which changes the color of your bubbles, so you can differentiate between your own bubbles and your decoys'.

But this shouldn't be a problem in the first place. Why don't Crown of the Primus and the 6pc Delsere's bonus just work with your decoys' / Mirror Images' Slow Time bubbles?

And this leads me to my biggest issue with the set.

Why does it have to be designed around specific skills? Why exactly do I have to use Arcane Orb, Energy Twister, Magic Missile or Shock Pulse? Tal Rahsa's becomes great with Nilfur's Boast, Firebird's really benefits from a Serpent's Sparker and so on. Why can't Delsere's just work with every skill? If it would just increase your damage to enemies trapped inside your Slow Time bubble, the playstyle would stay more or less the same. A good Triumvirate would still make you play an Arcane Orb centered build, but now you could also use Nilfur's in a Delsere's build an focus on Meteors as your main damage source. Maybe a really underused item like Light of Grace could be used in a Delsere's build. Or Arcane Torrent. or Disintegrate or ...

TLDR: Arcane Orb is stronger with Tal Rasha's Elements, than with a set that is designed to buff Arcane Orb.


Especially with PTR season 4 I had a lot of fun leveling up and getting gear. With Kanai's cube and all four sets being viable up to at least T8, you can push your character higher and higher until you finally can build the wizard that you wanted. Even thogh I personally don't like Firebird's, I had a great time with my Serpent's Sparker and the 6pc bonus. The cube makes it even easier to complete a set, because you can convert a set item to another item from the same set.

If I compare my PTR experience with last season, I have to say it has improved by a lot. Finding upgrades, changing your build to suit the items that you just found, putting your first item in the cube, it was all just so much fun.

Here is an example of my upgrading progress:

I relativly quickly found to Firebird's items, so with the first bloodshards I got I started gambling for the other pieces. I gambled one additional piece and found the fourth one in a very reasonable amount of time. This enabled me to play T3-4, where I found a non ancient Sperent's Sparker in a Rift. So I adjusted my build and switched Black Hole for Hydra. After gambling two additional Firebird pieces I finally found a pretty decent ancient Wildwood, so I cubed my Serpent's Sparker for a massive damage improvement. Now being able to play T6-7 comfortably, I had no problem finding all the other sets to test the stuff I really wanted to test.

I don't know if it's the same for the other classes, but I had the feeling that no matter what items the game throws at me, as long as I adjust my playstyle and gamble for the right stuff, I would have no problem progressing. And this felt just great! And after testing the other sets, it probably would have been the same for all of them. Maybe even better, because Firebird's is the weakest of the four 6 piece sets in my opinion.


Up to ~T8 you can play any set or combination of sets. The build variety and viabilty feels great. I really think that the wizard is in a very good spot right now. If you want to be efficient at TX you have to use defined builds and specific items, but that's fine I guess.

I really hope they change Vyr's in some way before the patch goes life.

Maybe you recognized that I really like play around with hybrid builds. So another thing that I personally would like to see is additional set pieces being added to Delsere's and Vyr's, so that they're also at 7 pieces, just like Tal's and Firebird's.

This way you could for example combine Firebird with Delsere's for some massive damage over time, or Firebird with Vyr's for a Firebird Archon build, or Vyr's with Delsere's where Archon's Slow Time now deals 2000% damage, or ...

You get the idea.

TLDR: I like the wizard and love the potential of the class.

Please let me know what you think of my thoughts on the wizard!