Monday 27 April 2015

Wizards: Ancient SS is not necessarily the end all be all.

I will admit that using an ancient SS with Tals is incredibly powerful. But is it so much more powerful than others as some people say? I wanted to weigh in because I just do not agree with SS being incredibly more powerful than other builds. I have tested and cleared with multiple builds in grift 60+, and I have also tested in solo rifts 52+.

First lets talk about groups because that is where most of my time has been spent in S3. I have used 3 different builds in groups. One is centered around meteor shower with GV, another around a devastator with star pact, and the last with SS/tnt and star pact.

• My meteor shower build is by far the best for trials. Getting keys in the low to mid 60s is the easiest with this build. You must use an ancient GV for this though and it is very rare. You also need loads of resource cost reduction and AP regen. I used reaper wraps for some extra ap as well. You pretty much go through to your 4th stack asap and hold down meteor shower until the stack is 3/4th done. Each individual crit is roughly 3-4 billion with around 20 -25 crits per rotation. This build has great single target damage as well. I have clocked 9.8 billion damage per second with a stopwatch on a stunned RG.

• Next is the Devastator star pact build. With this build I max out attack speed on all my gear (TR arms, Steady strikers, TR chest, WH, and paragon) and use a witching hour as my free slot. Arcane dynamo is key for this build. I go through my stacks quickly until 3 (not forgetting to put arcane dynamo on mammoth hydra), then at 3 I use electrocute surge of power to build up 5 AD stacks and then immediately fire star pact taking me into my 4th Tal stack. I then fire electrocute for another 5 AD stacks and you should have enough attack speed with electrocute that with prodigy, you regain all of your arcane power back around 3/4th the way finished with your 4th tal stack and again fire star pact. Then start over. This build gives MASSIVE crit numbers. 50 billions on a good crit with big bad voodoo and 40 billions regularly. It does not discriminate either, it crits these numbers on trash as well as elites. On a perfectly stunned RG and flawless rotations, I have clocked it in at very near 14 billion dps, but 10-11 on average. And don’t get me started on the numbers during power pylon.... 60+% crit chance is a must with this though as it relies heavily on star pact crits.

• The last one is of course SS. With this build you must use pain enhancer instead of BotP (Botp, BotT, Zei's in the other builds) and TnTs instead of WH. Otherwise it is much similar to the devastator build revolving around arcane dynamo, attack speed, electrocute with prodigy, and star pact. Downside is that star pact has less than half the power of the devastator build, hydra rivers cannot be everywhere at once across a mob pack, and hydras miss a lot when you get a moving RG. Upside is that the dps is barely, but still never the less best against a non-moving target compared to the other two. It has been clocked in at over 14 billion dps against a stunned RG. But probably half that against a moving RG. It is more of a sustained dps similiar to that of a Krider DH and much less bursty.

In my opinion with the hundreds of hours spent with these three builds in very high rifts, I prefer the devastator build. The main reason behind this is that it has the most burst damage of anything I have ever seen in Diablo this side of sever. In a grift, I can get set up and clear off small trash packs much faster and keep moving, freeing up our sader to focus on grouping up near elites. It also isn’t as detrimental to my damage if the RG cannot be tanked, or perma stunned. And finally because there is still room for improvement because an ancient sunkeeper will do a lot better than a devastator and I do not have one yet.

My gosh this has gone on much longer than anticipated, so here are my toon:

I will have to talk about solo another day. Would you guys let me know if you have any tests that conflict with what I have found, so that we may compare? My best group clear is 61 in season 3 with some time to spare. I have not cleared higher yet because I simply have not attempted it with my team.... Yet

Edit: An honorable mention must go to the ancient furnace in the devastator star pact build. My brother was kind enough to give me his drop today, but in my limited testing, it only barely hits harder than my devastator set up on elites and causes some AP problems due to its speed. More testing is required....

Edit 2: Arcane damage is preferred on bracers and the devastator is used primarily because it is an easy to roll hard hitting mace rather than for its fire damage. Although my hydra still does a sustained 1.5 - 2.5 billion per second all by itself with the 18% fire dmg and no tnt/pain enhancer. :)

Edit 3: This is not a post arguing against the SS build, but rather a post stating that there are other options that brings dps so close to a SS build that it comes down to player ability and preference. Also, that you can still push top 100 on the leaderboard without it because I have been in the top 100 4 man for a lot of the season with a devastator.