So you want to tackle Inferno as a Wizard and the first zombie you encounter decides to completely wreck you. Life can be tough for a Wizard on Inferno in Diablo 3. You are weak physically and those powerhouse spells that you used on previous difficulties just don't seem to work anymore. Well, we are here to help you out. Please keep in mind though that the Wizard has many builds that can be successful depending on what gear you have, so as you acquire new gear you may decide to fine tune your build into something more specialized. The guide below is designed for kiting and large crowd control.
Please note that this build is done on version 1.0.3 and it is very likely things will change in the future.
[Make sure elective mode is toggled on so you are not limited to one skill per category. To do this go to Options, select Gameplay, and toggle on Elective Mode.]
Shock Pulse – Normally this spell is too erratic for use, but with the Piercing Orb rune attached it becomes quite powerful. It will deal 105 percent weapon damage to multiple targets that it hits as the orb travels forward. The only downside for this spell is this it counts as electric damage. Set this skill you your left click.
Teleport – A returning classic proves it still has game. Teleport is a great spell on its own for removing yourself from danger. Although it has a lengthy cooldown, 16 seconds, its ability to get you to the other side of the screen is extremely useful when kiting, or simply running away. Add in the Fracture rune and now you have an even better defensive tool. This rune summons two copies of you that will distract your enemies for 8 seconds after a teleport. This is useful for those times when there are simply too many enemies to get away from. Put Teleport on your right click to get out of those sticky situations.
Energy Armor – This is quite possibly the most useful skill for your Wizard. Make sure you place the Force Armor rune on to make it even better. This combination will limit incoming damage to a percentage of your maximum health. Basically, now any attack that would have done over 35 percent of your total health is limited to 35 percent. Sadly this doesn't make you invincible, and it will only take a few enemy blows to knock you out. But that is much better than dying from one overwhelming hit.
Blizzard – This returning spell from D2 still shows it has what it takes to kill the hordes of bad guys you will encounter. Blizzard has many useful runes, but for the most part Stark Winter is a great rune to choose. This will expand the area of effect of your spell, and the more enemies you slow down the better. Blizzard lasts for 6 seconds and is very spamable because it has no cooldown time. So with practice you will be able to maintain a constant slow effect on the enemies while also pelting them with the damage. A very effective combo.
Hydra – Along with Blizzard, Hydra is your next best friend in the “set it and forget it” list. The rune of choice is Venom Hydra. The reason for this may not be apparent at first but if you notice when a Venom Hydra fires it leaves a pool of acid wherever the spell collides with an enemy. This pool of acid does damage over time to any enemy who stands in it and more importantly the effect will stack! This means that if your Venom Hydra fires 5 times at an enemy, there will be 5 pools of acid under him. These stacks of acid will do tremendous damage to enemies and make Venom Hydra one of the best DoT spells.
Slow Time – The ability to manipulate time is useful in many games and D3 is no exception. Used on its own it is a great defensive tool. You can lay down a bubble of Slow Time and cause your enemies to slow to a crawl as they travel through spells, or as you make a quick escape. Pair it with Stretch Time and it can become a powerful offensive tool as well. This rune causes any allies inside to attack quicker, by 10 percent, and this bonus can also apply to you. Being able to attack quickly speaks for itself, so make copious use of this time altering skill.
Astral Presence – With an increase of 20 to your Arcane Power and a 2 per second increase to its overall regen, this skill is an obvious choice. Your bigger spells tend to blow through Arcane Power, such as Hydra and Blizzard, so this skill can help alleviate the strain on your power and keep it regenerating faster.
Glass Cannon – Your damage is increased by 15 percent but you also take more damage due to a 10 percent loss of Armor and Resistance. The 15 percent damage increase is simply too great to pass up on Inferno, and since you will constantly have Energy Armor active, the 10 percent armor loss should not hurt you too badly.
Illusionist – This skill will instantly reset the timer of Teleport anytime you take damage greater than 15 percent of your total health. Since that basically covers every attack in Inferno, you will have nearly unlimited teleporting, which is amazing when soloing.
When it comes to soloing as a Wizard, your companion choice will largely depend on your build. For the purpose of general killing and farming we picked the Enchantress. She has the ability to increase your armor, attack speed and deal some decent damage in the process. Below is a list of what to pick for your Enchantress to make her shine. Remember she can't help you if she is constantly dead so make sure she has quite a bit of Vitality and Intelligence gear to keep her HP and Resistances high.
Charm – Her ability to make your enemies fight for you is quite potent if it snags the right beast. Even if it doesn't you now have one less demon to deal with for a short time.
Powered Armor – This gives a 15 percent armor increase along with a buff that causes enemies to be slowed for 3 seconds upon hitting you. The armor increase is the main point of concern here, and can go a long way to keeping you alive on Inferno.
Erosion – Although disorient is a good skill to pick, Erosion offers you a damage increase which is tough to ignore as a Wizard. All enemies being hit by Erosion take 15 percent more damage. Couple that with some nice Critical Hit gear and suddenly the baddies stuck inside this spell are going to drop like flies.
Focused Mind – This handy skill increases attack speed by 3 percent. Although it seems like a small number, it helps. Couple this with Slow Time and you now have a 13 percent increase. This increase in attacks per second can be even greater utilized by players with Critical Hit gear. However, if that is not the case for you, the basic 13 percent is helpful regardless as you are now casting Electrocute faster, Blizzard hitting quicker and Hydra shooting faster.