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Wizard Spectral Blade build with the Tal Rasha set (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 7)

Last updated on Jul 30, 2016 at 23:19 by Deadset 29 comments

Table of Contents

Taking advantage of the revised Fragment of Destiny Fragment of Destiny and the interaction between The Shame of Delsere The Shame of Delsere and Depth Diggers Depth Diggers, this Tal Rasha and Firebird mixture build allows Spectral Blade Spectral Blade into the endgame. This flashy, primary-skill focused playstyle is available in both solo progression and speedfarming variations, explained in that order.

The build requires the following set pieces:

For Death's Breath farming, you need to weave in pieces from the Sage's Journey set: Sage's Passage Sage's Passage and either Sage's Purchase Sage's Purchase or Sage's Apogee Sage's Apogee, as outlined in the gearing section below.

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Video Guide

The following video guide was created to accompany the present written guide and demonstrate how to play the build in-game.

3. Builds

Solo Progression Speedruns
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Spectral Blade Icon Spectral Blade Thrown Blade Thrown Blade Right Mouse Button Teleport Icon Teleport Calamity Calamity 1 Explosive Blast Icon Explosive Blast Chain Reaction Chain Reaction 2 Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova Frozen Mist Frozen Mist 3 Magic Weapon Icon Magic Weapon Deflection Deflection 4 Energy Armor Icon Energy Armor Force Armor Force Armor
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Spectral Blade Icon Spectral Blade Thrown Blade Thrown Blade Right Mouse Button Teleport Icon Teleport Calamity Calamity 1 Explosive Blast Icon Explosive Blast Chain Reaction Chain Reaction 2 Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova Frozen Mist Frozen Mist 3 Magic Weapon Icon Magic Weapon Force Weapon Force Weapon 4 Storm Armor Icon Storm Armor Scramble Scramble
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

4. Rotation

The build begins runs with an activation of two background buffs; in the general Greater Rift variation, these will be Energy Armor Energy Armor Force Armor Force Armor and Magic Weapon Magic Weapon Deflection Deflection. As any Tal Rasha based build, this build needs to rotate between spells of different elements, which in turn deliver a Meteor Meteor of the corresponding damage type. To proc the fire element, you will be spamming Explosive Blast Explosive Blast Chain Reaction Chain Reaction; for cold, use Frost Nova Frost Nova Frozen Mist Frozen Mist on cooldown; and lightning is taken care of with the build's primary damage dealer, Spectral Blade Spectral Blade Thrown Blade Thrown Blade (as a primary, it also helps you maintain the Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint buffs). The fourth and final arcane proc will come from Teleport Teleport, as the Calamity Calamity rune has the appropriate damage component.

5. Skills, Runes and Passives

Spectral Blade Spectral Blade is the main damage dealer of the build. This melee primary skill has decent AoE coverage, and will be augmented further by the synergy between The Shame of Delsere The Shame of Delsere (turning it into an Arcane Power generator) and Depth Diggers Depth Diggers (boosting generator damage). Spectral Blade Spectral Blade will also attack twice as fast because of The Shame of Delsere The Shame of Delsere and Fragment of Destiny Fragment of Destiny unique bonuses, and hit thrice as hard from the wand damage multiplier. You will be taking the rune Thrown Blade Thrown Blade for its superior damage potential, as well as its increased area of effect.

Explosive Blast Explosive Blast is the solitary Arcane Power spender in the build: it unleashes a 12 yard radial wave of energy, conveniently centered on the character and freeing you of aiming concerns. You will have to get used to the 1.5 second wind up of the detonation however, and make sure you catch at least one enemy in the blast radius — despite its negligible damage in the build, Explosive Blast Explosive Blast is your only trigger to the spender half of the Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint bonus, and your only source of Orb of Infinite Depth Orb of Infinite Depth stacks. To ensure neither of these bonuses will fall off, we will be taking the multiple detonations from the rune Chain Reaction Chain Reaction. As a fire skill, it will take care of yet another element in the Tal Rasha rotation.

Similarly to other speedrun Tal Rasha specs, Frost Nova Frost Nova takes an active role and relegates crowd control duties to Calamity Calamity. In Tal specs, Frost Nova Frost Nova brings a set proc of its own, counting as a Cold damage dealing skill with the Frozen Mist Frozen Mist rune. While other Cold skills can fulfil the same purpose, the Frost Nova Frost Nova effect is centered on the hero, making farming as comfortable as possible.

Farming with efficiency means that a mobility skill has to find its way into the build, and for Wizards this means Teleport Teleport. Through the power of Illusionist in Greater Rifts and a cubed Aether Walker Aether Walker in normal Rifts, this normally cooldown-based skill turns into a reasonably spammable spender. This unrestricted mobility is taken to new heights with Calamity Calamity, whose 1-second stun is a great opener in fights and allows Tal Rasha meteors to easily find their target. The minor Arcane damage inflicted by the skill is also enough to trigger the Arcane Tal Rasha set bonus, and delivers a Star Pact Star Pact every 8 seconds.

You will be swapping between two armor spells according to your needs. Past GR 60, monsters grow in health and damage enough to be noticeable for Tal Rasha Wizards, and the protective powers of Energy Armor Energy Armor Force Armor Force Armor will mitigate damage spikes that don't outright kill you. In safer environments (lower GRs or normal difficulties) you can take Storm Armor Storm Armor for the movement speed increase of the Scramble Scramble rune, as you will inevitably get hit in this melee range, all-in farming spec. With a hefty duration of 10 minutes, it is likely you will only have to think about re-applying it once every few runs.

Another difficulty-based adjustment can be made in the final skill slot; for mid-to-high tier Greater Rifts, you will be taking Magic Weapon Magic Weapon with the protective Deflection Deflection rune. When clearing less threatening content, you can stick to the pure damage boost of Force Weapon Force Weapon.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Two damage passives make up half of your selection. Elemental Exposure Elemental Exposure makes a natural fit with the multi-element nature of the build; you will constantly benefit from the full 4 stacks as you rotate through the elements at your disposal. Audacity Audacity is a natural inclusion in a melee range spellcasting builds like this one, bringing an impressive 30% multiplicative damage increase against enemies within 15 yards.

Illusionist Illusionist is one of the most powerful Wizard survival tools in Greater Rifts, turning Teleport Teleport from a strategic cooldown into a constantly available asset. The requirement of 15% life taken per hit is calculated prior to mitigation and translates into “any hit taken” in higher difficulties. The additional 30% movement speed after Teleport Teleporting is just icing on the cake. In Torments you will likely have Aether Walker Aether Walker cubed, so this slot can be replaced by the Glass Cannon Glass Cannon damage increase.

With a base value buffed in Patch 2.4 and doubled by Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer, Galvanizing Ward Galvanizing Ward provides your strongest absorption shield every time you stay unharmed for 5 seconds — a surprisingly easy condition to fulfil as you maneuver through a Rift. If you are dominating the content you are running, you can swap Galvanizing Ward Galvanizing Ward out for the decent damage increase of Conflagration Conflagration.

6. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

The build has two recommended gearing paths: a damage-oriented general version with just the Tal Rasha set (used for GR progression and most Torment farming), and a Death's Breath farming version that includes Sage's Journey set. The build takes the full power of Tal Rasha's Elements set, wearing 5 of the 7 available pieces and cubing a Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur to reduce the number of items for set bonus completion by one. It either completes the remaining item slots with powerful legendaries or focuses on Death's Breath farming with Sage's Journey set, whose 3-piece power increases Death's Breath drops by 1. To farm Death's Breaths, you will be using Sage's Passage Sage's Passage (non-conflicting piece with Tal's set) as your boots, plus one more piece of your choosing — either Sage's Apogee Sage's Apogee or Sage's Purchase Sage's Purchase.

When rolling your gear, a general factor you have to be aware of is the breakpoint dependent nature of Spectral Blade Spectral Blade. You will be striving to reach the 13 frame breakpoint through maximized attack speed bonuses on your weapon, two more items (preferably rings), and in your Paragon points. A single roll of Cooldown Reduction on gear (preferably on shoulders), a Flawless Royal Diamond Flawless Royal Diamond in the helm and maxed CDR in Paragons will cut the cooldowns of Frost Nova Frost Nova and Teleport Teleport to just below 8 seconds, matching the internal cooldown of the Tal Rasha set. Additional Spectral Blade Spectral Blade damage can be rolled on both your belt and pants, and it is advisable to seek those stats out (especially after the change to Simplicity's Strength Simplicity's Strength and Depth Diggers Depth Diggers to multiplicative damage).

The ability to store the powers of Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Kanai's Cube opens a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Bastions of Will set, Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint. These rings offer an unparalleled 2.25 independent damage multiplier as long as you alternate between a primary and spender attacks, which you fulfil by interweaving Explosive Blast Explosive Blast in your Spectral Blade Spectral Blade spam. Seek Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Attack Speed and an open Socket as the best-in-slot stats for both Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint.

Two items play off each other, becoming vital for the Spectral Blade Spectral Blade setup — The Shame of Delsere The Shame of Delsere and Depth Diggers Depth Diggers. The Shame of Delsere The Shame of Delsere not only increases the attack speed of Spectral Blade Spectral Blade by 50%, but also unlocks the damage bonuses from Depth Diggers Depth Diggers by turning this primary skill into a generator. In turn, Depth Diggers Depth Diggers will be worn in most variations of the build (except Death's Breath farming, where Sage's set pieces block a Tal Rasha slot and necessitate that you cube Depth Diggers Depth Diggers instead), and with good reason — up to a 100% damage increase, multiplicative as of Patch 2.4.1.

Introduced in Patch 2.2 and buffed in later patches, Nilfur's Boast Nilfur's Boast were created to bolster the signature Meteor Meteors of the Tal Rasha set. Tripling the damage of Meteor Meteors by default and extending that damage bonus with another 350% against three or less enemies, these boots add some respectable burst to the Tal Rasha 2-piece bonus — even in a spec that does not focus on the skill specifically, like this one. Naturally, when Death's Breath farming in normal rifts this additional burst will not be needed, and the boots slot will be taken up by Sage's Passage Sage's Passage.

Fragment of Destiny Fragment of Destiny has been revised in Patch 2.4 to significantly improve the viability of Spectral Blade Spectral Blade, adding another 50% attack speed and a 200% damage multiplier to the otherwise unassuming primary. To assist you in reaching a high breakpoint, an ideal roll of the wand will include Attack Speed alongside Intelligence and Area Damage rolls.

Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer is a Patch 2.4 addition that doubles the potency of your shields, supplying the otherwise fragile Tal Rasha setup with a nice defensive backline. Depending on your setup, this will mean twice the Armor from Energy Armor Energy Armor, twice the shield from Deflection Deflection, and potentially twice the absorption from Galvanizing Ward Galvanizing Ward. In normal difficulties the protection of this bracer will not be needed, and you should replace it with a utility legendary. Taking either Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers or Warzechian Armguards Warzechian Armguards will speed up your clears with more frequent elites or environment destruction speed boosts.

6.1. BiS List

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Socket
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Meteor %
Shoulders
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Area Damage
  5. Armor
Torso
  1. Intelligence
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
  5. Life %
Wrists
  1. Lightning Damage
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Hands
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Attack Speed
Waist
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Spectral Blade %
  4. Life %
Legs
  1. Intelligence
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Spectral Blade %
  5. Armor
Feet
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Meteor %
  4. Movement Speed
  5. Armor
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Lightning Damage
  5. Intelligence
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Attack Speed
  5. Intelligence
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Attack Speed
  5. Intelligence
Weapon
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. Weapon Damage
  3. Intelligence
  4. Attack Speed
  5. Area Damage
  6. Vitality
Off-hand
  1. Damage Range
  2. Intelligence
  3. Crit Chance
  4. Area Damage
  5. Vitality

7. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Intelligence
  3. Vitality
  4. Maximum Arcane Power
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Damage
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Attack Speed
  4. Cooldown Reduction
Defense
  1. Armor
  2. Life %
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Resource Cost Reduction
  3. Life on Hit
  4. Gold Find

8. Gems

Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, Simplicity's Strength Simplicity's Strength and either Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken for greater rifts, or Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder for normal rifts and bounties. Alternatively, you can consider Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful for easier GRs or when Death's Breath farming.

  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem will be procced by the Calamity Calamity stun and its own level 25 property when in melee range, where the Spectral Blade Spectral Blade Wizard fights by default.
  • Simplicity's Strength Simplicity's Strength is one of the best hybrid gems you can take for the build, changed into a separate damage multiplier for primary skills as of Patch 2.4.1. Upgrading with a steady pace of half a percent per gem level, it quickly becomes a priority and a fixture in your gem choices. Its healing secondary effect is just icing on the cake.
  • You can swap between Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken and Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful depending on your purposes. Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken is unrivaled in Greater Rifts: building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist AoE heavy builds in their struggle against single target, high HP enemies. In lower Greater Rifts or when Death's Breath farming (a setup that denies you Goldwrap Goldwrap), you can easily swap Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken out for the well-rounded damage and toughness increase of Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful. In general Torment runs however, the slot is best taken by Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, whose interaction with the cubed Goldwrap Goldwrap will keep you rich, safe and sped up throughout the run.
Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

9. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: Orb of Infinite Depth Orb of Infinite Depth or Aether Walker Aether Walker for the weapon slot, Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass or Goldwrap Goldwrap for the armor slot, and Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur for the jewelry slot.

  • The weapon slot will be taken by Orb of Infinite Depth Orb of Infinite Depth, a Wizard offhand that twists the damage role of Explosive Blast Explosive Blast into a source of additional buffs. These buffs build up every time Explosive Blast Explosive Blast hits an enemy, with an end result of 20% multiplicative damage increase and the substantial 60% Damage Reduction at the maximum 4 Orb of Infinite Depth Orb of Infinite Depth stacks. In normal Rifts this protection is overkill, and is best replaced by Aether Walker Aether Walker for infinite mobility.
  • Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass will halve incoming damage as long as Arcane Power does not dip below 90% of its reserve, which is effectively a permanent bonus in this generator-focused, low spending spec — a great bonus when pushing the build to its Greater Rift limits. In normal rifts, you can gain all the protection you need from a cubed Goldwrap Goldwrap, whose interaction with a gemmed Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder will render you practically invulnerable. The exception to those two cube staples will be Depth Diggers Depth Diggers in the Death's Breath farming variation, as the Sage's set requires gear to be shifted around in a way that would deny you the pants' damage multiplier — something you avoid by cubing them.
  • The final item to tie the set bonuses together is the Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur, a cache legendary ring from Act I bounties. The ability to run with 6-piece Tal bonuses (and potentially 3-piece Sage bonuses) on top of Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint, dodging the undesirable guaranteed stats on the Grandeur by cubing its power, is a tremendous boost to the build.

10. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

11. ChangeLog

  • 30 Jul. 2016: Revised the guide to reflect the exclusion of Firebird's set from the setup.
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