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Wizard Guide: Inferno and Leveling Builds (skills, runes, gear, playstyle, etc.)

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While this guide will present only a few talent builds, those that are proven to work and that we consider optimal, note that there is a large number of possible viable combinations. Feel free to try out different spells at your leisure.

For all of the builds here, you must enable Elective Mode in Options > Gameplay. This allows you to have multiple skills from the category active at the same time.

Lastly, keep in mind that, at level 60, each time you kill a group of elite mobs, you gain a stack of Nephalem Valor (up to 5 stacks), which increases your gold and magic find percentage. These stacks do not disappear when you die, but they do get reset each time you change one of your skills. The implication of this is that you should try to find a suitable build and stick with it as much as possible.

Inferno Solo Build

For soloing the trash in Inferno mode, you will need a mixture of survivability and DPS, in both your gear and your talents. You will spend the majority of your time kiting (so you need a way to slow enemies) and not getting hit. However, there are times when it is impossible not to get hit (teleporting mobs, vortex, jailer or even waller elites, etc.), for which you need some means of survival.

We will present you with what we deem to be the best talent build, and we will also provide several viable alternative talents and skills. Moreover, we include what we feel are the best gearing options you can make, for both DPS and survival.


This [d3link=!Yaf!bbabZY]build[/d3link] is a viable means of farming mobs in Inferno. It provides you with:

  • DPS (aimed at multiple target/AoE DPS, but still performs decently in single target):
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_hydra][d3skill=wizard/active/hydra]Hydra[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Venom Hydra[/d3runeicon])
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_magicweapon][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-weapon]Magic Weapon[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Force Weapon[/d3runeicon])
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_shockpulse][d3skill=wizard/active/shock-pulse]Shock Pulse[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Piercing Orb[/d3runeicon])
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=d]Snowbound[/d3runeicon])
    • [d3pskillicon=wizard_passive_glasscannon][d3skill=wizard/passive/glass-cannon]Glass Cannon[/d3skill][/d3pskillicon]
  • Survivability/utility:
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_diamondskin][d3skill=wizard/active/diamond-skin]Diamond Skin[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Crystal Shell[/d3runeicon]), helps surviving unavoidable melee hits/bad situations;
    • [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Force Armor[/d3runeicon]), increases your armor, provides you with health regen and provides you with the Force Armor effect, which we explain below;
    • [d3pskillicon=wizard_passive_blur][d3skill=wizard/passive/blur]Blur[/d3skill][/d3pskillicon], reduces melee damage taken
  • Kiting ability: [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=d]Snowbound[/d3runeicon])

There are several changes you can make to this build, depending on your personal preference:

  • Use [d3askillicon=wizard_arcaneorb][d3skill=wizard/active/arcane-orb]Arcane Orb[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=b]Arcane Nova[/d3runeicon]) in conjunction with [d3pskillicon=wizard_passive_temporalflux][d3skill=wizard/passive/temporal-flux]Temporal Flux[/d3skill][/d3pskillicon] to slow and kite enemies, instead of [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon]. This produces slightly more AoE DPS but less control on the enemies. It also requires that you spend a talent point for kiting, which may be excessive.
  • [d3askillicon=wizard_mirrorimage][d3skill=wizard/active/mirror-image]Mirror Image[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=b]Duplicates[/d3runeicon]) or [d3askillicon=wizard_teleport][d3skill=wizard/active/teleport]Teleport[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=b]Fracture[/d3runeicon]) instead of [d3askillicon=wizard_magicweapon][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-weapon]Magic Weapon[/d3skill][/d3askillicon]. This provides more survivability/an extra tool to get you out of trouble, at the expense of added DPS.
  • Use [d3pskillicon=wizard_passive_astralpresence][d3skill=wizard/passive/astral-presence]Astral Presence[/d3skill][/d3pskillicon] instead of [d3pskillicon=wizard_passive_blur][d3skill=wizard/passive/blur]Blur[/d3skill][/d3pskillicon]. This will give you more DPS at the expense of survivability.


This is a brief overview of how to play this build:

  • Always keep up [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] and [d3askillicon=wizard_magicweapon][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-weapon]Magic Weapon[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].
  • Always place your [d3askillicon=wizard_hydra][d3skill=wizard/active/hydra]Hydra[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Venom Hydra[/d3runeicon]) in range of the targets you are attacking. You may need to re-place it often.
  • Always keep your targets slowed, either through [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] or [d3askillicon=wizard_arcaneorb][d3skill=wizard/active/arcane-orb]Arcane Orb[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].
  • If you cannot avoid a damaging situation, use [d3askillicon=wizard_diamondskin][d3skill=wizard/active/diamond-skin]Diamond Skin[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].

Obviously, you should also DPS your enemies with [d3askillicon=wizard_shockpulse][d3skill=wizard/active/shock-pulse]Shock Pulse[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].

Notes on Mechanics

Whenever possible, attempt to keep the targets in one place so that they remain in the puddles left by your [d3askillicon=wizard_hydra][d3skill=wizard/active/hydra]Hydra[/d3skill][/d3askillicon]. The damage of several puddles stacks, so this is optimal for maximising DPS.

Neither the damage nor the slowing effect of [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] stack within the same area. Therefore, it is pointless to spam Blizzard in the same place.

Despite what the tooltip says, the damage absorption offered by [d3runeicon=c]Force Armor[/d3runeicon] to [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] is capped at 100% of your maximum health. This means that Force Armor will provide absorption, reducing damage, when you take attacks that deal between 36% and 199% of your health. Anything that is below 36% will not trigger the effect, any attacks that deal 200% or more of your health will instantly kill you through Force Armor. This has some repercussions on your gearing, which we will discuss below.


To increase your DPS, your most valuable statistics are:

  • Weapon Damage
  • Intelligence;
  • Attack Speed;
  • Critical Strike Chance.

Choosing items that improve your DPS is made very easy by the comparative in-game tooltips, which show exactly how much of an increase to your DPS a certain item is. The tooltips account for things other than raw damage, such as attack speed.

To increase your survivability, which is sorely needed in Inferno mode (but not very much prior to Act 2 of Hell), your most valuable statistics are:

  • Armor and/or All Resists;
  • Intellect (which also increases all resists) and/or Vitality;

In order to maximise the benefits of [d3runeicon=c]Force Armor[/d3runeicon] there are a few things to keep in mind regarding your gear. You must always have an EHP of X, where X is the average damage mobs deal with a single hit, divided by 1.35. Your EHP is a combination of your hit points and the various types of damage reduction you benefit from (armor, resistances). Keep in mind that your EHP will be different in relation to the different types of attacks you must encounter, such as melee attacks versus magic attacks. We have found this tool to be very useful in determining your EHP.

In practice, this will depend on the stage of the game you are playing. You will have to empirically determine the amount of damage the mobs you are facing deal, and adjust your EHP accordingly. To simplify things, for Acts 2, 3 and 4 of Inferno (the only ones challenging enough to warrant this degree of gear optimisation), you should aim to have about 125,000 EHP. If you are gearing for survival in the way we suggested above, this means you should have about 30,000-40,000 hit points and 170-220 in resistances. Again, you can use the tool mentioned above to calculate this more accurately.

The entire aim of this practice is to ensure that your EHP is not:

  • too low for the damage you are taking, making it possible to get 1-shot.
  • too high, effectively wasting the benefits of Force Armor, which only procs on attacks that are at least 35% of your health.


Gemming your gear is not exactly straightforward, as it depends on the type of content you are doing and the level of your gear. Here are your options:

  • Helm sockets: Amethyst for survival (+ % Life), otherwise Topaz (+ Magic Find).
  • Weapon sockets: Amethyst for survival (Life Steal), otherwise Emerald (+ % Critical Damage). Ruby is better than Emerald at low gear levels (under 15% chance to crit).
  • Other sockets: Topaz (Intelligence).

Single Target Build

For single target fights (such as the Butcher or Azmodan), you can afford to take more DPS talents and you should also take single target attacks rather than AoE ones.

This [d3link=!YWX!cZbZaa]build[/d3link] is adequate for boss fights without adds.

[d3askillicon=wizard_magicmissile][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-missile]Magic Missile[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=e]Seeker[/d3runeicon]) will provide good single target DPS. Moreover, thanks to the Seeker rune, the missiles will follow the target on their own, so you can no longer miss with your attack. Finally, this allows you to stand at maximum range (where the boss is off your screen) and the missiles will still find their way to him.

[d3askillicon=wizard_rayoffrost][d3skill=wizard/active/ray-of-frost]Ray of Frost[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=a]Snow Blast[/d3runeicon]) provides very solid single target DPS and also slows the target, which can help you move around avoiding the boss's attacks.

Thanks to [d3runeicon=a]Sparkflint[/d3runeicon], your [d3askillicon=wizard_familiar][d3skill=wizard/active/familiar]Familiar[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] skill will further increase your DPS by a percentage.

[d3askillicon=wizard_diamondskin][d3skill=wizard/active/diamond-skin]Diamond Skin[/d3skill][/d3askillicon]'s absorption does not scale with your gear or the enemies' attacks, so at a certain point, it will become overwhelmed. At this stage, you should change Diamond Skin with [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Force Armor[/d3runeicon]), which scales well with your health.


This is a brief overview of how to play this build:

  • Always keep up [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon], [d3askillicon=wizard_magicweapon][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-weapon]Magic Weapon[/d3skill][/d3askillicon], and your [d3askillicon=wizard_familiar][d3skill=wizard/active/familiar]Familiar[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].
  • Always place your [d3askillicon=wizard_hydra][d3skill=wizard/active/hydra]Hydra[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Venom Hydra[/d3runeicon]) in range of the targets you are attacking. You may need to re-place it often.
  • Spam [d3askillicon=wizard_magicmissile][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-missile]Magic Missile[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] and [d3askillicon=wizard_rayoffrost][d3skill=wizard/active/ray-of-frost]Ray of Frost[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] on the boss.
  • If you cannot avoid a damaging situation, use [d3askillicon=wizard_diamondskin][d3skill=wizard/active/diamond-skin]Diamond Skin[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] to survive it.


Your gearing priorities while playing using this build are the same as the ones mentioned above.

Leveling Build

While leveling up, especially in the first 30 levels, your skill choice will not be very crucial. This is because the difficulty of Normal Mode is extremely low and you can complete it with any talents you desire. That said, here are the talent builds you should have at various levels:

After level 30, survivability becomes much more important, and you should pick up various end-game talents as they become available. Most importantly, you should change your level 30 build with the following talents, when they become available:

  • Choose the [d3runeicon=d]Absorption[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 32.
  • Choose the [d3runeicon=b]Arcane Nova[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_arcaneorb][d3skill=wizard/active/arcane-orb]Arcane Orb[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 32.
  • Choose the [d3runeicon=c]Piercing Orb[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_shockpulse][d3skill=wizard/active/shock-pulse]Shock Pulse[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 33.
  • Choose the [d3runeicon=c]Force Weapon[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_magicweapon][d3skill=wizard/active/magic-weapon]Magic Weapon[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 35.
  • Take [d3askillicon=wizard_hydra][d3skill=wizard/active/hydra]Hydra[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=c]Venom Hydra[/d3runeicon]) at level 38. You will remove Familiar in order to make room for Hydra.
  • Choose the [d3runeicon=e]Pinpoint Barrier[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 41.
  • Choose [d3askillicon=wizard_blizzard][d3skill=wizard/active/blizzard]Blizzard[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] ([d3runeicon=d]Snowbound[/d3runeicon]) at level 47. The skill you should be replacing is [d3askillicon=wizard_arcaneorb][d3skill=wizard/active/arcane-orb]Arcane Orb[/d3skill][/d3askillicon].
  • Choose the [d3runeicon=c]Force Armor[/d3runeicon] rune for [d3askillicon=wizard_energyarmor][d3skill=wizard/active/energy-armor]Energy Armor[/d3skill][/d3askillicon] at level 54.


While leveling up, your gearing should be done as follows, depending on the difficulty you are playing in:

  • Normal difficulty: look for any damage upgrades you can find (Weapon Damage and Intelligence, mostly). Survival is not an issue.
  • Nightmare difficulty: gear mostly for damage, but try to pick up pieces of gear that offer Vitality and/or resistances.
  • Hell difficulty: gear more aggressively for survival, prioritising Vitality and resistances over Weapon Damage or other damage increases. Judge this yourself, meaning that if you are surviving without any problms, you should boost your damage.

Followers - All Builds

Before Act 2 of Hell, having a Follower is not required. Even well into Inferno, you can manage without a Follower, albeit with more difficulty. You do not need to level up your Follower as you play along. If you first talk to your Follower at level 60, it will instantly be level 59, and it will have access to all its talent points and item slots.

We recommend using a Templar as your Follower, with this [d3link=]build[/d3link].

You should provide your Templar with tanking gear, that is to say Vitality in particular. Additionally, you can choose to put Magic Find items on him. You should equip the Templar with a shield.

He will provide the role of tanking for you, although it is more soaking a few hits and dying horribly rather than tanking.

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A nice tip while leveling is getting a head item with a socket. You should put a red gem in this socket which gives you a huge increase to experience gain. Currently I have a [d3normal=radiant-square-ruby]Radiant Square Ruby[/d3normal] in my head item and leveling is super fast.

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Thanks for the post Posted Image

I am a first time player of Diablo III and picked a Wizard as my first char role. I found the tips of talents, runes, etc very helpful and the mobs seem to be dropping even faster now Posted Image

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