LoD Frozen Orb Wizard Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing LoD Frozen Orb Wizard in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
|Spectral Blade Barrier Blades Arcane Orb Frozen Orb 1 Teleport Safe Passage 2 Black Hole Absolute Zero 3 Magic Weapon Deflection 4 Storm Armor Power of the Storm|
You will start runs with an activation of Storm Armor and Magic Weapon, both of which are to be kept up throughout the rift. Note that Halo of Karini has a range requirement and try to keep track of your positioning relative to enemies so that the defensive buff does not drop off. Scout out the rift and try to attract the attention of enemies to form a large pull, and then group it up in a stack with a Black Hole for the convenience of your nuke. Make a point to maintain your Triumvirate damage bonuses via Spectral Blade use at least once every 6 seconds. Teleport around the battlefield as necessary.
In order to optimize your damage, try to position yourself at a 40-yard distance range from the enemy. This will grant you the maximum possible benefit from Zei's Stone of Vengeance while also positioning the final Frozen Orb detonation (its most damaging point) exactly on the pull. Ideally, in any given fight you will be able to take down smaller enemy first, which nets you a proc of Oculus Ring to move into for another damage multiplier.
Skills and Runes
The main damage dealer and namesake of the build is Arcane Orb Frozen Orb — a long range projectile attack that hurls a pulsating orb of frost, exploding at the end of its 40-yard travel distance. Do your best to internalize the length of the Frozen Orb shot to maximize the benefits of said detonation, as it is stronger than the piercing projectile while it is moving. Make a point to always cast Arcane Orb after you fully stack Triumvirate, especially if the Cold cycle of Convention of Elements is coming up.
To counteract the considerable Arcane Power spending of Frozen Orb — 30 AP per shot — you will be including a primary attack in the build, adding a resource generation angle to it through Arcane Power on Crit on gear (see this build's gear page for more information). You have a good number of viable primary attacks for the slot, including the protective Spectral Blade Barrier Blades (our general recommendation), the crowd control synergy of Magic Missile Glacial Spike, or the superior proc coefficient of Shock Pulse Piercing Orb.
Magic Weapon offers an attractive, long-lasting damage buff by default, which branches out even more nicely into defense via the rune Deflection — highly desirable in order to safeguard your Squirt's Necklace damage buff. Note that this protective effect is doubled via the worn Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer, if you choose to wear it.
Black Hole will be taken into the build as means of crowd controlling the enemy and building up large pulls. Our general recommendation is to take the rune Absolute Zero for the elemental damage buff it provides to Cold spells, synergizing with your main damage dealer. That being said, Spellsteal is also a fine option as it offers a balanced split between an offensive and defensive buff.
As consistent means of protection, you will be adding Storm Armor to the build. With a fire-and-forget duration of 10 minutes and a negligible damage proc, it can be easily overlooked if not for the massive damage reduction properties of Halo of Karini (see this build's gear page for more information). You will be taking the rune Power of the Storm for the Resource Cost Reduction, but you can also consider alterations such as Shocking Aspect for the superior uptime of the procs for the Karini buff, or Scramble for the additional movement speed.
Last but not least, Teleport will round out your skill selection with valuable maneuverability across the battlefield; either to engage, reposition, or simply move away from an unfavorable fight. The preferred rune is the protective Safe Passage, which — coupled with the cooldown-resetting powers of the Illusionist passive — allows you to maintain distance from the enemy along with a helpful damage reduction buff on top.
Added with similar reasoning to Magic Weapon Deflection (mainly Squirt's Necklace buff maintenance), Galvanizing Ward introduces a solid damage buffer that benefits from the doubled effectiveness via Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer.
Another powerful survival tool is hidden in your Illusionist passive, feeding additional CDR into your Slow Time and turning 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 high Greater Rifts. The additional 30% movement speed after using some of the build's core abilities is just icing on the cake.
Elemental Exposure is taken to bolster your damage through your myriad of elemental damage sources. Notice that the passive bumps damage in 5% increments per element used; you fulfill the cold with Frozen Orb, lightning with Storm Armor, and arcane with Barrier Blades. The final bump will come from the damage type of your weapon, Unstable Scepter — a lucky roll (or reroll) of the base damage from another type (i.e. physical or arcane) into fire will bring the last piece of the damage buff. In Hardcore, you can consider dropping this passive for Unstable Anomaly.
Finally, take Power Hungry — it is the mirror of Audacity, reworked into a multiplicative damage increase against enemies further than 30 yards. This passive synergizes excellently with the long range orientation of the build, based on the Frozen Orb mechanics.
Reverse Archon Variant
|Shock Pulse Piercing Orb Arcane Orb Frozen Orb 1 Archon Teleport 2 Black Hole Absolute Zero 3 Magic Weapon Deflection 4 Storm Armor Power of the Storm|
Another option for this build is the so-called "Reverse Archon" playstyle, which takes advantage of Archon skill simply as means of a powerful damage buff for your main nuke, Frozen Orb. While there is no focus on Archon damage, or indeed any expectation to kill monsters during Archon uptime (it is strictly treated as a buff), you will generate Archon stacks due to the Fazula's Improbable Chain mechanics. The Swami keeps your Archon stacks for 20 seconds outside of Archon form, meaning every second Convention of Elements full cycle (16 seconds in total per full cycle, 4 seconds per element) you can be supremely buffed by these temporary bonuses. With optimized cooldown reduction (see this variant's paragraph in the gear page for more information), you will be able to enter at the Fire CoE cycle and exit at the Lightning CoE cycle, giving you a few seconds to finish the pull with Black Hole (you spend your time in Archon drawing monster aggro and setting up the fight). You then have one burst cycle on the Cold rotation and one Cold rotation without Archon stacks, and re-enter Archon at the next Fire cycle, repeating the process all over again (this is the so-called 48 second cycle).
The remainder of your skill usage is identical to the base build: keeping up the shields ( Storm Armor, Deflection, Barrier Blades), grouping monsters with Black Hole, and blasting away from a 40-yard distance with Frozen Orb. Note the change in the passives from Illusionist to Evocation.
It goes without saying, but this timing-intensive, high skill cap alteration is only meant to push this build to the outer limits of its power, and is not recommended for casual play.
- 13 Sep. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 29.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 28.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 27.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 06 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 30 Oct. 2021: Enriched the guide with additional information.
- 22 Jul. 2021: Added S24 Ethereal recommendation.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Skill and passive selection revised.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Guide added.
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