Typhon Frost Hydra Wizard Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Typhon Frost Hydra Wizard in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.3 and Season 26.
|Spectral Blade Barrier Blades Hydra Frost Hydra 1 Teleport Safe Passage 2 Blizzard Apocalypse 3 Magic Weapon Deflection 4 Storm Armor Shocking Aspect|
You will start runs with an activation of Storm Armor, which is to be kept up throughout the rift for the massive damage reduction bonuses it provides from its interaction with Halo of Karini. Note that the damage reduction proc requires a 15-yard distance from the enemy struck by Storm Armor, so in fights with fewer targets (especially Rift Guardians), you need to make sure to create some space on a regular basis to get the proc; otherwise, you will drop the buff and expose yourself to lethal amounts of damage. At all times, you should be able to quickly re-position and stabilize safety with Teleport Safe Passage.
Every time you start a run or make a zone transfer between maps, you need to make sure to pre-summon two Hydras to max out your Typhon 4-piece set bonus prior to any engagements. Also make sure to cap out the currently spawned Hydras as they die off or expire, since your survivability and damage dealt hinges on their currently active number.
Cast Spectral Blade continuously in a longer fight, or interweave its use as you move forward forward through the rift; this is required to strengthen your Barrier Blades shield, as well as to keep building stacks of Arcane Dynamo and Fragment of Destiny (note that the latter requires hitting enemies, while the other effects can be cast into thin air and still trigger). Once you have a good fight going and enemies come swarming in, cast Blizzard over them to get the Winter Flurry buff for your Hydras.
Use Hydra with fully built up Arcane Dynamo stacks; the damage buff from the passive will snapshot and last for the duration of the summon. Try to be strategic with your Hydra placements, making use of their focus on the nearest target; placing them in confined spaces and corners will ensure their cone-shaped attacks will all fire off in the same direction and will be narrowed down to an enemy of your choice.
Last but not least, stick close to your Hydras to lure enemies within their modest range of effect, as well as to proc the proximity-reliant Audacity. 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
Your primary damage dealing skill and namesake of the build is, of course, Hydra. You have some freedom in your rune selection, but the highlighted version in this guide is the Cold damage variation based on the rune Frost Hydra due to the convenient cone-shape of its damage output.
You will be taking Blizzard by necessity due to the revised powers of Winter Flurry — now transformed into a Hydra-specific source that amplifies the summons' damage against enemies within the Blizzard radius. You have two viable rune options; either Apocalypse for the enlarged Area of Effect, or the longer lasting Unrelenting Storm.
With the revised powers of Fragment of Destiny — now improving the damage of Hydras with a stacking 'Spectral' mechanic depending on the use of Signature Spells, you will have to include a primary attack by necessity. Our base recommendation is Spectral Blade with the rune Barrier Blades, which supplements the shield-based protection of the build and synergizes nicely with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer.
There are two viable options in your "utility" slot. Our default recommendation is to take Magic Weapon Deflection for a considerable protective layer that stacks up easily with Spectral Blade attacks. Another great option is to take Black Hole as means of crowd controlling the enemy and building up large pulls. You should take either the rune Absolute Zero for the longer lasting elemental damage buff it provides to Cold spells, synergizing with your main damage dealer, or the rune Spellsteal for the balance between an offense and defense buff (at a reduced duration).
Sometimes immediate repositioning will be required — evading a bad affix, engaging a larger pack of enemies to maximize the Frost Hydra AoE, or simply to gain a temporary Toughness buff in a rough fight. Teleport will cover you for all these purposes, along with the damage reduction of the Safe Passage rune.
Rounding skills out, 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 Shocking Aspect for the superior uptime of the procs for the Karini buff. Alternatively, you can consider Scramble for the additional movement speed.
This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.
Arcane Dynamo offers a whopping 60% multiplicative increase of your next spender with fully stacked Flashes of Insight, enforcing a rotation of Spectral Blade stacking (both this passive as well as the Fragment of Destiny effect) prior to putting a Hydra down.
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.
Audacity brings a sizable 30% multiplicative damage increase against enemies within 15 yards — a near-melee range prerequisite that you fulfill naturally through the playstyle of the build, as enemies close in on you while you slash away with Spectral Blade.
Elemental Exposure rounds out your passive selection with another damage increase. Notice that the passive bumps damage in 5% increments per element used; you fulfill the fire with Apocalypse, cold with Frost Hydra and arcane with Barrier Blades. The final bump will come from the damage type of your weapon, Serpent's Sparker — a lucky roll (or reroll) of the base damage from another type (i.e. physical or arcane) into lightning will bring the last piece of the damage buff.
In Hardcore play, you might want an additional layer of safety in the form of the Unstable Anomaly cheat death passive. Replace either Audacity or Elemental Exposure for it, depending on how confident you feel about the upkeep of the Audacity buff (if you think you are consistent with your range play, keep it over Elemental Exposure).
Long Range / Ranslor's Folly Variation
There is a notable variation to the Typhon Hydra summoner playstyle for high end Greater Rift pushing, which alters the build from close to long range combat. This build relies on favorable monster composition (high trash density, relatively low aggression enemies) in the Rift and makes the following alterations to skills:
- The short range Spectral Blade is exchanged for the long range, AP generation powerhouse Electrocute Surge of Power.
- The solitary repositioning tool Teleport is dropped for Energy Twister Wicked Wind; combined with Ranslor's Folly, it creates a potent, on-demand pixel pulling tool for the build that functions perfectly for trash-dense Rifts. (Check out the Gear page for the remaining gear alterations.)
- The proximity-dependent Audacity passive is replaced by its long range counterpart Power Hungry.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 06 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 22 Oct. 2021: Enriched the guide with additional information.
- 22 Jul. 2021: No changes required for Season 24.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Revised skill selection.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Revision of item, skill and passive recommendations, alongside advice for Season 22 changes.
- 01 Jul. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 10 Mar. 2020: Guide added.
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