This is a guide for greater rift gameplay for Archon wizards using the reworked Vyr's Amazing Arcana set. I consider this guide to be for advanced players.
If you have not read my in-depth guide on Bane of the Stricken yet, I highly suggest doing so before reading this guide.
This guide will explain the Archon wizard and its mechanics in detail and will hopefully clear up some of the partially false rumors I have seen spreading on the forums.
Archon wizards have little gear choice, so here is what you need.
ItemizationThe mandatory items
- Vyr's Amazing Arcana (6 pieces)
- Stack gain rate is limited to 3 stacks per cast and only works with the Archon Strike and Disintegration Wave abilities
- You still gain 1 stack per kill, which is not limited at all
- Chantodo's Resolve (2 pieces)
- Your main damage dealer of up to 7,000% weapon damage per second
- Stack gain is limited to 1 stack per attack, so even with capped attack speed at 5 attacks per second you still need at least 4 seconds to get to 20 stacks
- Ancient Parthan Defenders
- Freezes count as stuns, so this offers isane survivability with Halo of Arlyse
- Fazula's Improbable Chain
- Halo of Arlyse
- Jewelry Slot in Kanai's Cube: Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
- Armor Slot in Kanai's Cube: The Swami
- Stacks can overlap into Archon form and are additive with normal Archon stacks
- Weapon Slot in Kanai's Cube: Aether Walker
- Also works in Archon form, where Teleport then does have no cooldown or Arcane Power cost at all
- Either Unity for a more defensive setup or Convention of Elements for more damage
- Eye of Etlich is preferred as an amulet, but immunity amulets like Mara's Kaleidoscope or The Star of Azkaranth also work
- Bane of the Stricken
- Helps you against the boss and works very well with high sheet attack speed, especially when snapshotting the internal cooldown to a lower value using a potion
- Bane of the Trapped
- Best damage gem in the game, since it is in its own damage buff category
- Enemies get slowed by the Archon Slow Time ability when inside of Archon and by the slowing aura of the gem when outside of Archon
- Pain Enhancer
- Highest damage proc off all legendary gems, considering most wizard skills have bad proc coefficients
- The additional attack speed helps with Archon stack gain before you are capped at 5.0 attacks per second
To see the stat priority on the items, check out the build on d3planner.com.
I prefer Attack Speed over Cooldown Reduction or Damage Increase on weapons because attack speed on weapons is multiplicative with attack speed on gear and thus allows you to get more value out of Archon stacks and Pain Enhancer, but you are goig to reach the cap of 5.0 attacks per second faster with this.
- Core: Intelligence
- Offense: Cooldown Reduction > Critical Hit Damage > Critical Hit Chance > Attack Speed
- Defense: Life > Armor > Resistance to All Elements > Life per Second
- Utility: Life Per Hit > Area Damage > Ressource Cost Reduction > Gold Find
- Active Skills
- Arcane Torrent - Static Discharge
- Spender for Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac with an internal attack speed scalar of 3.0 for faster reset of Archon cooldown
- Has the best proc coefficient of all usable channeling spells, so 4 Arcane Power on Critical Hit is enough
- The delay on the bullet allows you to gain 1-2 more Chantodo's Resolve stacks after you enter Archon
- Spectral Blade - Flame Blades
- Insane temporary fire elemental damage increase
- Scales well with your attacks per second
- You gain all runes from the Vyr's Amazing Arcana set
- Obviously used in an Archon based build
- Frost Nova - Deep Freeze
- Halo of Arlyse uses the Frost Nova rune on your bar, so this is permanent 10% Critical Hit Chance
- Do not ever use this skill yourself, since doing so will lower the amount of Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac procs going towards the Archon cooldown
- Teleport - Safe Passage
- Provides 25% damage reduction when outside of Archon
- Insane mobility without cooldown because of Aether Walker (also works when in Archon)
- Ice Armor - Crystallize
- Ice Armor is needed for Halo of Arlyse
- Crystallize rune provides 60% armor, which is a needed defensive boost
- Arcane Torrent - Static Discharge
- Passive Skills
- Extra damage reduction, needed so you do not die
- 20% free cooldown reduction which are definitely needed in a cooldown-based build
- Unstable Anomaly
- Dying sets you back quite a bit, so this cheat death helps you not to
- Audacity is one of the strongest damage buffs in the game, because it is in its own buff category and thus multiplicative with every other buff
Gameplay and MechanicsThe rest of this guide is done in my usual Q&A style, which should hopefully make this guide easier to follow.
What does the set even do?
I suggest you to read the item descriptions.
What does the gameplay look like?
If you want to see high-level wizard gameplay, I highly suggest checking out Quin69's GR70 clear.
Archon gameplay consists of six phases. After phase 6, go back to phase 3. If you die (which is basically game over), go back to phase 1.
- Build up 20 Chantodo's Resolve stacks
- Enter Archon form and try to get as many stacks as possible
- Reset Archon cooldown using Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
- Build up the remainder of the 20 Chantodo's Resolve stacks using Flame Blades
- Enter Archon form with still overlapping stacks from The Swami, this is where your damage is the highest (since you have overlapping stacks and for part of this phase also the Flame Blades stacks)
- Remaining time in Archon without overlapping stacks from The Swami is spent trying to group up mobs while still trying to damage them, may also be spent for going to the next group of mobs
Every Archon stack is equal to 1% to all resistances, 1% to armor, 1% to attack speed and 6% damage in the DIBS category (Damage Increase By Skill).
What is the DIBS category?
Damage buffs in Diablo III are sorted into categories. Buffs in the same category are additive with each other, while the sums of all categories get multiplied with each other.
Archon being in DIBS is bad, because most damage buffs are in the DIBS category. This makes Archon wizards benefit less from group buffs or certain skills, since they diminish in value. It also makes power pylons have almost no effect for Archon wizards.
When do I use either Arcane Strike or Disintegration Wave in Archon
Arcane Strike freezes enemies, which makes enemies resistant to crowd control even faster. There is no value in using Ancient Parthan Defenders if all enemies around you are resistant to crowd control, so you should use Disintegration Wave when enemies are not yet crowd control resistant.
If you intend to ramp up Bane of the Stricken stacks, you should use Arcane Strike, since it hits more often (and also does slightly more damage most of the time, depending on the attack speed breakpoint you hit).
When using the Disintegration Wave ability, make sure to describe a cone with the beam that as many monsters as possible within one attack cycle. Since Disintegration Wave is a channeling ability, you can animation cancel it with a non-channeling ability like Teleport to move around without wasting any attack cycles you could have gained archon stacks in. This is not possible when using Arcane Strike, since it is not considered a channeling spell.
What about the other Archon abilities?
You enable Slow Time once you enter Archon form and you use Arcane Blast as often as possible. I highly suggest numlocking the latter.
Teleport is used for mobility, survivability and gathering mobs. It can also be used to skip bad maps completely when used in conjunction with Aether Walker, which makes you need less Greater Rift keys when fishing for the perfect rift.
Why do you suggest using Aether Walker over The Furnace or other items?
- Fishing for the perfect rift: More mobility means you need less rift keys
- Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac procs are not being wasted on Teleport when outside of Archon
- Being able to constantly teleport around allows you to control what mobs get resistant to your freezes and reposition yourself better and more frequently to adjust to their crowd control resistance
As explained by Wyatt Cheng in this post:
When monsters are CC'ed, they get 10% CC resist for every second they are CC'ed. If you CC them for 2.5 seconds, they gain 25% CC resist.This means that your survivability is based on your constant repositioning and that you will have to gather new mobs all the time using teleport, because you will at all times want mobs around you that are not resistant to crowd control yet.
Prior to 2.3.0, this capped out at 65%, so if a monster had been CC'ed for 8 seconds, it would still only apply 65% of it's CC resist. As for 2.3.0, this now caps at 95%. In other words, monsters can reduce the effectiveness of your CC abilities to 5% of their full duration IF they had already been CC'ed for 9.5 seconds or more prior to that.
This CC resist naturally decays at a rate of 5% per second while the monster is NOT CC'ed and free to act.
Note 1: soft" CC's such as movement speed slows are not affected by, nor do they effect, this CC resist in any way.
Note 2: When CC resist was initially implemented it decayed by 10%. This was changed to 5% in Reaper of Souls Note 3: We experimented with a 20% minimum during PTR but did not like it, so that change did NOT go live.
What is animation cancelling channeling abilities?
Wizards channeling abilities can be cancelled by some spells, so you can effectively cast two spells in the same attack speed cycle.
This can be abused so you can gain Archon stacks while teleporting and using Disintegration Wave at the same time.
In an alternate version of this build where you swap Frost Nova for Blizzard - Snowbound, you can spam Blizzard while channeling Arcane Torrent to animation cancel it so you get two Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac procs in only one attack cycle.
What do I do with each pylon?
- Allows you to recover from death more easily by resetting Archons cooldown
- Allows you to get more Flame Blades stacks
- Gather density, take conduit, kill stuff
- More damage, but value diminishes the more Archon stacks you have
- Best to take in phase 6, because you will then have the most uptime on it when you have no overlap
- Very good in phase 1-5, when you are the squishiest
- Good to kill mobs that are fully resistant to crowd control
- Movement speed effect is basically useless, because you ever only move using the teleport skill
- Knockup effect counts as crowd control, and thus makes mobs become resistant to crowd control faster
- Only take when fighting bosses, because the knockup hits count as hits for Bane of the Stricken