The Glass Cannon Wizard

The Glass Cannon Wizard is a fun build that does not require any special gear or minimum stats to work well. With this build I wanted to make the max damage glass cannon build using the Glass Cannon passive skill and other skills that give damage buffs. This build can also be a great build for farming experience in low Monster Power levels, where you don’t have to worry about dying.

Strengths

  • Works with any kind of gear you have
  • High DPS means you level up fast

Weaknesses

  • Low defenses means you can die fast
  • Fast monsters can be impossible to kite

Skills

Mouse Left Click – Magic Missile (Charged Blast)

Magic Missile is only used for single targets like Bosses and Elites or when you run out of Arcane Power with your other skills. With Charged Blast it will do pretty good damage, but the other damage skills will do more and can hit more than one monster.

Mouse Right Click – Arcane Orb (Tap the Source)

This is the main source of damage in this build. Arcane Orb hits a pretty good size of monsters for good damage but costs quite a bit of Arcane Power. I recommend only using it against Elites and Bosses. Against melee ones, it will usually hit the entire group. When fighting ranged Elites, you will have to use Magic Missile sometimes while waiting to regenerate Arcane Power. The Tap the Source rune allows you to use 5 Arcane Orbs before running out of Arcane Power, much better than the 3.5 that is possible without it.

Keyboard 1 – Hydra (Arcane Hydra)

Hydra is a nice, low cost damage supplement. The Arcane Hydra heads basically shoot miniature Arcane Orbs. The damage is less and the area is smaller, but it can really add up over time. Arcane Hydra seems to do the most reliable damage out of all the Hydra runes. It can handle most weak monsters, saving you Arcane Power to use on the stronger monsters.

Keyboard 2 – Magic Weapon (Force Weapon)

Being a Glass Cannon build, it makes sense to have a good damage increaser. Magic Weapon with the Force Weapon rune is probably the best one. It increases your weapon’s base damage by 15%, which basically translates into 15% increased damage to all attacks. This stacks with the Glass Cannon damage bonus as well.

Keyboard 3 – Teleport (Safe Passage)

Teleport is just a great skill for any ranged Wizard build. Teleport out of melee range or away from dangerous Elemental attacks. If the Teleport fails to get you out of harms way, you still get a nice 30% damage reduction for 4 seconds from the Safe Passage rune. Many times that is just enough to kill an Elite pack before dying.

Keyboard 4 – Familiar (Sparkflint)

Here’s another damage increaser. The Familiar does some damage on its own but it’s the Sparkflint rune that really boosts your damage, by 12% in this case. It’s a little weaker than Magic Weapon (Force Weapon) but pretty close.

Passive 1 – Prodigy

Arcane Power can run out fairly quickly with this build. Switching to the free Magic Missile for a few seconds will recoup Arcane Power, but you can speed it up even faster with Prodigy. With your fast attack speed, you might be able to get 2 Magic Missiles off per second for 8 Arcane Power regeneration per second. That reduces the amount of time you have to wait to use your high damage skills again.

Passive 2 – Glass Cannon

The most important gives a nice 15% damage bonus to all attacks you do. The downside is that it decreases Armor and Resistances by 10%. As a glass cannon, you have to avoid as much as possible. Your high damage means every battle is a race to kill the monsters before they kill you, and it’s a close race.

Passive 3 – Temporal Flux

There’s a great synergy between the area of effect Arcane skills and Temporal Flux. It’s just so easy to shoot one Arcane Orb and slow all the monsters down. There are some other passives that specialize in the other Elements (Fire, Cold, Lightning), but those other Elements don’t have skills that are conducive to the Glass Cannon play style. Fire and, especially, Cold skills require you to stand in place more, and Paralysis just doesn’t work well in practice.

Weapon Type

Kiting is much easier when you can attack quickly. You can’t attack on the run, so the slower your attacks, the more time you spend standing still and vulnerable. The highest damage with a fast attack speed comes from a Wand or Sword + Wizard Orb, but you might need a Shield to survive until you get good gear.

Good Stats

Fast attack speed is great but causes you to consume more Arcane Power over time. You can get items that increase Arcane Power regeneration or, even better, give you Arcane Power for critical hits you do. Fast movement speed is also a very big plus to help with kiting. For general gearing that applies to all characters, check out The Stats You Want in Diablo 3, my quick guide to stats that all characters should have.

Alternatives

  • Energy Armor (Prismatic Armor) instead of Familiar (Sparkflint) – Energy Armor with Prismatic Armor will counter the defensive penalties from Glass Cannon, and even give you a slight bonus to Armor and Resistances. It is, unfortunately, out of reach for low levels because of Prismatic Armor’s level 60 requirement.
  • Astral Presence instead of Prodigy – Instead of relying on Prodigy and Magic Missiles to regenerate Arcane Power, you can just increase your base regeneration with Astral Presence. This is especially powerful if you are using Energy Armor; it will completely counteract the -20 Arcane Power.
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