The Critical Mass / Wicked Wind Wizard

The Critical Mass / Wicked Wind Wizard is the current max DPS Wizard build. It is commonly abbreviated as CM/WW. The build combines high critical hit chance and the high tick rate of Energy Twister’s Wicked Wind rune to proc the Critical Mass passive skill. Several powerful skills then have no cooldowns, which makes them spammable for massive damage and other nice perks.

Strengths

  • The max DPS build for Wizard
  • Get to see tons of flashy spell effects

Weaknesses

  • Very high gear requirements
  • Spamming abilities constantly tires out fingers.
  • Tons of flashy spell effects can cause headaches in some people.

Skills

Note: the specific skills chosen here are for the “ShockNadoShards” variant, which does the most damage. See the Variations section for a version with more defensive skills.

Mouse Left Click – Energy Twister (Wicked Wind)

Energy Twister has a very high tick rate. Each tick does a small amount of the total damage per cast of the spell, and each of those ticks that are critical hits has a small chance to proc Critical Mass. What this means is that with high critical hit chance and attack speed, you can get to a point where each twister will knock several seconds off your skills with cooldowns.

Normally, Energy Twisters are too erratic spinning in random directions, but the Wicked Wind puts the twisters in a reliable spot every time and they remain stationary for the duration. Several Energy Twisters stacked on top of enemies are also a big source of damage.

Mouse Right Click – Teleport (Wormhole)

This might not be the best hotkey for Teleport. That depends on if you want to spam a keyboard key or your Right Click button. Teleport is a staple of Wizard builds. It’s just a good all round skill that helps with whatever you are doing. The Wormhole runes is purely for efficiency. With fast attack speed, you are able to use it 3, 4, even 5 times before the cooldown takes effect. You can cover a lot more distance.

Keyboard 1 – Frost Nova (Deep Freeze)

This is the first spam skill. Hit this hotkey constantly in combat. It normally has a cooldown with the right stats, it is a free stun on all monsters close to your character. Because of diminishing returns, the stun won’t last long. That’s not a problem when you can spam this hotkey constantly. Monsters will basically be stunlocked as long as they are in range of your Frost Nova. Deep Freeze is a very nice critical hit chance bonus that synergizes perfectly with Critical Mass.

Keyboard 2 – Diamond Skin (Diamond Shards)

Diamond Skin is the second spam skill. Use it constantly for some safety. No matter how good you are at spamming Frost Nova, there be the occasional split second when monsters are not frozen and hit your character. You need Diamond Skin up to stay alive when that happens. Otherwise, you can have instant death situations. The Diamond Shards rune makes it so when it does break, usually from a few big Elite monster hits, it will at least do some very good area damage.

Keyboard 3 – Explosive Blast (Chain Reaction)

The third and last spam skill is Explosive Blast, a massive area damage skill. Use it constantly in combat for massive damage. The Chain Reaction rune just further improves the damage. Aside from Energy Twister stacking on monsters, Explosive Blast is the other big hitter. It basically does 100% damage per button press. The faster you can hit it, the faster it does damage.

Keyboard 4 – Storm Armor (Shocking Aspect)

This skill is taking mostly for the Shocking Aspect rune. All those Energy Twister ticks can proc Shocking Aspect as well. The normal Lightning hits are good as well, but Shocking Aspect scales extremely well with the other skills and stats in this build. You can spam this ability too if you want, but it won’t add any damage. Better to save your fingers from more injury.

Passive 1 – Cold Blooded

This combines well with Frost Nova. Nearby monsters will be frozen most of the time as you spam Frost Nova. This passive skill adds a nice damage bonus to all your skills on those frozen monsters.

Passive 2 – Critical Mass

Critical Mass is the skill that makes this build possible. The Wicked Wind rune for Energy Twister has the potential to do so many critical hits per second, this passive skill procs several times per second. That results in 0 second cooldown skills. Many run-of-the-mill skills like Frost Nova and Explosive Blast turn into real powerhouses once they have no cooldown.

Passive 3 – Unstable Anomaly

Unstable Anomaly is for survivability and efficiency. Because you are in melee range, there is the rare chance that you will be killed. This passive skill will give you a free life, so you don’t have to run back to the battlefront.

Weapon Type

A fast One Hand weapon works best for Critical Mass procs. Two Legendary options are Chantodo’s Will and Slorak’s Madness, both of which have several stats that are good for this build. For the Off Hand slot, you can use a Wizard Source or Shield, though the Wizard Source can roll a Wizard-only stat that is required for this build. Obviously, the Source will give you much higher damage, but the Shield might be needed if you don’t have good defenses.

Good Stats

This build needs high critical hit chance and attack speed to proc Critical Mass fast enough. It also needs a pretty high amount of the critical hits grant X Arcane Power stat. You are spamming abilities constantly, so your Arcane Power needs to be filled constantly. You can get that last stat from Wizard Wands, Wizard Sources, and Wizard Hats. Good minimum stats are 40% critical chance, 2.5 attack speed, 18 Arcane Power on crit.

That only satisfies the offensive side of the build. You will still need very high Resist All, Armor, and Life on Hit to survive. Lifesteal is also great if you can get it. I won’t give minimums here because everyone has their preference of how much survivability is good enough. If your defenses are not good enough, you can see some more defensive skills in the Variations section below. 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.

Variations

  • Slow Time (Time Warp) instead of Teleport (Wormhole) – Slow Time slows down enemy attack speeds, reducing the damage you take over time. You give up the very nice Teleport skill, which greatly speeds up farming runs. You will get the Time Warp rune though. It adds some damage to all monsters in the Slow Time, and Slow Time is up constantly with it’s 0 second cooldown from Critical Mass.
  • Energy Armor (Prismatic Armor) instead of Storm Armor (Shocking Aspect) – Energy Armor with the Prismatic Armor rune is a huge defensive bonus. The base skill gives a massive bonus to Armor, and the rune adds a nearly-as-large bonus to Resist All. Storm Armor doesn’t add a ton of damage, so it’s not a huge damage loss overall. Once you get good enough gear you can switch to Storm Armor.
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