Sim’s Awesome Diabro Posts

I’m still having a good time and am making reasonable progress for a casual player who doesn’t group. And therein lies the problem with Seasons — you really have to group in order to get high paragon numbers, and high paragon numbers are what you need to survive the hardest parts of Seasons. I don’t want to group with strangers, so I may not finish.

Then again, I may get far enough to obtain an extra stash tab, which is all I want.

My demon hunter is coming along really well, thanks to Blizzard’s much improved drops, some good fortune related to goblins, etc.

She presently has a decent Unhallowed Essence set:

As you can see, it’s a simple setup that centers around Multishot and Vengeance. I have enough cooldown to keep Vengeance up nearly all the time. I think I have a fairly good synergy and a relatively good balance between damage and survivability. You’ll notice, however, that I need better jewelry. The Traveler’s Pledge amulet is incredibly good, and I have two more really good ones sitting in the stash. The rings, sadly, are not so great. What I need is a good Focus/Restraint set for this build. I have a workable Focus but no decent Restraint.

Well, I’m in Torment 10 now, so maybe things will get better. I can do a level 46 Greater Rift comfortably. To improve my legendary gems, I’ll have to get a little uncomfortable, but them’s the breaks.

Diablo 3 remains a fast game, and this character is ultra-fast. Sometimes she’s so fast that I almost lose control of her. Her low resistances are offset somewhat by the demon hunter’s native “cheaty teleport” skill Vault. It’s clear to me that Blizzard favored this class from the get-go. They gave her the advantages of Diablo 2’s sorceress and essentially crippled the D3 wizard.

Oh well — now I need to do a set dungeon in order to finish the “Slayer” chapter of Season 10. After that, the big hurdles will be Conquests — those stupid hoops you have to jump through to get a stash tab. Oh, and let’s not forget completing a level 70 Greater Rift (which is why I need more paragon points).

I’m so pleased with this wizard that I had to share a little. This is a lightning build, and it is very, very powerful.

Diablo 3 has traditionally not been very good to the wizard’s lightning abilities. The signature skills are more novel than useful, and the spenders have been woefully lacking in power. Come to think of it, Blizzard has ignored two elemental build possibilities if you include cold. It’s true that Archon is an arcane element, and they do offer the Vyr’s set for that focus. They also provide Firebird if you want to go all fire all the time. But lightning has been their real stepchild.

Enter the amazing legendary ring called Manald Heal. As you can see, the perk works with the wizard’s Paralysis passive and has a 15% chance to proc as much as 14,000 percent weapon damage. That . . . is . . . huge.

Let’s take a moment to examine how the build works.

As you can see, Paralysis is chosen as one of the passives. The Manald Heal ring has been cubed so I can use the amazing properties of the Legacy of Nightmares ring set. Notice the perk: as long as LoN is your only set bonus, every ancient item you  have confers 100% additional damage. That, folks, is a lot of hurt.

I have tried to raise my attack speed as much as possible. The synergy offered by the Shame of Delsere belt and the Gogok of Swiftness legendary gem is off the chain. I need this to increase the chance of that 15% proc, and it works. Arcane Torrent is also a fast skill (aided by the shoulders), and the hydras spit out lighting quite rapidly (two of them, thanks to the cubed Serpent’s Sparker). The Myken’s Ball of Hate source does its job nicely. There’s hardly ever a time when enemies aren’t paralyzed and taking immense doses of lightning damage.

For survivability, you can’t go wrong with the Aquila Cuirass, as long as you can keep your Arcane Power over 92%. This is helped along by the cubed belt. Also, since I can’t use Teleport, I have to rely on the extra health I get from the amethyst in Leoric’s Crown, but mainly I’m counting on the Deflection rune of Magic Weapon working in concert with the Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer. I’m pretty happy with the result. In fact, everything in this build contributes meaningfully to my protection and the humiliating zappery of monsters. (I’m still looking for an ancient pair of Tasker and Theo gloves –

If you feel inclined to bow down, I’ll understand.


ILA has already discussed the Tristram content for patch 2.4.3, so I will talk a bit about some of my class progress. Here is an informative videro about solo Greater Rift clear competition, if you care about that. I don’t, except insofar as I like to steal ideas for making myself more powerful in my little bailiwick.

My main wizard is doing pretty well. She can fairly comfortably farm at Torment 11, but I prefer 10 just because it’s faster and because I can’t detect a huge difference in drop rate. She maintains her melee build but is now using the interesting ring Manald Heal in the Cube. This confers huge lightning damage and has a 15% proc chance. So I have changed Spectral Blade to a lightning rune and have increased the speed dramatically. The damage from Spectral Blade alone is colossal, owing to the insane attack speed, but that 15% procs mighty fast, and that’s the reason for the change. Note how everything SYNERGIZES with everything else:

This is system-building, which is why I love D3.

On another front, I’m working on my demon hunter. Initially, I didn’t care for this class. He was too derpy compared to the wizard with all her spectacle, but I think I can do something with this guy. I’m trying to coax Kadala into giving me a certain belt and quiver so that I can exploit grenades. That will happen. It’s only a matter of time. You can see here that I’m heading toward some kind of workable SYNERGY, though I have a ways to go:

I rather like this chap now. He’s getting faster, and speed is what attracts me to the game. My wiz is so fast (thanks to constant teleport, Spectral Blade attack speed, etc.) that monsters die without knowing what hit them. The DH is going there, but patience is the watchword.

More as things of sufficient interest occur.

In the News Nobody Cares About department, Rhykker has revisited the predictions he made in his Season 7 PTR (public test realm) video, concluding that his forecasts about top solo Greater Rift builds were eerily accurate with occasional upsets.

Not surprisingly, Europe is dominating the field of highest rift clears, with Asia coming in second and North America bringing up the rear. I imagine this is because Europeans tend to play old games forever while Americans always go to the next big thing. As for Asia – who knows why they do what they do? Who can plumb the depths of their inscrutability? They’re almost as mysterious as Canada.

Witch doctors are, of course, very strong, but are outpaced by monks. In fact, monks are presently the “third best” class across the leaderboards, but they’re squeezed out of the number 2 spot by, of all things, Legacy of Nightmare bombardment crusdaders.

At number one globally . . . are you believing this? . . . is the wizard. And this is for the second season in a row. The Firebird/Archon meta still dominates in spite of Blizzard’s devastating (and proper) nerf to the ridiculously OP twister-spam exploit.

I personally don’t care for Archon, whether used with the Vyr or Firebird set, but who knew three years ago that the stepchild wizard would become D3’s champeen toon? What a world in which we live in, in which.

Reality check: none of this matters unless you’re one of those career mouthbreathers who play a 2012 game sixteen hours a day and get your mother to change your diapers.


Rhykker has provided a very useful summary of the top 2.4.2 PTR builds for Diabro 3. I imagine the final patch changes have been negligible, so this is pretty close to live.

Of most interest: The monk appears to be on top for now, followed by the witch doctor. The wizard is okey-doke, but to attain rank 6, she has to use that stupid Firebird/Archon build, which is too fiddly and relies on an ancient Chantodo set (wand and source). I keep getting non-ancients, but it doesn’t matter, as I have no interest in this build.

A surprisingly popular ring choice with melee classes is the Legacy of Nightmares set, the one that gives you big damage boosts for using ancient legendary items instead of sets. I suspected this would gain popularity once people figured out its benefit and build diversity. This is the strategy Nananea used with her thorns barbarian months ago. Since she is the queen of out-of-the-box strategies, I can’t say I’m surprised.

So anyhow, I am strongly considering a witch doctor build for Season 7, since the chapter completion set will be Helltooth this time. If you care about wizards, they get Tal Rasha, which is infinitely better than the crappy Delsere’s Magnum Opus set. I think all the classes get decent starter sets this time.


Diablo 3 may be the strangest game ever made from the standpoint of appearance vs. reality. It’s not intentionally deceptive, but the math doesn’t always work the way I think it does. I’m getting more and more interested in the strange science of this title. Because I’m a casual player, I take a lot of things at face value, but the more serious players break out their spreadsheets and look at things like “relative damage increase” and “effective mitigation.” They actually pay attention to item descriptions and figure out the difference (sometimes huge) between multiplied and added damage or defense.

I return you now to Quin, the eccentric Aussie virtuoso, as he explains the finer points of relative damage and armor. (Maybe he’s not Australian — could be from New Zealand or Tasmania or one of those other places no one pays attention to.)

First, a tutorial on relative damage:

Then one on defense and the value of armor:

Then a trailer for the funniest vampire movie ever made, which I only included here because it’s a New Zealand film:

This guy is a little hard to watch because he chatters so fast and probably has the metabolism of a shrew. However, he makes some of the most valuable D3 guides on the intarweb. In this discussion, he explains the overlooked value of area damage. (A bit NSFW – language. Also Excel spreadsheet alert.)

It seems to me that this would be especially valuable for a character like the monk or barbarian. For the purpose of explaining the math and application, he’s speaking of one hit at a time and one small 10-yard area at a time, but you can easily work out how powerful this can be for a toon that’s hitting multiple enemies with very rapid bursts. I have pretty much ignored area damage, but I’ll be taking it more seriously from now on.

In a future post:

How I’m trying to make my original wizard Torment 10 viable. Lots of trial and error so far — mostly error. But I’m going to steal some ideas from the guy above and others. As I hope to point out, wizards must have crowd control to survive in T10 and 40ish-plus greater rifts. I need some combination of control, safety, and damage equal to or greater than the stunlocking/teleporting build of my alt wiz. I will share that here as soon as I have something definitive.

I’ve always liked this guy. His guides are very informative if not always authoritative.

Other than the addition of Torment XI, XII, and XIII, probably the biggest change will be to the wizard’s Firebird set, since people are exploiting a bug in it and rather unfairly dominating the leader boards. Other sets and skills will get interesting changes. Highlights include the demon hunter’s spike trap skill and the monk’s Raiment set. Other things are discussed.

Speaking of the monk, I finally got all my Inna set pieces. Wow. What a difference. I hope to have a fuller analysis of monkish progress in the future, but right now he’s tearing up Torment 7 and 8 with less than optimal gear stats and gems. His Inna’s Reach daibo is not ancient, but the Mystic Ally spec is still amazing. This is potentially a very powerful set, as you get constant presence of every ally AND the non-stop base abilities of every mantra. I have a belt or a ring or something that adds two more allies, and I’ve cubed the Tasker and Theo bracers (50% attack speed increase for pets). Yow. The monk just goes around and whacks monsters with his primary and the allies do the rest. They’re very focused and reliable,  unlike the witch doctor’s pets who wander all over the map. I must look further into this class.

In a previous post, I incorrectly stated that a thorns-based Crusader build should have topazes in all slots — armor as well as weapon. The topaz is only needed in the weapon slot. Armor should have rubies or diamonds. I have tested both gem types and there doesn’t seem to be much difference because this build’s power is very unconventional. Damage doesn’t derive from strength and the all-resistance protection offered by five fully upgraded diamonds is negligible, so you could put whatever you want in armor slots.

Here is an updated profile:

As you might guess, everything revolves around the Invoker set’s use of thorns damage. The profile is a bit misleading because you can’t see the real damage number generated by all the thorns synergy. I don’t know what the number is and am not sure how to calculate it. All I know is that it works pretty well in Torment 8. It’s helped along by complementary legendary items like the Heart of Iron cuirass and, of course, the indispensable Hack axe. The passive skill Iron Maiden is also very useful.

Additional damage is provided by Punish synergy. This is enabled by the Invoker set, the Angel Hair Braid belt, and the Towering Shield passive, all working in sync. Basically, I just step into a big mess of monsters, hit them with Punish and Blessed Shield, and then let them hit me. Their attacks and my proximity do the work for me — they contribute to their own deaths. Although I have various critical hit chance and critical damage augmentations, I don’t think they’re doing much. Maybe Punish and Blessed Shield are proccing criticals, but this is incidental. For “hard to clean” monsters, I can call on big offensive powers like Bombardment (note the Bombardment bonus in the Invoker set stats).

None of this would be possible without strong defense, mainly in the form of very high Block chance and health regeneration. You’ll observe how various items contribute to this. Unfortunately, you can’t see that the Hellfire Amulet is giving me a fifth passive — Hold Your Ground — which really helps.

This may be the weirdest D3 build I’ve played. The runner-up would be my insanely powerful Spectral Blade/Meteor/melee wizard.