Diablo 3 Best Wizard Builds For Inferno, Nightmare and Hell

Before Blizzard kicked in the massive nerf to the Wizard and Barbarian, the two classes easily outplayed all the others in the game, including the Demon Hunter. The Barbarian is still pretty badass and more than capable to solo Inferno, provided you have above average items. The Wizard on the other hand has taken a serious hit.

For more help on Diablo 3 Builds, read our Monk Builds, Demon Hunter Builds and Witch Doctor Builds Guide

Diablo 3 Best Wizard Builds

The infamous Critical Mass build for the Wizard sadly doesn’t work as well as it used to, with near-zero cool-downs allowing one to spam the most powerful abilities of all. But that still doesn’t mean that this amazing DPS class isn’t playable.

In fact, provided you have great gear, the Wizard is still pretty insane. Yes, reliable skills like Energy Twister also took a hit from the patch, but it’s still possible to take your slim Wizard into the terrifying arenas of the Inferno.

The only thing that makes playing the Wizard a difficulty is the fact that most of the great builds now need insane items. We will be covering items in the Inferno Build as well, but will be doing it in general.

Sadly, set-items and other legendries associated with the Wizard aren’t as good when compared with the rest of the classes, so you’ll need to do some deep digging in the Auction house or farm like crazy.

Diablo 3 Wizard Inferno Build

Critical Archon< Click To Open Build
This is my own personal Inferno Build, one that I’ve been playing with. The Barbarian was my main character, followed by the Wizard. I always thought of the Wizard as a physically weak class, but was blown away by how good it is against large crowds of enemies, and the insane amount of damage you can deal.

Unlike the Demon Hunter, the Wizard isn’t really a big-time kiter. Instead, you can term the Wizard as ranged DPS that also has an amazing ability to deal with large crowds. We’ll know why from the skills in the build.

Active Skills
A lot of people ignore skills like Disintegrate and Ray of Frost, and I look at them while scratching my head in confusion. These are great initiation skills actually, and although they need to be channeled, immobilizing your character during the time, they can be perfect for dealing long-ranged damage.

Now, the Wizard’s Arcane Power has an amazingly fast regen rate, which is why you can completely ignore the Signature skills; but when you do that, you need to have a managerial approach to how you play the Wizard. If you’ve actually made it till Inferno, then this should be a problem for you.

Teleport is another skill that almost every other Wizard has, and there’s absolutely no reason to swap it for anything else. This is another initiation skill, and is also the primary evasion skill.

You want to use this whenever you feel you’re in trouble, or whenever you want to take the assault right into the crowd. The fact that we’re using the Wormhole rune allows us to redeem an accidental or wrongly used Teleport, making in-and-out maneuvers very easy.

Before I use Teleport though, I like to give myself some Diamond Skin for added protection.

Diamond Skin is probably the most used Wizard skill of all. It’s reliable, OP, and your main savior from insane elites. Without Diamond Skin in Inferno, your Wizard won’t last long against the damage elites can do. Plus, it can be used as a defensive-offense skill thanks to the Diamond Shards rune.

Another defensive skill that will aid you throughout Inferno is Energy Armor. Now, Energy Armor normally has a downside: it decreases your Arcane Power by 20. But if you’re clever enough to use Energy Tap, this can turn around to give you increased Arcane Power by 20 points.

This means you get to spam stuff like Disintegrate even more. Sweet! You need to ensure that this is skill is on every time you enter into a battle.

Now, you have some pretty awesome defensive skills, it’s time to give you some crowd control. Frost Nova is another skill used by many Wizard players, and is most famous for its Deep Freeze rune, which, before the nerf, went very well with the Critical Mass passive.

Even after the nerf, Frost Nova retains its charm for the increased crit chance and the amazing CC. The 3 second freeze is perfect for activating the next skill, which is the central ability of this entire build:

Yes, we’re talking about Archon. Some, like myself, love the skill to death. Others think it’s effective with either very low class items or very, very high class items. If you’ve been lucky with your farm, and think you have some badass items that boost your crit and intelligence, then Archon can let you sail past the most evil elites in Inferno without a hitch.

You have an infinite supply of Arcane Power, and a limited but super-powerful set of skills. So, this is what I usually like to do for some real burst damage:

Start off with Disintegrate from a distance, then let your Arcane Power refill, Teleport into battle, freeze the shit out of everyone, and then use Archon. Once you’re in Archon mode, you should attempt to maintain it for as long as possible by killing enemies.

If you feel at any time that you’re in trouble, try to smoothly flow out of battle, wait for the timer to deplete, and then teleport to safety. I recommend that you use Archon mode midway during fights against Elites so that you don’t get stuck.

Passive Skills
Yes, I know Critical Mass doesn’t offer what it used to once, but if you’ve developed your character to have lots of crit chance, it will still pay off very well along with Frost Nova. Astral Presence gives you that regeneration which makes stuff like Disintegrate more spammable, while Evocation is there because we’re using skills with cool-downs.

You could obviously swap out any, but I feel these passive suit my play-style best.

Weapons and Armor
Right, now this is where things get demanding.

You would really want some amazing items if to play with this build. I’m not going to say ‘get this legendary item’ or ‘get that unique item’ – we’ll just keep things general here, since items are totally random.

When it comes to weapons. I like to use the very typical wand and orb combo, but most of the Orbs later on can turn up to be completely crap. So, another good alternative is to use wands with shields, which will give you additional defenses and chance to block enemy attacks.

Wands work best for wizards overall, even though I’ve seen many wizards fight with swords and maces. This is because they are more focused on improving crit chance and greatly increasing intelligence.

If you find a socketed weapon, make sure you embed it with a high quality Star emerald for increasing crit chance. For things like chest armor and pants, I like to mix it up between Topaz (for intelligence) and Amethysts (for Vitality).

Now a lot of people tend to ignore Amethysts, which is not very good. The Wizard in general has a very weak vitality progression, and it’s important that you try your best to get as much health as you can. It’s not necessary, but it’s highly recommended.

Rings and Amulets should also get Topaz embeds as well, no question about it.

Overall, you should be looking for gear that gives you additional elemental damage, additional critical chance, lots of arcane resistance, lots of intelligence, and maybe small portions of vitality.

What would you say? You haven’t reached Inferno yet? Well, don’t worry, we got the right thing for you. Have a look at our fresh Nightmare and Hell Builds:

Diablo 3 Wizard Nightmare Builds

Build #1, Build #2

You should around level 30-35 when you finish Normal difficulty. At this time, you’ve pretty much unlocked all the skills; the only thing that remains is the runes, which you will gradually unlock.

Build #1 is what most people like to play with. Magic Missile is a skill you’ll have from the start, and if you’ve been using it consistently, then you’ll know it progresses very well and is super-reliable.

Disintegrate is a great ability at this stage of the game, and I see no reason to ignore it.

Apart from that, we have three Frost-based skills. Ice is the only thing that really offers lots of crowd control. I’ve never actually liked non-Witch Doctor summons, and thus I’m not a fan of the Familiar, but many people like the Sparkflint Rune for that extra damage. Any-who, it’s a simple build that works well throughout Nightmare.

Build #2 is more or less what I played in Nightmare. Blizzard is a very powerful AoE skill that remains reliable throughout Nightmare and a large part of Hell, and I found the Grasping Chill rune a great little addition to the amount of CC I could output.

I don’t know how as Wizards people live without Teleport, so that was a must-have.

Again, you might notice I have no Signature skill – that’s because Astral Presence and Cold Blood will together make Ray of Frost’s cost virtually zero. Your Arcane Power’s regen will be around the same as that being used by RoF, so you can spam the skill all you want.

Finally, we have Archon, and if you have up-to-date weapons and armor, then the Archon form will aid you in ways you yourself will find amazing.

Diablo 3 Wizard Hell Builds

Build #1, Build #2
Ok, so you’ve made to Hell difficulty. Good for you. You should be between level 45-50 when you finish Nightmare mode, and by the end of the last Act should have reached full level 60. We’ll assume you’re somewhere in the middle right now, and that’s how the builds will behave.

Build #1 is what I used throughout Hell mode.

I sort of gave up on Disintegrate and Ray of Frost for Magic Missile, using its Seeker rune to tackle single elites better. Blizzard still remained my most frequently used move, and I found myself spamming it much more thanks to the Snowbound rune. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

Note that I wasn’t using Diamond Skin during this time. This is because I simply needed more damage than armor. This however changes drastically as you progress towards level 60.

Build #2 is a commonly used alternative. Spectral Blade needs you to get closer to enemy crowds, but you can really do some devastating damage with the static Energy Twister – static because we’ve used the Wicked Wind rune, giving it much more damage than other runes.

If there is one skill I’m uncertain about in this build, it’s Magic Weapon, which seems out of place really. I would recommend swapping it out with Explosive Blast if you’re already using a wand with powerful imbued magic.

If you wish to share your own builds, feel free to do so in the comments section. Enjoy!

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...