ES Light Sorc what am I missing?


Diabloii.Net Member
ES Light Sorc what am I missing?

Have read the guides, lurked, read related threads, etc....

Built a lvl 85 Light sorc with following skills: (hardpoints)
20 Telekinesis
20 Energy Shield
20 Lightning
20 Chain Lightning
9 in Light Mastery and pumping
1 point warmth, CB, pre-reqs

Gear: near perfect griffon eye 5/5 faceted, upped v.magi, eth treks, magefist, arachnids, soj, rare FCR ring, crafted +2 light skill/16 fcr/etc ammy, -53 infinity scythe. CTA+Lidless on switch....

Charms: light skillers, torch/anni, some life/mana/10% FHR with what is left over.

Stats: nearly base str, base dex, base life, rest into energy.... With BO and all the gear she has the following: shade over 1K life, 2.5K mana, no blocking, at least positive resists.

Merc: Norm hired prayer merc with Insight lvl 17 aura eth Great Poleaxe, eth fort, ral'd andy.

Damage: 4-12,000 lightning, 4-5300 chain lighting carrying the scythe per LCS

Here is the problem....I can't make a baal run without being slaughtered. Now before the "your a noob", "learn how to teleport", etc responses get going I can do just fine with other sorcs provided I play highly defensively. I've played D2 since classic. This one however just has a combo of a) HORRIBLE luck (how many times can you run into 2x boss packs both mana burn with one being ES/EF and the other being aura enchanted...honestly!?) and b) being over rated survival wise IMO.

I built her to be a tank to play but for whatever reason she gets killed 10x more than my pure damage light sorc using mostly the same gear. Literally she gets killed in 1-2 hits! I've seen her die to a ES/EF might aura enhanced mana burn Horadrim Ancient in one hit. (or 2 hits landed simultaneously). Other times when its a 1+2 punch that has her in hit recovery: First one takes down the ES, second puts up red lettering. Now she can take hits all day and night from normal critters but any boss pack just shreds her.

I know some of it is luck and the mods on the packs that have killed her would be nasty w' nearly any character but it truly seems that with ANY sorc (or non leeching character) the saying holds most true "best defense is a better offense". Any ideas as to what I'm missing? The merc's survival doesn't seem to be that great despite gear (could switch fort for COH), HF and Defiance mercs seem to last longer....lister the fister just rapes him.



Diabloii.Net Member lite sorc is at lvl 93 rite now, and i don't have any problems. if i drink a rejuv then i'm having a bad day with baal. but to take him and his minions down i do a few statics. perhaps u need static to trim him down a bit?


Assassin Moderator
iirc make sure your poisen resi is abit higher than your other resistances as it bypasses es

Klæmint Vágadal

Diabloii.Net Member
You're merc has no DR, thats a bad thing, I would switch the Fort out with a Shaft, or keep the Fort and switch the Andy out with a 20% DR Gaze.

You can try to switch the Viper out with a CoH for more Res, and wear a Wisp Projector for Light Absorb.

What weapon are you using?


Diabloii.Net Member
rata said:
perhaps u need static to trim him down a bit?
I think he knows how to Static, but thanks for pointing it out. :)

Right, looking at your gear, you have +11 to lightning skills (including BO). That makes a slvl 31 ES. Ideally, you would want a slvl 40 ES for 95% of damage re-directed to mana. Lightning skillers will help bring you closer to slvl 40, but having 9 of them in your inventory is not practical. You could compromise by adding 5 lightning skillers, a Gheed's, and the Cube, leaving a 4x2 slot free (if you intend to pick up stuff). That gives a slvl 36 ES, which is 91% of damage re-directed to mana.

If you intend her to be a tank, then you need to fit in DRx and MDRx. Say you get hit by that ES/EF pack of (whatever) for 500 physical damage, a slvl 36 ES means that 9% of that 500 damage goes to your life, i.e. 45. So you'll need DR by 45 to totally negate that physical damage. If Souls attack you for 500 elemental damage, 45 damage goes to your health, and if you have say 40% LR, then you sustain 27 damage to your life. Looking at both examples, you'll generally need more DRx than MDRx, so long as you maintain fairly good elemental resistances. And as Aman said, try to keep your poison resists up (carry antidote potions), as poison completely bypasses ES.

The trick with ES sorcs is to pre-buff with a slvl 40 ES, get a good amount of DRx and MDRx, and have a good amount of +skills as well. That's going to be tough if you fit in The Gladiator's Bane and Gerke's Sanctuary (both which do not have +skills). Which is why the +9 ES Memory staff is so useful. True, you lose the BO from CTA on switch, but you won't need the extra life if all the left-over damage is soaked up by DRx and MDRx. And as for the BO'ed mana, mana burn monsters will eat you, with or without BO. Therefore, a CTA is not all that useful for a ES sorc, as long as you maintain excellent DRx and MDRx, and avoid mana burners like the plague.

I would suggest:
Your crafted ammy
The Gladiator's Bane (Sol)
Gerke's Sanctuary (Hel or nice -req rare jewel)
SoJ * 2
Arachnid Mesh
eth Trek's
+9 ES Memory staff on switch

That gives you 121% FCR, and +9 to lightning skills. When you switch to the Memory staff, you have +6 to lightning skills (lose +3 skills from HotO). So that would be 20 ES + 6 lightning skills +9 ES Memory staff + 3 Torch + 1 Anni = slvl 39 ES. The ES Memory staff doesn't have to be perfect, so long as you get to slvl 40 with lightning skillers. In fact, that would be better as the lightning skillers will boost your L/CL damage. Just make sure that you achieves adequate resistances with resists charms.

As for the merc, a Might merc will deal with the LIs faster, but you'll need to give him really good resists, damage and life leech in order to survive. Note that if you tank with him, his survival will be better. A HF merc works well as well, especially for mana burners.


Diabloii.Net Member
Yep. Your build is deseprately lacking DR and MDR. I can get 80 FCR, have a level 40 ES, and have like 42 DR, 46 MDR all the while maintaining level 41 charged bolt and Lightning for a cool 15.7k lightning damage 9I can socket my Gladiator's Bane for more DR/MDR). Having that much DR and MDR means I tank for my merc. Not the other way around, since I can't be hurt at all unless an attack does INSANE amounts of damage in one attack. I also have max poison res. You really should just let your merc hold infinity so you can hold a Hoto and a Gerke's.

My InvincibleSorc(tm) gear:
+3 Light, +85 life ammy
+3 Light, +20 FRW, +14 MDR circlet (MDr comes from 2 Mals socketed into it)
Gladiator's Bane (Iron Pelt before level 85)
2 SOJs
4 Lightning skillers
Memory staff and CTA/Sigon shield on switch.

I only have 13 hard points invested in ES. Prebuff with CTA first, raising ES one point further. Then, go back to stash to prebuff with Memory. That's level 40 ES. Switch back to CTA in second slot, and then switch to Hoto/Gerkes and go out and be invincible.


Diabloii.Net Member
I don't think infinity toting sorc fits the 95es sorc.... just not enough skills to take advantage of the build. I have a sorc with almost the same gear as you, but with only one point in es... 20 in tk. Make sure you are hitting at least 60fhr, and you may want to put a few (like 20) hard points in vita, just for an extra buffer on mana-burn packs.

Lister's pack never bothers me because he is dead before he can reach me... if his immunity won't break, I pick the rest off and tk him while my merc kicks his ***. Merc wears fort/gaze/insight.

Early on I did have a couple of times that I inadvertantly landed in the middle of a mana-burn boss pack on the tele down to baal... insta-death... I put 20ish hard points into vita and havn't had any trouble since... but maybe just luck. Now the only thing that ever bothers me is mana-burn boss-packs of black souls... but with downing a couple full juvies I can take them before they take me.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the quick answer the posts

*yes, I do know how to static but its always helpful to remind folks of that. Its the good advice that even experienced players often forget in hell diff.

*I cast ES at level 40 so I'm okay as far as that goes. The only MDR I have is on v.magi which is 9. See tally below:

ES @ slvl 20 +7x light skillers + 2ammy + 1 griffon + 1 v.magi + 2 CTA (1all, 1 bc) + 1 lidless + 1 arachnid +1 soj + 1 anni + 3 torch

*Very good points on no PDR for merc. Have a ~1500def upped shaft I can steal from another character. So upped shaft, maybe get merc infinity, and andy/gaze....I'll give it a try! However, I do lose alot of the benefit of a prayer merc w/o Insight. May go shaft+gaze+insight. Will have to test both ways...but I'm not sure I have the firepower to lose infinity.

*If I back my fast cast off to make the 78 breakpoint instead that opens up some choices....not sure if I can make the str req's on the glad/gerke with this build so may have to reroll. Will crunch some numbers, check some gear, and get back to ya on that one....

Question....what is more important MDR or DR as far as socketing glad and gerke or even griffon? Mal's are pricey compared to sol's.... Thoughts? May keep prebuffing gear in stash to cast ES with...should still be able to keep it at 40 and the thing lasts for bloody ever so no biggie.

Again, thanks to all for the input....


Diabloii.Net Member
LRSAIA said:
ES @ slvl 20 +7x light skillers + 2ammy + 1 griffon + 1 v.magi + 2 CTA (1all, 1 bc) + 1 lidless + 1 arachnid +1 soj + 1 anni + 3 torch
Hmm, yeah, I forgot about the +1 from CTA and +1 from Lidless. That makes a total of +13 to lightning skills, and with your 7 lightning skillers, slvl 40 ES.

LRSAIA said:
May go shaft+gaze+insight.
If you do that, you may want to socket the Vamp Gaze and Shaftstop with Um runes to increase his resistances. The aim is to keep him alive for you to be under the Meditation aura, so 50% PDR is good, but his resistances need to be improved.

LRSAIA said:
Question....what is more important MDR or DR as far as socketing glad and gerke or even griffon? Mal's are pricey compared to sol's.... Thoughts?
FrostBurn said:
Looking at both examples, you'll generally need more DRx than MDRx, so long as you maintain fairly good elemental resistances.
I'd socket the Glad with a Sol, and bring the Gerke to 114 str with Hel/jewel. I'd keep the facet in the Griffon's for the -5% enemy LR.

LRSAIA said:
but I'm not sure I have the firepower to lose infinity.
I'd forego the Insight for the Infinity on the merc. Your killing speed will improve a great deal, which means you have more time and under less pressure, enabling you to drink mana pots to keep the ES from collapsing.


Diabloii.Net Member
With 2.5k mana, you rare ever need to drink mana pots anyways. your mana regen rate is ridiculously high.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks to all who have replied. I have mucked around with it a couple ways and though merc survival odds have improved she is still more fragile than I would of hoped. My best overall killing speed is with infinity equipped by the sorc herself. Merc carrying is nice but if you run into something that conviction just barely breaks it will still have bigtime resists and take forever to kill. If say....Lister spawns mana burn cursed (or worse yet aura enchanced on top of that) the merc (regardless of PDR gear) dies quick or I have to give so much ground I might as well just lead the group off and go for baal. Not to mention that if one of those warthogs hits the sorc she is a goner. It seems like the ES sorc is a better PVP than PVM build as mana burn neuters/spays her in extremely short order. Mana burn is as much the bane of this build as iron maiden is to combat characters. Upside is you KNOW where you can get IM'd. Mana burn can strike anywhere.... Guess in the end it comes down to playstyle. Having tried this I'll probably stick to pure dmg light sorcs carrying infinity. If I'm going to be fragile I'll want the firepower to go with it.