Hardcore Orb/TK Blind-Teleporting Budget MF Sorceress ifra


Diabloii.Net Member
Hardcore Orb/TK Blind-Teleporting Budget MF Sorceress

DISCLAIMER: Huge read ahead. This rather comprehensive, collective library of information on the Hardcore Orb/TK Blind-Teleporting Budget MF Sorceress is accumulated from years of experience, both personal and leeched from the good peoples at the DII.net and AB Hardcore Forums. Hard to say who invented this build; it was certainly not I. I just take credit for the 19011984 hours it took to compile/write this junk.


This is written for poor/brand-new “legit†players looking for an efficient, durable, and boring magic find (MF) character. It assumes no equipment/friends and hardcore play (works for softcore). Apart from this superfluous blurb, there will be no mention of Shakos, COH/HOTO/CTA runewords, Mara’s, Arachnid’s, SOJs, 20/20 torches/annihili. These are shiny, but unnecessary for this build/setup to function well. This ‘guide’ is a long read – sorry. It’s laid out with care, to help you develop/build upon a functional understanding of how MF nigh-indestructibility is achieved.

*** NOTE: If you already know everything about teleporting, recovery animation, and never lose your MFers, etc., skip ahead to the “Hardcore Orb/TK Blind-Teleporting Budget MF Sorceress†(or the HCOTKBTBMFS, as it’s commonly known) section at the end. Then again, if you’re already 1337, why bother reading a guide? <3 ***


This is the practice of holding down teleport while watching the mini-map (ignoring monsters) in search of your destination. Blind-Teleporting is, hands-down, the fastest way to travel. With adequate faster cast rate (FCR), faster hit recovery (FHR), faster block rate (FBR), and cost-to-mana-regeneration ratio, it is also the safest.

Basic MF tenets

I hate MFing, so I made the repetition go as quickly/profitably as possible. Efficiency is a single-minded dedication that is expressed best by a fast/aggressive playstyle. I blind-teleport exclusively in hardcore, and have never killed a MFer teleporting (though plenty have expired on me).
  1. Speed/efficiency
  2. Survivability
  3. Profitability
MF fast, survive, and get drops worth the time invested. I'll address these in reverse order, as it might make more sense that way.

3. Profitability

Don't run Pits/Tunnels if you want volume finds. Great stuff drops; just very rarely. A1 Hell may have the same arealvls as WSK, but Baal alone drops better than all those creatures put together, so it’s not even comparable for the time invested. I don't recommend solo Baal runs unless you're an Enigma-sporting Hammerdin or an Infinity-toting Lightning sorceress. If you already have these items, I don't see the point of MFing. You could run dual-element, sure, but it’s dangerous since most builds won’t have the points available for safety skills without sacrificing significant efficiency.
…that said.
Hell Mephisto dies easily, drops from excellent TC categories, and doesn’t need much MF for great drops. The major deterrent (apart from the repetition/boredom)? The hazardous journey from Durance 2 to Durance 3.

Note: It is incredibly profitable to “glitch†any boss. That is, a character that already has killed the boss for quest makes the game, but you kill the boss with a character that has not yet completed the quest. This results in an enhanced “quest drop†every time.

2. + 1. Survivability + Speed/efficiency go hand-in-hand

a. Teleporting
*Barebones, a well-equipped teleporter has: 4-6 mana cost Teleport, 63%+ FCR, 30%+ FHR, 27%+ FBR, decent resistances, and 75% blocking
*Ideally, a well-equipped teleporter has: 2-4 mana cost Teleport, 105% FCR, 60% FHR, 27% FBR, max/overstacked resistances, and 75% blocking

b. Mephisto
To run Hell Mephisto, you only really need light/cold resists. You’re set up to MF, not handle every bosspack in the game. Fire/Poison resists aren't particularly useful when blind-teleporting through Durance 2.

c. Why most die to a., some to b., and learnings from their mistakes

Section c. Part 1
Most die teleporting to Mephisto due to lag or teleport lock (sorry, I can't think of a better term for this). Lag is vicious and unpredictable. “Teleport lock†occurs when ANYTHING stops you from teleporting. You get swarmed by extra fast/strong/fanatic/cursed dolls, RIP.

Teleport lock is caused by:
  1. getting hit, being put into recovery animation
  2. blocking a hit, being put into recovery animation
  3. getting hit, manaburn
  4. running out of mana
  5. clicking on an item (corpse, well, chest, whatever)
Surviving/avoiding Teleport lock requires (in order of importance):
  • at least 9-frame cast rate
  • 30%+ faster hit recovery
  • low (2-6 mana) Teleport cost
  • good faster block recovery (27%+) and blocking (75%)
  • good/decent nerves
  • enough life to take 3-4 hits
  • 16-slot belt (I hate using full rejuvs, so I keep 1 row purple, 2 rows red with purples on top, and 1 row blue)


Teleport lock causes #1: getting hit and #2: blocking a hit

Faster Cast Rate
With 63% (9 frame) or 105% (8 frame) FCR breakpoints depending on your ping, most mobs won't complete their attack animation before you're off to the next teleport position. What I do: hold down teleport, stare at mini map, keep an eye on health/mana. 99% of the time, nothing hits me because I never stop moving. If I do get hit, fine. Tap '2' and health goes up. No cause to panic if manaburned, tap '4' and mana goes up, don’t break stride.

Faster Hit Recovery
If you DO fumble (I don’t know, bitten by cat, struck by Frisbee?) and are somehow hit (no idea why that’d with sub-200 ping and 9-frame teleport), to avoid teleport lock cause #1, you'll want at least 30%+ FHR. Higher is always better. This either obliterates or speeds up the hit recovery animation when hit for a certain % of life. I don't know exact details, but it's ideal to get at or below 9 frames - same as your teleport frame-rate - to prevent severe hiccups. Bloodfist comes to mind, as do rare FHR boots and belts.

Faster Block Rate
With a slow block recovery rate and multiple fast-hitting/high AR monsters, if you block a hit and are stuck in recovery animation, you’ll allow more blocked/unblocked hits, or "block lock". To avoid this, get a shield with faster blocking rate. Rhyme's great, but Upgraded Visceratuant, Moser’s Blessed Circle, or Whitstan's Guard are superior. A deflection (30% FBR / 20% increased blocking) shield with resists will do in a bind.

Teleport lock causes #3: getting hit, manaburn and #4: running out of mana

Invest in teleport (I prefer points in teleport over warmth; invest at a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio only if you have to). The Orb/TK build allows enough skill points to do this without losing efficiency. With 2-6 mana cost teleport, decent (100%+ish) mana regen, and 450-600 mana from a base-energy build (use charms if you're not near this), you will regenerate fast enough to teleport indefinitely - even when manaburned. Still, chug blues just in case.

Teleport lock cause #5: clicking on an item

Hold down spacebar (your "show item" key) while teleporting. That disables your cursor from registering items. Alternatively, type "/nopickup" (without the quotes) in the chatbox and you're set (*note: GREAT for any character killing Baal’s minions!).

Section c. Part 2
This is where high blocking really counts. Don't moat trick, which may get you killed by ninja council members. At 75% blocking (easy with Whitstan's Guard or Upgraded Visceratuant), teleport right up to Mephisto, orb once to slow & take the heat off your mercenary, jam out the Static Fields. Ideally, your mercenary has 50/75% slow and tanks easily—step back so your orbs are “sweetspotting†(orb’s last explosion is right inside Mephisto’s graphic). Repeat until dead. Equip your A2 normal Defiance mercenary with Kelpie Snare, Reaper’s Toll, or Upgraded Woestave.

Running Debates

Max Block vs. Vita
Why take hits if you don't have to? With max block, you have 75% chance of deflecting all Meph's attacks excluding lightning/poison. With this build, you tank Meph, static, step back to 'sweet spot' orb range while merc tanks (75% slow from Kelpie Snare keeps him alive easily) and you're done under 45 seconds.

For teleporting, I feel max block > max vita because:
Realistically, with starting gear, you'll have 10 or 9 frame hit recovery.
With Whitstan's Guard or Visceratuant, you hit 6 frame blocking.
This means that if you hiccup teleporting for some reason and get hit, it takes 10 or 9 frames before you can teleport away. If you block, it only takes 6 frames to teleport away. That's a 75% chance of escaping 50% faster.

  • [*] Max vita, you can take ~10 hits, but enemies have 75-80% chance to hit you factoring in any mediocre blocking you get from dex+shield (face it, most sorcs have moot defense). A stitch of lag and you're dead.
    [*] Max block, you lose 250-300 hp tops - so you can still take ~7-8 hits, but now enemies only have a 25% chance of hitting you. This argument is done for -me-, max block over max vita on a Meph MF sorceress any day.
Frozen Armor vs. Shiver Armor
It appears that Shiver Armor chills/slows enemies when they actually begin their attack animation, whereas Frozen Armor only freezes enemies after they’ve successfully hit you (blocked hits don’t count). This tips the scales in great favour of Shiver Armor, since it’s better to escape unscathed than to buy some ‘flee time’ after being bashed up a bit.

63 vs. 105 FCR
Orb is timered; the only thing you'd use FCR for are static/teleport. More is better, but 63% FCR lets me teleport without getting hit; I don't need 105%. With my setup, it's not hard to get 105%, just unnecessary. The 80% from Wizardspike/Vipermagi with 30 FCR from rings/amulet is easy.

Insight vs. Kelpie Snare vs. Teleport vs. Energy Shield vs. Ice Bolt
First off, I don't like to be dependant on a mercenary for survival. He's there so you kill faster/safer. If you rely on Insight and DON'T invest in Teleport, you're dead in the water with a fast-hitting manaburn pack, e-shield or not. With 2-6 mana Teleports, manaburn becomes little more than a joke even sans-merc. As I play only hardcore, I’ll take the safety over the miniscule damage increase tradeoff. For softcore, staying alive saves ~20 seconds of rejoin/corpse recovery, a bunch of XP, 50k merc resurrection costs, and whatever gold you died with.

Secondly, with Kelpie Snare, your merc will actually survive vs. Andariel. Unless he's uncannily well-equipped, Emilio will die against Andariel without a decent slow% or decrepify. So that tacks on another boss you can MF easily.

Energy shield, like blocking, provides a buffer between enemy damage and your life. You don’t need 95% energy shield to be safe; 50-55% coupled with fast regen/low teleport cost is enough protection for you to escape from a teleport lock ambush. Energy shield is absolutely unnecessary except for maybe one out of every 300-400 runs (conservatively) where you’re extremely unlucky, hit by lag in a compromising position, whatever. This is negligible for softcore; for hardcore, that one death is too much.

Regarding Ice Bolt debates, here's a modified copy/paste of an old post of mine from long ago:
*** Hell Mephisto has 94,320 hit points with one person in game. Assume he’s left around 50,000 HP after Static Fielding, and, for simplicity’s sake, your merc tanks – thus you’re usually ‘sweetspotting’ (ball lands directly on Mephisto, shards don’t divide).

1) 20 Frozen Orb/Cold Mastery minimum band: 267 dmg
-115% cold resist modifier over Hell Mephisto’s 75% cold resist: 372 dmg; imperfect 12-shard ‘sweetspot’ hit: 4,469 dmg
50,000 / 4,469 = ~11.18 casts to kill

2) 20 Frozen Orb/Ice Bolt/Cold Mastery, minimum band: 366 dmg
-115% cold resist modifier over Hell Mephisto’s 75% cold resist: 512 dmg; imperfect 12-shard ‘sweetspot’ hit: 6,149 dmg
50,000 / 6,149 = ~8.13 casts to kill

Basically, you’re wasting 19 points in Ice Bolt so you can save yourself 3-4 casts of Frozen Orb to kill Hell Mephisto. Ain’t that a kick in the face?
Points into Energy Shield + prereqs vs. Memory staff
Memory's great, but finding a 4 os staff is hard enough; finding one with +energy shield or +frozen armor (frozen freezes, that's why I prefer it to shiver) is both tediously time consuming and boring. Also, stash-switch prebuffing is time consuming and irritating. So I don't do stash-switching. I'll invest the 4-5 points into Energy shield because I prefer to have Gull + Rhyme (125% MF) or Ali Baba + Rhyme (~100% MF) on weapon switch, more MF means less MF runs if I find more loot. My survivability/efficiency doesn't suffer, but my profitability multiplies.

Now that's all covered, finally, the build/setup.

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Diabloii.Net Member

The Hardcore Orb/TK Blind-Teleporting Budget MF Sorceress

  • Stat Setup

    STR: enough for equipment after charms (perfectionism discouraged)
    DEX: enough for max (75%) block
    VIT: everything else
    ENE: base (nothing)

    Skill Setup
    • 1 Ice Bolt, Frost Nova, Ice Blast, Glacial Spike, Blizzard, Frozen Armor, Shiver Armor (active armor)
    • 20 Frozen Orb
    • 20 Cold Mastery
    • 20 Telekinesis
    • 1-5 Static Field (untwinked, this speeds up level 6-30 like nobody's business)
    • 10-20 Teleport (enough to reach ~2-6 mana cost)
    • 1 Charged Bolt, Lightning, Chain Lightning
    • 1-5 Energy Shield (~55%+ after +skills)
    • 1-5 Warmth

    - 1 in Warmth, Frozen Armor, prerequisites
    - Put 5 in Static Field if you don't know where to start; with Frost Nova + Glacial Spike + your mercenary, you will get to level 24 (Blizzard) relatively easily
    - From 18-28, Put 10 into Teleport
    - Simultaneously level Frozen Orb and Cold Mastery until 5/5, then focus only on Frozen Orb until maxed
    - Once Frozen Orb is maxed, get Cold Mastery to 12, Energy Shield to adjusted preference, Telekinesis to 20
    - Max Cold Mastery, finish up (depending on gear) by getting Teleport to 15-20 and Warmth to 1-5

    Build done anywhere from level 72 to level 94, depending on the awesomeness of your end-game gear.

    Equipment (superior | inferior)

    Weapon: Wizardspike (huge FCR, huge res) | Spectral Shard
    Shield*: Upgraded Visceratuant (+skill, block/FBR) | Whitstan's Guard | Moser’s Blessed Circle | Prismatic Bone/Grim Shield of Deflection (30FBR/20IBR 20+allres)
    Switch: Gull + "Rhyme" Bone/Grim Shield (MF) | Ali Baba + "Rhyme" Bone/Grim Shield
    Head*: Tarnhelm | 3 perfect topaz mask | Peasant Crown | "Lore" Helm
    Armor*: Skin of the Vipermagi (+skill, FCR, res) | “Smoke” Armor | "Stealth" Armor
    Hands: Bloodfist (FHR, life) | Magefist
    Belt: Tal's Belt (MF, huge dex) | Bladebuckle (FHR; safety option) | 16-slot FHR dual/tri res rare belt
    Amulet: +skill/res/mf | Tancred Amulet/Boots combo | MF/res
    Ring1: MF/mana/life/res
    Ring2: MF/mana/life/res
    Feet: FHR/FRW/MF dual/tri res rare boots | Tancred Amulet/Boots combo

    *Perfect diamonds in the shield, perfect rubies or topazes elsewhere.

    Charms for life/mana or to reach aforementioned ‘useful’ FHR breakpoints/resistances. Torch/annihilus are great if you have them, but untwinked/solo/notrade folks shouldn’t build around them as they’re ridiculously hard to get “legitly” until you’re well-off. The setup/build functions just fine without them. Just a note: I’ve solo killed the Diablo Clone with this build at least 3 times – but damn, it’s a long journey of health/mana potions and patience. Half-hour kill, anyone? Spawn him in the Den of Evil to avoid surprises. This character is not really built for clone-killing; avoid.

    Normal A2 Defiance (Defensive) Mercenary

    My ultimate not-quite-budget Hell Meph merc setup (don't need Insight because of 2-6 mana cost teleport, right?):
    Weapon: Upgraded Ethereal Kelpie Snare socketed with a Pul (what beats Demon Killer mod with 75% slow?)
    Armor: "Duress" ShaelUmThul Eth socket-glitched armor ~1k base def (huge FHR, 33% open wounds, cold dmg = more slow, res)
    Helm: Eth 8/8/20 Vampire Gaze socketed with Cham (hahaha), Ptopaz, or Shael

    Alternates (preferably ethereal):
    Weapon: Kelpie Snare (socketed with +%dmg or whatever, really)
    Armor: Treachery | Duriel's Shell
    Helm: Crown of Thieves | Tal Rasha's Mask

    Socket Kelpie with +enhanced damage or poison, perfect rubies/topazes elsewhere.

    Mercenary vs. damage vs. exploding dolls

    Assumptions: Normal A2 Defiance Mercenary, level 95, perfect hit, using perfect 180%ed Kelpie Snare and perfect 20%ed “Duress” Armor.
    ‘Bone Fetish’ (exploding doll) class monsters have a range of 2789 – 6249 HP in 1-player hell games.

    Kelpie Type........Max Damage*
    Upgraded Ethereal........2943 (4% chance of 1-hit kill) 
    A 1-hit killed monster (assume 2900 hp base) that exploded for 100% of its life vs. a 55% energy shield 75% fire resist character does 1595 damage to mana and 815 damage to HP. Moral: Don't use an Upgraded Ethereal Perfect Kelpie Snare on your merc unless you have a ton of HP (950++) to spare. *Obviously, these numbers are significantly lower for lower-levelled mercenaries using less-than-perfect equipment.

    Hotkey setup

    Q W E R T
    A S
    Z _ C

    Q: Shiver Armor – prep
    W: Energy Shield – prep
    E: Static Field
    R: Glacial Spike
    T: Telekinesis – favourite skill; speeds up potion fetching, chest opening, portals/wps, etc.
    A: Teleport
    S: Frost Nova
    Z: Tome of Town Portal – never TP from the inventory again!
    C: Character Screen – I’m a sucker for compulsive checking of XP/everything
    Shift: Stand Still
    Spacebar: Show Items – easy to hit with thumb, minimizes chance of hitting the Windows key

    I put weapon switch on a third mouse button.

    General Killing

    When you get it, keep Orb on your left mouse button (LMB) and never change it. Use shift (Stand Still) to stationary-cast. Hotkey all other skills to your right mouse button (RMB). Simplicity/efficiency.
    When you can afford the mana (with high enough regeneration/teleport skill), don’t walk or run – only teleport. It’s faster, accurately tells you when you’re lagging, and maintains 75% block all the time. Make this a habit.
    Orb first, ask questions later. Cast Static Field between Orbs until it’s useless, then cast Glacial Spikes between Orbs to freeze enemies in place for increased safety while you ‘sweetspot’ them.

    A “safe” rudimentary hardcore MFer progression

    1. Get to nightmare (NM) ~level 35, quickly get Den/Rhadament skill quests
    2. Run normal Travincal Council, Mephisto, Shenk/Eldritch/Crystalline/Ancient’s Way, and Baal (Pindle’s way dangerous, do Diablo if you have the ‘stones’) until ~level 45-50 - net enough equipment for at least: 50%+ fire/cold/light resist in NM, 48 FCR, 50%+ blocking, and maybe a few life/mana charms; move on to NM Mephisto
    3. Run NM Mephisto until ~level 55 and/or you have at least: 75% cold/light res in NM, 63% FCR, 75% blocking, and 30% FHR; add NM Andariel and Baal to the kill list
    4. Run NM Andariel, Mephisto, and Baal until ~level 70-75 and/or you have at least: 50%+ fire 75% cold/light res in Hell, 27% FBR, Upgraded Woestave (50% slow) or Kelpie Snare (75% slow) for your mercenary; move on to Hell Mephisto
    5. Tack on Hell Andariel to the kill list if you’re overconfidently running Hell Mephisto

Okay, that’s the lot. Thanks to the dii.net and AB crew for everything! Special mention goes to temporary unemployment for driving me to write this.


Now go get rich so you can tell me all about it.

- Socialism / Sunforge / Shon
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Moderator Single Player, D2 Assassin, Barbarian
Well presented guide, Socialism. Excellent explanation. An absolute delight to read a guide that doesn't require five Bers, a Zod and an anni! :grin:

I will definitely be trying this girl.



Diabloii.Net Member
Great guide. Id like to point out that a decent belt option would also be a shopped 90+life 20+ resist belt. My es/tk sorc used one and indeed for a fragile sorc that only has 800ish life the extra 100 life really helps out. Easy to get too :scratch:

Just be careful when teleporting through worldstone keep. My lvl 74 sorc (850ish life, 70 fcr, 40ish fhr) died there (in nm). And it wasnt because of the souls as one might expect, it was a bunch of mana burn vipers. I was pretty unlucky when teleing, teled straight into the middle of the pack and it was a quick death, i was toast in a second or two.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the undeserved praise, folks!

If you do spot any errors and such, please let me know! I've already got a closer-to-finalized version of this guide but really don't want to let it go up without a little more feedback on this one.



Diabloii.Net Member
no synergies?? you're going to do meph runs with just a lvl 20 orb and some cold mastery?


Diabloii.Net Member
Yes... Did you read the guide?

Static down to half health and then orb him to death, I've made one following this guide and it works awesome. My next one might be a glitch runner =]


D3 Wizard Moderator
no synergies?? you're going to do meph runs with just a lvl 20 orb and some cold mastery?
Orb has always been powerful enough without synergies and a bit of Cold Mastery. This has worked that way for various dual tree builds.



Diabloii.Net Member
Love the guide. I'm a total HC noob and pretty much scared to death of Diablo in NM so I'm gonna run meph until I've got a Wizzy and some more life. I'm completely new untwinked (although I found a nice vipermagi and magefists so I can hit 63 fcr but I have no fbr and 12 fhr). How risky is Diablo in NM with his lightning of doom? Also how does an Orber run Anya. Is that a safe trip blinding to the quest spot and then letting merc take care of Frozenstein? Sorry if I sound so chicken. My HC experience before this character was rife with sudden unpredictable death.