Opinions Sought on Blizzballer and Cold Mastery


Diabloii.Net Member
Opinions Sought on Blizzballer and Cold Mastery

Greetings to the Collective,

I am reviewing my Blizzballer's skill placement as I have 4 skill points to spend. I visited Arreat Summit's Bestiary to look up monsters' Cold Resistances (CR), and did some number crunching. The monsters below are all from Hell WSK and Throne of Destruction, unless indicated otherwise.

0% CR
Horror Mage, Steel Scarab, Unholy Corpse, Pit/Venom Lord, Council Member, Serpent Magus, (Horror Mage, Invader, Plague Bearer)*, (Blood Maggot, Strangler, Maw Fiend)**, Storm Caster***.

20% CR
Zakarum Priest, Doom Knight***.

25% CR
Doom Knight, Storm Caster, Soul Killer.

33% CR
Black/Burning Soul, Undead Soul Killer, Fiend, Death Lord, Demon Sprite, Fire Boar, Embalmed*.

50% CR
Zakarum Zealot, Specter, Assailant, Cadaver, Unraveler, Horadrim Ancient, Black Lancer, Minion of Destruction, Fetid/Rancid Defiler, Hell Temptress, Pit Lord**, Venom Lord***, Baal.

75% CR
Warped One, Urdar**, Mephisto.

*Ancient Tunnels
**River of Flame
***Chaos Sanctuary

Please note that I play at /players8, so achieving optimum damage output is ideal and preferable. My Blizzballer currently does 4220 Blizzard (maxed) damage, 1193 Ice Blast (11 hard skill points) damage and 830 Glacial Spike (maxed) damage, with slvl 17 CM at -100% to enemy cold resistance. I have 4 skill points to spend, as below (all damage numbers are averages):

Plan A: Maintain current damage output and spend those 4 skill points in the fire tree instead.
Plan B: Spend 4 skill points in Ice Blast to increase its damage and synergise Blizzard.
Plan C: Spend 4 skill points in Cold Mastery to increase it to -120% to enemy cold resistance.
Plan D: Hypothetical, but please assume that it is possible. Take 1 skill point out of Ice Blast, and spend 5 skill points in Cold Mastery to increase it to -125% to enemy cold resistance.

Blizzard's damage output
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Plan A: 4220 damage, -100%CM	8440	7596	7385	7047	6330	5275

Plan B: 4545 damage, -100%CM	9090	8181	7954	7590	6818	5681

Plan C: 4220 damage, -120%CM	8440	8440	8229	7891	7174	6119

Plan D: 4139 damage, -125%CM	8278	8278	8278	7947	7243	6209

Ice Blast's damage output
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Plan A: 1193 damage, -100%CM	2386	2147	2088	1992	1790	1491

Plan B: 1562 damage, -100%CM	3124	2812	2734	2609	2343	1953

Plan C: 1193 damage, -120%CM	2386	2386	2326	2231	2028	1730

Plan D: 1105 damage, -125%CM	2210	2210	2210	2122	1934	1658
As you can see, Plan B will increase Ice Blast's and Blizzard's damages, but cold resistant monsters will take less damage. Plan C and Plan D will not increase the damage to non-cold resistant monsters, but cold resistant monsters will take more damage compared to Plan B. As for Plan A, it is there for reference; at clvl 99, I'll have another 4 skill points to invest in the fire tree.

I'm assuming that the info on Arreat Summit's Bestiary is correct. I'm almost certain on the path that I must take, but since more opinions can be helpful, I very much would welcome your input.


D3 Wizard Moderator
Hi Frostburn,

With your current damage output anything under that Blizzard will die fast, no matter how many /players you play.

What is not so optimal with the BLizzballer is the fire damage, i would say, since its not like the Meteorb, where you only have to fill FO and some points in CM on the cold tree and have all other points left for fire.

I would stick with plan A and simply put those points down the fire tree to maximise your Fireball damage. Cold tree is doing fine :)

The number of cold resistant monsters in Hell is not that high, and those that have very high resistance like Mephisto still die with speed.


Diabloii.Net Member
I agree...

Still doing 5k+ dmg to a 75%ColdRes monster isn't too shabby...

I say Plan A... This way your backup, fire tree is stronger...


Let me be the first one to give the standard answer:

"Depends on your ultimate goal with this character."


Diabloii.Net Member
Hi Melianor and thanks for your reply and feedback.

Currently with Plan A, I find that the vast majority of non-CI /p8 monsters die almost instantly under my Blizzard. The only ones that live are the small or medium sized monsters that happen to be positioned in a 'safety zone' under Blizzard. A slight shift in positioning the next Blizzard finishes them.

A few monsters with higher hitpoints like Doom Knights, Death Lords (frenzytaurs), Horadrim Ancients or Pit Lords require a couple more Blizzard shards to kill them. This is where the extra few points in either Ice Blast or Cold Mastery could make a small difference.

You are right on the fire tree. Currently I have 5 spare skill points, and at clvl 99, another 3, for a total of 8 points. I prefer to maximise Meteor's damage without too much compromise to Fireball's damage.

Plan X: Current fire tree damage looks like this:
Fireball = 2972 - 3274 (3123 average)
Meteor = 7124 - 7455 (7290 average), 834 - 882 per second pyre damage

Plan Y: Four of those are to be spent in the fire tree to give this:
Fireball = 3374 - 3717 (3546 average)
Meteor = 8088 - 8464 (8276 average), 947 - 1002 per second pyre damage

Plan Z: If I leave the cold tree, and invest another four into the fire tree:
Fireball = 3830 - 4218 (4024 average)
Meteor = 8988 - 9406 (9197 average), 1003 - 1062 per second pyre damage

Plan X is currently decent, but needs to be faster at /p8. I will certainly go with Plan Y, but I wonder if that should be enough for CIs. I would prefer to stop at Plan Y, but if Plan Z doesn't compromise the cold tree too much, then I'll go with the full 8 skill points into Plan Z.

Llathias said:
Let me be the first one to give the standard answer:
"Depends on your ultimate goal with this character."
All level 85 areas runner and boss killer.


Diabloii.Net Member
You put forth a nice stab at the numerical approach, but it ultimately rests on the fact that a 4k/-100% Blizzard is more than adequate, while anything beyond -100%CM is wasted skill points against non-resistant monsters.

Your fire tree, on the other hand, looks a bit weak. I personally found a 4k Fire Ball to be borderline adequate, whereas you are running around with 3k. I'd definitely recommend boosting your fire damage up some. You really want to be able to take out Oblivion Knights as fast as possible since they are the biggest threat to your first line of defense: your Merc. The other sometimes underrated benefit of a beefier Fire Ball is that the more damage it does the better chance you have of stun-locking monsters with it.

I did a similar analysis for my most recent Meteorber. You'll notice that there are quite a few monsters in the 0% and 50% categories while there are relatively few in between, thus, if you're going to go past -100%, you should really go all the way to -150% to get any real benefit out of it. Of course by that time you've already lost 10 skill points that could have gone elsewhere, something that's tough to swallow with a tight dual-element build. You'll also notice that a good deal of the potentially troublesom cold-resistant monsters can be readily disposed of with a few Fire Balls.

I think the trick is to get a nice balance between cold and fire, learn your enemies' resistances, and plan your attack accordingly.


Diabloii.Net Member
This is an interesting question but to fully address it, you should say something about -% cold resist from gear that you expect, as that should factor into the decision. A couple of cold facets would change the fine scale of your computation by at least as much as your various options, I believe. If you look at DarkChaos' gear for his Blizzballer, he's got two cold facets. Of course, he's got better gear than any of us mortals...

That being said, I would vote for putting more into the fire tree, probably, as the investment there would probably speed things up more on average. Even if you are running the Ancient Tunnels on /players 8, it's not the normal monsters taking time, it's the bosses with immunities that take longer and they are the ones you want to kill most for their drops.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks PhatTrumpet for your views and insights. I found the entirety of your post thought provoking. I will certainly consider it in my next round of calculations and skills balancing.

Indeed, it would be nice to hit the -150% to ECR mark, but that is going to be at an irrepairable cost to either Blizzard's or the fire tree's damages (as you alluded to). From in-game experience, most 0% CR monsters instantly die to a 4220/-100% Blizzard, apart from a few high hitpoint monsters like Council Members and WSK Pit/Venom Lords, who live a second to two longer.

-125% will not help against them either, but it will against monsters with 25% CR and above. Most importantly though, is that it will help against Mephisto and Baal, which I always run. Thus, I thought -125% for the skill points spent is a fair compromise vs. -150%. Those extra 5 skill points to bring it from -100% to -125% certainly provides greater damage output to monsters from 25% CR and above compared to investing those same 5 skill points in a Blizzard synergy.

With regards to the fire tree, I'm definitely going to invest at least 4 skill points into it (as per Plan Y in my previous post). Currently, the toughest CIs at /p8 die in this sequence (after Static Field):
Dark/Ghoul Lord (vampires) (33% FR): 4 Fireballs and 2 Meteors.
Oblivion Knights (60% FR): 4-6 Fireballs and 2 Meteors.
Vile/Hell Witch (66% FR) (low hitpoints, but the Amp curse is dangerous): 4 Fireballs and 1 Meteor.
The few other CIs (Flesh Spawners 33%, Invader 50%, Greater Hell Spawn 50%, Blood Boss 33%) pose little problems.

purplelocust said:
This is an interesting question but to fully address it, you should say something about -% cold resist from gear that you expect, as that should factor into the decision.
None. The weapon is Ist'ed, the shield and armour are pTopaz'ed, and shield is Um'ed. As you can see, this sorc is a MF'er.


Diabloii.Net Member
This question I had myself, Mmm If you say you are running Meph and Baal, The balanced option looks better, so that is plan Y and -125% ECR. Now for another question, what is Baal and Meph fire res? Cause if it's lower... then well yes then plan Z and then kill them with Fire.


Diabloii.Net Member
Ok, I've done some re-structuring to try to make it more simple. There are 5 tables below, and I would like to know which one you think is the ideal balance between the fire and cold trees (CM is at -125% in all cases). Note that as we move from Table 1 to Table 5, the cold tree becomes stronger while the fire tree becomes weaker.

Table 1
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Blizzard's damage = 3490	6980	6980	6980	6701	6108	5235

FireBall's damage = 4532

Meteor's damage = 10166
Table 2
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Blizzard's damage = 3652	7304	7304	7304	7012	6391	5478

FireBall's damage = 4275

Meteor's damage = 9676
Table 3
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Blizzard's damage = 3815	7630	7630	7630	7325	6676	5723

FireBall's damage = 4024

Meteor's damage = 9197
Table 4
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Blizzard's damage = 3977	7954	7954	7954	7636	6960	5966

FireBall's damage = 3757

Meteor's damage = 8769
Table 5
Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	20	25	33	50	75

Blizzard's damage = 4139	8278	8278	8278	7947	7243	6209

FireBall's damage = 3546

Meteor's damage = 8276
This Blizzball runs Andy, Meph, Baal, Pindleskin, Pits, Ancient Tunnels, River of Flame, WSK 1-3 and Throne of Destruction.


Moderator Single Player, D2 Assassin, Barbarian
Nice tables Frostius. :thumbsup: For what my opinion is worth, I would *probably* go for pumping the fire tree. Obviously, it depends on how you find she is playing at the moment, but I found the cold immune wave two of Baal's minions a real pain in the proverbial. Anything that takes those ... minions down quicker has to be good. (You've seen Pushkins skill distribution, so it could be just her.) But how do *you* feel she is running? Can you honestly say she struggles with non-cold immunes? If the answer is no, then fire it is.


It seems that the main 75% Cold resistant target is Meph, and he has 75% fire resists as well, so you'll still be using Bliz. This means you'll use your fire spells only against CIs (except the occasional Meteor on Act Bosses). In that case, the answer lies on the in-game experience, that is, how often you have to kill CIs, how much fire dmg do you need and whether the cold dmg in Table 1 is sufficient. Remember, as long as you can't reduce the number of Blizzard casts, the increase in dmg doesn't give you anything. (analogy: against a monster with 100 hp, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever if you increase your dmg from 50 to 90)

Or, just go with round numbers! I bet most guides are written that way...

I know that wasn't helpful at all :undecided: Looking at those numbers, though, I'd go somewhere between 1 and 3, 1 if you currently have satisfactory killing speed.


Diabloii.Net Member
Indeed to the posts of both Thyius and Llathias. In-game experience shows that I need approximately the sequence of 2 FBs - 1 Met - 2 FBs - 1 Met to kill Oblivion Knights and Vampires. That is with a Fireball of 3546 and Meteor of 8276 (i.e. Table 5). Sure, the fire spells aren't as powerful as a Meteorb's, but in-game, it seems quite adequate to me in dealing with CIs.

Most of the time, I'm using IB, GS and Blizzard. FBall occasionally thrown in when waiting to cast my next Blizzard. I come across few CIs (notables are vampires, OKs, Vile/Hell Witches, Greater Hell Spawn, Flesh Spawner, Blood Boss). Even Achmel's cold skellies die after 2 Meteors and 2-4 FBalls. In-game, it takes about 10 seconds at most for the cold skellies (using Table 5).

Table 5 is my current setup, and another reason I am reluctant to lessen my Blizzard damage is that it will take longer to kill Meph and Baal.


Diabloii.Net Member
FrostBurn said:
Sure, the fire spells aren't as powerful as a Meteorb's, but in-game, it seems quite adequate to me in dealing with CIs.
Of course they aren't... The Meteorb is going more heavy on the Fire side, while the Blizzballer (the way you have it set up) is more heavy on the Cold Side (IB and GS)...

I think you are doing just fine the way you are...

Just pick what you want... If you want her to be well rounded, divide the points evenly to both Cold and Fire... If you want to be a boss runner, choose a Tree and put the rest in there :grin:

Either way, just have fun with it... And if testing which is better, then just test and rebuild if you don't like it :grin:


*The taxman will be calling you soon to ask why your Blizzard Dmg is so high and why your Meteor can kill a Devilkin :evil:*


Diabloii.Net Member

Thanks for the PM. I probably wouldn't have ever seen this otherwise. Maybe I should start wandering a bit farther from my sorc forum home.

I have to start with a question. What's you Fast Cast Rate at? If you're hitting the 105% break point, then more in fireball synergies or even ice blast will be noticed. If you're casting slower and mainly using blizzard/meteor then you'll only get a few synergy points out of IB/FB. Of course is still useful to synergize, but this will be secondary to pumping the damage of your timered spells. Does any of your gear have -enemy fire resistances either? (tal orb?). Obviously this will make your fire attacks stronger than listed.

As I read throught this my first thought is to pump everything into more fire damage. I'd hold your CM to -100% and pump the fireballs. Specifically I was thinking you should us plan A or B on the top, then something like table 2 or 3 below. But I suppose I'm really thinking of this from a meteorb perspective. I've only ever done one straight blizzard build, and never a blizzballer. But I am on my 3rd revision of my meteorb however. Everytime I revise my meteorb I do more fireball damage and have even less CM and Meteor. This is where I start to rethink everything.

At first I really tried to balance my meteorb. I wanted to have somewhat equal cold and fire attacks. I was probably 2/3 fire and 1/3 cold. But the more I play, the more addicted I get to fast cast fireballs. Now I'm probably 3/4 fire and 1/4 cold. About the only thing that will get me to switch off a fireball is fire immune. Even running meph I generally kill him with straight fireballs. I don't even really bother to switch to static. I've even fire facted some of my Tal's in favor of more damage.

Now if I try to think of this like a blizzballer I have to wonder if you shouldn't try to do the same thing - well the same thing applied to the cold tree that is. What I like about dual elemental builds is their ability to play through everything solo. But having two moderate attacks isn't really optimum. If you have a main spell (blizz/IB for you, FB/Met for me) with a weaker 2nd tree attack you'll probably kill faster. How often do you ever switch off your main spell for 2nd tree attacks anyway? So long as your 2nd tree attack is good enough to get the job done, then its good enough. Does your "normal" attack go blizzard -> fireball -> fireball -> blizzard or probably more like blizzard -> ice blast -> ice blast -> blizzard. You probably only switch over to fire for cold immunes right? There's a lot of them out there, but if your fire (or your merc) is killing them without really slowing you down then its probably enough. This leads me to think you should pump the cold tree more. I'm not sure what the ratio of blizzard to IB casts is. If you are casting a lot of IB then by all means pump it up.

Going back to your first tables about how much CM to use (mainly comparing B to C)

Monster's cold resistance(%)	0	50
Plan B: 4545 damage, -100%CM	9090	6818
Plan C: 4220 damage, -120%CM	8440	7174

Ice Blast
Plan B: 1562 damage, -100%CM	3124	2343
Plan C: 1193 damage, -120%CM	2386	2028
Here's the question, is 600 more blizz damage at 0% worth the loss of 300 more at 50% resists. Hmm tough call - probably a toss up. But when we look at IB damage we get 800 more IB at 0% AND 300 more at 50% the answer is now a resounding yes. For blizzard we're looking at a loss of about 5-8% of total damage, on IB we're looking at as much as 25% difference. Assuming you actually cast a lot of IB's, then keep your CM at -100% and pump IB.

Looking at your last tables fire vs. cold. I'd look at the total of fireball+blizzard damage. This total is greatest at tables 3 and 4. I'd say this is a good balance of fire and cold, while still allowing lots of points to synergize your main attack. So lonng as your fire is killing, even somewhat slowly, that's probably good enough. Its a backup skill anyway.

*edit - reading through this a 2nd time I see that I really tried to draw a line from IB to FB and blizz to meteor. I'm really not sure that's a valid comparision. I think my point about only -100% CM is valid, but when it comes to a stonger FB at the loss of some Blizz - I'm guess I'm just not sure.


Diabloii.Net Member
I am awed by your in-depth reply, MC, and all the more by the amount of thought and effort you've put into it. It is nice to see that you are one of the few people who has actually made the effort to respond with constructive feedback (or even at all), and especially so given that you aren't even from the SPF, which says a lot about a lot of things over here.

If you ever decide to give SP a shot, I'll be more than happy to outfit you with whatever sorc gear you may need, as a token of my thanks.

I'll now take this into PM, where we can have a more private discussion.

Cheers again mate!


Diabloii.Net Member
Hmm, no spirit, so torch or anni hunting? No uping my gear either? Probably not for me.

I can remember playing around before there even was a ladder. I think in all the months/years of playing back then the best runes I ever found were a SOL and AMN! Ok, maybe I'm exagerating a bit, but I really enjoy the higher % drops on ladder and most of the new runewords. (I'd prefer it if they never made enigma or grief - but that's a whole other argument) I've actually found my own IST and a MAL this ladder season - yeah!

I'll admit you probably get a better caliber of people in SP instead of open b.net. But if you stick to playing with other forum people, or keep a small circle of friends on open b.net that works too.

If I ever get too bored on Ladder I may have to give SP a chance, but I'm not in any hurry.


Diabloii.Net Member
I've decided to post my PM here as well, partly for my own future reference, and partly for the few members who would be interested in this. I've [edited] out several sections which I consider personal. MageChick and Thyiad, please check your PM box for the full message.
PM begins.

Hi MageChick (and Thyiad too, since I think you'll find this interesting),

Thanks again for your reply. It was more than I ever expected but very much appreciated. Although I had already decided on the best plan for my Blizzball a couple of days ago, reading your thoughts reinforces my decision, which is good.

I'm going to be thorough in this PM, since it is the best you deserve after your carefully thought out reply to my thread. Please don't feel obliged to reply just as thoroughly, as I do not want to trouble you too much, and my aim is just to give you as much detail as possible.

On FCR, I have 70%. I play vanilla SP (no Rune Word Mod which enables realm-only runewords in SP), so hitting the 105% FCR is too much of a sacrifice of + skills and +mana for my liking. Plus, I love my Stormshield too much.

My mindset is focused on the timered spells (Blizzard and Meteor), with IceBlast, GlacialSpike and FireBall as secondary spammable spells. Which is another reason why I'm happy with the 63% FCR breakpoint at 9 fpc.

I use full Tal's as you may expect. [edited]

Like you, I am on to my 3rd revision of my Blizzball. I am happy to say that, after days of number crunching, I have designed the ultimate balanced Blizzball between level 85 areas PvM and PvBoss, using full Tal's. At first, I thought it best to strike a balance between fire and cold, but after much analysis and thought, I've decided to go mainly cold, with fire as back-up. A similar parallel with your Meteorb.

In my thread, you've seen my list of cold resistant monsters (i.e. they are not CI), and there are many of them. In contrast, here is a list of CI monsters that I will likely face in level 85 areas: Oblivion Knight, Vile/Hell Witch, Ghoul/Dark Lord (vampires), Invader, Grotesque/Flesh Spawner, Greater Hell Spawn, Blood Boss. Do you see how few CIs there are compared to non-CIs? Of these, OKs, vampires and the witches pose the greatest threat to my merc, and then to me.

Against non-CIs, I always use Blizzard, with GS against groups for the freeze, and IB against the single straglers that are lucky enough to be in Blizzard's 'safe spot'. I only throw in FBall if I know that those same non-CIs are particularly susceptible to fire, like Specters and Steel Scarabs. At 9 fpc, I can spam four un-timered spells for every Blizzard I cast.

Against CIs (as listed above), I spam 1 Meteor per 2 FBalls. I have decided that I only need my fire tree to be strong enough to kill CIs at a decent speed. As you said:
MageChick said:
So long as your 2nd tree attack is good enough to get the job done, then its good enough.
To that end, I have deciced that I'll max FBall and Meteor (of course), and [edited]. That gives a FBall damage of 3546 and Meteor damage of 8276. Another 4 points into FM will bring FBall to 4024 and Meteor to 9197. This is where I start to think, well, I gain ~500 more FBall damage and ~1000 more Meteor damage, but so what? The main damage comes from the fact that FBall is doing ~3500 damage and Meteor ~8000 damage. Adding that extra 500/1000 isn't going to kill CIs twice as fast. Probably a little faster, yes, but would I prefer to spend those extra 4 skill points in the cold tree? Yes, I would.

At a FBall of 3546 and Meteor of 8276, I kill OKs and vampires in the sequence of 1 Met : 2 FBall : 1 Met : 2 FBall. The witches die slightly faster due to their low hitpoints (even though they have 66% FR). This is in a /p8 game, which is the equivalent of an 8 player b.net game. I'm satisfied with that, and all the more so considering the relatively few CIs in the game compared to FIs/LIs/PsnIs, which all get slaughtered by my cold spells. How does that sound to you? Would *you* find the speed of my fire tree satisfactory?

Now on to the cold tree. This is where things get a little more complicated. When I built my current Blizzball about half a year ago (she is now clvl 96), I knew less about the game mechanics than I do now. I reasoned then to max GS, since I love group freezing monsters in between Blizz, and a freeze length of 9.5/4 = 2.375 secs is very substantial in Hell difficulty. Later, I dropped another 10 skill points into IB to further synergise Blizzard.

Now though, I know better. I will rebuild based on [edited]. GS, whether maxed or at 1 hard point, does precious little damage to groups. I like it more for the group freeze rather than the group damage. And at 1 hard point with my new build, I'll freeze groups for 5.8/4 = 1.45 secs. About 39% less than 2.375 secs, but so what?

I can spam 4 IB/GS for every Blizzard. At 9 fpc, 4 GS's at a freeze length of 1.45 secs will still keep monsters perpetually frozen while still under my Blizzard. Even if I did 1 GS, followed by 3 IB, then a Blizzard, the freeze length of 1.45 secs is still long enough to keep monsters frozen for 4 spammable spells, followed by a Blizzard, followed by another 4 spammable spells, before they un-freeze. Even if I do 1 GS, then 3 IB, then 1 Blizzard, and repeat, that is still enough to keep them perpetually frozen.

Moving on to IBlast, my skill distribution allows for maximum damage output. Specifically, IB of 2671 damage (after +15% from Tal's orb, but before factoring in CM). The freeze length on this IB is 10.5/4 = 2.625 secs. On my previous build, the IB did 1193 damage and freeze length of 23.4/4 = 5.85 secs. Lower damage, and the freeze length was too long. With my new setup, I get to pump out much more damage, and freezing for 2.625 secs is more than enough. The extra damage comes in especially handy when battling Baal and Mephisto, who have very high hitpoints and cold resistance.

And now we'll talk about CM. Why -125%? Well, I sat down for several hours and did the sums. In the cold tree, [edited], I have 15 skill points to spend. Basically, I did a comparison of the damage returns of IBlast and Blizzard, starting from all spare 15 skill points into IBolt and 0 into CM, and with point by point alteration, to 0 into IBolt and 15 into CM. Interestingly, the best balance is struck with [edited]. That gives a CM slvl of 22, which is -125%.

Now this gets a teeny bit more complicated. Monsters with 0% cold resistance (CR) take double damage with a slvl 17 CM of -100%. So with slvl 22 CM of -125%, I have effectively 'wasted' 5 skill points, since the cap to - enemy cold resistance is at -100%.

But, monsters with 50% CR (such as Baal), take more damage from -125% CM compared to -100% CM, since the former will make Baal -75% CR and the latter will make him -50% CR. Even when Blizzard is weakened by the loss of 5 skill points in a Blizzard synergy re-directed to CM to give -125% CM, the end-damage output still proves to be greater compared to a -100% CM and those 5 points into a Blizzard synergy, which is IBolt in this case. In other words, - to enemy cold resistance always results in greater damage output to CR monsters.

MageChick said:
Here's the question, is 600 more blizz damage at 0% worth the loss of 300 more at 50% resists.
Then my answer has to be no. Referring back to my paragraph above, there would be 3 scenarios that I can give examples of:

1. With 15 spare skill points, [edited], to give a slvl 17 CM which gives -100%, the Blizzard damage to a 0% CR monster is 9090 and to a 75% CR monster is 5681.

2. With 15 spare skill points, [edited], to give a slvl 31 CM which gives -170%, the Blizzard damage to a 0% CR monster is 6818 and to a 75% CR monster is 6648. (Note that the main monster at 75% CR is Meph, where CM of up to -175% is effective.)

3. With 15 spare skill points, [edited], to give a slvl 22 CM which gives -125%, the Blizzard damage to a 0% CR monster is 8278 and to a 75% CR monster is 6209.

(Note that IceBlast will show a similar range of patterns with the above examples.)

To my mind, example 1 has too wide a damage range. I don't want to deal 9090 damage to a 0% CR monster only to deal a low 5681 damage to a 75% CR monster (i.e. Meph). Also, most 0% CR monsters that die to 9090 damage will die to 8278 damage.

Example 2 on the other hand, swings to the opposite extreme, with too tight a damage range. I lose a significant amount of damage at 6818 to a 0% CR monster, and the increase in damage of 6648 to a 75% CR monster is not worth that loss.

Therefore, I deem example 3 to be the ultimate and perfect balance between CM and Blizzard synergies. Dealing 8278 damage to a 0% CR monster is very significant (even for the high hitpoint monsters like frenzytaurs), while dealing 6209 damage to a 75% cold resistant monster is a brilliant compromise between 5681 damage and 6648 damage (as per examples 1 and 2).

So there you have it! I think I've managed to present all my thought processes. It is a shame that I have to re-build (or re-incarnate) for the third time, but at least I now have, imo, the perfect balance for a Blizzball using the gear that I described. There is no doubt that I will love her very much, and that she will achieve the grand character level of 99! PM ends.

By the way, I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, but almost everything on ladder works in SP. The monsters have the same AI, the level of difficulty is the same, you can upgrade your gear from normal to exceptional, and again to elite, and with Rune Word Mod, all the ladder-only runewords can be enabled (so yes to Spirit).

The only two things not possible are Diablo Clone and the Pandemonium Event, which means no Anni and no Torch. Granted, if that was legitimately enabled in SP, I would be spending a lot of time building smiters and key-hunters! (and btw, I've got a zealot on SP that will kick uber butt!)

PS. Thanks again to Melianor and PhatTrumpet for their initial replies, and Thyiad and Llathias for their later replies.