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Tanking CB/FO Sorc - a short guide

Discussion in 'Sorceress' started by ventilator, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. ventilator

    ventilator IncGamers Member

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    Tanking CB/FO Sorc - a short guide

    Tanking CB/FO Sorc - A Viable Variant

    1. Preface
    2.1 About this guide
    2.2 About the Tanking CB/FO Sorc (TACFOS)
    3. Skill explanation, skill point allocation and progression
    3.1 Cold Tree
    3.2 Lightning Tree
    3.2.1 Where is my ES?
    3.3 Fire Tree
    4. Stat point allocation
    5. Equipment
    5.1 Desired Mods
    5.2 Not-So-Desired Mods
    5.3 Equipment Suggestions
    5.4 Equipment conclusion
    5.5 My setup
    6. Mercenary
    7. Epiloque



    1. Preface

    Recently I hear more and more questions about the viability of Charged Bolt as a Sorceress' main attack skill in DiabloII patch 1.10. And since I've been building and playing one of these for a couple of months successfully on Europe HCL, invested 2 now deceased predecessors, a few items and lots of thought in how to make this build viable, I'll try to share my experiences and my recommendations. I hope you'll enjoy this. If you find any spelling mistakes please feel free to point them out as english is not my first language. Comments and Suggestions are appreciated.



    2.1 About this guide

    The goal of this guide is to give an idea of how a Tanking CB/FO sorc can be built, both skill- and equipmentwise, how she works and how she can be used. It'll give the cans and can'ts of this build as well as the dos and don'ts. It'll be quite specific in the skill and statpoint allocation section and much less specific in the gear section. This guide is based on Hardcore experiences but holds true for Softcore as well. If you feel you got an idea on how to twink this build for your needs and playing style by all means do so. I assume that you are familiar with common abbreviations and that you are familiar with game mechanics like frames, resistances, damage reduction, FC/FB/FHR breakpoints and so on. This guide is a PvM guide and PvP possibilities with this build were not testet or taken into consideration.



    2.2 About the Tanking CB/FO Sorc (TACFOS)

    Unlike other sorceress variants the TACFOS does not stand in the back row to let death rain on their foes but is a very mobile frontline fighter that tries to pick out single targets one at a time and dispatch them as quickly as possible with her main attack skill Charged Bolt. When the enemies are too tightly packed to allow for this she'll fall back, slow her enemies with Frozen Orb and soften the enemy lines up with her carpet of lightning.

    The TACFOS is:
    - A great rush and PA char
    - A great Telesorc
    - A blast to play with

    The TACFOS is not:
    - A great MF char
    - For the weak of the heart



    3. Skill explanation, skill point allocation and progression

    In this section I'll give the recommended skill point allocation for the TACFOS. There is a bit of room for customization however. Recommended allocation is given in the form [X+,Y,(Z)] where X denotes the minimum initial investment, a "+" means more than the initial can be added if wished, Y is the final base skill level we want to reach and (Z) a skill value after +skill items we might want to reach.



    3.1 Cold Tree

    Ice Bolt [1] - Prereq


    Frozen Armor [1+] I'll recommend FA over CA. The defense bonus CA has over FA is neglegible while the freezing effect of FA far outshines the chilling effect of CA while teleing in hazzardous areas or tanking nasties. If you got excess point feel free to dump them here. If you feel that CA or no armor at all suits you better go for it.


    Frost Nova [1] - Prereq


    Ice Blast [1] - Prereq


    Glacial Spike [1] - Prereq


    Blizzard [1] - Prereq


    Frozen Orb [1,20] - Old time favorite since the classic tweaker sorcs and still one of the most versatile and powerful spells in the game. The reason we chose this skill as our second attack skill besides Charged Bolt is it's effektiveness even without a huge investment into it's synergy, it's ability to both deal damage and slow effekt to large groups as well as single lightning immune targets if aimed correctly and it's fairly low mana cost thanks to the spell being timered. Nothing more needs to be said. Since FO will be all you need to get through late Normal and all of Nightmare difficulty and since you'll lacke the tanking capabilities to effectively use CB at these levels it is recommended to put one point each level up as soon as you reach level 30 and thus max this skill ASAP.


    Cold Mastery [1+,(17)] - Cold Mastery increases the effektive damage of cold spells by reducing enemy resistance to cold. Monsters have a negative cap of -100% resistances which means that for monsters without positive resistance to cold CM levels beyond 17 do not further increase the effective damage. For enemies with positive resistance higher levels of CM are still effective though, this includes all act bosses. Since Orb is not our main late-game attack skill though we are content with putting one single point at level 30 and then leaving it alone until every other skill got his fair share of attention. Depending on our focus and our will to level up beyond level 80 one point might be all this skill ever gets, which is fine.



    3.2 Lightning Tree

    Charged Bolt [1,20] - This is out main attack skill which works surprisingly well as a single target killer as well as a wide-range softener. Charged Bolt releases up to 24 small bolts of lightning that travel in a cone with an arc of approx. 30-40° from your sorceress until they reach their maximum spread of about 1/3 screen and then continue to travel on in a rectangle to their maximum range of approx. 3/4 screen which means they get out of your viewport usually if you don't move after casting. Since your sorceress can not cast this spell in a linear manner into all screen directions but rather gradually into the cardinal points you'll find that obtaining maximum hits with maximum spread is not always easy. You'll get used to this though and will learn to reposition yourself when using this skill long-range.

    However, the true fun of this skill comes into play when you use it against single targets. Since all bolts start their journey at one single point right next to you this means that an enemy in this point will get hit by all of the bolts at once. You don't have to be level 80 or 90 to try this for yourself, start a level 1 sorc now, dump your first point into CB, walk up to a Fallen in Blood Moor and cast CB to see for yourself. However walking or even running can be dangerous later on in Hell difficulty. This is the point where the second most important skill at your disposal comes into play: Teleport. When you teleport onto an enemy, i.e. on his nametag, you'll be positioned right next to him in a cardinal direction to him. Both prerequisites of successfully dispatching him are thus met, so let him feel the power of CB right away.

    To give you an idea on the damage we are talking about, at slvl 30 CB and LM, max synergy, we can expect around 350 damage per single bolt times 24 bolts. This is 8,400 damage per cast, or 23,333 damage per second if we assume 9fpc. At slevel 40 we are well over 700 damage per bolt or 16,800 damage per cast or 46,666 damage per second. Even the lower figures are enough to quickly dispatch enemies one by one in 8 player Hell games.

    Limitations of the Tele-CB-Kill are it's limited effectiveness against very big targets like the Act Bosses Andariel, Duriel, Mephist, Diablo and Baal. When you teleport on top of them the game positions you too far away from them to make all your bolts hit them, around 1/3 will miss and pass them left and right. A possible solution to this is teleing on them, then walk/run-clicking right behind them to the opposite of where you are standing and while you are walking them disrupting your walk by starting to cast CB. Often this brings you closer to their center so that all bolts start hitting them. This can be a bit frustrating though and I have found no surefire way to get around this problem. Korlic, Talic and Madawc are not big targets however and will quickly fall to your wrath.

    CB is not a timered spell and will profit from Fast Cast. Also this means that if we spam this spell from far away we can alternate very well with the timered Frozen Orb. 2-3 casts of CB while the timer on FO resets is always nice.

    Depending on your playstyle you can pump this skill early on although it looses some of the punch it had in the Blood Moor until you get access to Lightning Mastery. Expect this to be pushed hard from level 50 onwards and being you main killing skill after level 70-80.


    Static Field [1+,(10+)] No point in this skill after all must-max skills is a waste. Static is still the most powerfull spell in the game. Reducing all on-screen non-LI enemy's Life to 50% in 8 player Hell is bliss. You should aim for +10 lightning skills anyway, but if you push it to 15 or 20 after +skills that's fine as well.


    Telekinesis [1] Prereq


    Lightning [20] Synergie for CB and nothing else.


    Teleport [1] We are lazy. We are Sork. We never walk. Once you are outside camp/town/docks or whatever we do not take a single step. We never run anyway, since that'd ruin our blocking.


    Lightning Mastery [20] This considerably increases the damage of our CB and is a must to max, no discussion here.


    3.2.1 Where is my ES?

    Well, as you will see later on we will go base mana with this build since we use one timered and one cheap spell. Also, we probably will prefer safety items over mana boosting items, so that our manapool will be comparatively low. But we will want to have as many plus lightning skills as possible so that even with one point in ES we will likely have it at a level so high that we can't sustain it with our manapool. Furthermore this build is kind of tight on skillpoints, so we won't be able to push telekinesis as a mana-saving synergy. I do not recommend going ES unless you want to find yourself drained of all mana far too often. If you think ES suits you by all means go for it. This debate is not to be decided by me anyway.



    3.3 Fire Tree

    Warmth [1] One point wonder. Since our manapool will be low anyway the effects won't be as noticeable, but some mana regen is better than none, for one point this is a bargain.



    4. Stat point allocation

    This will be pretty straightforward. Only thing I can advise is try no to overstat Strength, which can easily happen. Overstating Dexterity is a rare thing to happen, overstating Vitality is not possible and if you find yourself with lots of points in Energy something went horribly wrong.

    Strength: Enough for your most demanding item which could be as high as 196. This does not mean base strenght but strenght after items and charms which can easily add up to 100 str.

    Dexterity: Enough for maxblock with the shield of your choice. Maxblock is a must, don't forget that you will go toe to toe with your foes.

    Vitality: Every single point that you can spare.

    Energy: None. Not a single point.



    5. Equipment

    As sad as it is, the equipment will make or break this build to a high degree. You will want to have access to exceptional and elite unique and set items. Untwinked playing is not recommended and careful planning of your end game items is advised. Remember, this sorceress will have to tank, so she needs gear that will let her survive. This means that we will happily sacrifice killing power if it allows us to stay alive. At least if we play hardcore. If we play softcore we don't care and happily loot our body 5 times per baalrun.



    5.1 Desired Mods

    In no particular order, I'll leave it up to you to balance this out between your equipment and your preference.

    Fast Cast Rate:
    63% (9 frames) is a must, go lower and teleporting becomes a suicide wish. 105% (8 frames) is nice but if we have to sacrifice safety for it we don't go for it. Since CB is non-timered this increases our killspeed too, how convenient.

    Skills:
    Aim for +10 on the lightning side of things. Make up with skillcharms if your safety equipment does not provide enough.

    Resistances, Absorb, MDR:
    75/75/75/75 is a must, prefereably 50 stacked on top for those conviction gloams and LR cursing OKs in the Worldstone Keep. Absorb, especially Lightning, is very nice to have and MDR does not shine anymore in 1.10.

    Physical Damage Reduction:
    Yes please. Don't go nuts on it, but if you can squeeze it in please do so. PDR by % is capped at 50, straight PDR is not capped and can be very effective at 2-digit numbers.

    Chance to Block, Faster Block Rate.
    Well, aiming for maxblock with Lidless Wall is delusional, so a high CTB on your shield is desired, FBR also helps a lot when you tele into that group of fana flayers.

    Defense:
    I am not kidding. Between her Cold Armors, her Defiance Merc and that nice Barbarian's Shout it is very much possible for a sorceress to break the 20k defense barrier. By all means, try to reach 2000 defense unmodified, this will help you to survive when tanking.

    FHR:
    Yes, that's faster hit recovery and is insanely important. Without any FHR items your Sorceress will recover from hits that take more than 1/12th of her life in 15 frames. That is ages and your death sentence in the middle of a pack of vipers. Aim for 42% or even better 60% FHR

    Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, Energy, Life, Mana:
    Stats, stats and more stats. High defense requires strenght, high blocking requires dexterity, high life is a must and a little bit of mana is nice to have. Items that provide any of these stats will effectively raise your life and thus make you tougher and even more able to tank.



    5.2 Not-So-Desired Mods

    FRW:
    What for? We Teleport. And if we don't we walk instead of run to maintain our block. Most good boots have this anyway, but this is very secondary to us.

    Magic Find:
    I'm quite sure there are better builds for MFing than a TACFOS.



    5.3 Equipment Suggestions

    This can be and probably will be a mix and match, depending on the equipment you have access to. I don't think there is generally a best equipment for this sorceress, but quite a few options that work well. I am not going to list every possible piece of equipment that could suit a TACFOS, but recommend a few pieces of equipment that do well in the "Desired Mods" (see 5.1) category. Of course, apart from the Uniques and the Sets that I am going to list, rares can spawn with very decent mods as well. I can't be bothered to list runewords anymore. If you want to use CoH do so by all means.


    Head

    Harlequin Crest:
    The wonders of this helm are still amazing. +2 skill and massive Life and Mana. What more can you ask for?

    Griffon's Eye:
    Ok, you could ask for more killing power. +1 skill, +Lightning Skill Damage and -Enemy Lighting Resistance will add to your killing power like no other item. This is the ultimate item for the offensive player.

    Kira's Guardian:
    Massive resists, CBF and FHR. Very nice.

    Veil of Steel:
    30 Stats and massive resists as well as high defense. Strenght requirement is steep, however offset by the 15 strenght inherent in this helm

    Crown of Ages:
    +1 Skill, PDR, Resists, FHR, high defense and sockets. 5 very important mods and customizeability in one neat package

    Peseant Crown:
    Harlequin's Crest's little sister, looks cute too.

    Amulet:

    Mara's Kaleidoskope:
    +2 Skills, 20 stats and big resists. Very few things can outshine this gem.

    Tal Rasha's Adjucation: +2 Skills, some resist, big life and mana, very nice.

    Crafted Caster Amulet:
    Arch-Angels Prismatic of the Apprentice of the Colossus with 10% FC automod. This one outshines Mara's. Better save up those Ral runes


    Body:

    Skin of the Vipermagi (upgraded):
    +1 Skill, FCR and Resists. Defense is on the Low side but Lem + Ko + Pdia will fix that.

    Que Hagan's Wisdom (maybe upgraded):
    +1 Skill, FCR, FHR, minor mods. Upgrade should be considered.

    Guardian Angel (maybe upgraded):
    If you can fill the upgraded max resistance this goes a long way at incresing your surviveability. The added CTB and FBR is an awesome mod too. Upgraded this goes together quite well with Stormshield, if you equip Storm without a -req jewel. 156 Strenght needed for Storm +30 from Storm leaves you only 10 Strenght short of the 196 needed for an upgraded GA and provides you with a defense that doesn't get much better.

    Naj's Light Plate:
    +1 Skill, Damage to Mana, good defense, resistances and life makes this a very nice armor.

    Tal Rasha's Guardianship:
    Good defense, nice resist, and FCR when worn with another item from the set makes this an item to consider.

    Arkaines Valor:
    +2 Skills, FHR, massive Vitality, straight DR and great defense, plus it looks damn sexy. High strenght req.


    Weapon:

    Wizardspike:
    It lacks + skills, but big FC, huge mana and resists make this one the top weapon choice

    The Occulus:
    If you like being the pinball give this one a try. You will bounce around quite a bit, but you are built tough so it might be ok. You gain +3 skills, FC, 40 stats and some defense


    Shield:

    Stormshield:
    I don't have to Introduce this one. Stats, Resists, CTB, FBR, huge defense, PDR

    Gerke's Sanctuary:
    CTB, nice resists, straight PDR, good defense. Block speed is on the low side though, stack up on FHR if you use this.

    Spirit Ward:
    Great defense, resists, CTB, FBR. Strenght requirement is very steep though.

    Whatever high block, FBR, resist shield you can find.


    Belt:

    Thundergods Vigor:
    40 stats, +max LR and lightning absorb, this belt offers awesome mods to the sorceress that wishes to equip high strenght items and tank gloams.

    Immortal King's Detail:
    High strenght bonus, 2 nice resists and good defense this belt is a keeper.

    Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth:
    Should be worn with the armor and amulet for huge dexterity bonus, FCR, and life.


    Rings:

    No specifics here, just make up for what you can. Skills, FCR, Str, Dex, Life, Mana, Resists are all appreciated mods.


    Gloves:

    Immortal King's Forge:
    20 Strenght and 20 dexterity. No other pair of gloves will go such a long way at allowing you to equip high strenght items and reach maxblock.

    Frostburns (upgraded)
    An old favorite and still usefull for the manabonus. However since we went base mana their effect won't be overwhelming. Definitely in need of an upgrade for more defense.


    Boots:

    Waterwalk:
    15 Dexterity and up to 65 life as well as +max fire resistance are not easily surpassed

    Sandstorm Treck:
    These boots surpass Waterwalk. 20% FHR is worth 4 spaces in SC or equivalent to 80 life in SC. 15 strength and 15 Vitality are the icing one the cake. And I didn't even mention the massive poison resistance.


    Charms:
    Skills, Life, Mana, Resists, FHR, Stats



    5.4 Equipment conclusion

    As you can see, there are quite a few possibilities. However you mix and match your equipment, get max resists, 42% FHR, good defense, 75%block, 63%FCR and above 1000 life. Mana is secondary. Use the twinking gear you see fit while you level up and make up for strenght and dexterity you will get later on from items with charms.



    5.5 My setup

    Level 86
    Peseant Crown
    Rare +2 Sorc, 18 res all, 41 life, 51 fire resist amulet
    Arkaines Valor
    Wizardspike /w 15 res all jewel
    Gerke's Sanktuary /w PDia
    Thundergod's Vigor
    Immortal Kings Forge
    2x FC Ring /w resists, stats and life
    Waterwalks
    Assorted Skills, Life, Mana, Resists, FHR, Stats charms



    6. Mercenary

    Act2 Normal Defensive. There just is no substitute and you need that merc to be by your side when you tele on top of your foes. He comes out swinging from the teleport and will immediately draw attention on himself thus helping you stay alive. The weapon of choice is a Reaper's Toll, for it's CTC Decrepify, the rest is to your decision. Outfit him well, he is your life insurance.



    7. Epiloque

    Play it to believe it. This type of sorceress is very viable, requires constant skill switching and active participation in what's happening on the screen. She is the most fun to play sorceress variant I had in 1.10, does Normal, Nightmare and Hell rushes including Ancients, can safely teleport anywhere without maphack, always gets nice comments from fellow players and she makes me smile all the time. What more can you ask for? Have fun and good luck
     
  2. Icarus

    Icarus IncGamers Member

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    real nice guide. i think ill try another cb sorc shortly.
     
  3. melianor

    melianor D3 Wizard Moderator

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    CB :D Yes, i love that spell. Used it alo ton my pure Pure Lighting.
    CB starts to shine when you add alot Skillers ontop of your +skills gear. Since the basedamage starts to skyrocket as soon as you breach the lvl20 mark. :thumbsup: That guide is not so short at all!
     
  4. ventilator

    ventilator IncGamers Member

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    Icarus:
    Yes please, we need more of these :) Also thanks for the accolade

    Melianor:
    Yes, high +skills is very much desired. Of course you have to balance this with your surviveability but you should shoot for slevel 30 CB and LM, more if you can! I use 6 skillcharms to make up for lacking +skills from gear (only 4) and I find that to be sufficient. I wouldn't mind going 2 or 4 skilllevels higher though :)
     
  5. melianor

    melianor D3 Wizard Moderator

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    I can aquire +12 skills from gear + Anni, but that would only be base. Adding in Skillcharms would nearly be a must *g*. Tehe damage simply goes up insanely. You can get a 450 damage CB that way. Imaging, 450 damage for each of those 24 bolts (there is sadly a cap at the amounts of bolts in 1.10, said 24)!
     
  6. ventilator

    ventilator IncGamers Member

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    Heh, you can get even more, upwards of 600 or maybe even 700 per bolt. With +10 to all skills from equipment and 10 lightning skill charms, 20 hard points in each CB, L and LM should yield a damage of 659 - 686 per bolt. The lightning synergy is so important as well, it more than doubles CB base damage before LM is applied. Dealing 5k, 9k or even 15k damage on a 9 or even 8 frame attack sure is appealing.

    But apart from the damage, which is not at the top end in my case, it is more the playing style that got me hooked on CB. I absolutely love this Teleport-CB-CB-CB-CB-Dead-Teleport-CB-CB-CB-CB-Dead feeling. CB does what most of my melee chars don't - deliver big damage at close range, with the sorceress' added mobility on top. That's why I built her more like a melee char than like a caster in the first place.
     
  7. melianor

    melianor D3 Wizard Moderator

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    Definetly its important to get close up with monster when using CB. Best with placing your Merc between you and monsters.
    The closer you can get the more Charged Bolts will hit monsters, killing them faster. Stun-effect on CB with enough damage is also very nice :D
     

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