1.10 ENCHANTRESS GUIDE v 1.01
Ever since Diablo II came out, I have always been, well, enchanted with the idea of the skill Enchant. I have always wanted to make a sorceress who focused on this skill, powered up her party, jumped into the fray, and started hacking and slicing up foes herself. Sadly, Enchant has previously been severely underpowered, especially when compared to the party skills of several other character classes.
However, the 1.10 patch dramatically increased the power of Enchant, and this has led many people to experiment with the skill to try to figure out how one could play an effective enchantress. I have been experimenting with 1.10 enchantresses a lot and even wrote up the adventures of a melee enchantress, Grizabella, the Realistic Fighter Mage, during the 1.10 beta. I've also listened to the ideas and experiences of others who have tried various enchantress builds, and a consensus seems to be forming regarding the viability of certain enchantress builds. It turns out that while the enchantress is a relatively weak solo character in hell, she can be one of the most powerful characters in the game in a party. This guide is designed to give players a starting point with which to build their own enchantresses.
Table of Contents
A. Undocumented Game Features Important to Enchantresses
B. Using Enchant in a Party
C. Basic Build and Equipment
D. Ranged vs Melee Enchantress
E. Fire Immunes
F. Life After Enchant
A. Undocumented Game Features Important to Enchantresses
There are several undocumented game features and bugs that are important for enchantresses to know about:
1. Despite the skill description, there is no 1/3rd penalty for Enchant when used with ranged attacks. So, a multizon gets the same damage and attack rating bonus as a whirlwinding barbarian.
2. When the enchantress herself fights melee (e.g. with a sword), her enchant gets multiplied by an extra factor of her Fire Mastery. So, take Enchant's listed damage shown in the skill tab (which has already been multiplied by one factor of Fire Mastery) and then multiply by another factor of the enchantress's current Fire Mastery to find out how much fire damage a melee enchantress would deal. This is fairly easy to see, because the Lying Character Screen (LCS) actually reports the correct damage dealt by the enchantress when she melees. So the fire damage added by Enchant can be calculated for melee enchantresses with the following formula:
(Enchant base damage) * (Warmth synergy) * (Fire Mastery at time of enchanting) * (Fire Mastery at time of striking)
3. However, when the enchantress uses ranged attacks (bows, javelins, etc.), she does not receive the extra Fire Mastery bonus. Despite what the LCS reports, she only gets the straight Enchant damage added to her attacks. So, the enchantress actually deals less damage than the LCS reports. So the fire damage added by Enchant can be calculated for ranged enchantresses with the following formula:
(Enchant base damage) * (Warmth synergy) * (Fire Mastery at time of enchanting)
4. However, Enchant gets carried by the explosions from explosive bolts and arrows when shot by the enchantress (and I suppose other characters as well). The explosive part always hits a monster and if the physical arrow hits as well, it's like the enchantress hit the target monster twice with her enchant attack. If the enchantress is using a piercing bow as well, the target monster can additionally get hit by the explosions set off by striking monsters or walls behind it. Note: Explosions from arrows shot by rogue mercenaries do not carry enchant. That is, you can't arm a rogue mercenary with a Kuko and hope to get an area of effect "spell" out of it.
5. Sorceress elemental masteries affect the corresponding elemental damage delivered by equipment. So a sorceress with a level 20 Lightning Mastery, which gives a 278% bonus to lightning damage, who has a charm that does 1-20 lightning damage will actually do 4-76 lightning damage. Items that add fire damage to attacks will have their damage boosted by Fire Mastery and items that cause cold damage will receive the benefit of Cold Mastery's lower target's cold resist ability.
6. Enchant does work with assassin kicks even though the LCS doesn't indicate that it does. To test this, I enchanted a level 5 assassin who promptly killed Blood Raven in a multiplayer game with one kick.
The above six items are believed to be intentional features of the game by those who have cracked and examined the game code. The only bugs involved in the above items are the inaccuracy of the LCS in some cases and the outdated information on the skill tab that says that ranged attacks receive one-third the listed damage.
7. The one real bug that affects enchantresses is that Energy Shield gets affected before resistances are taken into account. This bug causes a sorceress's mana ball to drain almost instantaneously when she is struck by any type of elemental attack. This means that not only is the sorceress not protected very well by her ES, but it also means that she will have no mana with which to teleport at a time that may be a very critical moment in a fight. Until this bug is fixed, I recommend that enchantresses, and probably all sorceresses, not get Energy Shield.
However, even if the bug is fixed, I recommend that enchantresses do not put more than one point in energy shield and telekinesis. There has been a lot of misinformation written on message boards claiming that with the right mix of top items and lots of points invested into ES and TK that a sorceress can be practically invincible. I'll save the details which are beyond the scope of this guide, but I've run the numbers every which way and it turns out that this idea is completely false. Most of the people proposing these ideas either don't understand the game mechanics, don't understand the mathematics involved, or both.
B. Using Enchant in a Party
Although an enchantress and her mercenary can deal a modest amount of damage on their own, an enchantress really shines in a party. It's possible for her to boost her partymates with an Enchant that adds 1500 fire damage for over 15 minutes using reasonably obtainable equipment (described below). Those with "uber" gear can add even more damage. That's 1500 fire damage being added to every hit made by your party's fighter characters, mercenaries, and castable minions. Enchanted multizons, strafezons, blade fury assassins, and skelemancer armies are particularly deadly. In a large party, the enchantress can be responsible for tens of thousands of points of fire damage delivered by her party per second without firing a shot or swinging a weapon of her own.
Here are some tips that will make using Enchant in a party more fun and effective:
1. Although you can't Enchant players in town (the game thinks you're trying to trade with other players), you can Enchant their minions. There are often breaks in the middle of the game when people hang out in town for a couple of minutes. This would be a great time to break out your best +skills items and Enchant everyone's minions. It's especially a good time to Enchant a necromancer's skeletons, because in town is one of the few times skelemancers will sit still long enough for you to enchant all of his skeletons. Then, when the party gets moving again, try to be one of the first members of the party to take the waypoint or townportal to where the party is going and wait for your partymates. That way, you can quickly hit the players with your Enchant, swap out any items you want to swap out, and get moving with your party without having to worry about Enchanting everyone's minions on the move.
2. Players and mercenaries should get a full power Enchant, but fragile castable minions don't have to have their Enchants at full power. Some castable minions like iron golems, shadow masters, and skeletons tend to last a long time and could benefit from a full power enchant. However, the decision to take the trouble to swap in +skills items to cast Enchant on other types of golems, valkyries, grizzlies, and wolves depends on the playing style of the casting character. Some people like to frequently recast their minions in order to move their minions to the right place. In this case, a low power Enchant on the go is fine. But if the player instead tends to let their minions live from fight to fight, then giving them a full power enchant could be worth it. Revives expire after three minutes and necromancers tend to replace them long before that anyway, so I tend to cast whatever Enchant I have on them on the go and let that be that.
3. Necromancers love it when you enchant their minions, but it can be a pain in the butt to do it. Both skeletons and revives move around so much, it's impossible to get them all. Don't stress about it though. Enchant a sizable selection of them every once in a while and let that be that. You might want to be more exacting with your Enchants before a major fight, however (e.g. a fight with act bosses or the ancients).
4. A lower level Enchant can't override a higher level Enchant. This is a good thing, of course, but it should make you pause to consider whether you want to hit that skill shrine or not. Hitting the skill shrine means that your Enchant damage will be boosted significantly, but it comes with a price. Once you cast a boosted Enchant on your party, you won't be able to refresh your party's Enchant until the boosted Enchant fully wears off (unless you find another skill shrine in the meantime, of course). That means that sometime in the future, everyone's Enchant will suddenly wear off. Do you want this to happen in the middle of a pitched battle? Personally, I've stopped taking skill shrines for this reason, but the choice is up to you.
5. Enchantresses make great twinkers. You can cast Enchant on weak struggling characters in Act 1 normal and watch them take out Andariel in two hits. Best of all, low level characters will be able to do the killing themselves, so you can leave the area and let them get all of the experience points. This cheesy behavior isn't something I'd like to encourage in the general bnet community, but twinking is one obvious use for an enchantress, so no enchantress guide would be complete without at least a mention of it. One thing though: If you're planning to cast a high level enchant on a low level stranger, please be courteous enough to ask them if they would like to be enchanted first. Some people actually like to play the game the way it was intended.
C. Basic Build and Equipment
Skill Point Allocation
For the first 65 skill points, all enchantresses essentially start out the same way -- max Enchant, Warmth, and Fire Mastery (1 point each in two prerequisites), 1 point in Telekinesis, 1 point in Teleport, and possibly 1 point in Frozen Armor. I usually put points into Warmth at the start, place points in Enchant every level from 18 on until it's maxed, place one point in Fire Mastery at level 30, and then finish maxing Enchant, Warmth, and Fire Mastery in that order. Different styles of enchantresses then diverge when it comes to assigning further skill points. These options will be explained later.
The Game of Life
When I posted the first rough drafts of this guide, I received several messages from readers whose basic message was, "I read your guide and I got so excited that I created an enchantress and had a blast for a while but now I'm dying all the time. What am I doing wrong?" I asked them to describe their gear and ended up getting lists of some of the most powerful items in the game -- stuff that I can only dream of finding (magic finding runs quickly bore me). Puzzled about why someone with that kind of gear would die so frequently, I then asked them to tell me how much life they had. Invariably, I'd get a message saying something to the tune of "500." I could only stare dumbfounded at the number. Since I exclusively play hardcore and have played for a long time over a dialup connection, the need for life is so ingrained in me that I didn't think it even needed mentioning in the early versions of the guide.
An enchantress should be obsessed with obtaining +life items, since she gets so little life from stat points placed in vitality. This holds doubly true for melee enchantresses who are in danger of being hit more often and have to divert a lot of stat points to dexterity to maximize their blocking. Every effort should be made to obtain as many +life charms as one can reasonably fit in one's inventory. Perfect rubies socketed in armor and helms can be a godsend to life starved enchantresses. Also, just because an item has a "name" and is coveted by other melee classes doesn't mean it's a good item for your enchantress to wear. For example, if you have only 500 life, which would be a better belt to wear: a String of Ears or a blue +100 life Plated Belt that you can buy from nightmare Larzuk? Let's see... you can wear an item that will reduce the physical damage you take by 10-15% or you can wear an item that will boost your life by 20% -- something that would be effective against any kind of damage you take. Also, if you shop for a bit, you can buy a blue +100 life Plated Belt with an additional resistance mod on it. Suddenly those "junky" magic items sold at the shop don't look so bad, do they?
These are the kinds of considerations you need to think about when deciding how to equip your enchantress. Items that barbarians covet might not be very good for your enchantress to wear if wearing them means sacrificing a significant fraction of her life ball. On the other hand, an item like a SoE might be useful to an enchantress if she wears other pieces of equipment that give her a large enough life pool.
Other effective ways to increase your life pool are: 1. Make a 'Call to Arms' weapon and use it on weapon switch to give you a low-power Battle Orders. 2. Always party with a barbarian with a high level Battle Orders and/or a druid with a high level Oak Sage.
How much life should you get? Personally, I wouldn't even consider walking around hell without at least 900 life, and generally I try to shoot for 1000 life. This assumes that I have max resistances, some magic damage reduction, and plenty of other defensive gear as well.
Besides the usual task of acquiring good resistance, damage reduction, life, and possibly blocking gear, an enchantress should focus very hard on obtaining +skills equipment, especially equipment that focuses on the fire skills tree. +Fire skills equipment boosts both Enchant and Fire Mastery, and even one extra +skill point can have a dramatic effect on the strength of one's Enchant. For example, my current hardcore ladder enchantress has an Enchant that adds 1144-1400 fire damage when she isn't wearing her +1 all skills 'Lore' circlet and 1253-1524 fire damage when she does. That's an increase of over 100 fire damage for every hit scored by all the fighters and fighter minions in the party.
The nice thing about Enchant is that it is a "fire and forget" spell that lasts a long time. That means that it is possible to put on +skills equipment, cast Enchant on the fighter members of the party and the party's minions, and then switch to one's fighting equipment. It's up to the individual player to decide at what point equipment switching is too awkward. (For example, I switch my amulets and helm when casting Enchant on partymembers and mercenaries, but it would be too awkward for me to switch any more equipment than that).
So what are some good +skills equipment? There are the usual suspects that everyone knows about: Bul-Kathos rings, SOJ's, Mara's Kaleidoscope, 'Chains of Honor' armor, etc. However, to obtain more than a couple of the top of the line pieces of equipment in ladder games is out of the realm of most legitimate players' possibilities. So, instead, here is a list of easily obtainable items that can quickly boost the power of your Enchant:
1. The easiest and cheapest way to power up your Enchant is with a 'Leaf' staff which only requires Tir+Ral and gives you an automatic +3 to all fire skills. Use that on weapon switch for when your are enchanting your party, and you'll see a big boost to the damage you're giving your party and to the length of time your enchantment works. Even better, you can shop the normal difficulty Act 2 magic shop and try to find a two socket staff with +Enchant bonuses on it. Even a +1 to Enchant 'Leaf' staff makes a big difference. After a lot of shopping, I finally found a two socket +3 Enchant +3 Shiver Armor staff which I made into a 'Leaf' staff, and I still use it on weapon switch in hell. Obviously, the ultimate 'Leaf' staff would be a +3 Enchant +3 Fire Mastery one, but by the time Fire Mastery shows up on staves in the shops, all the staves are magic which cannot be made into runewords. I still check every white and grey staff that drops hoping to find that elusive ultimate enchantress staff. Incidentally, if you're just starting out and don't have a Ral, yet, you can get one off the Countess in normal, and normal Countess runs don't take very long if you run past the monsters in the upper levels.
2. Similarly, a Hexfire (+3 fire skills) or a good sorceress orb paired with a Sigon's shield or Visceratuant on weapon switch can give a nice boost to one's Enchant. By having +all fire skills, one boosts both Enchant and Fire Mastery. A melee sorceress can even use a the Hexfire as her weapon and boost her extra multiplicative bonus factor of Fire Mastery (the extra melee bonus factor is based on your current Fire Mastery at the time of the attack -- not your Fire Mastery when your Enchant was cast).
3. A 'Lore' helm gives +1 skills and 30% lightning resistance and only requires Ort+Sol. It's a very cheap and useful helm to use until you find or gamble something better.
4. A +fire skills amulet can be easily found or gambled. Obviously, it'd be nice to gamble a rare one with some other useful mods on it, but if you just get a plain blue one (+3 fire skills can only appear on blue amulets), you can use it while Enchanting your party, and then swap it out for a better amulet for use when fighting.
5. +fire skills circlet. Like the amulet, this can be gambled, and if there are no other useful mods on it, it can be swapped with a better helm.
6. +1 Fire skills grand charms. You can find these while adventuring or trade for them in trading games. If you get desperate, you can also use the 3-perfect gem horadric cube recipe to reroll grand charms until you get one. Make sure to roll charms that have been found in Act 3 nightmare (after the Spider Forest) or later to have a chance of getting a +1 fire tree mod on it. The nice thing about rolling charms like this is that even if you don't get the charm you're looking for, you might get something else useful.
7. A 'Delirium' helm. This is more difficult to obtain than the first six items, but the runes are obtainable with some effort. This is the probably the single most powerful item an enchantress can have -- especially if she wants to adventure solo. Not only does it give +2 to all skills, but it also has an 11% chance on striking of casting a high level Confuse curse on her targets. This is a much lower chance than was available in the 1.10 beta, but the Confuse curse can still be a powerful way to occupy large mobs of monsters while the enchantress picks the mob apart.
Faster Hit Recovery and Fast Cast Items
In addition to +skills items, enchantresses should equip themselves with some faster hit recovery items, because sorceresses have the slowest hit recovery rate of any character class. Here is the hit recovery table for sorceresses (thanks to Rivo at the Amazon Basin for providing this information):
So you can see that a sorceress without any hit recovery items takes a full 15 frames to recover from a hit. This could be very dangerous if the enchantress finds herself in a crowd of monsters where she can repeatedly get her attempts to teleport away disrupted. A simple addition of 20% faster hit recovery reduces the recovery rate to 11 frames, a dramatic improvement, and only 42% fhr can get the hit recovery rate down to 9 frames. So a small amount of fhr items can make a big difference. Obviously, a melee enchantress should place particular emphasis on equipping herself with faster hit recovery items.Code:fhr-----speed(frame=1/25 second) 0-------15 5-------14 9-------13 14------12 20------11 30------10 42-------9 60-------8 86-------7 142------6 280------5 1480-----4
Similarly, a small amount of fast cast goes a long way toward reducing one's teleport casting time, making it less likely to be disrupted by monster attacks. This is one reason why I particularly like having my enchantresses wear the Skin of the Vipermagi armor, which provides some fast cast in addition to its other goodies.
D. Ranged vs Melee Enchantresses
Enchantresses can be divided up into three camps: ranged, melee, and a hybrid of the two. Each is built quite differently, so it's a good idea to know which kind of enchantress you're going to build from the start.
The Ranged Enchantress
Ranged enchantresses use unique bows and crossbows that fire explosive arrows or bolts. Enchant gets carried by the explosions, so this is a way for an enchantress to have an area of effect "spell." The explosive part always hits a monster and if the physical arrow hits as well, it's like the enchantress hits the target monster twice with her enchant attack. If the enchantress is using a piercing bow as well, a monster can additionally get hit by the explosions set off by striking monsters or walls behind it. The radii of the explosions are much greater than that of Fireball, so when a piercing bow is used against large mobs of monsters, Enchant can be as powerful as a maxed out Fireball and it doesn't cost any mana during a battle to use it!
However, unlike a Fireball sorceress, a bow enchantress can't use a shield, so she has no blocking and has to get her resistances from other pieces of equipment. This makes her very fragile, especially with all of the dangerous ranged monsters in 1.10. A hardcore ranged sorceress should be very careful and should probably play most of the time in a party.
Stat-pointwise, a bow enchantress is easy to make. As you'll see, the ultimate weapon for a bow enchantress is a demon machine, so one should get enough strength (80) and dexterity (95) to equip one. All other points should be thrown into vitality. An enchantress has little need for mana and anyway she'll have max Warmth, so she'll have all the mana she needs with base energy.
The following unique weapons are of interest to ranged enchantresses:
1. Raven Claw (long bow) and Hellcast (heavy crossbow) are two cheap normal uniques with exploding arrows or bolts that can quickly get a ranged enchantress started. Most players think of them as "junk" and often leave them on the ground or sell them at the shop. But in the hands of an enchantress, they can be powerful weapons that can get her through all of normal difficulty quite easily. Then, she can upgrade them using the cube recipe and use them through nightmare (However, the str and dex requirements on the upgraded Hellcast may be prohibitive).
2. The Kuko Shakaku (cedar bow) is the first dominating bow an enchantress can get, and she can probably do quite well using it even in hell. It comes with exploding arrows, a built in 50% piercing rate, and does excellent physical damage (for leeching and for dealing with fire immunes). Plus the 40-180 fire damage on the bow gets multiplied by the enchantress's fire mastery bonus for some nice extra damage. The one problem with the Kuko is that it has a 16 frames-per-second firing rate in the hands of a sorceress which is quite slow. If an enchantress plans to use a Kuko for an extended period of time, then she should try to equip herself with lots of increased attack speed gear (65% ias would get her to an 11 fps firing rate).
3. The Demon Machine (chu-ko-nu) is by far the best weapon for the ranged enchantress. It fires exploding bolts, comes with a 66% pierce rate, adds 632 to the enchantress's attack rating (which gets further multiplied by Enchant's attack rating bonus), does more physical damage than the Kuko, and best of all, is much much faster than the Kuko. One only needs 10% increased attack speed to reach the DM's maximum fire rate of 11 frames per second. For a sorceress, one needs 65% ias to get a Kuko to fire that fast and 110% ias to get it any faster than the DM. If one wears a Razortail, one can get a 99% pierce rate and cause some massive chain explosions. Luckily, it shouldn't be difficult to trade for a DM, since amazons consider it "junk," because they can get bow speeds that are faster than a DM. But sorceresses have much slower attack rates than amazons when using bows, so the DM becomes the ultimate weapon for a ranged enchantress.
A reader asked how one should socket one's DM. The answer is that it depends on what other equipment one is wearing. You only need 10% ias to reach the DM's maximum fire rate, so that frees up a lot of equipment slots that people often use for ias. Personally, I socketed my DM with a +15% ias +16% fire resist jewel. That way, my ias is covered and I can use my other equipment for resists and life. Other good socketing ideas are a Nef for knockback and a Mal (if you're lucky enough to have one) for Prevent Monster Heal. It's kind of a waste to socket a DM with a Shael, since there are plenty of +15% ias jewels with other useful mods on them that one could use instead. Luckily, in 1.10, you can use the Hel + tp + item cube recipe to unsocket your DM if you later regret how you socketed yours.
4. An eclectic choice would be a Buriza-Do Kyanon (ballista) which does not fire explosive bolts but is fast (for sorceresses), delivers cold damage, has automatic pierce, and has an ability to freeze targets. The Buriza would probably be best used by an enchantress who chooses to max out Cold Mastery and uses it on weapon switch against fire immunes. Of course, such an enchantress would then have to deal with storing items that boost her Enchant in her cube which could be awkward. (One reader commented that he tried this and found the Buriza to be very ineffective in the hell Chaos Sanctuary even in a one player game. Your mileage may vary, as they say).