Yuqing’s Guide to PvP Blizzard Sorceresses (Revised, 1.11).
It’s been a good 3 years since I first wrote a guide for PvP blizzard sorcs. Since then, I’ve quit and come back to Diablo 2 quite a few times. With each time, I’ve gained additional knowledge about this class and personally developed strategies versus the different assortments of builds I have faced.
Blizzard is an interesting attack. It’s an instant non-projectile type of attack. However, not all points of the blizzard’s AoE are hit instantaneously. As far as I know, this is random. Because of its massive damage it has always been considered as one of the best skills suited for PvP, and a personal favorite of AutoAim users. This has degraded our reputations quite a bit. My old guide is outdated and old. I feel it’s time for another guide.
Pros and Cons:
Almost unresistable and unabsorbable (more so then any other elemental class)
Skills for any situation – Glacial for Minion Stack, Ice blast for high damage projectile, cold mastery for stacked resistances.
Due to the nature of cold, almost every offensive skill you possess chills your opponent. Not something to be underestimated.
Requires a lot of skill points to be effective
Not suited for an ES build though still possible
Cold Sorcs tend to be more expensive then light and fire
Thawing potions give stacked cold resistance, not good in bad mannered duels.
Strength: Strength does nothing for sorceresses other then allow us to put on gear. Most
people aim for 156 in order to wear monarch. This is totally dependent all gear and will vary for everyone. Do not try for sacred armors however, try to keep strength as low as possible.
Dexterity: Every point of dexterity adds a tiny amount of defense, attack rating and chance to block, but because of our already low defense from gear and our spells, AR and defense is not needed. Block however, can be used to our advantage. Blocking allows you to survive hits from a physical source. This includes arrows from Bowazons, charge, whirlwind and every type of physical attack. It will allow you to survive duels you normally will not. And can be the only chance of you winning versus a decent BvC, Charger or Bowazon. Not all shields come with a high chance to block however. And if you cannot find one that will allow minimal dexterity for 75%, then do not try for it. It’s not worth the life you sacrifice in the other duels.
Blocking is calculated as follows:
Total Blocking = (Blocking * (Dexterity - 15)) / (Character Level * 2)
Vitality: Each point here adds 2 life here. Because it’s so little compared to most other classes, this makes sorcs more viable for max block. Less life is lost attaining max block then other classes. Stamina is also added through vitality but that is not of great importance to this build, especially in PvP. Vitality also allows for greater chance of healing potions having double effect. The formula is shown here:
Chance of Double Heal for Vitality up to 200: Vit / 4
Chance of Double Heal for 200 Vitality and up: 100 - (10000 / Vit)
Energy: Each point here adds 2 to mana, a notable bonus but not necessary. Keep at base, items will help to boost your mana. Like vitality mana allows for greater chance of doubling potion affects. The formula is identical except for energy. Life blood for Energy Shield sorcs, but remember, ES only absorbs part of the damage. Even at its best, 5% escapes, so you will still need minor vitality investments.
FCR Frames (excluding lightning/chain lightning)
There are 25 frames in a second. This is basically a counter of how faster you recover from being hit, how fast you block, and how fast you cast your spells. Please be noted that with FCR, the individual spell animations are unaffected, only the cast animation (when she raises her arms).
Try to attain at least 42% FHR and 63% FCR. Desired breakpoints are 86 FHR and 105 FCR although sometimes that is not possible or necessary. FBR is pretty much optional, if can help, but will not make a huge difference. Try for the 15% or 27% FBR breakpoint.
Because the lack of a damage boosting mastery, +cold dmg% items such as Death’s Fathom tend to work better then –cold res% items such as Doom. There will be exceptions but this is generally true.
I will only explain skills that matter for this build, so don’t expect Hydras here.
Has one of the longest chill durations of any skill but not practical in duels.
Ice Blast: Your main secondary skill unless you decide to branch off and get orb also. Ice blast has a huge damage and like all cold skills, benefit heavily from +cold dmg% items.
Ice blast is slow, but still spam able. They work well in close distance for drive-bys and work wonders versus Hammerdins and wind druids that tend to teleport on top of you.
Glacial Spike: Cold equivalent of fire ball, although nowhere nearly as damaging. Much lower damage then ice blast, there will be very few occasions where glacial will overtake ice blast in terms of importance. Most notably versus Summonmancers and very occasionally wind druids.
Blizzard: The name sake of this build, also the name of the company that created Diablo 2. (That’s gotta be important!) Blizzard as I explained before is an instantaneous non-projectile type attack. Blizzard will be your main attack. You will want it as high as possible, even if it means sacrificing minor life and FHR to do so. Why do you ask? Blizzard works in a unique way, in that the first hit in unabsorbable. You will meet very few people that can survive the first hit of blizzard.
This is why: Absorb heals first and then reduces the damage that you take. Because of the fact that first hit occurs when your opponent is at full life, it is negated. Factor in blizzard’s massive damage and the effects are multiplied.
A 6k blizzard @ 0 resistance will deal approximately 1k PvP damage. Now we factor in 2 ravens.
40% of 1000 is healed. But because of full life, this part is skipped. Next comes the reducing. 1000 - 400 = 600 damage.
The second hit will heal 400 first and then negate an additional 400 damage. Therefore 1000 – (400+400) = 200.
Due to this formula, the first hit of blizzard will always have about triple the effect of the second and third hits. You will want your blizzard to kill 1 hit.
Frozen Orb: This skill is mostly for orb sorcs, but 1 point here can be useful for certain situations. You may want to skip cold mastery for this skill, however that’s not recommended as it will affect your killing speed overall with every other cold skill.
Cold Mastery: Cold mastery is unique in the sense that it is the only mastery that does not directly alter the damage dealt but instead reduces the enemy’s resistance to the skill. This skill is the main reason why blizzard is so hard to negate. Not many duelers will have 300 resistances worth of cold stack in their stash and those that do will probably not put it on. In my 4 years of playing, I have never once been absorbed fully. The closest reduced me to slivers of damage.
Cold resistance stops at -100 resistances which is why many people tend to leave cold mastery at a lower level. This can work, but only versus people that will not stack and absorb.
Resistance works in the following way:
A 1k blizzard versus an enemy with 75% resistance will only take (100-75) = 25% of the damage. Meaning 1000 x .75 = 250.
An enemy with -75% resistances will take 75% more then max damage. Meaning 1000 x 1.75 =1750. A 700% difference.
As you can see, maxing this skill is very important and highly recommended for any serious players. It’s also non-diminishing, meaning it does not lose effectiveness with each point added like a lot of other skills. It is always strong and grabs you another 5% with each additional level.
Energy Shield: Orb tends to be more effective coupled with ES then blizzard. However that does not mean that ES Blizzard is impossible. Energy shield directs a portion of damage taken to mana, meaning it drains mana instead of health. It caps at 95% at level 40. Anything beyond level 40 will only gain a minor duration increase and at 20 minutes at level 40, is unnecessary.
For an ES build, you will want to max blizzard, ice blast, and cold mastery. Max telekinesis and get ES as close to 40 as possible. Spend the remaining points into glacial spike.
Why max telekinesis you ask? Telekinesis allows you to use less mana per point of damage. Say you take 1000 points of damage. In normal circumstances, 2000 points of mana are drained from ES. Each point you spend in telekinesis reduces this by 0.0625 points. Meaning with 16 points in telekinesis, you will take 1 point of mana for every point of health absorbed. Even less beyond that. Remember, as with all synergies, only hard points affect telekinesis.
Energy shield does not apply for open wounds and poison. Energy shield is applied before resistances, meaning you take 4x as much as damage as you would with maxed resistances. .
One point wonders:
The Cold Armors: With the discovery that chilling armor actually BLOCKS ranged attacks, shiver armor quickly fell behind. You may want to save your self 3 points by prebuffing from a snowclash/ormus. Or you can spend the 3 points your self. The choice is yours. The level of the chilling armor does not affect the blocking ability and rate of the armor so level is of no concern. You may still want to have an armor that lasts more than 30 seconds though, just for practical sake. Chilling armor seems to block all projectile attacks, though I’m not completely sure by if it fully blocks completely elemental attacks such as fireball, though it does seem to reduce it by some degree.
Here’s a useful video regarding chilling armor:
Warmth: Faster mana regain means longer duels. Here’s the formula for regeneration per second:
25 * [[256 * max_mana / (25 * 120)] * (100 + %Mana Regeneration) / 100] / 256
Totals within the [ ] brackets are rounded down. %Mana Regeneration = % of Warmth.
Teleport: Instantaneously moves the character to point designated with mouse. Simple enough, this will be your primary form of transportation and your biggest edge. Learn how to use it well as this will prove to be one of your most important skills in duels.
Static Field: Reduces enemy health by 25% of current health. Does not apply past 50% max health. It is affected by resistances. Very useful for PvM and boss hunting, not so much for PvP.
Warmth - 1
Ice bolt – 20
Ice blast – 20
Glacial Spike – 20
Blizzard – 20
Cold Mastery – 20
Teleport – 1
Telekinesis – 1
*Chilling armor – 3
*Static Field – 3
Frost Nova – 1
*Frozen Orb – 1
*These skills are optional and not mandatory for this build to function. They may serve some purpose to I’d recommend getting at least 1 point in them anyway.
With all cold skills maxed, 1 point in frozen orb, warmth and teleport, you will have 5 points left from the possible 110 points. Finishing at level 94. You can spend the last 5 points getting chilling armor and Static Field, or pouring it into frozen orb.
Energy Shield Variation:
Warmth – 1
Ice bolt – 1
Ice blast – 20
**Glacial Spike – 1-20
Blizzard – 20
Cold Mastery – 20
Telekinesis – 20
Teleport – 1
**Energy Shield – 1-20
Charged bolt – 1
Lightning – 1
Chain Lightning – 1
* Chilling Armor – 3
Frost Nova- 1
*Static Field – 1
*Frozen Orb – 1
*As with the build above, these are completely optional, they may serve purpose, but due to the tight skills allocation of this build, you should place them as you see fit.
**You can choose to max Energy Shield and skip Glacial Spike, or vice versa and prebuff ES with equipment. Either choice is fine, or you may choose to split points between the 2. The choice is yours.