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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Endgame Archon Build

    or, what to do after you're done with the CM melee build.

    Why archon?

    Put simply, it is the single most efficient killing spec available to the Wizard as of this posting. With the exception of the double-tornado barbarian, this spec brings the most damage and kill speed to the table of all other classes and specs. Furthermore, it is significantly less input-intensive, more versatile, outputs more damage, has fewer weaknesses, and in my opinion, is far more enjoyable than a CM melee spec.

    Proof of concept:

    Details are in the video, but self-buffed outside of archon: 220k dps, 560 resist all, 5500 armor. Farm rate is over 40 million xp/hour.

    Here is a video of an archon with roughly minimum recommended specs:

    The Build:

    My personal spec:!fgY!ccZaac

    Required skill:

    Archon - improved archon: this spec revolves around this ability. You obviously have to take it.

    Suggested skills:

    Magic weapon - force weapon
    Sparkflint - familiar
    Energy armor - prismatic armor

    Glass Cannon
    Galvanizing Ward

    The above are suggested mainly because since you are in archon mode most of the time, the only thing your other skills do is help buff your character in that mode. You can opt to select other skills, but why bother?

    Optional skills:

    With 2 active skills and 1 passive skill to play around with, you ... can't really do much. There are two schools of thought on what to do with these abilities.

    1.) Make your character viable outside of archon.
    2.) Help your character get back into archon faster.

    I'm going to save you some time and deaths and tell you that at the moment, #2 is going to be significantly more efficient. My suggestions for the remaining abilities:

    Energy Twister - Stormchaser
    Diamond skin - Crystal Shell

    Critical mass

    This will help rocket you back into archon mode in case you're out for whatever reason and the cooldown isn't back up.

    The Gear:

    Note: This section mostly talks about the NA auction house. Other areas may have different prices that I am unfamiliar with.

    First of all, don't even bother attempting this spec without 10 million worth of gear. You won't have the dps to kill stuff fast enough to stay in archon form, and it'll just frustrate you. On the other hand, getting to this gear is really easy.

    • You could already have the gear/money. If so, hooray, read on.
    • You already have a successful farming spec. Farm for ~10-20 hours, then upgrade your gear to archon-worthy level and continue.
    • If neither option is available or satisfying, simply spend ~$15 on the RMAH to buy some gold with which to gear your character. After you get your character up and rolling, sell some of the gear you find back to paypal and get your $15 back. For reference, I've made 317 million in the last 112 hours of playing (and only about half of that playtime was spent in archon farming mode.)

    Required stats on gear:

    1.) Life steal on your weapon - this is non-negotiable. If you don't have life steal on the weapon, then you're just going to die over and over again and tank the effectiveness of this spec.

    2.) Over ~80k buffed dps. Honestly, that's a bit on the low side, but I think you can start beating CM melee farming efficiency at that point. Don't expect to see much more than 25 mil xp/hour though.

    3.) Enough defensive stats to survive. This is going to be different for each person, but I can absolutely assure you that it's not as much as you think. Unbuffed, I'm sitting at 397 resist all, and as you see in that video, I don't come close to dying at any point (and I usually don't.) You can probably get by just getting defensive stats on 2-3 pieces of gear if you have great dps.

    That's it. Other than the dps requirement, it's very easy to gear for this spec. Some tips and suggestions on what to get though:

    • If you're rich, browse this thread: for the best in slot items. This is what you should be aiming for.
    • Generally, the weapon that will give you the most bang for your buck is something with a socket, life leech, and nothing else. Try to aim for pure physical (black background) weapons to enhance your elemental damage.
    • You'll want 24% runspeed. Runspeed is the single most important stat in increasing farm effectiveness. I suggest getting it from your bracers with Lacuni Prowlers, but you could also pick it up from Tyrael's Might instead.
    • Don't buy into the crit craze that we're having now. Crit is definitely good, and point for point, our single most damaging stat, but items with crit are crazy expensive. Archon beam is free so you can get plenty of +attack speed items without AP starving yourself.
    • Go for jewelry with stats like +20-50 damage. A lot of the time, sellers ignore this (seemingly) irrelevant stat, but generally, each of those damage points are worth more than intellect.
    • If you're rich enough to get a life-leech skorn, you can probably buy a 1h/oh for better dps.
    • For convenience, spend like 100k apiece on a wand/offhand combo that have arcane power on crit. Make sure the wand has huge life on hit, and offhand has high crit too. Damage doesn't matter. Swap in this set of gear whenever your archon cooldown has over 30+ sec left - with crystal shell and critical mass, you actually can't die to anything in act3 if you're spamming stormchaser and archon will be back up in seconds. The only thing to watch out for is that swapping weapons removes magic weapon buff, so make sure to reapply it to your main weapon before you pop back into archon.

    Gear Guide:

    If you're interested in getting the most value for your gold, you really need to use a spreadsheet. The most accurate one that I've found is the detailed version:

    Because archon is based on your character sheet dps, pick whichever gear upgrades you can to maximize damage for the lowest price. Crit% isn't as vital - I only run around 40%. Attack speed is great too, and +average damage as mentioned above.

    As for survival, try to maximize your EHP. It helps if you have great resists and armor, especially as archon + prismatic nearly doubles both of those stats, but the most effective way to increase it is with hp, which is why you might think I'm overdoing it with 40k. But this results in me having an unbuffed 250k EHP, which is enough to survive very well.

    10 mil budget guide:
    Weapon: 1000 dps, socket, life leech (500k)
    Offhand: Best triumvirate you can get for 1 mil (probably something with 50-150 damage range)
    Helm: 150 int, 4% crit, then pick whichever area is weakest for you - armor/resists/vit. 500k.
    Amulet: something with ~100 int, 5% crit, 50% crit damage, any vit/armor/resists is gravy. 500k.
    Shoulders: try to get something tanky here, this is one of your few slots that don't have good dps options so try for 100+ vit, 50%+ resist all, some life%, and whatever intellect you can (I saw many options with about 80 int with those requirements). Another 500k
    Gloves: great dps slot here. Int, crit, crit damage is best triple combo you want. You can splurge a bit here, it really is ridiculously good - pay up to 2 mil for good gloves here. A decent pair of sage's gloves will give you around 8% crit, 30% crit damage, 150+ int, and some vitality/armor/resists.
    Bracers: Lacuni with int, don't accept any rares here. 2 mil.
    Belt: something tanky here, you obviously can't afford the Witching Hour. Same stats as shoulders, roughly same price too.
    Chest: another tanking piece. vit, resists, armor, sockets (doesn't need to be 3 - less than that makes it a ton cheaper), life%, int in that order. I can get a whole lot of around: 150 int/150 vit (inc sockets), 50 resist all, 500-600 armor for 500k.
    Legs: Same thing goes for leg as chest. Almost the exact same stats for the same price too.
    Boots: 12% movement speed is a requirement. Firewalkers is a good budget selection for no other reason except that it auto-breaks doors, adding a few seconds to each run by itself. 500k.
    Rings: Max dps on rings will probably be a combo of int, crit, and attack speed for 500k. Try for 80/3.5/5 respectively, it's definitely possible.
    Then spend about half a million on gems (don't skimp on the emerald in the weapon)

    All added together, this setup will run you ~10 mil, with a grand total of:
    ~2000 int
    ~40% crit
    ~200% crit damage
    ~20% attack speed
    ~40k hp
    ~300 resist all (so about 500 with intellect)
    ~4000 armor

    With those stats, you have around 90k dps self-buffed and almost 300k EHP (a bit more than what I do in that video.) Obviously not the best gear, but it will definitely get you started at around 25-30 mil/hour.

    The Path:

    This is actually quite important. In act 3, there are zones with many mobs (Arreat craters), and zones that are ghost towns (battlefield stores, barracks, etc.), and zones composed of mobs that give less xp per mob than normal (keeps). I timed myself over 10 hours on each of the zones available in act3, tabulated the results, then come up with an optimal farming path (changing to this path alone upped my xp rate by over 25% from straight full-clearing act3):

    Select Heart of Sin quest, kill Azmodan subquest. Run to the checkpoint right before zoning into Azmodan's chamber, then logout. This will be your starting point for all further runs.

    1.) Start at end of Arreat core -> clear to start, take portal to Rakkis bridge.
    2.) Go south on the bridge, clearing towards the killing fields. Portal out near the end.
    Optional - clear the fields too (just a big loop ending in the same spot you started).
    Optional - clear keep act2 as well.
    3.) Run outside to Skycrown battlements and clear that. Portal back before going outside to the Stonefort.
    4.) Waypoint to Arreat Crater level 1, clear to the end. Then do a circle around Tower of the Damned Level 1.
    5.) At the end of the loop, take the waypoint to Arreat Crater level 2 and clear until the end. Exit game, go back to step 1.

    The Playstyle:

    Well, not much to say here. Use your right click beam to kill everything. Don't forget to use your "1" ability (which does not interrupt the beam) for an instant, low-damage nova. Use that while moving as well to kill mobs with slivers of xp left, and to break open doors and other destructibles.

    You'll want to maximize your uptime, which means move as much as possible, while killing things efficiently. If you see a golgor or demonic tremor alone, for example, it's very safe to run past it then start killing stuff in the new screen and then wipe the fatty out when he catches up to you.

    On the matter of looting: Like most people, I assumed that rares were worth my time to pick up and ID/sell. Then, I did some math and found I was wrong. Ever since patch 1.04 came out, I looked at my transaction history:

    All my legendaries combined sold for ~290 mil.
    All my rares combined sold for ~24 mil.

    Yet, I was spending up to 20-25% of my time doing NOTHING but id'ing and disenchanting/selling rares which were under 10% of my profits. You simply make more money by ignoring them and only picking up legendary/set items.

    Of course, after a bit of that, it got really boring so I went back to picking up ilvl 63 rares only. Now, I get to mass ID a bagful of ilvl 63 items every hour or so, which makes things interesting.

    Final thoughts:

    This build is ridiculously fast and efficient, only -slightly- beaten by whirly barb kill rate. This is going to be magnified even more when we get to the next patch where we can put on players 8 or whatever is most efficient. For what it's worth, I tested it out - in a 4player game, I was able to (solo) complete my normal loop in about 25 minutes (normally it takes 18). If you get anywhere near 4 times the xp, then this spec will absolutely DOMINATE leveling in patch 1.05.

    Since this build is technically a glass cannon setup and does not need much in the way of defense - ideally, you kill stuff before it even reaches you - if you can ditch prismatic armor for either pinpoint barrier, or full-out offensive lightning armor-scramble, then do so. Right now, with top-notch gear, I estimate you can get around 45 mil xp/hour with this playstyle. If you add enough defensive gear to survive without prismatic armor, then scramble would probably put you up to 50 mil xp/hr.

    Considering Alkaizer, the fastest leveler in the world, was doing only 57 mil xp/hr for the couple of hours I was watching his stream with comparably much better gear, this spec is a serious heavyweight.
    Last edited by Kaiadam; 03-10-2012 at 17:57.

  2. #2
    D3 Monk Moderator kestegs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    BattleTag kestegs-1550
    Thanks so much, this is really great!

    I'm currently running a cm spec. 90k dps, 700 ar, 5500 defense (all unbuffed )

    I've been reluctant to move to archon, but I think I may have to try it out. First I will try your same route with my cm build though so I can compare my exp/hour.

    I also love your thoughts on picking up items. I've been slowly moving towards only picking up 63s myself, Just moved up to only 62s today actually.

    How much life do you think is needed? I see you have about 40k, but do you need that much?

  3. #3
    IncGamers Member NBarnes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    The gearing section might be improved by more guidelines about what one is supposed to look for. Since crit% is less important for this build, crit damage% is similarly less important. Is the plan just to stack int and attack speed% forever? How much HP? How much armor? LoH or crit damage% in the socket?

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    BattleTag Randalar-1109

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Yeah I'm more or less done tanking with my wizard...if 1.05 Shocking Aspect (or some other hidden gem) doesn't ramp me up, I'm going to make the switch to archon. I'm encouraged by the low cost you cite, but I'm also a little skeptical. Only 10m? I guess since I don't need apoc anymore I can get better deals, but that's still a little surprising.

  5. #5
    D3 Monk Moderator kestegs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    BattleTag kestegs-1550

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Okay, did some testing...

    My shocking aspect wiz ran his path in 18 min netting 9 mil exp (90k dps) 25k life

    Only changed the weapon to a Life steal weapon for the next one...

    Ran his exact build except with Shocking aspect and did the same route in 19 min netting 11 mil exp (140k dps) 30k life

    I didn't die in either run and it's worth noting that I shifted out of archon twice in my run on accident and this was literally the first time I've really seriously tried archon. So it seems to have some very nice potential for sure

    I still think my SA build might be better at higher difficulty, but it's hard to say at this point. Depends on if they nerf storm chaser or not for sure.

  6. #6
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Fleshed out the gear section a bit more. I did a little virtual shopping exercise with a budget of 10 mil and ended up with a set of gear that had 110k dps and ~400k ehp both self-buffed (I run with 220k and 330k, respectively). Not needing APoC is great, added in a tip about having a swappable crap wand/offhand with apoc and large loh to get your archon back quickly.

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member NBarnes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Some of your ideas about what's available at what price on the AH seem optimistic to me.
    Last edited by NBarnes; 17-09-2012 at 07:15.

  8. #8
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Those were what I found on the NA gold AH today. If you were even more patient and waited for good deals, I'm confident you'd get even better gear, but you should be able to hit what I suggested there for sure.

    The trick is to look for pieces that are well-rounded in strange ways. For example, I had an amulet with 150 vit, 7.5% crit, and 60% crit damage that took me two days to unload at 3 million. Change that vit to int, and bam, would've sold instantly at ~10 mil. To balance that out, instead of getting two pieces of defensive gear with 100 int/100 vit, instead ditch the vit and go for 175 int/25 vit for probably a cheaper price. Add them all together, and you get the same stats, but probably 3x as cheap. Same with the socket thing - chest armor that have 3 sockets suddenly double, triple in price vs if they had the same stats and 2 sockets for a marginal increase. AH psychology is a wonderful thing.

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member WNxZerker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    you mention getting weapons with black background, I assume you mean +min + max damage instead of the elemntal damages, any specific reason for this?

    stil unsure if two hand or one hand with source is better way to go, normalised for weapon speed always does my head in, but mostly is the potential stat gain from a 2 hander better than 1h + oh?

  10. #10
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Re: Endgame Archon Build

    Triumvirate has at least a 15% bonus to elemental damage. That bonus is based of the white (phyiscal) damage of your weapon. The more damage on your source, weapon and +damage rings, the better for the triumvirate off-hand.

    If you are getting a different off-hand, then any weapon will do.


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