PvP Blizzard Sorceresses by yuqing


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
yuqing's Guide to PvP Blizzard Sorceresses (Revised, 1.11).
Originally posted Apr 14, 2007

Note: This guide was originally written for BNet. Please bear in mind it may recommend items not found or permitted in Single Player.

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 My old guide is outdated and old.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:
Massive Damage
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.

FHR Frames
0% 15
5% 14
9% 13
14% 12
20% 11
30% 10
42% 9
60% 8
86% 7
142% 6

FCR Frames (excluding lightning/chain lightning)
0% 13
9% 12
20% 11
37% 10
63% 9
105% 8
200% 7

FBR Frames
0% 9
7% 8
15% 7
27% 6
48% 5
86% 4
200% 3

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.

Ice Bolt:
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.

Fire Tree:
Warmth - 1
Cold Tree:
Ice bolt - 20
Ice blast - 20
Glacial Spike - 20
Blizzard - 20
Cold Mastery - 20

Lightning Tree:
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:
Fire Tree:
Warmth - 1

Cold Tree:
Ice bolt - 1
Ice blast - 20
**Glacial Spike - 1-20
Blizzard - 20
Cold Mastery - 20

Lightning Tree:
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.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
Gear: I will list desired equipment and an alternative. It's your own character so choices are completely open to yourself. This is merely a template for you to follow and is by no means the best possible selection.

Nightwing's Veil
Spired Helm
Defense: 304-352 (Base Defense: 114-159)
Required Level: 67
Required Strength: 96
Durability: 40
+90-120% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+2 To All Skills
+8-15% To Cold Skill Damage (varies)
+10-20 To Dexterity (varies)
+5-9 Cold Absorb (varies)
Half Freeze Duration
Requirements -50%

Excellent helm, best possible for this build. Massive damage increase and very low requirements. The dexterity increase will help with max block if you choose to go that path. Socket with 5/-5 cold facet for the ultimate helm.

Harlequin Crest
Defense: 98-141 (varies)
Required Level: 62
Required Strength: 50
Durability: 12
+2 To All Skills
+ (1.5 Per Character Level) 1-148 To Life (Based On Character Level)
+ (1.5 Per Character Level) 1-148 To Mana (Based On Character Level)
Damage Reduced By 10%
50% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+2 To All Attributes

Another great helm, less damage but the Damage reduction and life/mana bonus may prove useful. I'd still take Nightwing's over this however.

Chains of Honor
4 Socket Body Armor
Dol + Um + Ber + Ist
+2 To All Skills
+200% Damage To Demons
+100% Damage To Undead
8% Life Stolen Per Hit
+70% Enhanced Defense
+20 To Strength
Replenish Life +7
All Resistances +65
Damage Reduced By 8%
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Perfect armor, nice strength bonus, massive resistance, 2 to all skills and +20 strength. Strive for Archon or Dusk Shroud.

Ormus' Robes
Dusk Shroud
Defense: 371-487 (varies)(Base Defense: 361-467)
Required Level: 75
Required Strength: 77
Durability: 20
+10-20 Defense (varies)
+20% Faster Cast Rate
+10-15% To Cold Skill Damage (varies)
+10-15% To Fire Skill Damage (varies)
+10-15% To Lightning Skill Damage (varies)
+3 bonus to a random Sorceress skill (Sorceress Only)*
Regenerate Mana 10-15% (varies)

More of an offensive armor, not much bonuses but massive damage increase and FCR. Only 2 types will be useful here, ice blast and blizzard. Anything else doesn't serve much of a purpose. Use this when you need massive damage. Socket with 5/-5 cold facet.

Skin of the Vipermagi
Serpentskin Armor
Defense: 279 (Base Defense: 111-126)
Required Level: 29
Required Strength: 43
Durability: 24
+120% Enhanced Defense
+1 To All Skills
30% Faster Cast Rate
Magic Damage Reduced By 9-13 (varies)
All Resistances +20-35 (varies)

This armor is mostly used to attain 200 FCR. Nothing too special but a nice upped one with 35 can be worth a fortune. Use when speed is necessary. Um, Ber or 5/-5 Cold facet.

4 Socket Swords/Shields
Tal + Thul + Ort + Amn
+2 To All Skills
+25-35% Faster Cast Rate (varies)
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense Vs. Missile
+22 To Vitality
+89-112 To Mana (varies)
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+3-8 Magic Absorb (varies)
Attacker Takes Damage of 14

Great shield, perfect for this build. Massive FCR, and FHR, +2 skills. Self explanatory. Make in a 4os Monarch.

You can also use a 4x cold faceted monarch. This shield will add the most damage of any shield at the sacrifice of other stats. Can be placed in a Jeweler's Monarch of Deflecting but I doubt too many exist on ladder.

3 Socket Shields
Ko + Ko + Mal
+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+20% Faster Block Rate
20% Increased Chance of Blocking
+130-160% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+250 Defense vs. Missile
+20 To Dexterity
All Resistances +50-70 (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced By 7
Level 12 Slow Missiles (60 Charges)

Massive resistance, relatively cheap runes, 20 to dexterity and increased block, FBR and FHR. Great shield but situational and only useful in areas where resistances are needed. There are better shields for max block then this.

Whitstan's Guard
Round Shield
Defense: 154 (Base Defense: 47-55)
Required Level: 29
Required Strength: 53
Durability: 64
Chance To Block: Pal: 97% Ama/Asn/Bar: 92% Dru/Nec/Sor: 87%
Paladin Smite Damage: 7 to 14
+175% Enhanced Defense
Half Freeze Duration
40% Faster Block Rate
+55% Increased Chance Of Blocking
+5 To Light Radius

Best shield for max block, very little dexterity is needed for this shield. In fact only 171 dex at level 90 and still under 200 at level 99. Eld for even less dex or um for resistances.

Defense: (136-504) - (151-519) (varies)(Base Defense: 133-148)
Required Level: 73
Required Strength: 156
Chance to Block: Pal: 77%, Ama/Asn/Bar: 72%, Dru/Nec/Sor: 67%
Paladin Smite Damage: 12 To 34
+ (3.75 Per Character Level) 3-371 Defense (Based On Character Level)
+25% Increased Chance Of Blocking
35% Faster Block Rate
Damage Reduced By 35%
Cold Resist +60%
Lightning Resist +25%
+30 To Strength
Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 10

Nothing too special about this shield, good strength bonus, cold resists. The only mod that shines here is 35% Damage Reduce. This is massive and will help immensely in duels versus physical damage characters. Ber or Um.

Other then spirit, any shield can be used to affect. Whitstan's Guard for easy max block. Sanctuary for massive resistances or Splendor/Lidless for FCR and +1 skill. I'd personally take spirit over any of these and have Sanctuary and Stormshield in stash for certain situations.

Arachnid Mesh
Spiderweb Sash
Defense: 119-138 (varies)(Base Defense: 55-62)
Required Level: 80
Required Strength: 50
Durability: 12
16 Boxes
+90-120% Enhanced Defense (varies)
Slows Target By 10%
+1 To All Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Increases Maximum Mana 5%
Level 3 Venom (11 Charges)

FCR and the only belt with +1 to all skills (with the exception of bugged siggard's stealth on euro). Slow target can be Bad Mannered but it's there nonetheless. Best possible belt for this build.

Battle Belt
Defense: 98-116 (varies)(Base Defense: 37-42)
Required Level: 42
Required Strength: 88
Durability: 18
16 Boxes
+130-170% Enhanced Defense (varies)
5% Chance To Cast Level 7-20 Blizzard When Struck (varies)
+15 Cold Absorb
15% To Maximum Cold Resist
Adds 13-21 Cold Damage @ 3 sec. duration (Normal)
+2 To Chilling Armor (Sorceress Only)
+2 To Blizzard (Sorceress Only)
+3 To Glacial Spike (Sorceress Only)

Situational belt, massive damage to blizzard and glacial spike. Arachnid's mesh is an overall better belt, but this can be used when damage is necessary. Can also be used to prebuff chilling armor.

A rare would be most desirable. With tri-resistances, FHR and Str/Dex being top contenders. And once again this is not a cheap item to get, so I will suggest alternatives.

Sandstorm Trek
Scarabshell Boots
Defense: 158-178 (varies)(Base Defense 56-65)
Required Level: 64
Required Strength: 91
Durability: 14
Assassin Kick Damage: 60-110
+140-170% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+20% Faster Run/Walk
+ (1 Per Character Level) +1-99 Maximum Stamina (Based On Character Level)
+10-15 To Strength (varies)
+10-15 To Vitality (varies)
50% Slower Stamina Drain
Poison Resist +40-70% (varies)
Repairs 1 Durability In 20 Seconds

Great boots, especially if Eth. A good eth one can be pretty expensive. Vitality and Strength plus FHR make this one of the best boots you can get.

Sharkskin Boots
Defense: 112-124 (varies)(Base Defense: 33-39)
Required Level: 32
Required Strength: 47
Durability: 14
Assassin Kick Damage: 28-50
+180-210% Enhanced Defense (varies)
20% Faster Run/Walk
+100 Defense Vs. Missile
+15 To Dexterity
+5% Maximum Fire Resist
Heal Stamina Plus 50%
+40 Max Stamina
+45-65 To Life (varies)

Adds more life then treks at the cost of FHR. +5% Maximum fire resists can be helpful though.

Mesh Boots
Defense: 112-130 (varies)(Base Defense: 37-44)
Required Level: 36
Required Strength: 65
Durability: 16
Assassin Kick Damage: 23-52
+150-190% Enhanced Defense (varies)
30% Faster Run/Walk
+5 To Mana After Each Kill
Increase Maximum Mana 10%
+200 Defense VS. Missile

Nothing too useful about these boots other then the +10% maximum mana. Obviously a desirable mod for ES users, otherwise, not too great.

Light Gauntlets
Defense: 24-25 (varies)(Base Defense: 9-11)
Required Level: 23
Required Strength: 45
Durability: 18
+20-30% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+10 Defense
+1 To Fire Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Regenerate Mana 25%
Adds 1-6 Fire Damage

Best possible gloves for this build. FCR, Mana regain and +1 to fire skills.

Defense: 47-49 (varies)(Base Defense: 12-15)
Required Level: 29
Required Strength: 60
Durability: 24
+10-20% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+30 Defense
+5% Enhanced Damage
Increase Maximum Mana 40%*
Adds 1-6 Cold Damage, Cold Duration: 2 Seconds

Same with silkweaves, only useful for ES builds, otherwise, Magefist is preferred.

Stone of Jordan
Required Level: 29
+1 To All Skills
Increase Maximum Mana 25%*
Adds 1-12 Lightning Damage
+20 To Mana

Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Required Level: 58
+1 To All Skills
+ (0.5 Per Character Level) 0-49 To Life (Based On Character Level)
3-5% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
+50 Maximum Stamina

Use SoJ for mana and BK for life. Not much alternatives here.

The most desired amulet would be a rare or crafted with 2 to sorceress skills, life, mana, Str/Dex and 20% FCR and resistances. Such an amulet is rare and can be extremely expensive.

Mara's Kaleidoscope
Required Level: 67
+2 To All Skills
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
+5 To All Attributes

If you cannot get a rare amulet like the one I described, this is the next best thing. 5 to all stats, resistances, and 2 to all skills. Overall great amulet.

Tal Rasha's Adjudication
Required Level: 67
+2 To Sorceress Skill Levels
Lightning Resist +33%
Adds 3-32 Lightning Damage
+42 To Mana
+50 To Life

Great amulet and also has a 10% FCR bonus at 4 pieces of the set, but I doubt you'll reach that as a PvP sorc. Use this if above alternatives are unreachable.

A lot of possibilities here, I will outline the most common ones.

Death's Fathom
Dimensional Shard
One-Hand Damage: 30 To 53 (41.5 Avg)
Required Level: 73
Durability: 50
Base Weapon Speed: [10]
(Sorceress Only)
+3 To Sorceress Skill Levels
+20% Faster Cast Rate
+15-30% To Cold Skill Damage (varies)
Lightning Resist +25-40% (varies)
Fire Resist +25-40% (varies)
(Ladder Only)

Absolute massive damage. Will increase your blizzard by perhaps 3-4k. This is the weapon of choice for 95% of all cold sorcs. Quite expensive for a decent one. Definitely 5/-5 facet this.

Heart of the Oak
4 Socket Staves/Maces*
Ko + Vex + Pul + Thul
+3 To All Skills
+40% Faster Cast Rate
+75% Damage To Demons
+100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage, 3 sec. Duration (Normal)
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
+10 To Dexterity
Replenish Life +20
Increase Maximum Mana 15%
All Resistances +30-40 (varies)
Level 4 Oak Sage (25 Charges)
Level 14 Raven (60 Charges)

The infamous HOTO, this provides 40% FCR and resistances. Something that Fathom lacks. Use this when resistances or FCR is needed.

5 Socket Axes/Polearms/Hammers
Hel + Ohm + Um + Lo + Cham
5% Chance To Cast Level 18 Volcano On Striking
Level 12 Holy Freeze Aura When Equipped
+2 To All Skills
+45% Increased Attack Speed
+330-370% Enhanced Damage (varies)
-(40-60)% To Enemy Cold Resistance (varies)
20% Deadly Strike
25% Chance of Open Wounds
Prevent Monster Heal
Freezes Target +3
Requirements -20%

Holy freeze is considered Bad Mannered, but then again so are a lot of other things. Mostly for sorceresses that choose to skip mastery because of the huge -60% cold res. Try to get in a low requirement weapon such as Ettin or Double axe if possible. Holy freeze can make landing blizzards on non-teleport characters easier. Lacks FCR and other mods, so it's a very situational weapon.

The Oculus
Swirling Crystal
One-Hand Damage: 18 To 42 (30 Avg)
Required Level: 42
Durability: 50
Base Weapon Speed: [10]
(Sorceress Only)
+3 To Sorceress Skill Levels
+5 To Mana After Each Kill
All Resistances +20
25% Chance To Cast Level 1 Teleport When Struck
+30% Faster Cast Rate
+20 To Vitality
+20 To Energy
+20% Enhanced Defense
50% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items

In my opinion, only viable if all above options are exhausted. CTC teleport can be annoying, but in PvP, it may be more of a blessing then a nuisance. Just make sure you don't get hit by a quill rat and get teleported in front of a WWing barb. More of a MF weapon, socket with a cold facet if you must use it.

9x Chilling Grand Charms of Vita or Balance

Plain GCs are fine, but FHR or lifers are recommended.

10x Shimmering Small Charms of Vita or Balance

Once again, normal 20 life, 5 fhr or 5 all resist small charms are fine, these are just the best possible.

Torch and Annihilus

Weapon Switch:
Call To Arms
5 Socket Weapons
Amn + Ral + Mal + Ist + Ohm
+1 To All Skills
+40% Increased Attack Speed
+250-290% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
+2-6 To Battle Command (varies)*
+1-6 To Battle Orders (varies)*
+1-4 To Battle Cry (varies)*
Prevent Monster Heal
Replenish Life +12
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

No alternatives, this is the best item for weapon switch, pair with a spirit or lidless for +skills. Can potentially double your life with a high roll.

Mercenaries are not as useful in PvP as they are in PvM, however, they still carry some usefulness. Remember, Mercs are considered Bad Mannered in duels so try to avoid them if you can.

Act I: Fire Arrow.
Can be useful for sniping down hard to hit casters. I'd take an act 2 Merc over this however. Equip with a Faith, Fortitude and any helm you see fit.

Act II: Normal or Hell/Combat.
Prayer. This will heal you in long duels and can mean the difference between life and death. Hire in normal for higher level of prayer. Equip with:

4 Socket Polearms
Ber + Mal + Ber + Ist
50% Chance To Cast Level 20 Chain Lightning When You Kill An Enemy
Level 12 Conviction Aura When Equipped
+35% Faster Run/Walk
+255-325% Enhanced Damage (varies)
-(45-55)% To Enemy Lightning Resistance (varies)
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
0.5-49.5 To Vitality (Based on Character Level)
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level 21 Cyclone Armor (30 Charges)

Level 12 conviction aura will help to lower resistances even further.

4 Socket Weapons/Body Armor
El + Sol + Dol + Lo
20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Chilling Armor when Struck
+25% Faster Cast Rate
+300% Enhanced Damage
+200% Enhanced Defense
+15 Defense
+X To Life (Based on Character Level)*
Replenish Life +7
+5% To Maximum Lightning Resist
All Resistances +25-30 (varies)
Damage Reduced By 7
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
+1 To Light Radius

A defense bugged Fortitude will have 3k+ defense and +300% ED. An obvious choice.

As for helmet, many choices are available. Ones that come to mind are:

Crown of Ages
Defense: 349-399 (Base Defense: 111-165)
Required Level: 82
Required Strength: 174
+50% Enhanced Defense
+100-150 Defense (varies)
+1 To All Skills
Damage Reduced By 10-15% (varies)
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
+30% Faster Hit Recovery
Socketed (1-2) (varies)

2 sockets allow for customization. Expensive helmet, but worth it.

Andariel's Visage
Defense: 310-387 (varies)(Base Defense: 101-154)
Required Level: 83
Required Strength: 102
Durability: 20
+100-150% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+2 To All Skills
20% Increased Attack Speed
8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
+25-30 To Strength (varies)
+10% To Maximum Poison Resist
Fire Resist -30%
Poison Resist +70%
15% Chance To Cast Level 15 Poison Nova When Struck
Level 3 Venom (20 charges)
(Ladder Only)

Life leech, 20% IAS and +2 all skills. Useful helmet but the -30% fire resistances can be annoying.

Vampire Gaze
Grim Helm
Defense: 252 (Base Defense: 60-125)
Required Level: 41
Required Strength: 58
Durability: 40
+100% Enhanced Defense
Adds 6-22 Cold Damage - 4 Second Duration
15% Slower Stamina Drain
6-8% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
6-8% Mana Stolen Per Hit (varies)
Damage Reduced By 15-20% (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced By 10-15 (varies)

Most notable features of this helmet are life leech and 15-20% damage reduction. In my opinion, the best helmet for PvP Mercs.

Act II: Nightmare/Defensive.
Although you already have a source of chill, this one is still useful, as it has a much larger range then yours and is unaffected by Cannot be Frozen. Holy Freeze has always been a popular choice amongst Mercs, and is indifferent here. Equipment is identical to above mentioned.

Act II: Nightmare/Offensive.
Might aura will increase your Merc's damage by a huge amount. Not the best choice in my opinion as the damage after PvP penalty is still too little to be considered more then a nuisance. Equipment is identical to before.

Act II: Normal or Hell/Defensive.
Defiance increases your defense by a percentage. In my opinion not too useful for PvP. Sorceresses already have an extremely low defense rating due to the light equipment they use. A percentage increase to a low number is not as affective as it is to a high number.

*A note for Infinity. Try to create it in a Giant thresher or Thresher. The most common ones are made in an Eth Colossus Voulge, which is actually the weakest weapon due to the base weapon speed. Strive for Thresher or Giant thresher or even Cryptic axe.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
Orb vs Blizzard - The timeless debate:
Which is better, Orb or Blizz? This has been a question which has lingered throughout time. Blizzard is the hardest elemental attack to absorb. Orb however is quite easy to absorb. For the amount of points spent, Orb is stronger then Blizz, however Blizzard has a support projectile attack: Ice blast while Orb only has the weaker damaging Ice bolt. Orb is more affected by resistance then Blizzard, this is because of the fact that Orb consists of many weaker damaging spike while Blizzard focuses on fewer, more damaging attacks. In my opinion, Blizzard is more viable for PvP just because of that fact. Every decent player has maxed resistances, often beyond and stacked. Orb is much less effective versus those players and can be easily absorbed. Blizzard is always strong.

When dueling with Blizz, I would recommend you lower your screen's resolution. This allows for a bigger screen and further range with Blizzard. I will only list common builds and not most hybrids. For hybrid duelers, just combine the strategies of the 2 pure builds. Also, this is only a brief template of how the duels can go. Diablo 2 is a game of infinite possibilities, not every duel will go as you expect, and that's what makes it so fun.

Desynch is a term applied when something is moving at such a high speed it seems to disappear and reappear instantly at another location. This can be deadly and especially dangerous from Charge Paladins.

A lot of ranged skills will turn invisible once they reach a certain distance or amount of time. Blizzard is one of them. This doesn't affect blizzard as much as bone spirits or guided arrows because they tend to be hard to avoid even when visible.

When you're teleporting on top of someone, always shoot down. When you're expecting someone to teleport on top of you, always shoot up. Drive-bys refer to when you enter their screen; place a blizzard either on top of them or in front of where they're going and then immediately teleporting away.

Bowazons: These are split between 2 types, normal and glass cannons. Either type will prove just as fatal to you as the other. They will either spam Multishot and Guided or Strafe and Guided. Teleport in a circle around them to avoid multi and strafe, you want to be always moving. Orb can be useful here as it's easier to hit then blizzard due to dodge. Drive by and place 1 orb or blizzard and immediately teleport away. Max block, chilling armor and PDR are highly recommended. Arrows will turn invisible after a certain distance.

Light Javazons: Javazons tend to fury you from afar and try to run in and charged strike you every chance they get. You WILL be OHKOed from charged strike unless you absorb, keep that in mind. It's a relatively easy duel; circle them and Blizz on top or in front of them. Some will have massive faster r/w and will desynch. Watch out for these. Fury will tend to turn invisible after a distance so never stop moving, even if it seems you're safe.

Plaguezons: Just an easier variation then the light Javazon. It's harder to be hit with poison then fury. Treat them as you would a normal light Javazon except take caution not to accidentally run into one of the poison clouds that are bound to be floating around.

Light Trapsins: these tend to be long duels. Patience is a virtue here, always been on a keen look out for stray traps. Try to stay out of trap range and place blizzards at the extreme edge of your screen. Lure the Trapsin into chasing you. Faster Hit Recovery is mandatory versus skilled players as they will mindblast to stun you. Offensive ones will chase after you. Tempt them to follow after you and leave blizzards in your trail. Claw block does block Blizzard so watch out for that. Do not attempt to tank them.

Fire Trapsins: just as damaging as the light trapper, but instead of a long range, fire trappers tend to rely on stun from mindblast and Wake of Fire. FHR is once again mandatory. If you're fast, you can attempt to drive by and Blizz, that's risky however and do not attempt is unless you're absolutely certain you won't get caught.

Whirlwind: Never stay in a single spot for a long time. Skip from one location to another and Blizz on top of yourself. It's not uncommon to require 2 or 3 hits to kill these because of claw block, fade and ravens. Once they start a whirlwind, it will have to finish before they can do anything else. Use this duration to Blizz in front of them. Skilled WWsins will have very short whirlwinds that are very hard to take advantage of. Do not circle them as you will be caught by whirlwind.

Martial Arts: Just an easier variation of the WWsin. They rely on Talon instead of Whirlwind. Never stand still, teleport around them and place Blizzards in their path.

Barbarians: There are only 3 variations of barbarian that I've seen PvP. BvB, BvC and BvA. The hardest of these duels will be against the BvC build. Their high level leap will knock you back and during that moment, they will jump you. Immediately move after you've been -leapt- and do not stop for 3 or 4 teleports as they may be you namelocked. Apply the same strategies as a whirlwindsin. Most of these have high stacked resistances so one hit KOs are rare. BvBs and BvAs are just tuned downed BvCs. Most of them will not have a high leap so it's much easier.

Shapeshift: Doesn't matter what type they are. You should never lose to a SS druid that's not absorbing and stacking. It's impossible for them to catch you as they do not have access to teleport when morphed. Most often you won't survive 1 hit, so take extreme care not to be caught. Remember, Rabies will kill you, unlike other poisons. So kill the druid before rabies does its job. Use Orb to clip away the Oak Sage. This duel is yours.

Wind Druid: You will need 2 consecutive hits to kill these. They will continuously recast cyclone armor making bringing these down a pain. Depending on their minion stack, you may find it easier to use Glacial Spike instead of Ice blast. Blizz yourself and have them follow you in a tight oval. Tight enough so that they may run into stray blizzards, but loose enough that they won't be continuously on your screen. When they're on your screen. Shoot a few Glacial Spikes or Ice Blasts upward and teleport away. Chances are they will try to teleport on top of you and run into the blasts. Reflexes are needed. Never tank them.

Fire Druid: They have longer range then the wind druids, but tend to be easier because of the cool downs and the lack of a stronger Cyclone Armor. Treat them as you would a wind druid and never take pauses. Most of them will not use enigma as to lure you into the Armageddon. Take care to avoid that. Fissure will be their skill of choice, and like Blizzard, it is an instantaneous non-projectile type of attack. Never stand still.

Summon Druids: Most of them stay in town and cast their bears. Just avoid them by staying far away. Those that do come out won't be a challenge. Clip away Oak Sage with Orb and kill them and the bear with Blizzard.

Bone Necs: One of the toughest duels you will have. Spear is fast and damaging. Bone Spirits track but thank god they're slow. Good Bonemancers will tend to use teeth against sorceresses because of our low life and lack to FHR. Clay Golem is immune to cold so projectile weapons will often be blocked. Once again Glacial Spike may be a better choice then Ice Blast. Bone Spirits will turn invisible after a certain duration so watch out for those. You will 1 hit almost all Bone Necros you meet so that's something to smile about. You will want to place semi-random Blizzards in their general direction. Bone Necros tend to teleport a lot and have 125% FCR. They will often run into Blizzards because of that.

Poison Necros: You have 2 ways of killing them. One is to avoid them like you would a Bonemancer and place blizzards on top of them. The other is to teleport directly on top of them and kill them with downward ice blasts. The latter is more effective versus non-enigma poison Necros. They will tend to use Fire Golem for the aura so nothing is cold immune here. When they're casting Nova, the direct center of the Nova - that is where they stand - remains untouched. This is why teleporting on top of them is such an effective method. They will be forced to move in order to hit you. It takes 2 hits for them to kill you, remember that and use it to your advantage.

Summonmancers: Because of minion stacking, Blizzard will not reach the necromancer, but it will kill a lot of minions. Glacial Spike is your best bet to dueling these. They're like Wind Druids and tend to teleport on top of you. Treat them as you would a wind druid. FHR can be helpful because of the multiple hits you will take from their minions.

Charge: Have them follow you in a straight line and send Ice Blasts towards them. Place Blizzards in front of you and watch out for desynch. I don't find much difficulty versus charge paladins. Be noted however, that Chargers will kill you in one hit. Max block is highly recommended.

Hammerdins: They will either teleport on top of you or desynch around in an attempt for you to run into one of their hammerfields. Have them follow you in a giant circle. Big enough so that you will not have to cross an area that they have been to in the past 10-20 seconds. Line your trail with blizzards and shoot ice blasts upward when they attempt to teleport on top of you.

Melee: All melee paladins are the same, they will attempt to charge to you and then zeal/smite to kill. Treat them as you would a charger. Watch out for tele smite however. Blizz on top of your self and take care not to get hit. You won't be killed in 1 hit but you will be stunned. Circle them and drive by to kill.

Auradins: With the 1.11 patch, comes the aura bearing items. They will tend to charge around you in a circle and wear you down with their aura before charging for the kill. Place blizzards approximately half a screen away from your self as that's the most likely position for them to cross. Stacking resistances to negate their conviction aura may be required. Teleport in a tight circle to discourage charging.

FoH: One of the hardest duels you will face. Stay off their screen as you would a Trapsin and place blizzards at the extreme edge of your screen. The key is to not get caught in their conviction aura and that's the key to them 1 hit koing you. Some FoHers will charge to you and then FoH, have them follow you in a large circle and watch out for desynch. Others will stand in one spot and spam FoH. If you can tank one hit, it may be possible to do a drive-by since conviction catches slow.

Fire: Most will spam ball or bolt. Semi-circle teleports seem to be most effective against them. Most of the time you will have to rely on semi-random blizzards. Like Bone Necros, they tend to run into them a lot because of their high FCR and tendency to teleport.

Light: Same strategy as fire with one key difference. Some lightning sorceresses will teleport on top of you for nova as well as trying to clip you with lightning. Send Ice Blasts upward then they are in your screen but other wise it's identical to fire sorcs. Perhaps easier because lightning cannot be spammed as much as fireball or bolt. Some will hold Infinity and rely on thunder storm and nova. Blizz on top of your self and try to stay off their screen.

Orb: They will either chase you or expect you to run into one of their semi-randomly placed orbs. Teleport in straight lines back and forth with about a screen's distance apart with each turn. A direct orb will kill you, 1 or 2 bolts probably will not. Like all sorcs, semi-randomly placed blizzards are most effective. Try to drive-by as frozen orb does have a tiny cool down period.

Blizzard: Same class duels are always fun. And to admit, most of these duels are dependent on luck. You don't want them to be on your screen. You do not want to be anywhere within a screen of where they were in the past 10 seconds. Most of the time, I kill Blizzard sorcs by teleporting on top of them and ice blasting. Most players don't expect that and will not Blizz on top of them selves or react fast enough to kill you with ice blast.

Energy Shield: With blizzard's massive damage and the fact that ES is applied before resistances, you will 1 hit KO all but the best ES Sorcs. For those, apply the same strategy as you would a normal build. Although ES Sorcs tend to have lower damage (except orb), tanking is still discouraged.

This build will do approximately 15-16k Blizzards with perfect equipment, including 35% Fathom and 20% Nightwings. You will have a 9k Ice blast and 3.5k Glacial Spike. Damage that high is not necessary, as anything above 10k will 1 hit KO most players.

With the above damage, you will have approximately 3-3.5k life and 1k mana after BO with maxed and perhaps stacked resists in hell, once again, CoH, Spirit, Charms and a high CtA are factored.

1-15: Tristram runs with a party.
16-18: Arcane Sanctuary.
19-24: Tomb runs with a party followed by Travincal runs with a party.
25: Ancients
26-40: Normal Baal with a party.
41: NM Ancients
42-60: NM Baal runs with a party.
61: Hell Ancients.
62-90: Hell Baal with a party.
Above 90 you will want to run both Chaos Sanctuary and Baal with a party.

Blizzard sorceresses are an extremely fun build to play with. They will dominate a good number of games when well made with skill, can be one of the top tier duelers, in both organized dueling leagues and pubbies. I hope you have fun with this build.

Special Thanks:
Marcio (Slider-Ghost/KoS) and Al (ZoSo): for showing me how fun Diablo 2 can really be.
ThatWasShockin: For the video demonstrating Chilling armor.
Arreat Summit: For the item stats and formulas.
Blizzard: For making such a great game.

Thank you for reading, feedback appreciated!