My name is Crazy Runner Guy, CRG for short, and I have been playing D2 since 1999. I originally played on Bnet, and now I play SP exclusively.
I would like thank Lira Lindriel for writing her Charged Boltress guide, as many of my ideas to create the build came from that guide. Her guide is more tailored for an all-around, gear-flexible sorc. In her guide, Lira wrote the following on fast cast:
(200% would mean giving up lots of other things like +skills which means a lower final damage. Iâ€™d not advise on it)
This quote inspired me to go for that 200% breakpoint. Thus the goal of Spasm, my Charged Boltress, was to attain the maximum lightning damage possible while maintaining 200% FC.
Please note that this guide was originally written for SP play, and other gear configurations exist depending on where you play. However, since the proposed gear is the only possible combination of equipment (for SP play) that achieves 200% fast cast, I have chosen to focus only on the gear my character, Spasm, used and wore.
FCR-Fast Cast Rate
FHR-Fast Hit Recovery
ELR-Enemy Lightning Resistance
LSD-Lightning skill damage
PLoD-Pink Lightning of Death
PDR-Physical Damage Reduction
The great part about the build is that you need only 58 STR and 75 DEX. Besides those two requirements, everything else will go into Vita.
This is the requirement for Trang-Oulâ€™s Claws and Lidless Wall.
Our weapon, the Wizardspike, requires 75 dex to pick up.
VITA: Everything else
Why everything else? First, we donâ€™t need energy, as weâ€™ll get mana from other sources, and second, Lidless, our only possible shield, has such horrible blocking that maxing block would cost us too many stat points.
Weâ€™ll get mana from other sources. Keep this at base.
As I said earlier, in SP there is only one item configuration for the 200% FCCB:
50% FC, 75% res all, +15% max mana, in addition to +mana/lvl. This is one amazing dagger. Socket this, like the rest of your gear, with a Lightning Facet. Wizspike has a clvl requirement of 61.
Skin of the Vipermagi
Up to 35% res all, 30% FC and +1 skills. This is probably the most used caster armor in the game, and we shall perpetuate that statement. Socket with a Lightning Facet. Skin has a clvl requirement of 29. Some guides recommend upgrading the Skin to Wrymhide. This is all fine and dandy, but it bumps up your maximum STR requirement to 84, which leaves less in life. Not worth it.
No resistances here, but 20% FC, +1 skills and more mana (+10% max and +10 NRG) make this our choice of shield. Socket with a Lightning Facet. Lidless has a clvl requirement of 41. Again, do not upgrade this shield, its STR requirement will jump to 106. More STR equals less life.
Straight up, this is the BEST helm for any primary lightning sorceress. Although it lacks +2 skills, stats and life/mana that the Harlequin Crest has, it makes up for it by giving us +1 skills and 25% fast cast. The real kicker is the -15-20% Enemy Lightning Resistance and +10-15% Lightning skill damage. Nothing even comes close. Socket with a Lightning Rainbow Facet for a possible -25% ELR and +20% LSD. And besides, Harlequins are ugly. Griffonâ€™s Eye comes into play at clvl 76.
Weighing in at clvl 80, this may be your highest clvl required item, but donâ€™t let that deter you from leveling up solely for this belt. Just great stats here, with +1 skills and 20% FC. The +5% mana is just gravy.
Not typically a sorceress glove, as normally Magefist or Frostburns win here, but we are going to need the +30% cold res, and the 20% FC suits our cause nicely. Bonus points here for having the same STR requirement as Lidless Wall.
These three slots are going to be your hardest to obtain (Except maybe for a good Griffonâ€™s), but be patient and youâ€™ll get them. Eventually.
Both Ring slots:
Bahamutâ€™s Ring of the Apprentice
Unfortunately, SoJâ€™s donâ€™t fit into our item scheme, as they lack FC, so hereâ€™s the next best thing with FC. +91-120 mana comes from Bahamutâ€™s, and the apprentice gives up 10% FC per ring. Personally, I own a perfect BRoA, and I love it. Gambling is the best way to attain these beauties, and you could potentially pick up a rare with Bahamutâ€™s little brother, Great Wyrmâ€™s, which grants 61-90 mana, along with other goodies. Bahamutâ€™s is not available on rares.
Crafted Caster ammy with AT LEAST 15% FC on it.
Now you must trust your luck with your Cube. The mod you are looking for to roll is â€œOf the Apprentice,â€ which, like on rings, grants 10% FCR. Luckily for us, Caster amulets have a preset 5-10% FC, so if you roll â€œof the Apprentice,â€ youâ€™re going to get at least 15%. Preferably, you would roll an Archangelâ€™s (+2 sorceress skills) or Charged (+2 light skills) Prismatic (+16-20% res all) Amulet of the Apprentice. That would be just amazing. I use one with +101 mana, +16% FC and 14% res all.
With crafting, +sorc skill and +light skills (all char and all tree) were grouped into one category, making it impossible to roll both on a single craft.
Note that it is possible to get a perfect roll and get 20% FCR, for a total of 205%. There is no breakpoint above 200, so any extra (all 1-5% of it) is unnecessary.
The recipe for caster Amulets is Ral + Perfect Amethyst + Jewel + Magic Ammy. Use amulets gambled by your highest clvl character, and craft with that same character.
Read more about crafting at the Arreat Summitâ€™s Crafted Item Page
Here, you finally have some freedom with your gear choice, as there are no boots that give fast cast. Thus you are looking for some rare boots, to make up for whatever you are missing, i.e. Lightning and Fire resistance (Cold was taken care of by Trang-Oulâ€™s Claws). Again, gambling is your best friend. Perfect boots would 40% Fire and Light Res, along with 10% FHR and some MF. Anything really beyond that is gravy, as this character is not designed for MF, and FR/W is unnecessary, because you will teleport everywhere.
With our STR, we can gamble and use every type of normal boot except Greaves (STR 70), so have fun pray you donâ€™t roll a nice pair of Mirrored Boots.
In order of preference look for: Lightning resistance, fire resistance, FHR, MF, FR/W, Stats and so on down the line.
As stated, we are going for the maximum possible CB damage while still reaching 200% FC, and thus lightning Rainbow facets allow for that maximum damage. Socket your Wizspike, Vipmagi, Griffonâ€™s and Lidless with them, which, with Griffonâ€™s Eye, could bring our total negative enemy lightning resistance to -40% while adding 35% to our lightning skills damage. Bonus points for level-up and death affects.
6x Sparking Grand Charms
Hereâ€™s a free +6 lightning skills, something our build is slightly short on. Preferably, these charms have â€œof Balanceâ€ (FHR) as a suffix. These charms are usable at clvl 42 or higher, depending on their suffix.
I cannot stress the importance of FHR enough. The more you have, the better off you will be. The goal we are shooting for is 8 frames, which is 60%, or 5 Sparking GCâ€™s of Balance. You can also get FHR from boots (10% max), so that lowers our burden. SCâ€™s of Balance also grant 5% FHR.
Fast Hit Recovery Breakpoints
Frames FHR Required 15 0 14 5 13 9 12 14 11 20 10 30 9 42 8 60 7 86 6 142 5 280
The best way to get Sparking grand charms, other than trading, is by running the Kurast levels in Act 3 NM, and then cubing the Grand Charms you find there using three perfect gems. Youâ€™ll eventually roll a Sparking GC, or at least a skiller you can trade straight up for a Sparker.
If you are not like me and donâ€™t carry around a Tome of TP and Identity, along with a cube, leaving 8 squares open, use more of these, up to 8 (then you can hardly pick up anything), or seven with the two tombs.
Underneath each GC, you should have a SC of vita, or a +single resistance charm (11% is max on these), of â€œOf Balanceâ€. In other words, use these six to eight slots to round out your character and fill in any holes you have.
Your best friend will be an Act 2 NM defensive merc (Holy Freeze). This will slow everything down even more than your FO will, and make things easier to kill with CB.
Things to look for on merc gear, in order of priority:
Life leech (Tal Rashaâ€™s Horadric Crest is my favorite)
Crushing Blow (Guillaumeâ€™s Face or Hone Sundan)
IAS (Shaels/IAS Jewels)
CBF (Durielâ€™s Shell)
I also enjoy the chance to cast Decrepify on Reaperâ€™s Toll. Ideally, a Hone Sundan, (2x Amn, Shael), Guillaumeâ€™s Face and Durielâ€™s Shell make their way onto my mercs, especially this one.
If you are into Baal running, a Kelpie Snare is amazing against Baal, with 75% slow target. I have seen gear configurations also with Ethereal Guardian Angels and Kiraâ€™s Guardians.
Remember, slowing monsters down is essential, and when you combine Slow Target, Holy Freeze, Decrepify and Cold Duration (from FO), monsters move at a crawl.
Why not a Defiance Merc?
This one is a personal preference, and I have never been satisfied with capitalizing on defense, unless you REALLY want to. If you do, go build a smiter pally with Exile or an Iron barb. Anything else just canâ€™t capitalize on defense.
Defense, like AR, has huge diminishing returns, and unless you can pump it to huge levels (15k+), itâ€™s just not worth it. Holy freeze is simply better for its slowing ability. And besides, you need the crowd control.
As listed below in the Leveling and Gear Guide section, lots of secondary gear is suggested. Hereâ€™s a quick list of the gear (what I used). For more detail see the Leveling and Gear Guide section.
In order of clvl required:
Low level unique melee weapon (Stoutnail is great)
Full Cathanâ€™s Set
String of Ears
6. Skill Points
Lightning Tree (69 points)
20 Charged Bolt
20 Lighting Mastery
1 Chain Lightning
Cold Tree (26+)
20 Frozen Orb
1+ Cold Mastery
1 Glacial Spike
1 Ice Blast
1 Frost Nova
1 Ice Bolt
Fire Tree (1)
Total Skill Points: 96
Build complete at clvl 85
Now for some explanation:
This is your primary killing and this gets maxed first. 24 bolts is nothing to shy away from, especially when you are casting at 168 of them in two seconds (7 casts in 49 frames). More on CB below, in the strategy section.
Not only is this the only â€œtrueâ€ synergy for CB, but is also works wonders in areas like the Maggot Lair and Arcane Sanctuary where enemies come in straight lines. This will be your primary killing skill until you get Blizzard at clvl 24. This is also useful against far off, dangerous enemies (succubi, for one)
This skill will improve the damage of all of your lightning skills, and it gets maxed third, second in the lightning tree.
Arguably the best sorceress skill, static takes away huge chunks of life from every non-LI and scales with players. Only one point here because of our massive +lightning skills.
This is the be all and end all of transportation, especially considering how much FC you will have. Donâ€™t want to kill anything in Act 1 besides the Den of Evil, the Smith, Countess and Andariel? You donâ€™t have to, and Teleport makes that possible. This skill starts at 24 mana and goes down one points per skill lvl [24- (slvl-1)=mana cost]. See more on this skill in the strategy section, below.
A throwback of v1.09, this skill returns to the CB sorc because of our massive +lightning skills and our maxed mastery. One point wonder.
Hands down, the best secondary skill available to us. With this maxed at clvl 49, you can walk through all on NM, hardly pausing to use CB, if you want to do it that way. See more on this skill in the strategy section, below.
Why Frozen Orb?
First, FO has a huge range, by that I mean the entire screen. Because of the randomness of the shards emitted, nearly everything on the screen gets hit, often multiple times. FO also slows enemies, and is your number one boss killer. I am biased for it, but like a necromancerâ€™s Corpse Explosion, it really is that damn good.
Another great skill, and more so because it reduces enemy resistances by a large percentage. This gets one point to start out with (as thatâ€™s really all you need), and then gets every point afterwards. It is important to stop investing in this skill once it hits slvl 17 (with +skills), as negative monster resistances are capped at -100 (although Rainbow Facets can go beyond this). Also, Cold Mastery does not break cold immunes. This skill can also be maxed, if you will be running areas with heavily (but not immune) cold-resistant monsters.
For detailed explanation on Cold Mastery and why slvl 17 is ideal for most purposes, read Sasjaâ€™s Met/Orb Guide
This will be your primary killing skill, along with Static Field, until you get Orb, upon which it will become obsolete. Donâ€™t fret, because it is still a great skill, and it can kill anything in Norm, especially for the six levels weâ€™ll use it for. One point here.
Other backup skill options
Although I have always been a fan of FO (I have only built one sorc without it, and that was a pure Blizzard sorc), you can use an alternate skill. Since skill points are tight outside the lightning tree, you should rely on a skill that has very few synergies (sans mastery). Looking around, this leaves Firewall. I have not tested this as I have not used the skill extensively (read: never). However, it does have excellent damage, and has only two prerequisites (as opposed to FOâ€™s five. For more explanation on how to use Firewall, Lira does an excellent job. Liraâ€™s Charged Boltress guide
If you choose to go this route, I suggest avoiding Thunderstorm, and then dropping all of your spare skill points into Fire Mastery. If that is your route, your skills will look like this:
Lightning Tree (63 points)
20 Charged Bolt
20 Lightning Mastery
1 Static Field: 1
1 Teleport: 1
Fire Tree (23+ points)
20 Fire Wall
1+ Fire Mastery
Note that with this skill setup, there are only two pre-reqâ€™s not used in the final setup.
Why I chose FO is explained above.
Skill Placement Order:
1: Charged Bolt 2: Warmth 3: Ice Bolt 4-5: Save 6, Den: Static Field, Frost Nova, Telekeniesis, Ice Blast 7-11: CB 12: Lightning 13-17: CB 18, Rada: Teleport, Glacial Spike 19-23: CB 24: Blizzard 25-27: CB 28-29: Save 30: Lightning Mastery, Cold Mastery, Frozen Orb Izual: LM, CB (CB Maxed) 31-49: Frozen Orb (FO Maxed) 50-63, Quests: Lightning Mastery (LM Maxed) 64-79, Quests: Lightning (Lightning Maxed) 80: Chain Lightning 81: Nova 82: Thunderstorm 83+: Cold Mastery until slvl 17 (with +skills), then Thunderstorm
Now, it is not necessary to follow this exactly. I got T-Storm at clvl 24, and I regretted it until I hit 42 when I threw on my lightning skillers, but you can do it, if you want.