[XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

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[XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by manafire on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:54 pm

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XV




Caster Amazon (Storm/Blood Hybrid) - the Stormcaster


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Early Game (1-49):
I will start by saying that I got this character to 120 in single player without any respecs from the initial idea. There are variations that will be extrapolated on, and this character could very easily become a dedicated caster build (either Blood or Storm) in the end and be successful.

So, Volrath. If you're going to farm Volrath, I would say to use a different character. It can be a pain with the Amazon - Magic Missiles simply doesn't do enough damage, and Takedown is very much a single-target buff skill like Paladin's T-Strike or Sorc's Moonstrike. Moonbeam and Sun Strike behave similarly in the context of this challenge, which is to say they're not bad. Use your starting gold (and a little extra if you're lucky enough to find a rune and a socketed throwing weapon before clvl 5) to buy your javelin or your bow and one or two +10 to Max Damage mystic orbs. That always makes it easier to take down the traps.

However, Thundercrack is also a solid option for this earliest of challenges, and seeing as we'll be going down that tree anyway, why not use that and save yourself the Akara respec? Although, if you have a Magister staff (more on that staff later), you can farm Volrath in seconds with any character.

I eventually found a Harkon Crystal with +7 attributes and Lizard King as my 1% reanimate. Lizard Kings cast Spellbind which is incredible (massive AoE slow and phys pierce), and thematically suits the Amazon quite nicely. Definitely one of my favorite reanimates for Harkon. Destroyer Shaman isn't the only one that's super useful (Rust Monsters, anyone?) so you have quite a few options for 'ideal' Harkons - if you even want to farm this charm.

For my Character Orb, I tried something quite different than my usual skulls+Iths+Identify Tomes route. Disjunction and Renewal Oils give the Orb -Enemy Lightning Res and -Enemy Fire Res, respectively. If you have problems with mana, Craft Oils work wonders. And if you have enough money, Oils of Absolution can give you up to 15% Increased Max Life - and in conjunction with ID Tomes (150 Life), that's quite a lot. At clvl 60-ish, my Orb had:
-15% to Enemy Fire Resistance
-15% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
+150 to Life
+15% to Maximum Life
+30 Mana after each Kill
+1 to Amazon Skill Levels (from an extra class charm, our Sacred Sunstone).

Ral runes and Ort runes are also great options, giving you 2% Fire and 2% Lightning (again, respectively) spell damage apiece. I cubed those to nearly 30% increased spell damage for those elements by around clvl 90.

I'll just list a few gear choices to give an idea for what we want in the early game:
Wildhunt
Einherjar Helm

Defense: (w-x)
(Amazon Only)
Required Strength: n
Required Level: m
+(a to b)% to Fire Spell Damage
+(a to b)% to Physical/Magic Spell Damage
+(2 to 19) to Raven Flight (across tiers)
+(x to y)% Enhanced Defense
Total Character Defense Plus (4 to 15)% (across tiers)
(4 to 15)% Reanimate as: Ghost Wolf (across tiers)
+(3 to 50) Life after each Kill (across tiers)
Socketed: 1-4


If you can afford the strength requirement, Queen of Glass makes a good body armor for this build. Lumen Arcana, Victory, and Thelema are good Runeword choices. Iblis (Nef runeword) is your go-to option for gloves until you find a Pul rune, for the classic Kali, an excellent replacement for your Iblis gloves. Sunbearer in tandem with Dragonfire make for a good choice if you intend to also use Hammer of Zerae, but otherwise, this is what we want, and it's obvious even at tier 1:

The Magister
Long Staff

Two-Hand Damage: 12 to 15
Durability: 46
Required Dexterity: 8
Required Level: 3
Adds Dexterity Damage Bonus: (25/256 per Dexterity)%
+1 to All Skills
+(21 to 25)% to Fire Spell Damage
+(21 to 25)% to Lightning Spell Damage

+(1 to 4) to Flash
+(1 to 4) to Apocalypse
Fire Resist +(16 to 25)%
Lightning Resist +(16 to 25)%
Total Character Defense Plus (11 to 15)%
+50% Damage to Undead
Socketed: 2[/color]


The Magister is just perfect... +skills, boosts to our two elements' spell damage outputs, some resists, a little bit of TCD that goes well with Wildhunt... and Apocalypse? Well, Apocalypse is a fire spell, and a very decent one at that - screenwide AoE, virtually no lag, good damage... why should we even be a hybrid? Why not get the Storm devotion, Asterism, and just use Apocalypse as our alternate source of damage? Well, you can. And it works well enough. But you'll be stuck using two skills - Apocalypse and Stormcall - which have the exact same mode of attack. I thought it better to sacrifice the devotion skill so that we could use Bloodstorm and thereby have two skill mechanics. And as I said, I went all the way through to 120 like this and even got the first few charms this way. Lay down your Bloodstorm traps as you move, and spam Stormcall as enemies move in on you (and your minions). Aggressive enemies will in effect be flanked by your Bloodstorm spam and your individual casts of Stormcall.

So in exchange for the bonus to life and spell damage from Bacchanalia, or the bonus to your avoid and attributes from Asterism, you get a unique attack combination for a caster Amazon. Given that you want to avoid melee range, the avoid from Asterism can be compensated for by kiting and using your minions and an effective mercenary.

I went with an A3 Necrolyte for my mercenary, and with proper feeding and care (give him a Queen of Glass, too!), he took me to 120. He only died twice that I remember, once from Diablo's bloodstorm spell in Hatred, and once from the Butcher during the Black Road. Keep him geared well if you want him to stay alive (that means +skills, high defense, max resists, +strength, +life, and +DR%).

So, you've got your Wildhunt, your Magister, your (two) Queen(s) of Glass. Thereafter, it's important to KEEP EVERY UNIQUE YOU FIND AND DISENCHANT WHATEVER YOU DON'T USE. Every 10 uniques = 2 Arcane Crystals. 2 Arcane Crystals can be used to unique upgrade any piece of jewelery, and that = 1 Stat Signet. And otherwise, 1 Arcane Crystal + 1 Rune will properly upgrade your weapon and body armor of choice (the two most important item pieces to keep upgrading). Keeping your TU gear upgraded is more important than Stat Signets in early game - those will come later, and plentifully.

For the skills (to reiterate).
::
So, smax -
Bloodstorm is your first line of offense. Cast as you move to keep enemies flustered (and alert you to their distance) before casting...
Stormcall is a dual-element screenwide invisible nova. Not much to it, but this nifty skill will keep your alive better than Asterism can by keeping your enemies dead.
Balance - This is your Asterism. A healthy defense boost, and we have skill points to spare, so max it.

Defensive Harmony - I usually like to put 1 point here for most other Zon builds, but we have the points, so 15 is good.
Wild and Free - I like to put 10-15 here, but you could feasibly put even more. 10 is a conservative number for this build, though. Without the avoid and stats from Asterism or the life boost from Bacchanalia, we need the extra speed.
Summon Fire Elementals - This depends on your gear (so, for example, if you went with Fauztin's Visage instead of Queen of Glass). If you want minions that are more than just Witch bait, put 15 points here and max Spellbind in the later game.

War Spirit - 1 point is enough for us. If you have a source of slow (regular slow - I don't mean melee slow or slows attackers), 1 point here is enough to spread it, along with %cb and any poison damage you might have (such that even picking Curare as an uberskill could make sense... but I went with):
Paragon - although Spirit of Vengeance is a viable choice as well. We've got great uberskills, so you really can't go wrong. Just remember to fill your sockets with gems and avoid runewords where possible if you go with Paragon.

Getting to clvl 49 can be tricky. The Level 1 Challenge will be harder for this build if you went with my advice on the Character Orb. If you've had trouble with the L1 Challenge in the past, or if it's your first time attempting it, then skulls+Ith runes in your Orb might be the way to go for the early game. Tran Athulua on hatred becomes trivial if you have like 6000 defense. Even without boosts from skills like Tainted Blood, 8000 defense is easily achievable. With Balance and a bit of thought into our gear, mystic orbs, socketables, and Character Orb, we shouldn't have much trouble. And with Bloodstorm and Stormcall, you'll basically be hitting your sister Amazons from off-screen. If you're still having trouble, run Mephisto until you have enough Arcane Shards to enhance your gear.

And if you're having trouble before Mephisto, well, you should have 75% all resists from Act 2 onward to make Hatred less of a trial. This is easily solvable with mystic orbs, especially in a pair of honorific boots (where we don't have many good choices anyway - you might want to keep your glove slot free for the runewords I mentioned earlier, and the belt slot free for a unique like Moonwrap or Aerin Orbiter. I had a lot of trouble with Diablo in the early game, but that's where the Sunbearer/Dragonfire combo I mentioned before came in handy, so I could spam Hammer of Zerae as a more effective skill vs. a single target like Diablo.

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Mid Game (50-89):
WIP

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Late Game (90-120):
WIP

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End Game (120, Most Charms, Farming, and Exploring):

I completed/was able to farm the following ubers with this build:
The Butcher, Binding of Baal, Creature of Flame, Infernal Machine, Death Projector, Assault on Mount Arreat, K3KBA, IotSS, Tran Athulua. Akarat was absurdly difficult for some reason, but after several attempts at it (pre-casting Bloodstorm and getting lucky), I beat him. I've only attempted a few others thus far (Lord Aldric Jitan, Legacy of Blood, Rathma Square, Unformed Land) and failed. But with better gear, I don't doubt that these are very doable.

Though we've been a hybrid build all this time (or just a Storm build, and you decided to use Apocalypse from the staff instead of Bloodstorm), we can easily dedicate to either the Blood or Storm trees depending on some late-game gear. Zerae's Divinity set enables an entirely different approach to the Storm tree (you'll still be a 'hybrid' build, just hybrid melee/caster dedicated to the Storm tree), and the Community Fire set All is One actually really enables a dedicated Blood caster. With the Fire set, it's still quite easy to remain hybrid Blood/Storm - it's up to you really. If you're still offensively viable with your gear and whatever oskills you might need, then a simple respec and taking a passive might just be worth it.

I would consider this build truly end game successful once you can establish a single advanced (destruction) uberlevel where you can perform without maximal effort. The Unformed Land, Fauztinville, and Duncraig are some levels I would consider difficult enough, such that once you can clear one of them, your build is definitely viable end game. I have little trouble clearing K3K with this build, but it's hard to call that an end game uber. Still, I would say that this build is undoubtedly late-game viable.

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by manafire on Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:39 pm

Placeholder?

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by GregMXL on Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:08 pm

Cool guide. Didn't see it mentioned but you can utilize a few different types of elemental spell damages if you want with Bona Dea(fal in a zon helm) and a hailstorm amulet for single targets.

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by Ohmarinus on Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:34 pm

Nice, I've been walking around with Zerae's set for a few days, but it felt it wasn't my kind of build. I hope when the guide gets more detailed there will be a part included how the Zerae set can be utilized in Dest.

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by SWaP on Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:18 pm

What the reason in Kali gloves?.. i think 20% fire spell dmg is better than 2 skills for 45-50+ lvl.. also there's some MO space left so u can add lightning spell damage too.

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by Icegod101 on Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:46 am

This gonna be hella fucking difficult on hardcore like I am doing currently.

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by cowking on Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:56 am

Why is this in the guides section?

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by romanN1 on Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:32 am

Sorry to say but this isn't a guide, nor a walkthrough...

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by JamieLynn7483 on Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:29 pm

Are there any other guides on this new Amazon? Maybe I'm not using the right search words....

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Re: [XV] Hybrid Caster Amazon - the Stormcaster

Post by romanN1 on Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:40 pm

opa, somebody came back ^^. No Jamie, there aren't.

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