Caster Sorceress

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Bardamu
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CASTER SORCERESS
MISTRESS OF THE ARCANE ARTS
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Hey everyone. This guide is a 4-hands work between NotCube and Bard. Caster builds are our favorite meme, so it was natural to join forces sooner or later to create a new one.

Table of Contents

I. Preface
II. Pros and Cons
III. The Basics of Building a Caster Sorceress
IV. Overview of Sorceress Skills
V. Fire Sorceress
VI. Cold Sorceress
VII. Lightning Sorceress
VIII. Poison Sorceress
IX. Credits



I. PREFACE

Since the latest buffs in patch 1.4 and 1.5, Caster Sorc has seen a rise in playability, and it’s now really suited as a first-to go character for new players. She has a really simple playstyle and minimal skill switching, so if you're into piano builds it may not really be your cup of tea. If instead you're looking for a simple char, that can easily farm 120 and even 125 spots untwinked, look no further. This guide will cover the basics of each of the four elements, from level 1 to late game ubers. It will not go deep into late-end game stuff like high labs, but it will give you all the tips to level and progress through the game, suggest how to better place your stats and how to gear your char through the various game phases. Since the recent Sigma change on monsters immunities made one-element builds possible, you can now effectively specialize in one type of element without spending much more skill points in a secondary one, since with enough elemental pierce and damage output you can just annihilate everything on screen.

To note: a lot of setups are possible on these builds. We will try to suggest the most efficient and cheapest ones so new players can easily start and go farm their own stuff in order to have the most enjoyable experience without being hardstuck right after the first ubers.

We tried to list sets for the mid game when possible, since especially in multiplayer they are extremely cheap and easy to get in a reasonable amount of time, even at the start of a new ladder. Some of them are also quite very efficient for how cheap they are, and can be a valid option to crafting who may require a bit more time and patience. If a setup is not there, it doesn’t mean it may not work. Feel free to experiment!



II. PROS AND CONS

PROS
+ Easy to play, newbie friendly
+ Minimal skill switching
+ Can farm well in basic gear
+ Amazing single target damage

CONS
- Squishy
- Basic play style may bore some players




III. THE BASICS OF BUILDING A CASTER SORCERESS

PIERCE
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"-X to enemy Y resistance," also known as pierce for short, is a very important thing to have for all elemental casters. Enemies in Nightmare and Hell have elemental resistances, allowing them to ignore a large part of our spell damage. Therefore, acquiring enough pierce in order to improve our damage is a top priority.

Enemy resistances can be reduced to -100%, effectively doubling our damage output (this double damage isn't reflected on the character screen or the spell tooltip). For sorceress, pierce comes from gear and charms.

Most normal enemies have 35 resists, and bosses, 70. Depending on the purpose there are 3 pierce caps that we are aiming for in end game.
    135 pierce for general mobs in Hell difficulty
    170 pierce for most Act Bosses, Uber Bosses
    199 pierce for Anomaly, Phoboss and Samael

SYNERGY AND SPELL DAMAGE

We highly recommend reading this article for further understanding.
To simplify it, you need synergy & spell damage.
    -Synergy increases the more Energy and Energy Factor (EF) you have. These two stats have a close relationship: you want to raise both because simply stacking energy, no matter how high, won't do you any good without EF, and vice versa. Thankfully, these 2 stats usually come together on caster gear as well as on charms and jewels.
    -Spell Damage Bonus (SD) is found on gear, charms, mystic orbs and various socketables.
Since Synergy and SD are multiplied together, you want to keep them at roughly the same level in order to maximize the outcome. For example, having 500 SD & 300 synergy is worse than having 400 each.

TLDR: Get pierce, get spell damage, get energy and EF.

BREAKPOINTS

Cast rate aka. faster cast rate (FCR) allows us to cast spells faster. Hit recovery aka. faster hit recovery (FHR) helps us... recover faster from getting hit so we don't get stunlocked.
FCR:
6/19/42/83/194 (5 fpa) - Staves
8/22/42/78/157 (6 fpa) - Sorceress Orbs
FHR:
2/9/19/35/65/142 (3 fpa) - Staves
5/11/20/35/60/109 (4 fpa) - Sorceress Orbs

SPELL DAMAGE BUFFS

Besides Firedance, sorceress has access to a lot of skills that boost spell damage. We’ll take a look at some of them and discuss why we choose one.

Blood Fury: Can spawn as a random oskill on crafted sorceress orbs. BF buffs all elemental damage by a large amount. However the duration is a fixed 30 seconds, which cannot be increased by % Bonus to Buff/Debuff/Cold Skill Duration. Drains 50% life in 30 seconds. Easily countered by Living Flame. Strong overall but should be reserved for boss fights so as to not clutter general gameplay with unnecessary switching. Imagine switching gear every 30s just to farm. Nice duration.

Bloodlust: Found on
Shamanka
Shamanka
Long Staff (Sacred)

Two-Hand Damage: 56 to 58
Required Level: 100
Required Dexterity: 203
Item Level: 105
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.1 per Dexterity)%
+(3 to 6) to Sorceress Skill Levels
45% Cast Speed
45% Hit Recovery
+50% Damage to Undead
+(21 to 25)% to Fire Spell Damage
+(21 to 25)% to Cold Spell Damage
+(21 to 25)% to Poison Spell Damage
+(6 to 16) to Bloodlust
Maximum Life (31 to 40)%
Lightning Resist +(50 to 70)%
Fire Resist +(50 to 70)%
Socketed (4)
and
Circe (Xis)
Circe
Sorceress Orbs

'AmXis'
Runeword Level: 120
+44% to Lightning Spell Damage
+44% to Poison Spell Damage
+24 to Bloodlust
(61 to 75)% to Energy
+3 to All Skills when using an Apple
25% Damage Reflected
Cannot be Unsocketed
. Weaker buff than Blood Fury (only about half as strong) but lasts for a few minutes. You can extend this duration with the affix % Bonus to Buff/Debuff/Cold Skill Duration using Nih runes. 10/10 - Highly recommended to have on switch.

Burning Veil: Powerful buff that only exists as a proc found on
Bloodbond
Bloodbond
Ring

Required Level: 50
Item Level: 50
1% Chance to cast level 50 Burning Veil on Kill
+50 Life Regenerated per Second
Physical Resist 2%
+1% to Experience Gained
and
Night's Embrace
Night's Embrace
Glaive (Sacred)

Throw Damage: (172 - 216) to (306 - 408)
One-Hand Damage: (110 - 138) to (229 - 312)
Required Level: 100
Required Dexterity: 496
Item Level: 105
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.17 per Dexterity)%
5% Chance to cast level 26 Burning Veil on Kill
+(1 to 2) to All Skills
+(140 to 200)% Enhanced Damage
+(100 to 150) to Maximum Damage
+(100 to 150)% Damage to Demons
-(25 to 35)% to Enemy Fire Resistance
10% Chance of Crushing Blow
Slow Target (10 to 20)%
(15 to 25)% to All Attributes
Socketed (4)
. Bloodbond sucks fuzzy balls so don’t use it. You can actually put Night’s Embrace on a Shapeshifter/Exemplar and it will work decently for farming. Do we recommend it? Not really. But if you have extra gear and nothing better to do, go for it.

Churel: Reworked oskill in 1.5 into a strong buff for cold spells. Spawns on sorc orb and armor. Lasts for 10 seconds (LUL) with an 8 second cooldown (OMEGALUL). Ya know what else also spawns on sorc orb, is just as strong, and lasts 30s? That’s right, Blood Fury. So if you want to use this, you’ll have to hope that it spawns on your crafted armor, on top of other important affixes that you hope for.
    “Is it strong?” -Yes.
    “Is it good?” -Does recasting a buff every 8s sound good?
    “Should I use it?” -Are you feeling okay?
Elemental Totem: Another buff that only spawns on sorc orbs for us. It’s actually pretty good but you need a corpse to summon it, so you either have to keep summoning it after clearing every pack, or teleport constantly to bring it with you. Why even bother. Just use Blood Fury or Bloodlust.

Mark of the Wild: The only way to get this buff is by using a barb mercenary. But the bonus is extremely negligible so don’t bother.


Raven Heart: Found on the
Zann Esu's Secrets
Zann Esu's Secrets
(Sorceress Cold Set)

Zann Esu's Rune Loop
Zann Esu's Robes
Zann Esu's Binding Circle
Zann Esu's Charm

Set Bonus with 2 or more set items:
1% Base Block Chance
Total Character Defense 40%

Set Bonus with 3 or more set items:
+8 to Raven Heart
+100% to Summoned Minion Life

Set Bonus with complete set:
+36 to Frozen Crown
+32 to Ice Bolt Nova
+100% to Summoned Minion Life
Elemental Resists +75%
Physical Resist 50%
+100 Life after each Kill

set. Slowly drains 100% life in 30 seconds. Easily countered by Living Flame. You can actually have both Blood Fury and Raven Heart active at the same time and still regen hp if you max Living Flame. Only buff cold spells but by a significant amount. Only lasts 30s but it’s built in the set so you don’t have to switch gear. Highly recommended if playing cold sorc.

TL;DR: Use Bloodlust on Shamanka/Circe (Xis) on switch for farming. Blood Fury for bosses if you don't mind the short duration. If using the cold set, do use Raven Heart.

Tips: Eat an apple before a boss fight with Circe Xis equipped to get +3 to all skills. This buff persists after unequipping the orb.

STAVES VS ORBS

Staves can roll up to: 11 sorc skills, 150 EF, 70 spell damage and 25 pierce with 6 sockets. Staves also have 1 frame faster cast speed compared to orbs.
Jared’s Stone can roll up to: +5 sorc skills, 100 EF, 50 spell damage and 25 pierce with 3 sockets.

Orbs roll lower stats overall compared to staves, but you have the ability to use a shield. Adding in a shield, such as Avatar or Celestial Barrier and you’ll have more pierce, plus 6 more sockets to work with crafted jewels, or even more pierce runes if you still need pierce.

Staves on the other hand, has a lot of power packed into a single item that you have to worry about. They also have better cast frames, which means more dmg overall, but in late game setups, they can be beaten by an orb & shield combo.

We recommend War Staff (6 sockets) for crafting in mid game if you don’t have any good shield or don’t yet have enough crystals to craft jewels. This will save you shrines to work on Gambeson for example.



IV. OVERVIEW OF SORCERESS SKILLS
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V. FIRE SORCERESS
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INTRODUCTION
The fire sorceress is a powerful caster who excels in both farming and boss killing. Simple to build and play, fire is a great spec for anyone looking to play caster sorceress.
We will use Flamefront as our main skill for the majority of the game. Flamefront offers great clearing power early on as well as late game when you have access to
Habacalva's Legacy
Habacalva's Legacy
Eagle Orb (Sacred)

One-Hand Damage: 35 to 36
(Sorceress Only)
Required Level: 100
Required Dexterity: 171
Item Level: 105
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.17 per Dexterity)%
+5 Flamefront Projectiles
-50% to Lightning Spell Damage
-50% to Cold Spell Damage
-50% to Poison Spell Damage
-(11 to 25)% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+(8 to 15) to Flamefront (Sorceress Only)
+(8 to 15) to Flamestrike (Sorceress Only)
+(8 to 15) to Pyroblast (Sorceress Only)
+(16 to 30) to Living Flame (Sorceress Only)
Socketed (2)
. For single target, Flamestrike has very high dps on top of having no trajectory, allowing us to “snipe” a target from afar without hitting anything in the way. This is very useful in some fights where hitting an unwanted target can make things difficult.
For our support tree, in early game, the cold tree offers the most defensive capability in Snow Queen and Ice Elementals, which make the leveling experience really smooth. Later on, Vengeful Power on the poison tree gives us the much needed physical resist as well as some %life to survive the harsh environments of Sanctuary for a low amount of investment.


EARLY GAME
Level 1-100
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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MID GAME
Level 100-120
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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LATE GAME
Level 120+

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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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VI. COLD SORCERESS
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INTRODUCTION
Cold Sorceress is a newbie friendly build that relies on spamming a small AoE damage spell (Frigid Sphere) and an AoE crowd control spell (Shatter the Flesh) to clear screens quickly. Snow Queen passive, Ice Elementals and Arcane Spells will help alleviate our fragility. Just remember to play safe behind your minions and not overextend because it doesn't take long to die if you find yourself in a bad spot. Smooth clearing speed aside, the same can be said for single target damage. Fire and Cold trees carry insane single target spells in Flamestrike and Abyss. While the first is pretty simple and intuitive to use and will be best against immobile enemies, the latter will take a bit more practice to get used to, but if played correctly its damage potential is simply outstanding, especially after the buffs received in 1.5.
As previously stated, Frigid Sphere will be our main spell in early game and will give more life to our Ice Elementals thanks to its skill synergy. Combined with shatter the flesh for more AoE and Flamestrike for single target damage, we'll have great firepower in our arsenal. For safety, Snow Queen and Living Flame passives will gift us with more hp and life regen until Witch Blood’s life after kill starts to kick in. Mana Sweep and Antimass will be awesome 1-pointers to recover precious mana and life in possibly harsh situations, especially the latter until we can have access to Symbol of Esu. Finally, Ice Elementals will form our frontline, while Firedance will provide some boost for our spell damage even early with a little bit of cooldown.


EARLY GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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MID GAME

SKILL PLAN
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Note: Another viable setup is Fire as secondary. Despite having more than 200 life after each kill as a combination of set bonus + Witchblood, maxing Living Flame makes for an easier time in boosting your cold spell damage with Ravenheart oskill from the set and eventually Blood Fury oskill from crafted sorc orb on switch. Furthermore, more points into Firedance for no cooldown give us even more free spell damage.

ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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LATE GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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Edited by Bardamu 2 months.
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VII. LIGHTNING SORCERESS
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INTRODUCTION
Like all other specs, Light Sorc is extremely newbie friendly, but it’s a bit trickier to use once you reach mid game since our main skill, Forked Lightning needs to slowly travel the whole screen in order to actually kill stuff. This is not optimal in places like Fauzt or Vizjun since you need to kill monsters fast before they kill you, so it may be needed to switch to Tempest as our main damage skill for some ubers.
We will go cold for our secondary tree. Together, cold and light passives will give us tons of defense, max health and a small amount of avoid. We will be a little squishier in terms of hp without fire passive, but as mentioned, other layers of protection together with our ice elementals will help.
For dealing damage, we will use Forked Lightning as our main spell, and Shatter the Flesh on packs for nice AoE clear and crowd control. Thunderstone will be our main way to deal with tricky bosses, as it is an awesome and pretty clean single target damage spell. The usual combo of Mana Sweep+Antimass will complete the build, helping us with mana+life sustain.
In general, Light+Cold is a really friendly newbie starter combination. Despite having a smaller hp pool without the help of fire tree, you will have on the other hand different layers of protection thanks to Warp Armor, Snow Queen and your Ice Elementals, who will also inherit your passives.


EARLY GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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MID GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
First Setup: Elemental Children Set.
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Second Setup: 1-hand Ghostmoon + crafts
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GAMEPLAY
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LATE GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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VIII. POISON SORCERESS
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INTRODUCTION
Poison is actually the weakest tree for early and mid game right now. In terms of efficiency it pales in comparison to the other ones, and falls off pretty quick in terms of damage. Vengeful Power gives some nice dr and Miasma can offer a small form of cc, but Lorenado, that is supposed to be your aoe clear tool, feels super slow and awkward to use. We’ll add a skillplan and a gear selection for anyone who wants to try it anyway, but we would really reccomend to start with another tree as primary and eventually respec into poison for end game boss farming spec.


EARLY GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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MID GAME

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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LATE GAME
As we already stated, late game Poison spec works best as a boss farmer. For farming there are actually better and faster options among the other trees.

SKILL PLAN
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ATTRIBUTES
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GEAR
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GAMEPLAY
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IX. CREDITS
We'd like to give shoutouts to:
The MXL team for this great mod
Ben-, mortimer_85, for build recommendations and proof-reading
The friendly MXL community and you, for reading this guide
Cube for surviving multiple mental breakdowns while trying to format this guide
Edited by Bardamu 3 months.
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GJ :mjump: :mjump: :mjump:
paolo12
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Looks like there is no point in maxing Snow Queen for lightning sorc - bonus life is capped at 30% life and bonus defense at 25k extra.
Edited by paolo12 3 months.
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Bardamu
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paolo12 wrote:Looks like there is no point in maxing Snow Queen for lightning sorc - bonus life is capped at 30% life and bonus defence at 25k extra.

Ty needed to add a note for the defense cap.
paolo12
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Looks like I'm getting old.
xHiro
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Hey, nice guide. Can i use Sauron (Auhe runeword for orb) for fire sorceress? it have nice -60 enemy fire res