Dual Physical Wand Ranger (6/14/13)

EVERYTHING BELOW THE WHITE LINE IS HEAVILY OUTDATED. This was a Closed Beta build. Here's how to build this character nowadays as a Duelist (because it's better). I may reform this first post soon.




Dual Physical Wand Ranger
Этот гайд был переведен на русский. Можете ознакомиться здесь. (A Russian translation by zhandarm can be found here.)

Passive Tree
Armor
  • 1.1 - Updated for level 90. This includes a massive damage increase from the Elder Power and Throatseeker clusters as well as some more life from the nearby Finesse cluster. (2/09/13)
  • 1.0 - With Open Beta comes the official version, now notably including a 7th Frenzy Charge. (1/23/13)
  • 0.4 - Both options now include Mind Drinker and 15% Increased Power Charge Duration (12/22/12)
    • 1 +32% Increased Damage, +60% Increased Critical Strike Chance, +8% Increased Maximum Life, +30 Strength
    • 2 +60% Increased Critical Multiplier, +10% Increased Attack Speed, +12% Accuracy Rating, +20 Intelligence
  • 0.3 - with some changes by vankeris (12/7/12)
  • 0.2 - with changes by aimlessgun (12/3/12)
  • 0.1 - (12/3/12)

Evasion
  • 0.3 - (12/7/12)

Main Focuses
  • Grab all Frenzy-related passives, Point Blank, and Iron Reflexes.
  • Make use of the most optimal dual wielding, projectile, and critical strike passives.
  • Maintain high survivability for Hardcore in Open Beta.
  • Grab any closeby Intelligence for wands.
Why Point Blank?
There are three reasons why:

1) With the 23% block chance of the build (Dervish's 8% and the inherent 15%) and a good amount of life and armor, that the character's defense isn't problematic enough to need to stay far away from enemies.

2) Point Blank synergizes extremely well with Chain because of the way its bouncing projectile damage is calculated, as stated earlier in the thread. vankeris explained this further here.

3) With practice, one can make so that the character is almost always close enough to make benefit of the damage increase, but just far enough to manually avoid attacks by enemies. Over time Point Blank's downside doesn't even show its face enough to be significant.

Build Information
This is a build I've been working on for awhile, trying to make a truly unique build that is still very viable. The reason I decided to dual wield wands is because:

  • There are ample dual wielding and projectile passives in the dexterity area that are meant for completely different build types, but this way you can use the best parts of both worlds.
  • Wands, as Intelligence weapons, have some of the highest base critical strike chance.
    • With all the Increased Critical Strike Chance from passive tree nodes of the first option and 4 Power Charges (525% altogether) a wand with 8% base Critical Strikes Chance will have exactly 50% to perform a Critical Strike.
  • You have higher attack speed potential than bows.
    For example, an Imbued Wand's base attacks per second is 1.5. With the multiplicative dual wielding bonus of 10% more attack speed, it becomes 1.65 attacks per second, more than a Thicket Bow's base of 1.55.
  • This is the only way to get block chance when using a projectile weapon. It really isn't needed, but it's a great bonus when using Point Blank.
  • Wands as physical damage weapons need some love, other than from Marauders! At this point they're being used by just about every class, lol.

The main problems I face with this build are:

  • At low levels it can be tough, so I choose to stick with a bow or wand and board until I begin taking dual wielding passives.
  • Finding high physical damage and attack speed on wands is also tough, and you also need about 100 Intelligence from gear to use the best wands. It is especially difficult because you need two.
  • It's almost imperative that you use the Blood Magic support gem for your Frenzy skills until higher levels. I had switched to Mana Leech + Slitherpinch at around level 59.

Equipment
Closed Beta links no longer work, so I will explain the required equipment.

You will want items that give you intelligence so that you can wield the highest level wands. For the wands themselves, you will want high physical damage, attack speed, and critical strike chance.

Any type of mana leech is also important, as Frenzy will require a good amount of it always be available. Slitherpinch unique gloves will give a significant boost if you can't find enough on other gloves. Meginord's Girdle, the unique belt, is also helpful with its added physical damage and increased maximum life.

Bandit Rewards
  • Normal: +40 Base Maximum Life from Oak.
  • Cruel: +12% Increased Physical Damage from Oak.
  • Merciless: +1 Maximum Frenzy Charge from Kraityn.

Skill and Support Gems
  • Multiple Target
    Frenzy + Greater/Lesser Multiple Projectiles, Fork, or Chain + Blood Magic or Mana Leech + Added Fire Damage + Increased Critical Damage + Increased Critical Strikes or Faster Projectiles
  • Power Siphon + Chain/Fork + Greater/Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Mana Leech or Life Leech/Gain on Hit
  • Single Target
    Frenzy + Added Fire Damage + Increased Critical Damage + Increased Critical Strikes or Faster Projectiles
  • Curses
    Critical Weakness (or Projectile Weakness until later levels) + Increased Area of Effect + Faster Casting
  • Auras
    Hatred + Grace + Clarity + Reduced Mana
  • Utility
    Bear Trap + Added Fire Damage
Why Frenzy and not Power Siphon for single targets?
This is all calculated with my charge-related passive skill choices included.

With Frenzy unlinked at level 17, and all Frenzy and Power (maximum of 4) charges up:
  • 110% of Base Physical Damage
  • 70% Increased Physical Damage
  • +200% Increased Critical Strike Chance
  • +107% Increased Attack Speed
    +154% if with 20% quality
    • 4.719 attacks per second including passive tree nodes (+32%) and two 1.5 base attacks per second wands.
  • Keeps Frenzy charges up as I battle

With Power Siphon unlinked at level 17, with all Frenzy and Power (maximum of 4) charges up:
  • 125% of Base Damage
  • 60% Increased Damage (212% if with 20% quality)
  • +200% Increased Critical Strike Chance
  • +35% Increased Attack Speed
    • 2.673 attacks per second including passive tree nodes (+32%) and two 1.5 base attacks per second wands.
  • Culling Strike
  • Keeps Power charges up as I battle, unless against a single target, which is what it'd be used for anyways
  • Requires Blood Rage or switching between it and Frenzy to keep Frenzy charges up as I battle

From this you can see that the edge Power Siphon has over Frenzy is its damage output and Culling Strike. However, the damage increase really isn't all that much, and I get almost double the hits with Frenzy per second, so DPS actually hangs in Frenzy's favor.

Also, when facing something with enough health, I just switch to the already-socketed Power Siphon for the Culling Strike and Power Charge if I can kill with the shot or if the enemy's health is at 10% or lower.

Strategy
Offensive
  • Area of Effect
    The method is to use the area focused Frenzy on mobs and Power Siphon when their health is low so that it hits around half to all of the enemies on-screen with Culling Strike for Power Charges.
  • Single Target
    The single target focused Frenzy is used on elite, unique, and boss enemies, relatively quickly chopping each down. Use Power Siphon when health reaches around 25%.
  • Curses
    Use Critical/Projectile Weakness general damage enhancement or as Power Charge substitutes. This is especially useful at lower levels but I find myself taking enemies down quickly enough without curses at higher levels.
  • "Kite Trapping"
    For more difficult enemies, get a little further ahead of it/them but with a clear path to fire down. After you stop, start using the area of effect attacks in the general direction of the enemy/enemies (as long as you know you'll hit them, it is quicker to do than targeting individual enemies) coming toward you. The closer they get, the more damage you'll do to what's in the front of the pack. With the perfect distance, you can easily take them/it down before they reach melee range.

Defensive
  • Positioning
    When killing enemies it is best to be just close enough to get a significant bonus from Point Blank but also just far enough so that you won't easily be hit. If they/it comes into range, you may be hit but that's defended against with 27% Block Chance and likely enough armor from Grace + Armor through Iron Reflexes.
  • Movement
    Constant movement can be a very helpful defense to avoid hits or prevent enemy actions. For example, when fighting Brutus you can avoid every attack even at close range if you understand the timing of actions and still take him down relatively quickly. This is a universal rule of any build though many still don't realize.

Miscellaneous
  • Auras
    Hatred, Clarity, and Grace are the three ideal choices when it comes to reserved mana cost skills.
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
Last edited by Iao on June 14, 2013 8:52 AM
Uh... Please standby as I try to cure my post of any disease it's giving the forum's BBCode parser. Sorry about this.
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
Interesting. I like the idea of taking advantage of DW block passives for wands. But you're missing 10% block that's pretty easy to get :)

I don't think you need to go to the center of the tree, Iron Grip isn't THAT much DPS and you already have enough HP (I know you're using point blank, but you have the option of standing back a little vs extremely dangerous stuff). So I think taking those points and getting all those juicy crit passives that you are so near to is better. It's a very big DPS increase.

http://tinyurl.com/d39xtsb is what I imagine a crit version would look like.
Nemesis: aimlessnightathemusem 91 ranger (RIP), aimlesslammed 87 ranger
Standard: aimlessgun 95 Shadow // Shibboleth 85s // aimlessRIP 86r // Cyclowner 84d
Cold caster guide: thread# 83258 // Crit archer guide: 238249 // Cycloner guide: 286547
Nemesis Shop: thread# 566143
Last edited by aimlessgun on December 3, 2012 9:17 PM
I was looking at Iron Grip in an odd way, now that I look back at that choice. I was aiming for 200% Increased Maximum Life but your change to ~150% in exchange for the Increased Critical Chance/Strikes passives absolutely makes up for it. I'll update the first post with your version and credits, if you don't mind.
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
I've updated the first post and fixed the BBCode problem.

PROTIP: Don't use [*] when making lists, use [li][/li]!
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
Last edited by Iao on December 5, 2012 12:14 PM
Pretty interesting. I am doing a similar dual wand build but with elemental damage.

My take on you build would be this.

Result is -0,5% life regen, -4% increased life, -40% increased crit chance but 4% additional block and 1 level less required. Instead of the 2 20% crit nodes in the shadow area I would go for 8% increased projectile damage in the same area. In my opinion that would net more damage.

As for power siphon, why not have it linked only with attack speed and use it just for power charges every 10s? I try to keep 3 frenzy charges on my ranger or 3 endurance charges and I can do both if I try hard enough. Feels like almost free benefit to me.
Ah, cool. I'd definitely like to hear what you think of it.

For your build variation, in my opinion, giving those nodes up for the 4% Block Chance isn't worth it, but that's mostly because of the following update I made.

The current version does need a bit more damage, so I removed the 6% Increased Attack Speed node from the beginning of the Ranger area and the same two 20% Increased Critical Strike Chance nodes you mentioned to make room for the cluster of dual wielding nodes between Diamond Skin and Golem's Blood. It includes a 15% and a 6% Increased Physical Damage node and a 4% Increased Attack Speed node.

When it comes to Power Siphon, I suppose its Power Charges may be worth the time. Perhaps with it linked to Chain/Fork and Lesser/Greater Multiple Projectiles, its Culling Strike could be put to good use against a dying mob. That should usually take the Power Charges right away. If it works well, I may even be convinced to grab the +1 Maximum Power Charges node in the Shadow Area for a higher level version of the build.

By the way, I'm making a list of ideal skill tree by character level much like others have done in their build guides. I just need to do a bit of leveling up and testing to know exactly what works best.

The current version, including the changes detailed early in this post, are now in the first post, as it needed to be updated anyway because of the new patch.
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
Well the 0.3 link does not work sadly.
Odd... It was working before. I suppose they updated the passive skill tree code for URLs again.

I've updated it with more changes. I chose to grab the +1 Maximum Power Charge from the Shadow area and remove the Dual Wield Block nodes from the Dual Wielding cluster in exchange for the Increased Attack Speed, Increased Accuracy, and Increased Projectile Damage nodes at the start of the Ranger tree.

I started testing the Power Siphon idea as per your suggestion, and it worked very well. I use it with just Fork at the moment but I would like to go with Greater Multiple Projectiles and Chain when I get them. Of course, this is the reason for getting the +1 Maximum Power Charge node.

I also found that the Dual Wielding Block nodes other than Dervish simply weren't worth it. Although it seems they would synergize with Point Blank well, they doesn't. The simple fact is that even though you are very close to the enemies because of Point Blank, with enough practice you just won't be hit enough to make the nodes worthwhile. It's an argument of either killing the enemies faster or being prepared for what you can avoid.
Not actively playing. Message me if you have questions or whatever.
Great idea on projectile damage I think. A few % accuracy nodes also works wonders when you have lots of dex.

As for block nodes don't forget how Point Blank interacts with Chain - PB uses targets location when calculating distance for chained projectiles damage. That means for larger groups of enemies you can shoot from far and only 1 target will get lower damage. As long as you have enough life to buffer few unlucky hits you should do fine with good flasks.

I'm curious what crit chance you reach with 3 power charges and without them?

In my opinion biggest weakness of this build is the int requirement. As long as it's not your first character and you have some more choice in equipment that seems to be fine but it still limits choices a bit. I have been looking for a while but just can't get good int amulet with lots of life for myself.

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