LoD Hydra Wizard Guide

LoD Mammoth Hydras Solo Push

Introduction

Well known as an iconic skill from Diablo II, Hydra had been long forgotten since Season 3 where Mammoth Hydras shined in combination with Pain Enhancer in order to get an obscene amount of Flame Blades stacks, uncapped back then.

With Season 20 introducing us to The Typhon's Veil Set, Serpent's Sparker and The Magistrate have been updated to grant Hydra new damage multipliers. However, the sketchy gameplay of this new set and the fact that Mammoth Hydras do not work with it despite being usually the best Hydra rune made Legacy of Dreams the setup of choice to play around these newly buffed Hydra items.

In Season 22 in order to change the channeling playstyle of the build and compensate for the reworked Etched Sigil now supporting Energy Twister, Fragment of Destiny and Winter Flurry were updated with new damage multipliers to Hydras. Therefore Spectral Blade and Blizzard are now incorporated into the build for a completely different, slightly more active playstyle.

The build at hand is an Area Damage (AD) build, since Fire pools from Mammoth Hydras (see Mechanics), can and will proc it. This build holds good potential and is a comfortable one to push Solo Greater Rifts with. The build, however, is not that great for Nephalem Rifts, Bounties or Solo Greater Rift Speeds where the Typhon variant wins by a large margin. Hence it is mainly teched out as a "pushing the leaderboards" build.

Very Tanky ✔
Beginner Friendly ✔

Straightforward Mechanics ✔
Good Single Target Damage ✔

❌ Frustrating Pet AI
❌ Very Sensitive to Fishing

❌ ResidentSleeper Gameplay
❌ Rarely Gets an Oculus Proc


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • Fragment of Destiny grants us an amazing 300% separate damage multiplier for our Hydras on top of a 50% separate Attack Speed multiplier for Spectral Blade.
  • Serpents Sparker to get 2 Hydras and buff them with a 300% separate damage multiplier.
  • Winter Flurry and The Magistrate for their separate damage multipliers to Hydras.
  • Tasker and Theo is a 40 to 50% separate Pet Attack Speed multiplier, required to hit the 30 FPA Breakpoint on your Mammoth Hydras.
  • Stone Gauntlets provide an outrageous amount of mitigation and their negative effect can be fully negated by Ice Climbers.
  • Convention of Elements buffs our Mammoth Hydras by a beefy 200% separate damage multiplier in Fire cycle.
  • Squirts Necklace is a default inclusion for Wizards in any build due to their shield strength. Protecting our HP pool for a 100% global separate damage multiplier with continuously refreshing shields is a Wizard speciality.
  • Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer to double our Shields, to ensure we keep the Squirt's Necklace 100% damage multiplier.
  • Aquila Cuirass and Unity grant us two sources of 50% damage reduction.
  • The Shame of Delsere for another 50% separate Attack Speed multiplier to Spectral Blade helping us to generate shields while allowing a faster Bane of the Stricken stacking. Another option is The Witching Hour instead, which allows you to play a non-trifecta rolled Weapon due to its Attack Speed roll.

Global Stat Priorities

Mammoth Hydras Attack Speed Breakpoints

Your absolute priority is that you must reach the 30 FPA Breakpoint on your Mammoth Hydra, which is a 20% damage increase over the previous 36 FPA Breakpoint. That's why you need a Serpent's Sparker with 7% Attack Speed and 50% Tasker and Theo, which is fairly doable if you cube them and equip Stone Gauntlets. However if you have to equip Tasker and Theo, make sure they have at least 43% on their Legendary Affix and you will also need to get an additional 7% Attack Speed roll on your gear.

You also need Hydra Damage on Shoulders, Chest and Offhand as it is a separate damage multiplier. Then your next priority is to get Area Damage on every piece except the Amulet. Bear in mind you can reroll away the Cold Damage from Winter Flurry. Cooldown Reduction is not needed as long as you don't aim to play a Reverse Archon variant (see Variants).

For toughness, like most Wizard setups, we take advantage of Galvanizing Ward and Spectral Blade Barrier Blades to generate Shields based on our HP pool. This means Vitality and Life % are very important as they double dip into Shields. This is why you want to aim for a decent HP pool in Greater Rift Solo Push.

Crowd Control Reduction is an incredibly valuable secondary Affix to roll on both Rings, Amulet and Helmet as we are very sensitive to Hard Crowd Control effects and mitigating these will ease up our gameplay significantly. Make sure to get the Primary Affixes locked in before attempting to get CCR though.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. This is a Legacy of Dreams build whose success is heavily dependent on this gem's rank. The first order of business is to equip a Legendary or Set item in every slot to take advantage of its power. Make sure to not have any Set Bonuses equipped or the gem will be nullified and you will deal no damage! Farm speed Greater Rifts (in under 5 minute clears) to find the items and get this gem as high as possible. Above Rank 25 ancient pieces of gear will give you even greater power.


3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The Magistrate
  2. Create a level 1 Wizard and gamble for Winter Flurry
  3. Tasker and Theo
  4. Nemesis Bracers
  5. Goldwrap
  6. Aquila Cuirass
  7. Mantle of Channeling
  8. Ice Climbers
  9. Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer
  10. Stone Gauntlets
  11. Blackthorne's Jousting Mail

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Wands to get Serpent's Sparker, Fragment of Destiny and Aether Walker
  2. Rings to get Halo of Karini, Convention of Elements and Unity
  3. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.

5. At this point you can somewhat comfortably farm Nephalem or Speed Greater Rifts where you can find all the remaining items you need for different variants of the build. Spend your materials getting items with better rolls and/or ancient quality.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandFragment of Destiny
Serpents Sparker
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladnis Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Area Damage
5. Damage %
6. Intelligence
Ideally, you want a Lightning Damage Range in order to get an additional stack of Elemental Exposure.
Off-HandWinter Flurry1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Hydra Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Intelligence
Keep in mind the Cold Damage Affix from Winter Flurry can be rerolled away, we do not want it!
HelmThe Magistrate1. Socket Flawless Royal Amethyst
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
GlovesTasker and Theo
Stone Gauntlets (Cubed)
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Attack Speed
5. Intelligence
ShouldersPauldrons of the Skeleton King (Bounties A1)1. Hydra Damage
2. Area Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Armor
5. All Resistance
Chest Aquila Cuirass1. Hydra Damage
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Elite Damage Reduction
6. Armor
7. All Resistance
PantsBlackthorne's Jousting Mail1. Fire Damage
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Armor
6. All Resistance
BootsIce Climbers1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Ring 1Convention of Elements
Halo of Karini (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Intelligence
6. Attack Speed
Ring 2Unity1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Area Damage
4. Elite Damage
5. Intelligence
BracersAshnagarr's Blood Bracer1. Fire Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Armor
AmuletSquirt's Necklace1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Fire Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Intelligence
BeltThe Shame of Delsere
The Witching Hour
1. Attack Speed
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Armor
6. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of the UnfetteredTo avoid Crowd Control effects
during your DPS phases

Gems

  • Legacy of Dreams is the Legacy of Nightmares Set in a gem, which frees up two ring slots at the cost of removing Bane of the Trapped. Due to the rings available to us this is a great trade-off to take.
  • Bane of the Stricken helps us kill the Rift Guardian. As long as you don't need more than 2 minutes to kill it you can equip Bane of the Trapped.
  • Enforcer is strictly better than Bane of the Trapped since its damage multiplier is unconditional.

Skills

  • Blizzard Unrelenting Storm is purely a catalyst to activate the damage buff of Winter Flurry. We need to cast it twice during one full cycle of Convention of Elements.
  • Black Hole Spellsteal grants us a nice additive damage buff. Additionally, this is skill the best way for us to proc Oculus Ring, since pets still cannot proc it.
  • Teleport Safe Passage provides us with a nice defensive buff each time we use it. We are not using Illusory Boots, which is why we need at least one source of mobility.
  • Storm Armor Shocking Aspect is needed to proc the defensive capabilities of Halo of Karini. Shocking Aspect has the best overall uptime while Scramble grants a nice Movement Speed buff.
  • Hydra Mammoth Hydra is the best rune for Area Damage. Hence, we play it!
  • Spectral Blade Barrier Blades is our main ability to stack Bane of the Stricken on the Rift Guardian; due to The Shame of Delsere and Fragment of Destiny, which are both separate speed-coefficients, our total Attack Speed will be 2.25 faster than what our sheet Attack Speed depicts. Additionally, Barrier Blades provides us with some much needed shielding to preserve our Squirts Necklace.

Passives

  • Elemental Exposure is a separate and global multiplier debuffing each target once for each element (Fire, Cold, Arcane, Lighting) for up to 5 seconds when you hit it with said target. The elemental type of the Damage Range on your equipped weapon will also be applied with each ability that you hit with.
  • Audacity provides us with a separate 1.3 multiplier if and only if our target is within 15 yards.
  • Galvanizing Ward grants a massive shield leading to better Squirt's Necklace uptime in conjunction with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer.
  • Arcane Dynamo grants us a 60% separate damage multiplier to our Mammoth Hydras. However, it requires us to cast our skills in a specific sequence since both Black Hole as well as Blizzard can consume this passive.
  • Other options can include Unwavering Will, Conflagration or Blur for slightly more damage or mitigation.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Attack Speed 1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Intelligence2. Critical Hit Damage2. Life %2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Vitality13. Critical Hit Chance3. All Resistance3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Arcane Power4. Cooldown Reduction4. Life Regeneration4. Life per Hit

1 Aim for a decent HP pool (~800,000 Life in Solo Push) as your Shields (Galvanizing Ward and Barrier Blades) scale with it.

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their mainstat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  6. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

With these in mind, let’s get into our recommendations for this build.

GR Pushing Scoundrel

GR Pushing Scoundrel

For Greater Rift Pushing we recommend this Scoundrel setup for the stun from Powered Shot, Critical Hit Chance from Anatomy, 10% increased damage from Piercing Shot, and the insane Critical Hit Chance cloud from Night’s Veil. Since we take the immortality token, we do not need any survivability stats.

Stat Priorities:

Since we have the immortality token, we do not need to stack survivability on our Scoundrel.

Dexterity > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
  • Cluckeye: To consistently blind the Rift Guardian, keeping it immobile.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Mempo of Twilight, The Witching Hour, Tal Rasha's Relentless Pursuit and Cain's Destiny: For more Attack Speed.

GR Pushing Enchantress

GR Pushing Enchantress

For Shi Mizu's Haori Greater Rift Pushing we recommend this Enchantress setup for the Slow from Temporal Pulse, Fire Damage from Amplification, Damage Reduction and Armor from Powered Shield, and the Cheat Death from Fate's Lapse.

Stat Priorities:

Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
  • Blind Faith: To consistently blind the Rift Guardian, keeping it immobile.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • The Witching Hour, Tal Rasha's Relentless Pursuit and Cain's Destiny: For more Attack Speed.

Gameplay

The general playstyle is very straightforward, which is why LoD Hydra is one of the most beginner Wizard builds out there.

  • When you enter the Greater Rift you want to cast Storm Armor and make sure this buff won't time out on you.
  • Afterwards you must cast Spectral Blade five times to receive the Arcane Dynamo buff, which you must consume with casting Hydras every 16 seconds. You place two Hydras this way.
  • You should cast Black Hole Spellsteal three seconds before your Convention of Elements goes into its Fire cycle.
  • You cast Blizzard every 8 seconds. Each time right at the beginning of your Convention of Elements Cold and Lightning cycle.
  • The rest of the time, you simply hold down Spectral Blade. You can occasionally use Teleport to jump into an Oculus Ring.

Hardcore

This build is already insanely tanky but you can rotate out Elemental Exposure for Blur if you want more safety.


Variants

GR Solo Push
LoD Mammoth Hydra Solo Push

Concept
We stack up as much damage as possible while making sure we keep up our shields at all times in order to maintain Squirt's Necklace 100% separate damage multiplier.

Gameplay
Use your Teleport to bodypull and gather as many enemies as you can. Before your Fire Convention of Elements cycle, setup your Mammoth Hydras in front of the monsters using Barrier Blades to get Arcane Dynamo, cast Blizzard and finally use Black Hole Spellsteal to trap and group monsters while getting a huge additive damage buff.

Setups
The setup above has very specific gear requirements, which unfortunately leaves little to no space for imagination. However, it is extremely tanky and pretty straightforward to play, meaning you shouldn't need specific adjustement to feel comfortable!

Due to the excessive amount of Shielding the Wizard class receives from various sources and the incredible amount of tankiness each Legacy of Dreams variant comes with, you'll see a few players on the very high-end of the Leaderboards play a variant incorporating Shi Mizus Haori instead of Aquila Cuirass. This specific variant is under no circumstances recommended for the average player due to its inherent cut-throat and high risk playstyle. You can try this variant by making the mentioned trade and afterwards rolling all Critical Hit Chance (CHC) rolls into other accommodating primary affixes (Area Damage, Resource Cost Reduction, Elite Damage, Physical Damage Range, etc.).

GR Group Trash Killer
LoD Mammoth Hydra Reverse Archon Group Push

Concept
Legacy of Dreams Mammoth Hydra, built as a Reverse Archon iteration to gain stacks via Fazula's Improbable Chain and utilize these stacks out of Archon with The Swami can be a decent Trashkiller for 4-Player setups but is outclassed by many builds and is generally causing lags on top of being completely helpless against Pet AI and requiring a zMonk to maintain Squirt's Necklace.

Pain Enhancer (PE) is being used to reach low FPA Breakpoints on Mammoth Hydra. In group play the supporting classes, a zBarb and a zMonk, will apply a bleed (for PE) as well as create pixelpulls for us to damage.

Gameplay
You are clicking Archon every 32 seconds upon entering your Fire rotation to benefit from Archon stacks overlap, similarly to the old LoD "Bazooka" Wizard, generating a huge damage burst.

Pain Enhancer (PE) helps to reset the significant cooldown of Archon via Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac while additionally allowing you to reach low FPA Breakpoints on Hydra. Arcane Torrent Flame Ward is purely used to reset Archon and get a slight damage bonus with Mantle of Channeling. After your Fire cycle when in Archon there is nothing for you to do but wait, meaning it's a good moment for the group to move to a new position.

Setups
You can swap Flame Blades to Barrier Blades to keep Squirt's Necklace if you play with a zDH instead of a zMonk but in all probabilities, you will have to switch Squirt's Necklace for The Flavor of Time anyway.


Mechanics

Hydra Mammoth Hydra

  • Hydra Mammoth Hydra only has one head, hence it does not work with The Typhon's Veil. This is why this rune is best used with the Legacy of Dreams setup presented at hand.
  • Hydras does benefit from Pet damage bonuses but Attack Speed is not a damage multiplier for them. Unlike most pets, Attack Speed increases the rate of their attacks upon reaching Breakpoints instead.
  • Mammoth Hydras target the closest monster and start to cast expanding Fire pools (the layers), dealing damage and expanding by 10 yards every 0.3 seconds, up to 50 yards.
  • These layers spawn in front of the Hydras and take about 1.8 seconds to expand to their full length of 50 yards. Layers last for 3 seconds after they fully expanded, for a total duration of 4.8 seconds. This means one layer ticks 16 times, once every 0.3 seconds.
  • This mechanic creates a ramp-up period to reach maximum damage potential. This is why positioning Mammoth Hydras less than 5 yards in front of the monsters is extremely important because the layers reach the monsters and damage them instantly. If the monster is more than 5 yards away, you lose one tick per layer (6.25% damage), two ticks (12.5% damage) if the monster is more than 15 yards away… and so on.
  • When the Mammoth Hydra expires after 15 seconds, or is replaced by a new one (in which case the oldest instance is replaced), its remaining layers are orphaned, meaning they do not benefit from your damage multipliers anymore.

Wizard Shields

  • In order to keep up your shields to survive while maintaining Squirt's Necklace damage multiplier, you need to learn to judge the incoming damage and how fast you can build those shields yourself, which requires practice.
  • Shields have no direct UI indicator unless you mouseover your health globe.
  • You can see that you have any shield up when you see a transparent blue bubble around your character (not the size of the shield, however).
  • Because Wizard Shield values scale with your total life, Vitality and Life % stats become substantially better for toughness scaling compared to other builds.
  • Galvanizing Ward is the main shielding mechanic used for most Wizard builds, which combined with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer adds up to 120% of your total life as a shield. This shield will reset to its maximum value every 5 seconds if this shield in particular doesn't take any hit in the meantime.
  • Spectral Blade Barrier Blades and Magic Weapon Deflection represent the secondary shielding mechanic of the Wizard and can be stacked as much as you like, but their shield value is set at 4% (up to 8% with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer) of your total life and they only lasts for 3 seconds. The duration is counted for each stack individually.
  • While Barrier Blades or Deflection (or any other shield in that matter) protect the Galvanizing Ward shield, it is possible to reset the shield gained from the passive to full even while taking hits.
  • All of these mechanics make it so that when your shields start breaking or your Galvanizing Ward doesn't find enough time to reset, the whole setup will fall apart really quickly. Make sure you understand your limits and survivability in different situations.

The Shame of Delsere & Fragment of Destiny

  • The Attack Speed bonus of The Shame of Delsere and Fragment of Destiny are multiplicative with each other and with other bonuses. This means using both will grant you a 1.5 * 1.5 = 2.25 Attack Speed multiplier. With the solo setup presented in this guide, using both these items will effectively drop your Spectral Blade Breakpoint from 35 FPA to 16 FPA.
  • This can be used to stack Bane of the Stricken faster on longer boss fights or even on Rare Elites because you can avoid hitting too many different enemies at a time using Spectral Blade. Try to use it a lot especially at the start of a long boss fight and when you are waiting for your Convention of Elements Fire cycle!
  • The damage bonus stacks from Fragment of Destiny are additive with each other, combining into a 300% separate damage multiplier at 10 stacks. To gain and keep the stacks, you need to actually hit enemies. Each enemy hit adds another stack, so you won't have to attack 10 times in AoE situations.

Elemental Exposure

  • Each stack is a debuff for one of the following elements: Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning.
  • Each stack is unique and will refresh its own duration when reapplied.
  • Any ability with a proc coefficient greater than 0 will apply a stack of its respective element. This inherently means that only selfcasted abilities will grant stacks.
  • The elemental range on the Weapon applies its respective stack with all abilities if the elemental range is of the type: Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning. The only exception to this is Hydra, which only applies the stack of the Hydra element itself.
  • The Magistrate has a special interaction. Hydra applies the stack of the Hydra element itself. The Frost Nova casted by your Hydras will, however, apply the Cold stack as well as the stack for the elemental range of your weapon. This is why Item Stat Priorities mention that you want a weapon with Lightning Damage Range.
  • The 5% damage from each stack is additive to each other adding up to a total of 20% separate damage multiplier.

Arcane Dynamo

  • This is one of the strongest DPS passives in the game, giving up to 60% multiplicative damage bonus for Hydras.
  • Maximum stack count is 5, which stacks once per attack of your Signature Spells (Spectral Blade).
  • Stacks will be consumed by any damaging Arcane Power Spender, including non-Hydra spells.
  • The effect only activates and consume stacks after reaching the maximum of 5.


Summary

  • LoD Hydra is a tanky boy.
  • One of the few builds that can actually pull off to play Shi Mizus Haori.
  • Try not to cry, but cry a lot because you never see Oculus Rings :-/

Guide by Chewingnom & sVr.