The Meteor Wizard has been dictating the META for a long time in the past, especially using the Star Pact along with many stacking damage multipliers for moments of gigantic burst damage. Some of the interactions have been nerfed to bring down that setup, however the overall build still remains intact, although in a much weakened state.
Especially for Nephalem Rifts using Meteor Shower can be a fun and decent alternative to other builds that looks and feels amazing. If you are after a strong Greater Rift build, you should consider checking out our Hydra, Twister or Frozen Orb guides!
Even though the Meteor Wizard is not exactly a top build for anything anymore, it remains capable of decent performance for farming Greater Rift keystone or to just play something different in Greater Rifts for a change. It also offers an interesting Reverse Archon playstyle around Star Pact that is something truly unique in the game and produces amazingly impactful explosions when you pull it off correctly.
It's also possible to play different versions using the Tal Rasha's Elements or Firebird's Finery sets. However, since there is no set directly buffing this skill with a large enough number, the best possible setups revolve around using the Legacy of Dreams Legendary Gem and stacking up a lot of other small but useful effects from different items.
Great visual Effects ✔ Useful in Nephalem Rifts ✔ Feels like an actual Wizard ✔ Fun and satisfying Impacts ✔
❌ Heavily nerfed in the Past ❌ Struggles on Single Target ❌ Vulnerable to Crowd Control ❌ Shields can't be tracked in UI
Legacy of Dreams provides a 9750% damage increase and 52% damage reduction with full ancient items. This gem effectively replaces a regular 6-piece set and allows you to stack many legendary item effects instead.
The Grand Vizier is one of the core damage increasing items, providing a 400% damage increase while cutting the cost of Meteor in half.
Nilfur’s Boast gives another huge 600% damage increase and even up to 900% when you hit only 3 targets or less.
Squirt’s Necklace is an almost indispensable item for every Wizard build due to the extraordinary shielding available to the class, effectively doubling your damage as long as you don’t take damage. This will generally be combined with Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer, the Galvanizing Ward and Magic Weapon Deflection to make sure that even during damage spikes you remain shielded.
Halo of Karini is the core Wizard defensive item and combined with Storm Armor to trigger the effect gives you a x5 toughness boost.
Cindercoat is a great addition to any Fire-based build and can be paired with other such items like Magefist and Swamp Land Waders (which rolls Fire damage) for some small extra benefits.
Aether Walker gives us great mobility by letting us spam Teleport almost as much as we want.
Orb of Infinite Depth adds another massive 80% damage reduction and 40% damage increase when Explosive Blast Chain Reaction is cast.
During Season 22, you will be able to use one additional Kanai's Cube power of your choosing. This can be any one item in the Weapon, Armor or Jewelry slot. As with any Wizard build, by far the best option here is Deathwish, which can be used with a stutter-stepping playstyle where you tap a channeling skill (Arcane Torrent) for the shortest possible time, cast another spell quickly (Meteor Shower) right after and repeat. You will gain the damage buff for a short moment during the impacts. If you do not enjoy that playstyle very much, the next best options are The Furnace or Echoing Fury.
The overall buff to the build from the season theme is around 5-7 Greater Rift Tiers using Deathwish. With any of the other options, it will be between 1-3 Tiers.
Global Stat Priorities Stack the typical damage stats such as Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage and Fire Damage on every piece possible. Next you want to add Meteor damage rolls to your Helm, Boots and Offhand slots. Other item rolls can go to Area Damage (for Greater Rifts) or extra Resource Cost Reduction (especially in Nephalem Rifts), Attack Speed, Damage Range (Rings) and Defense whenever you can fit it in. One roll with Arcane Power on Crit on Offhand can be useful especially for farming but is not required.
You won’t need any recovery stats such as Life Regeneration or Life per Hit, as you strive to be permanently at full HP by being protected behind your shields. Instead, you can stack Vitality as much as you feel is necessary to ensure consistent survival and Squirt’s Necklace uptime. Your toughness (and “recovery” through shields) scales linearly with your Vitality, so compared to most other classes it’s very effective to build a large life pool on a Wizard.
Item Stat Priorities
Aether Walker Fragment of Destiny Deathwish The Grand Vizier (Cubed) Echoing Fury (Cubed) The Furnace (Cubed)
1. Fire Damage 2. Critical Hit Chance 3. Intelligence 4. Vitality
1. Socket 2. Critical Hit Damage 3. Fire Damage 4. Critical Hit Chance 5. Intelligence
Goldwrap The Shame of Delsere Fazula's Improbable Chain
1. Intelligence 2. Vitality 3. Life % 4. Armor 5. All Resistance
Legacy of Dreams is the core gem and replacing a full 6-piece set, giving us up to 9750% damage increase and 52% damage reduction with full ancient gear.
Zei’s Stone of Vengeance is a strong damage option for ranged builds, giving up to 80% multiplicative damage increase.
The third slot will be taken up by different gems depending on your needs and activities. Boon of the Hoarder is strong in Nephalem Rifts, Bane of the Stricken is necessary for solo pushing in higher Greater Rifts. Bane of the Powerful can be used as a replacement for Zei's. Gogok of Swiftness is a good all-round option and necessary in Reverse Archon builds (the Star Pact solo pushing variant).
Meteor Meteor Shower is our main damage dealer.
Explosive Blast Chain Reaction activates the effects of Orb of Infinite Depth.
Teleport Wormhole or Safe Passage is used for mobility.
Storm Armor is the activator for Halo of Karini. Without this buff you will be squashed like a fly, so make sure to keep it up. Typically you want to use the Shocking Aspect rune for pushing and Scramble or Power of the Storm for farming.
Magic Weapon Deflection provides a small damage increase and valuable shields for survival and Squirt's Necklace uptime.
The last skill slot can be filled with a variety of utility or buff skills, depending on your activities. Familiar Arcanot is great for extra resources in Nephalem Rifts. Black Hole Spellsteal can give you a big damage boost and group up monsters. Spectral Blade Barrier Blades gives you a strong shield and resource generation in pushing (or can also replace Magic Weapon Deflection for that purpose to allow including one of the other skills).
Galvanizing Ward is a must-have for any Wizard build and synergizes with Squirt’s Necklace and Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer.
Power Hungry boosts our damage by 30% multiplicatively, one of the best DPS passives in the game. Alternatively, Audacity achieves the same for close-range combat and can be used instead, especially when pushing.
The other passives are situational depending on activity. For most purposes Blur and Elemental Exposure are recommended. For farming, Illusionist and Dominance are good utility or defensive choices. Glass Cannon could be used when combined with Goldwrap. Unstable Anomaly will allow you to survive death when you get trapped. Conflagration is a rather weak damage increase you can fit in for flavor and being greedy for a small boost to your DPS.
1. Movement Speed
1. Critical Hit Damage
1. Area Damage
2. Max Arcane Power¹
2. Critical Hit Chance
2. Life %
2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Vitality up to 800.000 Life
3. Cooldown Reduction
3. All Resistance
3. Life per Hit
4. Attack Speed
4. Life Regeneration
4. Pickup Radius
¹ Assign this only when playing the Star Pact variant.
The Templar is recommended for this build due to his melee range and aggressive AI. When there's a monster in range he will always stand still and fight it, making him very predictable and easy to play around.
For the Skills pick Heal, Loyalty, Onslaught and Inspire. All the alternatives, except Intimidate, include AoE hard-CC, which makes mobs harder to manipulate.
Follower's damage is completely irrelevant, so we stack Attack Speed for more on-hit procs and Cooldown Reduction for more Heals. The Items are:
Enchanting Favor to make follower immortal
Oculus Ring for 85% multiplicative damage boost
Unity for 50% damage reduction
The Ess of Johan to pull mobs together
Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker for the Attack Speed slow
Any Shield with Cooldown Reduction
At the start of a run, buff yourself with Storm Armor to enable the 80% damage reduction from Halo of Karini. Make sure you keep this buff up at all times. In most situations it will not require much attention, but be careful when there are only very few or one enemy as you need to hit something that is at least 15 yards away from you. When fighting single target Rift Guardians especially, make sure to walk away a few steps regularly. The damage reduction can be tracked on your buff bar. Don’t forget to re-apply this skill after 10 minutes when pushing.
Use other buffs such as Magic Weapon or Familiar if you have them and keep them up at all times.
Use Teleport to rapidly move around the battlefield, dodge explosions, move forward or jump into Oculus Ring circles.
Spam Explosive Blast on whenever it's ready to keep up the effects of Orb of Infinite Depth. Make sure to move close to enemies sometimes to refresh the buff.
Spam Meteor Meteor Shower to destroy your enemies. Try to aim in the middle of large packs to ensure maximum AoE coverage.
Make sure you don't take too much damage at once and rebuild your shields using Magic Weapon Deflection, Spectral Blade Barrier Blades and Galvanizing Ward to stay healthy and keep up Squirt's Necklace.
In pushing, try to make large pulls and focus on dealing Area Damage as much as possible. Play around your Convention of ElementsFire cycle and use Black Hole Spellsteal to group enemies and buff yourself before.
By default, Wizards are not really great for Hardcore as they don't have access to a reliable cheat death mechanic like most other classes. Regardless, the build is overall relatively mobile and very tanky, so you should not have much trouble once your setup is complete. You should use Unstable Anomalyat all times, but don’t rely on it as it does not make you invincible, only protects you with a certain amount of shield based on your life pool! If you forget your buffs or the damage reduction of Halo of Karini drops, you are almost guaranteed dead. Make sure to pay special attention to your defensive buffs and you will be fine.
Concept In T16 we don’t need a lot of damage, so we can use a lot more mobility instead. Once you have all the pieces together, the damage is good enough to comfortably oneshot most trash and even small elites. It’s useful to stack up Resource Cost Reduction to be able to spam your skills as much as possible. We usually won’t need Convention of Elements and Unity here, so Stone of Jordan and Avarice Band combined with Boon of the Hoarder will help you out a lot.
Gameplay Very straightforward: Be fast, use your Teleport to move around quickly and throw Meteor Meteor Shower everywhere. Make sure to keep up all your buffs while doing so.
Setups Once you feel tanky enough, you could drop Goldwrap for Krelm's Buff Belt to increase your speed even further. If you find yourself running out of resources all the time, consider dropping Familiar for a Signature Spell and combine it with The Shame of Delsere. Gloves of Worship are great for long farming sessions, too.
Concept In Speed Greater Rifts we try to combine a mix of damage, toughness and utility. Ultimately, the build plays similar to solo pushing, but is a bit more fast-paced. Bane of the Stricken should not be necessary at all, so we can take Bane of the Powerful and Bane of the Trapped for extra damage.
Gameplay Similar to Nephalem Rifts, try to be fast and throw Meteor Shower everywhere. Use your Black Hole to group up enemies and buff yourself. Make sure to activate all your buffs at the start of a run and keep up the Orb of Infinite Depth effect, which might drop when there are too few enemies around. Cast Spectral Blade regularly to build up shields and Arcane Power.
Setups If you don't want to play around Convention of Elements at all for farming, you could replace that ring with Stone of Jordan for more consistent damage output that is almost comparable in power. Elemental Exposure could be replaced by Blur to slot some extra survivability. Instead of Magefist, you could wear St. Archew's Gage for additional shields when you engage elite enemies.
Push (Meteor Shower)
Concept We stack up as much damage as possible while getting just enough toughness to keep up our shields at all times. Squirt’s Necklace is a considerable damage boost you don’t want to lose when pushing.
Gameplay Similar to Speed Greater Rifts, try to be fast and throw Meteor Shower everywhere. Use your Arcane Torrent right before a nuke to enable the damage bonus given by Deathwish. Make sure to activate all your buffs at the start of a run and again after less than 10 minutes (especially Storm Armor and Magic Weapon) and keep up the Orb of Infinite Depth effect, which might drop when there are too few enemies around. Cast Spectral Blade regularly to build up shields and Arcane Power.
Setups If you feel tanky enough and have many paragons to spend on Vitality, you can consider playing this build as a 100% Crit version using Shi Mizu's Haori in place of Cindercoat and rolling off all the Critical Hit Chance from your items for more useful stats such as Vitality or Area Damage. This will squeeze out some more damage and give you more consistent hits, but you will have to stay at low life at all times (remove any source of Life per Hit and Life Regen including Paragon points).
Another option for additional damage at the cost of Toughness is adding Magefist instead of Stone Gauntlets while freeing up the armor Kanai's Cube slot. To fill it, you could get Illusory Boots or take Ancient Parthan Defenders together with the Calamity rune on Teleport. To add even more damage, it's also possible to wear Andariel's Visage for more Attack Speed and Fire Damage.
Push (Star Pact)
Concept We stack up as much damage as possible while getting just enough toughness to keep up our shields at all times. Squirt’s Necklace is a considerable damage boost you don’t want to lose when pushing. Instead of spamming Meteor mindlessly all the time, we use the Star Pact rune to its maximum potential by filling our resources before the cast. Instead of Fire, this setup will use Arcane damage. Since this is a very slow-paced variant, Aether Walker is dropped in favor of Fragment of Destiny to increase our Attack Speed for more shield and Bane of the Stricken stacks.
Gameplay Make sure to always fill your resources using Spectral Blade before your nukes to increase damage done. Other than that, use your Black Hole to group up enemies and boost your damage. Make sure to activate all your buffs at the start of a run and again after less than 10 minutes (especially Storm Armor and Magic Weapon) and keep up the Orb of Infinite Depth effect, which might drop when there are too few enemies around. Cast Spectral Blade regularly to build up shields and Arcane Power.
Setups If you feel tanky enough and have many paragons to spend on Vitality, you can consider playing this build as a 100% Crit version using Shi Mizu's Haori in place of Aquila Cuirass and rolling off all the Critical Hit Chance from your items for more useful stats such as Vitality or Area Damage. This will squeeze out some more damage and give you more consistent hits, but you will have to stay at low life at all times (remove any source of Life per Hit and Life Regen including Paragon points).
If you feel the need for more toughness, you can equip Leoric's Crown with a Flawless Royal Amethyst for a bigger life pool.
Reverse Archon Push
Concept This setup is potentially the strongest Meteor build you can play, stacking all the available damage multipliers and using the Star Pact to throw one big hit once every 32 seconds (every two cycles of Convention of Elements). It's very slow-paced and requires good timing. In the past, this build was the strongest in the game until the nerfs to Deathwish and Etched Sigil, which dropped the build's potential maximum by around 15 Greater Rift Tiers. Theoretically this version is still playable and easier to execute than before, however it's not near the top end of all builds anymore. Since this is a very slow-paced variant, Aether Walker is dropped in favor of Fragment of Destiny to increase our Attack Speed for more shield and Bane of the Stricken stacks.
Gameplay Keep up all your buffs, stack up Gogok of Swiftness and enter Archon during your Arcane CoE cycle. Use your time while transformed to gather enemies and make a pull around you. When out of Archon, spam Explosive Blast and Spectral Blade to survive and stack shields. Shortly before your Archon cooldown comes back, use Wave of Force exactly once, then throw your big Meteor Star Pact. While it's coming down from the skies, enter your Archon form again to gain the damage buffs and stacks from the kills of your impact. Make sure to never drop your Gogok stacks before entering Archon or you will desync your cycles and have to restart them from zero stacks!
Setups If you feel tanky enough and have many paragons to spend on Vitality, you can consider playing this build as a 100% Crit version using Shi Mizu's Haori (check the D3planner setup by clicking above). This will squeeze out some more damage and give you more consistent impacts, but you will have to stay at low life at all times (remove any source of Life per Hit and Life Regen including Paragon points).
For additional reading and mechanical explanations on the old Star Pact "Bazooka" Meteor Wizard, check out the in-depth post made by sVr from back in the day! It's not perfectly up to date anymore due to some mechanical changes to Channeling items, but it will give you a great overview and some history behind the build.
Updated Video Guide for Season 22 coming soon!
In order to keep up your shields, you need to learn to judge the incoming damage and how fast you build them yourself, which can require some practice.
Shields have no direct UI indicator unless you mouse-over 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).
Galvanizing Ward is the main shielding mechanic used for most Wizard builds, which combined with Ashnagarr's Blood Bracer adds more than your total life as a shield. This shield will reset to maximum every 5 seconds if this shield in particular doesn't take any hits in the meantime.
Spectral Blade Barrier Blades or Magic Weapon Deflection is usually the second shielding mechanic and can be stacked as much and whenever you like, but only covers a very small portion of your total life and lasts 3 seconds in total. The duration is counted for each stack individually.
While your Barrier Blades or Deflection protect your Galvanizing Ward, it is possible to reset the shield gained from the Galvanizing Ward 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 sometimes, the whole setup will fall apart really quickly. Make sure you understand your limits and learn how you can survive in different situations.
This passive can gain an additional stack from your weapon’s element. This is one of the two main exceptions in the game to the rule of “element on weapon doesn’t matter for your damage”.
Since the build already deals Fire damage (Meteor Meteor Shower and Explosive Blast Chain Reaction) and Arcane damage (Spectral Blade Barrier Blades) by default and sometimes applies Lightning damage (Storm Armor) to enemies, having a Cold damage roll on your weapon is the most optimal choice (before Lightning, then Arcane, then any other). This mostly applies to the Greater Rift versions of the build.
The damage bonus of this passive is multiplicative (5% per different element, added together).
Halo of Karini
This item provides you a 5 second buff (seen on your buff bar) when you electrocute an enemy at least 15 yards away (around 1/4 to 1/3 of a screen).
This will not activate when you stay in melee range all the time, making you an easy target to kill. Keep in mind the range requirement!
The Shocking Aspect is generally used for high Greater Rifts to guarantee consistent uptime of this buff. When staying too close to enemies - even with a large pull around you - it can happen that a streak of consecutive hits will not activate Halo of Karini and choosing the rune prevents this from happening.
The Shame of Delsere
The Attack Speed bonus of this item is multiplicative with other bonuses.
This can be used to stack Bane of the Stricken quite fast on longer boss fights. Try to use it a lot especially at the start of a long boss fight!
The 30% base damage increase of the skill is multiplicative.
The stacks add a separate 6% multiplicative damage increase, adding together as one big multiplier. The baseline of a perfect Fazula's Improbable Chain is 300% damage bonus before adding any stacks from The Swami or kills.
Leftover stacks from The Swami are added on top as one big number. The numerical distribution of stacks between old and new is irrelevant for the total bonus gained, what counts is the combined number of stacks.
Black Hole Spellsteal
The damage increase of this skill is additive (same category as Meteor damage rolls on your items, the Magic Weapon buff or the Glass Cannon passives.
Wave of Force Arcane Attunement
The damage increase of this skill is multiplicative, adding 4% damage per nearby enemy to your Star pact.
You need at least 4 enemies around you to make casting this worth it.
Meteor Star Pact
The base damage of 740% weapon damage can be increased to up to a total of 4080% with a perfect 167 maximum Arcane Power and a Channeling Pylon. Realistically that value will be around 3600-3650% (or less if you don't wear a Wand) because you have to cast Wave of Force Arcane Attunement right before your nuke as long as there is enough density around you.
Resource Cost Reduction only applies to the base cost of the skill, meaning that a 8% RCR roll (e.g. on your shoulders) will add ~3 more Arcane Power to be consumed for a Star Pact cast. This adds ~60% weapon damage or ~1.5% overall damage done to the impact.
The damage bonus activates 1 second after starting to channel Arcane Torrent.
The buff duration is extremely short but long enough to explode one Frozen Orb just in time when it was cast right after the channeling stopped.
Keep up your Storm Armor and Halo of Karini buffs at all times. The same goes for Magic Weapon if you use it.
Zip around the battlefield by using Teleport.
Throw Meteor Meteor Shower everywhere to wreak havoc.
In Greater Rifts, use Black Hole to group up enemies for Area Damage.
Play around the Convention of Elements cycle to maximize your DPS.
Avoid ever losing any HP to keep up your Squirt’s Necklace at all times. Try to learn to feel the incoming damage as there is no UI indicator of how much shield you have.
Guide by wudijo with suggestions & corrections by Northwar.
I hope you enjoyed this guide! Meteor Shower is one of the coolest and visually appealing skills in the Wizard's arsenal and even after severe nerfs still useful for farming at least in Nephalem Rifts. The Star Pact version offers a challenge for those interested and allows you to push into the higher Greater Rift tiers.