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The elements have deemed you worthy. With you as their champion, the burning hells will face the Trials of Tempests!
Your character will occasionally (every 90 seconds) channel an elemental power which unleashes into the environment for a limited time:
- Meteors rain from the skies around you.
- Breathe lightning.
- A wall of flame engulfs everything.
- Release twisters of pure energy.
- Crush your foes under the weight of rolling snowballs.
The theme and its procs are one of the defining factors for your success or failure in Season 21. Not really relevant or noticeable in speedfarming, they become all the more powerful in slow runs and pushing scenarios, as you get more of them and have more time to play around them. The overall gain over nonseason pushing is between 6-12 tiers, depending on class, build, luck and your ability to use it effectively.
Each of them have their unique pattern and strategies for most effective use. If you want to learn more about how to play around and push with them, feel free to check out our S21 Theme Guide.
The Procs in Detail
Environmental effect: bright
For 30 seconds you release a beam in a straight line in front of you, dealing damage to enemies caught within over time. The animation is the same as the skill used by Diablo himself. You will have to mostly stand or try to dodge very little to use this proc effectively but with a high enough stack count it is also the most devastating one because of the high amount of control you have with it.
Environmental effect: white / snow
By far the highest DPS proc, however it has a rather small area of effect and can easily disappear into nowhere if you're not careful. The Snowball spawns at your fight and slowly rolls away from you in a straight line. When it hits a wall, it will bounce away from it at the same angle of the collision. In areas with uneven walls, it will be difficult to control it properly, but when you have straight walls, you can easily bounce it back and forth to kite more and more monsters, which will melt within seconds depending on your stack count. Extremely effective on high GR tiers, can even kill Rift Guardians in a single proc. Snowballs can be slowed by Missile Dampening elites, making them almost stay on the spot. This can be very devastating since you have full control over what to kite into it.
Environmental effect: brown / dust
One of the intermediate procs. Neither great nor terrible, sometimes they can do a lot of work and other times they do very little. When you manage to prepare you pull in a small corner and the spawn Twisters, they can melt away huge monster packs with ease, even killing full HP elites. Next to the Snowball, the Twisters are often the only other realistic chance to kill a Rift Guardian, at least in solo pushing scenarios. It can be wise to try to move a large pull close to a corner to prepare for Twisters. Walls (including those spawned by Waller elites or the green circle from Hamelin) will block them and keep them contained for even greater effect.
Environmental effect: darkness
These can be devastating with a high stack count, a large pull and a little bit of luck. For a short time, you will see Meteor impacts all around you, similar to those used by Belial during his siege of Caldeum. This effect will follow you around as you move, should you decide you want to get a few impacts in another location, however typically it's best to try to finish off whatever you have as the duration of the meteor shower is rather short.
Environmental effect: fire / red
By far the worst proc overall. You release a slow-moving wall of fire at your feet that will travel in the same path that you were looking at when it spawned. If it spawns. Unfortunately this effect is very buggy and very often simply doesn't appear at all, despite the sky turning red and your stacks resetting. Understandably, this can lead to a lot of frustration when your run ends in that moment due to the lack of progress and stacks from a missing wave. In addition, it will despawn once it hits a wall (including those spawned by Waller elites), and it can be reflected by Dune Dervishes or Sand Dwellers. Better pray to never see a red sky during your push!
- You can track your buff bar to see when the next proc is coming. For precise values, you will have to mouse-over to see the remaining number of seconds until the proc.
- When the season theme is getting released, the sky will immediately change colors and give you a short window of around 3-5 seconds to react to which proc you are getting (which is a flat 20% chance for each of them). Be ready to run into the right position depending on what it is (e.g. Twisters in the corner, Beam/Fire Wave through the middle, Snowball bouncing between walls, Meteors all around you).
- Killing enemies will increase your kill counter, which boosts the theme's damage on the next proc. When you have none, it will generally be too weak to kill anything by itself. Starting at around 30 stacks, you will be able to finish small and medium-sized trash, at around 80-100 stacks you will also be able to kill (depending on the proc and how much you are hitting with it). At around 150-200 stacks, you can generally expect to completely melt or at least severely damage most elites.
- When you leave a game or Greater Rift and come back, your timer will reset. In solo pushing, you can use this to your advantage to delay the last proc by up to 1 minute, in case you want to rely on the season theme entirely to finish the boss (which is a very effective but very unreliable way of closing out your run).
In groups, it is possible to share the stacks and keep them after a successful proc, effectively making group pushing all the way up to GR150 extremely easy compared to other seasons. As long as you play around the season theme well and don't lose the stacks, you will be able to clear almost any rift with just a little bit of effort to kickstart it in the beginning. The most common strategy is to have one party member desync their timer (by leaving and rejoining the Greater Rift for example 45 seconds into the run), and then always run away whenever the rest of the group procs on their regular 90 second intervals. The minimum distance is around 2-3 screens to be outside of the range of party members, meaning that "the runner" will not proc their own theme with their party members and keep the stacks, so they can join the rest and share their stack count by killing some monsters, before they run away again.
- There are 5 different procs with varying patterns, effectiveness and strategies.
- The theme is strong enough to kill whole elite packs or even Rift Guardians given the right circumstances.
- Play around the theme only on high Greater Rift Tiers / in pushing scenarios, for farming it's generally negligible and too slow.
- With good execution, you will be able to push between 6-12 tiers higher than with the same character on nonseason.
- In groups, have one member share stacks back and forth between the party to keep them through the entire run.
- Be aware that there are a few bugs with this theme (e.g. Fire Wave not spawning quite often, Snowballs can roll off the map, sometimes stack count doesn't reset at all, ...).
For more tips on how to use the season theme to your advantage while pushing, check out our Season 21 Theme Guide here!
Post by wudijo