With the talk about Tal's probably dethroning Firebird's for the top Wizard solo GR build, one thing that occurred to me from the patch notes is that Tal's got nerfed a bit at the same time that LoN got further buffed. This makes a full LoN bonus equivalent to 9,750% damage (750% x 13 gear slots). However Tal is capping out at only 8,000% damage (2,000% x 4 elements).
So the LoN damage multiplier is actually higher than the Tal's multiplier, despite Tal getting a pretty healthy buff, and while you lose CoE when you lose LoN, you gain other items with damage multipliers (Witching Hour, Magefist, and Swamp Land Waders for example).
To test out my suspicion I built two characters in D3planner and compared their damage estimation under the current game, knowing I could translate it into what the new modifiers should give myself.
I based the current meta character off of this DiabloFans guide with a few minor edits. I'm certainly not an expert on the build but it looked more or less right. For the LoN version I largely went on my understanding of the workings of the play style but I'm sure it can be improved upon.
I held as much constant between the characters as possible: several gear slots are identical, the legendary gems are the same, the passive skills are the same, etc. I built the Tal version first and then built the LoN version by swapping items out as I went along.
For LoN, first you of course swap out the rings, meaning you take a step back on both damage and toughness by losing CoE and Unity. However, going down the list slot by slot:
- Armor – Used Aquila instead of Tal's chest piece. Because I no longer need Aquila for the cube, I put a Hergbrash in that Cube slot for channeling cost reduction.
- Helm – Used Leoric's instead of Tal's helm. With Hergbrash in the Cube, I don't need a Topaz in the helm any more, so I went with an Amethyst instead for 23% life, and since it's Leoric's it's doubled to 46% life, offsetting a lot of the pain of having to lose Unity.
- Shoulders – Unchanged, used Mantle of Channeling
- Gloves – Used Magefist for 20% fire damage instead of Tal's gloves.
- Belt – Used Witching Hour instead of Tal's belt for 50% CHD and the attack speed I lost when I removed Tal's chest piece.
- Pants – Swamp Land Waders instead of Tal's pants for 20% fire damage. Combined with Magefist that's 40%, covering most of what was lost when I swapped out CoE.
- Bracers – Unchanged, used Ashnagarr's
- Boots – Unchanged, used Nilfur's
- Weapon – Unchanged, used Deathwish
- Offhand – Unchanged, used Etched Sigil
- Amulet – Nothing seemed like the obvious choice, so I used a Hellfire with Conflagration for 6% additional CHC. There are a few options here I didn't try… Star of Azkaranth might make it a bit less glass-cannony to take an Andariel's in the helm slot for yet another 20% fire damage. Or Ess of Johan for creating more density around your meteors, although since it comes with mainstat and CDR you couldn't get a trifecta one. Or Eye of Etlich for some toughness.
- Cube Weapon slot – Unchanged, The Grand Vizier
- Cube Armor slot – Again, swapped out Aquila for Hergbrash
- Cube Jewelry slot – Unchanged, Halo of Karini
Some gearing possibilities that I think are worth experimenting with that I considered were focused around trying to work a Cindercoat into the build somehow for yet another 20% fire damage affix. This would likely involve putting the Aquila back into the Cube as it is in Tal's, however this might mean you might not have quite enough RCR to keep Aquila in effect and you might need to put a Topaz back into the helm gem slot. Overall I couldn't get a way to get it into the build that keeps your resource costs low enough and toughness high enough to justify it over what I have here but I may have just not thought of the right combination.
For the skills, 5 of them are the same, but several of those I take different runes for. Going through them one by one:
- Meteor – Meteor Shower rune for both builds.
- Arcane Torrent – For Tal you need to take Static Discharge for your lightning damage element. Without that need I'm free to take Flame Ward for 25% DR while in combat.
- Teleport – For Tal you need Calamity for the arcane element. Instead I take safe passage for another 25% DR. Wormhole is another possibility here for more maneuverability.
- Storm Armor – Needed in both cases for Halo of Karini, however in Tal's you use Power of the Storm for RCR. Not needing this with the huge RCR you get from Hergbrash I took Scramble for some more movement speed. No great choices there.
- Magic Weapon – Deflection for both builds.
- For the last skill slot there's an opportunity to take a new skill altogether as with Tal's you're missing a cold skill so you need to take Frost Nova/Frozen Mist which is pretty useless as Frozen Mist takes away the Freeze effect. There are a number of options here, including possibly keeping Frost Nova but going with Bone Chill or Deep Freeze runes for more damage. Slow Time is another possibility, or Diamond Skin, or Black Hole, but I went with Familiar/Sparkflint for 10% more damage.
That's a lot to go through so to sum it up, the tradeoffs if you set aside the set damage buffs for a second are:
- Damage – Lose CoE (which blends to 50% enhanced damage… 200% a quarter of the time) and 15% elite damage you get from Unity, gain 40% enhanced fire damage from Magefist and Swamp Land, plus another 10% for being able to take Sparkflint
- Toughness – Lose 50% DR from Unity, gain 46% life from Leoric's crown plus (roughly speaking) 25% DR when in combat from Arcane Torrent/Flame Ward and 25% DR when not in combat from Teleport/Safe Passage.
Overall, those don't precisely wash out, but they feel pretty close. So how does the damage wind up in the D3 Planner?
LoN Meteor Total Damage = 7,901,231,332,236
Tal Meteor Total Damage (CoE unchecked) = 10,849,398,816,081
Tal Meteor Total Damage (CoE checked) = 32,548,196,448,243
Tal Meteor Total Damage (blended) = (10,849,398,816,081 * 0.75) + (32,548,196,448,243 * 0.25) = 16,274,098,224,121
That makes sense… with the gear tradeoffs being close, Tal's ends up netting out to a little more than 2x the damage because the set bonus is a little more than 2x the LoN bonus (1,300% vs 3,000%).
However if you take those numbers and adjust them upwards based on the boost each set is supposed to get in S16, LoN actually pulls ahead.
LoN: 7,901,231,332,236 * 98.5/14 = 55,590,693,284,213
Tal: 16,274,098,224,121 * 81/31 = 42,475,396,364,956
What's interesting to me about this is that had LoN been kept at 500% the math would have still narrowly worked in Tal's favor even with the nerf to Tal from 3,000% to 2,000%. LoN would have ended up at around 37 Trillion to Tal's 42 Trillion. Or had LoN got the buff to 750% but Tal's was left at 3,000%, again Tal's would have ended up on top, 63 Trillion to 55 Trillion.
Additionally I want to acknowledge that I am not including here the damage that Tal's gets from the free Meteor procs related to its 2 piece bonus, which can be a noticeable damage contribution to the build. How this fits into the overall DPS of the class gets a little complicated for D3planner however. I am also treating CoE as being equivalent on a blended basis to a 50% damage increase, which is quite possibly a bit prejudicial against Tal's as oftentimes damage concentrated in a few crucial seconds can be more effective than damage distributed more diffusely. These caveats may be enough net net to swing it back into Tal's favor, however if it does it seems it would only be marginally better than LoN, it doesn't appear a landslide by any means.
Whether this is a good thing for the community or not, I find it quite difficult to believe Blizzard did this intentionally, and I think goes to the difficulty of balancing sets with an aggressive LoN option out there that transcends all classes.
Important to note that I am of course completely ignoring the RoRG bonus that Tal will enjoy for S16, which over that span will probably bring Tal back up to LoN's level, however going forward, and my math could definitely be overlooking something, LoN may be the top dog again.
© Post "LoN Meteor Channel build for high GRs?" for game Diablo 3.
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