Torchlight 2 Embermage Comprehensive Guide



Torchlight 2 Embermage Comprehensive Guide by FishofMuu

Contents

Charge
Equipment
Stats
Key bindings
LMB
Inferno skills
Frost skills
Storm skills
Basic builds

The Charge Bar

The charge bar at the bottom fills up as your character deals damage. If you don’t deal damage for a while, the bar will start to rapidly decrease again. Once it reaches maximum, you enter a supercharged state for 12 seconds where all your skills are free to cast and do 25% extra damage. This makes Embermages very strong offensive characters. Your charge is very powerful. Every Embermage should make sure they use it well.

The amount of damage that you need to inflict to fill your charge bar scales with your level. Because skill damage ALSO scale with your level, this should only be a problem (or boon!) to those using weapon DPS based skills. If your weapon DPS is too low for your level, your charge will fill slowly. On the other hand, if your weapon DPS is HIGHER than expected for your level, your charge will fill rather quickly.

So here are a couple hints about the Embermage’s charge:

1) Don’t worry so much about mana. Once your charge reaches maximum, all if your skills are free to cast. This means that not only will your mana not drain for the next 12+ seconds, but it will also fill itself back up! A naked Embermage won’t fill their entire mana ball in the duration of one charge, but you’re probably doing fine if you can fill your charge while constantly casting spells without depleting your mana completely.

2) You’re going to want to use something very powerful and mana heavy for when your charge is full. That skill you can only use a few times before you run out of mana? Yeah, that one. Invest a lot of points into it, and spam it like crazy once your charge is full. A lot of Embermages have a skill that they use to build their charge, then another once it’s full (sometimes it’s even the same skill).

ImageCharge Mastery
A passive that is available to Embermages at level 1 which slows down the speed at which your charge decreases (-6% per point), and also increases the rate at which you build it (+4% per point). With fifteen points, that’s -90% decay, and +60% charge. The 60% is pretty big, but can be ignored for items with +charge if you really need the skill points. If you’re running a no charge build for some reason, you’d obviously want to ignore this passive completely. The -90% decay is rather substantial as well, but can be easily mitigated by just attacking something. A lot of builds get 5 ranks of this (+20% charge, -30% decay), because the other 10 points can possibly be spent better elsewhere.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
There are also some skills that specifically list that they don’t build charge at all. These are Magma Mace, Firebombs, Firestorm, and Hailstorm. There are also some utility skills that, although they deal damage, they do not build charge. This fact is NOT listed on their tooltips. These are Immolation Aura, Frost Phase, Ice Prison, and Astral Ally. Then there are some direct damage skills that don’t build charge, despite not saying so on their tooltips. I do not know if this is due to bugs, or if the lack of charge building is intended. These skills are Shocking Burst, Thunder Locus, Arc Beam, Shockbolts, and Shocking Orb (sorry, lightning mages!). If you plan on building up your charge, obviously avoid using these skills. Alternatively, there’s no reason to not use these skills once your charge is full! Also note that damage over time effects (like burn, or Magma Spear’s proc, or ‘conveys X damage over Y seconds’, etc) do not build charge either.

ImageBlazing Pillar
The only Embermage skill that (as listed) increases charge faster than normal. I’ve played around with this skill for a bit, and it doesn’t seem to increase charge noticably faster (by itself), especially because it’s not the most accurate skill available. This skill does have a long cooldown, and if you use another skill while waiting for it to cool down, it will build quickly! By itself it’s slow, but why would you stand around for 6 seconds not doing anything else? This skill is a way to build charge quickly, but there are other ways as well. It’s not fast enough to warrant a ‘must have’ for charge building.

TLDR: Charge goes up, Embermage goes boom. For free. Highly recommended.

Equipment

Most Embermages will use either staves or wands, and for a couple good reasons. The first being that they both (typically) do elemental damage, and therefore have their damage increased with focus. Focus also strengthens the damage of all your skills, deepens your mana pool, and increases your chances of performing execute (if you’re dual wielding wands). The second reason being that Embermages get passives specifically for staves and wands.

ImageStaff Mastery
ImageImageImageImage
Reduces the elemental armor of any enemy you hit with your staff. This also includes Magma Spear, Magma Mace, Icy Blast, and Shockbolts. The armor is reduced by 6% with the first point, and increases by 2% for each additional point (-35% elemental armor per hit at fifteen points). Remember that these are cumulative, so it will only take three hits with fifteen points in the passive to reach 100% reduction. People were saying that you can’t reduce armor below 0, but confirmation is needed on that.

ImageWand Chaos
ImageImageImageImage
Has a chance to cast ‘a Bizarre Effect’ on the target every time you hit with your wand. This also includes Magma Spear, Magma Mace, Icy Blast, and Shockbolt (and ONLY those skills!). The chance is 8% for the first point, and 2% for each additional point (36% chance at fifteen points). A Bizarre Effect will randomly cast one of the following spells:

ImageMeteor (Exactly like the one from Diablo 2)

ImageAcid Rain, much like he Outlander skill Venomous Hail

ImageSummon Shadowling (Like the Outlander passive. Only lasts for a few seconds)

ImageThunder (Causes shock)

ImageBlinding Cloud

ImageScalding Geyser

ImageGlacial Spike

ImageFire Storm Not to be confused with Firestorm

Here’s a video demonstrating it.

Now just because Embermages have passives specifically for the staff and wand, that doesn’t mean that every Embermage has to use them. Unlike the other classes, the Embermage doesn’t have any skills that require specific types of weapons to be equipped (other than the passives). If you don’t plan on using any skill that uses weapon DPS, including the basic attack, the passives and the weapon damage are useless to you. If you don’t want to put a lot of points into focus, staves and wands don’t benefit you as much. With certain builds, you can easily go embermelee or gunmage.

Item stats on skills
So a common question is ‘Which stats on my weapons apply to my skills?’ Well a good rule of thumb is that if it’s some kind of ‘always on’ effect, it will apply. Things like +minion damage and +cast speed are obvious ones. But what about the less obvious ones? ‘On hit’ does not apply. ‘To target’ usually does on certain skills. If it changes something on your arcane statistics, it does. Here are some helpful lists that should clear up some confusion (hopefully).

Will apply to ALL skills

      +X% Cast Speed
      Charge rate increased by X%
      +X% Critical Hit Chance
      +X% bonus to Critical Damage
      +X% to all damage
      +X% to (element) damage (if your skill does the appropriate damage)

Will apply ONLY to weapon DPS skills (from main hand weapon only)

      +X (element) damage (will ONLY increase the weapon’s DPS)
      X% chance to cast Y on strike

Will apply ONLY to Magma Spear, Magma Mace, Icy Blast, and Shockbolts (from main hand weapon only)

      X% chance to cast Y from target
      Conveys X% chance to (condition) for Y seconds
      Conveys X damage over Y seconds

Will not apply to skills

      +Xm to Bow, Crossbow, Pistol and Wand range
      X Health stolen per hit
      X Mana stolen per hit

TLDR: If you’re not planning on using the passives, weapon choice doesn’t matter.

Stats

Stats are a major building block of your character. You get 5 points per level to spend, for a maximum of 495 points. Items will require certain stats OR a certain level to equip (you can do one or the other). This requirement takes into account your TOTAL stats, and not just your base stats (Example: If I have armor that requires 50 strength, and I only have 40 strength, but I’m getting an extra 17 from items, I will have a total of 57 strength. I will be able to equip this item, in this case). No stat is useless to any character, but some may be more useful to you than others. If you’re confused as to what stats to get, most Embermages tend to get a 3:2 ratio of focus:vitality, but don’t be afraid to experiment!

Strength:
This increases your weapon damage by a flat amount (.5% per point, no cap). This applies to all weapons, regardless of damage type (physical or elemental) or range (ranged or melee). This increased weapon damage will translate to your skills that use your weapon DPS for damage (Proof). This will not increase the damage of any other skills, or any extra damage a skill does that is not a percentage of your weapon’s DPS. If you are using an elemental weapon (like most wands/staves), Focus will increase weapon damage by the same amount (.5% per point). If you are not using any skills that use a percentage of your weapon’s DPS (including the basic attack), the damage bonus from strength will be useless to you.Strength will also increase the bonus damage you deal when making a critical strike, also at a flat rate (.4% per point, and capping at 399.6% at 999 strength). All direct damage skills have a chance to crit, even if it doesn’t use your weapon’s DPS for damage. If your critical chance is low, the critical damage bonus from strength will be proportionally ineffective (Example: If you find an item with +50% critical damage on it, it may seem high, but if your critical strike chance is only 10%, you’ll only be averaging a 5% damage bonus overall).Strength is mainly useful only if you’re using a non-elemental weapon, and/or you’re trying to make a high crit build.

Dexterity:
Increases your critical strike chance and dodge chance at the same curved rate. The rate is roughly 2%, which slowly diminishes the higher you go. This will also increase your fumble recovery at a curved rate, which starts at 25 with +.3% per point, and slowly diminishes. Here’s a small chart:

Dex   Crit   Dodge   Fumble
0     0      0       25
5     1      1       26.5
10    2      2       28
20    3.9    3.9     30.9
25    4.9    4.9     32.3
50    9.5    9.5     39.3
100   18     18      52
250   37.6   37.6    81.3
475   50     50      100   (Cap for Fumble)
484   50.1   50.1    100   (Cap for Crit/Dodge)

Critical hits deal extra damage, based on your critical damage % (which increases with strength, or items with critical damage % on them). Remember that your skills can also crit! Dodge, like block, is the chance that you will avoid any direct attack completely. This does not give you a chance to avoid secondary effects, like damage from burn, fire on the ground, etc. Fumbling is when your basic attack (and only your basic attack?) does less damage. Basically think of your fumble recovery as the % of damage you do if you fumble (If you have 75% fumble recovery, you will deal 75% damage when you fumble). If you’re not using your basic attack, fumble recovery is useless.

Dexterity is mainly be useful if you’re trying to make a high dodge and/or high crit build.

Focus:
Focus will increase your mana by 1 per 2 points of focus, capping at +499 mana at 998 focus. Remember that your mana also increases with your level.

Like strength, this also increases your elemental damage on weapons, but only the elemental damage (.5% per point, no cap). This applies to all weapons, regardless if they are ranged or melee, as long as it’s elemental damage on the weapon. This increased weapon damage will translate to your skills that use your weapon DPS for damage (Proof). Unlike strength, this damage bonus also applies to all elemental damage on skills, even if they don’t have a weapon DPS damage component to them.

Focus also increases your execute chance if you’re dual wielding similar weapons. ‘Similar’ means two melee weapons, two pistols, or two wands. Execute only triggers on your basic attack, and causes you to attack with both weapons at the same time, dealing damage with both weapons simultaneously (instead of alternately). Your execute chance starts at 9.8%, and increases on a curve starting at 2% per point (capping at 60% at 496 focus).

Focus   Execute
0       9.8
5       10.8
10      11.8
25      14.7
50      19.3
100     27.8
250     47.4
496     60

Focus is something that most Embermages will get. More mana, more staff/wand damage, and more skill damage.

Vitality:
Vitality will increase your HP by 3.6 per point of vitality, capping at +3596.4 (rounded down to 3596) at 999 vitality. Remember that your HP also increases with your level.

This will also increase your armor by .25% per point, capping at 249.75 (rounded to 249.8) at 999 vitality. This is a bonus to all your armor from everything you’re wearing combined (Example: If all your armor totals 100 physical armor, and your vitality gives you a +27% bonus to armor, you’ll have a total of 127 armor). This not only applies to your physical armor, but all your elemental resistances as well.

Vitality also increases your block chance, if you’re using a shield. This starts at +.2% per point, and slowly declines as you put more points into it. This has the same curve as Crit/Dodge from dex, so you can look at the chart in that section. Block, like dodge, is the chance that you will avoid any direct attack completely. This does not give you a chance to avoid secondary effects, like damage from burn, fire on the ground, etc. Remember that you can only block with a shield equipped.

Vitality is good for not dying, especially if you’re using a shield. More HP and more armor. Don’t neglect this stat.

TLDR: Increase defense to reduce instances of death.

Key Bindings

So you see the 1-0 hotkey bar at the bottom there? That is VERY useful for skills that have a long cooldown (especially buffs), or anything that is more of a utility skill (Like Frost Phase).

My advice is to rebind these keys to… something that isn’t 1-0. I’m personally using:
123
QWE
ASDF
(With the skill page bound to `)

This gives you a much better reach of any skill you might want to use in the middle of combat. You can bind them to anything you like… you can even keep them at 1-0, if you prefer. I just personally prefer a more easily accessible setup.

Buffs are skills that should DEFINITELY be on your hotbar, and NEVER on RMB. It’s a lot easier to press the key (or right click it) than it is to switch to it on right click, then click, then switch to an attack. The following skills are buffs, and should ALWAYS be on your hotkey bar if you invest any points into them:
Immolation Aura
Elemental Boon

Utility skills, as I call them, are skills that 1) You don’t want/need to spam them constantly, and/or 2) They have a long cooldown. They are perfect skills to put on your hotbar so you can use them in that situation where they’re needed. Embermage skills that I think fall into this category are:
Blazing Pillar (Maybe?)
Frost Phase
Ice Prison
Astral Ally
Death’s Bounty

Obviously, these are just suggestions. Do whatever works best for you.

TLDR: Hotkeys are good. Rebinding them is better.

Left Mouse Button (LMB)

Because of the way that the Embermage’s charge works, you don’t have to worry so much about mana. That means that unless you’re trying to perform execute with two wands, there’s not a lot of reason to use the basic attack. I highly recomment that any Embermage at least tries to build around a spell being their LMB skill, rather than the basic attack.

BUT WAIT! Only certain skills can be bound to left click. They are:

ImageMagma Spear

ImageMagma Mace

ImagePrismatic Bolt

ImageShocking Burst

ImageShockbolts

ImageShocking Orb

Yes, sorry, ice mages. Any of these skills, other than Magma Mace, can be used to build charge with LMB, then spam something more powerful (or even the same skill) with RMB. Now there’s no need to do this, especially if your favorite skill isn’t on the list, but it’s worth considering because Embermages don’t worry that much (or ever) about mana. Just a suggestion.

Workarounds
So your favorite skill not on LMB, but you want it to be? There are a few ways to do this:

The first way is to bind ‘move’ (or ‘move/attack’) to something else, and then bind LMB to one of your hotbar slots (like the first slot). If your mouse has extra buttons, you can bind move to that. The problem with this is that you might be uncomfortable pressing anything but LMB to move around.

The second way is to bind shift-LMB to a hotbar slot, and then every time you hold shift (which, by default, makes you hold still) you will perform any attack you want. You then unbind ‘move/attack’ and put LMB as ‘move’. This kind of gets around it, if you’re okay holding shift the whole time.

Third way is if you have a mouse with extra buttons. You can bind LMB3, LMB4, LMB5, etc to different hotbar buttons. The problem with this is that it’s still not LMB, but at least it’s on your mouse.

TLDR: Try binding a skill to LMB. You might thank me later.

Inferno Skills

Inferno skills all do fire damage. These tend to do more damage than Frost/Storm, and are often a bit more straightforward to use than Storm. Any time you do fire damage, from weapons or skills, you have a chance to cause a burning effect. Burn deals even more damage. Elemental Attunement increases the duration of burn (from any source), and Fire Brand deals extra damage when an enemy is on fire. Inferno is the tree if you just want to lay down some serious damage, and that’s it. No snares, no funny business, just good old face melting fire.

A very quick overview of the Inferno tree in action.

ALL STATS ARE FOR LVL 100 CHARACTERS. IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY THESE NUMBERS ARE HIGHER THAN YOURS, THAT’S WHY.
ALSO REMEMBER THAT ALL TOOLTIPS ARE BEFORE STAT/ITEM BONUSES. YOU WILL BE DOING MORE DAMAGE THAN IS LISTED.

THE X-Y NUMBERS ARE FOR 1-15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
THE X-Y / A-B NUMBERS ARE for 1/15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
X/Y/Z NUMBERS ARE REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
X(Y) NUMBERS ALSO REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
(ENTRIES LISTED LIKE THIS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE AT HIGHER TIERS)

ImageMagma Spear

Mana Cost: 9-38 per second
Range: 16(24)
33-51% weapon DPS as fire damage
35-100% chance to inflict 5694-19362 fire damage over 3(6) seconds
(Ricochets)

  • Able to be bound to left mouse button
  • Builds charge
  • Will activate Staff Mastery or Wand Chaos with appropriate weapon
  • Pierces
  • 3(6) second DoT can cause Fire Brand to activate
  • Lowest mana cost per second of any spammable rank 15 skill on the Embermage
  • Faster cast speed will ONLY increase the start up time

Just to clarify, the ‘burn’ listed in this skill is the X-Y damage over Z seconds. It is NOT the ‘burn’ status effect. It will NOT cause Fire Brand to trigger. The fire damage done by this skill CAN trigger the burn effect, which WILL cause Fire Brand to trigger. Okay, with additional testing, it seems as though the 3(6) second DoT DOES trigger Fire Brand. I have been shamefully corrected on this matter.

This is the skill you start with, so most Embermages will be somewhat familiar with how it works. It fires rapidly in a straight line, peircing enemies. This skill is especially useful if your enemies are lined up, like in a narrow corridor or bridge. The ricochet from Tier 3 isn’t the most useful, considering that the shots all fire straight. Also note that just because the skill is listed as doing X% of your weapon’s DPS, that doesn’t mean that that will be THIS skill’s DPS. That is X% of DPS per shot. You fire multiple times per second!

The negative part about this skill is fairly obvious: it only fires in a straight line. If your enemies are bunched up or spread out, it’s not as useful. Still, this skill is fairly cheap to cast, can be set as a LMB skill, and will trigger the appropriate weapon passive, if you have the right weapon equipped.

ImageMagma Mace

Mana Cost: 10-45
50-92% weapon DPS as fire damage
80% chance to stun for 3 seconds
4746-7404 fire damage over 6 seconds
(25% chance to break shields)
(Hit slows enemy attacks by 33(67)% for 3 seconds)

  • Able to be bound to left mouse button
  • Does not build charge
  • Will activate Staff Mastery with appropriate weapon
  • 6 second DoT can cause Fire Brand to activate

This is a fairly slow and powerful close range skill with a large arc. The arc is about 180 degrees, so it will hit just about anything in front of you. Its biggest caveat is that it doesn’t build charge and the mana cost is somewhat high, so you’re probably not going to spam it that much. If you can make a build around it, this skill can be rather devastating. Also, because this skill doesn’t build charge, it might be a better choice for when your charge is full (if you’re okay with going into melee).

ImageFirebombs

Mana Cost: 17-47
Cooldown: 2/1.6/1.2/0.8 seconds
Pools last 3/4/5/6 seconds
1898-3796 / 3226-6453 fire damage over 2-3.4 seconds
Movement speed reduced by 12-54% for 2-3.4 seconds
1-15% chance that target flees for 2-3.4 seconds

  • Does not build charge
  • 2-3.4 second DoT can cause Fire Brand to activate
  • DPS does not increase with ranks
  • Faster cast speeds do not reduce cooldown

This skill fires 3 somewhat slow moving orbs towards where you clicked. The first one fires straight forward, while the other two branch out somewhat randomly within a 45 degree arc in either direction. When they land, they leave little pools of fire that deal damage to any foe that stands in them. Because the two orbs on the side are a bit random in the direction they fire, along with the kinda slow speed of the orbs, it can tend to miss enemies at a distance. If used at close ranges, the pools of fire will land on top of each other, thus making it far more accurate. The cooldown can also make it somewhat hard to use effectively until rank 15.

The damage on this doesn’t actually increase in DPS. The duration and the damage increase at the same rate, so it’s the same DPS with a longer duration. Putting more points into this WILL increase your damage, just not your DPS.

Remember that this skill doesn’t build charge, so it might be better to spam this skill after your charge is full.

ImageBlazing Pillar

Mana Cost: 18-43
Cooldown: 9-5.5 seconds
Pillars: 4/5/6/7
2373-3163 / 2373-5378 fire damage
0-70% chance to burn for 7 seconds

  • Builds extra charge
  • Pillars seek out enemies
  • Faster cast speeds do not reduce cooldown

Why is this not called Blazing PillarS? Oh, well. This sends out 4-7 pillars in a circle around you. They travel a short distance, then move kinda slowly to seek out enemies. Once they touch an enemy, they explode dealing their damage. Because of the slow cooldown, you might want to consider having this on RMB, and then a skill with no cooldown on LMB… otherwise you’d be pressing tab a lot. It says it builds charge quickly, but the cooldown, even at tier 3, makes it not THAT fast (by itself. You can use other skills while it’s going!). With the right skills, and with a good helping of charge rate boosting items/passive, you can probably easily get your charge bar full by the time it comes off cooldown.

ImageInfernal Collapse

Mana Cost: 27-57
Cooldown: 2.5-1.1
Radius: 4/5/6/7
5694-7592 / 5694-12906 fire damage
+30/40/50/65 knockback

  • Long delay before the skill activates
  • Faster cast speeds do not reduce cooldown

This casts a ball that explodes where you click about 2 seconds after you click. As you can see, the damage is rather large, and it even knocks enemies back. At tier 3, you can pretty much just repeatedly cast it at your feet and knock enemies back over and over while dealing an amazing amount of damage. A 1.1 second cooldown isn’t really enough to use another skill while you wait, so there’s this kind of weird nebulous time where you’re not really doing anything. It basically just means you’re going to spam it, and +casting speed items are useless.

ImageImmolation Aura

Mana Cost: 23-44
Cooldown: 28-56 seconds
Duration: 30-58
633-1519 fire damage over 1 second
(All damage taken reduced by 5/10/15%)

  • Does not build charge
  • Long duration buff

The damage seems to tick every 1/2 second. A decent amount of damage while absorbing damage for you? Great skill, especially if you plan on getting closer to the enemy at all. The duration is always longer than the cooldown, so put this on your hotbar and just cast it every time the timer runs out.

ImageFirestorm

Mana Cost: 33-58
Cooldown 2.5-1.1 seconds
1902-3798 / 7212-9114 fire damage over 6 seconds
Fire damage taken is increased by 20-48% for 6 seconds
(Fire damage reduced by 30% for 6 seconds)
(Targets killed emit burning splinters, dealing XXX-XXX / 633-949 fire damage)

  • Does not build charge
  • Delay before the skill activates
  • 6 second DoT can cause Fire Brand to activate
  • Faster cast speeds do not reduce cooldown

This skill damages everything in a fairly wide area. 15 meters will get pretty much anything you’d want it to. It takes about 1 second for the fire to fall. Again the 1.1 second cooldown doesn’t give you enough time to cast other spells, so it’s pretty much ‘spam without stacking +casting speed’.

ImageCharge Mastery

Charge decay rate decreased by 6-90%
Charge rate increased by 4-60%

I talked about this passive earlier. Basically, charge rate is great, but can be obtained from items as well. It’s a very good passive, but can be skipped if you need the skill points elsewhere.

ImageElemental Attunement

+1-15 seconds of Burn/Shock/Freeze/Poison
1-15% chance to Burn for 1 second
1-15% chance to Freeze for 1 second
1-15% chance to Shock for 1 second
1-15% chance to Poison for 1 second

Now some people get a little confused about this one. ALL sources of Burn/Shock/Freeze/Poison will have their duration increased. The chance to cause Burn/Freeze/Shock/Poison is per element, per tick, per enemy, and within a short range of you. The range seems to be about 4 or 5 meters, and I couldn’t say how fast the tics are (but most likely once every second, or every half second). This does NOT give you a chance to cause Burn/Shock/Freeze/Poison on your attacks. It only gives you a passive aura that inflicts these. This DOES increase the duration of Burn/Shock/Freeze/Poison on any of your attacks. I hope that clears up the confusion. Proof

This passive can be very useful for builds that rely heavily on those debuffs (like a Prismatic Bolt/Brand build). You could put just one point into it if you can spare it, because the random debuffs can be handy, but if you’re not reliant on them, you’ll likely just kill the enemy in less time than any debuff would benefit you. Judge for yourself if your build would benefit from this.

ImageFire Brand

+2215 / 2215-6643 additional fire damage to burning enemies

If an enemy currently has the burning condition on them, ANY attack deals additional fire damage (even if it’s not a fire attack). Remember that anything that does fire damage has a chance to inflict burn, so if you’re heavily invested in fire skills, this passive is a must buy. Each Elemental Brand will only trigger once per second, and there seems to be a slight delay after a status effect starts, and an Elemental Brand being able to trigger. Each rank increases the maximum damage by a static amount (based on level), so if you’re going for multiple Elemental Brands (like with a Prismatic Bolt build), there isn’t an ‘efficient’ way to distribute your skill points.

TLDR: Fire element is best element.

Frost Skills

Frost skills don’t do as much damage up front as the Inferno tree, but it makes up for it in crowd control. If you want to sacrifice a little damage for freeze and stun, theses are the skills for you. Any time you do ice damage, from weapons or skills, you have a chance to cause a freeze effect. Frozen enemies move and attack 33% slower. Elemental Attunement increases the duration of freeze (from any source), and Ice Brand deals extra damage when an enemy is frozen.

A very quick overview of the Frost tree in action.

ALL STATS ARE FOR LVL 100 CHARACTERS. IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY THESE NUMBERS ARE HIGHER THAN YOURS, THAT’S WHY.
ALSO REMEMBER THAT ALL TOOLTIPS ARE BEFORE STAT/ITEM BONUSES. YOU WILL BE DOING MORE DAMAGE THAN IS LISTED.

THE X-Y NUMBERS ARE FOR 1-15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
THE X-Y / A-B NUMBERS ARE for 1/15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
X/Y/Z NUMBERS ARE REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
X(Y) NUMBERS ALSO REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
(ENTRIES LISTED LIKE THIS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE AT HIGHER TIERS)

ImageIcy Blast
Mana Cost: 11-46
Cooldown: 1 second
5(7) bolts
Inflicts 30-58% of weapon DPS as ice damage
50-85% chance to freeze for 3-10 seconds
50(75)% chance to immobilize target for 3(4) seconds
(Target’s physical damage reduced by 20% for 6 seconds)

Why is this skill not available on LMB? I have no idea.

This is the basic ice skill. It shoots 5(7) bolts out randomly in a 45 degree arc in front of you. For being a level 1 skill, this one is pretty solid. The spread is big enough to take out groups of enemies, and narrow enough to hit big enemies multiple times. The freeze and immobilization also makes it great for kiting. If some miss? Well they can ricochet. It’s a lot more mana heavy to use than Magma Spear, but it’s only slightly higher than Prismatic Bolt. Don’t look down on this skill for being level 1 at all. You could probably clear most of the game just fine using mainly just this. Good for a crowd control main spammer (which is why I want it on LMB…)

Also note that it has an unlisted cooldown, so +cast speed won’t do you any good here.

ImageHailstorm
Mana Cost: 18-56
Cooldown: 2.5-1.1
50-78% chance to stun for 3 seconds
1266-3163 / 2151-5378 ice damage
10-80% chance to freeze for 6 seconds
(Ice/Electric damage taken is increased by 20/40/60% for 6 seconds)

This skill is a lot like Firestorm, but you get it a LOT earlier, and it’s a lot more useful for crowd control. While Firestorm deals more overall damage, Hailstorm can stun whole packs of enemies. It doesn’t build charge, so it’s something to leave on your hotbar and hold down when your charge is full.

ImageFrost Phase
Mana Cost: 18-36
Cooldown: 1 second
Radius: 2.5/3.75/5/6.25
1108-1582 ice damage
+15-43 knockback
10-80% chance to freeze for 3 seconds

Pretty much every Embermage gets at least 1 rank of this skill… actually, I’ve never seen an Embermage take more. This skill pretty much just sits on your hotbar for ‘OH, CRAP!’ moments when you need to get out of there fast… which is often. I, and just about every other Embermage player out there, fully recommend getting 1 rank of this. The damage and knockback are irrelevant. You just want the teleporting.

But wait… it’s not a REAL teleport. You can’t go through walls with this thing. From what I can tell, the way it works is that it tries to make a path to your target location. If your target location is over X WALKING distance away, it won’t work. You can use this to go around corners, but not straight through walls. Don’t think of it as a teleport, but more of an instant run for X meters.

ImageElemental Boon
Mana Cost: 18-(28)
Cooldown: 30 seconds
Poison/Electric/Ice/Fire damage taken is reduced by 10-38% for 15 seconds
+10-38% Fire/Ice/Poison/Electric damage for 15 seconds
(42-72% Slow/Immobilization resistance for 15 seconds)
(9-20 mana recovery over 10 seconds)

This skill gives you a lot of power for a short duration, and then you wait for the cooldown. It’s good for a little extra UMPH now and again. The damage reduction is nice too. Still, I find that I normally just don’t use this skill. I tend to prefer constant damage over large spikes here and there (plus I’m terrible at micromanaging skills). The mana regen is weirdly small too. Lots of people like the damage boost, but I find it too tedious for me.

ImageFrost Wave
Mana Cost: 21-44
1/3/5 waves
+2215-4429 / 2215-4429 ice damage
2219-8862 ice damage over 7 seconds
50-92% chance to freeze for 7 seconds

This is probably the most popular Frost skill by far, not counting Frost Phase. At rank 1, it can seem a bit underwhelming, but once you get 5 waves going at once, it can really fill the screen up. High damage over a high area? Yes, there’s a reason why people love this skill. Also, the waves ricochet off walls, so this skill will absolutely bulldoze through small rooms. Will end up doing more damage than Hailstorm, but it doesn’t stun or shoot over gaps. Excellent skill to lean on once your charge is full, because it will basically carpet the screen.

ImageIce Prison
Mana Cost: 32-61
Cooldown: 10(2) seconds
Duration: 8 seconds
10-45% damage reflected back on attacker
(100% chance on kill to shatter dealing ? damage)
(4745-7910 ice damage over 5 seconds to imprisoned foes)

This skill seems to be a bit underrated on the forums right now. It creates a little ring of ice that you can move through, but enemies can not. It doesn’t need to target an enemy, so you can just place this down on a bridge or other narrow path. Any enemy that attacks it will damage itself. At tier 1, it will damage enemies when it shatters, which is a bit negligible at times because you’re using it for crowd control, not damage. At tier 2, it will damage any enemy in the circle, which can be fun for champions/bosses. At tier 3, the cooldown is now 2 seconds instead of 10. Now you can use this a LOT more effectively. While you may think an extra 14 points into this skill is useless, don’t overlook the tier 3 bonus. This skill is EXCELLENT against a lot of bosses, as it holds them still momentarily while you shoot (instead of running away and NOT shooting!). Note that you can only have one prison up at a time. If you cast a second one, the first one disappears.

ImageAstral Ally
Mana Cost: 57-100
Cooldown: 60-32 seconds
20/30/40/50 seconds summon duration
Deals 3148-4722 physical damage
+0-56 to all damage
+0-56 to physical armor

This summons a buddy that follows you around. He fires at enemies at a fairly slow rate, and only uses Prismatic Bolt, Icy Blast and Magma Spear. Doesn’t do amazing damage, doesn’t attack that quickly, but it IS an extra hand, and a possibly meat shield. I honestly found him to be a bit underwhelming, but not at all useless. Note that +pen/minion items work on your ally as well, so you could possibly create a minion master build with this guy (along with he summon skeleton/zombie spell scrolls).

ImageStaff Mastery
-6-34% to Electric/Poison/Ice/Fire armor for 8 seconds
Reduces the elemental armor of any enemy you hit with your staff. This also includes any skill that uses your staff’s damage as well (Magma Spear, Magma Mace, Icy Blast, Shocking Burst, Arc Beam, Shockbolts, and Shocking Orb). Remember that the armor damage is cumulative, so it will only take three hits with fifteen points in the passive to reach 100% reduction. People were saying that you can’t reduce armor below 0, but confirmation is needed on that.

WARNING: For some reason, Shocking Burst, Arc Beam and Shocking Orb do NOT proc Staff Mastery. I’m not sure if this is a bug, or intentional. I’m leaving them in the list for now because, as worded, they should clearly work. As of writing this, the only skill that works with Staff Mastery that does NOT work with Wand Chaos is Magma Mace.

ImageFrozen Fate
20-76% chance to immobilize target for 3-5.8 seconds
Warning: I do not recommend ‘on kill’ effects for multiplayer use. Six players won’t get six times as many enemies. You will not get as many kills in multiplayer. Caveat emptor.
This skill can be pretty useful for crowd control builds. The problem is that it only gets a few enemies, and it doesn’t always work, even at rank 15 (76%). Still, when it does go off, it can be a life saver. My Embermages usually have one rank of this, and only one rank. If you REALLY want extra crowd control, this is not a bad passive.

ImageIce Brand
+2215 / 2215-6643 additional ice damage to frozen enemies

If an enemy currently has the freeze condition on them, ANY attack deals additional ice damage (even if it’s not an ice attack). Remember that anything that does ice damage has a chance to inflict freeze, so if you’re heavily invested in ice skills, this passive is a must buy. Each Elemental Brand will only trigger once per second, and there seems to be a slight delay after a status effect starts, and an Elemental Brand being able to trigger. Each rank increases the maximum damage by a static amount (based on level), so if you’re going for multiple Elemental Brands (like with a Prismatic Bolt build), there isn’t an ‘efficient’ way to distribute your skill points.

TLDR: Ice element is best element.

Storm Skills

Warning: Most Storm skills are bugged with the following problems:
Not using Staff Mastery when they clearly should List
Not building charge List

Use this tree with cuation

ALL STATS ARE FOR LVL 100 CHARACTERS. IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY THESE NUMBERS ARE HIGHER THAN YOURS, THAT’S WHY.
ALSO REMEMBER THAT ALL TOOLTIPS ARE BEFORE STAT/ITEM BONUSES. YOU WILL BE DOING MORE DAMAGE THAN IS LISTED.

THE X-Y NUMBERS ARE FOR 1-15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
THE X-Y / A-B NUMBERS ARE for 1/15 POINTS IN THE SKILL
X/Y/Z NUMBERS ARE REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
X(Y) NUMBERS ALSO REPRESENT DIFFERENT TIERS
(ENTRIES LISTED LIKE THIS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE AT HIGHER TIERS)

Prismatic Bolt
Mana Cost: 10-42
380/418/456/494 Fire/Ice/Electric/Poison damage
10-24% chance to poison/burn/shock/freeze for 3-5.8 seconds

Shocking Burst
Mana Cost: 19-53 per second
Arc: 75/105/135/165 degrees
Inflicts 20-34% of weapon DPS as electric damage
633-949 / 633-2278 electric damage over 1 second
Explosion on death
12-26% chance to stun target for 1-2.4 seconds

Thunder Locus
Mana Cost: 25-69
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Duration: 14-42 seconds
Attacks 1/2/3/4 enemies at once
3163-6326 / 3543-5631 electric damage

Arc Beam
Mana Cost: 17-81 per second
Destroyed enemies split the beam to ?/3/4/5 targets
Inflicts 10-24% of weapon DPS
Explosion on death
+317-633 electric damage
+5 knockback
SECONDARY:
Inflicts 40-68% of weapon DPS as electric damage

Death’s Bounty
Mana Cost: 21-44
Cooldown: 2.5-1.1 seconds
Bolts: 3/4/5/6
208-500 health recovery per second
7.3-17.6 mana recovery per second
(Movement speed reduced by ?-33% for 2 seconds)
(100% chance to stun target for 1 second)

Shockbolts
Mana Cost: 23-44
Bolts: 4(5)
Inflicts 25-% of weapon DPS as electric damage
(10% chance to immobilize target for 3 seconds)

Shocking Orb
Mana Cost: 25-44
Orbs: 1(3)
Inflicts 40-96% of weapon DPS as electric damage

Prismatic Rift
15-85% chance to cast Rift Warp when you get hit

Wand Chaos
8-36% chance to cast a Bizarre Effect on strike

Lightning Brand
+2215 / 2215-6643 additional ice damage to shocked enemies

If an enemy currently has the shock condition on them, ANY attack deals additional electric damage (even if it’s not an electric attack). Remember that anything that does electric damage has a chance to inflict shock, so if you’re heavily invested in electric skills, this passive is a must buy. Each Elemental Brand will only trigger once per second, and there seems to be a slight delay after a status effect starts, and an Elemental Brand being able to trigger. Each rank increases the maximum damage by a static amount (based on level), so if you’re going for multiple Elemental Brands (like with a Prismatic Bolt build), there isn’t an ‘efficient’ way to distribute your skill points.

TLDR: Lightning element is best element.

Basic Builds

These are builds that
1) Just show off the basic required skills for the build (so I’m not showing 1 point in Frost Phase, for example)
2) Are easy for new players. I might add in some ‘HC Elite NG++’ builds later on, but I feel as though ‘newbie friendly’ builds are more appropriate for the age of the game. People can theorycraft on other threads until the metagame starts fleshing out more.

Prismatic Brand
Basic build

The basic premise of this build is to spam Prismatic Bolt, and pretty much nothing else. Each bolt has a 24% chance each of dealing any of the four elemental debuffs for 20.8 seconds. If an enemy is burned/frozen/shocked at the same time, each hit will deal an additional 13,287 damage on average (before stat/item boosts). This is a very easy build to use, and it focuses on a skill that you can access at the beginning of the game. It only uses 75 skill points, so you can easily add in something else (like Staff Mastery and 1 point of Magma Spear to reduce armor on champions). A simple newbie friendly build.

Hailstorm
Basic build

The basic setup here is to use Icy Blast to build up charge, and then spam Hailstorm until your charge depletes. Icy Blast is best left at rank 1 until you can really build your mana up. Hailstorm doesn’t build charge, so put as many points into it as you can, and only use it when you’ve got full charge. The easiest way to do this would be to bind Hailstorm onto a hotkey, and hold down that button while holding RMB with Icy Blast. This will cast Hailstorm as soon as the cooldown has worn off, and Icy Blast while its waiting. Later on, Icy Blast’s tier bonuses will improve your survivability because of the reduced damage that enemies do, and the chance to immobilize them. Unlike Firestorm, Hailstorm is available at level 7, so you don’t have to wait to start your build.

Other Torchlight 2 Articles
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Torchlight 2 Embermage Frost Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Enjoying Multiplayer Guide
Torchlight 2 Berserker Magic Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Berserker Ranged Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Berserker Dual Claws Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Embermage Prismatic Bolts Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Engineer Canoneer Detailed Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Tanking Guide
Torchlight 2 Engineer Tank Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Skills Details List
Torchlight 2 Outlander Focus Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Poison Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Embermage Infernal Collapse Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Hybrid Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Useful Information Compilation
Torchlight 2 Embermage Comprehensive Guide
Torchlight 2 Dodge Dexterity Diminishing Returns Guide
Torchlight 2 Engineer 2H Electric Stun Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Shotgonne Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Engineer 2H Elite Sample Build
Torchlight 2 Berserker Wolfstrike Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Outlander Rapid Fire Pure Focus Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Berserker Raze Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Embermage Spellsword Build Guide
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Torchlight 2 Character Recovery Guide
Torchlight 2 Console Commands List
Torchlight 2 Socket Enchanter Finding Guide
Torchlight 2 Engineer 2H Flame Hammer Build Guide
Torchlight 2 Embermage Frostmage Build Guide
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