Mana Strike is a fun skill, one of the only Melee skills available to the Mage class. With a 0 mana cost and even free mana generation, it’s also one of the only skills in the game which don’t have to worry about mana sustain.Mana Strike has a couple of core tree nodes which make it really interesting to play. The first is Teleporting Strikes, which lets us attack INSTANTLY at INFINITE RANGE (i.e. anywhere on the screen). This is much better than spells like Fireball which have travel time.
The second set of strong core tree nodes are Mana Spark+Celestial Precision. These nodes let us scale our Mana Strike damage and crit chance off of our Mana pool. The really huge thing about this is that it turns Mana from a utility suffix into an offensive suffix - and offensive suffixes are extremely rare in this game.
Being an attack, we can also very easily stack Attack Speed on multiple slots, such as weapon, gloves, and amulet. We get 30% attack speed from passives and 30% more from the MS tree. Overall, we end up hitting incredibly fast, instantly, at long distances.
On top of this we can use the Mage’s extremely strong defensive options, Fire Shield and Ice Ward, to get layered defenses. For example, my current char (level 49) has 50% all elemental prots and 50% void prot with pretty mediocre gear, as well as 59% block chance and 38% dodge chance. This comes on top of very high ward gain and ward retention from the ward on hit, ward on kill, ward on block, and ward on dodge the class has access to.
The damage is quite good, I hit 3-4 times per second and deal 200dmg on non-crit, 500dmg on crit, with a total crit chance of somewhere between 37% and 50% (big range but the way Celestial Precision applies hasn’t yet been clarified).
Mana Strike Specialization
Following this order from first specializing to level 20:
- 2 pts Swift Strike, 2 pts Rage Sap, 1 pt Teleporting Strikes - Gives us excellent range
- 3 pts Sprite Blade - Additional area of effect for clearing packs
- 3 pts Mana Spark, 1 pt Celestial Precision - Fat base damage and bonus crit chance
- Finish off Swift Strike and Sprite Blade - Complete these for better clear
The final points are your choice, I finished off Rage Sap and put 1 point into Spark Charge to improve damage and clear. Putting 1+ points into Repulsing Strikes gives some effective defense against charging enemies.
Fire Shield and Ice Ward
Ice Ward and Fire Shield provide us with excellent layered defenses and some offensive power. Fire Shield also lets us capitalize on Passive bonuses such as Spellbound Weapon.
- 1 pt Master of the Elements, 2 pts Warding, 1 pt Plasma Shield - some defenses and a big %increased damage.
- Finish off Master of the Elements and Warding.
- 5pts Lasting Defense
The remaining points are your choice.
- 1pt Frozen Aegis - Incredible defensive bonus, and even base mana regen seems to make the downside non-existent.
- 4pts Eternal Ward - EW is our main source of ward retention outside of Int stats so it should be prioritized.
- 2pts Expansive Aegis - Block is a good defense for us, 3% per point is worth 1 Block Chance tier on shield
- 2pts Defender of the Elements, 2pts Mind Block - Gives us some ward gain and some block protection, synergises very well with the skill as a whole.
- 5pts Swirling Barrier - ward regen keeps us healthier
Remaining points are your choice, I went with 3 pts in Iceskin and the rest in Defender of the Elements. If you have a very good shield (i.e. 70%+ block chance total with Ice Ward + shield) you can consider Impenetrable Ice, it gives very large defenses.
The build also uses Innervate for Ward gain and Teleport for movement when farming, neither of these have trees currently but build will be updated when they get trees.
- 10pts Arcane Warden - attack speed is our highest priority and ward gain on hit is a big bonus. We also need 10pts allocated to get Ice Ward.
- 6pts Storm Duelist - shock chance is a big dmg bonus vs tanks for Arena (i.e. Effigies) and 2 Agility gives us some extra APS.
- 5pts Capacitor - just a straight damage/APS bonus for this build.
- 1pt Spellbound Weapon, 3pts Enchant Weapon - lets us capitalize on the constant Fire Shield casts, and gives us some bonus flat lightning damage.
- Spellblade - required to get into the upper sections, the actual bonus is pretty meaningless for us.
- Finish off Enchant Weapon and Spellbound Weapon - more dmg
- 10pts Mind Slayer - gives us a very fat Ward bonus if we are killing a lot
This gets us to ~51? The rest of the points are up to you, IMO the best options are actually in the Sorceror tree, 25pts in Scholar and Wisdom will net you 5 Intelligence (=50% Ward retention), 75 mana (=11 flat lightning and 7.5% base crit), and 70 health (pretty meaningless). After these, Ward Draught might be good defensively, or more points in the third level of Spellblade to get some stats (extra Agility or Attunement mostly).
The Humming Bee is very good early, it can keep you at 100+ Ward even below lvl 10 and we stack a lot of attack speed early which helps. Ultimately, the ward gain from this sword does fall off, and we swap to a crafted weapon for better DPS.
A crafted Falchion will vastly out-damage Humming Bee. We use Falchion because it has the best Attack Speed implicit. A good Falchion has Melee Crit Chance and one of % Crit Chance or Crit Multi as prefixes. We don’t have much in the way of offensive suffixes, so I would probably go for Chance to Blind and a non-Elemental Protection.
As Scepters can use Mana as a suffix, a good one-handed Scepter might outdamage a Falchion. This depends on whether a top Mana roll is better than an 11% attack speed implicit. If Mana goes to e.g. +50, that’s the same as 5% base crit and about 7 flat lightning. An optimal Scepter would look like a Falchion but with Mana in place of Protection on the suffix.
On a Shield the most important stat is block chance. A very good shield base has 35%+ base block chance (I have this on a Heater), and a high block chance prefix. A single shield can be worth 50% block chance like this.
The other affixes will also be defensive, I went for 2x Protections and will probably be crafting on Block Protection in the future. Other good suffixes include Dodge Rating and Damage Taken on Block. Mix and match here for a good shield based on the stats of the rest of your gear.
Body Armor is a very defensive slot for us, the main rolls we want on an Armor are %Dodge, flat Dodge, and Protections. Glancing Blow is also very strong defensively.
A good, offensive unique choice is Urzil’s Pride, it gives 40 flat mana which is 4% crit chance and 6 flat lightning. The Strength bonus is also 30% increased damage.
Jeweled Circlets are BIS for us currently, the flat Mana from their implicit translates directly into damage for us. The best prefixes are Glancing Blow and CDR, CDR is a big improvement for Innervate.
Suffixes are variable, 2x Protections or 1 Protection and Dodge Rating is a safe setup.
Leather Gloves are the best base for the free Void Protection. Most important stat on gloves is Melee Attack Speed, as it’s one of the only slots which can roll this. The other 3 affixes are as per normal for armor - Glancing Blow and 2x Protections.
Boots are a weak slot for us, we don’t care much about movespeed in Arena due to the arena being small, and we don’t care about movespeed for farming because we can just teleport around. Boots can get %Dodge which is pretty much the best affix we’ll get on them. Optimal has Glancing, %Dodge, and 2x Prots or Dodge+Prot.
Stormtide is an option for us as well, it provides a large amount of shock effect at the cost of being shocked after we stop moving. It gives us a boost to DPS but personally I think the self-shock is too damaging at high levels in Arena (which is the only place we really need the damage boost).
Ring of the Third Eye is BIS for us, it provides free %lightning from implicit, ward gain on crit, %crit chance, and ward retention. IMO it’s not worth running two of these (-30% multi is much easier than -60%), the second Ring slot can be spent on a good crafted ring.
For crafted rings, we go with a Copper or Gold base. We have a lot of strong prefix options. %crit chance is mandatory in my opinion, and %Lightning is a good damage mod as well. The Agility/Dodge hybrid and the Intelligence/Spell Damage mod are both strong defensive prefixes as well. For suffixes we go pretty standard, looking for Dodge or Protections.
For Amulets we go for a Jade base for even more APS. Prefixes look similar to Rings, with one key difference - Amulets can get crit multi as a prefix, and so we should aim to pick up some multi in this slot. Best setup in my opinion is Melee Attack Speed and crit multi, but I would not be unhappy swapping the multi for %crit or %lightning.
For suffixes there are actually 2 offensive mods in Mana and Shock Effect, we can choose to take both of these for nice offensive bonuses, or we can just go for Protections or Dodge.
Crafted Belts are very weak overall (very defensive slot) so I moved towards unique belts. The Ward on Dodge from Ward Trail is very strong, and the 100 dodge rating it gives us is substantial - it gives me about 14% extra dodge rating on its own in my build.
Vipertail is a very slightly more offensive option, if you pick up all points in Storm Duelist we have 5 agility so the belt is effectively worth 6.5% attack speed. It also gives the Poison and Slow chance. Overall I think the fat Ward gains from Ward Trail are better.
Relics are another highly offensive slot, they can be crafted very similarly to Amulets. The core difference is that Relics can’t get Attack Speed, so we go for %crit and crit multi on the prefixes. Suffixes we pick up Mana and any Protection which you are lacking in.
IMO the best base is Ancient Tome, the Warding Tome just doesn’t offer anything meaningful in terms of protection. Stained Tome is an option just for the free 30 protection on all non-elemental prots.