So I finally got my Hydra build up and running. Sadly, it was far easier to gear this character than my demon hunter, but that’s understandable as my demon hunter was my starter. However, before I tried this build, I was going Legacy of Dreams just to give it a shot. It felt a little awkward since I had no idea what I was doing and made the decision to try the new wizard set instead.
Prior to trying this build out, I read about how the build wasn’t great on another review. There weren’t a lot of specifics so I decided to try and gear out the build myself based on updated legendaries. The main items you need besides the set pieces are:
- Serpent’s Sparkler – Double the hydra heads. You should aim for one of these immediately since the extra heads provide not only a damage boost but massive damage reduction
- The Magistrate – Has your hydra heads cast Frost Nova and increases the damage (major item)
- Winter Flurry – Causes your enemies killed by cold to release a Frost Nova 25% of the time. Also, causes your Hydras to increase damage to enemies in a Blizzard
- Fragment of Destiny – Signature Spells attack faster and do increased damage. You gain a Spectral buff that stacks up to 10 times when using a Signature Spell. Hydras do 20% increased damage per Spectral stack (stacks up to 10 times)
- The Shame of Delsere – Signature Spells attack faster and restore 9 Arcane Power
- Squirt’s Necklace – Massive damage increased when you’re not dealt damage
- Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer -Increases your shields
- Halo of Karini – For damage reduction when Storm Armor damages an enemy
- Convention of Elements – Big multiplier especially when cold damage is up
- Ring of Royal Grandeur – So you can use either a Tasker and Theo or The Magistrate
- Tasker and Theo – Increases your hydra attack speed
- Aether Walker – Changes Teleport into a resource spender rather than a cooldown. Completely optional.
This build assumes you’re using the 4th Kanai’s Cube slot for Season 22. I took Aether Walker because this build is VERY slow (especially after playing a speedy channeling build like the DH GoD build for two seasons straight).
Besides normal offensive stats (critical hit, critical damage) on your main pieces of gear, the other one I find useful is resource cost reduction. I cannot emphasize enough how much you will spend on casting Blizzard and Hydra.
For the Legendary Gems, here’s my current setup:
- Enforcer – Huge boost for your hydra damage. The secondary isn’t as important but you still need to ensure that you keep your hydra heads alive at all time.
- Bane of the Trapped – You will be freezing things so you will gain bonus damage from the slow effect.
- Bane of the Stricken – Boss and elite killer. Even a low level version will instantly delete rift bosses.
For the other gems, I use an Emerald in the weapon slot and Topaz gems in the rest. Topaz is helpful in the helmet just because the resource cost is huge.
Skill-wise, I have things set up as:
- Shock Pulse, Piercing Orb – You can choose a different Signature Spell here. Many I’ve seen use Spectral Blades. But I prefer ranged to help build up my Spectral stacks
- Blizzard, Apocalypse – Not really the main damaging ability here, but it’s a buff to your hydras. Hence, the increased area rather than a cold ability
- Teleport, Wormhole – I’m probably going to change this to Safe Passage since I use an Aether Walker. However, I feel that the build can be very squishy and might benefit more from a Unity. If you go that route, then Wormhole is the better rune here.
- Magic Weapon, Deflection – This provides your shields that get buffed with Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer.
- Storm Armor, Power of the Storm – Flat out defensive used with Halo of Karini.
- Hydra, Frost Hydra – You’re primarily going to be doing cold damage using Frost Nova triggers that get cast by your Hydras and when you kill enemies.
Passive skills look like this:
- Unwavering Will – Generally, a good defensive boost
- Audacity – Damage boost
- Prodigy – So this is a big one to me. I feel that the resource drain on this character is HUGE. You will frequently find yourself out of Arcane Power. So using this along with The Shame of Delsere, you will be able to rebuild your Arcane Power fast.
- Galvanizing Ward – This is the other part of the shield that gets boosted.
If you opt to go for Teleport Wormhole without the Aether Walker, I would suggest changing Unwavering Will or Audacity to Illusionist to reduce the cooldown of Teleport. I think for Greater Rifts, you really don’t need the speed as much as you need defensive abilities so that might be better. For normal rifts and bounties, the Aether Walker is much better since some areas are devoid of enemies.
How do you play this build? First thing: drop two hydras in any area you start in immediately! This build is a bit like the old Demon Hunter Marauder build with Sentries in that your hydras are doing the bulk of the work. But unlike the old Marauder build, the hydras provide a secondary function with your set in giving a HUGE defensive boost per head kept alive.
You don’t really need to spam hydras when you’re going from area to area. You just need to make sure you have 10 heads up at all times. Generally, what I prefer to do is after entering an area, I place two hydras down to get the defensive buff. Then I move out a bit to scout my area. If there’s no enemies immediately in my area, I’ll teleport to a point where I can start seeing enemies. Then I’ll place another hydra, launch a blizzard and hit my signature abilities to begin building up Spectral stacks.
What I found is that in greater rifts, I needed to make sure I developed a habit of placing my hydras down as my first two actions. Sometimes, you’ll be at the entry point and have monsters waiting to instagib you. Nothing else matters in terms of survivability.
The damage on this build is very good. Bosses thus far have been instantly deleted. Rift bosses are extremely easy because you can setup your hydras immediately where the bosses spawn and place a single blizzard that will delete the boss in a second.
The most frustrating thing besides dealing with hydra placement is the constant dilemma of resource management. You will be consistently out of Arcane Power on this build. I’ve seen a few builds using a channeling skill instead of a Signature Spell, but I think that’s not a great solution. There is too much synergy between your items not to take a signature spell. You really don’t need to maintain 10 Spectral Stacks from what I’ve seen. It’s just a nice bonus (probably until you start really pushing).
The second most frustrating thing is speed. This is NOT a fast build. Even casting spells feels slow. This is why I chose an Aether Walker. I know there’s a DB farming version of this build. You probably could swap out Bane of the Stricken for a Boon of the Hoarder if you need more speed in normal rifts for farming. But compared to the GoD demon hunter build, you will feel the area clear can be clunky.
Overall, this build felt a lot like the old Marauder build. There is a bit of a rotation so this isn’t exactly a passive build. The hydras do the bulk of your damage, but you do use spells like Blizzard and signature spells to help buff your hydra damage. I’m sure there’s other ways to optimize this build, but the layout I presented here feels the best for my style.