Diablo 3: PTR Patch 2.7 Season 23 Initial Testing With Wizard Tal Rasha + Firebird Revamp

So I hopped on the PTR today a few times to give the new Firebird revamp a spin along with checking out the new changes for ones Followers. Initially, I thought that the Tal Rasha 5 piece + Firebird 3 piece would be good but I did encounter issues as I upped the difficulty level.

So a lot of people are pushing for Tal Rasha 5 piece (6 piece bonus) with a Firebird 3 piece (4 piece bonus) to make use of the damage and defensive boosts from the Firebird set revamp. Thus far, I tried two different skills for these builds and will summarize how I feel about both here.

Energy Twister

This is the most obvious setup. The main four pieces of gear beyond the set pieces are:

  • Etched Sigil (for boosting Energy Twister’s damage and auto-casting it through Disintegrate)
  • The Twisted Sword (for boosting Energy Twister’s damage, giving The Raging Storm Rune and merging up to 3 other ETs)
  • Ranslor’s Folly (grouping up enemies through Energy Twister and increasing Energy Twister’s damage)
  • Deathwish (increasing all damage via Disintegrate)
  • Hergbrash’s Binding (reducing the cost of Disintegrate)
  • Halo of Karini (defense through Storm Armor)
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur (of course)
  • Convention of Elements

Some people might substitute Ranslor’s Folly with an Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer to improve your shields. But it’s a pretty big DPS loss as well as losing the ability to group enemies for your Energy Twisters to do the most damage. So I found that setup a little sketchy

For legendary gems, I chose the following:

  • Bane of the Trapped
  • Bane of the Stricken (for bosses)
  • Taeguk

I’ve seen some people use a Zei’s Stone of Vengeance but it’s not very useful in my opinion. Taeguk is far better just because of the Armor bonus through Channeling.

Right now, this is my favorite setup for this build. The bulk of your damage will be done through Energy Twister. Disintegrate is just there to help aut0-cast Energy Twisters and provide Ignite for defense along with lowering the cooldown for Teleport.

You will have Meteor being auto-cast but the effect is mostly a clean up type of situation. You will get at least three different elements in this setup with lightning through your Energy Armor, fire through Disintegrate: Convergence, and Arcane from the Raging Storm rune via Energy Twister.

At the moment, I have Magic Missile: Glacial Spike to trigger a cold effect. However, I think I might end up changing this to Energy Twister because of how the combining effect requires the wizard to cast the spell directly.

My skills are currently setup like this:

  • Magic Missile: Glacial Spike (left click, probably will change back to Energy Twister)
  • Disintegrate: Convergence (right click for a wider beam)
  • Teleport: Wormhole (the cooldown reduction from the set isn’t that great but Safe Passage might be a better option for improved defense at higher difficulties)
  • Black Hole: Spellsteal (might change this to Energy Twister and keep Magic Missile where it is since Ranslor’s Folly mostly does something similar)
  • Magic Weapon: Deflection (for defense)
  • Storm Armor: Power of the Storm (to reduce the cost of abilities)

There is some flexibility in this. Like Storm Armor could switch to Scramble for a little more movement.

For passives, I have the following setup:

  • Blur (more defense)
  • Elemental Exposure (more damage)
  • Galvanizing Ward (more shield defense)
  • Conflagration

I might change out Conflagration for Unwavering Will just to get more damage and defense overall. Conflagration sounds good on paper just because it’s fire and goes well with the theme of the Firebird set. But the real name of the game is defense because Firebird isn’t the 6 piece set here.

The build is pretty high damage and quickly ramps up once your Ignite is applied. But the key is that you need to have at least one ignite going for the defense to work. It’s easy to not have any enemies or lose ignites and get wasted.

Fortunately, the Firebird’s 2 set bonus includes a cheat death. So you could have a double cheat death by taking a second one through your follower.

The build itself is pretty slow. Even with a Boon of the Hoarder, I found normal rifts horribly slow especially after playing a GoD Demon Hunter for two seasons straight. The cooldown reduction from the Firebird 4 piece bonus on teleport is pretty mediocre. That’s why I ended up taking the Wormhole rune because there’s no other way to reset the cooldown quick enough.

One thing I did try was the Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer but honestly thought that the damage reduction from shields was severely lacking. You really just need to keep Ignite up for this build to work. One alternative I’m thinking about is using a Unity for a flat 50% damage reduction. It’ll nuke a lot of my damage from Convention of Elements but I find that damage negligible compared to safety. Either way, I’ll have to play around with it.

Arcane Orb

The second build I tried was an Arcane Orb version. The basic gear isn’t too drastically different from the one above, but there are a few notable differences.

  • Unstable Scepter (increase Arcane Orb damage and triggers another explosion)
  • Triumvirate (Signature Spells boost Arcane Orb damage)
  • Wizard Spike (auto-cast Arcane Orb 25% of the time from attacks)

So in this version, you’re using a cold version of Arcane Orb being auto-cast through Disintegrate and combining that attack with some Signature Spells to stack more damage.You will use the Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer so you’ll have more defense.

That said, I thought this build was still squishy if not more so as well as chaotic. The damage wasn’t bad but Arcane Orb doesn’t launch frequently enough and does not linger like Energy Twister. Also, you cannot group with Arcane Orb so you’ll need a spell like Blackhole to do this for you.

I found this version to be a bit hectic and less reliable than the Energy Twister version. I didn’t care for needing to keep track somehow of Signature Spells to boost my Arcane Orb’s damage. You probably can trigger your meteor attacks from Tal Rasha’s more easily with all the ways you’re going to be attacking, but it’s just too messy. The auto-grouping with Energy Twister along with the auto-cast from Disintegrate are massive quality of life benefits from the other build.

I’m sure there are other ways for this build. But I think if you are thinking of doing a Tal Rasha version, you’ll most likely end up going with Energy Twister.

Follower Impressions

Thus far, I have only used the tried and true Templar for my Wizard’s follower. It made sense since she was more resource oriented and could use the Templar’s ability to CC enemies. But at the moment, I couldn’t really see a major difference with the revamped abilities. I still am waiting for the cheat death part to come into play. With the Firebird’s 2 piece set bonus though, I think that part won’t be necessary except as a real emergency.

Now, let’s talk about the real fun: gear. So right now, here’s my Templar’s gear setup:

  • Avarice Ring
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur (YES YOU CAN USE THIS)
  • Broken Helmet
  • Nemesis Bracers
  • Flavor of Time
  • Goldskin
  • Gladiator Gloves
  • Homing Pads
  • Sage’s Journey Set (2 pieces but with the 3 piece bonus enabled through the RoRG) via belt and boots
  • Storm Shield
  • Azurewrath
  • Cain’s Set (pants)

I’m probably going to just ditch the RoRG and go with a full Sage set 3 piece and use a different ring (like the Oculus Ring). So for Greater Rifts, the bulk of this gear is useless. The most useful pieces that work in both settings are Nemesis Bracers and the Flavor of Time. Those are excellent additions.

The rest are better farming gear. I have gone heavy with the gold farming gear which is great in normal rifts along with using a Boon of the Hoarder. The Avarice Band along with the Boon of the Hoarder are extremely good because it helps vacuum up gold, health globes and speed up globes.

The Sage’s set, I can see, will be an enormous benefit for Season 23 early on. I’ve been doing T11-13 and the amount of Death Breaths being dropped is incredible. So I can’t wait to use this set once the Season drops.

The gold set really isn’t that great especially when you have a Boon of the Hoarder already at level 50. It might be better early on when you aren’t leveling a Boon of the Hoarder. Also, the other use case would be XP farming in T16 with Custerian Wristguards. But in that situation you would be sacrificing Nemesis Bracers for those.

The Broken Helm at the moment doesn’t feel like much. I’m sure with Gem Goblins, the helmet will make a difference. However, most of the gems I’ve found seem like random drops still. So not sure if it’s me or there’s an actual bug.

Homing Pads are great QoL for normal rifts. These will be great in rifts where you speed through and still haven’t cleaned up. Or in Adventure Mode where you have some annoying leftovers. I feel these will serve quite well early on.

I did try applying the Asheara’s Set to my follower just to see if the Templar could trigger summoning the other two. Alas, he could not but I hope this situation will change in the future with an update to the set.

Of course, if they update the Asheara’s set to allow for two more followers in some capacity, they would need to add more items to make them useful. It’s clear that Followers are mostly utilitarian at the moment. But their gear is mostly worthless in Greater Rifts and it’s a discrepancy I hope that will change in a future iteration.

I didn’t try out the Cain’s set, which provides the extra Greater Rift key yet. I crafted a few pieces but realized that the use case for this set is fresh Seasons and late game for those who fish for perfect rifts. Since the XP bonus from this set is not Emanated, it’s not that useful for players who aren’t GR fishing.

I still need to check out the other two followers. I think one great thing about the expanded gear is that you have more room for mules. You cannot use class specific gear on them though. The game prohibited me from doing that.

Also, I noticed that the Armory won’t allow me to save Follower sets. So you will need to swap gear manually between Greater and Normal rifts.

Tomorrow, I might give the PTR another shot. I might ditch the Tal Rasha aspect of the build and just try a straight Firebird build. I feel that you’re just losing too much in trying to shove all that gear into a hybrid build. It’s a fun concept but I can feel the squishiness from giving up a ring slot to the RoRG. I don’t think Tal Rasha’s 4 piece defensive bonus is that great either. The meteors are cool but really aren’t that great if your goal is trying to proc each element.

The other thing I want to try is the ravamped Rathma set. I did have a Necromancer with the basic gear but I need to figure out how to make this build work. It’s been a long time since I played this build and I’m not sure how it’ll work with the changes.

Lastly, I might even give a Witch Doctor a go. I’m not that motivated to try the newest set since it too got nerfed. But it’s the one set I have yet to goof around on since they were introduced.

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