In the quest to continually expand upon the guide I decided to do an in-depth review of some of the spells that a Wizard may want to use. I avoided a review of spells that have the primary purpose of dealing damage as they are self-explanatory (and quite boring imo). The review below is intended to help players realize that one of the greatest strengths of the Wizard is their large and flexible spell selection, allowing them to fill an invaluable role in any party. As always, I welcome feedback and suggestions. It is likely I missed something, but with your help, we can make this an amazing resource.
- Holds – Enchantment - These spells are the reason why the dps in the party loves you. They may despise you for insta-killing mobs left and right, but when you kick off a mass hold, their eye gleam with joy. Remember that helpless mobs take 50% more damage (likely much more due to Sense weakness, No mercy and other enhancements). As much fun as insta-kills are, nothing is more cost effective than helpful to a good party then 20 mobs held in place as the blitzing melee litter the ground with the mobs entrails. Throwing a mass hold at the spawn point in Lines of Supply and seeing 20+ mobs stand there with blue hoola-hoops on always brings a smile to my face. I don’t typically bother with the single target versions, but the mass holds are always in my spell list. Examples: Hold person/monster, Mass hold person/monster, Halt Undead
- Dance – Enchantment 7/8 - Incredibly useful as a persistent area-effect control (Otto’s Sphere of Dancing) and as single target no-save control (Otto’s Irresistible Dance). Irresistible Dance works on nearly all (living) orange names, and is indispensable in managing fights with those mini-bosses
- Web – Conjuration 2 - Persistent crowd control and very few mobs are immune to it. Add it to your spell list early and use it forever.
- Fogs – Conjuration 1-6 - Not really crowd control per se, but a great buff for the party. Fogs have the benefit of granting a 20% concealment bonus is not negated by True Seeing (or most red/purple named bosses), drastically reducing incoming damage in those situations. I recommend Cloudkill as your primary fog spell, as it has the least impact on other players visibility.
- Flesh to Stone – Transmutation 6 – This is another fun spell to use for single target control. Unfortunately, it targets one of the stronger mob saves (fortitude) and is not from a typically pumped school. Transmutation DC’s are likely 8-11 lower then Necromancy DC, so in almost all cases that you would want to use this spell, a Finger of Death would do better.
- Charms – Enchantment - These are very situational as usually it is faster/better to hold the monster and just kill it. However, there are occasions where it can be useful (Air Elemental's in Fleshmaker). Just if you use a Charm spell, make sure you have dismiss charm on your hot bar. I am a fan, however; of Dominate Monster. Typically, you will have level 9 spell slots to spare and Dominating an EE mob can be a lot of fun. Note, that in epic content charms only last about 12-15 seconds, regardless of spell duration. Examples: (Mass) Charm Person/Monster, Suggestion, Symbol of Persuasion, Dominate Person/Monster
- Stuns – Evocation -The various stunning/dazing spells are only typically used in content where you are unable to break mobs spell resistance (EE Drow content) or low levels before you get mass holds (Electric loop). Spells like Greater Shout provide a good CC option for those situations; outside of those specific instances you are almost always better to use a hold. Examples: Sonic Blast, Electric loop, Shout, Symbol of Stunning, Greater Shout, Power Word: Stun
These spells are the reason you likely rolled up a PM in the first place. They are fun to cast, and are the best form of control you can use against trash (if mobs are dead they can’t hurt anyone ).
- Finger of death – Necromancy 7 – This is your go-to death spell. Single target, fast cool down and precision targeting. It also has one of my favorite spell animations in the game.
- Circle of Death – Necromancy 6 – First area of effect death spell. This spell has the added benefit of being able to throw it at a group of mobs at range. Downside is that it is another double save spell (Ref+Fort).
- Wail of the Banshee – Necromancy 9 – Not nearly as cool as it was prior to MotU, but still a very effective spell (not that they fixed it). Should be in every PM’s spell list.
- Phantasmal Killer – Illusion 4 – The first death spell you get and useful even at cap. It is unfortunate that it has two saves (Will+Fort) but if you are running Master Illusionist gloves you will have a significant Illusion DC, making this a good spell to use when the other death spells are on cool down. Only big downside to the spell is that it takes up a precious level 4 spell slot
- Undeath to Death – Necromancy 6 – Acts as a Circle of death, but targets undead (Will save). With the mass numbers of undead in the game, this spell is almost always in my spell list.
- Trap the Soul – Conjuration 8 – This is an all-time favorite of mine, as it bypasses those annoying deathwards and doesn’t care what the target is (living, dead – doesn’t matter). Unfortunately, the spell caps at 30HD, which makes it worthless for EE content. It is my favorite death spell to use in EH Fot (and to a less extent CitW), and is great while leveling – but until turbine increases the HD cap on the spell it will be of only niche use.
- Banish/Dismissal – Abjuration 5/7 – I personally never really bother with this spell, but it can have its usage while leveling (Vale). I typically have better uses for a lvl 5 or 7 slot then a creature specific kill spell – I much prefer to just kill them with a Finger or Circle.
- Power Word: Kill – Conjuration 9 – No save death spell, if only it didn’t have a 5 min cool down. Still worth slotting (what else are you going to use that level 9 spell slot for?) and can be handy if you get that special mob that just won’t die.
These spells have the goal of reducing target saves, allowing for a higher chance of spells and/or effects of landing. You want to keep a focus on both spell point efficiency and elapsed time from decision to the action taking effect. In most cases debuffs will be cast will all meta-magic abilities off.
- Level drain - Necromancy 4/6/8/9 - These spells are your primary debuff, mobs take -2 to saves for every level drained, and the hit point loss (especially on EE orange named mobs) is so extreme, that these spells double as your highest damage dealers. Primary usage is to case a level drain on a mob at the start of the engagement (unless you are confident that your kill spell will land), and then follow up with your death spell or move on to the next target, depending on the situation. Examples: Necrotic Ray (1 level), Enervation (1d4 levels), Symbol of Death (P-AoE, 1 level), Energy drain (2d4 levels)
- Fear Effects – Necromancy 1/2/4 - Fear spells get a bad rap, due to the annoying problem of feared mobs running in terror, forcing the party to track them down. However, at higher levels they have a use by causing the shaken effect (-2 to all saves) when the mobs succeed on their save. Ideal use is to low level fear spell (Scare is a good one) and make sure heighten is turned off. Just be prepared that if you actually succeed in landing the fear spell, it is your responsibility to take them down (quickly). Examples: Cause Fear, Scare, Fear
- Will save specific – Enchantment 1/4/5 - Area effect defuffs typically cast prior to casting a mass hold or dancing ball. Will save reduction is usually quite significant with a large AoE. Examples : Hypnotism (-3 will, no save), Crushing Despair (-5 will, no save; -2 all others if mobs fail will save), Mind Fog (Persistent, -10 will, Will save negates)
- Gust of Wind / Cyclonic Blast – Evocation 2/5 – Great for getting rid of Dancing Balls, Fogs and Walls of Fire. I nearly always carry Gust of Wind for getting rid of annoying dancing balls – highly recommended.
- Break enchantment - Abjuration 5 – Every wizard should either slot this spell or carry scrolls of it. It can be targeted on players to get rid of debuffs (Crushing Despair, hamstring, etc) requiring a caster level check, or on areas to get rid of persistent effects (Blade barriers, Cloudkill, annoying dog goo out of LOB) with no check. Typically I just carry a stack of scrolls, but I wouldn't fault anyone for slotting this.
- Fireball – Beyond its use as a low level nuke, this little gem has great use even at end game. A fireball can open a breakable door that typically requires a strength check (which is likely quite low on a wizard) and is a great counter for webs that are entangling your party. Add to the fact that I almost always have more lvl 3 slots than I know what to do with, makes fireball a staple in my spell list.
- Knock – Transmutation 2 - With your high intelligence score you can open most of the doors/chests in the game. Also it is great fun to unlock a chest right before the rogue finishes his animation to open the lock.
- Invisibility / Mass Invisibility – I can’t even begin to count the situations where casting invisibility on the party makes the quest run faster/easier. If you are not slotting one of these spells, you should be carrying mass invisibility scrolls.
- Feather fall – Situational, but useful for situations when you want the entire party to land together. I really only use this for Fall of Truth, to ensure the Reaver gets initial aggro while the party is falling.