The Melee Sorceress or Meleeress is a build intending on making the magically-inclined Sorceress into a melee fighter. She is not made for this use, meaning this build is seemingly not for practical use, in reality however, it can indeed be an extremely powerful build. It is essentially a ladder-only build, due to the majority of damage coming from the Dream Rune Word.
By definition, this build the Sorceress only invests points in skills that are not used to directly attack the enemy with magic. All other skills can only serve as prerequisites or synergies.
Using these guidelines, only the following skills are permitted:
- Cold Spells
- Frozen Armor
- Shiver Armor
- Chilling Armor
- Cold Mastery
- Lightning Spells
- Static Field
- Thunder Storm
- Energy Shield
- Lightning Mastery
- Fire Spells
- Fire Mastery
As this short list makes quite plain, the possibilities are rather limited. Nevertheless, most of the skills left will also be ignored, with focus narrowed down to a tiny handful of extremely important, and potentially powerful, skills.
- Charged Bolt - 1
- Lightning - 1
- Telekinesis - 20
- Chain Lightning - 1
- Teleport - 1
- Energy Shield - 20
- Warmth - 20
- Fire Bolt - 1
- Fire Ball - 1
- Enchant - 20
- Frozen Armor - 1 (optional)
The Melee Sorceress build will mainly need to focus on Warmth, Enchant, Energy Shield, and Telekinesis, with anything left over possibly going to the cold armor of your choice.
Telekinesis may seem an odd choice, but is actually extremely important to a Melee Sorceress, as it comes with a hidden synergy that reduces the amount of mana consumed per life point saved by .0625 when using the Energy Shield. This reduction is barely significant for any other build, but without any synergy bonus, the mana to life ratio is 2:1, while after 16 points are invested in Telekinesis, the mana consumed by Energy Shield is halved to a 1:1 ratio. Every point beyond 16 means you are losing less mana than you are preserving from your life. Only actual, invested points in the skill are counted toward this bonus, so +skills do not affect this at all.
Telekinesis and Energy shield are crucial for you to survive. Telekinesis increases the amount of damage absorbed by each point of mana, so it is imperative that you max it. Remember, as a melee fighter, you're going to be in the thick of it. As the Sorceress is extremely fragile, you will rely primarily on your Energy Shield and mana to keep you alive.
It is important to note that when struck by an elemental attack with Energy Shield up, the game calculates the damage against you before it factors in resists. This means that elemental attacks, such as those from the powerful Gloams or Mephisto, will damage your Energy Shield as if you had 0 to all resists. This is your one weakness, and although Warmth's regeneration helps counteract it, fighting these enemies efficiently still requires a bit of finesse. Keep a belt of Rejuvenation potions handy!
Warmth enhances Energy Shield further by providing a constantly replenishing mana pool. Remember, this is analogous to having a constantly replenishing life pool so long as you are quick with replacing Energy Shield when it drops.
Enchant is a required skill, not due to its damage, which is negligible, but for its attack rating bonus. The sorceress has a very low attack rating even with high Dexterity, which will cause you to miss many hits in melee. Enchant goes a long way to vastly improving your accuracy and thus mana leeching ability; by skill level 20, Enchant will be granting you a 15% bonus to accuracy, which is huge!
What the Melee Sorceress wears may prove far more important than her small array of skills. Note that the elemental masteries can be beneficial in this aspect, assuming your equipment provides elemental skills.
For your shield, use a Monarch with 4 Ith Runes and have 20 Energy Shield so you have 60% damage goes to mana and at least 75% of the damage doesn't go to health. Combined with a Circlet with 3 Iths or 3 Dun Jewels, that makes 100% damage taken go to mana. therefore making you have 75% or more damage reduced. Then add Verdungo's 10% more and you end up taking 12% damage from all enemies and less from spells with max resists. It'll be like an underpowered Smiter that has about 8 times as much health.
The Zealess is a powerful sub-build of the melee sorceress, using the Passion Rune Word to gain access to Zeal. It takes advantage of the sorceress' elemental power in the form of Lightning Mastery and survivability granted by Energy Shield and Warmth.
This is a surprisingly powerful build, a Zealess can solo or rush her way through any content in the game. They can do most tasks with ease, though they must show some finesse around mana-draining or heavily elemental enemies. Teleport will be your only active skill, and should be used very liberally, zooming you way across the battlefield.
Strength: Enough to wear your items. You should have at least 106 to wear a Troll Nest, though if you plan to do Ubers it would be prudent to get 115 so you can wear a Winged Helm (Guillaume's Face, specifically).
Dexterity: Enough to max out your block rate. This should be around 360 by level 90.
Vitality: As you are using your mana as your health, this stat can be completely ignored. If you're having trouble with mana burners like Uber Baal, then it may be prudent to invest some points into this, but you can use your skills to bypass burners.
Energy: Keep your Strength up to pace with your equipment requirements, and keep your Dexterity up to pace with maintaining your block rate as you level up. If you're satisfied with those two stats for the time being, drop all additional points into Energy to increase your Energy Shield's lifespan.
The skills will be mostly the same as the basic Melee Sorceress outlined above, with the exception that Lightning Mastery will be more important than Enchant. Max Lightning Mastery first, then dump all your extra skill points into Enchant.
Teleport is really your only active skill, and you should be making good use of it to get into combat quickly. Remember, a Zealess is strongest when she is surrounded by enemies on all sides to leech off of. A Zealess can use teleport to always be at the thickest point of fighting, and if your Energy Shield drops during that fight, you can instantly get to safety and replace it.
- Head - Dream Rune Word Demonhead
- Chest - Fortitude Rune Word Dusk Shroud or Archon Plate
- Gloves - Dracul's Grasp Vampirebone Gloves
- Boots - Gore Rider War Boots
- Weapon - Passion Rune Word Phase Blade
- Shield - Dream Rune Word Troll Nest
- Belt - Verdungo's Hearty Cord Mithril Coil
- Amulet - Crescent Moon or Highlord's Wrath
- Rings - Stone of Jordan and Raven Frost or a strong dual leech rare/crafted ring
- Inventory - Sorceress Torch, Annihilus, +1 Lightning Skills Grand Charms, and +5 all res small charms.
- Alternate - For doing Ubers, having a Guillaume's Face Winged Helm and a Destruction Rune Word Phase Blade handy will make the ubers fall over due to Crushing Blow and your remaining Dream. Using a Highlord's Wrath Amulet will also help with this, as the use of Destruction causes you to lose Zeal, and the increased attack speed from this amulet helps at least a little in making up for this. A Call to Arms Rune Word Flail and Sigon's Guard Tower Shield will be quite useful in your secondary slot for additional survivability; Sigon's is there simply to add +1 to the Battle Orders, though it also gives you a high block rate while casting it.
The meat of the build's damage output lies in Passion, which grants Zeal and allows you to bypass your poor attack speed, and the dual Dreams, which stack and receive a massive damage bonus from your Lightning Mastery. A perfectly geared Zealess with an inventory of +Lightning skills Grand Charms will be able to reach upwards of 50,000 damage per hit. While the Paladin Zealer hits like a swarm of bees, light damage but incredibly fast, the Zealess is the opposite: she attacks slower, but each strike is like being hit by a freight train. Passion and the two Dreams are really the only two 'required' items of this build; Zeal for attack speed and multiple target hit, and Dream so your Zeal does damage. Be sure to make your Passion in a Phase Blade - these are the only swords with no durability, and thus are indestructible by default.
Fortitude is a generally excellent runeword, with many useful traits for a melee fighter and is uniquely suited to a Zealess. A sorceress can take advantage of Fortitude's massive defense on a low strength requirement base armor like a Dusk Shroud or Archon Plate. The enhanced damage is not very useful since your damage is almost entirely elemental, but the + to resists, faster cast rate to enhance your advance or retreat via teleport, damage to mana to round out your energy shield for 100% damage to mana, and huge bonus to health are all very helpful. In particular, Fortitude's very high chance of casting Chilling Armor when struck allows you to skip the Cold Tree entirely, foregoing Frozen Armor in favor of Fortitude's chance for Chilling Armor. Fortitude's enormous defense + Chilling Armor grants you an incredible defense bonus that greatly enhances your survivability in melee.
Gore Rider is an essential item. Its many melee bonuses will prove quite helpful, in particular Crushing Blow and Open Wounds. Combined with Dracul's Grasp, your Open Wounds chance should ensure no bosses, even Ubers, will heal. Dracul's is also helpful for the Strength bonus, which frees up 15 points to be spent elsewhere, and its life leech and life tap are useful in surviving against mana burning enemies like Uber Baal. Verdungo's Hearty Cord also helps in this situation, the massive vitality boost and physical resistance allows you to stretch what is probably a very low life pool to beyond what you thought was possible.
As for jewelry - Crescent Moon, with its very large 15% mana leech, is probably the best amulet choice. It's large leech percent, when combined with Warmth, gives you a basically unlimited mana pool as long as no mana-burners are around, and significantly speeds up your recovery from mana-burners when they do appear. Crescent Moon's large leech also frees up your ring slots do you really don't need leech rings, and can use a Stone of Jordan for the +to skills and (especially) the increase in mana pool, and a Raven Frost so you Cannot Be Frozen. Freeze is always a danger and annoyance to a melee fighter.
Note that this equipment loadout will not max out your resists. Even with a good Torch and Annihilus, you will still need a few +5 to All Resists Small Charms to complete the difference. Any extra slots should be reserved for +20 to life small charms and +1 to Lightning Skills Grand Charms to increase Lightning Mastery and thus your melee damage.