This is a simple Rift Wizard guide on how to run a lightning build. Its not the most powerful build or the flashiest, but its easy to explain and more than strong enough for a beginner to clear the game.
The basic build
Here’s the basic build to follow. When prevewing your rifts, try to avoid rifts with loads of lightning immune enemies unless Death Shock and Conductance can handle them. Rifts with lots of mana potions, health potions, and ruby hearts are quite valuable in the early game.
Rift 1 – Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning
Rift 2 – Death Shock
Rift 3 – Thunderstrike
Rift 5 – Thunder Lord Skill
Rift 7 – Lightning Frenzy Skill
Rift 8 – Lightning Form
Rift 10 – Arc Lightning
Rift 11 – Conductance
Rift 13 – Arch Sorcerer Skill
For a more detailed explanation of what each of these do and why I think you should pick them, please review the next chapter.
The first 13 rifts.
In order to win the game, you need to clear 25 rifts and then face the Wizard Mordred in mortal combat. Each rift includes numerous enemies, items, and portals to other rifts, and generally you must defeat each and every enemy (including generators that spawn more enemies if left alone) in order to advance. And while your spells are powerful and can devastate monsters, you are limited in the number of spells you can cast, and if you don’t have enough spells you can quickly get overwhelmed.
This build looks to take advantage of powerful synergies between a few spells to keep you ahead of the growing difficulty of the rifts, namely by mostly picking spells from the same school, Lightning. By combining those spells with the Thunder Lord, Arch Sorcerer, and Lightning Frenzy skills, you get a high damage build that can clear entire rooms out, as long as the enemies aren’t immune to lightning.
Every rift you explore will have 3 memory orbs on it, allowing you to purchase new spells, skills, and upgrades. In normal play, you’d want to be flexible in what you purchase with these skills, trying to find the right spells or skills for the job depending on what rifts you have available for you. But for now, I’m going to give you a check list to work with. To keep things simple, try to aim for rifts that reward you with mana potions, health potions, and ruby hearts to increase your max health.
- For your first spell, you’re getting Lightning Bolt. It should be more than enough to handle the goblins and bats milling around the first rift.
- After clearing the first rift, pick up Chain Lightning for 2 sp. It will bounce to nearby enemies that have not yet been hit by chain lightning, potentially going around corners to do so.
- After clearing the second rift, you’ll have 4 sp. Purchase Death Shock, a spell that deals both Lightning and Dark damage to its target. If the target dies, the spell will bounce to a nearby target, repeating like this up to 3 times.
- After clearing the third rift, use 2 SP to purchase Thunder Strike. It has a decent amount of range and damage, and enemies near to the target will be stunned for a few rounds.
These are going to be the core spells you use to deal with enemies. We’ll be picking up some more later on, but you’ll want to familiarize yourself with what these do. Death Shock in particular is important because it deals two types of damage; if you were unlucky, you may have come across some enemies that were immune to lightning damage (like Steel Spiders or Metal Mantis). Death Shock lets you deal with them as long as they weren’t also immune to Dark damage. For now, we’ll try to avoid stages with lightning immune enemies, and as the build progresses we’ll pick up ways to deal with them.
Currently you’re on the third rift with 1 sp left. Save up your SP over the next two rifts. Rifts 4 and 5 will start to see some hardier enemies, like Orcs, Trolls, Giant Mushbooms, and so on. You should have plenty of damage and aoe to get through these two rifts, and things will get easier once you have 7 sp and can afford Thunder Lord.
Thunder Lord adds 8 damage to each of your spells (since Death Shock deals both lightning and dark damage it gets +16), 2 cascade range to Death Shock and Chain Lightning, 1 to the maximum number of targets for Death Shock, and gives all of your lightning spells an additional charge. And any additional lightning spells we buy will similarly get this buff, which makes it even more valuable as you delve deeper into the rifts. While 7 sp might seem a steep price to pay, its cheaper than trying to upgrade each spell individually.
Rift 6 should feel a lot better now that you have Thunder Lord, and we’re going to bank up the next 5 sp you receive so that you can purchase the Lightning Frenzy skill. This skill gives you a +4 damage buff every time you cast a lightning spell that lasts 6 turns, stacks with itself, and activates before the spell does damage. Since you are only casting lightning spells right now, you should be seeing a lot of advantage from this. The humble lightning bolt once again gets a moment to shine as it charges up your Death Shocks and Chain Lightnings to tear apart your enemies. You can also pre-charge yourself before entering a rift, as the buffs will stay active as you pass through the portal.
After clearing rift 8 with your buffed up spells, we’re going to be purchasing a new one. You should have 4 sp at this point (or a bit more if you got lucky and found some magic circles to discount some of your spells or skills along the way) and we’re going to use them to purchase Lightning Form. Lightning Form gives you a buff, and while active you have 100% lightning and physical resistance and you teleport to the target of your spell cast (as long as you targeted an open space, anyway). As for its duration, it lasts until you spend a round without casting a lightning spell. Now you can quickly cross the entire map by casting lightning bolt, chain lightning, or thunder strike, allowing you to maintain your Lightning Frenzy buffs while maintaining high mobility. Becoming immune to physical and lightning damage is pretty important as well; many enemies deal physical damage, and in the not too distant future we’ll be picking up a spell called Arc Lightning that is very dangerous to cast if you don’t have some lightning resist of your own.
Play around with Lightning Form on rift 9 and get a feel for how it works, and save the points up once you clear it. Your next purchase will be the Arc Lightning spell I mentioned earlier. After casting Arc Lightning, the target will split off 3 bolts of lightning (4 for you since you bought Thunder Lord) at random enemies within line of sight. The range of those bolts is effectively the entire map if there are not walls in the way, and anyone directly between the target and the random enemies chosen for the bolts will also take that damage. This includes you by the way. And while you might scoff at the paltry 24 damage the spell would currently do in collateral, trust me when I say the spell is going to be your biggest damage hitter by the end of the game. Until you’re more used to the spell, I recommend casting Arc Lightning from the relative safety of Lightning Form (shrines that cause spells to recast with additional damage types may change this, you don’t want to teleport to the target of Arc Lightning and then have it blast a bunch of Fire Bolts or what have you from the square you’re standing on).
Your next purchase will be after completing rift 11. There is a spell called Conductance that, when cast on a target, reduces their lightning resistance by 50% and causes lightning spells cast on them to be copied. So if you targeted a Conducted Storm Drake with Lightning Bolt, its normal 100% lightning resist would only be 50 and it’d be hit with 2 lightning bolts, meaning you would do normal damage to it. This gives you a definitive way of dealing with those pesky lightning immune enemies. I still don’t recommend entering rifts with lots of lightning immune enemies since you don’t want to cast this spell on every enemy in a rift, but it gives you a method for dealing with one or two annoying immune enemies lurking in an otherwise easy rift. It also has some synergy with Arc Lightning. Double casting that spell off of one target lets shoot more randomly targeted bolts in one turn. Additionally, those copied spells will trigger Lightning Frenzy, giving you a larger buff than you could normally achieve. And once we get to upgrading spells, you’ll see even larger damage numbers…
The last main part of the build should be available to you after completing rift 13. Arch Sorcerer gives all of your sorcery skills (which will be everything except Lightning Form and Conductance) 7 more damage, 2 more range, and an additional 2 charges. It’s another major boost to your spell power, and you’ll see an immediate improvement in blasting things apart.
Upgrading your spells
So you’ve purchased all of my recommended spells and skills, but we’re only halfway through the game. Where do you go from here?
Well, from here it gets harder to predict what challenges you’ll face in each rift and what spells will work well against them. I can be fairly certain you’ll be facing bats and goblins and wolves in the beginning of the game, but now you could have anything on your plate. But I can’t throw you out of the next just yet, not without talking about upgrading spells. The more experienced players are probably shaking their heads at the idea of waiting this long to talk about it, since many spells become far more powerful with a few upgrades. And as you become more familiar with the game and try out more builds, I’d definitely recommend upgrading before the midway point in the game. I only delayed here to keep things simple.
With that said, lets talk about some important upgrades. I won’t specify when you should be getting them and instead leave that to your judgement.
For skills, you might consider picking up Holy Thunder, which deals half of the damage a target received to them again as Holy Damage. Note that targets with 100% lightning resist will take 0 lightning damage and thus 0 thunder damage, so don’t expect it to help much against immune foes. But for anything that isn’t immune, you’re potentially adding another 50% damage (depending on whether the target is vulnerable to immune to Holy). Many Undead and Demon enemies have weakness to Holy and they become increasingly more common as you progress, so the extra damage might well be worth the 6sp cost.
Arc Lightning has the biggest improvements to consider. The first is adding an additional 3 bolts when casting it, which significantly improves its aoe potential. But the more devastating option is Echo Flash, which says that each target will then fire bolts at another set of targets dealing half damage. So if the spell had both upgrades and you cast it in a rift with 7 enemies, your arc lightning would fire a bolt at each enemy, and then from each enemy secondary bolts would fire at the other 6 enemies in the room. That’s 7 primary bolts and 42 secondary bolts, assuming all of the enemies were out in the open. That’s a lot of damage, and you can feasibly clear out entire rifts with one or two casting if there isn’t a lot of cover. Casting the spell directly on a target can easily do triple digit damage if there is a full room of targets to bounce off of, and is one of the reasons I’d strongly recommend using Lightning Form. You don’t want to lose a good run because your own spell vaporized you while trying to blast the vampires or whatever that were near you.
Death Shock also has an interesting use case to consider in its Infinite Cascade upgrade. It means that so long as the spell kills its target and another enemy is in range, the spell will cast again. This upgrade shines in enclosed spaces or against enemies that split into more enemies when they die. The extra cascade range doesn’t seem as worth it to me, since you’re already getting some extra range from Thunder Lord, but it might matter depending on the rift layout you’re looking at.
Thunderstrike can be upgraded for a large boost to damage and an increase in the stun duration, but I find its most interesting upgrade to be Blind Casting. This allows you to ignore walls when casting the spell, letting to snipe out valuable targets or destroy monster dens without exposing yourself to a bunch of monsters. And with Lightning Form, it also lets you teleport behind walls, which gives you even more mobility.
Lightning Bolt can get the Energy Bolt upgrade, which causes it to deal Fire and Arcane damage as well as Lightning. This essentially triples the damage of the spell and gives you more options against Lightning Immune enemies, but its a fairly expensive upgrade for a spell you might only be using to teleport with.
Conductance can get a boost to its resistance reduction, setting to to -100%. It can also get an additional spell copy. Cast on an enemy with no resistances, your next lightning spell would do double damage can cast 3 times, meaning 6 times the damage. For cases where you absolutely need to remove all traces of something ugly from the map.
Beyond the spells I already recommended, there are a number of utility spells to consider. Many of the enchantments like Mystic Power, Multi Cast, Siphon Shields, and Purity are all great spells to splash into any build, and well worth considering if you’re reviewing a rift and thinking you might need more support to clear it. And since you took Arch Sorcerer earlier, you can easily bring in a non-lightning spell like Holy Fire or Void Beam if you need some extra elemental damage to deal with a group of immune enemies.
Dealing with Mordred
Its actually pretty straight forward. Keep Lightning Form on since he likes to teleport around, put Conductance on him, and cast Arc Lightning. This should pop his Reincarnation, and you just repeat until you’ve burned through all his extra lives. But try not to end your turn next to him without some shields, since his 200 damage melee spell can blast you if you aren’t expecting it.
Mordred will periodically bring in new terrain and new enemies, just keep your wits about you and be ready to re-evaluate the scene if something really dangerous (things with long range stuns, mostly) shows up. If you were able to get far enough to see him, you should be in a good spot to beat him, so keep your cool and good luck!