Death was my very first wizard and my first Grandmaster. Six Grandmasters later, I have another Death wizard in the pipeline, who is working through the game using only the Starter Deck. So far, he?s made it to mid-Mooshu. It?s interesting comparing the two experiences, given that I?ve learned so much about the game, that I wish I had known when I first started.
Death wizards are very solid wizards, who enjoy decent health and accuracy. They are one of two schools who have a broad suite of healing capabilities available to them and the only school with lifestealing. That ability provides half of the damage inflicted back to the caster in the form of health. Because of this, Death wizards are very capable soloers but can plug themselves easily into any sized group. Death makes a good starter school because it?s just a darn cool school and pretty straightforward.
? Death wizards start off with 450 health and gain 24-25 health per level up to a maximum of 1,650. This is absolutely middle of the road compared to the other 6 schools.
? Death opposes Life and gets a 10-40%?boost?depending on the world. Spirit attacks also boost against Balance and gain a 14% boost against Balance oppoenents.
? Death spells have a higher than average accuracy (85%), only Life has a higher accuracy. Balance has an equivalent accuracy.
? Death possesses the only lifestealing attacks and potentially the most?powerful?minion spell.
? All of the life stealing spells deal a fixed amount of damage, which is invaluable for planning your fights.
Must Have Spells.?These are spells that I always have in my deck.
Ghoul?5 160 lifestealing 2
Banshee 10 245-305 death damage 3
Vampire 16 350 death lifestealing 4
Skeletal Pirate?22 430-510 death damage 5
Feint 26 +70% next damage to target and +30% next damage to self 1
Wraith?42 500 lifestealing 6
Death Trap?+30% next death damage 0?Enrollment?Level 2
Deathblade?+40% next death damage 0?The Buried Truth?Level 7
Curse?+20% next damage 0 Speedy Delivery Level 18
Scarecrow?400 lifestealing (to all enemies) 7?Rain on the Scarecrow?Level 48
Notes:?Your core attack spells are solid, with the exception of?Dark Sprite, I use them all. However, I tend to segment them into two groups life stealing (Ghoul, Vampire, and Wraith) vs non-lifestealing (Banshee and Skeletal Pirate). The particular weight of one group over the other affects what other spells I load in the deck. If I run mostly life stealing, then I don?t run any healing and less shielding spells. If I run non-life stealing spells, then I need more healing and shielding.
Curse and Feint are good general purpose spells, that can support other players. You just have to be?careful?because it?s easy for someone else to trigger your traps with an inadvertant wand. I usually play a mono-Death deck so, unless I?m fighting bosses, I leave these out of my deck, in favor for Death Blades and Death Traps.
Special Purpose Spells.?These are spells that I swap out depending on the enemies I expect to face.
Dream Shield 8 -70% next life and myth damage 0
Death Shield?10 -80% next death damage 0?Sabrina Greenstar
Death Prism convert next death damage to life 0?Sweet Revenge?Level 12
Sacrifice 250 death damage to self and heals target for 700 3?The Sixth School?End of Wizard City
Poison 35 death damage and 390 death damage over 3 rounds 4?Back to Balance?End of Krokosphinx
Beguile target helps you for one round 3?Temple Dweller?End of?Krokotopia
Animate summon a minion of death X?Learning a Lesson?Level 28
Plague?-20% next damage for all enemies 1 Bad News? End of Marleybone
Notes:?I typically only run Death Prism if I see Death opponents. Dream Shield is particularly nice against Life opponents because it seems that many of them also throw Myth spells. Poison is a nice spell to use against Ice and Life enemies, because it?ll eat through their shields. I add Sacrifice only when I?m running in a group as this is the only Death spell that allows you to heal others.
Spells I Never Use for PvE.?Other than experimenting, I never run these spells in my deck.
Dark?Sprite?1 65-105 death damage 1
Doom and Gloom 33 -50% to all healing (global) 2
Pacify 15 reduce threat X Mortis
Infection 0 -50% to next heal spell 0 Mortis
Steal Health 25 steal 300 health from minion 1?Croaky
Empower 500 death damage for three pips 1?Bottled Up?Level 38
Notes:?I just don?t find much use for these in PVE. Infection and Doom and Gloom are heavily used in the Arena however.
Spells from Secondary Schools
I went Life and Ice as my secondary school. Life gives me Sprite for additional healing and good counters when I run into Death opponents. and Ice is a standard school I train all of my wizards in for the shielding. This may not fit with everyone, but it worked for me. Your mileage may vary. The Spririt Blade from Niles the Balance Tree was an absolute necessity for me too. I?m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my junior Death wizard?s additional training points and am thinking about Humungofrog, which would give me a 4-pip AOE spell that benefits from the Spirit Blade.
Volcanic Shield (Ice)
Spirit Blade (Balance)
Notes:?I always run the max number of Tower Shields I am allowed. Volcanic Shield is very nice when facing the two most destructive schools, Fire and Storm. Between the shields and your life stealing ability, you end up with a very resiliant wizard.
Miscellaneous Spells Notes
Death?s L58 Quest
The L58 Death quest is another solo fight. Both the boss and minion you?ll have to fight are Death, so you will need converts ? lots of them. It?s not a tough quest, just long. I tried using minions, but it just used up my Feints, so I went solo the second time. The basic pattern is Shield, Convert, Blade, Blade, Feint ? Wraith. I wore gear with max Death resist so his attacks don?t take too much off me, which allowed me to wait through his attacks until I got my counter attack readied. Each Wraith would take 3,000-3,500 points from him and top off my health nicely. Rinse and repeat until he?s dead.
Other sources of spells
Go to Krokotopia to buy the four amulets that give you the Ice, Fire, Storm, and Myth Shields. Each will give you three cards. If you can find the Nightshade Choker, this will give you a pair of Weaknesses.
Playing Your Death Wizard
Death wizards are solid attackers that combine a full suite of offensive spells with excellent survivability. At higher levels, they can also play a supporting role with Feint and Curse to make sure other players are attacking at full potential. Plague is another nice spell that can really help mitigate the damage dealt to the rest of the team.
Early Game (Level 1-24)
Death wizards are very solid in the early game because of their high accuracy and life stealing abilities. You have enough solid attacks to get you through Wizard City and Krokotopia without too much trouble. At L22, you?ll earn your Skeleton Pirate, which provides a significant boost do your damage output (430-510 vs. 350 for the Vampire, which is a 42% boost). You can also add Tough to Skeleton Pirate which improves even more.
Mid Game (Level 25-41)
I think that Death students have a very long mid-game. Why? You earn Skeleton Pirate at L22 and won?t see a new attack card until you earn Wraith at L42. That means you will probably go through the last third of?Krok?and the first half of Mooshu without any improvement in direct attack spells. You will get Feint at L26 and Poison after the Krokosphinx, which are excellent cards, but they really supplement your core attacks, not replace them.
This is pretty important as it has implications on how you play. Given that the health of your enemies will increase throughout Marleybone and Mooshu, you may not be able to rely on a deck strategy based around life stealing. It will still work, it just takes longer to take down enemies. Conversely, if you run the Skeleton Pirates for the improved hitting power, you need to add healing cards as you don?t have a built in regeneration capability.
When you hit Level 25, you gain access to Marleybone gear. Get it if you can afford it. In the mid game, you also have enough gold to afford treasure cards on a regular basis. Go to the library and buy 25-50 Toughs or Keens and then go to Golem Tower to make a bunch of improved Vampires and Skeleton Pirates. Add a Keen to a Vampire and it will hit with a 95% accuracy. For the Skeleton Pirates, it?s really up to you whether you want a better guarantee of success (Keen) or better damage (Tough). Some of it may depend on what kinds of boosts your gear gives you. I typically run 4-8 of them in my sideboard to ensure that I?m never lacking for an attack card and stop by the Commons on a regular basis to replenish my stock of treasure cards. Unfortunately, there isn?t any way to increase the damage capability of your life stealing spells.
Your gear choices will make a big difference. I?ve noticed that a lot of wizards choose health maximizing gear, where as I?ve gone the other route and emphasized power and power pip enhancing gear, which adds a significant boost to my damage output. As a result, my mana levels are low to moderate, and my health is probably lower than the average comparably ranked Death wizard, but I think I can dish out more damage earlier in a fight.
You can farm bosses for gear, or you can just buy it from the Bazaar, which is what I did. So, I have weaker health and mana, but I?ve tried to boost my offensive output as much as possible. The rationale is that if I can kill enemies fast enough, I?don?t have to worry?about shielding or healing as much.
End Game (Level 42-50)
I?m now at L47 and have successfully solo?d the Grand Chasm storyline, the Labryrinth,?Mavra Flamewing, and some others, with my Starter Deck, so I feel pretty comfortable writing about the End Game.
The biggest boost is getting Wraith and then getting to L45. Why? Wraith takes you from a basic attack of 350 to 500, an almost 50% boost in power. At L45, you get to buy Dragonspyre gear, and more importantly, swords that give you an extra power pip. With this combination, you have a very high likelihood of casting a bladed Wraith by turn 2.
Key to success?for a Death wizard is knowing exactly how much damage you?re going to do to an opponent. Since the damage from a lot of your spells: Ghoul, Vampire, Wraith, and Poison are fixed, it should be easy for you to write up a short table showing expected damage vs. different opponents. Knowing how much heal will be left helps you plan out your finishing move, whether it just be a wand hit or maybe a vampire.
I think the key at this point is to not worry about finishing fights too quickly, but rather finishing them well, especially in towers. I almost always try to finish off the fight with a blade Wraith, so that I can regain as much health as possible. Death isn?t going to get opportunities for a bunch of really flashy kills, so don?t worry about it and just stick to the plan.
At L48, you?ll get the only AOE spell in the school, Scarecrow. It only does 400 points per opponent, which isn?t spectacular, but pair with your gear boost and a Death Blade, it could be hitting in the 700 range. Also, it doesn?t have any secondary benefits (e.g.,?stun,?weakness, etc) that benefit the rest of the team, but if you?re playing the role of Tank in the circle, one attack will generally fill your health bottle back to the top.
Celestia (Level 51-60)
When you hit Celestia, you get to choose from the various Astral Schools and earn one new school spell ? Skeletal?Dragon. To be honest, I?m not sure what Astral Schools to pick. I did grab some of the Sun school spells, but since I still mostly rely on life stealing spells, they don?t do much. I have been using a number of Star spells, specifically Amplify (L52) and?Vengeance?(L56). Depending on which you use more, you?ll probably want to bias your gear to maximize your attack boost or your critical rating. A critical Scarecrow, can do an amazing amount of damage, so if I?m running Vengeance, I?ll want crit maximizing gear.
Skeletal Dragon is a cool spell, despite the lousy model and?animation. IMO, this is the weakest looking of the L58 spells. It is a solid spell though has it?s place in your anti-boss deck. For regular mobs, I?ll stick to Scarecrows, Wraiths, and Vampires.
Choosing A Secondary School
As mentioned earlier, I went Life and Ice for my secondaries. Balance also seem popular. My take:
I can see going with Fire for the DOT attacks like Fire Elf and AOE attacks like Meteor Strike. However, Death gets Poison at L35, which is a very solid DOT attack and I think Humungofrog from the Myth school has better synergies with Death.
A lot of people train in Ice up to Tower Shield. I did too. The versatility of Tower Shield is just too good and I use the Volcanic Shields a lot as it shields me from the two most destructive schools. Oddly enough, you run into a lot of enemies that use both Fire and Storm attacks, which makes this shield a very?efficient?spell.
I think Myth is a good supplement to Death, but second tier to Life and Ice. Myth provides some good solid attacks and the best AOE spell in the game, Humungofrog. It also benefits nicely from any Spirit Blades or Traps you cast..
A lot of people go Balance for Weakness and Reshuffle. Personally, I?ve never used Reshuffle, but it is available to everyone. Weakness will cost you 3 training points, so not a huge investment. However, you can also get two weakness cards from?Lord Nightshade?s Choker, which you can find in the Bazaar or various stores. The elemental and spirit traps and blades from Niles are an interesting proposition. They are available to everyone and are certainly very versatile. I tend not to use traps a lot, but the blades are absolute must haves.
I consider Life to be a must have school for most of my wizards. For Death, Life attacks give me a good alternative attack when facing Death opponents. One of my favorites are Toughened Leprechauns. For 2 pips, you get a 90% accuracy spell that does 230- 270 + boost vs. Death opponents. From Late Marleybone on through Dragonspyre, this boost is 40%, which means your 2-pip attack could generate 374 points of damage. Not bad.
I have a Storm Grandmaster who turned out quite nicely, but I can?t imagine using Storm spells with my Death wizard. To be sure, it would add some nice punch, but I think the 70% accuracy would drive me crazy. With a base accuracy of 85%, I don?t think using spells with a lower accuracy would do much for me.
Death has some interesting deck strategies to choose from. You can run a life stealing deck, focusing on Ghouls, Vampires, and Wraiths or you can focus on maximizing damage, focusing on Banshee and Skeleton Pirate. You can run pretty thin decks. My junior Death wizard is still running his Starter Deck, focusing mostly on life stealing. If you choose to focus on the bigger hitters, then you might need to run more healing spells or run Sacrifice. You can even run a hybrid with Skeletal Pirates and Vampires.
Gear selection is important. If you take a step back, you can boost Health, Mana, Accuracy, Power, Resistance, and Power Pip %. I figure that I?ll never really gain enough additional health to become competative with peers from other schools, so I tend to put less emphasis on Health enhancing gear. I mark my location often and port back to commons for Mana, so as long as I have 100-150 Mana, I feel pretty comfortable.
That leaves the other 4: Accuracy, Power, Resistance, and Power Pip %. Let?s set Resistance aside for a moment. The other 3 have direct implications on damage output. Power Pip % and Power % basically improve damage on a point for point basis, e.g., a 10% improvement in Power Pip % gives you 10% more pips and therefore 10% higher damage output (assuming consistant damage per pip). In general, Death gear doesn?t give accuracy boosts.
The cheapest color combination, when you buy gear at the Bazaar is silver base with white trim.
Hat: No recommendation
Robe: No recommendation
Shoes: No recommendation
Hat:?Krokenkahmen?s Circlet 88 health 2% power pip 3% power 2339 gold
Robe:?Krokopatra?s Silent Cloak 132 health 3% power pip 4% power 3741 gold
Shoes: Krokenkahmen?s Sandals 44 health 1% power pip 1% power 1871 gold
Hat:?Clanker?s High Quality Cowl 80 health 3% power pip 7% power 8% resist 5726 gold
Robe: Smokey?s Genteel Vest 132 health 4% power pip 6% power 10% resist 7634 gold
Shoes:?Smogger?s Shoes of Agony 42 health 2% power pip 3% power 6% resist 2748 gold
Hat: No recommendation
Robe: Terminal Robe 198 health 6% power pip 7% power 3817 gold
Shoes: No recommendation
Hat:Kagamoosha?s Cowl 58 health 4% power pip 7% power 10% resist 3341 gold
Robe: Tomugawa?s Tunic 88 health 3% power pip 9% power 14% resist 5334 gold
Shoes: Kagamoosha?s Sandals 29 health 2% power pip 4% power 8% resist 2673 gold
Hat:?Forest Spirit?s Cap of Belief 176 Health 4% power pip 8% power 10% resist No auction
Robe:?Death Oni?s Garments 264 Health 5% power pip 10% power 14% resist No auction
Shoes:?Jade Oni?s Boots 88 health 3% power pip 5% power 8% resist No auction
Hat:?Reaper?s Hood 220 health 6% power pip 10% power 3182 gold
Robe:?Boris Blackrock?s Obsidian Drape 330 health 6% power pip 12% power 8483 gold
Shoes: Mocassins of Mortality 110 health 5% power pip 10% power 2545 gold
Hat: Spiderkeeper?s Darkshroud 220 health 6% power pip 10% power 13% resist No auction
Robe:?Malistaire Drake?s Ebon Robe 330 health 6% power pip 13% power 17% resist No auction
Shoes:?Kraysys? Boots of Retreat 100 health 5% power pip 7% power 10% resist No auction
Other Gear Option
Malistaire Drake?s Deathedge 188 health 10% power pip, 15% incoming health no auction
Malistaire Drake?s Ruby Signet 188 health 10% power pip, 15% outgoing health no auction
Signet of the Sepulcher 218 health 10% power pip 5% power (Briskbreeze Tower) no trade no auction
Death wizards don?t benefit much from the two Malistaire rings, though if you have to run one, then take the one with the incoming boost, so that you benefit from other people healing you.
The Briskbreeze ring is a no brainer. You give up 170 mana, but gain 10 health and 5% power. There is no change in power pips. With the Briskbreeze ring, you boost your GM gear?s max boost from 30% to 35%
I have 2 Epic Wraiths, both of which have been decent. In addition to the 5% power pips, both give a 6% attack bonus (raising total to 41% with the Briskbreeze ring). One gives additional Death resist, which is useful because a large number of bosses use Death attacks. The other gives a health bonus. Pets that give accuracy are also cool, but with your base accuracy of 85%, not sure how useful that would be. Universal resist, I think, would be very powerful for Death wizards as it just makes you super resiliant.
Using Death?s Unique Attacks
Death?s signature attack is the life stealing attack, which returns 50% of the damage inflicted as health to the casting wizard. Death wizards have 4 life stealing attacks: Ghoul (L5), Vampire (L16), Wraith (L42), and Scarecrow (L48). Scarecrow is also an AOE spell, the only one that Death gets.
Pip for pip, based on raw damage, it may seem that these attacks are underpowered compared to their peers. Vampire deals 350 points of damage for 4 pips, which compares favorably to?Seraph?or?Ice Wyvern?(335-395) but not so well against?Kraken?(520-580). However, keep in mind that Death has a very high accuracy of 85% and the life stealing is very efficient. By efficient, I mean that you don?t have to sacrifice a turn or pips to heal. Life stealing allows you to focus on attacking without worry about health or stopping to heal. In fact, I have a L39 Death wizard in Mooshu and I think that he has yet to cast a healing spell on himself.
Working With Other Schools
This is really just a compiliation of ideas and thoughts about how I?ve worked with other Death wizards and how others have worked well with me, or how I wished others would work with me.
Death wizards are very versatile and can take almost any role in a fight. With the life stealing ability, they can tank and soak up damage for the team. Sacrifice gives a limited ability to heal others. Feint and Curse are powerful boosts that benefit any attack. Of course, they can deliver their own powerful attacks.
Communicate. This is especially true if you?re going to put down Feints or Curses. Let people know if you plan on casting one, so that others can take advantage of it with their best spells.
Let the rest of the party know if and when you need healing. It never hurts to tell people that you need healing, but it?s also just as important to let them know that you?re OK, so they don?t spend turns giving you unneeded health.
? At the lower levels, Death wizards are solid. They have good health and Ghoul is a very solid attack.
? All of the life stealing attacks deal a set amount of damage. Get familiar with how much damage you will deal vs. various schools with different buffs. This is invaluable for planning your fights.
? I tend to focus on power pip and power % improvements when I select gear.