Stox’s PVE CW Thaum DPS guide

by Vera Dias on January 23, 2014
Control Wizard
mod2 updated

This is what I believe to be the most damaging CW setup for PVE. I spend a ridiculous amount of time testing and doing math and will try to answer any questions you may have. I don’t claim to be new or innovating anything so please don’t harass me in my thread. This is simply the setup I run being posted because I’m asked way too much.

The build is all about stacking debuffs / buffs / and increasing damage.

A few remarks on my sheet:

1. Prioritize INT, each point in INT will give you more damage than a point in CHA. But these are the 2 stats you should focus on. For Human ending up 26 INT / 19 CHA, for Tiefling 26 INT / 21 CHA
2. I choose power over crit. Why? Because it’s more damage despite what some people believe
3. I choose pyro bands over ancient slavemaster rings of control. Why? Well recovery wins when it comes to DPS sort of. As in, with a long fight recovery up til about 3500 will win the DPS race, but most fights aren’t long. With a good group you don’t get a chance to get your cooldowns again before moving on to the next pack, so I front load the damage by sacrificing recovery for more power / crit / arm pen.
4. Yes I know my armor pen seems low, but fact is arm pen doesn’t work for a lot of our abilities right now and most of the time even the amount I have is enough for most of the mobs we fight. We’re on adds a lot more than we’re on elites and bosses.
5. Weapon enchant Vorpal since this really is a max DPS setup, but for party benefit when Plague Fire is fixed that’s a great choice as well, but it still won’t do the damage of a Vorpal. For armor enchant, because of the bonus from Galeb Duhr come module 2 I’d recommend Soulforged. i.e. barkshield is nice but with lower health you’ll actually do more damage with Galeb Duhr. People really need to learn how to calculate vorpal added damage as well, so here you go folks. P. Vorpal = 50% crit severity. This doesn’t mean you do 50% more damage or as most people seem to believe 20-30% damage. It is simply your base crit severity 175 (100 + 75% crit severity) + p. vorpal 50 = 225. 225/175 = 1.2857. So this is your damage increase from a perfect vorpal hit, 28.57%. Now you multiply this by your crit chance to get your overall damage increase. Note that because some of our skills do not crit, they do not gain anything from vorpal and you will need to test how much your crit chance is with a parser such as ACT because of Eye of the Storm. Your character sheet number is not reliable. So in my case I show a 28% chance to crit on the character sheet, but because of Eye of the Storm I normally average 48% crits. So damage increase for me with p. vorpal would be 28.57% * .48 = 13.71%.

Weapon Mastery 3/3 – 3% more crit, enough said.
Toughness 3/3 – because I’m squishy enough. lol
Wizard’s Wrath 3/3 – because extra damage on every skill in my normal rotation (coi, chill strike tab, shard of the endless avalanche, and steal time, even adds damage to aoe dailies)
Fight On 1/5 – again I’m frontloading a lot of my damage to hit hard, so while reduced cooldowns is nice, I normally won’t see cooldowns before going to the next pack.
Arcane Enahncement 3/3 – because shard is our biggest damage spell
Blighting Power 2/3 – because in my normal rotation I don’t use a cold power on anything with chill already on it, but for bosses this feat is great or if someone else has put chill on the mobs before you.

I’m human so I have 8 feats in the last column. If I was not human I would go 3/3 Focused Wizardry and 2/5 Learned Spellcaster for the most damage, but as it is I can have my cake and eat it too. I believe human to be the most damaging class over even tieflings because of the feats in this last column. 9% damage to every enounter and daily that I typically use and then on top of that nearly 6% increased damage from Learned Spellcaster on everything. With my roll it’s 16% extra damage from INT, so 5% * 1.16 (the 16% bonus) = 5.8% extra damage from Learned Spellcaster to everything with a roll of 26 INT. It’s slightly more with campfire bonus.

For the right side:
5/5 Tempest Magic – because extra damage when the mob is low health is nice
5/5 Malevolent Surge – We kill a lot as CWs, so bonus damage when we do.
5/5 Snap Freeze – with the rotation I use which I will explain more in detail below, I get this effect on 2 spells, coi and chill strike.
0/5 Frozen Power Transfer – just mentioning this because while it is a nice damage buff, I am frontloading damage and not going to take the time to cast a full rotation of chilling cloud before using encounters.
5/5 Transcended Master – because 15% to our most damaging aoe encounter is ridiculously good
5/5 Elemental Empowerment – this is actually a 10% debuff, thanks for pointing this out Grimah <3
1/1 Assailing Force – 15% extra damage after using COI.

Going into other trees there are lots of fun choices. I would say there are 2 best options for overall damage though. Severe reaction in oppressor can help with your survivability a lot and reaper’s touch is a nice bonus to at wills, but you have to be too close and shouldn’t be doing the majority of your damage with at wills. So especially with the upcoming nerf to entangling force, AP gain is going to be critical making Critical Power a very viable option as well. With this if it procs on a multi target ability, say chill strike in tab, you get 25% AP.

Another worthy contender that I did not go with is Nightmare Wizardry. Yes this spell is nice and will increase party damage. But as I said my build is more for DPS racing. A good party will have combat advantage most of the time anyway, so this feat is somewhat nulled but is still a great party DPS increase. I am 5/5 Bitter Cold because it’s an increase to my shard damage in my rotation and only benefits me really.

My rotation and an explanation.

CoI > Chill Strike in tab > Shard of the Endless Avalanche > Steal Time.

Sometimes I will go ahead and put the shard down before starting the rotation and then launch it to combo faster.

I normally run Arcane Singularity and Oppressive Force for dailies because sometimes singularity is still needed to make a fight go smoother, for instance there are 3 times during an MC run with some big pulls that I would be using this but otherwise I would use Oppressive. I normally will swap one of these for Ice Knife for boss fights.

I use Eye of the Storm exclusively and that will not leave my bar for dungeon running or for bosses, it is just too good. Now the question of storm spell or evocation is more interesting. With my setup and the debuffs and damage I do, Evocation wins. For others Storm Spell may do more damage. The easiest way to find out is to parse a few runs while running storm spell. Check the damage of abilities affected by Evocation and see how much damage that would have added. If it is more than the damage you got with Storm Spell during the runs, you should be running Evocation instead.

Now if I can get close enough to the mobs I will use Steal Time or a Daily early in the fight for more HV procs and bonus damage, but usually fights are started from a distance and this is not the case.


**note that due to the math the actual numbers you get will be slightly higher, so say you have debuffs of 25%, you will likely see 26.5% extra damage.

1. CoI is benefitting from Snap Freeze, so 15% more damage on it AND the CoI debuff. So your CoI hits for 30% harder. Note that as you add other debuffs and chill and others add debuffs that this actually goes higher, over 75% in fact.

2. Chill Strike also benefits from Snap Freeze 15% because CoI doesn’t actually add chill stacks unless it is in tab, and it is also getting another 15% damage from the CoI debuff and another 15% from Evocation and another 10% from HV stacks on 5 targets, ~55% bonus damage.

3. Shard gets the 15% damage debuff from CoI as well, 15% from evocation, it gets 5% more damage from Bitter Cold, and another 15% more damage from Transcended Master, another 10% from Elemental Empowerment, shard slam adds 1 stack of HV and shardsplosion adds 1 more. This is our hardest hitting encounter and my build and rotation are setup to make it hit that much harder. You’re looking at about 90% damage increase to shard, really closer to 100%.

4. Steal Time gets the 15% debuff from CoI, 15% from evocation, 5% from Bitter Cold, and 10% from Elemental Empowerment. With HV stacks this is a 75% increase.

Show me another Tree with CW that can stack debuffs like this that can even come close to the damage a thaum CW can do!

Note I do change up encounters depending on the situation and bosses but that just depends on the situation. If you have a specific scenario you’re interested in ask me, but as an example for CN I’d be running this setup until after the second boss then I would switch to Entangling Force on TAB for faster AP gain currently but it’s being nerfed, and switch CoI for Shield for bumping off. Then for the final boss I’d be using Repel on TAB and be back to having in CoI instead of Shield. Now I’m sure they will fix the clearing of adds in CN soon, so this is just an example of current methods assuming you’re even running the dungeon and not having a TR solo run it. When the adds are cleared in the last fight I would once again be switching skills.

Feywild boons, Power and Crit for the first 2 because this is a damage build after all.

The Third tier was a personal choice, yes 2% more AP gain will give you more damage, but really that’s every 50 singularities or OF you cast, you will get 1 extra. I chose the 700 hp here instead.

4th Tier, the one that does damage to enemies, note either has a 1 minute cooldown.

5th Tier, I feel a lot of people miss out on how good this is, but Elvish Fury refreshes itself when you kill a mob in it’s timer. In a fast group that means you will always have a bonus 600 power when running through a dungeon after you have the stacks built.

That’s about it. As I said this is what I run. If there is something better in all of my testing I have yet to find it. I have played around with the fire path coming in module 2 and needless to say, as of now nothing in my build will be changed. Any questions just ask me here or in game @stoxbox2.

1. Lantern of Revelation
Legendary is 300 crit, 300 arm pen, 300 combat advantage.
2. Shard of Valindra’s Crown
Legendary is 300 Power, 300 life steal, 400 control bonus
3. I would say Bloodcrystal Raven Skull or Waters of Elah’zad, or just wait. On the test shard prior to module 2 they had a class specific artifact that would have been better. They will add these eventually.

Module 2 Companions:
1. Ioun Stone of Allure for the stats obviously.
2. Fire Archon, 5% more damage to targets at less than 30% health. Assuming an even distribution of damage this would be about 1.5% extra damage, though in practice it will likely be less.
3. Galeb Duhr gives 10% bonus damage based on how much damage you have taken. i.e at 90% health you do 1% more damage, at 50% health you do 5% more damage, etc. I normally am the first one into the fights and getting hit, so this will be a few % to my overall damage I’m sure.
4 and 5. This is the tough one in my opinion, Dancing Blade at epic gives 5% crit severity. This may sound good but when you have a p. vorpal for instance, it’s 230 severity / 225 severity or 1.022 * your crit%, likely ~50% with eye of the storm, so it’s about 1.1% damage increase. Blink Dog seems to be the popular choice giving 5% combat advantage damage at epic, but I also believe Vicious Dire Wolf for 5% chance to interrupt target and Wild Hunt Rider for a 5% chance for encounters to increase your damage by 10% to be a great choice as well. The reason the others are viable choices IMO is that blink dog gives me an effective damage increase of 0.75%, it’s not really that great. Dire Wolf interrupt seems to proc off every hit of everything, so a few CWs running this could chain interrupt enemies. It appears that Wild Hunt Rider procs the damage increase from each target hit as well and will likely be my go to companion for this last slot. Every tick of CoI seems to be able to proc it, the same for icy terrain and all 6 hits of steal time as well, the slow ticks and not just the damage.

Original Post


Leave a reply
  • January 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I Love to see people using thauma.
    But I was wondering: are Wizards Wrath and Focused Wizardry working with all our multitarget spells now?
    The most recent info I managed to find on the forums state that only tabbed chill strike, steal time and the shieldpulse from shield actually counts as AoE spells (among the encounter spells… all aoe dailies are actually true aoe i Believe)
    Because of this I have shunned those feats like the plague and instead feated my cw for faster encounter recharge.

    I was surprised you didnt feat critical power at all, do you find you always have dailies available when you need anyway?

    Im not trying to flame you in any way, but I have been trying to find recent information about those feats without much luck and since you took the time to write a guide I thought you might know =)

  • james
    January 27, 2014 at 7:32 am

    hey i was wondering what enchants u have in offense and defense slots i read it over couldnt find it anywhere

  • February 3, 2014 at 1:55 am

    This guide is complete gold. PVE is the best thing ever invented because all NW is is PVE basically.

    Gunna make 100000000000000000 gold in an hour wit dis

  • February 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Is this build good for pvp ?

  • Rivanex
    February 9, 2014 at 9:07 pm


    Is this build for group play?

    I’ve heard that a good CW can make dungeons a lot easier, does this build do that?

  • Sennar
    February 10, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Just for my curiosity, how many AD / dollars did you spent for lvl 100 artifacts and (i bet) all rank 10 enchants + perfects soulforged and vorpal?

    P.S: nice guild of p2w ^^

  • Buck
    February 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I was just wondering, what your initial ability roll would be? 10/10/10 16/12/16 with the +2 on int?

  • kuttar
    March 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    What at-wills do you use???

  • Vega
    March 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

    which spells do you use and about the sequence which one is first and the buff??? please explain how you use and what you use pleasseeee

  • Jake
    March 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Great guide for future magelings, but one thing you can never forget to say too much is PLEASE DON’T USE ICE STORM ANYWHERE, except when you are completely alone or in PvP or you will hurt the party DPS, make skirmish times much longer and piss off any Guardian Fighters and other mages who actually know what they are doing.

    Also guys, don’t pay that much attention to sequences as they tend to change depending on situation. Just do some research yourself what works for you. My usual rotation is Arcane Singularity near me in center of crits, during it Steal Time so the mobs won’t kill me on the spot, Shards of EA, CoI on strongest one, release Shards of EA, finnish with Spell Mastery Iceball (Chill Strike) on the Strongest.

    Other times my usual rotation is Shards of EA for little time, CoI on strongest, Steal Time, Iceball.

    I also use the Fatebender set and Hrimnir set, Fatebender set for little extra damage after every time I am forced to use at wills and Hrimnir set because it is as “cool” as it can get. 😛

    Author: Why Conjurer’s Gambit over Keeper’s Strength when you say you prioritize power over Crit?

  • Tiger
    March 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Can you post here your Powers?? Is my first mage and I dont know which powers is good for this feats :/

  • CCop
    March 20, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Hey which powers do use in singel targest like boss?

    would be great if u post ur powers !

  • Jake
    March 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Conduit of Ice
    Chill Strike
    Shard of the Endless Avalanche
    Steal Time

    In PvP I generally swap Steal Time and SotEA for Ray of Enfeeblement and Entangling Force and in Boss fights where is no mobs Ray of E and Icy Rays.

    Sudden Storm is good for blasting stealthy rogues in PvP and does quite decent damage for area, but it needs you to be very close, so I usually find other spells more useful. It actually works well in Tandem with Steal Time, as you must be close for Steal Time anyways. I really wish I could have one more encounter power slotted.

    Ice Knife and Singularity are basically only dailies I use, but I swap Singularity for Ice Storm or Oppressive Force for PvP just in case, as Singularity is too easy to dodge.

    I don’t use anything but Magic Missile from at wills, except Ray of Frost in PvP instead. Haven’t used the others since I tested them as MM just does best damage.

  • CCop
    March 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    y tahts wat i read thought but still i need to skill lot of more to get the other ones so im still unsure wat to skill

    and other question does chilling cloud give more ap when u hit multi targets?

  • CCop
    March 20, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    and thanks for the fast answer helped me a lot

  • Jake
    April 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Basically the more damage you do, the more AP you get. This doesn’t seem to be always exactly true as Steal Time seems to give really good AP boost if it hits anything, even if it doesn’t do that much damage but generally the more damage you do, the more AP you get regardless of if you do it to one target or many.

    In the end, you will end up 20 spells with 3 dots and one power with one dot if you try to maximize everything you pick, so you have quite much freedom in the middle.

    There are many situational spells that you might wanna get to use in certain situations, but generally you might wanna avoid daily spells and at-will spells, as in the end you use only Arcane Singularity and Ice knife, except in pvp Ice Storm or Oppressive Force (depending on your personal taste) instead of Singularity, as Singularity is just too easy to dodge with blink and the other two give you a little bit of breathing room.

    Also you probably won’t ever use anything but Magic Missile from at-wills for damage and Ray of Frost to root nasty targets.Chilling cloud wouldn’t actually be bad replacement for MM if you would build completely cold based mage, but damage wise MM beats all the other spells, especially as it is quite quick way to build arcane mastery stacks and arcane flux if you are using Fatebender set.

    Storm Pillar does nice damage, but it is too slow to use and you also must release the button every time it has charged up, so it isn’t really my personal favorites even if it hits multiple targets. Also as at-wills should only be used to either trigger some effect and thus boost your encounter powers or during waiting when encounters are on cooldown, simplicity and speed is the key here. After a while you will probably start to run whole dungeons without shooting a single at-will, except perhaps in the boss if even at there, as my time usually goes dodging until my encounters are reloaded again.

  • agrona
    April 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Well i use your build and i have to say its awesome really good damage

  • krazypunk
    May 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Does anyone know which powers are being used in this build?

  • Ccop
    May 6, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    hey jake

    so i played now mage for a while so i figurd out some stuff…

    first after u use chill strike they enemys got a cold prog so u dont get the 15%dmg for 4 sec from snap freeze

    second bitter cold give 5 % for 6 sec so u need to time pretty strong to hit them after the 4 sec of cold prog is gone

    its still work but if u ask me its rly hard to get always the right timing

  • May 15, 2014 at 11:43 am

    For people asking about powers: It’s at the top of the guide.

    I just switched to this build and even without proper gear (I ran crit build before), lack of vorpal and other massive enchants, this build is amazing! I deal so much damage now!

    Thank you for making this guide!

  • Loopped
    May 21, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Hi I really enjoyed your guide and reading, you obviously put a lot of effort into your theory crafting and creating an amazing DPS guide for a thaum wiz.

    I have one request, I was hoping if you could list down the runes in which you are using and perhaps the companion are you using

    Thank you so much for making the guide again!

  • anonymous
    May 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    dont know why but i cant see the picture 🙁

  • Tim
    June 8, 2014 at 3:17 am

    This build is amazing. Anyone know if the black ice set is good for this build or should i stay with high vizier?

  • June 11, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Hey Stox’s,
    nice guide what about new boons from IWD, wich one to choose

  • Elquardia
    June 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your build I love cw coz they are versatile and deadly to. I played a thaum and I had no problem going to 60 level I highly recommend your build It does outlandish crits. and gets rid of adds at same time

  • jacke
    July 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    in your char pic you got 27 int and 20 cha how did you get that

  • Nick
    July 15, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Nice build. Incredibly powerful. Unfortunately it seems most of the powers will be heavily nerfed for the upcoming Module 4:

    Any idea on changes?

  • Slaynen
    July 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I want to know that as well since major changes are coming.. is this build still viable

  • Nyx
    July 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I found this tread a few weeks ago when I started playing Neverwinter. I have to say that it has not disappointed. I love the build! However I have been looking at the proposed changes for Module 4. CW (all trees) look like they are getting nerfed into oblivion. Do you have any ideas on a viable CW build once Module 4 goes live?

  • rob
    August 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

    this has been a really good build for me, but now this needs updating to take into account the awful changes made with Mod 4…..I would appreciate the info on this, especially with the feats.

  • luca gio
    August 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    so man, the gear stats i should bring up are power crit and armor pen.. ?

  • Sensifr
    September 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Hello there,
    Would it be possible to share a simple screenshot with the default chosen powers taskbar? (To see what you put as “class feature”, etc)

    Sometimes a screenshot is worth more than ten paragraphs of text. 😉

    Thank you!

  • mail_meh
    September 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Well done Build Guide, but is there MOD4 guides or is changes still too vague?

  • October 11, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Just tested it a few days ago. Can confirm it works really well as of Oct 11th 2014. Thanks for sharing and great job on the guide.

  • junglegirl
    October 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I’ve been away from the game since I respec’d right after Mod2. I just logged in today and while I notice that some things have changed, I feel that the build is as strong and effective as it ever was, which is a great relief! I was afraid Mods 3 & 4 were going to have thrown my CW to the wolves..I’ve just finished several end-game quests with a few more deaths than usual..but then it was new content to me and I have yet to plug in all the feats (they were erased after a Mod, I guess). I came back here to see if there was an update on the feats build but I guess I’ll just stick with the original. It really hasn’t done me wrong yet.

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