Battle wizard has been buffed since 1.3, not sure why people are saying otherwise.
Battle Wizard is immensely stronger than Pyro at killing crowds, so long as you’re comfortable ducking out and going into melee often. Single target damage is lacking, but this isn’t an issue outside of bosses. Unchained is incomparable to both BW and Pyro imo.
Her main gig is casting powerful spells fast, and often. The general way I like to play her is to decimate the bulk of a horde with area of effect spells, then do the cleanup with melee. Mobility is key. She is pretty squishy, but can get around easy due to firewalk and good dodges (unless you’re using mace). Tranquility kicks in quite fast now, and vents faster too. So don’t be afraid to generate heat.
Everyone has their own playstyle, so your personal experience might vary. But I’ll share how I play Sienna and commit genocide with fire. Starting with skills:
- Voracious Conjuring. Kind of a no-brainier imo, since it stacks with her passive.
- World Aflame. This increases your horde damage significantly, especially when you’re in melee and need it the most. Lingering flames is a good choice too though with some setups.
- Rechannel. Honestly all of these talents are good, but I Rechannel is the best for damage, as it basically provides for an insta-cast.
- Confound. Ranged will be your main source of death, and melee is just there for survival. If you want healshare you could use Fmale-Fettled, but I personally never use healshare because I’m selfish.
- Volan’s quickening. Firewalk is handy for a variety of situations, so you’ll find yourself needing it often. Yes-yes.
About Firewalk, it has had its ups and downs for sure, but right now it feels better than ever (except for when it was broken and you could teleport off the map). Things it’s useful for:
- Staggering enemies. Since you can place where the firewalk ends, it’s great for knocking around key targets, especially disablers and chaos warriors.
- Extra horde damage. One of the biggest BW changes during 1.3 is that Firewalk has a much wider “range”, so it will damage more enemies. This is only really noticeable on the weakest enemies though.
- Positioning. Arguable the most useful out of all of these. The difference between a good Sienna player and a bad one is when and where they choose to cast their spells from. Firewalk allows for you to get to a good spot in a blink and start casting before the enemies know what happened.
- Evasion. Like the other “dash” abilities, if you find yourself in a tight spot you can teleport straight through enemies and run away.
Now for weapons. 1h sword and fire sword are the best imo, but mace is still pretty good. I’m not a fan of the dagger personally, but some people like it. My properties and traits are always power vs chaos, crit chance, and swift slaying. Power vs chaos because they have higher health pools, and crit chance to proc swift slaying. Since you will be fighting with high overcharge often, swift slaying more or less negates the high overcharge penalty.
- 1h sword is probably the safest choice, especially if you’re new to Battle Wizard (especially now that it gets 4 stamina shields). It’s good at everything, but not great at anything. Charged attacks are especially effective when you find yourself surrounded. Great for survival.
- Flaming sword is best if you want to kill hordes better with melee. It’s not quite as reliable as 1h sword, but has really high stagger now and dot damage (especially with lingering flame). It does lack a little bit against armored.
- Mace is best if you want to kill single targets better, either by continuous charged attacks to knock them around or by spamming the first light attack. It handles hordes nicely with charged attacks, but it does have worse dodges than the swords so you need to be a lot more careful.
- I haven’t used dagger enough to say much about it. It’s good against armor and dodging I guess.
Now the most exciting part, accessories! This is probably the most up to player preference out of anything, but I’ll still share my choices.
- I use the same necklace on all my careers - health and damage reduction vs area damage, with the Barkskin trait. Barkskin makes hordes slightly less threatening now, and I don’t appreciate getting my skin flayed by warpstone gas. Health is a no-brainer.
- Charm is power vs berserkers and attack speed, with Decanter trait. I find berserkers to be the biggest threat to a BW when they get into melee, and attack speed helps you for when you need to use melee as well. Decanter because STR is your main source of damage for bosses, especially needed if there is no dps class in the game.
- Trinket is Crit chance and movement speed, with the Explosive Ordinance trait. Crit chance to proc swift slaying, and movement speed to duck out of fights easier. Stamina recovery is a potential substitute if you want. Explosive ordinance just for the lulz.
I slammed my finger in a door at work today, and it’s really sore by now. I must finish what I started!
As for staffs, it’s more or less up to you. Fireball has been my go-to since early access, but conflag and flameweave can be fun too. I personally don’t see a reason to ever use beam as BW, and bolt is pretty niche with this career.
- Fireball staff. I use power vs chaos and power vs monsters, with Thermal Equalizer as trait. Chaos and monsters are what BW struggles most against. With Thermal equalizer, you can cast 7 full charges safely, which is insane! This is a very versatile weapon, able to kill jsut about everything (even ok agaisnt bosses with charged attacks). Don’t charge to max against skaven hordes, as they die too fast for the extra damage to help, and are also a lot more numerous.
- Conflagration Staff. I use power vs armored, crit chance, and Hunter as trait. This is sort of a “dps/crowd-control” hybrid, so I choose to accentuate the dps part with these properites and trait. Use small charges against most things, even crowds. Big charges for chaos especially dense crowds and panic situations.
- Flameweave. Properties are power vs berserkers and crit chance, with hunter as a trait. Berserkers are mean boys, and this helps kill them somewhat. Crit chance to proc HUnter. Hunter helps make the weapon a little “killyer”. This weapon is pretty self-explainitory I feel. One thing to note is that unlike they other staffs, there is not a noise which plays when fully charged. You instead have to look at the tip, and when it starts flaming it’s fully charged. Flameweave is the undisputed king/queen of crowd-control ranged, held back only by its range. It also uses very little overcharge.
- Bolt Staff. The charged attacks are affected by charge speed reductions, so you will be able to charge those faster. Haven’t used it enough to say much more about it.
Sorry for the long post. If I forgot to mention some aspect of Battle Wizard, or you want me to elaborate more, feel free to dm me.