I remember seeing some guides on the forums for the different melee schools and ranged, but I don't recall seeing a whole lot about various mage builds. There are so many different mage builds that I thought I'd make a thread for it and people can add their own. You don't have to use the same format that I do, but feel free to if you want. I currently play a chaos/death mage, so that will be my contribution. It's worth noting that I'm not in a guild and mostly do my own thing in SotA, and I also don't do a very good job of keeping up with new developments. So while I've hopefully provided some useful information, don't assume that there aren't other important things that I'm not aware of, because it's quite likely that there are. Chaos/Death Mage General Modis Operandi: The chaos/death mage build is centered around chaotic feedback, which can be used to draw and use skills very quickly, and death magic, which can be used to regain life lost to chaotic feedback and anything else. It is a relatively powerful build, but also very limited. It can produce a reasonable amount of damage, both single target and AE, and is also extremely durable. On the other hand, it's completely useless against undead mobs, which means that it needs at least 1 back up build in order to be viable in many places. This is a good build for farming artifacts, but can be a little challenged sometimes when it comes to grinding out pure adventure xp. Gear: In general, gearing a chaos/death mage is just like anything else. You just wear whatever gives you the highest damage without getting you killed. One thing that makes it a little different from other mages is that death has the option of going very heavy because death specialization gives a ton of -fizzle to death magic. You can wear full plate if necessary and still easily cast all death magic at high level. My most common gear configuration is white iron plate chest with dolus hood, cloth armor, and dual wands. Cloth chest can provide a lot of extra damage when you can get away with it, and plate armor can provide a lot of extra health and damage resist when necessary. Lich/attunement rings and warlock chain are no brainers, but there are different belts and wands that are better for different situations. Zombie skin belt is better than sage's sash when using only death magic for damage, and sage's sash is better when also using other magic schools for damage. Thunder branches and Vexlyn's ember are both better than normal wands when integrating air or fire magic. Even though those wands aren't made for death magic, you can still socket them with necromancy jewels and enchant them with +death attunement and +death ray damage. You lose the base damage bonus of a crafted wand, but in return you get 10 intelligence and a ton of attunement under soft cap in a second school. Both fire and air complement chaos/death pretty well, but thunder branches are a whole lot cheaper than vex wands, so that's what I use when not using straight death. It's worth noting that using a shield is somewhat less viable for death mages than some other mage builds, because it cuts down damage a lot due to loss of death ray masterwork in addition to all the other +damage on a wand. Less damage also means less healing, so you also give back some of the defensive gains that you get from a shield. Shields are still pretty useful for stun resist and blocking some attacks like dragon fire, but it's pretty rare that they're useful enough to actually be the best thing to use for a chaos/death mage. Edit: I forgot to mention that chest enchantment is pretty important. The near death bonus enchantment is pretty useful. The name is a little deceptive, because death magic damage scales based on health whether you're near death or not. Even when you're at 90% life, your death magic will do more damage than when at 100%. Also, the corpse explosion chest enchantment looks great, but it doesn't work, and never has afaik, so it should be avoided. Edit 2: When I wrote this, I was unaware that ancient staff of death was apparently recently changed and can now be masterworked and socketed. That makes it a lot better than normal death wands given that you can get more attunement and also get a big pet damage boost. Deck Construction: Most of the decks that I use when playing chaos/death are very simple, but they are a little different than most builds in that you use a lot more glyphs. The reason for that is that if you don't, you'll simply run out of glyphs and be left just standing there doing nothing because you already cast your whole deck. The basic idea is to have 1 or 2 unlocked slots with damage glyphs, short term buffs, and any debuff that's useful for the situation. The locked slots are for longer buffs and situational skills that require more control of timing. You may also have a slot or slots set up for dynamic stacking and locking of skills like corpse explosion, ring of fire, or chaotic feedback. Tap soul is also a very important part of any chaos/death deck. At high level with spec, it's basically free focus that draws and casts almost instantly and refreshes very quickly. I usually just put tap soul into the unlocked pool and adjust as needed, but you can also lock it and spam your focus up super quickly. For most things, just having a couple of tap soul glyphs in my deck is enough to have sustainable focus, but when using death field or air magic a lot, adding them all in is sometimes necessary, especially when running around a lot. The deck that I currently use vs. dragons is as follows: Locked: Enlightenment Death Shield Chaotic Feedback Dash Engage Opponent Death Field Body Slam Douse Drawn: Death Touch x 6 Death Ray x 6 Glancing Blow x 4 Fortify Defenses x 4 Tap Soul x 2 Dash x 1 Defensive Stance x 1 Douse x 1 That could probably be a little better, but the basic idea is to fill in the deck with a lot of useful short duration buffs since we're not using many damage glyphs. Buffs that have short duration boosts like glancing blow and fortify defenses can be used more since they give you additional benefit even when you already have the buff. Also worth noting that it's good to keep death field locked when fighting dragons because it doesn't hit them when they're flying, so having some additional control of when we cast it is very useful. If fighting against something that's vulnerable to more types of magic, I would modify my deck to include chain lightning and either discharge or lightning, depending on whether I'm running around fighting 1 or 2 mobs at a time or if it's more of an AE friendly scenario. In very AE friendly situations, I also add all corpse explosion glyphs to the drawn pool to stack, lock, and use when fully stacked. Similarly, if in a long-term continuous fighting situation, chaotic feedback needs to be drawn, stacked, and locked, as it's not very practical to charge in the middle of a fight. Lich pet is strong enough to use in most situations and can be cast extremely quickly with feedback. That being said, it's not worth going out of your way for. I usually just cast it and go on exactly as I would if it wasn't there. Sometimes I will spin stuff around like dragons or trolls so that they don't get knocked down, but that's about it. Strengths and Weaknesses: Obviously the big disadvantage of any death mage build is not being able to use it vs. undead. You don't really realize just how much undead stuff there is in the game until you play death. It's not just the undead themselves, but wave battles and some other things that require killing something undead to get to something else, like daemon bros, phoenix, etc. The biggest strength of the chaos/death build is that it's very effective vs. some dragons. This includes yellow dragons and blue dragons (including Banamathr), and I assume white dragons, although I haven't been to the fall in forever, so I can't say that with 100% certainty. It's also not great but good enough for some other dragons like orange pit dragon. Here's a video I made earlier today face tanking and killing a yellow dragon and ancient yellow dragon simultaneously and killing both in 4 minutes. For reference, I'm currently level 121 with decent but not amazing gear and some questionably distrubuted points. I'm not sure how that compares to equivalent archers, melee, and other mage builds, but I'm sure it's better than a lot of things, and could be way stronger than me at higher level: Chaos/Death is also good vs. any kind of non-undead wave battle type stuff. Cabalist room in hidden vale and warp spider in despair are a couple that I've done quite a lot. I think it's probably possible to hold the kobold control point solo at very high level with good gear and play. This is a warp spider round that I recorded recently. It's not really a steady grind spot since it takes 2.5 minutes to respawn, but it's decent to swoop in and kill for xp while teleporting around farming other stuff: Ulfheim, including Banamathr, is also pretty easy to solo with chaos/death. I'm not sure if it's worth it, but if they ever go back to the mega quest xp it will be.