Chain Lightning Sorcerer Leveling Guide - D4 (2024)

Welcome to the Chain Lightning Sorcerer Leveling Guide! This is pound-for-pound one of the best leveling builds for any class. We combine the amazing AOE from Fireball Enchantment-empowered Chain Lightning with the high damage basic skill Arc Lash to destroy our enemies.

We take Frost Nova, Ice Armor and Teleport as our main defensive skills. Teleport gets us out of harms way, Frost Nova Freezes enemies and applies Vulnerable from Mystical Frost Nova, and Ice Armor gives us a solid Barrier and Mana Regeneration from Enhanced Ice Armor. These tools should keep you alive as you turn up the voltage!

One problem this build faces is Unstable Currents, or to be more specific, its 70 second cooldown. There is no great way to solve this problem with our leveling set up, so only pop Unstable Currents on big Elite Packs and Bosses.

Overall this build feels incredible while leveling. Check out our Endgame Chain Lightning Sorcerer Guide for how to transition to the endgame! You can also check out our other endgame Sorcerer Guides for powerful alternatives.

This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. Check out Endgame Guides in our Sorcerer Guides section!


  • Great Mobility
  • Doesn't Require Good Aim
  • Blows Up The Entire Room
  • Great Single Target Damage


  • Long Cooldowns
  • Melee Basic Skill
  • Bounces Are Unpredictable
  • Mana Problems Early Game

Season 4 - Loot Reborn

In Season 4, the Season Theme revolves around helping out the Iron Wolves. Compared to past themes, this one does not offer any borrowed power as the entire game has been redesigned with new itemization and crafting options, increasing player power substantially across the board. Instead, you can gather reputation similar to the Vampire Bounty Board from Season 2 to unlock rewards that supercharge your leveling journey to 100 with extra items, crafting materials and eventually even a Resplendent Spark to craft an uber unique.

We recommend to follow the seasonal questline until you unlock the reputation system, check which rewards suit you most and then follow your regular leveling path. To learn more, check out our full Season 4 guide for more information.

Skill Showcase

Arc Lash is an incredible basic skill. It deals very respectable damage and attacks quickly. Flickering Arc Lash helps us move faster, since we can't make use of Glinting Arc Lash because we lack Stuns on this leveling build.

Chain Lightning is what monsters have nightmares about. This skill bounces around the entire room eliminating everything in sight. It also provides incredible single target damage with the Greater Chain Lightning upgrade. This is one of the best leveling skills in Diablo 4.

Teleport is our mobility spell. It's great for traversing the map faster as it lets you instantly go up and down cliffs and even teleport through walls. It's also very useful to quickly reposition ourselves in combat and it even lets you escape Crowd Control by briefly making you Unstoppable.

Ice Armor is our main Defensive Skill. It gives us a massive Barrier which keeps regenerating itself as long as we deal damage.

Frost Nova is another Defensive Skill that keeps us safe by Freezing all enemies in place. With the Mystical Frost Nova upgrade it also applies Vulnerable status to enemies, making them take much more damage.

Unstable Currents gives us about triple damage for 10 seconds and it looks awesome while doing so. Unfortunately it has 70 second cooldown, but still deserving of a spot on your Skillbar.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Getting Started

We start off by picking up our two main damage skills: Arc Lash and Chain Lightning with their upgrades. The gameplay at this point is extremely simple: you shoot the bad guys if you have Mana or you whip them if you don't.

Adding Defensive Skills

After investing 6 Skill Points, we gain access to Defensive Skill cluster. Here we instantly pick up Teleport, Ice Armor, and Frost Nova. These are our main utility spells and they will stay with us until the very end.

Power Up & First Enchant

We spend the next few levels maxing out Chain Lightning and Arc Lash. We also pick up Glass Cannon and Frost Nova upgrades.

At level 15 we unlock our first Enchantment slot so we put a point into Fireball. This Enchantment makes each of our Chain Lightning bounces trigger a fiery AoE explosion, which is particularly devastating against high mob density.

Ultimate and Key Passive

At Skill Point 24, we gain our Ultimate which gives us a very nice damage boost on Bosses and Elites. We get Prime Unstable Currents for Attack Speed but ignore Supreme Unstable Currents because Crackling Energy does not deal any significant damage.

Next few points go into defensive passives: Protection and Electrocution. Finally at the very bottom of the skill tree we get Vyr's Mastery, which gives us both damage and toughness.

Final Passives and Skill Ranks

At this point our build is largely complete so we just put points into various useful passives and rank up our utility skills.

Check out our Renown Speedrun Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently.

Sorcerer Enchantment Slots

Enchantments are extremely important to any Sorcerer build. In fact, the moment you hit Level 15, you should drop whatever you were doing and go unlock your Enchantment Slots! You must have at least one rank in a skill to put it into Enchantment Slot but it doesn't have to be on your Skillbar.

Slot 1 - Enchant Fireball. Significantly increases your Area of Effect (AoE) damage, which is especially effective in high density areas such as dungeons.

Slot 2 - Enchant Chain Lightning. This gives us a free cast for every three times we throw it. This helps us on boss fights, which are the only things that can survive our damage at this point.

Unlocking the Enchantment Slots

Once you hit Level 15, you automatically start the "Legacy of the Magi" Priority Quest. Complete it to unlock your first Enchantment Slot. The second Slot unlocks on it's own when you reach Level 30.

Learn more details in our full Enchantment Slots Guide.

Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities

Early on, you generally want to use a 2-H Weapon (Staff) simply because it deals much more damage than the 1-H Weapon and Focus combo, despite being slower. Also, a low item power Focus does not yet provide high enough supporting stats to typically be worth. No matter what loadout you choose to go with, always go for higher DPS over the rest of a Weapon or Focus' stats during leveling. The useful stats to look out for on a Weapon and Focus are:

  • Weapon: Intelligence, Resource Cost Reduction
  • Focus: Cooldown Reduction

Hint: Press SHIFT over an item to compare it to what you're wearing!


Armor pieces typically grant us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves which offer a tidal wave of Offense. Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm: Mana Per Second, Cooldown Reduction.
  • Armor: Mana Per Second, Armor, Life.
  • Gloves: Chain Lightning Ranks, Critical Strike Chance, Attack Speed
  • Pants: Armor, Life, Intelligence
  • Boots: Mana Per Second, Movement Speed


Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet: Cooldown Reduction, Movement Speed, Attack Speed
  • Rings: Attack Speed, Critical Strike Chance, Mana on Kill

If you have sockets on your items, fill them with the following;

  • Weapons: Topaz
  • Armor:‍Ruby
  • Jewelry: Diamond

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Codex of Power

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specificDungeonslocated around Sanctuary. For leveling there are a few aspects that can significantly help us if we have the funds to imprint them:

Top Codex Leveling Aspects in Order:

1. Recharging AspectZenith - Fractured Peaks
2. Aspect of ControlSunken Library - Kehjistan
3. Prodigy’s AspectWitchwater - Hawezar
4. MightDark Ravine - Dry Steppes
5. DisobedienceHalls of the Damned - Kehjistan

Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they are constantly replaced while leveling. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet, Rings, or Gloves instead.

Learn more details in our article covering the Codex of Power.

Helpful Legendary Aspects

There are more helpful Legendary Aspects for the Chain Lightning Sorcerer that can either be found in the Codex of Power or Extracted from an item drop. Note that all Legendary Aspects can be found from item drops, and dropped Aspects can have higher rolls frequently making them significantly better than ones sourced from the Codex of Power.

Aspect of the Unbroken TetherItem Drop, or Gambling Only
Accelerating AspectItem Drop or Gambling Only
Conceited AspectItem Drop or Gambling Only
Stable AspectItem Drop or Gambling Only
Mage-Lord's AspectItem Drop or Gambling Only

Discover every Sorcerer Legendary Aspect in our Sorcerer Overview.

How To Level

In Diablo 4 you level by completing the Campaign, collecting Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers, completing Helltide activities, grinding Dungeons, or interacting with the Seasonal mechanics. While there are many ways to level up in Diablo 4, not all of them are made equal.

Campaign Leveling

  • For your first character in Diablo 4, completing the Campaign provides the best gameplay experience and gives you access to key unlocks like your Mount.
    • If you don't have your Mount, you MUST progress the Campaign until you complete the quest Donan's Favor at the start of Act 4.
    • After obtaining your Mount you can skip the remainder of the campaign at any time.
    • The Campaign is the slowest way to level, but it's worth experiencing the Campaign and Diablo 4's storyline at least once.
    • To play Seasonal Content you need to have completed or skipped the Campaign.

Seasonal / Alt Leveling

  • Complete the Seasonal questline, progress your Seasonal Journey to unlock Legendary Aspects and work on your Seasonal powers.
  • If your account is below Rank 5 Renown in each zone, focus on completing your Renown.
    • This only needs to be done once per realm (Softcore / Hardcore).
  • Complete the Dungeons needed for any Legendary Aspects from your Codex of Power.
  • From level 1-50 you should focus on getting experience in Helltides by combining Helltide activities with Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers or complete Gathering Legion Events.
  • After level 50 you need to balance leveling up, Glyph Experience and participating in Endgame activities like Helltide, Tree of Whispers and Bosses. The fastest experience possible after reaching World Tier 3 is completing Nightmare dungeons with monsters exactly 10 levels above your current level. Check out our Nightmare Dungeon Tier List for the best Nightmare Dungeon layouts!
  • Around level 30-45 you should move to World Tier 3.
  • Around level 50-65 you should move to World Tier 4.
  • Alternatively: Get boosted by a friend to World Tier 4 then leech experience/loot and Glyph exp (post 50), in Nightmare dungeons.
  • Find the most efficient way of leveling your character in detail in our Speed Leveling Guide.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Let's look at some tips and tricks to remember when leveling up!

  • Level Up Your Potion. You need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion.
    • Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many Elixir recipes!
  • Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing.
    • This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.
  • Don't Imprint Your Best Aspect Onto Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly.
    • It is a better idea to put your best Offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.
  • Sacred is just better. Between level 30 and 50 you're able to beat the Capstone Dungeon and enter World Tier 3, you gain access to powerful Sacred items which have higher item power and better stats. Getting a Sacred weapon significantly improves your farming speed.
    • The same happens with World Tier 4 and Ancestral gear.

Video Guide


  • As a Chain Lightning Sorcerer, Sizzle your enemies to a crisp with Chain Lightning and use Arc Lash when you're low on Mana.
  • Use Teleport to get out of harms way, and Mystical Frost Nova to apply Vulnerable to your enemies.
  • Against strong enemies pop Unstable Currents and unleash the Lightning Apocalypse.
  • Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge to stay alive as a Sorcerer.
  • Unlock your Enchantment Slots ASAP.
  • Look out for helpful Legendary Aspects in the Codex of Power.
  • Read the "Next Steps" above to continue your journey. We now have a Chain Lightning Sorcerer Endgame Guide if you want a smooth transition!


Written by DarkHumility
Original Post by Raxxanterax
Reviewed by Northwar

Chain Lightning Sorcerer Leveling Guide - D4 (2024)
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