School Roles
The Good and Bad


The recent Spring Update brought some interesting reworks to Wizard101. One of the most important is the change in blades. Ravino’s article on the rework of blades and traps goes into the reestablishment of school identity.  Today, we are going to dive into greater definition of what the roles of each school are, there pros, cons, and my general thoughts/advice for each school.

Balance School Roles

Role: The buffer, secondary healer. AKA: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Pros: Balance wizards can do a little bit of everything. Their greatest strength comes from their Balance Blade and Bladestorm. They can learn elemental/spiritual blades and traps for free. Their small assortment of heals can be a good back up if Life goes down.

Cons:  Their greatest strength is also one of their greatest weaknesses. They can heal but aren’t as strong as Life wizards. They can use Elemental and Spirit Shields but Thaumaturges have better defensive capabilities.  One of the greatest downfalls of the Balance School is that it lacks a prism. This makes battling Balance mobs very difficult in low level worlds. It isn’t until Polaris that we finally get an AOE (Nested Fury) that allows us to circumvent this flaw.

Thoughts and tips: The primary duty of a Sorcerer is to buff up the hitter. They are the true support class of Wizard101. When playing a support Balance wizard, make sure to have gear that gives solid resistance. Balance was never designed to be the tank so don’t try to act like it. Simply survive long enough to help your hitter build up to the big hit. When you’re the support, you should prioritize getting out Balance blade and Bladestorm first. If you have other players, they can Elemental/Spirit Blade the hitter.

Pack Helping or Availing Hands in your deck. If your Life wizard is busy building up pips for Pigsie or Rebirth, your HOT can help players who may be running on the lower side. Many people underestimate the power of HOTs, so make sure you put them to good use!

Fire School Roles

Role: The hitter,  AKA: The DOT King

Pros: Much like its stormy cousin, the Fire School can do plenty of damage. They also have a wide variety of AOEs.

Cons: The greatest weakness of this school is its reliance on spells that have DOTs. At higher levels, this because even more of a problem because many mobs and bosses can simply cast Triage.

An alternative is Raging Bull, but you don’t get this until Polaris and it requires a shadow pip (which can take forever to get). This means that Pyromancers must rely on their good old fashioned Meteor Strike or build up enough damage to one shot with Fire Dragon. Much like storm, they sacrifice defense for a more powerful offense.

Thoughts and tips: This may sound foreign but I would recommend packing Detonate into your spell deck. DOTs can take time to kill of the boss (if they don’t triage it off), which can allow the boss to build up pips for devastating hits. Higher level bosses tend to enjoy spamming the players with lower level spells while causing massive damage. Detonate allows you to cause the damage all at once, killing the boss and making you the hero of the battle.

Also, Pyromancers, feel free to fight for your right to hit! Don’t let the Diviners call all the shots. When you’re facing an Ice or Life boss, you’re going to end up doing more damage than they will. I’ve seen too many Fire wizards pushed to the side when they could contribute heavily to the fight. One of the most important battles that Pyromancers can really contribute to is the Storm Titan’s Trident at the end of Empyrea. Since the Titan require three hits of high damage, DOTs are the best option. That means Heckhound finally gets its day in the sun!

Death School Roles

Role: The debuffer. AKA: The Deathly Debuffer

Pros: The Death school provides some of the greatest defensive spells in the game. The addition of Bad Juju has made fighting high damage bosses such as Storm Titan’s Trident so much easier (-90%. It doesn’t get much better than that). Since debuffs aren’t susceptible to pierce, they can lower the damage immensely. Hands down, Bad Juju is a must for many of the higher level battles (*cough* Titan’s Trident *cough*)

The School of Death is also the perfect school for solo playing. Their ability to heal themselves with their hits makes them the easiest to forge ahead with questing. If you want to zip through worlds, this is the wizard to do it with. Farming dungeons for Alchemical Extracts or Flying Squid Ink alone? Use Death.

Cons:  The newest rework to Dark Pact may be a problem with some Necromancers. Instead of Death damage, Dark Pact and Sacrifice now cause Moon damage. Many have tried to build up to that Death immunity, where they don’t have to worry about damaging themselves. Taking Moon damage means that the time spent getting to that Death immunity has been wasted. Much like Life, unless you’re willing to put in the crowns for Celestial Spellement Packs or Knight’s Lore Pack, Necromancer’s don’t get an AOE until Scarecrow. While Necromancers can sustain themselves in long battles, without that AOE, worlds up to Scarecrow can be tedious.

Thoughts and tips: When bosses were introduced with high pierce and damage output, Death wizards became a hot commodity. Virulent Plague and Bad Juju turned Death players into some of the most popular in the game. It isn’t uncommon to see at least one Necromancer in each final boss team, starting in Mirage.

For those Necromancer mains, Take advantage of this! Tell everyone that you’re willing to spam Plague and Bad Juju. You won’t have any issues getting assistance in dungeons. Have gear where if you damage yourself, you’re not hurting yourself too badly. Remove all gear that may boost your damage! With a high enough resist and little to no damage output, spamming those Jujus and Empowers won’t be a problem. In higher rank battles, I’d recommend putting up an empowerment aura, that way you’re gaining pips as the boss and mobs attempt to eradicate you.

Ice School Roles

Role: The tank, AKA: The Paladin

Pros: If done properly, this school has the highest defense in the game. I’ve seen many Thaumaturges with high resistance to complete immunity to schools. They can take hit, after hit, after hit. They have ridiculously high health.

Cons: Ice is the opposite of Fire and Storm. They sacrifice offense for a strong defense. Thaumaturges don’t have very powerful spells and have to rely on a bit of setting up to get that one shot AOE.

Thoughts and tips: It is absolutely ok to play the tank. Use Taunt to focus the enemies damage on you. If you have the right build, you can take hit, after hit, after hit. Use Shadow Sentinel! Soak up some of that damage from your teammates. You have the resist that will allow you to do it. As an Ice tank, I’ve used Shadow Sentinel to great success. I have gear setups for each school, that way I can be bullied by the bosses while taking little to no damage.

The newest buff to Legion Shield makes in invaluable in team fights. Tower Shield has already been useful in many fights, so the new and improved Legion Shield is going to be a necessity. I would also highly encourage that all Thaumaturges train all of the school shields found in the Commons.

Finally, pack some heals! If the main healer goes down, tank the hits and bring that healer back to life. Otherwise, focus on shielding and protecting your team. If you can, divert the attention away from your teammates and to you.

Life School Roles

Role: The healer, AKA: The Cleric

Pros: This is the healer of the game. They have the greatest healing diversity and can easily revive the team back from the dead. When facing powerful bosses that can one shot players (such as Aberrant Paradox), Theurgists are a must have on the team. Since Theurgists don’t require a life mastery amulet, they can equip an amulet that provides a different spell.

Cons: The saddest problem facing Life school is that no one really wants to play the healer. Everyone wants to get that big hit to kill off the boss. Though I have seen Theurgists with impressive damage output, that’s not their job. They need to focus on healing to keep the team alive.

They are also the weakest school in terms of damage, and unless you get Ratatoskr’s Spin from Grizzleheim Packs or spellements, Life doesn’t get an AOE until Forest Lord. This makes questing in worlds under Dragonspyre an absolute pain.

Thoughts and tips: I’ve seen many battles where Theurgists keep on their damage armor from Darkmoor and Dragoon when they should be focused on healing. Invest in good healing gear such as Jade gear. If you have great outgoing healing, every team is going to want you. You will be the lifesaver of the group. I’ve seen Theurgists with absurd healing output. When I did dungeons with them, my health rarely dropped into the orange.

Don’t use Pigsie or Rebirth unless the entire team is low. If only one player is low, use Fairy or Bless to boost up their health. Keep a Triage or two in your deck, that way if you run into a DOT, you can remove them without trouble. I’d also recommend packing a Guardian Spirit or two into your deck. That way, you have a means of getting back up if the boss slaughters you. A dead Life wizard can be detrimental to the team, especially if you don’t have any backup healers.

Myth School Roles

Role: Crowd control, AKA: Master Monster Manipulator

Pros: Myth has some of the most interesting abilities in the game. They can push DOTs back at the enemy, break shields and traps, and can even spam Blinding Light on their enemies. Many of their hits even stun enemies. In Karamelle, they gain the ability to confuse targets which is amazing!

Cons: Tragically, so much of a Conjurer’s repertoire is built off of minion summons. Unfortunately, all of the summons we learn are pretty useless. The only summons worth conjuring are Monstrology summons but once the Sun School enchantments are made available, no one is going to enhance their cards with Monstrology extracts. They can do decent damage but teams are more likely to focus on blading up a Fire or Storm. Due to this, we sadly don’t see many high level Myth players.

Thoughts and tips: Honestly, I feel kind of bad for Conjurers. At higher levels, summons become completely obsolete. The minions don’t contribute much to the battle, making them a waste of pips. While they can make a good tertiary hitter, they fall short of causing the major damage that Fire and Storm deal. Otherwise, to the high level Myth wizards, I’d recommend packing spells such as Blinding Light to do some crowd control. Use Pierce or Shatter to get rid of shields. Push around those DOTs. Manipulate the battlefield to your advantage. Of all the schools, Myth requires the most creativity and thus, in my opinion, is one of the most fun to play.

Storm School Roles

Role: The hitter, AKA: The Glass Cannon

Pros: Storm is easily one of the most popular schools in the game. It has the highest damage spells in the game and the rework of blades and traps only strengthen its offensive ability. Diviners come with plenty of nasty AOEs, making them the bane of the enemies existence. Tempest spam makes them very popular in breezing through mob fights in dungeons such as Abandoned House.

Cons: What storm does in damage, it lacks in defense. Many storm wizards hang up their Darkmoor hoods in favor of Paradox or Dragoon’s hats. This lowers their defense, making them the glass cannon. Powerful, but easy to break. Diviners need a tank or healer to keep them alive because there’s nothing worst than being killed and losing all of your precious blades.

I’ve also noticed that Storm wizards don’t always play well together. Everyone wants to be the killer so it becomes a “who’s damage is highest” fight. They like to speed through fights and sometimes take out the enemies before other players have a chance to enter the battle. Make sure that everyone is in before you hit! That way everyone gets the drops. For more details, check out my article on proper farming etiquette. Storm wizards also tend to favor building up blades and trying to go for that big critical hit.  Many Diviners rely too heavily on their critical and I’ve seen them get upset when the boss blocks and they don’t do the damage they want. Personally, I never focused on critical ratings. Too many bosses block it so I focus on higher damage output.

Thoughts and tips: My recommendation is don’t worry about critical so much! As you move up in difficulty, bosses are more likely to block your critical, making it useless. Invest in higher outgoing damage instead. Equip gear and pets that will help you do devastating damage.

If you become the hitter of the team, don’t focus on building up so many blades. You waste more time when you’re trying to overkill the boss. In many dungeons try to hit hard and hit quickly. Work with your team so that they are blading you while you build up your pips to Glowbugs or Siren. Of all the schools, Storm is the one that truly requires perfect accuracy and power pips.

Finally, recognize when someone else may be the better option for hitting. For example, if you’re going up against a Storm boss, you could either use prisms or help that Pyromancer get a cool hit off.  I know that it may go against the nature of many Storm wizards but it’s important to recognize strengths and weaknesses. If the Fire wizard is going to do more damage more quickly, then help them.

Final Thoughts

My overall advice when playing these schools is don’t hesitate in playing the role that the game has given you! The beauty of MMORPGs is the diversity that comes out of multiple classes. You don’t need that big hit to be a major contributor to the duel. Have fun with your roles! Take them and add your personal touch to them.

What do you think the roles are of each school?
Comment below!

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James Nightwraith

James started playing Wizard101 when Dragonspyre had just come out. James remembers a time when Astral magic enchantments weren't even a concept. When he's not questing or farming for the best gear, you can often find him decorating his many houses or joining random team-ups to help wizards get through tough dungeons. He is always happy to lend a helping hand, whether it's to a first-time player or a seasoned veteran. When you're stuck on a difficult quest, James is the guy to turn to. He has a particular interest in the roles of different classes and spells in the ever-changing meta.

14 COMMENTS

  • Life was my first school of choice when I started playing in 2011. While I do love my fire wizard as well, life will always be (in my mind), the best school for MY main school. While I agree with most of the points you made above, I feel like maybe you leaned in a little to hard on maintaining healing gear. I actually have several gear sets for all occasions, which would allow life wizards to be versital and enjoy playing the game the way that person wants to play it.
    Healing Set – obviously when questing with or helping with a boss in a team.
    Critical set – quick kills on mobs when going solo.
    “Main Set” – For soloing bosses, or if there are two life wizards in the tram. My stats for this set are very well balanced for heals and hits.
    I also have a “Tank” set for the really big baddies. Sacrificed very little in outgoing to get 82 resist.
    I guess my labored point is Life is far more than just a healer, and I just wish y’all could have pointed that out.
    You are fight though, I have seen way too many life wizards not willing to be a team player and keep everyone alive.

  • Saying critical isn’t worth focusing on is giving up a large portion of your damage when the new changes are a buff to critical its no longer a full crit or no crit its now a scaling damage multiplier based on your critical rating. There’s is always the chance it is blocked but much rarer now than before people the focus only on raw damage will be left behind by well balanced wizards

  • Wow. While I think that this article wasn’t written with the intention to offend anyone, it just kinda feels condescending, like telling me that my Necromancer with Darkmoor Equipment and stuff isn’t the correct way to play my own school. I get that there are most effective ways to play a certain school but this post makes it sound like a crime if I as a Necromancer or Healer go for damage, telling me that I should just keep to whatever my school was designed for. Honestly, if whenever a storm wizard told me to let them handle it and not attack at all I’d always listened I think I wouldn’t have beaten waterworks just as often as I did back in the day. While I realize this post most likely isn’t meant to belittle any one school, it just comes across like “what, you are life and you don’t hear the whole team every second round? You are useless!!”. And I think that’s rather unfortunate. Taking a look at my favorite school, Death, I don’t think I’ll ever use a deck that will only consist of Juju and other debuffs. I can deal serious damage too. I can attack and stay alive with no healer whatsoever, even in group fights. So therefore, I don’t think it’s fair to just group wizards into classic MMO-classes and berate them if they don’t follow the “rules”. Just let everyone play the way they want to. Considering the equipment one can get with universal resist, crit, damage, et cetera, it really doesn’t matter much which class is the one attacking. A life wizard with good equipment can easily outdamage a storm wizard with average items, so I don’t think it’s that easy to generalize.

    Ulysses Löwenherz, lvl 130 Necromancer on the EU server

    • You bring up a really good point Ulysses! What I believe we’re assuming here is that everyone has equal access to certain gear, and its just melting down to what the school was originally designed to do. By no means are we saying that there is a wrong way to play any school though.

    • Hi Ulysses.
      If you’ve had the experience where other wizards berate you for not setting your gear and deck up the wrong way, I am so sorry. That’s no way to treat fellow wizards.
      This article by no means is telling you how to play your wizard. Rather, it’s looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each school. Anyone can play the healer, tank, or hitter. Some schools lend themselves more easily to one role. For example, Storm has significantly more damage spells while Life has the most variety of life spells. That doesn’t mean that a Life wizard can’t play the hitter. It doesn’t mean that Storm can’t play the tank or supporter.
      My observations on Darkmoor gear are rather stating the danger of keeping on damage boosting gear if you’re spamming Bad Juju or Sacrifice. Same critique with Healers. Why keep on damage gear if you can use more defensive and healing output gear? Personally, for my Death and Balance wizards, I have many gear setups. I have ones for soloing, for damage, and tanking. I change my gear to whatever I think will benefit the team best. At the end of the day, play in the way that works best for you. The way I play is by no means the way others should play. This is more how I see each of the roles.

  • (There’s an actual question at the end of this, I promise)

    “[Death] is the best class for solo players.” – Maybe for Wizard City! With all the recent updates nerfing spells and stats: Death is descending to oblivion alongside Myth. New spells and buffs are being given to most the other schools too while Death has only been given highly situational new spells that are nearly useless for PvE; not to mention the gutted fate of Lulu.

    Storm and Fire are the most viable solo options and can easily breeze through all but the toughest boss fights.

    The massive nerfs and returning “Class Role” mentality is really only killing play-style options and versatility. The concept of “You chose this class/character so you do this role” makes for excruciatingly boring game-play and often breeds toxic communities. (League of Legends, anyone?)

    If the goal is replayability, continual growth, community involvement, player engagement and versatility (a variety of playing style options and feeling of playing how the player wishes to play):

    Why not just set role options during matchmaking (Tank, Hitter, Healer, Support, Any-Role) and then let people play the schools how they want and create the builds they prefer?

    If everyone I met while playing my Death (main) expected me to play “the debuffer” then I would ONLY ever play with my real-life friend when on my Death; because that’s the only time I’d enjoy it and be able to play-my-way on my favorite character. For a game that is trying to focus and encourage community involvement: Role limits are detrimental.

    • That’s an interesting idea of a role option during match maker! It could definitely add some interesting versatility. Who wouldn’t love to see a storm tank, who primarily breaks charms? Could be interesting! I think like any MMORPG, while each class was designed with a specific role, players can get creative with how they play those roles. This article is by no means pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do. I’ve seen life wizards with insane amounts of damage. They can play the hitter.
      For soloing, I’ve had great fortune in being able to solo with my Necromancer (however I had to do an insane amount of farming to get the best gear for him). I think it comes down to gear and deck set up. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with questing with friends. It can be a lot more fun.

  • ever heard of a typo?

    • Indeed I have. However, I was pointing something out. Usually, news websites are fine with you pointing out mistakes. They do try to be professional, just as I was. I was simply bringing it to their attention.

  • “What storm does in damage, it lacks in offense.”

    Offense and damage are kind of the same thing. I think you mean defense. Storm is very offensive by being able to have over 190% damage. That sounds pretty offensive if you ask me

    • Also, it’s Theurgists, not “Theurists”

      • Thanks for the feedback! I was able to make those edits. We sometimes miss these typos, even during editing and review.

      • You’re are absolutely right. I meant to write “lacks in defense.” Once again, a typo that was missed during editing and review.

        • We all miss typos sometimes, I just wanted to make sure it was brought to your attention. Hope you have a nice day. (Also, I think you meant “You’re”

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