The PvM 'Shadow Walker' (Pure Claw/Venom) by Duncan Idaho
This 'Shadow Walker' Guide has been archived in the Strategy Compendium. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback for the author at the foot of the guide.
The PvM 'Shadow Walker' (Pure Claw/Venom) by Duncan Idaho
This 'Shadow Walker' Guide has been archived in the Strategy Compendium. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback for the author at the foot of the guide.
The PvP Fire Trapper - by Shadow752
This PvP Fire Trapper Guide has been archived in the Strategy Compendium. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback for the author at the foot of the guide.
1-1 – Introduction.
1.2 - A few words on the Furysin.
1.3 - Meet the FurySin.
2.1 – Advantages.
2.2 – Disadvantages.
3.1 - Open wounds.
3.2 - Deadly strike and Critical Strike.
3.3 - Crushing blow.
3.4 - What works.. what doesn’t?
4.1 – Attributes.
4.2 – Gear.
4.3 - Weapon of Choice.
4.4 – Notes on gear.
4.5 – Charms.
4.6 - Gear socketing.
5.1 – Skills.
5.2 – Martial Arts Tree.
5.3 – Trap Tree.
5.4 – Shadow Disciplines Tree.
6.1 - PvP.
6.2 - PvM.
6.3 - Leveling guide.
6.3 - Leveling areas ideas
6.4 – Merc
7.1 – Q&A
Greetings to all of those bitten by a made bug.
I am an Assasin Enthusiast who, after a lot of remakes, have settled on creating the assassins which differ (a little) from the main stream. I play on the Europe Realm. I started out playing the Amazon but as soon as the Expansion came out I jumped to the Assasin and stuck with it ever since. The Sin is just so versatile that her arsenal can’t be beat by any other class (at least in my book).
Europe Realm : Acc : SonOfRa
1.2 A few words on the Furysin
The following is a build concentrated around the use of the skill ‘Blade Fury’. It’s a loose guide on how you can make this build work in multi player games. It is however NOT viable in PvP (this will be explained later).
The build can be frustrating at times, if you’re a kill-on-one-hit kind of person, if you’re not, then this is the build to try. It is a build for a more experienced player and a build that will take some time to grow accustom to, as well as some specialized gear to acquire. Part of the fun in this build is the gathering of the items required, for you see some are easy to get, that you can get them for free.. others.. well yes I admit they are hard to get, anyways more on that later.. Once you have acquired what you feel is right then sit back and enjoy the ride.
1.3 Meet the FurySin
Abnormal... You say something there.
If you like a character whom dodge in and out of combat. Whom almost literally walk through the acts. Using stealth and cunning as well as a touch of wits. Then this is the build.
Abnormal is right. When you look at assassin you'll see the 'Trapper's place their lightning sentries and blast away a path through the monsters for all to follow. Leaving behind corpses.
You won't believe your eyes when you see the 'Kicker's speed, as he unleash a fury of kicks against his enemies. Suddenly appearing elsewhere to release the deadly punishment of a Frozen Orb, the pain of the Phoenix Lightning or the earth shattering damage of the Meteor. Indeed you will notice this one with her shouts.
While you think you've seen it all the 'Dual Claw Master' moves in for the kill. With deadly accuracy and power he tears into his enemies taking a beating, but nothing compared to what he gives back..
Well with these three very used and very good builds... it's no wonder you didn't notice the practically invisible assassin standing in the back looking like he was hidden in the shadows, leeching.
BUT HEAR ME NOW! He's not leeching he's unleashing from the shadows his wrath. The 'Blade Fury Sin' takes your breath away with his speed at which the blades are thrown, only rivalled by the fastest bow Amazon, they are like a mini Chain-gun. He stand there while his shadow holds the monsters at bay, and as the fight goes on you start to wonder if he even has a use.
It looks like the monsters will over run him soon, then as if a cloud moves away from the sun, or rather as if light becomes darkness for in the shadows the Assasin rules, the first monster fall. In a anguishing scream the monsters fall one by one. With a huge group still standing and dealing it's punishment you see then suddenly stunned, and then the body parts start to fly. With sudden silence the fury of the blades has stopped and have been replaced by the awesome deadliness of the Death Sentry. A scary sight for the weak at heart.
With elegance and grace, as if he had all the time in the world the Fury Sin moves through the body parts.. no he doesn't run as fast as the other sins, charging into the next combat. No his graceful style wouldn't allow that.
You stop a moment and ponder what happened here. Then you see the Fury Sin engage the next group of monsters blinding them and ensuring the cover of darkness to allow his wrath to be unleashed... yet again... and again
2.1 Advantages :
Some of the advantages listed are :
- Ranged combat.
- Lots of Skills to chose from.
- Unique fighting style.
- Maximum attack speed from the first time you use it.
- High Resistances.
- Able to damage everything in the game, nothing is immune to you.
- Different castings
- 98% Chance for Crushing Blow (see 3.3) (Note : max =95%)
- 43% chance of Open Wounds (see 3.1)
- 52% chance of Critical / Deadly Strike (see 3.2)
2.2 Disadvantages :
The disadvantages are :
- One of the main problems : Attack Rating (see 3.4)
- Grounded when attacking.
- Sucks in PvP (see 6.1)
- Low blocking.
3.1 Open wounds
Open wounds causes the player affected by it to loose life for a given amount of time, it works far better than poison as it can't be resisted. The only way to reduce the effect of open wounds is to use health potions or replenish life.
The player affected by open wounds loose life according to this formula
Duration: 200 frames (8 seconds - There are 25 frames per second).
Clvl 10: 11.8 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 94.5 damage.
Clvl 30: 42.6 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 340.6 damage.
Clvl 50: 99.7 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 797.7 damage.
Clvl 70: 178.8 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 1430.5 damage.
Clvl 90: 266.7 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 2133.6 damage.
The damage is divided by 4 for a player target. In addition, for a missile versus a player target one should divide the damage by 8 instead. Versus bosses and champions (could be just bosses or special bosses) the damage is divided by 2
3.2 Deadly Strike and Critical Strike
Deadly strike and critical strike both have a chance of triggering a double damage effect. The deadly strike effect is applied after all other damage bonuses. Critical strike and deadly strike exclude each other.
The formula of dealing double damage with deadly strike and critical strike is:
Chance of double damage = CS + (DS/100)*(100-CS)
Critical Strike : 31%
Deadly Blow : 30%
Calculation : 31% + (30/100)*(100-31)
Critical Strike : 52%
3.3 Crushing blow
This is a chance of reducing a monster's health by X% in a single blow. This is one of the things which makes this build great for taking down the ‘bosses’.
vs. Players: 10%
vs. Hirelings: 10%
vs. Champions, Uniques, Bosses: 12.5%
with missile weapons: 6.25%
3.4 Attack Rating
Blade Fury DOES rely on attack rating…. Let me say that again, yes you will need attack rating otherwise you won’t hit anything.
The Attack rating of the Furysin is and WILL continuously be a matter of debate. Some want to rely on items for AR. Some want charms. Some skills. There is no doubt that you will find that AR is an issue you better address sooner than later. With that said let me say the following.
My guide is build on the assumption that your final weapon will be a weapon using ITD. While ITD goes a long way it doesn’t solve all situations and that is why I have added the Demon Limb on my switch for added AR (more on that later).
There are many sources of AR. Some will say : Claw Mastery. Note to yourself that if you choose to use Claw Mastery that it will ONLY work if you use a Claw (Yes that should be a given but some don’t know that). If you rely on your Merc for attack rating.. be sure that he doesn’t die, for if he does, you’ll have little other option than to run.
A whole debate has submerged on what to do. Some don’t want to use ITD. Some don’t want to live with out it. So choose which path you want to take before you start out, it will make your Furysin much more manageable. Either go the dex/ar/charms/items route. Or the expensive ITD route.
Going the dex route will have the benefit of you having the option of maxed block.
Going the ITD route will mean more damage/life.
All in all attack rating can be gained in various ways, which will be listed under items later on.
3.4 What works.. what doesn’t?
Things to remember is that almost anything works with blade Fury (ALMOST)… Here is a list :
-Ignore Target Defense
-Deadly Strike/Critical Strike from CM
-Hit Causes Monster to Flee
-Chance to cast on Striking
-Hit Freezes Target
-Elemental Damage/Venom (3/4)
-Hit Blinds Target
-Prevent Monster Heal
-Hit Slows Target
-Physical/Weapon Damage (3/4)
What doesn't work
-Chance to cast on Attacking
4.1 Attributes :
Your attributes should be fit to suit your gear. These are though the listed attributes for the gear I have selected to use. Feel free to move these figures around to suit the gear you choose.
- Strength : 125
- Dexterity : 75 (*)
- Vitality : everything else
- Energy : 25 (base)
(* - Dexterity is a touchy subject. I have chosen 75, in that I have also chosen to ignore dodge, this is mainly cause I use Tiamats and the dexterity needed to max dodge with this shield is just so high that I dropped it. Some may choose to use Storm Shield instead, forfeiting the damage that is their choice, its not needed. Since I have this low dexterity I also bind my hands on another matter… attack rating. See 3.4)
As mentioned I have not chosen to go for the block variation of this build. If you want to go this way, do move more points into dex (close to 125-150 is needed). This will greatly help you with your attack rating as well but do it mainly for block. It will be taken from your vitality, of course.
4.2 Gear :
Gear is a very touch thing with this build, you will find that even one item will either make or break the build. I suggest highly that you either start out with trying to copy these items or at least find something that mimic them. (At the end of the guide there are some low level recommendations as well as some optional gear)
Helmet : Guilluames Face – (35% crushing blow, 15% deadly strike, 30% faster hit recovery and +15 strength)
Armor : Duress (ShaelUmThul) – (15% crushing blow,33% open wounds, resistances and damage)
Amulet : Highlords Wrath - (%Critical strike according to level, +1 skills, minor lightning damage.)
Boots : Gore Riders (15% crushing blow, 15% deadly strike, 10% open wounds and 30% faster walk/run)
Gloves : Soul Drainers (4-7% mana and life leech, -50 monster def. per. hit. and 8% chance to cast Weaken.
Rings : Raven Frost (Cannot be Frozen, Attack rating and Cold Damage) Carrion Wind (life leech, 8% chance to cast Twister, Poison Resistance.)
Shield : Tiamats Rebuke (Elemental damage, Resistance)
Belt : Either String of Ears (Life Leech and Reduced Damage) or Siggards Stealth ( Slow and Life Leech)
Weapon : See 4.3
Switch : Demon Limb (***)
(* - These items can be upgrade in the Horadric Cube with the formula : Item + Tal + Shael + Perfect Diamond)
(** - Some will find that Flee is annoying, in hell though the monsters don’t flee far and you won’t need to go running after them. It buys you a little time)
(*** - Demon Limb is not a weapon which is used for damage. It just doesn’t cut it. It is used solely for the Enchant to provide much needed AR when encountering bosses and champions.)
There are many other items, which will greatly be beneficial to this build. Amongst those items you will find :
Crow Caw (on higher levels)
Lionheart Rune Word.
Crafted Gloves with % Crushing Blow
Weapons : see 4.3
4.3 Weapons of Choice
There are really a lot of choices here but mainly look for weapons with % to crushing blow. The Crushing Blow stat combined with Static on chance to cast are definitely the way to go, you will want these stats and getting to is of vital importance the higher in level you get.
Keep in mind that Blade Fury suffers a ¾ penalty. So the smart person would say .. then get a HUGE damage weapon.. like like like a Colossus Blade and do Cresent Moon on it.. Sounds good but no. ALL… ALL 2 handed weapons suffers an additional penalty. Making it 3/8 the damage .. and thus making it a bad weapon of choice. Keep that in mind when looking for weapons.
My first weapon which I want to mention is :
Ethereal ‘Cresent Moon’ Cryptic Sword.
It has all the stats you could ever dream of, lower target resistance, ignore target defence, chance to cast static and much more. (see section on charms for more on this.)
Since Blade Fury DOES NOT use DURABILITY then Ethereal Weapons DO NOT need ZOD. I repeat, Blade Fury does not use durability contrary what ANYONE might say. This has been tested over a period of 2 months. Where the same weapon was used… and no it was not indestructible.
The potential damage of this sword is : 350+ and the Static on it just makes it nicer.
My main weapon of choice : STORMLASH.
Stormlash has it all. Elemental damage. Static on chance to cast (15%). Huge damage. Crushing Blow. Low stat requirements (high level though).
This is the best weapon for a Blade Fury Assasin. The weapon will make short work of opponents/monsters.
There is a lot to be said about this weapon but those whom don’t know it .. well look it up and see it in action and you will know why I’m speechless. Those whom do know it.. well wipe off that smile!
If you can get one Etheral.. well then I bow before you.
The Potential Damage : 1k+ and the Static on it makes it just that much nicer!
Alternative Weapons which definitely deserves mentioning, they are high level yes, but that is what is needed :
Etheral Baranars Star
Etheral Nords Tenderiser
4.4 Notes on Gear
As you may notice … I have totally ignored block. As I mention above I choose Tiamats, for the damage and low Dex requirement as well as the Resistances it provides. I choose to ignore block, cause if a monster gets close to me then I’ve made a mistake.
As for those whom wants to use Storm Shield or another shield, get the 1XX dex needed and you’ll be fine there as well. Yes it’s definitely worth it, it is a matter of playing style.
With this gear you will find that you’re not in too bad a shape with damage reduction, simply cause Fade (which you’ll Max) will give you 20% damage reduction … if you use String (or Verdungos) that will most likely be another 15% .. so 35% or close to it. While this doesn’t sound like much you’ll have to keep in mind that Soul Drainers cast weaken almost all the time so that is another +33% and you can rely on. Making it well into the 60’s and that isn’t half bad.
So on top of probably having max resistances in hell, you’ll also find that, you can take a few hits… well ok a ‘lot’ but that is that.
A lot of things could be used with this build. All elemental damage is viable here. Damage is damage so why not just get what you can get. Well not quite.
Most people go for poison. Thinking wow, small charm .. 290 in damage.. NICE?… NOT!!.. Sorry.
290 is over 10 seconds. That is 29 over 1 second. That is 13 over .4 of a second which is what venom will do to it. It will remove the long effect of the poison charm, and make it into something which only last 0.4 seconds.
Still a lot? Well compare that to : 1-40 small lightning charm and you know why I have ignored poison charms ….
Which all this said I have chosen to look at my gear and let that dictate what I should use. I choose Lightning Charms. Both Small (1-41) and Medium (1-81). They aren’t that expensive and are reasonable easy to get. You will do a lot of lightning damage, which will have lowered resist on it. 10% of it in fact if you’re really lucky with those facets.
Yes you can survive without the facets but why not tweak your build if you got the cash for it.
Why lightning damage?
Well you could choose other charms I just choose lightning cause I already had a ton of it on my weapon. I know I will be using Lightning Facets to make Static more effective, so why not kill two birds with one stone and make my damage more effective as well with charms.
There are 2 to stay away from : poison (as mentioned above) or max/min damage. The reason for the later is that you don’t have enough +% damage to make them effective. Sad but true.
4.6 Gear socketing.
Subject to change… feel free to change what U want.
Weapon : Jah (unless it already has Ignore target Defence) or Mal (prevent Monster Heal)
Shield : Um
Helmet : Lightning facet
Armor : Lightning facet
While these things are all somewhat expensive the build can do without them (except the Jah of course) and you can use other things if you choose.
5.1 Skills :
The following a is guide on how the skill tree should look once you’re done. The skills are a rough guide, but altering them a lot will also change the build quite a lot.
5.2 Martial Arts Tree :
- No points spend.
5.3 Trap Tree :
- Fire Blast : 1
- Shock Web : 1
- Charged bolt Sentry : 1
- Lightning Sentry : 1
- Death Sentry : 20 (*)
- Blade Sentinel : 1
- Wake of Fire : 1
- Blade Fury : 1 (**)
(* - Death Sentry is used for the Corpse Explotion, the reason it’s maxed is range .. it’s needed)
(** - Blade fury will be your main skill it only needs 1 point to be effective for it is not the damage of the skill that makes this work it’s the ¾ weapons damage that is transferred which gives U the damage U need. When you have point the mentioned points into the skills here you will be close to level 86. At this point you are free to do what you choose, I have though preferred to use the remaining points on Blade Fury to squeeze just that extra bit of damage out of it.)
5.4 Shadow Disciplines Tree :
- Claw Mastery : 1
- Psyhic Blow : 1
- Burst of Speed : 1
- Fade : 20
- Venom : 20 (*)
- Cloak Of Shadows : 5 (**)
- Mind Blast : 1
- Weapon Block : 1
- Shadow Warrior : 1
- Shadow Master : 20
(* - Venom is a very useful skill due to the close to 300 more damage U get. Keep in mind that this build won’t be using poison charms since Venom kinda nerf their effect.. see under charms)
(** - Cloak of Shadows… this skill is a one point wonder, just like Mind blast and is great for crowd control. The Souls stop shooting, and since you’re stationary when using blade fury this is highly usable. For me, 5 was what I choose U can settle on less, but the figure 5 just allowed me enough time … U may find it too long.. or too short.)
PvP.. (sigh) this build isn’t viable in PvP, there are several reasons for this. I’ll list them for ease :
- Attack rating - Ignore target defence does NOT work in PvP and the Enchant just doesn’t gives enough AR to make you deadly. On top of that most people whom PvP will have a large ‘block’ and that will practically ensure that you don’t hit. If you do hit, it doesn’t help that there is a 1/9 penalty on damage in PvP, so on top of you ¾ penalty you will already be down a lot.
- Speed – Opponents are faster than your blades and unlike guided arrow you shoot in a straight line. You will either have to shoot in front of them, in which case you rarely hit, or wait for them to get in close with you, in which case chances of you winning are small. People will need to be melee and stationary for you to have a good chance of hitting them, and with the PvP being what it is, I doubt there are many PvP players whom stand still to chop away at you while you shoot your blades at them.
- Movement – Your movement is limited greatly since blade fury makes you planted in the ground.
To make a long list short, you will be able to take out n00bs… don’t count though on taking down anyone with just a little experience in PvP.
This is what the build is all about. Uber Diablo? LOL You can solo him. Baal? Him too. Mephistos? (grins) jep him too. You’ll find that against uniques and bosses this build truly shows its worth. It’s fast, really fast. Against all other monsters, well this is the procedure.
Venom, Fade, Shadow Master… Then you’re set to go hunting. Meet a group of monsters and you Cloak of Shadow them, move back a little and start the fury of the blades. Spray your blades, and Weaken will be cast almost immediately. Concentrate fire and you’ll get a few fast bodies… then use Death Sentry to lighten the load of your Merc and your shadow Master. It’s quite amusing.
6.3 Leveling Guide.
When you look at the equipment list you’ll find that it takes a few levels before you can start to wear the gear needed.
My suggestion is though : What you can afford use that. There are though some traps you should avoid falling into. So before I mention the gear for low level the following is a to remember
-Dual handed weapons- suffer a 3/8 penalty to damage instead of ¾ … So get a good one handed weapon, speed is irrelevant once you have the Blade Fury Skill.
What to look for early on?
Well a good weapon is a 4-6 socketed weapon with Perfect Gems in it. While this require a high level then find a weapon… with a –lot- of sockets, and use then the type of gem (chipped, flawless or perfect) which suits your level. The weapon will work fine for several levels. It’s relatively cheap too.
Early on a Claw wouldn’t be a bad idea either since the Claw Mastery (1 point which is a neede skill for the Shadow Tree) you have will give you a little attack rating to boost in the beginning.
Socketed weapons with gems
Ali Babas Blade
Fury Rune Word
Malice Rune Word (Great for all levels really)
Honor Rune Word
IAS has no influence what so ever on Blade Fury, so neither does SLOW and COLD. Once the INITIAL animation of you casting the fury is done the blades will be coming out at a fixed rate.
A good tactic early in the game is to use blade sentinel, while going melee with the monsters. Start off with a sentinel.. enter melee… switch to a sentinel every now and then and you’ll find that you won’t be doing half bad.
The most fun is though when you meet up with a paladin who has Concentration or Conviction. Makes a world of difference really.
6.3 Leveling areas ideas :
The following is a small guide where you could level. It may not be what you find the easiest nor the best, it is though what I did.
Level 1-14 : Act 1 mainly Dark woods.
Level 15-20 : Act 2 mainly Arcane Sanctuary.
Level 20-25 : Act 3 only Tranvical runs
Level 25-40 : Act 5 only Baal runs.
Level 40-60 : Act 5 NM Baal runs.
Level 60+ : Act 5 Hell Baal runs.
As you can see once you hit a certain level, time to move on. Ignore how many times you die. If you level on the way NP, but get to where the XP is ASAP.
This is for levelling only, not for enjoying the game. While yes you could say that a lot of the game has been skipped, I will answer that you are free to go around this levelling guide, it is only posted to show where you will gain the most XP comparative to your level. This is meant as a guide IF you’re in a group. If you solo you will want to stick to areas a bit lower than your level.
There are so many mercs to choose from.
The rogue? The barb? The Wolf. Well I’ve always with my fury sins looked for crowd control. Someone to take the hits for me. Someone whom can slow the monsters from getting to me. The Defensive Merc from Act 2 nightmare is the one which does this. It has Holy Freeze. While being a great tank it also slows the monsters, so if they ‘flee’ they don’t go far. If they attack they don’t attack so fast. If they run at you they rarely make it all the way.
Gear for non ladder would be a :
Shaftstop(Or the Hwanins Armor)
Bonehew (amn + Amn)
Not much else to be said really… Get him high level fast… that is all that can be said really. He’s your trusted ally so use him often as you can.
Q : Are you sure that this attack rating is enough?
A : While I do use ITD on monsters you will find that against bosses and champions it will go a long way, hitting 2 or 3 out of 5 blades, and some can live with that, I can’t. Thus I have gone around the traditional way of getting AR and instead of items and charms I have used the skill Enchant. You can gain this 2 ways : Lava Gout.. which means removing your soul drainers, or as I have done, on my switch placed a Demon Limb. It has 20 charges of level 23 enchant.
Providing 10 minutes of huge AR: It costs 10 k gold to repair 1 charge. A lot, but with the Horadric Cube you can get around this little problem with : ort + chipped gem + item.. and it will be fully recharged.
Q : Why not use claws?
A : Claws are a great weapon. They look cool and you can get a lot of damage. You can even make that damage higher with Claw Mastery. It will also solve your Attack rating problem.
Sorry, but no it doesn’t do that. While claws are so cool, they don’t get high enough in damage, having a max around the 250’s. Other weapons get close to 450’s and with a ¾ penalty on the damage from the skill, you’ll want as much damage as you can get.
Claw Mastery, even at level 20, doesn’t give you enough damage % nor AR, simply cause you won’t have other % of increased damage from your skills. The attack rating is considerable, but still when you can get it all and more from an item, is it really worth the 19 points? No
Q : You use some rather odd gear. Some elite some not, is gear that important?
A : Yes the gear of this build is what makes or breaks it. You can have all the right skills and with the wrong gear you’ll get slaughtered in normal. While with the right gear you’ll be flying through hell. Part of this whole build is the gear, so don’t settle for less.
Q : Many people ask about the other blade skills. Are they any good?
A : Put simply? No. Blade Shield doesn’t do enough damage (1/8) and the timing is 1 damage if it hits per sec. Simply too slow and while it’s a last defence, if the monsters are that close to you, you’ve done something wrong. Your other blade skill, Blade Sentinel, while great in early levels, quickly loose its potency due to lack of duration…
Q : Rattlecage.. isn’t the flee an irritation?
A : Some will agree, and say yes. Some will disagree. You have to keep in mind that in normal they flee far. In nightmare a little less. In hell… not as far. So with a HF Merc you will have them fleeing a little but not too far. It is a matter of taste really. If you don’t like it. Use another.
Q : These weapons I just can’t find what works, what should I do?
A : If you’re poor go for the socketed approach and get as many sockets in an item and pop in the highest level gems U can. If you’re able to get some items, look for those with chance to cast, elemental damage or high damage. There are a lot out there. Even the Aldurs Set Weapon will do decent damage.
A rule of thumb is : Try it out. If you find a weapon then try it out. If it kills fast keep it. If not sell it.
Q : How do I get more attack rating?
A : There are several ways to get more attack rating.
- Charms are a good source of attack rating.
- Atmas Scarab gives you a good % as well.
- Angelic ammy + 2 Angelic rings for the ar bonus (giving you close to 2k).
- Lava Gout.
- Raven Frost rings.
- Demon Limb (mentioned earlier).
- Cloak of Shadows lowers enemy defence.
- -xx% target defence on hit.
- More dexterity.
- AR on the weapon (like Baranars, or Black rune word)
There are many ways to get around the AR problem, you just have to choose one and stick with that solution, don't spread yourself out on different ways, as you will find it will hurt your gear too much.
Well that’s it.. Any and all suggestions made are of course welcome.
The PvP Mageslayer (C/C Anti-Caster Kicker) - by chaos9
This PvP Mageslayer Guide has been archived in the Strategy Compendium. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback for the author at the foot of the guide.
Part II: Tactics
Introduction to PvP
For those of you new to dueling, please realize that it is simply not possible to make one character who will win all the time. With this build, you will find that some types of characters will be easier than others, but you will also discover that a skilled player of any class can be difficult.
Dueling is about how best to utilize your strengths in a way that exposes the weaknesses of your enemy. The primary strengths of this build are: (1) mobility (you can block while running); (2) speed (you can run fast and kick fast); (3) the ability to block magic/elemental attacks; and (4) the fact that you will be consistently underestimated by your opponent. Of all the pvp characters I have played, I have been called “hacker” with this one the most. Why? Inexperienced necros and sorceresses don’t understand how you can block their attacks and kill them so quickly. Those who have encountered this build before are reluctant to even fight. It is so rewarding to have a high level bone necro (the undisputed king of pvp) refuse to fight because “Those kicksins kill me every time.”
The core tactics around which all class-specific strategies revolve are: (1) cast BoS, SM, and Venom before the fight; (2) never stop running; (3) run in random patterns around the target until you see an opening for dflight; (4) dflight in and either dtalon or repeat the run/dflight.
I developed this build as an answer to the townguarding sorc, and I have been extremely happy with its success here. The only kind of sorc that will be a consistent threat is a cold sorc with maxed cold mastery. Be prepared to stack cold resists to prevent 1-hit kills.
When fighting any sorc, make sure you have something equipped that will give open wounds. Open wounds will continue to do damage after the initial attack, and this is critical for fast-teleporting sorces. In fact, open wounds delivered via dflight will often be the only way to kill skilled sorces.
Before going through the common sorc variants, let me tell you about the things to watch out for in all types. First, good sorces will have max block and may use PDR gear as well. In fact, this is their only hope of surviving your initial attack. With max block and PDR gear, the sorc will have a decent chance of teleporting away from your attack to plan her next move. Second, good sorces will have a fast cast rate, meaning that their teleport will usually be a step ahead of your dflight. Again, this means that they may be able to teleport away from you before you can complete your dtalon kicks. Third, good sorces will make you pay for each dflight by casting blizzard, hydra, or meteor the second before you dflight in.
Fire Sorc. The fire sorc is one that you will encounter often. I would say that 80% of the townguarders I have seen have been fire sorces. They can do insane amounts of damage and can kill players without max fire resist in one hit of almost any fire attack. Before attacking, make sure your fire resist is maxed and consider wearing one source of fire absorb. I keep a Dwarf Star for this purpose, even though I rarely end up needing it. Most fire sorces are going to have trouble hitting you, and this is where you have the advantage. You can run fast enough to avoid their attacks, and you will be able to block their fireballs enough to survive. Never stop running until you are ready to dflight in. Dflight to them and dtalon. If they stand their ground and fight, they will die quickly. If you suspect max block and high PDR, increase your open wounds and add some elemental damage charms. If they teleport away, be careful because this is when they are likely to set a trap with one of the high damage spells (usually meteor and sometimes hydra). If your resists will permit you to survive 1-2 hits, you should get the kill rather easily. If their teleport is fast enough to escape your full dtalon attack, you will need to rely on dflight as your primary attack. Again, this is where open wounds really shines. Of the two primary sorc builds (fire and cold), fire is by far the easiest to defeat.
Cold Sorc. Initially, I used to think that blizzard sorces were much harder than all other varieties. Although blizzard is harder than the other types, I have learned that it is cold mastery that can really cause problems for us. You see, maxed cold master can negate your cold resistance. This was the one sorc who was able to kill me with ease. My max cold resist was worthless, and I died in 1 hit of any cold spell. The key here is to stack your cold resist. Max cold resist, 1 Ravenfrost, and Snowclash will not be enough. Get some 4-socket armor and put 4 Thul runes in it. If you have extra cold resist charms, equip them all. This will give you enough of a cushion to survive. Because I like the challenge, my goal is not to negate their damage but to let me take 2-3 hits before dying. Start with BoS and never stop moving. Try not to get hit, but don’t be afraid to get in their face. Again, the good ones will be able to teleport very fast, and you will often dflight in and have them disappear before you can land more than a single dtalon hit. When this happens, dflight will need to become your primary killing skill.
Wind druids are interesting because most of players controlling them seem to have no idea how to play them. Thus, 90% of the wind druids you will encounter are a joke and will be among the easiest fights you will have. They will try to tank you without realizing that you can dflight through their hurricane and kill them before they get off a tornado. In fact, I have beaten many wind druids who were 10-20 levels higher with relative ease. On the other hand, skilled and well equipped wind druids can be tough because they can dish out massive damage and take way more hits than sorces. They will have max block, 50% PDR, and Enigma. They will never stop teleporting, and a tornado can kill you easily. Make sure you have decent cold resist/absorb. Dflight to them so you won’t get hit with hurricane/tornado on your approach and dtalon them to death as quickly as possible. In most duels, I found that as long as I could talon them to death before they hit me with a tornado, it was easy. Because tornados don’t hit all the time, it is all about whether you can kill them before they get a couple off. The success I have had against the good ones seems to depend on whether I can kill them quickly enough to prevent the mass of tornados from being launched. Not an easy task, and I would put these guys right up there with bone necros for difficulty. If they are skilled players, it will be very hard to defeat them.
A good bone necro is the undisputed king of pvp. The good news is that at least 95% of them are clueless and will attempt to tank you. Because you can block their attacks, the goal is getting a quick kill. The more spirits/spears/teeth they can launch, the less likely your victory. Play them like the sorc, but know that they can take some punishment due to their bone shield. Dflight in and dtalon. The Enigma users may be able to teleport away, so be prepared to chase them and repeat the dflight/dtalon attack.
The only difficulty I have had with necros comes against the few who know how to use bone wall and bone prison well. If you get stuck in a bone prison without a teleport ammy (I refuse to wear Enigma), you are dead. Skilled necros have all sorts of tricks. My favorite involves waiting for you to dflight in, casting bone prison around the two of you, and then quickly teleporting out and spamming spirits/spears/teeth. Unless you can escape quickly, you have no chance. The point is, effective use of these skills is what makes necros difficult. I have been surprised by the number who don’t use wall/prison. Fortunately, they can usually be killed, even with Enigma.
The few poison necros I have faced were fairly easy as long as you see it coming, stack your poison resist/reduce poison length gear, and use fade. At high levels, their nova will hurt no matter what you wear. However, you will usually be able to kill them with the standard dflight/dtalon attack before they can kill you.
There are some misconceptions about trappers that must be corrected. First, many believe that if you wear T-gods you are somehow immune to lightning traps. Wrong! A fully synergized LS trapper can be lethal with or without T-gods. In fact, this is one of the times you may need Fade (or stacked lighting resist). Second, many believe that it is their traps that make them deadly. In fact, it is their skilled use of MB that presents the real problem. Good trappers who know how to use MB are extremely difficult. As an example, I recently dueled a skilled trapper at my level who used fire traps and MB. Despite my maxed fire resist, the combination of MB and WoF nearly killed me. I could run through his traps without taking much damage, but when hit with MB, I was stuck in a field of traps without being able to move. Dflight wouldn’t save me (remember, it is interruptible), and it was only through luck and a ton of fast hit recovery that I managed to get away. In terms of gear, the key is to get as much fast hit recovery as you can. In terms of strategy, you have to get in their face before they catch you in MB. If you can get to them before they lay all their traps and start spamming MB, you should be able to win. I found that once all their traps were down, I could sometimes win by casting shadow master to one side of the traps and then dflighting in. With a quick initial hit, I could usually bring down the trapper before I died. Against those who take full advantage of a high level mind blast, I usually died before I could do much damage unless I managed to dflight in before getting hit with MB.
I know it is cheap, but foh can be negated by stacking lighting resist to counter their Conviction aura. Maxed lighting resist and T-gods will not save you against a synergized foh pally. Using 4-Ort armor will help keep you alive. My goal is never immunity against their attacks (that would make dueling pointless) but just to prevent the 1-hit kills. As with all pallys, the real struggle is simply landing a hit. The Angelic amulet and rings may be necessary if their defense is too high.
I have not found an answer for the Enigma-wearing, townguarding hammerdins yet. I have not given up, but they can kill with one hammer while managing to block almost anything I can throw at them. This is the one character build that can kill me almost every time. If anyone else has found a solution, I’m all ears!
Yeah, I know they aren’t really casters, but they are more similar to casters than to most melee characters. First, use BoS and never stop moving against a bowazon. With WB, you don’t have to worry about your block rate. Expect poison damage and adjust your resist gear accordingly. Guided arrow was nerfed in 1.10, but it still hurts quite a bit. Run around them in circular patterns, making sure to vary your course so it isn’t predictable. When you get them on the edge of your screen, dflight in and dtalon. You will be able to kill some zons this way, but those who have high passive skills will be able to dodge well enough that they may escape. Try to get them on the run where their passive skills are less effective. If they prove to be too tough, use WoF to trigger their evasive skills and then dflight and dtalon again. This will help if you can hit them in between defensive moves. Bowazons are among the easiest kills you will have.
This guide was designed to maximize your ability to defeat casters. Even though it was never my intention, many have requested gear and strategy recommendations for melee characters. Although I really just want to refer them to the other sin guides, I have dueled enough melee characters to at least share some thoughts.
This build does surprisingly well against melee characters at mid-level (30-50) wearing the gear I have listed here. At the mid-level stage, the strategy is similar to what was discussed above. The key difference is to spam mind blast immediately before you dflight in. This can prevent the target from attacking until after you have completed your dflight and initial dtalon attack. As for gear, even a little PDR can help. Since resists are less important, switch out your charms and other resist gear for anything to enhance your damage (strength, crushing blow, open wounds, etc.).
Unfortunately, you are going to have a very difficult time competing with melee characters at higher levels (70+). Why? First, by going c/c, you sacrifice some blocking ability when standing still and a great source of PDR (Stormshield). Second, your attack rating is not going to be high enough to hit the mass defense builds. Angelic set is your only option here. However, you will not survive more than a hit or two from most good melee builds. Third, you simply don’t do enough damage to beat good melee characters. Wear as much PDR as possible, ditch your resist gear for damage enhancement (strength, crushing blow, open wounds, etc.), and avoid going toe-to-toe. By using mind blast, wake of fire, and dflight with high open wounds, you give yourself the best chance of success. Hit and run tactics become essential because you simply won’t live through their attacks.
The PvM Ninja - By Frogboybri
This PvM Ninja Guide has been archived in the Strategy Compendium. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback for the author at the foot of the guide.
Table Of contents - Ver 3.0a
- Fixed Blade Sentinel statistics.
- Fixed some minor grammer and typo errors.
- Highlighted headers for better readability
I.... Introduction to WW shredsin (PVM style).
II... Using Tactical Support Skills.
III.. General Support Damage.
IV... Dealing with Immunity & miscellanous
V.... Why the following Gear?
VI... Stats Allocation.
VII.. Skill Tree Allocation.
VIII. Merc Discussion.
Understanding the Whirlwind Shredsin's Potential.
Hi, my name is Tragics. I play on USWEST Ladder, and my current assassin is level 90 and climbing. I have experimented with more than five assassins and at last concocted a most successful recipe which I am quite pleased with, which is called the whirlwind shredsin. While the WW sin seem to be almost always related to PvP, I happen to prefer and focus more of my time on the PVM WW sin. Earlier, I was a bit disappointed with the WW "best" builds when applied onto pvm because I felt the assassin simply wasn't killing ferociously enough with open wounds and venom even after some modifications.
If you felt the currently openwound \ venom ww assassin to be somewhat "slow" in killing monsters, if you like crushing ice-shattering 1 hit kill effects on fallen ones, kill hell monsters in much lesser ww hits and feel great & powerful....then you might probably love & agree this build as much as me!
Theoretically speaking, when you finish this build at level 90, an average of :
(when one player in game)
1 whirlwind to finish off weak monsters,
2-3 whirlwinds to finish off medium hp monsters,
4 whirlwinds to finish off very high hp monsters or physical immunes,
Diablo, Mephisto, Baal naturally take more wws to bring down, but they too will be slaughtered in a much faster and efficient manner you never expected.
In additional to your upgraded arsenal powers, you will also have a pleasing support with your level 35 shadow master and a level 88+ Holy Freeze Desert Merc. The beauty of this build is she can solo alone in 8-player games except you need to be more careful and more tactically-honed of monster packs or crowds as they are much stronger.
::: Why is the PVM build so strong?
1. The appearance of duress(Shael-Um-Thul) armour runeword was quick to form an inspiration and enabled me to improvise this pvm build to be outrageously powerful and potentially crushing\devastating in terms of damage-dealing. In a nutshell, this assassin is optimally designed for PVM and may not be recommended for PVP due to a nerf on crushing blow(1/8) in PVP. Duress runeword allows a more efficient appearance for the crushing blow to take place. Yep the moment you hear "duress", the relation will come in crushing blow. As you know, Crushing blow effectively reduce the enemy health by X% damage and is arguably undisputed in melee attacks vs venom or open wounds in PVM. This old and familiar skill once again resurfaces but this time it adds another superior trait to the already venomous and tactically agile ww assassin. While open wounds deals damage at X seconds, crushing blow is applied instantly on each hit the moment it takes place.
2. The time you took to kill monsters with the open wound\venom trait is now more than greatly halved with high % crushing blow despite the inevitable sacrifice of uber gears such as crown of age\shako or engima\bramble\nats armour(3psn facet) for Duress\Guillaume's Face. Finally at long last, the humble and relatively cheap-to-get Guillaume's face will shine hand in hand with duress and dethrone all the current sin uber armour gears by a mile.
3. An all-rounder in both offense and defense, she has no problem dealing with obstinate monster immunities with her verstaile arsenals.
Her killing blows will draw even quicker primarily from the following :
Shredding her enemies in doubly-quick time with whirlwind, in companion with the additional shredding patrolling blade sentinel and blade shield. Admist her fatal slaying blade skills, she has a solid shadow master to tank her as well as capitalizing on shadowy tatical skills such as death sentry, mind blast and CoS for a prudent and well-suppressed crowd control. With a well-rounded defense of maxed resists, 40-50pdr and high health, you will slowly realize she's fast, tough, and suppled with tactics!
Her philosophy is only one goal : To totally devastate her enemies in the best efficient way. The doomsday whirlwind of punishment are :
Ignore Target's Defense
(Giving her a 95% chance of hitting most enemies.)
80% Deadly Strike & X% Critical Strike at lvl 88
If Fury claw ends last blow on WW, 80% Deadly Strike + X% Critical Strike will take place.
If Chaos claw ends last blow on WW, 47% Deadly Strike + X% Critical Strike will take place.
(1% critical strike increment for every 1 skill investment in Claw mastery)
( Average 910dmg per 0.4 seconds at level 35)
75% Crushing blow no matter which claw ends.
(3 out of every 4 hits dealt are crushing blow effect.)
If Fury claw ends last blow on WW, 109% OW will take place.
If Chaos claw ends last blow on WW, 68% OW will take place.
Why? Special Effects such as deadly strike \ open wounds \ crushing blow do not stack on alternate weapons. Each weapon hit is calculated separately with the rest of the gears. Thanks to FrenziedBovine for highlighting this.
Some blows are so devastating that even weak monsters have no time to bleed in Open Wounds before they realized they have been shattered to bits.
Using the blade sentinel and shield skills to shred and slice the enemy.
Cloak Of Shadows
Holy Freeze Desert Merc
II. Tactical Support Skills
This is her ultimate killing arsenal when all else fails as not every monster will succumb to pure brute force. A huge mob of aura-driven monsters like fanctisim or holy might or holy freeze and coupled with supported ranged attackers will obviously hold the fort against you especially in hell act 5. You must understand that the assassin is not a great tanker like the Barbarian who has massive life & defense or the Paladin equipped with a shield, and simply expect to kamikaze ww-style into the crowd and rock everything there. Even with weapon block and 2K life, you will be literally dead in 2 secs. When you approach a huge and intimidating group, you need to switch to tactical skills which is the way of the assassin, to survive the butchering slaughter. Obviously, every class has its own weaknesses and when you need to run, you simply just run for safety first and then decide how to soften \ divide \ lure the current mob. When whirlwind & the tankers can’t contain the crowd, that’s when the assassin will issue her trapping skills to do cleanup. The assassin will use generally these four D-tools to her favour : Delude, Divert, Divide, Devastate.
After a WW, a good method is to throw in a few sentries the instant there is a corpse when facing a huge crowd. Death sentry will guarantee to devastate in its path.
1. Death Sentry thrives at its ability to blow up corpses because they do splash damages to its radius as well as inflicting massive damage.
2. Death Sentry is also useful to deal with Physical immune monsters with its explosion. Sometimes, you will need to lure some stubborn PIs to nearby corpses. One such stubborn monster for example is a moon lord unique \ several champions spawned with PI.
3. Lastly, death sentry also snatches away other monsters ability to resurrect their slain companions.
Cloak Of Shadows
The Cloak of Shadows “blinds” the enemy line of sight and is extremely good in suppressing temporary incoming heavy fire from ranged monsters such as the dreaded hell countess / gloams / skeleton archers / slingers(stuns you). CoS also lowers enemy defenses while increasing your own.
A Physic skill that can stun and damage enemies, as well as a chance to convert them temporarily. This “divide and diversion tactic” is one of the most powerful spell in handling a intimidating crowd of strong foes with huge hp. Consider blocking monsters mobility \ sight first with CoS before mind blasting them at a safe range. You might want to guage on how much you wish to convert \ stunblock depending on the threat. The moment they are busy attacking each other, rush in for the kill. You have successfully reduced their mob by half as well as the damage absorbtion significantly reduced on you as well. With the additional support of your merc and shadow master, you can count on reducing that divided mob to one-third now! Is that not icing on the cake?
III. General Support damage
What works with Blade Shield.
- Deadly Strike
- Elemental Damage/Venom (1/4)
- Physical/Weapon Damage (1/4)
A New Role of 1.10 - From Main to Support.
Blade shield is probably underrated for most people in 1.10 and its present ability, is prolly a joke to blendersin players of the past. But for now, I personally think it is the arguably best strong support skill for whirlwind as opposed to kicker and trapper. I have never used a blendersin build before but I heard it was devastating with CB and could be use primarily as a main skill. In 1.10, forget about that. That role has ceased to exist and was nerfed to become a support skill. Live and let live. However, that doesn't mean blade shield is useless now.
Firstly, blade shield increases your leeching %, it also deals around 800++ damage(depending on your skill lvl and gear that has elemental damage ) per second at anything that comes near to it. Since ww rushes into monsters headon and come into far more contact with them more often then a kicker or trapper, capitalizing on the blade shield is a must to deal extra damage and leech. This is the key where blade shield can work to its full optimal effect for 1.10. The weakness of blade shield is it may have a short time duration and capped at ¼ weapon \ elemental damage but it's still the best offensive shield damaging spell among all the classes. Finally, reaching 10 skill points with endgear +skills is sufficiently enough to raise blade shield to last for 60-80 seconds as that is usually the time a battle ends. At hell act 5, blade shield hits just as frequently as WW that I deem to call it highly useful and cool-looking. Some people claim that blade shield doesn't hit well, I would say that is not true as I have personally tested blade shield myself alot on the regular monsters varying from act 1-5. Initially, I did felt uncomfortable with the short time durationg as I had to constantly re-cast BS, but once you get used to it by re-casting whenever there’s a monster encounter, it's really routine and a matter of adaption. You will slowly realize the additional damage will payoff as well as speeding up your overall killing blows. Simply put, whirlwind seems incomplete and naked without blade shield. Basically, the more sounds you hear of "enemy-been-hit" means monsters are taking in more damage which is what you should strive for as a shredsin.
Theoretically speaking, a lvl 10 blade shield deals damage like a lvl 32 venom and hits regular monsters often around 85-95% of the time.
Note that Blade shield kicks in per second and not per hits.
What works with blade sentinel.
- Deadly Strike
- Elemental damage/Venom (3/8)
- Physical/Weapon damage (3/8)
- Pierce Target (natural)
- Prevent Monster Heal
The Blade Sentinel resembles the way you whirlwind and look like cool-whirlwind miniatures. This acts as a secondary support damage but likewise, with 1-6 points depending on your preference, you can cast up to 5 such patrolling blade sentinels if you have more points invested. They will last for a brief moment and there’s a casting delay but try staying in the path of 2-5 blade sentinels as you whirlwind and see how the monsters get shredded and wounded even further by these patrolling blades. One of my favourite styles is to cast blade sentinel upon every ww exit or welcoming incoming targets.
According to Hypno's extensive test :"Blade sentinel has universal hit delay. Meaning if you have 5 blade sentinels over one enemy the enemy will still get hit only once every second."
Due to this nature, it is no longer effective to aim for a level 14 sentinel.
Blade Sentinel is a bit complicated in its nature. Firstly, you can cast up to a maximum of 5 sentinel blades but you cannot cast 5 sentinel blades at once at level 1. There is a casting delay of 2 seconds.
To cast 5 blades, you need a minimum of level 14 sentinel.
To cast 4 blades, you need a minimum of level 10 sentinel.
To cast 3 blades, you need a minimum of level 06 sentinel.
Final comments and theory-stats.
- If you are leveling beyond level 90 and above, or you want to sacrifice some more skill points for blade skills, the best effect is to :
(OPTIONAL unless you are highly offense-oriented like me. After all, offense is the best defense. )
Finish blade shield skill at lvl 10 with gear +skills.
Finish blade sentinel skill at lvl 06 with gear +skills.
Anything beyond these levels are a waste of points. Don't bother going any higher.
- Chaos claw must be equipped on left hand first then fury. Why only left side? Generally you can put chaos claw on the right side first then fury. However, when you exit and enter a new game, the game simply recognises that the left hand claw(which is the fury claw) is the main claw and chaos now becomes the offhand claw. Anyway, most of the blade skills effects are taken with reference to only the left hand claw.
- Blade Sentinel and Blade Shield ARE support damage with splash damage. They are not intended to kill instantly as they do not possess such high capability. They are designed to wound and deal additional damage alongside with whirlwind. When you whirlwind several times on monsters, the accumulative damage is actually pretty high. Every little bit helps to finish off the enemy faster which is the main point of this guide.
In theory, at lvl 87 :
Fury claw – 1639 – 2043 dmg (includes lvl 35 venom)
Chaos Claw – 2106 – 2851 dmg (includes lvl 35 venom)
1 Blade Sentinel – 822-1112 dmg (endgame @ level 6 with gear +skills, includes lvl 35 venom, note you can cast up to 5 sentinels with more points invested as well as damage increment! Chaos claw was equipped as lefthand claw.)
Blade Shield – 606– 826 dmg (includes lvl 35 venom , endgame @ level 13 with gear +skills, Chaos claw was equipped as lefthand claw.)
Total damage dealt assuming all the following above hit a target : 5173 – 6832 dmg!!
When you add in Open Wounds, Deadly Strike, Shadow Master and a Merc to kick in therefore above damage mentioned, theoretically, you will deal around a high average of 8000+ damage with full support\effects, and not forgetting that crushing blow further reduces 25% health of monsters in every successful hit.
Therefore, blade shield and sentinel is useless at lvl one but rock as support damage when they start at level 6 onwards. Basically, you need to have the understanding that they are meant to last only as long as the battle itself. Maxing them only extends the time with slight damage increment. What you want to achieve is to take advantage of the effects of the blade skills that can last as long as the battle itself. Whenever a deadly strike from the blade skill kicks in, remember that the blade damage is multiplied by 2.
IV. Dealing with Physical & posion immunes & miscellanous.
This can be easily accomplished. If you face a pack of Physical immunes such as scepters or moon lords, you can always depending on the following :
1. Merc Reapers Toll. Decrepify removes most physical immunity by lowering their physical resistance.
2. Use death sentry, lure them to bodies.
3. Continue Whirlwind using mana pots. The damage will be used from elemental damage and venom. Only use this if it is effectively reducing their hp.
4. Divide mobs with mind blast or CoS and take them in ones or pairs. (eg moonlords)
5. Dual immunity of physical and posion – See 1, 2, or run to bypass. Continue WW making using of elemental damage.
6. Maxed Shadow masters also helps to deal in damage.
Dealing with other dangerous foes such as :
Doom Knights (ranged and melee)
Notorious spell to kill you by your own stirkes, the aura Thorns is a threat when you whirlwind but you can always blind them with CoS and mindblasting to do the trick. WW only when they are distracted.
Nuclear Lightning blasts at you. All you need is a gear switch. Simply put on a soul drainers glove instead of steelrends and wear a TGOD belt and Wisp projector ring. The soul drainer glove will replace your dual leech ring. Once you know how to handle these monsters, they will end up healing you. Simply WW away and stock up on mana pots.
Hell Temptress (ranged)
CoS, mindblast away then let shadow master \ merc move in for the distraction. WW away when the crowd control is controlled. Mana pots away when dealing with Physical immunes.
Vipers (ranged and melee)
You need at least 40pdr to survive these quick creatures. They can smite hard at you and throw literally bone spears at you especially terrifying are aura-enchanted packs. However, it is not that hard to handle them. You want to use holy freeze to slow them down with merc, cast CoS, mindblasting(stun and convert), death sentry them the instant a body falls until the crowd is significantly reduced. WW away when it is easier to handle them.
Stygian dolls (dolls carrying butcher knifes)
The pop splattering explosion of death is scary. You don’t want 2 of them to kamikaze at you at the same time.
Undead and mana burn
Sometimes fustrating, just get ready to mana pot when your mana gets drained.
Other Auras that prove to be dangerous too, names are ordered in rank from highest to lowest threat.
Conviction, Fanctism, Might and Holy Freeze. Basically, just use CoS / mindblasting technique / Death sentry to divert & divide them, send dual tankers the merc and Shadow master, then ww away with your blade skill arsenals with deadly strike / Open wound / Venom / Crushing blow effect.
Finally, any other type of monsters not listed here means they are generally not a problem at all. Cow Bovines do not stand a chance towards you either. You may wish to have full rev pots in one belt slot for emergency cases. To really maximise the fun and speed of the assassin you also need to learn to be adept in using shortcut keys, familiarisation in quick-switching of skills.
Have fun in ripping them apart. One of my favourite naughty tantrums is to bully the act one fallens.
V. Why the following Gear?
Guillaume's Face - For all the right reasons. 35% crushing blow/15%deadly strike/+15 str / 30FHR
Duress Runeword - 33%openwounds / 15% crushing blow/ decent overall resists / high defense rating / 40FHR
Chaos Claw - for whirlwind, additional great mods.
Fury Claw - ignore target defense / +66%open wounds, +33% deadly strike and more good mods.
GoreRider - 15% deadly strike / 10% open wound / 15% crushing blow
Highlord's Wrath - X% deadly strike to char level / +1 skill / lightning resist
Vergundos belt - 15%pdr, +40 vitality
Raven Frost ring - The Cannot Be Frozen mod
A Rare dual leech ring or mana leech ring.
Steelrend - 10% crushing blow / 60%ed / +20str
Faster Hit Recovery (Optional)
With Duress and Guillame's Face equipped, you have 70FHR. The next FHR is 86%. Basically to break the next fhr, you only need another 16% FHR to reach 4 frame recovery. This can be accomplished by using charms or shaeling your Gface helm but I guess its a waste of socket.
Gears on switch for lightning nuke monsters.
Wisp projector \ Tgods \ Soul Drainer.
Why soul drainer? To replace dual leech ring in such a case. These monsters will end up healing you instead.
Elemental damages to aid in blade skills. Note that blade shield is capped at ¼ and blade sentinel is capped at 3/8 :-
Actual Elemental damages
Highlords Ammy : 1-30 lightning damage
Chaos claw : 216-471 magic damage
Duress Armour : 37-133 cold damge
Raven Frost Ring : 15-45 cold damage
possible ele scs – assorted ele dmg
Alternate Gear Switches
People suggested for alternate gears, so here goes :
All the gears are cheap except for Chaos, Fury and Steelrends. However Chaos & Fury must be available to take this build into full effect. A poorer gear is possible but you naturally comprise damage and sacrifice some effects such as open wounds and deadly strike. You prolly also need to re-adjust your leeching \ resists \ PDR.
Alternate Claws for fury
If you wield Nats Claw, consider wearing Laying of hands too. (550%ED to demons, ignore target defense)
If you wish to capitalize on crushing blow, wear strength(amn-tir) claw (25% crushing blow)
10% crushing blow crafted gloves
Laying Of Hands
VI. My Stats Allocation
I invested 150 points into it to wear steelrends as well as increasing my damage. Generally if you don’t want to wear steelrends, you can leave it enough to wear endgame claws.
Enough to wear endgame claws.
Everything else into vitality.
Leave it at base. It will be sufficiently enough to cast the spells.
Max Resistances & PDR.
PDR is capped at 50% so a lvl 35 fade and vergundos belt will solve that problem. Gears + charms + Fade + 3 X save anya quest to max your resists.
VII. Skill Tree Allocation Target at lvl 90.
Skill allocation will be pretty tight if you want to do this correctly.
Skill Summary :
Claw Mastery – 20
Fade – 15-20
Shadow Master – 20
Venom – 20
Prerequisite – until all desired skills achieved, usually 13pts with full access to trap and shadow skills.
When you have finished all the important skills, then spend your remainings to :
Blade Shield – Ideal endgame target = 10 with gear +skills.
Blade Sentinel – Ideal endgame target = 06 with gear +skills. (Also your main left-hand skill)
Martial Skills Tree
Leave it blank. Nothing will be touched here.
The majority derivation of the WWsin will come from the shadow tree.
Claw Mastery – 20pts
Fairly understandable. You want to increase damage and AR to you whirlwind. Max it.
Psychic Hammer – 1pt
Prerequisite to mindblast.
Burst of Speed – 1 pt
Fast and good for travelling vast distances and towns.
Cloak of Shadows – 1pt
One point wonder. (See Tactical Support section, top)
Weapon Block – 1pt
Chance to block an attack. This will be raised to 55% blocking with shadow skill gcs.
Fade – 10pts or max
This skill marks the overall survivability of your assassin. It raises physical damage reduction, resistances and reduces curse length. You will want to have at least 40-50% PDR to survive hell. In this case, I was comfortable with 40%PDR and sticked to put my additional 10 points to blade skills.
Shadow Warrior – 1pt
Prerequisite to shadow master.
Mind Blast - 1pt
One point wonder. (see the tactical support section in this guide, top)
Venom – 20pts
This is one of her main strengths in ww. 0.4 secs of 910dmg damage per posion hit is vile. *You need lvl 35 venom to achieve 910dmg venom.
Shadow Master – 20pts
She will do very well when maxed and other than fade, is ranked second towards your general survivability. She will also be a support role as well as an endgame tanker to your safety. Her role is her ability to damage enemies as well as having a good AI in nifty situations such as casting mindblast into mobs to soften \ divide the enemy. She also serves as a protection “bunker” so you can safely whirl away as most of the monsters will aim the shadow master instead of you. Max it right away.
Traps will mainly handle direct immunities of her attack nature or deal support damage.
Fire Blast – 1 pt
Shock Web – 1 pt
Blade Sentinel – 6pts or none
(See General Support damage section, inclusive of +gear finish it to level 6)
Charged Bolt Sentry – 1 pt
Wake of Fire – 1 pt
Blade Fury – 1 pt
Prerequisite to Blade shield
Lightning Sentry – 1 pt
Prerequisite to death sentry
Wake Of Inferno – none
Nada. Nil. Nero.
Death Sentry – 1 pt
(See tactical support skill)
Blade Shield – 10pts or none
(See General Support damage section, up. Inclusive of +gear finish it to level 10)
All final free points go to blade shield or sentinel.
VIII. Merc Discussion
Basically there are 4 types of hirelings which include the rogues, ironwolf mages, harragoth barbs and desert mercs. The desert merc will be the perfect choice because rogues and mages aren’t good tankers and deal too little damage. The barb is a good tanker but lack auras. Therefore, desert merc is still the best for the ww sin.
Merc helm : Delirium, shako, crown of ages.
Basically helms with +skills, resists and Pdr are sweet to the merc.
Merc Armour : upg Duriel Shell, upg shaftstop, levantian shell.
Merc benefit with Pdr, resists.
Merc Weapon : Reaper Tolls.
I’ll rule out every weapon because Reaper Tolls is simply like an auto-curse on the enemy with decretify. If you can find ethereal Reapers, you should jump in elation. This weapon wins hands down vs crowd control, deals tremendous damage, improves merc hit % due to ignore target defense and good life leech for the merc as well! You even have a free socket for your loyal desert merc.
Hell freezes over. This is my top choice for the wwsin, this is probably the best merc for the wwsin as it will painfully slow down targets. When decrepify kicks in, the targets slows down even further to a cripple.
Overall, it increases your party damages. It is the next best choice for a wwsin with an increment of an additional 500+ damage. However, it will lose to holy freeze in terms of crowd control. A slowed crowd is always easier to break. Due to their slowed attack rate when frozen in Holy Freeze aura, the total damage inflict is also somewhat lessen. Therefore, might is rank 2nd.
You don’t really need a blessed aim merc as the AR provided is not much. Besides, the fury claw allows a 95% hit rate most of the time so you will not have much accuracy problems vs targets. Having a blessed aim seems to make your ww sin underpowered.
Unless you are a ironskin\ shout maxed barb or holy shield pally, you might want to further raise your defense rating. For the wwsin, you can forget about it as she has no capability to raise her defenses rating to even a base of 5k.
Waste no time here.
VIV. Comments : - This build is highly offensive-oriented and designed to kill monsters in the fastest and most effective manner.
- Be prepared that this assassin will sacrifice a few +shadow discipline skills and good mods such as armour from engima or nats armour which offers +2 skills as well as the good helms such as Shako and Crown of Ages. Sacrificing these skills for the room of increasing crushing blow will more than offset your overall killing speed.
- Blade Sentinel and blade shield hit well, deal fair damages in hell and is worth it in the long run as well as the cool factor look.
- As usual, wear shadow discipline gcs and annihilus to boost +skills. Use as many charms possible to boost resists. You need another 16% more FHR to hit 4-frame recovery.
- Gear or skills can be adjusted to suit your own preferences. You do not have to necessary follow my setup. I only use them as an example. In this case, this assassin is designed with seriously puntitive damage without compromising pdr and resists. I have full resists and 40%PDR.
- AR will be around 5.5K at lvl 87 but that will be negected. Fury's ignore target's defense will allow you to hit at 95% mostly except the 3 classes of monsters.
- Weapon Block. Put one into WB is enough in my opinion. Achieving 55% around end game is more than enough when you know how to deal with certain monster scenarios such as a mobb of ranged targets or PIs Moon Lords. When brute force fails, tactical skills will make monsters understand the folly of messing with an assassin.
- Do not be afraid to spam mindblast until the crowd control is right for you to whirlwind into. CoS is your best friend versus tightly encompassed ranged targets.
- Pre-Buff with +6 shadow skill or Call to arms? Using dual +3 shadow claws to pre-buff fade and shadow master or CTA to prebuff life \ mana? When you prebuff the dual claws, you add +6 to fade and shadow master while CTA will add +1 skill and increase your overall mana\life base. Both versions add to the defensive measures of your ww sin. In this case I would say it’s simply a matter of preference and your level of "fortune" in D2. I have chosen to go with +6 shadow because its easy to buy them from Anya as well as a cheap yet powerful boost. My current hp is at 1.2k life with 40PDR but there isn’t a need to raise them any higher as I am comfortable with it. At a 6 level difference, a lvl 35 shadow master is still much better than a lvl 29. Call to Arms is simply extravagant in PVM but may be more crucial in PVP.
- Claw upkeep. The chaos claw is incredibly expensive to repair and loses durability quickly. At 0 durabilty, a chaos claw can cost you 600,00 gold or more to repair! Best way is to keep a stash of ort runes and do continous massive runefinding on the countess. Or trade a shako for 30 ort runes? *chuckle.*
- This is the finalised version of the guide but nevertheless, feel free to PM me if you need help or have problems in making the ww shredsin. I am always open to errors I might have made, so if you have better suggestions or any other inputs, go ahead.
C/C Natalya's Phoenix Striker – PvM – D2x 1.10
I think that this build has provided me with my first “really” successful D2x character. Although you could try to play this build a bit more defensively and take it into hardcore, it is most effective when played very aggressively and fits into softcore PvM the best. In all honesty, this build may not be the heaviest hitter or the fastest killer in the game, but I can confidently assure you that played properly, this Assassin build can take you through Hell and back, and provide you with many more hours of quality entertainment than a one-hit-wonder build.
I am writing this guide for the intermediate-level/moderately experienced player (because that is what I see myself as). I am going to assume that you, the reader, know how charge-up skills work and finishers work. I am also assuming that you are aware of how synergies work and why using them is a necessity in D2x. This is very basic information and I don’t feel that it is necessary to explain it in this guide.
Please keep in mind while you read this guide: I designed this build specifically for Natalya’s Odium – the Assassin set. I am not suggesting that Natalya’s is the best gear for this build, but I am merely offering a good build for people looking to make use of the set that they have collected.
This is a dual-claw build, and I do not believe that this can be effectively compromised. All the elemental charge-up skills have the potential to gain two charges with a single dual-claw attack (assuming that both claws successfully hit). This dramatically increases the rate at which you can deal out big doses of damage. While you could do this build with a shield, I highly recommend a dual-claw setup. While I recommend going dual claw to enhance speed and allow the use of the skill Weapon Block, a shield that offers good mods is not out of the question.
Using another claw also allows for a big boost to your skills (which is your main source of damage with this build).
Skill Point Allocation
The main focus of this build is the Martial Arts tree. Specifically, the elemental charge-ups along the left side of the tree, and the second finisher on the right called Dragon Claw. While this build is open to customization, every Phoenix Striker build should expect to put points into the following skills:
Martial Arts (2 pre-requisites)
20 Claws of Thunder
20 Phoenix Strike
20 Fists of Fire
1 Dragon Claw
Shadow Skills (1 pre-requisite)
1 Claw Mastery
1 Weapon Block
1 Burst of Speed
1 Cloak of Shadows
1 Mind Blast
1 Shadow Master
This leaves us with 71 skill points spent. Simple math and D2x knowledge leaves us with 39 skill points remaining to use (with all quests completed and your Assassin leveled to 99).
Below, I offer my explanation of why I chose each skill and why I have allocated the number of points that I have.
Skill Point Allocation – The Reasoning
Claws of Thunder – 20
Even though the build is named after Phoenix Strike, this skill will be your main attack until you max out Phoenix Strike; and even then, it will be a great compliment. Of the three elemental skills (Fists of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice), Claws of Thunder offers the greatest damage output and area of effect for your investment. In addition to great damage and area of effect, this skill receives a damage bonus from Phoenix Strike per each skill point invested (called synergy). Fully synergized, Claws of Thunder can easily deliver over 3000 lightning damage from a Nova and several Charged Bolts expanding out from your release point.
Keep in mind that the 2nd and 3rd charge of this skill are affected by Next Delay, a part of the game that prevents monsters from being repeatedly struck by the same dource of damage more than once in a specified period of time. The 2nd and 3rd charges are best saved for groups, while the 1st charge is best for single targets (like bosses).
Phoenix Strike – 20
I used this skill for three main purposes in addition to the synergy that it provides for Claws of Thunder. I will explain each of the three uses according to the charge.
Charge 1. This is a great boss killer. Claws of Thunder is a good damage dealer, but for a single target, nothing will beat repeated meteors and burning pyres below their feet. Getting one charge of Phoenix Strike and one charge of Claws of Thunder means certain doom for any boss. You can also use this charge to deal with lightning immunes.
Charge 2. This is your big damage dealer for lightning. However, Next Delay prevents this charge from truly shining. I would advise against using this charge in conjunction with Claws of Thunder, however combining it with a big Fists of Fire charge would be a great idea!
Charge 3. Crowd control is a necessity with any build. Assassins have a plethora of great crowd control skills, and this is one of them. This charge is also affected by Next Delay.
Fists of Fire – 20
I used this skill primarily to synergize with Phoenix Strike and increase the damage output of the meteor. It can be used as a way to deal with lightning immunes, but I rarely had to. Many people seem reluctant to want to max this skill. While it is possible to do a hybrid build and only invest in Claws of Thunder and Phoenix Strike (then spend the rest of your points in traps, other martial arts, etc), for a pure Phoenix Striker, this skill is far superior to Blades of Ice (and the 3rd Charge of Phoenix Strike that it synergizes. Blades of Ice and the 3rd charge of Phoenix Strike offer very poor damage, and are only useful for their freezing effects.
Dragon Claw – 1
This will be your main finisher with this build. I know what you’re thinking: “A main skill with only one point?” However, one point for this skill is more than sufficient. I used almost all of my points to boost my synergies and maximize my damage output. With any skill items, this skill will easily be raised to a level where you can consistently hit Ball in Hell mode with little to no difficulty. Also, this skill provides two opportunities to release your charges with each cast (which goes hand in hand with the dual-claw setup). In the end, Claw Mastery gives better bonuses than this skill.
Claw Mastery – 1+
As with most of the skills in this build that are not being used to synergize for damage, I don’t think that any more than one point is necessary here. However, at higher levels, if you are having troubles connecting, raise this skill rather than Dragon Claw. This will improve you overall attack rating for both your elemental charge-ups and your finisher.
Weapon Block – 1+
What a great skill! It’s like you have a shield, but you don’t. Not to mention, you can block elemental attacks. Will be raised by items with plusses to skills, but extra points will never hurt. If you plan to make a huge use of this skill, aim for level 26 with items (60%).
Burst of Speed – 1+
I used this skill 99% of the time. Boosting your attack speed and run walk speed are very important with this build, and this skill delivers. I only put one point into this skill, but if you wish, you can allocate points here to reach certain breakpoints for increased attack speed (listed below). I prefer this skill to Fade because Natalya’s set already offers a 30% damage reduction and pretty good resists. With other good items, hitting the 50% damage reduction cap and maxed resists in hell is easy.
Cloak of Shadows – 1
This skill is absolutely vital and amazing in every way. Think of dropping a smoke bomb on the floor, blinding your enemies, then sneaking up behind them to deal deadly damage before they even have a chance to react. This is the skill to do that with. However, investing more than one point into this skill is a waste The duration increases with skill levels, and you cannot cast another Cloak of Shadows until the previous “smoke has cleared.” I have found myself often having to wait for the Cloak of Shadows’ effect to end before pursuing another group of enemies. It would be nice if you could opt to have items not raise the skill points of certain skills; but alas, such is the way of the beast.
Mind Blast – 1
I used this skill to help group enemies into a smaller area so that my area of effect spells would hit more of them (Claws of Thunder). As you blast enemies, they will convert and begin fighting their allies. Most of the time, this means that they will engage in hand to hand combat with them; thus, making the group more tightly knit. The chance to convert enemies will be raised significantly by your items. One point is enough.
Fade – 1
I honestly didn’t use this skill much, but it helps against areas where elemental damage is frequent. Once again, items will raise the level enough to make this skill usable with only one point. (Note: You cannot have Burst of Speed and Fade active at the same time. Casting one will cancel the effect of the other). See the section on Burst of Speed above.
Shadow Master – 1+
I don’t think any good Assassin build is complete without at least one point into this skill. I actually got through Hell without a mercenary simply because of how well this minion can tank groups of enemies. You can recast her in front of a group to keep enemies away from you, drop a Cloak of Shadows, deliver death, rinse, and repeat. For this, I think this single point makes the Shadow Master an indispensable asset to this build.
However, additional points into this skill are points well spent. As you increase the skill levels at which you cast your Shadow Master, she is cast with randomly generated items (the last of which is a rare amulet at level 17). With your item skill bonuses, aim to cast your Shadow Master at level 17 if you wish to maximize her abilities by investing more than one point into her.
Skill Point Progression
I won’t go into too much detail here, but one thing to expect from this build is to be putting single points into prerequisite skills up until you hit level 18 when you can begin pumping Claws of Thunder. Max this skill first as it will be your main attack. When you hit level 30, you should have quite a few points saved. Invest at least one into Shadow Master, and drop one into Phoenix Strike as well. Here is the order in which I maxed my skills:
• Claws of Thunder
• Phoenix Strike
• Fists of Fire
• Extra points (Shadow Master, Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed, Weapon Block, etc)
This build is played like most typical melee-based Assassin builds. Your first goal will always be to drop a Cloak of Shadows as quickly as possible when you first encounter a group of monsters. Immediately follow up by picking off a monster on the side of the group by charging up Claws of Thunder. Quickly switch to Phoenix Strike and get another charge for a meteor (depending on the situation - remember the Next Delay). Follow this all up by Dragon Clawing a fresh enemy in the middle of the blinded pack and releasing elemental Hell on the whole group. Generally, this whole process should take no more than 4 seconds and very few monsters, if any, should be left alive after you release the Dragon Claw.
Bosses with big immunities may prevent a problem. However, remember that you have lots of types of damage at your disposal. If you run into a fire and lightning immune, spam Dragon Claw. It may not kill as quickly, but with good life steal, you will be able to tank the monster until its last breath. If you are really concerned about immunes, investing a few points into Venom and Blade Fury might be right up your alley. On a related note, I even invested one point into Death Sentry to help out with areas with large groups (like Diablo’s Sanctuary, for example).
Obviously every situation will differ. Immunes will require different tactics and different charges. Extremely large groups with unique monsters will require Mind Blasts, and maybe even recasting your Shadow Master. While each battle is different, you should always be using Cloak of Shadows, using charge-ups, and then releasing mayhem on the world.
The equipment that I have listed below is what I use, and why. I will also offer suggestions as to what could be better or what may also work well. On a related note, I began building this Assassin to use Natalya’s Odium – the Assassin set. While this set works exceptionally well for this build, it is by no means the only thing that will work. However, I really dig the 50 to all resistances, damaged reduced by 30%, huge life and mana steal, and additional three points to all skill levels. If you can find all of these modifications in other equipment, by all means, go for it.
Let’s start at the top:
I obviously used Natalya’s Totem as part of the set. This helm provides great boosts to strength and dexterity, and a healthy dose of resistances as well. Other good choices might include Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest, Crown of Agfes (duh), or Vampire Gaze.
Once again, I used Natalya’s Shadow to fulfill the set. The armor in and of itself isn’t God’s gift to Assassins, but it has a few good redeeming qualities. It provides a nice boost to your health (1 point per level), it dramatically reduces any poison damage that you might encounter, and last, but certainly not least, the sockets. With three open sockets, it is easy to make this armor into an Assassin’s dream. Use these sockets to fill in any holes that your Assassin may have (resistances, attack speed, etc). Other good choices for armor might include Chains of Honor runeword or an upgraded Shaftstop.
One weapon is obvious – Natalya’s Mark. Good consistent damage, huge attack speed, enhanced damage to demons and undead, and most importantly, ignore target’s defense. The other claw is also a pretty obvious choice for this build. Bartuc’s Cut-Throat is great for its good damage, huge bonuses to skill levels (2 to all and an additional 1 to Martial Arts), faster hit recovery, life steal, and huge bonuses to strength and dexterity. Combined with Natalya’s Totem, I only had to boost my strength to 109 to wear Natalya’s Shadow (strength requirement of 149). This allowed me to drop those 40 stat points into vitality. I also stuck an Amn rune into my Bartuc’s to boost my life steal up to 16% per hit. I think that you may be able to get by with other claws such as Firelizard’s or Jade Talon, but Bartuc’s is absolutely ideal for the strength boost and skills.
I used Laying of Hands from the Disciple set for their increased attack speed, damage to demons, and huge fire resist (50%). The fire resistance is important with this build as Natalya’s Odium offers little in that department. Other good choices for gloves might include Dracul’s Grasp or some rare gloves that add to Martial Arts and attack speed. Some people swear by these rare gloves, but I found Laying of Hands to be perfect for my needs.
Nosferatu’s Coil is a great belt with increased attack speed, strength boost, and life steal. Other good belts might include String of Ears, Verdungo’s Hearty Cord, or Thunder God’s Visor.
Natalya’s Soul had to fill my slot. They work well for a big boost to run/walk speed, and additional cold and lightning resistance. Other good choices might include Gore Riders, Sandstorm Trek, or Walkerwalks.
For rings, I used the famous pair of Raven Frost and Dwarf Star for the elemental absorptions. Raven Frost adds some nice attack rating, dexterity (which helps with the requirement for Natalya’s Mark), and the ever-important cannot be frozen. Dwarf Star gives some nice life boost and a bit of gold find if you’re poor. Another good choice for this slot would be Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band.
My amulet is a crafted Assassin amulet that adds one to all skill levels, run/walk, life steal, and 9/9/21/9 resistances. I couldn’t ask for much more out of an amulet. Other good choices would be Mara’s Kaleidoscope, The Cat’s Eye, or Highlord’s Wrath.
Poor Man’s Equipment
The equipment that I listed above is optimal, but it would be possible to do this build without some of it. I could list a few pieces, but there are entirely too many pieces of equipment that “could” work for this build. So, instead, here are some things that you should look for in your equipment:
+ to Martial Arts skills
Increased attack speed (very important to get charges as fast as possible)
Damage reduced by x
Stat Point Allocation
I will list the values that would be optimal using the equipment that I listed above, but your needs may change depending on what you choose to use. Always remember to plan ahead!
Strength – 109
With 20 strength from Bartuc’s and 20 from Natalya’s Totem, this was all I needed to wear my heaviest piece of equipment (Natalya’s Shadow). I could have left it lower as I used Nosferatu’s Coil, but I left my options open and invested slightly more into strenght.
Dexterity – 55
This may be scraping by, but with all of the dexterity bonuses from Natalya’s Totem, Raven Frost, and Bartuc’s, you won’t need any more than this to reach the 118 required for Natalya’s Mark.
Vitality – As much as possible
The logic here is uncanny. More life keeps you alive.
Energy – 25
You have no reason to ever need any energy. Natalya’s set gives a huge mana steal bonus of 14%. When you deal several hundred damage as a base hit, leeching mana back is not a problem.
I never even got around to using a mercenary with this build, but if I were to use one, I would use the Act 2 Holy Freeze ones. I think that the freezing effect that they add to a crowd combines amazingly with your Cloak of Shadows. Not only can enemies not see you, but they can’t move either! As usual, outfit your mercenary with good damage reduction and life steal equipment (Shaftstop, Vampire Gaze, etc).
If you are paranoid about immunes, you can try an Act 3 mercenary to add some elemental damage to your arsenal, but I don’t think it is really necessary. Your Shadow Master can always provide enough distraction for you to get some charge-ups and deliver the appropriate attack.
Normally, this section would be useful, but I play D2x on a laptop. In other words, I cannot bind skills to anything but the F# keys. In case you are curious, I went like this:
Left Click – Dragon Claw
F1 – Claws of Thunder
F2 – Phoenix Strike
F3 – Cloak of Shadows
F4 – Mind Blast
F5 – Death Sentry (my own personal touch to the build)
F6 – Burst of Speed
F7 – Fade
F8 – Shadow Master
It’s not really optimal, but it is all that I can do being on a laptop.
Here are the current stats for my build.
Strength – 109
Dexterity – 90 (would have had less - lesson learned)
Vitality – 271 (1172 life with equipment)
Energy – 25
Claws of Thunder
Charge 1: 1 – 3380
Charge 2: 2 – 2002
Charge 3: 2 – 3276
Charge 1: 1818 – 2050 (1686 – 1788 damage per second)
Charge 2: 3 – 4536
Charge 3: 308 – 357 (who cares, it still freezes them)
With my Claws of Thunder fully charged and two charges of Phoenix Strike, I can deal 657 – 14,000+ lightning damage. Not bad considering how many enemies are going to get hit with all of that. Keep in mind that the Next Delay will prevent monsters from feeling the full effects of that, but it's still nice to see 14k on your LCS.
If I could change a few things, I think I would aim to get more +skills items to maximize damage. Grand Charms can always fill that need as well.
Here are some helpful links that you may want to use during your building process.
Jrichard’s attack speed discussion
Diabloii.net Weapon speed calculator
There were quite a few people who helped me with the building idea. There was even more who wrote wonderful guides that explain things like break points, synergies, and skill-point allocation in better detail than I ever could.
Those of you who helped and/or have made major contributions to the Assassin forum and guides, you know who you are. On behalf of everyone, thank you very much for the help.
Special thanks to
Naliworld and BIGeyedBUG for help with the build idea and tactics involving Next Delay
Jrichard, Mathematician extraordinaire
Soepgroente for good ideas and laughs
Anyone else I forgot, I have a terrible memory – please don’t hate me!
Questions or Comments
Feel free to post any questions or constructive comments that you may have about the build. Thanks for reading!
Preliminary C/C PVM Guide: The Immobilizer
The Immobilizer (or FI'CE) assasin will have the power to render her enemies unable to hit back whilst at the same time killing them leaving no corpse that can be used against her. The Immobilzing effect will come in 3 stages to safely /effectively destroy all who stand in her way and at the same time making her near on untouchable.
The build will rely on as much + skill items as possible to deal high cold + fire damage simultaneously incuring a freezing/knockback effect with a freeze duration possible of over 18 secs (over 4 secs in Hell) and is very well suited for playing hardcore
Primary Skills will be:
20 pnts - Blades of ice
Why Blades of Ice?
Blades of ice is often considered a very weak skill compared to others , I have to disagree.
BOI now in 1.10 freezes and doesn't just chill the target, with an AOE of 4 yards that increases in freeze length the higher the skill level.
BOI is an elemental attack so it needs only 20 frames to fully charge (4 hits) , compared to pheonix strike which requires 21 frames to charge (only 3 hits).
BOI does higher damage than PS skill for skill and leaves a chill area on the floor for around 1-2 secs that can still freeze monsters if they wander into it before it disipates.
A level 37 BOI with maxed PS as a synegy does 2108 - 2269 with a freeze length of 18.4 secs.(ps the synergy calculator from this site is way off with both damage and freeze time)
BOI will always deal cold damage (ie with only 1 or 2 charges) when confronted with mana buring monsters , especially in hell.
BOI Has no timing problems to worry about. Always 3 charges are needed , usually 2 clicks of the mouse is all thats needed.
BOI has a low AR bonus compared to other skills , but this wont be a problem
BOI needs more IAS to reach Max break point.
Frozen vs Slowed (Chilled) Monsters
Frozen monsters do not suffer a Defensive Rating decrease when frozen, as Stone Cursed monsters did. In addition, not all chilled (slowed) monsters shatter into fragments upon death, only a percentage of them. All frozen monsters will shatter, however.
Below is a list of which monsters are Cold immune and whether they CANNOT BE FROZEN for HELL DIFFICULTY only. Each name is a group name and can include usually around 5 different types . ie Fallen contans Fallen, Carver, Devilkin, Dark One, Warped One. The first number is total cold immune , the second is total in that group
Act I Bestiary
0/5 Fallen (Demon)
0/5 Fallen Shaman (Demon)
0/5 Spike Fiend (Animal)
1/5 Zombie (Undead)
4/5 Wendigo (Animal)
5/5 Corrupt Rogue (Demon)
1/5 Corrupt Rogue Archer (Demon)
1/5 Corrupt Rogue Spearwoman (Demon)
0/5 Skeleton (Undead)
0/5 Skeleton Archer (Undead)
3/4 Skeleton Mage (Undead) *
1/5 Goatman (Demon)
0/4 Blood Hawk (Animal)
0/5 Tainted (Demon)
0/4 Giant Spider (Animal)
0/5 Wraith (Undead) CANNOT BE FROZEN
1/5 Fetish (Demon)
5/5 Vampire (Undead)
0/1 Flying Scimitar CANNOT BE FROZEN
0/4 Blood Hawk Nest
1/1 Gargoyle Trap CANNOT BE FROZEN
Cold Immunes = 24%
* Of the 3/4 , Skeleton mages have a random chance to deal None/Cold/Fire/Lightning so this means these 3 have a 1/4 chance to be cold immune or a 3 / 15 chance out of the total and could make the overall 24% even less.
Act II Bestiary
1/5 Leaper (Animal)
0/5 Scarab Demon (Animal)
0/5 Sand Maggot (Animal)
0/5 Sand Maggot Egg (Animal)
0/5 Sand Maggot Young (Animal)
0/4 Vulture Demon
0/4 Swarm (Animal)
2/4 Sabre Cat (Animal)
2/4 Slinger (Animal)
0/5 Mummy (Undead)
1/4 Greater Mummy (Undead)
2/5 Sand Raider (Animal)
1/5 Bat Demon (Animal)
5/5 Claw Viper (Animal)
0/4 Baboon Demon (Animal)
1/4 Blunderbore (Demon)
0/1 Lightning Spire
1/1 Mummy Sarcophagus
0/1 Fire Tower
Cold immunes = 21%
Act III Bestiary
0/3 Fetish Shaman (Demon)
0/2 Giant Mosquito (Animal)
4/4 Thorned Hulk (Animal)
1/3 Frog Demon (Animal)
0/2 Willowisp (Undead) CANNOT BE FROZEN
0/3 Bone Fetish (Undead) CANNOT BE FROZEN
0/3 Tentacle Beast (Animal)
1/3 Zakarum Zealot (Animal)
2/3 Zakarum Priest (Animal)
0/2 Council Member (Demon)
Cold Immunes = 28%
Act IV Bestiary
0/3 Finger Mage (Undead)
0/3 Mega Demon (Demon)
0/3 Regurgitator (Demon)
1/3 Oblivion Knight (Undead)
1/3 Vile Mother (Demon) *
2/3 Vile Child (Demon) *
Cold Immunes = 22%
* Maybe an error on Arreat Summit but both Vile Mother/Child lists cold resists of over 140 %. which would indicate total immunity.
Act V Bestiary
4/8 Baal's Minion
4/8 Suicide Minion
2/5 Death Mauler
5/5 Overseer (Demon)
0/5 Demon Imp (Demon)
3/5 Siege Beast
3/5 Reanimated Horde (Undead)
0/5 Succubus (Demon)
2/5 Stygian Fury (Demon)
5/5 Frozen Horror
1/5 Blood Lord *
0/5 Putrid Defiler (Demon)
2/5 Pain Worm (Demon)
0/3 Minion of Destruction (Demon)
0/0 Reziarfg (Demon)
Cold Immunes 44%
* Blood Lords have very low Chill Effectiveness with one having 0 (Death Lord). Basically these will be hard to freeze.
Also Monsters from other acts can appear here randomly thus increasing/decreasing the percentage accordingly.
Whats interesting is that most Cold immunes still have the ability to be Chilled ( and thus shattered) and the Monsters listed as CANNOT BE FROZEN are usually NOT Cold Immune (although some like the Bone Fetish still has 75% Cold resist)
This means a high percentage of slain monsters will shatter and cant be resurrected (ie shamans) or exploded (ie nihlathak).
20 pnts - Pheonix Strike
PS is purely for the synergie bonus it gives to the elemental skills and is not needed to actually use.
20 pnts - Dragon Tail
DT will be our main releaser for this build. The explosive kick will cause great fire damage based on how much physical damage you do and will be partnered with Mymidon Greaves to maximise its potential.
Why Dragon Tail ?
The kick alone can achieve the HIGHEST AOE damage to an area of 4 yards that does not require any charging for the minimum number of skills points invested.
This explosive kick when combined with BOI will cause lots of instant shattering.
There is a Knockback effect meaning you will rarely find yourself surrounded.
When combined with Tiger Strike the damage can increase by insane amounts.
This is Physical damage to release target and Fire damage to the AOE so its 2 forms of damage by itself.
The next delay problem with COT can be gotten around by using Dtail as the releaser.
Dtail is the slowest kick but its AOE damage more than makes up for this and the IMMOBILIZING effect of the build means you have plenty of time anyway.
Damage possible with 3 charge of BOI(lev 37)+ DT(lev 37)finisher = 3973 - 5448 (at lev 37)
1-20 pnt - Tiger strike : will be around lev 17+ after + skill items;
Our secondary attack which we will be using after 1 successful charge and release of BOI.
Damage possible with 3 charge BOI (lev 37)+ 3 charge TS(lev 17)+ DT finishe(lev37)r = 15k - 23k.
I would recommend 1 pnt here and let + skills increase its level.
20 pnts - Claws of thunder
COT will be our third chargeup skill (unless you go the TS route) that we will use when we encounter cold+physical immunes.
Damage possible with 3 charge BOI(lev 37)+ 3 charge TS(lev17) + 3 charge COT (lev34)+ DT finisher(lev37) = 15k - 35k (quite jaw dropping and note my COT is only lev 34 .. 3 more levels til max)
1 pnt in rest of MA tree as a prerequisite.
0-1 pnt in Dragon Flight as this skill will never be needed unless you plan on MFing.
1pnt in all SHADOW tree. This will give level 16 + to all after + skill items.
Primarily we wil be using venom/Burst of speed (for pre casting) and Cloak of shadows /Mind blast (when appropriate) .See Tactics below.
1pnt in Blade FUry. Only 4 pnts will be used in the TRAP tree , the other 3 are for prerequisites for BF .See below To melee or not to melee.
ps. the above damages shown are including venom and are what is seen on screen, so this includes physical damage as well.
STR - enough for equipment
DEX - enough for equipment
VIT - Rest after the above is met
ENE - None
Below will be 2 recommended equipment choices, 1 for general allround everywhere pvm and the other with Magic find in mind.
Weopon primary: 1xBartuc(main) + 1x Jade talon(socked Eth to help with hitting). Both are relatively cheap and give lots + skills + nice bonus's. The different between 2 Bartucs is only 1 MA skill but the Jade gives us our Mana Leech + ~50 all resist
Weopon secondary: Shadow Killers(main socked ETH) + bartuc . See below To melee or not to melee .
Secondary: Any claw with nice stats ie. + 3 MA ,+3 BOI , +3 DT etc. High damage on the claw is not needed although on switch any high damage claw (Ethereal) will do
Armour: Chains of honor: The ideal armour for this and probably every melee build out there.2 skills ,65 all res, 8% Damage reduce ,Leach + STR bonus. Best made in a scarab husk or arcon plate as both are light armours.
Secondary: Any armour with + skills and/or res.Arcaines/ Vipermagi (upgraded perhaps) /Silks of the victor etc.
Helm: Harlequin /Nightwing : Both give +2 skills , Harle gives us DR + life/mana + MF . Nightwing gives us up to +15% to cold skill damage which can give us up to 2609 cold damage.
Secondary: Again any + skill helm will help this build. Crown of ages gives nice stats, DR/RES/ 1 Skill but very expensive. Peasant crown + lore are very cheap alternatives with + skill as well.
Belt: Vedungos gives us up to 15% Dr + lots vita
Secondary: Arachnid has 1 skill but little else for this build. String of ears has Dr, Deaths set belt has cannot be frozen.
Boots: Shadow dancers will boost our DT damage to the max and give us + 2 Shadow skills + 2x dex .
Secondary: Myrmidon greaves are a must for maximum DT damage .Upgraded Goreriders or nice rare Myrmidon greaves with FRW/FHR/RES etc
Gloves: Crafted Blood/Rare +2 MA ,20 ias ,res are best for this build .
Secondary: + 3 MA + 20 ias magic gloves may be better better than the above if you can find them and have enough res .
Rings: 1 Bul kathos + Raven . GIves us life + skill + cannot be frozen.
Secondary: Soj / Any res/str/LL.
Amulet: Seraphym / Maras . Both give + 2 all skills but maras gives us resist all and Seraphs gives us + ar to demons and undead . Seraphs is almost 99% of all monsters and is what i use.
Secondary: Highlords /crafted/rare/blue + 2assasin/+3 Ma + res + other mods
Sockets: 20% ias is enough on equipment (someone pls correct me if this is wrong) to reach max Hit rate with level 16 BOS. I dont have 20 ias on my gloves so i socked my Primary Bartuc with a shael to gain 20 ias.
This leaves the Helm with an open socket for you to do what you like , and maybe the Bartuc if you have 20 ias on your gloves.I would recommend a Perf Topaz/Ist in the shako to give us 99/100 Mf.
Charms: Martial arts skill charms are ideal. They will boost ALL attacks + the AR and seem to be cheaper than Trap or Shadow skillers.
Dont forget the annihulus charm will give + 1 skill + res + stats
Secondary: Life/AR/Res/Shadow skillers. Basically what you can get. Cold damage charms will not effect our Freeze duration 1 bit so they are not needed.
Using the above recommended you will have:
33% Damage reduction (using harlequin) : I find this to be more than enough
100% Faster Hit recovery
75 all resist in Hell
Weopon primary: 2x Jade talon(1 socked Shael(main) 1 socked amn).This will ensure our resists are at least ~0 in hell before any other equipment is allocated and we get + skills /LL/ML
Weopon secondary: Not really aplicable here so anything from Call to arms or + 3 Shadow claws for pre buffing
Armour: Enigma / Skulders( socked um/all res jewel) / Chains of honor . Enigma will allow for quicker runs but will lack resists and is very expensive. Skulders is ideal and still gives + 1 skill
Helm: Harlequin is the winner here as it gives us a cool 74 mf when socked with a Ptopaz and amazing other stats as well.
Secondary: Peasant crown is the poor mans harle 1 skill + ~50 mf. Again can be socked with PTopaz.
Belt: upgraded Gold wrap has 10 ias + 30 MF + 4 slots
Boots: rare/blue Mymidon greaves with MF + Frw/FHR/RES etc ~20 mf is common to find
Gloves: Crafted Blood/Rare ~15 mf+ 2 MA/IAS/RES or the nearest to this combination
Rings: 1 Nagel + 1 Raven . Will maintain our CBF mod
Amulet: Ideal would be 2 ASSA + mf + res but any combination is ok.
Sockets: Ptopazs in armours /Helms or All resist jewels if needed.
Charms: Annihulus charm will give + 1 skill + much needed res + stats. MF/REs/Life/Ar charms should be the the rest. A great place to use the ~25 fire/light/cold grand charms as well
An example MF build
74 Shako + PT
124 SKullders + PT (lev 80)
2 jade + 1 Anni + 3x 25 res (fire/light/cold) + 3 x ANYA quest= ~75 fire/light/cold res not including any resist on other items