FCR- 65% (102% in my opinion leaves you with an extremely weak WW)
Frame 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
FCR Needed 0% 8% 16% 24% 42% 65% 102% 174%
FHR- 48% You can go higher, but this is a good minimum. (Theoretically you can WW out of anything, but then you won’t be doing any damage either)
Frame 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
FHR Needed 0% 7% 15% 27% 48% 86% 200%
Trap Laying Speed- 9 frame with Fade. This is one of the most confusing parts of building this Assassin, so I’ll take some time to explain the mechanics.
9 FPA is the fastest trap laying can be, and is based on the average Weapon Speed Modifier (WSM) of your two claws. If you look at the base claw types on Arreat Summit, you will see a WSM corresponding to each type, ranging from 10 to -30. The lower the number, the faster the claw. Just like the IAS requirement for attacks is based on what weapon you are using, the trap speed bases the IAS required on the WSM of the claws. However, because the sin is dual-wielding, the average WSM (AWSM for short) is used instead. I.E. the AWSM for a -30 WSM talon and a 0 WSM claw will be -15. For future reference, the primary claw is above the gloves, and the secondary claw is above the boots.
The amount of IAS required for each AWSM is listed below. IAS is counted from every piece of equipment, except for the secondary claw. Note that any AWSM faster than -30 requires WSM Bugging, which will be explained later. Although your AWSM can be slower than -20, the breakpoints are not included because they require too much IAS to be efficient.
AWSM | IAS %
-20 | 63
-25 | 52
-30 | 42
-35 | 34
-40 | 26
-45 | 19
-50 | 13
Whirlwind speed- You want the 4 frame WW frame, which occurs at the modified WSM (MWSM) BP of -13, calculated by (WSM – [IAS% ON CLAW]). A Feral Claw (or faster), regardless of how much IAS is on the claw, will already reach the 4 frame whirl BP. WW calculates speeds of both weapons independently. Although you get 2 free hit checks at frames 4 and 8, you should make sure your claws hit the 4 frame BP.
Now’s the fun part. There are tons of different setups to use with your ghost that hit all those breakpoints, so see what mix you like the best. Here are the options for the equipment. I won’t tell the stats for each item because they’re very well known.
- Chaos-A necessity for the +Whirlwind. One of the few static pieces of equipment.
- Fury- The mods on this claw are unbeatable. IAS also helps to hit tray laying break points. The OW on this claw makes Whirlwind and Blade Fury very effective.
- Fool’s modded claw- This is for poison oriented ghosts that want to pump up their AR. Get one with an IAS suffix to make sure you hit the trap laying BP.
- Eth Rare- These can rack up huge damages, along with the possibility of fool’s mods among other things. This is what you want if you want to focus on physical damage, and/or happen to find an amazing one.
- Ethereal Bartucs- These are very good sources of physical damage for when you choose to go that route, and come with amazing mods. Socket it with Um if you do choose to use one.
- Malice- Simple. Don’t use it. The OW might seem like a good idea, but if you want open wounds, Fury is a much better alternative. It has 66%, coupled with chaos which has 25%, your OW % is already pretty high, even though the claws are calculated separately in WW. The overall benefits of 100% OW compared to 66% + 25% are miniscule, as you will hit many times when you whirl + over the course of the duel.
NOTE- When choosing what base claw type to use, look at the base damages and the STR/DEX req. For example, most ghosts use Runic Talons, Feral Claws, or Greater Talons. Runics require 115/115, Ferals need 113/113, and Greater Talons require only 79/79. Ferals do the most damage but are also the slowest, at -20 WSM. Runic claws are -30 WSM and do decent damage. Greater Talons are also -30 WSM and do less damage than Runics, however you save a lot of DEX points as the claw reqs are much lower. This lets you pump VIT more, and give you a higher life.
NOTE- Use best modded claw on primary slot always. You get the bonuses from that claw when you consider Blade Shield/Fury, DF, and trap laying speed. For example, if you use fury, the 20% AR will only be applied to WW if it’s in the primary claw. When considering what skills to get on a claw, look for +DF, +MB, +Venom, and/or other useful skills. There is some debate as to exactly how fool’s (and other AR mods) gets applied to WW when you are dual wielding, but it is a good idea to make sure the fool’s claw is the primary claw for other reasons.
NOTE- The non-Chaos claw slot will give a lot of options for your ghost. Even though most of your other items are pretty locked, this claw can be swapped very frequently to tweak your ghost for the duel. Swap in a fools for high defense opponents, ethereal cruel’s for low DR opponents, Fury for ES and block characters, etc. Having Venom deal the damage gives you a lot of options for your weapons. Just remember to consider which claw to put on the primary.
- 2/20fcr sin circlet- This circlet helps you get the 65 FCR BP, as well as add skills for your sin. +skills are very important for damage and survivability, and this circlet is usually cheap because of low demand, as 102 fcr (trappers) cannot be reached with this. Rare circlets also can spawn with a variety of useful stats. +Stats, life, mana, RES, elemental damage, all this stuff is really useful, and makes it better than .08 Valk in my opinion. This helm opens up the ring/ammy sockets for other things besides FCR items.
- Shako- Shako adds a lot of life and mana, through the +life/mana and also +bo. The +all skills also adds to WW, so it gives more damage and AR. However, this helm requires you to use FCR ammy and rings, losing out on some other mods.
- .08 Valk- This helm helps ghosts hit the 102 FCR bp, if they choose to go for it. It is an absolute necessity for 102. However, I advise against this build because all rings and amulet must be FCR ones, missing out on much needed bonuses. Some sins use valk in a 65 FCR build, as the 30% IAS in the helm allows them to use heavier and higher damage claws. With 30% + 40 % IAS on the claw, you will be able to use claws that average -20 WSM and still reach 9 frame traps (like 2x Feral Claws). Whether or not this is useful depends on whether you will be focusing on physical or poison damage, but ultimately the choice between this or a circlet is up to you.
- Crown of Ages- I heard some people asking about this helm, and I’ll tell you why I didn’t include it in the first draft. This helm is useful for giving huge amounts of DR with the 2 sockets open, which is not useful as ghosts use fade. Shako is a better alternative, as ghosts are not pressed for socket space or DR.
- Mara’s- This ammy is the common choice for most ghosts. The benefits are self explanatory. +skills benefit the WW and BO as well.
- 2sin/FCR ammy- This ammy is useful to free up a ring for something other than FCR. Again, nothing new here, the benefits are self explanatory. Just another option to hit your FCR breakpoint.
- Highlord’s- This ammy is often overlooked. The +1 skills is very useful, along with the LR. Deadly strike actually helps a lot, contrary to common belief. Also, the 20 IAS helps you hit the 9 frame trap laying, opening up the helm socket to something other than IAS jewel. Definitely use this ammy if you're going to emphasize physical damage. Otherwise, stick with some of the other choices as they'll benefit you more overall.
- Enigma- There’s no other choice. It’s what makes a ghost a ghost.
- Trang’s Gloves- Only choice here.
- Spider Sash- Again, only choice.
- Rare FRW/FHR/stat/RES- The bonuses here are probably the best you can get on a pair of boots. It’s everything you want. Imps or other classic rares are your best bet.
- Sandstorm Treks- Use these if you can't find nice rare ones. They have FRW/FHR/stat just like the rare ones do, except they lack a little bit in the resistance department. They're probably the second best boots you can have for a ghost.
- Gores- These are nice for pumping up your WW damages. I advise against it however, especially if you use Fury, as the benefits from Gores are very marginal.
- Shadow Dancers- These are great boots for kickers, but not so useful for ghosts. Huge STR requirement along with the lack of kicking done by ghosts makes this a bad choice in my book. If you do choose to Dragon Talon as your secondary melee attack, you can consider it.
- Ravenfrost- Best ring you can have on a ghost. The AR and +DEX helps you hit more with WW. Ghosts suffer from low AR, so these greatly help in that department. A friend made a ghost on open with all FCR items, and had a total of only ~2k AR. The cold damage actually helps a ton also, as it slows down characters running and block animation while you WW, making them stun easier. +Mana helps a ton as well.
- FCR/Stat/Mana/Life/Res/AR Ring- Use one of these instead of a Ravenfrost if you need them to hit your FCR breakpoint.
NOTE- As long as you hit all the breakpoints above, you can mix and match. Most people go for FCR circlet with FCR ring + Ravenfrost. Some people opt for 2 Ravenfrosts with a FCR ammy. This gives more AR in general, but loses some deadly strike or +skills. Some people swap out fury for a fool's modded claw if they're lacking AR. It’s all preference. There are many setups that have their benefits. Tailor your equipment to fit your play style and needs.
- Widowmaker- +GA adds a useful element of attack vs. hammerdins or trappers, or other camping characters. Use a Cat's Eye and other +DEX equipment to use the bow. I wouldn't recommend placing extra DEX to use Widow. Socket it with an Um rune for the open wounds or a Nef for KB if you're able to. Otherwise, socket it with a Hel to lower the DEX req.
- Cat’s Eye- Ammy used when using Widowmaker, for the reasons explained above. The 20% IAS also helps to reach the GA breakpoint.
- Bramble- When you want to sacrifice all your stun and mobility and go for straight damage, like vs Barbs, slap on a Bramble and you'll be a full out WW sin.
- Fortitude Armor- The replacement for Bramble for physical damage ghosts (explained later).
- Andariel’s Viel- This helm adds +2 all skills, +20-30 STR, +70% PR, +10%Max PR -30%FR, 20% IAS and 8%LL. This helm is useful as an addition to Bramble/Fort setup. The huge +STR will help you use the claws and equipment without Enigma. Also, if you need an extra edge vs poison characters, this helm will give you +10% Max PR, helping you vs other WW Sins and PN Necros.
- Giant’s Skull- This helm is also used for the +25 STR to equip the Bramble/Fort setup. While you lose a lot of mods compared to Andy’s Viel, you gain KB, which is extremely helpful vs. melee characters. It also comes with 2 sockets, which are very useful for filling any gaps in those anti-melee setups.
- E(bug) Bartucs- These claws have amazing mods, but the primary use of this is the huge +STR on them, helping you use Bramble/Fort + all your equipment.
- Verdungo's- Use this belt in conjunction with Bramble or when you are going full out melee. The extra DR will keep you at 50% DR without Enigma, and the +VIT 10%FHR and +Rep Life always help.
- Angelic's Ammy + Rings- Throw these into your setup when you need a big AR boost, like vs Barbs and pure smiters. Make sure you keep CBF somewhere on your equipment if you replace your Raven frost with an angelic, unless you are 100% sure you won't be using traps at all.
- Prebuff Equipment- Shadow claws + helm socketed with facets. Pretty self explanatory. Try to use Bramble when you buff, as the %PD damage works once when you cast it and will give you more damage than Enigma or a faceted Nat's Armor.