V1.1- added equip choices for MB Faith based setup. Overall improvements and additions to class-specific strategy + tactics.
V1.2- added more to strats sections and a lot of videos to illustrate techniques and strategies.
Table of Contents
2. Stat Allocation
----a. Starting Stats
----b. Per Level
----c. Stat Bonuses
----d. Placing Stats
----c. Notes and Explanations
----b. Equipment Options
----d. Example Setups
----a. General Tactics
6. Class-Specific Strategies
----h. Team Dueling
My account name is *TienJe on USWest, and I've had a zon in my PvP arsenal since early 1.09. I play legit characters, so I won't be considering hacked items in this guide. I'm always free to duel or to answer questions.
With the coming of 1.10 and the Enigma runeword, Zons became the prey in PvP. Zons cannot effectively function with the Enigma armor, as they need the damage and IAS to maintain good attack speed. Without teleport, they became the slowest of all characters, and with the other characters beginning to teleport, it was hard for the Zon to keep up. However, even in 1.11, the Zon stays at the top of the damage output ladder. Faith bow shooting at 7 FPA has one of the highest damages in the game. The task now is for the Zon to learn to dodge attacks and play the role of the prey. If the Zon is built correctly and under the hands of a good dueler, it is still very versatile and impressive. So, this hybrid zon seeks to combine the power of the faith bow with the protection and effectiveness of the one point wonders of the javelin tab.
STR- adds damage for javelin attacks and allows for wearing equipment
DEX- adds arrow damage, adds attack rating, and allows for wearing equipment.
VIT- adds life
ENG- adds mana
1 Vitality point gives 3 Life
1 Vitality point gives 1 Stamina
1 Energy point gives 1.5 Mana
Stat allocation for a Zon is very elemental to her success. Zons, in order to survive, must have very good damage output, as that is their strength; survivability is not the Zon’s forte. In order to have a high damage, points into Vitality will have to be skipped.
Thus, stat allocation for a Hybrid Zon is all about balancing the DEX/VIT ratio. Since this depends on your charm and equipment setups, make sure you pick your equipment and get your charms all situated with the right balance of life/FRW/FHR before placing stats. After spending the points into STR to wear all the equipment, aim for 1.4-1.5k life (including equipment and charms and not including Battle Orders), and then pump the rest into DEX.
There are also the glass cannon Zons, which go pure DEX, and the tank Zons, which go purely for VIT. I would choose glass cannon over the tank any day, but I still think a balanced build (~1.4k life) is the best bet.
And of course, no Energy, even though Multishot will suck your mana dry.
Guided Arrow- shoots a homing fast arrow that deals physical damage. Magic Arrow- shoots non-homing arrow that does not use arrows Critical Strike- % chance for Deadly Strike (2x damage) Penetrate- adds AR to attack Pierce- adds % chance to have attacks pierce Dodge- dodges melee attacks while standing still Evade- dodges missle attacks while standing still Avoid- dodges melee and missle attacks while moving Multishot- shoots multiple arrows out. Strafe- shoots a quick succession of arrows at targets on screen Jab- Fast melee attack with javelin Lightning Bolt- throws a javelin of purely lightning damage Lightning Fury- throws a physical javelin with exploding lightning bolts on impact Decoy- non-mobile summon Valkyrie- fighting melee summon that has dodges
Points are self-explanatory. Again, the Zon is all about balancing. Critical strike and the dodges all have diminishing returns, so it’s not a good idea to max them. However, pumping them to a high level is never a bad idea. Figure out your goal levels for those skills, and then use MS as a sponge to soak up all your remaining points. Javelin skills should be kept at 1. They are all one point wonders, getting most of the damage from the javelin itself, so subsequent points added do not add that much effectiveness.
Skill Notes and Explanations
Guided Arrow- This is your main damage skill. It will look for a target and seek it out. GA auto-targets at the point where your cursor is when you shoot it, so you still need to aim it. GA will home in on targets within ~7 yard radius from where you clicked. Since the GA won’t home in over the entire screen, make sure you know when to shoot GA from the corners of the screen and when to shoot them close to you to cover the most area.
Critical Strike- Critical strike stacks with Deadly strike % items, but they are calculated separately. The most you can get with CS + DS is 2x damage, so you can’t get 4x if both trigger. That means that if you have 50% CS and DS, your total effective %chance is 75%.
Penetrate- adds AR to attack. This is overlooked most of the time. With Penetrate + Fanaticism aura from Faith, MS will have a very good hit %.
Pierce- GA no longer will hit the target multiple times with pierce, but this skill is still useful for MS and the throwing skills.
All Dodges- these dodges make an Amazon what it is. These help Zons gain survivability without high life and high mobility. Dodge speed cannot be increased by FHR.
Multishot- Another main damage skill. The further your cursor is away from you when you shoot, the closer together the arrows will be. Its maximum range is about 2/3 that of Guided Arrow
Strafe- Strafe is auto targeting, and a great way to blocklock caster characters. It is actually the highest damage output skill for one target of all the bow skills, but it leaves you immobile while you fire and won’t hit running targets, so it’s not a good main attack. More of a situational thing.
Jab- Jab is uninterruptible. Makes Zons a melee threat. I have killed numerous barbarians just shift jabbing them while they whirl over me.
Lightning Bolt- Purely elemental. That means it cannot be blocked, and has 100% hit percent. With KB on your equip, LB will trigger KB 100% of the time, creating a nasty stun/KB lock.
Lightning Fury- Physical javelin. Has ITD effect. Much higher damage than LB, as physical resistance is capped at 50% instead of 75%-95% for lightning. This will also leach you back much life on summons, as Titans has a leach mod. 2-3 LF’s against a Druid’s bear will bring you back to full.
Decoy- will switch weapons when you switch. A true decoy. Because the decoy can be casted anywhere on the screen, it is also useful for covering you from melee. If you cast the Decoy right below your character so that the decoy covers your image up, any person trying to namelock you will namelock the decoy instead, serving the same purpose as casting TP’s over the zon.
FPA- 7 frame per attack. This is only achievable with Fanaticism aura from Faith bow. With Lvl 14 or 15 Fanaticism, Matriarchal Bow’s need 46 IAS, Grand Matron Bows/Hydra Bows need 92 IAS. If you use a WF, the max FPA is 8, which is achieved with 142 IAS. FRW- 125 minimum on shield switch. DR – 35+% DR on shield switch
Fun time. There are countless options, but some work better than others. The Zon equipment setup depends completely on the bow choice, so pick that before you figure out the rest of your equipment. Again, I won’t be putting down the stats for the items because they are well known.
Faith Runeword – This bow is your best choice. Fanaticism helps you get 7 FPA and higher damage output than a Windforce. There’s really no other choice in 1.11. The only choice with this is whether you use a Matriarchal Bow or a Grand Matron Bow. MB’s are faster but do less damage. GMB’s do more damage, but require much more IAS to hit 7 FPA. Depending on your choice here, the rest of your gear will change drastically.
Windforce – This bow was the powerhouse for 1.08 and on, up until the introduction of the Faith runeword. The mods are unbeatable on this bow, but the only problem is that it is 1 whole frame slower than Faith can be, resulting in overall lower damage output.
Second weapon switch
Ethereal Titans- Pure and simple. Use it. It allows you to use all the javelin skills, along with giving you unbeatable mods.
Stormshield- Only choice for GMB users. Best shield for block/DR in the game. -15% req it to make it require less STR.
Jewelers Monarch of Deflecting (4 x 40 ED/15 IAS jewels)- This is for use for MB users that use CoA as their source of DR. This shield will help MB users maintain 9 frame javelin throw and will get them 4.5 frame jab, the fastest speed possible. The massive ED will make the javelin skills hurt substantially more.
120 ED/45 IAS + FRW/Life circlet- Great choice for a helm. The IAS helps hit 7fpa, and adds a lot of damage. The second mod is very important though, because if you don’t get FRW or life mod, there are better alternatives. You can also use a 2ama/life/frw + 2 soc helms. Those are very good options as well.
Giant Skull – Another good choice for a helm. You can get 2 sockets in this helm, meaning you can 80/30 IAS it. It gives massive +STR, and KB, which is essential for a Zon.
Shako- Shako adds a lot of life and mana and DR. Good option if you need life/mana or DR.
.08 Valk- Not that useful of a helm here, besides the fact that it looks funny/cool in a weird way. It functions like a 120/45/frw, but you don’t have the 120 ed.
Crown of Ages (40ED/15IAS jewel + Ber)- For a GMB/Fort user, the helm slot will be taken by a mandatory 45 IAS helm. However, if you use a MB setup, you may be able to use this helm for DR, opening up your shield to something other than a Stormshield.
Cat’s Eye- The main ammy for most Zons. +DEX adds lots of damage, FRW and IAS are all very useful.
Highlord’s- This ammy is often overlooked. The +1 skills is very useful, along with the LR. Deadly strike actually helps a lot, despite common belief. HL actually has very comparable damage increase to Cat’s Eye, thanks to the +1 skills and added lightning damage.
160/60/life armor- Pretty simple why this is a good armor. Damage + IAS + life. Second only to a Fortitude, if your setup allows for that.
Fortitude- This armor adds more damage than 160/60, but it lacks much IAS. If you are able to use Fort and still have 7 FPA, it is recommended, because of the +resistances, +life, and especially because chilling armor is bugged.
Crafted IAS/KB gloves/+passives- Best choice here. There are a few other combinations and options, but usually what you need is pretty clear depending on the IAS on your other gear. Just make sure you have KB somewhere on your amazon, either in the gloves or in the Giant Skull.
Others- Because the Zon gear is so IAS dependent, there won’t be much room for wiggle here. However, if you use a MB bow setup, there may be room for Bloodfists or +STAT gloves.
Verdungo’s- Best choice here. Tons of life, FHR, 15%dr will take you to 50% total DR with SS, and the life rep helps a ton also.
Goldwrap- This belt is required for 7 FPA attack with GMB + Fort, as it gives the last 10% essential IAS.
Nos Coil- This belt serves the same purpose as Goldwrap, but it has better stats. Use it if people don’t mind the 10% slow. (You can argue that BvC’s have 10% slow on Spider Sash as well)
War Travelers – Best Choice here. The 15-25 added damage actually adds a ton of damage, plus you get +STR and +VIT.
Rare FRW/FHR/stat/RES- Use theses boots if you need RES.
Gores- These are nice, but Travs are better. I advise against it because 15% DS is very little with HL + Critical Strike.
Ravenfrost- Best ring you can.. +DEX gives you tons more damage, AR helps with Jab and MS/Strafe. Mana helps support your MS spam.
AR/DEX/STR/RES Ring- Use one of these instead of a Ravenfrost if you need STR or RES or other stats.
As long as you hit all the breakpoints above, you can mix and match.
IMPORTANT: If you are going for GMB faith with Fort, you NEED to have IAS EVERYWHERE. That means 120/45 helm, 20 IAS gloves, 20 IAS ammy, and 10 IAS on belt.
This is another place where balance plays a huge role. You want to fill your inventory with fine prefix modded charms, with either life or FRW as a second mod (mix of 3/20/20's and 3/20/5's). Get the FRW you’re looking for, then fill the rest with life charms.
I don’t recommend poison charms, as they are BM in most clan/guilds.
The setup for the Zon will depend greatly on whether you pick a MB or a GMB Faith, as the IAS reqs require drastically different setups. GMB setup is better for full out damage, meaning a FRW-intensive or team Zon build. A MB setup allows you much more life + DR, making you a much better tank. These setups are better for 1v1 Zons that want to tank more hits. The MB setup I list here allows for 38 DR in bow Shield/Jav and Bow switches, instead of 35%/0% like the GMB setup has.
GMB Faith Zon
120 ED/45 IAS/30 FRW Circlet
Eth Upped Titans
SS (15 Req/40 ED jewel)
20 IAS/+2 passive/KB crafted gloves
Nos Coil belt
This is a high damage, fast running Zon that focuses on dodging attacks and long range duels. It comes equipped with 35% DR in shield switch, 7 FPA attack with bow, 9 FPA javelin throw, and 5 FPA jab. Closer to a “glass cannon” when compared with the MB build. Aim for 150-200% FRW in javelin switch.
MB Faith Zon
CoA (Ber + 40 ED/15 IAS jewel)
Eth Upped Titans
Jmod Monarch of Deflecting (4 x 40 ED/15 IAS jewels)
20 IAS/+2 passive/KB crafted gloves
A “tank” Zon meant for high survivability at the expense of mobility and bow damage. Javelin skills will receive a boost with this setup in comparison to the GMB setup, making this Zon much better in closer quarters. This setup has 38% DR in ALL switches, 7 FPA attack with bow, 9 FPA javelin throw, and 4.5 FPA jab. Block will still be 75%, due to the high DEX of bow-based Zons. WIth this build, aim for around 125-175% FRW in javelin switch.
My current setup is 120/45/88 Life Circ, Cat's Eye, GMB Faith, Fort Archon, Eth Upped Titans, -15%/40% ED SS, 20 IAS/KB/STAT gloves, Nos Coil, Ravenfrost, Bitterband, Wartravs. It totals to 5.6k physical GA damage, 1.5k life, 325 mana, and 172 FRW in javelin switch.
Aim- I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but I see so many Zons that just fire volleys and volleys of arrows that are off by a few degrees, and just pass right past the other character. Make sure you aim. Use the minimap to check the angle of your arrows. Spray your arrows a little to cover a larger area and apply more pressure.
Prediction- Predict your enemies movements, and fire to where they will be. Arrows are a projectile, so you will never hit a moving target if you fire at where they are NOW.
Desync- Everyone knows what desync is now with so many hammerdins around. The cool thing is that Zon’s desync too. Desync is caused when the server can’t keep up with the client, so your location on the server isn’t where you really are. Basically, anything that runs quickly will desync. Zons with high FRW will desync as well, just due to the way they move. It’ll happen naturally, don’t try and desync.
Walking- This tactic basically sums up 80% of the Zon’s dueling strategy. Walking is more like running to dodge attackers that teleport right on top of you, and most chars will be offensive against you. Run a southward zigzag pattern when a caster teleports right on top of you, firing a shot every few steps while you run. If you do this right, straight projectiles will not hit, as you will move out of the way as soon as they are casted.
Switching Weapons- Whenever you feel pressure from a physical attacker, switch to your jav/shield switch. 75% blocking + dodges makes you extremely hard to hit, plus the javelin skills are no dud either. You should never really be running in bow mode, unless you’re walking a pure elemental character.
Javelin Skills- These skills are always overlooked. The entire tab is filled with one point wonders. Jab is a great attack because its uninterruptible. That means that while you’re jabbing, you can dodge, but you won’t stop jabbing. Lightning Fury/Bolt are also great attacks to use when you need to have the shield out. They do very good damage, and are both ITD, so they will always make contact. Bolt is amazing for kill Druid’s Oak Sage, and is amazing when coupled with KB. The bolt is 100% hit because it’s pure lightning damage, and triggers KB almost every hit. Fury is another great skill to use. Use it when the character has low block, either against BvC’s or charging paladins/amazons. Get used to using these skills because they seriously double the Zon’s abilities with just a few skill points.
Toggle run/walk- When you run, your block is reduced to 33% of what it used to be. When running from or into physical missile/melee attacks, consider toggling to walk so that you block the attacks if you can’t outrun them. Walking is especially useful when charging another Zon in ZvZ.
FB and Lightning Sorcs both shoot non homing attacks, so “walking” them works very well. Run south in a zig zag pattern to dodge projectiles. If they are vita Sorcs, they will fall relatively easy. Non-block ES Sorcs will be easy as well, if you have KB on your Zon. However, if they are high ES builds + block, they will have the upper hand. The high ES will absorb your damage, especially because physical damage does not drain the mana very quickly. They will tank you really badly, and eventually land a hit. But in general, just DON”T GET HIT. It doesn’t take many hits for you to die, so 1-2 is all they really need. Don’t bother with javelin skills vs. Sorcs.
Blizzard Sorcs will be hard if they are built correctly. Blizz will one-hit Zons, so the duels are usually very fast. It all depends who catches who first. There are two strategies you can take vs. blizzard. The first one is to keep moving, using desync to help keep blizzards off of you. Predict the Sorc’s teleports and fire GA/MS. MS will be good to help catch, then follow up with GA. The second strat is to load up on minions, that means casting a decoy and a Valk, and utilize strafe. Strafe will auto target the sorc, and will lock the sorc right away. However, if the blizz lands on you, you will die. It’s a gamble, but it gives you the best chance vs. blizzard sorcs that stack oak.
Necromancers are very hard for amazons. Again, the basic idea is just to use the “walking” strategy. However, you will have to run a little bit more between the shots, as the necro can fire spirit, which will follow you. Block Necs are quite possibly the hardest duel for a zon, but vita ones are much easier. If the Nec uses bone prison, you will have to the same walking strategy, but using a lot of MS (in addition to GA). The MS will pierce the prisons and destroy them, while still hitting the necro. If you are constantly fire MS along with the GA, the prisons will really have no effect on you, besides forcing you to use MS and lowering your damage.
Summon (with or without poison nova):
These necs will be very annoying to duel, but their damage is very low so its still not that bad of a duel. You’ll have to use MS instead of GA here, as GA will be attracted to the minions and will be prone to miss due to minion stacking. Otherwise, use the same strategies as vs. bone necros.
Wind druids are like dueling necros, but much easier because their attacks are much slower and don’t home. Basically, to fight a druid, you utilize the “walking” tactic, but you have a sequence of attacks. When the druid comes after you, walk + MS until the druid gets a lock and begins to chain. When that happens, keep running, switch to shield/jav, and throw lightning bolt. Oak is immune to physical in NM, but will die in one bolt. With pierce, the bolt also has a chance to destroy all of the minions in one shot. Keep running while you throw. Once you see the minions thin out, switch to bow and “walk” with GA. Just practice this, but it’ll work. Again, following a similar trend, block druids will be much harder than non-block druids.
Um, just shoot. Use MS to catch them before they are on your screen so you can unleash GA on them before they fire.
Against all non-WW melee characters, you want to use the same basic strategy. Fire GA until they are close, then switch to shield/jav and throw lightning fury. Don’t bother doing a zigzag, as there are no projectiles to dodge. Just run in one direction and throw back at them.
ZvZ. There are a lot of different styles of ZvZ. I myself am offensive. In bow vs. bow, basically it’s just who can shoot and dodge better. However, when you have a javelin/shield switch, it gets much more interesting. You are able to charge at the other zon and try and jab. Jab beats a shooting Zon hands down if you can close the distance.
But, lightning fury/bolt will beat jab (using bolt goes right through the shield, as its 100% elemental and will trigger a lot of dodge/stun lock, but the damage will be much less than fury if the zon has res [85% with fort]). On top of that, bow will beat fury (by doing the walking strategy, like vs. necro spear sequence in the beginning of the necro video). ZvZ is kind of a rock, paper, scissors kind type of duel; its just who can switch and react faster. Again, like all other same-class duels, it just takes practice and figuring out your own style.
Shoot, and don’t stop shooting. Make sure they don’t get to you, or you’re pretty much dead. If they get too close, you can start to strafe, and block/dodge lock the javazon. If the javazon is a FC/CS, don’t let them onto your screen or you’ll die. Your best bet is just to use predictive firing and hope to dodge/block/stun lock the javazon before she is able to FC you.
Bow amazons are one of the few classes that outright beat a hammerdin. If you keep moving and firing midrange GA, the hammerdin will have a very hard time. Just keep it up, but don’t get cocky and stop moving to get the kill. Predict where the paladin will be, shoot there, and make a mental note of where you think the hammers are.
These are hammerdins with a charge weapon. Treat them just like a hammerdin, but switch to javelin when you feel them charging. As long as you have shield/javelin up, you should be relatively safe from charge. Hammers won't hit if you keep moving and dodge. Bow should be your secondary switch here; use it when you aren't in danger of being hit by charge as that is your greatest threat.
Same strategy as with hammerdin. However, you’ll have to be much more offensive. FoH will beat a Zon, so you need to keep arrows on them to keep them from getting a FoH off. Have Valks and a decoy out.
Grief makes paladins charge/smite really strong. Zons have a very hard time with these types of paladins. Use the same strategy as you do against all non-WW melee characters. GA when far away, LF/LB when close. Just keep running to keep them from landing a smite.
Use the same strategy as vs. Charge/Smiters, as the V\T will probably use only those skills. Cast a decoy and Valk when there is no pressure to attract the FoH if the V\T casts one. Try and stay within your decoy/valk to attract the foh, and switch to javelin when the paladin charges. Pull out the bow only when you know you won't get hit by charge or smite. Bow is great vs a V\T trying to FoH, but bad vs one charging. Javelin is good for charging V\T's, but bad against FoH'ing ones. Just make sure you know which switch to use during what situations, and you'll give them a very good fight.
Trappers are hard, but Zons are decent against them. Shoot MS while they close the distance, and GA once the shadow is gone or is far away from the trapper. Run as soon as you see a trap get casted. You can pelt the trapper with a few shots right after they teleport on you and recast traps, as they will have to stop casting MB for a brief second while they cast teleport/traps instead. Since traps take a while to start firing, you'll have time to get a few shots in. Just rinse and repeat. Fort will make this much easier. Use your desync to your advantage and keep running in one direction. Use the KB from MB to help you dodge trap shots by running at an angle (run away from the trapper in a slight spiral pattern) such that the MB + running will dodge the trap shots + get you out of range fastest.
Being a ghost player, I can truthfully say that Ghosts > Amazons. The best bet here is just to MS while they are closing, and then switch to shield/jav as soon as they come on screen. Start running to dodge the WW, and side step it. Throw in a few arrows after you sidestep, and then keep running again. But, with the combo of teleport and shadow and MB and WW, don’t expect to win these with any sort of winning percentage.
Duel these like you would a Lightning trapper. These will be easier though, because the FCR is bad and the WoF moves slower. Run in a straight line away from the bomber here since WoF won’t be able to catch you then. Running directly away from the trapper will also make the MB KB help you get further away.
These are extremely tough. It’ll take a lot of practice to get decent, and even then, you can’t expect to win over them in a series. Again, MS + GA while they close in, but as soon as they get close, switch to shield and start running. As soon as you see them teleport, switch directions. Try and run in a direction away from the barbs following WW. (A good way to run towards a barb is actually right at it when it teles, as the following WW is usually following the same direction as the tele.) When you do this, you side step the baba as quickly as possible, making distance and allowing you to fire a few arrows. Make sure you stay as much in shield mode as you can. You should really be running 100% of the time in shield mode, only switching to bow to fire. Each baba will be different due to the FCR and FHR they have. When you have KB on your zon, after you sidestep the baba, you may be able to stunlock the barb and keep them from teleporting back on you if their FCR is lower than the 69%. Just hold down GA on them after you side step them if you can stunlock them; otherwise, start running and prepare to sidestep them again. One last point: if the baba is WW straight at you or you feel a lot of pressure, switch to shield and throw LF. It’ll hurt a lot and the shield will give you good protection. LF + KB also has the ability to stun lock. You’ll just have to mess around with it and try different things out.
Zons are amazing in team duels. They have the highest damage output of all the characters, plus the arrows travel far and quickly. If you are a zon on a team, you need to be their center point. Have them protect and support you. Spam GA and MS at the opposing team, and pick up any leap/MB locks. Use MS to keep charging characters away. If you see another player getting attacked, shoot MS in that direction. It’s a huge deterrent for the opposing team, as MS will kill all the minions and block/stun lock the players it catches. Its area of effect is also huge. Make sure the necro amps if you have one. A zon centered team is arguably one of the strongest teams you can have in PvP.
Rees (Stoutwood) for being such a badass.
Marcus (Mr. J) for baaling unconscious.
Andrew (Anbu) for countless hours of duels.
Kevin (Atomsk) for being #1 BvC for 2 days running and for stealing my rep while I was gone.
Gurjit (rage-pvp) for *emotional* support.
Alex (hippo) for being psuedo-black.
Eric (revivial) for finally reaching QQbaals-26.
Russ (World_Funeral) for being my butt buddy.
Nick (Aminal) for grieving so much.
EJ because he wanted to be thanked.
Zharous for all your d2tables.
All of Temple, for just being there.
Please leave comments/suggestions/questions. Thanks for reading.
Also what do you think of slow missle vs. sorcs/bonenecs/zons?
Have you tried a lacerator switch vs. characters you don't need javs for?
What about CtA buffing from a cube in your inventory?
Really? No poison charms? I find that in certain circumstances they can be extremely helpful. Esp. vs ES sorcies etc. At least having a few high dmg psn charms makes the other char try to get 75% psn res.
Do you have a method for characters that flash holy freeze?
Sorry for all these questions but I am intensely curious.
And by the way this is kind of a seperate question, but the physical damage that is converted to lightning by lightning bolt, is this damage multiplied in anyway by +% facets? Or is only the skill damage enhanced...