A quick guide to a rather interesting hybrid character build I have developed. This is a draft "quick" form guide that doesn't go into the elaborate basics of paladins such as blocking formula's, FHR break points etc.
It is just a "throw it out there" buold to see what people think.
FoH is a skill that is almost never seen in PvM, basically only on V/T's being rushed for PvP. I looked for a way to field FoH on a PvM build and this is what I came up with. It works surprisingly well and is a lot of fun. (level 87 so far)
Comments, suggestions, nit picks all welcome.
The Elemental Templar.
A guide for V1.11 PvM Diablo 2/LOD.
The templar. Many will tell you that the templar does not suit Player versus monster game play. It is far too mana hungry and near immpossible to kill every monster encountered while questing to end game. The obvious solution then is to combine FoH with other skills and utilize them for the daily duty of crowd obliteration and leave the fist of the heavens skill for those occasions that best suit it. A combination of melee prowess, and ranged, single target destruction.
But how do we accomplish that? We simply would not have the skill points. A Zealot hybrid needs Fanatism and zeal combined with conviction, fist of the heavens, holy shock/holy bolt synergy and we should have some points in holy shield as well. Thats well over a hundred skill points. It can’t be done.
Or can it?
The answer is yes, it can be done. Fully synergied FoH, high level of holy shield and conviction and have skill points to spare. The elemental Templar is the answer.
Spending stat points.
This is yet another repeat of many other guides. Enough strength for your equipment, Enough points in Dexterity for shield blocking and the rest in vitality for life. Leave energy alone. Simple. If anything, use a tesladin build template for stat point allocation.
Building the Zealot.
The elemental templar is what I call a simple zealot. Two skill points. That’s it. One point in sacrifice, and one skill point in Zeal. Can it be any easier? This is all the skill points our zealot really needs, so lets toss in holy shield as well. We have to spend the skill points somewhere so holy shield is the skill where you spend those spare skill points. Assuming 20 point holy shield, our zealot has spent a total of 26 skill points.
Is that it? 26 skill points? Well, you can add other skills to flavour. Redemption is a handy skill for replenishing your mana after a few castings of FoH. That’s another 5 skill points and vigor/cleansing are handy skills to have as well. 26 - 31 skill points finishes our zealot.
The universal aura.
One of the keys to this builds success is using the same aura for both skill sets which is conviction. Yes, now you see, our Zealot is actually a conviction zealot. 26 skill points buys a level 20 conviction aura. No messy aura switching between FoH and zeal either making this hybrid easy to play.
Building the Templar.
First, 2 points into vengeance and conversion and then 20 into FoH itself. Let me see, 78 skill points spent so far. Assuming end game of level 85, we have 18 spare skill points left for FoH synergy skills.
You can park these into holy shock which will give you a punchy lightning bolt, But I beg to differ here.
One of the uses of FoH to our zealot here isn’t for it’s single target punch, strong as it would be. And this is PvM. How about Holy bolt? Imagine encountering a bunch of IM casting oblivion knights boss pack. You blast the boss with the primary bolt and dozens of holy bolts are launched, hunting down and destroying his crownies. I’ll leave the final choice to you.
But keep in mind that you could do both. If you don’t buy Redemption and lower the holy shield level to say, 10, you have another 15 skill points that you could pump into both FoH synergies. And that’s at level 85. It means that you can have a fully synergied FoH, and a strong zeal attack with a good level of Holy shield.
Ok, just a quick note about the popular Dream, Rift, Dragon, etc type rune words often used on conviction zealots. Yes you can use these items here. But this build is about flavour. Blasting things with FoH instead of just running around pulsing everything to death. Play the elemental zealot for what he is and enjoy every minute. Then, when you have killed Hell Baal, then you can slap on your dual dreamer gear. Hey, that would be fun too. For the sake of this guide, I will omit these rune words.
Weapon. Our best choice is either Azurewrath, Lightsabre or a 6 socket phase blade full of elemental damage. Why? 75% IAS, that’s why. 8/4 frames per second zeal speed. Azurewrath is perfect for the elementalzot as it has a skill level, bulk elemental damage, IAS, magic damage and plenty of extras like sanctuary and stat points. Lightsabre fits the bill as well and is much easier to get. For the budget minded, the socketed phase blade can work surprisingly well with 6 - 500 odd lightning damage being achievable quite easily.
After these three, any other weapon is pretty much a 8/5 frame per second choice. Cranebeak, Nord's tenderiser, Demon limb, Baranars star, Stormlash, Djinn slayer, Frostwind and lawbringer just to name a few. Socket choice should be easy for uniques. Jewels of thunder can reach up to 1-100 lightning damage.
Oh, and don't forget Hand of blessed light as a weapon switch for FoH duties.
Shields. Dragon scale. Lots of lovely fire damage and hydra charges to play with. Should be fun with conviction aura. Tiamats rebuke offers insane elemental damage and a real winner here, save for the low chance to block. Finally a four socket auto mod resistances shield. Four sockets of thundering, burning, whatever you like. Herald of zakarum gets the traditional mention in every paladin guide as a suitable weapon switch FoH castor.
Armor. Duress rules the roost here. Lovely cold damage, resistances, FHR and crushing blow/open wounds. Guardian angel for help with shield blocking and skill levels, Corpsemourn or Spirit forge which is a good choice with two open sockets for nice elemental damage things. Other wise there are socketed armors such as Griswolds Black hades or natalya's which offer some benefits as well as sockets. Templar's might is our final choice here for +2 ot your conviction aura and get a larzuk socket for some elemental damage or resistances.
Helmet. Not much out there elemental damage wise, so use this slot to bulk up on that other stuff you need, leeches, resistances, skill levels, IAS, etc. Crown of ages, Vampire gaze, Steal skull, Kira's guardian, Harlequin, just to name a few. Or, if you get your resistances/IAS/leeches/etc elsewhere, helms can get up to 3 open sockets for more elemental damage.
Belt. You could go for Thundergods or Snowclash for elemental damage, or use this slot for some more of the other stuff you need. Belts such as Arachnid's can provide a skill level, String of ears or Verdungo's hearty cord for leach/life/PDR or Nosferatu coil.
Boots. Cow king boots while hard to get, offers dexterity and fire damage as well as good FRW. If you don't have those, Infernostride is the next best thing. Hot spur while you are leveling up or even Gorefoot for mana steal. 2% is enough to run Zeal. Check out some rares as well while your about.
Gloves. Hellmouth or Lavagouts rule here. Pick one based on how much IAS you need. Otherwise Dracul's grasp can solve all your life leech worries with your low physical damage. Otherwise LoH, rare or crafted for various mods.
Amulet. Highlords of course. IAS, skill level and lightning damage. Oh, and deadly strike too. The rising sun is pretty much our only other choice unless you consider mara's kaliedascope or Seraph's hymm worthwhile. Rares or crafted can give all sorts of mods so should be considered as well.
Rings. Or is that ring? One will be a raven frost so you only have to choose one more. Bul kathos wedding band can help with skill levels, Wisp projector is another maybe. Probably best to go for a rare/crafted for leeches, resistances and even elemental damage.
The back pack.
The back pack deserves a special mention with this build. You might be tempted to fill with skillers for FoH pwnage PvPer style, but remember, this is PvM. Elemental damage charms are the order here. But first, check your conviction level. make sure you have achieved level 25 otherwise you will need Captains charms. Shocking charms offer the best lightning damage per square. If you have designed your zealot well, you will notice that the bulk of your equipment elemental damage is mostly fire and cold (e.g duress, dragon scale, azurewrath)
It is a good idea to balance out your zealers elemental damage so basically, you can go to town with the lightning damage charms in the back pack.
Seeing that our weapon switch is full with HoBL & HoZ for FoH casting (press W and start blasting), make sure you keep a demon limb in the stash for casting Enchant every 11 minutes or so. You don't need the attack rating that enchant offers, but there is over 100 points of fire damage here so make sure you pick up enough gold to pay for the repair bills.
There is a bit of contention here for the crown of best moron for the elemental templar. The traditional might merc offers little to our low damage one point zealer. We don't need blessed aim, thats for sure. defiance can pump our defence up to a useful level so thats worth considering. Though I think of the aura mercs the Holy freeze one is the best choice.
Another reason to choose a aura merc is the use of polearms. Cresent moon works well with conviction as well as Destruction. Insight will negate the need of mana leech and help fuel FoH.
Otherwise, utilize the conviction aura to it's fullest. Your choice of Iron wolf act 3 mercs with their elemental attacks or an act 1 bow shooter armed with Sky strike, Raven claw, Goldstrike arch or Kuko Shakuko. You could also use Faith for the fanatism to achieve a fast zeal speed if you have the runes.
So, after all that, what have we built? Well, if you where to look at the character screen, you would see a total zeal damage of about 1,500 - 2,500 or there abouts. Doesn't sound like much does it?
Remember that the bulk of the damage is elemental and against convicts (convicted targets), with elemental resistances plummeting into the negatives, the elemental zealot is a surprisingly good killer. Being a single player, I can solo play mine with liberal uses of the "/players x" command and believe me, my azurewrath equipped zealer tears thru the monsters at an good rate, only really slowing down with 4-5 "players" in the game or more. He is no Grief of Botd zealot. But he gets the job done.
Fist of the heavens no matter how much you synergize it is weak with a lot of players in the game. Solo, pretty much anything you hit with it dies as well as any undead that get hit by the holy bolts. But as the number of players increase, the monsters hit points increase and FoH very quickly looses it's one hit kill ability. Still, it is fun. I found it a nice combination in game. Smashing my way thru the hordes. Then when seeing a nasty monster raising corpses or hitting you at range, you simply weapon swap and hand it a world of pain while you are stationary, hiding behind your 75% chance to block. It is a combination that is surprisingly effective, and very fun to play.
Keep in mind also, your running the conviction aura. In multiplayer games you are going to be very popular with Sorceress's, lightning tossing amazons, trappers and any other elemental based builds out there. And when it comes to Baal runs, you are going to pwn the second wave into giblets before anyone can blink. Oblivion knights? Yeah, to the elemental templar they are well named, blasted to oblivion by your FoH. Here is a character that you can seriously consider Chaos sanctuary runs with, especially if you are have Azurewrath. With FoH, Holy bolt and the Sanctuary aura you are a undead killer by default. Oh and I should mention, you spent a point in Conversion getting to FoH. Have some fun with that skill in PvM as well, ok?