The Elemental Templar.
A guide for V1.11/V1.12 PvM Diablo 2/LOD.
Guide version V1.01.
The Templar. Experienced players will tell you that the Templar does not suit Player versus monster game play at all. It is far too mana hungry and limited in use to be able to be able to deal with every monster encountered while questing to end game. The obvious solution would be to combine Fist of the Heavens with other skills that can be used for most situations, leaving the fist of the heavens skill for those occasions that best suit it. A combination or hybrid as it where, combining the Melee abilities of the paladin with the ranged spell casting of Fist of the Heavens and even Holy Bolt.
But how do we accomplish this? Skill points are the limiting factor. A Zealot hybrid usually needs Fanatism and Zeal combined with the skills normally needed for a Templar, Conviction, Fist of the Heavens along with holy shock synergy and holy shield as well. It can’t be done effectively because we just don’t have enough skill points.
Or can it?
The answer is yes. It can be done. The elemental Templar is the answer. Reading this guide will help you do it.
So why build an Elemental templar? Well, firstly the character is a surprisingly versatile package. It suits both solo and multi player games and also happens to be a rather potent undead killer. It is also very fun as the combination of Zeal and Fist of the Heavens gives the player a combination of skills and a varied game play that offers both novice and experienced players a challenge to play.
The elemental Zealot is not what I would call an expensive character to build. It works well with inexpensive and the uber equipped set up. Many of the items are not your normally sought after toys and most of the preferred Rune words do not require high end runes. It’s a build that can be made by many and enjoyed thoroughly.
The drawbacks? The pure elemental templar does not cope well with solo play in games with lots of players in it. (the same as using the /player x setting in single player mode). The damage of both Fist of the heavens and elemental zeal does not scale well with the higher hit point monsters. But this drawback can be overcome by combining the “riftadin” or even “dreamadin” with the Templar build. The “Rift Templar” or “Dream Templar”as it where. These set ups copes far better in multi player games than a pure elemental zealot/templar mainly because Riftadins and Dreamadins can be very powerful builds in their own rights.
Unlike most melee paladin builds, the Eletemplar involves quite a lot of aura/skill/weapon switching as well as strategic game play. With a zealot you simply turn on the Fanatism aura, recast your Holy shield every so often and then click everything on screen to death. The Eletemplar is a very involving character to play, and ideal for those players who find playing the usual melee paladins boring.
Balancing a Dreamadin hybrid.
A quick word on the Dream templar before we get into the guide. You may or may not know but dreamadins can be quite powerful characters and many will argue that dreamers are the most powerful character class you can make currently as well as one of the most expensive. A fully equipped dual dreamer/dragon/Hand of justice shred’s monsters at an alarming rate, and with such firepower, you’ll never need to use the Fist of the Heaven’s spell. Not much point spending the skill points if your not likely to use the skills.
Riftadins and dreamadins are a simple zealot build (skill point wise) so the build lends itself to a hybrid build such as the Eletemplar. A fully equipped Dreamer can utilize up to four high end rune words (Dual dream, Dragon and hand of Justice for example). If you can only afford to make one or two of these rune words, then combining them with the Templar build is ideal and a good balance between the damage your Eletemplar will do with his melee/pulse damage and the Fist of the Heavens/Holy Bolt spells.
Spending stat points.
Like many other Paladin builds, the Elemental Templar has no extra ordinary stat point requirements. Enough strength for your equipment, Enough points in Dexterity for shield blocking and the rest in vitality for life while leaving energy alone. Simple.
Requirements here are low. 118 for Guardian Angel or 103 for Archon plate armor are likely to be your highest needs.
Likely to be higher than your average Paladin if we are not using Herald of Zakarum as our primary Shield so more Dexterity is required to reach 75% chance to block with our shield. Phase blade weapons also require 136 Dexterity so expect your dexterity to be around this figure before items by end game.
If you didn’t spend the points elsewhere, spend them here.
Leave it at base. You simply will not gain enough benefit to justify spending points here. 1.5 points of mana per stat point is a complete waste.
Allocating Skill Points.
The elemental templar is essentially a Hybrid build. What is known as a Simple Conviction Zealot (Zeal and Conviction) and a Templar (Holy Fist, two synergies and Conviction). Conviction is the main common aura to both Zeal and Fist of the heavens. The rest of your skill points are spent on support skills for these two skills namely, Holy Shield and Fist of the Heaven’s two Synergy skills, Holy Shock and Holy Bolt.
2 Points. One point in the pre requisite skill Sacrifice and one point in Zeal. Our Items should boost Zeal to level 5 or more for the maximum number of attacks for Zeal. If not, an extra point or two could be worthwhile.
25 Points. Five points in each Pre requisite skills, Might, Holy Fire, Thorns, Holy Freeze and Sanctuary. Then 20 skill points in Conviction.
9-14 Points. Four points in each Pre requisite skills, Smite, Holy Bolt, Charge and Blessed Hammer. Then 5-10 Skill points in Holy Shield depending on your preferences. You can build this skill higher than this if you like, though it will be at the cost of Fist of the Heaven’s Synergy skills.
Fist of the Heavens.
22 points. Two points in each Prerequisite skills, Vengeance and Conversion. (Zeal and Sacrifice already taken) Then 20 skill points in Fist of the Heavens.
15-20 points. Synergy skill for Fist of the heavens for a nice punchy blast to your opponents.
The rest. With between 73-83 skill points spent so far, We have a few point left over by end game (level 85, 96 skill points approx) to put into Fist of the Heavens other Synergy skill. So, why spend the points on this synergy? When Fist of the Heavens hits a target a number of Holy Bolts are released equal to all the targets within range whether they are undead or not. Another little known fact about the Holy Bolts released is that Holy Bolt will pass thru targets and continue on their path out to their maximum range meaning that for example, if 20 bolts are released, an undead creature standing right next to the target can be hit by several Holy Bolts. Yeah, bye bye bone head.
Conviction has no effect on Holy Bolt damage as it is magic so it is effective against undead targets at any range, even off screen so having the conviction aura active for FoH casting is not required except for the initial lightning damage done to the primary target.
You can also select Holy Bolt and cast it directly as well if you wish. It is handy for cleaning up the odd undead at range and will heal your merc or party members as well. The eletemplar is one of the few builds I know that can utilize Holy Bolt as well as Fist of the Heavens in Player versus monster game play, so you may as well enjoy it too.
Another aura to have active when casting Fist of the heavens at undead is this aura. You’ve already put a point here to get Conviction and one point is all you need. The knock back on undead has a herding effect, particularly on enclosed maps such as the chaos sanctuary as you can push a group of undead into a corner or against a wall and then dish them all a world of punishment with Fist of the heavens holy bolts scattering thru their ranks.
Ok, there are three ways to equip our Elemental Templar.
This build concentrates on items that add elemental damage to your melee attacks. Examples of these items are Baranar’s star, Lightsabre and azurewrath. Off weapon elemental damage can come from items such as Highlord’s wrath amulet, Raven frost ring and Thundergod’s belt for examples.
A build based on using weapons and items with the chance to cast a elemental spell on attack or striking. Examples of these items are Rift, Voice of Reason and Cresent moon rune words. Off weapon items include carrion wind and Wisp Projector rings for examples.
A build that uses items that grants an elemental aura such as Holy shock, Holy fire or Holy freeze. The aura functions exactly like if you spent the skill points in the aura and had it selected so in effect, allowing you to run multiple aura’s at a time. Examples of these items are Dream, Dragon and Hand of Justice rune words.
More information about how Dreamadins work can be found in guides written for these builds.
For the Pure Eletemplar, Phase blades are pretty much the only way to go given that you need only 75% IAS to reach the fastest 8/4 break point. Among Phase blades there are 3 really good choices too, Azurewrath, Lightsabre and the 6 socket phase blade full of elemental damage jewels.
Rift templars are a given between Rift in a Sceptre, Voice of Reason or even a Cresent moon in a phase blade which is the basis of the Riftadin builds or if you prefer, "chance to cast a spell on attack" builds.
Dream Templars usually equip Hand of Justice or somilar in a phase blade but if you decide to limit your dreamer’s number of aura items, you can choose any of the above. A Dream/Rifttemplar? Why not.
For the Pure Eletemplar and Rifttemplar, Dragon scale is a shield rarely used or wanted by many and is perfect for an Eletemplar thanks to the huge fire damage component. On a budget? Look for Tiamat’s Rebuke. Its only drawback is the low shield blocking chance meaning more dexterity needed for good blocking chances. Alternatively any paladin class shield with 4 sockets and you guessed it, fill it up elemental damage. Failing that, Mosers blessed circle offers a good block rate, resistances and two sockets for elemental damage. If you can afford the runes, Pheonix makes an excellent choice for any build.
Dream templars can choose any of the above depending as well which is a good idea when so much elemental damage is available from the shield slot. Otherwise the usual Dream choices in shields which is either the Dream or Dragon rune words.
Duress rune word offers some excellent attributes such as nice cold damage and it’s hard to go past given the runes required aren’t too hard to get. Next, there are a few three socket set/unique armors that we can fill with elemental damage such as Griswolds, Natalya’s, Black hades and Spirit forge. Third choice? Any decent unique or rune word can do. We still need to achieve good resistances and other attributes on a paladin and there are many easy to get armors that will fill many of these needs. Smoke, Lionheart, Guardian angel and Treachery just to name a few.
For Dream templars, the Dragon rune word works in armors. Or choose any of the above depending on your choices.
Another slot that has little offer in the way of elemental damage. Well, unless you happen to be making a Dream templar as this is a location where that rune word will work. For pure Ele and Rift templars the helm slot is a great place to grab some useful attributes with helms such as Crown of Ages, Vampire gaze, Steal skull or Tal rasha’s Hideous crest. Sorry, Horadric crest. Even Kira’s, Veil of steel or Crown of Thieves work well on a paladin. You can even use every bodies favorite crushing blow helm, Guillaumes face. The helm slot is pretty open so choose what ever you like and feel free to visit Larzuk for a socket to fill with some elemental damage or what ever you need.
Snow clash and Thundergods are the two main elemental damage choices here. Otherwise grab the usual choices in String of Ears or verdungo’s for survivability. At low level Sigon’s Gloves and belt combo for the IAS is all you need for Normal difficulty and even some of Nightmare.
Lava gout and Hell mouth are the two elemental damage choices here. Otherwise grab some IAS with gloves like Laying of hands, Sigons (with belt) or magnus skin. Rare’s and crafted gloves can often have good attributes as well.
My preference however is Dracul’s grasp for the Life tap/ life leeching. Very handy with the low physical base damage our one skill point zealot has and will take care of all your life leech needs.
Been to the cow level? Because Cow king boots offer both good fire damage and dexterity. Handy for building that blocking chance up with. Inferno stride also offers fire damage which should be much easier to come by. Otherwise pretty much anything else will suffice. Gore riders for crushing blow/deadly strike, goblin toe or even Gorefoot will provide enough mana leech to run Zeal.
Hard to go past Highlords Wrath for IAS, skill level and lightning damage. Otherwise start sifting thru those rares. You can get all sorts of handy abilities including elemental damage on rares.
You can even use the good unique amulets as well such as Mara’s, Seraph’s Hymm, Rising sun and Metal grid. All of these offer great attributes for a melee paladin.
Raven frost is unbeatable here. Anti freeze, dexterity and cold damage. Bul Kathos wedding band complements it nicely on the other hand. Wisp projector and carrion Wind rings work with the chance to cast theme for Rift templars. Otherwise again, go thru those rares and look for a good ring with useful attributes. Pretty much anything works that offers useful attributes such as resistances, statistics, Leeches and quite often you see elemental damage or even chance to cast something spawning on rares and crafts.
Very handy to use for a Fist of the heavens casting set. Hit the “W” key and have Fist of the Heavens and your preferred aura pre selected. Hand of the blessed light sceptre combined with Herald of Zakarum shield are the preferred choice here. Otherwise just grab skill level boosters. The Atlantean sword for example offers +2 to skills and rare paladin shields are often seen with paladin skill levels which you might get as a quest reward for rescuing a very cold lady near a river. Lidless wall even with +1 to skills and it can help out with the mana supply.
The back pack
There are essentially two options to consider for the back pack. The first is elemental damage charms which will add to your weapon attacks and thea good choice if you are making a pure Eletemplar. The other consideration is skill grand charms (combat) to boost Fist of the heavens damage.
Naturally you can combine both elemental damage and skill charms as you see fit in the back pack in any combination.
There is only one more toy you should have, the keep it in the stash for prebuffing Demon limb for the Enchant fire damage.
Like any character in the game, the Eletemplar’s abilities can be supplemented by a faithful hireling.
Who to choose? Well, the Eletemplar can work rather well with all of the available Mercenaries thanks to the Conviction Aura. Simply equip the mercenary for elemental damage and away you go.
Act One – Rogue
The arrow shooting Mercenary works rather well with the Conviction aura when equipped with the right bow. And there are a number of “right bows” that all add a useful amount of elemental damage. Some examples are; Hell clap, Raven Claw, Kuko Shakuku, Skystrike and even a rune word called Harmony, Or Ice if you can afford it. Plus you can further equip your Rogue with elemental damage armors, helms and socketables.
Act two – Desert guard
Everybodies favorite Paladin companion. Might or Holy Freeze versions are best. Might will help the life and mana leeching a little and the Holy freeze merc is great for the slowing down effect on your opponents. Weapons are Polearms and there alone is a good reason why to pick this merc. You can use Grims burning death, Storm spire or a Bone hew or Tomb reaver with the sockets full of elemental damage. But the best picks by far are the rune words. Cresent Moon is a easily made rune word and partners very well if you have a Rift Templar character. Insight is a nice pick as well as the Meditation aura will help prolong the Fist of the Heavens casting sessions.
If you have the wealth, Pride is very tasty as Firewalls will be popping up all over the screen given how often our Mercenaries get hit in combat and with Destruction the Meteors, boulders and Nova’s will be going off in all directions.
Act three – Iron Wolf
Pretty much a given as this merc cast elemental spells while you have the Conviction aura. This mercenary may actually kill something. Perish the thought. Unfortunately items that have a chance to cast spells on striking won’t trigger for this merc. If your insanely wealthy you can build a Dream/Dragon rune word set up to equip the merc with leaving you to pick up the loot from all the fallen monsters and keep the merc alive.
If your not that wealthy then boost this merc’s skill levels with his armor, shield, helm and sword slots. I prefer the ice version of this merc as the ice spike can freeze a target in its tracks, giving you a nice FoH target.
Act five – Barbarian
Only one reason to recommend this merc and that is elemental damage swords.
Yes. Voice of reason in a sword for a start. Unlike the Iron wolf merc this merc will use the weapon in combat and trigger its on attack/striking mods.
Destruction works in swords as well if you have the wealth. There are plenty of unique swords that you can use as well. Bing Sz Wang, Cloudcrack, Todesfaelle Flamme, Djinni Slayer, Lightsabre, Azurewrath, Frostwind and Flame bellow. Many of these swords have a chance to cast various spells on attack making the barbarian a very good choice just to give him one of these weapons.
Well that about wraps it up for making a Eletemplar. I’ve tried to make this guide as comphrensive as possible without being too complicated. If you need any other information regarding paladin builds and information about game play, here are some handy links that may help;
Blizzard’s own official web site for Diablo 2 which is the Arreat Summit contains much information on characters, items, monsters and the many aspects of this great game.
A character write up I did for my own Eletemplar who’s game play thru to end game was used as a basis of this guide.
So, there you have it. One Eletemplar build to enjoy playing D2/LoD with. Multi player, Solo, what ever you like. I find the character a surprising and versatile build that is enjoyable to play even for an old dog like me who has been playing D2/LoD on and off since release date.
If the Eletemplar can impress somebody like me, then I think it's a winner and "must play" for all fans of this great game.
Good guide. I made a similar character some time ago and can vouch for their power. In your weapons section, though, I think Gimmershred are worth mentioning, along with Demon's Arch. Not as fast as Phase Blades, but they do have the big elemental damage you're looking for.
I thought about including such weapons like glimmer/demon and all the other elemental one handed weapons (frostwind, djinni slayer, nords, baranars, cranebeak, stormlash just a name some) because all of them can reach the 5 frame zeal break point.
I started doing a required IAS versus elemental damage comparison but it all got too hard and complex because of all the uniques, sets, rune words combined with potential sockets so in the end, I decided to ignore all of the 5 frame weapons and just mention the phase blades.
I guess I should have mentioned a couple of the notable 5 framers. Glimmer has a whopping 900 approx points of elemental damage so even at a 6 frame zeal, its a good pick. Regular weapons can be socketed for another 1-80 or more lightning damage (for example) but even then they still fall short of glimmer. Then there is famine for the rune wealthy, or you could go the Eletemplar ranger hybrid with glimmer or hellcast Somebody out there must be able to use that crossbow.
You can see how much padding there will be mentioning all the possible elemental damage weapons available?
Hey there. Your guide was the main inspiration for my Pally build that I used with the Griswold's set (part of a project to make a character for each "big set"). I highly recommend that special note be made for this set, as it worked marvelously at the end of things. Here's what I did:
Gear: Griswold’s, Dracul’s, Gore Rider, String of Ears, Mara’s, Raven Frost, BK/SoJ, Demon Limb on switch. PTorch, Anni, remaining charms as desired. Sockets = 1x Shael in weapon, 11x Lightning facets (+5/-x) Highest Gear STR Requirement: Griswold's Honor Vortex Shield, 148. Skills: 20 FoH, Holy Shock, Sacrifice (maxed last, level 80); 13 to Conviction; 1 to rest of Combat (8); 1 to rest of Offensive Auras except Blessed Aim, Concentration, Fanaticism (6); 1 to Prayer, Defiance, Cleansing, Vigor, Salvation (5); rest to Holy Shield. +Skill Breakdown: +12 to all skills Other Stats: All Resistances easily above 175 with decent Mara's, Anni, and Torch. 60% IAS, n/a FCR, 30% FHR. CBF.
Effective Slevel 25 Conviction (-150 res / -93 Defense), with additional -33 to -55 to enemy LR. 9/5 Zeal. Mercenary: Act 3 Cold Merc. Final Equipment - Ormus' Robes (+15% Cold damage, +3 Glacial Spike) with +5/-5 Cold facet, "Spirit" sword, Lidless Wall w/ PDiamond, Nightwing's Veil (+15% Cold damage) with +5/-5 Cold facet.
Conviction stops affecting enemy resistances past level 25, so maxing the skill is never necessary. Similarly, setting up a weapon switch for more FoH power isn't necessary with the massive power boost granted by the facets. This enables you to use the Demon Limb on switch, granting that little bit of fire damage and huge AR bonus. Physical damage can't be completely ignored, since it's the source of Leech until the Drac's trigger and you basically become invincible; thus, I maxed Sacrifice for the added punch on Zeal. For pure damage, again the Lightning facets show their dual purpose in not only boosting the FoH, but also adding plenty of lightning damage to melee.
With the boosts to STR and DEX from the set, charms, raven, etc... (I had +98 to STR, +93 to DEX thanks to 19's from Anni and Torch), stat points are extremely easy. Even with the one pointed Holy Shield (and it would have been improving steadily), I only needed 50 hard DEX to get max block with the Gris shield at level 85, and it would have held until level 90 at least. Attack rating is nearly inconsequential given the massive -DEF penalty from a level 25 Conviction (to be honest, I used the Demon Limb above more for the Fire damage than for the AR ).
Basically, since a 9/5 Zeal completes in one second, and FoH has a one-second delay, you can hotkey the two of them to rotate between them in the middle of combat, sniping shamans and the like while happily Zealing away. It works very, very well. He also had the Gores for the CB, and both Dracs and Gores provide OW, so he did very well against act bosses as well.
Oh, and the merc... I've always wanted to make an Act III Mage work out, and a Conviction runner is the only real way to do it. Lightning is covered, Fire is blah, and Cold chills or freezes... hmmm, what a not-difficult decision. Valuable primarily for his freeze effect, his damage isn't much lower than your average Act 1 Rogue... unless said Rogue is using Harmony, which would have been my second choice for a mercenary if I wasn't so fixated on using Ormus' Robes and a NW on a merc (constant Vigor and huge elemental damage on the bow = win).
I'm a big fan of versatile builds and this one looks like a good one.
I've been away from d2 for some time, and previously played a tesladin years ago. This build has sparked my interest in pallies again.
One question is would it be viable to play this build in tesladin mode using zeal with Holy Shock? Would it be too weak for hell mode, or is Conviction + elemental sword/proc just way better for melee mode?
Been Looking for a good "Battlemage" Build Zeal+FoH sounds fun and being able to use the act 3 merc is great, now my question is this build would be great for PvP its yer basic FoH'er but as for PvE Could he beable to take down Ubers?
Nice set up. I never considered such a set up due mainly to price. A full grissies set full of facets is pretty mind numbing on it's own. I will note your recommendation for the grissy set eletemplar for a future revision.
A teslatemplar would work but there would be one major flaw. All of your damage will be lightning primarily with very little physical damage meaning you would have problems with lightning immunes that are not undead. One big advantage of the multi elemental damage proc plus conviction is that you will never have any problems with any immunes. But, a tesla/fire/cold templar would be cheaper and easier to set up as its the same as a telsadin which is quite cheap to make.
I have been meaning to try some PvP with my eletemplar. Can't see any reason why it wouldn't be successful as your opponents would have to seriously compromise their set ups to defend against all three elements at once against full level 25 conviction.
I am a single player and unable to try the Ubers, but this build is not a quick killer of bosses like Baal when using the "/players 8" command which is the closest I can come to the ubers. With little/no crushing blow or deadly strike like most uber killing builds, he will be slow dealing with them.