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Thread: Assassin FAQ

  1. #1
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Assassin FAQ

    Assassin FAQ for Version 1.13
    Revision 1.0

    [1] Forum Rules
    [2] General FAQs
    [3] Traps
    [4] Shadow Disciplines
    [5] Martial Arts
    [6] OSkills
    [7] Links
    [8] Credits
    [9] Revision History

    1. Forum Rules
    Short version: be polite.
    Longer version: are here. No, not negotiable.

    Trading takes place in the Trade Forums but if you are in dire need, please use the Assassin Forum Item Fund rather than make a thread begging for items.
    Last edited by maxicek; 03-10-2012 at 19:07.

  2. #2
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    2. General FAQs

    The Assassin is one of the more complex characters in D2, with a wide range of skills. Dragon Talon gives her one of the fastest attacks in the game. Lightning Sentry gives a powerful ranged elemental attack. Charge up skills are unique amongst the D2 classes. Mind Blast, Fade, Venom, Burst of Speed all add complexity and depth. For me there are more varieties of Assassin build possible than any other class - she is capable of shining as both a PvM and a PvP character.

    This FAQ is intended to go into further depth than the basic skill info that can be found either in game or at The Arreat Summit. It is not intended to repeat damage tables etc., but to give an understanding behind the mechanics of how the skills work.

    Basic Terms and Abbreviations
    AoE: Area of Effect
    AR: Attack Rating
    BoI: Blades of Ice
    BoS: Burst of Speed
    BF: Blade Fury
    C/C: Claw/Claw (dual wielding claws)
    C/S: Claw/Shield (using a claw and a shield)
    CE: Corpse Explosion (from Death Sentry)
    CoS: Cloak of Shadows
    CoT: Claws of Thunder
    CS: Cobra Strike
    DC: Dragon Claw
    DF: Dragon Flight
    DR: Damage Reduced (a mod on items)
    DT: Dragon Talon
    DS: Death Sentry
    DTail: Dragon Tail
    EIAS: Effective Increased Attack Speed
    ED: Enhanced Damage
    FoF: Fists of Fire
    IAS: Increased Attack Speed
    LCS: Lying Character Screen. Referred to this way as it is often incorrect.
    LMB: Left Mouse Button
    LS: Lightning Sentry
    MA: Martial Arts, usually referring to the Martial Arts skill tree
    MDR: Magic Damage Reduced (a mod on items)
    Nat's: Natalya's Odium (the assassin set)
    PS: Phoenix Strike
    PvM: Player Vs. Monster
    PvP: Player Vs. Player
    RMB: Right Mouse Button
    SD: Shadow Discipline Skill tree
    slvl: Skill Level
    SM: Shadow Master
    SW: Shadow Warrior
    TS: Tiger strike
    WoF: Wake of Fire
    WoI: Wake of Inferno
    WB: Weapon Block
    W/S: Weapon/Shield (normally for a non claw weapon)
    WW: Whirlwind

    Faster Hit Recovery
                 Hit Recovery Frames                    
                 8    7    6    5    4    3
    Assassin     7   15   27   48   86  200

    Faster Cast Rate
                 Cast Rate Frames                    
                16    15    14    13    12    11    10     9
    Assassin     0     8    16    27    42    65   102   174

    Faster Block Rate
                 Block Rate Frames                    
                 5     4     3     2     1
    Assassin     0    13    32    86   600
    Faster Block Rate does affect Weapon Block, although the only applicable item is Guardian Angel Unique Templar Coat (30 FBR, which increases block rate from 5 to 4 frames).

    Next Delay
    NextDelay is a property that activates a hidden "hit timer" that limits how often any attack from that group can damage a single target.

    When a missile flagged with Next Delay collides with a target, it prevents any other missile flagged with Next Delay from colliding with that target for the length of that missile's delay. For example, Wake of Fire's 4 frame next delay prevents any of its other missiles from colliding with a target more than once every 5 frames, so it can never apply its displayed damage more than five times per second.

    Assassin skillsaffected by NextDelay

    25-Frame Delay (1 second)
    Shock Web
    Blade Sentinel

    4-Frame Delay (0.16 seconds)
    Wake of Fire
    Claws of Thunder (nova and bolts)
    Phoenix Strike (lightning and freezing bolts)

    So, the moment a certain skill from the list damages a monster, it prevents every other skill on the list from hitting the said monster for the original skill's NextDelay duration (whether from you or any other character).

    Assassin Claws
    Claw class weapons are the Assassin's class specific items. Assassin claws may have +1-3 points in up to 3 individual skills from all three of her skill trees, Traps, Shadow Disciplines, and Martial Arts. These random +skills work just like the bonuses you see on wands/scepters/staves in Diablo II, and can occur on normal, magical, and Rare items and can be any of her skills, Clvl 1 up to and including Clvl 30 ones.

    All you ever wanted to know about claws, and much you probably didn't can be found in Shuko-Jutsu - The Art Of The Claw. For WW assassins see also What to look for in Fools claw by HappyAssassin.

    Natalya's Odium
    Natalya's Odium is the Assassin class specific set. It is of limited use to most assassin builds as it does not have very high bonuses to trap skills and kick damage is low due to the boot type. It can be used for elemental charge up builds and works quite well for Phoenix Strikers.

    What's a key? The Assassin does not need to keep keys to open locked chests.

    Last edited by maxicek; 24-03-2011 at 20:40.

  3. #3
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    3. Traps
    IAS Tables for Trap Laying
    Trap skills are normally divided into three groups:
    - Lightning Traps
    - Fire Traps
    - Blade Skills

    The fire and lightning traps also have two sub-types:

    Sentry Traps
    The Assassin can place a maximum of five Sentries at any one time. These can be mixed (2 Wake of Fire, 3 Lightning) or all the same kind. The five cap only applies to Sentries (Charged Bolt Sentry, Wake of Fire, Lightning Sentry, Wake of Inferno and Death Sentry). Do note that the Traps that your Shadow casts also counts towards this limit. For example, if you had five WoI traps active, and your Shadow casts an LS, one of your WoI traps would be destroyed and replaced with your Shadows's LS.

    While BFury, Blade Shield, SWeb and FB don't count as Traps in terms of the trap limit, BSentinel does (when you have 5 WoI traps active, and cast a BSentinel, one of your WoIs will disappear). Theoretically, an Assassin is not able to have more than 5 BSentinels active at the same time, due to limitations from its casting delay and duration (there is also a hard limitation that prevents more than 5 BSentinels from being cast, as the first BSentinel will wink out before the sixth is cast).

    All 'set' Traps (i.e. LS, WoI, etc. as well as BSentinel) are automatically destroyed if you go beyond 2 screens' distance from them, even if they haven't depleted their shots. Sentries cannot be destroyed by other players or monsters.

    Sentries are considered as minions by the game and benefit from neither -resistance or +damage from items like Facets, Crescent Moon or Griffon's Eye, despite what the LCS may say.

    How quickly you can lay sentry traps is determined by you attack speed. How quickly they fire their shots is fixed.

    Bomb Traps
    - Fireblast and Shockweb do not count towards the five trap limit.
    - Fireblast and Shockweb work as normal with -resistance and +damage from items like Facets, Crescent Moon or Griffon's Eye.

    Lightning Traps

    Shock Web
    Firing Speed – 9 FPA
    NextDelay – 25 Frames

    Charged Bolt Sentry
    Initial Delay – (TBC frames)
    Firing Speed – 31 FPA
    NextDelay – None
    Shots – 10
    Firing Speed - 31 FPA
    Awareness radius - 16 2/3 yards

    Lightning Sentry
    Initial Delay – 33 frames
    Firing Speed – 31 FPA
    NextDelay – None
    Shots – 10
    Awareness radius - 16 2/3 yards

    Death Sentry
    Initial Delay – (33 frames - confirmTBC)
    Firing Speed – 31/32 FPA
    NextDelay – None
    Shots – 5 + 1 shot for every 3 points invested in Fire Blast. That's a maximum of 11 shots with a level 18 Fire Blast
    Awareness radius - 10 2/3 yards (lightning bolt only)

    Death Sentry will trigger CE if a target is within its line of sight and a corpse is within radius of that target. The corpse does not have to be within line of sight of either the sentry or the target, and its damage is always applied to targets within its radius, even if there is a wall or other obstacle between it and the target. Blocking, Weapon Block, Dodge, Avoid and Evade cannot prevent damage being applied.

    As Sass observed, in practical terms this means that you can affect if DS triggers a corpse explosion or lightning by where you place the trap. If you place a DS outside the 10 2/3 yards awareness radius of the Lightning and in line of sight of a target, it will trigger DS. Placing the trap on top of an opponent is more likely to trigger lightning. This is very useful for kick trap hybrids - Place DS on screen before advancing into a new area. When you attack a monster pack, corpse explosion will trigger after you have got the first corpse and you won't waste DS shots with lightning.

    Fire Traps

    Fire Blast
    Firing Speed – 9 FPA
    NextDelay – None

    Wake of Fire
    Initial Delay – 40 frames
    Firing Speed – 17 FPA
    NextDelay – 4 frames
    Shots – 5
    Awareness radius - 10 yards

    Wake Of Inferno
    Initial Delay – TBC frames
    Firing Speed – TBC FPA
    NextDelay – None
    Shots – 10
    Awareness radius - 8 2/3 yards
    The actual missile that causes the damage of WoI is extremely thin, which makes it useless on moving targets. WoI still has hope with completely stationary targets, though.

    Blade Skills
    Despite what the character screen displays, off-weapon % Enhanced Damage from items, stat bonuses, auras (Might, Concentration, Fanaticism and Heart of Wolverine) and Claw Mastery (when equipping claw) applies to all listed damage, not just weapon damage, with the exception of Blade Shield skill damage. +% Damage to Demons or Undead from items (including weapon itself) is added to % ED when attacking Demons or Undead.
    See Blade Fury Analysis by Ceramic Weasel for more information.

    Much of the information in the tables below is taken from onderduiker's Blade Skill Modifiers Guide at The Amazon Basin.

    Blade Sentinel
    Modifier                           Works?
    Chance to cast on Attacking           N
    Chance to cast on Striking            N
    Critical Strike from Claw Mastery     Y
    Crushing Blow                         N
    Deadly Strike                         Y
    Elemental Damage/Venom               3/8*
    Hit Blinds Target                     N
    Hit Causes Monster to Flee            N
    Hit Freezes Target                    N
    Hit Slows Target                      N
    Increased Attack Speed                N***
    Ignore Target Defense                 Y
    Knockback                             N
    Leech                                 Y
    Open Wounds                           N
    Physical/Weapon Damage               3/8*
    Pierce Target                         Y**
    Prevent Monster Heal                  N
    * Half this damage applies if using a two handed weapon, although it it not dispayed correctly in the LCS. So for blade sentinel damage with a two handed weapon is 3/16.
    ** Blade Sentinel has natural pierce
    *** All blade skills have a fixed speed, regardless of IAS on weapons or gear.

    Blade Sentinel also gets +(20*slvl) base AR, and 100% of the relevant MonLvl TH (To Hit) value: for example, in a Ladder Hell game 3,408 base AR is added when cast by a level 85 Assassin or Shadow Warrior, since 3408 is entered in the L-TH(H) column of MonLvl.txt for level 85. Consequently, Blade Sentinel chance-to-hit can be significantly higher than that of the summoning Assassin or Shadow Master.

    Blade Fury
    Modifier                           Works?
    Chance to cast on Attacking           N
    Chance to cast on Striking            Y
    Critical Strike from Claw Mastery     Y
    Crushing Blow                         Y**
    Deadly Strike                         Y
    Elemental Damage/Venom               3/4*
    Hit Blinds Target                     Y
    Hit Causes Monster to Flee            Y
    Hit Freezes Target                    Y
    Hit Slows Target                      Y
    Increased Attack Speed                N***
    Ignore Target Defense                 Y
    Knockback                             Y
    Leech                                 Y
    Open Wounds                           Y
    Physical/Weapon Damage               3/4*
    Pierce Target                         N
    Prevent Monster Heal                  Y
    * Half this damage applies if using a two handed weapon, although it it not dispayed correctly in the LCS. So for Blade Fury damage is 3/8 with a two handed weapon.
    ** Blade Fury is considered a ranged attack when determining the effect of Crushing Blow.
    *** Blades are thrown at 6FPA, regardless of IAS on weapons or gear.

    Blade Fury uses Normal Attack AR to in the to hit calculation. If you use a Claw with BF, the AR bonus from Claw Mastery does not apply.

    Blade Shield
    Blade Shield has melee range 1-3 against size 1-3 targets, regardless of the weapon equipped.

    Modifier                           Works?
    Chance to cast on Attacking           N
    Chance to cast on Striking            N
    Critical Strike from Claw Mastery     Y
    Crushing Blow                         N
    Deadly Strike                         Y
    Elemental Damage/Venom               1/4
    Hit Blinds Target                     N
    Hit Causes Monster to Flee            N
    Hit Freezes Target                    N
    Hit Slows Target                      N
    Increased Attack Speed                N*
    Ignore Target Defense                 Y
    Knockback                             N
    Leech                                 Y
    Open Wounds                           N
    Physical/Weapon Damage               1/4**
    Pierce Target                         N
    Prevent Monster Heal                  N
    * Blade Shield speed is fixed at 25FPA, regardless of IAS on weapons or gear. However, as Blade Shield does damage on the first frame, you can increase the rate at which it hits by standing still and continually re-casting it.
    ** Blade Shield does not actually penalise you when using a two-handed weapon. However, unlike Blade Sentinel and Blade Fury, its skill damage is also reduced (to 1/4 like weapon attack damage, although the character screen doesn't display this) and added before +% Damage, as displayed by the character screen.

    +% Skill Damage applies to Blade Shield damage, but not Blade Fury or Blade Sentinel.
    Last edited by maxicek; 03-10-2012 at 19:10.

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    4. Shadow Disciplines
    You can pre-buff Shadows, Fade, BoS & Venom. They will keep the bonuses at the time of the cast, even if you change equipment.
    Burst of Speed and Fade cannot be used together, although either can be used with Venom.

    Claw Mastery
    Unlike a Barbarian's Masteries skills, this does not automatically warrant 20 points if you are using claws. As with most of the Martial Arts are either doing elemental damage or kicking, it is normally left at one point. For Blade Fury, Whirlwind or Dragon Claw Assassins it is worth a heavier investment though.

    Claw Mastery's +% Attack Rating doesn't apply to Blade Fury, although the damage does if you are wielding a claw class weapon.
    Claw Mastery applies no bonuses to kicks, if you use a claw when kicking. You kick with the boot, not the claw.

    Weapon Block
    Weapon Block only works when you are dual wielding claw class weapons. It does not work when moving, only when you are attacking or standing still. Chance to block is based on the skill level only and is independent of Dexterity or Increased Chance of Blocking from items. Speed of blocking is covered in section 2.

    Weapon block has the ability to block most elemental, missile or physical attacks, much like the Amazons Avoid and Evade skills. It does apply to attacks which apply fire damage per second: however, fire damage is applied every frame, often by multiple missiles. For this reason Firewalls, residual Meteor flames were previously considered as unblockable.

    Weapon Block does not block:
    - Holy Fire radial damage
    - Holy Freeze radial damage
    - Holy Shock radial damage
    - Shiver Armour cold damage
    - Attacker Takes (Lightning) Damage
    - Returned damage from Thorns, Iron Maiden, Iron Golem and Spirit of Barbs
    - Nihlathak Corpse Explosion
    - Corpse Explosion
    - Death Sentry corpse explosion
    - Monsters using Charge (Claw Vipers and Reanimated Horde)
    - Psychic Hammer
    - Mind Blast
    - Psychic Hammer
    - Telekinesis
    - Paladin Smite - This seems to be blocked at a reduced rate, see this post by stephan for further information.

    Poison damage over time is not blockable in the same was as residual fire damage, only the initial attack can be blocked.

    Psychic Hammer
    PH deals half Physical, half Magic damage.

    Burst of Speed
    Calculations for how BoS affects attack speed can be found with the IAS tables

    Cloak of Shadows
    - The enemy vision radius of the monster while blinded is reduced to its melee range, which varies by monster type, but if a monster is doing something (e.g.. chasing you) when you cast CoS, he will continue to do so (until you interrupt him, with a Psychic Hammer, for example), then remain stationary when the action is finished.

    - CoS dispels Firewalls (in the Arcane Sanctuary).

    - CoS prevents Shamans from reviving Fallen, Flesh Spawners from creating babies, Sand Maggots from laying eggs and ranged attackers from firing.

    - CoS forces monsters to use their melee attack, even if they are in range for a secondary attack (e.g. Balrogs will never use their Inferno ability when CoS is active).

    - The blinding effect of CoS does not work on Bosses, Champions, Super uniques (including Act Bosses). Minions of Destruction, Oblivion Knights, Suicide Minions and Putrid Defilers aren't blinded either, and neither are static hostile units like Gargoyle Traps and Tentacle Beasts.

    - The -%defense on CoS works on all monsters except Act Bosses in all incarnations and the following as well:
    - Blood Raven
    - Griswold
    - Radament
    - The Summoner
    - Izual
    - Putrid Defiler
    - Nihlathak
    - Uber Izual

    - CoS functions like a curse, i.e. you can overwrite your Necro friend's curse and vice versa with it. When CoS is overwritten, all effects on the monster in question are removed(i.e. it is no longer blinded or suffering from defense reduction, despite the dark screen).

    - Cloak of Shadows +% Defence and that of non-armor items like Ribcracker Unique Quarterstaff is added to +% Defence from skills.It's been assumed that, because item_armor_percent is applied instead of skill_armor_percent, the two stats are applied separately, but testing has confirmed that this is not the case: for once, the character screen is actually accurate.

    Fade has a hidden PDR bonus of 1% per skill point invested it in (whether natural or from +skills). So, an slvl 10 Fade would have 10% hidden PDR. This only applies when Fade is active.

    The game treats lasting Shrine effects as Curses, and accordingly, they suffer a shortened duration when used in conjunction with Fade (exact decrease in duration depends on the slvl). So, when you're about to activate a Shrine, remember to switch to BoS(you can switch back to Fade once you've activated the Shrine with BoS, with no ill effect).

    Shadow Warrior
    Shadow Master
    Shadow Warrior can cast only the two skills readied in your left and right skill button, while Shadow Master can use any of the Assassin's skills, even if there are no points in it. Shadow Master has more life than the Warrior and comes with in-built elemental resistances and will be able to inflict a good deal more damage. In addition, at higher levels, Shadow Master spawns with better equipment than Shadow Warriors. Shadow Master costs 40 mana to cast and Warrior costs 27 at level one and rises by 2 with each skill point.

    In most cases, Shadow Master is going to be a superior minion when compared to Shadow Warrior. Shadow Masters are downright the best summoned Minion in the game. Shadow Masters can use 28 out of 30 of the Assassin skills, including skills that you haven't invested any points in yourself. Of course, a Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master cannot summon their own Shadow. Shadow Masters with enough points in the skill have pretty decent hit points (not as many as a Valkyrie, but Valkyries are nothing more than big dumb meat shields), can help out by tanking for you against monsters, can set traps, Mind Blast monsters (sometimes this is an undesirable effect, but their other benefits outweigh the occasional ill-timed conversion), and even do moderate damage, even in Hell.

    However, with some micromanagement, SWarriors can complement your killing efficiency quite well, due to way Shadows gain synergy bonuses.

    SW has Damage Regen 3, SM has Damage Regen 2: this means SW can regenerate 75/4096 (~1.83%) of her maximum life per second, while SM can regenerate 50/4096 (~1.22%) of her maximum life per second. However, note that damage regeneration doesn't apply in frames in which as little as 1 bit (1/256 point) damage is applied, so neither will regenerate while standing in fire (applying fire damage per frame) unless they're Immune to Fire. Shadows can be healed but you do not heal them as you do Mercenaries {giving them a health potion}. Shadows are healed when you visit the town healer.

    The SWarrior has a defense bonus of 12%/level, SMs have no innate defense bonus.
    The SM attacks roughly one frame faster with DC/CoT/BoI/FoF. The SWarrior attacks roughly one frame faster with BF/DFlight. Both have the same Normal Attack speed.
    Both Shadows attack twice with DF/DC/CoT/FoF/BoI in one 'click' (that is, when you see your Shadow DF'ing someone, she actually has the chance to inflict the damage of two DFs in one stroke, even though only one DF is seen)
    Both Shadows have an AI delay of 0.6 seconds (15 frames) before they can do any other action.
    Shadow Master costs 40 mana to cast and Warrior costs 27 at level one and rises by 2 with each skill point.
    Both you and your mercenary gain experience from Shadow kills.

    Shadow Warrior gains min ( 4*slvl , 75 ) All Resistances
    (1.13) Shadow Master gains min ( 5 + [ 85 * [ (110*slvl) / (slvl+6) ] / 100 ] , 90 ) All Resistances

    How this formula works:

    Though neither Shadow can become innately immune to the elements, if she spawns with +resist all equipment or receives the effects of a Paladin's Salvation aura for example, both Shadows have the ability to be completely immune to an element(they cannot absorb, unfortunately), as their resistance is pushed to 100% (being minions, they have no 75% cap). Both Shadows spawn with 40% PDR regardless of level (this can be increased if they decide to use Fade). Since a player has more control over what a Shadow Warrior uses, it's easier to make her cast Fade, which can easily result in her becoming Immune to Fire, Lightning, Cold and Poison

    Shadow's Skills
    Shadows' skills are 1/2(your Assassin's level in that skill including +skills) rounded down PLUS 1/3(level of shadow at time of casting including +skills), rounded down. So, if you had a lvl 24 MB and slvl 9 SM, your SM would cast an slvl 15 MB. This formula is also used to calculate synergy bonuses in the FAQ below.

    Shadows do not appear to have a synergy cap of 20 points, as per other classes, but continue to gain synergy bonuses even after slvl 20, assuming the Assassin has +skills that will boost that level above 20(potentially allowing the Shadow to do more damage with a certain skill than the Assassin herself, or at least matching it). However, to gain the synergy bonuses of a certain skill, it must choose to use that skill (for example, a Shadow would need to use Fists of Fire before getting Fists of Fire's synergy bonuses on PS's Meteor.) Sentries summoned by Warrior use Assassin's base skill level for synergy bonuses, not Warrior's skill level (and Blade Sentinel uses Assassin's weapon attack damage, not Warrior's). onderduiker yet to confirm whether the same applies to Master.

    Note: Once that particular Shadow dies (or you re-cast it), it has to "re-learn" all its synergies.

    While it's possible to get a Shadow to do more damage with a Lightning Trap than yourself, it often becomes a trying exercise in order to get your Shadow to use the skill you want it to (given how fickle the Shadow AI is). It's easier to control which skill a Shadow Warriors uses, but it gets difficult keeping even a high level SWarrior alive in Hell.

    As an example to illustrate how a Shadow might do damage with her skills:

    Assuming the Assassin has:
    20 LS (+20 skills)
    20 DS (+20 skills)
    20 CBS (+20 skills)
    20 SWeb (+20 skills)
    20 SWarrior (+11 skills)
    LS damage/bolt: 4485 avg.

    As synergy bonuses stretch beyond slvl 20(for the Shadow), the Shadow would use (according to the formula in the previous FAQ):
    31 LS
    31 DS
    31 CBS
    31 SWeb
    LS damage/bolt: 4244 avg.

    Shadow Warrior does not use Claw Mastery and Weapon Block, and has been observed using every other Assassin skill (with the obvious exceptions of Shadow Warrior and Shadow Master) except Blade Fury and Cobra Strike. It has been reported that Shadow Master also does not use Blade Fury, and uses Cloak of Shadows very infrequently (if at all).

    Shadow's Equipment
    The SM spawns with items at a higher level than the SWarrior(this is in addition to the SM spawning with better quality equipment at higher levels, consult the other FAQs). Specifically:
    Shadow Warrior item level formula: 18 + 2 * Slvl
    Shadow Master item level formula: 24 + 3 * Slvl

    SWarriors get all their bonuses at level one
    - Magical Blade Talon on their left hand
    - Magical Cestus on their right hand
    - Magical version of the your own armor's base item (e.g. if you wore a Spirit Shroud, they would spawn with a magical version of Ghost Armor)
    - Magical version of your own helm's base item

    At level 1, SMs spawn with
    - Superior Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
    - Superior Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand
    - Superior version of your own armor's base item

    At level 5, SMs spawn with
    - Superior Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets

    At level 6, SMs spawn with
    - Magical version of your own armor's base item
    - Magical version of your own helm's base item
    - Magical Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
    - Magical Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
    - Magical Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

    At level 9, SMs spawn with
    - Magical right ring

    At level 11, SMs spawn with
    - Rare version of your own armor's base item
    - Rare version of your own helm's base item
    - Rare right ring
    - Rare Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
    - Rare Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
    - Rare Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

    At level 13, SMs spawn with
    - Rare left ring

    At level 17, SMs spawn with
    - Rare amulet

    So, all in all, a maxed out (item-wise) SM would spawn with
    - Rare version of your own armor's base item
    - Rare version of your own helm's base item
    - Rare left ring
    - Rare right ring
    - Rare amulet
    - Rare Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
    - Rare Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
    - Rare Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

    Some further info from RTB about shadows:

    Mind Blast
    MB deals pure Physical damage.

    Stun length has 10% chance of being applied to Champion, Unique and Super Unique monsters, with no further penalties (so length is the same). Monsters without a knockback mode cannot be knocked back, but while this applies to some Super Unique and boss monsters (like Griswold, Izual, Nihlathak and the Ancients) it certainly does not apply to all (like Blood Raven, the Smith, the Summoner and Hephasto the Armorer).

    When Venom is active, it converts the durations of all the poison sources on your equipment match its own (0.4 seconds). Consequently, the damages of all your poison sources are reduced to how much damage they would do over 0.4 seconds (for example, a 400 poison damage charm with a 5 second duration would be converted to 32 poison damage charm with a 0.4 second duration, when Venom is active). For this reason, external poison damage sources are usually useless when used with Venom. Despite this, keep a lookout for items with a high damage/low duration ratio, which may add a decent amount of damage to Venom, in addition to +skills and +poison skill damage mods.

    Also, try to look at things in terms of ratios (this doesn't just apply to Venom, it applies to many chargeups and Traps as well). While 500 damage on Venom applied over 0.4 seconds may look paltry at first, look at it in terms of seconds(1250 damage/second, or even 12500/10 seconds) and you might change your mind. The only time you have to worry about the true duration (in Venom's case, 0.4 seconds, or 10 frames), is when you're checking whether you meet or exceed the listed duration with your attack, so you're doing the most damage/time possible(10 frames or below, in Venom's case). If you're attacking slower than the listed duration, you're not getting the most out of the skill, as there are instances where Venom's duration elapses, when you're still attacking (11 frames or above, in Venom's case).

    Venom can be pre-buffed with +% Poison Skill Damage (+% PSD) mods like the ones found on Trang-Oul's Claws and the 'Bramble' runeword. The bonuses will remain after the items are removed. +% Poison Skill Damage is applied when Venom is cast, and again when its poison damage is applied by a melee attack. So if the items are removed, the +% PSD from the pre-buff will only apply once if using a melee attack. The Venom level is applied from the point it is cast, so you can pre-buff with +skills items too.

    The character screen also applies +% PSD to ranged attack damage, but this does not actually happen. For ranged attacks, damage is only [Skill damage * ((100+ %PSD when cast)/100)]. Venom is only applied to the target monster when using a missile weapon with the 'Fires Explosive Arrow/Bolt' mod (e.g.. Kuko Shakaku, Demon Machine).

    For Example:
    Venom is cast at level 40 with +% PSD from Bramble (+40%), Trangs Claws (+25%), Circlet with 2 Facets (+10%) and two claws, each with 2 facets (+20%). I attach with a melee attack, with only Trang's Claws adding +25% PSD.

    Venom slvl 40 = 1075-1095 = 1085 Average
    +% PSD when cast = +95%
    +% PSD when hitting = +25%

    Total Damage = Skill damage * ((100+ %PSD when cast)/100) * ((100+ %PSD when melee hitting)/100)
    = 1085 * ((100+95)/100) * ((100+25)/100)
    = 1085 * 1.95 * 1.25
    = 2644 average damage over 0.4s

    As a further example, lets conside what is best to pre-buff venom with:
    Claw A: An impossible to shop Shadow Claw with +3 venom and 2os, socketed with two +5 Facets.
    Claw B: A less rare +3 venom white claw with 3os, socketed with three +5% PSD Facets

    Let's assume a Ghost / Kicker PvP type setup, so starting from level 37 Venom (20 Base, +10 Skillers, +2 Circlet, +2 Enigma, +2 Amulet, +1 Arachnid Mesh). Lets also assume Trag's Claws are worn when casting and hitting.

    Claw A:
    Venom slvl 37 + 6 = slvl 43 = 1180-1200 = 1190 Average
    +% PSD when cast = +35%
    +% PSD when hitting = +25%

    Total Damage = 1190 * ((100+35)/100) * ((100+25)/100)
    = 1190 * 1.35 * 1.25
    = 2008 average damage over 0.4s

    Claw B:
    Venom slvl 37 + 3 = slvl 43 = 1075-1095 = 1085 Average
    +% PSD when cast = +40%
    +% PSD when hitting = +25%

    Total Damage = 1085 * ((100+45)/100) * ((100+25)/100)
    = 1085 * 1.40 * 1.25
    = 1898 average damage over 0.4s

    So Claw A is better by 110 damage. Not much in it really, and it is significantly easier to get Claw B than Claw A. But if I can hit with the claw too (say a kicker with the claw on the odd hand) things get evened out further.

    Claw A:
    Venom slvl 37 + 6 = slvl 43 = 1180-1200 = 1190 Average
    +% PSD when cast = +35%
    +% PSD when hitting = +35%

    Total Damage = 1190 * ((100+35)/100) * ((100+35)/100)
    = 1190 * 1.35 * 1.35
    = 2168 average damage over 0.4s

    Claw B:
    Venom slvl 37 + 3 = slvl 43 = 1075-1095 = 1085 Average
    +% PSD when cast = +40%
    +% PSD when hitting = +40%

    Total Damage = 1085 * ((100+45)/100) * ((100+40)/100)
    = 1085 * 1.40 * 1.40
    = 2126 average damage over 0.4s

    Of course with Claw B you also get up to -15% Enemy Poison Resistance, against -10% maximum on Claw A.

    Last edited by maxicek; 03-10-2012 at 19:08.

  5. #5
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    5. Martial Arts
    The Martial Arts tree is probably the most complex tree in D2, containing many different types of attack. All Charge-Ups require a Finishing Move, but Finishing Moves do not require a Charge Up. Some, like Dragon Talon, excel without a finishing move.

    The table below shows which weapon types are compatible with which martial arts skills.
                      C/C    C/S    W/S    2h   Fists
    Tiger Strike       Y*     Y      Y      Y      Y
    Cobra Strike       Y*     Y      Y      Y      Y
    Fists of Fire      Y      Y      N      N      N
    Claws of Thunder   Y      Y      N      N      N
    Blades of Ice      Y      Y      N      N      N
    Phoenix Strike     Y*     Y      Y      Y      Y
    Dragon Claw        Y      N      N      N      N
    Dragon Talon       Y**    Y      Y      Y      Y
    Dragon Tail        Y**    Y      Y      Y      Y
    Dragon Flight      Y**    Y      Y      Y      Y
    Javelins & Throwing Weapons can be used as melee weapons.
    *The secondary claw does not hit for strike skills.
    **Offensive mods do not apply from the secondary claw.

    Charge Ups
    Charge-Up move is any skill from the Martial Arts tree that's labeled Charge-Up. Some Charge-Up attacks can be used by any melee weapon, though the Elemental branch of the Martial Arts tree (Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, and Blades of Ice) can only be used by claw-class weapons. The maximum number of charges you can accumulate per skill is 3, though you can have multiple Charge-Up skill charges active at once.

    When you attack an enemy with either a normal attack or a specific Finishing Move skill, all charges are released, and their effects added to the effect of the Finishing Move. For instance, let's say you charge Tiger Strike three times and Phoenix Strike two times. You then release with a normal attack. This normal attack now has the damage increased by the Tiger Strike's three charges, and has the effect of releasing a bolt of chain lightning starting at the enemy you hit.

    A Charge Up skill can be charged up to three times, each charge is more powerful than the previous. You must successfully hit your target to register a charge indicated by a colour orb circling the Assassin. Once charged its bonuses can be released by using a Finishing Move {or Normal Attack}. The Finishing Move will also apply a bonus to the attack. The AR bonus is not stored with the Charge Ups and released with the Finishing Move. The AR bonus is applied each time you attack with the Charge up. If the Finisher has an AR bonus also then that is applied when you strike with your finishing move.

    Charges last for 15 seconds before expiring (in 1.13 - in previous versions it was 9 seconds) before either requiring another charge up attack of that type to hit or a finishing move to be completed.

    Gameplay with Charge Up Skills
    The easiest way to play with charge ups is to assign all the charge ups and finishers to the right mouse button. You then run around with the right mouse button held down and use the hot-keys to toggle attacks.

    Example: I assign Phoenix Strike to X and Dragon Claw to Z. I press X, position the pointer on empty ground and press and hold the RMB. I can then run around with the button held down. When I get close to a monster I will automatically start to attack. When PS has charged twice I press Z to switch to DC and unleash the charges, then press X to start charging PS again - all keeping the RMB held down.

    Assigning finishers to LMB and charge ups to RMB is much slower and leads to frequent miss clicks.

    All kicks are classed as Finishing Moves.

    Physical kick damage is calculated from Strength, Dexterity, Skill Bonuses (kicks and Pally Auras), Boot Damage, and %ED from equipment, only. This is not including mods such as elemental damage. Weapon physical damage is completely useless, meaning you want to choose weapons for other mods.

    Kick damage formula
    Equations for kick damage and an explanation are in the section below.
    A kick damage calculator is available at the Amazon Basin.

    What Works with Kicks
    - Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, Slow Target
    - Magic, Elemental, and Poison Damage (not displayed on the character screen)
    - Knockback (Dragon Talon and Tail have their own knockback, only works for Dragon Flight)
    - Life/Mana steal and Life/Mana after kills
    - %Chance to Cast on Attack/Strike
    - +% Damage (except from weapon)
    - +AR (Weapon + Attack Rating of any kind (Based on Character Level, Undead or Demons) does apply to Dragon Talon, Dragon Tail and Dragon Flight, it's just not displayed by the character screen.)

    Deadly Strike and Critical Strike do not work with kicks.

    Dragon Talon
    IAS Tables for Dragon Talon
    Dragon Talon can have multiple kicks but any charge ups are released on the first kick only. This means it is rarely used in practice with a charge up. It's main PvM use is to apply crushing blow quickly, so it is normally used with a weapon and shield setup.

    Dragon Tail
    IAS Tables for Dragon Tail
    Dragon Tail deals both Physical and Fire damage. The physical damage is applied only to the target that the kick is unleashed on, the fire damage is applied to the target and everything in the area of effect (4 Yards). The Kick Damage Formula section above gives a worked example of how this damage is calculated. The damage displayed on the LCS is the sum of the physical and the fire damage.
    However the target's physical resistance is taken into account when the actual fire damage is calculated. The physical damage is calculated, the monster's physical resistance is applied, then the damage is converted to fire damage. This means that if you unleash the DTail on a monster that is Imune to Physical, the attack will do neither Physical nor Fire damage, although the explosion graphic is still displayed in game. The area of effect will do no fire damage either.

    Dragon Flight
    IAS for Dragon Flight
    Dragon Flight give the assassin a pseudo teleport skill. It has a long attack speed and is highly interruptable. It is also lots of fun. If you assign it to the left mouse button skill, you can run around with the button held down and it will auto Dragon Flight when a target comes into range. It is not possible to assign it to the right mouse button and shift+click the ground to effect a (slow) teleport - you have to target something. With a bit of luck it can be used to positon yourself on the other side of one of the doors you have to break, or the towers in the open areas of A5 - DF the barricade and sometimes you will land on the opposite side.

    Dragon Flight can only attack targets within an 18 yard radius of the Assassin: if she tries to attack a target beyond that radius, she will kick and the target will flash but she will neither teleport to nor attack the target. A target doesn't need to be selected, as the Assassin will attack a unit within a ~6 yard radius of the targeted point.

    Further information about Dragon Flight by jrichard. It's old but there is still some good stuff in it.

    Dragon Claw
    IAS Tables for Dragon Claw
    Just like frenzy, Dragon Claw lists two damages and two attack ratings in the LCS. Dragon Claw hits with one claw then the next, with separate to hit checks and damages for each claw. It is a 10 frame interruptible attack, during which you strike with each claw in turn. Although the description for Dragon Claw reads "Adds charged-up bonuses to both claw attacks", it does not do so. It releases charges with the first claw that successfully attacks and the second just comes with the damage/attack bonus of Dragon Claw.

    The following item stats on your secondary weapon should be applied when attacking with your primary weapon. In the case of Dragon Claw it can be considered that these are the mods that will transfer from the claw that you are not striking with to the claw that you are striking with.
    Skill bonuses
    Attribute bonuses
    + to Life/Mana/Maximum Stamina
    Maximum Life/Mana %
    Replenish Life
    Regenerate Mana %
    + to Life/Mana After Each (Demon) Kill
    % Damage Taken Goes to Mana
    Attacker Takes (Lightning) Damage
    % Extra Gold From Monsters
    % Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    +% to Experience Gained
    Reduce All Vendor Prices %
    + to Light Radius
    % Increased Chance of Blocking
    % Faster Run/Walk /Hit Recovery/Block/Cast Rate
    + Defence (vs Mêlée/Missile)
    +% Enhanced Defence
    (Magic) Damage Reduced (by %)
    Resist +%
    +% to Maximum Resist
    + Absorb (%)
    Poison Length Reduced by %
    Half Freeze Duration
    Cannot be Frozen
    +% to Skill Damage
    -% to Enemy Resistance
    Aura when Equipped
    For example: Dragon Claw using two 'Strength' runeword claws. Crushing blow does not transfer, so you do not get 50% Crushing blow per hit. The primary claw gets 25% CB and the secondary claw gets 25% CB. Each hit will only get 7% Life Stolen per hit and 35% ED. You will however get +20 to Vitality. +40 to Strength and +4 to Mana After Each Kill.

    IAS Tables for Strikes
    The three strike skills are charge up attacks that can be used with any weapon type. If two claws are equipped, the secondary claw will not be used to attack with.

    Tiger Strike
    When fully charged, Tiger Strike has the ability to add a huge amount of enhanced damage to your attack. It is normally used with the following as finishing moves:
    - Normal attack using a high damage weapon (often two handed).
    - It enormously increases the damage of Dragon Tail.

    Cobra Strike
    Cobra strike can be used to leech back huge amounts of life and mana. In practice this often isn't required as leech from equipment can normally suffice, and means you don't 'waste' an attack charging up. One point is all that is needed if it is used at all.

    Phoenix Strike
    Phoenix Strike differs from all the other charge ups in that the effect of it's three charges is selective rather than cumulative. All the other charges get more powerful as you add to them, Phoenix Strike allows you to select between three different elemental attacks, depending on which charge you use.

    Elemental Charge Ups
    IAS Tables for Elemental Charge Ups
    Only a single claw has to be equipped for elemental charge ups. If two claws are equipped, each claw hits in turn, as Dragon Claw.

    Fists of Fire

    Blades of Ice

    Claws of Thunder
    CoT has a NextDelay of 4 frames, which means anybody receiving Nova's damage (the faster animation, compared to CB) becomes immune to its bolts for 4 frames (note that while those monsters damaged by Nova are immune to the bolt's damage, they won't be hit by the bolts at all, so targets out of the Nova's range will be damaged by the bolts).

    Effects of Facets
    The table below shows the effect of -resistance and + damage from items such as Facets, Griffon's Eye and Crescent Moon on the Elemental Martial Art skills.
    Skill           Charge  +Damage  -Resistance
    Fists of Fire      1        Y        Y 
                       2        Y        Y 
                       3        N        Y 
    Claws of Thunder   1        Y        Y 
                       2        N        Y 
                       3        N        Y 
    Blades of Ice      1        Y        Y 
                       2        Y        Y 
                       3       n/a       Y 
    Phoenix Strike     1        N        Y 
                       2        N        Y 
                       3        N        Y

    Last edited by maxicek; 02-05-2011 at 11:13.

  6. #6
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    6. OSkills and Assassins
    Unfortunately none of these OSkills can be used to release Charge Up skills.
    The level of these skills can be increased by adding items that have the + to all skills mod, like Enigma, Mara's or Harlequin Crest.

    Whirlwind is gained from the 'Chaos' runeword. It does gain damage and attack rating bonuses from Claw Mastery. As with the Barbarian's WW, it does not chance to cast on striking / chance to cast on attacking skills.

    IAS Calculations for Whirlwind

    At level 1, Whirlwind has a negative enhanced damage. Whirlwind applies ((8-slvl)-58)% Damage, which is added to % Damage from all other sources, so the difference between level 1 Whirlwind (-50%) and level 8 Whirlwind (+6%) is just +56% damage: with 120 Strength (+90%), 120 Dexterity (+90%), level 20 Claw Mastery (+111%) and level 17 Might (+200%) this is between +441% and +497% Damage, or 5.41 and 5.97 times weapon damage (that's only ~10% more).

    In summary, if you want to increase the damage of WW, you are better adding Enhanced Damage from equipment (Fortitude, Ruby Jewels etc.) than looking for + to all kills.

    Zeal is gained from the 'Passion' runeword.
    IAS Tables for Zeal

    Berserk is gained from the 'Passion' runeword.
    Berserk uses the same IAS tables as Normal Attack.

    Vengeance is gained from the 'Kingslayer' runeword.
    Vengeance uses the same IAS tables as Normal Attack.

    Last edited by maxicek; 24-03-2011 at 20:44.

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    6. Links
    Note that some of the following links may contain outdated information. Be careful before relying on it.

    1.10 FAQ - Previous version of this FAQ.
    Linked for reference, please refer to this FAQ for all relevant content.

    Assassin Forum Item Fund
    Shuko-Jutsu - The Art Of The Claw by maxicek
    What to look for in a Fools Claw by HappyAssassin
    Facets and assassin charge-up skills by onderduiker
    Kicking basics by JRichard (from 2004)
    How to automatically WSM-bug your claws by alphaz

    Off forum info
    Latest Weapon Speed Calculator by Titanseal

    Assassin Attack Speeds by JRichard
    C/C weapon speed basics by JRichard
    Kicking basics by JRichard

  8. #8
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    8. Credits
    This Version of the FAQ: maxicek, onderduiker, stephan, Sass, Thyiad.

    Original FAQ: jrichard, Frenzied Bovine, Sebol, Fenriz, LGT_Freak, RogueMage (from the Amazon Basin forums), LeserXYZ, Cironir, Brainles, Skythe, BT-LightDash, Loschnorg, eclipsedk, Tommi Gustafsson, The_Great_Apple, Mr Bones, StealthStalker, BIGeyedBUG, Polaris, *Cyrus*, Zath (from the Lurker Lounge forums), Shade, zen_bc, The_Great_Apple, Noni_Ryder, weylun, archpsi, Forksup31, dydx, adeyke (from the Amazon Basin Forums), several users of the Assassin forum and the Lurker Lounge, RTB.

    Last edited by maxicek; 17-03-2011 at 11:44.

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    9. Revision History
    Revision 0 - Contains everything in from the original FAQs and all onderduiker and stephan's corrections from the input thread.
    Revision 0.1 - Corrected Shadow Master resistance formula and added an explanation. Added explanation of how residual fire damage is blocked. Thanks to onderduiker for both of these. Added some basic info to most of the Martial Arts skills.
    Revision 0.2 - Linked to kick damage calculator at the Amazon Basin. Added updates to traps, especially awareness ranges of sentries and clarified some points for blade skills. Added notes on Dragon Flight, Shadows and CoS, thanks once again to onderduiker. Confirmed Telekinesis cannot be blocked by WB, thanks to Sass.
    Revision 1.0 - Updated the venom section, thanks to onderduiker for help with some clarification here. General tidy up.

    Next Revision
    Generally I think the FAQ is just about there, so I have moved the it to revision 1.0 There is still some information missing for the traps marked as TBC (To Be Confirmed), if anyone can fill in this data I would be grateful. Submissions, requests or amendments can be requested in the input thread.
    Last edited by maxicek; 03-10-2012 at 19:13.

  10. #10
    IncGamers Member maxicek's Avatar
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    Re: Assassin FAQ

    Placeholder for the future.

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