I hate when my Act 2 merc kicks the bucket. And he makes that wimpy gyah! noise when he does, too! What do you guys use to make your mercs more hearty. My plan is as follows:
Eth Thresher Infinity (required)
Eth Upped Guardian Angel (Um)
Eth Vamp Gaze (Um)
The problem is that even at lvl 98 he's only got 89% Resist All, let alone lvl 89 where I am now. Plus he's gotta have LL to get along. Maybe I'll keep him with an Um'ed Tal's Helm. So the question is: Given an Act II Defiance Merc is using Infinity, what's the best gear purely to keep him alive?
I don't think guardian angel helps very much. I use ebug duress and he does fine.
Vampire gaze is better than Tals, imo, because of damage reduce.
Just teleport him out of the way and feed him a rejuv now and then and he'll be fine.
If you're going to use a defiance merc you might as well get the most out of it by using a high defense ebug armor. Ebug fortitude will give him tons of defense, and the 300% ed will make him leech more. IME the only place I've ever really wanted more than 75 res all on my merc is travi (but strategic teleporting and the occasional rejuv keeps him up there, too). The res all on fortitude should also let you use a 15% IAS jewel in gaze, increasing the amount of life he leeches further by putting him up a breakpoint.
The thing is, I'm using him for a Bearsorc so strategic teleporting isn't an option. From what I've seen, he's died from elemental damage most of the time, hence why I wanted GA. With Defiance & a 23xx GA, he should be hitting about 12K defense. I'm not sure how many less hits he'd take with an extra 1000 or so def, given diminishing returns, but, like I said, I thing his problem is mainly elemental in nature.
It's always a good idea to give that type of information up front as there's usually no setup that's "best" in any given situation. But you already know this
I've never needed to try GA myself, but it's not an uncommon setup so it's seems the best way to go if your probs are elemental (I'd def use the Tal mask in this case). As being frozen is ofc fairly crippling you can also try CBF. A decent setup for this is G-bane + Vamp Gaze, which'll also net him 25-35 MDR (or you could stick Cham in something). Alternatively you can increase how much he leeches by giving him CoH (8%LL and some ED against most things) or Fort (300ED).
Which particular elemental damage is the one killing him? I'm guessing it's lightning damage, or possibly poison or fire. Cold is doubtful, but maybe... The reason I mention this is that there are a few items that might be overlooked - items with absorb to a particular type of elemental damage. Even if the amount of absorb looks pretty small, it can have a pretty significant effect.
For example, my Chaos Sanctuary runner (hammerdin) uses an Act3 merc with a Ral'ed SteelShade (/w Vipermagi, Stormshield, & Azurewrath), which really pushed him over the top for tanking Venom Lords. He almost never dies during runs now, while before he did have some problems (he's just there for the Sanctuary aura & freezing monsters solid, so I don't care about his power).
For cold absorb there's Nightwings Veil too. But in particular, for lightning damage, there's Blackhorns Face (+20 lightning absorb). Blackhorns 20% slows target is a nice bonus too.
The problem with each of these is that they don't provide life leech, which only leaves your armor slot for that mod (if you want to keep the Infinity). Chains of Honor is certainly a good choice, but otherwise you're quite limited on life-leech/armor items.
If it's poison damage, from my experience there isn't as solid of an option for ensuring his survival. Certain monsters will still tear him up sometimes - when it happens, either return to town to heal, scrounge up an antidote potion, or just feed him red potions and ride it out. However, at least there's a very solid helmet with life-leech for him: Andariel's Visage. This will push him up to 85% poison resist, while providing leech, IAS, and decent defense for his Defiance aura.
I'm kind of being melodramatic, because all things considered, he doesn't die that much. It just really annoys me when he does, because I built my Bearsorc to be a total tank (and I need the Conviction to maximize her potential). Plus, I never remember to keep much gold on me.
@Hubb: CBF is something I really haven't had much opportunity to supply, given that his sockets get Um'ed, but I imagine it would help a lot.
@TheWorkingBoor: His elemental vulnerability has been Fire, Lightning, and Poison: fire from hydras and superpacks of Balrogs, lightning from Gloams and lightning enchanted, and poison from Achmel and Nihalak's snakes. Unfortunately, trying to address one in particular usually requires swapping out gear and making others more tolling.
@Mephiztophelez: He's currently wearing a Gbane (18/17), which is pretty good, but not up to the standard I'd like. My initial inclination was to go with Holy Freeze as well and slow everybody down, but what I found was that I wade through monsters so quickly that Holy Freeze, and my merc in general, have trouble keeping up. Meanwhile, my Bearsorc is also wearing a Guardian Angel, so she only has to worry about physical attacks, which Defiance drops by about 25%.
I've tried other armors like Fort and Coh, each of which was pretty sweet in their own right, but lacks the pure ruggedness of Guardian Angel. With Defiance and an upped eth GA, he'd be about 14K defense, which is nothing to sneeze at. I don't mind the price, because I'm not trying to build anything else. I'm gonna give it a go with Infinity, Upped Eth GA (Um), & Tal's Mask (Um). See how it turns out. If he ends up dying from physical attacks, I'll rescrap it. If it ends up being overkill, then that's just fine. Thanks for your suggestions guys, sorry I was so stubborn.
It's a problem. When you kill very quickly your merc misses out on leeching.
Personally I like a Prayer merc, with Andy, Infinity, and Fortitude. He never dies from poison due to Andys +10%max resist and the fast regen. The 5%max light resist from Fortitude helps too. And note you can't leech from gloams.
The life replenish helps a lot more than any extra defense from Defiance.
Yea, I know Prayer is probably the best way to keep him pumping, but I need the defense because my Bearsorc's block and recover speed are so lousy. I seem to be having quite a bit of problem with Stygian Furies. Anybody know what kind of damage they do?