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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member
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    Dec 2012

    Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    • Prequel
    • Relevant Assassin basics
    • Equipments
    • Stat distribution and item requirements
    • Skill distribution
    • Conclusion and comparison with other Assassin builds


    After playing through most of Diabloís melee characters (and some casters as well, honestly not too fond of them myself), I have finally settled with an assassin, the all-around killing machine that just doesnít stop surprising you every once in a while.

    Iíve been a long-time reader in these forums, but never quite had the time to register and comment. Now I feel I have come up with a way to play kick/trap in a way that has been somewhat mentioned on and off, but havenít seen a build thourough enough to satisfy me.
    Feel free to correct me where Iím wrong, Iím looking to perfect this build more and more as I go and often several minds are worth more than one. Also, if someone feels I have used information that is taken exclusively from your work please do contact me and let me know and I will add your reference to the list.
    So...why play an assassin after all? For me, it must be the many possibilites and combinations of skills that are viable for Hell play. Prove me wrong, but to me, there is no other class that has so many ways you can play one than an assassin. It also features some of the most interesting skills in Diablo II. But then again, it comes down to personal preference once again.

    Now letís get to the point once and for all.

    Note: This build revolves around using Fade and C/C setup, but does not require you to necessarily use WSM bugging.

    1) Relevant assassin basics.

    Starting attributes and growth (reference to Arreat Summit)

    STR: 20
    DEX: 20
    VIT: 20
    NRG: 25

    Life: 50
    Stamina: 95
    Mana: 25

    Each clvl:
    Life +2
    Stamina + 1.25
    Mana +1.5

    1 VIT = 3 life

    Breakpoints (reference to Jrichardís guide)

    EIAS required for 7-frame Dragon Talon main kick without BoS.

    -60 -50 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10
    4 15 22 29 37 46 56 68 80 95

    EIAS required for 8-frame Dragon Talon main kick without BoS.
    -60 -50 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10
    0 0 0 6 11 18 24 32 40 50

    I will refrain from providing breakpoints for 3-frame seconday kicks, since they will be covered anyway with reaching either 7-frame or 8-frame main kick breakpoints.

    Faster Hit Recovery (frames):
    6 27%
    5 48%
    4 86%

    Faster Block rate (frames):
    5 0%
    4 13%
    3 32%

    Build goals
    With this build, we are aiming for the following:
    • 75+ all resist (slightly stacked)
    • lots of +skills
    • 50% DR
    • 4-frame FHR (86%)
    • 40% CB
    • 18k+ AR
    • 1.5k+ prebuffed life

    2) Equipment

    I would first like to provide the equipment options and then talk about skill options later to better explain why I have made skill choices the way I have. I have stripped item descriptions down to most important stats.

    Primary Weapon:
    Rare Foolís claw (-30 WSM) with IAS and other good mods. This can not be substituted for the purpose of this build.

    Must have stats include:
    Foolís (AR per lvl)
    • +2 assassin skills
    • 2 sockets (1 socket is playabale in case mods are superb)
    • IMPORTANT: 30% IAS for 7-frame main attack (WSM bugging) or 40% ias for 8-frame main attack (no WSM bugging)

    Other great mods to look for:
    • Life leech/mana leech
    • Elemental damage
    • + STR/DEX

    Why? A good foolís claw will do all in one sweep Ė you donít need extra AR since DT has nearly 10x AR bonus at lvl 29 and with 30% IAS on claw you are at 7-frame main kick without using BoS or sacrificing valuable equipment slots. These can be gambled. ED options are basically your enemy here. Elemental damage is more useful than some might think, elemental dam can go really high on rares and remember you are appyling it almost 6 times a second. If you do get an otherwise great claw with the weaker AR bonus that adds around 500 @ lvl 90 you can consider using BA Merc instead of what I am about to suggest later in the guide.

    An ideal claw in my mind would be:
    Greater Talons
    • +2 assassin skills (prefix)
    • Foolís (prefix)
    • 2 sockets (prefix)
    • 40% IAS (suffix)
    • 9% mana leech (suffix)
    • 9% life leech (suffix)
    • 40% CB (2 x Ber in sockets)
    • + Venom + SM/SW + Mind Blast

    This, in my mind is far superior to Stormlash/LW/Beast in the sense that it opens a lot of stat points, gives far more +skills combined with secondary claw, and means you donít have to waste valuable ring/amulet slots and merc to gain AR. On top of that, it has more CB than Beast and Stormlash, but still less than LW. Your biggest loss here would be that of block chance and block speed, falling from 75% to 60% and 3 or 4 frames to 5 frames respectively, but gaining more than 100 stat points negates a lot of it. For staffmods, Mind blast and either SM or SW are best, since this saves us skill points to open up those skills and + Venom is just added poison damage to help with physical immunes.

    Secondary Weapon:
    Jade Talon 2/2/X should be easily obtainable, and 2/2/50 is not too expensive when you can find one, mana leech is totally irrelevant since it isnít applied anyway. With 20% FHR from helm, 30% from Jade talon and 30% from Dancers, socketing this with a 7% FHR Jewel (with STR/DEX/all resist) puts you at 87% FHR, just above 4-frame breakpoint.
    Why? Source of +skills and resists, no other option here.

    There are different options here based on how much $$ you have.

    Rare assassin circlet
    Must have stats include:
    • +2 assassin skills
    • 20% FHR
    • 2 sockets
    • 30% FRW

    Other great mods to look for:
    • + STR/DEX
    • Life leech/mana leech
    • + Life
    • + all res (probably least important, but stacking never hurts)

    Rare assassin circlet would be my helm of choice for the 30% FRW suffix. It adds more +skills than CoA, and you arenít really stressed with a need for DR and resists.

    An ideal circlet in my mind would be:
    • +2 assassin skills (prefix)
    • 2 sockets (prefix)
    • 20 all res (prefix)
    • 20% FHR (suffix)
    • 30% FRW (suffix)
    • +30 STR (suffix)
    • 8% DR (Ber in socket)
    • CBF (Cham in socket)

    • +2 skills
    • 10% DR
    • +Life/Mana per lvl
    • CBF (Cham in socket)

    Why? Ití cheap and effective, DR, +skills, life and even decent MF, if nothing else, a good starter helm. It also benefits BO, rare sin circlets donít. Shael will help towards 5-frame FHR, giving the same FHR bonus as rare assassin circlet. Remember that you need CBF from somewhere so either you reserve some space in inventory for FHR or use a Raven for CBF. Iíd say max out all other equipment before swapping Shako for a good rare circlet.

    • +2 skills
    • 8% DR
    • +STR per lvl (67 @ lvl 90)
    • Teleport
    • 45% FRW

    Why? Itís Enigma, no, really, itís Enigma. If you can actually get your hands on an awesome rare assassin circlet with FRW, it is possible to go with a CoH as well, and I would even recommend that over Enigma in that case since you donít have to worry about resists in rare circlet and you are stacked so heavily that even high levels of Conviction do not hurt much.

    • CTC Life Tap
    • +STR

    Why? I do not recommend Martial gloves or any other over this, and you donít need extra IAS anyway. Even 15 STR ones are fairly cheap.

    • +20 STR
    • +20 VIT
    • 20 light absorb
    • +10% max light res

    Why? Takes the bite out of lightning damage and provides very nice stat bonuses. And since we have maxed DR anyway these is no other option that comes close. Itís very cheap as well.

    Shadow Dancers
    • + 1-2 Shadow Disciplines
    • 30% FHR
    • 30% FRW
    • + DEX

    Why? FHR? +skills?? Highest possible kick damage??? If that isnít enough, it also adds valuable stat points and saves 40 or more STR by means of reduced requirements, let alone high FRW. If you are a sucker for CB, double upped Goblin Toes are a feasible alternative, although youíre fixed with an Enigma then since you need FRW, and reaching 86% FHR breakpoint requires you to sacrifice decent amount of inventory space or DR sockets in helm. In case you have an otherwise godly foolís claw with just 1 socket, this would help negate the CB loss.

    • +1 skill
    • + life leech
    • + Life

    Why? You donít need resists or AR so I would disregard rare rings, BK is hard to top.

    • +2 skills
    • +20-30 res

    Why? Well, although rare assassin amulets can be superior in other mods, they are much harder to come by and are a lot more expensive than even a perfect maraís. The main reason I would go Maraís is bonus to BO.

    I guess a rare amulet with the following mods would be godly though:
    • +2 assassin skills (prefix)
    • 20% all res (prefix)
    • 40% c/f/p/l resist (prefix)
    • +30 STR (suffix)
    • +20 DEX (suffix)
    • life leech/mana leech (suffix)

    • Torch and Anni, look for 20/x and 20/x/x, respectively, you have plenty of resists.
    • 9 x Trap lifers (45 is max but gl with those)
    • Rest 20 lifers with FRW

    What we get?
    • +7 assassin skills
    • +7 all skills
    • +2 martial arts (+16 tops)
    • +4 shadow disciplines (+18 tops)
    • 4-frame FHR (87%/86%)
    • 40% CB
    • ~2000 Base AR (~1500 Foolís + ~500 from DEX)
    • +155 all resist in Hell (c/f/p 75 capped, light 85 capped) including Fade, with perfect maraís, 20% in circlet, and 20% Torch and Anni. 140% would be easily obtainable and is already more than enough even against conviction.
    • 16% DR in equipment (Circlet + Enigma), coming up to 50% with lvl 34 Fade

    3) Stat distribution and item requirements:

    STR Ė we need enough for Dancers which is 167 STR
    From gear we get (best case scenario, at lvl 90):
    • Enigma Ė 67
    • Circlet Ė 30
    • Tgods Ė 20
    • Maraís Ė 5
    • Dracul Ė 15
    • Torch + Anni Ė 40

    This tops at 177 which is more than we need (we also have 20 base STR) so this leaves room to play with (for example no STR in circlet) and we donít need to add any STR in a perfect scenario.

    DEX Ė we need enough for Jade Talon which is 105 DEX
    • Circlet Ė 20
    • Maraís Ė 5
    • Dancers Ė 25
    • Torch + Anni Ė 40

    This tops at 90, with base dex of 20 we have enough without adding any DEX also.

    That leaves us with over 450 points to spend in VIT at lvl 90, with 3 life per VIT it adds almost 1.4k life and 2 life per clvl adds almost 200 life, topping out at 1.6k life without BO. Now, assuming we have lowest CTA, with +7 skills, we still get over 2.5k life, 6 BO CTA would add it up to almost 2.8k not including bonus from Trap lifers or 20 lifers. With decent inventory, life could go as high as 3.5k+.

    4) Skill distribution

    Under skill section, I would like to leave a decent part of the build to decide up to personal preference. The core of the build takes around 50 skill points.

    Guide: Number before slash is number of hard points required, number after slash shows the final skill lvl with equipment.

    Martial Arts (receive +16 to all from equipment):

    Dragon Talon - 7/23 OR 13/29

    Why? Basically, whether you want 4 or 5 kicks per Dragon Talon, you have to place points accordingly. Note that lower lvl Dragon Talon also has lower AR bonus.

    Shadow Disciplines (receive +18 to all from equipment):

    Claw Mastery - 1/19 (prereq)

    BoS - 1/19 (prereq)

    Why? BoS is a nono for this build, you will get to the breakpoint you need with claws alone so the only mod you get from BoS is FRW and with even just Enigma and Dancers you will have enough of it.

    Fade - 16/34

    Why? We need just enough to give us 50% DR. I wouldnít recommend more DR items and less hard points in Fade for two reasons 1) we donít want to give up on +skills Ė think of it this way Ė with fade a BK will give you 1% DR, Dancers 2% DR, an Enigma 8+2=10% DR, each +1 skill will add 1% DR due to Fadeís innate bonus of 1%DR per skill lvl. 2) Lower lvl Fade requires to be cast again more frequently.

    Mind Blast Ė 1/19 In a best case scenario, it is a staffmod on your claw. That would save you 3 skill points. Otherwise, you need Psychic Hammer and CoS as prereqs.

    SW/SM Ė 1/19 Again, in a best case scenario, it is a staffmod on your claw. Even if you have Mind Blast on your claw, you still have to add 4/5 points to open this up, or 2 extra skill points on top of Mind Blast if you have opened that up as well. You can use a claw switch with +SW/SM as well.

    Venom - 20/38

    Why? Venom synergizes quite well with Dragon Talon and provides an easy way to take down Physical immunes. 20 points is a must if you ask me.

    Traps (receive +14 to all from equipment):

    This part is what I will leave open to personal preference. You can go either light or fire, both are good in their own way. For PvM probably Death Sentry, for PvP Light Sentry with corresponding synergies. In a best case scenario with a claw with +SW/SM and +Mind Blast you will have used up only 45 or 51 skill points depending whether you went for 4 or 5 kicks so that leaves you with extra 51 or 57 skill points @lvl 90! Use them wisely and no immunes will stop you in your tracks.


    Assassins are deadly, but fragile. My personal preference would be a Defiance merc with Pride. I know some people are strong supporters of Holy Freeze and I second that, itís just that my playstyle gains more benefit from Defiance than Holy Freeze, but both server the same purpose Ė reducing the chance of getting into sticky situations. In the weapon section I also mentioned that in case you have a ~500 AR bonus claw, which is otherwise godly, you can still use it (for PvM only obviously), but youíll have to stick to BA Merc then.

    When it comes to Merc equipment, again preferences vary. As long as he has a nice eth armor, nice eth weapon and some DR and life leech, heíll be fine.

    I suggest the following equipment (not detrimental at all):
    Eth Fort
    Eth Pride
    Eth Gaze
    This adds nice damage, Concentration aura, decent life leech, up to 20% DR, some resists to be somewhat stacked and enough def to avoid getting hit too much.

    5) Conclusion and comparisons with other Assassin builds:

    First of all, itís a hybrid and not a pure trapper, so the damage wonít be nearly as high. Compared to trappers, you will, however, have one of the best life and mana leech capabilites in the whole game, making you forget about mana potions once and for all, combined with very nice life total compared to most assassin builds Ė with IM now removed from CS, there arenít many uniques left that could seriously damage you. With little modifications, this build works well in both PvM and PvP.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this guide and I hope it was useful in one way or the other.


    Jan 3, 2013 - Corrected formatting and minor spelling mistakes


    Jrichardís IAS Tables:

    Arreat Summit
    Last edited by Eons; 03-01-2013 at 06:35.

  2. #2
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    I like what you did there, it's in interesting idea compared to most builds, but there are lots of mistakes.
    First, CB is pretty pointless in normal pvm except vs hell Baal. Okay it's great against ubers, but doesn't seem you were talking about that. The ctc statics/orbs/tornados on stormlash/rift pretty much outclass anything a claw can do period. Another amazing option is the azure wrath phase blade which packs sanctuary, fast attack and high elemental damage.
    Venom is also pretty pointless, damage is crap, and gets clipped by fast attack kicks anyway. Similarly you don't need more than one point in fade. Simply put if you want your traps to do something at all, all your skill points except for whatever many you want in talon will be going there.
    Finally pride merc is basically a silly idea, kicksin damage comes from boots which is like 120 avg and that aint going to do jack no matter if you pile 2000% ed on it anyway. that's why K/T sin isn't about physical damage, that's just there for statics/cb/leech/other procs. What you want is infinity merc to increase trap dmg and reduce defense so that you can hit them without any investment in AR items at all. Even reapers is a better idea than pride is.
    Oh, and you forgot gore riders, which is basically the #1 choice for kickers basically anywhere.

  3. #3
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    Interesting, but I do not agree with any of that, though no hard feelings . Have you played pure kicker?

    I meant to add that this build is kick primary and trap secondary. I do not want to make this another light trapper build.

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member Sass's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    BattleTag Sass-1761

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    He suggested that much because that's what pure kickers and most K/T do. His suggestions were for a kick oriented build relying on DS than a damage-by-LS style build.

    Regarding your build, well, it's definitely different and accomplishes much the same thing. It seems geared toward general PvM, and that's good. What he brought up was better for boss running and Ubers especially.

  5. #5
    IncGamers Member
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    Nov 2011

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    If you want to play 'pure' kicker, still so many mistakes..

    -Claws are basically sux compared to rift/stormlash/Azure/last wish. You don't need +skills, there are better cb items and if for some reason you want amp ( which dracs will constantly override anyway ), get lacerator. Oh, and stormshield. Max block and max pdr are kickass.
    -You also want guillames, gores and fortitude then.
    -Skills are just 20 dtalon 20 DS and that's it. Lite traps will do pathetic dmg without enough +skills or synergies. You can max venom, but be aware that it won't do anything.
    -This kind of build is mainly only good for ubers. It can sorta work in pvm ( I've done it ), but not as good as when your focused on traps aspect.

  6. #6
    IncGamers Member
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    Dec 2012

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    There's one thing you're right about and that's the fact that life tap overrides amp, didn't think of that. Then again, I never had the aforementioned claw with amp, just though it would have been a nice addition. I regard Venom as a very useful skill. Without Venom the aforementioned setup will have a hard time against Phys immunes.

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member Sass's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    BattleTag Sass-1761

    Re: Kick/Trap Hybrid - An Alternative Vision Build

    That's also why K/T is more common than pure kicker. DS will kill phys immunes. Venom's damage is nifty to have, but it's not enough to kill by itself in Hell. Also, there are phys immune who are poison immune (mostly the ghosts). Infinity merc makes sure the fire from DS works double damage.

    Life Tap > Amp + life leech. There are many monsters that you can't leech anything from. Life Tap will work against them regardless.

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