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Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

Discussion in 'Assassin' started by maxicek, Feb 6, 2012. | Replies: 9 | Views: 10660

  1. maxicek

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    Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Dragon Tail
    Tiger Strike / Dragon Tail Assassin Build Guide
    Version 1.0



    Contents
    1. Introduction
    2. How Dragon Tail Works
    3. Core Skills
    4. Equipment
    5. Remaining Skills
    6. Mercenaries
    7. Gameplay
    8. List of Abbreviations
    9. Version History
    10. Thanks


    1. Introduction
    This guide is written for playing through all three difficulties solo. If you are going to play in a party, the guide should give you enough information to be able to work out which other character skills complement the build best. Plus of course, if you can get through the game solo, you can get through the game in a party.

    I have tried to write the guide to cover both Hardcore and Softcore play, twinked and un-twinked. Please bear in mind that I do play SC twinked, so you will need to use some of your own experience and judgement if you are going HC untwinked.



    2. How Dragon Tail Works
    The experienced Assassin can deliver a kick so powerful it actually causes an explosion on impact, sending any nearby victims sprawling.

    As usual the in game description is a bit cryptic and tells us little about how the skill actually works. The damage is applied as follows:
    1. Your physical damage is calculated, including any bonuses from gear, mercenary / parts auras etc. Remember that critical strike and deadly strike do not work with kicks.
    2. The physical resistance of the target monster is applied.
    3. The physical damage as applied to the target monster is multiplied by the fire damage bonus from Dragon Tail. This damage is applied to all enemies in the fixed 4 yard radius of effect.
    4. The physical damage is applied only to the target monster.

    This whole process is explained in detail, with equations and a worked example, in the Martial Arts section of The Assassin FAQ, so I'm not going to repeat it here. Give it a visit and whilst you are there you may want to re-acquaint yourself with What Works with Kicks.

    The important thing to note from the sequence above is that the fire damage is dependent on your applied physical damage. And this is one of the criticisms of Dragon Tail - It suffers from two immunities. Fire immunes and Physical immunes take no damage. This is only partly true. Fire immunes take no damage from the fire damage, but if you target a FI with DTail, it will be damaged by the physical part of the kick. If you target a PI, it will take neither fire nor physical damage. Nor will anything else in the area of effect for that matter. But any PIs in the area of effect when you target a non PI enemy will get the full fire damage.

    Tiger Strike gives a huge boost to physical damage, so when used with Dragon Tail gives a huge bonus to the fire damage. You need to be able to harness this power, so this guide focusses on reducing your enemies’ physical resistance to increase your effective damage output.



    3. Core Skills

    Base Build
    20 Dragon Tail
    20 Tiger Strike
    1 Dragon Talon (pre-requisite)
    1 Dragon Claw (pre-requisite)
    1 Dragon Flight

    1 Psychic Hammer (pre-requisite)
    1 Claw Mastery (pre-requisite)
    1+ Burst of Speed
    1 Cloak of Shadows

    That is a mere 47 Skill points for the base build, finished by character level 44 with all Normal difficulty quests done. Assuming you finish Nightmare at about clvl75 and Hell at clvl85, that leaves another 35 points to spend by the end of NM or 49 by the end of Hell. So this leaves an abundance of room for customisation.


    Skill Discussion

    Dragon Tail- 20 points
    Tiger Strike- 20 points
    Almost everyone is going to max both of these eventually. If you aren't, or whilst you are levelling, you want to keep the Tiger Strike Level about six points higher than Dragon Tail to maximise damage. The difference is fairly minor in any case, and gets more complicated if you have off weapon damage or a damage boosting aura in the mix. But the TS = DTail + 6 rule of thumb still works fairly well.

    Cloak of Shadows - 1+ points
    This is the major defensive skill of the build. It limits the radius of you enemies’ awareness and lowers their defence. A one point wonder, but don't be afraid to put in an extra point or two if you feel you need a bit more duration. About 5-7 points are normally about right after +skills, depending on your kill speed.

    Burst of Speed - 1+ points
    Without Burst of Speed but with a -30 WSM weapon, you need a whopping 187IAS to hit a 7 frame Dragon Tail. A more reasonable 63IAS gives you a 9 frame Dragon tail. Tiger Strike needs about the same as the 9 frame DTail to hit its fastest speeds (7 frames with a claw or 8 frames with a one handed weapon). Remember that is with the fastest weapon speed though - slower bases are going to have more problems getting the breakpoints though.

    So Fade is viable for this build if you are prepared to drop a couple of frames from your attack sequence. With 3 charges of Tiger Strike, it won't make too much difference overall. This guide is going to focus on Burst of Speed based builds, as they are more feasible for possible equipment variations, but it won't ignore faded builds completely.

    Dragon Flight - 1 point
    Almost all my PvM assassins get a point in DF, if only for no other reason than it is fun. For this build it is almost essential. You will be relying on your Mercenary to boost your damage or to help you defensively. As you sprint around the map with Burst of Speed, it is easy to out distance the merc. A point in Dragon Flight allows you to gather him up again and re-focus his attention. You already have all the pre-reqs, so this only costs one point.



    4. Equipment

    Some numbers to aim for:
    27% Faster Hit Recovery = 6 Frames as a minimum, 48% FHR for 5 frames if you can.
    75% Lightning Resist, about 50% Fire, Poison and Cold Resist >0%. 75% Resist All is nice, but not essential, especially for SC.
    6K+ Attack Rating. The more the better really.
    Enough IAS for the required breakpoints (see below) with your chosen weapon setup.

    Equipment Strategy
    If at all possible, your equipment needs to include some way of lowering the enemies’ physical resistance. The build is viable without it, but you will have to rely on your backup attack more. After that get enough AR and IAS, then pile on the +skills.
    Deadly strike will help your charge ups when you hit with the weapon, but nothing for the kicks. The charge up is low damage due to the lack of ED, so do not bother looking for DS in your gear.
    Crushing blow is nice if you can get it, but not essential, unless you are using it with a backup attack.

    Decrepify
    Amplify Damage
    These two necromancer curses decrease physical resistance. Neither is available as charges in any practically useable form, but you can get both as chance to cast. Decrepify is only available on four items in the game, but ctc Amplify damage is available as a suffix on magic or rare weapons.

    Sanctuary
    Sanctuary aura decreases the physical resistance of undead enemies to zero. As the majority of PI enemies are undead, this is extremely helpful. It also has the advantage that it is always on, you don't have to wait for a chance to cast to trigger.


    Weapons

    Lawbringer
    This weapon is so good for this build it hurts. Let’s have a look at it in detail:
    Code:
    [B]Lawbringer[/B]
    3 Socket Swords / Hammers /Scepters
    AmnLemKo
    20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Decrepify On Striking
    Level 18 Sanctuary Aura When Equipped
    -50% Target Defense
    Adds 150-210 Fire Damage
    Adds 130-180 Cold Damage
    7% Life Stolen Per Hit
    Slain Monsters Rest In Peace
    +200-250 Defense Vs. Missile (varies)
    +10 To Dexterity
    75% Extra Gold From Monsters
    20% ctc Decrep and Sanctuary? Yes please! Fire and Cold damage also apply to your kicks, life leech and dext boost also help. The only downside is the Slain Monsters Rest In Peace. That is going to mean a distinct lack of Corpse Explosion from Death Sentry. More on that later.

    Best base item is probably a Phase Blade [WSM -30] for the speed. Other base options are Cryptic Swords [WSM -10], Crystal Swords [WSM 0] or War Scepters [WSM -10]. All of these bases are range 2, there are no possible single handed range 3 bases. The last two should be shoppable in Normal with a character up to clvl18. After that, all bases will be magical.

    There are only really two valid reasons to not using Lawbringer for this build, it is head and shoulders above all the other weapon choices.
    1. You are playing un-twinked and can't find the required runes.
    2. You are playing Vanilla / Non-ladder.


    Azurewrath
    There is only one other source of Sanctuary Aura in the game, that is the rarer of the two unique Phase Blades. Unfortunately it is crippled due to the ridiculous clvl85 requirement. This means it is only really of interest to Vanilla Single Players playing twinked - and probably already having finished the game. Its rarity means that the chance of anyone finding it un-twinked is practically zero.
    Code:
    [B]Azurewrath[/B]
    Phase Blade
    Ladder Only
    One-Hand Damage: (102.3-114.7) To (118.8-133.2) (110.55-123.95 Avg)
    Required Level: 85
    Required Strength: 25
    Required Dexterity: 136
    Base Weapon Speed: [-30]
    +230-270% Enhanced Damage (varies)
    +30% Increased Attack Speed
    Adds 250-500 Magic Damage
    Adds 250-500 Cold Damage, 10 sec.
    Duration (Normal)
    +1 To All Skills
    +5-10 To All Attributes (varies)
    Level 10-13 Sanctuary Aura When Equipped (varies)
    Indestructible
    +3 To Light Radius

    Uniques with ctc Decrepify / Amplify Damage
    There are a few uniques with ctc Decrepify or Amplify Damage in the game:
    Code:
    [B]Name			     Base Type             Curse[/B]
    The Cranium Basher     Thunder Maul           4% Chance To Cast Level 1 Amplify Damage On Attack
    Lacerator              Winged Axe            33% Chance To Cast Level 3 Amplify Damage On Striking
    The Vile Husk          Tusk Sword             6% Chance To Cast Level 1 Amplify Damage On Attack
    The Reaper's Toll      Thresher              33% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Striking
    Executioner's Justice  Glorious Axe          50% Chance To Cast Level 6 Decrepify When You Kill An Enemy
    The Fetid Sprinkler    Holy Water Sprinkler   5% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Attack
    The % chance to cast is a bit low on most of these, comparable to the of Amplify Damage Weapons below. The Reaper's Toll looks like a decent choice, but being two handed means a maximum 10 FPA Tiger Strike and of course no shield.

    Lacerator is the pick of the uniques. In fact, this is the best choice for any Vanilla or non-Ladder player. It is one handed, fast and has a good 33% chance to cast Amplify Damage. The level requirement is reasonable. Open Wounds and PMH is all good stuff for a kicker too. The 50% chance Hit Causes Monster To Flee is the only real downside, but it will only apply to the target monster.

    Code:
    [B]Lacerator[/B]
    Winged Axe
    Throw Damage: (17.5-21.7) To (152.5-189.1) (85-105.4 Avg)
    One-Hand Damage: (27.5-34.1) To (142.5-176.7) (85-105.4 Avg)
    Required Level: 68
    Required Strength: 96
    Required Dexterity: 122
    Base Weapon Speed: [-10]
    +150-210% Enhanced Damage (varies)
    +30% Increased Attack Speed
    30% Chance of Open Wounds
    Prevent Monster Heal
    Hit Causes Monster To Flee 50%
    33% Chance To Cast Level 3 Amplify Damage On Striking
    Replenishes Quantity [25]
    (Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

    Of Amplify Damage Weapon
    5% chance to cast level level 1 Amplify Damage is available as a suffix on rare and magical weapons. This isn't a great percentage, but it is better than nothing. If you un-twinked and having to shop for it, Nightmare Anya is probably the best bet (Hell Anya will be a bit late in the game). Look for Greater Talons with +3 to Martial Arts ideally. If not, any fast weapon base is viable.


    Attack Speed
    Before you go choosing the rest of your gear, you need to decide if you are going to use Fade or BoS, and therefore how much additional IAS you are going to need. Then you can work out where you can get the +skills and resists. So grab a pencil and paper, or a more hi-tech method, and check out the Assassin IAS Tables, specifically post 3 for Tiger Strike and
    post 6 for Dragon Tail. Alternatively you can play with the German Weapon Speed Calculator.. As is stated earlier, for most setups Burst of Speed is a better choice, but you need to work that out for yourself.


    Shields
    There are a number of shield options, it is recommended that you go for one with blocking.

    Stormshield - With 35% Damage reduction, good blocking and some resists, this is the number one shield choice. You will have enough strength for it due to the boot requirements, and the strength on the shield also adds to your DTail damage.
    Whitstan's Guard - Relatively easy to find if you are playing un-twinked, this shield has the best blocking in the game. It offers little else though.
    'Rhyme' - Great value, for just the cost of a Shael & Eth rune you get decent blocking, 25% resist all and the important Cannot be Frozen - a mod which is otherwise difficult to come by un-twinked. Bone/Grim/Tower Shield or Heater are good to make it in for the high base chance to block and reasonable requirements.
    'Sanctuary' - Good blocking and resists, potentially a great shield for using with BoS. Tower Shields or Troll Nests are normally the best choices.
    'Spirit' - If you don't think you need the blocking, a Spirit shield gives +2 Skills and covers all you FHR requirements, plus a generous portion of other useful mods. Strength required for boots means that the 156 requirements for a Monarch isn't an issue.


    Switch
    Switch weapons will depend on what you are using for a backup attack. That will be covered in the next section.
    If you don't need a switch weapon setup, you will probably want some pre-buffing here - Call to Arms and Spirit Shield or two +3 Shadow skills claws.

    Helm
    Rare Circlet - A +2 Assassin circlet with nice secondary mods is probably the best all round choice. If you can, get one with good resists and two sockets.
    Magical Circlet - A +3 Martial Arts circlet with a decent suffix and two sockets is a good offensive choice.
    Kira's Guardian - With huge resists, 20 FHR and Cannot be Frozen, this may well fill a defensive hole. Does nothing offensively though.

    Armour
    Chains of Honor - +2 Skills and huge resists make this the number one armour for the build. May be a bit expensive for some though.
    Skin of the Vipermagi - This one is kind of a half fat Chains of Honor. +1 skill and up to 35% resist all makes it a very credible budget choice, the bonus is you can socket it for IAS or whatever else you need.
    Fortitude - The 300% damage will boost your kick damage, however a +2 skills armour will benefit both your DTail and TS. So in this case it isn't as beneficial as a +2 skill armour. It is still a solid choice, especially with other nice mods like resists and a nice life boost.
    Enigma - If it isn't mentioned, someone will ask about it. +2 Skills is good, as are other mods like FRW, Strength, and MF. Sure it is a viable choice. But this build isn't about teleporting through the entire game. Enigma either leaves you short on resists or IAS, depending on if you use BoS or Fade.
    Treachery - The ctc Fade will overwrite BoS, so this is really for faded builds only. If you are using Fade and need the IAS, this one packs 45%, making it surely the number one choice. Add in +2 skills, 20% FHR and free Venom this is a great armour.


    Boots
    As a kicking build, the boots are very important. You want to maximise your damage, and that means Myrmidon Greaves or Mirrored Boots.

    Gore Rider (upped once to Myrmidon Greaves) - 156 Strength requirement when upped, these are normally the default choice for any PvM kicking build. When upped they are equippable at clvl 72.
    Shadow Dancer - A very solid choice for this build, where crushing blow is not as important. FHR, dext and shadow skills are all good. Strength requirement is a bit steeper than the Gores at 167 and they are equippable at clvl 71.
    Goblin Toe (upped twice to Mirrored Boots) - Lots of crushing blow but no FRW. 163 strength requirement. Not as good as the two choices above, but still a solid choice. Not recommended without BoS though, it would just be too slow.
    Magic / Rare - If you are un-twinked and having to shop for boots or rely on what you can find, Mirrored Boots may be a better option as the strength requirement is only 163 against the 208 required for Myrmidon Greaves. Look for FRW, resists, FHR - whatever you can get. Remember that rares can be upped to elite boots, so keep an eye out or gamble for Light Plated Boots or Greaves and their exceptional equivalents too.

    Boot Progression
    As you progress through the game, you should try to keep on the most damaging boot type that is practical. Depending on the rest of your gear, Greaves should do you through Normal and War Boots through Nightmare. Sigon's Set boots are good early in the game, equippable from clvl 6, and Immortal King's boots are equippable at clvl 31. Wear them with the belt and the gloves for some nice set bonuses, especially the strength boost.


    Belt
    The belt is really the slot where you should be looking for defense - FHR, resists, stats, life and damage reduction are all available here.
    Verdungo's Hearty Coil - Up to 15% damage reduction and a nice life boost makes this the best pick if you don't want/need the life leech.
    String of Ears - Up to 15% damage reduction and life leech. If you need the leech, this is the best choice.
    Rare Belt / Crafted Blood Belt - If you don't need the damage reduction, a crafted blood belt can offer some very good mods. Look for FHR, resists, + life, stats etc.

    Gloves
    Martial Arts skills are available on gloves, so this is what you should be looking for. Either Magical +3MA or Rare +2MA, ideally with 20IAS. Crafted Blood Gloves could be used for the crushing blow, but it is unlikely to add up to much considering your other gear choices. +3 Martial Arts gloves can be shopped easily from Hell Anya, if you are looking for +3 MA and 20IAS that will take a bit more patience (for info, all 20IAS gloves are coloured dark gold).

    Amulet
    Mara's Kaleidoscope - +2 Skills, stats and resists. Probably the default choice for a this build.
    Rare - Ideally you are looking for a Mara's beater here, with +2 skills, resists and stats. Leech is a possible bonus.
    Magical - If you have the resists covered elsewhere, go for power, +3 MA skills with a decent suffix.
    Highlord's Wrath - If you have decided to use Fade and have already filled all the possible sockets with IAS jewels but still need more, the 20IAS on Highlord's may be invaluable. The +1 skill and Lightning resists are useful too, but the DS does nothing for kicks.
    Atma's Scarab - The 5% ctc Amplify damage won't trigger much on its own, but it will get you to a more reasonable 10% ctc if you use it with an Amplify Damage Weapon.

    Rings
    Ravenfrost - If you don't have CBF covered elsewhere in your gear, you must have this in one of the ring slots. The AR and Dexterity is also always welcome.
    Rare - A good place to get some mana leech and life leech, as well as AR and resists.
    Stone of Jordan / Bul Kathos' Wedding Band - If you have everything else covered, you can use one of these for the extra skill point.

    Inventory
    If you have them, you will want to fill your inventory with Martial Arts skillers for the damage boost. Annihilus and Torch too if you play on BNet. The remaining SC slots can be used for resists, FHR and AR depending on what you need.
    If you don't have a full set of MA skillers, use the inventory to meet your resist, FHR and AR requirements, then you can focus you equipment on offensive mods.



    [/highlight]5. Remaining Skills[/highlight]
    As was said earlier, if you finish Hell at clvl 85, the core build leaves you 49 points spare. You are going to need a backup attack for FIs and possibly PIs. Maybe you want to boost you defence a bit more too.

    Death Sentry
    Cost: 24 points
    For most builds this is the Assassins area of effect skill. For this build it isn't necessarily so great. Normally DS is used for the corpse explosion damage. This is 50% fire damage and 50% physical damage. As these are the two immunities that you are trying to deal with, the effectiveness is greatly reduced. The other issue is the Slain Monster Rest in Peace modification on Lawbringer. If you are using this weapon, you amount of potential corpses to explode will be much reduced.

    Lightning Sentry
    Cost: 43+ points
    If you want to use this as a backup attack, you will want to max LS and at least one of its synergies, probably Death Sentry. Put as many points into the synergies as you can afford. LS has the advantage that it gives you a decent ranged solution, and also can apply damage to enemies as you are also attacking with DTail. One problem is that the damage may be a bit low with only one synergy. Equipment will focus on Martial Arts skills, so you may not get much of a boost there. If you do go this route, two Cunning (+3 traps) claws on switch would be a good idea.

    Dragon Talon + Venom
    Cost: 25-30+ points
    You already have the boots equipped, so putting some points into venom and getting some crushing blow isn't a bad idea. You shouldn't need a high investment in Dragon Talon, four kicks is plenty. If you have a high level of +Martial Arts skills, this may mean you only need to spend a few points. You want to lay on some decent crushing blow, so this will mean a Dragon Talon kicking switch weapon setup. 'Black' runeword is a good budget weapon choice, Stormlash is the best option. Pair it with a decent blocking shield (see equipment section) and you are good to go.

    Blade Fury
    Cost: 4 points
    If you are playing Hardcore, you are pretty much guaranteed to come up against a monster that you don't want to stand toe to toe with at some point in the game. A single point in Blade Fury gives you an effective ranged attack, especially coupled with a crushing blow setup on switch. If you decide to go for the Dragon Talon + Venom setup above, this is highly recommended for the leftover skill points as it is likely to use the same switch weapons. AR may be an issue though.

    Phoenix Strike / Claws of Thunder
    Cost: 43 points
    As you already have focused on Martial Arts skills in your equipment, a Martial Arts backup attack makes sense. Claws of Thunder isn't quite as powerful as the second PS charge, but will be easier to release consistently. You can only use CoT with two claws, so this means a switch setup unless you are already using two claws for DTail. Phoenix Strike can be used with just about anything, so you don't necessarily have to switch weapons. Crescent Moon and a decent blocking charge would be a good choice if you do decide you want to switch though. 2x Bartuc's Cut Throat would also work nicely, and allows for a +4 pre-buff for BoS if required.

    Tiger Strike
    Cost: 0-20 points
    You already have invested the points into TS, so you can always equip a high damage weapon to swat fire immunes with. You will have to unleash the charges with normal attack, so AR may be an issue. You may need a bit more investment in Burst of Speed to meet the attack speed breakpoints. Two handers are especially good, but avoid spears and two handed swords as the assassin is capped at 13FPA with them - other two handers are capped at 10FPA.

    Shadow Master
    Shadow Warrior
    Cost: 22 points
    Some always want to have a Shadow Master, others think they are a waste of skill points better spent elsewhere or even a dangerous liability that may MB and convert the target you are about to unleash you charges on, leaving you facing a nasty boss. If you want one, put enough point to get it to level 17+ when cast with your +skills. Shadow Warriors are much more controllable, if you know what you are doing. There are several guides in the forums and a section in the Assassin FAQ on them.

    Mind Blast
    Cost: 1 point
    With CoS it isn't really required, but some people swear by it. They are immune to the conversion, but the stun is extremely effective against The Minions of Destruction, it is worth a one point investment if only for that reason.
    If you go with a ranged merc and are having to do more tanking yourself, you will want to put a point here. It may be the only thing preventing that fanatic, cursed frenzytaur pack from stomping you.

    Boost Shadow Skills
    Cost: 5+ points
    This isn't a backup attack, but if you still have points left over, scatter them amongst your shadow skills. A single point in Shadow Master can be a useful distraction at times, a few more points in BoS is always nice and means you don't have to re-cast it all the time. Be careful about putting too many points into CoS though. You don't want to be waiting for the effects to wear off after you have killed everything and want to move to the next area.



    6. Mercenaries
    A2 Merc with Infinity
    Now you probably don't need to be told that Infinity is absolutely awesome for this build. You benefit from both properties of the Conviction aura. Not only does it reduce the monster's fire resistance, thereby hugely increasing your damage, it also lowers their defense, so they are easier to hit. Gone are any AR problems that you might have had. Treachery and Tal's Mask / Andariel's Visage are favourites for the Armour and Helm. Might is a good choice for the aura as it boosts your damage and helps the merc too.

    A2 Merc - Other
    Infinity may be awesome, but not everyone has one. It also isn't required, Dragon Tail should be perfectly viable without it. Reaper's Toll is recommended as an additional source of Decrepify to boost your damage. Again, Might will boost your damage, but if you are short on AR, Blessed Aim is probably a better choice. Compared to the massive boost from Tiger Strike, Might only adds a modest amount of additional damage. If you don't have Reaper's, Obedience or Hone Sundan are good sources of Crushing Blow for boss fights. A2 Mercs are also another possible source of Amplify Damage, if you can find it on a Spear or Polearm.

    A5 Barbarian
    This is your other potential source of Decrepify, thanks to Lawbringer again, although you do not benefit from the Sanctuary Aura yourself. Make it in an ethereal elite 2h sword like a Balrog Blade or Colossus Sword if you can. ctc Amplify Damage on a nice 2h Sword would help if you can't get Lawbringer. Fortitude is the best bet for the armour, to make up for the lack of ED on the weapon, but any of the usual merc armours will do. Some IAS in the helm would be good, so that means Andariel's. Other choices as above, remember you can use Arreat's Face on a barb merc too, which is not a bad choice.



    7. Gameplay

    Key Setup
    One of the criticisms of charge up assassins is that the keys are too complicated, but with a bit of setup it is fairly easy. This is one possible key setup, but ultimately you need to find what works for you.

    Left click - Dragon Flight.
    Don't put Dragon Claw on left click and try to swap mouse buttons to release charges. The problem with this is that if you accidently left click on a monster on the far side of a pack, you will attempt to walk all the way around the pack to release the charges. Very slow and extremely annoying. Keep dragon flight here for situational use, but also have it hot keyed to right mouse button.

    All of the following keys are assigned to right mouse button. If you press and hold it down, you can then just press the keys on the keyboard to swap attacks. The keys in brackets are the optional skills, if you don't use them, just leave them un-assigned.

    Main Attacks - bottom row
    Z - Tiger Strike
    X - Dragon Tail
    (C- Backup Attack)
    (V - Backup Attack)

    Utility Skills - middle row
    A - Cloak of Shadows
    F - Dragon Flight

    Pre-buffs - top row
    (Q- Battle Command)
    (W - Shadow Master)
    (E - Battle Orders)
    R - Burst of Speed / Fade

    Most of the time you run around with right click held down. On the keyboard you alternate between TS and DTail (Z and X keys) to charge and release. Three hits of TS, then press the X key to release the DTail. If you are fighting PIs, keep charging TS charging until Amp or Decrepify triggers then hit the DTail. You don't want to waste your potential damage.

    Left Click Alternative
    You can actually assign TS and DTail to the left mouse button and use the keyboard to toggle between them too. This allows you to see the mods on the monster you attack, but if you kill it before you release the charge, you have to manually pick another target. It also allows you to have a strategic RMB skill like CoS, Mind Blast, Shadow or DS active during the whole fight, so you can have access to it without switching.


    Basic Gameplay
    1. Cast cloak of shadows
    2. Charge up TS three times
    3. Release DTail
    4. If targets are still alive, rinse & repeat.

    Quite often you will find yourself fighting enemies with mixed immunities. Remember that it is perfectly reasonable to unload your DTail on a Fire Immune. You still get the full fire damage area of effect. After the non FIs are dead, mop up any remaining FIs with your backup attack.

    Remember that if you are in a mixed group with Physical Immunes, you can unleash the Dragon Tail on a non PI target and all the PIs in the blast area will get hit with the fire damage. This can be quite tricky with ghosts as they have a tendency to stack on top of you, but works quite nicely most of the time.



    8. List of Abbreviations

    AR - Attack Rating
    BoS- Burst of Speed
    C/C - Claw Claw, i.e. using a claw on each hand
    CB - Crushing Blow
    CM - Claw Mastery
    C/S - Claw + Shield
    CoS- Cloak of Shadows
    CoT - Claws of Thunder
    ctc - Chance to Cast
    DC - Dragon Claw
    DF - Dragon Flight
    %DR – % Physical Damage Reduction
    DS - Death Sentry
    FHR - Fast Hit Recovery
    FI - Fire Immune
    FCR- Faster Cast Rate
    FRW - Faster Run / Walk
    IAS - Increased Attack Speed
    ITD - Ignore Target's Defense
    LCS - Lying Character Screen. The screen that shows your stats, damage etc., with varying accuracy.
    LS - Lightning Sentry
    MA - Martial Arts
    MB - Mind Blast
    MP - Multi Player - Either on BNet or over TCPIP
    OW - Open Wounds
    PI - Physical Immune
    PS - Phoenix Strike
    Res - Resistance
    SM - Shadow Master
    WB – Weapon Block
    W/S - Weapon + Shield
    WSM - Weapon Speed Modifier
    2h - Two Handed
    3os - 3 Open Sockets



    9. Version History
    Version 1.0 - First Draft. Code boxes are now fixed.



    10. Thanks
    You may notice some similarities to the upcoming Phoenix Strike guide that I am writing with jiansonz in this one, when I post it. After all they are both elemental Martial Arts skills. The two were written in parallel, so thanks to jiansonz as some of your help with the PS guide has inevitably crossed over to this one.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  2. Kretschmer

    Kretschmer IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Most excellent guide. You need to fix formatting on the nested windows, though (lawbringer section onward).
  3. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Very nice guide. Some questions though..

    >you mentioned RIP mod on lawbringer, does that work with the kick, or only the attack? Because I know that for a barb the RIP works only if it is killed by lawbringer and not the other weapon.
    >Attack rating can really be a problem, because TS doesn't really give enough, may I suggest Demon limb for enchant?
    >I don't like the second charge of phoenix strike at all. It's really unreliable/clumsy and the 1-xx damage is a total turnoff for me. Ice is totally viable damage wise, both as the third charge of PS and as blades of ice, it should be mentioned.
    >I'm curious about the 'use physical damaging big weapon' as a means of doing physical damage via tiger strike. Surely it wouldn't be better than boots? Boots get the 300+ skill ED AND AR ( and no switching business ), while weapons can only get whatever ED they'll have on it. I'd like to see some numbers out there, eg. Oath glorious axe.
    >I think you should include a C/C alternate build out there, for style purposes. Claw skills ( dragon claw/claw mastery ) = 40 points, so it can even be a sort of hybrid kicker/clawer and thus a true martial assassin. I would choose Natalya's mark ( itd ) and Bartucs ( skills ).
  4. Fyourics

    Fyourics IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Great guide! Need to play some more 'sins....
    A minor nitpick, but shadow dancer requires 167 strength, not 172. Also, required level 71.
  5. FrankieTeardrop

    FrankieTeardrop IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Nice work :)

    I've been working on a DTail sin on SP for a couple weeks now. Originally started off planning to max DTail/TS/Phoenix/Blades of Ice, but after being disappointed by the low damage of the ice chargeups, I switched to thunder. I'm having a blast, and can say for certain that this os one of the most fun builds I've played. Been going twinked with dual bartucs in /players 8 and have been absolutely shredding EVERYTHING so far. (I'm in act3 nm, hoping DTail adjusts well in hell).

    My only complaint is that I wish the big fireball explosion animation of an uncharged DTail was also present when chargeup skills are released -- as opposed to that little pink burst of tiger strike :p
  6. maxicek

    maxicek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Unfortunately the RIP applies to all monsters taking damage from the DTail area of effect.

    I get 3768AR at level 75 without putting much effort into it, going to 7500 with a Blessed Aim merc. Demon Limb is always a good suggestion, but I would rather not tie up my switch with it in this case, I think BA is a better choice if you have AR problems.

    I disagree, and there is a detailed explanation of why in the PS Guide. I'm really not saying that my guide is the only way to do it though.

    On weapon ED >> off weapon ED and boots get no ED bonus at all. 20K Strikes should easily be feasible, see here for more details. Boots are already covered as an option with Dragon Talon.

    Dragon Claw damage sucks without CB and DS. Claws (of Amplify Damage) are mentioned in the weapons selection, so I think I have that covered. However, they are by no means as effective for DTail as Lawbringer or Lacerator.

    Must have written that from memory - now corrected, thanks.



  7. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    True, so how does that hold up compared to Dragon tail boot damage. Both are physical damage after all.


  8. maxicek

    maxicek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Level 40 Tiger Strike gives 4391 to 6997 damage fully charged when unleashed with DTail. I don't have data for a weapon at the same level at the moment, but I expect a reasonable eth Oath axe to be at least three times that.
  9. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    Oath 2 hand damage = 400 ( say )
    Tiger strike level 20 = 1440% extra dmg. Thus, oath with TS = 400*15.4 = 6000 approx.
    Where are you getting the 3 times from? Also how would you get level 40 TS?
  10. maxicek

    maxicek IncGamers Member

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    Re: Dragon Tail - A Build Guide

    You need to check your damage calcs - it isn't as simple as that. - suggest you play with a damage calculator, or put the calcs into Excel like I did.

    I picked lvl40 as an illustration: 20 base, 10 skillers, 3 gloves, 2 armour, 2 amulet, 3 circlet.

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