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Hc Strafezon optimization

Discussion in 'Amazon' started by Taxes, May 28, 2013. | Replies: 10 | Views: 4338

  1. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    Hey guys, I have been working on a strafezon build for hc pure pvm play, and I am nearing a conclusion on where I plan to go with it, I just need some advice/critique in case I missed any major (well, actually minor, obscure) points.

    Instead of writing a major post going into every detail (edit: I ended up making it a lot longer than I intended to, disregard this :p), let me just list my build goals, gear setup, and final stats. With your advice, I plan to build the character, and then who knows, maybe write an actual guide for hc strafezon play (I was unable to find any updated ones myself). I will list some relevant considerations, but rather than get into a full-on strafezon theory discussion, I would like to stick to my specific build.

    Build goals, simplified:
    Fastest ias breakpoint (9/3, http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/index.php?showtopic=77351).
    Strong physical damage on hell (Biggest issue).
    Strong survivability (Made up of FHR breakpoints, flat out hp, and resists).

    So here goes, hc pvm strafezon:
    Stats: enough str/dex for gear, rest into vit.
    Skill highlights: 20 pierce, 20 strafe, rest is irrelevant/up to taste for now.
    Gear:
    Faith GMB.
    Cats Eye.
    Dungos.
    Fortitude.
    20 IAS gloves (still undecided on which kind, LOH is a cheap option, but 20ias is a must, crafted ones with knockback would be ideal I guess).
    Waterwalks.
    Kira's (15 ias jewel).
    Dual leech ring.
    Free ring (Irrelevant to breakpoints, can be anything).
    2x Grand charm 12% fhr.

    Merc: I was thinking of getting might + concentration on him at some point, but that is pretty far down the line, since I am the one using faith, he is pretty irrelevant to my gear setup. (However he is built, he is just a bonus, and not a cornerstone) I actually have no idea if those two auras work with ranged attacks.

    So, this gets me:
    Non-100% pierce.
    86-88 IAS (9/3 breakpoint with GMB).
    54 FHR (6 frame).
    120-145 allres (With Anya).
    Cannot be frozen.
    Dual leech.
    +70-80 vit, depending on dungo roll (dex from waterwalks and cats eye translate into vit).
    Damage X (I really have no idea where my relative damage will end up, that is the one major make or break part of this build as far as i am concerned).
    A spattering of other stats that add up, but arent really major deals by themselves.

    So do i meet my build goals?
    Maxing resists should be doable with charms, and is definitely doable with anni/torch somewhere down the line. I got my desired 9/3 breakpoint, and between dungo, free ring, and somewhat free glove stats, my health pool should be in comfortable spot. I am guessing my damage will be strong, but only putting it into practice will tell.

    I dont want to get into the whole razortail debate, suffice it to say I would rather have the defensive value of dungos.



    Four major considerations I made, besides razortail (I went through a lot of setups):

    Atmas scarab
    My first draft was using this, because i wanted to break immunities. Problem is, it is way too limiting, and if i absolutely had to, i could just put it on every time i meet phys immunes. (I would hate to do that, but its better than skimping somewhere important)

    Matriarchal bow
    The more setups I looked at, the more i realized that the advantage of wsm -10 is not that big. The difference in breakpoints is 37% with the mat. bow, compared to 80% with GMB. This is taken care of with 2 items, 20 IAS amu, and 20 IAS gloves, so it becomes a matter of: Mat. bow frees up the glove and amu slot, but then you need to find 10 IAS elsewhere, to reach the 37% breakpoint (fana gives 31-33 IAS).

    Another source of IAS is the helmet, but I want the FHR and allres from Kiras; If you wanted to, you could go bloodfist, which takes care of the mat. bow IAS breakpoint, and FHR issues, freeing up the helmet slot (But then what are you gonna do with it? offensively it has no value since you already have the highest breakpoint, and defensively, Kiras is a very strong option).

    In any case, as far as glove alternatives go, if you arent getting IAS from them, they are just that, IAS gloves without IAS, not a whole lot more effective (unless you get ungodly rolls I guess, I dont really know), though there are cool options. For amulets, Atmas or an allres ammy are the only choices left I would say.
    To summarise:
    Mat. bow = Potentially better gloves (you get another open suffix on rare gloves), otherwise exact same advantages are relevant.
    Mat. bow = Allres ammy or Atmas, Atmas being the clear winner of the two in my mind, in other words = amp damage
    GMB = Gloves must have 20 IAS (leaves out a lot of uniques)
    GMB = Amulet or helm must have 20 IAS, getting it on helmet means you want to keep Atmas scarab, in which case you will be severely lacking in resistances.

    Other relevant mentions that I think will simply end up inferior, but can achieve the mat. bow IAS breakpoint, are: Stealskull (Frees up a ring slot, but means to must get raven frost, so you basically end up with less fhr, much less allres, and a lower damage bow, on the other hand, you get Atmas, and more glove freedom), Nosferatus (Simply not good enough to justify the loss of razortail, imo), Natalyas helmet socketed with 15 IAS jewel (This was my initial plan, but this is a purely defensive helmet (stats translate into vit), that is simply worse than Kiras, and does not free up a ring slot).

    Faith on merc
    Major difference is that you can use windforce, but strictly speaking, I think might + concentration would be more effective. There are other differences as well, but if you are just doing it for the attack speed, a shael rune in windforce would do the exact same trick.

    Raven frost
    An extremely effective ring slot, and I didnt exclude it for any particular reason, but simply because I want the defensive stats from Kiras, and it happens to have CBF as well.


    At this point I am pretty certain I havent missed anything, and that survival is solid. Problem is, I have no idea how damage will perform, time will tell :)
    Also I am very tired, so I probably made mistakes that I have no idea I made :p

    Lastly, I suppose my reason behind this post is a bit vague; to put it simply, its in the title, I am trying to optimize this strafezon build for hc play, and I am looking for glaring inefficencies (Straight upgrades etc.), in other words, your critique! :)

    Anyways I ended up making this post a lot longer than intended to, thanks for reading!
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  2. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    No one? thats fine im patient :)
    Just a "nothing to add" helps too
  3. Erfel

    Erfel IncGamers Member

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    First of all, I never played HC

    Are you sure you want to go for max res? My strafeazon has res about 10, and i never die... of course I understand you need more security, but I'm not using any res charm

    Merc/physical immunes: I see 3 possible options. 2 of them help you handling PI... Reaper's toll on act2 merc or lawbringer on act5 merc. The first give you the aura, the second one is simply tougher.
    Anyway, you will always stay far from the enemy, and this cause that many many times, your merc won't be able to get close to them before you kill them.
    So i think an act1 (or even act3) merc could be more helpful. Act1 merc with faith would be the best option imo. Now you would still have PI problem, but many way to avoid it. You could invest some skill points in cold/frozen arrow, or you could use ice/wrath/whatever with some good elemental damage

    You still have a lot of skill points to use... a lower elemental resistance would need some avoid/decoy/idon'trememberthenameofthelastone xD

    You absolutely need some crushing blow, if you mean to kill bosses... and a circlet with ed jewels could also help, if you won't use kira's.



    Hope it helps :)
  4. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    thanks for the reply!

    I definitely considered not maxing resists, but for starters i will stick with it, ive had fully geared javazons get instagibbed by black soul packs from off-screen in wsk, and i dont want to repeat that :D eventually i will reevaluate, and resists will likely be the first place i compromise.

    I usually use decoy and valkyrie a lot, but im more comfortable with high resists than high avoid/etc., the animation lock can be pretty bad sometimes.

    You are right on phys immunes and bosses, i definitely need a way to deal with them. Im reluctant to change the merc, but thats mostly because im stubborn and want the double auras from might/concentration ;)
    Do you think a wrath on switch would do the job? decrepify handles some immunes, it also has prevent monster heal, 20% crushing blow, and some magic+lightning damage. Other than that, i could switch waterwalks for gore rider, though i have no idea if that by itself will make much of a difference, maybe together with the 20% from wrath it will be enough?

    And i gotta go now so i will address faith on merc later, it is definitely and option too, but its a very big change that completely changes the build. :)
  5. Clervis

    Clervis IncGamers Member

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    I'm actually in the same boat as you. Played SC many moons, but now I want to try HC with a Strafezon. I'm not shooting for the level of gear you are though. I'm aiming for a Witchwild String build.

    Thanks for that link on Strafe speeds by the by. This makes gear decisions much easier.

    I'm definitely going for max resists. Ranged characters don't need resists until they need them, get it. Especially in HC. I'd rather have the safety net, but then again, I'm a little out of my element.

    A thing to consider with Atma's Scarab. Keep in mind, while it's good for break most physical immunities, it's equally good at enhancing physical damage. In most cases, it will more than double your physical damage. 500 damage to a monster with 33% damage resist (very common), will yield a 335 hit. With Amplify Damage and -67% damage resist, you'll do 835 damage. That's a +150% physical damage increase, which is huge. Against a Moon Lord (75% dam res), you'd do 5x the damage. A Reaper's Toll on your merc would provide a similar benefit, just half as effective but with the ability to half monster speed and damage. The proof for Amp is in the pudding. Watch your arrows slowly chip away at a pack until it kicks in, then everybody starts dropping like flies.

    Just some thoughts.
  6. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    Aye the argument for atmas is strong. One question though, i heard some people keep psn damage charms in their inventory in order to stop regeneration, does that work for the damage on atmas too? And how does that even work in the first place?
    As far as using it goes, i suppose switching GMB for a matriarchal bow would take care of the lost IAS from cats eye. The question is whether the amp damage proc makes up for lost damage. I remember having a strafezon using windforce and atmas long ago on sc, and i just didnt like the frequency of the amp damage proc. Its definitely nice when it activates, but its not quite as consistent as i would like. Also, the 25 dex from cats eye translates into 75 life, which is a bit deal.

    Incidentally, how important is dex for damage on a bow? Its been so long since i played a bowazon i can hardly remember.

    btw, if you are on eu ladder, i got a wws you can have if you want.
  7. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Seconding the recommendation for Atma's. It's just head and shoulders over anything else.

    However for killing PIs, I would not rely just on Atma's. Instead I suggest maxing magic arrow. It converts about 25% ( depends on slvl ) of your damage into magic, while amp when it procs on a PI only brings it down to 80% phy. res thus letting only 20% of damage getting through. MA also has no 3/4 damage penalty, adds a bit of damage, doesn't rely on proc and best of all costs no mana or arrows. Just 20 skill points and it is way better than say maxing freezing arrow which is a mana hog and anyway sux without +skills or conviction. Also PI/MIs are very uncommon compared to say PI/CIs.

    Wrath is stupid.
  8. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    I think you are right about magic arrow, i will go with it.

    My problem with atmas is that when amp does not activate, it doesnt really do anything. If i do put it on, only when amp damage is up, is it better than cats eye. Basically its nice vs stone skinned mobs etc., but vs regular trash mobs, the curse is not frequent enough to make much of a difference, they die fast enough anyways. Also, if i use it, i will have to put faith in a matriarchal bow to reach the same breakpoint, which definitely lowers damage.
    I used to have a strafezon switching between atmas and cats eye whenever one was more convenient than the other, and i gotta say i hated using atmas vs regular mobs; it was an immunity and boss killer for me.

    Why is wrath stupid? CB for first 1/3 of boss hp, and decrep activates pretty much instantly at 30% ctc. Just wondering, as i obviously havent actually tested it :)

    Faith on merc: If eth bows existed it might be worth it to put on some high damage bow on yourself, and put faith on merc, but as it is i think faith on yourself, and might/concentration on merc comes out on top every time.

    Any thoughts on gore rider by itself?
  9. Erfel

    Erfel IncGamers Member

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    About AMP and Atma's, my strafeazone uses witchwild string + atma. This mean about 1/10 chance to cast amp... strafeing with max speed means that it will activate almost everytime you attack.
    Other than this, witchwild hit with magic arrow and has 1*clvl chance for deadly strike.
    This means no need for magic arrow skill points, and just a few in deadly strike. Two shaels in it can substitute cat's eye, with even 10% fcr more.
    Gore riders are a good option (i think i use goblin toe, btw).

    The problem, as far as i can see, is that you really want to use faith on you, and might + conc on merc. This will mean a greeeaat damage, but still a huge problem against PI. Atma's alone is not enough, imo.
    What zaph says about magic arrow is right, but he's not considering the speed boost from strafe. I think that strafe + amp is better than magic arrow alone, but of course you would have to check the math.

    Wrath is a bad runeword for full game, but i really think it's a great option against bosses.
    Decripify means (against baal) no duplicate baal, no manaburn fire, no teleport... I mean, baal with decripify is the most useless enemy ever. 20% cb with 20% cb from gore is a huge percentage, and you also have +375% Damage To Demons and Adds 85-120 Magic Damage.

    Dex is mostly important for chance to hit than for damage itself, imo. If you will to make baalruns, you may have problem in hitting him (I use double ravenfrost + perf amethist in my witchwild)
  10. KremBanan

    KremBanan IncGamers Site Pal

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    Strafer without Amp = fail.
  11. Taxes

    Taxes IncGamers Member

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    @Erfel
    Thanks for the advice, i will keep all of it in mind.

    I have collected all the gear i mentioned (other than pride on merc) and am leveling to use it, hopefully i can get some idea of how big the weaknesses are, and put you guys' advice to use in fixing them. Not much more to say for now, the opinion seems to be that cb is needed for boss killing, atmas for immunes, and atmas for general killing.

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