Latest Diablo 3 News
DiabloWiki Updates
Support the site! Become a Diablo: IncGamers PAL - Remove ads and more!

[Build] NEW BUILD! Mini-Guide to the Hammer-Cleric

Discussion in 'Paladin' started by Psychonautical, Oct 8, 2013. | Replies: 14 | Views: 2719

  1. Psychonautical

    Psychonautical IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    With Diablo pushing 14 years of beloved gameplay by its fans, it is safe to assume that MOST players of it have become more than familiar with its workings. Yet, sure enough, I still find myself occasionally learning about minor details I had never known before (it was just a few months ago that I realized you can hold shift to put all your points into a single stat with one click. And all this time I had been ruining my index finger...)

    One thing that I found out recently shocked me. It isn't necessarily a groundbreaking discovery, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who know of it. It doesn't open new doors to overpowered characters, but it DOES offer up a new build idea that is different, VERY safe, and makes for possibly the best party player in the game.

    Its no secret that synergies work based on hard points only, and that +skill items only boost individual skills and do not affect synergy bonuses.

    However, there is, for some reason, ONE exception to this rule: Prayer.

    I noticed that the bonus Cleansing and Meditation receives from Prayer IS NOT limited to hard points. Rather, whatever level Prayer is is the level of bonuses to replenish life it offers the other two auras.

    This FLOORED me, because now the replenishing effects from using any of the auras has now gone from "a nice bonus" or "a last ditch resort of healing without going back to town that takes FOREVER" to a VERY effective means of staying alive.

    Now, all of us are familiar with the strategy of using an Insight polearm on a Prayer Act 2 Mercenary to get the double-regeneration effect. However, even this is often viewed (and rightly so) as negligible for most characters. The Summon Necromancer may be the exception, as with so many targets, each one will only be handling 1-4 monsters on average, making the regeneration more effective since most monsters actually don't do that much physical damage, and its the mobs one one target that are truly dangerous.

    But looking at the numbers, a normal act 2 mercenary hits his maximum Prayer level of 18 at clvl 75. (Hell Act 2 Prayer Mercs have a lvl 16 Prayer from the get-go and stays there.)

    At lvl 18, Prayer heals 21 life every 2 seconds, so using an Insight on said merc results in 42 life healed every 2 seconds. Not too shabby for free healing, but certainly not something that will matter much in Hell or even most of Nightmare.

    However, given that Prayer ignores the "hard points only" rule with synergies, suddenly this opens up all new possibilities of recovery (and has the side effect of making that Seraph's Hymn a bit more appealing.)

    What I did was try to create a Paladin that could take advantage of the double-regen strategy while still being able to kill. Typical Clerics will focus on using a single healing aura and sitting back while healing their party with Holy Bolts, only being useful as a killer when it comes to the undead. Certainly, there had to be a better way!

    What I found was a VERY fun Hammerdin/Cleric hybrid that can not only do fine on its own, but turns a large party into a nearly invulnerable army that makes group play a blast!

    The concept is very simple: Since Insight grants 33% cast rate and the Meditation aura, it makes sense to use Blessed Hammer since you will be able to cast them at a decent (but not impressive) rate and never run out of mana.

    However, as well all know, maxing out Hammer skills leave NO room for maxing out Prayer. Most Hammerdins use the rest of the points in Holy Shield, which itself isn't able to be maxed in the build, at least not until 96+

    So how to get around this and still get the Prayer we want? Simple! Pride!

    It should be obvious that this is a PvM build, and it DOES rely heavily on the Mercenary for any killing power. But by moving the source of Concentration to the mercenary, we are free to invest the points we would have spent on it ourselves to Prayer.

    Here is a list of gear used to maximize Prayers efficiency. Obviously, tweaks could be made to increase things like Hammer damage and cast rate. But for the sake of this build, we are going for maximum healing power:

    Shako - Cham
    Enigma Breast Plate
    Seraph's Hymn
    Insight*
    Arachnid Mesh
    Trang Oul's Claws
    2x Stone of Jordan
    Rare Resist Boots with Fire/Poison/Lightning Resist

    Anni/Torch
    9x Defensive Grand Charms
    Remaining space filled with Resist and Life Small Charms

    *Given that this build will never swing, it really does not matter what you use. I used a 4 socketed Gnarled Staff since it has no stat requirements, and I suggest you utilize a similar strategy.

    I'm sure you'll all notice how lacking the build is in resist. That's where the small charms are very important. Even after the torch/anni and charms, you may not hit perfect resist, and that is okay. As long as you are in the 55%+ resist range, you should be fine in Hell (but Conviction-wielding unique bosses will have your hide!)

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention stat points, but I figured it'd be obvious that A) with no shield, this is a max vita build and B) with a breast plate Enigma, you should not need ANY points in strength. This build, when twinked, is 100% vitality and NOTHING ELSE.

    Anyways, this setup, after Battle Orders, gets us a whopping level 46 Prayer, which heals 77 life every two seconds.

    Since the mercenary has our Concentration covered, our skill setup is as follows:

    20 Blessed Hammer
    20 Blessed Aim
    20 Vigor
    20 Prayer
    1 Redemption
    Remaining points go to Holy Shield and prerequisites

    With this setup, your Blessed Hammer should top out right around 4.2K damage as long as your merc is alive. While that isn't nearly the 12-16k that many dedicated Hammerdins are used to, it is still more than enough to hold your own in Hell.

    But the more important factor here is that by not using Concentration ourselves, not only do we get to max Prayer, but we get to use another aura ourselves. Namely Cleansing. This is how we achieve the double-regeneration effect.

    So with that setup, at level 90 and with Battle Orders, our skills look like this:

    Blessed Hammer: Level 34, ~4k Damage
    Prayer: Level 46, 77 Life healed every two seconds
    Cleansing: Level 26, Curses and Poison Length reduced by 84%
    Holy Bolt: Level 15, Heals 120-240 life, ~2k Magic Damage (for those pesky Unravelers)
    Holy Shield: Level 28, 445% Defense Bonus, 37% chance to block

    Total regeneration per second with Meditation from Insight and Cleansing activated: 152 life every two seconds

    It is important to note that this will not keep you immortal or save you from mobs, however when playing alone, it will allow you to heal completely in less than one minute without pots or a visit to town, you'll be virtually immune to poison, curses will be laughed off, and you will never run out of mana.

    Again, party play is where this character truly shines. Especially accompanied by a true Hammerdin, as the Pride on your merc can be swapped out for a bigger beat stick and you'll enjoy the benefits of a full-fledged Hammerdin.

    In fact, when I played this setup along side Hammerdins, I noticed almost no difference in my killing power when compared to theirs, and we all enjoyed unlimited life and mana, without anyone in the party worrying about Iron Maiden, Amplify Damage, or any kind of poison.

    This build is hands down my favorite for a party-focused character, and is a HUGE benefit to have while running ANY part of the game.

    I know this was a pretty messy "guide" but it was originally just supposed to be a post about my discovery of Prayer's synergy that turned into me sharing my experience with making this character. As rare as newly discovered builds are after nearly 14 years of D2, I felt that a bit more in-depth look was in order. Hope you guys enjoyed the read, and if you choose to make one of these for yourselves, you are very welcome, if only for finally giving SOME kind of worth to those Preserver's Grand Charms!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  2. Namtar

    Namtar IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    77
    This does sound pretty fun for a large party. Throw in a necromancer with Life Tap and spam Holy Bolts on the elemental damage-dealers for a party that has all of the regeneration all of the time.
  3. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    9,880
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    218
    This looks very cool. I didn't have any idea that prayer didn't follow the hard-point only rule. Why not a prayer mercenary as well for the additional (weaker) prayer aura? Or did I misread the setup or calculation?
  4. Psychonautical

    Psychonautical IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    You can indeed use a Prayer mercenary since you yourself are only using Cleansing and Meditation, so his Prayer wouldn't be overshadowed.

    However, as I pointed out above, the max level of Prayer a merc will hit is 18 hard points. Since Pride is a must, no Arioc's Needle for +4, and the best you could get him to is lvl 22 with +2 skills from helm and +2 skills from armor. This results in a meager 29 life every two seconds.

    This would of course get you a nice 100+ regen every two seconds, but I find that since your own Hammers are already going to be much weaker than usual, it is best to maximize the merc's potential by either using a Might merc to give him decent damage with Concentration + Might (since Pride has no ED%) or the mainstay Holy Freeze which will further increase both of your survivability.

    In fact, I would almost wager that Holy Freeze is a must for the slowing effect. While getting swarmed in Hell will still kill you despite the fast regeneration, cutting the melee swing speed in half actually can result in several monsters not doing enough damage per second to keep up with your replenishing life (and your merc's as well.) So while both you are your merc are weaker on average, the slowing effect + regenerative ability can keep you both very safe while the Hammers grind away at the swarm.

    Of course, if you are in a party and there is someone else with a HF merc, or say if you are playing with a Summon Necro, it may indeed be a good idea to use Prayer. Keep in mind that while monsters in Hell are very strong, they still only do double-digit damage on average. When that is all concentrated on one target, it adds up and life goes down rapidly. But spreading a mobs' efforts among dozens of minions means each Skeleton, for example, will only be taking the damage of a few creatures at most.

    This means that, theoretically, coupling this build with a Summon Necro could result in virtually invulnerable skeletons, as if each is only taking about 50 damage per second (and even less with Decrepify) then they will simply regenerate all the life they lost from each hit, and should never die.

    This is especially true for revives since they have so much life anyways. I'd wager that if the Hammer-Cleric is tele-savvy enough to stay out of harms way, this combo could easily do Ubers with no issue, especially since a solo Necro Uber build is already possible.
  5. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Necroskeletons and all other pets and mercenaries already regenerate damage, unless poisoned or standing in fire.

    Thankfully Insight grants 35 Faster Cast Rate, which allows a 10 frame cast rate with 75 FCR.

    Level 46 Prayer heals 95 every two seconds, not 77, so total healing is 190 every two seconds, not 152. However, this setup gives +11 All Skills (including Battle Command), +3 Paladin Skill Levels and +(10-11) Defensive Auras, which means level 45 Prayer heals 92 every two seconds, so total healing is 184 every two seconds.

    Further:

    • Level 34 Blessed Hammer applies ~6,100-6,163 magic damage with level 16 Concentration, and ~6,857-6,927 with level 20 Concentration.
    • Level 26 Cleansing reduces curse and poison length by 83%.
    • Level 15 Holy Bolt heals 116-248, and applies 1,474-1,639 magic damage to undead (unless you've invested points in Fist of the Heavens).
    I don't know where you got your figures for Prayer's healing, and Holy Bolt and Blessed Hammer damage, but the first corresponds to the value displayed by Diablo Fans skill calculator, which should not be used: while I haven't checked all 210 skills, I'm already aware of a number of errors. inDiablo.de's skill calculator is much more reliable.

    Holy Freeze's reduction of attack and walk/run speed is determined by the target's chill effectiveness, so it can range from -50% to 0%, and it does not slow Act bosses in any of their incarnations. Even if -50% is applied, some monsters have positive attack and walk/run speed modifiers so the result isn't necessarily doubled attack animation length.

    Monster physical attack damage in Hell normally averages high double digits, and 100 is commonly considered as an average (particularly in higher level areas). In Ladder and Single Player games, this increases by 1/16 or 6.25% with each additional player, so in an eight-player game it increases to 143.75.
  6. Psychonautical

    Psychonautical IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Obviously Skeletons regenerate their damage, but not nearly as fast. This is sort of a moot point you made.

    Typo on the 33.

    This was a character I had made earlier this year, and then I took a break from D2 for a bit after dismantling him in favor of a respec, so admittedly, I was using a skill calculator. However, I do recall my hammer damage only reaching about 4-5k with the setup, so I don't know what I was doing wrong. The Prayer numbers are what I got from a skill calculator, so it must be outdated, unfortunately. I appreciate your corrections, as my numbers indeed undersold the values, rather than overstating them.

    Thanks for pointing me to a better calculator!

    Obviously, it goes without saying that Holy Freeze doesn't... blah blah act bosses... blah blah. We all know this. I never suggested it was used for bosses, and I specifically had context surrounding that statement regarding mobs of normal monsters.

    Indeed, HIGH double-digits, but double digits. And of course some reach over 100 or more. But again, that isn't an average. Average is double-digits, and I never stated whether I meant high or low. In the situation I was using, i.e. the summon necro partner, my number still stands valid since most of the monsters you'll encounter will still only do high doubles, occasionally 100, and only on rare occasions much more than that.

    Please note my words such as "much, most and some" when I use them. They are important!

    But again, I appreciate the corrections as I was using a flawed calculator, but my build has been tested on the realms and I would say that my errors don't take away from the legitimacy of the build in the least. As I said, if anything, it is now actually stronger than I remember.

    And not a bad budget build either, as defensive GCs are garbage to most people. Getting 9 was a piece of cake.
  7. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    121
    The significance of Necroskeletons' own damage regeneration depends on maximum life: Necroskeletons regenerate 100/4096 or ~2.44% of maximum life per second, so when summoned in Hell at level 20 Raise Skeleton with level 20 Skeleton Mastery they have 1,919 maximum life and regenerate ~47 per second (~94 every 2 seconds); but at level 40 RS with level 40 SM they have 7,059 maximum life and regenerate ~172 per second (~345 every 2 seconds); now cast level 16 Battle Orders (+80% maximum life) and they have ~12,706 maximum life and regenerate ~310 per second (~620 every 2 seconds). Is this still sort of a moot point?

    Do we? As far as I know, the Arreat Summit has never defined chill effectiveness and lists positive values on its monster pages, which may have led to the following mistaken explanation on this site's wiki's Abominable page (and every other monster page):

    The other two main Diablo II wikis offer no explanation (one doesn't even list it on its monster pages). I haven't seen anything to suggest that this wasn't the prevailing wisdom prior to mid-2010 (and consequently still the prevailing wisdom for most people who've ever played the game, including many who still are), when I actually bothered to investigate it and found out otherwise. So I thought it was worth writing a four-line paragraph consisting of two sentences, which you characterised as blah blah.

    More blah blah: in Hell almost all monsters have -33 chill effectiveness or less (so no more than -33% attack and walk/run speeds, often less), and some (like Death Lords, all Bone Fetishes, Night Marauders, all Willowisps and all Wraiths) have 0 chill effectiveness. While Holy Freeze is still useful, you overstated its effect and, "would almost wager that Holy Freeze is a must for the slowing effect" (clearly you'd emphasis the almost while I'm addressing a must).

    Emphasis added:

    As early as the Den of Evil in Hell, a level 79 area in Act 1, you have normal Zombies applying 54-127 (90.5 average) base physical damage with their A1 attacks and 63-136 (99.5 average) with their A2 attacks, and Gargantuan Beasts applying 63-109 (86 average) with their A1 attacks and 100-127 (113.5 average) with their A2 attacks. Monsters averaging 100 base physical damage or more are not uncommon, nor are they restricted to level 85 areas or the later Acts.

    There's 5% chance of a critical hit doubling damage (increasing average damage by 5%), and while there are also plenty of monsters that average less than 100 base physical damage even in level 85 areas and the later Acts, any monster averaging 70 or more will average 100 or more in eight-player Ladder and Single Player games.

    This is without considering +% Damage (which is not limited to Champion and Unique bonuses), or being cursed with Amplify Damage or Decrepify, or added non-physical attack damage (which tends to supplement lower physical damage, and also increases with higher player counts in Ladder and SP)...

    I try to, but although words like that are meant to qualify statements they can still be disputed (particularly words like much and most).

    I was not and I am not commenting on the legitimacy of this build or this guide as a whole (since many builds can complete the game, and it depends on individual skill, knowledge, patience and item availability whether that individual can do so with any particular build), but on particular factual inaccuracies or statements that could be disputed.

    Incidentally, you might be interested in reading about the Abbot, a Paladin combining Prayer, Meditation and Cleansing with integer damage reduction, as conceptualised by SSoG. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything other than mention of his guide in these forums, so here's the Amazon Basin version.
  8. Psychonautical

    Psychonautical IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Your extensive knowledge of this game never ceases to amaze me. Don't take any of my words as defensive; I know that with the plainess of text, no tone is conveyed, but rest assured I am only optimistically commenting on what I have seen, though obviously I am not nearly as well versed in the mechanics and I appreciate being proven wrong. For example, I had never really noticed the lessened chill effectiveness in Hell, though that is likely because by the time I get a Holy Freeze merc, I have typically rushed to Hell and spend most play time there, so I always assumed the attack speed of monsters was consistently being halved. I do not play single player.

    Also, indeed your point is no longer moot. I bow to thee. Of course, even 300+ regeneration can be improved upon with 150+ regen per 2 seconds. Though it isn't a HUGE difference, the higher the regen, the safer each individual skeleton is to being targeted by multiple monsters.
  9. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    121
    To be fair, differences in attack speed are harder to spot than you'd expect, due to monster AI delays: while the length of the attack animation increases, the length of the AI delay does not.

    For example, if a monster has a 13 frame AI delay and a 12 frame attack animation then -50% attack speed should increase the interval between attacks from 25 (13+12) frames to 37 (13 + 12/0.5) frames, so although being reduced to 50% attack speed can double the length of the attack animation, the attack interval is only 48% longer, not 100% (without the AI delay, increasing attack length from 25 to 37 frames would be equivalent to applying only ~ -33% (1 - 25/37) attack speed).

    So in this example, the difference between -50% and -33% attack speed is between 37 and ~31 (13 + 12/0.67) frames (~19.35% longer), not 24 and ~18 frames (1/3 or ~33.33% longer).
  10. michaeld

    michaeld IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Reading this thread makes me wonder if it isn't possible to get some where between 500 - 1500 hp pr. second in an 8 Paladin party with 8 Mercs, 15-16 times prayer, 1 times meditation, 0-1 times cleanising. E.g. if the average prayer heals 200 hp pr. pulse, then it's approx. 15 * 200 / 2 = 1500 hp pr. second healed. Maximum health of most characters does not exceed 3000, I think, so that's full health every 2 seconds in average. With proper resists, defense, etc. and sticking together as a group, I doubt there'll be any challenge that can take down any single member (3000 hp) within 2 seconds. I suppose this could be equivalent to the abbott guide linked to, just without the PDR.
  11. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Something I forgot, with reference to healing mercenaries and pets: Meditation only heals players, because it does not apply to units that have no mana, so mercenaries and pets will only be healed by Prayer (and Cleansing).

    When multiple Prayer, Meditation and Cleansing auras of different levels apply to a unit, only the highest level aura heals. However, when multiple Prayer, Meditation and Cleansing auras of equal level apply to a unit, all heal, even if the healing differs in the case of Meditation and Cleansing.

    When the Paladin hires a Combat Desert Mercenary supplying Prayer in Act 2 Normal, then at level > 74 he should supply level 18 Prayer; this could be increased to maximum level 23 with +5 All Skills (+2 helm, +2 body armour and +1 Battle Command), resulting in 31 healing every 2 seconds; when the Desert Mercenary equips an Insight polearm, then healing to players is doubled to 62 healing every 2 seconds in total.

    When the Paladin supplies level 45 Prayer, it results in 92 healing every 2 seconds; when he equips an Insight polearm with the same Level Meditation Aura When Equipped as his Desert Mercenary, then his Meditation adds 92 healing every 2 seconds, healing 154 (62+92) every 2 seconds in total; when he also supplies Cleansing, this results in 246 (154+92) healing every 2 seconds in total.

    Replicate this eight times, and it should result in 1,968 healing every 2 seconds in total for players, and 984 (8 * 32+92) healing every 2 seconds in total for mercenaries and pets.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  12. michaeld

    michaeld IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you very much.
  13. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    9,880
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    218
    Wow, that's incredible...

    Do meditation effects stack as well? How much % mana would that be for a team described as above?
  14. BobCox2

    BobCox2 IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    11,500
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    477
    SSoG's old Abbott Build covered the hard point Pray and this build pretty much.
    Part 2- Rammer Jammer Hammer Spammer
    It's very flexible as you have a lot of leftover points as he also covered other offensive skills 3 builds for offense BH or Vengeance or Charge.

    Pray Merc. with insight is key.

    Team Pals are just sick.
    :D
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  15. onderduiker

    onderduiker IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Unfortunately the stacking only applies to healing: as far as the other effects of Meditation and Cleansing are concerned, the normal rule applies (only the highest level, or one among equals).

    I've edited my previous post to clarify.

Share This Page