Assassin FAQ - Diablo Wiki

Assassin FAQ


From Diablo Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search



The Assassin class is unlike any other character class for Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. It is the only class that is a "hybrid" build by nature to be successful, frequently relying on skills from all three Skill trees for maximum effectiveness in both PvM play and PvP play. The most powerful minion of the game, the Shadow Master, is also an Assassin skill. Playing an Assassin requires guile, cunning, and agile fingers to manipulate the hotkeys for maximum effectiveness.

Basic Terms and Abbreviations[edit]

AoE: Area of Effect
AR: Attack Rating
BoI: Blades of Ice
BoS: Burst of Speed
BF: Blade Fury
C/C: Claw/Claw (dual wielding claws)
C/S: Claw/Shield (using a claw and a shield)
CoS: Cloak of Shadows
CoT: Claws of Thunder
CS: Cobra Strike
DC: Dragon Claw
DEF: Defense Rating
DF: Dragon Flight
DR: Damage Reduced (a mod on items)
DTalon: Dragon Talon
DS: Death Sentry
DTail: Dragon Tail
EIAS: Effective Increased Attack Speed
ED: Enhanced Damage
FoF: Fists of Fire
IAS: Increased Attack Speed
LS: Lightning Sentry
MA: Martial Arts, usually referring to the Martial Arts skill tree
MDR: Magic Damage Reduced (a mod on items)
Nat's: Natalya's Odium (the assassin set)
PS: Phoenix Strike
PvM: Player Vs. Monster
PvP: Player Vs. Player
SD: Shadow Discipline Skill tree
SLVL: Skill Level
SM: Shadow Master
SW: Shadow Warrior
TS: Tiger strike
WoF: Wake of Fire
WoI: Wake of Inferno
WB: Weapon Block
CSS: Cruel Scissors Suwayyah
CSSQ: Cruel Scissors Suwayyah of Quickness
CSSE: Cruel Scissors Suwayyah of Evisceration

Misc/Item FAQs[edit]

What claw do I use when determining the WSM Kicks use, when C/C?[edit]

Use your right-hand claw's WSM (the left weapon slot in the Inventory screen).

What mods work on the Blade skills and Kicks?[edit]

For Blade Sentinel (main claw only: i.e. the claw you equip first or the one that's left behind if you unequip one. Shields transfer their effects normally)

What works

Deadly Strike
Elemental damage/Venom (3/8)
Physical/Weapon damage (3/8)
Pierce Target (natural)
Prevent Monster Heal

What doesn't work

Hit Causes Monster to Flee
Hit Freezes Target
Open Wounds
Hit Slows Target
Hit Blinds Target
Crushing Blow
Chance to cast on Striking

For Blade Fury (main claw only: i.e. the claw you equip first or the one that's left behind if you unequip one. Shields transfer their effects normally)

What works

Ignore Target Defense
Deadly Strike/Critical Strike from Claw Mastery
Crushing Blow
Hit Causes Monster to Flee
Chance to cast on Striking
Hit Freezes Target
Elemental Damage/Venom (3/4)
Open Wounds
Hit Blinds Target
Prevent Monster Heal
Hit Slows Target
Physical/Weapon Damage (3/4)

What doesn't work

Chance to cast on Attacking
Pierce Target

For Blade Shield (main claw only: i.e. the claw you equip first or the one that's left behind if you unequip one. Shields transfer their effects normally)

What works

Deadly Strike
Elemental Damage/Venom (1/4)
Physical/Weapon Damage (1/4)

What doesn't work

Open Wounds
Crushing Blow
Hit Causes Monster to Flee
Hit Freezes Target
Chance to Cast on Striking
Pierce Target

For Kicks (main claw only: i.e. the claw you equip first or the one that's left behind if you unequip one. Shields transfer their effects normally)

What works

Leech (both from equipment and CS)
Elemental Damage/Venom (note: Venom is only applied on the monster you target DTail on, not the AoE. However, elemental damage on equipment is added onto the AoE. Elemental damage/Venom is applied on every kick of DTalon, and on DF)
Crushing Blow
Open Wounds
Prevent Monster Heal
Chance to Cast on Striking
Hit Causes Monster to Flee
Ignore Target Defense
Hit Blinds Target
Hit Slows Target
Hit Freezes Target
Chance to Cast on Attacking
KnockBack (natural)

What doesn't work

Weapon damage
Pierce Target
Deadly Strike (includes Critical Strike from Claw Mastery)

Hit Recovery, Cast Rate, and Attack Speed Breaks[edit]

Hit Recovery Frame Rates

0% - 9 frames

7% - 8 frames

15% - 7 frames

27% - 6 frames

48% - 5 frames

86% - 4 frames

200% - 3 frames

4680% - 2 frames

Faster Cast Frame Rates

0% - 16 frames

8% - 15 frames

16% - 14 frames

27% - 13 frames

42% - 12 frames

65% - 11 frames

102% - 10 frames

174% - 9 frames

Block Frame Rates (applicable for both Shield block and WB)

0% - 5 frames

13% - 4 frames

32% - 3 frames

86% - 2 frames

600% - 1 frame

Faster Attack Frames Rates

Refer to Appendix A. Fuzzbox/Lunatic's Assassin Claw/Shield and Claw/Claw Increased Attack Speed (IAS) Breakpoints with Burst of Speed.

Are any mods transferred from the off-hand claw when Kicking or using the Blade skills?[edit]

Unfortunately, none of the above mods (including leech, elemental damage, and Crushing Blow, among the other mods) from the previous FAQ are transferred to Kicks or the Blade skills (if they are on the off-hand claw). Only "indirect" mods such as +skills, +stats, resists with off-hand claws.

Do note that this claw order (between the main and off-hand claw) is reset after you gain a level or take a Town Portal/Waypoint, so remember to re-equip your claws after these events.

Note: As stated above, Shields tack on effects the above effects on their listed normally, if they have they possess the proper mods (e.g.. OW on SwordBack Hold works on BF and Kicks).

Why isn't my attack speed increasing, even though I have a claw with a lot of IAS on my off-hand?[edit]

IAS on your off-hand claw does not work with any skills(or Normal Attack).

If I'm using a missile weapon with the 'Fires Explosive Arrow/Bolt' mod (e.g.. Kuko Shakaku, Demon Machine), is Venom and other mods (like CB, OW, and the rest of the mods in the list above) applied to all monsters in the radius of the Explosive Arrow/Bolt?[edit]

For Venom: Only applied on the target monster, not explosion. For Leech: Yes (applied to radius).

What are synergies?[edit]

Synergies are skills that benefit another skill if you invest in them. For example: BoI contributes to the damage of PS's 3rd charge, if you invest in it. Do note that +skills do not contribute to synergies, only natural points do.

Does the +Whirlwind on the 'Chaos' runeword allow Assassins to release charges and trigger chance to cast X spell/skill mods? Also, when you Whirlwind, do you gain Claw Mastery's bonuses?[edit]

No to releasing charges, and no triggering cast X spells/skills. You do gain Claw Mastery's bonuses when you Whirlwind, though (if you use claws).

Is there any way to get rid of the 50% damage penalty on the 'Chaos' runeword's WhirlWind?[edit]

You can try to look for +all skills items for your gear (note that +all assassin skills won't work). You'll need at least 7 +all skills on equipment to get 'Chaos slvl 1 Whirlwind out of the negative damage range, though.

Does the -35% Enemy Lightning Resistance on the 'Crescent Moon' runeword and the Lightning/Fire-flavored Rainbow Facet help the Traps and FoF/CoT/PS do more damage?[edit]

No for the Traps (as the game considers them minions, they do not benefit from -x% Enemy Resistance), and yes for CoT/PS/FoF. Do note that while -(3-5)% To Enemy Fire/Lightning Resistance on Rainbow Facet does not work with Traps, ATM, we have not confirmed whether the +3-5% To Lightning/Fire Skill Damage on it does (though it has been confirmed not to work in SP).

Both FB and SWeb are exempt from the above bugs/penalties, and benefit normally from Rainbow Facets (e.g.. both -% enemy resistance and +% skill damage work on them), as the game does not consider them true "Traps" (and by extension, they are not considered minions).

Do items that give "+chance to block" add that chance to WB skill?[edit]


What's this NextDelay thing mean?[edit]

NextDelay is a property that activates a hidden "hit timer" that limits how often any attack from that group can damage a single target. This works similarly to the infamous spell timer, which limits how often any spell in that group can be cast. The difference is that the hit timer doesn't prevent you from attacking, it just sets everyone's chance-to-hit that monster (with a hit timer attack) at zero until the timer runs out.

Here's a list of skills (Assassin skills in italics) that are affected by NextDelay, and the lengths of them:

25-Frame Delay (1 second)

Shock Web
Blade Sentinel

10-Frame Delay (0.4 seconds)

Volcano (initial eruption)

6-Frame Delay (0.24 seconds)

War Cry
Grim Ward

5-Frame Delay (0.2 seconds)

Volcano (small fireball)

4-Frame Delay (0.16 seconds)

Multi Shot
Lightning Strike
Chain Lightning
Frost Nova
Poison Nova
Shock Wave
FoH Holy Bolts
Wake of Fire
Claws of Thunder
Phoenix Strike
Dragon Flight
Battle Cry
Battle Command
Battle Orders

So, the moment a certain skill from the list damages a monster, it prevents every other skill on the list from hitting the said monster for the original skill's NextDelay duration (whether from you or any other character).

Hey, why did that Experience shrine effect run out so fast?[edit]

Chances are, you had Fade active. Strange as it is, the game seems to treat lasting Shrine effects as Curses, and accordingly, they suffer a shortened duration when used in conjunction with Fade (exact decrease in duration depends on the slvl). So, when you're about to activate a Shrine, remember to switch to BoS(you can switch back to Fade once you've activated the Shrine with BoS, with no ill effect).

Does Magic Find work with Traps/Shadows?[edit]


What's the best claw to use in PvM?[edit]

It would depend on your build. For Kickers, it's usually Bartucs/Jade Talon. For Trappers, it's usually two +3 Traps/All Assassin skills claws. Nataya's Mark, together with the rest of the set, works nicely for pure PS/Physical Damage Assassins.

Which skills do not work against other players?[edit]

Mind Blast will knock back and stun hostile players but it will not convert them. Cloak of Shadows will not obscure their vision.

What are the Assassin’s special items?[edit]

Claw class weapons. Assassin claws may have +1-3 points in up to 3 individual skills from all three of her skill trees, Traps, Shadow Disciplines, and Martial Arts. These random +skills work just like the bonuses you see on wands/scepters/staves in Diablo II, and can occur on normal, magical, and Rare items and can be any of her skills, Clvl 1 up to and including Clvl 30 ones.

What are the different types of claw weapons she can have?[edit]

Katars, Hatchets and Talons are just a few. There are normal, exceptional, elite and unique variants. You can see the specific claw weapons and their details in Assassin Items.

She also has a Set specifically designed for her, Natalyas Odium, which consists of Katar, Chain Mail, Bone Helm and Chain Boots.

Can the Assassin pick locks?[edit]

Yes, she does not need to keep keys to open locked chests.

How do you stunlock something?[edit]

In PvM, you can't really stunlock a monster the way you can another player. In PvP, if you use MB on an opponent and have a trap doing damage to that opponent, you can keep them in one place, stunned, or "stunlocked." This doesn't work on monsters, since traps don't continue the stun effect in PvM.

What's the best trap to use for stunlocking in PvP?[edit]

It depends on your opponent. Against most opponents, WoF is best, due to the wide area of effect. Against Amazons and Necromancers, LS is usually best.

Martial Art FAQs[edit]

Hey, why isn't my CS/Equipment leech working on those Skeletons? They aren't PI![edit]

Some monsters are naturally resistant or immune to leeching (in addition to PI/StoneSkinned monsters whom also give you a leech penalty). Go to the Arreat Summit's [Monster Listing] for information regarding "Drain Effectiveness" on monster types. Note that this is on top of the [global leech penalties in Nightmare and Hell].

To counter this, you can ask the party Necromancer to cast Life Tap or Amplify Damage (or get charges of them on your own equipment), or simply tack on more leech. When Life Tap is active, it allows 50% normal leech even on monsters with a listed 0% "Drain Effectiveness" (however, it won't make PIs leechable). It's for this reason among others that makes the unique Vampirebone Glove Dracul's Grasp such a hit among melee Assassins.

Q: Are CoT/FoF/BoI/DC still uninterruptible (e.g.. you will always complete the attack, even if you are hit)?[edit]

No for all.

The third charge of CoT now releases Nova and Bolts together. How does CoT's NextDelay of 4 frame affect it?[edit]

A: Since 1.10 CoT has a NextDelay of 4 frames, which means anybody receiving Nova's damage (the faster animation, compared to CB) becomes immune to its bolts for 4 frames (note that while those monsters damaged by Nova are immune to the bolt's damage, they won't be hit by the bolts at all, so targets out of the Nova's range will be damaged by the bolts). So, the pure damage of 1.10 CoT has been nerfed somewhat, but has the secondary feature of being able to damage monsters out of Nova's range.

Does leech work with Kicks?[edit]

Yes, both from CS and equipment leech.

Why is my DTail suddenly so weak when I tried using it in conjunction with FoF?[edit]

In 1.10, for every level (whether natural or from +skills) Fists of Fire has, it converts 3% of your total Physical damage into Fire damage (e.g.. an slvl 20 Fists of Fire will convert 60% of your Physical damage into Fire damage. The no. of Fists of Fire charges present does not chance the 3%/lvl, as long as there's at least one Fists of Fire charge present). This includes the Physical damage portion of DTail, so you'll end up with a lower AoE damage (since the damage of the AoE is calculated from the Physical damage done). Hence, using Fists of Fire in conjunction with DTail is not recommended. The Physical damage that Fists of Fire uses to convert to Fire damage is the total Physical damage of a DTalon/DF, and the total Physical damage of a DTail (not the Fire AoE).

Note that this conversion only takes place when you release your Fists of Fire charges (so you'll convert more Fire damage if you have TS charges active when you release), not when you're charging them. The conversion damage is only applied to the target you release Fists of Fire on, not the AoE.

Would that Physical to Fire damage conversion on Fists of Fire mean I'll do even more Fire damage than I originally had Physical, when Fists of Fire is above slvl 33, since it converts 102%+ Physical damage to Fire?[edit]

No, you'll never have more Fire damage than Physical damage you had originally.

Is the converted fire damage just applied from the base weapon damage or does it benefit up with charges and ED modifiers on equipment?[edit]

The Fire damage converted is taken from the total Physical damage, so yes, it benefits from charges (specifically, TS charges) and +ED on gear.

Since Fists of Fire has this conversion property, does CoT/BoI/PS have similar damage conversions?[edit]

Unfortunately, no. Only Fists of Fire has this conversion property.

Does Venom/elemental damage on my equipment apply on Kicks?[edit]

Yes, it applies on all the kicks of DTalon, DF, and DTail (only on the monster you target the DTail on, not the AoE Fire explosion), despite what the Character Screen might show otherwise.

Does BoI freeze now?[edit]

Yes, BoI's 3rd charge now freezes for its listed duration (though not always. The chance appears to be based on a formula we have yet to discover), and chills for its 2nd charge.

How is Kick Damage calculated?[edit]

This is quite a long answer, so bear with me:

Kick damage formula:

Minimum Damage=[(STR+DEX-20)/4]*(100+skill_bonus)/100 +
Maximum Damage=[(STR+DEX-20)/3]*(100+skill_bonus)/100 +

*Any decimals are rounded down


(STR+DEX-20)/4) and (STR+DEX-20)/3)

Self-explanatory: Just substitute STR and DEX for your current STR and DEX. Notes: For base kick damage, with no boots, STR and DEX have the same effect on Kick damage. DEX, however, also boosts AR and defense. Thus, in 1.09, DEX was the better choice for boosting your kick damage. This is no longer strictly true in 1.10, but the difference comes in a later part of the equation.


The skill_bonus spot is where the ED for DTalon, TS, DFlight, and some other skills such as might get placed (note: this does not include aura bonuses, such as the ED bonus on Might, or ED on equipment, which get added below). If more than one of these sources of ED are present, they get added together and placed into this slot. Remember to put this combined number in absolute terms (e.g.. 1440, not 1440%). Note: DTail's ED bonus is not figured into the equation in this place, it’s actually figured using the result of the kick damage equation (more below).

The next part of the equation dealing with boots and their damage was added in 1.10 (e.g.. everything below until you reach the section on DTail's ED bonus applies). A couple of points worth noting are:

1) This boot damage is added to the normal kick damage, not multiplied with it.
2) The StrBonus is added to the skill_bonus, not multiplied by it. Note: If you aren't going to wear a pair of boots, you may safely omit the following portions of the equation.

BootMinDam and BootMaxDam

These refer to the minimum and maximum damages of boots, respectively. Refer to Boots listing, or this table:

Name Min Dmg Max Dmg
Leather Boots 3 8
Heavy Boots 4 10
Chain Boots 6 12
Light Plated Boots 8 16
Plated Boots 10 20
Demonhide Boots 26 46
Sharkskin Boots 28 50
Mesh Boots 23 52
Battle Boots 37 64
War Boots 39 80
Scarabshell Boots 69 118
Boneweave Boots 69 118
Mirrored Boots 50 145
Myrmidon Greaves 83 149

Note: For the purposes of determining Kick damage, the mods on the pair of boots are irrelevant (+%defense and whether the pair of boots is ethereal also has no effect on Boot Damage). Only the boot type matters.


StrBonus is always 120, regardless of boot type. The skill_bonus slot is handled just as it was in the previous part of the equation. A few paragraphs back, it was noted that DEX is no longer the best choice for increasing Kick damage. Why? While DEX still gives AR and defense, but for pure damage with boots, STR gets figured into the equation twice (once for calculating base kick damage, and again when calculating boot damage) whereas DEX only gets figured into the first part of the equation (base kick damage only).

"off_weaponED" refers to +%enhanced damage that doesn't come from weapons (as long as the ED isn't on a weapon, it is added here. The one exception where non-weapon ED doesn't work with Kicks is the ED on +%ED/Max Damage jewels, regardless of ).

"Aura_bonus" refers to +%enhanced damage that comes from auras like Might, Fanaticism and Concentration.

One last note on fitting in DTail's ED bonus into the equation:

DTail's ED bonus is special, as DTail's ED bonus is multiplied by the result of the above two equations (a property that allows it to get much higher damages than either DTalon or DF, given the same amount of listed Kick ED, per kick). Once you've calculated the results of the above two equations, substitute them into this equation to find the damage of the Fire Explosion attack:

Minimum Damage (the first number you calculated above) * (100+DTail ED bonus)/100 = Minimum Fire Explosion Damage
Maximum Damage (the second number you calculated above) * (100+DTail ED bonus)/100 = Maximum Fire Damage

Here are two examples for calculating Kick damage:

Example No. 1

An Assassin with 200 STR, 100 DEX, slvl 20 TS (charge three currently active, +1440% ED) and slvl 20 DTail(+240% ED), using Myrmidon Greaves, with an slvl 12 Might currently active(+150% ED) and +350% ED on armor:

Minimum Damage=[(200+100-20)/4]*(100+1440)/100 + 83*[100+(200*120/100)+1440+350+150]/100
=(280/4*1540/100) + 83 *(100+ 420+1440+350+150)/100
=(70*1540/100) + 83 *2460/100
=1078 + 2041.8
Maximum Damage=[(200+100-20)/3]*(100+1440)/100 +
=(280/3*1540/100) + 149 *(100+ 420+1440+350+150)/100
=93*1540/100 + 149 * 2460/100
=1432 + 3665
Minimum Damage=3119
Maximum Damage=5097

In game terms, these two numbers represent the amount of pure Physical damage you do to the monster you target DTail on. Note: If you're releasing DTail on a StoneSkinned or PI monster, reduce the damage of these two numbers accordingly(-80% for SS or -100% for PI), before calculating the Fire AoE damage, below. Incidentally, it's this property of DTail that makes it extremely weak against any type of Physical Resistant monster.

To calculate the damage of the Fire explosion, you multiply these two numbers by DTail's ED bonus:

Minimum Fire Damage=3119 * (100+240)/100 = 10604
Maximum Fire Damage=5097 * (100+240)/100 = 17329

In game terms, these numbers represent the amount of pure Fire damage done to all monster (including the monster you targeted DTail on) in a radius of 4 yards.

Example No. 2

n Assassin with 200 STR, 100 DEX, slvl 20 TS (charge three currently active, +1440% ED) and slvl 20 DTalon(+138% ED), using Myrmidon Greaves, with an slvl 12 Might currently active(+150% ED) and +350% ED on armor:

Minimum Damage=[(200+100-20)/4]*(100+1440+138)/100 + 83*[100+(200*120/100)+1440+138+350+150]/100
=(280/4*1678/100) + 83 *(100+ 420+1440+138+350+150)/100
=(70*1678/100) + 83 *2598/100
=1174 + 2156
Maximum Damage=[(200+100-20)/3]*(100+1440+138)/100 +
=(280/3*1678/100) + 149 *(100+ 420+1440+138+350+150)/100
=93*1648/100 + 149 *2598/100
=1532 + 3871
Minimum Damage=3330
Maximum Damage=5403

In game terms, this is the damage of the initial Kick of DTalon (you have to calculate the damages of DTalon's follow-up Kicks separately). However, the subsequent Kicks of DTalon do not gain TS's ED bonus, and hence the skill_bonus should be 138, not 1578, when calculating the damage of each subsequent Kick.

For information regarding Kickspeeds, consult this page.

For information regarding the types of mods that stack on Kicks, consult the first few FAQs of this post.

Special thanks to jrichard for helping us understand the formula (in addition for the answers to a lot of the above FAQs). The above is a simplified version of his own explanation, found here.

Does plus damage work with Kicks? (I.E. 15-25 damage from War Traveler)[edit]


What can I do to increase my Kick damage?[edit]

Use items that add to STR/DEX and MA skills. Bartuc's is an excellent claw to boost kick damage. It has 20 STR/DEX and +3 MA skills. Having a pair of Boots with high damage is also critical (Myrmidon Greaves currently have the best boot damage).

Is Dragon Flight bugged? What happened to its casting delay?[edit]

No, DF's south bug has been fixed. DF's casting delay has been reduced from 2 seconds to 1 second, in 1.10.

What's a Charge-Up move?[edit]

A Charge-Up move is any skill from the Martial Arts tree that's labeled Charge-Up. Some Charge-Up attacks can be used by any melee weapon, though the Elemental branch of the Martial Arts tree (Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, and Blades of Ice) can only be used by claw-class weapons. The maximum number of charges you can accumulate per skill is 3, though you can have multiple Charge-Up skill charges active at once.

Okay, so what's so special about the Charge-Up moves?[edit]

When you attack an enemy with either a normal attack or a specific Finishing Move skill, all charges are released, and their effects added to the effect of the Finishing Move. For instance, let's say you charge Tiger Strike three times and Phoenix Strike two times. You then release with a normal attack. This normal attack now has the damage increased by the Tiger Strike's three charges, and has the effect of releasing a bolt of chain lightning starting at the enemy you hit.

So what's the best Charge-Up skill to use?[edit]

It really depends upon what you need to do. There is no all-purpose Charge-Up skill, but there are three very good ones. Tiger Strike increases the physical damage you do, which is great against single targets. Phoenix Strike is an all-purpose elemental attack Charge-Up skill, which is better suited for groups of enemies. Cobra Strike is best coupled with Tiger Strike, so the life and mana recovered by a finishing move is much higher.

How do Martial Art Charge-ups work?[edit]

A Charge Up skill can be charged up to three times, each charge is more powerful than the previous. You must successfully hit your target to register a charge indicated by a colour orb circling the Assassin. Once charged its bonuses can be released by using a Finishing Move {or Attack}. The Finishing Move will also apply a bonus to the attack.

An example combination of Charge Up and Finishing Move would be:

Left Skill - Fists of Fire
Charge Up
Right Skill - Dragon Claw
Finishing Move
Level One

Charge 1: Fire Damage: 6-10
Charge 2: Fire Damage Radius: 2 y
Charge 3: Burning Duration: 2.5 sec
Attack: +50%
Mana Cost: 2

Level One

Damage: +50%
Attack: +50%
Mana Cost: 2

Attack with the left mouse button {Fist of Fire} once and your finishing move will apply 6-10 fire damage, charge it a second time and your finishing move will apply 6-10 fire damage over a 2 yard radius, charge it a third and final time and your finishing move will apply 6-10 fire damage, over a 2 yard radius and will burn for 2.5 seconds.

Can I use Martial Arts when wielding any weapon?[edit]

2 Claws Claw/
2 handed
Bow Throwing/
Tiger Strike Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes* No
Fists of Fire Yes Yes No No No No No
Cobra Strike Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes* No
Claws of Thunder Yes Yes No No No No No
Blades of Ice Yes Yes No No No No No
Phoenix Strike Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes* No
Dragon Talon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dragon Claw Yes No No No No No No
Dragon Tail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dragon Flight Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Q: Can I use Martial Arts without weapons?[edit]

Yes, you can go bare fist if you wish, for all except DC, CoT, BoI and Fists of Fire which must have 2 claw-class weapons (for DC) or at least 1 claw-class weapon (CoT/BoI/FoF) equipped to use.

What's the maximum number of charge ups the Assassin can have at one time?[edit]

There doesn't appear to be any limit, other than the maximum of 3 per charge up skill. There are six charge up skills and the Assassin could have 18 charge ups in total before Finishing.

How many charge ups do I need before doing a finishing move?[edit]

You do not need to have any charge ups to use a finishing move. Finishing moves can be used as an attack in their own right and you will still benefit from its listed bonuses.

How long do my charge ups last before disappearing?[edit]

Charges will only stay active for 7 seconds. To keep them active, you’ll need to score another successful hit of the particular chargeup once every 8 seconds. This is the main reason why it’s not very feasible to juggle more than 3 types of chargeups at any one time, as it becomes hard to tell which chargeup requires refreshing.

If the Charge Up and Finishing Move both have plus to attack rating do they stack when you perform the finishing move?[edit]

No. The AR bonus is not stored with the Charge Ups and released with the Finishing Move. The AR bonus is applied each time you attack with the Charge up. If the Finisher has an AR bonus also then that is applied when you strike with your finishing move.

Does Dragon Claw and Dragon Talon apply charge ups more than once?[edit]

No. Although the description for Dragon Claw reads "Adds charged-up bonuses to both claw attacks", it does not appear to do so, at version 1.10. It releases charges with the first claw that successfully attacks and the second just comes with the damage/attack bonus of Dragon Claw. Dragon Talon can have multiple kicks but any charge ups are released on the first kick only.

Shadow Disciplines FAQ[edit]

Can I pre-buff my Shadows and Fade/BoS/Venom, with, for example, a pair of +3 Shadow Disciples claws on my weapon switch? Will the bonuses disappear once I switch back?[edit]

You can pre-buff the above skills, and they will keep the bonuses at the time of the cast, even if you change equipment.

Hey, why is my MB stunning so long in Hell?[edit]

The duration penalties in the NM/Hell difficulties don't appear to affect MB's stun duration (whether this is a bug or feature remains to be seen). Go nuts with MB!

Q: How do you calculate the skill level of the skills the Shadows use?[edit]

Shadows' skills are 1/2(your Assassin's level in that skill including +skills) rounded down PLUS 1/3(level of shadow at time of casting including +skills), rounded down. So, if you had a lvl 24 MB and slvl 9 SM, your SM would cast an slvl 15 MB. This formula is also used to calculate synergy bonuses in the FAQ below.

Do Shadows benefit from synergies?[edit]

Yes, but in a strange way. Shadows do not appear to have a synergy cap of 20 points, as per other classes, but continue to gain synergy bonuses even after slvl 20, assuming the Assassin has +skills that will boost that level above 20(potentially allowing the Shadow to do more damage with a certain skill than the Assassin herself, or at least matching it). However, to gain the synergy bonuses of a certain skill, it must choose to use that skill (for example, a Shadow would need to use Fists of Fire before getting Fists of Fire's synergy bonuses on PS's Meteor. The same principle works with Lightning Traps, for example). Note: Once that particular Shadow dies (or you re-cast it), it has to "re-learn" all its synergies.

While it's possible to get a Shadow to do more damage with a Lightning Trap than yourself, it often becomes a trying exercise in order to get your Shadow to use the skill you want it to (given how fickle the Shadow AI is). It's easier to control which skill a Shadow Warriors uses, but it gets difficult keeping even a high level SWarrior alive in Hell.

As an example to illustrate how a Shadow might do damage with her skills:

Assuming the Assassin has:

20 LS (+20 skills)
20 DS (+20 skills)
20 CBS (+20 skills)
20 SWeb (+20 skills)
20 SWarrior (+11 skills)
LS damage/bolt: 4485 avg.

As synergy bonuses stretch beyond slvl 20(for the Shadow), the Shadow would use (according to the formula in the previous FAQ):

31 LS
31 DS
31 CBS
31 SWeb
LS damage/bolt: 4244 avg.

Q: Hey, why is my WB blocking elemental attacks?[edit]

WB blocks elemental attacks in addition to (normally) unblockable attacks, such as Smite. Here's a list of elemental attacks we've verified to be Blockable or Unblockable with WB. Note that all of the below are Unblockable with normal Shields. Elemental skills denoted with a "?" are unconfirmed:

Class-based elemental skill list (some monster still use the below skills. e.g.. Inferno for Fetish Shaman)

Phoenix Strike/Chain/Lightning/Sentry - Blockable Wake of/Inferno - Blockable Skeleton Mage Missiles - Blockable Teeth - Blockable Bone Spear - Blockable Bone Spirit - Blockable Poison Nova - Blockable Smite - Blockable Fist of the Heavens - Blockable Firebolt/Hydra - Blockable Fireball - Blockable Blaze - Unblockable Firewall - Unblockable Phoenix Strike/Meteor - Blockable (Meteor impact itself is blocked, not residual flames) Claws of Thunder/Nova - Blockable Phoenix Strike/Ice Bolt/Frozen Orb - Blockable (Ice Bolts are blocked with Frozen Orb, not the Orb itself) Blizzard - Blockable Molten Boulder - Unblockable Artic Blast - Blockable Fissure - Unblockable Hurricane - Blockable

Monster-based elemental skill list

Tainted Lightning Ball - Blockable (no 'tink' sound) Sand Maggot/Frog Demon/Tentacle Beast Poison Missile - Blockable Greater Mummy Unholy Bolt - Blockable Oblivion Knight Missiles - Blockable Fanatic Enslaved Explosion – Blockable

Demon Imp Fire Missile - Blockable Succubi Blood Star - Blockable Baal Hoarfrost - Blockable (once one successful block is achieved, you will no longer take damage or be knocked back by the same Hoarfrost)

In addition, WB chance to block remains the same when you run, unlike Shield block, which decreases to 1/3, when you run.

Q: What's this about Fade having PDR?[edit]

Fade has a hidden PDR bonus of 1% per skill point invested it in (whether natural or from +skills). So, an slvl 10 Fade would have 10% hidden PDR. This only applies when Fade is active.

What kind of equipment does my Shadow spawn with?[edit]

SWarriors get all their bonuses at level one

Magical Blade Talon on their left hand
Magical Cestus on their right hand
Magical version of the your own armor's base item (e.g. if you wore a Spirit Shroud, they would spawn with a magical version of Ghost Armor)
Magical version of your own helm's base item

At level 1, SMs spawn with

Superior Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
Superior Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand
Superior version of your own armor's base item

At level 5, SMs spawn with

Superior Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets

At level 6, SMs spawn with

Magical version of your own armor's base item
Magical version of your own helm's base item
Magical Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
Magical Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
Magical Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

At level 9, SMs spawn with

Magical right ring

At level 11, SMs spawn with

Rare version of your own armor's base item
Rare version of your own helm's base item
Rare right ring
Rare Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
Rare Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
Rare Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

At level 13, SMs spawn with

Rare left ring

At level 17, SMs spawn with

Rare amulet

So, all in all, a maxed out (item-wise) SM would spawn with

Rare version of your own armor's base item
Rare version of your own helm's base item
Rare left ring
Rare right ring
Rare amulet
Rare Bramble Mitts/Vambraces/Orge Gauntlets
Rare Suwayyah/War Fist/Scissors Suwayyah on their right hand
Rare Battle Cestus/Runic Talon on their left hand

The level of equipment a Shadow can spawn with is 24 + 3/level of Shadow at time of casting.

Note: Both SMs and SWarriors do not spawn with Belts, Shields and Boots at any level.

Q: How many Shadows can the Assassin have at once?[edit]

One at a time. One Warrior or one Master. Casting another of either will replace the previous one.

Can Shadows be healed?[edit]

Yes and No. They can be healed but you do not heal them as you do Mercenaries {giving them a health potion}. Shadows are healed when you visit the town healer.

Can Shadows cast a Shadow?[edit]


Will the passive bonus of Weapon Block work with any weapons?[edit]

No. Weapon Block only works when you are dual wielding claw class weapons, it is inactive when using any other equipment {including a shield} so you will have no passive block bonus.

Why do I still do Poison damage over 0.4 seconds with Venom, despite having an X poison damage item with a long duration?[edit]

When Venom is active, it converts the durations of all the poison sources on your equipment match its own(0.4 seconds). Consequently, the damages of all your poison sources are reduced to how much damage they would do over 0.4 seconds (for example, a 400 poison damage charm with a 5 second duration would be converted to 32 poison damage charm with a 0.4 second duration, when Venom is active). For this reason, external poison damage sources are usually useless when used with Venom. Despite this, keep a lookout for items with a high damage/low duration ratio, which may add a decent amount of damage to Venom, in addition to +skills and +poison skill damage mods.

Also, try to look at things in terms of ratios (this doesn't just apply to Venom, it applies to many chargeups and Traps as well). While 500 damage on Venom applied over 0.4 seconds may look paltry at first, look at it in terms of seconds(1250 damage/second, or even 12500/10 seconds) and you might change your mind. The only time you have to worry about the true duration (in Venom's case, 0.4 seconds, or 10 frames), is when you're checking whether you meet or exceed the listed duration with your attack, so you're doing the most damage/time possible(10 frames or below, in Venom's case). If you're attacking slower than the listed duration, you're not getting the most out of the skill, as there are instances where Venom's duration elapses, when you're still attacking(11 frames or above, in Venom's case).

Note: Venom's short duration unfortunately means that certain fast attacking skills (such as DTalon and its quick follow-up kicks) don't quite benefit as much as they do with other skills, per attack, as DTalon alone usually does high damage. Chargeups and other finishers truly benefit from Venom, however.

What type of damage does PH/MB deal?[edit]

PH deals half Physical, half Magic damage. MB deals pure Physical damage.

What are some of the properties of CoS?[edit]

1. Unlike in 1.09, damage does not dispel the 'blindness' effect of CoS. The enemy vision radius of the monster while blinded is 1, but if a monster to be doing something (e.g.. chasing you) when you cast CoS, he will continue to do so (until you interrupt him, with a Psychic Hammer, for example), then remain stationary when the action is finished.
2. CoS dispels Firewalls (in the Arcane Sanctuary).
3. CoS prevents Shamans from reviving Fallen, Flesh Spawners from creating babies, Sand Maggots from laying eggs and ranged attackers from firing.
4. CoS forces monsters to use their melee attack, even if they are in range for a secondary attack (e.g. Balrogs will never use their Inferno ability when CoS is active).
5. The blinding effect of CoS does not work on Bosses, Champions, Super uniques (including Act Bosses), Minions of Destruction, and Oblivion Knights. The -%defense on CoS works on all monsters except Act Bosses.
6. CoS's defense bonus is treated differently from any other defense modifier (except RibCracker's defense bonus, which is additive with CoS's bonus). Hence, it is multiplicative, not additive, with other defensive modifiers, such as Defiance and Shout. To understand how this works, a bit of explanation on how to calculate a character's defense is needed:

A) Find the base defense of a character. For player characters, this is just Dexterity/4 and rounded down. For hirelings this should be their Dexterity/4 rounded down, plus whatever defense they gain from levels.
B) Find the item defense of a character. This is the sum of all defense you obtain from items, which includes your helm, armor, shield, gloves, belts, and boots. Note that +%defense on items that have a defense number are exclusive to that item alone. So, if you have a Helmet with a base defense of 5(and a +100% defense mod on it, making the total helmet defense 10) and a Quilted Armor with a base defense of 10(and a +50% defense mod on it, making the total armor defense 15), you would have an item defense of (10 + 15) = 25, not (5 + 10) * 2.5 = 37.5
C. Multiply item_armor_percent bonuses to the results of #B, then round down (the bonuses below are additive with each other):

Sources of item_armor_percent include:

Valkyrie defense bonus
Spirit Wolf defense bonus
Dire Wolf defense synergy from Spirit Wolf
Grizzly defense synergy from Spirit Wolf
Cloak of Shadows defense bonus
+%Defense on items without a defense number (e.g.. rings, amulets, weapons. So, instead of +%Defense usually being applied only on the item it's on, +%Defense on weapons/rings/amulets are effectively being applied on every single piece of equipment. It's this property that makes RibCracker such a popular weapon on characters focusing on defense).
D. Sum up the results of #A and #C to obtain total character defense.
E. Multiply skill_armor_percent bonuses to #D, then round down to find total defense (e.g.. what's being used for calculating the chance a monster hitting you. Again, the bonuses below are additive with each other):

Sources of skill_armor_percent mods include:

All Sorceress cold armors
Paladin's Defiance, Conviction, Holy Shield
Barbarian's Shout, Concentration, Iron Skin, Battle Cry
Werebear defense bonus
Cloak of Shadows debuff
Shadow Warrior defense bonus
Overseers whipping their minions
Succubi defense curse

The result is that CoS multiplies the item defense, before other +%Defense modifiers on skills are put into effect. In the end, you get a much higher defense than you would usually have, had CoS's +%Defense bonus been a skill_armor_percent bonus instead of a item_armor_percent (especially if you have a lot of bonuses from the skill_armor_percent section). Whether this property is a bug (since it's the only skill in the item_armor_percent section that affects the character and not the minion) or a feature remains to be seen.

Special thanks to Zath (from the Lurker Lounge) for discovering this property of CoS, and Frenzied Bovine for helping us understand how +%Defense on weapons/rings/amulets fits into the equation above and the other properties of CoS, in addition to a whole of lot of the FAQs at DiabloII.Net).

Q: I've heard there's a bug with Claw Mastery. Is this true?[edit]

Not anymore (in 1.10). The 100% Critical Strike and AR/Damage switching bugs on Claw Mastery have been fixed.

What are the differences between Shadow Warrior and Shadow Master?[edit]

Shadow Warrior can cast only the two skills readied in your left and right skill button, while Shadow Master can use any of the Assassin's skills, even if there are no points in it.

Shadow Master has more life than the Warrior and comes with in-built elemental resistances and will be able to inflict a good deal more damage. In addition, at higher levels, Shadow Master spawns with better equipment than Shadow Warriors.

Shadow Master costs 40 mana to cast and Warrior costs 27 at level one and rises by 2 with each skill point.

Should I use Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master?[edit]

In most cases, Shadow Master is going to be a superior minion when compared to Shadow Warrior. Shadow Masters are downright the best summoned Minion in the game. Shadow Masters can use 28 out of 30 of the Assassin skills, including skills that you haven't invested any points in yourself. Of course, a Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master cannot summon their own Shadow. Shadow Masters with enough points in the skill have pretty decent hit points (not as many as a Valkyrie, but Valkyries are nothing more than big dumb meat shields), can help out by tanking for you against monsters, can set traps, Mind Blast monsters (sometimes this is an undesirable effect, but their other benefits outweigh the occasional ill-timed conversion), and even do moderate damage, even in Hell.

However, with some micromanagement, SWarriors can complement your killing efficiency quite well, due to the recent discovery of how Shadows gain synergy bonuses (in some of the above FAQs).

Can her 'auras' stack?[edit]

While Burst of Speed and Fade will not stack together, Burst of Speed + Venom or Fade + Venom do stack.

Also, these skills do not transfer to other players in the Assassin's party so two Assassins both with Burst of Speed active at the same time will not double the effects.

Is Claw Mastery worth 20 points like a Barb’s mastery?[edit]

It depends. Obviously, on a Trapper or Kicker, Claw Mastery isn't going to be of much use, as Claw Mastery doesn't add damage to Traps or Kicks. However, if you're playing a build that's heavy on chargeups or relies on claw damage, then max Claw Mastery is probably worth the points.

Trap FAQ[edit]

What exactly does +x/y weapon damage on the various Blade skills mean?[edit]

It means that x/y of your total damage is in effect on the Blade skill, in addition to its own natural damage. This includes elemental damage, poison, etc., bonuses from CM/STR/DEX in terms of claw damage despite what it says. If you're C/C, it uses damage from whichever claw you equip first (or have still equipped, if you unequipped one) + external elemental damage.

It should be noted that this property reduces Venom's duration in proportion to its damage, and not its damage alone. For example: At level one, Venom does 60-80 damage over 0.4 seconds(150-200 over one second), and can be expressed in the following equation):

(150-200 damage / sec) times (0.4 seconds) = 60-80 total damage

The Blade skills' property (in this case, BSentinel's +3/8 damage) changes the above equation:

60-80 (over 0.4 secs) reduced to 60-80 * 3/8 (over 0.4 sec * 3/8) =
60-80 (over 0.4 secs) reduced to 22.5-30 (over 0.15 sec.)

So while the damage/frame is still unaffected, in practice, you have to be able to hit once every 0.15 seconds(3.75 frames) to keep up your Venom damage rate, which is near impossible except with Blade Shield and BFury.

Note: It isn't a good idea to use Two-Handed weapons with the Blade skills, if your aim is to improve Physical damage with them, as the Physical damage of Two-Handed weapons takes an additional 50% damage penalty (on top of the fraction of damage that is applied on the Blade Skills). So, when using Two-Handed weapons, only 3/8 on BFury, 3/16 on BSentinel, and 1/8 on Blade Shield of Physical damage is transferred over to the Blade skills (despite what it shows for BFury and BSentinel on the Character Screen). However, the elemental damage transferred remains unaffected.

Q: What is Blade Shield's range?[edit]

Blade Shield's range is locked at 6(or 4 yards). Weapon range does not affect it.

What determines the speed of Blade Shield (how often it does damage)?[edit]

Blade Shield's speed is locked at 25 frames (i.e. it damages every second).

Do Blade Fury, Blade Sentinel and Blade Shield need AR, or do they have a 100% chance to hit?[edit]

No, they do require AR (use Normal Attack AR), despite them not having an AR listed on the Character Screen.

How do I increase the rate my Traps fire their shots?[edit]

Unfortunately, this isn't possible. The speed at which Traps fire is locked.

How do you calculate Blade Fury's speed?[edit]

The speed an Assassin throws out each star is locked at 6 frames.

Since the Blade skills make use of weapon damage, do Claw Mastery/+%ED Auras (such as Might) increase the damage you do with the Blade skills?[edit]

Yes to both. However, Claw Mastery only increases the Blade skills' damage if you're using claw(s).

SWeb and BSentinel have a 25 frame(1 second) NextDelay. How does this affect the skills?[edit]

The NextDelay property, in this case, renders these two skills mostly useless (even detrimental), as they do little damage, in addition to preventing the above attacks from doing any damage for the 1 second duration (including attacks in the NextDelay list, from other characters). However, they both have some redeeming factors. SWeb is still useful as a Lightning trap synergy, and BSentinel remains the only AoE duration-based Blade skill (and hence is a good method of distributing poison/elemental damage), in addition to looking very cool.

WoF has a 4 frame NextDelay. How does this affect the skill?[edit]

Given that WoF fires its shots so fast, there may be a chance of WoF shots hitting a target may overlap and cause one another not to do any damage (especially with multiple WoF traps). To remedy this somewhat, try not to cast WoFs from the same distance to a crowd (or boss) or bunch all your WoFs together, so there will be a short time between each WoF hitting a crowd, to allow NextDelay to expire (having a tank, like an SM or Act 2/5 mercenary to keep the crowd/boss as still as possible, helps greatly).

What determines the speed you throw FBs and lay Traps?[edit]

A: Your "Normal Attack" speed (use the heading "%IAS required for 7 frame attack with Claw/Shield Non-Elemental Chargeup Attack" on this for finding out the speed of your Normal attack. If you're C/C, use the WSM of the claw you equip first, or the claw that remains, if you unequip one) is used for calculating the speed at which you lay Traps and throw FBs. Since the speed of your "Normal Attack" is subject to IAS on your equipment and slvl of BoS (if any), so is your FB throwing & Trap-laying speed.

Why is my WoI barely hitting anything?[edit]

It's been discovered that the actual missile that causes the damage of WoI is extremely thin, which makes it useless on moving targets. WoI still has hope with completely stationary targets, though.

How many traps {sentries} can the Assassin place?[edit]

She can place a maximum of five Sentries at any one time. These can be mixed (2 Wake of Fire, 3 Lightning) or all the same kind. The five cap only applies to Sentries (Charged Bolt Sentry, Wake of Fire, Lightning Sentry, Wake of Inferno and Death Sentry). Do note that the Traps that your Shadow casts also counts towards this limit. For example, if you had five WoI traps active, and your Shadow casts an LS, one of your WoI traps would be destroyed and replaced with your Shadows's LS.

While BFury, Blade Shield, SWeb and FB don't count as Traps in terms of the trap limit, BSentinel does (when you have 5 WoI traps active, and cast a BSentinel, one of your WoIs will disappear). Theoretically, an Assassin is not able to have more than 5 BSentinels active at the same time, due to limitations from its casting delay and duration (there is also a hard limitation that prevents more than 5 BSentinels from being cast, as the first BSentinel will wink out before the sixth is cast).

So the best traps to use are WoF, WoI, LS, and DS?[edit]

Some combination out of those four, yes. Don't bother putting more than one point into DS, as the lightning damage is not as good as LS. The only thing that increases per slvl is the corpse explosion radius. But remember, a maxed trap is better than several low level traps.

Also, remember to put natural points in the relevant Trap synergies to ensure your Traps' effectiveness in Hell.

Can monsters/players destroy traps?[edit]



jrichard, Frenzied Bovine, Sebol, Fenriz, LGT_Freak, RogueMage (from the Amazon Basin forums), LeserXYZ, Cironir, Brainles, Skythe, BT-LightDash, Loschnorg, eclipsedk, Tommi Gustafsson, The_Great_Apple, Mr Bones, StealthStalker, BIGeyedBUG, Polaris, *Cyrus*, Zath (from the Lurker Lounge forums), Shade, zen_bc, The_Great_Apple, Noni_Ryder, weylun, archpsi, Forksup31, dydx, adeyke (from the Amazon Basin Forums), several users of the Assassin forum and the Lurker Lounge .

Copyright IncGamers Ltd 2016