Guide:Lightning Amazon v1.10, by Jek - Diablo Wiki

Guide:Lightning Amazon v1.10, by Jek

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Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
  • Patch: v1.10
  • Gametype: PvE/PvM
  • Class: Amazon
  • Specialisation: Lightning Javazon
  • Author: Jek


Skills[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Hi, some of might know me, some of you might not. After having conquered the 1.10 patch, and made it to hell on ladder (with a Hammerdin, yes I'm cheesy). I wanted to try something new. A friend of mine suggested making a Javazon, at first I raised an eyebrow, why on earth would I want to make a fruity 1.09 build? But, my interest had been wakened. After having studied the skills and synergies, I came to the conclusion that the build just might be a strong choice, so I booted up Diablo2, and created my very first 1.10 Lightning Amazon. She was a disaster, simply put. I had fallen for Power Strike's charming high damage, and thus negated other important skills. At first I thought the build was weak, but then after some discussion and skill calculation/speculation I tried again, this time with great success.

I do not consider the following text as a "normal" Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction guide. I'm not going to say, “Thou shalt equip a Stormshield, Titans Revenge and an Enigma armor or thou willth be smiteth by The Holy Gods of Diablo!”. Instead of giving a clear-cut item setup, I’ll try to make a discussion about most of the viable uniques/runewords/crafted items there is. And as a result, end up with a guide that’s capable of playing untwinked from level 1 to level 99. For the same reason the discussion of stat-points will be one of the smaller parts of this “guide”. I will give this advice however: "Enough for your items, high block and rest to vit."

One of the strongest features of this kind of char is she's very item independent, she could waltz through Chaos Sanctuary with a cracked javelin if need be.

I hope this will spawn some attention to this great subclass, lets show them Paladins, Necromancers and Sorcerers that the Amazon is still the queen of killing the spawns of hell!

Key

LF: Lightning Fury
CS: Charged Strike
LS: Lightning Strike
LI: Lightning Immune
PI: Physical Immune
AR: Attack Rating
MS: Multiple Shot
LE: Lightning Enhanced
IAS: Increased Attack Speed
FPA: Frames per Attack
APS: Attacks per Second
CBF: Can't Be Frozen
FHR: Faster Hit Recovery
FBR: Faster Block Rate
FRW: Faster Run/Walk
ICB: Increased Chance of Block
MF: Magic Find

Rating System:
The King!: *****
Very Good: ****
Good: ***
Average: **
Useless: *

Javelin Skills[edit]

This tree will be where we'll spend most of our time allocating skill-points. I've split it up into two discussions, #1-Lightning Skills, #2-Physical Skills, I'll jump right over the Poison Skills since I have little to no experience using these, if anyone could help me out here I'd greatly appreciate it. Enough senseless rambling, unto the skills!

Lightning

Ah, the source of all our powers - after all we are the Lightning Amazon. This is both our strength and our weakness, while specializing yourself heavily in one elemental you will lose killing speed when encountering LI monsters, while there are methods to slay these foul fiends it is something you should consider. Would I really want to sacrifice flexibility for pure power? If the answer is yes, then read on, if no I suggest going the route of a Poison/Lightning Fury Javazon.

Power Strike

At first one could be tempted by this skill, it does list some incredible lightning damage. Do not blind yourself, this skill pales in comparison with the later skills. My suggestion, spend one point as a pre-requirement. One could argue it’s worthwhile for starting out; I personally do not have troubles using it until I reach Charged Strike. Rating: *

Lightning Bolt

This is an excellent early skill; converting 100% of your physical damage into lightning elemental is very nice against early encounters with demons of the physical immune species. However, it as its low level cousin (Power Strike) pales in comparison with a certain cow frying skill (read: Lightning Fury). But as Power Strike, boosting this a tad might help out the starting procedure; again, I will advice against doing so. Rating: **

Charged Strike

Now we are talking, this skill will be your bread and butter when it comes to killing "big" monsters and smaller packs (Hard to explain, but usually around 5 are a good choice for CS). By "big" monsters I mean monsters which are larger than your average size fiend, good examples would be Venom Lords and Act Bosses, their size allows your strike to hit the monster multiple times with the charged bolts which results in a crispy carcass (multiple bolts will hit the same target resulting in massive damage). Until you've tried killing Diablo with this skill and two synergies you haven't seen the build's true power. NOTE: This skill will probably be your left click if you decide to go the more balanced Lightning route. Rating: *****

Lightning Strike

Another excellent skill, Lightning Strike is very effective at bringing down larger packs - in fact in the later acts/difficulties more important than LF. As with CS you'll have to use it against the "right pack", basically any big pack would do. As an additional bonus the skill looks awful when executed on a large group. NOTE: This skill might be affected by the NextDelay bug. The chain lightning from LS jumps between monsters and if a monster is hit twice within 4 frames then it the last LS will not deal any damage. Rating: ****

Lightning Fury

An old friend of many I suspect. We all remember the 1.09 days of slaughtering cows upon cows with this little gem. To all the lovers of it out there, do not moan over this lost friend for it shines again! LF really adds the last piece to the Lightning Puzzle; it gives you great ranged power which most sorceresses would envy you. Rating: *****

Physical Skills

Jab

An excellent early physical skill, this is my skill of choice when dealing with the LIs you will encounter, even if you go all the way of the Lightning Amazon you'd need to get this skill as a pre-req, luckily it's a one-point wonder. Rating: ****

Javelin "normal" speedtab

fps [20] [10] [0] [-10
16/8 0
15/8 2
14/7 7
13/7 14 3
12/6 24 11
11/6 39 23 10
10/6 58 39 23 10
10/5 65 40 25 15
9/5 89 63 42 26
8/5 142 102 72 50
8/4 170 120 90 60
7/4 270 187 133 95

Impale

Some might argue this skill has it uses, personaly I hate it. While it can work it need the entire char to be pretty much build for it. And the entire ideas about destroying your equipment for damage seems rather weak, you’d want those gold coins spend on repairing for gambling/shopping. Rating: *

Fend

Fend, while being a decent skill it got one problem, to really make it better than Jab you have to dedicate a lot more points into it. Fend simply can't compete with Jab skill-point economic-vise. NOTE: Bugged, if you are hit during a fend-cycle the remaining attacks will miss. Quite dangerous – as you will be standing in the middle of combat. Rating: ***

Suggestions

Below I've listed my three amazons, one pure lightning, one with FA and one with Guided Arrow. Overall I believe the pure lightning to be the strongest, with a good enough javelin and jab you really don't need another element. It's alot more expensive tho.

Pure Lightning Amazon

  • Max Charged Strike
  • Max Lightning Strike
  • Max Lightning Fury

This will give you great melee both against big and lesser packs (CS and LS) while still having the option of going ranged against great mobs (LF) -- You wouldn't need ranged against single monsters, CS should allow you kill even the strongest mob very fast. A one-point wonder to remember is Jab, this will be your main attack against LI's, and I’ve chosen not to raise it. I've never had the urge for it, this is a personal choice.

Balanced Lightning Amazon

  • Max Charged Strike
  • Max Lightning Strike
  • Level 1 Guided Arrow or going all the way to get Freezing Arrow

This will give you very strong lightning attacks, not as strong as that of a pure lightning build obviously, but enough to handle most monsters with relative ease. LI monsters are handled from range with a high damage bow, Valkyrie and your mercenary. It’s worth mentioning that going the FA route will add a lot of safety to your Valkyrie and mercenary when they fight the foul beats.

End Game Damage (Skill level is 20)

Pure Lightning Amazon
LF 21 Bolts 1-823
LS 21 Hits 1-1286
CS 7 Bolts 1-1674
Balanced Lightning Amazon
LF 21 Bolts 1-707
Cs 7 Bolts 3-1030


Passive/Magic Skills[edit]

Survival. This Skilltree will make you live through the carnage. This is not a skill tree to be ignored; ignoring this will most likely result in pulling out a lot of hair and deciding to restart the char.

Passive

What's really better than boosts you don't have to spend time activating? This is here we will talk about the passives in the survival skill tree.

Dodge

Will help you survive in the heat of battle. Really longer your lifespan if wielding a shield too, a very powerful skill for the people that wants to live. Rating: ****

Avoid

Dodging missile attacks is strong, but against archers you'll most of the time rush against them and thus negating the bonus from Avoid, it's a decent skill, but there are better. Rating: **

Evade

Ever dreamt about being Neo and dodging bullets like there's no tomorrow? Well this skill will help you do exactly that. A very strong choice as ranged monsters really is a force to reckon with now. This does what Avoid wanted to do and more. Rating: ****

Critical Strike

Doubling your physical damage is good, don't get me wrong, but most of your damage will be from Lightning anyway. Some might argue that it'll help you against LIs, true, but from my testing it isn't needed. It's a very good point to spend on level 2 however, as it will most likely be combined with Jab as of level 3. Rating: ** Rating: **** -- If focusing more on Physical damage.

Penetrate

Getting higher AR is almost always good; however you really do not need it. CS, LS and LF are all auto-hits. Even if you went with PS instead of one of the others you wouldn't need it as PS gives quite a boost to AR on its own. It's a useful one-point wonder however, as it helps you when jabbing. Rating: **

Pierce

We all remember how much 1.09 Javazons (Lightning Fury + Pierce) just slaughtered cows. This skill can either be great or a waste, it boils down to your play style. If you find yourself using Lightning Fury often, definitely spend some points here. Rating: ***** or *

Magic

Ever wanted to be a necro, and place powerful curses on your enemies? Ever wanted to be a wild druid, summoning the wilder beasts to do your bidding? These are the skills for you then!

Valkyrie

This is probably one of the strongest skill in the game now. The Valkyrie has been improved so much since 1.09 it now receives the same bonuses from Dodge, Avoid and Evade as you do, which results in a very tough tank. Raising the level of this will improve its equipment and at level 17 she will be equipped with a War Pike. Strong choice!Rating: *****

Slvl 1 Full plate mail and Spear (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 2 adds Heavy gloves (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 4 adds Heavy Boots (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 5 adds Heavy Belt (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 7 upgrades Full Plate Mail to Chaos Armor (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 8 upgrades Spear to Lance (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 10 upgrades Heavy Gloves to War Gauntlets (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 11 upgrades Heavy Boots to War Boots (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 12 upgrades Heavy Belt to War Belt (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 13 adds Amulet (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 14 adds Circlet (mod1 = 4)
Slvl 16 replaces Chaos Armor with Sacred Armor (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 17 replaces Lance with War Pike (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 19 upgrades War Gauntlets to Crusader Gauntlets (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 21 upgrades War Boots to Mirrored Boots (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 23 upgrades War Belt to Colussus Girdle (mod1 = 6)
Slvl 25 changes mod1 for amulet from 4 to 6
Slvl 27 upgrades Circlet to Tiara (mod1 = 6)
(Mod1 = 4) Is a Magic item
(Mod1 = 6) is a Rare item

Lvl17 seems to be optimal, Damage Wise.

Decoy

A very good spell however is passed by Valkyrie. A strong feature of the Decoy is "decoy-scouting", cast it in front of you (at the edge of the screen) to check the area for foes. Combined with Valkyrie and you have to tools to fool your enemies and only take minimal damage. A very strong “one-point wonder”! Rating: ***

Slow Missile

Probably one of the most underrated skills in the game. This spell gives you so much for just a singe point, against MS enhanced monsters you chill down their shoots to a laughable pace, MS+LE enchanted monster's bolts are easily dodged. Using this against the inferno spraying monsters will greatly decrease their damage as the flames won’t travel as long. And in general renders archers pretty much useless. Excellent one-point skill! Rating: *****

Inner Sight

I might hear from this but simply put this skill is garbage. I haven't ever had to use this skill. Sadly it's a pre-req. Grr. Rating: *

Suggestions

Giving advices on points to spend here is hard, as it's mainly based upon experience and play style. I suggest getting a decent level Valkyrie and getting your Dodge and Evade to 50s (but don't forget about Avoid, it still has its uses). Remember to count in +skills from items, points saved will result in stronger lightning attacks.

The more points spend here, the stronger a tank you'll get in the form of the Valkyrie. If you are ignoring this skill tree you are missing out one of the most potent tanks in the game - the Valkyrie. Believe me when I say that she'll most likely save your life many times during the course of the game.

Stats and Items[edit]

Stats[edit]

Strength

The simple answer is, "Enough for your equipment.” your end-game goal should be enough to wear Matriarchal Javelins (107). But you should take into consideration that using a spear on switch would require a greater strength, which means either more points spend here or fix it with your equipment.

Dexterity

Again, aim for enough for Matriarchal Javelins (151), luckily this also boosts your chance to block.

Vitality

This is where you should spend as many points as possible. Surviving is essential to keep up the fast leveling pace once you hit hell. High vitality helps that.

Energy

Should be kept at base, leech and potions should be your way to replenish the blue ball.

Items[edit]

Having a Javelin/Shield and a big damage spear on switch has been the combination I've had the most success with, the Javelin/Shield setup would allow you to take on even the greatest mob when combined with your defensive skills.

Just for kicks I tried stripping my Lightning Amazon and just using items bought from vendors to see her in action in Chaos Sanctuary, while her killing speed was slowed she could hold her own.

Weapons[edit]

Of course it'd be easy to just talk about the "perfect" setup, but since this guide is more or less targeted at Ladder-play I'll try to make my suggestions more realistic for that. I'll try to write a perfect setup though, just for the non-ladder players.

Javelins

That sharp little pointy stick, you will be using next to your shield. With skills setup as I suggested earlier you're going to tear through every non-LI like a knife through butter, even act bosses (Charged Strike) will drop faster than cows in 1.09 to a Javazon. Now the question remains, which weapon would be the best choice?

When looking for a CS javelin you should look for speed and when looking for a weapon for LS and to some degree LF look for damage too to help leeching. Both by suffix and by item speed. The faster the better. Hitting fast will allow you to fill the screen with beautiful white lightning and drop every single monster on screen in a matter of seconds, now it's only to pick off the survivors with jab or CS.


Javelin "normal" speedtab

fps [20] [10] [0] [-10
16/8 0
15/8 2
14/7 7
13/7 14 3
12/6 24 11
11/6 39 23 10
10/6 58 39 23 10
10/5 65 40 25 15
9/5 89 63 42 26
8/5 142 102 72 50
8/4 170 120 90 60
7/4 270 187 133 95

The class-specific (Maiden, Ceremonial and Matriarchal Javelins) are all great weapons as they add unto your attack skills which results in a greater damage output. As a bonus they all come with a -10 speed package.

Useful pre/suf-fixes to look for would be IAS and ML, sadly this can't spawn on the same weapons -- barring rare. Remember you don't have to use a class-specific Javelin. Often a regular javelin will be more than enough, one thing to remember is physical damage more or less doesn't matter.

Some weapons worth mentioning

  • Safety Javelins: The fixed mods aren't that great it's a cheap way to make a decent weapon. All you'll need is: Magic Javelin, Sol Rune, Perfect Emerald and a Jewel.
  • Thunderstroke: While it seems impressive at first, it doesn't compare to Titan's Revenge. Thunderstroke is too narrow; while it deals out great lightning damage it doesn't offer the same flexibility as Titan's Revenge in term of stats, skills, run/walk and Life Leech. You will already be doing thousands of thousands lightning damage, but it is not a bad weapon in any ways.
  • Titan's Revenge: As hinted when I talked about Thunderstroke, this is the strongest weapon for the build, an amazing +4 to javelin skills, +2 to everything else, life leech, amazing stats, run/walk, replenishing stack size. You really couldn't ask for much more, BUT, on top of that you'll get a quite amazing damage when upgraded.

Spear (switch)

Having a physical damage switch will most likely be your weapon against LIs, either that or fast legs, remember to keep out the Valkyrie as she is actually be able to deal damage in this patch. There is three routes you can go from here, the route of a bow, spear or throwing those pointy sticks (not LFing!). The thing I like about giving advice about the switch is its so easy, look for physical damage and speed. Take care of your mercenary too!

Spear Jab speedtab

fps [20] [10] [0] [-10]
16/8
15/8 2
14/7 7
13/7 14 3
12/6 24 11
11/6 39 23 10
10/6 58 39 23 10
10/5 65 40 25 15
9/5 89 63 42 26
8/5 142 102 72 50
8/4 170 120 90 60
7/4 270 187 133 95

Armor[edit]

I really wouldn't be able to cover every single unique and runeword there is, that'd require a few ten thousands more words than I would like to write. I have highlighted a few which I felt needed. Overall you should try to aim for getting high resists, if possible boosts to skills. Defense isn't all that important; I've done Hell Diablo runs with 150 Defense armors before.

Body Armor[edit]

  • Twitchtoe: This is a great and relative cheap armor. +20 Ias, +20 FHR, +20 Block Rate all in one. A strong choice. Its weakness lies in it's low defense and no resists. It will be excellent through normal and nm, and if your charms are up for it, hell.
  • Silks of Victor: An excellent armor. +1 skills and ML, hard to top that. But again, no resists. Overall a good choice.
  • Skin of Vipermagic: +1 skills and potential GREAT resists. Very strong choice.
  • Tal Rasha's Armor: My favorite armor. It got huge resists and MF, while still having great defense, not much more to ask for.
  • Smoke (Nef + Lum): An excellent armor. Huge resists, 20 FHR and decent defense. Strong and cheap choice.
  • Lionheart (Hel + Lum + Fal): This armor, is simply put, probably the best armor, while still being affordable. It holds huge stat bonus, resist bonus, life bonus, mana bonus, -requirement and to top it off even damage bonus. Wow. EXCELLENT!
  • Chains of Honor (Dol + Um + Ber + Ist): If you can afford it this armor is pure gold. It offers everything from MF, to PDR, to skills, to resists and finally improves your damage. Only a few armors can rival a Lionheart, this is one of the few, and the only to pass it.
  • Enigma (Jah + Ith + Ber): Again a strong choice for your MF runs. As this build will be able to do diablo runs with a basic armor bought from a vendor you can certainly do Diablo runs with this one, Teleport will speed up River of Flame considerable. Certainly a good armor, however it is inferior in overall game-play compared to Chains of Honor and Lionheart.
  • Stone (Shael + Um + Pul + Lum): Great defense and resists, the ability to summon a clay golem, however it's not worth the runes. If you can afford this you should certainly be able to make a Lionheart.

Helmet[edit]

  • Tal's Mask: If you can look past its looks this helmet is simply breathtaking. It holds a combined package of resists and dual leech. You really couldn't ask for much more on a helmet!
  • Vampire Gaze: Another excellent piece, dual leech and PDR and MDR. Personally I like to see this helmet on my mercenary more so than on myself. It is a strong choice nonetheless, expensive however.
  • Griffon's Eye: If you're looking for some huge damage, this is the headgear for you, it's rare, but the boost it offers is huge. A good choice, it lacks defensive attributes however.
  • Harlequin's Crest: Huge life and mana bonus, +2 skills which allow for even more damage - and less points to spend on passives! 10% PDR - more survival, and 50% MF, overall a great helmet.
  • Crown of Thieves: A great choice until you get a Tal's Mask. Good choice for your mercenary too.
  • Stealskull: Dual leech, FHR, IAS and MF. Excellent choice too! Combine this with 20% Ias gloves and you've reached a decent jabbing speed. Good choice, suffers the same fate as Tal's Mask, the looks.
  • Delirium (Lem + Ist + Io): A strong choice. Giving incredible crowd control and plus to skill, MF and GF is just icing on the cake. Incredible fun when used on your mercenary.
  • Lore (Ort + Sol): Strong early choice, plus skills, mana per kill and Lightning Resist.

Shield[edit]

  • Stormshield: Socket with hel or -req jewel else the strength requirement will most likely be too high. It holds great blocking and PDR, to top it out resists too. Good choice, very expensive however.
  • Moser's Blessed Circle: This shield gives you everything you might want from a shield, resists and decent block. Good for surviving. Good shield.
  • Tiamat's Rebuke: This shield is awesome if you decide to go Javelin/Shield as you're weapon against LIs, great switch shield!
  • The Ward: A great early shield due to the high resists and strength bonus.
  • Whistan's Shield: Incredible block, lacks pretty much everything else.
  • Sanctuary (Ko + Ko + Mal): Ah - the new kid on the block. AWESOME resists, FHR, FBR, ICB, Dex and nice defense. This is by far my shield of choice, now if only I could find the Ko runes.
  • Ancient's Pledge (Ral + Ort + Tal): Easily accessible and a good choice due to the high resists. However it lacks anything besides resists. You get the runes after completing the “Free the barbarians” quest in act 5.
  • Rhyme (Shael + Eth): CBF, FBR, ICB, resists, GF and MF a strong early shield. This shield will easily take you into hell and probably all the way to the Matriarch title.

Gloves[edit]

  • Laying of Hands: IAS, Fireworks (chance to cast spell) and huge damage to demons, good choice.
  • Immortal King Gloves: Huge stats bonus great choice, lacks IAS however.
  • Bloodfist: 10 IAS, minimum damage, 40 Life and 40 FHR great choice. Easy to find compared to the bonuses.
  • Souldrainer: Dual leech and chance to cast weaken, excellent choice, hard to find however.
  • Crafted Gloves: IAS, LL/ML these can be great. These are an excellent choice with the right mods on them.

Belts[edit]

  • String of Ears: PDR, LL and decent defense good choice.
  • Nosferatu's Coil: Slow target by 10%, +2 mana per kill, 5-7 life leech, 15 strength, 10% IAS, you can not look for much else. A very strong choice.
  • Immortal's King Belt: Great strength bonus, fire and lightning resist.
  • Thundergod's Vigor: An excellent belt, boosts your skills, gives great protection against attacks of the lightning kind. The belt adds a great chunk of strength and vitality (LIFE).
  • M'avina's Belt: ML and FRW go great partial set bonus if you happen to have other pieces.
  • Wilhelm's Pride: Dual Leech, some cold resist and nothing else.
  • Trang'Oul's Belt: Great life and mana boost. Most important stat is the CBF.
  • Razortail: Offers 33% bonus to piercing attack along with 15 dexterity and 10 max damage, a very good choice if you want to go down the more LF slinging path.

Boots[edit]

  • Sander's Riprap: Great FRW, +dexterity and strength. An excellent pair of boots, another bonus is it is rather easy to find.
  • Natalya's Soul: Great FRW and adds 15% to cold and lightning. Strong choice.
  • Aldur's Boots: 40 FRW, Stamina boost and great life boost. Excellent choice.
  • Gorerider: A great pair of boots if you want to lower your weakness against LIs, their offer of Crushing Blow will help quite a bit when jabbing/fending. Decent choice.
  • War Traveler: Great strength and dexterity bonus, which means more points to spend on vitality (more life), more damage added to weapon which means easier time against LIs and more leech. To top it off it got quite a bonus to MF! Strong pair of boots.
  • Crafted Blood Boots (Magic Light Plate/Battle/Mirrored Boots + Eth Rune + Perfect Ruby + Jewel): Can be the strongest choice due to the fixed mods: 10-20 Life, 1-3% Life Leech, 5-10 life regeneration. A great choice with the right mods.

Jewelry[edit]

You can get pretty much everything out of your amulet, important stats to look for are +skills, ML, LL, stats and resists. If you don't have CBF on any of your other item slots, you should definitely try to get a Ravenfrost (remember you can get the bonus from other items), believe me - being frozen and decrepified really is a pain.

Amulets[edit]

  • The Cat's Eye: Great dexterity, FRW and IAS. Great amulet.
  • Crescent Moon: This amulet is great due to the high ML, if you happen to find one of these you wont need another source of ML. It's rare to find a dual leech amulet. Strong choice.
  • Mara's Kaleidoscope: Stat bonus, +skills and huge resists.
  • Saracen's Chance: Great resists, stat bonus and chance to cast Iron Maiden, a very good amulet.
  • Safety Amulet (Amulet + Thul Rune + Perfect Emerald + Jewel): ICB makes this recipe huge. Potential the best amulet you can get.

Rings[edit]

  • Cathan's Seal: Great early level ring featuring Life Leech at a very low requirement.
  • Manald Heal: If you haven't found ML any other places.
  • Ravenfrost: Great choice. Lowers Cold Damage dealt to you, CBF, AR boost and dexterity. Great ring.
  • Bul-Kathos: +Skills, life and LL, doesn't get much better.
  • Blood Ring (Ring + Sol Rune + Perfect Ruby + Jewel): Great fixed mods: Life, str and LL.
  • Carrion Wind: High LL, defense, resists and fireworks (chance to cast twister on strike), a very good ring.

Summary

In general you should aim for max resists, around 5 or so ML, then focus on skills and LL. You can easily do without having a high ML, by drinking plenty of blue potions. Another option would be using Tir runes; this option is very viable in the earlier stages of the game. Once you reach hell you should be able to fuel your skills simply from ML, remember to have a few potions ready however as the monsters with mana drain pretty much equals mana burn in 1.10.

Just in case I'll say this again. Do not ignore your resists, they are more important than ever.

Dream Setup
Helmet Griffon's Eye
Amulet Mara's Kaleidoscope
BodyAr Chains of Honor
Gloves Laying of Hands
FeetAr Aldur's Boots
Finger Ravenfrost
Finger Rare Dual Leech Ring
WaistA Thundergod's Vigor/Razortail
Weapon Ethereal Upgraded Titan's Revenge
Shield Sanctuary/Stormshield
Switch:
Weapon Etheral BOTD War Pike/Call to Arms

Socketing and Mercenary[edit]

Socketing[edit]

Socketing your equipment is a great way to improve on weak spots such as Damage, Resists and Stats. Act VI, Quest I rewards you a socket in any piece of equipment (except Javelins), even uniques. Something important to remember once socketing your equipment is whether or not a cheaper alternative exists, an example would be finding a 15% resist all jewel, which in itself is a rather rare treasure, now remember socketing an Um in your Armor/Helmet would give the same boost and a bigger in your shield, but what to remember is you can't get resists on your weapon in any other way than Jewels. Always remember your other options when considering what to socket in your equipment.

Perfect Ruby

A cheap way to improve upon your life, if your resists and attack speed are up it, this is an excellent socket.

Tir Runes

One of my favorite sockets, while leech in hell is quite harsh now, having a Tir or two will greatly help your mana flow. Having a few will easily take you through normal and nightmare.

One Element Resist Runes (Tal, Ral, Ort, Thul)

If you desperately need Lightning resist socketing an Ort into your armor will greatly increase your resist. These runes are a little narrow but their impact on a certain element makes up for it.

Perfect Diamond

19 Resist All when placed in a shield, an awesome feature to use on a 3-socket shield early on the game. Very good gem. Will greatly increase your chance of survival in the early game.

Um

15% Resist All in Armor/Helm and 22% in shield, while better than Perfect Diamond in shield it's a lot rarer, more often than not you're going to place this in your helmet/armor, as you will most likely have access to Perfect Diamonds which can be socketed in your shield, and your shield only for the resist bonus.

Rainbow Facets

Version I
Required Level: 49
100% Chance To Cast Level 41 Nova When You Level-Up
Adds 1-74 Lightning Damage
+3-5% To Lightning Skill Damage (varies)
-(3-5)% To Enemy Lightning Resistance (varies)
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

Version II
Required Level: 49
100% Chance To Cast Level 47 Chain Lightning When You Die
Adds 1-74 Lightning Damage
+3-5% To Lightning Skill Damage (varies)
-(3-5)% To Enemy Lightning Resistance (varies)
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

These two jewels both add quite a punch to your attack force, having one or two of these would greatly improve your attack speed. Personally I'd use the Version II of the jewel, seeing as when dying I really wouldn't mind if it's clear at my corpse rather than getting a bonus Nova when leveling.

Mercenary[edit]

Act I - The Rogues

A great helper in Act I normal, but she's made obsolete when you hit Act II and gain access to the Town Guards. I usually rush to the Bloodraven quest to gain my rogue as fast as possible. Try to find a 3 socket bow and add all the chipped topaz you can, the rogue will then easily hold her own in 8-players Act I.

Act II - The Town Guards

There's really only two choices here, Defiance or Holy Freeze. While the Might Mercenary will help your leech he wont do much else. Holy Freeze and Defiance will help you survive. It now boils down to playstyle.

Holy Freeze

Slows everything down, enables your mercenary and Valkyrie to live longer. By slowing down the monsters your Valkyrie will be able to abuse her insane life regen and be pretty near immortal.

Defiance

Makes it harder for monsters to hit, enables your mercenary and Valkyrie to live longer. The Defiance mercenaries will require a little bit of your items, mainly bigger defense (if you want it to compare with Holy Freeze).

Act III - The Iron Wolves

Out of the mages I've only found the cold mage to be a viable mercenary, he is great for normal difficulty but will but severely handicapped once nightmare is made.

Act IV - The Barbarians

Great tanks, but are obsolete when compared to Town Guards. A defiance Town Guard will be able to stand much longer in a crowd than a barbarian before going down. That's not to say they're bad, Town Guards are just better.

I'll leave it to people to draw their own conclusions, after all the mercenary should follow your playstyle.

One thing to remember for the rich players, if you can make the "Doom" runeword you could have a mercenary with both Holy Freeze and Defiance or your aura of choice, if not Defiance I'd suggest Thorns (Quite the laugh with Valkyrie and Decoy) or Might.

Jek

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