Guide:PvM Gunslinger v1.10, by Kijya
From Diablo Wiki
The Gunslinger is an Amazon hybrid focused around physical bow and lightning javelin attacks.
Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
- 1 Birth of a Warrior
- 2 Practicing the Arts
- 3 Basic Training
- 4 Visiting the Smith
- 4.1 Considerations before Proceeding
- 4.2 Breakpoints and Goals
- 4.3 Gear Alternatives
- 4.4 Headgear
- 4.5 Amulet
- 4.6 Armor
- 4.7 Gloves
- 4.8 Belt
- 4.9 Boots
- 4.10 Rings
- 4.11 Shield
- 4.12 Javelin
- 4.13 Bow/Crossbow
- 4.14 Complete Setups
- 4.15 Mercenaries
- 5 Knowledge of the Lands
- 6 Final words
- 7 References
Birth of a Warrior
Anyone who has ever made one of the two main amazon builds should know how effective they can be at later levels. Both builds are great for clearing large areas crawling with hoards of monsters. However, each build has its own weaknesses. Javazons obviously need a way to dispose of lightning immune enemies, while bowzons commonly struggle against bosses and physical immunes. For the bowzons there's some simple solutions to the physical immune problem, but for bosses you will mostly have to settle for a slower killing speed. For the javazon you can get rid of most immunities by using the “Infinity” runeword, however this solution is very expensive and not 100% fool proof.
Now then, here's the point, by combining the javazon and bowzon into one build you gain a build more versatile and fun to play then either. The javelin lightning attacks will swiftly deal with bosses and large packs of physical immunes, while the bow skills massacre lightning immunes. As a hybrid you will alternate between a broader number of attacks, making the game less repetitive and allowing a wider number of tactics. Apart from the practical playing aspects, there is also a physiological satisfaction in creating a hybrid, since effectively utilizing more then the common number of skills makes your amazon more unique.
Before reading further into this guide, take a moment and get yourself familiarized with the most common abbreviations used in Diablo 2. I have tried to keep it simple by first writing the full word/name at least once before I use the common abbreviation, but it can still be hard to follow for the newest of players.
Feel free to post in this thread or PM me if you have any suggestions, questions or concerns about the build. I'm always open to critics, and willing to help those who request assistance. I love speculating in ways to improve the build, and would love to hear more ideas from other hybrid players.
Practicing the Arts
Being a hybrid, this build will be utilizing both the bow and javelin skills. If you're unfamiliar how one of the skills work, I highly suggest trying them out before planning your hybrid into to much detail. The short description of the main skills that has been included should give you a small idea, but there's nothing like trying them out yourself in game. For this section of the guide I will start out with a overview of the skill trees, including motivation towards why to use the suggested main skills instead of the alternatives. Beneath the code bracket you will also find a more descriptive explanation on how the main skills work.
Lightning Fury is the cowrunners favorite, the skill that enhances your javelin into a thunderbolt of mass murder. Once thrown the javelin will fly in a straight path towards your targeted foe, and upon impact it will launch a high number of electrical bolts towards nearby enemies in all directions. The throw javelin itself will act as a normally thrown javelin, carrying leech and physical damage, the only exception being that it ignores the targets defense (but can still be blocked). The lightning bolts will not carry leech or other such modifiers, but “mana after each kill” or other such passive modifiers do work with the bolts.
The reason this skill is so effective is not because of high listed damage, but rather the fact that a single throw can result in multiple sets of bolts being released. When the thrown javelin pierces an enemy and hits something/someone behind it, the skill will namely activate again, releasing its bolts upon anything near it once more.
Charged Strike is a close combat skill that releases charged bolts, just like those cast by the sorceress but with more quality then quantity. The bolts released will be tightly packed at the point of release, but spread out as they travel away from your character. This skill is at its best against large monsters, since their size will allow all bolts to hit. Smaller ones will be missed by the bolts towards the edges of the “wave”, but will never the less quickly fall to this skill unless they are LI. The physical part of the attack does not need to hit to release the bolts, so low AR against bosses is not a problem.
Synergies such as lightning strike, lightning bolt and power strike will increase your CS damage considerably well, while also giving a puny bonus to LF damage. Lightning strike can prove fun to use at times when you're low on javelins but still need to kill packs to large for charged strike. I recommend making it your third lightning skill if you intend to max more then just LF and CS (which I recommend doing).
Multiple Shot simply fires a wave of arrows, each doing 75% of the damage your normal attack does. By controlling the distance between yourself and the point of clicking, you can control how wide apart the arrows you fire will spread. Allowing both an arclike wave of 180 degree spread out arrows that covers half the screen with projectiles, or a dense bunch of arrows fired towards a certain direction in a more parallel fashion. The number of arrows is simply one higher then the skill level, until the max of 24 arrows, reached at level 23. Only the center arrow(s) carry chance to cast effects, but all arrows deal out crushing blow, deadly strike, critical strike, and elemental damage.
Strafe makes your amazon fire several arrows rapidly, one after another, towards nearby enemies. It automatically aims, giving you a good attack to take out foes that are hidden by the view angle in Diablo. Because of its speed it's also perfect for triggering chance to cast effects. This is my lazy-zons skill, perfect for killing stuff when you're to tired to target them. Note that this skill is severely bugged however, more on that later.
Synergies are non existent for the physical bow skills, which is perfect since it saves us points we can spend on lightning synergies. Magic and/or cold arrow will serve as our LI/PI killers, but it's not worth spending extra point in those them, since such monsters are rare.
Passive and Magic Skills
Valkyrie' is a slow attacking, but durable, summon that is primarily used to divert incoming monsters and missiles. On high budgets you can get by with only one point, but with average gear you may need to increase her level to stop monsters from bothering you while you launch your attacks.
The other passive skills are described well enough in their skill description. Apart from the inner sight skill, they are all an important addition to our arsenal, but may even then be a waste to spend too many point in.
Basic Skillpoint Distribution
Now that you've familiarized yourself with the main skills, we should discuss how to spend our points. At level 99 you would have 110 skill points at your disposal, but leveling that far requires far too long time and far too much patience for most players. This builds basic outline only consist of:
Bow and Crossbow
- 4 prereqs
- 1 strafe
Javelin and Spear
- 5 prerequisites
- 20 charged strike
- 20 lightning fury
Passive and Magic
- 10 passives (1 in each)
A total of 60 points, possible to finish in your mid fifties when including bonus skillpoints from quests. Needless to say, this is just the base on which you build further on depending on your preference and item selection. If you don't wish to use strafe you may of course only get yourself magic arrow and multiple shot in the bow tab.
It would be advised to raise the javelin skills first if you are playing thought the game as you level. Reason being that the bow skills need a decent bow to dish out any decent damage, whereas the javelin skills only need to be leveled. Simply start raising your charged strike as it becomes available, then move on to maxing lightning fury. While increasing your javelin skills you should also place one point in all passives as soon as they get available.
Extra Skillpoint Distribution
The main considerations for your additional points are strafe, multi, Valkyrie, pierce, or synergies for your javelin skills. You also have the option to get a one point freezing arrow for the sake of freezing your enemies. In either case those points should be spent as you see fit, I will just give you some points to consider.
First off we'll get the javelin skills out of the way, one point in one of the synergies simply adds additional damage to your CS damage (and a tiny bit to LF). Although some of them can be fun to use from time to time, all are far inferior to LF for dealing with mobs, and far inferior to CS for single targets. Only consider adding points in any of them for the synergy bonus they provide.
Your valkyrie level should depend on how threatened you feel while playing. If you are offensively powerful, and kill monsters almost instantly, it doesn't make sense to get a sturdy valk, since she wouldn't be doing any work, right? On the other hand, having a good line of defense may allow you to relax more, and give you time to get a cup of coffee before finishing of the buggers. If you instead lack enough power to kill swiftly, then it's obviously necessary to keep the monsters occupied as you fire your bow or throw your javelins. In any case adjust her level to your taste. If you feel she is lacking while you have your final equipment, then add points one by one until you change your mind. Your pierce level will depend largely on wheter or not you're using the unique “Razortail” belt or not. If you do use razortail, then try to reach level 9 pierce. If you aren't then the recommended value will be harder to tell, and opinions may vary. I'd personally go for level 9 anyway, since further levels only increase pierce with two percent per point.
Strafe vs. Multishot
The split between multiple shot and strafe is one of the major questions for most bowzon players, therefore I believe analyzing them further might be a good idea. Of course the opinions on this topic highly differ among the players, and the following text will only show you my point of view in this discussion. Feel free to experiment on your own, or rather I'd even highly advise you to, since it's really a case of “to each their own”.
As you know strafe will target and fire arrows towards nearby enemies. The number of arrows fired is determined by the number of monsters present, and also by the minimum and maximum arrows according to your skill level. The strafe should fire at least the minimum, and at most the maximum number of arrows. If the number of targets are fewer then the minimum, then you will fire more then once towards the monsters present until you've fired the minimum number of arrows. If there are more targets then the maximum you will not be able to fire an arrow towards all of them.
Viewing the table we can conclude that the maximum gains one arrow per level until level six has been reached, and the minimum gains an additional arrow each fourth level. Considering this we could assume that a level eight or twelve would make the most use of our skill points while still not reducing our lightning synergies to much. Leveling beyond this is therefore, in my opinion, not advised unless you're making a primarily strafe centered hybrid.
Multiple Shot doesn't have such clear “breakpoints”. Since the skill gains one arrow each level, you can simply adjust how many points to spend on it according to the area and monster pack sizes that you are running. My recommendation is somewhere in the interval between ten and fifteen for most areas. Since I personally run the wide chaos sanctuary regularly I got myself level fifteen on my hybrid. If you are running tighter spaces, then most arrows would just go to waste by hitting walls if you where to have such a high level multi. Under no circumstances go beyond level 23, further investment would only increase the mana cost while not giving any extra arrows. At level 23 you'll be firing several arrows at air even in the largest of areas.
Strength is obviously needed to carry your items though your travels without crumbling under the weight. The highest I'd ever recommend going is 156, the requirement for the “monarch” type shield. If you do not intend to get one of those, then 134 (windforce), 111 (wire fleece) or 108 (grand matron bow) might be the highest. Simply look over your gear to find the highest requirement, and subtract whatever amount of strength your gear and charms grant you.
The “strength bug” is something that might be worth mentioning. The effect of this display glitch is that all your bugged items to not be shown properly on your character for other players in multi player games. Your own screen is not affected by this bug, however, those unfamiliar with the bug may comment on how you appear to be “throwing arrows”, or similar, if you bug your bow for example.
To make an item “bugged” in this way, you firstly need your strength or dexterity to be lower then the items requirements. Then equip charms with those stats until you can use the item. Amazons who use an Annihilus and/or a Torch often end up bugged because they rely on those charms for strenght.
Dexterity affects everything from blocking, chance to hit, defense and damage. Having a high dexterity will above all allow your bow to do more damage, and increase your AR. Since it provides such good benefits, it's only natural to “at least” get enough dexterity for maximum block (75%), even with a spirit monarch shield (that can require more then 300 points of dexterity to achieve that).
The only reason to not spend all your spare points in dexterity would be that such an amazon end up with rather low life. But once you have enough life you should spend all your spare points on dexterity.
Vitality is the stat that provides life and stamina as you increase it. This builds main focus is massive, high AoE damage, and as such rather spends its points in dexterity for the added damage. Nevertheless, dying over and over because of having to low life is obviously not fun.
The amount of vitality should be adjusted accorded to your own personal taste. Some people will enjoy playing a build where they need to be careful since any wrong step could kill them, while for others dying even once isn't an option (hardcore players). Higher budget builds will commonly gain more life from their items, allowing them to diminish or completely remove the need for points in vitality. Low budget hybrids may on the other hand need quite a few points to be played safely through hell.
So what to aim for? In my opinion, 600 life should keep you safe while you have maxed resists, 800 life should get you buy almost everywhere without maxed resists. In hardcore getting by “most of the time” or “almost everywhere” might not be sufficient, there you should instead increase those numbers with a factor of 1.5 to 900-1200 life. This should be enough in my opinion, but then again I'm not an omnipotent god that knows everything. I highly recommend playing it safe the first time, to move on to a more pure dexterity build once you get used to playing her.
The stat that almost all builds avoid spending points in, and yes, this build is not different on that part. As a hybrid you will hit monsters with physical damage, meaning leech can solve any mana problems as long an you have enough of it. The more damage you do, the less leech do you need.
If leeching doesn't prove effective for you, try using mana after each kill items. Do not, I repeat, do not waste your precious skill points on energy.
Visiting the Smith
Considerations before Proceeding
If you compare a hybrid to a pure build, you will most likely find that the hybrid requires a bit more gear tunning then a pure build. Splitting your power between javelins and arrows means you have to take both into account when selecting what items to use. Preforming a clean fifty-fifty split is very hard, if not impossible to achieve, but would give you a more diverse playing style since you switch attack more often. Specializing your hybrid will instead obviously allow you to be closer to the power of a pure build in its main attack(s).
Before you head down further to select your items I highly advice you to once again rethink what the purpose of your amazon is, and how you would prefer to play her. Ask yourself:
- Focus on javelins, bow or balanced?
- Strafe, multi or both?
- Targeted areas?
Should you wish to focus on javelins, your items should obviously grant high +skills and other mods that increase your lightning damage. Bow focused builds will on the other hand use pretty much standard bowzon gear, since the javelin skills do not need much pampering to actually get by. The balanced build, although probably impossible in many cases, needs to find items that buff both aspects.
Breakpoints and Goals
Now that you know what you wish to make, you will need to know what your gear must provide. Diablo 2 is a game built around time units called frames, 25 frames make up one second real time. Since the time unit isn't infinitely small, all actions you preform will be adjusted to fit into these limited time frames. Increasing your IAS or FHR etc, will not do you anything good unless you provide enough of it to actually increase your speed with a “full” frame. These amounts where you gain a frame make up the break points.
Using multiple shot, the increased attack speed breakpoints you should aim for will depend on what bow you use. If you use a “faith” runeworded bow on yourself or your mercenary, then it is advised to get enough IAS for 7 frames per attack (note: multi uses the same breakpoints as normal attack). If you are not using a faith somehow, then you should settle for a 8 or 9 fpa with multi.
If you do not wish to use multi, but instead focus purely on strafe as your bow skill, then you can settle for very little IAS. The reason is that strafe has been found to have a severe speed bug that make it impossible to shoot at the previously believed maximum breakpoints. The best non bugged speed is the one known as 9/3 (listed as 5,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3+4 in the amazon tables), for a pure strafer this will be the speed to get, no need to increase IAS further.
For your javelin attacks, speed it slightly less important, but I still recommend going for a 10 or 9 frame throw speed. With those breakpoints you will end up with 7 or 8 frame normal (melee) attack when using charged strike.
For the actual breakpoints I will refer you to the amazon tables (Link). For other then IAS breakpoints I suggest not bothering with trying to reach anything specific, with the exclusion of FCR if you use the “enigma” runeword as your armor. For enigma users you should aim for at least a 15 frame teleport, reached at 32% FCR (easily provided by a spirit monarch or griffon's + a fcr ring).
For complete setups that work, but aren't necessarily perfect, continue along to section 4.4. The following section (4.3) will list several alternatives for those wishing to build their own setup, including both cheap and expensive options.
Once you are sure about where you are heading with your build, it is time to choose items for her. This section of the guide contains those items I find (at least somewhat) viable, each item type mentioning several choices sorted according to how much IAS they can carry (including possible IAS jewels). Items written as “name(X)” are items with X ias jewels socketed into them.
Protecting your head from serious injury is obviously of vital importance during your travels. A good helm should protect your lovely face from scratches and cuts, while not blocking your vision or making breathing to hard. If you find a helm that does that and still looks stylish, then you're all set.
Helms can carry pretty much any useful modifier, look for IAS firstly, then go for Skills, resists or leech depending on what you lack.
- 45%: Mavina's(1) OR Magic(3)
- 35%: Andariels Visage(1)
- 30%: Giant Skull(2) OR Crown of Ages(2) OR Rare(2) OR Magic(2)
- 25%: Steallskull(1)
- 15%: Any Non-Runewords(1)
- 00%: Runewords
Mavina's(1) doesn't really give many bonuses worth mentioning apart from the IAS. Nevertheless, it should still be better then a plain helm, assuming you cannot find a good magic(3) helm but still need 45% IAS.
Magic(3) helms are magic helms that have spawned with the “jewelers” prefix. Other then that it can also have a single suffix, such as bonuses to life, dexterity or frw if you're lucky.
Andariels Visage(1) looks terrible, but has almost perfect mods for our build. Its combination of skills and IAS for our general offensive needs, and with a nice bonus to strength it's especially suitable for Windforce users. Only downside (apart from the appearance) is the negative fire resistance it brings.
Giant Skull(2) comes with sockets, knockback, strength and a slight bit of crushing blow. If it looks nice is up to each to decide, fact is that it's one of the few non-weapon based sources of knockback. This giving enough reason alone, for it to be considered by builds that lack knockback from other sources.
Crown of Ages(2) requires a lot strength to use, but if you have enough then you can get a rather neat set of defensive bonuses here, however since this build is ranged most of the time, you may find those mods rather wasted. I'd personally rather use such an expensive helm on a build that utilizes the defensive mods more often.
Rare(2) helms are rares which spawn with the mechanics prefix. A good rare can beat most other helms for this build, however finding one is as usual quite hard. Look for circlet type rares with skills, frw, resistance, dex/str and/or life. For some reason I rarely see amazon rare circlets traded, so might be hard to find a good one through trading.
Magic(2) are easily made from any magic helm by using the act five socket quest on it, where you will have a fifty-fifty chance between one or two sockets. A good prefix would give skills, and good suffixes are the same as for magic(3) helms. Can easily be gambled if you're on a lower budget, and you'll have a chance to gamble an even better rare one while you're at it.
Steallskull(1) is the perfect helm for those who wish to magic find and still want to maintain a decent set of IAS from their helm. It features dual leech, fhr and a good mf bonus, but sadly doesn't have any +skill. Close to perfect on the lower levels but not really a high end choice in my opinion.
Non-runewords(1) can be used by hybrids that do not need more then 15 IAS from their helm. This allows for pretty much any unique or set helm, including the javazon favorite Griffon's(1) and mfers Harlequin Crest(1). You may also take a look towards Kira's Guardian for its resistance, or the cheaper +2 skill helms, such as Valkyrie Wing(1) or a random rare circlet.
Runeword helmets should only be chosen if you are in need of a special property, unique to those helms. Above all Delirium with it's chance to cast confuse may help keep opponents at bay, and luckily it also grants +2 skills for our javelin throwing pleasure. On a low budget a cheap nadir helm can prove invaluable for it's charges of Cloak of Shadows when venturing into soul infested areas. Dream has the special property of giving an Holy Shock aura, however it only adds about 1-600 lightning damage to your attack. This is pointless on a hybrid, since your javelin skills are far superior in terms of lightning damage. (Dream only adds its damage to your physical hits, plus a puny 1~100 damage aura pulse that hit's all nearby targets every 2 seconds)
Amulets carry various useful magical enchantments, but above all they're stylish. They also give people an excuse to give when you point out to them that they've been staring at your chest area a bit to much.
Look for: Skills, Resists, IAS, or whatever else you're lacking.
- 20%: Highlord's Wrath OR Cat's Eye
- 00%: Other
Highlords Wrath is a surprisingly well balanced amulet for this build. While strengthening the javelin side with an extra skill it also delivers both IAS and deathly strike for both sides of the build. Because of the critical strike skill, those percentage of deathly strike doesn't act at full effectiveness, however it's still a nice addition as our critical should be lower then common on most bowzons. Highly recommended amulet, and that also increases your lightning resistance make it even better of a choice.
Cat's Eye is commonly used on PvP bowzons to gain further FRW along with the IAS they need. It does give some dexterity to help with our arrow damage slightly, however I'd prefer Highlord's if I needed 20 IAS from my amulet.
Other amulets cannot provide any IAS, however the useful combination of skill+frw+resistance or skill+fcr+resistance can be gained from crafted ones. Rares can also provide the skill+fcr+resistance combo to, though can only gain 10% fcr at most. Among the unique ones the only two I'd consider in this category are Mara's Kaleidoscope for it's resistance, or Atma's Scarab for it's chance to cast amplify damage. Atma's is especially well suited for strafe hybrids with an increased focus on arrow damage, where it helps a lot thanks to the high number of ctc triggering hits.
Although it's a shame to hide any of your beautiful skin, precautions have to be taken in our line of work. Heavy armor will be an unnecessary burden upon you, therefore I advice you to try to keep to the light armors if possible.
- Heavy: Lowers run speed by 0.4 yards/second.
- Medium: Lowers run speed by 0.2 yards/second.
- Light: No penalty.
- 60%: Magic(4)
- 45%: Treachery(rw)
- 15%: Skullder's Ire OR Tal Rasha's
- 00%: Fortitude(rw) OR Enigma(rw) OR Chains of Honor(rw)
Magic(4) are armors with the jewelers prefix, making them harder to find then plain gray armors. Their advantage is the possible suffix, commonly preferred to be a life or fhr one. I'd expect very few hybrids to consider this kind of armor, though I personally have found it a possible option in one of the very specific complete setups mentioned in the next section.
Treachery(rw) adds about 300 poison damage to your attacks with its chance to cast venom, note however that this doesn't work with anything but a physical hit. Other then the poison and IAS it also has some cold resistance and gold find. The chance to cast fade can probably be ignored since it'll trigger far to seldom for ranged builds.
Skullder's Ire(1) is commonly used only for its magic find mod. It is inferior to the other suggestions in terms of killing speed, but may be a good choice for a hybrid that wish to focus more on magic finding then I'd personally call healthy. At least it has one +skill to boost javelin damage with.
Tal rasha's(1) is the second possible for a mainly magic finding hybrid. Unlike Skullder's it doesn't come with bonuses to skills, but instead has a major boost to your resistance towards fire, cold and lightning.
Fortitude(rw) grants the user an extra 300% off weapon enhanced damage, along with useful additional mods such as resistance and life. Doesn't really provide much for the javelin side, but a splendid choice to boost our arrow damage. The chilling armor is also a helpful addition to our safety against missile attacks.
Enigma(rw) with its teleport oskill, is less useful on amazon builds in general because of our tremendously slow casting animation. Nevertheless it still holds other seemingly useful mods, such as its +skills and high most to frw, strength and magic find.
Chains of Honor(rw) combines +skills with massive resistance, and a bonus to your arrow damage versus demons and undead. Although it doesn't quite compare to fortitude in terms of arrow damage boost, it's your best bet if +skills is a must for your javelin side.
Obviously breaking a nail during your travels wouldn't be good, therefore strong and durable gloves should be worn. Preferably ones that can knock a person out with a simple slap, in case you ever need to nobly challenge someone to a duel.
- 20%: Laying of Hands OR Lava Gout OR Rare OR Magic OR Crafted
- 10%: Bloodfist OR Rare OR Magic OR Crafted
- 00%: Dracul's Grasp OR Rare OR Magic OR Crafted
Laying of Hands is the gloves from the disciple set, preferred among many bowzon players for their high bonus to damage vs demons. They also feature a high bonus to your fire resistance.
Lava Gout is the perfect solution to any attack rating problems your may have. Once their chance to cast enchant is triggered, it will act as another level 10 penetrate added to your current one, and also turn your weapons red.
Rare gloves can spawn with many desirable mods, including bonuses to javelin or passive skills. Search for ones with both ias and skills, and if possible some other nice adds in the form of stats or resists.
Crafted gloves are like similar to rare, however they can also have either knockback (hit power) or crushing blow (blood). Really nice ones are hard to find, but you can always craft your own and hope for a miracle.
Magic ones can only have 2 mods at most, the best combination being +3 java and 20 ias, possible to shop at Anya if you're lucky.
Bloodfist isn't the best of gloves but can serve you well until you find something better.
Dracul's Grasp can be used for its chance to cast life tap and open wounds, however it will in the majority of cases not really give our hybrid much in comparison to the other gloves. Our build should do fine by relying on normal life and mana leech.
Your belt serves as a holster for items you need quick access to, like beer or the shopping list. Fashionable belts should have many metal parts and preferably be black.
- 10%: Nosferatu's Coil OR Goldwrap
- 00%: Raizortail OR Thundergod's Vigor OR Arachnid Mesh
Nosferatu's Coil is commonly used on PvP bowzons for it's IAS, but also provides a decent boost to strength, 10% slows target and some life leech. Your best bet if you don't care about mf and need the IAS from your belt.
Goldwrap doesn't have any additional mods worth mentioning, except for a bit mf and goldfind.
Raizortail will provide 33% extra pierce on top of the percentage gained from the passive skill, allowing you to effortlessly reach 100% if desired. It also adds some dexterity and max damage to help with your arrow damage.
Thundergod's Vigor is probably your best bet if you are running areas infested with souls, since it provides lightning absorb and a bonus to maximum lightning resistance. Additionally to this it also gives some strength and a bonus to your lightning fury level.
Arachnid Mesh is a possible choice for enigma builds to help with your faster cast rate. It also provides +1 skill to boost your javelin damage, making it better then thundergod for those hybrids that primarily use CS instead of LF.
Boots bear your weight though your travel, and unless you choice wisely, you might end up regretting your steps. Good boots allow fast and elegant movement, they should preferably be blood repellent or at least easy to clean ...
- Bow Damage: War Traveler OR Gore Rider
- Faster Run/Walk: Aldur's OR Natalya's OR Immortal King's
- Resistance: Rare
- Magic Find: War Travelers OR Rare
War Traveler is most likely the best boots to gain physical damage. They add 15-25 physical damage, which then is multiplied by dexterity and enhanced damage, possebly adding a few hundred to your total physical damage. They are also come with strength, vitality and a high bonus to your magic find.
Gore Rider comes with 10% open wounds, 15% crushing blow and 15% deadly strike, none of which show in the character screen, but should nevertheless add a decent amount of damage. Other then those mods it doesn't provide anything useful, except the mandatory frw of course.
Aldur's boots provide a large bonus to fire resists along with its high faster run/walk.
Natalya's boots give moderate levels of lightning and cold resistance with its high faster run/walk.
Immortal King's provide some life along with its high faster run/walk.
Rare boots are your best bet if you are searching for a high combination of multiple resists. Close to perfect ones would have 30 frw, 10 fhr, 3x fire cold and lightning resistance. They can also spawn with some magic find, though not as high as that found on war traveler.
A gal can never get enough jewelry, right? Rings are, just as amulets, carriers of many good magics, but they cannot carry any IAS. Commonly your ring slots are used for a Raven Frost and a leech ring, but it's not carved into stone. If you're on a budget look for whatever leech/stats/resists ring you can find.
- Cannot Be Frozen: Raven Frost
- Mana Leech: Manald Heal OR Rare OR Crafted
- Life Leech: Bul-Kathos' OR Carrion Wind OR Rare OR Crafted
- Dual Leech: Rare OR Crafted
- Skills: Bul-Kathos' OR Stone of Jordan
Raven Frost is the one and only ring that carries the CBF mod. It also gives some mana, ar, dex and 20% cold absorb. Without a source of CBF our build will suffer greatly in terms of killing speed, and safety, as soon as we are hit with any cold damage, so consider this ring mandatory unless you have CBF somewhere else.
Manald Heal has mana leech, but not much else worth mentioning. It is commonly outclassed by rares and crafted rings, but can be used if you are unable to find something better.
Bul-kathos' Wedding Band comes with a single skill and a life per level mod. Since our build lacks high life, this might be a better suggestion then using a SoJ.
Stone of Jordan deliver us a single skill and a boost to mana. Not really the greatest choice in my opinion, but does increase javelin damage just as well as a BK.
Carrion Wind has a chance to cast twister on striking and a really high bonus to poison resistance. Other then those two mods it doesn't provide anything noteworthy on top of its life leech.
Rare rings can provide both single and dual leech along with some resistance, life and/or stats, making them a great choice for getting the last leech you need, and adding significant other bonuses at the same time. It may be rather hard to find a good one.
Crafted rings do similar to rare rings for our build, they might even outshine them in some aspects. It's possible to gain higher amounts of life leech and stat bonuses on crafted rings then rares. By crafting a blood recipe ring you'll only need to roll a mana leech mod to get a dual leech ring, since the life leech is always added to those.
Blocking your opponents attacks is a simple way of stopping some of the attacks you fail to “avoid”. The Bigger the shield is the easier it should be to block with, but with your dexterous movements all and any shield should do fine in that aspect. Choose your based on the magic modifiers it carries.
Shields have the same speed penalties as armors when using heavy or medium shields.
- Offense: Faceted Monarch OR Spirit(rw) OR Head Hunter's Glory
- Safety: Stormshield OR Sanctuary(rw)
- Cast Rate: Spirit(rw) OR Lidless Wall
- Special: Phoenix(rw)
Faceted Monarch provides the highest damage boost towards your javelin side of all the shields. When selecting the base remember that the build should have a massive amount of dexterity, meaning that the increased chance of blocking on the far to expensive “jewelers monarch of deflecting” will go to waste. A plain gray will be sufficient, but of course you may wish to try getting one with a high base defensive before you spend your wealth on it. The negative resistance is more important then the mastery type damage increase, but both are of course good.
Spirit is a really well balanced shield for this build, offering both offensive and defensive mods at a really low price. Also perfect for enigma builds because its faster cast rate. Unless you can afford a facets, I suggest you to use this one if you are focusing on offensive power.
Head Hunter's Glory has a bit fire and poison resistance along with some defense and 1-3 sockets. Possibly slightly less powerful then a faceted monarch, but better in terms of resistance.
Stormshield is a shield that should only be considered for its massive 35% DR. Further then that it provides some defense, faster block rate and a moderately high bonus to your cold and lightning resistance. The lack of offensive mods can be somewhat compensated by the usage of a facet in it.
Sanctuary is the perfect shield for gaining massive resistance, but lacks offensive mods. If you are suffering from the elements, then it might be a solution to your problems, at least while you have your javelins up.
Lidless Wall combines a single skill and some fcr, and adds a few mods to keep your mana up. If you have mana problems it might be of help, specially against undead or other enemies immune to leech. Although phoenix is better in terms of restoration, this one doesn't cause an annoying firestorm, so if the mana after each kill on this shield is enough, then it might be a better choice then phoenix.
Phoenix is a bit special, since its redemption aura allows you to restore your mana and life from the bodies of the slain. The shield however has one great flaw, namely that the chance to cast firestorm will stop your attacks for the duration of the spells timer. The timer is 0.6 seconds, and since the chance to cast the skill is as high as 40% you'll be interrupted for this long every second/third attack.
Your javelins are your required item to efficiently use your lightning skills, but actually doesn't have to be much more. However even is a cracked javelin can bring down the act bosses, wouldn't it be a shame not to poke them down a bit faster?
- Lightning Fury: Titans Revenge
- Charged Strike: Thunderstroke OR Rare OR Magic
Titans Revenge is pretty much in a league of its own when considering effectiveness in regard with price. The most outstanding feature is that they replenish* much faster then any other javelins, making it perfect for those who throw often and much. Other that that it has a solid boost to skills, strength and your run speed.
Thunderstroke are better for charged strike then titans, but commonly not used in PvM because they lack replenishing quantity. A good choice if you are only using your javelins to finish of bosses, where their negative enemy resistance can make a difference.
Rare can have slightly higher skill bonuses then titans, and still come with replenishing quantity, however because their replenish is far slower I personally don't really think of them as an option for someone who uses LF often. Modifiers our build are most interested in are above all skills, replenishing quantity, and possibly IAS unless you've got that covered from items (likely the case since you should be reaching your bow breakpoints). If you find ethereal ones with high enhanced damage they'd probably be more useful/needed on another build, but of course each and everything helps a bit.
Magic should also be considered if it's all about charged strike. Best of the best having not 4, not 5, but rather +6 to your javelin skills if they spawn with the Lancer's prefix and a good automod (assuming an amazon only javelin as your base item). The second modifier could be replenishing quantity if you wish to throw some to once in a while, but for charged strike you might find IAS a better suffix.
Replenish*: Titans revenge replenishes at a speed of 1 javelin per 3 seconds, as opposed to 10 seconds (propagation suffix) or 20 seconds (replenishing suffix) found on rare and magic javelins.
Unlike the javelin side of the build, your bow needs to be decent for you to truly play as a hybrid. Without a decent one, you can simply not utilize your bow skills to the limit of their capability.
Bows are naturally faster then crossbows, while crossbows should do a bit more damage per shot. Most bowzons avoid crossbows since the slightly higher damage rarely can make up for the loss in speed.
Bows fires arrows, where 350 make up a full quiver.
Crossbows launches bolts, 200 max per quiver.
- Best: Faith(rw) OR Windforce OR Rare
- Second: Witchwild String OR Brand(rw) OR Breath of The Dying(rw) OR Harmony(rw)
- Third: Lycander's Aim OR Buriza-Do Kyanon
Faith comes with a lot of fancy stuff, such as an inbuilt fanaticism aura, massive attack rating, a bit resistance and a bonus to skills. Since it also holds quite some damage if made in a good base bow, it lists as the best bow out there when blankly comparing a bow to another without regards to other gear. It makes a great job on a hybrid, especially by making up for the lack attack rating you've lost because of not maxing penetrate.
Windforce has the highest average damage of all bows. Along with knockback and mana leech this covers many of the aspects crucial to the build. Unlike a faith this bow is however rather slow on its own, therefore you may wish to use a faith bow on your mercenary to take advantage of the fanaticism auras attack speed bonus.
Rare bows can seldom, but nonetheless sometimes, compete with a windforce. Look for high enhanced damage and IAS primarily, secondly you should have an eye open for the chance to cast amplify damage and a fools mod (attack rating and damage per level).
Witchwild String isn't a bow of visible damage, but rather provides hidden bonuses that more then compensates for its lack of displayed damage. First and foremost you have the chance to cast amplify damage, which will at least double your physical damage. It also compensates for a low critical strike level with its immense high chance to roll a deathly strike. On top of this you get two sockets, 40 all resistance, and a free level 20 magic arrow (that will be used when using “normal attack”), nothing against this little, cheap, and efficient bugger. Must be upped for optimal performance.
Brand is a bow of fireworks, or rather a bow of 100% chance to cause some kind of special effect whatever you do. The only thing this bow lacks is IAS, somewhat disappointing considering its price, but it's nonetheless a really good bow.
Breath of the Dying can be used without problems, however since the leech and stats are preferred to be active in both setups they feel somewhat misplaced on the bow. As all bowzon players know, bows cannot be ethereal, so making this bow will commonly be looked upon as a waste of a zod.
Harmony the bow with the best ratio between price and power, can work pretty well on a hybrid. The vigor aura greatly compensates for the lack of teleport, and it does an ok amount of damage when made in a good base bow. Lack of IAS hurts it the most.
Lycander's Aim is the only unique amazon only bow that should be considered, when on a lower budget. I'd personally prefer a buriza, but lycander can get the job done if you cannot get hold of anything better. Good bonuses to skills, some damage, and some IAS.
Buriza-Do Kyanon was thrown aside when patch 1.10 came along, but can still hold to its own if needed. It has absolutely sick modifiers such as 100% pierce, 80% IAS, freezes target, not to mention its massive damage. The big downside is that it's a crossbow, limiting its maximum speed.
Here is the section for those who just want a complete setup listed before their eyes, be it to blindly pick one of them, or search for inspiration before they construct a setup on their own. I've made up three different setups, one expensive for the rich to test, one cheap that should be affordable for pgems only, and one that is somewhere in the middle. The setups do not have any kind of in depth tests backing them up to be “perfect” in their own price class or anything like that, the only thing I can guarantee is that I think they all work quite well. Simply treat them as “possible to make” examples. The exception is the expensive setup, which I myself have been using with great success.
This setup should be fairly balanced with both high bow and moderate javelin damage. High resistance makes sure she can stay alive against the ranged elemental attackers, and a it also has bit magic find for the lucky drop now and then.
- Helm: Kiras(1)
- Amulet: Highlords
- Weapon 1: Windforce(shael)
- Weapon 2: Titan's Revenge
- Shield: Faceted Monarch
- Armor: Fortitude
- Gloves: rare/crafted with Java skills, 20 ias (+possible others)
- Belt: Razortail
- Boots: War traveler
- Ring 1: Rare dual leech
- Ring 2: Bul-katho's
Kiras and fortitude make up a decent amount of resistance, allowing you to fill most of your inventory with javelin skillers and +max charms without worrying about dying to often. A total of +7-8 to your javelin skills from equipment alone should do fine when combined with the charms and faceted monarch. As for your bow, you'll hit the last breakpoint for multiple shoot if you use a act 1 mercenary that carries a “Faith” bow with level 13 or higher fanaticism, and a Windforce coupled with fortitude will make sure your arrows do hurt.
Possible alteration 1:
Swapping Kiras for Griffon's, and BK for a raven you should end up with a higher damage, but your resistance will take a sudden drop. To compensate you can switch some javelin skillers of max damage charms for resistance charms. The new setup should do more damage then the previous, but is of course even more expensive.
Possible alteration 2:
Using Faith on yourself and getting a 45% ias helmet instead, this will result in less attack rating problems, but less resistance from your items. Act 2 mercs can now support you with might and concentration from pride, or an infinity polearm to boost javelin damage tremendously. Damage might drop or increase, depending on how many +max charms you use. Obviously this setup is less fit to run chaos sanctuary, since the mercenary will be killed by the iron maiden curse.
All and everything without any high runes, but some items worth mid runes. This setup doesn't quite compare to the high one in terms of damage, but is nonetheless highly viable for games with a lower player counts. Lightning fury should still clear non immunes fast of course, but the bow may require some time before dropping the high life targets.
- Helm: Kiras(1)
- Amulet: +2 java rare/crafted/unique
- Weapon 1: Upped Witchwild String(shael,nef)
- Weapon 2: Titan's Revenge
- Shield: Spirit
- Armor: Treachery
- Gloves: Lava Gout
- Belt: Razortail
- Boots: War traveler
- Ring 1: Rare dual leech
- Ring 2: More leech/stats OR Raven
With this setup you'll hit 8 frame normal attack, high resistance and fairly good bonus to javelin skills. Your inventory can be filled with maxers and skillers according to taste and budget. An act 2 might mercenary with a Reaper's Toll should make a fine compensation for the lower bow damage. Lava Gout should cover the loss of AR from loosing a faith mercenary.
Bye bye all and everything that has to do with mid runes, here comes the items you can get yourself for a few pgems a piece on a friendly trade forum. Severely limited resources do of course affect performance, but it's far from enough to break this build. And many of the items listed in the middle setup can in fact be gotten for a few pgems from a friendly trader.
- Helm: Valkyrie Wing(1)
- Amulet: Atmas Amulet
- Weapon 1: Harmony in a random elite bow OR Buriza
- Weapon 2: Titan's Revenge
- Shield: Spirit
- Armor: Twitchthroe(1)
- Gloves: Lava Gout
- Belt: Razortail
- Boots: Natalyas
- Ring 1: Manald Heal (mana leech)
- Ring 2: Raven
Lower elemental resistances will cause a bit more of a risk when playing in hell games, and IAS will have to be overlooked depending on if you are using buriza or a harmony. The lightning skills still rock even in hell of course, however killing things in games with higher player counts will take more time, especially the lightning immunes. Buriza makes up for much of the lost damage, but you'll suffer a drop in speed. Harmony can still pack a punch if made in the right bow, and gives you hell of a run/walk boost. A sturdy valkyrie might be needed.
A good hireling is someone who provides your build with whatever you are lacking, or further empowers your skills beyond what you can reach alone. It is also important that he/she doesn't become a nuisance who repeatedly dies or gets left behind often. In general the build can do without a mercenary, but will become godly first when you utilize one to your advantage in the best possible way. This section only mentions some of the weapons that would help your offensive power, there are more possible choices out there, but these should be the most effective as far as I know.
Immunity to the Iron Maiden curse makes them perfect for following you around in oblivion knight tight terrain. With a bow in her hand she attacks enemies within range from a distance and run away if they get to close. Thus she is of no use as a tank, but will not run into her own death foolishly. The items she can wear are: helm, armor, and bows (except the amazon only ones).
A follower who has a Faith will provide you with a massive increase in attack speed (31-33 EIAS), and a fairly good attack rating bonus. She can also kill a few buggers on her own now and then when, allowed to stand and fire a few shots. Obviously a good choice if you yourself pack a powerful but slow bow.
Equipping your stalker with a Harmony will give you a high runspeed boost. Of course you will run away from her from time to time, but overall still quite neat.
Wraith allows the hireling to cast the decrepify curse, slowing the target down into a crawl and lowering your opponents physical resistance with 50%. The bow itself can not be categorized as a high damage one, but since the rogue stays back the lack of leech shouldn't be a problem.
The most common mercenary thanks to their inherent auras, providing you with a boost even if you cannot get hold of any fancy items. Their AI tell them to go up close, until death, using their jab skill to pierce through their target. Their aura can take a moment to activate when entering a new game. They can use: helm, Armor, polearm, spear, and javelins (not the amazon only ones).
A Pride will give your bow damage a considerable boost with its concentration aura, however it doesn't quite provide your mercenary with his own desired mods. In other words another reason to finish your enemies fast.
The Infinity runeword will effectively more then double your damage in most cases, and remove lightning immunities. It makes your bowside somewhat obsolete and causes you to be more of a javazon in my opinion, but can't say it's not effective. The conviction aura will also help your chance to hit by lowering your enemies defense.
The Reaper's Toll
The chance to cast decrepify is obviously the most desired modifier on a Reaper's. Unlike wrath it will deliver fairly good damage, and it does a great job at keep the merc alive.
The only caster type of hireling, who sadly gets thrown aside most of the time since his damage is pitiful. They rarely if ever attack with their weapon, instead they cast their elemental spells from a distance and retreat when threatened. Iron Wolves can use: helm, armor, once handed sword, and a shield (not paladin only ones).
Will provide a might aura when worn, allowing you to have a might merc that doesn't kill himself due to the Iron Maiden curse. The weapon doesn't really benefit you mercenary at all, except once the chance to cast Fade when struck has been triggered.
The most aggressive of your comrades in battle, attacking with his sword up close without fear or hesitation. The barbarians have stunning attacks that can help them to keep enemies at bay. Barbarians can equip: helms, barbarian only helms, armor, and swords.
Just as for the Iron Wolves, the last wish will provide a might aura for you to enjoy, however these close combat fighters aren't immune to the Iron Maiden curse. The good thing is that the sword now fulfills its role as a tool of cutting flesh and crushing skulls. The barbarian will have immense crushing blow, chance to cast lifetap, and in general anything he needs to cause some mayhem.
Iron Wolves could of course use one to, but they wouldn't add anything to your offensive power with it. In the case of a barbarian hireling, not only do you benefit from the chance to cast decrepify on the weapon, but you'll also gain a sanctuary aura.
Knowledge of the Lands
Unlike most other builds, many hybrids do not have the option to teleport past obstacles to reach their desired destination. Knowledge of the terrain will be essential if you wish to progress swiftly towards your destination. This chapter will cover a few details about the most popular areas that your amazon is suited for running, and contain a descriptive area-map of each act. For specific targets also take a look at section 5.
The terrain of act one consists at first of open grassland with small ponds, spread out trees, and dirt roads. You will here also descend underground into semi narrow caves on a number of occasions. Later on the outside terrain will be replaced by the corridors, rooms and stars of the monastery. In general you can just follow the roads to get to the next area (or a sub level of the one you are on), however you will have to explore more thoughtfully to find your way after you've reached the monastery.
Very few areas are worth running more then once for their drops, but those that are, have monsters far easier to deal with then those in later acts.
The Secret Cow Level
- Area Level: 81
- Common Immunity: None
- Super Uniques: The Cow King
Can be accessed by cubing Wirt's Leg and a Tome of Town Portals, while standing in the rouge encampment. This area is commonly run for socketables, and has a rather good chance of dropping a rune or two. Large, tight packs that are best grounded using lightning fury. The Cow King (LI) is located in a smaller fenced area, his death is linked to whether or not you can open the “cow portal”, details found here .
The Pit (1-2)
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: LI
- Super Uniques: None
Fairly large cave area with many spread out groups of either LI, CI or FI monsters. Alternating between LF and multi/strafe will allow you to quickly massacre this area without any major problems. Easiest reached by taking the Outer Cloister waypoint and then following the road backwards towards the Tamoe Highlands, sadly there is no know way to see which is the correct patch once the dirt road splits between heading towards The Pit and Black Marsh. Because of its high area level, all and any item in the game can drop in this area, including the TC87 uniques, however it's probably a better target for socketables and the like.
Sand, sand and more sand, well mostly ... The Deserts of Aranoch surrounding the city of Lut Gholein will provide you large outdoor areas and many underground tombs. Unlike act 1 you cannot rely on any roads, and should therefore rather not run though these lands more then once. Another reason is that many monsters are undead, making mana and life leech less effective.
Once you've done the quests in the desert you'll be allowed to pass inside the palace in the northwest part of town, where you'll find a few indoor maps leading to the “walk though space” arcane sanctuary, which in turn leads to ... you guessed it ... more sand and tombs, hurray!
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: LI
- Super Uniques: None
Another fairly large underground area with a high area level. Harder to find then the pits however, and many monsters are undead making leeching less effective. Mostly run by cold sorceresses since the area lacks naturally spawning cold immunes.
- Area Level: 79
- Common Immunity: PI
- Super Uniques: The Summoner
Barely any lightning immunes make this area a breeze with the lightning skills. No known way to tell which direction is the correct for finding the summoner. Mostly targeted for the summoners chance to drop Hate Keys of course. Area has its own waypoint.
Long walks following rivers all across the jungle, followed by a ruined city with a surprisingly dry sewer system. The temple sub levels found in the city have high area levels, but are small, and there may be enemies fairly close to the entrances, making them a bit risky. The Pit, in act 1, will prove better hunting grounds if you're looking for a good alvl 85 area.
- Area Level: 80
- Common Immunity: LI
- Super Uniques: None
This area doesn't have anything going for it except the fact that it's commonly tightly packed with large groups of the flayer type monster. Flayers are small and fast, but have really low life and can therefore be killed rather fast using most methods, however one of their types come with lightning immunity, so arrows are your best bet. Multi will prove far better then strafe in this area, but of course strafe can also get the job done. Good for hunting grounds for anything which doesn't need a high area level to drop. Accessed directly from its own waypoint.
Three large platform-like areas, followed by walk while surrounded by lava. The shortest act without any real caves. There aren't any natural physical immunes in this act, but random bosses easily become PI if they spawn with the stone skin mod. The Lightning immunes are commonly easy pray for arrows, except the souls that often spawn in the plains of despair, where I suggest you proceed with cation.
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: LI
- Super Uniques: Grand Vizier of Chaos, Lord De Seis, Infector of Souls, Diablo
Large, high level area with plenty of monsters and super uniques, good target for pretty much anything, The monsters are obviously far stronger then those found in the earlier act, and may be unsuitable for a few hybrid setups. First of all the infamous iron maiden curse can make quick work of act two and act five mercenaries. Secondly there are ranged monsters with elemental damage that can cause a quick death if get hit while having your resists in the negative.
To reach this area you should take the River of Flame waypoint and then head northeast. The area just before you arrive at chaos consists of two “map blocks” placed after each other. Both are selected from a very limited number of possible blocks, which you can memorize if you run this area often enough.
The areas added in the expansion will provide you with a cold, northern mountain type of atmosphere. You will walk along a mountainside, and venture into caves covered by ice. There are also several portals that lead to hell type levels with platforms surrounded by lava opened along the mountainside. The act has several “guest” monsters, referring to monsters from previous acts spawned a bit everywhere randomly. These guests may make running areas in act 5 less repetitive, but the variation also means you cannot be completely sure what you're up against when you target those areas, posing a threat to the unprepared.
World Stone Keep (1-3)
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: LI, PI
- Super Uniques:
Provide moderately open levels filled with guest monsters, possibly giving you anything from the easy and lovable flayers, to the dreaded souls. If you have the resists to keep you safe, then this is a really good place to run for socketables, uniques and whatever else alvl 85 will provide you. Taking the waypoint on level 2 will allow you to run though it partly on your way to the throne of destruction.
Throne of Destruction
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: LI
- Super Uniques: Colenzo the Annihilator, Achmel the Cursed, Bartuc the Bloody, Ventar the Unholy, Lister the Tormentor.
Commonly ran to gain experience, but also drop a few good things now and then. This area can spawn both good and bad matchups just as the world stone keep. Take extra care not to be to close to any exploding doll and don't get yourself caught in a bad position against a extra fast group of frenzytaurs. To avoid baals decrepify curse you can simply position your decoy right next to him, this would also help your teammates if any are present.
- Area Level: 85
- Common Immunity: None
- Super Uniques: Baal
Right after finishing the throne of destruction you can enter the worldstone chamber to fight baal. He has quite a bit life and large area elemental attack. Charged strike should be your fastest killer, but the bow might be useful to refill your health and mana with if needed. Since baal has a monster level of 99, he can drop any item in the game that isn't quest related.
- Uncle_Mike, for detailed grammar and spelling analysis.
- Dacar92, for sticking the guide for a while.
- crawlingdeadman, for inspiration of course!
- KremBanan, for inspiration and tips.