Guide:PvM Daggerzon v1.10, by Ava
From Diablo Wiki
This guide describes an unconventional character; an Amazon who uses daggers. This is not meant to be an uber-powerful build; it's more for variety and fun, but the the character can survive and succeed in Hell, with good equipment.
- Originally posted in the Amazon Strategy Forum.
Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Dagger Pros
- 3 Dagger Cons
- 4 PvP / PvM
- 5 Skills
- 6 Equipment
- 6.1 Weapon
- 6.2 Helm
- 6.3 Armor
- 6.4 Shield
- 6.5 Gloves
- 6.6 Boots
- 6.7 Amulet
- 6.8 Rings
- 6.9 Belts
- 6.10 Weapon Switch
- 7 Stats
- 8 Mercenary
- 9 Tips
- 10 Hybrid Builds
Hi, I’m Ava. I’ve been playing Diablo for a long while and I like builds that are a little different such as Bombasins (Fire Blast assassins), Riftadins (Zealots using Rift) and Kodiaks (Hunger Bears). I like builds that are challenging, but still viable. I haven’t had much experience with amazons however because, like many people, I used to think that amazons aren’t very versatile. There are several solid bowazon builds and nobody can deny the absolute power of the lightning javazons… but then it becomes quiet around the amazons. Poison kills enormously slow, Fend and Jab are bugged when used with Dodge/Avoid and amazons who try to equip a powerful sword or axe are suddenly facing a block speed so terrible that it’s cripling the build.
I’ve looked throughout the boards for a good build that I have in mind, but to my surprise, I couldn’t find one, so I decided to make it myself. This build lets the amazon go melee with a dagger. Now before you laugh at me, allow me to explain why daggers are actually great weapons.
Daggers give good block speed
I know it sounds strange (actually, it is strange but it’s just how the game works) but an amazon’s base block speed depends on the weapon she is wielding. She can get a better block rate by getting items with faster block rate (FBR), but with an abominable base block speed even that cannot help you get a decent block speed. The tables below shows this:
- 0% FBR : 5 frames
- 13% FBR : 4 frames
- 32% FBR : 3 frames
- 86% FBR : 2 frames
Swords, axes, maces, hammers, scepters, wands…
- 0% FBR : 17 frames
- 4% FBR : 16 frames
- 6% FBR : 15 frames
- 11% FBR : 14 frames
- 15% FBR : 13 frames
- 23% FBR : 12 frames
- 29% FBR : 11 frames
- 40% FBR : 10 frames
- 56% FBR : 9 frames
- 80% FBR : 8 frames
- 120% FBR : 7 frames
That’s quite a difference isn’t it. And really, a bad block rate is disastrous for melee characters. Unless other gear is sacrificed, an amazon with a swinging weapon is usually stuck with a 9 frame block rate (10 frames with a shaeled Stormshield). A dagger-wielding amazon will usually have a 3 or 4 frame block rate, which is good.
Daggers are fast
Not everyone knows this, but the speed of a weapon is dependant on three things.
- Class base weapon speed: The class base weapon speed is the speed that the class has for this weapon type. For instance a Druid attacks a lot faster with a polearm than an Amazon or a Paladin will. Amazons have a fantastic base weapon speed for daggers.
- Weapon speed modifier (WSM): The weapon speed modifier sets apart the different kind of daggers. A Kris is very fast with a WSM of –20 (lower is faster) while a Dirk with a WSM of 0 is considerably slower.
- Increased attack speed (IAS): these are found on items. Unlike some other builds, it doesn’t matter whether the attack speed is directly on the weapon or on other gear. The Fanaticism aura increases this value too.
Daggers can all reach a 7 frames per attack (FPA), but dagger with a higher WSM require more IAS than dagger with a high WSM. The following table shows the IAS needed for an amazon wielding daggers. The tables are complete; a 6 frame attack speed is not possible.
Dirk (Rondel, Mithril Point)
- 0% IAS : 12 fpa
- 10% IAS : 11 fpa
- 23% IAS : 10 fpa
- 42% IAS : 9 fpa
- 72% IAS : 8 fpa
- 133% IAS : 7 fpa
Blade (Stiletto, Legend Spike)
- 0% IAs : 11 fpa
- 10% IAS : 10 fpa
- 26% IAS : 9 fpa
- 50% IAS : 8 fpa
- 95% IAS : 7 fpa
Dagger (Poignard, Bone Knife)Kris (Cinquedas, Fanged Knife)
- 0% IAS : 10 fpa
- 13% IAS : 9 fpa
- 32% IAS : 8 fpa
- 68% IAS : 7 fpa
Now, just because you can reach a 7 FPA with all these daggers doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything to obtain this attack speed. I consider 9 FPA a minimum, but a lot depends on what kind of dagger you wield and how much IAS the weapon holds. If your weapon is a Fanged Knife with 40% IAS, that’s an entirely different situation than when you wield a Legend Spike with no IAS.
Daggers have decent damage
While normal and exceptional daggers have relatively low damage, their elite versions are totally viable damage-wise. The two fastest elite daggers; the Fanged Knife and the Bone Knife both have an average damage of 36 and the Legend Spike has an average damage of 39. For comparison: a Phase Blade has 33, a Berserker Axe has 47.5 and a Caduceus has 40.
Daggers get bonuses from strength and dexterity
Weapons get damage bonuses dependant on strength and dexterity. How much damage that is is dependant on the type of weapon. Shooting weapons get +1% damage for every point in dexterity and +0% for every point in strength. Melee weapons get +0% damage for every point in dexterity and 1% for every point in strength. There are a few exceptions to this:
- Amazon-class spears get +0.8% damage for every point in strength and +0.5% damage for every point in dexterity.
- Hammers get +1.1% damage for every point in strength and +0% damage for every point in dexterity.
- Daggers and assassin claws get +0.75% damage for every point in strength and +0.75% damage for every point in dexterity.
Of course, there are cons to the whole dagger idea too and while I think the pros outweigh the cons by far, it would be wise to mention them anyway. The first and foremost con is the lack of attack skills. Amazon skills are focused on bows and javelins and weapons that grant oskills, like Passion or Kingslayer, cannot be made in a dagger. You’re stuck with a normal attack. Also, don’t forget that daggers have a range 1. While I don’t find range a big issue in PvM, it can be a bit annoying from time to time, especially when monsters are running away from you.
PvP / PvM
For those of you who are unfamiliar with those terms, PvP stands for Player versus Player and means that you use your character to battle other diablo players. PvM stands for Player versus Machine and means you can battle the forces of darkness in the world of diablo.
This build is not intended for PvP. You don’t have the damage, life, attack rating or mobility to compete with other players. Seriously, unless you are battling someone who really doesn’t know what they’re doing, you’ll be dead before you can land a hit.
Skills are an important part of this build. Since you won’t have a bow or javelin ready, you will spend all your points in the Passive and Magic skill tree. I will discuss each of those skills and give pointers on how many points you should spend and how/when to use it.
Inner Sight (1 or 20)
This skill lowers all monsters’ defense within a 13.3 yards which is just about the entire screen. Every additional point spent in this skill will increase the duration and the amount of lowered defense. This is an all-or-nothing skill. If you max it and get some +skills, this skill can really help you to hit things easier. On the other hand, you might have better uses for your skill points.
Inner Sight will work like a curse, but it’s not a curse. If you’re partying with a necromancer, or if you’re using items that cast curses regularly, one will not cancel out the other.
Critical Strike (1 – 5)
This skill allows you to do double physical damage with an attack. More points will increase that chance, but there are severe diminishing returns. If you have a lot of +skills, you can leave this at 1. I would aim for a level9 Critical Strike (gives 54% chance). A very high level Critical Strike will give you something around 75% chance.
If you also have Deadly Strike (can be found on items), remember that Deadly Strike works exactly the same as Critical Strike, but they will never trigger both. Deadly Strike is calculated first. If Deadly Strike fails, only then is Critical Strike calculated. This means that Critical Strike gets less important if you have a lot of Deadly Strike.
The first and most important of your defensive skills. An amazing skill which will allow an amazon to dodge a melee attack if she is standing still or attacking. Additional points increase this chance, but there are severe diminishing returns. Still, seeing as how you will go melee with your enemies, every extra percent chance is good. A level 12 dodge gives you a 50% chance to dodge. A very high dodge will give you a little over 60% chance. You decide if it’s worth it.
Slow Missiles (1)
A true one point wonder. This skill will work like inner sight, “cursing” monsters within a 13.3 yard radius. Missiles fired by monsters who are under the influence of Slow Missiles will travel with only one third the speed. This is a fantastic skill against ranged attackers of any kind. This skill even affects Lightning Enchanted creatures. Still, while this is an amazing skill, additional points will only increase the duration and that will be good enough with 1 point and a few +skills.
The second of your defensive skills. This skill works exactly like Dodge, except that instead of melee attacks, this skill works on ranged attacks. Like dodge, this skill only works when you’re attacking or standing still though. Like dodge, additional points increase the chance, and there are severe diminishing returns.
Avoid has better returns than dodge. A level 13 Avoid gives you a 60% chance. A very high Avoid will give you around 70% chance. Seeing as how you will have Slow Missiles and the fact that Melee attackers are more common, I find Dodge more important than this skill, so don’t waste too many skill points here. A 60% chance is really enough.
This skill increases your attack rating by a percentage. The first point will give you 30% and every additional point will give you 10%. It’s really simple; you need this to be able to hit things to do damage and you’re using a normal attack which doesn’t give attack rating bonusses, so max it.
This skill will summon a duplicate of yourself on the battlefield wherever you cast it. The duplicate will not actually do anything, but it will take hits that would have otherwise been directed towards you or your mercenary. The mana cost actually reduces as you put more points in this skill, so don’t hesitate to recast as often as you need. The decoy’s life is dependant on your life and the decoy level, it has resistances of 4*Decoy level (capped at 85%) and it can Dodge/Avoid. The Decoy will last until it either has no more life, or until it expires. At very high levels, the expiration time is high enough to not be an issue though. As an added bonus, this skill will serve as a synergy for your Valkyrie. This is seriously one of the most underrated skills in the game.
The last of your defensive skills. This skill works like Dodge and Avoid, except that it will work on both Melee and Missile attacks, and only if you are walking or running. This skill has the same return values as Dodge (50% at level 12), but since you will be attacking more often, I find Dodge more important. A 50% chance is enough.
Summons a powerful Valkyrie warrior to fight with you. A high-level Valkyrie will dish out an enormous amount of damage and have an amazing amount of life. Each time you cast a Valkyrie, it will be given new equipment dependent on the Valkyrie level. It will have resists depending on your Valkyrie level (2% per level) and your Decoy level (also 2% per level) and is capped at 85%. The Valkyrie can do incredible damage, especially if you’re lucky enough for her to spawn with a Cruel weapon (up to +300% damage on the weapon). The Valkyrie will have Dodge/Avoid/Evade/Critical Strike levels equal to yours (on the moment of casting) and its attack rating gets higher if you put more points in Penetrate, making this the ultimate minion. Seriously, no minion in the game can compare to a fully beefed up Valkyrie; not even a maxed Shadow Master.
No points. Pierce has no effect when you’re using daggers.
Your equipment is an important part of your character. I’m going to give options for each part of equipment you wear, giving cheap options for those who don’t have a lot of equipment or who want to try this build untwinked. Before I do that, I’ll list the stats that all the gear combined should give when you’re entering hell.
- Your resists (Fire/Lightning/Cold/Poison) are at least 40/40/0/0
- You do at least 750 average damage per hit
- You have at least 25% Crushing Blow
- Your attack speed is 9-frames
- You have at least 40% chance to hit most monsters
- You have at least 1200 life
- You have max block
- Your resists (Fire/Lightning/Cold/Poison) are at least 75/75/50/50
- You do at least 1500 average damage per hit
- You have around 50% Crushing Blow
- Your attack speed is 8-frames
- You have at least 75% chance to hit most monsters
- You have at least 1500 life
- You have max block
- You have 50% Physical Damage Reduction
Your weapon is used to inflict damage. It should be fast and it should do a decent amount of damage. Crushing Blow is another very desirable modifier. When you socket the weapon, consider if a SHAEL rune (or a good IAS jewel) will give you the speed you need. If more speed is not needed, a BER rune or a JAH rune is usually the best option. If you cannot afford that, try a damage jewel, an ETH rune or an AMN rune.
Cruel elite dagger. This can be bought or cubed quite easily. You can even get a suffix (like 40% IAS). Remember that a Fanged Knife and a Legend Spike can get one or two sockets when you let Larzuk socket it and a Bone Knife and a Mithril Point can only get one. If you’re poor, you probably won’t have a lot of IAS gear, so focus on Fanged Knives.
- Upgraded Spineripper. This unique dagger has decent damage, IAS, Ignore Target Defense and a few gravy mods like Life Leech. Not amazing, but a definite upgrade from the simple Cruel version. Personally, I wouldn’t want to waste a zod rune on an ethereal one.
- Fleshripper. I like this one is a little better than the Spineripper because it has Crushing Blow and Slow. It doesn’t have Ignore Target Defense or Leech though. An ethereal zodded one would be best, but also very expensive.
- Perfect Ethereal Cruel Fanged Knife of Quickness (ZodBer). You probably have better use for your highrunes, and your chances of finding this are very slim, but this weapon is totally amazing. Amazing damage and Crushing Blow and a good base for a 7 frame attack make this a rare but great choice.
- Ghostflame. This one is ethereal and indestructible all by itself and with a good damage, 108 Magic Damage and Ignore Target Defense, you have a good weapon. The weapon has a big disadvantage too: aside from the lack of Crushing Blow, this weapon is also lacking the speed you need. With no IAS on the weapon, the 95% IAS you would need to reach the 7 frame breakpoint is well out of reach. The 8 frame breakpoint is still reachable with 50%.
- Rare Fanged Knife / Bone Knife. Rares can be totally amazing, but your chances of finding one aren’t very high. The best ones are ethereal with a self-repair mod, have at least 250% enhanced damage, elemental damage, increased attack speed and more.
Your helm should provide you with enough resists to make up for any shortcomings in your other gear. If you have some good charms and use an armor with a lot of resists, you can use a more offensive-oriented helm. Otherwise, stick with a more defensive one. Of course, it also depends a lot on what you can afford. If you desperately need more Increased Attack Speed, you can socket it with an IAS jewel, but usually an UM rune is your best choice.
- Duskdeep. 15% Resist All, some Damage Reduction and a small damage bonus make for an affordable, but decent choice.
- Lore (OrtSol). +1 skills, 30% Resist Lightning and a small Damage Reduction offer a lot for two simple runes.
- Tals Mask. Many people throw away this helm or sell it for a handfull of Pgems. It offers 15% Resist all, a big life bonus, 10% dual leech and a free socket. Forget the fact that your zon looks ugly as hell and use it.
- Guillaumes Face. 35% Crushing Blow is a lot and unless you already have a lot of Crushing Blow, this is an amazing bonus. With Faster Hit Recovery, strength and Deadly Strike you have a good helm. You’ll have to get your resists elsewhere though.
- Kiras Guardian. Massive resists (up to 70%), Faster Hit Recovery and Cannot Be Frozen make a great affordable defensive choice.
- Harlequin Crest. A major life bonus, +2 skills and 10% Physical Damage Reduction make a good helm too. Again, you’ll need to get your resists elsewhere.
- Rare circlet. Look for one with +2 amazon skills (or just passive skills), resists, 2 sockets, strength and life. Faster hit recovery, faster cast rate and faster run/walk are other really good mods.
- Crown of Ages. Extremely heavy, but with Physical Damage Reduction, Resists, Faster Hit Recovery and +1 Skills, one cannot deny the amazing power. A good one is ridiculously expensive though.
- Dream (IoJahPul). An amazing runeword which adds a nice elemental damage to your attacks, gives you up to 30% Faster Hit Recovery, up to 20% resist all, a nice life and mana bonus and a great chance to cast confuse when struck. If you don’t need more resists, this is a great offensive choice. Looks cool too.
An armor is supposed to have defense, resists and possibly some +skills. On the other hand, it really depends on the other equipment you have. Life is a mod that’s always nice to have too and a little Faster Cast rate can dramatically improve your casting rate.
- Twitchthroe. Increased attack speed, faster hit recovery and increased blocking make an incredible starter armor and, despite the lack of defense and resists, if you upgrade it, it will remain viable until you reach hell.
- Smoke (NefLum). Not a lot of bonusses, but this armor does offer 50% resist all and 20% Faster Hit Recovery, making it a solid affordable choice.
- LionHeart (HelLumFal). Great armor for just a few midrunes. 30% resist all, a huge life bonus, big stat bonusses and even a small damage bonus. The defense is low though.
- Treachery (ShaelThulLem). Amazing armor with 45% Increased Attack Speed. It offers no direct resistances, but it has a 5% chance to cast lvl15 Fade when struck which counts as 60% resist all. Only problem is that you can’t count on Fade being recast often enough. It has a high chance to cast lvl15 Venom on striking though, effectively adding 305-325 poison damage to your attack.
- Skin of the Vipermagi. Really a great armor with resists, magic damage reduction, +1 to all skills and a nice 30% faster cast rate which works really well with Slow Missiles, Inner Sight and Decoy.
- Duriel’s Shell. Nice resists and a nice life bonus combined with Cannot Be Frozen and a strength bonus make a decent enough armor. Unless you need the Cannot Be Frozen, a Lionheart will probably serve you better though.
- Duress (ShaelUmThul). 15% Crushing Blow, 15% Resist All, Open Wounds and several other good mods make for a good armor for the relatively low cost of an UM rune.
- Fortitude (ElSolDolLo). If there is any runeword that really powers up your build, it’s this one. 300% enhanced damage, up to 30% resist all and a good chance to cast lvl15 Chilling Armor when struck, which gives a considerable defense bonus. With a good defense, a great life bonus, 25% Faster Cast rate and some gravy mods, this is surely the armor you want. If fact, I can’t help but think that this armor was invented specifically for this build.
A shield should have good blocking. Everything else is not nearly as important, but skills, life, resists and fast blocking are always nice bonusses. For runewords, a Hyperion has the highest base blocking (49%) and is still wearable without an enormous strength investment. A Troll Nest has slightly less blocking (45%), but requires less strength and offers more defense.
- Sigon’s Guard. Decent block, +1 skills and a free socket. Very cheap, but viable.
- Rhyme (ShaelEth). Good block, fast block and 25% resist all. A cheap shield with some common runes.
- Whitstan’s Guard. Incredible block rate and block speed. A very affordable shield.
- Stormshield. Great blocking, fast blocking, resists and a whopping 35% Physical Damage Reduction and an incredible strength bonus. It's quite heavy though.
- Sanctuary (KoKoMal). Good blocking and up to 70% resist all. The defense is also good, it gives a nice dexterity bonus and some Magic Damage reduction. This shield will allow your other gear to be focused more offensively.
Gloves are a great way to get some Increased Attack Speed. Rare and crafted gloves can have +2 to Passive and Magic skills along with some great other mods.
- 20% IAS /+3 to Passive and Magic skills gloves. This has the two things you want, but no other mods. With some effort, you can shop this at hell Charsi.
- Bloodfist. Only 10% Increased Attack Speed and no +skills, but a nice 30% Faster Hit Recovery and a respectable life bonus. If you don’t need the extra speed, this is a decent pair of gloves.
- Lavagout. 20% IAS and a nice chance to cast Enchant on striking which gives a neat Attack Rating Bonus. It also has some fire damage and some fire resistance.
- Laying of Hands. 20% IAS, an enormous fire resistance and +350% damage to demons. There are a lot of demons, and all act bosses are demons, so that’s a great mod to have. The chance to cast Holy Bolt looks cool but doesn’t really have any effect.
- Rare gloves. Look for gloves with 20% IAS and strength, dexterity, life or +skills.
- Crafted “Blood” gloves. These gloves have life leech, life and crushing blow and can have up to four other mods. If you can get a pair with 20% IAS and +2 to Passive and Magic skills, you have a winner.
Boots are really not that important. Faster run/walk is always great to have, but you don’t really need it. Offensive mods like Crushing Blow, or good life and resists are much more desirable here.
- Hotspur. A great fire resistance, a whopping +15% to max fire resist and a small life bonus. Not amazing, but definitely viable.
- Waterwalk. An amazing life bonus combined with a nice dexterity bonus, faster run/walk and +5% to max fire resist
- Sandstorm Trek. Faster run/walk, Faster Hit Recovery, respectable strength and dexterity bonusses and a fantastic poison resistance.
- Gore Rider. Crushing Blow, Deadly Strike, Open Wounds and fast running. What more could you want?
- Goblin Toe. Gives 25% Crushing Blow, which is 10% more than Gore Riders. Personally, that makes me favour these boots, even though all the other mods are not very good.
Amulets can give +skills, life and resists. Other mods are desirable but less important.
- Prismatic amulet. Gives 20-30% resist all and can be made in the horadric cube. Pretty decent choice for the cost of a few perfect gems.
- +3 to Passive and Magic amulet. If you can find this, it’ll give a respectable boost to your skill levels.
- Mara’s Kaleidoscope. +2 to all skills, 20-30% resist all and a small stat bonus. This amulet is very popular, so don’t expect to get one cheap.
- The Cats Eye. 20% IAS, 30% Faster Run/Walk, +25 Dexterity and a nice defense bonus. If you feel you have enough skills and resists, this is an amazing amulet.
- +3 to Passive and Magic / +100 life amulet. No resists, but the amazing life and skill bonusses more than make up for that. It’s pretty expensive, but maybe you’re lucky and find it.
- Rare amulet. Rare amulets can get +2 to your skills, resists, life, strength, dexterity and more. Very rare, but very powerful.
- Highlord’s Wrath. 20% IAS, a big Deadly Strike bonus, +1 skills and a nice lightning resistance. If you need the IAS, this is a great amulet.
- Angelic Wings. A crappy amulet by itself, but if you combine it with an Angelic Halo ring, you get a great life bonus and a truly amazing Attack Rating bonus that gets more and more amazing with each level you gain.
Rings can give you many good mods. Great mods on a ring are life, life leech and stat bonusses. Remember that several rings have a good elemental absorb which greatly assists in your elemental defense. Angelic rings can give a huge Attack Rating bonus.
- Cathan’s Seal. Possibly the most common set item in the game. It doesn’t offer much, but at least it has 6% life leech and a small amount of physical damage reduction.
- Nagelring. A nice Attack Rating bonus and some damage reduction (magic and physical).
- Wisp Projector. Cool ring that gives a nice lightning effect when you strike, though the real reason why you want it is because it has up to 20% lightning absorb. This means that 20% of the lightning damage heals you instead of damaging you. So if a monster does 100 lightning damage (after resists), you receive 80 lightning damage and are healed 20, so you take a net worth of 60 damage. That means that the lightning damage you take is almost halved!
- Bul Kathos’ Wedding Band. Life leech (up to 5%), life and one of the two rings that has +1 skills. If you ask me, there are better rings that are a lot less expensive, but it’s nevertheless a good choice.
- Nature’s Peace. An undervalued ring. This ring grants Prevent Monster Heal, Monsters Rest In Peace and a good magic damage reduction. It also has some Oak Sage charges that can be of great assistance in some tough battles. It even has some Poison Resistance.
- Raven Frost. Now, if there is one item I would suggest you try to get at all costs, it’s this. Not only does it offer Cannot Be Frozen, but it also gives a great Attack Rating bonus, a high Dexterity bonus, 20% Cold Absorb, a nice amount of cold damage and even some mana. Anyone suggesting using two of these will not be accused of crazytalk, but one is almost mandatory.
- Rare ring. Rare rings need a lot to compete with a Raven Frost. Look for one with a lot of life, life leech, strength and some resists. Rule of thumb: if you’re not sure if your rare ring is good, it’s probably not.
- Angelic Halo. Only good if you also have the amulet for the same reasons as stated with the amulet. Both items are useless alone, but the hidden set bonusses are great.
I can't believe I actually forgot the belts. Is suppose I'd look for a good crafted Blood belt or a Verdungos. If you desperately need a little IAS, Nosferatu can be a good choice too. And you're right about the Rockstopper. It's a great low-cost choice.
There are a number of possible weapon switches and all serve a different purpose. You can only use one though, so you'll just have to choose. My choice would go to the Call To Arms option.
- Call To Arms. Lets you cast Battle Orders, increasing your life dramatically. Everybody uses it, and for good reason.
- Demonlimb. With this weapon, you can cast a lvl23 Enchant on yourself and your minions. It won't do much for damage, but the Attack Rating bonus is quite decent. The charges are not free though.
- Secondary dagger. Think of a dagger with loads of elemental damage to deal with Physical Immunes or a dagger with a chance to cast Amplify Damage.
- Dual Spirit. With a spirit sword/shield, you get an additional +4 skills and Faster Cast rating. This means you can quickly switch, cast Decoy, Valkyrie and Slow Missiles and switch back.
Strength grants +0.75% off-weapon damage per point. You also need a certain amount of strength to equip your items. For this particular build, strength is only needed to be able to use your items. Dexterity is a better way to increase your damage as it offers more than just damage.
Dexterity offers +0.75% off-weapon damage per point as well as Attack Rating and Defense. More points in dexterity also increase your chance to block (maximum is 75%). Being a very defensive character, we will want to have max block, so enough dexterity to get that is the minimum. After that, you can choose to spend more points here if you have trouble hitting things.
Remember that the amount of dexterity you need to get max block is dependant on your character level too. When you gain a level, you will probably need a few additional points in dexterity to regain your max block.
You’re using a normal attack and it’s not like you will be casting Slow Missiles, Inner Sight and Decoy three times every second. Leave it at base.
Every point in vitality gives you 3 life. The more life you have, the better, so everything else goes here.
A good mercenary is useful for every build, but it’s almost indispensible for this build. With a Valkyrie, a Decoy and a mercenary, you are a lot safer, even against large crowds. When it comes to choosing a mercenary, I think there are really only two real options.
“Might” Palace Guard (Nightmare Offensive)
These dudes are the best as they offer a might aura which increases his damage, your damage and your Valkyrie’s damage. The increase can be pretty decent considering that you have very little off-weapon enhanced damage to start with. The level of the might aura is equal to the mercenary level divided by 3.2, so don’t forget to keep leveling your merc.
“Holy Freeze” Palace Guard (Nightmare Defensive)
These men are more defensive than their Might buddies. They equip a Holy Freeze aura that will slow everything around him and give him a small boost in damage. Like the Might version, the skill level is equal to the level of the mercenary divided by 3.2 but unlike the Might version, it is capped at level 18.
Like you, your mercenary will have to be equipped well to be able to kill anything and not die all the time. Remember mercenaries can use Ethereal gear without penalties because a they don’t use durability on their gear.
Several good options here, the best of which of most definitely the Reapers Toll Tresher. It has good damage, life leech, Ignore Target Defense and an amazing 33% chance to cast decripify on striking which cripples enemies and breaks immunities. If you can’t get that one, a high-damage polearm (possibly with some life leech) is good enough. For the low cost of some midrunes, you can make Obedience (“HelKoThulEthFal”) in an ethereal elite polearm to make another great weapon.
Really a tradeoff between Shaftstop and Fortitude. Shaftstop offers the important Physical Damage Reduction and life, but Fortitude offers damage, resists and Chilling armor. If your merc can consistently survive with Fortitude, use that, else use Shaftstop. Of course, the Shaftstop should be upgraded for extra defense.
Again two choices: Vampire Gaze and Dream. Vampire Gaze is an affordable choice and offers Physical Damage Reduction and life leech. Remember that upgrading your Vampire Gaze can actually lower its defense, so consider that before spending the runes. The Dream has resists, a chance to cast Confuse when hit and a Holy Shock aura that will add a decent amount of lightning damage to your mercenary’s damage. As a cheap solution, Tals Mask is good too.
A Daggerzon is not a Zealot or a Fury Druid. She will attack fast and do decent damage, but both of these are not as godly as these two builds. On the other hand, with Dodge/Avoid/Evade, your amazon can tank better and your summons provide the additional defense needed. In this chapter, I’ll provide some pointers. I’m sure some of these are of the “duh”-variety, but I’ll mention them anyway.
- Prebuff your Valk. Seriously, unless there’s a major apocalyptic event with a screen full of powerful bosspacks (or Iron Maiden), your Valkyrie will rarely die. Just equip those +3 Passive gloves, Circlet and Amulet (and possibly your other gear too), cast Valkyrie and switch back to your normal gear.
- Cast Decoy close to your enemies and immediately recast it when it goes down. Having several monsters attack it instead of you gives you the opportunity to pick them off one by one. Don’t be afraid to recast your Decoy as often as needed. It costs almost no mana at higher levels.
- Always cast slow missiles when ranged attackers are near, but remember that it doesn’t make the archer fire any less. It just slows the speed of the projectiles. Also cast Slow Missiles on Lightning Enchanted enemies.
- Attack the monsters with a low defense/life first (usually means casters and archers).
- Remember that while your Valk is almost invincible, your mercenary is not. Keep an eye on his health and heal him when needed.
- Possibly the most annoying kind of monsters are the ones with a Holy Freeze aura. When you encounter one, kill it immediately. If you can’t reach it, recast your Valkyrie on top of it and have her kill him.
- Souls are difficult for any character. Make sure you have maxed lightning resistance (80-85% is even better) and some Physical Damage Reduction. Use Slow Missiles and Decoy wisely and you can defeat an entire room full of them without too much trouble.
I’m sure many of you who read all the way to this point are already wondering about hybrid builds. For those of you who are familiar with the term, Hybrid means that you use part of the build and combine it with another build. For instance, there are Javazon/Bowazon hybrids who use both bows and javelins, depending on the situation.
In this chapter, I’ll give some of the Daggerzon hybrid builds that come to mind and give some of my throughts on it. I’ll focus only on builds that I think really work together with the daggerzon build.
Daggerzon / Fuzzydodger
The Fuzzydodger revolves around and amazon who uses the Beast runeword to transform into a Werebear. She can then switch weapons and go melee. Obviously, you need a Beast weapon to be able to try this build out.
Fuzzydodgers have more life, have higher defense and do more damage. The downside is that you cannot cast in Werebear form. This won’t be a big issue with Valkyrie, as you won’t have to recast it that often, but it will be a problem with Decoy and Slow Missiles. If nothing else, it looks cool as hell. If you go against my recommendation and try PvP anyway, a Fuzzydodger hybrid is an excellent choice.
Daggerzon / Frostmaiden
The frostmaiden uses Freezing Arrow to immobolize and damage enemies. Well, if you want to try and combine this build with a Daggerzon, you’ll find Ice Arrow a better choice as its freeze length increases with levels. Your tactic will be to kill with your dagger and deal with occasional sticky situations and Physical Immunes by using a maxed Ice Arrow and your mercenary/Valkyrie.
Definitely a worthwhile build. However, remember that it costs 22 skill points (remember to put a point in Pierce now) which will have to come from somewhere. Try using a Melody (“ShaelKoNef”) bow in a Matriarchal Bow with +3 bow skills. This will give you a good attack speed and a total of +6 to your Ice Arrow on the bow alone. Remember that Ice Arrow is not for killing. It’s used to immobilize.