The Best Diablo 2 Remaster Builds to Carry You to Victory
Diablo 2 Remaster is on the way, so we’re going to look back at some of the best builds to carry you through the game. Most classes have a few potential builds you could go with. For example, Paladin has Smiteadin, Auradin, Zealadin, not to mention Charger builds or even Cleric build. It’s so hard to pick one build per class, but I’m going to try. The idea is that we’re going to look at these builds, the ideal gear you’ll want to look for, skills you’ll want to focus on, and what makes the build great. We’ll also occasionally talk about Runewords, which you can learn about here.
To do this, I’m doing plenty of research. I am also talking to other long-time Diablo 2 players to get their opinion on builds they want to use again in the remaster. Some classes are a bit contentious (like Paladin), but others are pretty cut-and-dry (Necromancer). I can’t think of too many people that don’t think Summonmancer isn’t the best build for Necro. Then there are the classes where I don’t play them much, so I have to do extra work – Assassin, Amazon, for example. A labor of love, I’ll probably briefly talk about some of the other builds as options, but I’m excited to get back into D2.
Diablo 2 Remaster is going to be exciting, and there are so many builds that will come back to life. Diablo 2 Remaster will allow players to import/use their old D2 save files. That means if you used to co-op Diablo 2 with your friends, and you still have those files, you can pick up right where you left off at. Without further ado, let’s talk some builds!
Amazon – Trust in the Lightning Javazon
Lightning Javelin Amazon (Henceforth known as Lightning Javazon) is one of the easiest classes to understand in all of Diablo 2. It’s going to return as one of the strongest builds for Diablo 2 Remaster, that’s for sure. Javazon is great no matter what build, in my opinion, but Lightning Javazon is better than Poison Javazon. It’s probably easier to build Poison Javazon, but the damage isn’t high. It is, however, consistent. We don’t want consistency though! We want huge numbers popping off! That’s what makes it so great, is how easy and powerful it is.
My favorite part, though? We don’t need a full set of ultra-specific gear just to make it work! That’s right, Lightning Javazon only needs two specific pieces of gear, one Runeword and the Act 2 Mercenary. Sure, you need more specific gear when you get to level 70+, but we’re looking at the early game/beating the initial playthrough.
Do you need high-impact, big-time numbers in a 1v1 fight? How about against 40 angry imps and zombies? Lightning Javazon will have you covered. The only real stressor for me is “What about Lightning Immunity?” Power Strike can help there, but ultimately we need two attack skills maxed. Just two. That is Lightning Fury and Charged Strike.
That isn’t to say we won’t pick up others. Getting Lightning Strike and Power Strike will also be necessary. A few levels in jab can also be used to be safe as a solution for Lightning Resist/Immunity mobs. Between those two skills, you can pretty much safely maul your way through Hell difficulty. Since this class only needs two skills capped and requires only two pieces of potential gear, this makes Lightning Javazon one of the best builds for Diablo 2 Remastered.
Sure, I love Necromancer and Paladin the most. But it’s so frustrating to gear them up so they can shine. Lightning Javazon? Not so! Just those two pieces are key. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Lightning Javazon, for my money, is the best mob clear class/build in the game. It does overwhelming numbers, especially in open areas. Baal? Cow Level? Chaos Sanctuary? The Desert? It doesn’t matter. She’s there to bring the hurt.
There’s a very clear-cut hierarchy of what skill you spam. Is it a big group of monsters? Lightning Fury is the one to go with. A single-target threat like a Boss? Charged Strike is going to be your problem solver. To things with Lightning Immunity or Resistance, Jab is going to be the solution to the problem. The best part of the build? You need two maxed skills, a few points in jab, and the rest of your points go into whatever Passives you’re comfortable with. Dodge, Avoid, Critical Strike, Evade, Pierce are all excellent.
I think Defense is for chumps. I like Critical Strike and Pierce. Pierce is solid synergy for Lightning Fury.
Stats and Gear
This will easily be the shortest part of the article. There are established numbers for our Strength and Dexterity. 156 Strength is the number for equipping M monarch to make the Spirit Runeword or Stormshield. We want that number. 109 Dexterity for Titan’s Revenge, which is easily the best Javazon spear on offer to us. Energy? Ehhh. Probably don’t want to bother with that. We can get gear to offset our mana pool. Vitality is where we dump all the other stats. We aren’t very strong and will need every point of HP to make up for the lack of resistance.
So what do we need in terms of gear? We need a Monarch, which is an elite version of the Kite Shields. With four possible sockets and a low STR requirement, it’s key for a lot of classes. We want to slot into this a particular Rune Word, Spirit (TalThulOrtAmn), and rolled for 35% Faster Cast Rate. We want that maximum possible damage after all. Barring that, we’re hoping to get Stormshield, which is a unique Monarch.
Titan’s Revenge is the weapon we’re after. It can replenish quantity, can have +2 Amazon Skill Levels and +2 Javelin/Spear Skills. That’s it when it comes to gear!
Such an easy build to go with! That’s why I like it. Truthfully, I haven’t played many Amazon in my day. Still, when I started researching and chatting with people about this build (Shoutouts to Greywolfe, Red, and Biral), I became enamored with the idea. I like Amazon now and am looking forward to playing it in D2 Rando while waiting on D2 Remastered to come to life. It does massive amounts of damage, stomps maps into bits, and lots of magical jerk javelins to go around.
Assassins – Trap Build or Bust
Assassin is a class I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with. When I did, though, I went Lightning Trapper. No matter what style of Trapper you run, you’re pretty much always going to want Maxed Death Sentry. When going beyond Level 30 and into the deeper levels of the game, you’ll want to cap out a few skills: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning Sentry, and Death Sentry. That is a lot of skill points, I know.
For those who don’t know, Traps are minion-based summons and are stationary. They attack enemies when they come into range, and if it’s multiple foes, the closest one becomes the primary target. At the end of the game, this is another class that deals absolute mountains of damage. We’ll have some fire damage, some physical damage, and a ton of Lightning Damage. This is to make sure we seldom lack options to deal with opponents.
Death Sentry, Wake of Fire, and the Lightning Traps will be our bread and butter. Though if I had to pick the most important skill, it’s Death Sentry. It’s just a shame it requires level 30. So if you’re going to go all the way with this build, that’s when you’ll probably start putting major points into it.
We’re going to be heavily focused on the “Traps” tree while also dabbling a tiny bit into the Shadow Disciplines. Skills like Claw Mastery and Cloak of Shadows will help survivability and damage. Ultimately the biggest skills we’ll probably be using are Death Sentry and Wake of Fire, but I also like Lightning Sentry. If you aren’t going to be using Lightning Traps, you can forgo capping maxing Lightning Sentry.
After all, it only increases the Lightning damage dealt. It doesn’t boost the effects of the Corpse Explosion aspect of Death Sentry. That’s the real money with that trap too. Fire Blast synergizes with Wake of Fire and increases the number of shots you get with Death Sentry, making it also important.
Trapper Assassins go with Claw Weapons, so get a point of Claw Mastery so you can put a point into Weapon Block. Our ideal situation is to be able to use our traps and abilities to defeating enemies from afar. Using the early abilities like Fire Blast and Shock Web to slow foes down, harming them simultaneously. Once we get Wake of Fire to start blowing out waves of fire at our foes, that’s when things kick off.
It fires quickly, dropping cone-shaped bursts of flame and does solid damage. It’s not going to be amazing in difficulties beyond Normal, but it’s still good overall. It’s going to help us get through until we can Lightning Sentry and perhaps best of all, Death Sentry. I personally also use Charged Bolt Sentry and lean more towards buffing it before Wake of Fire. I like to have access to both, but I like LIghtning builds more, personally.
Lightning Sentry has 10 shots of lightning and receives bonuses from Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, and Death Sentry. For example, Shock Web gives =12% Lightning Damage per level, and Charged Bolt Sentry grants +12% Lightning Damage per Level. Death Sentry does the same. That’s why it pays to level these skills while heading towards Death Sentry. What does that big power do that’s so great?
Death Sentry drops at your feet. It shoots lightning at your enemies. Or it explodes nearby corpses laying waste to anything nearby. Like Corpse Explosion of Necromancer fame, it also bases its damage based on the health of the body that’s exploding. It’s 40-80% of the corpse’s life. It shoots five times, and Fire Blast increases the number of shots (+1 per 3 Levels). That’s what makes Death Sentry so good – the more hp our foes have, the more damage it has. It’s going to be very easy to use this to explode whole rooms of enemies.
It’s for this reason that it needs to be maxed out. It’s horrifyingly powerful. From what I’ve been told, it’s best to get your low-level Shadow skills out of the way early (since you only use 1 skill point in them). Cloak of Shadows, Fade, Shadow Warrior, and Mind Blast (with Shadow Warrior being picked up later).
As far as building, you’ll want to get Traps for the first few levels. When you have the base traps done, get your first Shadow skill, then alternate between the two as necessary for you. I tend to put way more into my traps. How much more? I’ve played exactly one high-level Assassin. I had 20 points (or near it) in:
- Fire Blast
- Shock Web
- Charged Bolt Sentry
- Lightning Sentry
- Death Sentry
You’ll want to drop your traps at the edge of the screen, in the direction you’re heading, and then bind your LMB to Fire Blast. This way, you can easily swap between traps for RMB and always have a useful skill for multiple foes. You can just obliterate groups of enemies pretty easily once you have Death Sentry, but you’re not without means beforehand. Use your traps of choice and melt foes. We can also mix it up in melee a bit with our Claw Weapons.
Stats and Gear
Your stats are a bit more fluid here. Ensure you have the Strength and Dex to use the gear you want (Dex for Claws, STR for armor). Vitality is going to be where you dump all other stat points. Once again, Energy gets left by the wayside.
As far as gear goes, we’re focused on gear that gives +Skills, as is tradition. We’re also looking for Faster Cast Rate, Damage Reduction, and perhaps +Lightning skill damage. You can never have too much damage. It feels like a fairly gear-heavy class, but having +2 to skills on a bunch of pieces of gear makes life just better.
- Weapon: Bartuc’s Cut-Throat
- Armor: Enigma
- Helm: Harlequin Crest
- Boots: Silkweave
- Belt: Arachnid Mesh
- Gloves: Frostburn
- Rings: Stone of Jordan x2
- Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
For our Hireling, we want an Act 2 Mercenary and some use Holy Freeze with it. The downside of that is that Holy Freeze can destroy corpses. That means we can’t use Death Sentry on them. Before we have Death Sentry, it’s fine. But once we need those corpses? Then it’s suddenly a serious problem.
While Assassin’s not one of my favorite classes in Diablo 2, I see the appeal. It seems like Death Sentry is far and away from the most popular build. At least, among the people I spoke to/people I play Diablo 2 with, that’s the consensus. It’s got a lot of range, so you have a fair chance of melting foes before they ever even get to you. It will last deep into Nightmare and Hell thanks to Death Sentry also. It’s just a really exciting way to play the game. Watching your traps just tear things to bits.
Barbarian: SPIN TO WIIIIIIINNNN!!!!
Okay, so I love Barbarian. I actually sort of wrote this twice. I put pen to paper talking about the highest-DPS build (in my estimation) – Berserker Barbarian. However, about a quarter of the way through, I changed my mind. Berserker is amazing, and it can farm Diablo on Hell with the greatest of ease. You need a quality weapon, the right skills, and a lot of anger. That having been said, Whirlwind/WW/Tornado Barbarian is the most iconic. It’s the build people know the best and have probably used the most. It’s easy! You spin through enemies and cut them to shreds. You still need to have a decent amount of Mana Leech/Mana Per Kill to grind through big packs.
But it does work. You become a whirling death machine. A Dreidel that only knows how to kill. Another fantastic pitch for using WW Build is that it only needs a Weapon Mastery and Whirlwind maxed for damage. With that in mind, you can build it in a bunch of wild ways. Capping out Battle Orders and Shout is also a good thing. But you need the first two.
The most important part of being a Whirlwind Barbarian, in my eyes is – Pick. A. Weapon. Pick it early. Don’t start slapping points into a Weapon Mastery just because you pick up a new Blue or Yellow while leveling. Decide what you want to wield, whether you want to use a two-hander or a shield, and go from there. That’s one of the things that’s great about this build. There are so many ways to build! It feels a bit less restrictive.
Only needing two major skills maxed out to be efficient in the late game is fantastic. Like virtually all builds of Diablo 2 Remastered, your best skill shows up at level 30. You can’t max it out right away unless you stock up on tons of skill points and use them sparingly. Totally feasible. When you combine easy solo experiences throughout Normal/Nightmare and how flexible the builds are, it makes Whirlwind Barbarian an excellent choice when playing Diablo 2. You can also play it with friends! It’s not a build that’s only good alone.
There is, of course, the problem of having foes with Physical Immunity. A point in Berserk is sufficient to deal with this. I tend to put a point in this anyway. Now, big groups of Physical Immunity mean it’s time to flee. The build has weaknesses. It also is a build with no real synergies to increase damage and doesn’t have a ton of DPS output. So Berserk Build hits harder, but this is just as satisfying. There are lots of positives. Every Weapon Mastery (except Throwing) is viable. We mow down groups of enemies easily and can stomp our way through pretty much all bosses.
What do we need the most of? Whirlwind is going to be maxed, so is Weapon Mastery. I like heavy two-handers like Axe/Polearm, myself. As I said, maxing Battle Orders and Shout is another important pair to start dumping points into. But what else?
Putting at least a point into Natural Resistance and Iron Skin will be useful, and perhaps Battle Command. A pretty comprehensive list of stuff to work on:
- Whirlwind (20 points)
- Weapon Mastery (20 points)
- Battle Orders (20 points)
- Shout (20 points)
- Berserk (1 point)
- Increased Speed (1 point)
- Iron Skin (1 point)
- Natural Resistance (1 point)
I’d consider the points in Battle Orders/Shout early, as well as the Weapon Mastery of choice. Once you have those 1 point skills down, too, I’m more likely to hoard points so we can, at level 30, just dumpster points into Whirlwind. At higher levels, I put more points into Natural Resist or Iron Skin to survive longer.
Stats and Gear
This isn’t going to be a long section, because good lord, there are so many weapons you can pick from. There are at least 3 or 4 high-end weapons per category, that’s for sure. So taking some time to plan for your desired gear is a good idea. That way, you can plan for having the right Strength. If you aren’t using a shield, you only want enough Dexterity for gear too. Otherwise, you want enough for a decent block. Vitality once again is our major dump stat. Most Barbarian players don’t put points in Energy because we can use skills/gear to avoid using them. I’ll at least point out a few Runewords for your weapons.
Runewords for Weapons
- Swords: Breath of the Dying (VexHelElEldZodEth), Death (HelElVexOrtGul), Oath (ShaelPulMalLum)
- Axes: Breath of the Dying, Death, Oath, Doom (HelOhmUmLoCham), Beast (BerTirUmMalLum)
- Polearms: Breath of the Dying, Doom, Obedience (HelKoThulEthFal)
- Armor: This suffers from a similar fate. There’s just so much that’s good and useful. Fortitude, Chains of Honor, Stone, Duress, Treachery, Enigma, Tyrael’s Might Sacred Armor. I also see people using the Immortal King’s set.
- Helm: Arreat’s Face, Guillaume’s Face
- Shield (if going that route): Stormshield, Sanctuary, Spirit Ward
- Gloves: Steelrend, Laying of Hands, Soul Drainer
- Boots: Gore Rider, Sandstorm Trek
- Belt: Verdungo’s Hearty Cord, String of Ears
- Rings: Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band x2
- Amulet: Highlord’s Wrath, Mara
What a fun build! We just kill things to death. When we have Whirlwind, we become a whirling dervish that leaves bodies in our wake. There isn’t a lot that can stand up to the punishment a WW Barbarian can bring about. You really can’t go wrong with it. Don’t stress about mana too much. Just pack potions and Battle Orders to help. Getting gear that helps you leech mana/grants more mana is also a serious boon. I’m a big fan of this build over any other in Barbarian, thanks to its flexibility. You can build almost however you want, as long as you have the Weapon Mastery/Whirlwind skills maxed/working on maxing them.
Druid – Elemental/Wind Druid Probably Works Better Than Melee
Let me tell you; I had a heck of a time here. Some people insist that Melee (Fire Claw Druid) is the absolute best thing you can do. Then there are the people who agree, but it requires having serious gear already to make it pop off. Finally, “Phys Damage Sucks, Go Elemental.” Though when starting, physical builds can be frustrating. You need a solid weapon to make them work, though at least your Bear/Werewolf forms do boost stats and are, in general, rad.
I think Wind Druids might be easier to start (or Elemental Druids just in general). In deeper parts of the game, Fire Immune becomes more apparent, so maybe the Windy Druid might play. We’ll be utilizing Tornado/Hurricane spells until late game/harder difficulties. We’ll be using Grizzly and Oak Sage in those parts.
Most of our damage will be Cold/Physical damage, and we’ll also have some summons to help us out. This is a summoner build at heart, so you know I’m all about it. We’ll be summoning our monster pals and then turn on Cyclone Armor. That, with Tornado/Twister, you should be able to roll over your enemies. Both Tornado and Twister are hard to aim, so the closer you are, the better.
In the early game, we’re going to want Raven, Spirit Wolf, and Direwolf as we level up. Somewhere between 1-5 points in Raven, probably 5 in Spirit Wolf, and perhaps another 1-3 in Dire Wolf. You’ll want one of the Vines too, whichever strikes your fancy. Oak Sage is another key power, and we’re going to want to max it out eventually. Oak Sage is important because it summons a spirit to increase the health of your party. It has no synergies, so you just level this as you need it.
You can also stand to have some points in Heart of the Wolverine. You can just put one point if you want, but a few more can’t hurt. The idea behind it is that it is a spirit that raises our party Damage and Attack Rating. You can’t have both out at once but used properly. You can make your summons hit much harder. Until you hit 30+, no more than 3-4 points should be fine.
One of the only downsides is how long you have between major abilities. You need to be 6 for Arctic Blast, 12 for Cyclone Armor, and 24 for Tornado. This is why we start with the summons. That way, we have useful allies to help us until we can start casting spells. Once you can start leveling Tornado, that’s where most of our points (if not all) will go.
We’ll also want early points in Cyclone Armor, but you don’t need to max it anytime soon. Unless you’re one of those people that play Hardcore, in that case, get those Cyclone Armor points. However, once you get to 30, you have to choose: Do you level Hurricane or Tornado? I tend to stagger the points to keep them as close to even as possible while also putting points into Oak Sage as needed.
After some research, this is the talent build I noticed for the late game:
- Raven (1 point)
- Spirit Wolf (1 point)
- Dire Wolf (1 point)
- Grizzly (1 point)
- Oak Sage (20 points)
- Arctic Blast (1 point)
- Cyclone Armor (20 points)
- Twister (20 points)
- Tornado (20 points)
- Hurricane (20 points)
Stats and Gear
Stats are kind of a hard thing to talk about, I’ve noticed. Some classes it’s very flexible, like Druids. You want the Str/Dex for the gear you want to wear and everything else into Vitality. You can get away with not putting points into Energy into 50. You can use Sapphires in your gear instead (Armor/Helms) for Mana-Per-Kill. Mana Leech/Regen items will also make up for lack of it.
There doesn’t seem to be one build for gear in Druids? Nah, it doesn’t seem to be. My research has shown all kinds of options! So I’ll give a few of them in each slot. The overall goal is +Elemental Skills, +Skills, +Energy, +Resist, +FCR. The Spirit Rune Word and Call to Armors Runewords are also valuable. Spirit is easy to make, and Call to Arms is more expensive – Spirit being TalThulOrtAmn and AmnRalMalIstOhm. Call to Arms is incredible for weapons because it can grant Battle Command, Battle Orders, and Battle Cry (Barbarian Skills!!).
Having something like 50-60% extra damage? Oh, you love to see it.
- Weapon: Heart of the Oak, Earthshaker, Earth Shifter
- Armor: Enigma, Chains of Honor, Skin of the Vipermagi, Que-Hegan’s Wisdom
- Helm: Ravenlore, Harlequin Crest, Jalal’s Mane
- Boots: Aldur’s Advance, Silkweave, Sandstorm Trek
- Belt: Arachnid Mesh, Verdungo’s Hearty Cord
- Gloves: Magefist, Trang-Oul’s Claws, Frostburn
- Rings: Stone of Jordan, Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band
- Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
Wind Druid is also pretty easy. We summon allies, and then we summon the forces of nature to ravage the forces of evil! Wind Druid is a hoot, and though I don’t play a lot of Druid personally, this is the path I’m going to go with mine. I might test it on my personal Diablo 2 account when I’ve got the time to do so. I know this build works, and I’ve seen many people do hilarious things with it. You sometimes have to get kind of close, but thanks to being a Druid, you’re pretty tanky (and thanks to Oak Sage).
Necromancer – Summonmancer Build
Necromancer’s Summoner is one of the builds that will 100% come back in Diablo 2 Remaster. It’s a classic, and it’s easy to solo with or bring to a party. How does this build work in a party? Well, you have curses! Amplify Damage, Dim Vision, Decrepify, that sort of stuff is brilliant. Necromancer’s Summonmancer build is honestly incredibly cut-and-dry.
The first skill (and probably the most important one) is Raise Skeleton. We aren’t going to fuss with Skeleton Mage, stuff like that. We want Raise Skeleton, Skeleton Mastery, a host of the Golems (a point each), and a few of the various corpses. We’ll also want Teeth and Corpse Explosion at some point. Later in the game, it might be very difficult to start building your army, so we want some damage options to make sure we can get them going.
Thankfully, it’s an incredibly easy class. Level 1, we take Raise Skeleton. We’re going to want a colossal army that just run around and fight for us. Whenever you aren’t putting points into new skills, we’ll need later, consider points in Raise Skeleton and Skeleton Mastery. The more points in these two skills increase the stats and number of our army. Perhaps the other most important skill to me is Amplify Damage. A low-level Curse, it’s one of the most powerful. Casting it on a group of enemies increases the non-magic damage they take – baseline 100% more damage.
Dropping this on our foes means the skeletons will just beat on them harder than ever. Later, you’ll want to invest time into the greater curses like Decrepify for the Act bosses. It lowers their damage potential thanks to slowing them. It’s not something I want until much later, though. Amplify damage is typically more than enough. If you don’t dive deep into Curses and things like that, that’s just more points for your skeletons.
As far as skill points go, We’ll point one into Raise Skeleton, and then the next into Amplify Damage. I tend to swap between Raise Skeleton and Skeleton Mastery. Then, at level 6, when you can pick up Clay Golem, put a point down there. When the following other skills become available, try to put one point into them: Terror, Dim Vision, Decrepify. Revive is also a great choice for the late game if you’d like.
You’ll also want to (especially in the late game) want an additional damage source, like I was saying. Bone Spear’s not a bad point for that either. If you play exclusively in multiplayer, this may not be an issue. Just make sure your partner can clear an early wave, so you can then summon friends.
Combat’s mighty simple. Amplify damage, and let your skeletons do the work. The ideal Mercenary will probably be the Act 2 Mercenary, for the sweet Aura Buff. It’s good through basically the whole game. I like Might Aura if I can get it. Our game plan is simple. Flood the screen with Skeletons, throw a Golem into play, and laugh as they do all the work.
Stats, Ideal Gear
As far as stats go, you don’t need a lot of Energy. Heck, you can probably get away with zero energy points. Instead, you want the Strength and Dex for your late-game gear (like Homunculus). Nothing’s worse than not being able to equip gear when you finally get it. The gear you’re after for Necromancer tends to lean heavily on +Skill bonuses. This way, you can slap stronger Skeletons down and in greater numbers.
This is a very gear-dependent class, though. One thing pointed out, the more skilled/advanced players will put on a set of +Summon gear, Summon their army, and swap out to the +Magic Find gear to help them find the good stuff. Sure, you will lose some Skeletons, but they’ll remain at the level they were brought to life with.
- Weapon: Carin Shard, a Wand with a Golemlord’s prefix
- Armor: Trang-Oul’s Scales (Enigma Keyword)
- Helm: Harlequin Crest
- Boots: Marrowwalk
- Shield: Homunculus
- Belt: Arachnid Mesh
- Gloves: Trang-Oul’s Claws
- Rings: Stone of Jordan, Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band
- Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
- Charm: Hellfire Torch, +1 Summon Skil Grand Charms are nice
Across this gear, we receive quite a lot of skill bonuses. We receive (using this gear) +4 in Summoning Levels, +3 in Necromancer Levels, +7 All Skills, +1 Skeleton Mastery, and +4 in Curse Skills. That is a ton of +Skill Levels to make sure our army is as powerful as possible. The All Skills/Necromancer stuff is also amazing to make our Amplify Damage and Decrepify also wonderfully powerful.
I adore this class/build. This goes to about level 30. If you’re going past that, consider putting a bunch of points into Corpse Explosion. It makes the skill far more efficient and increases the range/power. It will cost more, and without a lot of Energy – let’s just say, you’ll need some Mana Pots. But it’s a great use of dead bodies when you aren’t summoning more friends. In the later game, you can also consider Raise Skeletal Mage and max it out, as well as a Golem of your choice (and Mastery). Success as a Summonmancer is dependent on the quick use of your Curses.
You want the enemy to be as weak as possible. That Amplify Damage curse also helps allies in multiplayer since it increases their non-magic damage too. Since we aren’t using points in Energy, carry Mana Potions. As far as the order of stats, though, it goes Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, Energy. Summonmancer is incredibly fun, and once you’ve gotten used to swapping around Curses, you can mash through enemies with little to no effort. It starts weak, but before you know it, you’re standing there like a proud papa, as your Skeleton horde collapses in on whatever you dislike seeing on the screen.
When in Doubt, SMITE It Up on Paladin
I had such a hard time picking a Paladin build. It’s the class I play the most. My favorite is Auradin, but it requires many skill points and is a tedious build to get going. Once it’s there, though, you stand there, and enemies die around you. Super satisfying. You always have a choice. Holy Freeze, Fire, Thorns, whatever the situation dictates, you’re ready for it. SMITE is probably the easiest build, though. It’s a very simple setup. You use Smite to defeat any enemy in the game.
The only thing that stops you are enemies that are Phys. Immune and no boss have Physical Immunity. That means you can just ignore/avoid the enemies that are, or just use Vengeance. If you’re looking to go far as a Paladin and want to fight Uber versions of Lilith, Duriel, Izual, and the Uber Mephisto/Diablo/Baal, and solo at that, you can as a SMITE Paladin. They aren’t great against huge hordes of minions, but when you want to kill one particular strong thing, dead? Oh yes.
Go with SMITE. You don’t need to build a ton of skills to 20, but at least two, maybe three—Smite, Holy Shield, likely Fantacism. There is an alternate build where you put one point into Smite and then take Holy Shield/Fantacism instead, but I don’t do this personally. It’s a cool idea, though. It puts the remaining points into various other skills, such as passives, Resist Auras, etc.
Smite is the most important part of the build. We can pick it up at level 1, and it uses our shield to deal damage and knock back enemies. It synergizes with Holy Shield, and so we’re going to want to cap that. It does require a shield, though, so don’t bother if you don’t have one. By level 15 of Smite, we’re dealing 225% of our base damage and stunning most enemies for about four seconds. The best part of it is that it doesn’t rely on Attack Rating as a stat.
As long as this ability triggers, it will hit. It will Stun/Knockback our foes and deals plenty of damage to them. Since it’s an attack skill, it’s affected by Attack Speed and not Cast Rate. It’s such a wildly powerful ability. Our Aura of choice is going to be Fanatacism, but Concentration/Might are also good backups. Fanaticism Aura increases our Damage, Attack Speed, and Attack Rating (For party members and us). Sure, we don’t need Attack Rating, but others in the group might!
Holy Shield directly impacts our damage with Smite, so it’s another must-have in terms of spending points. Later in your run, you may wish to spend points on Defiance, but it only actively increases your Defense and in no way improves Smite damage. The other skills? Of the utmost importance. If you’re looking for an AOE to max out to have a way through huge waves, my go-to is Holy Shock. That way, we can at least slot it into one of our buttons and continue to Smite the major enemies.
This isn’t a complicated class. We run in on our foes, Smite them into the ground and keep right on going to Smite, our next foe.
Stats and Gear
Like all other classes so far, we want Vitality to have the highest number. But first, make sure whatever gear you pick, you have enough Strength for it. It’s also suggested you take enough Dexterity to have 75% Block Chance. That will keep you alive a lot longer in a sea of melee foes. Like all of the other situations so far, too, the gear picked might be high-end, but it should give you an idea of what you’re looking for.
- Weapon: Grief (or maybe Last Wish)
- Armor: Enigma
- Helm: Crown of Ages
- Boots: Gore Rider
- Shield: Exile or HoZ
- Belt: Verdungo’s Hearty Cord
- Gloves: Dracul’s Grasp or Steelrends
- Rings: Raven Frost, Bul’Kathos’ Wedding Band
- Amulet: Highlord’s Wrath
Though I like the other builds more, Smite Paladin is reliable and durable. We’re capable of going into pretty much every difficulty and stomp our way to the biggest, baddest bosses and turn them into mincemeat. There are no challenges that a Smite Paladin can’t overcome – except Physical Immune. Thankfully we can just ignore those and run away or use Vengeance. It adds Elemental damage to all of our melee attacks, so it lets us resume the fight safely. There’s a fair-to-high chance I’ll be rebuilding my Smite Paladin in Diablo 2 Remastered as one of the builds I go with.
Sorceress – FROOOOOZEN ORB BUILD
Sorceress has some wild builds. Teleport/Lightning, Weatherwoman, and perhaps the funniest/hardest of all, Melee Sorceress. If I want something safe, easy, and it gives me peace of mind, I’m not even going Blizzard. I’m going Frozen Orb Sorceress. It’s good in PVP and PVE, has an unreasonable amount of AOE damage, and slows enemies! It needs only one skill to succeed, but we still have some other points to spread around.
That having been said, Ice Bolt does also grant damage to Frozen Orb, so we want points in that. Cold Mastery will also be useful. But we’re only casting one spell – Frozen Orb. The only danger to us is stuff that’s Cold Immune. A quality Mercenary can help us there, though. Though sure, we stand behind our Merc and spam Frozen Orb, if the event, we’re in a bad situation, we’ll also put points into Static Field. This is our optional spell to use against several enemies with Cold Immune.
I don’t know that I’d want to run Sorceress as my main class. Instead, I use Sorceress (Frozen Orb build) to farm Magic Items. Thanks to how easily we fill the board with frosty doom, I use this to get gear for other characters. We have wide coverage that easily fills the screen with death. We aren’t just sticking to Frost spells. We’re also going to dip our toes into Lightning briefly, so we can have Teleport. You don’t need more than one point, though.
It’s a pretty simple build, thankfully. We aren’t aiming to have points spread across like 15 abilities. We want to max Frozen Orb, Ice Bolt, Cold Mastery and 1 point in all of the Ice Armors is fine. A point in Teleport is also a must. You also want at least a point in Static Field as our backup spell. Everything else? We put into our primary form of Defense – Energy Shield!
Positioning is key with Frozen Orb Sorceress. You’ll want to Teleport/Run to the proper location to get the most out of your Orb. Watch how it explodes, and then practice. It doesn’t take too much work, to be honest. However, you don’t get Frozen Orb until 30; that’s the downer of it. You’ll be respeccing for it at 30, potentially. I like to put early points into Ice Blast since we need it and then go down Frozen Nova/Blizzard to prepare for the Frozen Orb when it pops up.
The way it rounds out to me, my build looks similar to this:
- Cold Enchant (1 point)
- Shiver Armor (1 point)
- Ice Bolt (20 points)
- Ice Blast (20 points)
- Glacial Spike (1 point)
- Frost Nova (1 point)
- Blizzard (1 point)
- Frozen Orb (20 points)
- Cold Mastery (20 points)
- Telekinesis (1 point)
- Teleport (1 point)
- Static Field (1 point)
- Energy Shield (1 point)
- Warmth (1 point)
I want Warmth fairly early for the mana management. I’m also going to want those lightning skills early, too (Teleport, Static Field, Energy Shield). With that in mind, I tend to put a few points into Ice Bolt/Blast early to use them for damage and spread the other points as I need. Then when we can get Frost Nova/Glacial Blast, we put a point there just to get them out of the way.
That’s a very late-game build, though. It also becomes easier with +Skill gear.
Stats and Gear
Because of Energy Shield, we’ll be putting points into Energy. You’ll want to have enough Strength for your gear and enough Dexterity for some block. As far as Energy goes, you’ll want slightly less than your Vitality. So you have plenty of mana for Energy Shield and enough life to get you through anything else.
You may want to think about the possible gear you’re going to build first before doing this. Some people say you don’t want to start Frozen Orb until you’ve already farmed all the gear you want for it. I’m not so sure I agree. That sounds more like if you’re playing ultra-serious to be as awesome as humanly possible out of the gate.
- Weapon: Heart of the Oak Runeword
- Armor: Chains of Honor Runeword (DolUmBerIst), Ormus’s Robes
- Helm: Harlequin Crest
- Boots: War Traveler
- Shield: Spirit
- Belt: Arachnid Mesh
- Gloves: Magefist
- Rings: Ravenfrost, Stone of Jordan
- Amulet: Something with +⅔ Cold Skills
It takes some work to get going, but Frozen Orb Sorceress is amazing. We have a backup strat, and for the most part, we’re going to stand behind our tanky Mercenary and just bring everyone to the Ice Age! Just make sure you pack plenty of Ice Puns – Just like Arnold’s Mr. Freeze performance. It will all work out. Frozen Orb’s such a powerful ability, and it’s a quality grind class for Diablo 2. Use it with your friends and farm gear, farm solo, either way, you’re going to smash through waves of demons with ease.