Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
The Lightning Trapper – A Frugal Guide to Face-melting
I’m no good with introductions, so let’s just cut to the chase: this is a PvP trapper guide for those on a limited budget. All the gear I’ll suggest is stuff you can reasonably expect to find with some dedication to Hell Meph and Pindle runs. If you’ve been playing long enough to own Enigma, CtA, etc. then just substitute those in wherever necessary.
Max Lightning Sentry and all three of its synergies
1 point in Mind Blast, Fade, Burst of Speed, Shadow Master, Claw Block, and all prereqs
Additional points should go into either Fade or Mind Blast. More points in Fade will give you more PDR and resists, although the resists diminishing returns after 60 resist all. More points in Mind Blast will give it a longer stun duration, and slightly more damage. Additional points in Claw Block are somewhat useless for a non-teleporting assassin since Claw Block doesn’t work when you’re running or walking.
- Strength: Enough to equip gear
- Dex: Enough to equip gear if going claw/claw, or enough for max block if going weapon/shield
- Vit: Everything else
- Energy: Nothing
Specific pieces of gear will vary from person to person, so here are some guideline stats that you’ll want to have with your setup:
- 65% Faster Cast Rate (FCR) for dual claw, 102% FCR for weapon/shield
- 48% Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
- Max resists in Hell with Fade on; you might want to stack 30 resists over the max due to the bug that causes you to lose the Anya quest resists when you die
- 9 or 10 frame trap laying with Fade on – use Google to search for weapon speed calculators, I’m not allowed to link them here
- As much damage as you can muster – assume your opponent always has 85 lightning resist and 20 absorb (i.e. they’re wearing Thundergod’s Vigor). In that case, your PvP damage = (listed PvM damage * 0.17 * 0.15) - 40.
Kira’s Guardian if you need resists, Harlequin Crest (Shako) otherwise. A +2 assassin skill, 20 FCR, +resist, +FRW rare circlet would be best, but they don’t exactly grow on trees. Socket choices depend on whether you need FHR, resists, or IAS. If you need none of the above, socket with a Perfect Ruby for more life. Note that +lightning damage or -lightning resist from facets or Griffon’s Eye won’t affect your trap damage, despite what the character screen shows.
Anything with +skills and resists would work, and you might not even need the resists depending on the rest of your gear selection. If you need additional FCR, rare amulets can spawn with +10 FCR along with resists and +2 assassin skills, and crafted caster amulets can spawn with up to +20 FCR.
Not counting Enigma, your best choices are either Skin of the Vipermagi or a ‘Stealth’ runeword. The Vipermagi gives you 5 more FCR, up to 35 more resist all, one more +skill, and an open socket. ‘Stealth’ gives you 25 more FRW and 25 more FHR. I would recommend keeping both with you, and wearing the ‘Stealth’ any time you don’t need the Vipermagi resists (bone necros, most melee characters, etc.). For socketing choices, see helms.
Arachnid Mesh is the best choice most of the time with its +1 skill and 20 FCR. It’s not terribly rare, although not common either. Other choices could include a crafted caster belt if you need FCR, Verdungo’s/String of Ears if you need PDR, or Thundergod’s if you need to absorb lightning damage.
FCR rings with life/mana/resists are good here. Sometimes you might need to absorb or have CBF so it’s nice to keep pairs of Ravenfrosts and Dwarfstars. SoJ’s or BK rings can be nice if you don’t need the FCR rings and just want to pump your damage, but they’re quite rare so it’s not necessary to have them.
Magefist or Trang Oul’s gloves, preferably the Trang’s for the extra cold resist. These are the only two gloves that offer 20 FCR. If for whatever reason you find yourself not needing the 20 FCR, then Bloodfists make a good choice (10 IAS for trap laying, 30 FHR, 40 life).
Look for boots with combinations of FRW and resists. Rares and crafted boots are the best, but Natalya’s Boots, IK boots, and Aldur’s boots are all decent and easy to acquire. Waterwalks aren’t bad either and will give you a substantial boost in life, but they’re a bit slow (only 20% FRW).
You can choose to go either claw/claw or weapon/shield. If you’re on a tight budget I recommend claw/claw since it’s easier to get sufficient damage that way. You can shop blue claws from Anya in Hell mode with +3 traps or +2 assassin skills, and if you’re lucky, they’ll also have +LS as a staff mod (up to +3). Magic claws can also get up 2 sockets from Larzuk, so fill them with Shaels/IAS jewels to reach a good trap laying breakpoint, and then use resist jewels for the remaining sockets.
If you go weapon/shield, the typical choices are either Wizardspike + Stormshield or HotO + Stormshield. The advantage of weapon/shield is that you’ll be more resilient with 75% block against most melee and Guided Arrows, plus you’ll be able to use BoS instead of Fade for greatly increased FRW and trap laying, while still maintaining high PDR and resists. Using Wizardspike or HotO also greatly boosts your FCR (by 50% and 40% respectively). The downside is that you’ll lose quite a bit of damage (especially if you use Wizardspike instead of HotO) and you won’t be able to block spells with a shield like you could with Claw Block and dual claws, although you could still swap in claws for when you’re dueling casters. Getting enough strength to carry the shield and enough dex to have max block also substantially cuts down on the amount of life you can have. I’ve seen both variants played to great effect, but a weapon/shield setup typically requires more expensive gear.
Use Entrapping Grand Charms if you have them. Other than that, use your charms to plug any holes in your resists, FHR, or FRW. If everything else looks good, get as many +life small charms as possible to boost your life.
Usually the stash is where you keep gear switches to help you fight specific opponents. As a trapper, most of your stash gear will probably be for extra protection against elemental attacks. I mentioned a number of alternative choices for each gear slot, so play around with those and see which ones are useful enough to keep in your stash.
Making good use of Mind Blast is essential to a trapper’s success. When you Mind Blast someone in PvP, they’ll get knocked back for an instant and then they’ll have swirls (the same swirls that getting hit with Smite causes, and the same swirls that barbs get when they use Berserk) over their head for the duration of Mind Blast’s listed ‘stun’ time. Any damage taken, even if it’s just a single point, while the swirls are there will cause the character to enter hit recovery. With a field of rapid firing traps, the character will often be hit and stunned so fast that they’ll be almost completely immobilized while under the effects of Mind Blast.
With that in mind, you’ll want to keep Mind Blast and Lightning Sentry hotkeyed to right-click. This way you can right click on someone’s name with Mind Blast and hold down the mouse button (i.e. a namelock) and then use hotkeys to switch between Mind Blast and Lightning Sentry while never releasing your namelock. For example, hotkey Mind Blast to ‘1' and LS to ‘2' on right click. Then go right click on someone’s character and hold down the button. If you did it right you should be able to see a lifebar appear over their character, even if the character goes off your screen. Now as long as you hold the mouse button down and see the lifebar, if you switch to Mind Blast by pressing ‘1' you’ll cast Mind Blast on your target, and if you press ‘2' to switch to LS, you’ll lay a trap right next to them.
You’ll want to namelock and Mind Blast at the maximum possible range, so you should want to play at 800x600 resolution if you don’t already. In addition, try to stay to the south of your opponent and keep them in the top corners of your screen. The life/mana bars at the bottom of the screen take up space, so the viewable and clickable area extends further to the top than it does to the bottom. What that means is if you keep someone at the very top corners of your screen, you’ll be able to namelock them without ever appearing on their screen.
With those basics covered, I’ll try to provide some strategies against specific characters.
Vs. Bone Necro
Turn on Burst of Speed and try to get a namelock on them as soon as possible. Don’t let them get off of your minimap, because that’s when invisible bone spirits come into play. Keep your Shadow Master out as an extra target for the bone spirits to lock on to. When approaching them, circle in rather than taking a beeline while laying traps in his direction on the edges of your screen. If you get a bone spirit train following you, keep circling close to the necro until the spirits expire. Once you get a namelock, use the Mind Blast/Lightning Sentry switching strategy and the necro should die before he gets off enough spirits/spears to bring you down. If he teleports out of your namelock (possible with good FHR), then chase him down and repeat the process. The trapper needs to be the aggressor in this fight.
Vs. Poison Necro
They’re not a threat unless they can teleport. Poison nova range is quite short, and you never have to get that close to Mind Blast or lay traps. If they can teleport, then it’s just a test to see if you can namelock and Mind Blast before they teleport next to you and unleash a nova. Here it helps to have Poison Length Reduction and +max poison resist, as well as poison resist stack to help counter facets/lower resist/Death’s Web.
Turn on BoS don’t let them get any closer than the very edge of your screen. Don’t use Shadow Master, as it’s just a target for them to charge up Feral Rage on. Without Feral Rage, you’ll always run faster than any shapeshifter, even wolfbarbs with increased speed. Lay down some traps at the edge of your screen, Mind Blast as soon as you see them, and then run in the other direction. If they start running away from you, chase them down until they’re on your screen, and then continue with the trap/Mind Blast/run sequence. As long as you run faster than them, there’s nothing a shapeshifter can do to you short of de-shifting and pulling out a Widowmaker.
Vs. Human-form Druids (wind druids and fire elemental druids)
This is about as close to an auto-win as you’ll ever get. Namelock Mind Blast and trap, and the druid will be locked down for the entire duration of the fight due to their poor hit recovery rates in human form. If you think they’ll teleport on you before you can get a namelock, lay some traps behind you then cast Mind Blast over and over on top of yourself.
Vs. Whirlwind barbs
Fight these the same way you fight shapeshifters: turn on BoS and run. Whirlwind and Leap lets the barb escape from Mind Blast/trap lock, so just stay on the move and don’t let them get close. The biggest thing to look out for is desync whirlwind when the barb does a really long whirlwind, and isn’t where he appears to be on your screen. If you see a barb literally follow your exact movements while in whirlwind, this means that he namelocked you with whirlwind. The whirlwind won’t stop until he either hits you, gets stuck on an obstacle, or he loses you as a target (i.e. you run off his minimap). In addition, he’ll probably be desynced so he’s always closer to you than he seems. Best thing to do if you see this is to just run until he’s off of your minimap, which will cause the whirlwind to end. For teleporting barbs, you’ll most likely need to be able to teleport yourself to be competitive.
Paladins will probably be your hardest fights, since they can just charge out of Mind Blast. Try to fight in an area with lots of puddles so it’s more likely his charge gets stuck on something. Be especially careful around hammerdins, or else you could eat an invisible hammer. Running at an angle (rather than directly away from them) seems to make charge miss more often. Other than that it’s an issue of having enough damage to bring him down before he gets close.
Mind Blast and traps should keep them in dodge lock or hit recovery. If they get too close for comfort, run back a bit and resume with Mind Blast and traps. Try not to let them get too far away (off of your screen) to stop them from spamming guided arrows at you.
Approach it like a bone necro fight, except you can’t outrun guided arrow like you can bone spirit. Circle around and close the distance to prevent getting locked on by a trail of arrows. Once you’re reasonably close, run in and get a namelock as soon as possible. Again, keep your Shadow Master out to take an extra arrow or two for you. You might take a few arrows in the process, but it’s usually game over for the bowazon as soon as you get a namelock.
Another fight that’s easy if they don’t teleport. Circle in for a quick namelock, and if they don’t teleport it’s usually over at that point. If they do teleport, then you have to play a bit more defensive, keep traps out at the edges of your screen, and let them come close to you before running at them for the namelock. Continually chasing after a teleporting sorc will just get you killed by the blizzards/fireballs/lightnings she leaves in your path. Wear some extra absorb if necessary.
This usually comes down to a positioning fight and a contest to see who can namelock better. Staying to the south and keeping them in your upper corners is a good start. Whirlwind assassins are extra tough, since they can whirlwind out of your Mind Blast while blocking trap shots with Claw Block.