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Guide:Meteorb Sorc v1.10, by Sasja

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Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:

  • Patch: v1.10
  • Gametype: PvE/PvM
  • Class: Sorceress
  • Specialisation: Meteorb (Meteor + Frozen Orb Sorceress)
  • Author: Sasja

The Meteorb Sorceress

This sorceress is built to be able to solo Hell and be equally useful in groups, small and large. She's tough and combines big damage with high survivability. A single element sorceress does even more damage, but she will pay the price by being unable to kill about 1/4 of the monsters in Hell. The Meteorb Sorceress deals enough damage to be able to kill fast even in 8 players games, and she can deal with anything that comes her way. This is a truly versatile build - only PvP has not been considered when making this guide.

For a sorceress, skills are most important. Her equipment and stat points can help her out in many ways, but unlike most other characters, she kills with her skills alone. So let's talk skills first. To be able to solo Hell, you need two attacks from different trees. The Meteorb sorceress uses Meteor and Fireball from the Fire tree and Frozen Orb (FO) from the Cold tree, and is inspired by Zharous' Damage Reduced Sorceress guide for 1.09. Lets' start with the final skill point distribution for the impatient:

  • Frozen Orb 20
    • prereqs 5
  • Cold Mastery 8
  • Meteor 20
  • Fire Ball 20
    • prereqs 4
  • Warmth 1
  • Fire Mastery 20 (think about putting a few of these in Fire Bolt instead if you find you use Fire Ball more than Meteor and/or have a lot of +skills)
  • Static Field 1
  • Teleport 1
    • prereqs 1

Total: 101, finished at level 90. Any additional skillpoints should go into Fire Bolt (or Cold Mastery, depending on how many +skill items you have). As you can see, the Meteorb Sorceress is primarily a fire sorceress with a backup attack in the cold tree.

Why Frozen Orb and Cold Mastery?

1.10 has made the Sorceress' skill points incredibly tight by introducing synergies. Each tree has at least one attack with 3 synergies, which - if maxed - will make the damage of that attack reach incredible heights. But maxing this attack to the full will cost you 20 skill points in the attack itself, 3*20 skill points in synergies, and another 20 points in the relevant mastery, so this requires 100 skill points out of 110 being ultimately available at level 99 - a level most of us will never reach! Having a cold spell which slows the fast monsters in Hell is invaluable, and Frozen Orb is a bargain. It only has one synergy, which is not powerful enough to really be necessary, kicks ass all the way through Nightmare, and does decent damage in Hell. Furthermore, the unique function of Cold Mastery makes a few points go a long way. Each skill point in Cold Mastery will increase the percentage which will be subtracted from your opponent's cold resistance before calculating the damage, down to a minimum of -100%. Only cold immune monsters cannot be affected by Cold Mastery. Let's run a few examples to see how useful this really is. I'll compare skill level 0, 1 (giving -30% to the monster's cold resistance), 7 (giving -50%), 17 (giving -100%) and 27 (giving -150%) in Cold Mastery, assuming an average of 265 damage pr shard for Frozen Orb.

Monster with 0 in cold resistance:

  • Cold Mastery 0 (0%): 265 * (100 + 0)/100 = 265
  • Cold Mastery 1 (20%): 265 * (100 + 20)/100 = 318 (improvement of 20% - not surprisingly)
  • Cold Mastery 7 (50%): 265 * (100 + 50)/100 = 398 (improvement of 50%)
  • Cold Mastery 17 (100%): 265 * (100 + 100)/100 = 530 (improvement of 100%)
  • Cold Mastery 27 (150%): 265 * (100 + 100)/100 = 530 (improvement of 100% - remember that -100% is the lower cap)

Monster with 75 in cold resistance (for instance Mephisto):

  • Cold Mastery 0 (0%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 0)/100 = 66
  • Cold Mastery 1 (20%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 20)/100 = 146 (improvement of about 120%)
  • Cold Mastery 7 (50%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 50)/100 = 199 (improvement of about 200%)
  • Cold Mastery 17 (100%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 100)/100 = 331 (improvement of about 400%)
  • Cold Mastery 27 (150%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 150)/100 = 464 (improvement of about 600%)

You see how up to level 17 Cold Mastery improves the Meteorb Sorceress' damage against all monsters (more against cold resistant monsters than others), but over level 17 the extra skill levels only improve the damage against resistant monsters. About 45% of the monsters in Hell (and more in Nightmare and Normal) have 0 resistance against cold, and about 25% are cold immune, so raising your Cold Mastery above level 17 will only affect your damage against about 30% of monsters, raising it above level 22 will only affect 24%, above 27 only 6%, above 32 only 1% and skill levels above 37 will not affect your damage against any monsters. As you can see, it is very much like a diminishing returns formula - where exactly to cut off will be different for different builds, but it should probably be somewhere between 17 and 27.

For the Meteorb Sorceress, who has to be very stingy with her points, 17 is the right number to shoot for. As +skills items are some of the most useful to the sorceress, your Meteorb is bound to end up with some of those. When I recommend 8 points in Cold Mastery, I've made the assumption that you'll eventually get around +9 to your cold skills - check out the equipment section (e.g. shako, occy, 2*SoJ and Mara will get you there). If you're going to play untwinked and not do a lot of magic find runs, you'll probably not have that many, and could consider spending more points in Cold Mastery. If, on the other hand, you already have a nice wardrobe for a Sorceress which will get her +11 to her Cold Mastery, you may want to put only 6 points in. However, a few points over skill level 17 will not hurt, especially against resistant monsters like Mephisto and Baal.

Why completely ignore Ice Bolt, Frozen Orb's only synergy, some of you may wonder. Well, one point in Ice Bolt will only increase your Frozen Orb's damage with 2%, while each point in Cold Mastery will increase your damage with at least 5% - much more against cold resistant monsters. The rest of the Meteorb's points will be needed in the fire tree. Many feel tempted to pump Frozen Orb further - coming from Nightmare where the Orb rules supreme it feels clumsy and difficult to get used to the Meteorb's fire attacks. The important thing to note is that the Meteorb is designed with versatility in mind. She needs a big damage attack to make her fun to play in big games and a backup attack that makes her able to solo. If you have an even skill point distribution between your two trees, none of your attacks will be powerful enough for 8 player games. If you're mostly or exclusively planning to solo, your build won't suffer as much if you decide to pump your Orb and weaken your Meteors and Fireballs. Just remember that about half the monsters you'll encounter won't be immune to either of your attacks, so in my opinion it still makes sense to make one attack stronger than the other.

I really like cold, and would rather use cold as a main attack - Blizzard with synergies is extremely powerful. But the other trees just don't have an attack as cheap and effective as Frozen Orb. Anything in the lightning tree without extensive use of synergies is too weak to be of any use. The best bet is probably Fire Wall, which doesn't have any synergies, but will require maxed Fire Mastery to be really useful in Hell, which will cost 42 points. Compare this to Frozen Orb which you get for just 33, thus making your main attack that much stronger.


The Sorceress' stat points are not at all as tight or as valuable as her skill points, so there will be much more room to play around in. She doesn't need strength (as the melee characters) or dexterity (as the ranged attackers) to do damage, dexterity for attack rating is irrelevant and she gets a lousy exchange rate on her vitality - viz. 1 stat point for 2 life - so really, the sorceress' stat points are less important than most characters'. Still, let's look at what will suit the Frozen Orb best.

Frozen Orb has two important features for stat points distribution:

  1. It's timered, meaning there is a 1 second interval after you cast one Meteor before you can cast the next. That puts a lid on how much mana you use, so you don't need a large mana pool
  2. It's relatively short ranged, meaning you have to get quite close to the monsters (though the shards will hit just about anything on your screen, you have to hit your opponent squarely with the orb to really hurt it in Hell)

Consequently, you don't need many points in energy, but can spend some to help you survive attacks better:

Energy base to 75.
If playing untwinked, some points in energy will prevent you from losing patience with this build - all sorceresses suffer from mana hurt in the beginning, but if you know you have some good +mana gear waiting for you, it makes this period easier to bear. If you don't, collect +mana charms and equipment, socket your gear with sapphires, and spend as little as possible in energy. You get 2 extra mana per level without spending a single point in energy, so your mana pool will eventually grow.

The sorceress doesn't use strength for anything other than meeting equipment requirements. If you already have your ideal equipment ready, check the highest strength requirement and subtract any strength boni. If not, I'll recommend holding some stat points back and put them in strength as your equipment dictates. The highest you should ever think about getting in strength is 156 (for Stormshield - see the equipment section) including boni from items, so you don't ever need to hold back more points than that.

This is the obvious place to put points to help your sorceress survive better, and I recommend a healthy investment here. However, bear in mind that the sorceress gets a really rough deal on her life - 1 stat point for 2 life. You can get two full levels' worth of life on a single small charm of vita (+20 life).

The sorceress doesn't use dexterity for anything, except one: block. When you have a shield equiped, your dexterity, level and the shield's block percentage will determine how likely you are to block an incoming attack entirely, after this formula:

  • Total blocking = (shield block %) * (dex - 15) / (level * 2)

So the higher your level, the more dexterity you need to maintain a high chance to block. The highest chance to block you can ever get is 75%, and I suggest you aim to get that. As I have argued, the sorceress is really hard pressed to get value for her stat points, and I suggest that avoiding 75% of incoming attacks is the best option - especially for an Orb user, who has to get pretty close and personal with the monsters to kill them. Remember, however, that some elemental attacks are unblockable (lightning is the best example) - but these can be reduced through high resistance and absorb. Here's a table which includes the dexterity required to achieve 75% block with various shields (thanks to Chem for posting it):

Dexterity required for max block (75%) for a sorceress:

Shield Strength Block Dex/Level Clvl 30 Clvl 50 Clvl 80 Clvl 99
Lidless Eye 58 40% 3.75 128 203 315 387
Lidless Eye + Eld 58 47% 3.19 111 175 271 331
Moser's Circle 53 57% 2.63 94 147 226 276
Grim Shield + Rhyme 58 60% 2.50 90 140 215 263
Sigon's Tower 75 64% 2.34 86 133 203 248
Stormshield 156 67% 2.24 83 127 195 237 156 67% 2.24 83 127 195 237
Sigon's Tower + Eld 75 71% 2.11 79 121 185 225 75 71% 2.11 79 121 185 225
Visceratuant Heater 77 72% 2.08 78 120 182 222 77 72% 2.08 78 120 182 222
Gerke's Sanctuary 133 74% 2.03 76 117 178 216 133 74% 2.03 76 117 178 216
75% blocking shield 75% 2.00 75 115 175 213 -- 75% 2.00 75 115 175 213
Whistan's Guard 53 87% 1.72 67 102 153 186 53 875 1.72 67 102 153 186
Whistan's + Eld 53 94% 1.60 63 95 143 173 53 94% 1.60 63 95 143 173
  • Bone/Grim Shields with Rhyme, Sanctuary, or Deflecting suffix have 60% block
  • Sigon's Tower + Eld and Moser's Blessed Circle + 2 Eld's both have 71% block
  • Gerke's Sanctuary and Stormshield with an Eld rune both have 74% block

As you can see, only some shields are adequate for a block sorceress - don't plan on using a shield with less than 60% block full time. You may be tempted to put the points in vitality, but remember: You can get two full levels' worth of life on a single small charm of vita (+20 life). Therefore, invest the stat points where they'll do the most good, and stock up on +life equipment.

Stats Summary

Strength: enough for your items Dexterity: enough for max blocking with your chosen shield, i.e. 15 + 75 * (level * 2) / (shield block %) Vitality: everything else Energy: base (if you have the items to increase your mana enough) to 75 (absolute max)

Why Meteor, Fire Ball and Fire Mastery?

As already stated, Frozen Orb will not put a huge strain on your mana pool, so a lowish energy with 1 point in Warmth will be sufficient. This same setup is what should be used for a Meteor Sorceress. Meteor is also timered - there is a 1.2 second interval after you cast one Meteor before you can cast the next. That means quite low mana use so low energy and Warmth are in order. Though Meteor is not short ranged, it has the annoying delay between casting and impact which sometimes lets monsters reach you and get a few hits in before they're toast, making block and high vitality very important. The lightning attacks (Lightning, Nova, Chain Lightning), are non-timered and relatively mana hungry (need more Warmth and energy), long ranged and hit/stun instantly (making high vitality and block less important), so they don't fit the profile of Frozen Orb as well as Meteor.

Meteor also has a very high damage (more than 11000 impact damage once Meteor, Fire Mastery and Fire Ball are maxed), enough even for large multiplayer games in Hell. Fire Ball adds 5% to this per skill level, which is additionally increased by Fire Mastery (if you have Fire Mastery at skill level 20, each point in Fire Ball will actually add 13% to Meteor's damage).

Fire Ball is really the last but not least attraction of Meteor: you get a very useful non-timered attack for free. Having a non-timered attack which you can cast in the dead interval between your timered attacks makes for the highest damage output. Fire Ball, though untimered, has low enough casting cost to be usable with the low energy build we're looking at. Meteor and Fire Mastery in turn increase Fire Ball's damage (with 620% when both Meteor and Fire Mastery are maxed), so this combination really gets the most out of the synergies. Any level you may attain beyond 90 will add a point to Fire Bolt, increasing the damage of both Fire Ball and Meteor.

Some people wonder why it's not more advantageous to max Fire Bolt and be satisfied with one point in Fire Mastery as Fire Bolt gives almost the same bonus to Meteor as Fire Mastery (7% versus 5%) and double the bonus to Fire Ball (7% versus 14%). The reason is that Fire Mastery's 7% is added after the synergy bonus, whereas Fire Bolt's bonus only works on the base damage - a huge difference for the Meteorb who already has one maxed synergy for both Meteor and Fire Ball. Take an example with a Fire Ball of average base damage 250. The Meteorb's maxed Meteor adds 20 * 14% = 280% to that giving a total damage of

  • 250 * (1 + 2.8) = 950

One more point in Fire Bolt means 14% extra synergy:

  • 250 * (1 + 2.94) = 985

But put that point in Fire Mastery instead and she gets a 7% bonus to her whole damage:

  • 950 * 1.07 = 1016.5

(Ignore for the moment that the first point in Fire Mastery gives a 30% bonus - the principle should be clear).

However, at high levels Fire Bolt gains on Fire Mastery, especially for Fire Ball. If you feel that you end up using Fire Ball more than Meteor, you may save some points from Fire Mastery and put them in Fire Bolt instead. This is even more notable with a lot of +skills, as they will not help your synergies but will add to your Mastery.

As a rule of thumb, if you play untwinked or mostly have low level items, you'll probably use Meteor as much as if not more than Fire Ball and not have that many +skills - so use the suggested skill point distribution. If you're twinking and will end up with more than +10 skills and feel more comfortable with Fire Ball, think about putting up to 5 points in Fire Bolt instead of Fire Mastery. If you're planning an mf-career for your Meteorb (see end game notes), bear in mind that she will have fewer +skills in full mf gear. Never take less than 10 points in Fire Mastery, as that will hurt your Meteor a lot and not be that much better for your Fire Ball. Check the skill calculator to finetune the optimal skill point distribution, bearing in mind that it doesn't count the after burning of Meteor which is enhanced by Fire Mastery but not by Fire Ball/Bolt.

Other skill points explained

The one point in Static Field will help you take bosses down a lot faster, and your high block and life should keep you alive even though you have to get pretty close to use it. Teleport is a necessity and convenience without comparison. It helps keeping you and especially your mercenary alive and lets you do magic find runs faster than anybody else.

Why not energy shield?

After all, this skill was a staple on the damage reduced sorceress. Two reasons not to use it:

  1. The synergies have put too much strain on the sorceress' skill points to splash out 4 points to get Energy Shield.
  2. Even though I've found an orb with Energy Shield on it, I only use it for special occasions. The reason is that your energy shield absorbs elemental damage before your resistances are checked, meaning that your mana bulb is drained in absolutely no time, especially with a low energy build like this. If you have 75% lightning resistance, and you take 500 lightning damage, you'll actually only take 125 damage - harsh, but survivable. If you were using Energy Shield, the same attack would have drained 1000 mana - or your whole bulb, making you unable to attack or teleport to safety. So if you have high resistances (and you should) Energy Shield can be more of an inconvenience than anything else. Still, if you feel you can't live without it, get it on an orb on switch.

The cold armors are in my opinion more useful than Energy Shield, but again: there aren't enough points to go around, so get it on your switch orb if you want it.


The Meteorb needs a good tank to get the optimal killing speed. Though she can tank some herself, the cut to damage reduction (75% to 50%), the loss of Energy Shield (due to the elemental damage bug) and the faster and harder hitting monsters of 1.10 has diminished her tanking abilities from 1.09. To compensate, the mercenaries are much tougher now. Therefore, get yourself a good tank as your mercenary - act 2 and 5 are the ones worth considering. I've always found the act 2 best for their auras and extra range. The defensive act 2 mercenary from Normal and Hell uses the Defiance aura, which will increase both your and his defense, making him a very nice choice. However, the defensive act 2 mercenary from Nightmare has the invaluable Holy Freeze aura, chilling all monsters around you. Chilling monsters is the best possible defense, since the sorceress is a very frail character with an incredibly impressive offense - her best defense is really her offense as she's meant to kill enemies before they reach her. Once she's crowded by fast, hard hitting melee monsters, she's as good as dead. If the monsters around her are chilled and therefore slow it will give her that much more time to kill them before they reach her, which will do more to keep her alive than any amount of defense. Though you'll chill monsters yourself with Frozen Orb, Holy Freeze also works on Cold Immunes (one fourth of the monsters in Hell), chills them instantly (you must notice the monster, cast your Orb, and the Orb must reach the monster, before it's chilled - and in this period, it's probably more than halfway to you) and at higher levels has a very nice range. The best and most expensive option would be a defiance mercenary with a weapon with the runeword Doom, which automatically give the Holy Freeze aura.

Always keep your mercenary your level. This can't be stressed enough. If you're five levels ahead because you've played in multiplayer games where you get more experince than he does, take the time to let him catch up in a private game. Having him lag behind just makes it a pain later on to level him, makes you waste money on more frequent revives and makes him much less useful. Check the equipment section for tips on how to outfit him.

Strategy tips

Getting through normal is always a pain for the sorceress, because the character is really made to kill her enemies before they reach her, but her main skills will not be available until level 24 or 30. I find the most painless way is to get the cold attacks first, which will be useful in slowing down your enemies in addition to the damage they do.

Being out of mana is a major annoyance in the early game, so your first skill point should be placed in Warmth. Start out by casting first Fire Bolt until your mana runs out, then melee. When you get Ice Bolt, use it to chill your enemies and melee them to death. Stat pointwise, you should work on strength in the early levels to be able to use the euipment you have or find. At level 6, get Frost Nova - this will be your main attack until level 24 (some will use Ice Blast and Glacial Spike when they become available, but I find them too mana intense - Frost Nova will chill everything around you and only needs to be recast once in a while). The strategy is to chill monsters, then melee them while keeping them chilled. As soon as you reach act 2 you can get a defensive merc who will make sure you get hit less, and let him melee the monsters. Alternatively, join groups and let them do the meleeing. Put a point in Static early on - it will help you a lot with bosses. When your strength is around 60, spend any points you plan on putting in energy - you'll need them now more than ever. Don't be tempted to use too many, though. You'll regret it later. After that, pump dex until your blocking is what it says on the shield (hover over your defense rating in the character screen to see your actual block), and keep it there while spending any extra points in vitality, with the occasional points in strength to use better equipment.

When you reach level 12, feel free to put some points in Fire Ball - but without being heavily twinked, you won't have the mana pool to keep them going. I have better experiences with focusing on Meteor first, and only pump Fire Ball later, when your mana pool is bigger. Still, a Fire Ball once in a while will help your merc out some. Get teleport when it becomes available - it's a life saver, especially for your mercenary.

One challenge for young sorceresses is end of act bosses which will kill your merc and you soon after - especially Duriel is feared. The easy way to do these quests is to be in a group and let others do the tanking. If you want to do it solo, make sure your mercenary is as high level as you and well equipped. Feed him healing potions as soon as you see his life dropping. Remember to Static first, and keep the boss chilled. Make sure you have max blocking, and tank to relieve your merc from time to time. Trips to town are not shameful - get a portal up the minute you get there, so you can revive your merc when he looks like he's dropping.

When you reach level 24, get Blizzard and use it pretty much the same as Frost Nova. Do some bloody runs when you reach the Bloody Foothills until you're ready for the Anya Quest and Baal runs, which should get you to level 30 and the Frozen Orb. When you reach level 30, you should have at least 9 points saved, so you can put one in both Cold Mastery and Frozen Orb for the next 8 levels, and one in Fire Mastery at level 30. After that, work on Frozen Orb until it's maxed. Your strategy through Nightmare should be Frozen Orb for everything that isn't cold immune, and Meteor (or Fire Ball if you opted for pumping that) for the few monsters that are. Get the Holy Freeze mercenary once you reach Act 2 in Nightmare (unless you're rich enough to equip your Defiance mercenary from Normal with the Doom runeword). After Frozen Orb is maxed, max Meteor and then Fire Ball (though Fire Ball/Frozen Orb is a winning combination, my experience is that you don't have the mana pool for it until later). Last of all, max Fire Mastery - you'll really feel every point doing wonders for your Meteor and Fire Ball. Around level 75-80, you should start Hell. Get a switch orb with Energy Shield or a cold armor, and make sure your mercenary is always the same level as you, and he'll tank the monsters leaving you free to kill them quickly with your Orb or Meteors interspersed with Fire Balls.

For those interested, I made this list of how I'd distribute my skill points (note that you may complete the skill quests at different points than mentioned here - usually, the bigger your party the more experience you'll get). Needless to say, you don't have to do it this way.

Strategy: cast Fire Bolt until your mana runs out, then melee - get the best melee weapon you can.

  • level 2 Warmth (1)
  • level 3 Fire Bolt (1)
  • level 4 Ice Bolt (1)

Strategy: cast an Ice Bolt to slow monsters, then melee.

  • Den of Evil nothing (saved 1 point)
  • level 5 nothing (saved 2 points)
  • level 6 Frost Nova (1), Ice Blast (1), Static Field (1)

Strategy: cast Frost Nova to slow monsters, then melee. When you get the rogue mercenary, she will help you finish the chilled packs. When you reach Act 2, get a defensive merc to tank the monsters as well as deliver damage. For Bosses, use Static.

  • level 7 Inferno (1)
  • level 8 Telekinesis (1)
  • level 9 nothing (saved 1 point)
  • level 10 nothing (saved 2 points)
  • level 11 nothing (saved 3 points)
  • level 12 Fire Ball (1), Blaze (1) (saved 2 points)
  • level 13 nothing (saved 3 points)
  • level 14 nothing (saved 4 points)
  • level 15 nothing (saved 5 points)
  • level 16 nothing (saved 6 points)
  • level 17 nothing (saved 7 points)
  • level 18 Glacial Spike (1), Fire Wall (1), Teleport (1) (saved 5 points)

Strategy: you can now freeze the monsters with Glacial Spike, if you have the mana for it. Remember to let your mercenary tank for you and use Teleport to position him and get him (and occasionally yourself) out of danger.

  • Radamant nothing (saved 6 points)
  • level 19 nothing (saved 7 points)
  • level 20 nothing (saved 8 points)
  • level 21 nothing (saved 9 points)
  • level 22 nothing (saved 10 points)
  • level 23 nothing (saved 11 points)
  • level 24 Blizzard (1), Meteor (1) (saved 10 points)

Strategy: Finally hitting some mass damage attacks - chill with Blizzard for your mercenary and Meteor to finish off. When you get to act 5, you can level fast in Baal runs if you want to.

  • Izual nothing (saved 12 points)
  • level 25 Meteor (2) (saved 12 points)
  • level 26 Meteor (3) (saved 12 points)
  • level 27 Meteor (4) (saved 12 points)
  • level 28 Meteor (5) (saved 12 points)
  • level 29 Meteor (6) (saved 12 points)
  • level 30 Meteor (7), Frozen Orb (1), Fire Mastery (1), Cold Mastery (1) (saved 9 points)

Strategy: Frozen Orb will own everything - you'll hardly need Meteor except for the rare cold immune boss. Only problem will be mana - look for +mana items and always keep pots handy.

  • level 31 Meteor (8), Frozen Orb (2), Cold Mastery (2) (saved 7 points)
  • level 32 Meteor (9), Frozen Orb (3), Cold Mastery (3) (saved 5 points)
  • level 33 Frozen Orb (4), Cold Mastery (4) (saved 4 points)
  • level 34 Frozen Orb (5), Cold Mastery (5) (saved 3 points)
  • level 35 Frozen Orb (6), Cold Mastery (6) (saved 2 points)
  • level 36 Frozen Orb (7), Cold Mastery (7) (saved 1 point)
  • level 37 Frozen Orb (8), Cold Mastery (8)
  • level 38 Frozen Orb (9)
  • level 39 Frozen Orb (10)
  • level 40 Frozen Orb (11)
  • level 41 Frozen Orb (12)
  • level 42 Frozen Orb (13)
  • level 43 Frozen Orb (14)

Strategy: Start Nightmare around now, or a little earlier if you feel cockey. Frozen Orb is the king all the way through Nightmare, and the occasional Cold Immune will not last long in your Meteors. When you reach Act 2, get a Holy Freeze mercenary who will really help you a lot.

  • Level 44 Frozen Orb (15)
  • Den of Evil Meteor (10)
  • level 45 Frozen Orb (16)
  • level 46 Frozen Orb (17)
  • level 47 Frozen Orb (18)
  • Radamant Meteor (11)
  • level 48 Frozen Orb (19)
  • level 49 Frozen Orb (20)

From here on, maximize Meteor, Fire Ball and Fire Mastery in that order. When you have the mana pool for it, throw a Fire Ball or three in between your Orbs and Meteors. When you're ready to take on Hell, you'll definitely need all three at decent levels. Remember to use Static for bosses and to help your mercenary with the rare Fire/Cold immune.

End game

Your end game strategy will be Meteor/Fire Ball for anything that's not fire immune and Frozen Orb for those. You'll use the high damage Meteor and Fireball the most in big games, but Frozen Orb allows you to solo and is also very helpful in small to medium games - even in big games, the chill is nice and with some patience, your Obs still kill.

My own setup of hotkeys is: stand still (Caps Lock - sometimes annoying when chatting ), Meteor (w), Frozen Orb (e), Static (q) and Teleport (d). Fire Ball doesn't have a hotkey, as it's always on my left mouse key - if you feel like handling even more hotkeys, you could use switch your left mouse key from Fireball to Glacial Spike when encountering fire immunes. Though it doesn't do much damage at skill level 1, the freeze is very usefull - especially recommended vs. Lister&Co. Use a different setup (customize them in the options menu), but be sure they are grouped for quick use.

When you see a crowd of monsters, you teleport right next to it (to position your mercenary), run a few steps back (to avoid most of the hits), throw a Meteor right on your mercenary, hold down stand still and spam two or three Fire Balls, another Meteor, and so on until all are dead. If there are only one or two monsters, Fire Balls alone will be enough. In case of Fire Immunes it's much the same - just use Frozen Orbs (perhaps backed up with Glacial Spike) instead of Meteors and Fire Balls. In Normal and Nightmare, even the spray of your Frozen Orb will kill, but in Hell you need the orb itself to pass right through your opponent. The ideal line-up of monsters for Frozen Orb is a line which will allow your orb to pass right through each monster. Any dual immunes to fire and cold you can static down for your mercenary to deal with. If you get crowded, you can always teleport to safety.

One good retirement plan for the Meteorb is to look for better equipment for herself and your other characters (or mf). Put on what items you have that give a bonus to find magical items (mf gear) and kill some monsters with a good chance to drop nice items. Being the versatile character she is, the Meteorb can do any and all of the popular runs. Mephisto in Durance of Hate level 3, act 3, has always been a sorceress' best friend. Go to the waypoint in Durance of Hate level 2 and teleport along the left wall (clockwise) until you find the stairs down. Teleport across level 3 right up to Mephisto, chill him with a Frozen Orb, tank him if you or your merc can while you static him down and finish him with Meteors/Fire Balls while keeping him chilled. If you have trouble with Hell Mephisto, Nightmare Mephisto can drop a lot of nice things, or you can use the moat trick. Another popular and fast run is Pindleskin (he's the superunique zombie through Anya's red portal), Eldritch (the superunique just north of the Frigid waypoint in act 5) and Shenk (the superunique just south of the Frigid waypoint). Then there are Baal runs, which you should only attempt if you can have close to max resistance with your mf-gear on. If you feel more like clearing a whole area, check out the pit guide which also mentions other profitable areas. Check out Flux's excellent mf guide which is for 1.09 but very usable and mostly correct for 1.10, too (the diminishing returns for unique mf set in ealier, though - to use Jarulf's table, add 100 to your mf, look up the result in the table and subtract 100 from the provided unique mf). Note that for all these runs, there will be other builds that can do them faster - a pure Blizzard sorceress is a faster Mephisto runner, a pure fire sorceress is faster at Eldritch/Shenk/Pindle etc. But no other character can do them all as fast and well as the Meteorb (except the Hammerdin, if he has an expensive Enigma armor to be able to teleport). Versatility is key.


Especially if you're playing untwinked, much of your gear will be rares, so listing the top unique items to go for will not be very useful. More helpful is a list of important modifiers for the Meteorb, so here it is:

Most important modifiers:

1. Skills (ups your damage and makes your one point wonders work)
2. Resistance and absorb
3. High block shield
4. Damage reduction (maximum is 50%)
5. Life/mana
6. Stats (if you for instance get +15 strength on an item, it can save you 15 stat points that you can place in vitality instead, giving you 30 extra life)
7. Cold skill damage and lower enemy's resistance to fire
8. Magic Find (get better equipment, even as you quest or level)
9. Defense

Less important modifiers, which can still be quite useful:
10. Faster cast rate (helps with Teleport, Fire Balls and Static Field)
11. Faster hit recovery
12. Mana after each kill (helps keeping your mana bulb full)
13. Cannot be frozen (the only reason this is not among the most important is that cast rate is not affected, so your Meteorb can still teleport to safety even when chilled)
14. Damage-to-mana (not that important, but can occasionally save your life when fighting mana burn bosses)
15. Faster run/walk (still useful in combination with teleport to dodge attacks)

Now you can also look through any listing of the game's unique items and rune words and see which ones are interesting. Note that stocking up on all the coolest +skills gear in the world will only get your sorceress killed because she'll lack resistances. A balanced setup is the important thing.

Below, I give a few pointers in rough order of preference and a few favorite total outfits - skip it, if you wish. This is for people who enjoy magic finding and have some equipment already, or wish to know what to look/trade for. It is by no means necessary to have any of these things in order to make a successful Meteorb.

Before listing all the great sorceress items, let me make some quick comments on twinking your sorceress in the difficult early levels. You'll be meleeing quite a lot, so get a good melee starter setup. Good items include:

  • Khalim's Will (no req) - the ultimate starter weapon for any class.
  • Hsarus' Defense (level 3) - resists, cannot be frozen, faster run/walk, all available at level 3.
  • Isenhart's Armory (level 8) - nice melee starter set
  • Sigon's set (level 6 - beware the str req) - shield and boots with one other item (gloves or helm are best) alone will give you +1 skills, 10% life leech, 50% mf. While you melee, gloves, boots and belt can be combined with Isenhart.
  • Angelic set (level 12) (+1 skills, mf, mana, life) - the ring/amulet or ring/amulet/armor have nice partial boni.
  • Death's set (level 6 - but the str req is steep) - cannot be frozen, ias, resists, life leech, good damage.
  • Cathan's ring (level 11) - 6% life leech.
  • Bloodfist gloves (level 9) - big life, ias, faster hit recovery.
  • Hand of Broc gloves (level 5) - dual leech, mana.
  • Hotspur boots (level 5) - big fire resists, life.

If you want to socket your twinking gear, jewels of envy (+20 poison damage, no requirements) are very popular.

Top items are the ones you wish for and plan on using full time in the end game, Medium are very nice items that should be used if you don't have the top items, and Development items are for twinking at lower levels (for very low levels, check the list just above). Remember, though, that rares or crafted items with a combination of the listed important modifiers may be just as good or better than even the Top unique, set and runeword items mentioned here. But as each rare is different, you have to rely on your own judgement to evaluate any good rares you may find, and how well it fits your other equipment.

One item set deserves special mention, namely Tal Rasha's Wrappings. This is the only high level sorceress set, consisting of helm, armor, amulet and orb. It has received a substantial upgrade in 1.10 - most notably the lowering of enemy resistances to fire and increased cold skill damage plus extra magic find and faster cast rate - so it's now well worth collecting and using. If I had the choice between all the items in the game, it would perhaps not be my first pick, as it prevents you from using such invaluable items as Shako, Mara's, Arachnid Mesh and Occulus (see below for more info on these). The full Tal Rasha set gives you a very nice life/mana/resistances, but results in a lesser skill boost. Still, if you have Tal's set and don't have the ultimate collection of all items, go ahead and enjoy it - it's really just a small step below godly.

If possible, plan your optimal equipment beforehand - that way you won't waste points in dexterity or strength. If you have planned on using Stormshield and War Traveller, but find a Stormshield before you get War Traveller, you can make up for the strength in charms. But remember that strength and dexterity are much more expensive to compensate for in charms, so if you want to be more flexible and not plan your whole equipment, it's better to get too much strength and dexterity than too little. 50 extra stat points in strength or dexterity are practically impossible to get with charms, at least not without sacrificing most of your other charms. 50 extra statpoints in vitality can be achieved with 5 perfect small charms of vita. As a sidenote, do take into consideration that one of the two top armors for the Meteorb give a substantial strength boost. It's not easy to get, though.

When you have found a weapon, helm, armor or shield you think you'll find useful for a long time, you can get one socket in it from the Larzuk quest and enhance it with a rune, gem or jewel. Runes and gems do different things according to what item you socket them in, so I'll discuss these under the relevant piece of equipment. A jewel can be socketed anywhere and does the same thing, so I might as well discuss them here. Resistance jewels (up to 15% to all) are very popular and can come with a useful second modifier - don't waste them in your shield, though, where a perfect diamond is better (19%) and cheaper. Another very good choice is the fire Rainbow Facet is also a good option for the penalty to your enemy's resistance - the bonus to your fire damage is completely overshadowed by your Fire Mastery.


This is an item slot where rares just can't compete. The Harlequin Crest (often simply called Shako after its item type) is just the sweetest item in the game, extremely useful for any class, but pefectly suited to the sorceress. Get this if you can - Mephisto has been known to drop it from time to time. If you don't have it, in addition to the listed sets and uniques, look for rares with skills and resistances. A perfect topaz is good and cheap to socket in a helm and gives 24% extra magic find. More expensive options include Um (for resistance), Ber (for damage reduction), Cham (cannot be frozen) or Jah (increase maximum life 5%).


  • Harlequin Crest (2 skills, magic find, damage reduction, life, mana, stats)
  • Nightwing's Veil (2 skills, cold absorb, dexterity, cold skill damage)
  • Delirium (runeword: Lem+Ist+Io - 2 skills, magic find, chance to cast mind blast, terror and delirium when struck - not sure if the last is an advantage)


  • Crown of Ages (1 skill, resistance, damage reduction, faster hit recovery - high strength requirement, but not if you use Stormshield anyway)
  • Veil of Steel (big resistance, vitality, only a possibility if you use Stormshield)
  • Andariel's Visage (2 skills, poison resistance)
  • Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest (life, mana, resistance)


  • Tarnhelm (1 skill, magic find)
  • Peasant Crown (1 skill, mana, life, faster run/walk)
  • Rockstopper (resistance, damage reduction)
  • Lore (runeword: ort+sol - 1 skill, lightning resistance, mana after each kill, mana)


Again, rares cannot really compete. The Occulus or Heart of the Oak are best all round. If you're new to the sorceress, the Occulus is preferable - the modifiers are godly, and the teleport will save you more often than put you in danger. If you're a sorceress veteran, go for Heart of the Oak, as you may not find the teleporting around with the Occulus worth the extra mf. Death's Fathom gives your Frozen Orb a noticable damage boost. Look for a rare or magical orb or staff with cold armor or with lower resistance charges to have on switch, or - if you're rich - Call to Arms (runeword: Amn+Ral+Mal+Ist+Ohm) which will let you cast the extremely useful Barbarian war cry Battle Order, which will increase your mana and life dramatically (and Battle Command, increasing all your skill levels with one). The best socket for a sorceress weapon is Ist (for the magic find), or one of the jewels already discussed.


  • Heart of the Oak (runeword for maces Ko+Vex+Pul+Thul - put it in a flail - 3 skills, big resistance, mana, big faster cast rate, dexterity)
  • Occulus (3 skills, magic find, resistance, faster cast rate, mana, life, mana after each kill)
  • Wizard Spike (huge resistances, huge faster cast rate, big mana)
  • Death's Fathom (3 skills, resistance, cold damage).


  • Eschuta's Temper (1-3 skills, mana, fire skill damage, faster cast rate)
  • Tal Rasha's Lidless Eye (Masteries, life, mana, faster cast rate - with the full set this will make it into the Top list)


  • Razorswitch (this is two handed, so no shield - but 1 skill, big res, huge mana, big life, bif fcr. If you're poor, trade a couple of gems for this, and it will take you all the way through the game)
  • Suicide Branch (1 skill, resistance, big life, mana)
  • rare or magical


Rare armors are not that attractive, and though there are many valuable unique and set armors, there isn't one perfect choice for this slot between them, as is the case for the helm and weapon. Fortunately, 1.10 has supplied us with two top runewords for armor. If you're using a non-rune word armor, check the helm discussion for socketing suggestions.


  • Chains of Honor (runeword: Dol+Um+Ber+Ist - 2 skills, huge resistances, strength, magic find)
  • Enigma (runeword: Jah+Ith+Ber - 2 skills, huge strength, faster run/walk, life, damage reduction, life after each kill, damage to mana, big magic find)


  • Arkaine's Valor (2 skills, life, faster hit recovery, small damage reduction)
  • Tal Rasha's Guardianship (big magic find, big resistance)
  • Skin of the Vipermagi (1 skill, resistance, faster cast rate - upgrade it to elite for the extra defense)
  • Lionheart (runeword: Hel+Lum+Fal - big resistance, huge life, big strength)
  • Smoke (runeword: Nef+Lum - big resistance, faster hit recovery, mana)
  • Skullder's Ire (1 skill, magic find)
  • Naj's Light Plate (1 skill, life, resistance, damage to mana)
  • Duriel's Shell (resistance, life, strength, cannot be frozen)
  • Que-Hegan's Wisdom (1 skill, mana, mana after each kill, faster hit recovery, faster cast rate)
  • Ormus' Robes (Cold skill damage, fire skill damage, +3 to random sorceress skill - except Orb, Hydra and Mastery, faster cast rate)
  • Wealth (runeword: Lem+Ko+Tir - magic find - only for the strict mf'er)
  • Shaftstop (damage reduction - overkill if you have Stormshield and Shako, as damage reduction is now capped at 50%)
  • Atma's Wail (mana, magic find, dexterity, faster hit recovery)


  • Stealth (runeword: Tal+Eth - regenerate mana, faster run/walk, faster cast rate, faster hit recovery)
  • Arctic Binding (cold resistance - use it with the belt for extra defense and magic find)


The most important thing in a shield is the blocking%, and faster block rate also helps out. In addition, your shield will usually give you a substantial part of your resistances. Socketing a single perfect diamond in a shield nets +19% resistance to all and is often the best bet. If you're a little richer, you can also use an Um which gives +22% to all. If you won't be using a magic find switch for the final kill, an Ist (for magic find) is also a good choice.


  • Stormshield (damage reduction, high block, resistance, faster block rate, strength)
  • Sanctuary (Runeword: Ko+Ko+Mal - good blocking, faster blockrate, big resistance, dexterity, faster hit recovery)
  • Moser's Blessed Circle (drop two perfect diamonds in this and you'll be set for resistances, faster block rate, good blocking - upgrade it for very good blocking)


  • Rhyme (Runeword: Shael+Eth - resistance, magic find, good blocking, faster block rate, magic find - put it in a shield with a decent base blocking)
  • Whitstan's Guard (incredible blocking, faster block rate, this can save you quite a few points in dexterity - only marred by its total lack of resistances)
  • Gerke's Sanctuary (high block, resistance)
  • Visceratuant (1 skill, faster blockrate, good blocking - upgrade this and it makes a top item)


  • Sigon's Guard (1 skill, good block, use with boots and belt for extra magic find)
  • Socketed shield with three perfect diamonds
  • Lidless Wall (skills, mana, mana after each kill, faster cast rate, BUT lack of decent blocking and resistances makes this unusable beyond Nightmare)


There are no real winners for this slot for the sorceress (who has enough mana - otherwise Frostburn is perfect), so rare and crafted gloves may be well worth using. Interesting modifiers include strength (15 max), dex (20 max), mana (40 max) and magic find (25 max).


  • Frostburn (huge mana)
  • Mage Fist (fire skill, faster cast rate, regenerate mana)
  • Chance Guards (magic find)


  • Dracul's Grasp (life after each kill, strength)
  • Immortal King's Forge (strength, dexterity - think about using the boots, too)
  • Laying of Hands (big fire resistance)
  • Hellmouth (fire absorb)
  • Trang-Oul's Claws (cold resist, faster cast rate)


  • Sander's Taboo (life), or one of the top gloves which all have low requirements


The star here is the new 1.10 unique elite belt, the Arachnid Mesh, but many nice options exist - rares will not usually be able to compete.


  • Arachnid Mesh (1 skill, mana, faster cast rate)
  • Verdungo's Hearty Cord (big life, damage reduction, faster hit recovery)
  • Nightsmoke (mana, resistance, damage to mana - esp. useful if using Energy Shield)
  • Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth (mana, dexterity, magic find, damage to mana - use it with the amulet and armor for extra magic find)
  • Credendum (resistance, dexterity, strength)
  • Goldwrap (magic find - only for the full time magic finder)


  • Thundergod's Vigor (life, strength, lightning aborb)
  • Gloom's Trap (mana, life), Trang-Oul's Girth (life, mana, cannot be frozen)
  • String of Ears (damage reduction)
  • Immortal King's Detail (strength, resistance - think about the boots, too)


  • Lenymo (mana, resistance)
  • Sigon's Wrap (fire resistance, life - use it with the gloves and belt for the magic find boost)


Here more than anywhere rares shine. Look for magic find (25 max), faster run/walk (30 max), resistance (40 max to any one element), dexterity (15 max) and mana (40 max).


  • War traveler (magic find, faster run/walk, strength, life)
  • Sandstorm Trek (faster run/walk, strength, life, faster hit recovery, poison resistance)
  • Waterwalk (faster run/walk, dexterity, big life)
  • Silkweave (faster run/walk, mana, mana after each kill)
  • Aldur's Advance (faster run/walk, life, fire resistance, damage to mana)


  • Cow King's Hooves (magic find, faster run/walk, dexterity)
  • Immortal King's Pillar (faster run/walk, life, magic find with one other item from the set - consider these boots if you're using the gloves for the stat boost)
  • Tearhaunch (faster run/walk, resistance)
  • Natalya's Soul (faster run/walk, resistance)


  • Sigon's Sabot (faster run/walk, cold resistance, magic find with two other items from the set - shield and belt are also good choices for a low level sorceress)
  • Vidala's Fetlock (faster run/walk, resistance with one other item from the set - use it with the amulet to get the magic find bonus)
  • Tancred's Hobnails (dexterity, faster run/walk with one other item - use the amulet, for the big magic find)
  • Sander's Riprap (faster run/walk, dexterity, strength)
  • Hsarus' Iron Heel (faster run/walk, fire resistance), Hotspur (fire resistance, life)


Rare amulets can be very nice, look especially for skills and resistance. But very few, if any, can match Mara's Kaleidoscope, which is the perfect amulet for any sorceress.


  • Mara's Kaleidoscope (skills, resistance, stats)
  • Tal Rasha's Adjudication (skills, lightning res, magic find in combination with any two other items from Tal Rasha's set - most popular choices are the armor and belt)


  • The Rising Sun (fire skills, fire absorb)
  • Saracen's chance (stats - only really usefull if you plan on using this from the beginning, resistance)


  • The Eye of Etlich (skills)
  • Tancred's Weird (big magic find with one other item from the set - the boots are probably the best bet, though the armor is also nice)
  • Vidala's Snare (cold resistance, life, magic find with one other item from the set - the boots are the best bet).


Stone of Jordan is a great sorceress ring, available already at level 29, and extremely useful all the way thorugh the game. If you at some point don't need the extra mana it gives, look for one of the many useful rare rings or pick one of the other nice unique rings.


  • Stone of Jordan (skills, mana)
  • Raven Frost (cold absorb, cannot be frozen, dexterity)
  • Dwarf Star (fire absorb, life),
  • Bul Kathos Wedding Band (skills, life)
  • Nagelring (magic find - only for the full time magic finder)


  • Wisp Projector (lightning absorb, magic find)


  • Manald Heal (life, mana regeneration)


Look for the two extremely yummy unique charms, and charms with these mods:

  • Fire or cold skills
  • Resistance
  • Life
  • Mana
  • Magic find

My wish lists

Questing and normal game play:

  • Helm: Shako
  • Amulet: Mara's
  • Weapon: Occulus or Heart of the Oak
  • Switch: Lower resistance charges, Cold armor/Energy Shield or Battle Order
  • Armor: Chains of Honor
  • Shield: Stormshield
  • Gloves: Frostburn
  • Belt: Arachnid Mesh
  • Boots: War traveler
  • Rings: Stones of Jordan
  • Charms: Annihilus, shimmering/serpent's small charms of vita, Fire (or cold) Skillers

Magic find runs on bosses:

  • Helm: Shako with a perfect topaz
  • Amulet: Rare amulet with mf and +2 skills
  • Weapon: Wizard Spike
  • Switch: Double Ist'ed Ali Baba (or Gull for a cheaper alternative) and Rhyme
  • Armor: Skullder's with a perfect topaz (or Enigma)
  • Shield: Um'ed Stormshield
  • Gloves: Chance guards
  • Belt: Goldwrap
  • Boots: War traveler
  • Rings: Rare rings with mf and resistance (or Raven/Dwarf star for better survival)
  • Charms: Annihilus, Gheed's, shimmering/serpent's small charms of good luck
  • Alternative: Substitute amulet, belt and armor for Tal's for better resistances and only a small drop in mf.

Magic find runs in areas (such as the pits) and other situations where you don't use your switch weapons for the kill, like Eldritch/Shenk/Pindle:

  • Helm: Tal's with a perfect topaz
  • Amulet: Tal's
  • Weapon: Ist'ed Tal's
  • Switch: Cold armor/Energy Shield or Battle Order
  • Armor: Tal's with perfect topaz
  • Shield: Ist'ed Stormshield
  • Gloves: Chance guards
  • Belt: Tal's
  • Boots: War traveler
  • Rings: Rare rings with mf and resistance (or Raven/Dwarf star for better survival)
  • Charms: Annihilus, Gheed's, shimmering/serpent's small charms of good luck

Tal Rasha's set gives you a very good balance of killing power, survival and magic find when you can't use switch weapons for the kill.

Equipment for your mercenary

The mercenary's equipment is as important as yours. A well equipped mercenary will last longer and therefore be more useful. Here are some mods to look for:

  1. Life Leech (really the top priority)
  2. Defense
  3. Big damage weapon (to help with leech)
  4. Damage Reduction
  5. Resistance (if he needs it - he gets his own resistance eventually)
  6. Cannot be frozen

The mercenary's gear is chosen to make him as tough to kill as possible, though chance to cast useful spells on striking is also nice, and prevent monster heal can help a lot with bosses (especially the Diablo Clone). The mercenary's equipment doesn't lose durability, so you might as well use ethereal gear which will provide extra defense (armor and helm) and damage (weapon).

If you're mostly mf'ing, bear in mind that if your mercenary gets the kill, his magic find will be added to your own - so it may very well be worth equipping him with mf-gear and letting him get the final strike.

Below, I'll list some useful items to look for. Again, none of these are necessary - rares and magical items will get you through just fine, as long as they have the mods on the given list above.

The only set really suited to the act 2 mercenary is Hwanin's Splendour, which he can wear 3 out 4 items from and gives a nice chance to cast Static. However, the partial set bonus is quite underwhelming (+300 defense), so pick other options from the lists if you can.


When chosing a helm, the most important question is: does your mercenary already have leech on his weapon (or in rare cases armor)? If not, you must chose a helm with leech. If he's covered for leech, resistance and damage reduction are the best mods to look for - though of course, you can never have too much leech. Socket a perfect topaz if you're mf'ing - otherwise, you can socket whatever you feel your mercenary needs the most (and you can afford): resistance from jewels or runes, shael for faster hit recovery or, if you're rich, Ber (for damage reduction), Cham (cannot be frozen) or Jah (increase maximum life 5%).


  • Vampire Gaze (damage reduction, life leech)
  • Crown of the Ages (damage reduction, faster hit recovery, resistance)
  • Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest (life leech, life, resistance)
  • Crown of Thieves (life leech, life, fire resistance, dexterity)
  • Steal skull (life leech, increased attack speed, mf)
  • Rockstopper (resistance, damage reduction)
  • Harlequin Crest (2 skills, magic find, damage reduction, life)


  • Andariel's Visage (life leech, 2 skills, increased attack speed, poison resistance, but - fire resistance)
  • Blackhorn's face (lightning absorb, lightning resistance, prevent monster heal, slows target)
  • Veil of Steel (big resistance, vitality)


  • Undead Crown (life leech, poison resistance)
  • Wormskull (life leech, poison resistance)


The weapon should have good damage, not only to help you with the rare Fire/Cold dual immune monster, but to help with your mercenary's life leech. Any high damage spear or polearm will do - socket it with an Amn for extra life leech or Shael for the increased attack speed or, if you're rich, Ber (for crushing blow) or Jah (ignore target's defense) are also options.


  • Doom runeword (Holy Freeze aura, chance to cast volcano, skills, deadly strike, open wounds)
  • The Reaper's Toll (chance to cast decrepify, leech, ignore target's defense, deadly strike)
  • Breath of the Dying (runeword: Vex+Hel+El+Eld+Zod+Eth - big damage, life leech, prevent monster heal, chance to cast poison nova - it's really too expensive to give your mercenary who will not benefit from this weapon as much as a player would)
  • Tomb Reaver (magic find, resistance, sockets, chance to cast reanimate)


  • Bone Hew (prevent monster heal, chance to cast bone spear, two sockets)
  • Crescent Moon (runeword: Shael+Um+Tir - ignore target's defense, chance to cast static and chain lightning, open wounds)
  • Stormspire (lightning resistance, fast attack speed)
  • Arioc's Needle (ignore target's defense, skills, deadly strike, poison damage which will prevent monster heal while it lasts)
  • Meat Scraper (life leech, magic find)
  • all elite and exceptional unique spears and polearms


  • Bloodthief (life leech, chance of open wounds, life)
  • The Battlebranch (life leech)
  • all normal unique spears and polearms


Your mercenary's armor should provide plenty of defense - in fact, any high defense armor will do. This is because he will be meleeing a lot and doesn't have a shield - so his defense is the only thing that will prevent him from being hit every time. Also, he gets more resistance each level, so resistance on his equipment is not quite as important as it is on yours. For socketing advise, see the helm section.


  • Shaftstop (huge damage reduction)
  • Stone (runeword: Shael+Um+Pul+Lum - big defense, huge faster hit recovery, resistance, strength)
  • Tyrael's might (cannot be frozen, resistance, strength)
  • Duriel's Shell (resistance, life, strength, cannot be frozen)
  • Enigma (runeword: Jah+Ith+Ber - strength, life, damage reduction, life after each kill, big magic find, skills)
  • Skullder's Ire (skill, magic find)
  • Chains of Honor (runeword: Dol+Um+Ber+Ist - huge resistances, strength, magic find, skills, damage reduction)


  • Any high defense unique or set armor, really
  • Tal Rasha's Guardianship (big magic find, big resistance)
  • Wealth (runeword: Lem+Ko+Tir - magic find - only for the strict mf'er)
  • Lionheart (runeword: Hel+Lum+Fal - big resistance, huge life, big strength)
  • The Gladiator's Bane (big defense, cannot be frozen)


  • Highest defense he can wear

If you're going to give your mercenary increased attack speed and faster hit recovery equipment, you should read this last bit. Not every item with these modifiers will help you - it all depends on how much you already have. The game uses "breakpoints", which means that if your total increased attack speed percentages is below a certain value (breakpoint), you'll attack slower, and if you've got more, you'll be faster. An attack is an animation in the game which takes a number of "frames", which are the still pictures the game is made from. The fewer frames an attack lasts, the faster the attack will be. To find out how fast you attack, you need to find the weapon class in the tables here and add all your increased attack speed modifiers from the weapon itself as well as helm and armor.

Take an example: Say I use a Bone Hew, which is an Ogre Axe, so I look in the second table. The Bone Hew already has 30% ias, and let's say I'm also using a Steelskull (10% ias) and a Shaftstop (0% ias). In total I then have 40% ias. Looking it up in the table, I have met the 37% ias breakpoint, meaning I have 6.5 frames attack speed. To attack faster, I'll need an extra 25% ias - then I'll meet the 65% ias breakpoint and have a 6 frames attack speed. So if I put one Shael (20% attack speed) in my Bone Hew, it wouldn't get any faster (I'd have 60% ias, not enough for the 65% ias break point), but if I put Shaels in both the Bonehew sockets, the attack speed would be faster.

Spears with base speed 20 (War Pike - or its normal and exceptional counterparts):

% IAS Frames per Attack
0 10.0
4 9.5
9 9.0
16 8.5
24 8.0
37 7.5
54 7.0
80 6.5
129 6.0
208 5.5
456 5.0

Polearms with base speed 10 (Ogre Axe, Colossus Voulge, Cryptic Axe - or their normal and exceptional counterparts):

% IAS Frames per Attack
0 9.0
5 8.5
11 8.0
22 7.5
35 7.0
56 6.5
92 6.0
147 5.5
292 5.0

Polearms and spears with base speed 0 (Great Poleaxe, Ghost Spear, Stygian Pike - or their normal and exceptional counterparts):

% IAS Frames per Attack
O 8.0
9 7.5
20 7.0
37 6.5
65 6.0
105 5.5
200 5.0

Polearms and spears with base speed -10 (Thresher, Hyperion Spear - or their normal and exceptional counterparts):

% IAS Frames per Attack
O 7.5
8 7.0
22 6.5
44 6.0
75 5.5
142 5.0

Spears with base speed -20 (Mancatcher - or its normal and exceptional counterparts):

% IAS Frames per Attack
O 7.0
9 7.5
27 7.0
52 6.5
102 6.0

Faster hit recovery

% FHR Frames per Hit Recovery
O 15
5 14
9 13
14 12
20 11
30 10
42 9
60 8
86 7
142 6
280 5


Thanks to the people in the Sorceress forum for their encouragement and many valuable suggestions.