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Guide:PvP Equipment Basics v1.10, by Sint Nikolaas

From Diablo 2 Wiki

Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:

A general overview of useful PvP equipment goals, break point info, and more.

Useful items and item mods

Well, if you have picked a character (or not) you have already read a bit on what we think is the best item combination and maybe picked a few lesser items if you think those were better. Here I will list various items and explain why they are often used in PvP or why most people keep them in their stash while they venture out there. I’ll start out by a general list of mods on items that you’ll definitely want to have or want to look for if you didn’t have an item we suggested.

PS. I will not tell you what the mod does (as in faster cast rate makes you cast faster), but will discuss it telling you where to look for it.

PPS. I will not discuss the most obvious stuff like getting resists or stats like strength, dextrerity. I won’t mention life, mana or Attack Rating. All those are great to get, but a lot of your gear will cover those basics. I’m making the list to get you to desired breakpoints or to counter specific purposes.

Often required mods to look for on items.

Faster cast rate (FCR)

For casters out there, FCR can luckily be found on most items you can equip. Main sources of FCR are a Wizzardspike weapon (50%), a Suicide Branch weapon (50%) or a Heart of the Oak weapon (40%). If you need your weapon for something else, or need more sources, try getting an Arachnids mesh belt (20%) or Trang Oul’s gloves / Magefist gloves (20%). Besides those there are various armors giving FCR as a Skin of the Vipermagi (30%). Now up to here it is probably known, on to where to find the little sources. You can find magic or rare amulets with 10%FCR. Rare or magic rings can spawn with 10% FCR too. You can also craft caster amulets for cast rates up to 20%. Also try looking for rare circlets and the likes for 10% or 20%.

Faster hit recovery (FHR)

FHR is needed but luckily also often found. Good sources are helms like Arreat’s face (30%) or Rockstopper (30%), Armors like Stone (60%), Duress (40%), Que Heagans (20%) or gloves like Bloodfists (30%). However those are all quite common but often you won’t cut it with gear alone. A nokozan relic amulet is often overlooked but gives 20%. Try socketing Shael runes into your Helm or Armor for an additional 20%. Charms can help out here too. Small charms give the best returns with 5% a pop, but if you need skill charms (or just grand charms) then they come with 12%.

Faster block rate (FBR)

You can have read through all of the guides and not come across this term. Mainly because it is most of the time not needed. You can look up the table in the strategy compendium, but normally you shouldn’t worry about it. However if a shield does not come with increased block speed of its own you can socket a Shael in it for 20%. Another way is to grab a Guardian angel armor for 30%.

Faster run walk (FR/W)

You seriously need to run a lot in your duels, no matter if you run away or are chasing someone. Getting FR/W is needed and found mostly on boots like Aldurs boots (40%), Immortal King’s boots (40%) or Natalya’s boots (40%). Try to get this as high as possible, most uniques spawn with 30% or less. Rare boots can get up to 30% too and if you get a really nice pair (like 30FR/W, 20FHR, Stats, resists), you can give them to me. Besides the boots you can get FR/W from limited supplies, however some characters come with skills to make up for that. If you need to you can find FR/W on the Cat’s eye amulet (30%), Valkyrie Wing helm (20%), Titan’s Revenge for amazons (30%). You’ll have to make up for it with charms. Older small charms came with 5% a piece and if you still have those then you’re good, because nowadays they come with 3%. They still are the best you can get as Grand charms get only 7%.

Cannot be Frozen (CBF)

You seriously need this in PvP. The only exception is if you’re a wolf and you’re doing melee only (as a wolf needs two sources of cold damage to slow his attack speed) or if you’re a teleporting class in bad manner PvP. The most used item to get CBF is a Ravenfrost ring. You can also get it from Trang Oul’s belt which gives pretty good other mods too. As a last resort you could go with a Death’s sash or a Gladiator’s Bane armor.

Damage Reduce (DR)

You’ll need damage reduce by percentages, so no Sol runes. Normally a Stormshield is used (35%), but besides that Harlequin Crest hat gives 10%, where Verdungo’s Hearty cord belt and String of ears belt give from 10% to 15%. You can opt for using Shaftstop armor for 30%. DR is capped in PvP at 50%. The only other way to get DR is to use Ber runes.. so.. yeah no other way.


I’m not going to discuss why it is useful to get more +skills or where to look for them because most of you know it, I just wanted to remember everyone that this is one of the first things you should look for if you have an armor or weapon slot open. Also, rare circlets and the like and rare / crafted amulets can spawn with up to two skills or three for a skill tree. Those items can beat anything available.

Often used items

Here’s I’m going to discuss some items you can have in your stash. I will probably tip some items that have been discussed in the character builds, but it’s nice to have them together.

Max and absorb gear versus the elements.

Resistance gear comes in various shapes. The most common ones are extra absorb and max resists. Others are overstacking, I’ll explain this last even though I’ll make comments about it in between.

Extra absorb and max resist. You should have equipment to counter any element. That means Fire, Cold, Lightning and Poison.

Poison: I’ll start with the last one because that’s the easiest. Not a lot of people use poison damage, this however also means that not a lot of people have a good way to counter it. There is one item that can change that though, in the form of Death’s gloves. These gloves have crazy resists and most importantly poison length reduce. When you’re wearing the gloves you should consider using the belt too as the combined set bonuses are quite nice.

Fire on the other hand is a bit easier to counter. One of the items I like to use here is a Nokozan relic. This will give you up to 85% resist and some FHR as a bonus. I recommend them over the hotspur boots which are, if you solely look at the fire mods, a bit better, but you’ll lose out on FR/W easily there. You won’t have to overstack against fire users.

Lightning. Here’s a twofold. You’ll have the lightning damagers on one hand that deal very nice lightning damage, on the other hand you’ll have the lightning damagers that deal very decent lightning damage but lower your resist like crazy. Well, one item is pretty much mandatory to counter lightning, a thundergods belt. It gives upto 85% resist and absorbs quite a bit too. However if you’re only wearing this you will still be pummelled by lightning users. You should be able to overstack. Keep either a 4 socketed monarch in your stash filled with perfect topazes or a 4 socketed armor filled with resist jewels.

Cold. There’s really only one build that can do good cold damage, however the sorceress is known for it and by god will she do good damage. There are several ways to counter this. I advice against trying to get +max gear. Even though you’ll have up to 95% resist she’ll just lower it like crazy (cold mastery) and it won’t do you any good. Just try to get good absorb (two ravenfrosts spring to mind) and again a 4 sapphire shield should help a lot. A 4 socketed armor with jewels is again a viable option if you can attain at least the same amount of resists as the shield (160).

Overstacking. I mentioned it a couple of times now. Overstacking generally means countering your opponents negative resists. To take an example of a FoH paladin. Let’s just say that he does 6000 lightning damage with conviction on at –150 resists. This will obviously hurt you. If you’re wearing tgods only and have 85% resist he’ll do the following damage:

  • 6000/6 = 1000
  • 85% - 150 = -65
  • 1000 * 1,65 = 1650 dmg.
  • 1650 – 20 (absorb) = 1630 Knowing the average amazons life span this means instant death.

However if you carry around a resist shield to counter the conviction it’ll be:

  • 6000/6 = 1000
  • 85% - 0 = 85
  • 1000 * 0,15 = 150 dmg.
  • 150 – 20 = 130 Which is almost an impossible difference.

So overstacking means that you have gear in your stash that helps you stack your resists over your normal max. Even though you already have 85% resist you pack another 160 to make sure that even after your opponent lowers it (a lot) you’re still safe. You should count on every PvP player that does elemental damage to have –nme resists. Even if that don’t have it naturally they will get it from gear (lightning facets give up to –5% for example). Always keep overstack in your stash. I favour the shields as I normally have enough strength to wear a stormshield anyway.

So much on max, absorb and stack.

Prebuff gear

What is pre buffing? Pre buffing consists of using a skill or spell that gives you a bonus for a longer period of time. Let’s take Battle Order for an example. That skill give good life bonusses. However if you cast it in your battle gear it will likely be somewhat low level (probably around 24). Now if you have two echoing weapon in your stash you can already take that level up to 30. This work with all the skills you normally cast to help yourself out (and not to immediately hurt your opponent). Assassin shadow skills, necro’s summon and bone armor, Barbarian’s cries, Paladin’s Holy shield, Sorceress cold armor’s and energy shield or thunder storm, Druid’s pets and shifting skills and for all classes remember that +skills (so no paladin skills or sorceress skills but general plus to all) work on the often used Call to Arms weapon which gives Battle order for everyone.

Extra shield?

Most character also need block. If you’re facing an opponent that doesn’t use a blockable attack you might opt for using another shield then your standard blocking shield though. For casters a Spirit (RWM) shield springs to mind with crazy FHR and 2 skills (among other good stuff). If you plan on using something like a Whistan’s guard for blocking (which pretty much won’t do your character any good besides the very high block), you might want to keep a second good shield in your stash if you’re facing other opponents.

Alternative gear

As you’re dueling you might find some duels a lot harder then others. Some times you might sigh to yourself and say something like ‘I wish I had more FR/W when facing Druids’ or ‘I wish I had more FCR against Paladins’. It is very possible to keep alternative gear in your stash. This may vary from your normal resist setup where you switch out some gear to counter an elemental attacker. This is just general gear changes where you might have Bloodfists in your stash for an extra 30% FHR when needed and Magefists on your character if you need the FCR.

Alternative gear is most often found on melee builds. They sometimes need more defence on attack rating while facing other melee builds or they want to switch around getting more life against casters. Alternative gear can be an Angelic combo (the Angelic wings and Angelic ring) which gives crazy attack rating at high levels, another Ravenfrost, a new pair of boots that give better FR/W or less but other mods like FHR.