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Guide:Smite Paladin v1.10, by Sint Nikolaas

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Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:


A vindicator is a smite based paladin. Smite is a wonderful melee attack although some people will disagree with me for calling it ‘melee’. Basically smite is the same as a normal swing attack but has three very obvious advantages.

  1. It doesn’t require AR and always hits.
  2. It can’t be blocked.
  3. It stuns and knocks back.

This means that every time you swing, you hit, stun and knockback. It also means that normally when someone swings they have to calculate AR and factor in the fact that you can block ¾ of the attacks. You don’t. The main disadvantage is that without great weapons (like the almighty Grief runeword) you won’t have the ability to get as high damage as other melee opponents.


They're fairly simple.

  • Strength – Enough strength to equip all your equipment. Take note that if you have strength from other sources you can include those (like strength charms). Don’t forget thought that once you use this strength you can’t take it off.
  • Dexterity – Enough to get max block. You need it.
  • Vitality – Every point you can spare.
  • Energy – None.


Note this, I highly suggest making this build only if you have a good shield. The shield is the key to the damage you’re doing and without one you won’t do good. Luckily the most commonly used paladin shield (Herald of Zakarum) is decent, but try to upgrade it.


  • Harlequin Crest. This is a good pick as usual. Good life and mana while providing skills and DR. Most people have one of these.
  • Rockstopper Sallet. DR, FHR, resists and some life. Very nice.
  • Peasant crown. If you have to. The fr/w is nice though.


  • Shaftstop. Cheap and very good against physical attackers. I suggest keeping one in your stash at all times (if you don’t use stormshield, which you probably won’t).
  • Lionheart Runeword. Somewhat cheap runes and nice returns. Gives resists, stats, life and a little damage. Quite nice.
  • Duress Runeword. Somewhat less nice then lionheart IF you can get the fhr elsewhere. If not then this runeword is very good. Also some damage and resists here.


  • Verdungo’s is probably best, but also somewhat hard to get. The life and DR make it shine next to the FHR.
  • Thundergod’s Vigor. Keep this one in your stash to counter lightning based attackers. You can also keep it on at all times, the strength and vit are good mods.
  • String of Ears. It’s a downgraded verdungo’s. Still nice though.


  • Bloodfists. Finally something cheap. They just rock with the insane FHR and life. The IAS is just a small bonus.
  • Immortal King Setgloves. For the added stats. Bloodfists are better though.


  • Sandstorm Treks. Hard to get, but very nice. FR/W and FHR alongside stats and poison resist.
  • Gore riders. Old trusty. Not too great for this build but the OW and CB works. The 30 fr/w beats the treks, but the other stuff doesn’t.
  • Natalya’s set boots. Good fr/w and some resists added. Nice boots, don’t overlook these.
  • Immortal King set boots. If you’re using the gloves (wonder why), then add the boots to it for a small extra bonus. Otherwise, take one of the above.


  • Ravenfrost. Sadly enough a must-have here. Luckily enough most people have it anyway. You just need the CBF and the extra dex helps you block. Don’t forget it has cold absorb.
  • Anything else The second ring is a freebee. You can use any ring you want here. I suggest using this slot to make up for absorb. Try equipping all your gear without this one so you can swap it out (so you’re not stuck with less strength if you accidentally use a rare one with some stats on it). A second ravenfrost, dwarfstar or wisp projector are nice here. Otherwise a rare one with resists or stats will always help out.


  • Mara’s Kaleidoscope with as much resist as possible. It’s hard to get though. Try filling this slot with anything you still need.
  • Nokozan relic for extra fhr and to counter fire.
  • Mahim oak curio for some all round action, stats and resists.
  • Cat’s Eye will always help with fr/w and dex. Also quite rare.
  • Rares Any rare will do. Try looking for skills, resists and stats.


This is where it gets complicated. Your weapon won’t deal the damage, it’s the shield. However you want to look for weapons with mods that do help out. Note that the +damage (so not enhanced damage, but directly added damage) works with smite. This means that the Grief runeword is the best you can have. Right.. well.. don’t worry about not having it. Another really nice one is a Silence runeword.

  • The Redeemer Seraph rod. This is the best weapon you can have (outside the damn rich). However this one is still very rare and hard to get. It stands out because of its +dmg.
  • Hand of the Blessed Light. This one is as close as you can get to somewhat nice extra damage. However it differs so much from the higher rated weapons that you can opt for one of the below.
  • Lightsabre. Didn’t expect to find one of these here right? Well there’s a simple reasoning behind it. It’s quite fast (shael it) to help you attack, has magic damage and lightning absorb. Careful not to wear it alongside Tgod’s vigor though (two absorb and one max is one too many).
  • Magic/Rare Scepter If you can’t get one of the above, try just getting a nice scepter with extra skills. Holy shield and fanaticism are the ones to look for. Put some shaels in it to help you attack. Speed is king.


Well I said it before, this build relies on the shield.

  • Herald of Zakarum. Upgrade the item type to elite. This is the best. The returns are great and the damage range is so close together it will make you hit very consistently.
  • Stormshield. Lacks the damage, but makes up for it with the DR and the resists.
  • Others If you don’t have one of these, try making a Sanctuary runeword in an elite paladin shield (the shields can spawn with resists on it, look for it). This will help a lot against elemental attackers.

Weapon Switch

Now, what to put on switch? Anything with +skills. You want to pre-buff your Holy Shield with this one. So anything normally goes. However, since you’ll likely have HoZ on your main switch it’ll be hard to find something for your switch (unless you got two).

Building your Vindicator

You can go several routes here, but the core of the build is the same.

Combat skills:

  • Smite 20
  • Holy Shield 20
  • Prereqs 3

Note: charge is a prereq, but you’ll still use it in your duels!

Offensive auras:

  • Fanatisicm 20
  • Prereqs 3

Nothing surprising, you need the damage and speed from Fana. You’ll have it on at all times (saving really special cases).

Defensive aura’s:

  • None.

Build done with 66 points spent. This is where the personal opinion comes in. If you make your PvP Vindicator you’ll have about 30 more skill points left. Here’s an idea of where you can put them.

  • Defiance – Gives extra defence. If you max this you will note the difference. Getting 10k defence is very easily achievable after this.
  • Resist Lightning – The passive (and active) bonus of this skill will give you can easier time against lightning based attackers.
  • Resist Cold – Same here, however if you’re fighting blizzard sorcs you might want to have this aura active because of their massive negative resists. Don’t do it for the passive bonus.
  • Charge – a second offensive skill. Since normally you don’t use the weapon you won’t be getting good damage, however the extra points here will give you some more AR to help you hit with it.

Skill suggestion: I’d get a skill in cleansing to counter poison attackers. Besides that a point in resist cold. Also if you don’t want to use the individual auras you might consider salvation which is also great in team duels. Other then that you might as well dump the points in Charge and/or resist lightning.


Well, I hate to say it, but combat skillers are the best you can bargain for. They are limited and not many people will trade them, so try rolling them yourself. Even without a second mod they are worth their three slots. If you don’t have (enough) skillers, fill the open slots up with small charms taking care of your needs. This is where you can max your resists, take your FHR to the 86% breakpoint or get more fr/w. If you got everything just fill it up with life charms.


This is an interesting one. Normally you’d keep resist shields here, but this time you won’t. Since this build relies on your shield you can’t go switching it out. If you’re wearing an upgraded HoZ socket it with an UM rune (don’t worry it isn’t a waste) to get more resists against those pesky elementals. Now if you don’t have enough resists to counter heavy elemental hitters like FoH pallies or Blizz sorcs, try getting it everywhere you can. Kira’s Guardian is hard to get, but gives great resists for a helm, another UM can go there. I didn’t list it among the helmets as normally you wouldn’t need it. An amulet and a ring combination against all elements is a very nice idea (since one ring and the amulet slot are pretty much open). Also if you have single resist jewel (they can go up to 30 for a single element) try making a resist armor for lightning, cold and if you can spare it poison, but focus on the first two.

A little strategy

Walk in fights against physical attackers. You’re attacking with your shield, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still block.

Only use charge against characters with low defence (IE 1-2k) and never on physical attackers. If that fury wolf is low on life, he is still as lethal as normal so keep smiting and don’t try to finish it quickly.

Be sure to counter every attack you see. Cold sorc? Pack everything to get your resists up. Poison? Same. Physical, block and DR.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it, defence does help. Getting 10k with this guy should be quite doable, but if you can go higher then by all means do.