Paladin Combat Skills

Diablo 2 Paladin Paladin Combat SkillsPaladin Combat Skills Explanation

Paladin Combat Skills are primarily melee strikes of various types, but Paladins also possess a few magical attacks and some highly-effective shield attacks as well.


Required Level: 1
Prerequisites: None
Synergies: Points in these skills increase the damage done with Sacrifice.

  • Redemption: +15% Damage Per Level
  • Fanaticism: +5% Damage Per Level

Details: Sacrifice boosts the Paladin’s damage and attack rating substantially, at a cost in blood. Each hit landed with this skill inflicts 8% of its damage on the Paladin.

  • To offset the damage to self, life leech equipment can come in very handy.
    • Due to penalties to life leech in higher difficulties, at least 16% (Nightmare) and 24% (Hell) life leech is required to negate the HP loss.
    • Life is reduced before life steal and Life Tap are applied. Thus using Sacrifice while at low HP can be fatal, even with sufficient life steal.
  • It’s possible to kill yourself with Sacrifice, leading to the amusing “Paladin was slain by Paladin.” death message in game.
    • The game will recognize this as PvP, which nullifies experience loss in hell and nightmare difficulties.

Damage to Self: 8%

Skill Level Progression

SlvlAR +X%Damage +X%SlvlAR +X%Damage +X%SlvlAR +X%Damage +X%SlvlAR +X%Damage +X%


Required Level: 1
Prerequisites: None
Requires: A shield equipped.
Synergies: None.
Details: Smite is a shield bash that damages, stuns, and knocks back the target.

  • The speed of smite is based on the equipped weapon.
  • Smite causes durability loss to the equipped weapon.
  • Smite’s damage is based on the shield. Only Paladins see the listed Smite damage on shields.
  • Damage types that work with Smite: Crushing Blow and Open Wounds.
  • Damage types that do not work with Smite: Life and mana leech, Deadly Strike, elemental damage from Auras, undead damage from Sanctuary, damage from Charms,
  • Smite will steal life (only) when the Life Tap Curse is active on the target.
  • Smite always hits, so can be very useful against monsters or players with high defense.
  • Bosses and SuperUniques have a resistance to being stunned, but will be stunned with repeated hits. Act Bosses can not be stunned.
  • Stun lengths are decreased to 1/2 in Nightmare and 1/4 in Hell.

Mana: 2

Skill Level Progression

SlvlDamage +X%DurationSlvlDamage +X%DurationSlvlDamage +X%DurationSlvlDamage +X%Duration

Holy Bolt

Required Level: 6
Prerequisites: None
Synergies: Each point in the following skills boosts the damage or healing of Holy Bolt.

  • Blessed Hammer: +50% Magic Damage Per Level
  • Fist of the Heavens: +50% Magic Damage Per Level
  • Prayer: +15% Life Healed Per Level

Details: A glowing, magical projectile is fired out at a medium rate of speed. This projectile will damage enemy undead monsters, and heal friends.

  • Holy Bolt damage can not be resisted, but only affects the Undead.
  • Holy Bolt was a novelty in early versions of the game, but since synergies were added in v1.09 it’s become potentially quite powerful, both as a killing weapon and a healing skill.

Skill Level Progression

SlvlManaMagic DamageHealingSlvlManaMagic DamageHealingSlvlManaMagic DamageHealingSlvlManaMagic DamageHealing


Required Level: 12
Prerequisites: Sacrifice
Synergies: Zeal receives bonus from points spent in:

  • Sacrifice: +12% Damage Per Level

Details: Zeal is a rapid, multi-strike attack with substantial bonuses to attack rating, attack speed, and damage.

  • The first strike will always aim at the targeted monster. The next four will alternate between all targets in range.
    • Using Zeal on a group tends to wear all the monsters down gradually and equally. Poison damage or Prevent Monster Heal will keep them from healing back during the battle.
    • If you wish to kill a single monster in a group, you should use Vengeance, Sacrifice or Smite to hit just it.
  • If using a one-handed weapon, picking one with 2 or 3 range will work noticeably better than 1-range items, especially when hitting monsters in a group.
  • Note that points in Sacrifice add more to Zeal’s damage than points in Zeal itself, though they do not add to the Attack Rating. If higher damage is the goal, raise Zeal enough to get five hits and the necessary AR, then put points into Sacrifice instead.
  • Zeal can not be interrupted; all five hits are always delivered, though not necessarily successfully.
  • In earlier versions of Diablo II, Zeal gained a hit with every point spent in the skill. This was a problem for online play, when characters became desynched and stood there swinging 20 times and hitting nothing. The change to 5 fast hits made Zeal the most popular Paladin combat skill.

Mana: 2

Skill Level Progression

SlvlAR +X%#HitsDamageSlvlAR +X%#HitsDamageSlvlAR +X%#HitsDamageSlvlAR +X%#HitsDamage


Required Level: 12
Prerequisites: Smite
Synergies: Charge receives damage bonuses from points placed in:

  • Vigor: +20% Damage Per Level
  • Might: +20% Damage Per Level

Details: A rushing attack that moves the Paladin very quickly to the target. Includes a knock back effect allowing it to be used over and over again on the same enemy, knocking them back until they die or run into an obstacle.

  • Despite the icon and location on the skill tree (after Smite) Charge does not require a shield, nor does the shield damage factor into the damage dealt if you have a weapon equipped. Charging with a big damage, two-handed weapon can be very effective.
  • Like all of the Paladin’s combat skills, Charge is best used on the left click, while an aura is active on the right.
  • Charge can not be used in melee range; only from further away. Smite for the knock back, then Charge is a useful combination.
  • Charge can be used without a target by holding down the shift key. This will let your Paladin traverse long distances very quickly, though it uses up a lot of mana and leaves minions far behind.
  • Bugs with Charge can freeze the Paladin in place, or make him walk backwards (the moonwalk bug). Switching weapons or getting hit will usually snap him out of it.
  • Charge was the favorite low level PK skill in early D2 days. Beware low level Paladins with Vigor and big two-handed weapons. (Such as Bonesnap.)

Charging Speed

ChargeSpeed = BaseRunSpeed * (1 + Skill_FRW / 100 + Armor_Speed / 100) * 150%

where the terms are as above. By substituting BaseRunSpeed and multiplying it by 150%, we get:

ChargeSpeed = 9 yards/s * (1 + Skill_FRW / 100 + Armor_Speed / 100)

There is no lower limit to ChargeSpeed. It can be even negative.

Mana: 9

Skill Level Progression



Required Level: 18
Prerequisites: Sacrifice, Zeal
Synergies: Additional damage comes from points in:

  • Resist Fire: +10% Fire Damage Per Level
  • Resist Cold: +10% Cold Damage Per Level
  • Resist Lightning: +10% Lightning Damage Per Level
  • Salvation: +2% Elemental Damage Per Level

Details: A powerful single-hit attack that adds fire, lightning, and cold damage. The damage is not a set amount, but is based on your weapon damage, so the more damaging your weapon, the bigger the elemental damage bonus will be.

  • Vengeance is usually paired with the Conviction aura, which lowers enemy resistances considerably. Fanaticism might be more helpful for some equipment sets though, for the faster swing and attack rating bonuses.

Skill Level Progression

SlvlManaDur.Elem Dmg.+ARSlvlManaDur.Elem Dmg.+ARSlvlManaDur.Elem Dmg.+ARSlvlManaDur.Elem Dmg.+AR

Blessed Hammer

Required Level: 18
Prerequisites: Holy Bolt
Synergies: The following skills boost the damage of each Blessed Hammer.

  • Blessed Aim: +14% Magic Damage Per Level
  • Vigor: +14% Magic Damage Per Level

Details: Blessed Hammer sends forth a spinning, magical hammer that spirals outward from the Paladin, making two or three orbits before vanishing. The hammers can deal enormous damage when boosted by auras and synergies.

  • The Concentration aura boosts the damage of the hammers (Might and Fanaticism do not), but only by 50% of Concentration’s listed bonus.
  • This skill’s power lies in its ability to strike multiple enemies at once, especially when numerous monsters are herded into an open area, where the hammers can really get circling.
  • Blessed Hammers no longer ignore the resistances of Undead and Demons after the v1.13 patch.

Dmg. to Undead: 150%

Skill Level Progression



Required Level: 24
Prerequisites: Sacrifice, Zeal, Vengeance
Synergies: None.
Details: This skill acts as a mind control attack, “converting” the monster to fight against other demons. For the duration of the effect, the monster will battle against its own kind, and be attacked by them. It can not be damaged by players during this time. This skill lets a paladin temporarily have a similar army like the Revive summoning Necromancer build.

  • SuperUniques and Bosses can not be converted, nor can other players in PVP games.
  • Experience is gained for kills made by converted monsters. Experience is not gained for converted monsters killed while under your influence.
  • A common technique is to convert a monster, then use the Thorns aura to make monsters kill themselves attacking it. This can be dangerous, since the aura will remain for a few seconds after the monster de-converts.

Mana: 4

Skill Level Progression

SlvlConvert ChanceSlvlConvert ChanceSlvlConvert ChanceSlvlConvert Chance

Holy Shield

Required Level: 24
Prerequisites: Smite, Holy Bolt, Charge, Blessed Hammer
Requires: A shield equipped.
Synergies: Defiance: +15% Defense Per Level
Details: Holy Shield provides a huge defensive bonus to the Paladin’s entire defensive rating, greatly increases his odds to block attacks, and adds substantially to his Smite damage.

Mana: 35

Skill Level Progression

SlvlDur.DefenseBlockSmite Dmg.SlvlDur.DefenseBlockSmite Dmg.SlvlDur.DefenseBlockSmite Dmg.SlvlDur.DefenseBlockSmite Dmg.

Fist of the Heavens

Casting Delay: 1 Second
Required Level: 30
Prerequisites: Sacrifice, Holy Bolt, Zeal, Vengeance, Blessed Hammer, Conversion
Synergies: Damage is boosted by points in the following skills:

  • Holy Bolt: +15% Holy Bolt Damage Per Level
  • Holy Shock: +7% Lightning Damage Per Level

Details: Fist of Heavens calls down a bolt of lightning on the target, and sends out a spray of Holy Bolts. The lightning always hits, making this skill useful for evasive creatures or in PVP.

  • Holy Bolts only damage undead monsters.

Mana: 25

Skill Level Progression

SlvlLightning Dmg.Holy Bolt Dmg.SlvlLightning Dmg.Holy Bolt Dmg.SlvlLightning Dmg.Holy Bolt Dmg.SlvlLightning Dmg.Holy Bolt Dmg.