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Lightning Martial Artist


Sep 4, 2018
This is another build I have never done before. The only other elemental martial artist I made in the past was a cold one. This is similar to the Tiger Strike Martial Artist, but with a few differences. The primary one is that this is elemental, not physical.

Most elemental martial artist builds say you should max the fire and lightning claw attacks together with Phoenix Strike and put any spare points into the ice claw attack. However, in my experience, I find it a better idea to choose only one of the elemental claw attacks and max it together with Phoenix Strike, then wear equipment that will increase skill damage of your chosen elemental attack. From what I have read on the diablo ii wikia site, items that increase skill damage do not work with Phoenix Strike, but they do work with the individual elemental claw attacks. Items that drain enemy resistances do work with Phoenix Strike.

Claws of Thunder is my main charge up skill. Phoenix Strike also needs to be maxed as a synergy. So far for me, Phoenix Strike is more useful as a synergy than an actual attack due to Claws of Thunder being more powerful and better for crowd control. It's amazing how quickly crowds of enemies fall to the sheer amount of lightning damage done.

Due to kicks being physical damage and this being an elemental build, Dragon Claw is my chosen finishing move, so I used dual claws. The fact that the elemental claw attacks swing both claws at once makes sense for doing this. With one attack, I can have two charges ready compared to only one if using only one claw as I had done in the past with a cold martial artist. This saves me mana in the long run. Dragon Claw will be maxed next and then Claw Mastery to give me more damage, critical chance, and attack rating, as well as a damage synergy for Dragon Claw.

Tiger Strike is only left at one point, it will still be of use together with cobra strike for massive leeching and dealing with tougher enemies immune to lightning. Weapon Block will also be left at only one point and I'll use items to increase skill levels to do the rest to take me to 50% due to diminishing returns at higher levels.

Here is the equipment and hireling setup

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive

Andariel's Visage (life leech, increased skill levels)
Treachery (increased attack speed and chance to case fade when struck)
Infinity Cryptic Axe (conviction aura to reduce enemy resistances)

Helmet: Griffon's Eye (increased skill level, skill damage, and reduced enemy lightning resistance)
Amulet: Mara's Kaleidoscope (increased skill levels and resistances)
Armor: Chains of Honor Archon Plate (increased skill levels and resistances)
Weapon 1: Bartuc's Cut-throat (increased skill levels, strength, dexterity, life leech)
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Weapon 2: Jade Talon (increased skill levels, resistances, and mana leech)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased skill levels for prebuff purposes)
Ring 1: Raven Frost (cannot be frozen, increased dexterity)
Ring 2: Bul-Katho's Wedding Band (increased skill level)
Belt: Verdungo's Hearty Coil (increased vitality and physical resistance)
Boots: Gore Rider (crushing blow, deadly strike, and open wounds)
Gloves: Soul Drainer (dual leech)

According to my notes, I'll have 19 skill points left after maxing all synergy skills and getting all important skills. Where should I spend them? I've been thinking of maxing Shadow Master. What about my hireling and equipment setup? How do they look? Should anything be changed?


Feb 12, 2016
Somewhere in the north of Belgium
Yes, at least one point in Fade or BoS, depending on your resists with your chosen gear.

The rest I would put into Shadow Warrior. They need some training and some getting used to, but they can get very high damage due to the way their slvls work. In short: they also receive synergy bonuses for the skills they use, if you let them use the synergy skill (so for example: have them use Phoenix Strike to let the synergy stick, then switch to their main skill CoT. The thing is that, unlike players, the SW's synergy level isn't capped at the 20 hard points into the skill. They can get their synergy bonus much higher, and that's why they can very high damage numbers.

Your gear looks solid, but I would use +2MA/ias gloves if you have them. Leeching can come from Cobra Strike. As for switch shield, I wouldn't invest 156 into str to be able to use a Monarch. Instead I'd use one of the +1 skill shields out there.