[2014] Skill-less tournament (3rd edition) [by epaminondas]

Jan 3, 2007
DISCLAIMER: Please do NOT post in this thread yet. We still need to migrate all posts from the old thread on diabloii.net to this thread. Once all posts from this thread have been migrated, the disclaimer will be removed and the thread open to new posts. :)

This tournament has already ended. It was originally started by epaminondas on Oct 20, 2014. The last post was made Apr 17, 2015.
(link to original thread on diabloii.net)

Skill-less tournament (3rd edition)

This tournament caught my attention as I was browsing through the tournament list searching for a fun one that I missed. This is my first hosted tournament so I'm not entirely sure I got it right, so please bear with me.

Here are the previous two editions (hosted by Docturnal):
Skill-less tourney, 1st ed.
Skill-less tourney, 2nd ed.

It basically forbids placing ANY points in the skill tree. So what's the point to give up skills in a RPG game that is entirely built on skill allocation? It's the entire force of the "build" that argues against such folly. But, as many members of this forum proved time and time again (guardianed "money hating" barbarian, random characters, naked characters and so on) the game is simply to rich in options to not be defeatable even with the harshest of restrictions. This restrictions help surface facets of this game one usually doesn't think of, facets that change gameplay significantly and make a great game entirely replayable. The tournaments, hitherto, made Diablo II a neverending story as long as people play them and share the challenges they face, the solutions they found and the emotions they experience as they put a poor character through behaviors that defy common sense. A l33t player on Battle.Net would be awe-struck by some of the feats achieved in these tournaments here.

This tournament here will be probably one of the most difficult, but I look forward to be proven wrong :).

This tournament will allow hotmuling (as defined here) with provisions in regard to duping and recovering of chars/items. Neither are allowed as forum rules also state. I also remind you (I missed that at some point :) ) that the same forum rules require anyone using that practice to declare it. I, for one, will be using it.
1. HC, or SC and out at first death. Re-entry is allowed and warmly encouraged :).
2. Version 1.10+, but people should state what are they using. Extra credit for those with less rune odds :). I think that when Blizzard make Normal fallen drop sacred armors, that is the moment this game will cease to be fun. Making runes drop more often is also a step in that general direction.
3. RRM/RWM allowed.
4. This is an untwinked tournament. Only stuff your character found is usable by that character. ATMA is allowed as an extended stash.
5. This is a single-pass tournament. You may not rerun any areas at all. If you need to get from a WP in an area you have cleared to the next area, you may kill any monsters you have to, but you may not pick up any items that drop. You may not do runs for experience (quoted from here ).
6. Any players setting is allowed, and the "cheesy tactic" is encouraged. That means people are allowed to use a higher players setting to open chests, higher than they used to kill the monsters in that area.
7. The class of your character is at your choice but the most skilled of us (and also the most unskilled, for example yours truly :d) may randomize it. This will be marked in the table used to keep track of the tournament, so please state that fact if you adhere by it.

The following rules are quoted from jiansonz's tournament The Randomly Challenged II, as they also apply here:
8. Save and Exit to avoid death is not allowed (exception: if you start a new session and just want to run through an area you cleared last session, S & E is allowed during the "transport")
9. When you start a new session, it´s OK to clear a path from WP (in an area you cleared last session) to exit if you must do so to stay safe. Loot and shrines in this area are off-limits in this case.
10. It is OK to completely avoid areas (or parts of areas, if they are easy to separate, like in the Arcane Sanctuary). If you do so, you still have the right to come back to play these areas later. In earlier difficulties, you can only go back to play areas you have not killed anything in (due to map rerolls, you can´t know where you´ve been already).
11. If you save and exit a ways into a particular area because you dislike the monster draw you got ("FFS, I can´t deal with these damn archers on the Bloody Foothills! I´m out!"), you may no longer pick up any loot in this whole area, and you should treat the rest of the area like something you´ve already played. Rules 8 and 9 should make it easier to move on to the next area.
12. Fool´s and Grinding weapons and Faithful armor items give you a lot more cash if you equip them and use the 'Sell' button instead of using drag-and-drop. This is allowed, but in some cases you can sell them for more than you need to cash out for buying them back (so here´s a potentially endless source of cash). In this case, you can only sell them once. Similarly, it´s forbidden to buy cheap axes and daggers, cube them to Throwing Axes and sell the pack for more than you paid for the axe + dagger. It´s of course OK to cube near-worthless axes and daggers you find in the field, if you think it´s worth the hassle.

Above are general rules, now for the specifics of this tournament:
13. No skill to be placed anywhere in the skill-tree. An idea: you could play SC and after the first death (and subsequent exit from the tournament) you can assign them to a build you were planning to make, so they would not be wasted.
14. Any skill can be used (with regard to rule 12). That means all skills you can get from items.
15. The tournament has no time-limit. People may enter any time and reenter at their will. Actual winner will not be declared unless his character reaches guardian status. More winners could join him, though.
16. A progress table will be kept by me and only me. Transgressors will not be whipped, but it might make the thread harder to follow. I'll post one once in a while when the tournament is showing significant progress/new entries.

(I hope I have not forgotten anything... )

So let this tournament begin! I think we will have fun :). I know I will. Good luck to all!
Atmospheric noise insists that I play an assassin. Tough draw, although this class has reached the furthest in the previous editions of this tournament. I'll have a lot to learn from there, though I don't expect that kind of progress, not even close.

I'll finish Act 2 normal with my character from Randomly Challenged II ( only the true tomb left) and then I'll start Adriana, the assassin.

This is how the table will look. I'll make sure it stays updated ordered by progress.
Forum Name      Class       Char Name    LVL   ACT     WP   
epaminondas     Assassin*   Adriana        1   A1      Rogue Enc  

Note: *  = this class has been randomly chosen
Vladimir the barbarian has joined the fray! i used a random number generated from 1-7 and assigned 1-7 to the characters on the character screen. Rolled 4, so barbarian it is! I was hoping to get a paladin, but I can't complain too much here. I haven't decided on a strategy yet other than having warcry javelins on swap with a +bo helm to beef up the mercenary. I don't see any reason to dual wield my main weapon selection, so I'll let the fates decide. Perhaps I can gamble a high damage maul and find a barbarian helm with bash or something to level with.

Looking forward to this :)
chipped topaz dropped from the first mob I killed. Might be a good sign, but it could be a bad sign :p

EDIT: Can we reroll shops as much as we want? I routinely reroll drognan to try and find a sturdy bone shield of deflecting. This can also be done later in hell for excellent socketed armors and whatnot.
jiansonz said:
(Hmm, what is the qlvl for Hand Scythes again...)
41, says The Arreat Summit. Not that you wouldn't know that already :).

Sorry, for the consecutive posts, I just realized I could quote more of you in the same post.

Here's the first edition of the table:
Forum Name      Class       Char Name    LVL   ACT     WP         
epaminondas     *Assassin   Adriana        1   A1      Rogue Enc  
SunsetVista      Necro      Yredelemnul    1   A1      Rogue Enc  
Dazliare        *Barb       Vladimir       1   A1      Rogue Enc  
jiansonz         Assassin   Helena         1   A1      Rogue Enc  
Note: *  = this class has been randomly chosen
SunsetVista said:
Are we allowed to save quest rewards (Charsi, Larzuk) for later or do we need to use them in the act they are received?
May we return to previous acts to shop?
There are no restrictions to either. You can use the quest rewards whenever you feel like it, and the vendors from anywhere are accessible at anytime.

felixbavaria said:
I will enter with Incompetentus the Paladin (class randomly chosen). Not a bad roll, I guess.
Nice draw, I think. That Smite thingy will make you independent of AR. The trouble is to find it on a scepter that's not too expensive to repair, and then you'll need Crushing Blow on other items than the weapon. I don't remember seeing it on a scepter very often, now that I think of it. Of course, another option is to go with a rogue or blessed aim merc and use other main attacks.
Dazliare said:
EXCUSE ME, Vladimir is now level 7 after completing the Den of Evil. Nothing interesting has really dropped so far except for two chipped topazes.

Aha! We have a leader! For this a table must be posted.

Forum Name      Class       Char Name    LVL   ACT     WP        
Dazliare        *Barb       Vladimir       7   A1      Cold Plains?
epaminondas     *Assassin   Adriana        1   A1      Rogue Enc 
SunsetVista      Necro      Yredelemnul    1   A1      Rogue Enc 
jiansonz         Assassin   Helena         1   A1      Rogue Enc 
felixbavaria    *Paladin    Incompetentus  1   A1      Rogue Enc 
Note: *  = this class has been randomly chosen
Thanks for answering my questions so fast!

Yredelemnul has made it to the inner cloister waypoint at lvl 19. Visala the fire rogue has been a great help.

I tend to make a few notes between muling off chippies and such. Here's what I've got so far:

lvl 12 - 2 topaz hat, rare scepter, rare buckler, rare javelins on switch
merc has 2 ruby/1emerald longbow
no problems so far, we used to go basically skillless until 30 all the time before respecs
cleared up to stony field waypoint including blood raven, crypt, mausoleum, and cave
trying to save up for a nice white wand with good staffmods for the future

lvl 15 - dark woods clear and cain rescued, wirt's leg safely (and optimistically) stashed
bought the iron maiden/clay golem wand. mmm, cheese.

lvl 16 - countess down, dropped tal and nef
more topazes have dropped, so I have a 3 socket ringmail and a run speed penalty

nef - blood gloves, Smoke (NefLum), hitpower armor (ctc frost nova)
tal - blood belt (mesh belt), safety belt (demonhide sash), Edge(TirTalAmn), Insight merc weapon (still has good damage!)

lvl 17 - the hole, Tamoe highland, the pit cleared. Gambled a belt with lightning resist (3 potion rows, yeah) and boots with runspeed and thawing. So far no decent necro heads have dropped (hoping for a nice 2 socket one for Rhyme, or magic ones to reroll ilvl30 of spikes). A wand with CE, amplify damage, and dim vision would be nice to have available.

imbue: burnt wands in classic (but this is 1.13 LoD)
imbue is character level +4
imbue necro heads, wands, higher chance for staffmods
ilvl <= 24 for amp damage
ilvl >= 52 for +2 necro
...eh, just imbue a head or wand,something whenever

lvl 19 - inner cloister
charsi imbue was junk
gambled a decent flail, merc now has a chipped topaz ring mail though so she's still killing most things

Yredelemnul, skillless necro, lvl 19, Inner Cloister
Catacombs + Andariel next!
lvl 20 - Andariel down to clay golem/iron maiden shenanigans. She dropped an amethyst and Deathspade, which I thought about using for a bit, but I'm about to be casting amplify damage for a prayer merc.

This is my current toolbox:
One Hand Damage: 2 - 4
Durability: 15 of 15
Required Level: 12
Fingerprint: 0x3516227
Item Level: 12
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Iron Maiden (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Clay Golem (Necromancer Only)
Crimson Wand
One Hand Damage: 2 - 4
Durability: 15 of 15
Required Level: 6
Fingerprint: 0x13fc4e4f
Item Level: 12
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to Corpse Explosion (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Dim Vision (Necromancer Only)
+1 to Amplify Damage (Necromancer Only)
Fire Resist +6%
And, for a long time, this was quite handy to have for stacked ghosts, lightning enchanted things, and anything I didn't want to get near:
Glyph Scratch
Throw Damage: 6 - 15
One Hand Damage: 1 - 6
Quantity: 60
Required Level: 3
Fingerprint: 0xe2e1725b
Item Level: 5
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Maximum Damage
Adds 7 Poison Damage Over 3 Secs (75 Frames)
Cold Resist +9%
Replenishes quantity

Yredelemnul, future merc's merc, lvl 20, Lut Gholein
begins the quest for the fabulous horadric cube, right after the break
Helena the Assassin and Meghan the Cold archer have begun their journey. Both use a main weapon that is socketed with a chipped sapphire (Katar and Long Bow). Helena has ethereal javelins on the switch, which she uses against difficult enemies (like Coldcrow's pack). She has actually found two pairs of them, so for a while she can use spare ones in the stash to fill up the stack she is using.

Thanks to an XP shrine that I used in Crypt + Mausoleum to kill FIVE bosspacks, she is higher in level (13.2) that I have even been at this stage.

With a reasonable life pool now (120-something), I am going to push STR/DEX to 50/50 so I can use Blade Talons around the time I can start gambling them. Decent DEX also makes for decent blocking, something I will be forced to do often with this setup.

Helena the Assassin and Meghan the Cold archer, level 13, Stony Field next

@SunsetVista: nice wands. :)
japanzaman said:
Babs the barbarian joins. Not random.

epaminondas is updating the tables, correct?
Yes, I will do it. I keep an updated offline version of it and I'll post it from time to time, in order to avoid cluttering the thread.

@SunsetVista: Nice progress! Keep it going!

Adriana also started her journey. She's very disappointed she was forced to kill Colcrow with 0 (zero) MF. No topaz chippies found (Dazliare must have found all of them :) ), and lvl 12 gambling left her with nothing. She also got a cold rogue as help (provided by Kathya; what a relief that I can click at ease in Rogue Encampment). To mock Adriana, right after killing Coldcrow's pack (had a Combat Shrine bonus on, so the fight was easy) 12% MF gloves were gambled. In Cold Plains she found a Gem Shrine which was kept in hope that some good chippie would fall. Had to end the session without having something to upgrade. Tried to get a random chippie but I didn't notice I already had one in inventory so I stared, broken, at a flawed emerald leaping out of the shrine.

I just noticed that I disregarded my own rules by not stating the patch version I'm using (1.11). Eh, it really doesn't matter anyway. I'll add a column to the table just for the rules' sake. Here it is:

Forum Name      Class       Char Name    LVL   ACT     WP             Version
SunsetVista      Necro      Yredelemnul   20   A2      Lut Gholein       1.13
jiansonz         Assassin   Helena        13   A1      Cold Plains  
epaminondas     *Assassin   Adriana       12   A1      Cold Plains       1.11
Dazliare        *Barb       Vladimir       7   A1      Cold Plains?      
felixbavaria    *Paladin    Incompetentus  1   A1      Rogue Enc  
japanzaman       Barb       Babs           1   A1      Rogue Enc
Note: *  = this class has been randomly chosen
Welcome and good luck, @japanzaman!

@jiansonz and @epaminondas - thanks! I decided to play a necro in this tourney partly because I wanted the wands shopped from Akara to actually be useful (even late game) for once.

Act 2 has been no problem so far. It's been neat to use what skills from staffmods I can. Zanarhi the prayer merc has been destroying things with a pike. As mf increases, so does gold for gambling, and I'm fairly pleased with my progress so far.

lvl 22 - Cube acquired!
rocky waste, dry hills, halls of the dead cleared, far oasis waypoint
stony tomb is still available
have not done sewers and killed radament yet
shopped 3 socket bp, bone shield of deflection, gloves and boots of fortune, gambled pike for merc
made good use of Dim Vision against mummies. Amp damage has a very small radius, which is annoying. I have enough mana to CE three times, which has helped out a few times (including against a possessed maggot boss after the rest of the pack was down)
About to cube some jewelry looking for more mf
Berserker Helm and Angelic Sickle have dropped, unlikely to use those

first round of cubing amulets to rings yielded no improvement in mf
trying for a head with nice staffmods now

Preserved Head of Spikes
Preserved Head
Defense: 3
Chance to Block: 0
Durability: 14 of 20
Required Level: 24
Required Strength: 12
Fingerprint: 0xf32368c4
Item Level: 30
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Adds 5 - 14 Poison Damage Over 3 Secs (75 Frames)
+1 to Decrepify (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Confuse (Necromancer Only)
+2 to Weaken (Necromancer Only)
Attacker Takes Damage of 5
Not too bad, confuse and decrepify are good options to have

lvl 23 - Radament slain, stony tomb cleared. Dim Vision completely shut down the archers in the sewers which are normally pretty tough, and CE removed Radament's minions from the game.

I've been able to sell quite a few magic armors, so I had enough gold to gamble for circlets. This is probably the best circlet I've had at this stage and I'm completely thrilled:
Circlet of Luck
Defense: 25
Durability: 35 of 35
Required Level: 19
Fingerprint: 0xbb4766ef
Item Level: 24
Version: Expansion 1.10+
34% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

I also got a 22mf one with ~100 AR that the merc is using.

Civerb's Ward and Hsarus Iron Heel have dropped. If I get the belt, I could see myself wearing it and the boots in endgame for AR. The plan right now is to find a good unique crossbow or make Harmony.

lvl 24 - maggot lair finished, staff of kings acquired
I think Zanarhi was scared of the bug tunnels. I had to push him forward a lot.
a wand with Terror charges dropped, I'm hanging on to it in case of stair traps

time to cube more jewelry...
...+11 mf: 10 on amulet and 1 more than before on a ring

Yredelemnul, mojomancer wannabe, lvl 24, Far Oasis
Lost City, AT, Viper Temple next!
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