Build Guides Compilation


Guide Author
Aug 5, 2005
Build Guides Compilation

Explanation of Suffixes
Guides without suffixes are in the Pure Diablo Strategy Compendium
(forums) Guide is in the Pure Diablo Forums
(wa) Guide needs to be accessed via the Web Archive

Submitting Guides
If you wish to include a guide, please post it in the forum for feedback first. Once any rough edges have been smoothed out, you can submit it to the Strategy Compendium here.. If there are guides missing from this compilation that you think should be included, please post the link and a brief reason in this thread.

Note on older guides
Many of these guides were written for patch 1.10. They may not include references to the runewords added in 1.11 (especially Treachery). Some of the guides are written for BNet, but with the increased rune drop rates of 1.13 can be applicable to Single Player, however obviously ignore content that is not available in SP (i.e. Torch & Annihilus). On the other hand SP 1.10 guides will consider any rune above a Gul as extremely rare. Items that are now common like Heart of the Oak or Call to Arms may not be considered as item choices. Any guide that recommends exploiting the "Marrowwalk Bug" to synergise skills and will therefore only work correctly in 1.10 is now moved to the Archived Guides section.
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PvM Guides

The Poor Man's Guide to FA/Strafe by Dacar92
Are you poor? Use this guide. Detailed information to gain wealth via the Amazon.

The Fury by Ugla
Very detailed guide covering everything from breakpoints to gear and more.

Medusa The Amazon by Bubonous
Nice explanation of all the Medusa's effects, especially slow and freeze. Very well written and formatted.

Witchyzon by chipmc
Great guide utilizing a much forgotten bow. The WWS. Amp damage rules!

Lightning Amazon by Jek
Lightning Fury is a great crowd skill, CS is great against the single monsters, add some synergy and you will slaughter everything non-lightning immune in no time.

Mageazon by Ravenforce3
Magezon relies on skills delivering elemental damage (fire and cold) with her arrows. Fire based skills (Immolation arrow) are emphasized, but cold based skills (Freezing arrow) are mentioned too. This build is not as strong as LF based javazon builds, but it's also not so dependent on equipment.

Sniperzon by Lone_wolf
Sniperzon is an amazon using physical damage based bow skills (Strafe and Magic Arrow) and also utilizes the defensive strategy and killing her opponents off-screen. She needs a very good bow to be effective and it might be hard to find such a bow untwinked.

Simple Bowazon by Moog_Playa
Unlike Sniperzon this amazon uses Multishot as the main spell instead of Strafe. She needs a good bow too.

Magic Arrow Bowazon by JohnnyBravo
This is not so strong a build, only Magic Arrow skill is the main and only bow skill. Quote from author: "If you are looking for a MF bowazon this guide is not for you, but if you are looking for an “outside the box” bowazon that is extremely fun to play read on."

Magic Find Amazon (LF/FA) by Nightfish
This hybrid amazon uses Lightning Fury as a primary skill and synergized Freezing Arrow as a strong backup. The guide is focused on Magic Finding with this build, especially in Worldstone Keep

The Gunslinger by Kiyja
Incredibly detailed Lightning Fury / physical damage bow guide. Unfortunately the original ASCII art needs extensive repair.

PvP Guides

PvP "Hybrid" Amazon by Tienje

PvP Sidewinder (PJ, CS, GA) by Liquid_Evil (forums)
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These guides are those that are considered up to date with what is currently "state of the art." You should be able to pretty much follow them directly.

General Guides

The Assassin FAQ
General reference to everything that relates to Assassins.

Assassin IAS Tables
Attack speeds for all attacks compared to Burst of Speed level

Shuko-jutsu: The Art of the Claw by maxicek
Everything you ever wanted to know (and much you probably didn't) about claws, including what to look for in a claw, shopping, how affixes are generated etc.

Blade Fury Analysis by Ceramic Weasel (forums)
Explores the mechanics of Blade Fury and how it's damage can be maximised.

PvM Guides
Assassins are not the most powerful character in D2. A Lightning Fury Amazon or a Sorceress will kill much quicker than even the best built Lightning trapper. They are however probably the most versatile class in D2. Dragon Talon gives them one of the best boss killing skills. It is easy to combine at least two elements, with some of the best (or the best) crowd control skills in the game and a castable tank. They can play as pure melee or pure caster. Or a combination of all the above.

Warrior Monk Uber Trist Guide by JanusJones (forums)
If you are planning on taking on the Ubers with an assassin, this guide should be your starting point. Also includes a good analysis of all the possible kick / blade fury weapons in the game.

Sara's Rift-a-Sin PVM by Master Zap (forums)
Dragon Talon combined with the 'Rift' runeword to trigger Frozen Orbs. This guide focuses on maximising the orb damage.

The Untwinked Lightning Trapper by jrichard
A general guide on playing a Lightning Trapper through the game. It offers a number of approaches to the build and general pointers on what to look for in equipment, rather than prescribing specific items.

Kick / Trap Guide by Ilkori
Ilkori's definitive guide to Kickers, Flashdancers and Firedancers. The only guide you need for Dragon Talon with traps in PvM.

The Aggressin: Dragon Claw / Death Sentry Assassin by maxicek
A physical damage, dual claw based build without using charge ups. The guide includes variants with bespoke equipment and using Natalya's set.

A Comprehensive Guide To Phoenix Strike by maxicek and jiansonz (forums)
Covers all aspects of Phoenix Strike, including twinked and un-twinked play, hardcore and softcore. Natalya's Set Phoenix Strikers are also included.

Dragon Tail - A Build Guide by maxicek (forums)
Dragon Tail with a Tiger Strike charge up can generate huge damage, but you need to be able to harness it properly. This guide focuses on how to deal with the problem of physical and fire immunes.

Dragon Flight by JRichard (forums)
It is an old guide which focusses on using Dragon Flight as a finisher with Phoenix Strike. There are some interesting ideas in here, read in conjunction with the PS guide above.

PvP Guides
The foundation of all current PvP assassin builds is at least one point in Mind Blast and Wake of Fire to stunlock opponents. What differs from there is how the damage is applied. It can be with traps, kicks, whirlwind or a combination of the three. But the foundation always remains the same.

LS Trapper Guide v1.0 by TienJe (forums)
The Lightning Sentry trapper is the classic PvP assassin. This definitive PvP trapper guide covers both claw/claw and weapon/shield variants.

Kicksin Guide by wizAdept (forums)
Kickers are not the easiest PvP build to master, this guide is the essential starting point on a long learning curve.

WW Ghost Assassin by TienJe (forums)
The Ghost gets its name from a heavy investment in fade for resists and damage reduction. Venom and Whirlwind from the 'Chaos' runeword to get the kill. With practice they are one of the best duellers across any class.

The Fastcast WW/Kick/Stun Assassin by Speederländer (forums)
The 'Speederländersin' is best defined as a Ghost with kicks. This guide should be read as a companion to TienJe's guide above.

WW/Trapper by HappyAssassin (forums)
A combination of a Ghost with a trapper, this very versatile build has Lightning Sentry for a powerful ranged attack and Venom/Whirlwind for a dangerous short range attack.

Bow / Kick / Fire Trapper discussion (forums)
Not strictly a build guide, this is an outline for combining fire traps with kicks. Should be read alongside the Kicksin guide above.
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PvM Guides

Pitzerker by Fabian (forums)
The guide that revolutionised magic finding over ten years after the game was released, knocking the Sorceress off her Magic FInd Throne.

Travincal Running WW Barb Mini-Guide by Fabian (forums)
Whilst the sorceress may be the number one Trav runner today, this is the build that brought high runes in the reach of all.

Pit Singer by Gripphon (forums)
Build outline for a MF Singer who specialises in running The Pit and comparison against the Pit Zerker for efficiency.

HC Berserker by Nightfish
Berserk is the attack skill which does great damage, but leaves you vulnerable to monster attacks lowering your defense to zero. Therefore War Cry is used to stun monsters, so you don't worry about being hit.

Guide to the Iron Berserker by Asmodeous
Brilliantly presented guide to getting the best and quickest killing Berserker. Not overly expensive gear either (Guardian Angel!).

WW barb by rikstaker
*The* WW Guide

Concentration Barbarian by Halciet
This barbarian is a very sturdy character, concentrate adds insane defense while swinging, is not interruptible and you can still block while you are attacking! That makes the Concentrate barbarian one of the best tanks from all possible builds. Disadvantage is low damage.

Iron Barb by Asmodeous
Similar build like the Halciet's Concentration barbarian, but it even more stresses the pure defense/vita route to create the best tank in the game.

MF IK Barb by Aramil
This guide describes how to build a barbarian wearing full Immortal King's set and use him for magic finding in various areas/bosses. The main skill is of course Whirlwind. It's not recommended for untwinked play because IK armor is very hard to find.

Vitabarb by salvo
Barbarian going full vitality road. Frenzy is the main attack skill. The guide recommends using Phase Blades because of their low STR requirements, so it's possible to not invest in STR at all. This is a very difficult build to pull off in SP and requires a lot of thought.

Comprehensive guide to Frenzy by Ash
Frenzy is a main attack skill, War Cry is used for stunning enemies for safety.

IK Barb by Cold493
Similar guide as Aramil's IK MF barb (the exact same skill placement and also the use of IK set), but doesn't include those useful strategic tips.

PvP Guides

PvP BvC Guide by Yuqing & Co. (forums)

Comprehensive PvP Barb vs Caster Guide by Ling (forums)
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PvM Guides

The Flaming Mauler Guide by JihadJesus
Fireclaws/maul werebear combination dealing physical and fire damage simultaneously.

Fire Druid by Garbad_the_Weak
This druid specializes in fire spells from his elemental tree. The guide contains very nice analysis of these spells and covers several possible variants.

Hybrid Wolf by Electric Blue
Fire Claws, Rabies, Fury - all wolf primary attacks are explained here as well as all the possible variants.

Werebear by TheDragoon (wa)
Beautifully presented werebear guide.

TheDragoon's Werewolf by TheDragoon (wa)
Dragoon does it again, this time with a werewolf.

Windmaster Druid by Strijdje (forums)
Short guide about a Windmaster, the druid mastering the wind skills - Tornado and Hurricane (and their synergies) to deal physical and cold damage.

Fire/Summoner by AlterEgo
The Druid described by this guide is a hybrid between Summoner and Fire Elemental druid combining power of the elemental tree with safety provided by minions. The main skills are Volcano and Dire Wolves.

Druid Summoner by Lothric
"A summoner is any druid build that focuses largely or exclusively on the summon skill tree. For the purposes of this guide then I will assume that all variations within this build focus on summoning with a smaller investment in one or two other trees as needed." Several variants are possible: The Pure Summoner, The Hunter (using bow), The Elemental Summoner, The HunterMentalist, The Were-Summoner.

Earth Shifter Wolf by Liquid_Evil (forums)
If you have found the unique Thunder Maul and are wondering what to do with it, look no further.

PvP Guides

Flaming Rabies Druid by Verashiden and Karp (forums)

Wind Druid guide for PvP by sweetalmonds (forums)
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PvM Guides

Bonemage by Porius
"The Bone Mage is a necromancer build that makes use of the Bone Spells for killing. A Bone Mage may also use a merc and/or minions for tanking, but the focus of the build is the ability to cast high damage spells quickly."

Bone/Summon Necro by Angst
"This build is one that uses both minions and high damage bone spells to kill the enemy. There are two important variations on this build, one using Revives and one using Skeleton's only."

Commandomancer by Gix
The Commandomancer is a summoner who also directly engages in combat.

Skellymancer/Fishymancer v2.1 by Nightfish
This is the famous skelemancer guide. Skellies are used as meat shield and damage dealers, Corpse Explosion is used as a direct damage spell and great group killer. This build is very effective even with "lame" gear and is easy to play untwinked.
bonus: Fishymancer WS K Runs Mini-Guide

Encyclopedia Necromantica
Great source of knowledge about all Necromancer related problems stuff.

Veno/returnomancer by usamahanas
"Usamahamancer" uses Poison Nova as primary spell and skeletons for safety and some added damage. The key item is a Bramble runeword, which gives you a huge bonus to poison damage and Thorns aura, which works well with the skeletons.

PvP Guides

PvP Bone Necro Guide by Xombie (forums)

Souls v1.11b Max Block BoneNec Guide (forums)
Yet another take on the Bone Necro, max block only.
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PvM Guides

Paladin FAQ
Paladin variants list, breakpoints, skill descriptions.

Want to try a melee build but don't have a lot of item-wealth to do it with? Asmo to the rescue (once again), with a guide for a zealot focusing on end-game capable items that you can trade for cheaply. Very cheaply.

Avenger by Cyrus
Avenger combines Vengeance (melee skill dealing cold, lightning and fire damage) with Conviction aura (reducing enemy resistances to those elements). You will never face a monster immune to your attack. You will need a good and fast weapon for effective killing though.

Avenger by Asmodeous
Improved version of Cyrus' avenger. (Conviction with Facets+CM is still not explained correctly)

The Cleric by MadOnion
"The focus of this build is team support; massive healing, versatile support auras, and slaughtering the Undead with extreme prejudice. This is not a build made for solo play; you will have almost no offensive capability versus non-undead monster types."

Frost Zealot by Kitriara
Frost Zealot is a paladin with Holy Freeze aura, which slows down enemies and adds a cold damage to all your successful hits. Zeal is used as a primary attack to deliver that cold damage fast. This build can be played untwinked.

Hammerdin by Ragnarod
Famous Hammerdin is a paladin casting the Blessed Hammer. These Hammers are really strong if the synergies are maxed and Concentration aura is used. They are so strong that a lot of people call this paladin variant "cheesy".

Maximum Damage Hammerdin by Captain Bogus
Another guide about hammerdin describing how to get the maxed possible damage while you play the game - ie what skills you should invest into during the leveling.

Tesladin by Wurmer
Similar to Frost Zealot, Tesladin has a very good lightning damage provided by the Holy Shock aura. Tesladins deal much higher damage than Frost zealots, but Holy Shock doesn't provide the slow.

Vindicator/Templar (Smite/FoH) by AbbaZabba
Repost of a AbbaZabba's V/T. Spelling and grammar has been improved. The original is at the top of that thread.

Zealot by Cyrus
This is probably the strongest melee paladin build. Fast and uninterruptible Zeal together with Fanaticism giving enhanced damage, faster attack speed and attack rating and Holy Shield giving block percentage bonus and high defense is really a great combo.

The Undead Hunter by poopie_pants
This build specializes in killing undead monsters and focusing on getting as much +%ed against undead as possible. Zeal (synergized with Sacrifice) and Sanctuary aura are the two main skills.

Thundergod by JihadJesus
"The Thunaer (Thunder Gods) are Paladins who rely on the power of lightning to vanquish their foes. The hammer (or war scepter, since the graphic is the same) is their weapon of choice. They choose Holy Shock as their primary aura, and also utilize a partially synergized Vengeance and a powerful Fist of the Heavens.
This is a themed character and can be quite difficult and frustrating at times, but is very rewarding (and at times very powerful) to play."

Invincible Abbot by SSOG
A PDR and DR Abbot. Some excellent technical explanations too.

PvP Guides

Final Smiter Guide by Camden (forums)

1v7 PvP Hammerdin v3 by Dennis_KoreanGuy (forums)

Liberator Guide Version 2 by Mythos (forums)

Mage Paladin Guide v1.2 by Tienje and SicHalo (forums)

Charge! by mephiztophelez (forums)
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PvM Guides

Blizzballer - by Miladys-Knight
Everyone's raves about the Meteorb, but try this girl. A little more tight on points, but more balanced skill set.

Blova by Liquid Circus
Similar to the Blizzballer, except using Nova instead of Fireball to compliment Blizzard. A very versatile (and fun) sorceress capable of going anywhere and doing well. Well suited to MF or just general butt kicking.

Enchantress Guide by MongoJerry
The Enchantress Guide.

Executress by Diabolic Apom
Another good Enchantress guide, this one is focused on a 2-handed avenger (Kingslayer) sorc.

CL/FO Sorceress by mOnk
"CL/FO (Chain Lightning/Frozen Orb) is a great all around build that rivals the effectiveness of (and at times surpasses) Meteorb in almost all areas except max damage. This guide will help you build a viable CL/FO sorc for Hell that is also great for solo MFing, especially in areas rather than bosses (as in The Pit, etc) while providing a bit of customization room."

Melee sorceress by Raszagal
Melee sorceress requiring expensive runewords (like Beast, BOTD). She uses Beast to turn into a Bear, Enchant and Energy Shield as main skills.

MF sorceress by Vega
This build is similar to classic Meteorb build (uses meteor and Frozen Orb as the main skills), but focuses more on Frozen Orb - spending more points in Cold Mastery is suggested.

Meteorb by sasja
Meteorb is one of the most used builds out there, she can dish great damage (even with low-end items) in both cold and fire elements (that means she has almost no problems with immunities). She is good as a starting character and thanks to her universality and speed, she can run any area in hell with success, including all the usual MF targets or Baal for experience.

Charged Boltress by Lira Lindriel
Charged Bolt is the main skill, it can do a really nice damage especially with high FCR and when cast from close distance. Firewall or Frozen Orb are suggested as secondary skills to deal with lightning immune monsters.

Energy Sorc by Zarhrezz (wa)
This guide explains everything about Energy Shield (and it's synergy Telekinesis). It leaves offensive skill choice up to you.

Lightning Sorceress by Soepgroente

200% Fast Cast Charged Boltress by Crazy Runner Guy

Lower Kurast running Blizz Sorc by nepeta

PvP Guides

PvP Blizzard Sorceresses by yuqing (forums)

Fire Sorceress by mephiztophelez (forums)
Also includes a small PvM section.
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Revision History

1.X Originally compiled by Borlaq and AlterEgo
2.0 Further additions made by Hrus. Final tidying by @Thyiad
2.1 Links fixed by @Dredd
3.0 Merged in PvP builds and updated Assassin links. Replaced links for all guides in the Strategy Compendium.
4.0 Moved all links to Pure Diablo for current guides. Moved outdated guides to the new Archived Guides section.
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I'm looking for help here everyone as this hasn't been updated in a long time:
- What guides are missing?
- Which are so hopelessly outdated they are useless? Please have a read of the old guides and let me know what you think.

Post below and I will get it updated.
I skimmed over some of the misc guides, some things I noted:

The columns for Hell act 4 and 5 are missing. The table itself is highly inaccurate because monster levels and experience can vary a lot over the course of an act, especially in normal. For example this table suggests that you're better off doing NM then running Lister/Baal to lvl 50 in normal.

Not exactly up to date and certainly misleading for people looking to do efficient pit runs. Also has some inaccuracies (e.g. claims that items found in Pit are good to imbue shortly after talking about them having high ilvl. But ilvl is irrelevant to imbues, only clvl counts) and for some reason calls the Pits, AT and Mausoleum the big three :D

It's certainly not a bad guide but it kinda pales in comparison to the newer guides on area running (Albatross' and fabian's e.g.) as well as the MF thread by Hrus.

Didn't look too closely but this guide doesn't include the (1.11?) change that the level at which you hire your mercenary is tied to yours instead of being very low on normal, middle of the road in NM and high in Hell.

Urlik's Rune Finder Guide by Urlik_Skarsol (
The link in the post is broken but the guide is still available on the wiki:
I think it's safe to say that this has been superseded by pretty much any guide on rune finding that was written since then, i.e. fabian's Trav guide, Gripphon's LK/Trav/Cows guide as well as the MF/RF 101 by ffs which also mentions AS. Since it was posted 2004 it doesn't even include LK running.

HF rush guides are irrelevant for 1.13c+ so they are now essentially time travel guides.

The chest part is for the most part covered by the guide I posted recently.

This should still be the main reference on the topic.

The first two are partly outdated with a lot of incorrect information. I guess helvete's Vortex pt. 3 will replace them at some point, but right now his overview thread + the first page of the 1.07 News, Info and Gossip thread (I did a lot of reposting of fruit's/galaxyhaxz' posts) should contain enough info about that patch.

Some things that strike me as wrong/strange in the 1.07 guide + its addendum:
  • Claims that crafted items can be imbued.
  • Claims that polearms might get 6os (they don't)
  • Incomplete/incorrect info on MF and quality selection. (Says that class-specific items have twice the chance to get certain qualities, nope)
  • Claims that it is impossible to get any elite Bows in 1.07 (Anya quest reward for Amazons)
  • Claims that 1.07 LoH are needed to survive Baal's corkscrew of death. They actually have no effect since it deals magic damage, not fire damage.
  • Claims that pierce on items affects cold mastery, never heard anything about that.
  • Claims that +580% ED is possible on a weapon craft (see WoRG's failed craft discussion)
  • Crafting info is seriously outdated. (no rune ilvl discovery means clvl 96 required to craft +3 Java gloves)
  • Features a table of elite ethereal weapons with their damage if forwarded to 1.09+. This is super misleading since the 1.07 eth bonus is added to the on-weapon ED when it is applied to maximum damage. The numbers in the table are basically pointless because of that.
  • Addendum claims that hit recovery is related to Baal's corkscrew of death. Fruit says it isn't.
That's the most obvious stuff. A lot of stuff is also correct but has been researched more thoroughly since the guide came out...

The crafting guide doesn't mention rune ilvl at all. I recall WoRG saying something about updating it at some point in the future.
Updated with all links to this site. I have also cleaned up many of the older guides and moved them into an Archive section, including everything @art_vandelay mentioned above.

Still open for more input of course, just post below.
Hello! Thanks for the pointer to this forum. Much appreciated.

Yes, some of these guides could use a bit of a clean up and verification that they are still relevant. So far my game play in D2R hasn't shown anything to be out of the ordinary apart from the game being much harder than before, although that could be my old age.

I have another guide that isn't listed and I've given it a clean up, the Justiciar, although it was never a true guide so to speak, it's more of a "tack on" to the Avenger guide.

Not sure where to post it, doesn't look like I have permission to post in the guides thread. I found the original on erm, posted somewhere else. do you want the link?

Edit. Updated guide attached although Im not sure how to change the text back ground colour. Hey, I play D2, I'm no Microsoft word fanboi!


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Wow, Asmo, cool to see you back at the Forums! Your 99er Schaeferdin is still one of the most distinctive and bonkers accomplishments from the SPF, in my opinion. Hope all is well, and good luck with D2R projects!
Another Ye olde Asmo guide has been resurrected from the archives, cleaned up and dusted off. The Avenger guide.
This one should be quite useful as it also lists the shield block formula, hit recovery, block speed and some in depth maths on game mechanics regarding Vengeance and Conviction.
I have been busy in game testing and checking with my own Avenger and everything in this guide seems to be working as it used to.


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