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Conqueror Alkithoe, 1.11 HC naked zon [by Insane Wayne]

Mar 16, 2020
Originally posted by Insane Wayne on Aug 1, 2006:

Conqueror Alkithoe, 1.11 HC naked zon

I'd like to introduce Conqueror Alkithoe, level 75 HC naked zon. The name means "hot-headed" or "stubborn might", which suits her well. Her amazon sisters laughed in her face at the very idea of surviving without gear for very long. Their mocking drove her to attempt this, out of spite! [/backstory].

I've seen the idea mentioned a bit, and I feel it's possible (though improbable) to make Guardian. I have plenty of experience with zons, including a Guardian tankazon which had a strong decoy and valk. Hopefully I can continue to draw on that experience and make a decent run into Hell.

My personal rules:
1. No ESC to avoid death.
2. Full clears, including all evil urns (Norm and NM were completed at p8)
3. Single-pass, no re-running areas or bosses.
4. No gear of any kind, and no charms.
5. Merc is allowed to wear gear.
6. ATMA allowed as an extended stash.

Summary of Normal Difficulty:
My first few skill points went into Critical Strike, to boost my punching damage. I drew nearby packs of monsters towards Flavie so she could help. I often revisited an Attack Shrine while clearing the Cold Plains. I even cast Inner Sight! Eventually I leveled enough to hire a Fire Rogue. The hard part was over! All my stat points went to Vit, and new skill points to Dodge. I served as a meat shield, tanking large groups and Dodging while the rogue shot them down.

In Act 2 I hired a Defiance Merc, and used the savage recipe until I got a Partizan. Of course he couldn't yet equip it, so I rerolled it a few times and got a Deadly Partizan with 2 sockets (stuffed with 2 jewels for -30% requirements). Quickly he started annihilating everything. I expanded my D/A/E skills and built up Decoy.

In Act 3 I added a Valkyrie and built her to level 6. Then I went back to improving my Decoy. The synergy makes the young valk quite durable, while keeping her weapon weak so the merc can get most kills (for MF purposes). Finishing Normal was no problem. Here's Alkithoe avoiding Baal.

Alkithoe's Tactics:
Far from being a passive watcher, I need to keep Alkithoe fairly active. Sometimes I simply need to run away from attacking monsters, to save my skin. With no crowd control whatsoever, it's often necessary for me to step up and tank and/or lure monsters to certain spots. Her duties include:
1. Blocking mummy caskets.
2. Boxing in monsters that like to flee, such as apes, Zakarum, and Council Members.
3. Punching unravelers and shamen, to keep them from resurrecting. (A well-placed Decoy can also do this, as long as the monster doesn't move.)
4. Punching Oblivion Knights, to draw their curses and save my gang from IM.
5. Casting Slow Missiles.
6. Constantly recasting the valk (or unsummoning) to ensure merc gets boss kills.
7. Tanking physical attacks, to protect merc's flank from "monster overflow."

Summary of NM Difficulty:
My first scare came in Act 1. Massive stairstrap in The Hole. Smooth sailing for a while after that mess. Hired a new merc in Act 2, Mizan (Holy Freeze). His new weapon was a rare Bec-de-Corbin with 89%ED and Amp Damage. Not too shabby, although it had Knockback which was often a nuisance. His armor was plain socketed stuff with 4 PTopaz in the body armor and 3 in the helm.
By the time I advanced to Act 4, I was getting nervous because I had nothing of quality for merc end-game gear.

I had my first NDE, when I was attacked by a CELE pack of Gloams while seeking Izual. Even with Decoy scouting, it's impossible to dodge all the lightning. I'm relying on high-level Avoid and Evade to reduce the damage. Slow Missiles helps, but it's easy to get hit while casting it.

The first end-game drop came from NM Hellforge. An Um rune! That will likely go towards a "Duress" armor or "Crescent Moon" polearm.
The next quality drop came from Big D, (after I scored a few punches.) He dropped the unique partizan, Pierre Tombale Couant, with near-perfect 219% ED, +185 AR, and the awesome 55% Deadly Strike. Big damage boost.

In Act 5 I found Woestave Halberd, and upgraded it to a Bec-de-Corbin. I'm a huge fan of this polerarm. Lots of nice bonuses. It's used for special circumstances when I need slowing, freeze-shattering, or Open Wounds.
A normal monster in the Halls of Anguish dropped Shaftstop, soon followed by Vampire Gaze in the Glacial Trail. 😁 The hot streak ended there.

WSK had some incredibly tough monster rolls. Witches, spawners, and snakes on level 1; followed by Witches, Knights, and Frenzytaurs on level 3. By this time, I had a level 20 valkyrie, heavily synergized, and she tanked well, needing only a few recasts. Mizan used the Woestave against Baal, and owned him. The slowing, chilling, and Holy Freeze stopped him completely. He never moved. Nothing useful from his drop. :sad2:

next post--- stats and merc gear...
Mar 16, 2020
Insane Wayne said:
Alkithoe's Stats / Skills:

Level: 75
Str 20, Dex 25, Vitality 400 (1378 life), Energy 15 (126 mana)
Damage: 1-2 😃
AR: 95
Defense: 6
Resists: all at -80 :shocked:

1 Inner Sight
4 Critical Strike
2 Slow Missiles
9 Dodge
11 Avoid
15 Evade
20 Decoy
20 Valkyrie

Merc Gear discussion:
Here's my arsenal, I'm open to suggestions...

Pierre Tombale Couant

Two-Hand Damage: 120 to 259
Durability: 34 of 65
Required Dexterity: 67
Required Strength: 113
Required Level: 43
Polearm Class - Slow Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 62
Fingerprint: 0x55f63328
+219% Enhanced Damage
+185 to Attack Rating
+12 to Minimum Damage
+20 to Maximum Damage
6% Mana stolen per hit
+3 to Barbarian Skill Levels
30% Faster Hit Recovery
55% Deadly Strike


Two-Hand Damage: 15 to 103
Durability: 42 of 55
Required Dexterity: 91
Required Strength: 133
Required Level: 33
Polearm Class - Normal Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 63
Fingerprint: 0x29b3bfd4
+22% Enhanced Damage
-3 to Light Radius
Required Level +5
Hit Blinds Target +3
Prevent Monster Heal
-50 to Monster Defense Per Hit
Freezes Target +1
50% Chance of Open Wounds
Slows Target by 50%

Mesh Armor

Defense: 676
Durability: 28 of 45
Required Strength: 92
Required Level: 38
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 63
Fingerprint: 0x7a77a78a
+60 to Life
+216% Enhanced Defense
+250 Defense vs. Missile
Damage Reduced by 30%

Vampire Gaze
Grim Helm

Defense: 252
Durability: 29 of 40
Required Strength: 58
Required Level: 41
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 64
Fingerprint: 0x71c721d7
+100% Enhanced Defense
Magic Damage Reduced by 13
Damage Reduced by 19%
Adds 6-22 cold damage over 4 seconds
6% Life stolen per hit
8% Mana stolen per hit
15% Slower Stamina Drain

Crimson Jewel of Fervor
Required Level: 31
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 51
Fingerprint: 0x938e1e2a
+7 to Minimum Damage
15% Increased Attack Speed

Emerald Jewel of Fervor
Required Level: 31
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 58
Fingerprint: 0x5d033d24
5% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
15% Increased Attack Speed

Scintillating Jewel of Bliss
Required Level: 37
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 49
Fingerprint: 0xa2dfd821
+5 to Minimum Damage
All Resistances +14

Runes: Um, Hel, Dol, Sol, Shael (2), Amn (3), Thul (2), plenty of lower runes

Weapon options:
Pierre Tombale Couant Partizan
"Crescent Moon" (still need to find good elite 3 socket polearm)
Imbued eth polerams (currently 2 imbues available)
crafting safety spears
re-rolling magical polearms (looking for Cruel)
"Strength" polearm? Otherwise, Duress is my only option for Crushing Blow.

Armor options:
"Duress" (already have a 3-socket superior cuirass, but I can't make it if I use the Um for Crescent Moon)
"Jeweler's Body Armor of Something", adding those 3 jewels and having a free socket.

Helm options:
3 PTopaz helm
Vampire Gaze
"Jeweler's Helm of Something", adding those 3 jewels.

Also I have 2 socket quests available. It's nice to have options, but my brain is baking! 💫

Comments welcome!
Mar 16, 2020
Insane Wayne said:
Cattleya said:
Wow. 👍

So, how long did it take you go get this far?
Been playing her off and on for a couple months. Started her in 1.10, but most of the serious progress was in 1.11. She was shelved while I played in the Money-hater's tourney. (That tourney was the reason I upgraded to 1.11)
Mar 16, 2020
Arreat_mercenary said:
Go go wayne!

Prove again that über itamz are not needed to finish the game!

A player armed with patience, smart playing and crowd control can do anything. REALLY waiting for that shiny guardian title to shine with Alkithoe's name
Mar 16, 2020
EncrustedDaddy said:
Seriously awesome. And fun to read. I laughed out loud when I saw the screenshot of you fighting Diablo and saw that your attack damage was listed as "1-2." Against Diablo in NM! Crazy!

By the way, kudos on getting screenshots in the middle of frenzied battle. When I'm surrounded by bad guys like that, I barely have the wherewithal to keep calling up the appropriate skills.
Mar 16, 2020
Disco-neck Ted said:
Astonishing. And nice screenies!

Your merc will need resists and leech far more than IAS. Gaze socketed with the scintillating jewel of bliss is endgame caliber, and for getting your feet wet in hell, perhaps a basic 4-socket armor with ral, ort, thul, and either tal or another ort will help keep him alive to make a few more levels. This also spares your Um rune or lets you put it into the shaftstop for more resists and %PDR. After that, even a nominal amount of leech on a crafted/cubed/shopped weapon will do. That would be a good defensive set up, but lacks static/crushing blow.

Crescent Moon is a fine weapon, but it doesn't have life leech. Duress would be a better use of the rune, imho.

Good luck. Hell is going to be 99 times worse than NM. If Diablo gets you with bone prison, for example, you'll never punch your way out and 4 potions won't go far against the plbod with -80% resists.
Mar 16, 2020
Insane Wayne said:
Thanks everybody for your replies. I appreciate your interest. 😃

@Disco-neck Ted-- thanks for the gear suggestions. I agree Gaze + scintillating jewel of bliss is excellent. That alone would get merc resists up to 54.

I tested Gaze + Shaftstop combo. Nice! 👍 Most notably, the merc suffers far less hit recovery. I know that particular combo is hardly newsworthy, but when you play untwinked and single-pass, it's quite rare.

My original plan was to make Duress or Crescent Moon ASAP, specifically for the Open Wounds to handle PIs. But with the Woestave, I can hold off on that. I swap Mizan's weapons so often that I carry Woestave with me full-time (easy to do when you carry no charms!) So far, I've had him freeze-shatter Fallen and kill PI Stone Skin zombie bosses, and also slow the hurty bosses.

I cleared the Hole, Crypt, and Mausoleum at p5. No luck in finding elite spears/polearms for imbuing, crafting, or re-rolling. Thresher is a popular choice, but I want something with more range. Most of the time, Mizan fights over the shoulder of the valk/decoy. I want to keep him as far from monsters as possible, 4-5 range is good. A Stygian Pike would work.

Gameplay has been tense, but relatively safe. Fanaticism Coldcrow gave me a scare, but after several tries I got her boxed in against a wall with Decoy. Alkithoe hit a new low... in resists! (Don't worry, I ran away before the FE blast.) Notice the reduced defense, down to a lowly deuce! 😁

I faced my first CELEFE boss, two of them actually. I got hit with a bolt which took off about 500 life. Ouch! But not as bad as I thought. What really surprised me was the low pulse damage from bosses with elemental auras. IIRC it was only around 40 points per pulse. I'll test it later to confirm.
Mar 16, 2020
MarredVolition said:
I know I'm echoing everyone else when I say that's amazing, but, it truly is.

It also makes me laugh because of quotes like these:
#1 lower the difficulty in single player. it is so high that it is just no fun to play
are u guys too retarded to realize that if you took enigma away you would have to revert to 1.09 patch since you cant do cow runs to level and walking to baal takes too long. it would make the ratio of sorcs to any other char like 6 to 1, since it would make EVERY other char useless.
Hah, hah. (See?)