Hell of a time with Ancients (advice?)


New member
Sep 14, 2004
Hell of a time with Ancients (advice?)

I'm finding it hard to swallow, but I think I've hit a wall with the Ancients with my Frost Maiden. Here are the basics of her build. I'd love to hear any thoughts on my equipment or strategy here, cause I feel my level should be more than sufficient to get past them.

Lvl 83 Amazon
Max freezing arrow, nearly max in immolation arrow as backup. Valk is lvl 28, she tanks pretty well, my merc, a act 5, has about 2500 def, does 550-700 damage per hit (very fast attack speed), however he dies fast! :scratch:

I am equipped with:

Lycander's Aim does about 1600 damage
M'Avinas Embrace, Tenet and Icy Clutch
Marrowwalk boots
Andiarial's Visage (or Kira's Guardian)

Rings and ammys are just found items, giving me about +34 to resistance, and a good mana boost. I know I'm really weak here, but I just haven'y found anything better.

I'm trying to complete the M'Avina's set, figuring that can't hurt, and I'm sure getting my merc some better armor (currently Aldur's Deception) would help.

Again, it seems to me that this should be good enough to get done with the game, but I'm having a really hard time. Any suggestions?

Try adding some crushing blow or open wounds to your equipment. You could also buy a wand with lower resistance charges.
Ditch the act 5 merc and train up a Holy Freeze act 2 merc. They simply rock. Well, that is my opinion anyway. Then try to give him a good poke, a truckload of life leech, and it will work.
I've not played an Ice Maiden, but do have a thought. It may be obvious, but you are going at them on players1, right?
I had a similar experience, I took a Freezing Arrow, Immolation Arrow Zon into Hell with an Act V Barbarian Merc - I lacked the equipment you have and never got her out of Act II!

First, I agree that you should ditch the Act V merc and get an ACT II nightmare merc, either Holy Freeze or Might, and level them up. Or get an Act II Hell Merc with Blessed Aim. They are much better tanks and the Might and Blessed Aim auras help both you, your Valk and the Mercs themselves - a triple bonus!

Now let's look at the Hell Ancients: Talic, Madawc and Korlic are resistant to fire as follows: 110%, 50% and 70% -without any added resistance from FE which would be +40% resistance. Their resistance to cold is 50%, 70% and 150% -before any cold enchantment adders. No wonder you're having problems! They are more resistant to those two damage types than to anything else. Their resistance to physical is 40,40,40 and to magic is 0,0,0.

And so you will need to rely on physical -or possibly on magic if you have already put points in MA. Physical is what your Merc and Valk dish out -but its also what Guided Arrow puts out. Running around like crazy, firing guided arrows is not a bad strategy. You don't have to aim because the GA always hits -so you take less damage by not pausing to aim. The need for the Ancients to constantly recover from the hits of your GA slows them down so that your merc and valk can do more damage.

The strategy for physical damage is a fast strong bow and all the %ed and +max (or min) damage charms and equipment. you can find. The physical damage is supplemented by the charms and equipment, is enhanced by the Might Merc's damage multiplier, then multiplied by the DEX factor(hopefully you have high dex), again multiplied by the skill damage multiplier (MA,GA and Strafe all have damage multipliers) and then multiplied by the Critical Strike factor. Its the combination of all the multipliers that does the trick.

And crushing blow would be a big help. This is applied after your arrows damage -and for a ranged attack against the ancients, it would apply physical damage of either 6.25% or 12.5% of their remaining health (I don't recall which). With 40% phys resist thats about 2.5% to 5.0% of their health each time an arrow hits and CB applies. That would be an extra 1300 to 2600 in PD AFTER their the reduction from resistances when they're fully healthy. OW would also give you damage of >1000 spread over 8 sec.

My current bowazon strategy against characters like the Ancients is I carry a Bonesnap Maul (with 40% CB) on switch, and sometimes wear a Rattlecage (with 20-25% CB and OW) armor. I switch to the Maul, cast my Decoy in their midst, run up and start swinging at the Ancients and chugging potions. The advantage of the Maul is that it is a melee weapon and thus CB damage is 25% of remaining health! No Boss or Ancients stand up to that for very long. Goblin Toe or Gore Rider boots could also help with CB, but their lack of +%FRW makes them questionable for this. Then as their health gets low, I switch back to a bow, run around and shoot Guided Arrows.
Malachi said:
Ditch the act 5 merc and train up a Holy Freeze act 2 merc. They simply rock. Well, that is my opinion anyway. Then try to give him a good poke, a truckload of life leech, and it will work.

Ditto. IMO, Act 5 mercs suck unless you are going on a themed build route.

So, here's what you can do:

1. Ditch the Act 5 merc for Act 2 NM Defensive (Holy freeze). Train him.
2. Find your merc some decent leech gear (Tal's Mask is very good and is common from Hell meph)
3. For your merc's weapon, get some Crushing Blow (CB), Open Wounds (OW) or slow target (Kelpie snare is great here).
4. Pack plenty of potions to keep the little guy going.

Ideally, your merc and valk should each be able to tank until you drop the first ancient. The first one is typically the hardest. I recommend killing Mawdawc (Thrower) first.

Slowed (Especially HF+Kelpie Snare) , the Ancients are reduced to shambles.

If you choose to go the CB route, that means with every hit, a fraction of their HP will be taken off. This fraction doesn't scale, so as AE said, make sure you are on /players1. So, not only will the merc do his own damage from his stick, but he will do damage from from CB, dropping the Ancients even further down to nothing.

Use the terrain to your advantage. Isolating Mawdawc behind a pillar so he throws directly into it is tricky, but very effective.

Finally, just remember to have patience. You're not playing HC, so if you die, learn from your mistakes and go at it again.

Hope this helps,
Wow! Thanks for all the great advice. I'll take some time to digest it all, but sadly, it looks like nobody is in favor of ole Ragnar, so I'm going to kick his butt to the curb and go back to act II. I suppose it won't take too many Pindle runs to get him leveled up, and meantime, I might pick up some missing gear.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!
Use guided arrow. It always hits, so you'll trigger Crushing Blow much more often, plus you can keep your distance to stay safe, plus you don't have to aim.
Couple more questions for the pros.

Pindle dropped a Reapers Toll last night, and a kind person gave me Kelpie Snare. The Reaper really seems to do a better job killing, but I see the point of using Kelpie to slow-down the ancients. I've considered using Reaper myself and just shelving the bow for the fight. Any thoughts on this?

Also, Im using Marrowwalk, which has a nice bone prison and life tap. I tried playing around with them against the ancients last night as I was running for my life and pumping potions into myself and my meat-bag Merc (now a lvl 83 Act II), do you think it's worth it trying to use these against the ancients? The bone prison did seem to slow one down for a few seconds, but my repair bill of 300k was a bit steep!

I ran ancients 3-4 times last night and never got one of them to half life. I'm guessing my merc is still too weak on defense, and I'm not contributing enough on offense... ??

Finally, anybody with a M'avina's True Sight or Caster, I'd love to do some trading.
Here's some tips, I hope they help you out:

1. Make sure players are on lvl 1 only.

2. Get the A2 Holy Freeze Merc like everyone said, equip him with a decent armor Rattlecage would be great, the kelpie, and tal rashas helmet for leech, all very easy gear to come by. Your merc should be fine now.

3. Time to fix up your gear too, pop on a clegaws claw, nosfertus coil or arachnids mesh, and/or blackhorns face. Boots really wont matter much in this case although gore rider or goblin toe is great for CB.

4. Throw all kinds of extra potions on the floor to use later on during the match if you run out of potions, Ive been doing this forever.

5. Cast your valkaryie, and a decoy to the far left. Try and get your merc there too.

6. Summon the ancients and then run past your three meat shields to the far left and down, and spam GUIDED ARROW or Multishot only. Try to focus on Talic as he will be the closest and the other two will have to spend thier time moving towards you. You, your valk and merc will all be targeting him until the others get there. Forget about your mageazon spells.

7. Watch the ancients wither away. If they get past your meat shields move around and cast valk/decoy as necessary to distract them away from yourself. Try and concentrate on one at a time after they are slowed/knocked back.

Good luck.

edit: dont consider using reapers as your weapon. you need the speed of the bow and you dont want to get anywhere near them as bowazons are the most fragile cannons around.

Ahab said:
Pindle dropped a Reapers Toll last night, and a kind person gave me Kelpie Snare. The Reaper really seems to do a better job killing, but I see the point of using Kelpie to slow-down the ancients. I've considered using Reaper myself and just shelving the bow for the fight. Any thoughts on this?

Congrats on the find! RT's are my favorite merc weapon.

First, on your merc: go with the RT for it's hella huge LL. Combined with the Decrep, go with that.

So, here's what you need to figure out how to do:

1. Slow all of the Ancients. A lot. It doesn't matter how cheesy it is (Kelpie is teh gosu at this).
Solution: Use RT, and not only will this reduce their speed, but their respective damages as well.
2. Get some DR on your Merc. DR +LL = Merc surviving
Solution: Vampire Gaze (I recommend Guillaume's face instead for CB) and Shaftstop, with the RT and you're set!
3. Don't get hit. Easier said than done.
Solution: Walk, don't run, use Decoy
4. Kill your first Ancient while damaging all others in the process
Solution: Pierce! Lining up the barbs (between any two points in a straight line...)

Also, here's a final thought:

Along the lines of the CBMancer (fishy with CB gear) and an amazon tankazon setup i read about here (it was Lone_Wolf or Nightfish), use your switch, grab a shield and a 6 socket phase blade (or some other weapon that gives huge bonuses to AR). Socket the blade with 4x Eth runes and 2x Shaels. Because you are a zon, I'm going to assume you have high Dex (I'm not entirely sure because of your build. I have never built a frost maiden).

Then, with the sword and shield, wear some CB/OW gear (Guillaume's Face/Gore Riders are key here), and just swing at them. With a high block and your passive dodge skills, you should be able to use CB to reduce their life by a good chunk (they have -100% defense because of the eths). When one is nearing death, swap to your bow and ice them.

The ancients are easier defeated in theory than in practice. Just remember to have patience and re-roll until you get mods you think you can deal with.

Hope this helps,
Lots of good suggestions there. Just stock your Merc full of CB and run it on p1. Cheap suggestions; Rattlecage, Strength weapon. Many of my A2 Mercs share this weapon;

Two-Hand Damage: 36 to 153
Durability: 19 of 25
Required Dexterity: 88
Required Strength: 110
Required Level: 25
Spear Class - Slow Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10 Expansion
Item Level: 72
Fingerprint: 0x16099d49
+20 to Strength
+10 to Vitality
+35% Enhanced Damage
7% Life stolen per hit
25% Chance of Crushing Blow
+2 to Mana After Each Kill
Socketed (2: 2 used)
Estimated market value