Orange You Glad That Rune Dropped: Craft-Centric Tournament

CaseyJones

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2020
107
273
63
Conqueror.jpg

So, RunsWithLava wrapped up Nightmare! I ended up doing act 4 on /p1 and most of act 5 at /p3 and cow level on /p7, sitting at a comfortable level 72 to start hell.
I am planning to complete hell all at /p1 due to the large number of fire immunes that the merc and bear and volcano have to deal with. While I don't intend to rerun areas, full clears likely won't happen as I focus mainly on completing the necessary quests to advance to guardian.

Currently planning to socket my shield for a pdiamond, and personalize Smoke runeword made in serpentskin armor which should max fire/light and with some hopeful resist rolls on boots/rings/ammy crafts should free up some charm space as well as max the others but that remains to be seen. Also I am going to reroll gcharms with the rest of the pgems to see if I can get any skillers to add to the gear.

I am also going to try a couple of safety lance rolls for a merc weapon upgrade as well as shop for exceptional craft bases to replace the normal item bases used previously. I may regret that I didn't use a personalize reward for a better merc weapon but safety first!

I may post a more thorough update after the next (and likely last big) craft session as I set up for the start of hell since this is a craft centric tournament :) After that post probably little more to say until guardian or deeds.

Code:
Forumite     Character         Class   Lvl   Progress
--------     ---------         -----   ---   --------
Skiff        ColdFever         Sorc    77    Guardian
Vang         *Spokane          Zon     81    Guardian
PhineasB     Orange            Zon     85    Guardian
OldSoldier   GaranDarkslayer   Pal     83    Guardian
Norcim       Valryka           Zon     86    Guardian
Luhkoh       Amaresu           Sorc    78    Guardian
Pb_pal       Elding            Pal     81    Guardian
Grisu        Lugh              Barb    84    A4 H
Babyhell     *ItsATrap         Sin     75    A2 H
CaseyJones   RunsWithLava      Dru     72    A1 H
Jocular      Cranky            Barb    71    A5 NM
Vildecor     Rowena            Sin     53    A2 NM
Dazliare     Svetlana          ***     49    A1 NM

Code:
Forumite   Character   Class   Lvl   Progress
--------   ---------   -----   ---   --------
zemaj      OUGNecro    Nec     33    A3 N
Jocular    PopeJohn... Pal     48    A1 NM
Vang       Solidify    Sor     54    A1 NM
 

skoolbus

Member
Mar 5, 2021
8
33
13
Good luck in hell @CaseyJones

I've made a good bit of progress with Agni, so I want to post an update before I forget it all. After clearing the sewer's at the beginning of Act II, I found another Cedar Bow and imbued it. The result was marginally better than the first attempt. I have been lamenting Agni's pitiful resists, in particular his lightning and cold. These accounted for several NDEs in Act II. Any beetle that was CE and any LE/CE unique meant a NDE. A single CE lightning bolt did almost half his health, so I could survive 2 with 50 health, don't ask how I found that out...

Fortunately, as I went through Act II, I found numerous charms and items with lightning resist, to the point where I just started stashing them because his LR was capped. I have so many, that I will Hel my 2x Ort armor as soon as I find/am willing to cube a Hel. The rest of Act II was uneventful. I thoroughly enjoyed clearing all the false tombs, Dim Vision and Corpse Explosion negate the tedium of battling Unravellers. Duriel was easily dispatched on /p3 and dropped his usual junk.

Act III brought several amazing item/armor drops, though ironically none will see use. Agni had barely left the Kurast Docks when Tal's mask drops. In the Kurast Bazaar, I found this:

Lion Branded Grand Charm of Life
Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
Required Level: 42
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 52
Fingerprint: 0x9716baf6
+20 to Life
+1 to Combat Skills (Paladin Only)

In the Durast I found Mav's gloves, Trang gloves, and Frostburn gloves. Meph was easily killed on /p3 but didn't drop anything noteworthy.

Act IV was a bit tougher, and by this point Agni has basically stopped shooting his bow completely. It just does so little damage, it's not worth it. Instead he spams curses, mostly Dim Vision, and then Amp Damage onto 1 or 2 monsters for Gulzar to poke. It's not a glamorous system, but it's effective. I skipped the majority of the Plains of Despair, really just killed Izual and found the exit. Didn't want to risk getting fried by Gloams. The hellforge drop was decent, I'm really hoping for a Ko rune soon to make a Harmony bow.

Screenshot026.jpg

Lord De Seis and crew nearly one shot Agni with a hit when I was cursed by an extra strong fanaticism Doom Knight. Luckily Agni survived. One of Infector's crew dropped a white Spider Bow, so that's currently my best candidate for the Hell imbue. Diablo was easily handled on /p3.

Screenshot027.jpg

Agni also went ahead and cleared out the Bloody Foothills. The last monster dropped a Bonesnap, slim chance it could get personalized, who knows. When I start the next session, I'll try and craft through as many runes/gems as I can. Agni can definitely use more life, that's the most obvious area for improvement currently.

Agni, level 67 Necromancer, Frigid Highlands
 

skoolbus

Member
Mar 5, 2021
8
33
13
A bit more progress to report. Agni picked up at the Frigid Highlands, immediately killing Eldritch, and continued climbing to the Arreat Summit. A slight detour into the Icy Cellar brought him this drop:
Screenshot028.jpg
Could possibly come in handy later. Other than that, nothing else terribly interesting happened. Ancients were easily handled on /p1. Baal and crew didn't pose much issue, Baal dropped some interesting stuff, but none useful for Agni:
Screenshot029.jpg
After Baal, Agni cleared the cow level. It was touch and go for a while on whether he'd be able to get a chain reaction of exploding cows going, I nearly threw in the towel. Eventually Gulzar managed to kill a few cows in a small area, and the rest was pretty easy. After that, I crafted all my remaining gems and used several topaz/diamond/skull to reroll a grand charm Pindle dropped, but nothing usable rolled. The only noteworthy gear upgrade from all this crafting was this amulet:

Storm Collar
Amulet
Required Level: 49
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 76
Fingerprint: 0x641508
+17 to Mana
+1 to Maximum Damage
Regenerate Mana 4%
Lightning Resist +10%
Poison Resist +10%
+1 to Necromancer Skill Levels
9% Faster Cast Rate

Agni then started in Hell, just clearing out the Den and grabbing the Cold Plains WP. I was going on /p8, but I think I'll have to drop that down to /p3 or maybe /p1. It would be a nightmare handling a PI monster more dangerous than a zombie with the current setup.

As far as gear and prospects for getting through Hell, Agni is currently sitting on one Anya personalize, still hoping for a Ko rune to make Harmony, and 2 Larzuk rewards. I may burn one on my helmet and throw a Thul rune in. Agni's lightning resist is maxed in Hell, fire resist is ~50, but cold is 9. I think he has a reasonable chance to make it through Hell, a weapon upgrade for himself or Gulzar will be needed soon though.

Agni, level 75 Necromancer, Cold Plains Hell
 

PhineasB

Well-known member
Guide Author
Mar 14, 2020
1,209
1,173
113
As I mentioned in the Three Legged Race thread, I also decided to start another character here, a Pally. If both members of the Three Legged Race make it, and this Pally does also, I will complete my Sept of HC Tourney Guardians.

So Craft was born, with the plan to go HF zealot with some Holy Shield for defense/block and physical damage/crushing blow focus. He and has completed Normal and NM through Radament Quest, with the crafting spree spread out over A1 and the start of A2 NM:
Slayer.jpg
What's that? Slayer isn't HC, you say? Well, because I'm a dumb-dumb, I apparently created him in SC and didn't realize it until I was in A3. I wasn't about to start over after full clearing the first two Acts (and the imbue noted below), so . . . If he makes it through, I may call it good on the Sept, or do a Pally in the next tourney that catches my fancy. On to the update:

He started with single point in Holy Fire and then pumped Sacrifice, plowing through A1 without trouble. Akara ring was lame (7% poison resist), Countess dropped 2 Tals, and we started pumping Holy Freeze when it opened up. Then Andy fell:
N A1 (Andy down).jpg
We then collected the cube and then worked through 12 chipped/flawed diamonds. Best was a Savage Lochaber Axe that rerolled to 2os, and the Merc was set. I also took the chance to Imbue some boots before tackling the Palace, with great and potentially end-game results:
N A2 (Imbue Boots).jpg
Aside from that, Steel flail and Stealth armor were complimented by 2os helm and 3os pally shield that got an El and damage jewels. It was smooth sailing for the rest of A2 and A3, with the Ormus reward mildly useful:
N A3 (Ormus Ring).jpg
We were grateful for the trick of holding down left click and moving outside windowed mode for the ~5 min it took to take down Izual:
N A4 (Izual).jpg
HF was a mixed bag for crafting gems, and Diablo fell at p3 with some care exercised and a few purples used:
N A4 (HF).jpg
H A4 (Diablo Down).jpg
I had some pRubies so I decided to craft some blood gloves because the Steel flail was losing steam a bit, with reasonable results that we could eventually equip:
H A5 (Blood Gloves).jpg
We then encountered our first real challenge, with a boss pack of Moon Lords in Abaddon, but use of a bridge and some potions for the merc made it easy to manage:
H A5 (Moon Lords).jpg
The Anya reward was handy, and Baal had no chance:
H A5 (Anya Reward).jpg
H A5 (Baal Down).jpg
I'll finish the progress update for NM and crafting in a second post!
 

PhineasB

Well-known member
Guide Author
Mar 14, 2020
1,209
1,173
113
Cows were cleared without issue, and we picked up in NM. Resists were not great, in particular due to poor charm luck (no SCs > 6 resist, and a few 14-15 single resist GCs). So things were a bit slow, until this dropped:
NM A1 (4os Partizan).jpgNM A1 (Insight).jpg
Yes, arguably a waste of a Sol that is needed to craft spears, but it made a big difference in damage output. Akara ring was quite nice on resists, and I also was high enough level to hit ilvl 51 for shopped items (and not worrying about gambled amulet), allowing a nice 4os blood belt and caster ammy that was useless
NM A1 (Akara Ring).jpg
NM A1 (Blood Belt).jpg
NM A1 (Caster ammy 1).jpg
Then it was on to Countess (triple rune drop) and Andy;
NM A1 (Countess).jpgNM A1 (Andy Down).jpg
We then sold off all the runewords (keeping Insight stashed for now), and assessed crafting needs. The boots, rings, and shield were filled with reward items, solid gloves and belt were already made (and an ammy), leaving the full merc kit and weapon, armor and helm for Craft. We had plenty of ingredients, so dove in with the easily shopped/gambled items:;
NM A1 (Blood Hat).jpg
NM A2 (Blood Hat 2).jpg
NM A2 (Blood Armor).jpg
NM A2 (Hitpower Armor).jpg
I like the open socket for Craft (now with a Ral for maxed Fire, with Lightning also maxed), and the merc hat and armor are fine. The FHR on hitpower armor is nice for Craft, but definitely an item that can be improved. Next we shopped two exceptional blunt items for hitpower weapons, with the Knout the winner:
NM A2 (Hitpower weapon 1).jpgNM A2 (Hitpower weapon 2).jpg
And finally about 15 minutes to shop a Lance for the other Sol I had found:
NM A2 (Lance).jpg
We used remaining pgems on attempted amulet upgrades, with the replacement Caster Amulet winning out for Lightning Resists allowing max there:
NM A2 (Caster Ammy 2).jpg
NM A2 (Safety Ammy).jpg
And that's that. He has NM imbue, and Normal Socket and Personalization. I was planning on Rhyme, but I haven't found a 2os pally shield with more than [email protected] so holding out for a bit on that. I'm guessing imbue will go to circlet in hopes for a decent item for Craft or it lucks out with life leech, for the Merc. He is now Might to help with damage output and leech, but AR is also a challenge.

I plan to focus on the Three Legged Race team for a bit, along with getting back to CS runs with my 99er Druid. But I will return to this guy before too long.

Craft, level 53 Paladin, Radament Quest Completed, A2 NM

* * *

Code:
Forumite     Character         Class   Lvl   Progress
--------     ---------         -----   ---   --------
Skiff        ColdFever         Sorc    77    Guardian
Vang         *Spokane          Zon     81    Guardian
PhineasB     Orange            Zon     85    Guardian
OldSoldier   GaranDarkslayer   Pal     83    Guardian
Norcim       Valryka           Zon     86    Guardian
Luhkoh       Amaresu           Sorc    78    Guardian
Pb_pal       Elding            Pal     81    Guardian
Grisu        Lugh              Barb    84    A4 H
Babyhell     *ItsATrap         Sin     75    A2 H
CaseyJones   RunsWithLava      Dru     72    A1 H
Jocular      Cranky            Barb    71    A5 NM
Vildecor     Rowena            Sin     53    A2 NM
PhineasB     Craft             Pally   53    A2 NM
Dazliare     Svetlana          ***     49    A1 NM

Code:
Forumite   Character   Class   Lvl   Progress
--------   ---------   -----   ---   --------
zemaj      OUGNecro    Nec     33    A3 N
Jocular    PopeJohn... Pal     48    A1 NM
Vang       Solidify    Sor     54    A1 NM
 

skoolbus

Member
Mar 5, 2021
8
33
13
Fairly big update for Agni, since I've been able to play a large portion of the weekend.

I did drop it to /p3 when I started back up. Went and killed Blood Raven, managed to keep her in one spot for a large portion of the fight:
Screenshot032.jpg

Found an uncommon boss pack, didn't manage to kill any of them before they crumbled on their own 😅
Screenshot033.jpg

Killed the Countess, though I shouldn't have even bothered, she didn't drop a single rune! I didn't even know that was possible..
Screenshot034.jpg

I was very far away, exploding corpses to kill her. I never actually saw her alive, maybe that has something to do with it. Found another Fal rune in the Jail. Used the imbue on another bow, amazingly this one was worse than the first two. Andy went down without too much of a fight, didn't drop anything useful.

Act II I started out killing Radament, and a good thing! A Lum rune dropped in level 3 of the sewers, followed almost immediately by an Io. This allowed me to cube up to a Ko and make a Harmony bow! This was the ultimate goal ever since making the Zephyr bow in normal. I used a Larzuk socket since I was out of Amethysts to attempt to socket bows, then my NM personalize. While I was using up rewards, I socketed my helm and threw a 13 resist all jewel in it.
Screenshot040.jpg

I won't claim it does a lot of damage, but it does damage, which is an improvement over the bow he was using. I wouldn't have thought that the Valk would really be all that handy, since I have Clay Golem, but she's been invaluable. Cleared out all the false tombs before taking on Duriel. An Um rune dropped in one of them:
Screenshot043.jpg

Haven't decided what to do with it, probably throw it in my armor or stash it. Duriel went down easily on /p3 (though it took a while, not having CBF really slows the merc down). A surprising number of S/U have been dropping, which would probably see use in a different tournament.

Most of the beginning half of Act III was done on /p3 before I changed over to /p1 for good. On /p1 I mostly just cleared enough to get WPs and quests, the xp and drops are pretty bad compared to /p3. The monsters also really liked chasing Agni, rather than any of his 3 companions. This led to a couple of very dicey situations, a few times barely managing to TP out and run back from the WP. I tried to keep it on /p3 in LK, but the map was not great and I found very few runes/gems/charms. The council was surprising easy, very willing to be lured out one at a time. The Durance went smoothly, no issues, and Meph was killed on /p3, also no issues.
Screenshot045.jpg

Not a whole lot to report on Act IV before Diablo. HF was horrible, no need for a Ko rune now, and useless gems. Hephaesto was easy to kill at least.
Screenshot046.jpg

Clearing the seals went decent, had to TP and run back from the WP for Infector once. I regret attempting Diablo on /p3, the fight was miserable and long. He went through three bouts of bone prisoning Agni and the TPs constantly. I must have run back from the WP ten times during the fight. But in the end, Diablo died.
Screenshot047.jpg

Shame that Shako wasn't unique, that'd been a great personalize for Hell.

So, one more act to go. I have two sapphires to craft, but I get frustrated shopping for Sharktooth Armors (and can't even imagine trying for Kraken Shells), so I might just try for rings (still using my Ormus ring from normal...). At this point, Agni's resists are all maxed, I have plenty of spare resist charms, and more life is the only real upgrade I can envision. Gulzar still does adequate damage, and is really only needed for the first corpse or two.

Next stop, Bloody Foothills!

Agni, level 84 Necromancer, Harrogoth
 

skoolbus

Member
Mar 5, 2021
8
33
13
Well, wasn't expecting to play so much today, but I made a push to get Agni to the end or die trying. I did all of Act V in one sitting, took a few hours, but was worth not quitting the game.

Agni climbed the Bloody Foothills, spamming Dim Vision and Corpse Explosion as he went. He made no detours, and only killed what he needed to to find WPs and the next area. /p1 gives such pitiful xp and by this point item drops were of no use, so there wasn't much to be gained by clearing more than was needed. Agni encountered very few boss packs (not sure if there just weren't many or he skipped a lot) but none were too threatening.

Most of my monster spawns throughout the various areas were preferable, it was the reason I kept playing so much to try and take advantage. The worst was the vipers, which spawned everywhere they could, but Dim Vision mostly kept them in check. The dicey situations were when I had to summon a Clay Golem and Valk to handle a boss, and I didn't unsummon them, they caused a lot of viper missiles to fly everywhere. A Pul rune dropped in the Frozen Tundra, no use for it at this point though.

The fantastic lucky spawn streak continued with the Ancients. In preparation for the fight I got Clay Golem up to 5 (had just been 1). Without a doubt, this must have been the easiest battle with them I've ever had playing Diablo. First roll was the absolute best it can be for a mostly physical damage dealer (Gulzar). It did take a long time of running in circles randomly casting golems and valks to get them separated, though there was a good chance it wouldn't have been needed. Agni fought Korlic and Talic together to start, really Gulzar fought Korlic while Agni ran around dodging Talic leaps. First dispatched was Korlic, who spawned with Mana Burn and Lightning Enchanted (LI/CI). Next was Talic, who had Cold Enchanted and Extra Fast (FI/CI). Last to die was Madawc, Stone Skin and Extra Strong (LI). The whole fight with the Ancients I used one potion! It was for Gulzar near the end, probably could have used Life Tap, but there was no need to get fancy.

The WSK wasn't too bad. Burning Souls spawn on level 2, and 3 boss packs (2 were vipers) close to the stairs on level 4. I was surprised at how well the fight with Baal's minions went, Gulzar never died once! So, once Lister was killed, that just left Baal. Challenge isn't the right word to describe the fight, since Agni never was in much trouble. Long, drawn out, and monotonous would be better words to describe it, but in the end, Baal was vanquished and Agni achieved Guardian. Here's an action shot, the only time Agni really did much fighting when a clone was present.
Screenshot054.jpg

And at the end:
Screenshot056.jpg

Baal dropped a bunch of rares, all were sold. Agni's next step will probably be to kill Nihlalthak and kill the cow king if he can, but I wanted to post about making Guardian so it 'counts' in case those don't go as planned 😅 .

His final skill points distribution:
5 Clay Golem
1 Golem Master/Summon Resist

1 Teeth
20 Corpse Explosion

2 Amplify Damage
20 Dim Vision
5 Attract
15 Decrepify
5 Lower Resist
1 All other curses

16 Unspent

Below is are pictures of his and Gulzar's gear, at least how it was for Act IV and V.
Screenshot057.jpg
Screenshot058.jpg
Screenshot059.jpg
Screenshot060.jpg
Screenshot061.jpg
Screenshot062.jpg
Screenshot063.jpg
Screenshot064.jpg
Screenshot065.jpg

Gulzar's equipment:
Screenshot066.jpg
Screenshot067.jpg
Screenshot068.jpg

And the LCS (without Blessed Aim active):
Screenshot069.jpg

General thoughts on the tournament and this character:
I had a surprisingly great time playing Agni in this tournament. This was probably my third ever legitimate attempt at playing a Necro and it was a blast. If anyone is like me and never really played a Necro, my advice would be max Dim Vision! If I could put 50 points into it, I would. Enemies affected by Dim Vision basically do nothing except stand there and get killed. It prevents monsters from using most of their non-basic attacks. Now that I've got my DV praise out of the way, Agni did have a TON of unused skill points. I had 16 leftover and put 5 in Lower Resist but never used it once. Corpse Explosion was the main damage dealer, I certainly wouldn't want to have played without it.

Once I managed to get his resist situation under control, I was very impressed with how little damage he generally took. The killing speed overall was pretty good, though Agni really didn't shoot things a whole lot. The Harmony bow was very nice, the Vigor aura and Valk were instrumental in the journey. He never really got above a 50-65% chance to hit in Hell, even with a Blessed Aim mercenary. Perhaps Weaken would have helped...

There were aspects of the tournament I liked and didn't like. I really loved being able to use respecs and the quest rewards. Obviously I would have had to go a different route if the quest rewards couldn't be used to wield bows. I doubt I would have made guardian without it, I'd have thrown on a shield for added resists which would have been Agni's doom. Necromancer blocking is so slow, by the time you've gone through the animation, you've been hit 5 more times. Blocking is a sure death sentence. Using respecs was very nice too, less stress trying to plan out your end game stat requirements for gear you can only guess at. What I didn't like was shopping for base items. Man is that the most boring thing in the world. I really hope D2R updates the whole shopping/gambling experience to something that doesn't needlessly waste hours of your life. I did thoroughly enjoy the tournament, I may consider another entrant if I can overcome my shopping PTSD.

I would not have guessed that crafting your gear would be this big of a challenge, I don't feel that most of my gear was very good. Most of the time you can gamble better gloves, boots, belt, etc in normal than Agni managed to craft the entire journey. I probably crafted 10 rings, but never managed to craft something better than my normal Ormus reward... It was definitely a much bigger challenge than I expected, though wasn't debilitating.

Thanks for the great tournament @PhineasB ! Good luck to everyone still going!

Agni, level 85 Necromancer, Guardian
 
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