PvP LS Trapper Assassin Guide by TienJe


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
LS Trapper Assassin Guide v1.0
Originally Posted by TienJe, May 22, 2008

Note: This guide was originally written for BNet. Please bear in mind it may recommend items not found or permitted in Single Player.

Version History
  • V1.0 - Original document

1. Introduction

About Me

My account name is *TienJe on USWest NL. I've dueled in GM guilds and clans since .09, and have loved playing with sins since the early hybrid/trappers of .09. But of course, I'm not why you're here. Let's get on with the guide.

Build Explanation

The trapper, as conveyed by the name, is a highly effective camper. Any target unlucky enough to be caught with a MB while in range of 5 traps is headed towards a great deal of pain. However, trappers can (and should) be played offensively, turning this seemingly defensively-focused character into a very effective all-rounded dueler. LS trappers have one of the highest possible damage outputs in the game, with 5x traps capable of dealing ~6k average lightning damage each. The reason why you don't see many trappers around is that it is actually fairly difficult to harness this ability in real-life dueling situations. While trappers can be fairly decent with very little skill, there is a lot of room to grow. This guide will attempt to teach the player to maximize the build's potential.


As with my other guides, I do not claim to be the inventor of the build; this guide merely represents my interpretation. Because of the diversity of the different trapper builds and for the sake of brevity, I will not explain the basic implications of the build, and have assumed that the reader already understands them. Search the forums if there are features in this guide that you do not understand.

2. Stat Allocation

Starting Stats

  • Strength- 20
  • Dexterity- 20
  • Vitality- 20
  • Energy- 25
  • Hit Points- 50
  • Stamina- 95
  • Mana- 25
Per level
  • Life +2
  • Stamina +1
  • Mana +1.5
Stat Bonuses
  • STR- allows for wearing equipment
  • DEX- allows for wearing equipment.
  • VIT- adds life
  • ENG- adds mana
  • 1 Vitality point gives 3 Life
  • 1 Vitality point gives 1.5 Stamina
  • 1 Energy point gives 1.5 Mana
Placing Stats

Stat allocation for a trapper should be the same as most other casters in this day and age. There are two main types of trapper builds, and the builds begin to diverge here, so starting from here, we will divide the sections into C/C and W/S setups.

C/C Build- Place enough STR and DEX for your equipment, and then pump VIT. DEX should be kept at a minimum as well, as claw block will take care of your block without any DEX.

W/S Build- Place enough STR for your equipment, pump DEX until you have max block with your blocking shield, and lay the rest of the points into VIT.

3. Skills

Skill Allocation

While skill setups between C/C and W/S builds will be the same, we must make a distinction between 1v1 and team oriented trappers, as their skill builds will differ, as listed below:

1v1 Build
  • Lightning Sentry- 20
  • All Lightning Synergies- 20
  • Mind Blast- 2 (to attempt to capitalize on the possible non-linearity of the way the Shadow Master AI chooses its skills)
  • Fire Blast- Rest of skill points
  • Claw Block- 1
  • Fade- 1
  • Wake of Fire- 1
  • Shadow Master- 1
  • All other prereqs- 1
Team Build
  • Lightning Sentry- 20
  • All Lightning Synergies- Rest of skill points (pump Shock Web last, to keep the Shadow Master from using it often)
  • Mind Blast- 20
  • Fire Blast- 1
  • Claw Block- 1
  • Fade- 1
  • Wake of Fire- 1
  • Shadow Master- 1
  • All other prereqs- 1

As you may have noticed, I opt for lvl 1 WoF in all my trapper builds. This may stem from my experience and infatuation with the trap after building and playing with ghosts, but I have found that the skill is invaluable for a trapper as well, and my friends have all started to share the sentiment. Its importance will be explained below.

Trap Analysis

Lightning Sentry
Initial Delay - 33 frames
Firing Speed - 30 FPA
NextDelay - None
Shots - 10
Damage: ~1-11k

Wake of Fire
Initial Delay - 40 frames
Firing Speed - 17 FPA
NextDelay - 4 frames
Shots - 5
Damage: ~90-100

Firing Speed - 9 FPA
NextDelay - None
Damage: ~6k (1v1 Build) or ~1.5k (Team Build)

As you can see, this build will be using LS as its main source of damage. If you look at the stats of the traps (thanks to RTB @ Diabloii.net for the info), you can see just why the 1 point in WoF is useful (even if the numbers are outdated, the relative magnitudes will still remain valid). While the initial delay before the trap starts firing is slightly longer, the rate at which it fires is almost half of that of LS. It also fires a large wave of fire, making it much harder to dodge. Two WoF's will hit the target approximately once every 8-9 frames, which is enough to stunlock most characters. It requires 4 LS to achieve a similar stunning capacity.

Fireblast is basically a projectile, and so it has no initial delay. It has the fastest firing rate, which equals the trap laying speed of your sin (should be 9 FPA). Because FB has no initial delay, it is a great skill to use in aggressive situations. With the 1v1 build, it deals very respectable damage, and while it is a bit weaker in the team build, it has its uses when your opponent is stacking/sorbing against your LS.

The conclusion from these numbers should be that LS = Damage, WoF = Stun, FB = Supplement. The actual nuances of their use will be explained in the strategy section below.

4. Equipment


FCR- 1v1 and Team Builds: 102%

Frame         16    15    14    13    12    11    10    9
FCR Needed     0%    8%    16%    24%    42%    65%    102%    174%

FHR- 1v1 Build: 48% | Team Build: 86%

Frame          9      8      7      6      5      4      3
FHR Needed     0%     7%     15%     27%     48%     86%     200%

Trap Laying Speed- 1v1 and Team Builds: 9 frame with Fade.

This is one of the most confusing parts of building this Assassin, so I'll take some time to explain the mechanics:

9 FPA is the fastest trap laying can be, and is based on the Weapon Speed Modifier (WSM) of your weapon. If you look at the base weapon/claw types on Arreat Summit, you will see a WSM corresponding to each type. The lower the number, the faster the weapon. Just like the IAS requirement for attacks is based on what weapon you are using, the trap speed bases the IAS required on the WSM. However, if the sin is dual-wielding, the average WSM (AWSM for short) is used. I.E. the AWSM for a -30 WSM talon and a 0 WSM claw will be -15. For future reference, the primary claw is above the gloves, and the secondary claw is above the boots.

The amount of IAS required for each AWSM (or WSM if just using 1 weapon) is listed below. IAS is counted from every piece of equipment, except for the secondary weapon slot. Note that any AWSM faster than -30 comes from WSM Bugging, which will be explained later. Although your AWSM can be slower than -20, the breakpoints are not included because they require too much IAS to be efficient.

-15 | 75
-20 | 63
-25 | 52
-30 | 42
-35 | 34
-40 | 26
-45 | 19
-50 | 13​

WSM Bugging

WSM bugging is a little trick used to lower the AWSM of your two claws, lowering the IAS requirements for trap + non-WW animations. It works by placing your secondary claw in your inventory first. That means that after you switch to your weapons, lift and replace your glove-side claw, and it'll bug your WSM.

Instead of just averaging the WSM's of the two claws, your AWSM = average + (right WSM - left WSM). So, for example, if you use a Runic Talon (-30 WSM) in the boot-side slot and a Suwayyah (0 WSM) in the glove-side slot, if you bug the WSM, you'll have an AWSM = -15 + (-30 - 0) = -45 instead of -15 like you would if you didn't bug it. It'll help you reach your trap IAS BP's if you use a slow claw on one hand. If you look at the equation, it'll tell you to make sure that if you DO use a slow claw, make sure the fast one is in the secondary slot, so when you bug it, it makes your AWSM faster. Otherwise, it'll actually slow down AWSM. To simplify, a chart is included below, showing the AWSM's for every claw combination after WSM bugging.

                   AWSM after WSM Bugging

                ¦  Boot-Side Claw WSM
                ¦  10     0   -10   -20  -30
Glove-      10  ¦ 10    -5   -20   -35   -50
Side         0  ¦ 15     0   -15   -30   -45
Claw       -10  ¦ 20     5   -10   -25   -40
WSM        -20  ¦ 25    10    -5   -20   -35
           -30  ¦ 30    15     0   -15   -30

In summary, put fast claw in secondary slot, slow claw in primary slot, and lift and replace your slow claw to bug it. Every time you switch weapons, it replaces the primary claw first, so you'll have to rebug it. Note that after WSM bugging, the glove-side claw becomes secondary, and the boot-side claw becomes the new primary claw.

Equipment Setup

Now again, the builds will diverge depending on the type of trapper. Equipment examples will be separated by type, and it should be noted that the builds are not definitive. There is always flexibility to swap out individual items for your own taste.

  • .08 Valk helm (Ber/Lo/Jah Rune) - A requirement for 102% FCR with two claws. IAS and FHR are very helpful as well. You can use Griffon's if you are under a budget constraint. Change the rune in the socket to counter your biggest threat.
  • 2sin/15+ (17+ with griffons) FCR crafted ammy- Also a requirement for 102% FCR. Get one with +STAT/life/RES if possible.
  • 2x 2sin/3LS/IAS claw (7%FHR/15RES or 15% IAS/15RES jewels)- 2 Sin can be replaced with +3 Trap, but I like the +2 Sin because it nets you more skill points overall. Make sure you get a claw with enough IAS to reach your IAS BP, as explained above. Secondary mods to look for are 2 sockets, +Claw Block, +Fade, +WoF, etc. Use the claw sockets to hit either your IAS or FHR breakpoints. You can substitute a Bartuc's for these trap claws if you are under a budget.
  • Enigma- No explanation necessary for this one.
  • Trang's/Magefist Gloves- 20% FCR is required here for 102% FCR BP, so choose either Trang's or Magefists, depending on if you want a bonus to cold res or Fireblast and mana regen.
  • Arachnid's Sash- A requirement for the 102% FCR BP.
  • Rare FRW/FHR/stat/RES- The bonuses here are probably the best you can get on a pair of boots. It's everything you want. Imps or other classic rares are your best bet. Treks work fine if you're under budget constraints.
  • 2x FCR rings- These rings are required for their FCR. Get rings with +STAT/life/res/life/mana. Legit C/C 102% FCR trappers run very low on mana, so large amounts of mana on these rings will help you greatly.
  • Weapon switch- For 1v1, you will be using CTA/Spirit. However, when you are Team dueling, if you can have your teammate BO, you can switch out your CTA for a Hoto, allowing you to reach 174% FCR on your switch. This switch is wonderful for catching the slippery last few opponents when your team outnumbers the opposition near the end of the duel.
NOTE- When choosing what base claw type to use, look at the WSM's and the STR/DEX req. Check out what combination of claws will allow you to reach your trap laying BP, and then look for the ones with the lowest reqs. Don't forget to consider WSM bugging.

NOTE- Don't forget that only the primary claw's IAS counts towards the trap laying breakpoint, so your secondary claw does not need any IAS.

  • 2 Sin/20 FCR circlet/2soc (2x 15%IAS/15%RES jewels) - Pretty self-explanatory.
  • 2sin/12+ FCR crafted ammy- Get one with +DEX/life/mana/RES if possible.
  • Phase Blade Spirit - This is the only weapon choice for maintaining 102% FCR, and 9 frame trapping with Fade, as it has a WSM of -30. Bonuses are self-explanatory. You will have enough DEX from achieving max block to use this.
  • Stormshield (15% IAS/ 15% RES jewel)- Grants you your protection against physical attackers.
  • Enigma- No explanation necessary for this one.
  • Trang's/Magefist Gloves- 20% FCR is required here for 102% FCR BP, so choose either Trang's or Magefists, depending on if you want a bonus to cold res or Fireblast and mana regen.
  • Arachnid's Sash- A requirement for the 102% FCR BP.
  • Rare FRW/FHR/stat/RES- The bonuses here are probably the best you can get on a pair of boots. It's everything you want. Imps or other classic rares are your best bet. Treks work fine if you're under budget constraints.
  • Ravenfrost- The DEX is useful for reaching max block rate, and the cold absorb will help you survive cold Sorcs without Clawblock. The 40 mana isn't shabby either.
  • SoJ/BK/Etc- There is no need for FCR on this ring slot, so you have a lot of flexibility for stacking some absorb, getting Oak charges, or just adding some +skills.
  • Weapon switch- CTA/Spirit. With a W/S build, you will not be able reach 174% FCR with a Hoto/Spirit switch.


Charms are a lot more straightforward than the equipment, and will be the same for all trapper builds. Use Torch, Anni, Trap GCs (Vita + FHR to meet bps), enough 20/11's and 20/5's to max out your RES, and fill the rest with Life/Mana Sc's.

C/C and W/S Differences

  • Higher damage
  • Higher skill levels for utility skills
  • More resistance against the elements (from Clawblock)
  • Less resistance against physical damage (less DR and block)
  • Limited gear swaps
  • Lower resistance to blocklock (Clawblock is slower than shield block)

  • More Resistance against physical damage (more DR and block)
  • More flexibility in gear switches to counter opponents
  • Less innate resistance to elemental attacks (no Clawblock)
  • Higher resistance to blocklock (shield blocking is faster than Clawblock)
  • Lower damage
  • Lower utility skill levels

As with most builds, there is no clear winner. The reason why both builds have survived to this day is because both of them work. You should be able to tell from the characteristics that W/S builds are better in arenas where Zons and Barbs are preprominent, and C/C where casters are most common. The way both characters react to stun differ slightly, so you'll have to determine for yourself which one you want to use for team duels.

5. Tactics


Trappers are extremely hotkey dependent. All your skills should be on the right side, so you have the most seamless skill transitions you can have. My hotkeys are set up as follows.

  • A-Teleport
  • S-Fireblast
  • D-Mindblast
  • F-LS
  • G-WoF
  • H-Psychic Hammer
  • Q-Shadow Master
  • W-Fade
  • E-Battle Orders
  • R-Battle Command
  • V-Burst of Speed

Use whatever you feel is most comfortable, but don't decide not to use a skill because you can't deal with that many hotkeys. Just practice and it'll come


Trappers have a fairly similar play style across all different types of opponents, and common logic should be able to fill you in on those differences. As such, I'm simply going to discuss the motifs. I'm sure each of you will develop your own strategies to counter the different builds through experience.

Stun Sequence- The most important aspect of trapper play is to think about the perpetuation of stun. A break of just half a second is enough to give most characters an opportunity to escape, so you must think about the succession of skill casts to maintain stun. While it is fairly easy to get a stun when an opponent jumps into your trap field, it is much tougher to stun a character offensively and still deal damage. The most common mistake that trappers make is that they cast MB first, chaining a few together before they cast the trap. As soon as they stop casting MB to cast the trap, because there are no other sources of damage firing, the target will have an opportunity to cast and teleport away. Therefore, it is most effective to start your casting sequence with a trap. The other benefit to starting off with a trap is that a trap does not need to be namelocked to hit the target, so you can use it as a cushion to get your namelock for MB.

Now of course, the next question will be, why won't the player just escape when you cast your trap initially? The answer there is that the critics are partially right. There is nothing holding the opponent in place when you cast your trap, and so they will escape quite frequently. What you are doing by placing a trap first is pitting your reaction time against the opponents. When you spam MB before you cast the trap, you give the opponent ample time to react and attempt to tele, so he is ready to escape as soon as you break the MB chain to lay a trap. However, when you start with a trap, you have a 9 frame gap where the opponent can escape. This gap, instead of being used purely for casting like with the MB first situation, must be used by the opponent to analyze the situation, stop casting his current spell, and attempt to escape. If the opponent does not switch to teleport to escape within the first 9 frames, your MB chain will come in, and you will have started your stun chain. Remember that traps have an initial 'deployment' animation, and so there will be a delay before the traps fire. Make sure you hold down MB during the delay to keep them from escaping.

After you start your stun chain, the next goal will be to ramp up the damage while keeping up stun. One LS and MB will deal damage, though the output will be fairly low. You will be breaking your MB chain to lay more traps, but this time around, there is that initial trap on the ground helping you. The trick in this portion of the sequence is to use the shot from the trap to cover the gap in MB's while you lay that next trap. You will grow accustomed to the firing speed of the different traps, and will eventually be able to time your MB/traps such that you can maintain hits/stuns close enough together to prevent the opponent from escaping. As you progress with the stun sequence, the timing will become easier, as you will have more traps firing to cover for your gaps in MB.

Keep in mind that characters will escape stun at different points along the progression, no matter how perfect your timing is. When they do, just reset, and try again.

Trap Selection- As a trapper, you have two types of traps at your disposal (I'm defining Fireblast as a projectile). You have the long-range damage dealing LS and the fast-firing AoE WoF. If you imagine going through the sequence outlined above, I'm sure you can imagine where you should be using which trap. As an initial trap, WoF is best because it has the fastest firing rate, allowing you the most opportunities to cast traps, allowing you to ramp up your traps almost twice as quickly as you could with starting with LS. Now of course, when you are playing defensively and have time to lay down multiple traps, you can start with LS, as you will be able to bypass the initial stun start-up.

In team PK, WoF is invaluable because the AoE allows you to stun multiple targets at once. When multiple characters have stun swirlies on their head, 2 stacked WoF will stun anyone that jumps in. When you are acting as a stunner to catalyze kills for the rest of your team, WoF will be the trap of choice. When you are on the defensive or attempting to push the other team away/apart, use LS.

Remember that WoF has a NextDelay of 4 frames, so you don't need copious amounts of WoF on the floor. 2 firing WoF's is the efficient maximum, unless you're in a team situation and are stunning multiple areas of the map.

Chainlock Teleporting- While you should be able to prevent the other character from teleporting while you are stunning, they will still be able to run (especially if they WSG), and so you will need to CL tele to stay on their screen. If you don't CL, they will eventually escape your lock, and you will have to restart your progression (starting is the hardest part). The trick with teleport is of course that it provides a break in MB spam, meaning you need to time it just like you time laying a trap. There needs to be something hitting the opponent the moment you teleport, or they will be given a gap in stun to escape. If they are running, you will have a bit more leeway, because it will take them a small amount of time to notice that you are teleporting and to cast teleport. After you CL, you will have to assess the immediate area. If there are traps around, you can initiate stun again with MB, but if there are no traps in range, you may have to restart the sequence with a trap.

Fireblast- There has been a recent 're-appreciation' for this skill, as more people are beginning to find its wonders. FB fires at 9 FPA, meaning it can deliver a stunning hit every 9 frames, equivalent to spamming MB at 174 FCR. This skill should be superimposed onto the strategy outlined above, as a secondary source of damage. The important point to consider with this skill is that unlike WoF and LS, it is a projectile, and so one FB will not continue to hit after you finish casting. That means that if you only chain together MB and FB, there will be a gap for the target to escape when you teleport. The other important thing to note is that FB is relatively slow moving, as it travels in a high arc, and if the target is running away through the stun, the FB's will hit further and further apart (temporally). FB must be casted at point blank range after CL teles, as it can take more than a second to hit a target if you fire it to the edges of your screen.

Shadow Master- Always have one up. They MB like crazy (especially with the 20 hard points invest in MB in the Team build), help you tank, stun, and minion stack. The Shadow Master also provides an extra attack, creating openings for you to teleport and lay traps. It is perhaps most useful when you CL tele, as the shadow often times will hit the target the moment you land, continuing the stun chain even without supplementing traps.

Psychic Hammer- This skill is like MB's little cousin. It causes KB just like MB, but it only affects one target, and doesn't trigger the stun swirly. Although it doesn't seem all that useful, some players like to use it for its auto-targeting characteristic. PH targets similar to FoH in that it will automatically select a target within a certain range to where you cast it, except it won't cast if there is no target in range. This makes PH very good as a supplement to MB. However, I would suggest you learn to namelock without the help of PH, and use the initial trap cast as your 'cushion'; you'll be faster overall once you don't have to rely on PH in the stun sequence.

Trap Distance- Just a quick note on the distance your character can be from the trap before it implodes: the range changes depending on whether you teleport or walk/run. I'm not sure of the exact distances, but you can teleport about ~1.5 screens away and run ~2.5 screens away before the traps will die. This doesn't mean you should be running everywhere. You still should be teleporting 95% of the time. However, when you are using traps like a trap in its conventional sense, running is the best option.

6. Special Thanks

  • RTB for your analysis on trap animations
  • Zharous for all your d2tables.
  • Rees (Stoutwood) for being such a badass.
  • Marcus (Mr. J) for baaling unconscious.
  • Andrew (Anbu) for countless hours of duels.
  • Kevin (Atomsk) for being #1 BvC for 2 days running and for stealing my rep while I was gone.
  • Alex (hippo) for being psuedo-black.
  • Buck (G-Code) for teaching me my culture.
  • All of Temple, for just being there.

Please leave comments/suggestions/questions. Thanks for reading.