PvP WW Ghost Assassin Guide V2.0 by TienJe


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
WW Ghost Assassin Guide V2.0 by TienJe
Originally posted July 4, 2007

WW Ghost Assassin Guide v2.0

Version History
  • V1.1 - added info on equipment options and table of contents
  • V1.2 - expanded strategies and comments on dragon flight
  • V1.3 - added better explanation of trap laying speed, hammerdin strategies, added ghost statistic section (HoF), and fixed some numbers in stat and break point sections
  • V1.4 - added comments on claw types and stat allocation, added optional gear section for different setups, added comments on dragon flight in general tactics
  • V1.5 - expanded hammerdin strategies, added liberator strategy, added Grooner's helm socket choice, expanded explanation of mind blast stun effects, overall improvements
  • V1.6 - added WSM bugging explanation, and updated current stats/setup.
  • V1.7 - added explanation of Venom and Physical Ghost Variants and example setups for both.
  • V1.8 - added dueling clips for different classes. changed up barb and trapper strats to include widowmaker.
  • V1.9 - clarified NextDelay feature of WoF and consequences
  • V2.0 - massive additions (WSM sections) and final editing

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    a. About Me​
    b. Why Ghosts?​
    c. Disclaimer​
  2. Stat Allocation
    a. Starting Stats​
    b. Per Level​
    c. Stat Bonuses​
    d. Placing Stats​
  3. Skills
    a. Notes​
    b. Allocation​
    c. Notes and Explanations​
  4. Equipment
    a. Breakpoints​
    b. Equipment Options​
    c. WSM Bugging​
    d. Charm and Socket Options​
    e. Venom and Physical Ghost Spectrum​
  5. Tactics
    a. Hotkeys​
    b. General Tactics​
  6. Class-Specific Strategies
    a. Sorceress​
    b. Necromancer​
    c. Druid​
    d. Amazon​
    e. Paladin​
    f. Assassin​
    g. Barbarian​
    h. Team Dueling​
  7. My Ghost
    a. Major Stats​
    b. Setup​
    c. Screenshot​
  8. Credits

1. Introduction

About Me

My account name is *TienJe on USWest NL. I've dueled in GM guilds and clans since .09, and I've always kept builds and strategies to myself, but I'm making an exception for such a fun and undervalued character. This character has served me so well that I felt I should give other people the chance to enjoy it as well. My ghost is Namelock on USWest NL. I'm always available for duels or questions. But, I'm not important. Let's get on with the guide.

Why Ghosts?

Ghosts have been around for a while, but still are often times confused with hybrids and whirlwind assassins. Ghosts are a mix of those two builds. They teleport and have traps like a hybrid, but emphasize the WW damage like a WW assassin. A ghost is basically a pure WW assassin armed with teleport and low level traps for stun. As a result of their build, they come equipped with high level Mind Blast and Fade.

Ghosts are perhaps the perfect anti-caster character; the stun this character puts out is almost impossible to escape, and the strong whirlwind deals damage in multiple elements, making it very hard to fully resist. Claw block grants unparalleled protection, blade shield + venom + whirlwind take care of minion stack, and venom works extremely well against most caster types. These assassins should never be compared to BvC's, as although they both use whirlwind, fast breakpoints, and stun, the style is completely different. This isn't to say that the ghost is a one trick pony. The nature of whirlwind gives the ghost an advantage over most melee, making it quite effective against most enemies, even other anti-caster characters.

It should be noted, however, that ghosts are probably the most hotkey/skill/micro intensive class I have played so far, but there is no doubt that she is one of the most fun and effective characters when played correctly. It's probably the only character where you can have total control over the enemy during a duel.


I do not claim to be the inventor of the build; this is just my interpretation. The videos are for didactic purposes only.

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- adds claw and kick damage and allows for wearing equipment
  • DEX- adds kick damage and attack rating, and 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 ghost should be the same as most other characters in this day and age. Place enough STR and DEX for your equipment, and then pump VIT. Don't bother over-placing strength for damage; most of your damage will come from venom, and the ghost benefits from more survivability from the extra VIT. DEX should be kept at a minimum as well, as claw block will take care of your block without any DEX, though if you find your AR is significantly low, you may pump a few points in. However, investment in DEX is not recommended, as changing around setups and items in the inventory will give much more AR than DEX will. Just remember that if your life is too low, your ghost will have a hard time, because it is a very offensive character and requires you to be able to take a few hits. You should aim for at least 3.7k HP.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
3. Skills

Skill Descriptions

  • Claw Mastery- adds damage, attack rating, and deadly strike.
  • Venom- adds poison damage applied every .4 seconds at high levels.
  • Claw Block- % chance to block all attacks
  • Burst of Speed- adds IAS and FRW.
  • Fade- adds 1% DR per level, lowers curse duration, and adds resistance.
  • Mind Blast- Stuns characters, adds stun duration, and does minor damage.
  • Wake of Fire- Sends out 5 V’s of fire closely packed.
  • Lightning Sentry- Sends out 10 lightning shots.
  • Whirlwind- Same as barbarians WW skill.
  • Blade Shield- Adds spinning shield around assassin that deals damage when enemies are close
  • Blade Fury- shoots fast “ninja stars” a distance of about 30 yards, similarly to Sorceress’ inferno
  • Shadow Master- Minion that uses all assassin skills. Has +resist all and clawblock.
  • Dragon Flight- Flying kick to enemy that deals kick damage.

Skill Allocation

  • Claw Mastery- 20
  • Venom- 20
  • Mind Blast- 20
  • Claw Block- enough for 60%
  • Fade- pump until 50% DR with equipment
  • Wake of Fire- 1
  • Lightning Sentry- 0 (1 if you like using LS or have extra points)
  • Blade Shield- 1
  • Blade Fury- 1
  • Shadow Master- 1
  • Dragon Flight- 0 (1 if you really want it)
  • All other prereqs- 1

Depending on your gear and +skills (explained later), you may have some extra points. You can throw these into more fade, claw block, lightning sentry, higher shadow, just about anything. Some ghosts opt for a Dragon Talon/WW or Dragon Claw/WW hybrid ghost, but I have not tried that setup yet so I can’t comment. Usually, 1 point in either Dragon Claw or Dragon Talon will do just fine.

Skill Notes and Explanations

Venom- Venom is your main damage skill. At high levels, it applies damage every .4 seconds, which is every 10 frames (there are 25 frames per second). Whirlwind hits every 4 frames, so it should be noted that venom does not deal full damage every time WW hits. % Poison Damage is currently bugged and is applied twice, similar to enchant + fire mastery. % Poison Damage gets applied once when you cast venom, and once more when it is applied to the enemy. Trang’s glove’s 25% Poison Damage is actually 56.25% (1.25*1.25) more damage.

Whirlwind- This is your main attack. If built correctly, your ghost’s whirlwind will hit every 4 frames. There are a few mechanics that should be mentioned however. For one, at the first hit check at 4 frames, only the primary weapon gets a chance to hit. Beginning at the 8th frame, both weapons will get a chance to hit every 4 frames. Each weapon hits independently, so the open wounds and deadly strike is calculated per weapon (50% on each claw does not equal 100% total). Because only the primary weapon hits in the first hit check, it makes sense to make your whirls as long as possible, while staying in striking range. Use DoD to your advantage (explained later). Whirlwind is uninterruptable and casts almost instantly, so use it to escape stunlocks. Your ghost will be able to continuously whirl a target while taking damage.

Claw Block- This skill makes the ghost a powerful anti-caster. It blocks ALL attacks. That includes all elemental attacks including aura damage, leap, and of course physical. The blocking speed is unaffected by Faster Block Rate %, and the chance to block is unaffected by Increased Block Rate %.

Burst of Speed- Ghosts should not be using this for the majority of the duels. They will be teleporting and already laying traps at 9 FPA, rendering BoS basically useless. The only time you will be using this is against trappers and necros (explained later).

Wake of Fire- Due to the overpowered stunning of WoF in earlier patches, Blizzard has added a .16 second (4 frame) NextDelay to WoF, which means that the stun on WoF is limited. After your WoF hits, the hidden NextDelay timer will run for .16 seconds, and until that timer runs out, although WoF may be graphically hitting the target, will not deal any damage. This NextDelay timer means that the fastest WoF will damage an opponent is once every 4 frames. However, you need to have multiple WoF firing to get to the frequency where the NextDelay has an effect. As a corollary, that means that stacking copious amounts of WoF under a target will not be beneficial, as they cannot get stunned any faster than once per 4 frames. 2 WoF will fire in between each other’s waves, and so any more than 2 traps on the floor is usually useless. Stick with 1 trap when being offensive, and 2 when you are defensive or have time. Thanks to Speederländer for the clarification regarding the delay. It should be noted that even with the NextDelay nerf, the stun from WoF is unparalleled.

Lightning Sentry- Many assassins like to use this skill, but I personally don’t. It doesn’t stun well enough, pure and simple. LS does not have the NextDelay feature that WoF does, but the gap between lightning shots is slow, so you need to cast 5 for it to keep someone in a stun lock. It’s not worth the skills you spend to get to it, unless you have tons of skills left over. Try to get it in a claw if you want to use it.

Blade Shield- This skill is often overlooked. Blade shield is a powerhouse. It gets weapon damage, which means it also hits with venom. It is unblockable, and deals damage every ~2 seconds when someone is standing over you. This will happen a lot as it will even apply damage while you are whirling them. You can see the use of it when a druid teleports on you. All the wolves should die within 1 hit.

Blade Fury- This skill also hits with weapon damage, meaning again, it gets Venom, though it differs from Blade Shield in that it also gets open wounds (with the ranged missile reduction). Useful in some circumstances, especially against sorcs that meteor or cast Blizzard over themselves, or against smiters that just shift-smite. It’s a great way to get camping characters to move. However, even though the skill seems to have no AR, it is not ITD. Some of the ninja stars will miss. Enemy defense has a definite effect on hit rate. This skill requires caution, since the cast time is unaffected by FCR and IAS and is decently long, leaving you open to quick attacks while you are in your casting animation.

Shadow Master- This summon will use the skills that you put the most skills into. As a result, it will most often use fade and venom, have Clawblock, and MB like a madman. It’ll help land an initial hit when you teleport on the enemy as well, keeping them in place long enough to start a whirl sequence. It’s everything you ever wanted in a minion. Note that the shadow has the ability to MB a target well beyond your screen’s range, so expect some GMod/AA accusations. They also seem to cast MB a lot while are you teleporting. At skill level 17, Shadow Master’s begin to spawn with a random rare ammy, giving them the chance (quite a large chance actually) of being immune to the elements. Also note that Shadow Master’s will be immune to the elements when they cast Fade as well, so pumping your shadow to lvl 17 may not be that useful.

Dragon Flight- One of the most overrated sin skills in my opinion. DF is a 24 frame monster. In other words, it takes almost 1 full second to cast, and it leaves you with a nasty animation delay on top of the cast delay after you hit them too, completely open to attacks. It maybe be useful vs. some vita chars, but is not worth enough to pump skills through all the prereqs. Get it on a claw if you want it.

Mind Blast- Mind blast will stun the character as soon as you cast it, but it also has another lasting effect that a lot of non-assassin players don’t quite understand. If you look at the character that has just been hit by MB, they have a swirly animation over their head. This animation means that while the animation is going, anytime the character takes ANY sort of damage, even if its 1-2 damage from fists or a quill rat, the character will go into stun animation. This swirly effect + the fast attack of the WoF is what makes the amazing stunning ability of the ghost, even though WoF in this build does < 50 damage.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
4. Equipment

Breakpoint Goals

FCR- 65% (102% in my opinion leaves you with an extremely weak WW)

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

FHR- 48% You can go higher, but this is a good minimum. (Theoretically you can WW out of anything, but then you won’t be doing any damage either)

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

Trap Laying Speed- 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 average Weapon Speed Modifier (WSM) of your two claws. If you look at the base claw types on Arreat Summit, you will see a WSM corresponding to each type, ranging from 10 to -30. The lower the number, the faster the claw. 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 of the claws. However, because the sin is dual-wielding, the average WSM (AWSM for short) is used instead. 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 is listed below. IAS is counted from every piece of equipment, except for the secondary claw. Note that any AWSM faster than -30 requires 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.

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

Whirlwind speed- You want the 4 frame WW frame, which occurs at the modified WSM (MWSM) BP of -13, calculated by (WSM – [IAS% ON CLAW]). A Feral Claw (or faster), regardless of how much IAS is on the claw, will already reach the 4 frame whirl BP. WW calculates speeds of both weapons independently. Although you get 2 free hit checks at frames 4 and 8, you should make sure your claws hit the 4 frame BP.

Equipment Options

Now’s the fun part. There are tons of different setups to use with your ghost that hit all those breakpoints, so see what mix you like the best. Here are the options for the equipment. I won’t tell the stats for each item because they’re very well known.


  • Chaos-A necessity for the +Whirlwind. One of the few static pieces of equipment.
  • Fury- The mods on this claw are unbeatable. IAS also helps to hit tray laying break points. The OW on this claw makes Whirlwind and Blade Fury very effective.
  • Fool’s modded claw- This is for poison oriented ghosts that want to pump up their AR. Get one with an IAS suffix to make sure you hit the trap laying BP.
  • Eth Rare- These can rack up huge damages, along with the possibility of fool’s mods among other things. This is what you want if you want to focus on physical damage, and/or happen to find an amazing one.
  • Ethereal Bartucs- These are very good sources of physical damage for when you choose to go that route, and come with amazing mods. Socket it with Um if you do choose to use one.
  • Malice- Simple. Don’t use it. The OW might seem like a good idea, but if you want open wounds, Fury is a much better alternative. It has 66%, coupled with chaos which has 25%, your OW % is already pretty high, even though the claws are calculated separately in WW. The overall benefits of 100% OW compared to 66% + 25% are miniscule, as you will hit many times when you whirl + over the course of the duel.

NOTE- When choosing what base claw type to use, look at the base damages and the STR/DEX req. For example, most ghosts use Runic Talons, Feral Claws, or Greater Talons. Runics require 115/115, Ferals need 113/113, and Greater Talons require only 79/79. Ferals do the most damage but are also the slowest, at -20 WSM. Runic claws are -30 WSM and do decent damage. Greater Talons are also -30 WSM and do less damage than Runics, however you save a lot of DEX points as the claw reqs are much lower. This lets you pump VIT more, and give you a higher life.

NOTE- Use best modded claw on primary slot always. You get the bonuses from that claw when you consider Blade Shield/Fury, DF, and trap laying speed. For example, if you use fury, the 20% AR will only be applied to WW if it’s in the primary claw. When considering what skills to get on a claw, look for +DF, +MB, +Venom, and/or other useful skills. There is some debate as to exactly how fool’s (and other AR mods) gets applied to WW when you are dual wielding, but it is a good idea to make sure the fool’s claw is the primary claw for other reasons.

NOTE- The non-Chaos claw slot will give a lot of options for your ghost. Even though most of your other items are pretty locked, this claw can be swapped very frequently to tweak your ghost for the duel. Swap in a fools for high defense opponents, ethereal cruel’s for low DR opponents, Fury for ES and block characters, etc. Having Venom deal the damage gives you a lot of options for your weapons. Just remember to consider which claw to put on the primary.


  • 2/20fcr sin circlet- This circlet helps you get the 65 FCR BP, as well as add skills for your sin. +skills are very important for damage and survivability, and this circlet is usually cheap because of low demand, as 102 fcr (trappers) cannot be reached with this. Rare circlets also can spawn with a variety of useful stats. +Stats, life, mana, RES, elemental damage, all this stuff is really useful, and makes it better than .08 Valk in my opinion. This helm opens up the ring/ammy sockets for other things besides FCR items.
  • Shako- Shako adds a lot of life and mana, through the +life/mana and also +bo. The +all skills also adds to WW, so it gives more damage and AR. However, this helm requires you to use FCR ammy and rings, losing out on some other mods.
  • .08 Valk- This helm helps ghosts hit the 102 FCR bp, if they choose to go for it. It is an absolute necessity for 102. However, I advise against this build because all rings and amulet must be FCR ones, missing out on much needed bonuses. Some sins use valk in a 65 FCR build, as the 30% IAS in the helm allows them to use heavier and higher damage claws. With 30% + 40 % IAS on the claw, you will be able to use claws that average -20 WSM and still reach 9 frame traps (like 2x Feral Claws). Whether or not this is useful depends on whether you will be focusing on physical or poison damage, but ultimately the choice between this or a circlet is up to you.
  • Crown of Ages- I heard some people asking about this helm, and I’ll tell you why I didn’t include it in the first draft. This helm is useful for giving huge amounts of DR with the 2 sockets open, which is not useful as ghosts use fade. Shako is a better alternative, as ghosts are not pressed for socket space or DR.


  • Mara’s- This ammy is the common choice for most ghosts. The benefits are self explanatory. +skills benefit the WW and BO as well.
  • 2sin/FCR ammy- This ammy is useful to free up a ring for something other than FCR. Again, nothing new here, the benefits are self explanatory. Just another option to hit your FCR breakpoint.
  • Highlord’s- This ammy is often overlooked. The +1 skills is very useful, along with the LR. Deadly strike actually helps a lot, contrary to common belief. Also, the 20 IAS helps you hit the 9 frame trap laying, opening up the helm socket to something other than IAS jewel. Definitely use this ammy if you're going to emphasize physical damage. Otherwise, stick with some of the other choices as they'll benefit you more overall.


  • Enigma- There’s no other choice. It’s what makes a ghost a ghost.


  • Trang’s Gloves- Only choice here.


  • Spider Sash- Again, only choice.


  • 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.
  • Sandstorm Treks- Use these if you can't find nice rare ones. They have FRW/FHR/stat just like the rare ones do, except they lack a little bit in the resistance department. They're probably the second best boots you can have for a ghost.
  • Gores- These are nice for pumping up your WW damages. I advise against it however, especially if you use Fury, as the benefits from Gores are very marginal.
  • Shadow Dancers- These are great boots for kickers, but not so useful for ghosts. Huge STR requirement along with the lack of kicking done by ghosts makes this a bad choice in my book. If you do choose to Dragon Talon as your secondary melee attack, you can consider it.


  • Ravenfrost- Best ring you can have on a ghost. The AR and +DEX helps you hit more with WW. Ghosts suffer from low AR, so these greatly help in that department. A friend made a ghost on open with all FCR items, and had a total of only ~2k AR. The cold damage actually helps a ton also, as it slows down characters running and block animation while you WW, making them stun easier. +Mana helps a ton as well.
  • FCR/Stat/Mana/Life/Res/AR Ring- Use one of these instead of a Ravenfrost if you need them to hit your FCR breakpoint.

NOTE- As long as you hit all the breakpoints above, you can mix and match. Most people go for FCR circlet with FCR ring + Ravenfrost. Some people opt for 2 Ravenfrosts with a FCR ammy. This gives more AR in general, but loses some deadly strike or +skills. Some people swap out fury for a fool's modded claw if they're lacking AR. It’s all preference. There are many setups that have their benefits. Tailor your equipment to fit your play style and needs.

Optional Equipment

  • Widowmaker- +GA adds a useful element of attack vs. hammerdins or trappers, or other camping characters. Use a Cat's Eye and other +DEX equipment to use the bow. I wouldn't recommend placing extra DEX to use Widow. Socket it with an Um rune for the open wounds or a Nef for KB if you're able to. Otherwise, socket it with a Hel to lower the DEX req.
  • Cat’s Eye- Ammy used when using Widowmaker, for the reasons explained above. The 20% IAS also helps to reach the GA breakpoint.
  • Bramble- When you want to sacrifice all your stun and mobility and go for straight damage, like vs Barbs, slap on a Bramble and you'll be a full out WW sin.
  • Fortitude Armor- The replacement for Bramble for physical damage ghosts (explained later).
  • Andariel’s Viel- This helm adds +2 all skills, +20-30 STR, +70% PR, +10%Max PR -30%FR, 20% IAS and 8%LL. This helm is useful as an addition to Bramble/Fort setup. The huge +STR will help you use the claws and equipment without Enigma. Also, if you need an extra edge vs poison characters, this helm will give you +10% Max PR, helping you vs other WW Sins and PN Necros.
  • Giant’s Skull- This helm is also used for the +25 STR to equip the Bramble/Fort setup. While you lose a lot of mods compared to Andy’s Viel, you gain KB, which is extremely helpful vs. melee characters. It also comes with 2 sockets, which are very useful for filling any gaps in those anti-melee setups.
  • E(bug) Bartucs- These claws have amazing mods, but the primary use of this is the huge +STR on them, helping you use Bramble/Fort + all your equipment.
  • Verdungo's- Use this belt in conjunction with Bramble or when you are going full out melee. The extra DR will keep you at 50% DR without Enigma, and the +VIT 10%FHR and +Rep Life always help.
  • Angelic's Ammy + Rings- Throw these into your setup when you need a big AR boost, like vs Barbs and pure smiters. Make sure you keep CBF somewhere on your equipment if you replace your Raven frost with an angelic, unless you are 100% sure you won't be using traps at all.
  • Prebuff Equipment- Shadow claws + helm socketed with facets. Pretty self explanatory. Try to use Bramble when you buff, as the %PD damage works once when you cast it and will give you more damage than Enigma or a faceted Nat's Armor.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
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.

Charm and Socket Options

Charms are a lot more straightforward than the equipment. Use Torch, Anni, Shadow GCs (Vita + FHR to meet bps), and fine/vitas, and enough (just a few) mana/life scs to support your WW + MB. The mix of shadow + SCS is up to you. Shadow GCS will give you more skills, survivability, and poison damage, whereas fine/vitas will get you more life, and more AR, and of course more physical damage. Shadow GC’s will give you more physical damage through the added levels of claw mastery, but will still be less than what you gain with fine modded charms. Your resistances should be fine with your high level fade + equip.

The current main setup is 9 shadows with a bottom row of fine/vita scs, but that is not the only option. Figure out what setup will match your equip the best. For example, don’t go for physical damage charms if you’re using a fool’s claw for AR. It would be more efficient to focus on venom since you have weak weapon damage. You would benefit more from placing emphasis on venom. Following the same logic, don’t focus on deadly strike if you’re going to be emphasizing venom. Just use common sense.

Sockets are also very straight forward. There are only sockets for you to mess around with in your helm and claws, so there aren’t many choices. For the helm, Shael for FHR or Jah for life (some builds may be able to get more life with a Jah + FHR charm setup than of Shael + life charm setup; you’ll have to try it/calculate it yourself; thanks to Grooner for this snippet). However, if you need more IAS for trap laying, you can find a jewel to help you reach the breakpoint. In even weapon with open sockets, fill with Um runes for more Open Wounds. Facets just aren’t that useful here.

Venom and Physical Damage Spectrum

While it is assumed that Ghosts should automatically be built to use Venom as the main source of damage, variants emphasizing physical damage are extremely effective. The theory behind the physical damage variant is that while Venom only hits once every 10 frames, each of your two claws will hit every 4 frames, about 2.5x during the duration of the venom. That means that any sort of damage bonus you get from physical damage charms and equipment will have much more “effective” damage than bonuses for Venom.

There is no clear cut winner though. Venom builds are much better for ES Sorcs and Necros with Bone Armor, while physical damage is much better for Vita characters, especially in team duel situations with Amp; they both break about even for block characters. When you switch from a Venom emphasized build to a physical build, you lose a lot of +skills in both the charm and equipment switches. However, you get more life from the nature of using SC’s over GC’s, and also more innate AR without a fool’s claw. There is also room for builds in the middle of these two, which is why I called it a “spectrum”. So, like I said above, I'll let you pick which build to go for.

Here are some general examples/setups for Venom and physical oriented Ghosts:

Venom Oriented Ghost

  • 2/20/2 Circlet (Shael + 15 IAS |15 RES jewel)
  • Mara’s Ammy
  • 40% IAS Fool’s Modded Greater Talons (2 Um’s) [primary]
  • Chaos Runeword Greater Talons [secondary]
  • Trang’s Gloves
  • Spider Sash
  • 10 FCR | Life | Mana | STAT | RES Ring
  • Raven Frost
  • FRW | FHR | STAT | RES Boots
  • Sin Torch and Anni
  • 9 Lifer | FHR Shadow GC’s
  • 10 Iron SC’s of Vita (AR | Life SC’s)

Physical Damage Oriented Ghost

  • 2/20 Rare Circlet (Shael/Jah)
  • Highlords
  • Runic Talon Fury [primary]
  • Feral Claw Chaos [secondary]
  • Trang’s Gloves
  • Spider Sash
  • 10 FCR | Life | Mana | STAT | RES Ring
  • Raven Frost
  • FRW | FHR | STAT | RES Boots
  • Sin Torch and Anni
  • 2 Lifer | FHR Shadow GC’s
  • 31 3/20/20 SC’s
Last edited:


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
5. Tactics


Ghosts 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-Blade Fury
  • D-Mindblast
  • F-Whirlwind
  • G-WoF
  • H-Blade Shield
  • J-Venom
  • 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

General Tactics

DoD- Stands for Dance of Death. This is more than just a flurry of short whirlwinds. It is a pattern of whirlwinds (triangle for the most part), where you whirlwind around the enemy, all the while staying within hitting range. The shape doesn’t really matter, but as long as you’re not just going back and forth over them, it’s fine. The benefit of the DoD is that when you’re going along the outside, straight projectiles will not hit you when they namelock you while you’re whirlwinding them. Make sure you change your DoD whirls so that you stay over the target if they try and run away.

Secondary Melee Attack- This group of attacks consists mainly of Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw, or Normal Attack, basically any short ranged melee attack will do. These attacks hit fast enough to stunlock the character, but the benefit comes in you not needing to move while attacking, allowing you to utilize minion stack. With the Shadow Master stacked on top of you, you will be impervious to most missiles, especially bone spirits. You can use this tactic when fighting any stunnable character that focuses on teleport to move and fires single target missiles. Whirlwind will always deal better damage, so try and use this secondary attack only when you need to dodge missiles. Remember that you must have your shadow casted for this to work.

Namelock- Clicking on the character and using that to target. You MUST be able to namelock well, or you won’t be able to get a good stun. Namelock is also necessary for the teleport after you cast the WoF+MB so that you land on top of the enemy, allowing you to start whirling right away.

Chainlock- Chainlocking is just what the name implies: it’s the chaining of your namelock after you teleport. This is achieved by moving your cursor back to the center of your screen, allowing you to reclick on your target the moment after you teleport. Because you will have had NL, the teleport will bring you right on top of the target, so the cursor at the center of your screen will be ready to re-acquire the target. Use this when you are chaining MB together in team duels, or when you use your secondary melee attack. Be careful about getting into a habit of CL’ing after you tele, because you may accidently WW lock if you click on the target after teleporting.

Teleport- Don’t run to move places. You need to be offensive, so teleport is much faster. Claw block also stops working when you run. Use this instead of Dragon Flight for movement. Remember that this is what makes you a Ghost and not a WW sin.

Dragon Flight- Dragon flight is ridiculously slow. After you cast and kick, there is still an animation delay, meaning you are sitting there lowering your leg back to the ground while you are standing there. This leaves you open to any retaliation after the kick if the person blocks or isn’t stunned. The damage is also minimal. Using it for movement is bad too, since the range in DF has been reduced to about 15 yards. Teleport is much better, as the speed and range is better, and it allows you to go right into WW or MB when you land. Try not to use dragon flight as a crutch when can’t namelock. You need to namelock with MB + Traps before you pounce on them anyway, because pouncing on a character without stun is usually very bad as Ghosts can’t out-damage most characters. I only recommend using it when you are sure it will kill, i.e. when open wounds has brought the other character to 1 life.

Shadow Master- Always have one up. They MB like crazy, help you tank, stun, and minion stack. At higher levels, the fade + innate resistance makes them immune to elemental attacks.

Open Wounds- Although this damage source does not show up on the character screen, it is a quintessential for the effectiveness of the ghost. The weapons the ghost uses will stack very high percentages of Open Wounds, and will trigger on almost every whirlwind. Open Wounds is conceptually a “negative health regeneration”, and lasts for 8 seconds. The damage is unresistable, and cancels out health regeneration while active. Open Wounds will stop when the enemy reaches one life, one more attack will be necessary for the kill.

Mind Blast- Mind blast is one of the most important skills to the ghost. Don’t be afraid to apply it liberally. Along with being essential for the stun, mind blast is a great combo with the open wounds. Characters will escape from your stun once in a while, but when they do that, the OW will work its magic while they retreat. OW will not kill, but that’s where MB comes in. After OW deals its damage, there is a good chance that the character is only at single digit life. While it may be hard to get another WW hit on the character, you can still kill the character, using just a simple mind blast (Shadow Masters are great at this as well). Because of the high level MB on a ghost, it will actually do noticeable damage. MB will be a great killer for minion stacked characters at low life, as MB is an area of effect skill and will hit the character even if he has minions stacked above him. Just as a note, MB is a physical attack, so a Necro’s bone armor WILL absorb it.

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. The reason I like PH is for killing OW-inflicted targets that cannot be killed with MB, like necros with Bone Armor. Although the damage on PH is lower, it is magical damage, and does not get absorbed by Bone Armor or DR, allowing you to blow through the necro’s defenses and take care of that bit of remaining life.

Stunning- A very important element of ghost play. The damage output on the ghosts is on the lower side compared to most other characters, but it more than makes up for it with its ability to stun. WoF + MB will stun lock the character, as MB leaves a swirly animation that puts the character into stun animation every time it takes damage. With WoF hitting, most characters are completely stunlocked with just 2 WoF's shooting fire. Don't sit and spam traps because it’s not necessary, especially with the NextDelay nerf. WW with the stun swirly will also stun lock.

BE OFFENSIVE- While camping in your WoF circle may seem like an awesome strategy, it doesn’t work, unless you’re fighting a charger or something of that sort. WoF is hard to see, and so it works very well as an offensive stun skill. If you apply pressure, you can control the duel. If you allow the caster to create distance, you’ll just force yourself to run through more of its spam as you attack. Because of the ghost’s ability to stun, keeping pressure on the target will actually lower the risk to you if done correctly, as counter-intuitive as that may be.

Widowmaker- This bow is not a necessity, but vs. camping trappers and pure hammerdins and the sort, it does have its uses. This bow will force the other character to attack you. When ghosts can play defensively, it will make it much easier to get a full trap stun going. Try it out. It’s a matter of preference. I have found it invaluable vs. certain characters.

The ghost’s bread and butter is just a rinse and repetition of MB + WOF for stun, then teleport and WW. The tough part is getting the initial stun and then the transition to the whirling. The style of the stun -> whirl is up to you. Some people constantly apply the stun, throwing in a few whirls in between the traps and MB to keep the stun. I just go for straight whirls after I catch with traps and MB, even after the traps wear off, because with just the MB swirly animation and tight DoD’s, you can stunlock a character, and the kill comes faster. However, this is probably not what you want to do if you have trouble getting the initial locks.


Guide Author
Dec 24, 2019
6. Class-Specific Dueling

I'm going to start off with casters, because they are what the ghost is built for. The videos are there solely for didactic reasons, so you may find them slightly "dumbed down" and slow.


All Types:


Ghost vs. Sorc is the same no matter what build they are. Teleport to close in using a semi-circle or spiral pattern, until you are in range to namelock. Lay 1-2 traps and mindblast them until they're stunned, then quickly teleport in and start whirling. If your whirls are short enough, the MB stun swirly + whirlwind hits will be enough to block/lock stun. The WoF is there to help you keep the sorc in place until you start your whirls. If the sorc casts blizz or meteor over itself, stun them and then shoot blade fury until the blizz/meteor wears off, or just MB them out of the blizz/meteor. You'll be amazed at how effective just the blade fury is.




Use the same strategy as sorcs. You *may* want to use BoS to counter the effect the golem slow has on your trap laying speed. Vita necs will go down pretty easily, as no block with MB/WW will stun them like mad. Block necs will be a little more trouble. Make sure you have trap stun supplementing your WW stun, as block necs may be able to get out of your WW if there are no traps helping you keep them in place. Defensive necs will be hard to get the stun, but if you drive them into corners you will be able to get them. Use corners and range to your advantage, as your attacks are instantaneous, instead of projectiles-based, which take time to get to the target.


You may also want to try and utilize your secondary melee attack here, as when you teleport on a necro with shadow stacked on top of you, any spirits that had you locked will pass through you. With this technique, after you trap/MB the necro, CL tele on top of the necro and attack with your secondary melee skill, set to the left mouse button. Using the left button allows you to CL very quickly if the necro manages to tele out. If you see the necro start to counter it by walk/running away, whirl along with his movement. At the very least, using this strategy will force the necro to run and lower his block and defense. The combination of these two attacks when dueling a necro is extremely effective. The video above illustrates this tactic.

Summon (with or without poison nova):


These necs will be very annoying to duel, but their damage is very low so its still not that bad of a duel. The great thing is that MB and WoF are splash attacks. If you namelock the necro, you will stun the entire pack. Once you stun the necro + minions, you can MB the necro until you push him away from his minions. Once that happens, tele and WW and focus on just him. He'll go down much sooner than his summons. Just make sure the nec stays stunned or you'll have to separate him from his minions again.




Ghosts are very good against the druid because druids have low FHR and cast, and the WoF and MB counter their short range attacks well. However, they are still dangerous if they catch you before you can stun them. Make sure that when you are pursuing them, your traps are close enough to you so that they can fire back at you if the druid jumps on you. Basically what that ends up looking like is the ghost teleporting so that the druid is on screen, placing a trap between the druid and the ghost, and then MBing the druid until the WoF hits. That way, if the druid jumps on you before you achieve stun, the WoF can still fire backwards and protect you. This duel is the same as vs. any other caster. The oak will be basically immune to you in NM, but it shouldn't matter if the stun is done correctly. If the druid is a max block druid, reapply the traps. Druids may be able to tank/out damage you if you whirl without stun helping you keep them from shooting tornados.

Fire Elemental:

These should be just giant punching bags. You probably won't even need WoF for this duel. Just namelock MB, tele and then WW.


If the druid is purely melee, if WW perpendicularly away from the druid as it runs after you. That way, the WW will hit but they will not. It's kind of a useless duel, but it happens anyway.




These are very easy. The ghost is anti-caster, but as a result, also totally anti-zon. Don't bother with more than 1 WoF here either. Circle in with tele, corner namelock with MB and go straight into short WWs. The zon will have low life and poison res, and should get block/dodged locked pretty easily. If the zon manages to desync out of your WW, just MB while they're running away and repeat. Make sure your whirls are short and that you're constantly applying pressure via MB, so that they don't have time to pull out the bow and throw a few arrows your way. They shouldn't be much of a problem.


Treat these like a caster as well. WoF + MB to stun, then WW them. If the javazon FC's, then don't bother with traps. Just MB from far away, tele and WW. Make sure you stay on them or they'll hit you with more CS. If you need to, you can put on Tgods or something of that sort, but you'll be able to tank more hits than other characters from the full RES and clawblock. They shouldn't be able to shoot anymore after you start whirling.




Here, you'll want to practice hit and run, utilizing your open wounds for damage. Basically, dueling a hammerdin will be achieving stun lock to stop the hammer spam for a few instants, long enough for you to tele in and make a quick WW pass. When I say WW pass, I mean a short-medium length whirl southward, so you dodge the hammers that come out as you teleport/whirl (hammers come from the 9 o'clock position on paladins and continue to travel clockwise from there). Don't DoD here. Just get out of hammer range. If you catch them charging, whirl in the direction they are charging, so you make use of the lowered block when they run/charge along with your whirl. To counter tele/hammers, have 1-2 traps nearby at all times, as once you get the MB swirly the paladin, the traps will be able to cover you from tele/hammers and other short range passes/attacks.

What I do now vs. hammerdins is to teleport offensively (but stay out of hammer range), place 1-2 traps under me for protection, then MB the hammerdin. If the hammerdin starts to charge, teleport and WW with the charge. Otherwise, start laying traps + MB, and wait either for them to charge or for the traps to start firing before you tele whirl. Just remember that both hammerdins and ghosts are short range attackers, so you can/have to wait for the right time to attack. There's no rush in these duels, since the hammers will not hit you if you keep your distance. If you find the paladin is just trying to out-spam you by just standing in one place and spamming hammers, you can use your secondary melee attack here as well. After you do your short whirl to the south, if you see the hammerdin still standing there spamming, you can attack him with your melee skill from the south. Because the range on the claws is very short, you be able to hit the paladin from below while the hammers curve around you. Just make sure you teleport/whirl away when you see the paladin shift positions.

There's also the option of a widowmaker here, especially if the paladin is pure hammer. Be very careful on bow switch, especially if the hammerdin equips a charge weapon, as you will have no claw block to protect you.


Keep in mind that they can deal damage with charge. Play with the same strategy as vs. hammerdins, but if you ever see the paladin charge at you, WW perpendicularly away like you would against a zealot/smiter/druid. Hammer damage on a Lib will be lower, but still will deal very good damage.


Same strategy as with hammerdin. The FoH will not pose much of a threat if you're mind blasting them constantly. Most mages actually have very little DR, so they will be easier than full fledged hammerdins.



These can actually be hard if you try and DoD them. They have insane defense and AR, and with your relatively low AR and defense, you may fall victim. Just do short clip WW's or blade fury if they shift zeal, or whirl perpendicularly away if they come after you.


Grief smite is extremely strong. If the paladin is a pure smite, this duel is very simple. You can WW perpendicularly away from the smiter, so that the smites won't hit but your WW's will. If they shift smite, shoot blade furies to get them to move, or use the time to apply traps + MB. Make sure you have a complete stun lock before you tele in them though, because grief smite hurts. However, once you hit the first time, open wounds will trigger, and the smiter will not sit in MB spam. Just remember that if you try and DoD, the Grief smite will out damage you.



You'll have to use hit and run here again. You can't treat them as a pure smiter because the FoH can hit you while you WW away. However, because the V\T's FoH isn't spammable, you'll have more time to apply the stun. Lay 2 traps under the smiter or under you, and MB. After they're stunned, teleport and to another medium length WW, but this time to the north. Namelock teleport puts you slightly to the north of the target, so if you WW north right away after teleport, you should be right out of range as the smite goes off. Rinse and repeat. This will be another hard duel.




This is an amazingly flashy duel, but its pretty simple when you break it down. If you boil all the graphics down, it ends up being very similar to BvB as Sins that are whirling cannot be stunned. The main objective is to catch/stun the other sin when they aren't whirling, by MB namelocking and short whirling right away. Other than that there isn't too much strategy that's worth mentioning, except to watch your opponent's life. If you feel open wounds will be able to kill the other sin, duct tape down MB and just keep the sin away while you wait for MB + OW to finish her off. The most effective defense vs. a ghost is to be whirling when you sense the other ghost teleporting, to keep from being caught off guard, or at least exchanging blow for blow. As is the same with other same-class duels, the strategies are just something you have to test and try out for yourself. You may find a use for Blade Fury after dueling a few times.

Lightning Trappers:


This will be a hard duel. You might want to use BoS here to increase your whirlwind speed if you have max Lightning resistance without Fade. LS has longer range, and will claw block you if they hit, so you'll have to be very careful. Use the corners, and float around the outside of their traps, laying a few WoF from the corners of your screen to force the trapper to move from the traps. Once you get them to move far enough from the traps to get a MB lock, cast a few and tele-whirl. If you have MB swirly on them and your whirls are small enough, you can stun lock them with just WW. If you DoD or whirl perpendicular to the trap shot direction, you'll be able to dodge all the LS while you hit them. If they manage to get away, or you see that you're in a bad position, don't be afraid to teleport out and make some more distance before you take another pass. You can also WW out of traps, since you are unstunnable when you are whirling. The open wounds will deal very good damage while you retreat momentarily.

You can also put on a widowmaker on as a second switch, which will force the trapper to be relatively offensive; making it much easier. Give yourself some distance, lay some traps at points you predict the trapper would teleport, and shoot GA's. If the trapper comes after you, try and land an MB on her. If the trapper gets stunned, switch to claw and go in for some whirls. Don't be afraid to keep your distance if you have a widowmaker, but just remember that WW is much stronger, so always switch to WW if the situation is right.


These sins are actually pretty tough to beat. Hybrids that duel ghosts will most likely end up being a camping trapper that just WW's away from you when you try and attack. Here you'll just have to apply more damage than they do. The traps will be slightly weaker than pure trappers, and they won't constantly apply MB, so the duel may be easier in some sense. Just try and quickly teleport in, and go straight after them with WW. Keep whirling after them and use the WW to dodge the traps while going after the other assassin. Just keep in mind that your WW out-damages theirs, so anytime both of you guys are whirling at each other, it's a winning situation.

Fire Trappers/Bombers:

These will be extremely easy. Claw block will block the WoF + fire blasts, plus you won't get your WW stopped by the WoF+MB. You get the picture.




These are the bane of your existence. They have more damage, more life, more AR, and more DEF. Your best hope is to go prebuff high level venom and slap on your Bramble/Fort setup and Angelics. You will be able to defeat the bad barbs, but any barb with equipment equal to yours will give you quite a lot of trouble. Physical damage ghosts will fair better here than poison ones, but the gear must be quite good before winning will be a possibility. You can try to hit and run with OW, but most likely they'll trigger OW on you too, and with your lower life, it'll just work against you. That's just how it is. Ghosts have to have a weakness somewhere right?

As with the trapper, you also have the option to slap on a widowmaker here and switch things up. Throw WoF on the floor around you, and keep moving. If you Nef your widowmaker, you'll have a much better chance. Don't worry about fully stunning the barb with MB, just cast it on him once in a while whenever you see him without a swirly (the shadow will help with that as well). Lay down traps and fire arrows, and keep your shadow stack up. The most important thing here is to stay mobile and to never let the barb have a chance to get a good whirl on you. Dodging his NL's will be a much better tactic than trying to stun him completely before firing arrows. This is one of those duels where you'll need to just wear him down. Just make sure to watch out for desync whirls.

Team Dueling

Ghosts are often underestimated in team duels. It's true that the damage output isn't very high, but the ghost is extremely good at what it does: stunning and killing casters. Stick to what you're good at and let your teammates take care of what you can't handle. In a team duel environment, it's even harder for your opponent to dodge your WoF's. You can stun an entire team if you micro well, and let your teammates kill them as you hold them all at bay. Act mainly as a stunne7. My Ghost

Name: Namelock
Lvl 92 Assassin

Major Stats:

  • 4102 life/ 638 mana with non-buffed BO (lvl 14)
  • 7130 WW AR
  • 3478-4610/2379-3214 WW Damage (Chaos/Fury)
  • 34% + 33% DS (items) + 23% DS (Mastery) = 75% effective total DS
  • Max resistance in Hell + 50% DR with Fade.
  • 60% Claw Block
  • 9 FPA trap laying speed with fade
  • 65 FCR BP
  • 48 FHR BP


  • 2 Sin | 20 FCR | 5% life (Jah) | 10 DEX | 8 MAX | 24-45 fire damage | 18 all RES Circlet
  • Highlords Ammy
  • 10 FCR | 78 AR | 6 life leach | 10 life | 78 mana | 21 LR Ring
  • 248 | 20 Raven Frost Ring
  • Gothic Plate Enigma Armor
  • Trang’s Glove
  • Arachnid's Belt
  • Imp Shanks Boots (30 FRW | 20 FHR | 18 STR | 49 LR | 35 FR | 22 PR)
  • Feral Fury (with +3Venom and +3LS) Claw
  • Ebugged Suwayyah Chaos Claw



8. Special Thanks

  • 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.
  • Haakon (Glory) for adding international flare.
  • Gurjit (rage-pvp) for *emotional* support.
  • Alex (hippo) for being psuedo-black.
  • Eric (revivial) for finally reaching QQbaals-26.
  • Russ (World_Funeral) for being my butt buddy.
  • Nick (Aminal) for grieving so much.
  • EJ for being the victim in the videos.
  • Grooner for actually reading.
  • Zharous for all your d2tables.
  • Buck (G-Code) for teaching me my culture.
  • David (hi1mdav1d) for being a movie star.
  • All of Temple, for just being there.

Please leave comments/suggestions/questions. Thanks for reading.r, but help out killing the fast casters and druids. Again, to reiterate, whirling is a great source of stun as well. Dodge the barbs. Team dueling is just all about finding your niche.