Runeword Bonanza Sept – Progress and Theorycrafting

PhineasB

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As I mentioned in the 99er write up for Quinta, my most recent untwinked 99er, I have a list of builds that I would like to try out or rebuild from my 7x7+2 with the better gear I now have. I’ve had a Druid parked in A5 N, with the goal of using the eTomby I made after Phaedrus hit 99 at the end of 2018. And after finishing the Runeword Grail when Pestilence hit 99 last year, I realized my stashes are full of fun toys that are worth using.

So I decided to kill three birds with one stone: tick off some of those builds, use as many high-end runewords as possible, and do a themed Sept. Hence, the Runeword Bonanza Sept.

In terms of “rules,” the only one is that each character must equip a Jah+ value runeword for end-game build (this can include two Bers), but Enigma and Infinity (equipped on the merc) don’t count. I will also try to diversify the runewords to use as many as possible across the Sept. Also, the eTomby counts for purposes of the Druid :) I will also try to keep at least at p3 for Hell and plan to full-clear every A85 area when questing through (otherwise they may quest through directly rather than full-clearing everything).

I’ll post Pat/Mat write ups separately, but track progress and get feedback on build and gear here. I won’t be progressing more than two characters at a time, so doing updates here shouldn’t be too confusing. A high-level summary of my current build/gear concept for each class is below, following by more detail on each. Feedback is most welcome!
Sept completed 6/20/20

* * *

Amazon
Gear: Ice bow, nightwings, CoH, razortail, Windforce switch, rare/crafted gloves with IAS / mana leech, war trav boots, SoJ, ravenfrost, mana leech ammy

I thought about Wrath or Brand on switch, and may play around with those options when the time comes. I’m not sure this will work for mana management, so the other gear may get used. I may also Cham a Nightwings to free up the second ring slot for another SoJ to help with mana. I also have several 2/20 bow skills crafted hitpower gloves, but none have mana leech. This may necessitate a crafting spree.

Assassin
Gear: Enigma (Dragon Flight is fun, but Enigma has great mods for this build and simplifies mobility while adding MF = win), Stormshield/Spirit, Shadowdancers (Gores are better, but I’ve never used the TC87 item), Guillame’s, String of Ears/Verdungo, etc.

I haven’t really thought through the supporting gear, so this will get more attention once she starts moving. Merc will have Infinity to address any AR issues from BF and make Death Sentry more powerful.

Barbarian
Gear: Last Wish/Azurewrath. I haven’t really thought this through and suspect there are better options for second weapon, but think it would be fun to use. Leveling to 85 for end-game gear is the main hesitation though. I also plan to have Famine and Eternity on switch to use them.

I may skip merc due to Frenzy, or more likely Barb merc (eDeath?) or Cold Rogue (Faith).

Druid
Gear (Fury/Rabies): Grief, Fortitude, Jalal’s, Gores, SoE, LoH, Highlord’s, Ravenfrost, dual leech ring, Sharp GCs with sust/vita mods and 2 resist GCs with low roll Fine SCs with secondary mods

Gear (eTomby Fury): eTomby, Enigma/Fortitude, Gores, SoE, LoH, Highlord’s/Metalgrid, Ravenfrost, dual leech ring, mix of Shapeshifting skillers and best Sharp GCs, with resist SCs

Merc has Reaper’s, eth Vamp with shimmering charm, and Treachery.

He ticks off two builds I wanted to make, as I consider the extended leveling in the Pit as Grief wielding Fury/Rabies build sufficient. I’m going with no shield to avoid annoying block animation with fury, and it’s working pretty well. I’ll post on update on him summarizing this progress later this weekend.

Necromancer
Gear: eBotD, Enigma (to keep Golem, merc, and revives close), Guillame’s, etc. Definitely CtA switch for this guy. Merc will have Pride, Fortitude and Vamp/Andy’s. Beyond that, I haven’t really worked through the rest of the gear, but his charms will likely focus on vita and I will aim for 86 FHR breakpoint.

Paladin
Gear: Haven’t given it much thought, but I plan to use Exile (to use it) and may throw on a Dream helm even though it’s not nearly as strong with just one of those. But he can synergize the Holy Shock and Holy Freeze easily enough with this build. Merc will have Destruction to use it.

Sorceress
Gear: eth Infinity Scythe (need the base), Griffon’s (faceted), Arachnids, Magefist, Vipermagi (faceted), FCR ring/amy, +skills. I thought about energy shield, but I’ve never really gotten comfortable with that skill and a backup for unbreakable LIs will be good so I don’t just teleport past everything. Merc will be Insight of course.
 
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PhineasB

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Druid: Reaver (eTomby Fury) with Pratham (Reaper’s Might A2 merc)
Status: Level 85, Kurast Docks, Act III Hell

This guy had been parked in A5 Normal for more than a year, with the goal of eventually wielding the eTomby. He’s now obtained that goal. Druids are, for me, the least tedious class for progressing a new character due to Feral Rage: maxed on right click with twinking gear allows quick and safe progressing, even through the end of NM.

Progress through Nightmare
Reaver followed my standard twinking gear progression (full rundown is in this post): envy gear -> +damage jewel weapon and other +damage gear with Fine GCs -> Bonesnap -> Shael’ed Ribby. He blitzed through Normal on p7, only completing necessary quests, with Feral Rage doing its thing.

I picked him back up in A5 Normal two weeks ago, doing an Act per evening after work, and then finishing NM last weekend, all on p7 or p8. He kept improving gear as he leveled (Jalal’s, Ravenfrost, Gores, Fortitude, etc.) until he got the upped Shael’ed Ribby. That with max’ed Feral Rage and Werewolf and near maxed Lycanthropy is sheer power. NM HF was a Lem.

Fury/Rabies: Leveling to 84 in the Pit
After taking down NM Baal, he respec’ed to Fury/Rabies. I decided to build him his own Grief (meh on the roll, +352, but it was plenty powerful enough), and skip the shield to avoid issues with block and interruptible Fury. I also dusted off the eth Vamp that I finally found with one of my 99ers, and he used one of his socket quests with a rare jewel with scintillating mod and +min damage.

The merc still had Obedience, and the crew quested to Outer Cloister on p7. The Rabies wasn’t particularly useful at high p-setting, but it was effectively an area of effect PMH. We then tackled the Pit, dropping to p5 initially due to being very under-leveled relative to monsters.

Once the merc could equip Reaper’s, it was relatively smooth sailing, and we bumped back up to p7 around level 78. He experienced his first death at level 82, with a triple pack of 2 skeletons (fanaticism and might) and a pack of dark archers (extra strong mod, among others). It was manageable and I thought he could prevail until amp triggered (I hadn’t noticed that mod apparently). Oops.

With one exception, there were no useful finds, which is hardly surprising with 0 MF. The useful find was quite nice:
H A1 (Cham).jpg
He reached lvl 84 after another hour or so of Pit runs yesterday following my initial post. His final stats, etc. for Fury/Rabies build is in the first spoiler with a summary of gear in the second.
Code:
Name:       Reaver
Class:      Druid
Experience: 967820023
Level:      84

Naked/Gear
Strength:   75/101
Dexterity:  117/138
Vitality:   293/293
Energy:     20/40
HP:         755/1059
Mana:       186/226
Stamina:    435/455
Defense:    29/2346
AR:         555/25578

Fire:       159/119/59
Cold:       131/91/31
Lightning:  172/132/72
Poison:     148/108/48

MF:         0       Block:      14
GF:         0
FR/W:       37
FHR:        57
IAS:        79
FCR:        25

Raven: 1/4
Poison Creeper: 20/23
Oak Sage: 1/4
Summon Spirit Wolf: 1/4
Carrion Vine: 0/0
Heart of Wolverine: 0/0
Summon Dire Wolf: 1/4
Solar Creeper: 0/0
Spirit of Barbs: 0/0
Summon Grizzly: 1/4

Werewolf: 20/29
Lycanthropy: 20/29
Werebear: 0/0
Feral Rage: 1/10
Maul: 0/0
Rabies: 6/15
Fire Claws: 0/0
Hunger: 0/0
Shock Wave: 0/0
Fury: 20/29

Firestorm: 0/0
Molten Boulder: 0/0
Arctic Blast: 0/0
Fissure: 0/0
Cyclone Armor: 0/0
Twister: 0/0
Volcano: 0/0
Tornado: 0/0
Armageddon: 0/0
Hurricane: 0/0
Code:
Grief (no shield)
No switch
Jalal’s (Um)
Fortitude Archon Plate ([email protected])
LoH
SoE
Gore Riders
Highlord’s
Ravenfrost (250/19)
Dual leech rare ring with AR and Lightning Resists

Backpack:
- 3 Spiritual Skillers with Vita (40), FHR, and FRW
- Sharp GCs with life or other useful mods
- Low roll Fine SCs with useful secondary mods
- Cube
- TP and ID tomes
- 3x1 open
eTomby Fury: Progress through A2
Reaver then used his NM respec to equip his namesake:
Code:
Tomb Reaver
Cryptic Axe
Two Hand Damage: 218 - 1001
Durability: 33 of 33
Required Level: 84
Required Strength: 155
Required Dexterity: 93
Fingerprint: 0xf93c46a9
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Indestructible
+90% Increased Attack Speed
345% Enhanced Damage
+153% Damage to Undead
+272 to Attack Rating against Undead
All Resistances +37
10% Reanimate as: Returned
+11 Life after each Kill
58% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+4 to Light Radius Ethereal
3 Sockets (3 used)
Socketed: Ruby Jewel of Fervor
Socketed: Zod Rune
Socketed: Ruby Jewel of Fervor

Ruby Jewel of Fervor
Jewel
Required Level: 58
Fingerprint: 0x8e58b40e
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+15% Increased Attack Speed
39% Enhanced Damage

Zod Rune
Required Level: 69
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Weapons: Indestructible Armor: Indestructible Shields: Indestructible

Ruby Jewel of Fervor
Jewel
Required Level: 58
Fingerprint: 0x9e8b49c4
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+15% Increased Attack Speed
36% Enhanced Damage
Due to the resists, he dropped Jalal’s for Guillame’s socketed with a Scintillating jewel, and dropped SoE for Verdungo’s and a better dual leech ring. He also swapped out Sharp GCs/Fine SCs for Shapeshifting skillers and Shimmering SCs, including some with FHR that got him to the 86 FHR breakpoint with Verdungos. He also equipped the pestilent SC of pestilence I have, just because.

It was smooth sailing to Andy, who fell in less than 5 seconds. Especially if he keeps Feral Rage active, he 1-2 hit almost everything through A1.

The Spirit is next to useless at p7, even when maxed, dying almost as soon as it’s recast when engaged with multiple monsters. So I used the Hell respect to drop the Spirit and shifted those points into Dire Wolf, with the rest going into Grizzly whose at >4000 HP now and quite the tank.

On to A2! The ED to undead on Tomb Reaver is really nice, making easy work of the sewers. In the Maggot Lair, the tanky Grizzly was quite useful, occupying a corridor of PI monsters (the swarm-type) without noticeable drop in HP, while Reaver and Pratham slowly whittled these two overlapping, unbreakable PI sandworm bosses down (boss #1, boss #2). I didn’t have PI solution equipped because I’d decided to go with Azurewrath (socketed with rare jewel with -requirements and elemental damage), and 3os HHG with elemental jewels. But he was still level 84, so couldn’t use Azurewrath yet.

Arcane Sanctuary was actually fun, even though I picked wrong and the Summoner was on the fourth arm (the non-linear one). Azurewrath was equip-able by then, and keeping Feral Rage active allowed for reasonable Fury speed on the Azurewrath switch, so Ghosts were easy even if the merc’s decrep hadn’t proc’ed. Duriel fell very quickly.

* * *

He’s full cleared all A85 areas so far, and will keep that up, plus clear all Temples in A3 and all underground areas in A5, including the weird portal areas. He’s been a blast so far with his end-game set up, actually better than I’d expected.
 

PhineasB

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Druid: Reaver (eTomby Fury) with Pratham (Reaper’s Might A2 merc)
Status: Patriarch
Patriarch Reaver.jpg
Reaver pushed through the last three Acts of Hell, maintaining p7 for the entire playthrough. He is the first Pat/Mat in this Sept, full clearing all A85 areas, plus all A3 Temples and A5 underground areas.

Act 3 was Act 3, but not at all dangerous. Feral Rage to keep up faster run walk through jungle areas, semi-cautious progress through Sewers and Durance in case of nasty doll boss packs (there were many in Sewers). The only drop of note for the playthrough aside from Cham and HF runes was Eschuta’s in Durance 2. Meph fell in less than 5 seconds.

Act 4 presented a few unbreakable PI bosses, but no real challenges. Hephasto had an otherwise nasty roll, but not an issue for Reaver when the decrep triggered. HF was an Um, and CS was easily cleared before taking down Diablo in less than 5 seconds (yes, it’s a theme). Drop was junk.

Act 5 presented more of a challenge. Abaddon had Blood Lords and witches, including this nasty unbreakable Blood Lord boss who shredded the merc before we retreated and were able to use a bridge to bottle them up and get decrep to proc in order to take down the pack before switching to Azurewrath to finish the boss. There was another Blood Lord boss, but he was easily managed.

Anya rescue was nasty, with gloams and witches (plus the Drifter types). Multiple gloam boss packs were involved, including this urn spawn where I missed the boss for the screenie. He experienced his first and only death here, with overlapping gloam and witch boss pack, with might and fanaticism. I managed to recover the corpse somehow without second death (yay Grizzly with >4000 HP :p), but didn’t get a screenie of them.

Icy Cellar had PI and CI witches (and Abominable types, I think), and took a lot of finesse due to amp. There was also some Might mixed in. Here’s a pic of a champ pack that was not too scary (so a screenie was taken). Ancients Way had Nightlords, quill rats, and the lightning ball spitting dogs, but no real trouble. Then Drifter Cavern had gloams and witches, with some hit and run needed to whittle down the packs but no real concerns.

My pala-bear with dual Dream had taken on amp’ed Ancients at p8 without worry, so I initially planned to take on the first roll. Reaver was not so strong when amp triggered :rolleyes: and was quickly headed to a second death, so we re-rolled and second spawn didn’t have amp (Korlic, Talic, Madawc). Easy, and only 2 mana pots needed for mana burn.

WSK rolls were fairly easy, at least for this build, with death lords and witches for WSK 1; vipers, skeleton mages, and OKs for WSK2; and stranglers, flayers and OKs for WSK3. OKs are actually easy rolls for him :) Same for waves, until Lister, who had to be drawn out due to amp, but was easily dispatched at that point. Actually, that was the story for Reaver. He was fine and plenty safe, until amp triggered in nasty packs, especially with witches and hard-hitting PIs (and the one nasty might combo of witches and gloams).

Baal fell in short order (right around 5 seconds!), and he reached Pat, before taking down Nihl. Nihl’s level rolled witches and Vipers, and took some care, but not too bad to draw out monsters from the platform to allow him to dodge red stars of death before taking out Nihl. Pat write up for Reaver is here.

Next up is the Warrior Monk Assassin:
Assassin: Cat (Warrior Monk) with Haseen (Infinity Might A2 merc)
Status: Act II Hell

It turned out that I had another untwinked assassin parked in Act 5 Normal, and she was already spec'ed as a kicker. So I twinked her out, and moved through pretty quickly with direct playthrough in Nightmare. She could start equipping some key gear in A4 NM and into A5 NM, such as Fury claw, Enigma, and Highlord's. She hit 71 at NM Baal, so she got Shadow Dancers at the start of Hell, while Haseen picked up Infinity.

It took awhile to get used to the Warrior Monk play style again, switching between shurikens and kicks, and I'm still not 100% there. CtA and Enigma certainly make things more comfortable, but mainly I still need to play with hotkey configuration. So she's likely going to level to 80 in the Pit.

This build is not as strong as Reaver, so I dropped things to p5 part way through the Act. I suspect she will need to drop to p3 for later Acts. I also am pretty sure that Shadow Dancers are not as strong as Gore Riders. The +2 Shadow skills and FHR don't seem to make up for open wounds, crushing blow and deadly strike (although she's at 85% effective rate without Gore Riders, due to Highlords, Fury, and Claw Mastery, unless I am missing something on how critical and deadly strike interact).
 
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PhineasB

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I haven't forgotten about this. I definitely plan to make some vids of the eTomby Druid and Assassin (especially now that I have a new computer that can record without causing the occasional lag). And I've gotten some playtime in, with Cat clearing A2 H uneventfully. More significantly, I progressed Precious, my formerly dedicated mule into NM as the Golemancer to be.

Necromancer: Precious (eBotD Golemancer to be) with Vikhyat (Pride Might A2 merc to be)
Status: Act V Nightmare

Standard twinking gear up to Ribby. But I had not known it's possible to cast IG on elite items right away, even though the character can't equip it. For some reason I decided to give it a try on an IK maul, and it worked! Unsurprisingly, the IG sped up the play through Normal in particular, one-hitting most monsters, and was still a wrecking ball into NM. It was p7, except p1 for Durance just to simplify the dolls.

Precious could finally equip up'ed Ribby in A2 NM, but life is really low. CtA followed, but I only have +3 BO available without unequipping from another character, and the short duration without much extra +skills was a bit annoying. As noted in initial post, here was the thinking on gear:

I started looking at the weapon speed calculator, and realized he would be at 12 fpa (with Highlord's and 20 IAS gloves), unless he equipped Treachery and an IAS jewel in a helm to hit 11 fpa. The up'ed Ribby was at 13 fpa, and plenty strong but definitely at risk of getting swarmed and requiring close attention to CtA timer when wading into packs. A couple ticks faster and levels for vita (and focusing on vita gear) would help, but . . .

With the Druid Werebear Pats recently, I was curious to see how Beast might compliment the build. Werebear does much more for vita than CtA, with a longer timer. Check. He can hit 8 fpa without Treachery. Check. Enigma is less helpful due to Werebear, but he can equip Fortitude or CoH instead.

So I gave it a shot once he hit lvl 63 in RoF. Wow, quite fun. It's a little basic with RMB attack, switching to recast WB and revives as needed, and not really bothering with (or needing) curses. He just waddles around smacking things, leeching life back quickly (with CoH equipped for now to help with resists).

I then reconsidered skill allocation, and think I may max Golem Mastery and Fire Golem, and Skeletons/Mages and Mastery for crowd control, and skip all curses and bone skills, except 1 pt in amp for a PI solution. Another option would be to max revives instead of skeletons/mages for crowd control, and put the rest of the points into bone armor + 1 maxed synergy. Skeletons/mages would be easier to avoid timered minions, with skeletons seeming to offer more in the absence of Infinity or Lower Resist curse.

I'd be interested to get feedback on gear and build. The Bear approach seems pretty fun, but I plan to at least give a straight Golemancer build a shot once he can equip the eBotD at lvl 69.
 

PhineasB

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Necromancer: Precious (eBotD Ursine Golemancer) with Zanarhi (Pride Blessed Aim A2 merc)
Status: Act III Hell

Precious pressed on, and quickly and safely navigated A5 NM. We was able to equip the eBotD part way through the level, and Vihkyat got the Pride. Smooth sailing, although Lister involved a retreat due to successive knockbacks from the pack.

Hell necessitated a switch to Chains of Honor for resists (Kira's was still a few levels away). Act I was fairly smooth on p7. I gave Treachery a shot, but preferred the Werebear set up for more life. Ability to cast curses unshifted has it upsides, but the curses aren't too critical with the power from the bear. So I respec'ed to the skeletons/mastery and, as expected, they don't do much killing but are great crowd control.

Moving into Act II, chance to hit was getting dicey, hovering around 50%. I couldn't add more AR from gear due to need for IAS, and charms were focused on AR, with some needed resists. I swapped in some Steel SCs with FHR, but still fell below 50% cth in the Maggot Lair. At the end of the day, incremental AR wouldn't change things, so Vikhyat was dismissed in favor of Zanarhi, who was hired in Normal. LCS told me we were up to 90% with Blessed Aim, and killing power took a big step forward even with loss of Might.

Arcane Sanctuary was taken on p1 just to speed things up (Precious played it unshifted to simplify amp casting), but otherwise we stayed on p7, including for Duriel, who fell with 3 skeletons still remaining:
H A2 (Duriel fight).jpg

Here's vid of a Pit run after he had swapped mercs. He found a Wolfhowl at the beginning of the run before I started recording. As I said, he just waddles around smacking things :)
Current gear is below:
- eBotD
- CoH
- Nosferatu
- Guillame w RJoF (34% damage)
- Highlords
- LoH
- Gore Rider
- 2x Ravenfrost (I may drop of these now with Blessed Aim merc)
- Backback: mostly AR GCs, 2x [email protected] GCs, resist/AR SCs with FHR or strength, cube, key, 3x1 open

This allows 86 FHR, 8 fpa when shifted, and 70/20/76/53 on resists (with Ravenfrost absorb helping with cold), and he was >2000 life when shifted.

Merc:
- Pride eth GPA
- Fortitude
- Vamp w damage/resist rare jewel

IG: Windhammers that I have stored up, but I will use a Stormlash next after the lost one dropped to amp'ed Ghosts in the Tomb

He's currently level 82. I thought about going CoA with 2x fervor jewels for style, and swapping out Nos belt for Verdungo, but I'd have to respec to rebalance strength. So I think we will stick with this set up, likely dropping to p5 for A3.
 
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PhineasB

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Assassin: Cat (Warrior Monk) with Haseen (Infinity Might A2 merc)
Status: Matriarch
Mat.jpg
Cat had been left off at the start of A3 Hell. After finishing my RFL Round 2 set and doing some gearing with Death, my untwinked 99er Barb, I decided to focus on migrating stuff from old forum here and to push Cat and Precious to Mat and Pat, respectively, before returning to the untwinked 99er challenge. Voila!

She moved through A3 at p5, and downgraded to p3 for A4 and A5. Full cleared all A85 areas, as well as A3 Temples and all underground areas in A5 (minus Nihl's Halls due to saving him for last and being ready to finish).

She was plenty safe, with no deaths (and no NDEs actually), but I wasn't feeling the extra time to finish on p5. Dragon Talon and CE from Death Sentry don't scale super well, and even though her shurikens pack quite the punch (1515-1700ish per LCS with Venom active), they also don't scale to higher XP very well due to single-target nature of them.

Anyhow, she picked up a nice 3/10 pally combat amulet in A3 that will likely see some use if I level a pally in the future. Meph fell in due course, before tackling A4, which was a breeze actually compared to A3 due to fewer fast moving monsters. HF was a Lem, Infector was PI and not too tough once I drew him out from the arm. Diablo dropped quickly.

A5 was also straightforward, with the rolls making it even easier. No PIs, Gloams, or nasty Moon Lord boss rolls. She progressed to Ancients Way in one session, full clearing underground areas on the way, and then easily tackled Ancients, with easy rolls (a theme): Madawc, Talic, and Korlic.

WSK was similarly easy, with no PIs and lower life monsters that CE actually helped clear. Waves were managed easily, until Lister rolled somewhat nasty. I had muled on an Atma's to help with any PIs, and it was swapped on after taking out the pack to break the PI roll, and down he went. Baal followed very quickly. Nihl went down easily, with easy rolls again on levels 1 and 2, before safely navigating vipers with CoS. Final gear was:

- +3 BF Fury Suwayyah / Stormshield w pDiamond
- +4 BO CtA / Spirit
- Enigma
- SoE
- Guillame w Shimering jewel ([email protected]) with cold damage
- Trang's Gloves
- Gore Rider (up'ed)
- [email protected] Mara's (Atma's in backback for PI solution)
- Ravenfrost and dual leech rare
- Backback: Sustenance or Vita GCs with resists, AR, and 2 Shadow skillers; SCs were mix of resist + FHR/life and elemental damage

Max resists, really fast DTalon with BoS, hitting 48 FHR breakpoint

Merc:
- Infinity eth Thresher
- Fortitude (promptly equipped ebugged Fortitude that Death muled off)
- Vamp w realgar jewel of fervor

The Warrior Monk is quite the tanky build, and I can see why it was popular for BNet Ubers. That said, as I experienced the first time around, she doesn't scale to higher psettings very well, and the much better gear and charms didn't change that much. She also has limited MF capacity.

So she will likely be retired. I have quite a few more assassin builds left to try out with my current gear stash (dual dream kicker, aggressin, Phoenix striker with fun -eResist gear), so no real need to keep her active after using her imbue and socket quests. I will record a vid or two with her and Reaver though :)

I hope to write Mat post for her and Pat post for Precious this weekend. Precious is currently at start of A3. (Edit: Mat post is here.)
 
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PhineasB

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Necromancer: Precious (eBotD Ursine Golemancer) with Zanarhi (Pride Blessed Aim A2 merc)
Status: Patriarch
Pat.jpg
Well, Precious made it. He didn't work out quite as planned, and was a bit frustrating at the end. Not the best choices in the character design and being stubborn to keep it at p7 until Ancients Way, with Iron Golem, Skeletons, and Pride merc not scaling well to higher p-settings. So I guess I have only myself to blame.

He was super safe and reasonably quick until A5, when PI monsters or amp was introduced with any hard hitters (or red stars of death). Then the skeletons, merc and golem melted. PI were especially frustrating, and A5 turned into a bit of a chore. Might and fanaticism also were sometimes trouble depending on monsters. Pride was terrible for this build (will share more detail in Pat write up). I thought about switching out Pride for Reaper's (or actually any other polearm) multiple times. Aside from theme, it definitely would have been the better decision.

Anyhow, he plowed through A3, with a nice PI boss with amp early on, and Meph fell after clearing all the temples. Stygian hags with high physical resistance rollled, I think, every place they could in A4. Slow and steady up to the forge (Lem), and then into CS. He experienced his first death to de Seis, and I'm not 100% sure what happened. It was like he had holy freeze + decrep, but de Seis didn't have holy freeze and was amp'ed instead :rolleyes: But he just froze, maybe in stun lock. Anyhow, we retrieved the corpse safely and pressed one, with some excitement from Diablo. He targeted the MERC, I guess due to Blessed Aim and knowing Precious couldn't hit the broad side of a barn without that aura. Had to TP out and resurrect and use some purples, but he eventually fell.

Two deaths in A5 and the slog noted above. Anya rescue saw Gloams, Ghosts and witches, and I made the mistake of trying to just run to Frozenstein once Precious made it to the last arm to the platform. HF ghost boss, amp'ed from witches, and convicted gloam boss = dead. That led to S&E, and a safely navigated second attempt without ghosts or witches, but still gloams. Second death was in WSK, PI ed witches and OKs with amp and decrep that were actually used effectively to get him surrounded and stunlocked. Nihl had Vipers and PI temple dogs, so it took quite the care and a few merc resurrections.

Anyhow, without PIs and amp, it was easy. I had downgraded to p5 at Ancients Way, and went to p3 after the third death in WSK 3 to finish things off. Baal fell easily. The goal is to write up Mat and Pat posts for Cat and Precious tomorrow. (Edit: Pat post is here.)

Final gear:
- eBotD GPA
- Beast / Spirit
- CoH
- Nos Coil
- Guillame w RJoF
- LoH
- Gore Rider
- Highlord's
- dual Ravenfrost
- Backback: AR/Resist GCs with Vita; SCs were mix of resist + FHR/life/strength

75/30/75/63, 8 frame attack Werebear, hitting 86 FHR breakpoint, dual leech

Merc:
- Pride eth GPA
- Fortitude
- Vamp w damage %/fire resist/cold damage rare jewel
 
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PhineasB

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Amazon: Glacier (Ice Icemaiden) with Ilzan (Inifinity Might A2 merc)
Status: A1 Hell

The fourth character in this Sept has reached Hell. I'd very much appreciate gear input, as this build is stretched, with mana management a real challenge, and life a bit low due to going dext bow and needing strength on switch.

Standard twinking led to quick progress (envy -> max damage melee -> Wizendraw /Insight -> up'ed Wizendraw). She was p7 all the way, with downgrade to p3 for bosses, with guided arrow and running around like crazy the main strategy for them :) She started equipping end-game gear in A5 Hell, with CoH and Ice. I had planned on Nightwing's, so used a Cham:
NM A5 (Cham NWV).jpg
But mana and life were pretty tight, so we are likely to go with Cham'ed Shako instead for the stats (don't worry, I have plans for Cham'ed NWV on another character!). I had also planned on a ML ammy, but don't have a +2 amazon with ML and stats, and resists are a challenge. So Mara's looks like the winner, with this ring also helping with mana and life:
Code:
Skull Whorl
Ring
Required Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0x232760c5
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+76 to Attack Rating
6% Mana stolen per hit
+35 to Life
+84 to Mana
+1 to Mana after each Kill
CtA would probably do more for the build, but we're going Windy switch, thinking a volley of strafe with 12% ML will help replenish the mana bulb when Freezing Arrow depletes the mana. I'm guessing unleechables will be challenge, especially if CI. Current thoughts on gear:

Current gear:
- Ice Sup Shadow Bow (no +3 4os Mat or GMB, although I have runes)
- Windforce s/w Ruby jewel of Carnage
- CoH
- Razortail
- Cham'ed Shako
- 2/20 gloves with resists
- Tri-resist boots with FRW
- [email protected] Mara's
- SoJ and rare ring noted above
- Backback: 8 Skillers with Vita and other stats; SCs with resists and mana/FHR

>50% @resist and quite fast attack (haven't run calculator, but faster would cause mana problems), but mana is a challenge

Merc:
- Infinity
- Fortitude
- Vamp w scintillating jewel

I'm trying to figure out mana issues; 6% ML doesn't work to get the bulb full, and I am still figuring out if the interspersed volley of strafe with Windforce will work out. I may end up going CtA after all, for more comfortable life/mana bulbs. But I give silk weave a shot first for +mpk, even though it will leave resists pretty tenuous. (I'm guessing this is where hax time travelled +mpk rings would make a huge difference.) She will probably quest through Hell on p3, so I suspect it will be more manageable.

But feedback on gear is most welcome :) I'm going to park her and quest the sorc through normal. Still looking for that 4os eth scythe (had three eth scythes drop recently, but 3os and 2os and the plain one picked up 2os in the cube), so we'll at least move her into NM to have two questing characters, in addition to two untwinked 99ers.
 
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PhineasB

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Sorceress: Amber (Infinity Self-Wielding Charged Boltress) with Durga (Insight Holy Freeze A2 merc)
Status: A1 Hell

The fifth character in this Sept has reached Hell. Quite fun and fast, with teleport and charged bolt overpowered early, especially when twinked. I'm looking forward to moving her through Hell to see how the power translates to Hell, but she needs 4 levels to Griffon's and 8 to Arachnid's, so, we'll probably level in the Pit to level 80 to optimize.

Envy gear early, to full Angelics with +damage charms keeping her moving with charged bolt mixed in as mana allowed, up to Spirit Crystal Sword with Wall of the Eyeless and +mana gear allowing transition to charged bolt fulltime once merc hit lvl 27 for Insight. Then pretty quick, to A5 NM, at p7 all the way.

Highlight of Normal was an actually useful ring from Ormus o_O And charged bolt is both fun and pretty:
N A5 (Charged Bolt fun).jpg
I made her a new Crescent Moon, in an eth Crystal Sword for fun. NM HF was a Pul. She finished NM, but I was still lacking a 4os eth Scythe. So she ran NM Pit ~12 times, before it finally fell and got Larzuked, before becoming her own (now)personalized Infinity:
Infinity.jpg

Current gear:
- eth Scythe Infinity
- CtA (+4 BO) and Lidless
- [email protected] Vipermagi with -5/3 facet
- Crafted caster belt (10 FCR), will become Arachnid's
- 2/20 circlet, with 2 eths, will become -20eLR Griffon's with -5/X facet
- Trang's
- 20 FRW, 40FR, 21 LR boots
- [email protected] Mara's
- SoJ and FCR ring w 12 CR, 26 LR and 23 PR
- Backback: 6 Skillers with secondary mods; 2 [email protected] Shimmering GCs of Sust; Shimmering SCs/Serpents of Sust SCs

~75 resist for fire, cold, lightning, 55 poison, 90 FCR (105 with Griffon's and Arachnid's), plenty of mana with lvl 16 Meditation and Warmth

Merc:
- eth Insight Cryptic Axe
- Fortitude
- Vamp w Realgar JoF

Thoughts: I'm very excited to try her out in Hell. I had thought about FO as backup, but I'm pumping Thunderstorm instead, because? Very little should be unbreakable, and merc is quite sturdy. And she can always bypass the stray nasty unbreakable boss if needed.

The plan is still to put in 10 hours with Death (Untwinked 99er Barb) and reassess, either sticking with Death for the full set or shifting to Septimus (Untwinked 99er Barb). But I may end up running wiyh Amber instead of Septimus.
 
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PhineasB

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Sorceress: Amber (Infinity Self-Wielding Charged Boltress) with Durga (Insight Holy Freeze A2 merc)
Status: Matriarch
Matriarch.jpg
Wow, she was a blast. I guess I haven't played a pure lightning, Infinity (merc or self-wielding) from the start, with my only real experience coming with my untwinked 99er sorc at Nihl (and without Crescent Moon). I ran p7 for A1, dropped to p5 for A2 and A3 (due to LI beetles and flayers and not yet realizing how OP she was), and then bumped back up to p7 for A4 and A5. She full-cleared all A85 areas, and the weird portal areas in A5. She even made it through without a death!

Amber picked up at Cold Plains WP on Friday. She was level 74 when she reached the Outer Cloister, and leveled to 76 (Griffon's) and 80 (Arachnid's) mostly in the Pit, but mixing in some others for kicks. I guess I didn't take any screenies until Duriel, and forgot to take one at Meph. But the Durance map was so great that I went back and took one. A4 wasn't difficult, with unbreakable Hephasto (with fanaticism no less) easily managed with TK. This seed also has a great RoF Superchest layout (with 2-3 bosses on the way!), which will be used for leveling. Chaos Sanctuary was navigated without too much trouble (quite a bit of teleport backwards to allow CB to span out), and Diablo fell with ease.

She blitzed through A5, up to Ancients, who rolled without amp on second try. I was cautious due to risk from whirler and low life, but it was easily navigated -- Madawc, Korlic, Talic (missed the screenie, but he wasn't LI). WSK1 saw her only NDE (and only time Durga dropped), from a nasty triple pack that included extra fast, extra strong amp'ed Shambling Horde. Amber had to backtrack to safely TP and resurrect Durga, but then it was easily managed. Another unbreakable LI boss, this one stoneskin, wasn't trouble on WSK3 but took a minute or so with TK pinning him. Waves were a breeze, and Baal fell with ease. Static, with all the -eLR, is spectacular. Nihl was then taken down, after she swapped SoJ for Nature's Peace, completing all quests in Hell.

She will definitely get some further play, largely due to great maps. The RoF map in particular makes her a possible candidate for RFL Rd 3 next year.

Mat write up here. Quick overview:

Final gear:
- eth Infinity Scythe
- CtA/Lidless
- Vipermagi (-5 facet)
- Arachnid's
- Griffon's (-5 facet)
- Trang's
- Rare boots with FR/LR
- SoJ
- 10 FCR tri-resist ring
- Backback: 6 skillers with secondary mods; 2 Shimmering GCs of Sust; SCs were mix of shimmering and life/mana

82/95/89/65, 105 FCR, 0 FHR (didn't matter),

Merc:
- eth Insight Cryptic Axe
- Fortitude
- Vamp w Realgar JoF
 
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PhineasB

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Mat.jpg
Amazon: Glacier (Ice Icemaiden) with Ilzan (Inifinity Might A2 merc)
Status: Matriarch

Quite powerful when there aren't CIs around, and occasionally frustrating when there were lots of unbreakable CIs around. But Windforce is the great equalizer. I worried about lack of CtA, but it leech and knockback on switch proved more useful in the end. She made it without a death. That said, optimized Windforce strafer would likely be stronger. I hadn't found Windforce during my 7x7+2, so I haven't run one, and Glacier will likely melt into a Pit-running stafer for at least a couple levels :)

After a long work week, Glacier picked up at A1 Hell last night. She played p5 all the way, with p3 for Baal (because I was ready to wrap and didn't want to worry about mana burn). She could have run at p7, but the CI rolls would have become tedious, so I think this was a good balance.

We took down Andy this morning, got the perfect Maggot Lair roll with immediate right down for both, and Duriel dropped with only one town trip needed. The True Tomb rolled all CI, with two unbreakable, and I ended up having to full clear, but that showed her versatility (and value of Windforce).

The map luck continued with the perfect Spider Forest / Flayer Jungle layout:
H A3 (Flayer Map).jpg
Ilzan got taken out by a nasty Council roll of Fanaticism, Conviction, Might and Amp, with Hierophants mixed in. But we managed to pull them out in smaller groups and prevail.

Meph fell after being moated, with some care needed for dolls in Durance (also in Flayer Dungeon and Sewers), but the knockback from Windforce was quite handy.

Gloams rolled in the Plains, with quite a few bosses, but they were shredded by Freezing Arrow faster than the lightning damage hurt Glacier. Smooth progress to the forge, which provided only a Fal (after two others dropping through Hell up until then). The Diablo fight was fun, dodging the hose and fire storm, before he eventually fell.

A5 was about as expected, with Windforce needed in underground areas a lot due to unbreakable CIs. This guy was nasty in Abbadon (PI/CI), dropping the merc before we got a foothold and thinned his pack. The highlight of the playthrough in Crystalline Passage:
H A5 (Vex).jpg
Full cleared WSK and weird portal areas, and then shredded the waves. Lister was a pushover, and Baal was fine if a little annoying due to mana burn (as you can see from the belt).

I'm probably going to turn her into a pure strafer and level her to 90 or so before retiring, as a Windforce strafer. I had to check myself to use Ice rather than strafe switch several times, particularly with breakable CIs. So I think an optimized strafer with Faith Cold Rogue and amp will do quite nicely.

Mat thread is here. Quick overview:

Final gear:
- Ice Sup Shadow Bow
- Windforce s/w Ruby jewel of Carnage
- CoH
- Razortail
- Cham'ed Shako
- 2/20 gloves with resists
- Tri-resist boots with FRW
- [email protected] Mara's
- SoJ and rare ring noted above
- Backback: 7 Skillers with Vita and other stats; SCs with resists and mana/FHR, 3 dext

68/71/85/75; only 12 FHR which almost let to her demise a few times (but not quite ;))

Merc:
- Infinity
- Fortitude
- Vamp w scintillating jewel
 
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Noodle

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Dec 24, 2019
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Nice write ups. I'll bet a nice 1.07 MPK ring would really make Glacier just tear through non - CI packs.
 
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PhineasB

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Paladin: Doom (Doom Conviction Zealot) with Razan (Destruction HF A2 merc)
Status: A1 Hell

The sixth character has reached Hell. Pretty straightforward, envy -> max damage -> Ribby and +Damage jewel Cow King set through Normal; random assortment (conviction aura let to focus on elemental damage charms) to Doom and Destruction in NM A5. NM HF was a Pul, and he picked up a Realgar JoF in A2. I'm pretty sure this will be fun, with lots of fireworks. Shaping up the gear:

Current gear:
- Doom BA / Exile
- CtA (+3 BO) and Spirit Pally shield
- CoH
- SoE (will likely become Nos to hit 9/5/5/5 zeal with Highlords)
- Cham'ed Nightwings
- 20 IAS rares
- Gores
- 2 offensive aura ammy (likely to become Highlords)
- 2 Rare rings (likely swap in BKWB and ML rare)
- Backback: elemental charms

I still need to sort out resist and FHR, so charms will balance things out.

Merc:
- eth GT Destruction
- CoH
- TBD

I'm going to level up the Barb at least to mid-NM before I progress Doom further, likely taking the Barb to Hell so the last two characters will be in Hell to finish things up.
 

PhineasB

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Barbarian: Frenzy (Last Wish Frenzy) with Leharas (Blessed Aim Normal A2 merc)
Status: A1 Hell

The seventh character has reached Hell, with standard twinking for barbs of envy -> double swing with 2 Death Set swords -> Bloodletter -> eth Ginther's, focusing on +damage charms and gear. Frenzy allowed fast movement, and plenty of damage with twinked gear. NM HF was a Hel, and nothing of note through NM, staying at p8.

He then moved through Outer Cloister in A1 Hell on p7, full-clearing Crypt and Mausoleum and the Pit. There was a four-pack of bosses in Mausoleum. Two were skeletons and two were zombies, with two cursed, one HF, one Might, and two mana burn. It was a good test, with one tactical retreat needed to avoid getting surrounded while amp'ed and the select use of Law Bringer switch for decrep and to knock back the packs. Life tap is key, along with Fade, getting him pretty sturdy. There is some yo-yo-ing of the life bulb when amp'ed, but one swing tops off the bulb. We'll see how this goes, with the goal of sticking with p7.

Current gear:
- Last Wish in Superior Phase Blade / Grief
- Law Bringer Phase Blade / Crescent Moon Phase Blade [may reassess the second weapon here, as Grief would help attack speed and give better damage on decrep switch]
- Enigma
- SoE
- Um'ed Arreat's
- LoH
- Gores
- Highlords
- Ravenfrost / Mana Leech Rare with resists
- Backback: Sharp GCs with life, Fine or Resist SCs, mostly with FHR to hit 48% breakpoint

Merc:
- eth Obedience Thresher
- eth Duress Kraken Shell
- eth Vampw scintillating jewel of bliss

He shreds non-PI monsters, and I definitely enjoy running around like a mad man. With BO active, he's >2000 life. The p7 setting means I don't just hold down RMB, as some tactics are needed around boss packs. All weapons but Law Bringer have ITD, so I went with Obedience for the crushing blow. Blessed Aim may get dropped in favor of Defiance, as I don't think 12k AR is really needed :) Here's LCS:
Screenshot004.jpg
I've enjoyed the Sept playthroughs recently, so I will likely focus on finishing Frenzy and Doom up before returning to my untwinked 99ers.
 
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PhineasB

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Pat.jpg
Paladin: Doom (Doom Conviction Zealot) with Alihizeer (Destruction Might A2 merc)
Status: Patriarch

I swapped out the HF merc from a Might merc, and Doom tackled Hell difficulty. No deaths, and the merc died only twice (both in WSK 3, explained below). PI with mana burn and amp was the only nuisance, but not too tough (except WSK 3, explained below) :)

He was ridiculously overpowered: HF, fireworks from merc and Doom, conviction, lots of elemental damage from charms, life tap. Defiance and Holy Shield meant the defense actually did something, with enemy chance to hit below 25% for most of Hell. He ran p7 all through Hell, with full-clears for all A85 areas and the weird portal areas in A5.

The only issue was repair for the Doom, which could have been solved with ATMA bugged BA, but I avoided that and stuck with lots of Orts and TPs to town. He definitely went through at least 1.5 million gold from the bank before all was said and done.

Starting off, I swapped in Highlord's and Nos Coil as indicated in last update, so he had 9/5/5/5/5 zeal. LoH were swapped in for fire resist and demon damage, and BKWB for extra skill and life.

He picked up a nice Scintillating JoF (@11 and my third overall), as a nice drop in A1. Smooth sailing to Andy, and same for Duriel. Fireworks:
H A2 (Fireworks).jpg
Molten Bolder was actually very handy and dealt some noticeable damage to non-FIs. You can see two of them, plus lots of Volcanoes.

I can't remember exactly when, but the merc got 2s Crown of Ages with 2 x IAS and damage, and that significantly upped the fireworks. For a different character, Stormtree would have been nasty at p7, but he was easily taken out by Doom. Dolls weren't a problem in Durance, and Meph dropped without issue (I pulled him over to that Blood Lord boss pack for the challenge -- life tap was awesome!).

HF was an Ist, which was nice, CS was safely navigated, and Diablo fell. A5 was a bit more challenging, mostly due to amp around PIs. Thresh was an early example, but easily handled as some leechables wandered over. Ghosts in Anya rescue were a bit more challenging, but lower life meant they fell quickly, even this amp'ed boss.

Closest to NDE was in Infernal Pit, Extra Strong Spectral Cursed Salamander. Amp triggered, the boss charged and a minion. I guess their charge bypasses defense and block, or it was lucky hits, but life was around 800 HP, before a full purple and HF kicking in allowed safe navigation.

Smooth progress to Ancients, where I forgot to repair the Doom before the fight and also had run out of Orts. Korlic was HF, Talic was mana burn, which was annoying, but navigated okay (Madawc was taken out after Korlic). Smite came in handy. We punched Talic into submission when the Doom finally broke :D

WSK 1 and 2 were easy, although the repairs for Doom were starting to wear on me. I thought about dropping p-setting, but decided that I'd made it that far.

Then WSK saw PI witches, PI ghosts, and OKs. Two unleechable, one with mana burn, and OKs casting decrep and amp. Merc dropped, and I only resurrected once, before leaving him down. There was a good bit of drawing monsters out to thin packs and then charge to the OK to take out with zeal before retreating before red balls of death caused trouble. One room had two witch boss packs and some OKs, and the pillar was shamelessly used for cover:
H A5 (WSK3).jpg
Safely managed and onto the waves, which were easy. The LCS shows the relative safety, and the strategy was to simply let them swarm and zeal away. Baal fell, and then Doom took down Nihl. Redemption finally got used to clear out CI ice spawns and minimize CEs.

Pat write up is here.

Final gear
- Doom BA / Exile
- CtA (+6 BO) and Spirit Pally shield
- CoH
- Nos Coil
- Cham'ed Nightwings
- LoH
- Gores
- Highlords)
- BKWB and ML rare)
- Backback: elemental charms; 2 Steel GCs with FHR

Resists were 80/63/75/57, with 9/5/5/5/5 zeal and >20k defense, with life tap going. Quite fun :cool:

Merc:
- eth GT Destruction
- eth CoH
- CoA ([email protected]) w 2 IAS/damage jewels
 
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PhineasB

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Mar 14, 2020
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Barbarian: Frenzy (Last Wish Frenzy) with Leharas (Blessed Aim Normal A2 merc)
Status: Pat
Screenshot021.jpg
Quick work through Hell with the Last Wish Frenzier :) Honestly, not much to write about. p7 all the way, cleared all A85 areas, no real drops of note. Life tap and Fade are OP, with Decrep switch (and eventually Azurewrath secondary on switch for extra damage). Andy dropped, Duriel dropped, Meph dropped. Hephasto would have been nasty at p7 for another character, but was easy. Diablo fell with ease, and no challenges in CS. HF was a Lum. A5 was also easy, merc dropped once in Abbadon to this guy before regrouping and using the bridge to take him out. Ancients required one reroll (PI and Amp), and were easily dispatched on second try (Korlic, Madawc, Talic). Full cleared WSK with easy rolls (gloams on WSK2, but otherwise easy), waves fell, as did Baal. We went back and cleared out Nihl without trouble.

He had no challenges, totally OP, if a bit slow at p7. Life tap was overpowering, with switch to Lawbringer decrep if PI. The merc wasn't really needed, but I guess helped. I had to use Howl a few times, but otherwise he just waded in with Frenzy, life tap kicked in, etc. Mana burn were a slight annoyance, but not a problem once I right clicked on a monster. No useful drops, except maybe this double poison SC that may see use for future twinking.

I will just say that I am disappointed in rune drops for the sept, given higher p-setting for all characters (p7 for most) and full clearing of A85 and many underground areas. Oh well, this about using Runewords made before, so it was well worth it. Quite a fun playthrough.

Pat post is here.

Final gear:
- Last Wish in Superior Phase Blade / Grief
- Law Bringer Phase Blade / Azurewrath
- SoE
- Um'ed Arreat's
- LoH
- Gores
- Highlords
- Ravenfrost / Mana Leech Rare with resists
- Backback: Sharp GCs with life, Fine or Resist SCs, mostly with FHR to hit 48% breakpoint

Merc:
- eth Obedience Thresher
- eth Duress Kraken Shell
- eth Vamp w scintillating jewel of bliss
 
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