So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear. if


New member
Dec 26, 2007
So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

I was thinking about a fire/summon hybrid (max grizzly, dire wolf, fissure, volcano) to give me a bit of dual-element + pair of tanks that would give a measure of safety and being interesting, but I was just wondering what everyone would plan on for their next UNTWINKED, FULL CLEAR character.

To clarify, so this doesn't turn into another HOW CAN I GETS THE LEET ITEMZ? Thread, let me say again that this isn't about the optimal character, just one that will get the job done and be interesting. If I'm willing to do a fire/summon hybrid through Hell Baal, I might just be crazy enough to try a fire amazon, or a enchant/Frozen orb sorc, CB/DV/Clay Golem Necro with a rogue merc, or even *gasp* something truly crazy like a sacrifice pally or a kicker sin.

TL;DR - I'm looking for a build to go beat Baal in the face three times, and I'm open to suggestions, even if they're not super powerful, because their gear will suck.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

The last character I remember questing through the game with and really enjoying was my SP Hydra/Orb Sorc. She was slightly twinked, but would easily have been feasible in an untwinked situation imo.

I also took special care to play her as a hydra sorc, and only using Orb against fire immunes. The build was max Orb (before act 1 hell) 1 point in Cold Mastery, and the rest in Hydra and it's synergies (starting as soon as Hydra was available).

I guess she would be much like playing a trapper with Enigma really, but cheaper. Hydra could be used like a trap, to place ahead, or around corners, etc. Teleport for putting your merc in a strategically decent place. Orb as a back up for Fire Immunes. Both spells were are timed, so insight isn't required. Fireball is a synergy, so it can be pumped early to cut down on the tedious early levels before you get your main spell.

Crowds could sometimes be a problem, but nothing a little teleport retreat can't solve. And single targets literally melt vs 4 hydras. If you have the patience to shop an LR want for her switch, the damage really gets fun (especially in single target boss fights!).

That is all.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

hrm...I like the idea...I've always loved hydra. A hydra pure fire sorc was my first character in Hell (even though I had to MP her to get anywhere with all the immunes in A1 and my merc's crappy gear) Anyone else have an enjoyable character they'd like to share?
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

cl orber is FUN FUN FUN. its like a xmas tree but without red and green colour =D
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Your combo of a Fire/summoner (hunter) is an excellent character who's both effective and fun.

I've had success walking this char through the game untwinked. I didnt do full clears, but I did make it a point of doing all quests/areas and getting all wps along the way, so most maps were essentially cleared. He was really self sufficient. The Ravens blinded most monsters provided you didnt run to fast ahead of them, solar creeper will essentially cover your mana needs for you.

I have one of these decked out as well, and out of the roughly 35 high level chars I'm currently up to, this is one that see's some of the most play. I wouldnt say he's my fastest killer, but he's very well rounded and enjoyable nevertheless. You cant argue with a level 44 fissure synergised, teamed up with level 45 grizzly while tele-stomping the meanies!

Just the summon portion alone is potent for solo'ing. I have a shockwave bear with maxed how, grizzly and dires. He uses nothing but Blue and white items (no unq's , sets, runewords, rares) and he holds his own even in hell. He's a little slow in play, but doable nevertheless. PI's are his bane.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

I will try that hydra/cold orb next, sounds like fun :). I never really take sorcs anywhere in HC, I usually end up dying to some mistake, my fault, or lag, probably not my fault.

I am doing a lighting trap/kicker right now. Mostly Save the kicks for bosses and the occasional not dangerous Lightning immune. Mind blast everything. Faded all day. I can EASILY get 45-50% crushing blow by just switching to a black weapon/rhyme and using blood gloves, otherwise using like a spirit/rhyme or spirit/spirit or +traps&LS claw if I shop it from anya. 10% open wounds is more than enough from blood belt on act bosses. No venom unless it's from treachery if I collect it.

All I sacrifice is extra points into fire blast which is normally my left click with a lightning trap sin, or perhaps extra points into fade or a shadow warrior. Since kicks are only for bosses I don't even have to have that good of boots since I just want to crushing blow the act bosses and let the traps/merc finish off the job.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

That not a bad idea...I actually had one I was playing in SC, and I ended up doing the same thing. Just working on getting a CB on switch set, and focusing on traps. Cloak of Shadows is just that good. I prefer it to MB, tbh. converted enemies not taking damage from the first few DS explosions irritates me for some reason.

What I'm working on now is a bit of an insane project. I've got myself a (newly started, still clvl1) pure summon tree druid. I plan on maxing HoW, Grizzly, and Dire Wolves, along with at least 10 points in Spirit Wolves and Ravens. I lost one of these guys last night due to stupidity and the super bowl, but I'm looking forward to trying again.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Most item-independant build I ever played (and I'm starting the 3rd incarnation soonish, last one died at lvl 45 entering the pit level 2 on NM to a rather nasty aura combo on the archers), is a straight kicker. Strenght claw + blood crafted gloves is 35% CB with 6 kicks/second means you make corpses soon. Corpse explosion from DS does the rest.

My last incarnation used a crushflange and blood gloves, levelled here from lvl 30 to 45 doing NM countess runs instead of the normal baal runs. Was waiting for a friend to join my pw game to mule so i took her to the Pit (it was near the WP). She didn't have the life for that :'-( .

The nicest thing about this character is that it deals damage calculated on the life of the monsters, not from your gear. Also, it's way easier finding decent boots compared to decent weaponry. Main drawback is mana problems, because you lay down a few DS, and you don't have the time to leech your mana bowl full before the whole mob is down. I actually had to socket the crushflange with a PSkull to partially solve this, but still had problems with this in Inside areas. Outside it's not that much of a problem because monsters are more spread out. An Insight on an Act2 merc immediately solved this problem though, still not impossible to get.

The build (with some adaptions from experiences learned):

Dragon Talon (18-20pts):
you'll need this at lvl 12 asap, max it later. Since this is untwinked, if you play claw/shield you might not want to invest the extra 2 points untill you're shure you've got +4 to the skill from gear. 18 will do just fine.

Dragon Tail (1 pt):

Dragon Flight (1 pt):
It's allmost like teleport. You can target this on a shadow too if no enemy is near.

Claw mastery (1pt):

Psychic hammer (1pt):
One point wonder skill. Knockback the boss, kill the minions, boss comes back to you through a heap of corpses blowing.

Cloak of shadows (1pt):
Your main crowd controll skill. DON'T put more than one point here, as you can cast only one of these at a time. Blinds and makes enemies easier to hit. Don't use this when partying with a Necro, you'll overwrite his curses.

Burst of Speed (1pt):
You need little or no IAS for this sin. Prereq, nice for traveling.

Fade (20pts):
Resists and damage reduction. Your playing untwinked, so this might be your only chance of getting some %DR. Enables you to go claw/claw if you want too (no shield means lower resists). (Pre)buff it if possible (I look for claws with +fade and +Shadow discipline).

Mind Blast (0~1 pt):
No points here means your Shadow Master will use it a lot less. Since I use CoS for crowd control and am not using any other traps than DS I don't find it has a use on this build, ymmv.

Venom (0~20 pts):
This one isn't worth a single point imho, maybe if you can prebuff it to a high level or if you have problems with immunes... Your kicks will be so fast the poison only triggers on half of your kicks. If using Venom I might consider getting a weapon that actually slows down my kicks enough so you apply venom every kick.

Shadow Warrior or Master (20pts to one, 1 point to the other):
I used a high level master, and 1 pt Shadow warrior to cast for dragon flight teleporting. I also use Shadow warrior around places with many ranged enemies for the extra cast of Cloak of Shadows (your warrior can cast CoS with it's own timer, meaning you can have 2 active at the same time. Early on you can have your shadow warrior cast your DS too (less stress on the blue ball). In my next incarnation I'm gonna go for max shadow warrior for the extra control it gives me.

Shock web, charged bolt centry, lightning sentry, blade sentinel (1pt):

Fire blast (6~9 pts):
Gives some extra shots to your death sentry. Not too much here though, unless you want to have to turn back to unsummon them.

Blade Fury (1pt):
Nice to get chance to cast and CB in from a distance if you hit dangerous monsters.

Death sentry (10~20 points):
Stop once you're happy with the radius. At too high levels it can get risky, because it will attract enemies from off screen. You won't be able to cast cos at that time. Too many points here can kill you.

This is all that is required for reaching hell, where you'll need some way of dealing with physical immunes. You'll be around lvl 50~60. I got the first incarnation into hell, but lost it before being able to test too much in this department. Some things that might work:

- Lightning sentry lvl 20 (with the rest in prereqs):
This is what I'm gonna try. Gives a third element (your CE will be doing physical and fire), so it's quite nice. Also gives a synergy to death sentry.

- Venom:
It's also a possibility, not as good damage wise compared to Lightning sentry though, and it's a one by one killing kind of skill, so it'll be slow. It requires less skillpoints though, so if you also want claw block, this might be a better path.

- %chance to cast amp/decryp (or charges):
this is also an effective way of dealing with PIs, but item dependant. CE will be not very effective as you can't easily apply this to a big crowd. This does allow for even more skillpoints to be saved, and can also be a temporary solution if you're still raising your skills.

Most other options will need items, so not really doable if untwinked.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

That's a build I actually have started also...and I'm not opposed to popping blue pills, so an insight would be a luxury I could do without. I do have one question for that build...with most melee builds, I think I'd rather have either defiance (for the nice defense) or just go with a rogue merc with some form of open wounds. I think the -def provided by her insight is underrated (it's half the defense of all but a handful of hell mobs, and that's done before modifiers from auras or stone skin are applied...effectively solving most if not all AR issues).

I was just wondering what your opinion on mercs for that build would be. Especially if you have a maxed warrior/master for an extra bit of distraction, I'd think the rogue would be nice. Also, what did you do to keep your life bulb filled? I was thinking a cathan's ring would solve issues nicely...long as you have a semi-decent pair of boots. Thoughts?
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

I used LL and the double healing from an insight prayer merc. LL was from blood crafted gloves, the Pskull in my crushflange and a rare ring with around 3% and AR. Problems with ranged attackers are usually covered by CoS from you (and your shadow warrior). Only problems are when entering a dungeon with ranged attackers (keep CoS hotkeyed up front, your shadow casts it faster than you can). They will get one shot in. I got done in by champion archers that picked up blessed aim and might, when entering the pit lvl 2 (the map layout put several mobs close together).

I used an Act 2 prayer merc (as mentioned). He had an ethereal insight warscythe, a lore helm and a rattlecage. This gives him extra lightning res, a high damage weapon, some CB, an extra skill for his jab and prayer aura, and the synergy from his prayer makes the meditation aura heal the same amount of hp prayer does, so it gives double healing to all in the party. I keep an insight ceacked voulge in stash for areas with IM. It's cheap and it works.

If I could kit out my dream merc for this build, it would be an act 3 ice merc though. Thinking double spirit, shako and Ormus robes (both with cold facets) should do the trick. All ethereal ofc :p. Cold rogue with Ice rw bow, dream helm and Ormus robes should also be quite insane. A holy freeze act 2 merc with Kelpie snare, Eternity eth polearm or some other form of slow would also do wonders, with some cb or ow perhaps (upped eth rattlecage and guillaumes maybe)? Barb merc with a +3 to bash and stun delirium helmet, myth high def ethereal armour and eternity eth collossus blade or something,... OK, just lost myself for a second there. I'd go with the Act 3 Ice merc if I ever am rich enough to get him dual spirit, skin of the viper magi and a lore helm...
Last edited:
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Makes sense that you'd want something to slow for you...but wouldn't that hurt some of the DS chain reaction? I was leaning toward something like a fire rogue merc with OW/slow on gear. Of course, whatever I do is untwinked...especially since I don't have anything worth twinking anyway. Under those limitations, I usually find that using a rogue merc that doesn't die, and use the extra gold from NOT rezzing a moron to gamble a bit for better resists is usually a good call. If I get lucky with one of the sweet A2 merc sticks, I may change my tune.

As of right now, I completed a single-tree summon Druid through the sewers in far, full clears. We'll see how it goes. I may switch to my kicker (who's level 13 and in Act I) if I start to get bored...boredom kills characters in HC, and I've learned that one too many times recently.

EDIT: Just realized I didn't mention the obvious reason for not using an A2 merc...I don't play with no insight for me. Otherwise that'd be a nice cheapish option for a useful moron. But when he provides an aura (which I feel like inner sight is an aura...and an underrated one at that) and a rez cost every few runs out of town...and not much else, I'd rather go with a source of damage that doesn't die all the time.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Never played much SP, allways been online on ladder, so I don't really know what would be a good merc on SP. I've had a cold A1 merc before I got the A2 one. That didn't mess with CE too much. Don't know if it's troublesome with more freezing from an A3 merc as I haven't got the gear to kit one out (yet), but it might be problematic. On the other hand I've found a merc without freeze or slow is a dead merc way too often.

The A3 merc is really hard to kit out on NL/SP, so that narrows your choices down to A1 and
A2. Here it really depends on the weapon you find/build. For an A2 merc strenght runeword comes into mind for CB and life leach, zephyr bow for the A1 rogue for ias, frw,... Both are easily obtainable untwinked so you can build them into better weapons as you go. Save your very first one for places with Iron Maiden.

Hard choice really (without most runewords), A2 merc needs babysitting, while A1 mercs will get killed if you use DF a lot.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

maybe I'm having a brainfart, but...DF? Can't think of a DF that would kill my merc. Also, I had a Summon Druid most of the way through hell that used an A1 Fire rogue with WWS and that worked prettty well. the ctc Amp was especially nice, and I socketed it with some OW and CB.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Dragon Flight will bring your A1 merc into melee range. I've lost her a few times when using DF on hard hitting monsters. Blunderbores, frenzytaurs, ... If they are fast, hard hitting and/or stunning, you stand a good chance your merc will be hit, go into hit recovery or stun lock, and kick the bucket. The AI of the merc is to leg it if in melee, so after Dragon flight, she won't do anything usefull untill she's out of melee. An A2 merc or a barb merc don't have this problem, A3 mercs will shoot first, retreat later.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

ah, didn't think of DF...I don't find myself using it much. I prefer to walk in after a CoS...but I tend to be more cautious than I need to be...unless I'm also watching the Superbowl.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Yeah, it's easy to loose yourself with this, since you do damage based on the monsters, you can kill in places where you normally wouldn't be at your lvl. I was running nm Contess at lvl 35. Soloing countess in a password game gave me just as much XP as multiplayer Baal runs. Though I had to abort 1 run out of 5 due to uniques that would have kicked my *** while I was kicking theirs :p .

Main reason I use this build for untwinked play is that there is no other item-independant build that gets 20% damage reduction (or more if prebuffed!). Shopping claws is tedious, but you can gain some real nice + skills. If you have some wealth at all, dual bartucs is all you need to get a nice prebuff on switch. I'm usually not a purist when it comes to (un)twinkedness, but sometimes you have to start untwinked (ladder reset, long absense, taking a 'vacation' on another realm...).
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

I pretty much only play untwinked. I may mule on some gear once I beat the game, but for me questing is the most fun part, so why rush it with uber gear? Good insights, I appreciate the advice, and I'll probably have to get myself a kicker after I finish my current summon druid build.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Assassins are so item independent, I love it. I can beat nightmare with random items on a lightning trapper, and a few other builds. I don't like builds that just list a few items, especially items that are ridiculous to find by yourself, eg enigma, coh, conviction rune word.

For untwinked I generally settle on two merc options,
Act 2 holy freeze merc is really good for a trapper. Obviously prayer is good because of insight, but holy freeze is awesome for crowd control. On a trapper I just chug away at the mana pots, it's not a big deal except for mana burn. Insight is a bonus for me, I prefer my merc to have crushing blow and damage for lightning immunes. If I got a rattle cage I'd definitely use Insight. But with my kicker/trapper, crushing blow is an optional on my merc and I can get the convenience of an insight weapon.

Like you said, +20 fade is a good idea. With a couple of plus skills you're looking at 25+% DR easy with no items, imagine if you got a string of ears on top of that! My fireclaw bear has 0% DR. The only reason he can not die is because of shockwave and a ton of life.

I'm not sure if a2 merc holy freeze over-rides duriels though. That would be a nice side effect.

Otherwise untwinked HC play with other classes, listed in order of item dependence (just opinion, wondering about yours, maybe it's listed by how much Magic Find I feel I can wear):
1. Necro: Item independent. Summoner and summon variations: easiest build ever. Just dim vision and amp damage, read a book while skeletons kill all. Stack on the magic find!
2. Assassins: Item independent. Stack on the magic find!
3. Paladin: I haven't made it past act4 hell with any paladin, and I don't want to play hammerdins. Good blocking and good boss killing(smite). Item dependent for survival, but hammerdins look easy as pie once you get used to hammers. With hammerdin it looks too easy.
4. Druids: Depends on build, can be very item independent and survive really well. Can't stack on quite as much magic find!
5. Sorc: Awesome but I usually die to some corpse explosion or LEMS or something like that. Sometimes lag, sometimes stupidity, mostly sorcs are more easily killed. More item dependent for survival.
6. Amazon: Have taken a lightning fury all the way through, but was kind of scary, almost died a few times, more item dependent than my paladins and sorcs. Don't know about bow-zons.
X. Barb: Never tried in HC.
Last edited:
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

Yeah, I only really twink my chars (in hardcore) after I've gotten through hell and then it's because since I've beat the game why not make them better?

And I'll twink a low level PK build so I can kill.
Re: So a trip through Hell Baal, untwinked, and full-clear.

At the moment I'm also playing a fire sorc (not lvl 30 yet, then it will be fire/fo). Planning on Fireball and Hydra to get insane spammage to go with my FO. Leaf in a +3 warmth +3 fireball staff and a lore helm give some +skills, prismatic amulet and +resist rings from cube recipes, caster belt and boots, some +resists armour I shopped. Lvl 24 and killing packs with 1-2 fireballs in early A3.

Lots of fun to play, lots of room for improvement though. I lack a lot of fcr, for one. A shield would be nice later, maybe dual spirits if I can find the runes. But for a sorc, pretty easy to kit out with next to nothing. Finding a nice staff is a pain though, took me 3 hours of shopping. Luckily the runes are so dirt cheap you can just use any nice looking staff and throw it away if you find a better one.
Estimated market value