Wmeredith's Guide to Runewords and Your Bow


Well-known member
Jan 22, 2019
Originally posted by Wmeredith, on Sep 14, 2006

A Guide to Runewords and Your Bow v1.2

A Guide to Runewords and Your Bow.

Last update:
Sept. 14, 2006

...On Runewords and Your Bow

There are many fine bows in this game, but nothing is quite as cool as the rush of holding your own self-made cannon in your hands. Or, actually, watching the little sprite that represents you on your computer screen hold it's own self-made cannon in it's hands. Either way, there are a ton of rune words in this game that can be stuck in a bow. So, without any further ado...

"Twink" bows

...Or maybe, good "untwinked" bows, depending on how you look at it.

Twinking is the process of bringing in items from a high-level character and loading up a low-level character with very powerful weapons and armor they would normally have no access to.

Basically, these bows are dirt-cheap, but still serve a purpose in this crazy post 1.11 uber-runeword world. Basically, these are good bows to use until you can afford to make something better:

3 Socket Missile Weapons
Shael + Ko + Nef
+50% Enhanced Damage
+300% Damage To Undead
+3 To Bow and Crossbow Skills (Amazon Only)
+3 To Critical Strike (Amazon Only)
+3 To Dodge (Amazon Only)
+3 To Slow Missiles (Amazon Only)
20% Increased Attack Speed
+10 To Dexterity
-A Melody in a +3 zon-specific bow nets you +6 bow skills overall, this is great for twinking an Frost-Maiden in-the-making.
-Does something amazing happen when two zons using Melody and Harmony
play together?
-For the price I'd just make a Harmony.

3 Socket Missile Weapons
Tir + Tal + Amn
Level 15 Thorns Aura When Equipped
+35% Increased Attack Speed
+320-380% Damage To Demons (varies)
+280% Damage To Undead
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+5-10 To All Attributes (varies)
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
Reduces All Vendor Prices 15%!!!
-An "Edge" bow may well be the best demon killer (Read: boss killer) in the game that you can get before level 39.
-The Thorns aura it grants turns your decoy into a land-mine as well as making other mercs and/or hirelings more potent.
-It's a gambler's friend with the -15% vendor prices; very unusual mod.

2 Socket Missile Weapons
Ort + Eth
+33% Enhanced Damage
+66 To Attack Rating
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
-25% Target Defense
+25 Defense
25% Faster Run/Walk
25% Increased Attack Speed
7% Chance To Cast Level 1 Twister When Struck
-This is cheap and can be equipped early, but it packs little punch.

The rest of the pack...
(In alphabetical order.)

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Jah + Lo + Mal + Gul
35% Chance To Cast Level 14 Amplify Damage When Struck
100% Chance To Cast Level 18 Bone Spear On Striking
+260-340% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignore Target's Defense
20% Bonus to Attack Rating
+280-330% Damage To Demons (varies)
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts (15)
-The 100% CTC Bone-spear may be the coolest looking effect in the game. Especially when you've got a 2 frame strafe going. Spewing white-magic-damage-death-that-pierces all over a pack of monsters is always fun. It also sounds cool. Or very annoying, depending on who you are. (I had a friend name his Boning-Strafer ‘Woosh’ during ladder season 2.)
-It’s a powerful bow, with lots of nice mods, but pales in comparison to "Faith"
-The +damage to demons should not be overlooked on this bow. Ladder Season 2, I had a dedicated Chaos-Runner that packed this bow with Laying of Hands. This combo yielded me +650% damage to demons. I know all about on vs. off-weapon damage, but +650% damage is nothing to sneeze at no matter how you slice it. She was multi/strafe/FA and her record for a Chaos Sanctuary clear, from the river WP, including big D, was 5 min. 55 sec. So, there, Faith-boy.
-Note, this bow is SICK on an enchantress. Don’t forget it fires exploding arrows as a normal attack.
-This is great on an act 1 cold rogue, because when she isn’t firing her cold arrows, she’ll be fire exploding arrows, making nothing immune to her.
-It took a hard nerfing when they ‘fixed’ the "Marrow Walk Bug" for 1.11. (Note they did not fix the fend bug :rolleyes: )

Breath of the Dying
6 Socket Weapons
Vex + Hel + El + Eld + Zod + Eth
50% Chance To Cast Level 20 Poison Nova When You Kill An Enemy
+60% Increased Attack Speed
+350-400% Enhanced Damage (varies)
+200% Damage To Undead
-25% Target Defense
+50 To Attack Rating
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
12-15% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
Prevent Monster Heal
+30 To All Attributes
+1 To Light Radius
Requirements -20%
-It's a waste of a Zod.
-A powerful bow to be sure but the cons are many.
-You have to put it in a slow bow since it requires 6 sockets.
-The poison nova is annoying/laggy and does futile damage.
-You could just pin a badge on your sleeve that says "n00b" and you would get a similiar effect.
-This is the O.G. (That's original gangsta - for those keeping score) rune word for vulgar displays of power, but it's real potential is unlocked in an eth weapon, which, sadly, a bow can never be. (It has no durablility; it can't spawn eth.)
-This bow is not all that bad, but in terms of style, grace, and general 1337ness, it effing blows. It's kind of like wearing a Dolce & Gabbana tux that's mustard yellow. It was expensive and serves a purpose, but we're all sure that you're a moron.

Call To Arms
5 Socket Weapons
Amn + Ral + Mal + Ist + Ohm
+1 To All Skills
+40% Increased Attack Speed
+250-290% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
+2-6 To Battle Command (varies)*
+1-6 To Battle Orders (varies)*
+1-4 To Battle Cry (varies)*
Prevent Monster Heal
Replenish Life +12
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
-Also a nice bow, but mainly for style points only.
-The mods are there to make it a good weapon, but it would better in something one-handed, on switch and combined with a +1 or 2 skills shield; it just doesn’t stack up against the other cannons for the price.
-If you're rich, make one just to watch people freak out in pubbies when you start doing battle cries with a bow in hand.

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Ohm + Jah + Lem + Eld
Level 12-15 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped (varies)
+1-2 To All Skills (varies)
+330% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target's Defense
300% Bonus To Attack Rating
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
+120 Fire Damage
All Resistances +15
10% Reanimate As: Returned
75% Extra Gold From Monsters
-This is THE bow.
-Godly mods stacked on godly mods...
-Considered the Swiss-army knife of all bow choices: it's sooo godly that any bow-based-build (zon or otherwise) would be a force-to-be-reckoned-with when packing this gun.
-It’s very fast, even in the slowest bow, due to the Fanatacism aura it grants.
-One mod I feel is overlooked is the 10% reanimate as returned. They are TOUGH. And it should bring a tear to the eye of any glass-cannon to see little tanks popping up in the crowd as she mows them down from a distance...
-Equip this bow, grab a Might merc, and stick a “Pride†on him. See how that treats you, you rich, rich bastard.

4 Socket Weapons/Body Armor
El + Sol + Dol + Lo
20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Chilling Armor when Struck
+25% Faster Cast Rate
+300% Enhanced Damage
+9 To Minimum Damage
+50 To Attack Rating
20% Deadly Strike
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
+200% Enhanced Defense
+X To Life (Based on Character Level)*
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
+1 To Light Radius
-No ias: slow.
-The armor version of this RW is second-to-none for a bowie.
-This might useful as a bow in Hardcore if you could ever find the ingredients to make it. It has lots of excellent defensive mods and good damage.

Hand of Justice
4 Socket Weapons
Sur + Cham + Amn + Lo
100% Chance To Cast Level 36 Blaze When You Level-Up
100% Chance To Cast Level 48 Meteor When You Die
Level 16 Holy Fire Aura When Equipped
+33% Increased Attack Speed
+280-330% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignore Target's Defense
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
-20% To Enemy Fire Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
Hit Blinds Target
Freezes Target +3
-This is a very nice rune word, but, much like "Silence" bows, it's glory days have come and gone, except for to a few very specialized zon builds.
-While mostly forgotten in post 1.10, the Amazon fire tree is still viable with this rune word.
-This is quite possibly THE bow for an Immo-Zon. (see also: “Phoenixâ€)

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Tir + Ith + Sol + Ko
Level 10 Vigor Aura When Equipped
+200-275% Enhanced Damage (varies)
+9 To Minimum Damage
+9 To Maximum Damage
Adds 55-160 Lightning Damage
Adds 55-160 Fire Damage
Adds 55-160 Cold Damage
+2-6 To Valkyrie (varies)
+10 To Dexterity
Regenerate Mana 20%
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
+2 To Light Radius
Level 20 Revive (25 Charges)
-This is the best bow in the whole effing game if price is considered as a factor in any way, shape, or form.
-Combine this RW with rune word Lionheart, Treachery or Duress for deadly-on-a-budget. You'll be surprised. (I recommend Treachery.)
-It's a fantastic utility weapon with it's +valk pre-buff and a speedy aura to boot.
-Something fun and useful: put on a 40% frw boot, a Cat's eye and equip this bow; you'll be able to outrun teleporters. Just not through walls...

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Amn + Shael + Jah + Lo
100% Chance To Cast Level 40 Blizzard When You Level-up
25% Chance To Cast Level 22 Frost Nova On Striking
Level 18 Holy Freeze Aura When Equipped
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+140-210% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignore Target's Defense
+25-30% To Cold Skill Damage (varies)
-20% To Enemy Cold Resistance
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
20% Deadly Strike
3.125-309.375 Extra Gold From Monsters (Based on Character Level)
-A Frost-Maiden (Frozen Arrow zon) carrying this bow could be likened to God's own personal smiting tool.
-As you read down the stats, it just keeps getting better:
1) The Holy Freeze adds cold damage that stacks on the explosion of FA when it contacts a target.
2) Plus the aura slows everything that gets close to you down to a crawl, which makes you very hard to kill/catch to kill.
3) Packs -cold resistance AND +cold damage.
4) The CTC Frost Nova occurs at the target. This is freak-nasty-looking on a 2 frame Strafer with novas popping everywhere. It’s also practical, slowing down the crowd quite a bit before they even hit the radius of your Holy Freeze aura, which then slows them down more, if they can even move from being spammed with FA.
5) This is all not to mention the deadly strike, the IAS, the AR boost, the ITD, Monster Gold Find, blah, blah, blah; it's just awesome all over your face.
-With all the cold damage here many of your targets will shatter rendering them useless to revivers for good or bad.
-An FA zon with this cannon in hand can take down packs in the cow level just as fast as an LF zon (!).
-This was some Frost-Maiden-fanatic-who-works-at-blizzard's wet dream.
-This is also good on an act 1 cold rogue for obvious reasons.

4 Socket Weapons
Dol + Ort + Eld + Lem
+25% Increased Attack Speed
+160-210% Enhanced Damage (varies)
50-80% Bonus To Attack Rating (varies)
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
+1 To Berserk
+1 To Zeal
Hit Blinds Target +10
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
75% Extra Gold From Monsters
Level 3 Heart of Wolverine (12 Charges)
-Nice for the price.
-I haven't seen one of these in a long time, if ever.
-Hmmm... I shuold make one of these sometime...

4 Socket Weapons/Shields
Vex + Vex + Lo + Jah
100% Chance To Cast level 40 Blaze When You Level-up
40% Chance To Cast Level 22 Firestorm On Striking
Level 10-15 Redemption Aura When Equipped (varies)
+350-400% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignores Target's Defense
14% Mana Stolen Per Hit
-28% To Enemy Fire Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
+350-400 Defense Vs. Missile (varies)
+15-21 Fire Absorb (varies)
-No ias is the big negative here, for something this pricey no ias just isn't acceptable in my book.
-Probably really nice for an IMO zon.
1) She's on a timer anyway so the lack-of-ias is a non-issue.
2) Plus -fire res.
3) She would also have no mana problems with Redemption going and HUGE mana leech on the bow.​
-Has some really interesting mods, but it's slow and...
-It's OMG-this-is-costing-me-alot expensive.

6 Socket Weapons
Dol + Eld + Hel + Ist + Tir + Vex
200% Enhanced Damage
+75% Damage To Undead
Requirements -20%
20% Increased Attack Speed
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
+2 To All Skills
All Resistances +75
20% Faster Hit Recovery
11% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
Hit Blinds Target +33
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
30% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items
-A real fallen hero of a RW.
-It's mods are truly godly: it’s got huge res all (75!), fhr, ias, blinds target, good dmg, causes monsters to flee, MF, and huge Mana Leech, yipe!
-A very nice mix of an offensive/defensive weapon. This would be the holy grail for a bowie playing hardcore, imho.
-You are, however, forced to make it in a slow bow, because of socketing options, but in a self-preservation light, the mods are worth it.
-By the time you are at a level where you can equip it, this bow will blind 100% of the monsters able-to-blinded that it strikes.
-In offense, it is outshined by nearly all the newer RW's, and most would agree, just not worth the price nowadays. In it’s time, though, this was an awesome weapon.
-On a Strafer, this bow offers crowd control only a Necro or Singer-Barb can match.
-Somehwat Pricey.

3 Socket Weapons
Tal + Dol + Mal
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
Prevent Monster Heal
Ignore Target's Defense
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Level 15 Poison Explosion (27 Charges)
Level 13 Poison Nova (11 Charges)
+273 Poison Damage Over 6 seconds
-This bow should have been one of the stars of the 'twink' bow-section above, but it costs a mal.
-I'm not sure if anyone has ever made one of these. if they did I don't know why. Maybe a collector would want one?
-Waaay to expensive for what it is.

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Pul + Lum + Ber + Mal
30% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Striking
5% Chance To Cast Level 10 Life Tap On Striking
+375% Damage To Demons
+100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
+250-300% Damage To Undead (varies)
Adds 85-120 Magic Damage
Adds 41-240 Lightning Damage
20% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Energy
Cannot Be Frozen
-This bow is a wolf in sheeps clothing, it's kind of like a WWS on steroids. really good ones.
-It grants no on-weapon IAS so make it in a fast bow.
-It grants NO ENHANCED DAMAGE, wtf? relax it makes up for it in spades...
-The 30% CTC Decrepify is the money-shot, here. It breaks immunities, lowers resistance to physical damage by 50%, slows by 50%, and reduces targets ability to deal damage by 50%. Oh snap. And at 30% ctc on a starfer this will get cast approximately once every half second as long as you're hitting your target. Decrep is an amazing asset defensively, and offensively for your whole party.
-The Lifetap is somewhat unecessary, but it's nice for melee-rs in your party and your merc and valk, etc. It's never "on" for very long because it will soon get overridden by Decrep.
-The enhanced damage to demons and undead are excellent mods. They're counted as off-weapon so they won't stack quite as nicely, but they're a good shot in the arm to have.
-The magic damage, light damage and 20% Crushing Blow further increase the kaleidoscope of ways this bow hurts things.
-It also has cannot be frozen, which gives you more freedom in your other gear.
-Prevents monster heal is always welcome, especially in Hell.
-Very Expensive.

My Rune Word/Bow Picks for Popular Builds

These are my picks. Your picks may be different. This is OK.:wink3:
-Strafer: “Faith†Grand Matron Bow / "Wrath" Matriarchal bow
-Frostmaiden: +3 “Ice†Matriarchal Bow
-Multizon: +3 “Faith†Matriarchal Bow
-Immo-Zon: “Phoenix†+3 Matriarchal Bow
-Guided Arrow PvP: +3 “Faith†Grand Matron Bow
-Guided Arrow PvM (Assasin): +3 “Faith†Matriarchal Bow
-Proc’-Zon: “Brand†Great Bow
-Effect-o-zon: “Silence†Gothic Bow

A Few Tips

-Keep in mind that you cannot equip amazon-only bows on act 1 mercs.

-I always like to put my RW's in -10 speed bows if possible. In fact, the only non -10 bow I would ever be caught using is a Faith or a Silence.(Once again, this is personal taste. Relax, big damage number addicts.) If you can't bear to go to such lengths for speed, try a Shadow Bow, they're a nice compromise between speed and power and they have the highest AVG damage of all 0 speed bows.

-Ignore min/max damage when picking a bow, avg. damage is what I look at first, then I look at speed, then at min. damage, then at max damage. Consistent damage and speed will pwn a big max damage number on the LCS with slow attack speed any day. This is a very important part of the 'Zon philosophy to me. Most people like to see a big fat number on their character screen. I agree, that it's nice when it means something, but to a zon speed should be king. Think damage per second, not damage per arrow.

-Some of the cheaper RW's, like Harmony/Passion are worth re-rolling to get a good ed%.

In Conclusion...

Everything above is my opinion. You will develop your own after you've played lots and lots (and lots) of bow zons and hybrid zons. Until that time this guide can help get you started.

If anyone has a comment or question about a Runeword Bow, feel free to respond in here. I’ll try to answer, if it's a question, or I may comment on your comment. (No WF vs. Faith flame-wars. There are 569,420 other threads already dedicated to this crap. Do a search, and post in one of those if you must have that discussion again.)

Helpful Links:
All Runeword Recipes (Arreat Summit)
All Bow Info (Arreat Summit)
German & English Weapon Speed Calculator
Previous versions of this guide are here.

I hope all this helps anyone pondering how to spend a hard-earned rune.👍

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