This is the first draft of that guide I was talking about. I’ll call it Beta for now since I can’t log into the computer I use as a webserver and this thing could really use some formatting. Notepad isn’t known for its advanced technology if you know what I mean…
Hello everyone. Now you might be asking yourself “What the heck is a Witchwild String Strafeazon?”. A Witchwild String Strafezon (or just Witchyzon as some call them) is an Amazon that uses the Witchwild String unique short siege bow and the Strafe skill to kill her enemies. However, there’s a lot more to it than that. I plan to cover as many aspects of this build as I can in this guide. Also this guide is intended for PvM only. However, if you wish to go into a PvP game with this build feel free to do so. I am not into PvP and never have been, thus I won’t be giving any PvP tips, all of this is strictly PvM.
WITCHWILD STRING: THE LITTLE BOW THAT COULD
The Witchwild String (henceforth referred to as the WWS) is an interesting little bow that boasts some very impressive mods. Let take a quick look at them.
First of all it fires Level 20 Magic Arrows. That’s a free maxed skill right there. And before you ask, no, you can’t increase that with + skills items. According to The Arreat Summit a level 20 Magic Arrow converts 20% of your physical damage to magic damage, adds 181% to your attack rating, and adds 20 to damage. This is a pretty potent weapon by itself, especially when you’re facing Physical Immunes (PI’s) and Stone Skin unique monsters. As an added bonus, Magic Arrow doesn’t actually use any arrows from you inventory at all. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re so broke that you can’t buy arrows you can still use your normal attack with this bow.
Secondly the WWS has a 2% chance to cast level 5 Amplify Damage on striking. That’s the same as the Necromancer’s Amplify Damage curse skill. A level 5 Amp Damage curse has a 4.6 yard radius, lasts for 20 seconds, and most importantly, lowers an enemy’s resistance to physical damage by 100%. In short, whenever this curse goes off and affects your enemies you’re doing twice the physical damage you were doing before the curse activated. It doesn’t modify any elemental damage you are doing however. If that wasn’t enough, Amp Damage has the ability to remove, or “break”, a unique or regular monster’s physical immunity, making them just as susceptible to physical attacks as other normal monsters by you, your Valkyrie, your merc, and your party members. There are however some monsters out there that have over 100% physical immunity that Amp Damage can’t break. Running into one of these monsters is rare, but if you ever happen across one of them this is where the level 20 Magic Arrows come in, as they’re able to take them down quite easily with their built in Magic damage.
Thirdly it offers level based Deadly Strike. + (1 per character level) 1-99% Deadly Strike (Based on character level). For example, a level 83 Amazon using a WWS has an 83% chance of Deadly Strike. Deadly Strike works just like the Amazon’s Critical Strike skill in the Passive and Magic Skill tree. When it activates, it doubles your physical damage. And the more levels you gain, the more chance you have of all of your attacks doing double their physical damage. When the Amp Damage curse goes off you can effectively do FOUR TIMES your listed physical damage. And when using a fast multi-target skill like Strafe, the Amp Damage and Deadly Strike activate quite a lot.
Last, but certainly not least, the WWS comes with +40 to all resistances. This is a *very* useful mod, especially for a Bowazon who has to sacrifice the use of a shield, and thus, an easy outlet for resistances. And is even more significant if you play Hardcore. Bowazons are sorta legendary with their resistance problems. Some argue that since Bowazons are ranged fighters that they shouldn’t get hit and thus don’t need resistances like melee fighters. This is good…in theory. In practice there’s distractions, slip ups, stupid party members, and lag. During a lag spike that + 40 to all resistances can mean the difference between still standing there after the lag has passed, or seeing those big red letters telling you that you lost money and experience and need to hit Esc. Or, God forbid, “Your deeds will be remembered.”.
As far as actual physical damage goes the WWS comes with 150-170% Enhanced Damage. In its Exceptional Item form it does (32-35) to (75-81) damage depending on how much Enhanced Damage it has. That seems pretty low compared to other bows out there. But remember that the WWS is more often than not doing four times its normal damage. For example, a 170% ED WWS doing 35 to 81 damage will do 70 to 162 damage when Amp Damage or Deadly Strike triggers. If Amp Damage is in effect when Deadly Strike triggers it’ll be doing 140 to 324 damage. That’s a lot of damage right there…and we haven’t even upgraded the WWS yet. That’s right! Find a Lum rune, a Pul rune, and a Perfect Emerald, shove them along with the WWS into your Horadric Cube and hit the Transmute button. The WWS will be upgraded to its Elite Item equivalent, a Diamond Bow. A WWS Diamond Bow with 170% ED will have 89 to 108 damage, a much tighter damage range than it had in it’s Short Siege Bow form. And as before with the Amp Damage and Deadly Strike, the WWS Diamond Bow with 170% ED will do 178 to 216 damage when Amp Damage or Deadly Strike trigger and 356 to 432 damage when Deadly Strike triggers with Amp Damage is in effect. Only one other bow out there tops that damage, and that’s a Windforce. Some will argue that the WWS when upgraded can out perform the Windforce because the WWS has a faster WMS (Weapon Speed Modifier) than the Windforce, and thus can hit faster IAS (Increased Attack Speed) breakpoints than the Windforce can. That and the fact that the upgraded WWS has a much tighter damage range than the Windforce, meaning that on average it’s doing more damage in one shot that the Windforce does in one shot. This is however mostly only true when the Amp Damage and Deadly Strike on the WWS activates, and at high levels with sufficient IAS and a maxed Strafe, it activates a lot.
Oh, did I mention that the WWS comes with 2 sockets as well? You can see why I called it the “little bow that could”.
As general with most PvM Bowazons, you raise Strength just enough to ware your equipment, raise Vitality up to a point that you’re comfortable with, ignore Energy, and dump everything else into Dexterity.
The only constant piece of equipment in this build is the WWS. Stat requirements for it, both standard and upgraded, are:
So depending on your other equipment choices you will need at least 89 Strength. You can select what other gear you want to ware before you start building (if you have the gear already) and plan ahead on what amount of Strength you need. Any gear you have in your end game set up that adds to your Strength can be used to save you points from Strength which can be thrown into Dexterity for more damage. The Dexterity is a given, you’ll be pumping that through the roof after you meet your other stat requirements. You should raise your Vitality to your tastes. People have different styles with this. Some like to go with base Vitality and poor everything they have into Dexterity, making them “Glass Cannons”. Others, like me, don’t like it when monsters kill them in one hit, so they raise their Vitality a little bit. Keep in mind though that this is not a front line melee fighting build, it’s a ranged fighting build, and does not need 300+ Vitality like the melee builds like to have. You’re aim should be around 800-ish life, give or take a few. I personally raise my Vitality up to 100 base points. But you can safely get away with any Vitality total between 80-100. Energy should be left alone. At no time should you put any point in this. Strafe, you’re main skill, only cost 11 mana each time you use it, and that stays constant as you put skill points into it. A little bit of Mana Leech will replace your lost mana almost instantly.
So, in short, stats are going to look something like this:
-Strength: At least 89. (more or less. depending on strength requirements for other gear and + to strength from gear/charms)
-Dexterity: Everything you don’t need to spend in Strength and Vitality. 132 +
-Vitality: 80 – 100 (or base, depending on your play style)
-Energy: Nothing. DO NOT ADD ANY POINTS HERE.
The popular skill build with the Wtichyzon is a pure Strafer. However you can tweak you’re build here and there as you see fit to suit your needs. Following is an overview of all the skills you’ll either be using or just putting one point in because it’s a prerequisite for another skill.
*Bow and Crossbow Skills*
Required Level: 1
The WWS already shoots level 20 Magic Arrows, so this skill is all but useless. Still, you need one point in it because it’s a pre-req for all of the physical damage skills in the bow tree. It also has some use in the Witchyzon’s early life before she can equip the WWS.
Recommended points: 1
Required Level: 6
This skill is a pre-req for most of the physical damage skills in the bow tree. However, it has a lot more use than Magic Arrow as it can slow down enemies with its cold damage (4 second cold duration at level 1 in Normal). The real beauty of this skill is that it adds 1.2 seconds to its cold duration with every skill point added to it, hitting 26.8 seconds at level 20 in Normal. This skill is also the only synergy to Freezing Arrow thatâ€™s worth maxing. So if you want a strong FA/Strafe variant build you’ll want to max this skill sooner or later.
Recommended points: 1 or 20 (20 only if you plan to max Freezing Arrow and use it as a main damage skill)
Required Level: 6
Prerequisites: Magic Arrow
Multiple Shot splits one arrow into many arrows (adding another arrow per skill point, 21 arrows total at level 20) and fires them in an arc toward a group of monsters. You can also manipulate how it spreads out by aiming either far away or close to you. (i.e. Put Multiple Shot on your right click hotkey and move the cursor toward the edge of the screen for a tight arrow spread and move the cursor close to your character for a wide spread.) Back in the day this skill was the most used and abused skill the Amazon had. Windforce Bowazons dominated the cow level with maxed out Multishots. I know because I was one of them. With the advent of 1.10 something changed though. Anyone using a Windforce or using Knockback gloves noticed that those cows just kept right on walking towards them. Knockback wasn’t pinning them against walls or shoving them all the way across the Moo Moo Farm anymore. But Multishot hasn’t totally fell from it’s pedestal. It’s now more of a utility skill than a main attack skill. Even though it only does 3/4’s of your total weapon damage, it can still hit a lot of enemies very fast, taking with it any damage mods you may be packing. Like Open Wounds, Critical/Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow, Elemental damage, chance to casts spells on striking, and so forth. However Strafe can do this as well, and it doesn’t seem to have the problem with Knockback that Multishot does. In general, Multishot is built more for slower bows and crossbows, like the Buriza and Hellrack. Strafe is for the faster bows.
Recommended points: 1 ( you can add a few points to this if you feel that you need a multi-target skill before Strafe becomes available. up to 10 is the usual stopping point for most people)
Required Level: 18
Prerequisites: Cold Arrow
You will only put a point in this skill if you plan to get Freezing Arrow, and after that one point you’ll most likely forget about this skill. The only thing unique about this skill from the other cold arrow skills is that it can freeze enemies in place rather than slow them down. It can also freeze enemies in place longer than Freezing Arrow can. But it only freezes one enemy at a time, where as Freezing Arrow has and area of effect radius, freezing everything solid in that area. On top of that it’s a crappy synergy to Freezing Arrow. Still, it can be of some use until level 24 or so.
Recommended points: 0 -1 (1 point if you want Freezing Arrow)
Along with Multishot this was *THE* skill back in the day. Guided Arrow seeks out the nearest target and always hits it’s chosen target. Back in 1.09 if you had a high enough Pierce this was probably the single best act boss killer out there. The arrow would Piece the boss, make a 180 degree turn, and hit the boss again. One arrow could hit the boss 3 or 4 times. Depending on how much IAS you had you could have about 10 or so Guided Arrows flying around and through the boss like a hornet’s nest. And the PvP implications were just sick. But when 1.10 came out Guided Arrow fell from Grace…hard. Gone was it’s ability to pierce targets. It hits its targets once and only once. It does however have its use. It’s a great scouting tool for when you want to know if a monster is just around that corner or on the other side of that door. It’s still widely used in PvP. And as you put points in it it adds 5% damage per level and goes down in mana cost, costing 8 mana at level one and only 3.2 mana at level 20. Still, it’s pretty much just a one point wonder.
Recommended points: 1
Now we’re talking. The multi-target skill that replaced Multishot and then some in my opinion. Strafe will auto aim and fire at up to 10 enemies at level 6, regardless if the enemies are on one side of you or surrounding you. You can think of it as a long range version of the Paladin’s Zeal or Werewolf Druid’s Fury. Like Multishot, Strafe has a 3/4’s weapon damage penalty. Unlike Multishot, Strafe adds damage as you add points, 5% per level. I’m not sure if at what level the enhanced damage you gain from it offsets the penalty, level 27 I think, but it’s not needed at all. At level 20, if there’s only one monster (or boss) Strafe will fire a volley of 7 arrows at the single target. Each of those 7 arrows has a chance to hit the enemy or boss, and deliver any damage mods you might be carrying (crushing blow, open wounds, etc). This makes Strafe the all in one skill for fighting off multiple monsters or going one on one with a boss. There is of course one little problem, and it’s called Next Delay. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but at faster IAS breakpoints all 7 arrows will not hit a single target. But generally enough of the arrows hit for you to not notice much of a difference. Some might complain of a thing called Strafe Lock. This happens when you start the Strafe volley. You’re character will stand in place and not be able to move until she has finished the Strafe volley. This can prove annoying or lethal if you don’t know what you’re doing. With the use of a good merc and a Valkyrie, and knowing where to stand with enough practice, Strafe Lock won’t be a problem at all. And any hits you should take while in Strafe Lock should be negated by the Life Leech items you’ll be wearing. And the mana cost is a constant 11, no matter what level it is.
Recommended points: 20
The queen of the cold arrow skills, Freezing Arrow will do an area of effect attack upon impact of the enemy. If the enemy isn’t Cold Immune or doesn’t have Cannot be Frozen (Death Lords) the enemy that got hit and everything standing in a 3.3 yard radius will be frozen solid for 2 seconds in Normal. This can give you some much needed breathing room if you need to escape from enemies, need to slow down some extra fast enemies, and save your Valkyrie, merc, or party members. Freezing Arrow however won’t freeze champion, unique, and act boss monsters, it’ll just slow them down. When combined with a high amount of Pierce Freezing Arrow gets even better. Every enemy that gets hit in it’s line of sight will cause the area of effect damage to go off again, freezing even more enemies and doing even more cold damage to the enemies it already hit if they’re packed closely enough. This is really the only skill you’ll have that has synergy bonuses, and Freezing Arrow has two synergy skills, Cold Arrow and Ice Arrow. Cold Arrow is the only synergy worth investing in for Freezing Arrow. Every hard point you put into Cold arrow grants Freezing Arrow a 12% increase in cold damage. With Ice Arrow, every hard point you invest into it grants Freezing Arrow a 5% increase in freeze length. With 20 points into Ice Arrow, Freezing Arrow gains a 2 second freeze length. Not worth it in my opinion. If you plan to use this as a main damage skill you’ll need a good bit of mana leech. Freezing Arrow is quite a mana hog, costing 18.5 mana at level 20. Another option for Freezing Arrow is to just leave it at level 1. The freeze duration on this skill never increases (unless you put points into Ice Arrow, which you shouldn’t do). A level 1 Freezing Arrow stops enemies in their tracks just as long as a level 20 Freezing Arrow does. This will complement Strafe very well, freeze them in place with Freezing Arrow and Strafe until dead. A great utility skill that a lot of people believe every Bowazon should have one point in.
Recommended points: 0 or 1 – 20
The fire arrow skills arenâ€™t all that useful in most builds, except for mageazons. But since this is a Wicthyzon guide I’ll just ignore them. However, if people want a description or try something different I won’t have a problem adding them in later.
*Passive and Magic Skills*
Required Level: 1
A one-point wonder that’s really only useful early in the game. Inner Sight will Illuminate enemies and reduce their defense (-40 to enemy defense at level 1). This is useful in the caves in Act 1 when it can be hard to see enemies down the path. However, once you beat Blood Raven and get a Rogue merc, she’ll cast her own Inner Sight, letting you not have to worry about it anymore.
Recommended points: 1
Required Level: 1
A simple and straight forward skill. Critical Strike gives you a chance to do double the amount of your physical damage. The chance increases as you put skill points into it. If you were using a bow that wasn’t a WWS I would say get this skill up to at least level 8 (where it gives a 51% chance of double damage). However, because we are using a WWS, we don’t need to invest any more than one point into this skill. The WWS provides it’s own version of Critical Strike in the form of Deadly Strike, and provides a lot more of it. At level 99 you’d have a 99% chance of doing double damage with a WWS. Critical strike only gets up to 68% at level 20.
Recommended point: 1
Required Level: 6
Dodge gives you a chance to step out of the way of a melee attack while you’re standing still and/or attacking. A very useful skill indeed, however everybody has differing opinions of how high to level this skill. At level 12 Dodge gives you a 50% chance to step out of the way of melee attacks. After that level the gains drop dramatically. A level 20 dodge grants a 56% to step out of the way of melee attacks. Weather you should level this or not is totally dependant on you. Hardcore players like having it at level 12 for the 50% dodge, some softcore players just put 1 point into it and forget about it because dying in softcore is only an inconvenience at best, and other’s like to put a couple of points in it and let + skills items bring it up to a respectable level.
Recommended points: 1 – 12
Required Level: 12
Prerequisites: Inner Sight
Another one-point wonder, but a very nice one-point wonder. Slow Missiles, when used around ranged enemies like skeleton archers and mages, slows the arrows, fire/ice bolts, and even the electricity from a Lightning Enchant unique monster by 33% with a 12 second duration at level 1. As you could imagine, this is a very useful skill. The only thing that gets better about Slow Missiles if you put skill points in it is the duration, reaching 125 seconds at level 20. You’re better off with just the one point in it.
Recommended points: 1
Required Level: 12
Just like Dodge, but this one allows you to step out of the way of missile attacks (arrows, fire/ice bolts, lightning form Lightning Enchanted monsters). At level 7 you have a 50% chance of stepping out of the way of missiles. Again, as with Dodge, level to taste.
Recommended points: 1 – 7
Required Level: 18
Prerequisites: Critical Strike
Penetrate has one use and only one use, it raises your Attack Rating on all of your attacks, be it Freezing Arrow, Strafe, a javelin skill, a normal attack, anything. If you’re mainly using Freezing Arrow you won’t need many points in this, as Freezing Arrow has it’s own Attack Rating bonuses. Strafe however has now Attack Rating modifiers, so most pure Strafers max this skill. So depending on your chance to hit enemies, you could put 20 points into it, 8 points into it, or just 1 point into it.
Recommended points: 1 – 20
This skill creates a duplicate of you. The duplicate doesn’t do anything but stand there though, but that’s what it’s supposed to do, Decoy draws enemy fire away from you. In fact sometimes it seems enemies prefer to attack the decoy over you. In that respect you can think of Decoy as the Amazon version of the Necromancer’s Attract curse. The Decoy has the same amount of life and resistances as you, at level 1 it adds 10% more life to the decoy and lasts for 10 seconds. At level 20 the Decoy has 200% more life than you and lasts for 105 seconds. The Decoy’s resistances are measured like this: Resistance = level * 4. The decoys resistance is capped at 85 however. The Decoy also gains the same bonuses from Dodge and Avoid as you do. Even with all of that, this skill is a great one-point wonder and is probably best left at one point.
Recommended points: 1
This skill does everything Dodge and Avoid does, it gives a chance to step out of the way of melee and missile attacks. The only thing that’s different is this skill applies to when you are walking or running, not standing still. You can also evade Area of Effect spells, like Meteors and Blizzards. At level 12 this skill grants a 50% chance of evading stuff while running. Again, like with Dodge and Avoid, level to taste.
Recommended points: 1 – 12
â€œTo my side dark warriors! Battle awaits us!â€ If youâ€™ve never played Valkyrie Profile for the Playstation I will personally hunt you down and slap you in the back of the head.
This skill allows you to summon a Valkyrie, an Amazon look-a-like with a really big spear, to fight by your side. Just like the Assassinâ€™s Shadow Master. She makes a great tank with a huge amount of life at high levels that auto-regens with insane speeds. A max level Valkyrie is a force to be reckoned with. At level 20 she has 2200 life, 475% enhanced damage on whatever spear she spawns with, 800% to her Attack Rating, and 190% to her defense. Pretty much the only thing thatâ€™ll ever kill your Valkyrie is the Iron Maiden curse the Oblivion Knights in Act 4 and 5 cast. And more often than not your merc will go down before the Valkyrie does. Of course if you want to be stingy with your skill points the skill level most people aim for is 17. At this level she spawns with all of her high-end rare equipment. Valkyries also gain the bonuses from your Critical Strike, Dodge, Avoid, and Evade. They receive synergies from Decoy (+** life per level) and Penetrate (+ 40 to Attack Rating per level). Resistance wise Valkyries have resistances equal to their level * 2, with a maximum cap of 85 all resists. Thereâ€™s also a hidden synergy between Decoy and Valkyrie. Every hard point into Decoy will raise the Valkyrieâ€™s resistance to all by 2. However, the Decoy synergy isnâ€™t worth it, as she has enough defense and life to live without it easily.
Recommended points: 17 â€“ 20
This skill gives you a chance of piercing the enemy with your arrows. Arrows that pierce can hit any other monsters directly behind it. The damage potential from this is great, especially when paired with skills like Freezing Arrow, Strafe, and the Lightning Fury skill in the javelin tree. At level 20 you have an 85% chance to pierce enemies. However, for those penny pinchers, there is a way not have to max this skill and get 100% pierce. The Razortail, a unique Sharkskin Belt, comes with a Piercing Attack mod. Anyone wearing this automatically get a 33% chance to pierce monsters. This 33% chance can stack with the Amazonâ€™s Pierce skill. So you would only need to get Pierce up to level 9 (69% chance) and wear a Razortail. 69 + 33 = 102% chance to pierce enemies. Of course, there are other belts out there that you might like better than a Razortail, in which case maxing this skill is not a bad idea at all.
Recommended points: 20 (9 if you plan to use a Razortail for the rest of your life)
Thatâ€™s pretty much it as far as skills are concerned. In the end itâ€™s your character. Build her how you want. Iâ€™ve chosen not to go into the Javelin and Spear skills in this guide, this is a Bowazon guide after all. The WWS does have many uses in Hybrid builds though. But thatâ€™s best left for another guide.
Well, you already know what bow your Bowazon will be using, but what about the rest of the equipment? Never fear, there a myriad of equipment options ranging from the frugal Bowazon on a budget all the way to the Bill Gates of Bowazons. Iâ€™ll list off some Uniques, Sets, Runewords and even some crafted equipment for each piece of equipment.
Not much in the normal unique helms stand out. Iâ€™ve used a Howltusk before for the knockback. The Undead Crown and Wormskull are both useful for the Life Leech they offer. The resistance conscious might consider Duskdeep and The Face of Horror. Then thereâ€™s Tarnhelm for the +1 to skills and MF. The Exceptional and Elite unique helms offer a lot more though.
-Stealskull (Casque) An excellent helm that can serve you well to the end. Stealskull offer 10% IAS, 5% Life and Mana Leech, and 30-50% MF. You could call this â€œShako Liteâ€. Itâ€™s one of the few helms that come with IAS.
-Crown of Thieves (Grand Crown) A little high on the strength requirement, but a very nice helm. It offers 9-12% Life Leech, 33% fire resist, 35 to mana, 50 to life, and 25 to dexterity. This would also be a good helm for your merc.
-Vampire Gaze (Grim Helm) Once the only helm people would only consider wearing on their Bowazons, the Vamp Gaze isnâ€™t all it used to be. Its still a very nice helm offering 6-22 cold damage and a 4 second cold duration (meaning Freezing Arrow will freeze enemies in place longer), 6-8% Life and Mana Leech, 15-20% Damage Reduction and 10-15 Magic Damage Reduction. Not a bad helm at all, but will look better on your merc as heâ€™ll benefit more form the Damage Reduction than you will
-Harlequin Crest (Shako) If youâ€™re into MFâ€™ing this is where itâ€™s at. +2 to all skills, 1-148 to life and mana based on character level, 10% damage reduction, 2 to all stats, and 50% MF. These things are a bit expensive though
-Andarielâ€™s Visage (Demonhead) A ladder only unique with a bunch of interesting mods. +2 to all skills, 20% IAS, 8-10% Life Leech, 25-30 to strength, 10 to max poison resist, and 70 to poison resist. Thereâ€™s a catch however, it also has â€“ 30 to fire resist. This could put a serious dent in your defense if you canâ€™t find a way to make up the difference. The level 3 Venom charges could add some extra poison damage to your attacks too.
-Mâ€™avinaâ€™s True Sight (Diadem) If youâ€™re a speed freak this is for you. This helm packs 30% IAS. More IAS than any unique helms can offer. Other than the 25 to mana it doesnâ€™t offer much of anything else.
-Tal Rashaâ€™s Horadric Crest (Death Mask) Probably the best helm out there for a Bowazon, and itâ€™s part of a Sorceress set, go figure. This lovely helm has 10% Life and Mana Leech, 15 to all resistances, 30 to mana, and 60 to life. You canâ€™t get much better than this beauty, which is kinda ironic. The helm is actually butt ugly.
-Delirium (Lem+Ist+Io) This helm is great fun, and also very powerful. +2 to all skills, 261 to defense, 10 to vitality, and some MF and Gold Find for gravy. The selling point is the spells it can cast when getting hit or hitting. 5% chance to cast level 14 Mind Blast when struck will knockback, stun, and sometimes convert enemies for a few seconds. 14% chance to cast level 13 Terror when struck will give you some breathing room by making the monsters run away. But the best one is the 11% chance to cast level 18 Confuse on Striking. This can single handedly remove all of the attention from you, your merc, your Valkyrie, and party members as the monsters will start attacking each other. However, that will over-write the Amp Damage the WWS will cast. The 1% chance to cast Level 50 Delirium can be a pain though. You canâ€™t strafe when youâ€™re a Bone Fetish.
-Twitchroe (Studded Leather) An old school Speedazon armor. This armor comes with 20% IAS and 10 to dexterity and strength. Upgrade for the added defense.
-Durielâ€™s Shell (Cuirass) Defense and Life based on character level, 20 to fire/lightning/poison resist, 50 to cold resist, 15 to strength, and Cannot Be Frozen.
-Skullderâ€™s Ire (Russet Armor) 1-123% MF based on character level and +1 to skills. The standard armor of all MFâ€™ers.
-The Gladiatorâ€™s Bane (Wire Fleece) Cannot be Frozen, 30% faster hit recovery, and 15-20 damage and magic damage reduction.
-Tyraelâ€™s Might (Sacred Armor) Not having any strength requirement means anyone can equip this. 20% faster run/walk, 20-30 to strength, 20-30 to all resistances, Cannot be Frozen, Slain Monsters Rest in Peace, and Indestructible. Good luck finding one thoughâ€¦
-Griswold’s Heart (Ornate Plate) Decent defense, 20 to strength, and 3 sockets. Nice utility armor.
-Mâavina’s Embrace (Kraken Shell) 5-12 magic damage reduction, defense based on character level, and +2 to Passive and Magic skills. Combined with Mâ€™avinaâ€™s True Sight and the armor gains 30% faster hit recovery, the True Sight gainâ€™s +1 to all skills, and you get 20 to strength with the partial set bonus.
-Lionheart (Hel+Lum+Fal) Sorta cheap runes with really super nice mods. Lionheart has this cult following thing going on with some players. 20% enhanced Damage, -15% to requirements, 25 to strength, 10 to energy, 20 to vitality, 15 to dexterity, 50 to life, and 30 to all resistances. Itâ€™s easy to see why itâ€™s so liked.
-Chains of Honor (Dol+Um+Ber+Ist) Super expensive runes for â€œSweet Chocolate Christ!!!â€ mods. +2 to all skills, 200% damage to Demons, 100% damage to undead, 8% Life Leech, 70% enhanced defense, 20 to strength, 65 to all resistances, and 8% damage reduction. This is THE Bowazon armor, and a Wtichyzon is no exception.
-Lava Gout (Battle Gauntlets) 20% IAS, 24 to fire resist, adds 13-46 fire damage and 2% chance to cast level 10 Enchant on Striking. The Enchant can help a lot if youâ€™re having Attack Rating problems
-Draculâ€™s Grasp (Vampirebone Gloves) 10-15 to strength, 5-10 to life after each kill, 25% chance of Open Wounds, 7-10% Life Leech, and 5% chance to cast level 10 Life Tap on striking. The Life Tap can pretty much make you, your Valkyrie, your Merc, and your party members immune to death.
-Cleglawâ€™s Pincers (Chain Gloves) Early on these are useful for the Knockback and Slows Target by 25%.
-Deathâ€™s Hand (Leather Gloves) By themselves not too useful. But wear theses along with belt from the same set and they gain 30% IAS. The belt gains 15 to all resists, and you get 8% Life Leech with the partial set bonus.
-Sigonâ€™s Gage (Gauntlets) Like Deathâ€™s Hand, not to useful by themselves. But when combined with another piece of the set they gain 30% IAS. If you wear these, the belt, and the boots, the belt gains defense based on character level, the boots gain 50 to Attack Rating and 50% MF, and you get +100 defense with the partial set bonus.
-Sanderâ€™s Taboo (Heavy Gloves) 9-11 poison damage over 3 seconds, 40 to life, and 20% IAS.
-Magnus’ Skin (Sharksking Gloves) 20% IAS, 100 to Attack Rating, and 15 to fire resist.
-Immortal Kingâ€™s Forge (War Gauntlets) A bit heavy on the strength requirement. By themselves they offer 20 to dexterity and strength. When worn with another piece of the set they gain 25% IAS. Wearing these with the belt and boots and the gloves get +120 defense, the belt gains +105 to defense and 25% faster hit recovery, the boots gain 25% MF and +2 to Combat Skills (barb only, useless to Bowazons), any you gain 75 to Attack Rating as a partial set bonus.
Since youâ€™re not likely to get Knockback from any of your other equipment (unless you put a Nef rune in your WWS), crafted Hit Power gloves can be very nice gloves. The can spawn with lots of nice and/or godly mods.
-Crafted Hit Power Gloves (Magic Chain Gloves/Heavy Bracers/Vambraces+Ort+Perfect Sapphire+Any Jewel) The fixed mods on these are Knockback, 5% chance to cast level 4 Frost Nova when Struck, and Attacker Takes Damage of 3-7. The other mods that can randomly spawn on these include 20% IAS, resistances, Life or Mana Leech, and + to skills. Generally when I craft some I go for the 20% IAS mod. If I can just get that Iâ€™m happy. Of course, my dream gloves would have +2 to Passive and Magic skills, 20% IAS, some Life or Mana Leech, and resistances.
-Sting of Ears (Demonhide Sash) 6-8% Life Leech, 10-15% damage reduction, 10-15 magic damage reduction.
-Razortail (Sharksking Belt) 10 to maximum damage, 15 to dexterity, and Piercing Attack (33%). With only 9 points into the Pierce skill and this belt you will have a little over 100% pierce. There are better options in my opinion though.
-Nosferatuâ€™s Coil (Vampirefang Belt) The other of the two belts that offers IAS. 10% IAS, 2 to mana after each kill, 5-7% Life Leech, and 15 to strength. This is arguably the best Bowazon belt out there.
-Deathâ€™s Guard (Sash) By itself it offers Cannot be frozen and +20 to defense. The set bonuses are as seen up above by Deathâ€™s Hand.
-Sigonâ€™s Wrap (Plated Belt) By itself it offers 20 fire resist and 20 to life. The set bonuses are as seen up above by Sigonâ€™s Gage.
-Wilhelmâ€™s Pride (Battle Belt) I think this is the only belt out there that offers dual leech. 5% Life and Mana Leech and 10 to cold resist. If you wear this with Magnusâ€™ Skin youâ€™ll gain 35 to life as a partial set bonus.
-Immortal Kingâ€™s Detail (War Belt) 31 to lightning resist, 28 to fire resist, and 25 to strength. The set bonuses are as seen up above by Immortal Kingâ€™s Forge.
-Tal Rashaâ€™s Fine-Spun Cloth (Mesh Belt) 30 to mana, 20 to dexterity, and 10-15% MF. If you can piece together the Helm and Armor from this set along with this belt the armor gains 10% faster cast rate and the belt gains +60 to defense and 10% faster cast rate. As for partial set bonuses you will gain Replenish Life +10 and 65% MF. The helm, armor, and belt together make a strong MF set up.
-War Traveler (Battle Boots) 25% faster run/walk, 10 to vitality and strength, adds 15-25 damage, 40% slower stamina drain, 30-50% MF. These are the best all around boots for a Bowazon because of the 15-25 damage mod.
-Gore Rider (War Boots) 30% faster run/walk, 10% of Open Wounds, 15% chance of Crushing Blow, 15% Deadly Strike, requirements â€“25%, and 20 to maximum stamina. These are better suited for melee characters, but they have their use, especially in boss fights.
-Sandstorm Trek (Scarabshell Boots) 20% faster hit recovery, 20% faster run/walk
1-99 to stamina based on character level, 10-15 to strength and Vitality, 50% slower stamina drain, and 40-70 poison resist.
-Sigonâ€™s Sabot (Greaves) By themselves they offer 20% faster run/walk and 40 cold resist. Set bonuses can be seen above.
-Aldurâ€™s Advance (Battle Boots) 40% faster run/walk, 180 to stamina, heal stamina plus 32%, 50 to life, and 40-50 to fire resist.
-Cow Kingâ€™s Hooves (Heavy Boots) 30% faster run/walk, adds 25-35 fire damage, 20 to dexterity, and 25% MF.
-Immortal Kingâ€™s Pillar (War Boots) 40% raster run walk, 110 to Attack Rating, 44 to life. Set bonuses can be seen above.
-Natalyaâ€™s Soul (Mesh Boots) 40% faster run/walk, heal stamina plus 0-24% based on character level, 15-25% cold and lightning resist.
-Sanderâ€™s Riprap (Heavy Boots) 40% faster run/walk, 100 to Attack Rating, 10 to dexterity, 5 to strength.
-The Eye of Etlich +1 to all skills, 3-7% Life Leech, 1-2 to 3-5 cold damage, 10-40 defense vs. missiles. This ammy has a hidden feature. It can increase your cold duration from 2-10 seconds. Very helpful for Freezing Arrow.
-The Mahim-Oak Curio 10% enhanced defense, 10% bonus to Attack Rating, 10 to all resists, and 10 to all stats.
-Saracenâ€™s Chance 10% chance to cast level 2 Iron Maiden when struck, 15-25 all resists, 12 to all stats.
-The Catâ€™s Eye 30% faster run/walk, 20% IAS, 100 defense vs. missiles, 100 to defense, 25 to dexterity. This is probably the best ammy for this build.
-Crescent Moon 45 to mana, 3-6% Life Leech, 11-15% Mana Leech, 10 to magic damage reduction
-Atmaâ€™s Scarab 5% chance to cast level 2 Amplify Damage on striking, 20% bonus to Attack Rating, 40 poison damage over 4 seconds, 75 to poison resist. This is an ammy for Bowazons that use a bow other than WWS.
-Highlordâ€™s Wrath +1 to all skills, 20% IAS, 0-37% Deadly Strike based on character level, 35 to lightning resist.
-Maraâ€™s Kaleidoscope +2 to all skills, 20-30 to all resists, 5 to all stats.
-Metalgrid 400-450 to Attack Rating, 25-35 to all resists, 300-350 to defense, level 22 Iron Golem (11 charges), level 12 Iron Maiden (20 charges). Interesting ammy if youâ€™re having Attack Rating problems or just want an Iron Golem to add along with your Valkyrie and merc.
-Angelic Wings Combine this ammy with the ring from the set and the ammy gains 75 to life, the ring gains 144-1188 to Attack Rating based on character level, and you gain 10 to dexterity from the partial set bonus.
-Telling of Beads +1 to all skills, 35-50 poison resist, 18 to cold resist. Wear this along with the Laying of Hands and the Credendum and youâ€™ll gain 150 to defense and 22 poison damage over 3 seconds as a partial set bonus.
Rare ammies can spawn with some amazing mods. They can have +2 to all Amazon skills or just +2 to a single skill tree, resists, MF, faster cast rate, the list goes on. If you find one with level 1 Teleport charges keep it around. Those can be very handy.
Though itâ€™s not necessary, you should really do all that you can to have one of your ring slots dedicated to wearing a Raven Frost. Even the crappiest Raven Frost in the world still has Cannot be Frozen. Youâ€™ll never figure out how you live through life without a Raven Frost after you get one.
-Manald Heal 4-7% Mana Leech, replenish life +5-8, regenerate mana 20%, 20 to life.
-Stone of Jordan +1 to skills, increase maximum mana 25%, 1-12 lightning damage, 20 to mana. Though not all that useful for this build, SOJâ€™s have incredible trading power on the realms. If you find one, keep it. Find another and you may have enough to trade for a Chains of Honor armor.
-Dwarf Star fire absorb 15%, heal stamina plus 15%, 40 to maximum stamina, 40 to life, 100% Gold Find, magic damage reduced by 12-15.
-Raven Frost 150-250 to Attack Rating, 15-45 cold damage, + 4 second cold duration, Cannot be Frozen, 15-20 to dexterity, 40 to mana, cold absorb 20%. The only thing better than wearing one Raven Frost is wearing two Raven Frosts.
-Bul-Kathosâ€™ Wedding Band +1 to skills, 0-49 to life based on character level, 3-5% Life Leech, 50 to maximum stamina.
-Carrion Wind 10% chance to cast level 10 Poison Nova when struck, 8% chance to cast level 13 Twister on striking, 6-9% Life Leech, 100-160 defense vs. missiles, 55 poison resist, level 21 Poison Creeper (15 charges). Pretty interesting ring. The Poison Creeper charges may be of some use.
-Natureâ€™s Peace Slain Monsters Rest in Peace, Prevent Monster Heal, 20-30 poison resist, damage reduced by 7-11, level 5 Oak Sage (27 charges). Another interesting ring. Tired of those Fallen Shamans always reviving the Fallen? This ring will fix that.
-Wisp Projector 10% chance to cast level 16 Lightning on striking, 10-20% lightning absorb, 10-20% MF, level 7 Spirit of Barb (11 charges), level 5 Heart of Wolverine (13 charges), level 2 Oak Sage (15 charges). A Heart of Wolverine spirit is always useful for a Bowazon.
-Cathanâ€™s Seal 6% Life Leech, damage reduced by 2
-Angelic Halo replenish life +6, 20 to life. Wear this with the Angelic ammy and get 144-1188 to Attack Rating based on character level.
Rare rings can spawn with nice mods. Life and Mana Leech, Attack Rating bonuses, resistances, and + to stats to name a few. I once had a rare ring with 5% Life and Mana Leech that I used for a very long time.
STRAFE, THE WITCHWILD STING, AND IAS
Well now that youâ€™re familiar with all of the gear youâ€™ll most likely be using, itâ€™s time to talk about IAS breakpoints for Strafe. All bows have a value called WSM (Weapon Speed Modifier), this is the bowâ€™s natural speed before IAS is added to it. All bows come with one of four different WSM values. Going from fastest to slowest they are: -10, 0, 5, and 10. These values determine how much IAS is needed for the bow to hit certain IAS breakpoints. The WWS has a WSM value of 0, so the different IAS breakpoints for the WWS are:
13/3 – 0% IAS
12/3 – 9% IAS
11/3 – 20% IAS
10/3 – 37% IAS
9/3 – 63% IAS
9/2 – 86% IAS
8/2 – 105% IAS
7/2 – 200% IAS
Now to explain what these numbers mean, lets use the 9/2 breakpoint as an example. The first number, 9, is the number of frames it takes for Strafe to fire the first arrow. The second number, 2, is the number of frames each additional arrow of Strafe fires out. So if you played around with Strafe at the 9/3 and 9/2 breakpoints, youâ€™ll notice the arrows after the initial arrow are slower in the 9/3 breakpoint than they are in the 9/2 breakpoint. Easy huh?
Different people have different tastes when it comes to IAS breakpoints. A common IAS breakpoint set up with the WWS is to put two Shael runes into the sockets on the WWS, wear gloves with 20% IAS, socket the helm with a 15% IAS jewel, and wear either a Catâ€™s Eye or Highlordâ€™s Wrath ammy. This set up would give:
Total IAS = 95%
Looking at the breakpoints up above we see that we have hit the 9/2 breakpoint. This is the breakpoint most people aim for. But for just 10% more IAS you can hit the 8/2 breakpoint, and thereâ€™s plenty of ways to do this. Socket a 15% IAS jewel in your armor, use either a Stealskull or Andarielâ€™s Visage socketed with a 15% IAS jewel, wear a Mâ€™avinaâ€™s True Sight, Nosfeatuâ€™s Coil or Goldwrap to name just a few. Try to find a balance that works for you and donâ€™t sacrifice gear essential to your survival.
Mercs are like Valkyries, theyâ€™re computer controlled and fight for you. Unlike the Valkyrie you have to pay for their services. And when they die you have to pay to revive them. But unlike the Vlakyrie you can equip them with weapons and armor. Everyone should have a merc, and they can be hired in Acts 1,2,3, and 5.
*Act 1 â€“ Rogue Scouts*
Rogues come in two varieties, Cold Arrow and Fire Arrow, and they all can use the Inner Sight ability. They can only equip bows for weapons (not crossbows or Amazon only bows) and helmets and armor as there strength will allow. Rogues arenâ€™t all that useful for this build, and once you get to Act 2 you wonâ€™t need them anymore.
*Act 2 â€“ Desert Mercenaries*
These are the mercs of choice for many. Depending on which type you hire and what difficulty you hire them in they can come with different Paladin auras that can benefit you, your Valkyrie, and your party members. These mercs are melee fighters and use polearm and spear class weapons. The different auras these guys can come with are as follows:
Combat â€“ Thorns
Defense â€“ Holy Freeze
Offense â€“ Might
Same as Normal Difficulty
The best of these mercs for a Bowazon is a Nightmare Offense with the Might aura. Might will increase your attack damage greatly, as well as you Valkyrieâ€™s and his own. These are the best merc in the game for a Bowazon.
*Act 3 â€“ Ironwolves*
Of the three, the Ice ones seem to be the most useful, as they can freeze enemies solid and increase their own defense with Frozen Armor. The Ironwolves can equip one handed swords, helms, armors, and shields. While they seem useful, and Act 2 Might merc will be more useful for a Bowazon.
*Act 5 â€“ Barbarians*
All barb mercs are the same, theyâ€™ll either use Bash or Stun. They can equip one or two handed swords, helms and Barbarian only helms, and armor. These guys are more aggressive than the Act 2 mercs and rush into battle faster than they will. They lack the Paladin auras that are ever so helpful though.
Merc of Choice: Act 2 Nightmare Offensive with the Might aura.
Now that youâ€™ve got your merc heâ€™ll need equipment. Thereâ€™s quite a few items available for the Act 2 mercs. Remember first and foremost to give your merc some form of Life Leech. Also ethereal equipment will not lose durability when equipped on a merc.
-The Battlebranch 27-30 to 58-66 damage, 30% IAS, 50-100 to Attack Rating, 7% Life Leech.
-Woestave 14-16 to 54-62 damage, 50% chance of Open Wounds, slows target by 50%, hit blinds target, -50 to monster defense per hit, freezes target, prevent monster heal
-Bloodthief 10-11 to 25-28 damage, 35% chance of Open Wounds, 8-12% Life Leech, 26 to life, 10 to strength
-The Meat Scraper 15-18 to 145-174 damage, 50% chance of Open Wounds, 30% IAS, 10% Life Leech, 25% MF
-Kelpie Snare 75-83 to 138-153 damage, adds 30-50 damage, slows target by 75%, 1-123 to life based on character level, 50 to fire resist, 10 to strength
-Soulfeast Tine 40-46 to 100-116 damage, 150-250 to Attack Rating, requirements â€“20%, 7% Life and Mana Leech.
-Hone Sundan 95-107 to 193-217 damage, adds 20-40 damage, 45% chance of Crushing Blow, Repairs 1 durability in 10 seconds, 3 sockets. These are very nice. Put a couple of Shaels and an Amn run in it and youâ€™re set. Upgrade it and it gets even sexier.
-Bonehew 103-117 to 536-609 damage, level 14 Corpse Explosion (30 charges), prevent monster heal, 30% IAS, 50% chance to cast level 16 Bone Spear on Striking, 2 sockets. Another nice one. Tis a bit high on the strength requirement though.
-The Reaperâ€™s Toll 24-40 to 408-479 damage, ignore targetâ€™s defense, 4-44 cold damage, 11-15% Life Leech, 33% Deadly Strike, 33% chance to cast level 1 Decrepify on striking. This is hailed as the best ready-made weapon for an Act 2 merc. However, the chance to cast Decrepify will conflict with the chance to cast Amp Damage on the WWS.
-Tomb Reaver 99-125 to 450-570 damage, 150-230% damage to undead, 60% IAS, 250-350 to Attack Rating against undead, 30-50 to all resists, 10% reanimate as Returned, 10-14 to life after each kill, 50-80% MF, 1-3 sockets. Very nice. The 10% reanimate as returned will cause some monsters that are killed by the merc to be revived as a skeleton warrior and fight for you.
-Honor Runeword (Amn+El+Ith+Tir+Sol) 160% enhanced damage, 9 to minimum damage, 9 to maximum damage, 25% Deadly Strike, 250 to Attack Rating, +1 to skills, 7% Life Leech, replenish life + 10, 10 to strength
-Breath of the Dying Runeword (Vex+Hel+El+Eld+Zod+Eth) 50% chance to cast level 20 Poison Nova when you kill an enemy, indestructible, 60% IAS, 350-400% enhanced damage, 200% damage to undead, -25% target defense, 50 to Attack Rating, 50 to Attack Rating against undead, 7% Mana Leech, 12-15% Life Leech, prevent monster heal, 30 to all stats, 1 to light radius, requirements â€“20%.
-Crescent Moon Runeword (Shael+Um+Tir) 10% chance to cast level 17 Chain Lightning on striking, 7% chance to cast level 13 Static Field on striking, 20% IAS, 180-220% enhanced Damage, ignore targetâ€™s defense, -35% to enemy lightning resistance, 25% chance of Open Wounds, 9-11 magic absorb, 2 to mana after each kill, level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30 charges). This could be a very powerful weapon. The chance to cast Static Field can really soften enemies up.
-Doom Runeword (Hel+Ohm+Um+Lo+Cham) 5% chance to cast level 18 Volcano on striking, level 12 Holy Freeze aura when equipped, +2 to all skills, 45% IAS, 330-370% enhanced damage, -(40-60)% to enemy cold resistance, 20% Deadly Strike, 25% chance of Open Wounds, prevent monster heal, freezes target +3, requirements â€“20%. Whatâ€™s better than a Might merc? A Might merc with a Holy Freeze aura! This Runeword could very well be the best weapon there is for your merc.
-Eternity Runeword (Amn+Ber+Ist+Sol+Sur) Indestructible, 260-310% enhanced damage, 9 to minimum damage, 7% Life Leech, 20% chance of Crushing Blow, hit blinds target, slows target by 33%, regenerate mana 16%, replenish life +16, cannot be frozen, 30% MF, level 8 Revive (** charges)
-Hand of Justice Runeword (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% IAS, 280-330% enhanced damage, ignore targetâ€™s defense, 7% Life Leech, -20% to enemy fire resistance, 20% Deadly Strike, hit blinds target, freezes target +3.
Pretty much anything I listed in the helms section a few pages up will do just fine here. If your merc isnâ€™t getting Life Leech from his weapon this will usually be the place he gets it. Talâ€™s mask, Vampire Gaze, Crown of Thieves, and Stealskull all work well here. If youâ€™re merc does have Life Leech from his weapon then Iâ€™d suggest one very powerful, cheap, and sometimes overlooked helm here:
-Guillamumeâ€™s Face (Set Winged Helm) 30% faster hit recovery, 15% Deadly Strike, 35% chance of Crushing Blow, 15 to strength.
The Crushing Blow mod on this helm really increases his killing power. I donâ€™t have the numbers with me, but Crushing Blow works like Static Field, it takes a percentage of the monster’s current life away when it activates. Crushing Blow is less effective on bows than it is on melee weapons, so having you merc equipped with something that gives this mod will help ease that penalty somewhat.
Any of the armors Iâ€™ve listed a few pages up will do fine here. However since the merc will be on the front line using melee attacks he will need some type of armor that provides a more defensive punch than you will. Namely any armor that provides Damage Reduction is great here. Shaftstop works wonderfully here, especially when upgraded. A couple more armors to consider for your merc are:
-Leviathan 1514-1722 defense, 170-200% enhanced defense, +100-150 defense, 40-50 to strength, 15-25% damage reduction, indestructible
-Stone Runeword (Shael+Um+Pul+Lum) 60% faster hit recovery, 250-290% enhanced defense, 300 defense vs. missiles, 16 to strength, 16 to vitality, 10 to energy, 15 to all resists, level 16 Molten Boulder (80 charges), level 16 Clay Golem (16 charges). Put this in an ethereal armor for really high defense. Since durability on equipment doesnâ€™t decrease when mercs wear them itâ€™ll never break.
Well, it seems that Iâ€™ve gone through everything possible about the Witchwild String and how to make a Bowazon to use it. I hope everyone that read this enjoyed it or at least found it informative and are ready to run off to make their own Witchyzons. I dream of a day where every Bowazon I see in a Public Baal game is carrying a little blue bow. But not just any bow.