Diablo 2 Assassin Starter Trapsin Build Guide

Diablo 2 Assassin Starter Trapsin Build Guide


Contents

Introduction

The Diablo 2 Trapper or Trapsin build is the most popular assassin build, and with good reason. She can deal three different types of damage – lightning, fire, and physical damage, meaning nothing in the game is entirely immune to her. She has the best crowd control skills, and one of the strongest summons in the game, if you choose to use her.

This Trapsin guide is actually for two builds. For most of Normal difficulty we are going to play as a fire trapper. You can use these skills from the beginning, mana permitting. Later we will reset the skill and stat points of the character to be more lightning focussed, which will be stronger in the later game.

I’m assuming here you will be playing in a solo Battle Net game or Single Player. I will give a few options for ladder runewords, but mostly the guide is focused away from these items. There will be limited re-running recommended, but you can easily use this guide to play through once without repeating anything (single pass).

Abbreviations

BoS – Burst of Speed
CBS – Charged Bolt Sentry
CoS – Cloak of Shadows
DS – Death Sentry
FB – Fire Blast
LS – Lightning Sentry
MB – Mind Blast
SM – Shadow Master
SW – Shock Web
WB – Weapon Block
MF – Increased Chance to find Magic Items
MPK – +X to Mana per Kill
IAS – Increased Attack Speed
FRW – Faster Run / Walk

 

The Fire Trapper

Let’s get fired up and on with the build that will take you through Normal difficulty.

Skill Layout

Claw-Mastery1 Claw Mastery
Psychic-hammer1 Psychic Hammer
Cloak-of-Shadows1 Cloak of Shadows
Burst-of-Soeed1 Burst of Speed
Fire-Blast~10 Fire Blast, more if you have the points.
wake-of-fire20 Wake of Fire

Normal Difficulty Walkthrough

I’m going to give a step by step walkthrough for the early game as this can be the most frustrating. Once your skill levels increase you will power through late Normal and Nightmare, before the challenge of Hell difficulty. The levels are based on my own playthrough, yours may vary a bit from this but don’t worry about it. If you find you are underleveled, just go back a bit and kill some more monsters.

Unless this guide specifically tells you not to, save all your quest rewards. You can spend the skill and stat points, but we need to save things like Imbues, sockets and respecs for later.

Act I: The Sightless Eye

Levels 1-4 – The Den of Evil

We start off in a wet temperate landscape. You can talk to the NPCs if you like, then step out onto The Blood Moor. Kill all the monsters by whacking them with your Katar. Clear out The Den of Evil the same way.  Put the points into Fire Blast. You can use it straight away, but you will find you run out of mana quickly. Only spend your stat points when you actually need them. As a rough target, 36 strength is as far as you need to go in Act I, the rest of the points can go in Vitality. If you feel you are really short of Mana you can put some points in Energy, but no more than 20. The return isn’t great – Just 1.5 Mana per point.

Collect everything you can. Keep potions until you can’t hold more. Sell weapons and any armour you don’t need for gold. Wands, Scepters and Throwing Knives can be a good source of income, but don’t waste money buying Scrolls of Identify just yet. Keep transferring the gold to your stash as you don’t want to lose it if you die. Keep all chipped gems for now. Pretty much the only thing you don’t want to pick up are keys – Assassin’s don’t need them to open locked chests. Buy a Tome of Identify and Tome of Town Portal from Akara early on, that will stop your inventory being full of scrolls.

Level 5 & 6 – Blood Raven

Clear out all the caves and areas (a “Full Clear”), leave no monster alive! Once you have defeated Blood Raven, speak to Kashya and get a Rogue Mercenary. Buy her a Long Bow with three sockets from Gheed and put any chipped emeralds you have found in it.  If you have found any Jewels of Envy, put them in her helm or armour. You can buy a bow for yourself if you want too. The point in Burst of Speed at level 6 means you attack faster and run faster. Keep it active at all times.

Level 8 – Rescue Cain

Once you have rescued him he will identify items for free, so get him to ID anything you have stored away and sell it for gold. Tristram is filled with boss packs, so this is a good place to level a bit and find some items in the early game.

By now you are probably starting to wonder what you are going to do with all those gems and gold you have picked up. The chipped emeralds and rubies are probably already in your mercenary bow. Visit Charsi and shop for Ring Mail with three sockets. You may have to leave the Rogue Encampment and revisit her until she shows you one. They cost about 3600 gold. Now you have a choice here. If you are feeling impatient and want to get on with the game, socket it with the chipped sapphires. This will give you more mana and allow you to use your trap skills more. If you are happy to take it slower and let your mercenary do more work, socket it with chipped topazes. This will mean you find more magic items that can benefit your character in the longer term. There is no right or wrong approach here – This build is not critical for items and her best ones can be bought from vendors, with enough gold and patience. If you already have a bow full of emeralds or rubies, you can sell the rest. Hang on to the diamonds, topazes, and sapphires though.

Level 10 – The Countess

Proceed down all five levels of her tower and kill her. This is an optional quest, but killing her will drop some runes. Keep whatever she drops for now. Two Tir runes in a weapon or shield will help you maintain your Fireblast, although it won’t recover anything for kills by the Sentry or Wake of … traps you will be using later on.If you want to, save and exit the game and re-run her until you get them. If you want to make a Leaf runeword, run her a bit later as you can’t use it until level 19. You will be stronger then, so it will be easier.

Level 11 & 12 – The Pit

Proceed onwards and get the Outer Cloister Waypoint. Go back to the Tamoe Highland and find The Pit. Clearing it out should get you to level 12. Put those points into Wake of Fire and Cloak of Shadows. Wake of Fire is going to drain mana at the moment, so you still need to be using Fireblast too. The good news is both skills complement each other. As you start using Wake of Fire, take note of how it can be split by the terrain or obstacles. Pay attention to where you lay it. You can have up to five out at any one time, but that is going to drain the mana for a bit. One or two mixed with Fire Blasts should be fine for now.

If you have spare gold, you can visit Gheed and gamble for boots and gloves. Look out for rare boots with resists and/or faster run/walk. Boots and gloves can also get Increased Chance of Magic Items, you want those too.

Level 13 – 16 – Andariel

Time to push on through the Monastery and towards Andariel. But then Deckard Cain probably told you that already. Keep killing as much as possible, open all the chests and caskets, these can be a good source for chipped gems. After you get to the Inner Cloister waypoint, I suggest going back to get the ingredients for a Leaf staff (see equipment section).

When you get to the Catacombs level 4, clear out the outer room but do not go through the big doors just yet. It is time to fight Andariel, but you need a bit of prep first. Take a Town Portal back to Akara and buy eight Antidote potions. Drink four yourself and feed four to your rogue mercenary. Then back through the town portal. Lay down five Wake of Fires and keep progressing down the room. Andariel will come at you, spraying poison everywhere. Luckily she is particularly weak to fire. Keep chugging the mana potions and laying the traps, she won’t last long.

Pick up her drops and go back to town. Talk to Warriv and we are off to Act II

Act II: The Secret of the Vizjerei

Level 16 – 18 – The Cube and The Staff

We are in the desert and it is time for shopping again. Sell any items you found and go and visit Fara, you are after a three socketed Breast Plate. Put three more chipped topazes in it. Take all the gear of your mercenary and go and hire a Defensive mercenary from Greiz. Put the old armour and helm on him and go and buy him a weapon. He can use spear or polearm type weapons. Just give him something with as much damage as you can.

You can also look for glove and boot upgrades too. When you are done, head to the sewers and deal with Radament. Then off to the Dry Hills for the Horadric Cube.

Once you have the cube you can use it to cube up some of your chipped topazes and sapphires to flawed, or flawed to normal. Buy new armour and re-socket with better gems if you can. Cube 3x rejuvenation potions to a Full Rejuvenation potion and start cubing Savage polearms for the mercenary (see mercenary section).

Continue on and collect the amulet and staff and cube a Horadric Staff.

Level 19 – 22 – The Summoner and Duriel

Finally you can equip the Leaf staff and enjoy an instant boost to your fire traps. Clear out all the paths to the summoner then proceed to the Canyon of The Magi. Clear out all the false tombs for loot and experience, then prepare for Duriel.

Duriel is a tough boss and the area to fight him in is small. You should be about level 22, maybe a bit higher. Chug a few thawing potions before you go in. Drop all five of your traps, by this time your mercenary is almost certainly dead. Run in circles, dropping traps as you can. Keep drinking the potions and he will die eventually.

Act III: The Infernal Gate

Level 23 – 24

Welcome to the jungle. The first part of this act is a bit of a maze that many players hate. As you will be killing almost everything and have Burst of Speed, it isn’t much of a problem. Traps can be laid on the other side of the river, so take advantage of this.

By now you should know what is worth collecting and selling for gold. Keep gambling for gloves and boots, you can try circlets too if you have enough money. Upgrade your gemmed armour as you get better gems. Wake of Fire is still going to rip through everything. The act boss, Mephisto isn’t that hard. Even your merc may survive if you are lucky.

Act IV: The Harrowing

Levels 25 – 27

We are in and Angelic outpost in Hell. The monsters can be tougher here, but your Wake of Fire will still tear through everything. By now your mana problems should be much reduced. Consider also getting to 60 strength and buying a plated belt for four rows of potions. This is the maximum strength you need for now, the rest of the points should be in Vitality.

Once you have killed Izual and collected the skill points from Tyrael, you can try Wake of Inferno. All your points from now should have gone into Wake of Fire and you can’t put more points in until you level again. I found Wake of Fire more useful, but give it a try.

Take out Hephasto and collect your Hellforge. The gems are probably going to be more interesting than the runes, once again you can upgrade the gems in your armour. Enter the Chaos Sanctuary, clear each of the tree arms and kill the seal bosses in turn. Then it is time for Diablo.

Diablo is going to be a tough fight and you can’t rely on the merc. Diablo is quick and has high damaging attacks. Keep running, keep laying Wake of Fire and avoid his infamous pink lightning hose.

Act V: Lord of Destruction

Levels 28 – 30

Tyrael has sent you and your trusty mercenary to relieve the siege on Harrogath and save the world. This act is the biggest yet so, when you are ready, leave the gate and start climbing the mountain. The Bloody Foothills is a great place to level for a bit, so take the time to re-run it if you want to. When you are ready, carry on up the mountain and rescue the Barbarians then Anya.

If you decide to do the Nihlathak quest, DO NOT click the Halls of Pain waypoint. If you accidentally do click it, do not kill Nihlathak. Doing this will close the red portal by Anya and make your claw shopping much more difficult.

Level 31 – 33 – The Ancients

If you haven’t levelled much you will get to The Arreat Summit around level 32. Stock up on potions, including a few big purples as you can’t town portal back for more during this fight, this will mean you have to start again. Lay your five traps before you hit the altar and wake the three Ancients. Then trap around the merc as he takes the heat for however long he survives. After that you should know the drill by now: They chase you and you run around dropping traps until they die.

Level 34 – 35 – Baal

Once you have cleared out the Worldstone Keep it is time to face Baal. But you have to get through his minion waves first. These are fairly easy for a trapper. Lay traps in an arc around the area they spawn and hit Cloak of Shadows as soon as they hit the ground. Baal is hard to kill, but not as dangerous as Diablo. You may need to return to town to restock on potions and revive your mercenary, but be patient and you will be talking to Tyrael and completing Normal difficulty. Congratulations Slayer!

Level 36 – 45 – Level Up

I recommend levelling up a bit before you move to Nightmare, somewhere in the region of 40-45 is good, personally I always level to 45. Running Baals minion waves is easy and gives experience, but leave out Baal himself as he takes too long to kill. If you are playing on Battle.net, you should be able to join a Normal Baal Runs game, but avoid the temptation to rush through the Nightmare difficulty with other players, you won’t learn the mechanics of the game this way.  In Single Player you can use the /playersX command to ramp up the experience and the difficulty, but try /players3 before going to /players5 or higher. Just press Enter and type it into a chat window.

We are not quite done with Normal yet. Ideally you want to level to 45 and start shopping for claws. You are looking for two pairs of Psychic and Trickster’s Blade Talons, ignore the Scissors type. If you don’t want to level all the way yet, just pick up a pair of +1 Assassin Skills Blade Talons and then play in Nightmare. Come back and shop the +2 skills claws when you get to level 45.


The Lightning Trapper

By Nightmare it is time to use the respec and convert to a Lightning Trapper. Travel back to Act1 Normal and visit Akara. Select the option to reset the skill and stat points.

Stat Points

Allocate enough stat points for your gear. This will be 50 strength and Dexterity for Blade Talons but your armour may need a bit more strength. If it is more than 100, it probably isn’t something you should be using. The rest goes into Vitality, nothing in Energy.

Skill Points

The Core Build

Fire-Blast20 Fire BlastClaw-Mastery1 Claw Mastery (pre-requisite)
shock-web1 Shock WebPsychic-hammer1 Psychic Hammer (pre-requisite)
charged-bolt-sentry1 Charged Bolt SentryCloak-of-Shadows1 Cloak of Shadows
Lightning-Sentry20 Lightning SentryBurst-of-Soeed1 Burst of Speed
Death-Sentry20 Death Sentryfade1 Fade
Weapon-Block1 Weapon Block
= 68 points.

 

After your re-spec, put one in each of the Shadow Disciplines, then up to the maximum 20 in Lightning Sentry and the rest in Death Sentry. Exactly how many you can put in LS and DS will depend on your level when you respec. If you have points left over, save them and put a point in each of LS and DS as you level until they are maxxed. That will allow you to blast through Nightmare where you can then pump Fire Blast.

By the end of nightmare at level 75 you will have 14 points left over with all quests done, so there is some room for customisation with the extra points.

Skill Discussion

Lightning-SentryLightning Sentry – 20 Points

This is your primary killing attack. Each Lightning Sentry fires ten times and continues in a straight line until it is stopped by something like a wall. Always lay your sentries on one side of the monsters so that the bolts pierce through them all. If monsters are advancing towards you, lay them in a cluster to hit everything in a line. If the monsters crowd the mercenary, lay them in an arc around him so the bots pass through multiple targets.

Death Sentry – 20 Points

Death-SentryDeath Sentry is extremely powerful and at high level the Corpse Explosion can clear large groups in only a few shots. The trick is getting it to fire reliably.
You can have five Sentry traps active at one time. Normally this will be 4LS+1DS or 3LS+2DS. The lightning damage from DS is not as high as LS, we are after the corpse explosion. You can get this to trigger if you lay the trap further away from the monsters. Close up the DS will fire Lightning, at a distance Corpse Explosion. So a good pattern is 4x LS close to the target, followed by 1x DS at a distance. Play around with this to get a feel for it.

Fire Blast – 20 Points

Fire-BlastWhilst your Sentry traps are firing, throw in a few Fire Blasts to further soften up tough opponents, especially act bosses. This is also your solution for lightning immune monsters, backed up with the corpse explosion from Death Sentry.

Cloak of Shadows – 1 point

Cloak-of-ShadowsStops attackers attacking and is especially useful against ranged opponents. Also decreases their defense, which helps your mercenary. You should be using this regularly, before every major group of monsters.

Fade – 1 point

fadeIncreases your resistances and gives 1% damage reduction per level. You will need this in Hell unless you are extremely lucky with gear. Unfortunately it is either this or BoS, you can’t use both.

Weapon Block – 1 point

Weapon-BlockThis skill can block most attacks in the game, including spells. It won’t be great at the skill levels you will have, but something is better than nothing.

What to do with the extra points?

Synergise the Traps – 0-38 points

Your Death Sentry is already as damaging as it can be, but you can boost Charged Bolt Sentry and Shockweb to increase your Lightning Sentry damage.

Get a Shadow Master – 0 / ~9 points

She is one of the best tanks in the game but, for more experienced players, unnecessary. If you want to use her, it is highly recommended to be casting her at level 17 from your Shadow claw switch (see Equipment section). Work out how many points you get from your gear and add hard points to get to 17.

Boost the Shadow Skills – 0-12 Points

If you are low on +Shadow skills, you can boost your Weapon Block, Cloak of Shadows and Fade with some hard points. I suggest no more than five in any single one though.

Mind Blast – 0/1 Point

This is an essential PvP skill but is less useful for PvM due to the fact it can convert the monsters, then you have to go back and clean them up again afterwards. It can be useful if you are in trouble, and works wonders on The Minions of Destruction.

Nightmare Difficulty

The main objective for Nightmare is to gather gear you will need to survive Hell.

Keep gambling for circlets and amulets. Once you have something reasonable start looking for rings. Basically you need to spend your money on the weakest slot. If your circlet is the worst, gamble them. If your circlet and amulet are OK, gamble rings. See the Equipment section for what to look for. Keep on your helm and armour with topazes and sapphires depending on your needs. You should be using at least Flawless gems by mid Nightmare.

If you are planning on using a Desert Mercenary, remember to change him in Nightmare for the best auras. Take his equipment off first though or you will lose it.

When you have killed Nightmare Mephisto, consider running him for a bit to improve your gear. You can get rare items and all the set and unique items listed from him with a bit of patience. It isn’t required, but it will make your Hell journey much easier if you do.

When you get to Nightmare Anya and are at least level 65, start shopping for your +3 Trap and Shadow claws.

Once again you may need to level up a bit before entering Hell, I suggest around level 75.

Hell Difficulty

Hell is a step up in difficulty. The main focus now is simply survival, so you are going to get rid of most of your magic find gear. You know the quests now, so get fully equipped and step out onto The Blood Moor.

Final Tips:

  • Cloak of Shadows is your most important skill. Use it regularly.
  • Lay traps at a distance. Put them into rooms ahead of you, trap the corners of the screen in open areas. Trap and retreat.
  • Keep your Mercenary alive, it gets very dangerous if he dies. Feed him potions if necessary. Keep collecting things to sell, Mercenary revives will get expensive. You don’t want to run out of money.
  • Be patient, take it slowly. Most deaths are caused by rushing into things.

Good Luck!


Equipment

General Equipment Guidelines

The walkthrough tells you everything you need for Normal, this section is targeted at how to select your gear for Hell.

What to look for

+Skills: Trappers live and die by their skill levels. The good news is you should easily be able to get +8 to +10 skills from your endgame gear, maybe even higher.

+Resists: Even with Fade, in the later part of the game you will still need more resists from your gear. If you can get 75 to all resists great, but you don’t need it. Remember you can boost poison or cold resistances temporarily using potions. Aim for the following as a minimum in Hell, with fade running:
50 fire resist
20+ cold resist
75 lightning resist
20+ poison resist

+Mana: Aim for a mana pool of at least 200, higher if possible. Remember that +mana per kill items will only work with your fireblast, so unless the item has other mods you want, don’t bother with it in your endgame gear.

Faster Run/Walk: You need some mobility for running away, look for 30% from your boots. More is great but not mandatory.

Faster Hit Recovery: If you can’t get it, it isn’t a game breaker as you should really avoid being hit in the first place. Aim for either 27% or 48% if you are going to bother.

Magical damage reduced by x: A very handy mod on items provided you get more than a few points of it. It can nicely supplement your resistances.

+Mana Regeneration: This is helpful, but you need a decent mana pool before it really affects your playing.

What not to look for

Physical Damage Reduction: Really, you should only need this to help deal with ranged attackers, you shouldn’t be in melee range. Don’t go out of your way to get %DR on items. You already get 1%DR for every level you have Fade at when you cast it. Use CoS against ranged attackers, other items have more useful mods than this one.

Increased Attack Speed: This influences the speed at which you can lay your traps, but if you go for the recommended claw setup, you should be fast enough for the purposes of this introductory build. Nice if you can get it without compromising anything else but you don’t need more than 45% total.

-x% Enemy Resistance: Don’t bother. This doesn’t work with traps as the game considers them minions. Complete waste for a pure Trapsin.

Faster Cast Rate: Trap laying speed is IAS based. Only CoS and MB would get a benefit from this. Critical in PvP, useless for PvM (unless you are using Enigma, but then that wouldn’t be a starter build).

Specific Equipment Recommendations

With a bit of effort all this equipment is achievable for a character that is starting from scratch. This isn’t a complete list of potentially useful items, but they are items you can actually target to get hold of.

‘Leaf’ Staff

Runeword: Tir + Ral runes in a 2 socket staff.

Equipable from level 19, this gives +3 to fire skills and +2 to Mana after each kill, so it is very useful through mid-normal for the Fire Trapper. This is the weapon of choice for Normal Difficulty.

Shop a two socked plain Short Staff from Akara in the early game with as few additional mods as possible. Then run the Countess for the runes. It took me literally two runs, she is really easy once you have Wake of Fire. This weapon should take you from level 19 until you can buy some claws.

Cunning and Shadow Claws

Once you have rescued Anya and got to level 35, you can start shopping for claws, but you should probably wait until 45 for the +2 Traps claws. It can take a while, but the time investment is worth it. For the purposes of this guide I’m only going to suggest you look for Blade Talons. Other claw types are hard or require too high a level to shop. If you are lucky enough to shop claws with an Increased Attack Speed modifier, put them in the weapon slot above the gloves.

+1 Assassin Skills (Mage-killer’s) Blade Talons can be shopped from character level 35
+2 Traps (Trickster’s) and +2 Shadow Disciplines (Psychic) Blade Talons can be shopped from character level 45
+3 Traps (Cunning)  and +3 Shadow Disciplines (Shadow) Blade Talons can be shopped from character level 65

Take your best trap claws to Larzuk and ask him to socket them, with a bit of luck you will get two holes in each. Put Jewels with resistance in these. (See also the circlet section for socketing)

‘Lore’ Helm

Runeword: Ort + Sol Runes in a 2 socket Helm

+1 skills, 30% Lightning Resist and +10 Energy (which equates to +15 Mana) makes this an easy to obtain choice for the helm. Use one of these until you can gamble a better circlet.

+Skills Circlet

Spend your gold gambling circlets. Most of the modifiers in the What to Look For section above can be found on these. It is a keeper if it is better than the Lore Helm.

+1 Assassin Skills can be gambled from level XX
+2 to Trap Skills can be gambled from level XX
+2 Assassin Skills can be gambled from level XX

A magic +2 skills circlet can be useful too. Larzuk has the potential to punch two sockets in it, which you can put runes or jewels in to fill the resists. I suggest using your Normal and Nightmare Larzuk quests for one claw and the circlet. By the time you get the third quest in Hell you are almost done, so it is a bit late. You can use this for your second claw.

‘Treachery’ Armour

Runeword: Shael + Thul + Lem in 3 Socket Body Armor

This is a great Assassin armour giving +2 Skills, some FHR and Cold Resists. The Chance to Cast lvl15 Fade will most likely mean your Fade gets overwritten with a higher level one, which is no bad thing.

Look for any light 3os Armours in Nightmare. Mage Plate or Cuirass will work fine, but a Breast Plate will also work if you can’t find anything else.. Dusk Shroud is probably the best base. Unless you got lucky at the NM Hellforge, you will probably need to run The Countess in Hell for the Lem rune, but it should be easily doable.

This is also one of the best armours for a mercenary too, so it is worth the effort to make two.

Rare Amulets and RIngs

In between gambling circlets, you should also be looking for an amulet. Rings should have +mana and resists. Amulet need +skills and resists, anything else is a bonus. If you can’t find a rare amulet with resists, a magic +2 Trap skills amulet is fine, you can get the resists elsewhere but +skills is a bit more limited.

Rare Belt, Boots and Gloves

If you have money spare you can gamble these, but I suggest to save your money for circlets and amulets as a priority. Keep picking up any rares that drop to try and find something good though. Potentially these are best in slot for the build.

Charms and the Inventory

These can fill up the gaps in the rest of your equipment. You can get Grand Charms with +1 to Trap or Shadow skills. If you find one of course use it, but this is highly unlikely. Mostly you are looking for resists, mana and life. Pickup and identify all charms, even a small amount is useful. Leave a bit of space in your inventory for picking up items if you get too many charms, most players save a 2×4 vertical slot. Carry both Tomes and the Cube with you too.

Other Notable Items

Skin of The Vipermagi (Unique Body Armour): Great Armour, can be better than Treachery depending on your resists from other equipment.

Magefist (Unique Gloves): Great for the Fire build, not so useful for the Lightning build. Use it in Normal and replace in Hell.

Aldur’s Advance (Set boots): 40% FRW, big fire resist and life. Very nice and not too hard to find.

Natalya’s Soul (Set Boots): 40% FRW, lightning and cold resists. Also nice and not too hard to find.

Typical Equipment Layout

Main Weapons: 2x Cunning Blade Talons. Socketed with Resistance jewels if necessary.
Switch Weapons: 2x Shadow Blade Talons

Helm: Lore / Circlet with +Skills and resists
Body: Treachery
Belt: Rare with resists
Boots: Rare with 30%FRW and resists / Natalya’s Soul / Aldur’s Advance
Gloves: Rare with Resists

Amulet: Rare with +Skills and Resists / Magic with +Skills
Rings: Rare with +Mana and Resists


Mercenaries

As the Trapper attacks at range she needs a melee tank to focus the enemies and take the heat for her. That gives two choices:

Act 2 Town Guard

This is normally the most popular mercenary as he comes with a built in aura that can help your defense. He is also easy to equip thanks to some useful and cheap runewords and the Savage polearm cube recipe. There are six different auras available, the ones we are interested in are hired in Nightmare difficulty only.

Act 2 Nightmare Defensive – Holy Freeze

The holy freeze aura slows pretty much all enemies down, meaning they spend more time in the traps killzone, attack less often and therefore do less damage. This is normally the top pick for the build.

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive – Might

Might gives more damage to physical attacks, but that won’t help you. But it does give a big boost to your mercenary, which will help him make corpses quicker that can be exploded by Death Sentry.

Act 5 Barbarian

The strongest tank, but the lack of an aura means that the Town Guard is normally favoured. However if you find a good sword they can be great support. Look for a high damage sword with life stolen per hit.

Mercenary Equipment

Savage Polearm

Cube Recipe: Diamond (any quality) + 1 Staff (any type and quality) + 1 Kris (any quality) + 1 Belt (any type and quality)

This Cube recipe creates a polearm with 66-80% Enhanced Damage. It rolls different base types, keep some of the best ones so your Act2 mercenary can use them as he gains strength. Partizan is the best base you can get from this recipe, it should see you through Nightmare.

‘Insight’ Polearm

Runeword: Ral + Tir + Tal + Sol in a 4 socket polearm (ladder only)
This provides a Meditation aura which will give you almost unlimited mana and therefore ability to lay traps. It also does a load of damage, particularly in an Ethereal Thresher or Cryptic Axe. Colossus Voulge is also a popular choice as it is easier to get four sockets. The base is much harder to find than the runes, but even an exceptional base can get you through Hell. The best Act 2 mercenary weapon for the purposes of this guide.

‘Obedience’ Polearm

Runeword: Hel + Ko + Thul + Eth + Fal in a 5 socket polearm (ladder only)
Insight is better, but if you can only find a 5 socket polearm, this is a good choice. It does a ton of damage, but misses out on the mana regeneration.

‘Honor’  Polearm or Sword

Runeword: Amn + El + Ith + Tir + Sol in a 5 socket polearm or sword
Whilst this is overshadowed by the Ladder runewords this is a good choice in an ethereal elite polearm like a Thresher or Cryptic Axe. It also works in a sword if you went for a Barbarian. The damage isn’t as good as Insight or Obedience, but it does have leech so you don’t need to find it in the helm.

Body Armour

Treachery – See Equipment Section above. The Fade and the FHR will help keep him alive, the IAS keeps him attacking quicker. Use an Ethereal base if you find one, it won’t use durability on the Merc.

DuressShael + Um + Tir runes in a 3 socket Armour. If you get an Um rune from somewhere (e.g. the Hellforge) this is a great offensive armour, especially in an ethereal base.

Duriel’s Shell – Keep an eye out for this Unique, it has a load of resists and strength to help him use a heavier weapon.

Shaftstop – Another Unique armour, this one has loads of Damage Reduction to help keep him alive.

Rare – Look for resists mainly, FHR is also useful. Not a great choice, but it will do if you have nothing else.

Helm

Look for anything with % Life stolen per hit. After that, you want resistances.

Uniques: Wormskull, Undead Crown, Crown of Thieves, Vampire Gaze. If you can find the last one it is a great pick, but it isn’t likely unless you run a boss for a while.

Sets: Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest. A great merc helm and not too hard to come by.

Rare: Circlet with life leech, keep an eye out for one when gambling.


The Endgame

The Assassin is one of the most versatile characters, but she isn’t a specialist. You can use her to run Mephisto or The Pit in Act I for items. She will be OK, but can’t compare to builds like a Blizzard Sorc either in kill speed or her ability to stack % Magic Find. You can run the special chests in Lower Kurast for runes, her Burst of Speed makes her a good candidate for this.

You could level your Trapper all the way to level 99. This is the climbing Mount Everest of Diablo 2 and several players have done it with equipment only found by the character (un-twinked).


Credits and Further Reading

Many of the ideas from jrichard’s Lightning Trapsin Guide are included in this Trapsin build guide.

Guide to Untwinked Single pass Early Game Magic Finding by jiansonz is a big influence on the Normal walkthrough.

Watch the Diablo 2 Resurrected Assassin skills in action.


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