Diablo 2 Guide: Paladin Budgetdin


Paladin Guides. I’ve written a few in my times. Problem with all of them is that they usually focus on elite equipment based on my stable of Uberdins. My guides typically are not much use to the new or item poor player.

Well, that’s going to change for this guide. Introducing to you, a Paladin that can be built on a Pgem or Low rune budget. Either finding, creating or trading for cheap items that will take your Zealot thru to end game, standing triumphant over Baal’s dying body in Hell difficulty.
In addition, not only is this build able to finish the game, but it’s also a very safe build with plenty of attributes to keep a zealot alive while being played by somebody new to the game. Your first melee or first Zealot paladin that’s safe and fun to play.

The cookie Cutter Zealot.

Spending skill points.

The basic Zealot build is rather easy to build and is centred on you spending 20 skill points into each of the following skills;

Zeal. Sacrifice. Holy Shield and Fanatism.

With the required Pre requisite skills, this is a total skill point expenditure of 87 points, or character level 76. Additional skill points are spent on either Blessed Aim for attack rating, 5 skill points in the defensive tree getting Redemption, Vigor, Cleansing, Defiance and Prayer or Defiance as a Holy Shield Synergy for extra defence. Your choice.

When levelling your Zealot, at first spend skill points on Zeal and combine this with the Might aura at 1 skill point. Then, once you reach level 24, spend skill points to gain Holy shield and build this up each level until level 30 when you switch your active aura to Fanatism. Then build Fanatism up to level 20. Then, return to Holy shield and build this skill to level 20 before finally returning to Zeal and build this skill to level 20. Once these three skills are at level 20, Build Sacrifice up to level 20.

Spending Statistic points.

Given that this is a rather item specific build, then the stat points you need to assign are easy to do.

You need at the most, 160 to Strength for this build. Less if your planned equipment has additional points for strength.

You need around 130-140 Dexterity depending on your equipment. The Character screen will give you accurate information regarding your Zealots chance to block. Cast Holy Shield and hover your mouse over the defence attribute and the chance to block is displayed. Simply spend stat points on dexterity until it reads 75%. It’s that easy.

Basically, every point that isn’t spent elsewhere. This will be your highest statistic and will be over 200 by end game.

Base. Don’t spend any skill points here.


Ok, here is where things get interesting. All of the items listed here may not be easily obtainable by the beginning player as a lot of them are “elite†items. However, They are easily traded for because none of them are desirable. High level players like myself care little for these items and after a while, don’t even bother picking them up when we see them drop for us in game. High level players are happy to trade such things for Pgems, Low end Runes such as Orts, Thul’s, Amn’s and so on. Stuff you can find so trade them to the wealthy for the items that they usually ignore.

Sazabi’s Grand tribute.

Of all the items we can choose from, Sazabi’s set offer the new player valuable attributes such as 15% life leech, 27% extra life, 40% fast run/walk and 30% resist all as a complete set. Valuable attributes for a new player. Plus, the set offers additional benefits on the individual items such as a skill level, 30% fast hit recovery, stats, life, resistances and damage. For what it is, Sazabi’s is THE most over looked yet useful set in the game and you can trade the entire set for nix. Given how easily it should be to trade for the entire set, considering anything else for the weapon, armor and helm slots is a waste of time.

Another great thing about Sazabi’s is that the 40% built in increased attack speed on the sword is all we need to achieve the fastest zeal attack rate with level 20 Fanatism of 8/4 frames per second so any extra IAS is not required.

A Paladins shield.

We simply can’t have an Asmo guide without mentioning the Herald of Zakarum shield. Now that’s out of the way, lets talk about a nice shield for your Paladin.
Ordinary paladin shields spawn with either resistances to all up to 45% or, enhanced off weapon damage plus attack rating. Either of these will work. Resistances of 45% shield are valuable. If you find one then great, but it isn’t a necessity. A 30% resist all shield or so will do nicely. Alternatively, if you want the extra damage, then a damage/attack rating shield will do just as well. The key here is Sockets. You want 4 open sockets either as found, given to Larzuk for a socket job or use the cube formula.

Once you have your base shield then grab some Pdiamonds which are worth 19% resist all each. You can easily achieve over 100% resist all on your shield easily and cheaply. If you have enough resistances then you can add some extra damage as well. (more on this later)

Can’t get a 4 open socket paladin shield? Dear me, but Don’t worry about it. A 3 socket paladin shield can be used with the runes you gain as a quest reward to create Ancients pledge. 2 sockets? That’ll make Rhyme with two easily found runes as well.

Don’t forget rare paladin shields either. Charsi can imbue one for you if you help her find her hammer and a certain damsel in distress at the frozen river will give you a free Paladin shield for helping her out. Not to mention finding them as well.

Rings and an Amulet

Raven frost is usually a valuable and often wanted trade item. That is if it has good attributes. Raven frosts with low attributes such as +15 dex are much cheaper. If you can’t trade or find a raven frost then don’t fret. For your unused ring slots and amulet then low end uniques such as The eye of Etlitch, Manald heal or The mahim oak curio are all useful. Failing these, or perhaps better are rares and crafted. These can be found, gambled or crafted in the cube with low end runes and pgems.
Virtually any attribute is useful here. The ones you may be looking for are Leeches, resistances, min or max damage and attributes which all are fairly common on crafted and rare items. Pick the best that you have found or can trade and use them.


Gore riders is the Uber selection here normally. But, for this build, it isn’t our best choice. For that, start looking for a pair of Goblin toes. You may even find these yourself and if not, trade them.
Because Sazabi’s grants you 40% fast run walk, then these boots suddenly become our number one pick thanks to the 25% chance of Crushing blow.


There are a couple of choices here. Ghoul hide and Grave Palm. Again, gloves that fall under the radar and are a perfect match with Sazabi’s full set because of the damage versus Undead. See where we are going here? Yep. Sazabi’s sword has +318% damage to Demons. So, when combined with either of these gloves, then your Zealot will be doing well against Demons and Undead. Clever, Isn’t it?
Apart from these two, well how about giving crafting a shot? Any pair of Blood gloves will give you more life leech, Crushing blow and Life as well as other random attributes. You don’t need IAS and usually these sorts of gloves spawn with Resistances so one or two crafting attempts should net you something of use.


String of ears or Verdungo’s hearty cord. Again just like Raven frost rings, high end examples command good prices. Low end however trade for much less and there is nothing wrong with examples with minimum variables here.
If you can’t afford/find these, then belts such as Blade Buckle, Gloom’s trap and Razor tail should all be worth mere Pgems and offer useful attributes to our Zealot.

Set items

Nothing illegal about gaining the benefits from two sets either complete or partial on the one character. There are a number of cheap and easily found set items that can work very well on our budget Zealot. Here is a summary of what you can gain from a couple of low end set items in the glove, belt, boots and jewellery slots.

Angelic wings & halo. (ring & amulet)

A huge bonus to attack rating, 10 to dexterity, 95 to life and 20% damage to mana.

Cathans Seal & Sigil. (ring & amulet)

6% life leech, 10% fast hit recovery, 15-20% fire resist, 50 to attack rating and 10 to strength.

Death’s Guard & Hand. (Belt & gloves)

8% life leech, Cannot be frozen, 15% resist all, 30% increased attack speed (not needed), 50% poison resistance and 75% poison length reduction.

Hsuru’s Iron heel & stay.(Boots & belt)

Huge bonus to attack rating, 20% fast run/walk, 25% fire resist, 20% cold resist, 20 to life, bonus to defence.

Sigons wrap & sabot (boots & belt)

10% life leech, 20% fire resists, 40% cold resists, 20 to life, bonus to defence, 20% fast run/walk, 50 to attack rating.

Orphan’s Wilhelm’s pride & magnus skin.(Belt and gloves.)

5% dual leech, 35 to life, 10% cold resist, 15% fire resists, 100 to attack rating, 20% increased attack speed (not needed)


Assuming a 4 open socket shield, our Zealot has a total of 7 open sockets to play with. Depending on your resistance requirements you may have 1 or 2 spare sockets available in your shield. In any case, we have at least 3 sockets available in each of Sazabi’s items assuming you spend your larzuk quest rewards as you go and can scratch up the requirements to use the cube for socketing. What to fill them with?

Enhanced damage jewels (rusty or ruby) trade for pgems normally. Trading for a jewel around 30% for the sword should be easy.
For the helm, armor and spare shield sockets, try Jewels of Bliss or Carnage.
These jewels grant up to +10 to minimum damage or +15 to maximum damage. These figures add directly to the damage of the weapon before damage from skills and strength are added. So for example, if you have 3 maximum damage jewels totalling +35, then your Sazabi’s sword will have 12 – 227 damage for calculating fanatism and zeal damage. Again these sorts of jewels are usually ignored by wealthy players and will happily trade them to you for pgems.

The Backpack.

Charms. Got to love them and something that many wealthy players collect pgems to re roll charms hoping for valuable and powerful charms which command high trade values. So, the lessor ones usually trade for pgems such as single attribute skill charms. For our Zealot, Captains grand charms work best for zealots rather than Lions. The most expensive of all the single skill charms unfortunately but still can be obtained for pgems.
Apart from skill charms, charms with the prefix’s Bloody, Fine, Sharp and Steel offer attack rating and damage. All useful on our budget Zealot.
After these, look for charms with any useful attributes. Fast hit recovery, Life, Resistances, attack rating, fast run/walk, elemental damage or attributes are all useful. You can find, cube for these yourself of simply collect pgems and trade for them.
The back pack is pretty flexible and this character doesn’t need good charms in the back pack to complete the game with. So anything that you can get of any use, then use them and upgrade them as you play thru the game.

Equipping for the early levels.

The big problem with Sazabi’s Grand Tribute is the level requirement of 73. Your character will be near the end of the game before he can use the entire set. So what items can we use untill level 73 that we can get easily?

This list is focused only on the four main items slots, weapon, helm, shield and armor. Other item slots are already covered in this guide. The list runs in order of level required with the stat requirements listed in brackets.

* denotes that this item can be used for end game. (exceptional weapons may need to be upgraded via the cube recipe )


Three socket sceptre c/w chipped rubies or topaz’s. (level 3, strength 25)
Civerbs Cudgel mace. (level 9, str 37)
Steel Rune word. (Tir + El, easy to find runes)
Blood rise mace. (level 15, str 36)
Hell Plague sword. (level 22, str 55, dex 39)
Blood Letter sword. (level 30, str 25)
*Head Striker sword. (level 39, str 92, dex 42)
*Butcher’s Pupil axe. (level 39, str 68)
Baranar’s Star mace. (level 65, str 153, dex 44)


Grey Form. (level 7, str 12)
The Centurion. (level 14, str 20)
Gold Skin. (level 28, str 80)
*Iron Pelt. (level 33 str 61)
*Duriel’s Shell. (level 41, str 65)
*Griswald’s Heart. (level 45, str 102)
*Naj’s Light Plate. (level 71, str 79)


Civerb’s Ward. (level 9, str 34)
Steel Clash. (level 17, str 47)
The Ward. (level 26, str 60)
*Ancients Pledge Rune word. (when you reach act 5, the runes are free)
*Moser’s Blessed Circle. (level 31, str 53)
*Tiamat’s Rebuke. (level 38, str 91)
*Gerke’s Sanctuary. (level 44, str 133)


Isenhart’s Horns. (level 8, str 41)
*Dusk Deep. (level 17, str 41)
Peasant Crown. (level 28, str 20)
*Rock Stopper. (level 31, str 43)

*Guillaumes Face. (level 34, str 115)
*Steal Skull. (level 35, str 59)
*Vampire Gaze. (level 41, str 58)
*Tal rasha’s Horadric Crest. (level 66, str 55)

Dealing with Physical Immune Monsters.

In the later parts of the game, you will encounter monsters that are Immune to physical damage, PI’s for short. Items that are capable of dealing with PI’s are usually expensive as they are in demand. Fortunately, some can be available on a budget of Pgems as values do vary greatly from trader to trader. The key here is to do your best to secure a good deal!
So, here are some methods for our budget Paladin to deal with these monsters!

One point in Vengeance.

The skill Vengeance adds a mixture of cold, fire and lightning damage to your attacks.
You only require a single skill point here for this solution, it’s available at level 18 and Zeal is the pre requisite skill which your character already has. Simply switch to this skill when ever you encounter PI’s. This method is quite slow as Vengeance’s damage isn’t great with just one skill point. But it does get the job done and can be combined with the weapon switch.

The weapon switch.

Every character has a weapon switch slot. In this second slot you can load a single handed weapon and a shield or a two handed weapons and these items can have elemental, poison or magical damage to use against PI’s. Simply press the “W†key, and start swinging! So, what are the best anti PI weapons and shields we can get for Pgems? Glad you asked!
Also, you can socket these items and add extra elemental damage such as a Ral rune, Pruby or Pdiamond or a jewel with elemental damage.

One Handed Weapons

Hell Plague sword. (level 22)
Ginther’s Rift sword. (level 37)
Baranar’s star mace. (level 65, str 153, dex 44)
Glimmer shred throwing axe. (level 70 str **, dex 108)

The following may cost more as most good weapons with elemental damage are Elite quality. But you never know what you can either find yourself or trade.

Lightsabre sword. (level 58, str 25, dex 136)
Demon limb mace. (level 63, str 133)
Djinn slayer sword (one socket). (level 65, str 138, dex 95)

Nord’s tenderiser mace. (level 68, str **, dex 43)
Frostwind sword. (level 70, str 99, dex 109)


Tiamat’s Rebuke. (level 38, str 91)
4 socket shield c/w elemental jewels

The budget Mercenary

This is a cookie cutter Zealot so select the cookie cutter Mercenary, the Might aura from. nightmare difficulty, the offensive mercenary in act 2.
Cheap equipment I here you ask to help keep him alive? Here is a list of items that are easy to create, find or trade for on our budget and a summary of what they have to offer our suicidal hireling.


Tal Rasha’s hideous crest. – Resists, life and leeches.
Rock stopper. – Resists, damage reduction and fast hit recovery.
Crown of Thieves. – Life leech, fire resists and life.
Steal skull. – Life leech, attack speed, magic find and fast hit recovery.


Duriels shell. – Cannot be frozen, resists and life.
Iron pelt. – Damage reduced by, defence and life.
Lionheart. – Resists, life, damage and attributes.
Shaft stop. – Damage reduction and life.
Smoke rune word. – Resists, defence and fast hit recovery.


Hone sundan. – Sockets and crushing blow.
Honor. – Skill level, Deadly strike, 10 to strength, 7% life leech.
Kelpie snare. – Slows target, fire resists and life.
Black leech blade. – Life leech and chance to cast weaken.
Meat scraper. – Life leech, attack speed and open wounds.
Obedience. (requires RWM) – Big damage, crushing blow, fast hit recovery, resistances and attributes.


So, if you collect and trade for the above items, what do you end up with? Well, here is one I prepared earlier with Might aura active from the mercenary, who has no skill modifiers.

While this character is level 89, keep in mind that he has too much strength (180 base) and has 9 skill points in Smite, so in theory he is comparable to a lower level character. The sword has a 32% enhanced damage/12 to max damage jewel, +14 to damage jewels in the armor and helm, a 4 socket guilded shield with 3 Pdiamonds and an Eld, a rare amulet with +1 skills, resists and 2% life leech, a 6/10/10 (the lowest!) string of ears and my worst raven frost. As you can see from the back pack, I am nowhere near filling it completely (compensating for the “uber” jewel in the sword). The four grand charms present are two plain captains charms and two damage charms offering a total of 12 to max damage and 103 to attack rating.

With this set up, this character easily solo’s Hell act 5 on players 1. You can wind the players setting up to /players 3 which is ok for general monsters but bosses such as the ancients and Baal/5 waves are best tackled on /players 1. Aside from the usual danger from the Iron Maiden curse, the character is safe to play having maximum resistances, good life, Life leech of 23% and even 10% damage reduction and achieving the fastest Zeal speed of 8/4 frames per second. All using items that wealthy players forget about and trade away for pgems and low end runes used for cubing or even given away.

From this basis, you can upgrade your character’s items if you so wish. Changing this build into an “uberdin†with Highlords amulet, Herald of Zakarum, Verdungo’s belt and more and better charms in the back pack improve the character’s killing power, life and survivability to a point where the game is playable in Hell act 5 difficulty on /players 3-5 settings. Damage increases to about 4,600 maximum and hit points climb to around 1,600 with extra hidden damage from the Deadly strike provided by Highlords amulet.

It’s no true “uberdinâ€, but of all the “uberdins†I have made, it is by far, the cheapest.

So, there you have it. A Zealot made on a budget that suits the new player with limited recourses and items. If it sounds like the sort of character that you’d like to try then visit the trading forums and post up a thread seeking the items that you need. I’d be curious to know how many pgems and low runes it costs you!

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