Part 1- Introduction, and a brief history of Invincible Abbot Paladin
Greetings. I’m SSoG, I’m reasonably new, and I’m certifiably insane. I’m also a big fan of deviant builds, having written guides for Taunt-based Barbarians, 2-handed Zealing Paladins, Spearazons, and Meleemancers. I’m currently working on a Blade Shield spamming Assassin. And no, I’m not joking about that. Did I mention that I’m certifiably insane?
Anyway, while I’ve posted several build guides over on The Amazon Basin, I’m planning on transferring a few of the better and more powerful of them over here onto DiabloII.net. The Abbott is the first of these guides to make the transition.
My goal, when I started building the Abbott, was to make the ultimate tank. I have a couple of other characters designed to achieve maximum durability, but with this guy, I wanted to go farther- I wanted to create a character that was absolutely, positively, 100% unkillable- or as close to it as I could possibly get. The results were pretty encouraging- and by â€œpretty encouragingâ€, I mean â€œI parked him amid two dozen Gloams, Greater Hellspawn, and Horror Mages in the Hell WSK, went and made a sandwich, and when I came back he was still at full healthâ€.
A ) Important Things To Know About Me and This Guide
First and foremost, I am *EXTREMELY* anti-dupe. If you trade for likely-to-be-duped items, then you are encouraging duping. Since duping is the single largest source of lag on the realms, then trading for dupes is just making lag worse. As a result, I will not ever discuss a single runeword that requires a rune higher than Gul (which is about the highest I would expect a player to be able to legitimately achieve, since it’s the best drop you can get from hellforge). I also won’t be mentioning 40/15s, or 3/20/20s. I don’t even know what 3/20/20s are, to be honest. If you have a problem with this policyâ€¦ then too bad. Go read another guide- or better yet, go write your own guide. I put a lot of effort into creating this character, and I refuse to believe that all of that effort resulted in nothing more than people creating more lag for everyone.
Second off, I have a very different style of writing guides. I don’t write â€œHere’s where you put your points, here’s what you wear, go have funâ€. My basic character builds usually require no more than 40 skill points to finish (this one only costs 21). I give you suggestions on what to do with the rest of your skills, and I give suggestions on what sort of gear to get, but in the end, I like to leave it entirely up to you. Put the extra points wherever you want! It’s your character, so personalize it- and most of all, have fun with it! As long as you’re having fun, there are no wrong decisions.
Third off, I love feedback! Anything from â€œYour guide rocks! Greatest build ever!â€ to â€œUr guide sux lolz I am 1337!!1!!one!1â€. Feel free to add suggestions, comments, concerns, or questions, and I’ll do my best to address each and every one of them. I view this build as a work-in-progress that always has room for improvement, so if you think I missed something, then by all means, let me know. The only feedback that I don’t care about is a discussion of high runes or likely-to-be duped items- because as I said, this isn’t the place for that.
B ) Why an Abbott?
â€œbut SSoG,â€, you say, â€œMy time is valuable. My resources are valuable. Why,â€ you ask, â€œshould *I* devote either to creating an Abbott?â€ That’s a very good question, and as such, deserves a very good answer.
1) You mean aside from being able to park in the middle of a Gloam pack and go make a sandwich?
1) This is going to be expensive. Not prohibitively so (like I said, I don’t mention a single likely-to-be-duped item, and I give several easily affordable and even no-twink alternatives). Still, if you want to make an Abbott, you’re going to be looking for very specific gear, and you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time shopping or gambling.
2) Killing is not your forte. Surviving is your forte. Attack skills are just something to keep yourself occupied with while the hordes of hell vainly beat their fists against you in frustration. You’ll killâ€¦ but not as quickly as a dedicated offensive build.
C ) So what is an Abbott?
An Abbott is a Paladin who devotes his entire life to prayer, meditation, and cleansing his soul. Actually, he’s basically just a Paladin who regenerates life faster than he receives damage. Easy to conceptualize, but difficult to actually pull off.
D ) Can you REALLY achieve true invulnerability?
Yes, sort of. With the l33test of gear, it will still be possible for certain combinations of bossmods and groups of more than a dozen to slowly whittle away at your life. The keyword here is â€œslowlyâ€. Also, note that I said â€œwith the l33test of gearâ€. With a more achievable setup, you’ll be exceedingly DIFFICULT to kill, but still mortal.
E ) Core Skills and Stats of The Abbott.
Str- enough for gear. Most of your stuff will be magicals or runewords, but here are a few breakpoints you might be shooting for: Iron Pelt (61), Gladiator’s Bane (111), Griswold’s Honor (148), Arkaine’s Valor (165).
Dex- Enough for Gear, Enough for Max Block, or enough for a decent chance-to-hit. Your call.
Vit- All the rest. Yes, you can get by with a lot less life than other builds, but you’ll still want to invest heavily in Vit. Life regeneration does not happen in a smooth line like Mana regeneration, but rather in a series of hops and spurts, so it’s very important that you get a large enough life ball that you can take a few hits before the regeneration kicks back in.
Energy- Base. You should have Insight present at all times.
20 points in Prayer- Maxing a skill that replenishes life on a build dedicated to replenishing life? Imagine that!
1 point in Cleansing- This is your main aura, since it adds the Life Replenish of prayer with a few other handy effects, and does not cost mana.
That gives us 21 spent points. Assuming we’re planning on getting to level 85, we’ll have 75 points left to play around with. Yeah, that’s a lot.
F ) Core Equipment
For this build, equipment is EVERYTHING. Creating an Uber-Abbott can break the bank… but a very good Abbott setup is realistically achievable using nothing but an unlimited supply of gold (and a ridiculous amount of patience and some good shopping boots). This build could probably even be pulled off no-twink… again, assuming you’re willing to devote dozens of hours to shopping.
Under each category, I’ll list three levels of gear- â€œTheoretical Maximumâ€, â€œRecommendedâ€ and â€œMinimum Acceptableâ€. Keep in mind, too, that this is all general gear recommendations. There will be more specific recommendations under each of the sub-classes. Sometimes these recommendations vary wildly from the stuff listed here, so be sure to check out the specific sections for more.
Before we begin, here’s a quick list:
Mods we need- +Skills (specifically, +Defensive Auras), PDR, Resists.
Mods we like- Some way to prevent monster healing is handy, since our damage won’t be great. Anything that can boost damage is also appreciated.
Mods we don’t need- Anything else.
As you can see, outfitting an Abbott will be incredibly simple. Just remember our Mantraâ€¦ +Skills, PDR, Resistsâ€¦ +Skills, PDR, Resists. That’s very important, so say it with me nowâ€¦ +Skills, PDR, Resistsâ€¦ +Skills, PDR, Resistsâ€¦
Your weapon will vary more than any other gear slot depending on what offensive skill you choose. As a result, I’m just going to briefly mention some notables, and tell you to read under each specific variant for recommendations.
Theoretical Maximum- â€œInsightâ€. It doubles the regen offered by your Prayer, which makes it the largest single source of regeneration available in the entire game. It also moonlights as a pretty solid beat-stick. Remember, though- if you wield an Insight, do not give another Insight to a prayer merc. Prayer will stack, but Meditation will not, meaning you’ll only get the second healing from whoever has the higher Meditation in their insight stick. One last thing- consider socketing your Insight into a staff, not a polearm. It’s just as fast and deals just as much damageâ€¦ but the requirements are DRASTICALLY lower, and it’s a lot more â€œmonklyâ€. The only drawback is that Paladins have significantly worse hit recovery rates when wielding Staves or Spears… but with as much PDR as you’ll be running, you’ll very rarely get put into Hit Recovery except against monsters like Urdars (with auto-HR attacks).
Recommended- For melee characters, Heaven’s Light makes for a solid 1-handed weapon. Up to +3 skills, -33% enemy defense, 20% ias, 33% crushing blow, solid damage, and 2 open sockets. For casters, Wizardspike is great, thanks to its RIDICULOUS resists and FCR.
Minimum Acceptable- Insight is so dirt cheap (doesn’t require a rune higher than Sol) that I won’t make any other recommendations here for Ladder. If you can’t afford an Insight, then this probably isn’t the guide for you. If you’re playing non-ladder and can’t afford any of the recommendations, then just use whatever weapon you want. Really, the weapon is the least-important gear slot (since it’s the hardest place to find +Skills or a significant amount of PDR or Resists). Just grab the fattest-damage 1-hander you can find and use that.
Theoretical Maximum- Arkaine’s Valor. Fantastic defense, +2 skills, 15 PDR, +Vitality, and you can have Larzuk punch a hole in it. Either socket it with a Sol (7 PDR) or a Shimmering Jewel (15% resist all), depending on which you need more. Griswold’s Heart is another fantastic choice. It gives you a guaranteed +2 Defensive Auras (as opposed to the +1-2 All Skills on Arkaine’s). It has 3os, which means 21 guaranteed PDR (as opposed to the 17-22 on Arkaine’s). The other mods are slightly worse, and the defense is slightly worse, but the requirements are a TON better (especially the clvl 45 requirement as opposed to 85 on Arkaine’s). The final truly excellent armor choice is Guardian Angel. It has +1 skills and decent defense, as well as +Blocking and +Blocking Speed (neither of which is particularly useful, especially if you’re wielding insight)… but it also offers +15% to all max resists, which is HUGE. If you aren’t boosting the resist auras, then Guardian Angel could actually make a very strong case for being the best armor choice around. Like all armors, either stuff it with a Sol or a Shimmering Jewel, depending on what you need more.
Recommended- Gladiator’s Bane. This is just barely behind Arkaine’s/Griswold’s. It shares the high defense, has better PDR, can get a socket, and has Cannot Be Frozen. All it’s lacking is the +skills.
Minimum Acceptable- Iron Pelt is a poor man’s Gladiator’s Bane, with worse defense and no CBFâ€¦ but it’s a lot cheaper. Again, toss a Shimmering Jewel or a Sol into the open socket. Jeweler’s Armor of Amicae is another option. If you toss in 4 Sols, it gives a REMARKABLE 43 PDR. It’s a better choice than the Pelt, and shoppable, too. For gothic armour, try one of these vendors: Hralti (Nightmare), Halbu (Nightmare), Larzuk (Nightmare), Charsi (Hell), Gheed (Hell). The optimal clvl is 66. Your odds of actually getting both affixes are only 1/16,561, so if you see a good Artisans armor of Amicae or Jeweler’s Armor of Life, grab that instead. Or grab a good _____ armor of Amicae, give it two sockets at Larzuk, and toss in a pair of Sols. As long as you’re getting at least 28 PDR (preferably more) from your armor, you should be fine.
This will only be applicable if you aren’t wielding Insight, so be sure to check what build you have before committing to a shield. If you *are* wielding a 1-handed weapon, the shield spot is solely devoted to shoring up whichever you need more- PDR, or Resists.
Theoretical Maximum- A Jeweler’s Sacred Targe of Amicae with the maximum possible resist automod (+45% resist all). Toss in Sols, PDiamonds, or a combination, depending on whether you need resists or PDR more (I’d lean towards PDR, since it’s easier to get good resists from anywhere on your gear, but a perfect JSToA with 4 Sols can give you a whopping 43 PDR, which is NOT so easily gotten from other pieces of gear).
Recommended- Gerke’s Sanctuary. Reading down the list of mods is like reading a shopping list of exactly what this build is looking for. Ridiculously high blockâ€¦ check (Gerke’s has the second best block in the game). Resistsâ€¦ check (20-30% prismatic resists, plus the option to toss in a PDiamond for 19% more). PDRâ€¦ check, (11-16 points worth, and the option to Sol it, too). All it’s really lacking are the +skills.
Minimum Acceptable- Any old 4os Paladin Shield with a high resist auto-mod. Remember that Larzuk will punch 4 holes for you into any Paladin Shield you find in nightmare or later. Either stuff it full of Sols, PDiamonds, or make a Spirit out of it for +2 skills and some solid resists.
Theoretical Maximum- Guardian’s Circlet of Life Everlasting, socketed with a pair of Sols. +3 Defensive Auras, +39 PDR. Yowza. Granted, you’ll never be able to find oneâ€¦ but it gives you something to dream about.
Recommended- Circlets, always circlets. It’s hard to make recommendations here for specific circlets, but you’re looking for +skills (specifically, +defensive auras), PDR, and resists, in some combination or another. Personally, I’d just spend every single gold piece I make gambling circlets until I find one with a combination of mods that I loveâ€¦ and even then, I’d continue gambling circlets just on the off chance that I found something better.
For Amulets, it’s the same deal as for Helms. A Guardian’s amulet of Life Everlasting is the dream, but there are so many other possible combinations that I won’t even try to tell you what to wear. Again, gamble until you find an acceptable combination of +skills (specifically +defensive auras), PDR, and/or resists, and then continue gambling afterwards on the off chance you find something better. If all else fails, just wear a plain old Amulet of Life Everlasting.
For rings, it’s a lot easier to make recommendations. Nature’s Peace is a STELLAR little ring because it comes equipped with Prevent Monster Heal, 7-11 PDR, and Slain Monsters RIP. If you still need some +skills, then go with SoJ or Bul-Kathos. Otherwise, gamble, roll, and craft to your heart’s content. Safety Rings come with up to 4 PDR built in, and can get any of the resist mods, so that’s a good place to start.
The belt isn’t really a make-or-break slot, so you have a lot of options. If you want +skills, Arachnid’s is the only choice, and the Faster Cast is handy for caster variants, but it’s lacking resists. There are no good PDR belts (the best is Bladebuckle with a measly 3 PDR), so if you can’t get Arachnid’s (which is most of us), then just grab the best resist belt you can possibly find. This means either Thundergod’s (no resists, but +20 lightning absorb and +10% maximum lightning resist) or a good crafted/rare (my belt of choice). I recommend Caster Belts if you’re a caster variant for the FCR, or Safety Belts otherwise, for the 1-4 points of PDR, the built-in poison resist, and the chance to get all the other resists you’ll need, too.
Once again, there are no choices that really set themselves above the pack, so once again we’re going to be wearing yellows or oranges. If you’re going to craft, once again I recommend Safety Gloves for the 1-4 points of PDR, the built-in cold resist, and the chance to get all the other resists you’ll need, too. Otherwiseâ€¦ Magefists or Frosties work for caster-types, Hellmouth has some fire absorb, but I really just prefer Safety crafts.
Hotspur or Infernostride for the strong Fire Resists and some +% maximum fire resist (I prefer Hotspur because the resists are better and I don’t mind the loss of fr/w). Otherwise, Safety Crafts come with 1-4 PDR, and at least 5-10% fire resist. Craft until you get a set with great resists.
Anni and Torch are both no-brainers if you have them. I mean, duh. What build wouldn’t love them? Otherwise, look for Defensive Aura GCs and enough resist charms to max you out in hell. Also, if you’re wielding insight in a Stave instead of a Polearm, get some FHR charms. They’ll help a lot against Urdars. 20% FHR will shave 4 frames off of your recovery speed with a Stave (and get you back to where you’d normally be with a non-stave and 0% FHR).
A Brief Discussion of the Griswold’s Set
Griswold’s Set is very interesting for the Abbott, since so many pieces are nearly *identical* to other pieces of suggested Abbott Gear. For instance, Griswold’s Armor is nearly identical to Arkaine’s Valor (both offer up to +2 to Prayer, and both over over 20 points of PDR). Likewise, Griswold’s Honor is very similar to a 4os Paladin Shield with a high resist automod (Gris’s Honor automatically has the best possible Resist mod, and then trades the fourth socket for +20% blocking and +65% blocking speed). Griswold’s Caddy is probably the best 1-handed Paladin weapon out there, if you go the melee route. That just leaves the helm as the weak sister of the bunch. The only decent mod on the helm is the 2os (which translates to 14 PDR)- far below what you could easily get from magical circlets. On the other hand, if you consider all of the bonuses you get for completing the set… suddenly the helm adds +3 skills, 14 PDR, 55% resist all, and 150 life. That’s a *VERY* nice helm.
Here’s how the mods compare between a perfect Arkaine’s Valor (Sol’d), a perfect 2os Guardian’s Helm of Life Everlasting (2x Sol), a perfect Jeweler’s Sacred Targe of Amicae (3x PDiamond 1x Sol), and a fat 1-hander, compared to the Griswold’s set (8x Sol).
+2 all skills
+3 Defensive Auras
+102% Resist All
Note: by substituting Sols instead of PDiamonds into the shield, you could get 89 PDR and 45% resist all. I put the Diamonds in to get more comparable numbers.
+5 All Skills
100% Resist All
That’s remarkably close. Both setups will have similar defense values (with a very slight edge to the assorted gear), and both setups will also carry 30% FHR. The assorted gear also adds .5 Vit per Level, while Griswold’s set adds an additional 9% chance to block, 65% faster block rate, +150 life, 40 strength, 30 dexterity, 20-30% magic find, and .25 Cold Absorb per level. It also has slightly lower stat requirements (148 max str instead of 161) and drastically lower level requirements (clvl 69 instead of clvl 85). And remember- that assorted gear was considered to be “perfect”. The point? While Griswold’s Heart is the only piece of the set that’s really optimal for this build on its own, the set as a whole is *FANTASTIC* for melee-based Abbotts- probably far better than anything else you’d be able to achieve, realistically. If you’re willing to forego the Insight, and you aren’t a caster variant, Griswold’s is a GREAT end-game option. A little lacking in the PDR department, but not a big deal (Amulet of Life Everlasting + 2x Nature’s Peace + Safety Gloves + Safety Belt = 110 PDR, still).
A Prayer merc seems like the obvious choice here, since Prayer stacks, but I usually don’t get one unless I’m not wielding insight. Remember, having both you and your merc wielding Insight is A Very Bad Thing ™, because the mana regen and healing aspect of Meditation does not stack. Anyway, if I have an Insight already, or if I feel comfortable with my regen without the Merc, then I skip the Prayer guy for something a little bit more durable. Holy Freeze is fantastic (cutting monster attack speed in half is basically the same as doubling your regeneration). Defiance is great if you’re trying to max out your defense, and he’s pretty durable. I usually skip Might, since you don’t benefit a lot from any more ED. Lawbringer Mercs, Cold Wolves, and Rogues are also all good choices.
G ) Final Setup.
AT LEAST 80 PDR
AT LEAST slvl 26 Prayer
75+% Resist All
Slvl 30+ Prayer
85+% Resist All
Slvl 40+ Prayer
90+% Resist All
H ) Basic Strategies and Tactics.
*First off, you will not be a fast killer. That’s not what this build is all about. That’s not a huge problem- after all, you only have to kill the enemies faster than they kill you, and they will not be killing you very fast at all.
*If you can’t get an uber-l33t setup, then don’t worry, just cobble together what you can. You won’t be invincible, but you’ll be a heck of a lot closer than where you were before you started.
*While you might be tempted to run Cleansing 24/7 for the extra regeneration, it’s not always necessary. If you’re wielding Insight, then you can turn off the Cleansing and still keep half of your regeneration. In areas populated by elemental attackers, you will be FAR safer running Resist Fire/Lightning than Cleansing, because of the +Max Resists (going from 75% resists to 95% resists will cut your regeneration in half, but cut the elemental damage you receive to a fifth).
*Speaking of Resist Fire/Lightning, remember that not only do you get +1% maximum resist for every 2 points spent on the aura… but when the aura is active, everyone within range will get +1% maximum resist for every 1 hard point spent. As a result, 20 points in Resist Lightning = 95% Lightning Resist. This is A Very Good Thing ™ when you’re facing Gloams and Diablo’s LHoD.
*If you have a budget setup, remember that you are not invincible. View your rig more as a means of drastically reducing the damage you take than a means of eliminating it outright. Play like any other Paladin, and just take comfort in the fact that the game will be a little bit more forgiving of your mistakes. In other words- don’t try anything that you wouldn’t do with a normal paladin, such as standing in the middle of Lister’s pack while it spawns.
*If you have a recommended or even an elite setup, remember that it’s not a carte blanche to do whatever you want to do. Massive damage attacks will still wear you down in a hurry, so don’t try popping FEs in nightmare, and avoid FECE or FELE or FELECEs still. Sure, odds are that you’ll survive, but the odds are even better if you play a little bit smarter. Also, avoid Conviction Enchanted Bosses like the plague. They’re pretty much the one thing that can pierce your defenses and leave you a sitting duck. If you’re going to take one on, make sure you have stacked resists, a high level of Conviction, or a healthy investment in Salvation (or the appropriate resist aura).
*One last thing. No matter what gear you’re wearing, if you charge while IM’ed, you will die. In my experience, there’s very little difference between a blaze of glory and a trail of gory.