Breaking slightly with format, this week we have not a top 10 list (of course half the others weren’t either, what with my overzealous Honorable Mentions) but a Best/Worst Unique items list, by item type.  So each item type is listed, such as Amulets, Boots, Belts, Swords, etc, and for each I’ve selected the best and the worst of that type, with a bit of utterly-unscientific discussion about their various benefits and shortcomings.

    I was going to do a straight 10 Best and Worst list(s), but it seemed likely to be weighted down with multiple items from a few item types, so I made the choice to do it this way.  Oh yes, there will be a disclaimer on this one, I think.

    Disclaimer: The item stats and ratings here are based on v1.09 D2X, as of January 2003. This is a ranking of the best and worst uniques of every type. It is not meant to be a ranking of the items by their killing power, scarcity, trade value, uberness, or any other single aspect.  Items are ranked by their utility, fun/unfun factor, and other interesting or quirky features, as well as whether or not they roxor. I am well aware of which items will actually kill beasties and Babas the most quickly, but that is far from the only thing I’m scoring by, confusing though that concept might seem to your poor, throbbing, Battlenet-ized brain.

    The Best and Worst Uniques in D2X

    The Worst item is always listed before the Best, and some item types are combined into a single category, as will be explained further down this very long page.

    Unique Amulets

    Worst: The Rising Sun

    The Rising Sun
    Clvl 65 Required
    +0.75 Absorb Fire Damage/Clvl
    +4 Light Radius
    2% Chance of casting Slvl (1-10)
        Meteor When Struck
    Adds 24-48 Fire Damage
    +2 to All Fire Skills (All Chars)
    +10 Replenish Life

    Okay, it’s like fire, fire, and more fire. Unfortunately no one cares about fire.  You can play most everywhere just fine with negative fire resistance, which is a good thing considering this amulet has zero resistance of any kind.  And true, dealing fire damage is good, when you’re dropping like 30/30 Meteor/Fire Mastery.  Calling down one puny Meteor every 50th time you get hit isn’t quite the same thing, nor is adding about 3 good charms worth of fire damage.  Plus this amulet has the always-amusing +2 to Fire Skills (All Characters).  Yes, all characters.  Gogo lvl 3 Holy Fire!  All your chips are belong to us!

    Add the ridiculously-high Clvl req, like dog crap icing on a fudge browie, and this one is pretty much a disaster.  When you can’t even give a fire amulet to a fire sorceress, you know there’s something wrong.

    Best: The Cat’s Eye

    The Cat’s Eye
    Clvl 50 Required
    30% Faster Run/Walk
    20% Increased Attack Speed
    +100 Defense
    +100 Defense vs. Missiles
    +25 to Dexterity

    A difficult decision, with so many cool amulets.  But in the end we’re going with fashion over function and eschewing the godliness of Mara’s Kalidathingie, the damage boost of Highlord’s Wrath, the the cow-killing sneak Amp of Atma’s Scarab, and even the D1 ob/stars flashback that is Saracen’s Chance.  All for the faster running, faster swinging, Dexalicious fun that is The Cat’s Eye.  No, it’s not the best amulet, but it gives you that “I am a crack fiend” too fast for words feeling, and it’s even got that always-comical +defense to missiles.  Since after all, there’s nothing more dangerous than arrows. And um, quill rat spikes.  Oh, and that axe-throwing Ancients guy, don’t forget him

    Unique Rings

    Worst: The Stone of Jordan

    The Stone of Jordan
    +20 Mana
    +25% Max Mana
    +1-12 Lightning Damage
    +1 to All Skills

    While this item doesn’t have bad stats, they aren’t especially good stats either. The negative ranking is, of course, due to the trading and duping and such, factors that conspired to mysteriously propel this ring to international fame as the basis of the entire D2 economy.  Which causes every player who has found a bunch of legit items and wants to trade them for other legit items to curse the fact that they must first find a way to turn their items into duped SoJs.

    The 1-12 lightning damage is funny, since while it’s totally useless and ignored now, back in d2c when this item had no Clvl req and was about the tastiest twinkie to be found, that was a very useful mod.  2-24 lightning damage on a lvl 1 character was pretty darn roxor, thank you very much.  Now that this item is only of use to occasional mana-hungry Sasas and Necros, it might as well be -80% attack speed, for all the care anyone gives to it.

    The fact that it’s fun to yell out the acronym over and over again, “SOJSOJSOJSOJSOJ” is worth a bonus point. “Ess-Oh-Jay, Ess-Oh-Jay”.  Try it about ten times and see if you aren’t having fun already.

    Best: The Constricting Ring

    The Constricting Ring
    +100% Resistance To All
    +15% Max Resistance To All
    -30 Life Drain (-2.93 life/sec)
    +100% Magic Find

    One look at the stats and it’s not hard to see why it’s the best unique ring, and probably the best unique item in the game.  You are all but guaranteed to have 90% resistance to everything, if you make even a minimal effort to get resistance from your other equipment slots.  True, that’s about 160% more Cold and Poison resistance than you’ll ever need, but you never know, you might run into a Poison Nova PK Necromancer some day.  The huge MF is also glorious, and the fact that it’s Ilvl 95 and only droppable by Hell Baal and Nihlathak is a bonus point as well.

    There is one small drawback to the Constricting Ring, which is that it doesn’t actually exist.  It’s never been enabled to be found on the realms, which, of course, means that there are thousands of them around, given Blizzard’s “What hacks?” security plan.

    Unique Belts

    Worst: Snakecord

    +11 Poison Damage Over 3 Seconds
    +25% to Poison Resist
    +10 Defense
    +20-30% Enhanced Defense
    +5 Replenish Life
    -50% Poison Duration

    While picking the best belt was very difficult, picking the worst wasn’t all that easy either.  You’d instinctively want to pick on the little unique sash, but with a closer look the Lenymo reveals itself to be pretty damn useful.  So we’re moving up one to the Snakecord, which was briefly useful in the early days of D2X when huge stacking poison damage was the way to go, and this was the only source of poison damage in belt form.  However, once players realized they could replace this to about the 8th power with one small charm, the bloom was off the rose, so to speak.

    Bladebuckle was a close second in the worst ranking, primarily since I gambled roughly 500 of them back in D2C while doing what all fighter chars did, trying to get a good rare 16 slot belt with cold damage.  Ah, the things we were driven to do in the days before cold charms.

    Best: Snowclash

    5% To Cast Slvl (1-10) Blizzard When Struck
    Absorbs 15 Cold Damage
    +15% to Maximum Cold Resist
    Adds 13-21 Cold Damage, 3 Sec Length
    +130-170% Enhanced Defense
    +2 To Blizzard (Sorceress Only)
    +3 To Glacial Spike (Sorceress Only)
    +2 To Chilling Armor (Sorceress Only)

    A difficult choice to make, when the time came to make it.  There are so many cool belts, and my first inclination to go with Goldwrap was hard to deny, primarily since my always MF/GF/IAS hungry legion of characters most often use it to hold up their drawers.  Then you’ve got the perfect melee character stats of the String of Ears, and the lovely elite Nosferatu’s Coil as well.

    While snowclash can’t compare with any of those for utility, it’s one of the very few “theme items”, and in the niftiness of it won over our judges.  It’s cold, and cold, and then some more cold.  But not even good cold; there’s no +2 to all cold spells, or +to Frozen Orb, or Cold Mastery, which would make it really useful.  It’s just a bunch of other colds, and the occasional semi-random Blizzard right on top of your head.  Yes, a dubious choice.

    Unique Boots

    Worst: Infernostride

    Adds 12-33 Fire Damage
    20% Faster Run/Walk
    +10% to Maximum Fire Resist
    +30% to Fire Resist
    +2 Light Radius
    +120-150% Enhanced Defense
    +40-70% More Gold from Monsters
    +15 Defense
    5% to cast Slvl 8 Blaze When Struck

    While it would be easier to pick on some of the normal boots, they all have a use at their level.  Even the lowly Hotspur boots, with no faster run, have a low Clvl req and add some decent fire damage, making them a useful twink.

    Infernostride, however, are never useful. They do add fire damage, but not very much, and by Clvl 29 when you can wear these, you aren’t likely to need it.  Nor do you need 85% fire resistance during the mid levels when you might wear these.  The casting Blaze is sorta nifty, but since it’s only 5% you can’t ever count on it happening when you want it to.  Sort of like your grandad and his sex drive.

    Best: War Travelers

    War Traveler
    +10 to Vitality
    +10 to Strength
    +30-50% Magic Find
    +30 Increased Durability
    25% Faster Run/Walk
    +150-190% Enhanced Defense
    Adds 15-25 Damage
    Attacker Takes (5-10) Damage
    +40% Slower Stamina Drain

    A predictable choice, but one I strained against making. Everyone wants a pair for MFing, mostly out of greed, since these will run 40% MF on average, while you can get 25% on boot gambles now.  The main drawback of all the Unique boots is that rare boots are one of the few viable rare item types in D2X v1.09, primarily since you can get all the good mods on boots, and a lot of resistance to boot.  Get it? “To boot.” Nevermind.

    Predictable though they are, War Traveler (besides being the most frequently and incorrectly pluralized item name in the entire game) just rock.  Big MF, faster run, fat bonuses to vitality and strength, and the often-overlooked +15-25 damage, which, along with the +strength, can up your damage hundreds of points, once all your skill and strength bonuses are taken into account.  Did I mention that they have roxor MF?  I like MF.

    Unique Gloves

    Worst: Lavagout

    +24% to Fire Resist
    Half Freeze Duration
    2% to cast Slvl 10 Enchant
    20% Increased Attack Speed
    +150-200% Enhanced Defense
    Adds 13-46 Fire Damage
    +20 Increased Durability

    Unique gloves are an unusual item type, since all of the normal ones are useful, either early on or late in the game, while all of the exceptional ones are pretty crappy.  There are even a couple of excellent set gloves, which is not something you can say about too many item types.  All of which makes the crappy exceptional unique gloves look even worse.  There were a number of contenders for this award, and I must point out that both Gravenpalm and Ghoulhide pack big damage bonuses to the undead! The fact that no one cares about bonus damage to the undead is another matter.

    In the end I narrowed it down to Lavagout or Hellmouth.  Neither are worth wearing, but since Hellmouth makes for a pretty light show with the minimal damage Meteors and Firestorms, I’m going with Lavagout.  Bonus points for the fact that during the bugged Enchant days, just wearing these gloves was enough to get your character corrupted and unplayable for hours.

    Best: Chance Guards

    Chance Guards
    +200% More Gold
    +25-40% Magic Find
    +25 to Attack Rating
    +15 Defense
    +2 Light Radius
    +20-30% Enhanced Defense

    Bloodfist gloves were probably the best twink in all of D2C (aside from Khalim’s Flail), so surely Bliz must hvae done something to ruin them D2X? To my wonder they did not, and infact they made them even better, by adding 10% IAS. Someone must have missed a memo on that one.  Yet while Bloodfistesesss are the best twink, Chance Guards are the best long term.  If you are greedy.  A greedy fat little piggy. *cough*

    Unique Helms

    Worst: Darksight Helm

    Darksight Helm
    -4 Light Radius
    +2 Defense per Clvl
    Cannot be Frozen
    +5% Mana Stolen Per Hit
    6% of cast Slvl 3 Dim Vision When Struck
    Level 5 Cloak of Shadows (30 Charges)
    +20-40% to Fire Resist

    While I generally enjoy theme items, and this one does have mods to match the name, plus two good modifiers (mana steal and freeze proofing), it’s got too many crappy things to bring it down.  The fire resistance is thrown in just to ruin the consistency of the theme, -light radius is annoying, and of course, it’s got those Cloak of Shadows charges.

    Sticking bonus charges of the most annoying skill in the entire game on a hat is a sure way to plunge in the ratings.

    Best: Harlequin Crest

    Harlequin Crest
    +2 to All Skills
    +1.5 Life per clvl
    +1.5 Mana per clvl
    +50% Magic Find
    -10% Physical Damage
    +2 to all attributes

    Picking the best helm was harder than picking the worst gloves. There are more unique hats, and for some reason Blizzard made at least half a dozen of them just ridiculously overpowered.  You can even throw in Tal’s Mask, which really should be the best helm in the entire game, but isn’t even close.  Funny they went to the trouble to create circlets and give them potentially awesome mods on a rare… and then put in so many even better unique helms that the circlets are totally ignored. Anyway, Vampire Gaze, Stealskull, Tarnhelm, or any of several normal helms which are great for their level… you can pretty much take your pick.  And don’t forget about Arreat’s Face or Jalal’s Mane, both of which have an unbelievably list of stats. But I’m picking the Harlequin Crest for the best since it’s green, el33t, MF-alicious, worth about 220 hps on a barb’s merc,  and it’s fun to say “Shako shako shako shako.”

    Unique Shields

    Worst: Bverrit Keep

    Bverrit Keep
    +30 Defense
    +75% to Fire Resist
    +5 to Strength
    -5 Magical Damage
    +80-120% Enhanced Defense
    +10 Chance to Block %
    +80-100 Increased Durability

    It’s heavy, it makes you run slow, there aren’t any decent bonuses, and the name is unpronounceable.

    Other than that, it’s a nice item.

    I would mention the Necro totem here, since though it has awesome stats, it’s only useful for one class.  (The same holds true for the Herald of Zakarum, but people actually play Paladins.)  But I won’t mention it, since that would be mean, and I’m never mean to Necromancer players.

    Best: Stormshield

    +3.75 Defense per Clvl
    Physical Damage Reduced by 35%
    +30 to Strength
    35% Faster Blocking
    +25% to Lightning Resist
    +25 Chance to Block %
    +60% to Cold Resist
    Attacker Takes 10 Lightning Damage

    While there are a lot of useful unique shields, both normal and exceptional, was there really any doubt which the best would be?  It’s got big blocking, it’s got big resistance, it’s got huge damage reduction, it’s got huge strength, it’s not heavy enough to ruin your running speed, it doesn’t need to be repaired, and it’s hard to find… but not impossible.

    Plus if you find extras you can trade them for an Eaglehorn and a Tal’s armor. *cough*

    Unique Body Armor

    Worst: Venom Ward

    +15% to Maximum Poison Resist
    -50% Poison Duration
    +90% to Poison Resist
    +2 Light Radius
    +60-100% Enhanced Defense

    It’s not really that awful an item, and in fact it can be useful to keep your merc alive when you first get to the poison catapult land that is the Bloody Foothills.  But due to the poorly-balanced Armor 18 Treasure Class, you are virtually guaranteed to find one of these every single game, usually from hell Baal, or someone equally inappropriate. If I did a most hated set items list, you can be pretty sure Isenhart’s Breast Plate would show up on it as well.

    Just be glad that only one Venom Ward can drop per game, so when it does you can say, “Well, that’s out of the way.”

    Best: Arkaine’s Valor

    Arkaine’s Valor
    +150-180% Enhanced Defense
    30% Faster Hit Recovery
    +1-2 to All Skills
    -10-15 Physical Damage
    +0.5 Vitality per clvl

    Unlike the unique helms, there aren’t really that many great unique armors.  I hate to pick the best elite one, again, since it’s so predictable, but about the only other useful unique body armors are normal ones, for use early on.  And yeah, a Twitchthroe is awesome for most combat characters from about Clvl 18 to 30, but it’s not a serious long term option, at least not in D2X. Shaftstop is great, but only for one thing.  Skullder’s is great if you are greedy, which certainly applies to me, but I can’t pick the top MF item every time, can I?  And besides the MF, it’s got little to recommend it. Some recommend Duriel’s Shell,which is a very nice merc armor, but I have one word for you; Lionheart.

    Arkaine’s, on the other hand, has godly bonuses left and right, plus anyone who played much D1 remembers it fondly, as well as the clever quest you had to complete to obtain it. A lot more fun than the quest you must complete to find it in D2X… 2000 Pindleskin runs.  Are we having fun yet?

    There, you’re half way now.  It’s very long, I know.  Why don’t you stop before you begin on the weapons, and come back and read them later?  Or even wait until next Wednesday, and pretend this is a new column posted then?

    What?  You won’t wait?  Or you stopped reading already?  Well, carry on then, at your own risk.

    Unique Axes

    Worst: Pompei’s Wrath

    Pompei’s Wrath
    +140-170% Enhanced Damage
    4% to cast Slvl 8 Volcano on strike
    Slows Target by 50%
    Adds 35-150 fire damage
    Knocks Target Back

    While I was briefly-tempted to throw in Messerschmidt’s Reaver here, solely due to the fact that it was the only v1.08 elite unique I found, and was (of course) the only one that was pretty much crap until v1.09 improved its stats.  But this list isn’t all about me and my little problems, is it.  Is it?

    Anyway, take your pick of the other axes.  At least 75% of all normal and exceptional ones are junk.  I’m going with Pompei’s Wrath for no particular reason.  It’s actually got a pretty good name, coupled with the chance to cast Volcano and fire damage, and I generally like theme items.  But I find way too many Crowbills, Military Picks, and War Spikes, and have no use for any of them. So there.

    Best: Steelspell

    +165% Enhanced Damage
    Requirements -60%
    +100 to Mana
    -12-15 Magical Damage
    10% Faster Cast Rate
    +25% Mana Regeneration
    Level 1 Teleport (20 Charges)
    Level 3 Decrepify (30 Charges)
    Level 10 Holy Bolt (100 Charges)
    Level 12 Firestorm (60 Charges)

    While no one actually uses it for the designed purpose, you have to admire the effort some item designer at Bliz went to, trying to make an actually viable spell-casting axe. They put on all these clever mana bonuses and faster cast rate and -requirements, and even a dog’s dinner of apparently-random bonus skills.  Yet forgot to put on any +skills, which is the one virtually mandatory bonus for a spellcaster.  Oopsie.

    The only use this item has ever gotten is from people with it in their weapon switch slot, so they can use the teleport charges, generally to pop over the blood moat on the way to Mephisto.  Does that make it better than Hellslayer or Messerschmidt’s?  Not really, but then this isn’t a list of the better items, it’s a list of the best items.  (Well, that didn’t make any sense, did it?)

    Unique Bows

    Worst: Stormstrike

    Adds 1-30 lightning damage
    +8 to Strength
    +28 to Attack Rating
    +25% Chance of Hit Piercing Target
    Lightning Resist +25%
    +70-90% Enhanced Damage

    While there is no shortage of normal unique weapons that do far too little damage for their ridiculously-high Clvl requirements, the unique bows are in a class by themselves. Rogue’s Bow, Stormstrike, Wizendraw, Hellclap and Blastbark are all at least a dozen levels too high, or 100% damage too low, depending on how you look at it.  When the Clvl req is higher than the max damage, there is something wrong, and Stormstrike’s 11-21 damage at Clvl 25 is just laughable.

    Yes, there is lightning damage and some piercing, but as anyone who has actually played a Bowazon knows, at this point you’re trying to get enough damage and mana leech to keep going with MS or other multi-arrow skills.  And an average damage of 16 is just not what you’re after, snazzy item graphic or not.

    Best: Kuko Shakaku

    Kuko Shakaku
    +150-180% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 40-180 fire damage
    Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts
    +50% Chance of Hit Piercing Target
    +3 to Immolation Arrow
    +3 to Bow & Crossbow Skills

    No, it’s not a Windforce.  Not even a little bit.  If I just picked the biggest damage weapon for every category, that wouldn’t be a very entertaining list, now would it?  You want that, go ask in any Bnet channel. The Kuko, besides having the best name of any unique item in the entire game, is a lot of fun to use.  Fast, good elemental damage, piercing, and it’s just as purple as an ‘88 gold-rimmed El Camino pimpmobile.  Plus it makes pretty explosions when you fire normal arrows with it.  Not that any Amazon ever does.  Having this bow waiting for you at Clvl 33 makes all the 15 minutes sitting in a corner while your friend mows down the hell cows all worth it.

    Unique Crossbows

    Worst: Demon Machine

    Demon Machine
    +123% Enhanced Damage
    +66 to Maximum Damage
    +632 to Attack Rating
    Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts
    +66% Chance of Hit Piercing Target
    +321 Defense
    +36 to Mana

    Yes, I was tempted to stick the Burrito Cannon here as well, but since everyone was half-expecting it to be the worst, I had to look elsewhere.  None of the unique crossbows are really awful, not like the crappy no-damage unique bows.  So I’m going with one that could be good, but missed out by a hair. The Demon Machine.  It’s fast, but doesn’t have any bonus IAS.  It’s got demon in the name, but doesn’t do any bonus damage to demons.  And it really should have some crushing blow, which would work perfectly with the fast action/low damage mods, making it effective for players who knew enough to use it with other crushing blow items.  Now it’s just a sort of xbow version of Endless Hail, without the bonus skills.

    Ahh, lost opportunities.

    Best: Buriza-Do Kyanon

    The Burrito Cannon
    +150-200% Enhanced Damage
    +2.5 Max damage per Clvl
    Adds 32-196 cold damage,
    8 Seconds Cold Length
    +100% Chance of Hit Piercing Target
    80% Increased Attack Speed
    Hit Freezes Target
    +35 to Dexterity
    +75-150 Defense

    Yes, everyone hates Burizons.  Yes, it’s got the most insulting nicknames of any item in the game (for good reason).  And yes it’s grossly-overpowered for the level.  This would be a great elite crossbow.  Much less an exceptional ones. You feel guilty using it, it makes a Bowazon able to almost ignore dexterity and still have huge damage, you don’t need to even bother with IAS gear since you can’t make it much faster anyway.  It’s wrong, and yet at the same time it is so very, very right.

    Unique Daggers

    Worst: Spine Ripper

    Spine Ripper
    Ignores Targets Armor
    +8% Life Stolen Per Hit
    Prevents Monster Healing
    15% Faster Attack Speed
    +10 Dexterity
    +200-240% Enhanced Damage
    +15-27 Damage
    +1 Necromancer Skills

    A nice name, but pretty much pointless other than that. It’s got big bonus damage, but since it’s a crappy little dagger, the total damage is still in the 47-90 range.  AKA not enough to kill a damn thing.  Basically it’s a unique wand with really bad bonuses and slightly better than expected damage. Does posing in that psycho mode mean enough to you to use this to do it?  Probably not.

    (Yes, I had to redo this entry after realizing our exceptional daggers page still had the v1.08 stats.)

    Best: The Gull

    The Gull
    Adds 1-15 Damage
    100% Magic Find
    -5 to Mana

    It’s not much of an item, the unique dagger.  In fact it’s basically got just one useful bonus.  But what a useful bonus it is! The funny part is how hard this damn thing is to find.  Being such a low level item, hardly any monsters past normal ever drop a dagger of any kind, so you get the spectacle of 1000% MF lvl 90 Sorcies and Barbs running around Act One/Normal, killing Super Uniques and hoping they get lucky.  In v1.09 I’ve found probably seven elite unique daggers, and 1 normal unique dagger.  But that’s half the fun!  Hoping for a Gull might be the single best reason to bother with low level MFing.

    And yes, the Dirk, The Diggler, gets special recognition for having one of the funniest names in the game. But that’s not enough to get it the top spot.

    Unique Blunt Weapons

    Worst: Crushflange

    +15 to Strength
    Knocks Target Back
    +2 to Light Radius
    Fire Resist +50%
    +50-60% Enhanced Damage
    33% Chance of Crushing Blow

    Yes, it’s got a cool name, and it’s meant for low level characters, and at Clvl 9 it wouldn’t be bad, dealing 6-16 damage.  However the mods are such a contradiction.  It’s got crushing blow, and knockback.  The whole point in crushing blow is to use it with a fast hitting, low damage weapon, since it will chew up monsters that have a ton of hit points much faster than a higher damage/no-crushing weapon.  But the monsters you’d use this on in Act 1 and Act 2 don’t have a lot of hit points, so the crushing isn’t really needed.  Not to mention the always-annoying knockback.

    No, this isn’t an awful item, but it’s one of several pointless normal unique maces, and I had to pick something, now didn’t I?

    By the way, this entry included the Unique scepters.  It’s just that none of them are good or bad enough to get a mention here, much less their own entire section.

    Best: Bonesnap

    +200-300% Enhanced Damage
    40% Chance of Crushing Blow
    Fire Resist +30%
    Cold Resist +30%
    +50% Damage to Undead

    This was sort of the Buriza of D2C, at least for PKs.  Every other game you’d see some Clvl 12 Paladin standing around by the waypoint with a big two-handed maul and Vigor, and you knew at a glance he was a PK, and had a Bonesnap.  This item dealt such ridiculous damage for a low level character that it was almost illegal.  In D2X it’s been nerfed a lot just by adding a Clvl 24 requirement, ruining it as the weapon of choice for low level PK Chargeadins, much to the relief of other low level players.  Imagine if this one still had no Clvl req, and how fast any Druid would be with it past Clvl 6 or so?  Yikes.

    And yeah, Schaeffer’s and Baranar’s and Cranium Basher are elite and super-powered and all that, and you find so many golden Mauls you no longer even pick them up.  But it’s my list, and I’m making it quirky.

    Unique Polearms

    Worst: Dimoak’s Hue

    Dimoak’s Hue
    +15 to Dexterity
    +100% Enhanced Damage
    20% Increased Attack Speed
    -8 Defense

    The annoying thing about polearms is that they are generally slow, and have wildly-varying damage. Dimoak’s Hue kicks off the weapon type perfectly, with a ridiculous 4-56 damage, and it’s still damn slow, even with the 20 IAS.  The bizarre -8 defense mod is thrown in there just to confuse us. Using this one on a low level character is an exercise in frustration, since you have no idea if you’ll kill your target in 1 hit, or 17 hits.

    Stormspire gets an honorable mention for being virtually impossible to find, and then not really very useful even if you do.  “Let’s put huge lightning spell bonuses on a polearm, but have them work when struck, not while striking.” Clever move, guys.

    Best: The Meat Scraper

    The Meat Scraper
    +150-200% Enhanced Damage
    30% Increased Attack Speed
    10% Life stolen per hit
    50% Chance of Open Wounds
    25% Magic Find
    +3 to Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)

    While it has the same wildly-varying damage that distinguishes all crappy polearms, The Meat Scraper has 5 other mods, and all of them are great.  This isn’t much of a weapon for your use, but on your Might merc it’s excellent.  Good enough damage, fast attack, life steal, Open Wounds, and even that tasty little bit of Magic Find.  My last MF Barb had an Ethereal Meat Scraper on his Might merc, and with a 1-98 damage lightning jewel in it, he was about the bestest MF assistant ever, since he could kill off anything but an LIPI, and could even kill that, if I whittled it all the way down and waited for the Open Wounds to work. As for using polearms yourself… sheesh, get a mace or spear barb if you must go two-handed, these things are lame.

    Unique Spears

    Worst: Lance of Yaggai

    Lance of Yaggai
    Attacker Takes Damage of 8
    Adds 1-60 Lightning Damage
    All Resistances +15
    40% Increased Attack Speed

    We’ve already lamented any weapon that does less damage than the Clvl requirement, and the Lance of Yaggai’s woeful 15-23 at Clvl 22 nearly puts it into that esteemed company. This weapon’s only real purpose is to hit fast and deal lightning damage.  But since it’s not very much lightning damage, and even less overall damage, it’s pretty much only useful for Physical Immune low hit point monsters in normal.

    Let me know if you find any.

    Best: Kelpie Snare

    Kelpie Snare
    +140-180% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 30-50 damage
    Slows Target by 75%
    Fire Resist +50%
    +1.25 Life per clvl
    +10 to Strength

    There really aren’t any especially useful unique spears, as it turns out. There are several pretty good ones though, even if most people just use them for merc weapons.  The lack of any elite unique spears means that anyone who wants one is going to be trying to buy a cruel war pike with IAS, so any uniques are just something to use on the way up to an elite damage item.  One possible exception is Lycander’s Flank, which isn’t quite big enough damage for hell, but has so many other great mods that the few Spearazons around often have trouble parting with it, assuming they don’t just give up entirely once they reach hell and see just how lacking Fend really is at that point.

    As for the Kelpie Snare, it’s got decent damage and attack speed, has huge fire resistance and hit points, and a big “hit slows target” bonus, all of which are very useful for a Merc.  True, you’re probably better off just going with a Spire of Honor for the much higher damage, especially against demons, but it’s not as much fun.  The yari, Hone Sundan, gets a mention also for having an impressively-mighty Crushing Blow, as well as three sockets.  Whether you want to part with 3 good runes/jewels just to pump up your Merc’s weapon is sticking point for most players.  Especially Hardcore players, since that merc weapon is going to be gone forever, someday.

    Unique Spell-Caster Thingies

    This category includes staves, wands, and orbs and would include scepters, if any of them were worth mentioning. And yes, I’m combining them since it’s getting late and this damn article is too long already.  There, I’ve admitted it.

    Worst: Stormeye

    Adds 1-6 lightning damage
    Adds 3-5 cold damage, 3 Secs
    Replenish Life +10
    +80-120% Enhanced Damage
    +3-5 to Resist Lightning (Paladin Only)
    +3 to Holy Shock (Paladin Only)
    +1 to Fist of the Heavens (Paladin Only)

    Okay, so I’m mentioning a scepter after all.  I didn’t want to, but take a look over the wands and staves sometime.  They range from good to great to ridiculous.  When the worst of them is something like +1, 15% resist all, and 20% faster cast, it’s hard to single one out for abuse.  Makes you wonder why there are even rare wands and staves in the game.  I considered mentioning The Oculus here, just because it’s so ridiculously overpowered.  Plus it would let me ponder that inexplicable 25% teleport.  Could Blizzard have somehow not thought of the “out of the frying pan, into the fire” reality, and somehow thought random teleports were a good thing? Like they would save you from being surrounded or stun locked or something?  There’s no telling.

    As for Stormeye, it’s the unique war scepter, and it does crappy damage, and the bonus skills it has are all to crappy skills.  True, it is sort of a theme item, with lightning damage and skills, but that’s not enough to redeem it.

    Best: Ribcracker

    +200-300% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 30-65 damage
    50% Increased Attack Speed
    50% Chance of Crushing Blow
    +15 to Dexterity
    +100 Defense
    +100% Enhanced Defense
    50% Faster Hit Recovery
    +100 Increased Durability

    Showing blatant disregard for spell casters, I’m naming this melee weapon staff the best of them all.  It’s not viable in Hell, but you get this puppy on your Fury Druid at Clvl 31 and you are off like a shot.  Nothing in normal or Nightmare can withstand the lightning fast battering this staff deals.  It’s got very low requirements, huge damage, ridiculous IAS, giant crushing blow, +defense, +dexterity, giant FHR, and even increased durability.  If there were a weapon with this series of bonuses in any other weapon class, it would be so overpowered that it would make the Buriza look well-balanced.  But there isn’t.  So you should enjoy this one.

    And yes, there are a ton of ridiculously good Necro wands, Skull Collector is a cool staff, the Chromatic Ire was the pre-Oculus sorcy dream, and of course the Oculus itself is laughably good.  But I like Ribcracker. It’s got the best name too.

    Unique Throwing Weapons

    Worst: The Scalper

    The Scalper
    +130-180% Enhanced Damage
    +200-450 to Attack Rating
    40% Chance of Deadly Strike
    7-9% Life stolen per hit
    4-6% Mana stolen per hit
    Replenishes 1 Quantity in 4 seconds

    A rather limited category at this point, with one unique javelin that’s Amazon-only, and two unique exceptional throwing weapons, that aren’t ever used by anyone. So we’ll keep this short.

    The Scalper is actually a decent weapon, and beats the Deathbit in throwing damage and especially due to the Crushing Blow and dual leech.  However the Clvl requirement of 57 is ridiculously high, which is enough to seal its fate.

    Best: Titan’s Revenge

    Titan’s Revenge
    +150-200% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 25-50 Damage
    +20 to Strength
    +20 to Dexterity
    30% Faster Run/Walk
    +5-9% Life Stolen Per Hit
    Regenerates 1 Quantity every 3.33 seconds
    +60 Increased Stack Size
    +2 To Amazon skills
    +2 To Javelin & Spear Skills

    Mostly because I enjoy Javazons.  This weapon is a bit silly though. I mean look at the mods.  All it’s missing is about 100% MF and it would be some sort of unique Ith-like perfect item. Sure, mana leech would be nice also just to completely remove any need for the Javazon to even think about the rest of her equipment, but you can’t have everything.

    It’s funny how Blizzard threw in these Class-Specific Uniques, but just one of each type, and then they made all of them essentially the best items possible, while nerfing Rares to irrelevancy.  It’s like they wanted to ensure every single character would use the exact same items, through some sort of mysterious long term individuality-removing strategy.  Their reasoning behind this insidious plot has yet to be determined, but you can be sure it’s nothing good.

    Unique Swords

    Worst: Swordguard

    +170-180% Enhanced Damage
    +5 Defense per clvl
    +100 Defense vs. Missiles
    +200 Defense vs. Melee
    20% Faster Hit Recovery
    20% Increased Chance of Blocking
    All Resistances +10-20
    Requirements -50%
    +30% of damage taken goes to mana

    While I was tempted to award this jointly to Azurewrath and Shadowfang, solely because they are discussed in the D1 manual as being pretty much the two most powerful swords ever forged, and then they turn up in D2 as glorified toothpicks.  But I contented myself with the thought that I could mention this in the introduction, and then spend a paragraph talking about how crappy another weapon was.

    So how about that Swordguard?

    This isn’t that bad of an item, but you had to come from D2C to really be dismayed by it. See back then, Exe swords were the shiznit, and a gold one was cause for great excitement.  No one used shields since you didn’t need to, so these were just another type of two-handed weapon; one with a very cool name. And the thought of there being a Unique one was enough to set the strongest WW Baba’s toes to twitching.  And then came D2X, and the unique Exe sword… and it’s less damage than a good rare in D2C was.  And it’s got defensive bonuses.  And it’s slow. Huh?

    Soon enough we all turned our collective dreaming attention to Grandfathers and CCBs and the 3s chippie recipe, but for a while there, we were just inconsolable.  And it was all the fault of Swordguard.

    Best: Blade of Ali Baba

    Blade of Ali Baba
    +60-120% Enhanced Damage
    +2.5% Gold Find per Clvl
    +1% Magic Find per Clvl
    +15 to Mana
    +5-15 to Dexterity

    The perfect symmetry of Blizzard naming this weapon, with its treasure-enhancing bonuses, after a famous thief of fable, and then that thief’s name being the same as the abbreviation for the money-hungry Barbarians who use this sword… well, it’s just about enough to bring a tear to your eye.  Assuming you could follow the previously sentence well enough to know what the hell I’m talking about.

    No, it’s not something you can use to kill things with.  At least not very effectively.  An ethereal one on a Barb Merc isn’t a bad item, if you stick in a couple of good jewels, or especially Puls for act boss boss killing.  But the primary use of this sword is to hold while killing, or especially while Horking, where the +MF/GF will fill your heart to the very brim.

    You might want to use a Grandfather or Doombringer or something like that for the actual killing part though.

    * Due to the length of this column, the feedback is presented in a separate article. Click here to view it.

    Flux?s Decahedron was written by Flux during 2002-2004, and hosted by Diabloii.net. These irreverent, often rude “Top 10” columns tweaked every aspect of the game and community, pioneered the humorous “Top 10” listing of game features during the eternal v1.09 patch era, were excessively long, and incorporated extensive reader feedback. They may or may not return for Diablo III.

    The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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