1.09 Mephisto farming Assassin 1.09 Mephisto farming Assassin This is a recipe for a way to run Hell Mephisto fast and safely in 1.09, the only really required item being the unique Yari, Hone Sundan. Unfortunately, it doesn't apply to 1.10 as the Assassin has been deprived of her very own way of teleporting and I've heard that Act Bosses are now unleechable. This is not a build guide; it outlines the requirements and focuses on the process of the run itself. Levelling a mostly Martial Arts Assassin up to the 70s is not included. Also, some knowledge of the game and Magic Finding mechanics is required, as I haven't gone into detail on the basics. In short, it's been kept short. This technique was developed following the find of an ethereal Hone Sundan which made me reevaluate the usefulness of an Act II Merc in taking down Mephisto (surprisingly fast with 45% Crushing Blow), which, in turn, helped develop a practically foolproof way of keeping said Merc alive. Depending on gear and Skill Point placement, Mephisto can be reached in 20" of entering the game and killed in another 15" at players 3. Optimum gear for the dish is not ridiculous or godly, certainly nothing that Meph himself cannot drop. Why an Assassin? Traditional Mephisto running is done with Sorcs or Barbs solo, as they can't protect their Mercs against Meph's attacks and have no other minions. Sorcs mostly jump back across the moat and kill Meph with ranged attacks, which is slow and dangerous. The Assassin reaches Meph faster and safer than Barbs, is able to protect her Merc while he pulverizes Meph and sturdy enough to both tank and inflict some considerable damage on her own. Plus, Assassins are way cooler . I know all about Meph running, just tell me how to protect the damn Merc. Dragon Flight to Meph whether already engaged or not - he'll (re)target the Assassin and the Merc will be free to do his stuff. This guide has probably nothing more to tell you. For the less experienced and those who want to see some nice screenshots though, a more detailed account follows. Skill Point placement 20 Tiger Strike 1 Cobra Strike 20 Phoenix Strike (+3 prereqs) 1 Dragon Flight (+3 prereqs) 1+ Claw Mastery 1+ Burst of Speed 1 Mind Blast (+2 prereq) 1+ Shadow Warrior (+1 prereq) or 1+ Shadow Master (+2 prereqs) I strongly recommend using level 20 Shadow Master, but 1 point in either shadow is all that's required to teleport across the moat. In fact, Phoenix Strike is not required either, but substantially increases killing speed. For the latter reason, 20 points in Claw Mastery is also a good use for them. A few extra points should be invested in Burst of Speed, depending on the amount of + Skills items. A total skill level of 10, where diminishing returns really show, is nice and lowers the total run time. You may want to look into your chosen weapon's IAS breakpoints in order to decide. For any possible remaining skill points, feel free to experiment. A good use for them would be Lightning Sentry, as Mephisto will be mostly stationary. Other possibilities include (but are not limited to) Venom, Wake of Inferno, Blade Shield and Dragon Tail. If, somehow, you use this technique in 1.10, your best option is probably to synergise Phoenix Strike's Meteor damage by investing in Fists of Fire. Please let me know how it's done. Stat Point placement Strength: Enough to wear your chosen gear. Dexterity: At least enough for 75% Chance to Block with your chosen main shield. If you need extra AR or want extra damage, invest more. Vitality: Everything else. I recommend that, after gear requirements and 75% Blocking have been taken care of, you divide the remaining Skill Points equally between Dexterity and Vitality. Mercenary This build relies on using an Act II Merc equipped with a Hone Sundan. Funnily enough, the Might Merc is a no-no, as his increased damage prompts Meph to target him more often. The absolute best choice is the Defiance one (Normal/Hell Defensive), as he'll increase your little army's tanking ability considerably. If you don't invest in Dexterity more than the minimum required, you may opt for the Blessed Aim one. If you don't have any sources of cold damage, a Holy Freeze one might turn out to be handy. The rest are largely irrelevant - not bad, but without much to offer either. Gear This is the section I usually skip in guides. Basically, you will need good resists in Hell, preferably full but definitely above 50. Strangely, the most important resist is Fire, the only damage Meph cannot inflict. This is because you will sometimes be Meteored and Firewalled by the Vampires shooting craps at the back wall of Durance 3. +Life, Run/Walk Speed and as much MF as you can load up are next in importance. However, as long as your total MF on switch is more than ~400 (which isn't hard to achieve) do not sacrifice survivability or killing power/speed for more MF. The diminishing returns on effective MF are just not worth it. Life leech, +Damage, +Damage to Demons, PDR and Crushing Blow are also good if you can find them. Now, if you are not like me, here are some (non-exclusive) specific gear suggestions in descending order of drool-induciveness: Main weapon: 1. Bartuc's Cut-Throat (unique Greater Talons). Socket it with something. 2. Strength (runeword) claw-class weapon. Switch weapon 1. Blade of Ali Baba (unique Tulwar) socketed with Ists :lol: / MF jewels. 2. Gull (unique Dagger). 3. Any single-hand weapon with enough (sockets to load up on) MF. Main Shield 1. Moser's Blessed Circle (unique round shield) socketed with Ums. Great defense, blocking, resists and doesn't affect your running speed. What? What are you saving the damn rocks for? Oh, fine, stick in two perfect diamonds then. Or a flawed amethyst and a zircon jewel for all I care. 2. Jeweller's / Artisan's (some shield) of Deflecting, socketed as above. Light shields are better, since Walk/Run Speed is important, but tend to have less inherent Chance to Block. 3. Chromatic (some shield) of Deflecting with two sockets by Larzuc. Comments as above. Switch Shield 1. Rhyme (runeword) (some shield). Obviously, the more Defense and Chance to Block, the better. Weight is not an issue with this one. More important is that it looks as different as possible to the main shield: any optical clues to let you know that you've indeed switched to your MF gear will be helpful inside Mephisto's poisonous cloud and your Meteors' pyres. Example: main gear - MF gear. Ring If you have the unique ring Raven Frost, by all means use it. It's as important as a Bartuc's for a good and safe run: tons of AR, Dexterity, cold damage, cold absorb and the (quite essential) Cannot Be Frozen. Gloves I always felt that melee characters lose too much for the 40% MF and nothing else the Chance Guards (unique Chain Gloves) have to offer. My Assassin used crafted Blood Gloves with 3% Life Leech, 5% Crushing Blow, 20% IAS and +2 Martial Arts. It turned out that using Laying of Hands (set Bramble Mitts) instead increases damage, and hence Life Leeching, substantially. They also keep you entertained with the ultra cool graphics and sound effects of the occasional Holy Bolt. Footwear Just to remind everybody that Run/Walk Speed and MF are important. Use your discretion. Rest of Gear As per Flux's MF guide. My Assassin's gear Bartuc's (Ali Baba with two jewels totalling 18% MF on switch). Moser's with two Ums (Rhyme Superior Hyperion on switch). Harlequin Crest (unique Shakoshakoshako) socketed with Perfect Topaz. Saracen's Chance (unique Amulet) as I don't have a Mara's Kaleidoscope. Skullder's Ire (unique Russet Armour - oh, OK, Armor) socketed with Perfect Topaz. Laying of Hands. Goldwrap (unique Heavy Belt) with Full Rejuvs and Town Portal scrolls. Nagelring and Raven Frost (unique Rings). War Traveller (unique Battle Boots). Merc gear Hone Sundan (indispensible) for weapon. The rate of application of Crushing Blow is vastly more important than the inherent damage of the weapon. Hence, if your Merc's next IAS breakpoint lies within the 46% - 60% IAS, socketing with 3 Shaels is superior to 3 40/15 jewels. Some Life Leech is also essential - if you can't get it from other gear, stick an Amn rune in the weapon. He'll need, absolutely need, full resists as he'll be Firewalled, Meteored, Hydraed, Cold-Balled, Charged-Bolted and Poisoned, often under Bremm's Conviction aura. PDR, +Life, +Damage to Demons and high defense will also be appreciated. Obviously, more Crushing Blow would be great; go for it, as long as it doesn't compromise full resists or some Life Leech. My Merc's gear Hone Sundan (unique ethereal Yari) socketed with 2 Shaels and a resistance jewel. Black Hades (unique Chaos Armor) socketed with Ral, Ort, Thul. Tal-Rasha's Horadric Crest (set Death Mask) socketed with Tal. Preparation 1. You should really complete the save Anya quest before starting to farm Mephisto regularly. The extra resists and experience are invaluable. Level 75 is a good minimum, but the higher your Assassin is, the better. 2. You should also map all Charge-Up Skills and Finishing Moves to the left mouse button and be cofortable with fighting this way before you start running Meph. It is by far faster and more accurate than having the finishing moves on the right button. That should be reserved only for Mind Blast, Cloak of Shadows, Burst of Speed, your chosen Shadow and possible traps. 3. Pick a nice, empty spot, like outside the Rogues' Camp, and practice teleporting until the move sequence is instinctive to you and you can pull it off at will, reliably and fast. Like 0.5" fast. The move sequence can be summarised in the following 4 steps: - Cast the Shadow at the place you want to teleport to. - Without moving the pointer (pointing at the Shadow), select Dragon Flight on the left button and Unsummon on the right. - Click the left button to Dragon Flight to the Shadow. - Voila! You're there. 4. Change the map seed (by switching difficulty levels) until you are blessed with one with the stairway to Durance 3 right next to the Durance 2 Waypoint (usually in a clockwise direction). It is very important to waste as little time as possible in Durance 2. On no account should you settle for a map that may spawn monsters between the waypoint and the staircase. It may take dozens of tries or just a couple. Any time spent getting a great Durance 2 map is time well invested. Here is a good, common example. Process 1. Enter a game at players 3, or whatever setting suits you best. Cast Burst of Speed and run towards the Kurast Docks waypoint. If you are low on health/mana, or need to stock up on Town Portal scrolls or Super Health potions, hit Ormus (buy with Shift + right click). If you are carrying itamz from the previous run, hit Cain to identify them, then chuck them into the stash. Only sort them out once the stash is full, not after every run. Take the waypoint to Durance level 2. Run and hit the entrance to Durance 3. 2. Enter Durance 3, run along the wall until Bremm Sparkfist plus co-conspirators are right across it. They are always in the same position, which you may recognise by the visible glow across the wall (beside the Merc icon), or because you just know where they are from previous runs. Here, you have two choices: - To optimise for speed, cast Cloak of Shadows and move on. All the council members will be rendered stupid and will often trap Bremm among them. - To optimise for safety, cast Mind Blast at their position a few times until you've sparked a fight in their midst. More often than not, they'll completely disregard your army crossing the gate at step 3 and Bremm's Conviction won't even touch you. It costs time, though. 3. Cross the gate in the middle of the wall, disregarding the Vampires that are gathered there. You may want to Mind Blast them, but if you've adequate footspeed, it's faster and safer to just run past. Here is where the odd Undead Stygian Doll boss pack may attack you. If they reach you before or while crossing the gate, abort the run. Don't try to be a hero, you can't win without losing too much time, you'll probably die, just abort. Clear the gate and run along the central dock. If Undead Stygian Dolls appear now and follow you, you may opt to continue if you believe you can teleport off the edge before they can lay the first hit. This depends on your footspeed and the critters' aura, but most of the time you cannot and, hence, should abort. Even if they don't have anything visibly nasty (auras or Extra Fast), you can bet they'll be Extra Strong. Even if they don't kill the Assassin outright once they flock around her, the Merc will come along and blissfully kill everybody ("just doing my job, ma'am"). Obviously, if you're playing HC, definitely abort at the first suspicion of Dolls this side of Mephisto's Lair. 4. As soon as you've reached the far edge of the central peninsula, stick your mouse pointer all the way at the upper-leftmost corner, beyond the Merc icon and use the teleport trick to jump to the circular island on the other side. Be quick about it, or the Vampires and possible Council Members following you can turn things really hot - and really fast. Don't just stand there taking screenshots like an idiot. 5. Safely across the moat, you can fantasize about throwing the bouquet back towards the catwalk and hope an Undead Stygian Doll catches it. Those fellows really need to get laid. Tense little buggers. Start towards the circle on the floor immdediately or you risk getting hit by Firewalls, Meteors or Hydras from across the moat, while more likely than not still Convictioned. No fun. 6. Stand on the circle on the floor and wait for Mephisto to appear. If anybody in the party has developed a case of Amplify Damage, this is the time to town portal and touch Ormus (possibly buy back the scroll as well). Don't engage Mephisto while cursed. When Meph appears on top of the staircase, he'll do one of two things: - Stay at the top of the staircase. If so, Dragon Flight to him and engage. This may awaken a couple of the Vampires from the back room, but it's better than waiting for Meph to coldball your Merc dead, and much faster. More likely than not, your Shadow will Mind Blast one of the Vampires and you'll have a nice fireworks show. Or Mind Blast them yourself. You'll appreciate Fire Resistance there. - Descend the stairs to attack the Assassin, the Merc or just float towards the circular island. Dragon Flight to him as soon as he clears the staircase and engage. If he keeps moving, run after him and smack that puppy with Tiger Strike. 7. Engaging Mephisto: The Assassin's secondary role is to inflict damage on Meph. The best way to do so is to charge 3 Tiger Strikes, 1 Phoenix Strike and release with the regular attack. One such cycle should take about two seconds, depending on her AR and level. Since most of the time you can't see which and how many charges the Assassin has gathered (or anything else for that matter), you'll have to rely on the statistical average time, otherwise known as experience. It's not as hard as it sounds. Her primary role is to tank Meph so the Merc can whittle him down. With 75% blocking and good defense, she'll be hit seldom. Assuming a life total of 800 - 1000 Hit Points, Meph will take away less than half her life with a hit and about 2/3 when he hits with Critical Strike. If she's not able to leech back all her life via the regular release of Tiger Strike, add 1 or 2 Cobra Strike charges. It's possible and very much desirable to time the release of the charges right after each of Meph's hits so you know if you need to take extra measures. If Mephisto targets the Shadow, let him: free hits for the others. A level 20 Shadow Master is very sturdy and can even last the whole fight sometimes. At any time Meph targets the Merc, or you suspect he might (like if the Merc disengages and reengages or the Shadow dies), just press Dragon Flight and Meph will retarget the Assassin. Keep hitting him with full Tiger Strike and Meteors and watch the Merc take out large chunks of his life at an amazing rate. 8. Finishing Mephisto: When Meph's been slivered to 1 or 2 lines of life, switch to your MF gear for the kill. Don't just press the switch button, first stop hitting and then press it. It's a good idea to have a different right button skill to what you use on your main gear, so the right button skill icon acts as an indicator that you have, indeed, switched to your MF gear as most of the time you can't tell otherwise. Hit Mephisto with Tiger Strike until he dies - this should happen before you've had a chance to release 3 charges. 9. Congratulations, Mephisto is dead. Switch back to your main gear immediately, collect your great drops and exit. Ha ha, just kidding . No, really! 10. GOTO 1.