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an in-depth guide to the liberator and other things pvp if

Discussion in 'PvP' started by elationtheory, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    an in-depth guide to the liberator and other things pvp

    so it’s been about 5 good years since i started playing d2. and of those, i’ve been pvping for close to 4. i’ve used and tossed around cookie cutter builds from guides i’ve found. i’ve tried funky builds and not so funky builds. and one major thing i’ve found lacking from practically all the guides available to the common d2 player is this:

    the absolute lack of proper pvp tactics and techniques.

    most guides give you the tools to build a great character. that is fine, maybe to some of you. to me, it’s akin to telling a man where to get a scalpel, and saying he’s ready for brain surgery.

    not my cup of tea.

    i shall not be doing that here. i will be giving you guys ALL the extra information, tactics, techniques, and reasoning i have. i will be walking you practically every step of the way.

    i will not touch on the more basic ones like namelocking/chainlocking/wsg. i will not talk down to you. i will assume you already know how to do those. and if you don’t, there are guides out there to teach you.

    there is a limit however on how much i can teach. a small percentage of pvp ‘skill’ is based on actual knowledge and how to implement tactics and strategies. a large portion of this ‘skill’ is actually based on rote memory and practice which leads to muscle memory. unlike brain surgery, you only get better at it by doing it more and more and more. to the extent that you know what is going to happen, and you can react to it even before it happens. when even before you can think ‘i need to stack hammers now’, your hands have already started to do it.

    this guide is basically a guide on a variation of the liberator, but it will also be much more.

    some of you will be familiar with the term. to those that don’t, it’s a paladin that uses charge and hammer as his main offensive and defensive skills. i use conc as the aura for both my charging and hammer.

    i’ve mained a liberator for about 3(?) years and in the eternal words of boyka from undisputed 2 and 3, it is ‘*sneer* the most complete fighter in the world’

    i’ve been playing paladin since roughly the start of my d2 ‘career’ so to speak, and used to main a v/t. a v/t is nice. a v/t is good. but when your opponent starts using a tgods, you’re up **** creek without a paddle, so to speak. after experimenting and listening to suggestions from friends, i decided to switch to a liberator, and i **** you not, the liberator does everything the v/t can do, and more, but better.

    if you want a character with the ability to give every single char an even fight, the liberator is the char for you.

    so what does the liberator have?

    it has the intrinsic good breakpoints of the paladin, namely:

    1) good blocking rate
    2) good blocking chance
    3) fast fhr
    4) fast fcr
    5) a whole bunch of life
    6) the ability to stack high resistances
    7) good damage that is extremely hard to resist/negate
    8) high mobility

    it’s very much up my alley in terms of my d2 pvp ideology: which is to win duels by simply having more options and by limiting and eventually eliminating your opponent’s options.

    i’ll get the juicy (but way shorter) part out of the way first.

    word of warning, this is not a character for the budget constrained. there is some small leeway that can be given, but most of it can’t be replaced.

    so without much ado:

    the gear

    the vanilla setup would give you high hammer damage, and high charge damage, with a **** ton of life and resists. this is the setup everything else is based off of. explanations for sockets and gear choices will follow.

    2os coa with 15 dr and as high resistance as possible.
    you will socket this with a ber rune for dr, and a rare jewel with the following bare minimum mods: 7 fhr/-15 req/all res

    enigma in a dusk shroud for good defence and fast run/walk speed.
    personally, i hate the green pants look, but you can’t really argue with the stats of this. if i could find a way to pull off wearing wire fleece without putting points in str, i would. but owell.

    verdungos with max dr and as high vit as possible.
    with 15 dr here, and 8 dr from enigma, with 23 dr from the coa, you’ll get 46 dr. more than enough for anything.

    trang gloves for the fcr and resists

    waterwalks for the dex and 65 life. the max fire res is icing on the cake, and trust me, it’s more than enough to screw fire sorcs over.

    35 fcr spirit in a sacred targe with as much base resists as possible. personally, i wouldn’t use anything under 45 all res. yes. that’s max possible resists.

    grief pb with as high a damage as possible. once again, you really shouldn’t take anything below 400 damage. the difference between a 370+ grief and a 400 grief is very visible.
    and don’t worry about the ias.

    a minimum 2 pally/20 fcr amulet. try to get all res on this. it allows you to hit all the fcr breakpoints without compromising any other part of your gear.


    1 ring will definitely be a raven. this is for the dex and the cbf.
    why cbf? you may ask. it’s not like being slow matters. you’re using hammer and charge! no ias!
    yes, but you’ll be smiting things as well. the beauty of this build is that it can do everything that the situation calls for.

    the 2nd ring is a matter of taste.

    you could go for a str/dex/life/res stat ring like i did, or pump more stat points and use a bk ring. this gives you for all purposes, a spare ring slot. so if you need to, you can either stick another raven here, a wisp, or a dwarf star.

    weapon switch:

    this part is important.

    shield: another 35 fcr spirit on your weapon switch.

    weapon itself:
    6 bo cta. preferably in a base with 3 foh/3 conviction

    i will explain the rationale for your bo combo later. it primarily has to do with necs, but it has other nifty benefits.


    with this setup, you will hit the following breakpoints:

    1) 75 fcr
    1 frame slower than the max fcr possible for paladins. you will get the 75 from the following breakdown:
    20 from amulet + 20 from trang gloves + 35 from spirit shield = 75

    2) 86 fhr
    this for all purposes, is the fhr to shoot for.
    you get this from the following breakdown:
    55 from spirit + 37 from coa + 10 from dungos = 102 fhr
    yes, the 7fhr in the coa jewel isn’t necessary here. it’s necessary for other setups

    3) 46dr altogether
    23 from coa + 8 from enigma + 15 from dungos = 46

    skill points are easy.

    1) max hammer and its synergies.
    2) max concentration
    3) put a point into holy shield and fanaticism.
    4) dump the rest in charge.

    stats are easy as well.

    enough strength to carry everything, enough dex for max block and to carry your pb, and dump the rest into vit.

    this build will optimize at level 95 and higher. this is when the dex you pump for max block with your spirit shield will be over the amount of dex necessary for you to carry your grief pb in any setup.

    now the charms:

    obviously, you’ll use anni and torch. this isn’t going to be a big deal, but try to get an old torch. the one with the 25% chance to proc firestorm, as opposed to the new ones with only 5%. the firestorm doesn’t do much damage, but i’ve actually killed quite a number of people with the firestorm in duels. duels they would have won, and i would have lost. instead, it turns out to be a draw.

    and now, 5 40+ pcomb lifers and fill the rest up with 20/5 scs.

    there goes your budget out of the window, right?

    why only 5 pcombs is probably the question a lot of you are asking.

    it has everything to do with math. this is the part most ‘pros’ won’t tell you.

    5 pcombs will allow you to nicely hit 11k hammer damage.

    that’s around 2k damage in pvp. any less

    with 9x pcombs, your damage will go up, but the life and resists you get from the scs will be lost. that’s 12 scs worth of resists, for a maximum of 60 all res. and 60 bo-able life.

    not to mention, the extra damage you gain in the trade off means nothing.

    yes, you read that right. the extra damage is useless.

    it doesn’t matter how much damage you do if you still kill the guy in 3 hammers. it doesn’t matter if the 2nd hammer brings his life to a sliver. you still need a 3rd to finish him off.

    this is when you’re playing against chars with 3.4k-4k life like good vita necs and sins.

    against characters like sorcs and zons, you’ll kill them in 2 hammers anyway.

    and against characters like druids and barbs with the chunky munkey life, the extra hammer you need to hit won’t make a difference, especially against barbs.

    i won’t even talk about dueling a smiter.

    the only real time the extra damage would make a difference would be against a hammerdin (which will be a mirror matchup gear and tactic wise).

    now rarely, some characters like smiters/necs/sins will be able to squeak out just that much more life, and what was previously a 3 hammer kill will instead leave him slivered.

    and the last thing you want to do is to be overaggressive and commit when you shouldnt in terms of namelocking and tele-stomping him so to speak. if the guy predicts your tele, you could tele into a cloud of bone spirits (which is practically instant death) or the smiter could blindspot you the moment you land.

    this is part of the reason why i suggested a 3 foh/3 conv cta. the good news is, with that, you can switch to your cta and not lose a single fhr or fcr breakpoint as well as dr. and you don’t lose hammer damage as well. effectively, when you just did was replace your charge with a weak foh that hits on demand at range.

    by using foh, it puts the other guy on a timer.

    instead of playing defensively where he would have the advantage, he now has to play offensively and dance with your hammers. either that, or he dies to cta foh.

    in other words, you remove his one last option to turn the duel around in his favor.

    speaking of options, i will now talk about gear switches.

    in my stash, i have these things:

    1) a 2 pally/20 fcr 2 os circlet (there are 2 options for the sockets. either 2x jah, or 2x shael. i’ll talk about this later)

    2) a kiras with a 7fhr all res jewel in it

    3) a hoto

    4) a shako with jah in it

    5) arachs

    6) a 2 pally/10fcr/high life amulet

    7) a 10 fcr/ high life ring

    8) nature’s peace

    9) a wiz spike with a 7fhr/allres jewel in it

    10) 2x bk rings

    to understand why the stash contains these gear switches, i’ll start by going through the matchups you will face more often than not.

    and here comes the real meat of this guide.

    i’ll start with the most problematic matchup first:

  2. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    Re: an in-depth guide to the liberator and other things pvp

    the necro.

    this is my favorite matchup to be honest. simply because it’s so deliciously fun.

    duels with necs often becomes who can bait the other successfully first.

    against good pallys in general, good necs will not employ the spray and pray method for casting bone spirits. because they know that spreading out their bone spirits will cause less damage than needed to kill the pally, and it also leaves a very big window open for the pally to get in and mess their day up. if they do that, have no fear. namelock charge them down. they will die without knowing what hit them.

    what good necs will do is something called clouding. where they short-cast bone spirits in a straight line, then tele into the spirits’ path and cast more. what this does essentially is surround them with a cloud of 5-6 spirits (or more) at any time.

    because of the way this matchup goes, ibs is a VERY REAL concern. duel enough necs and you will get splattered a lot of the time when you try tele-ing onto a nec you thought was open, moist and wanting for your hammers.

    this is the matchup where everything will count.

    while it is possible to play and win vita necs with your vanilla setup, i do not recommend it. you will be able to win mediocre or average ones. but you will have little to no chance against good ones with only 75 fcr hammers.

    you will need 125 fcr.

    and to do this, you will switch out your coa will the 2pally/20fcr/2os circlet, switch out your dungos for arachs and switch out your stat ring/bk ring for the 10fcr/high life ring.

    you switch out the stat ring because you no longer need the strength from it. the only reason for the stat ring is to wear coa. if you went with the bk ring alternative, then this doesn’t concern you.

    to break it down:

    20 fcr from circlet + 35 fcr from spirit shield + 20 fcr from arachs + 20 fcr from trangs + 20 fcr from amulet + 10 fcr from ring = 125 fcr

    here’s the problem.

    by switching out your coa for the circlet, you lose the 86 fhr breakpoint and drop to the 48 fhr one. while still fast enough to get out of most situations, 48 fhr is kinda dicey.

    so the options you have are these:

    1) double jah the circlet for more life (on my pally, i hit over 4.7k life with this)
    2) double shael it for 40 fhr so that 55 fhr from spirit + 40 fhr from circlet = 95 fhr = 86 fhr bp

    with this, you have a 125 fcr hammer that you will kill the nec in 3 hits with, as well as a charge that will kill him in 2-3 hits.

    that will give him something to think about.

    so now, with the gear setup optimized, let’s go back to the nec duel.

    other than spirit clouding, most necs will also use bone prison to try to speedbump or trap you as you charge around laying hammers and waiting for the chance to pounce with either hammer or charge. (now give yourself a pat on the back for having 125 fcr and 86 fhr if you chose 2xshael)

    when you get prisoned, you have a bunch of options.

    the first two that will automatically pop into your head will be to either:

    1) teleport out
    2) charge and break out of the prison

    and while both are good choices, what most players fail to realize is that you have another option:

    3) staying put

    while this seems counter-intuitive on so many levels, it actually works extremely well.

    there are a lot of scenarios how this will play out.

    a) he decides to spam more bone spirits from where he is.

    spirits are slow moving. if you are prisoned offscreen (which means he has a namelock on you) and notice he isn’t moving on your minimap, chances are this is what he is doing.

    take the cue and teleport out to resume your hammer spammage or stack hammers and hope he teleports onto you.

    and when i say stacking hammers, i don’t mean standing in a spot holding down shift-left click.

    what you do when you stack hammers is to build an overlapping field of hammers so that there will be at least 2 hammers on top of your head (and where he will land) at any time.

    the easiest and best way you do this is by:

    i) casting 2 hammers, then
    ii) taking 2 steps south east and casting 2 more. then
    iii) taking 2 steps south west and casting 2 more

    this is the basic for hammer stacking, and you can keep it up ad infinitum with the southward zig zag pattern.

    however, bear in mind you are on a time constraint, because there are a bunch of bone spirits now chasing your ***.

    what would be good would be to do step 1 and 2, and then charging off, which you will be able to do because the hammers break bone prison.

    if you’re lucky, the nec will teleport to where you were before you charged off and eat a faceful of hammers. (keep in mind that his golem will eat the first one)

    b) he decides to tele right onto you there and then with his namelock and make you eat spears until you call him daddy.

    if you had stacked hammers, this is where you want him.

    the first hammer will drop his golem, leaving him open to the next few hammers. as well as your charge.

    c) he spams bone prison more like an idiot and loses his opportunity to do anything constructive.

    if he does this, just teleport away. if you need to, come back to the prisons later to hammer/charge them for a little bit more life.

    d) he breaks the namelock (hallmark of a good player btw; knowing when and being able to break a namelock when it’s prudent to do so is a simple, but hard skill to master) and teles near you to fire off spears/spirits at your prisoned ***.

    here is where the fun part starts. and where most people don’t realize they can do this:

    you can move around while bone prisoned.

    yes, you have a little leeway to shift around inside bone prison assuming it’s not spammed, and only cast once.

    and you can use this little leeway to escape from a tight situation.

    if the nec namelock spears you, what you can do is avoid the spears by running in a left to right and right to left pattern even while inside the prison. this will cause the spears to miss, and hopefully (most probably) buy you enough time to teleport out. this is the reason why using 48 fhr or 75 fcr against a nec is dicey. because it’s preferable that you are able to be able to take a hit, trigger your hit recovery, and still have enough time to start and complete your casting animation to get out of prison.

    so, elation, you may say now, this is all fine and dandy when you’re playing on the defensive. but what about when you’re trying to be offensive?


    that’s the problem with dueling good necs.

    you have very limited offensive capabilities. low on options. you’re practically limited to predicting where they will go and casting hammers there, then running off before he comes with his retinue of bone spirits with bone prison handy.

    however, the clouding technique has one big weakness that you can pounce on:

    when they’re forced to switch direction.

    this can happen in two ways, when you cast hammers in front of them and they have to retreat to avoid being hit, or when they run into a wall.

    the key is catching them at this point when they are momentarily exposed without the support of their cloud of spirits. then charging them down.

    if you manage to pounce on them while they’re near a wall or puddle, even better for you. charge then switch to smite/fanaticism and just smite them down against the wall/puddle.

    the ultimate key in this matchup is to be unpredictable and to force the nec to guess what you are doing and try to catch him out.

    as i said, the entire duel is about who can bait the other guy successfully first. as well as who is the more consistent player and makes the least mistakes.

    above all, learn to fear the golem.

    that hunk of mud is recastable, and has a tendency to run right at you and therefore putting itself directly in between you and the nec.

    this is bad for you.

    because it means if you charge, you may miss the nec and hit the golem instead. which is a Bad Thing.

    because firstly, it screws up your plan. secondly, it gives the nec more time to screw you over, and thirdly, the golem slows your movespeed down to a crawl.

    and considering mobility and unpredictability is crucial in this matchup, that is a very bad thing to happen.

    against max block necs, your charge is useless.

    what you should instead do is play exactly like a hammerdin. they have way lower life than vita necs and should drop in 2 hammers.

    keep the same setup though, cos when the chance arises where you can smite them against a wall or puddle, you have the option to do it.

    and now on to the next most problematic matchup:
  3. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    the wind druid.

    the problem with wind druids is that they have high life, they have a whole lot of minions to block your hammers, and nados not only hit hard, they hit twice per cast, and only the first one per cast can be blocked. and good druids know how to consistently keep their minions tight around themselves.

    tactics for this matchup is simple for the windy:

    tele onto or near you, cast nados at you until he has 2 wolves left, tele out and recast, rinse, repeat.

    for you however, you have 2 main ways of approaching this:

    1) being almost purely defensive
    2) being offensive
    the purely defensive method means you have to switch out gear to maintain 46dr but push your fcr to 125fcr. this means switching out your grief pb for the wiz spike.

    50 fcr from wiz + 35 fcr from spirit + 20 fcr from trang gloves + 20 fcr from amulet = 125 fcr

    with this, you are basically going to be stacking hammers almost all the way. you will stack, stack, stack until the druid decides to stomp you. when this happens, what you do is switch to smite/fana, get a fast namelock on the druid and smite him with your wiz spike.

    what this does is knock the druid upwards and out of the protection of his minions, hopefully into the path of 2 or more waiting hammers.

    simple strategy.

    the trick is pulling it off consistently.

    the offensive method however, makes use of the vanilla setup of the liberator. you will be using 75fcr hammers and grief charge.

    with this setup, the hammers are not the main way of killing the druid. they’re there only to thin his minion pack as well as make it easier for you to target him. the 75fcr hammer stack is a lot more porous than the 125fcr hammer stack, so do not rely on it to kill the druid.

    instead, harass the druid by stacking pairs of hammers around him and keeping mobile with charge/vigor. when you manage to get a namelock on him, charge him down or smite him against a puddle or wall.

    bear in mind that in nightmare, the oak sage is phys immune, which means you can’t kill it with charge. you’ll have to rely on hammers for that.

    the key to this duel is catching the druid re-summoning his minions. this is when he is open for either hammers or charge.
    learn to read the little signs like when you charge off after casting hammers and see the red swirls over your character’s head. that means you’re gaining life back. which means your hammers hit something. if it didn’t hit the druid, it hit his minions.

    when the druid teles off after a skirmish where you see the little red swirls, you can bet your *** he is going to re-summon them.

    from here, you have two options:

    a) continue what you’re doing and set up stacked hammer fields while waiting for him to come again or
    b) chase him down and try to catch him while he’s open.

    minions tend to drift, and druids get around that by teleporting to reset the minion stack. if he’s re-summoning, he’s not teleporting. which means the minion stack will be porous. try to press that advantage.

    however, be wary when chasing the druid down when you have a namelock. it can be tempting to attempt a tele stomp to make him eat hammers/charge. do not constantly do that or the druid will be able to anticipate it.

    this is bad for you because he can setup a trap of sorts when he teles away to ‘re-summon’. instead of re-summoning, he can instead just sit there spamming nados upwards, and if you tele into that, you’ll be in a heap load of trouble.

    you’ll probably die.

    this is when prudence comes into play. sometimes, you have to release the namelock and know when to back off.

    the temptation is especially strong when you’re namelock charging the druid, and he teleports across a puddle or wall or house. if you know that he knows you’re stuck behind an obstacle with a namelock, you can count on it that he’s busy upspamming nados hoping you’ll tele right into it.

    break the namelock and charge towards him without it.

    his minions should be sparse and porous enough for you to namelock him again easily with charge.

    as with most duels, you have to learn to mix it up in order to make your opponent guess what you’re going to do.

    should he recast his minions and be prepared to get tele hammered?

    or should he upspam and be prepared to get blindsided by grief charge?

    or should he just tele off the minimap to break any locks completely?

    keep him guessing and second guessing what he should be doing and you’ll do well.

    there’s really not much to describe for this matchup because of its simplicity and straightforward nature.

    if the windy is of the max-block variety, you’re only left with option 1). hope your namelock is fast!
  4. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    to be honest, sins aren’t a big deal on a liberator. simply because you have high enough life to withstand practically everything they can throw at you, and more.

    in general, there are two kinds of sins: pure trap sins and hybrid sins.

    of the two, the pure trap sin is the more dangerous one simply because of fireblast.

    the problem with sins is that one item worth less than a pul rune just ****s them over.

    that item is tgods.

    what most people know but somehow don’t consider as well, is that conc bestows a chance that your attacks will be uninterruptible.

    and against sins that rely on stunlocking you with mindblast and traps/fireblast, that is gold.

    just switch your dungos on your vanilla setup to tgods and you’re set.

    sins generally switch between two main modes, defensive and offensive.

    as with clouding necs, the key is catching them while they’re transitioning in between both modes.

    offensive sins will place traps around you before starting mindblast in order to ‘trap’ you in a trap field.

    or staggering a small field of traps forward and around herself such that the trap placements cover her as well as provide offense.

    fortunately, traps have a pretty long ‘warm up’ period.

    to abuse this, you should be switching extreme ranges quickly and unpredictably, one far and one in her face.

    this is to catch her traps out of position such that when you do attack, there aren’t five traps in your face, but only 1-2.

    1-2 traps is nothing.

    especially if you stay mobile because traps fire at the position you were at. as long as you keep moving, lightning sentry cannot reliably hit you.

    another thing to note is that while sins have claw block that can negate all incoming damage, the recovery from it is pretty long.

    as such, don’t rely on hammers too much to kill them. while hammer fields and hammer stacking provide a good deterrent for them teleporting onto you, it will not trouble better sins too much.

    especially not when shadow masters have claw block as well, and it may take multiple casts of hammers that even get through those.

    what you should do instead is shift gears and take the fight to them. bypass the shadow master and go for the sin directly.

    use charge.

    they are not hardy enough to withstand more than 3-4 charges even with fade and claw block.

    with the mobility you have with 75fcr, 86fhr, teleport, charge and vigor, you can transition from defense to offense way smoother and faster than sins.

    as with necs, the key is noticing things like whether the sin has overextended her trap field and is now open.

    or whether the shadow master has left her side and decided to dragon flight you.

    another thing to note is that of line of sight. traps will not fire/hit you if you are behind a wall or a house.

    use this temporary breathing space to get a namelock on the sin and force her to switch back to defensive trapping because that is easy to get around.

    defensive trapping is when the sin sets traps around herself and waits for you to attack her.

    i call it lazy trapping.

    because traps expire after a certain number of shots (lightning sentry shoots 10 times before collapsing), it is possible to wear out the sin’s defensive ‘fort’ by simply charging around her triggering traps.

    most sins are well aware of when their traps will collapse and will replace them as it happens or slightly before.

    this is the fun part.

    you should move erratically enough to cause some traps to fire off more than others.

    what this does is that it forces the sin to replace traps that did not need replacing, allowing you to abuse the warm up time for traps.

    either that or risk a bunch of her traps collapsing in the middle of a skirmish.

    because of your high life and tgods, you can survive and fight through 2-3 traps. bearing this in mind, what i normally do is circle the sin with charge/vigor in an erratic pattern while counting off the number of times the first trap triggers.

    because most sins will gtfo when they see their traps collapse, or when they know their traps are going to collapse, what i normally do is engage them before that happens, such that the traps collapse midway through the fight. i normally go in after 5-6 shots fired.

    and that’s when you will win the duel.

    unless the sin is a hybrid trap/ww one, and wws away from you.

    but she’s a hybrid sin. which mostly means she uses shadow gcs instead of trap gcs. which means her traps do pathetic damage, and the only thing you need to worry about is ww damage in this case.

    make the sin decide whether to stop and try to cast some traps to cover herself, or keep wwing in order to get away.

    here’s the problem with hybrid sins. and the reason why i think they’re a poor class.

    they’re counter intuitive.

    lightning sentry relies on the target being stationary in order to hit them. because the lightning takes time to travel as a projectile, and will miss if the target moves.

    this is fine for pure trappers because they tend to stay still and cast fireblast at close range.

    this means you’re attacking a stationary target and will tend to remain stationary as well in close range.

    which means lightning sentry will tend to hit more.

    however, hybrid sins whirlwind.

    which makes them a moving target.

    which means that in order for you to damage them properly, you will have to move around as well.

    which makes you a moving target.

    which means lightning sentry tends to not hit.

    unless the sin wws away in a fixed direction the entire time. then of course, that makes their movement predictable, and is an optimal occasion to teleport in their path to cast hammers.

    and oh, remember to wsg when you need it.

    and now, time to laugh in the face of imo one of the worst dueling classes in d2:
  5. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    the sorc.

    sorcs come in three flavors: fire, cold and lightning.

    of all three, the fire sorc poses the highest risk to you, but still not much. i have never lost a ft5 to a sorc on my liberator. in 3 years of dueling, in inhouses or pubs.

    there really isn’t much to talk about here for sorcs because they are all beatable with simple tactics.

    just spiral in towards them, and charge once you’re near.

    if they tele off, chainlock, hammer and charge again.
    if they’re of the max block variety, use smite instead.

    you don’t even have to swap out any gear unless you’re facing a cold sorc.

    against cold sorcs, swap your coa for the kiras in your stash. and if the duel is in hell, swap out your grief for the wiz spike.

    with the 7fhr jewels in the wiz spike and the kiras, you’ll get:

    7 fhr from wiz + 27 fhr from kiras + 55 fhr from spirit = 89 fhr = 86 fhr breakpoint.

    with this setup, you also get 125 fcr:

    50 from wiz + 35 from spirit + 20 from trangs + 20 from amulet = 125 fcr

    the one thing you give up though, is charge.

    this setup allows you to take cold showers in blizz.

    and the best thing is that it’s strangely completely gm. you’re not using a shield with over 100+ resists. the only piece of sorb you have on is raven. you’re not stacking your max cold resists. you’re just stacking your resists so high that it negates cold mastery.

    from gear alone, you’ll have:

    i) 75 res from wiz (and if you socketed it with a res/ 7 fhr jewel, it can go way higher than that. my wiz spike personally is socketed with a 10 all res/ 7 fhr jewel)
    ii) 70 from kiras (and if you socketed it with a res/ 7fhr jewel, it can go way higher than that. my kiras personally is socketed with a 14 all res/ 7 fhr jewel)
    iii) 85 from spirit shield
    iv) 30 from trang gloves

    and depending on the stats of your jewellery, it can go even higher. my amulet gives me 19 all resists.

    that’s 260 resists from gear alone. and if you add in the sockets and jewellery slots, it can safely go up to 290 or 300.

    and now for the charms.

    v) 20 res from torch
    vi) 20 from anni
    vii) 110 from 22 scs (because we’re only using 5 pcombs, remember?)
    that’s 150 more from charms, for a total of around 450 resistance.

    and we haven’t counted the buggy anya quest yet.

    i’ve gone around in pub games literally tele smiting blizz sorcs and charging infinity sorcs to death with my wiz spike on this setup.

    i’m not even abashed to be using that much res stack against cold sorcs. too bad for them they’re a terrible dueling class and can be almost completely negated even with gm rules.

    sucks to be them.


    though i must say that max block/max dr/es sorcs put up some kind of fight.

    they’re not hard to duel. just irritating because the duels go on forever. and they just tele around and chip chip chip chip chip.

    and now, yay. your brother,
  6. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    the paladin.

    there are two main types of paladins: the hammer varient and the smite varient.

    the hammerdin, the liberator, the mage, the smiter, the v/t. those are the more common ones you will face.

    the thing with fighting other paladins is that they all have max block.

    which reduces you to one thing: a hammerdin.

    much as pure hammerdins are the bane of all things, the botted workhorse of the realms, the cheesy hackers in pub games, you are now expected to duel with one, alas.

    if you face a hammer varient pally, the duel will become a mirror matchup of hvh.

    switch out gear from your vanilla setup for this by swapping your coa for the jah-ed shako, the grief for the hoto, the amulet for the 2 pally/ 10 fcr/ high life amulet, and your dungos for arachs.

    as for rings, it really depends.

    if you are allowed to use oak charges from items, swap out a ring for nature’s peace.

    but why nature’s peace? hoto has oak charges too!

    but the oak disappears when you weapon switch. which means you can’t bo your oak sage.

    not to mention the oak from hoto is level 4, while the oak from nature’s peace is level 5.

    and can be bo-ed.

    if you’re not allowed to use oak charges, wear bk rings instead.

    congratulations. you have transformed from an elegant liberator into a cookie cutter accursed hammerdin.

    cringe and carry on.

    the main part of hammer vs hammer duels is knowing how to read and perform desynch.

    from an uninformed spectator’s view point, it simply looks like 2 people running all over the map in random directions spamming hammers and hoping the other party runs into a bunch and die before they themselves do.

    what most people don’t realize is that you can actually read desynch patterns from your opponent’s position on the minimap.

    basically, always expect him to be two screens in front of where he is on your minimap.

    after playing paladins for a while, you can also get a feel of when you’re desynching, yourself.

    use this knowledge to feint and trap your opponent by changing directions and in general, being in places he wouldn’t expect you to be.

    when both you and your opponent are unfamiliar with each other, hvh can be a chore. simply because it’s more guesswork and less prediction.

    you don’t know where your opponent will go because you don’t know how he plays.

    however, if you play regularly with a bunch of friends, hvh can be extremely fun and tactical. it becomes almost like a game of chess, where you’re thinking 2 steps ahead and trying to outplay your opponent.
    some of the most fun duels i had were hvh duels.

    and before i forget.

    if you’re allowed to use oak charges, ALWAYS hotkey your oak sage to an easily accessible key, so that you can cast it on the fly in the middle of a duel.

    and if you die, remember to hotkey it again before the duel starts because the hotkey gets removed on death.

    how to duel smiters:

    spam hammers.



    one mistake i see most players make is to opt for higher dr against v/ts when they’re a hammer varient.

    there is no purpose in that.

    there is no purpose because you’re in essence, a hammerdin dueling a smiter with foh.

    a hammerdin dueling a smiter has an overwhelming advantage. even with less dr, you still have an overwhelming advantage.

    instead, all you need to do is take away his foh.

    do this by swapping your dungos for tgods.

    you are now in a hammerdin vs smiter duel.

    spam hammers.

  7. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    barbs are a grindy matchup. mainly because the only thing they seem to do is whirl away from you.

    one of the basic methods of fighting them is to predict where you think they will go and teleport in their path to lay hammers.

    another way is to shift-smite them as they whirl past you. and this applies to smiters who play against barbs as well.

    and when i say shift-smite, i don’t mean sitting there like a rock holding down your shift key and holding down left click with a namelock on the barb.

    that is stupid.

    with a range 3 weapon, he will clip you to oblivion while you whisper terrible things to your grief pb about what you will do to it at night because it’s just too damn short.

    instead, what you do is do start off by doing just what i mentioned above. by sitting still by holding shift and namelock smiting the barb.

    however, what you do is to constantly take small steps in random directions before holding down shift and namelock smiting again.

    in a way, it’s shift shift smiting.

    where you do this little dance around the barb while trying to smite him.

    what this does is that it makes your movement unpredictable to the barb. which means he can’t clip you properly. because you’re constantly moving and shifting, his whirls will tend to either miss you completely (and you therefore missing your smite as well), or him accidentally whirling too close ( which means you can and probably will smite him) or he ends up clipping you, which is what he would have done anyway have you sat still.

    this evens up the fight a lot for smiters.

    but out of point in a way, since you’re a hammer/charge pally with a semi-usable smite, you can instead choose to cast hammers instead of smiting.
    if the barb just whirls away, don’t chase them, and don’t tele onto them. you’ll just eat their whirlwinds and they’ll be away before you can land a hit or a hammer.

    instead just stay still, look at them and laugh. point out how silly they are because they made a big muscled guy whose main battle plan is to run away.

    make them feel embarrassed.

    in all seriousness, don’t chase them though. just bid your time. if it entertains you, switch to your cta and pop a few fohs on their head. it’s not like you lose much because you maintain the same damage and fcr for your hammer.

    it also serves to remind them that if they don’t stop their cowardly ways, they will eventually die to cta foh.

    make them understand that.

    and make them understand how embarrassing that is.

    barb players have strangely very thin skin and are very prone to being embarrassed.

    oh and if they whip out widowmaker, charge them down. if they pop off 1-2 shots then switch back to whirlwind, stop, drop and roll. don’t charge him while he’s wwing.

    if you are ever in doubt whether you will reach him and get off a charge in time before he switches back to his axes, stay put.

    you’re a big boy. you can take a few widowmaker arrows.

    if you wanna be a douche, you could switch out your main grief/spirit for a widowmaker as well.

    fight with your cta switch. you have max block on that switch anyway.

    and if he runs off to pop a few GAs at you, switch to your widowmaker and pop some right back at him.

    with fanaticism.

    give him a taste of his own medicine for **** and giggles.

    i’m sorry but i can’t take barbs seriously. it’s not that they’re not good chars, i think it’s more of the fact that more than 75% of the time i see them, they’re standing at the town entrance comparing shiny helmets, rings and charms with each other rather than actually dueling.

    and last and definitely the least, how to duel:
  8. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    the zon.

    spiral in with charge.

    get a namelock on the zon.

    hold down left click.

    if you want to be funky, teleport in their path and hammer a bit.

    but seriously, all you need is to hold down left click charge with conc as your aura.

    zons are stupid, no matter what sass tries to tell you.

    i’ve only been beaten once in a ft5 by a zon. once, in 5 years.

    i’ve gone up against 4 zons before in a pub game.

    at the same time.

    and i returned to town each time i killed all of them so that they could townguard.

    i never died once.

    zons are stupid.
  9. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    miscellaneous dueling tactics.

    so anyway, some miscellaneous dueling tactics i didn’t manage to squeeze into the above.

    one thing to always endeavour to do in duels is to take the low ground.

    always try to be below your opponent.

    if you notice he doesn’t seem bothered, or doesn't seem aware that you’re trying to do it, even more power to you.

    if you can namelock your opponent, he can namelock you, right?


    if you’re namelocking him when he’s at the top of your screen, he can’t see you and can’t namelock you even though you can see him.

    this is because the health/mana bulbs and potion rack cover you.

    i’m willing to bet actual money that half the time noobs cry hax and auto-aim, this is the reason.

    always try to keep below your opponent.

    pay attention to your surroundings.

    another thing is to look at the terrain.

    is it full of puddles, are there a lot of trees there? is there a house that can be used to break line of sight?

    all these can be used to your advantage, and if you’re not careful, your opponent can use them to your disadvantage.

    running and staying in an area where you’re surrounded by puddles can be very good against characters like barbs who need space to clip.

    if he has to whirl through you instead of past you, he is forced to take damage. that is a very good thing.

    if you check it out on youtube, tienje uses puddles a lot to his advantage in his zon vs vt duels.

    teleport to the corners.

    another tip is for escaping with teleport.
    most people just teleport away in whatever direction they feel like going in.

    don’t do this.

    if you have to teleport multiple times to get away, like if you’re a necro and there’s a paladin charging after your ***, teleport diagonally.

    put your cursor at the corners of your screen and teleport there. that ensures you cover the maximum distance away from the paladin charging after you like a doggy after its treat.

    it also means there is a higher chance that you put more obstacles in his way so his charge is broken.

    re-bo when there’s a lull in combat.

    the last thing you want happening is to be involved in a fisticuffs with your opponent, and then glancing at your life and realizing your bo wore off, and you’re now at 2k+ life instead of 4k+.

    remember to bo when you can.

    you can even press the advantage when you’re re-boed suspect your opponent hasn't re-boed, and his bo is about to wear off.

    and above all,

    practice, practice, practice!

    you can’t get better without practicing. especially not when you’re supposed to be using a combination of different tactics and tricks together.

    there’s no point being able to do hammer stacking if you can’t follow it up.

    there’s no point being able to chain lock if you can’t do anything else.

    what works is if you can read your own desynch, charge to a place you think your opponent will go to next, hammer stack there and teleport somewhere else to break your desynch and fool your opponent to think that that’s the direction you’ve been heading in, causing him to rush into the area you just stacked hammers in and dying, winning you the duel.

    oh and since i have no idea where to put this, i’ll just put this here:

    my hotkeys.

    if you want to use them, use them. if you don’t want to use them, don’t use them. these are just the keys i use, and in no way a suggestion.

    f5 - battle command (right side)
    f6 - battle orders (right side)
    f7 - holy shield (right side)

    e - blessed hammer (left side)
    r - concentration (right side)

    d - charge (left side)
    f - vigor (right side)

    s - smite (left side)
    x - fanaticism (right side)

    c - foh (left side)
    v - conviction (right side)

    g - throw (left side)

    t - teleport (right side)

    space - toggle run/walk

    b - oak charges (right side)

    and that’s about all, folks.
  10. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    above are the tactics i personally used and dueled with. and since i don't foresee myself pvping much more, or even playing the game anymore, as a matter of fact, i no longer feel the need to keep them to myself. i hope they serve you as well as they served me.


    many thanks to the people i’ve played, practiced and had fun with over the years.

    people like angryteen, for the awesome nec and druid duels, as well as the random hvhs.

    karma2burn, the sin who kept coming back for more.

    relinquished2, for the vt and hammer duels.

    taxicab, for the barb duels and for stealing my glyph grip 08 gloves.

    and deathtoall for being the only zon to ever beat me.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  11. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

    Jun 7, 2005
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    i still prefer the gears outlined in this guide. i am enjoying your tactics talk, though.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  12. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    the gear i suggested is mainly my own personal preference.

    i selected all of them (sockets included) with reliability and sturdiness in mind. they're there to cover every possible scenario where you might need to hit any particular breakpoints without compromising life/res without compromising damage too much.

    the gear i suggest is just a suggestion though.

    feel free to change out any parts to suit personal preference.

    and looking at the guide again, it looks extremely reader-unfriendly.

    i'll try to do something about the formatting.

  13. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

    Jun 7, 2005
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    it isnt as bad as some (like mine, lol), but it could use some work. still, i like your thoroughness in the match ups. this is one of my favorite builds and like you i really like that there's no real impossible wins. there's tough match ups, but everything's beatable with the liberator.
  14. elationtheory

    elationtheory IncGamers Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    anyone else has any comments?
  15. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

    Nov 1, 2011
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    I don't pvp, but I actually like the formatting. It's laid out simple and effective.

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