Assassin Ranger?


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Assassin Ranger?

Hi all.

I've spent a fair amount of time in the Paladin forum. I'm a big fan of the Ranger (bow-using Paladin) build, in particular, the Elemental Rangers (those which use Holy Fire/Freeze/Shock).

I don't have any experience with Assassins, but I was looking at the skill "Venom" in particular, and thought it might be useful in creating an Assassin version of the Ranger.

I also read this on the D2X site:
"You can use any one or two-handed weapon with Tiger Strike, Cobra Strike, Phoenix Strike"

So this would include bows, right?

Has anyone else thought of this type of character?
What other skills might be useful in this build?

Also, Fade or Burst of Speed can be used with Venom, right?
On the site it says "Burst of Speed and Fade cannot be used at the same time. You can only use one of them at a time." But in the old strategy guide book, it said only one of these three skills (Fade, Burst of Speed, Venom) could be used at the some time. Just want to make sure.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


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The "official" name for a bow-using(usually inconjunction with Venom) Assassin is a "Sniper Viper". Though the build was reasonably popular in 1.09 for a variant build, it's become less so in 1.10, as there really aren't many advantages to using Venom long-range rather than short-range(given Venom's huge reduction in duration from 1.09 to 1.10)

Unfortunately, no. Ranged weapons of any type(unless they are used in melee, eg. javelins) cannot charge or release any chargeups.

Use's info for the BoS/Fade/Venom stacking issue(BoS + Venom or Fade + Venom work).

You could use the cookie-cutter Lightning Trap Assassin as a template, remove 20 points in Lightning Traps and put them in Venom instead(to be used once you've laid your Lightning traps). Eg.
20 LS
20 CBS
20 SWeb/DS
20 Venom
1 MB
1 SM

However, there's one problem: weapon slots are a major source of +Trap skills(ideally, two +3 Trap claws). You could lay your Traps with your +skill claws, then switch to your Bow setup and start firing, but over time, this gets very tiresome.

The alternative is to this is to use your bow setup full-time, and forget about +skill claws. However, your LS damage will suffer significantly.

EDIT: There may be another option for you, but it hasn't been tested extensively in-game.

Naliworld said:
The Trap/Melee suggestion brought up by Jrichard sounds best(I would go with 20 DTalon instead of DTail, though), IMO. After max SWarrior and the 1 point wonders, you have 64 points left (assuming slvl 85 character with the 12 skillpoints), leaving 44 for your Traps(20 goes into an MA skill). On yourself(with +12 Traps, and +13 SW), that means 1-2955 LS damage. On your SWarrior, that means 1-4490, which seems pretty decent IMO for supplementary damage.
In your case, you'd max Venom instead of DTalon/DTail, with the rest of the skills being the samebe having Normal Attack on your LMB, and LS on your RMB(you'd be using Venom full-time, with your Shadow hopefully casting LS most of the time). However, this build depends a lot on getting +skills, which could get expensive without the help of weapon slots(eg. +3 helm, +3 ammy, +1 armor, +1 belt, +2 rings, rest from +skill charms).

Do note that the effectiveness of this build depends very much on how often your SWarrior casts LS, as Venom damage alone won't suffice in Hell. If she does, though, her Traps will do considerably higher damage than yours(if you're wondering what's stopping you from casting your own LS traps in addition to your Shadow's, 1.10 put into place a cap 5 traps active at any one time, per Assassin. However, Traps cast by your Shadow count toward the limit, so if there are already 5 traps cast by yourself, and your Shadow decides to cast one, her new Trap will overwrite one of yours).


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I was thinking about this sort of skill allocation (pretty safe to say this is geared towards PvM):

20 Venom -- for obvious reasons
20 Cloak of Shadows -- great Ranger skill; like Inner Sight and Dim Vision all rolled into one. This is good for controlling crowds, and also it helps make up for the lack of AR (since you can't use Martial Arts skills).

20 Fade
20 Shadow Master
^ These both seem pretty much standard for all Assassins.

Is Psychic Hammer worth putting any points into?
I like that
- it does magic damage which not many monsters are immune to
- it allows you to use magic/physical damage against poison immunes
But is the damage too weak in Hell? The mana cost does seem a bit steep. So far I've found it useful for taking out shamans and such without having to try and shoot through a crowd.

A benefit of this setup is that all your skills are in the Shadow Disciplines tree, so it's easier to look for +skill equipment (I'm very poor).

Also, which would be a better merc; Act2 for Blessed Aim or Act1 for Inner Sight? Again, my reason behind these 2 mercs is to make up for the lack of AR you'll have. Which skill would give you a better chance to hit?

Act2 merc are nice for tanking, but sometimes they wander off too far, and you might not get the aura, especially if they attack a monster you've knockbacked off the screen or something. On the other hand, your Shadow Master might be enough of a tank, so the Act1 might be better; that way you only have to search for one type of weapon (bow) to equip yourself and your merc.

Can Inner Sight even be cast on monsters that already have Cloak of Shadows on them? Will casting Cloak of Shadows override curses on monsters?



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I'm not sure about the max may need BoS's bonuses more, if you aren't using a Demon Machine.

I'd stay away from maxing CoS - it has a hidden side effect. Once CoS is active, you cannot re-cast it(at ANY location) until the duration of the original CoS runs out. That means, once you cast an slvl 20 CoS, you'll find yourself waiting for the original CoS to run out before tackling another crowd, as monsters outside the 20 yard radius are unaffected. IMO, stick to 1 point. +skills should push it to 5-7, which should suffice.

I've been trying to find a way to make PH useful as well(it being the only magic damage an Assassin can muster from skills), but it simply has too low damage(even with 20 +skills), and no synergies, to be able succeed in late NM(don't even talk about Hell). MB is still better for crowd control, for the stun duration and converts. Dang, if only MB synergized PH....

Since you're not going to be much of a tank, I'd go with the Act2 Merc. You may not need one of the Blessed Aim variety, though, depending on your choice of bow(e.g. the Exploding Arrow/Bolt mod gives the Kuko Shakaku and Demon Machine a 100% chance to hit, regardless of AR or level). If you don't need the Blessed Aim, Holy Freeze/Might is the way to go, IMO.

Curses and CoS overwrite each other, but I'm not sure about Inner Sight.


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I did a lot of experiments with Bowassins in .09. It was a kind of "fun to do build".

I fiddled with "Sniper Vipers" a lot. And you need a damn good weapon to make it work. Since Venom has changed a lot, it might be more useful.

A trap to back it all up is nice, but synnergies is quite costly in skill points. Maxing venom, lightning synnergies and BoS is a tad bit too many skill points in the end I think...

But Mind Blast ain't a shame. Convert a pack of monster, poison the ones who don't agree with you. And stand back for a while. Repeat.

My first idea was basicly a kick-*** bow. Eaglehorn is fine. Load up with AR and Max damage. Max BoS. You won't pack as much of a punch as a full-fledged Zon with Guided. But you'll still be able to get highest possible firing rate, and still pack nice physical damage, since BoS gives you such a nice IAS bonus, this is quite possible while having gear and charms to give you Resistances and PDR. Since you can use Venom with Fade or BoS now, it would kind of cool to add that to this variant.

Of course, these are all mostly .09 ideas. I'm still relearning some stuff as I've just entered the scene again (not been playing much in 1.10 at all).

Frenzied Bovine

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Bow suggestion: Widowmaker.

Skill suggestion: Death Sentry.

I also recommend getting one of those wands, Death Web I think it is - lowers enemy poison resistance like crazy - and having it on the switch. After striking a target with a venomed arrow, switch to DW and stand there letting the poison do it's work. I'm of the understanding that this method actually works.

The biggest advantage of bows is piercing - so if you decide NOT to go with a Widowmaker, try and get something with piercing. Obviously, my recommendation is a Buriza.

If you don't take advantage of pierce, you might as well be using blade fury. Seriously.


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Definately use Trang's Gloves for the bonus Poison Damage on a Venom build.

I think people don't have any idea of the timer on Venom now. If you are using that at all it will reduce your poison timer to .4 seconds. That's not much time at all. If you attack slow enough, you might not be able to swing again before Venom wears off. So you won't be able to Poison and then do something else like weaponswitch (even if that would work with Venom).

Now if you want to do some kicking DTalon with Venom and use Death's Web while kicking, that might work. Someone else with Death's Web would have to do some testing, to see the damage output.

Lastly, I think you could have a fun, possibly even decent build using a bow and kicks. I'm just not sure what all the possiblities would be. Ballista has a lot of cold damage. I'm not sure what other mods bows have would be good, but I know that Druids have been using bows as melee weapons in WW/WB form for a long time.

Any Bowassassin is going to be facing some real challenges because the Assassin skills in 1.10 are even less suited for use with bows than in 1.09. They also have very few skills that actually aid them in the use of bows.

I think its a shame that assassins don't have any bow synergy, but sais la vie. At least assassins do have BF


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Naliworld said:
Since you're not going to be much of a tank, I'd go with the Act2 Merc. You may not need one of the Blessed Aim variety, though, depending on your choice of bow(e.g. the Exploding Arrow/Bolt mod gives the Kuko Shakaku and Demon Machine a 100% chance to hit, regardless of AR or level). If you don't need the Blessed Aim, Holy Freeze/Might is the way to go, IMO.
My understanding was that Exploding Arrows only "always hit" with their own fire damage, your +fire damage on your equipment, and your %crushing blow, and that if you don't have enough AR, your physical arrow misses along with any other forms of damage that you might have (i.e. poison from Venom).

I could be wrong.
Can anyone clarify?

Thanks for all the help guys, btw.


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While a more hybrid sin then a full bore sniper viper I do have a build along this vein (ranged + venom) That has gotten me in SP to act 4 hell and lvl 70+

Started as a cute "concept build" To see how effective a maxed shock web + fire blast syn could be on the trap side, while the main attack came in the form of throwing knives + shield duo. A bow was ruled out as I wanted speed, resists, blocking, and I was trying to be a bit more non traditional if I could =p Though since finding a wizendraw I've kept it as a handy alt weapon in low ammo situations. (Ancient's Anyone?)

Since I'm off the home comp I can't give exact details on stats and skill placement just the few I do know off the top of my head, if you'd like I can look it up when I get home tonight, but the method of attack involved letting my woestave using HF merc and shadow bunch up the enemy while I pile on the webs (it's on 20 now, FB syn on 12) Then sit back and the venomed (11) and Bos'ed (5) knives fly, pausing every few shots to drop down a few more webs, and by now hehe I've really nicknamed them the poor man's firewall....err litwall.

Harder targets get lit sentries (9) thrown into the mix, and when you put webs on top of that the lit damage can pile up quick, specially as they syn off each other hehe.

Corpse removal or situations involving "spawner critters" get a couple lvl 1 death sentries thrown in for giggles, and the extra shots thanks to fireblast prove quite the help much to my inital surprise and now great delight.

Merc saving is done with my new best friend in hell, that being mind blast. Nothing beats turning the entire minion pack on an annoying as heck unique, and (Though I'd need a smidge more testing before saying it's 100% true, that and if this is common knowledge forgive me as I've just recently gotten back into forum visiting) For the times when I get really fed up, I just hold the button down, and keep the pests, even uniques in perma knockback mode so my merc can go to town.

Gearwise it's what's really the kicker for me though, I did NOT expect from tales I've heard to get a character this far into hell diff using garden variety throwing knives as a weapon, and mostly crafted gear + a smoke dusk shroud for armor. Some knives had pmh mod, some with extra elemental damage, and some with IaS at first, though now I have found some very nice rare flying knives, that and two stacks with the fools mod are great for things that refuse to be hit, and yes my cube is full of knives for any situation.

Ok starting to ramble again hehe so lets cut this short with an answer to the question, yes in my opinion the ranged venom build is QUITE doable up to hell. But and it's a big one I don't think it can succeed now if you take the min/max approach with your skills. Despite getting increases in the +min max poison as you up venom it really does start to become diminishing returns if you ask me as monsters gain more life and become harder to hit, hence why I've stopped at 11, and plan to devote more points now to my support skills like the shadow, the last point to make lit sentry an even 10, and finish maxing the fireblast syn out. To really make the idea shine, pile on extra damage with the venom in the form of a trap or three is my take.

Though I don't use them myself, blades + venom always seems to be as popular as ever. And though this is unrelated, I've learned that a syn boosted fireblast can make a much better crowd stomper in certain instances then you'd think a lvl 1 skill could, course to get it that way does involve devoting a LOT of points into traps like I have now so it's not for every build.

Hehe anyway as I always say, hope some of the thoughts from a rambling scaled kitty can be of some use. ^_-


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This is more for MRP935 than anyone else (since I see all the regulars posting). Bows on Assasins have gone out since the improvement of Blade Fury. You may want to read the FAQ on it before making a Ranger type build.

I know rangers are cool and all but I'd rather have the machinegun of Bladefury over a bow any day.

Just a suggestion


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Just a little update

I'm going with this build:

Maxed skills (in order):
BoS (maxed)
CoS (at 6 or 7 currently)
Venom (none yet)
Shadow Master (none yet)

Rogue: Norm Act1 Cold

So far in Normal, I've had no real problems. I tried an Act2 merc for a while, but he got killed way too easily, since he basically got swarmed and I couldn't kill monsters fast enough. But with the Rogue (currently lvl14), this isn't a problem. I know I won't be able to kill fast; this is effectively a UIB. Progress has been slow, but steady; I'm at clvl26, and I just got thru norm ancients fairly easily (while clvl24) with the help of a random Zon about the same level.

CoS and Inner Sight are GREAT together! Wow. CoS is so much more useful for ranged attacks than in melee, IMHO.
On one of my pally rangers I had an ammy with lvl1 Inner Sight charges; he used an act2 B.aim merc. Man was it comical to see a Pally not only using a bow, but casting I.S.

A friend of mine was kind enough to donate me a pair of Nat's boots and Nat's armor (not that I can use it yet). None of my friends play assassins, so they're letting me have any good equip they find. Still looking for a pair of Trang gloves, and some +shadow/+asn claws to pre-buff... well, all of my maxed skills. :p I sense a lot of weapon switching once I actually find some.

Hopefully I can find a good, fast +skills bow for my Rogue
So far she's using Vidala's (set) bow, and I'm using the unique normal bow "Stormstrike" (as I've said, I'm very poor, with no MF char on ladder, and I'm basically using items as I find them)

Some questions:

1. Which armor would be cheaper/wiser/better?
a) Bramble runeword (dunno what best armor to put it in would be)
b) Nat's armor w/ 3 Poison Facets

2. Do Rogues only benefit from "+all skills" and "+amazon skills", or would they also benefit from, say "+cold arrow" or "+inner sight" ?

3. Similarly, do Rogues (and/or merc in general) benefit from synergies? For example, if a Fire Rogue is using the unique normal bow "Blastbark," would the "+2 To Exploding Arrow (Amazon Only)" mod on the bow increase the damage on the rogue's fire arrow?

Heh. I dunno if the assassin forums are the best place to get those last 2 answered. Oh well. If you guys know anyone who might be able to help, send them the link.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks guys.


Diabloii.Net Member
1. If you can trade for a 37%+ Bramble, IMO go with that. If not, the Shadow with 3 perf. Facets.

2. Rogues do not benefit from +Amazon skills. They do use +all skills, though. Not sure on +Ice Arrow/Fire Arrow/Bow & Crossbow tree.

3. Not sure on that. I'd usually say no, but Shadows gain synergy bonuses from +skills, so you can't rule that out.

PS. A few questions of mine:
1) What's the use of slvl 1 Inner Sight charges? Doesn't it only deduct 40 defense?
2) What's UIB?


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About the Inner sight: I dunno, i just thought it was funny.
As for UIB: I typoed that, it should be IUB (intentionally underpowered build)


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Very interesting build. I thought about the throwing knives at one point and even used them on weapon switch for my first assassin (long, long ago). I am interested to see how this bow using sin makes it in NM or Hell. Good luck though, and please keep us updated.


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Naliworld said:
2. Rogues do not benefit from +Amazon skills. They do use +all skills, though. Not sure on +Ice Arrow/Fire Arrow/Bow & Crossbow tree.
Odd. On the merc section, they talk about that big hacking experiment, giving the Rogue +112 to Amazon skills.

"As we know, mercenaries can wear Plus-to-Skill items, as long as the items are appropriate to their character type. Rogue Mercenaries are fortunate enough to be able to wear "Plus to Amazon Skills" items, and to benefit from their boosts."

So is this no longer true in v1.10?

I know the Rogue can't use "Amazon Only" bows, but, of course, +amazon skills can be found on just regular bows, too.

Sv_Lorax said:
I am interested to see how this bow using sin makes it in NM or Hell. Good luck though, and please keep us updated.
I had toyed with the idea of making a guide for this build, once I had effectively completed the character and could provide some REAL insights, rather than just theory. I wanted to include a really elaborate backstory to kick it off. From there, the idea kinda morphed into maybe writing its own complete fan-fic story just for the hell of it. And then I had the idea of maybe doing both, and then going through Hell (once I got there) and writing about that. All very MongoJerry-esque. (Not that I would claim to be as skilled as that guy or anything.)

I dunno. Maybe if I'm committed enough; at the moment I'm a very "casual" player, not like hardcore gun-ho or anything. Perhaps things will change though.

On another note, assuming I get that far, I think my fifth skill should probably be Death Sentry, to help take care of Poison/Physical immunes. Any thoughts on this? Are there some better options?


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My dream IUB

ss + lacerators
ss+ fleshripper

upped ga / leviathan / chains
upped gorefoots
carrion wind
lavagouts / crafted blood gloves
highlords amu

20 into dtalon
and fireblast ( if i get the time )

Strategy: use the 1 point wonder mind blast + cloak to cause chaos
atack with throw venomized lacerators till amp casts / i run low
go in and kick some arse :D

I hope that yours works out well, and please feel free to try and submit it all as a humerous story of your trial and tribulations :)


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theBlackKnight said:
I hope that yours works out well, and please feel free to try and submit it all as a humerous story of your trial and tribulations :)

The actual stylized storyline I had created in my head was very dark, serious, and, at times, brutal. Think "Max Payne." Sort of reflective of the character-type; brooding, shadowy, mysterious. An outcast. And at the same time, full of a sort of strained hope.

Anyways. I'm sure I sound like an emo teenager now. :p
But yeah, we shall see.


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Hey guys.

I'm still playing this character on a fairly casual basis. I've settled on the name "Archer" for this build, for 3 reasons:
1) I hate the term "Sniper Viper." It's almost as bad as "Palazon" or "Zonadin" i.e. why the term "Ranger" was invented for Paladins.
2) "A" for Assasin, "A" for Archer
3) Rangers are Paladins. Otherwise I would totally have used that name. But constantly specifying "ASSASSIN Ranger" gets tiresome.

I'm at the point where I can do NM Baal runs, but I'm holding off, because I'm trying to keep my merc up at a reasonable level (she's 45, I'm 58).
I can usually let her kill on her own so she gets more XP, but it's slower. I've maxed BoS, Venom, and CoS (in that order). The longer duration on maxed CoS is not much of a hinderance, especially when letting the merc get all the kills, and/or if you cast it on a very large group of monsters.

I'm doing well in NM. I'm using Ichorsting crossbow for its piercing attack and +20 Dex. Also I have Twitchthroe armor, and a rare helm with +1% AR per clvl. I have Cleglaw gloves for the knockback. On weapon switch I have a Fool's Katar and Cleglaw shield, giving me really good AR for when I'm low on ammo and need to go melee. I have 2 angelic rings but no ammy, so I'm just using two ~+100 AR rings.

I put a few points in strength and use charms/equip to get the rest of the way up to 65 for Nat's boots. The rest of my charms are pretty much all +dex and some +life.

I don't know what my "ideal endgame" equip will be, so I don't know how much str and/or dex I should aim for before charms/items.
Any thoughts on what items might be best?

I'm really liking the cold Rogue merc, although she could use some more IAS. I need a better damage bow for her; she doesn't have Venom to beef things up like I do.

I like Venom, although I wish it lasted a bit longer. But it's pretty easy to tell when you need to recast, because the difference in damage (in NM anyway, so far) becomes obvious pretty quick. I also think it wouldn't hurt if it added some AR bonus. Same goes for Holy Elemental Auras for the Paladin, if you ask me. This would really go a long way to making Archers/Rangers more viable, in my books. Then again this would make Venom basically Poison Dagger, minus the dagger requirement. And Venom isn't designed with Archers in mind; it's designed for melee Assassins who already have AR bonuses from Martial Arts skills and/or claw mastery.

The lack of AR is what really makes CoS a must-have in this build, but the blindness makes the game a lot easier. Well worth the skill investment, IMHO. With Unique packs, just target the Unique monster; the knockback tends to keep him far enough away that he won't hit you, and you can kill him easily. Taking out the minions is a breeze, just make sure to take a step back and recast if/when CoS runs out. Groups of champions are the only real troublesome monsters.

Meh. I've ust always found it odd that Zons were really the only ranged attackers built into the game; everyone else is either a spellcaster, a melee, a summoner, or any combination of the above. And trying to go against that is a real penalty to your character: even Enchantresses are designed to NOT be ranged attackers.

I was wondering if going with maxed Shadow Master would be worth it, or would it be better to maybe go for a Trap + a synergizing skill?
Any thoughts?

I think a SM tank is only really useful against Champions and maybe Act bosses (due to CoS) and it won't help vs. Poison and/or Phys Immunes in hell. Sure my merc adds some cold, but really, a negligible amount. So I think another form of damage will be called for. This is why I was interested in PH early on, but it really is too weak.

As always, any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks Guys!