[Build] To kick or not to kick...?

Evil Monkey

Diabloii.Net Member
[Build] To kick or not to kick...?

After becoming rather disappointed about my TS/DTail assassin, using SM and Venom, progress in Hell, I've decided to restart her.
I've then spent a lot of time gazing through most of the PvM guides around (apart from the trap ones), and ended up with something like this:

17 Shadow Master with +skills (tanker #2)
20 Venom - increased damage on BF, BS... DTalon?
1 BF
1 BS
5 BoS - would it be wiser just to get some good running boots and instead go for (maxed) Fade's damage reduction?
5 Weapon Block
1 MB - Crowd control, 1 point wonder... I've heard.
6 in pre-reqs

Here are my real troubles:

20 DTalon? - Something tells me I will neglect this skill a lot after getting BF. Some builds similiar to mine recommends to points in the MA-tree at all, but still... a high damage attack wouldnt hurt.

20 CoS? - Ever since I killed Baal for the first time on NM, I've noticed that Hell, in fact, is Hell(!) and have doubts about my DTalon being powerful enough without charges and the like.

Stats will a depend on whether I pick DTalon or not, but I plan on something like this:

Str - 150 (kick and normal damage + ability to equip Steelrends)
Dex - enough for end-game claws
Vit - rest
Ene - none

Merc - Act2 Holy Freeze

Planned gear:

Full Nat's (for the +skills, PDR, +res) w/ Bartuc, String of Ears, Laying of Hands/Steelrends, Highlords, Raven and crafted ring.

I'd appreciate any input and suggestions.


Diabloii.Net Member

Pure Talon build: http://s94360530.onlinehome.us/d2/assassin-kicksin.htm

Check the Strategy Compendium for a Talon/Trap build if you decide to go that route.

My guide is a wee bit old, but I'll try to list all the updates changes worth mentioning, in addition to answering your questions.

  • Nat's set - don't use it! The set works great on a few builds, but kicking is not something it does well. If you changed your boots to an elite pair, you would notice a drastic increase in damage and speed. Furthermore, the items in the set remove almost all sources of Crushing Blow you can get from items, making Talon almost completely useless. Upgraded Goreriders will serve you best (and have the lowest Str req), while Dancers or crafted Safety Myrmidons will also provide the damage you want. Other equipment is discussed in my guide, or can be figured out from practical application of game mechanics.
  • Talon - It is more than powerful enough. The secret is speed, not damage. The speed allows you to apply nice things such as Crushing Blow, static field, etc. It does twice the damage as Blade Fury for CB/OW, making it much more effective. Death Sentry rounds out the build and helps with crowds. If you refuse to use any traps, well, I'd suggest a different build...
  • CoS - The skill is a one-point wonder. That means, it works great at one point, and in this case I would add no more. It can't be recast until the previous duration wears out, so long durations will really cramp your style.
  • Steelrends - Personally, I prefer Dracul's Grasp, but the choice is yours. Steelrends or crafted Blood will be the best gloves after that.
  • C/C or W/S - One change I've settled on since my guide is the change to a weapon/shield build rather than a claw/claw build. Ranged (and spell) attacks can be almost completely avoided by using Cloak of Shadows. That means the majority of your attacks will be melee range, and a shield is far better for that. The reasons are: faster blocking, higher blocking %, and added defense. It requires more dex, but pays off in the end.
  • Venom doesn't need to be maxed, but if you are sticking with a pure DTalon build, you may as well max it for the added damage. Basically, a strong Shadow will be better for you (tanking and killing) than Venom.
  • A2 Holy Freeze - Good choice. It's my personal favorite.

Evil Monkey

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the advice, though I do have a couple of questions:

You say there's no need to max Venom, yet it's part of the spine in your templet? I do have 3 skills which benefit from it, DT, BF, BS, while you, depending on the sub-build, have only one or two. :cheesy:

I admit, as you'd guessed, I lead a secret warfare against trappers, hence I direct my attention to the cookie-cutter sub-build. In this you suggest "rest" in CoS, which you say is a one-point wonder? I can't figure out "the obvious" about why having -15% enemy def and +10% in base CoS, even with decent +skills, can be useful at all.
Is 20 or even 10 points in WB really necessary in PvM? 10 is 50% and 20 is 57%, which I see as kind of a waste. Wouldnt 10 with +skills cut it?

One last thing. 20 in Dflight? I know it can be useful in PvP due to it's high, but blockable, damage, but in PvM wouldn't one point for escaping be sufficient?

Thanks in advance.


Diabloii.Net Member
not an expert on these matters, but I have been working on a kicker.

CoS is awesome only partially because of the -def bonus. It works a bit like hit blinds target or dim vision curse in that any monster you're not presently engaging (most noticeably, archers and gloams) will ignore you. The major trouble with high levels and longer durations is that you can only cast it again once it's done, so if you get done with monsters very quickly and move on to another group, or if another group approaches you, you can't cast on them.

When in the guide it says 1 or 20 in dflight, I think he's touching on exactly what you said. For pvp, its a good way to do damage, but for pvm, only 1 is necessary.


Diabloii.Net Member
Comments on my guide - There is some outdated info in there, and I should really take out any possible references to PvP. The PvP part is hear-say and nothing more. My experience takes me only to level 41 in PvP. The 1 or 20 DF was exactly for PvM (1 pt teleport) or damage in PvP. The enigma group has advocated using Teleport rather than Flight since Flight can be buggy.

Venom - The discussion here centers around whether it is "worth" the investment. My build relies on Blade Fury for some parts, and it benefits from Blade Shield. That leaves the same 2 or 3 you are thinking. I consider Venom a core part of a "pure" taloner build because that build has the least requirements on skill points. The reason to not max it would be the strong tendency of phys-resistant/immunes to have high resists in poison as well. The only real exceptions are the "big" monsters, which are some of your easier fights anyway. Through Nightmare it is an awesome skill. Once you hit Hell, however, there are a lot more resistances to poison. The majority of your damage comes from your equipment (elemental or otherwise), and this can suppliment that. However, it will never replace that other damage and provides a poor way of dealing with physical immunes.

I admit, as you'd guessed, I lead a secret warfare against trappers, hence I direct my attention to the cookie-cutter sub-build. In this you suggest "rest" in CoS, which you say is a one-point wonder? I can't figure out "the obvious" about why having -15% enemy def and +10% in base CoS, even with decent +skills, can be useful at all.
A Talon build isn't worth making without Death Sentry (even at one point). I call it a 1-pt wonder in the guide, but have since decided it is better to have that maxed than Venom due to the radius of CE and for the reasons listed above.

-- edit - forgot to finish this reply to the quote --
Anyway, as mentioned, it is the duration on Cloak of Shadows, not the bonuses. The -% defence is nice, and the +% defense isn't really. But, the real kicker (no pun intended) is that it blinds everything on the screen. Those packs of Fire Arrow archers in Act 5 just started ignoring you. The Black Souls in the Worldstone Keep just started buzzing around doing nothing important. Your Inferno Lords are now standing around doing their weak melee attack.

At high levels the duration becomes quite long (30+ seconds), and it will take you far less time than that to kill enemies. So, unless you enjoy standing around like a trapper, I'd leave it at a low level. It can easily take 1-5 points without becoming obnoxious - it really depends on your feel for the game as to the optimum number of points.