Everything You Need to Know About Charging in PvM

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Everything You Need to Know About Charging in PvM

Alright, this isn’t so much a build guide as it is a compilation of everything I know about making Chargers in a 1.1x environment. I would greatly appreciate any input, suggestions, strategies, tactics, problems or anything else that you all have experienced while playing Chargers, just to make this resource as complete as possible. Thanks in advance!

Also, a few points before I jump into things. First off, I know nothing about PvP. I hear that Chargers make good PvP characters, but I wouldn't have a clue how to go about making one. PvM is all I know, so PvM is all I'm talking about here. Second off, I play entirely legit- which means no trading for likely dupes. As a result, I will probably never see a rune higher than Vex in my entire lifetime (Guls can be dropped by Hellforge, and Vex's can be cubed from just two lucky Hellforge drops). Because I do not trade for dupes, and because I strongly DISCOURAGE trading for dupes, I will not list any runewords that require runes higher than Vex. So yes, while BotD makes a solid Charger weapon, I'm not even going to talk about it. Don't tell me I forgot it, because I didn't- I left it out on purpose.

Table of Contents
Post #1- the Basics:
  • Introduction
  • A Quick Overview of the Charger Class and Discussion of Charge Mechanics
  • Pros and Cons of Playing a Charger
  • Stats

Post #2- The Skills
  • Combat Skills
  • Offensive Auras
  • Defensive Auras

Post #3- The Builds
  • Vanilla Charger (Might or Vigor as primary aura)
  • Chunky Charger (Fanaticism as primary aura)
  • Elemental Charger (Holy Shock or Holy Freeze as primary aura)
  • SMB Charger (Charge + Blessed Hammer)
  • Conviction Charger (pretty self explanatory)
  • Immortal Charger (Charge + Prayer + PDR)
  • Iron Charger (Charge + Holy Shield + Defiance)
  • Salvation Charger (pretty self explanatory again)

Post #4- General Gear Discussion
  • 1-Handed Charger or 2?
  • Short weapons vs. Long weapons.
  • A discussion of gear mods

Post #5- Weapons and Mercs and Bugs (Oh My!)
  • Weapon Suggestions
  • Mercenaries
  • Bugs

Post #6- How to Charge Like You Know What You’re Doing
  • Tactics
  • Leveling your Charger
  • Chargers in a Party


Introduction
Hey, I’m SSoG, and I’m a big fan of ugly or underutilized builds. I have never in my entire life made a Hammerdin or a Whirlwind Barb, and the only Summoner Necro I’ve ever built is currently sitting at level 22 in A2 Normal (where he’s been for about 9 months, since I got bored with him). On the other hand, I have beaten Hell Baal with three DIFFERENT meleemancers, a Spearazon (with base strength and dex), a Hunger-using Werebear, and a Maul-wielding Zealot.

Anyway, I’ve noticed several times around here that it is commonly accepted that Charge isn’t any good for PvM play, and I really disagree- especially because I’ve taken two different Chargers to Guardian (yes, that’s right, in Hardcore). Actually, once you get the hang of it, a Charger is a very easy character to adventure with. He combines the strengths of a lot of different character classes. He hits as hard as a Berserker and as fast as a Zealot, but avoids enemy attacks like a Strafer. He runs like a Telesorc, and stuns like a Smiter. No other physical damage build in the entire game can even deal CLOSE to as much damage per second as a truly elite Charger. I’ll actually compile a complete list of his pros and cons in a little bit, but trust me… Chargers are certainly Hell-viable characters.

Also, a word of warning: For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I tend to be very longwinded. This “guide†is going to be very, very long (it’s currently 36 pages long in Microsoft Word, single spaced- over 100,000 characters). I’ll try to trim it down some, but be warned that this is going to be a VERY long read.


A Quick Overview of the Charger Class
A lot of people see the massive ED% of the Charger Class and think that they’re a tank class, a real heavyweight melee class. They try building their charger and playing them that way, and are eventually turned off by what they think is an underpowered skill. I would argue that they have the wrong mindset about Chargers. The reason why they get such a ridiculous ED is because they are not a sustained melee class. Instead of focusing on quantity of attacks, like a Zealot does, the Charger focuses on QUALITY. In terms of playstyle, the Charger really more closely resembles a ranged attacker than a melee attacker. He is a class of careful herding and positioning to set up very well coordinated hit-and-run attacks. When played improperly, the Charger is slow, sluggish, and ineffectual. When played properly, the Charger is a runaway freight train that will take anything that gets in his path along for the ride of its life before careening away, circling back, and repeating.

First off, let’s discuss the mechanics of how Charge works. There are two ways to charge- shift clicking on the ground, or clicking on an enemy. If you shift-click on the ground, your paladin will charge to that point. If you click on an enemy, your paladin will charge to that enemy. Every charge costs 9 mana, regardless of length, and will not end until you reach your destination or get stuck. This can be a problem if you charge an extra fast enemy who is running away from you- it might take a while to catch him. There are also two main reasons for using Charge- Charge as a Means of Locomotion, and Charge as a Means of Dispatching Enemies.

Charge as a Means of Locomotion:
If you try shift-charging when there is an enemy within melee range of you, you will instead attack that enemy. As a result, Charge is not a very good escape skill at all. If you must run away, then simply run away- don’t try to get fancy by Charging away. Once you’re free of the enemies, feel free to switch to Charge to put some distance between you.

If there is some sort of obstacle in the way of your charge, and your paladin must turn (for instance, to charge around a corner), then your speed for the duration of the charge will be slowed TO A CRAWL. Basically, as slow as walking without any fr/w gear on. Again, since you will continue to charge until you reach your destination, this can be A Very Bad Thing ™. Don’t try Charging unless you have a clear line between you and your target.

If you are using charge as a means of locomotion, then remember the two main points about Charge- each charge lasts until you get to a specific point, and each charge costs 9 mana. As a result, if you click right next to your Paladin and hold down Charge, you will drain mana like nobody’s business. However, if you click on the edge of the screen and hold down charge, you will run around in a series of long lines and odd angles, and will be more likely to enter into some turns (and therefore slow to a crawl). Both are fairly inefficient means of charging.

My personal favorite method of using Charge to quickly cover large distances involves STAGGERED charging. Rather than holding down shift and charge, I will proceed in a series of charges, then regular runs, then charges, then regular runs. I will click near the edge of my screen to start running, and periodically, without lifting up my mouse button, I will hit shift to enter into a Charge Sprint. Not only is it more mana efficient, it’s less likely to take you far out of your way like simply holding down charge would. In my opinion, it’s the best means of travel for a Charger, but YMMV.

I have heard that Faster Run/Walk does not speed up your charging speed any. Anecdotally, this definitely seems to be the case. I have also heard that Vigor *WILL* speed up your charging speed. I haven’t done a lot of testing with it, but this does not, in my opinion, seem to be the case. It seems to me that your charging speed will be fixed, no matter what you do/equip/run.

Get some Cannot Be Frozen, if it’s at all possible. This is very important for a Charger, because Chill/Slow has a drastic effect while charging… and a Charger is all about mobility, getting in and out in a hurry without delaying long in melee range.

Charge as a Means of Dispatching Enemies:
If you try to charge an enemy who is within melee range, you will not charge- you will simply perform a standard attack, instead. Melee range varies by weapon, from Range 1 (daggers, War Hammer, etc) to Range 5 (Pikes, etc). As a result, it’s a lot easier to charge with Range 1 weapons than Range 5s (since you need less separation). I used to be very opposed to charging with long weapons, but lots of playing and experimenting has suggested to me that they can be just as effective (or even more so) if played correctly. I’ll talk more about the differences between weapon ranges in a later section.

When you charge an enemy, whether you hit it or not, you will knock it back (provided there is nothing behind it). That knockback is always enough for you to charge again IMMEDIATELY (which you will do if the monster is namelocked). This leads to a Charge Chain. There is no length limit to Charge Chains- provided there is nothing behind the monster and you don’t kill it, you can trigger Charge Chains of 20, 30, 40 hits.

Charge Chains are *FAST*. I don’t know exactly how many frames you’ll be getting per attack, but 5-frame Charge Chains will go as fast as 5-frame Zeals- and the enemy will be in hit recovery the entire time. This, my friends, is how Chargers earn a living in Hell after they lose the ability to 1-hit-kill everything they come across. No monster can do anything once you have it in a Charge Chain- they are all helpless until they get backed into something, ending the chain.

Charge Chains will always trigger. If your attack misses, or if the enemy blocks, you will still knock them back and initiate a Charge Chain. Unlike traditional knockback, there is no Knockback Penalty against large enemies with Charge- all enemies have a 100% chance to be knocked back. Weapon Length doesn’t make a difference, either- a Range 5 weapon will trigger a Charge Chain just as easily as a Range 1 weapon. The only thing that will stop a Charge Chain is if something is behind the monster and prevents the knockback. Also, some monsters (Act Bosses and a couple of SuperDuperUniques like Griswold and the Ancients) are immune to the knockback from Charge. As a result, despite the ED%, Chargers don’t really make very good boss killers. I usually just switch to Zeal or something of the sort.

There are 2 parts to every Charge attack. The first part is the dash. During the dash, you run really fast towards an enemy. The second part is the attack. I don’t know how many frames the attack takes, but I think it’s about 5 or 6 frames per attack, no matter what your weapon is or how much IAS you have. Like I said, it’s VERY fast. Why do people think Charge is so slow, then? Well, if you namelock an enemy, you will charge him, knock him back, and then charge him a second time. If he doesn’t get knocked back (because there’s something behind him), then instead of charging a second time, you’ll just use a STANDARD ATTACK. Standard Attacks for big, slow Charge weapons can take 20 frames or more- which is really, really slow. So in other words, the key to keeping Charge going really fast is to make absolutely, positively sure that you never execute a standard attack at the end of a Charge chain.

Taking all of the above into account, a Charger’s best strategy is circle a pack of monsters until he manages to separate one from the herd. Once a Charger has a clear line between himself and the monster, and the monster has nothing behind it for at least half a screen length, the Charger attacks and starts a Charge Chain ending when the monster dies or gets backed into something. At that point, the Paladin disengages and resumes circling until another opportunity presents itself. Others may have different strategies (and really, I’d love to hear them!), but that’s my Charger’s “Money Moveâ€. That’s how he makes his living in Hell.


Pros and Cons of Playing a Charger
Pros:
  • Chargers have a completely different playstyle than any other build in the game. As a result, Chargers are often refreshingly different characters for people who have already tried everything else.
  • Thanks to up to and above 2000% ED, the fact that weapon speed is irrelevant, and hit-and-run tactics, Chargers spend very little time in sustained melee. This, of course, means enemies have very little chance to land a hit on them.
  • Chargers are FAST. With practice and a lot of Vigor, you can give Telesorcs a run for their money.
  • Chargers are accurate. At slvl 20, Charge offers +335% AR. Zeal and Vengeance only give 200% and 210% respectively.
  • Chargers aren’t concerned with weapon speed. Imagine being able to get 5 times a second with a Cruel Thunder Maul. That’s basically what a Charge Chain is.

Cons:
  • If an enemy cannot be knocked back, Charge becomes almost useless against it. As a result, Chargers are one of the worst Act Boss killers in the entire game.
  • Despite the ED, Chargers are not fast killers. The majority of their time is spent running, herding, circling, and setting up for a successful Charge.
  • Charge only works with enemies outside of weapon range. A mobbed Charger is a dead Charger.
  • Since charge attacks are so intermittent, it’s hard to rely on Leech to keep your orb nice and topped off at all times. It can drain a lot before you finally land a hit and fill it back up (although it certainly fills back up in a hurry).
  • Charge can be a very big mana hog- especially Charge Chains, which can drain around 40 mana a second.
  • There are a couple of nasty bugs concerning Charge. In the “bugs†section, I’ll go over in detail what they are, what causes them, how to fix them, and how to avoid them.


Statistics
Strength-
At first glance, one might be very tempted to make a “Titan†Charger who gets a huge damage weapon and loads up on strength to hit ridiculous damage plateaus. I have to say right now that, as tempting as that sounds, it’s really not as effective in game as you might believe. The reason why is because, while each points of strength will add a TON of damage (compared to on builds wielding lower-damage weapons), it really doesn’t add much PERCENTAGE-WISE. If you build a character that has 300% off-weapon ED, then he will need 400 points of strength to double his damage per hit. If you build a Charger with 2000% ED, then you will need a whopping 2100 points of strength to double your damage per hit. As a result, loading up on Strength beyond what is necessary for your gear will actually increase a Charger’s kill-speed LESS THAN ANY OTHER CLASS’S. I know, I know, it seems counterintuitive with all of the huge weapons we’ll be wielding that pumping strength really doesn’t make much different, but that’s how it is. So in other words, Titan builds are fun, but don’t try a Titan Charger. Put enough into Strength to wield the biggest, fattest two-hander on the block, and not a single point more.

Dexterity-
Conventional school of thought on Dexterity is that every build will either put in enough for Max Block, or they will put in enough to get an acceptable chance to hit, or they will put in enough for gear. In my opinion, Chargers are better with 2-handed weapons than with 1 (although 1-handed Chargers are viable, and will be discussed later). There’s also a bug regarding Charge + Holy Shield (that I’ll get to in the bugs section), so you might not want to use Holy Shield while Charging. Also, given the massive +% Chance to Hit, Chargers can frequently get away with far less Dex than almost any other build. This is A Very Good Thing™, because less Dex means more Strength (to equip better weapons and armors) and Vit (to… you know… not die).

Vitality-
“Life is good when your life is goodâ€
-The Great Booyaka

Energy-
If you’re playing Softcore and no-twink, then 10-20 points in Energy early on can make leveling a Charger a lot easier (since you can charge earlier and for longer). If you’re in Hardcore, then those points are better off in Vit. If you’re twinking, then +mana charms and rings will solve your low-level charging problems wonderfully until you can get yourself an Insight (which makes a phenomenal mid-level charging stick).
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Skills​
Since I’m trying to cover ALL Charger Variants, I’m going to go through and look at each skill on a skill-by-skill basis and discuss what it does, how it’s useful, when it’s useful, and other concerns.

It’s important to remember that Chargers typically max 4 skills and spend the rest of their points on 1-point wonders and prereqs. One of these skills is always Charge. After that, the Charger can max 2 pre-reqs and a primary aura, or 1 prereq, 1 primary aura, and a synergy to that aura, or 1 prereq, 1 aura, and 1 support skill/secondary attack, or 1 prereq and 2 primary auras, or whatever. Just remember when deciding what Variant you want to play that you’re going to be maxing 4 skills and spending the rest of your points on utility auras. And be sure to remember that you’ll need some way to deal with PIs and Iron Maiden, whether it’s a secondary attack or a gear-based solution.

Combat Skills
Sacrifice:
Clvl 1
Chargers usually don’t have the leech values necessary to support Sacrifice, and Sacrifice doesn’t help against PIs or IM. As a result, Sacrifice is pretty useless for a Charger.
Recommendation: 0 points or 1 point as a prereq

Smite:
Clvl 1
Smite is autohit and EXTREMELY useful against Act Bosses (one of the Charger’s biggest weaknesses). Its damage isn’t worth maxing, but you have to put a point there anyway, so remember to use it against bosses!
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq / 1-point-wonder

Holy Bolt:
Clvl 6
HB makes a very poor PI/IM solution, since it only works against undead. Really, its use is too limited to warrant spending valuable skill points on it.
Recommendation: 0 points, or 1 point as a prereq.

Zeal:
Clvl 12
Zeal has a lot of thing to offer a Charger. It’s extremely quick, and is a very useful attack against enemies that Charge is poor against. If the Charger is running a Holy Aura, Zeal makes a very quick and easy method of delivering a lot of elemental damage in a hurry (making it a great PI solution). Since its speed is what we’re after, we can easily minimize the physical damage and use it as an IM solution, too. The biggest benefit of Zeal, however… is that it’s dirt cheap. A Charger never needs to invest more than 4 points in this skill to maximize its utility- and can get by with as few as 1 if he’s got some +skills somewhere on his setup.
Recommendation: 0 points, 1 point as a pre-req, or 1-4 points for the Holy Aura/Conviction variants.

Charge:
Clvl 12
A tip- if your build is named after a skill, and that skill isn’t Blade Fury, you’re probably going to wind up maxing it.
Recommendation: Max it, of course.

Vengeance:
Clvl 18
Vengeance takes your base weapon damage, cranks it way up, and turns it into rainbow damage- physical, fire, lightning, and cold. This makes it the ideal PI solution, as no monster in the entire game is immune to it. If you’re running Conviction as your main aura, the damage gets even more impressive. Really, the only drawback is that it doesn’t help against IM any.
Recommendation: 0 points, or 1+ as a secondary attack against PIs.

Blessed Hammer:
Clvl 18
It might seem a little surprising, but this skill is a FANTASTIC complement to Charge. It doesn’t require spending time in sustained melee (which Chargers aren’t built for). It is a perfect PI and IM solution (the only monster in the game immune to it is Wailing Beasts, which only appear in one avoidable temple in A3). Best of all, it shares a synergy with charge (Vigor)! Maxed Hammer, Charge, Vigor, and Concentration makes for a very potent build, indeed.
Recommendation: 0 points, 1 point as a prereq, or 20 points as a secondary attack.

Conversion:
Clvl 24
Normally, I’m a huge fan of Conversion. I consider it one of the most underrated skills in the game, and believe it goes a long way towards heightening a Paladin’s survivability. It converts an enemy monster and tricks his friends into beating up on him. Unfortunately, it also has a habit of clumping monsters together very tightly- and clumped monsters prevent Charge Chains.
Recommendation: 0 points

Holy Shield:
Holy Shield will boost your blocking and defense through the roof when we’re wearing a shield. It is also responsible for this nasty bug that will cause Charge to break and cease working for the entire rest of the game. The only way to fix this bug is to leave and re-enter the game. See the bugs section for details on what causes this bug and how to avoid it. Anyway, because of the bug, and because Charge lends itself well to two-handed weapons, most Chargers should avoid Holy Shield entirely.
Recommendation: 0 point, or if you have to have it, 10+ to get a nice long duration. Duration is very important.

Fist of the Heavens:
Clvl 30
Fist of the Heavens provides a strong ranged Lightning Attack (on a 2 second timer). Properly synergized, it’s a fantastic PI and IM solution. The problem? Properly synergizing it requires 60 points (maxed FoH, maxed Holy Shock, 10+ in Conviction, and a lot of prereqs). Chargers just don’t have the skill points to spare.
Recommendation: 0 points

Offensive Auras
Might:
Clvl 1
As a charger, you’ll become well-acquainted with Might, since it synergizes Charge. Every single point adds 20% ED to Charge. If you want, since you’re maxing it anyway, you can run Might as your primary aura to increase your damage for cheap. Doing so adds another 10% ED per skill points, and makes Might the biggest damage booster around, point-for-point.
Recommendation: 1-20 points.

Holy Fire:
Clvl 6
There are two things worth noting about Holy Fire. First off, it’s perhaps the best leveling aura in the game in A1 normal (I shop a +3 Holy Fire Scepter at clvl 6 with all of my Paladins, regardless of type). Second off, it’s entirely and absolutely replaced by Holy Freeze and Holy Shock, both of which do drastically more damage (and in the case of Holy Freeze, adds some handy slow).
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq and leveling tool.

Thorns:
Clvl 6
Unfortunately, due to the ratio between monster life and monster HP, this skill has no place in Hell. If you really want to use it, purchase a +3 Thorns scepter and marvel at its power through A1 Normal.
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq for Sanctuary.

Blessed Aim:
Clvl 12
Blessed Aim increases your chances to hit, but Conviction does the same thing, and better. Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about… at slvl 20, Charge + Blessed Aim will multiply your base AR by 7.95 to get your effective AR. At slvl 20, Charge + Conviction will multiply your base AR by 43.5 to get your effective AR. Yes, you read that right. No, that’s not a pyto. Conviction is *ALWAYS* better than Blessed Aim.
Recommendation: 0 points or 1 point as a prereq

Concentration:
Clvl 18
Concentration adds ED to your attack, much like Fanaticism and Might; HOWEVER, Might synergizes Charge (giving it a bonus 20% ED per point), and Fanaticism adds more ED% than Concentration. As a result, Concentration is generally the weak sister of the ED branch of the Offensive Aura Skill Tree. The one big exception is with Blessed Hammer/Charge hybrid paladins. In that case, Concentration is the STRONG sister of the ED branch of the Offensive Aura Skill Tree.
Recommendation: 0 points, 1 point as a prereq, or 20 points if you use Blessed Hammer.

Holy Freeze:
Clvl 18
Hello, I’m Holy Freeze. I add more damage to your attack than Holy Fire. I pulse more damage than Holy Fire. I slow enemies down and Holy Fire does not. Thanks to me, Holy Fire is better known as Wholly Irrelevant Fire. On a more serious note, Holy Freeze actually makes for a pretty good Charger variant. It adds damage to your attack, and damage is good. It gives you a PI solution. If you Zeal with a low-damage weapon and Holy Freeze, you have an IM solution, too. Best of all, it cuts the speed of everything in range by more than HALF. This is the same thing as doubling your speed. For a build that is so absolutely dependent on positioning, any effect that speeds you up or slows your enemies down is incredibly powerful.
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq, or 20 points as a primary aura.

Holy Shock:
Clvl 24
About twice the damage of Holy Freeze, but without the slowing effect. Holy Shock is a viable alternative to Holy Freeze for the more offensive-minded. It’ll take out PIs quicker, and will go a lot faster when zealing in IM areas. The problem is that it lacks the slow- and therefore, the positioning power- of Holy Freeze. Personally, my take on the matter is that a Charger never really suffers from a surfeit of damage, so I prefer the slow to the extra damage of Holy Shock. Still, against PIs and in IM areas, Holy Shock will kill twice as fast as Holy Freeze, so that’s something to consider.
Recommendation: 0 points or 20 points as a primary aura.

Sanctuary:
Clvl 24
Sanctuary is bugged, and only has TWO effects. It has a ping, similar to the Holy Auras, that will trigger once per second and deal magical damage and cause knockback to all undead within range. It also allows you to completely ignore the physical resistances of all undead in the game. I would STRONGLY recommend at least one point into Sanctuary for all chargers (since it’s the easiest, quickest, and most efficient solution to PI undead), but additional points don’t really offer any additional benefit, other than increasing the ping radius.
Recommendation: 1 point for all Charger builds

Fanaticism:
Clvl 30
Fanaticism provides a huge boost to damage, AR, and attack speed… but personally, I don’t really like it. First off, the attack speed isn’t very necessary, since it doesn’t speed up charge. It’s handy to have when you’re Zealing or when you accidentally melee instead of charge, but if you do everything correctly, it’s something that’ll never come into play. The ED is really good… until you compare it to Charge. With a fully synergized Charge, you will have 1375% ED. Fanaticism will only add about 25% to your final physical damage (less than that if you’re wearing +skills). That means we’ll kill enemies in 80% of the time, which really is not significantly faster. Fanaticism will also do us NO GOOD against PIs or IM (the two biggest problems a Charger faces). +135% AR is handy… but as I said under Blessed Aim, Conviction is far and away the best AR solution around. All of this isn’t to say that Fanaticism is a BAD choice for your main aura… it’s just to say that Fanaticism isn’t as good of a choice as it’s been made out to be. Personally, I think that Holy Freeze, Holy Shock, and Conviction all outshine it on the Offensive Skills tab.
Recommendation: 0 points or 20 points as your primary aura.

Conviction:
Clvl 30
Good old overpowered Conviction. You’ve heard me allude to it several times already, but now let’s go into detail. At slvl 20, it reduces enemy defense by 90%. That’s the same as if you multiplied your AR by 10. Basically, between Charge’s 335% AR bonus and Conviction’s -90% enemy defense, you could have 156 base AR with your standard attack, and with Charge/Conviction, that would be the equivalent of 8000 AR. I’m not making that up. Essentially, we’re talking ITD that even works against Champs/Bosses. In addition to that, Conviction is the most party-friendly aura in the game, and gives us a very nice PI/IM solution, provided we can afford a set of Gimmershreds or a Rift Phase Blade (zeal + Gimmers/Rift + Conviction = awesome). I really cannot say enough good things about this aura. I can, however, say one bad thing about it. It takes a while to apply to enemies, so a lot of times, if you charge at an enemy, you’ll hit it (or miss) before the Conviction goes active and boosts your chance to hit through the roof. Basically, the first one or two hits of your charge chain will occasionally be without the benefit of Conviction. Really, it’s just a minor annoyance, one that is easy to overlook given the power that Conviction provides you with.
Recommendation: 0 points or 20 points as your primary aura.

Defensive Auras
Resist Fire, Resist Cold, Resist Lightning:
Clvl 1, Clvl 6, Clvl 12
For each 2 points in a single-resist aura, your corresponding maximum resists will increase by 1%. When a single-resist aura is active, for every 1 point in the aura, everyone’s corresponding maximum resist will increase by 1 (so activate a slvl 20 Resist Lightning, and everyone in the party will have 95% maximum lightning resist). Both of these effects only benefit from HARD POINTS, so +skills won't help you here. As a result, single-resist auras are a very handy skill to run when you’re being bombarded by high-damage elemental attacks. Unfortunately for this build, you just don’t have enough points to spare investing in something as frivolous as boosted max resists.
Recommendation: 0 points, whatever you can spare to boost max resists, or 20 points as a synergy

Prayer:
Clvl 1
Prayer regenerates your life. This is very handy with Charge, because as I’ve said several times now, Charge avoids sustained melee. You won’t have constant leech to keep you full, so constant regen will come in handy- especially since you’ll spend so much time circling enemies, looking for openings.
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq, or 20 points as your primary/secondary aura.

Defiance:
Clvl 6
Defiance boosts your defense. Defiance synergizes Holy Shield to further boost your defense. Defiance is available on A2 Mercs, so the only reason to boost Defiance yourself is for the Holy Shield synergy… and since this build doesn’t typically use Shields (Holy or Otherwise), Chargers typically will not get much bang out of Defiance.
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq, or 20 points as your primary/secondary aura.

Cleansing:
Clvl 12
Cleansing, when active, reduces curse and poison durations. Cleansing also, when active, gives you all of the healing from Prayer with none of the mana cost. This makes it a good aura to run for Chargers who have invested heavily into Prayer. It’s basically Prayer Plus- as in Prayer plus Poison/Curse reduction, and without the mana cost. It’s a useful aura to switch to when you’ve been poisoned, and if it’s a decent enough level (thanks to +skills), makes journeying a little bit safer around IM.
Recommendation: 1 point as a prereq / free healing tool / utility aura

Vigor:
Clvl 18
Ah, another meat-and-potato like staple of the Charger’s arsenal. Vigor serves two purposes- it makes you fast, and it cranks your damage up (since it’s a Charge synergy). It’s also a Blessed Hammer synergy, too. This means, Charge/Hammer builds will automatically max Vigor. When deciding whether to invest into Vigor or Might, you have to look at which aura you’ll be running more. If you’re going to use Might as your main aura, then definitely max Might. If you’re going to be switching to Vigor a lot between battles to get around, then max Vigor. If you want to speed up shopping, then max Vigor. If you want to use Vigor as your primary aura, then max Vigor. What’s that you say? Vigor as the primary aura? Absolutely! Vigor makes a fantastic primary aura, because the Charger build is all about careful positioning. In order to get good position, you need good speed relative to your enemies (so you can maneuver around them). One way to get good relative speed is to slow the enemies down (via Holy Freeze), and another way to get good relative speed is to speed yourself up (via Vigor). Since you’re investing in it anyway to boost Charge, I often use Vigor as a “free†primary aura. I mean, with 1300+%ED from your attack skill, it’s not like you’ll be hurting for damage so much that you automatically have to go with a damage aura, here.
Recommendation: 1+ points as a synergy, secondary aura, or even primary aura.

Meditation:
Clvl 24
Go up and read my comments on Cleansing. They all apply to Meditation, except replace “reduces curse/poison duration†with “makes you regenerate your mana ridiculously quickly. Personally, I *love* meditation, and use it as my primary aura from clvl 24 to clvl 40+, just for the ridiculous mana regen. Prior to clvl 24, you really don’t have the ability to function as a Charger for long periods of time, because you run out of blue. After Meditation, that’s all a thing of the past- you can charge to your heart’s content without worries or concerns. As for how much you want to invest- Meditation offers enough regen with just 1 point. I usually just leave it there and let +skills work their magic.
Recommendation: 1 point in all builds

Redemption:
Clvl 30
Redemption turns dead bodies into purple potions. The problem? At slvl 1, it provides for too little healing at far too low of a percent chance to really be any use. My personal experience is that I have to get Redemption up to 10 points before I’m able to see any noticeable difference in the heat of battle. It’s useful AFTER battles for topping off your orbs, but Meditation + Prayer will do the same thing, and they provide more use in other situations.
Recommendation: 0 points, 1 point to top off after battles, or 10+ points to run during battle

Salvation:
Clvl 30
Your first point in Salvation will grant you exactly 60% Resist All. Your next 59 points in Salvation will grant you exactly 60% Resist All. That’s just to give you an idea of the sobering reality that is diminishing returns. Salvation is actually a very good aura to run as your primary aura while Charging, especially if you’re no-twink. You certainly don’t need the help in the damage department, so why not devote your aura to cranking the heck out of your resists (especially since we’re probably going 2-handed and foregoing the single best piece of resists gear in the game- Paladin specific shields)? If you’re no-twink and going with a 2-handed weapon, give strong consideration to Salvation, since it’s probably the only way you’ll ever achieve maxed resists in Hell.
Recommendation: 1 point as a utility aura, or 5-12 points as a primary aura
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Sample Charger Builds
These are just short little blurbs about different Charger builds, as well as brief musings on what sort of weapons/mods they’d look for, and where the skill plan might differ. Do not take these as gospel, these are just a couple of SAMPLE setups you could use to run a charger, if you wanted. If you want to create your own, or take one of these builds and change it up, then by all means, do! Don’t strictly adhere to these templates, use them to get an idea and then personalize your character to your tastes.

Build #1- The Vanilla Charger (Might or Vigor as a Primary Aura)
Since you’ll be maxing it anyway, running Might or Vigor is a great way to save skill points, since you’re basically getting your primary aura for free. Additional points can go into the Resist Auras, Salvation, Prayer, Meditation, Vengeance… wherever you want.

Skills:
20 in Charge
20 in Might
20 in Vigor
1-4 points in Zeal
1 point in Smite/Prayer/Cleansing/Defiance/Sacrifice (prereqs)
Rest in Vengeance, Holy Shield/Defiance, Resist Auras, Prayer/Meditation, Redemption, whatever.

This build still needs a PI and IM solution. Anything with a chance to cast Amp will combine with Zeal for a PI solution (trigger with Zeal, then charge). If you invest some in Vengeance, that’ll solve PIs, too. Otherwise, this build will subscribe to the PUAPâ„¢ solution to Iron Maiden- “Party Up And Prayâ€. Gear-wise, other than something with a Chance-to-cast Amplify Damage on weapon switch, there isn’t anything special you’ll be looking for.

Build #2- The Chunky Charger (Fanaticism as a Primary Aura)
If your only goal is to eke out every single last drop of possible damage in order to get the prettiest LCS display in town, then this is the way to go. Get a fully synergized Charge and Fanaticism as your primary aura, and watch enemies flatten into pulpy pancakes beneath your feet.

Skills:
20 in Charge
20 in Might
20 in Vigor
20 in Fanaticism
1-4 in Zeal
1 point in Smite/Prayer/Cleansing/Defiance/Sacrifice/Blessed Aim/Concentration (prereqs)

First off, this build still needs a PI and IM solution. Like the last build, keeping a Chance To Cast Amp weapon on switch will solve most PIs (and you’re fast enough to run away from the ones you can’t break), but you’ll DEFINITELY be resorting to the PUAP™ solution to IM, because you don’t have any skill points left to do anything fancy. Again, gear-wise you’ll be pretty standard.

From a more technical standpoint, I should tell you that I really don’t recommend this setup. Although it costs 22 extra points, it only adds +143% Enhanced Damage over running Might as your primary aura (although it adds speed and AR, too, which helps a lot while Zealing). The difference between 1605% ED (Charge + Might) and 1748% ED (Charge + Fanat) is almost negligible (a less than 10% increase in kill speed). Again, though- the extra AR and ias are handy while Zealing.

Build #3- The Elemental Charger (Holy Shock/Freeze as Primary Aura)
I lumped the Holy Shock and Holy Freeze Chargers together, since skill-wise they’ll look almost identical. Just remember, Holy Shock adds about twice as much elemental damage, while Holy Freeze reduces enemy speed by 50%.

Skills:
20 points in Charge
20 points in Might OR Vigor (with 1 in the other). If you’d rather, you can do a 10/10 split instead.
20 points in Holy Shock or Holy Freeze
20 points in Resist Lightning or Resist Cold
1-4 points in Zeal
Optional: 1+ points in Holy Shield
1 point in all prereqs / 1-point wonders

Gear-wise, this Charger will tend to deviate from the norm. Since you have so much supplemental damage, and since you’ll spend more time Zealing, it’s not a very bad idea at all to grab a 1-hander with the Elemental Charger. Personally, I just use a 2-hander for Charging and keep a fast 1-hander on switch for Zealing, but that’s just personal preference.

The nicest thing about this charger is that he’s got the PI and IM solution built in. Get a good Shael/Shael/Shael/Shael/Eth/Eth (or Shael x 3 Eth x3, or Shael x 2 Eth x 4) Phase Blade. Make sure you’ve got enough ias on you to hit the 4-frame follow up with Zeal, and then fill the rest of the sockets with Eths. Keep it on switch, and you can just switch to it and Zeal away around PIs or IM. Problem solved.

Build #4- The SMB Charger
The SMB Charger is my own personal pet name for the Blessed Hammer + Charge variant. SMB Charger = Super Mario Bros. Charger. You know, with the running around (hold down the B button!) and the throwing hammers and stuff? Get it? I even went so far as to give my SMB Charger two pieces of Trang’s so he had Fireballs. Then I created a playlist full of music from the Super Mario Brothers series and ran around jumping, dashing, throwing hammers and fireballs, and generally just goofing off.

Skills:
20 points in Charge
20 points in Blessed Hammer
20 points in Vigor
20 points in Concentration
1 point in all pre-reqs and 1-point wonders.

Huge ED (1400% without any +skills), backed up with magical hammers that only one enemy in the entire game is immune to (and an easily avoidable enemy, at that)… definitely a very powerful combination. Gear-wise, you’ll need a lot of +skills to turn those Hammers into solid killers (although, since they’re a secondary skill, it’s not that huge of a need). I like to keep dual Spirits on switch, since they’re super-cheap and very powerful in Hammer mode. As far as PIs and IM goes… fuhgeddaboudit. Hammers solve both problems with ease.

Oh, I mentioned Trang’s earlier. Actually, Trang’s make for pretty solid SMB Charger gear, fireball aside. The helm is ugly as sin, but has +150 mana. The 40% Faster Run/Walk on the armor is extremely helpful when it comes to positioning and whatnot. The belt has CBF, which is an almost MANDATORY mod for all Chargers, and the gloves have 20% faster cast, which is handy for hitting Hammer Spammer breakpoints. My personal choice tended to be the Armor and the Belt, or maybe the Belt and the Gloves.

One last note on this build- I don’t duel, PK, PKK, or engage in any other PvP activities, so I really wouldn’t know how effective this build might be, but I can tell you right now that it’d be an incredibly FUN build. You sit around and spam some hammers, and the second they become convinced that you’re just a garden variety hammerdin… BAM, you charge them with a Thundermaul. In the world of “out-of-nowhereâ€, on a scale from one to awesome, that would rank as a 12.7.

Build #5- The Conviction Charger
This one’s a little bit project of mine. I’ve always maintained the Conviction was often more useful than Fanaticism, even on physical damage builds, and the Charger would be the best place to demonstrate that. I’ve already discussed how running maxed Fanaticism would only increase your damage output by about 25%. Well, raising your chance to hit from 70% to 95% will increase your damage output by over 35%. How do we get from a 70% chance to hit to a 95% chance to hit? We max Conviction and run that as our primary aura.

Skills:
20 in Charge
20 in Might
20 in Vigor
10-20 in Conviction (enough to get you somewhere between slvl 20-25 after +skills)
1-4 points in Zeal

Gear-wise, elemental damage might seem tempting on your main Charging weapon, but to be honest, more physical damage will usually boost your damage output more. You can feel free to ignore AR entirely on your gear, because with +5 skills, the combination of Charge and Conviction will multiply your base AR almost 64 times over (63.75 times over, to be exact). 200 base AR becomes the equivalent of 12,750 effective AR. 500 base AR becomes the equivalent of 31,875 effective AR. 2000 base AR (say from dual angelics) becomes the equivalent of 127,500 AR. Yes, that’s a lot.

As far as PIs and IM go… Conviction solves that problem, too. On your switch, keep a set of Gimmershreds, or a Rift War Scepter, or if you can’t afford those, then a Voice of Reason phase blade. Zealing with any of those will sort out PIs in a hurry. Around IM, either throw the Gimmers or zeal with the Rift/VoR (which have no ED, and can be zealed with, albeit very carefully). Again, AR isn’t a problem, since you’re running Conviction.

The other really nice part about Conviction is that it’s such a party-friendly aura. Party play is generally not something a Charger excels in (see the Party Play section for more), so it’s nice to be able to contribute something no matter what.

Build #6- The Invincible Charger (Prayer + PDR)
The Invincible Charger is actually a Paladin builds that uses Prayer + PDR to achieve near-invulnerability. The entire guide, including Vengeance and Blessed Hammer variants, can be found here. For the purposes of this guide, though, I’ll just give a brief overview of the Charge variant.

Skills:
20 points in Charge
20 points in Might
20 points in Vigor
20 points in Prayer
1 point in Cleansing
1 point in prereqs and 1-point wonders

Gearwise, you’re looking for an Insight staff (Archon staff, preferably, but Shillelagh works, too), in addition to as much PDR and resists as you can cram onto one toon. PIs and IM remain as much of a problem as they do with more standard Charge variants, but since you’re a lot tougher, you’ll have a lot of time to try to decide how to handle them.

Build #7- The Iron Charger (Holy Shield + Defiance)
I’m not really advocating this build, but in the interest of completeness, I’m providing it for you so you can make up your mind for yourself. The Defiant Charger is a 1-handed Charger who maxes Holy Shield and Defiance to get a truly ridiculous defense value. He can either run Defiance as his full-time aura, or can run Vigor/Might (whichever of the two he maxes).

Skills:
20 points in Charge
20 points in Holy Shield
20 points in Defiance
20 points in Might OR 20 points in Vigor OR 10 points in both.
1-4 points in Zeal
1 point in all prereqs and 1-point wonders.

Gearwise, you’re going to want the fattest damage 1-hander you can find. Legendary Mallets are the ideal, because not only do they have the best damage available in 1-handers, they also are range 1. You’re also going to want the highest-defense armor and shield you can possibly find (Stone, anyone?).

As far as what aura to run… you can run Defiance, or you can instead run Might (more damage) or Vigor (more maneuverability). You’re still going to have troubles with PIs and IM, but by now, that’s pretty standard fare for a charger. The traditional Amp + Zeal on switch will solve the PI issue pretty well, and you can always rely on the patented PUAP™ method of dealing with IM. The nice thing about the Defiant Charger is that, even when he can’t attack and kill things, he makes a very strong tank, so he’ll still provide some use in a party.

Build #8- The Salvation Charger
As far as I know, the use of Salvation as a full-time aura was really popularized by Rechet and his Angel Paladin (Salvation + Vengeance). The Salvation Charger differs from the Angel in one key area: Salvation does not synergize our main attack. Couple that with the extremely harsh diminishing returns (as I said before, your first point will get you 60% resist all, and the next 59 points combined will get you another 60% resist all), and my personal preference is to NOT MAX SALVATION. The difference between slvl 12 Salvation and slvl 20 Salvation is just 7% resist all (less than 1% resist all per point). The difference between slvl 20 Salvation and slvl 60 Salvation is just 12%. As a result, I really like to aim for slvl 12 after +skills. This gives me fantastic resist all (101%), combined with MORE than enough radius to cover my party (25.3 yards). It also gives me lots of spare points, which I’ll discuss in a second.

Skills:
20 points in Charge
20 points in Might
20 points in Vigor
1-12 points in Salvation
1 point in all pre-reqs and 1-point wonders

Alright now, let’s discuss spare points and variations. This is going to be the build with the most room for variation. First off, using that skill point plan will leave you with a dozen or more unspent skill points by clvl 85. You could spend those points on a Resist Aura for the boost to your maximum resistances (which you’ll have no problem hitting with Salvation active). You could spend those points on Vengeance as a PI solution. You could take points out of one of the Charge synergies to get even MORE extra points, which you could use to do both (pumping a resist aura *and* Vengeance). Lots of freedom to customize here.

While PIs are easily sorted with Vengeance, like the majority of charge builds (aside from Holy Shock/Holy Freeze/Conviction), the Salvation Charger really has no means of handling IM, so once again, I have to recommend the PUAP™ method of IM control. On the bright side, parties will love having you around for the 100+% resist-all you’re giving them.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Now that we’ve concluded our in-depth review of the stat and skill point setups of different Chargers, it’s time to take a look at the other aspect of being a Charger- namely, gear. Actually, weapons, mostly. Armor is usually pretty self explanatory- you’re looking for resists, stats, defense, resists, blocking, resists, +skills, any particularly juicy mods (such as knockback or Hit Blinds Target), and resists. Weapons, though… those aren’t nearly as self explanatory, so I’m going to quit rambling about what I’m about to start rambling about, and start rambling about what I should have been rambling about before I started rambling about what I should have been rambling about in the first place.

I mean… err….

1-handed charger or 2?
Weapon Handedness really comes down to a personal preference. I know I’ve made my preferences clear to this point (2-hander! 2-hander!), but I might as well go over a discussion of the pros and cons of each style and let you make up your mind for yourself. Basically, 2-handers trade the speed, short range, resists, blocking, and defense of 1-hander setups for raw damage. The question then becomes “Is it worth it to lose speed, short range, resists, blocking, and defense, if all you’re getting back in return is raw damage�

Here are some numbers. The “best†1-handed charging weapon is without question the Legendary Mallet. The legendary Mallet does 55.5 average damage. The Thunder Maul (the highest damage 2-handed charging weapon) does 106.5 average damage. Let’s assume 2000% off-weapon ED here, and a perfect Cruel of both types.

Perfect Cruel Legendary Mallet = 222 average damage @ 2000% off-weapon ED = 4662 average damage per hit.
Perfect Cruel Thunder Maul = 426 average damage @ 2000% off-weapon ED = 8946 average damage per hit (delivered at the same speed).
8946 / 4662 = 192%, so a Thunder Maul charger will kill almost twice as quickly as a Legendary Mallet charger. You then have to decide if doubling your kill speed is worth the sacrifice in safety.

Personally, I find the loss of speed to be irrelevant. You probably won’t be zealing with your Charging weapon, so the only time weapon speed will come into play is if you screw up and try to charge someone in melee range. I also find the range difference to be negligible- lots of playtesting has shown me that long range weapons can be every bit as effective (or even MORESO) as short range weapons, provided you use them correctly. The defense and blocking are definitely handy, but as I’ve said a million times already- the Charger is a hit-and-run kind of character. Sticking around in sustained melee where he’s susceptible to lots of hits is not his idea of a good time, anyway. The loss of resists… well, the loss of resists just stinks, no two ways around that.

If you do decide to go 2-handed, I recommend keeping a fast 1-hander and a good resist shield on switch for situations where you have to switch to Zeal.

Builds that lend themselves well (in my opinion) to 2-handed weapons:
Might Chargers
Vigor Chargers
Fanaticism Chargers
Concentration/Blessed Hammer Chargers (with hammer spammer weapons on switch)
Salvation Chargers (since the resists aren’t important)
Conviction Chargers
Prayer Chargers

Builds that can operate 1-handed or 2-handed (although I still prefer 2 ;))
Holy Shock Chargers
Holy Freeze Chargers

Builds that lend themselves well to 1-handed weapons:
Defiant Chargers

Short Weapons vs. Long Weapons
Good old weapon range. It’s an aspect of weapon evaluation that’s virtually ignored on 90% of the builds out there- and for good reason. To be honest, it’s usually not all that relevant, except when you’re whirling or poking over the top of something, or as an afterthought bug mention (don’t put a shorter range weapon in your off-hand than your on-hand with Frenzy/Double Swing, or half of your attacks will miss).

Enter the Charger. Finally, we have a build where weapon range is not an ignored aspect. In fact, weapon range will DRASTICALLY IMPACT the way you play your Charger, and how successful you will be. When you try to charge an enemy that is within melee range, you will simply perform a normal attack instead (although your mana will still be drained as if you charged, and sometimes you’ll hear the sound effect). This is A Very Bad Thing™. As a result, it’s very important that we, as Chargers, define what exactly “melee range†is.

With Range 1 weapons, you will need less separation in order to charge. Lots of enemies, such as Black Rogue Lancers, will actually attack you from far enough away that you can charge them at will. Knockback on your gloves or weapon because very handy, because a single knockback is all it takes to send an enemy outside of melee range (and therefore set up a charge chain). All it takes to set up a charge is a quick step back.

With Range 5 weapons, you will need a lot of separation in order to charge. Basically, if they’re melee and they can attack you, you cannot charge them. Knockback is pretty much entirely useless for Range 5 weapons, since you’d need to hit an enemy two or even three times in rapid succession in order to take them out of your melee range- and that’s just not going to happen (after each knockback, they’ll step forward and you’ll be back at square 1). In order to set up a charge, you have to COMPLETELY DISENGAGE and put a sizeable chunk of space between you and your assailants.

Because of that, it’s been long maintained that shorter range weapons are simply superior to longer range weapons when Charging. I will agree that shorter range weapons are drastically EASIER than longer range weapons, but that comparison completely ignores the advantage of long-range weapons while charging. When you charge an enemy, you trigger the knockback the instant they enter your weapon’s range, and they continue to be knocked back and kept weapon’s-length away from your Charger. As a result, if you trigger a long charge chain with a range 1 weapon, by the time the chain is ended, you will be close enough to smell what your target had for breakfast on his breath. If you trigger a long chain with a range 5 weapon, on the other hand… when the chain ends, your target will be one long pointy stick length away from your character. That amount of separation is more than enough to be able to take a step back and start lining up another Charge without ever giving your enemy a chance to take a swing at you.

Armed with this new discovery about weapon length and charging, I ran around and tested various weapons of various lengths. My conclusions are that it’s a LOT easier to play a Charger with a range 1 weapon (Legendary Mallet), or even range 2 weapon (Ogre Maul)… but, if played properly, a Charger with a range 5 weapon (War Pike) is much deadlier and more effective. Range 3 or Range 4 weapons were sort of suboptimal- not short enough to provide the advantages of the Range 2s, but not long enough to provide the advantages of the Range 5s. Sort of a grey area with all the disadvantages of both weapons (although not quite so pronounced) with few of the advantages. Unfortunately, the Thunder Maul (which is the single most damaging base weapon type in the game) is a Range 3, so if you want to harness its power, you just have to suck it up and live with the range.

For those interested, here’s a quick rundown of some of the more notable Charger weapons of each range, as well as average damage and maximum number of sockets (in case you’re thinking of making a runeword in it).I excluded any items that had a lower average damage than another weapon of the same type and range, as well as any weapons that had a similar average damage but less desirable range as another weapon of the same type, as well as any others that I just felt were generally inferior for Chargers. I also appended a couple of notes about some weapons (things such as style points and zeal speed, mostly).

Range 1:
Tomahawk- 1-handed, 45.5 average, 2os
Hydra Edge (sword)- 1-handed, 48 average, 2os
Conquest Sword- 1-handed, 45 average, 4os (note: best Range 1 for runewords.)
Mithril Point (dagger)- 1-handed, 45 average, 1os (note: knives are very stylish on Chargers, imo)
Fanged Knife- 1-handed, 36 average, 3os (note: fastest range 1 weapon in town)
Mighty Scepter- 1-handed, 46 average, 2os
Legendary Mallet- 1-handed, 55.5 average, 4os (note: the holy grail of 1-handers)

Range 2:
Ettin Axe- 1-handed, 49.5 average, 5os
Seraph Rod- 1-handed, 49 average, 3os
Ogre Maul- 2-handed, 91.5 average, 6os (note: I don’t really like the maul look on Chargers, although some swear by it)
Shillelagh (staff)- 2-handed, 86.5 average, 4os (note: staves have RIDICULOUSLY low stat requirements)
Archon Staff- 2-handed, 91 average, 6os (note: slower and rarer than Shillelagh, and ugly as sin)

Range 3:
Balrog Spear (javelin)- 1-handed, 48 average, no sockets (note: Javs look sexy on chargers, and can be used as an IM solution)
Decapitator Axe- 2-handed, 93 average, 5os (note: very ugly)
Colossus Sword- 2-handed, 91.5 average, 5os
Thunder Maul- 2-handed, 106.5 average, 6os (note: highest damage weapon in the game)

Range 4:
Stygian Pike- 2-handed, 86.5 average, 4os (note: MUCH faster zeal speed than the other range 4s, although the same speed standard attack)
Glorious Axe- 2-handed, 92 average, 6os (note: much better looking than Decapitator)
Cryptic Axe (polearm)- 2-handed, 91.5 average, 5os (note: Axes/Spears are more stylish than Polearms, imo)

Range 5:
War Pike- 2-handed, 105.5 average, 6os (note: Only Thunder Maul has a higher average damage, and that has an undesirable range 3. If you can master it, this is easily the strongest base weapon type, imo. Plus it’s the coolest looking Charger weapon around.)

A Discussion of Gear Mods.
Here’s a quick rundown of various notable mods on gear. I tried to avoid the obvious ones (for instance, what use would a Charger have for -% enemy fire resistance? And do you really need me to tell you if +skills, resists, or life are important or not?), and focused instead on the mods that are ridiculously good for this class, or ridiculously bad for this class, or surprisingly mediocre for this class.

Enhanced Damage-
On your weapon, this is the single most important mod a Charger could possibly ask for. Off of your weapon, it’s more of a great big yawn. You remember all the numbers I ran for how much Fanaticism boosted your final damage? Same basic principal here. Off-weapon ED = mediocre, On-weapon ED = GODLY.

Ethereal-
Ethereality adds +50% to the FINAL WEAPON DAMAGE. This means an Ethereal weapon with 100% ED is the same as a non-Eth weapon with 200% ED. An ethereal weapon with 200% ED is the same as a non-Eth weapon with 350% ED. An ethereal weapon with 300% ED is the same as a non-Eth weapon with *500% ED*. Yes, that weapon will eventually get used up… but in the meantime, you’ve got a beat-stick of epic proportions.

+% Damage to Demons/Undead-
Just a quick note- both of these mods function as off-weapon ED. Read the section on ED again if you need a reminder about how important off-weapon ED is(n’t).

-% Enemy Defense / +AR / ITD-
This underrated mod is tremendously useful. Think back to my comparison between Conviction and Fanaticism and remember the numbers I ran on how increasing your chance to hit was just like increasing your average damage output per hit? Well, these mods increase your chance to hit.

Cannot Be Frozen-
The importance of this mod cannot be understated. Chargers rely on precise positioning and a very high degree of mobility. Getting chilled sends their mobility through the floor, which forces them to stand and fight melee style, which gets them killed. I’d rather sacrifice two rows of Potion Slots and use the Death’s Guard Sash than play in Hell without any CBF.

Crushing Blow-
Useful while Zealing, but not so much while Charging. CB is pretty much only handy against bosses.

Deadly Strike-
Deadly strike doubles your physical damage. Chargers can easily top 8,000 average physical damage. Think about that for a second…

Faster Run/Walk-
Yes, you have Vigor. Yes, charge is very fast. I still recommend loading up on fr/w. It really makes a drastic difference when it comes to positioning and setting up charge chains- as well as when it comes to disengaging so you can charge again. If you plan on running Vigor or Holy Freeze, 20-40% is plenty. If you plan on running a more combat-oriented aura, grab as much as you possibly can.

Hit Blinds Target-
This is a very interesting mod for chargers. With range 1 weapons, it’s almost useless in Hell, since by the time the charge chain ends, they’ll be in melee range anyway, whether they’re blinded or not. If they lock on to you, enemies will often follow you around after you run away, even if they’re “blindâ€. On the other hand, on a range 5 weapon, this mod is uber, plain and simple. By the time a charge chain ends, an enemy will be blinded and you’ll still be outside his radius of awareness. You could theoretically stand in place after charging and the critter wouldn’t ever see you unless they happened to amble in your general direction. I *love* this mod on War Pikes. Not like, LOVE.

Hit Freezes Target-
If Blizzard made a weapon that was ethereal, indestructible, range 1, had 600% ED, and a 100% chance to trigger “hit freezes targetâ€â€¦ I wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t even consider it for a second. Hit Freezes Target is just THAT BAD. Freezing targets makes it so they cannot move, cannot attack… and cannot be knocked back. Ever. For any reason. Charge chains? Forget about it. This turns Charge into a 1-hit attack. I’d rather have 200% ED on a 5-hit chain than 600% ED on a one-hit attack. Avoid this mod entirely, at all costs, or suffer the consequences. WORST CHARGING MOD EVER.

Knockback-
Like Hit Blinds Target, this is another mod that’s either going to be invaluable or useless, depending on your weapon range. With range 1 or 2 weapons, a single knockback will usually push an enemy far enough away to give you room to charge. With range 3, 4, or 5, it will require two or even THREE hits with knockback before you get enough room to charge. Since enemies will step back towards you immediately after you knock them back, knockback is completely useless for range 3+ weapons. For range 1 or 2 weapons, though, it’s a very handy little mod that lets you just namelock an enemy that’s in melee range and still trigger a charge chain. It allows you to be a lot lazier and not worry so much about separation and positioning- just go into melee range and namelock an enemy with nothing behind him, and before you know it, you’ve got a charge chain.

+Mana-
Surprisingly enough, this often overlooked mod gets a lot of mileage on Charger classes, especially low-level chargers. It’s not a bad idea to twink a Spirit Shield onto your lower level Chargers. Remember, +90 mana = 10 extra charges, as well as a boost to your mana regen rate.

Prevent Monster Heal-
I view this a lot like I view Cannot Be Frozen- very important to the Charger, because of how he functions. Unlike a zealot, who keeps applying constant damage to overcome a monster’s regen, a Charger will sometimes engage an enemy, get them near death, and then have to disengage as the charge chain ends and circle around for a while looking for an opening. PMH is really handy to keep the monster from just returning to full force while you’re circling him looking for an opportunity to charge. It’s especially handy against larger packs where you’re forced to charge whoever’s open, not whoever you’ve charged previously, and as a result tend to spread your damage around among a lot of different monsters.

Repair Durability / Replenish Quantity-
A VERY nice mod to keep an eye out for on Ethereal items. Remember, items cannot naturally spawn both indestructible and ethereal (with the exception of a few special uniques). As a result, if you want an Ethereal weapon that you can run into the ground and never use up, then you need yourself a Repair/Replenish ethereal. And like the numbers above show- you WANT an ethereal weapon.

-% Requirements-
Weapons with the type of damage range we’ll be looking for have VERY high strength requirements. -% Reqs will save us a bunch of stat points, and extra stat points is the same thing as extra Life. In the words of the Great Booyaka, life is good when your life is good.

Slows Target-
Since this class is devoted to mobility and positioning, anything that will speed up your character relative to his prey is very handy to have. For lots of fun, combine some Slows Target gear with Holy Freeze (Fleshripper + Cleglaw’s Gloves + Holy Freeze = very powerful setup, with decent damage, range 1, knockback, and lots of slow). What was once a dirty merc trick is now yours to do with as you see fit! Please, use your new powers responsibly…

Chance-to-cast effects-
We don’t do sustained melee, so chance-to-cast on striking or on attack effects aren’t really our cup of tea. With the exception of Chance-to-cast Amp on a fast weapon (for zealing with), there really isn’t anything here that we want or need. There is one VERY IMPORTANT THING for you to remember, though- If a chance-to-cast spell naturally has a spell timer, then if it triggers during a charge chain, it will briefly INTERRUPT that charge chain. This is A Very Bad Thing™.

Hit Causes Monster to Flee-
This is actually a handy mod to have with Chargers. A little bit of Hit Causes Monster Flee is a great way to get some separation between you and your prey, and unlike Knockback, it works with weapons of any range. One thing to remember about HCMTF- you want to be careful when applying it to fast monsters. HCMTF causes enemies to run at top speed, and sometimes top speed is so fast that you cannot quickly/easily chase them down, even with Charge.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Weapon Suggestions.
This should not, by any means, be viewed as a comprehensive list of all the weapons that might be useful to a Charger- rather, it should be seen as a good starting point. I’ll list several weapons, their relevant statistics, and why I like them. Suggestions will cover all budgets (from no-twink to super-rich), although remember that I won’t mention anything that requires a rune higher than Vex. Also, I’m going to go off of the assumption that you’ll realize that anything with a ridiculously high base damage (such as a Cruel War Pike or a Hellslayer) is automatically a fabulous Charger weapon, so I’ll limit myself to the choices that might be a little bit less obvious, and spare you all of the discussions about theoretical rares (such as 450% ED Ethereal War Pikes of Self Repair).

Runemaster Unique Ettin Axe-
The vitals: 1-handed, Range 2, 170.5 average base damage
The bonuses: Cannot Be Frozen and 5 open sockets. That’s the potential for up to 200% more ED. A top-end Runemaster could hit 282 average damage, which is just SILLY for a 1-hander.

Ethereal Demon’s Arch Unique Balrog Spear (javelin)-
The vitals: 1-handed, Range 3, 204 average damage
The bonuses: Replenish Quantity means you can use these ethereal sticks and they’ll never run out. Tons of elemental damage makes dispatching PIs much easier, and since they’re throwable, they make a fantastic IM solution. Great on Conviction Chargers.

Ethereal Demon’s Limb Unique Tyrant Club-
The vitals: 1-handed, Range 2, 205 average damage
The bonuses: Life Leech and Fire Damage. Also, since the charges are useless on the ethereal version, I would imagine that you could get an Eth Demon’s Limb that’s had all the charges used up for really cheap.

Earth Shifter Unique Thunder Maul-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 3, 399 average damage.
The bonuses: What, you mean besides 399 average damage? Actually, the mods on this one are kind of a downer- the Chance-to-cast fissure will actually cause very brief interruptions in your charge chain when it triggers, and as I said earlier, you want to avoid anything that’ll put a hitch in your giddy-up. If I found an ethereal Earth Shifter, though (600 average damage), I would wear it down until there was nothing left. I’d also stack on as much Deadly Strike as I possibly could. A perfect Ethereal Earth Shifter with 100% deadly strike and 2000% off-weapon ED would average 26,838 damage per hit. Who cares if your charge chains get interrupted? They only need to be 2-hits long in the first place!

I know that Earth Shifter’s one of those “obvious†weapons that I wouldn’t mention, but I just wanted to get that 26,838 average damage per attack number out there. You know, just in case some people were still on the fence about playing a Charger. ;)

Tomb Reaver Unique Cryptic Axe-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 4, 311 average damage
The bonuses: this is actually a VERY flexible little stick- sort of the Witchwild String of Chargers. Up to 3 open sockets, 30-50% resist all, 60% ias, and a little bit of magic find. It also has a chance to reanimate enemies as returned, but that’s a BAD thing with this build, since that tends to cluster monsters up (and we like monsters spread out for Charge Chains). Luckily for us, it only happens with 10% of our kills, which is an acceptably low value. Stuff the sockets with ED jewels, resist jewels, Eths, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

The Minotaur (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 4, 273 average damage
The bonuses: Slows Target by 50% is superb, especially for the Holy Freeze Chargers. It also packs Hit Blinds Target +2, and at range 4, is long enough for that to be useful. Great disabler with very strong damage still, and much lower Str reqs than most 2-handers… all in all, despite not being an obvious choice, the Minotaur is definitely an ELITE charger weapon.

Heart Carver (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 1-handed, Range 1, 166 average damage
The bonuses: 35% Deadly Strike boosts the average damage to 224, fantastic for a range 1. Also has ITD, but you’re mostly going with the Carver for cheap Range1 damage.

Kelpie Snare (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 4, 264.5 average damage
The bonuses: For the Holy Freeze Charger who would sacrifice a little bit of killing power for a whoooooole lot of disabling, there’s the Kelpie snare, and its “Slows Target by 75%â€. It also packs a nice bonus to life and fire resist. Kelpie snare- it’s not just for Mercs anymore.

Ethereal Hone Sundan (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 5, 393 average damage
The bonuses: The only non-War Pike range 5 worth owning, it’s also the best Range 5 outside of some theoretical rare WPs. Truly sick damage, 45% Crushing Blow, and three open sockets just sitting there BEGGING to be stuffed full of ED Jewels. A top-end ethereal Hone Sundan with +40% ED jewels maxes out at 545 average damage. Not that you have to socket with ED jewels- since attack speed isn’t important (and therefore Shaels aren’t necessary), you have a lot of options with those holes. There’s Resist Jewels, ED Jewels, Eths (and EthEthEth Ethereal Hone Sundan, aside from being very fun to say, boosts your AR to 4 times its standard value against normal mobs).

Spire of Honor (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 5, 320 average damage
The bonuses: This weapon was made specifically for Chargers. How do I know that? Well, it gives +3 to the Combat Skills tab, and obviously wasn’t designed for Conversion, Zeal, Smite, Holy Shield, Holy Bolt, Blessed Hammer, or Fist of the Heavens. It’s slow enough that I suspect it wasn’t meant for Avenging or Sacrificing, either. That leaves Charge. Actually, with decent damage, an AR bonus, and the +3 to Combat Skills, it’s not a bad Charger weapon, either- and since really no one else can put it to good use, I’d imagine you could get one on the cheap.

Ribcracker (upgraded to Elite)-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 2, 366 average damage
The bonuses: What can be said about Ribcracker that hasn’t already been said? Huge damage, huge speed, huge crushing blow, short range, huge defense, miniscule requirements. There’s a reason why it’s everyone’s favorite weapon.

“Silence†runeword War Pike-
The vitals: 2-handed, range 5, 317 average damage
The bonuses: Silence is a truly beautiful runeword. It’s a little bit pricey (requires a Vex and an Ist), but not so expensive that you couldn’t put together a legitimate one with a little bit of effort. The damage isn’t truly top-end, but the weapon itself most definitely IS a top-end Charger weapon. It has -20% requirements, +2 skills, 11% mana leech, 25% HCMTF… and +75% resist all (which is truly uber). The real selling point of the stick, however, is the +33 Hit Blinds Target. That’s enough to ensure that not only can you blind every blindable target in the game… but they’ll also stay blinded for a very long time (since the slvl of Dim Vision is boosted by more +HBT). Generally considered a bow runeword, Silence isn’t a brute force weapon; rather, it is the weapon of a technician, a master of his art. A Charger with a Silence War Pike will charge an enemy, leaving him incapacitated and unaware of the Charger’s presence, and then turn his attention to that monster’s companions. The blinded monsters are easy to set up for long Charge chains, and even if you’re facing a large mob and can’t set up a chain, blinding several targets will thin down the herd and allow you to string out the remaining monsters behind you as you lead them on a little chase. Again, it’s not the strongest weapon, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful, and was my personal favorite to work with.

“Passion†runeword War Pike-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 5, 300 average damage
The bonuses: Go back and read the section on “Silence†again, because “Passion†is really just a baby Silence. It’s cheaper, does comparable damage, and trades 75% Resist All for +50-80% bonus to AR. Obviously the 75% resist all would be nicer… but you get what you pay for. Still a very fun spear, especially once you’ve mastered the tricks of the charging trade.

“Insight†runeword Shillelagh-
The vitals: 2-handed, Range 2, 285 average damage
The bonuses: up to +6 critical strike = up to 46% chance at double damage, which cranks the average damage to 417 per hit. It’s also cheap enough that you can keep making new ones until you get a really high-end one for an even better average damage. Meditation means mana is no longer a concern while charging (and will heal you a bunch if you invest into Prayer and some +skills). Insight also packs a huge AR boost. As ridiculously cheap and ridiculously strong as Insight is, I don’t ever want to hear anyone complaining that they can’t find a good Hell-viable charger weapon, okay? I recommended Shillelaghs instead of Archon Staffs because Shillelaghs are easier to find and easier to get 4 sockets on, which makes it easier to make lots of Insights until you get one you really like. Archon Staffs also look really ugly.

“Oath†runeword Ethereal Conquest Sword-
The vitals: 1-handed, range 1, 253 average damage
The bonuses: I hesitate to put average damage up there, because Oath has a HUGE ED% range, and it’s pricey enough that you don’t want to try making more than 1, or maybe 2 tops. If you get a bad damage roll, you’re really out of luck, and if you get a good damage roll, you have a ridiculously uber weapon. Oath’s average damage will range from 209 to 297. It’s not like there are a bunch of other mods that we want, either- aside from the PMH, there’s not really anything to appeal to Chargers. A good Oath is incredibly powerful, but a bad Oath… is still hell-viable, but it becomes a lot more average of a weapon.

“Oath†runeword Ethereal Glorious Axe-
The vitals: 2-handed, range 4, 531 average damage
The bonuses: Unlike its Conquest Sword counterpart, a bad roll on an Oath Glorious axe still leaves you with a ridiculous weapon. An Oath Eth GA will range from 428 average damage all the way up to 607 average damage. I chose the Glorious Axe over the Decapitator mostly because I prefer Range 4 to Range 3, and because I think Decapitators are deal-breakingly ugly.

“Obedience†runeword Cryptic Axe-
The vitals: 2-handed, range 4, 431 average damage
The bonuses: First off, let’s have a moment of appreciation for the fact that Obedience’s ED isn’t random- it’s fixed at 370%. Every Obedience Cryptic will deal the exact same damage. That’s nice to know. Let’s also appreciate how incredibly cheap it is, requiring no runes higher than Fal (which is insane for a runeword with over 300% ED). The rest of the mods are tasty, too- +20-30% resist all, -25% enemy defense, requirements -20%, and 40% chance for CB. Yet another high-quality budget Charger weapon.


Mercenaries
Have I mentioned yet that Chargers, as a class, are all about mobility and herding monsters? Yeah, I thought I had. Well, in case you missed it the first fifty times, here it is again- Chargers, as a class, are all about mobility and herding monsters. Why am I saying this again? Well, aside from the fact that I like the sound of my own voice (err… computer keys…), it’s very relevant when discussing mercenaries. Melee Mercenaries create monster clumps. Melee mercenaries discourage enemies from stringing out and following you hither and thither and yon. Melee mercenaries rob you of your mobility and herding skills. We hates them, we does.

Now, just to make it perfectly clear, this hatred of melee mercs is really a personal preference, based on my favored style of play with Chargers, which as I have made clear shies away from sustained melee. Other people have had a lot of success with Chargers who embraced sustained melee, pinging back and forth inside of a crowd rather than circling on its edges looking for stragglers. If that’s more your speed, then give a melee merc a tryout and see what you think.

Anyway, with melee mercs off the plate, that leaves A1 Mercs and A3 Mercs. From there, we can immediately eliminate A3 Cold Mercs, as well. They’re very nice, and they’re very fun. They freeze things, too. We can’t knock back frozen things. Charge becomes worthless against frozen things- and thus ends the A3 Cold Mercs. We hates them, too, we does.

What does that leave? A1 Fire Rogues, A1 Cold Rogues, A3 Lightning Mercs, and A3 Fire Mercs. Rule out A3 Fire Mercs, too, while you’re at it, since they deal pathetic damage; and then there were three…

Which of the three remaining mercs you choose depends on personal preference. If you’re running Conviction, a Lightning Merc is actually a pretty decent killer in Hell, especially if you trick him out. If you’re running redemption, you might want to shy away from Cold Rogues, because they’ll shatter your bodies. Like I said, it’s all a matter of personal preference (although I have a particular weakness for Harmony mercs so I don’t have to run Vigor myself). Or you could just ignore mercs entirely and play solo, a lone lion circling packs of antelope and picking stragglers out of the herd.


Bugs.
You’ve heard about the Charge Bugs. Here I tell you how to avoid them.

Charge Bug #1- At the end of your charge, you’ll slow down a bit, and your swing will fall short of the targeted monster.

Solution: Equip longer weapons, or stop charging from so far away.

Possible Causes: As far as I can tell, this one is entirely related to weapon length and charge length. The shorter your weapon and the longer your charge, the more likely it is that you’ll run out of steam a little bit early and whiff on your attack.

Charge Bug #2- at the end of your charge, you freeze in place, unable to move, attack, or do anything.

Solution: hit your weapon switch, or get put into Hit Recovery, and you’ll pop out of it. I prefer hitting my weapon switch, but that’s just me.

Possible Causes: I’m not entirely certain about this one. I’ve heard that running out of mana in mid-charge will do it. I’ve heard that clicking on an enemy (not namelocking) and having it move will do it. Basically, I’ve come to accept as a fact of life that this will occur from time to time. It’s not usually anything more than a nuisance, so I’ve learned to live with it.

Charge Bug #3- This is the nasty one. Sometimes charge will cease functioning. Nothing you do will make it work again- you will just be unable to charge for the duration of the game.

Solution: Leave and re-enter the game. It’s the only way to solve it.

Possible Causes: There is no POSSIBLE cause, there is a CERTAIN cause. If your Holy Shield runs out in mid-charge, you will remain unable to charge for the duration of the game. This is just further proof that the Diablo Gods hate 1-handed Chargers. The simple way to avoid this is to use 2-handers and not use Holy Shield. If you really want Holy Shield, just make sure to pump enough points into it to get a nice long duration, and don’t forget to refresh it before it expires.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Tactics.
Alright, enough jibber-jabber. Here’s where we all learn the super-sneaky tricks of the Chargeadin trade. Please note that all of the names of these tactics are made up- if you go around BNet and ask for some tips on Pinging, you’re going to get some funny looks. They’re just words that sort of describe what I’m trying to do.

Strategy #1- Pinging
This is the most basic Chargeadin strategy, but it’s a very important one that will serve you well throughout your entire career.

The Setup: Facing one main group of enemies. All enemies are concentrated in front of you, with empty room to maneuver behind you.

The Execution: Charge the closest enemy to you. As soon as you hit, take a couple of steps back from the enemy. Repeat. The end result is a Charge / Step Back / Charge / Step Back / Charge / Step Back sequence. It’s not the quickest strategy, but it’s one of the easiest to set up, and works great in a party situation or if you have a melee merc, or of monsters are clustering up in clumps for any other reason. It also works well against Act Bosses, who cannot be hit with a charge chain. The key here is to *NEVER* namelock an enemy- always click once, and only once. By clicking once, you will ensure that you always use the super-fast Charge attack, and that you never use the super-slow standard attack.

Strategy #2- Ponging
This is a variation on the basic Pinging strategy that speeds up your damage output at the cost of a little bit of safety.

The Setup: Facing either two main groups of enemies (one on either side), or scattered enemies all around you.

The Execution: Charge one enemy. As soon as you hit, turn and charge another enemy a little distance away from you. As soon as you hit, either charge the first enemy again, or charge a new enemy. The result is a little bit wild and hard to control as you go ponging off through a battlefield, but it’s a very quick way to distribute a lot of damage in a short amount of time. This is another strategy that works will in party situations where you do not have the ability to arrange the battlefield to your liking. Remember, once again, the key is to always click once, and never namelock. Oh, and it should go without saying, but when you pong from one enemy to another, make sure you always choose a new target that is *OUTSIDE OF YOUR MELEE RANGE*. Because of this, ponging is a lot harder to pull off with range 5 weapons.

Strategy #3- Charge Chains
This right here is going to be the quickest and most efficient way to dispatch enemies. All advanced charger strategies will focus on setting up and sustaining charge chains.

The Setup: Facing a lone enemy with nothing between you and the enemy, and nothing behind the enemy for at least half a screen length.

The Execution: Namelock the enemy. Your initial charge will knock the enemy back. This will give you enough room to start another charge immediately. That charge will knock the enemy back, which leads to another immediate charge. The result is a long series of rapid-fire charges as you push the enemy back in a straight line. The big key is to un-namelock the enemy *BEFORE* you push him up against a wall or other enemy (or anything that will prevent knockback). If you don’t do this, you will end your Charge Chain with a standard attack, which is super slow.

Strategy #4- Stringing
This is a more core Chargeadin strategy that results in nearly maximum damage with nearly minimum exposure. The big weakness to this strategy is that it requires large expanses of unpopulated area to work with, which means it’s not at all useful in enclosed spaces or on fresh maps that haven’t been cleared any yet.

The Setup: Facing a large group of enemies, with a large open space to work in.

The Execution: It helps if you have some sort of cold damage or slows target gear, just so you can differentiate the speeds of the enemies. Anyway, once a pack of enemies sees you, you retreat from them and string them out on terrain features such as bridges and stairways. Once the start getting spread out, you stop running directly away from them, circle around to the side of the lead monster, and Charge. This initiates a charge chain, since there are no other monsters behind the lead monster (that’s why you circled to the side). Ideally, one charge chain will be sufficient to kill off the lead monster, at which point you can resume stringing out the rest of the pack and picking them off one at a time. The big downside to this strategy, other than the amount of open area you’ll need, is that it’s not at all a plausible strategy in party play. When you try to string monsters out, they’ll just ignore you and attack your partymates instead.

Strategy #5- Circling
This is my #1 Charger strategy. This is how I get probably 80% of my kills when playing solo. It provides maximum damage with minimum exposure to damage in return, and doesn’t require large open spaces to work.

The Setup: Facing a single concentrated group of enemies.

The Execution: Like the name suggests, you start circling the pack of enemies. Make sure you have a LOT of faster run/walk (and possibly are running Vigor) just to ensure that the enemies cannot catch you as you circle. While you circle, you watch for enemies to line themselves up so that there’s nothing between you and them, and there’s nothing behind them. The second you see this, you charge that enemy and unleash a brutal charge chain on them. Assuming you are directly north of a monster pack, and are circling to the left and downwards… the monsters most likely to separate out and leave themselves open to a Charge Chain as you circle are the monster at the very north end of the pack, and the monster at the south-west edge of the pack- although I’ve seen occasions where a monster in the center of the pack lined up well. You have to be ready to take advantage of any opening that is provided to you. Once again, be sure to un-namelock BEFORE you back your target up against something, or you will end your chain with a standard attack.

Strategy #6- The Charge-by
Chargers are going to absolutely SUCK in Party Play… until you master the Charge-by. This is really the only party-viable Charge tactic. It’s also far and away the hardest tactic to pull off, requiring lots of practice and very quick, precise clicking. Another nice benefit of the Charge-by is that it makes melee mercs viable again, because it works wonderfully against clumped and stationary monster packs.

The Setup: There are a bunch of enemies clustered together. Ideally, the mob is flatter on the side you want to charge by, although you can do Charge-bys on rounded mobs, too- it's just a convenience thing. Mobs can be either stationary or mobile- it makes no difference.

The Execution: Click on the first enemy to charge. While you are charging that enemy, click on the next enemy to chain to. While you are charging THAT enemy, click on a third enemy. Repeat as necessary. When you have come to the end of the charge-by, click on empty space beyond the mob. If the enemies are in a reasonably straight line, you can actually just keep your mouse in the same place and just keep clicking as you run. You'll usually click on 3-4 enemies on the way, and once you're done, you'll click on empty space behind the mob. Just don't hold down charge for any length of time- constant clicking is the way to go.

The Result: You will run down the line of enemies, whacking each one of them once with a Charge and then continuing past without stopping or even slowing down. After you get the last enemy, you will run past the mob to a point where you can turn around and repeat if necessary.

Another really nice thing about the Charge-by is that after a while, it becomes really fluid and just transitions into other moves. If no monsters are separating themselves from the pack, you can do a Charge-by to get through a mob and then namelock the last enemy to pull off a Charge Chain on it, and at the end of the chain turn around and do another charge-by back through the pack. Or you can string together a series of small charge chains, getting 3 or 4 monsters for two charges each as you go through them. Or you can combine Charge-bys with Ponging to turn you Charger into a whirling dervish who charges into the midst of a pack of baddies and then just flies all over the place, charging everything on screen.


Leveling your Charger.
This section is for handy little tips and tricks for getting your Paladin through Normal difficulty.

* +3 Holy Fire and +3 Holy Freeze scepters, combined with standard attack, will kill remarkably well all the way through Normal, and can very easily be shopped.

*Civerb’s Cudgel makes a great twink weapon (clvl 9 req), and the +Max Damage makes for some absurd 1-handed charging damage (I know this because the first Charger I made on ladder found 3 Civerb’s Cudgels by early A3 Normal, including two in one game, which I always thought was impossible).

*With a clvl 12 Requirement and 9% Mana Leech, Shadowfang is another fantastic twink weapon that I’ve successfully used all the way through normal without any problems whatsoever. I kept trying to replace it with something better, but I just couldn’t pass up all that mana leech.

*Spirit in a Paladin shield will give you +2 skills, 55% faster hit recovery, great Resists against all but Fire… and +89-112 mana, which is a LOT of charges. If you find your blue bulb gets drained too quickly, try making one.

*At slvl 24, Meditation comes into play. Even if it’s not going to be your primary aura, putting a point in it and running it all the time will ensure that you at least have enough mana to start charging full-time all the way through normal, until you get yourself a larger mana pool and some better gear.

*Insight is ridiculously cheap, has a clvl 26 requirement, and has a high-level meditation built in (as well as a ton of ED). Feel free to make several Insight sticks and upgrade from one to another as you meet the progressively higher requirements. I mean, it’s really cheap- you can afford to make several. If made in an elite class item (such as a Shillelagh), it’s even end-game viable.


Chargers in a Party.
The presence of party members really prevents you from executing most of the advanced Charger tactics (all that works will be Pinging, Ponging, and the Charge-by). As a result, it really limits how you can play your character. Here are some tips on how to play in a party without becoming just an aura mule.

*Make it clear to your party members that you are not a tank. In Normal, this isn’t really a problem, but if you party up with a Sorceress in Nightmare, she might see that you’re a paladin and automatically start relying on you to keep the monsters off of her. Let her know that you’re not that kind of Paladin. I mean, you can try tanking if you want, but you really aren’t geared for it, and you probably won’t like the results.

*Spend a lot of time practicing your Pinging and your Ponging. These will be your simplest moves when you’re in a party. If monsters start clumping around the true tanks, Ping them. If there are no true tanks, then rely a lot on ponging scattered monsters to prevent them from ever clumping up around you, because a surrounded Charger is usually a dead charger before too long.

*This is just common courtesy, but if you have several auras that you’ve invested in, let your party know what they are and let your party reach a consensus on what will do the most good, and then run that aura. If you’re a Fanaticism Charger, but everyone would prefer that you run your 1-point Salvation, go ahead and run your Salvation.

*If you reach a very nasty boss (ESEFCursedFanaEnchanted, for instance), let your party know that, if they give you a bit of space, you can safely eliminate the threat. That’s the best part of playing a Charger- you’re a sniper who has absolutely nothing to fear from any single enemy in the game (except, of course, for FE, LE, or FECE, FELE, or FECELE bosses). Crowds give you troubles, but if you can focus your attention on a single enemy, it’ll make for easy pickings. A lot of my characters have nightmares about Haphaesto, but he’s actually my Charger’s favorite enemy, since he can be knockbacked all the way down that entire long path all the way back to his forge.

*Against Act Bosses and Ancients, you’re going to need a lot of help. Most of the time against them, you’re just going to be an Aura Mule, or maybe a 1-point Smiter. Also, if you can beat Hell Ancients solo with a Charger, you’re a better player than I am. Without question, it’s the hardest battle in the game, outside of maybe an LEFE Conviction Enchanted boss.


The End!
(and it's about time, too... :wink3: )​
 

sir goatscelot

Diabloii.Net Member
How you have the patience to post these monsters is beyong me lol. Nonetheless it was a good read with useful info indeed. Glad to see you included my current favorite Charge weapon, Up Ribby :) Currently have a Charge/Zealot going running Fana as primary, and I would have to say its quite fun.

I do have an eth upped 291 ed Ribby, but no zod atm. I guess by looking at your guide, that I should put more effort in obtaining a zod, but it would be more than likely a dupe...

I also find that the CB from Ribcracker really does trigger often and should be a prized mod. I have seen 1 hit kills of Champs in 1-4 player Hell games.

So to sum up, good info and I hope to see some more Chargers out there.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
How you have the patience to post these monsters is beyong me lol. Nonetheless it was a good read with useful info indeed. Glad to see you included my current favorite Charge weapon, Up Ribby :) Currently have a Charge/Zealot going running Fana as primary, and I would have to say its quite fun.

I do have an eth upped 291 ed Ribby, but no zod atm. I guess by looking at your guide, that I should put more effort in obtaining a zod, but it would be more than likely a dupe...

I also find that the CB from Ribcracker really does trigger often and should be a prized mod. I have seen 1 hit kills of Champs in 1-4 player Hell games.

So to sum up, good info and I hope to see some more Chargers out there.
Well, thanks to that whole duped rune thing, I have never gotten my hands on a Zod and probably never will... but whenever I get a good Ethereal weapon, it goes one of three places. First, my BFSin looks at it and sees if she wants it. If she doesn't, then I see if any of my Mercs are interested. If none of them are, then I just give it to my Charger and let him wear it out. What's the point of having Ethereal weapons if you aren't going to use them? One of the most fun games I've ever done was the last game with my Ethereal Earth Shifter before it broke. I ran that puppy into the ground and then gave it a good farewell tour, showing the Ancients that even if I couldn't knock them back, I could still whump them pretty darn hard. After triggering Decrep, the Ancients all went down in 2 or 3 hits (one of the few times when I've actually taken out Hell Ancients solo with a Charger). After that, I took my good friend out into the Blood Moor on normal and gave it a farewell tour it'd never forget, overkilling Fallen and Quill Rats like nobody's business. :azn:



 

IntelligentX

Diabloii.Net Member
Excellent work SSoG.
I thought charge is only good for people that desynchs, but now you have inspired me into something... Thanks!
 

kohlman

Diabloii.Net Member
Also something to note, you say that a surrounded charger is a dead charger. This is true. One way to help escape with any life is to use smite since you are forced to slap a point into it, mindas well keep it on weapon switch if you think you will be going into an area that you may be surrounded with vigor as aura. That way, if you get surrounded, you can press "W" and smite an opening and run out with whatever is reamining of your life.

I am also looking into making a Charger since I have been using it a little for dueling versus casters on my zmealer and charge is amazing! I know you don't PvP, but side note, Charge is excellent versus many casters because you can circle enemies and pop in at them with sicknasty damage and usually 1hit KO opponets. I have beaten several hammerdins with Charge by charging to the bottom of them and charging up through their field from the bottom. Once you get through the hfield, they cant cast hammers anymore because of the immense knockback.

I will definately use this thread when building my charger. Job well done :thumbsup:
 

barren

Diabloii.Net Member
Sweet merciful jesus, I didn't know there was so much to say about charge. I think I deserve a medal for reading the entire thing from start to finish. I plan on making a charger, I'm just not sure what kind. The hammer/charger sounds neat, although a pvp oriented smite/charger is also appealing. Decisions, decisions....
 

kohlman

Diabloii.Net Member
I thought about the smite/charger idea as wel and gave it a test on my zealer (20 zeal 20 fanat, 20 holy shield, etc) and he would get chargelocked alot.

I would advise against the charge/smiter simply because of chargelock. I use charge on my zmealer and when I get close during the charge, I would switch to smite and it would put me in a chargelock every single time, making charge/smite not as good as it looks. Charge always knocks back so it prevents them from attacking and does more damage so i think 1 point in smite would work just as good as 20.
 

koeraokse

Diabloii.Net Member
I like this! We should have more guides like this, really good job man!

I remember when I was turning to a normal player from a newb I used to make crusaders (chargers). first with the allmighty bonehew, oh I was so proud of myself, 13k dmg if I remember correctly. I had low res and def so very often I got raped in PvM and PvP. After that I made a new one, with a shield, and bow-wow I had a very good time in PvM and PvP, good res, max block, high def and still high damage, plus I looked sexy as hell with my leviathan and gaze :badteeth: . enough about me, I dont even have much to say or argue about you have done very good job, keep it up man!

:thumbsup:


:shocked:
*priit2
 

ispankpigeons

Diabloii.Net Member
wonderful guide.

i'm considering making a hammer/charger now. thanks for the info!

And as a side note: its only impossible for two of the same UNIQUE to spawn in a single game.

I once found 3 dangoon's teachings in the same HELL COW LEVEL.
 

Murderface

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm planning on making a pole charger, anyone got an idea of which build i should try? I was thinking the Vanilla charger with vengeance on the side. If anyone has any ideas for the best weapons or builds i would really appreciate it. Amazing guide btw.
 

bravehoptoad

Diabloii.Net Member
That's probably the best guide I've ever read. I guess I'm particularly impressed because Chargers have always been my favorite characters, and I was thinking about doing a guide on them...until now. You've just blown away anything I had to say. Your section on weapon range...priceless. I've played Chargers since 1.00, my first Frost Charger, and never thought to use a pike. Gotta try one now, something with "Hit Blinds Target," which I never in my life would imagine a Charger would want.

I agree with you about footspeed. For a Charger, it's what we have instead of weapon speed. True, it doesn't make any difference in a "charge chain," but in setting up and delivering hits, or when "pinging," it's crucial.

Now, who wouldn't want to play a class that can justify footspeed in terms of damage output? For Chargers, speed isn't a guilty pleasure, it's a necessity! And, for that reason, wheee!

Your take on mercenaries is quite interesting. I'd always thought that because I was NOT a tank, I needed one, particularly in the zones that are both close and maze-like, so enemies can come from different angles...like the barracks, or those temples in Kurast, or the tombs in the desert, etc. That's a weakness of Chargers--when there's no room to charge. There's always that tension when you're stepping into a new zone. That's when I'm glad I've got a tank.

But I can see that, yes, it might also be fun to have a merc whose instinct would parallel my own, which is, to run around and pick off stragglers.

There's one reason I think my tank is probably better than the ones you've been used to using: Delirium. I've never found an item that changes the way the game is played more than this one. On an Act II merc with his jab, the level 18 Confuse triggers *a lot*, and with this on, the monsters tend to stay strung out while they squabble with each other, and so are easy to pick off with charge. Also, you don't need as much room to manuever, since they aren't chasing you.

I would love to get your take on Chargers in hardcore. Like you, that's where I play my 2-handed Chargers. However, I do not think this is easy. In fact, while it's incredibly fun, it's also exhausting, and I can't play that way for long. It's just so, so easy for a Charger to die. I think Faster Hit Recovery is crucial for a Charger, but you don't mention it. Do you not? Chargers don't have a lot of life, and go down fast. "Glass cannons," true. Critters can hit you in mid-charge, swinging at you as you go dashing by. Of course, I've had iron maiden cast on me in mid-charge from off-screen, and had to deduce after the fact why I died, or had amp damage cast on me while I was putting the last hit on a fire-enchanted boss.

Another charge bug: there are times when a critter will stop being knocked back by charge, when there's nothing visible to stop them. I tell you, any little bump in the ground will keep a critter from going back, and if you're not prepared for this, they're going to land a hit on you. That's why the FHR is so important, IMO.

Chargers are the most fun I've had in D2, but it's a relief to switch to a character that actually likes close tight spaces, and doesn't worry about instant death, like an Avenger or a Zealot.

Great, great article, and P.S., when I read about the "hammerdin" suddenly pulling out a Thunder Maul and blasting out, I about snorted coke all over my keyboard.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm planning on making a pole charger, anyone got an idea of which build i should try? I was thinking the Vanilla charger with vengeance on the side. If anyone has any ideas for the best weapons or builds i would really appreciate it. Amazing guide btw.
My favorite builds are far and away the Conviction Charger, the Invincible Charger, the Holy Freeze Charger, and the Holy Shock Charger- in that order.

Your take on mercenaries is quite interesting. I'd always thought that because I was NOT a tank, I needed one, particularly in the zones that are both close and maze-like, so enemies can come from different angles...like the barracks, or those temples in Kurast, or the tombs in the desert, etc. That's a weakness of Chargers--when there's no room to charge. There's always that tension when you're stepping into a new zone. That's when I'm glad I've got a tank.

But I can see that, yes, it might also be fun to have a merc whose instinct would parallel my own, which is, to run around and pick off stragglers.
I've recently begun using tank mercenaries more often, and they definitely do make life a lot easier in some formerly scary places, such as the Maggot Lair or the River of Fire. Especially Maggots- with a pike, if you can coerce your merc to go in front of you, you can wait until he engages and the charge and poke right over top of him. It's a slow fight, but when you're dealing 10,000 damage per hit, the outcome is inevitable. If you don't mind a little bit of Polygamy, I'd probably recommend using Merc-swapping tactics. Keep two sets of gear around, and then switch back and forth between A2/A5 mercs and A1/A3 mercs, depending on what area you're going into.

There's one reason I think my tank is probably better than the ones you've been used to using: Delirium. I've never found an item that changes the way the game is played more than this one. On an Act II merc with his jab, the level 18 Confuse triggers *a lot*, and with this on, the monsters tend to stay strung out while they squabble with each other, and so are easy to pick off with charge. Also, you don't need as much room to manuever, since they aren't chasing you.
I've never been a fan of Delirium on my Charger, but I have to admit, most of the time I just run around with a dead merc anyway. I suppose it would be better to have the enemies all confused than all clustered around your tank, but I never feel in control of my Charger unless I can manipulate the enemies- which means I hate monsters that ignore me and do their own thing. I want them to chase me, or run from me, or move in a predictable pattern so that I can position them and then turn them into gory little bloodstains.

I would love to get your take on Chargers in hardcore. Like you, that's where I play my 2-handed Chargers. However, I do not think this is easy. In fact, while it's incredibly fun, it's also exhausting, and I can't play that way for long. It's just so, so easy for a Charger to die. I think Faster Hit Recovery is crucial for a Charger, but you don't mention it. Do you not? Chargers don't have a lot of life, and go down fast. "Glass cannons," true. Critters can hit you in mid-charge, swinging at you as you go dashing by. Of course, I've had iron maiden cast on me in mid-charge from off-screen, and had to deduce after the fact why I died, or had amp damage cast on me while I was putting the last hit on a fire-enchanted boss.

Another charge bug: there are times when a critter will stop being knocked back by charge, when there's nothing visible to stop them. I tell you, any little bump in the ground will keep a critter from going back, and if you're not prepared for this, they're going to land a hit on you. That's why the FHR is so important, IMO.
FHR is a dicey mod. Like IAS, if you play properly you'll almost never need it... but if you screw up, it comes in extremely handy. I have to say that most of this guide was written based on my experience in SP (95% of my time is spent in SP, and until about 3 months ago I didn't have a single Charger on realms). Now that I'm playing online more, I do notice that weird "enemy isn't knocked back when he should have been" bug more often, and FHR does start coming in handy more often. Especially because Pallies with Spears or Staves have brutal recovery speeds (13 frames, base). I suppose I'd put it like this- FHR and IAS are both like training wheels- great tools to protect you from yourself when you screw up. Between lag and desynch, I'd never venture onto the Realms without noticeable chunks of both... but if playing SP, I'm fine with as little as 20%. On realms, definitely hit the 48% breakpoint.

Chargers are the most fun I've had in D2, but it's a relief to switch to a character that actually likes close tight spaces, and doesn't worry about instant death, like an Avenger or a Zealot.

Great, great article, and P.S., when I read about the "hammerdin" suddenly pulling out a Thunder Maul and blasting out, I about snorted coke all over my keyboard.
I'm glad you liked my guide, but I have to admit I'm a little bit worried when my guide almost makes you snort coke. Just say no to drugs... :shocked: :wink:



 

RTB

Diabloii.Net Member
Some facts for this great guide (if only I had the perfect weapon for a charger):

Vigor speeds up Charge, which goes at 9 yards/sec at default, speeds up with 0.09 yards/sec for every % of Vigor.

Attack speed is apparantly 7 frames for any weapon.
 

SSoG

Diabloii.Net Member
Some facts for this great guide (if only I had the perfect weapon for a charger):

Vigor speeds up Charge, which goes at 9 yards/sec at default, speeds up with 0.09 yards/sec for every % of Vigor.

Attack speed is apparantly 7 frames for any weapon.
Thanks for that. It's nice to get some nice, hard numbers from a source that I trust. It seems that I was a little bit optimistic in my attack-speed estimations, but I suppose I can live with a 7-frame attack with Cruel Thunder Mauls. :laugh:



 
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