Freezealot Ladder PvM Guide 1.10 Freezealot Ladder-Running Guide, PvM Opening note: I wrote this guide with people playing the hardcore ladder in mind, but of course this can apply to anyone. The paladin, with the advent of 1.10, now has what is possibly the highest number of viable builds for any character class. Having played this game since the day it came, there remain only two real fun points that keep me playing: working with lesser-seen builds and, now, running the ladder. I, like many of you, am anxiously awaiting the next ladder reset and trying to plan a character who is capable of getting to the top. Well, look no further! A paladin who uses Holy Freeze as his main aura and Zeal as his main attack has so many advantages, its amazing everyone isn't using them! In addition, there are several different ways to slightly customize your Freezealot based on your preferences and skill choices, and I'll go over them as well. Lastly, this build is NOT very equipment dependant despite the fact that you're a meleer! Unfathomable! Plus, I hate build guides that set up the build with EVERY point spent. This guide assumes you'll make it to 80 or so and thus doesn't set up builds with insane amounts of skill points... luckily, we wont be sacrificing effectiveness at all. As a note, I myself find MFing boring as hell, and never do it. Maybe you're like me, and shake your head when you see people posting "Hey, I found my 8th SS of the day!" Thus, while in my equipment recommendations I'll of course note the optimal setup, I'll also make a list of items attainable to people like myself, who like to play through the game and use what they can find. Plus, if you're making a ladder bid, you wont have time to level up a magic finder - in the time that takes, you'll have lost your position. That said, on we go. </rant> Why use this build? With this build, you will end up with two major damage types - physical and cold - at the same time. Additionally, thanks to holy shield you'll have 75% blocking... its like 75% resist physical (and hell, even some magic missles)! Third, your resists will be excellent with a very high cold resist in particular. Lastly, all enemies will be slowed over 50 percent! 50 percent!!!! They move half as fast, attack half as fast, or shoot half as fast, the whole time taking periodic cold damage from an aura with huge range. Stat Point Allocation The standard stuff here... Str: as much as is needed for gear Dex: as much as is needed for max blocking Vit: everything else Nrg: do I really have to say it... not a point Skill Points There are a few different ways you can go about doing this, depending about how you want to tailor your character. I'll give the main points and let you decide how you want to do the rest! All of these builds assume that you'll need pretty high attacking rating as you enter hell difficulty and thus they max Zeal... plus, the new damage bonus doesnt hurt. General Note: This build is capable dealing massive cold and massive physical damage. However, Iron Maiden can be a real killer... for us hardcore people, thats it! That said, its possible to totally rock with this build while purposefully doing as little physical damage as possible to avoid any problems with IM. Of course I dont worry about it as my personal policy is to never swing - period - around IM casters, but I thought I'd mention it as it is a concern to some. 1. Emphasis on cold damage - 20 Zeal - 20 Holy Freeze - 20 Resist Cold - 20 Salvation - 5 or more in Holy Shield Order: Pump Resist Cold until you get Zeal. Once you get Zeal, pump it until you get Holy Freeze. Pump Holy Freeze until you get Holy Shield, and sink those 5 points into it so you're all set. Your blocking and duration should now be at respectable levels. I suggest finishing Holy Freeze and getting at least 10-15 into Zeal before you pump Resist Cold. Personally, I max both of those before I finish Resist Cold. At this point you'll be around 60 or so, and will be dealing about 750 cold damage per hit! Once you max out salvation, you'll be doing roughly 1000+ cold damage per hit, plus the physical from Zeal. After you've "finished" this build around 80, you can pump Holy Shield for the defense, or pump Sacrifice to increase your physical damage. 2. Emphasis on physical damage - 20 Zeal - 20 Sacrifice - 20 Resist Cold - 20 Holy Freeze - 5 or more in Holy Shield Order: This build is exactly like the above one except instead of Salvation, you pump up Sacrifice to increase your physical damage. Set up your skills with Zeal, then Holy Freeze, then Resist Cold with Sacrifice last... after all, this is a cold build! Cold comes first, damn it! Of course once you're done you can always sink points into Salvation, or Holy Shield if thats your thing. 3. Balance - 20 Zeal - 20 Holy Freeze - 20 Resist Cold - 10 Sacrifice - 10 Salvation - 5 or more in Holy Shield Order: I'm sure you can figure this out, but if you're having trouble deciding what kind of damage to specialize in, it cant hurt to make a spread between both! 4. Defensive - 20 Zeal - 20 Holy Freeze - 20 Resist Cold - 20 Holy Shield Order: You know the drill by now... maxing Holy Shield comes last after you've sunk those first 5 points into it. The big advantage here is you get a massive 300+ percent defense bonus! If you're able to come by high defense gear or anticipate that you will, this isn't a bad build despite the fact that you sacrifice some damage output. Once you're done with the main build, you can pump either Salvation or Sacrifice depending on your damage plans, or go for the defense and max defiance to get some insane d. Equipment General Notes: The Freezealot is based on cold damage, yes. However, the optimal setup is based around something else: crushing blow. Not enough people seem to put emphasis on this awesome attribute. Achieving at least 50% crushing blow is a HUGE bonus... having near or at 100% - which you should make your goal - turns you into a MACHINE that will wow everyone who sees you in action. Your goals should be, in general, to max your resists, have a shield with high blocking, and get a fast weapon to rapidly deliver that cold damage. Other pursuits should be getting some +skills on your gear and LASTLY, maybe some damage reduction. I personally never actively go after DR and never have a problem - after all, you have 75% block and the enemies move super slowly! Lastly, while I list tons of sets and uniques below, please dont be an elitist tool and ID ALL RARES! Especially when you're in hell and normal items can spawn with insane mods, you might miss something amazing! Since they can always be upgraded, please god dont pass them up. A good rare has the potential to replace 95% of items people normally use, plus you can feel cool when you show off your equipment and its not what everyone else uses. Weapon Your goal here is something fast with good physical damage if you're going that route... and of course, something that has crushing blow. If you're worried solely about cold, get something fast with other nice mods. Ultimate: Heaven's Light - Amazing damage, great speed, +2-3 skills, 33% target defense AND!... 33% crushing blow! Now the best part... 1-3 sockets. Throw an ETH in one of them and you have a weapon with 58% target defense - really makes your job easier. You could also throw in some runes to increase your crushing blow if you're rich, otherwise its up to you: I went eth eth shael and it was awesome as heck. If you're really boss you could throw in a nice cold rainbow facet... Others: Stormlash, Stonecrusher Great: Zakarum's Hand - +2 Holy Freeze and ITD with 30% IAS. Others: General's Tan Do Li Ga (you'll be hitting VERY fast... and the monsters get VERY slow, they barely move), Atlantean Other: Crushflange! Yes, with 33% crushing blow you'll still be taking names. In fact, I was mocked several times while in hell for STILL hanging onto my crushflange... but once they saw me ripping with my massive cold damage aided by the crushing blow, they shut up. Also: "Black" - Thul Io Nef. You can definately find these runes... whatever you get from your nightmare hellforge should be suitable to get an Io with, which is the hardest thing to find here. Put this is a flail of some sort since they're lightning fast. This has 40% crushing blow on a one hander! In fact, once I can use this, I do... all the way until I get a Heaven's Light. Yes, its thats good. Armor Ultimate: There is only one armor paladins should shoot for endgame... Guardian Angel. With bonuses on it for everything paladins hold dear, even the best runewords dont match it pound for pound. Of course, socket it with an UM for the resistances if you need em. Great: There are so many good unique and set armors, I could seriously list half of them. Rockfleece is nice for the 25% crushing blow, plus you could upgrade it for more defense. Duriel's shell is always great as well. Pick something that complements your other gear and you're off and running. Other: Smoke runeword, Lionheart runeword... rares, anything! Helm Ultimate: Guillaume's Face, the set helm from the Orphans Call set. All great mods, but we really want it for the 35% crushing blow it has! Socket it with shael for faster recovery or um of course for the resistance. Others: Seriously, many of exceptional or elites will do for this build. Great: Rockstopper, my personal favorite! Every paladin I've ever made used one as soon as I could trade for it! Huge resists, damage reduction and more! My personal favorite. Others: Face of Horror, Lore runeword Other: Rares, baby. Shield Ultimate: There is only one, and you already know what it is: The Herald of Zakarum, the greatest shield ever conceived. You could upgrade it for a liiiiittle more defense but until you're at that point where you're just trying to make your gear perfect, dont bother. This shield is kinda hard to get a hold of though, so you'll probably be using something else for a long time. Others: Any of the unique paladin shields are decent overall. Great: So many good shields out there... Steelclash is of course a standard, and easy to find. Orphan's Call set shield is VERY nice as well. Other: There's the one time that you'll be more than happy to use a rare. Save your imbues for shields and identify EVERY RARE! You can always upgrade it, and there are some damn nice shields to be found. Also, save shields with nice automods to make runewords in... shael + eth is easy and great, or an ancients pledge to really bolster your resists. Holy Shield can help make up for poor blocking. Please dont forget rares here... I've more than once in normal play found +2 paladin skill prismatic shields with plenty of other great mods!!! Gloves Ultimate: This is the one place where I'm TOTALLY undecided. Steelrend, the elite unique Orge Gauntlets, have 10% crushing blow and other nice mods. However, things like the immortal king gloves or even upgraded bloodfist are fine choices. Great: Hey! I said I was undecided, didnt I?!?! My recommendation would be to craft some gloves with crushing blow on them. With any luck you'll get some nice resists and maybe even leech, as well. Any crushing blow of 7ish or more is nice in my book. Other: OK, we're done here. Boots Ultimate: Really, Gore Riders are probably your best choice here, since they have 15% crushing blow and an all-important 30% faster run. If you've done a good job getting all the crushing blow gear together, you'd have: 15 (boots) + 35 (helm) + 40 ("black") + 7% (lets say some crafted gloves) = 97% alright! We did it, good as 100 for all intents. Of course, using Heaven's Light we drop down to 90%, but its such a good weapon its worth it. However, look below... Great: Goblin Toe, of course! 25% crushing blow can definately bring you to 100%, but it lacks the faster movement that make the Gores so great. Other: Pretty much anything works here... rares, crafted, Immortal King, Aldurs, or any unique you find. Infernostride is a nice choice I've used in the past. Belt Ultimate: This is a tough call. Any of the elite uniques are awesome. String of Ears of course is a nice standard, as is Thundergod's Vigor for its all-around statistical greatness. Great: Immortal Kings; upgraded Bladebuckle are both fine. Rares and crafts will get you by too, as long as they have 4 slots and some resists. Faster hit recovery isnt hard to get either. You can always try and imbue. Rings Ultimate: Well, its standard, but its true: having a ravenfrost is super helpful. The cannot be frozen is godly, and it really saves you with its huge attack rating and dex bonuses for blocking. Aside from having at least 1, the other choice should be whatever compliments your equipment at the time. Great: Dwarf Star is more than decent, and really most if not all of the unique rings are great. Other: I honestly end up using rares most of the time - gamble gamble gamble! You can land some huge AR + resist rings. Amulet Ultimate: Who ISNT going to say Maras here. Great: We arent all likely to have a Maras, so your best bet is to find something that compliments your build and fills in the gaps. I usually go for a rare with +skills and resists... again, gamble and trade. Usually you can trade that +1 amazon ammy you got for something equal with pally skills you can use. Other: You can craft an amulet with increased chance of blocking... that aint bad! That about sums it up for equipment. Like I said, shoot for huge max resists, max block and the highest crushing blow you can get. That will take you all the way through hell. While your crushing blow is cutting enemies down left and right, your massive cold damage will do the rest of the job. Just wait til they see you burn through hell baal in an 8 player game in about 15 seconds. Merc Ahhh, you thought I forgot, didnt you? This is a personal preference thing, but here are some recommendations. If you're going to aim for high physical damage via the sacrifice synergy, you should probably get an act2 might merc. If you want to be cool and unique, hire an act 1 fire arrow mercenary and equip her well... she can actually rock! Hire an act3 cold merc and be the ultimate cold machine. Because not only can he hold the most equipment out of anyone in the game, but he wont just slow enemies, he'll freeze em! I've used this in the past and he's great fun. However, if you're really looking for something to compliment your build, go for something that does a damage type you dont do - which probably means an act3 lightning/fire or act1 fire merc. The act 1 archers really get underestimated, but they really help dish it with a half-decent bow. Final Notes I've personally taken this build all the way through hell baal twice, untwinked, in preparation for the ladder run I want to make next season. It is quite viable and very capable of handling any area in the game thanks to two main damage types. Like I said, I'm not rich. However, I was still able to achieve most (for one run all) of my "ultimate" items. Your best bet is to do baal runs with some friends. This way no one grabs and everyone can get the great drops that they need, or get the items they can trade for what they need. The guide officially ends here, but you can read below for a little bonus story if you'd like. I hope to see more Freezealots popping up! Feel free to come game with me, I'm currently doing my third and final untwinked run of the game... *Kitriara on USEast hardcore ladder. Xoll's Story Xoll was the man. He was my little experiment that could and exceeded all of my expectations. I was finishing the last of my nightmare baal runs in order to get to level 80, which seems to be a safe entry level for hell. My equipment (lemme have my moment!) - Rockstopper (never got G's Face =\) - Gaurdian Angel (socketed with a 4/5 cold facet) - eth eth shael Heaven's Light - Herald of Zakarum - Gore Riders - String of Ears - 10% crafted crushing blow gloves - Raven Frost, Dwarf Star - +1 paladin skills, prismatic, +strength amulet I was playing through, following my rule of NEVER attacking when there are people who can cast Iron Maiden. Well, feeling useless, I decide, "Hell, I'll just take one swing!" Well, IM apparently was cast at that moment as I was far too powerful to take one of my own hits. Instant death, hadn't turned on loot. Thus it ended. Xoll 3.0 is being built as we speak =) As a final note, recall I said I'm nowhere close to rich, but look at the equipment I managed to get. I think you can too! Thanks for reading.