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Guardian Erica, Random tourney DS Assassin (with nicely outfitted Might merc)

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by jiansonz, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. jiansonz

    jiansonz IncGamers Member

    Jun 22, 2003
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    I managed to go all the way with my Assassin in the Random Tournament 2013. Rules are explained in the tourney thread, but it boils down to (with some exceptions), basically, that you have 8 skills you are allowed to place points in and use at any one time. Three of these skills are the same for the whole character journey while five skills get rolled for each difficulty (we were required to use respec at the start of Nightmare and Hell). Also, the gear is restricted in such a way that only a few item types are allowed (determined at random, except for main weapon types (unless the player wants to randomize that too)).

    Charges, ctc skills, equipped auras, passive staffmods and passive oskills from items are all OK. Active skills from staffmods and oskills are not allowed to be used (unless it's one of your 8 skills, of course). Starting gear is also allowed.

    We could pick two main weapon types (one type would get a roll of two subtypes and the other a roll of one subtype). One class-specific item type would also be rolled, which in the case of Assassin is a claw, of course. So four allowed weapon subtypes in total for me.
    I picked polearm x2 and javelin x1, the same types as my succesful Random tourney Paladin last year had. The idea behind this was that I wanted javelin for a combined ranged/melee option. All javelins are long-ranged melee weapons, great for Phoenix Strike. A big damn polearm would be good both for a Phoenix Striker (long range, plus think about 2nd charge lightning mayhem with a Crescent Moon!) or for a Tiger Striker. I am pretty new to the RWM, so I wanted to have a chance to play with some of those fancy runewords, and there are overall many good runewords for polearms. Also, if I hadn't picked spear or polearm, if I were to choose an Act II merc, he would be stuck with javelins!

    Erica's item types:
    Heavy body armor (armor is more generous than the other types - several types are bunched together, so I could use any of Scale Mail, Plate Mail and Full Plate Mail)
    Light Gauntlets
    Chain Boots

    War Scythe
    Hatchet Hands

    Forever skills (the ones that were with me the whole way):
    Dragon Talon
    Shadow Warrior
    Fire Blast

    Skills for Normal:
    Death Sentry
    Dragon Claw
    Burst of Speed
    Cloak of Shadows

    Nice skill roll, wouldn't mind something like that for Hell difficulty!

    First character report in the thread is post #306.

    BoS was convenient the whole difficulty. Got Shadow Warrior at level 18 (around Barracks) which was nice. No need to tank much for my archer merc any longer. I could always fall back on CoS if many monsters were threatening. Got to Act II, hired a Prayer merc and rolled him a Savage Scythe with the kris/belt/staff/diamond recipe once I got the cube. I later found an ethereal rare Scythe with the same average damage as the Savage, plus it had life steal.

    I killed Diablo with Venom-assisted javelins. Kinda scary with 10% fire resist but a strong Shadow Warrior allowed me the time I needed to move around and avoid most of the fire.

    After the Highlands quest, I hired a barb merc and gave him an ethereal Shadowfang. That was good enough for a while, especially when I could upgrade it when an Amn dropped in Infernal Pit.

    Skills for Nightmare:
    Claw Mastery
    Cobra Strike
    Psychic Hammer
    Dragon Claw
    Wake of Inferno

    So, the RNG (that stands for Random Number Gods) want me to be a fire trapper in NM? OK, whatever...

    My barb merc with ethereal Shadowfang Espandon ate Act I NM for breakfast (as I knew he would - this is not the first time I've had that setup). My Sturdy Shadow Warrior added to his (and the whole party's) safety.

    Game-changing moment when I found an ethereal Battle Scythe in Fangskin's lair and the socket recipe gave it four sockets. Switched to Might merc and made Insight in this polearm for him. This was to be my companion for the rest of the game and that was to be his weapon for 6 of the remaining 8.5 acts (plus it still made "guest appearances" against some PI bosses until the very end).

    The rest of Nightmare was a big treasure hunt. This version of Erica was just a big lump of life that couldn't fight and could barely move (heavy armor and no FRW) but with a good Shadow and pretty decent fire traps.

    Skills for Hell:
    Death Sentry
    Cobra Strike
    Blades of Ice
    Mind Blast

    So, I was not going to be a Phoenix Striker or a Tiger Striker. What to be?
    A Death Sentry Assassin! Just need some corpses and you'll see dominance on low players settings.
    Fade is great for Hell, as is Mind Blast.

    Merc was no longer a topaz-shining glass cannon, because he was now outfitted with Tal Rasha's mask and a 'Stealth' Full Plate (hehe, nice oxymoron there...). Erica herself also toughened up considerably, getting DEX for 50% blocking, maxed resists with Fade and lots of life. String of Ears combined nicely with Fade to give her 36% physical damage reduction. I made a 'Strength' Hatchet Hands for act boss fights (actually used already against NM Baal).
    Even the Shadow got a major boost, now that I could have her cast (level 17) Fade on herself. That was especially nice in Act II with all those poisonous monsters. She was practically poison immune - the poison hits only had her blink green for a moment.

    So no trouble with resurrectors, and generally little problems with monsters vulnerable to physical damage. And those that are indeed PI do not have much life in the first acts (ghosts, bug swarms) or are lone Stone Skin bosses. Death Sentry was my main PI solution. It is not a powerhouse with its lightning damage (unsynergized) but some investment in Fire Blast at least made it fire many times. Not that this mattered much, because of Insight. Fire Blast also helped, and that is synergized by DS.

    In Swampy Pit, I found a magical Giant Thresher that I, after spending all my chippies (save for a small reserve for cube recipes) and about half of my mid-sized gems, managed to reroll into an absolutely incredible weapon: a perfect +300% ED Cruel Giant Thresher of Alacrity with 2 sockets (!). This was his main weapon for more than two acts. For the last stretch, from Ancients' Way and onwards, it was replaced by an even more insane weapon (see below).

    Overall, the toughest monsters were the Blunderbore types. Frenzytaurs had a chance to be very dangerous as well but there was only one boss pack (not even close to the entrance) on the entire Hell difficulty.

    See the thread for progress on Hell difficulty. The only real hiccups were some of the Act III Temples (especially Forgotten Temple that I mistakingly entered at players 8 and got stairs trapped by two monster packs). Also, a Gloam boss pack guarding the entrance to Great Marsh suprised me, and I ate all the shots and got down to about half life. That never happened again for the rest of the game. That's how good she was at staying away from danger, and at dealing with danger when she had to. I chose to go with a teleporting amulet and while it was not used all that much (maybe 50 or so times in total), it was great to have when I wanted it.

    Single-pass full clear of the whole game, on Hell mainly on players 3.

    Skills for Hell:
    Death Sentry 20
    Fire Blast 20
    Dragon Talon 7
    Shadow Warrior 20
    Fade 20
    Mind Blast 2
    (note: all skills operated at +2 because of Lore helm and Bul-Kathos' ring)

    Erica the Assassin
    Level 86
    STR 84+20, DEX 144, VIT 272+10, ENE 25+10
    Resists 75/72/75/25
    Blocking 50%
    Life 1380
    Mana 180
    AR with Dragon Talon 3056
    Death Sentry lightning damage 1-392
    Fire Blast damage 323-422

    Final Gear:
    (Disclaimer, this exact setup was actually never used - the armor wasn't socketed until just before the cow level and for that, I replaced the BK ring with a Fortune one)
    * 'Lore' Death Mask
    * Amulet of Teleportation (22 charges)
    * 'Strength' Hatchet Hands
    * Coral (27) Full Plate Mail of the Whale, socketed with a perfect ruby (+138 life)
    * 'Rhyme' Heater (yup, had to go 'l33t' to get a shield with more than one socket!)
    * Light Gauntlets of Fortune (25)
    * Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
    * String of Ears
    * Nagelring (28)
    * Russet (13) Chain Boots of Transportation

    (weapon switch was never used, but it had Wailing Hatchet Hands and another 'Rhyme' Heater)

    * Lapis (17) Grand Charm
    * Garnet (25) Grand Charm
    * Garnet (25) Grand Charm of Life (7)
    * Septic Grand Charm of Sustenance (33)
    * Grand Charm of Vita (40)
    * Sapphire (15) Large Charm
    * Azure (4) Small Charm of Fortune (4)
    * Lapis (7) Small Charm of Greed
    * Cobalt (9) Small Charm
    * Small Charm of Sustenance (12)
    * Beryl (5) Small Charm of Sustenance (12)
    * Small Charm of Sustenance (14)
    * Rugged Small Charm of Sustenance (15)

    Razan the Might merc (vital for corpses for DS so the best stuff went here!)
    * Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest socketed with a Jewel of Fervor
    * 'Obedience' (Superior, +10% ED) Thresher
    * 'Fortitude' Full Plate Mail

    Notable other item finds: Dangoon's Teaching, Bloodmoon, Djinn Slayer

    I will conclude this post with Erica's sick run of high rune finds. She found absolutely no rune in the range from Fal to Mal (I cubed the Fal for Obedience from all the runes shown in my stash here). This was quite strange. With the 1.13 rune drop odds, one can pretty much expect to have the runes for Obedience before Nightmare is over.

    What she did find were these runes:
    Gul (in Act V Nightmare (!))
    Ist (Hellforge)
    Vex (early Hell)
    Ohm x2 (one in early Hell, one halfway through Act V Hell)

    Ohm and Ist were both grailers for me. I think I can count Lo in there as well (from the cubed Ohms). Only S/U grailer was the BK ring.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  2. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

    Aug 1, 2011
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    Congrats! I enjoyed following your progress and now reading the summary :)

    Incredible luck on the BK ring and runes.. aside from the midrunes, ofc ;)

    And it's been a year already since the conversion pally? holy moly
  3. MYK

    MYK Diablo: IncGamers Member

    Apr 22, 2007
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    That's an impressive Guardian, Jiansonz! Looks like fun. :)
  4. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

    Aug 27, 2008
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    Congrats, very nice character, and a great roll on those hell skills for sure.
  5. Dezrok

    Dezrok IncGamers Member

    Nov 18, 2012
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    Nice work in the tourney and great to see Erica laid bare. Very impressive.
  6. Drystan

    Drystan IncGamers Member

    Jul 19, 2006
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    Congrats on the tourney Guardian! Must've loved the Death Sentry skill roll in Hell, but Mind Blast and Fade very welcome additions. :thumbup:
    Also, 'grats on those runes!
  7. purplelocust

    purplelocust IncGamers Member

    Nov 4, 2003
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    Well done! The rerolled magic giant thresher was remarkable luck and overall she seems like quite a safe character. That's quite a strong merc and having a strong Shadow Warrior is a big help!
  8. maxicek

    maxicek IncGamers Member

    Aug 5, 2005
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    Nice, very nice.

    Were you relying on the merc for kills, or did you use Dragon Talon? With my lack of HC experience I probably would have put the Obedience on the Assassin and kicked.
  9. jiansonz

    jiansonz IncGamers Member

    Jun 22, 2003
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    Merc always killed the first monster in a pack (unless it was PI) and often the whole pack. DTalon was mostly used against act bosses (that the merc had trouble staying alive against). It was also occasionally used when I wanted to knock back a monster.

    To equip a Thresher, I would have needed about 70 more points in STR all of a sudden. Of course, I could have made it in a non-elite weapon, but that seemed like such a waste of that enormous ED number this runeword has. Using Obedience myself would have meant sacrificing CBF and 25% resist all. Plus my AR was not that hot either.
  10. OldSoldier

    OldSoldier IncGamers Member

    Feb 2, 2007
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    Well done J!
  11. Maltatai

    Maltatai IncGamers Member

    Nov 2, 2010
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    A late congratulation from me too, very impressive as with all tournament characters, assassin crowd control or not!

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