Those creatures I saw were beyond our known world, too monstrous and hideous to comprehend. Fiery bright ghosts sparking with electricity, armored bulls standing on two legs wielding huge spiked flails, and rotting human corpses reanimated from the dead. I know what I write here will make you doubt my sanity. I myself hope I am insane, for it would mean that what I saw was not real. Yet their horrible visages remain imprinted in my mind, and their marks on my skin haven't faded. I am afraid, afraid that another portal will open up and spill forth the denizens of Hell! Since this is my first guardian since reinstalling I figured I would do a writeup. Pardon the intro, I listened to some H.P. Lovecraft audiobooks while playing this char. Natalya, such an original name, which I'm sure hundreds of thousands of others have named their assassin. Good thing this is single player ;-) I don't even have the set, boo hoo. Spoiler: Story My vision for Natalya was a dual claw phoenix striker, since trapper was excluded as that had been my first guardian ever. I also didn't want to use Death Trap or Mind Blast directly since I think theyre a bit too strong, but instead figured I'd get a shadow master to use them sporadically. Somewhere in normal I gave up on dual claw since I needed cannot be frozen and could only get it from rhyme, but I finished nightmare as a phoenix striker. The built felt pretty garbage though. 7 frame attacks aren't that fast, and I needed 2 to cast a meteor and 3 to cast the lightning thingy. The damage was also lackluster, since I had a hard time getting +skills while maintaining resistances and attack rating. Once meteors starting falling I couldn't see the swirling spheres from the fire. Shadow Master also kept teleporting into melee range rather than being useful. I tried hell blood moor, but regular zombies hurt me bad since I had no damage reduction, low block, and like 900 health. I decided to park her there and I made a light sorc to farm with. 3 deeded lite sorcs later (none past Hell A1) I had a bit better gear + runes, and decided I needed a better build aswell. I respecced to Dragon Talon with Death Sentry, Max Fade and rest in Shadow Warrior. I made a Black flail since I figured the crushing blow would be great, but I soon realized the knockback worked on all the kicks. This meant that only the first would connect, unless the monster was up against a wall. I also only had exceptional boots, so my damage was overall pitiful and relied mainly on DS corpse explosion. I quested until I reached the black marsh and ran the pits looking for an elite base for Crescent Moon since I didn't want to use my only um on something I couldn't reuse. This took longer than expected, but eventually I added 3 sockets to a phase blade with the cube. In the meantime I'd picked up guillys face and gore riders which I upped, and I had to respec to get enough str to use them. I had been using Twitchroe, Rockstopper, Rhyme and went to using Duriels, Guillys, Sanctuary. With this setup I didn't need points in fade for 75 all res, so I decided to put the points in lightning sentry to deal with PIs. Thus, natalya became a hybrid kicker/trapper and ventured beyond the pits. It was pretty simple at this point tbh, did it all in a day. Bosses melted from CB + static field procs, and I had a Spellsteel to decrepify. Here's what I rolled in Act V: WSK 1: Lancers, chargers, ghouls WSK2: Vipers, Souls, Ancient Horardrim WSK3: Death lords, dart blowers, Oblivion Knights Throne: Assailant, Souls, Oblivion Knights In WSK1 I ran into a triple boss pack with fanatic lancers and cursed chargers, scaring the crap out of me. After reviving my merc, divide and conquer tactics with CoS worked fine. I didn't get any nasty boss mods on any of the other levels, but Bartuc did roll conviction aura which gimped my merc. Lister and Baal were (ch)easy with decrep. My screenshots just show a black screen, so I can't dazzle ya'll with those. Notable finds while questing were tals amulet in nightmare Tal Rashas Tomb (fittingly), mal rune in nightmare RoF, and Gimmershreds from hell meph. My hell hellforge was a Lem Spoiler: Readouts Character Code: Character name : Natalya Character type : Hardcore Assassin Character level : 84 Character exp : 1009228747 Strength : 86 / 156 Energy : 25 /37 Dexterity : 158 /209 Vitality : 246 /258 Life : 1289 Mana : 171 18 Dragon Talon 19 Shadow Warrior 20 Death Sentry 20 Lightning Sentry 3 Fireblast 3 Fade 1 Mind Blast 1 Venom 1 Dragon Flight Gear Code: 12: Gore Rider Myrmidon Greaves Defense: 188 Durability: 34 of 34 Kick Damage: 83 to 149 Required Strength: 156 Required Level: 72 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: ** Fingerprint: 0x8898e2e +20 to Maximum Stamina +169% Enhanced Defense +10 Maximum Durability Requirements -25% Required Level +7 30% Faster Run/Walk 10% Chance of Open Wounds 15% Chance of Crushing Blow 15% Deadly Strike 13: String of Ears Demonhide Sash Defense: 112 Durability: 22 of 22 Required Strength: 20 Required Level: 29 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 52 Fingerprint: 0x3ae59162 +178% Enhanced Defense +15 Defense Magic Damage Reduced by 15 Damage Reduced by 12% 6% Life stolen per hit +10 Maximum Durability 14: Beast Spiral Ring Required Level: 65 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 85 Fingerprint: 0x5c92a903 +13 to Dexterity +71 to Attack Rating Fire Resist +8% 7% Life stolen per hit 4% Mana stolen per hit 19: Saracen's Chance Amulet Required Level: 47 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 82 Fingerprint: 0xe88134f9 +12 to Strength +12 to Energy +12 to Dexterity +12 to Vitality All Resistances +24 10% Chance to cast Level 2 Iron Maiden when struck 21: Shadow Hold Ring Required Level: 66 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 81 Fingerprint: 0x36bad21d +19 to Strength +103 to Attack Rating +4 to Minimum Damage +1 to Maximum Damage All Resistances +4 22: Guillaume's Face Winged Helm Defense: 217 Durability: 40 of 40 Required Strength: 115 Required Level: 34 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: ** Fingerprint: 0x890fdd99 +15 to Strength +38 to Life +120% Enhanced Defense 30% Faster Hit Recovery 35% Chance of Crushing Blow 15% Deadly Strike Socketed (1: 1 used) Perfect Ruby Inserted into a Winged Helm 24: Grim Clutches Heavy Gloves Defense: 6 Durability: 14 of 14 Required Level: 59 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 75 Fingerprint: 0x4f3603b3 +9 to Strength +6 to Dexterity +14 to Life Cold Resist +27% 2% Life stolen per hit 11% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 9% Chance of Crushing Blow 40: Duriel's Shell Cuirass Defense: 679 Durability: 150 of 150 Required Strength: 65 Required Level: 41 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 55 Fingerprint: 0xd9cb287e +15 to Strength +38 to Life +183% Enhanced Defense Fire Resist +20% Lightning Resist +20% Cold Resist +50% Poison Resist +20% +100 Maximum Durability Cannot Be Frozen +105 to Defense (Based on Character Level) +84 to Life (Based on Character Level) Socketed (1: 1 used) Perfect Ruby Inserted into a Cuirass 71: Crescent Moon Phase Blade 'ShaelUmTir' One-Hand Damage: 94 to 106 Required Dexterity: 136 Required Strength: 25 Required Level: 54 Sword Class - Fastest Attack Speed Indestructible Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 85 Fingerprint: 0x532bf986 +204% Enhanced Damage 20% Increased Attack Speed Ignore Target Defense 25% Chance of Open Wounds +2 to Mana After Each Kill +9 Magic Absorb 10% Chance to cast Level 17 Chain Lightning on striking 7% Chance to cast Level 13 Static Field on striking Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30/30 Charges) -35% to Enemy Lightning Resistance Socketed (3: 3 used) 72: Sanctuary Superior Blade Barrier 'KoKoMal' Defense: 405 Chance to Block: 65% Durability: 83 of 83 Required Strength: 118 Required Level: 51 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 85 Fingerprint: 0xee9a3337 +20 to Dexterity +14% Enhanced Defense +133% Enhanced Defense +20% Increased Chance of Blocking +250 Defense vs. Missile Magic Damage Reduced by 7 All Resistances +56 20% Faster Hit Recovery 20% Faster Block Rate Level 12 Slow Missiles (60/60 Charges) Socketed (3: 3 used) Charms Code: 15: Small Charm of Storms Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 37 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 64 Fingerprint: 0x8387282f Adds 1-27 lightning damage 16: Steel Small Charm of Fortune Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 49 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 72 Fingerprint: 0x7d1b6141 +30 to Attack Rating 3% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 17: Lizard's Small Charm of Storms Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 37 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 64 Fingerprint: 0x66895579 +1 to Mana Adds 1-28 lightning damage 18: Steel Large Charm of Sustenance Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 36 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 85 Fingerprint: 0x5d8d1a7f +24 to Life +53 to Attack Rating 30: Beryl Grand Charm of Vita Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 69 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 80 Fingerprint: 0xa45a3aa5 +39 to Life Poison Resist +15% 31: Ocher Small Charm of Vita Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 39 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 82 Fingerprint: 0xa5a829fe +18 to Life Lightning Resist +7% 32: Small Charm of Sustenance Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 17 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 73 Fingerprint: 0xa622e0e6 +14 to Life 33: Large Charm of Sustenance Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 34 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 81 Fingerprint: 0xc7b1c778 +25 to Life 55: Iron Grand Charm of Life Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus Required Level: 23 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 82 Fingerprint: 0xf6dd549d +5 to Life +73 to Attack Rating Mercenary Code: 1: Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest Death Mask Defense: 107 Durability: 20 of 20 Required Strength: 55 Required Level: 66 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 55 Fingerprint: 0xe5807de0 +60 to Life +30 to Mana +45 Defense All Resistances +15 10% Life stolen per hit 10% Mana stolen per hit 2: Rockfleece Field Plate Defense: 214 Durability: 44 of 48 Required Strength: 50 Required Level: 28 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 43 Fingerprint: 0x2ccde542 +5 to Strength +102% Enhanced Defense Damage Reduced by 5 Damage Reduced by 10% Requirements -10% 3: Insight Great Poleaxe 'RalTirTalSol' Two-Hand Damage: 151 to 393 Durability: 52 of 55 Required Dexterity: 99 Required Strength: 179 Required Level: 63 Polearm Class - Normal Attack Speed Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 85 Fingerprint: 0x1f1e27c8 +5 to Strength +5 to Energy +5 to Dexterity +5 to Vitality +210% Enhanced Damage +9 to Minimum Damage Adds 5-30 fire damage +75 poison damage over 5 seconds 23% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items +5 to Critical Strike 35% Faster Cast Rate 247% Bonus to Attack Rating +2 to Mana After Each Kill Level 15 Meditation Aura When Equipped Socketed (4: 4 used) Spoiler: Ranting and rambling Overall I guess the char was fine. Death Sentry is a good skill. CoS is a good skill. Mind blast is a good skill. Shadow Warrior is a decent tank with skill investment, although the longer leash compared to the merc was a bit annoying at times. Dtalon is like zeal, but requiring less ias. The char felt a bit too much like a trapper rather than a martial artist, with Death Sentry doing most of the heavy lifting once one creature fell. Not using it would just be silly though, especially since there's nowhere else to put the points. Gearwise it could use some improvements, although I don't have any more rerolls to change the stats. 59% CB + ctc static field is probably a bit overkill, so I'm not sure the Crescent Moon did much other than be fast. Resistances were stacked even before doing the last Anya quest and with little from charms, so it would've been nice to have a Stormshield or something instead of the Sanctuary. Treachery is a nice option which would allow another weapon switch than 2x +3 Shadow Disc. claws, but would require a Raven Claw or something. Coming up I might take this girl for a walk in the secret cow level, to try and get an eth base for oath for a whirlwind barb I'm playing with (currently A3 NM). She did alright in the pits, but I think other chars will be better runners. For new chars I don't have a lot of toys to play with, currently the only good weps I have are the Crescent Moon PB, Gimmershreds, and a Wizardspike, with 1 Mal being my highest rune. The two former weapons would work well on a Holy Shock and Conviction zealot respectively, but a zealot plays like a kicker that can only use the left mouse button . Ive been deeding Energy Shield mono lite sorcs lately, opting for spirit over the wizzy due to being no block and thus not wanting to spend 50 stats to reach 75 dex. It would work nicely on a block sorc however, giving me 3/4 odds of surviving nightmare FE explosions . Time will tell which side the coin lands on. Spoiler: If you've read everything You are one of a select few individuals. Congratulations! Have a beer on me.