Guide-"The Atheist" - able to kill everything in the entire game, solo, 8p games


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Guide-"The Atheist" - able to kill everything in the entire game, solo, 8p games


That's right, you read it correctly. After many hours spent reading and playing, I've finally come up with what I believe is the best possible character in D2 LOD 1.11. My mission was to come up with something just as good as a hammerdin that WASN'T a hammerdin, but I humbly believe this build is even better, and I'll explain more on why later.

This is my first guide, so I apologize in advance for anything sub-standard.

Table of Contents:

I. Introduction
II. History
III. The Build
IV. Skills
V. Equipment
VI. Stats
VII: Inventory
VIII: Mercenary
IX: Strategy, et al
X: Conclusion
XI. Last Words

Why this build?

This build has ultimate survivability via lifetap. It has huge physical damage and tank-ability. It has an effective and non-annoying(more on this later) way to handle oblivion knights. It can do the ubers. It absolutely ravages monsters even in 8 player games. Oh, and did I mention it can do all this solo? It is basically the ultimate balance between power and flexibility in my eyes. If you want to learn more about the theory behind this, read the next (History) section. Otherwise just skip to section III, the build.


Note: You might not want to read this, it is not necessarily relevant to the build and may be boring and unnecessary to some, but I included it for people who may want to understand my thought process and mental background for coming up with this build.
I started playing D2 as a barbarian in 1.10. I was obsessed with leech. My idea was, try to do as much damage, get as much life, and as much leech as possible, and I'll never die, sweet, I'm awesome at this game! After making several WW barbs and zealers, I discovered the bane that is Iron Maiden. I was done with melee chars. I then went on a Sorceress mission, trying desperately to come up with something that would not have a problem with immunities, let alone dual-immunities, and also ensure good survivability. I wasn't satisfied with meteorb sorc's because I didn't like the skill of meteor and felt orb didn't do enough dmg in 8 player games, plus the first time I saw Lister spawn both fire and cold immune, I shunned this build forever.

After much experimentation, I realized that sorceresses were just not for me. The only sorc I felt was viable with enough killing power and flexibility was a dualdream enchantress, but I felt that survivability on a sorc was not good enough for a melee-enchantress, and I finally gave up sorc's for good when I was disappointed with the max attack speed of ranged enchantresses. If it wasn't for this, this is the char I would've built. I also made an avenger, but like a melee sorc, I did not like to have to use potions all of the time. I then concluded that I needed a character who attacked at a range.

This brought me to amazons. I tried making a lightning zon who was also tank-oriented, for lightning immunes, but tanking was too difficult without a shield. When I found out that ranged physical attacks aren't affected by Iron Maiden, I got excited and thought that a bowazon would be the ultimate char. Unfortunately, not having a shield in my opinion is a huge liability. Not to mention that strafe-lock was annoying, and multishot was hugely mana intensive. Finally, my damage was not as good as what I'd hoped. Perhaps I put too many points into vit and didn't load enough on dexterity (I am life/survival obsessed), I'm not sure. I still think there is potential for the amazon class.


III. The Build

But going through all of this, I realized something profound (in a diabloII sense :))...for about 90% of the game, there is nothing that beats a good old life-stealing, life-tapping zealer. It's the ultimate tank except perhaps one could make an argument for a WW Barb, but I think most would favor zealers. The Atheist" however recognizes zeal's limitations, and in fact, its impotence in dealing with Iron Maiden areas. You zeal when IM is cast on you and you're dead, that simple. The Atheist thus recognizes the power of the elements of the world (lightning!) to give him a skill in addition to zeal, to allow him to handle these situations with effectiveness.

Note that a 20 point holy shield allows for a Smite powerful enough to kill ubers/act bosses with ease. What's more, the 20 fanaticism makes zeal insanely powerful even without any points into it or its synergy! Maxed fanaticism + some kickass weapon like an ebotd, and you have some HUGE damage.

Ok, so the mission is to figure out how such a paladin can use his extra skill points into having an effective way to deal with oblivion knights. Wait a minute, ranged attacks aren't affected by iron maiden right? Wait, fanaticism is an amazing way to increase damage and attack speed of ranged attacks, a la Faith-Zons, right? Holy batman! Lots of defense can only help a ranged attacker right? So with maxing only two skills, fanaticism and holy shield, we have the CORE of our build covered! Ok, how do we go about this...let's think logically...

As mentioned, even without any points in zeal or sacrifice, zeal's insanely powerful. So our next step should be to figure out how to enhance or ranged attack, whatever it may be. Hey, by the way, since we have so many skill points to spare, and we want an emphasis on survivability (why else would you play a life-tapping zealer?) why not throw 10 or so points into resist lightning for its passive bonus to max light resist, so that we don't fear gloams/souls. So, our ranged...OH DAMN! Light bulb, resist lightning synergizes holy shock. If we go dual dream, or even just one dream (helm) if we use a bow for our ranged attack, we could potentially add some kick-*** lightning damage to our ranged attack. Since we're not using a throw or bow skill, this could really help! Boom, 20 points into resist lightning. Since our zeal is already amazing, and we have so many skill points still left, and our defense is approaching the point of diminishing returns for PvM (else we'd consider putting points into defiance for its bonus to holy shield), let's also max salvation. We need to get that ranged attack as powerful as possible so that we're not David throwing stones at those chaos sanctuary goliaths (er I know david won get what I mean!).

The formula is thus: A maxed fanaticism hugely benefits both our zeal and ranged attack, damage as well as speed, a maxed holy shield benefits our block and defense when we're zealing and possibly ranged if we use a one handed ranged weapon (more on this later), as well as giving us a powerful smite attack. Maxed synergies to holy shock, if we use dream runeword(s), enhances our attacks and importantly, our ranged attack, letting it pack that extra punch. The skill breakdown then is as follows.


8 in prereqs
1 in zeal
1 in vengeance ( useful to have for the rare physical/lightning immunes)
20 fanaticism
20 holy shield
20 resist lightning
20 salvation
= 90 points, level 78

it is very feasible to have 10 more points (lvl88) and you'll have even more if you go on to lvl 95 etc.. As far as where to put them, you have 5 choices.

Choice#1 - rest into defiance for more defense. I don't recommend this, as more defense at this point will give very little returns on monster's % to hit you.

Choice#2 - rest into sacrifice. If you want to pump your zeal damage even higher. This is kind of unneccesary to me as you already do so much with a good Ebotd, plus all your crushing blow...

choice#3 - rest into zeal for damage and attack rating. This is reasonable I guess, but as mentioned your zeal damage is already sky-high, putting points here isn't going to increase it that much (6% per lvl) and in my experience, there are better ways to help your attack rating than wasting points here. The only reason I say that this is a reasonable choice is because this is the attack you're going to use for 90% of the game. But the point of this build is to get your ranged attack as strong as possible since your zeal/smite is sufficient to dominate the entire game save iron maiden.

choice#4 = rest into blessed aim. Hard skill points in blessed aim give a passive bonus to attack rating per lvl. I'd only choose this if you use your ranged attack a lot because you think it's cool or something. AR is very important for that. This won't increase your AR that much, and your zeal's AR isn't that lacking this could be a waste, it's up to you if you feel you're not hitting enough. Keep in mind if you use Last Wish, you won't need AR. This choice is just if you feel your ranged attack isn't hitting enough.

Choice#5 = putting points into one point wonders like redemption and its prerequisites. I don't find this really necessary, but it can't hurt. Prayer or Vigor might be useful.

V. Equipment

The first thing you should decide is what ranged weapon you'll be using. I'll say what I think works the best but A) you might not have/afford it and B) you might come up with or decide that something else works better.

Weapon 1: A good one handed throwing knife or axe, my pick is: Ethereal Warshrike Winged Knife.

Why this weapon? What can I say, it's godly for this build. I've read the guides who say use gimmershred on switch - but to have to do this and repair over and over, that's just lame if you ask me. This has an increased stack size so it takes a while to run out.

A Note on throwing weapons: If you plan on using this a lot however, I recommend keeping an extra one in your inventory so if and when it does run out, you can use the other and by the time that runs out, the first one will have repaired itself.

With a one handed throwing weapon, this set up allows you to use a shield, and not just any shield, but a dream shield. This boosts your damage hugely due to the extra lightning damage from having two dream runeword. Since you've fully synergized your holy shock, this maximizes this build's power. What's more, you can get some really fast speed with some of these weapons, increasing your damage output. Because warshrike is a knife and not an axe, it can hit some really fast breakpoints, like around a 5 frame attack. It has a piercing attack, which rules for ranged attacks (imagine how much this helps in the chaos sanctuary). Yes, Lacerator has chance to cast amp dmg, but the inherent weakness to throwing weapons is that they hit one target at a time. By using WarShrike, you're faster and you can pierce, which means you hit more enemies faster, = more damage. Also, I love WarShrike's higher min-damage and overall more consistent damage. This helps for leech and also just to make sure you're doing at least some damage per throw, since lightning's damage is also a range of 1 to max. The only thing this weapon reallylacks is ITD (ignore target defense).

Other choices: Ethereal Lacerator, any one handed throwable with FAST speed (base weapon speed as well as IAS), high damage (ethereal is best), and other mods to look for are ignore target's defense, pierce, knockback, life leech, deadly strike. Oh and of course, make sure it replenishes quantity! Diablo II should be FUN, repairing all the time is not fun.

You could also use a bow. However I don't recommend it.
Reasons not to use a bow:

reason#1: they're slower. Try getting yourself out of a jam in the chaos sanctuary, you hear the curse, you're not sure if iron maiden is coming, or is already there, but you can't hover over to see if it's a doom knight or an oblivion knight because 5 venom lords and 5 wraith thingies are surrounding you, of course you use the tactic any ranged fighter does: you run, you shoot as much as you can, then you run again, repeat til dead or it's safe to zeal. Ok, try doing this with NO shield and with only a mediocre attack speed. AND you won't have the heavy lightning damage since you'll only be using one dream runeword. I don't care how many godly mods you have on your bow, I highly doubt you're going to make all this up with one. Windforce will give you huge damage yes, but horrible min damage and not a great speed. I just don't think it works as well, but you're welcome to test. Perhaps some specific runewords if socketed in the correct bows might work decently..silence maybe? I don't know. Just remember that speed and damage are far and away THE most important things to go for - and with a warshrike you get a way better speed than you could by using any bow because of the max breakpoint for a bow, AND you get just as good if not BETTER damage by letting you use a second dream runeword. Which brings us to reason #2: no shield. This is so horrible, both for lack of the defense and lack of the 2nd runeword which gives so much extra damage, not to mention the MODS. On a dream runeword, you get FHR, resists, some MF I believe, and random stuff that adds up.

Shield 1: Dream runeword. Get one with as high resists and FHR as possible. This enchances your lightning damage hugely.

Helm: Dream runeword, for the same reason. Even when you're not attacking at range with the dream shield to go with it, the lightning damage here will help you kill physical immunes.

Weapon 2: eth BOTD berserker axe. Ah, the old crow. This is my weapon of choice. HUGE damage output, lots of IAS, huge leech, HUGE attribute, what's not to like. Well, the poison nova is annoying. What a great weapon though.

Other options: Last Wish is something to consider. It has its own lifetap, opening up options like SS or HoZ or even another dream for the shield, and it's huge crushing blow might make up for the lesser damage than botd. This might in fact be the better weapon. Definitely better vs. act bosses especially with smite because of the CB. I might use this weapon regularly, I don't know! That's the beauty of zeal, it doesn't even matter, you absolutely ravage everything but the chaos sanctuary as is, even in 8 player games.
If you can't afford ebotd or last wish, you probably can't afford this build anyway but another interesting option is Grief. Huge damage, ITD, and its weakness--attack speed--is mitigated by the fact that you have fanaticism going, not to mention zeal's inherent quickness. Just something to think about, I haven't actually crunched the numbers or tested. Truth be told I've never bothered to make or trade for a grief since I only play PvM.

Shield 2: This is probably the toughest choice for this build. There are really only three elite shields for melee-based paladins: Exile, SS, HoZ. As good as people say HoZ is, I don't think it's right for this build. Its biggest boasting feature is huge resists - but if you can make exile with +45 resists, and get good resists on your dream helm, and a high resist on your armor...and a few charms...Not to mention that when I'm zealing, I could probably even get away with non-maxed resists...The more you look at it, the more HoZ is inferior. Ok so that leaves SS and Exile. SS's real boast is the damage reduction. With this build however, it's not really needed. You're life-tapping and leeching so much, it doesn't matter how much damage you take. Perhaps if you had no FHR but you're using dream-helm...I really think the build is based on lifetapping so Exile is my choice here. It also has some other nice mods like freeze target, +5 to a couple max resists, defiance aura, etc. Awesome shield if gotten with +40-45 resist.
Conclusion: Exile.

Armor: CoH would certainly be great for this build, but I use Fortitude, and I suggest you do too. Its 300% ED helps your ranged attack, and you can make up the resists, leech, all the good mods of CoH elsewhere. Remember, the point of this build is to help that ranged attack as much as possible, knowing that the overpowered zeal skill can work its magic even when the gear and skills aren't tweaked perfectly around it. And for helping the ranged skill, 300% ED is just what the doctor ordered. This will get its physical damage up to respectable levels which, combined with the lightning damage, will make it formidable. Enigma is also certainly a great armor, and if you're only interested in running act bosses, its teleportation and MF might make you choose to work around that, as you won't really even need the ranged attack then. Still, overall, the best armor for this build is Fortitude. The only thing you're missing with it really is the +2 skills. That kinda sucks, but remember, the atheist does not become blinded by the power of zealotry: we need to enhance our ranged attack since the cost to zeal does not negate its power to absolutely dominate. That's what you need to keep focused on, or you'll turn yourself and your build into just another zealer and come crying saying you can't kill anything with your ranged attack and that it's useless. The key to the build, the "secret formula" is to compromise power (of zeal) for flexibility (power of ranged attack). Conclusion: Fortitude.

Belt: Tgods. With your maxed lightning resist, throw on this belt and you never have to worry about burning souls or gloams again. The lightning dmg and str bonus it adds is just gravy. This belt is so awesome, just trust me and use it. When you're in a baal run and you get to the 3rd floor of the worldstone keep and you see corpses and gold everywhere, with people typing "souls" and "****" and "WHY DID YOU PUT THE TP THERE" and you're just tanking and smiling without even having your red bulb drop a centimeter, you can thank me.

Amulet: Highlords Wrath. 20 IAS, +1 skills. Godly for this build. The only things that come close are mara's and cat's eye. Mara's is great don't get me wrong, and might be a better choice if you have enough IAS elsewhere but are lacking resists--but with the right gear, you'll have enough resists and need the IAS here.

Ring1: Ravenfrost. Has the CMB mod and adds to Attack Rating. Cool beans.

Ring2: BullKathos. When you look at what you're missing most, it's +skills. Of all the rings that give +1 skills, this one comes with a life bonus and life leech. Easy choice I think. Only other option I think would be CarrionWind for its twisters, leech, poison resistance. Or a dual resist ring if your resists aren't maxed.


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Gloves: No I haven't forgotten gloves. This is just a controversial choice for me. I love draculs because of its high level lifetap, strength, and mine is 10% life leech. As you've probably noticed I'm obsessed with lifetap. It may be overkill but I like to ensure survivability. Also, when you're on switch, you can still cast lifetap with draculs, otherwise no since you won't have exile or LW. But to be true to my creed of enhancing ranged attack the most, the best gloves are probably laying of hands for its IAS, damage to demons. If you have enough IAS already (and you will if you use highlords and warshrike) the damage to demons IMO can be made up with other mods like draculs! or gloves that give other mods you are lacking. Best gloves actually would be crafted with IAS, knockback, the other relevant mods. Conclusion: Draculs/LayingOfHands/Crafted gloves

Boots: Another tough choice, for lots of builds. GoreRiders certainly help your zeal and smite the most, what with their CB, DS, OW. Well, DS helps your ranged as well. The thing is, what boots would help your ranged attack the most? I'm not sure actually. Maybe aldur's for the FRW, fire resist to help your resists when you're on switch, and the life boost, plus fire resist is important in chaos sanctuary when you're on switch the most..and cold isn't as needed since you have 20 cold absorb from raven frost. I use gores myself because I think it makes me kill things faster due to the CB/DS/OW. Also, Sandstorm treks if it + the FHR from dream helm and shield will allow you to reach a breakpoint. To be honest, whatever boots you use, it won't matter too much. Just choose whatever you think you're lacking, chances are that will either be resists or attack rating.
Conclusion: Gores/Aldur/SandstormTreks

VI. Stats

Str: enough for gear
Dex: enough for max block with holy shield on BOTH shields (this means you'll need more than necessary for zeal-shield so that you can get it with dream shield)
Vit: everything else
Energy: none

VII. Inventory

anni, torch, gheeds. I use 3 small charms of +5 resist all to get maxed in all of them. I keep a demon limb in inventory. Now, I used to hate how people used this all the time, regardless of build, religiously. But A) it self-repairs B) You need all the AR improvement you can get for your ranged attack C) it lasts a good 11 or so minutes. By using it, I boost my chance to hit by around 14%! That's huge. Do it. I also have a CTA flail which, when I'm not feeling lazy, I stick in there and pre-buff with. You also might want to keep a razortail belt for the chaos sanctuary; you don't need tgods for it since there are no gloams/souls, and extra pierce will help a LOT when you're using your ranged attack.

VIII. Mercenary

You have two options: Might Merc or Holy Freeze Merc. Why not a Might Merc with Doom Runeword for best of both worlds you ask? I'll tell you why. You can't give your merc the doom runeword, because there is one weapon and one weapon only you want on your merc. Infinity runeword. The beautiful part is that you don't realize just how godly this weapon is for this build until you think about it, really think about it. Not only does it vastly enhance your lightning damage, it also breaks some lightning immunities, making your ranged attack even better because it can now do damage it ordinarily couldn't have done! AND, this might help you kill dual physical/lightning immunes. AND!!!! it LOWERS the defense of enemies, meaning it helps your attack rating problems! the Lying Character Screen probably doesn't take it into account, so say
your chance to hit a Venom Lord is 68%. You use enchant now it's 82%. With conviction, it's even higher! This means that even the toughest enemies to hit are dwarfed and you'll probably have higher than 80% de facto chance to hit on just about everything with your ranged attack (which has no inherent attack rating bonus, and the warshrike doesn't have Ignore Target Defense - the build's biggest weakness IMO). Amazing, just amazing.

So, might or holy freeze? I say go with holy freeze. Slowing monsters down is way more important than extra physical damage, in my opinion. A) You'll have more survivability B) You'll probably be able to get in more shots, surpassing the might's damage boost C) infinity weapon has no IAS, so holy freeze makes it a lot easier for your merc to get hits in/tank.
Conclusion: Holy Freeze

Throw in a chains of honor and a vampire gaze...for +2 skills, leech, damage reduction, lots of other mods, you're all set.

IX. Strategy

It's pretty simple.
1) Pre-buff with demon limb. It takes literally 6 seconds, and you won't have to do it again for another 12 minutes
2) if you know you won't be in any IM areas (really just the chaos sanctuary, though they pop up also sometimes in worldstone keep...I forget if they're in the river of flame) then don't even bother with the switch weapon, unless you just think it's cool..which it is, lol. Just use your CTA on switch since its duration is only 2 to 3 minutes, annoying to do if it's not on switch. I don't even bother with battle command, just BO. Let me tell you though, with 2500 life on you and your merc, this is godly.
3) if you need/want your switch, use CTA to prebuff at your discretion. Not necessary though if you find it a hassle.
4) when there's no IM, hack away with zeal!
5) When there's oblivion knights, switch over, try to take them out first, zeal only when it's safe.
6) if there's oblivion knights and no gloams/souls, you should swap out tgod's for razortail belt.

X. Conclusion

You are an awesome tank, with huge physical damage and also respectable lightning damage. You have lots of life and possibly multiple sources of lifetap going off not to mention ample life-leech. Your resists are all high and flexible (ravenfrost gives 20 cold absorb, can use treks boots or carrion wind for poison resists, can use aldur's boots if need fire resists..), tgods, highlords and resist lightning skill ensure that souls/gloams won't make you bat an eyelash. You have a conviction aura and an enchant pre-buff to ensure you hit as much as you need to as well as make more vulnerable to and de-immunize monsters from your lightning damage. You have a secondary attack that iron maiden does not affect which is fast and deals both physical and lightning damage, while still using a shield, the leech/lifetap and block giving you added survivability when using this attack too. You have a smite which is capable of taking down ubers, and your main tanking skill zeal is also awesome crowd control because of its speed, power, etc..

You have been a true atheist. You are a fanatic indeed, fanatic about not investing your whole self into zealotry. You recognize the science of the world and utilize it in order to fully actualize your power and survival in ways not yet seen before.

XI. Last Words

I think this build is just as good as a hammerdin if not better, on the whole. Its main advantages are: A) It can solo the ubers B) it has better survivability...both tanking, dealing with gloams/souls, etc., constantly lifetapping so shouldn't die even to lag C) easy to use, just plow through everything when zealing, as opposed to constant teleportation and planting hammers D) doesn't have to worry about mana burn because doesn't use mana

Its disadvantages are A) can't do the chaos sanctuary anywhere nearly as well as a hammerdin. B) Isn't really geared as well towards telebaaling or telemephing...although one could certainly throw on an enigma, make appropriate EQ adjustments (for FCR and resists) and tele away.

Hope you liked the guide, yes I know it's long, I tend to be verbose and I like to be thorough...Also yes I know this build is expensive, but I told you how good the build was and what good build is not expensive...
By the way special thanks to DreamOfWinter, who inspired me to figure this out. The way he was determined to and came up with a build for a sorc capable of soloing the ubers. I had given up on a build which could do everything in the game and more than barely - could do it solidly and as if playing Hardcore (I love the concept of hardcore, it's how I like to play, but I don't play it anymore ever since I once had my lvl91 berserker barb killed due to lag..) Also special thanks to Gimmershred and JanusJones, whose constant supply of new and unique build ideas kept me thinking in terms of how to accomplish what I wanted in a char. Lastly special thanks to Niner, whose “whatever-din†guide was the icing on the cake into making me realize the potential of a build like this. I also should say thanks to everyone who’s posted here, sharing their guides, wisdom, and tests of numbers, etc.. Much appreciated, I think this community is great.

I know I probably have to proofread this, but I am so busy and waste all my spare time on d2 as it is, I will try to get around to it later. J As always, suggestions and constructive criticism welcomed. I know I didn't include many alternatives for items, truth be told this build is very gear dependent, sorry. :( Not for poor players. If you can think of ways to make the build better though, I'd like to hear them. I thought about a might merc with pride, to boost the physical damage really highly...I haven't experimented enough to compare this to the route I chose with lightning and infinity. I just felt that since so much of skill pts and items are invested in lightning (40 skill pts, dream helm and shield), it made sense to go with the lightning damage. Not to mention that the conviction allows -enemy defense. Although, if concentration comes with an attack rating bonus in addition to damage, that might be just as good if not even better. Ok, I've rambled on enough :) Take care

Elitist_Atheist, US East SC Ladder


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If your whole point is too kill everything easy in all lvs and player settings why not dump exile for a dream shield second dream? Duel dreams is 3x as much damage and you don't need the LT from the exile. Or at least have it on switch with your knives instead of primary. It doesn't seem to make sense to switch to your ranged killing weapon and lower your damage output when it's already the much slower way to kill. Personally I use a Phoenix for ultimate survivabilty as primary and dream as secondary.

I'd also think Durango's for the belt is a much better way to go. You need some DR incase LT doesn't cue right away and it's a huge life booster.

You can also likely scrap the demon limb buff. Between Fanta and conviction you should hit 90% percent anyway.

And I'd likely trade out the BK ring for a sweet rare with leach +ar +str +dex and res. You don't seem to need much plus skills.

Oh as for your weapon. The grief does more damage than all the other ones listed and would add a bunch of poison dam to help with immunes. Plus you could dump highlords with it for a Mara or awesome Rare to fill res +skill and +attribute holes.

I built a char similiar to this for key hunting, baal killing, uber killing and the like. I upped zeal and ignored salvation. Also use a few other switch gears for different situations. But all in all quite similiar. It does work very well. But since I don't run the river in act 4 I don't use a throwning weapon.

Try a CTA flail on switch with a dream. THe CTA gives you huge life but the damage output is very low. SO with dual dreams you do 5000 plus light damage (along with 200 poison from the grief) but only about 200 physical. So IM won't kill you even if they cast it. If you're not playing in full games you can dump the dream helm too and go with a good DR res helm as you'll still kill super fast with one dream.

Hope that gives you some other ideas or thoughts to try. Have fun. Mostly that was a good little setup.


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Nice write up Jon :)

Keep us posted on the build and how things are working out!

Good Hunting!



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eh ima just stick with my hdin (lol) kills almost nethin and if those retarded Magic immune Animal types come up just smite lol


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I would take Gimmershred at lvl 25+ conviction and lvl 15 Fana from merc with dual dream over Warshrike at lvl 12 conviciton and lvl 25+ fana with dual dreams anytime. Faith merc doesnt die from IM as the merc is ranged too.

If you chucking gimmers at lvl 12 conviction yes you will go through alot more of em as it should only take 1 time repairing them in a typical chaos sanct run with max conviciton, on Baal runs I very rarely need to repair em at all.


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Not really into this build, not enough dmg for my taste with a paladin. I'd stick to a pure dreamadin/auradin build over this.


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Yossarian – I find that I don’t need a 2nd dream on my zeal weapon setup to kill everything, even in 8 player games. I rip through everything. Lister’s minions are a joke, etc.. Yes another dream would add a lot more lightning dmg but I already have enough physical damage which is sufficient for great killing power, and the lifetap and other mods of exile are more useful. Remember, the key is balance. Balance in terms of power, survivability, flexibility. I feel Exile over Dream is a choice for survivability, since power is already sufficient.

Nope, with draculs + lifetap and an ultra fast zeal, I don’t need the DR. Not to mention I have lots of regular life-leech and most of the time I’m using CTA anyway, 2000+ life is amazing. AND, tgods is absolutely lovely. With it on and your maxed lightning resists, you never have to worry about gloams/souls period. I have to respectfully disagree with you on this issue.

I haven’t tried Grief, so I don’t know how effective it is. I agree that if someone already has enough IAS, then there would be no reason not to use maras instead…extra +skills and great resists. I use highlords because I don’t like to use IAS gloves or belt and there’s none on the helm with this build so…if you’re using ideal equipment IMO you need it to reach the breakpoint.

If you decide in advance you don’t do the chaos sanctuary, then this build would be pointless, just make a pure zealer yeah. The whole point of this build is something which can do EVERYTHING, even alone in 8 player games.

Interesting idea about CTA on switch – I haven’t tested it EXTENSIVELY, but wouldn’t all my zealing, crushing blow, lifetap, etc., still cause me problems with iron maiden? I will try making a CTA in a phaseblade and see…At worst I think it will force me to use constant juv pots…which I wouldn’t want to do…Anyone know if crushing blow or other mods add to the damage you take from IM?

Niner: Fair enough, I just don’t like the idea of having to repair J If gimmershred had increased stack size and replenish quantity, what a godly weapon. it would be…
Keep in mind that with just lvl15 Faith from merc, and using gimmershred, it’s a lot slower/harder to reach a speed as fast as warshrike. Error in my guide btw, the breakpoint with warshrike is 7 frames, which turns out is the same as lacerator…oh well I still like warshrike better for the other reasons I gave. The lvl25 conviction sounds tempting, but if your damage is strictly lightning, I think it would hamper your ability. With the lvl25 Fana, you increase the physical damage and attack rating in addition to speed. I see your point, and you may be right, but I think it’s closer than you think. I’d have to test it out, but I stick by using fana with your thrown weapon.

Rolland: Thanks! No complaints so far, though I have yet to try actually seeing how long it takes to do chaos sanctuary in an 8 player game. I don’t expect any trouble though, I find oblivion knights to not have a lot of HP…or maybe this char just rocks! Maybe I should make a cliff notes version, I know the guide was really long and I write with a lot of tangential thoughts etc…Anyway I hope it satisfies some people out there :)

It may sounds similar to other guides but the innovation is combining all the different elements in just the right way to achieve the balance…the botd/exile when zealing for damage/survivability…The dual dreams with a one handed THROWN weapon, NOT a bow on switch, let alone a thrown weapon which pierces…the use of fortitude armor like a zon would do…the constant use of your fana aura for dmg, speed, and attack rating…to make your thrown attack potent…the tgods to eliminate the risk of death from gloams/souls…the holy freeze merc for extra crowd control especially when you’re throwing…and finally the infinity on him to make enemies easier to hit, make most lightning immunes susceptible to your lightning dmg, and to greatly enhance your lightning dmg.

note: the bolded part above is the "abstract of the guide"...sums up its logic and elements as briefly as possible

by the way I just thought of an idea to possibly make this better….instead of a bull kathos or carrion wind ring, use a wisp projector…so you can take out tgods and keep the razortail on…oofah


Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting idea about CTA on switch – I haven’t tested it EXTENSIVELY, but wouldn’t all my zealing, crushing blow, lifetap, etc., still cause me problems with iron maiden? I will try making a CTA in a phaseblade and see
No keep it in a flail. You want as low a damage as possible.

I play with a similiar idea

Rare +2 Pally ammy, res, ar...
Raven and +str +dex +res ring
Nigma most of the time to tp around fort if the game is busy or dangerous (ubers)
Phoenix and grief on primary
CTA flail and dream on secondary
Shako most of the time Rockstopper in full rooms or dangerous runs

Act 2 def merc with eth obiedence, fort and chamed unique grim helm.

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
I really like you philosophy, it's very similar to mine

sometime you could try the method I went with

I used crowd control techniques with taunt and warcry to keep enemies from being able to attack and to bring ranged foes into range of my melee attacks

stunned enemies are unable to cast and can easily be pummeled, and there's a chance for lots of chance to cast with static/amp/lifetap to increase killing speed if you use frenzy, and you don't have to worry about defense or blocking when your enemies can't even move

I've always been a big fan of lifetap, perhaps you should take a look at my guide for your next character, I think it would suit your style of play well


Diabloii.Net Member

An ebotdz does not need anymore IAS from highlords if you use fana since it will always get 4 fpa zeal. Grief is probably the better weapon overall due to absolutely insane average damage (you are talking 400 min to 400+max with a +370 damage GRIEF pb, that whips the 100+ min 500+max of a 4XX% EBOTDZ).

As for maras vs highlords debate, lets just say another 30% chance of deadly strike >>>>>>>>>>>>> +1 more extra skill, stats and resists (which pallies have tons to begin with).

if u like more mileage, consider using a LAST WISH Phase Blade. That would remove the need for Exile (and even a Might Merc) and let you use another Dream shield as the norm. The lit damage will skyrocket and you won't even need to the Max Salvation (most dreamadins don't even max this for god sake) synergy thus SAVING 20 points.

However, your build is almost similar to a Whateverdin. Except it does not rely on the pallies own Conviction but that of a merc instead. Given the cost of the build, im sure +skill gear is not that hard to come by at all, you can get lvl25 conviction with only a few charms and that will waaay outperform any infinity.


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I only skimmed it, but from what I got it's a throwing dreamer with lifetap.

Why's it called an athiest? o.o


Diabloii.Net Member
Im not much into Paladins, but this build sounded kinda funny to try out. Mainly because of your enthusiasm when writing:)


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KremBananX said:
Im not much into Paladins, but this build sounded kinda funny to try out. Mainly because of your enthusiasm when writing:)
Paladins Rock! (heh)

"Walk in the Light" - WoT/RJ reference...

And yes this guide was well written and boosted my "enthusiasm" to try this build :)