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Guide: The Undead Hunter

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by poopie_pants, May 30, 2005.

  1. poopie_pants

    poopie_pants IncGamers Member

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    Guide: The Undead Hunter

    The Undead Hunter Guide (Version 1.0)
    This PvM Paladin variant is based around the Sanctuary skill, and the use of items with the +% Damage to Undead mod. While the Undead Hunter is more than capable of defeating Baal in Hell, he takes refuge in places where the undead lie. This build was tailored for use in Single Player, and would could vary with the use of some of the added runewords. This guide will introduce the Undead Hunter, and will cover stat/skill placement, damage formulas, and gear selection. This is my first attempt at creating a guide, and hopefully not the last, so any comments/suggestions are most appreciated.

    Table of Contents
    I. Introduction
    II. Stat Placement
    III. Skill Placement
    IV. About the Sanctuary Skill
    V. Gear Selection
    VI. Character Role
    VII. Thanks


    I. Introduction
    The underlying principle for this character stems from the Undead Hunter (or Kaizan) class for Dungeons & Dragons. While not a D&D player myself, I came across this particular class description while browsing the Internet trying to come up with a creative character idea for D2, and I immediately thought of the Paladin:

    The Kaizan are feared for many reasons. Mostly the unwanted souls that unlive fear them because they do not pay homage to any god. Instead, they are endowed with special powers from a mysterious mystical source. Although they fear no evil the Kaizan are not blindly courageous. They only fear dying an unjust death. Honor is a special gift that can only be earned. Each Undead Hunter attains greatness thru equally great thought. Each Kaizan possesses general knowledge of undead and specific knowledge of the destruction of many special undead.

    Paladins are a personal favorite, and IMO the most versatile characters in the game in terms of their ability to inflict a variety of damage types on their opponents. This particular build focuses on dealing damage to the undead by use of the Sanctuary aura, and certain specific items (see Gear Selection below). The Sanctuary aura “causes the Paladin to shine with an inner, holy light. This light is an anathema to the undead, summoned as they are through the machinations of the Prime Evils. The aura carries with it the essence of life and the strength and purity of the Paladin's convictions.†Sounds like it fits the description, right? Plus, it looks damn cool :). See Section IV. below for further discussion of the skill.

    II. Stat Placement
    These are pretty standard for a Paladin, but I will get specific in terms of the strength required for the equipment I think best suits this build:

    Strength (110+) - I calculated 110 as the base strength required in order to equip the gear listed below. In later levels, I found that I rarely was in health trouble, so I started pumping points into strength to boost my damage.
    Dexterity – Enough for max block
    Vitality (220+) - Initially, my thoughts were to pump as many points into Vitality as I could spare. But with the great crowd control the Sanctuary aura provides, I stopped at around 235, and allocated more points to strength. Kaizan has only suffered one death, and it was to a pack of Oblivion Knights (grrrr IM). My suggestion is to obtain 1000+ life, but this may vary depending on whether you play HC or SC, as well as the role you choose for your Undead Hunter.
    Energy – None

    III. Skill Placement
    There are as many variants to the Undead Hunter as there are other auras in the Offensive skill tree. In terms of Patting’ your character (if that is a goal), I would go with Fanaticism as a secondary skill. The skills for my character, Kaizan, are distributed as follows:

    20 Sanctuary
    20 Zeal
    20 Sacrifice
    10 Fanaticism
    10+ Holy Shield
    10 Pre-req’s
    5 Defensive Auras

    Target clvl: 83

    Notes: The only synergy for Sanctuary is a boost in magic damage to the skill’s knockback effect from Cleansing (7% per level). I do not feel this is worth the skill points, but you may disagree. I chose instead to max Zeal and Sacrifice as a compliment to Sanctuary (to deal with the non-undead), as well as for the boost in attack rating. You may choose to max Fanaticism instead, and spend only 10 points in Zeal. Also, I find Vigor, Cleansing, and Redemption to be very useful on any Paladin build, but you may wish to pump any remaining points elsewhere.

    IV. About the Sanctuary Skill
    The Sanctuary aura adds damage, and a knockback effect to the undead. It’s important to that this skill does not work against super uniques (Pindleskin being the best example), and Act bosses. It does work however, against all normal undead creatures, Champions, and Minion bosses, which will be our primary targets. Also, this aura ignores physical immunities, which means undead monsters that are Immune to Physical or are Stone Skin won’t be a problem.

    +% Damage to Undead
    As a disclaimer, it’s impossible (in so far as I know) to determine what exact damage you are dealing to the undead. In other words, there’s no damage range that shows up in your Character Screen that displays “Damage to Undead.†From what I’ve gathered from the SPF, the +% Damage to Undead mod is applied like +% Enhanced Damage, which is against the base weapon damage. Thus, as a simple example, the +% Damage to Undead would work as follows:

    Base weapon damage: 140-175
    +% Damage to Undead: 100%
    Damage Range to Undead: 280 - 350

    This is just an example; the +% gets much higher than 100%, I assure you :). I will calculate the “estimated†damage range on my character in the section below. As previously stated, there is no guarantee this is accurate, all I can say is that Kaizan performs very well in certain high area levels on /players8.

    Knockback:
    The knockback effect is applied against all creatures within a certain radius (which increases coincidently with the skill level, similar to holy freeze), and is on a timer (~2 seconds). I’ll be the first to admit, the knockback effect was somewhat annoying at first, but I can’t emphasize enough how useful this skill is in terms of crowd control. If used correctly, the knockback effect allows you to engage one monster at a time, without worrying about getting swarmed by a large pack/minions/etc. Also, when fighting in tight areas (e.g. Crypt), it’s very easy to pin a monster against a wall/barrel/chest, which makes your life even easier. In other words, don’t get discouraged, IMO the positives of the knockback effect far outweigh the negatives.

    V. Gear Selection
    There are three pieces of equipment that I believe to be important for this character build, not only in terms of their usefulness, but because they fit the character’s role very well:

    Griswold’s Set
    In my opinion, this set was created specifically for this build. I’d like to believe that Griswold crafted this fine set of armory in anticipation of the very curse that would befall him. The story of Griswold (Undead), as Blizzard tells it:

    After Diablo was slain in the catacombs beneath the town of Tristram, a grand celebration that lasted several days was held. The hero that defeated the Lord of Terror looked as if he had walked through Hell itself, and as the weeks passed, he kept his distance from the rest of the townsfolk and seemed to lapse into a dark, brooding depression. One day, he simply left. And shortly thereafter Tristram was attacked by legions of foul demons. While many of the townsfolk were merely slain, some were forced into cursed servitude.

    The stout blacksmith Griswold was one of those who were bound past death to attend the desires of The Three. Wandering the town he once loved, he uses arcane powers and an unholy strength granted to his twisted body by Andariel to stop any from following the path of the Wanderer.


    The stats on Griswold’s set are, for lack of a better word, incredible. Wearing the entire set gives +3 to all skills and +2 to Defensive/Offensive auras and Combat Skills, as well as huge bonuses to Strength, Dexterity, Life, Hit Recovery, and Resistances. Socket the shield with 2 p-diamonds, and your resistances are set in Hell. In addition, the other items all have sockets, giving you flexibility with your character. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, the weapon gives a whopping +250% Damage to Undead I have outfitted Kaizan as follows:

    -Griswold’s Redemption (EldEldEldEld) – yup, that’s right, who would have thought you’d ever being socketing an high-end item with an Eld. But with the runes, your Damage to Undead jumps up to 550%!! Not bad for the second easiest rune to find in the game.
    -Griswold’s Heart (3 x IAS jewel) – IAS jewels in order to reach 4 frames
    -Griswold’s Valor (2 x IAS jewel) – same as above
    -Griswold’s Honor (2 x p-diamond, 1 x IAS jewel) – resistances, same as above

    With the set-up above, you are at 68 to All Resistances in Hell (including Anya quest in all three difficulties), with 130% IAS (40 from weapon, 90 from jewels). Add a shimmering charm to get your resistances maxed, and an additional 15% IAS from Nosefaratu’s to reach the 4 frame attack speed without fanaticism.

    Ghoulhide Gloves
    The ultimate gloves for an Undead Hunter. These bad boys give +% Damage to Undead (2.5 per level) and +Attack Rating against Undead (8 per level) based on character level. Throw in some hefty defense, mana leech and +20 to life, and you got yourself a mean pair of gloves for this build.

    Seraph’s Hymm
    The only amulet that gives +% Damage to Undead (between 25-50%) and +AR against Undead (150-250), not to mention a mere +2 to all skills and +1-2 to Defensive Auras. Not too shabby.

    Well, that leaves your belt, boots, and rings left, and there are many useful options here. Kaizan is equipped with Nosefaratu’s Coil (LL, +Str, Slows Target, IAS to reach 4 frames), Goreriders (CB, DS), Ravenfrost (CBF, A/R) and a rare ring (+9 min damage, +105 AR, +7 all resists, 3%LL). The total stats for Kaizan, who is currently lvl 83, are:

    Str: 199 (129)
    Dex: 165 (115)
    Vit: 235 (235)
    Energy: 15 (15)

    Life: 1071
    Mana: 192
    All Resistances: 75
    Attack Rating: 4260
    Zeal damage: 1176-1399 (1444-1724 with Might merc)

    Stats Against Undead
    +% Damage/Attack Rating to Undead:
    Sanctuary Aura slvl31 - 1050% (includes 4 Captain’s Grand Charms)
    Griswold Redemption - 550%
    Ghoulhide - 166%, +664 to AR
    Seraph’s - 39%, +198 to AR
    Total - 1805% ED, +862 to AR

    Base weapon damage: 131-171
    Damage to Undead: 2496 - 3258 (Average 2877)
    Attack Rating against Undead: 5122

    Bear in mind the stats above do not take into effect the increase to damage received from Strength, Zeal, and my merc’s aura.

    Unfortunately, this build is expensive as I’ve outlined it above. I believe this to be the best set-up for the character (although I’m open to suggestions); however, there are alternatives. If you cannot afford the Griswold set, perhaps the following would work:

    Rune Master (5os)
    Guardian Angel
    Herald of Zakurum
    Andariel’s Visage

    Also, for those who have access to the realm-only runewords, the Edge runeword (280% ED to Undead) is also an affordable option.

    VI. Character Role
    Ultimately, you can choose to play your Undead Hunter however you desire. I use Kaizan mainly as a rune-hunter, since he is very effective on /players8 in certain high-level areas (best examples being the Crypt and Mausoleum in Act I, which are undead infested). Whatever you choose, I think the Undead Hunter will make for a refreshing change in your collection of characters.

    VII. Thanks
    I’d like to thank all those in the SPF, and other forums, who take the time to create guides to share with others. It keeps what is already a great game even more interesting and fun, which is important. Special thanks to Liquid_Evil, since his Sidewinder guide was the last that I read, and I used his format to a tee lol.

    -PP
     
  2. fredsta54

    fredsta54 IncGamers Member

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    nice guide, what undead areas do you run on players 8 that give nice experience and drops? (not masoleum and crypt)



    Fred
     
  3. poopie_pants

    poopie_pants IncGamers Member

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    Aside from the crypt and mausoleum, I run the Sewers (Act II), Halls of the Dead, Ancient Tunnels, and Tombs. I stick mainly to Acts I and II, since there are areas that are undead infested. There are other options in certain areas of Acts V, but on high player settings, the areas listed above are better suited for this build.

    Thanks :thumbsup:
    -PP
     
  4. XDoomasX

    XDoomasX IncGamers Member

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    Nice guide :thumbsup:
    Pindel runs in hell imo would give enough exp to reach lvl 90.
     
  5. Puffen

    Puffen Banned

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    Hell pindle gives enough exp for level 99, but that takes a lot of time though. With my sorc i just exped on pindle from 90-95.
     
  6. poopie_pants

    poopie_pants IncGamers Member

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    Doh, good point :). I've always correlated Pindle with mfing, but he does give great xp...and is Undead, which is most imporatant hehe.
     
  7. Kefir-Tribe

    Kefir-Tribe IncGamers Member

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    I like the idea and have considered builds like this in the past. But I would rather use The Vile Husk for a two-handed zealot, or with azure on a frenzy barb. I've also considered a hybrid undead/demon hunter, with The Wile Husk, Sanctuary aura, Laying of Hands etc.

    And hey, nice guide. :thumbsup:
     
  8. NSXdreamer

    NSXdreamer IncGamers Member

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    Isn't there a bug that make sanctuary's ED dosen't work, thus more than 1 point in it useless? Or has that been fixed?
     
  9. poopie_pants

    poopie_pants IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for the replies folks :). Good call on the Nosefartu's Necro, I got it confused with the +Str mod. In response to NSX's comment, I wasn't aware this was ever a bug, but I'm hopeful it has been fixed lol :p . As I mentioned above, it's tough to guage how effective the +% Damage to Undead mod is, since there's no way of determining the exact damage dealt. I can only give feedback on how effective the character has been for me. Running /players 8 in high level areas in Hell difficulty is no easy task, and Kaizan holds his ground very well.

    -PP
     
  10. Liquid_Evil

    Liquid_Evil IncGamers Member

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    Sounds like an interesting variant. Would be neat to see this build paired with a character specializing in % dmg to demon gear...what a combo.

    Oh, and I'm glad my guide was good for something if only a format :thumbsup:
     
  11. bill_n_opus

    bill_n_opus IncGamers Member

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    Nice guide. I'll have to try it sometime. Don't think I have the Gris shield though. Only thing i'm missing.
     
  12. sunbearie

    sunbearie IncGamers Member

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    Good guide. Undead hunter aside, does he become a normal fanatical zealot against non-undead (act bosses, ancients etc) when questing or are there any special techniques used (eg, CB etc)

    I've love the vile husk for a 2-H zealot too, massive %damage to undead.
     
  13. lone_wolf

    lone_wolf Diablo: IncGamers Member

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    intresting build:thumbsup:
     
  14. lCE

    lCE IncGamers Member

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    Its silly to even put any points into sanctuary IMO, u can get it from either azurewrath or lawbringer for free. (no lawbringer in sp even though u could play the mod allowing new r/w's). Imo holy bolt makes a much more efficient undead killer, it can reach in excess of 10k damage with very mediocre items, and theres no danger of dying to IM either.
    Vile husk is rubbish. Its slow, 2 handed and its dmg isnt over the roof either, and 600% of crap dmg is still crap dmg.
     

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