Guide to the v1.11 Avenger So the avenger seems to be one of the least seen characters around to me (except perhaps the conversion/thorns pally.) I always loved paladins, and have made a few hammerdins, smiters, zealots and even a foh'er, but then upon looking at the skill tree, I ran into Vengance, a skill I have used for fun but never thought of using to it's fullest. Well I decided to try one out and the results were quite astounding. For a guy who attacks one target at a time, he is just as good as a smiter in groups and against bosses, except he is actually harder to kill. The most important aspects of survival are three main things: high life, high defense, and high resist. While a goal for all characters (especially melee) is to have all three of these, usually it is difficult to get ahead of the game without sacraficing one of the two others, or even worse other stats having to do with how you kill. This character however, with the use of the passive bonuses from his resist skills, already put him 10% ahead of everyone without a single piece of equipment. This is not only a fun, but also challenging character who can hold his own in hell, but still requires precise planning of skills and gear. Stats: Same as most builds, enough strength for gear, blah blah blah rest to vitality. You shouldn't need much more than 80 strength to wear everything with +strength gear. Dexterity depends on your weapon of course. I recommend about 55, which is the minimum for a Berzerker Axe. Skills: Prerequisites - 12 (With 1 into Holy Shield for blocking) Prerequisites - 7 (Without Holy Shield) Resist Cold - 20 Resist Fire- 20 Resist Lightning - 20 Vengance - 20 *Conviction - Remaining Points Here *While leveling and putting in skills, I recommend maxing Vengance first, then at least 10 into the resist auras before doing Conviction. Keep conviciton around level 5 untill you have a bulk of elemental damage to deal out. To max everything and have the best conviction possible, it will take all 110 of your available skill points. Because of this, if you shoot for level 85, keep Resist Fire and Resist Cold at around level 10 until you have gotten Conviction to the right level. Conviction's effectiveness doesn't go any higher past level 25, so with a Torch, annihalus, and we'll say 4 to all skills from gear (total of 7), you don't need it to go higher than level 15. Gear: The avenger is a very different character. While most melee have to concentrate on high physical damage, and casters on a certain element (or magic,) this one needs not worry about any of them when it comes to his gear. The hardest choice to make on his setup is his weapon, and while many Barbarians' strategy would be crippled by a low-damage weapon, this guy can look at every other good attribute of the weapon EXCEPT damage. The only time physical damage would come into play is life leech, and even then 20% of a low 500-1000 damage is plenty to suffice if your hitting constantly. Thanks to this, you get to choose the weapon that best suits you, but I will give a list of some best choices depending on what you need. His other gear however is very set in stone as to how his strategy works: Helm: Dream - Very important. After some testing I found that when items grant you aura's when equiped, the aura's power is increased by any synergie points the Paladin may have. Think of it as a reverse Marrowwalk glitch, instead of item skills granting synergies to your active ones, the skills you have increase the aura. With the high Holy Shock aura, the maxed out synergie Resist Lightning will significantly increase the damage. Amulet: Mara's/Highlord's - Not a devastating choice, one of which more depends on your weapon. (Discussed later.) Mara's offers good skills and resist, and Highlord's offers faster swing and a chance to double your physical damage, which as I stated is practically useless. Armor: Dragon - Again, the Holy Fire aura will be much more powerful with the Resist Fire aura synergie, and the armor in general offers some Nice mods. Shield: Herald of Zakarum - This is by far the best paladin shield available. Huge skill bonuses, nice resist, and strength and vitality. An Exile is also a good choice, however since your not maxing out Holy Shield nor Defiance as with zealots or smiters, the defense is probably not worth it. Belt: Verdungo's - Damage reduction and huge life bonus. I think enough has been said. If you really need the leech or are 10% away from the next IAS breakpoint, a Nosferatu's Coil can be used instead, but high DR and Vit is hard to pass. Ring 1: Raven Frost - Same reason everyone else wears it. Ring 2: Bul Katho's/Crafted/Rare - Again, good life bonus and a skill point. Rare rings can also be good. Look for one that has mana/life leech, resist, or Dex/Attack rating. Gloves: Dracul's/Magnus's Skin/Laying of Hands - Dracul's if you need Life tap, which may prove insignificant because you won't have a very fast attack speed. Orphan's gloves have attack speed and attack rating, as well as 15% fire resist for gravy. Desciple glove's have a massive demon damage (also insignificant) and a whopping 50% fire resist. Boots: Sandstorm Treks - Life, strength, and high poison resist. Solid choice for boots. Waterwalks would also be a good choice for the life bonus. Weapon: Here's where everything come's down to preferance. I have two weapon choices of miy own, but I have found several other choices as well. Choose depending on what your Avenger lacks: 1. Doom Berzerker Axe - My number one choice for PvM. This follows the Resist Cold synergie, a hearty speed bonus (45%), 2 to all skills, -57% enemy cold resist, freezes target and prevents monster heal. A very shagadelic choice. It does not however offer any sort of leech. 2. Silence Berzerker Axe - My number one choice for PvP, simply because Holy Freeze is considered bad mannered by most players. Don't think this is only a substitute, this one also gives 2 all skills, some hit recovery, 11% mana leech (useful, since maxed Vengence will be more than 40 mana per swing), and a huge 75 resist. Considering that 3 of your resist will be 85 maximum, resist is a coveted attribute. Before I found out about the aura from item glitch, I used a Chain of Honors, so resist was easy, but replacing it with a Dragon will cripple what sets you apart from others. This weapon makes for a good (actually better) replacement for lost CoH resist. 3. Lightsabre - A very cheap alternative, and still has plenty of goodies. Mana leech and very fast attack speed to name a few. 4. Breath of the Dying - In any build where the character would ever run up and whack a target, this is always left as an option if not the main choice. Again, this isn't a choice for damage, but dual leech, attribute increase and 60% increased attack speed keep this Runeword an awesome choice for virtually any melee build. 5. Kingslayer - Seemingly built around Vengence, this weapon adds 1 to the skill, as well as useful bonuses for an Avenger: Attack rating, *Crushing Blow, and an even greater decrease of enemy defense. *(Even though physical damage is not of much concern, CB is an incredible tool in taking down huge targets quickly. Between lower resist from conviction and the massive elemental damage per swing, adding in CB will make any monster go down for the count very quickly.) General Strategy: PvM - This guy is a great monster killer. He can destroy immunities as well if the enemy resist is less than 150, which only begins showing up past Act III in Hell. Aside from resist, it also takes down the defense 95% at level 25. You could do fine as a lone killer, but this guy is pretty much the top dog when it comes to party play. For all melee, it makes missing targets a thing of the past, and for sorcs and druids, slaying with cold or lightning has never been easier. It will help you as well with other people. How lucky would you be to have a full-blown Enchantress to imbue you with even bigger fire damage? Best option for party play, find a cow game with a javazon, wind druid and lightnign sorc. I guarentee you can do a cow game every three minutes. ; ) PvP - This build is basically a slightly more challenging version of a Martyr. Single attack, but no godly skill like smite. He isn't impossible (Melee-mancer w/o poison) but he's a bit harder. The main drawback is his attack speed, which unlike zeal, recieves no enhancement from the primary skill. It will all be up to your weapon, gloves, etc. Because of this, PvP will be especially hard, for certain situations: Barbarian - Difficulty: 9/10 Aside from always having 75 resist, this guy is fast. He will WW right through you. In fact, I think the only hope of beating a good barb is if he is a Berzerker, since his attack speed will be equal to yours. Also, the life is an issue. Because of the MASSIVE amount of damage you dish out, it should never take more than two hits (one if it is a caster.) However I've seen (and had) barbs with over 7 k life. (Ever heard of a wolf barb?) These guys can and will take a beating. Sorceress - Difficulty 6/10 Not exactly a hard fight, just tedious. After all, with perfect resist, they are all 85%. The trouble here is hitting them. So long as you have cannot be frozen and won't be slowed by cold, you should be fine. Run in zigzags and circles, taking as few hits as possible and land a blow. Between the weakness of sorcs and Conviction, her defense shouldn't be much higher than 300. Assasin - Difficulty 7/10 Trapsins are harder, but kickers are pretty easy. Wait for them to come at you and meet them first. Be wary of her Shadow. For trapsins, you'll need some hit recovery. Even with your good resist, stun locking and multiply hits will fry you. Paladins - Difficulty 9/10 Zealots attack faster and have big defense, smiters stun and attack fast, and tesladins are like an Avenger but quicker. Easiest opponent would be a Hammerdin, just come from below and whack em' good. They will most likely tele, so watch out for the field of flying hammers. Druids - Difficulty 5/10 I actually think this one is laughable. The only way an elemental druid would beat you is if they know how to use twisters very well for stun. Other than that the damage is already low, so your up'ed resist will be fine. They will however have Cyclone armor, but one swing should take that out, and then the next swing (or two if they are shapeshifter and/or have Oak Sage) should take them out. Amazons - Difficulty 8/10 Ranged attacks, melee one's at that. Avoidance is hard if they use guided arrow or muliple shot. Javazons aren't too tough thanks to your high resist, but you still can't take but a few strikes. Poison javazons are deadly, but since they have to throw, pause, then either throw again or run, you can try your best to avoid the clouds and charge to them. Necromancers - Difficulty 10/10 These bad boys seem as if they were designed to kill Avengers, since they have the three things Avengers can't handle well: magic damage, poison damage, and large numbers. Let's just start off by saying if you get hit with decrepify, give up. Your swing speed is slow enough. Summoners (especially tele-ing ones) are nearly impossible to hit, and if you get hit with poison (your lowest resistance) your done for. Not to mention how badly a bonemancer would clobber you. My best bet, unless it is a fun low level duel, don't take this one on. Well that about covers it. I'm sure any of you pally players know this guy is no smiter, but I for one got pretty sick of seeing the same players. so if you want something different but still pretty good, try this guy on for size.