Help With PvM Dragon Build

Dimmu Borgir

Diabloii.Net Member
Help With PvM Dragon Build

I say Dragon build because I don't specialize in just one Dragon finisher. Anyway here's what I've got so far:

Level 79:

20 Blade Shield [Note 1]
15ish Weapon Block [Note 2]
20 Fade
10 Burst of Speed [Note 3]
4 Venom [Note 4]
14 Dragon Talon (Main Attack)
10ish Dragon Flight [Note 5]

Okay through these notes I'm going to explain myself because I have a reason for what I've put skills into.

[Note 1] Blade Shield sucks on its own, I know. But, I did some reading on the Assassin guide in the compendium, and Blade Shield gains poison damage from Venom. So I'm trying to maximize the usefulness of Venom and damaging as many enemies as possible.

[Note 2] I've seen lots of kickers with a regular shield, but I sat and thought, after reading the guide, Weapon Block can block spells, and stays at its block percent while you are running. So I find weapon block to be a superior form of defense.

[Note 3] This comes in handy a LOT, even though I know Assassins should specialize in either Fade or BoS, not both... Good for running on various runs, getting back to your body, and the increased attack speed is nice for situations when you don't need the resistances.

[Note 4] I plan to max Venom, or at least put as many points as possible in it when my main attack skills are maxed, because Blade Shield AND Finishers benefit from it.

[Note 5] Dragon Flight is useful in MANY situations, and is actually also helpful for running, too, as long as you have enemies in your path to cast it on. I plan to max it as well.

So yeah, notably this stuff all means I won't have a Shadow Master to summon, unless I drop a point in it and let +to skills support it. I want my ASSASSIN to be the one doing the work, not my minions. I'll probably need a Master in hell though, because I'm having trouble, plus thats what this topic is for, your help and suggestions.


Helm: Trang-Oul's Guise, for the looks and mana support.

Armor: Currently sucks, a 3-socket 400 def armor that I plan to 'Nigma when I get the runes.

Weapon 1: Main weapon, Shadow Killer Battle Cestus. Helps a TON with the Frost Nova coming out 2-3 times per kick burst, slowing everything around me. Note that kicks gain mods from the primary weapon, which is why this one is here.

Weapon 2: Secondary weapon, Jade Talon, for the +skills. Also, using dual claws for Weapon Block.

Ring 1: Dwarf Star, plainly because its the best I have.

Ring 2: Manald Heal, see above.

Ammy: Nothing. Need an ammy.

Gloves: Trang-Oul's, for the set bonus with helm and the damage boost on Venom.

Belt: Dungo's, accept no substitute!

Boots: Currently, Marrowwalk. Plan to get War Travelers and upgrade them to Myrmidon Greaves for the kick damage.

So yeah, thats what I've got. My goal here is to get as much kick damage as possible, so try and focus on that for your suggestions. Help is much appreciated.


Diabloii.Net Member
Well, it's a creative build. I have several things to say about it which I hope don't sound too negative. About your notes:

1. Unfortunately Venom isn't that hot either PvM unless you're specially built to take advantage of it with poison buffing and resist hexing gear. The blade penalty doesn't help either.

2. WB doesn't work while running or walking. It's a cool skill in a lot of ways, but I've never seen much use on a PvM character to get it above level 10 after +skills because the returns past that point are so bad. L16 after +skills is probably the last good breakpoint even for the extra paranoid. And while Shadow Killer is about the best claw you could use with a kicker, most people go to other weapons (and thus away from WB) because there are better mods available--notably large amounts of Crushing Blow.

3. If it's working for you I can't argue with it, but Shadow claws on switch and one point in BoS is probably enough to get 80% of the advantage of 10 points.

4. See note one, though Venom is a perfectly valid path for a kicker to take, assuming she's not completely dependent on it for damage. Though that's where your lack of Crushing Blow starts to worry me...

5. Again, one point in Flight gets you a huge portion of the benefit of maxing it. Efficiency is a pretty big deal when you've only got realistically 100 or so to work with.

Get some Death Sentry. It will seem tough to do with your skill points so tight, but it will help you out more than any other single thing you could do, and is worth some lost skill points in Flight, Shield, or BoS many times over.

Get some Crushing Blow. If you want to make a claw build work there aren't many choices available unfortunately. Guillaume's and Goreriders or Goblin Toe's being your best bets, though you can also get a little more from the glove slot.

There's more I could say, but I'm out of time at them moment. I hope that gives you something useful to work with rather than just seeming like I'm tearing your build apart. The good news is that Kickers are so powerful and versatile that you can go far from the cookie cutter builds and still be successful.

Dimmu Borgir

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the reply, that was an informative post. And yeah don't worry about tearing my build apart, I was just winging it as I went and this is what ended up happening... for the most part I'm pretty happy with how she turned out, I just have to refine her into a Hell-survivable version.

Yeah, I was thinking a lot about Crushing Blow. Though I have some questions concerning it. Its a little too late to sort of, "stop" being a dual claw Assassin, since I've already invested in weapon block.

1. EDIT: Nevermind on this question. I was thinking of socketing my claws with crushing blow mods, or other damage helpers, such as these:

Um Rune: 25% Chance of Open Wounds

Lo Rune: 20% chance of Deadly Strike

Ber Rune: 20% Chance of Crushing Blow

All of them are pretty damn expensive though... Anyway out of the three, my best bet would be to go for crushing blow, right?

2. As far as I know, kicks recieve the mods of your primary weapon, but I'm unsure if duplicate mods on the secondary weapon are able to stack. For instance, say I have 10 Crushing Blow on my Shadow Killer, and 10 on my Jade Talon, both from socketed stuff. Would the Jade Talon's 10 Crushing Blow not be applied to the kicks because its not in my primary slot? Or would the % chance stack?

EDIT 2: Dear god I just thourght of something. So, what if I get two 3-socket claws, and socket 3 Ber's in each? 120% Crushing Blow? Or would it cap at 100%?

Misc. Questions:

3. Adding points in Death Sentry only boosts lightening damage right? So if I'm just using it for the corpse explosion, I only need one point?

4. I was thinking about putting a point in Cloak of Shadows for some crowd control. Yes or no?

5. Any advice for physical immunes?

Thanks again in advance.


Diabloii.Net Member
1. I personally dislike the trade of high runes for ethical reasons I won't get into here, but out of the three choices bers would help you the most. Open Wounds is very useful but not as critical, and Deadly Strike doesn't work on kicks at all.

2. The only time combat mods on the secondary weapon do anything are when it's actually used to strike, e.g. Dragon Claw, etc. CB is effectively capped at 100% since you get no more effect or frequency out of it after that.

3. It's for the CE effect, and it's really powerful even at one point--though hopefully with some +skills. A few more points helps a lot with the AoE, but you should look at where your skill points are before you committ to that.

4. Yes. I assumed you had it already. It's going to make your life a lot easier.

5. DS will help some as the CE damage is half fire. More elemental damage equipment. Or Lawbringer. Though since PIs aren't that common or unavoidable whatever equipment solutions you get could be kept in your stash or cube.

Dimmu Borgir

Diabloii.Net Member
Okay, I tried some experimenting.

I set Shadow Killer to my secondary weapon slot, and a plain Battle Cestus on my main, with no mods. I kicked an enemy, and frost novas appeared.

Meaning, kicks must gain mods from both weapons. There is no other explanation, because I do not have the frost nova mod on ANYTHING else I wear.

So, I was thinking about putting Jade Talon and a Bartuc's on switch for when I active my self-enhancements for the +skills (Fade, Blade Shield, Venom), and switch to Shadow Killer plus a 3-socket War Fist with some good mods, socketed with 3 Ber's, for my battle weaponry.

Plus I plan to replace Trang Oul's Grasp with Steelrend.

So to total all that up:

Shadow Killer: 20% Crushing Blow (Ber)
War Fist: 60% Crushing Blow (BerBerBer)
Steelrend: 10% Crushing Blow

Total Crushing Blow: 90%. Since it caps at 100% I see no point in obtaining Guillaume's Face, even though it gives 35% Crushing Blow, leaving me free to go for a better helm (Natalya's is looking useful for my particular build).


Diabloii.Net Member
Dimmu Borgir said:
Okay, I tried some experimenting.

I set Shadow Killer to my secondary weapon slot, and a plain Battle Cestus on my main, with no mods. I kicked an enemy, and frost novas appeared.

Meaning, kicks must gain mods from both weapons. There is no other explanation, because I do not have the frost nova mod on ANYTHING else I wear.
Which weapon did you equip first?

Primary weapon is first determined not by which hand you put it in, but by which one is first equipped. (If you weapon switch though, it'll go to its natural configuration.) A good way to see it is to use two weapons with visible mods.

Dimmu Borgir

Diabloii.Net Member
BIGeyedBUG said:
Which weapon did you equip first?

Primary weapon is first determined not by which hand you put it in, but by which one is first equipped. (If you weapon switch though, it'll go to its natural configuration.) A good way to see it is to use two weapons with visible mods.
Ah, okay. You're right, I equipped Shadow Killer first. Tested it again by setting Jade Talon to my main, and no frost novas or Crushing Blow.

The 20% Crushing Blow alone I have now though is a huge help. So I'm thinking about still doing the BerBerBer War Fist, but have it on switch with another +skills claw, so I can use the Crushing Blow for bosses, and use Shadow Killer's frost nova and freeze target (Insanely useful) for taking out large mobs of enemies.

This seems like a very formidable PvP build, as well... if worked with right. Some things would need to change but Weapon Block I still find to be superior to a shield because it can block spells and other otherwise unblockable attacks... Such as Smite. A single point in Mind Blast, and you can stun, Dragon Flight in, and Kick to death, a strategy very similar to caster-killer Barbs who use Leap for the stun, Teleport and Whirlwind. I've never been big on dueling, though.


Diabloii.Net Member
my 2 cents if I may :

1) put 1 point in cloak of shadows it's the single best most uber-powered skill of all 7 classes
and as a bonus it works best with 1 point. The range is about a screen and a half and the enemy will sit there doing mostly nothing unless you attack him, you can take out enemies one by one with just 1 point and if it wears out cast it again.

2) get some CB, if your using Talon 25% or so is enough (because of the quickness of that attack). If your not using talon more=better

3) depending on what your skills are aim for a level 18 or 24 dragon talon. Since you have 14 hard points at level 79 I would aim for 18 for an additional kick

4) as mentioned above try to get 1 point in DS this can be hard given your level and lack of pre req's, but it's usefull if only for it's corpse disposal function.

5) I've noticed that you lack dual leech correct me if I'm wrong (though 1 of your rings may have it). If you don't have dual leech get it asap generally more life leech = survival, don't be shy about getting more I think I recall finding a dual leech unique ammy at some point look it up and there's a candidate for your ammy slot. with your high level fade you should'nt need more resistance, and since your not relying heavly on traps + skills have little value to you.