How to make Energy Shield work for you


Diabloii.Net Member
How to make Energy Shield work for you

This guide is made up of 4 sections:
Part 1: Tips and Strategies
Part 2: 3 different Energy Shield Setups and how to make the most of them.
Part 3: Integer Damage Reduction
Part 4: The Equipment List.

ES is Energy Shield!
TK is Telekenisis - Energy Shields' Synergy.
MDR - Magic Damage Reduced by X
PDR - Physical Damage Reduced by X
FHR - Faster Hit Recovery
%DR - Percentage Damage Reduction
OW - Open Wounds
CB - Crushing Blow

Part 1: Tips and Strategies for Effective Energy Shields


Warmth will of course recharge your Energy Shield, this is great for Enchantress’s!


The Act 2 Prayer Merc (Combat - Normal or Hell) carrying Insight with its Meditation Aura is very popular with Energy Shield users. Prayers boosts your Life, whilst Insight boosts your Mana. Some people prefer the defence bonus of an Act 2 Defiance Merc.

Alternatively a Pheonix Shield with Redemption Aura converts corpses into Life and Mana.


Energy Shield generally has a good duration, so you can swap a few bits of equipment out to give you more ES, or Lightning Skills, cast ES then replace your equipment. The most famous for this is a Memory Staff. Try and find a 4 Socket Staff with +1-3 ES and place Lum + Io + Sol + Eth in it yielding +7-9 Energy Shield!

Kyrandia pointed out that if you really dont want to invest in all those Pre-requisites for Energy Shield the Memmory Staff can be used instead! Telekenisis has no Pre-requisites so you can still have an effective ES.

For a full ES you need to reach level 40 (95% effectiveness) there is no benefit past level 40. For Dreamers and Lightning Sorcs, enough +skillers mean you can reach Lv40 without having to put max hard points into ES.

Caster with ES and the Blood Mana Curse

'Succubi and Baal cast a special curse. This curse causes you to do damage to yourself when you cast spells. For skills that require more mana, you will take more damage. This even includes such spells like Teleport but doesn't include Thunderstorm or Energy Shield because you have already have cast them. Whenever this curse is cast on you, stop casting spells until it's worn off, click on a Shrine to counteract it, or go back to town and have it removed. Blood Mana only affects you if you have more Mana than Life. If you have at least as much max Mana as max Life, you can be cursed.' From the Act V Bestiary on the Arreat Summit.

If your spamming, Fire Ball, Chaining Lightning or Frozen Orb this can be a pain! A Prayer Merc will be invaluable!!

Mana Burn

This is a big worry especially for Full Energy Shield users. There are two types of Mana Burn, the ranged effect that tracks you as you move (the red blobs), and the Melee effect that Bosses and Super Uniques spawn with. The Melee effect does far more damage.
The answer is too keep away and teleport around to confuse the seeking ranged effects. This is obviously a problem for pure melee sorcs. Enchant users can switch to a Demon Machine crossbow, its explosive arrows will carry your fire damage to your target then explode around them.

Mana Leech and % Damage Taken Goes To Mana

Sorcs don't usually do enough physical damage for Mana Leech to be an effective way of regenerating your ES.
'% Damage Taken Goes To Mana' happens after damage is diverted to the ES so usually only returns a few points of mana.

Part 2: 3 Different Energy Shield setups and how to use them
I am going to break it down into 3 types of ES and compare their effectiveness, Budget ES – 0 to 2 skill points, Partial ES – 16 to 20 skill points, and Full ES 30-40 skill points.

Assumption 1: For Budget and Partial Energy Shield I am assuming you have enough +skills to reach around 75% Damage sent to Energy Shield.

Budget ES:

1 Point Energy Shield prebuffed to 20
1 Point in TK (pre-requisite)

75% Damage Converted
200% Damage to Mana

the 200% Damage to Mana is harsh meaning you take 2 mana for every point of damage.

However if you have 2 SOJ 25% Mana bonus each, Frost Burns 40% bonus, and Silkweave boots 10% Mana bonus. You have a total of 100% extra mana. This balances out the 200% penalty, making your investment in Energy equal to your investment in Vitality when it come to taking damage.

However you cant just buy energy since you take damage to both Life and Mana. The Ratio in this example is 25% Life and 75% Mana, you want both to decrease at about the same rate, or if anything your mana to run out before your life does (the Energy Shield will go down).

You take 100 points of damage

You take 25 life

And 75 points is sent to Energy Shield
75 * 2= 150 mana

this is a 1:6 Ratio of life to mana with equipment

300 life : < 1800 mana

which is equivalent to 1200 actual life.

Budget ES works for everyone, just pick up a Memmory Staff and you have an ES.

Partial ES

“Each point in Telekinesis makes Energy Shield's damage absorption more effective. By default, for each point of damage absorbed by Energy Shield, 2 mana points are deducted - a 200% ratio. Each hard skill point in Telekinesis makes Energy Shield 6.25% more effective. For example, with 8 points in Telekinesis, 1.5 mana points are deducted for each point of damage absorbed - a 150% ratio. With 16 points in Telekinesis, one point of damage absorbed equals one point of mana loss - a 100% ratio.”

16 Points in TK
1 Point ES prebuffed to 20

75% Damage Converted
100% Damage to Mana

So here the 100% Damage to Mana doesn’t look so bad, since allot of people don’t like Frostburns, lets just use 2 SOJs = 50% bonus to Mana

This makes buying Energy a better investment than buying Life since you effectively get 3 mana per point in Energy compared to 2 life per Vitality

You take 100 points of damage

You take 25 life

And 75 points is sent to ES
75 * 1 = 75 mana mana

Again you need to balance your buying of life and mana so the go down at about the same rate.

500 life : < 1500 mana (with equipment)

equivalent to 2000 actual life. This is allot more equivalent life, and you have more choice of gloves. You other equipment choice really doesn’t need to change, making this a really good option. You could of course max TK, and use Frost Burns for tanking it.

Poison and Resists

Energy Shield is applied before resists so the mana damage effectively has Resist 0 for Fire, Lightning and Cold Resistance. Poison goes straight through ES, so a good poison resistance / some Antidote potions are essential. Andariels Vissage is an excellent way to get a strong Poison Resistance, allowing upto 85% Poison Resist.

Full ES

The details of ES are explained here and

ES prebuffed to 40
20 TK

95% Damage Converted
75% Damage to Mana

This requires a large investment in skill points but changes the nature of the damage you take.

You are actually taking 25% less mana damage than the damage inflicted.

You take 100 points of damage

You take 5 life

And 95 points is sent to ES
= 95 * 0.75 = 71 mana

You don’t need to put any points into Vitality, just put everything spare into Energy. Why? Because of…

Part 3: Integer Damage Reduction

Some Equipment has Damage Reduce by X, or Magic Damage reduced by X, where X is an Integer (whole number).

This is not Damage Reduced by 35% like a Stormshield for instance (Percentage Damage Reduction).

So if you take 5 points of damage and you have Damage Reduced by 10 you take no damage!

Note that Damage Applied to Energy Shield is applied before Resistances. Poison and Open Wounds will only take you to 1 Life, so don’t need to worry about them either. In fact you can run around in Hell with just 1 Life, this is a rush but not safe!

Therefore your equipment choice changes, you are no longer looking for resists and Damage reduced by X%, but instead for Damage Reduce by X, or Magic Damage reduced by X.

Crushing Blow is the one you do have to worry about especially when duelling, it goes past ES entirely, but as it is a percentage of life, you still don’t need to buy more Vitality. Helvette points out the %Damage Reduction does reduce Crushing Blow, and is your best defence against it.

You will die eventually when your mana reaches zero and your ES goes down.

How much do you need? 20 to 25 is recomended for a 95% ES. If your IS doesnt reach 95% you can make up with more IDR e.g. if your ES only reaches 90% then 40 in each will do. This should stop most damage reaching your life bulb.

Energy Shield Damage Map:

Physical Attack -> AR vs Armour -> %Block -> % ES -> PDR -> %DR -> Life

Lighting, Fire, Cold, Magic ->% ES -> MDR -> Resists -> Life

Poison -> % Resist -> Poison Length Reduced by x% -> Life

Open Wounds, Crushing Blow -> Life

Faster Hit Recovery

Because the Integer Damage Reduction should have reduced your damage to less than 10% of your life, the Faster Hit Recovery animation shouldn't be triggered.

A Note On Dueling
Energy Shield is great for duels, it is considered bad form to drink potions whilst dueling, but you don't have to drink a pot for your ES to regenerate (go Warmth!).
This can give you quite an edge.

Rickster has been giving me some tips on dueling setups. Since your life won't regen you still need as much as you can get (still base Vitality however), so Life/Mana charms are good. Call To Arms is obviously great. Damage whilst dueling is much higher than PVM, things dont usually last long, so Integer Damage Reduction is off less importance, and Max Block significantly more important.

Open Wounds is also a problem whilst Duelling. Open Wounds doesn't occur in PVM but does in PVP and goes straight through your ES. It will leave you on 1 Life making you very fragile.

Part 4: Equipment - Where to get Integer Damage Reduction
You should aim for 15-20 Damage Reduced in both Magic and Physical.

On Amour / Shields:
SOL provides Damage reduced by 7 - lv 27
MAL Magic Damage reduced by 7 - lv 49

Magic (Blue) Items
Amulets and Circlets can have the Suffix:
'of Everlasting Life' which offers Damage Reduced by 10-25 (lv 45)
thanks to mephiztophelez for that one.

Crafted Safety Items
All recipes have 1-4 MDR and 1-2 PDR a nice bonus but nothing significant. Try crafting Faster Cast Rings, Boots with Poison Resists and MF, and Amulets - A +2 Sorc Skills Safety Amu with mana would be 'leet!

Major Sources:

Gladiaors Bane lv 85:
Unique Wire Fleece
150-200% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+50 Defense
Cannot Be Frozen
30% Faster Hit Recovery
Poison Length Reduced By 50%
Attacker Takes Damage Of 20
Damage Reduced By 15-20 (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced By 15-20 (varies)

The Cannot Be Frozen, 30% Faster Hit Recovery and Poison Length Reduced by 50% make this armour awesome for ES.

Iron Pelt lv33
Unique Trellised Armour
+50-100% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+ (3 Per Character Level) 3-297 Defense (Based On Character Level)
Damage Reduced by 15-20 (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced by 10-16 (varies)
+25 To Life

Gladiators Banes little brother...

Gerke’s Sanctuary Shield lv44:
Unique Pavise
+180-240% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+30% Increased Chance of Blocking
All Resistances +20-30 (varies)
Replenish Life +15
Damage Reduced By 11-16 (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced By 14-18 (varies)

Looks great, but i find it lacks Faster Block % , giving it a 9 Frame / Block speed, putting a SHAEL in it takes it 7 F/b but its still slow.

Arkaine’s Valor lv 85
Unique Balrog Skin
+150-180% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+1-2 To All Skills* (varies)
+ (0.5 Per Character Level) 0-49 To Vitality (Based On Character Level)
30% Faster Hit Recovery
Damage Reduced By 10-15 (varies)

The +Skills, FHR are nice but has 165 Str Required, i suppose the Vitality bonuse makes up for it. A 'Requirements Reduced by 15%' jewel takes the Str requiremnt to 141, which isnt so bad.

String of Ears lv29
Unique Demon Hide Sash
+150-180% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+15 Defense
6-8% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
Damage Reduced By 10-15% (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced 10-15 (varies)

Goes well with Arkaines Valor.

Skin of the Viper Magi (Lv 29)
Unique Serpent Skin Armour
+120% Enhanced Defense
+1 To All Skills
30% Faster Cast Rate
Magic Damage Reduced By 9-13 (varies)
All Resistances +20-35 (varies)

Fast Cast, +skills and good MDR. Put a MAL in it and your MDR is sorted. Would go nicely with a magic Amulet 'of Everlasting Life'.

Prudence Armour (Mal Tir) lv 49
+25% Faster Hit Recovery
+140-170% Enhanced Defense (varies)
All Resistances +25-35 (varies)
Damage Reduced by 3
Magic Damage Reduced by 17
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
+1 To Light Radius
Repairs Durability 1 In 4 Seconds

FHR , good MDR,and a little PDR. Can be made in Ethereal Armours, great if you use an Act 2 Defiance Merc.

Talrasha's Guardianship
Lacquered Plate Armour
+400 Defense
Requirements -60%
Magic Damage Reduced By 15
Cold Resist +40%
Lightning Resist +40%
Fire Resist +40%
**% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items

nice MDR, with the Amulet and Belt from this set you get 163-168% Magic Find. A circlet of 'of Everlasting Life' would give you the PDR you need. Or you could socket the complete set with a couple of SOL runes.

Vampire Gaze lv 41
Unique Grim Helm
+100% Enhanced Defense
Adds 6-22 Cold Damage - 4 Second Duration
15% Slower Stamina Drain
6-8% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
6-8% Mana Stolen Per Hit (varies)
Damage Reduced By 15-20% (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced By 10-15 (varies)

Good MDR, Duel Leech and %DR too!

Dwarf Star Lv 45
Unique Ring
Fire Absorb 15%
Heal Stamina Plus 15%
+40 Maximum Stamina
+40 to Life
100% Extra Gold From Monsters
Magic Damage Reduced By 12-15 (varies)

Keep one of these in your stash if your taking allot of Magic Damage.

Natures Peace Lv 69
Unique Ring
Slain Monsters Rest In Peace*
Prevent Monster Heal
Poison Resist +20-30% (varies)
Damage Reduced by 7-11 (varies)
Level 5 Oak Sage (27 charges)

If you cant get your PDR anywhere else, or need a top up. The Poison Resist is nice too

Minor Sources
Some of these minor sources, combined with Runes, or Natures Peace can work together.

Crescent Moon
Unique Amulet
Magic Damage Reduced by 10

Radiance Helm (Nef Sol Ith)
Magic Damage Reduced By 3
Damage Reduced By 7

Lore Helm (Ort + Sol)
Damage Reduced by 7

Hwanins Splendour
Set Grand Crown
Magic Damage Reduced By 10

Spirit Shroud Armour:
Unique Ghost Armour
Damage reduced by 7 -11

Fortitude Armour (El + Sol + Dol + Lo)
Damage Reduce by 7

Bone Armour (Sol+Um+Um)
Damage Reduce by 7

Enlilghtenment Armour (Pul +Ral + Sol)
Damage Reduce by 7
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Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Please post constructive criticisms, and equipment that i have missed that provides integer damage reduction.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

I'm not a big fan of ES but still a nice write up. I'd recommend 20 TK for the partial ES setup though. Those last 4 points relatively do a lot.

It seems you missed baby Gladiator's Bane AKA Iron Pelt. :)


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

nice this is a good simple guide ty^^
always wanted to try a max ES sorc


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

This is a pretty good guide. However, if you want to prebuff Energy Shield to level 40 on most setups you don't need anywhere near 20 hard points in Energy Shield.

My old Melee Sorc for instance only had +8 skills (coh, arachs, highlords, torch, anni) and +9 lightning skills (9x light gcs) on gear and only need 14 hard points invest to get a level 31 Energy Shield. You could add another 6 points to make its level 37 but if you are going to prebuff to level 40 theres no point. Either way you are going to prebuff using Memory (up to +9 Energy Shield).

My current light sorc has +22 skills and thus only needs 9 hard points in ES and a +9 buff from Memory to get it to level 40.

The only time I guess you want to max it completely is if you can get a level 40 ES without prebuffing at all. i.e. you want something like CTA permanently on switch and dislike the idea of prebuffing from stash. That is especially annoying in PvM where mana burn is going to instantly down your ES.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Another nice guide.

Considering all of the times that I've hated ES when I used it, I really should've figured out the logic of applying the damage-breakdown ratios to my own life & mana pools :)banghead:). I might have to revisit ES now and try some of this just to see if I still dislike ES because of it's weaknesses, or if it's my own faulty planning that exacerbated the some of those weaknesses in my past attempts. (I'm guessing it's some of both, to be honest).

One suggestion for future revisions perhaps: a "minimum feasibility breakpoint" for each category.

For example, if you only have 400 mana, obviously a high level of ES isn't going to work well for you, since your mana pool just isn't big enough to sustain ES for long.

But likewise, my Full-ES sorc (PvM, with an Insight merc) found virtually no difference between having ~2000 mana and ~3000 mana - her mana was adequate in both cases. However being strong enough with the smaller mana pool meant she had much more flexibility in her equipment (read: Frostburns weren't needed, she could drop a few Serpents charms and add skillers, etc.)

So it could be nice to know before hand that if I plan for 500 life / 2500 mana that low-investment ES is tolerable, but if I can only plan for 300 life / 1800 mana, that might be a little too low for ES and a pure-Vita build would probably make more sense for me.

... just a thought. :wave:


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Definitely informative. It's too bad I hate pvp in d2 otherwise I'd probably be utilizing the information religiously =)


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Its a good idea SirPoopsAllot, i'll have to check my accounts to find what i've used personally perhaps we could get some feedback from other players about life and Mana.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Hey Stephan,
I have it listed as Gladiators Bane at the top of the Major Sources section, is Iron Pelt the old name for it?

>Gladiaors Bane lv 85:
>Damage Reduced By 15-20
>Magic Damage Reduced By 15-20


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Nope, it's completely different from Gladiator's Bane:

Iron Pelt
Trellised Armor
Defense: (234-528) - (311-605) (varies)(Base Defense: 138-153)
Required Level: 33
Required Strength: 61
Durability: 157
+50-100% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+ (3 Per Character Level) 3-297 Defense (Based On Character Level)
Damage Reduced by 15-20 (varies)
Magic Damage Reduced by 10-16 (varies)
+25 To Life
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.09 or later)

The biggest advantage being it's very cheap to trade for and relatively easy to find, and the required level is lower than almost every other viable solution... it may not be the best, but it's a solid option (especially for poorer players).


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Sorry for the confusion. I call Iron Pelt "Baby'" Gladiator's Bane because they almost do the same thing, except Gladiatior's Bane has a little more MDR and def, and CBF at the cost of some life.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Nice guide. I'll definitely be putting the information to practice some time soon. Thanks. :)


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

I have a question. Say I put points into TK, but invest no skill points in ES (there's a lot of prereq I'd like to skip), only have it as a skill from a +ES staff with some + skills. Will the ES get the benefit of my TK synergy?


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

Yes it will. I am currently making an ES sorc with no points in ES, using a 'Memory' staff, and it works fine.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

I made a dream ES melee sorc. But I was wondering, what's a very good skill to use with this kind of build for pvm? I had orb maxed and light mastery + dual dream, but she kills way slower than my bearsorc. I suppose dmg is the price for invunerablility.


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: How to make Energy Shield work for you

The unique Gothic Staff 'Warpspear' is interesting as a baby-memory.
+3 to Sorceress Skill Levels
Ignore Target's Defense
+250 Defense vs. Missiles
+3 to Teleport (Sorceress Only)
+3 to Telekinesis (Sorceress Only)
+3 to Energy Shield (Sorceress Only)