Liberator Guide Every time I turn around, I see a new liberator or hammerdin guide on these boards, or in the strategy compendum, and it drives me nuts!! I'm almost deffinately not the best hammerdin/liberator on USEast, let alone all the realms, but I do have a fair amount of experience with them. So... Here's my 'guide' and my two cents on the rest of them. First off, we'll look at leveling, and placing our stat/skill points. Skills: A while back, someone ran the actual numbers on what's best to get the most damage out of your hammers the fastest. As for me, I'm going to take a different aproach, seeing as how this is primarily for pvp. Skill Placement: Level 1: Might-1 Level 2: Smite-1 Level 3: Prayer-1 Den of Evil: Save Level 4: Save Level 5: Save Level 6: Holy Bolt-1; Defiance-1 Level 7: Save Level 8: Save Level 9: Save Level 10: Save Level 11: Save Level 12: Blessed Aim-1; Clensing-1; Charge-1 Level 13: Blessed Aim-1 Level 14: Blessed Aim-1 Level 15: Blessed Aim-1 Level 16: Blessed Aim-1 Level 17: Blessed Aim-1 Level 18: Blessed Aim-1; Blessed Hammers-1; Concentration-1 Level 19: Blessed Aim-1; Blessed Hammers-1; Concentration-1 Radament: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 20: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 21: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 22: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 23: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 24: Blessed Hammers-1 Izual Quest: Blessed Hammers-1; Holy Shield-1 Normal Ancients/Level 25: Vigor-1 Level 26: Meditation-1 Level 27: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 28: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 29: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 30: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 31: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 32: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 33: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 34: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 35: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 36: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 37: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 38: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 39: Blessed Hammers-1 Level 40: Blessed Hammers-1; Maxed Blessed Hammers Level 41: Vigor-1 Level 42: Vigor-1 Level 43: Vigor-1 Level 44: Vigor-1 Level 45: Vigor-1 Level 46: Vigor-1 Level 47: Vigor-1 Level 48: Vigor-1 Level 49: Vigor-1 Level 50: Vigor-1 Level 51: Vigor-1 Level 52: Vigor-1 Level 53: Vigor-1 Level 54: Vigor-1 Level 55: Vigor-1 Level 56: Vigor-1 Level 57: Vigor-1 Level 58: Vigor-1 Level 59: Vigor-1; Vigor Maxed Level 60: Holy Shield-1 Level 61: Holy Shield-1 Level 62: Holy Shield-1 Level 63: Holy Shield-1 Level 64: Holy Shield-1 Level 65: Holy Shield-1 Level 66: Holy Shield-1 Level 67: Holy Shield-1 Level 68: Holy Shield-1 Level 69: Holy Shield-1 Level 70: Holy Shield-1 Level 71: Holy Shield-1; Holy Shield level 13 Level 72: Concentration-1 Level 73: Concentration-1 Level 74: Concentration-1 Level 75: Concentration-1 Level 76: Concentration-1 Level 77: Concentration-1 Level 78: Concentration-1 Level 79: Concentration-1 Level 80: Concentration-1 Level 81: Concentration-1 Den of Evil NM: Concentration-1 Radament NM: Concentration-1 Izual NM: Concentration-2 Den of Evil Hell: Concentration-1 Radament Hell: Concentration-1 Izual Hell: Concentration-2 Every additional Level after 81 should go into blessed aim. I've found 81 relatively easy to get using the following method of leveling: Levels 1-20: Quest your way up, if you have a friend with a sorceress, have him/her unparty with you, and follow you around static-fielding everything in normal to reduce it to 1 hp to make for easier leveling. Once you get to 20, have the same friend kill normal cows for you until you're 24. Have that friend kill the normal ancients for you at this point. Afterwords, do public normal baal runs until you're level 40-50. Have that friend poweract you through nightmare (it's rather easily done. Though if you don't like poweracting, or can't get someone to do it, questing never killed anyone) and kill the nightmare ancients. Follow the same steps in nightmare baal runs until you're level 60-73. Afterwords do the same process in hell. Your liberator at level 73 with the equipment I'm going to have you use should be able to demolish hell, and then some. Do hell baal runs (either alone, or with other people, depending on your preference. I've done them privately and leveled my pre-fabbed Hammerdin (which is essentially the same build that you have) from level 80 to 90, just playing around, and trying to find some of the new items. Now, for your items. Enigma Wirefleece - First and Foremost. This item has a good base strength req to aim for since we're going to use a Stormshield on both sides (Yes, I know, it sounds crazy. I have a reason. Two or three actually.); If you plan on pubby dueling, throw a guardian angel in your stash. Harlqeuin Crest - 10% dr, +2 skills, huge life/mana bonus, +2 all stats. Cant go wrong here. Crafted +2 paladin Caster Amulet. - At least 5% fcr here. Preferably with stats. I have a nice rare one with +2 skills, 10% fcr, and the prismatic mod, so you may get lucky and gamble one. Rose Branded Amulet of the Apprentice, or Priests Amulet of the Apprentice works here too; If you plan on pubby dueling, keep a rising sun in the stash. Two SoJs - You'll want these for mana, and the +1 skills. If you really want to go for Maras, you could swap one of these out for a fcr amulet with resists/stats/life/mana, but I wouldnt suggest it. You'll also want to keep two Ravenfrosts, Two Dwarf Stars, and if you can get ahold of it, a Wisp Projector or two in your stash; If you plan on Pubby Dueling. Magefists - Some people say Trangs, some people say Magefists. I'm a fan of Magefists. I have an upgraded personalized pair on my hammerdin. I must say, they're rather awesome. Nevertheless, Keep a pair of trangs in your stash for cold sorcs. Thundergod's Vigor - The only other belt that even comes close to rivaling this belt is Verdungos. +20 strength; though that's rather moot when it comes to building your char, it does add slightly to your charge damage, +20 vitality, +10% maximum lightning resist, and +20 lightning absorb. Throw in 10% more max lightning resist, and even fully synergized lightning sentries heal you (Great for pubby pking) Keep a snowclash incase of cold sorcs, though. Soul Spurs; Heavy Boots - Yeah, I know. They're dupes. I don't hold anything against them, they're nice boots, and they aren't hacked. If you really dispise them, though, you could go with Marrowwalks (which I've found to be an interesting twist with this build, what with the bone prison charges, life tap charges, and mana recovery and all. Or you could go with Sandstorms Trek, which provide around 60% poison resist, and is very helpful against poison necros (I've got one now, it's brutal.) Any other rare boots with a decent amount of run/walk (which, although you wont be using it much; and no, you're not teleporting, is still useful in some sittuations.) Weapon Switch I; Caster Stormshield, you can really socket it with anything you want. I have mine socketed with a Perfect Topaz. I wouldnt suggest any other shield, unless you want to use a Jewelers shield of deflecting with four bers, and 45% autores inherant, which has less defense, and is actually at a disadvantage against two of the more common resists, cold and lightning. Wizard Spike, Again, socket it with whatever you like. I have mine socketed with a +9 energy/30% lightning resist jewel. Weapon Switch II; Charge Weapon: You'll want whatever high damage weapon you can get. I've found myself a nice winged harpoon with 178% enhanced damage, the fool's mod, +13 max damage or so, and 30% increased attack speed (rather futile with charge, but I like to smite every now and again when amazons try and tank me) You may want to look for some of the same mods (good luck...) on a berserker axe, or even a scourge. (Keep in mind, you can upgrade all rares to their elite versions, so pick all of those weapons up, and ID them!) Stormshield: Again, a stormshield. Socket it with whatever you like again. I have my switch'ed stormshield socketed with a 30% enhanced damage, +9 minimum damage, 29% lightning resist, 7% mf jewel. Now, you can obviously substitute some things with others, if you can't afford these items, grab something that's similar in stats, yet cheaper. Good PVP is never cheap, though, and my motto is: "If you're going to do something, do it right." As far as your stats go; You'll want to build up to your Enigma. Wirefleeces only require 111 strength. So you'll want to build up to that. 110 strength is a good target, since that's the requirement of your Thundergods, and that in turn gives 20 strength. Soulspurs, which are what I use, give 19 strength. I get another 2 strength from my shako, and the paladin starts out with 25 strength. That means you'll need to pump 64 strength. Quite a bit, but it's worth it in the end. As far as dexterity goes, you'll need to pump up to about 140 for max blocking at higher levels. You get 14 from your boots, 2 from your helm, and the paladin starts out with 20. Unfortunately, you're going to have to pump another 104 stats into dex. That doesn't leave you with a whole lot of vitality. By level 90, which is where I'm at, using all the stat quests, and your stat points, you'll have about 317 vitality. We're looking at a stat allocation that looks something like this by level 90. Str: 64 Dex: 104 Vit: 317 Energy: 0 As far as your charms go, you'll want to get 10 combat charms. With life, or stats if possible. 6 stat points saved is 18 life, so if you can't afford charms with life, or vita, maybe you can buy some with +6 str or dex. You'll want to have one Annihilus, obviously, but I don't tend to want to build around these (you can if you want, but you have to wait until 70 to put your enigma on.) And the rest will want to be preferably +18-20 life small charms with resists (lightning and cold are my primary concerns, but fire is up there too. Poison is on the back burners, but deffinately dont forget about it) If you get lucky enough to find some small charms with +20 life, and 5% resist all, Sexy! If you're too poor, or too unlucky to find small charms of this callibur, you can also go the stat point route, +2 str, or +2 dex with resists. For dueling, you'll need to change your hotkeys. I use the following setup. I've found it to be the easiest for me, but I'm amodextrous. A for Blessed Hammers; S for Concentration. D for Charge; F for Vigor V for holy shield, and G for teleport. This puts all of your controls within easy access of your left hand. If you want to set auras like Meditation, Clensing, Salvation, ect, ect, set them on the function keys, and use a wheel mouse, or the function keys themselves to access them, as they'll be secondary. As for dueling tactics... I'm not going to spoil it for you. This build is pretty fun, though it loses it's luster after a few duels. The most important tip I can give you for dueling though, is to use vigor + charge for moving, and NOT teleport. Teleport A) isn't fast enough, and B) requires too much mana. Also, if you know what you're doing, you can really mop up in pubby pvp games using vigor + charge with your caster switch, and those hotkeys. But you'll have to figure that one out for yourself Now, a lot of you are asking me "WHY DIDNT YOU MAX CHARGE?!" Well, I'd rather have the defense from holy shield since I pubby pvp a lot. You dont often, but nevertheless do get high AR Chargers, and Whirlwinders with 2h weapons which really do a hell of a lot of damage. You get a passive 5% ar bonus from blessed aim, AND a huge damage bonus to hammers, so I'd rather have maxed that first as well. At first glance, it doesn't look as effective as the other liberator builds out there, but I've found it to be far more effective. You can play both offensively, and defensively with your hammers (running circles with vigor + charge, then switching quickly to hammers/conc and firing off a hammer, then switching back to vigor + charge and continuing to circle) (or running backwards with vigor/charge, hammering a few times, and running backwards again) You also have the added option of luring people in with the prospect of getting a free hit with charge, and you can really do a number on their life points if you land one of these charge hits. I've found the liberator to be the singlemost versatile build, and if you stack your equipment right, not a whole lot of players can do much with you. Please, if I've left anything out, I want you guys to point it out, and I'll gladly fill you in, or at least try to. I've seen so many liberator guides that advocate going with a herald on your switch and leaving you open to physical attacks that it isn't funny, and I'd like to get more and more people to see that the stormshield isn't nearly as useless for casters as people think it is.