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Ma/strafe zone hell?

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by DemonAbuse, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    About a year ago I got ma fa/ strafe zon to act 3 in hell. And even though I love playing this character, I had to give up since , I couldn’t progress without duping, etc which made me lose interest, I don’t recommend it.

    I recently picked up d2 and made it to the same place. . I have smoke and harmony , I do hell countess in 3mins. But I don’t know if it’s time to give up again, I saw mr llama on you tube kick ass with a ma/ multi build, however I don’t know or understand what other variables were involved, in sure he was using a better bow though.

    With my harmony,can maxed MA be a viable replacement for cold which is now becoming useless? id still keep freezing arrow (1 point)and use it if needed.

    I have also just found a superior great bow that NM Laz can socc for Harmony again but is it worth it comming from superior blade bow, I already wasted normal Laz for that.?? Also I’d have to dump a lot more strength points.

    I need to know is this a viable grind which I love to do with her or just useless, if not, what my next best amour I should be hoping for?
     
  2. drmalawi

    drmalawi IncGamers Member

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    Don't waste socket quests on regular items, you have the Horadric cube recipe for that

    Trechery is a nice runeword for Bowazons, it gives you plenty of attack speed. Fortitude and Chains of honor give you more raw damage, but require High runes to craft.

    You can actually get my favorite bows in the game from Nightmare meph: Whitchwild string and Goldstrike. Those can be upped in the cube (pul rune is required). Whitchwild provides resist to all, chance to cast amp damage and 2 sockets. Goldstrike is very fast and has extra damage to demons and undeads.

    For mercenary aid, an offensive act II merc hired in Nightmare will give you might aura = more damage. But a Barb merc can wield Lawbringer (requires that you have ladder only runewords enabled) that an cast decrepefy which makes your total physical output twice as high against monsters with 50% physical resist and 50% higher damage against monsters with 0% physical resist.
     
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  3. sanguillen

    sanguillen IncGamers Member

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    Well said. Regarding Witchwild String, I'd also throw in the scaling chance for Deadly Strike. So in hell, once Amp Damage is procced you are essentially QUADRUPLING your damage most of the time. That is not insignificant right there. I've Guardianed a Strafeazon that uses WWS, and other than Diablo and Baal themselves, killing didn't feel like a big issue at P1.
     
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  4. pharaoh

    pharaoh IncGamers Member

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    I think a big part of it is your playstyle. If you expect monsters to just roll over and die when you get within a screen or two of them, then you need pretty good gear to meet that expectation in hell difficulty. On the other hand, if you're just trying to beat the game, and are willing to take a bit of time, then Harmony is definitely a bow that can get you through hell. The rainbow elemental damage means you can kill anything with it, and the Vigor aura helps keep you safe (plus it allows your merc and Valkyrie to advance on monsters that much faster). The oskill also helps buff your Valkyrie.

    If you have a bit of mana leech, you can keep Strafe going, and FA gives you good crowd control. You can also use a merc with Insight (another cheap runeword, and if you're talking about using Harmony, I think it's safe to say you're using RWM) to take care of your mana issues.

    Remember that knockback and other debilitating mods (slows target, blind, target flees, etc) are all great ways to keep you and your merc safe. Cleglaw's Pincers are a cheap way to get two of these effects, but you can also craft some gloves with knockback and, if you're lucky, skills and IAS as well.

    Don't forget that the AR% bonus on bow skills is bugged; calculate your chance to hit as though using a normal attack. You also need to hit a target for Pierce to work. There is a glitch with the graphics where Freezing Arrow may appear to set off chains of frost explosions, but you'll notice only the first enemy generates a 'real' explosion; the rest aren't doing anything unless you're actually hitting things.

    Magic Arrow isn't going to be a fast killer, as it's a single-target attack (unless it pierces, of course), but it's still one of my favorite skills for style. I love the idea of never having to worry about running out of ammo with it, which makes it an excellent backup skill. If you have slvl 13+, the mana cost is zero, meaning it can serve as a backup when you're out of ammo or out of mana. The latter can definitely happen if you're fighting mana-draining enemies and your Insight-wielding merc has died. At higher levels, it also gives you a respectable source of magic damage. Remember that despite what the lying character screen says, the damage boost from MA functions as +min and +max damage, meaning it's multiplied by off-weapon %ED effects from dexterity, auras, Fortitude armor, etc, which means it can easily add a few hundred damage, a chunk of which gets converted to magic. This also explains why Witherstring from v1.09 (slvl 30 MA) is one of my favorite twinking bows; it's got more style than v1.09 Ravenclaw, since it doesn't smell like cheese.

    Regarding a bow to use for Harmony, since the runeword is cheap, you don't really need to limit yourself like you might with something like Faith (which should generally not be made in an Amazon-specific bow unless you're rich enough to make a second, since this will preclude use on mercs or other non-Amazons). I recommend a matriarchal bow rather than a grand matron bow. The stat requirements are lower, and it's a much faster bow. When you're using FA, you want to be able to attack fast, since most of your damage is elemental. Using maxed MA is similar; faster attacks let you apply the skill's +damage mod more frequently, and unlike FA, fast attacks here won't deplete your mana pool. Fast attacks also mean you're rooted in place for less time while attacking, which allows you to shoot, move, shoot, move, etc and avoid enemy fire easier.

    Farm cows or something for a four-socket matriarchal bow or an unsocketed one that you can use the cube recipe or Larzuk on. Look for one with +3 bow skills, and it can definitely be an endgame weapon.
     
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  5. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

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    I already "liked" your post, but I wanted to go an extra step further and tell you, that's ^ a really great post.
     
  6. Zyr

    Zyr IncGamers Member

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    @pharaoh, I wish I had written that.
     
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  7. GooberGrape

    GooberGrape IncGamers Member

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    I might also invest in Melody in any +3 bow for a massive skill bonuses when using elemental arrows. Harmony (or anything with ctc Amp) is much better for strafe. Bonus points for Razortail if you've got one. And don't be ashamed to wear Cleglaws, they will save your bacon.
     
  8. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    Its raining amazing advice on me, thank you all. This build is so much fun!! Its a very tactical rewarding journey, id recommend to anyone to single player bowazon who hasnt tried.

    My goal/dream is to beat the game in hell HC, no cheating, bows.

    Shes up to magi canyon in hell and desperate to do more damage. I used my 1st Laz socket on a 8% enhanced damage superior blade bow dont regret it since i haven't found any elite 4 soc bows plus i made it pretty far in HC for a untwinked bowazon

    please?i found a superior great bow , I REALLY need a better harmony to make the MA thing work, im very tempted to see laz agian however if he does give me 4 soccets the strength requirement for this bow is121 vs 76 for my great bow. i'LL have to respec, i dont mind however , I dont know if its worth it. lots of dex loss for 1 point dps , however i may be missing something here. I read that Harmony should only go in great for blade bows for thier IAS is this BS?? DR Mal I here you, but I really need to do more damage at this point, its harrrrrrd

    I need to respec anyway in order to max MA iTs stuck at 13 and needs more badly!! im going to drop from FA18 to 14 and D,A,Eall 3 to 1 im lvl 81 and i doubt im going to continue lvling much more .. i may put some more into my one hit wonder masochistic decoy, also

    Goober why melody over harmony ever at all?? I need that "elemental rainbow" for hell. Im thinking edge/ harmony will be the only viable bows ill be able to afford . ill start muling 3 socc bows agian Just in case please let me know


    heres my list of desires.
    atmas ,
    laying
    treachery.
    Witchwild /dreambow , but its a waste of MA skills but it would b a happy respec

    can I find/farm this stuff in act 2/3 in hell?

    i found a harlequin crest, but cannot replace my ort tal helm or im wasted. sad if i never get to use it

    Smoke and Nightsmoke in matching trellised armor

    20ias/ grimp grasp 24 fire res 6 cold

    bone shank boots/30 cold n fire resist
    10 hr

    dread coil ring 7 cold 28 fire


    jade ring 29 poison res.


    Sni amiulet
    all res 15 , 16 mag find, i rolled for a res all ami ,it rolled bad so i think ill keep this for now.

    +1 passive skiller, a few small res charms

    ive been lucky with my act 2 def merc
    rattlecage
    ondals almight helm
    insight on a bec de corbin

    i like this for now its great but i also found,
    the minotaur i know he cant use it
    undead crown
    spirit forge 2 socc
    bonehew 2 socc <---- im guessing amn amn rune?


    however, i think hes good for now weaken is pretty nice and so is crushing blow and monsters to flee helps him live unless there is a better combo i can be using here .???


    pharaoh , so whats your FA advise keep hitting different targets for new explosions? NM cows for this Mat bow???
     
  9. srrw

    srrw IncGamers Member

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    I never found the need to use MA or FA on my Strafe zons. One used Harmony Shadow Bow, the other WWS. Both were very scarcely twinked (The Harmony strafer I had only twinked the Shadow bow base). Both HC. Both Guardians without any issues. I'm not speaking for uber twink Faith/WF bowazons here, they're a different matter.

    The key to a successful untwinked HC bowazon is Knockback, Slow Target, Cold Damage (for chilling), Poison Damage (for PMH), Open Wounds (for PMH, Physical Immunes). And a strong merc and/or Valk. Bowazons will never do enough damage. Even uber twinked they're average. In killing speed that is, fun factor is another case :p

    Second thing. Treachery and Smoke are armors I would only use on the merc. Or in SC. Lionheart is far superior to both in my eyes at least. It offers a ton of stat points, life and resistances, and a splash of enhanced damage to top it off. Massive bang for the buck.

    On gloves there are really only two options unless an accident happens and you find a great rare/craft pair. Laying of Hands (Slaying of Demons!), which are extremely common and Cleglaw's Pincers which are even more common. The first give you a massive bonus damage to demons, of which there are a lot in the game, the second give you two of the main mods you're looking for. Slow and Knockback.

    Your rings are both so atrocious it's not even funny. Go gambling, you'll surely find some upgrades very quickly. Mods you're looking for are AR, Manaleech (2-3% total on equipment is enough), Life, Res, MF, Stats.

    Tal's Helm, while ugly AF is probably one of the best you can get. Harly is very nice, but not really suited for a Bowazon. You want offense. Not skills and defensive stats. Only thing you'll benefit from is the MF.

    D/A/E are only 1 pointers if you go for Valkirye, they're mostly useful in PvP. In PvM they can screw you over more than being helpful. Max Penetrate. And Critical Strike. And Pierce. Unless you have any of those stats on your gear. Have high Deadly strike on Gear, less points in CS. Have Razortail? 9pt Pierce is enough. Have Angelic combo? Nah it's still a good idea to max penetrate. You have plenty of spare points anyway.
     
  10. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    Srrw I’m now looking to make a lionheart however, I think treachery will be more useful if I could afford it, the 200 enhanced bow damage is temping. But with lion heart I’d also be able to use the great bow with the strength bonus. Should I use this great bow or just keep farming for a better bow?

    I’d prefer to max Ma get farther then to keep farming, in act 1 n 2. cold phys immunes are already annoying, n I’d like to report back on how this build works, since I can’t find much on it. once I find good stuff I can then consider another restat as a total strafezon But at least I’ll be close to endgame and be able to farm more efficiently.

    I’d love to see your strafezons in action!
     
  11. sanguillen

    sanguillen IncGamers Member

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    @srrw - agree with everything you posted there. Excellent post. :) Though I've always found crafting a pair of Knockback gloves suitable to my needs, in the future I'll DEFINITELY remember Cleglaw's Pincers as an option.
     
  12. pharaoh

    pharaoh IncGamers Member

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    I'm a bit late coming back to this thread, but thanks for the kind words, guys. One thing I forgot to mention: not only are the stat requirements on a matriarchal bow pretty low, but the level requirement is absurdly low- equal to the highest rune for Harmony. Coincidence?

    I actually had a Faith amazon who still used the humble 'pooncers'. They're that good. Crafted gloves can be really nice if you get IAS, +bow skills, and/or really good resists, but the slow on Cleglaw's is almost game-breaking, and literally everyone who's played the game for any length of time probably has found numerous pairs.

    @OP: One of the biggest issues for a bowazon in Hell is the lack of resistances. Without a shield, it's a lot harder to get them to safe levels. If you must prioritize, go for lightning and fire. You can get these on gloves, jewelry, and boots as well as armor, but another great way is to gamble for circlets. If you're lucky, you can get resists, skills, and an open socket or two.

    Remember your Decoy. You can put more points here, which gives three benefits: it makes your Valkyrie tougher (more life and resists), the Decoy itself has more life, making it last longer, and it costs less mana (trust me, it sucks when you try to cast it to distract a mob, but don't have enough mana). Whether you only put in one point, or go for more (perhaps even maxing it), remember to use it a lot. Unlike other minions, a Decoy won't try to follow you when you run away. Most enemies will also attack it in preference to you, which means you can safely withdraw from mobs. Cast it on the other side of doorways, and then back away; by the time the monsters kill it, you can have a stretch of hallway between you and them, and they'll be lined up waiting for piercing arrows (this works great in pretty much any indoor area, like the Act II tombs).

    I would recommend against going with the great bow. Bow damage is boosted by dexterity; each point here acts like 1% off-weapon ED. The strength requirement is 45 points higher; assuming you take them from dexterity, you lose damage equivalent to 45% of the bow's weapon damage. This will definitely offset the tiny increase in damage that the great bow offers. Also, while a great bow has higher maximum and average damage numbers, it has a lower minimum. I generally find a 'tighter' damage range (where the minimum and maximum are closer to each other) to be better than a really wide damage range. It means your hits do more consistent damage, and you can get a feel for how many hits it will likely take to kill a particular enemy. Really, the only reason I'd go with a great bow is if I was playing untwinked, and found a really awesome rare that was better than my other options.

    If you end up getting the Witchwild String, you can keep it on switch, and save points in Magic Arrow (maybe put them in Decoy instead). Then you can use WWS when you need to use Magic Arrow, as well as using it for resistances when fighting elemental attackers.

    I'd keep FA at max. If you're level 81 in late Act II Hell, and have done all the skill quests to date, you should have 90 points to play with.

    I'm kind of unclear on what your build is. Is this a FA/MA build, or Strafe/FA/MA build? Something else? You really don't have the points to do Strafe/FA/MA; you basically need 41 points to max Freezing Arrow and its damage synergy (do not waste more than one point on Ice Arrow, as you can get a better effect by using cold damage small charms to increase the freeze duration). You'll probably also want to max Valkyrie (26 points, including pre-requisites). This means 67 points spent, leaving you with 23. You can use Strafe as your other attack (especially useful for leeching mana to power Freezing Arrow), but this doesn't really leave points for the Critical Strike/Penetrate/Pierce side of the passives skill tree, and you really need some points here.

    Strafe is particularly effective if you've got a high-damage bow. Freezing Arrow works well whatever bow you use, but faster bows are best; the damage on your bow doesn't matter much. However, it will chew through your mana. A high-level Magic Arrow benefits from a fast bow too; think of slvl 20 MA as adding 20 to the minimum and maximum damage on the bow; this is then multiplied by other things, like dexterity, Might aura, etc. However, if you're only using MA as a backup, you can get by with less than 20 points here. Maybe go with 20 in Valkyrie, 20 in FA, 10 in Cold Arrow (for the damage synergy), 13+ in Magic Arrow after +skills (to get its mana cost to zero, so it's a threefold backup for cold immunes, situations where you run out of arrows, and situations where you run out of mana), and then use the leftover points to boost Penetrate and possibly Pierce. Since you're not generally relying on physical damage, you can probably leave Critical Strike at one 'hard' point for the time being.

    When you say 'act 2 def', do you mean the Defiance aura (ie, a 'defense' merc hired in Normal or Hell), or the Holy Freeze aura (a 'defense' merc hired in Nightmare)? If it's the former, as I suspect, I'd recommend you replace him. Defiance is only a useful aura if you've already got plenty of defense for it to multiply. It will help your Valkyrie, but probably won't help you or your merc too much. I have some alternate merc suggestions below. If you do choose to replace him, remember to strip him of his gear first, or you'll lose the items permanently.

    I'd stick with the Insight polearm, since it will help you. For helping your merc with life leech, there are various options. Stealskull (unique casque), Undead Crown (which you mentioned), Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest (it's really ugly, but if it's on a merc, you don't need to look at it), Boneflesh (unique plate mail), and Skin of the Flayed One (unique demonhide armor). These are just a few ideas; there are a lot of other options.

    What I was saying is that the explosions will appear even when your arrows aren't hitting. For example, imagine you have five enemies lined up. Your arrow 'misses' (fails the game's to-hit check) on the first enemy, but the splash damage from Freezing Arrow hits, so the target takes cold damage and gets frozen, but no other effects (physical or non-cold elemental damage, knockback, open wounds, etc) get triggered. However, the game will graphically display freezing explosions going off for the second, third, etc enemies, but if you look closely, you'll see they don't actually take any damage, nor do they get frozen.

    It's basically just a glitch with the graphics. My point was that you need to keep your attack rating at a high level for Pierce to take effect. Perhaps it will help to remember that it is simply another effect that is applied when you hit, so when you don't hit, it doesn't actually happen. If you select a normal attack (or Strafe) with your bow, and hover your mouse pointer over your attack rating in the character screen, it will tell you your chance to hit the last enemy that you attacked/were attacked by. If this is 90% or higher, you're good, but if it drops too low, it means you need to either a) level up, or b) increase your attack rating.

    The game has a few of these situations where what you see on-screen doesn't match what is actually happening; two other examples are Chain Lightning-type effects (the bolts aren't actually hitting the targets they appear to be hitting), and the 'fires exploding arrows' mod on bows like Ravenclaw, when equipped on an Act I merc (they're just normal arrows, despite the graphics).

    Oh, another bug in the game: do not hire a Blessed Aim mercenary to help with attack rating issues. Blessed Aim's bonus to your AR will overwrite the bonus you get from Penetrate. They will not be added together, as they should be. If you're using an Act II merc, I'd recommend Prayer (a 'combat' merc hired in Normal or Hell difficulty), Holy Freeze ('defensive' in Nightmare), or Might ('offensive' in Nightmare). Prayer isn't too useful on its own, but if you equip him with an Insight runeword polearm, he will heal you pretty quick. Holy Freeze is great to keep you (and him) from being killed quickly, because he'll slow everything down, except for some monsters that can't be chilled. Might is a popular choice, but remember it only boosts your physical damage by a percentage, and it's added to (rather than multiplied with) other sources of off-weapon enhanced damage (such as Strafe's bonus and the bonus from a high dexterity). This means it might not be as helpful as you'd expect; you need a bow with good base damage for it to really shine.

    If you want to be a little different, you can also go with an Act V merc. Most people don't use these guys, so they have style points. You can slap a Lawbringer (big chance to cast Decrepify) or Voice of Reason (big chance to cast Frozen Orb) on him. The damage may be a bit lacking, but the crowd control can be good.
     
  13. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    +13MA is just not enough for late hell, my plan is to max MA post act 3hell. i been farming for atmas and witchwild but no luck. so my plan is to leave d,a,e to 1 point , i need to figure out how much less i can put into FA and still have it be useful to spam non cold immunes. ? ? ? i keep strafe 10-15 till i have endgame bow. Im FA/strafe bow only zon with maxed out valk. I need + 600 life in hell since im HC dex is never enough so i make up with some penetrate but its never getting over 80% in hell, i can deal with that.

    i found the 4 socc mat bow ! i looked at the average dps its barley better then my blade bow besides from +2 skills so im going to make harmony in that since the runes r cheap , what do you consider a better elite bow after this besides a grand mat bow for better hamony? speed and dps considered?

    I have a holy freeze merc hes using insight.

    found a LO rune so im thinking of making treachery n lionheart for me n the merc , who should wear which?????? I could give merc undead crown with one of those.
     
  14. Zyr

    Zyr IncGamers Member

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    @pharaoh, another masterpiece; thanks for the pleasure of reading it. :)

    DA, I posted my thoughts fairly extensively (here, here, and here) in @Disposition's Untwinked Strafezon Assistance. :D thread. But somehow I failed to point out one of the Decoy's strongest virtues: It greatly increases offensive efficiency by clustering monsters together.

    - The tighter the pack, the more frequently arrows (and javelins, for that matter) will Pierce.

    - The more monsters you have in the cluster, the more likely they'll be within the 3.3 yard radius of a single Freezing (or Exploding) Arrow (or the 2 yard radius of Immolation Arrow).

    If the Decoy dies before the battle is over, much of this advantage is lost, so it's helpful to have a Decoy tough enough that the timer won't expire before the monsters do, and which won't be killed by just a few enemy attacks. IME, Decoy is a much more effective place to put skill points than Valkyrie, though I usually end up maxing both.
     
  15. sanguillen

    sanguillen IncGamers Member

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    Seriously! That was an amazing read - thanks @pharaoh ! :)
     
  16. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    what if i used a wand with lower resist as my off weapon? for immunes. Are all wands for necro only?

    ill consider a few more points to decoy ty
     
  17. pharaoh

    pharaoh IncGamers Member

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    The difference between slvl 13 and slvl 20 Magic Arrow isn't really that big. It's +7 damage per arrow, multiplied by any off-weapon %ED effects (auras, dexterity damage bonus, etc). It also converts a bit more of the damage to magic, which is both good (few monsters are resistant to magic damage) and bad (less physical damage means less leech, as well as less damage that gets boosted by Amplify Damage if you have a chance-to-cast effect that triggers).

    If using MA as a primary attack, it's definitely worth maxing. With a +3 amazon bow and some minimal +skills, you're looking at slvl 25+ Magic Arrow, which is pretty good. However, as a backup attack, you can definitely get by with less, though I certainly recommend hitting the mana-free arrows point at slvl 13, because this guarantees you've always got it as a backup.

    That's always a good choice for an Act II merc weapon. I also like the Holy Freeze aura, but if you find that you don't need the crowd control as much, you might consider a Prayer merc. I think that the merc's Prayer maxes out at slvl 18, which is 21 life healed every two seconds. Insight will double this, so every two seconds, you get a pulse that heals 42 life. It's not really enough to keep you alive in a combat situation, but it definitely helps to keep you topped up between fights. Also remember that the Prayer/Cleansing/Meditation synergy isn't a 'real' synergy; it uses the level of Prayer including any +skills, rather than hard points only as most synergies do. Tossing Harlequin Crest or Andariel's Visage on your merc, for example, will boost this healing to +25/+50.

    Are you sure it is a Lo rune (required character level 59), and not an Io rune (required level 35)? Those sometimes get mixed up, and Lo is not used in either Lionheart or Treachery, so please don't waste it trying, as Lo is a high-level rune.

    If it is indeed a Lo rune, I'd give serious thought to the 'Fortitude' runeword (El Sol Dol Lo) in body armor: it offers life, pretty good resists, and a very nice off-weapon 300% enhanced damage boost.

    Regarding Lionheart and Treachery, I'd probably put Treachery on the merc first, unless you're really struggling with resists. Insight offers no IAS, so your merc will benefit a fair bit from it, whereas Strafe is already a very fast attack, so it's less critical for you. In fact, the main benefit to having a faster Strafe is not that you do more damage (you might actually do less damage- I'll explain in a moment), but rather that you are 'locked' in position for a shorter period.

    When you use Strafe, your character will shoot off a minimum number of arrows (dependent upon the skill's level) as long as enemies are in range. If you get hit and either Dodge or Avoid kicks in, or you get put into hit recovery, you will see the animation finish, but your character won't actually be attacking. This is another of those display bugs where the game shows you one thing, but something else is actually happening. If you have a shorter Strafe cycle (due to fewer points in the skill, or faster attacks), you will begin a new cycle that much sooner, and hopefully start damaging enemies again (and leeching life). I wouldn't recommend putting fewer points into Strafe, so the other option- having a faster attack- is a good idea for safety. Another option that I believe works is to repeatedly click the mouse button, instead of holding it down. I think this can start a new cycle, but as it's hard on the mouse button and your finger, I'd only use it when and if you seem to be experiencing this problem.

    Regarding doing less damage with a faster attack: the game has something called 'nextdelay', which is a timer where a given enemy cannot be hit by another nextdelay attack from the same source for a certain number of frames. This is used for continuous-damage attacks like Firewall to prevent them from applying their damage too often, but (for some odd reason) it's also used in the Strafe skill, where it's set at 4 frames (I think). What this means is that if you had, say, a 3-frame Strafe attack, every second arrow could hit a particular target, whereas with a 2-frame Strafe, only every third arrow would hit. When you're attacking multiple enemies, particularly if they are spread out, it won't make any difference, but when you're attacking a single target, it'll make more of a difference. If you've ever been using Strafe on a single target, and noticed a bunch of your arrows pass through without triggering effects (like knockback or the little 'explosions' of elemental damage), that's nextdelay in action.

    Agreed, 100%. A weak Decoy is much less useful. Plus, when you cast your tough one on the other side of a doorway, and it gets smoked in a couple of hits, it's like a big neon sign that says 'TREAD WITH CAUTION'. :)

    While I agree that both skills are worth maxing for many builds, which should be maxed first is, I think, a matter of taste more than anything. I love the idea of having a really tough Valkyrie, and if both skills are maxed, her resists will be at 80. With just +3 to Valkyrie, she'll hit her max of 85 to all, and she also might spawn with resists from her gear, pushing her into immune territory (it's especially nice when she's poison immune, as poison can cripple a Valkyrie by disabling her massive life regeneration, and/or cold immune, as she doesn't get chilled). Coupled with huge life, she can tank almost anything. I generally max Valkyrie first, but if I'm playing a spearzon (yes, people sometimes do that), I'll usually max Decoy first, and sometimes even skip Valkyrie entirely (because of the Fend + Dodge/Avoid bug).

    The staffmods ('+2 to Raise Skeleton (Necromancer Only)' and similar things) are indeed Necromancer-only, but any class can use wands. You should check magical and rare wands and daggers (including throwing knives) that you find, though, as some have charges of Lower Resist that any class can use. I think the level maxes out at either 3 or 5, though, so they won't break many immunities, and when they do, the monsters will still be heavily resistant (resists still at 91% or higher). I think your best bet is to rely on broad-spectrum elemental damage (Harmony is awesome here) and/or a 'chance to cast Amplify Damage on striking' effect (random magic/rare bows, Witchwild String, Atma's Scarab, or- if you're like me- a Saracen's Chance amulet from v1.07). Using a Treachery runeword armor also means you're almost certain to have slvl 15 Venom active, so you can kill them with poison if they're not immune to that, even if it's kinda slow.
     
  18. DemonAbuse

    DemonAbuse IncGamers Member

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    Pharaoh thank you for your time and solid advise. My play experience/understanding is way better now.

    I found atmas!! ( i love it)

    gamechanger ,the best find so far for my bowazon. now im trying to figure out if ill need magic arrow anymore, im not really needing it but its kinda early to call.

    Ive maxed valk for damage/life purposes, and also added to 7 it decoy / thats up from a single point, overall very pleased. ill keep adding to decoy as needed through hell, thank you ZYR and Pharaoh.

    I really need clarification on bows, PLEASE!!!! i found a +3 Mat bow i also have 4 soc diamond bow with higher dps, I cant figure out whats the better bow to use for harmony, all factors put in like str, dex, speed, my take is the fastest dps bows/ lower str req are the best so maybe?? Razor bow, double bow, blade, diamond? I cant figure it out THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR MY NEXT HARMONY

    How do the amazon only bows fit in to the equation with their plus skills? and simply how do I decide on what elite bow to use???? very frustrated.. Ko runes are very very elusive for myself .

    Yes Pharaoh its a Lo rune, found in a super chest right by a WP in the durance of hate, i really need everything maxed with RES so im saving it(fortitude) until i find a few better res charms and or gear basically way/endgame. i think treachery is the best thing for me and my merc now, what kind of armor would you recommend please? its it very noticeable when fade is run out? If fade is on does it keep recasting as your get hit, or does it run out and I gotta go running away looking for a fire for a fade recast? maybe stick to smoke and keep life simple ??

    my best empty armor is
    3 socc eth embossed plate 679 def
    4 socc loricated mail def 469 4 socc
    i have a few 3/4socc wyrmhydes also. this is in contrast to fortitude and treachery.

    im having trouble understanding ias, ive got +20 in contrast to bow speed etc,now with my Magnus skin gloves, how much is too much? I tried knockback and found it annoying so i believe IAS is my better choice for gloves even though i have venom grips

    Also found Vamp gaze, id love to use it but I need my ort ort ral crafted helm for res, is a this end game helm for my merc?

    I crafted a few merc armors with jewels please let me know if they are good choices
    wyrmhyde/454 def 15% ias, +12 max dam, 4-14 cold dam, +9 strength, all res +19 lightning +8 fire +10poison +4 for early hell/ now and Spirit forge linked mail/ 399 def,+30 ias, 20-65 fire damage,15 str 93 to life, fire res 5, 4 to light radi for/nightmare late. I understand damage jewels dont work on armor?? i have tons of ed jewels. i understand they dont work on body armor??? so I went with ias

    MA/strafe works better then FA/strafe in my opinion ( without Atmas in hell), if it weren't for my strafe mana requirement id replace my mercs great poleaxe insight with this sick bonehew i have, I'll report back if i need MA anymore, in case i dont need to, should i put any into penetrate? every point= a single percent chance of strike, i feel too much in penetrate maybe a waste?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  19. pharaoh

    pharaoh IncGamers Member

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    You're welcome. :)

    You will need a backup for unbreakable physical immunes in hell. Any type that is inherently physical immune (such as ghosts) will be unbreakable if it is a) a boss with the Stone Skin mod (this adds a large dose, 80% I believe, to physical damage resist) or b) a 'possessed' champion type monster (since these cannot be cursed). You (or your merc) will need enough elemental/magic damage to take these guys down, unless you're content to just park them in a corner somewhere. Remember that since life/mana leech is based off of the physical damage you do, you and the merc can't leech from these guys.

    Magic Arrow is useful because it a) gives magic damage, and b) costs little to no mana. When you're fighting a mana burn pack, and they drain your mana ball, firing off MA a few times can often leech you enough mana to get another Strafe going. Obviously, you can just drink a potion, but this can be annoying if you need to do it all the time, plus there are times when you run out of potions. Remember that MA is more of a backup attack than a main killer, but- just like a condom- it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    If you can get a source of open wounds or prevent monster heal, this will stop physical immunes from healing faster than you can kill them. Poison will work too, if they're not immune to it; here you want a long duration more than high damage, because as long as they are poisoned, they won't regenerate life.

    You'll notice that a maxed and synergized Valkyrie is a fantastic tank. She will occasionally kill stuff, depending on the gear she spawns with, but her main job is to sit there and take the hits so you don't have to, and she does this like a champ.

    This really depends on whether you want a merc to be able to wield it. I would recommend the matriarchal bow for your first Harmony.

    Remember that a big part of the damage of Harmony comes from the elemental damage. Even if you will do more physical DPS with a slower bow with higher base damage, firing faster with Harmony lets you apply the elemental damage faster, and thus do more damage overall. This is especially true with enemies resistant or immune to physical damage. Also, remember that the +bow skills will help too. It will give a bit of a damage boost to Strafe, and it will effectively count as +3 to minimum and maximum damage when using Magic Arrow, along with lowering its mana cost (unless you already have it at slvl 13+).

    As you play more, you'll find Ko runes are pretty common. If nothing else, you have a chance to get one when you do the Hellforge quest in nightmare/hell.

    Focus on lightning resist first (gloams), and then fire. Cold and poison are far less dangerous to you. Remember that you can sometimes gamble some very nice rings with leech (even dual leech) and resists, and possibly other helpful mods like +minimum damage and +attack rating.

    But yes, I recommend saving that Lo for Fortitude. That gives you resists, +max lightning resist, and nice damage. You probably don't want to use a superior armor base, because then the repair costs can get really high, but it's up to you.

    It's quite noticeable in terms of your resists (slvl 15 Fade gives 60 resist all), but it's not too noticeable in the sense that you'll necessarily notice the moment it runs out.

    It will recast even if it's already active. However, ideally you should be hit as little as possible (hiding behind Valkyrie and merc), so it'll likely run out at times. One popular trick is to find some fire to stand in until it triggers.

    For a Strafe build, Treachery is probably better on the merc. You don't need a lot of IAS with Strafe, though you probably want some when using Magic Arrow. The chance to cast Venom is handy for dealing with immunes, but that works fine on the merc, and with a melee merc, tey get hit enough that once it triggers, it should stay active until they die or you save and exit.

    For making Treachery, the base type doesn't matter much, since it doesn't offer any enhanced defense. For Fortitude, you probably want something with good base defense. This might encourage you to use a higher-tier elite armor, but there are two things to keep in mind. First is the strength requirement; you might want a variety of characters able to use it. Second is the 'heaviness' of the armor; see the 'type' column on this page. Light armor has no penalty. Medium armor drains stamina a bit faster, and applies a 5% penalty to movement speed. Heavy armor drains stamina even faster, and applies a 10% movement speed penalty. This is the same for the exceptional/elite versions, so your wyrmhide is a good candidate for Fortitude, depending on the base defense. Archon plate is another popular choice, because the requirements aren't too steep, and it looks good on most characters. For what it's worth, my amazon's Fortitude is made in a scarab husk.

    One thing you can do is run nightmare cows and pick up plain and socketed elite armor bases that drop. They will be the lower-tier elites, so essentially just what you're looking for. You can have Larzuk punch sockets in them for you, and make your Fortitude, which should obviously go on you, rather than the merc.

    I sometimes find knockback annoying with melee characters, but with ranged characters, it's great. It has two very handy effects. First, it helps keep enemies away from you. Second, if knockback triggers, it will automatically put the target into a hit recovery animation; with a fast enough attack, this can make an enemy boss go from dangerous to harmless. Just remember it doesn't always work. I believe it always affects small targets (fallen, fetishes, etc), has a 50% chance to affect medium targets (corrupted rogues, skeletons, etc), and has only a 25% chance to affect large targets, like frenzytaurs and blunderbores). Some monsters are completely immune, too; off the top of my head, these are Griswold, the Ancients, and all act bosses.

    As I mentioned earlier, you don't need a lot of IAS with Strafe, especially with a fast bow (like a matriarchal bow or blade bow). IAS will be helpful for backup attacks like Magic Arrow and Guided Arrow, but less so for Strafe, since it's so fast to begin with. However, you can use the crafting recipes to make gloves with knockback or crushing blow, either of which can also spawn with +bow skills and/or IAS.

    Vampire Gaze has the nice 'magic damage reduced' mod, which- if stacked- can somewhat compensate for low resists. It also reduces the damage before resistances kick in, which is nice if your resists are negative. This works especially well when you're hit by many lower-damage attacks, vs fewer high-damage ones. An example would be the Hydra spells cast by the council members, which are typically bad news for mercs.

    Remember that mercs get resists as they level up, whereas you don't. If your merc can't safely use it now, he will be able to after he levels up some. It's a good helm for mercs, and often characters. Dual leech, cold damage, and some MDR and %PDR is always nice.

    No, they do. However, there is a bug if the armor has +min or +max damage (either from an inherent mod, or a jewel), and you socket a %ED jewel. I believe what happens is the +min or +max overrides part of the %ED. It's hard to explain, so perhaps an example:

    Imagine you have a circlet with +10 minimum damage, and you socket a 20% enhanced damage jewel in it. Imagine your weapon damage is 10-100, and you have nothing else affecting your damage. What should happen is that your damage effectively becomes 12-120, with +10 to the minimum, so 22-120. What actually happens is the %ED doesn't apply to the minimum, so it becomes 20-120. If you think of %ED as two separate mods, %enhanced minimum damage and %enhanced maximum damage, it might make this clearer.

    Basically, as long as you don't have +min/+max in the armor you're putting %ED jewels in, and those jewels don't have +min/+max, you should be fine.

    You should be aware I'm not 100% certain this is what happens. Someone (I think it's crawlingdeadman) has a link to a thread about this in his sig; I'll see if I can find it later.
    Penetrate is worthy of being maxed. If you can't hit things, you can't kill them.

    Critical Strike is also worth a few points. Even if you have some +skills, remember that your Valkyrie will benefit from hard points in both Critical Strike and Penetrate. Pierce, on the other hand, only affects you, and it suffers from pretty steep diminishing returns after a few points, so you don't want to spend too much here. You also want to remember that if you use Razortail (unique sharkskin belt), that will give 33% piercing that stacks with the Pierce skill.
     
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  20. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

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    @pharaoh have you considered writing a guide?
     

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