Matriarch Kseniya - untwinked Kicker/Trapper Assassin


Diabloii.Net Member
Greetings all, I assasinated Hell Baal last night with this Kicker/Trapper and I thought I'd post the build. Some would call her a hybrid Assassin, some a Kicker/Trapper, some a Kicksin/Trapsin, and some might call her a Lightdancer. I use RWM and this was SC untwinked single-pass /p1 all the way through because that's just how I like to play, so do bear that in mind when you look at my gear and skill choices.

Level 83 Assassin

Strength : 135 (94)
Energy : 50 (25)
Dexterity : 196
Vitality : 225 (195)
Life : 987
Mana : 191
Stamina : 453

Fire Res : 75
Cold Res : 75
Lightning Res : 85
Poison Res : 75

Dragon Talon 20
Death Sentry 20
Lightning Sentry 20 (never used, only maxed for synergy)
Cloak of Shadows 1 (used all the time, a one point wonder)
Burst of Speed 6
Shadow Master 20

Weapon 1 : 'Strength' Scimitar
Weapon 2 : Blade of Life Tap (82 charges)
Shield : Rare Tower Shield with 20% extra block, 13% res all, 30 Cold Res
Armour : 'Smoke' Diamond Mail
Helm : Undead Crown
Gloves : Rare Light Gauntlets with 20% IAS, MF and resists
Boots : Rare Boneweave Boots with 30% speed and resists
Belt : Thundergod's Vigor
Rings 1&2 : Assorted resists and Mana/Life steal
Amulet : Chromatic Amulet of the Wraith (24% resist all, 6% Mana steal)

I had an inventory full of resistance charms and a couple of +Life charms, nothing special though. I also kept a Greater Claws of Amplify Damage in my Cube to swap in when I ran into PI+LI unique monsters. My overall Life/Mana leech was 16% and 10% respectively.

Might Desert Mercenary

Weapon : Hone Sundan (socketed with 2x Amn and a lightning facet)
Helm : Coral Crown (+26 Lres)
Armour : Rare Scarab Husk with resists and Frost Nova

In retrospect I socketed the Hone Sundan poorly since I used Life Tap so often. I never found a Hel rune to remedy this but it wasn't a big deal.

My standard tactics were to scout ahead and then drop Cloak of Shadows on any large groups. I'd lay five DS traps and then kick a monster to death, starting a cascade of exploding corpses, monsters dying from explosions and kicks, more exploding corpses, and so on and so on. I'd drop CoS again whenever things were still dicey. I had Life Tap charges on weapon swap for emergencies, I used it pretty often in Hell since it kept the merc alive and was cheaper than reviving him. Between CoS, life leech, two tanks and 75% block this Assassin was pretty survivable and I only died a handful of times, always through stupidity.

Progression through all difficulties was pretty smooth. In the early game I used Blood Crescent (dropped in Normal Act II) which gave me lots of Open Wounds procs with DT. I swapped it for the Strength Scimitar in the middle of Nightmare. I had a pretty comfortable time from then on for a while, but Hell Act IV was rough until I gambled some rare rings for maxed res. The hardest parts overall were probably the Hell Icy Cellar full of Gloams, the Halls of Vaught full of Tomb Vipers, and the hordes of Mage knights througout Act IV. The Hell Ancients were actually extremely easy for once, I was able to split them up, Life Tap 'em and then just grind them down. In general I didn't run into any truly nasty monster combinations in Hell Act V, even the Gloams were only supported by Specters and Succubi and I barely found any Frenzytaurs in the entire Act.

I actually respecced this character in Act I Hell. Before then I'd been using maxed Venom with a weaker DS and SM, but Venom didn't seem all that effective with DT. I rebuilt with maxed Death Sentry and Shadow Master. Speaking of Shadow Master, I gather it's not a popular skill with many but I found an extra tank very useful. I could deal with the sometimes annoying Mind Blast conversions, and because I didn't have any +skill gear my traps weren't all that powerful anyway so having them replaced by her weaker traps wasn't a big deal for me.

On untwinked: this is a character that minimizes many of the weakness of untwinked play IMHO. DS traps do set damage and only the radius changes with higher skill levels so I could get by without any +skill items. Kicking with DT mainly relies on the boots you wear, and you're bound to find or shop some useable Elite boots somewhere (my final pair were a Charsi Imbue from some regular white Boneweave Boots I found on the floor). The only other thing you'd want for sure is Crushing Blow and you can get that with a cheap runeword like I did. CoS splits up monster packs nicely for safe play. Overall it seems to me that for untwinked melee (or melee hybrids) you'll do fine if you have CB, some way to stun or distract packs, at least two damage types and enough resists in Hell that you don't get one-shotted. If you fancy an untwinked character then I recommend this one, I did fine with it and I'm a bonehead with garbage gear.

Notable finds: I found both Bartuc's Cut Throat and the Jade Talon, both really nice claws that are useless to this kicksin. :p Hell Hellforge spat out an Ist.

Finally, I literally just two hours ago found my first Zod EVER in Hell Cows! :D I think my "Holy %*$£!" woke my neighbours up.


Diabloii.Net Member
You're both totally right, I should have used a Rhyme. It would have given me Cannot be Frozen and maybe freed up a ring slot for something other than resists.

I also didn't get around to using Larzuk's sockets, but then I didn't really have anything worth putting into the Undead Crown or my shield. The Ist rune and a PTopaz maybe?


Diabloii.Net Member
Congrats on the Mat. Given the Bartuc's and Jade Talon you found, I'm surprised you stuck with the Strength Scimitar full time. Did you consider keeping it in the stash for when you needed CB, while using either or both claws for +skills and resistances the rest of the time? I imagine that would have opened up quite a few more gear choices. Then again, I've never played a K/T so I may be way off.


Diabloii.Net Member
My raw physical damage wasn't bad but it wasn't great either so CB was really useful, though having said that the Merc had CB as well. I'd also pumped Dex for max block with a shield, blocking saved my life a lot so I'd definitely have wanted to respec for Weapon Blocking if I was switching to claws. I could probably have got by with 15 SM and 15 LS so that's 10 points for Weapon Block. That actually sounds pretty decent, I've got two respecs left so I might try it out some time.

I think in the end it was psychological too. In my mind I saw the character as a kicker with traps as support rather than a trapper who kicks stuff too, so I put more importance on CB than +skills.


Diabloii.Net Member
Well done, a nice character indeed. I agree with @maxicek about how interesting it is to see equipment for untwinked playthroughs. I actually had this build on the option-list for the next tourney I entered, so it's helpful to see the build and progress. Thanks for sharing!