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Matriarch Shadow-Dancer - A Budget Kicksin

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by peytron, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. peytron

    peytron Diabloii.Net Member

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    Hi All,

    I want to give an overview of my Dragon Talon Assassin. She went solo through the game at players 3 using gear found either herself, or from one of my other 6 single player characters. She was my seventh run through of the game (one of each class) since starting single player recently. My goal was to quest through the game with each character at at least players 3 without significant respecs. By significant respec I mean not changing main skill trees, e.g. playing a Meteorb through normal and nightmare and then switching into a pure Blizzard or Lightning Sorceress, or playing Whirlwind Barbarian and then respecing into Berserk.

    In general these characters have to kill every monster pack they encounter on their quest. That is, not skip the tough ones. The odd Flayer or Fallen that runs away we don't chase down. They don't have to clear every level, or explore every inch of the map, just kill every pack that is in their way.

    The initial idea for the build came from the Warrior Monk guide by JanusJones:
    https://www.diabloii.net/forums/showthread.php?t=392666
    Specific advice on this character was obtained from Galtwish and Namtar from the forums, so big thanks to them for their help:
    https://www.diabloii.net/forums/threads/kicksin-progress.965884/

    Her main skills are Dragon Talon and Dragon Flight, she used Burst of Speed or Fade originally but after acquiring her Treachery Rune Word she switched into using Cloak of Shadows. Shadow Master was used originally but got quite frustrating so she switched into Shadow Warrior. I neglected to put any points into the charge up skills, preferring just to fly right into the pack of monsters and kick away. Even without a high damage weapon she managed to do enough damage that I didn't have to play with charge up skills and finishing moves.

    Skill Distribution:
    Traps - 1 point into Blade Fury and prerequisites. I did not end up using this skill much at all, but is useful for hitting those Gloams or Hell Temptress monsters that float out over lava, water, etc. Also it was useful in select cases to draw monsters out a few at a time when the packs are too large or dangerous to fly into.

    Shadow Disciplines - 20 points into Cloak of Shadows, 20 Points into Shadow Warrior, plus 1 point in each prerequisite. Early on points in Burst of Speed/Fade and Venom will help you quest through Normal and Nightmare until you can equip your Treachery Rune Word.

    Martial Arts - 20 points into Dragon Talon, 1 point in Dragon Flight, plus prerequisites.

    She had 26 skill points remaining after reaching Matriarch. For surplus skills you could play with Charge Up skills in the Martial Arts tree, put a few points in Venom or Fade for prebuffing until they trigger from Treachery, or even try out Death Sentry from the traps tree. I may end up playing with these options down the road.

    Stat points:
    Strength - enough to equip Upped Gore Riders Shadow Dancers, or a Monarch. In my case this ended up at 186 (with gear) after reaching Matriarch at level 85.
    Dexterity - enough to equip your weapon, which in my case was a Phase Blade. Ended up at 146 points total.
    Vitality - all remaining points, 232 total in my case
    Energy - nil

    Gear:
    Helm - Wormskull -> Stealskull -> Crown of Thieves -> Vampire Gaze. One day I will find a Guillaume's Face, which I think would be ideal.
    Armour - Stealth -> Duriel's -> Smoke -> Treachery
    Boots - Goblin Toe -> Upped Gore Riders or Shadow Dancers. I have both and will likely equip Shadow Dancers if we find a Guillaume's Face.
    Gloves - Change Guards -> Trang-Oul's -> Dracul's/Soul Drainers -> Rare with skills and IAS.
    Belt - String of Ears
    Weapons/Shields - Steel -> Ribcracker -> Upped Ribracker with Shael, and on switch Lawbringer/Stormshield with a Perfect Diamond.
    Rings - Rare/Magic with leech stats -> Raven Frost and Carrion Wing.
    Amulet - Eye of Etlitch -> Rare with skills and resists
    Charms - Anything with resists/life. Mine are mostly 5-7% small resist charms and various +life charms.

    Mercenary:
    Aura - Defiance -> Holy Freeze -> Might
    Helm - Wormskull -> Stealskull -> Crown of Thieves. Guillaume's Face or Vampire Gaze are future desires.
    Armour - Stealth -> Duriel's -> Treachery
    Weapon - Malice -> Hone Sundan with Shael, Shael, and Amn -> Reaper's Toll -> Bonehew -> Obedience. I dropped the Reaper's once I equipped Lawbringer, and brought out Obedience to help with Crushing Blow towards the end of hell difficulty.

    Her Quest:
    Starting out she had an advantage over my previous characters, in that she had a wide range of low level twinking gear to make the Normal and Nightmare difficulties less difficult. Although she may not have needed it as much as she seems to have no real difficulties initially. For a lot of Normal and Nightmare we played at players 5 or 7.

    After beating Nightmare Baal we decided to stick around at players 8 and run the Worldstone Keep 10 or so times to get some more experience before venturing into hell. With Burst of Speed and her Ribcracker, she just crushed everything.

    The first hiccups came once we moved into Hell difficulty. The Ribcracker, whilst doing a decent amount of damage left her very vulnerable. Her mercenary switched from Defiance to Holy Freeze and received a Reaper's Toll, she equipped Dracul's Grasp for Life Tap, but it was not enough. While Burst of Speed meant she could kill everything relatively quickly, a few hits from monsters and she would be dead, as the leech just couldn't keep her life sustained. At this point we decided to go with a Lawbringer Phase Blade and a Stormshield. While her kill speed dropped slightly, she survived and quested through Act 3 and 4 without too much trouble.

    This meant swapping out the Reaper's Toll for a Bonehew (and later Obedience) since the Decrepify was provided by Lawbringer. We switched at first to Trang-Oul's gloves for Venom damage, and then to some decent Increased Attack Speed +2 Martial Arts rares since we needed to stop overriding Decrepify with Life Tap for the kill speed.

    In late Hell difficulty is where we ran into bigger problems. Her skill speed was dropping significantly even at players 3, but we stuck with it and hit a dead stop in the Crystalline Passage in Act 5. Champion packs of Blood Lords were her death sentence. This is where I sought some help from the forums and transitioned into the gear that would allow her to finish her quest.

    The Rune Word Treachery, along with casting Cloak of Shadows allowed her to conquer the packs that were holding her back. Champion Blood Lords, Hell Temptresses, and Black Souls infesting the Throne Room were not an issue. The damage reduction from Fade and Vampire Gaze, plus Cloak of Shadows allowing you to draw the monsters out a few at a time proved to be the winning strategy.

    Screenshot639.jpg

    She found better runes than she used in her quest too:
    Screenshot432.jpg Screenshot445.jpg Screenshot479.jpg Screenshot596.jpg

    No "Grail" items were found in the making of this character, but as she was the last that is not too surprising. Her rune finds will serve her companions well. Perhaps it is on to the next Seven for me.
     
    Zyr, TedDeeBoy, Fruit and 10 others like this.
  2. galtwish

    galtwish Diabloii.Net Member

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    Nice job, glad the minor tweaks helped. Quite a nice rune haul for a questing character!
     
  3. logoutzero

    logoutzero Diabloii.Net Member

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    Firstly, nice write-up and congratulations!

    Max investment in Cloak of Shadows?

    I'm new to Assassins, currently playing my first (to make it out of Act I Normal :p) one and have just made Conqueror. Most of the reading I've seen mention CoS seem to suggest leaving it at a minimal investment, in order to keep the duration down so it can be re-cast sooner. There are times where I've needed to re-cast in the same fight, and have had to wait for the timer to reset. I was thinking about investing in it further, maybe you have some thoughts to share? She's a trapper (Lightning Sentry/Death Sentry/Fire Blast, Fade/CoS, no Shadows) if that makes a difference...
     
  4. peytron

    peytron Diabloii.Net Member

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    Thanks!

    I absolutely agree that sometimes I would want to recast sooner. I'm very new to the skill, and it took me a few tries to realise how it works so I am far from being an expert on it. I actually thought the radius increased with each point, but now that I check the wiki I realise that is not the case.

    I maxed it out because I had a ton of skill points unused and figured the longer duration would help out. The duration increase helps when you're fighting through the Worldstone Keep with masses of Hell Temptresses, Gloams, and Blood Lords, as it is really beneficial keep them cloaked for longer when you have a lower damage setup like I have as it gives you time to kick down a few of them (not that it really takes long to hit a couple hotkeys though).

    Since she has a lot of skill points unused, dropping down to a few points in CoS would give enough room to have a decent trap setup I think. My hesitation on traps is that when I get around to running another seven characters through I would likely choose a trapsin and I would feel like it was a duplicate character.
     
  5. maxicek

    maxicek Moderator Single Player

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    Congratulations on the Matriarch.

    Some interesting gear choices here, not sure I would have gone that way myself, but glad it worked out for you.

    No Um runes? I would have gone for Crescent Moon and Duress.
     
  6. T72on1

    T72on1 Diabloii.Net Member

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    Grats !! Nice Mat and write-up.

    I prefer CoS as 1 point wonder myself as well. I love to back it up with a maxed SW though, which can mimic the skill in the time it's on cooldown for me.
     
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  7. peytron

    peytron Diabloii.Net Member

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    Ah, you know what? I have 6 Um Runes stashed away. I guess Duress was looked over since I was using Burst of Speed originally and needed help with resists. Once I got into Fade resists were no longer a problem so Duress likely would work pretty well and then I could keep the Vampire Gaze. With the left over skill points I could easily put points into Fade and Venom...

    My mercenary could go back to Reaper's Toll to make up for the loss of Decrepify if I try out Crescent Moon.

    All things worth trying, thanks for the tips!
     
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  8. Zylo

    Zylo Diabloii.Net Member

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    Nice write-up and stylish sin. I'm looking forward to the next seven!
     

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