Medusa the Amazon - A Guide Originally posted at two other places starting August 24, 2004 and updated over time. It was last updated November 19, 2004. Some changes have taken place since then (patch 1.11 and 1.11b), but the recommended build does not change. Perhaps I shall update the equipment lists for completeness. I've also long considered adding a section on hybrids. This equipment setup works great for them. Having everything blind/slowed/chilled makes it much easier to walk up to things and poke them with a stick (Charged Strike for example). Medusa the Amazon by Bubonous Guide Concept Introduction Anyone who knows of Medusa of Greek Mythology knows that she was one ugly critter. She had snakes for hair and all who looked upon her were turned into stone. To fight her one would have to do so blind and struggling to overcome the terror brought by her presence. In the movie Clash of the Titans she was portrayed as being deadly with a bow as well as with her looks. Without the meddling of a certain king of the gods, Perseus would not have had a chance against her. While an amazon in D2 cannot turn others to stone, she can freeze them in place, slow them to the point that one needs time lapse photography to see them move, blind them, terrorize them, and blast them back. That is what this proposed build is all about â€“ making your opposition as ineffective as possible so that you can rack up kills in relative safety. With tougher, faster monsters and more ranged assailants brought by 1.10, this is a good thing. Section I: Equipment Special Effects Like it or not, all builds in D2 are at least somewhat dependent on equipment. This build (perhaps a strategy more than a build), relies on very particular equipment. But its key equipment is not that hard to obtain, and is chosen for the effects it can have on targets. A. Desirable Debilitating Effects (1) Slowing ( a ) Cold Damage (Chilling) Cold damage is the first and most readily available source of slowing. Blizzard has not bluntly stated exactly what the effects of chilling are, but the bestiary on the Arreat Summit site gives a good indication. Monsters there have a â€œChill Effectivenessâ€ column which for most is set at 50 for normal and less for nightmare and hell difficulty. This number is almost certainly the percentage by which a monster is slowed (movement and attack speed) when hit by cold damage. Certain monsters are immune to slowing from cold damage (chill effectiveness=0): Lightning Spire Mummy Sarcophagus Fire Tower Catapult Death Lord variant of Blood Lords (Frenzy-taurs) Talic Korlic Andariel (Nightmare and Hell) Gargoyle Traps (Nightmare) Frozen Horrors (Hell Frozen Horrors speed up from cold!) (Hell) Wraith (Hell) Flying Scimitar (Hell) Willowisp (ACCKKK, Black Souls!) (Hell) Bone Fetish Anything immune to cold (unless you break the immunity) Others are merely minimally affected by chilling from cold (10-15% slow). Most everything in hell difficulty is slowed only 33% or less (typically 25%). It looks like you are going to need a PLAN B for slowing many things down, but cold damage will still be useful. Cold duration is reduced to 1 / 2 in nightmare and 1 / 4 in hell and is further reduced by monsters resistance to cold. So if something in hell difficulty is 75% resistant to cold, this means the effective duration is reduced to 1 / 16 of the base duration. There are many good sources of chilling with various durations. Durations do stack, so the more the better. Chill duration from items also adds to the chill duration of Cold Arrow and the freeze duration of Freezing Arrow and Ice Arrow (more on those later). Selected Sources of Cold Damage and Durations: Ravenfrost unique ring, 4 sec Eye of Etlich unique amulet, 2-10 sec (50-250 frames â€“ test or use ATMA to know) Rainbow Facet (cold), 0.12 sec Vampire Gaze, 4 sec Frostburn, 2 sec Snowclash unique battle belt, 3 sec Endlesshail unique bow, 3 sec Buriza-Do Kyanon, 8 sec (plus hit freeze target +3!) Arctic Horn (with 2 other items in set), 3 sec Arctic Gear (complete set bonus), 4 sec Vidalaâ€™s Rig (complete set bonus), 3 sec (plus hit freezes target!) Mavinaâ€™s Icy Clutch (gloves cold damage), 6 sec Mavinaâ€™s Icy Clutch (with 3 others in set), 4 sec (in addition to other 6 sec) Magic and Rare Jewels, officially up to 4 sec on magic, up to 3 sec on rare depending on suffix), but others say 2 seconds Charms, 1 sec per cold prefix or suffix Magic or Rare Circlets with cold damage, 1 sec Magic or Rare Bow or Crossbow, up to 4 sec from prefix and 3 sec from suffix Saphires, 1 sec for chipped up to 3 sec for perfect Thul rune, 3 sec Runes and jewels socketed in items count as separate sources of cold damage and their durations stack. ( b ) Hit Slows Target The hit slows target property was much maligned in v1.09. Evidently the server treated it as slows target by a % while the client acted as if it were slows to a %. This caused massive desynchronization and lag as the two tried match up. Reports are that it works properly in v1.10, so all is good. Hit slows target slows movement and attack speed of creatures struck (not casting or recovery). It is not a cold attack and so it works on creatures that are immune to cold or chilling. The slowing stacks, so if you use Cleglawâ€™s Pincers (25%) with Blackhornâ€™s Face (20%) then you get hit slows target 45%. This is capped at 90% for normal monsters and at 50% for players and â€œspecialâ€ monsters (champions, uniques, super uniques, act bosses). The duration is long, that much is certain. It is either 30 seconds on all difficulties or until the slowed creature makes a successful physical attack. In any case you will be resetting that before it expires. The last hit with a hit slows target % not equal to zero is the one that is applied. For that reason I suggest that you either equip a merc with a higher slow % than you or none at all. A clay golemâ€™s slow is the same as hit slows target. If you use a clay golem (Stone runeword armor â€“ charges of level 16 clay golem, slows 60%), the slow % applied will be from whichever of you hit last with a positive slow %, you or the golem. Select Sources of Hit Slows Target: Cleglawâ€™s Pincers (25%) Blackhornâ€™s Face (20%) Arachnid Mesh (10%) Nosferatuâ€™s Coil (10%) Riphook, unique razor bow (30%) Gut Siphon, unique demon crossbow (25%) There are polearms, spears, and swords with hit slows target (e.g. Kelpie Snare, 75%), but I discourage you from using them on your merc. If you are applying slows target yourself, there is little point in having your merc give up damage or other abilities in favor of hit slows target. ( c ) Holy Freeze Holy Freeze slowing is not the same as cold chilling or hit slows target. Monsters immune to cold or chill are still affected. A level 17 Holy Freeze from a high-level Act II defensive merc gives 53% slowing. Level 12 Holy Freeze from the Doom runeword polearm gives 50% slowing. ( d ) Decrepify Decrepify is also separate from other sources of slow. It slows movement and attack speed by 50%. Anything that can be cursed can be affected. Those few that are immune include Possessed (champion variant) and constructions (gargoyle traps, lightning spires, fire towers, catapults, mummy sarcophagus). The only readily available sources for a bowazon are from the unique thresher, Reaperâ€™s Toll, when given to an Act II merc or partying with a necromancer. In any case it would override other more important curses, so in most cases it is best not to have it. ( e ) Caps and Stacking of Effects The four sources (chill, hit slows target/clay golem, holy freeze, decrepify) are additive. Base movement and attack speeds vary by monster. Certain special monsters (champion, ghostly, fanatic, extra fast, fanaticism aura affected, and frenzied, ancients with their equipment) have modifiers to attack speed and/or walk run on top of their base speeds. The slowing effects are counted as skill walk/run just like a paladin's vigor or barbarian's increased speed. Monsters have a minimum of walk/run speed of 25% of their base walk speed. Attack speed calculations are separate, far more complicated, and beyond the scope of this guide. But what you really need to know is that with cold damage, a good hit slows target %, and holy freeze, most everything will be much, much slower. A frenzied, extra-fast, fanaticism aura death lord would be an exception. It will still be fast, just not nearly as fast. 2. Freezing Freezing is great because what is frozen cannot attack you, thus the appeal of the standard Frost Maiden build. Certain creatures are immune to freezing (champions, uniques, super uniques, act bosses, cold immunes, and immune to chill). ( a ) Hit Freezes Target Copied directly from the Arreat Summit: â€œThis bonus is pretty obvious. Items with Hit Freezes Target has a chance to Freeze Targets. Formulae: The chance of freezing is 50 + (AL + (B*4) - DL) * 5 AL = attacker level DL = defender level B = freeze bonus from item (default is 1) if it's ranged, the AL has a -6 penalty. if it's ranged, the chance is divided by 3 freeze length = (chance - roll) * 2 + 25 frames with a minimum length of 25 frames (1 second) and a maximum length of 250 frames (10 seconds)â€ Freeze bonuses from multiple items add together to get â€œBâ€. Actually, the Arreat Summit information is incomplete and wrong on some points. (0) As usual, champions, uniques, bosses and some "special" monsters are chilled and not frozen. (1) Hit freezes is affected by difficulty level. (2) Hit freezes duration is affected by cold resistance. (3) Hit freezes is totally unaffected by cold durations. (4) Hit freezes is not carried on, does not affect, and is not affected by freezing arrow splash. (5) I believe the Arreat Summit's duration calculation is wrong and the full calculation for hit freezes duration is as follows (discovered by extensive testing by myself and others): Step 1: determine chance to freeze %: melee: % Chance to Freeze = 50 + (alvl + (FreezeBonus x 4) - dlvl) x 5 ranged: % Chance to Freeze = (50 + (alvl-6 + (FreezeBonus x 4) - dlvl) x 5)/3 Step 2: Roll against chance to freeze. Step 3: If freeze, then Max base freeze length = (% Chance to Freeze - Roll) Ã— 2 + 25 frames Step 4: Apply a cap of 10 seconds (250 frames) to result from Step 3. Set Min base freeze length = 25 frames (1 sec). Step 5: Apply difficulty level modifiers to results from Step 4. normal: multiply by 1 nightmare: multiply by 1/2 hell: multiply by 1/4 Step 6: Obtain final max freeze length and final min freeze length by multiplying modified base freeze lengths from Steps 5 by (1 - target's cold resistance). Step 7: Randomly select number between final min freeze length and final max from Step 6 (uniform distribution). This is the duration that the target will be frozen. It is quite possible (probable?) that the last random number is generated before applying some of the modifiers (difficulty level and/or resistance). However, the results would be equivalent. Iceblink (by itself) used with a bow gives you no chance to freeze monsters 8 or more levels above you, 13% chance for monsters at your level, and 30% for monsters 10 levels below you. A Buriza by itself would give no chance for monsters 16 levels above you, 26% for monsters at your level, and 43% for monsters 10 levels below. Noting the freeze length formula, the lower your chance of freeze, the lower the duration is. Unless you stick with fighting monsters below your level or dump several Cham runes into a bow, this is not something you can truly rely on for incapacitating even normal monsters. Even with a high chance to freeze, the durations are highly variable and fairly short in hell difficulty. But if you happen to have it, it is a nice bonus. Sources of Hit Freezes Target for a Bowazon: Iceblink (1, the Arreat Summitâ€™s description of Iceblinkâ€™s freeze ability is outdated) Vidalaâ€™s complete set (1) Buriza-Do Kyanon (3) Cham rune (3) Hand of Justice runeword (3) â€“ can be used in any weapon Doom runeword (3) â€“ good polearm for a merc ( b ) Freezing Arrow, Ice Arrow These come from skills and not items, but are worth mentioning here because items with chill lengths add to their duration. Difficulty level and target cold resistance have the same effect on skills that freeze as they do on cold chill and item freeze (Hit Freezes Target). A 10 second Eye of Etlich adds to a Freezing Arrows 2 seconds to give 12 seconds of freeze on normal, 6 on nightmare, and 3 on hell difficulty. Anyone with a good Frost Maiden knows and loves this. 3. Hit Blinds Target Copied from the Arreat Summit: â€œDecreases radius of awareness similar to the Necromancer Curse: Dim Vision The formula is as follows: Chance = 50 + (Attacker Level + (Bonus * 4) - Defender Level) * 5 Where the bonus is how many items of hit blinds target the character has -1. Some items have something like hit blinds target +2, which means they count as 2 items for the bonus calculation. Missile Attacks are at 1/3 this chance. The level of Dim Vision that's cast on the target is equal to (Chance - Roll)/5+1, max of 20. â€œ Essentially this is Dim Vision cast on single targets when they are hit with the chance to cast and level of Dim Vision depending on the above formulas. As such, monsters affected will not be able to attack you unless they are right next to you. They may still move toward your last position, but will stop if their movement is disrupted by knockback or another target for them to hit (merc, decoy, valkyrie). Sources of Hit Blinds Target: Coif of Glory, unique helm (+1) Sur rune (+1) Magewrath, rune bow (+1) Hand of Justice runeword (+1 -- from Sur rune) Passion runeword (+10) Silence runeword (+33) Coif of Glory used with a bow (or Magewrath) would give a 33% chance of blinding monsters 10 levels below you, 16% chance for monsters at your level, and no chance for monsters 10 or more levels above you. A Passion bow gives a 93% chance of blinding monsters 10 levels below, 76% for monsters at your level, 60% for monsters 10 levels above, and no chance for monsters 46 levels above. By the time you can use it at level 58, a Silence bow gives 100% chance to blind anything that can be blinded. Only constructions (festering appendages, gargoyle traps, mummy sarcophagus, lightning spires, fire towers, catapults), festering appendages, blood hawk nests, maggot eggs, suicide minions, putrid defilers, minions of destruction, oblivion knights, champions, uniques, super uniques, and bosses cannot be affected by hit blinds target. This makes Silence the ultimate crippling machine, followed by the much cheaper Passion. 4. Hit Causes Monster to Flee This property casts a curse on the monster hit that is essentially the same as a Barbarianâ€™s Howl or Necromancerâ€™s Terror. Taken from the Arreat Summit: â€œIf the Character Level + 1 + Howl Skill Level > Monster Level, the monster will flee.â€ Too bad they don't say how to get the "Howl Skill Level". Still, I've never been in a situation where the monsters were too high a level for it to work. 12% and 18% flee are available on magic/rare bows/xbows. 25% flee is available on magic bows/xbows, but not rares. It is also available on these items: Crafted hit power amulet (3-11%) Howltusk (25%) Rattlecage (40%) Face of Horror (50%) Dol rune in a weapon (25%) Venom runeword (25%) Passion runeword (25%) Silence runeword (25%) The percentages add together rather than being applied separately, making it easy to send all of your normal enemies fleeing. This will not work on things which cannot move (constructions, tentacle beasts, festering appendages, blood hawk nests, maggot eggs), minions of destruction, oblivion knights, putrid defilers, champions, uniques, super uniques, bosses, and suicide minions (theyâ€™re ready to die). Hit Causes Monsters to Flee is not nearly as nice a thing to have active as Hit Blinds Target. The duration is shorter and will end early if the monster encounters an obstacle. Additionally, this makes your targets mobile, so some arrows may miss because of that. Once you are blinding a high percentage of things you hit, you will want to limit this attribute. On the plus side, it is not dependent on level for chance to activate and duration (as long as the monsters aren't the many, many levels above you it would take for it to not work at all). Before you get Passion (blind +10) or Silence (blind +33), this will work far more reliably than blind +1 or +2 from Coif of Glory and/or Magewrath. You can rush through Nightmare with your Face of Horror and Rattlecage, fighting monsters many levels above you, with it still being effective. 5. Knockback When all else fails or no other means are available, knockback will give you some space and help to keep you from being mobbed. When knockback activates it also disrupts whatever the affected target was doing. Iâ€™ve also noticed that when I use knockback with strafe, it results in a lot of ranged attacks (e.g. elemental bolts from Abyss Knights) stopping just short of hitting me. What a great way to kill those pests at minimal risk to myself. While this will not work on anything frozen, act bosses, Izual, and most things that cannot move, it does work on uniques, super uniques with a base monster type, the Smith, Hephasto, minions of destruction (including Lister), and oddly enough Baalâ€™s festering appendages. I canâ€™t tell you how happy I was to see all of those festering appendages easily get knocked back when they surrounded me. Small monsters are knocked back 100% of the time, medium monsters 50%, and large monsters 25%. Champions and uniques may be resistant to knockback (next larger monster size?), but this is unconfirmed. Even minor terrain features get in the way of knockback. Iâ€™ve also noticed that certain angles seem to give me more luck in causing knockback. Sources of Knockback for a Bowazon: Cleglawâ€™s Pincers Crafted hit power gloves Nef rune Melody runeword Howltusk Giant Skull Cliff Killer Langer Briser Windforce Multiple sources of knockback provide no additional benefit. You either have it or you donâ€™t.