Medusa the Amazon - A Guide


Diabloii.Net Member
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 – 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 “Chill Effectiveness†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
Death Lord variant of Blood Lords (Frenzy-taurs)
(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 – 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
Vidala’s Rig (complete set bonus), 3 sec (plus hit freezes target!)
Mavina’s Icy Clutch (gloves cold damage), 6 sec
Mavina’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 Cleglaw’s Pincers (25%) with Blackhorn’s Face (20%) then you get hit slows target 45%. This is capped at 90% for normal monsters and at 50% for players and “special†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 golem’s slow is the same as hit slows target. If you use a clay golem (Stone runeword armor – 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:
Cleglaw’s Pincers (25%)
Blackhorn’s Face (20%)
Arachnid Mesh (10%)
Nosferatu’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, Reaper’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:
“This 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 “Bâ€.

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) × 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 Summit’s description of Iceblink’s freeze ability is outdated)
Vidala’s complete set (1)
Buriza-Do Kyanon (3)
Cham rune (3)
Hand of Justice runeword (3) – can be used in any weapon
Doom runeword (3) – 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:
“Decreases 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. “

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 Barbarian’s Howl or Necromancer’s Terror.

Taken from the Arreat Summit:
“If 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 (they’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. I’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 Baal’s festering appendages. I can’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. I’ve also noticed that certain angles seem to give me more luck in causing knockback.

Sources of Knockback for a Bowazon:
Cleglaw’s Pincers
Crafted hit power gloves
Nef rune
Melody runeword
Giant Skull
Cliff Killer
Langer Briser
Multiple sources of knockback provide no additional benefit. You either have it or you don’t.


Diabloii.Net Member
B. Not So Desirable Debilitating Abilities

1. Charges of Skills

In general charges of skills are expensive to repair and are less effective because you have to active select and use them when you could be attacking. This forces you to be very selective in their use. Here are some charges of skills you can use to debilitate the opposition and their sources: cloak of shadows (Nadir), weaken (Smoke), attract (Delirium runeword), clay golem (Stone runeword), molten boulder – knocks back targets (Stone runeword), various magic/rare charged items (cold spells, weaken, terror, confusion, grim ward), Bone Prison (Marrowwalk).

2. Effects When Struck

The idea is to prevent them from striking you, hence these are not worth sacrificing much to get, especially if they override your Hit Blinds Target or Hit Causes Monsters to Flee. These effects and their sources are: glacial spike (Mavina's embrace), frost nova (magic and rare armor and jewels, hit power items), twister (Zephyr), mind blast (Delirium), terror (Delirium), dim vision (Gloom, Darksight Helm).

3. Effects When Striking

The effects I’m talking about here are weaken (Ondal's Almighty, Soul Drainer), confuse (Delirium), and twister (Carrion Wind). Weaken and confuse overwrite your Hit Blinds Target and Hit Causes Monsters to Flee. They can still kill you even if they are weakened. Confused monsters may attack their allies or they may still attack you. Twister has only a 0.4 second stun IF it actually hits something.

4. Effects On Attack

Not much falls into this category except for chance to cast ice bolt, which can be found on magic or rare weapons. Chance to cast on attack does not work with ranged weapons (thanks, adeyke) and even if it did, the speed of the bolt is too slow and you’ll want a better bow or crossbow than any magic or rare you are likely to find with this property.

C. Other Non-Desirables

Anything that overwrites Hit Blinds Target or Hit Causes Monsters to Flee is a bad thing. This means they can attack you again. This includes amplify damage, life tap, and decrepify. Now don’t get me wrong. These are all nice curses in general. Amplify damage and decrepify let you kill faster and life tap gives you crazy life leech. But you can’t kill the monsters if you are dead. And you don’t need high leech if you don’t get hit. High leech does not help if you get slaughtered by the opposition between volleys of your own. Decrepify would be the most useful one to have for the Medusa Zon to use and then only against tough uniques, super uniques and bosses after their companions have been eliminated.

Section II: Skill Choices

In order to trigger all of our debilitating effects (slow, blind, flee, freeze), we need to be able to hit everything we can as quickly as possible. A good level of Multi-Shot would seem to be the obvious choice, since all of those arrows coupled with high piercing could mean everything in a wide swath in front of you gets hit. Alas it is not so. Only the middle two arrows carry special effects like hit blinds target, hit causes monsters to flee, freeze target, knockback, crushing blow, open wounds, and chance to cast whatever. As it currently stands Multi-Shot and Strafe have a hidden property called Next Delay, presently set to 4 frames. When an attack roll is made no other Next Delay affected attack can hit until the Next Delay duration is up. So no matter how many multi-shot arrows pass through a target, only one attack has a chance to hit. To add insult to injury, total damage for each arrow is reduced to 75% (including elemental add ons) and mana cost goes up for every level of multi-shot. Only leeching, regular damage, and deadly/critical strike work on the whole volley.

The default for hitting lots of targets rapidly is then Strafe. Special effects do carry on every arrow, mana cost is fixed at eleven, and additional points increase damage. The drawback is strafe-lock. This isn’t too much of a problem when you strike and disable the opposition before it has a chance attack you. Regular melee monsters are not a problem. They can be blinded, made to flee, or knocked back before they get to you. Ranged attackers are more of a threat. But let’s face it, no build is totally immune to being peppered by guest burning dead archers, quill rats, and slingers in the Bloody Foothills. At least with this they won’t be firing on you for long. And if you are extra careful, you can attack them at maximum range (while they are still off screen) and disable them before they have a chance to fire at you.

It is not necessary to max strafe. As long as it produces enough arrows to touch all of your opponents quickly, that is good enough. One extra skill point in strafe is the same as 5 extra points in dexterity (+5%), as you can see from this formula:

Average physical damage = (avg bow dmg) × (1 + dex/100 + skill modifier) × (1 + critical or deadly strike%/100) × (1 — physical resistance%),
Where skill modifier is the bonus granted by the skill.

You can switch to another skill if you want and then refresh your crippling effects periodically. But I find it is best to use strafe exclusively except for when dealing with physical immunes.

For physical immunes there are a variety of options. Freezing arrow is my choice (it fits with the rest of the theme of crippling the oppostion, has solid elemental damage, and can hit multiple targets). Stay away from Immolation arrow. It has a timer that cripples its effectiveness and does only a little bit more damage than Freezing Arrow. Exploding Arrow does less damage than Freezing Arrow (but for less mana). That leaves magic arrow and fire arrow which add virtually no damage but can convert a good chunk of your physical damage to magic or fire. Or you could just save the skill points and use a Hellrack on your weapon switch with strafe. There is a hidden property for some skills (including Strafe and Multi-Shot) called Next Delay. If a Next Delay attack hits a monster, it is immune to further Next Delay attacks for the next 4 frames. If you keep your total IAS below 50% with Hellrack, then every arrow (bolt actually) will have a chance to hit. I'm told that here is an accurate strafe breakpoint table:
Link to "competing forum" deleted. :( Sorry, you are on your own. Try the German calculator even though it isn't totally accurate.

Valkyrie and Decoy are still useful for scouting through doorway and narrow passages and for taking the heat from the few remaining monsters that you can’t totally cripple with blind, flee, freeze, slowing, and knockback.

Don’t forget to invest at least one in each of your passives and preferably more in critical strike and pierce. I like to invest just enough in Pierce to get 100% pierce with Razortail and +skill equipment. Pierce is important so that you can cripple those at the back of the pack as well as in the front.

Section III: Attribute Points

You really have a lot of flexibility here and the same recommendations could be made for any Bowazon – base energy, enough strength for equipment, enough in vitality so that you feel comfortable with your level of health, and lots in dexterity. There’s really not much else to say except that with everything blind, fleeing, knocked back, frozen and/or slowed to a crawl you won’t be needing quite as much health to stay alive. This leaves you more points to put in dexterity for AR and damage. And since you can’t blind/terrorize/chill/slow/knockback what you cannot hit, having a high enough AR to hit reliably is especially good.

Section IV: Equipment Selection

Sample Key Equipment Progression
level 2 Arctic Set, good physical damage plus 7 sec cold duration
level 4 Cleglaw's Pincers (end game item, slows 25%, knockback)
level 14 Coif of Glory (blind+1)
level 15 Eye of Etlich (can consider replacing with Highlords, Crescent Moon, or Mara's once have enough cold damage charms)
level 20 Face of Horror (switch out Coif of Glory to get 50% Flee)
level 20-29 upgrade bow/crossbow for better damage
level 29 Rattlecage (for 40% Flee, 25% crushing blow)
level 32 Razortail for piercing
level 29-41 upgrade bow/crossbow as needed (Riphook -- 30% slow or Kuko -- piercing, fire damage, exploding arrows)
level 41 Buriza (freeze target won't help much at this point, but other attributes will)
level 43 switch Face of Horror to Blackhorn's Face (end game item), Switch bow to Passion, replace Rattlecage with resistance armor
level 45 Ravenfrost (end game item)
level 58 Silence Crusader Bow

Once you have Passion or Silence, you don't need any other cursing effects from other items (hit causes flee, weaken, amplify damage, confuse) as they would cancel out the blindness.

Desired Final Equipment:

Silence Crusader Bow (solid damage, 20%IAS, 11% ml, Blind +33, 75% resist all)
Buriza (freezes, high damage) or Windforce (physical damage) or Hellrack (for elemental damage) on weapon switch, I prefer Hellrack for physical/cold immunes
Cleglaw's Pincers (slows 25%, knockback)
Blackhorn's Face
Good resistance armor, preferrably with +skills and/or leech (Chains of Honor is ideal)
Goreriders (for crushing blow, open wounds, deadly strike, 30% R/W) or whatever your favorite boots are
Razortail (max your piercing with Silence Bow - blind, chill, slow, and knockback the whole audience)
a bunch of cold charms (for longer chill duration)
Other equipment (amulet, 1 ring, charms, open sockets) to fill in needed resistance, life & mana leech, +health, +mana, IAS, or extra cold duration
holy freeze merc or might merc with Doom polearm equipped with the usual sort of merc survival gear

Now this set up gives, a near certainty to blind or flee, slows target 45% (near max for the most dangerous monsters), long cold chill duration, piercing, decent leech, decent damage, solid resists and +20 lightning absorb, and holy freeze from your merc. Silence can’t match Windforce for damage, but then what can. If you want, use Silence to cripple them and then finish them off with Windforce or your Godly Bow of Butt Kicking. Of course, not everyone can get the runes for Silence. Fortunately, the runes for Passion are fairly cheap (Lem being the rarest) and Passion provides nearly as good damage and adequate blind/flee. Plus you can make Passion in a Grand Matron bow for a little more damage and up to +3 bow/crossbow skills or in a Matriarchal bow for +3 bow/crossbow skills and 2 second frame strafe with Highlord’s Wrath and one IAS jewel socketed into Blackhorn’s Face or your armor. The rest of the key items are not very hard to get. If you die using this set up, it almost certainly means that you got very careless and rushed ahead when you should have been using your scouting skills. Even Gorgons and Krakens can be killed.

Here’s Passion’s (Dol + Ort + Eld + Lem) properties :
+25% Increased Attack Speed
+160-210% Enhanced Damage
50-80% Bonus To Attack Rating (varies)
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
+1 To Berserk
+1 To Zeal
Hit Blinds Target +10
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
75% Extra Gold From Monsters
Level 3 Heart of Wolverine (12 Charges)

And here’s Silence (Dol + Eld + Hel + Ist + Tir + Vex):
200% Enhanced Damage
+75% Damage To Undead
Requirements -20%
20% Increased Attack Speed
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
+2 To All Skills
All Resistances +75
20% Faster Hit Recovery
11% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
Hit Blinds Target +33
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
30% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items

There are also some intangible benefits to some of the equipment. Purple Rattlecage with a Face of Horror or Blackhorn’s Face really does look ugly. Medusa would be proud.

Section V: Playing in a Group

Well, Medusa really didn’t have company very often and when she did, she killed them. The exception would be her two nearly as ugly sisters. Think of the Valkyrie and Decoy as your amazon’s two ugly sisters. The merc? Oh, he’s just a hunchback you enslaved. You can choose to be a little more social if you wish. I play single player. I would envision that certain players would hate having a Medusa Zon around causing monsters to flee and knocking them back, shattering bodies, and canceling out whatever THEIR favorite curse happens to be. Those who don’t like dieing could learn to appreciate your zon’s ugliness. The knockback and flee you can fix for them by freezing targets for them with Freezing Arrow. If they really object to your cursing effects, you can use whatever is on your weapon switch instead (and perhaps laugh at them when 20 burning dead and slingers shoot them and they die). If they hate to see you shattering bodies, well you can’t really eliminate all of your cold sources, but you can refrain from using Freezing Arrow. If you are going to make an omelet …

Thanks Go To:

Blizzard for making Diablo 2, and GFraizer for creating and maintaining the Arreat Summit.

brianc84 at The Amazon Basin for figuring out the dynamics of various sources of slowing (numerous posts, too many to list):
Links to relevant information at "competing forum" deleted. :(

Therron and Ruvanal for a compilation of item chill durations:
Link to relevant information at "competing forum" deleted. :(

AK404 and LineNoise for a wealth of information in their “a guide to bowazonsâ€, posted at Amazon Basin (especially info on knockback and multi-shot):
Link to ... :(

adeyke and brianc84 for information from their NextDelay testing:
Link deleted. You know the drill. for item affix information and adeyke and brianc84 for sending me there.

Myrdinn, brianc84, and adeyke for strafe breakpoint information.

brianc84, adeyke, Rechet, and Lord Kestrel for gameplay testing on Hit Freezes Target to go with my own testing, adeyke on how Hit Freezes seems to be set up separately in the game code, and BIGeyedBUG for raising the issue.

RogueMage, adeyke, brianc84, and others for numerous corrections and suggestions.

Planet Diablo and its moderators for providing a good place for discussion and posting of strategy.

The Amazon Basin for its community of people who have both the know how and drive to get all of these juicy bits of technical information.

Many others who have provided little tidbits of information or inspiration.

I’ve really enjoyed my amazon, Medusa. I hope others will give one a try and see how they like it.

August 26: Added Snowclash to list of cold durations. Added Suicide Minions to list of cannot be blinded. Fixed a few typos.
August 27: Added Maggot Eggs and Putrid Defilers to the list of cannot be blinded and cannot be made to flee (not they they are a threat anyway). Added additional commentary on the benefits of Hit Causes Monsters to Flee before you get Passion or Silence.
September 9: Added lots of corrections (strafe breakpoints, HCMTF availability, multi-shot hit roll dynamics, CTC and ranged weapons, additive slow effects) and some credits.
September 15: Added oblivion knights to the list of cannot be blinded and terrorized.
September 24: Confirmed that HCMTF percentages add. Added Venom to list of sources of HCMTF. Corrected multi-shot back to having a single chance to hit per target. Added link to Next Delay testing information in credits section.
November 19: Revised and expanded information on Hit Freezes Target.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thank you for sharing your superbly written guide with us. As it is, it's a prime candidate for "stickying". Or, maybe it could be combined with Wmeridth's thread and stickied with some 1.11 updates. What do you think Dacar?


Diabloii.Net Member
Bubonous said:
funny, but because this is a g-rated forum dacar may delete should take the lack of response to your guide as a compliment is well written with no glaring errors that would call for someone posting to offer corrections....defensive/low damage builds like this are among my favourites, but most people will only play max damage zons....if a faith/fort is not mentioned in the guide they will quickly move on to something else....shame.

i am also positive that it will find it's way into the stickies


Moderator: Community, D2 Zon, DH, Inc Clan Officer
Sorry Bubonous, your post, while funny does not fit into the type of forum we are trying to run here. I had to delete it. Don't take the lack of response as a bad thing. Maybe people see nothing wrong with it and just have no reason to comment.

Edit: pwned by Dave :lol:


Diabloii.Net Member
But ... but ... :scratch: my post contained no swearing and no photographic or textual porn (not even Andariel's bare breasts). I just don't know how a post on equipment choices (such as armor) and skill choices could be considered "adult". :innocent: It must have been that typo in my proposed build's name, the Slugazon -- because she'd kill so slowly, that triggered other people's filthy minds. I'll be more mindful of those "typos" now so that someone else doesn't have to edit them for me. ;)

My post was a much a statement of another thread as this one ... another which happens to mention "black thigh straps" on one armor versus another armor that "makes her look saggy and paunchy."

I think you are right about the response to this guide:
A. nobody has found factual errors or crappy formatting to post about, and
B. it doesn't give the fastest killing speed (pretty good using lightning fury or freezing arrow on a weapon switch though :thumbsup: ) and doesn't use duped runes and 15/40 jewels. The most expensive thing is the Vex in Silence which can easily be replaced with a much cheaper Lem for Passion.
C. I don't think there are too many players of hardcore here.

I've recently made changes to the guide and added a section on variants, including hybrid characters. It does not appear that I can edit to make those changes any longer.


I'm no expert and am not really a good source for critique and thus i have none. :D This build looks like something i would love to tackle, as my attempted max damage strafer has become quite boring for me and my interest in D2 has been waning ever since this damned patch came out. True, a VEX is kind of hard for me to come by ATM being on ladder and all but i do have a LEM sitting in my stash and the idea of making passion in a GMB sounds pretty darn cool. I wasn't aware of how easy it is to get a 2 frame attack with one, at least i think that's what i read.

I'm definately going to give this build a try, i have most of this stuff in my inventories already somewhere. :lol: I already have the strafezon made, might as well try this out. Nice guide BTW. :thumbsup:


Diabloii.Net Member
Bubonous said:
C. I don't think there are too many players of hardcore here.
there are a few...check out the canzon/us_zon ver 3.0 thread for an hc tourney just starting....there is at least one veteran hc player entered already...and a few trying hc for the 1st are welcome to join in the fun.

Bubonous said:
I've recently made changes to the guide and added a section on variants, including hybrid characters. It does not appear that I can edit to make those changes any longer.
just post them here with a note for dacar to edit your original post....he reads every thread....or you can pm the changes to him

there is one thing that i wondered about....

"slows target 45% (near max...." what do mean by "max"?


Diabloii.Net Member
rykuss said:
idea of making passion in a GMB sounds pretty darn cool. I wasn't aware of how easy it is to get a 2 frame attack with one
I believe you want the Matriarchal Bow (-10 WSM) for only 60% IAS required to reach the 9/2 strafe breakpoint and not the Grand Matron Bow (10 WSM) requiring 120% IAS to hit 9/2. 25% IAS comes with Passion, so you've got only 35% to make up. You could use a Highlord's Wrath (20% IAS) and one IAS jewel in the helm (Blackhorn's Face for 20% slow, PMH, and lightning absorb) to hit 9/2.

With a Silence Crusader bow (sadly Matriarchal and Grand Matron bows can have only up to 5 sockets) hitting 9/2 is infeasible without sacrificing the Blackhorn's and armor slots to 7 IAS jewels. The Silence Crusader does give more damage per hit, so accepting its starting 13/3 strafe speed is a fair tradeoff. Strafe-lock and strafe-whiff aren't much of a problem either as even the ranged monsters won't be hitting you.

If you find that strafe with a Passion bow doesn't have enough offensive punch or isn't interesting enough, you could try a variant. Below is what I have added to the guide (but can't edit it here anymore):

Variant Plans:
Before I go further, let me say that getting at least one into each passive right away almost always makes sense. Secondly, getting to level 8 or 9 in Pierce (with +skill gear) so that you can have max or near max piercing when using Razortail is also a very high priority. I won’t bother to repeat that for every variant. If you plan on using a belt other than Razortail, even more points in Pierce are warranted.

Pure Strafer Medusa:
Max Strafe
Max Valkyrie
Invest heavily in passive and magic skills and possibly magic arrow for physical immunes. Use Strafe for about everything. Elemental damage charms can help with the odd physical immune and/or you can use Magic Arrow or even Fire Arrow or Cold Arrow. Your weapon switch can be either a more damaging bow (Windforce, Faith) or a bow with elemental damage for physical immunes (Hellrack, Skystrike, Kuko, Buriza).

Frost Strafer Medusa:
Get at least level 6 strafe including +skills so that you can hit the maximum of ten targets with one Strafe cycle. Then build up Freezing Arrow and its Cold Arrow synergy. Remaining points go into building up passive and magic skills (including Valkyrie) and increasing your level in Strafe for more damage and more arrows when you have less than 10 targets in range. Use Strafe for cold immunes, Freezing Arrow for physical immunes, and take your pick for monsters that are vulnerable to both. Use strafe to leech mana for use with Freezing Arrow. Use the usual Frost Maiden favorite bows (Ice, Mavina’s, Buriza, nice rare) on your weapon switch. Additional cold damage gets carried on both the arrow and the blast.

Fire Strafer Medusa:
Part of the problem of Immolation Arrow is that monsters move out of the fire patch. If they are blind and slow, then they won’t be so inclined to move. You can try strafe to get them blind and slow, and then rely on Immolation Arrow and Exploding Arrow to finish them off. Immolation Arrow is on a timer and requires 60 skill points (20 Immolation Arrow, 20 Exploding Arrow, 20 Fire Arrow) if you want to have both its explosion and fire patch do reasonable damage. That won’t leave you much for passive and magic skills and extra points in Strafe. You may have an easier time going with just Exploding Arrow, which can be easily spammed, for your source of flaming death and forget about Immolation Arrow, but the choice is yours. You may want a Hand of Justice bow or an Kuko on your weapon switch for more fire damage (carried on the explosion as well as the arrow itself) after you blind/slow things.

Lightning Strafer Medusa:
For this one I like to use Strafe to blind/slow/chill everything and then hit groups of non-lightning immunes with Lightning Fury and individuals (especially bosses) with Charged Strike. Lightning immunes simply get Strafed to death. My suggestion would be to get Strafe to level 6 ASAP, then work on Lightning Fury for power leveling. You could try using hit causes monsters to flee gear to push monsters into absolutely huge crowds before hitting them with Lightning Fury. Afterwards (or at the same time as advancing Lightning Fury) work on Charged Strike for rapid disposal of bosses and small groups. Finally, work on your passive and magic skills (including a valkyrie if you like), increasing your level in Strafe, and/or Lightning Strike for synergy to Charged Strike. Lightning Strike has a 4 frame NextDelay, the same as Strafe, so don’t think you can switch from Lightning Stike back to Strafe and hit something that was just struck by a Lightning Stike arc a couple of frames ago.

Plague Strafer Medusa:
Plague Javelin takes a long time to do its damage (10.6 seconds at level 20); Poison Javelin takes even longer (46 seconds at level 20). What is a plaguezon to do during that time? Keep them blind and slow while pounding them with Strafe of course! Having them run away works too and you can use that for collecting large groups to make more effective use of Plague Javelin. Since Plague Javelin has a 4 second casting delay, that’s probably a good idea. Poison Javelin also has a casting delay (0.5 seconds), so you can’t use it for 4 seconds after you throw a Plague Javelin. During those four seconds you will be strafing, walking, and picking up your loot. The priorities and skill point demands are similar to the Strafer/Lightning Medusa. Get Strafe level 6 or higher first, then split points between Poison Javelin and Plague Javelin (to maximize Plague Javelin damage) until you have them both maxed. Then go back and work on your passive and magic skills and Strafe.

Strafer/Melee Medusa:
Go wild. If they are blind, slowed, and chilled, then how dangerous can they be? You could Fend, Impale, Zeal, Berserk, or use a normal attack without as much of a problem from interruptions.


Diabloii.Net Member
superdave said:
there are a few...check out the canzon/us_zon ver 3.0 thread for an hc tourney just starting....there is at least one veteran hc player entered already...and a few trying hc for the 1st are welcome to join in the fun.
Thanks, but my internet connection is poor and I can always count on being interrupted by phone calls, wife, kid, the door, etc. For example, I started writing my previous post before you posted. I'm stuck with single player for now.

superdave said:
just post them here with a note for dacar to edit your original post....he reads every thread....or you can pm the changes to him
I've made several changes here and there, adding in comments on more recent runewords, making the variant section fit smoothly into the skill section, and updating the edit history. It may be better to just repost later.

superdave said:
there is one thing that i wondered about....

"slows target 45% (near max...." what do mean by "max"?
Hit slows target is capped at 90% for normal monsters but at only 50% for boss monsters. Boss monsters cannot be blinded or made to flee. Normal monsters with very few exceptions can be. After they are made to flee or blinded and have their movement AI reset by knockback, they aren't bothering you anyway. So you really are getting close to the max benefit from hit slows target at 45% when normal monsters are being blinded/made to flee. Without the blind/flee gear one has a slowazon and the extra slowing from a Riphook or perhaps decrepify from Wrath becomes more important for monster nerfing.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks a lot for the great presentation of crippling techniques. Many of them are useful for just about any character (or merc for that matter).

You gave me a couple of ideas. Thanks!


Diabloii.Net Member
Fun guide. Nice to see someone else out there still believes in playing fun, creative characters!:thumbsup:

I've posted a bit on the idea of slowazons, which is, to me, similar to what you're doing here. I personally like throwing an Ice bow on for the level 18 Holy Freeze, which stacks with 50% slow gear and Decrepify (Reaper's Toll, anyone?). Make sure you have a Freeze merc and between the two of you the whole screen is doing the Steve Austin (in other words, running in exceptionally slow motion to seventies "wah-wah" sound effects). Plus, it makes your kill-skill, Freezing Arrow, more effective. But I do dig on the themed build, what with the mask of a face plus the blind effects. Grats!


Diabloii.Net Member
Since I have no ama experience (and would like to try your Medusa as my first bowazon char; on single player only), I'd like to ask for some gameplay tips.
This build at first look seems great for open fields. But what about "long and winding road" to magic box with horadric staff (on hell especially), where lightning charged beetles have no space to fly? How to fight Duriel? Ancients strong and fast Team?
Itemsetup now. Arctic set makes bowazon a killing machine from the very beginning, but without a bunch of str/dex medium/large charms impossible to wear at clvl2 :grin: You didn't mention Angelic combo (amu+ring at clvl12), in my humble opinion better than Etlich amu... But I'd like to know, if your endgame gear is enough to survive at hell in "/players 8" game?
Thx in advance. Waiting for answers I'm going to exp my Medusa. Clvl15 now and I'd like to try to hit Andariels bare breasts :badteeth:


Diabloii.Net Member
I built this charater, with a little help from a friend. I thought it was one of the best charaters i have ever build. It's really fun to play with.