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Merc Choice for Strafeazon

Discussion in 'Amazon' started by Aksama, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. Aksama

    Aksama IncGamers Member

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    Merc Choice for Strafeazon

    What merc should I go with if I'm a strafeazon. I was thinking might for added damage to myself/valk, but is a blessed aim merc worth it for the AR? Is it really that hard to hit stuff in hell? (I'm not planning on having many points in penetrate)
     
  2. Aksama

    Aksama IncGamers Member

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    Hate to double post, but I have something to add to this.

    Is it advisible to scournge up a +4 ariocs needle for switch so I can cast a higher lvl valk? I have a natural lvl 10 valk now, so I figure I switch to arioc for 14, shako for 16, perhaps skullders for 17? I'm planning on doing mainly diablo/baal/pit runs if that helps for my equip at all. (also why I'm using shako/etc) so far I'm planning on...

    Windforce
    P-string
    Perf nagel
    Perf raven
    Shako
    Travs
    P-topazed Skullders
    LoH, or Chance guards

    However with this equip, it seems hard to meet any sort of res. requirments, any suggestions on that as well? Thanks for your input.
     
  3. Red-Dog

    Red-Dog IncGamers Member

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    My zon is set up exactly like yours for MF'ing. The only difference is that I'm hybrid. So I have a Rhyme on switich (25 all res) and also a 15 all res jewel in my Shako. My res sits at right around zero in hell, but I keep a 75 all res Kira's Gaurdian in the stash for those situations where I need res. That's the most efficient solution I could come up with (besides filling my inventory w/ res charms)
     
  4. Sir Charles

    Sir Charles IncGamers Member

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    hmmm...

    while many here will either tell you to choose a Might merc or a Holy freeze merc, I think they are WAAAAY off base when you're talking about a merc for a STRAFE-based amazon. Strafe has no Attack Rating bonuses built into it, so even with high dexterity, you'll still be having trouble hitting enemies in Hell difficulty. Therefore I think it's imperitive to choose the Blessed Aim Merc to get the big % boost to your A.R. Sure, penetrate will do the exact same thing (almost to the exact same degree) but why waste the skill points. If your biggest doubt to using a blessed aim merc is the choice of auras then simply solve that problem by equipping that blessed aim merc with a rune-word that equips an aura. Bramble will give you a high level Thorns aura (this works on you, your merc, your valk AND your decoy...all auras do). Or Doom gives you Holy Freeze. Hand of justice gives you holy fire. Of all of these choices, the best is Doom. Most Strafazons use Freezing Arrow as their backup attack skill. Doom also lowers enemy's resistances to cold. Toss in the prevent monster heal mod, and you're set for hell. Just make sure that you get some life-leech for you merc from somewhere. Tal's mask or even Chains of Honor would be great choices if you have the runes.

    Just remember, the might merc increases the damage you do (which in turn helps you to leech), but you won't be doing any damage or leeching if you can't hit the friggin' targets. Just my 2 cents worth. :O)
     
  5. Aksama

    Aksama IncGamers Member

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    Thanks, that was my major concern (not hitting stuff, haha) so I think I'll go with BA, if it works out I can still hit above 80% of the time when he's dead in hell w/ only 1 pt. in penetrate I'll pick myself up a might merc. I was just considering a might because even an increase of 200 damage is a HUGE difference when you shoot 10 arrows.
     
  6. Omikron8

    Omikron8 IncGamers Member

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    Since bowazons naturally have an excess of skill points at their disposal, i would recommend maxing out penetrate. Physical immunes do not even appear in places such as the pit which means that freezing arrow is not required. I realize that for an amazon speed kills and hitting consistently matters but in the end if the damage can't cut it, you will be sitting there wittling away the monster hp for minutes. I use maxed penetrate and a might merc on my strafezon which gives her around 8.8k AR with a 155AR ravenfrost and witchwild string and 400 dexterity. With the decreased effectiveness of physical damage based bowazons in 1.10, a might merc is absolutely essential unless you are decked out with ridiculously powerful gear.
     
  7. jwfcp

    jwfcp IncGamers Member

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    for a mf merc i took a slightly different path. i went ahead and got a nice a3 cold merc and gave him an enigma so he could actually do some damage. this also opens him up for 4 socket shields with a ptopazed harlequin crest thats 250 mf easy, 430 mf with 10 ists between the shield and a phase blade...

    yeah im havin fun on single player, no lag, all the items i could ever want, remake a char on a whim.

    oh and definitly max penetrate. i only have one point in crit and pierce with +skills and wildwitch they just arent nescesary. (unless your going hybrid java)
     
  8. Sir Charles

    Sir Charles IncGamers Member

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    An excess of skill points?!? Okay, I know that since you're only using 2 trees it's much easier, but you'll need every friggin' point for sure. Lets' look at it...

    20: Strafe
    20: Freezing Arrow
    17: Valkyrie
    10: Cold arrow
    6: Dodge, Evade, Critical Strike
    5: Pierce
    4: Avoid
    1: Magic Arrow, multishot, ice arrow, guided arrow, inner sight, slow missiles, decoy, penetrate
    102 total (110 total possible with quest rewards)

    Most players will shoot for about 40% DAE, 50% crit. Pierce is at 50% but with razortail or another form of pierce you can bump that up to about 70% which is acceptable. Additional points could be placed into either cold arrow, penetrate, pierce or even critical strike. But just how many players out there get thier amazons above level 90? The thing with penetrate is, say you allocate 20 points for it...where are you taking those points from? DAE? Valkyrie? No way. 20 points in penetrate will net you a 225% bonus to your attack rating. This is assuming you'll be somewhere around level 80-90. Now look at a level 80 blessed aim merc with a level 18 blessed aim skill...

    Level 18 Blessed Aim: 33.3 yard radius
    +330% to allied attack rating inside radius

    Toss a Doom runeword weapon on that merc and you'll also gain a level 12 holy freeze aura, or Bramble armor for a level 15-21 Thorns aura.

    The might merc would net you (at level 80)...

    Level 23 Might: 40 yard radius
    +260% enhanced damage for allies in radius

    This is great, but in order to get that enhanced damage you'll actually have to HIT the target. Which means you'll have to pump up Penetrate and basically waste those 20 skill points. Losing those points most likely means you'll have a MUCH weaker valkyrie. Which in turn means you'll also most likely lose your tanks MUCH more often. Which of course means you'll LOSE that +260% enhanced damage.

    I'm not saying that it won't work, it will. But it's not the most efficient use of your skill points. You don't have THAT many to go around.

    Also, 400 dex?!? Are you running a glass cannon build? I'm assuming you've got at least 100-130 in Strength. If you've got 400 dexterity, then you're most likely running at nearly base energy and vitality. NOT a good idea. Energy at base is a fairly widely known practice (and definitely recommended). But Vitality should NEVER be left at base level. Yikes! Talk about walking on the wild side.

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents worth. :O)
     
  9. Broncobiv2

    Broncobiv2 IncGamers Member

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    To be fair, you could also put Doom or Bramble on your Might merc, giving him Holy Freeze and Thorns too. But who has the resources to put runes like Ohm, Lo, Sur, and Cham on a merc? I feel like Santa when I let him wear Gaze and Shaft...
     
  10. sasja

    sasja IncGamers Member

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    You don't see an excess of skill points here, as you're looking at a FA/Strafezon. A pure Strafeazon will have 30 points from FA/CA extra. As the thread starter didn't mention anything about any other attacks, I think it's fair to assume we're talking about a pure Strafeazon.
    None of the auras are Might though - so I don't see how that can tip the scale for a BA over a Might merc. And the -enemy resist from Doom only works for the char with the Doom - in this case your merc.

    I love Strafe, but it's truly a slow killer in Hell for such a fragile char as the bowazon, and you need all the help you can get. Don't use FA as backup for PI's - it'll drain your mana bulb in no time, as you won't leech anything back - use instead Atma's scarab (note that a quite different and successful build is the FAzon using Strafe as backup for CIs - but a Strafeazon using an expensive attack both in skill points and mana as FA as a backup is just not a good plan).

    Max Penetrate, get the Might merc, pump Critical Strike, get Amplify damage. Even with a high damage bow as wf.

    Pierce will also help. A high level valk is a must, and Dodge/Avoid at 50% is wise, as you're stuck in place while Strafeing.
     
  11. DarkFox

    DarkFox IncGamers Member

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    I use a pure strafeazon, I have a massive excess of skill points, and I use a high level penetrate and critical strike.
    I find a might merc most useful to pump up my damage against monsters on hell skill. I have trouble keeping him alive though.
     
  12. Aksama

    Aksama IncGamers Member

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    Since when is a Doom runeword so elite? Hrm...

    For the record you don't need a natural level 17 valk. I'm going to be using +skill items so why waste the points. I'm planning on Shako, +2 using CTA and lidless on switch, which is an extra +3. Depending upon my amulet (and I'm going to use enigma!) which is yet another +2, so we don't need at a natural 17. For the rare Pike! Whoo hoo more skill points. If no FA/etc then put the points into wha-?
     
  13. sasja

    sasja IncGamers Member

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    You don't even need a level 17 Valk after items, but it sure is nice to have. I wouldn't consider extra points in Valk wasted on a Strafeazon, because the Strafeazon really benefits from exactly the same passives (except Pierce) that makes the Valk even more useful: CS, D/A/E, Penetrate. No other build has the necessary skillpoints to boost these as much as the Strafeazon can. But if you want to stop at level 17 with items, that's certainly an option.

    Anyway, passives is where I'd suggest you put your points. With +2 skills and a passives gc, it could look something like this:

    Valk: 14
    Dodge/Avoid/Evade: 9/4/9 will give you 50% in each, but in my experience Avoid is more important to the Strafeazon, as the biggest threat to you while Strafe-locked comes from ranged attackers - so maybe a little extra in Avoid.
    CS: 13
    Penetrate: Max
    Pierce: 5 (for 100% pierce with Razortail)

    That's about 77 points in passives, so with maxed Strafe this build will be finished at level 90 - and with a Might merc and Atma's Scarab, she's a strong and tough char. With more +skills, I'd save points in CS and Pierce to get Avoid to 60%.
     
  14. Sir Charles

    Sir Charles IncGamers Member

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    Of course you could. I wasn't saying that's why I prefered the Blessed Aim merc. It's just that I'd prefer to HIT my targets and knock them back, rather than miss most of my targets but do great damage to the ones I do hit. It's really just a matter of taste. BOTH ways will work, I just prefer B.A. over Might.

    Oh, and as for the runes...sorry. I play single player (off realms) only, so runes are not EVER a problem with the new horadric cube recipies.
     
  15. Sir Charles

    Sir Charles IncGamers Member

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    Sorry, I was NOT considering a PURE Strafazon. In fact, I'd never even consider a pure strafazon. Why would you? Just for kicks? Okay, in that case I'm going to make a PURE magic-arrow zon. :O)

    I'm not saying that you'd have to choose FA as your secondary attack choice, but I just can't see why ANYONE would choose to not have ANY secondary attack (elemental especially). So yes, in your example, you'd have tons of skill points left over.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you do to Physically Immune monsters? Or Stoneskin monsters? Pray? :O) just kidding.

    -edit- I just noticed your comment on Atma's Scarab. But what if you don't have Atma's?

    As for Doom's -cold resistance mod...yes, it will lower the resistance of the monster that the merc is attacking...but then your Amazon can follow that up with a Freezing Arrow attack and recieve the reduced cold resistance that the merc inflicted. So, in a round-about sort of way, it does work for an Amazon.
     
  16. Frenzied Bovine

    Frenzied Bovine IncGamers Member

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    If you're pure Strafe, go with an Act 2 Might merc. It has been said, but it's worth saying again.

    I would also work on my IAS, a lot.
     
  17. Omikron8

    Omikron8 IncGamers Member

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    With the new system of amp damage breaking physical immunities (as long as the monster doesn't have 100% or more physical resistance before stone skin), i believe a witchwild string or atma's scarab is a far better investment than dumping 20 or more points in freezing arrow/synergies. I would gladly equip atma's scarab and put those 20 points in penetrate instead for bows such as witchwild that do not have an attack rating bonus. Monsters such as grotesques, urdars, tree hulks, venom lords, moon lords, etc. simply have such astronomical amounts of hitpoints in high player games (over 10k HP each for the base 1 player HP) that a bowazon needs every damage edge she can get. Get a might merc, pump up penetrate and forget the blessed aim merc. Physical immunities that cannot be broken by amp damage are almost non existent (black/burning souls/gloams, specters and some a5 monster come to mind) which means that elemental skill backups are no longer necessary.

    edit - The -cold res from Doom does NOT work with the elemental attacks of the player. It only boosts the cold damage done by the merc himself. This is also the case with the -35 lightning res on crescent moon. If it did work then every cold sorc would be toting a doom weapon and every trapper a crescent moon weapon.
     
  18. Broncobiv2

    Broncobiv2 IncGamers Member

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    Why is getting runes in SP not a problem? Sorry, I haven't played single player since before I discovered Battle.net (fall 2000, when the game first came out).
     
  19. jwfcp

    jwfcp IncGamers Member

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    by using atma you can transfer items, by write protecting the char the items are coming from, you can dupe and cube all the way up to zod. yeah its cheating but is it really such a pay off to run around for hours with inferior gear getting pissed because your stash is packed?

    sir charles a pure strafe zon is the immediate reaction i came to after seeing witch string. theres no need for a second skill! why would you? even if you were to step up to a wf /hoj it could easily be kept on the switch.

    right now i have neither witch string nor atmas ammy and phys immunes are no problem. it just takes a decoy a valk a merc some +skills and some patience. oh and i suppose my cold merc does do most of the work in those cases. besides phys immunes are generally slower and can be ignored, just run away and they lose intrest. blind helps too btw.
     
  20. sasja

    sasja IncGamers Member

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    I guess for the same reason I consider any build - you could call it for kicks. A pure Strafeazon is a possibility because Strafe is so versatile, effective against small and large groups, and even adequate against most single opponents. MA isn't. I'm sorry I can't refer you to Nightfish's very good pure Strafeazon guide as it went in the forum sweep. Start considering it.

    And that would be one of my reasons. Another would be not to have to adapt your gear and passives to two very different attacks with very different requirements. Strafe needs Penetrate, dex, Critical Strike and a big damage bow where FA comes with a nice AR bonus making these things less important. FA on the other hand needs +skills, big leech and a fast bow which is less important with Strafe.

    WWS on switch will work equally well, but lacking that any high elemental damage bow on switch will do until you get an amp item.

    No, the -cold resistance isn't applied after the merc has hit the monster. It works for the merc's damage only. Like the sorc's Cold Mastery.
     

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