There are more than plenty of resources for looking at what people have used to finish the game; but less than minimal for what people have used to progress through. As for me, since I've mostly played casters; my usual progression starts with running normal countess for 8x tir's. I move onto the universal favorite - insight and rhyme for the unlimited source of mana and the easy CBF. I only see other equip slots as a source of resists, skills, and fcr. However, I know much less about a melee char set up, and I got curious. Given the ease and the likelyhood of acquiring mid-tier runewords and s/u's; what are your favorite items for you and your merc as you are progressing through normal/nm and early hell?