my strafer needs your help

Flayed One

Diabloii.Net Member
my strafer needs your help

She just got to outer cloister, and did pits five times... dieing three times in the process, so only two runs were finished...:cry:

She is base vita, with 40 points put into strength. All the rest went into dex.
She's lvl 75 and she's got 580 life. Her gear:

Lycanders Aim socketed with amn
Tal Rasha's mask with PTopaz
Crafted gloves with fire and lightning res, 20% mf, knockback
rare boots with 20% mf, 30% FRW
raven 19/233
nagelring 25% mf
lots of life charms
gheeds 38% mf
5% mf sc

and last, but not least:
Mage Plate
Defense: 237
Durability: 60 of 60
Required Strength: 47
Required Level: 41
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 73
Fingerprint: 0x3e620d19
+25 to Strength
+10 to Energy
+15 to Dexterity
+20 to Vitality
+50 to Life
+20% Enhanced Damage
All Resistances +30
Requirements -15%
Socketed (3: 3 used)

resisits are all around 10 with lightning in early 30

The few things I have problems with are: archers and cursed packs. I can tank almost anything that can't one hit kill me, and they can... well... with archers the problem seems to be that they all fire at once as soon as I get in range. And all of the fire in the single moment, so while it's not actually one-hit-kill, it kills me before I can leech back... Cursed packs often one hit kill me.

two questions: how do I get my mf higher without losing surv(how the heck is it spelled??)... arghh!.... toughness :grin: ..., and how do I increase... said thing?

-edit- I should add that I used dwarf-star instead of nagel before, and +40 life on it helped immensly... Im considering switching back...


Diabloii.Net Member
For more mf, I'd say skullders, shako, and more mfscs. For better survivability I think you're gonna need to invest some points in vita or a better merc.

Dark Matter

Diabloii.Net Member
You don't say if you have any points invested in Valk - and if so, what lvl it is.

A decent lvl Valk, a decoy and a might Merc should see you through easily. Just cast your Valk and/or decoy ahead so they get the initial hail of arrows. If you are fast enough with your strafe you should be able to cut down the pack before your Valk dies.

I have a couple of points in Freezing Arrow too for these situations and that can buy your merc and Valk time to thin the pack.



Make use of Slow Missiles! You already have a point there as pre-req, don't you? That'll slow ranged attacks down to a crawl. Melee monsters shouldn't be able to come close anyway, thanks to your tanks (always use Decoy as a scout, at least until you can run the area blindfolded), knockback and cold dmg. Also consider using a simple Amulet of Life Everlasting (try to get one with 20+ straight dmg reduction); it helps a lot against lots-of-tiny-bits-of-dmg-adding-up-to-become-painful type of attacks like that of the archers. Oh, and you can substitute the armor for something with either MF (Skullders and 4 ptopaz), dmg reduction (... of amicae), life (4 pruby), high defense (Stone, Gloom, bugged Prudence) crowd control (Gloom) or the perfect combination of dmg/speed/safety (Treachery). You won't really need resists in the Pits, by the way.

Crazy Runner Guy

Diabloii.Net Member
Swap out the boots and nagelring for rares /w res and MF. Gamble, gamble, gamble is the key there. Start with the boots (they cost less).


Flayed One

Diabloii.Net Member
thanks for input guys... here is the missing info:
I don't have shako... skulders gear choices are limited, since its my second character...
I could make treachery since I found lem during my first pit run ( YAY!!), and have some 3 sox armors...
I have no points in D/A/E because it let's me leech effectively... That way I can tan anything that is leechable and won't one hit kill me( I can stand in the middle of players 8, nightmare 5th wave baal minions without a merc for example), but it also means no valk...
I have no points into slow missles, but it's short range, would mean that I would have been shot to death before I would be able to cst it anyway...

My merc is a might merc and uses Crown of Thieves, Hone Sundan and Dark Glow armor, and does well generally... He only dies to nasty archer packs... about half a second after me...:tongue:

Ill try to gamble something nice to substitute nagel and boots with then... or maybe craft some nice blood ring?...My boots could certainly use some improvment... WarTravs, anyone??...:tongue:

-edit- Im considering making treahery for my merc... it would be an ideal armor for him, and I happen to have a 3 sox archon...


Diabloii.Net Member
swap out your bow i would say, use wws instead. or wf. or something else. but not that darn bow. it's just exceptional (and yes, titan is aswell, but another story) so i would say u dont do enough dmg=not enough leech.

Flayed One

Diabloii.Net Member
I only have wws, but wws is exceptional too... It also does 2x lower damage then lycanders...deadly strike isn't that effective (zons have critical strike anyway) to justify using 2x lower damage bow, while 2%ctc amplify rarely ever triggers IMO... the only thing that would somehow justify using that bow is 40% resists in my oppinion... not that it's bad... it's just that it's not better IMO. I have WWS on switch, so it's not like I don't use it :wink3:

I don't have pul to up neither of them yet...:cry:


Diabloii.Net Member
In my oppinion, got with Harmony runeword. It may not do as much base damage as Lyncader's Aim (depends on what kind of bow you make it in.), but all that yummy elemental damage is added to each arrow, making it a good damage dealer. And you get the vigor aura, allowing you to get the hell out of there even quicker, if you need to.

Dark Matter

Diabloii.Net Member
Harmony rocks. My 'zon is using it until she can use the WF I found in the Pindle Tourney.

You can up the WWS if you have the runes and it becomes more effective. I think it become a Diamond Bow so you'll need 89 Str to wield it.


Diabloii.Net Member
My strafazon uses a WWS with shaels in it. Does fine for me, gonna upgrade it soon though.

other gear:
Stealskull w/ IAS jewel
The Cats Eye
Lionheart Mage Plate
Sanders Taboo
Manald Heal (i know it sucks)

the rest of my resists are covered in charms, with some + life on them.

Merc uses an eth kelpie snare for bosses, honor lance otherwise... unless I forget to switch them back and forth. Crown of theives and a boneflesh (all my other merc armors are on other chars). holy freeze merc.

I toss up a valk and use decoy to hold back archers or keep my merc alive. Strafe constantly, pure strafe build didnt like freezing arrow so I remade her.

And with strafe you fire so many arrows that the amp goes off pretty often. especially with a lot of IAS.

But I am not an expert, I just followed a dozen guides and ended up with that.


Diabloii.Net Member
Check chipmc's WWS sticky in the ama forum. IMO, WWS is better than Lycander's. You'll have to upgrade it though eventually.

The other thing is: slow missles! One freakin' point invested and you'll see why it's so awesome. I have no idea on what you mean by "short range" ... it's not short range. You can cast it from the edge of the screen which means when you reach cursed archers you back up, immediately cast decoy in the range of fire, recast valk on top of those archers if you want, cast slow missles on the archers and immediately you have relief from damage.

Have a decent merc with good killing power and use Naj's on switch if you want to telestack on top of an archer. Make sure you keep on recasting decoy and valk if need be.

Sometimes, players8 is tough on a char with cursed archers with might aura - you'll have to play much more careful with them. That's when your skill in playstyle will determine if you live or die. Otherwise, I used to do players8 Pit runs with my WWS strafer all the time. Great killing machine for the most part plus you automatically get level 20(?) magic arrow for stoneskin PI bosses.

With a strafer it's all about positioning, positioning, positioning. Keep the enemies in front of you and you will be more effective. If you're strafing left, right, top and bottom you won't be as effective. That's why Naj's is great to have ... and cognizance of your surroundings will allow you to keep proper spacing.


Diabloii.Net Member
imho with strafer it's a good idea to place points in DAE and Valk. The play style is don't get hit, fire from distance, let the valk and might merc tank.
Actually with knockback I scout the area with strafe even when I don't see any enemy. When the arrows got split, I fire till they are not split (enemy killed), I rarely get hit until my merc and valk catch me and protect me with their bodies.


Without Slow missiles, DAE, Valk or a really high defense (hardly possible with a zon), what would you expect to protect you against ranged attackers? I wouldn't rely too much on leech, as a group of skeleton archers will waste you in a matter of seconds without any protective measures.

By the way, how's your skill distribution? Should have plenty of unassigned skills if you haven't invested in anything but Strafe, as it seems...


Diabloii.Net Member
Indeed, with 580 life, every boss or champion can bring you down easily, thus your primary concern is not to get hit. In addition, the damage reduction and elemental resists greatly reduce the risk of an instant death. High resists are important even in the Pit, since all the archers have a strong elemental component added to their damage.

1) stats&skills: low base life is the price you pay for higher damage, but I think it's generally a viable route. Your major problem is, that you totally ignored the precious evasion-skills! I must second Hrus at this point; their bug is irrelevant, because you primarily should not expose yourself to enemy fire. These skills are here to save your skin the moment your tactic failed and they serve that purpose very well. I also thought, the Strafer build "includes" the Valkyrie, maybe you could state your skill-points placement?

2) gear: life charms are obvious, also anything else with +vita/life helps, e.g. your armor. But the most important part is the Damage Reduction, and I don't see any with you. Some uniques provide %DR, the Vampire Gaze helm, String of Ears belt; consider, whether the pierce from Razortail is that important to you. From my experience, the monsters quickly make a circle around your merc and strafe is dull skill as far as the target selection goes. The alternatives for the armor are.. *brief look in my SC stash* Iron Pelt or Shaftstop. I'd agree with switching back to Dwarf Star, or trying some decent rare ring as crg proposed. Dual resist boots with high MF and speed-up are not that hard to find.

I have a very bad experience with WWS, even upped. Lycander's has the +2 Amazon skills, which you'd appreciate once you have placed 1 point in D/A/E; it makes a big difference at low levels. In HC, I used the survival-switch in some areas, esp. while running away :smiley: It consists of a shield with good block and resists (with high Dext, you can reach 75% easily) and e.g. necro wand with Weaken/Attract charges for more fun.

3) tactic: I think Llathias covered it all. Using Decoy properly should give you enough time to cast Slow Missiles. You can use the shield-switch prior to that for even more safety. Otherwise, check your position before strafing (fire several Magic Arrows first). Once strafe-locked, you are an easy target.

@bill_n_opus: Strafer (and Amazon generally) does not have sufficient cast rate for Teleport to pay off, it's better to just run. Also tele-charging monsters with 580 life is way too risky (you never know, what's waiting behind them). Good points with the rest though - Decoy, SM, positioning.

And IMO, knockback can cause some unwanted and dangerous changes in the topology of the battlefield esp. with unpredictable skill like Strafe!


Sir Lister of Smeg

Diabloii.Net Member
I agree with newmine, harmony rules, just make sure you use the runeword mod so you won't loose your runes without getting the runeword. You should not have troublems finding the runes off the countess. Just make sure you find a suitable 4 socket bow as well, the pits are indeed not a bad place to look for one. Since I gather your strength is quite low, pay attention that you can actually use the bow, the best candidates are of course the amazon bows with +3 to bow and crossbow skills, but good luck finding an elite one with four sockets. I don't know how much speed you need with strafe, but there is a weapon speed calculator on some German Diablo II site which afaik we're not allowed to link to here. It is linked to (unless it has been deleted since) from one of the other strategy forums here, just check the stickies at the top for links. I don't remember which one it is either. Anyway, you can check there what (cross-)bow would be most effective with strafe. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to level a bit further (by questing) before doing pit runs, since it will get far less deadly due to various things being dependent on level difference, including chance to hit for both sides. Since the monsters in the pits are level 85 and higher and you're only level 75, the odds are on their sides. If you would come back with the same gear as now (without spending any points) at level 80 and you'll notice the difference, by level 85 you'll be cruising, and a little while later you might become overconfident.

Flayed One

Diabloii.Net Member
thanks for your suggestions guys.
My skills are as follows:

20 magic arrow (with lycanders it's 24 so it's better then with WWS... Ill probably never be WWS fan... )
20 Strafe
20 penetrate
9 pierce
14 Critical Strike
some prereques

I changed my gear a bit... I put the dwarf star back on, and crafted these boots:

Viper Tread
Light Plated Boots
Defense: 15
Durability: 14 of 18
Required Strength: 50
Required Level: 38
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 74
Fingerprint: 0xfca69e9d
+19 to Life
+30 to Maximum Stamina
+25% Enhanced Defense
Poison Resist +29%
3% Life stolen per hit
Replenish Life +8
20% Faster Run/Walk

they're not great, but +19 life and 3%ll made noticable difference...
I also have put some more life charms, so my final life is 676.
My merc earned new armor:

Archon Plate
Defense: 452
Durability: 39 of 60
Required Strength: 103
Required Level: 63
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 85
Fingerprint: 0x4890509f
Cold Resist +30%
50% Extra Gold from Monsters
+2 to Assassin Skill Levels
45% Increased Attack Speed
20% Faster Hit Recovery
25% Chance to cast Level 15 Venom on striking
5% Chance to cast Level 15 Fade when struck
Socketed (3: 3 used)

my playestyle changed a bit too. I find myself "scouting" with strafe much more often then I used to.

After leveling to 78 I no longer have problems with pit runs... Just did 5, and my only near death encounter was meeting a pack of "holy freeze", extra strong, cursed archers in a place which was a total surprise for me... I was sure monsters won't ever spawn there...:tongue: Some juvs got me out though. Fresh from the pits::evil:

Fine Small Charm of Good Luck
Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
Required Level: 33
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 85
Fingerprint: 0xd1f86e44
+16 to Attack Rating
+3 to Maximum Damage
6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

thanks for helping me getting my strafer going :grin:

-edit- runs take me 5 and half minutes on average, but that probably won't improve much untill I upgrade my bow...(or find a windforce:evil: )


Diabloii.Net Member
Fresh from the pits::evil:

Fine Small Charm of Good Luck
Keep in Inventory to Gain Bonus
Required Level: 33
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 85
Fingerprint: 0xd1f86e44
+16 to Attack Rating
+3 to Maximum Damage
6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
And for all the help you have received, you have to donate the charm to the SPF.:flip:


Flayed One

Diabloii.Net Member
no way.... my precious...........:devil:

on a sidenote:
why didn't anyone mention this bow:

Level 15 Thorns Aura When Equipped
+35% Increased Attack Speed
+320-380% Damage To Demons (varies)
+280% Damage To Undead
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+5-10 To All Attributes (varies)
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
Reduces All Vendor Prices 15%

all monsters in pits are either demons, or undead!... that bow is monstrous for it's price... made in a nice elite 3 sox bow or xbow it surpasses any unupgraded exceptional unique, yet it's so cheap...