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Patriarch Iscandel – Rabies druid

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by mir, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. mir

    mir Diabloii.Net Member

    Nov 1, 2008
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    This is my second attempt at the rabies druid. The first one I decided to equip with Aldur's set and while he was quite fun and worked well it just felt wrong not to use Plague Bearer on a rabies druid.

    After reading several guides and posts I settled for a "sick puppy" build from The Amazon Basin forums. It's basically a rabies druid utilizing the HCMTF mode to spread rabies around. There are several possible builds (fury/rabies, FC/rabies, full rabies….) each with his pros and cons. Since it's a bit of headache to effectively combine 'chance to flee' and a melee skill, I decided to go for full rabies build (max lycanthropy and werewolf). In addition, after reading a bit about rabies and some frustrating experience with act 2 mercs and fleeing monsters, I settled for a rogue as a mercenary (and as the main source for HCMTF) and indeed she proved to be a perfect match for the build.


    I started this char quite a while ago so I don’t remember much from the early stages. Rabies itself is a level 18 skill so you can start using it very early. Few +skills raise rabies damage way more than needed to finish norm & NM. At some point, just at the beginning of NM, I actually thought about lowering the damage because fallens died too fast to effectively spread rabies. The real problems began once I reached Kurast in Hell difficulty.

    - It turned out that wide open areas are not really so great since the monsters have too many directions to run away and usually (by Murphy law) they ran near or away from their friends.

    - In addition to the problems with wide areas, the increasing HP, poison resistance, regeneration and sometimes healing slowed the progress to a frustrating crawl with lots of retreats and chases after runaways.

    - The poison immune monsters are some of the most dangerous and annoying types they usually come in large groups and tend to scatter once engaged. A partial solution was a weapon with "Freezes Target" in order to stop them from fleeing and because most of them are PI/LI or PI/FR. I also abused the AI (running away from danger) by reposition of the bear to catch them between us. More than once the monster just stood there while the poor AI tried to find the best route to escape.

    Don’t get me wrong, the char was very fun and safe to play, with the merc usually creating a "barrier/safe zone" and once the rabies got them it resulted in some of the bloodiest scenes I saw:

    Rabies also give you some form of AoE which is quite useful in situations like this:

    Most of the problems were overcome by changing the equipment a bit, slowing the progress or just skipping the area (mostly at act 5 hell and the maggot lair).

    The Ancients required a second attempt (Korlik managed to corner me on the first attempt ==> TP to reset them) with Talik being the only real danger and luckily I managed to isolate and kill him at the beginning on both attempts


    The waves weren’t much of a problem; the first 3 went down fast due to them not being PI.
    Wave 4 was a bit of a hassle forcing me to retreat while constantly recasting the bear (he poofed in 2 hits) but in the end the rogue got them.
    Wave 5 was somehow broken by itself, I somehow managed to lure about 3-4 minions one at a time and from there it was no more a challenge.

    Baal himself took 10 minutes to kill with almost no CB, he didn’t pose any danger once we slowed him down but it took FOREVER. I'm quite sure that the real winner wasn't Iscandel or the merc but the 'Open Wounds' modifier.


    For the most part I actually used Rattlecage on both of us to get as much HCMTF as possible (and for the rare occasions the monsters wandered too close to us). At some point I felt that we don't really need so much HCMTF between us and the merc was more than enough as the only source so once I reached level ~65 I started to test some equipment combinations. Since I only have 1 Death's Web it wasn’t an option but I did try another (found with this char!!) wand which might go nicely with a future rabies/fury build:

    Beast Wood
    Bone Wand
    One-Hand Damage: 3 to 7
    Durability: 7 of 15
    Required Level: 26
    Staff Class - Fast Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 45
    Fingerprint: 0xbe847066
    +32 to Mana
    Adds 38-82 fire damage
    5% Mana stolen per hit
    +1 to Poison Explosion (Necromancer Only)
    Hit Causes Monster to Flee 100% <-- Nice!
    Ignore Target Defense <-- Nice!
    150% Damage to Undead
    Eventually it was a tough decision between Bramble and Rain, I settled for Rain for its longer rabies length (but lower damage) the higher level of summons and a nice manna bonus to help recast grizzly.

    Act 4 forced me to change rouge's equipment too in order to deal with the high regeneration of barlogs. Off went the Rattelecage armor to be replaced with Crow Caw to provide a source of OW. The loss of 40% "to flee" was somehow mitigated by using Dol rune in the bow. For special events she also had an upped Riphook and Blackhorn's Face in stash. The merc proved to be a crucial part of the build, another contribution to the fun factor in light of the usual role of mercs.

    Helm: Jalal
    Weapon #1: Plague Bearer (Dol)
    Weapon #2: Frostwind (Shael)
    Shield #1: Moser (*2 PDiamond)
    Shield #2: Tiamats
    Gloves: Trang gloves
    Belt: Trang belt
    Defense: 437
    Durability: 24 of 24
    Required Strength: 84
    Required Level: 50
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 76
    Fingerprint: 0x6b92e2ee
    +124 to Mana
    Magic Damage Reduced by 7
    Lightning Resist +30%
    +2 to Druid Skill Levels
    15% Damage Taken Goes to Mana
    5% Chance to cast Level 15 Twister on striking
    5% Chance to cast Level 15 Cyclone Armor when struck
    Socketed (3: 3 used)
    Entropy Gorget
    Required Level: 27
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 85
    Fingerprint: 0xfe72e4b9
    +4 to Energy
    Fire Resist +15%
    Lightning Resist +15%
    Cold Resist +24%
    Poison Resist +15%
    +1 to Druid Skill Levels
    Poison Length Reduced by 50%
    Half Freeze Duration
    Chaos Circle
    Required Level: 13
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: **
    Fingerprint: 0xdec98c06
    Damage Reduced by 1
    Fire Resist +24%
    Cold Resist +20%
    Poison Resist +28%
    Chaos Finger
    Required Level: 43
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 87
    Fingerprint: 0x6aebaaee
    +27 to Life
    +13 to Mana
    +103 to Attack Rating
    Poison Resist +7%
    4% Life stolen per hit
    Replenish Life +6
    3 Shape-Shift SK
    2 Summon SK
    2 CR (~5% each)
    3 Fire damage charms

    Face of Horror (15IAS/30 AR&Damage to demons jewel)
    Crow Caw (15IAS/8 min jewel)
    WWS (Shael, Dol)

    Stats & Skills

    Skills with equipment:



    Str 100
    Dex 150
    Vit 206
    Spare 42

    Max: Rabies, Poison Creeper, WW, Lycan
    1pt: Grizzly
    9pts: HoW

    Thanks for reading
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  2. Kitteh

    Kitteh Diabloii.Net Site Pal

    Mar 2, 2011
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    I like, well done!
    mir likes this.
  3. Noodle

    Noodle Moderator

    Jul 18, 2003
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    Rogue. Rouge is makeup.

    Congrats - sounds like a fun build.
    ioupainmax and mir like this.
  4. T72on1

    T72on1 Diabloii.Net Member

    Feb 12, 2016
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    Cool. I love Rabies. The way it spreads in huge crowds is just so much fun. Early on it's very strong too, since you start pumping PC right away, which kills large crowds even on higher player settings.

    Anyway, just rambling. Well done !!
    mir likes this.
  5. Zyr

    Zyr Diabloii.Net Member

    Jan 31, 2018
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    Congratulations, @mir, and thanks very much for the insightful report. :)

    I was seduced into starting two Rabid Fury wolves by bcl05's Sick Puppy guide at the Amazon Basin. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't finished either of them yet; perhaps you've inspired me to do so. Or perhaps, because both of them were seduced away from frequent use of Rabies by the power of Fury, I should start another Druid with no points in Fury, so that I won't be tempted. I still have the ideal starter Rabies weapon...


    And, yes, Plague Bearer is very tempting also.
    mir likes this.
  6. Maltatai

    Maltatai Diabloii.Net Member

    Nov 2, 2010
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    Do you think that wearing a face of horror himself and using a Malice weapon would have made it easier overall for Iscandel? It would seem to complement poison users a lot since they can play in a similar manner against immune enemies too but I haven't had time to try it out.

    Cool character, lots of style with the wand and the good taste of having a rogue mercenary.
    Zyr likes this.
  7. mir

    mir Diabloii.Net Member

    Nov 1, 2008
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    Rabies benefits greatly from "+to skills" so you will end up with much lower damage and shorter length = less monsters will be infected and more hits will be required to reapply rabies till they die. If you use the merc to apply "terror" too, you will usually have to chase the monsters to hit them again which will resylt in a position loss, breaking the attack and endanger you when dealing with dangerous ranged enemy.

    As for the wand, my end game was plague bearer sword. The wand might be more useful if you go with act2 merc or rabies/fury build and need better control on the effect.
  8. maxicek

    maxicek Moderator Single Player

    Aug 5, 2005
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    Interesting concept mir, congratulations on the Patriarch.

    I have a Rabies Druid in planning, maybe I can fit in the HCMTF somewhere.
    mir likes this.

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