Stats Code: Lvl 82 Normal Attack: 1203-1450 (w/ Might) Bone Spear: 1108-1174 Life: 2514 (as a Werebear) Resists: 75 F, 18 C, 80 L, 33 P Str: 95 | Dex: 76 | Vit: 304 Skills 20 Bone Spirit 20 Teeth 20 Bone Wall 20 Bone Prison 10 Bone Armor 1 Clay Golem Gear Code: Guillaume's Face 'all res jewel w/ dex' Mara's Kaleidoscope 'Brand' Demon Crossbow 'Fortitude' Archon Plate Havoc Hand crafted gloves* String of Ears Gore Rider Beast Gyre rare ring* Raven Frost Switch: eth 'Beast' Berserker Axe / eth 'Spirit' Monarch Merc: eth 'Infinity' CA / 'Fortitude' Archon Plate / Crown of Thieves 'ias jewel' Charms (combined stats): 198 life, 84 fire res, 76 light res, 31 poison res, 10 cold res, 32 min damage, 10% fhr, 7 dex Havoc Hand Heavy Gloves Defense: 10 Durability: 10 of 14 Required Level: 73 Fingerprint: 0x5d9c3b90 Item Level: 92 Version: Expansion 1.10+ +20% Increased Attack Speed 2% Life stolen per hit 7% Chance of Crushing Blow +55% Enhanced Defense +15 to Strength +19 to Life Lightning Resist +12% Beast Gyre Ring Required Level: 69 Fingerprint: 0x213c44c2 Item Level: 89 Version: Expansion 1.10+ +2 to Minimum Damage 6% Life stolen per hit +15 to Strength +17 to Life +1 to Mana after each Kill The Planning Stage In my last mat thread, ffs suggested that: Sounds pretty cool! Let's give it a whirl. I made a necro bear 7 years ago that also utilized CTC bone spirit and spirit with Oath and Bone, so I was interested in comparing play styles between the two builds. In keeping with the Southern Pacific theme I established with Tilafaiga, Matau is named after the bone hooks used by the Maori people of New Zealand. Leveling and Observations This guy was a lot more powerful then my previous necro bear for a couple reasons: Much higher physical damage output - Oath attacks a lot faster (6 fpa) than Brand (8fpa), but the added damage from Fortitude, Brand's amp proc, and the might merc, the added deadly strike from Brand and Gores, and the extra crushing blow from my blood gloves and Gores meant my overall physical damage output was a lot higher. I wasn't able to pack on all that extra damage on my last necro bear because I had to sacrifice a lot of gear slots for survival (Drac's, res belt, res boots) and a better hit chance (Angelic amulet and ring, BA merc) Much better chance to hit - Of course, all that extra physical damage goes to waste if I can't hit anything. Without Brand's ITD and Infinity's conviction aura, all I had was about 980 AR with my final gear . With the two, I could consistently hit everything from trash mobs to act bosses. That freed up the merc and some extra gear slots for the aforementioned added damage. All the life leech I needed (without Drac's) - All that added physical damage and high chance to hit, coupled with 21% life leech from my blood gloves, rare ring, and String of Ears, meant I no longer needed Drac's to survive in Hell. I was able to leech back all the life I needed without having to continually drink potions. More consistent magic damage - Oath fires off bone spirits 30% of the time, Bone fires off bone spears 15% of the time. Brand blasts off spears 100% of the time. That consistency meant I could always count on firing off a ton of spears when I started attacking. Enough with comparisons, how did this guy play? For a character with Werebear and a weak Bone Armor as his only defensive skills, I felt surprisingly safe. So safe, in fact, that I manage to go through the game without dying (I know all you HC folks are laughing right now ), but that rarely happens with my non-barb characters, even when I'm packed to the gills with defensive gear. Part of that safety was actually due to the knockback on Brand. Before I started this guy, I was thinking I'd have to grit my teeth and just deal with the annoyance of KB, but it turned out to actually be a benefit on this character. Against single enemies, I could stun-lock them against a wall and against groups, the knockbacks helped keep me from being totally surrounded. There must be some kind of formula for knockback, because it's definitely not 100% of the time (THAT would have drove me bonkers). As a necrobear, I could only use normal attacks, but that had its upsides when I squared off with ghosts - probably the monster type I least like encountering. Usually, the mana leeching from ghosts means you're forced into an annoying attack-mana-potion-attack-mana-potion sequence. With normal attack, I don't need any mana! The other aggravating thing about ghosts is how they stack on top of each other, so you get hit by 10 of them at once. Bone spear's auto-pierce meant that I could blast through any number of ghosts with each attack. Tack on my amp proc breaking their physical immunity and ghosts were no trouble at all. *Bustin' makes me feel good!* Finally, as a melee character, proccing Brand's amp damage felt a lot more natural this time around. Amp went off very consistently, probably even more so then with my previous bowazon, since I was in front of my merc more often.