Psychic Hammer Mini-guide This is not a build. This is not a guide to building a PH-sin that can solo Hell. This is simply a mini-guide on the proper use of Psychic Hammer. Seriously, I have never once in all of my time on BNet seen an Assassin cast Psychic Hammer. Which is crazy, since I'm pretty sure that every single Assassin build on the planet puts a point there on their way to CoS, MB, or the Shadows. This is a travesty, and I hope that after you read this mini-guide, you'll all understand why. Remember: PH, while an awesome skill, is a 1-point wonder. There is absolutely, positively NO REASON to sink more than a single point into PH, under any circumstances. All extra points do is increase the damage and the cost. The Damage will never be able to kill in Hell (even with a slvl 100 Psychic Hammer you're doing less than 600 damage per pop), and increasing the mana cost just makes it that much less spammable. It's called a one-point wonder for a reason. With that said, on to the miniguide, which I have affectionately titled: It's not a party until everyone gets hammered So what's so great about Psychic Hammer, anyway? I'm glad you asked! What to love about Psychic Hammer 1. It's cheap! Four mana per cast at slvl 1 (and trust me, you're going to want to keep it at slvl 1 if at all possible) is almost 1/4th the cost of Mind Blast (15 mana per cast)... making PH a much more spammable alternative. Additional points will increase its damage from pathetic to still-pathetic, and will increase its mana cost by .25 each time, so don't bother with additional points. They serve no purpose. The damage isn't why we're using this skill, so keep it at slvl 1. 2. It's got great targeting forgiveness! You don't have to cast PH on an enemy- you can cast it in the general vicinity of an enemy and it'll still hit the enemy. In those situations where you want to target a very specific enemy, you can feel free to namelock an enemy and PH away, but when things get a little crazy and you need to fire off a PH in a hurry, you'll really appreciate how poorly you can aim it and still have it work. 3. It's supersmart! Let's say you try to cast PH, but there's nothing in range. Well, you simply won't cast. If you mis-aim a Mind Blast, you burn your mana with no apologies. If you mis-aim a Psychic Hammer, it just doesn't cast. You keep your mana, you don't enter the casting animation, nothing happens. In other words, you couldn't even screw this up if you tried. Psychic Hammer is without question the most idiot-proof skill in the game! 4. It's got 100% knockback! Like Leap or Charge, Psychic Hammer is auto-knockback. It does not suffer from reduced knockback penalties against larger monsters. If a monster CAN be knocked back, it WILL be knocked back- which means that, outside of Griswold, the Ancients, Izual, or Act Bosses, Psychic Hammer has a 100% success rate. How to use Psychic Hammer 1. Save the Queen! Lets say you have an acquaintance. Let's say your acquaintance is getting swarmed by Extra Strong, Extra Fast minotaurs. Let's say you spam Psychic Hammer to knock those frenzytaurs away, put them into hit recovery, and generally keep them out of your acquaintance's hair. Congratulations, you've just made a friend! Psychic Hammer actually makes perhaps the best come-to-the-rescue skill in the entire game, since it's instantaneous (unlike Leap), and affects pretty much every monster in the game except for Act Bosses and some very rare superuniques (unlike Terror, Howl, Mind Blast, Dim Vision, etc). Friend-protection tactics also work wonderfully with mercs and shadows, keeping them alive against overwhelming odds until they manage to whittle the crowds down to more manageable levels. 2. Kill the King! You know why Smite is so popular among Paladins? Because it's an auto-hitting, knockbacking, hit-recovery-inducing boss disabler of the highest order. You know what Psychic Hammer is? It's an auto-hitting, knockbacking, hit-recovery-inducing, RANGED boss disabler of the highest order. Basically, it's SmitePlus- as in Smite plus the added security of not having to go anywhere near the boss being taken down. The downside of the comparison is that, unlike Smite, PH doesn't do enough damage to kill... but between traps, Shadows, and Mercs, you should have more than enough sources of "passive damage" to take down now-disabled baddies, no matter how tough they might be. 3. Stem the flood! You know that thing about Psychic Hammer not having to be aimed? And that thing about PH only working if an enemy is within range? Those two principals combine to turn Psychic Hammer into a great invisible fence. Let's say you open a door, and there's a huge mass of unwashed demonic inhumanity on the other side. Assuming you have enough FCR, you can just target a PH at the base of the door, and any enemy trying to walk through will get pushed back into the room. Toss a trap or two inside and use PH to hem the baddies in, unable to escape the ensuing carnage. This isn't a doorway-specific trick, either. It'll work at any sort of bottleneck (again, assuming you have enough FCR), or even in open fields. One of my favorite tricks is to hold down Psychic Hammer and target my feet. Any enemy that comes within several yards of me gets auto-knockbacked. As long as there are only a handful of enemies trying to get at me at any given time, I can keep them all out of melee range just by holding down a PH aimed at my feet. 4. Take a ride! Got a nice DS killing field set up, and a monster too far outside for the Sentry to start 'sploding? Steer that bad boy into the killing field and watch the fireworks. Psychic Hammer also works wonderfully when setting up monsters for Wake of Inferno (immobilized monsters take more damage than running monsters), or Lightning Sentry, Shock Web (if you're one of THOSE assassins), or even Fire Blast (if I'm having trouble aiming a fireblast, I'll lob a fireblast at a particular area and use PH to keep the enemy in that general vicinity). 5. Get a clue! Assign Psychic Hammer to your right click button. Hold down the right click, and sweep your mouse around the edges of the screen. If your Assassin stays still, there's nothing nearby. If she casts PH, then not only is there a monster a little ways off-screen, but he's about to come towards you without bringing any of his friends with him. Psychic Hammer makes a great scouting tool because its reasonably large aiming-forgiveness radius means it has a reasonably large scouting radius, and because unlike Decoy or Bone Wall, it'll only bring one enemy at a time howling towards you. Get a clue not only that something is ahead, but what it is! Check the monsters for things like minion tags or observable properties (extra fast? aura enchanted? mana burn?), and then formulate your strategy for taking on the whole pack... or else draw them all to you, one by one. 6. Go Ice Skating! This one takes a little bit of practice, but when you do it right the Assassin becomes far and away the fastest scout in the entire game. First, you move the mouse to one of the far corners of the screen, and you bind Psychic Hammer to the right click (you can do it on left click, but it's a lot harder). Now, you left click in the corner, and then you IMMEDIATELY hold down right click and sweep the mouse around the edges of the screen (in the direction that you're moving). For example, let's say you want to run to the Northeast. You leftclick on the northeast corner of the screen, and then very quickly hold down right click and sweep your mouse along the top and right sides of the screen. Keep sweeping until you come to a stop. As soon as you try this, you'll understand why I call it "ice skating". Your Assassin stops running (or even moving her legs at all) and just glides along the ground as if she's wearing skates. If there are no enemies in range, you will continue "skating" all the way to the point where you originally clicked; if, however, an enemy enters PH range while you're skating along, you'll *IMMEDIATELY* come to a stop and fire off a Psychic Hammer. What that means is that you will always stop outside of the awareness radius of any offscreen monsters (meaning no accidentally waking up a nasty pack because you got hasty and sloppy in your scouting). This presents obvious speed advantages over methods like Sentry-Scouting, Hydra-Scouting, Taunt-Scouting, Bonewall-Scouting, or Decoy-Scouting in that you don't have to stop moving and wait for your spell to cast (and then further wait for your Sentry or Hydra to acquire a target, or stand around waiting to see if anything clusters around your decoy). If you get really good, you can even sweep along both edges of the screen and then go back and left click again before you reach your destination, which allows you to ice skate all over entire maps without ever once stopping except when you're just outside the awareness radius of an enemy. Like I said, Psychic Hammer is the decoy of the Assassin world. Not only does every 'sin I ever make get it and use it extensively, but every 'sin I ever make also packs on at least a modicum of FCR just to make Psychic Hammer that much more effective. Really a stellar little one-point wonder in every sense of the word, and the complete lack of prereqs means there's no excuse for any build to not grab it and use it. Seriously, what build can't spare a single measly, lousy skill point for such a useful little skill? One last tip- don't try PH against LE enchanted bosses, especially LECE or LEFE bosses. Same thing applies to Beetles, and FE or CE Beetles. Seriously, just take my word for it. Bad things happen.