pvp anti-caster c/c kicksin guide (Mageslayer v2.0) Introduction This guide describes a specialized application of the standard c/c pvp kicksin to produce a character who excels in dueling casters. As evident in the title (Mageslayer), this build started as a plan to maximize sorc killing, but I soon discovered that it was effective for other casters. In fact, I will argue here that the c/c kicksin is one of the few melee classes who can consistently defeat casters. This guide is not intended to replace the other pvp kicksin guides. There are some excellent ones out there, and my goal is not to compete with them but to provide a more specialized anti-caster alternative. Three principles guided the development of this guide. First, most pvp guides attempt to create characters that will be equally effective against all classes and even all varieties within each class. Accomplishing this goal requires multiple outfits of godly gear and typically involves some sacrifices in skill and/or stat points. The build presented here is designed to specialize against casters. Second, I am often frustrated with pvp guides that seem to assume that nobody will start dueling until level 99. I started dueling with this build around level 30, and I decided to write this guide to focus on mid-level dueling. By following the recommendations here, you can be very effective as early as level 46. In fact, those of you wishing to duel melee characters will find that this build is going to be most effective at doing so in the mid level range. Of course, I will also provide recommendations past 46. Third and perhaps most important, this build is designed with public dueling in mind. The type of character I target is the bad mannered, town/body guarder who hurls racist and homophobic insults at the other players. In these contests, I assume an â€œanything goesâ€ mindset because it is clear that my opponent does so too. I will return to this point at various places to illustrate its implications. Stats Strength is probably the most important stat for a kicker because it greatly enhances kick damage. Of course, strength must be balanced with vitality because your kicks wonâ€™t do much damage when youâ€™re dead. Most of your stat points will be spend on strength and vitality. Strength: Initially, you will want to get your strength to 79 so that you can use Bartucs. This will be enough until you are around level 50, and then you will want to pump strength a bit. I suggest a minimum of 100 strength, with 150 being the number to shoot for late in the game. Dexterity: Like strength, you need to get your dexterity to 79 so you can use Bartucs. You probably wonâ€™t need much (if any) more than this. As you level, monitor your attack rating and chance to hit. With the gear I will be recommending below, you should be able to keep your dex fairly low and should not need more than 79 until late in the game (if ever). Vitality: This is pvp, so every point you can spare goes here. Energy: None. Skills To help in long-term character planning, the eventual skill allocation looks like this: Max Dragon Talon Max Weapon Block Max Venom 1 pt in Fade (or more as needed) 1 pt in Dragon Flight (or more as needed) 1 pt in Shadow Master 1 pt in Wake of Fire 1 pt in Mind Blast 1 pt in all prerequisites You will accomplish this skill allocation rather early (at least compared to what you find in most guides). This leaves you with some decisions about which should be the last skill to max. In keeping with the anti-caster focus, I believe that this choice will be between Fade and Dragon Flight. However, this build is fairly flexible, and I do not want to give you the impression that no choice is involved. Thus, I will split my discussion of skills into two parts: core skills and secondary skills. The core skills are what makes this build and are strongly recommended. The secondary skills are where the flexibility comes in. I will present recommendations here, but there is some room for alternatives. Core Skills Dragon Talon - 20 points Dragon Talon (dtalon) is your main attack (just like in all pvp kicker builds) and should be the first skill maxed. The advantages of dtalon are speed and multiple attacks. First, it gives you the fastest attack available in the game (7 frames for the first kick and 2 frames for following kicks). Second, for each 6 points in dtalon, you gain an additional kick. Because of the speed and multiple kicks involved, dtalon is a great way to apply damage modifiers (e.g., crushing blow, chance to cast, open wounds, etc.). Thus, when trying to estimate the damage you will do with dtalon, you must remember to take into account the number of kicks and the modifiers that can be applied. Weapon Block - 8 to 15 points (enough to hit 60% blocking with gear) While dtalon is the offensive basis of this build, Weapon Block (WB) is the defensive basis and the primary reason this build excels against casters. Yes, it is that important. WB permits you to block melee and most elemental/magical attacks at a rate of 60% (at slvl 26). 60% might not sound like much when you are used to 75% with a shield. However, note that WB lets you block many attacks that are unblockable with a shield (e.g., bone spirit, frozen orb, fireball, etc.). As if that werenâ€™t enough of a reason to use it in an anti-caster build, WB remains at 60% even when you are running. This makes the c/c sin one of the most mobile characters around. The goal is to reach slvl 26 after all +skill items, giving 60% block. Figure out how many +skill items you will have, and determine the exact point investment accordingly. Dragon Flight - 1 point+ Having at least 1 point in Dragon Flight (dflight) is essential. This is the only way you are going to be able to reach most casters, and it is a great skill for hitting moving targets. Maxing dflight results in a considerable boost to its damage, and a case can be made for maxing this skill after your build is otherwise complete. Assuming you can hit your target, maxed dflight (especially with venom and open wounds) will put a serious dent in the opponentâ€™s life. Unfortunately, there are some important problems with dflight than you should be aware of. First, even with dflight maxed, you are only going to hit 25% of the time against someone with max block and a shield who is standing still. Of course, the second your target is running, everything changes, and your odds of hitting with dflight go way up. Second, dflight is interruptible, meaning that if you are hit during the brief casting hesitation, it may be cancelled out. Third, dflight misses often due to desynch issues. In fact, it is not uncommon to click on your target, hear the sound that dflight makes when you teleport, and realize that you havenâ€™t moved. Fourth, it appears that the south bug has still not been resolved. This means that when your target is running south, it is generally not possible to land a dflight attack. Experienced opponents know how to exploit this bug. Despite the shortcomings, dflight can be a great skill for killing those opponents who realize they underestimated you and try to make a run for it. My recommendation is to start with 1 point and hold off on any more until your other skills and gear are complete. At that point, it should be clear to you whether more points here will help. Personally, I donâ€™t plan to put more than 1 point here. Shadow Master - 1 point Little more than a distraction in 1.10, Shadow Master (SM) is still useful enough for 1 point. It is in the core skill section because it the distraction it provides is invaluable. SM can draw trap fire, fist of heavens, and other powerful ranged attacks. Also, many players actually attack it because they think it is you. This may provide just enough distraction for you to get the kill. Additional points add life and resistance, but are probably not worthwhile because you can always recast it. Burst of Speed - 1 point One point in Burst of Speed (BoS) should be plenty with +skills. I predict that you will end up using this skill the majority of the time, even over Fade. Why? At level 65, my resists were maxed in nightmare. So, all Fade gives me is added PDR. In contrast, BoS gives me a significant boost to both attack speed and r/w speed. The added r/w speed you get from BoS is invaluable and can often keep you out of range until the right moment. If you are fast enough, it becomes very difficult for the opponent to even hit you with fireballs, bone spears, arrows, etc. In fact, I tend to start every duel with BoS and find that I need Fade less than half the time. Secondary Skills Secondary skills include: Mind Blast - 1point+ In the first version of this guide, Mind Blast (MB) was in the core skills. I said that I felt MB was one of the most important strengths of playing a sin. After many more duels against a variety of character classes, I no longer feel this way for ma builds. True, if we were making a kicksin for taking on melee characters, a high level MB would be critical. However, for the Mageslayer build, I suggest that 1 point here is likely to be enough. While MB is nice in certain situations, I find that I rarely need it. In fact, the only time I used MB was in team duels where I was attempting to help out against melee characters who were more than 20 levels higher than me. I suggest putting 1 point in MB as soon as you get it and waiting to see how much you really need it before adding additional points. Fade - 1 point+ Fade can be incredibly useful in certain situations. Whatâ€™s not to like about enhanced physical damage resistance, shorter curse duration, and improved elemental resists? The only limitation is that using fade means you do not benefit from the enhanced speed of BoS. I find that most of the time, this extra speed more than makes up for the loss of Fadeâ€™s benefits. However, you will probably need Fade against some sorcs, trapsins, poison necros, and necros who use a lot of curses. Fade is also very helpful in dealing with those pesky town guarding sorcs. How many points to put here beyond 1 will depend on what your resists look like in whatever difficulty level you plan to duel. Thus, I suggest waiting on fade until your gear is finished and you have a sense of how much you will need. Venom - 20 points This is the most controversial sin skill, and you have probably already many debates about the pros and cons of venom for pvp. I too have been following these discussions, and it seems clear that the majority recommend it for pvp kicksins. Not everyone has high poison resist, and venom boosts your damage (especially with Trangâ€™s gloves). My recommendation is to max venom, however, you can still be successful without it. The real question becomes what skill you would develop in its place if you chose not to max it. Some argue for maxing one unsynergized trap, but testing that others have done reveals that Venom is superior to an unsyngerized trap. I suppose you could max both Fade and Dragon Flight, but I suspect you will get more use out of Venom. Wake of Fire - 1 point WoF is superior to LS for stun-lock, and this is the only reason you are using it. It may be necessary against zons with high passive skills and other sins using WB as a means to trigger their dodge/block and permit you to attack in between blocking cycles. In my experience, the number of situations in which you will use this skill is fairly small. Thus, there is no harm in waiting until after level 50 to invest in it. Equipment Now for the fun part! I am going to focus on providing mid-level (say around level 50) recommendations because I assume that you will want to start dueling early. At level 46, I found this build to be amazingly effective, often able to bring down characters 5-10 levels higher. Of course, I will also make recommendations about some higher end gear for later levels. Before we get to the specifics, let me remind you that I really donâ€™t care about the whole â€œbad mannersâ€ argument. I duel only in public games and only against players who are of a higher level. In fact, I usually end up on the 1-end of 2 vs 1 or 3 vs 1 situations. I assume that everyone in this environment will use whatever they can get their hands on, and I donâ€™t have a problem with that. Personally, I donâ€™t think that using a little absorb (as long as it isnâ€™t excessive) as any worse than wearing Enigma. At the same time, duels that arenâ€™t challenging are a waste of time - so you will not see me advocating for mass absorb and I refuse to wear Enigma. Claws There are a few options to consider, and the good news is that some are very affordable. At lower levels, it is hard to go wrong with a malice claw as your primary claw. It will help you level and can be quite effective in pvp due to the 100% open wounds mod. The real drawback of malice is that its life drain will require you to use another piece of gear to counter it. Another option would be a strength claw (+strength and crushing blow). Once you hit level 42, use a bartucs as your secondary claw. The +skills and +stat mods make this an ideal choice. Another viable option is to use 2 bartucs. This provides a significant boost in skills and stats over the malice/bartucs combo. Your kick damage will benefit from the +strength, and the +skills will help boost your venom, weapon block, BoS, etc. I currently use two bartucs and have the primary one shaeled. If you are severely lacking in resists or plan on doing hell duels, you may want to consider using a jade claw as your secondary claw. If you can find them, using a pair of +3 shadow skills claws on weapon switch to boost your venom, fade, etc. before the fight can be helpful. During leveling, you might also find that having a claw that grants you death sentry can be useful. Helm Many options to consider. Guillaumeâ€™s Face is simply awesome for leveling, but it isnâ€™t worth much for pvp. Rockstopper is a good bet for those needing more resists, and the PDR is a nice touch. My recommendation for low levels is Peasant Crown. The +skills and vitality boost is nice, but the r/w is my favorite mod. At higher levels, you will probably want to upgrade to Shako or Crown of Ages. Belt I wear T-gods 99% of the time for the 20 strength/20 vitality bonus and the lightning resist/absorb. Once in a rare while, I may wear Snowclash against cold sorces or wind druids who are several levels higher than me. String of Ears is an option for leveling or fighting melee chars. Verdungos is probably the belt of choice if you can afford it (I canâ€™t). If you donâ€™t have these yet, look for +strength and resistances. Another viable option would be to craft a blood belt. This can give you a decent open wounds modifier. Gloves Venom users will want 1.10 Trangâ€™s gloves for the 25% poison damage increase. If you canâ€™t afford these, Venom Grip are cheap and better than nothing. Draculâ€™s Grasp are great if you can afford them but require you to be level 76. Crafted gloves are another option. Look for crushing blow, resists, and/or leech. At lower levels, Bloodfist are nice, and I recommend wearing these against trappers who use MB for the fast hit recovery. Boots Because this is a kicksin, your boots are the primary factor determining how much damage your kicks inflict. Use the highest damage boots you can wear for your level and donâ€™t forget to upgrade as you level. Although some boots have great mods (e.g., goreriders), maximizing your kick damage is even more important. A great example of this was provided by clsurfer. He compared regular (non-upgraded) gores with rare scarabshell boots and made a convincing argument that the extra damage gained from the scarabshells makes up for the loss of mods from the gores. Eventually, you will want rare/imbued Myrmidon Greaves, as these will give you the highest possible kick damage. Armor Durielâ€™s Shell is one of the best mid-level armors you can find for this build because of the resists and â€œcannot be frozenâ€ mod it grants. Another great choice (actually a better one if you have another source of cannot be frozen) is Lionheart (resists and open wounds). For the rich, Guardian Angel is nice. For those who decide not to use a malice claw, consider Toothrow or Crowcaw as another source of open wounds. If you donâ€™t have any of these, look for armor that gives you resists, +skills, and/or damage enhancing mods. Amulet I generally wear a crafted +2 shadow skills ammy that features +resist all and r/w. Look for +skills and resists here. For the rich, Maraâ€™s or Highlordâ€™s are nice options. Rings Ravenfrost is highly recommended for one slot. You will need the â€œcannot be frozenâ€ mod if you donâ€™t have it elsewhere. For the other slot, it really depends on who you are dueling. At lower levels, I wore a Manald Heal for the mana leech and restore life (which you need to counter the malice claw). Now, I wear a Dwarf Star for fire sorces and a dual leech ring the rest of the time. Charms Quite simply, you need resists, +shadow skills, life, strength, and r/w here. PvP Tactics Dueling is about how best to utilize your strengths in a way that exposes the weaknesses of your enemy. The primary strengths of this build are mobility (you can block while running), speed, the ability to block magic/elemental attacks, and the fact that you will be consistently underestimated by your opponent. When you enter a game and go hostile (or get hostiled), you see the other players going to their stash to put on their lighting resist/absorb gear. Once they realize that you are not a trapper, they typically laugh at you and hurl insultsâ€¦until you kill them. At this point, the ignorant half will accuse you of hacking, and the experienced half will express their admiration, often saying they didnâ€™t realize sins could be so powerful. The core tactics around which all class-specific strategies revolve are: (1) cast BoS, SM, and Venom before the fight; (2) never stop running; (3) run in random patterns around the target until you see an opening for dflight; (4) dflight in and either dtalon or repeat the run/dflight. Casters Sorc I developed this build as an answer to the townguarding sorc, and I have been extremely happy with its success here. It seems that sorces can be split into two varieties: blizzard and everything else. Lets start with the everything else. Here, you are probably looking at a fire or orb build. The good news is that both are extremely easy with this build. I realize that it will happen sooner or later, but so far I have not been beaten by a non-blizzard sorc. The obvious first step is to figure out their primary attack (always start by assuming cold) and wear the appropriate resist/absorb gear. The only real concern you should have is the level of your opponentâ€™s cold mastery. If it isnâ€™t nearly maxed, this is going to be an easy fight. Start with BoS and never stop moving. Against many, it will be as easy as dflighting in and datloning them to death. Unlike other characters, you can actually block 60% of their fireballs, orbs, etc. This gives you the advantage as long as you can get the kill quickly. Try not to get hit, but donâ€™t be afraid to get in their face. The good ones will be able to teleport very fast, and you will often dflight in and have them disappear before you can land more than a single dtalon hit. When this happens, dflight will need to become your primary killing skill. Of course, the good ones will also have max block, so try to get them on the run. A common sorc tactic is to surround themselves with hydra, meteor, etc. so that when you dflight in, you will be in the midst of an attack already in progress. This is where some low-level traps and MB might be useful. What about the blizzard build? Assuming that you are not looking at maxed cold mastery, this fight is going to be tough but winnable. Compared to the alternatives, blizzard is much tougher. The killing power of high level blizzard is scary and harder to avoid. Against these sorces, if you stop moving even for a second, it is over. I have won about half my fights against good blizzard sorcs. Often, I would dflight into a blizzard and manage to get the kill before dying myself. However, maxed cold mastery will negate your cold resist completely. I recently tried to defend myself against a high level blizzard sorc. With my maxed cold resist, Raven, and Snowclash, she killed me in one hit without even using blizzard! Needless to say, I am still working on figuring this out. Wind Druid I have had considerable experience vs. wind druids since the last version of this guide, and some revision is needed. There are two categories of wind druid, those who use Enigma and those who donâ€™t. I have rarely been beaten by a non-Enigma user, even though I have faced many who were 10-20 levels higher. Make sure you have decent cold resist/absorb and swap out your gloves for Bloodfist so that you get some fast hit recovery. A wind druid can take many more hits than your average sorc, and tornado really hurts. The key is to dflight to them so you wonâ€™t get hit with hurricane/tornado on your approach and dtalon them to death as quickly as possible. In most duels, I found that as long as I could talon them to death before they hit me with a tornado, it was easy. Because tornados donâ€™t hit all the time, it is all about whether you can kill them before they get a couple off. Not much can be done about the Enigma users. Their primary tactic is to teleport on top of you, insuring a hurricane hit and often stunning you before you know what is happening. Naturally, this will be much harder for them if you have high r/w and never stop moving. The problem is that they can often teleport away from you before you can kill them. The moment you slip up and run into a field of spammed tornados, it is over. The success I have had here seems to depend on whether I can kill them quickly enough to prevent the mass of tornados from being launched. Not an easy task, and I would put these guys right up there with bone necros for difficulty. Necro A good bone necros is the undisputed king of pvp. The good news is that at least 80% of them are inexperienced noobs who donâ€™t know what they are doing. Believe it or not, I have been able to kill most of those who do not use Enigma. How? For starters, you can block their attacks. Like the sorc, dflight in their face and dtalon. If they can get off a few spirits/spears, you will either block them and kill the necro or die immediately. The odds are in your favor (60%). Unfortunately, the only way you are going to survive a bone prison spammer is by using an item with teleport charges. A smart necro knows how to get out of your dflight range when you are in the prison, so they can just sit back and kill you from a safe distance. Against these guys, use BoS (not fade), wear a teleport ammy, and pray for a miracle. As for the Enigma-users who seem to know what they are doing, the strategy is the same but donâ€™t expect much success. They know how to spam teeth and teleport away before you can get them on your screen. The few poison necros I have faced were fairly easy as long as you see it coming, stack your poison resist/reduce poison length gear, and use fade. At high levels, their nova will hurt no matter what you wear. However, you will usually be able to kill them with the standard dflight/dtalon attack before they can kill you. Trappers There are some misconceptions about trappers that must be corrected. First, many believe that if you wear T-gods you are somehow immune to lightning traps. Wrong! A fully synergized LS trapper can be lethal with or without T-gods. In fact, this is one of the times you will probably need Fade. Second, many believe that it is their traps that make them deadly. In fact, it is their skilled use of MB that presents the real problem. Good trappers who know how to use MB are extremely difficult. As an example, I recently dueled a skilled trapper at my level who used fire traps and MB. Despite my maxed fire resist, the combination of MB and WoF nearly killed me. I could run through his traps without taking much damage, but when hit with MB, I was stuck in a field of traps without being able to move. Dflight wouldnâ€™t save me (remember, it is interruptible), and it was only through luck and a ton of fast hit recovery that I managed to get away. In terms of gear, the key is to get as much fast hit recovery as you can. In terms of strategy, you have to get in their face before they catch you in MB. If you can get to them before they lay all their traps and start spamming MB, you should be able to win. I found that once all their traps were down, I could sometimes win by casting shadow master to one side of the traps and then dflighting in. With a quick initial hit, I could usually bring down the trapper before I died. Against those who take full advantage of a high level mind blast, I usually died before I could do much damage unless I managed to dflight in before getting hit with MB. Hammerdins I have not found an answer for the Enigma-wearing, townguarding hammerdins yet. I have not given up, but they can kill with one hammer while managing to block almost anything I can throw at them. I suspect mind blast is going to be necessary here. Bowazons Yeah, I know they arenâ€™t really casters, but they are more similar to casters than to most melee characters. First, use BoS and never stop moving against a bowazon. With WB, you donâ€™t have to worry about your block rate. Expect poison damage and adjust your resist gear accordingly. Guided arrow was nerfed in 1.10, but it still hurts quite a bit. Run around them in circular patterns, making sure to vary your course so it isnâ€™t predictable. When you get them on the edge of your screen, dflight in and dtalon. You will be able to kill some zons this way, but those who have high passive skills will be able to dodge well enough that they may escape. Try to get them on the run where their passive skills are less effective. If they prove to be too tough, use WoF to trigger their evasive skills and then dflight and dtalon again. This will help if you can hit them in between defensive moves. Melee This guide was designed to maximize your ability to defeat casters. Even though it was never my intention, many have requested gear and strategy recommendations for melee characters. Although I really just want to refer them to the other sin guides, I have dueled enough melee characters to at least share some thoughts. This build does surprisingly well against melee characters at mid-level (30-50) but simply cannot compete at higher levels (70+). At the mid-level stage, the strategy is similar to what was discussed above. The key difference is to spam mind blast immediately before you dflight in. This can prevent the target from attacking until after you have completed your dflight and initial dtalon attack. As for gear, you need PDR and anything to enhance your damage (crushing blow, open wounds, etc.). What is the problem at higher levels? First, by going c/c, you sacrifice significant blocking ability when standing still. Thus, a chargedin will mop the floor with you. Second, your attack rating is not going to be high enough to hit the mass defense builds. Angelic set is your only option here. However, you will not survive more than a hit or two from most good melee builds. Third, an entirely different set of gear will be needed to get as much PDR as possible.