Some Assassin help/advice, please?

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Ok. So I've been on an assassin kick for awhile now, but I've been largely unsuccessful, despite having read 50+ guides, written out a dozen or so skill allocation maps, studied synergy tables, etc. ad infinitum.

Here's what I want: an MA 'Sin (or a hybrid who melees most of the time), who doesn't quaff mana every 30 seconds, who has excellent crowd control, who has access to all four elementals and huge physical damage, kills quickly and safely, and has a bunch of explosions/fireworks/groovy sorc-esque animations. Ha.

Here's the problem. I started building one: Judith the MASin, currently at level 27; quaffs mana like crazy; has some ability to handle mobs (thanks to CoS, MB, and Blades of Ice), but attacks are constantly interrupted (thanks to WB); pretty much stands around and lets the Shadow Warrior and the Cold Rogue handle far away groups and runs away from LE's and beetles.

Her skills: Fists of Fire/Blades of Ice - 3; WB - 5; CM, BoS, DC - 2; everything else at 1.

She's fun to play, sort of. But I can't stand quaffing potions all the time and standing around while the shadow and the rogue have all the fun. I expect things will get better somewhere around lvl 60 when I have full BoI, FoF and some Venom, but I can't stand playing her any more. So she's been parked for awhile.

Attempt 2: Mahlah the C/S hybrid, currently lvl 21: Skills: CM-5, BoS 2; 1 pt. in all traps available except Blade Fury; 1 point in all the Shadow skills available; 1 pt. in the center and right branches of the MA tree.

She's fun-ish: doesn't quaff mana (thanks to some great unique gloves she found: The Hand of Broc +20 to mana and life/mana steal plus some other stuff) and can handle mobs, but only by running away and spamming traps or leaving the shadow and the rogue to deal with them.

I'm sure if I stuck with either one they'd end up being great. That said, I just can't get excited about either. With Judith, there's the darn mana quaffing. With Mahlah, there's the lack of much hands-on melee fun. And both of them tend to run away/stand and watch while the shadow and the rogue tank, spamming Mind Blast or traps.

To top it off, both died against Andy; Judith died twice against Radament, once in the Palace cellar, and once in the Arcane Sanctuary; and Mahlah bit it against a pack of Champion zombies cause she ran into a room and then couldn't get out and the rogue and shadow just stood there. I can't stand builds that die all the time and are constantly running away.

There's another 4 or 5 sins I started, but misallocation of points make them pretty much useless and completely boring, even in Act 1 normal. Jeez.

So. What to do. Keep going with Mahlah and Judith? Mule off the decent stuff they (and the other 5) found and start anew, maybe with a melee oriented trapper of some sort? Give up and go with a Fishymancer? Have fun with Merleau-Ponty the Shock-and-Claws, bird-loving Werebear?

Any and all advice will be appreciated.
 

Peppe

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

I'm not much for assasin play, but have tried a few builds.

This sounds like untwinked play for all of them? Do you use Rune word Mod (RWM), allows Insight to solve most mana problems.

If your untwinked or don't have decent gear a lot of builds are going to struggle. Almost all melee builds will struggle. Untwinked/poor play usually depends on strong skills that work independent of gear. To get by untwinked melee it helps a ton to find a source of mana and life leach. Manald heal usually is enough for normal/nightmare.

Her skills: Fists of Fire/Blades of Ice - 3; WB - 5; CM, BoS, DC - 2; everything else at 1.

Sounds like a pheonix strike assasin? I took one to 75. It was ok, but slowed down and was a lot of effort maximizing the damage through the charges. Why spend these points? WB - 5; CM, BoS, DC - 2. I thought they were 1 point wonder type skills.

Attempt 2: Mahlah the C/S hybrid, currently lvl 21: Skills: CM-5, BoS 2; 1 pt. in all traps available except Blade Fury; 1 point in all the Shadow skills available; 1 pt. in the center and right branches of the MA tree.
Never built one of these, but seems like you have wasted points on center line of traps, and center line of MA tree.

The melee build I enjoyed most for an assasin was a Kicker with Death Sentry. She was only good at players 1-3 where death sentry could kill packs quickly for you and she literally could kick the crap out of single targets (bosses). I haven't remade her in single player, but she just used the right column of the MA tree, the left column of the trap tree, and probably one in all the shadow skills.
I don't remember the exact skill spend, but something like: 20 D-talon, 20 Death Sentry, 18 Fire Blast (Death sentry shots synergy), 1 point in dragon flight to teleport around if you get in trouble. Rest in shadow skills? I don't recall... I think the best boots for her were upped gore riders and rest of the gear should focus on crushing blow.
 

Megalomania

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Hi,

Have you tried the Dragon Talon Sin?

Her physical damage becomes ok since it based on the boots, then look for weapons with leech or other mods, since you wont be using the sword it´s damage can be real sucky! It´s kind of easy to find +3 to Martial Arts glooves to,

I kicked myself in to Hell (there it was halt) with one, my main error was to not use the death sentry.

Hope this helps

/mlo666

*goes of to loot LK*
 

Peppe

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

@Megalomania
I hadn't thought about that, should make a kicker pretty viable untwinked as you can mix and match weapons to help get leech, or socket some skulls in a claw to get by.

@jamesixgun
If you aren't opposed to twinking, Khalim's Will (the act 3 quest object, after its been cubed) is an excellent new character twinking weapon. Can get just about any build through act 1 - 2. Has dual leech and would probably last a while on a kicker.
 

galtwish

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

For the MAsin:

Make a Savage Polearm in the cube for you and for your merc (get a Might merc from A2). Use those to melee on P8 w/Tiger Strike + Burst of Speed until you get some more levels. Use Cloak of Shadows liberally, but watch out for immobile targets like the Ancients, as they will crash the game w/CoS.

Max Blades of Ice, then Fists of Fire, then Phoenix Strike. Shop for a pair or +3 Shadow Skills claws for your casting of Fade, Burst of Speed, etc. Once you get to Nightmare Act 2, you may want to go with a Holy Freeze merc, but a Rogue works well with melee Assassins since they don't disturb monsters under the Cloak of Shadows too much. Eventually, you'll want the fastest claws you can find with Martial Arts skills, a source of Can't Be Frozen, and some mana leach (ML)--rare claws are a likely source. Until you get the ML, don't feel bad about using normal attack. Dragon Tail is also a good choice for MA tree builds.

For the Trapsin:
Max Lightning Sentry, then Death Sentry, then add some Fire Blast for more shots. This build can finish the game naked, so just be patient.

And read some of the Matriach threads stickied at the top--plenty of Hardcore characters made it through the game.
 

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Hey, thanks for the quick replies!

As to the DT suggestions: I hate knockback against single enemies (though it's somewhat useful for bosses), so I've never even thought of playing a kicker, or dancer, or shadow dancer, or kicking trapper, or whatever. It helps somewhat, but I wanna get in there and whack away until they're dead, not kick, chase 'em down, kick, chase 'em, kick . . . I like the group knockback of DTail, though (Judith uses it occasionally, and Mahlah used it against Radament to great effect), and have thought of making a TS/DTailer + trap support, which is certainly an option.

@Peppe- Judith plans to focus on FoF and BoI (it's pretty cool to freeze and burn guys at the same time) with Phoenix for a synergy and the occasional Lightning strike. I did sort of waste that second point in DC, but wanted the additional AR for my finisher and didn't realize that Weapon Block was causing me to miss. As to one-point wonders, I want around 10 pts. into CM for the added AR, I thought I wanted around 10 in WB for 50% chance to block (though it's pretty much useless and I'll never do that again). I like a level 3 BoS for the IAS and FRW, but it is sort of a one-point wonder.

As to Mahlah, she will one day get BF for range killing, so no waste on the center traps- WoF is useful early anyway- and Cobra Strike is extremely useful (a true one-point wonder) for easing mana woes, so no waste on the center MA tree either.

For life leach, I do have the groovy gloves that Mahlah found that I could mule over to Judith or use on a new character, or leave with Mahlah if she sticks around.

Finally, Yes, I am largely untwinked. I do use the RWM, and have GoMule that I use to move gems around when my stash gets too full, but don't have any high level characters to MF for the younglings. There once was Patriarch Foucault, the Holy Freeze Zealot, but he's long retired and pretty much useless for high-level MF ing. This is what I hope to find in the assassin(s) and the Werebear. (I know these are not the most popular or successful MFers, but I hate necros and never had any success with sorcs. Maybe a LF/FA Zon would be a better bet, but I really love the assassins and their variety.) Twinked or not, I am a pretty poor player, though.
 

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

And Galtwish was too quick for me. . .

Thanks. Mostly what I'm thinking - the builds will be much better when they're older, and I just need the patience to get me through. They repeated dying is a bummer, but is largely due to my poor skills as a Diablo player (despite having played off and on since 2001).

I have read virtually all of the Mat guides for inspiration. It's the stick-to-it-iveness that I lack. Yep.
 

xxnothing

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Yeah, sounds like you experience some of what I do quite often... I get excited about a build idea, but then get bored with the initial struggles. So many characters don't really shine until later in the game, and it can be a chore to get them that far (especial untwinked).
But I bet if you stick to your guns and power on through the early stages you'll find it rewarding later on.
Best of luck to you!
 

mir

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

@jamesixgun sadly there are 2 small problems with MA sins, they don’t have good physical damage (without tiger strike) unless they use kicks and they don’t have multiply physical attack. What I try to highlight is that MA sin isn't the right build if u want to stand in the middle of the battle especially untwinked.
If you still going to play with assassins and considering rebuild 1 of them then maybe you will give a chance to this build:

20 - Phoenix strike
15-20 – Claw mastery (only 1 point if u decide to go sword & shield)
~15 – Shadow master
1 – Death sentry & blade fury
1- All the skills in shadow tree (except SM & CM)
1- All the skills in martial arts tree (except phoenix, including all the finishing moves)
Rest in Tiger strike (or 15-20 if u go sword & shield)

If you going to play /p1 then phoenix is strong enough (3 types of elemental damage), you can use this attack without claws (sword & shield = some help with resist problems) and even to use tiger strike too. Use normal attack as finishing move.
For mana problems just use cobra strike (available with sword & shield)
I don’t know how many +skills u can get with your equipment so I advise not maxing CM & SM, this will give you few spare skill points to use in BoS and tiger strike.
Use death sentry if u feel that the group u face is too large.
One last thing, put attention to number of charges u have. When u charge-up try to do it when u face one monster only.

Good luck and I hope it help
 

Megalomania

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Isn´t a D2 problem that you often reach level 20 pretty fast, due to that the enemies is generally very weak in the beging. Then there´s a nomans land before you skills hit in and you can start wasting stuff fast again... I had i barbarian parked in early nightmare for loooooong until another char droped someting he could acctually do dammage with.

a little of topic, but what I try to say is hold out!, and like nightfish said, if your weak in gear or don´t mule go for skills thats no gear dependent.
 

Nightfish

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Here's what I want: an MA 'Sin (or a hybrid who melees most of the time), who doesn't quaff mana every 30 seconds, who has excellent crowd control, who has access to all four elementals and huge physical damage, kills quickly and safely, and has a bunch of explosions/fireworks/groovy sorc-esque animations. Ha.
To save you some time: This does not exist and is in fact quite unrealistic to demand. Thankfully, D2 isn't one of those games where you can excell at everything at the same time. Pick something to specialise in and then go with that.

Some basic pointers: If you want huge elemental damage, you need gear that is heavy on +skills. This is diametrically opposed to dealing high physical damage.

Items that are useful for physical damage - actually I prefer to call this "weapon damage dependant" since it applies to berserk and vengeance as well - pretty much never offer +skills or anything else useful for caster-like builds. And make no mistake, elemental MAsins are essentially casters for most intents and purposes.

If you need input on planning builds in general I'd suggest to read this, rather than specific guides: http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=688444 Perhaps this gives you some general ideas on how to best min/max things.

Now, there are many ways to play a successful assassin. Crowd control is covered with just a single point in cloak of shadows. This is the *only* skill I would consider mandatory for assassins. Anything else is optional.

Right. So, now we need to deal some damage. Physical damage pretty much means tiger strike and high physical damage means you are not using claws. Back this up with 20 in death sentry and you have a winner. With any halfdecent weapon you should be able to kill most monsters in the 3-hit-charge-up process and then one-shot another one on the finishing normal attack. 2 corpses right there, drop the traps and watch body parts fly. Success.

Elemental damage, on the other hand, probably means you drop 20 in phoenix and 20 in the corresponding claw skill for each element you want to actually use. This is up to 80 points right there, leaving little to no room for physical damage. As I said before, items for this build would not support physical damage anyway. But this build does not need physical damage, 3 elements are plenty. There are no enemies that are immune to fire, lightning and cold.

You can find 7 working assassin builds here, where thyiad kindly collected links to all of my guardians: http://www.chrisclarke.co.uk/D2stuff/Nightfish/index.html

Most of them would work untwinked. On the ribcracker assassin (this is the high physical damage one) just replace ribracker with the best weapon you can find. The MA assassin is big on elemental damage. Works fine as well, but will be somewhat less powerful untwinked, obviously.

Anything that does not have 20 points in death sentry is slow untwinked compared to something that does have those 20 points.


As a final note: Any guide can only take you so far. At the end of the day, it's the way you push the buttons that makes it work or fail. Assassin are probaly the most demanding class, in terms of skill needed to make them work. Takes some practice to get good with them. It's not as easy as casting 5 hammers and picking up the loot... But it's a lot more fun, in my opinion.



 

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Thanks again for the replies!

@Nightfish: Your sept-sept guides have been extremely helpful, and I’ve been working on one of your MF Amazons, with some slight modifications (ie. no Valk, points in Critical Strike/Penetrate instead) – she’s going pretty well so far, but she’s still very young. I’m hoping for a Pat/Mat sept before DIII comes out, and I’ll probably give the fishymancer a try, for that.
I especially appreciate the WIP Guide thingy. Very useful for a relative n00b like myself.

Anyway, I know my wishes for a character of the type I described are completely unrealistic, hence the “Ha.” I did a ton of calculations this morning and found that, while I could do some sort of Hybrid (TS, DTail, BoI, V, PS, LS) or MAer (TS, DTail, CoT, BoI, PS, V), both would cost around 100 skill points to achieve rather paltry ~8000 damage vs. a single target (for the MAer, and assuming no Immunities (HA!, again)), and around 10,000 for the hybrid, but with lots of hoping the traps will hit properly. While I’d have access to all elements, I’d never achieve acceptable levels of damage for any single element.

So, I’m better off choosing two types of damage (ie. physical/lightning, cold/fire, whatever) and finding a merc that does a third type or adds something useful, maybe using a Shadow for some tanking (though I’m liking the Shadows less and less) and crossing my fingers for some open wounds/crushing blow and/or +skills.

That said, I’ll probably stick with Judith for a bit, pump FoF/BoI, and hope for the best; also keep going with Mahlah, and convert her to more of a trapper (already planned on LS/DS for her anyway), with some slight TS/DTail support. Hopefully one of them will end up working. If not, I’ll force myself to stick with a Phoenix Striker (with a big hurty stick) or a trapper.

Thanks to Mir as well for the build idea: will probably be the PStriker I build when/if I give up on Judith and Mahlah (unless I go with a trapper).

And Megalomania: yep, the low/mid twenties is a pretty frustrating time.

James needs to stick to his game! (Going off to see how Mahlah’s feeling today.)
 

Nightfish

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Two types of damage are plenty. Just one isn't enough, most of the time, unless you like to skip a lot of monsters. Magical damage is the exception here. Very few things are immune to magic. Most of the time it's not hard to have at least a backup element.

If you need a build that flies on lower levels, pick something that either uses a lvl 12 (or lower) spell or at least has such as a synergy. Those level a lot quicker than stuff that relies solely on lvl 30 skills. Phoenix Strikers are actually not bad in that respect.

As for shadows... Yea... no one needs them. They're like valks. A bit like training wheels on a bike. They seem to help at first but when you're trying to go for a triathlon they hold you back.
 

humbuggerer

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

I wanted to write something useful but got caught on "Foucault, the Holy Freeze Zealot" ... there's an unusual combination ...

As for your D2 problems, those appear to be temperamental... /smiley
 

maxicek

Moderator Single Player
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

As for shadows... Yea... no one needs them. They're like valks. A bit like training wheels on a bike. They seem to help at first but when you're trying to go for a triathlon they hold you back.
Quote of the Week :)

Most of the assassin forum seem to regard shadows as mandatory.



 

Pijus

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

@Nightfish: Your sept-sept guides have been extremely helpful, and I’ve been working on one of your MF Amazons, with some slight modifications (ie. no Valk, points in Critical Strike/Penetrate instead) – she’s going pretty well so far, but she’s still very young.
If you are talking about a Fishyzon here, then I don't think points in penetrate/critical strike are a good idea. A Fishyzon doesn't rely on AR kill(the cold damage on Freezing arrow, aswell as the light damage from the lightskills are autohit). And critical strike will only end up killing you if you hit a monster with Charged strike while you are IM'ed.

I'd recommend either to put extra(after level 81) points into pierce, or another lightning synergy(my favorite is Lightning strike).

Sorry if this is abit OT, but I didn't want you to waste points.


 

Nightfish

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Quote of the Week :)

Most of the assassin forum seem to regard shadows as mandatory.
It took me a while to stop considering anything mandatory as well, but it opened up lots of builds that simply weren't possible otherwise. Half of my amazons and 'sins wouldn't exist.

I think that's because a lot of people played 1.09 and there was probably no reason not to drop 20 there because there were no synergies. It's not like you died because you used a shadow (or valk) but if you can succeed without one you will be a lot better off.


If you are talking about a Fishyzon here, then I don't think points in penetrate/critical strike are a good idea. A Fishyzon doesn't rely on AR kill(the cold damage on Freezing arrow, aswell as the light damage from the lightskills are autohit). And critical strike will only end up killing you if you hit a monster with Charged strike while you are IM'ed.

I'd recommend either to put extra(after level 81) points into pierce, or another lightning synergy(my favorite is Lightning strike).

Sorry if this is abit OT, but I didn't want you to waste points.
Not sure what he was refering to anyway, I don't recall writing any guide advocating valks... I haven't used valks since I got over the masses of people telling me "omg, u must haz teh valk11!1!!1"



 

Caly

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

I built a TS/DTail/Phoenix Strike dual-claw 'sin using this guide and she turned out really well, I thought. The good thing about using TS and DTail together is that you get a good source of both physical and fire damage, so you've got two damage sources covered right there, and Phoenix Strike gives you another source of elemental damage on top of that. The build's customizable so there's plenty of room to add in other elemental chargeup skills, Death Sentry, etc. Mana isn't a problem if you just mix in some Cobra Strike chargeups. Crowd control is covered with CoS, and Mind Blast can be helpful too. I used a Shadow, but if I rebuilt her I'd skip that probably.

However, I didn't do this build untwinked so I can't speak for how difficult that would be. It mostly relies on a pair of good kicking boots (you can shop Myrmidon Greaves in Hell) and +skill gear, as well as a fast claw or two (again, shop for this). You don't have to go dual claw, which is good because a shield will help a lot with your resistances when untwinked. I think the main drawback of this build is the large amount of skill switching you need to do-- if you don't enjoy that kind of micromanagement (I do, but I'm weird) then this may not be for you. At any rate, give the guide a read, I found it really well-written and helpful.

Good luck!
 

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

Groovy. Been playing Mahlah for a couple of days. Blade Fury works beautifully (when you can see what you're shooting at). LS is fun, but at lvl 3 doesn't really kill much on p8. I switched to SirDiesAlot, the Defiance merc, with a pretty nice unique poleaxe I found, and worked great to tank while I blade fury-ed things to death. I cast the SW once, but didn't bother again after she died, and didn't really miss her.

Let's keep a running total here: Wasted Points- 2 (WB (Mahlah likes her shield) and SW).

Ok. So Mahlah died twice against the friggen Summoner. Yep. Never had a character that couldn't take him in one or two whacks. The merc never made it onto the summoner deck. Instead he stood there looking for constellations or something, while I cast a couple LS, ran up, charged TS and finished with DTail, then died to an ice blast; revived the merc, cast a couple LS, fetched the body, charged TS, charged CS, died to an ice blast; revived the merc, fetched the body, Dtail, Dtail, Dtail, then through the portal. Jeez.

Duriel was tough. The problem? My physical damage is pathetic, and the LS isn't particularly strong yet, and the Merc likes to die all the time. But I made it through. Both BF and TS like-em some high-damage weapons (in case you all haven't figured that out yet), and a gambled 14-18 dmg blade talons and a few +elemental damage charms don't really cut it. BF is fine, cause works like a machine gun: 11-14 dmg at 10 hits per second take out pretty much everything. But I need to switch to something big and hurty.

Wasted points: 6 (WB, SW, and the 4 extras I put in CM).

Groovy. Mahlah's gonna take a bit of a break while Judith tries her hand at Duriel.
 

jamesixgun

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Some Assassin help/advice, please?

@humbuggerer: Foucault was fun. A bit dicey in Hell, but I powered through. I don't remember much about his weapons or anything, but 20 points in Zeal, Holy Freeze, Resist Cold, and Sacrifice, plus a few points in Salvation. Loads of damage, decent AR, everything slows down and turns blue, then whack whack bye bye. I even kept the Cold Rogue I got from killing Blood Raven. It took a long time (about a month of off and on playing), but was pretty easy. And, yep: most of my D2 problems boil down to temperament.

@Maxicek: Didn't miss the Shadow at all. Nope. (But I've yet to even skill a SM in any Sin I've played).

@Pijus: Thanks. I haven't worked much on Fishylicious, so I'll keep that in mind.

@Nightfish: One of your guides (if I remember right, and, anyway I can't find it just now) has some line about skipping the Valk and putting points in Lightning support: this is what I was talking about. But I've read probably 200 guides in the last few weeks, so I could be wrong.

@Caly: That's one of the guides I've read over and over as I struggled with the various Sins. It looks like a pretty good bet, but I don't know about untwinked. That's one thing with many of the guides. Lots of good info, but many have tons of stuff about "you must have Nat Bartuc's Angelic Goreriding Shaftstop," most of which I've never even seen, let alone twinked around with.

And to the micromanagement: It's an acquired skill, for sure, but I'm getting better.

Thanks again, everyone.

Best.
 
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