Swordmistress Nisha


Diabloii.Net Member
Swordmistress Nisha

A little bit earlier today, I managed to beat Hell with my swords-only assassin, and I managed to do it without dying, even though it was twinked softcore. Still, I'm quite happy with her, and I must say, she turned out far better than I expected. She was kicking the crap out of damn near everything; the only time when I was seriously worried about dying was in Act5 Hell when I ran into three boss packs of physical-immune Frenzytaurs (yikes).

Through the whole of Normal, it was pretty much hack-and-slash, with reversion to Blade Fury whilst in the Chaos Sanctuary until all the Oblivion Knights were gone. Nightmare was likewise pretty easy until late in the game, when elemental attacks started hurting, so I confiscated my merc's armor, an ethereal Duriel's Shell (which, last I checked, still had 87 durability left, after me wearing it through the entirety of Hell). On reaching level 54, I abandoned the weapon I was using (Ginther's Rift, if I recall correctly) for a Kingslayer phase blade, which allowed me to kill pretty much anything- with the combination of Vengeance, Dragon Talon, Venom, and the Open Wounds on the sword, I could kill anything, given enough patience. The fact that the Open Wounds and Crushing Blow carried over to Blade Fury meant even big nasties could be fought from a safe distance, if need be. Ancients were a bit tricky; I had to re-roll them once or twice before they spawned with mods that weren't uber-nasty.

Hell was somewhat challenging in places. A number of times, I hit the potion hotkey just at the last second, and I could have sworn I was dead- I guess it's good I wasn't playing online. While I found archers and other ranged attackers becoming significantly more dangerous, Cloak of Shadows generally slowed them down enough so they didn't overwhelm me. After maxing out Dragon Talon and Venom, I was trying to decide between Blade Shield and Death Sentry. My reasoning was that the former could let my chance to cast style mods go off more frequently, but in the end, I opted for Death Sentry, and I'm glad I did. With it, most physical immune packs weren't very dangerous. Even nasty dual-immune bosses weren't too bad, as the rapid attacks of Dragon Talon could usually keep them in a state of stun lock, especially when I got them up against a wall or other obstacle. Ghosts and the like were a little annoying, as they would sometimes land a hit and drain off all my mana, but a quick potion fixed that up, and once the first one dropped, the rest followed soon after. Early in Act1, I hit level 70, and swapped out the Kingslayer for Frostwind. This was more a decision of style than anything else, as I feel the assassin looks much cooler with a cryptic sword than a phase blade (I think the latter tend to look cheesy). It's also a lot easier to notice when Venom (and Enchant, once I was strong enough to use a Demon Limb) wear off when the whole blade changes color (phase blades only chance color on the hilt). As an interesting sidebar, I can color my blade to be any of the primary colors for additive color mixing (red from Enchant, green from Venom, or blue from Frostwind's natural color).

Endgame stats are as follows, with the parenthetical stats indicating naked values. You'll notice her Strength is rather high; this is because I wanted to be able to use Stormshield with little or no dependence on other gear, as well as increase my kick damage. Dex might be a little higher than needed for max block, but at one point I was using Moser's Blessed Circle, which had lower base block than the Stormshield.
Nisha, Level 83 Assassin 
Life: 1090 (664)
Mana: 179 (148)
Stamina: 585 (360)
Str: 218 (155)
Dex: 208 (180)
Vit: 223 (150)
Ene: 43 (25)
Fire Res: 53 (-70)
Cold Res: 75 (-70)
Lightning Res: 75 (-70)
Poison Res: 7 (-70)
1 Tiger Strike
20 Dragon Talon
1 Cobra Strike
1 Claw Mastery
1 Psychic Hammer
1 Burst of Speed
1 Cloak of Shadows
1 Fade
20 Venom
1 Fire Blast (thanks for the pointer, NF)
1 Shock Web
1 Blade Sentinel
1 Charged Bolt Sentry
1 Wake of Fire
15 Lightning Sentry
20 Death Sentry
Endgame gear is Angelic Wings, Angelic Halo x2, upgraded Rockstopper (Um), ethereal Duriel's Shell, Soul Drainer, Verdungo's Hearty Cord, upgraded Gore Riders, Frostwind, and Stormshield (Um). On the switch is a Demon Limb, used only to Enchant Nisha and her merc (more for the AR bonus than the fire damage). A few charms round things out, and that Kingslayer phase blade is sitting in my stash, to be used when stomping big, fat things like act bosses. My merc is an Act2 Might aura merc by the name of Azrael, equipped with Reaper's Toll, Crown of Thieves, and Skin of the Flayed One (all are ethereal). Besides the merc bemoaning the lack of armor with resists, there's not much I'd change unless I got really lucky, like finding Azurewrath (even if it does look ugly when equipped), Shadow Dancer, or the runes for Chains of Honor.

Anyways, I heartily recommend giving this kind of build a try. Don't be deceived by the seeming fragility of the build; you'll notice my base life is rather on the low side, but I made it through. I managed this through judicious use of Cobra Strike, Cloak of Shadows, and Death Sentry, as well as breaking my habit of being stingy with the full rejuvenation potions- after all, I'm a bloody packrat and have over four thousand (!!?!) of the damn things in an Atma stash. Another tactic used when the situation got particularly ugly was the shameless sacrificing of Azrael to temporarily mollify whatever big nasties were causing me grief. I feel the build should be feasible untwinked even; most of my gear (with the exception of the Stormshield and Verdungo's, the latter of which could easily be swapped for a String of Ears) is either fairly easy to get, or didn't contribute greatly to my survival (it mainly contributed to kill speed).

[edit: I almost forgot to mention my only significant drop, but what a drop- a boss pack of Burning Dead in the Arreat Plateau dropped an Eaglehorn, woot!]


Diabloii.Net Member
Masas said:
Great Mat! Is there a chance for an Eth Frostwind to work for a Bladefury sin?
Thanks, and I don't see why not. I can't remember if BF causes durability loss, though I don't believe so, so you should be okay. Bear in mind that BF isn't the fastest killer, though. I only resorted to it when I needed a ranged attack (ie, Flayers shooting blowgun darts at me across the water in Act3), or when going melee was suicide (Iron Maiden comes to mind).

However, there is one very interesting property of BF. Since it fires at a constant rate, and is not affected by either attack or cast speed, if you rely solely upon it, you can get fast attacks without needing any IAS. This means you can have Fade active all the time, possibly even maxing it (good resists and 20% physical resist), while having quite fast attacks. I did notice the chance to cast style mods trigger quite well with it; Crushing Blow works especially well if you can get some (Rattlecage and Goblin Toe alone will give you 50%, and both are common as dirt). The main drawback to using BF is that it's rather hard to hit moving targets, unless they are moving directly towards or away from you.


Diabloii.Net Member
Congrats. I really like a character than can handle everything like this one. No deaths really proves the build (and the player!).


Diabloii.Net Member
Nightfish said:
Congrats ;)

I suggested to get 1 point in fire blast? Really? o_O
Whups, my bad. That was a typo (too much reformatting to get it to look decent). I actually have 3 hard points in FB, and I got the idea from your TS/DS guide. :)


Diabloii.Net Member
pharaoh said:
I love 'em. More versatile than droods, and much easier on the eyes (unless you're into bestiality, or something). :)
well the thing about that is.....*runs away*

dr00ds are so 1337 they don't need to be versatile.

might make a TS sin after i get my BoTd. or a beast sin after i get my next ber


Diabloii.Net Member
congrats. without dying, thats cool. youre probably regretting not checking the harcore thingy. hehe. then u could have had a new guardian.


Diabloii.Net Member

I play softcore too (I eventually end up dying some stupid way, running too far into the room and not having an out up fast enough) and I haven't yet made it through hell (just started playing seriously again a couple months ago). I'll be pretty happy when I beat hell for the first time! OK, too many parenthesis in this post. I'll stop now!


Diabloii.Net Member
Mordalles said:
congrats. without dying, thats cool. youre probably regretting not checking the harcore thingy. hehe. then u could have had a new guardian.
Naww, I don't do the HC thing. Firstly, I'd be really mad if I lost a character that way, and second, I wouldn't be able to 'fairly' twink my chars, as all my stash gear is softcore.


Diabloii.Net Member
pharaoh said:
Naww, I don't do the HC thing. Firstly, I'd be really mad if I lost a character that way, and second, I wouldn't be able to 'fairly' twink my chars, as all my stash gear is softcore.
Case in point: I just died while running the Frozen River for exp, though it might have been a bug, because the game locked up utterly (had to end task via Task Manager). However, it did manage to save the dead version of my character. Due to Bliz's stance on bugs ("If it benefits you, it's cheating, but if it hurts you, it's okay, even if that means you lose hours, weeks, or months of time that you've invested"), I don't think I'll ever play hardcore, except maybe as a lark. They've made it 100% clear hardcore is officially unsupported, and players use it at their own risk, and even if character death is 100% their fault, due to a bug, server issue (if playing online), or whatever, they won't even pay lip service to fixing it. Granted, when playing open/sp, you can always restore from a backup of the character, but that rather defeats the purpose of hardcore.

[edit: In retrospect, I realize what the problem was. The other day, I installed RTB's reduced FE mod to somewhat address Bliz's "let's have you die whenever you get within three screens of a fire enchanted boss" mentality. Then earlier today, I saw the thread that had a link to the list of command-line switches, and I made a new shortcut (copied from my shortcut to un-modded D2) in order to see if the -lq switch would improve my framerate (it didn't, by the way), and as such, I was susceptible to 85087065 points of resist-ignoring, to-hit check ignoring, etc damage from the FE Frozenstein.]