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The Boning Strafer!

Discussion in 'Amazon' started by JanusJones, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. JanusJones

    JanusJones IncGamers Member

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    The Boning Strafer!

    Hey all! Just got into a seriously thought-provoking discussion in the "WWS vs PIs" thread regarding Brand + Marrowwalks on a Strafe-a-zon. I've come up with three different gear setups, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and wanted to share them.

    Setup #1: High Speed, mediocre physical damage
    This setup will hit 2 fps for the fastest Strafe in the game, but unfortunately requires the use of a Matriachal bow as a base weapon (with a base damage range of 20-47 - 25 lower max damage than it's slower, deadlier, and more popular big sister: the Grand Matron Bow). On the upside, the fact that it only takes 60% IAS to hit 2 fps frees up some gear slots for boosting damage.

    Bow: Brand in a Matriarchal Bow (+3 skills preferably, but as people often forget, boosting Bow skills doesn't do too much for Strafe in terms of damage - if you only have a +2, it ain't such a big deal).

    Amulet: Highlord's (+skills, IAS, and Deadly Strike . . . ooooh, sexy! You can also go for Cat's Eye if you prefer, but I like me some Deadly Strike, yes I do . . .)

    Belt: Nosferau's/Siggard's (whatever the name, the mods are the same - the +strength will help you meet prerequisites, the IAS will boost your speed, the life leech will help you survive, and the slows target mod will help you pin enemies down so your Bone Spears will hit!)

    Armor: Fortitude (was there ever a question? This will help make up for the Matriarchal bow's bad base damage by boosting you up TONS!)

    Helm: Crown of Ages OR Andariel's Visage (your call, and ultimately depends how wealthy you are and what your other equip includes. If you go with gloves that have no IAS [like Drac's Grasp], you'll need to socket two 15% IAS jewels in the CoA or one in the Andy's. If you have 20% IAS on the gloves, however, you'll only need an extra 10% - one jewel for the CoA [leaving a free socket if you have a perfect one!] or one for the Andy's. Stealskull with a 15% ias jewel is also a sexy option if you go for 20% ias gloves - especially with its MF chance! Giant Skull could also be used with 2 jewels, but it has a huge strength prereq and Crushing Blow is nerfed on ranged attacks - moreover, Brand all ready gives Knockback so that mod is also useless. Mavina's circlet will also give you a base 30% - allowing you to socket whatever you like! It also looks MUCH cooler than a lot of the other options, so I definately reccomend it.)

    Gloves: Dracul's Grasp/Hellmouth/Lavagout/Soul Drainers/Laying of Hands/Steelrend/Mavinas/IK Gloves/Bloodfist/Crafted Gloves (LOTS of options here, each with it's own advantages. Hellmouth, often overlooked, has % chance of casting Firestorm and Meteor [and as any good Strafer knows, % chance on hit stuff works like a charm with Strafe!], Fire Absorb, and some extra fire damage. Drac's Grasp is probably my favorite for the Open Wounds, Strength [handy for meeting prereqs on armor and bows!], and the all-important Life Tap on hit [which will save your merc a thousand times over!]. IK adds dex and IAS [when paired with the belt]; Lavagouts have Fire Resist, Fire Damage, and Enchant for some extra AR. Mavinas have cold damage and dex, while Laying of Hands is a GREAT option if you're a serious demon hunter [pit runs and mephi, anyone?]. Bloodfists have great mods and work fantastically well when upped, and of course Crafted gloves always offer a slew of possibilities depending how well they're rolled. It's up to you - as long as your choice allows for your character to hit 60% IAS so that you reach the 2 fps breakpoint for Strafe.)

    Ring1: Ravensfrost (duh! :uhhuh: AR, Dex, Can't Be Frozen. A must have!)

    Ring2: Ravensfrost/Bul Kathos/Dwarf Star/Carrion Wind/Wisp Projector (you can't have too many Ravensfrost! On the other hand, BK will boost your passive skills nicely and add some life and leech. Dwarf Star is for Andy's Visage wielders who need some Fire Absorb to offset its nasty fire resist penalty. Carrion Wind has saved my Windforce Strafer from strafelock deaths a million times - the chance to cast Twister will stun enemies who get close. Wisp is for the Lightning absorb, the chance to cast Lightning on hit [great for mowing down packs!] and the charges of Druidic Spirits - HOW will really boost your damage [is you can keep it alive].)

    Boots: Marrowwalks (the only option for a BRAND wielder. Try to get your hands on a pair which has a high +strength and +dexterity mod - this will help with prereqs and also boost your damage!)

    Setup #2: High physical damage, slower rate of fire
    This setup goes for the higher damage GMB as a base for Brand, and only requires 15% IAS to hit the 3 fps breakpoint - a very nice one, considering the damage output!

    Bow: Brand in a Grand Matron Bow

    Belt: Nosferatu's Coil (here it is again. Okay, since you don't need any more than 15% IAS you are free to put almost anything in here: Razortail, for instance, is another nice option for the handy-dandy pierce, which can save you some skill points. However, I want to stress the importance of the 10% slows target here: this is a big help when you're firing Bone Spears off. However, do as you like - this is more or less a free slot! Other groovy options are Verdungoes, String, IK Belt, etc. . . . the list goes on and on.)

    Ammy: Highlord's (this alone will get you to your IAS breakpoint; plus, the skills and Deadly Strike are gravy! However, you could go for Atma's Scarab for the Amp Damage on hit, or possibly even Mara's for the resists and extra +skills. Once again - more freedom here given that there are fewer requirements for IAS.)

    Ring1/Ring2: See the last setup - this isn't going to change much.

    Boots: Marrowwalks, of course!

    Helm: Your choice! (once again, the lack of a desperate need for IAS will free up your gear choices considerably. I suggest any of the obvious choices: Vampgaze, Stealskull, CoA, Valk Helm, Kira's Guardian, Griffon's Eye [nice in combo with Highlord's and Wisp], Mavina's [great helm in combo with the gloves or belt!], Blackhorn's Face [an oft-overlooked helm, especially nice for both Lightning absorb - no more Gloam worries - and Slows Target, which is BEEFY with a Brand wielder!], Crown of Thieves [+25 Dex, +50% life, 11% life leech - what's not to like?], Guillarme's Face [Deadly Strike and +strength], Natalya's [Dex, Strength, Resists, looks cool . . . what a helm!], Tal Rasha's, and even . . . Biggin's Bonnet! It has 30% enhanced damage - something a lot of folks forget - up it and it's a respectable, if odd-looking and laugh-provoking, helm!)

    Gloves: Once again, open to choice! (check the previous section for various options. Remember, the one thing you NEED is 15% ias - you can get it from gloves if you don't get it anywhere else, but it's easy enough to get 15% from anything you wear.)

    Armor: Fortitude (I know I'm putting this down as the only option, but the Enhanced Damage from this is DISGUSTING . . . in other words, great! If you can't afford it, be creative - there are lots of great armors out there. Even Duriel's Shell is swanky - resists, +strength, and Cannot Be Frozen!)

    Setup #3: High physical damage, 2 fps rate of fire
    This build will offer a lower total damage than that of the second, but it WILL hit the 2 fps breakpoint with a Grand Matron Bow. It is HEAVILY gear-dependent, however, as you need 120% IAS to hit the 2 fps mark with a GMB.

    Bow: Brand in a GMB

    Helm: Mavina's, Andy's (only two options here. Either of these, socketed with a 15% IAS jewel, will get you close - Mavina's will hit 45% while Andy's only 35%.)

    Ammy: Highlord's/Cat's Eye (one or the other - both have 20% IAS.)

    Armor: Upped Twitchthroe/Natalya's/Griswold's/Black Hades (the last three options need to be 3 socket armors with three 15% IAS jewels for 45% IAS. Twitchthroe with a 15% IAS jewel gets you to 35%, which is all right if you go for Mavina's as a helm.)

    Belt: Nosferatu's (all right, I'll stop singing its praises. Here you NEED it for IAS, though.)

    Gloves: Choice (as long as it has 20% ias, you can slot it here. Lavagout and Laying of Hands are two of my favorite choices.)

    Boots: Marrowwalks

    Rings: See previous options.

    The important thing here is to hit 120% IAS: my suggestion is Mavina's helm (45% with jewel), Lavagouts (20%), Nos's (10%), Highlord's (20%), and either Twitchthroe with an IAS jewel (35%) or Natalya's armor with two IAS jewels and an UM (30%).

    Mercs:

    Once again, many options here. It has to be an Act 2 Merc for an aura, but either Might (for the extra damage) or Holy Freeze (to pin your enemies down) are available.

    Armor: Fortitude (for damage, of course!). Also Chains of Honor is great for a Might merc to help amp your damage further.

    Weapon: Several options here. Reaper's Toll will cast Decrepify, amping both your damage and his and slowing targets down so they are more easily hit by Bone Spears. If you all ready have a lot of "curse on hit" gear (Drac's and Atma's, for instance), you may want to pass on Reaper's Toll, however, as only one curse can be active at a time. Arioc's Needle is good for upping damage further on a Might merc. If you're looking to have your merc do a lot of killing on his own, EBOTD is never a bad decision. Pride is probably the best choice of the lot, as it gives another damage boosting aura to your merc: Concentration. Especially if you choose a Holy Freeze merc for pinning enemies down, go for Pride if you can afford it: that way you'll have both damage and slowing effects stacked.

    Helm: Options abound. CoA is, as always, awesome. For those with less cash, go for something with good leech so your merc doesn't buy it - Tal Rasha's, Stealskull, and Vampgaze come to mind. +skills will also help out a Might merc quite a bit, so don't hesitate to load on a Shako here.

    Okay - SKILLS! I'll make this brief, as it doesn't need to be too long:

    Strafe: 1 point. This depends on gear, but if you hit at least level 6 with your best gear on (the level needed for a 10-hit Strafe) you don't need much more than this. You can max this, but the damage return is unimpressive given the initial 3/4 nerf.

    Penetrate: MAX. Strafe relies on AR, and you can never have too much as a result.

    Pierce: 1+ points. This is a funny one. If you invest more than a point, be sure you don't go too far - it has very rapidly diminishing returns (only 3% or less per level after level 6). If you're wearing Razortail, don't bother with more than one point - it's a waste! Razortail covers your piercing issues nicely.

    Critical Strike: 1+ points. Once again, the issue here is diminishing returns. Make sure you don't pump too many in unless you REALLY like spending a skill point for a 1% chance of a Critical. Around level 7 is where you want to be (with +skills gear) - after that it's an increase of +2% a level - hardly worth it IMHO.

    Dodge/Avoid/Evade: These need to be at least, with +skills gear, 4/5/4, respectively. After that, once again, you face diminishing returns. Also, being locked up in a dodge animation can severly cut down on the time a zon spends killing :lol: .

    Valkyrie: MAX. I know, I know, there's a lot of debate here. However, I reccomend maxing Valk for one reason: tankage. With a Might merc, she'll also do decent damage, and will keep the monsters occupied for the short amount of time necessary for you to mow them down. She'll also keep some of the heat off your merc, which will save you costly ressurections in town.

    You will notice that this leaves you with tons of points to spare! After this, it's all up to you - if you want a bit more punch from your Strafe, max it. If you want another skill for killing with, go ahead and make a hybrid with Lightning Fury or just max two elemental skills - I suggest Fire Arrow and Exploding Arrow, since the arrows fired from Brand all ready explode on hit (and the fire damage will stack). Really, though, you won't need a secondary elemental attack: the magic damage from your Bone Spears, chucked out at a lightning-fast Strafe rate, should be enough to take on any Physical Immune.

    Thanks for reading, and happy hunting kids! :thumbsup:
     
  2. Leohappy

    Leohappy IncGamers Member

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    Quite well written, but I'd like some more info how well Brand bow actually works in Hell solo 8pl environments, and which areas are the best for MF'ing with Brandess (Brand amazon^^). I heard somewhere this works really well in Chaos Sanct, one area I visit a lot with my MF chars.

    Also I was thinking about using Act 1 merc with Faith bow (13 aura) - that would allow me to reach max speed when using either type of the bow easily (50% ias needed with Matri, 95% ias needed with GMB for 7fpa). Act1 merc would also not be subjected to deaths from Iron Maiden curse in CS.

    Any info welcome!
     
  3. Omikron8

    Omikron8 IncGamers Member

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    What the hell, no love for Andy's Visage? This helm surpasses the cheese that is tal's mask.
     
  4. batuchka

    batuchka IncGamers Member

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    I suggest calling such a build 'The Boning Brandy' hehe
     
  5. JanusJones

    JanusJones IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    I would also love to know what the effects in an 8 person game are . . . unfortunately, I haven't yet accquired my Brand and thus my experiment is paused in limbo. If any rich ladder benefactors wish to remedy this situation I'd be MORE than happy to test out my ideas! :drool:

    It did occur to me, however, that with a decent Pierce each arrow would summon multiple Bone Spears - I can only imagine what the maximum might be (cow game anyone?). That plus the extra damage from either a CoH or Fortitude would make for quite a nice spread of machine-gun physical/magical armor-piercing rounds. Perhaps the best name for this build would be "Rambette" . . .

    Does Faith's Fanaticism aura actually speed up the zon's bow when on a merc? If so . . . wow!

    Thanks for the input folks - keep it coming!
     
  6. Arbedark

    Arbedark IncGamers Member

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    I read that Brand is bugged when using faith, and it barely triggers Bone Spear at all.

    Not sure how it works with Multi, might be a good idea to test that as well?






    Arb
     
  7. 5Ws

    5Ws Banned

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    Huh?
    Freaky how I was thinking of this build just yesterday, and was planning on making a guide if it's successful...bastard, one step ahead of me...
    One question though, if I use Multiple Arrow, and say 20 arrows hit, will 20 Spears come out toward the 20 targets simultaneously?
     
  8. ramian

    ramian IncGamers Member

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    wouldn't the same problem that plagues WWS users and MS affect brand and the bone spears? In that only the centre few arrows actually cause chance-to-cast events to occur rather than all the arrows?

    or am I just mistaken about the whole thing??
     
  9. Leohappy

    Leohappy IncGamers Member

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    Never heard about this. Can you elaborate?

    Problem with MS is only the two middle arrows actually carry CTC effects, other arrows don't. It's a different thing with Strafe - all arrows trigger CTC.

    IMO that's not a problem if I make my bowzon into a strong CS runner - seems like Strafe is the best choice in that area anyway.
     
  10. Damric

    Damric IncGamers Member

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    I made a build like this as soon as new runewords were released. I still use this character because she is so darn powerful.

    My Setup:

    335% GMB Brand (+1 skills bow)
    Fortitude Wyrmhide
    Um'd Guillames Face
    Crafted Blood gloves 20% ias +1 passive
    Razortail
    High Ravenfrost
    Nice Rare mana leech ring
    Highlords or Cat's Eye (I use either)
    Marrowwalks
    Full inventory of poison charms

    Act 1 Cold merc from normal:

    Faith Crusader Bow
    Andariels Visage
    Gladiator's Bane

    I hit the last strafe breakpoint and obliterate everything in the game. I have almost 100% pierce after items/skills. I have max penetrate and pretty high decoy and valkerie. Around 50% dodge skills.
     
  11. JanusJones

    JanusJones IncGamers Member

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    I was somehow under the impression that Chance-to-Cast didn't work at ALL with Multi. Regardless, it DOES work with Strafe. I'm curious, though, about this "doesn't work with Faith" business - do you mean it doesn't work when your merc is using Faith? I personally am a big fan of the old fashioned Might merc myself, but if you can net a bit of IAS from Faith I can't argue. Still, with a Mat bow 60% seems an easily achievable goal.
     
  12. citybird

    citybird IncGamers Member

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    DAM this thread took off!!

    My original post:
    http://forums.diabloii.net/showthread.php?t=354502&page=2&pp=10

    thanks for the input on the Marrowwalks.

    Now for some questions.

    Code:
    Andariel's Visage - Required Level: 83 Required Strength: 102
    Crown of Ages - Required Level: 82 Required Strength: 174
    Giant Skull - Required Level: 65 Required Strength: 106
    Would the High requirements of these preclude them from being used in your first option where the mat bow only needs 87 STR?

    We could stick Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest in this slot with a 15% IAS jewl or
    we could use Blackhorn's Face: (note the Slows Target By 20%)
    Code:
    Defense: 243-278 (varies)(Base Defense: 54-86)
    Required Level: 41
    Required Strength: 55
    Durability: 20
    +180-220% Enhanced Defense (varies)
    Slows Target By 20%
    Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 25
    Prevent Monster Heal
    +20 Lightning Absorb
    Lightning Resist +15%
    and get our other resistances and LL/ML with gloves or rings or ammy.

    While true Fort does up your physical damage for the Grand Mat Bow I still stand by my choice of Duress for this build with the Mat Bow. With one small addition... PSN. It will stack on top of the prevent monster heal and Chance to open wounds.

    Also, even if Crushing Blow is nerffed on ranged to 1/8 with 8/2 attack rate I think you are hitting them often enough to make up the difference.

    Without the Gore riders OW/CB goes down 10% to about the 40% range. Still respectable damage. I would like to try them both out when I make this build.

    Skill Points:
    As a secondary skill I think Frozen Arrow will work nicely with the Bone Spear Strafe to keep the monsters in place for the bonespear to hit.
     
  13. jonbendale

    jonbendale IncGamers Member

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    I finally got the runes to make Brand from a +3 Mat bow a few weeks ago, and is very fun to play! The pain is wearing the boots. Miss my War Travs for the 20 avg + dmg that turns into +60 dmg with my Fortitude armor. Also miss my Gore Riders.

    Works great on physical immunes though, and love filling the screen up with white bone spears. Sometimes go to the flayer jungle and lay everything to waste!

    Unfortunately haven't tried with multi arrow yet, but will try tonight. Only have a few skill pts in though from items, but will test.

    I'm working on a rogue merc, and traded for a Faith crusader bow, so looking forward to that combination with my Brand.

    Have to say, I still use my WF more at this point, with my Fort and Merc's pride does sick damage! (~5k max/arrow)

    Also, don't forget about Dream for a helm. I love having it on the merc, doing cows when the Confuse kicks in and the whole group starts attacking each other and you just sit back and pick them off like cows in a barrell or something like that... :thumbsup:
     
  14. Wmeredith

    Wmeredith IncGamers Member

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    Yikes: This is a nice thread but I have to throw my own $.02 in... :thumbsup:

    A) CTC Bonespears works with Faith. There is no bug.

    B) Brand + Marrows + Laying of Hands + Fort = Godly Chaos Sanctuary runner. 2/3 of those guys are demons and they're staring down the barrel of +620~680% Damage to Demons, not to mention Synrgized Bonespears (Unresistable) and a zon wearing Fortitude. This is what I have on my Chaos Runner and she holds her own in 8 player games.

    C) If you build a bowie and she can wear a CoA, you may want to think about a rebuild. It's a very nice helm and all, but str is wasted on a zon. I've made about 20 of them (kind of obsessed with a prefect bowie) and speed+dex kills, period. Read any of the guides or ask any of the zon pros.

    My Brandy's setup:
    'Dream' Helm/Rare Coronet
    'Brand' Great bow (This is my balance between power and speed. The +bow skills is useless, unless you're a elemental zon. Once again: this is just in myhumble opinion. Plus, my merc can wear this.)
    'Ice' Great bow on switch.
    Highlord's Wrath
    'Fortitude' archon
    Raven Frost (20/244 :p )
    Rare Ring: 5% AR/ +** AR/ 7% Duel Leech/ +4 min Damage <---- my baby.
    Marrows (+1 so they're cheap.)
    Laying of Hands
    Razortail (upp'd)

    Merc:
    'Faith' Shadow bow
    Eth 'Duress' Archon
    'Dream'/Rare Coronet (We switch back and forth.)

    This girl is a purpose-built chaos runner and she rules. Her primary attack is Strafe (maxxed) and multi (lvl 7 before gear) her back up is FA (Maxed/synergized.)
    Str: enough for my gear
    Dex: everything else.
    Vit: 100 after gear is on.
    Nrg: Base.
     
  15. jonbendale

    jonbendale IncGamers Member

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    Sweet build above. I love my LOH gloves as well.

    Quesiton, why Duress armor for the merc? Why not fort?
     
  16. Wmeredith

    Wmeredith IncGamers Member

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    I don't have another Fort. Blew my stash on Bows, lol. I'd rather have it that way, though. That Duress should really be on an Act 2 merc, but it works for now.
     
  17. JustLikeIt

    JustLikeIt IncGamers Member

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    MY sset up is pretty good:
    320% Mat Brand (+3 skills bow) <---i made it!!!
    Fortitude Archon
    2x 15%ias Giant skull
    3 bow & xbow skill/20 ias glove
    Razortail
    Ravenfrost
    Nice Duel leech ring
    Highlords
    Marrowwalks
    and some psn charms

    i do roughly 4k with straff and 5k with guided.

    Act 1 Cold merc from normal:

    Faith Crusader Bow
    ETh Gaze
    Fort

    This Char is pretty kill mostly everything when i mf for socketables and my set up hits last ias bp so is pretty fast, and tell me what to change to make this zon break 5k straff hopefully
     
  18. JanusJones

    JanusJones IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for all the input folks!

    You're right about the CoA - too much Strength req. I hadn't thought about skipping on the Bow skills for a better damage/speed base bow - interesting thought. I guess it doesn't matter when you get right down to it.

    I do think IAS is king, however - gotta hit that 2 fps breakpoint, baby! Dream is okay, but it limits your options for other equip as far as IAS is concerned. No IAS and mediocre resists - I'd rather have a 15% IAS jeweled Kira's, myself.

    I personally like to have Drac's Grasp in my gloves slot - they make a strafer nearly invulnerable, as they cast life tap constantly and thus keep their merc alive. Might vs. Act1 Fanat: gotta say, I'm undecided. I like having a tank up front with my Valk keeping fire off of me - guess I'm a defensive player at heart.

    Razortail vs. Nosferatu's: hard choice. Pierce is nice, but this is a build with plenty of skill points to waste - who cares if you need to plug a few extra in Pierce? Plus the +15 Strength on the Nos's goes a LONG way towards helping make the big fat 110 Strength requirement for Marrowwalks.

    As armor goes, why not CoH? % damage to Demons AND Undead, +65% resist all, etc. Nice armor, that - also helps the zon out in her most vulnerable area: resists. My ultimate setup would probably look like this:

    Brand +3 Matriarchal Bow (I know, skills are less important, but every extra point counts - plus the Great Bow's damage is 33-40 versus the Mat Bow's 20-47 - they're effectively tied)

    Chains of Honor Archon Plate

    Highlord's OR Cat's Eye (this one is more of a debate than usual, since this build isn't too skills dependent - the extra dex and run/walk can be really handy on Cat's Eye)

    Ravenfrost and Carrion Wind (I like the twisters on-hit for better crowd control - especially for stunning enemies so your Bone Spears can hit)

    Nosferatu's Coil (strength, slow, leech . . . I love this belt!)

    Laying of Hands (though I'd rather have Dracul's Grasp for the unbeatable Life Tap, the IAS here is critical)

    Marrowwalks (highest Dex possible . . . +20, I think? I have a +17 dex pair off ladder - go me!)

    Kira's Guardian with a 15% IAS jewel (+70% resist all if do-able. I like to have the highest resists possible in ladder hell - the only thing that's going to be a threat to this Strafer is ranged elemental attacks)
     
  19. Dacar92

    Dacar92 Community, Amazon, DH Moderator & Inc Clan Officer

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    Like gloams in the WSK?
     
  20. Omikron8

    Omikron8 IncGamers Member

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    Chains of Honor, know it, love it
     

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