The Untwinked Level 99 Progress Thread, Revenge of the 99ers

AlexTheNextOne

Diabloii.Net Member
Update (I hope I did this properly):

Questing Heroes
Rich (BB code):
Forumite         Character        SC/HC  Class  Level  Exp   Date        E/S  S/U   Grail  Deaths  Hours
---------------  ---------------  -----  -----  -----  ----  ----------  ---  ----  -----  ------  -----
T72on1           Neverland        SC     Sorc   98.50  3.37  2018-06-05  Yes  2190    477      13    300+
Neksja           Aura             SC     Pala   98.50  3.37  2018-07-22  Yes  8606    464       -      -
Yng              Sophie           SC     Sorc   98.3   3.31  2018-07-14  Yes     -      -       9      -
PhineasB         Phaedrus         SC     Pala   98.1   3.26  2018-07-10  Yes     -    370      13      -
ffs              Ric              SC     Necro  97     2.96  2018-07-10  Yes     -      -       -      -
darkstarhub      Neptune          SC     Sorc   97     2.96  2018-07-23  Yes     -    470       -      - 
Bewitch          itssoftcore      SC     Sorc   96     2.85  2018-07-02  Yes     -      -       -      -
Ashenshugar      Natur            SC     Druid  96     2.71  2018-04-24  Yes  2529      -       -      -
Gynli            Amazon           SC     Ama    96     2.71  2018-06-14  Yes     -      -       -      -
PhineasB         Pestilence       SC     Necro  95     2.60  2018-07-10  Yes     -      -       -      -
CrustyRusty      Space_Oddity     SC     Ama    95     2.49  YYYY-MM-DD  Yes     -      -       -      -
Zenigma          Ayura            SC     Barb   93     2.11  2018-04-26  No      -      -       -      -
Pb_pal           Klaus            HC     Druid  93     2.09  2018-06-21  Yes     -      -       -      -
RIP              Kaira_II         HC     Sin    93     2.09  2018-07-03  Yes     -    272       -      -
Lord Molybdenum  Verisimilitude   SC     Ama    90     1.62  2018-06-02  No     98     77       3      -
Trapin'          ceegee           SC     Pala   90     1.62  2018-07-04  No      -      -       -      -
Hutton           Terrahork        HC     Barb   90     0.00  2018-07-11  Yes     -      -       -      -
Zenigma          Gnosis           SC     Druid  89     1.56  2018-04-26  No      -      -       -      -
T72on1           ShouldBeEasy     HC     Pala   8_8    1.36  2018-06-26  Yes    59     52      NA     42
Lord Molybdenum  Cruise_Control   SC     Necro  87     1.25  2018-06-02  No    128    101      22      -
Burgomaster3     Hastur           SC     Druid  86     1.14  2018-07-02  Yes     -      -       -      -
Smittyphi        TheLongRun       SC     Sorc   85     1.11  2018-05-28  Yes    30      -     Yes      -
DaveW            Long_Term        SC     Sorc   84     0.97  2018-05-02  Yes Heaps      -    Lots     30+
Xul's Gull       Xul              HC     Necro  81     0.74  2018-03-26  No      -      -       -      -
Vildecor         Trina            SC     Ama    80     0.68  2018-06-07  Yes     -      -       0      -
ioupainmax       Durnik           SC     Pala   79     0.63  2018-06-28  Yes   177    111       0      -
sanguillen       GordonChen-UT    HC     Necro  74     0.00  2018-07-25  Yes     -      -       -      -
Burton Roberts   Arizona          SC     Ama    56     0.08  2018-06-12  No      -      -      15     38
Lord Molybdenum  Essa             SC     Sorc   55     0.08  2018-06-02  No     20     19       5      -
Pijus            AGoodBoy         HC     Druid  45     0.00  2018-05-29  Yes     -      -       -      -
AlexTheNextOne   Orion            SC     Pala   31     0.00  2018-07-22  No      9      -       0      12
kstuart          Nena             SC     Sorc   30     0.00  2018-07-22  Yes     -      -       -      -
RIP              Espada           HC     Necro  24     0.00  2018-06-01  Yes     -     13       -      -
DaveHutt         Alice            SC     Ama    13     0.00  2018-05-18  Yes     -      -       1      -

Currently sitting in Act III, at level 31 (I've forgotten how much experience you get clearing every area on /p8), and I've just reached Lower Kurast. After the slugfest against Duriel, and spending 10 years of my life clearing all seven Tombs, everything in Act III has been a breeze.

Screenshot009.jpg

My "Steel" flail has served me well, and I'm enjoying the extra defense afforded by my Isenhart's Case Breast Plate + my Isenhart's Horns Full Helm. I tried sending a message to the RNG Gods that I'd like the other two pieces of the set, but instead, they felt like giving me three Civerb's Ward shields....

Aside from a Cathan's Seal and Hsaru's Iron Stay belt, the rest of my items are just focusing on keeping my resistances relatively high, all 45 or more at the moment. Small Charms are numerous resist charms, the Grand Charms are all 12% FHR.

EDIT: Rather, two GCs are 12% FHR (one of them also sporting +19% lightning resist!), the other one is +8 all resists.
 
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ioupainmax

Diabloii.Net Member
@sanguillen Another useful tip, Act 2 Mercs always have range 3 with any allowable weapon (see here) so don't go for a big polearm for the range adder modifier.

Thresher is my favourite base for an Act II Mercenary:
  • Thresher is only range 1 but the mercenary ignores this drawback as they always have range 3
  • Thresher is fast with -10 weapon speed
  • Thresher has the lowest requirements for Strength and Dexterity (lower still when Ethereal)
  • Thresher has the best ratio of Strength to Dexterity requirements - what I mean by this is that (Strength - Dexterity) = 34, which is about the same as the difference in his raw stats around the level he can equip the Thresher.
  • Without the aid of items, he can wield an Eth Thresher (with say Insight) at level 58 which is great
  • It looks cool, though it doesn't alter his appearance in game...
 

Neksja

Diabloii.Net Member
Back when I briefly tested a kicker against Nihlathak, Decrep from Reaper's Toll helped considerably in slowing down his attempts to flee. If you can run without Insight, maybe give Reaper's a try.
How did you deal with Merc kills creating corpses for Nihlathak to use Corpse Explosion on?

Definitely can run without Insight, in fact, I am currently running without a Merc at all, so that's not the issue. It's more about Merc killing things.


@PhineasB thanks! Although, I don't think mine would be the first untwinked 99 Paladin, maybe in this thread. I am sure at least one of the 99er Hammerdins in the 99 Compendium is untwinked. I am just aiming for "my first" 99er :)
 

NanoMist

Diabloii.Net Member
If Nihlathak is staying still long enough to cast a CE under the effect of Decrep, then you will kill him easily. My trapper tanked CEs for the entirety of 98, and Paladins should be similarly tanky. Nihlathak just does not survive long enough to cast more than 1 or 2 CE. In my opinion, the most dangerous part about having the Merc is the last collide mechanic of the Tomb Viper poison clouds. Up to you what you value more in your runs.
 

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
... My trapper tanked CEs for the entirety of 98, and Paladins should be similarly tanky. Nihlathak just does not survive long enough to cast more than 1 or 2 CE. In my opinion, the most dangerous part about having the Merc is the last collide mechanic of the Tomb Viper poison clouds. Up to you what you value more in your runs.
This. However, I never really understood how characters who aren't attacking from the side (and as such can easily step away from their merc) but instead have to teleport in on Nihl himself, like melee Barbs, Telesmiters, and I assume Hammerdins too, dealt with that last collide mechanic. With some PDR (I have 22 PDR from two Nature's Peace rings, as well as 8% DR from CoH) it's not too problematic if there's no Might, Fana or Amp around. But especially with Amp, it's instadeath.

I guess I'll have to look at @zticazzy 's 99er Barb again to see how he handled it.
 

Neksja

Diabloii.Net Member
I think someone needs to explain/show me this "last collide mechanic". So far I think the most dangerous things are the groups of Succubus who shoot their projectiles like miniguns and puts my Hammerdin in never-ending hit recovery/block chain. Frustrating.

Otherwise, I'm just telebombing Nihl until he's dead.
 

ffs

Diabloii.Net Member
@Neksja It is explained in detail here. The reason you don't experience it so far is because you're running without Merc, which is in fact a good idea for a character that needs to position in a certain way to kill Nihl. Tomb Vipers can tear you apart instantly if you're too close to a Merc/Summon because of the last collide issue. As in, from full health to death within 0.2 seconds or so. :eek: @Yng recently posted a RIP vid here which was an unfortunate but instructive demonstration. :/
 

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
@Neksja Last collide explained. Basically a missile which has the last collide property, can't hit you again when it has hit you, even when it's not destroyed upon impact. So this would prevent Viper missiles from hitting you more than once, which would make them rather harmless. However, when you are next to your merc or a pet or so (or another player in MP), the missiles will hit that target, then you again, and so on. So makes damage go up rapidly, and makes it very dangerous. Like I said, with some DR not so much, but especially with Amp around it's instadeath.

I agree that a lot of Succubi can be troublesome too. Do you use Delirium on your merc? That helps a ton.

Edit: ninja'd by ffs.

Edit 2: note that the clouds can also be blocked (if I read Onderduiker's post, which ffs linked to, correct), so you have a huge edge there as max block Paladin. Still it's good to be aware of the mechanics and include at least some PDR.
 
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Neksja

Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting, thanks @ffs and @T72on1!

I guess since I'm running without Merc, moving only by teleporting and standing still while casting hammers, I'm largely fine in there (max block helps apparently). Though seeing that video of instadeath at lvl98 might just push me back to CS where it's safe travels apart from a conviction aura here and there and that only requires a healing potion or a reju at best.
 

ffs

Diabloii.Net Member
Agreed, for Hammerdins CS is probably the best choice, so much safer and similar (perhaps even better) XP. That being said, most classes seem to have a build that does make Nihl the most efficient target, justifying the higher risk of running him. ;As for Paladins, I don't think there was a Hammerdin running Nihl so far, no idea how XP/h numbers compare. In any case, as @T72on1 mentioned, Smiter running Nihl is an interesting option that should outperform CS Hammerdin. Would be cool to have one around here, just saying... :)
 

Neksja

Diabloii.Net Member
@ffs Like I said before, it feels like a betrayal to change Aura's build at the last leg of his journey. Maybe after he's reached 99, I'll farm for couple of respec tokens (I assume these work in SP as well?) and give it a go. I should have the runes to make stuff like Grief, Exile or even Last Wish, but not sure what I have in terms of base items. To be honest, not sure what items/build I'd need, but he should have enough runes for any runeword (with cubing), but missing some of the high-end Uniques.

But that's for another day, way down the road.

No, I won't build another Paladin 99er around Smite :)
 

sanguillen

Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting, thanks @ffs and @T72on1!

I guess since I'm running without Merc, moving only by teleporting and standing still while casting hammers, I'm largely fine in there (max block helps apparently). Though seeing that video of instadeath at lvl98 might just push me back to CS where it's safe travels apart from a conviction aura here and there and that only requires a healing potion or a reju at best.
As a HC player, I've always avoided the Nihlathak quest merely for the Corpse Explosions (and with the Necro, it's always nice to leave the red portal to Pindleskin open to give me a free army resurrection, but I'm guessing as long as I don't personalize anything to finish the quest, the portal will remain open so that point is moot?). Seeing that video with the dangers of the poison clouds only strengthens my view that the risk far outweighs my reward. I take it that running him in the mid 90s is your best way to get experience, hence the reward?
 

ffs

Diabloii.Net Member
and with the Necro, it's always nice to leave the red portal to Pindleskin open to give me a free army resurrection, but I'm guessing as long as I don't personalize anything to finish the quest, the portal will remain open so that point is moot?
@ioupainmax already metioned it. Not tagging the WP would mean a significant decrease in efficiency, wouldn't consider that an option. I'm also running a Summoner Necro as my second character here, he's currently at 97. Probably still going to run Nihl for 98-99 even though it would mean losing the option to conveniently summon skeletons at Pindle for Baaling. Though for HC I'd stick with other targets for sure. ;)

I take it that running him in the mid 90s is your best way to get experience, hence the reward?
Essentially he only makes sense for 98-99, at least I wouldn't know of any build for which he is more efficient for 97-98 already. Before 98, boss packs still provide some XP and Diablo/Baal grant much more XP than at 98, so running CS or Baal is generally more efficient. After hitting 98, that's not the case anymore because of the level-difference XP penalty. There's a good breakdown of this in the 99er compendium. For 98-99, the only targets that still give meaningful XP are Diablo, Baal and Nihlathak. Of those three targets, Nihl takes the smallest hit in XP per kill in comparison to 97-98, so that's why he becomes the most efficient target for most builds at 98.
 

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
Nihl is only worth it from 98 to 99, before that there are better alternatives in terms of xp. In terms of S/U and runes, there's obviously also better targets. So yeah, not worth it for most people, but not including those whacky people trying to get to 99.

Edit: ninja'd by ffs ... again ... :).
 

Yng

Diabloii.Net Member
I’ve actually dropped CoH on Merc recently in favor of a no leech Treachery setup just to get the HF/Confuse proc up quicker. Vipers are definitely the most dangerous aspect of running Nihlathak but the Succubus can still be quite dangerous (especially with Might/Fanaticism present) as they seemingly have no issue targeting you with their physical based projectile from off screen. Because Confuse has such a big radius getting that proc up fast nullifies them very well. I feel like Barb is probably the one case where you need to be close range and can still get away with having a Merc because of the massive HP pool.

Also PDR is calculated before Amp so if you can 100% cover the damage per instance of clouds it will make Amp useless (Might/Fanaticism will still **** you).
 
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