YOLO – A single pass P8 hardcore windy druid


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The title pretty much says it all. I first tried this a few years ago and made it all the way to nightmare Act V before being unceremoniously one-shotted by Threshsocket. That was a difficult pill to swallow, and so I abandoned the idea.

Now fast-forward to the present. YOLO has taken up the challenge again, and has already made it to Hell, having cleared normal and nightmare on P8 (including all bosses). I wanted to make sure I actually got a crack at hell before even posting this challenge as not to jinx myself. The rest of this thread will be devoted to completing the P8 hardcore single pass challenge to see how far I can make it. I’m no superdave or insanewayne so it’ll be interesting to see how far YOLO can go. Before that, however, a little information on how YOLO got here and where he stands right now.


I began going the summoner route and letting my minions and mercs do most of the heavy lifting. I got a Rixot’s Keen somewhere in Act II, and that was useful for poking bosses to try and get some CB in to make the fights go quicker. Andariel was much more difficult than Duriel, as my Act II Prayer merc really helped my wolves tank against Duriel. Progress was steady, if a little slow, but that would all change as soon as I hit level 30 and switched over to the elemental attacks.

I was fortunate and found a Maelstrom wand in Act II, which when paired with Stealth and a FCR ring had me hitting the 68 FCR breakpoint after I respecced at level 30. Anyone who has played this build knows how important it is to cast quickly. Ideally you want to be at 99 FCR (163 for dueling), but that would require gear that I probably won’t be able to get in this challenge. After switching over to elemental in late Act III, progress picked up rapidly. I was chugging tons of pots, as my merc did not yet have Insight, but at P8 mana potions drop pretty regularly so it wasn’t too difficult.

Diablo, the Ancients, and Baal were all pretty easy fights as the build starts to get pretty overpowered for normal difficulty pretty quickly. I also started to keep an eye out for some socketed crystal swords and polearms. No other notable drops or dangerous encounters. All in all a pretty easy, if not slow, start.


As nightmare picked up I began to get more runes and soon had Lore, Rhyme, and Spirit and the killing was very smooth. Once I picked up Insight in a Partizan then I really started unleashing on the game. Progress was only slow because I was toting loot back to town to sell to try and gamble better circlets, amulets, gloves, and boots. The goal was to try to get my resists close to max for Hell, but that is easier said and done.

I can lump most of Nightmare into one big category, as almost all of it was rather uneventful. I found an Um rune and got a few Fal and Lums, but not anything that would really make a difference. I got lucky and eventually gambled a Chromatic Circlet of the magus. After putting two sockets in it with Larzuk I finally had my resists covered and kept open the possibility of hitting the 99 FCR breakpoint if I can find a decent caster amulet. This will replace Lore once I hit hell and need the resists.

The only real challenge was the Ancients, who at P8 are formidable foes even in Nightmare. My merc got eaten up rather quickly and so mana management became and issue. I had lots of juvies sprinkled on the ground, but it took a while to bring those guys down. Not sure if beating Hell ancients at P8 with this build is realistic, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there.


So now YOLO stands at level 75 in Act I Hell and is ready to embark on his journey. His gear stands as follows:

Weapon: Spirit crystal sword (30 FCR)
Helmet: Chromatic Circlet of the Magus (Thul Thul)
Armor: Stealth mage plate
Shield: Rhyme grim shield
Belt: Rare belt (24 FHR, 18 life, 28 LR, 20 PR, 5 FR)
Gloves: Iratha’s Cuff (sigh, but I need the CR and praying for Trangs)
Boots: Magic boots (40 FRW and 37 LR)
Amulet: +1 druid skills (want a skills caster amulet badly)
Ring 1: rare ring (FCR, 27 FR, 18 PR)
Ring 2: magic ring (FCR, 13 PR)
Charms: bunch of random resists and life
Merc: Insight partisan, magic boneweave armor, and upped Face of Horror

So now I’m standing at 95 FCR and almost all resists maxed except lightning which is at 68. This would be good enough for P1, but I wonder about P8. My merc is a holy freeze merc, which I figured would help me more than defiance by slowing enemies down and killing PI’s more effectively. The monster flee on the helmet is proving to be extremely useful for keeping my merc alive when dealing with boss packs.

I plan on using the Um to make Duress. I currently have a 3 OS Russet Armor but I’m kind of hoping to be able to find an elite base to make that in. I’ll clear up to the Pit and if nothing has dropped by then I’ll bite the bullet and make it in the Russet Armor. I also need a caster amulet, which I may just swap in for the druid skills no matter what is rolled. The higher FCR breakpoint probably beats the minimal amount of damage provided by the amulet.

Physical immunes worry me, and I am hoping find a Lem somewhere to make a Lawbringer. If not, I’ll probably be using an Attract wand to slowly wear them down with Hurrican and my merc. Any other creative ideas are appreciated here, as I really don’t have another backup for the occasional PI, CI. Oh well, let’s see how it goes!

Also, any ideas for dealing with the Ancients with this build at P8 would also be appreciated, provided I make it that far.:eek:


Diabloii.Net Member
Very nice and very underwhelming gear! Great going!

Insane Wayne managed to deal with Hell Ancients with his untwinked, single-pass naked druid, not sure what players setting though. He seems to have done most of Act 5 Hell on p7 but doesn't specifically state it for Ancients. He also had lots of summons. For your merc, does the HF aura work on Ancients? If not, then maybe swap it for a Might merc - every bit of damage is probably going to help. And something with teleport charges to help break them up.

For the PIs, how about a polearm with Amp Damage for the merc? Will break more immunities than the Decrepify. If you can't find a decent damage one then swap it out once the monsters are Amped. Or a Harmony Bow for the druid, although AR would probably be a problem? Or an Amp Damage bow for the Druid?

Good luck with Hell.


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Went ahead and shopped an Attract wand and also an Amp stick for my merc. Let's hope a more attractive option opens up over the next few areas, assuming I don't die in the meantime:rolleyes:

Cleared the blood moor and den of evil. As expected, enemies are MUCH more difficult to bring down, especially given the high amount of cold immunes in this area of the game. Monsters that are not cold immune should be beatable, but CI are going to be tricky, especially those fast vile lancers. Hopefully the monster flee on my merc can help me break the packs up a bit and keep things under control.

Also, I muled off my amp stick to clear up space, thinking I wouldn't need it until the cloisters and of course I get a PI quill rat unique. Luckily he wasn't CI or I would have been in a jam. I'll definitely need to make sure to keep that in my stash at all times as the CI bosses can easily roll that mod.

No near deaths, interesting drops to report. YOLO did gain a level to 76. Next round is Cold Plains, Blood Raven, the Mausoleum, and the Hole. I'll probably try to break those areas up into two parts, as it could take quite a while to deal with Blood Raven. Cold Crow also has me a bit worried...


Diabloii.Net Member
Scary! Best of luck!

For ancients: teleport staff to escape to escape until they spread out and can be beaten one by one, weaken charges, SLOWING is stellar. I think weaken is more important than Life tap since it reduces the risk of one hit (or one-whirl) deaths.

If you would find a Lem rune, what about treachery instead of lawbringer? Then you can use it to charge up venom for the mercenary, swap to duress and enjoy both damages. And OW from duress will keep regeneration at bay even with short poison duration. An added benefit is that you could wear it and stand in a fire before particularly dangerous places to trigger fade, especially doable for someone with a cyclone armor. Or decrepify is just tht good against ancients so it outweighs all, I haven't had the pleasure of trying it out. But it still requires your merc to melee to trigger, so there is a dangerous moment before that happens, unless of course you cast weaken as a start.


Diabloii.Net Member
I recently gambled a teleport amulet, so that may have some use for the ancients. I also like the idea of using weaken against bosses instead of lower resist which had been my initial plan. I'm obviously not interested in doing things quickly- just getting it done.

So YOLO has cleared the Cold Plains, Blood Raven, the graves, and the Cave. Lots of boss packs and champion packs with the occasional PI. I have yet to meet a CI/PI combo, but I'm sure that day is coming as soon as I get to the Countess's tower. The most dangerous area was the Cave which featured not only Coldcrow and her usual antics but also a two other archer boss packs, one which featured a might/curse/multi-shot combo. My strategy which has proven to work so far has been to use attract to allow my merc and bear to get close, then have my merc break up the pack using his monster flee. After a while I generally can isolate one or two of the archers and bring them down safely. I'm starting to realize how lucky that Mask of Horrors actually is for this particular challenge.

Blood Raven took a while but was surprisingly easy to clear. I managed to lure her and her minions to the fence and pinned them there on the opposite side. From there, I just kept my hurricane active and spammed tornadoes to the other side of the fence. Bloodraven spent most of her time shooting at my Oak Sage or Bear, allowing me to slowly wittle her down without having to mess with her zombie army, as she was only spawning them on the other side of the fence.

YOLO gained two levels to hit level 78 thanks to the large amount of boss packs and high area levels featured in this part. No drops or NDE to report. Stony Field and the Dark Wood Path next.


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YOLO has cleared the Stony Field, defeated Tristram and rescued Cain. No more buying scrolls to identify!:cool:

There were some serious bad dudes down in the path to darkwood- a triple boss pack of skeleton archers with auras, curses, and and lots of other nasty things. Attract was used as usual, but I had to play extremely cautiously in that part. Usually opting for a few hits and pulling back. The bear usually lasted about 2 seconds before he was toast, and the merc wasn't much more than that. Over the course of an hour I managed to clear the area, but not without a few semi-scares when I caught a stray arrow.

Got a dusk shroud which I failed to cube into anything useful (only 1 socket:mad:). Starting to look like I'm stuck with that Russet Armor for Duress unless something happens soon.


Diabloii.Net Member
Ah, Brutes.

So the gauntlet was thrown down. Knowing how many brutes can spawn in the Hole and Black Marsh I went ahead and put the runes for Duress along with the russet armor in case I ran into a PI/CI unique Brute. With that kind of life on P8, I didn't believe there was any other way to wittle them down unless I had OW negating the regeneration. And lo and behold it was a good thing I did that.

Both the Black Marsh and Hole were crawling with the Brutes, and it seemed like I only fought boss/champion packs of them. Amped up, super fast, super strong. Oh, and 3 PI/CI just for fun.

So I tried to take down one of the PI uniques without Duress and it was a complete no go. I could wittle the life down a bit while it was amped, but as soon as the amp faded then its life would regen back to max before I could proc another amp. No way I could kill one of these things at P8 without open wounds, so I bit the bullet and made Duress. My merc was already holding up OK with much worse gear, so it wasn't a complete wash. More importantly, I could now kill those stupid PI/CI Brutes, slowly but surely. One of them even had an annoying teleportation mod and seemed to know just when to teleport, right when I would get him amped.

Clearing these areas gives me a bit of confidence, as those PI/CI Brutes are probably some of the worst regular baddies the game can throw my way outside of Moon/Death Lords.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury I got a 3 socket Diamond mail to drop on the second level of the Hole.

You stay classy Diablo 2;)

Now for the countess


Diabloii.Net Member
The countess has been disposed of for good. The CI/PI ghost uniques were a plenty and were as tough as advertised. Separating those boss packs can be quite a chore, and I was fortunate I didn't get stair trapped by a pack of them, or it could have ended my run.

So I guess that was where all my luck went when the game decided to drop a Sur rune. Nothing I can really use it for (Wind anybody??Anybody???) so I guess I'll just hold on to it in case I get another. On the bright side I'm now only 3 Jah's, a Ber, and an Ist from getting Last Wish.:rolleyes:

YOLO is now at lvl 80, no near deaths or drops besides the Sur rune of which to speak of. Next is the Pit and the Tamoe Highlands.


Diabloii.Net Member
Wind for a Windy Druid would be appropriate of course. But yeah, very useless as well ...

Good luck for the rest of the journey.


Diabloii.Net Member
Sounds like time for Bramble + poison creeper
If I were to get an Ohm I would be tempted, but I really need Duress to deal with the PI/CI immunes. My high rune luck is probably pretty much over now, unfortunately.:confused:


Diabloii.Net Member
So the Pit and Tamoe Highland has been cleared. I got a pretty interesting Pit map, which did not feature any of the Shaman rooms and was far smaller than most of the maps I've seen in Hell. I counted 7 boss packs on this map, bunched up extremely tightly in the middle area.


Could make for an interesting map if I decide to keep this character (provided I don't die in the meantime:rolleyes:)

Archer packs were dangerous but dealt with using the usual strategies of Weaken/Attract then picking them off one at a time. No CI/PI's on this particular round, so all in all pretty easy sailing compared to previous areas. I was a little concerned with the Pit 2 beginning, as you can get pinned in the entrance if you get too many boss packs in front of you. Managed to kill off the two skeleton packs at the start and that was that.

YOLO moved to level 81. No drops or near deaths to report. On to the Smith.


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YOLO has made more progress, and Act I has been completely cleared.

The Jail, Smith, and Catacombs

The Smith was mostly a walk in the park, as he didn't have any annoying immunities. After getting the hammer I decided to try my luck with a pair of gloves, as my Iratha's were starting to look a little feeble for this stage of the game (sorry to all you closet Iratha lovers!). I didn't get anything exceptionally great, but the new gloves had a +11 dex boost and some resists, along with reduced Poison length that made them the better choice. I still sigh when I look at my gear, as it is rather uninspiring. It does make clearing these areas at P8 more exciting and rewarding though.

No new problematic enemies of which to speak, but the ghost packs continue to annoy. I've found that it's actually better for me to use the Mask of Horrors to try and break the pack up, kill the boss, then remove the helmet to deal with the rest. The reason is that the flee removes the Amp curse and constantly causes the ghosts to run away, making it take forever to kill them. Removing the helmet when using my Amp stick sped things up nicely in that regard.


The first order of business was to lure out the two zombie boss packs that were hanging out in Andy's room. One had a conviction aura, a definite no-no in this situation. Once all the smaller enemies were dealt with I finally turned my attention to the big baddie in the room.

I've never confronted a Hell Act boss on P8 this poorly geared, not to mention HC, so I wasn't sure if YOLO was going to be able to handle Andariel. I find Andariel to be more powerful than Duriel or Mephisto, and boy was she a handful to deal with. Even using Weaken, she was ripping through my merc in seconds, doing the same to my bear, and then rampaging straight at me. I thought about just trying to wear her down by myself using Hurricane and some tornadoes but decided to see how long I could use my merc to hopefully land some crushing blow to help bring her down more quickly and safely. Doing this required force feeding my merc a full juvie about every 4-5 seconds while doing my best to spam tornadoes, recast the bear and sage, and try to stay clear of Andariels attacks. It was quite a pressure packed couple of minutes.

I probably resurrected my merc at least 6 times and burned through about 30 juvies, but at last the big bug bit the dust. Nothing useful dropped, but now we have cleared a major hurdle for this character. I don't believe Duriel will be quite as difficult as this fight due to his limited attack range and skill set. Holy freeze will be rather annoying, however.

YOLO has also gained a level to 82. No near deaths (except for the whole Andariel fight, which was like one long controlled near death)


Diabloii.Net Member
Great progress and congrats on p8 Andy! I'm with you in finding her much harder than Duriel or Meph.


Diabloii.Net Member
Atma has been avenged and the sewers have been cleared. Radamant officially wins the award for the most annoying enemy to date. Took forever to wittle that guy down, as he was PI and appeared highly resistant to cold as well. I basically pinned him in a corner, positioned a bear between him and my merc and ever so slowly took him down. Took close to 30 min even with my amp stick removing his immunity. I couldn't just let my guard down either as he would periodically kill my bear and I would have to recast and reposition to keep my merc safe. At least I got a bonus skill for the trouble.

No drops or ND to report. The desert is next.


Diabloii.Net Member
YOLO has cleared both the Halls of the Dead and the Maggot lair. I actually pushed through to the maggot lair and cleared that one first as it had a better waypoint setup for when I proceed to the Lost City.

Halls of the Dead

Got stair trapped right off the bat with a group of spear cats and a whole mob of skeletons and horadrim summoners. Took a little bit of bouncing back and forth through the stairs and lost my merc a few times, but managed to clear it out. Quite a tense few moments though, as the spear cat boss was cursed, making things a bit dangerous.

The zombie caskets that spit out zombies proved to be quite annoying, as the only thing I could do was keep plugging away until they finally ran out of zombies to spit out. I must have killed over 100 zombies before they finally died out. On P8 I could barely keep pace with the zombies, much less get ahead and actually destroy them. Not looking forward to dealing with those things again. Especially when you have a boss horadrim ancient reviving the ones you kill along with the new ones that are spilling out:eek:

Maggot Lair

Now this was an adventure- a long, grueling, frustrating adventure that almost ended my little run so far. This is due to the level being very unfriendly toward a windy druid. Tornado is next to useless down there, and enemies can pile up rather quickly around you. The only thing I could really do was let my merc hack away and wear enemies down with Hurricane. This strategy worked well enough for the beetles, who have a low amount of life and no Cold resistance. The egg spawners, however, were more problematic.

I got into a pretty bad situation when I mistakenly got pinned in a room by a cursed, might group of those bugs. The boss was also PI, making it very difficult to wear the group down. I was able to keep save by keeping my bear alive and constantly recasting, but my merc got hammered and the sage was also getting popped pretty fast. After a few minutes of spamming tornado like my life depended on it, I managed to slowly start picking off the minions, which slowly gave me more and more room to breathe.

Another tricky moment was another boss bug who was Light enchanted, conviction, and TELEPORT. I can't tell you how dangerous a combination that is for a hurricane druid. I didn't realize he could teleport until he teleported right near me:confused:. Hurricane put him into hit recovery, and I almost got toasted in a split second. I managed to juvie quickly and run away. But then I had to try and kill that thing with it teleporting all around the level, trying to keep safely enough away but still able to get some shots with my merc. We wore him down eventually, but what a nasty fellow that guy was!

The final tricky spot was Crodworm and his room full of nasties. He was also cursed and it took quite a while to line up safely inside the room so I could slowly try to Tornado him down from a distance. Lots of jumping back and forth to town to heal poison and remove curses. But in the end we prevailed and are very happy we won't need to go down their anymore, as that level is definitely not a place for a windy druid on P8.

YOLO has increased to level 84. I finally managed to gamble a +3 elemental skills amulet, so we got a bit of a boost from that. Now on to the Claw Viper temple.


Diabloii.Net Member
YOLO has beaten the Lost City and Ancient Tunnels. Nothing particularly dangerous or exciting to talk about, but I did get a crazy gold chest that tossed out 3 uniques and a Lem rune. One of the uniques was a Gheeds charm, so gambling just got cheaper. Not able to use it yet in battle because I need my resists.

The Lem could come in handy to make Lawbringer, but I'm currently short a Dol to socket up for the Ko. So close...

Next is the Claw Viper Temple.

Edit: I just realized that for whatever reason items are not displaying on the picture. Oh well, you get the idea.