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    Sub-Class Guide by Allyourbase

    Version: 1.6 | Updated: 08/07/02 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Encyclopedia of Character Sub-classes
    Version 1.6
    Created 10:00 AM 8/7/2002
    By Allyourbase (Emmanuel Lopez)
    Contact: maverick236@hotmail.com
    
    ***********
    Legal Stuff
    ***********
    Diablo and all other characters mentioned in this FAQ are the property of
    Blizzard Entertainment. This FAQ is the expressed intellectual property of
    Allyourbase (AKA Emmanuel Lopez) and any infringement on copyright laws is bad.
    Readers may save or print out this FAQ as long as it is done only for private
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    This FAQ can be found at:
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    If this FAQ appears anywhere else, please take it down immediately.
    
    *****************
    Table of Contents
    *****************
    I.   Introduction/Why I made this FAQ
    II.  Version History
    III. Basic Terminology
    IV.  The Meat and Potatoes
         -Barbarian
         -Amazon
         -Necromancer
         -Sorceress
         -Paladin
         -Druid
         -Assassin
    V.   My Favorite Sub-Types
    VI.  Closing Remarks
    VII. Thank you's and dedications
    
    ************
    Introduction
    ************
    I've been playing Diablo II since D2C was out back in 2001 and am pretty much
    still hooked on it to this very day. This FAQ is primarily designed for those
    who want to try something new in D2X but don't know where to begin. I also
    designed this FAQ for the casual gamer who reads D2 message boards and wonders
    aloud, "An MF Sorc?!? What the hell is that?!?" Cower in fear no more! This FAQ
    is just the very thing you needed.
    
    In this FAQ I will go over the various builds associated with each character
    class. Strengths and weaknesses will be analyzed as well as my analysis playing
    with that particular build. Furthermore, to everyone's delight, I will also add
    how to build your very own Chargadin, Frogman, FW Sorc, etc. Enough about the
    introduction, let's go!
    
    ***************
    Version History
    ***************
    3:09 PM 8/27/03 - Updated contact information. My old mailbox got too flooded
    with spam and potential virus emails.
    
    10:44 AM 1/11/03 - Added sections for "Hell Stormer" Sorceress and updated the
    Spamazon section. Thanks go out for Greg Campbell and Adam Craig Walter.
    
    7:03 PM 11/05/2002 - Added new sections for "Jedi Knight," "Grizzlygeddon,"
    "Hybrid Whirlwinder," "Blade Necro," and "Trapassin". Again, thanks are in
    order for Danilo Orozco.
    
    8:44 PM 10/4/2002- Completed sections featuring "Elemental Druid" and "Bard."
    Danilo Orozco and Louie Variliar contributed to the Elemental Druid section and
    Dinkmeeker contributed to the Bard section. Big thanks are in order!
    
    1:58 PM 9/17/2002- Thanks go out to Michael del Toro and Eric Denmead, who
    contributed the "Tankazon" and "Bloody Necro" subclasses respectively.
    
    3:33 PM 9/8/2002- Added section on the "Bloody Necro." Unless there's
    overwhelming demand for an update, this should be it.
    
    5:11 PM 8/19/2002- Added sections on "Spam Sniper," and "Hybridzon." Included
    My Favorite Sub-Types section. School starts in a week! Damn it!
    
    10:11 AM 8/15/2002- Included sections on "Auradin/Frat Boy," "Cleric,"
    "Thornadin/Pacifist," "Defiant," and "Fallen Paladin." Basically, a whole lot
    of Paladin stuff. More grammatical mistakes found and corrected.
    
    3:06 PM 8/11/2002- Started working on version 1.1. Added new sections on the
    Druid and Assassin. Also corrected some major grammatical errors.
    
    1:11 PM 8/10/2002- Finished the original five characters. Should I turn this
    FAQ in? Hmm... I guess I should.
    
    10:00 AM 8/7/2002- Started on the FAQ. Laid out the groundwork for later
    additions. I hope I can get this done in time before school starts. I may not
    have all the various sub-classes, but I have covered all the major kinds. Any
    help is appreciated!
    
    *****************
    Basic Terminology
    *****************
    If you already know this stuff, you can pretty much skip it. This is not a
    complete glossary of all the terms used in D2. For a comprehensive dictionary,
    I recommend the compilation put together by Sashanan. You can read his FAQ at
    http://www.gamefaqs.com
    
    1H- a weapon held in one hand. Examples are war swords, scepters, maces, etc.
    
    2H- a weapon held in both hands. Examples are claymores, mauls, great axes,
    bows, etc.
    
    AR- attack rating, which shows your chance to hit a certain creature. Boost by
    adding points to dexterity or finding the appropriate MODs on items.
    
    ANDY- a nickname used for Andariel, the Act 1 boss.
    
    BAALRUN- a RUN to kill Baal, the Act 5 boss.
    
    BIG D- a nickname used for Diablo, the Act 4 boss.
    
    BLOODRUN- a RUN taking place on the Bloody Foothills of Act 5.
    
    BURIZA- short for Buriza Do Kyanon, a rare ballista.
    
    CHIPPY- a chipped gem of any variety. With the 1.09 patch, these have become
    extremely popular because of a HORADRIC CUBE recipe allowing players to create
    a random magical sword with three sockets. Cool eh?
    
    CI- cold immune boss monster.
    
    CLOSED- playing online on the Battle.Net REALMS, as opposed to playing OPEN or
    using TCP/IP.
    
    CLVL- character level. Not to be confused with SLVL.
    
    COWRUN- a RUN taking place on the secret Cow Level. The Cow Level can only be
    accessed by players who have beaten the game at a particular difficulty level.
    After beating the game, you take Wirt's Leg and a Tome of Town Portal and
    transmute them in the CUBE at the Rogue Encampment in Act 1. Please note
    defeating the Cow King boss in the Cow Level permanently closes the portal for
    that difficulty level.
    
    CUBE- the Horadric Cube, the prize item for Act 2, Quest 2. There are some
    recipes which allow you to put together certain items in the cube to make new
    items. See http://www.diablo.net for some recipes.
    
    D2X- acronym for the Diablo II expansion pack, Lord of Destruction.
    
    DR- 1. damage reduction, a property found on some items. Some players hoard
    these to become extremely resistant to damage. 2. defense rating, the
    probability a given enemy will hit you; boost by wearing armor and putting
    points into Dexterity.
    
    DUEL- a battle between two players who have declared hostilities toward each
    other. In this case, the hostility is mutual between the two players. Contrast
    to PK, where only one player is attempting to fight another.
    
    FI- fire immune boss monster.
    
    FLASHING- a term referring exclusively to Paladins. This means using one aura
    and then quickly switching to another. For example, a Paladin might use
    Conviction and wait until the aura affects monsters. Once this happens, the
    Paladin will switch to another aura, usually Fanaticism, and enjoy the insane
    damage bonuses both auras confer. While this effect is temporary - usually
    lasting 8 seconds - this is a skill considered necessary for high level
    Paladins like the Avenger.
    
    HC- short for Hardcore game mode, where death is permanent. Not for the faint
    of heart.
    
    IAS- increased attack speed, a MOD found on weapons boosting your attacking
    speed.
    
    LE- lightning enchanted. Striking this type of creature causes the monster to
    spew out Charged Bolts equal to the monster's level. Very deadly, can quickly
    eradicate characters with low lightning resistance. A nasty sub-type is MSLE.
    
    LEECH- 1. a property found on items allowing a percentage of damaged inflicted
    on the enemy to replenish health and/or mana. 2. a type of player who joins a
    party and does not directly contribute to the fighting, but reaps the
    experience bonuses regardless.
    
    MAXED- a skill having 20 points invested in it.
    
    MERC- short for a mercenary, These can be hired in any act except Act 4.
    
    MEPH- short for Mephisto, the Act 3 boss.
    
    MF- Magic Find. This is a generic type of build concentrating on building up
    the ability to find good items. Often times, these players will hoard massive
    amounts of items in order to get the best drops.
    
    MOD- a property on an item augmenting your abilities.
    
    MSLE- short for "Multishot Lightning Enchanted" the nastiest type of boss
    monster. Hitting this creature causes it to spit out tons of Charged Bolts.
    Best to avoid by exiting the game.
    
    MULE- a character designed to hold hoarded items, usually of great value.
    
    NERF- to downgrade a skill, almost to the point where it is useless. A great
    example is the Necromancer's Corpse Explosion skill.
    
    LI- lightning immune boss monster.
    
    OPEN- playing online at Battle.Net using a character you can play offline. This
    is different from CLOSED play because closed characters can only be played
    online only.
    
    PARTY- to ally yourself with other players in order to attain a certain
    objective.
    
    PI- physically immune boss monster. These monsters can only be damaged with
    elemental attacks.
    
    PK- Player Kill. The lowest lifeform on Battle.Net, these unsavory characters
    declare hostility on another unsuspecting player and attempt to kill them.
    Unlike a DUEL, the hostility is not mutual. Avoid this at all costs.
    
    PvM- Player versus Monster. The way the game is normally played.
    
    PvP- short for Player versus Player. See DUEL.
    
    REALM- where a CLOSED character can play. The realms are USWest, USEast,
    Europe, and Asia.
    
    RUN- a generic term describing a game where the object is to clear out an area
    or kill a boss quickly, usually to get rare and valuable items. For example, a
    popular run like MEPHRUN describes a game where players strive to kill the Act
    3 boss, Mephisto, to get him to drop good items. Due to the fast-paced nature
    of the game, I would advise against playing runs unless you have a really
    strong character.
    
    SILKS- short for Silks of the Victor, a unique Ancient Armor popular around the
    realms.
    
    SOJ- short for Stone of Jordan, a unique ring serving as currency among
    traders.
    
    SPAM- to spray an area full of projectiles. Most oftenly associated with
    Sorceresses or Amazons, although some Necros do it with Bone Spear or Bone
    Spirit.
    
    TANK- a character capable of engaging in melee combat for the purpose of
    letting ranged attackers like the Amazon or Necromancer get free shots on
    enemies.
    
    *********************
    The Meat and Potatoes
    *********************
    Most of these playing styles derived their names from a particular skill the
    build is centered around. For example, a Frenzybarb relies heavily on the
    Frenzy skill. Some other builds are named because they use a particular weapon.
    The Burizon, which uses the Buriza ballista, is a good example of this.
    
    I will delve into each build and offer my own semi-sage advice based on my
    experiences with that particular playing style. In addition, I haven't put down
    any specific stats you should have; I feel how you invest in stats a strictly
    up to you. I have also given some builds which I have used my own personal
    rating ranging from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Don't be put off by my
    ratings. A 2 in my book may be a 7 to you.
    
    =================
    Barbarian or Barb
    =================
    
    +++++++++++++++
    Singer AKA Bard
    +++++++++++++++
    Supporting information contributed by: Dinkmeeker
    
    What the hell is that? - This sub-type uses a max Warcry from the Warcries
    skill tree to deal damage to his foes. Also he also uses Battle Cry, which
    lowers enemies' defense, to make his attack more effective. In addition a Bard
    utlizes a max Battle Orders in order to give himself life and mana. Obviously,
    this is a very mana-intensive build and Bards invest heavily into energy to
    give themselves the mana to yell and whoop into victory. With Battle Orders and
    Shout and the stun produced by spamming Warcries, Bards are very popular and
    highly sought after party members.
    
    My analysis - Since a Bard isn't going to be the damage dealing machine a
    conventional Barb build is, you should approach this build as if it were a
    Necromancer or Sorceress. You'll want to refrain from melee combat at all costs
    and have a good merc to keep the heat off you. The stun caused by Warcry will
    give your merc ample time to lay waste to any foes with impunity. Obviously,
    this is a godsend against the likes of Fetishes, Sand Maggots, and Vile Spawn.
    
    How do I build one? - The name of the game with a Bard is fast cast, and how
    much you can get. Since the Bard can dual wield, your main objective in terms
    of weapons are two Wizardspikes. One confers great bonuses to casting speed,
    but TWO is just insane! For those who want a nice shield to hide behind, the
    Lidless Wall will suit you just fine. A friend of mine has THREE Wizardspikes;
    two are dual-wielded while the third is paired with a Sigon's Guard socketed
    with perfect diamonds. Your secondary objective is to acquire items which add
    "+ skills" bonuses. The best bets are the Harlequin's Crest and Skin of the
    Vipermagi. Your stats should mirror those of a magic-based build such as the
    Sorceress or Necromancer. Finally, try to find at least one good item that has
    mana leeching capabilities. In other words, emphasize building up high levels
    of Energy and Vitality. Strength should be high enough to wear Skin of the
    Vipermagi and Dexterity should be sufficient to use Wizardspike. Obviously, you
    want to max Warcry, since this is your main attack skill. After that, max Shout
    and Battle Orders. Any other remaining points should go into Natural
    Resistance, Increased Speed, Iron Skin, and Grim Ward. In terms of merc, the
    best bet would be a Barbarian merc from Act 5. Give him a Cruel Colossus Blade
    socketed with perfect gems that deal elemental damage to get around PIs.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    +++++++++
    Berserker
    +++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Berserkers max out their Berserk skill from the Combat
    Skills tree as well as a Weapon Mastery of their choosing (usually Sword).
    Since Berserk deals out pure magic damage, this skill is highly useful when
    dealing with pesky PI boss monsters. The problem with this skill is it lowers
    your defense to an extent, allowing your opponents to sneak in little cheap
    shots here and there. I'm not sure if these guys dual wield or not. Berserkers
    will also encounter difficulty with magic immune monsters, but these are pretty
    rare.
    
    My analysis - To offset the decrease in defense, I found it helped to bring
    along a big shield with a high % to block. The shield also came in handy when
    you can socket 3 Perfect Diamonds to boost your resistances. For the most part,
    this build is highly effective and fun. It's just hack and slash the enemies
    into dust. The only problem is Berserk is a CLVL 30 skill, so you will need to
    survive on some other skill until you get there. Concentrate is a good skill to
    use in the interim, although I barely survived with just a point in it. You
    should probably take all those points and dump them into a Mastery. I also had
    a Might merc from Act 2 to increase my damage. So in short, I was one mean
    mo-fo!
    
    How do I build one? - If you can get your hands on one, I'd recommend a using
    the 3 gems+1 sword cube recipe to roll for a Cruel Colossus Blade, a 2H sword
    which has the highest damage I've ever seen. It's insane! Then stuff whatever
    gems/jewels/runes you want in their to make a high-powered killing machine. Be
    sure to hold it in two hands to get the most damage. I would also recommend the
    Bonesnap Maul or the Grandfather (good luck finding one). If you're going 1H,
    shoot for the Baranar's Star, a unique elite mace or an elite War Sword with
    some sick mods. Find some decent jewelry which adds mana leech because
    Berserking like crazy will drain mana pretty quickly. Silks are a good choice.
    As for resistances, invest several points in Natural Resistance. This will make
    Nightmare and Hell much easier. Be sure to boost your Strength ASAP so you can
    wear the best armor. Also, jack up your Vitality when you have the chance,
    because your lowered defense means you will take hits. And in Hell, the
    monsters hit hard! Dexterity isn't much of an issue, since Masteries will take
    care of AR, but if you are using a shield and want a high blocking rate, throw
    in a point per level at your discretion to maintain a good block %. And Energy?
    Don't bother. Use items which add mana instead.
    
    Personal rating: 8/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Frenzybarb AKA "Human Blender"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - One of the coolest builds I've had the pleasure of
    playing. Frenzybarbs wield two fearsome weapons and max Frenzy and a Mastery.
    With the right weapons, this is truly a scary character, right up there with a
    Whirlwind Barb. Since carrying two weapons means forgoing the use of a shield,
    some Frenziers either max Battle Orders or Shout to offset their lowered
    defense. They also beef up Natural Resistance and/or Iron Skin to cover their
    defensive liabilities. Furthermore, they carry a variety of charms to add
    elemental damage to their already frightening attack. Needless to say, these
    guys can cut throught monsters faster than a nitro-boosted food processer,
    hence the moniker "Human Blender."
    
    My analysis - Build up your Mastery early to enjoy the AR and damage bonuses.
    This is an exciting build but be sure not to overextend your Frenzybarb by
    charging into very large crowds. You may be wielding two large weapons very
    quickly and doing quasi-absurd damage, but you aren't invincible. Learn to
    divide and conquer. Use Frenzy with caution against LEs because one click means
    twice the bolts. Although it looks cool, dual-wielding 2H swords isn't as
    effective as you would think, because they do less damage 1H than 2H. Until I
    got to CLVL 24, I mostly survived using Bash and Double Swing, which is a poor
    man's Frenzy. My CLVL Frenzybarb, Allyourbase, sports two socketed elite War
    Swords outfitted with the Fury runeword (Jah+Gul+Eth), one with mana leech and
    the other life leech. He also has max Battle Orders to give him an absurd
    amount of life. My Frenzier sure could tank well. Tank you say? He was more
    like the freakin' Death Star!
    
    How do I build one? - Like I mentioned earlier, you will have to live on a SLVL
    1 Bash and Double Swing until you get to CLVL 24. Prior to that, you should be
    dumping your points into a Mastery of your choice as well as getting the
    prerequisites for Berserk. You'll need one point in there to deal with PIs. In
    addition, boost your defense with Iron Skin and Natural Resistances to cover
    the defensive aspect. About 5 and 10 points respectively should suffice. This
    build is all about using the biggest and baddest weapons and using the best
    armor, so build Strength right away. Dexterity should be built up only to meet
    certain requirements. For example, a Flamberge requires about 50 Dexterity. So
    you really don't need to worry about AR and stuff. Vitality is also another
    major category to invest in. Forgoing a shield means lowered defense, so a lot
    of life is necessary. Along the same vein, you can give yourself an insane
    amount of life by maxing out Battle Orders and filling your orb with leeching.
    I would highly recommend you do so. In terms of mercs, my suggestion is the
    Thorns merc from Nightmare Act 2. Sure, you could kill anything with a single
    double swipe, but isn't just as fun to watch your foes beat themselves too?
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Whirlwind (WW) Barb AKA "Whirlybarb"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Whirlybarbs specialize in Whirlwind. At first,
    Whirlwind doesn't appear to be so great of a skill. It costs 25 mana a pop,
    which is a lot for a Barb, and the damage is reduced to 50%. At first. But with
    heavy investment, this is a sure crowd-killer and damn fun to watch.
    Whirlybarbs are divided further into two types: 2H Whirlers or dual Whirlers.
    The first type usually uses a War Lance because its longer range means more
    monsters will get hit and suffer more damage. The dual Whirler carries two
    weapons because Whirlwind scores more hits with two weapons. Whirlybarbs rank
    up there with Frenzybarbs and Berserkers as my favorite Barbarian builds.
    
    My analysis - Whirlwind, like Berserk and Frenzy, comes late into the game, so
    I found it best if I used Leap Attack and Concentrate to survive. For the
    record, I made my character, AYBABTU, a dual wielding Whirlybarb. AYBABTU packs
    Runic Axes with max Axe Mastery. One thing I would have to say about being a
    Whirler, is you definitely need mana leech! If you can leech enough mana,
    you're set. Keep plenty of potions for mana replenishment in case you run out
    of ammo. You can still get hit mid-Whirl so have some decent armor on hand and
    high Vitality. Whirling against Diablo is a picnic compared with other builds,
    since I could hit him and still Whirl away from any attacks he would try and
    dish out. Piece of cake. Duriel was just as easy, because when a Whirling Barb
    is frozen, he actually travels slower. Less distance equals more chances to
    hit! But to emphasize a singular point, keep plenty of mana on hand.
    
    How do I build one? - Obviously your first priority is to max Whirlwind. Mana
    leech items should be high on your shopping list. Without decent leeching
    capabilities, you'll be drinking mana potions like happy hour tequilas. For 2H
    whirlers, find yourself a good spear or polearm class item and Master it. For
    dual whirlers, two good weapons should do the job. Be sure they are the same
    type so you can fully utilize the Mastery you've chosen. For mercs, I suggest
    the Might merc from Nightmare Act 2 to boost your Whirling damage.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Throwing Barb AKA "Sharpshooter"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A rather unorthodox build going against the typical
    hack n' slash style, this Barb prefers to engage foes from afar. Relying on max
    Throwing Mastery, a high level (not necessarily maxed) Double Throw, and
    several skills to deal with enemies who are too close, this build is an
    interesting avant garde take on the Barb.
    
    My analysis - I just had to try this one out. By wielding two throwing weapons,
    I thought it would be pretty cool. Guess what? I was right. But dealing with
    quick creatures like Venom Lords or Frenzy Minotaurs means resorting to a
    backup melee attack to bail you out. In that case, it's better to just have a
    throwing weapon on one hand and a melee weapon on the other. Since throwing
    axes are usually the high-powered weapons, I figured it would be logical to
    grab a good axe and max out Axe Mastery in addition to Throwing Mastery. For a
    backup attack, I used a max Frenzy and SLVL 1 Berserk to deal with PIs.
    
    How do I build one? - Throwing weapons are plentiful, so finding some shouldn't
    be a problem. It is advisable to invest heavily in Throwing Mastery ASAP. You
    will also need some good melee skills just in case you run out of ammo, or you
    find yourself besieged with attackers. Most people are quick to write of the
    Howl Warcry, but it does serve as excellent crowd control. Along the same vein,
    any weapons with "Wailing," "Howling," or "Screaming" mods will do just as
    well. Knockback and freeze damage are also valued mods and will be a great help
    to you. You don't necessarily need to max Double Throw, but if your attacks
    aren't hitting, go ahead and throw in a point. You want at least a 85%-90%
    chance of hitting an enemy. Many throwing weapons require high Dexterity, so it
    would behoove you to build it up to a high level. As always, fast run/walk
    boots are a Godsend, so be on the lookout for those.
    
    Personal rating: 6/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Sword n' Shield (SS) Barb
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Probably the safest Barb build to make. Instead of
    going all-out offense like Whirlybarbs or Human Blenders, SS Barbs temper their
    attack with the safety of a shield. The only major con is these Barbs don't
    cause as much damage. However, the advantages a shield offers are many. First,
    a shield can be socketed with perfect diamonds or the Ancient's Pledge runeword
    (Ral+Ort+Tal) to boost resistance, leaving points free to jack up other skills.
    Finally, with the right amount of Dexterity investment and shield, a high
    blocking % means few attacks will ever get to you. More often than not, these
    Barbs are either Concentration users or Berserkers. Which one you use is up to
    you. A variant on this theme is the Ironbarb. These characters have ludicrously
    high DR, which are usually brought on by a maxed out Shout, a War Cry which
    boosts defense, and max Iron Skin.
    
    My analysis - SS builds are too tame for me. I prefer the all-out offense of a
    Whirlybarb or a Human Blender. But I had to try this out to see what it was all
    about. Needless to say, I was very impressed. I never died once, even on Hell
    versus Diablo. Using Concentration was the best way to go because your attack
    won't get interrupted. In short, an extremely good build to tackle Hardcore
    mode with. Three words: Get a Stormshield. It's probably the best shield out
    there.
    
    How do I build one? - Depends on what you want. If you're going for the
    Ironbarb, max Shout and Iron Skin as soon as you can. Otherwise, shoot for
    maxing Concentration or Berserk. Early on in the game, around normal, search
    for Sigon's Guard, a Set Tower Shield, around Kurast in Act 3. It has a really
    good blocking %. The max block % is 75%, so build your Dexterity around
    maintaining it. I must stress finding a good weapon, because you're limited to
    one. Make it count. You need high Strength to wield a good weapon and shield,
    so boost Strength enough to hoise a Stormshield. On the other hand an Ancient's
    Pledge Tower Shield with decent mods will suit you just as well. Or just as
    good is a shield with three perfect diamonds in it. As for Vitality, take
    whatever spare points and stuff it there. Energy you can leave at base because
    this build isn't mana-intensive.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Leaping Barb AKA "Frogman" AKA "The Dragoon"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Like one of the Ancients bosses of Act 5 or the
    Dragoon characters from the Final Fantasy series, a Frogman uses a pumped up
    Leap Attack and a really big stick. Leaping high into the sky before landing
    with a crushing blow, Frogmen can also use Leap Attack defensively or to
    traverse difficult terrain.
    
    My analysis - "Sky like Mike and sting like a falling piano." OK, not as poetic
    as the great Muhammad Ali, but an apt description of my foray into the Frogman
    build. After building a WW and Frenzy Barb, I decided on a Frogman as my next
    project. You can use Leap Attack to wade into a large crowd, or to hunt down
    unfortunate creatures who dare cross swords with you. Leap Attack makes Act 3 a
    hell of a lot easier since you can leap across all those freakin' rivers. You
    can also jump over incoming hordes in order to get to other enemies. I find
    this particularly useful when fighting Fetishes or Flesh Spawners. Why hack
    through endless minions, when you can go straight for the head shot? Another
    benefit is with Leap Attack, you are invulnerable while in the air. This is
    highly effective in evading Diablo's attacks, especially his dreaded Lightning
    Hose. At the same time, you can also use Leap Attack to close the distance
    between you and a ranged attacker, effectively taking the teeth out of an
    Oblivion Knight's attack. If you can find an excellent weapon like oh, say a
    Bonesnap Maul, an elite magical Halberd or cough, the Grandfather, you got it
    made!
    
    How do I build one? - Start building your Strength right away so you can use
    the biggest and heaviest weapons. Since you will be using 2H weapons, pumping
    up Vitality and wearing the best armor are also essential. Dexterity should
    also be invested in, although the appropriate Masteries (usually Polearm, Spear
    or Axe) will take care of any AR worries you might have. I terms of skill point
    allocation, you will want a point in Howl to scare off any creatures who manage
    to surround you. Battle Orders is always a good idea with any Barb build.
    Finally, Berserk makes a great backup skill for dealing with PIs. Weapons
    should sport damage increase mods. Anything with "Cruel," Vicious," or
    "Savage," should induce salivating. Get good mana leeching equipment too,
    because all that jumping is a real drain on your mana orb. Bud. Weis. Er.
    
    Personal rating: 9.5/10
    
    ++++++++
    PvP Barb
    ++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Designed exclusively for duelling, the PvP Barb is a
    formidable force in the right hands. By creating a hardy warrior capable of
    slicing through the toughest opposition with ease, it would be wise to tackle a
    PvP while wearing diapers. OK... maybe not.
    
    My analysis - Duelling is not my forte, but I will provide you an anecdote from
    a my friend of mine. His Barb, Jerky_boi, has maxed Battle Orders to give him
    an inordinate amount of life. In addition he has maximum Whirlwind, Iron Skin,
    Natural Resistance, and Spear Mastery. On top of that, Jerky_boi wields a
    King's Lance of the Bat socketed with 6 perfect emeralds. Assisting him is a
    small charm adding cold damage. Now if you don't to soil your shorts listening
    to this, I have no clue what will. In short, my friend hardly ever loses a duel
    and has no problem dispatching pesky PKers from the Hells from which they
    spawned.
    
    How do I build one? - The anecdote I provided should be a good template from
    which to build your PvP around. Other players opt for a PvP oriented Throwbarb
    instead of Whirlwind, because that allows them to attack at range. Either build
    will make full use of the Barbarian's passive defensive skills and will go to
    inordinate lengths to max them ASAP. Since you will be using a particular
    weapon, it's best to max the respective Mastery to take advantage of the
    bonuses it confers. Many PvP Whirlybarbs opt for a good maul or pike, because
    these are the highest damaging weapons in D2X. In addition to investing heavily
    in Vitality, a PvP Barb will also max Battle Orders to send his life total
    through the roof. Iron Skin and Natural Resistance are also heavily invested
    in. This makes him a difficult oppponent to defeat.
    
    Personal rating: 9/10
    
    Albert Cho writes: In order to maximize defense, a PvP Barb will take advantage
    of a good shield's defensive bonuses. Instead of going all-out on offense, most
    duelling Barbs grab a good shield like a Stormshield or an elite Monarch Shield
    socketed with perfect diamonds. This way, they can wield a huge sword like a
    Cruel Colossus Blade and still have substantial defense from holding a shield.
    In the right hands, a PvP Whirlybarb can defeat a high-powered Burizon.
    
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Hybrid Whirlwinder
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Contributed by: Danilo Orozco
    
    What the hell is that? - Why have just a pure Whirlybarb and a pure Frenzybarb?
    You have all those extra stat points, so it would seem logical to combine the
    two builds right? Oh boy, this build is a monster. Stick with this subclass and
    you'll tear up enemy hordes faster than a ninja on crack.
    
    My analysis - Whirlwind always was the Barb's best crowd control skill, whether
    it was to soften up a group or to move away from them. Frenzy, on the other
    hand, is one of the Barb's better melee skills. With the mad increases to
    damage and attack speed, who wouldn't want to pass it up? It would only seem
    logical merge them both into one, singular uber-build. My experience has been
    to Whirlwind around groups and then finish the stragglers off with Frenzy to
    leech mana and life. If you can grab the right weapons, you might not need to
    chug a single health potion ever again.
    
    How do I build one? - Whirlwind and Frenzy are both high-level skills, so focus
    on grabbing the prerequisites during the early stages. You'll have to live on a
    low-level Double Swing and Bash until you get Frenzy. At this point, life gets
    a little easier. Now you can start pumping it up until you get Whirlwind. From
    this point on, distribute your points equally between the two. Obviously, you
    will need one point in Berserk to deal with PI's. Beef up your defense by
    investing at least five points into Iron Skin and Natural Resistance. The rest
    of your points should be devoted exclusively to the Mastery of your choosing.
    Now let's talk about stats. Vitality is well... vital because you'll be in
    melee combat most of the time. Next on the priority sheet should be Strength.
    Dexterity you should invest in as you see fit, but don't invest anything in
    Energy; leeching should take care of any mana problems you'll encounter. In
    terms of equipment, go for two setups. Your Whirlybarb setup should include a
    good weapon and a shield. I prefer 2H swords because they have good range and
    still allow the use of a shield. Go for a Fury Balrog Sword or a Cruel Colossus
    Blade. As for your shield, you can't go wrong with a Stormshield. Your
    Frenzybarb equipment is obviously two weapons. Make sure your Whirlwind weapon
    and Frenzy weapons are of the same class in order to take advantage of the
    Mastery bonuses. Again, swords are a good bet. Look for equipment offering
    leeching of any kind, especially mana; Whirlwind is pretty costly. As for
    mercs, any melee merc will do, although I lean towards the Act 5 Barbarians.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    =============
    Amazon or Zon
    =============
    
    +++++++
    Javazon
    +++++++
    What the hell is that? - An Amazon using the Javelin and Spear Skills, usually
    Lightning Fury at range and Jab for melee attacks. A good thing about this
    build is the character is equally comfortable engaging enemies in hand-to-hand
    combat or at range. This versatility makes this build extremely hardy. Using
    javelins allows the use of a shield, which provides many bonuses for defense.
    Anyone who has been playing D2X lately has noticed a high-powered Javazon is
    capable of clearing out the secret cow level in less than an hour. If that
    doesn't attest to the strength of this build, nothing will.
    
    My analysis - I am currently making one, but my CLVL 20 Zon named GirlNextDoor
    (don't ask me where I come up with these names), uses Jab and Lightning Bolt.
    Yes, I am working on getting to Lightning Fury so I too can smite down the evil
    Hell Cows!
    
    How do I build one? - As I said, this build is in progress, but I surmise high
    Dexterity is a must in order to use the better javelins. One problem associated
    with this build is the lack of good javelins besides Titan's Revenge. And since
    javelins are a finite weapon, you need frequent trips to the store to replenish
    your instruments of destruction. But my insights are new, so I will update this
    section when GirlNextDoor increases in power.
    
    Personal rating: (in progress) 7.5/10
    
    +++++++
    Bowazon
    +++++++
    What the hell is that? - This a generic term for a bow using Amazon. There are
    many different flavors of Bowazon, so I'll go over those in depth in the
    following sections.
    
    My analysis - A good Bowazon is always fun and effective against the minions of
    Hell. It's tough to say which Bowazon type is the best, but all I can say is
    build up your Dexterity. As with all Bowazons, you need to make frequent trips
    to the shop to keep your quiver full. In addition, it's difficult to put
    distance between some bosses like Andariel, Duriel and Diablo. My advice would
    be to get a good spear or javelin and shield and put one point into Jab. The
    damage maybe paltry, but it's too hard to attack from range against these
    bastards.
    
    How do I build one? - Simple. Get a bow, pick and max out a skill. Max
    Dexterity and get enough Strength to use the bigger and badder bows. A little
    knockback and freeze damage on a bow is great for any Bowazon. Also boots with
    fast run/walk mods are excellent because they let you put a lot of distance
    between enemies in a hurry. The skill Valkyrie from the Passive/Magic tree
    provides a decent tank while you take potshots from a safe vantage point. And
    finally, put at least 10 points into Critical Strike. Your attacks will pack a
    little more punch.
    
    Personal rating: averages 8.5/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bowazon Variant #1: Strafazon
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Zons under this build seek to maximize the skill
    Strafe, which allows her to fire arrows at multiple targets. Almost like a
    Paladin's Zeal attack, except with bows.
    
    My analysis - One of the problems associated with this build is Strafe-lock.
    This happens when an Amazon starts strafing. Once she starts, she can't stop
    until she's fired all her arrows. This can lead into big trouble, especially if
    a horde of quick creatures like Fetishes set upon you. While you're stuck
    shooting arrows, they're pounding the crap out of you. Not good. When fighting
    Duriel or Diablo, you're better off engaging him hand to hand, so grab a nice
    spear or javelin and stick a point in Jab or Fend.
    
    How do I build one? - Get Strafe and max it out. It also helps to have a couple
    of points in Valkyrie so the danger of being Strafe-locked isn't as bad. You
    can read the preceding section for advice on the overall Bowazon sub-type.
    
    Personal rating: 7/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bowazon Variant #2: Multizon AKA "Spamazon"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Contributed by: Adam Craig Walter
    
    What the hell is that? - Unlike the Strafazon, this build maxes out the
    Multishot skill. Multishot causes a single fired arrow to split into many
    arrows, the amount of which is determined by the current SLVL. With a little
    work, this build becomes truly impressive, spraying the screen with many
    arrows, hence the nickname "Spamazon."
    
    Analysis - Adamg writes: "This build is far more useful in PvM than PvP, as it
    is designed to deal with massive numbers of enemies... in fact, I have been
    using my Assassin to do cow runs recently, and the only people I ever seem to
    team with are Frost-Orb sorcs, Whirlwindarians, and Multishot Amazons. Rule
    number one is that, once you hit level 3, you will never be using a spear
    again, so don't bother with even a single spear point. Your battles with the
    uber-bosses will be dictated by guided arrows from off-screen, with a Valkyrie
    fronting you. Which means that most "Spamazons" are actually the
    spamazon-sniper hybrid.... but with more emphasis on the spread than the
    snipe."
    
    How do I build one? - Adam writes: "The most important aspect is, duh, the
    multishot skill. While max skill is not necessary, you must realize this is
    your bread and butter... you are out to mow over as many enemies, in as wide an
    arc, as possible, all while avoiding the "strafe-lock" of the strafe skill.  I
    find no less than 10 points here a must, most people I see in cow attacks have
    around a 15 arrow spread (of course, I've seen people with up to a 30 arrow
    spread, but I find that a bit excessive). A Guided Arrow skill is also good,
    and it doesn't hurt to have it at a
    medium level... For both the damage and the reduced mana usage. While the
    Multishot skill goes up in usage, the guided one goes down... so if you run out
    of mana at a critical time, you can just fire a few guided shots to recover
    your mana, and then go back to mass-wasting.  5 is good,
    nine is better... but any more than 9, and you may as well be the spam-snipe
    hybrid. Critical Strike is a must.  You want this.  You want a LOT of this.
    Period.  Unfortunately, the cost v benefit analysis of this skill tapers off
    around a skill of 16, so you may wish to stop spending points there (although
    +skill items never hurt). Dodge, Avoid, and Evade are nice skills... since you
    cannot survive a physical beating, avoiding all damage completely is a definite
    plus.
    However, you also should not be in melee range of your opponents in the first
    place, so avoid and evade are more important.  Nonetheless, I usually take all
    of them up to 8. You will need a point of decoy to get to valkyrie, and you
    should put NO MORE into decoy, but it's still a skill you should keep hotkeyed.
     If a large swarm of monsters are chargin you, and you don't have the mana
    for a Valkyrie, then throw one of these up to get their attention and run.
    Valkyrie.  Yes.  Good.  Put points here.  In fact, put a lot of points here.
    Even a level 5 valkyrie, on hell difficulty, has 2000 HP in a SINGLE player
    game.  Multiply that by 1.66 per every additional person in a multiplayer game,
    and the Valkyrie can usually survive longer than a high-vit Barb... provided
    there is no lightning enchanted monster nearby (and if there is, just make sure
    one of those other multiplayer dudes has a resistance aura on :P) Penetrate is
    nice, but don't go insane with the points here.  Your char will be heavily
    dex-centric, so your accuracy should be good already. Still, 5 or 6 points here
    will have it so that when you fire 16 arrows at once, 14 will hit instead of
    12. Pierce is the last skill.  It is necessary to have piercing arrows, but
    whether you choose to get them via pierce points or a pierce-skill bow is up to
    you."
    
    Personal rating: 8/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bowazon Variant #3: Sniperzon
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Yet another Bowazon variant, this one emphasises the
    homing capabilities of the Guided Arrow skill. Due to a bug with the Buriza Do
    Kyanon, which Pierces 100%, a Guided Arrow will pass through an enemy before
    circling around and hitting them again. As a result, this build rose in
    popularity in PvP and PvM realm games. Using a maxed Guided Arrow, an Amazon
    could focus more on building other stats while still maintaining a 100% chance
    to hit.
    
    My analysis - After hearing so much about the Buriza, I attempted to try it
    out. Luckily, it didn't take very much effort to acquire a ballista. Once
    acquiring it, it was pretty much shoot, shoot, shoot. It took very little
    effort to clear out the Chaos Sanctuary, and the Guided Arrow bug mowed down
    huge swaths of destruction. My kind of weapon! While other Bowazon variants
    have difficulty attacking some bosses at range, the Buriza swiftly eradicated
    those problems. No doubt this will be fixed with the v1.10 patch, but this
    build is still good to exploit. Until v1.10 comes out, milk this bug for all
    it's worth.
    
    How do I build one? - You don't necessarily need to have a Buriza in your
    possession, but it certainly helps. Otherwise, shoot for a good bow such as the
    Eaglehorn or Windforce. In terms of stats, boost Strength and Dexterity enough
    to use the good bows. Dump your remaining points into Vitality and Energy. That
    way, you have enough life and mana to continue your carnage. Try to find good
    mana leeching items and items with the knockback mod. A good (albeit
    overpowered) suggestion are the Cleglaw's Pincers gauntlets. Not only do they
    have knockback, they also freezing bonuses. As you can already guess, this
    variant is very powerful in PvP.
    
    Personal rating: 9/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bowazon Variant #4: Spam Sniper
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A hybrid between the Sniperzon and Spamazon builds,
    this sub-type combines the precision killing power of the Sniper with the
    crowd-control expertise of the Spammer to produce an extremely powerful and
    versatile build. Probably the most popular Bowazon variant besides the Speedzon
    (which follows this section).
    
    My analysis - On paper and in practice, this build is impressive and will get
    you results. The Guided Arrow/Pierce bug allows the Spam Sniper to smite even
    the most powerful of boss monsters without much effort. Spraying the screen
    with a ton of arrows, a Spam Sniper can easily clear the area of any would-be
    attackers. This build is also popular for MFers looking for good items to
    trade.
    
    How do I build one? - The key skills to building a good Spam Sniper are
    Multishot, Pierce (if you can grab a Buriza, this isn't necessary), Guided
    Arrow and Critical Strike. Multishot doesn't need a lot of points to work
    wonders, but the rest of said skills must be maxed out as soon as possible. If
    you have any excess points, you can dump those into Valkyrie, Penetrate , the
    evasion skills, and at least two different elemental arrow attacks (I suggest
    Fire Arrow and Freezing Arrow) to overcome PIs. Stats wise, focus on building
    up enough Strength to carry a good bow - usually Windforce, Buriza, or
    Eaglehorn. A good Matron Bow will cut the mustard as well. Grab a whole lot of
    mana-leeching because this build is pretty mana-intensive as far as Guided
    Arrow and Multishot go. Dexterity and Energy are the most important stats
    because Dexterity affects bow damage as well as your ability to hoist the
    better weapons. Once you get a good weapon, you will be unstoppable!
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bowazon Variant #5: Speedzon AKA "The Machine Gun"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Machine Guns attempt to have the speediest attack in
    the game. By wearing enough equipment with Increased Attack Speed mods, the
    ideal Speedzon can launch an attack in a godly 4 frames per second. Machine
    Guns either use Strafe and/or Multishot, allowing them to spam the screen in a
    hurry. Another PvP worthy build, if you can find the right items.
    
    My analysis - No Windforce here, but I still managed to have a Soldier's
    Crusader Bow of Alacrity socketed with a Shael rune to turbo my speed. I don't
    know if I have the Holy Grail of 4 fps. Let me tell you, you will be wow-ed
    with the sheer speed at which you attack. You can literally fire off a quiver
    of arrows in the span of 5 minutes. OK, maybe not. Most people who use this
    style shun the use of the Buriza because they feel it's too overpowered.
    
    How do I build one? - Start hoarding Shael runes and IAS equipment. In
    addition, look for a good bow with damage mods in order to give your arrows a
    bigger punch. The defining weapon for this build is the Windforce, an
    uber-Hyrdra Bow with insane attack speed. Build your stats around hoisting this
    bow and be prepared to endure countless runs to get it. Invest heavily into
    Vitality, but don't forget to put a point into Energy every now and then so
    your mana pool doesn't go dry in the heat of battle.
    
    Personal rating: 8/10 (without Windforce) 10/10 (with Windforce)
    
    +++++++++
    Hybridzon
    +++++++++
    What the hell is that? - An offspring sub-type which mates the melee
    capablities of the Javazon (namely Lightning Fury) with the ranged attacks of
    the Bowazon (Guided Arrow+Pierce). This allows the Amazon to adapt to any
    situation. For example, against hordes of fast critters like Hell Cows, she can
    Lightning Fury them to death. Using a bow, she can quickly mow down any
    leftovers that Lightning Fury didn't kill or freeze enemies. The Guided
    Arrow/Pierce bug allows the Hybridzon to quickly decimate any bosses who stand
    in her way.
    
    My analysis - I found a Hybridzon to be pretty good, combining the crowd
    control ability of Lightning Fury and Multishot with the ease of boss slaying
    offered by Guided Arrow. If you decide to make a Hybridzon, you rock!
    
    How do I build one? - This sub-type is a little difficult to get off the
    ground. You will want to focus on your bow skills first, because your primary
    Spear & Javelin skill, Lightning Fury, isn't available until CLVL 30. Focus on
    building up Multishot, Critical Strike and Guided Arrow. Right now, these will
    be your bread and butter attacks. Once you get going on that, I would recommend
    grabbing a Decoy to help you out. When you get to CLVL 30, there's cause to
    celebrate. You can get Valkyrie, Pierce, and Lightning Fury! As soon as you get
    is, invest exclusively in Lightning Fury. Sure this will mean many Baal runs,
    but who cares? You'll have him begging for mercy before you know it. In terms
    of weapon choice, the answer is simple. Grab the Titan's Revenge for your
    javelin setup and the Buriza (or Windforce socketed with "Ignore Target
    Defense") for you bow. Your primary concern is building up Dexterity and
    Strength in order to use the best and baddest weapons. Let the party begin!
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    +++++++
    Burizon
    +++++++
    What the hell is that? - Burizon is a generic term referring to any Amazon
    making use of the Buriza unique ballista. Since this playing style describes a
    weapon rather than a skill, you can choose any kind of skill to use.
    
    My analysis - I made a Sniperzon (see section on "Sniperzon") making full use
    of the Guided Arrow/Pierce bug. In the right hands, the Buriza is a devastating
    weapon. Hardly anything got within melee range. I simply stayed in one place
    and spammed little homing missiles which track down and hit demons all over the
    place. No need to aim, just spray and pray!
    
    How do I build one? - It's really quite simple. You should rely on the previous
    Bowazon builds I mentioned to guide your character development. Just grab a
    Buriza when you get the chance. Now you can use your new toy and blast away!
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++
    Tankazon
    ++++++++
    Contributed by: Michael del Toro
    
    What the hell is that? - The Amazon has great evasion skills like Evade, Dodge
    and Avoid. So it's no surprise that a build centered around these skills is
    around the realms. A Tankazon simply engages the enemy and prays her defensive
    abilities see her through. As you can probably guess, she is neither a bowazon
    or javazon, but instead focuses on holding up melee attackers for other players
    to dissect at their leisure.
    
    My analysis - According to my contributor, the Tankazon is very efficient at
    engaging enemies in melee combat (hence the name). She makes a great addition
    to any party with ranged attackers, although she is more than capable of
    holding her own against the hordes of Hell. Her evasion skills make her a tough
    target to hit and her minions make tanking easier. You'll definitely have a
    powerhouse if you can build this one right.
    
    How do I build one? - The most important combat skills you'll need are the
    evasion skills, Valkyrie and Critical Strike. Obviously, Critical Strike comes
    in handy when trying to deal out assloads of damage. Avoid, Dodge and Evade
    should probably be boosted according to your playing style, but around 50% for
    each is sufficient. If you're itching for a good combat skill, I suggest maxing
    out Jab or Fend so you can quickly mow down groups in a flash. Other than that,
    your primary focus should be on acquiring the Passive and Magic skills. You'll
    want high Vitality and Strength, to take hits and wear good armor respectively.
    Another thing to focus on is finding a high quality 1H weapon. That I'll leave
    up to you, because not every weapon is for everyone. Some good ideas are the
    Baranar's Star, Schaefer's Hammer and the Lightsabre.
    
    Rating - 9.5/10
    
    ====================
    Necromancer or Necro
    ====================
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Venomancer AKA "Daggermancer"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Venomancers prefer brains over brawn. Nothing reflects
    this in the world of D2X more than poison. Sure it may take a while, but even a
    slight wound from a poisoned dagger can be deadly in the right hands. The name
    of the game is building up your poison attacks in any way possible, mostly
    through Poison Dagger, Poison Nova, the Lower Resist curse and even Poison
    Explosion. Poison Dagger forces this build to use a dagger in order to be
    effective. Daggermancers may also use some minions in order to distract enemies
    so they may sneak in and land the killing blow.
    
    My analysis - Poison is too excruciatingly slow for me to use. Also, daggers
    aren't exactly known to be offensive powerhouses like a good Zweihander is. But
    if there's one thing I learned with this build, it's patience. LOTS, and LOTS
    of it. I have to add using Poison Nova is quite hilarious because it looks like
    my Necro farted. At least there's some fun in using this build. The main thing
    to be on the lookout for are emeralds, any kind. Hoard them. Or instead of
    using Poison Dagger, a suitable alternative is to carry the Pus Spitter, a
    unique ballista doing massive poison damage. At least you have a decent weapon
    instead of some crappy dagger.
    
    How do I build one? - To start, put a points into your Amplify Damage curse,
    Skeleton Mastery and Bone Armor. If you do make using the piddly +1 to Raise
    Skeleton wand you start with, cngratulations. Now go ahead and plop a point
    into Clay Golem and Golem Mastery. Eventually, you will want to acquire either
    an Iron or Fire Golem, whichever you prefer. For now, concentrate on building
    up your Poison Dagger and Nova skills. As soon as you hit CLVL 30, start
    investing in Revives. These are probably the second-best minions after a good
    Golem, because after they die, you can Revive them again. For this build, you
    will need as many tanks as you can get, so get either an Act 2 merc or the
    Barbarian mercs from Act 5. In terms of equipment, a good dagger is a must if
    you're using Poison Dagger. Use the cube recipe to roll for a good dagger with
    3 sockets, which you can stuff with 3 perfect emeralds for massive damage. Most
    of your stat points should be going into Vitality, Energy and Dexterity.
    Strength on the other hand, should only be boosted to fulfill certain armor and
    weapon requirements. You won't be doing pure physical damage, so you should
    focus on how often your Poison Dagger attack scores. One more thing, be sure to
    have a good backup spell like Bone Spear (which I prefer), when dealing with
    the ranks of the undead. The undead have an innate resistance to poison, so
    having a backup attack will make your life much easier.
    
    Personal rating: 5/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Zookeeper AKA "Lagmancer"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - The Zookeeper is a fairly unpopular build to party
    with because of the sheer number of minions comprising his posse. Tons of
    summons running amok usually causes massive amounts of lag, which could spell
    trouble in some areas. Lagmancers let a large number of minions, mostly Revives
    with Skeleton Mastery and a Golem, do his dirty work while he provides support
    in the form of Corpse Explosion and various Curses (Amplify Damage and Iron
    Maiden to name a few). Don't confuse a Lagmancer with an Artynecro, a similar
    build which uses ranged attacks to assist his goons.
    
    My analysis - It's difficult to use this build if you lack patience. The rate
    at which you kill stuff is nowhere near a Barb, Pally, or Sorc, so get used to
    hanging back and helping out your troops. In addition, fighting Act bosses was
    a nightmare for me because of the sheer ease my little army fell. Nothing is
    more disheartening then seeing Diablo slap around your Golem and Revives. And
    plus, running out of dead bodies to revive isn't really great.
    
    How do I build one? - Lagmancers are a very mana-intensive build, with all that
    summoning and corpse exploding. Invest heavily in Energy to keep your mana from
    going dry. You don't need to worry about Dexterity, but keep your Strength and
    Vitality up; Strength to wear good armor and Vitality to survive attacks
    better. A good way to combat the mana problem is to find a good weapon with the
    "Triumphant" or "Victorious" mod on it. This mod adds a certain amount of mana
    to your orb after each kill. You might also want to seek out a good helm with a
    socket and stick a perfect skull in it, which will increase your mana
    regeneration rate. In terms of equipment, a wand with a "+ to skills" bonus is
    always welcome. Get a shield with a high blocking %, in the event you find
    yourself surrounded. Now for skill points. You will want to max both Golem and
    Skeleton Masteries to give you heartier summons. Next max your Revive and Golem
    skill of your choosing. Finally, invest heavily in Iron Maiden or grab a Thorns
    merc from Act 2 in Nightmare.
    
    Personal rating: 4/10 (my computer lags too much)
    
    +++++++++
    Artynecro
    +++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Similar to the Zookeeper above, except this build uses
    less minions and is a more attack oriented sub-type. This build uses ranged
    attacks like Bone Spirit or Bone Spear (a hotly debate topic to this day) and
    Poison Nova to complement his minions. As you can tell, this build is much more
    popular to use than the Zookeeper.
    
    My analysis - Out of all the Necro sub-types, I like this one the best. With
    your minions and merc tanking for you, you are free to go nuts with the Bone
    Spear (yes, I prefer Spear over Spirit because it hits multiple enemies and has
    greater destructive power) and Lower Resist curse. I also used a SLVL 3 Corpse
    Explosion, mostly just to blow up corpses of Fetishes and other creatures that
    can be resurrected. I relied primarily on my Barbarian merc, Fire Golem and 5
    Revives to do the tanking for me.
    
    How do I build one? - I won't go into great depth about how Bone Spear is
    better than Bone Spirit and vice versa. Which skill you choose is up to you.
    But these skills come fairly late into the game. In the meanwhile, use a good
    bow and Corpse Explosion to assist your minions. With all the magical attacks,
    this build is going to eat through your mana, so invest in Energy heavily. On
    the equipment side, be on the lookout for wands offering "+ skills" bonuses and
    fast cast mods. You need the fast cast in order to churn out spells faster.
    Since you will hardly ever engage in melee combat, you can get away with using
    a wand. Put in enough Strength to wear good armor, but leave your Dexterity
    low. The rest of your stat points should be going into Vitality. The next
    logical step is to max out your Golem and Skeleton Masteries. Finally, a point
    into Bone Armor should be just enough to reduce any damage you might take.
    
    Personal rating: 9.5/10
    
    ++++++++++
    Golemancer
    ++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - One, singular Golem is the minion of choice with this
    build. It isn't rare to see a Golemancer running around with a maxed out Fire
    or Iron Golem and max Golem Mastery. By doing so, this build gives itself a
    hearty fighter than can tank with merc while the Necro provides long range
    support through curses and Bone Spirit/Spear.
    
    My analysis - I never really liked the idea of using a good item just to get a
    good Iron Golem. What are you nuts? Yeah sure, it seems like a great idea to
    turn a hard-to-find Grandfather into an uber-golem. But what if he kicks the
    bucket? No more Grandfather. In my case, I opted for a max Fire Golem w/
    Mastery. The cool thing is a Fire Golem has neat pulse damage like a Paladin's
    Holy Fire aura and he gets healed by fire attacks. Sweet. When you max out your
    mastery, Fire Golem gets an absurd amount of life, just what you need from a
    tank. My choice of curse was of course, a maxed Iron Maiden. Rounding out my
    attack was a souped-up Bone Spear to cut through swathes of unlucky enemies. To
    add to my fighting force, I threw in a Barbarian merc with the aforementioned
    Grandfather.
    
    How do I build one? - Before you commit any points, you need to decide two
    things: Bone Spirit vs. Bone Spear and Fire Golem vs. Iron Golem. Weigh the
    pros and cons of each skill carefully before you even start so you won't spread
    your points too thin with proper planning. Find good fast cast equipment so you
    can spit out mad amounts of Bone Spear/Spirit and a wand to boost your skills.
    Grab a shield with high resistance and DR mods and use the Larzuk quest from
    act 5 to stick perfect diamonds in it. Stats-wise, you can invest heavily into
    Energy and Vitality so you have the life and mana to fight the good fight.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Meleemancer AKA "Explodecro"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - As the moniker implies, this Necro variant specializes
    in hand-to-hand combat. While not as effective as a good Barbarian, Paladin or
    Assassin, this build can hold its own going toe-to-toe with Diablo's minions.
    The primary focus of this sub-type is to distract enemies with either Confuse,
    Attract or Terror and kill one enemy. Then the Explodecro uses Corpse Explosion
    to detonate the corpse, wounding or even killing any nearby opponents. Prior to
    the v1.09 patch, it was possible to rack up many kills by slaying one enemy and
    starting a chain reaction of explosions. With the patch, Corpse Explosion's
    power has been toned, although it is still an effective weapon.
    
    My analysis - If you're into the whole wanton carnage and destruction bit, this
    might be your kind of build. The best part of this build is Corpse Explosion
    doesn't have to be maxed to be totally effective, because the damage stays the
    same. Additional points only increase its range. Focus on building your
    Explodecro like he was a Barbarian, paying special attention to Strength and
    Vitality. My Explodecro, PunchOsama, sports a huge elite Great Axe which deals
    tons of damage. All he has to do is swat one monster down and explode it. This
    weakens all the other monsters, making his job easier. Be sure to bring a lot
    of mana potions because it is easy to get carried away with exploding corpses.
    The only problem with this build is it has some trouble fighting single
    enemies. Without corpses to blow up, where's your home run? To combat this
    potential problem, shoot for maxing Bone Spear. OK, OK, I know Bone Spear isn't
    really a melee skill, but it's better to be safe than stick to form right?
    
    How do I build one? - Simple. Pretend your character is a Barb. Now start
    allocating your points accordingly, paying attention to Strength and Vitality.
    Remember, you will be in hand-to-hand combat often. You can either go all
    offense and carry a 2H weapon, or opt to use a shield. The decision is yours.
    Put a point into Energy occasionally so you have a bigger mana orb to play
    with. Any equipment with the Triumphant or Victorious prefix is good, since you
    will be killing at a furious rate (OK, not as furious, unless you still have
    v1.08) and each kill gives you +2 or 4 mana. If you can't get once, trying
    getting a good mana-leeching weapon. If you want, you could also socket a Tir
    rune to get quasi-"Triumphant" bonuses. Um... here's another suggestion,
    Magefist gauntlets, which provide sick mana regeneration capabilities. Finally,
    sticking a perfect skull in a helm will speed up your mana regeneration, but I
    think a socketed helm has better uses.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++
    Naked Mage
    ++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A Naked Mage build isn't really centered around a
    certain skill or weapon. This term refers to a generic type of Necro build that
    doesn't use wear equipment and relies primarily and skills and charms. Naked
    Mages are usually a subset of the builds I have described above.
    
    My analysis - I don't thing I've ever been brave enough to try using a Naked
    Mage, although my friends say it is very challenging.
    
    How do I build one? - Refer to the previous build analyses, only pay attention
    to the skills. In terms of stats, it would be wise to spend more points in
    Vitality than you normally would.
    
    Personal rating: 5/10
    
    +++++++++
    PvP Necro
    +++++++++
    What the hell is that? - This mage is used exclusively for PvP play, so you
    won't see this build on any Baalruns or any other type of PvM except maybe to
    get good items and exeperience. The goal behind this style is to create the
    ultimate duelling machine.
    
    My analysis - I'm no big fan of duelling (I'm a partygoer at heart), but from
    what I hear, this is a deadly build when perfected.
    
    How do I build one? - Unlike other builds, there's no Spear/Spirit debate here.
    Spirit's homing capabilities make it the perfect "fire and forget" weapon.
    Since you don't have to worry so much about aiming, you can focus on evading
    your opponent's attacks. You will also want to max either Decrepify or Bone
    Prison so your foe has more difficulty outrunning an incoming Bone Spirit. Most
    duellers opt for Decrepify because it has an area of effect unlike Bone Prison.
    You should also have a decent Golem on hand to take the heat off any attacks.
    In short, focus on acquiring DR equipment to reduce the damage you will take.
    Along the same lines, investing heavily in Vitality and Energy is a must.
    
    Personal rating: 9.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++
    Bloody Necro
    ++++++++++++
    Contributed by: Eric Denmead
    
    What the hell is that? - Using the combined might of a Blood Golem and the Iron
    Maiden curse, the Bloody Necro strides into batttle and lays waste to all his
    foes. At first, using a Blood Golem seems to be an invitation to disaster,
    since the golem shares its life with you. A you'll feel the sting of the
    enemies' blows as they pound your golem. But wait! There's a catch! Any damage
    your golem inflicts replenishs his/your health. This includes any damage caused
    by Iron Maiden, which is the primary weapon of this build.
    
    My analysis - A pretty powerful build given the right equipment and proper
    planning. I think it's a good idea to have plenty of potions on hand so you can
    keep fighting. Bloody Necros will have some problems in the higher difficulty
    levels because of the damage penalties. In addition, you will also need a high
    powered offensive spell like Bone Spirit/Spear to take down physical immunes
    and the like.
    
    How do I build one? - The skills you need to build up right away are Blood
    Golem, Iron Maiden and Bone Spirit/Spear. These skills are the
    meat-and-potatoes of the Bloody Necro, so it's imperative you get them as high
    as you can. In the beginning it will be difficult, since a lot of the stuff you
    need isn't available. Make do with a Clay Golem and focus on getting
    prerequisites. In terms of stats, you'll primarily invest in Energy and
    Vitality. The higher your life is, the heartier your Blood Golem becomes.
    Energy is a must with any Necro build, and with the amount of spells you'll be
    spamming, strive to attain a mana count of 1000+. Your Strength should be high
    enough to use the Scales of Trang'Oul, which is one of the best armors
    available for Necros. Dexterity isn't so much an issue. Try to find stuff with
    fast cast and "+ skills" bonuses. And remember, fast walk/run is a must because
    you'll be doing an obscene amount of running, especially in the beginning.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    +++++++++++
    Blade Necro
    +++++++++++
    Contributed by: Danilo Orozco
    
    What the hell is that? - Modeled after Blade the comic book character, this
    subclass is a combination of the Bloody Necro, which utilizes Blood Golem and
    Iron Maiden, and the Meleemancer. The Blade Necro first spams Bone Spear (kinda
    like Blade's ninja stars) and then moves in for the kill with help from Blood
    Golem.
    
    My analysis - One tough customer once you get all the stuff need. The idea of a
    melee-based Necromancer might scare some people, since close-quarters
    skirmishing isn't his forte. But combined with the Blood Golem/Iron Maiden
    trick, life might be just a bit easier. An entertaining subclass to say the
    least.
    
    How do I build one? - Focus on maxing Bone Armor in the beginning. This will
    absorb the damage you take, and a little goes a long way. The next two
    objectives are to get maxed Bone Spear, Iron Maiden and Life Tap. Five points
    in Blood Golem should suffice. Since you will engage in a lot of melee combat,
    you should emphasize building up your Vitality and Dexterity. Get your Strength
    up enough to wear the best armor and weapons, no more and no less. Energy is
    also an issue because the use of Bone Spear will drain mana like no one's
    business. Try not to go crazy with Energy though; mana-leeching should be
    sufficient to help you out. Try to grab a good helm like Tal Rasha's Horadric
    Crest or Vampire Gaze, both of which offer dual-leeching. Since you will be
    using Life Tap, life leech isn't as important. Look for mana-leeching items. An
    excellent armor to use is Silks of the Victor. You should have two weapon
    setups, the spam-Bone-Spear setup and the I'll-go-in-and-hack-stuff-up-setup.
    The first setup should have items with fast cast abilities. Wizard Spike
    combined with Wall of the Eyeless will be the go-to armament here. The melee
    portion should only contain one thing... a really big sword. Find the best, or
    if you can't, craft the best sword. Cough... Cruel-Colossus-Blade... cough.
    
    Personal rating: 8/10
    
    =================
    Sorceress or Sorc
    =================
    
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Old School Tweaker
    ++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Casting mighty spells as if she were on speed, this
    type of Sorc relies on fast cast items to speed up the rate at which she casts
    spells. This build typically uses timered spells such as Blizzard, Frozen Orb
    or Meteor to wreak havoc on the legions of Hell. Of course, if there's an Old
    School Tweaker, there must be a New School Tweaker, which I will discuss later.
    
    My analysis - This was one of the first characters I created when I was still
    new to D2. Like a first love, I only have fond memories of my first character,
    Kirsten. I maxed out Blizzard, Warmth and Cold Mastery and had a decent Chain
    Lightning attack as backup in case I ran afoul of any Cold Immune bosses. As
    with any Sorc build, the first couple of levels were difficult, with all the
    running around. Trust me when I say this, fast run/walk mods are a must for any
    Sorc! Once I got to CLVL 24, which was around Act 3, I finally got to
    experiment with the might of Blizzard. In a nutshell, I was very impressed. But
    what about the nagging question of the casting delay? I figured any fast cast
    items would be able to turbo the speed at which I could deliver chilly death.
    So I went on a hunt for as much turbo cast items as possible. When I finally
    assembled my kit, I was pretty much invincible. But when D2X came, I became
    godly! Well, sort of anyway. With an act 5 merc tanking for me, I could summon
    numerous Blizzards and eradicate all the opposition. Tons of fun. [Sob] Kirsten
    has long since retired after reaching CLVL 99, although I plan on resurrecting
    another incarnation using Meteor.
    
    How do I build one? - As the name implies, the heart of any Tweaker build is
    reducing the amount of casting delay by means of acquiring fast cast items.
    Find any and all you can. A good weapon to carry is the Oculus, since it
    provides a "+ to all skills" bonus. For armor, Skin of the Vipermagi will be
    sufficient to turbo-boost your attacks. Wall of the Eyeless, a unique Bone
    Shield also helps you reach godly rates of casting. Max out Warmth as quickly
    as you can, because high powered spells like Frozen Orbs aren't exactly mana
    cheap.  Strive to build up your resistances because ranged elemental attacks
    should be the only attacks you should be concerned with. Furthermore, boots
    with run/walk bonuses are a must, just in case your tank kicks the bucket and
    the enemy sets its sights on you. While it might be tempting to run with just
    one skill, sooner or later, you will encounter an enemy immune to the element
    you're using. In short, you will be screwed. This is true of all Sorc builds..
    My advice is to max out another skill from another element. I recommend
    Fireball, Chain Lightning, or Glacial Spike. With all the mana you got, getting
    a point into Mana Shield would be a good idea since a maxed Warmth can
    replenish an empty mana orb in a matter of seconds. In case you find yourself
    in a sticky situation, or just want to cut through a gap, 1 point in Teleport
    is nice. A point in Freezing Armor is a must for the defense boost. I prefer
    Frozen Armor because a hit freezes an attacker, compared to just slowing them
    (which the other armor "upgrades" provide) On top of all this sage advice, max
    the respective Mastery of your primary attack skill in order to give it more
    punch. So if you're using Frozen Orb, max Cold Mastery. Finally, 9-10 points in
    Static Field will make boss fights so much easier because it drops a boss'
    health total by a percentage, making it useful to cut a big chunk out of Big
    D's life meter. Trust me.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++
    New School Tweaker
    ++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Like I said before, if there is an Old School Tweaker,
    there must a New School Tweaker. The name of the game is also increased casting
    speed. However this builds uses non-timered spells like Glacial Spike, Fireball
    or Chain Lightning to do their killing. Instead of fast cast items, this
    sub-type hoards items granting IAS bonuses which affect the rate at which they
    cast non-timered spells.
    
    My analysis - Sorry, wish I could some wise words for you, but I've never given
    this build a whirl. At least not yet. Anyone with insights please help me out
    here?
    
    How do I build one? - Who knows? Anybody got an idea?
    
    Personal rating - ?/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Charged Bolt (CB) Sorc AKA "Sparkler"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Sorcs of this build max Charged Bolt and Lightning
    Mastery. At first, CB seems weak. Given some time and effort though, you can
    spit out many powerful bolts, making you look like an MSLE.
    
    My analysis - Again, I really can't help you out here. Any outside
    contributions would be most welcome. You know where to email me.
    
    How do I build one? - Um... beats me.
    
    Personal rating - ?/10
    
    ++++++++++
    Specialist
    ++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - This is one of those catch-all descriptions for a
    variety of builds, in this case Sorcs using skills from only one elemental
    tree. Obviously there are three types of specialists, each focusing on skills
    from the Cold, Fire, or Lightning trees.
    
    My analysis - The closest thing I ever came to building a Specialist was with
    my very first Sorc, who used Blizzard as her primary attack. Of course, I
    cheated and dumped some points into Chain Lightning, Warmth and Energy Shield.
    I'm not sure how much leeway they give you before you fall out of the
    Specialist category.
    
    How do I build one? - Simple, choose a skill tree and a primary attack. My
    recommendations are Frozen Orb for Cold, Fireball or Firewall for Fire, and
    Chain Lightning for Lightning. To boost your attack, invest in the mastery of
    your primary attack. If you feel like cheating, it would be a good idea to
    stick some points into Warmth, although some purists insist you're not really a
    Specialist at that point. If you're a purist, investing in Energy heavily is a
    requirement. Boost your Strength to the point where you can wear Silks or any
    other good armor. As with all Sorc sub-types, Dexterity is a non-issue. One
    place where you might run afoul is encountering a boss monster impervious to
    your attack. In this scenario, you'll want to let your merc do all the dirty
    work. Another solution is to carry an item providing "+ skills" bonuses to a
    spell outside of your primary tree. It might be crappy to pound at a LI boss
    monster with a paltry SLVL 3 Fireball, when you have an SLVL 23 Chain Lightning
    waiting in the wings, but it's better than nothing, eh?
    
    Personal rating: 6/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Fire Wall (FW) Sorc
    +++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A recently popular build due to the ease at which it
    cleared the Bloody Foothills area of Act 5, FW Sorcs are equally capable of
    handling other areas of the game. Without a doubt, FW is the most damaging
    skill a Sorc has at her disposal. By maxing out FW and Fire Mastery, a Sorc can
    inflict damage ranging in the 1000s or higher. This high damage potential makes
    this a viable build. Nowadays, some people are tweaking with this build and
    substituting FW for Meteor.
    
    My analysis - The perfect Sorc to go on item hunting runs! Since most of the
    monster in the Bloody Foothills are melee attackers, a ranged attack is
    excellent. The differing elevations create natural obstructions, resulting in
    hordes of monsters congregating around a wall to await your presence. Coupled
    with the fact most monsters here lack any resistance, even on Hell difficulty,
    you got yourself a good place to level. With FW, you can barbecue these sitting
    ducks without fear of retaliation. With decent MF capabilities, you can gain
    experience quickly and maybe find a good item to boot. In other areas, it's
    tough to get monsters to sit still long enough to feel the burn, so you will
    need to grab a good tank to assist you. Depending on the number of players in
    any given game, you can stand to gain a level every hour or so.
    
    How do I build one? - You get access to FW at CLVL 18, provided you put a point
    into Blaze first. At this point, you will want to start maxing FW and Warmth.
    At CLVL 30, start beefing up your Fire Mastery to jack up your damage. In terms
    of stats, stick points in Energy whenever you can. Vitality is another
    must-have because you can never have too much life, although acquiring Mana
    Shield will pretty much eliminate that problem. Just don't keep your Vitality
    too low, because the Succubi's Blood Curse attack will result in many
    inadvertent deaths if you go gung-ho with the FW. I don't have to tell you
    about the whole pack a backup attack in case FW doesn't work right? Good. I
    didn't think I needed to remind you either. Oh yeah, [insert obligatory Static
    Field against bosses tip here].
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++
    Weatherwoman
    ++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Like the name implies, this Sorc build uses spells
    which resemble naturally-occurring natural phenomena (i.e. Blizzard,
    Thunderstorm, and Meteor). Although, I don't see how Meteor falls in this
    category. It's not like meteors fall out of the sky often.
    
    My analysis - A build based on an interesting premise. Drawing power from each
    of the skill trees, this type of Sorc is capable of taking down any boss
    monster be it CI, FI, or LI. The maxim "Jack of all trades, master of none"
    holds true and using three elemental attacks means you might have to spread
    your points out more than you would like. To counter, I made it a mission to
    seek out and utilize items granting "+ skills" bonuses. I must say,
    Thunderstorm is a great spell because it's passive and always strikes. A useful
    "dumb-fire' spell. Two out of three of these spells are timered, so seek out
    items that reduce casting delay. Nothing is more fun than slowing enemies with
    a Blizzard and dropping a big-ass Meteor on them while having a high-level
    Thunderstorm clean up. Fun! Fun! Fun!
    
    How do I build one? - You will acquire Blizzard first, so run with this skill
    until you get the remaining two. Remember to put points into all the necessary
    prerequisites so you can get each spell ASAP. Notwithstanding, don't neglect
    beefing up your other skills too. Heavy investing in Warmth will provide you
    with the ammunition you need to sustain your attack. Static Field is pretty
    much a requirement, regardless of build. And Mana Shield will turn away any
    attacks which would otherwise deplete your health. Stat point allocation is
    pretty much the same as it would be with any Sorc sub-type. Focus on getting
    fast cast goodies and remember, Meteor will be your primary kill spell. It
    would behoove you to max this spell, or get it to as high a level as possible.
    The key to attacking is to cast T-Storm, cast Meteor, and then quickly unload a
    Blizzard on your foes to slow them down. If you did it correctly, the slowed
    foes will only travel so far before the Meteor slams down. A trick to using
    Meteor is to anticipate where your opponent will be and cast the spell there.
    That way, an unsuspecting monster will "walk into" the path of a falling Meteor
    and BAM! instant kill. There's a way to give those Blood Lords a dose of their
    own medicine!
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Naked Babe AKA "Pinup Girl"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Like the Naked Mage for Necros, the Pinup Girl uses no
    equipment. Instead, she relies on high-powered skills to triumph over evil.
    This description is generic and can be used to describe any of the previous
    builds I have mentioned.
    
    My analysis - My first Sorc, Kirsten (see Old School Tweaker), was a Pinup Girl
    for most of early Nightmare, since I had pawned off all my items to gamble
    with. So Kirsten was a Pinup Girl rather by accident. Doh! But it didn't really
    matter, what with dumping Blizzards left and right with the occasional Chain
    Lightning sprinkled for flavor, I did just fine. Note to self: don't pawn off
    equipment just to gamble!
    
    How do I build one? - It's totally up to you. You can make any other build of
    Sorc as long as you don't use any equipment. I wouldn't recommend doing this
    when you are just starting out. To offset your vulnerability, try using an SLVL
    5 Frozen Armor combined with a Defiance merc from Act 2. Get used to a lot of
    hit and run tactics, because you never want to find yourself surrounded, unless
    you have a death wish. Have fun with this build and I hope I don't find you
    staring at your character too long. (0_o)
    
    
    Personal rating: 8.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++
    Hell Stormer
    ++++++++++++
    Contributed by: Greg Campbell
    
    What the hell is that? - Greg writes: "The 'Hell Storm' combo consists of
    running around with Blaze and Thunderstorm on while throwing Frozen Orbs, and
    is fairly effective in PvP.
    
    Analysis - With skills in all three elemental trees, this Sorc has all the
    tools she needs to overcome any elemental resistance. You'll need to be
    judicious in your point allocation in the early stages, because if your points
    are too thinly spread, you might run into trouble.
    
    How do I build one? - Greg writes: "Skills: Masteries, Warmth, Teleport, Mana
    Shield and Static Field will do you well.  (Only use Mana Shield if you can
    sustain the mana drain.)
    Stats: Focus on mana and life.
    Items: Get movement speed+ ASAP.  I also recommend using light armor
    (leather at best) and shields (not towers) as others hamper your
    movement speed.  Stamina+ equipment is a waste because stamina potions
    are so cheap, though vulpine (mana gained per hit) stuff may be
    appealing enough to use.  Skill+ items for high skill levels make Hell
    viable.
    Tactics: Lure foes into your wake and let 'em fry and burn when they
    aren't being frosted.  Static foes to make for easier kills."
    
    Personal rating: 8/10
    
    ================
    Paladin or Pally
    ================
    
    ++++++
    Zealot
    ++++++
    What the hell is that? - One of the most famous Pally builds developed. The
    v1.09 patched beefed the Pally's Fanaticism aura, so it also granted AR and
    damage bonuses in addition to increasing attack speed. This in turn, led to
    Zeal's increased desireability. Zealots are one of the best builds in PvM
    because of Zeal's low cost, Fanaticism's attack speed bonuses, and the Pally's
    other skills which give a balance of offensive and defensive boosts. Only a
    Frenzybarb can match the Zealot's killing speed. Period.
    
    My analysis - A devastating build, bar none. You get Zeal pretty early in the
    game, and it's about the best crowd controller the Pally has at his disposal.
    Unfortunately, you will have to settle on using other auras, typically
    Concentration or Holy Freeze, to see you through since Fanaticism is a CLVL 30
    skill. Zeal doesn't give you any damage modifiers, but it does jack up your AR.
    I opted for using a really, really big axe. Weapon speed isn't really an issue
    once you get Fanaticism, so I'm trying to get a decent maul or 2H sword. One
    thing I will say about this build is you will have to get a point in Vengeance
    so you can put a hurtin' on PI boss monsters.
    
    How do I build one? - A word of caution: using Zeal means you will get stuck in
    the animation until you finish swinging. Fortunately, Zeal is capped at five
    swings so you won't have a big a problem. Another thing to worry about is you
    will have to rely on your weapon and aura to provide the damage Zeal lacks. It
    would be a good idea to grab a good scepter or even a 2H sword with a decent
    attack rate (Flamberge simply rock!). Mana leech isn't a big priority because
    Zeal only costs 2 mana regardess of SLVL, but life leech should be a more
    pressing concern. Another thing to keep your eyes peeled for are weapons with
    IAS mods. With enough IAS, you can chop through enemy hordes faster than a
    lumberjack on speed! Better yet, keep fishing for a Lightsabre, a rare Phase
    Blade, and stuff a Shael rune in it. Insane attack speed! Zeal only deals pure
    physical damage, so a point in Vengeance should allow you to conquer those damn
    PIs. Some Zealots also like to grab another aura to flash the enemies with. For
    example, a Zealot will use Holy Freeze and wait for it to hit the enemy. When
    it does, he switches to Fanaticism and attacks WAY faster than his foes! Cool
    eh? Conviction is also another good flashing aura because the lowered defense
    means your attacks will hit more. If you choose to wield a shield instead of a
    2H weapon, a couple of points into Holy Shield should be enough for you to
    maintain a maximum blocking % and a high DR. You'll need to build up your
    Strength and Vitality since you'll be meleeing a lot; Strength to wear good
    armor, Vitality to have lots of life. Dexterity you can put points into
    occasionally, so you can maintain a high blocking %. Fanaticism should take
    care of your AR in case you're worried. In terms of mercs, the Act 2 ones are
    prime. If you're planning on flashing enemies, a Holy Freeze merc should free
    you up to focus on pumping up Conviction. Or you could grab a Might merc
    instead to let you do godly amounts of damage while provide a decent tank.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    +++++++
    Avenger
    +++++++
    What the hell is that? - Another well-known sub-type effective against the
    minions of Hell. Avengers make use of the Conviction aura's ability to lower an
    enemy's resistance to boost the damage inflicted by Vengeance's elemental
    attacks. Conviction also lowers an enemy's defense rating, allowing an
    Avenger's attack to score with alarming frequency. There are two types of
    Avengers: Pure and Fanatic. A Pure will stick with the Vengeance/Conviction
    combo while a Fanatic will flash Conviction and switch to Fanaticism/Vengeance
    to give himself an even larger edge against evil.
    
    My analysis - My Pally named Paul_Phoenix (after my favorite Tekken character)
    was built as a Pure Avenger sub-type. With max Conviction and Vengeance, Paul
    was a terror to the minions of Diablo. Currently, he has a Savage Highlander
    Sword of the Vampires as his primary weapon. I also use an SLVL 5 Salvation to
    boost my resistances, especially when going after non-melee creatures like
    Oblivion Knights or Demon Imps. In addition, an SLVL 1 Zeal is good enough to
    use when your mana runs low and you need to leech some back. This build burns
    up a lot of mana, so mana leech is a paramount goal. Find the best leeching
    items. In fact, stack several mana bonuses so you never go dry. Since I was
    using 2H weapons, I decided not to invest in Holy Shield. However, this is a
    must if you stick with 1H stuff. One more note, Conviction does not cut into a
    monster's resistance if it is immune. For example, an LI boss will not suffer a
    drop in lightning resistance, even when under the influence of the aura. Its
    other resistances, however, will take a big hit. Exploit at your discretion.
    
    How do I build one? - You don't really have to decide if you will be a Pure or
    Fanatic Avenger right away, since both skills are available at CLVL 30 provided
    you have acquired the previous prerequisites. If you are going for a Pure
    build, buff up your Dexterity since you won't enjoy the boosts to AR Fanaticism
    gives. For those who opt to use 1H weapons and shields, 10 or so points into
    Holy Shield will make dealing with crowds so much easier. 2H weapon users will
    need to spend a lot of time increasing Vitality and Dexterity in order to
    survive with lowered defense. As I noted earlier, a couple points in Salvation
    are better than spending points on individual resistance boosting auras. Five
    points should suffice. You will want to max Vengeance as quickly as possible.
    No matter how quickly you expend mana fight, never spend any stat points on
    Energy. Leeching should take care of the blue orb anyway. Fanatic Avengers
    don't really need to worry about Dexterity too much. But if you feel too few of
    your attacks are striking home, feel free to increase Dexterity a little. With
    the right items and careful planning, you can craft a lean, mean,
    monster-slayin' machine in no time. If you want to use mercs, stacking a Might
    merc's aura with your Conviction should be tons of fun. 2H users might want to
    use Thorns instead due to their lower defense.
    
    Personal rating: 8.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++
    Hybrid Avenger
    ++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Combining the exceptional crowd control skills of the
    Zealot with the heavy-hitting prowess of the Avenger, Hybrid Avengers provide a
    well-balanced build capable of offsetting the weaknesses of its parent builds.
    For example, Zealots have a tough time dealing with PI boss monsters. Vengeance
    deals fire, cold and lightning damage, so it covers this liability well.
    Avengers on the other hand have much trouble dealing with large hordes of
    enemies. With a good weapon and a high-powered Fanaticism aura, a Zealot is
    more than capable of dealing with a crowd. Whoever said a Paladin has no
    crowd-control skills is only half right. By combining these two builds into
    one, you have a well-balanced fighting machine.
    
    My experience - If experience serves me right, this sub-type is a tad difficult
    to get by with during the early stages of the game. A lot of the skills you
    need, namely Conviction and Fanaticism, are available at a much later time than
    you would prefer. Vengeance and Zeal are intermediate level skills so focus on
    getting them first. For a while, I used an SLVL 1 Concentration aura to boost
    my skills. You might find it frustrating to have to break off an attack every
    now and then to chug a potion, but be patient. For the first part of the game,
    focus on building up your Strength and Vitality by putting two points in each.
    Any spare points should go to Dexterity. Towards the end of Act 1 in normal,
    shift to putting one point in Strength and the remainder in Dexterity and
    Vitality. I found this out the hard way because I always had to break off an
    attack just to regroup due to my low Dexterity stat causing far too many hits
    to go through. After a while it does get annoying. So some moderate investment
    into Dexterity goes a long way to boosting your defense. Most importantly, you
    will want to use a shield almost exclusively, so maintaining a high blocking %
    through Dexterity boosts is key. Strive for 50% and above. To further bolster
    your defense, an SLVL 10+ Holy Shield should provide a good lift for even a
    so-so shield. In the later stages of the game, you will start to have the
    skills you need to put this build together. Max Fanaticism and Vengeance when
    you get the chance. Remember, flashing is the key. You will want the large
    radius a high-level aura offers so you don't have to dance around all day
    waiting for Conviction to kick in. As soon as Conviction is locked in, switch
    to Fanaticism and attack with Vengeance. At this point, you don't have to worry
    too much about AR, because a high level Conviction will drop an enemy's defense
    to the point where 95% of your attacks hit, which is the maximum. For large
    crowds, you will want to mow them down with Zeal/Fanaticism. My Hybrid Avenger
    packs a Fury Balrog sword w/ life leech which he uses in "Avenger mode." His
    "Zealot" weapon setup consists of an Elite Artisan's War Scepter of the Wraith
    socketed with Shael and Vex runes to leech mana for Vengeance along with the
    Herald of Zakarum. By alternating between the two setups, you should always
    have the right skill handy. Once you get this build going, there is very little
    who can stand in your way.
    
    Personal rating: I would give a 15, but this is a ten point scale, 10/10.
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Chargadin AKA "Charger"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Chargers rely on the Pally's Charge attack to mete out
    swift justice against the monsters of Hell. Charge provides insane damage and
    AR bonuses, making it the most powerful attack the Paladin has. Chargadin is
    really a generic term to describe a whole variety of this sub-type, so I will
    delve into these builds in the following sections.
    
    My analysis - Chargadins are extremely powerful attackers and can easily
    dispatch monsters one-on-one. You'll have problems in cramped quarters like the
    Maggot's Lair or against large crowds. Charge is a really cool attack for
    several reasons. First of all, it allows you to run and quickly close the gap
    on the targeted creature. This is particularly useful when attempting to attack
    ranged attackers like Dark Archers or Shamans. Second, did I mention it has
    crazy damage bonuses? Finally, it knocks back and stuns an enemy when it
    scores, making those LE bosses seem like pushovers. I do have several warnings
    for those who choose the path of the Charger. In Act 4, the Oblivion Knights
    cast Iron Maiden, a nasty curse reflecting any damage inflicted onto you. If
    you're not careful, you could kill yourself in one hit. And second, if at any
    time you are frozen mid-Charge, you will do this annoying "moon-walk" which
    won't end unless you get to the target. The latter isn't really dangerous,
    although it will annoy the hell out of you when facing Duriel or Baal.
    
    How do I build one? - Simple, take Charge and run with it. Depending on what
    kind of armament you want to ou This build needs room to run in order to use
    Charge, so fast run/walk boots are a good idea. Some Chargers use 1H
    weapon+shield to provide a balance of offense and defense, whereas others use a
    huge 2H weapon like the Spire of Honor to deal crazy amounts of damage. I
    personally use the 1H shield so I don't have to compromise my defense. With
    this build, it is imperative to build up Strength in order to use the best
    weapons and armor. Vitality is also an important category, because Chargers
    will do a lot of running; stamina is a must. Weapon and shield users should opt
    to invest in Holy Shield, while 2H weapon users should invest more into
    Vitality. Probably 3 points per level and 2 to Strength, with an occasional
    point in Dexterity. Other skills to pay attention to are Salvation, Zeal and
    Vengeance. Salvation needs only 5 points to be effective, and you may add
    points to the other two skills at your discretion. A technique associated with
    Chargers is "Charge-lock." By holding down the mouse button while attacking, a
    Charger can "lock on" an enemy, regardless of its position on the screen. In
    doing so, they can Charge repeatedly until they run out of mana. Another
    technique is "ping-ponging." This skill requires a fairly open space.
    Ping-ponging is done by Charging from one enemy and then Charging another. One
    more necessary Charge technique to learn is the "double back." Sometimes,
    Charge won't knock an enemy back upon contact. In this scenario, a Charger will
    sprint away from the enemy for a short distance before turning around and
    unleashing another Charge. Needless to say, mastery of these three skills is a
    must for any aspiring Chargadin.
    
    Personal rating: on average, 8/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Chargadin Variation #1: Turbocharger AKA "The Flash"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Straight out of the pages of a comic book, comes a
    holy warrior capable of delivering devastating blows in the blink of an eye.
    The Flash is a different take on the Chargadin build. Flashes like to use the
    Vigor aura to accelerate their Charge to almost light-speed proportions. Prior
    to contact, they will then switch to a damage-augmenting aura like Fanaticism
    to deliver a HUGE amount of damage. Kamikazes will also use Vigor to boost
    their speed. This turbo run allows them to quickly put some distance, making
    the "double back" technique much easier to execute.
    
    My analysis - My preferred variety of Chargadin is the Vigilante (see section
    on Vigilante for more info), so any contributions to this section are welcome.
    
    How do I build one? - Max out Charge and maybe Vigor. When I get some advice, I
    will update this section when time allows.
    
    Personal rating: ?/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Chargadin Variation #2: PvP Charger AKA "Frostcharger"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A Frostcharger flashes the Holy Freeze aura and usues
    a maxed out Charge with Fanaticism to deal with his incapacitated opponents.
    Since the freeze inflicted by Holy Freeze isn't elemental, cold resistance is
    useless against this build. There are other types of PvP Pallies, but this one
    is fairly popular.
    
    My analysis - As I stated before, I'm not a big a fan of PvP, so anybody with
    pointers are welcome to let me know how this build does.
    
    How do I build one? - Since you are playing PvP, make sure to have a lot of
    Vitality in order to better survive your opponent's attacks. Strength is also a
    good idea to boost heavily so you can carry good weapons and wear good armor.
    Since the idea of this build is to destroy your foe with a single strike, it's
    a good idea to forgo the use of a shield and stick with a heavy weapon like a
    maul or lance. Coupled with Fanaticism and we're talking about damage in the
    1000s, if not more. This might sound like a lot, but it's common to see other
    duellers sporting DR gear to take the sting out of your attacks. Pack a bunch
    of resistance enhancing charms so you can survive attacks from elemental based
    attackers. Most importantly, stay patient. When your opponent has overextended
    him/herself, STRIKE!!!
    
    Personal rating: 7/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Chargadin Variation #3: The Vigilante
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Yet another take on the Chargadin archetype, this
    build relies on flashing Conviction before moving in for the kill with
    Charge+Fanaticism. Conviction drops an enemies' defense which means you can hit
    often and hit HARD. Highly versatile, this build is equally comfortable in PvM
    or PvP.
    
    My analysis - I built an excellent Vigilante in the form of MasterOnion, who
    had max Conviction, Charge and Fanaticism. Other skills to invest in - although
    not as heavily - are Zeal (duh), Salvation, and Holy Shield (if you use one).
    Instead of running amok with a War Lance, I opted instead to use a souped up
    Grandfather to do my dirty work. Flashing is a piece of cake once you get the
    timing right, so don't fret. Besides, you will have plenty of oppurtunities to
    practice your skills. Be sure you can ping-pong, Charge-lock, and double back
    with ease.
    
    How do I build one? - Besides allocating skill points to the prerequisites, max
    out Charge, Conviction and Fanaticism. You should also put a point or two into
    Zeal. Item-wise, you should opt for a good sword (cough, cough Lightsabre) if
    you go 1H. For 2H users, look for the Spire of Honor, a rare lance having great
    mods. Beef up your Strength and Vitality, putting little points into Dexterity,
    unless you use a shield. Shield users will also benefit from moderate
    investment in Holy Shield and an excellent Pally-only shield (cough, cough
    Herald of Zakarum).
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++
    Smitadin
    ++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Utilizing a maxed Smite w/ Holy Shield plus the aid of
    a maxed Fanaticism, the Smitadin strides into battle, laying waste to all who
    oppose him with a string of Smite attacks. This build takes advantage of the
    Smite damage bonus Holy Shield bestows on a shield and the stun a Smite attack
    does. This sub-type is like a Zealot, although with a shield. Instead of using
    a fast weapon to deal damage, a Smiter will use it to gain the speed bonuses it
    has. Smite speed is determined by the attack speed of your weapon. Therefore,
    it is preferable to use a speedy, low damage weapon like a sabre or a scimitar,
    rather than a slower, high damage weapon like a War Sword. Coupled with
    Fanaticism and a good Pally-only shield, you should have a devastating and
    speedy attack.
    
    My analysis - Another turbo-charged build courtesy of a maxed Fanaticism. I'm
    sure glad v1.09 decided to add damage bonuses to Fanaticism. Smite is a good
    move to use because it will stun and/or knock back the affected critter, long
    enough for you to strike again. It's not impossible to Smite a monster to
    death. With the crushing damage and stun you'll be doing, you could effectively
    Smite two or three times, use a mana-leeching sword to get some mana back and
    do it all over again. The only problems associated with Smitadins are twofold:
    1) Smite damage is only physical, so you'll have to resort to using Vengeance
    to carry you past PIs. 2) Smiting doesn't leech because leeching is not a
    property found on shields. If you run out of mana, switch to a another attack
    like... [drum roll]... you guessed it, Zeal! Mana-wise Smitadins are exactly as
    mana thirsty as other builds like Chargers or Avengers. From what I hear,
    Smitadins are actually pretty good at PvP.
    
    How do I build one? - Smite is a CLVL 1 skill, so you will have access to it
    from the get-go. Zeal takes one point in prerequistes and Fanaticism is won't
    be available until CLVL 30 if you have the proper prerequisites. Holy Shield is
    also available at CLVL 24 provding you have invested in Smite, which obviously
    is taken care of. Everything you need is pretty much there. The only other
    things to deal with are stats and equipment. Stats wise, you will need to build
    up Strength in order to get to the best shields, armor and even weapons.
    Weapons aren't much of an issue; just find a really fast sword or scepter with
    mana-leeching capabilities (not surprisingly, I would recommend a Lightsabre).
    I'm not sure if Dexterity figures into you Smite damage, but investing in it
    wouldn't hurt because you need a pretty decent AR in order to quickly leech any
    mana/life you need to sustain your attack.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Martyr AKA "Kamikaze"
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Sacrifice is somewhat of an odd skill. It works like
    reverse leeching; 8% of the damage you inflict is also inflicted on yourself.
    While this may seem dangerous, the damage and AR bonuses provided by Sacrifice
    are incredible and using an aura will further magnify you attack. This is the
    way of the Martyr. A rare breed of Pally, this sub-type hits hard and fast. It
    isn't too rare to see a Kamikaze standing in a pool of his own blood as well as
    the blood of his slain foe.
    
    My analysis - This is a difficult build to create and survive with. Unless
    you're nuts, steer clear of this build because it will not carry you all the
    way to the end of Act 5 in Hell difficulty. Why? Here goes. 1) You need a whole
    lot of life leeching equipment in order to prevent Sacrificing yourself to
    death. This doesn't give you a lot of leeway in finding resistance items,
    something of extreme importance in Hell. 2) Leeching is cut in 1/4 in Hell. So
    even with all of that equipment, you're only gaining a fraction of the damage
    you deal back. It may not be enough to keep you alive. 3) Sacrifice only deals
    physical damage. Any other type of damage is going to have to come from the
    weapon or from using Vengeance. It would be smart to make another build. Trust
    me.
    
    How do I build one? - Are you serious? This build can be relatively easy to
    make, since you can start pumping up Sacrifice from the beginning. Your aura is
    also as important. Most Kamikazes opt for either Conviction or Fanaticism, or a
    combination of flashing the two. Boost your Strength early in the game and sock
    away lots of points into Vitality. The only good thing about this build is it
    doesn't use any mana, so you don't have to worry about Ghosts and other mana
    sucking beasts. Armor is must; you're already damaging yourself, you don't want
    the enemy's damage stacking on top of that. Holy Shield is essential for 1H
    wielders. Surprisingly, Zeal isn't necessary for this sub-type. I have to
    admit, there is something comical about Kamikazes. After a particularly intense
    battle, you can see all these puddles of blood strewn about. Comical, indeed,
    in a morbid sort of way.
    
    Personal rating: 1/10
    
    +++++++++
    Hammerdin
    +++++++++
    What the hell is that? - The Pally has three projectile attacks in his arsenal:
    Holy Bolt, Blessed Hammer and Fist of the Heavens. Hammerdins make use of the
    Hammer and Concentration to mete out damage. Originally a popular build, but
    with v1.09, the Hammer/Concentration combo was nerfed. Despite this, the
    Hammerdin is still a pretty good sub-type for those who would like a change of
    pace from the hacking and slashing.
    
    My analysis - A build I've heard about, but never experimented with. For some
    reason, I just wasn't sold on the idea of a Pally as a ranged attacker.
    
    How do I build one? - Anybody with expertise is welcome to lend me their advice
    on how to create this rather off-the-wall build.
    
    Personal rating: 6/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    Ranger AKA "Bowadin"
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Another take on the Pally attacking at Range, this
    build is a little more straightforward and easier to use than a Hammerdin.
    There are a lot of possiblities with this build, mostly hinging on damaging
    auras like Fanaticism or Conviction (anyone see a recurring theme here?), or a
    combination of both. And that's just the vanilla Ranger build. Another
    variation on the Ranger build is the Shock Ranger. Shock Rangers center their
    attack on the lightning damage the Holy Shock adds to their attack. By flashing
    Conviction prior to attacking, a Shock Ranger puts plenty of sting into the
    volley of arrows he launches.
    
    My analysis - The key thing to remember about any Ranger character is for all
    the skills you have, you aren't an Amazon. This means, you actually have to aim
    your arrows rather than spamming a screen one volley at a time. Holding down
    shift while attacking is also very important, because you will want to avoid
    melee combat at all costs. Fortunately, this build doesn't require a whole
    bunch of mana, except maybe for those who want to use Fist of the Heavens as a
    backup. Fortunately, bows don't have to be repaired, but you will have to spend
    a little gold occasionally to replenish your quiver. Good bows are plentiful;
    you just have to know where to look. As with any bow-using character, the
    Buriza is a bow you might consider searching for.
    
    How do I build one? - If you are building a vanilla Ranger, stick to auras like
    Fanaticism and Conviction. Shock Rangers should seek to max out Holy Shock as
    soon as it becomes available. Both Ranger types will enjoy the speed bonuses
    bestowed from the Vigor aura. It isn't necessary to max it out; 5-7 points is
    enough to do the job. Concentrate on building your Ranger like a Bowazon, with
    lots of points into Dexterity, some into Strength and the rest into Vitality. A
    good rig for a Ranger are Tearhaunch Greaves or Gorerider Plated Boots for fast
    run/walk bonuses. Windforce (for those who shun the "overpowered" Buriza) is a
    swift and damaging bow with another great mod in knockback. Socket with a
    perfect skull or a leeching rune (I can never get the runes straight) and you
    have a pretty devastating offensive weapon. As for armor, pick the best Ancient
    Armor and shop around for high-resistance stuff. For helms, your absolute best
    bet is Tal Rasha's Death Mask or the Undead Crown. Both offer life leeching
    capabilities, although Tal Rasha's Mask also boosts resistances much more
    effectively than the crown.
    
    Personal rating: 9/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Missionary AKA "The Priest"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - On paper, Conversion sounds like a good skill. In
    practice, it is an excellent skill, provded you have the proper equipment.
    Conversion and Zeal are just about the Pally's best weapons against large
    crowds. Priests wade into a large crowd of enemies, attempt to convert some of
    them and mop up any mess the converts leave behind. Most opt to use Thorns to
    bounce damage off the newly converted punching bags. Some priests augment their
    minions' damage with Concentration (sadly, Fanaticism isn't as party-friendly
    as Concentration radius-wise). I know you're probably sick of hearing how great
    Conviction is, but it is, really. Flashing Conviction means you score more
    hits. More hits mean more chances to Convert. You do the math.
    
    My analysis - Right off the bat, I have to say Priests are a mana thirsty
    sub-type, so you might have to focus some points into Energy. Another
    alternative is to sock away mana-leeching gear. Silks come to mind. In terms of
    weaponry, find weapons which boost AR, you don't really need a good damage
    weapon. Even a piddly dagger will do. OK, realistically speaking, you want a
    fast war scepter with decent damage. When your convert kicks the bucket, don't
    weep. Conversion is capped at 16 seconds, so sooner or later you'll have to
    kill them. It's just once less monster for you to slay. A word of caution to
    aspiring Priests; flashing works negatively here. A convert under the influence
    of an aura will continue to enjoy the benefits of it even after Conversion has
    worn off. This is especially hazardous if you are using Thorns. When the
    glowing triangle disappears, RUN AWAY! And then use the Holy Hand Grenade! Oh
    sorry, I just had to sneak in the Monty Python reference. Seriously, if you
    have a melee merc, he will try to kill it and probably wind up dying. If you
    have a ranged merc, fear not, your Rogue Scout can dispatch the ex-convert with
    impunity. Finally, while Conversion is great against crowds, you need to make
    another backup skill to service you in a heat one-on-one boss fight. My
    recommendation? Charge!
    
    How do I build one? - Everything about this build hinges on AR. You can boost
    yours by pumping Dexterity big time or lower your opponents' defense with a
    buffed up Conviction. Strength-wise you can probably invest in this
    sporadically. A majority of your points should be going into - in increasing
    order - Energy, Vitality and Dexterity. To repeat, this build uses a lot of
    mana, so keep potions handy and/or find excellent leeching equipment. Silks
    anyone? Max out Conversion, Thorns and Conviction when you get the chance. An
    SLVL 10 Holy Shield will probably stop most attacks cold. Why not use it on the
    Herald of Zakarum or Stormshield? Finally, max out Charge to deal with those
    pesky solo dogfights. Vengeance is a prequisite for Conversion, so you will
    have access to this skill when dealing with PIs. A fun build especially against
    the hordes of Hell Bovines in the Cow Level! Now go! Spread the word of the
    Light!
    
    Personal rating: 7/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Auradin AKA "The Frat Boy"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Like most members of a fraternity, these types can
    only be found in parties. And like frat boys, they serve no general purpose
    except to lend their blessing auras to other partygoers. I must insist, this is
    a strict support character. You'll be lucky if you can kill a Devil Kin on
    Hell. Forgoing the mighty Combat Skills tree, Frat Boys focus on auras like
    Fanaticism, Conviction, Defiance, Prayer, Meditation and Salvation. Are you
    sure you really want to make one of these? Sure, you're lending auras to aid
    teammates, but you're not killing anything. This is not a build for people who
    like to solo
    
    My experience - I never made one. I just couldn't bear to look at myself in the
    mirror if I couldn't kill an enemy by myself.
    
    How do I build one? - ?
    
    Personal rating: 5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Cleric AKA "The Excorcist"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Another support character, this build specializes in
    healing skills and anti-undead skills. If you're ever besieged by hordes of the
    undead, call the Excorcist. With his prowess in Fist of the Heavens, Holy Bolt,
    Sanctuary, Prayer and Conviction, this Pally is capable of decimating swarms of
    the undead. Of course, that doesn't mean he can't put up a decent fight against
    living foes. Clans all across Battle.Net prize a skilled Cleric because his
    healing skills make team duels much easier.
    
    My analysis: Errr... wish I could say. Sounds pretty good. I'm on it!
    
    How do I build one? - Focus on skills like Fist of the Heavens, Holy Bolt,
    Sanctuary and Conviction. Of course, points in Holy Shield are necessary to
    boost your defense. Since you will be dumping points into Energy and Vitality,
    your shield will be more important than your body armor. Low Strength also
    means you'll be doing a lot of running because you won't pack such a punch...
    at least in the beginning. Look for fast cast equipment to minimize the delay
    between castings of Fist of the Heavens.
    
    Personal rating: 5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Thornadin AKA "Pacifist"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Long before v1.09, when DR wasn't that important,
    Thorns was a powerful and much sought after skill inspiring fear and terror in
    the minions of Hell. Wait, it still does. Thorns basically reflects any damage
    from a melee attack back to the attacker. For example, an SLVL 20 Thorns
    returns roughly 1000% damage back to the unfortunate Moon Lord who hit you. So
    if you take 1 damage, then the attacker takes 100 or more! A Thornadin uses max
    Thorns, a big weapon and then some to take down Diablo and his goons.
    
    My analysis - Since Thorns will do most of your dirty work, you should
    concentrate on developing other skills as well. Armor isn't really as important
    because you will want the lowered defense, believe it or not. Lowered defense
    means an enemy has a better chance to hit you, which translates into eating
    tons of Thorns damage. Sweet. Plus, you'll be doing whack amounts of damage
    with the weapon you got. So you should focus more on beefing up your
    resistances and missile defense although you can scoot up to a ranged attacker
    and let Thorns do its thing. For combat skills, you should go for Vengeance and
    Zeal and maybe a Fist of the Heavens to soften up a crowd. In terms of weapons,
    you will want more leeching than a typical Pally build, since you rely on
    getting hit to mete out most of your damage. Finally, you can find mods which
    direct received damage to mana so you have enough to keep fighting. Build up
    your Dexterity and Vitality right away. Although you don't want too high
    Dexterity because it would mean bringing up your DR, you still need the good AR
    to score hits, especially since you aren't using an AR boosting aura like
    Fanaticism. Vitality is an obvious necessity because you'll be taking a whole
    lot of hits. A lot of life never hurt anyone. Any remaining points should go to
    Strength, so you can get the best weaponry money can buy. Stick to 2H weapons,
    mainly fast ones with mods to AR and damage. My suggestion is a Fury Zweihander
    or Balrog Blade. Polearms, maces and spears make viable alternatives if you're
    tired of using swords.
    
    Personal rating: 5.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++
    Defiant AKA "Defender"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Going in the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of
    offense/defense, this sub-type focuses on creating an inpenetrable warrior.
    Maxing Defiance and behind the comforting blessings conferred by Holy Shield,
    Defiants are extremely hard to hit and as a result are capable tanks for any
    party. To further their end, Defenders also seek out and hoard large numbers of
    DR equipment to render them extremely resistant to damage.
    
    My analysis - A decent build for the beginner. Even one point into Defiance
    doubles your DR, hich should give anyone a headache. Maxing it further boosts
    your DR and to top it all off, you still have armor, a shield+Holy Shield and
    damage resistance to add to that mix! Since you won't be much of an offensive
    powerhouse, the damage you are capable of dealing out becomes more vital. So I
    suggest you find an elite Fury War Scepter with "+ skills" bonuses to
    Vengeance, which should be your bread and butter attack.
    
    How do I build one? - You will need to get Prayer before getting access to
    Defiance. As soon as you do, start pumping it up as soon as you can. In the
    combat skills tree, focus on building up Vengeance from the get-go. It might
    cost a lot of mana at higher levels, but the damage is well worth it. Holy
    Shield is another must max skill. As far as shields go, try to get your hands
    on the Stormshield or the Herald of Zakarum. If you can't a nice tower shield
    with high blocking % socketed with three perfect diamonds will do just fine.
    Besides boosting Strength to get the best items, the next important stat is
    Dexterity. With Strength determining the severity of your attacks, there's no
    excuse why you shouldn't have a 95% chance to hit anything. If you really want
    to boost your damage, grab the Might merc from Act 2 in Nightmare.
    
    Personal rating: 9/10
    
    ++++++++++++++
    Fallen Paladin
    ++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Not your usual flavor of Pally, this sub-type shuns
    the use of any auras and instead focuses on building up Combat Skills
    exclusively. Usually Holy Shield, Vengeance, Zeal, Charge and Conversion are
    favorites. A must for any player looking for a greater challenge.
    
    My analysis - Without auras to boost you, this build is pretty challenging.
    You'll have to rely on sheer skill and smarts to see you through. As always, a
    maxed out Holy Shield is a must. Zeal and Conversion really shine against
    crowds. Vengeance and Charge are marvelous against one-on-one boss fights. I
    think this build is a little more versatile in terms of battlefield
    circumstances because the lack of auras frees up skill points to allocate
    elswhere. That may be true, but then again, a Hybrid Avenger does just fine.
    
    How do I build one? - Remember, the name of the game is to avoid using auras.
    You will devote skill points to Combat Skills with cult-like devotion. The
    first order of business is to invest in prerequisites like Sacrifice and Smite.
    From there, you can start building up Vengeance and Charge. I wouldn't suggest
    taking on Andariel until you're about CLVL 20 or above. By the time you square
    off against Duriel, you will definitely need Holy Shield. At that point, start
    building up Holy Shield and Conversion; the former will be your primary source
    of defensive boosts and the latter is your primary crowd control skill, along
    with Zeal. Without auras, you will need to pay special attention to the weapons
    you wield. Look for mods which simultaneously boost AR and damage. Leeching is
    a high priority as well. Get your resistances up as high as possible because
    you won't enjoy the benefits of the Salvation aura. Finally, be patient. Your
    killing speed will definitely take a hit, so don't wade into crowds and expect
    to slice them to bits like a Zealot would.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    +++++++++++
    Jedi Knight
    +++++++++++
    Contributed by: Danilo Orozco
    
    What the hell is that? - For the longest time, only Amazons had a subclass that
    revolve around the use of a specific weapon, namely the Buriza. Well, die-hard
    Paladin fans (myself included) have created a subclass modeled after the Jedi
    Knight. See the resemble? Both are strong, noble and adherents to a code of
    honor.
    
    My analysis - Since the only requirement of this class is to wield a Lightsabre
    (use of a shield is up to you), you can make this just about any of the above
    subclasses. So, pick a build and run with it. Personally, I stuck to using the
    Hybrid Avenger.
    
    How do I build one? - Depending on what build you want, and how true to the
    Jedi Knight model you want to be, it's very open-ended. Find a build you like
    and go see the above sections.
    
    =====
    Druid
    =====
    
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Werewolf (WW) Druid
    +++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Druids have the unique ability to shift their form.
    They can change into ferocious wolves or large, hulking bears capable of
    landing damaging blows. Each form has its own strengths and weaknesses as well
    as specific skills. WW Druids like to use skills like Feral Rage combined with
    Fury to deal out huge amounts of damage as well as leech tons of life. Some WW
    Druids will enlist the aid of their summons, notably Oak Sage, Dire Wolves and
    Carrion Vines.
    
    My analysis - The fun part of this build is you have insane attack speed with
    the right weapons in addition to having a decent life leeching skill.
    Furthermore, Fury is a way better take on the Pally's Zeal skill; not only does
    it boost AR, it adds damage bonuses too (man, I wish Zeal were this good).
    Enough complaining about Zeal's damage shortcomings; it's still a great skill.
    Feral Rage is just awesome when combined with Fury. With Feral Rage's innate
    life-leeching ability, that's one less criteria you have to find in your
    equipment. Spending points into Lycanthropy is essential, so you can retain the
    Werewolf form for longer durations. Use a fast weapon like a maul, axe , or
    scythe to jack up your attack speed to ungodly levels.
    
    How do I build one? - Werewolf and Lycanthropy are available from the very
    beginning of the game, which is where you should be putting your points for the
    most part. It is imperative you max these two skills ASAP. Actually, you can
    put off maxing Werewolf until you have maxed out the other skills you need,
    like Fury. If you opt to use summons, stick with Oak Sage, Carrion Vines and
    Dire Wolves. The only summon you might want to max out is the Oak Sage because
    it will give you tons of life. Dire Wolves are good, providing a mix of
    quantity and quality. Having them around to take the heat off of you is
    invaluable. As an added plus, Dire Wolves will snack on corpses to augment
    their powers, making battles with Fallen Ones much easier. To further tout the
    virtues of the Dire Wolf, any points you put into Spirit Wolves will provide an
    life bonus to the other animal summons, Dire Wolf and Grizzly Bear. Stat points
    are another area that I will address. Since you get a boost to AR when you
    morph into wolf form, Dexterity isn't a big priority. However, you shouldn't
    skimp investing in it because it also provides a boost to defense, a bonus the
    wolf form doesn't provide. The bulk of your points should go into Strength and
    Vitality to make you a hardy fighter. Find items with mana-leech to sustain
    your attack and stick with big, high-damaging weapons with fast attack rates
    like mauls, axes, 2H swords or some polearms. Later into the game, you will
    want the services of a good shield, primarily for defensive and resistance
    purposes.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Werebear (WB) Druid
    +++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Choosing the fearsome strength and fortitude of the
    bear over the quick, scathing attacks of the wolf, Werebears are fearsome
    warriors if planned and developed correctly. This build uses attacks like Maul
    and Shockwave to slap Diablo's minions six ways to Sunday. While the bear may
    not attack anywhere near as quickly or as accurately as the wolf, morphing into
    this form bestows bonuses to DR and life. Like the wolf, some bears like to go
    solo, while others use summons, notably Heart of Wolverine, Dire Wolves and
    Carrion Vines. There is a subset of this build called the "Tankbear," which I
    will get into next.
    
    My analysis - This is the one character build that practically screams, "Tank!"
    in the world of D2X. My first Druid build, Ace_VenturaPD, was a Werebear
    because I wanted to shy away from the popular Werewolf builds. I must say, the
    experiment turned out with pleasant results. The key to any good bear character
    is Maul and Heart of Wolverine. You might be initially turned off by the bear's
    horrid attack speed, but when he scores a hit, it hurts... a lot. Since the
    bear gets no AR bonuses from transforming, you'll have to get them somewhere
    else. Enter Heart of Wolverine and Maul. Hitting a creature with Maul causes a
    little green orb to circle around you. Continued use of Maul causes the orb to
    spin faster and become larger. Fully charged, a high-level Maul can more than
    make up for a weak weapon's damage. So instead of striking slower than molasses
    on a winter day, focus more on upping your attack speed. Meaning, start
    hoarding Shael runes. Good weapons to use with bears are daggers, axes, mauls,
    scythes and some swords. Look closely at the attack speed of the weapons you
    buy. Remember, you're a bear. You hit and hit HARD.
    
    How do I build one? - First you will have to put a point into Werewolf in order
    to get Lycanthropy and Werebear. As with the wolf, focus on maxing out
    Lycanthropy. Next, starting at CLVL 12, start pumping Maul like there's no
    tomorrow. This will be your primary attack, so you will need it to be at a high
    level in order to survive. If you're going to use pets, put points into them
    whenever you feel the need to. It's important to put at least 3 points into
    Dire Wolves so you can have the maximum number of them out. Any more than 3 is
    at your own discretion. One point into Carrion Vine is all you need, although
    you will need to have acquired Poison Creeper before you can get Carrion Vine.
    Hunger is also another good skill to have around. The damage might suck, but at
    least you get dual leeching. If done correctly, Hunger can be your best friend
    in a prolonged battle. The trick is to get Maul fully charged up so you can do
    a lot of damage. Let's do some math shall we? Let's just say you do 1000 damage
    with Maul powered up. Hunger has a -75% damage penalty. So... 1000x.25=250
    damage that will be used to replenish health and mana. Hey, that's still a lot,
    damage penalty or not. One point is more than enough here. Also have an SLVL 10
    or above Shockwave handy. By stunning and damaging incoming flocks of enemies,
    you can control the number of attackers you will face at any given time. Crowd
    control is always good (Yes, I am still complaining about Zeal's lack of damage
    bonuses). Weapons, weapons and armor. Weapon of choice? I'll let you figured
    out what my first choice is. I'll give you a hint, it's a unique Phase Blade
    sharing a name with a Jedi weapon. Try it out, you'll agree. Another prime
    choice are badass 2H weapons like mauls, axes and polearms (specifically
    scythes). For axes, seek out Hellslayers, Brainhews, Guardian Nagas,
    Messerschmidt Reavers, etc. For polearms, find the Grim's Burning Dead, an
    exceptional War Scythe. It rocks.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    ++++++++
    Tankbear
    ++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A Werebear variant designed specifically for duelling
    or just to make life a hell of a lot harder for evil. Built like the
    conventional Werebear, this sub-type swaps Heat of Wolverine for Oak Sage in
    order to bolster his life total to strange proportions. I've heard reports of
    duelling Werebears with life around 5000+. Obviously, a lot of time and
    patience is required to bring this bear down.
    
    My experience - My realm of bear expertise lies in the conventional Werebear
    builds. As I've repeated several times in this FAQ, I am a staunch opponent of
    PvP. OK, not that staunch. PK is what I dislike most about playing online. As
    long as it's mutual, I don't mind a duel or two. But let's face it, I suck at
    duelling.
    
    How do I build one? - Refer to the above section on the Werebear to get the
    gist of this build. However, you will most likely be investing a lot more life
    into Vitality because because a tank can never have too much life right?
    Remember this mantra, max Werebear, max Lycanthropy, max Maul, max Shockwave.
    Since you're going for a kill in as few hits as possible, seek out and find a
    good high damage weapon and a smaller, faster one. You will want to charge Maul
    with the faster weapon and then switch to the bigger one to deliver the fatal
    blow. All this sounds great on paper, but I hear about how all these guys are
    easy to take down, albeit annoyingly lengthy.
    
    Personal rating: 5/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Elementalist AKA "Nature's Wrath"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Contributed by - Louie Variliar and Danilo Orozco
    
    Section written by - Louie Variliar
    
    What the hell is that? - You guessed it, it's Druid who uses elemental skills.
    If you like the Sorceresses and Necromancers, you should try this build. It can
    tear apart Nightmare cows, maybe even up to Hell Act 4. My own Druid has not
    made it to Act 2, so I can't tell you how long it stays good. If Blizzard
    didn't nerf the elemental skills so much, this would actually
    be a good build.
    
    My analysis - It's very easy to pick what skills to use. He only has 4  skills
    that you would bother using, which are Tornado, Volcano, Hurricane, and of
    course, Armegeddon. Basically, all you need to worry about is having Hurricane
    or Armegeddon always being on, and constantly spamming Tornado. With enough
    faster cast, you can nearly be a Lagromancer.
    
    How do I build one? - Remember, your Elemental Druid is built like a Sorceress.
    You don't need Strength a great deal, nor do you need Dexterity much, but just
    get some for equip. Your equip is ANYTHING with plus skills, such as Shako,
    Lidless Wall, Vipermagi, etc. Get as much plus skills as possible, you won't
    regret it, even if it sacrifices resist. Later, you can even use LightSabre if
    you can afford it(since it has nice damage AND Ignore Target Defence). When
    picking what skills to use, you should only decide between Armegeddon and
    Tornado, or Hurricane. Whichever one you get, you should always get about 5 or
    6 in Oak Sage and 9 to 10 Bear. But, if you're going for pure elemental(which I
    don't recomend), get Hurricane and Armegeddon, Tornado, and Volcanoe if you can
    later. Oh, you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS use Solar Creeper. With it, you only need
    about 100 into energy.
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    ++++++++++++++
    Hybrid Shifter
    ++++++++++++++
    Contributed by: Danilo Orozco
    
    What the hell is that? - Combining the talents of the Elemental Skill tree,
    namely Armageddon, with those of the Shapeshifting skill set, the Hybrid
    Shifter lays waste to all who oppose him. The idea behind this build is to cast
    Armageddon, transform, then engage the enemy to keep them within Armageddon's
    range. Although it's optimal in combination with the Werebear, due to its Stun
    skill, some Hybrid Shifters stick with the Werewolf skills.
    
    My analysis - Probably a decent build. Although Armageddon has horrible range,
    it is the most damaging of the Druid's Elemental spells. By transforming and
    tanking, you allow the enemy to suffer the full wrath of Armageddon. I like!
    
    How do I build one? - You will need to max Armageddon first and foremost.
    Concentrate on getting the prerequisites as you go. Meanwhile, make the
    decision between Werewolf or Werebear right away. I personally gravitate
    towards Werebear, since you can spam a high-level Stun to keep opponents near
    Armageddon. Depending on which you choose, you will want the appropriate
    spirit; Oak Sage for Werewolves and Heart of Wolverine for Werebears. Invest in
    Lycanthropy as you see fit. You only need to be in animal form throughout the
    duration of Armageddon. About ten points should suffice. Stats-wise, focus on
    building your character up like any melee-based subclass, emphasizing Strength
    and Vitality. Energy shouldn't be pumped up, because you will only cast
    Armageddon occasionally. Let mana-leeching take care of that. Enjoy your
    bad-ass avatar of nature!
    
    Personal rating: 7.5/10
    
    ========
    Assassin
    ========
    
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Martial Artist AKA "The Ninja"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Relying primarily on her Martial Arts skills, this
    sub-type engages in melee combat. The charge-up and finishing move system is
    pretty easy once you get the hang of it but with all the hotkey switching
    you'll be doing, prepare for a vigorous digital workout. Ninjas rely on a maxed
    out Tiger Strike to boost their damage as well as Phoenix Strike to overcome
    PIs. Another bonus is Cobra Strike, which allows the Ninja to leech back any
    health and mana, eliminating the need to find that mod in weapons. For
    finishing moves, the popular one is Dragon Tail, which is very effective
    against crowds. There are three varieties of Ninjas: dual wielders, weapon and
    shield, and heavy metal. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, which
    will be covered in the appropriate section.
    
    My experience - I really like this build because it forces you to pay attention
    in order to be successful. You can't just rely on just one skill to see you
    through. Every battle you engage in becomes a frantic, hotkey-tappin' frenzy. I
    found the best hotkey setup is to have all your charge-up skills on the left
    side and all of your finishers on the right. One of the best features of this
    subclass is mana costs pretty much stay the same regardless of SLVL. For
    example, Tiger Strike costs only 1 mana, even at SLVL 20. With Cobra Strike,
    you don't need a lot of leeching equipment to help you out. The Dragon Tail
    finishing move really shines in crowds and by pumping up your Dexterity, you
    can dish out a whole lot of damage in a hurry.
    
    How do I build one? - Fortunately, you get access to Tiger Strike in the
    beginning, so start dumping points into it as soon as you can. For now, you'll
    have to use a regular attack to release your Tiger Strike Charges. Once you get
    Cobra Strike at CLVL 12, you can start to use finishers, namely the Dragon
    Talon you have. Don't invest in Dragon Talon beyond a single point, because
    what you really want is either Dragon Claw or Dragon Tail, depending on which
    Ninja variation you are creating. In addition, a point into Phoenix Strike is
    always a good thing against PIs, although you're more than welcome to max it
    out. Once you have all these skills in place, I want you to repeat this little
    mantra (the order in which you use your skills): Tiger Strike, Tiger Strike,
    Tiger Strike... Cobra Strike, Cobra Strike, Cobra Strike, DRAGON TALON! Pow!
    That sounds like a lot of damage. Of course, you will have to tweak with this
    order when dealing with immune boss monsters. I think the first charge of
    Phoenix does fire damage, the second cold and the third lightning. As I stated
    before, pay attention. For claw users, a couple of points into Claw Mastery
    will really ease the burden of getting good AR. Don't forget to put points in
    the prerequisites for Shadow Master. You will really want this skill as Shadow
    Master is easily the strongest summon in the game. The master can easily tank
    and take the heat off you. If you are gonna go the kicking route in terms of
    finishing moves, it's imperative you build up Dexterity as high as you can.
    Your kick damage is determined by how high your Dexterity is. OK, there's a
    complicated math formula using your Dexterity to determine damage, but I have
    no idea what it is. The rest of your points should go into Vitality and
    Strength. Since you have Cobra Strike, Energy isn't much of an issue.
    
    Personal rating: averaged 9.5/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Ninja Variant #1: Dual Claw AKA "Voldo"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - You ever heard of that fighting game by Namco? Not
    Tekken, but the one with swords? Yeah, Soulcalibur. Well, this build kinda
    resembles the character Voldo except a) she's not blind and b) she doesn't wear
    freaky S&M stuff like Voldo. Um... what a disgusting picture. What seperates
    this variant from the other Ninjas is she wields two claws. She also uses max
    Claw Mastery and Claw Block coupled with the usual suspects Tiger, Cobra, and
    Phoenix Strikes. By using two claws, this Ninja finishes opponents with a swift
    Dragon Claw.
    
    My experience - Sorry, can't help on this one, sport. I prefer the balance of
    offense and defense a claw and shield Ninja offers.
    
    How do I build one? - Simple. Grab two claws. Since you will forgo the use of
    shield, you'd probably invest a little more into Vitality than a claw/shield
    Ninja. Maxing Claw Mastery and Claw Block are essential. Furthermore, using
    other Shadow Disciplines like Shadow Master will also make life much easier.
    Geez, there has to be more to this than what I got. Help!
    
    Personal rating: ?/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Ninja Variant #2: Weapon and Shield
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - A fine balance of offense/defense, this sub-type can
    unleash devastating attacks while still capable of turning away attacks with
    her shield. For the most part, Ninjas of this discipline like to use Dragon
    Tail or Talon, although some prefer Dragon Flight because its teleporting
    abilities permit them to get to some areas faster.
    
    My experience - With this build, you get a nice balance of dishing out damage
    and not taking as much. Sweet. Dragon Tail is one of the best crowd control
    techniques in the game aside from Fury and Whirlwind (I'm still complaining
    about lack of damage bonuses for Zeal). A decent claw is all your really need,
    although I would prefer a faster weapon like a flail or sabre since they do
    more damage. Claws, even rares and uniques, are pretty cheap and easy to
    maintain. As such you get your money's worth. The best claws don't do a lot of
    damage, even with max Claw Mastery. A Ninja can still use charge-ups and
    finishers with other weapons except the blade skills - Blades of Fire, Blades
    of Ice and Claws of Thunder - as these require use of a claw. Using a faster
    weapon means you still get fast attack speed with better damage. As for
    shields, bigger is better. My Assassin has an elite Weird Flail of Alacrity
    socketed with a perfect sapphire. On her other hand is the Blackoak shield.
    Filling out her ensemble are the Immortal King's Pillar from the Immortal King
    set, a Nightsmoke belt, Chance Guard gauntlets, the Harlequin's Crest helm and
    Ancient Armor outfitted with the Smoke runeword. Nice.
    
    How do I build one? - Claw and shield Ninjas don't need to focus so much on
    Vitality than a dual wielder. Thus, you can focus more points into Dexterity. I
    find this highly important for two reasons: 1) you don't have the benefit of a
    skill like Holy Shield to boost your shield's blocking %. 2) your Dexterity
    determines how much damage your kicks deal out. Your second high-priority stat
    is Strength, which allows you to carry better armor and shields. The Cobra
    Strike skill takes care of any leeching needs, so skimp on Energy unless you're
    really hurting for mana. Phoenix Strike is useful in defeating PIs, while Tiger
    Strike makes your attacks sting much more. Max with extreme prejudice.
    Meanwhile, don't forget to invest points toward Shadow Warrior. Some people
    argue Shadow Master is better, but I'll leave the decision up to you.
    
    Personal rating: 10/10
    
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Ninja Variant #3: Heavy Metal
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What the hell is that? - Not to be confused with the genre of rock music that
    gave us great bands like Metallica, Motley Crue and so on. Heavy Metal Ninjas
    shun the piddly damage offered by claws and instead use the skill Burst of
    Speed to speed up the attack speed of large 2H weapons like mauls. As I stated
    before, using Martial Arts skills don't require the use of the claw except for
    three, which are labeled in the tree. While a left-of-center take on the Ninja,
    a well-developed Heavy Metal Ninja is a dangerous opponent.
    
    My analysis - Pretty good actually. This is one tough build if you have a good
    weapon. Otherwise, it's just like building any other Martial Artist. You know,
    Tiger Strike, Dragon Tail, Phoenix Strike, Cobra Strike. Blah, blah, blah. The
    only difference is the weapon and some skill points.
    
    How do I build one? - Instead of investing heavily in Claw Mastery, try to get
    the prerequisites for Shadow Warrior and Burst of Speed. Burst of Speed is
    especially important, since this is what makes the build tick. Your next
    priority is to grab yourself a good weapon. Many Heavy Metal Ninjas swear by
    mauls, pikes and halberds, although some are known to use great swords and
    really, really big axes simply because they are usually the most powerful
    weapons in the game. Strength is of the utmost importance in the beginning,
    since you will want to get your hands on the best 2H weapons out there. In
    increasing order, you should invest in the following stats: Vitality,
    Dexterity, and Strength. Usually 2 in Strength and Dexterity and 1 in Vitality
    is sufficient. If you feel your life is too low, switch to 2 Strength, 1
    Dexterity and 2 Vitality. With all the damage your doing, you can easily get
    any life back by building up Cobra Strike and releasing the charges with a
    well-placed Dragon Tail. Here's a basic step-by-step to attacking with the
    Heavy Metal Ninja: 1) activate Burst of Speed, 2) charge in and use your
    martial arts skill to leech back lost mana and/or health 3) when Burst of Speed
    wears off, repeat step 1. Easy! Some must-have items are the Hellslayer,
    Messerschmidt's Reaver, Spire of Honor, or any weapon with the runeword Fury.
    If you got those, a good Might merc and a Shadow Warrior (or Master) backing
    you up, you're gold.
    
    Personal rating: 8/10
    
    *********************
    My Favorite Sub-Types
    *********************
    1. Hybrid Avenger (Paladin) - Extremely versatile. My Pally, Jihad_Joe (I am
    not expressing any anti-Muslim sentiments. I only came up with this name as a
    diss against John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban.), has SLVL 20 Vengeance,
    Fanaticism, Holy Shield and Conviction along with an SLVL 5 Zeal. His "Avenger"
    setup consists of a Fury Balrog Sword which deals massive amounts of damage. I
    am currently in the process of looking for a better sword... cough...
    Grandfather. His "Zealot" get up consists of the Herald of Zakarum and an
    Artisan's War Scepter of the Wraith with +1 to Redemption. It's socketed with
    Shael and Vex runes to leech back tons of mana for "Avenger" mode. Needless to
    say, I pretty much breezed through the rest of Hardcore once I got to CLVL 30.
    
    2. Old School Tweaker (Sorceress) - So efficient, really takes the fun out of
    the game. Not! Kirsten had SLVL 20 Blizzard and Cold Mastery, along with SLVL
    20 Warmth, Chain Lightning and SLVL 9 Static Field. In addition, she also used
    a nice War Staff with +1 to Teleport and +1 to Energy shield as her alternate
    weapon. Her primary weapon consisted of Wizardspike coupled with Sigon's Guard
    to pump up her other skills. Too bad I don't have her around, she would've made
    one hell of an MF sorc. Pity. As I said before, I am currently in the process
    of creating a Fire-based Old School Tweaker using Meteor.
    
    3. Whirlybarb (Barbarian) - Sure it's a little mana-thirsty, but look at all
    the creatures you can mow down with it! I like to use this dual-wielding
    (against minions) or with a sword and shield (against bosses). You can't lose!
    Find a good weapon that you have full mastery in and your damage will be
    through the roof!
    
    4. Werewolf Druid - The combination of Feral Rage and Fury is truly one of the
    coolest combos I've beared witness to. If you plan it right, you can leech a
    ton of life. Too bad you can't use that leeched life to heal your minions. But
    that would make this combo too overpowered right? With the right weapons, the
    werewolf can strike about as quickly as a Zealot with a low-level Fanaticism
    aura. I breezed through the game with this build.
    
    5. Sniperzon - The lazy man's Amazon. There's no need to aim. Just hold Shift
    and spam the screen with little homing missiles. With the Pierce bug, this
    combo really makes Diablo a cakewalk. I'd like you to say the same about other
    builds. Hahaha, impossible!
    
    ***************
    Closing Remarks
    ***************
    Part of the fun of Diablo II is customization and experimentation with the
    different character classes and skills. Each of these builds have come to
    fruition as a result of a little ingenuity, research and passion. Now there is
    no rule stating you have to make any of these builds nor have all possible
    character sub-types have been developed. For the most part, character
    development is still a dynamic art and it is entirely in the realm of
    possibility there'll be a person out there who figures out how to use a certain
    skill in a whole new way.
    
    The main point I would like to stress is finding a style which suits not only
    your personality, but also how you want to approach the game. If you're looking
    for a challenge, go for a Pinup Girl build. Want a new spin on a skill? Give
    the Bard a spin. There's a character style for everyone. Diablo II is a
    rewarding experience for the avid and casual gamer. There's no better feeling
    like going on your 3,534,676,865,084th Hell Mephrun and finally scoring that
    Windforce to give to your Spamazon. Along the same vein, you can beat the game
    and not play it for months and still be satisfied in the fact you bested Baal
    in an intense half-hour duel.
    
    Finally, I wanted to say this encyclopedia has been nothing but a labor of love
    for me. As you can tell, my knowledge of D2X is rather extensive. But I feel
    there is much more to learn. While I still chase after good items (I have yet
    to lay eyes on an Eaglehorn or a Baranar's Star without actually having to go
    over to my friend Brendan's house and using his PvP Barb and Zon) and study
    other skills through message board discussions, I have yet to fully master the
    world of D2X. I hope in reading this, you have as much passion for the game as
    I do.
    
    ***************************
    Thank you's and dedications
    ***************************
    To those who perished in the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001 - This tragedy has
    helped unite a nation long disaffected with prosperity and self-absorption. To
    all those radical leftists, I must chastise you for trivializing these people's
    deaths as nothing more than a means of protest against US policy in the Middle
    East. You don't understand how terrorists think and nobody should be wasting
    time trying anyway. God bless those innocent souls, they will not have died in
    vain.
    
    To the men and women who are serving in the Armed Forces - You are willing to
    make the ultimate sacrifice to defend the values which make this country great:
    freedom, liberty and equality. I salute you and wish you a successful mission
    and safe return home.
    
    My family - First and most importantly, to my family, without who I wouldn't be
    the person I am today. Heck, I wouldn't even exist. My parents, brother and
    sister have been constant presences in my life and I imagine I would be a much
    worse version of my current self without them.
    
    Blizzard Entertainment - For making one of the most ass-kickin'est games in the
    history of PC gaming. If there wasn't Diablo II, this FAQ would cease to exist.
    
    GameFAQs.com - An excellent site, for the people and by the people. If you ever
    need help in a game and don't want to shell out $15 for a game guide, this
    should be your first stop. You can also catch up on the latest gaming news
    here.
    
    DiabloII.net - A very comprehensive D2X site. You'll find everything here from
    strategy, item information and all the latest D2X news. A must for any novice
    and even for grizzled veterans!
    
    Contributors: Albert Cho, Eric Denmead, Sashanan, Michael del Toro, Dinkmeer,
    Louie Variliar, Danilo Orozco, Adam Craig Walter and Greg Campbell. Thanks a
    million for your help. I couldn't have made this guide without expert second,
    third, fourth, etc. opinions.
    
    Whoever translated the Sega game "Zero Wing" - I pity the fool for
    unintentionally creating one of the most hilarious Internet phenomena! You have
    to watch the goofy music video to truly grasp how badly "Zero Wing" butchered
    the English language. Besides, I have a pretty cool pen name now! Someone set
    us up the bomb! Hahahahahahahahaha...
    
    All my favorite bands - The White Stripes, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Garbage, The
    Strokes, The Hives, U2, Incubus, and yes, even Elvis Presley for providing
    excellent music while I wrote up this FAQ in the wee hours of the morning and
    late afternoon.
    
    Various "lad magazines" like Stuff, FHM, MAXIM - These magazines make it OK to
    act like guys. All this politically correct nonsense has to stop! And besides,
    no other magazines do a better job putting famous gals like Sarah Michelle
    Gellar or Jessica Alba in tasty pictures. Keep up the most excellent work!