Flames' PvP Shaman Guide 1. General 2. Skill Allocations 3. Gear Selection 4. PvP Strategies This guide is for a Ladder PvP Shaman. A Shaman is a fire druid with a maxed Grizzly bear. There are not enough points to max all of your fire skills AND your bear, so you'll have to sacrifice one fire skill. This will be Armageddon, since it is not a synergy to Fissure, and is rather luck based in PvP. I do not know anything about pure fire druids, PvM, or about gear selection for nonladder, so if you are in that position, make your own decision or see another guide. I'll take this time to thank Clan_Iraq. While I was fairly well known as the one who perfected this build, he was the brains behind it, and also has an excellent guide. Contrary to popular belief, I was NOT the first PvP fire druid, or Shaman. Also note, this guide was made using my experiences in the ladder 1.10 season. I, as well as 99% of my opponents used Maphack. How the lack of MH, and the other (minor) additions of 1.11 affect certain duels, I do not know. But I highly doubt it makes a huge difference. 1. General "How well does this build work?" Basically the Shaman will work as well as you learn to make it work. If you just make one to see if you like it, or as one of many PvP characters, chances are you won't like it. If you are willing to be committed to spending time practicing and learning to use your Shaman, this may be one of the most powerful builds possible. The Shaman, where it lacks in the pure power and ease of use of the traditional cookie cutter builds, completely makes up for it by being one of the most well rounded PvP characters in the game, rivaling V/Ts and WWBarbs. There are absolutely no blaring weaknesses, and very few builds that have a natural advantage over you at the same skill level. The build's amazing power comes with its array of attacks. You will have Fissure, Volcano, Molten Boulder, and your Grizzly all at your disposal, while Armageddon is around you. At my peak of dueling with Flames, if I played mistake free I would win every single duel, without ever switching gear or prebuffing. The fact that you have such an array of completely unavoidable attacks makes it such a strong build when you learn how to properly avoid attacks and avoid mistakes. This build is the perfect build for someone who is serious about dueling and wants to use something fairly unique that also manages to be very effective. Fissure is an excellent melee killer, as it is very similar to Blizzard, just weaker, with a larger radius. It will hit an enemy walking/charging/WWing through it many times. It seems rather weak, with a lowly 2.9k damage on my druid, but it hits many times, and adds up. It is also very useful in caster duels, since a lot of sorcs and necs will try to teleport like spazzes in order to avoid your other attacks. These will stop them from doing that tactic fairly quickly. Fissures will disappear once you leave their screen, but will still do damage. This makes them extremely difficult to avoid. You will use these in just about every duel. Volcanoes are your caster killer. If each stone of volcano does over 1/12 of your opponent's health, it will stunlock them, regardless of their FHR. 90% of non ES sorcs fall into this category and 90% of necros once their bone armor is off fall into this category. 100% of ES sorcs will die from a volcano once you've destroyed their ES, or greatly lowered their mana. This means that against these guys, simply namelocking a volcano on them is instant victory. Volcanoes are also useful in duels where your opponent is standing still a lot, such as Bowazons and some Javazons, as well as duels where your opponent will teleport on top of you, such as Wind Druids. If you expect your opponent to teleport on top of you, you can lay one of these at your feet, then teleport away as they teleport on it. This tactic is mostly used vs Wind Druids, Warcry Barbs, and Nova Sorcs, but also has many uses against very good casters, who will surely be namelocking you, and teleporting on top of you to try to hit you with a sneak attack. Good FB sorcs will do this a lot. There aren't too many people that will do this though, so it is not vital, nor practical in most duels. My final note on volcano is that it is THE hardest skill in the game to use properly. It's fairly ridiculous to aim it if you aren't a practiced namelocker, never mind aiming it AND avoiding whatever attack your opponent is using. No matter how good of a dueler or namelocker you already are, this will take practice. Don't get frustrated and stick with it. Grizzly/Bear is helpful in more ways than you can imagine. I've learned to use my grizzly in EVERY duel. When you teleport on top of someone, Grizzly will immediately hit them, faster than you can teleport off of them. Test his speed on monsters to get yourself used to it. Grizzly also has an insane amount of AR, to the point where he will never miss casters, and will also never miss any melee character who is running. Grizzly does extremely significant damage, and can turn duels in your favor at any given moment. Keep in mind that since you skipped on his synergies, he will die often. So keep that grizzly hotkey close, you'll want to resummon him every time he dies. He is also useful defensively, especially against attacks that lock to you, such as Guided Arrow, FoH, and Bone Spirit, since they will hit your grizzly first. Learn to love grizzly, you had to skip a skill and a synergy to get him, so use him. Molten Boulder is not very practical in any duel, except versus Wind Druids. If you cast a Molten Boulder, teleport on it, and trick a wind druid into teleporting on top of you- into it. Keep in mind, the boulder will knock your opponent back in the direction opposite of the center of YOUR screen. So make sure you teleport the exact opposite direction of your boulder once you lay it, otherwise it will knock them out of its own path. It will do massive damage, usually killing if you can get them stuck in a boulder. Besides its one true use, this is an extremely fun skill to play around with (Have a zon slow missile you sometime, and then use it) but is usually not practical. Try dueling pubbies with it, it's a lot of fun, challenging, and you'd be surprised how bad some people are that you can beat them with arguably one of the worst PvP skills in the game. Armageddon will be a one point wonder, but is very useful nonetheless. Its random strikes will do considerable damage, despite only one point it. It also creates a good scare factor, since most people won't know it's not maxed, and creates lag pretty nicely as well. It is very well worth the 6 points to have it. It is best to get into the habit of completely forgetting Armageddon exists, because it is very random, and you NEVER want to count on it hitting. Firestorm: I tried, and tried, and tried to find some use for this in PvP. There just plain isn't. The ONE use I've found it to have is vs. some bowazons, mostly the ones that just use GA over and over and over, and the ones with low res. Firestorms can not be evaded/dodged etc, so against a bowazon with low resistances (a lot of them) it does some solid, consistent damage. 100% of the time these are also the bowazons you should be able to own easily, so it's still rather useless. 2. Skill Allocations There are two routes you can go. Both will contain this: Max Volcano Max Fissure Max Grizzly Max Molten Boulder 1 Heart of the Wolverine First Route: Ravenlore or Rare helm w/out plus to Armageddon In this route you will go down the wind tree and put 1 in Armageddon. The rest of your points will go in firestorm. Second route: Rare helm or Delirium If you're one of those people, like myself, that like to use rares, and don't like to use helmets that look like chickens, find yourself a nice rare helm with at least +1 to Armageddon. This will save you 6 points you can put into firestorm for more fissure damage. "So why not max Armageddon for the synergy and skip Molten Boulder?" Molten Boulder adds Physical damage to volcano. Since just about every caster will have 75 res, yet usually somewhere between 8-20 DR, the physical damage on volcano is MUCH more important. "Is Armageddon REALLY worth it?" Yes. "Don't I miss Cyclone Armor if I go the second route?" Remember, you have no synergies to Cyclone Armor, so it will not be useful, at all. Don't even bother casting it if you have it. "Are more points in Heart of the Wolverine worth it?" Only if you get to a very high level. Points in firestorm will add a considerable amount to fissure, while points in Heart of the Wolverine won't add very much to Grizzly. Grizzly only receives half the ED bonus that is listed for HoW, so each increase is rather negligible. If you get past level 94, and use a rare helm with +geddon, and have nothing left to put points in, I guess HoW or Oak are your best choices. 3. Gear Selection Helm: Ravenlore is a damn fine, and cheap helm, but if you have a good rare use that. Good mods to look for on a rare are: +druid skills +ele skills (keep in mind, this will not boost grizzly) +Armageddon +Volcano +Fissure +Grizzly FHR Resistances Life Jalals works fine, but with Ravenlore available for similarly as cheap, I don't see why you would chose Jalals personally. Armor: Enigma. Nothing else will work, period. Weapon: Heart of the Oak Poor Man's: Wizardspike Shield: Spirit. It's cheap and awesome. Use it. I keep a faceted shield in my stash just for sorbers, but you'll really want that FCR and FHR, so it's not a great idea to use a 20/-20 all the time. Gloves: Magefist. Cheap and awesome. The + Fire skills DOES work for your skills. Boots: A good rare with 10 FHR and resistances is best. Otherwise use Sandstorm Treks, or if you want to make FB sorcs angry use Hotspurs. I'm a firm believer in keeping duels fair, and hotspurs give you way too much of a natural advantage over FB sorcs. So I prefer to keep them in my stash for the ones that annoy me, or the ones that use spurs themselves, and use my rares. Belt: This depends on if you are someone who's willing to switch gear often. You WILL need TGods vs. trappers, like many classes. I'm lazy, so I personally just planned around TGods' + strength. It also helps vs. light sorcs and javazons as well, and is a very good belt even without the res with its 20 strength and 20 vita. Otherwise use Arachnids if it will get you to 99 Faster Cast Rate, or if you already hit that, use Dungos or a good 24 FHR + str + life rare. Rings + Ammy: Add up your total Faster Cast rate from your other gear. If it is not 99 or over, you'll either need a rare +2 druid skill ammy with FCR or use one 10 FCR ring. Otherwise Maras and SoJs. I highly suggest SoJs over BKs, since this build isn't exactly loaded with mana. "Why 99 FCR? Your spells aren't affected by FCR anyways!?" Well 99% FCR is not NECESSARY. Just when you already have 95% from magefists, spirit, and HotO, which are basically shoe-ins for your equip, it's very much worth hitting that extra breakpoint to tele faster. Every frame will count, especially when having to catch sorcs. Inventory: Mix up elemental grand charms and summoning grand charms. If you feel your grizzly is lacking, switch an elemental for a summoning, if you feel like you can sacrifice some damage for better fire skills, add more elementals. I use 3 summoning, 7 elemental. Also keep in mind if you don't have much wealth, Summoning grand charms are very very cheap. Ones with 30+ life should be Um-Mal (E/SC/L). Small Charms: 5 res SCs with or without life are best. Remember resists stacked over max are a good thing to deal with facets, cold mastery, conviction, the Anya bug, and the like. If you can't afford Elemental or Summon grand charms with Faster Hit Recovery, and want to get to the 99 FHR breakpoint, using 5 FHRSCs wouldn't be a bad idea. 4. PvP Strategies. I will separate this section into tactics vs. your average one of each char, and tactics vs. the good versions of these chars. Keep in mind I consistently dueled with all of the top duelers on East, so my idea of 'good' is probably a lot more difficult to fit into than someone else's idea of good. Tactics vs them are signified by a star *. Amazons: Bowazons: These will generally just shoot guided arrows, and maybe mix multi shots in. Teleport fast and get on top of them. When you are on top of a bowazon, the guided arrow will aim at your grizzly, yet will not hurt him. Therefore, you are immune to guided arrow while on top of them. At this stage, hit them with a volcano. This will kill most, others will try to run out of it, in which case tele straight back on top of them until volcano's cooldown is done, and cast another. If your bear dies, it's a good idea to teleport off-screen to recast him and start again. Getting hit by just ONE guided arrow generally leads to about 8 following it. Difficulty: Easy "Their multi-shot kills my bear before I can teleport on top of them" Teleport faster, and to the side of a multi shot. I like to be on top of a bowazon in 3 teleports max. Usually 1 tele to the side of the multi, 1 very long one onto their screen, then another namelocked on top. Multi MIGHT hit you once if the zon is good at aiming it, but no multi should be able to kill your bear. If it does, guaranteed they are stacking poison charms which is BM anyways. *Good bowazons will mix strafe into the mix. These are the good duelers, because you can NOT teleport on top of a Strafing amazon. In fact, you cant even get close. Once you know a zon knows how to use strafe, cast your Oak, and keep them off your screen and toss fissures out of the corner of the screen. Guided Arrow cannot lock onto you at this range, and as long as you keep moving and tossing fissures, GA and Strafe shouldn't be anything to worry about. Once they realize this, and start using multi shot, tele in a bit closer to avoid it easier, since the waves will be smaller. Just make sure not to get too close, because they'll usually switch back to strafe or guided arrow. Pay attention to what they do and switch your strategy as they switch their strategy, and remember if they're standing still use volcanoes instead of fissures. An effective tactic is to cast a fissure on them, followed by a volcano while the fissure is still around, so they either have to run through a fissure or stand in a volcano. Vs. a very good bowazon (Note, I can only think of 2 bowazons EVER that would fit into this category, both with godly gear, and knew their characters extremely well) This will be a fun and even, chess match like duel. Remember not to try to tank them, they will win. And don't forget to try quick hits with the grizzly when they have multishot or GA active. It may have a tough time passing through evade, but when it does hit, it HURTS. No matter how good their gear is. Difficulty: Medium Javazons: They will try to CS you, but as long as you're paying even a little attention they should not be able to. Use lots of fissures as they run around; cast them on your feet if they try to get close. Most will abandon CS after a while and switch to lightning fury. Just avoid these and keep tossing fissures. It shouldn't be very hard. It's usually much more effective to cast them where you expect them to run rather than namelocking them. Difficulty: Very Easy *A javazon that knows how to duel you will be a LONG duel. They will wear enigma and teleport to different angles and try to throw furies at you, making sure not run or walk at all, leaving fissure doing very little damage. These will also generally have high/max block, making volcano not very effective, and bear tough to hit with. Just keep your composure, keep tossing fissures, and act like each fury will kill you. If you get lazy, they will add up fast. If they get predictable, remember to try using your grizzly. Usually teleporting on top of them won't work unless they are running, since Fury will hit you AND both your minions. So when they refuse to run, try teleporting directly behind them, in grizzly's range but not a namelock (This takes some precision and practice, but if you can get it down the effect is amazing in many different duels) It will be long, but as long as you keep your composure, you still have an advantage if you know how to avoid Furies. And watch out for the random namelocked tele on top of you followed by a CS, they WILL try it. Difficulty: Medium Plaguezons: These just plain can not beat a Shaman. Keep using fissures, keep your distance, and remember that the cloud WILL drain you to 1 life. So be careful, but still, regardless of their skill level, you just plain shouldn't lose to a plaguer. If they manage to hit you with a cloud, wait to see what type they are. Some use Dream's holy shock aura to finish, and some use a Call to Arms in a bow, and use guided arrow to finish. If they finish with holy shock, STAY AWAY and keep tossing fissures. A lvl 14 holy shock has a relatively small radius, so use that advantage. If they finish with guided, try the bowazon trick and teleport directly on top of them and drop a volcano. Don't forget that you should probably keep Oak casted. It wont help much, but you wont need your bear here, and it'll give you a few more seconds to try to finish them off if you do get hit. Difficulty: Easy Assassins: Kickers: This is a mismatch. Flight will hit your bear, not you, and their other attacks are far too easy to teleport away from. Lay fissures at your feet, hit with bear, hell even use molten boulders. If they try to trap you, remember that their traps do low damage and they are slower at mindblasting than trappers. Just keep passing by with your bear, or using volcanoes and fissures. The only time I've ever lost to a kicker was the best one I've ever seen using a Phoenix, an enchantress' enchant and a Barbs' BO. And it still was only once out of a few. Difficulty: Very Easy WWsins: They will try the Dragon Flight/WW combination. Lay fissures at your feet, and teleport away as soon as they DF at you. Once you duel a few you'll get the timing down. Remember that Weapon block blocks fissure, so it will be relatively longer than a WWBarb. Just keep your composure and you'll do fine. If they set up traps and hide in them, remember that they do pathetic damage, especially if you're wearing TGods. The only thing you need to worry about is being stunlocked, so just stay out of range and fissure them. Remember, fissures are much bigger than mindblasts, use that advantage. Don't forget to use your bear if you catch them running around, or trying to trap you too much. Also if you get very good at timing, you can use your bear at the end of their WWs. I do it a lot. Just make sure not to get too predictable about those. If you want to be annoying, or are losing the duel, remember that if you stay away and toss fissures from the corner of the screen, they're helpless since you outrange them. I find that tactic boring though, so only use it under certain circumstances. Difficulty: Easy *Ghostsins: These are much tougher. They teleport, so you can't outrange them. And they will generally always cast 1 or 2 frames faster than Bramblesins. These guys will be mindblasting a lot. If you get caught in a bunch of Mindblasts, hold teleport down, because the second they let go of mindblast to DF in, you will tele away. The only time this will hit you is if they namelocked you, and not the bear, AND the bear happened to get away from you. Not likely. A lot will try to trap you. This is where it gets difficult. Fissure will do pathetic damage while they are standing still, and to volcano or grizzly you need to be in their mindblast/DF range. If they sit in traps, just keep tossing those fissures and make them come to you. As weak they are, you doing something will always beat them doing nothing, not to mention that very very few have the sense to actually STOP once they see a fissure, so you'll be doing damage. Just play the chess match, and remember that their build is much like yours, with many weapons. These duels are very fun if you meet one at the same skill level as you. Just try to psyche him out, and remember to use that Bear. Your bear is what will win this duel, despite all the other stuff going on. Good times to use your bear are while they are setting up traps and after WWs. These duels are the ones that will truly test your skill, so be smart, and be patient. It's his duel to lose. Difficulty: Hard Trapassins: Ah trappers. You'll learn to love how these guys talk trash and hostile you, seeing that you're a druid, and then whine once they burn. Wear your TGods and remember in every trapper duel to be careful. I'll separate these guys into sections: Runners: These guys will set up their traps, and run around in them, hoping to kill you. Don't get cocky, keep your distance. Use fissures, and lots of them. Circle their traps, casting fissures in all different places. If you know for a fact they don't know mindblast exists, Kamikaze in with grizzly and volcano after you lay a few fissures in their traps. Difficulty: Very Easy Defensive: These guys sit in their traps and have mindblast ready to go. Keep using fissures from out of mindblast range, and if you catch them leaving their traps, or their traps start to die out, or they are recasting their traps, tele in and hit with grizzly. If you feel like you have time (depending on the situation) toss a volcano on their feet, and then tele away. Remember not to get predictable, mix up volcanoes and grizzlies. REMEMBER volcano causes them to have to ditch their namelocks to get off of it. Use this to your advantage. If you happen to get stunlocked, if they are low on health namelock a volcano on them and wait, soon enough it will go off, and hopefully you out tank them. If they still have high life, this probably isn't smart, so hold teleport down and wait patiently and hope you escape. Difficulty: Easy *Offensive: These are the good trappers. They will come after YOU and make life much harder. In these duels its best to know your opponent. Figure out if they are Claw/Claw or Hoto/Spirit, and if they are HotO/Spirit if they have max block. If they are HotO/Spirit they will mindblast and teleport FAST. If they have max block, you'll want to use Volcanoes sparingly, and use mostly fissure and grizzly. It's your safest bet. If they don't have block, a Volcano will do MASSIVE damage, as will your bear. So lay fissures and avoid being stunlocked until you catch them in a bad spot, and hit with volcano or grizzly. Claw/Claw trappers will be toughest. Weapon Block will block your fissure, volcano, and bear around 60% of the time. This makes fissure almost unusable. Vs these guys its just a test of your teleport and quick namelock skills. Mix up your volcano and bear, and make sure not to get stunlocked. Don't be afraid to trade blows, since a volcano or bear hurts much more than a few traps, it's that mindblast you need to worry about. Only practice will teach you how to duel a good claw/claw trapper. Difficulty: Medium Fire Trapper: These are the same as Light Trappers, except they will stun MUCH more effectively. Whenever you decide to hit with volcano or bear ONLY hit with that before you get off their screen and determine whether or not you're namelocked. If you are, tele a few screens away a break it, and rinse and repeat. Remember that WoF's have a smaller range than LS, so you can just trade Volcanoes or Bears for Mindblasts. Make sure you never get predictable with bear, and never misuse him. This is vital. As long as you avoid stunlock, you'll win. If you get stunlocked, you lose. Difficulty: Medium Barbarians: Singers: A good one can be tougher than you'd expect, but just keep your assault. Mix up namelocking volcanoes, casting fissures at him, and casting fissures at your feet. Keep your bear out, and remember to resummon if they use Howl or Taunt. Good ones can use howl to cause your bear to not attack, and Taunt to draw it closer to him to namelock it, and get on top of you once you teleport. Just be smart about your resummons. The good ones will try to get you while you resummon, so remember that bear isn't 100% necessary here, and resummon him only at smart times. When he is out let him do his thing when a barb teles on you, but never TRY to use him offensively. This will generally be a long duel, and more often than not they'll run out of their 16 super mana potions faster than their health, but as long as you stay focused, you shouldn't lose. Always keep your focus; because once they catch you they will make quick work of you. Difficulty: Easy-Medium Melee: They should not beat you, period. Teleport, lay fissures, shoot molten boulders, listen to them say "RUN SOME MORE NOOB" Difficulty: Very Easy WW (no tele): Read above. If they absorb just use molten boulders and random bear strikes. Difficulty: Very Easy *WW (tele)/BvC: Lay fissures at your feet, and tele away as soon as they tele to you. You'll get the sense of timing after a while. I've learned to use my Grizzly after their WWs here and there, but that's a pretty advanced and risky tactic, and the damage output isn't amazing, just a big help. If you chose to try to do random bear hits, don't do them very often. If you become predictable with them at any time, you're giving the barb an easy chance to annihilate you. Against very good barbs I like to use Oak over HoW, so don't forget about your good old oak. If they use Leap, lay a fissure where you think they'll land, and get off the screen. You don't want to be on the screen when a barb lands from a Leap. After a few duels with a leaping barb you'll learn to avoid them pretty easily. Stay on your toes, and be patient. This is the barb's duel to win. Difficulty: Medium Druids: Wind Druid: Ah, the Wind Druid. Your worst enemy. The bad ones are simple, get them to teleport onto a fissure, then hit them with a volcano, and if necessary a grizzly and BOOM dead. The medium ones' Just mix up laying fissures and volcanoes at your feet and teleporting away, try to hit with grizzly here and there only when their summons are cleared and only VERY UNPREDICTABLY. Try to teleport NEAR them on your grizzly hits and not ON them. Make sure you stay defensive, and only go offensive when they recast their cyclone/summons/hurricane. *The goods ones? eep. When you first start using your Shaman you will NOT beat any good windy. You'll probably become very frustrated by them, and rightly so. Their cyclone armor makes fissure useless if they know enough to recast it, and combined with the fact that nearly all good windys are max block with 40-Max DR, volcano is also rather useless. Bear wont hit them because of their minions. You've got to use the Molten Boulder trick mentioned earlier in this guide. Use fissures to clear their minions and then mix up volcanoes and Molten Boulders. Against max block and full DR Volcano's damage is pathetic, but if you get too predictable with Molten Boulders you can be damn well sure you aren't hitting them with one. Use everything you've got, and stay on your toes. If they are more skilled than you, you simply wont win. If they are your skill level, they've got a very big natural advantage over you, but it's a possible duel if you keep your composure. Difficulty: Very Hard Pure Fire Druids: These are rare, but there are some. After many duels with a good pure fire druid I was convinced they had a natural advantage over a Shaman, but I soon figured out a strategy I followed by creaming the same guy about 5 times in a row. Remember, they have everything you have, just stronger, as well as a mean geddon, but no Grizzly. What you have to do is first USE YOUR HEART OF THE OAK, this is vital. You don't want to get yourself in FHR lock from their Volcano. The basic strategy is to try to lead them into a fissure to clear their summons, and IMMEDIATELY follow up by trying to strike with Grizzly. Never get predictable, and learn to mix in volcanoes as well. Remember, if you don't use your grizzly, they are better than you in everything, so USE HIM. A grizzly hit does far more than anything they can do, so don't be afraid to trade blows. As far as their Armageddon, there's nothing you can really do about it, just don't chase them, and if it randomly hits you, bummer. If they win by a series of lucky geddons, they probably wont count it as a real win anyways, but it happens. Difficulty: Medium Summoners: Lots of fissures, lots of volcanoes, stay on your toes, and keep your bear on top of you. This should be easy. Difficulty: Easy Other Shamans: May the best man win. This duel is really about tricking the other shaman onto a fissure to kill their bear, and immediately hit them with yours. You'll want to keep Oak Sage out so volcano won't stun you. If you notice them using HoW, just keep tossing volcanoes until they die. More often than not this will be a very confusing duel because of all the stuff flying around, and a lot of times there's a lot of luck involved, but regardless it's a fairly intense duel. Difficulty: Varies Melee/Fire Claws: Cast fissures on your feet, teleport away. Simple Difficulty: Very Easy Rabies: The same as above but MAKE SURE TO UNSUMMON EVERYTHING. I've died countless times from them infecting my wandering Sage and then it infects me the second I teleport. It's a simple duel if you know they're rabies and don't have any summons out. Difficulty: Very Easy Necromancers: Summoners: If they are pure summon, this should be easy. Lay a lot of fissures at your feet and play the waiting game. When they teleport on top of you, teleport off. Summoners almost always have very low resists, so even if it doesn't completely obliterate their summons, which it usually does; it should obliterate them pretty fast. *A good summoner with high resists who knows how to mix in bone spells will be a little tougher, but still not too bad. Just mix up your offense and defense. Keep casting fissures on them and/or at your feet and stay on your toes. Wait until their summons are depleted, then Volcano+Bear them. If they revive fire immune monsters, just teleport around. This is a pretty bad mannered move, and as we all know, nothing annoys BMers more than wasting their time. Sooner or later the revives will run out of time, and chances are they'll teleport back to town and say "RUN MORE NOOB" They don't have the bone synergies most likely, so their Bone Armor isn't as much of a problem as it is on pure bone necros. Difficulty: Easy-Medium Poison Necros: This can be a fun duel. If you are patient, you can lay fissures all day and just plain avoid them. If the duel is an important one, I'd stick to that strategy. Where it gets fun is if you try to use a Volcano+Bear combo. Sneak it in right after they cast a Nova, it can devastate them fast. There's really no major strategy here, but to not get hit, and generally chip away. Difficulty: Medium Bone Necros: Besides Wind Druids, this is your hardest duel. A bad Bone Necro will be no problem at all, just Volcano + Grizzly = Dead. However, the good ones will give you trouble. Bone armor will make using only Grizzly impossible. It also makes only volcano very weak. Since they have bone spear, you cant freely teleport on top of them. If they're stupid and only use Bone Spirit, use the same trick that you use against a GA Amazon. Teleport straight on top followed by a Volcano. If they only use Teeth, it can get annoying, but just make sure not to play their game. It's a big and common mistake to get frustrated against a Necro abusing teeth, but just keep your distance, refuse to chase them, and lay fissures. If they want to chip away, so can you. As far as pure bone spearers, just stay about a screen away from them and keep using volcanoes. *Good necros that use all their skills and mix them up will be a hard duel. Not nearly as impossible as a Wind Druid, but still, the master boners out there WILL wipe the floor with you. Just keep an eye on what they do. When there's a bunch of bone spirit's on your tail, don't be afraid to teleport a few screens away quickly to break the homing. Just generally stay away and use fissures and volcanoes. Fissures wear them down faster than you would expect if you can lead them through a few. If they try to teleport on top of you, which they often will, try to wait for the exact moment the bear hits them, teleport off, and use a volcano. Bear will break the bone armor, and volcano may stun them, or at the very least do some good damage. Duels vs a bone necro around your skill level will be some of the funnest. It's purely tactical, and you have to deceive them to win. Difficulty: Medium - Very Hard Paladins: Chargers: You WILL hate these guys until you get the hang of them. This is one of the hardest duels to get used to, but once you do, they're a piece of cake. You're going to have to duel them very very defensively, and stay on your toes. What you need to do is cast a fissure on your feet, and then teleport away, and keep repeating the pattern. Make sure to constantly teleport completely off their screen and in crazy patterns to throw them off and break namelocks. Most importantly, constantly staying off their screen extremely reduces the chance of them successfully desynching you (Charge lag). And as cheap as it seems, desynching is in the game, so you just have to learn to deal with it and prevent it from happening. Chances are, they'll get mad and say "RUN MORE NOOB" and put their sorb gear on. This is where it really gets hard. Like an absorbing BvC, the shaman will have a very hard time with sorbing chargers. Play around and try to kill them with your bear or molten boulders, or quite simply just ignore them. Real duelers don't need to absorb. Just teleport quickly against these guys and don't be afraid to be overly annoying. Make them come to you. Difficulty: Very Hard at first. Easy-Medium after. FoH: Pure FoHers are simple. If your Grizzly is on top of you, it will autotarget your bear instead of you. So basically, while you have your bear on top of you, they cant hurt you. So keep teleporting, and keep that grizzly hotkey ready while you volcanoes, your bear, and fissures (depending on their block, if they teleport etc) Difficulty: Easy *V/Ts: A good V/T (Vindicator/Templar (FoH/Smite)) will be a tough, but fun match. If they don't teleport, this will be much much easier. Just simply duel them like you would a charger, and make sure to keep your bear out and on top of you at all times. If they do teleport, this is much harder. Fissures wont do nearly enough damage if they're teleporting around and doing short charges. Volcano is by nature fairly ineffective vs Paladins because of their high block %. So what you've got to use is the bear. Definitely keep using fissures on your feet and namelocked volcanoes to chip away, as well as throw them off. You've got to be sneaky with the bear. You've got to meet their teleport, or get them just as they cast FoH. These are fairly advanced tactics, so this duel will take some practice and precision. Try to notice if they have and/or are smart enough to use zeal. If you teleport on a zealing paladin, you're in trouble, but if they got charge or smite out, a lot of times you'll escape. If they don't seem to use Zeal to their advantage, be relentless with your bear. Make them feel completely unsafe at any given moment. Paladins are almost always purely offensive against you, when you can get one stuck in limbo between playing defensive or offensive, he's easy meat. One of my best D2 friends was the #1 V/T on east ladder, and our duels were pretty much 50/50, so it's a good one. Difficulty: Hard Hammerdins: Good ole hammerdins. They're everywhere. Luckily for you, once you get the tactic down, they more or less can't beat you. Your average hammerdin will just keep teleport on top of you hoping to catch you off guard. Keep casting fissures at your feet (don't be predictable) and when they teleport on you, walk south just enough so that your bear has time to take a swing at the hammerdin and then teleport away. If they catch on and start teleporting directly south of you, don't walk south, just teleport away. They WILL go back to namelocking you. Bear makes some pretty quick work of them. Defensive Hammerdins are an annoying duel, but if you keep your composure they're nothing. Just keep on throwing fissures and volcanoes at them. That's all you can do, but as long as you stay out of the field, you'll win eventually. If you notice them standing still for a while, there IS a spot directly south of them where you can teleport to and bear will hit him yet you'll be safe. Practice it, it's fairly useful. *Charge/Hammerdins are usually the best ones. However, they fall victim to the same tactic you used against chargers, keep casting fissures and stay the hell off their screen. Just mix it up and stay on your toes. If you meet a good one of these, it'll be a game of who can catch who off guard. Difficulty: Medium Auradins: A real auradin just duel the same as a charger. An auradin that just runs around, absorb them and listen to them whine despite them playing the single stupidest build ever. Sorceresses: Fire Sorceresses: 9/10 of these guys will be simple. Most are weak enough so that volcano + bear = instant death. You can just keep killing them all day, yawning while doing it. Difficulty: Very Easy *Ones with good gear present a much bigger problem. Volcano won't stun them, and you can't use the bear by itself because Fireball explodes and damages you as well. Chip away. Use volcanoes if they aren't moving very often, fissures if they're teleporting like mad men, and just generally teleport and hope to meet one of their teleports, because if you can get a bear hit in, they're as good as dead. Sometimes its worth trying to teleport directly behind them and get a quick bear hit in, but remember NEVER TO TELEPORT ON TOP OF AN FB SORC UNLESS SHE IS STUNNED BY VOLCANO. A very good FB sorc has the upper hand in this duel, but it's possible. This duel is all about how well you can avoid projectiles. Difficulty: Hard Lightning Sorcs: One overarching theme of lightning sorcs is Energy Shield. A sorc with energy shield will rarely be stunned by volcano at full mana. What you need to do is hit with your bear followed by a volcano instead of the reverse combination which you use more often. This will kill nearly all lightning sorcs. If you can drain their energy shield completely or very low, by way of fissures or bear, one volcano WILL kill them. Note that almost all pubby lightning sorcs will drink mana pots like crazy, bad ones will still probably die, but if you're fighting one that seems invincible, well, there's your answer. This is against dueling rules, so if they do that, just go ahead and sorb them. Charged Boltress: Since I had TGods on at all times, these things tickled me. Just duel them like you would a necro using teeth. Switch off between using bear and volcano, and make sure never to get predictable or fall into their traps. Difficulty: Easy Lightning: The most common one. These guys are very similar to a FB sorc, except you can teleport on top of them much more freely, and they have less range. Just use the same tactic of avoiding their projectiles while tossing your volcanoes and fissures at them. If you catch them in a good spot, use that bear. It's the ES killer. Difficulty: Medium Nova Sorcs: This is the single funnest duel there is. If you can find a good one out there, make friends with him, because Shaman vs Nova Sorc rocks. These come in one variety: Infinity. Without any block, this makes them extremely susceptible to volcano. However, it isn't as easy to hit with one, since they'll be constantly pressing the attack. If they hit you with one nova, it WILL stun you, and you WILL get hit by the rest, and WILL die. So don't get hit. What this becomes is a highly tactical duel of teleports. Never play offensively, but never get too defensive. They will use their much faster cast rate against you. Generally place stuff where you think they'll teleport to, and if you feel like you can meet one of their teleports to et a bear hit, by all means try. If your bear gets a hit, follow immediately with a volcano to finish them. Otherwise, lots of fissures until you feel they're low on mana, and finish with a volcano. Oh and don't underestimate their Lightning. They've generally got a low level lightning with low synergies, but with infinity, it still hurts. If they switch to it, toss volcanos and refrain from teleporting on top of them. Difficulty: Medium Ice Sorcs: Blizzard: Another pretty fun one. Remember, you ARE a blizzard sorc; just you do much less damage with more range, cast at a slower rate, and have a bear. So the key to this duel? You guessed it, the bear. Get their cast rate down like clockwork. Always be aware of when they can and can't cast a blizzard, and try to catch them in that downtime where they cant and hit with bear. Never EVER get too predictable, because one blizzard hit will almost always kill you, unless you change gear for the duel, which I don't believe in. Keep using fissures to outrange them, and toss a volcano here and there, but mostly just look for good opportunities to use the bear. If they play overly defensive, just keep throwing fissures. Those guys aren't very fun though. A good blizzer will be a fun duel. Difficulty: Medium-Hard Orb: A good orber can be trouble. A good orber with ES that drinks mana pots is impossible. Bear is completely ineffective because Orb will chill him and he cant attack fast enough. What you've got to do is try to lead them through fissures. Keep in mind Orb is a very slow skill, and you should be able to avoid it easily. So chip away with fissures, do good teleports, and be patient. When you feel you've got them low, namelock volcanoes. You'll probably have a tough time with these at first. Difficulty: Hard That's all. Have fun and good luck with your Shaman. I check the Diablo II Boards at GameFAQs.com a few times a week, so feel free to ask questions there. I go by the name Earth Day Birthday. Feel free to use this guide however you want, I really don't care, as long as you don't take credit for it.
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