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    Assassin FAQ by iLuvMomo

    Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/02/01 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

    ***********************************************************************
    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (D2X)
    Assassin Guide v1.1
    by iLuvMomo (Lee Kian Chong)
    dated: 2/08/2K1
    based on: Diablo II: LOD patch v1.08
    email: helsmley@yahoo.com
    ***********************************************************************
    
    This FAQ is written using Wordpad with Courier New (Western) Size 10 
    font.
    
    1234567890
    ..........
     
    If the dots are align you are set.
    
    
    ************ 
    Legal Stuff
    ************
    
    Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Assassin and all other 
    characters mentioned in this FAQ is the property and creation of 
    Blizzard Entertainment. This is an unlicensed FAQ which is written and 
    to be distributed free of charge in is unaltered state, even with typo, 
    grammatical errors as well as the occasional incorrect fact. This FAQ 
    belongs to the author, Lee Kian Chong. If you wish to distribute this 
    FAQ or have this published on your webpage, please get written 
    permission (through e-mail or otherwise). Please give credit where 
    credit is due.
    
    ********
    Contents
    ********
    What's New Here?
    Why Assassin?
    Benefits of playing Assassin
    Double Claw vs Claw and Shield?
    What kind of Assassin?
    Hotkey Mania
    Charge Up? Finishing?
    Plan Ahead
    Skill Overview
    General FAQ
    Build Tree
    My Assassin Rig
    Dream Rig
    On Multiplayer
    Websites of Interest
    Download This!
    Credits
    Conclusion
    
    
    ***************
    What's new here?
    ***************
    FAQ v1.1 
    I think this update is long overdue. When I released v1.0, it was really 
    a rush job. At that time, there were 2 other Assassin FAQs already out 
    (though I began work on this since day 1 I got D2X) Fearing that there 
    would be a flood of Assassin FAQs, and CJayC would not want to publish 
    this, I quickly finished an FAQ which had more errors and a missing 
    information than the moon has holes that I had to immediately begin work 
    on correcting it. The update would have came out much MUCH earlier had I 
    not spent 10 hours a day playing D2X addictively (both online and 
    testing out skills) I also received loads of emails of critism and 
    praise (even more than all the emails I received for my TTT FAQs) and as 
    such am working hard to improve this FAQ and make it one of the best 
    Assassin FAQs around. Here is a laundry list of the changes made in the 
    new revision of the FAQ.
    
    - added the 'Plan Ahead' section
    - added Skill stats from Calvin Schneider's FAQ
    - added 'My Assassin Rig' Section
    - added 'Dream Rig' Section
    - added 'General FAQ' section
    - added a 'Content' Section
    - added a 'On Multiplayer' Section
    - added a 'Websites of interest' Section
    - added a 'Download This!' Section
    - added Build tree for Claw and Shield Assassin
    - added Build tree for Heavy Weapon Assassin
    - added some info submitted in by Nicholas Vu
    - added the all important 'Credits' section
    - renamed 'My Assassin' section to 'Build Tree'
    - updated discussion on dual claw vs claw and shield
    - updated 'What kind of Assassin?' section
    - updated info on skills discussion e.g. WOI, Psychic Blast
    - updated 'My Assassin' section after completing Hell mode
    - corrected a few typos here and there.
    
    v1.1 of the Guide is written based on Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction 
    patch v1.08 and is tested both on single player and multiplayer mode 
    (battle.net as well as TCP/IP game)
    
    
    *************
    Why Assassin?
    *************
    Why not? I must admit that the main reason why I chose to play as an 
    Assassin was because she was a new character in the expansion. I wasn't 
    bothered about continuing my level 60+ sorceress seeing as how so many 
    spells in the 1.08 patch got nerfed badly. Besides I found that playing 
    as my ice sorceress was extremely boring... what else do you actually do 
    but run around and cast blizzard after blizzard after... well you get my 
    point.
    I had no idea whatsoever about the Assassin's game play but thought 
    "what the heck?" So I gave her a try and found her to be quite 
    interesting to play with.  
    First off, she changes the boring gameplay of Barbarian, Paladins and 
    Jabazons (amazons who use the Jab attack) of continuos clicking to a 
    more satisfying combo attack. The Assassin gets charge up skills and 
    finishing moves to be used which deals quite some damage and will put 
    some of the toughest bosses down in a few hits.
    
    
    ****************************
    Benefits of playing Assassin
    ****************************
    
    - Two handed fighting style (on Barbarian is the other character out of 
      a total of 7 characters who also can use two handed fighting style)
    - Lockpicking, being a thief class, the Assassin benefits from not 
      needing to carry keys around. She can open all locked chests.
    - Balanced for Single player mode. She has it all, physical attacks and
      magical attacks (traps) to deal with all kinds of creatures 
      especially those pesky creatures in Hell mode with Physical Immune 
      (PI)
    - Interesting and refreshing gameplay... no more just click click click 
      click. Helps keep your interest so that you can achieve Lvl99.
    - Very quick with claws, and even quicker with burst of speed and a 
      certain claw....
    - Temporary physical immunity with Fade, which helps a lot in Nightmare
      and Hell mode, especially if you aren't fortunate enough to get your
      hands on resistant items.
    - Tiger Strike + Claw Mastery + Venom means thousands of points damage
      which easily helps overcome the pesky 50% Physical Immunity in 
      Hell mode.
    - mana and life leech move available so she can look for one less 
      criteria in her weapons. Mana leech is very versatile since you can 
      sacrifice a lot of points of energy for your assasin and still end up 
      with an endless supply of mana when you want to cast traps.
    - fun to play and very versatile (able to adapt to all situations 
      quickly)
    - she is the jack of all trades, master of some (lol!) The Assassin has 
      a few traits from the other classes, notably spells like meteor and
      chain lightning (sorceress), dual wield, claw mastery (barbarian),
      corspe explosion death sentry (necromancer) and Shadow Warrior/ Mas-
      ter (Amazon)
    
    ************
    Starting Off
    ************
    
    Your Assassin starts off one claw, one buckler, a few minor potions and 
    a base stat of:
    
    Str - 20
    Dex - 20
    Vit - 20
    Ene - 25
    
    Hit Points - 50
    Stamina - 95
    Mana - 25
    
    On character level up she gains these bonuses:
     
    Life +2
    Stamina +1
    Mana +1.5
    
    For every skill point she invests she also gains these bonuses:
    
    1 Vitality Point gives +3 Life
    1 Vitality Point gives +1.5 Stamina
    1 Energy Point gives +1.5 Mana
    
    
    ********************************
    Double Claw vs Claw and Shield?
    ********************************
    This is usually a hot debate for Assasins. I will give a pro-con debate 
    from the Double Claw perspective.
     
    Pros:
    - this is assasin with dual wielding ala barbarian 
    - claws are assasin only weapons, and can have +1-3 to special skills, 
      as well as +1-2 to Assasin skills at higher Clvl. This helps a lot if 
      you have 2 claws instead of 1.
    - some double claw only skills e.g. Dragon Claw, Weapon Block
    - Using a lot of skills will give you more bang for your buck if your
      mana if you use double claw (e.g. Venom)
    - Highest damage possible
    
    Cons:
    - Using 2 claws means you will be lowering your defense. While this is 
      exceptable in Normal mode, the damage you will be taking will add up
      to quite a lot in Nightmare/Hell mode. 
    *pro rebutal* But with since the claws are very fast attack, most of 
                  the time you will be hitting your opponent before he hits 
                  you. Moreover, with those exceptional/ elite set and 
                  unique items especially armor, your defense alone can get
                  quite high without double claws?
    *con response* And what if you are facing a boss whom is very hard to 
                   hit? And it would be higher with a shield!
    *pro rebutal* Its stupid to say that dual wield Assassin is lousy. Its
                  the same like saying Dual wield Barbarian sucks.
    *con response* Barbarian has frenzy, whirlwind... uber skills which 
                   even in v1.08 after nerfing is still very powerful.
                   Assassin's Dragon Claw can't even be considered an
                   uber skill.
    
    - Do you really need the Weapon Block skill? Shields give you a 
      good blocking percentage and can get as high as 75% (though that 
      shield is very very hard to find) With a shield you need to even 
      spend points on getting your weapon block skill to a respectable 
      level. Thats 5 big points at least (more if you are in Nightmare or
      Hell mode) which could have been used for other skills like WOI.
    
    - Why use dragon claw when you have other skills you can put points 
      into? Surely dragon claw can be offset by other higher level skills.
    *pro rebutal* Take a look at the other FINISHING move skills. There 
                  are 4 of them. Dragon Kick has a very low + to damage.
                  Dragon Tail is a whopping 10 mana and the additional
                  damage is fire damage. At Nightmare/Hell mode, creatures
                  more than likely have fire resistance. If you are going 
                  to rely on this move alone then you are going to be very
                  sorry. Dragon flight while useful is 15 mana per use AND
                  has a short lag time after each teleport.
    *con response* Dragon kick at lvl 20 has higher + to damage than Dragon
                   Claw at lvl 20. With so many skill points savedby not 
                   putting into Weapon block, you can easily pump this 
                   skill to a decent level. Moreover, this is a kick attack
                   so your weapon durability will last longer. If your
                   enemy is resistant to fire attacks, then just use poison
                   claw.
    *pro rebutal* Weapon durability doesn't really matter much since you 
                  can always repair the weapon. Besides, the Dragon Claw is 
                  the most damaging finishing move possible (since it is 
                  both stat and equipment dependent) among all at the 
                  lowest mana cost.
    *con response* Being equipment dependent, needless to say that to do
                   a lot of damage, you need equipment with high damage,
                   which needless to say are hard to obtain. Even elite
                   items do a base damage of up to 40+. You need to get
                   lucky and hope that during your imbue/ crafting of item
                   a good damage mod appears. Also the only weapon doing  
                   100+ damage is Natalya's Mark which is a Set of an 
                   elite item, thus making it next to impossible to find.
    
    - using a shield enables you to up your resistance. In Normal and even
      Nightmare mode, resistance doesn't seem to be a problem, but that 
      certainly changes in Hell mode
    *pro rebutal* There are loads of charms which offer resistance. Also
                  lets not forget Amulets, rings, boots, armor, gauntlets. 
                  Certainly leaving out ONE field is acceptable. Completing
                  Natalya's Odium Set gives you an additional +50% bonus 
                  above the inherent bonuses of the items themselves.
    *con response* But technically shields offer you the most possible
                   resistance. A triple perfect diamond shield gives you
                   almost +60 to resistance. That leaves one less criteria
                   to search for in your other equipment. 
    *pro rebutal* Wrong. The constriction ring offers +100 resistance.
    *con response* ... at the price of -10 Life drain....and only at lvl95
    
    
    
    Nicholas Vu had some things to comment on with Claw & Shield Strategy:
    " Just wanted to give my opinion on the "claw and shield" Assassin. I 
    think that she is *very* good. Basically, if you are going to play this 
    type of Assassin, you will definately need to rely upon high levels of 
    Tiger Claw and her kick Finishing Moves a lot - especially Dragon Tail.
    The problem with claws is their low min-max damage range:-  they do not 
    fully take advantage of Tiger Claw. To maximize Tiger Claw's bonuses, 
    you A) need to use a heavy weapon (like a Maul or something) or B) use 
    the Assassin's kick Finishing Moves. My Assasin is lvl 25 with roughly 
    80-90 in STR and DEX (after item bonuses). Using a slvl15 Tiger Claw and 
    a slvl1 Dragon Tail, my Assassin can easily do 400-500 damage! That's 
    enough to drop most uniques in 1 hit (except the Extra Strong type). "
    
    In conclusion, I'd suggest trying both styles out and figuring which 
    style you prefer. Best yet, have both styles equiped since there is of 
    course the 2 weapon set system in Diablo II. Personally though, I prefer 
    the double claw style over the claw and shield combo. 
    
    It is common belief that Claw and Shield is a necessity when playing 
    Nightmare or Hell mode. Well all I can say is, my Assassin is living 
    well and Healthy in Nightmare mode using double Claws. She may find some 
    areas tougher than others, but with proper use of her skills, I could 
    breeze through most of Nightmare without dying much.
    
    
    *********************
    What Kind of Assasin?
    *********************
    Basically there are a few variants for the Assassin Class. There is the 
    Dual Claw Assassin, Claw and Shield Assassin and *gasp* Powerful Heavy 
    Weapon Assassin. 
    For the first play through, I played as a Dual Claw assassin. I must 
    admit she is the weakest of all the variants. The second time I created 
    a Claw and Shield Assassin, she was pretty strong and quick but did not 
    do as much damage as that of the Heavey Weapon Assassin. So basically 
    here are the general play idea of the various Assassins.
    
    Dual Claw Assassin
    ------------------
    She will be somewhat like a dual wield barbarian except that she doesn't 
    have such skills like Frenzy and Whirlwind (which makes the barb such a 
    beast) She will spend a lot of points on Claw Mastery and Weapon Block 
    generally, while maxing out Tiger Strike. Therefore she does not have 
    much skills to spend on other skills. IMO the best way to tackle PI 
    monsters in Hell for this Assassin class is to go Death sentry and 
    Venom. She can potentially do a lot of damage if she gets a good claw 
    with 100+ damage and Deadly strike (by means of socketing a rune or 
    otherwise) though those claws are hard to find. IMO this type of 
    Assassin is too equipment dependent and probably the weakest. This is a 
    good challenge for experienced players though.
    
    
    Claw and Shield Assassin
    ------------------------
    This is the most popular kind of Assassin. Sacrificing the use of a 
    second claw, she gains the automatic benefits of weapon blocking (which 
    supersedes that of weapon block when maxed) resistance bonuses at the 
    cost of a little more attack. As such she will save a lot of skill 
    points that would otherwise have to be put in Weapon Block and Fade. The 
    down side is that she will have to use a kick finishing move, and for 
    that to do great damage, a lot of points on Dex and Str has to be spent 
    to do insane damage. Players who do not know how to balance between 
    pumping the two stats and adding points into vitality will soon find out 
    in Hell mode their wrongs when they get killed in a single hit by the 
    Moon Lords. To tackle monsters in Hell mode with PI, the Claw and Shield 
    Assassin has a wide choice with the abundance of skill points available. 
    She could go Venom, Phoenix Strike or my favourite, Wall of Inferno, all 
    of which are very strong, with Death Sentry as a backup. Moreover, she 
    can max out her other skills (Tiger, Claw Mastery, Shadow Master) before 
    the Dual Claw Assassin Can. 
    
    
    Heavy Weapon Assassin
    ---------------------
    
    (thanks to Kyle Summers, Nicholas Vu for giving me this idea)
    
    One major beef about the Assassin is she doesn't do much damage with her 
    weapons. Even the elite claw does a maximum of 47 damage (if im not 
    mistaken) which even with slvl20 Claw mastery isn't a lot. Therefore, a 
    dual Claw assassin though quick isn't really effective damage wise AFTER 
    slvl20 Tiger and slvl20 Claw Mastery is added in. A 100+ damage Claw 
    with both Tiger and Claw maxed would do somewhere around 2880 damage. So 
    why not make full use of her Tiger Strike charge up and use a heavy 
    weapon (e.g. Maul, Lance, Axe)??? The idea is to pump up Burst of Speed 
    and Tiger strike as quickly as humanly possible and forgoing all other 
    skills early on. Burst of speed will help negate the slow attack speed 
    of heavy weapons while Tiger strike at slvl20 will just magnify how 
    powerful she is. So technically if you get a weapon which does 500 
    physical damage, she will be able to do 7200 damage on a charged up 
    slvl20 Tiger before other bonuses are added in! To tackle monsters in 
    Hell with PI, she can use WoI, Death Sentry or Phoenix strike (no Venom 
    though). Since she does not need points in so many skills, she can max 
    out any two of these skills really quickly and make Hell PI a cakewalk. 
    Also, since she does not need to toggle between finishing moves, this 
    makes her less of a hotkey workout.
    
    
    ************ 
    Hotkey Mania
    ************
    Playing an Assasin requires more skill, strategy and finess than playing 
    a mindless character like a whirldwind barbarian. With so many useful 
    charge up skills and finishing moves as well as those skills which 
    temporarily boost your character, you will have a nightmare if you do 
    not assign hotkeys. Even the preset hotkeys (F1-F12) is pretty hard to 
    use since they are located quite "far" away from your Alt, Ctrl and no. 
    Keys.
     
    What I did was reassign most of my keyboard hotkeys.  
    Basically I relied on 3 charge up Attack, 3 finishing moves and 4 shadow 
    skills. Therefore I mapped the keys as follow
    Q - Charge Up Attack 1
    W - Charge Up Attack 2
    E - Charge Up Attack 3
    R - Normal Attack
    A - Shadow Skill 1
    S - Shadow Skill 2
    D - Shadow Skill 3
    F - Trap
    Z - Finishing Move 1
    X - Finishing Move 2 
    C - Shadow Skill 4
    F1 - Shadow Skill 5
    
    Basically the charge up attacks were assigned to my left mouse button 
    (since I would be clicking that the most) and the other skills were 
    assigned to the right moust button. So by level 30 after obtaining all 
    possible skills it was something like: -
    Q - Cobra Strike
    W - Phoenix Strike
    E - Tiger Strike
    R - Normal Attack
    A - Fade
    S - Burst of Speed
    D - Venom
    F - Death Sentry
    Z - Double Claw
    X - Dragon Flight
    C - Cloak of Shadows
    F1 - Shadow Master
    
    
    
    So what about the other hotkeys? Well most of them weren't very 
    important (when compared to your combat hotkeys), So I just reassigned 
    them to the F5-F8 keys.
    As you can see I put Shadow Master as F1. Why? Because I wasn't going to 
    cast a her very often. It'd be pointless of me to put the Shadow Master 
    on say Z key and having to reach further away to change to Double Claw. 
    In essence, at higher levels, you won't have that much time to change 
    with monsters pounding relentlessly on you.
    Of course this is my preference, and you can (and should) come up with a 
    set of hotkeys which suits your style. Whatever it is though, hotkeys 
    ARE a necessity to playing an Assasin to her fullest potential, unless 
    of course you prefer to use the same skill over and over again (and get 
    killed in the process)
    
     
    *********************
    Charge Up? Finishing?
    *********************
    
    As said before, playing an assasin is quite complex with those charge up 
    and finishing moves. Let me break down all the details to you in a Q & A 
    format. Most of the information was taken from www.diabloii.net
    
    Q: Whats Charge Up And Finishing move?
    A: Basically a Charge Up move is when you store charges when a move 
       succesfully connects. When you hit your opponent with a charge up
       move you will see a glowing orb surrounding your character. 
       A finishing move on the other hand will cause all the charges 
       surrounding your character to be used up. You will see a flash 
       according to the colour of the glowing orb if you succesfully 
       use a charge with a finishing move.
    
    Q: How many charges can I store?
    A: You can store a maximum of 3 for each charge-up skill. You can stack 
       the charges with other charge-up skills however for a potential of
       18 total charges. For example, you hit your opponent 3 times with
       Tiger Strike and obtain 3 white orbs. You then switch to Cobra 
       Strike and hit your enemy 3 more times. You should see 3 white orbs
       as well as 3 green orbs circiling your character.
    
    Q: How long does each charge last?
    A: It last for 8 seconds (give or take) if your character does not 
       attack an enemy. However if you continue hitting an enemy with 
       a charge-up skill (of the same or different kind) the orbs will
       last indefinitely until you stop for 8 seconds or use a finishing
       move. Remember however that even if you can hit your opponent
       more than 3 times using the same charge up skills, you can only
       store a maximum of 3 orbs.
    
    Q: Can I use Chargeup Skills if I don't use claws?
    A: Definitely. However you won't be able to use the full selection. 
       There are two charge up skills which require claws that is 
       Blades of Ice and Claws of Thunder.
    
    Q: Can I use finishing move if I don't use double claws?
    A: Yes. In fact you can use a finishing move even if you don't use 
       claws. However, you are limited to only 3 finishing moves. You 
       can't use Dragon claw if you choose not to use double claw.
    
    Q: Tiger strike gives +Attack % bonus. Does that mean I gain the attack
       bonus for the finishing move?
    A: Yes, well at least it is in v1.08 which I am currently writing on. 
       So technically you could stack all your attack bonuses for your 
       charge up skills and watch your attack rating go up.
    
    
    Q: Dragon claw states it is a double claw attack where you hit your 
       opponent seperately with two claws. How does the damage modifier  
       apply?
    A: The modifier only applies to the FIRST hit. You only do normal 
       damage for the 2nd hit, unless of course the first hit missed. 
       The same applies for Dragon Kick since you get up to 3 kicks, only
       the first kick applies. Therefore it is wise to have the most
       powerful weapon assigned to your first attack if you plan to use
       Dragon Claw.
    
    Q: How much damage does a kick do?
    A: Look at your boots... LOL. Actually, the damage each kick does is
       dependent on your Character's Str and Dex Rating.
       Minimum Damage: (Str/4)+(Dex/4)
       Maximum Damage: (Str/3)+(Dex/3)
       For example, BladeDagger has a Str and Dex Score of 60. She will
       do a minimum of 30 points of damage and a maximum of 40 before 
       damage modifiers are added in. If you are planning to go the 
       sword & claw route, it would be wise for you to pump up on your
       character's Str and Dex. 
    
    Q: Which is the best Charge-up and Finishing move?
    A: There is no "best" move in the game. Each move complements each 
       other. However for the record, my favourite charge-up move is 
       cobra strike and fave finishing is Double Claw. Even if they 
       are my favourite attacks, however, I still use ther other 
       charge ups and finishers all the time to complement these moves.
    
    **********
    Plan Ahead
    **********
    
    There is nothing worse than playing Diablo II and have your character 
    reach Level 30 only to realise that you have put points in the wrong 
    skills and thus render your Assassin completely useless even before she 
    reaches Nightmare mode. Putting 20 points into a skill like Psychic 
    hammer and none into something like say Death sentry will only cause 
    your Assassin to be undeveloped and unplayable. 
    
    But that does not stop there. Some people create characters with skills 
    which are sufficient to overcome normal mode. But once they enter 
    Nightmare/Hell mode they have a lot of problems. Here are some things 
    you need to remember.
    
    In Nightmare mode, each enemy gains more HP, attack rating, defense and 
    power. In general they are much tougher, hit harder and can be harder to 
    hit. Their Skill goes up by +3. Resistance of each monster increases.
    Also Monsters in Nightmare start to gain regeneration. 
    Uniques in Nightmare gain 1 extra special ability other than their fixed 
    special ability.
    
    In hell mode, and in Diablo II: LOD, all monsters will gain a 50% 
    physical immunity bonus. Almost all monsters will be immune to one type 
    of elemental damage. Not to mention they are much tougher etc.
    Also remember that your resistance drops in each mode.
    
    
    Pick skills with Nightmare and Hell mode in mind
    ------------------------------------------------
    
    With that in mind, it is vital that a player creates his Assassin with 
    these facts in mind. For example, with a good player will consider the 
    50% physical immunity of the monsters in Hell mode, and thus will invest 
    at least a few points (if not more) in Venom. This can be overcome (at 
    least in v1.08) by stocking up charms which add poison damage. 
    
    
    Equipment affects your skill point distribution
    -----------------------------------------------
    It could be stupid if you put 20 points into venom if you have loads of 
    charms and weapons which add poison damage. (say a military pick with 6 
    perfect emeralds socketed to it) Save a few points! Put that into other 
    skills. In an extreme case, say if you want to go claw and shield route, 
    it would be ABSOLUTELY stupid of you if you are going to put 20 points 
    into Dragon claw, a skill which require the use of double claw.
    If you are unsure of putting skill points into a certain skill, it would 
    be wise of you to obtain a claw which has +1-3 points in a certain 
    skill. Of course, in some cases, such claws are rare, so be on a look 
    out for them. Not sure whether Phoenix Strike is your cup of tea? Get a 
    Claw with +2 in Phoenix strike and see for yourself.
    
    
    Be diverse... don't concentrate on one skill only
    -------------------------------------------------
    When v1.08 was released, and elemental immunity was introdued, a lot of 
    sorceress players complained that the sorceress had been nerfed badly. 
    Was it such a case? IMO, no! Sorceress is still one of the most badass 
    class around. In fact it is the other classes which relied a lot on 
    physical attacks (barbarians, amazons) who suffered more because of the 
    50% physical immunity. So why such comments? Many sorceress focused 
    solely on one skill (ice being very common) Sure they were very powerful 
    in pre v1.08, but they found that their sorceress had been totally 
    shafted with the introduction of elemental immunity.
    The lesson here is do NOT concentrate on any one skill solely. For 
    example, Tiger strike is very good (+1440% damage on C3 at Slvl20) but 
    putting 20 points into that early on and none into Venom will cause you 
    loads of headaches if you face a Unique with Physical Immunity if you 
    don't have any poison damage items. 
    
    That does not mean you should specialize in a skill. Skills like Tiger 
    strike, Claw Mastery and Shadow Master is worth pumping 20 points into.
    
    
    Do not waste skill points!!!!
    -----------------------------
    This is the worse thing a Diablo II player can do. Lets say you just 
    reached level 5 and have one point in all Level 1 skills. What do you do 
    with the new skill? Put that into Psychic hammer? I always tell my 
    friends, if you have skill points and don't know where to put them to, 
    save it! Put the skill into a higher level skill.
    If your Assassin is cruising in the game and you are able to save 5 
    skill points, its OKAY! There are better skills which require a higher 
    level (e.g. Weapon Block, Venom, Death Sentry), so don't waste your 
    skill points on low level skills which will prolly become useless later 
    on. Note though that Tiger Strike is by far the best level 1 skill 
    because it is used a lot. Put skill points as necessary.
    
    
    Put no. of points according to your stats
    -----------------------------------------
    Sounds stupid... but some skills increase in mana casting cost with 
    additional skill points. If your Assassin has a low mana rating, find 
    the comfortable skill level which gives your mana its bang of its buck 
    without your mana depleting itself too quickly and leaving you unable to 
    use other skills. 
    
    
    Be certain what path you want to play.. and do so
    -------------------------------------------------
    I have this friend (my housemate) of mine, who played as a paladin. He 
    did not understand the skill system in Diablo II initially. As such, he 
    put 1 point into every one of the 30 skills available. Needless to say, 
    his paladin was very weak even at Level 52 in Nightmare mode.
    When you start a new game, the first thing you do is bring up the Skill 
    tree and have a good look at it. Look at all the skills, have a general 
    idea of what they do, and then have a rough idea of what kind of game 
    you want to play. Do you want to play a corspe explosion type of 
    Assasin? If so, you might not want to invest too heavily on Blades of 
    Ice, a skill which freezes your enemy and probably shatter them. That 
    would leave you with no corpse to trap your enemy with. Or, maybe you 
    want to focus purely on melee and group damage with Dragon Tail. In such 
    a case, items with loads of ice damage would help a lot.
    
    
    Do not follow your friends! Be creative!
    ----------------------------------------
    
    I remember, when Diablo II was released, there were loads of necromancer 
    FAQ writers who COMPLETELY dissed Poison Dagger and Poison Explosion. 
    The same could be said about Blessed Hammer for Paladin of which some 
    even called it the worst skill available. Yet, with a lil 
    experimentation, people soon discovered how effective a Poison Dagger 
    Necromancer was and how powerful Blessed Hammer+ Concentration combo 
    (nerfed in v1.08) was.
    I might tell you here in this FAQ that Psychic Hammer is a worthless 
    skill, but if you think otherwise, don't be afraid to try and prove me 
    wrong! Experiment, experiment, experiment. I can tell you how good Death 
    Sentry is, but you might not be good at playing around with traps but 
    are much better with melee attacks. Don't let my suggestions control 
    you. My FAQ should used mainly as a guideline from which you improve on.
    
    
    ***************
    Skills Overview
    ***************
    I have a policy when writing an FAQ not to grade skills. The reason is 
    because even if I find a skill totally useless, it is because I don't 
    know how to use it correctly. Point in case, Paladin's Blessed Hammer. I 
    once thought that skill was sucky and I was right to have that 
    opinion... until of course someone came up with the idea of Hammerdins 
    where Blessed Hammer + Concentration made Paladins a force to be reckon 
    with (unfortunately for Hammerdins, the combo got shafted).Moreover, it 
    is very hard to grade skills, considering that there are so many 
    variants of the Assassin. Dragon Claw is a good example. It may be very 
    good for a dual claw Assassin by useless for a claw Shield Assassin. 
    Anyways I will try my best to give my opinion of a certain skill and 
    should you disagree, well thats fine because its just that... my 
    opinion!
    
    Martial Arts
    ------------
     
    Tiger Strike 
    Type: Charge Up Skill
    Required Level: 1
    Mana: 1
    
    Level	Attack +%	C1 Damage +%   C2 Damage +%  C3 Damage +%
    1	40		100			200		300
    2	50		120			240		360
    3	60		140			280		420
    4	70		160			320		480
    5	80		180			360		540
    6	90		200			400		600
    7	100		220			440		660
    8	110		240			480		720
    9	120		260			520		780
    10	130		280			560		840
    11	140		300			600		900
    12	150		320			640		960
    13	160		340			680		1020
    14	170		360			720		1080
    15	180		380			760		1140
    16	190		400			800		1200
    17	200		420			840		1260
    18	210		440			880		1320
    19	220		460			920		1380
    20	230		480			960		1440
    
    Comments:
    This IMO, is one of the Assassins' best skill... especially since it is 
    a Level 1 skill! For the cost of ONE measly Mana, you can charge up your 
    weapon up to 3 times. At level 1, 3 charges will nett you +300% 
    damage... very useful when you are fighting bosses early on. Later when 
    you reach Nightmare and Hell mode, you will want this up to Level 20 
    ASAP. Why? Just look at the damage mods man! At level 20, it gives you 
    +1440% extra damage. AND not to mention all this comes with a 
    complementary + AR. +1440% extra damage is INSANE! Currently my Level 50 
    Assasin does an average of 100 points damage per hit. Now charge up 
    tiger strike and you will be doing something like 1500 points for your 
    finishing move, and thats without adding in all those elemental damage 
    bonuses. This is a must for assasins in taking down enemies with loads 
    of HP so that you can use corspe explosion cheese tactics. Please note 
    that the Tiger strike bonus applies only to BASE damage. Therefore if 
    you stack your character up with charms which add elemental damage or 
    use a skill (e.g. Venom) the damage will be added onto to your total 
    base damage after modification. This can be confusing to a beginner at 
    first.
    The drawback? The name of this skill is gay! Tiger strike? What is this 
    a zoo? Surely a name like Assassination would have been so cool...
    
    
    Fist of Fire
    Type: Charge Up Skill
    Required Level: 1
    Mana: 2
    
    Level		Attack +%	Fire Damage (on all charges)
    1		50			6-10
    2		60			11-15
    3		70			16-20
    4		80			21-25
    5		90			26-30
    6		100			31-35
    7		110			36-40
    8		120			41-45
    9		130			51-55
    10		140			61-65
    11		150			71-75
    12		160			81-85
    13		170			91-95
    14		180			101-105
    15		190			111-115
    16		200			121-125
    17		210			141-145
    18		220			161-165
    19		230			181-185
    20		240			200-205
    
    Comments: 
    Put one point into this skill, and save the rest for later. This skill 
    is okay.... for early goings (level 1 to 6) More hits increase the fire 
    explosion radius, but thats besides the point. To get the damage up to 
    even a respectable level you need to pump something like 10 points or 
    so... and thats only useful in normal mode. By Nightmare mode this skill 
    is totally eclipsed. Not to mention the fact that other skills would 
    then be so much more stronger. By the way, I never used this skill at 
    all. I just put it as a prerequisite to other skills.
    
    
    Cobra Strike
    Type: Charge Up Skill
    Prerequisite: Tiger Strike
    Required Level: 12
    Mana: 2
    
    Level	Attack +%	C1 Life Steal %	C2 Life/Mana %	C3 Life/Mana +%
    1	60		40			40			80
    2	75		45			45			90
    3	90		50			50			100
    4	105		55			55			110
    5	120		60			60			120
    6	135		65			65			130
    7	150		70			70			140
    8	165		75			75			150
    9	180		80			80			160
    10	195		85			85			170
    11	210		90			90			180
    12	225		95			95			190
    13	240		100			100			200
    14	255		105			105			210
    15	270		110			110			220
    16	285		115			115			230
    17	300		120			120			240
    18	315		125			125			250
    19	330		130			130			260
    20	345		135			135			270
    
    Comments:
    This is an excellent skill for the assasin. This is the main reason why 
    you can skimp on Energy points for the Assasin's game. FYI, my Assasin 
    had only 40 points allocated for Energy, and thats very little 
    considering she is a Level 50 Assasin. I use this mainly to leech back 
    huge amounts of mana after casting 5 death sentry's which is quite a 
    mana drain needless to say. Also its very useful against bosses who are 
    hard hitting since a fully charged up skill will help leech back all the 
    life you lost. Remember that the life leeched increases instantly like 
    using a Rejuvenation potion, and not over time like using a Health 
    Potion. This is something bear in mind, as you might want to use a 
    health potion, but your enemy hits you before your health can reach a 
    safe level. I put only ONE point (which is all you need really) and it 
    still has stayed useful right now in Nightmare mode. Please remember 
    that some creatures like Skeletons (other Undead too) cannot be leeched 
    for health or Mana. Oh... and you get some +AR% too!
    
    
    Claws of Thunder
    Type: Charge Up skill
    Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claw Weapon
    Required Level: 18
    Mana: 4
    
    Level	Attack +%	C1 Lightning Dam	  C2 Nova Dam. C3 Charged bolt Dam.
    1	80		1-80			      1-20			1-40
    2	95		11-90			      1-35			1-60
    3	110		21-100			1-50			1-80
    4	125		31-110			1-65			1-100
    5	140		41-120			1-80			1-120
    6	155		51-130			1-95			1-140
    7	170		61-140			1-110			1-160
    8	185		71-150			1-125			1-180
    9	200		91-170			1-150			1-220
    10	215		111-190			1-175			1-260
    11	230		131-210			1-200			1-300
    12	245		151-230			1-225			1-240
    13	260		171-250			1-250			1-380
    14	270		191-270			1-275			1-420
    15	290		211-290			1-300			1-460
    16	305		231-310			1-325			1-500
    17	320		261-340			1-360			1-460
    18	335		291-370			1-395			1-620
    19	350		321-400			1-430			1-680
    20	365		351-430			1-465			1-740
    
    Comments: 
    I put only one point in this skill. The damage done is respectable, but 
    if you charge up this move more than once, then the lightning damage 
    done will be 1-x (x is maximum damage) Big gamble here. It would be 
    quite useful if not for a better skill later on....
    
    
    Blades of Ice
    Type: Charge Up Skill
    Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Claw Weapon
    Required Level: 24
    Mana: 3
    
    Level	Attack +%	C1 Cold Dam.	C3 Freeze Duration (sec)
    1	80		15-35			      4
    2	95		23-43			      4.4
    3	110		31-51			      4.8
    4	125		39-59			      5.2
    5	140		47-67			      5.6
    6	155		55-75			      6
    7	170		63-83			      6.4
    8	185		71-91			      6.8
    9	200		81-101			7.2
    10	215		91-111			7.6
    11	230		101-121			8
    12	245		111-131			8.4
    13	260		121-141			8.8
    14	270		131-151			9.2
    15	290		141-161			9.6
    16	305		151-171			10
    17	320		171-191			10.4
    18	335		191-211			10.8
    19	350		211-231			11.2
    20	365		231-251			11.6
    
    Comments:
    This skill is very useful indeed. You obviously want to charge this 
    skill up 3 times for the freezing effect (your opponents can't move, and 
    you get a free hit) Increasing the skill points allocated for this would 
    not only increase your +AR% and Cold damage, but also the freeze Radius. 
    Very important! If you think that Ice is the way for your style (and 
    more importantly if you do NOT want to go the Death Sentry Route), then 
    pump this skill up since to charge cost one less mana point, but if you 
    want a more versatile move then wait somemore....
    
    
    Phoenix Strike
    Type: Charge Up Skill
    Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Tiger 
                  strike, Cobra Strike
    Required Level: 30
    Mana: 4
    
    Level	Attack +%	C1 Meter Dam.  C2 Chain Light. Dam. C3 Ice Bolt Dam.
    1	70		20-40		      1-40			16-32
    2	85		30-50		      1-51			20-36
    3	100		40-60		      1-62			24-40
    4	115		50-70		      1-73			28-44
    5	130		60-80		      1-84			32-48
    6	145		70-90		      1-95			36-52
    7	160		80-100		1-106			40-56
    8	172		90-110		1-117			44-60
    9	190		110-130		1-134			52-68
    10	205		130-150		1-151			60-76
    11	220		150-170		1-168			68-84
    12	235		170-190		1-185			76-92
    13	250		190-210		1-202			84-100
    14	265		210-230		1-219			92-108
    15	280		230-250		1-236			100-116
    16	295		250-270		1-253			108-124
    17	310		280-300		1-278			120-136
    18	325		310-330		1-303			132-148
    19	340		340-360		1-328			144-160
    20	355		370-390		1-353			156-172
    
    Comment:
    This is the Assasin's most versatile charge up Skill. For the price of 
    ONE skill point, you can dish out fire, lightning or ice damage. This is 
    great but has some drawbacks in some cases. First, the meteor (first 
    charge) is pretty useless unless fighting huge swarms of enemies in a 
    tight corridor. If you played a sorceress I'm sure you'd know by now 
    that the meteor takes forever and a day to land, by which time your 
    opponent would have ran or teleported away. Second, the damage done by 
    the Chain Lightning could have been better.. 1-x damage is horrible as 
    always you could easily do 1 damage.. which is a LOT, and even at skill 
    level 20, you will only be doing 300+ damage which is an average of 
    around 150. Not very good compared to Claws of Thunder. Lastly the Chaos 
    Bolts cast may or may not hit a target even if they are in close. This 
    can be vital at times when fighting swarms of enemy (especially in 
    Nightmare mode) where that freeze could easily mean life or death. That 
    compared to Blades of Ice which freezes EVERYTHING in the freeze radius. 
    (well not bosses or uniques though) 
    
    The beauty of this skill though is when you go to Hell mode. With 
    creatures having 50% PI and Elemental Resistance this skill will help 
    tremendously since you have all 3 elementals to play around with. Meteor 
    in particular does 370-390 damage at Slvl 20 which is awesome and of 
    significant amount even in Hell mode. If you only stick with one 
    elemental skill (ie Blades of Ice and Venom) you could be left high and 
    dry in some areas especially if your tactics are based on Death Sentry/ 
    Corspe Explosion. Moreover, some creatures may be resistant to two types 
    of elements and thus, having all elements covered, will leave you 
    prepared for any challenge ahead.
    
    However, this skill is a very welcome addition for the Assasin's already 
    congested skill lists and proves very versatile in a lot of situations 
    since you don't need to change from one skill to another. The main thing 
    though when you are going to use this skill is to either to max it out 
    or NOT put any skill points in it.
    
    
    Dragon Talon
    Type: Finishing Move
    Required Level; 1
    Mana: 6
    
    Level	Kicks		Kick Damage +%	Attack +%
    1	1		0			40
    2	1		7			52
    3	1		14			64
    4	1		21			75
    5	1		28			88
    6	2		35			100
    7	2		42			112
    8	2		49			124
    9	2		56			136
    10	2		63			148
    11	2		70			160
    12	3		77			172
    13	3		84			184
    14	3		91			196
    15	3		98			208
    16	3		105			220
    17	3		112			232
    18	3		119			244
    19	3		126			256
    20	3		133			268
    
    Comments:
    One point is all you need. This costs too much mana, and does too little 
    damage early on to be of use. Of course, if you actually bother to pump 
    it up to at least Skill Level 12, then you get 3 kicks, and a good 
    damage modifier... but with that kind of skill points, I'd rather invest 
    it in Claw Mastery or Weapon Block. 
    
    
    Dragon Claw
    Type: Finishing Move
    Prerequisite: Dragon Talon
    Required level: 6
    Mana: 2
    
    Level		Damage +%	Attack +%
    1		50		50
    2		55		60
    3		60		70
    4		65		80
    5		70		90
    6		72		100
    7		80		110
    8		85		120
    9		90		130
    10		95		140
    11		100		150
    12		105		160
    13		110		170
    14		115		180
    15		120		190
    16		125		200
    17		130		210
    18		135		220
    19		140		230
    20		145		240
    
    Comments: 
    If you are going dual claw, than this IMO is the best finishing move. 
    With a low mana cost, and doing decent damage, this is my favourite 
    move. If you find a good weapon with high damage, then this is the ONLY 
    finishing move which would be of good use. Why? Kick damage depends too 
    much on Str and Dex. So lets say my Level 50 Assasin has Str and Dex of 
    115 he would be doing a MAXIMUM of 78 damage. If I get a good weapon 
    with Str bonus I could easily do an AVERAGE of 100 base damage. Thats a 
    big difference... if you add Tiger Strike Bonus into it. The down side 
    of it though is that it requires double claw, and thus you will have to 
    invest a lot of points into Weapon block and might not be able to get 
    this skill up to scratch later on. Just to note however, my Level 60 
    Assasin is Surviving pretty well in Nightmare with only 2 skill points 
    allocated to this move (but there is of course skill bonuses from my 
    equipment)
    
    
    Dragon Tail
    Type: Finishing Move
    Prerequisite: Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw
    Required level: 18
    Mana: 10
    
    Level		Fire Damage +%	Attack +%
    1			50		40
    2			60		47
    3			70		54
    4			80		61
    5			90		68
    6			100		75
    7			110		82
    8			120		89
    9			130		96
    10			140		103
    11			150		110
    12			160		117
    13			170		124
    14			180		131
    15			190		138
    16			200		145
    17			210		152
    18			220		159
    19			230		166
    20			240		173
    
    Comments:
    Choke! Gasp! 10 mana! Thats a lot. Fortunately Dragon tail is a area 
    hitting move, which means it damages all enemies around. If you do not 
    go dual claw then this is THE move you should use. If you choose dual 
    claw then you might still want to keep one point in this kill if only 
    for the knockback properties, which is a lifesaver against swarms of 
    enemies. Adding points into this increases the damage done (fire damage 
    however) and +AR%. 
    The drawbacks are of course in Hell mode should your enemies have fire 
    immunity (which unfortunately are a lot) then this move will be very 
    weak since you will only be doing BASE physical damage.
     
    Nicholas Vu has more to add:
    "There is a really interesting bug in v1.08 where the Tiger Claw bonuses 
    also apply to the area-of-effect fire blast of Dragon Tail. That means 
    that in a fight, I can run straight for the Unique with 3 charge levels 
    of Tiger Claw, nail him with Dragon Tail and kill all of his minions in 
    the process in just one kick! Needless to say, this skill is probably 
    going to get nerfed real bad in the next patch..."
    
    ???Did You Realise???
    That if you have a high enough Burst of Speed/ Attack Rate boost score
    and press Dragon Tail fast enough, the Assassin looks like she is doing 
    Chun-Li's (of Street Fighter II fame) Infinite Kick.
    
    Dragon Flight
    Type: Finsihing move
    Prerequisite: Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw, Dragon Tail
    Required Level: 24
    Mana: 15
    
    Level		Attack +%	Kick Damage +%
    1		100		100
    2		120		125
    3		140		150
    4		160		175
    5		180		200
    6		200		225
    7		220		250
    8		240		275
    9		260		300
    10		280		325
    11		300		350
    12		320		375
    13		340		400
    14		360		425
    15		380		450
    16		400		475
    17		420		500
    18		440		525
    19		460		550
    20		480		575
    
    Comments:
    I seldom regard this as a proper finishing move on its own but rather as 
    a tool, and a very useful one indeed. The benefits of this move is too 
    great not to be used even if it is costs a hefty 15 mana. This move as 
    the description read is a teleport and finishes off with a kick. It 
    might not be apparent to you but when you reach Act 5 with those 
    teleporting imps, this will be your best friend since you can catch up 
    with them teleporting around. Also, it is great say in the Arcane 
    Santuary (Act 2, Quest 5) with those pesky Ghoul Lords always hiding 
    behind the Goat men (as I call them) casting 10001 firewalls. Very 
    useful for breaching their defence (while your shadow/shadow master) 
    holds them up especially in Nightmare mode. Also in the Flayer Jungle, 
    where you meet those Shamans, the Teleport Kick can be used to kill them 
    even before he has the chance to blow fire (and cut your life down by 
    half) 
    
    There also some good examples how this move can be used to your 
    positional advantage. In Act IV when facing Diablo for example, if you 
    should teleport back to town (maybe to get some potions, or get a 
    breather) Diablo may cast Bone Prison around your Town Portal. While 
    normally it would be easy to knock the Bone prison down, Imagine if 
    Diablo is waiting at hand with his nasty Lightning attack! With Dragon 
    Flight you can just teleport attack Diablo or the Bone Wall, and in both 
    cases, you will be free from your entrapment. The teleport feature also 
    adds a lot of mobility as you can save a lot of time, moving across 
    platforms, which can be vital if you just touched an Experience shrine. 
    Be WARNED though, that sometimes, you may teleport to a part of a map 
    which may otherwise be inaccesible, and if no other creatures are at 
    hand, you might be stuck there. This happened to me a few times 
    especially in Act 5. I would suggest casting a Town portal, entering and 
    exiting. If this doesn't free you, then unfortunately you have no other 
    choice but to save and exit.
    
    However, as a proper finishing move though, I give it a thumbs down, 
    because while it is useful and has good +AR% and +damage bonus even at 
    level 1, the 2 sec casting lag can be a killer. As I understand, 
    Blizzard created the 2 sec casting lag to reduce the bandwidth load. 
    Imagine 8 Assasins teleporting around at will on the same map! What if 
    you are down on health, but have 3 globes of Cobra strike just waiting 
    to leech back some health? Health potions are too slow, and just at that 
    time you don't have full rejuvanation potions at hand. Even if you have 
    an exceptional AR score, Dragon Flight may MISS and as such you could be 
    killed because of that (if you are hardcore, then too bad for you) The 
    maximum to hit an enemy is of cours 95% and lets not forget that some 
    enemies have the Evade skill of the Amazon (the Night Slinger in Act 2 
    being a good example) 
    Unfortunately, the lag of 2 seconds is too great to make Dragon Flight 
    your permanent Assassin Finishing move. That is why Hotkey-ing is so 
    important, and more still, the investment in at least 2 types of 
    finishing moves.
    
    
    Someone mailed in some useful information about Dragon flight:
    (I lost your email so if you would e mail me, I will give you credit
     for this)
    
    Dragon flight is very useful especially when fighting Baal, and as I 
    have tested, this works really well even in Hell mode. You can run off 
    screen (so Baal can't see you) and attack those tentacles (festering 
    something) of his to build up your charges, then teleport in to hit him 
    hard. This works very well since you can avoid some of Baal's more 
    potent attacks like his Ice Arrow and Flame attack.
    Additionally, Dragon flight can be used to attack him when he attempts 
    his Ice Arrow attack, evading the arrow in the process. Baal will 
    usually try this attack after teleporting away.
    
    
    
    Shadow Disciplines
    ------------------
    
    Claw Mastery
    Type: Passive Skill
    Required level: 1
    
    Level		Attack +%	Damage +%
    1		30		35
    2		40		39
    3		50		43
    4		60		47
    5		70		51
    6		80		55
    7		90		59
    8		100		63
    9		110		67
    10		120		71
    11		130		75
    12		140		79
    13		150		93
    14		160		97
    15		170		91
    16		180		95
    17		190		99
    18		200		103
    19		210		107
    20		220		111
    
    Comments:
    I really... really... like this skill... You can tell because by level 
    40 I already had like 16 points in this skill. Since I was playing 
    through the game my first time as an Assasin (without prior knowledge of 
    ANYTHING bout Assasin) I decided that my safest bet was to invest points 
    in passive skills when I was in doubt (ala Barbarian). In truth, you 
    prolly won't need that many points in this skill... at first. But when 
    you reach Nightmare and Hell difficulty, and considering that Assasin's 
    Claws does puny damage (well compared to elite weapons of say the 
    Barbarian) the damage modifier is a must. Remember, this damage modifier 
    and AR modifier is added to every hit... not your charge up hit only or 
    your finishing move. EVERYTHING that hits with a claw. (sorry Kicks... 
    no damage mods though) This is the main reason WHY I went double claw... 
    to benefit fully from this skill. By hell mode, have this skill at level 
    20. If you don't plan on investing any points on this, then choose 
    Necromancer instead.
    
    
    Psychic Hammer
    Type: Offensive skill
    Required level: 1
    Mana: Increases as Skill Points Increases
    
    Level		Mana		Damage
    1		4		2-5
    2		4.2		3-6
    3		4.5		4-7
    4		4.7		5-8
    5		5.		6-9
    6		5.2		7-10
    7		5.5		8-11
    8		5.7		9-12
    9		6		10-13
    10		6.2		12-15
    11		6.5		13-16
    12		6.7		15-18
    13		7		16-19
    14		7.2		18-21
    15		7.5		19-22
    16		7.7		21-24
    17		8		23-26
    18		8.2		25-28
    19		8.5		27-30
    20		8.7		29-32
    
    Comments:  
    Urh? What is this move? Well... its useful because you can put one point 
    into it and then get other skills later. Come on.... at Level 20 you 
    will be doing something so pathetic like.... 29-32 damage... for 8.7 
    mana! Geez! Even a trap does more damage!
    
    
    Burst of Speed
    Type: Boost-up Skill
    Required Level: 1
    Mana: 10
    
    Level		Attack Speed +%	Walk/Run Speed +%	      Duration (sec)
    1		21			23				120
    2		27			29				132
    3		31			34				144
    4		34			39				156
    5		37			42				168
    6		41			45				180
    7		42			47				192
    8		44			49				204
    9		44			51				216
    10		45			52				228
    11		46			54				240
    12		47			55				252
    13		49			56				264
    14		50			57				276
    15		51			57				288
    16		51			59				300
    17		51			59				312
    18		52			60				324
    19		52			60				336
    20		52			61				348
    
    Comments:
    This skill is extremely useful... have at least 2-3 points in this and 
    for the best skill point investment put around 7-8. You thought the 
    Assassin's Claws hit very fast already eh? Well think again! This boosts 
    her skills tremendously and should be recharged the second it runs off. 
    The additional run/walk speed boost is just icing on the cake and helps 
    offset the run/walk speed which has been nerfed in Diablo II v1.08.
    
    
    Cloak of Shadows
    Type: Enemy affecting Skill
    Required Level: 12
    Prerequisite Skills: Psychic Hammer
    Mana: 13
    Range: 20 yards
    Duration: 8 secs
    
    Level		Enemy Defense -%
    1		21
    2		27
    3		31
    4		34
    5		37
    6		39
    7		41
    8		42
    9		44
    10		45
    11		46
    12		47
    13		48
    14		49
    15		50
    16		51
    17		51
    18		51
    19		52
    20		52
    
    Comments:
    This is one of the most overlooked skill and is darn effective even if 
    you put ONE skill point into it. Forget the -def% for your enemy... even 
    though that is the benefit if you increase the number of skill points 
    for this, the BEST thing about this skill is that it blinds ALL your 
    enemies within the 20 yard range (except for Uniques, Champions and 
    Bosses of course). Why is this useful? You only got to go into the 
    flayer jungle where all those pigmy boys start pelting you with their 
    blowpipes before you know why this skill is one of the best. Being 
    blinded, your enemy won't be able to see you at all. That means pigmy 
    boys won't be able to see you, pelt you with bullets and run away. No... 
    you can simply run up to him at your leisure and beat the hell out of 
    him before he even knew what had happened. It works very well especially 
    with a huge group of enemies.... but by the time you actually need this 
    skill badly, you will already have Death sentry and all you actually 
    need to do is take out the fattest enemy or two around. With Tiger 
    Strike and a full 8 secs, I'm sure your enemies won't be able to stand 
    for long...
    
    
    Weapon Block
    Type: Passive Skill
    Required level: 12
    Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery
    
    Level		Chance to Block +%
    1		26
    2		32
    3		36
    4		39
    5		42
    6		44
    7		46
    8		47
    9		49
    10		50
    11		51
    12		52
    13		53
    14		54
    15		55
    16		56
    17		56
    18		56
    19		57
    20		57
    
    Comments:
    Basically if you play double claw assasin and don't put any points into 
    this skill you should consider quitting diablo 2 for good. I love 
    playing a double claw assasin (more attacks, better finishing move) and 
    as such the Weapon Block is a bread and butter skill. I spent LOADS of 
    points early on in normal mode on this skill to get it up to Slvl 10 
    (50% blocking) of course the higher is better.  Defense rating only 
    helps in soaking up damage, but with weapon block you totally AVOID 
    being hit at all. Thats a whole load useful. With an average of 50% 
    blocking, thats every other hit you avoid. Currently in Nightmare I have 
    it a SLvl 15 which offers 55% blocking. Put as many points as 
    possible.... by Hell mode this skill has to reach SLvl20 before 
    factoring any other items with skill bonuses.
    
    
    Fade
    Type: Boost-up Skill
    Required level: 18
    Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed
    
    Level		Curse Length -%   Resist All +%	Duration (Sec)
    1		47			19			120
    2		53			27			132
    3		58			33			144
    4		62			38			156
    5		65			42			168
    6		67			45			180
    7		69			47			192
    8		71			50			204
    9		73			52			216
    10		74			54			228
    11		75			56			240
    12		76			57			252
    13		77			58			264
    14		78			60			276
    15		79			60			288
    16		80			62			300
    17		80			62			312
    18		81			63			324
    19		81			63			336
    20		82			64			348
     
    Comments:
    This skill does two things, give you temporary resists all and reduces 
    your curse length. The duration of this skill increases with the 
    addition of skill points as well as the resist all and reduction of 
    curse length bonuses. This skill does help a bit if you are not lucky 
    enough to get the proper resist element like say an Amulet with 25% to 
    resist all to offset the resist penalties in Nightmare and Hell mode 
    (especially since the Horadric Cube recipe to create said amulet is 
    currently disabled) Still, the curse length time reduction isn't all 
    that useful, and the loss of speed (when you are not using Burst of 
    Speed) really hurts a lot. Put one point in this skill only as that 
    should be sufficient.
    
    
    Shadow Warrior
    Type: Summon Ally
    Required level: 18
    Prerequisite Skill: Claw Master, Weapon Block, Psychic Hammer
    Mana: Increases with addition of skill points
    
    Level	Mana		Life		Attack Rating +%
    1	27		124		0
    2	29		138		15
    3	31		153		30
    4	33		168		45
    5	35		183		60
    6	37		198		75
    7	39		213		90
    8	41		228		105
    9	43		243		120
    10	45		257		135
    11	47		272		150
    12	49		287		165
    13	51		302		180
    14	53		317		195
    15	55		332		210
    16	57		347		225
    17	59		362		240
    18	61		376		255
    19	63		391		270
    20	65		406		285
    
    Comments: 
    I put one point in it and never used it. Use Shadow master instead as it 
    is more useful later on. 
    
    
    Mind Blast
    Type: Enemy affecting Skill
    Required level: 24
    Prerequisite Skill: Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, 
    Mana: 15
    Duration: 6-10 secs
    
    Level		Damage	Chance to Convert %
    1		10-20		18
    2		12-22		21
    3		14-24		24
    4		16-26		26
    5		18-28		27
    6		20-30		28
    7		22-32		29
    8		24-34		30
    9		29-39		31
    10		34-44		32
    11		39-49		32
    12		44-54		33
    13		59-59		33
    14		54-64		34
    15		59-69		34
    16		64-74		35
    17		72-82		35
    18		80-90		35
    19		88-98		35
    20		96-106      36
    
    Comments:
    This skill does a bit of damage to your enemy (increases with SLvl) and 
    also has a small chance of converting them. I don't see why this skill 
    would be useful. Firstly, most of the enemies you can covert can easily 
    be killed without much hassles. Second, the duration lasts too short to 
    be of much use. I'd say save your skill point for your Shadow Master, 
    since she will be able to use this skill (without you even having any 
    points in this skill) but even then it can be more of a hindrance than 
    of a help.
    
    Nicholas Vu has more:
    On another note, I am not sure if you know this, but Psychic Blast (lvl 
    24 skill) also stuns enemies briefly (it says 8-10 seconds, but I am 
    sure that it's more like 4-5 seconds) and it is an area-of-effect spell. 
    
    Also to add more. I have experimented with this skill a bit and realised 
    that any mindcontrolled creatures after returning to hostile are in a 
    weakened state and can be easily killed by one hit, no matter if their 
    life bar is full or not. Take this into consideration if you are having 
    difficulty fighting some monsters. This skill is great if you are going 
    Heavy Weapon route as you will most likely not spend any points on 
    Dragon Tail. As such this skill will help you a lot when taking out 
    groups of monsters who are very quick like the flayers.
    
    
    Venom
    Type: Boost-Up Skill
    Required Level: 30
    Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed, Fade
    Mana: 12
    
    Level		Poison Damage (2 Sec)	Weapon Poisoned (Sec)
    1		37-75				      120
    2		50-90				      124
    3		62-103				128
    4		75-115				132
    5		87-128				136
    6		100-140				140
    7		112-153				144
    8		125-165				148
    9		143-184				152
    10		162-203				156
    11		181-221				160
    12		200-240				164
    13		218-259				168
    14		237-278				172
    15		256-296				176
    16		275-315				180
    17		300-340				184
    18		325-365				188
    19		350-390				192
    20		375-415				196
    
    Comments:
    Put skill points in this skill as needed. I'd say at least 6 points in 
    this skill by the time you reach Hell because of those pesky Physical 
    Immune enemies. Note that in v1.08 all poison damage (from Charms, 
    poison weapons and this skill) is STACKABLE which means you could do 
    possibly over 1000 points of damage if you have the right equiptment. 
    It would also be advisable to have a Elite Claw type weapon socketed 
    with Perfect Emeralds to help boost up your poison damage. This skill, 
    like Fade, is non stackable with other Boost Up skills, so use this 
    skill only when needed, otherwise stick with Boost of Speed.
    
    IMPORTANT NOTE: In patch v1.09 which is soon to be released, it is said
                    that one of the changes going to be made is to make 
                    poison damage from charms, weapons and skills (Venom in
                    the Assassin's Case) non stacakable. In other words, 
                    poison damage will be nerfed since it is considered too
                    powerful in v1.08 (1000++ points?!?) In any case, I 
                    will update you on this once the final and official 
                    word from blizzard is out.
    
    
    Shadow Master
    Type: Summon Ally
    Required Level: 30
    Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Weapon Block, Psychic Hammer, Cloak
                        of Shadows, Shadow Warrior
    Mana: 40
    
    Level		Life		Attack Rating +%
    1		188		0
    2		216		12
    3		244		30
    4		272		45
    5		300		60
    6		329		75
    7		357		90
    8		385		105
    9		413		120
    10		441		135
    11		470		150
    12		498		165
    13		526		180
    14		554		195
    15		582		210
    16		611		225
    17		639		240
    18		667		255
    19		695		270
    20		723		285
    
    Comments: 
    If you need an ally this is where you should put your skill points into. 
    Not only does it have a FIXED mana cost (unlike Shadow Warrior which 
    reahces an abominable cost at higher levels) but your ally has more HP 
    (per Slvl) compared to a Shadow Warrior of the same SLvl.
    The summon resists and attack rating bonuses are just all icing on the 
    cake, but what makes the Shadow Master real strong is the fact that she 
    has ALL Assasin Skills available, even those that you do not have any 
    skill points in Yet. How can this be useful? Well it simply means you 
    won't need to spend points on certain skills which you don't need (or 
    don't need yet) For example, I never needed to use much traps during 
    Normal mode (which was my first 40 levels) and did not put a point into 
    any of the Trap skills till reached Level 35 so the trap setting of my 
    shadow master came as a welcome (albeit not necessary) boost for my 
    Assasin. Whats more, you can keep casting the Shadow master as long as 
    you have mana, compared to hiring a Mercenary which quickly gets 
    expensive at high levels to ressurrect. Great Cannon Fodder Late On 
    since she can have thousand over points of HP!
    
    Another thing worth noting is that if you are going dual claw, then your 
    shadow Master will look almost exactly like you. Great if there is a 
    PK'er around. 
    
    
    Traps
    -----
    Traps IMO, aren't worthwhile for the first 30 levels or so and in fact 
    you don't even need to put ANY points in any trap skills whatsoever and 
    STILL get to defeat Normal mode completely. However, the high level 
    traps in particular make everything oh so worthwhile and is DEFINITELY a 
    worthy addition to the Assasin's arsenal in Nightmare mode onwards. 
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Be warned that you can only set up to a maximum of 5 
                    traps at one time. After that if you cast a 6th trap 
                    the 1st will disappear. Blizzard has reasons for this - 
                    to reduce the information on server and thus reduce 
                    lag.
    
    
    Fire Blast
    Required level: 1
    Mana: Increases with SLvl
    
    Level		Mana		Fire Damage
    1		3		3-4
    2		3.1		5-6
    3		3.2		7-8
    4		3.3		9-10
    5		3.5		11-12
    6		3.6		13-14
    7		3.7		15-16
    8		3.8		17-18
    9		4		21-22
    10		4.1		25-26
    11		4.2		29-30
    12		4.3.		33-34
    13		4.5		37-38
    14		4.6		41-42
    15		4.7		45-46
    16		4.8		49-50
    17		5		54-55
    18		5.1		59-60
    19		5.2		64-65
    20		5.3		69-70
    
    Comments:  
    Useful for the first act or so but save your skill points for other 
    traps. I never went the Fire route.
    
    
    Shock Web
    Prerequisite Skill: Fire Blast
    Required level: 6
    Mana: 6
    
    Level		Spikes	Lightning Damage
    1		6		5-6
    2		6		6-7
    3		6		7-8
    4		6		8-9
    5		7		9-10
    6		7		10-11
    7		7		11-12
    8		7		12-13
    9		8		14-15
    10		8		17-18
    11		8		19-20
    12		8		22-23
    13		9		24-25
    14		9		27-28
    15		9		29-30
    16		9		32-33
    17		10		35-36
    18		10		39-40
    19		10		42-43
    20		10		46-47
    
    Comments:
    Like Fire Blast, almost obsolete by 2nd Act. Put one point just as a 
    prerequisite for more powerful traps and save the rest up.
    
    
    Blade Sentinel
    Required level: 6
    Mana: 7
    
    Level		Damage
    1		6-10
    2		9-13
    3		12-16
    4		15-19
    5		18-22
    6		21-25
    7		24-28
    8		27-31
    9		31-35
    10		35-39
    11		39-43
    12		43-47
    13		47-51
    14		51-55
    15		55-59
    16		59-63
    17		64-68
    18		69-73
    19		75-78
    20		79-83
    
    Comments:
    This does decent damage, and would prove useful early on, but even at 
    SLvl 20 79-83 damage is too little to prove useful especially in Hell 
    mode. One point is all you need if you need the later skills.
    
    
    Charged Bolt Sentry
    Required level: 12  
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web
    No. of shots: 5
    Mana: 13
    
    Level		Damage
    1		1-7
    2		2-8
    3		4-10
    4		5-11
    5		7-13
    6		8-14
    7		10-16
    8		11-17
    9		13-19
    10		15-21
    11		17-23
    12		19-25
    13		21-27
    14		23-29
    15		25-31
    16		27-33
    17		30-36
    18		33-39
    19		36-42
    20		39-45
    
    Comments:
    This does decent damage, and is good early on, but really the damage 
    even when maxed out is PATHETIC. I mean at Slvl 20 this does something 
    like 39-45 damage per shot... which isn't much..... not to mention not 
    ALL the shots will hit. You won't need more than one skill point in 
    this...
    
    
    Wake of Fire
    Required Level: 12
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast 
    No. of shots: 5
    Mana: 20
    
    Level		Fire Damage
    1		5-10
    2		7-12
    3		9-14
    4		11-16
    5		13-18
    6		15-20
    7		17-22
    8		19-24
    9		22-27
    10		25-30
    11		28-33
    12		31-36
    13		34-39
    14		37-42
    15		40-45
    16		43-48
    17		47-52
    18		51-56
    19		55-60
    20		59-64
    
    Comments: 
    Basically this trap sprays fire in a triangle/arrow head shape ala 
    Baal's Ice Arrow if anyone knows. The damage isn't too high, but what 
    can be expected from a level 12 skill? Again, if you want to go for Wake 
    of Inferno, then just put one point here. No point spending more points 
    in this.
    
    
    Blade Fury
    Required level: 18
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Blade sentinel, Wake of fire
    Min. Mana: 3
    
    Level		Mana/Blade	Damage/Blade
    1		1		8-10
    2		1		11-13
    3		2		14-16
    4		2		17-19
    5		3		20-22
    6		3		23-25
    7		3		26-28
    8		4		29-31
    9		4		34-36
    10		5		39-41
    11		5		44-46
    12		5		49-51
    13		6		54-56
    14		6		59-61
    15		7		64-66
    16		7		69-76
    17		7		77-79
    18		8		86-87
    19		8		93-95
    20		8		101-103
    
    Comment:  
    Ninja's are Japanese Assassins... and as such they learned how to throw 
    shurikens. IMO, this is an OK skill again in Normal mode, but in the 
    long run it just proves too mana intensive at higher levels doing too 
    little damage to be effective. Whats worst, the damage dealt is PHYSICAL 
    not magical (bug?) which makes this skill even more worthless in Hell 
    mode. If you need long range attacks, get a bow, get some arrows and 
    just shoot. 
    
    
    Lightning Sentry
    Required level: 24
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry
    Mana: 20 
    No. of Bolts: 10
    
    Level		Lightning Damage
    1		10-20
    2		15-25
    3		20-35
    4		25-35
    5		30-40
    6		35-45
    7		40-50
    8		45-55
    9		52-62
    10		59-69
    11		66-76
    12		73-83
    13		80-90
    14		87-97
    15		94-104
    16		101-111
    17		111-121
    18		121-131
    19		131-141
    20		141-151
    
    Comments:
    Again like other traps this can be useful early on but is totally 
    obsolete by the time it reaches Nightmare mode due to its low damage and 
    the increase vitality of your enemy. Save skill points the Uber skill.
    
    
    Wake of Inferno
    Required level: 24
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Wake of Fire
    Mana: 20
    No. of Blasts: 10
    
    Level		Fire dam/sec
    1		8-21
    2		16-29
    3		24-37
    4		32-45
    5		40-53
    6		48-61
    7		56-69
    8		63-77
    9		73-86
    10		83-96
    11		92-105
    12		102-115
    13		112-125
    14		121-134
    15		131-144
    16		140-154
    17		153-166
    18		166-178
    19		177-190
    20		189-203
    
    Comments:
    While at Level 20 this does 189-203 damage PER BLAST which VERY good... 
    you can't afford 20 skill points on this skill alone if you are going 
    the dual claw path. 20 mana is a lot... not to mention the range is 
    poor. You NEED those precious points for Weapon block, and sadly 10 
    points to WOI just won't cut it. 
    However if you do max out WOI, 203 damage per blast is insane.... and if 
    you stack 5 traps together that would be around 1000+ damage max you are 
    doing each time it hits. Don't think many creatures will be able to 
    survive that kind of onslaught especially if all 10 blasts hit. If you 
    plan to max WOI, make sure to max out Shadow Master since she will make 
    a very good cannon fodder and bait for for the trap to connect.
    
    
    Death Sentry
    Required level: 30
    Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning
                  sentry
    Mana: 20
    No. of Bolts: 5
    
    Level		Lightning Damage	 Corpse Explosion Radius yds.
    1		20-30			      3.3
    2		24-34			      3.6
    3		28-38			      4
    4		32-42			      4.3
    5		36-46			      4.6
    6		40-50			      5
    7		44-54			      5.3
    8		48-58			      5.6
    9		53-63			      6
    10		58-68			      6.3
    11		63-73			      6.6
    12		68-78			      7
    13		73-83			      7.3
    14		78-88			      7.6
    15		83-93			      8
    16		88-97			      8.3
    17		96-106			8.6
    18		104-114			9
    19		112-122			9.3
    20		120-130			9.6
    
    Comments: 
    Question! What makes the Necromancer the badass overpowered creep that 
    he was in v1.0 Diablo II? Corspe explosion of course! And now.... the 
    Assassin gets to enjoy some of the benefits of the Assasin, with some 
    added bonuses to it. Death Sentry IMO, is the best trap skill and in 
    fact one of THE BEST skill for the Assassin. Corspe Explosion here alone 
    does 40-80% of the corspe life. And for the cost of 20 measely mana you 
    also get the additional benefit of shooting lightning bolts should NO 
    corpse be available.
    So what makes it so good? Corpse explosion of course! But wait.. for the 
    necromancer, he can only make ONE corpse explode at a time, but if you 
    have a fast cast rate and quick fingers (and enough mana) you can set up 
    to a maximum of 5 traps, and cost 5 corpses to explode at one time. 5 
    corpses!!! That is MORE than enough to kill all the enemies of the same 
    type. Having trouble with those pesky maggots in Hell mode spawning 
    those baby maggots before their eggs can even cool? No problemo... kill 
    a few maggots.. set 2-3 traps and watch the chain reaction... baby 
    maggots kill more baby maggots... more baby maggots kill big fat mother 
    maggot. 
    So how many points do you put in this? 20? Not if you were me, I 
    invested in this skill putting just 2 point in it (though admittedly I 
    have the additional bonuses from my equipment which give +3) Thats good 
    enough.. increasing it further increases the lightning damage and range, 
    but the radius should be good enough with 5-6 points invested to see 
    huge chain reactions, and the lightning damage is almost worthless in 
    Hell mode.
    
    
    Blade of Shields
    Required Level: 30
    Prerequisites: Fire Blast, blade Sentinel, Wake of Fire, Blade Fury
    Mana: 27 and increases with Slvl
    
    Level		Mana		Duration (sec)		Damage
    1		27		20				1-30
    2		29		24				6-35
    3		31		28				11-40
    4		33		32				16-45
    5		35		36				21-50
    6		37		40				26-55
    7		39		44				31-60
    8		41		48				36-65
    9		43		52				42-71
    10		45		56				48-77
    11		47		60				54-83
    12		49		64				60-89
    13		51		68				66-95
    14		53		72				72-101
    15		55		76				78-107
    16		57		80				84-113
    17		59		84				91-120
    18		61		88				98-127
    19		63		92				105-134
    20		65		96				112-141
    
    Comments: 
    It works somewhat like Iron maiden or thorns only that your enemy does 
    NOT need to hit you with this skill to deal any damage. Frankly though 
    even though seems useful, I never put any skill points into it. Any 
    comments and suggestions would be welcome.
    
     
    *******************************
    General FAQ (contains Spoilers)
    *******************************
    
    If you have any questions, email them to me and I will post them in the 
    General FAQ section.
    
     
    On Items
    --------
     
    Q: I have been gambling for hours... and yet I haven't got one unique 
       or Set item.
    A: Too bad.. in v1.08 they disabled getting Uniques and Set Items when
       you gamble. Fortunately though, they are planning to enable this 
       feature once more in v1.09 due to popular demand. (more like fan
       complaint to me)
    
    Q: How does +% to Find Magical Item help me obtain Set and Unique 
       items?
    A: At least in v1.08, Find Magical Item directly affects your score to
       obtain a Set or Unique Item. So if you have 200% then, your chances
       to obtain a Set or Unique Item is 200%. Unfortunately Blizzard 
       decided to nerf this skill to use only a small percentage of your
       Find Magical Item score.
    
    
    On Monster Fights 
    -----------------
    
    Q: Whats Physical Immunity?
    A: Basically monsters are immune to any physical attacks, for example  
       Tiger Strike for your assassin which uses a physical weapon. In 
       D2X, all monsters gain 50% PI in Hell mode. Also some Uniques get
       PI as their random mod. Certain species of monsters have total PI in
       Hell mode (e.g. Wraiths). 
    
    Q: So how does an assassin damage a Physical Immune creature?
    A: Use elemental damage... phoenix strike, Venom, Blades of Ice, Fist
       of Fire, all traps etc are considered elemental attacks. Also you 
       could go for magical damage (corpse explosion for example)
    
    Q: What monsters can I NOT leech from?
    A: Mainly Undead, for example the Skeleton Archers in Act 2.
    
    Q: I'm having trouble fighting Frozen Scrouges. They freeze me and then
       their Moon Lord Friends move in for the kill.
    A: Frozen Scrouges freezing breath can be a big headache, but if you
       are well prepared with an item with "Cannot be Frozen" they and 
       their friends are cake. Such items are like Death's Guard (Set Sash)
       or the Unique Basinet, among others.
     
    
    On Boss Fights 
    --------------
    
    Q: What strategy do you use to fight Andariel?
    A: Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strikex3 and then finish with a suitable 
       finishing move (in my case Tiger Strike) Drink potions as needed.
    
    Q: I'm having problems defeating the Summoner.
    A: The summoner can get pretty difficult once you reach Nightmare or
       Hell mode when you do not have a good resistance score (especially
       to Cold) I suggest you draw his minions (Ghoul Lords, Hell Clan) out
       one by one until he is left defenseless.... after that teleport in
       with Dragon Flight and kill him... he doesn't have much HP.
    
    Q: How do you defeat worm boy (Duriel?)
    A: Same tactics.... Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strike x3 and have a good
       resistance to cold and a fast attack rate. Since the freeze effect
       is due to Aura enchancement, items with "Cannot be Frozen" will not 
       work.
    
    Q: What do you do against Mephisto?
    A: Mephisto is prolly one of the easiest bosses (next to Baal) if you 
       have the right equipment (namely elemental charms) A decent score  
       in Lightning Resist (best is 75%) and Poison (not that important but
       you don't want it in the -ve's) should do it. Just run up to him and 
       work your way with Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strike x3 and finishing 
       move. Occasionally Mephisto will try to strike you with his physical
       attack which does loads of damage, but if you are in close, he will 
       more likely try his Poison Nova attack. Besides, if you have a good
       Weapon Block Skill (50% or over) he will more than miss quite often.
       
    Q: Hephastus is almost impossible to beat in Nightmare/Hell mode!
    A: NO he isn't. A lot of people have problems beating him because they
       do not have a high Vitality score and/or a good defense score. 
       Moreover, more than likely, one of the skills Hephastus has is 
       Amplify damage which mean he could probably kill you in ONE hit. So   
       What do you do? Well... use negative tactics! Summon a Shadow 
       master. Have the shadow master engage in combat. When hephastus 
       starts attacking her, run in and hit him 1-3 times with Cobra 
       strike. Be ware because after hitting him a few times, he will turn 
       and attack you instead. Run away and let him reengage with your
       shadow master. She should be pretty hurt by now (life bar is yellow
       or probably red) Hit him with Tiger strike 1-3 times and use a 
       finishing move! Repeat your tactics by summoning another Shadow 
       Master. It is vital therefore to hit Cobra strike first because you 
       need to leech enough mana at least to summon the next Shadow Master.
    
    Q: I'm really having problems with Diablo... I have died like.. 10 
       times trying to kill him.
    A: Yup a lot of Assassins in particular have problems trying to beat
       Diablo. IMO he is one of the hardest boss as far as the Assassin 
       goes. First you will definitely NEED to have full resistance to 
       Fire and Lightning since those attacks of his will drain a lot of 
       your life away. Second, you should be of a suitably high level 
       before trying to tackle him. I would suggest Level 35 for Normal
       mode and Level 60 for Nightmare. I'm sure you could beat him even
       with a lower level, but that would be challenging, and you could 
       risk dying a few times (bad if you are Hardcore) I would suggest 
       loading up on health potions. Go for Tiger Strike x3 finishing move    
       instead of Cobrax3, Tigerx3 because Diablo has a good evade score 
       and will prove very hard (and fustrating) to hit. If you don't want
       to run around building up levels, the other option for you is to
       party with other characters (e.g. Sorceress, Barbarian) who have an
       easier time fighting him. Of course.. partying may also mean sharing
       the loot. 
    
    Q: My AR% says that I have a 95% chance of Hitting Diablo and yet a lot
       of my attacks miss. Is this a bug or is the game just cheating?
    A: You have forgotten that you have a 95% chance of succesfully hitting
       Diablo. However, there are other skills in the game (example 
       Amazon's Evade) which will totally evade your attack even if you 
       succesfully score a hit, thus making it miss completely. Obviously
       Diablo has a very high Evade score.
    
    Q: How do you defeat that Necromancer guy (Nihlathak) in Halls of   
       Anguish?
    A: The trick to defeating him is to NOT stand under any corpse which he  
       can then exploit with corspe explosion. I suggest you draw his 
       minions out a few at a time, kill them and explode their corpse 
       Using death sentry. Once his minions are all dead, you can move in
       and for the kill. He may summon a minion while fighting you. If so, 
       attack the minion to half his life (charging up Tiger x3), cast 
       Death sentry, and then finishing the minion off. If done right, your 
       Death sentry should be able to explode the corspe before he can cast
       corspe explosion. Should he teleport away, track him down quickly 
       with Dragon Flight.
    
    Q: The Ancients (at Arreat Summit) are impossible to beat!
    A: No they are not! You are probably at a too low level to face them.  
       Take them down one at a time.... start with the axe thrower, then
       to the leap guy and finally whirlwind guy. Take them down from the
       weakest to the strongest. You may want to hire some one to take some 
       of your damage, as well as summon a shadow master. I suggest level 
       38 for Normal and level 65-68 for Nightmare. Also remember that the
       enchantments on all the ancients are RANDOM. So if say your 
       character is weak agaist Lightning and two of them are Lightning
       enchanted, just cast a town portal, exit and re-enter to reset
       them. You have to beat them in ONE fight (no casting of TP to 
       
    
    Q: How do you beat Baal?
    A: IMO, Baal is one of the EASIEST boss around.... at least for the
       Assassin. All you need to do is NOT give him space for his Cold 
       Arrow attack. That attack does loads of damage, and pushes you back.
       When he moves away... teleport in and hit him. If you stay on him, 
       he is as good as dead. 
    
    
    Q: Am I seeing double? There are TWO Baals!!
    A: No, you are not seeing double. Baal can make a copy of himself, much
       like the Assassin or Amazon can with Shadow Master or Valkyrie. 
       Remember that if you kill the REAL Baal, the copy will disappear.
    
    
    
    **********
    Build Tree
    **********
     
    Example of a Dual Claw Assassin
    -------------------------------
    
    This example is based on my prototype assassin I first played and tested 
    the Assassin Class. Admittedly she is not the best. She is at Level 60 
    (IIRC) when I wrote this section.
    
    Name: Kaycee
    Stats (after bonuses from equipment):
    Strength - 152
    Dexteirity - 138
    Vitality - 74
    Energy - 43
    
    So what makes her great? Look at her high Strength and Dex scores. Then 
    think of her attack rating and damage. Does that mean ANYTHING to you?  
    She has a BASE attack rating of 3000+ including equipment using Cobra 
    Strike. No that does not include any charge up with Charge-Up skills.. 
    with that factored in she reaches around 5000 average (not all skills 
    used). 
    She does insane damage of up to 300+ points of damage with all the 
    poison and +damage charms stacked up. 300 points on ONE CLAW that is... 
    not 2. And thats not even considering tiger strike bonuses for her 
    finishing move! (Claw base maximum damage is 54 btw) Choke... add Tiger 
    Strike at Level 20 with 3 charges... Choke.. and Venom and you can 
    imagine the damage... choke... dealt out on the finishing move. 
    
    
    So how did I get to that? Analysing My skill Point Distribution
    
    Level 2: Tiger Strike
    Level 3: Claw Mastery
    Akara Reward: Dragon Talon
    Level 4: Save (1)
    Level 5: Save  (2)
    Level 6: Burst of Speed, Dragon Claw, Save (1) 
    Level 7: Save (2)
    Level 8: Save (3)
    Level 9: Claw Mastery
    Level 10: Save (4)
    Level 11: Claw Mastery
    Level 12: Weapon Block, Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, Cobra Strike,
              Save (1)
    Level 13: Tiger Strike
    Level 14: Save (2)
    Level 15: Save (3)
    Level 16: Save (4)
    Book of Skills: Tiger Strike
    Level 17: Save (5)
    Level 18: Dragon Tail, Fade, Shadow Warrior, Save (3)
    Level 19: Weapon Block
    Level 20: Weapon Block
    Level 21: Weapon Block
    Level 22: Weapon Block
    Level 23: Weapon Block
    Level 24: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Phoenix Strike
    Level 25: Dragon Flight
    Level 26: Save (1)
    Level 27: Save (2)
    Tyrael Reward: Save (3)
    Level 28: Save (4)
    Level 29: Claw Mastery
    Level 30: Shadow Master, Venom, Save (3)
    Level 31: Save (4)
    Level 32: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning Bolt
              Sentry, Death Sentry
    
    From there on, everything else went into Pumping up my Character's Tiger 
    Strike, Claw Mastery and Weapon Block until she had 16 in Claw Mastery,  
    10 in Weapon Block and 15 in Tiger Strike before adding in Skill Bonuses 
    from Equipment. 
    
    With added bonuses, Claw Mastery is at SLvl 21, Weapon Block at Slvl 16 
    and Tiger Strike too at SLvl 20. I would say... she is one badass 
    character.  
    So basically by end game, she should have:-
    20 Claw Mastery
    20 Tiger strike
    10 Weapon Block
    20 Shadow Master
    10 Venom (more if needed)/ Phoenix Strike/ Blade of Ice 
    which leaves around 20 more points for misc skills which you can invest 
    according to your likes.
     
    Overall this assassin will be a slower killing machine in Hell mode, 
    against PI monsters because of the reliance of Poison damage. However, 
    she is still perfectly able to complete hell mode.
    
    
    Example of a Claw & Shield Assassin
    -----------------------------------
     
    The most important thing about Claw & Shield Assassin is that you do not 
    have to worry about spending points on Weapon Block which leaves many 
    more options open. However, you will be relying on kick damage as your 
    main finishing move, and for that to be effective, a lot of points must 
    be pumped into your strenght and dexteirity. The idea is to put as many 
    points in there, without getting yourself killed in a single hit (or 
    two) by strong monsters in Hell mode.
    
    Here is a basic build tree:
     
    Level 2: Tiger Strike
    Level 3: Claw Mastery
    Akara Reward: Dragon Talon
    Level 4: Tiger Strike
    Level 5: Save
    Level 6: Burst of Speed, Dragon Claw 
    Level 7: Tiger Strike
    Level 8: Claw Mastery
    Level 9: Tiger Strike
    Level 10: Save
    Level 11: Save
    Level 12: Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, Cobra Strike
    Level 13: Tiger Strike
    Level 14: Tiger Strike
    Level 15: Tiger Strike
    Level 16: Save
    Book of Skills: Save
    Level 17: Save
    Level 18: Dragon Tail, Fade, Shadow Warrior, Weapon Block
    Level 19: Tiger Strike
    Level 20: Save
    Level 21: Save
    Level 22: Save
    Level 23: Save
    Level 24: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Phoenix Strike
    Level 25: Dragon Flight
    Level 26: Tiger Strike
    Level 27: Tiger Strike
    Tyrael Reward: Claw Mastery
    Level 28: Claw Mastery
    Level 29: Save
    Level 30: Shadow Master
    Level 31: Save
    Level 32: Fire Blast, Wake of Fire, Wake of Inferno
    
     
    So even By level 19 or so, you should have more than enough points to 
    crush most of your enemies. Later on, spend points as necessary on Claw 
    mastery, Shadow Master and Wake of Inferno. Therefore by end game, you 
    should have something like:
    
    20 Tiger Strike
    20 Claw Mastery
    20 Wake of Inferno
    20 Shadow Master
    
    Which leaves around 20+ points for misc skills to invest in. This 
    assassin is really balanced in the sense that Tiger Strike + Dragon Tail 
    can easily take down Elemental immune creatures, while Wake of Inferno 
    will eat away at PI creatures. Overall this Assassin will have an easy 
    time even in Hell mode.
    
    
    Example of a Heavy Weapon Assassin
    ----------------------------------
     
    One word DAMAGE. You will want to pump a lot of skill points early on 
    into your Str so that she can get to use those heavy weapons early on.
    Dexteirity and Vitality play a secondary role though you should not 
    skimp on either. Since she does not even use much mana (finishing move 
    is basically a normal attack) no points should be spent on Mana early on 
    (add more as you enter Hell for trap casting) Here is a basic build tree 
    for a Heavy Weapon Assassin.
    
    Level 2: Tiger Strike
    Level 3: Tiger Strike
    Akara Reward: Tiger Strike
    Level 4: Tiger Strike
    Level 5: Save
    Level 6: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed
    level 7: Burst of Speed
    Level 8: Burst of Speed
    Level 9: Burst of Speed
    Level 10: Burst of Speed
    Level 11: Burst of Speed
    Level 12: Burst of Speed
    Levek 13: Burst of Speed
    Level 14: Cobra Strike
    Level 15: Tiger Strike
    Level 16: Tiger Strike
    Book of Skills: Tiger Strike
    Level 17: Tiger Strike
    Level 18: Tiger Strike
    Level 19: Tiger Strike
    Level 20: Tiger Strike 
    Level 21: Tiger Strike
    Level 22: Tiger Strike
    Level 23: Tiger Strike
    Level 24: Tiger Strike
    Level 25: Tiger Strike
    Level 26: Save 
    Level 27: Save 
    Tyrael Reward: Save 
    Level 28: Save
    Level 29: Save
    Level 30: Psychic Hammer, Weapon Block, Cloak of Shadows, Shadow 
              Warrior, Shadow Master, Mind blast
    
    As you can see, the general idea here is to pump up Burst of speed first 
    early on to at least 8 points for a huge increase in attack speed. 
    Subsequent points will then be placed into Tiger strike until she is 
    Slvl16 or so. Therefore by the time you defead Diablo, you would be able 
    to Summon a Shadow Warrior and use Mind blast.
    
    Later, when you gain further levels in the expansion area, continue 
    pumping up Tiger Strike until the maximum and then either Death Sentry 
    or Wall of Inferno. Assuming you enter Hell mode at Lvl 70, you should 
    have Tiger and WOI already maxed out with a healthy dose of points in 
    Shadow Master and Burst of Speed.
    
      
    
    Gameplan
    --------
    But all power is for naught if you don't have a game plan. So what did I 
    do?
    
    - Basically Normal mode is a walk in a park (at least for me) All I  
      needed was Cobra strike x3 and then finish off with one of the 
      finishing moves (toggled between dragon flight and dragon claw) and 
      any if not all the enemies could be beaten. This of course with a 
      burst of speed boost factor.
    
    - For Uniques, I used the Cobra Strike x3 - Tiger Strike x3 combo and 
      boosted my character using venom. I had pretty good equiptment to 
      boost my resistance so fade was not used much here. When Enemies were
      swarming me in Normal mode, I just used Phoenix strike charged 2 or 3
      times depending on their type of resistance and let go to drop many
      at once.
    
    - I had no trouble with bosses in Normal mode (Mephisto, Baal) was
      particularly easy, but Diablo was rather challenging (though not
      impossible to beat even if I did die ONCE) This is mainly due to 
      me hanging around levelling up. 
    
    - Enter Nightmare mode, with enemies gaining more health and partial 
      physical immunity, loads more points were invested in Claw Mastery 
      and Tiger strike. Now the basic combo is Cobra x3 - Tiger x3 and then
      finish off with a finishing move. That combined with Death Sentry 
      made short work of all the enemies.
    
    - Uniques were tougher now with resistance of some kind (some even 
      having physical Immune!!) and as such I had to make full use of 
      what I had (Venom, Traps) as well as Fade due to the Resistance
      penalty to get it to Maximum (especially vs Lightning attacks) Still
      they were not too difficult to do away with especially since their 
      minions themselves do quite some damage with Corspe Explosion.
    
    - Bosses were rather challenging. Mephisto was still a walk in the park
      due to the high resistance I had (by then), but Diablo Had me 
      sceaming and cursing non stop. Baal was okay. He can be really tough, 
      but as long as I kept in close to him, he wasn't much of a match.
    
    - Hell mode. Monsters with 50% PI really gets on my nerves. They take 
      eons to kill... and the Uniques take even longer. One thing for sure
      is to load up on Full Rejuvenation potion. Trust me, you won't want
      anything less than that. I must say that I found much difficulty late
      on against the physical immune monsters, even with loads of poison
      and elemental damage stacked up.
    
    - Bosses. IMO, other than Diablo, most of the bosses were again very 
      easy when well prepared. Baal was a walk in the park though his 
      minions of destruction posed some threat (though with a little 
      patience, that is easily over come)
    
    So there it is..... my Assassin all the way completed at Level 74.
    
    
    **************** 
    My Assassin Rig
    ****************
    
    When my Assassin defeated Baal in Hell mode this is what she had on her. 
    Remember she is level 74.
    
    Headgear
    --------
    Natalya's Totem (Set Grim Helm)
    Defense: 195-260 (mine was 220)
    Durability: 40
    Req Str: 58
    Req Lvl: 59  
    Properties:
    +135 Def
    +25 Dex
    +10 Str
    +10% Resistance to All
    -3 Magical Damage taken
    
    Comments:
    On its own this Helm is Great with a hefty bonus to my Dex (which boosts 
    my AR somewhat) and Strenght. The 10% Resistance to all is wonderful 
    especially with the huge penalty in Hell mode.
    
    Armor
    -----
    Natalya's Shadow (Set Loricated Mail)
    Defense: 540-646 (mine was 640)
    Durability: 36
    Req Str: 149
    Req Lvl: 73
    Type: Heavy Armor
    Properties:
    +150 Def
    +1 Life per Clvl (+74 for me)
    +2 to Shadow Disciplines
    -75% Poison Duration
    +25% Poison Resistance
    
    Comments:
    Not the greatest armor around, but the +2 to Shadow Disciplines is nice. 
    Could use a better piece of armor especially since the defense is rather 
    low.
    
    Weapon
    ------
    Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talons)
    Damage: 28-47 (avg. 37.5)
    Durability: 69
    Req Str: 79
    Req Dex: 79
    Attack Speed: Very Fast Attack
    (Assassin Only)
    Properties:
    +35% enchanced Damage
    25% Deadly Strike
    35% Target Defense
    Hit Blinds Target
    +2 to Assassin Skill Levels
    +25 to Mana
    +10 to Dex
    50% Increased Attack Speed
    +1 to Shadow Disciplines
    
    Comments:
    IMO one of the best Assassin Claw available (discounting rare claws) 25% 
    Deadly Strike is very good and much improved in D2X. +2 to Assassin 
    Skills AND +1 to Shadow Disciplines makes up a lot for the lack of 
    elemental Damage to it. Not to mention the greatly increased attack 
    speed that at times when Burst of Speed runs out you won't even notice 
    that much loss in speed. Great if you pair this up with Venom. The other 
    bonuses like Blinds target, mana, dex bonuse and 35% Target Def. is just 
    icing on what is already a very good cake. I used one of my quest 
    sockets and socketed this with a perfect emerald to add some Poison 
    damage to my attack. Be sure to stack up on poison damage.
    
    Shield
    ------
    Moser's Blessed Circle (Unique Round Shield)
    Defense: 141-165 (mine was 147)
    Chance to Block: 55%
    Durability: 255
    Req Str: 53
    Req Lvl: 31
    Properties:
    +25% Resist All
    +25% Chance to Block
    Fastest Hit Recovery
    +200% Enchanced Defense
    Socketed (2)
    
    Comments: 
    I Shifted back and forth between this and Tiamat's Rebuke. This was my 
    main shield after all in Hell you will be needing all the bonuses to 
    elemental damage that you can find. The inherent bonus of 25% Resist All 
    was significantly boosted with the addition of 2 Perfect Diamonds 
    socketed to it. The Chance to block was decent enough (55%) though not 
    the best and Fastest Hit Recovery is always good.
    
    Gloves
    ------
    Lava Gout (Unique Battle Gauntlets)
    Defense: 89-97 (mine was 91)
    Durability: 18
    Req Str: 88 
    Req Lvl: 42
    Properties:
    +50 Defense
    2% Chance to cast slvl10 Enchant
    Half Freeze Duration
    Adds 10-20 Fire Damage
    +20% Increased Attack Speed
    Fire Resist +24%
    
    Comments:
    The main draw of this glove is the enchanced Attack speed. The combo of 
    this glove and bartuc's CT made the use of Burst of Speed at times 
    redundant. Fire resistance is of course very important (considering the 
    number of enemies using Fire spells) and was very welcome.
    
    Boots
    -----
    Natalya's Soul (Set Mesh Boots)
    Defense: 112-119 (Mine was 119)
    Durability: 66
    Req Str: 65
    Req Lvl: 25
    Properties:
    +75 Defense 
    40% Faster Run Walk
    Heal Stamina Plus at 0.25% per Clvl
    +15% Ligtning Resist
    +15% Cold Resist
    
    Comments:
    I was very lucky to find this early on in Nightmare mode. This has 40% 
    Faster Run Walk which when boosted with Burst of Speed makes the 
    Assassin fly across the screen. Again the Elemental Resistance was a 
    welcome bonus.
    
    Amulet
    ------
    Telling of Beads (Set Amulet)
    Req Lvl: 30
    Properties:
    +1 to All Skill Lvls
    +35% Poison Resist
    +18% Cold Resist
    Attacker Takes damage of 8-10
    
    Comments:
    Initially I was using Eye of Elitch (which was carried over from my now 
    defunct D2 Sorceress) I opted for this instead of Eye of Elitch because 
    of the additional resistance. 
    
    Ring
    ----
    Dwarf Star (Unique Ring)
    Req Lvl: 45
    Properties:
    -15 to Magic Damage
    +15% Stamina Regneration
    +70% More Gold from Monsters
    +25 Stamina
    +40 Life
    
    Comments:
    A ring I could certainly do without. None of the bonuses here seemed 
    significant enough to me. I would gladly trade this ring off for an SoJ 
    or Bul-Kathos Wedding Band.
    
    Dread Loop (Rare Ring)
    Req Lvl: 16
    Properties:
    4% Life Stolen Per hit
    +6% Lightning Resistance
    +24% Fire Resistance
    +15 Attack Rating
    +10 to Energy
    
    Comments: 
    A free gift from Ormus as early as Normal Act III and have been using 
    this since mainly for the bonuses to resistance.
    
    
    Overall comments:
    I also received partial set bonuses for Natalya's Odium. Nothing 
    significant from that. If you noticed I had a lack of elemental damage 
    in my equipment but this was easily sorted out with the stacks of poison 
    charms and high slvl of Venom. Overall a good character with LOADS of 
    nice stuff (was very lucky and went item fishing for long periods of 
    time in multiplayer) Should I get lucky and find Natalya's Mark I would 
    probably equip that with Cutthroat and go Dual claw style.
    
    
    **********
    Dream Rig
    **********
     
    Well.... if you had access to ALL the items in Diablo II world, how 
    would you suit up your Assassin so that she would be invincible (or near 
    invincible at least) Here is my dream rig for Both a fighter and Item 
    Hunter. If you have any good suggestions for both classes, let me know.
    
    
    Fighter Rig
    -----------
    The idea of the fighter rig is that the Assassin should be at her most 
    powerful when fighting. All the items stated here are legit items and 
    not hacked unlike those +7 to skill stuff floating around on open 
    battle.net games.
    
    
    1)Helm: 
      Harlequin Crest (Unique Shako)
    
    2)Armor: 
      Arkaine's Valor (Unique Balrog's Skin) OR
      Rare Sacred Armor w/ mods to defense and requirements
    
    3)Amulet: 
      Rare Amulet w/ +2 to Assassin Skills with Resistance to all.
    
    4)Gloves: 
      Crafted Deadly Glove w/ Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow and random
      mods to skill OR
      Lavagout (Unique Battle Gauntlets)
    
    5)Boots: 
      Gorerider (Unique War Boots)
    
    6)Belt: 
      Crafted Mithril Coil w/ Open Wounds OR
      Immortal King's Detail (Set War Belt) for max Space and +Res.
    
    7)Rings: 
      Constriction Ring (Unique Ring) and
      Bul-Kathos Wedding Band (Unique Ring)
    
    Comments:
    Most of the stuff are really hard to get. Both Harlequin Crest and 
    Arkaine's Valor are Unique Elite items so hope to get them in Hell mode 
    after killing Diablo or Baal. Both give +2 to all skills which is more 
    than completing Natalya Odium set which gives a +3 set bonus. Moreover, 
    Arkaine's Valor can have more than 1500+ Def which is more than double 
    that of Natalya's Shadow. Socket Harlequin Crest with an Um rune to gain 
    some resistance.
    Your best bet to gain a Rare Amulet is to gamble for it and you can only 
    do so at lvl 85 and above. Also hope to get a good life regeneration 
    bonus. The crafted gloves is not as easy to get as it sounds since you 
    have to look for an Um rune which is quite rare. Also you have to get 
    lucky and hope that you get a +2 to Martial Arts mod. For Heavy Weapon 
    Assassins, you could also go for the Lava Gout as it provides increased 
    attack speed.
    Gorerider should be the easiest to look for since it is a Unique 
    Exceptional of an item. For belts I prefer the less space Mithril Coil 
    with Open Wounds bonus. Open wounds is much improved in D2X. Moreover 
    Dol Rune isn't very rare. Again hope for good mods.
    For rings, Contriction Ring will raise your elemental resistance by a 
    good 15% though at the expense of some life. Therefore items with random 
    mods to life regeneration is required. Constriction ring can only be 
    worn by a lvl 95 and above character. The second ring is Bul-Kathos 
    Wedding band which isn't so hard to get and gives a +1 to all skills 
    bonus. Alternatively, you may choose to wear 2 Bul-Kathos Wedding bands 
    for a +2 to all skills bonus.
    
     
    a) For Claw and Shield
    Claw: Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talon) OR 
          Natalya's Mark (Set Scissors Suwayyah) OR
          Rare/Crafted Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills, inc. damage OR
          Socketed (3) Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills and other mods.
    
    Shield: Stormshield (Unique Aegis) OR
            Tiamat's Rebuke (Unique Dragon Shield)
    
    Comments:
    My preference would be for Bartuc's Cutthroat because of the increased 
    Attack rate. Teamed with Venom it makes the low damage somewhat 
    tolerable. Add to that the bonuses to skill and deadly strike. 
    Additionally socket that with a perfect emerald for poison damage, Ber 
    rune for Crushing Blow or Lo rune for deadly strike.
    For shields, Stormshield is the best with a 74% chance of blocking! It 
    offers a great Cold resist and decent Lightning resist. Be sure to 
    socket this with an Um rune for an additional 22% resist to all. Tiamat 
    Rebuke is a good secondary shield if you need additional elemental 
    damage to deal with those pesky PI monsteres.
    
    
    b) For Dual Claw
    Claw: Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talon) OR 
          Natalya's Mark (Set Scissors Suwayyah) OR
          Rare/Crafted Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills, inc. damage OR
          Socketed (3) Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills and other mods
          Runeword 'Fury' Runic Talons/ Scissors Suwayyah
    
    Comments: 
    Bartuc's Cutthroat would be a no brainer unless you get really lucky 
    when gambling (or if Blizzard introduces even more deadly Runeword 
    combos in the upcoming patches) Again socket this with either a Perfect 
    Emerald, Ber or Lo rune. 
    Runeword 'Fury' Runic Talons/ Scissors Suwayyah is a great alternative 
    with the 209 enchanced damage, increased attack speed as well as other 
    great properties like deadly strike, open wounds etc. Too bad you can't 
    put +5 frenzy to good use.
     
    The Second Claw is a bit tricky. If you get lucky then a Rare Runic 
    Talons with +2 to Assassin Skills and increased damage would get the 
    pick. However Natalya's Mark isn't as hard to obtain, has insane damage 
    (that of a claw), has 300% additional damage to undead and demons 
    (basically that means almost ALL the monsters) and more importantly 
    ignore's target's defense. No matter what, the second item should also 
    be socketed (preferably with a Lo rune for Deadly strike)
    
          
    
    c) For Heavy Weapon 
    Weapon: Hell Slayer (Unique Decapitator) OR
            The Cranium Basher (Unique Thunder Maul)
            Runeword 'Fury' Thunder Maul/Decapitator/War Pike 
    
    The idea is pretty straight forward here... Get the item with the most 
    damage. Among the Uniques, Hell slayer has the most damage and gives a 
    bonus to your vitality of 2 per skill level for a maximum of 198 at 
    level 99!! That will make any Assassin a tank. The damage however is 
    dependent on Clvl too however, though by the time you are able to use it 
    you will be doing something like 510 damage. Socket this baby with a Lo 
    rune for Deadly Strike and sickening damage.
    
    The cranium Basher is also a good choice. It also has a really high 
    maximum damage of 509 which although not as high as Hell Slayer is 
    pretty good. Moreover it has a 60% chance of Crushing blow and 4% chance 
    of casting Amplify damage when hit. Therefore, if you socketed it with a 
    Lo rune for Deadly strike, and Amplify damage kicks in you could 4X 
    damage. Sick! Unfortunately the required level for this is really high 
    (84) and you both weapons are incredibly hard to find.
    
    You could also go for a Runeword 'Fury' elite Item, the most damaging 
    one being the best. The runes are pretty rare (Jo and Gul) Too bad you 
    aren't a barbarian or the +5 to frenzy would have helped a lot. The 
    stats are just awesome.... 209 enchanced Damage, Open wounds, Deadly 
    Strike, Freeze target on hit, prevent monster heal... the list just goes 
    on. 
    This is my top pick.... now if only the peops of blizzard would be kind 
    enough to create a Runeword with +5 to Tiger strike....
    
    
    Item fisher Rig
    ---------------
    The main purpose of an item fisher is to go around hunting for items. In 
    D2, a person who had 300% MF was considered a veteran at hunting for 
    good items. But with the introduction of so many goodies in D2X, you can 
    get your Assassin's MF up to 1000% WITHOUT hacking. Generally this is 
    not recommended for the Assassin.  
    Btw I got this info off Blizzards site.
    
    1)Helm (max 85%): 
      Magic Circlet of Luck (35%), Socketed w/ 2 Ist runes (50%) or 2 
      Perfect Topaz (48%)
    
    2)Armor (max 113%): 
      Tal Rasha's Guardianship (88%) , Socketed w/ 1 Ist Rune (25%) or 1   
      Perfect Topaz (24%)
    
    3a)Dual Weapon (max 180%)
       Two Socketed (3) Claw Class Weapon, socketed w/ 3 Ist Rune (90%) 
    
     b)Weapon and Shield (max 280%)
       Socketed (6) Weapon e.g. Rune Sword, Socketed w/ 6 Ist Rune (180%)
       Socketed (4) Shield, socketed w/ 4 Ist Runes (75%)
    
    4)Belt (max 30%)
      Unique Gold Wrap (30%)
      Tal Rasha's Fine Spun Cloth (15%) **
    
    ** Combined with Tal Rasha's Guardianship and Tal Rasha's Adjucation 
       (Armor) you will receive an addiotional +65% MF. So Belt and Amulet
       would give a +80% MF which is equal to Goldwrap and 50% Amulet 
       combo.
    
    5) Gloves (max 34%)
       Rare Magic Find Gloves (34% and can only be found via trading for 
       Pre v1.08 items)
    
    6)Boots (max 45%)
      Unique War Traveler (45%)
    
    7)Amulets (max 50%)
      Magic Fortuitous Amulet of Luck (50%)
    
    8)Rings (max 200%)
      Two Constriction Rings (200%)
      
    9)Charms (max 280%)
      7% Small Charms. 40 of them is the maximum, though you would have to 
      drop the charms to pick up items. 30 is the most ideal no. (210%) 
    
    Total +MF% from your items = max 1117%
    
    *NOTE* Ist rune gives +30% bonus on weapons and +25% bonus on helms, 
           armors and shields.
    
    Also, you can give your mercenary MF items, thus raising the MF value 
    even higher. Remember however that the higher MF value from your 
    mercenaries' item will only be used IF the mercenary makes a kill
    
    A maximum of +378% can be placed on your mercenary.
    This works out as:-
    Helm (85%)+ Armor (113%)+ Weapon (180%)= 378%
    
    Therefore, the highest achievable MF score would be +1495% !!!
    
    
    **************
    On Multiplayer
    **************
    
    Any experienced player on battle.net will tell you that the #1 killer of 
    good players is lag. Therefore it is vital that you play with a good 
    connection and during off peak hours where there is not so much server 
    load. There is no point playing with 1000 other people at the same time, 
    if the action is jerkier than Quake III running on a P200 MMX. 
    
    Some good tips to remember when playing on battle.net
    
    - try to team up with other players of your same level for adventure 
      and experience runs. 
    - Make friends! It is much safer to journey around with the same people
      that you know well. Also, if you have friends of a higher level, they
      might help you open up WP faster (allowing you to go to certain areas
      to gain more exp) For example, a Level 99 Barbarian can help a level
      60 Assassin to complete the important quests in Hell mode. The 
      Assassin can then visit the other areas at her leisure, and working
      out which area is best for levelling up.
    - share items. If you have a shield you don't want, ask the members of
      your party whether they want it before selling it off. There is a 
      better likelihood that your partners will share with your their items
      that they don't want
    - if you see a class specific item which you can't use, give it to 
      someone who can. By doing so, your friends will also return the
      favour.
    - if lag hits in and your character can't hit any enemies for a good 5
      secs, it is wise to save and exit. The next thing you know you could
      be dead. 
    - Another sign that the lag is very high is black walls forming around
      your character.
    - There is a programme out there (which is realm friendly) which will
      automatically save and exit for you when your health reaches a 
      certain level. A good programme to download, since it prevents your 
      character from losing needless experience (especially in Hell) when
      enemies unfairly kills you during lag.
    - PK if you must, but remember, that you are not the toughest SOB 
      around. If you PK someone, remember that you could be PK'ed by the
      friend of the person you PK'ed.
    
    On Open player game
    - HACKERS. Be very aware of them. Be suspicious when someone invites 
      you to join your group, especially if they are high levelled. A lot
      of players do so to find out which area you are. Then using a 
      maphack, they can easily run up to you, announce PK (using another 
      hack) and have you dead before you can quit.
    - some hackers are quite friendly on the other hand, and will help
      you out especially against other ruthless hackers. Again, try to
      keep on their good side.
    - There are loads of hack items afloat. If you want to play a legit
      game, it is best to create a game like "Act 1 No Hack" so that people
      will at least know you are not trying to play a hacked game. Some 
      sample hack items are the Hacked lightsaber, +7 to all skills charms
      and many others. If you think an item is too good to be true, it 
      usually is.
    - there is a popular mod around, which causes most items dropped to be
      either Rare or Unique item. If you want/do not want to play in such 
      a game, you should not join games with the title "Unique/Rare Item"
    
    *********************
    Websites of Interest
    ********************
    
    1) www.diabloii.net
    This is my favourite site. They have been upgrading their site lately, 
    and as such some of the info may seem incorrect. What I like about this 
    site though is that they post nice fat articles of interest like the 
    ones on cheating, PK'ing etc.
    
    2) www.battle.net
    The place for the most accurate and up to date information on not only 
    Diablo II, but also Starcraft, Warcraft and other Blizzard games. 
    
    3) www.diabloworld.com
    If you are a hack freak or simply just hate playing fair, this is the 
    best place around to download hacks, mods and other stuff. Purist may 
    want to take a look too as there are some 'Realm Friendly' mods 
    available here too.
    
    4) www.dcemulation.com/diablo2/
    Has a small database of mods and hacks (all of which can also be found 
    at diabloworld.com) However for the hardcore hackers, there are also 
    hacked item files as well as a whole list of items for download.
    
    5) www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/
    When things get boring, pop over to this site which contains a lot of 
    mods, plug-ins etc. User created campaigns can be downloaded here if you 
    are a player who is afraid to get yourself killed by lag on Battle.net.
    
    6) www.geocities.com/helsmley/
    This is my homepage, and really run down (haven't had time to update it 
    for eons now since I have been busy FAQ writing) No D2X info here, just 
    some normal stuff about my friends, and pics of me and my buds.
    
    
    
    *************** 
    Download This!
    ***************
    After dying for the 129061295th time on Act 1 Normal mode, you feel 
    ready to rip off your hair and use the D2X Cd as a coaster. Don't! There 
    are a lot of programmes out there to help you out, some of which are 
    Realm friendly, and some which are blatant hacks. All the below 
    programmes can be downloaded from diabloworld.com unless stated 
    otherwise.
    
    
    Realm friendly (Legit stuff)
    ----------------------------
    
    1) No CD v1.08 by dARWIn
    This programme allows you to play D2X straight from your hard drive 
    without the use of a CD. I love this programme since it allows me to 
    turn off the music in Diablo II (which is nothing special) and listen to 
    my favourite CD's. Unfortunately this programme can (and has been) 
    abused by a lot of people who use this to play copied CD's.
     
    Did I find it Useful?: Yes. D2 Music gets boring very fast (especially
                           if you play it 16 hours a day like me)
    
    2) Windows Key Disabler by Jeff Slade
    [Download this at www.diabloii.net.] 
    
    Any body who knows even a little about computers will know that ALT + 
    TAB will minimise your programme and bring you back to windows. Now 
    imagine you are in a middle of a battle.net game and Arkaine's Valor 
    drops. You press TAB to turn off the automap and ALT to point out the 
    item... unfortunately...you were still holding TAB and then... you go 
    back to windows. The next thing you know, Arkaine's Valor is gone. This 
    is a must-have programmes as it could mean life and death (for hardcore 
    characters)
    
    Did I find it Useful?: Yes (extremely)
    
    
    3) Life Watcher by Obeah (Metalslave) Solutions
    This is a must have especially for hardcore characters. When your life 
    drops below a fix value, the programme will automatically kick in to 
    save and exit for you. A potential lifesaver! 
    
    Did I find it Useful?: Average (don't play hardcore)
    
    
    4) Maphack v3.5 by Mousepad
    This shows the full automap, changes the colours here and there and 
    other changes. The full automap feature can be a boon or a curse 
    depending on how you see it. The colour of hostile players has been 
    changed to differentiate between them and neutral players.
    
    Did I find it Useful?: Not very (don't like full automap feature)
    
    
    5) Mana Refresher v1.2 and Instant Healer v1.3 by Clever Devs
    You can set the program to automatically use a potion when either your 
    mana or life drops below a value of 75%,50% or 25%. I would say this is 
    an okay program though it may sometimes unnecessarily use a potion when 
    you have things under control (especially with Assassin's Cobra Strike)
    
    Did I find it Useful?: No 
    
    
    6) Item Grabber v3.1 by Hello2k1
    The program will automatically grab potions, runes, gold etc. when they 
    drop on the ground. While this is okay, I can't imagine my whole 
    inventory filled up with bolts and arrows 10 seconds after I empty it.
    
    Did I find it useful?: No
    
    
    Hacks/Mods/Plug-ins
    -------------------
    
    1) Jamella's Diablo II Hero Editor 4.0 Beta 8 by Jamella
    If you need a edit programme this is it. While there a few bugs here and 
    there which should be ironed out, this program works like a dream. You 
    can edit almost anything you can think off from the amount of gold to 
    the undies that you wear (well not quite... but you can edit and import 
    your equipment) I used this program to test out skills with a dummy 
    character from slvl 1 to slvl 20. Has a backup save feature included too 
    to prevent unwanted mishaps.
    
    Did I find this Useful?: Yes. Easy to use and helped me a lot instead
                             of having to create loads of dummy characters.
    
    
    2)Unique Drops Mod by bloodfix
    Basically this programme will cause all the items dropped to be Uniques 
    or Rare when a Unique item of that kind is not available. Soon you will 
    be sick of seeing Unique items, yet for the short term players who want 
    to see (and try out) all the uniques without the hassle of having a high 
    +MF%, this programme is a boon. But what about sets? ...yeah.. maybe 
    they will create a Set Drop Mod soon. A few open battle.net games play 
    with this mod, and since this is considered cheating, you should be wary 
    of the games you join. Some people have complaint of problems 
    uninstalling this programme after use.
    Note: There are other variants of this mod around, but this was the 
          version I tested.
    
    Did I find this Useful?: No. I gain more satisfaction when I legally
                             obtain an unique/rare than cheating.
    
    
    3) 32 Player Exp Mod by Nefarius
    This programme simulates a 32 player game so that you can gain 
    experience at a very high rate. I used this programme at first to create 
    experimental characters until I got sick and used Jamella's Hero Editor. 
    Not only does this programme multiply all the experience you earn by 32 
    times but removes some of the changes in D2X like the 50% PI in Hell 
    mode.
    
    Did I find this Useful?: Ok. I could gain levels really quickly but 
                             there is less satisfaction reaching lvl99.
    
    
    4) Rune Words by Jaime Wold
    [Download this from www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/]
    
    This programme enables all the rune word combos available now on Realm 
    play. If you are those who play open battle.net games and single player 
    only, then this plug-in is a must have. I would not have consider this 
    programme a cheat if not for the treasureclassex which makes high level 
    runes easier to come by.
    
    Did I find this Useful?: Not many useful runeword combos for Assassin
                             class so far. So not very.
    
    
    5) Stash Kit by Fusman & Phalzy
    [Download this from www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/]
    
    Who thinks that you have enough stash space raise up your hands please? 
    This programme will increase your stash, horadric cube and inventory 
    space. Great for people who love hoarding up on good looking items.
    
    Did I find this Useful?: Did not use this programme
    
    
    
    
    ******** 
    Credits
    ******** 
     
    I thank God, my Creator and savior for without Him I would not be here, 
    on this earth writing this FAQ. Thanks to the Father for granting me the 
    wisdom and intelligence to write this FAQ.
    
    I would further like to thank the following people/parties:
    1) Calvin Schneider
    I borrowed (actually just cut and pasted) his skill tree for the 
    Assassin. Loads of thanks to him for his hard work in typing the skill 
    tree out. I'm sure you spent loads of time on that.
    
    2) Nicholas Vu 
    For various comments pertaining to the FAQ.
    
    3) Blizzard
    For making such a wonderful game, even though PI sucks big time.
    
    4) Loads of people
    Who read my FAQ, sent in words of praises or cristiscm which ultimately 
    well help me improve on my FAQ. Thanks for having the time to read my 
    FAQ in the first place.
    
    5) Folks at diabloii.net
    For keeping a wonderful site open, with loads of information (As well as 
    the random issues on cheating etc.) One of the best non official diablo 
    websites around.
    
    
    
    **********
    Conclusion
    **********
    
    Well this is the end I guess.I would like to thank you for your time for 
    reading this FAQ. Any comments, and discussions will be entertained 
    though I do not want any spam Mail. I know that I am human and WILL make 
    mistakes, so if I do, do not flame me or anything kay? I'm after all, 
    just another Diablo II player.
    
    Also since I am an A level student who wil be sitting for my exams come 
    this November I naturally do not have that much time on my hand and will 
    not be able to give a quick reply to all mails. I however can guarantee 
    that all mails will be read and responded too ASAP. Thanks for reading 
    my FAQ again and God Bless.
    
    - Kian Chong