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    Sword + Shield Barbarian FAQ by Muadib

    Version: 1.5 | Updated: 03/18/02 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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                               Lord Of Destruction
                                  Version 1.09d
                          Sword & Shield Barbarian FAQ
                                  Version 1.5
                                 March 18, 2002
    This FAQ is a how to guide on building a formidable Sword & Shield Barbarian on
    Diablo 2: LOD version 1.09d.  This FAQ is specifically targeted for version
    1.09d since character skills and abilities can change from one version to the
    next. I hope that this FAQ will be informative and easy to read.  Look for a
    Hybridzon guide coming up on GameFAQs.  I hope to complete 1.0 when I get some
    free time.
    The usual copyright stuff.  Contact me if you intend to publish or distribute
    the information contained in this document.  You will need my permission to do
    so.  All references to Diablo 2: LOD and related statistics and information are
    current as of the date on this FAQ.  You should always be able to find the
    latest revision of this FAQ at:  http://www.gamefaqs.com
    Table of Contents:
      i. Revision History
      I. Why a Sword & Shield Barb
     II. Attribute Placement
    III. Skills Selection & Advancement
     IV. Equipment Selection
      V. Gameplay Notes
     VI. Dueler's Section
    VII. Credits
    i. Revision History
    -1.5 Updated Dueler's section
    -1.5 Minor updates in Equipment section
    -1.5 Random updates
    -1.4 Minor updates in Equipment section
    -1.3 Updated Dueler's section
    -1.3 Random updates
    -1.2 Updated Credits
    -1.2 Added Dueler's section
    -1.2 Minor corrections/additions
    -1.1 Added Gameplay Tips in the Gameplay Notes section
    -Finished version 1.0 11/30/2001
    -Started 10/19/2001
    I. Why a Sword & Shield Barb
    My initial philosophy on the Barbarian was to be gung-ho and concentrate on
    attack and don't mind the defense.  This meant going for high damage,
    dual-wield, and high strength and dexterity.  As the saying goes, "A flame that
    burns twice as bright, lasts half as long..." or something to that effect.  In
    Diablo 2: LOD terms, "I may breeze through Normal and Nightmare, but I'm gonna
    get f@%$ed in Hell."  Let's see why:
    -In Hell all monsters have a certain degree of physical damage resistance.
    -In many areas in Hell, there are physically immune (PI) monsters.
    -Many of the super uniques in Hell are either stone skin, physically immune, or
     both (Nihlatak).
    -In Hell the resistance penalty makes you very vulnerable to elemental attacks.
     Especially lightning enchanted uniques and the council members who like to
     cast Hydra.
    -In Hell, relying only on defense will get you killed.  Being able to block
     is a must!
    Those are some of the major reasons how a poorly made Barbarian can turn from
    Godly destroyer in Nightmare into Baal's b@tch in Hell.  The Sword & Shield
    Barb that I propose have the following traits:
    -Use of a sword.  Swords are the best weapon group and has the best variety
     and availability.  I recommend using two-handed swords for greater reach.
    -Use of a shield to block.  Blocking becomes especially important in Hell when
     even a Fallen can beat you up over your high defense.  Blocking gives you a two
     layer defense system giving you a chance to block all physical attacks before
     it even calculates the attack against your defense rating.
    -High concentration in vitality and nominal development in strength and
     dexterity.  Goal is to get as many life points as possible because in Hell,
     YOU will get hit.  Maxing out life allows you to control how hard that hit
    -High concentration in sword mastery, whirlwind, and berserk.  Secondary
     concentration in battle orders.
    The traits above help the Sword & Shield Barb do fairly well throughout the
    game and even in Hell.  The goal is max life, max blocking, whirlwind, berserk,
    and battle orders.  Attaining these 5 capabilities will make your Barb GODLY!
    II. Attribute Placement:
     Strength - Initially you want to spend your first few levels investing in
                strength to allow you to use and wear better gear.  Invest enough
                points in strength to allow you to use the gear you have on.  If
                you can, rely on items to boost your strength to meet strength
                requirements.  Later in the game you will want to have enough
                strength (with items) to be able to wield the godly sword/blade of
                your choice.  Investing more points in strength will net you
                negligible points in more damage.  More damage is best attained
                through better weapons and items.
    Dexterity - Use the same policy as strength above.  Later in the game you
                should have enough dexterity (with items) to be able to wield the
                sword/blade of your choice.  General policy is to be stingy with
                strength and dexterity as much as possible.  As you gain levels,
                your blocking % will suffer from low dexterity, make sure you pay
                attention to this!  Some solutions to this is to look for shields
                with a high blocking percentage and extra blocking bonuses, use a
                ravenfrost ring or a cat's eye amulet, use +5 large dex charms.
     Vitality - This will be your favorite attribute.  After attaining enough
                points in strength and dexterity to wear your gear, invest all
                future points in vitality while planning ahead to increase strength
                and dexterity as you plan to switch to better gear.  Each level
                increase will give you 2 life and 1 stamina.  Each point of
                vitality will give you 4 life and 1 stamina.  Try to get around
                1200 life at level 85.  With battle orders you will have a
                2300-2400 life Barb.  Crucial!
       Energy - This is the easy part.  NEVER put points into this attribute at
                all.  In the beginning it will be a bit rough when bash depletes
                your mana and you have no mana steal items, but later on you will
                depend heavily on mana steal and equip items with plus to mana
    III. Skills Selection & Advancement:
    Here I will cover the skills that you will need to invest in.  Any skills not
    mentioned here means that you should not invest ANY skill points in that skill.
    In the beginning you will want to put a point in bash and save your skill
    points up until better skills become available.  Here we go...
    Req lvl: 1
    Prerequisites: None
    You will start out with this skill.  It provides some bonuses over the normal
    attack.  This will be your default attack until concentrate becomes available.
    Invest only 1 point in this skill.
    Req lvl: 6
    Prerequisites: None
    This skill is useful when you need to manuever across a chasm/river, a crowd of
    monsters, or to get out of sticky situations.  It wears out its usefulness
    once leap attack becomes available.  Invest a single point in this skill.
    Req lvl: 12
    Prerequisites: Bash
    I'm not fond of this skill because stun has no damage bonus and the stun length
    pretty much sucks.  It is merely a necessary evil to allow you to learn
    concentrate and berserk at later levels.  Put only 1 point in this skill.
    Leap Attack
    Req lvl: 18
    Prerequisites: Leap
    Very useful skill for manuevering into and out of trouble.  It's also great for
    jumping across rivers and jumping up and down elevations a la Bloody Foothills.
    The range is much better than leap as it is fixed at max range.  Invest only 1
    point in this skill.  The AR and damage bonuses are awesome, but don't do it. 
    You can't kill bosses with this skill in Hell since they regenerate health at a
    faster rate than you can hurt them with this skill.  The leap is also very slow
    and prone to miss against quicker enemies who can move out of range.
    Req lvl: 18
    Prerequisites: Bash, Stun
    Set this skill as your new default attack.  You get better AR and damage
    bonuses than bash and this attack is uninterruptible and doubles your defense
    during the attack animation.  You will use this attack althroughout Normal and
    Nightmare.  Invest 1 well earned point in this skill.  You won't be able to use
    this as your default attack in Hell because of the default physical resistance
    of all monsters and the existence of PI and stone skin monsters and uniques.
    Req lvl: 30
    Prerequisites: Bash, Leap, Stun, Concentrate, Leap Attack
    This will be your bread and butter attack for most encounters.  Great for
    mowing down large crowds of monsters and laying the smack down on bosses.
    Becareful when using whirlwind against monsters that cast iron maiden (IM). It
    can mean instant death.  This is where your dedication to vitality and high
    life come in.  You also need sufficient life and mana steal to use this attack
    continuously.  Although you will attack 50% more if you dual wield, don't do
    it.  Use a shield for added protection instead.  This is especially true in
    Hell.  During the whirlwind animation you can't use any potions so becareful
    not to whirlwind yourself to death.  Stop and potion up if you need to during
    your whirlwind sessions.  Once this skill becomes available, max this skill out
    Level     1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
    Mana      25     25     26     27     27     27     28     28     29     29
    Damage % -50    -42    -34    -26    -18    -10     -2      6     14     22
    Attack %   0      5     10     15     20     25     30     35     40     45
    Level     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20
    Mana      30     30     31     31     32     32     33     33     34     34
    Damage %  30     38     46     54     62     70     78     86     94    102
    Attack %  50     55     60     65     70     75     80     85     90     95
    Req lvl: 30
    Prerequisites: Bash, Stun, Concentrate
    I use this as my default attack in Hell.  Berserk converts all physical damage
    into magical damage.  Berserk also gives the best AR bonus and the damage bonus
    is second only to leap attack!  There are drawbacks however.  Your defense
    drops down to 0 for a short duration and you will not be able to life steal and
    mana steal from this attack.  This skill frees you from having to look for a
    godly item that does huge elemental damage to make up for the ineffectual
    damage done to stone skin and PI monsters in Hell.  Do not use this skill in
    the middle of a crowd of monsters.  Especially monsters with Ignore Target
    Defense (ITD) i.e. Baal's Minions.  You will get hurt!  This is why the shield
    is so important as it affords you a layer of protection from attack while using
    berserk.  You can alternate between concentrate and berserk if you are on a 1
    on 1 encounter to "leech" and attack.  Against, PI monsters however, life and
    mana steal won't work.  You can recharge by attacking non PI monsters and
    resuming attack or use potions.  Most encounters with berserk will end in a few
    hits except for the super uniques and bosses.  Put in 1 point right after
    putting a point in whirlwind. Leave this skill at level 1 until you finish
    maxing out whirlwind in which case you should be in Hell by that time.  Start
    maxing out this skill while alternating with some of the other skills covered
    below.  When encountering magic immune monsters/bosses, use whirlwind or
    Mana Cost 4
    Level     1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
    Attack %  100    115    130    145    160    175    190    205    220    235
    Damage %  150    165    180    195    210    225    240    255    270    285
    Duration  2.7    2.4    2.2    2.1    2.0    1.9    1.8    1.7    1.6    1.6
    Level     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20
    Attack %  250    265    280    295    310    325    340    355    370    385
    Damage %  300    315    330    345    360    375    390    405    420    435
    Duration  1.6    1.5    1.5    1.4    1.4    1.4    1.4    1.3    1.3    1.3
    -Mana cost is constant at 4.
    -Damage % is magical damage.
    -Duration is the amount of time in seconds that your barb will be vulnerable.
    Sword Mastery
    Req lvl: 1
    Prerequisites: None
    Being a Sword & Shield Barb, this is the mastery you will need to max out.
    Advance necessary Combat Skills first and allocate left over points into sword
    Level      1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
    Damage %   28     33     38     43     48     53     58     63     68     73
    Attack %   28     36     44     52     60     68     76     84     92    100
    Critical %  3      6      9     11     12     13     14     15     16     17
    Level      11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20
    Damage %   78     83     88     93     98    103    108    113    118    123
    Attack %  108    116    124    132    140    148    156    164    172    180
    Critical % 17     18     18     19     19     20     20     20     20     21
    Increased Stamina
    Req lvl: 12
    Prerequisites: None
    This skill is useless since you will have plenty of stamina from pumping up
    your vitality, but it is a prerequisite for increased speed.  Put only 1 point
    into this skill.
    Increased Speed
    Req lvl: 24
    Prerequisites: Increased Stamina
    This skill will increase your barb's run/walk speed.  Generally useful for
    running circles around monsters, running through a maze of monsters during
    magic find (MF) runs and running around during duels.  Put only 1 point into
    this skill in the begining and eventually get up to level 5 and no more.
    Putting more points into this skill will give diminishing returns that are not
    worth the valuable skill points that could be invested elsewhere.
    Level     1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
    Speed %   13     18     22     25     28     30     32     33     35     36
    Level     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20
    Speed %   37     38     39     40     40     41     41     42     42     43
    Iron Skin
    Req lvl: 18
    Prerequisites: None
    Again, like increased stamina, this skill is not really essential, but needed
    to get access to the very useful skill, natural resistance.  Invest only 1
    point in this skill.
    Natural Resistance
    Req lvl: 30
    Prerequisites: Iron Skin
    This skill doesn't come into play until late Nightmare and all of Hell
    difficulty levels.  You will need this to supplement the severe resistance
    penalties in Nightmare and Hell, but more so in Hell.  I recommend a maximum
    investment of 5 points into this skill.  There is a diminishing return as you
    advance so do not waste any more points beyond level 5.  Use plus to skills
    items to boost this skill higher instead.
    Level     1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
    Resist %  12     21     28     35     40     44     47     49     52     54
    Level     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20
    Resist %  56     58     60     61     62     64     64     65     66     67
    Req lvl: 1
    Prerequisites: None
    Not a particularly useful warcry.  It makes monsters run away from you, but I
    don't see why that would be useful in most cases.  Having monsters follow you
    will make it easier to herd them in a line for a whirlwind ho down.  You will
    need this skill to have access to more useful warcries.  Invest only 1 point in
    this skill.
    Req lvl: 6
    Prerequisites: Howl
    I did not find this skill particularly useful.  Especially since I put only 1
    point in this skill.  It gives a decent defense bonus, but the duration is too
    short to make it worth while.  Some players may want to invest more points here
    as it may prove useful in duels.  Personally, the advantage of this skill in
    duels is marginal.  There is a better warcry up ahead so don't worry.
    Battle Orders
    Req lvl: 24
    Prerequisites: Howl, Shout
    Finally the warcry that is actually useful!  This skill temporarily increases
    your barb's stamina, life, and mana.  Very useful in Hell where the added life
    and mana come in handy for you and your merc.  Start to invest points in this
    skill late in Nightmare and into Hell.  Make sure you put priority in whirlwind
    and berserk before leveling up this skill.  The increase in duration and
    stamina/life/mana bonus is constant so sky is the limit.  You can start to max
    this skill out after you have maxed out sword mastery, whirlwind, and berserk. 
    Don't forget to put a few points in increased speed and natural resistance as
    well.  They will come in handy before battle orders will.  At level 20 you
    should be able to almost double your life/mana/stamina.  I max this out last
    hence my secondary concentration in this skill.  This skill is a must for
    IV. Equipment Selection
    Items are crucial to success in Diablo 2: LOD.  High level characters are
    nothing without high level items.  The following discusses what to look for in
    each item type and mentions some notable examples.
    Always go with a two-handed sword for added reach and damage.  When used with a
    shield, it will do reduced damage, but the increased range make it better then
    smaller one-handed swords.  Also consider looking for a Cruel (201% - 300% ED)
    Colossus Blade or Balrog Blade with 3 open sockets.  These swords can be had
    through trade or via the Horadric Cube transmute recipe.  Find a magical
    Colossus/Balrog Blade and put it in the cube with 3 chipped gems.  Transmute
    and you will get a magical sword with with random magical attributes and 3
    sockets.  The trick is to get lucky somehow and get the Cruel (300% ED) and
    some other useful suffix attribute.  You can adorn the sword with some useful
    ED/IAS jewels or runes.
    Some advanced swords to consider:
         -Swordguard Executioner Sword
         -Honor Colossus Sword
         -Silence Colossus Blade
         -Fury Colossus/Balrog Blade
         -Cruel Colossus/Balrog Blade
         -The Grandfather Colossus Blade
    Choose shields that will give you the highest blocking rate possible.  A good
    practice is to socket the shield and put in a perfect diamond for a +19 or an
    Um rune for +22 to all resistances bonus.  Better shields have higher chance to
    block and faster blocking rate attributes.  Maximizing your ability to block is
    crucial for berserk and whirlwind.  To check your current chance to block, put
    your cursor over your defense rating number in the character stat screen.  You
    will see a percentage number on the chance to block all physical attacks.
    Another attribute to consider is the classification of the shield.  Medium
    (Large) and Heavy (Tower) shields impose a run/walk penalty because of their
    girth and heft.  Lighter shields impose no speed penalty and can provide the
    same or even better protection than the heavier shields.
    Some advanced shields to consider:
         -Whistan's Guard Round Shield
         -Moser's Blessed Circle Round Shield
         -Stormshield Monarch
    This is more of an open issue as there is a wide variety of armor to choose
    from.  You will want high defense, but you will also want additional attributes
    that will complement your style of play.  Being a melee character, you will
    benefit from armor with damage reduction attributes and bonuses to life. 
    Special attributes such as cannot be frozen and freezes target are also
    desirable for melee characters.  Since you will use a shield consider armor
    with good mods rather than just defense.
    Some advanced armor to consider:
         -Shaftstop Mesh Armor
         -Gladiator's Bane Wire Fleece
         -Tal Rasha's Guardianship Lacquered Plate
    For starters, I usually wear the Sigon's set in the beginning to get me through
    until I can wear better equipment.  Many of the advanced headgear have leeching
    and plus to skills modifiers.  Some will have resistance and stat bonuses.  It
    will mostly depend on what you can get your hands on.
    Some advanced helms to consider:
         -Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest Death Mask
         -Harlequin Crest Shako
         -Vampire Gaze Grim Helm
         -Arreat's Face Slayer Guard
    It is very important to get gloves with 20% Increased Attack Speed (IAS) to
    speed up the rate of your attack as fast as possible.  Other favorable mods are
    bonuses to AR, resist bonuses, and Enhanced Damage (ED) bonuses.  Another good
    combination is to use the IK gloves in conjunction with the Boots for a +50 AR
    set bonus and other useful item mods.  You will forego the IAS in exchange for
    +20 strength and dexterity, but it may well be worth it.
    Some gloves I recommend:
         -Laying of Hands Bramble Mitts
         -Magnus' Skin Sharkskin Gloves
         -Lava Gout Battle Gauntlets
    I recommend using the Thundergod's Vigor for the strength and vitality bonuses,
    increase max lightning resist, and lightning absorb.  If you do not have
    Shaftstop, Vampire Gaze, or Stormshield, you may consider using the String of
    Ears to increase your damage reduction.
    Some advanced belts to consider:
         -String of Ears Demonhide Sash
         -Thundergod's Vigor War Belt
    For boots, you want the highest run/walk bonus possible to be able to escape
    danger and catch your prey.  Several boots have 40% faster run/walk mods, but
    one pair of boots seems to stand out from the rest.  These are the Sander's
    Riprap Heavy Boots.  Aside from the 40% faster run/walk, the +5 to strength,
    +10 to dexterity, and +100 to AR makes it great for melee and ranged
    characters.  An alternative would be to wear Gore Riders for the offensive
    bonuses or the IK boots/glove combination mentioned above.
    There are alot to choose from.  Many rare amulets have great mods that will
    meet your needs.  Usually, + to skills, resist bonuses, stat bonuses, and
    offensive mods are desirable.  Some rare amulets have dual leech mods which is
    always welcome in any item.  I have also heard about a duped rare amulet called
    the Corruption Heart.  I have never seen it so I can't really say how it is or
    even if it is legal to use in Battle.Net.  From what I hear it is one of the
    best amulets in the game.
    Some amulets I recommend:
         -Highlord's Wrath
    Like amulets, there are alot to choose from.  Dual leech rings with dex and AR
    mods are my favorite.  I also highly recommend a good Raven Frost ring for the
    AR and dex bonus, but most notably the cannot be frozen is crucial when
    fighting cold based enemies.
    Some advanced rings to consider:
         -Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
         -Raven Frost
         -Good dual leech ring
    I primarily carry faster run/walk and faster hit recovery charms.  I would also
    recommend dex charms to increase your % to block.  High damage poison charms
    also work well in conjunction with whirlwind.  Concentrate your resistance
    charms in fire and lightning only.  Fire and lightning enchanted uniques are
    quite dangerous.  If you have any remaining space, carry some good life charms
    to boost life.
    MY GEAR:
    Here's what my level 83 Sword & Shield barb is quipped with.
    SWORD:  Silence Colossus Blade
    -The Blinds Target works great to take down large groups easily.  The other
     major mod is the +75 to all resistances.  Coupled with my Natural Resistance
     and some item/charm bonuses, I have maxed out resists in Hell.
    SHIELD:  Stormshield Monarch
    -Probably the best shield in the game.  It's classified as a light shield so it
     won't slow you down.  It also has +30 to str and good cold and lightning
     resist bonuses.  The best mod is the 35% damage reduction bonus.
    ARMOR:  Shaftstop Mesh Armor
    -Good +60 life bonus, but the main reason why I use this armor is the 30%
     damage reduction mod.  It is considered a medium armor and slows me down by
    HELM:  Perfect 1.09 Vampire Gaze Grim Helm
    -One of the best dueling helms in the game.  Dual 8% leech and 20% damage
     reduction puts other helms to shame.  In combination with Shaftstop and
     Stormshield, I easily max out the damage reduction bonus of 75%.
    GLOVES:  Magnus' Skin Sharksin Gloves
    -My main reason for using these gloves are the +100 attack rating bonus and the
     20% IAS.  I keep a pair of Laying of Hands as an alternative when I plan to go
     on boss runs.
    BELT:  Thundergod's Vigor War Belt
    -Main reason to use this are +20 to STR/VIT, lightning absorb and +10 increased
     maximum lightning resistance.  This also makes the perfect Hybridzon belt for
     the above reasons plus the +3 skills bonus to Lightning Fury.
    BOOTS:  Sander's Riprap Heavy Boots
    -As I mentioned earlier, I need the +100 AR and stat bonuses.  I also have a
     pair of Gore Riders as a backup.
    AMULET:  Highlord's Wrath
    -The deadly strike and +1 to all skills make this amulet perfect for melee
     characters.  The lightning resist and damage mods are a bonus.
    RINGS:  Raven Frost, Dual Leech Rare ring
    -I have a 241AR/19dex Raven Frost and a Rare 7/6 dual leech ring with 146 AR,
     and 17 dex bonuses.
    -I carry a some faster hit recovery and a bunch of faster run/walk small
     charms.  I have no need for resist charms as my sword and other items max out
     my resists.
    V. Gameplay Notes
    General Tips:
    -Hot key concentrate and berserk on the left mouse button and hot key town
     portal, battle orders, leap attack, and whirlwind on the right mouse button.
    -Hire the Nightmare Act 2 defensive merc.  His holy freeze aura is very useful
     in slowing down mobs of monsters and slowing down their attacks.  Another
     useful merc is the Nightmare Act 2 offensive merc.  He uses the might aura
     which boosts your damage by a considerable amount at high levels.  Only
     drawback is that the might merc does not have the slowing capability of the
     holy freeze merc and is more susceptible to be mobbed to death.
    -Use of maphack is very helpful to cut time and keep you safe from potentially
     dangerous super uniques.  Some people consider using maphack cheating, so it's
     a toss up.  Personally, I use it all the time.  :P
    Gameplay Tips:
    -Don't bother killing Nihlathak in Hell.  He is stone skin and PI and his
     Corpse Explosion attack is deadly.  By not killing him, you can take the red
     portal to Nihlatak's temple for Pindleskin runs.
    -If you are getting "turboed" or "boosted" (A high level friend quests you to
     end of Hell) a safe place to be on the kill Diablo quest is to stand behind
     the corner buttresses right above where Diablo appears after activating the
     seals.  Diablo's attacks will be blocked by the buttress.  Make sure Diablo is
     in your screen when he dies.
    -If you want to avoid fightning the council members in Durance of Hate 3, just
     run up on the platform to the end.  You should be able to see where the red
     portal appears after killing Mephisto.  Leap attack across to the other side
     and leave the council behind so you can kill Mephisto.
    -In the River of Flame going towards the Chaos Sanctuary, simply rush across
     using Leap Attack to avoid the maze and monsters.  Use the same technique in
     the Arcane Sanctuary.
    -In Act 2, you can cut alot of time by simply getting the staff and headpiece
     and taking a waypoint directly to Canyon of the Magi (Have a friend give you
     the waypoints.).  Use maphack and visit each of the tombs until you see a very
     complex tomb with a red circle (That's where the slot for the staff is.)  This
     is the real tomb of Tal Rasha.
    -Use berserk against stone skin and PI uniques.
    -Switch between concentrate and berserk if you need to leech on 1 on 1 battles.
     Against, groups, switch between Berserk and Whirlwind.
    -Use a hit and run tactic against lightning enchanted uniques to minimize risk.
     If they also have the multi-shot attribute, run away.
    -Use battle orders to boost life, stamina, and mana when getting into hairy
     situations.  Don't forget to renew it periodically.
    VI. Dueler's Section
    So you think you got what it takes to take out anybody foolish enough to mess
    with you?  First lesson is that you will get OWNED!  Now that I've brought you
    back down to Earth.  Let's examine some strategies for the Sword & Shield
    -Always use battle orders before a duel and heal up with potions or in town.
    -Replenish life/mana items and gear will help you during prolonged duels.
    -Do not use leap attack.  It is too slow and they will anticipate your landing
     and kill you with a counterattack.  This is especially dangerous when homing
     attacks such as guided arrow and bone spirit will hit you when you land.
    -Make your barbarian as fast as possible.  Whirlwind is very slow so you will
     have to be fast so you can clip your enemies with whirlwind.
    -Avoid whirlwind lock at all costs!  This happens when you click on the
     character and not a piece of ground for your whirlwind path.  Your barbarian
     will be locked in a whirlwind slowly moving towards your moving target!  You
     won't have control and you will be slow enough for ranged characters to kill
     you at their leisure.
    -If you get killed, leave the game and come back in.  Some duelers/PKers will
     try to pop you if they can.  This happens when you don't pick up every thing
     when you retrieve your corpse and get killed again.  Sometimes they will drop
     a whole bunch of crap on your corpse in the hope that you will pick something
     up and auto equip it before picking up your corpse.  When you pick up your
     body, the auto equipped item (i.e. weapon, armor) will disallow you from
     picking up everything off your corpse.  If you get killed again, all the
     equipped items will "pop" out of your body for anyone to loot.
    -During duels, never take a waypoint to an unsafe place (anywhere outside of
     towns).  An enemy can be waiting at the waypoint to kill you or they can
     pre-visit the waypoint, go back to town, and ask you to meet them there.  If
     you haven't visited the waypoint yet, there will be a delay as it loads the
     map data.  The other guy already has the map loaded in RAM and will teleport
     there instantly.  Your character will appear at the waypoint while the map
     data loads and will give your enemy a few crucial seconds for a free kill.
    -You will need to achive maximum resistances to be able to withstand poison,
     cold, lightning, and fire attacks.  Sorceress will employ thunderstorm, frozen
     orb and nova.  Other variants will use Hydra.  Necros will use lower resists
     and poison nova.  Assasins will use a fire skill and lightning traps. 
     Paladins will employ elemental auras and offensive skills that deal elemental
     damage.  All dueling melee characters will also carry high grade poison charms
     which you need to resist or your life will go down to 1 very fast.  Good ways
     to increase resistance is to put upto 5 skill points in natural resistance,
     carry high grade resist all charms, carry 11% small charms, and use the
     Silence Colossus Blade (75% resist all).
    -Damage reduction is the other important attribute you will need to max out.
     Damage reduction is capped at 75% so be aware when you equip your barb.  My
     usual fare is to use a perfect Vampire Gaze, Shaftstop, and Stormshield which
     will net you with 85% damage reduction.  This gets shaved down to 75% because
     of the in-game cap.  For example, if you don't have a Vampire Gaze, you can
     use a String of Ears (easier to come by) and still achieve 75% damage
    Class Specific Strategies:
    There is now some promise to own zons in duels.  You will be required to
    achieve maximum damage reduction, resistances, and life.  This is assuming that
    the zon is not using slow and or knockback items which makes dueling zons an
    order of magnitude harder.  Another factor is the zons run/walk speed.  If they
    are slow, you will be able to clip them quick and get a kill off on one or two
    passes depending on what equipment they are wearing.  MF zons with focus on dex
    and low life will be easy to pick off.  The hybridzon will be a bit harder
    since they will run around with a Titan's Revenge and shield (usually
    Stormshield) which gives them damage reduction, extra run/walk speed, and
    blocking.  Like all other zons, they will switch back to a bow to fire off
    guided arrows which opens up a window of opportunity for a whirlwind.  The
    worst zon variety is the build totally dedicated to dueling.  They will have
    placed extra skill points in the passive tree making them very hard to hit.  I
    suggest carrying as many small 5% run/walk charms you can afford to boost your
    speed and invest upto 5 points into the Increased Speed passive skill.  Expect
    zons to use multi-shot off screen and guided arrow in screen.  Try staying
    behind walls or other objects that will block multi-shot and make guided arrow
    difficult from long range. If a zon is foolish enough to get close for a guided
    arrow around a corner or wall, burst out and try to clip his escape path with
    whirlwind.  Watch out for zons using windforce, cleglaw's bracers, and
    nosferatu's coil.  They are usually not allowed for dueling because of the
    bugged slow and knockback.  Personally, I can own a good number of zons and
    hopefully with my build strat and godly items you can too.
    Most important thing before dueling a sorceress is to achieve max resistances. 
    A sorceress will teleport around and cast thunderstorm and frozen orb
    repeatedly.  Some lamers will just cast Hydra at the town entrance to get cheap
    kills and prevent naked players from retrieving their corpses.  The trick is to
    catch them with a whirlwind for a quick kill.  If they are using mana shield
    and damage reduction gear, it may take a couple to kill them.  Stay far away
    from the orbs and try to predict their path so you can clip them efficiently. 
    Avoid prolonged chases since you will end up taking damage from the orb and
    thunderstorm.  Watch out for Static/Nova sorceresses who teleport right next to
    you and finish you off in seconds using static charge and nova.  If you have
    max resistances, you will be ok.  Since sorceresses are usually slow runners
    and rely heavily on teleport, an advantage can be gained if they are lagging or
    have a slow connection.  Some will have slower cast rates than others which may
    limit the speed that the sorc casts teleport.  If a sorc is all over the place
    and catching them is nigh impossible, it is probably best to avoid a duel.
    This will be a pissing contest of sorts since you will be using the same
    strategies against each other.  Determining factors will be equipment, skills,
    and level.  The shield will come in handy as it should block upto 75% of the
    whirlwind blows.  If your opponent is a dual wielder, you should have the
    advantage.  If your opponent also uses a shield, then make sure you are using
    good damage reduction gear (Vampire Gaze, Shaftstop, Stormshield) to soften any
    blows.  Popular dueling weapons will be the Cruel Colossus or Balrog blades
    that will do godly amounts of damage.  Make sure you carry some powerful poison
    charms that will do residual damage after your first hit.  After the first
    pass it should be clear who will win.
    I have never had much problems with paladins at all.  With max resistances,
    many of their offensive skills become useless.  They are fast and can do alot
    of damage with charge and their multiple shot ability, but they are no match
    for whirlwind.  Just cuisinart their asses into the ground!  With good gear,
    they probalby won't even get a hit in.  :P
    Martial assasins can be powerful if they hit you with a combo.  Avoid this by
    using whirlwind.  They are also very fast with burst of speed and good assasin
    gear.  Their downfall is the short range of their claws.  Use this to your
    advantage by avoiding direct melee combat and just clip them with whirlwind. 
    Be aware that dual wield assasins can block although less effectively than
    using a good shield.  Trapassins will set up traps right in front of town and
    invite you to come and kill them.  Or they will set up traps and a shadow
    master and hang around them for protection.  You can charge in and go for the
    fast kill or just wait it out.  The traps are weak compared to frozen orb and
    thunderstorm so I usually charge in and kill them.  I also noticed that some
    assasins use a stun skill to get you in a stun lock and set up traps around the
    area to finish you off.  Be wary and avoid the traps.
    Werewolves are fast and they have a multi shot ability similar to paladins.
    Werewolves will have high damage and AR so don't get caught off guard. 
    Elemental druids are pretty weak and you can avoid direct hits from their
    spells and just kill them.  Werebears have more life and can do more damage
    than Werewolves.  They typically suffer from relatively low AR compared to
    their Werewolf counterparts.  Watch out for maul and shockwave as they may use
    this in combination to get you disoriented.  Attack with whirlwind and cut the
    druid into pieces.  If you can, kill the spirits.  The orange spirit is used
    mostly by Werewolves to boost their life.  The red spirit boosts AR.  Killing
    them should make your job easier.  As you kill the druid, shapeshifters will
    revert back to human form with 1 life.  Finish them off before they shapeshift
    again.  Elemental druids will die on the spot.
    With some limited experience dueling necros, I don't see a big challenge.  They
    will run around, cast poison nova, cast bone spirit, cast IM, and try to trap
    you in a bone wall so you can IM to death whirlwinding through bone walls.
    Fortunately, with good damage reduction gear and maxed resists, all the necros
    skills will fall.  Most will be relatively slow and have bone armor spinning
    around them.  Most necros will probably die from a single whirlwind or even two
    if they are wearing good gear and have maxed out bone armor.  Run very fast and
    dispatch them quickly so as to avoid the necros curses.
    VII. Credits
    -My girlfriend for putting up with my long Diablo II sessions.
    -Twizted (twiztedrage@hotmail.com) for corrections and additional information
    -Blizzard for making this great game.

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