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Assassin FAQ by B Wood

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 07/11/01

Diablo 2 Assassin FAQ
Version 1.0
Author:  Bill Wood




Welcome to my Assassin Guide!  Right now I have a level 37 Assassin who 
has just finished Act 1 on Nightmare difficulty.  This guide is being 
written for anyone who plans on starting an Assassin and needs some 
help.  Good luck and enjoy!!


The Assassin is a master of Martial Arts and Traps.  She is mainly a 
hand-to-hand fighter, using small quick weapons called claws.  These 
weapons are extremely fast but weaker than other weapons.  To 
compliment her fighting ability, she is a master trap layer.  She uses 
traps to take out large groups of enemies at once.  The Assassin is 
also the only character that doesn't need keys to open locked chests.  
This saves space in your inventory by not having to carry keys.  


Note:  When I say "level 1" and "level 20", I am referring to the 
amount of skill points, not actual character level.


This tree consists of two different types of skills: Charge-up 
moves and finishing moves.  Charge-up moves add extra bonuses 
to finishing moves, such as elemental or enhanced damage.  
Finishing moves also have their own bonuses.  You can only 
have 3 charges at any given time, but they can be different 

TIGER STRIKE (Charge) Pre: None  Mana: 1

Tiger Strike improves the attack rating and damage of 
finishing moves.  Even though it is a level 1 skill, you will 
use this throughout the entire game.  This is THE charge-up 
skill to use when facing bosses and uniques.  At level 1, 
Tiger Strike is +40% attack rating.  Charge 1 is +100% damage, 
Charge 2 is +200%, and Charge 3 is +300%.  At level 20, it 
gives a +230% attack rating and the 1st charge is +480% damage, 
2nd charge is +960% damage, and the 3rd charge is +1440% 
damage!!!  Put as many points as you can into this skill.

DRAGON TALON (Finish) Pre: None  Mana: 6

This is your first finishing move.  The kick gives a bonus to 
attack rating and damage.  At higher levels, more kicks are 
added.  At level 1, Dragon Talon performs 1 kick, +40% attack 
rating, and +9% damage.  At level 20, it performs 3 kicks at 
+268% attack rating and +142% damage.  Only put 1 point into 
this as a prerequisite, there are much better finishing moves 
down the line.

FISTS OF FIRE (Charge) Pre: None  Mana: 2

This skill adds fire damage to your attack while improving 
your attack rating.  The 1st charge adds fire damage, the 2nd 
adds an area effect, and the 3rd increases the burning time 
slightly.  Only the first charge increases with levels.  With 
1 point in this skill, you get +50% attack rating and 6-10 
fire damage.  At level 20, +240% attack rating and 201-205 
fire damage.  Put only 1 point into this as there are better 
charge-up skills.

DRAGON CLAW (Finish) Pre: Dragon Talon  Mana: 2

This skill can only be used with 2 claw weapons equipped.  The 
double attack increases in damage with levels.  At level 1, 
Dragon Claw is +50% attack rating and +50% damage.  At level 
20, +240% attack rating and +140% damage.  Again, there are 
better finishing moves, so only put 1 point here.

COBRA STRIKE (Charge) Pre: Tiger Strike  Mana: 2

Cobra Strike adds no damage to finishing moves, but steals 
life and mana instead.  The first charge steals life, the 2nd 
steals life and mana, and the 3rd steals even more life and 
mana.  At level 1, +60% to attack rating.  The 1st charge 
steals 40% life, the 2nd 40% life and mana, and the 3rd 80% life 
and mana.  At level 20, +345% attack rating and the 1st charge 
steals 135% life, the 2nd 135% life and mana, and the 3rd 270% 
life and mana.  This skill is nice for when you are out of 
potions, or, at a high enough level, can probably replace them 
altogether.  I didn't want to put many points here, but choose 
according to your play style.  I suggest putting points into 
skills that actually deal damage, but again, your call.

CLAWS OF THUNDER (Charge) Pre: Fists of Fire  Mana: 4

This skill adds a different lightning spell effect for each 
charge.  Charge 1 deals Lightning damage, Charge 2 deals Nova 
Lightning damage, and charge 3 deals Charged Bolt damage.  At 
level 1, +80 attack rating and 1st charge deals 1-80 damage, 2nd 
charge deals 1-20 area damage, and charge 3 deals 1-40 bolt 
damage.  At level 20, +365% attack rating and 1st charge 351-
430 damage, 2nd charge deals 1-465, and 3rd charge does 1-740 
damage.  This skill could have been great, but it is not.  The 
first charge deals great damage, but the lightning shoots in a 
straight line, which isn't great for swarms of monsters.  It 
deals a lot of damage to one creature, but Tiger Strike deals 
much more.  The other 2 charges have incredible damage 
potential, but are useless because of the minimum damage of 1.  
You have just as much chance as doing 1 damage as you do 740!  
Phoenix Strike comes along later and is much better for taking 
out groups of enemies.

DRAGON TAIL (Finish) Pre: Dragon Talon; Dragon Claw  Mana: 10

This finishing move adds a percentage to the damage inflicted 
and knocks back a group of enemies.  At level 1, +40% attack 
rating and +50 fire damage.  At level 20, +173% attack rating 
and +240% fire damage.  I move this move more than any other 
finishing moves because of it's knockback effect against 
groups of enemies.  I didn't put any extra points here because 
the knockback doesn't improve, but it's up to you.

BLADES OF ICE (Charge) Pre: Fists of Fire; Claws of Thunder 
Mana: 3

The first charge adds cold damage, the 2nd causes an area 
effect, and the 3rd causes a freezing effect.  With 1 skill 
point, +80% attack rating, 1st charge 15-35 cold damage, 2nd 
charge area effect, and 3rd charge 4 sec. Duration.  With 20 
skill points +365% attack rating and 1st charge 231-251 cold 
damage, 2nd charge area effect (doesn't increase with points), 
3rd charge, 11.6 sec. duration.  Pretty good damage and effect, 
but I would just put 1 point here and wait for Phoenix Strike.

DRAGON FLIGHT (Finish) Pre: Dragon Talon; Dragon Claw; Dragon 
Tail  Mana: 15

This finishing move will teleport you to the targeted enemy 
from a distance and deliver the kick, which increases damage 
and attack rating with additional points.  At 1st level, +100% 
attack rating, +100% damage.  At level 20, +480% attack 
rating, +575% damage.  This is THE finisher to use against 
bosses and uniques.  Coupled with a 3 level 20 charges of 
Tiger Strike, a level 20 Dragon Flight can do +2015% damage 
with 1 hit!!!  Put as many points into this as possible.  
(Alternatively, you could level Dragon Tail up instead.  You 
will miss out on some damage, but will be much more effective 
against hordes of enemies.  You make the call.)  This 
finishing move is excellent for taking out an enemy surrounded 
by minions.

PHOENIX STRIKE (Charge) Pre: All previous Charge moves Mana: 4

Charge 1 releases a Meteor, Charge 2 releases Chain Lightning, 
and Charge 3 releases Chaos Ice Bolt.  At level 1, +70% attack 
rating, Charge 1 20-40 fire damage, Charge 2 1-40 lightning 
damage, and Charge 3 16-32 ice damage.  With 20 skill points 
+355% attack rating, Charge 1 370-390 fire damage, Charge 2 1-
353 lightning damage, Charge 3 124-140 ice damage.  I use this 
as my main attack.  It costs little mana, and is able to hit 
multiple enemies.  The 1st charge has great damage, but a 
little delay, the 2nd charge is too unpredictable to be 
effective, and the 3rd charge is excellent for it's freezing 
ability.  The is especially useful for physically immune 


Traps are a great way to take out groups of enemies, although 
they consume quite a bit of mana.  Most traps become useless 
later in the game, so spend your points carefully.

FIRE BLAST Pre: None  Mana: 3-5.3

The Assassin throws a little fire device that explodes on 
impact, hitting a few closely packed enemies.  At level 1, 3-4 
damage.  At level 20, 69-70.  Only put 1 point here, it isn't 
useful past the first act.

SHOCKWEB Pre: None  Mana: 6

This trap is set on the ground and emits little bolts of 
lightning.  With 1 point you get 6 spikes and 5-6 damage.  
With 20, you get 10 spikes for 46-47 damage.  Lame damage 
discouraged me from putting more than 1 point here.

BLADE SENTINAL Pre: None  Mana: 7

This trap leaves a blade flying back and forth between two 
points.  Level 1 6-10 damage, Level 20 79-83.  It is difficult 
to hit enemies with this trap and, again, weak damage.  I 
wouldn't put any points here unless you want to get Blade 
Shield later on, which I didn't use anyway.

CHARGE BOLT Sentry Pre: Shockweb  Mana: 13

This trap is laid on the ground and zaps enemies that get too 
close.  It has 5 charges.  At level 1, 1-7 damage, at level 
20, 39-45.  I would only put 1 point here.  If you really need 
to use traps at this level, go with wake of fire.

WAKE OF FIRE Pre: Fire Blast  Mana: 20 

This trap emits 5 waves of fire.  At level 1, 5-10 damage, 
level 20, 59-64.  This trap was actually pretty useful when I 
got it, I laid a bunch in a group of enemies and watched the 
fireworks.  I wouldn't put any points here, though, because 
your best trap doesn't need this as a prerequisite.

BLADE FURY Pre: Blade Sentinel  Mana: 3

The Assassin throws a bunch of metal blades at an opponent.  
At level 1, 1 blade and 8-10 damage.  Level 20, 10 blades and 
101-103 damage.  This trap actually can be useful for taking 
out enemies that are lightning enchanted or have spells like 
Inferno.  Unfortunately, it is hard to hit anything that 
moves, and the skill becomes useless even before Nightmare.  I 
wouldn't put any points here.

LIGHTNING SENTRY Pre: Shockweb; Charged Bolt Sentry  Mana: 20

This trap will shoot a total of 10 bolts of lightning at 
approaching enemies before dissipating.  At level 1, 10-20 
damage.  At level 20, 141-151 damage.  This trap works well 
when you get it, but don't put more than 1 point here, your 
best trap is only 6 levels away!

WAKE OF FIRE Pre: Fire Blast; Wake of Fire  Mana: 20

This trap shoots a line of fire at an enemy that approaches, 
similar to Inferno.  After 10 shots, it dissipates.  At level 
1, 8-21 damage per second, at level 20, 189-203 damage per 
second.  The problem with this trap is that enemies don't 
stand still.  I found Wake of Fire more effective, even though 
it does less damage.  Either way, both traps become obsolete 
too quickly to put any points into.

DEATH SENTRY Pre: Fire Blast; Shock Web; Charged Bolt Sentry; 
Lightning Sentry  Mana: 20

This trap sends bolts of lightning at anything nearby.  The 
real beauty, though, is that it also explodes corpses, 
damaging nearby enemies for 40-80% of the corpses hitpoints!  
At level 1, 10-30 lightning damage, at level 20, 117-127 
lightning damage.  I wouldn't put more than a few points here, 
because only the lightning damage and radius of the corpse 
explosion goes up, not the exploding damage.  I used this trap 
in the cow level.  I would kill 2 cows, set down 2 sentries, 
and take out 20 or 30 in a few seconds!  This is THE way to 
take down groups of enemies in Nightmare and Hell.

BLADE SHIELD Pre: Fire Blast; Blade Sentinel; Wake of Fire; 
Blade Fury  Mana: 27-65

This creates a shield of spinning blades around your body.  
Any enemies that hit you with physical attacks will take 
damage.  At level 1, it lasts for 20 seconds and deals 1-30 
damage.  At level 20, it lasts for 112 seconds and deals 96-
141 damage.  The damage done is way too small for the amount 
of hit we Assassins can take.  I wouldn't recommend putting 
any points here.


This tree consists of mostly passive skills that will make the 
Assassin much more effective in combat.

CLAW MASTERY Pre: None  Mana: passive

This skill adds to the attack rating and damage of your 
regular attack.  At level 1, +30% attack rating and +35% 
damage.  At level 20, +220% attack rating and +111% to damage.  
Needless to say, this is a skill you want to put some points 
into.  Remember there are other skills that need points too, 

PSYCHIC HAMMER Pre: None  Mana: 4-8.7

This skill pushes an enemy back and causes minor damage.  At 
level 1, 2-5 damage, level 20, 29-32 damage.  This spell could 
theoretically be useful for pushing enemies into traps, but it 
isn't that hard to hit them with traps anyway.  Don't put any 
points here unless you want Cloak of Shadows or Shadow Master 
later, then put 1 point here.  

BURST OF SPEED Pre: Claw Mastery Mana: 10

This great skill increases your walk/run and attack speed for 
a period of time.  At level 1, +21% attack speed and +23% 
run/walk speed for 120 seconds.  At level 20, + 52% attack 
speed and +61% walk/run speed for 348 seconds.  This skill is 
awesome!  Your combat is much more effective and you can 
travel much, much faster.  The only downside is that when you 
play a different character, it will feel as though you are 
crawling.  Oh well!  Don't put more than 3 or 4 points here, 
as more points don't give you much more speed.

WEAPON BLOCK Pre: Claw Mastery Mana: Passive

When using two claw class weapons, you gain the ability to 
block some incoming attacks.  At level 1, 26% chance to block 
attack, level 20, 57% chance to block attack.  This skill is 
only useful if you plan on using 2 weapons, and a shield is a 
must in Nightmare and Hell.  Only put 1 point here as a 

CLOAK OF SHADOWS Pre: Psychic Hammer Mana: 13

This skill causes the sky to darken and enemies' defense to be 
lowered for about 8 seconds.  At level 1, -21% defense, level 
20, -52% defense.  I am not sure how effective this will be in 
Nightmare and Hell, but I will let you know in the next 

FADE Pre: Claw Mastery; Burst of Speed  Mana: 10

This skill raises your resistance to elemental damage and 
curses for a period of time.  At level 1, curse reduction by 
47, all resistances +19% for 120 seconds.  At level 20, curse 
reduction by 82, all resistances +64% for 348 seconds.  Right 
now I have a few points in this skill and I use it when facing 
skeletal mages or lightning enchanted Uniques.  Again, it 
doesn't stack with burst of speed, which I like better.  Don't 
put more than a few points here and only use when you are 
facing lots of elemental enemies.  Otherwise, stick with Burst 
of Speed.

SHADOW WARRIOR Pre: Claw Mastery; Psychic Hammer; Weapon 
Block; Cloak of Shadows  Mana: 27-65

Summons a shadow of yourself that will use the first two 
skills you select.  At level 1, 124 life, +0% attack rating.  
At level 20,, 406 life, +286% attack rating.  Don't put more 
than 1 point into this, there is a much better version at 
level 30, or you can hire a mercenary.

MIND BLAST Pre: Psychic Hammer; Cloak of Shadows  Mana: 15

The Assassin damages a group of enemies and has a chance to 
convert them to fight for her.  At level 1, 10-20 damage, 18% 
conversion.  At level 20, 96-106 damage, 36% conversion.  
There are too many other skills that need points to sink any 
into this.  

VENOM Pre: Claw Mastery; Burst of Speed; Fade  Mana: 12

The Assassin coats her weapons with poison.  At level 1, 37-78 
damage over 2 seconds, skill lasts for 120 seconds.  At level 
20, 375-415 damage over 2 seconds, skill lasts for 196 
seconds.  Another skill that would be pretty useful, except 
that it doesn't stack with Burst of Speed OR Fade.  Plus, 
poison damage doesn't stack, but the damage is still very 
high.  If only we could use it with the other two skills!  Oh 
well, it is pretty easy to find a weapon with poison damage.

SHADOW MASTER Pre: Claw Mastery; Psychic Hammer; Weapon Block; 
Cloak of Shadows; Shadow Warrior  Mana: 40

Same as Shadow Warrior except stronger and has access to all 
of your skills.  At level 1, 186 life +0% attack rating.  At 
level 20, 723 life +285% attack rating.  Right now my 
Barbarian Mercenary is MUCH more effective than my Shadow 
Master, but she only has 1 point in her.  If you have points 
to spare (which you probably don't) put some here.  If not, 
you will have to decide how important this skill is to you.


In this section, I am going to list the items used at different points 
in the game.

Right now I am in the 2nd Act in Nightmare Difficulty.  This is the 
equipment I am using:


Fine Wrist Spike of Gore (Magic)
One-Hand Damage: 16-44
Durability: 56
(Assassin Only)
Required Dexterity: 66
Required Strength: 66
Required Level: 24
Claw Class-Very Fast Attack Speed
+28% Enhanced Damage
+30 to Attack Rating
+10 to Maximum Damage

Although it doesn't have quite as many extras, this is more powerful 
than any Rare claw I have found.


The Ward (Unique)
Gothic Shield
Defense: 72
Chance to Block: 51%
Durability: 40
Required Strength: 60
Required Level: 26
Increased Chance of Blocking
Magic Damage Reduced by 2
+40 Defense
+10 to Strength

Bhaal dropped this very nice Unique shield, I have used it ever since.


Loath Hood (Rare)
Defense: 51
Durability: 50
Required Strength: 55
Required Level: 9
10% Chance to Cast Level 3 Charged Bolt When Struck
Fast Hit Recovery
+11% Enhanced Defense
Cold Resist +12 %
+3 to Energy

The great defense coupled with the other minor extras make this my 
choice of headgear for now.


Mentalists Amulet of Strength (Magic)
Required Level:15
+1 to Strength
+1 to Shadow Disciplines (Assassin Only)

This is easily the best amulet I have found, and I found it way back in 
Act 2!


210 Defense (Magical)

Unfortunately, I don't have the information on my armor at the moment, 
but I will include it in the next revision.


Bitter Gyre (Rare)
Required Level: 12
+81 to Attack Rating
+2 to Dexterity
+2 to Strength
10% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

This Rare ring adds some nice bonuses.


Raven Coil (Crafted)
Required Level: 35
3% Life Stolen Per Hit
Regenerate Mana 11%
Poison Resist +30%
+26 to Attack Rating
+18 to Mana
+10 to Energy

This excellent ring was Crafted by combining 1 Ring, 1 Jewel, 1 Ral 
Rune, and 1 Perfect Amethyst.


Sigon's Gage (Set)
Defense: 13
Durability: 24
Required Strength: 60
Required Level: 6
+20 to Attack Rating
+10 to Strength
30% Increased Attack Speed

I found this set Item in Act 4, I think.  Because I also have Sigon's 
Wrap, my attack speed is greatly increased.


Sigon's Wrap
Plated Belt
Defense: 60
Durability: 24
Required Strength: 60
Required Level: 6
Fire Resist +20%
+20 to Life
+50 Defense (Based on Character Level)

I found this Set item in Act 5.  Since I have Sigon's Gage, there is a 
huge bonus to defense.


Shadows Sanders Riprap (Inscribed, Set)
Heavy Boots
Defense: 5
Durability: 14
Required Strength: 18
Required Level: 20
40% Faster Run/Walk
+100 to Attack Rating
+10 to Dexterity
+5 to Strength

I Inscribed this Set item.  The bonus to Attack Rating and Run speed is 


If there is any interest, I will list all of the Rare, Unique, Set, 
etc. items I have found here.



I am yet to meet anyone who thinks Diablo 2 gives you enough storage 
space.  Here are some ways to make sure you are maximizing the space 
you have:

Horadric Cube:  I keep this in my inventory, it adds a little bit of 
space for you to carry other things.

Alternate Weapon Configuration:  Even if you don't switch between 
weapon configurations, use your second configuration to store extra 
weapons and shields you don't want to part with.
Mercenaries:  Even if you don't want to use one, hire one and use it as 
extra inventory space.


Many players only pick up magical items to sell, because most normal 
items aren't worth much.  This is true in most cases, but not all.  
Wands, staves, breastplates, armor (not leather), can each be worth 
1000's of gold pieces, depending on their stats.  Remember, a magic 
item is something with 2 or more extra properties.  So even a normal 
item can have 1 magical property, making it worth a lot of money.


Thanks to Blizzard for making such an excellent game!

Thanks to Gamefaqs for such an excellent source of information!

Thanks to Planetdiablo.com for the crafted item recipes.

Thanks to R. Kleefstra for creating the Diablo 2 Encyclopedia, this is 
where I got the statistics for each skill.

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