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Sword + Shield Barbarian FAQ by Muadib

Version: 1.5 | Updated: 03/18/02

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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.

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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