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Elemental Assassin Guide by Gros Loup

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 07/07/02

Diablo II Expansion Pack
A Guide to the Elemental Assassin
Version 1.0
By Gros Loup

Legal Stuff
Diablo II, Diablo II Expansion Pack, the Assassin, and all other things 
that are said in this Guide are all owned by Blizzard Entertainment. 
This is an unlicensed FAQ, and may be distributed free of charge 
anywhere, anytime as long as you have two things. 1) Permission from me 
(Gros Loup). To receive this permission just e-mail me at 
blaine_hollett@hotmail.com, but I don't check it very much. How to 
contact me quicker will be in later sections. 2) This FAQ/Guide must be 
un-altered, down to the last letter. Typos, extra spaces in between 
words, it's all going to be accounted for. If you tamper with this 
guide in anyway, well, you'll be sued. For a lot of money.

Table of Contents

1.	Introduction/Why an Elemental Assassin?
2.	Skill Overview
3.	Basic Walk-Through/Strategy
4.	Stat Points
5.	Boss Battles
6.	About Me
7.	Thanks

Introduction/Why an Elemental Assassin?

Well, I'm Gros Loup (translated into Big Wolf from French). Though my 
nickname may say something, I am not French. It's just a silly nickname 
from school. Anyhoo, enough about my name. I enjoy a challenge. That's 
why this isn't a guide about a Barbarian who slashes away with 
Whirlwind, or a Sorceress who spams Frozen Orb and Nova. If you want to 
read a guide about them, go somewhere else. But I enjoy such non-
stereotypical characters to no end. My friends and I have formed our 
own personal 'Guild', if you may, about these 'underdog' characters 
(Having said that though, a new Patch is on its way, which is 
supposedly supposed to make all skills that have been made be useful in 
some way... Sheesh). I have tried Elemental Druids, Trapassains, Naked 
Sorceresses, Summon-Only Necros, No-Summon Necros, Blaze-Babes, Mage-a-
zons... You name it, I've tried it (Though I'd like to thank LoK's 
guides at lurkerlounge.com for giving me some of these ideas...) But 
when I told my friends I was going to do a Martial Art Assassin, they 
almost beat me up. But then I told them there was a twist.

Ok. You're probably wondering what an Elemental Assassin is now, right? 
If you aren't, you should get a cookie. An Elemental Assassin could be 
a Trappassain without Death Sentry/The Whole Blade Tree, but it's not. 
It's a Martial Artist Assassin who uses the three 'underdog' Charge-Up 
skills with no Finisher. These charge-ups are, Fists of Fire, Claws of 
Thunder and Blades of Ice. Well, not so much Blades of Ice, but you get 
the picture.

Skill Overview
The worst thing that could happen to you in D2X with an Assassin 
(especially a Martial Artist) is to place your skill points in the 
wrong Skills, and then when you want to start pumping points into a new 
Skill, you don't have any left over, or not enough in a good one to 
accumulate new ones. In this section I'll give you my opinion about 
each skill, but I'll leave the points you want to put in each skill up 
to you. Remember though, this is a Elemental Assassin guide, so I won't 
be recommending maxing Tiger Strike, though normal Martial Artists 
would need this skill as their backbone. 
   Also, don't just use these skills in the way I say to. Be creative 
and find how each skill works best for you. I'm not always right, you 
 One last thing: To make you use your own creativity, I am only 
including a Martial Arts skill tree over-view. Use Shadow Disciplines 
and Traps however you like. Though, if I am flooded with requests for 
some, I ~will~ add guides to those. I highly doubt I'll be flooded with 
anything but hate-mail for blasting some highly-used Skills in this 

 Tiger Strike (Charge) Pre: None Mana: 1

Tiger Strike would normally be the backbone for a Martial Artist, but 
for an Elemental Martial Artist, you won't need it. Though maxing it 
does give you a fabulous amount of boosted power and only cost one 
measly mana, you may only want to put one point in it if you want Cobra 
Strike (for leeching) or Phoenix Strike for more raw Elemental damage.

Dragon Talon (Finisher) Pre: None Mana: 6

This is your first finishing move. If you read the intro, then you 
should know that my Elemental Assassins do NOT use a Finisher, but if 
you find you're Elemental attacks are not doing as much damage as they 
should, go for Dragon Tail. This skill does poor damage at level 20 but 
does give 3 attacks at once. If you must max it, go ahead.

Fists of Fire (Charge) Pre: None Mana: 2

This is the first Elemental Charge-Up your Elemental Assassin will get, 
and it will be your back-up skill for any Lightning Immunes you may 
find. It may have crappy damage at level 20 (201-205), but it's 
reliable and if you charge it three times, then you have that 201-205 
burning for 2.5 seconds in a 2 yard radius. If you cast it several 
times (for it has a measly mana cost) you will have some char-broiled 
enemies. However, if you want to use a Finishing Move, this could be 
easily replaced by Dragon Tail.

Dragon Claw (Finisher) Pre: Dragon Talon Mana: 2

This is another Finishing Move, and a so-so skill. It requires two 
claws, so if you're even tempted to go for Finishers but are using a 
Claw & Shield, then you should just put one point in it and forget it. 
Though if you max it, it gives more than double your normal damage and 
attacks with both claws at once, so that could add up to a lot of 
damage if you have two awesome Claws (Which are RARE in the D2X World, 
and cost a fortune on the Realms).

Cobra Strike (Charge) Pre: Tiger Strike Mana: 2

Cobra Strike is a good skill to have to take some pressure off. It only 
needs one point to be useful, but it does require having a point in 
Tiger Strike. If you want Phoenix Strike (I don't suggest to), then 
you'll have this skill anyway. The way it works is the first charge 
gives your claws some Life Leech (40% at level 1) which is great when 
you get stuck in an icky Stair Trap and are running low on potions. The 
second Charge gives 40% Life AND Mana Leech at level one, which could 
help you in a Stair Trap when you're running out of Life and Mana. Plus 
the extra mana will help you spam out some more Claws of Thunder Novas, 
to help ease the pain. The third charge gives 80% Mana and Life leech 
at level one, but in my opinion the last charge or more skill points in 
this skill are just gravy being poured onto an already fine turkey (Odd 
analogy, yes).

Claws of Thunder (Charge) Pre: Fists of Fire Mana: 4

Claws of Thunder are my baby, and are going to be your main source of 
damage. After the first charge you have a Sorceress's Lightning spell 
equipped on your claws and will dish out the most reliable (but lowest) 
damage that this skill has to offer. And, it is a mimic of the 
Lightning spell, so it shoots in one straight line. Charge #1 is great 
for fighting solo-bosses like Diablo, but a poor choice when fighting 
mobs. Charge #2 gives it a Nova spell on your claws, so as soon as you 
attack one enemy, a big ring of electricity will spread out and maul 
your enemies. This Charge is my personal favorite when dealing with 
mobs, for it WILL hit all enemies in its radius, unlike Charge #3 (this 
will dish out a max of 465 damage to each enemy). Charge #3 will give 
you a lot of power and a lot of Charged Bolts. When maxed at level 20 
each bolt will do a max of 740 damage, which will deal a hurting on 
most enemies. It may not be great for tightly packed enemies, but a 
loose circle of enemies should feel the wrath of Charge #3. There is a 
downside for Charges #2 and #3, though. The minimum damage for both 
will always be 1, no matter how many skill points are in it, which 
turns away most people from this skill. BUT, why would I try this 
skill/character without some weakness or challenge?

Dragon Tail (Finisher) Pre: Dragon Talon; Dragon Claw Mana: 10

I don't like this Finisher. It deals a kick with a percentage of fire 
damage tacked onto it, but I find it somehow un-reliable. Sure, when 
maxed, this kick will do a lot of fire damage (240%) and a fair chunk 
of boosted power (173%), but I don't like the way this attack works. 
The explosion adds a great effect to this attack, but this skill could 
never find a permanent home on my hot-key mania keyboard. If you want 
to use a Finisher though, this is the choice for an Elemental Assassin. 
It adds on more Elemental Damage. If you were to max this, you could 
throw Fists of Fire out the window, freeing up more skill points.

Blades of Ice (Charge) Pre: Fists of Fire; Claws of Thunder 
Mana: 3

This is my least favorite of the Elemental Claw trio, but it has its 
uses. It works the same way Fists of Fire works, with Charge #1 adding 
damage of the Element, Charge #2 adding a radius of the damage (this 
time it's greater than Fists of Fire, though being at 3.3) and Charge 
#3 adds a Freeze Duration (though it's NOT freeze, it's chill, plus 
more time is tacked on with more levels into this skill) which at level 
20 is 11.6 seconds long. What's disappointing about this skill is not 
the damage, seeing that it's 231-251 at level 20, but the fact that to 
get ANY chill effect you must charge this skill three times. It was 
hard for me to adjust to this skill after I was so used to killing 
everything with just Charge #1 and Charge #2 of Claws of Thunder. 
Blades of Ice is a nice skill, and I recommend you put ATLEAST five 
points in this skill, for it will save your ass a couple times if you 
remember to charge this skill three times. And also, if you max this 
skill, then, well, look at the chill duration. That's ELEVEN (DECEMIL) 
SIX SECONDS OF CHILL EFFECT. And if you just leave it at level five, it 
still gives 5.6 chilling effect which will give plenty of time for you 
to get your ass out of an icky spot. But this skill will not help you 
in a Stair Trap. I suggest using Claws of Thunder for that. Flight 
 Dragon Flight (Finisher) Pre: Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw, Dragon Tail 
Mana: 15 CASTING DELAY: 2 Seconds

Dragon Flight has me pulled both ways. It gives a great AR and Damage 
bonus even at level one, but it Teleports and kicks. The teleporting 
makes me have no real solid opinion about this skill. It Teleports to 
THE NEAREST ENEMY, so in dueling say, a Necromancer you could just 
teleport into one of his useless Skeletons or a Bone Wall. Or when 
dueling a Druid, you could smack into a measly Vine. Or when dueling an 
Amazon you... Well, you get the picture. You could always accidentally 
Teleport into an LEB which you would have normally just left alone, or 
you could hit one of Diablo's useless minions and just have wasted 15+ 
mana. So, it's your call. Again, however, if you chose to use a 
Finishing Move to pack more punch, I recommend Dragon Tail. Also, it 
has a Casting Delay, but shouldn't get you too worried, because the 
skill will be over by the time it's up.


(Note: All of the Sorceress damage 'quotes' are before the Masteries 
are added in, mind you.)

This is the Charge-Up of choice for most Martial Artists when dealing 
with Physical Immunes (Tiger Strike would maul anything else), for it 
delivers a different Element for each charge-up (but Charge #1's 
element does not carry over to Charge #2). This may be what I hate the 
most. Charge #1 unleashes a fiery Meteor, one of the Sorceress's most 
damaging Fire Spells. But for Phoenix Strike, they have SEVERELY toned 
down the damage for Meteor. A level 20 Sorceress Meteor will do 888-908 
damage; where as a Level 20 Phoenix Strike Meteor does 370-390. Big 
difference, eh? AND the Meteor still takes a while to land. Chain 
Lightning's damage however is a little better. A Sorceress's Slvl 20 
Chain Lightning will do 1-281 damage, where a Slvl 20 Phoenix Strike 
Chain Lightning will do 1-353. Even though it is a step up from the 
Sorceress's Chain Lightning attack, the damage could be upped and the 
radius could be improved by Claws of Thunder's Charge #2. The last 
charge is called 'Chaos Ice Bolt', but it looks more like Frozen Orb to 
me. This Frozen Orb wanna-be will do 156-172 at level 20, whereas a 
real Frozen Orb would do 262-367 damage. So, if you really want to use 
this skill I suggest you play a Sorceress, for you will get much more 
bang for your buck, unless you're dealing with Chain Lightning. Just 
LOOK at the Meteor damage difference! 

BIG NOTE: If you are using Claws of Thunder or Blades of Ice (haven't 
tried Fists of Fire, though I really should) you MUST have at least one 
Assassin-Only, Claw-Class weapon in the weapon slot you are using upon 
charge. Don't think you can use a Lightsabre for charging Claws of 

Basic Walk-Through/Strategy

In this section, I tell you a basic idea of how to use your main skills 
(Fists of Fire, Claws of Thunder and Blades of Ice) to a certain 
extent, and how to generally get through the game. Do not follow this 
guide perfectly, or you will become a walking, talking clone of me. 
That's bad. So, if you find a certain skill to be more useful when in a 
certain position, don't hesitate to make your life easier because I 
said to do it a different way. Just have fun!

A.	Your Infant Years with Fists of Fire

As an Elemental Assassin, you don't get much to work with at the 
beginning. But then again, the basic enemy doesn't get much of a 
chance to hit you, for in my opinion, the Assassin has kick-ass 
opening stats and just eases through Act 1. At level 6, you get your 
first glimpse of Elemental Assassin-ness. At its first few levels, the 
damage of Fists of Fire is really poor. REALLY poor. So, until you get 
a few points in this back-up, you should really charge it up the full 
three times to get maximum use out of it. Fists of Fire is really good 
for taking out Blood Raven, but taking it past Charge #1 with her is 
just pointless, because she is constantly one the run. Also, Andariel 
is really easy with a moderate level Fists of Fire, because she has an 
automatic -50% resistance to Fire. You shouldn't even HAVE Claws of 
Thunder when you face her, anyway. Take Fists of Fire past Charge #1, 
all the way up to Charge #3 because she doesn't tend to move that 
fast. It you can keep her in one spot, and then the burning will 
REALLY help.

B. Your Teen Years with Claws of Thunder

In my opinion, you really need to max Claws of Thunder. As fast as 
humanly possible. You should get this lovely skill at about mid-Act 2, 
unless you were really sand-bagging in Act 1. I can't express how much 
this skill is going to carry you through-out the game. If you at least 
have it at a moderate level for Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo or Baal, then 
it really shouldn't take much time. It's Charge, Charge, and Unleash. 
And they're ALL DEAD. Claws of Thunder Charge #2 is my favorite, 
especially in tight jams like a Stair Trap. With it's low mana cost, 
and the fact that you shouldn't be using a Finisher, you could clear 
out any Stair Trap or flanking with just a few Novas, and if you get 
max damage, then it will only take one. And don't worry if a Lightning 
Immune Unique is hoarding you, just get his minions out of the way and 
hack at him with Fists of Fire/Blades of Ice. It will be much easier 
then tackling him first.

B.	Your Mid-Life Crisis with Blades of Ice

I shouldn't have something against Blades of Ice, but I do. The first 
time I tried it, I was completely robbed because it said 'Freeze 
Duration', not 'Chill Duration'. I was really heart-broken. But, Blades 
of Ice can really save you in tight spots. If you're facing down some 
Flayers or some speedy enemy, charge Blades of Ice up to Charge #3 and 
they're easy pickings. Also, if you're low on health, running low on 
potions and just plain forgot you had TPs (like this will ever happen 
to a Vet...) and you desperately need to get away, but you'll be caught, 
Charge #3 will save you. It will chill the enemy for long enough (even 
at Slvl 1) for you to get away. Even though I have some odd hatred 
towards Blades of Ice, it has saved my behind many, many times because 
of it's nice, long chill duration.

Stat Points

For my two Elemental Assassins (one Multi-Player currently retired and 
one Single Player, in Nightmare Act 3) I have followed the same pattern 
for Stat Points. From Act 1 Normal to Act 1 Nightmare, I always do 
2Str/2Dex/1Vit. It has seemed to work both times very efficiently, for 
I haven't have need for much life because constantly pumping Dexterity 
is bringing my Block Rate up high enough (I always start doing 
Claw/Shield) to weather most blows efficiently. After I start Nightmare 
Difficulty, however, I always switch to 1Str/2Dex/2Vit. Because the 
Monsters are more heavy-hitters now, I need more Life to weather these 
blows yet I still need accuracy and Block Percentage. I should already 
have more than an abundance of Strength to wear all equipment by now, 
so it seems to work fine enough for me. If I seem to be lacking in 
either Hitting/Blocking or I seem to keep dying, I go 3Dex/2 Vit, or 
2Dex/3Vit, depending on my situation. I don't tend to have this sort of 
problem, though with my Multi-Player Elemental Assassin once I hit Hell 
I was going 2Dex/3Vit until I retired, because I really needed to be 
able to stay alive through the sudden leap in attack power from 
Nightmare to Hell. 

In Normal Difficulty you should do:
In Nightmare Difficulty you should do:
1Str/2Dex/2Vit, but is open to changes depending on situation.
In Hell Difficulty you should be doing:

It seemed to work for me.

Boss Battles

The following guide is for Bosses in Normal Difficulty, for in 
Nightmare and Hell Difficulties, you will have (probably) a different 
set of skills, sets of equipment and generally nothing will be the 
same. An Elemental Assassin will struggle slightly in Normal a little 
bit because she won't get so much punch from her attacks, but in 
Nightmare you should see her bloom nicely.

Blood Raven-
Your first boss. Are you scared? Probably not. If you read above, you 
should know that you should have Fists of Fire before you tackle her or 
you will find yourself actually becoming one of her "Army of the Dead". 
Don't bother too much about her minions; though if they get over-
whelming, then take them out. Go after her with Fist of Fire charged 
once and keep hitting and re-charging Fists of Fire once until she's 
dead. It's really that simple. Swallow a few Red or Blue Potions if you 
need to keep up with her, but no abundance should be necessary. If her 
minions do surround you, then don't mind charging up Fists of Fire 
twice or three times to get rid of big clumps of them at a time.

I always have had a passion of killing the Griswold. I always shout out 
in Multi-Player games "GRISWOLD = MINE". Just because he's so fun to 
kill. I actually measure my strength of the character when facing the 
Griswold. By now, you should have a moderate (4-5) Slvl for Fists of 
Fire at least. Unlike Blood Raven, don't hesitate going all the way up 
to Charge #3 on Fists of Fire for this 'retired' Blacksmith. He's SLOW. 
Watch out for his curse, because it seems to attract minions over to 
you and start slaughtering you. If his minions become too much of a 
problem, roast them with a fully-charged Fists of Fire. It should 
flambe those Death Clans and Skeletons. 

The Countess-
I have a tendency of calling The Countess "The Fire Biatch", just 
because she should be the first heavy-duty Fire Enchanted Boss you 
face. She isn't that hard, but some her fire spells will hurt. Even 
just a tiny bit of Fire Resistance will help. But there's a problem. 
Where she's Fire Enchanted she has a certain level of Fire Resistance 
higher than most other Act 1 Bosses, so Fists of Fire should either be 
put away or spammed like crazy. If you do spam Fists of Fire to no end, 
don't bother taking it past Charge #1 because she tends to move around 
similar to Blood Raven, so it would be pointless. Stack up on Poison 
Charms if possible and she should fall like a tree and give some nice 
drops along with the shiny chest she promotes.

I skipped The Smith because he just falls victim to your Fists of Fire. 
By Andariel you should have a few points invested in Fists of Fire, so 
it shouldn't be much problem. Spam Fists of Fire Charge #3 as often as 
possible because she's weak to Fire. And I mean WEAK. She gets caught 
in a patch of fire and her health should drain. She might drop a few 
goodies, which is always good. She isn't actually that hard. Just carry 
some Antidote Potions and maybe a few Stamina potions before you tackle 
the poison-spewing wench. If you get low on health, you can run around 
the pool of blood in room 1 throwing Fists of Fire charged fully back 
at her, and just repeat until she dies.

Most people hate facing this undead-summoning, sewer-dwelling Aardvark, 
but I find he's pretty easy. He drops a free +1 Skill Point book, which 
is always a plus and he doesn't have too much health. Watch out for his 
poisonous breath, however. Just lure his minions away and slaughter 
them where he can't revive them if it gets too hard.

The Summoner-
No biggy, but WATCH OUT FOR HIS FIREWALL. It is powerful if you don't 
have enough resists to Fire. If you get in close enough, spam out Fists 
of Fire Charge #3 and watch the Summoner die. If you have Claws of 
Thunder, then use Charge #1 and he'll plummet into a ball of fire.

Yeah. It may take a little sand-bagging, but it works. Go through the 
False Tombs a couple times if you must, but Claws of Thunder at level 
two will really help. A LOT. Watch out for his Chill attack, and have 
some resists to Cold. I don't see why people worry about his "Charge" 
attack so much. In Normal difficulty, at least if you use Charge #1 a 
few times then he shouldn't get the chance to use his infamous 'Charge' 
attack. Really.

The Council-
If you have a moderate (4-7) Slvl for Claws of Thunder then there is no 
problem with these guys. Spam out some Novas and watch them fall. Watch 
out for one of them exploding, or something. I don't remember the 
Council too much with my Elemental Assassins, because, well, they 
didn't last that long.

Mephisto has a lot of resists, but I find him to have a lower resist to 
Cold, if anything. If you can get your Blades of Ice up for him then he 
shouldn't be too much of a problem to you. But if your Blades of Ice 
just don't pale in comparison to your Claws of Thunder, then don't mind 
spamming out a constant stream of Charge #1.

I have had some problems with him, unlike how Trapassins have to use 
minimum effort by just going on another side of a lava stream and just 
hammer him with traps. Sadly, your Elemental Assassin will not be able 
to unload her charges from across a river of lava, so you resort to 
using something I like having in Weapon Slot #2. Throwing Weapons. A 
stack of good-damage Javelins, or a stack of Balanced Axes all do the 
trick. Get a river of lava in between you and keep flinging your 
projectiles at him until he dies. Make sure to have more than one stack 
though, it could take a while.

Ah, a big bad guy with the dreaded Red Lightning Stream. I've had some 
great victories and terrible losses against this guy, but I didn't 
really find to much trouble with him. Claws of Thunder will once again 
be your weapon of choice. Charge it up just once, and it should have 
enough damage that you can give Diablo a beating. Make sure to crank 
Fire and Lightning Resists up for this battle, though. You don't want 
to be caught in a Red Lightning Stream with him just millimeters away 
from death.

There are a couple ways you can go about killing him. You can do the 
old 'lure the minions away to the slaughter', which works fine and 
dandy for those who have patience, but for people like, me, just rush 
him. Don't bother with his minions. Without Corpse Explosion, he just 
has some poor Artic Blast copy-off. I love Artic Blast personally, but 
his just puts all Artic Druids to shame.

The Ancients-
You are going to need a Barbarian Mercenary to tank for you here. Make 
sure he's wearing the best armor you can possibly give him, but make 
sure he can dish out some damage, as well. He's able to tank against 
one Ancient, and if you have a Shadow of any type they can 'distract' 
the third. Use Claws of Thunder once more, only charged once for the 
most reliable damage against them. Kill the first one, and hope that 
your Barbarian can tank/kill the second Ancient while you go and give 
your Shadow support. If two isn't dead by the time you've helped your 
Shadow, well, then, it's three against one.

I didn't have much problem with him. His minions should fall to your 
Nova, and your Lightning Charge #1 should wipe out Baal. Baal doesn't 
have an 'uber' spell, like Diablo's Red Lightning Stream, but he does 
dish out some damage. If you managed to hang on to your Barbarian from 
the Ancients fight, well, you have a moderately easy Boss battle on 
your hands. Just keep watching your Red Orb and don't be afraid to chug 
some Red Potions.

About Me
My handle over the internet is Gros Loup, though I don't think my 
parents would like it much if I gave out my real name seeing I'm still 
at the young, innocent age of twelve. I don't think they'd like me 
saying my age, either, but oh well. I live in the second largest 
province in Canada (land mass wise, not population) and in the 
debatably oldest City in North America. Figure that one out. I love 
Diablo 2: Expansion to no end. 

As stated above, my e-mail address is blaine_hollett@Hotmail.com Though 
it is once in a blue moon that I check it, but the planets must also be 
aligned. If you want a quicker way to contact me, get my MSN Messenger 
account at the same e-mail address or my AIM Account of ElC0olMagnifico 
(the first 'o' in Cool is a zero). 

 The following people all deserve thanks:

- Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North for making SUCH AN AWESOME 
GAME. Though sometimes they can make me a little pissed off, at times, 
they ultimately made a great game.

- Anyone who in their right minds put this Guide on their website. 

- All my friends, who I won't ramble off to avoid missing someone. 
Let's just say that all the 'crew' deserves thanks.

- The Underdog 'Guild'. I can thank these guys to no end for giving me 
support in my zany ideas for character builds. Like Naked Sorceresses 
who use NO spells (this was a DOOZY).

- Anyone who e-mails me with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism about this Guide. 
If anyone wants to flame me or my guide, then please do it behind my 
back to spare me the tears. -_-;;

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