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Berserk Barbarian Guide by rking_1_1

Version: 1.01 | Updated: 07/29/09

Berserk Barbarian guide
Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction for Version 1.12

By: rking

0) Keyword System                             [000KeyWd]
1) Introduction                               [001Intro]
2) Useful Terms                               [002Terms]
3) Skill and Stat Selection                   [003Skill]
   -Combat                                    [003Combt]
   -Warcries                                  [003WarCr]
   -Masteries                                 [003Mastr]
   -Order of Maxing                           [003Order]
   -Mastery vs. Synergy                       [003MvsSn]
   -Notes on Berserk                          [003Bersk]
   -Stat Placement                            [003Stats]
4) Equipment Selection                        [004Equip]
   -Weapon                                    [004Weapn]
   -Shield                                    [004Shild]
   -Armor                                     [004Armor]
   -Helmet                                    [004Helmt]
   -Additional Items                          [004Items]
   -Notes on IK set                           [004IKSet]
   -Jewelery                                  [004Jewel]
   -Charms                                    [004Charm]
   -My Build                                  [004Build]
5) Mercenary Selection                        [005Mercn]
6) Play Strategies                            [006Statg]
7) Frequently Asked Questions                 [007Faqs!]
8) Everything that's Left                     [008Left!]

Version History:
1.01 - Added "Stat Placement" section, notes on two skills in the "Skill
       and Stat Selection" section.
1.00 - This guide, first release.

Keyword System:[000KeyWd]

By using CTRL + F you can search for these keywords and jump to the
appropriate section of this guide.


The purpose of this guide is to introduce the Berserk Barbarian, offer ideas
on how to equip one, set up skills and stats, and tips on playing one. This
guide is written with solo /players 8 in mind which presents the following:
-350% Experience gain
-350% Monster life
-43.75% Monster damage

While there are some suggestions of rare items and/or High Rune Runewords, 
these are included only for sake of completeness. These items are not required 
for your build to function properly. 

This guide specifically addresses a max block Weapon/Shield approach. While a
two-handed weapon approach may work a Weapon/Shield version is much safer.

The reason I find a Berserker so fun is that it requires a bit more strategy
than the typical melee build. Without the ability to leech and the drop in
Defense while attacking you have to think about how to approach each
situation before doing so. With the wrong strategy you'll find yourself
dead quickly. The ability to walk through Chaos Sanctuary while Iron Maiden'd
and kill stuff is enjoyable as well.

This guide was written in Courier New, 10pt Font, without Word Wrap, and
for the most part in the Notepad program that comes with Windows.

Useful Terms:[002Terms]

Listed below are some of the terms and abbreviations this guide uses, as well
as what each of these means. 

AR - Base Attack Rating
AR% - Attack Rating %
CB% - Crushing Blow
CBF - Cannot be frozen
CTB% - Increased Chance to block
CTC% - Chance to Cast
CTH% - Chance to hit
DGTM - Damage goes to Mana, when you're damaged x% of that total goes to
       Mana. This doesn't make you invincible if combined with ES since
       you still take the damage the monster dealt.
DR% - Damage reduced by X%, reduces damage by a percentage
DS% - Deadly Strike
ED% - Enhanced Damage
EDef% - Enhanced Defense
FBR% - Faster block rate
FCR% - Faster cast rate
HR - High Rune. Any rune higher than Vex, or any rune that will not drop
     from the Hellforge. These runes are very uncommon.
OW% - Open Wounds
PDR - Damage reduced by X, reduces damage by a specific amount
PLR% - Poison length reduced by X%
Proc - Short for "programmed random occurrence"
Slvl - Skill Level

Skill Selection:[003Skill]

For the most part skill setup for this build is straightforward, although past
the "core" skills you can end up with a bit of flexibility. I've broken down
the skill selections by skill tree below. 


Bash: 1 -             Prerequisite
Stun: 1 -             Prerequisite
Concentrate: 1 -      Prerequisite
Berserk: 20 -         Main skill

Howl: 20 -            Synergy
Shout: 20 -           Synergy
Battle Orders: 20 -   Utility skill/Synergy (to Concentrate)
Battle Command: 1 -   Utility skill
Taunt: 1 -            Utility skill


Weapon Mastery: 1*
Incr. Stamina: 1
Iron Skin: 1
Incr. Speed: 1
Natural Resist.: 1
* After finishing the above skill layout, if you need additional AR% or damage
you can invest the rest of your points here. Otherwise, investing extra points
in War Cry for a short stun duration, Battle Cry to lower target Defense and
Damage, or the "Find" skills could be useful.

Order of maxing:[003Order]

While one could go about maxing their skills a few different ways this order
is what I've used a few times in the past and it works rather well.

1-30) Invest as many points into Shout as you can, try to get this as close to
maxed by Level 30. This will synergize Berserk well for when you are able to
use the skill. Invest 1 point in prerequisites and the Masteries skills as
they become available, as well as 1 point in Taunt when it becomes available.

30->) At Level 30 max Berserk. After Berserk is finished, finish Shout and
max Battle Orders. Once Battle Orders is complete, max Howl.

Mastery vs. Synergy:[003MvsSn]

You may be wondering why the Weapon Mastery skill is left at 1 point while the 
skill "Howl" is maxed. "Typical" reasoning for a Barbarian build is 20x Skill,
Synergy, Battle Orders, Weapon Mastery. 

Howl offers more ED% per level than the Weapon Masteries and Berserk's AR% is 
fairly large by itself, and each additional point in Berserk adds 15% more AR.
With the base AR that you'll have from your equipment the AR% from the Berserk
skill will prove more than adequate. The Critical Strike% cannot be made up 
from other skills, however you can find Deadly Strike% sources on various 
equipment that will be able to make up for what amount your mastery adds.

Howl also performs a secondary function. A high Slvl Howl can make every
monster (excluding those that are unaffected by curses) on the entire screen
run away. Berserk is a slow attacking skill, it's sometimes difficult to take
on larger packs of fast attacking monsters. Using Howl to send them running
then picking the ones you want to fight will help keep you alive.

Should you be unable to make up a sufficient base AR total then splitting your
points between Howl and Weapon Mastery wouldn't be a bad idea, although it
isn't hard to obtain a sufficient base AR total from your equipment.

Notes on Berserk:[003Bersk]

Berserk is an interesting skill, it converts all your physical damage into
magic damage. Very few monsters resist this and even fewer are immune. Zombie
types in Hell Act 2 Lost City, "Ancient" types in Hell Act 2 and Act 5 (guest
appearance in Worldstone Chamber), and Wailing Beasts in Hell Act 3 are the
only monsters immune to magic damage. Monsters with the Mana Burn modifier
have 20% magic resistance as well.

Because Berserk is magic damage you cannot leech with it. Life Tap does not
work with this skill either. Crushing Blow%, Deadly Strike%, and Open Wounds%
mods do work with this skill. Might, Fanaticism, and Concentrate auras will
increase the damage done. Neither Amplify Damage or Decrepify will increase
your damage.

So long as you are attacking with Berserk you are immune from Iron Maiden, as
this returns physical damage. Since Berserk does magic damage so there is no 
physical damage to return

When you are attacking your Defense lowers to 0. Defense comes before blocking
so blocking is extremely helpful in preventing damage done while Berserk. Due
to this you may find yourself in "block lock" on occasion. Equipping a shield
with a high Faster Block Rate% will help lessen the time you spend "block

Having 0 Defense also brings about another potential problem, you'll get hit
more often. It is recommended you hit the highest Faster Hit Recovery%
breakpoint as you can, this will prevent you from being "stun locked" as much.

Cannot Be Frozen is vital to this build, if you're cold you'll be swinging
incredibly slow. With Berserk more than some other attacks you need to get
your attacks out as fast as possible or you'll get overwhelmed.

Stat Placement:[003Stats]

There isn't much that can be said to describe this section, it lists how much
of each stat you'll need to invest.

Strength: Take a look at your planned equipment, the Strength requirement on
it is your goal. You can either invest the required Strength as your base
amount or you can add up the +Strength totals on your other equipment and
subtract this total from your required Strength and invest points until you
reach this total. If your heaviest item requires 150 Strength and your
equipment (not including your heaviest piece) adds +45 strength then you can
invest up to 105 Strength. Your equipment will add the other 45 and you'll
hit your goal.

Since Strength also adds to your damage total I would recommend investing
enough base Strength to support your heaviest item, this way the +Strength on
your other items will add to your damage.

Dexterity: You'll need max block for this build, so your Dexterity total will
vary depending on your equipment. You can use the following calculator to
determine how much Dexterity you'll need for max block at any given level with
various shields.


Vitality: The remainder of your stat points should go here, each point in
Vitality adds 4 Life. This becomes more substantial after Battle Orders is
figured in.

Energy: Despite lacking the ability to leech, Berserk has a fairly cheap Mana
cost. Battle Orders increases your Mana as well, so you won't need to invest
any points in this stat.

Notes on Strength/Dexterity glitching: Using charms to support your equipment
may seem desirable as it lowers the amount of stats you have to invest, this
can cause many undesirable side effects. Explopyro has allowed me to borrow
this section of his Wind Druid guide which gives a detailed explanation of
this bug and why to avoid it.

"This may not be of concern to many players, but it's well worth knowing about,
as it can cause serious problems. Many people seem to be unaware of the
implications of this bug, and it's always bothered me that there seems to be
so little concern about it.

The bug actually occurs with both strength and dexterity, as it pertains to
item requirements, but I call it "the strength bug" for convenience and will,
for shorthand purposes, discuss strength primarily. Anything I say here
concerning "strength", "strength requirements", "+strength from charms", etc
should be understood as applying to dexterity as well.

This bug occurs when a piece of equipment (usually something with a high
strength requirement) is equipped by a character without enough strength from
hard points and other equipped items to meet its requirements. The key here is
that in order to avoid the bug, the character must have enough strength from
hard points and OTHER EQUIPPED items, and cannot include strength bonuses from
the item in question itself, or from charms in the inventory. If charms are
used to support an item, or if the item is supporting itself (which can occur
if an item has an innate strength bonus, and was equipped while some other
item was providing a bonus to strength enough to meet its requirements, and
the second item was later removed), the bug will result.

So what is the strength bug? If an item is supported in such a way as to cause
it, what happens is that the game will only sometimes recognize that the
character is equipping the item. To the player controlling that character, all
will seem normal, but in multiplayer games other players will see the
character as if the item were not equipped.

That may seem insignificant, and most players tend to think of it as such.
What's the harm, you might be asking? Isn't it just an aesthetic issue? Why
should it matter if other players don't see my character looking the same way
as I do?

Here's why. Aside from changing the character's appearance, certain items can
have an effect on the character's animations. This is a problem with any item
that has a speed-altering statistic (IAS, FCR, FRW, FHR, FBR) or which will
change the animation used for an attack (weapons, for instance, have a
different attack animation than the unarmed punch). What will happen in this
case if such an item is strength-bugged is that the animation will play for
you at the correct speed, but will be displayed to other players at the speed
with which it would have occurred if you lacked the strength-bugged item.

This can and will cause substantial desynchronization problems, as the two
game clients will receive very different information regarding the character's
actions. It can also interfere with where the game thinks the monsters are,
because they may (for instance) have been put into hit recovery by an attack
that the other player's client doesn't see because it thinks your attack speed
is slower than it is, so on their screen the monster will continue moving and
all of a sudden their game has lost track of the monster and displays it in
the wrong location.

Likewise, if, for instance, an item provides FRW and is strength-bugged, the
character's movement speed will be reported differently to both players. Any
information the other player receives regarding your position will be
incorrect, and monsters' reactions and positions will be displayed differently
to both players, which will make it much more difficult to tell what's going
on (everybody will be seeing something different, and all of the information
will most likely be wrong).

It's easy to see why this causes problems. The end result is that it makes the
information displayed to other players about the game status unreliable:
monsters may not be where the game is displaying them; monsters may be present
where the game says there is nothing; projectiles may not be where the game
tbinks they are, and so on. Being attacked by invisible monsters and being
unable to harm anything because the monsters you're targeting aren't actually
there is very frustrating, and can easily get players killed.

This doesn't just affect the other players, in case you think you can do it
and get away with being selfish; once the other players start receiving
incorrect information as to where you and the monsters are located, their
actions will be affected accordingly, which can then be reported incorrectly
to you and cause further desynchronization. There is a profound snowball
effect involved.

The long and short of this is: it is unadvisable to strength-bug items when
playing in multiplayer games. I strongly recommend trying to avoid doing this
whenever possible if there is the slightest chance that the character will be
participating in multiplayer games or interacting with other characters in any
way whatsoever. While this may require slightly overinvesting in strength (or
dexterity, as remember, dexterity requirements suffer the same problem) in
order to safely equip the items you want to use, I find that much more
palatable than the alternative. It's just polite not to risk your friends'
lives, isn't it?"

Equipment Selection:[004Equip]

The following is a list of modifiers you'll want on your equipment, as well as
reasons behind each. Goals for various stats will be listed below also. Keep
in mind that these are the minimum numbers that I would recommend, if you are 
able to you should try reaching higher speeds than listed. In the "Everything 
that's Left" section toward the bottom of this guide are links to an attack 
speed calculator as well as tables for FHR% and FBR%.

-IAS%. Berserk is a slow attacking skill, you'll need a lot of IAS% in order
to increase your attack speed. Minimum recommended attack speed would be 11
FPA. Using an attack speed calculator will help you determine how much IAS%
you'll need. 

-FBR%. You'll spend a lot of time blocking, the faster you can do it the
better. Minimum recommended would be 5 FPA (20% FBR).

-FHR%. You'll spend about as much time being hit as you will blocking. Minimum 
recommended would be 5 FPA (48% FHR).

As well, in the following sections I'm going to try not to suggest runewords
containing HRs as they are not available to every person playing and they are
not required for a character to function. If you have a runeword item that
contains HRs feel free to use it, but for the purpose of this guide I'll try
to avoid suggesting them.

Some of the non runeword items listed are of various degrees of rarity, each
is possible to find through MF runs with a bit of persistence so I've decided
to include them as possible choices.


Below is a list of equipment suggestions, their notable stats, and reasons to
use them. This is not a complete list, but it should be helpful in giving you
ideas or pointing you in the right direction for the item you would be most
happy with. Names listed like "This" are runewords, for the runes required or
for the complete stats on any of these items you can visit the Arreat Summit,
link in the "Everything that's Left" section.

-"Death". 300%-385% ED, 50% CB, 0.5%-49.5% DS (0.5%/level), Indestructible.
This weapon lacks IAS%, however the damage mods on it are very desirable. It
should be noted this runeword requires a Vex rune, however I would consider
this in the realm of possibility even in Single Player if you were to save
your runes from Hell Forges or Countess runs. Preferred base weapons would be
an ethereal Berserker Axe or Colossus Sword, otherwise an Ettin Axe or
Colossus Blade would work.

-"Oath". 210%-340% ED, 50% IAS, Indestructible. This weapon hits hard and fast
and since it's Indestructible you can place it in an ethereal weapon. Ethereal
weapons have 50% extra base damage than their non-ethereal counterparts. For
best results place this in an ethereal Cryptic Sword, Scourge, or Berserker
Axe. Otherwise any elite ethereal weapon a Barbarian can equip in one hand 
will work.

-Schaefer's Hammer. 100%-130% ED, 2-198 to maximum damage (2/level), 20% IAS,
20% CTC Level 10 Static Field on striking, 8-792 AR (8/level), Indestructible.
This weapon does less damage than the runeword suggestions but the AR/Level
and Static Field proc would be helpful.

-Stormlash. 240%-300% ED, 1-473 Lightning damage, 30% IAS, 33% CB, 15% CTC
Level 10 Static field on striking. This weapon is fast and offers some nice
melee mods. 

-The Grandfather. 150%-250% ED, 2-247 maximum damage (2.5/level), 50% AR, 80
Life, +20 all stats, Indestructible. This would be an interesting choice if
you have one, it offers a nice mix of stats and damage.


-"Rhyme". 20% CTB, 40% FBR, 25% all resists, CBF. A very budget option, this
shield offers some nice mods for this build. 

-"Sanctuary". 20% CTB, 20% FBR, 20% FHR, 50%-70% all resists (varies). This
shield offers a little of everything, and a lot of resists. If you can get DR%
or PDR elsewhere this shield is a great choice.

-Gerke's Sanctuary. 30% CTB, 20%-30% all resists, 11-16 PDR (varies). This
shield lacks FBR% so you'll need to socket it with a Shael rune. Otherwise, if
your build is focusing on PDR this shield will be helpful.

-Stormshield. 25% CTB, 35% FBR, 35% DR, 60% Cold/25% Lightning resists. This
shield is a nice defensive choice, the DR% on it can free up equipment slots
elsewhere and the rest of the shield is solid as well.

-Whitstan's Guard. 55% CTB, 40% FBR. This shield offers the highest blocking
available in the game, if you are able to make up the Resists and PDR/DR% on
the rest of your equipment this could be worth considering.


-"Duress". 40% FHR, 10%-20% ED (varies), 15% CB, 33% OW, 15% all/45% Cold
resists, 150%-200% EDef. Overall, this may be the best offensive armor choice
available. OW% can be hard to get elsewhere and this armor offers a lot of it.

-"Prudence". 140%-170% EDef, 25%-35% all resists, repairs 1 durability in 4
seconds. Due to the final mod listed you can put this runeword in an ebugged
ethereal armor and it will result in a very high Defense. Ebugging is
explained below.

  Ebugging, or Ethereal bugging is something done with a Horadric Cube, an
  ethereal armor, and some socketable items. Ethereal armor has 50% enhanced
  Defense. By using the cube socket recipe on one (Tal, Thul, P.Topaz) the
  ethereal bonus is applied again. 1.5x x 1.5x = 2.25x the base defense of
  a non-ethereal armor. As with everything there's a catch, the sockets are 
  randomly assigned to the armor. Helmets, body armor, and shields can be
  Ebugged, however weapons cannot.

If you're looking for a high Defense armor this is a nice option.

-"Treachery". 20% FHR, 30% Cold resist, 45% IAS, 5% CTC Level 15 Fade when
struck, 25% CTC Level 15 Venom on striking. This armor lacks EDef%, however
the massive 45% IAS more than makes up for it. The Fade proc will result in
60% all resists and 15% DR when it's active, however with max block this
won't go off often enough to rely on.

-Guardian Angel. 180%-200% ED, 20% CTB, 30% FBR, 15% maximum Fire, Cold,
Lightning, Poison resists. If you can get the resists elsewhere this armor
is a nice choice. It offers a *potential* 90% all resists, the additional
FBR% can help you hit the 4 FPA blocking breakpoint, and the 20% CTB lowers
your Dexterity requirement for max block. Guardian Angel also looks cool
while equipped, so style points there.

-Leviathan. 170%-200% ED, 40-50 Strength, 15%-25% DR, Indestructible, Green.
This is a very nice defensive armor, offering both sound protection and a bit
of extra Damage (from the Strength). Plus, this armor's green!

-Shaftstop. 180%-220% ED, 30% DR, 60 Life. Up this armor and it's a mini
Leviathan, the DR% and Life will help keep you standing.

-The Gladiator's Bane. 150%-200% ED, CBF, 30% FHR, 50% PLR, 15-20 PDR. For
a build focusing on PDR as protection this is a wonderful choice. The high
required level (85) may put some off, you'll have to plan ahead if you want
to use this as your final choice.

If you're planning to use TGB, you can use Iron Pelt to get most of the
same benefits as TGB. Iron Pelt has 50%-100% EDef, 3-297 Defense (3/level),
25 Life, and 15-20 PDR.


-Arreat's Face. 30% FHR, 20% AR, +2 Barbarian skills, +2 Combat skills, 30%
all resists, +20 Strength/Dexterity. The +skills on this translate to a fair
amount of additional damage and AR% and the defensive mods on this helmet are
excellent as well.

-Guillaume's Face. 30% FHR, 15% DS, 35% CB, +15 Strength. It would be hard to
top this for an offensive choice, the DS% alone is reason enough to use this
helmet but the additional mods all assist this build in some way.

-Kira's Guardian. 20% FHR, CBF, 50%-70% all resists. This is mentioned only as
a resist solution, if your chosen equipment lacks resists this will be a good
choice to fix them.

Additional Items:[004Items]

The slots for gloves, belt, and boots are pretty flexible for this build. You
should look at what you're missing from the main equipment, resists/AR%/IAS%
or whatever and try filling these three spots with those. Suggestions for each
are listed below.

-Crafted Blood gloves. You can get 20% IAS, resists, life/mana, and up to 10%
CB on a pair. A decent choice if anything else.

-Bloodfist. 10% IAS, 30% FHR, 40 Life. These gloves will help you make up FHR%
if needed and the Life will be affected by Battle Orders.

-Lava Gout. 2% CTC Level 10 Enchant on striking, 20% IAS, 24% Fire resist.
The Enchant proc should go off enough to rely on since you'll constantly be
attacking. This will give you a 101% AR boost, helpful if you're low on AR%
from your skills.

-Laying of Hands. 20% IAS, 50% Fire resist, 350% damage to demons. Demons are
everywhere, the Act bosses are demons, and 350% extra damage to them could be
quite helpful. If you don't need additional stats these gloves would be a good

-Nightsmoke. 10% all resists, 20 Mana, 50% DGTM. The DGTM can be quite helpful
in keeping your blue orb filled. Up this to Exceptional for the extra potion

-String of Ears. 10%-15% DR (varies). Mentioned only for the DR%.

-Thundergod's Vigor. 10% maximum Lightning resist, +20 Lightning absorb, +20
Strength/Vitality. This is a wonderful belt, the +% maximum and +absorb will
let some Lightning attacks heal you, and the +stats are nice as well.

-Verdungo's Hearty Cord. 10% FHR, +30-40 Vitality (varies), 10%-15% DR
(varies). If you have this use it instead of String of Ears for the DR%. For
a defensive choice this belt will work well.

-Goblin Toe. Mentioned only for the 25% CB.

-Gore Rider. 10% OW, 15% CB, 15% DS, 30% FRW. To be honest, these are pretty
much standard on most melee builds. These boots enhance your damage output
quite nicely and the FRW% is helpful for getting away from dangerous

Notes on IK set:[004IKSet]

While there are better options than the IK helmet and armor, the Gloves, Belt,
and Boots of this set offer both nice individual and partial set bonuses.
Equipping these three items results in the following list of mods:

IK Gloves. +20 Dexterity/Strength.
IK Belt. +25 Strength, 31% Lightning/28% Fire resists.
IK Boots. 40% FRW, 110 AR, 44 Life.

Partial set bonuses:

-25% IAS
-225 Defense
-25% FHR
-25% MF
-+2 Combat skills

Combined, these three items are a solid choice for this build.


Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but I'm pretty sure the Barbarian isn't a 
girl. Below are some suggestions for some jewelery your Berserker might enjoy.

-Angelic Halo + Angelic Wings. This offers a combined 95 Life and 144-1188 AR,
(12/Level). If you need an AR solution and can spare the spots this is it. If
you equip a second ring you end up with 115 Life and double the listed AR.

-Highlord's Wrath. +1 skill, 20% IAS, 35% Lightning resist, 0%-37% DS (0.375/
level). If you have sufficient AR and have one of these handy equip it. For
a melee build there aren't many choices that would be better.

-Ravenfrost. 150-250 AR, CBF, +15-20 Dexterity (varies), 40 Mana. If you lack
CBF on your equipment you'll need one of these. Being frozen is very bad for
this build. Aside from that, the Dexterity and AR will both help your CTH%.

-The Cat's Eye. 30% FRW, 20% IAS, +25 Dexterity. If you need IAS% but don't
have a Highlord's this amulet will be helpful. The FRW% will help you get
around and the Dexterity will help with your AR also.


For charm selection, try to pick a balance of the following that will assist
your build the best. Whenever possible try to use a charm with a second mod
on it. These are what I would recommend, not a complete list of choices that
would be viable to this build.

Grand Charms:
-Sharp GCs. 49-76 AR, 7-10 maximum damage.
-Steel GCs. 88-132 AR. 
Small Charms:
-Fine. 10-20 AR, 1-3 maximum damage.
-Steel. 25-36 AR.
Amber. 10%-11% Lightning resist.
Emerald. 10%-11% Poison resist
Ruby. 10%-11% Fire resist.
Sapphire. 10%-11% Cold resist.

+Skill charms (Combat, Masteries, Warcries) aren't going to be very helpful,
they won't increase your damage enough to be worth taking the place of a Sharp
or Steel one. Torch/Anni if you have them, but they are in no way needed.

My Build:[004Build]

This is what I ended up with on my most recent Berserker, don't take this as
the "recommended" setup but instead as a suggestion.

Arreat's Face - socketed with an IAS/AR jewel
"Death" ethereal Ettin Axe
"Sanctuary" Hyperion (70% resists)
Leviathan - socketed with an IAS/Poison resist jewel
Lava Gout
Thundergod's Vigor
Gore Rider
Cat's Eye (wouldn't mind Highlord's)
2x high Ravenfrost
Torch (for sillies)
Mix of Steel and Sharp GCs
Amber SC, Fine, and Steel SCs
75/75/85/75 resists

Skills used:
20x Berserk
20x Howl
20x Shout
20x Battle Orders
1x Prereqs
1x Taunt
1x Battle Command
1x Non weapon related Masteries skills
6x Axe Mastery

Mercenary Selection:[005Mercn]

I recommend an Act 2 (Normal) Town Guard, Prayer Aura, equipped with an
"Insight" weapon. Since you don't leech you'll need healing somehow, with this
mercenary setup you'll be receiving double Prayer's healing. Once from the
Prayer aura itself and again from the Prayer synergy to the Meditation aura
on "Insight". With this setup you should notice your red and blue orbs filling
quickly when out of combat and they should stay close to full even in heavy

Should you find yourself wanting more damage or capable of keeping up with
potions either of the following mercenaries should be helpful.

-Act 1 Rogue (Normal). Inner Sight lowers monster defense, at higher levels it
lowers it by a large enough number to be noticeable. This can help your CTH%
quite a bit if you have a low AR total.

-Act 2 Town Guard (Normal), Blessed Aim. Similar to the above, if you have low
AR this mercenary's aura will increase your AR which will help your CTH%.

-Act 2 Town Guard (NM), Might. If you are comfortable with your AR and/or you
just want more damage this mercenary's aura will increase your damage.

Regardless of which mercenary you choose equipment for your hired help should 
include the following mods:

-Life Leech

Optional mods would include:

-+Skills (for a Prayer/Insight setup)

Play Strategies:[006Statg]

Again, the most important thing to remember with this build is that you can't
leech Life or Mana from your targets. This removes from the field the most
basic and "standard" strategy of rushing in and attacking things until they
die while you leech back life to survive. Below are some tips that should help
you survive.

-You can use Howl to get monsters running, then use Taunt to pull monsters to
 you one at a time. This will prevent you from being swarmed. Using Howl to
 clear monsters around the Champion/Unique monsters will help you single them
 out, especially useful if they are Cursed or have an aura.

-Taunting monsters can prevent them from using their special attack, most of
 the time it's more desirable to have monsters swinging at you than firing
 destructive lightning bolts...

-You can lure small packs of monsters from their main group to deal with them
 in your time. This can be helpful in wide open areas where you could get
 surrounded with no escape. Taking your time usually results in your survival.

-You can go fishing. Use your mercenary as a lure, run toward a pack and wait
 for your mercenary to run toward the group. When he/she has a small group's
 attention run back toward the clear area you were working in before. This
 is safer than the above method, when your mercenary cooperates that is.

-You are immune to Iron Maiden since you do Magic damage, although you must
 remember that the Finger Mages in Chaos Sanctuary can drain your Mana. If
 your Mana goes to 0 when you attack with Berserk you hit with a normal
 attack and you may still die.

-Concentrate is synergized by Battle Orders, which means you have a method
 to kill Magic immunes. It might be a bit slow but it will work. You have no
 need to worry about these.

Frequently Asked Questions:[007Faqs!]

1) Do you accept questions?
A - No, so stop asking! Seriously, if you have a question please email it. My
    contact information is at the bottom.
2) Did I see this guide formatting somewhere else?
A - Yes, I hope. I wrote a mercenary guide and I borrowed the formatting from
    that since it seemed to have worked last time.
3) What's wrong with a two-handed Berserker?
A - Honestly, if you like the idea then do it. My problem with that build is
    that you end up with no blocking, so if you get surrounded it's more
    likely that your journey's over. A weapon/shield build is much safer, so
    that's why I went with it.
4) Could this build work in Hardcore?
A - Perhaps. I was able to solo the game on /players 8 with 0 deaths. It was
    a bit slow in some areas but I never felt worried that I was going to die.
    I don't know enough about HC to be able to say for sure, but with the high
    Defense, max block, and Howl/Taunt skills this is a very safe build to

Everything that's Left:[008Left!]

This section contains anything that doesn't fit in the above sections and
includes links to helpful resources, credits, as well as contact and legal 


- http://diablo3.ingame.de/tips/calcs/weaponspeed.php?lang=english
  This is an IAS% calculator you can use for figuring out the speed of
  your mercenary's attacks.

- http://www.classic.battle.net/diablo2exp)
  The Arreat Summit, which has a large assembly of item and skill stats.

- http://www.mannm.org/d2library/faqtoids/stattab_eng.html#fhr
  Lists a table of FHR% for each class and mercenary.

- http://www.mannm.org/d2library/faqtoids/stattab_eng.html#fbr
  Lists a table of FBR% for each class.


-Explopyro, for much help and permission to borrow from his Wind Druid guide
 (http://www.gamefaqs.com/computer/doswin/file/370600/56837) his "THE STRENGTH 
 BUG" section. Thanks.
-In no particular order, Kel, Ras Algethi, Mrengineer1, Lucas, and
 anyone else from d2offline.info that I forgot for reading through this and
 offering suggestions.
-The Amazon Basin (http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/index.php?), for 
 all the hard work they do in an attempt to understand everything that happens 
 in Diablo 2, as well as everyone there who was so kind to review my guide
 and point out suggestions and errors. Thank you, all.
-The Arreat Summit (http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp), for a wealth of
 knowledge I've looked over countless times, as well as equipment stats.
-GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com), for showing me that anyone can write a 
 guide if they try hard enough.

Contact me:

If you wish to, you can contact me at rking12345678@gmail.com. Things that are
alright to send to me include:

-Constructive criticism, if you have something to say that could be helpful and
 if you say it nicely then I'm more than glad to listen..
-Suggestions, if I missed something useful or obvious and you think it belongs
 let me know so I can add it.
-Corrections, I'd hate to be offering incorrect or incomplete so if I did
 either of these please let me know.
-Advice, this is my first guide so any help would be welcome.

You can keep the following to yourself, as any of this does no good to anyone.

-Hateful comments, I have feelings too.
-Requests to be in the credits section, if you want in then contribute!
-Criticism that serves no purpose other than "trolling", if you didn't like
 this guide that's your right and I'd actually like to know why. Telling me I
 wasted X amount of your life reading it or saying anybody could do better
 will not go over well and you'll likely be permanently ignored by me.
-Spam, I get enough of this as it is so you can keep your share.


This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed 
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other 
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a 
violation of copyright.

All names are copyright Blizzard and/or their respective owners.

Original content and format copyright 2009 Royce King 

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