Death Knight- by Charis
The antithesis of the Holy Avenger, the Death Knight is a proud figure who seeks to rule the pits of the Abyss. Unlike others who 'shun' Holy items and spells, the Death Knight seeks to corrupt them. And unlike their little nature loving friends, the DK Druid seeks to subjugate nature to his will.
Preferences (The DK
is more a mindset that a ruleset, so take as guidelines)
could you expect to subjugate the legions of hell by fear if you flee
from battle?? The DK must NEVER retreat from battle ('emergency TP' is
not in his vocab.) However, the basis of this is more appearance than
honor, bravado rather than bushido. You can choose which onscreen opponent
to go for, just not hit-and-run because the crowd is too big, or run back
to a choke point because you feel overwhelmed. If this leads to death,
so be it... they would rather die than be considered a coward. (Some comments
on tactics given below). If by accident the no-retreat rule is broken,
the atonement is to sacrifice a rare item and half your gold at the next
monster shrine you see, then slay the summoned boss or champion.
skills: (see end for 'summary' of styles)
-- Paladin -- They don't 'avoid' Holy spells but rather love to 'corrupt' them. Disallowed: Salvation, Prayer, Meditation, Cleansing.
Unholy Bolt: Corrupt Hammer, and Spiked Fist of Hell are examples of corrupting good skills. Defiance and Unholy Shield are very helpful for DR, especially given that you can't retreat. Vengeance and Sacrifice are allowed, as are Concentration and Might, Conviction, and Redemption of Souls. The individual resists are fine, as are Unholy Freeze/Fire/Shock. (D2X Holy Shock is much improved) Unholy Freeze is the same as used by Duriel a dark and soulsapping power. Smite and Thorns may see situational use but should not be pumped as a main skill. Deception (Conversion) gets good situational use vs "packs" (Boss packs, champion packs, those that heal each other, shamans, unravellers, etc. - but not used vs rank and file monsters/mobs) Zeal brings an odd love/hate relationship. It is seen typically as an inefficient tool of the light, dealing puny damage to many foes, rather than the DK's desire- serial killing! However, if Zeal is used with a powerful enough weapon (2H), killing things faster than one at a time, it may be used. The skill should not be pushed where it takes on more than five opponents (in D2X that's the cutoff anyway, so pumping higher there is fine).
Charge: will likely be in the repertoire, if not the main skill, for its ability to move quickly and to shift from a mob to a straggler, or chase a foe that is fleeing.
Vengeance: handy for slowing the opponents, good elemental damage. In D2X will be even more handy, for phys immunes and in conjunction with Conviction.
Summoning: No mindless skels or mages, only revives. No golems except as below. Bone: Bone Prison (like Diablo), Bone Spirit (like OK), Bone Armor (like AK), and all Poison are allowed. Corpse Explosion is allowed if and only if no revived are around.
and ones thrown by OK's are favored (Decrepify, Iron Maiden, Weaken, Lower
Resist). You can bet lack of retreat will make Terror a favorite.
The DK Necro will be heavily armored compared to most Necs, for the no-retreat policy and lack of golems will mean alot of abuse. In the manipulation vein, terror, confuse, attract and revive are highly valued. The inanimate Golem and mindless undead offer no appeal to the DKNec.
Golems: Again, inanimate mindless subjects are not what the DK Necro wants. However, when a boss is killed, his spirit lingers in the area for a few brief seconds. This may be ensnared within a golem - yet this golem has a finite life span and may NOT be healed (or brought to town healer, etc). If a boss drops a rare or unique, it may be used to forge an Iron Golem that CAN be healed in town. Also, by casting Bone Prison on the object as soon as it falls, the soul is captured, and the item may be carried around and saved for a later time.
Bone Armor: should be the very first skill learned, and it should be used often. Pushing it is recommended, but not required.
Posion Dagger: used by most toxic necromancers as a decidely hit-and-run skill, if used at all by the DK it will be with a serious damage weapon, exceptional or better (for example, Stiletto). Their large dex requirements will mean this DK will either ignore dex (and PD) completely or pump it high.
Shapeshifting: Werebear as defensive stance when swarmed, and Werewolf as a special boss killer mode
Elemental: The fire based skills and cyclone armor are used (not wind or cold) Summoning: Hell Hounds (Dire Wolves) are the companions to the DK All vines are allowed, but the spirit must match his form. Oak Sage for the Bear, Wolverine for the Wolf, and Barbs in human form.
Elemental skills are not allowed by the game itself when in shapeshifter form, so if used, Armaggedon would need to be pre-cast. Volcano will see use not just on ranged attackers, but also on foes right in front of you in melee.
[Note: the above needs testing, I've not got to try DK with Druid yet, and no Druid at high lvls. Unsure on whether bear form, human, or wolf is the right 'boss' form, and which for normal foes. Also, will want to keep it from being cookie cutter same as other druids.]
Skill Summary - closest name for the styles described above Pal- 2H Zealot (Zeal w/Fanat/HF), Avenger(Veng/Conv), Charger w/HF/Conc, Defiant. Nec- Revivalist, PD melee nec, Corpse Exploder, Mind Game curser Dru- Fire elementalist but all trees used These are by no means exhaustive or even recommended styles, just some examples.
Tips and Tactics:
- Terror is your friend! If a foe flees from the spell or from Howl on a weapon, you're free to follow him, conveniently AWAY from the huge mob descending on you. Proudly chasing after a coward to slay him is MUCH different from turning tail and just running in fear. If your main weapon doesn't have howl, consider keeping a backup which does (or better, in D2X, use swap setup). Or with Blind Enemy worn (Coif of Glory) to counteract fleeing, remove your cap and let them run away.
- If you do manage to get away from the crowd chasing that one, and there are no more (yet) on screen, now it's not cowardly to portal to town for some potions.
- Pal: Redemption, Smite, and Conversion are great situational skills
- Nec: Terror and Dim Vision for rough spots, Attract as key skill to not get into trouble in the first place.
- Dru: Less special skills to help out, better focus on not getting INTO trouble Howl and pursue may in some cases be the only choice. Druids can do well with hit points, so plan ahead for situations where you're in trouble.
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