Builds

List of Builds for all classes, best builds and how to choose your next one

For over 20 years, players have traveled across four or five acts and slaughtered the Prime Evils and their minions over and over again to find, sell, and trade loot. Most of the returning players have forgotten more about the game than they realize. New players most likely have no idea how to build their characters from scratch. If you fall into either category, this guide  for Diablo 2 Resurrected will serve you as a refresher.

Below, we’ll briefly cover all seven classes of D2R and their different builds. After reading this introductory guide, you should have a pretty good idea of which class to start your adventure into and through Hell with and what build to follow.

Diablo 2 Builds
Fan Art by Alex Horley

Choosing Your Class

As a returning or a brand-new player, it’s important to note that there’s no wrong or right class to start your adventures into Hell with. Please feel free to choose any of the seven classes you think offers the most entertaining style of combat. If you grow uncomfortable with one class or master one after countless hours of playing, you can move on to another class and see whether it fits your style.

From the get-go, you should focus on statting and gearing your character based on a specific build. Doing so will allow you to maximize damage potential as you reach the end game, whereas choosing skills without a clear goal in sight might only help you get through Normal and halfway through Nightmare difficulties. The great thing about Diablo 2 Resurrected is that you can always change builds midway by completing the Den of Evil quest and speaking to Akara or buying/trading for a Token of Absolution.

Amazon

The Amazon is a female warrior who uses a bow, spear, or javelin to take down mobs. The most commonly used weapons are the bows and javelins. She’s as agile as she is prone to death in close quarters, which makes wielding bulky spears a huge risk to new players. Find a good selection of Amazon Builds below:

Diablo 2 Amazon Builds
Art by Daryl Mandryk

Bowazon

Bowazon is an umbrella term that describes any Amazon character that uses bows or crossbows to primarily deal physical, fire, ice, and/or magic damage. In general, Bowazons use the skill Multiple Shot for crowd control and Guided Arrow to take down bosses.

  •  The Strafezon is a type of Bowazon that uses the skill Strafe in place of Multiple Shot to attack 10 mobs at once.
  • The Angelzon/Procazon is a sub-build of the Strafezon that relies on gear that has a slight chance to cast the Necromancer Curse skill Amplify Damage on striking.
  • The Ice Bowazon uses the skill Freezing Arrow as its primary attack to stop multiple targets in their tracks
  • The Fire Bowazon uses the timed skill Immolation Arrow to deal fire damage to multiple targets upon explosion. The Bowazon will typically spam Multiple Arrow, Exploding Arrow, or Guided Arrow while Immolation Arrow is on cooldown.

Javazon

Javazon is an umbrella term used to describe any Amazon character that relies primarily on javelins and skills in the Javelins and Spear Skills tree.

  • The Lightning Javazon build uses the skill Lightning Fury for crowd control and Charged Bolt to swiftly take down enemy bosses.
  • The Lightjab/Thunderfury Amazon uses the skill Jab to take down single targets while controlling large crowds with the skill Lightning Fury.
  • The Javzon/Jabber is a type of Javazon that focuses on rapidly taking down single-target units with the skill Jab.
  • The Plagazon/Poison Javazon uses the timed skill Plague Javelin as its main attack. While on cooldown, the character will typically spam Jab, Charged Strike, Fend, or Lightning Fury.
  • The Fearazon is a niche build that combines the crowd-controlling power of Lightning Fury with the chance to cause monsters to flee upon striking them.

Other Javazon Builds

Now, playing a Bowazon or Javazon is super common. If you want to to consider playing another interesting build then check out the following:

  • A Fendazon is a type of Javazon that focuses on taking down surrounding enemies with the multiple-target skill Fend.
  • A Hybridzon wields both throwing javelins and a bow or crossbow. Since 1.10 and the introduction of synergies, Hybridzons have gone out of fashion, but some players will still build their Amazons around the use of two different weapon types. Hybridzons deal damage with the Javelin and Spear skills Fend and Impale while using Strafe and Guided Arrow on switch. They also employ the help of Valkyries to distract groups and damage single targets.
  • The Impalezon is a niche build that requires the use of a two-handed Spear. Impalezons make use of the rarely used skill Impale, which rapidly deteriorates your weapon while also causing the most single-target damage per strike in the game.
  • The Bearazon transforms into a Werebear by wielding the runeword Beast that grants the oskill Shape Shifting skill Werebear from the Druid’s Shape Shifting skill tree. Bearazons use the standard Attack skill while investing in the skills Penetrate, Inner Sight, Critical Strike, Dodge, Evade, and Avoid in the Passive and Magic Skills tree.

Assassin

The Assassin has two distinct methods of combat. A physical-damage-dealing Assassin utilizes the Martial Arts skill tree, which allows your character to charge her attacks up to three times before delivering a devastating—oftentimes fatal—blow to single targets. Alternatively, players can customize their character to toss elemental and physical traps to take down large groups of enemies. No matter which one of the Assassin Builds you choose, the following list should give a you a solid starting point:

Diablo 2 Assassin Builds
Art by FotoN-ike

Trap Assassin

Trapper/Trapsin is an umbrella term that describes an Assassin that focuses on the Traps skill tree.

  • The Light Trapper/Shockbringer build lays the traps Lightning Sentry and Death Sentry to take down monster groups while spamming Shockweb.
  • The Fire Trapster is an early- to mid-game Trapsin build that lays Fire Traps while spamming Fire Blast.
  • The Bomber/Bombasin is a niche build that can handle large monster groups by laying down Lightning Sentries while spamming Fire Blast, Shock Web, and/or Cloak of Shadows.
  • The Bladesin/Fury Sin is a quirky Assassin build that uses the commonly avoided Blade Sentinel and Blade Fury skills in the Traps skill tree.

Melee Assassin

Melee Assassin is a general phrase used to describe an Assassin that primarily focuses on the Martial Arts skill tree. All of the following sub-builds of the Melee Assassin may also use Traps.

  • The Shadow Knight is a niche build that revolves around the oskill Zeal gained from using the runeword Passion.
  • The Bearsin is a build that revolves around the oskill Werebear gained from wielding a Beast runeword.
  • The Kicker/Kicksin focuses on the finishing skills Dragon Talon, Dragon Tail, or Dragon Flight to dish out heavy single-target damage.
  • The Mageslayer is a sub-build of the Kicker/Kicksin that uses Dragon Tail as its primary attack against ranged casters.
  • The Riftkick Assassin utilizes the significant chance to cast Tornado and Frozen Orb gained from using the runeword Rift.
  • The Whirlwind Assassin (some call it WWSin) uses the oskill Whirlwind gained from wielding a Chaos runeword.
  • The Ghostsin focuses on dealing physical damage with the oskill Whirlwind while spamming Mind Blast to stun enemies in a small area.
  • The Bramblesin deals physical damage with the oskill Whirlwind that is imbued with crippling poison damage from the skill Venom in the Shadow Disciplines skill tree. Bramblesins can boost Venom damage by wearing Trang-Oul’s Claws and the runeword Bramble.

Bowasin

The Bowasin is semi-commonly used PvP build where the character uses the bow Widowmaker to gain the oskill Guided Arrow from the Amazon’s Bow and Crossbow Skills tree. Bowasins can either use Venom to boost damage or Burst of Speed (both from the Shadow Disciplines skill tree) to increase attack and movement speed.

Necromancer

Most new players tend to gravitate to the Necromancer, a class that specializes in using the dead to do his bidding. Necromancers are arguably the most versatile of the seven classes, offering multiple builds to easily solo the game from Normal to Hell mode. These are the Necromancer Builds we picked:

Diablo 2 Necromancer Builds
Art by ChrisCold

Summonmancer

Summonmancer is a general term used to describe any Necromancer that primarily invests their skills in the Summoning Spells skill tree.

  • The Golem-Mancer is a build that revolves around summoning the beefiest Golem possible and adding supporting a supporting Curses skill. The most widely used combinations of Golem and Curse are Fire Golem with Lower Resist and Iron Golem with Iron Maiden.
  • The Fishymancer build is the most popular type of Summonmancer. A Fishymancer summons as many Skeletons as possible while spamming Corse Explosion in the background.

Other Necromancer Builds

  • The Venomancer/Novamancer uses the crowd-controlling Poison Nova skill to slowly take down enemy forces. When the first corpse appears, this character can either spam Poison Explosion or Corse Explosion.
  • A Bonemancer invests skill points into Teeth, Bone Spear, Bone Spirit, and their synergies. This character mainly uses Bone Spear and Corpse Explosion (a prerequisite skill for Bone Spear) for crowd control and Bone Spirit to take down single-target units.
  • The Daggermancer wields a Dagger and stabs his enemies with the Poison Dagger skill. This build also relies on casting Poison Nova and Poison Explosion, which are synergies for Poison Dagger, for additional damage.

Barbarian

The Barbarian can dish out the most damage to single and groups of monsters with physical and/or magic damage.  He also has a very specific skill tree that offers passive buffs depending on what type of weapon your Barbarian wields. Have a look at these Barbarian Builds:

Diablo 2 Barbarian Builds
Art by Redan23
  • The Whirlwind Barb is the most widely used PvM Barbarian build. The character usually wields dual weapons to deliver twice as many attacks while spinning through large groups of enemies.
  • The Frenzy Barb is a build that focuses on using the skill Frenzy and Double Swing as its primary attacks. This build can dish out tremendous amounts of damage and escape with ease, thanks to the added run/walk bonus of the Frenzy skill.
  • The Berserker/Zerker uses the skill Berserk as its main attack. The Berserk skill delivers heavy doses of both physical and magical damage at the expense of temporarily reducing the character’s defense to zero.
  • The Thrower Barb wields two throwing weapons, typically javelins, to attack enemies from afar. The skill Double Throw attacks single targets, so, similar to the Zerker, this build doesn’t handle monster groups as well as the Whirlwind Barb.
  • The Horker/GF Barb is a build that players use to amass huge quantities of gold for gambling. This built focuses heavily on beefing up the character’s mercenary to kill enemies quicker, while the Horker casts Find Item on the corpses of slain monsters.
  • The Singer Barb is a rarely used build that uses the skill War Cry as its primary attack. The War Cry skill in the Warcries skill tree deals physical damage and stuns enemies for a short duration.

Paladin

The Paladin uses the power of divine strength to take down large groups of enemies while receiving little to no damage in return. This melee class excels in hand-to-hand combat and lightning or magic-based ranged attacks.

Diablo 2 Paladin Builds
  • The Hammerdin is arguably the beefiest and one of most versatile Paladin Builds in Diablo 2. The build spams the Blessed Hammer skill with boosted damage from the Concentration aura. Hammerdins require the runeword Enigma and the oskill Teleport to position itself to strike groups or single targets.
  • The Smiter Paladin is a versatile build that can be used for both PvM and PvP. In either case, the Smiter uses the Smite skill with the Fanaticism aura to deal massive damage to single targets, stunning and knocking them back (if applicable). The PvM Smiter is typically used to take down Ubers in Uber Tristram, as well as Uber Diablo.
  • The Zealot Paladin is a melee-based build that uses the skill Zeal to attack multiple surrounding enemies. Zealots use the aura Fanaticism from the Offensive Auras skill tree to boost physical damage, attack speed, and attack rating.
  • The FOHer Paladin is a PvP build, where the character casts Fist of the Heavens on targets from afar. Th lightning damage from Fist of the Heavens is boosted by the Conviction aura, which reduces an enemy’s defense and resistances to fire, cold, and lightning.
  • The Ranger Paladin is a PvP build, where the player equips their Paladin with the Widowmaker to gain the oskill Guided Arrow. Rangers typically spam Guided Arrow to weaken enemies from afar before engaging in close-quarter combat with the skills Charge and/or Zeal.
  • The Charger Paladin is a PvP build that uses the skill Charge as its primary attack to kill opponents in one or two swift blows. The Charge skill closes the distance between the character and its opponent in a short amount of time. Charge damage is boosted by the Fanaticism aura.

Auradin

Any Paladin build that uses one of the elemental-based damage-dealing auras found in the Offensive Auras skill tree can be considered an Auradin.

  • The Tesladin is a melee-based build that relies on the Holy Shock aura to damage enemies in a wide radius with lightning damage. Alternatively, the Tesladin can wear a Dream helmet and a Dream shield that grants the grants a passive Holy Shock aura while the player activates the Conviction aura to reduce enemy resistances.
  • The Pryomaniac/Fire Auradin is a type of Auradin that damages opponents with the fire-based aura Holy Fire. Alternatively, the player can use a Hand of Justice runeword weapon, a Dragon runeword helmet, and a Dragon RW shield for their passive Holy Fire aura while the player uses the Conviction aura.
  • The Freezadin/Frostadin is an uncommonly used Auradin that deals cold-based damage with the aura Holy Freeze.

Sorceress

The Sorceress uses one or a combination of three elemental attacks—fire, ice, and lightning—to take down entire groups of monsters on her own. However, in exchange for unrivaled crowd control and the ability to teleport, your Sorceress can and will most likely die from one or two strikes from high-leveled enemies. Find a list of Sorceress Builds below:

Diablo 2 Sorceress Builds
Art by SpiralOutward

Fire Sorceress Builds

Fire-based sorceress builds focus primarily on the Fire Spells skill tree, which is arguably the weakest of the three in the late game. However, there are certain areas of the game where Fire Sorceresses excel.

  • The Fire Ball/Meteor build uses the Meteor skill to take down large groups of monsters in one hit. While the skill is on cooldown, the character can spam the Fire Ball skill to deliver splash damage to a small area of mobs before the Meteor comes crashing down.
  • The Fire Ball/Fire Wall is identical to the Fire Ball/Meteor build except that the character uses the timed Fire Wall skill as its primary finishing attack.
  • The Enchantress is a support-only build used to help players level up quickly in monster-packed areas of the game. The skill Enchant boosts a character’s attack rating and imbues their weapon with a ton of fire damage to take down monsters more easily. The Enchantress can do very little on her own.

Cold Sorceress Builds

Cold-Based Sorceress builds are much more versatile than fire-based builds. They can clear far more areas of the game but can still struggle to clear high-level areas without the use of a hard-hitting mercenary.

  • The Blizzard Sorceress casts the timed Blizzard skill to deal devastating damage in a wide area. While the skill is on cooldown, the character can spam Glacial Spike to freeze clumped-up monster groups in their tracks.
  • The Frozen Orb/ES Sorceress punishes and slows monsters by casting the skill Frozen Orb, which deals huge damage to monsters in a line. Players can boost the survivability of their Frozen Orb Sorceress by casting the Energy Shield skill from the Lightning Spells skill tree.

Lightning Sorceress Builds

Lightning-based builds are objectively the best of the single-element builds for this class. With an Act 2 mercenary wielding the Infinity runeword, which breaks most lightning immunities in monster packs, lightning-focused Sorceress builds can solo the entire game in Hell mode.

  • The Lightning/Chain Lightning Sorceress uses these two skills to deal huge amounts of damage to multiple monsters with each cast. The Lightning skill damages monsters in a line, whereas Chain Lightning, which is the more mana-intensive of the two, bounces from monster to monster.
  • The Nova/ES Sorceress requires getting in close quarters with monster groups to cast the Nova skill, which damages opponents in a mid-ranged radius around the character. To help him survive, players can cast Energy Shield, which transfers a portion of hit point damage to the character’s mana pool.
  • The Charged Bolt Sorceress build is used primarily in the early to mid-game. The Charged Bolt skill consists of several tiny bolts spread out in a fan-shape to quickly take down groups of monsters and enemy bosses.

Melee Builds

Melee builds aren’t the most commonly used in this class, but they can deliver devastating blows that can take down single targets in one or two quick strikes.

  • The Zeal Sorc gains the oskill Zeal from the use of the Passion runeword. For additional damage, Zeal Sorces will wield a Dream helmet and Dream shield for their passive Holy Shock auras, whose damage is boosted by the Sorceress’ Lightning Mastery skill. In addition, Zeal Sorces will typically use Energy Shield to absorb damage while engaging in hand-to-hand combat with single targets.
  • The Bear Sorc gains the oskill Werebear from the runeword Beast. Bear Sorces typically use a Dream helmet and a Dream shield with max skills in Lightning Mastery for a significant boost in lightning damage. Alternatively, players can put on a Dragon armor runeword for its passive Holy Fire aura while maxing the Fire Mastery skill.

Hybrid Builds

Hybrid builds make use of two or even all three of the Sorceress’ skill trees. They can be super interesting to play, so check out the following:

  • The Fire Wall/Orb Sorceress casts Frozen Orb as its main skill, while Fire Wall is used to take down cold-immune monsters. Both are timed skills, so it’s advised that the player maintains their distance from oncoming hordes of monsters.
  • The Meteorb Build uses Frozen Orb as its main damage-dealing skill with Meteor as a backup to take down cold-immune monsters. Again, both are timed skills, so steer clear of monsters while the skills are on cooldown.
  • The Hydra/Orb Sorceress relies on Frozen Orb as its primary attack. To take down cold-immune monsters, the character will cast Hydra, a hard-hitting, fiery serpent that deals large amounts of fire damage. Maintain your distance while both skills are on cooldown.
  • The Chain Lightning/Hydra Sorceress combines the lightning-based Chain Lightning skill to destroy several mobs at once. Any monsters whose lightning immunity isn’t broken by the Infinity runeword can be taken down by casting Hydra. Chain Lightning doesn’t have a cooldown, which makes it the primary damage-dealing skill for this build.
  • A Static/Orb Sorceress is very rarely used, but she is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Frozen Orb is the primary damage-dealing skill, while Static Field from the Lightning Spells skill tree will reduce the hit points of monsters by a certain percentage and to a certain extent.

Druid

The Druid is arguably the most technical class of them all. As you progress in the game, you’ll discover that relying solely on one skill tree will be insufficient for efficiently clearing mobs. The three skill trees available to this class are Elemental, Shape Shifting, and Summoning—where the key to surviving Hell mode is can be mixing and matching when needed. Have a look at these Druid Builds

Druid Builds
Art by Andre Yamaguchi

Bear Builds

The Bear Druid shapeshifts into a Werebear while using the hard-hitting skills it can cast while in Werebear form.

  • The Classic Bear Druid uses the skill Maul as its primary attack. This build focuses heavily on damage-boosting gear.
  • The Kodiak Bear uses the skill Hunger as its primary attack. Hunger steals life and mana from your opponents with each attack that lands.
  • The Fireclaw Druid uses the skill Fire Claws as its primary attack. Both physical and fire-damage-enhancing items will help this build solo the entire game.
  • The Shockbear uses the skill Shock Wave as its primary attack. Shock Wave deals physical damage to a small area in front of the character that stuns enemies for a short period. While stunned, the player can use any Werebear-compatible skill to deal additional damage to enemies.

Wolf Builds

The Wolf Druid shapeshifts into a Werewolf while using the quick-striking skills it can cast while in Werewolf form.

  • The Fury Druid uses the skill Fury as its primary attack. Fury is the Druid’s form of the skill Zeal, which attacks up enemies up to five times in rapid succession. Using items with a chance to cast elemental skills can help with crowd control.
  • The Rabies Druid uses the Rabies skill as its primary attack. Biting your opponents with the Rabies skill will infect them with several seconds of poison damage, as well as make them infectious to any nearby mobs. Monsters who come in contact with Rabies will suffer the same torturing fate as the initial bitten enemy.
  • The Fireclaws Werewolf Druid uses the Fire Claws skill as its main attack. Items that boost physical and fire damage will boost your Fire Claws damage to take down single targets more quickly.

Elemental Builds

The Elemental Druid invests skills in the Elemental skill tree that can take down groups of monsters and single targets.

  • The Windy Druid is the most popular Druid PvM build. This build focuses on using Tornado, which deals physical damage, as its primary attack to take down monsters in a random line. To supplement the Windy Druid’s main attack, players can cast Hurricane, which deals cold damage in a wide area around the character to slow enemies down.
  • The Fissure Druid is a build that’s handier during the early game. The Fissure skill cracks the ground open and dishes out fire damage to any opponents in the area.
  • The Bowler Druid is very rarely used, even in the early game. This build involves mastering the Molten Boulder skill and its synergies.
  • The Flamethrower Druid is an even lesser-used fire-based Druid build that uses the skill Firestorm as its main attack. In addition, Flamethrowers will summon a Grizzly to tank damage.
  • The Huntermentalist/Shaman uses fire-based skills as its primary attack while summoning beasts to tank damage.

Summoner Build

The Summon Druid will invest most of their skills in the Summoning skill. There are four creature types that a Summon Druid can summon at any time: Spirits, Ravens, Wolves or a Grizzly, and Vines.

  • The Classic Summoner Build focuses on summoning Spirit Wolves, Dire Wolves, or a Grizzly as the main damage dealers; Heart of the Wolverine to boost the summoned creatures’ damage output; and a Carrion Vine to replenish the character’s hit points.
  • The Hunter Build uses the same skills setup as the Classic Summoner. However, the player also dishes out significant damage with a bow, usually Faith for its passive Fanaticism aura to increase the summoned creatures’ damage, attack rating, and attack speed.

Best Hell Builds

In Diablo 2, there are many fun and powerful builds but not all of them are resilient enough to survive Hell difficulty. If you’re familiar with Diablo 2’s Hell mode, you will already know that the things you have to worry about the most are:

  • Monsters’ immunities: You will need at least two different elements of damage, especially if you play solo with your character.
  • Your Elemental Resistances: In Hell difficulty, you will start with a penalty (minus Resistances), so you will need a decent amount of Resistances.
  • Your damage: Many monsters have a very large Health pool in Hell mode, so you will need to deal a good amount of damage.

Below there are some top performing builds that are able not only to beat Hell difficulty, but also to Magic Find almost in any area:

Best Diablo 2 Builds for Hell
Art by ReyeD33

Immortal King Barbarian

Despite its high Strength requirement, the Immortal King set provides everything you need to dominate in the highest difficulty of the game.

This set offers a huge amount of defense and very high elemental Resistances. In addition, the Stone Crusher (the Weapon of the set) deals all the five different types of damage. Thus, you don’t have to worry about the immune monsters.

Last but not least, the Immortal King set provides a decent amount of Magic Finding.

Summoner Necromancer

The Summonmancer is an excellent choice for both solo and multiplayer games. Your army of skeletons can protect you and your party for receiving damage, while taking down enemies at the same times. Also, your curses are very useful for your party members as they can lower the resists of the enemies, resulting in much faster runs.

For dealing with monsters’ immunities, you can take advantage of your Corpse Explosion skill (half Physical and half Fire Damage). Further, your Skeletal Mages deal Poison, Cold, Fire and Lightning Damage. This build’s damage isn’t very high, but it offers a lot of sustainability in exchange.

In terms of items, the Skelemancer needs some items that boost his Summoning skills in order for the skeletons to survive in Hell difficulty. Despite this fact, you can use some items with Magic Finding as well because this build is not so gear-dependant.

Meteorb Sorceress

This kind of Sorceress doesn’t have the highest damage output in comparison with other Sorceress builds. However, it can deal with immune monsters as it relies on both Fire (Meteor, Fire Ball) and Cold Spells (Frozen Orb). The monsters that are immune to both Fire and Cold Spells are not common.

Another great skill of your arsenal is Teleport. You can use it to quickly escape if you are in danger, or utilize it for traveling faster. For instance, you can make very fast Andariel or Mephisto runs, without exploring entire rooms in order to reach the Act Bosses.

Also, with the proper items you can combine your killing power with some great amount of Magic Finding. It’s a popular strategy to start the game with a Magic-Finder Meteorb Sorceress, so you gear her up or your other characters.

Hammerdin

This is one of the most powerful builds overall in Diablo 2. It’s strong both in fighting versus monsters and in PvP fights. We included this build over other strong Paladin builds because of its ability to Magic Find, without losing much of its killing power or its sustainability.

The main skill of the build, the Blessed Hammer deals extreme amounts of Magic Damage. The Magic immunity is very rare in the game, so you will not have many issues in Hell difficulty. Further, the Holy Shield skill provides a lot of protection to your character.

You should be able to go through all difficulties of the game using a Hammerdin, without facing many problems. However, for fighting versus other players you will need some really hard-to-find items that you can’t find simply by beating the game’s Hell difficulty.

Javazon

This Amazon’s build can make some of the fastest runs in the game. Its arsenal includes some Physical and Lightning skills (Charged Strike, Lightning Strike, Lightning Fury) that deal extreme amounts of damage.

For dealing with enemies’ immunities, a Javazon can utilize the Jab skill (Physical Damage) or even the Poison Javelin or Plague Javelin for some Poison Damage.

Regarding your sustainability, you can sacrifice some portion of your damage in order to invest points in your Valkyrie. Finally, you can use some items that boost your Magic Finding chance. This way, you can make some fast and efficient MF runs even in the hardest difficulty of the game.

Ladder Reset Builds

If you aren’t sure yet what class and build you should play for the new ladder reset, why don’t you take a look at our list of 11 most popular builds?

If you like the builds below, you can find more information on our builds guides.

Diablo 2 Builds
Fan Art by Alex Horley

#1 Blizzard Sorceress

The Blizzard Sorc is probably the most famous build at the begging of every new ladder. One of the main reasons is her ability to Teleport. It allows her to move around fast, pass through walls, skip boring enemies, and even tricking Mephisto.

Further, she has a great damage output and crowd control versus large groups of enemies, without the need for powerful or expensive items. You can use Items that boosts Magic Finding instead. This is making the Blizzard Sorceress the ideal build to start the new ladder with success.

#2 Hammerdin

The Blessed Hammer along with the Concentration Aura provides a great amount of damage to monsters. In addition, these skills in combination with Holy Shield result in a paladin build that is completely unstoppable. It’s one of the most played builds, as it’s not uncommon for a Blessed Hammer to deal more than 20,000 damage. However, it’s  also one of the most expensive builds to create it perfectly, because there are too many Hammerdins in the game.

#3 Smiter Paladin

Paladins are not a very effective choice for common Magic Finding and Baal runs. They are extremely popular due to how effective they are against the Prime Evils in Uber Tristram. It’s the only known class that can kill almost all Uber Bosses even solo.

The only enemies a Smiter cannot slay are those with physical immunity because Smite is a melee skill. It’s not a very effective choice against large groups of monsters though.

#4 Chain Lightning Sorceress

The Sorceress has always been one of the most popular classes in the game. Over the years spells like Frozen Orb and Nova became less effective. When Lord of Destruction was released, the Chain Lightning Sorceress became a popular build choice. The ability to combine Chain Lightning with a different elemental spell, resulting in a build that is very effective versus every kind of enemy regardless of their resistances.

You can use an Infinity Runeword on your mercenary, so the monsters would no longer be immune to your Lightning damage.

#5 Wind Druid

The Elemental Druid provides a massive amount of AoE (Area of Effect) damage versus big groups of monsters. The Hurricane in combination with the Tornado spell results in large amounts of elemental damage output. The Wind Druid can take advantage of Oak Sage summon as well, to boost the entire party health pool.

#6 Summoning Necromancer

The Summonmancer is one of the most special and fun builds in Diablo 2. The ability to summon a huge skeleton army and revive Diablo’s minions to fight at your side makes this build one of a kind. This kind of Necromancer is an ideal choice for a party as well, thanks to his curses that allow him to weaken his enemies. The Corpse Explosion is an excellent source of damage too.

#7 Javazon

The Javazon provides a large amount of wide AoE damage, making the build very effective for PvM.  Also, the Charged Strike skill deals a massive amount of single target damage. It’s very useful against difficult Bosses. With the proper build, you can even kill Baal in a matter of seconds.

#8 Frenzy Barbarian

Frenzy Barbarians are popular due to their extremely fast single target damage and the Run Speed bonus. Although this build is very underrated among the community, it proves to be one of the most effective builds in the game.

#9 Whirlwind Barbarian

The WW Barb was one of the most popular and effective builds in classic Diablo 2. With the release of Lord of Destruction though, more effective builds became viable. The Whirlwind Barbarian doesn’t provide a large amount of damage, but it has a great combination of support damage and survivability. Thus, it can act as a tank and it’s a recommended choice when playing with a party.

#10 Frozen Orb Sorceress

This type of Sorceress was arguably the most popular class build in Diablo 2. Frozen Orb provided excessive amounts of damage in the early days of the game. However, the skill’s damage was reduced after a patch. As a result, the players started to use Blizzard instead which is still the most effective Cold spell.

However, you can use Frozen Orb as a secondary skill, or to use this as a primary skill in combination with a skill from a different element. This way, you can counter enemies with every kind of immunity.

#11 Bowazon

It’s one of the many forgotten builds in Diablo 2 that used to be extremely effective in the early days. Bowazons are still fun and effective in the game’s current state but with overpowered Runewords being added to the game this build became less popular.

The class is very versatile in terms of items and skills though and you can create your own combination. Thus, it remains a very interesting option.

Best Hardcore Builds

In Diablo 2, players can choose whether to start a character in Hardcore mode or in Softcore. You do this by checking or unchecking the Hardcore box in the “Create New Character” Screen. We highly advise newbies play Softcore (unchecked) before trying their hand at Hardcore.

In Softcore, when your character dies, they return to town without their gear (naked), and you’re forced to either retrieve your corpse where it was slain or exit and remake a game, which brings your corpse to town. In Nightmare mode, you lose 5% of your current level’s experience, and in Hell mode, you lose 10%. However, you can recover 75% of the lost experience by retrieving your corpse. If you exit and make a new game, you don’t gain back any of the lost experience.

As for Hardcore, if your character dies, they’re dead for good. Thankfully, you can give permission to other players to “loot” your corpse when you die, and they can help transfer it to a new Hardcore character. Even some players who have been around since day-one of Diablo 2’s launch in 2000 stay away from Hardcore mode at all costs.

While you can choose any build from the list above, minus perhaps the PvP builds since when you die in Hardcore mode, there’s (almost) no coming back. That said, we’ll gloss over the safest builds for each class and important points of consideration to maximize survivability.

Amazon Hardcore Builds

  • The Lightning Javazon has arguably the best crowd-controlling capabilities in the entire game in Lightning Fury. Max Lightning Fury and Charged Bolt—a synergy for Lightning Fury and a hard-hitting skill to swiftly take down enemy bosses—as well as Valkyrie to tank damage. Casting Decoy take the heat off your character while you continue spamming Lightning Fury from a safe distance. Because Lightning Javazons can hold a shield, consider wearing a Stormshield or a high-resistance shield with the highest block-rate percentage possible for added safety.
  • The Bowazon that uses Multiple Shot can take down large groups of monsters, especially when using an end-game weapon, such as the Faith Runeword or Windforce. Harmony is an excellent alternative as the runeword grants the player the passive aura Vigor, which increases movement speed to get away from danger as quickly as possible. Consider investing points in Valkyrie and Decoy to tank damage while you fire multiple shots from a safe distance.

Assassin Hardcore Builds

The Trapsin has excellent crowd control when setting down Lightning and Death Sentries. Giving your mercenary an Infinity runeword can help tremendously by breaking enemy lightning immunities. While Trapsins usually wear a Spirit shield runeword for the +2 to All Skills bonus, you should consider swapping it out for a Stormshield to reduce physical damage and its high block rate. In addition, Hardcore Trapsins should use the skill Fade to further reduce physical damage and boost all resistances. Having a Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master by your side can help draw attention away from your character.

Necromancer Hardcore Builds

  • The Fishymancer can hide behind the safety of a Golem, several Skeletons and Skeletal Mages, as well as friendly monsters resurrected with the skill Revive. While your undead army is at the frontlines tanking damage, spam Corpse Explosion to get rid of groups of monsters. Investing a few points in Bone Armor and its synergies can help you survive physical attacks from monsters, while a Stormshield can further reduce physical damage.
  • The Bonemancer build is a great alternative to the Fishymancer. The player can still hide behind a wall of undead summons, but they can actively dish out damage by spamming Bone Spear or Bone Spirit. Corpse Explosion will take out any remaining monsters with its wide area of effect and mix between physical and fire damage.

Barbarian Hardcore Builds

Barbarians are the tankiest class and, as such, can take quite a bit of punishment. The Whirlwind Barb is an especially good choice for Hardcore mode. Maxing the skill Battle Orders will significantly boost your health pool, while the passive Iron Skin skill will increase your defense rating. As for your gear setup, consider using a single Grief runeword and a Stormshield. It will take longer for your character to strike down opponents, but he can block physical attacks while performing the Whirlwind skill.

If you have the guts to venture into Hardcore mode without a shield, then try giving the Frenzy Barb build a try. Dual Grief runewords will take down monsters more quickly, and the increased run/walk bonus from Frenzy can help you get out of sticky situations. Consider using the skill Leap to push enemies back before engaging, as well as hopping out of danger.

Paladin Hardcore Builds

Since Paladins can use the skill Holy Shield, which increases your character’s defense and chance to block, it can take a lot for monsters to strike your Hammerdin down. Even teleporting into the middle of mob groups with the Enigma runeword won’t pose much of a problem since your character can block 75% of attacks, even without a Stormshield.

The Zealot can take down multiple monsters with the skill Zeal. At the same time, he will steal life and mana from your opponents, improving his survivability by a lot, even when surrounded by Diablo’s minions. As long as you invest heavily in Holy Shield and put spare points into Defiance, you should have enough defense to tank damage for your team or run the game solo.

As we stated earlier, the Smiter is typically used to take down Uber bosses. However, Smiters can also solo the game by using a hard-hitting weapon like Grief and spamming Zeal to take care of monster groups. An item with a chance to cast Life Tap can be of tremendous help, especially since your character can’t normally leech life from his opponents without it.

Sorceress Hardcore Builds

A Blizzard Sorceress can dish out huge amounts of damage and freeze enemies in their tracks while keeping their distance. This is what makes this build ideal for Sorceress players. Invest enough points into the Cold Mastery skill to reduce your enemies’ cold resistance by 100% and cast Static Field to swiftly take down cold-immune monsters’ health points to 50% before letting your mercenary finish them off. Again, Stormshield is your best friend to survive Hardcore mode.

If you’re fortunate enough to find the high runes needed to make an Infinity runeword for your mercenary, then switch from Blizzard Sorceress to Lightning/Chain Lightning Sorceress. Lightning-based attacks can take down monsters more quickly than fire and cold-based skills, and lightning-immune monsters usually lose their immunity when exposed to the level-12 Conviction aura from your mercenary’s Infinity.

Druid Hardcore Builds

The Werebear Fireclaw build is the safest Druid build to run in Hardcore mode. Fire Claws dishes out huge amounts of physical and fire damage, depending on your gear setup. Instead of using Oak Sage to boost your health pool, invest heavily in the Lycanthorpy skill and summon a Heart of the Wolverine for added attack rating and damage. Druids can block in Werebear (and Werewolf) form, so, again, find a Stormshield as soon as possible.