Paladin vs. Sorceress: Face-off

Find out who wins our character face-off between Sorceress and Paladin! Who would you play?

Diablo 2 characters
Fan Art by Oxara

In Diablo II, there are seven main classes that you can play as: Amazon, Assassin, Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Paladin and Sorceress. The class that you choose will impact your tactics and the journey you take as the game progresses. Before you make your decision, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each option, because each character has their own special skillset. Their strength, dexterity, vitality and energy will also uniquely grow as you gain in level.

This is important because it also impacts the gear your character can wear. Other than class-specific gear, you can equip all characters with every item, as long as they meet the item’s stat requirements. Unconventional builds can also have special skill and gear combinations, but that’s a story for another time.

If you’re undecided about which character to play in Diablo II and are torn between being a paladin or sorceress (or a pally and sorc, as they’re also known), read on to find out which is the best choice for you.


So, you’re considering playing as a Paladin, or ‘knight of the faith’. According to the character description in the game, the Paladin is a battle-ready warrior, whose faith forms the backbone of his power. He believes in fighting for what is right. He does this by placing blessings over his allies using holy magic and by exacting justice on his enemies.

Character History

According to the lore, Paladins were originally warriors of the Zakarum faith. Their job was to protect fellow believers from the many dangers and convert non-believers. However, during a bloody crusade, there was a rebellion within the ranks. Many Paladins were unsupportive of the brutal methods being used during the Inquisition. As a result, a new Order of the Paladins arose. Their job was to protect the innocent from the true source of corruption. These were: Diablo, Baal and Mephisto, the Three Prime Evils.

Starting Point

To begin, you start with:


As your Paladin wins battles and begins to power up, he gains Life +2, Stamina +1 and Mana +1.5. You also receive 5 stat points, which you get to distribute as you want. Paladins are a melee-oriented class, which means they work best as part of a group. This also allows Paladins to go up the levels a lot fast than in single player.

Character Skills

A Paladins power is made from a mixture of Offensive Auras, Defensive Auras and Combat Skills. As your Paladin grows in level, you will unearth new skills:

LevelOffensive AurasDefensive AurasCombat Skills
1MightPrayer Resist FireSacrifice, Smite
6Holy Fire, ThornsDefiance, Resist ColdHoly Bolt
12Blessed AimCleansing, Resist LightningZeal, Charge
18Holy Freeze, ConcentrationVigorVengeance, Blessed Hammer
24Holy Shock, SanctuaryMeditationConversion, Holy Shield
30Fanaticism, ConvictionRedemption, SalvationFist of the Heavens

The bulk of the Paladin’s power is in his ability to cast powerful auras. As he’s a melee-oriented character, these auras can be extended to cover others in your party, which is why groups are always on the lookout for a Paladin. He can only use one aura at a time, but one alone provides the group with a great boost.

Skills: Our Top Picks

Zeal: The most popular Paladin skill is Zeal, which one can gain at level 12. This works by making the Paladin hit a maximum of five times with just one mouse click. It also gives you an attack rating bonus. This is best used to clear a big group of monsters or to quickly leach back life and mana if you have items in your possession that can leach. However, there are dangers involved with using zeal. You have to wait for your Paladin to use up Zeal before using a different move, which leaves you at risk of dying in the middle of it.

Blessed Hammer: Gained at level 18, this skill works by summoning a blessed hammer to spiral around you, smashing through anything in its path. For the ultimate combo, mix the Blessed Hammer with Offensive Aura, Concentration, and it will let five hammers loose to do around 400 magic damage. This makes it a great move if you’re surrounded.

Salvation: Although not the most useful aura, there’s a reason you have to wait until level 30 until your Paladin will receive this aura. It works by making you immune to all elemental damage (i.e. it makes you able to resist much of the power of a Sorceress!). Salvation is particularly useful against unique elementa, so is a good skill to have,


If you’re going to engage your Paladin in PvP in Diablo, you need to be very well prepared. That’s because it’s not their forte. Godly equipment is very handy to have in these situations, as is picking the right duelling build. Why not specialise as a Smiter or Charger and surprise other players. Their shock will leave them unprepared to fight you as they normally fight Paladins, which works very well to your favour. A downside of this is that you will need a lot of Stone of Jordan rings to afford to buy everything.


Thinking about choosing to be a sorceress? She’s also one of the five original classes in Diablo II and specialises in elemental magic, which is cast using her staff. Her magic is elemental, meaning all of her spells fall into three categories: lightning, fire and cold.

Character History

Until recently, the Zann Esu (or Sorceresses) lived in isolation and only left their secret home to recruit new apprentices. In private they studied to master magic in its purest form, with their focus being on elemental magic. However, with emergence of The Prime Evils, the Sorceresses rejoined the world to protect everyone from Evil and its minions. The clan hasn’t forgotten their quest to achieve ultimate purity with their magic. They believe that defeating the Evil will allow them to become the most powerful mages in all of Sanctuary.

Starting Point

As a Sorceress, you begin with:


As your Sorceress gains in level, she receives Life +1, Stamina +1 and Mana +2. This is really similar to a Paladin, but with slightly more Mana and less Life.

Character Skills

Ultimately, the Sorceress is the weakest character from a physical perspective. She’s rather useless in a melee battle, but can become competent in hand-to-hand combat if you give her the right equipment. A Sorceresses magic, however, is very useful. Her skills are:

LevelLightning SpellsFire SpellsCold Spells
1Charged BoltFire Bolt, WarmthIce Bolt, Frozen Armour
6Static Field, TelekinesisInfernoFrost Nova, Ice Blast
12Nova, LightningBlaze, Fire BallShiver Armor
18Chain Lightning, TeleportFire Wall, EnchantGlacial Spike
24Thunder Storm, Energy ShieldMeteorBlizzard, Chilling Armor
30Lightning MasteryFire Mastery, HydraFrozen Orb, Cold Mastery

To be a great Sorceress, you can funnel all of your skill and experience into one of the three types of magic. This will lead you to being a master at this type of magic, and ultimately make you much strong.

Skills: Our Top Picks

Lightning: There are numerous attack spells if you lead your Sorceress down a Lightning path, however none of them are high level. They also have a very large damage range, so you won’t kill something small with just one shot. A positive aspect of Lightning magic is that it doesn’t cost much mana to cast the spells. A Lightning Sorceress is probably the most popular choice in multiplayer, with Static Field allowing you to stay a safe distance from the fight.

Fire: The most damaging spells are fire ones. Don’t just choose to be a Fire Sorceress without due consideration though. There is also a big lack in direct attack spells if you’re a master of Fire magic. Playing up to the Sorceresses lack of skill in close combat, most fire spells allow you to cast them before running away from the immediate danger. With no defensive Fire magic skills, this ability to run away comes in handy!

Cold: Although cold spells are less damaging than the other two, they have the added benefit of slowing down your opponents. While moving at half speed, or even frozen, monsters tend to shatter when they die and then can’t be resurrected. Cold magic is probably the safest choice, as it allows you to cast your magic and quickly run away. A downside to choosing Cold magic is that the best spells come after level 18, so you need to build a lot of experience first.

So, which character do I choose?

All in all, it just depends how you’d like to play the game. If you’re looking to be on the front line, using your Strength and Stamina to beat monsters, then you should choose to be a Paladin. Alternatively, should you wish to become a master at tactics and use your Mana and Energy to wear down opponents (or if you want the glory of saving your party members when they die in the middle of a battle), then being a Sorceress is for you.