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1. Crushplosive Guide | 5/25/2003 6:23:09 AM PDT
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Crushplosive Assassin Venom Archer

The Explosive Archer
Author: Bloodshrike
V 1.09

Introduction: Having read the 10 best/worst uniques in Flux’s decahedron a while ago, I was intrigued by the feedback of the demon machine. I had been trying to make an archer hybrid for all the character classes, and the hard part was making it so it was viable (i.e. actually able to kill at a decent pace in hell). I had been experimenting with the buriza for all my archer variants, but found it waaay too slow, especially since I didn’t have any AoE (area of effect) like multishot on a zon. That is something that most rangers (in truth, they should be called snipers, since they only take out one target at a time) have a problem with. Enter the feedback from Decahedron #10. In it a person wrote in defending the demon machine, and saying that there was a sub-build of necros called “Blowmancers”. I took that idea, and since there was no strategy guide for it on the compendium, I finally decided to write one. This will detail the items needed for any character class that u play it with, and a basic strategy for each. Keep in mind though, this is only based on PvM play. I recently dueled a legit Goldstrike Ranger paladin, and I could only get him to about 50% life with most of my characters. Odd how you can kill hell cows, but not another character. I don’t have much PvP experience though. Since he leached life and mana, and I didn’t, that’s probably why.

Abbreviations I’ll be using:
IAS-Increased attack speed
AoE-Area of effect
FaF-Fire and Forget

Items: There are a few basic absolutely necessary items you need. Luckily, they are all cheap and easy to trade for on the realms. I’m listing the modifications on the items that are necessary for this build.

Armor – Rattlecage. 25% chance of crushing blow, 40% chance of monster flee. Only 70 Strength required. Socket with a plain 15 IAS jewel, or one with elemental damage.

Boots – Goblin Toe. 25% chance of crush blow. Not much else, but between the boots and armor, this makes up 95% of your damage.

Belt – Razortail. 33% piercing attack. 10 to maximum damage (not that that matters). 20 strength required. This allows u to get 83% piercing with kuko, and at least 1/3 of your throwing weapons will pierce.

Weapon 1 – Kuko Shakaku. 50% piercing, Explosive arrows, 40-180 fire damage. 49 dex required. Piercing attack, coupled with crushing blow and explosive arrows, are how you take down large groups of enemies. One kick-ass pyrotechnics show too. :)

Socket this with a Shael rune for 20 ias. This bow is actually better than the Machine, because the Demon Machine is maxed out at 11 fpa (2.2 attacks per second) on any character class with only 20% increased attack speed (IAS). Kuko can get 10 fpa (2.5 attacks per second) at 75 IAS on most characters, but I’d recommend checking here for more information.

Weapon 2 – Any high damage, or high elemental damage throwing weapon u come across. This is the only way you might be able to leach life back, since explosive arrows are considered a magical attack. You would think this makes the build hard, but since it IS a magical attack, that means when u shoot the bow, it always hits, rendering attack rating meaningless. AR will only considered with your throwing weapon. Since your damage will be pitiful on the stats screen, I’d recommend using a high elemental damage throwing weapon, preferably a throwing knife for the larger stack size..

Shield - Tiamat’s Rebuke. The only shield you should consider unless doing a pally ranger (Herald of Zakarum) or necro (Homunculus). Very high elemental damage added to your throwing weapon damage. The block rate is low, but you’re going to be dumping most of your points into dexterity anyways, and with monster flee, you really shouldn’t worry about getting hit. The 91 strength requirement is good too. Socketed with a p diamond, it’ll take care of a lot of your resist problems. The only way this could be replaced is if they came out with a new crushing blow shield in the 1.10 patch.

Helm – There are many options here. Howltusk has 25% monster flee and knockback, but kb is kinda redundant with the monster flee. Face of Horror has 50% monster flee, 10 to all resists, and 20 strength, which could cut down on your strength investment. However, if you’d like + to skills, that’s up to you. Again, socket the helm with a 15 IAS jewel if needed. I don’t use Guailluames Face from the Orphan’s Call set because you would already have 50% crushing blow (so every other hit) from the armor and boots, and it has a high strength requirement of 115. The deadly strike on it wouldn’t help much either.

Amulet – Again, many options. For a help with your IAS, go with either Cat’s Eye or Highlords, though the deadly strike mod on Highlords is meaningless considering your damage. Any rare, crafted, magical amulet would be good here if you get enough ias from your equipment.

Rings – You don’t need life/mana leach or AR, so I’d recommend either magical rings with like 10-15 to all resists, or dwarf star and raven frost. Fire absorb and cold absorb are very nice, and the mods on raven frost would help out a lot.

Gloves – I would recommend Laying of Hands for the IAS and 50% fire resist. I don’t think the 350% damage to demons would help all that much, since I believe its based from your weapon damage. Your call though. There are many set and unique gloves that would be good substitutes. You could also used crafted crushblow gloves, and hope to get 10% crush blow and 20% IAS with some resists.

Strategies, Stats, and Skills

Stats: 91 max strength, 0 energy, and the rest in vitality and dexterity (helpful for throwing and the low blocking rate of Tiamat’s). Get to 100 vitality early on, and add later, since the damage from the bow is minimal, and dex won’t help that much.

Charms: Either + to skill charms, life, resists, or elemental damage. No AR needed.

Strategies: You do have to have some skill in clicking on the monsters, but it actually helps if large packs are coming after you (Hell cows). Just hold shift and shoot towards the enemies. Most will be affected by crushblow/monster flee, and the ones that slip by will be taken out by either your skills on the right click (sorceress/druid/necro/trapassin), or your minions (necro/druid/trapassin), or mercenary.

Mercenaries – Only 2 to consider really. Holy freeze or Might Act 2 Nightmare merc

For the Act 2 merc, I’d recommend giving him Duriels shell, Rockstopper, and Grims burning dead polearm or Blackleach blade socketed with an Amn rune (the chance for weaken rocks, and makes up for the low damage) once they get to about level 42-45. Once they get to about the 60’s range, switch out with a dusk shroud or higher elite Lionheart runeword armor, a mancatcher or higher Honor runeword polearm or spear, and tal’s mask (10% life leach, life, resists).

Assassin: Maxed Venom is goooood. This, along with your traps, are all FaF skills.

For the weapon switch, you could use wizardspike and lidless wall for skills, mana regen, and a lot of resists. Bartucs and lidless would give more + to skills while using fade. Or, keeping in with the theme of the build, Tiamats and a throwing weapon. An Um’d Shako would be good on this character as well, since you’ll be casting FaF traps quite a bit, and you aren’t putting any points in energy.
I did pick up a great strategy from Richard Robinsons Martial artist guide (an excellent guide)
Use mindblast and cloak of shadows on the front of groups of enemies before engaging them. This will decrease their awareness, and cause them to start fighting each other. While they’re doing that, you’re wiping out the monsters in the front row, and Death Sentry will clean out the rest, including the converted monsters after they’ve reverted.
It’s funny, the assassin is an amalgamation of a lot of the characters, without a lot of the drawbacks. Death sentry is CE for a lot lower mana, no need to spam. . Burst of Speed is a mixture of Fanaticism and Vigor. Lightning Sentry and Wake of Inferno are versions of Lightning and Inferno, with a lot lower mana cost and multiple positions.

Mercenary: Act 2

Traps: 1 point Fire blast, max Shock Web, max charged bolt sentry, max Lightning Sentry, max Death Sentry (or just 10 points in here, to allow for more points in Shadow master).

Shadow Disciplines: 1-11 points Shadow Master (You have to trade off with Death Sentry), maxed Venom, 1 point Cloak of Shadows, 1 point Mind Blast.

This is an amalgamation of my other crushplosive builds, so pardon me if it's a little rough. Feel free to check the skill points here: