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1. In-depth look at Skills and Equipment | 6/10/2004 11:44:1 0PM PDT
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Page 1: Ilkroi's Kicksin Guide v2.0
Page 2: In-depth look at Skills and Equipment.
Page 3: Equipment Setups.
Page 4: The Kicksin's Guide to Fade.
Page 5: Technical Details.


These were taken from several sources and are considered common knowledge for kickers. Many props and thank-you's to Pheonix Hawk for his Assassin FAQ. Visit the link for more info on assassins in general.

  • Properties that do work with kicks (abbreviated from of a list by Pheonix-Hawk):
    Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, Slow Target
    Magic, Elemental, and Poison Damage (not displayed on the character screen)
    Knockback (Dragon Talon has its own knockback, only works for Dragon Flight)
    Life/Mana steal and Life/Mana after kills
    %Chance to Cast on Attack/Strike
    +% Damage (except from weapon)
    +AR (except on your weapon)
    +% AR (from anywhere)
    Blind, Freeze, Prevent Monster Heal
    MF and Gold find

  • Properties that do not work with kicks:
    Deadly/Critical Strike
    Enhanced Damage from equipment (if it works it doesn't display on character screen)
    +% Damage to Demons/Undead
    + Min / Max damage (so no 3/20/20 charms for kickers)

  • Kick Damage Display Bug - For Dragon Talon and Dragon Flight, only the physical damage is listed. Magic, elemental and poison damage is still added to kicks, but it isn't displayed on the screen.

  • Claw Mastery does not affect kick damage, even when using claws.

  • Dual Claw Setup - Melee mods such as IAS, Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, prevent monster heal, life leech, etc. are not applied from the secondary claw. Use the left inventory slot for the primary claw, and put the seconday in the right if you are using C/C. This averages the base weapon speeds of the two claws, but you still don't get any IAS bonuses from the secondary claw. If you notice that your mods aren't working, then pick up the secondary claw and put it back on.

  • Skill Automods on Claws - Many assassin claws can have skills as automods. With automods, there can be up to 3 different skills, and each one can have up to a +3 mod. See here for more details


    Kicking Speed - 7 frame initial, 2 frame followup - this is a must for Hell and PvP
    Crusing Blow - As high as possible
    Hit Recovery - Try for 48, the next breakpoint is at 86
    Damage Reduction - 50% - there is no excuse for not making this goal
    Resists - Maxed in Hell
    Strength - Enough for equipment - 100 is a good number to shoot for if you haven't figured out what equipment you will use
    Dexterity - Enough for claws or max blocking at your current level - 130 is a nice round number
    Life - The last priority in PvM; the game can easily be finished with around 1000 life
    Other considerations: Blocking, Physical Damage, Elemental/Magic Damage


    Since kickers have very loose skill requirements, the standard setup for a kicker is to make something that will work in both PvM and PvP. If you are going pure PvM, then more options exist for skills. The biggest distinction between kickers (past which of the three builds you are using) is which weapon you use. Although it is possible to make a good PvM kicker using almost any variant, you will have to decide for yourself whether or not it is good for PvP. (The word from the local PvP kickers is that kickers require a lot of skill, and are at best average duelers.)

  • Cookie-cutter: Works PvP and PvM: Put extra points in Dragon Flight and Claw Block, then Shadow Master, Cloak of Shadows, Burst of Speed. Unless dueling casters, this build uses a weapon/shield combination.

  • Kicker-Trapper: Max Death Sentry and Lightning Sentry. The extra points can boost Shadow Master or Lightning. This is primarily for PvM (but might work PvP as well).

  • Faded Tank: So far I'm almost alone in advocating Fade on a kicker. If the IAS from BoS is not needed, then the Fade aura can be used at no penalty. This skill provides resistances and 1% damage reduction per level. The only weakness you will have is with this build is the equipment restrictions.

  • Claw-Claw Kicker: Generally slower in PvM than the cookie-cutter, but it is able to finish the game as well as the next kicker. C/C does not work with against melee builds in PvP (but C/S may be an option).


    This is meant to be an explanation of all the skills that can be used with a kicker. I tried to include the general ranges that work, but limit it to the mainstream builds. All one point wonders are noted clearly.

  • Martial Arts

    Dragon Talon (20 points)
    As your main attack, you will almost always want this skill to be maxed. Try to aim for at least 5 kicks (level 24). More will give you higher damage, but will also keep you kicking longer (meaning groups of weak enemies will be slower since you may kill a monster on the third kick). Physical damage primarily comes from boots, strength, dex, and skill enhanced damage. Equations are found in the details section.

    Dragon Flight (1 or 20 points) One Point Wonder
    In PvM this is mostly for transportation. When playing PvP it becomes one of your secondary attack. This has higher damage potential in a single kick, but doesn't compare to a full round of Dragon Talon, which usually has 5-6 kicks total. Leave this at a single point for PvM.

  • Shadow Disciplines

    Venom (20 points)
    Pretty much every kicker should have this skill maxed. Although it is not displayed on your damage screen, venom is applied to all kicks. Not appearing is a display bug and nothing more. The character screen displays your physical kick damage without including magic, elemental, or poison damage.

    Claw Block (1, 5-10, or 15-20 points)
    Leave this at base unless you are planning on using claws. Even using claws, I'd only suggest 5-10 points, though some duelers have been known to boost this to 20 for maximum blocking.

    Burst of Speed (1-7 points)
    This is the main aura for most kickers. It provides a nice addition to both kick speed and movement. It works well with only one point for most weapons, though some need more without additional IAS. Even a kicker who decides to boost Fade will use this aura through Normal difficulty and most of Nightmare difficulty (with only 1 hard point).

    Fade (1, ~5, or 20 points)
    For most builds this is left at 1 as a prerequisite. Each level provides 1% damage reduction, and some resists. After level 20 the points are only useful as added DR, since it suffers from a severe case of diminishing returns on the resists. Most kickers do not use this skill (but it is a prereq for Venom).

    Shadow Master (1 or ~10) One Point Wonder
    A very useful summon. It gets optimum equipment at level 17 (including +skills). The spell level used by the SM is not consistent between guides, but it is either
    <Aslvl>/2 + <Slvl>/3 or <Aslvl + Slvl>/2
    where Aslvl is the current skill level the Assassin has, and Slvl is the current level of the Shadow, including all +skills. I prefer having a strong Shadowmaster to play with. In Hell a level 18+ Master can kill things by herself, and go an entire round of play without being recast. She is as good as a second merc.

    Mind Blast (1 or more points) One Point Wonder
    For PvM this is a great skill for stunning monsters, or converting them to give you more allies (temporarily). In PvP this skill can be used to place opponents into stun-lock. Essentially when the swirlies are over their head, then any hit will trigger the hit-recovery animation. When used with Wake of Fire this is very effective (even when WoF has 1 point). This strategy can be useful in PvP, but I'm not very good at it.

    Cloak of Shadows (1, or 10+) One Point Wonder
    PvM this skill is most effective at a single point. This allows you to quickly move from enemy to enemy without fire from archers or other ranged enemies. This isn't quite as good as it sounds for PvP - details are in the common misconceptions section.

  • Traps

    Death Sentry (1, or 20 points) One Point Wonder
    This is an incredibly useful PvM skill. At a single point it will nicely finish small groups after you have dropped two bodies. At higher levels it can destroy an entire room. One of the build options is to max this skill and Lightning Sentry. If making something for pure PvP then this skill is not needed.

    Blade Fury (1 point) One Point Wonder
    One of the most useful one-point wonders in the game. This can be used for difficult situations (eg Chaos Sanctuary), or against players you don't want to get close to (casters who do metor/blizzard on themselves). More points do not help this skill, and end up making it cost much more than you really want.

    Blade Shield (0, or 1 point) One Point Wonder
    I hear it can be useful in PvP. Adds weapon damage to someone just for getting close to you, schnifty. The biggest weakness is the short duration.

    I've tried to include all of the possible weapons that are worth using on a kicker. Since the attack speed calculations take time, I've included what level of BoS and how much additional IAS you need for each to get the fastest kicking at the end in brackets [ ]. These numbers already include the IAS from the weapon (but not any Shael Runes). Fade can be used when it's easy to get max frames with 0 BoS. I didn't list a 0 BoS rating for anything needing more than 50 IAS.

  • Fleshripper - lvl 68 - xu-godx recommends this as the best weapon for PvM. The physical damage mods are incredible: -20 BWS, -50% target defence, 25% CB, 50% OW, 20% Slow, PMH. This is the most economical choice for any PvM kicker. (Although Fury has similar mods, it is useless without the CB.) [3 BoS and 20 IAS, or 12 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Kingslayer Phase Blade - lvl 54 - This has mods which are almost exactly like the Fleshripper, with higher CB and other stats that are lower. 33% CB, 50% Open Wounds, -25% target defence, bonus to AR, 10 STR and PMH. If using a Kingslayer Zerker, then a level 5 BoS will provide enough IAS. [PB: 0 BoS and 15 IAS, or 1 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Stormlash - lvl 82 - Expensive and late game, but possibly the best weapon for PvM (This is the main choice of Wizadept.). The only thing it really lacks is open wounds. It has 33% CB, 237 ave lit dmg, static and tornado on striking, and 3-9 lit absorb. Tornado stuns enemies making your life much easier. [1 BoS and 15 IAS, or 4 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Lacerator - lvl 68 - A very nice companion to melee damage, this has a 33% chance to cast Amp on striking. You're basically garaunteed to have this happen on every set of kicks. If you choose a primary weapon with very good physical mods, but no elemental or magical damage, then this makes an excellent weapon switch. [1 BoS and 15 IAS, or 4 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Black in a Flail (Knout, Scourge) - lvl 35 -40% CB (the most possible on any 1-h weapon, excepting ber'd weapons). This is a cheap choice for taking down DC. [2 BoS and 25 IAS, or 5 BoS and 10 IAS, or 9 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Doom Warspike - lvl 67 - No crushing blow, but the other mods are nice. 2 Skills, 25% OW, PMH, Feeze Target (+3), Level 12 Holy Freeze (50% slow and 87 cold dmg), 5% chance of lvl 18 Volcano (68 damage and 68 fire damage). [Warspike: 2 BoS and 0 IAS; Zerker: 5 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Gimmershred - lvl 70 - Hands-down this is the best source of elemental damage on a kicker. It gives an average of 902 elemental damage per attack, but has heafty requirements for you level on BoS. Famine and Baranar's do not have any competition on this weapon for elemental damage (and it is far cheaper than Famine). Base speed of 10, 30 IAS.[8 BoS and 20 IAS, or 12 BoS and 10 IAS]

  • Crescent Moon Phase Blade - lvl 54 - Mostly useful for the Static, Chain Lightning, OW and Magic Absorb. This makes a great weapon to use against crowds of monsters, and possibly Bone Necros since it allows you to partially resist them. [0 BoS and 35 IAS or 4 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Azurewrath - lvl 85 - A Ladder-only oddity more than anything else. With 1 to skills, 750 average magic damage, 5-10 to attributes, good attack speed, and a nifty aura this will work for PvM if you happen to have one. This has some limited potential in PvP where magic resist is non-existance, and many duelers do not have maxed resists for melee duels. [0 BoS and 25 IAS, or 1 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Beast Caddy or War Spike - lvl 64 - With lvl 9 Fanat, 20% CB, 25% OW, PMH, and 25-40 str, this is a fairly decent choice Base speed -10, 40 IAS, 29 SIAS. The 29 IAS from lvl 9 Fanaticism is equivalent to a level 2 BoS, so no additional IAS is needed from any source. This will give you the highest kick damage of any weapon. Having a Lacerator on switch to give amp damage will give you the highest damage of any weapon by far. [Caddy/Warspike: 0 BoS and 0 IAS; Zerker 1 BoS and 0 IAS]

  • Death's Web - lvl 66 - A PvP choice originally recommended to me by Wizadept. Two to all skills and minus 40-50 enemy resists make this a good choice for opponents with low poison resistance. This makes a good combination with Trang's Gloves and Bramble. I don't usually play PvP, but this is included for completeness. It can either be socketed with a Shael rune or a 5/5 Poison Facet. [5 BoS and 40 IAS or 9 BoS and 30 IAS, or 15 BoS and 20 IAS]

  • Chaos Katars - There are several options for this runeword. You can make it in a Suwayyah (lvl 57) for flexibility and resale, or in Runic Talons (lvl 60) to take advantage of Fade. Advantages of the runeword are: 340 average Magic damage, 25% OW, 10 strength, chance for skill bonuses, Frozen Orb on striking. The best skills to have on claws are going to be Venom, Dragon Flight, Shadow Master, Claw Block (for dual-wielding), and Fade (for Runic). Chaos is excellent for fighting casters in PvP, and can be used for PvM. [Runic: 0 BoS and 20 IAS; Suwayyah: 7 BoS and 0 IAS]**

  • Bartuc's Cutthroat - Very cheap option, and it adds some nice mods. This is useful as a mid-game weapon and as a secondary claw for Chaos.

  • Jade Talon - Useful as a secondary claw when you need resists.

  • Wind runeword - There could be some potentail for this claw in a nice 2-socket claw. If nothing else you've got something to do with an elite 2-s claw with awesome skills. [Runic: 0 BoS and 15 IAS, or 1 BoS and 0 IAS; Suwayyah: 2 BoS and 20 IAS, or 5 BoS and 0 IAS]

    ** The numbers listed for the speeds on Chaos are assuming that there is no secondary claw, or that the secondary claw has the same base speed. Runic Chaos and Bartucs have the same speeds, as do Suwayyah Chaos and Jade Talon. Using Runic Chaos + Jade Talon requires 0 BoS and 45 IAS or 1 Bos and 0 IAS. Suwayyah Chaos and Bartucs requires 2 BoS and 0 IAS.

    Repairing equipment

    Use ort and ral runes to repair runewords! Your weapons will not lose durability unless you use a regular attack (or whirlwind). However, armor can be very expensive to repair (especially if it has enhanced durability as a superior mod). The repairing cube recipies are:
    ort + weapon = repaired weapon and ral + armor = repaired armor.

    Last edit: 06-10-04

    Page 1: Ilkroi's Kicksin Guide v2.0
    Page 2: In-depth look at Skills and Equipment.
    Page 3: Equipment Setups.
    Page 4: The Kicksin's Guide to Fade.
    Page 5: Technical Details.