Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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SDAlogo runner.png This game has a run page on SDA!

I figure someone should start this page. Feel free to add and edit. I guess it should be split in to the following categories:

Viable Builds

(Viable Builds... For a SPEED run, if you play Diablo 2 recreationally or even exclusively online, these builds will be especially effective. And usually more unique and fun to boot!)


Javazon: (Amazon that uses only Javelins) Focusing mostly on Jab, Power Strike, and Charged Strike. One point in Critical Strike should be good with enough manipulation. Gloves that add to Javelin Skills can be obtained later in the game through gambling. Be sure to look for these.


Trapsin: (Assassin that uses the "Traps" skill-tree) Focusing on Fire Blast and Wake of Fire. Burst of Speed is necessary to maximize FRW. +Traps weapons can be gambled late game. Lightning builds can work in 100% much better than a Fire build can. Shadow Master always like a good oskill to have for bosses.


Bone Necro: (Necromancer that uses the "Bone and Poison" skill-tree) Focusing on Teeth, Bone Spear, and Corpse Explosion. No summons aside from oskill gear. Manipulating an early Necromancer head with +Teeth is needed and later heads can be rolled with oskill curses if need be. Bone Spirit is not as adaptable as Bone Spear is. One point in Clay Golem could help to slow down bosses in a 100%. Dim Vision will be a godsend in Hell.


Tank: (Barbarian that is designed to have an incredible amount of Health and Defense) Focusing mostly on Bash, Double Swing, and Stun. Constant manipulation of good oskill Barb helms is necessary to keep damage and leech rates high enough. +Leap Attack items can save time in certain areas of the game. Probably not good for a 100% run, but enough gear and pure weapon mastery can change this. Not for the faint of heart.


Lit Sorc: (Sorceress that uses the "Lightning" skill-tree) Focusing mostly on Lightning and Chain Lightning. This is very dependent on hitting maximum damage potential early on.

Fireball Sorc: (Sorceress that uses the "Fire" skill-tree) Focusing mostly on Fire Bolt and Fireball. Very viable due to Leaf runeword. Begins to have diminishing returns in the 100%.

Meteorb Sorc: (I think you'll figure this one out...) Mixes Frozen Orb with either Fireball or Meteor. Too thinly spread for an any% run, but this build is great at taking out non CI/FI mobs with relative ease in the late game.


Elementalist: (Druid that uses the "Elemental" skill-tree) Focusing on Firestorm and Fissure. No summons aside form oskill gear. Werewolf's gains in FRW do not make up for lost skill points or mana. oskill pelts are a must, though not as necessary in the early game (Firestorm is great AoE for an early spell). Jerks can get a +Hurricane pelt in 100% if they want to make things easy (and choppy).

Werewolf: (Druid that uses the "Shape-Shifting" skill-tree) Focusing on Lycanthropy and Feral Rage. With good pdsc gear, Rabies can be very beneficial for mobs. oskill pelts are a must early on. If gear is manipulated well enough, this build can work it's way in to Hell very easily.


Zealot: (I think you'll figure this one out...) Focusing on Zeal and... that's it. Auras as need be. Attack Rating becomes a limiting factor for this run. Too gear dependent for 100% unless certain runewords can be manipulated on to mercs.

Smiter: (I think you'll figure this one out too...) Focusing on Charge and Smite. Attack Rating is not as important here, but an emphasis on Crushing Blow is. Not viable for 100% unless you can roll the best possible items in a fast manner.

Non-viable Builds

(Same as listed above, it's not that these builds won't work, it's just that they are too complicated for a speed run. If you intend to speed run with one, proceed with caution.)


Bowazons: Too gear dependent for normal runs, too dependent on tanks in 100% runs. Duriel would end this idea.


Kicksins: Terrible damage to speed ratios in the short run. Would be considerable for a 100% run if they had better crowd control or AoE.


Summon Necro/Fishmancer/Golemancer: No direct control over damage output in the short run. Only viable in group runs, unless a merc could somehow wear Bramble or Edge.


Singer: No dependable skills below 21, making any% very useless. Great for a 100% group run, but this build is not meant to solo without godly gear.


Enchantress: Only good with a fully synergized Enchant. Would be good for a group run, but this build can only do so much compared to other melee/support builds.


Windy Druid: No good damage until late game.

Kodiak/Werebear: Only viable as a tank until the late game, unless you consider using Shock Wave to whittle down boss hp.


Hammerdin: Too gear dependent, too mana dependent. Absolutely terrible at killing anything in Normal.

Auradin: Requires late game runewords or another Paladin to become actualized.

Common Slang Terms that you should know


At any point, in terms of Diablo 2 at least, if you hear about someone mentioning "leeching" they are usually referring to a way of "yanking" experience. The term "leech" in games was derived from exactly what the slug-like creature does in real life, it piggybacks off of an organism while it continues to free-load and suck energy out of its host. "Leeching" in D2 is quite the same, if someone is fighting a boss, and you hit it once, technically, when he kills it, you will get your 1% of EXP from the damage you did. You didn't have to kill the other 99% of the boss, and yet you still free-loaded and got your cut of the treasure.


"Synergy" is a word that describes when you combine two things, and together they are greater than the sum of each of them individually.


"Tanking" was typically a term derived from Boss-Oriented online games (World Of Warcraft). At some point somebody found that bossing (or the act of hunting bosses) was most effective when they broke it down to a science. You had four classes of players that made up the team that fought the boss. Tanks, DPS, Support, and Healing. The "tank" (The term once again derived from the real-life example of a tank, in a sense, something pretty fucking unstoppable in terms of its defense/vitality/health/armor) was the player that engaged the boss first and soaked up all the damage, keeping everyone else safe. And he didn't necessarily have to do ANY damage, just enough to keep the boss's attention. In D2, the melee classes are the only ones that make viable tanks, however, a tank does NOT need to be built exclusively to hunt bosses. Obviously they are just as ridiculous in stature if a regular mob of monsters is attacking them, and the same mentality carries over.

AoE (typically called "Crowd Control")

AoE or "Area of Effect" is a term used to describe spells or skills that do damage to just what the name suggests: an area. Flip the words to understand the meaning; Area of Effect, something that affects an area. Any skill in D2 that isnt a direct attack towards one or a group of monsters will do AoE damage. Just to name a few; The Druid's Fissure, The Sorceress's Firewall, The Paladin's Blessed Hammer, or even The Barbarian's Whirlwind. Sometimes called "mob" attacks (when more than one enemy is walking around, players commonly refer to the group of monsters as a "mob"), sometimes called group attacks, or AoE attacks; However you slice it, the idea of a multi-attack combined with the environment in order to deal a tremendous amount of damage to alot of a monsters is the mentality. ("Monsters" being the key word, AoE attacks are not deployed to attack just one monster. Typically, at least...).


"Gambling" in D2 is pretty unique in the sense that you are in fact gambling with the gold, just like you would in real life, but the rewards you get are slightly different. There is an NPC called "Gheed" in which you can trade with for items that are unidentified and extremely pricey, however, the pay off can be gigantic. So if you see that a guide somewhere says to "try to gamble some good Paladin gear" you know that they mean talk to Gheed and try to score big by getting some good Paladin equips. (Note: the chance the an item will be good or bad is pre-calculated, and you have to buy it first before you know anyway. this can be risky and usually expensive).


"Hotkeys" you can understand if you simply flip the words around to yourself; Hot keys, keys that are hot, keys on your keyboard that are "hot". In D2, all the skills and spells you have can get a little overwhelming, especially because of all the ones you need to be able to change to on-demand. If your using a fire based attack, and you spot a fire-immune monster on the horizon, you need to be able to switch to a different skill NOW rather than later. If you press "S" in-game you can open up a panel that shows all of your skills, now if you hover your mouse over one, and press a "function" key (f1 through f12) it will hotkey the skill to that key. Meaning after you do that, you can walk around in-game, and if you press that key you assigned it to, lets say f2, then it takes you RIGHT to that skill. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you hotkey your skills, or your important ones at least.

Runewords/Simply just saying the name of the Runeword

"Runewords" were a very unique thing included in D2. Certain items have sockets in them, meaning them have between one and six "slots" that you can put gems or runes in to enhance the equipment. However, with runewords, there are pre-existing "recipes" that make unbelieveably strong gear. Typically, some players will simply abbreviate the name of the runeword in articles/guides so it can be hard to follow all of them. For instance, the runeword "Heart of the Oak" is typically referred to as a "HotO" so if you didn't know that recipe, you would be awfully confused. It's a good thing to at least familiarize yourself with a few runewords, or at least pick out a few that you would like to hunt down. Off the top of my head, I know that if you have a body armor that has 3 sockets in it, and you put in a Jah rune, an Ith rune, and a Ber rune (in that order, rune words have to go in exactly the order they say) you will get the runeword "Enigma". And the armor will give you +1 to teleport, even for classes like the Barbarian. So you can see how these runewords can be powerful, its just a two step process to find the weapon/armor with the correct number of sockets, and then finding the runes you need. (Note: you can find a link to a complete list of all the runewords and their attributes here).

Putting something "On-Switch"

In Diablo 2, (I'm pretty sure this feature is JUST in the expansion, Lord of Destruction) you can have two sets of weapons equipped at one time. You can have a sword and shield equipped, and then also have a two-handed axe equipped at the same time, and you simply switch between the two with the hotkey "W". So if someone says your gear should be for instance for an amazon a javelin and a shield, and a bow "on-switch". What they mean is that you should have both equipped, and switch between the two with "W" when its necessary, this kind of ties in with hot keys. (Protip: This is used most effectively when you have a weapon that gives you +speed or +skills so you can simply keep it out only when you need it, and switch back to your regular weapon almost instantly, still keeping the buffs).


Any skill that alters your character/someone elses character is usually called a "buff". (Note: passive skills do not count, as you cannot "cast" them on somebody else or yourself). For instance, all of the Paladins aura's are considered buffs, as they help other people out in a positive way, the auras make them stronger. Anything that increases attack speed, or health, or defense, any of those things are considered buffs. (Protip: Spend an almost exclusive amount of time "buffing up" before a boss fight, it almost always is the difference between an easy victory and getting annihilated because you forgot to put on your god damned mana shield).

Speed Strategies and Techniques

Map manipulation and Scouting

Diablo II's SP map setup is unique from LAN/Bnet in that a created character uses the same map layout upon creation. Once you have entered Act I with your character, a map has already been rolled out of a large pool of possible maps. The rolled map layout is referred to as a seed. The bad thing about this is that each run will use a different map, meaning that individual planning and manipulation has to take place before playskill is considered. The good thing about this is that maps can be constantly rerolled for better layouts, shrine locations, and mob locations.

Once you have rolled a map, you will have to do an appropriate amount of scouting to ensure that the layout will breed speed and efficiency. A character's discovered map/waypoint access is located in the character save files, meaning that the unexplored map can be backed up after the character is created. Once this is done, simply playing through (or hero editing through, to save time) will determine whether or not the map is worth keeping. Once a proper map is found, make a copy of the map layouts before overwriting with the original map data.

According to suga, you can determine the map seed that your character has rolled using ATMA to read your .d2s file. Running Diablo II with the command line "-seed *" (where * is the seed number given/desired) will make all new characters bind to this map layout. Removing the command on subsequent loads will maintain the map while still allowing shrines to be altered on new segments.

Item and Shrine manipulation

All shrines aside from wells, Health, and Mana shrines are totally manipulatable (apparently). Use this to reroll the perfect sequence of shrines.

Gambling windows will refresh after every complete transaction unless another person is within a certain distance of the vendor. If a group is trying to have one person gamble, have the rest of the group fuck off. The same can be said of non-gambling manipulation, such as looking to buy pre-identified blues or imbuing certain items.

Certain chests have a much higher TC than chests around them. This should be very obvious in early Act 1 and the Countess' Tower, and these can be used to roll full potion sets, gems, or rare items for money.

Shortcut Keys

Shift click will spend all points, fill belts, and fill tomes.

Remove/equip belts to quickly shift potions to inventory, speeding up potion buying for three row belts. For two row belts (Sashes and Light Belts), quickly buying single potions is faster.

Hotkey skills when you have time to do so. Mousewheel will cycle through hotkeyed skills on the fly.

Try to keep a second gear set for a shortcut to buffs and ranged/melee tradeoffs.

Shift+number feeds your mercenary. Feed your poor mercenary and you will probably save time and money.

Shift+click makes you attack in place. Use this to keep your melee characters in their "sweet spot," or your chance to hit can plummet when a new monster gets close. You can also use this to blind fire spells without targeting enemies.

Punch Duriel in the face. Punch Infector of Souls in the face. Punch the Ancients in the face. Everyone else gets off with a slap.

Farming Areas

Cairn Stones: With proper AoE or Poison Shrines, this area can be kited up to level 6 with relative ease.

Tristram: Close proximity of Champs and Uniques makes for great leveling up to 12. Only usable in 100% runs.

Countess: Notably good exp for its location in the first act, this area becomes doubly beneficial when seeking runes from the Countess.

Inner Cloister: Bone Ash is surrounded by a minimum amount of high exp mobs and has high chances to drop great early game items.

Far Oasis: Beetleburst and his mob gives good exp up to level 18.

Canyon of the Magi/False Tombs: Great experience gains up to level 18 for non-AoE builds, and each tomb contains a high TC chest.

Flayer Jungle: Large mobs of Flayers and the like are fodder for any passing runner.

River of Flame: Hellforge always drops a rune through certain ilvl values. Manipulating these in 100% runs can make otherwise rare runes become viable.



Useful Items


The earliest place for getting runes is the Countess, dropping up to Ral and generally having the highest chance for those low runes in the game. Getting a Ral from from random monster drops is impossible before some point in act 3, and even then it's way too luck-dependant. Chances to recieve one or more of the respective rune per Countess-kill in a 1-player game:

El 50.0569972%
Eld 35.7066925%
Tir 29.8937898%
Eth 21.4034589%
Nef 20.6893889%
Tal 18.0724854%
Ith 14.6487044%
Ral 12.3139942%

Chances for two fitting runes are lower than just multiplying the respective chances. When going for Tal+Eth (Stealth) and Tir+Ral (Leaf) in two runs, don't accept a segment with Tir+Eth, as Tal+Ral is much more difficult to get.


For a speedrun, it's important to run speedy. Get some boots with Faster Run/Walk. That affix doesn't spawn on magic/rare items until quite late, but there are a couple of alternatives:

Hsarus' Iron Heel (set Chain Boots): lvl 3, 30 str, 20% run, 25% fire resist

Gorefoot (unique Heavy Boots): lvl 9, 18 str, 20% run, 2% manaleech, +2 Leap (Barbarian only), other crap

With 0% magic find in a one-player game, drop chances are as follows:

Source Hsarus Gorefoot
Andariel (Quest) 1:92 1:140
Andariel (regular) 1:205 1:321
others 1:2000 or worse 1:4000 or worse

as both boots have their best chances at Andariel (Quest-drop), getting one or the other is feasible to manipulate. Here are some run-speeds for comparison, including the relative increases in actual run-speed by equipping the 20% boots.

type no fr/w 20% boots 25% stealth 45% both
normal 6 6.68 +11.3% 6.84 7.36 +7.6%
lvl 1 Burst of Speed 6.52 7.2 +10.4% 7.36 7.88 +7.1%

The current Assassin Speed Run has ~55 minutes of post-Andarial gameplay. If half of that is spent running, getting fast boots would save around 2 minutes.

Sinking a second point into Burst of Speed would save roughly ~45 seconds on running, but will lose time due to reduced damage output. You could buy a claw with +1 shadow in act 2 at clvl 15 and put it on switch - if the shopping can be done fast enough, it could save a few seconds total.


Tarnhelm: lvlreq 15, can be dropped with a chance of less than 1:800 from mephisto/diablo, can be gambled with a chance of 1:10.000. Both not viable.

rare circlet: +1 to <skilltree> has lvlreq 15, can be gambled as soon as circlets appear during gambling. Chances:

stats lvlreq chance when rare chance when magic
+1 to <skilltree> 15 1:61 1:831
+1 to <skilltree>, 10% faster run 15 1:2.112 1:449.940
+1 to <skilltree>, 20% faster run 16 (!) 1:864 1:184.066
+1 to <skilltree>, any faster run 15 or 16 1:613 1:130.627

around 1 every 7 gambled items is rare. It could be imbued if white cirlets dropped anywhere early enough.

An alternative is the Nadir runeword (NefTir) for it's charges of Cloak of Shadows. CoS does not work agains act bosses, superuniques (including baal's wave bosses) and the oblivion mages in chaos sanctuary.

Gambling Amulets

What affixes are possible at what level can be seen for example here.

Amulets with +1 to <Skilltree> (i.e. +1 Traps) are wearable at clvl 15 and require ilvl (item level) 20. When gambling, the ilvl is randomly chosen between (clvl-5) and (clvl+4), so theoretically you can gamble such an amulet at clvl 16, but 9 of 10 amulets won't have the needed ilvl. When the ilvl is high enough, your chances to hit the desired skill tree are between 1:100 and 1:200.

Eye of Ettlich drops too seldom to consider (best chance: Duriel with 1:1200), and even ~1700 gambling segments (clvl 16) are quicker than 1200 Duriel kills.

In the current Assassin Speed Run, gambling a +1 trap amu would yield slightly more damage than the two synergy points from killing Izual.

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