Sub_Zero - Druid


Character Intro and Overview

With all of the tournaments I’ve played in it’s kind of strange I’ve never made a Hall of Glory entry. Perhaps it’s because I’m always giving tips on the PK forum on a daily basis. But, this guy is most definitely worthy of his own place in the Hall — allow me to introduce to you Sub_Zero.

I only play tournaments and Sub_Zero is a Druid I created for the Set Worshippers III Tournament. He’s similar to other Winter Fury Druids I've created, but he's unquestionably my strongest character to date. I achieved a lot of "firsts" with this character: first time I've ever obtained all Unique Charms in the confines of an event; first time I've pushed a skill to lvl 100; and first time I successfully cleared Hell Domain at /players 8.

I think what's different about my approach to this character and the reason why I decided to do a Hall of Glory entry is because when most other players do cold Druids, they might max Winter Fury, but they focus on Sandstorm or Tornado as their killing skill. I didn't. I went the "total Winter Fury" route and used Arctic Blast as an adjunct. I put points in Tornado only for the synergy. It was a very focused build with only 5 skills ever receiving hard points.

Stats and Attributes

All Energy.
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Skills

Arctic Blast (Max) — this is where you dump your first 5 points. At a very high level this does an incredible amount of damage, physical and cold. I look at Arctic Blast as a sniper tool — taking out high-life difficult bosses that Winter Fury and the merc are not going to quickly do on their own. One of the coolest aspects of this skill is the sheer length of the blast: your merc hammers away while you pummel the boss with Arctic Blast in safety from half a screen away. In Hell Difficulty when you’re often amp’d, the long range of Arctic Blast is really nice — you might be amp’d, but you’re far enough away that you usually don’t get hit.

Winter Fury )Max) — this is the bread and butter of Sub_Zero and is his primary killer. In Normal difficulty this skill is nothing short of godly. With the exception of really high life monsters like Cyclops, Winter Fury can put nearly any monster into hit recovery. Hit recovery is what makes this build so friggin beautiful. To see a Lost Farm pack of 75 cows jerking to the pulse and not being able to swing at you is what it’s all about.

As soon as you pick up Winter Fury at 6, max it. Hard points boosts the radius which makes the skill so safe. In comparison to the Paladin’s Holy Freeze, Winter Fury does not have the slowing effect that the Pally’s aura has. But, Winter Fury has so much more damage that the hit recovery really becomes its selling point.

Cyclone Armor (Max) — this skill is going to save your bacon in Hell difficulty. It’s not necessary to put points here until you’ve maxed Winter Fury and Arctic Blast, but when you do finally get around to dumping points into Cyclone Armor, it coincides nicely with when you need to be more concerned with elemental damage. It certainly isn’t an excuse to ignore fire, lightning, and cold damage — it’s just an extra layer of protection that is so important when you venture into the toughest areas of Hell. Metalspark will rip apart your Cyclone Armor in a matter of seconds, but if you didn't have Cyclone Armor...ouch!

Tornado (Max) — never used. Dump points here just to strengthen Winter Fury and Arctic Blast.

Sandstorm (everything else) — this is where you'll finish. Again, same deal as Tornado...you're dumping points here solely for the synergy.

Oak Sage — obtained from a Large Charm.

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Equipment

Given this Druid was in the Set Worshippers tourney, it’s no surprise that his core equipment was the complete Jaheira’s Set (Torso, Belt, Gloves, Amulet). As far as Sets go, Jaheira’s is the hands down winner for this build. There are numerous melee bonus mods on the Set that are worthless, but there’s still plenty of goodies to make this end game material. Probably the most awesome thing about Jaheira’s is the fact that it leaves the weapon and helm slots open.

Archdimeron Alpha Helm — obtaining Conviction is a top priority for this build, and there’s only a handful of ways to get it. This is the easiest.

Converted Rumour of Pain Boots rerolled to obtain -15% enemy cold resistance.

Weapon — my weapon to cast Winter Fury, Cyclone Armor, and Oak Sage was simply a decent Starter Weapon I made in Act I Normal of the tournament. I just kept making Starter Weapons until one spawned with +2 to Elemental Skills AND 2 sockets. One finally did and it had a very low required level which left a ton of room to dstone + to cold skill damage.

Shield — the shield used to cast Winter Fury, Cyclone Armor, and Oak Sage was made simply to add skills. It was nothing more than a blue shield that I stuffed with 3 sockets.

Main Weapon and Shield — since magic find was such an enormous part of the Set Worshippers tournament, for 95% of the time a Gluttony weapon and a Secret Shield were used on the battlefield.

Rings — Just 2 simple Tab Skill Rings I made with +3 to Elemental Tab.

Charms and Jewels — Knowledgeable Jewels are not easy to come by, but by the time I retired Sub_Zero from the tournament I had collected a pretty good amount of them and stuffed them into his gear to raise the Conviction level. All jewelry was socketed as well as all Unique Charms. I even made a few small square charms just to finally push Winter Fury to lvl 100. Needless to say all of this took a ridiculous amount of work, nearly 250k kills, and a ton of Elixirs.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish with Sub_Zero's equipment. I think the only thing that would have made a noticeable improvement in the damage would have been a ring with Cold Mastery. Aside from that, I'm not sure how much higher the damage could have gone. I never did nab scroll #50 in the tournament, so going crazy with the cold skill dstoning with #50 would be another booster.

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Merc and Merc Equipment

Act V Offensive Barb. Accept no substitutes. There is no better for this build and his Ancients Call in combination with your Conviction results in monsters taking stratospheric cold damage.

Again, since this was a tourney focused on Sets, the Act V merc Set, based up to the Hell tier, was the centerpiece for Guthlaf. He also wore the full Achilles Set which I based up to Elite tier items. The defense gain is admittedly small, but if there had been a Defiance aura going on or if I had oskill Shout (I didn't), it would have been noticeable.

Rings — Zodiac Band and Stone of Jordan

Amulet — Eye of the Beholder

Guthlaf was a real monster in his own right thanks to a hell of a lot of TLC I showed him. He did fall a few times from Hell Metalspark, but with 20k life, huge life steal, and plenty of damage and weapon speed, he was pretty sturdy. My main goal by end game was to get Guthlaf's Ancients Call to the cap of -100% enemy resistance, and I accomplished that.

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No images of the merc set because there are so many mods it doesn't display :P

Strategy

Until you get to Hell difficulty and have to deal with lots of Cold Immunes, you can basically be pretty confident in walking ahead of your merc. Nearly all monsters in the first 2 difficulties will immediately go into hit recovery once the Winter Fury hits them. Once you're in Hell difficulty, then you need to play it a little safer and stay right behind the merc. Walk forward to activate monsters, and then quickly move behind him and allow him to cast his Ancients Call and War Cry.

Comments


  • that's a pretty damn good achievement getting slvl 100 and other things in one tourney, I gotta hand it to ya :) -- psycho2? 01-06-2011 (Thu) 17:56:33
  • bl1nk, it's just a question of lots and lots of farming. Socketing Unique Charms with tab-forged Elemental jewels is an expensive endeavor. And making small square charms and stuffing them with tab-forged jewels takes a lot of work too. -- Metro? 11-20-2009 (Fri) 13:11:21
  • how did you manage to get the elemental skills up to level 100 ? i'm currently stuck around skill lvl 45 for a char lvl 81 -- bl1nk? 11-20-2009 (Fri) 00:19:49
  • Oh, me too, Blinn. Ice is exactly what I've got my eyes on for my Freezing Arrow Heptad Zon. -- Metro? 07-27-2009 (Mon) 09:53:07
  • Holy Freeze is a different slow effect from cold damage IIRC, so Doom's HF aura + Winter Fury should stack and result in stupidly slow monsters. I hope I get the runes for an Ice runeword bow in the Heptad, I will absolutely go for Holy Freeze if I get the chance. -- Blinn? 07-27-2009 (Mon) 04:05:44
  • Personally I wouldn't use LoD Doom for a WF Druid. It only has 2 + skills. That's not terrible, but you can do better. Plus, any item socket with it is going to have a req lvl of 67 because of the Cham, so dstoning room is going to be limited without ample use of scroll #50. The -enemy resists are great, but that's the only selling point. And that's just not enough when you can get ample -resists and better +skills/socketing/forging from other ES gear and the Act V merc. -- Metro? 07-26-2009 (Sun) 19:37:12
  • I'm not super sure how the Set Tourny works. But might I recommend trying the LoD Runeword Doom for a weapon and with your level of Conviction aura. I'm sure an Act3 Cold merc could replace your Barb for that extra Protection from Cold aura boost. From experience I'd say it would put your damage 60k+ easy. -- Daishi_GD? 07-25-2009 (Sat) 22:32:39
  • The life was obtained strictly via Max life dstonings since he was an all-Energy build. And don't forget he did have an Oak Sage. That made a huge difference. -- Metro? 06-28-2009 (Sun) 10:03:42
  • Hey awsesome guide, this really helped me out. 1 question.. how did you get your life so ridiculously high =\ -- anon? 06-28-2009 (Sun) 08:31:40
  • Thanks, Hans. It only took me...what...3 years to finally write one? :) -- Metro? 05-11-2009 (Mon) 23:39:04
  • I just noticed that you have created a character write up. A job well done Metro. -- Hans? 05-11-2009 (Mon) 21:51:17
  • Definitely amazing Metro, ive tried this build on my druid and its awesome, you can farm the nightmare Cows for D-Stones and scrolls. Its ultra safe its a good starter char imo :thumbs up: -- Xc0n? 02-28-2009 (Sat) 18:02:29
  • Looks nice, maybe I should also try one in some tourney, as the equip isn t hard to obtain -- Moonie? 02-28-2009 (Sat) 11:28:17
  • Thanks again, Blinn. Enjoy all of Sub_Zero's goodies. You might even want to keep him as a farmer. If anyone needs any more info on the character or if I missed some stuff, let me know. -- Metro? 02-28-2009 (Sat) 03:57:13
  • And here they come... -- Blinn? 02-28-2009 (Sat) 03:14:55
  • Thanks to Blinn for throwing the outline up. Blinn has my file and can take some screenshots and add them later because I don't have damage numbers, etc. -- Metro? 02-25-2009 (Wed) 22:59:29

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Last-modified: 01-06-2011 (Thu) 17:56:34 (3205d)