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"These monsters were once the most notorious and reviled criminals in Westmarch, drawn up from the deepest, darkest cells of the city’s prisons. Each was worse than the last: heartless murders who had butchered countless men, women, and children. In death, Malthael birthed them in forms that matched their twisted, callous souls, creating perfect instruments of slaughter. The executioners have earned their name."— Lorath Nahr(src)
Executioners are among the most savage and bloodthirsty of Malthael's minions: created from souls of torturers and murderers, they are little more than mindless machines of slaughter, driven by nothing but pure rage.
Physically, they are hulking brutes with two large blades fused to their arms and horns growing from their heads and spine. In combat, they leap upon their victim to plunge their blades with immense force like the snapping insectoid jaws.
Executioners are, essentially, empowered Punishers. They count as Reapers and are only encountered in the Pandemonium Fortress or Nephalem Rifts (although some unique Executioners can be encountered before that). They are quite large and very tough (roughly five times more Life than average monsters), with normal movement speed, but lack ranged weaponry. Executioners are immune to Knockback. In addition to normal attack (very slow), their blades can be used in three more ways:
- Slaughter: quick attack, causes average damage and knockback.
- Slam: a charged-up melee attack, slams the target with both blades at once, causes heavy Physical damage.
- Leap: a middle-range jump that stuns the targeted enemy and causes damage, usually followed by immediate Slam attack. Executioners can killed while casting and recovering from their leap attacks, but cannot be killed while in midair.
Executioners are most dangerous at mid-range. Their stunning leap can inflict severe harm and, most importantly, leaves the player vulnerable to attacks of other enemies for the duration of stunlock. Executioners rarely attack in large numbers (usually just one or two at a time), but are often assisted by hordes of other Reapers. They are extremely dangerous in groups of three or more, as they can keep the player in Stun continuously. Because of that, dealing with Elite groups of Executioners requires clearing the ground first, killing the lesser enemies and, ideally, dealing with them one by one, preferably from afar. Fighting in the Pandemonium Fortress is especially complicated due to its architecture, as narrow bridges leave little place for maneuvering, so use of Freezing Gates is advised.