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Stat Point DistributionEdit
As with any physical fighters strength, dexterity and vitality are much more important than energy. Strength and dexterity should be increased sufficiently to use high-end spears or javelins (depending on a player's preference) and whatever other armor and helmet the player intends on using. All other points should be placed in vitality. Energy can be left at base, as fend does not cost a lot of mana, and a small percentage of mana steal is sufficient to recover any spent using fend.
Skill Point distributionEdit
These skills should be taken to maximum level
These skills do not need to be maxed out, but should have at least one level in them.
Valkyrie or No Valkyrie?Edit
The Valkyrie skill gives the Fendazon access to a very durable summonable tank. Normally any melee-oriented Amazon should have a Valkyrie to help dispatch enemies. But due to a glitch in the Fend skill any time the Amazon's attack is interrupted all subsequent attacks automatically miss, but the Amazon is locked in place during this time. (A similar bug exists with the Strafe skill.)
Because Valkyrie has Evade, Dodge and Avoid as prerequisites the chances of the Amazon's attack being interrupted by one of these skills, and therefore nullifying the Fend attack, can have deadly consequences.
Even a single point in Dodge gives the Amazon an 18% chance that their attacks will automatically miss. Assuming that a player has at least a few items that increase skill levels the chance to dodge increases sharply.
Ultimately the decision to take a Valkyrie or not depends on the player's preference. Some argue that a high-level Valkyrie offers enough protection and deals enough damage that the risk of encountering the Fend bug is justified.
If a player opts to take Valkyrie do not put more than one point in Dodge. Avoid and Evade can be taken additional times if desired, but one point is usually sufficient. Valkyrie itself should be maxed out. A level 20 Valkyrie with a level 20 Decoy for the synergy bonus will almost never die, and can deal impressive damage to enemies.
Because the Fendazon is a melee build maximizing damage is important. Typically a spear is desirable, as two-handed weapons deal significantly more damage. However, a javelin/shield combination makes a good backup, and offers more versatility. The choice is up to the individual player.
Equipment that reduces damage (either by a percentage, or multiple gear that grants point damage reduction) can help mitigate the fend bug.
Any of the following spears make a good primary weapon:
- Arioc's Needle: bonus to skills, deadly strike, high attack speed
- Hone Sundan: crushing blow, sockets for versatility
- Steel Pillar: crushing blow, high damage
- Viperfork: very high attack speed, high poison damage
- Stoneraven: boost to resistances, bonus to spear and javelin skills
- Lycander's Flank: bonus to all Amazon skills, bonus to strength and vitality
- Any rune word with high attack speed and abilities such as deadly strike, open wounds, or crushing blow
If a player chooses to use a javelin (either as their main weapon, or as the secondary weapon) any of the following are good choices:
- Thunderstroke: bonus to javelin and spear skills, lightning damange
- Titan's Revenge: bonus to all Amazon skills, bonus to vitality and strength
- Gargoyle's Bite: high life stealing, poison damage
- Demon's Arch: high life stealing, lightning damage
Shields are not crucial to this build. A high chance to block can cause the fend bug, so defence, damage reduction, and resistances are of higher priority than a high chance to block.
The following are good choices for body armor:
- Enigma: bonus to skills, magic find, teleport
- Chains of Honor: bonus to skills, good resistances
- Stone: high defense bonus, Clay Golem charges, bonus to strength and vitality
- Duress: crushing blow, open wounds, deadly strike
- Steel Carapace: Iron Maiden when struck, high defence
- Tyrael's Might: resistances, cannot be frozen, increased damage to Demons
- Giant Skull: sockets, crushing blow
- Kira's Guardian: resistances, cannot be frozen, looks good
- Valkyrie Wing: bonus to Amazon skills
- Veil of Steel: resistances, high defence
- Gore Rider: open wounds, crushing blow, deadly strike
- Goblin Toe: crushing blow, easy to acquire early-game
- Sandstorm Trek: bonus to strength and vitality, high mobility
- War Traveler: magic item find, bonus to strength and vitality
- Verdungo's Hearty Cord: high bonus to vitality
- Nosferatu's Coil: high life stealing
- Thundergod's Vigor: bonus to strength and vitality, bonus to lightning-oriented spear and javelin skills (while lightning skills are not the focus of this build, with additional skill-bonus items the Amazon can have level 10+ Lightning Strike and Lightning Fury without investing any physical points into either skill nor their prerequisites. This can help against physical-immune enemies)
- Laying of Hands: bonus damage against Demons, increased attack speed
- Steelrend: crushing blow
- Soul Drainer: life and mana stealing, weaken on striking
- Lava Gout: enchant on striking
- Any rare gloves with a bonus to spear and javelin skills
- Raven Frost: essential if the player does not have another source of cannot be frozen
- Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band: bonus to all skills, life stealing
- Nature's Peace: slain monsters cannot be revived, charges of Oak Sage
- Carrion Wind: poison damage, twisters can stun enemies, mitigating the fend bug
- The Cat's Eye: faster attack speed
- Mara's Kaleidoscope: resistances, bonus to all skills
- Atma's Scarab: Amplify Damage on striking (useful against physical-immune enemies)
- Any rare amulet with life and/or mana stealing, resistances (if necessary), damage reduction, and bonuses to javelin and spear skills
A Desert Mercenary with either the Might or Holy Freeze aura is ideal. Holy Freeze will slow enemies, making your entire party more durable, and helping mitigate the fend bug. Might will increase your offensive capability, allowing you to move through groups of enemies faster. The choice is left to the individual.
Prior to Act II of Nightmare a Desert Mercenary with the Defiance aura is a good choice.
Your hireling should be equipped in the usual manner for a Desert Mercenary; armor that offers high defence and good resistances, and a weapon that does high damage and has abilities such as Crushing Blow. Ethereal versions of armor and weapons are ideal.
Cast Decoy to lure enemies together into a tight group. Advance quickly and attack as many of the monsters as possible with Fend. If you start getting surrounded, retreat as being hit by multiple enemies runs the risk of falling victim to the fend bug.
Use your hireling and/or Valkyrie to act like the decoy; they can draw enemies to them, and you use your high mobility and high attack speed to run in, and hit as many enemies as possible with each use of Fend.
Never be afraid to fall back, cast a new Decoy, and advance again. Also, if you Valkyrie starts lagging behind cast it again where you need it to be.
Monsters that are immune to life and mana stealing can be a nuisance. Let your hireling and/or Valkyrie handle these, and use Fend only to finish off monsters or lend support if your minions are taking too much damage.
Against bosses, champions, and uniques a level 1 Jab (combined with equipment that grants bonuses to skills and abilities like Deadly Strike and Crushing Blow) can be very effective.