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The Vampire build for the Assassin is a highly focused close melee combatant. Her main skill in combat is the Cobra Strike (accompanied with a finisher move) to ensure her survival. But it is the Shadow Disciplines that are heavily developed.
- Strength: High enough to equip desired equipment.
- Dexterity: High enough to equip desired weapons or, if a player is using a shield, to raise block to 75%.
- Vitality: Typically, the rest of the stat points.
- Energy: Usually left at base as skills are not very mana intensive and most of the time, Cobra Strike will refill the mana pool quickly. The exception being unleechable opponents like skeletons.
- Claw Mastery is important for increased attack rating, damage, and chances for critical attacks. It will make the small and light claw-class weapons extremely powerful in the hands of one with adept skill in Claw Mastery. It's a passive skill, which means it's always activated and doesn't use mana.
- Burst of Speed is fantastic for the Vampire. It will increase attack speed, which will allow building up charges faster and release them faster. This allows the player to heal as fast as they take damage. It's also great for moving around very quickly, making traversing across land a lot faster, as well as being able to outrun enemies. At the first level, this skill can last up to two minutes (and more with additional points). Be sure to always have Burst of Speed activated for its speed advantage. As it has steep diminishing returns, significant investment in this skill will achieve less and less benefit.
- Weapon Block is added protection on top of defense. It will allow the Vampire to use both her weapons to block and parry incoming attacks, effectively replacing the need of a shield. It's a passive skill, which means it's always activated and doesn't use mana. Again, this skill has diminishing returns, and so a 20 point investment would be a poor choice. On the other hand, achieving a 50% block rate against even magical attacks is a great perk.
- Shadow Master can become the Vampire's most trusted and dependable ally. This talented subordinate is not only an ethereal clone of the Vampire; she can also use every skill available within the Assassin class! The Shadow Master is extremely valuable since she can use her skills to affect large groups of monsters, where as the Vampire can only attack one at a time. The Shadow Master will also heal gradually, much like hired help. However, potions can not be used on a Shadow Master.
- Cobra Strike will give the ability to steal the life and mana out of your enemies. Three points in this skill is enough to get all the way through to Baal on normal difficulty, but further on, it's necessary to invest more as the monsters give far less life and mana on higher difficulty levels. It's a charge up skill, which means cumulative hits are needed to build up charges. For each successful attack on an enemy (using Cobra Strike), a green flash of energy will circle the Vampire (up to three). A max of three charges can be made. Using a Finisher move or a normal attack will activate the benefits of Cobra Strike (at least one charge). As it only uses two mana points per attack, it is advised to allocate this skill to the left-click button.
- Dragon Claw is a good finishing move to add to your Cobra Strike charges. Just one point is enough for this skill to get you through the Acts all the way to Baal. This skill is a double attack strike with both claw-class weapons and adds 50% to attack rating and 50% to damage. Since it makes good use of both weapons and costs only 2 mana for each strike, Dragon Claw is definitely the preferred finisher move for the Vampire.
- Dragon Flight is an optional skill that the Vampire can add to her collection of abilities. This skill will give the Vampire the ability to teleport with a powerful kick; to any enemy that can be seen. Useful for getting out of swarms, moving across gaps or rivers to the other side, to escape ranged/magical attacks or to attack specific foes like Fallen Shamans or Unravellers, renowned for resurrecting fallen comrades with frightening regularity. Unfortunately, this skill can only be activated by using it on enemies, so choose well. It also has a short cool-down period, so you can't consecutively teleport rapidly over and over. Still, it's a useful skill with just one point.
A pair of claw-class weapons (katars) with cold damage is very important for the Vampire. Combined with Burst of Speed, your enemy will barely have time to react before you finish them off!
Gear and charms with increased percent of getting gold is great in order to not have to depend heavily on looting (in order to sell for gold). This will save you room in your inventory for the truly valuable items you come across without having to make too many trips to town.
As a Vampire, you'll barely need potions to help keep you alive since you'll be stealing life and mana from your enemies during combat. This being the case, keep with you every rejuvenation potion you find, and you'll soon have a hoard of them!
With the aid of a Horadric Cube (which you will find in Act II), transmute three rejuvenation potions at a time for a Full Rejuvenation Potion. A Full Rejuvenation potion will instantly recover 100% of your life and mana!
In your belt (which has four slots), fill two slots with Full Rejuvenation potions. Fill the third slot with either Health potions or Full Rejuvenation potions again. Use the last slot to put in helpful potions such as Stamina potions, Antidotes, Thawing Potions, and/or town scrolls.
With life/mana stealing power and a belt loaded with full rejuvenation potions, you'll appear practically immortal to both your enemies and your teammates!
This will also dramatically reduce your need to go back to town or leave the heat of battle to recuperate. So, while your buddies are jumping in and out of combat, you can tough it out like a champ.
Give the Rogue a bow with cold damage to freeze more enemies at a time along with your cold weapons. Or better yet, give the Rogue a bow with different elemental damage (fire, Lightning, or poison) to create a wider range of diverse elemental damage from your little party.
Tried, tested, and true, the Vampire is a survivor and a cold, ferocious fighter. The fully-developed Vampire seldom needs help from her teammates, and makes a good distraction on enemies so that her teammates can pull back and recover or attack from a distance and/or prepare skills.
On her own, the Vampire does perfectly well with her hireling and Shadow Master to back her up.
Due to her capabilities, the Vampire is a great Assassin Build as a Hardcore character.
When fighting against a foe that is much too dangerous to attack head on, use the Shadow Master as a decoy and attack from a distance.
Remember that the Vampire isn't truly immortal and can get killed. Use precaution and be alert. Full Rejuvenation potions will save your life when you're losing life faster than you're stealing it. So use them!
When a situation gets overwhelming and you fear for your life, use your Burst of Speed to run like the wind to safety!
Using the old instinctive response of fight or flight strategically will help keep you alive.