Blade Assassin Guide

Blade Assassin

Introduction

The Blade Assassin has a simple game-plan, be tanky and kill bosses. Using the entire Blade Skill package of Blade Fury, Blade Sentinel, and Blade Shield gets her the nickname "Bladesin." This is a very niche build that cannot farm a large amount of content. Try the Lightning Sentry Assassin for a more well-rounded build.
The Bladesin focuses on Single Target damage, but she also utilizes Death Sentry to deal AOE Fire and Physical Damage. Once you drop the first monster of a pack, the Death Sentry domino effect goes off. Fade, Cloak of Shadows, and Mindblast provide great Crowd Control and makes the Bladesin quite versatile in combat.

Ideal Standard Setup
BladeFury
Blade Shield
Death Sentry
Venom

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 75 before transitioning to it. Check out our Assassin Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 75.

Very Tanky ✔
Great Boss Killer ✔
Passive Damage Sources ✔

❌ Gear Dependent
❌ Bad Density Clear
Slow Build Up For Damage


Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Burst of Speed
2. Death Sentry
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. Mind Blast
5. Shadow Master

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Blade Fury
2. Blade Sentinel
3. Blade Shield
4. Fade
5. Venom

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Blade Fury* launches a stream of constant blade projectiles that deal a fraction of your Weapon's Damage as Physical Damage after a short wind up.

Blade Sentinel* summons a Trap that deals a fraction of your Weapon's Damage as Physical Damage as it patrols back and forth from you and the targeted location.

Blade Shield* casts a shield that deals a fraction of your Weapon's Damage as Physical Damage to enemies in proximity of the Assassin.

Venom* adds a Poison Damage Buff to your attacks and Blade Trap Skills.

Death Sentry* uses Corpse Explosion which causes nearby corpses to explode for Fire and Physical Damage. If there are no bodies to target, it fires off a weak Lightning bolt if it’s close enough to a target.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)

Utility

Burst of Speed* provides you with a massive movement speed and Attack Speed buff. This increases your mobility and the rate at which you lay your Traps.

Mindblast* stuns your enemies in a small squared shape area around your cursor and has a % chance to convert enemies hit. Converted enemies fight alongside you for a short period of time.

Cloak of Shadows* makes the area around the Assassin become extremely dark and Blinds enemies. This drastically decreases their aggro range and their Defense. Incredibly useful in dangerous Areas with large amounts of ranged monsters.

Weapon Block* provides a Chance to Block attacks when dual-wielding Claws.

Shadow Master* summons another Assassin that randomly uses Skills from the entire Assassin Skill Tree. The Summon’s Skill level benefit from allocated Skill Points but does not require the Character to have points in those Skills.

Fade* provides you with a large amount of +xx All Resistance, Damage Reduction, and Curse Duration Reduction when cast. Each Soft Point grants 1% Damage Reduction. (Soft Points include + Skills from gear and buffs)

* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)
* Skills that do NOT utilize either FCR or IAS


Attributes

Note: This section provides you with the standard Stat Point allocation. Build Variants can require a different allocation!

Strength

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Strength your gear provides when equipped.

Dexterity

Allocate enough Stat Points into Dexterity to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Dexterity your gear provides when equipped.

Vitality

Allocate any remaining Stat Points into Vitality after meeting Strength, Dexterity and Energy requirements.

Energy

Don't allocate any Stat Points into Energy. This build gets enough Mana from gear, buffs, Charms, and Mana Potions.


Essentials

Gear Options

While every Stat in the Desirable Stats column is useful for this build, we highlighted the Priority Stats in Teal so you can easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

Hover over any Item to see a pop-out with the full Item description.

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refers here.
1) These Claws ideally have low requirements. Greater Talons and Greater Claws are the best.
2) Angelic Halo and Angelic Wings are great for boosting your Attack Rating significantly. You can even add another ⁣Angelic Halo to stack even more Attack Rating!

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponFleshripper
Cunning Feral Claws of Piercing1
Bartuc's Cut-Throat
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+ to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Blade Fury [Assassin Only]
+x to Blade Shield[Assassin Only]
+x to Death Sentry [Assassin Only]
Socketed [x]
Off-Handphoenix
Cunning Feral Claws of Piercing1
Spirit Monarch
Stormshield
Rhyme Bone Shield
Lidless Wall
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+ to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Blade Fury [Assassin Only]
+x to Death Sentry[Assassin Only]
+x to Blade Shield [Assassin Only]
Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Socketed [x]
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Wand of Life Tap
Battle Staff of Teleportation
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
Level x Life Tap [x/x Charges]
Level x Teleport [x/x Charges]
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch
Lidless Wall
+x to All Skills
HelmetsCunning Circlet of the Magus
Rare Circlet
Harlequin Crest
Crown of Ages
Lore Cap
Peasant Crown
Guillaume's Face
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+x to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike

+x to Attribute
+x Life
Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Socketed [x]
Body ArmorFortitude Archon Plate
Chains of Honor Archon Plate
Duress Light Plate
Treachery
+x to All Skills
+x to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x% Damage to Demons
+x% Damage to Undead

x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds

Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Ghoulhide
Soul Drainer
Steelrend
Venom Grip
Laying of Hands
Blood Crafted Gloves
x% Chance to cast level x Life Tap on striking
x% Enhanced Damage
x% Enhanced Damage to Demons
x% Enhanced Damage to Undead
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds

+x to Attribute
X Resist +x%
BeltsString of Ears
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Blood Crafted Belt
Garnet Belt of the Squid
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Life stolen per hit

x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Damage Reduced by x%
Magic Damage Reduced by x
BootsAldur's Advance
War Traveler
Waterwalk
Natalya's Soul
Sandstorm Trek
Gore Rider
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
Damage +x
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike

x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x Life
Elemental Resist +x%
AmuletsMara's Kaleidoscope
Highlord's Wrath
Blood Crafted Amulet
Cunning Amulet of the Whale
Angelic Wings2
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+x to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Run/Walk
x% Bonus to Attack Rating
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit
+x to Attribute
+x Life
Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
RingsThe Stone of Jordan
Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Raven Frost Ring
Rare Ring
Blood Crafted Ring
Angelic Halo2
+x to All Skills
Damage +x
+x to Attack Rating
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit

+x to Attribute
+x Life
Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+1 to Traps [Assassin Only] Grand Charm
+x % Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating

+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Unique CharmsAnnihilus
Hellfiretorch (Assassin)
+x to All Skills
+x to Assassin Skill Levels
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +x

Farming Spots

The areas below are efficient farming locations that make use of the build’s strengths. Other farming spots might not be as effective due to immunities or bad layouts.

Anything that has a in the "Starter" column can be farmed with the Starter Variant.

Act 1

AreaStarterRewards
The CountessRunes
Key of Terror
The Pit-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Andariel-Uniques
Sets
Jewelry

Act 3

AreaStarterRewards
Lower KurastRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Jewelry
Travincal-Gearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold
MephistoUniques
Sets

Act 4

AreaStarterRewards
Chaos Sanctuary-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Diablo-Uniques
Sets
Leveling (Level 97-99)

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
Pindleskin-Gearing
Gold
Leveling
Thresh Socket-Gearing
Gold
Nihlathak-Key of Destruction
Leveling
(Level 97-99)

Mercenary

Your Mercenary serves an incredibly important role to the overall success of your build. They can be a front line tank, provide a pivotal Aura, and/or deal Physical Damage to kill enemies with Immunity to your Skill set.


Act 2 Desert Mercenary

The Act 2 Desert Mercenary is hired from Greiz.
He can be equipped with a Spear or a Polearm, a Body Armor and a Helmet. 
Every Act 2 Mercenary has access to an Aura and uses Jab as his base Attack. The Aura activates once the Mercenary has engaged in combat and remains active between traveling to and from town. The Auras available are based on what difficulty you hire the Mercenary from.

Blessed Aim Reaper's Toll

Reaper’s Toll, Blessed Aim

Use a Desert Mercenary with Blessed Aim Aura to significantly boost your Attack Rating.
Equip him with The Reaper’s Toll for a 33% Chance to cast Decrepify on striking, slowing down and increasing Physical Damage dealt to enemies. Decrepify can even break some Physical Immunities.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
The Reaper’s Toll (Ethereal)
Smoke
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Any Body Armor)
Fortitude
(Body Armor, 700++ Base Defense)
Any Helmet
with Resistance / Life
Tal Rasha's Horadric CrestAndariel’s Visage
(Ethereal)

The Mercenary is hard to keep alive until you have the minimum gear recommended in this guide. Remember you can drag Healing Potions onto the portrait, or shift + 1/2/3/4 to directly feed them a Healing Potion from your Belt. The Mercenary also gains bonus Resistances from Thawing Potions and Antidote Potions.

If your Mercenary dies in battle, you can revive them from any of the Mercenary NPCs in each Act. This does come with an increasing cost, capping at 50,000 Gold. Keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General

  • Start your runs by switching to the Weapon Swap with the most +x to Skills and Cast Fade, Blade Shield, Shadow Master and Venom.
  • Shadow Master acts as a meat shield and uses random Skills from the Assassin's Skill Tree. Resummon it whenever it dies or as a decoy to get out of scary situations.
  • Use Blade Fury to deal single target damage. As soon as the first enemies are dead, cast 1-2 Death Sentrys to help clear out density.
  • Blade Sentinels can be summoned to deal damage into areas to give yourself time to channel Blade Fury.
  • If you get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of enemies, you can use Mindblast to Stun and Convert the closest monsters to redirect aggro. Lead with Cloak of Shadows to Blind every enemy within its radius and stop their ranged attacks.

Immunities

  • Use a Mercenary with The Reaper's Toll for Decrepify to break Physical Immunes, increase your DPS and apply a powerful Slow effect.

Late-Game

  • Start your runs by buffing yourself with Battle Command 2 times then Battle Orders from Call to Arms.
  • Switch to the Weapon Swap with the most +x to Skills and Cast Fade, Blade Shield, Shadow Master and Venom.

Breakpoints

Breakpoints in Diablo 2 are the minimum values required to reduce the frames of an action. Below are the important breakpoints considered for this build. For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

This build relies solely on Increased Attack Speed from Burst of Speed using Weapons with a Weapon Speed Modifier of -20 / -30. Consult the D2planner for breakpoints with IAS on gear and/or different bases.

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR) increases survivability. Aim for at least the 48% FHR Breakpoint.

Frames9876543
FHR0715274886200

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary focus is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Maximum Life. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.
This build is Hardcore viable. If you are unaccustomed to this playstyle, we recommend trying this build on Softcore to gain experience on how to successfully pilot it.


Build Variants

Budget

Setup

The Blade Assassin relies on specific stats such as:

Ethereal weapon bases are ideal since bladefury does not use Durability. Black Battle Hammer grants solid base damage and great Attack Modifiers. Duress Light Plate and the Angelic Wings + Angelic Halo combo are great budget options. They greatly improve the build's performance.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with a Body Armor and Helmet that provides Resistances and Life. Insight is an easy Runeword to make that gives a great amount of damage and Quality of Life with Meditation. Hire the Blessed Aim Aura Mercenary for extra Attack Rating.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Burst of Speed
2. Death Sentry
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. Mind Blast
5. Shadow Warrior
6. Venom

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Blade Fury
2. Blade Sentinel
3. Blade Shield
4. Fade

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip your gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup

Because the bladefury doesn't use Durability, an Ethereal Fleshripper offers amazing stats and Damage! Important Breakpoints: 48% FHR.
Important stats:

  • Damage +x
  • x% Chance of Crushing Blow
  • x% Deadly Strike
  • x% Chance of Open Wounds
  • +x to Skills
  • +x% Enhanced Damage
  • +x% Damage to Demons
  • +x% Damage to Undead

Use Fade to boost your Resistances and Damage Reduction.

Note: You can also use Atma's Scarab for more Amplify Damage procs.

Mercenary

Use the Blessed Aim Aura Mercenary to boost our Attack Rating.
The Reaper’s Toll has a chance to cast Decrepify on striking, which slows your enemies down, increases any Physical Damage dealt to them, and even breaks Physical Immunities. Andariel's Visage and Fortitude Sacred Armor fill in everything else from damage to survivability.

Note: You can also use Pride for damage and uninterruptable attacks from its Concentration Aura.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Burst of Speed
2. Death Sentry
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. Mind Blast
5. Shadow Master
6. Dragon Flight

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Blade Fury
2. Blade Sentinel
3. Blade Shield
4. Fade
5. Venom

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip your gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.


Mechanics

Death Sentry

Death Sentry is in the unique situation, in which in combines 2 Skills (Lightning Sentry and Corpse Explosion). Both Skill effects have certain conditions in which they occur and use up remaining shots from the maximum shot count. This means that a Death Sentry with a maximum of 7 Shots can use, for example, 5 x Lightning and 2x Corpse Explosion).

  • Base amount of available shots is 5, which can be increased by putting Skill Points into Fire Blast. Every 3rd Skill Point, Death Sentry gain +1 shot to a maximum of 11 (with Fire Blast Base Skill Level 18).

The Lightning Sentry part will only be used, if there are no corpses in the sentries' awareness range (10 2/3 yards).

  • The lightning beam behaves exactly as Lightning Sentry:
    • Monsters are pierced.
    • Travels in a straight line.
    • Every monster on the travel path takes Lightning Damage.
  • Death Sentry shoots at a rate of 31 Frames per cast (Every 1.24 seconds) before they expire. This rate cannot be influenced.

The Corpse Explosion is used when there are corpses within its Awareness Range (10 2/3 yards) with the following mechanics:

  • Death Sentry shoots at a rate of 31 Frames per cast (Every 1.24 seconds) before they expire. This rate cannot be influenced.
  • The Corpse Explosion is weaker than its Necromancer counterpart, dealing only 40 - 80% of the monster's regular base Life.
  • Damage does not increase with higher player count.
  • Its damage is split into 50% Physical Damage and 50% Fire Damage.
  • When the corpse's Monster Level > Character Level the damage is multiplied by Character Level / Monster Level.
  • Within the Area of Effect, the damage is always afflicted. It cannot be blocked by any means.

Burst of Speed

  • Cannot be active together with Fade
  • If cast a second time, the second instance always overwrites the initial buff, even if it is a lower Skill Level at the second cast.
  • The 3 variables (Duration, +% Walk/Run Speed and +xx% Increased Attack Speed) scale with the Skill Level (slvl).
  • Duration = (12 * slvl) + 108
    Example slvl 10: Duration = (12 * 10) +108 = 228 seconds

Teleport

  • Teleport instantly moves you to a selected square on the visible screen in which you can stand. The game tries to to place you within a small radius around your cursor even if it would be impeded normally.
  • Teleport is not obstructed by walls or other impediments but can fail if your cursor is not completely passed those impediments when cast. Your Mercenary and Minions are teleported with you, Traps do not.
  • Certain Minions in large quantities can become “stuck” in position after teleporting. Move away from that position to give them the chance to spread out.
  • You can “extend” the visible screen by opening UI-windows like the Inventory or the Character screen. Continuously cast Teleport and drag your mouse to the edge of your screen.
  • The Mana cost of Teleport decreases with additional Skill Levels down to 1 Mana per cast.
  • You can use “ESC” to open the menu in single player to pause the game after a Teleport to determine if you are safe.

Summary

  • Use Blade Fury on single targets. It's exceptionally effective against Bosses.
  • Place 1-2 Death Sentrys after the first monster dies to blow up the surrounding mobs with Corpse Explosion.
  • Keep your Mercenary close by for the Blessed Aim Aura and additional DPS.
  • Use Blade Sentinel for supplemental damage and a pseudo-AOE affect.
  • Keep up Fade, Blade Shield, Shadow Master and Venom at all times.
  • Battle Command + Battle Orders boost your survivability and damage output.
  • Cloak of Shadows, Mindblast, and Shadow Master are great sources of Crowd Control.

While Bladesin may be a very niche build, the new graphical improvements make it incredibly stylish! The Assassin's suite of Skills makes it a very versatile Character with easy access to powerful Crowd Control.

Good luck!


Credits

Written by BTNeandertha1
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi