Blade Assassin Guide

Blade Assassin

Introduction

The Blade Assassin has a simple game-plan, throw traps and clear density. The Blade Skill package includes Blade Fury, Blade Sentinel, and Blade Shield giving her the nickname "Bladesin."

The Bladesin focuses on Single Target damage, but 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.

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. It also requires a Blessed Aim Mercenary.

Ideal Standard Setup

Blade Fury

Blade Shield

Blade Sentinel

Death Sentry

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 ✔
Clears Density
Active Playstyle ✔
Passive Damage Sources ✔


❌ Low Magic Find
❌ Gear Dependent
Slow Build Up For Damage

Requires Huge Attack Rating


Skills

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

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

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.

Dragon Flight* teleports you on top of a targeted enemy followed by kicking it. Allowing you to move quickly.

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* Blinds enemies around the Assassin. 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.

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. Runic Talons and Feral 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!
3) Death's Hand and Death's Guard together grant Cannot Be Frozen, +30% IAS, and +15 All Resistances.
4) Hsarus' Iron Stay and Hsarus' Iron Heel are great for boosting your Attack Rating in the early game.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponFleshripper
Cunning Feral Claws of Piercing1
Bartuc's Cut-Throat
Plague Runic Talons
Rare Scissors Suwayyah
Black Battle Hammer
Unbending Will Phase Blade
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+ to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating
x% Life stolen per hit
+x% Chance of Crushing Blow
+x to Blade Shield[Assassin Only]
+x to Death Sentry [Assassin Only]
+x to Blade Fury [Assassin Only]
Socketed [x]
Off-HandPhoenix Monarch
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 Shield[Assassin Only]
+x to Death Sentry [Assassin Only]
+x to DragonFlight [Assassin Only]
Elemental Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Socketed [x]
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Battle Staff of Teleportation
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
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
Wisdom
Guillaume's Face
+x to All Skills
+x to Trap Skills [Assassin Only]
+x to Assassin Skills

+x% Faster Cast Rate
+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%
Cannot Be Frozen
Socketed [x]
Body ArmorFortitude Archon Plate
Chains of Honor Archon Plate
Duress Light Plate
Treachery Light Plate
+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
Death's Hand3
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
Death's Guard3
Hsarus' Iron Stay4
+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
Cannot Be Frozen
BootsAldur's Advance
War Traveler
Waterwalk
Natalya's Soul
Sandstorm Trek
Gore Rider
Sapphire Heavy Boots of Acceleration
Hsarus' Iron Heel4
+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
Nihlathak-Key of Destruction
Leveling
(Level 97-99)
Baal / Waves-Uniques
Sets
Max Area Level
Leveling
(Baal for 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 Furys with supplemental Blade Sentinel to clear out the first few enemies. When there are corpses, cast 1-2 Death Sentrys to help clear out density.
  • Utilize Dragon Flight on enemy targets for mobility, similar to Teleport.
  • 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.
  • Use Blade Fury to proc Amplify Damage from Atma's Scarab, breaking Physical Immunity and increasing DPS.

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:

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. Dragon Flight
6. Shadow Warrior
7. Venom

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

Attributes

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

Standard

Setup

Plague Runic Talons in a nice base claw 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.

Mercenary

Use the Blessed Aim Aura Mercenary to boost our Attack Rating.
Infinity Thresher offers additional damage for Death Sentry and lowers enemy Defense, allowing us to hit more often. Andariel's Visage and Fortitude Sacred Armor fill in everything else from damage to survivability.

Skills

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

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

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 in combination with Blade Sentinel.
  • Use Blade Sentinel as supplemental damage and as a pseudo AOE.
  • 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.
  • Utilize Dragon Flight on enemy targets for mobility, similar to Teleport.
  • 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 and Teo1904

Changelog

Mar 18th 2022
Updated to Patch 2.4 - Reworded Introduction - Reworked Skills section - Added Gear Options - Added Farming Spots - Playstyle adjustment for new skill usages - Reworked all Build Variants - Reworked Summary - Changed Tier to C