Dragon Talon Assassin Guide

Introduction

The Dragon Talon Assassin aka "Kicksin" is THE build to play if you want to kill the Uber Bosses on an Assassin. The only limiting factor in comparison to the Smiter is the need for Attack Rating.

With her incredibly fast Kick speed, she applies Crushing Blow hits in quick succession, dropping the Ubers in no time.

While her main purpose is the slaughtering of the Ubers, the Kicksin has a variety of possible Skill Trees, due to the low amount of Skill Points required for the main attack.

From using Venom to increase our Damage per Second (DPS) to Death Sentry to create some Area of Effect (AOE), the choice is up to you.



Ideal Standard Setup
Dragon Talon
Fade
Teleport
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 ✔
Beginner Friendly ✔
Fast Paced Boss Kills ✔
Very Flexible Skill Tree And Gear ✔

❌ Low Mobility
❌ Some Gear Requirements
❌ Not Suited For Group Play
❌ Requires High Attack Rating



Skills

As mentioned, the Skill Tree is VERY flexible on the Dragon Talon Assassin. Let's take a look at the main version:

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Claw
2. Dragon Tail
3. Dragon Flight
4. Claw Mastery
5. Burst of Speed
6. Psychic Hammer
7. Cloak of Shadows
8. Mind Blast

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Fade
3. Venom
4. Death Sentry
5. Fire Blast

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Dragon Talon* is your main Damage Skill. The Assassin executes a series of kicks onto the selected target, applying the Kick-Damage from Boots.

Death Sentry* is a secondary Damage Skill used for Area of Effect damage after killing some initial targets in some playstyles.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Fade* provides the Assassin with massive % Damage Reduction and All Resistances. Keep this Buff up at all times!

Venom* adds Poison Damage to every attack while active.

Mind Blast* allows you to Stun enemies within a small area and provides a % chance to convert enemies. This can be very useful to create safe spaces to fight within.

Cloak of Shadows* blinds monsters in a large area, reducing their aggro range, allowing you to pass them without problems.

Shadow Warrior* is one of the optional Skills, providing you with a decoy whenever you need to distract your enemies.

* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)


Attributes

Strength
In this build, we allocate enough Stat Points to Strength to equip all of our gear. Be mindful of how much Strength your gear needs and how much it provides when equipped.



Vitality
After you put your points into Strength and Dexterity, make sure to check if it is recommended to put Stat Points into Energy. Meet the suggested amount of Energy and put any remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Dexterity
In this build, we allocate Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Each Stat Point in Dexterity increases your Chance to Block. Be aware that different Shield bases require different amounts of Dexterity for 75% Chance to Block. Levels also require more points to reach 75% Chance to Block.

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


Miscellaneous

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 review the recommended Items and more easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

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

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refer to a Note listed here.
1) Wizardspike[/d2planner-skill] allows you to easily increase your Resistances.
2) Until you have [d2planner-skill]Dracul's Grasp[/d2planner-skill] this is your main source of Life recovery.
3) Only use [d2planner-item]Death's Hand
+ Death's Guard in combination with each other.
4) Upgrade your Boots to the highest base possible, using the Horadric Cube recipe.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponStormlash
Beast Berserker Axe
Black Flail
Wizardspike1
x% Chance to cast level x Static Field on striking
+x% Increased Attack Speed
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
All Resistances +x
Off-HandStormshield
Sanctuary Troll Nest
Moser's Blessed Circle
x% Increased Chance of Blocking
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Wand of Life Tap2
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders

Level x Life Tap (xx/xx Charges)
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch+x to All Skills
HelmetsGuillaume's Face
Crown of Ages
Kira's Guardian
Rockstopper
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Body ArmorChains of Honor Dusk Shroud
Enigma Archon Plate
Duress Dusk Shroud
Duriel's Shell
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x to Teleport
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x

Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Bone Grip Heavy Gloves
Death's Hand3
Magefist
x% Chance to cast level x Life Tap on striking
+x to Martial Arts (Assassin Only)
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Faster Cast Rate
X Resist +x%
BeltsThundergod's Vigor
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
String of Ears
Death's Guard3
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x to Strength
+x% to Maximum Lightning Resist
+x Lightning Absorb

Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Boots4Gore Rider Myrmidon Greaves
Goblin Toe Mirrored Boots
Shadow Dancer Myrmidon Greaves
Kick-Damage (UPGRADE YOUR BOOTS!)
+x to Shadow Disciplines (Assassin Only)
+x% Faster Run/Walk
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
AmuletsMetalgrid
Mara's Kaleidoscope
The Cat's Eye
Highlord's Wrath
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x to Attack Rating
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
RingsWisp Projector
Raven Frost
Rare Ring
Rare Ring
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x to Attack Rating
X Resist +x%
Resistances +x
Lightning Absorb x%
Cannot Be Frozen
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Shadow Disciplines [Assassin Only]
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Attribute
+x to Life
X Resist +x%
Unique CharmsGheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Assassin)
Annihilus
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +xx%

Farming Spots

This build is specifically made to farm Uber Tristram and the Mini Ubers before:

AreaRewardsImmunities
Lilith
(Matron's Den)
Diablo's HornLightning, Cold
Duriel
(The Forgotten Sands)
Baal's EyePhysical, Fire, Lightning, Poison
Izual
(The Forgotten Sands)
Mephisto's Brain Physical, Magic, Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison
Mephisto, Diablo, Baal
(Tristram)
Hellfire Torch Physical, Magic, Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison

Mercenary

This build does not use a Mercenary because of its specialization on Ubers as they are unable to survive reliably.
If you choose to still use a Mercenary, this is your best option:


Act 2 Desert Mercenary
The Act 2 Desert Mercenary can be 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.

Might Reaper's Toll

Infinity, Might
We recommend the Might Aura version, as it provides us with a Mercenary that can deal with enemies that are immune to our main Damage source.
Infinity provides us with a massive damage boost as it reduces the enemies Resistances and Defense due to its Conviction Aura. This Aura is also capable of breaking some Immunities (Immunities Resource).

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
Infinity Thresher
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. To help survive various scenarios, 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. So keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General:

  • Buff yourself with Fade and Venom and keep these buffs up at all times.
  • Cast Life Tap on your targets. This is your main Life recovery when attacking.
  • While moving towards the Mini Ubers (Lilith, Uber Duriel, Uber Izual), use Mind Blast to Stun your enemies, or Cloak of Shadows to blind them.
  • Engage your targets with Dragon Talon. To close the gap you can use Dragon Flight.
  • Clear out the area before engaging the Mini Ubers. This makes these fights a lot easier. Use Death Sentry to help you in this task with its Corpse Explosion.
  • Split up the Ubers in Tristram to face them one by one (Uber Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal). Focus purely on the Boss to kill them off as quickly as possible. Clear out spawned monsters afterwards if necessary.

Late-Game:

  • Add Battle Command and Battle Orders to the list of your buffs, prior to Fade and Venom.
  • Utilize your Horadric Cube to put Arachnid Mesh, Magefist, and a Faster Cast Rate Ring into it. Replace your Gloves, Belt, and Ring while using Teleport from Enigma to move around.
  • While not required in the late game, you can continue starting your fights by casting Life Tap. This way you instantly have the Life recovery you need to sustain yourself in the fights. dracul'sgrasp will eventually cast lifetap for you.

Breakpoints

For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

All builds rely on specific Breakpoints for effectiveness throughout the game. Meeting Breakpoints for Cast Rate, Hit Recovery, and Block Rate increases the rate of casting spells, recovering from big Damage, and blocks by 1 Frame per Breakpoint.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
Faster Cast Rate controls how fast our Character casts Spells. In this build we aim for 50% Faster Cast Rate, which is achieved with the suggested gear. Note: Faster Cast Rate only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal or global Cooldowns your spells have.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
Increased Attack Speed controls how fast our Character attacks. In this build we aim for 50% Increased Attack Speed, which is achieved with the suggested Gear. Note: Using other weapon bases requires different amounts of Increased Attack Speed to have the same effect. Please consult the d2planner to determine what values your alternative base requires.

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
Faster Hit Recovery controls how fast our Character finishes the Hit Recovery animation. In this build we aim for 52% Faster Hit Recovery, which is achieved with the suggested gear and Charms.

Faster Block Rate (FBR)
Faster Block Rate controls how fast our Block Animation finishes after a successful Block. In this build we aim for the 32% Faster Block Rate, which is achieved with the suggested gear.

Faster Run Walk (FRW)
There are no Breakpoints for Faster Run / Walk. With the recommended gear you reach 75% Faster Run / Walk. Please refer to Run / Walk Mechanics for more details.

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary concern 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 budget version of this build is capable of killing Ubers. Note that we recommend a minimum Level of 90 before attempting Ubers, otherwise you will struggle with your hit chance!

The main focus is to get as many Resistances as possible and use Boots upgraded to the highest base. Secondary to the survivability, Cannot Be Frozen and Attack Rating are extremely important.
Sources of Cannot Be Frozen can be Kira'sguardian, Duriel's Shell, or Ravenfrost.
A good source of Attack Rating is the combination of Angelic Halo, and Angelic Wings.
Crushing Blow is extremely important to kill Ubers quickly.


Mercenary
While the Kicksin would benefit from The Reaper's Toll, it is basically impossible to keep them alive while fighting the Ubers.

Skills
The Skill Tree of the Kicksin does not change between the variants.

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Claw
2. Dragon Tail
3. Dragon Flight
4. Claw Mastery
5. Burst of Speed
6. Psychic Hammer
7. Cloak of Shadows
8. Mind Blast

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Fade
3. Venom
4. Death Sentry

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
Put enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear, enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block and dump remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup
Because a lot of Attack Modifiers don't work on Kick Skills, her gear options are a lot more flexible.

While moving around, switch out Dracul's Grasp, Rare Ring, and thundergod'svigor for magefist, Rare Ring, and Arachnid Mesh.

thundergod'svigor is only used against Uber Mephisto. For the other Ubers use Arachnid Mesh.

Stormlash is not required, but adds some DPS from its Static Field procs. Other Weapons with Crushing Blow for damage or Wizardspike for massive Resistances are viable options.

Mercenary
While the Kicksin would benefit from The Reaper's Toll, it is basically impossible to keep them alive while fighting the Ubers.

Skills
We recommend the same Skill Tree for the Uber build of the Kicksin.

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Claw
2. Dragon Tail
3. Dragon Flight
4. Claw Mastery
5. Burst of Speed
6. Psychic Hammer
7. Cloak of Shadows
8. Mind Blast

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Fade
3. Venom
4. Death Sentry
5. Fire Blast

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
Put enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear, enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block and dump remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Setup
Because a lot of Attack Modifiers don't work on Kick Skills, her gear options are a lot more flexible.

The only change here is using a Crown of Ages to achieve a higher Hit Recovery Breakpoint.

While moving around, switch out Dracul's Grasp, Rare Ring, and thundergod'svigor for magefist, Rare Ring, and Arachnid Mesh.

thundergod'svigor is only used against Uber Mephisto. For the other Ubers use Arachnid Mesh.

Stormlash is not required, but adds some DPS from its Static Field procs. Other Weapons with Crushing Blow for damage or Wizardspike for massive Resistances are viable options.

Mercenary
While the Kicksin would benefit from The Reaper's Toll, it is basically impossible to keep them alive while fighting the Ubers.

Skills
There is no change for the Hardcore Skill Tree of the Kicksin.

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Claw
2. Dragon Tail
3. Dragon Flight
4. Claw Mastery
5. Burst of Speed
6. Psychic Hammer
7. Cloak of Shadows
8. Mind Blast

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Fade
3. Venom
4. Death Sentry
5. Fire Blast

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
Put enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear, enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block and dump remaining Stat Points into Vitality.


Mechanics

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.

Static Field from Stormlash

  • Static Field range scales with each Skill Point.
  • In the Nightmare and Hell difficulty you can't reduce a monsters' life past certain thresholds. For Nightmare this threshold is at 33%, in Hell it is at 50%. You can get a little bit past this threshold if your enemy is at negative Lightning Resistances.
  • In Normal difficulty you can bring a monster down to "1 Life". Static Field can't deal the final blow on a monster.
  • Static Field works on any monster you encounter that is not Lightning immune, including all Act bosses.
  • Static Field reduces the current life of a monster by 25%. The Lightning Resistances of a monster will reduce the effectiveness.
  • Damage calculation: Monster Life = Current Life - ((Current Life * 0.75) * ((100-Lightning Resistance) / 100))

Summary

  • Keep Fade, and Venom buffs up at all times.
  • Cast Life Tap before engaging your targets.
  • Keep your Faster Cast Rate gear in your Horadric Cube and use it to increase your teleport speed when hunting the Mini Ubers.
  • Add Battle Command and Battle Orders to the list of your buffs as soon as you have them available.
  • A High Level Character makes fighting Ubers a lot easier, as it increases your chance to hit the Uber Bosses.

Guide by Teo1904

If you don't want to keep slaughtering Ubers with the most commonly used Smiter, you should try out the Kicksin. She is not quite as fast, but has a nasty kick to it, when equipped well.

Good luck!