Dragon Talon Assassin Guide

Introduction

The Dragon Talon Assassin, aka "Kicksin", is the best build to kill the Uber Bosses on an Assassin. The only limiting factor in comparison to the Smiter is her 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

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Claw Mastery
3. Burst of Speed
4. Cloak of Shadows
5. 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

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 reach max Chance to Block (75%). More Dexterity is needed at higher character levels. In addition to Dexterity and character level, shield bases also affect Chance to Block.

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) Wizardspike allows you to easily increase your Resistances.
2) Until you have Dracul's Grasp this is your main source of Life recovery.
3) Only use 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 (Shael Rune)
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 (Jewel)
Sanctuary Troll Nest
Moser's Blessed Circl (2x perfect diamond
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 (Jewel)
Crown of Ages (Um Rune + Shael Rune)
Kira's Guardian
Rockstopper
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Body ArmorChains of Honor Dusk Shroud
Enigma Mage Plate
Duress
Duriel's Shell (Um Rune)
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x to Teleport
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x

Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Blood Crafted 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 CharmsHellfiretorch (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:

AreaRewards
LilithDiablo's Horn
DurielBaal's Eye
Izual Mephisto's Brain
Mephisto, Diablo, BaalHellfire Torch

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 3 Iron Wolf Mercenary

The Act 3 Iron Wolf Mercenary is hired from Asheara. There are no limitations on hiring this Mercenary, meaning that you can hire him at Level 1. 
The Iron Wolf can be equipped with a One-Handed Sword, a Shield, a Body Armor and a Helmet. He does not actually attack with the equipped sword.

Fire

Use the Fire version to gain access to his high level Enchant providing you with much-needed Attack Rating. He won't cast any of his abilities outside of combat, to get his buff you need to engage some enemies.
Equip him with as many +x to Skills for Enchant as possible. With Hexfire, Ormus' Robes, Flickering Flame, and a Spirit he reaches up to a Level 48 enchant adding +452% Attack Rating!

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

  • Buff yourself with Fade and Venom and keep these buffs up at all times.
  • Engage in combat to receive the enchant buff from your Mercenary. You can do this anywhere, Eldritch the Rectifier North of the Frigid Highlands Waypoint is a very close candidate for it.
  • 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. Use these items when you use Teleport from Enigma to move around.
  • While not required in the late game, you can continue starting your fights by casting Life Tap. You instantly have the Life recovery you need to sustain yourself in the fights. dracul'sgrasp eventually casts lifetap for you.

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.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)

Faster Cast Rate (FCR) speeds up your casting animation for spells. Aim for at least the 42% FCR Breakpoint. Note: FCR only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal or global Cooldowns spells have.

Frames161514131211109
FCR0816274265102174

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

Increased Attack Speed (IAS) speeds up your attack animations. Weapon bases have different IAS breakpoints. Values for recommended weapon options provided below. Consult the d2planner for other bases.

Stormlash Scourge (Shael Rune) / Black Flail

Total Frames (All 5 Kicks)3029242322
Gear IAS1026305095

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

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

Frames9876543
FHR0715274886200

Faster Block Rate (FBR)

Faster Block Rate (FBR) increases survivability. Aim for at least the 32% FBR Breakpoint.

Frames54321
FBR0133286600

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

This budget version of this build is capable of killing Ubers. We recommend a minimum Level of 90 before attempting Ubers, otherwise you'll struggle with your hit chance!
The main focus is to get as many Resistances as possible and use Boots upgraded to the highest base. Next 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

The Fire version of the Iron Wolf provides you with up to +452% Attack Rating by applying Enchant. He will NOT survive the Ubers, so don't worry about keeping him alive. He only buffs you if you're in combat. Run out to any Waypoint you have and find random monsters to trigger it. Add as many +x to Skills as you can to boost his Enchant. Hexfire, Ormus' Robes, Flickering Flame, and a Lidless Wall are his optimal setup until he has enough Strength for Spirit Monarch.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Burst of Speed
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. 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

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear and Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining 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

The Fire version of the Iron Wolf provides you with up to +452% Attack Rating by applying Enchant. He will NOT survive the Ubers, so don't worry about keeping him alive. He only buffs you if you're in combat. Run out to any Waypoint you have and find random monsters to trigger it. Add as many +x to Skills as you can to boost his Enchant. Hexfire, Ormus' Robes, Flickering Flame, and a Lidless Wall are his optimal setup until he has enough Strength for Spirit Monarch.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Burst of Speed
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. 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

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

Hardcore

Setup

The only change for Hardcore is the 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

The Fire version of the Iron Wolf provides you with up to +452% Attack Rating by applying Enchant. He will NOT survive the Ubers, so don't worry about keeping him alive. He only buffs you if you're in combat. Run out to any Waypoint you have and find random monsters to trigger it. Add as many +x to Skills as you can to boost his Enchant. Hexfire, Ormus' Robes, Flickering Flame, and a Lidless Wall are his optimal setup until he has enough Strength for Spirit Monarch.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Burst of Speed
3. Cloak of Shadows
4. 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

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear and Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining 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.
  • The new Act 3 Fire Mercenary gives us a great source enchant, drastically boosting our Attack Rating!

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!


Credits

Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi

Changelog

Apr 12th 2022
Updated to Patch 2.4 - Added Act 3 Fire Mercenary (Playstyle, Mercenary and Variants) - Minor Bug Fixes