Fist of the Heavens Paladin Guide

Introduction

The Fist of the Heavens Paladin (FoHdin) is a surprisingly versatile Elite Sniper, with powerful support capabilities. fistoftheheavens can be cast at max range and allows you to name-lock your target until they drop under your onslaught.

Access to a max effectiveness conviction Aura breaks every naturally occurring Lightning Immune monster. holybolt makes short work of any Undead Elites you encounter, even if they are Magic Immune. For everything else, your Mercenary cleans the court when you activate your fanaticism Aura.

This build's high Faster Cast Rate, Max Block Chance, and high Magic Find potential truly shines through all stages of the late-game.

Ideal Standard Setup
fistoftheheavens
conviction
holybolt
fanaticism

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

High Mobility ✔
Nearly Unkillable ✔
Fast Paced Play Style ✔
Excels In Niche Level 85 Areas ✔

❌ Bad Ladder Starter
❌ Very Gear Dependent
❌ Complicated Skill Mechanics

❌ Relies On High Mercenary DPS



Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. fanaticism
4. holyshield

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. fistoftheheavens
2. conviction (Enough to reach -150 Resistance)
3. HOLYSHOCK
4. holybolt
5. blessedhammer
6. resistfire (Remaining Points)

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

fistoftheheavens* is our primary Damage Skill. It deals Lightning Damage to your target, and releases Holy Bolts that damages any Undead, and heals any Allies.

Holy Bolt* is your secondary Damage Skill that deals Magic Damage to Undead even if they are Immune to Magic. This is mainly used to kill Undead Magic Immunes such as Wave 2 in the Throne of Destruction. It also heals any allied targets, which is especially useful for keeping your Mercenary alive.

* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)

Utility

Conviction* is your Primary Aura. Keep it active while using Fist of the Heavens. It lowers the Defense as well as Fire, Lightning, and Cold Resistances of nearby enemies. It is capable of breaking their Immunities.

Holy Shield* is a temporary buff that requires an equipped shield to use. it boosts your Paladin's Defense and Chance to Block as well as improved Faster Block Rate Breakpoints.

Charge* causes your Paladin to instantly jet forward towards in the direction of your cursor. Your Paladin stops and applies knockback to any enemy, even if the attempted melee attack misses. It is mostly used for mobility if not using Enigma.

Vigor* provides your Paladin and members of your Party with increased Faster Run/Walk and Stamina.

Salvation* provides your Paladin and members of your Party with increased Resistance to Fire, Lightning, and Cold based on its Level.

Cleansing* reduces Poison Length and Curse Duration by a percentage every two seconds while active. It also heals a small amount of Life every two seconds, based on the total Skill Level of your prayer Skill. (This is one of the few Skills which gains Synergies based on total Skill Level)

Fanaticism* grants Attack Rating, Damage, and Attack Speed to your and all allies. Used to buff our Mercenary when encountering unbreakable Immunes.

Resist fire* is a passive Skill that raises Maximum Fire Resistance by 1% for every two Skill Points allocated to it.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* 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 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) This item should not TECHNICALLY exist due to holyshield being locked to Shields for Staff Mods. Due to a failsafe in the code's logic, items can spawn with this Skill. It's listed as a highly unlikely optimal Weapon choice.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
Weaponhandofblessedlight
Heart of the Oak Flail
Wizardspike
Suicide Branch
Spectral Shard
Spirit Crystal Sword
Rose Branded War Scepter of the Apprentice1
+x to fistoftheheavens
+x to holybolt

+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills

+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x Mana
X Resist +x%
Off-HandHerald of Zakarum
Ancients' Pledge Targe
Spirit Sacred Targe

+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills

+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x% Faster Hit Recovery

+x Life
+x Mana
X Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms War Scepter
Blade of Ali Baba
Gull
Battle Staff of Teleportation
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
Level x Teleport [x/x Charges]
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Off-Hand-SwapHerald of Zakarum
Spirit Sacred Targe
Rhyme Targe
Lidless Wall
+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
+x Mana
X Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
HelmetsGriffon's Eye
Harlequin Crest
Crown of Ages
Rockstopper
Peasant Crown
Lore
Rare Diadem
Magic Find Mask
+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

-xx% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
+xx% to Lightning Skill Damage

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
+x Mana
X Resist +x%
Damage Reduced by x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Body ArmorsEnigma
Skin of the Vipermagi
Skullder's Ire
Principle
Smoke
Stealth
Magic Find Gothic Plate
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
X Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
GlovesMagefist
Chance Guards
Bloodfist
Trang-Oul's Claws
Garnet Gloves of Fortune
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BeltsArachnid Mesh
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Thundergod's Vigor
Caster Crafted Belt
Goldwrap
Nightsmoke
Rare Belt
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BootsWaterwalk
Sandstorm Trek
War Traveler
Aldur's Advance
Silkweave
Rare Boots
+x % Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
X Resist +x%
+x Life
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
AmuletsMara's Kaleidoscope
Seraph's Hymn
Telling of Beads
Caster Crafted Amulet
+x to All Skills
+x To Paladin Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x Life
+x to Attribute
All Resistances +x
X Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
RingsThe Stone of Jordan
Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Nagelring
Nature's Peace
Dwarf Star
Wisp Projector
Rare Ring
Fortuitous Ring of Fortune
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x Life
+x Mana
+x to Attribute
All Resistances +x
X Resist +x%
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Combat Skills [Paladin Only]
+x % Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x Life
X Resist +x%
+x to Attribute
+x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsGheeds Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Paladin)
Annihilus
+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skill Levels
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Reduces all Vendor Prices 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
MausoleumAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
The Countess-Runes
Key of Terror
The PitAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
AndarielUniques
Sets
Jewelry

Act 2

AreaStarterRewards
Ancient TunnelsAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Arcane Sanctuary
(Specters/Super Chests)
-Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Jewelry
Summoner-Key of Hate

Act 3

AreaStarterRewards
Lower KurastRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Jewelry
Mephisto-Uniques
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
PindleskinGearing
Gold
Leveling
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.

Might Insight

Insight, Might

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to deal with enemies that are immune to your main damage source.
Equip him with Insight for the high Mana Regeneration provided by Meditation Aura.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
Insight 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. 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

  • Cast holyshield at the start of your farming session, and recast as needed on longer sessions.
  • vigor and charge are your primary mobility options, swapping to teleport for walls and obstacles. Keep vigor up in town to quickly run to Portals and Waypoints.
  • Use the high range of fistoftheheavens to your advantage. Name-lock your target and finish the job before selecting the next one.
  • When your Mercenary engages an Immune monster, swap to holybolt and target him to keep his Life topped off.
  • Your conviction Aura is higher level than any hostile version you encounter. This negates the effect on your Character which reduces the need for over capping your Resistances. When playing with other Paladins, you can employ salvation, cleansing or salvation to benefit from more Auras.

Immunities

  • Undead monsters can always be damaged by holybolt even when they are Immune to Magic. The damage output on Undead drastically outperforms fistoftheheavens.
  • For non-Undead Lightning Immunes, your Mercenary becomes your only damage source. Swap on your fanaticism to drastically increase their DPS.

Late-Game

  • Cast battlecommand and battleorders before you cast holyshield at the beginning of your farming session. Refresh the buffs as needed on longer sessions.
  • enigma gives access to teleport and becomes our primary mobility option. Use vigor in town and while moving before engaging any monsters.

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 75% FCR Breakpoint. Note: FCR only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal or global Cooldowns spells have.

Frames1514131211109
FCR0918304875125

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

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

Frames13121110987654
FHR0371320324875129280

Faster Block Rate (FBR)

Faster Block Rate (FBR) does not need to be obtained for this build. Holy Shield already reduces the block animation to 2 frames through a hidden mechanic.

Frames54321
Holy Shield FBR086

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

FoH Starter

Setup

The Starter Variant of the FoHdin relies heavily on Skills and Faster Cast Rate to deal damage. Lore, Stealth, Spirit Crystal Sword, and Spirit Targe are easily obtainable sources of these stats. Life, Resistances, and Faster Hit Recovery are also great stats to help your starter setup. Check Charsi and Gheed in Nightmare for Gloves, Belts and Boots with these Stats.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with a Body Armor and Helmet that provides Resistances, Life Stolen per hit, and Life. Insight is an easy Runeword to create that gives a great amount of damage and Quality of Life with Meditation. Hire the Holy Freeze Aura Mercenary to gain extra Crowd Control. Use fanaticism to increase his DPS against Immunes.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. fanaticism
4. holyshield

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. fistoftheheavens
2. conviction (Enough to reach -150 Resistance)
3. HOLYSHOCK
4. holybolt
5. blessedhammer

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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

Holy Bolt Starter

Setup

This holybolt Starter Variant of the FoHdin is specifically built to farm Areas with Undead monster types. You still have access to conviction to empower fistoftheheavens if other mob types spawn. Faster Cast Rate and +x to Skills are obtained from Lore, Stealth, Spirit Crystal Sword, and Spirit Targe. Life, Resistances, and Faster Hit Recovery are also great stats to help your starter setup. Check Charsi and Gheed in Nightmare for Gloves, Belts and Boots with these Stats.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with a Body Armor and Helmet that provides Resistances, Life Stolen per hit, and Life. Insight is an easy Runeword to create that gives a great amount of damage and Quality of Life with Meditation. Hire the Holy Freeze Aura Mercenary to gain extra Crowd Control. Use fanaticism to increase his DPS against Immunes.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. conviction
4. holyshield

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. holybolt
2. fistoftheheavens
3. blessedhammer
4. fanaticism
5. conviction

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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

FoH Standard

Setup

This setup allows you to Elite Snipe anywhere and also clear all high value Undead heavy Areas with ease. Prioritize +x to Skills, +xx to Lightning Skill Damage, and -xx to Enemy Lightning Resistance after reaching the 75% Faster Cast Rate Breakpoint. You can also swap out some +x to Skills and add high amounts of Magic Find onto your kit for Player Settings 1 farming.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with Insight Giant Thresher for Meditation to help manage your Mana. Andariel's Visage and Fortitude Sacred Armor increases his DPS and survivability.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. fanaticism
4. holyshield

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. fistoftheheavens
2. conviction (Enough to reach -150 Resistance)
3. HOLYSHOCK
4. holybolt
5. blessedhammer
6. resistfire (Remaining Points)

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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

Holy Bolt Standard

Setup

This holybolt Standard Variant of the FoHdin is specifically built to farm Areas with Undead monster types. Since this Skill only affects Undead, you are restricted to specific farming Areas. You have a lot more options for your Aura, such asvigor or salvation for more utility and survivability. You still have access to conviction to empower fistoftheheavens if other mob types spawn. Faster Cast Rate and +x to Skills help reach ridiculous DPS output.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is hand-tailored to deal large amounts of damage vs Undead. The Tomb Reaver Cryptic Axe has MASSIVE Damage and Attack Rating boosts vs Undead targets. Make sure to keep vigor up to help him chase down monsters, then swap to fanaticism to boost his kill-speed.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. fanaticism
4. holyshield

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. holybolt
2. fistoftheheavens
3. blessedhammer
4. holyshock
5. conviction (Enough to reach -150 Resistance)
6. resistfire
(Remaining Skill Points)

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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

Holy Bolt Support

Setup

holybolt support's purpose is to be a Swiss-Army knife combined with a combat medic. We reach the max 125% Faster Cast Rate Breakpoint to output as many bolts as possible. By maxing the healing Synergies we are able to heal ~2,000 Life per second. You also have access to every useful Aura, with max level sanctuary for big Crowd Control in places like the Chaos Sanctuary. Lastly, your cleansing Aura drastically reduces Curse duration and Poison Length.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with Insight Giant Thresher for Meditation to help manage your Mana. Andariel's Visage and Fortitude Sacred Armor increases his DPS and survivability.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. vigor
2. salvation
3. fanaticism
4. holyshield
5. meditation

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. holybolt
2. prayer
3. cleansing
4. sanctuary
5. conviction (Enough to reach -150 Resistance)
6. holyfreeze

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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


Summary

  • Cast Holy Shield at the beginning of your farming session and keep this buff up at all times.
  • fistoftheheavens is an amazing single-target Skill when boosted by conviction. It has the few Immune monsters to deal with.
  • Your ability to Elite Snipe, and decimate Undead type monsters with holybolt give you an unfair advantage at a massive range. Use this to your advantage.
  • Both the fistoftheheavens and holybolt variants slot very well into group play. This versatility between Single and Multiplayer makes for a very fun build to pilot.
  • You have the ability to carry group play with the holybolt support variant. When the group's done playing, go smash through Areas like the Crypt, Mausoleum and the Stony Tomb.

The FoHdin really brings a unique and rewarding gameplay experience to anyone that's willing to master this build. Whether it's shredding through hordes of the Undead, or targeting Elites from max range, you're sure to be one of the unique D2R builds in any game!

In Bocca al Lupo!


Credits

Written by MacroBioBoi
Reviewed by Teo1904