Smite Paladin Guide

Smite Paladin

Introduction

The Smite Paladin, commonly known as the Smiter, has been a staple build in Diablo 2 for many years. It excels at killing Bosses, especially Ubers. There is no better build to start farming Hellfiretorches!

Smite is a powerful single target Skill capable of destroying the toughest demons. It always hits regardless of Attack Rating, making the build easy to get started. Fanaticism Aura, Crushing Blow and Increased Attack Speed (IAS) further increase Smite’s damage capabilities.

Not only does this build have ridiculous damage, but it also is capable of tanking the most dangerous bosses. Smite deals Physical Damage, benefiting from Life Tap for Life sustain. High Resistances, Cannot Be Frozen and Holy Shield (Defense and Chance to Block) are key to the Smiter’s survivability.

Ideal Standard Setup

Smite

Fanaticism

Holy Shield

Zeal

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

Very Tanky ✔
Cheap Starting Gear ✔

Effective Against Uber Bosses ✔
Great Late Game Gear Options ✔

Clunky Early Game Mechanics
❌ Only Has A Single Damage Type
❌ Good Mobility Requires Teleport
❌ Few Skill Actions and Very Repetitive



Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Cleansing
2. Vigor
3. Salvation
4. Charge

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Lightning Resist
2. Fanaticism
3. Smite
4. Holy Shield
5. Zeal

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Smite* is your main damage Skill, dealing Physical Damage by hitting targets with your Shield. It always hits a target in range regardless of Attack Rating. It also Stuns and causes Knockback against regular mobs.

Zeal* is your secondary damage Skill and also deals Physical Damage. It hits up to 5 times in succession and is great for killing density. This Skill requires Attack Rating and benefits from Stats like Ignore Target's Defense.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Fanaticism* Aura applies to you and all allies, granting Attack Rating, +x% Damage and Increased Attack Speed. This is the primary Aura for this build.

Holy Shield* boosts your Chance to Block, Defense, and Smite Damage. It also has a hidden mechanic that drastically boosts your Faster Block Rate animation.

Vigor* provides you and your party with Velocity which increases the movement speed (separate from Faster Run/Walk). This is great in town or quickly running over to pick up items and click objects. It also gives additional Stamina and Stamina regeneration.

Charge* is a movement Skill that knocks back enemies in its path. This Skill works well in combination with Vigor for extra movement speed.

Cleansing* reduces the duration of negative effects for you and your allies, such as Curses or Poison Length.

Salvation* is an optional single Skill Point investment that can greatly boost All Elemental Resistances of you and your allies.

Resist Lightning* increases your Maximum Lightning Resistance passively by 0.5 per Skill Point. This is a hidden mechanic, which doesn't show in the tooltip.

* 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) Wizardspike's base attack speed is very fast.
2) Exile can be put into any Paladin Shield base, but it's usually preferred to use an Elite Ethereal base with high All Resistances as it repairs durability. Recommended Base: Vortex Shield
3) Death's Hand and Death's Guard give 30% Increased Attack Speed, 8% Life stolen per hit, All Resistances +15 and Cannot be Frozen!

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponBlack Flail
Grief Phase Blade
Death Berserker Axe
Kingslayer Phase Blade
Last Wish Phase Blade
Wizardspike1
The Gnasher
Level x Might Aura When Equipped
+x% Increased Attack Speed
Damage +x
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds

Slows target by x%
All Resistances +x
Off-Hand Exile2
Rhyme Targe
Sanctuary Sacred Targe
Herald of Zakarum
Gemmed Targe
x% Chance to cast level x LifeTap on striking
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Increased Chance of Blocking
+x to Attribute
X Resist +x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch+x to All Skills
Helmets Crown of Ages
Rockstopper
Vampire Gaze
Guillaume's Face
Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest
Wisdom Mask
Resistance Mask
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Chance of Crushing Blow

+x Life
X Resist +x%
Damage Reduced by x%
Magic Damage Reduced by x
Cannot Be Frozen
Body Armor Chains of Honor
Duress
Enigma
Treachery
Smoke
Duriel's Shell
Guardian Angel
Shaftstop
x% Chance to cast level x Fade when struck
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds

+x to Teleport
+x Life
Increased Maximum Life x%
+x% to Maximum X Resist
X Resist +x%
+x Lightning Absorb
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Gloves Bloodfist
Dracul's Grasp
Death's Hand3
Laying of Hands
Blood Crafted Gloves
x% Chance to cast level x LifeTap on striking
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit

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

+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Belts Nightsmoke
String of Ears
Thundergod's Vigor
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Death's Guard3
Blood Crafted Belt
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Life stolen per hit
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x% to Maximum Lightning Resist
X Resist +x%
+x Lightning Absorb
Damage Reduced by x%
Damage Reduced by x

Magic Damage Reduced by x
Cannot Be Frozen
Boots Goblin Toe
Gore Rider
Sandstorm Trek
Waterwalk
Aldur's Advance
Rare Boots
+x % Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Amulets Mara's Kaleidoscope
Seraph's Hymn
Metalgrid
Safety Crafted Amulet
Prismatic Amulet
+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills
x% Increased Chance of Blocking
+x Life
+x to Attribute
X Resist +x%
Rings Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Dwarf Star
Wisp Projector
Rare Ring
Blood Crafted Ring
+x to All Skills
+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Lightning Absorb x%
Magic Damage Reduced by x
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Combat Skills [Paladin Only]
+x% Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Attribute
+ Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsHellfiretorch (Paladin)
Annihilus
+x to All Skills
+x to Paladin Skills
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +x

Farming Spots

The Smiter's Main farming spots are the Ubers; that is what this build centers around. However there are options here for more casual farming.

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 3

AreaStarterRewards
Travincal-Gearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the Overseer-Gearing
Gold
Leveling

Ubers

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

Mercenary

The Mercenary is not worth trying to keep alive in Ubers. However, this is a setup for basic farming, such as anything list in the Farming Spots section.

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, Reaper's Toll

Reaper’s Toll, Might

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to significantly boost your Physical Damage.
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.

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

  • Prior to combat, cast Holy Shield.
  • Proc Fade from Treachery on a Fire next to the River of Flame Waypoint. This buff grants 15% Damage Reduction and 60% to All Resistances for 288 seconds.
  • Activate Vigor anytime you or your party are moving around without Teleport
  • Use Charge and Vigor to close the gap between you and your enemies.
  • Against boss targets, swap to your Wand of Life Tap and Cast Life Tap (This part CAN be skipped if you have a source of x% Chance to cast Level x Life Tap on striking). Then swap back to your main Weapon and use Fanaticism with Smite to deal your damage.
  • Use Zeal whenever you are facing a high number of mobs.
  • Briefly switch to Cleansing to remove negative effects on you or your party.
  • Avoid getting surrounded by Physical Immune mobs as you can get trapped.
  • In the early game you can use Salvation against monsters that use Conviction to keep you and your allies' Resistances up.

Immunities

  • Unfortunately we do not have a way to deal with Immunes easily. You can use Smite to Knockback enemies for an escape route.

Late-Game

  • At the beginning of each run, buff yourself by swapping to Call to Arms and cast Battle Command 2 times followed by Battle Orders. Then cast Holy Shield, on the Weapon Swap that gives it the highest Skill Level. Make sure these buffs stay active all the time; they are essential to your survivability. 
  • Use Teleport from Enigma or Staff of Teleportation to get close to enemies or “Telestomp" them. Charge and Vigor can also be used to reposition yourself.

Breakpoints

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.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

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

Grief Phase Blase

Frames766
Smite + Fanaticism Gear IAS069

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

Frames21
Holy Shield FBR086

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

Starter

Setup

The Smite Paladin needs specific stats to become successful at fighting Ubers. These things include a source of Life Tap for Life sustain, Cannot Be Frozen, x% Chance of Crushing Blow for big boss damage, x% Chance of Open Wounds to prevent the monster's healing, and a large amount of Resistance to counter Uber Mephisto's Conviction Aura.

Wand of Life Tap, Black Flail, Resistance Targe, and Blood Crafted Belt are cheap sources for some of these Stats.
Note: Prevent Monster Heal doesn't work on Uber Bosses.

Mercenary

Mercenaries are not worth trying to keep alive in Ubers. However, a Might Aura Mercenary is useful for basic farming. To keep your Mercenary alive outside Ubers, equip him with a Body Armor and Helmet that provides Resistances and Life. Insight is a fairly easy Runeword to find that gives a great amount of damage and Quality of Life with Meditation. Hire the Holy Freeze Aura Mercenary to gain extra Crowd Control.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Cleansing
2. Vigor
3. Salvation
4. Charge

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Resist Lightning
2. Fanaticism
3. Smite
4. Holy Shield

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear and Dexterity to maintain 75% Chance to Block with Holy Shield active.

Standard

Setup

The Standard Smiter uses Grief Phase Blade for the Damage +x. It applies to Smite even though it does not show on the tooltip.

Guillaume's Face and Goblin Toe are used for Crushing Blow.

Dracul's Grasp mainly provides Life Tap and +x% Chance of Open Wounds, in addition to extra survivability and stats.

Mercenary

Mercenaries are not worth trying to keep alive in Ubers. However, a Might Aura Mercenary is useful for basic farming. Both Might Aura and Decrepify from The Reaper’s Toll increase your Smite damage. Vampire Gaze provides increased +x% Life stolen per hit and Damage Reduction.
At the very least, the Mercenary can hold Treachery until you need to proc Fade on yourself.
Note: Be sure to make the Mercenary's Treachery in a non Ethereal base.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Cleansing
2. Vigor
3. Salvation
4. Charge

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Resist Lightning
2. Fanaticism
3. Smite
4. Holy Shield
5. Zeal

Note: One of your biggest threats is Uber Mephisto and his level 20 Conviction Aura. If you have a level 21 or higher Conviction it cancels out his Aura leaving you unaffected.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear and Dexterity to maintain 75% Chance to Block with Holy Shield active.

High Investment

Setup

This version of the Smiter has a lot more Quality of Life to it, as you can just hold down Smite and let the gear do the work for you. There is 95% Chance of Crushing Blow between the Last Wish Phase Blade, Blood Crafted Gloves, and Gore Rider War Boots. This build is extra tanky with Crown of Ages and 2 sources of Life Tap coming from Exile Vortex Shield and Last Wish Phase Blade. This setup is powerful for both kill speed and survivability.

Mercenary

Mercenaries are not worth trying to keep alive in Ubers. However, a Might Aura Mercenary is useful for basic farming. Both Might Aura and Decrepify from The Reaper’s Toll increase your Smite damage. Vampire Gaze provides increased +x% Life stolen per hit and Damage Reduction.
At the very least, the Mercenary can hold Treachery until you need to proc Fade on yourself.
Note: Be sure to make the Mercenary's Treachery in a non Ethereal base.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Cleansing
2. Vigor
3. Salvation
4. Charge

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Resist Lightning
2. Fanaticism
3. Smite
4. Holy Shield
5. Zeal

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear and Dexterity to maintain 75% Chance to Block with Holy Shield active.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Smite

  • The speed of this Skill is based on Increased Attack Speed.
  • Attacks a target with the equipped Shield, which always hits and cannot be blocked. The target will be Knocked Back is eligible.
  • The attack uses the Shield's Damage as the base, instead of any equipped Weapon.
    • Weapon Durability, Range Adder, and Weapon Speed are used for the attack.
  • Base Damage is the total of Shield Damage, holyshield Damage, and sources of Damage + (i.e. grief).
  • Bonus +xx% Damage is the total from smite, Auras / Buffs with +xx% Damage, and non-Weapon +xx% Damage from gear.
  • All Attack Modifiers apply to smite except:
  • lifetap allows smite to Replenish Life.
  • Mana Cost: 2
Scaling
Skill Level1-89-1617-2223-28>28
+xx% Damage15 * sLVL
Stun Lengthmin(0.2 * sLVL + 0.4 , 10)

lifetap

  • The speed of this Skill is based on Cast Rate.
  • Successful melee attacks with a Physical Damage portion will heal the attacker. The heal applied equals 50% of the final Physical Damage dealt by the attack (After Damage Reductions). If the affected target is Immune to Physical, no Life will be replenished.

Scaling:
Life Tap will affect a circular shaped area around the cursor. The radius scales with the Skill Level (slvl).

Formula:
Radius (in yards) = (6 + (2 * slvl)) / 3

Example with slvl = 12:
Radius (in yards) = (6 + (2 * 12)) / 3
Radius (in yards) = 10

The affect duration scales with the Skill Level (slvl).
Example shown use slvl = 12:

  • The speed of this Skill is based on Cast Rate.
  • Successful melee attacks with a Physical Damage portion will heal the attacker. The heal applied equals 50% of the final Physical Damage dealt by the attack (After Damage Reductions). If the affected target is Immune to Physical, no Life will be replenished.

Scaling:
Life Tap will affect a circular shaped area around the cursor. The radius scales with the Skill Level (slvl).

Formula:
Radius (in yards) = (6 + (2 * slvl)) / 3

Example with slvl = 12:
Radius (in yards) = (6 + (2 * 12)) / 3
Radius (in yards) = 10

The affect duration scales with the Skill Level (slvl).
Example shown use slvl = 12:

Formula:
Duration = 13.6 + (2.4 * slvl)

Example with slvl = 12:
Duration = 13.6 + (2.4 * 12)
Duration = 42.4 seconds


Summary

  • Keep your Battle Command, Battle Orders, Holy Shield and Fade buffs up at all times.
  • Allocate enough Dexterity for 75% Chance to Block.
  • Position yourself well during combat and pay attention to the monster’s positioning and movements.
  • Whenever attacking with Smite make sure Fanaticism is on to deal maximum damage.
  • Use Zeal against large amounts of mobs.
  • Make sure Life Tap is always on the target you're attacking to ensure safety.
  • Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, Resistances and Cannot Be Frozen are your most important stats.
  • Have fun!

We hope you enjoy this build! It can be extremely satisfying and rewarding once you take down your first Uber. There is nothing like absolutely melting the hardest bosses in the game!

Good luck!


Credits

Written by BTNeandertha1
Reviewed by Lexyu

Changelog

Apr 19th 2022
Updated to Patch 2.4 - Added Wisdom Runeword to Starter Variant