Assassin Martial Arts Feedback

I think this is hard capped in the game at 50%. I think this cap can be achieved by just using Nat’s set and the fade skill. This stat is pretty much required for melee because assassins also have hilariously low life :frowning:

I still say Martial Arts elemental attacks are horribly weak considering the effort and danger of using them. If all the elemental damages were doubled I think it would still be underwhelming. And the physical side is severely limited by the weakness of one-handed claws. Tiger strike works with non-claws, and historically has been more popular to use with non-assassin weapons :man_facepalming:


Gotcha, that makes more sense

for sure, the gear is definitely gg, but that was the point, P7 ~5 minute chaos runs with gg gear is kind of a decent standard and not all specs can do it. With the basic gear set from my guide (and infinity, its really slow on high P# without it) P7 chaos takes like 7-9 minutes. Without infinity I’m able to do P3 chaos in ~5 minutes. Infinity makes the spec so much more forgiving, the other pieces aren’t nearly as influential or important.

My build guide actually is built with more basic gear (no high runes used at all), the video uses what I consider to be perfect gear. The downloadable character has 2 different basic sets, and perfect gear available for messing around with.

Yeah, I can agree with those sentiments. Like you were saying you needed to do, I recommend maxing resists, dmg reduction as much as possible, and even recommend stacking “damage reduced by X” to beef it up even more.

With all that said, you got me curious how far I can push the Basic Gear sets now. Maybe it’d be worth doing some runs with a more basic set to test it out more:

I played more last night on the PTR trying different MA builds.

One thing that is a little disheartening is as I progressed in the game the trash mobs were getting harder to hit. 70% to hit with a maxed out skill. I wish we had all acts unlocked so I could see how bad it is in Act 5.

That said I ended up using the Cube to up the bartucs and ran with that and the Jade talon for resists, otherwise it was fortitude, shako, and other ptr gear. Played with the holy freeze act 2 merc with reapers toll, duriels shell, and andy’s helm.

I decided instead of dumping points into all the elements to try to focus on 1 element, physical, and a finisher.

MA (86 Points)
20 - Tiger Strike
20 - Dragon Claw (finisher)
20 - Claws of Thunder
20 - Phoenix Strike
6 - 1 pt in all the others

Rest of the points in Shadow tree down to shadow warrior 1 pt. This time I played with 1 pt in blade shield and after a respec left it off.

Running through act 1 was pretty easy. Act 2 started to slow things down a little but overall felt good. I finished in Act 3 smashing the orb. I did have to respec in act 3 and dumped 200 points into Dex just to get my chance to hit up to 80% on trash mobs.

What I really liked
This maybe a not popular opinion but I liked that dragon claw used 2 charges. It was fun to see the 2 novas go off, then I just had to attack again (and hopefully hit) to fill the 2 back up. This also helped me because I was mostly interested in the chain lightning portion of phoenix strike, so with full charges I know I am getting lightning.

For lightning immunes I would just use tiger strike. 3 charges and a maxed finisher felt great on trash mobs. It was single target but overall it was a way to progress when faced with lightning immunes. The physical immune ghosts in the arcane sanctuary were really only an issue due to the mana drain.

I tried to weave in cobra strike as needed. Would love to have more points into this or just have it be a passive that works for any charge (though that would op I’m sure). But something along the line of charge up skills have a chance to add a cobra strike charge up.

I think most disco sins will agree it’s pretty fun to see 9 charges spent at once.

What I didn’t like
Chance to hit was rougher than I thought as I got further in the game. Maybe claw mastery has to be maxed and angelic 2 part mandatory? Over all seeing that x pop up on a missed charge was sad every time. I also was debating trying the act 3 fire merc but was enjoying reapers toll and the slow of holy freeze.

Never felt like I have enough points. There are just too many thing to add. Trying to remove the cold and fire from the mix freed up some skills at the cost of my phoenix strike not really being as good as it could be.

I wish dragon flight let me move as soon as I land. I felt like there were times I used it and tried to reposition but had to wait a second. Didn’t really test fully but just something that I felt while playing.

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What do you guys think if they made charge up skills always hit and revert finishers to requiring AR to hit again. I always found the worst part of the MA experience is the time it takes to charge, missing is annoying. I don’t mind spamming finishers multiple times, they hit hard and fast anyways. Normal attacks with charge ups just isn’t that exciting.

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I’d be on board for this.

Another hidden thing about Charges, beyond the 15 second timer, is that they each give +25→50% AR to finish moves, but the fact they always hit makes this buff pointless now.

Switching it so charge up skills always hit, and finisher used AR would be soooo much better; it’d make charging way more consistent, make the AR bonus charges give be useful again, and the release skills typically have solid AR bonuses already.

I agree, that would make gameplay a lot smoother. I find that in group play it’s hard to charge up before mobs are nuked, anything to make charging quicker is a big plus.

“Beat the game” tonight. AKA I killed Baal. Ancients were really rough with a few deaths. Mana drain just rocked me really hard. The Minions of Destruction were very very rough but after a handful of deaths was able to proceed.

I had to respec in act 4 again. Was just missing too much so had to do more for attack rating. I ended up swapping the 20 in tiger strike for 20 in claw mastery. I put hard 200 points in dex, Max Claw Mastery, Max phoenix strike skill +AR, +level 43 enchant (+398%) from act 3 fire merc. That left me with over 15k Attack rating. Figured should be 95% chance to hit. Open up stat sheet to hit Diablo 83%.

Diablo dropped gloves that give -50 Def per hit so I switched to those. My helforge gave me a Gul. I unlocked the socket quest and added the Gul to Bartucs for 20% more AR.

Overall the build was fun to play. Was really slow compared to other casters I have played but I would say less than average survival after I dropped 200 points into Dex. I was not playing with CTA or infinity. I was trying to play with somewhat obtainable gear (minus the Fortitude). Though I guess the 3 skillers with life were nothing like I would have on a char. I had a little over 1100 health which lead to some scary hit the full rejuvenation moments.

As expected the act 3 fire merc was pretty bad at staying alive. The nice thing was at least the enchant stayed on me so it was like 50k for a temp buff after a trip to town. I am somewhat curious if I would have better luck and just rock the blessed aim act 2 merc since I could have life steal.

All said I had a lot of fun with the MA assassin on the PTR. I took her from all the way from act 1 to beating baal in Hell difficulty. I think the changes they have made will lead to a decent character but it will be a balancing act to get your attack rating high enough to be playable vs survival. I don’t see this as farming char but instead one to just play through or build for something different. I just don’t see it in it’s current state being like the standard “enough str/dex for gear rest vit” build since that AR needs to be up there. Gut feel was it seems like ~20k might be the goal for 95% chance to hit act 5 hell.


Was t his with a fresh character, or the level 99 one it gave us?

This skill has the potential to be the most fun in the game… but there is something akwardly slow about it which makes it just not fun at all :-1:

'Tis a real shame, even with 100% chance to hit with charges it still felt really slow and clunky to me.

I was hoping to get the feeling of a werewolf from one of the newer versions of MedianXL, or even a flicker-strike type thing from Path of Exile, but no. The animation feels like it takes 3 to 5 seconds and completely ignores attack and cast speeds.


Yeah, I was testing Dragon Flight and had the same experience - it was great for crossing rivers etc. and was fun. But it did have a yukky delay on it… I’m not a MA expert and just assumed it was some FCR/IAS breakpoint, and I hadn’t optimized my gear enough…

Certainly think if there are other hidden delays in the skill - just remove them so players feel good when they use the skill…

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This was the level 85 assassin (named Assassin). I ended at level 86. For whatever reason the assassin on the PTR was at the start of Act 1 in Hell, where as the other classes had the full game unlocked.

I just finished Hell Baal.

Not only that - I also cleaned Hell Cows (no problem at all), and tried to do Ubers. I couldn’t finish it. I was able to get the three organs with extreme difficulty - LOTS of trips back to town, and each Uber fight took a very. Long. Time. I finally hit a wall in Tristram. Couldn’t do anything at all there, then decided to call it a day. (I was extremelly happy in fact. I travelled far, further than I ever thought possible as a solo Martial Artist in Hell).

After reading these comments, I was expecting an EXTREMELY hard time and an impossible Act 5 Hell. Sure enough, soloing Hell Ancients and Minions of Destruction was tough. I didn’t die, but I definitely could’ve. But in the end I was able to go through Chaos Sanc, Diablo, Ancients, and Baal with no deaths at all - some close calls though!

Throughout Hell difficulty I must have respeced more than 15 times, in Acts 1 and 2 while I figured things out. The build I’m describing below has been a constant since mid-Act 2 (like Lost City-ish). I never looked back. :slight_smile:

The damage being done to Act Bosses was pretty OK, but indeed the chance to hit them was so-so. Baal was something like 69 or 71% (with Merc’s Blessed Aim).

My build:


  • Max Phoenix and all three elemental pre-reqs. That’s all really.
  • One pre-req pt in all up until Shadow Warrior. No Shadow Master. No Venom.
  • One pt in each of the four finishers. I use D Talon 99% of the time, occasionally using D Flight to strategically tele Merc and Shadow to a target
  • ZERO points in the Traps tab.

Act 2 Blessed Aim merc with:

  • Infinity
  • Treachery
  • Tal’s Helm (no sock)


  • Around 200 in STR (I could have min/maxed and made it precisely what I needed, but went a few pts above it)
  • Around 220 Vita (actual Life is exactly 1100. No CtA.)
  • All else in Dex, around 220 I think

Um’ed Andy’s
Upped, Eth’ed Bartuc’s
Um’ed Stormshield
TGod’s belt (for Lightning Absorb mostly, I put that before CS and used it through Act 5. String of Ears before CS.)
Aldur’s boots
Bramble Mitts


  • 3x PS charges and release with Dragon Talon.
    That’s it.
    In time, you don’t even have to see the charges. You get a sense of how long it takes to (probably) hit thrice - it was taking in my case a little less than a second. Hard to explain in words. In practice you get the feeling.
  • In rare cases I used Cobra Strike since I have no Mana Leech.
  • In some cases I used Dragon Flight to reposition the team
  • I assigned Phoenix Strike to ‘Q’ and Dragon Talon to ‘E’. I leave these two skills selected so the Shadow Warrior will also use them. Then, just hold ‘Q’ for 1 second or so; it will very likely hit (at least) thrice to charge PS. Then tap ‘E’ to release, and hold Q again. Repeat. Ocasional Dragon Flight to reposition. Also ocasional Cloak of Shadows, especially on hard Uniques and bosses.


  • Um’ed Stormshield made a really big difference. Like others, I also tried a lot Dual Claw setups, including Bartucs + Jade. It doesn’t work so well.
  • I also tried using HOTO and even Chaos runeword instead of Bartuc’s. Also didn’t work so well.
  • My final Attack Rating is 9500-ish, WITH the Merc aura. Without it, it parks around 6400 I think.
  • For the hardest moments I activated Fade instead of BoS. To be more specific: Ancients, Worldstone Keep, Minions of Destruction and Baal. Diablo and Chaos == Burst of Speed; I’d hit Fade when I was cursed with Lower Resist, but get back to BoS ASAP.
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Try using max Fade instead with a dual claw setup. With items max DR is easily achieved. With this you build charges faster since each claw builds a charge, making a smother experience overall in building and spending charges, also adding more overall damage with quicker charge building.

OK, I might try that.

But I personally love the ultra-speed playstyle of the Assassin, it’s one of my fav aspects of her. So going for Fade all the time, I lose that.

But definitely worth a try.

Forget the first charge of PS all together. By the time it lands mobs have moved or are dead. What I found to be best was building 3 charges, release 2 with dragon claw, build back to 3 charges with one hit of PS and release and just repeat. Not having to spend synergizing points into fire allows more points for utility. This really is a significant boost in damage.

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What you said is usually, but not always true.

I initially also maxed Cold and Lightning only. But I realised that for the BIG mobs of monsters, or even better, for Act Bosses, Meteor makes a huge difference.

So, no, don’t forget the 1st charge. It’s just that it’s not ALWAYS useful, but when it is, it makes a big difference. Big damage, not mention dmg/second from fire preventing monster heal.

Fair enough. Comes down to a matter of play styles and an individuals priorities. Good call on it having use, just not as frequently.

More testing (and I guess complaining about attack rating) today I ran to throne room so I could get Minion in my stat sheet. I then went to town and respeced to see how much dex it would take to get 95 chance to hit.

Turns out it’s not possible. Or not possible with the gear I have at level 86.
I have Max Phoenix strike, Max Claw mastery, Blessed Aim Merc, and 367 points into dex (409 on the stat sheet). That left me with 37 vit for a total of 678 health.

All that added up to 25,261 in my attack rating for a chance to hit a minion of destruction at 88%. Swapped some gear to get to 26,476 still 88%.

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You’re running into the fact that you’re below their level by 6. Lister is actually 88 and the other minions are 92.

You need to be up there to get better hit rates at that point.

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Yes, very much this. Character level compared to monster level is a much bigger factor to chance to hit than your attack rating or their defense.

And vice versa if you are wanting a low chance of being hit and beefing up your armor’s defense rating. Melee characters need to level up before they feel strong.