Future Assassin Changes/Recommendations Discussion

I personally feel like the assassin has fallen even further behind compared to the other classes with Patch 2.5, and could use some changes to help alleviate that. I’d like to start off by recommending some things I’d like to see, and I encourage others to post their ideas and critiques as well.

1) Fix all skill's flags relating to +/- Elemental Damage for her Traps and Martial Arts.

With the introduction of Sunder charms certain skills in these trees have fallen even further behind. Allowing them to interact with +/- elemental damage would be a huge step in the right direction. The following skills are affected:

Skill +/- Element Affected
Charged Bolt Sentry Both +/- Light
Lightning Sentry Both +/- Light
Death Sentry Both +/- Light
Wake of Fire Both +/- Fire
Wake of Inferno Both +/- Fire

Martial Arts:
Skill +/- Element Affected
Fist of Fire + Fire doesn’t work with charge 3
Claws of Thunder + Lightning doesn’t work with charge 2 and 3
Phoenix Strike + Fire/Light/Cold doesn’t work with the skill at all

2) Martial Arts needs some tweaks and buffs imo.
Normal Attack:
  • Normal Attack is listed as a Finishing Move in game but does not benefit from the “charged attacks always hit with Finishing Moves” mechanic. Applying this affect would not be game breaking early on and would make NA a viable finisher late game for certain skills

Fists of Fire:
  • cap out the fire conversion to somewhere between 50→90% instead of 100%. When all of your physical dmg gets converted to fire dmg it becomes nearly impossible to survive because you can’t leech any life or mana back, even life tap does nothing for you.

  • make it so the burn duration scales with the skills level, much like Meteor. 2.5 seconds is far to short, it’s difficult to stack flames effectively due to the duration

  • either up the synergy to the 16%→24% range or make the skill’s base damage increase muuuch more powerful when going into the >20 skill level ranges. It needs a bit more damage for later stages of the game

PS. Thanks for the radius increase from 2.6 → 4.0 yards in Patch 2.4, it wasn’t mentioned in the patch notes :slight_smile:

Claws of Thunder:
  • the biggest issue with this skill is that it can deal extremely low end damage when spent. With how much effort it takes to launch an attack, theres no reason that it should have the chance to completely whiff. I highly recommend giving max damage a slight buff, but also make the minimum damage scale similar to max damage.

so instead of:
Claw = 1 → 10000 light dmg
Nova = 1 → 5000 light dmg
Charged Bolt = 1 → 7500 light dmg

make it:
Claw = 6500 → 10000 light dmg
Nova = 5000 → 7500 light dmg
Charged Bolt = 6500 → 10000 light dmg
This would make every charge spent much more meaningful, and help with DPS a ton.

  • Remove Next Hit Delay for Nova at the very least, this way monsters can be hit by both Novas and a single Charged Bolt
  • Removing NHD for Charged Bolt would also be great, but admittedly might be a bit much with the change to have tight min/max damage ranges.

Blades of Ice:
  • either up the synergy to the 16%→20% range or make the skill’s base damage increase muuuch more powerful when going into the >20 skill level ranges. Much like Fists of Fire, Blades of Ice needs more dmg for end game

Cobra Strike:
  • I think the skill should be reworked a lot to incorporate some damage elements, and some synergy to Venom:

Charge 1 = +% Life and Mana Steal
Charge 2 = +XX Psn Dmg to weapons, over 0.4 seconds (so venom doesn’t overwrite, and combines with 100% efficieny)
Charge 3 = +XX Poison Cloud Dmg, over 2 seconds (releases Plague Javalin’s Cloud)

  • Add a synergy to Venom, and vice versa, both could use some love and extra damage

Phoenix Strike:
  • Remove Next Hit Delay on charges 2 and 3
  • Make Min dmg of Chaos Lightning also scale similar to Max dmg (same issue as CoT)
  • Reduce Meteor’s fall duration to 1.0 → 1.4 seconds, instead of 2.4 seconds

3) Some Shadow Skills could use some love.
Claw Mastery:
  • It’s slightly different than the barb’s weapon mastery skills, with a lower Crit chance and damage bonus, but higher attack rating. If keeping it unique is desired, I’d recommend adding -% Target Defense or - Monster Defense per Hit to the skill, that increases potency with increased skill level. At the very least make it identical in power to the barbs masteries.

Cloak of Shadows:
  • Remove the cooldown association with duration, have it start with a high cooldown, say 10 seconds, and make the duration decrease with skill level. Higher the level, lower the cooldown duration, and set it to a hard cap cooldown of somewhere between 1 → 2 seconds.

Weapon Block:
  • Allow it to function while moving, with the same penalties a regular shield has

Shadow Warrior:
  • Make her spawn with magic versions of your helm, armor, and boots
  • She doesn’t spawn with any boots atm, making her kick skills extremely weak, at least give her Light Plated Boots
  • Allow her to cast prebuff skills outside of combat/while standing in town

  • Make it synergize with Cobra Strike for more damage

4) Traps are doing alright but could use a few changes.
  • Once again; the biggest thing is fixing the +/- Elemental Damage Flags for these skills. Once that is done all the elemental skills will be in a much better place

  • The Blade Traps all still need an increase to their Attack Rating in some way, not much else to say

5) More Claw Runewords focused around Elements

overall all classes struggle with reducing elemental resists, after sunder charms and 1/5 penalty, but it’s compounded a bit further for the assassin with some skills requiring 2x claws. I recommend adding in some new 3 socket runewords focused around reducing elemental resists.

For example, Plague covers Poison skills extremely well, and Crescent Moon would be perfect for Lightning skills. I’d love to see them make CM work with claws, and add more mid tier 3x socket runewords similar to Crescent Moon, but focused around Fire and Cold, maybe something like:

Crescent Moon

3 Socket Claws, Swords, Polearms
Shael + Um + Tir

10% Change to Cast Level 17 Chain Lightning On Striking
7% Chance To Cast Level 13 Static Field On Striking
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+180→220% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignores Target’s Defense
-35% To Enemy Lightning Resistance
25% Chance of Open Wounds
+9→11 Magic Absorb
+2 Mana After Each Kill
Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30 Charges)

Tundra's Bane

3 Socket Weapons
Gul + Eth + Ist

10% Change to Cast Level 18 Glacial Spike On Striking
4% Chance To Cast Level 29 Blizzard On Striking
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+180-220% Enhanced Damage (varies)
-25% → 35% To Enemy Cold Resistance
Cannot Be Frozen
+30-150 Cold Damage
+20% Bonus to Attack Rating
-100% Target Defense
+30% Magic Find

Burning Desolation

3 Socket Weapons
Mal + Ort + Vex

10% Change to Cast Level 23 Inner Sight On Striking
4% Chance To Cast Level 33 Meteor On Striking
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+180-220% Enhanced Damage (varies)
-25% → 35% To Enemy Fire Resistance
-200 Monster Defense per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+75→200 Fire Damage
+7% Mana Stolen per Hit


In my opinion, the first priority should be to make mindblast interrupt casting no matter what when it hits. So people can still run out but can’t cast/retaliate without a faster action frame breakpoint or without the Assassin using a different skill.

Turn Wake of Inferno into Wake of Fissure. Or just add a fire trap that makes a 8-12 yard explosion every x frames.
Let Death Sentry release the third charge from Claws of Thunder when it isn’t exploding corpses.

As for your listed suggestions,

  1. Agreed (though I believe they already apply to the Martial Arts
  2. I think we need to be able to charge up the charges by shift+clicking (swinging at the air).
  3. Venom needs improved scaling, other than that I’m reasonably happy with the shadow skills (mindblast/psy hammer interrupting spells aside).
  4. Aside from what I already mentioned, why can they still not have the Blade traps show their proper damage in the stat screen?!
  5. I think we need a Claw runeword with some FCR and at least 45% (80% would be ideal since you get slowed easily) Increased Attack Speed so you can wield a Greater/Runic Talon mainhand and maintain max speed with fade + fcr gear.

My $0.02 :expressionless:

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I’m curious, is this a PvP issue, or do you mean PvM? I’ve never thought/looked into it a ton, but I thought mindblast always interrupted enemies its cast on?

That’d be neat, the Wake of Inferno does feel a little weak/odd. I remember the first time I slapped the skill down, didn’t expect a straight narrow flamethrower.

“-XX% Enemy Resistance” does work for the martial arts skills I mentioned, but “+XX% Elemental Damage” does not apply. Just sucks that you could slap on a 4x facet’d monarch, and only gain half the benefits, same with griffons, etc.

that’d definitely help smooth out the beginning of combat, and help to maintain charges as navigating between packs. I personally don’t hate how it currently works, but wouldn’t deny this would be a decent QoL thing



The only thing I would change is to remove the delay from Meteor completely.
Everything else, 1000 thumbs up👍

i only hope the devs, see these posts, and acutally consider these changes, the assasin has a lot of constraints the if you compare it with other classes.

and to be honest, the martial arts tree has its issues still. I love the thought of building up charges and switching between finisher and charging skills, but it is time-consuming and leaves the Assasin very exposed while building charges. you absolutely need to use Cloak of shadows all the time.

Deathtrap is a nice skill, but for efficiency, it is a skill that is so good that all builds end up using it… I don’t like that.

Also, Dex is pretty useless, outside giving max block. today it provides 5 points in AR per 1 dex point. maybe that is way too low. all AR skills struggle with Hit chance, so why not up it to 10 points per 1 dex?


you got me thinking, and I made some change suggestions to both Claw Mastery and Cloak of Shadows.

You’re definitely right, CoS makes a hugggge difference in gameplay. Not just from blinding monsters but also the “-XXX Monster Defense”. With that said, a flat cooldown of 1-2 seconds, seems a bit much, especially early game. So I was thinking that if it started with a high cooldown, that reduces as the skill level increases, it’d stop it from being to OP early game, incentivize dumping points into it for a lower cooldown, and late game with a ton of +skills, it becomes a great 1 point wonder.

Going off of our necessity to reduce monster defense, I think adding a mechanic like that to Claw Mastery would be great. Either “-XX% Target Defense”, or “-XXX Monster Defense per Hit” that increases with level. This would make claws even more powerful, and also make Claw Mastery quite unique.

agreed, definitely a love hate relationship for me here

I think dext is actually quite well designed. Maybe adding some extra AR would be nice, but the fact that we can stack Dext with a claw and get damage as well is awesome. Much like the Zon, we can stack a ton of dext for dmg, attack rating, and defense. It’s quite nice. I find once you have BO, you can definitely start dumping a ton of points into dext, if you’re physical spec that is.


That is a great idea!:+1:

For Melee-Assa it would be great if phoenixstrike also became a dualclaw attack.

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The Natalya set is so close to being good for a melee assassin and needs the simple change of the boots being a heavier class for the kick damage. Right now, the boots upgraded is Boneweave class boots which isn’t the kick damage of Mirrored or the other heavy type boots. I ran a dragon tail sin with the Nat set and it could do hell but the damage wasn’t quite there compared to a fury wolf or zealer. It’s close, just needs this tiny adjustment please blizzard the Nat set could be good with just a boot class change!

Seems alright to me. I’d rather add crushing blow to the set. It occupies all the majour source slots for crushing blow.

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I love these ideas especially the claws (build diversity is a ++) , though I think they need the runes to be upped ie. vex+ for that damage. The Fire one I’d think would need Sur, thinking of the Dragon runeword or Jah for ignore defense rather then the - to def.

1 big thing I hate and want changed is the knock back with Dragon talon, i have issues where i get enough skill points it knocks monsters out of the meteor damage which is a lot of damage loss.

Another thing I’d like changed for PS, CS and TS you only attack with 1 claw which can be slower, would be nice to change it to be like FoF, CoT and BoI.

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Thanks for the support and suggestions!

They are pretty powerful, but all I did to create them was copy and paste Crescent Moon, changed elements and then tweaked how it interacts with monster defense. CM is so strong for its costs:

Crescent Moon

3 Socket Claws, Swords, Polearms
Shael + Um + Tir

10% Change to Cast Level 17 Chain Lightning On Striking
7% Chance To Cast Level 13 Static Field On Striking
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+180→220% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignores Target’s Defense
-35% To Enemy Lightning Resistance
25% Chance of Open Wounds
+9→11 Magic Absorb
+2 Mana After Each Kill
Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30 Charges)

Would probably cause complaints, but maybe tweaking a rune in it, so its more expensive, is warranted as well. With that said though, maybe this is a good chance to make some less used runes more useful. What about:

Tundra’s Bane
3 Socket Weapons
Gul + Eth + Ist

Burning Desolation
3 Socket Weapons
Mal + Ort + Vex

up’s the cost and uses some less utilized runes.

I hate Sur runes in weapons because it overwrites curses, but I can see what you’re thinking. I had a bit of theme going with each of them in regards to monster defense, like I mentioned prior. Each weapon utilizes a different “- enemy defense” mechanic:

each runeword's mechanics

Crescent Moon:

  • ignores target defense; only works on regular monsters, but this runeword is arguably the strongest of the 3 element offensively, so I think its fine as is

Tundra’s Bane:

  • -100% Target’s Defense; reduces the defense of regular monster, champions and uniques to 0, but can also reduce super unique and boss’ defense by 50%

Burning Desolation:

  • Applies lvl 23 Inner Sight on hit for -1015 Monster Defense to almost the entire screen, and each swing would take away -200, potentially doubling if using 2x claws. Most monsters have ~1500 defense, and bosses sit at around 2200, so it wouldn’t take much to reduce them to 0 defense. Also this would be the only weapon of the 3 that can bring a boss to 0 defense. Another nice thing is that IS doesn’t overwrite curses or Cloak of Shadows

I don’t mind the knockback on Dragon Tail, but I agree, its pretty annoying on Dragon Talon. I wouldn’t be complaining if both skills lost it.

Agree with you on doing that for CS and TS, but I actually like that Phoenix Strike only stacks 1 at a time. I just really wish they would make Normal Attack benefit from the “charges always hit bonus” because it is listed as a finishing move in game, and being able to precisely cast 1 element repeatedly would be much easier.

The Rune words based on Crescent moon makes sense, I just feel it will be over powered (not that it will compare to other char’s/builds). Plus want a gul in them to get the AR, doing cows you don’t really need the extra AR but vs Dclone you need it.

the blade build needs work also, the delay on shuriken is annoying.

And would love to have the buff’s on off hand weapon apply to stats, i get why they don’t have it prior to 1.10 patch but after that melee builds are really underwhelming.

but this talk is getting me excited for S3, hopefully we have some good runewords come out this season. I WAS going to do a Zon this go around but you made me want to do a sin :slight_smile:

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They really need to rework Net Hit Delay fundamentally. Nova and Frost Nova make sense to have something like Next Hit Delay, because they release several missiles, and you don’t want the enemy to take damage from missiles for every frame of collision. Because it’s not all one missile, you can’t just use Last Collide to solve that problem either.

In addition to messing up things like Claws of Thunder, Next Hit Delay also has issues like two separate players using skills with Next Hit Delay, blocking each other from dealing damage.

Next Hit Delay should be per instance of a skill effect (e.g. considering combo skills as having 3 separate skill “effects”) rather than applying globally across all skills with Next Hit Delay. That would fix the issue across the board, while avoiding things like Nova doing absurd amounts of damage (or require dramatically readjusting its damage, which would be difficult for low skill levels) if all they did was remove Next Hit Delay.


Agreed with your notes on the elemental +/-%s on Traps and Martial Arts, on having Normal Attack auto-hit when used as a finisher, on creating a synergy between Cobra Strike and Venom, on reducing the fall time for the Phoenix Strike meteor, on decoupling the duration and cooldown of Cloak of Shadows, on giving the Shadow Warrior boots, and on allowing Crescent Moon in claws.


I also like the suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere of Blade Shield not using weapon durability, and removing the wind-up delay on Blade Fury.

So looks like they will be adding something specifically for the MA sin which means I’m 100% starting a MA sin for S3. Mosaic is the RW, looks interesting and has a 25% chance of finisher not consuming MA charges. Though this begs the question 1 Dragon Talon cast triggers all the charges (when you hit 3 kicks), does that mean 25% chance each kick OR your one cast will trigger them all and keep all 3 charges if successful.

I will 100% be testing this in PTR

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I really don’t like this runeword at all, this item sounds clunky as hell. It’s going to screw up the rhythm of charge and release so bad, unless you just plan on unconsciously dump all your charges at once, but that’s the least efficient way to play most MA skills imo. This will help Tiger Tail because, dumping is the best way to go, but for all the other skills, I think this will just make the already fairly unsmooth gameplay even worse.

It does nothing to help with attack rating, +20% from gul doesn’t do much when you already have massive bonuses from claw mastery, the charge skill to begin with, and finishers always hit. 20% ias often falls short of reaching the highest APS possible, so runic talons are still the go to. The prevent monster heal will be nice for Meteor, but its gonna be even harder to properly spam Meteor, and this won’t help FoF much if they don’t increase the burn duration

Thanks for sharing though. I’m really curious what else we got coming down the pipeline now

Definitely worth testing. If it’s per finisher use rather than per kick/attack as part of those finishers, then that’s pretty exciting and actually gives Dragon Claw some more usefulness as well.

Guys, go there and contribute:

Alright test out Mosaic and took only 2 seconds to see i don’t like it.

Stats :

  1. yes needs a boot to flat AR rather then %
  2. would love it to be 30% IAS so we can hit break point on other claws rather then just RT.
  3. read through CrazyMage’s comments a lot of it correct

The Trigger:
This is the main reason I already dislike it, what I was testing using Talon and 2 of the claws (50% chance not to consume) . What ended up happening is that the 50% is based on each kick on Dragon Talon rather then on the cast ie 1 cast can have X kicks. I get it makes sense this way based on how the changes are consumed on each kick, however it means you don’t use every element on PS. What ends up happening is when you have all 3 charges of PS and kick you might (my test the skill was only at 3 kicks) i use lighting and 2 ice or 2 light and 1 ice.

This might be better when you get more kicks/skills so you don’t have as many wasted kicks, but with the delay cast not damaging and the idea for this claw is to be an early MA weapon, not a fan.

Before i submit my feedback to the devs wanted some opinions on this idea:
What if instead of how it is now, you have a 50% (2 claws) of triggering remaining charges without being consumed.
The idea is if you have PS at 3 changes and get the 50% all 3 are cast but no changes are used, and when you have 2 left those 2 are cast but remain at 2 charges ect. I do see an issue with Dragon tail build, can’t think off the top how to solve it. The RW has potential if we just change it completely :smiley:

Edit: did a test run with the Dragon Tail build, it is better and does (excluding stats of the claw) improve the game play a little. When i went through chaos was able to keep 3 TS charges active often, on diablo himself was able to do 3 kicks before consuming a charge. feels like the weapon was only thought for the Dragon tail build tbh

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Just a correction: Fists of Fire AoE was NOT buffed.

It is written 4 on skills.txt but that has to do with tiles math. The “yards” distance is 2/3 of that, so about 2.67

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I’m confused by this; load up D2:LOD and it says 2 2/3 yards, in game on the tooltip, but in D2:Res, it says 4 yards on the tooltip. How is that not a buff, even with tiles math going on? If they both had different units of distance on the tooltip in each game, I’d follow what you’re saying, but both say “yards”, how ever you want to interpret that as a unit of distance. So where’s the difference between the two games occurring?

Not trying to be argumentative, I’m not following and want to understand. I’m familiar with the .txt files being different than what’s displayed in game, so please feel free to get technical/point me to tech threads about it if that helps. Thanks!