How to keep mercenary alive please

What is the magic stat here, if any? I have one that seems to do better than other, but i feel they both have what I would call good gear. Is it overall life armor adds? Resist elements?

We need way more details, please. First of all, what level/act are you? What character/merc? You mentioned gear/resists - what are they?

For me, the biggest deciding factors in getting a merc are a) where am I planning on farming, and b) what do I need my merc to do (if anything) that my character struggles with.

I’m in nightmare, now act 5 with pally zealot build. I’m not doing so hot with this build so maybe that has something to do with it.

As for armor, skull coat, imp cowl helm, stone cutter pike. This is a merc that provides defiance as buff.

I usually don’t give mercs much thought, give them the 2nd best gear i have, sometimes they die but whatever. This time he’s total trash.

Life steal is mandatory on a merc, especially a melee fighter. Curious why you picked Defiance - are you using Holy Shield? Maybe you should farm for better gear before moving on.

Honestly a long while back i tried a challenge where i would let the merc in hell to try and solo cow level. Yes I know this is extreme…

I tried every merc and every possiable gear i could think of from equipping bers to IAS to act 3 mercs sheild block. Lots of DR and honestly nothing… yes a big fat nothing.

Moral of the story the mercs always going to die somehere and it can happen in seconds without you noticing. Even these new and improved ones.
The Ai is too stupid as well.

I am using holy shield, may need to add more points in it though only have 10 so far. I’m level 53 and have 134 Strength, 88 Dex, 160 Vit 25 energy.

I’ll look for life steal in future drops, thx

the only mercs worth using are the act 2 mercs from nightmare, or the act 1 mercs with an insight bow now that they can be made in a bow. for the act 2 merc, you want holy freeze aura, or might. holy freeze aura on the merc ignores immunities and will slow down anything in range except the bosses.

for their gear, you want a helm and a weapon with life leech. andariel’s visage is the one most sought after, or the helm from the tal rasha’s set. barring that, you can go straight defense with the nadir or radiance runewords especially if you can get an ethereal socketed helm for them. the increased defense is groovy.

keep an eye out for a good ethereal armor with 2 sockets. the first merc armor runeword i make is smoke, which is Nef+Lum. it gives 50 to all resist, 75% enhanced defense, a flat 280 to defense vs missile, and faster hit recovery. it’s great for nightmare with the +50 resist all. another good one i’ve used is duriel’s shell. you can “up” it in the horadric cube and give your merc some insane defense.

the armor and helm advice goes for any merc you pick, whether it’s act 1 or act 2. for the weapon, that depends on which you chose.

harmony is a good one for the act 1 merc. it gives vigor aura when equipped, which will help you run around faster, and will make the merc faster. the enhanced damage isn’t bad either. if you play a caster build though, you’ll want insight for the meditation aura.

same thing for the act 2 merc. if you play a caster, you want insight. if you stick it in an ethereal thresher, the damage is pretty good.

if you don’t need the mana regen, my favorite is Obedience. it’s more damage than insight, way more damage, along with 40% chance of crushing blow and +300% defense, faster hit recovery, and a moderate amount of all resist. more survivability and more offense all in one

Needs a high level too.