Martial Arts - Tiger Tail Assassin Guide


Hey, in this guide we will go over the Tiger Tail Martial Arts Assassin. I’ve also included a section on how you can download the character file for single player so you can try it yourself.

I didn’t invent the spec, but this is how I’ve come to refine the gear, gameplay, and skills. When geared correctly, it’s possible to make Dragon Tail hit for more than 100k Fire dmg over 4 yards AoE, and that’s before resistances is taken into consideration. The spec can be very powerful and doesn’t require high runes to be efficient.

Here’s how I like to play and build the char:
Current Version = Patch 2.4 PTR


Guide Coming when 2.4 is live

The spec can struggle in places with lots of fire immunities, like the Chaos Sanctuary, but it’s still capable of clearing it fairly efficiently once high end gear is obtained. Where the build really shines in areas like Cows or Frigid Highlands where you can really utilize the Fire Dmg from the kick without those expensive items.

Players 7 Chaos Run, “perfect” Gear:

Players 3 Cow Run, “basic” gear, no Death Sentry:
No DS just to highlight Tiger Tail’s raw power even with basic gear

1.0 Gear and Stats:
1.1 D2Planner Gear Sets:

There are 3 different gear sets in there; 2x basic sets, and what I consider to be perfect gear. These are examples of how you can build your char to achieve the required stats. One thing to note, is that you will want either Myrmidon or War Boots for max kick dmg, be Shadow Dancer, up’d Gores, up’d Aldurs, up’d War Travs, Crafted Safety Boots, etc.

Disclaimer: you don’t need these exact stats and pieces of gear, these are just examples, use the best of what you have. Ex 11% Fire Res SC’s aren’t required, but any XX% Fire Res SC will help

1.2 Attack Speed:

Obtaining the final breakpoint for both Charge Skills and Dragon Tail kick, while being slowed by Decrep/Holy freeze, is the most important thing to focus on. We do not want our Attack speed to ever be hindered, it slows the spec down, reducing dps, way to much. To do this we will use BoS and stack a decent chunk of IAS. Section “3.0 Animation Breakpoints:” will go over this in much more detail.

1.3 Damage Modifiers:

When gearing up we want to stack as many + skills as we can while also obtaining some +XXX% increased damage (Might Merc, Fort, etc) on what ever slots are reasonably available. The reason we want to stack increased damage is the Fire Explosion’s damage from Dragon Tail is based off of the physical damage your kick dealt. The Kick cannot crit, so Deadly Strike can be ignored.

1.4 Mana/Resource Management:

Mana isn’t a huge issue for this spec, but we still require some way to supplement it. We can rely on a few different things, I recommend you pick at least one:

Mana Leech:
This is your best way to fuel the character. If you use Tiger Tail with some mana leach, you can fill you mana globe quite quickly and easily with the heavy hitting Kicks. It’s definitely the best way to maintain mana with the character.

% Damage to Mana:
The more you have the better, it can easily be obtained from Naj’s chest, and on your IAS Jewels. It doesn’t provide constant mana, because you need to be hit for it to work, but it will definitely help offset mana costs. It also works great to negate the mana burn from Stormcasters, giving you back some mana as you get damaged.

Mana per Kill
Mpk can be useful with this spec because it will return mana when ever you use Tiger Tail, but if you kill things using CoT or Death Sentry’s Corpse Explosion, it will not return resources. So it’s not the most reliable method.

Ultimately, you will want some mana leech from somewhere.

1.5 Defensive stats:

Since we are melee, it is important to be quite durable. You’re going to want to max out your resistances as best you can, the higher the better. The chest piece is often a great slot to do this. Obtaining some physical damage reduction is also vital, we’re gonna be hit quite often so getting it on String of Ears, Shako, or Verdungos can help.

Stacking life leech on slots can also help here, our kicks can heal us quite consistently.

1.6 Merc:

We’ll definitely want to use the Might Merc for this spec. It provides a massive increase in damage to our kicks. Infinity is the best in slot choice for this spec, but Reapers Toll is also extremely useful. It amplifies the damage of Dragon Tail and Death Sentry by 50% and provides the slowing and damage reduction effects.

2.0 Attributes:
2.1 Strength:

Your kick damage is amplified by strength with +20% efficiency. This means every point of Str you have will provide 1.2% more dmg, stacking upwards of 500 str can result in 600% more dmg to your kicks. I highly recommend you obtain either 1000→1250 HP before BO, or 1500 after BO, and then dump the remaining points in Str for the increased kick damage.

2.2 Dext:

You’ll only want just enough dext to hold your claws/weapons.

2.3 Vit:

Like mention prior, if you don’t have CTA obtain enough stats to equip your gear, then dump the rest here. If you do have CTA, I recommend picking a lower HP point before BO and dumping into Str for more kick dmg and attack rating.

3.0 Animation Breakpoints:
3.1 What are breakpoints?

Breakpoints is a term used to describe the threshold value in which increasing a stat actually corresponds to faster animations when playing the game. When stacking stats like Faster Cast Rate, Faster Hit Recovery, or Increased Attack Speed, you aren’t always guaranteed to actually increase the animation speed. You must stack an amount equal to or greater than specific threshold values to see an increase in animation speed.

For example: if you have 60% Faster Hit Recovery because of your 2x bartuc’s claws, you are currently at the 48%→85% FHR breakpoint meaning if you’re put into hit recovery, it will take 5 frames to recover. Any value of FHR between 48%→85% will always equate to a 5 frame hit recovery, you must obtain 86%, or more, to move into the 4 frame hit recovery breakpoint.

Faster Cast Rate works in the exact same manor, but also have a thing called the Action Frame. This is the frame, during the Frame Rate length, in which the character will actually cast the spell. The sooner the Action Frame comes up, the less likely you are to be interrupted when casting and the earlier you will actually cast the spell during the animation. Some Action Frame breakpoints fall in between Frame Rate breakpoints, meaning you’ll cast the spell sooner, but it will still take the same amount of frames to finish casting the spell. Action Frame breakpoints are good to be aware of, but Frame Rate breakpoints are much more important. I’ve included a table in both sections to reference the breakpoints.

Attack speed functions in a similar fashion, you must pass certain thresholds of IAS on gear, skills, and weapon to hit different frame rates, but it’s a lot more complicated overall. You’re best to just use an APS Calculator or Character builder to figure those out.

You can use this attack speed calculator here:

3.2 Attacks per second = 7 Frame Breakpoints:

We want to attack as fast as we can, while also being able to negate the IAS slowing affects from being Cursed by Decrepify or Holy Freeze.

Depending on the amount of IAS on your gear, you will need a varying level of Burst of Speed. Having a Shael or IAS jewel in your claw will help towards reaching those BPs, but we’re short on resistances and it’s not required to max out our APS. Since they aren’t required, if geared correctly, you’re better off putting all resistance jewels in the claws. If you can afford IAS All Resist jewels, even better, but once again, not required.

You can use this table to figure out your BoS lvl req when using these combos of IAS on Gear and Claw:

Burst of Speed Level

IAS on Claw
0% 15% 20%
50% 26 13 11
IAS 55% 21 11 9
on 60% 15 9 8
Gear 65% 13 8 7
70% 11 7 6

The current downloaded able character (1 Basic Gear, in D2 Planner) has 70% IAS on Gear, with 0% IAS on Claw. Following the chart, we’ll see we require a level 11 Burst of Speed to negate Decrepify/Holy Freeze. With the perfect gear (2 Perfect Gear, in D2 Planner), we have 50% IAS on Gear, and an IAS Jewel for 15% IAS on Claw; so we require a level 13 Burst of Speed. There are many possible combinations, just make sure you can’t be slowed by Holy Freeze or Decrepify when gearing.

3.3 Faster Hit Recovery = +86%:

Between 2x Bartucs and Shadow Dancers, you obtain the final 86% FHR breakpoint with a total of 90%. Verdungo’s can be paired with some small charms, or only your Martial Art GCs if you wanted. But they’ll be hard to find or more expensive to trade for. There’s many ways to achieve this and you should always be over 86% FHR when playing this spec.

Her FHR Breakpoints are:

FHR Frame Rate
0% 9
7% 8
15% 7
27% 6
48% 5
86% 4
200% 3

3.4 Faster Cast Rate:

This will help with when casting Mind Blast, but FCR is not necessary, it’s just a luxury stat. You can get some on your Amulet or Rare ring, and it also comes with Arachnid Mesh or Vipermagi. There’s a few slots where you can obtain some FCR, but like I mentioned, its not a necessity.

Her FCR Breakpoints are:

FCR Frame Rate Action Frame
0% 16 9
8% 15
15% 8
16% 14
27% 13
39% 7
42% 12
65% 11
86% 6
102% 10
174% 9

4.0 Skills:

Charge skill = Tiger Strike, Claws of Thunder
Release skill = Dragon Tail
Utility skills = Death Sentry, Shadow Warrior, Dragon Flight, Burst of Speed, Blade Shield, Mind Blast
Passive skills = Claw Mastery, Weapon Block

4.1 Order to Max Out Skills:
  • 1 point into everything needed to unlock all required skills
  • Obtain the appropriate Burst of Speed level, and then max in this order: Tiger Strike, Dragon Tail, Claws of Thunder, max Phoenix Strike last
  • Dump remaining surplus skills into Death Sentry as you continue to level up

Level 91+, and all skill quests completed, are needed to unlock and max out all required skills.

4.2 Tiger Strike:

This skill will be used to amplify the damage of Dragon Tails Explosive Kick. Each orb doesn’t deal equal damage either; 3 charges results in a max power DT, which progressively get weaker as you consume charges.

For example if your skill reads:
Charge 3 = +2700% Dmg
It’s not 3x charges of 900%, totaling up to +2700%. It’s actually:
Charge 3 = +2700% to 1st kick
Charge 2 = +1800% to 2nd kick
Charge 1 = +900% to 3rd kick

This means that each kick has a different amount of power, so it’s best to try and build to max before releasing. Overall it provides a massive damage increase per charge and makes it so your kick deals a ton of physical damage which results in massive fire aoe damage. It also allows your kick to leech back a lot of Life and Mana from the target you kicked.

4.3 Dragon Tail

This will be our release skill of choice. When combined with Tiger Strike, you can make each kick deal 3-10k physical dmg and the explosion can deal in the ranges of 25k-114k fire dmg, over 4 yards, depending on how many TS charges you have. And that’s before resistances are taken into consideration. With 3 charges saved up, you can unleash a lot of physical and fire damage really quickly.

The knockback from this skill can be annoying, but it also makes the spec extremely safe to play, interrupting enemies, ensuring you’re never surrounded, and can make them get hit by an extra charged bolt with CoT.

If a monster is physical immune, you will see an explosion, but it will deal 0 damage, because the explosion is based of the physical kick damage you deal to the monster. Hitting a non-physical immune monster beside, a phys immune, will kill it with fire

4.4 Claws of Thunder:

This will be used as our back up element if we run into Fire or Physical immunes. The nova can reach out very far, hit multiple enemies, and the charged bolts can deal a lot of damage. When combined with Dragon Tail, you can actually knock monsters back making them take damage from the Nova and Charged Bolts. Next Hit Delay can definitely hinder this skill a bit, but because of the difference in travel speed of Nova vs Charged bolts, it isn’t that big of a deal.

4.5 Death Sentry:

We will use the Death Sentry’s Corpse Explosion to help increase our damage, but we don’t want to cast them to much or we will burn out all of our mana. Only drop 1 or 2 of them once there are some bodies to consume, and then just let them do their thing. Hopefully the Shadow Warrior will cast more for you as you fight, and if not, just make sure 1 is always active if there are corpses.

Death Sentry’s Corpse Explosion deals both Fire and Physical damage, so they are quite effective for both a budget setup using Reapers Toll, and a more expensive setup using Infinity.

4.6 Shadow Warrior:

We’re going to use the Shadow Warrior, instead of the Master, so that we can get her to consistently cast Death Sentry for us. If you leave Death Sentry on right click, so it’s always active, the Shadow Warrior will cast Death Sentries for you. This both allows you to focus on using Phoenix Strike, and save mana on spawning Death Sentries. She will die a fair bit, but that’s okay, she’s only around to spawn free Death Sentries for you.

4.7 Dragon Flight:

It can be used to release charges, but we will use this primarily to control our merc’s position, making sure he’s fighting who we want while providing his aura’s for us. We can also use this for some mobility to cross gaps/walls. It can also be used defensively to escape combat, but it has a huge ramp up time and isn’t very safe or reliable for this. In theory it’s good, but in practice, not the best. It can still be done in the right moments, but the skill is best to be used offensively.

4.8 Burst of Speed:

This skill is required to hit the 7 frame attack speed breakpoints for Phoenix Strike and Normal Attack while affected by Decrepify/Holy Freeze.

refer to section “3.0 Animation Breakpoints: Attacks per second” for more details

4.9 Blade Shield:

The damage output for this skill isn’t very important, but what it does provide is a ton of life leech when you accidentally get surrounded. This skill will save you from a bad Dragon Flight, and help you survive a lot more than you’d think. Definitely worth the 5 points to unlock.

For this to work, you need at least 4%+ Life or Mana steal. BS reduces your LL and ML by 1/4, rounded down. So: 3 LL / 4 = 0.75, rounded down, = 0% LL. It requires at least 4% so that you achieve 1% after reduction

4.10 Mind Blast:

This skill helps a ton, and can be key for outputting lots of damage when fighting lots of enemies. It allows you to distract monsters by converting some to your side, adding to your meat shield, and you can attack the stunned/distracted ones, allowing you to easily manage your charge stacks. This skill is based off of FCR, so stacking a bit can be nice; 20-30% FCR is ideal, preferably from Arach’s.

a “distracted” monster is just a monster fighting someone other than you; be it your merc, a converted monster, an ally, or shadow if you have one

4.11 Claw Mastery:

The attack rating boost is great, and the crit chance is nice, but we aren’t too concerned with our physical damage.

4.12 Weapon Block:

We’ll want this to help us survive better, it’s too good and just 1 point adds a ton of survivability. The blocking can be annoying when trying to stack charges, but it’s worth the defense it adds

5.0 Game play:
5.1 Quick Cast Skills:

To enable Quick Cast Skills go to:
Pause → Options → Gameplay Tab → Gameplay Section
and enable Quick Cast Skills. I recommend also enabling “Display Active Skill Bindings”, it will help when playing.

QCSs is a new setting they’ve added in D2r that allows you too: press a hotkey, it will instantly change to the skill, cast it, and change back to what the Left or Right Click was originally assigned to.

This can be extremely useful when playing this spec. It allows you to have very precise control of both charging skills and Dragon Tail. It also lets you quickly cast mind blast, and other skills, while still leaving Death Sentry active on your Right Click for the Shadow to cast.

Using this setting can be a little awkward at first, but once you get used to it it allows for much smoother gameplay. Try it out, and don’t give up on it right away.

5.2 Hotkeys:

Active Skills:
Left Click: Throw (Force Move)
Right Click: Death Sentry

Left Click Hotkeys:
Hotkey 1 = Claws of Thunder
Hotkey 2 = Tiger Strike
Hotkey 3 = Dragon Tail
Hotkey 4 = Dragon Flight

Right Click Hotkeys:
Hotkey 5 = Mind Blast
Hotkey 6 = Death Sentry
Hotkey 7+ = All Other Skills

I like having “throw” as my main left click skill so I can run around without accidentally stacking or releasing charges. You could also use one of the charge skills or dragon tail if you wanted, using throw isn’t necessary. You then use the Quick Cast Skills setting to actively cycle between the appropriate charges and Dragon Tail.

You will want Death Sentry to always be active on the right click so that your Shadow Warrior will cast them for you. I like to have mind blast be the next hotkey, after my charge and release skills, so it’s quicker to access and cast. Death Sentry can be further down the line, it’s our active right click so its hotkey order isn’t as important.

5.3 Engaging packs of enemies:
  • Mind blast the pack of monsters if needed
  • Target a stunned/distracted monster on the edge of the pack: run up to it or telekick onto it
  • Charge and release the appropriate element, preferably Tiger Tail in most situations
  • Drop 1 or 2 Death Sentries, if the Shadow hasn’t already, once there are some corpses
  • Use mind blast if starting to get attacked too much
  • Try not to get surrounded, if you get surrounded, do what you have to to get out of the pack and back on the edge of it. I often mind blast, or just spam Dragon Tail for Knockback. The quicker you can get out and start attacking the better
  • herding packs together also helps this spec a lot, making the most out of each charge release and DS’s Corpse Explosion

The reason you want to fight stunned/distracted monsters and on the outside edge of the pack, beyond safety reasons, is getting hit/blocking attacks can greatly disrupt your flow of stacking and releasing the correct element. The more smoothly you can charge and release the better.

6.0 FAQ:
6.1 Can you use Blades of Ice instead of Claws of Thunder?

You can use Blades of Ice instead of Claws of Thunder if you’d like, but frozen bodies don’t leave copses, they shatter. So you will indirectly nerf your damage output by not having corpses for your Death Sentries. CoT also has a lot longer reach and can damage more enemies, use BoI if you’d like, but I think it’s counter productive to the spec.

6.2 What is Next Hit Delay?

NHD makes it so a monster becomes invincible to all other projectiles and spells for a short period of time. In the case of Claws of Thunder, both the nova and charge bolts have a 4 Frame NHD. This isn’t a huge issue fortunately, because DT’s knockback helps out, and the travel speed for the two skills are drastically different.


6.3 Why don't you use Treachery?

Treachery may seem like a good item for this spec at first, it has: +2 assassin skills, much need 45% IAS, Venom, but unfortunately it also has Fade and lacks resistances. We require BoS to negate decrep/holy freeze and Fade can proc at very inopportune moments. Potentially leading to deaths, and just being annoying overall. It will proc a lot because of us being melee, use it if you’d like, but be ready to recast BoS.

6.4 Why don't you use items like Facets, Griffon's, and Phoenix?

They can be utilized for Dragon Tail, but not Claws of Thunder. Charges do not count as “you” and do not benefit from things like +/- elemental damage, mpk, etc. You could use Phoenix for its -fire resistance, and juicy enhanced damage, but it will consume corpses and using only 1 weapon makes your CoT a lot weaker, it swings half as fast, charges twice as slow, and ultimately its just harder to use.


6.5 The APS calculator says I need less IAS and a lower BoS level, what gives?

You most likely forgot to apply either Decrepify or lvl 12 Holy Freeze to the attack calculator. Our goal is to maintain the 7 frame breakpoint while under the affects of slow.

7.0 Conclusion:

With heavy reliance on Fire damage, the spec can have difficulty in some areas of the game but when supported with Death Sentry’s and Claws of Thunder, Tiger Tail is capable of clearing a lot of areas quite effectively and efficiently with mediocre gear.

Once you finally do obtain some end game items, most importantly Infinity, you will be able to clear high player counts. It’s not as fast as meta specs like the hammerdin, javazon, or sorc, etc, but it is still capable of doing it at a decent rate.

Thanks for reading and watching my guide.

8.0 Downloading and Setting up Character for Single Player:

@admins; if this section is unacceptable can you please remove it with a warning instead of deleting and locking the post please? I’ll happily rework this section if that’s the case. Thanks for your consideration! :smiley:

If you’d like to try the spec out in offline single player or PTR, you can download the character files here:

To set it up do the following:

  1. Close D2R
  2. Download the “TigerTail.d2s” file from the link
    this is the character file, the game will generate the rest of the files for you
  3. Paste the .d2s file (NOT THE FOLDER!) into your saved games folder; most likely at:
    C:\Users\Current User\Saved Games\Diablo II Resurrected
  4. Now launch D2R
  5. Go to the “Offline” tab
  6. Start the game on Hell; Cow portal is ready to open in cube

The character is set up to use the “1 Basic Gear” setup, but also has the gear sets “2 Basic Gear” and “3 Perfect Gear” available in the inventory. To equip either set, use a reset token and redo stats and burst of speed skill level accordingly. You could also switch the Merc to a Nightmare Act 2 Defensive Merc for holy freeze if using Infinity, but blessed aim will still be useful.

9.0 Other Guides:

10.0 References and Links:

Youtube videos:
Martial Arts - Tiger Tail P3 Cows, No Death Sentry - YouTube

Char Build:

Attack Speed Calculator:

Detailed Game Mechanics:

Link to download single player char:

Other Guides:
Martial Arts - Phoenix Sin Guide
PvM - Whirlwind Blade Sin Guide

Please ask any questions and I’ll be happy to answer and discuss.



Hi, I have never played a melee character but always loved the assassin. I have mostly played TrapSin following build around the web and since the martial arts was almost never suggested, I never played it. Now with patch 2.4, my hope that martial assassin will be fun to play is very high.
I have tested the char on my own at first and then found your two very useful guides. Thanks for the effort you put on them, they have been helpful to me.
I plan to beat the game with the tiger tail build in ladder and keep a top gear character for the non-ladder since I believe to have good items there. Here what I have collected
Still not sure if I’ll go for the phoenix or the Tiger tail version. It seems to me that Claw of Thunder is more usable than phoenix and so I’ll probably go for the Tiger tail since it can access claw of thunder with no deficit.

I still have few non clear points and I would like to ask you for advise. They are a little bit mixed between the phoenix build and the tiger-tail build:

  • why using normal attack to release the charge? If it faster than other attacks? better control of the charges? In the case of the Tiger Tail build should one releate Tiger strike with the Tail and Claw of Thunder with the normal attack?
  • why blade shield? If our physical dmg with no bust is low, how is blad shield useful? I thought it was because of life leech but as I played it didn seem to help thatm much there (I may have playstyle issue here)
  • is it worth to upp the bartuc to runic talon? My opinion is no, since we do not rely on physical dmg
  • is cobra strike better than using potions? Do you have a strategy how to use it to be effective? I have been a little bit disapponting with that. In particular because the mana goes down quite fast
  • I see videos around youtube with people testing the martial assassin, many of them use griffon. As far as I read the +% lightning dmg do not apply but for the -% there are different opinion. Did you figure it out in the end what’s the true conclusion?
  • in my understanding if a character is in run mode or walk mode affects your block chance. Is this true for claw block too? Does it mean that I should deactivate run mode everytime I fight?
  • Shadow Master vs Warrior. Is it a matter of preference based on the playstyle or what? Trying both, I found the Master more likely to survive the fight as it can access to fade

I am not sure if it’s a bug or not but I realized that you can charge Claw of Thunder and then switch your weapon without losing the charges. I tried a funny version with the infinity on the switch, but I am not sure if the massive -light ress apply here (as for griffon). Of course this case is not practical as Conviction aura take some time to have effect and hit-switch-hit-switch is slow. It was just for fun and I wanted to share it.

Well, I wrote a very long post, I hope you find it readable. Thanks again for your builds

1 Like

I only recommend NA attack for the phoenix Sin, just use Dragon Tail when playing Tiger Tail, and I’ve actually been playing the phoenix sin well before patch 2.4 was announced, and the reason I picked Normal Attack is back then the other finishers were no where near as good as they are now, and there was no “quick” release skill. I could waste 7 frames swinging Dragon Claw for no reason, or use the 30 frame (1+ second duration) dragon talon. Before patch 2.4 one strike would spend all your charges, so all the extra hits were a huuuge waste of time and loss of dps. Now with the changes, its no longer the case. When patch 2.4 drops, I will be upgrading the guide to reflect these thoughts and changes.

And technically, with normal attack you have the most precise control over which element you spend, and if played frame perfect, you can technically do pattern of say for lightning:
Phoenix Strike, PS, Normal Attack, PS, NA, PS, NA, PS, NA, etc.

this would allow you to launch any of the skills at 1.79 aps, the highest aps possible for them. It was much easier to do before patch 2.4, but in practice, its incredibly hard to pull off and the new way the finishers work make them much more desirable for the spec now. I’m still in a toss up between Normal Attack and Dragon Claw. I’m not a huge fan of Dragon Talon for Pheonix strike as you’re burning all your charges every time. DC allows you to consistently cast lightning with either 2 clicks from 0 charges, or charging to full and casting it that way.

Probably not a playstyle issue here, this is on me. I should probably put a bit more emphasis on my explanation on this one, I’ve seen this comment a few times now. And at the same time; maybe I’m overvaluing it and could use some feedback about it, so feel free to chime in, but from my experiences Blade Shield can save you from really ugly telekicks when you get stun locked and surrounded.

The life and mana steal it provides isnt quite enough to notice while fighting, but if you’re willing to accept a death for the sake of testing, go tele into a pack of cows without it on and see how long your char lasts, then try it again with the skill active. It’s not gonna make you invincible, but it definitely provides just enough LS to keep you alive a bit longer providing more chances to escape stun lock and the mob.

I agree, I don’t think it’s worth it. It adds ~17 avg dmg to the claw, but you lose out on 36-50 vit, because you’ll need more dext, and possibly strength.

I recently started mixing in Cobra Strike and pretty much fixes all mana issues. Go full charge with CS when mana is low and it should fill you right back up. When used with Tiger Tail, it’ll definitely fill your resources cause of the insane phys dmg from the kick. You also might be casting death sentry a bit to often. Don’t be afraid to drop a BK to a ML Ring or put on some Rare MA Gloves with Mana Leech, but I found mixing in CS to be exactly what was needed.

still working on my video, I had originally been working on a test using monsters in game, but then I realized I can do the tests in PvP using two clients/computers. So I’m working on a new video with that test scenario, as things will be much more controllable and obvious. But from previous testing this just seems to be unchallenged information because no one ever really cared to look into it, but I did a year ago or so when trying to min-max the phoenix sin. I’m willing to accept my testing might be flawed, but doing everything I could to increase dmg was important before 2.4 because the MA’s needed every bit of DPS it could get.

honestly, never even thought to look into that before, but trusty amazonbasin has the answer:

www. theamazonbasin .com/wiki/index.php?title=Weapon_Block

  • Only applies when stationary (whether idle, attacking or casting) or using Whirlwind.
  • Blocking animation and sound do not always play when applied, particularly when applied in quick succession.
  • Does not apply while Assassin is a Werebear. [1]
  • Applies to missiles, melee and ranged attacks
  • Does not apply to the following sources of damage: [2]Charging Claw Vipers and Reanimated Horde, Attacker Takes Damage and Attacker Takes Lightning Damage, Returned damage from Thorns, Iron Maiden, Iron Golem and Spirit of Barbs, Psychic Hammer, Mind Blast, Corpse Explosion, Death Sentry corpse explosion and Nihlathak corpse explosion, Radial damage from Holy Fire, Holy Freeze and Holy Shock, Static Field [3], Telekinesis [4], Shiver Armor cold damage

Both are viable, but the reason I like the Shadow Warrior more is you can directly control which skills she uses with your L&R click. If you use Quick Cast Skills, it will allow you to leave death sentry as the active skill on your right click all the time, this will give the SW plenty of chances to cast Death Sentry. You can then focus on killing mobs and hopefully she can cast Death Sentry for you, helping with mana costs. Summoning her costs as much as ~1x Death Sentry, so as long as she uses the skill at least once she’s paid for herself imo.

definitely interesting, +/- elements work with certain other skills, I wonder if you could say charge up with massive + skills, then switch to a weapon/shield with a ton of facets.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to ask question and share your thoughts. I appreciate it. Dope char btw, you got some solid gear, that circlet :raised_hands: And I really like both specs, but I’ve been playing Tiger Tail a bit more than the Phoenix Sin lately because I find it a bit easier to use, and its been refreshing. Played a lot of the phoenix sin since game launch.

1 Like

All points clear now, perfect. Your answer was very detailed.
When the PTR will be online again, I’ll give it a try to blade shield into a cow group. I’ll have to re-arrange my gear to find 4 skill points to reach it. I guess I shoudn’t put 3 into burst of speed to reach lvl 21 but just use another 15% ias jewel on the main bartuc.

Good to know that there is no need to switch to walk mode for any reason. I have adde that site to my resource list, I didn’t know that. Seems very analytical, the only way to get the final right conclusion here.

Looking forward for your video test for the -% light res. Thanks for sharing your finding :slight_smile:

I’ll try to find a good balance with cobra strike then to fix the mana issue. Otherwise I’ll add mana leech in the gloves.

Two points which I forgot to ask:

  • is Claw of Thunder better than Phoenix? Does it make sense to alternate between the two or just using CoT?
  • is deadly strike in the highlord so important? If I reach ias threshold and ress anyway, should I better go for more skill and mana leech here?

Happy that you like the gear I have collected for the martial assassin. I got the diadem in a trade for a mal! I am still too afraid to add socket to that claw in the inventory, 50% chance to go wrong is an high number. However, this are problems everybody would love to have since that claw is very rare. By the way, do you think that if I got 2 socket on them I should replace 1 bartuc? The latter has multiple bonus which I am not sure I should lose in name of more dmg. I am open to ideas here. The fact that it has +3 to DS will also same me some skill points in the Trap tree.

Let’s hope more nice changes will come with the next PTR iteration. Like runeword claws, seems that they are really much desired by the comunity.

In regards to Phoenix Sin, I don’t think you need to use any other charge skill other then Phoenix and Cobra Strike. The lightning storm hits way harder than CoT, and has much further reach. In wide areas the bolts can turn around and strike a pack a 2nd time. If you can get efficient at procing Lightning Storm quickly, it out paces CoT by a lot, but the spec is wayyyy harder to play.

In regards to Tiger Tail, I think CoT is the best back up skill because its much easier to control then PS and burn away monsters that are fire immune. Tiger Tail is definitely the easier spec to play, and its just as fun if not more so imo.

The deadly strike is nice, but not important imo. we don’t care about claw phys dmg that much and kicks can’t crit for Tiger Tail, the reason we use it is the IAS and +1 skill. If you obtain all the IAS you need else where, you can definitely swap it out for something else. More all resists, or mana leech could definitely work.

Bruh… I thought that was just a theoretical claw for testing’s sake, that’s insane. I’ve never seen a claw with those stats. Might as well give it a try, I think that would be an amazing offhand weapon if you can mix it in efficiently. I’d drop a bartucs for it, definitely give it a try, I just didn’t include it in my guide because they are damn near impossible to find. I’ve shopped Anya for houuuuurs and never seen anything close to that.

In regards to IAS on gear and stuff. I’d definitely mess around with the d2planner spec, with patch 2.4 IAS when using 2 claws works a little different. You might not need as much IAS anymore, and might be able to drop your BoS level.

Yeah, I’m so disappointed we can’t make Plague in a claw. It’d be amazing with weapon block, since blocking counts as getting hit. Hopefully claws get some love.

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Somehow I can’t get the character to download.
I think it’s the link.
If someone can help me I would be really grateful

found the error in the link are 2 spaces too many

Great news:

:slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Thank you for the post, really appreciate it. I was trying to think of any way that there could be a better alternative to your gear choices. I really like the lacerator spec and thought if there was a way to bring that over to other gear choices, that would make a really good spec.

I tested it out and you can actually gain plus to skills to charges by weapon swapping. only thing is you have to run with no cta but it might be worth. So using a lacerator or even a lawbringer in the mainhand, as you charge up and proc decrep/amp, then swap to dual claws to release the finisher. So if you have lets say dual bartucs your current charges go up in skill by +6, same with dragon tail.

So I think it could be an interesting spec, going claws of thunder, PS, tiger-tail using lawbringer/ss to build charges and weapon swapping to release huge finishers. Lawbringer over lacerator because no terror and slain monster wont affect us, because we weapon swap to kill stuff.

Hi mate, you’ve done some great work, with your guides :slight_smile:

I leveled as a Trapsin, I’m on A3 hell right now.
Can wear torch and Anni, so I’m thinking of respeccing right now.
Wanted to play a MA sin for ladder from the start, but can’t decide.

Would you recommend Tigertail, or phoenix strike as a farming build, with medium gear?
I got some mid runes, to get more gear.

Tigertail seems to have more damage, while phoenix strike seems to be more versatile, regarding different monster types, because of its 3 elemental DMG.

On the other hand Tigertail mechanics seems to be kind of easier, since you just need to click both skills.

Wouldn’t Tigertail, with Lacerator, get the Phys immunes, since it has amplify DMG with -100 pi reduction?

Would love to hear your opinion :slight_smile:


I agree with your analysis, Phoenix Strike can be a little more versatile with it’s damage types available, but it’s much easier to break physical immunes with a Reapers Toll Merc or with the Lacerator setup, and the spec doesn’t require as much focus when playing.

I personally find PS to be a little more fun, but they both play quite different, and are quite powerful. Maybe download both the single player chars I have available in the guide and mess around with them for a bit? Do a couple chaos runs and see how things feel.

Yeap! Lacertator setup can be very powerful with Tigertail. I do have a D2planner setup regarding it, but I don’t cover it in detail. It can definitely be utilized in a more budget focused setup.

sorry to necro. do you think this build would benefit more from a physical sunder charm or a fire one?

Necroing a guide isn’t a huge deal imo. This is a bit of an interesting one that I’ve definitely been mulling over, and I think the unfortunate answer is; use both:

The physical sunder charm guarantees that you can deal AoE dmg, because physical immunes result in 0 AoE dmg, and a Fire charm results in you being able to deal AoE to all monsters.

If you can get a good String of Ears/Dungos, and mix it with Engima/Shako, or Full Nats set, you can completely negate the dmg increase from the Phys sunder charm, and mixing in some gloves with Fire resists, or maybe even upped Aldurs Boots, you can help relieve some of the Fire sunder charms negative effect.

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I’m building one up at the moment, with enigma, phoenix, infinity, fire ans Phys sunder and some other gear.
I can tell more in a few days.

I’m really curious if Phoenix is worth using over a 4x Fire Facet Monarch. You’re removing both Physical and Fire immunes, so you’re primed to use Death Sentry, but Redemption is gonna eat those corpses. Also that 400% dmg on Phoenix is additive to Tiger Strikes 3000% dmg, as well as your attributes bonus, and things like might from your merc. In the end it becomes very diluted, only yielding ~5-10% more damage. I’m not sure if its worth it, when your Death Sentries are ready to go at full power.

I’ve also been thinking, mixing in an Amp dmg phaseblade or runic talons, with Atma’s scarab will give you a 9.75% chance to cast amp dmg per hit, and with 3 hits while charging up, you’re sitting at roughly a ~29% chance to proc Amp dmg before you kick the monster. I think Amp dmg mixed with infinity will be the best bet, and the dmg of your weapon doesn’t matter causes it’s just for building charges and your boots deal the dmg, so technically it could even just be a Magic/Blue sword or claw. With that said, I don’t think Lacerator is the best option for the proc, the 100% fear gets extremely annoying and stops the monsters from grouping up.

I would definitely be interested in your results though. I wish we could get sunder charms in Single Player, would help with testing
Have a look at this with natalya’s set :smiley:
330k dps with no immunes around.

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That’s a juicy kick for a budget build and no immunities, Nat’s set is such a good fit for the spec. The sockets and extra stats are so versatile. I should spend sometime updating all my guides for 2.5 and sunder charms.

Also wanted to get your gears going on something: there were some hidden buffs, to FoF and BoI, that weren’t mentioned in the patch notes of 2.4. And the introduction of sunder charms has made me experiment with them a bit more, but also puts the use of sunder charms with them into question, imo. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it:

Fist of Fire:

  • Explosion and Burn radius increased from 2.66 yards → 4 yards
  • 3rd charge now explodes and burns ground

Blades of Ice:

  • 3rd charge now explodes and freezes monsters
Small Reminder: The AoE explosion dmg isn’t listed in the dps section for dragon claw, that’s just the claws. Hover over the skill graphic and check charge 1 dmg to see the AoE dmg for Charge 2 and 3

So full charge of these two skills have effectively received 2x dmg to it’s AoE portion, but with the requirement of using 2x Claws we run into the issue of how to drop monster resistance for a single resist if using sunder charms. You can technically use a Plague Claw and a 3x faceted Claw, for 20% change to proc Lower Resists and an extra -15 cold or fire resists. But with the 1/5 penalty in play to both Conviction and LR, when using sundered charms, I think it merits going dual element and 2x Plague Claw, because the unimmune element is receiving -142 resists to it from Conv+LR alone and it only costs an extra 20 skill points to max out a 2nd element.

So in the end I concluded FoF+BoI with no sunder is best; you get two different elements at fairly decent dmg levels, and if you do run into a mob immune to both, your uncharged Dragon Claw deals solid physical damage. Maybe you’ll draw different conclusions, but at the moment I can’t come up with a better combo. On a side note, using the cold sunder charm can still be helpful when dual element, because it allows you to freeze all mobs with BoI and the Cham rune in your claws, even if you’re using FoF.

Either way, I’d be interested in you’re thoughts regardless.

I see what you did there. That’s a very nice first playthrough sin. However, I see some problems there:

  1. You don’t actually want to freeze or shatter corpses. Death sentry helps a lot with clear speed, even 1point vs high hp targets. You clear the first mob, DS takes care of all of the onrushing ones then.
  2. There’re proportionally more fire immunes than immune to any other element, almost 40% of all, very dangerous monsters btw. So what you see as a nice mix is actually a primarliy blades of ice sin with FoF as backup vs immunes.
  3. The damage output is too low even in p3. I’d understand the idea before sundered charms were introduced. After the sunder story, concentrating and strengthening single element damage would be my first priority.

I only played sins last ladder, because I didn’t play any sin builds before.

I actually leveled 5 sins, trap, ps, tigertail, riftsin, and bladefury.
I enjoyed all of them, besides the trapsin and riftsin.

Mostly I loved Ps and tigertail.
Ps because of the different DMG types and tigertail because of the ridiculous DMG.
The thing about tigertail, that really bugged me, was all the immunes.

As a ladder starter, I have a sorc and I’m bored already, so I will get back to the sin.

I had decent drops so far and gathered some runes.

With the cold sorc and cold mastery, which decreases enemy immunities a lot, I got it, that there are kind of no immunes left.

But how about the PS sin and mostly Tigertail?
Are there really no immunities left, with a Phys and fire sunder?
That would kind of make the tigertail op.

Last ladder, I played the tigertail with enigma, phoenix and plague claw.
The PS with dual plague.

Is it still kind of the way to go, regarding gear?
Would love to get your insights :slight_smile:


As you clearly see, physical and fire immunes are a joke now.

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This looks great, even with “Just” Nat Set :slight_smile:

When rolling a Plague claw, which base would be the best, is it still Suwayyah, or scissors ssuwayyah?