Paladin Conversion Build

Conversion Paladin Build

Having searrched all the forums, as well as YouTube and goodness knows where else, I cannot find any reference to a Conversion Paladin build. A couple of the fan sites mentkion the skill, mostly its use in the company of Thorns, information that is years out of date although appearing under a D2 Resurrected banner. This build died at least a dozen years ago, when Blizzard in its wisdom decided Thorns and other skills like it would no longer reflect ranged attacks, even from the adjacent square. This was a bad mistake by the Great Nerd Gods of D2, as it made a whold raft of skills unviable in one stroke. Maybe it will be fixed soon, they appear to be looking at helping unused skills.

Now to Conversion. Available at level 24, a successful conversion (no hit required so attack rating is irrelevant) makes the converted monster an ally for al of 16 seconds. Converted monsters get your auras which expire instantly the time runs out. No more thorns-conversion PK’s. Converted monsters also are attacked by the computer AI, eg curses, catapults. In that way it behaves like Confuse. This duration is far too short to use the skill in the same manner as the Necromancer Revive skill, and converted monsters don’t follow you anyway, they just stand there. So what is the point of this skill, and is it any wonder players ignore it? The answer to the latter question is probably not, easier just to make a hammerdin. The true purpose of conversion is to kill monsters, and I have taken a conversion paladin throughj the three difficulties to Guardian in Hardcore. In single player of course. This is not a skill for team play., but it is a skill that becomes engrossing and quite challenging as its intricacies are understood.

What can you convert? Anything a necro can revive. Plus you can convert leapers, which necros can’t revive.

The secret to conversion is what happens after the 16 seconds is up. If the monster level is equal to or less than the converting paladin, nothing. The monster has itds full hit points and you can convert it again and again, it won’t get any easier to kill. BUT if the monster level is higher than that of the converting paladin, monster hitpoints are divided by 256. This makes for a very easy subsequent kill. It is this that makes conversion a viable skill.

So the conversion paladin needs to keep a keen eye on monster levels and make sure he stays under them. This has been made much easier in nightmare and hell with area levels. The Assassin’s conversion in the mind blast skill does not reduce hit points at any level, unlike conversion.

Skill Points
It’s the same as any other build. Strength enough for your gear, dex enough for decent blocking (60% is good), energy none and vitality the rest. You’ll need a mana pool of 200 or so to run this character comfortably.

1 Resist Lightning (optional but advised for merc protection)
20 Holy Shield
20 Defiance
20 Vengeance
10-20 Smite
10 Conversion. Depending on the + to Combat Skills you might only need 1-4 hard points in this.
1 Redemption

Playing Normal
If not having guilt issues about building a character only to complely change direction by respeccing, you can start by building a holy fire/zeal or some other build until conversion becomes available, or even until entering act 5. This being completely optional I won’t give advice. I prefer not to respec, and use the prerequisite skills, particularly Sacrifice. This also means no Might, unless you have it on a scepter. You’ll get Zeal, Smite, Holy Bolt, Blessed Hammer and Vengeance on the way through. The only one that coluld be of use to you is Zeal, if you’ve got a couple of + skills early on. Smite would require too large an investment to make it usable early on without Holy Shield.
When reaching level 6, you should start placing points into Defiance (save them until then), and continue to do so until it is at 8-10. Save points after this, just put one in to the prereqs for Conversion and Holy Shield. These skills will be advanced together once they become available. Also build up dexterity for blocking and get whatever armor you can to get your defence rating up (Sigon’s set is very good and Isenharts set is a reasonable option).The idea of this build is that you don’t get hit If not able to have Sigon’s, Death’s gloves and belt are tremendous for this build, everything you need except belt slots. For a weapon, Civerb’s Cudgel is good while using sacrifice. Of course you need life steal, a couple of Cathan’s Seals will do the job just fine if not having Sigons or Deaths gloves and belt.
Play in Players 1 througout, unless getting so far behind monster levels you are having trouble keeping your merc alive. Apart from Andy there is nothing in the early game to bother a well armoured paladin.

I don’t bother with a act 1 merc, I get the Blessed Aim in act 2. This aura won’t work until he reached Lvl 12. If you do get a rogue, consider keeping her until nightmare if you can get by without an AR boost. Once you are able, the Act 2 Holy Freeze merc is the best, his aura will kill conversion-expited monsters without even needing to attack them.

You can reach act 4 at lvl 22 if you’ve done well. At 24 if wanting to convert right away, you’ll really want a scepter with 3 to the skill. But there are issues in act 4. Several monsters are level 24, even in the Chaos Sanctuary, and don’t get the penalty, so I suggest you wait until act 5. Once conversion runs out, a single smite will be adequate to despatch your foe. More often they’ll kill each other while you watch. It really is something to watch this skill come into its own as the game goes on.

If well behind the monster level, you can level up in player 8 in an area with few bosses. The Worldstone Keep Level 2 is ideal for this in normal.

Boss and minion packs, you convert all the minions and 75% of the time they will kill the boss for you, otherwise you use Smite, which early on need only be at level 1, as long as you have a decent smiting shield and a fast weapon, and points in holy shield. Blood Crescent or The Generals Tan Do Li Ga are good at lower levels, Coldsteel Eye is ideal when it becomes available (Lvl 31). A Coldsteel Eye with a Shael along with Sigons or Deaths belt/gloves gives an 8 frame convert and a 6 frame Smite, without the need for Fanaticism. By this time you’ll want a good Akaran Targe with 4 diamonds. There is no excuse for this build to ever have less than 75% resist all.

Moving on to the higher difficulties you’ll get Conversion to 9 or 10, any more is wasted, then max Holy Shield, then Defiance, Smite to 10, Vengeance and finish Smite. The single point in Redemption can be placed when convenient but this skill will be invaluable. Also Exile for Life Tap, and an elite paladin shield with 4 diamonds/um runes are needed at high levels. Vengeance is only for PI’ bosses and champions. Most PI’s can be dealt with using Conversion and a Holy Freeze merc anyway. Champions and bosses will need Vengeance though. You have a weapon and shield on switch to buff Holy Shield of course but it would be nice to have a big weapons with big attack rating on switch in hell for vengeance.
Later on look for a Phase Blade to socket with Grief or Silence (or one of the unique ones).
All the while you will be looking to increase your defence. My level 81 Guardian ended up with 21,000 defence and he still got hit sometimes. Better than getting hit all the time though.You learn to walk, not run. Enigma is good (converted monsters do not teleport with you) but there are many options.


thanks for the write up. I just took a solo HC concentration polearm barb through to guardian (from scratch, P1, with no shared stash either) and was looking for my next funky build. the barb has so much CC it’s ridiculous (particularly including the revised Grim Ward skill!) and so looking at the pally I was wondering about how effective conversion is, given it’s pretty much the only CC ability he has? (I suppose there’s sanctuary too). I’ll be doing a vengeance build but sounds like investing some points into conversion might be worth it

the problem with conversion is it requires a target

the second problem is that conversion doesnt give you control over the converted, like a revive, or even for a long time.

imagine conversion places mercenary AI onto the converted and they follow you for X minutes. So you could convert Pindleskin for 10 minutes and take him to fight baal. Convert Zsark the Burning and take them to fight Mephisto, ect.

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You can’t convert uniques anyway. And the main purpose of the skill is to make things much easier to kill, even if it takes longer. Converting also stops the paladin getting hit, which I’m surprised more players don’t take advantage of.

likely because paladin has holy shield and the highest defense so it’s rarely a problem.

i wish conversion converted permanently and the AI were enhanced with Revive AI to follow you around. Then it might be useful for once.


At the very start conversion was for a much longer duration but it was not very helpful. As it is now you can get through the game with it, although it is slow and I wouldn’t expect it to have too many fans.

Conversion stops the paladin getting hit because it presents an alternative target. Maybe converted monsters are preferred, I don’t know for sure. Nonetheless in this build you want to have the best possible defense and blocking.