Hey, in this guide we will go over how I like to gear and play the Whirlwind Sin for Player vs Monster in patch 2.4. I’ve also included a section on how you can download the character file for single player/PTR so you can try it yourself.
With the changes to Blade skills in 2.4, I wanted to focus on adding it in on top of Whirlwind(WW) to supplement its damage output for Player vs Monster. Prior to 2.4 the dmg output of the WWsin was slightly lacking for higher player counts, but when you add in a maxed out Blade Shield(BSh) and Blade Sentinels(BSn), with the 2.4 changes, you can begin to clear them much more efficiently.
Here’s how I like to play and build the char:
Current Version = Patch 2.4
1.0 Gear and Stats:
1.1 D2Planner Gear Sets:
There are 4 different gear sets in there; one focused around Enigma, another with Fortitude, a “basic” entry setup with only 1 Ohm rune spent for Chaos claw, and my character. These are examples of how you can build your char to achieve the required stats.
Disclaimer: Some item’s are required in my opinion, but for the others items; you don’t need these exact stats and pieces of gear, these are just examples, use the best of what you have. Ex you don’t need 3/20/20 scs, just use whatever max dmg charms you find along the way.
1.2 Attack Speed:
When using WW with a Chaos and Nat’s mark, you will always be at the maximum aps, even when decrepified, holy frozen, and chilled at the same time. We do not need to use Burst of Speed, or even worry about Cannot be Frozen. Being slowed down can often result in a lot of extra hits vs an enemy and can lead to a lot of extra dmg output. Since it can be beneficial during combat, we’ll use things like: Fade’s curse reduction, Half Freeze Duration, Dragon Flight(DF) or Teleport, to help negate the movement slowing affects after combat has finished.
Half Freeze Duration can be obtained on your rings or gloves, and early game you can make good use of Gloom Armor for it’s: HFD, 45 all res, 10 strength and Dim Vision Proc. It makes a great substitute until you can obtain Fort/Enigma.
Dim Vision can overwrite Decrepify but it will mostly be used to shutdown ranged enemies, since the curse procs on the enemies location. This can be really handy when you’re stuck using WW, or your cooldown is preventing you from casting Cloak of Shadows.
1.3 Damage Modifiers:
First we have to get Chaos Claw for WW, and then we will obtain Nat’s Mark to use as our primary weapon because of it’s Ignores Target’s Defense, among other useful stats. IMO, Nat’s Claw is just as essential as Chaos Claw because of the ITD. BSh and BSn do not have very good attack rating to begin with, but they do benefit from ITD if it’s on your primary hand. They both also benefit from Claw Mastery’s Crit Chance and Deadly Strike, so putting a Lo rune into Nat’s Mark allows you to bump it up from 71% crit chance to 88%.
you could use a Rare claw if it has ITD and some insane stats, but Nat’s is hard to beat with that 200% demon/undead damage
Our other gear slots will focus on stacking lots of Crit Chance/Deadly Strike, increased damage from things like Might aura, Fortitude, etc, Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, and lots of Dext. Basically we want to pump our physical damage up as much as possible.
1.4 Mana/Resource Management:
Whirlwind costs a lot of mana, and spamming traps can add up as well, but it’s not very difficult to overcome. You’ll want to obtain any amount of mana steal you can from somewhere, preferably a ring.
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, and obtain lots of % Dmg Reduction. To do this we will use Fade, and String of Ears, as well other pieces of gear to round out our resistances. We will be putting all our extra skill points into Fade, so it’s not to hard to boost up all your resistances. Most important are Fire, Light and Physical in my opinion.
The Might Merc from Act 2 with Reapers Toll is going to be your best in slot option here. We will use Enigma/Dragon Flight to control his position and make the most out of the Decrepify proc. Reapers Toll can be hard to find, but really low quality ones aren’t to expensive to trade for and any one will do.
If you wanted, you can also use the new Act 5 Frenzy Merc with 2x Law Bringer, only 1 of them didn’t seem to proc enough with only 1/5 hits, from every other swing, procing it. This is much easier to “find” than Reapers Toll, only costing 1x Lem rune each, to make, and can still be quite viable until you can obtain Reapers Toll.
1.7 Base Claw for Chaos:
The primary focus for your Base Claw should be to obtain a Suwayyah or Scissors Suwayyah with 1→3 Death Sentry skills on it. This will allow you to save 4 skill points that you can then invest into Fade. The supplementary skills you’ll want is going to depend on whether you intend on using Enigma, or if you just want to obtain Chaos right away to start playing the spec.
If you plan on using Enigma, you can obtain whatever skills you want really, but I would recommend Mind Blast to save another skill point for Fade. If you want to make Chaos right away, or do not plan on using Enigma, I would recommend you try and get Dragon Flight as the complimentary skill. This will save you another 4 skills to dump into Fade. Mind you, claws with these skill combos can be very hard to find and quite expensive.
I also do not recommend you obtain the Shadow Warrior using only your claw. If you do not invest any hard points into the Shadow Warrior skill, when you switch weapons she will be unsummoned. Extra skill points to her is still useful once you have a hard point into it though. I also do not recommend getting skills like Fade or Blade Shield on it either, unless you’re using a Rare Fools Claw, instead of Nats, that also has those skills. CTA+Spirit is providing +3 all skills, so getting those skills on your Chaos Claw is moot if you don’t have at least +2 on both claws.
I also would not recommend making these claws in superior weapons for PvM. The gold repair costs can be upwards of 2 billion, or the insane amount of Ort runes you’d need in reserve is not worth the benefits. Save superior weapons for PvP.
Just enough to hold your gear is what you want. Extra strength doesn’t hurt though, as it results in more damage to your skills, but you’re better off spending those points into Dexterity for damage, attack rating, and defense.
If you don’t have Call to Arms, you’ll only want just enough dext to hold your claws. If you do have CTA, I recommend you obtain ~1000→1250 hp before BO, or ~1500 after BO, and dump all the remaining stats into Dext. It bumps up the damage of your attacks, boosts attack rating and defense.
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 and dumping into Dext.
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 30% Faster Hit Recovery because of your GFace Helmet, you are currently at the 28%→47% FHR breakpoint meaning if you’re put into hit recovery, it will take 6 frames to recover. Any value of FHR between 28%→47% will always equate to a 6 frame hit recovery, you must obtain 48%, or more, to move into the 5 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:
As detailed in section “1.2 Attack speed:” we’re actually at the maximum APS Breakpoint for whirlwind even when slowed to the maximum amount possible.
Your Blade Sentinel attack speed does vary when affected, but monsters can only be damaged by a BSn once per second due to it’s 25 Frame Delay. You also have multiple Sentinels spinning at once, so odd’s are a monster will be hit at least once per second. It’s APS is also set when it is spawned, so you can avoid any negative side effects of being slowed, by casting them when not being cursed/slowed.
Your trap laying speed is also based off of aps, so being slowed can make it difficult to cast Blade Sentinel and Death Sentry, but if you spawn them before getting attacked you can circumvent this issue.
3.3 Faster Hit Recovery:
Fortunately when using whirlwind you cannot be put into Hit Recovery, so we don’t need to worry about this stat nearly as much, as long as we play smart. GFace also provides 30% FHR, putting us at a reasonable 6 Frame hit recovery, that’s more than enough imo.
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 and Cloak of Shadows, but FCR is not necessary for the spec, unless you’re using Enigma. If you are, I recommend using at least a 28% FCR Spirit on Swap, this will put you at a reasonable FCR breakpoint on swap. If you can get a 10% FCR Ring and have a 32% FCR Spirit on swap, you’ll be at a very solid FCR BP on swap, and having that tiny bit, always active from the ring, helps with teleporting during combat.
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 ↓
Main Skills = Whirlwind, Blade Shield, Blade Sentinel, Death Sentry
Utility skills = Shadow Warrior, Dragon Flight, Fade, Cloak of Shadows, 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
- Next max out in this order: Claw Mastery, Blade Sentinel, Blade Shield, Blade Fury last
- Dump remaining surplus skills into Fade as you continue to level up
At minimum level 79, and all skill quests completed, are needed to unlock all gear, and max out all required skills.
This will be our main attack and our easiest way to hit monsters with Blade Shield. The skill deals decent damage itself, but also provides lots of safety with its repositioning and other perks:
- While using WW your defense is fully active, and you cannot be put into: knockback, stun, or hit recovery while spinning. You can also use Weapon Block without interruption which intern allows you to proc “when struck” skills like Chilling Armor, Dim Vision, etc.
- While using WW you can not proc any on “striking”, “attack”, or “when struck” effects if they bypass weapon block and your defense, and land a hit.
- Movement speed modifiers do still apply while spinning, but being slowed down can actually result in more damage to a target. Because of this we will not being using Cannot be Frozen, but instead Half Freeze Duration.
If you level up while using WW you will be frozen in place and have to leave the game! Try to avoid this by using your Traps to get the last few kills for a level.
4.3 Blade Shield:
We’ll combine Blade Shield with Whirlwind to add in a good chunk of extra damage while spinning through packs of monsters and use it to steal back lots of health and mana. The skill only “ticks” once per second, so it won’t be able to hit absolutely every single monster you pass through, but once maxed out and combined with all it’s synergies it can hit quite hard. Blade Shield also inherits only the stats from your Primary hand, so we will be putting our Nat’s Mark there for reasons I’ll explain.
Blade Shield unfortunately does not receive any inherent Attack Rating boosts from the skill, it only uses your base attack rating (including Claw Mastery). Fortunately, it does work with any of the “- Target Defense” stats, so we will use Ignores Target Defense to fix up it’s chance to hit. The skill also works with both Crit Chance from Claw Mastery, and Deadly Strike, so it has a very high chance to crit for double damage.
4.4 Blade Sentinel:
We will use Blade Sentinel to overlap our WW path and add in extra damage. Blade Sentinel functions very similar to Blade Shield and follows almost all the same rules, except they can’t steal resources. It also only benefits from the Primary weapon slot and will benefit most from Nat’s Mark/an ITD claw.
Blade Sentinels also suffer from a thing called Next Delay, meaning that a monster can only take damage from any and all blade sentinels once per second. Because of this, depending on the circumstances, your often best to just get one of them spinning and then focus on using WW.
Blade Sentinels and Death Sentry also share the same “active trap” counter, meaning you can only ever have a mix of 5 of the to going at a time.
4.5 Death Sentry:
We will use the Death Sentry’s Corpse Explosion to help increase our damage. Once there are a lot of corpses it can help to drop a bunch of DS to replace the BSn you currently have on the field. Hopefully the Shadow Warrior will cast more for you as you fight, and if not, just make sure they’re active if there are corpses.
Death Sentry’s Corpse Explosion deals both Fire and Physical damage, so they make good use of decrepify, and the Fire damage helps deal with enemies with high physical resistance.
4.5 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 Blade Sentinel and WW, and save time and 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.
4.6 Dragon Flight:
We will use this primarily to control our merc’s position, making sure he’s fighting who we want while providing his aura for us. We can also use this for some mobility to cross gaps/walls, if there’s a target available. 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.
If you’re using Enigma, you can forgo this skill entirely. Teleport is slightly faster to cast, safer to use defensively, and easier to use with not requiring a target. With 0% FCR it takes 16 frames to cast Teleport, and the Action Frame occurs at frame 9. This can be reduced by stacking FCR, but it isn’t required because even at 16 FL/9 AF, it moves you to your destination slightly earlier, and takes way less frames to recover from, than DF
DF is always locked at 23 Frame Length and the Teleport occurs on Action Frame 10, regardless of: IAS, FCR, or even if you’re being cursed and slowed. So being immune to slowing affects is nice, but it’s unfortunate we’re stuck at 23 FL/10 AF. Overall, I think obtaining Enigma should be the end game goal, but it is not immediately required for the spec because DF is more than sufficient, regardless of the draw backs.
We don’t want to run to quickly when using WW, and our APS is maxed out during all scenarios so BoS is useless to us. We’ll utilize Fade for it’s resistance, curse duration reduction, and physical damage reduction. Once we maxed our other skills and obtained all other 1 pointers, we will dump the remaining skills here for more resistances and physical damage reduction.
4.8 Cloak of Shadows:
This skill is extremely useful for shutting down ranged targets like Finger Mages, Spear Throwers, Archers, Quill Rats, and Burning Souls. The blinding effect is also good versus melee targets too, stopping a lot of them from engaging, but I think it’s best saved for dealing with annoying ranged mobs.
CoS is also considered a curse, so it will end up overwriting decrepify, if it’s been proc’d, but it’s not a huge issue overall. The range on CoS is massive, it will instantly blanket the entire screen with the curse, blinding everything on screen and reducing their defense. The reduced defense can help your merc to quickly proc decrepify on the close by monsters you’re fighting, while leaving the further away enemies blinded by CoS.
The skill can only be cast once it’s buff to you expires, so I prefer to try and keep it at as low of a level as possible so it can be utilized a lot more.
4.9 Mind Blast:
This can be used in a really tight scenario to stun and convert some monsters to your side, especially if you’ve already used Cloak of Shadows. You shouldn’t need to use this to often though.
4.10 Claw Mastery:
The Attack Rating, Damage, and Crit Chance it provides is invaluable. We’ll want this maxed out for sure.
4.11 Weapon Block:
Weapon Block can be used while spinning with WW, It’s defensive utility is amazing while spinning.
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 will allow you to actively cycle your skills much quicker, and you can leave Death Sentry permanently active on your right click for your 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.
This is how I like to have my key bindings with QCS
Weapon Set 1:
Left Click: Whirlwind
Right Click: Death Sentry
Weapon Set 2:
Left Click: Throw
Right Click: Fade
Left Click Hotkeys:
Hotkey 1 = Whirlwind
Hotkey 2 = Blade Sentinel
Hotkey 3 = Dragon Flight/Teleport
Right Click Hotkeys:
Hotkey 4 = Cloak of Shadows
Hotkey 5 = Mind Blast
Hotkey 6 = Battle Command
Hotkey 7 = Battle Orders
Hotkey 8 = Blade Shield
Hotkey 9 = Fade
Hotkey 10 = Shadow Warrior
Hotkey 11 = Death Sentry
There isn’t really a “best” practice for hotkeys with this spec imo, I just highly recommend you try Quick Cast Skills. I also like to put Fade as the active skill on weapon swap, this will allow the shadow to have quick access to the skill and cast it.
5.3 Engaging packs of enemies:
- Use Cloak of Shadows, or Mind Blast, if needed
- Teleport/kick and drop a Blade Sentinel to travel through the entire pack
- WW is best used over short distances with a tight zigzag or triangular pattern, for maximum dps output. You don’t want to WW over long distances, nor click on monsters directly, it’s best to click beside them for short bursts
- Try and focus on doing tight triangles around the monsters your Merc curses with Decrepify to kill a few monsters quickly
- Drop Death Sentries, if the Shadow hasn’t already, once there are some corpses
- Keep controlling Merc position and keep Blade Sentinel and Death Sentry up
It’s fairly easy to play and fun in my opinion.
6.1 Why is my Blade Shield/Sentinel damage so much lower in game compared to d2planner?
There is a bug when viewing those skills in the games Character screen. It does not include the skills bonus “min→max” damage until after % Enhanced Damage has been applied to the base damage of the skill. Where in actuality it is added before hand and receives full benefits from your % Enhanced Damage, which is what you see in D2planner.
6.2 Why don't you use Cannot Be Frozen?
Whirlwind can actually deal more damage when slowed; and even while decrepified, holy frozen, and chilled, you still maintain the max WW aps of 12.5 APS.
6.3 Is "Ignores Target Defense" really that important?
In my opinion, yes. Both Blade Shield and Blade Sentinel sit at around 70-80% chance to hit without it vs normal mobs, and with how infrequently they attack, due to pathing and tick rates, it’s imperative to make them strike and capitalize on the hit as much as possible. Stacking ITD allows you to apply all their physical damage, and Crit Chance, instead of constantly missing.
6.4 Is this as strong as a 2x Grief Whirlwind Barb now?
Nope. Not even close.
Even with all this extra damage layered on top of WW, we are still only hitting for about 50-60% of the dps a 2x Grief WW barb, using identical gear, could output. Fortunately though, this DPS increase was more than enough to make the spec much more efficient in higher player counts. It’s no WW Barb, but it’s strong enough and more fun imo.
6.5 What can you do until you have Chaos?
I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but I think if you were to use Dragon Claw, until you obtain Chaos, you could do okay. You’ll still be up close for Blade Shield, it receives synergies bonus damage from Claw Mastery, but you’d want to add in Cannot Be Frozen in this case.
Personally, I’d just use a trapsin, or other character, until you can obtain Chaos.
Adding in the Blade Skills on top of whirlwind has added a fair bit of extra damage and makes PvM much more efficient at higher player counts.
Once you finally do obtain some end game items, most importantly CTA, and max dmg scs, you will be able to clear high player counts even faster. It’s no where near as powerful as a WW Barb using the same gear, but it is still capable of doing it at a decent rate and is quite fun.
Thanks for reading 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!
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:
- Close D2R
- Download the “whirlwindsin.d2s” file from the link
this is the character file, the game will generate the rest of the files for you
- Paste the .d2s file (NOT THE FOLDER!) into your saved games folders; most likely at:
C:\Users\Current User\Saved Games\Diablo II Resurrected
C:\Users\Current User\Saved Games\Diablo II Resurrected PTR
Depending on where you want to try the character
- Now launch D2R
- Go to the “Offline” tab
The character is set up to use the “Chaos Only” setup, but also has the other gear sets available in the inventory. To equip either set, use a reset token, equip the desired chest piece, and spec yourself accordingly.
9.0 Other Guides:
10.0 References and Links:
Attack Speed Calculator:
Detailed Game Mechanics:
Link to download single player char
Martial Arts - Tiger Tail Assassin Guide
Martial Arts - Phoenix Sin Guide
Please ask any questions and I’ll be happy to answer and discuss.