Best Ladder Builds for Diablo II: Resurrected Ladder Season 1
Now that we've had some time to explore and play with the content in Diablo II: Resurrected Patch 2.4, let's take a look at some character builds that might be successful and fun to play in Ladder Season 1, which starts in just a few hours. If you like, call it the "top tier" builds for the season. However, we're not looking necessarily at the very strongest builds, but rather those that share a few qualities, in addition to being strong in the game, whether solo, grouped or hardcore.
Why Are These the Best Ladder Season One Builds?
Strong DPS including some AoE
Not particularly gear dependent
Powerful from the beginning to end game play
Most important, these are all builds that are newly viable in 2.4, novel, and fun to play
Best Ladder Season One Builds
So, based on those criteria we nominate these five builds, in no particular order, to be the "best" for Diablo II: Resurrected Ladder Season One.
Dual Throw Barbarian
Smiter / FoH Paladin
Strafe Amazon / Strafezon
What's New for the Summon Druid
In the past, this build was hampered by the inability to summon multiple types of animal friends at once, along with weak overall damage. Patch 2.4 has opened up significant opportunity for this build, which is new and different, and reminiscent of the old favorite, the Summoning Necromancer.
Summon Druid Overview
The Summoner Druid is a build focused on the class fantasy of the lone Druid directing nature's minions to attack his foes. It's a viable upper- to end-game build that does amazingly well for targeted boss killing, including Ubers. However, the ability to summon an entire "zoo" of minions now extends that flexibility to a decent large-scale AoE build as well. We expect this to be a premier build in Ladder Season One.
If you would enjoy having many, many, animal friends to follow you into the wilds of Sanctuary, check out our detailed guide via the link below.
Summoner Druid Guide
What's New for the Hydra Sorceress
Two key changes make the Hydra Sorceress a new powerhouse. The hydras themselves are more powerful and quicker to cast, and the elimination of the shared cooldown timers means that she can have a stack of flaming hydras and still throw down a ton of cold to deal with Fire-Immune enemies
Hydra Sorceress Overview
The Hydra Sorc is something of a classic Diablo III build, where this skill came to really shine. However until Patch 2.4 it was pretty lackluster in Diablo II. Now, this becomes a viable build right up to /players 8. The Hydra Sorceress is a Fire specialist who has amazing standoff capability, and provides a straightforward, one could even say relaxing, playstyle. With the newly buffed Hydras and the changes to cooldown timers that favor hybrid casters, we think this may be a premier build in Ladder Season One.
If you're not afraid of snakes spitting flame, check out our detailed guide via the link below.
Hydra Sorceress Guide
Dual Throw Barbarian
What's New for the Dual Throw Barbarian
There are several changes to throwing that make this an especially effective build now. Double Throw and Throwing Mastery have been made significantly more effective with Patch 2.4, and the handling of ammunition for throwing weapons has dramatically improved overall quality of life.
Dual Throw Barbarian Overview
The Throw Barbarian is an unconventional Barbarian build which utilizes Double Throw and Throw Mastery to launch powerful ranged attacks rather than following the traditional up-close Barbarian gamestyle. The Throw Barbarian can easily clear large groups of enemies as well as Bosses. The budget and end game variants of the Throw Barbarian build are both viable, with the condition that a few required key items are utilized. The end game variant of the build does prominently high damage to the point that it will join the meta. The end game Throw Barbarian can easily solo clear Players 8 Hell difficulty contents such as Chaos Sanctuary and Worldstone Keep. The build can also clear Uber Tristram effectively.
If you might like to throw things and let out the occasional Warcry, check out our detailed guide via the link below.
Dual Throw Barbarian Guide
Smiter / FoH Paladin
What's new for the Smiter / Fist of Heaven Paladin
This will be an exceptional build in Patch 2.4 due to the Fist of the Heavens buffs. The first buff is the reduction of Casting Delay from 1 second to 0.4 seconds while also making Fist of the Heavens not share cooldown with other Casting Delay abilities. The most noteworthy buff is undoubtedly making the spell now also damage demons in addition to undead. Fist of the Heavens used to damage undead only. This won't be the best Cow Level build, but otherwise it is top-notch.
Smiter / Fist of Heaven Paladin Overview
Sometimes called the Vindicator Templar, this is a Paladin build which utilizes Fist of the Heavens and Smite to destroy any type of monster or zone in Diablo 2: Resurrected. As veteran D2R players know, the Hammerdin Paladin was the preferred spec for mass area farms whereas the Smiter Paladin was the top pick for killing bosses and clearing Ubers. With the release of Patch 2.4 the Vindicator Templar Paladin build will emerge as a meta build because it brings together the best of both worlds, effectively combining the strength of a Hammerdin and a Smiter. What's even more exciting is that the build does exceptionally well even in budget gear.
If you'd like to call down the Fist of Heaven and Smite the wicked as a Vindicator Templar, check out our guide below.
Smiter / FoH Paladin Guide
Strafe Amazon / Strafezon
What's New for the Strafe Amazon
Strafe builds were always problematic for two reasons. First, you must stand still while Strafing and the Strafe animation doesn't stop until you've fired all you have to fire. Fortunately, the AI is somewhat intelligent, so if there are only 2 targets and the first few arrows kill both, it won't keep firing. However, if you're in a crowded area, you can become "strafelocked", unable to move away from danger or do anything else until your Strafe is finished. This is a manageable problem with careful planning. Second, until Patch 2.4, Strafe attacks only used 75% of its weapon power. Patch 2.4 eliminates this restriction, giving this build a massive damage boost. And, incidentally the increased ammunition capacity in Patch 2.4 also made running out of arrows less of an issue.
Strafe Amazon Overview
The build gets its name from the signature Strafe ability, but using Guided Arrow gives it a lot more breadth and strategy possibilities. The Strafezon is a bow-based Amazon build (bowazon) that uses Strafe as a primary attack mode. While it only uses one arrow or bolt per cast, the arrow splits into multiples, hitting up to 10 targets. This build is a blend of Strafe with Guided Arrow, as the stronger single-target damage and strategic advantages of the unerring Guided Arrow are too good to pass up. With a maxxed Valkyrie and intelligent use of passives, this is a build capable of clearing the highest-level content in game with ease.
If you'd like to summon down a Valkyrie from Valhalla and go forth to slay the demons, check out our detailed guide below.
Strafe Amazon Guide
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