Melee Sorceress

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EZ NAV
AbbreviationsBuild CoreMercenaryEarly GameMid GameEnd GameChallengesDungeons and Rifts

Official Documentation



STATUS OF THE 2.4 GUIDE UPDATE

I've been really busy irl, so it's taking a while to get this done. Regardless, the main guide up to THE VOID quest is (mostly) up-to-date. All Dungeons up to The Void and all Rifts up to Scosglen should be up to date as well.



INTRODUCTION

Think of the Melee Sorceress as the angry, rebellious, and often overlooked younger sibling to her more refined and beloved Caster sistren. She’s not as powerful, or as popular, and things don’t come as easy for her, but what she lacks in raw talent and divine favor, she makes up for in dogged determination and stubborn tenacity.

In other words, Melee Sorc may not be fast or flashy, but it’s a solid and reliable build.



ABOUT THE GUIDE

The guide is written specifically for SOLO, SELF-FOUND (SSF) play. As such, gear choices will be based on what the average player can reasonably find during a playthrough, not necessarily what’s "best-in-slot." If possible, this guide will avoid items such as SSSUs, UMOs, Effigies, Relics, unique Jewels, and Shrinecrafts with impossible to get mod combos. You’re free to use this stuff, but none of this is SSF-friendly and should never be required to complete core content with a mainline build.

If you’re new and looking for a brainless OP build to faceroll all content, this ain't it. You'll be happier playing literally any Paladin or the current flavor-of-the-month meta build. If you're dead-set on playing a Sorc and have tons of TG burning a hole in your pocket, skip this guide and just buy a Wyrd Sorc.



PROS AND CONS

► EXPAND



ABBREVIATIONS

► EXPAND



Image



ATTRIBUTE POINTS

STR = 120 Base (Early+Mid+Late Game) → None (End Game)
DEX = Everything else
VIT = None
NRG = None



BASE SKILLPLAN

MELEE
  • Mooncall [25]
  • Bladestorm [10]
  • Fusillade [10]
  • Arcane Sustenance [1]

ARCANE
  • Immersion [1]
  • Arcane Torrent [1]
  • Raven Familiar [1]

COVEN
  • Living Flame [25]
  • Warp Armor [25]
  • Nova Charge [6]

REWARD
  • Baneblade [15]
  • Symbol of Esu [5]
  • Force Blast [1]

MASTERY
  • Melee Devotion [1]
  • Meditation [3] → Tenacity [5]
  • Endurance [10]

Where you distribute your remaining points will depend entirely on what End Game path you take (which will depend on what gear you find).

ELEMENTAL PATH

MELEE
  • Paradigm Shift [1]
  • Cold Blooded [1]

Remaining points = Raven Familiar and Premonition

PHYSICAL PATH

MELEE
  • Determination [1]
  • Fatal Focus [8]

Remaining points = Premonition, maybe Firedance

► SKILL NOTES


► RELICS



BREAKPOINTS

ATTACK SPEED: Warp Blades = 6 / 23 / 56 / 129 (5 fpa)
ATTACK SPEED: Crystal Swords = 15 / 46 / 109 (5 fpa)
ATTACK SPEED: Sorc Orbs (except Jared’s Stone) = 5 / 29 / 78 (5 fpa)
ATTACK SPEED: Staves (except War Staff) = 5 / 10 / 26 / 44 / 72 / 129 280 (6 fpa)
HIT RECOVERY = 5 / 11 / 20 / 35 / 60 / 109 / 280 (3 fpa)
BLOCK SPEED = 3 / 7 / 13 / 20 / 32 / 48 / 75 / 129 / 280 (4 fpa)
CAST SPEED: Staves = 6 / 19 / 42 / 83 / 194 (5 fpa)
CAST SPEED: 1H swing Weapons = 8 / 22 / 42 / 78 / 157 (6 fpa)

► D2STATS DROP NOTIFIER



THE BASICS

► GAMEPLAY MECHANICS


► OFFENSE


► DEFENSE


► SPECIFIC DANGERS


THE TL;DR ON HOW TO PLAY:
  • Summon Raven Familiar → buff with Nova Charge, Mana Shield, Baneblade, and any oskill buffs.
  • Melee Playstyle = Buff with Mooncall → deploy Fusillade → go nuts with Bladestorm
  • AG Playstyle = Buff with Mooncall → stutter-step with Bladestorm or Spiral Dance → deploy Fusillade into larger mobs
  • Debuff with Force Blast, as needed
  • Mind Control monsters when you’re desperate



Image



Mercs aren’t really useful after a certain point because they’re too stupid to avoid fatal attacks. Nevertheless, a merc will still be helpful while leveling. I prefer the Rogue Priestess. She can spread damage over a broad range, and the Life Regen from Vindicate is ridiculously helpful early on.

► CLASS-SPECIFIC BONUSES


► GEAR


► BREAKPOINTS


► NOTES ON MERCS



Image



GEAR

► expand


NORMAL (CLVL 1-55)

ATTRIBUTE POINTS
30 points into STR (40 Base STR) → everything else into DEX.

SKILL POINTS
Spec into Meditation once you unlock Bladestorm. After which, boost Melee skills at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio vs. Coven skills, depending on how comfortable you feel. Spec out of Meditation before moving on to Act 5.

GEARING
Look for Rare gear with Life, Life sustain, Life regen, Poison and Fire Res, DEX, and MF.

RANDOM WORLD DROPS
Useful items that can drop at any point.
  • Belladonna Extracts
    Single-use potions that let you respec.
  • Relics
    Rare drops that give you access to a random oskill, plus some secondary benefits. You can carry up to 3 different Relics at a time.

GOBLINS
Rare monsters that can spawn at any point. The types of items they drop depend on the Goblin type, but they’ll usually drop something useful. Goblins in higher Difficulties drop better items.

PROGRESSION NOTES
  • Complete all main storyline quests.
  • Collect a few Jewels.
  • Collect all Runes.
  • Collect and upgrade all Gems.
  • You can create containers for Runes, Gems, Shrines, and Arcane Crystals by cubing one with an Oil of Craft. Right-click containers to store items. Cube containers to pull items out of storage.
  • Akara offers unlimited respecs to characters below clvl 50, so don’t worry if you mess something up early on.

► WALKTHROUGH




NIGHTMARE (CLVL 55-104)

ATTRIBUTE POINTS
Additional 40 points into STR (80 Base STR) → everything else into DEX.

SKILL POINTS
Distribute points as you were until clvl 90. From then on, focus exclusively on maxing Baneblade. Ignore Symbol of Esu and Premonition for now.

GEARING
Uptier your weapon and shield to T4 as soon as you have the ACs, DEX, and meet the clvl reqs.

If you don’t find
Herald of Skartara
Herald of Skartara
Reflex Bow (4)

Two-Hand Damage: (20 - 25) to (34 - 45)
(Amazon Only)
Required Level: 11
Required Dexterity: 103
Item Level: 18
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.15 per Dexterity)%
1% Chance to cast level 3 Phalanx on Kill
1% Chance to cast level 6 Celerity on Kill
15% Attack Speed
Adds (11 to 15)-(21 to 30) Damage
+(35 to 57)% Enhanced Damage
10% Magic Find
Socketed (2)
Two-Hand Damage: (57 - 71) to (88 - 102)
(Amazon Only)
Required Level: 30
Required Dexterity: 150
Item Level: 33
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.15 per Dexterity)%
2% Chance to cast level 7 Phalanx on Kill
2% Chance to cast level 10 Celerity on Kill
25% Attack Speed
Adds (25 to 35)-(41 to 50) Damage
+(81 to 103)% Enhanced Damage
20% Magic Find
Socketed (4)
Two-Hand Damage: (124 - 142) to (173 - 204)
(Amazon Only)
Required Level: 48
Required Dexterity: 290
Item Level: 53
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.15 per Dexterity)%
3% Chance to cast level 11 Phalanx on Kill
3% Chance to cast level 14 Celerity on Kill
35% Attack Speed
Adds (36 to 45)-(51 to 70) Damage
+(126 to 149)% Enhanced Damage
30% Magic Find
Socketed (5)
Two-Hand Damage: (168 - 187) to (230 - 263)
(Amazon Only)
Required Level: 57
Required Dexterity: 570
Item Level: 90
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.15 per Dexterity)%
4% Chance to cast level 13 Phalanx on Kill
4% Chance to cast level 20 Celerity on Kill
40% Attack Speed
Adds (51 to 60)-(71 to 90) Damage
+(149 to 171)% Enhanced Damage
40% Magic Find
Socketed (6)
or
The Black Dame
The Black Dame
Long War Bow (4)

Two-Hand Damage: 12 to (20 - 29)
Required Level: 11
Required Dexterity:
108
Item Level: 18
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.11 per Dexterity)%
1% Chance to cast level 1 Barrage on Kill
30% Attack Speed
+(1 to 10) to Maximum Damage
(11 to 15)% Mana stolen per Hit
+60% Enhanced Damage
+(5 to 8) to Tantrum
Slow Target (3 to 5)%
(21 to 25)% Bonus to Defense
+1% to Experience Gained
Requirements +10%
Socketed (2)
Two-Hand Damage: 40 to (69 - 88)
Required Level: 30
Required Dexterity:
178
Item Level: 33
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.11 per Dexterity)%
1% Chance to cast level 5 Barrage on Kill
45% Attack Speed
+(11 to 30) to Maximum Damage
(16 to 20)% Mana stolen per Hit
+100% Enhanced Damage
+(9 to 12) to Tantrum
Slow Target (9 to 11)%
(31 to 35)% Bonus to Defense
+2% to Experience Gained
Requirements +25%
Socketed (4)
Two-Hand Damage: 108 to (179 - 198)
Required Level: 48
Required Dexterity:
415
Item Level: 53
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.11 per Dexterity)%
1% Chance to cast level 10 Barrage on Kill
60% Attack Speed
+(31 to 50) to Maximum Damage
(21 to 25)% Mana stolen per Hit
+140% Enhanced Damage
+(13 to 16) to Tantrum
Slow Target (15 to 17)%
(41 to 45)% Bonus to Defense
+2% to Experience Gained
Requirements +50%
Socketed (5)
Two-Hand Damage: 151 to (277 - 307)
Required Level: 57
Required Dexterity:
950
Item Level: 90
Dexterity Damage Bonus: (0.11 per Dexterity)%
1% Chance to cast level 16 Barrage on Kill
75% Attack Speed
+(70 to 100) to Maximum Damage
(26 to 30)% Mana stolen per Hit
+180% Enhanced Damage
+(17 to 21) to Tantrum
Slow Target (18 to 20)%
(46 to 50)% Bonus to Defense
+3% to Experience Gained
Requirements +75%
Socketed (6)
, make
Shockwave

Shockwave
Bows

'IthShael'
Runeword Level: 35
50% Chance to cast level 14 Punishers on Kill
+15% Bonus to Poison Skill Duration
+(11 to 15) to Maximum Damage
+(58 to 72)% Enhanced Damage
+10% to Poison Spell Damage
(3 to 5)% Chance of Crushing Blow
Slow Target (11 to 15)%
+(21 to 40) to Dexterity
+(21 to 40) to Energy
for your merc once you have the Runes. Use a T3 Short or Long War Bow.

From here on, start collecting the following items as you find them:
  • All Sacred Warp Blades, Ceremonial Armor, Sashes, and Spiked Shields.
    Use Oils of Renewal to reroll them as you find them. Keep only the best versions of each, and replace them with better versions as they roll. Ideal rolls are:
    • Weapons = +60% ED
    • Armor = +50% ED and +1% Phys Res
  • 1x-4x Magic Sacred Warp Blade
  • 1x Sacred or T4 Jared's Stone
  • The Mysteries
    The Mysteries
    (Sorceress Melee Set)

    Cauldron
    Pentacle
    Sacred Circle
    Witchblade

    Set Bonus with 2 or more set items:
    +2 to Sorceress Skill Levels
    +50 to Dexterity

    Set Bonus with 3 or more set items:
    +21 to Spiral Dance
    Physical Resist 10%

    Set Bonus with complete set:
    +100 Damage
    +4 to Ward of Fate
    10% Chance of Crushing Blow
    Enhanced Weapon Damage +100%
    +4000 Defense
    5% Chance to Avoid Damage

    Set
  • Pantheon
    Pantheon
    (Amazon Bow Set)

    Earth
    Fire
    Frost
    Water

    Set Bonus with 2 or more set items:
    50% Attack Speed
    Elemental Resists +50%

    Set Bonus with 3 or more set items:
    Enhanced Weapon Damage +60%
    +150 to Life

    Set Bonus with complete set:
    3% Chance to cast level 40 Trinity Nova on Kill
    5% Chance to cast level 11 Time Strike on Striking
    Adds 63-125 Damage
    -45% to Enemy Elemental Resistances
    Enhanced Weapon Damage +60%
    +200 to Dexterity

    Set
  • All Shrines

PROGRESSION NOTES
  • A -30% Elemental Res penalty will be applied to you and your merc.
  • All Act bosses will now heal 5% of their Max Life if they kill you.
  • The side areas in all Acts are now filled with Veteran monsters. They’re tougher, but the XP gains and drops are better (supposedly).

► WALKTHROUGH




HELL (CLVL 104+)

ATTRIBUTE POINTS
Put another 40 points into STR (120 Base STR) → everything else into to DEX.

SKILL POINTS
Max Baneblade → max Melee+Coven skills → 5 points Symbol of Esu → hold 1 point → everything else into Tenacity

GEARING
Equip whatever missing TUs you find when you find them. Make whatever you don’t find whenever you have the ACs. Upgrade your merc’s equipment with any decent gear you find.

AREA LEVELS
All Area Levels (alvls) in Hell are 100+, meaning item drops will be Item Level (ilvl) 99+. When looking for gear and/or Jewels for crafting, use Hell drops for the best possible rolls.

SACRED UNIQUES
There are 3 "tiers" (SU, SSU, and SSSU). Tiers only indicate how rare an SU is, not how good it may be. The places in which they can drop depend on alvl:
  • SU = alvl 105+
  • SU+SSU = alvl 120+
  • SU+SSU+SSSU = alvl 130+

RANDOM WORLD DROPS
Useful items unique to Hell.
  • Oils of Augmentation, Conjuration, Intensity, and Greater Luck
    Special oils that do various things, but you’ll only care about Greater Luck.
  • Whispers of the Damned
    Tiny skulls needed to access the Legion of the Damned quest.
  • Enchanted Runes
    Powerful versions of regular Runes. Collect them all.

DUNGEONS AND RIFTS
  • All Dungeons and Rifts have a minimum clvl requirement.
  • Many Dungeons have lockout timers, and most timers are very short (often only 20 seconds). Be prepared before entering.
  • Some bosses have a chance to drop a Trophy Fragment (usually 6%). Cubing 3 Fragments together will create a Trophy, which will add bonuses to its corresponding Charm. You can also create Fragments by cubing 20x of the same Charm. Farm for a perfect version of a Charm before cubing it with its Trophy (unless otherwise noted).
  • Some Charms can be used in a Lottery recipe. This may add a bonus to a specific item type, depending on the Charm used. A Lottery bonus has a 3% chance of success, and the attempt will consume the Charm. Items cannot be Lotteried and Luckied.

PROGRESSION NOTES
  • A -70% Elemental Res penalty will be applied to you and your merc.
  • All Act bosses now regain 10% of their Max Life if they kill you.
  • Activate all Waypoints.
  • Journey through Hell only up to the Worldstone Keep Waypoint.

► WALKTHROUGH



Image



GEAR

► expand


ATTRIBUTE POINTS
As long as you have 120 Base STR, everything can go to DEX. Any additional STR you may need will come from Charms.

SKILL POINTS
1 point Force Blast → max Tenacity → max Endurance

GEARING
Keep collecting and rerolling Sacred bases for End Game RWs.

PROGRESSION NOTES
  • From here on, the guide will be divided into quest groupings based on your clvl. Some “DPS check” quests are pushed back because you won’t have high enough DPS to complete them otherwise.
  • Your merc will die a lot.

► WALKTHROUGH



Image



GEAR

► LATE GAME BASE KIT


► END GAME UPGRADES - ELEMENTAL


► END GAME UPGRADES - PHYSICAL


ATTRIBUTE POINTS
Everything into DEX.

SKILL POINTS
Max Endurance → Spec into an End Game path once you’ve completed your Base Kit.

GEARING
Use Oils of Greater Luck on high-end weapons and armor. Lottery you amulets and rings. Don’t Corrupt any items you’re not willing to lose.

► WALKTHROUGH



Image



LEVEL CHALLENGE - CLVL 45 TO 60

► More Info


ENNEAD CHALLENGE - CLVL 80+

► More Info
Edited by Solfege 1 day.
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Dungeons and Rifts will be grouped into 3 tiers based on gear requirements, number of SoL needed, and strategy/player skill required. They are listed in Documentation order.
  • Easy
    Basic TUs, 0 SoL eaten, and little strategy/skill.
  • Medium
    Decent gear (T4 TUs, mid-level RWs, partial or full Set), 100 to 300 SoL eaten, and moderate strategy/skill.
  • Hard
    Good gear (full Set, SUs, high-level RWs), 300 to 400 SoL eaten, and high strategy/skill.

= a quest has a corresponding Trophy.
= a quest’s Charm can used for in a Lottery recipe.



DUNGEON

Horror Under Tristram - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More Info


Invasion - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More Info


Death Projector - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More info


Infernal Machine - clvl 105
► More Info


The Binding of Baal - clvl 110, 20 second lockout
► more info


Horazon's Sanctum - clvl 110, 20 second lockout
► more info


Akarat - clvl 110
► more info


Assault on Mount Arreat - clvl 110, 120 second lockout
► more info


Lord Aldric Jitan - clvl 110
► more info


Inquisitor of the Triune - clvl 110
► more info


Bull Prince Rodeo - clvl 110 (Secret Cow Level), clvl 115 (Corral of Corruption)
► more info


Rathma Square - clvl 115
► more info


The Black Road - clvl 115
► more info


Legacy of Blood - clvl 115, 20 second lockout
► more info


The Veiled Prophet - clvl 115, 30 second lockout
► more info


Heart of Sin - clvl 115
► more info


Judgment Day – clvl 120, 20 second lockout (Pools/Halls)
► more info


Twin Seas – clvl 120
► more info


Quov Tsin - clvl 120
► more info


Kingdom of Shadow - clvl 120, 90 second lockout
► more info


Banisher of Light - clvl 120
► more info


Legion of the Damned - clvl 120, 10 second lockout
► more info


Toraja - clvl 120
► more info


Eve of Destruction - clvl 125, 20 minute lockout
► more info


Lord of Lies – clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


Ghosts of Old Bremmtown – clvl 125
► more info


Yshari Sanctum – clvl 125
► more info
Edited by Solfege 2 days.
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Xazax – clvl 125, 4 minute lockout
► more info


Astrogha – clvl 125, 5 minute lockout
► More Info


Nymyr’s Light - clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


Spirit World - clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


The Void - clvl 130, 3 minute lockout (planes), 8 minute lockout (boss fight)
► More Info


Nephalem's Sacrifice - clvl 130
► more info


Archbishop Lazarus - clvl 130, 15 second lockout
► more info



RIFTS

Island of the Sunless Sea - clvl 105
► more info


Torajan Jungles - clvl 110
► More Info


Kurast 3000 B.A. - clvl 115
► More Info


High Heavens - clvl 115
► more info


Tran Athulua - clvl 115
► more info


Teganze - clvl 120
► more info


The Triune - clvl 120
► more info


Corrupted Abbey - clvl 120
► more info


Vizjun - clvl 125
► more info


Fauztinville - clvl 125
► more info


Scosglen – clvl 135
► More Info



The forum is a graveyard, and we’re just the ghosts haunting it, unable to move on, because we’re unwilling to let go.

Thanks for reading. Burn in Hell, Discord.
Edited by Solfege 2 days.
Magisch
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Do you reckon the defense of Sorc is anything to write home about? I was doing this before rerolling Hammerzon and it just felt incredibly weak. I was getting near oneshot in IOTSS and barely breaking 250k defense with all TCD MO's on my TU gear. It honestly felt weak as hell.
Heisenberg
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The order you have multiple items listed in is it 1st is the best or going left to right in order of upgrades?
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@Magisch
It depends on your spec, but you'll never get insane amounts of ACD (I think the most I ever got while still being able to kill stuff was 600k a few patches back). Melee Sorcs aren't Barbs. They don't rely on just 1 or 2 layers of defense. They rely on stacking multiple layers of different defensive mods, with the spec you choose determining which layers are more important. If you're only looking at your ACD number, you're not seeing the whole picture.

@Heisenberg
Order of upgrades. So, for example, when it says "Shark -> The Warped Blade," it means use Shark, then upgrade to The Warped Blade.
Magisch
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Solfege wrote:@Magisch
It depends on your spec, but you'll never get insane amounts of ACD (I think the most I ever got while still being able to kill stuff was 600k a few patches back). Melee Sorcs aren't Barbs. They don't rely on just 1 or 2 layers of defense. They rely on stacking multiple layers of different defensive mods, with the spec you choose determining which layers are more important. If you're only looking at your ACD number, you're not seeing the whole picture.

@Heisenberg
Order of upgrades. So, for example, when it says "Shark -> The Warped Blade," it means use Shark, then upgrade to The Warped Blade.


How much health do you have, and how important is that actually? Even with 84 all res 50 phys res 350k def and 40% block my hammerzon feels like it's made of paper with 15k hp, I think sorc will be on way less then that, how do you survive higher ubers?
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As with ACD, total Life will depend on spec, as will how important it is (I think I have about 11k with Moonstrike active atm).

It also doesn't really work doing straight numbers comparisons between 2 different builds from 2 different classes. There are other factors beyond just a numbers game (e.g. character skills, playstyle, etc.). Not sure what Ubers you consider "higher Ubers," but aside from that fairly low CtB, those are decent mid-game numbers for a Melee Sorc.
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Fenrils
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Magisch wrote:How much health do you have, and how important is that actually? Even with 84 all res 50 phys res 350k def and 40% block my hammerzon feels like it's made of paper with 15k hp, I think sorc will be on way less then that, how do you survive higher ubers?


My melee sorc currently has 17k health, 75% block, 50% physical resistance, 80% all res, 69% life steal, ~200 life on attack, and damage avoidance. As well, we get a lot of natural movespeed so it's pretty easy to get around and dodge things. Not to even mention that sorc gets delicious moon cookies. When it comes to facetanking things, this build has only really felt below barb personally but it takes more finesse to get to that point than barb, pally, or even assassin. I've personally downed 120s and most 125s and will be looking to take this build all the way to the end, sans Samael because fuck that. I can already run Fauz blindfolded, for what it's worth, so your survivability later on is certainly up there.