The Assassin is a class introduced in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. Due to the precise nature of her skills, she is generally more effective PvP than PvM. Still, using abilities such as her stacking martial arts, the Assassin can still take on large groups of monsters with fair ease.
Assassin builds generally fall under the following categories:
- Trap Assassins (Trassassins or Trapsins): Umbrella term used for Assassins that specialize in Traps.
- Martial Artists: Umbrella term used for Assassins that specialize in specific Martial Arts. Also referred to as kicksins.
- Hybrids: Term used for Assassins that work by mixing various skills from all Assassin skill trees.
A general rule for Assassin builds are to include key skills, which any player would find useful. These include:
- Burst of Speed: Increased attack speed and movement speed can help an Assassin in many situations.
- Claw Mastery: Whether you only use one or two claw-class weapons, Claw Mastery will help increase Attack Rating without spending too many points on Dexterity.
- Weapon Block: Not every Assassin build will use this skill, but for those who dual wield Claws, it gives a very good chance to block.
- Tiger Strike: Even just one point invested into this skill can help Assassins overcome stronger enemies.
- Blade Fury: Throws Shuriken. For a long time, it was assumed that placing points in Blade Fury were wasted after the first point, but the skill can be raised to very solid damage levels when combined with items and skills that add enhanced damage % like Claw Mastery. Unfortunately Claw Mastery will not help with your Attack Rating issues.
- Shadow Warrior is an interesting Summon that will try to use the two skills you have Hot Keyed. This control of a Summon is unprecedented in the game and allows for you to have the Shadow Warrior cast skills with timers or skills while you are attacking. While the Shadow Warrior will never attack quickly or intelligently enough to over shadow your Assassin, when used defensively or just as a supplement Shadow Warrior is an interesting minion. It never gets boots, which nerfs the damage that the Shadow Warrior can do with kick attacks like Dragon Talon, Dragon Tail or Dragon Flight.
- The skill level formula for Shadow Warriors skills is a mix of the level you cast Shadow Warrior and the amount of skills you have in that Skill. Such that if you have a maxed Shadow Warrior it may have many skills that it can use at higher levels than you can. Additionally, Shadow Warrior has the interesting ability that after the Shadow Warrior has used a skill it does receive the Passive benefits that skill would have on other skills. This can make an enormous difference on skills like Lightning Sentry or Phoenix Strike where you can force the Shadow Warrior to use the synergy skills for say Lightning Sentry and then the Lightning Sentries Shadow Warrior casts will be of much higher level than even you could cast.
- Dark Warrior: An Assassin build with many variants, but focuses on Shadow Disciplines. Using skills such as Venom and Shadow Master or Shadow Warrior.
- Dragon Talon Kicksin: This is the build most often referred to when people talk of Kicksins. This build focuses on finishing kicks, specifically Dragon Talon and Dragon Flight.
- Elementalist: A Martial Artist Assassin build that specializes in the elemental Martial Arts, including Phoenix Strike.
- Monk: A Hybrid Assassin build that focuses on area of effect skills, mainly Death Sentry and Phoenix Strike, along with their Synergies.
- Shockbringer: A Trapsin Assassin build specializing almost completely on Lightning Traps.
- Fire Trapster: A Trap Assassin build that specializes in killing her enemies from afar via deadly fire & lightning traps.
- Vampire: A Martial Artist Assassin build, fabricated around Cobra Strike for its life/mana sucking power.
- WWSin: A build centered around the properties granted by the Chaos Rune Word.