Best class / build for Elite HC ?

AnathemAnathem Posts: 4
edited September 2012 in TL2 Hardcore Mode
Hi all,
Today is not a good day to die so i'm wondering which is the best class and build for solo or duo Elite HC ...
Any opinions ? I realize this is a highly subjective question and that's fun is more important than all but which class & template seems atm the safest ?
Thanks for you help.


  • Play softcore. You'll be safe there
  • I believe Embermage is one of the safest classes in terms of maneuverability and maintaining a phenomenal damage output. Sure, you could roll a turtle Engineer with Heal Bot, Shield, and so forth... But then you're bored! And when you get complacent in HC you end up dead.
    My highest level mage got to 37 in VetHC before I got myself killed over something incredibly stupid (remember that complacency I was talking about?) and I never really had a challenge outside of the Luminous Arena in Act II. I have since rerolled to Elite HC and am back up to level 20.
    • Avoid Phase Portals. Chances are they'll just end up getting you killed and they are very rarely worth the risk. There usually isn't a convenient exit for you to get to! A squishy with no escape route? Sounds like a waste of time in HC!
    • I personally only spec +2 focus / +3 vit on leveling up.
    • Gear: Emphasize HP, Vit, Focus, and any other fun effects you can get your hands on!
      • +% Fire/all damage
      • +% cast speed
      • +% movement speed
      • +% crit chance/damage
      • +% charge rate/-% charge decay, et cetera!
    • Use a shield. Always. Being able to block 100% of incoming damage from a hit should be a no-brainer.
    • My pet is always on Aggressive so he gets between me and anything (more or less... He doesn't usually hold aggro very well, but anything to block incoming projectiles is better than Defensive where you have to actively take damage for him to be useful).
    • Don't rush! You should have plenty of time between fights to regen HP and mana (with or without potions!) since you're sniping.
    • Once you've practiced a bit, learn how to peel the minions from the champion packs! You'll have a much easier time if you can kill 2-3 at a time instead of all 6-7!
    • Inferno tree
      • Magma Spears are incredibly OP, so that's my primary damage dealer. It penetrates multiple targets, is your first ability (so you're never wasting a point!), and has an insane range.
        The Tier 1 bonus increases the range to 24, which is essentially my entire screen. It lets me inch forward and snipe things before they know what direction to attack.
      • Blazing Pillar is a great AOE skill. I've noticed it's pretty reliable at breaking shields as well.
      • Elemental Attunement is one of the greatest skills in the mage skill tree. It allows you to passively radiate Poison, Shock, Frost, and Fire to enemies near you and lengthen the duration of those effects from wand and Magma Spear hits. The usefulness should become more apparent later.
      • Fire Brand is, in my opinion, one of the skills you only put 1 rank into and let it sit there. Every time you hit a burning enemy (with Magma Spears or wand) they take extra damage. Extra damage is good, right? Oh, and with those points you put into Elemental Attunement? You get more time to do extra damage!
    • Frost tree
      • Frost Phase is a great maneuverability and positioning tool, and given mages are very squishy, learning how to master it should be one of the things you should focus heavily on. You only need 1 rank of it as the "blink" range does not increase between ranks, only the damage and radius of the damage.
        This is your primary skill-shot dodging tool! The boss is winding up a big roundhouse to your face? Phase to the side (try not to phase through the boss. Some of them are fat enough they can still spin around and hit you! It's better to phase into 1 or 2 small minions and Phase out again to buy time for your potions to keep rolling!).
      • Frozen Fate gives you the chance to root all enemies around an enemy that you kill. Sniping with Magma Spears isn't very hard when your targets aren't moving!
      • Ice Brand stacks on top of Fire Brand damage. Like Fire Brand, put only 1 rank into it and watch the damage from Magma Spears go crazy when Elemental Attunement procs!
    • Storm tree
      • Prismatic Rift gives you a breather when mobs actually get close enough to hit you. If you can't blink out of the way (and sometimes it's inevitable that you get punched in the head), Prismatic Rift conveniently does it to the mob!
      • Wand Chaos is an amazing skill: it gives you a chance to proc MORE damage in the form of random spells from your already beefy Magma Spears!
      • Lightning Brand is just like Fire Brand and Ice Brand. By the time my mage was 37, each of these skills (still at rank 1, mind you) did an extra 276 damage. And with Elemental Attunement pushing Burn, Frozen, and Shock effects to 10 seconds it ramps up to incredible DPS. 276x3=828 free damage. That's not even counting the extra Burn damage, the usefulness of the lengthened Frost movement/attack speed debuff, and the Poison debuff! I even had a 9011 damage Meteor crit complements of Wand Chaos!

    Beyond that, I haven't had enough time to experiment with everything. Hope it was helpful!
  • Thanks a lot for your help :)
  • Great post Visel, I 100% agree with those points. You should post that to the Embermage forums, it's like a mini-guide in itself.
  • Hi anathem,

    I don't think theres a better class for Elite ****. The final objective in this game should be having fun, so, you could try each class (in Softcore) and choose whatever you enjoy the most, and when you've master (or not) get in to the thrilling-action of ****.

    Personally, started from the very first moment in Elite **** with a Berzerker because I love melee classes. I've already lost 2 berzerker, and rolling the 3rd one at ACT II.

    Also have other classes at low levels, but definitly goint to use them when I finish with my zerker.
  • Hi Sudajalem,
    I shouldn't talk about best but safest :)
    So, what's zerker build are you testing ?
  • habbeyhabbey Posts: 137
    Safest is definitely engie since with his forcefield he should have the highest effective "max health".

    But i enjoy playing my outlander quite a bit, good aoe with chaos burst and poison burst and good dodge and mobility.
  • I'm currently level 49 with my Embermage.

    10 Prismatic Botls
    10 Charge Mastery
    10 Elemental Boon
    6 Death's Bounty
    2 Fire/Ice/Lightning Brand
    1 Frost Phase
    1 Ice Prison

    Level 100 build: [LINK DELETED]

    3/2 Focus/Vita since level 1.

    Concentration IV
    Dervish IV (Good for using on champions/bosses to get those extra Prismatic Botls off when kiting)
    Elemental Overload IV (Low CD and pretty much doubles your dmg for 10 sec )

    Pet spells:
    Animal Handling IV
    Summon Archers IV
    Frost IV

    20% Cast speed staff on switch (I switch sometimes when i use Dervish)

    Playing safe and slow.
    If too many mobs are approaching me i Frost Phase til they are out of screen so
    my pet takes aggro and then spam Prismatic Bolts which do around 3-6k atm.

    I never have to worry about my mana since spamming Prismatic Botls will fill my charge
    in no time and the mana will be regenerated before total concentration ends.

    My pet is currently permanent spider. The slow is great!

    Elemental Overload and Dervish is a must have imo!
    So is all armors, prioritize armor and life/vita.

    Also, I recomend not spendig more then 1 point in Prismatic Bolt until you'r high level
    enough to reach the tier bonus. Since the mana cost is not worth the damage increase
    until the tier bonus.

    Have fun! ;D
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