The Frogboy’s Ten-Minute Guide to Ninjutsu
“You maxed out WHAT?!”
I am a lurker. I hide in the darkness, biding my
time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. I watch what happens
around me with quiet calculation. When the time is right, I move with the
swift and deadly accuracy of a viper. Thus, after reading all the standard
build guides over and over again, I decided to try something…a little
If you are expecting a revelation of the next
superpowered character build, you are sadly mistaken. A true Ninja is a
challenge to play at higher levels. You will die. A lot. But do not be
discouraged. You will have a blast getting killed. A lot.
guide is the fruit of playing many boring cookie cutter builds. I got sick
of Meteorbs and Hammerdins. I was inspired by Mongojerry’s unique take on
underpowered builds, especially his revolutionary usage of the Barbarian’s
taunt. I started thinking of some other little-used skills. Then I found
C-Beat’s Dragon Talon guide, and a spark finally caught.
read the Assassin general FAQ you will find that many mods carry over onto
kicks. What you may have missed is that those same mods carry onto the
blade skills. So what do you get when you create a character with maxed
Blade Fury, Dragon Talon, and Cloak of Shadows? Well, aside from a lot of
laughs from your friends, you get a true Ninja.
This build was
designed with a lot of room to spare for personal tastes. Treat it like a
new recipe. There are only three main ingredients, everything else is
“season to taste.”
Note: This is my first and probably only guide.
If anything is incorrect, make a note of it, but don’t expect me to change
How to Build a Ninja
Strength – Around 200 with
This build has to be strong. Strength contributes directly to
Blade Fury, Blade Shield, and Dragon Talon. You absolutely must wear
Myrmidon Greaves. Upped Goreriders are 156, and Shadow Dancers are
Dexterity – Enough to maintain 75 % Blocking
depends entirely upon your gear. Attack rating is not very important with
Cloak of Shadows active, but you have to be able to block. This usually
needs to be around 150 with gear if you use a shield.
With hits in Hell topping 1000 Damage, you need all
the life you can get. Damage reduction helps a lot here, as do
Energy – Zilch
Dragon Talon costs 6 points.
Blade Fury costs less than 4 Points per Blade. Use + Mana
Dragon Talon – 18-20 Points.
The Number of
points here depends on your +Skills Items. You get one extra kick for each
six points, so make sure you’re not wasting two extra skill points if it
doesn’t give you an extra kick. The kicks are rapid-fire at 2 fps, and
they all hit the same target. Throw in some Crushing Blow, and this gets
Tiger Strike – 1 Point + Skills
Talk about a
one-point wonder. At level one, three charges significantly boosts the
damage on your initial kick with DT. Remember, that’s only the first kick,
but this is still worth one point, especially if you have some +Skills
Cobra Strike – 1 Point + Skills
one-point skill. Mix three charges of Cobra Strike, three charges of Tiger
Strike, and one maxed Dragon Talon, and your days of Leech gear are
That’s it for the Martial Arts tree. Simple,
– 1+ Points
This is where your extra points go. Blade fury takes
its damage from your total weapon damage, in a manner of speaking,
so anything that raises your base damage is very good. 1 point adds 30%
extra damage. After that, the bonus is 10% per point and never tapers.
However, at only a third the effectiveness in each spent point after the
first, this skill can wait.
Psychic Hammer – 1 point
You’ve got to be kidding me. Ninjas have mastered
their bodies. Let the silly monks master their
Burst of Speed – 1 Point + Skills
Ninjas must be
fast. They must be able to run and hide. However, attack speed means next
to nothing with Blade Fury and Dragon Talon. And with the diminishing
returns on run speed, some good boots will get you where you need to be
better than wasting skill points.
Cloak of Shadows – 20
This is a very difficult skill to use. When you can run like
the wind, it’s hard to hold back and let this skill work. However, at high
levels, it is unbelievably fun. CoS can reduce an enemy’s defense almost
to nothing. That is equivalent to an exponential Attack Rating boost. It
means you can focus on damage in your gear and strength in your stats. It
also provides a moderate defense bonus. It’s not as good as a defiance
aura, but it’s a darn sight better than nothing.
Weapon Block –
This one is tough. You really have two options here.
Since mods from a secondary claw do not carry over to Blade Fury or
Dragon Talon, you might want to use a shield since you can achieve a
higher block and probably get some nice resists. The other side of this,
though, is that weapon block faces no penalties for movement. With ten
points in this skill, you’re only going to get hit half the time, period.
Run all you want. If you do choose a shield, though, make sure you get one
with high resists. My opinion? Simple. What Ninja ever used a
Shadow Warrior – 1 point (prerequisite)
good in normal, but not good enough to waste any points
Shadow Master – 1+ Points
Another tough call. She’s a
great tank, but how many points? If you can cast her at Level 17 she gets
all her shiny new equipment. It depends on your gear. I leave this one to
Fade – 1 Point + Skills
For Emergency Use
Only. if you're using a shield or Jade Talon, then resists, so resists
shouldn’t be too hard to come by. As for the Physical reduction, it’s too
scant to make a difference. One Rockfleece is worth ten of these skill
points and a lot easier to get.
Venom - ? points
personal taste. This is a great skill to combine with Blade Fury, since
its attacks are faster than venom’s duration. If you always play in a
party and can get away with being a consistently ranged attacker, go for
it. It’s not that great for solo play, however. The monsters come too
Fire Blast – 1 point
Honestly, a Master of Stealth throwing Molotov
Wake of Fire – 1 Point (prerequisite)
fuzzy on why a Ninja would want to illuminate a room and blow her
Blade Sentinel – 1 Point (prerequisite)
This is a
fun skill, but doesn’t do enough damage to be worthwhile.
Fury – 20 Points
This is the Ninja’s weapon of choice. Yes, the
direct damage is low. It is graded to generally make up for the lost
damage on your claw. But don’t forget the ¾ weapon damage. This skill
essentially puts you at a 6 fps attack with your melee weapon and
almost all its bonuses. Yes, Crushing Blow transfers. Yes, Enhanced Damage
transfers. Yes, Knockback works. Yes, Leech works. Yes, Chance to Cast
Spells on Striking works. Oh, and did I mention she’s standing ten
yards from her adversaries? Think about that. She’s like a Javazon
throwing at 6 fps who never runs low on ammo.
Blade Shield – 1+
Strictly speaking, this could be optional. Ideally, you’re
rarely close enough for it to work. However, when you do need it, your
leech gear will transfer. That mean monsters coming into your range are
restoring your life and mana every second. Try 15-20% of 200+ damage per monster
per second. Doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
Well, don’t get ahead of yourself. Leech is cut to 10% of your gear’s
total in Hell. 20% = 2%. Doesn’t sound so great now, does it? This is a
great skill in Nightmare, though, and it does look cool.
does it for skills. If you follow this plan, the build is essentially
complete at 82 Skill points, or level 70. That leaves a lot of wiggle room
for seasoning to taste. Go Knuts!
This build is all about
finesse. Remember, this is marginally a Role-Playing Game. So, play the
role of a Master of Stealth. The main idea of this build is
1: Don’t get noticed.
2: Don’t get
3: Hit hard and fast, then RUN!
We’ll take them in
order. First, don’t get noticed. This build is the epitome of patience.
You must go slowly! If you are swarmed, you have no crowd controls. That
means no traps, no corpse explosions, no group knockback skills. A Ninja
peeks around corners, makes a noise, and lures her prey to their death
while their buddies are snoozing. Cloak of Shadows is essential.
Unfortunately, its duration sucks! However, it is relatively cheap to
cast, and is a lifesaver in many situations. The monster AI, however, must
not be underestimated. Once they start after you, CoS does nothing until
they are rerouted, usually through an attack. Which brings us to Point No.
Don’t get hit. If there is a better way to stay alive than not
getting hit in the first place, I don’t know what it is. This is where
Blade Fury comes into play. When the monsters see you and move to attack,
you cast CoS and run. As they follow you they are separated and you begin
firing Blades at them as fast as possible. Remember, Blade Fury’s speed is
set at 6 Frames, or 4 blades per second, so IAS means diddly here. When
the enemy is hit with a blade, their AI resets, and they begin to meander
due to CoS. At this point, you have two options. You can continue to pelt
them with blades, which almost always hit due to the defense modifier on
CoS, or you can move on to point 3.
Hit hard and fast, then run! If
the monster you are up against is particularly strong, or if it is
unaffected by CoS (bosses, champions, etc.), your next move will be a
decapitation strike. Make your way to the target, charging Tiger Strike
and Cobra Strike on the way in. Use Dragon Talon on the big guy. Retreat.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
This build is a little rough to play, partly because
you never really know how hard you are hitting. Blade Fury has a casting
animation, so there is a short delay anytime you release the mouse button.
In order to get the most out of your 6 fps attack, you will need to stand
back, stand still, and click on a place behind your target. Personal Note:
Why in the hell Blizzard made Shift the default “stand still” key is
beyond me. Right handed players should immediately switch it to the space
bar. Trust me, you’ll love it.
Since you’re not actually targeting
an enemy, you can’t see his life. This is usually not a problem, though,
because all the big boys are going to be taken down with Dragon Talon,
which is targeted. For the most part, though, you’ll find yourself running
around with the pointer near the edge of the screen. As soon as you see an
enemy, hold the space bar (See above) and you will let fly a barrage of
Blades. Aim at the enemies farthest offscreen and you will kill them
before they know it. As the rest start toward you, they will be caught in
This is where your Shadow Master is crucial. She
will usually throw out just enough traps to slow the pack down, and your
attack is fast enough to keep one or two enemies in recovery-lock at all
times. When they get too close, either run away and regroup, or switch to
Dragon Talon and clean up. Places that most builds hate are the places the
Ninja shines. The Maggot Lair is a Ninja’s dream, and the Arcane Sanctuary
just lines them up for the slaughter.
The other end of the stick is
a real pain, though. Wide-open spaces are a nightmare. The Flayer Jungle
is nerve-wracking. You are surrounded before you can even get started
firing. This is where CoS becomes important. If you get swarmed, drop a
CoS, stand still, launch into Blade Fury, and start spinning slow circles.
You will begin to thin out the ranks relatively quickly. A Holy Freeze
Merc will help a lot in this situation.
Choice of Mercenariess is
debatable, though. The Holy Freeze merc will slow everyone down, making
targeting and strategic retreat much easier. The Might Merc will increase
the damage of both Blade Fury and Dragon Talon. There’s also something to
be said for having a Barbarian Merc for use as a human wall. Which you
choose is up to you.
One last thing here. This build must be
treated as a melee character. Unless you have a way to beat Physical
Immune Monsters, you’re screwed. Elemental Damage transfers to all your
attacks, though, so you should be okay, as long as you have some mixed
elemental damage. Open Wounds always works well in this
Here Comes The
Well, the logic, at least. This build works
because of your gear and your playing skills. If your gear has low damage,
you will die. If your gear has no useful mods, you will die. If you are
too slow, you will die. If you are too fast, you will die a lot. Remember,
the Way of the Ninja is Stealth.
I will not go into which mods
transfer to your skills. Read naliworld’s general FAQ for that. I will
simply mention which mods are most useful to a Ninja.
Blow is critical. It’s like casting Static Field on one enemy. Shoot for
at least 50%, preferably 100% or more. Use Guillaume’s Face, Goreriders,
Rattlecage, Stone Crusher, Stormlash, anything you can get with Crushing
Blow. The only downside here is that Crushing Blow isn’t as effective with
Blade Fury. Console yourself with the 6 fps attack from half a screen
- Open wounds will carry onto both skills, and is not
resistable. This is much more effective than poison damage, so if you can
find this mod, hang onto that item.
- Ignore Target Defense is your
savior. It only works on normal monsters (no bosses or champions), but you
will mainly be using Dragon Talon for those guys anyway. With ITD, you
always have a 95% chance to hit, as long as you don’t tackle monsters more
than about 5 levels above yours. Even then, you will still be in the high
80’s or low 90’s. Get this mod.
- Chance to Cast Static Field on
Striking is a big help, too. This is the closest thing you will have to a
crowd control skill. If you can find a weapon with this mod, use
- Increased attack speed means next to nothing. Save your mod
space for more useful mods, like resists. Since your attack speeds on your
two primary skills are set, you are already as fast as you will get.
Combine that with Burst of Speed, and IAS fades into the sunset.
Enhanced Damage is almost as important as Crushing Blow. This transfers to
Blade Fury (not Dragon Talon). Since we are adding ¾ of your weapon’s
total, every point you can wring out makes your blades deadlier.
Elemental Damage also carries over onto Blade Fury and Dragon Talon. If
you’re lucky enough to have a set of Firelizard’s Talons or a Stormlash,
you’re way ahead of the game. Look for smoldering charms of winter and
storms. They’re pretty cheap, and they add up fast. The elemental damage
on kicks doesn’t show up on the character screen, but it does
- Leeching is good with Blade Fury, but a quick Cobra
Strike with Dragon Talon can be substituted. Since your Blade Fury damage
is usually relatively low, you will need to shoot for at least 15-20%
leech before you see real results. Before you discount this as a waste,
however, remember that Blade Shield will leech as well.
like to go into specific gear, but I will say that this character is a
little difficult to play untwinked. However, this build is for people who
are tired of their endless unstoppable MF runs with their lvl 96
hammerdin, so twinking is probably not a problem. Shoot for some of the
higher end stuff, like Firelizard’s, Shadow Dancers, Gaze, Stormshield,
Steelrend, etc, but don’t overlook mid-range items. Goreriders,
Guillaume’s Face, Rattlecage, Moser’s Blessed Circle, Duriel’s Shell,
T-God’s, Hellmouth, Tiamat’s Rebuke, Rockstopper, Duress, etc. are all
good mid-game choices. If you use a shield, find one with resists, then
socket it. Stormshield is incredible, with Strength and PDR, but it is
expensive. Moser’s Blessed Circle with two Perfect Diamonds yields 63%
resist all and 62% blocking. Not too shabby. If you can find the runes for
a Chaos claw, use it. It has added damage and two chances to cast pretty
high-level spells on striking. Overall, just look for useful mods and high
damage. Be creative.
I will, however, sound off about one
particular Set of gear. Sell your soul for Natalya’s Odium. In case you
haven’t looked at it recently, I will take the time to list all of the
mods that it has that help a Ninja:
- High Resists
- + Strength
- + Dexterity
- 14% Dual Leech
- High Damage Claw, Even higher vs. Undead and Demons
(That’s practically everyone)
- + 3 to Skills
- Ignore Target’s
Defense – Every Blade Hits!
- Cold Damage
Good Luck beating that set of mods with any other 4 pieces of
gear. It even leaves room for a shield, or you can switch to a higher
damage primary claw (Firelizard) if you prefer to use Weapon Block and you
will still get set bonuses if Nat’s Mark is in your off hand. The only
downside is the low-damage boots, but this build is only secondarily about
high-damage attacks. The most important aspect is enhancing blade fury
and, of course, looking cool.
Parting is Such Sweet
Well, that about wraps it up. This build is
certainly not for everyone. It is a uniquely interesting and different
build than most, however. It utilizes skills that are rarely seen for what
they are really worth, much like people who create charged bolt
sorceresses. If you’ve ever sat back and said to yourself, “Man, this is
all old hat. I need a challenge.” Try this on for size. One size
definitely does not fit all, but it looks real good on you if you wear it
right. Enjoy, have fun, and Go Knuts!
C-Beat, for his Dragon Talon Guide
Naliworld, for the
Assassin general FAQ, which explained which mods carry to Blade Fury and
Blizzard, of Course
Um…That’s really pretty much it. I
kinda pulled this build out of my butt, so you can blame me for any
errors. Nobody had direct input.
Oh, BTW, I welcome feedback, but
leave it here, please. My mailbox is full enough, already.