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Throwing Barbarian Handbook V1.0
Author: The NL/PM
Version: 1.09
Page 1

Introduction

Navigation
Introduction
Concept

Build
- Stat Points
- Skill Points
- Hot keys
Items
Tactics/Gameplay
- PvM Strategy
- Mercenary Choice
- Things to Note
- PvP Strategy
Conclusion
Hall of Fame

The throwing barbarian, once a trivial build that could not progress past mid-NM in classic Diablo, has slowly but steadily been enjoying an increase in popularity in the expansion pack. And not just in one area of the game, people that have been playing throwers have found out they are excellent in the entire game, PvM and PvP. However, a warning : this is not a typical bulldozer-style WW barb/Nova Sorc/Multi-zon. If you into power gaming, then you needn't read much further as he is not your average cookie cutter power character. However, if you are tired of "whirl-til-you-hurl", and you are looking for something new, fresh and fun to play, this might be the character for you. This is the purpose of this guide; to present a complete coverage of all aspects of the throwing barb to the general D2 community.

Concept

Why make a throwing barb ? It's different, but effective and fun. It is also very flexible, you can use it as a support skill or a primary attack. Those who have played it in Classic D2 might have noticed this, but he simply couldn't go further than mid-NM without hitting an "invisible wall" - unable to get a weapon thus unable to kill. Monsters having too many HP's to bring down in a reasonable amount of time. Etc. With the new items and the fact that you can repair your weapons, the throwing barb no longer takes a backseat to conventional builds. He can be effective in most of the game, as mentioned above. With that in mind, here are some things of note :

  • Throwing barbarians cannot use the unique weapon Titan's Revenge. This may seem obvious, but to clarify, it's an Amazon-only weapon.
  • There's 3 basic throwing weapons. Javelins, Axes and Knives. The difference between them is that Javelins, while having a lower stack size, have a much longer range (Axes and Knives are ~1 screen length on 800x600 resolution, javelins are about 1.5). However, Javelins travel slower in the air compared to Axes/Knives. For the most part, their attack speed is also slower. However, the greater range is seen by most people to offset this and thus they are usually the best choice in a PvP situation. Also, the javelin class looks amongst the coolest of weapons
  • If you use Axes, you might be wondering if axe mastery and throw mastery stack. The answer is simple, when you throw, it uses your throwing mastery. When you melee, axe mastery comes in. They don't stack together. Likewise with javelins (though they use spear mastery).
  • The only skill that increases your throwing damage is your throwing mastery. Double Throw only adds to AR (although, it adds quite a lot compared to other skills).

Now we can move onto design choices. There's roughly 3 major choices you can make :

PvM thrower : Using mainly dual throw, with warcries to support his party members and for crowd control.
PvM hybrid : Using both throw and a melee attack, an all-rounder who can adapt to almost any situation.
PvP thrower : Combining double throw and WW, this class is designed to be a match for any opponent. The ranged attack is a deadly weapon against classes which conventional barbs might have trouble with.

Build

Stat Points

PvM : The basic rule applies, enough str/dex to wear your equipment and the rest into vitality. A pure PvM thrower however, may be able to skimp on str/vit as he is a distance fighter and can pump dex for additional damage. A more in-depth look at stats.

Strength (STR)

Unlike a usual melee barbarian, throwing barbs don't really rely on high str. Usually, you won't need more than 118 str for the Arreat's face helm, most other helms are lower str requirement anyway. You could go even lower if you have items that add to +str. The only case is if you plan on using another melee weapon in your switch, in which case you should make your own decision on how much base str you need.

Dexterity (DEX)

Feel free to put this to 150-200+. It increases your damage and AR, and these are very important things (your limited stack of throwing weapons means you'll want to hit things as much of the time as possible). If you decide to go single throw/shield or weapon/shield in the other hand, it's useful for max blocking too.

Vitality (VIT)

Everything else goes here, especially if you play Hardcore. With Battle Orders, a throwing barb can quite comfortably reach 2-3K or more life, sufficient for most PvM situations. You can always put your trust in a large amount of HPs.

Energy (NRG)

None, it's not needed. Quite frankly, the returns are nothing. To be truthful, a throwing barbarian won't really be dependant on mana.

PvP : You'll follow a more "tweaker" style setup, lower str/dex in favour of more vitality. Go read a PvP guide (Darius's S/S guide is excellent) if you want a more in-depth explanation. Most throwing barbs will have between 100-130 str and 100-130 dex for PvP, it's up to the player to decide on their own placement (because it's heavily dependant on the individual's items).

Skill Points

Important : Maxing your throw mastery is *HEAVILY* recommended. As said above, it's the only skill that increases your damage, and a common saying among the forums is "Damage is King".

PvM : These are the only "essential" skills :

Max
Throw Mastery
Max
Battle Orders
+ prerequisites

No, really, that's the basics ! This leaves you with a LOT of skill points spare, which you might want to invest into some other skills. Here's a rundown of all the beneficial ones :

Double Throw : Well, this skill only adds to AR as said above. However, this can be a good thing : with a high level D.T, you AR will absolutely skyrocket (amounts like 10K+), which gives you a good chance to hit pretty much anything. 1 - Max points as you see fit.

Berserk : Most people put 1 into this skill since it's the supreme PI killer for barbs. There's basically 2 ways to deal with a PI : Berserk, and getting large amounts of elemental damage and smacking it. Since berserk converts all physical damage to magic damage, most PI's can easily be dispatched in a short amount of time. If you want, 1 pt here for the occasional up close and personal anti-PI duty.

Frenzy : Why ? Frenzy's speed bonus applies to your barb and any attack he uses, for the 6 second duration. As my friend PhiSig said once "You can do drive-bys with this skill !" Rightly so, since besides increasing your attack skill it also increases your movement rate. For the hybrid PvM builds they might want to make this their main attack skill, with the flick of a switch you can charge frenzy and throw at an absolutely incredible rate.

Leap Attack : 1 point is enough. You'll mainly use this skill to get places (leaping over foothills ramparts, ice rivers, arcane sanctuary, etc).

Grim Ward : Crowd Control (WW is not crowd control !). Grim ward is a useful skill as it is independent of clvl (unlike Howl) and it makes monsters run away from you. Why is this good ? For one thing, you can break up crowds easily. The second thing is you don't need to chase them down, feel free to impale them while they run away And other ranged attackers will appreciate the breathing space as well. However, it does require a corpse.

Another mastery : If you decide to go in melee, you could go dual mastery. Due to the critical hit bug, it's up to the player to decide how many points they need. 1-Max as points permit.

Increased speed : Since this skill affects your base run/walk speed it makes you go faster than an equivalent amount in items. Good for going places or getting some range between monsters. The optimal amount is level 14 - 40% increased speed (with items if possible) since after that, the skill has high diminishing returns. (A level 20 I.Speed has 43% faster run, exactly 3% more run for 6 skill points. Not really worth it).

Shout/Iron Skin : There's actually not much point to get these two, except as prerequisites. Being a ranged character, you'll find yourself running and gunning, and thus defence for the most part is irrelevant. Also, for defence to be effective, you NEED to pump it to a high level or ideally max it. And some monsters are autohit anyway.

Battlecry : Underused but sometimes still useful. It works ALL monsters (even Act bosses), a good 1 pt wonder for tougher monsters (e.g. Duriel, the Ancients), since Grim ward won't work here. It suffers from low range, however if your throwing barb is part melee, it could be useful. Depends on you build.

Warcry : It's great for crowd control, but like Battlecry it suffers from short range. You'll need to jack it up to at least level 11 before the stun length starts to affect monsters. A small note, it's not reduced by difficulty. It really depends on your build, but you can leave this skill alone if you want.

Battle Command : 1 point since the duration nor the skills increase. However, it's useful for "pre-buffing" your BO/Shout, since even after the duration of BCom wears out, the higher level of BO/Shout won't go down until the skill itself expires. This means pretty much a permanent +1 to your BO.

Find Item : Not really recommended, since you can make a dedicated barbarian for your MF purposes. However, if you are general PvM and really don't have much else to put points in, this is nice. You can find socketed items off creatures fairly easily and who knows, you may get lucky.

PvP : There doesn't seem to be any reason to make a pure thrower for PvP, with one exception (low level PvP). The hybrid class first outlined by PhiSig combines ALL the benefits of a thrower with the power of a WW barb. You can decide if you want to be more of a thrower or more of a WW barb.

Primary Thrower :

Max Battle Orders
Max Throw Mastery
Max WW
10-14 Increased speed
10-Max Sword/Axe/Mace mastery
1-10-Max Double Throw
1-5 into natural resist
+prerequisites

This allows more emphasis on the speed and mobility of the thrower but still allows you to use WW (advantageous in some situation - e.g. melee versions of assassin, paladins, druids can all be countered fairly easily with WW, and to a lesser extent another barb).

Primary WW :

Max BO
Max TM
Max second mastery of choice
Max WW
10-12-14 Increased speed
1 Double throw
1-5 Natural resist
+prerequisites

Combining elements from a tweaker with throwing as a support skill. You can handle almost any class with this variant.

So why are these thrower based classes so effective in PvP ? The reason is because it gives the barbarian heavy damage ranged attack of their own. Most people in truth expect barbs to try and WW them in PvP, which is admittedly for the most part true, so they aren't expecting high damage projectiles to fly at them. You can use this to your advantage in their confusion while they adapt to counter. Switching between a melee attack and a ranged attack gives you a lot of flexibility, and truth be told, throwers have it easier against the sorceress, one of the hardest classes for a pure WW barb to deal with.

Hotkeys

Just a short note, a lot of people ignore this section, but it should be noted that since you'll be switching your attacks in PvP, you might want to customise your set of hotkeys (the left side of the keyboard is useful since your hand normally rests there on a keyboard, which allows faster switching from weapon switches to casting warcries). Customising them to ASDFQWER block of keys is a little more efficient than the default F1 F2 keys.

Items

Items are important for every class. A thrower barb's items should centre on these (in no specific order, but they are all very nice to have) :

  • High damage weapon (Cruel elite throwing weapons are the ones you'll be wanting)
  • Some IAS - Increased attack speed
  • Some form of mana and life leech
  • Positive resists

Should you venture into PvP you'll need to add these to your list :

  • "Physical damage reduced by%" (PDR for short) gear
  • +life, +stats gear
  • Faster run/walk gear
  • Cannot be frozen

Some of the gear listed below isn't cheap, so use these as a guideline in what to look for. If it's not here, it doesn't mean it's not useful, it's up to the player to make the decision on which items will benefit the barb best.

Helms

2 choices that really stand out from the pack :

Arreat's Face (unique slayer guard) : The 1.09 version has a whole bunch of +stats, resists, hit recovery and leech, along with +2 skills (total +4 combat skills). Any thrower will benefit from some way or another in this helm. The 1.08 version, while rare and nowadays possible duped, also deserves a mention. The biggest difference is the 1.08 version has these different mods :

+ 2 points to Barbarian Skills
+ 15% target defence
+ 0.5 Max damage per Clvl
+ 25% to Defense
+ 30 Life Points
+ 1 to combat skills

The largest difference is the "15% target defence" mod and scaling +max damage mod, which later on can add up to 40 or more max damage. The 15% target's defence is special, it's not quite the ITD-like ETH, but does make a difference. For hybrids it is especially nice, your Javelins have an ETH-like effect. Be wary since many of them are duped nowadays, if you didn't find it yourself, you cannot be sure.

VampireGaze (unique grim helm) : No +Skills, stats or resists, but nice dual leech and the very-important PDR. (15-20% of 1.09, 25% of 0.8).

So which one is better ? The eternal question, since both are good, and it also depends on your other gear. Most people, however, do design their PvP barbs with Arreat's Face in mind, since you have more vitality to work with. Personal preference, both will work if you put some thought into it.

Other choices :

* Crown of Thieves/Tal Rasha's Mask : Cheaper versions of the 2 listed above, but nonetheless have excellent mods (especially the leech, really stands out)

* Barbarian helms : Can have potentially an excellent combination of +skills, but hard to find. A rare +2 skills, +3 BO, +3 Throwing mastery helm would be incredible. You can also get a barbarian helm (hopefully with some inherent +skills) with 3 IAS jewels, should you feel the need for speed.

* Rockstopper : Nice low level helm, with a combination of resist and PDR. Useful for HC players.

* Blackhorn's Face : The main reason to use this is with the +slow mod on them. EXTREMELY Cheesy but in PvM it's nice for slowing down monsters. Also, they have some +lightning absorb

* Low level helms : Huge selection, but choices that stand out are Sigons (use with gloves for a nice combination), Tarnhelm, Howltusk (for the knock back and monster flee) 3 socketed barbarian helms with +max damage jewels.

Armour

Another wide selection, but PvP throwers should mainly at 1 choice : Shaftstop. It lets you have some PDR which is essential against physical damage based attackers. The +60 life is always nice. Of course, Shaftstop is not the be all end all armour. Other notable armours :

* Lionheart : If you use Gaze, you may contemplate using one of these. It's very cheap to make and the mods speak for itself. Cheap and effective.

* 1.09 Arkaine's Valour : Interesting choice of armour, you have to be a pretty high level to use it, but the +skills, hit recovery and +vitality is useful. The 1.08 is incomparably better but also duped. If you didn't find it yourself, there's a 95% chance it's duped. Spend your resources elsewhere.

* Enhanced damage armours : Commonly 4 socket armours with ED/IAS or ED/Max jewels put inside. They can add a HUGE amount to your damage, and if you have IAS it helps with throwing speed too.

Other choices

* Guardian Angel : PvP anti-sorc armour. It give +15% to your max resists (so you resist at 90% instead of 75%) which is useful for lowering the amount of damage you take from sorc attacks. Beware that it's a heavy armour and will slow you down noticeably.

* Duriel's Shell : Very overlooked; cheap and extremely useful. It has cannot be frozen, along with +scaling life, resists and +str. Very nice for HC throwers.

* SpiritForge/Griswold's plate : The sockets allow for some interesting choices. If you need some speed try them out with IAS jewels.

* Low level armours : One good armour here, Twitchthroe. It's still fairly effective until late in your career.

Gloves

2 main types, IAS gloves :

* Crafted hit power and blood gloves. Hit power gloves (jewel + PSaph + Ort + magic chain gloves or exceptional/elite version) are good because they give you knock back, blood gloves (Jewel + PRuby + Nef rune + Magic Heavy gloves) can give you life leech. Aim for 20% IAS for more speed. Hopefully you can craft some with +str/dex and resist, which would be an excellent combination.

* Magnus's Skin : Nice cheap versions of the above. Also add some +AR as well.

* Lavagout : Interesting PvM choice, for extra fire damage.

* Laying of Hands : Useful in Demon-infested areas.

* Low level gloves : Death set gloves, Sigon's Gloves and Bloodfist are notable. Bloodfist is nice in HC mode. Sigon's Gloves are good but in order to get the maximum benefit, use another piece of the set. It will net you 30% IAS and 10% LL. Death's set gloves are similar, use it with the belt to get 30% IAS and 8% leech. It also has the mod -75% poison length reduction, useful in some situations.

Non-IAS gloves :

* Crafted Hit power/Blood gloves with non IAS : still nice especially if they have more leech/stats to compensate for the lack of IAS.

* IK gauntlets : Huge 20/20 dual stat mod, interesting if you want to have more life.

* Venomgrip : Some leech, poison damage resistance.

* Hellmouth : For the lightshow thrower. (see below in game play).

* Clegaws : Deserves a special mention due to the "hit slows target" mod. Extremely cheap in PvP, great in PvM.

Belts

2 choices that stand out, 1 for PvM and 1 for PvP. They are :

* Razortail : Why is this so good ? Chance to pierce target. Your javelins have a chance to pierce and thus hit multiplate targets, very very helpful belt for a PvM thrower. It's a more efficient way to deal out damage. The +dex is nice too.

* String of Ears : Leech and PDR from 10-15%. The only belt with PDR.

Other belts

* Nosferatu's coil : Nice combination of mods, but the slowdown is looked down on in PvP. Great for a PvM character though.

* Mavina's Set Belt : 5% ML, 20% faster run, useful for some PvP situations where you'd need the speed.

* Thundergod's Visor : Useful in PvP since it has lightning absorb (especially against FoH and Sorceress).

* Goldwrap : Mainly as a source of IAS. Much more useful to a MF barb.

* Other belts : Death's sash (with gloves combination), Disciple, Tal Rasha, and IK set belts are decent if you cannot get a Razortail. Other rare belts with +resists, Life, hit recovery and +stats work fine too.

Boots

If you are a PvP hybrid with emphasis on WW, there's 1 good choice :

* Wartraveller boots. Low MF since it's not important in PvP, the reason why these are so good is due to the "adds 15-25" damage mod. This equates to ~200-300 more damage on your WW depending on your other gear. Oddly, it doesn't seem to stack on your throwing damage, but it's still great. It also gives +10 str and +10 vitality, as well as some run/walk, all nice mods.

Other boots :

* Waterwalk : Excellent boost to life and the +dex certainly doesn't hurt.
* Aldur's Set Boots : Great boost to running speed and life, the other reason to look into these is the Vulpine-like mod, "10% damage taken to mana". Helpful in long duels where mana recovery might be a problem.
* Rare Boots : Can still potentially have nice mods like resists, 30% run and +stats. Good if you can find a pair.
* Other boots : IK, Natalya set boots are great if you cannot get the above, Sander's and Cow King's Boots are fantastic low level items !

Jewelry, Amulets

Popular choices include :

* Cat's Eye : Great for any thrower. The mods are all thrower-friendly.

* Rare amulet : Possibly with +2 skills, leech, resists and other mods. Old D2C ones gave quite excellent bonuses.

* Crafted +2 barb skills Blood Amulet : You'll need a high level character to roll these, but the mods can potentially be better than even the rare ones. Level 89 requirement to use though.

* Other amulets : Atma's for chance to amp damage, Angelic Ammy/Ring for low level AR boost, Mara's Kladeioscope is a decent all-round amulet).

Jewelry, Rings

* Raven Frost : 1 of these is essential in PvP, however they are nice for PvM characters too. +20 dex if possible.

* Old rare dual leech rings : Since ML no longer spawns on rings, dual leech is no longer possible. These rings are very useful.

* Crafted Blood ring : Fantastic if you get one of those 9-11% LL rings with +stats.

* Other rings : BK wedding band, Manald heal, and for low levels there's always good old angelic rings (use with amulet) and cathan's rings (cheap source of LL).

Shields

Generally you won't be needing a shield for PvM, but if you're a PvP hybrid, there's really only choice. And what a choice it is, the magnificent Stormshield. +30 str and 35% PDR, as well as high block and high cold/lightning resist makes this an awesome PvP shield.

In some PvM situations you may want to get a shield for the extra protection. There's a few options here :

* Rhyme : Nice bonuses and easy to make,

* Tiamat's Rebuke : Resists (and extra elemental damage should you not use berserk)

* Whistan's Guard : Great blocking.

Weapons

Lets start off with throwing weapons first :

AIM FOR SOME HIGH DAMAGE, CRUEL ELITE WEAPONS. That is the goal of your thrower. (Remember the "Damage is King" school of thought and you'll be fine.). With this in mind, we can evaluate the choices of each :

* Javelins : Cruel Winged Harpoons are the most popular choice. This is because they are (relatively) easy to get (you can find them by shopping Anya in Act 5, once you have done her quest. She offers only javelin class weapons so you may see the occasional ghost glaive as well. She is the best since you can refresh her inventory very easily by jumping into the red portal - provided you haven't killed Nihlathak.). Cruel Hyperion Javelins and Stygian Pilums are excellent alternatives, then Ghost Glaives and Balrog Spears. If you plan on making a PvP build, definitely go with the Jav-class weapons as mentioned before, their extra reach is very helpful.

DO NOT try to sacrifice speed for damage. IAS in this game is heavily dependant on your base weapon speed, and Ghost Glaives in particular, while having the potential for some huge damage, are also the slowest among the lot. Even a Ghost Glaive with "of quickness" - 40% IAS - would still be quite slow. It's not to say Winged Harpoons are the best either. Although they are the most "common", it doesn't mean they are the best. Stygian Pilums and Hyperion Javelins both have similar speed, but the big difference is due to their much higher MINIMUM damage. It is often underestimated by many people, but makes a difference in evening out your damage range. Also, they both have a slightly higher stack size compared to WH's. Hyperion Javelins also allow the use of WW and berserk (for the alternative PvP thrower, build, the "Javabarb". See Jeb90's guide). The problem here is that these weapons must be found or cubed, they CANNOT be bought off vendors. Anyway, cruel throwing weapons are quite rare so might be expensive to trade for. Consider yourself very lucky if you manage to get some with a good 2nd mod (like +max damage, LL, IAS).

* Axes and Knives : The higher stack size makes them effective in PvM play, but the shorter range is mostly restrictive in PvP. They are decent, however, since they travel much faster than javelins in the air.

* Cruel versions of normal/exceptional weapons : Chances are, while shopping for those ever-elusive Cruel elites, there will be Cruel mod on normal/exceptional weapons. These are still worth picking up, for general leveling and in PvM play.

* Unique Scalper/Deathbit : Not too useful for the level required, and they aren't as good as a good Cruel (which on a normal/exceptional weapon, can be used at 43).

* Crafted/Rare throwing weapons : Has the potential to get high damage, +max damage, IAS, and leech all in one. The possibility of doing so is extremely low, but it's a good way to spend your imbues. You can only craft axes though (with the blood weapon recipe - Magical Axe + Jewel + Ort Rune + PRuby).

* Magical throwing weapons with HIGH elemental damage : You'll probably see these if you shop, if you don't want to use berserk, feel free to pick these up and use them for anti-PI duty (double throw/swing will get the job done, though berserk is usually much faster).

Melee weapons

Wait a minute ? Here's you thinking : "Isn't this about throwing barbs ?" I'll just keep this section brief, since melee weapons are generally covered by most other guides.

If you ever decide to incorporate some melee WW/Berserk/Frenzy into your build, you'll need some good weapons to use those skills to their maximum effectiveness. Throwing weapons in general aren't too useful in melee, since they cannot be socketed and do comparatively lower damage than similar class melee weapons. So the best options are swords, maces and axes since they all have 1-Handed weapon options (allows for weapon/shield or dual wield).

* Swords : No need to go in-depth here, you can refer to another barbarian guide for that. Options are 3 socketed Cruel Champion/CSword/CBlade (rolled with cube recipe), Fury weapons and unique elites. Sword users are spoilt for choice, it shouldn't be a problem finding a good sword to use no matter where you are in game.

* Axes : Berserker axes make great weapons. It would fit right in if you decided to theme your character around an axe-using Frenzier/Thrower. You could get a Cruel, Fury weapon or like throwing axes, craft them with the blood recipe.

* Maces : Baranar's Star dual wielded is a nice combo for a PvM Frenzying Thrower. Dual Dangoon's teaching is another option. There's also a wide selection of unique exceptionals, which are fine for a developing character.

Other weapons

* Echoing weapons : +3 warcries, can provide an excellent boost to your BO.

* Heart Carver : Most people use it for the +Find Item, but it also has +Grim ward, a good way to try out this skill if you're not sure whether to invest in it.

* Charged weapons : 2 main ones, Lower resists and Life Tap. Lower resist if you don't want to use berserk, you can LR them, making your elemental damage weapons slightly more effective. Life tap is instant leech, you might need it for your mercenary if you plan to get one.

Socketing

Very simple, a PvP thrower should socket his armour/shield/helm with Enhanced Damage (ED) jewels. The best options are ones with second mods such as +max damage or IAS, however other mods such as +stats are still useful. This equates to more damage, which makes taking out your opponent an easier task. A PvM character might want more resists (Um, resist jewel) or more IAS (IAS jewels), but other than that, go for the damage. Higher damage is always useful.

Charms

Charms can fill out what your character is unable to equip. This makes them very useful, the cost being less inventory space. However, it's still relatively easy to keep some space in there just in case you need to carry some stuff, and those charms will still make a big difference to your overall effectiveness.

PvM charms of note :

  • +Max damage/AR adding charms.
  • +Stats (especially for HC players that might want to have higher life - a few large charms with +5 str for example, will save them some base stats to invest into vitality.
  • Life/Mana charms.
  • Resist charms (useful for getting max resistances)

PvP charms : DO NOT GO OUT LOOKING FOR + SKILL CHARMS, they will not give you as much benefit as the following :

* +Max damage (Fine/Sharp charms) with a 2nd mod if possible (the best would be +3 max damage, 20 AR, 20 Life small charms and +3 max/20AR/5% run small charms). However unless you are incredibly rich or lucky it's VERY hard to get a full inventory of these (20 of each). Any charms with +max/life are useful, if aiming for run speed, one should look for 5% faster run charms.

* +1 warcries with 40 life (more life than 3 x 20 life sc's) - very useful in Team dueling. Really the only type of skill charm worth getting.

* +Elemental/Poison damage charms : Nowhere as good as +max damage charms but still give you additional damage, somewhat useful against characters with non-max resists.

* Hit recovery charms : There's 2 values - 26% and 86%. Aim for 26% if possible, and if you cannot get it via equipment, then get it on charms. It's a very nice little bonus. You would need to go to extra lengths to get fastest possible hit recovery at 86% but to be honest, there's only a few situations in which you would benefit from them.

PvP equipment summary : Feel free to keep alternative equipment for dealing with your opponent. It may sound stupid, but there's not really much point in going full DR mode if you're facing something like a sorceress (and then posting about it in the forum wondering what went wrong.). Don't hesitate to use "non-perfect" items, we would all like to have Cruel ethereal winged harpoons of Replenish and a whole inventory of 3max/20 life and 3max/5 run sharp charms, but for most people that's not going to happen. Also, a special note about BODY POPPING : What is it ? Popping occurs like so :

You die, don't pick up your corpse and accidentally pick something else up and die again (the game was designed so you only have 1 "corpse" thus by picking another item and dying, it will generate another "corpse") thus making the items from your original corpse "pop" out.
You die, pick up your corpse but don't get it all and get killed again (similar to situation #1, more chance of happening in PvP). This could be due to +stat from item dependency to wear certain gear.

A hybrid runs the risk of popping IF HE WEAPON SWITCHES AND DIES. Sometimes, if you depend on Storm for +str to use your sword (most hybrids will) and die with jav switch out, the game will somehow think you are unable to equip your sword thus when you click on your body, it equips everything BUT your weapon. Since you cannot have 2 corpses... you can guess what happens. Basically, just play smart and rejoin the game if necessary, popping is not hard to avoid.

Special Note : The Dual Wield Bug : *** STILL WAITING FOR CONFIRMATION*** Will put in ASAP.

Tactics/Gameplay

Before we begin, if you are making a character for pure PvP, feel free to skip this section if you want to. On the other hand, if you're not one of those guys who like rushing to the moo-moo farm and leeching your way to level 80 in a couple of days, this part is for you.

PvM Strategy

There won't be a step-by-step outline of how to plan your skills or your stat points, every player should have an goal and work towards that themselves. If you plan on having 110 str, for example, it doesn't matter how you get to the 110 str as long as you get to it. Anyway, if you've never played a throwbarb, in the early levels feel free to experiment with the different variety of throwing weapons, this will help you get an idea for the speed and range of each. The early levels shouldn't be much problem, provided you have a decent weapon. Try out your equipment and if necessary learn how to aim and lead. Then, decide on what skill path you want to take. Remember, a thrower has plenty of options. Most PvM throwers go down the frenzy route since these skills go hand in hand.

* Frenzy and Double Throw : Why are these so useful ? You can switch to frenzy and "charge up" (the little swirly thing around your barbarian's feet means you are frenzied). For 6 seconds you have the speed bonus which adds to your other attacks : Time to turn double throw into a machine gun, heh. If you are built as a frenzy barb with throwing as support, you can also use it to gain some distance (frenzy makes your movement speed incredibly fast) and position your barb to pick off key threats. You might also want to use Battle cry (if you have it), since you'll be in range while frenzying.

* Razortail : Once you get this little beauty, you'll notice that sometimes your attacks will "pierce" - go through targets. Why is this so good ? To put it simply, it's more bang for buck. Your weapons will hit more things allowing you to inflict more damage, so in a crowd, when your first target falls, the second monster might already be half dead. You can use this to your GREAT advantage by activating monsters and running away - monsters follow you in a line, and you can punish them with D.Throw/Razortail pierce.

* Positioning : Unlike a WW barb who plows into a crowd, you should remember that as a ranged character, you will need to keep some distance between your foe. The reason why the knock back/slow target equipment was mentioned above is because it helps you keep this distance. Also make use of stationary fire (hold shift key). This means you won't move around, excellent when shooting things. The easiest trick is to just "Lock On" - pick a target and HOLD your mouse button and shift key, your barbarian will automatically adjust and fire until the monster is dead or out of reach.

* Crowd Control : Grim ward is the skill for this. The flee is actually a GOOD thing, because you can shoot them in the back while they run away. Remember you'll need a body, however, grim ward used effectively is a very helpful tool. One of the best tactics to break up a horde is to grim ward up, when they flee, kill a couple, set up more grim wards and "Daisychain" a line of wards. This can break up all the largest mods, isolate bosses, and provide a nice amount of breathing space, useful in many situations (e.g. in HC mode, when those emergency TP's need to be cast).

* Carry a sidearm : Large, hell mode games will require several throws to bring down a monster. You will probably need to return to town every couple of minutes to repair. This might get annoying, so keeping a pair of backup throwing weapons to use is recommended. You can switch them from weapon switch or keep them in the inventory.

* Yell Often : Your barb, that is. Always remember to refresh your BO, and the BO of your party members as well. Get used to it, fighting a boss and then losing 1000 HP's or more due to your BO running out won't help you one bit.

Mercenary Choice

D2X introduced a whole new dimension in PvM by improving upon the town mercenaries. There's 4 choices, Act 1 Rogue (which shoot elemental damage arrows), Act 2 Townguard (with auras), Act 3 Iron Wolf (with spells) and Act 5 Barbarian (a mini version of yourself with Bash and Stun). Here is a basic rundown of each and recommended choices :

* Act 1 Rogue : The main reason you'd want to use these is the "Lightning Hose" (could be a bug or feature). Giving her items that total +3 to all skills will allow her to cast a mini "Lightning hose", similar to a very small version of Diablo's Red Lightning Breath. It quite a large amount of damage (nothing godly, but more than what she usually does) and seems to works vs all monsters. The problem with her is that she is very fragile, but she does run and gun with you. With Blackhorn's face and a good bow, she actually does become quite deadly since she can slow monsters down for you.

* Act 2 Guard : 6 types with different auras. Normal/Hell hired ones share the same aura, but the ones in NM give you a different result. These auras correspond to the type of merc used, but the only ones of real value to a thrower are :

NM Offensive merc (Might)
NM Combat merc (Holy Freeze)

Might is obviously useful since his aura will directly boost your damage, making him a popular choice. Holy Freeze however, acts as another form of crowd control, mass-slowing enemies for you. Obviously this is a great help since you'll be shooting things from afar. Remember, these guys are melee fighters, so you might want to equip them with some life leech gear to help them stay alive.

* Act 3 Mage : Seem to be even more fragile than rogues, and later on can't deal as much damage. The cold one will cast glacial spike, which is useful since it freezes enemies.

* Act 5 Barbarian : The most durable of the lot, but have a tendency to run off and bash things, then their AI kicks in and they try to follow you back, but then they run off after the enemy... He's good if you are part melee in your build, since you can both whack monsters together. Can be a real tank if you can afford to equip him with some PDR equipment.

Recommended : The Act 2 NM town guards with the auras are probably your best bet. Their auras perfectly complement your skills, and they can tank things, to an extent, allowing you to shoot from afar. However, you are free to experiment with any merc you want.

Things of Note

* Lightshow barb : You might find items with mods "chance to cast spell on hit". Combine this with Hellmouth gloves if you have them, when you attack, all sorts of spells will go off. It's semi-AoE, but not that effective, however it does look pretty.

* Holy Freeze : Especially annoying since it is unresistable and slows down your movement speed a lot. This makes it harder to keep a respectable distance. In these cases, try using a merc to tank for you, and help him kill off those monsters, since he might fall easily due to being slowed. A quick grim ward may help disperse the minions leaving you both free to dispatch the boss and thus the aura.

* MS/LEB : Multi-shot, Lighting Enchanted Bosses, chances are you will come across one of these things once you reach hell mode. They can be deadly if you don't have maximum resists, but a smart thrower can dispatch one quickly. HOPEFULLY you have some form of knock back, in which case it's relatively easy. LEB's will emit bolts in a specific pattern, which usually looks like an "X" with the boss being the middle of the X shape. Get your party members to stand well away, while you lock onto them and shoot them into a corner. Usually, they will kept getting knocked back and unable to do anything, and you won't be hit if you position yourself away from the bolts. Still a risky thing to tackle, sometimes it's best to run away from one of these things.

* Extra Fast/Strong/Cursed : Certain monsters become big threats (already-nasty monsters, such as ghosts, which can follow you through walls, flayers, dolls, frenzytaurs, etc) : In these cases, watch out for them chasing you down, and if you are amp'ed, it is recommended you put on some knock back/slowdown gear if possible. Grim ward is again a lifesaver. If you are facing The Ancients, and they have these mods, reset them with a TP.

* Act Bosses : A short outline of how to deal with those nasty Evils :

Andariel : Not much of a threat in any difficulty. Her poison nova might take your health down fast, tp and heal if necessary. Just take out the monsters before opening the door to the throneroom, she falls relatively easily.

Duriel : The biggest threat is his charge, which can take you out if you're not prepared. His holy freeze is annoying as well. However, enlist the help of a merc, usually they will take the charge, and stand next to Duriel and just throw. You might want a shield, but standing next to him means he usually doesn't charge you, and you can whittle away at his health. If you are fortunate enough to have party members with summons/other mercs, the job is much easier.

Mephisto : Not hard. However, the bosses before him can be tough, especially in hell mode. Take them out one group at a time, or if you don't feel like fighting them, jump over the red river and straight to Meph. The attack he throws at you is the only major threat, but it shouldn't be hard to take him down.

Diablo : The Chaos sanctuary can be tough, due to the Oblivion knights in it. However, it is a good place to practice your crowd control and aiming (OB knights aren't scared away, once everything else flees make them your priority). Of the 3 seal bosses, none are particularly tough, except Lord de Seis, since he has friends which can out-shoot you with BS. IM curse isn't your concern, you can laugh at it actually, but getting Lower Resist and being hit with BS is something to watch out for. Diablo himself isn't that hard, but he has some invisible blocking, because not many shots of yours will get through. This is mainly a test of patience, but watch out for his Lightning Breath and Fire Twist (on hell mode, those fire twists can kill you since they are all individual attacks, and packed into such a small damage, can add up a lot. Make sure your have max lightning and fire resists if possible.
Baal : Like his 2 previous brothers, the monsters before him are a big threat. Of his minions, the ones to watch out for are the Mummy (take him out first if possible, since he can resurrect members of his group), the Council member is dangerous since he has the potential to get MSLEB, and of course the last group, Lister. Him and his buddies can quickly shred any merc and make a beeline to you - time to pull out the knock back. Baal himself isn't hard to deal with, watch out for his tentacles, with max resists his spells don't really hurt too much, and he doesn't have Diablo's mega block. Just send some nasty pointy objects down his way and end his attempt at the worldstone.

PvP Strategy

This part deals with how to best kill another class with your thrower skills. There won't be any in-depth WW strategy in here, hopefully you already know the basics. If not, then read Darius's PvP S/S guide in the strategy compendium. It will teach you all you need to know about the WW aspect of a PvP barb.

Leveling : The best way is to skip PvM altogether, get rushed to hell cows by a friend and once you hit level 20, get them to kill the normal ancients for you. Then leech your way until level 70, and you can start helping. You can easily make high levels (85-90) in a few days doing cow runs.

Now, lets get into the basics of PvP. Here is where the Hybrid shines. You have the advantage no other barb does. You can changes tactics at the drop of a hat. This is a POWERFUL weapon on its own and it will confuse players which are normally accustomed to WW barbs, beyond belief. You need to get used to toggling you run/walk keys and your weapon switch keys. Javelins should play a reach-out-and-touch-someone role - don't go running into a battle with them. Always have your shield out first, only unveil your javelins once the opportunity arises. Walking and running is also important, ideally you want them to play into your hands so you can shower them with Javs or put a WW in their face. This section can only go so far; you might follow this to the letter and still not kill something. So remember the best way to learn how to PvP effectively is the experience. Some tactics cannot be taught. Now, lets get into the individual class sections :

Druids

(the authors of this guide love druids) Having said that, this should be the simplest duel of all. You don't even need the javelins here, the best way is to use WW and crush them. If by any chance you see an Elementalist that attempts to whittle away your health, whip out your javs and impale them. If they manage to hit you in jav mode, switch to WW and leech your life back. There are some druids who talk about beating barbs by getting them against a corner and using Fury/Maul/that great big bear of theirs, they must have been PvM barbs, for any decent PvP barb doesn't have much chance of losing to a druid. You can go pure jav mode if you think WW is too powerful, the thing here would be to get them to chase you and shoot them while they run at you. Run = no defence and 1/3 block, use it to your advantage. You should still win this easily. Even respected druid duelers admit that it's a very 1-sided matchup in favour of the barb. Should 1.10 change some skills, this might be a different story, but this guide will be updated whenever that comes out.

Assassins

There's 3 main builds of these girls, only 2 can really threaten you. Lets break them down :

* MA (Martial Arts) : The only thing to watch out here is if you are in throw mode and they land a Dragon Flight, that can really hurt. Otherwise, just use WW, they can't really do much about it.

* Traps : These girls can be a threat if you're not prepared. This duel might be a test of patience, because they will expect you to run over and WW them, however, you will most likely get hit with mindblast and get stunlocked by the traps (the stun swirly thing on your head from MB - any attack that hits you in that time will cause you to go into hit recovery, very nasty since some traps fire extremely quickly). Use your javs to get them on the run instead, and make sure you switch out to your resist gear. A little extra run/walk here is very handy too. Watch out for their Shadow Masters.

* Hybrid : Just like your barb. Taking elements from both Trapsins and MA builds. They will most likely go into trap-mode to fight you, so the above tactics will apply. However, they can very easily DF you if you switch to javelin mode and claw a big chunk of life out of you if you are not careful. Anticipation again is the key - if you suspect a DF, switch and pull a WW out. Getting them on the run with javelins is good, but come at them at a different direction, since they may have some traps waiting for you. You will need a combination of resist and PDR gear for this one. WW takes care of most of them, but never underestimate an assassin.

Necromancers

All PvP necros will incorporate Bone Spirit into their build. However, unlike conventional S/S barbs you too have a ranged attack, and what's more is that they are faster than BS. (too bad D.Throw isn't auto tracking, heh.). So there's no need to chase after them all the time. Smart necromancers will realise you are a hybrid and usually use a combination of lower resist and poison nova to wear you down, however they will always be on the move : running. Here is where practice with your aim really counts, if you can anticipate where they are and nail them with some javelins, it's usually game over, or at the very least they will lose a large chunk of life. Try herding them into a corner and filling it with javelins. If for some reason he just decides to sit there and spam BS, you can win a shootout if you get close enough, a few DThrow's will be enough. Alternatively, WW will do the trick. Remember to mix and match you tactics. IM won't work on you, so if he casts that and expects you to whirl yourself to death on bone wall, whip out the javs. Play smart and the necro will soon join his minions, however, some of them will give you a run for your money.

Paladins

Basically can be divided into melee, mage and hybrid variants.

* Melee (Vindicators/Chargers/Zealots) : Will usually use one of the following skills, charge, smite or zeal. None of these are much of a threat because you can just go into WW mode. You might want to watch out for getting in range of holy freeze, either stay out of range and shoot (jav range usually outranges HF), or rush in and quickly tag them with a WW. If they are mainly based around these skills, they aren't much of a threat at all.

* Mage (Templars and Hammerdins) : Based around Fist of Heavens (FoH) and Blessed Hammer (BH), with conviction and holy freeze as backup. These can be a lot tougher than the above because FoH is autohit (they can lock on to you as well), and BH is a magical attack, so your PDR will do nothing. Load up on resists and run/walk, you will need it. If they definitely don't have a physical attack, drop some PDR and make some way for some absorb equipment (Equipping Thundergod's visor is recommended.). Watch out for the Holy Freeze and try not to let them tag you with their Conviction, the follow up FoH's will hurt. These guys usually need mass +skills, which limits their PDR, use this to your advantage. If they use BH, approach from between the 6 - 9 o'clock position - that's near where the hammer starts and also the last part of where it travels, so this is where you should start your attack. Use a combination of WW and D.Throw to take them out, D.Throw javs outranges BH.

* Hybrid (Combination of the above, has the chance of adding a throw attack of their own) : Right, these guys can be tough if you're not prepared. Their main skill will definitely be FoH with conviction, however due to their huge +skills they have a veritable amount of skills to choose from. Rare builds will also have the possibility of using a throw of their own - expect that with Fanaticism, so it will hurt if hit. Their melee skill is usually smite. The same thing that applies with mage applies here, try not to get tagged with conviction. Charging in blind straight lines can also be deadly, if they throw. Your aim will serve you well here, they will almost always be on the run. If you manage to get close enough without being tagged with HF, use WW to get rid of them. With max block, PDR and quite a few HP's, these guys can take some punishment, so watch your javelin stack.

Sorceress

2 main types here.

* Non-Orb sorc : Mostly rely on Hydras and TStorm. Not too effective, they will cast Hydra and expect you to run after them. So don't. Put on some resist gear, and shoot her with D.Throw. You can outrange Hydra and hit the sorc, which is usually sitting in the middle waiting for you.

* Orb sorc : There are many people who play these, and their skill level with teleport will play a vital role in your winning chances. This is one duel where getting some more IAS really helps you as well, and of course don't forget your resist/absorb gear. Higher life never hurts either. There are really crappy teleporters, this is actually a very easy duel to win, since you can lock onto them and D.Throw - usually they won't be able to teleport fast enough to avoid the javs. A couple usually does the trick. If they pack max block/PDR, they might take a little longer, but since you have more IAS, you can put them in block lock, and they will still die. The better sorc will definitely be able to avoid your javs : don't name lock if you don't have to, they can avoid your javs, and you'll be wasting ammunition. Aim and anticipation will carry you through, and this counts for WW as well. If you can get a WW off, it's usually good night. It can be near impossible to win vs this type of sorc if they have max pdr/block added in. Try blocklocking them.

The last type of sorc player is the absolutely insane teleporter, these are rare, but you'll know when you face one. They will be everywhere at once, throwing orbs and driving you crazy with teleport. They usually have max block but no little or no PDR, they have no need for it. The thing you need to look for is terrain, a box is good, since it limits their approach. Watch out for orbs. They are beatable but you'll need flawless aim, this matchup is very hard for any sort of barb. Having said that, a hybrid has a much better chance of winning against a sorc, compared to a standard WW barb.

Amazons

The almightily zon, tough for every class to duel. Zons can potentially use some an incredibly cheap combination of items, and there's no use dueling one of these, no point. This is the slowazon. They equip one item with "hit slows target", and if it touches you, you're a goner. They can also add ~2K or more poison and an amp damage item, on the same zon. Usually, these are abundant in public games, because the only strategy they require is hold-down-GA. In private games, there is a wider variation but they are no less harder.

* Bowazons/Speedazons/Dexazons : The ones which use Buriza aren't much of a problem. They can quickly be dispatched by running up and whirling. Dexazon pump dex for huge damage and Speedazons can incredibly fast firing rate, combined into one build, can result in a tough matchup. The thing here is they can outshoot you, so stick to S/S setup. Getting enough run/walk to zig-zag past GA (it's not possible to outrun it in a straight line, regardless of run/walk) is crucial. The best way to beat them here is to move in a spiraling motion and use a combination of short whirls and berserks to take them out. One good whirl usually does the job.

* Javazon (non-bow) : Rare and underestimated. The strength of these zons lie in the fact that they can tank better than you can. With max block/PDR and her passive D/A/E skills, they can slowly chip away at your life (the worst thing is that you cannot do anything about her passives) wile taking little damage in the process. They use a combination of Lightning Fury, throw and Jab to do this chipping. Throwing against them isn't recommended since the smart ones will use slow missiles on you, making your javs useless. A combination of short WW's and berserk is the best way of ending the duel, it's usually a 1-hit KO if you land a berserk in. WW DoD is a good thing to try to use, since it is pretty hard to walk out of and the zon's passives will keep her in that place, however don't be surprised if you don't land any hits at all. With 2 skilled players this can turn into a duel of patience.

* Hybrid (of the above) : Uh, this can get ugly. With a Storm and Titans on a switch, they can tank your WW and leech back their life with a single weapon switch to GA. They are hard for most barbs, not just hybrids, yet they are still beatable. Like the other zons, a combination of WW/Zerk serves you best, don't whirl too long or you'll get plugged full of GA's. If you are good at guessing, you can nail them with a DT when they switch to a bow, GA takes 1 second to lock onto you, but that 1 second can be enough to land those javs, weapon switch and start running up for a WW. However, don't bother trying a face to face shootout, zons can outshoot any barb. Berserk is a good choice to try if your melee weapon is fast enough.

Barbarians

Heh, your fellow brothers. Usually a very interesting duel, unless the other guy happens to be toting a full rig of hacked/duped/bugged gear. All in all though, a very challenging matchup that could go either way.

* Standard PvP tweaker barbarians : Most use the weapon/stormshield setup, with a similar school of thought to yourself. They might have slightly higher life. However, you can still win this match. The trick is knowing when to pull out javelins and when to use WW. Tempt him into whirling, if whirls long, you can always whip out javelins, hit him a bit and switch back to shield. If he comes charging at you, do a 180 and WW-Facial him, that's your best chance to hit. Remember, run = 0 defence and 1/3 block, chances are you will land in a few hits if you manage to pull this off. Try not to let them hit you in jav mode, it can really hurt. Getting some more leech and an Eth'ed sword here is recommended.

* BvB Strbarb/Vampbarbs : What are these ? Horrid builds specifically meant to take out other barbs. They have incredible 1-H damage (may reach 4-5-6K damage or even higher) and HUGE leech (40-50%). They usually sacrifice life and running speed to do this however, but never let them hit you. Your best bet is sniping, and you might try a jav/shield setup for additional safety. 1 good whirl and it could be lights out, so make use of your superior mobility and their low speed/health as much as you can. Try to hit them without them hitting you (with the above tactic) but under no circumstances should you trade WW's.

* Fellow Hybrids/Throwers : Against a pure thrower, you definitely have the advantage. Use the shield setup and WW them, unless they have a shield it will be a hard duel on their end. They are usually on the defensive side, so you may try to make them eat javelins. Against another hybrid, it is much more of a battle of aim and skills, anything can go here. The best advice here is to capitilise on his mistakes and watch out for the desynch, try not to let him catch you in jav mode, this swings the battle in their favour. Well, good luck and may the best player win here.

Teamdueling : ***COMING REAL SOON***

HC players : A small note, low level throwers are VERY effective at PKing in low levels. Watch out for the ones that are level 18 and up, they may have 500-600 throw damage and/or amp damage as well, making them a large threat against other characters at similar levels. They can take you out in 1-2 good shots, so watch out if a level 18 barb goes hostile and you see him holding some strange sticks.

Well, that about wraps out the PvP part. Armed with this knowledge, go forth and bring some ears to your trophy rack ! And remember, skill cannot be taught, only learnt.

Conclusion

Well, all in all, a throwing barbarian is a very fun character to play, more than able to hold his own in any situation, a far cry from the old classic days. They may seem very common on the forums, but in-game or bnet, they are still relatively rare. Some people still get the remark from other players, they can range from "Hey, that's cool, can I see what you're using ?" to "OMG HACKER ! ITH JAVELINS !" - but hey, these are still good things. He's a fun class, you'll never fail to get some reaction from people. And the bottom line is having fun. I hope this guide has served you well.

Hall of Fame

* Phreek/Tigerprawnmaster : The ORIGINAL PvP throwbarbs ! We miss you ! " : Baha a throw barb !" was slain by Chuck-OG. was slain by TossYourSalad. = "WTF ! HACKER !"

* PhiSig : "Stronger, Faster, more Facial hair !" Damn, the original hybrid, and one MEAN customer, his barb Dread has gained a certain notoriety. DAOC TRAITOR !

Also, special thanks to the rest of the people in NL, it's a madhouse down there, but the best forums on the net ! Thanks to Diabloii.net for hosting such a great site, and to their forum members (past, present and future) for being a consistent source of good information. To West's GIMMEITAM for providing such a great place to duel in. To Blizzard for making such an addictive game and providing Bnet. To everyone else that I've forgotten, thank you, and lastly to you, reader. Hopefully going through this has inspired you to make a throwbarb of your own.



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