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Bowazon Guide

Overview:

The Bowazon is the classic Diablo II glass cannon build. While it cannot quite match its Javazon counterpart in raw damage, a fully geared Bowazon is capable of mowing down a screen full of enemies within seconds. It is a very attractive choice for players who like to just hold down a single key and watch the arrows fly …

STRENGTHS

  • Quite efficient at clearing high density areas.
  • Relatively few unbreakable lightning immunes in the game.
  • High mobility due to excellent cast frames.
  • Very effective Magic Finding.

WEAKNESSES

  • Requires open terrain and high density for high efficiency.
  • The build is very gear dependent – poorly geared Bowazons have mediocre damage output.
  • Very fragile (more fragile than most sorceresses) – good farm route and positioning are crucial.
  • Abysmal cast frames.

Character Stats

FASTER CAST RATE BREAKPOINTS

Teleport

15 Frames = 32 FCR

14 Frames = 48 FCR < Optimal Performance

13 Frames = 68 FCR

FASTER HIT RECOVERY BREAKPOINTS

7 Frames = 32 FHR

6 Frames = 52 FHR < Spirit Runeword alone provides 55

5 Frames = 86 FHR

BLOCKING

As a Bowazon, you only have a shield equipped on your weapon switch.

DAMAGE STAT PRIORITY

+Min / Max Damage is extremely strong on a Faith-based setup and still decent on a Windforce setup.

Enhanced Damage is extremely strong on a Windforce-based setup and still decent on a Faith setup.

Faster Run / Walk is quite valuable on a Bowazon build, especially if you opt for Fortitude over Enigma. Getting to places faster dramatically increases the speed of your runs.

Dexterity increases your damage output and attack rating.

Deadly Strike is a very low priority since you will naturally get over 70% Critical Strike (you cannot proc both on the same attack).

STRENGTH: Enough to equip items (preferably 0)

DEXTERITY: All Remaining Points

VITALITY: 0

ENERGY: 0

Skill Distribution

20 Magic Arrow

20 Guided Arrow

20 Critical Strike

20 Penetrate

5-10 Multiple Shot (Based on your preference and Mana Leech %)

X Pierce (You need 67% before Razortail)

1 Cold Arrow

1 Ice Arrow

1 Freezing Arrow

1 Inner Sight

1 Slow Missiles

Rest into Decoy

There is a very high amount of flexibility when it comes to your skill tree. A few quick things to note:

  • You should avoid putting too many points into Multishot. Beyond level 15 or so (including +skills), the mana cost becomes unsustainable and you are unlikely to need that many arrows anyway.
  • Guided has practically the same damage output as Strafe vs. single targets when you factor in Strafe’s NextDelay and ¾ Weapon Penalty. Additionally, it doesn’t suffer from any of the mobility issues.
  • Magic Arrow is used against physical immune monsters before Amplify Damage is applied. However, it should not be levelled if you choose to use Elemental Arrow skills or a Javazon Hybrid.

The Skill Distribution above is for a pure physical Bowazon. However, some players may choose to diversify their damage. A Hybrid Bowazon uses a javelin on switch with a somewhat weak semi-synergised charged strike. Some players also choose to put points into Freezing Arrow and its synergies. Both of these options are viable but not particularly effective.

One final option is to skill Valkyrie for a strong frontline tank. This is a decent option for a low-budget build where your Bowazon’s damage output is lacking. However, the High-Budget build is able to clear Players 8 with little difficulty and does not need a meat shield. Skilling Valkyrie also forces you to put points into Dodge, Avoid and Evade which will slow you down each time the animations trigger.

Itemisation

LOW BUDGET

Helm: 3 Socket Helm + Any Damage Jewels Available

Amulet: Rare Amulet with Mana Stolen Per Hit

Weapon: Witchwild String Diamond Bow + 2x Shael

Armor: Any Treachery Armor

Gloves: Laying of Hands

Belt: Death’s Guard

Boots: 30 FRW Boots with Lightning or Fire Resistances

Ring 1: Rare Ring with Lightning or Fire Resistances

Ring 2: Rare Ring with Lightning or Fire Resistances

Weapon Switch: N/A

Shield Switch: N/A

*Life, Mana, Dexterity, Mana Stolen Per Hit, Life Stolen Per Hit and Min/Max Damage are desirable affixes on Rare and Crafted Items

Inventory

Any charms with +Life and/or +Resistances that are available.

Any charms with +Max Damage and Attack Rating that are available

Nightmare Offensive Mercenary (Might Aura)

Merc Helm: Socket Helm + 3 Perfect Amethysts

Merc Weapon: Insight Colossus Voulge (Larzuk Quest will give 4 sockets)

Merc Armor: Socketed Armor + Ral + Ort + Thul + 15 IAS Jewel

INCREASED ATTACK SPEED BREAKPOINTS

Standard Attack / Diamond Bow

9 Frames = 63 IAS

8 Frames = 105 IAS

7 Frames = 200 IAS

Act II Mercenary / Colossus Voulge / Jab

6 Frames = 35 IAS

5.5 Frames = 56 IAS

5 Frames = 89 IAS

MEDIUM BUDGET

Helm: Andariel’s Visage + 15 IAS Jewel

Amulet: Atma’s Scarab

Weapon: Windforce + Shael

Armor: Any Fortitude

Gloves: Laying of Hands

Belt: Razortail

Boots: War Traveler

Ring 1: Raven Frost

Ring 2: Raven Frost

Weapon Switch: Call to Arms Crystal Sword or Flail

Shield Switch: Spirit Monarch

Inventory

Any charms with +Life and/or +Resistances that are available.

Any charms with +Max Damage and Attack Rating that are available

Low-End Annihilus and Hellfire Torch

Nightmare Offensive Mercenary (Might Aura)

Merc Helm: Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest + 15 IAS Jewel

Merc Weapon: The Reaper’s Toll + Shael

Merc Armor: Any Treachery Armor

INCREASED ATTACK SPEED BREAKPOINTS

Standard Attack / Hydra Bow

10 Frames = 56 IAS

9 Frames = 89 IAS

8 Frames = 147 IAS

Act II Mercenary / Thresher / Jab

5 Frames = 42 IAS

4.5 Frames = 75 IAS < Optimal Performance

4 Frames = 142 IAS

WINDFORCE vs. FAITH

There are a lot of differing opinions regarding Windforce vs. Faith in the Diablo II community – and both item choices have merits. This is a very quick breakdown of the facts:

High-End Windforce builds (level 97+) will deal more damage than Faith by a very small percentage (less than 5% in most cases). However, the biggest difference comes from the damage output on bosses. Faith builds require 20 IAS from the amulet slot to reach their 7-frame breakpoint. This means they will not have access to Amplify Damage from Atma’s Scarab which is the biggest physical damage steroid in the game. It is 50% more effective than Decrepify versus most Act Bosses. One other consideration is that Windforce scales much better than Faith from Enhanced Damage – this is quite relevant in parties, where more often than not, a Hammerdin is providing a high level Concentration Aura. In this situation, Windforce outperforms Faith by a huge margin.

Faith builds are more consistent and are better suited for hybrid setups. The first thing to consider is that Faith gives +2 All Skills and +3 Bow and Crossbow Skills which frees up more points for Java skills, Elemental Arrows or your defensive passives. Faith builds are also able to run an Act II Desert Mercenary which is much more effective at tanking. Although you lose the raw damage output of Amplify Damage, Might Aura (Merc Passive), Decrepify (The Reaper’s Toll) and Concentration Aura (Pride) are all significantly more consistent when fighting regular monsters which often die before Amplify Damage procs.

HIGH BUDGET (WINDFORCE)

Helm: Artisan’s Diadem of Speed + 3x 40% Enhanced Damage / 15 IAS Jewel

Amulet: Atma’s Scarab

Weapon: Windforce + 40% Enhanced Damage / 15 IAS Jewel

Armor: Fortitude

Gloves: Laying of Hands

Belt: Razortail

Boots: War Traveler

Ring 1: Raven Frost

Ring 2: Crafted Blood Ring

Weapon Switch: Call to Arms Crystal Sword or Flail

Shield Switch: The Lidless Wall

*Life, Mana, Dexterity, Mana Stolen Per Hit, Life Stolen Per Hit and Min/Max Damage are desirable affixes on Crafted Items

Inventory

Annihilus

Hellfire Torch (Amazon)

Up to 9x 10 Max Damage / 76 Attack Rating / 45 Life Grand Charm

10x 3 Max Damage / 20 Attack Rating / 20 Small Charm

*One alternative gearing option is to use Enigma + Artisan’s Diadem of the Magus + Spirit Monarch on your weapon switch to enable Teleport. You trade approximately 20% of your damage output for a 14-Frame teleport on switch which can be useful on some farming routes.

Normal Act I Rogue (Cold Arrow)

Merc Helm: Ethereal Andariel’s Visage + 30 Fire Resistance / 15 IAS Jewel

Merc Weapon: Faith Crusader Bow

Merc Armor: Ethereal-Bugged Fortitude Archon Plate

INCREASED ATTACK SPEED BREAKPOINTS

Standard Attack / Hydra Bow / Level 15 Fanaticism

9 Frames = 22 IAS

8 Frames = 46 IAS

7 Frames = 92 IAS < Maximum reached

Act I Mercenary / Crusader Bow / Standard Attack / Level 15 Fanaticism

10 Frames = 16 IAS

9 Frames = 35 IAS < Optimal Performance

8 Frames = 70 IAS

HIGH BUDGET (FAITH)

Helm: Artisan’s Diadem of Speed + 3x 40% Enhanced Damage / 15 IAS Jewel

Amulet: The Cat’s Eye

Weapon: Faith Grand Matron Bow

Armor: Fortitude

Gloves: Laying of Hands

Belt: Nosferatu’s Coil

Boots: War Traveler

Ring 1: Raven Frost

Ring 2: Crafted Blood Ring

Weapon Switch: Call to Arms Crystal Sword or Flail

Shield Switch: The Lidless Wall

*Life, Mana, Dexterity, Mana Stolen Per Hit, Life Stolen Per Hit and Min/Max Damage are desirable affixes on Crafted Items

Inventory

Annihilus

Hellfire Torch (Amazon)

Up to 9x 10 Max Damage / 76 Attack Rating / 45 Life Grand Charm

10x 3 Max Damage / 20 Attack Rating / 20 Small Charm

Nightmare Offensive Mercenary (Might Aura)

Merc Helm: Ethereal Andariel’s Visage + 30 Fire Resistance / 15 IAS Jewel

Merc Weapon: Ethereal The Reaper’s Toll + Ber Rune

Merc Armor: Ethereal-Bugged Treachery Sacred Armor

OR

Nightmare Offensive Mercenary (Might Aura)

Merc Helm: Ethereal Andariel’s Visage + 30 Fire Resistance / 15 IAS Jewel

Merc Weapon: Ethereal Pride Giant Thresher

Merc Armor: Ethereal-Bugged Treachery Sacred Armor

INCREASED ATTACK SPEED BREAKPOINTS

Standard Attack / Grand Matron Bow / Level 15 Fanaticism

9 Frames = 22 IAS

8 Frames = 46 IAS

7 Frames = 92 IAS < Maximum reached

Act II Mercenary / Thresher / Giant Thresher / Jab

5 Frames = 42 IAS

4.5 Frames = 75 IAS < Optimal Performance

4 Frames = 142 IAS

Gameplay

LOW BUDGET

Without access to charms and high runes, the low budget Bowazon can maintain good attack frames but the damage will be very lacklustre. Having a decent Act II Mercenary and either Valkyrie or Decoy will be very helpful to prevent monsters from closing the distance as you whittle them down. Witchwild String adds a huge amount of Deadly Strike which means that you can delay putting points into Critical Strike until Faith becomes available.

You should also be selective about your farm routes. The best zones for Bowazons are Cows, Chaos Sanctuary, Shenk and Eldritch. Avoid areas with lots of physical immunes, monsters with dangerous ranged attacks or tight, enclosed spaces. Hotkey your Freezing Arrow in case you need to get out of sticky situations.

MEDIUM BUDGET

The medium budget build is already able to clear Hell Chaos Sanctuary relatively easily. Without a lot of high end charms, solo play will net the best results. Keep in mind, you will be able to kill Shenk and Eldritch quite easily in an 8 player game.

HIGH BUDGET

With a full inventory of Max Damage / Life charms, you will have enough hit points to survive some solid hits but your character is still extremely vulnerable. Your resists in Hell are 50 / 0 / 0 / 75. The good news is that your build will have enough damage to clear players 8 Chaos Sanctuary reasonably quickly (although players 5 is more efficient). The High Budget Bowazon finishes with approximately:

  • 400-6500 Multishot Damage
  • 600-9300 Guided Arrow Damage
  • 600-8600 Magic Arrow Damage
  • 1200 Life (1900 If you choose to use Call to Arms)
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