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This guide is intended to explain the “treacherous Medusa”. As the name suggests, the concept is based on using the Rune-word Betrayal and the unique shield Medusa’s Gaze to enhance the effect of the Poisonous Throwing Spike skill.
The treacherous Medusa is not the strongest Amazon, nor the easiest to play. Even though I will try to keep the guide as free of insider expressions as possible and thus beginner-friendly, I would like to warn against trying to take the first steps in Diablo 2 as Medusa. The build is more suitable for advanced players, who have already played the game x times and want to try “something different”, than for beginners, who want to take the easiest or at least an easy way. The Medusa requires certain items that a beginner simply doesn’t have at the beginning, that require quite high levels on top of that (Betrayal 43, Medusa’s gaze 76) and at the end there is a character that still has considerable weaknesses that can only be partially fixed by skilful play. However, lacking cold resistance is not one of them.
At the beginning of the game the Amazon has the following attributes:
She gets per step up:
And for one point in vitality she gets 3 life points and 1 endurance point, for one point in energy 1.5 Mana.
In addition, after each level up, she gets 5 points for strength, skill, vitality and energy.
The Medusa does this as follows:
Strength – enough to carry the equipment. In Medusa’s view this is a proud 219, which can be reduced by 15% to 187 by a Hel rune or a suitable jewel, which I strongly recommend. If you get strength from the rest of your equipment, you will of course have to invest correspondingly fewer points directly.
Skill – even just as much as the equipment requires. Titan’s Revenge requires 109 skill, which increases to 151 after the upgrade. The ethereal versions require 10 points less each. Any point beyond the equipment requirements is wasted, even if it increases the blocking chance.
Vitality – Vitality gives us Health, and we can use that. Those who can carry their equipment invest the rest in Vitality.
Energy – Nothing. The mana that comes from stair climbs and equipment is completely sufficient.
Since the equipment is what makes this build so special and changes both the choice of skills and the way you play, I will be the first to deal with it.
Two items have already been mentioned, Medusa’s gaze and betrayal. I consider these to be fixed, with the rest there is a certain freedom, although I don’t see any sensible alternative to the gloves from the Trang-Oul set, even with the gloves. And Klingenschweif also seems to me to be indispensable.
So, let’s go. The interesting features are highlighted in bold.
25% chance to cast level 15 poisonous slobber on blow
5% chance to cast level 15 Fade on hit
+2 to Assassin skill level
+45% Increased attack speed
20% Faster recovery after hits (Shael)
Cold resistance +30% (Thul)
50% extra gold from monsters (Lem)
Level requirement: 43
So, where does the runic word get us? One thing above all, venomous slobber! Poisonous Slobber is actually an Assassin ability, and Betrayal is one of the few ways that a non-Assassin can still use Poisonous Slobber. Poisoned Slobber poisons our weapon, which then shines in extravagant spinach stain. In addition, direct hits of the poisonous throwing spear cause much more damage. Unfortunately the poison cloud remains unchanged!
In addition to Poisonous Slobber, the rune word also gives us Fade, another Assassin skill. Fade lasts for 288 seconds (nearly five minutes) and increases all resistance types by +60%, reduces the duration of curses and poisoning by 79%, and also reduces the physical damage the Amazon takes by 15%. An excellent safety package, then.
The rest of the features are also okay, 30 cold resistance is quite nice, 20% faster recovery after hits is also helpful, because we will quite deliberately get into the middle of the fray and of course get some hits there. 50% extra gold will be taken with you, but the Assassin skill bonus won’t help us at all.
Schild: Medusa’s Blick.
Defence: 405 – 453
Shelf life: 92
Blocking: 44% – 54%
Impact damage: 18 – 28
Required strength: 219
Required level: 76
+150-180% Improved defense
Slowed down Target by 20%
10% chance of triggering a level 7 “Resistance Fade” when hit
5-9% sucked life per hit
100% chance of level 44 Nova at death
Cold resistance +40-80%
Medusa’s gaze gives us above all the necromancer curse Resistance Fade. To trigger it, we have to be hit, which is why the Life Siphon is very useful to survive the hits we take.
Level 7 Resistance Fade reduces the resistance of all enemies within a radius of 8.6 meters by 51% for 32 seconds. Assuming that the average monster in Hell has approximately 50% Poison Resistance, which is reduced to -1%, the curse will double our damage. Against poison imune, the curse only works on one-fifth, reducing resistance by only 10%. Those who had more than 110% poison resistance before the curse will remain immune, those who had only 100% to 109% poison resistance will be “pierced”.
Another good thing to know is that it is always the resistance at the time of poisoning that counts. An opponent who was first poisoned and then cursed will not suffer higher damage. A pierced and then poisoned opponent, on the other hand, suffers more damage even after the curse has expired, so he can die of poison even though he is immune to it again. Sounds strange, but it is so.
The other properties of the shield are rather meagre. You can still take the high resistance to cold with you, enemy slowdown is also quite nice, Nova to Death doesn’t help at all anymore. The strength requirement of 219 is a cheeky one and should definitely be reduced by having Larzuk insert a socket and then socket a Hel rune or jewel with “Requirements reduced by 15%” and other nice features if necessary.
Gloves: Trang Oul’s claws
Defence: 67 – 74
Required strength: 58
Required level: 45
20% Faster casting rate
Cold resistance +30
+2 to “Curses”
+25% to poison damage
It is the increase in toxic damage that makes these gloves irreplaceable. Both the damage of the Poison Throw Spike and its cloud and the damage of the Poison Drool are increased by 25%, no other glove can top this. By the way, in melee combat, Poison Drool damage is increased by another 25%, but this does not have much practical use.
The other properties of the gloves are rather uninteresting. Increased spell rate is of little use, +2 to curses is of no use (doesn’t increase resistance fade from 7 to 9) and cold resistance is a pain in the neck.
Litter spear: Titan’s Revenge
Amazon throwing spear class: Fast attack speed (-10)
Single-handed damage: 70 – 137 to 79 – 155
Throwing damage: 70 – 185 to 79 – 212
(Only for Amazons)
Required strength: 25
Required dexterity: 109
Required level: 42
+2 to skill level of the Amazon
+2 to “Throwing spear and javelin skills
+150-200% Increased damage
+30% Faster race/go
Refills itself (1 in 3 seconds)
+20 to strength
+20 to dexterity
5-9% sucked life per hit
Increases damage by 25-50
+60 Stack size
There is no need to bold mark anything, all properties are top. Skill bonuses increase the poisonous damage of the throwing spears, the high physical damage allows a passable life suck off, which is also supplied directly, the self replenishment saves the annoying repair, strength and skill save us directly set points and thus give the equivalent of 120 lives and increased running speed is also always welcome.
Titan’s Revenge is an excellent all-round package that is hard to beat. Magic spears with +6 on spear skills would mean a little more poison damage, but the difference is not significant. After all, the most important source of damage is the Poisonous Spoils of Betrayal, and it doesn’t get any better.
Belt: Blade tail
Defence: 96 – 107
Shelf life: 14
Required strength: 20
Required level: 32
Attacker suffers damage of 1 per level
+15 to dexterity
33% Stabbing attack
+120-150% Improved defense
+10 Maximum damage
The really interesting thing about this belt is the stabbing attack. In English this means that the belt gives us a 33% chance that our throwing spear will penetrate the first opponent and just keep flying. In combination with the Amazon skill “Piercing” you get a 100% chance.
Note: You have to hit the opponent to pierce him. A good attack value is therefore mandatory. In addition, there is a fixed limit of five hits, after which you have a 100% chance of hitting and piercing.
Ring: Raven frost
Required level: 45
Freezing not possible
Increased by 15-45 Cold damage
Absorbs 20% of cold damage
+40 en mana
+15-20 to Skill
+150-250 to attack value
Freezing not possible saves us a lot of trouble against enemies with cold attacks. Slowing down would otherwise weaken our offense and also severely limit our retreat options. The increase in skill and attack value is also very helpful. We need a high attack value for the concept to work at all.
I also find the cold damage very useful. It doesn’t make an opponent fall over, but it turns blue for a short time when hit by a throwing spear. The poison cloud, on the other hand, does not cause any cold damage, so thanks to raven frost I can always see exactly who is affected by the strong poison and who only got the weak one.
However, you should not be confused by cold-immune enemies and always throw the same one like a madman. With them you can only try to see if the Leech-animation appears or not in order to distinguish between direct hits and cloud hits. Or you put a small spell with fire and/or lightning damage into the inventory, in order to then pay attention to fire or lightning animations. Cold is in any case the most visible.
Here I will no longer present each individual item, but only outline the properties that are worth looking out for. To optimize the damage, bonuses to Amazon skills or throwing spear and spear skills are especially helpful. The fact that Annel and Facki are always a good idea in the inventory probably hardly needs mentioning. Increasing the attack value is also very advisable. Mana extraction is not absolutely necessary as mana consumption is rather low, but a little bit can’t hurt. Otherwise, good resistance (especially against fire and lightning) and a large cushion of health and damage reduction (Sol rune in the hat?) are always an advantage, especially if you’re looking to get hit, like Medusa. If there are sockets free somewhere (which can only be the case with the hat) and the defense is satisfying, you can of course socket Poison Rainbow Facets. Both the percentage increase of poison damage and the decrease of enemy resistance come in handy. In case of doubt, the reduction of resistance brings more than the increased damage.
In the inventory, perfectionists can store many spells with increased poison damage. These increase the damage of the main spear better than Skiller, but not the damage of the poison cloud. If you also like to use the plague spear, you are better off with skills.
As mentioned at the very beginning, we want to use the Poisonous Litter Spike as our main attack. This can be found under the Throwing Spike and Spear skills and is available at level 6 without having to kill anything else first. This makes it somewhat beginner-friendly, as you can use your main attack from level 6 on, unlike some wizards who sometimes have to wait until level 30 before they can use their main attack.
The poisonous throwing spear is macked, of course, 20 points and no less will be added here, as well as the only synergy, the plague spear.
Since we only used up 41 points with the poison and plague spear, Medusa is long gone before she can wear her equipment. So you have a lot of points left that you can invest in a second attack, or in decoy and Valkyrie for more security.
In my opinion, it makes the most sense to learn a second attack, since there are some poison-immune enemies in Hell that cannot be de-immunized even with a loss of resistance. Since Medusa is already using a throwing spear anyway, the closest thing I could do was to skill additional throwing spear and spear skills, namely Lightning Doom and Charged Blow. The only downside to this choice was that now the poison skills were more likely to be downgraded to a second attack, while the two Lightning Skills became the main attack. If you can control yourself and only use the two against Poison Ignition, you’ll certainly not make a bad choice.
A second option, which I have not yet tested, is to place a bow in the second slot and use Frost Arrow to combat Poison Ignition. If you decide to do this, you will obviously have to use Frost Arrow and the synergy Cold Arrow max. It could well be that this choice is even more clever or at least more interesting, as it would be an incredibly nasty move to first fatally poison your opponents and then freeze them. However, using Frost Arrow at level 1 would also be sufficient for this. This would have the advantage that the enemies would really die from the poison and not from the insanely strong Frost Arrows.
Also good for a second attack is Resist Resisting is a quick sequence of strikes against all enemies in melee range that works much like Rage and Zeal and deals relatively high physical damage. Similar to Lightning Doom and Charged Strike, Resisting does not require you to change slots, so you can keep the second slot free and store nice stuff. Unlike Lightning Doom and Charged Strike, however, Resisting is not so extreme that it will easily steal the show from the main attack. Furthermore, no synergies have to be skilfully applied, which increases flexibility.
You can also increase the passive skill “Strike Through” to increase your accuracy. Keep in mind that this skill does not complement the Paladin Aura of Blessed Target Seeker; only the Target Seeker works, even if it is weaker. So rather than skipping Punch through, I hired a mercenary with a blessed homing target and saved the points. However, you should not do without both, then the accuracy will be too bad, since the poisonous spear itself does not provide any attack bonus.
I also find Inner Vision very interesting, because the lowering of defense on high levels becomes very significant. On hell, normal enemies have between 1,000 and 2,000 defenses, Internal Vision level 29, for example, subtracts 1,515 from that – that sounds very good. The range of the spell is a constant 13.3 meters, which is probably easily enough for us, since we’re looking for the proximity of the enemies anyway.
Main attack: Poison and plague spear max
Second Attack: either Resist max, or Lightning Doom and Charged Blow max, or Frost Arrow and Cold Arrow max
Breakthrough max if no Merc with blessed Pointfinder, otherwise leave at 1 for:
Pierce on 9 including items, to have 100% chance of piercing the enemy together with Blade Tail. With good equipment (more precisely: with +8 or more on passive and magical abilities) 1 point is enough.
Internal view max or nothing
optional: Valkyrie and decoy bird with x points The Valkyrie profits more from points in the decoy than from directly invested ones.
Third Attack: Strike is always worth 1 point, which you may have to put anyway depending on the second attack.
Rest: into the synergies of the second attack or into Valkyrie and Decoy.
My favorite variant is now Poison and Plague max, Inner Vision max, Resisting max and Rest in Breakthrough for even more AR.
As already mentioned, the poisonous slobber of betrayal is said to increase the poisonous damage of the poisonous spear. Of course you now also want to know how much the poisonous damage really increases, and I will explain that here.
There are two ways to poison a monster with the help of the Poison Litter Spike. First, the throwing spear leaves a trail of poison clouds on its trajectory, which poisons all monsters that come into contact with it. Secondly, the monster that is hit directly by the skewer is also poisoned. The poison cloud is not changed at all by the poisonous drool, but the spear itself is.
Poisonous Slobber at Level 15 deals 305 to 325 poison damage over 0.4 seconds, or in other words, it deals 762.5 to 812.5 damage per second for 0.4 seconds.
Toxic Litter Spike at level 30 deals 27699 to 29277 poison damage over 66 seconds, or 419.7 to 443.9 damage per second.
We can see: one poison only works very briefly, but also works very quickly, the other poison works very long, but also quite slowly. The combination of both poisons couldn’t be happier: unlike most other cases where different poisons hit the same enemy, both damage and duration are added up, so our poison works very long and very fast, so it’s very deadly.
In the example above, a direct hit will deal 1182.2 to 1256.4 damage per second for 66.4 seconds per second, for a total of 78498 to 83425 damage per second. If you then wear Trang Oul’s claws as recommended, this value increases by 25% to approximately 100,000 total damage.
That sounds like a lot, but you have to keep in mind that you have to wait more than a minute until 100,000 damage is dealt. The poison resistance of the enemies reduces both the damage per time and the poison duration, so that Medusa is ultimately still rather average on the offensive. Nevertheless, a single hit is enough to kill normal monsters sooner or later, which is no longer the case for many other characters, at the latest in Hell.
Now that the character is ready, we can start playing.
The first thing you have to do is to activate Poison Searing. The quickest way to do this is to attack the nearest enemy with a thrust and attack them a few times. Since the chance of Poison Drool is quite high at 15%, it is activated quite quickly to almost immediately. Anyway, I never had to wait long. When it’s time, you can recognize this by the fact that the spear turns green.
The poisonous green color should be hard to miss. Fading is of course even more difficult to overlook, but it can take quite a while until it is activated. Depending on the area you are travelling in, this can be completely irrelevant or even decisive, as you will hardly get acceptable resistance without fading. In case of need, you have to be attacked by a lot of blowpipe flayers in the jungle of drudgery, where the ratio between number of hits and actual danger should be the best.
When the time comes, you can start poisoning your opponents. For this we choose – unlike the normal poisonous Amazon! – usually the poisonous throwing spear and not the plague spear. The reason is that the plague spear has an unacceptable casting delay of 4 seconds. So you would have to wait 4 seconds before you could cast the next time. This is fine for people who just want to use the cloud damage, but since we have to hit directly with the spear to get the full effect, we need a faster attack. The poisonous throwing spear has a much smaller cloud effect, but only a delay of 0.6 seconds – we can handle that.
In such situations you may of course also reach for the plague spear and poison everyone at once.
So Medusa looks for her “pierceline”, i.e. she positions herself in such a way that her spear hits as many other opponents as possible in case of penetration, and throws her spear. If all enemies turn blue from the cold damage for a short time, she knows that she has hit and continues with other enemies if possible, since a single hit is usually sufficient.
Between throws, Medusa – also unlike her sisters – doesn’t run away but goes into close combat, hoping her shield will trigger resistance fade. If this happens, the cloud damage of a single plague spear is usually enough to wipe out the entire enemy group. However, one should not insist on killing only cursed enemies with poison. 10% on hits is relatively little and you will kill many enemies before the resistance fade is triggered.
Against poisonous enemies you can either use your second attack to kill them directly or you can attack them with shock until resistance fade is triggered, which will hopefully de-immune them so that you can kill them with poison spears.
Although the treacherous Medusa can hardly keep up with the standard characters in terms of killspeed, I enjoyed playing her. D2 LoD is far too easy with good equipment and skill anyway, so you can try weaker builds. And poisoning your opponents and letting them die on their own was actually a little different than the usual bouncing. Especially with “difficult” opponents like the High Council in Travincal, it was fun to watch Geleb Flame Fingers lethally poisoned me running around one of the ponds to slowly but surely perish. Sometimes you had much more difficulties with otherwise stronger characters.
I also found it very interesting to see that the poison continues to work normally after the death of Medusa. If you have poisoned all enemies thoroughly enough before you die, you can watch the monsters die instead of pressing Esc, so that you can recover your body without any problems afterwards.
In parties it’s not that much fun anymore, though. Things are much better, but you can’t get rid of the suspicion that without you it would go about as well. Targeted poisoning of all enemies one by one can be fun, but loses a lot of its charm when the enemy is blown away by some tornados a moment later. Let him suffer.