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Werewolf Druid by lMarcusl

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Werewolf Druid
Weredruid.gif
Game Diablo II
Class Druid
Primary Attack Fury/Feral Rage
PvM/PvP PvM
Can Solo Hell? Yes
Creator lMarcusl
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The Werewolf Druid, also known as the Fury Druid, is a martial Druid build that forgoes the use of offensive magic and, for the most part, the use of combat summons to turn the otherwise magic-oriented Druid class into a competent melee combatant. While the Werewolf Druid comes with its own set of unique challenges the player has to overcome through correct skill allocation, it can be highly rewarding and offers a very aggressive, almost brazen playstyle available to only few select builds in the game.

This guide was written and tested for an untwinked, self-found playthrough across all difficulties using patch 1.14d.

Playstyle

The core of the build is based around the Werewolf form and its corresponding main attack, Fury. Like Zeal, Fury unleashes up to 5 strikes in quick succession against nearby enemies. This allows the build to not only divide its damage among multiple enemies to put them in hit recovery, essentially serving as a soft form of crowd control, it also gives the Werewolf Druid a potent single target ability against uniques and bosses. The build is diametrically different from the Zealot Paladin in all other respects, however. Where the Zealot would rely on the defenses of his Holy Shield and high armor rating in order to survive, the Werewolf Druid has to choose a different route. Looking at the assortment of skills available to a Werewolf, you will notice a distinct lack of defensive bonuses. Unlike the Werebear, Werewolf form does not have access to hard crowd control such as Shock Wave and features no increases to armor rating. Druid in shapeshift is also unable to cast elemental spells such as Molten Boulder to knock enemies back to provide other ways to mitigate incoming damage. In essence, the Werewolf is completely open to enemy attacks. That sounds like a truly terrible basis for a build, doesn’t it? No crowd control, no defensive bonuses, just a Zeal-like attack and a dream. For this very reason, I actually believed the Werewolf to be non-viable for self-found play for a very long time and my belief was not unfounded. Not only does logic dictate that a character with both zero crowd control and zero defenses will get eaten alive on Hell difficulty, but practice has taught me the same lesson as well. The Werewolf is, by far, the build I failed the most times in the past. I have, no exaggeration, failed a total of 5 Werewolf builds before I figured out the right way to make the build work (this was back when respecs were not a thing). And every time, the pattern was the same. I level my Werewolf, my Lycanthropy, my Fury, I try my hardest to find a good weapon, I support my damage and attack rating further by Heart of Wolverine to imitate that tried and tested Zealot playstyle (multi-hit attack – check, increased attack speed from Fanaticism or Werewolf – check, improved attack rating and damage from an aura effect – check), and then, without fail, I either start struggling mid-Nightmare if my weapon is poor, or I breeze my way through most of Nightmare if my weapon is good, only to find my weapon is entirely irrelevant on Hell.

But how could my weapon be irrelevant? I have good number of damage boosting skills, my attack speed is solid, I have tons of attack rating. Where did I go wrong? The reason my weapon was irrelevant was because as a Werewolf, I had no defenses or crowd control, enemies had too much health to be put in hit recovery and I got the crap beat out of me in every encounter and I spent most of my time running and kiting. Trying to engage a Hell difficulty pack of any size became a nightmare (well, technically, hell) since the moment enemies started hitting back, I could not deal any damage. All their blows struck home because of my lacking defense, I was constantly in hit recovery and couldn’t deal damage back. Even if I tried to meticulously hide behind my hireling and attack from safety, my hireling would get dispatched in short order and I was next. Progress was slow, and gold for revives was dwindling. Game over.

The culprit, and the mistake I’ve seen many players make when building a Werewolf is investment in one single skill: Heart of Wolverine. The skill is a trap. Don’t get me wrong, the skill is not bad. It does what it says and all the bonuses it gives are valuable. But they are completely the wrong type of bonuses for a Werewolf build. The key factor preventing my past Werewolf builds from effectively dealing damage was not actually the lack of defenses. The issue was that the lack of defenses resulted in my character taking enough damage to be put into hit recovery. Hit recovery is the number 1 enemy of all melee builds. Some avoid it through high defenses like Paladins, some avoid it through crowd control, like Werebears or Barbarians. The Werewolf avoids it by giving itself so much health enemies are simply incapable in most cases of inflicting enough damage to put the character in hit recovery (1/12th of your max health). Now, in this respect, the Werewolf is once again lacking. Barbarians come with a naturally higher health pool by having double the life gain per Vitality that Druids do, and they can increase their health further through Battle Orders. The Werebear comes with a higher health bonus than a Werewolf. Now if only Druids had access to a skill that increases their health by a ton. Oh wait, they do: Oak Sage.

Oak Sage is the single reason that a Werewolf build can ravage its way through Hell. In fact, the build can do it with sheer, audacious panache if properly equipped. You might be at a loss here. Doesn’t Werewolf have Lycanthropy? Surely, boosting up Lycanthropy should get your health high enough. I used to think so. I thought so 5 times and I was wrong every single time. The reason Oak Sage allows you to succeed where Lycanthropy fails is twofold. Firstly, the first point invested in Oak Sage gives you 30 % max health increase. That is 6 Lycanthropy levels’ worth of health, or 10 Battle Orders levels of health in comparison. That is a major jump. After this first level, Oak Sage increases your health at the same rate as Lycanthropy. But it has one property Lycanthropy lacks, which is the second reason Oak Sage is so important. It does not give this increase only to you. It gives it to your whole team. Your hireling will be running around with so much health he will be nearly impervious to hit recovery. Because of that, he will be able to output a lot more damage, which in turn allows him to lifesteal more, thus increasing his survivability even further. Now you’re not just a fragile, frightened Werewolf hiding behind a dumb AI Mercenary. Now you’re a relentless, feral beast accompanied by a beefy, tanky Merc that’s out for blood.

If you have some experience with Barbarians with high level Battle Orders, you might feel slightly concerned about your health recovery. When your health gets increased too much above your base through percentage increases, you end up having serious trouble healing up if you drop low, because potions simply don’t provide a meaningful enough heal anymore. That is where the Werewolf gets downright filthy and where it starts to look competitive next to the Werebear (who has more health, a passive armor bonus and a crowd control skill in Shock Wave). As a Werewolf, you gain access to Feral Rage as you’re making your way towards Fury. And even though the skill may be low level, a fully charged Feral Rage will give you a constant 12 % life steal along with some nice run speed. That is a lot! So now, you’re not only hard to interrupt and have a large health pool, you can also recover that health pool constantly through your damage without any lifesteal items. This is starting to look promising.

Oh it gets better. Fury and a bunch of health and lifesteal is nice and all, but what about Physical Immunes. That was another issue my previous Werewolf builds would have potentially faltered on (if they ever made it that far). All Druid summons deal physical damage and the Druid is unable to cast most elemental spells while shapeshifted. Thankfully, the devs thought of that when making the Shapeshifting tree and gave you Fire Claws. Now Fire Claws on their own don’t look very impressive. At level 20 they output a miserable 260 max damage, though they do have some nice attack rating. The trick is in the synergies. Every point in one of the synergy skills increases Fire Claws damage by 22 %. So with mere four points in a synergy, the skill’s damage nearly doubles. In addition, with access to Fire Claws, the Druid is mere one skill point away from Hunger. Hunger severely diminishes your damage and does not feature impressive attack rating at all, but it provides a large amount of lifesteal (irrelevant, since you have the much more powerful Feral Rage that can lifesteal off of your more impressive Fury damage) but also a large amount of mana leech. Even if the skill decreases your damage drastically, your mana pool is considerably smaller than your health pool. With as few as two bites, you can completely fill up your mana. So now you not only don’t have to worry about lifesteal, your mana leech is sorted out as well. And you have a built-in elemental attack without major penalties right on your tree. I think I hear some Barbarians complaining in the distance. I feel for them, I really do.

Attribute Point Allocation

Strength 200+

Dexterity 100

Vitality 170+

Energy base

Now for the more minute details. The Druid is fairly unique among the martial classes in that he excels with weaponry others tend to struggle with. He is, in fact, among the fastest attacking classes for all two handed weapons with the exception of spears and certain swords. He does not particularly stand out in the one-handed category, but two handed weapons, particularly certain specific types of two handed axes and polearms, tend to be lightning fast in his hands. Interestingly, the Druid is even capable of using bows and crossbows in melee when shapeshifted, but doing so is not recommended. Ranged weapons have the advantage of being able to attack from afar, but pay for it with reduced damage. Using these weapons in melee would therefore be counter to their purpose.

What this does mean though is that the Werewolf is fairly open in terms of weaponry. He is not locked to a specific class by a mastery, his skills do not limit him to a certain type like they do for an Amazon or Assassin. He can find a use for nearly any powerful rare or unique item that drops for him, which is not something most classes can say. Despite these, there are still clear winners among these items. Fury is a lock-down skill, i.e. when you start attacking with Fury, you cannot move until all the attacks in the sequence finish. Now, remember, you have a lot of health but poor defense rating. You can take a lot of damage if you stay in the wrong spot for too long. So, you will want that Fury window to be as short as possible. Ideally, you will therefore want to aim for a weapon with Very Fast attack speed. The best of these in the two-handed category are Scythe, War Scythe, Large Axe and Great Axe (and their Exceptional and Elite equivalents of course). Other slightly less desirable would be both types of Mauls and all remaining two handed axes and polearms and some of the lower tier two-handed swords.

That is a very wide range, and accounting for all that in your statline would be difficult. In such a situation, I believe it best to eliminate the greatest outliers and try to aim somewhere down the middle. With around 200 Strength, you can equip Feral Axes and Champion Axes as well as most polearms, though you would need to bring up the stat quite a bit to be able to wield Ogre Mauls, let alone Thunder Mauls. 100 Dexterity will cover your requirements for all axes and mauls, gets very close to covering the two-handed sword family and gives you access to all polearms except the Scythe types. It is important to keep in mind this is just a framework. Your build is likely to deviate from these numbers based on which type of weapon ends up dropping for you and how far you can bring that weapon up if you’re upgrading via Cube. Keep in mind you can use Akara’s respecs to make any adjustments once your choice of weaponry is set. I would, however, advise against going too far below 100 Dexterity, even if you end up using a Strength-based weapon like an axe or a maul. You gain a fair amount of attack rating from Werewolf and Fury but I was noticing some severe drops in accuracy around midway through Hell if I chose to respec my Dexterity too low.

Whatever points you have left absolutely go to Vitality, which won’t be much due to how hungry two-handed weapons are for stats. If we’re basing our build entirely around bringing our health above the threshold for hit recovery, we naturally want our base to be as high as possible so those percentage increases have something to work with. Even though a Druid can be built in such a myriad of ways, he is still considered a caster class and has the same poor health gain as a Sorceress or a Necromancer, however. The health you gain from Vitality will therefore definitely not set the world on fire, and you will have to complement your build with +life items and charms regardless, but the more points you can get in Vitality, the less mandatory those +life items will become.

Skill Point Allocation

Skills

When you look at the skill allocation in the image, it looks just weird, with points all over the place. This is just an example of what your build can look like. There is actually a lot of variability in which direction you take your character.

Starting with the obvious, we want that big 30 % max health jump from Oak Sage. Now, naturally, once you invest that one point in Oak Sage, you’re committed. You cannot just put in one point and be fine, the Oak Sage can be killed, and when it is, there goes all that health you had. Once you’ve started down this road you have to stay the course and max the thing out to improve its survivability. At max points, its health may still look rather unimpressive, however, one thing the skill doesn’t tell and, frankly, it’s even kind of counter-intuitive: the Oak Sage is actually affected by its own aura. Even though the aura isn’t displayed below the Oak Sage, I assure you, that thing does not behave like a summon with 400 health. It can take some hits on Hell and be fine. Maxing it out will thus not only ensure you have the hit points you need to compensate for your lack of defenses, it will also allow you to keep on fighting without having to constantly resummon your Oak Sage.

Another two skills that have to be maxed out are Fury and Fire Claws. Your Werewolf form does not actually yield you any additional damage bonuses on its own, unlike Werebear. Its advantages lie in attack speed and attack rating. You will therefore want Fury to be giving you as much extra damage as possible to compensate for that and for the fact you cannot run Heart of Wolverine, and you definitely won’t say no to the extra attack rating it offers either. Fire Claws are rather unique among elemental melee attacks in that they are not actually based on a percentage of your weapon damage. Because of that, if you end up with a somewhat slower weapon as your main killing tool (like I have), you can actually have a dedicated Fire Claws weapon on switch in your other weapon set. The weapon can be utter garbage in terms of damage, but ideally, it should be as fast as possible so that you can dish out that flat fire damage quickly. It should also have long range, such as found on a scythe, so that you can attack Physical Immunes from a safe distance behind your Mercenary. This will help you deal with Ghosts, since they would burn your mana all the time due to your low defense rating.

Now comes the flexibility. You will find that a lot of the other skills you would want to supplement this core either drop in scaling or are not strictly required anymore. Werewolf, for instance, still offers a nice attack rating bonus, but the attack speed scaling starts to drop off at around level 9. You may find yourself not even going that far, since even a 51 % attack speed increase at level 7 may be sufficient to max out your attack speed. You might need even less hard points in the skills if you have some +skills on your gear (more on that in the Gear section). Similarly, you don’t necessarily need Lycanthropy maxed out. You obviously want both it and Oak Sage, since both skills give you a major jump in % max health with their first level, but since Oak Sage provides the same health bonus and, unlike Lycanthropy, affects your allies as well, you may find yourself on the way to well over 2000 life without the need for high level Lycanthropy. Remember that the main reason we’re going for this much health isn’t just survivability, but the ability to avoid hit recovery. You don’t necessarily need your health to be reaching 2.5k to avoid hit recovery, so you can spend only a handful of points in Lycanthropy and be fine.

Another skill you would expect to be maxed is Firestorm. It is the most easily available synergy to Fire Claws and you want to take full advantage of the skill’s 22 % damage scaling. However, you will once again find that with Firestorm at around level 10, your Fire Claws are already fairly competent at dealing with Physical Immunes. These enemies do not generally come with a large amount of health, and your high attack speed with your on-switch weapon should be able to dispatch them rather easily. The main problem at that point will be uniques with the Stone Skin affix, who may have considerably more health, dangerous affixes and attacks, and might overall take longer to dispatch. For these, you might want to bring Firestorm up to max, but you can also deal with them in other ways. Giving your Mercenary access to Open Wounds will allow him to bypass Physical Immunity and eliminate enemy regeneration. Equipping an Amplify Damage weapon on your second weapon set will allow you to crack that Physical Immunity and deal with these one-of uniques with Fury. So again, Firestorm at 10 may be all you need or you may go higher.

With Oak Sage, Fury and Fire Claws at 20, Lycanthropy at 9, Lycanthropy at 5 and Firestorm at 10, we still have some 6 skill points left to spend if we expect to finish the game at level 84. If we have essentially any mana leech or a Druid Pelt that gives us a direct boost to Hunger, we might not even need the 1 Hunger skill point, leaving us with 7 skill points to spend. That’s quite a lot and there’s a bunch we can do with that. Depending on your character’s needs, you may spend these final skill points towards the end of your levelling process on further Fire Claws support if you want to be better able to deal with Physical Immune uniques. If you feel your attack rating is lacking, you may want to invest more in Werewolf for the attack rating bonus. If it’s health you’re after, Lycanthropy still has plenty of space to help you in that respect. If you feel Feral Rage isn’t quite cutting the mustard, you can either spend additional points on it so that it can be charged up to a higher maximum (4 % additional lifesteal per charge). Investment in the skill also increases its attack rating which will help you with keeping the skill up against tougher enemies such as Act Bosses. Alternatively, you can spend a point or two in Carrionr Vine to give yourself access to % hit point recovery, though you can expect the vine to die extremely easily mid combat. It tends to be better for after-combat recovery, which is generally not an issue, cause, well, you have town portal. Just talk to Atma about your issues and you’ll feel better.

The final option you have in spending your leftover skill points is getting yourself a Grizzly. Now, normally this would be a terrible idea, as a low level Grizzly will have low resistances and without major support from Summon Dire Wolf synergy, it will also have low health. However, since you’re already running around with a maxed out Oak Sage, your Bear can actually be surprisingly tanky. Every point in Dire Wolf scales Grizzly’s health by 25 % from the base, which is 5 Oak Sage levels’ worth of HP, while additional points in Grizzly will improve his resistances by 5 %. You could therefore split your points half and half between Summon Grizzly and Summon Dire Wolf to get a fairly durable Bear. You cannot, of course, expect your Grizzly to do any significant damage, but it doesn’t have to. That’s what you and your Mercenary are here for. And it is specifically because of your Mercenary’s well-being that having a replaceable tank can be very valuable. Depending on your Merc’s gear, he might be a key factor in your ability to deal with problematic enemies. If you run into highly fire resistant Physical Immunes with high regeneration, your Fire Claws may have trouble doing the job, and unless you have a poison charm in your inventory, your enemy might regenerate faster than you damage him (though you can take that regeneration away with Rabies). In that situation, having an Amplify Damage weapon or a weapon with Open Wounds on your Merc can be useful, and allowing your Merc to attack with impunity may be paramount. But you don’t exactly just want to stand idly in front of a unique monster and soak hits for your Mercenary. Your health isn’t infinite, unique monsters can hit hard, and you have trouble recovering health without lifesteal. Plus, if your Merc is left to deal with the monster purely through the negative regen of open wounds, the fight can take a while. You can’t just stand there forever, you’ll have to pull back at some point. A Bear, on the other hand, can do the tanking job perfectly. He doesn’t require healing since he can be resummoned, he has a knockback attack that prevents the enemy from striking back, thus increasing its own survivability, and you’re perfectly fine with the Bear taking a beating and being put into hit recovery because it’s not the source of damage. And, of course, any +skills you might have on your gear will make your Bear just that much sturdier. Both you and your Mercenary will enjoy the comfort of having something else for your enemies to hit, for a change.

Before we delve into what gear you might be going for, I need to bring up your choice of Mercenary. Similarly to your skill setup, your Merc is highly variable depending on what you feel you need, what items you have and what weaknesses you need to make up for. Since you’re a physical attacker, the natural first choice is a Might merc. The only source of extra damage you have is Fury, since Werewolf does not contribute in that respect, so Might is always welcome. Alternatively, if you feel your damage is either more than sufficient, or, on the contrary, so severely lacking that you need more defense, more time to wear enemies down, you can opt for the Holy Freeze Mercenary instead. If you’ve chosen to invest into Grizzly Bear, however, I think Holy Freeze should be unnecessary. Only go for Holy Freeze if you’ve chosen to not go down the summon path. But your options do not end there. If you find towards the later stages of the game that you’ve accumulated a decent amount of armor, you can actually go for the Defiance Mercenary. I know it sounds crazy, and it is likely that you’d be able to mitigate more damage through Holy Freeze than through Defiance. But the option is there if you’re feeling frisky. Otherwise, I find that equipment’s armor rating is nearly irrelevant unless you have a % enhancement to your defense from somewhere. Finally, if you wound up using a slower weapon, such as a Maul or some of the two-handed swords, you might take up a Blessed Aim Mercenary, since attacking slower and then missing half your strikes can be really painful. You want those slower blows to kill enemies or at least put them in hit recovery so they can’t take away too many hit points off you and you want those strikes to bring you back some health. Missing a lot can leave you feeling you’re just losing hit points by the hundreds and achieving nothing.

Gear

As mentioned in the Attribute Point Allocation section, there is a wide range of weaponry you can effectively utilise. The ideal for you is a Feral or a Champion Axe thanks to their Very Fast attack speed. These weapons require mainly Strength, not Dexterity, so they are easy to build up to in terms of attributes, making them more attractive than the similarly quick Thresher and Giant Thresher. Therefore, if you’re choosing to gamble for your weapons, or you’re looking for a good non-magic base for socketing or Charsi’s Imbue, these two types in particular is what you should be after. However, on self-found you can’t exactly guarantee you’ll have the ideal weapon of your chosen type. The primary thing you’re after is therefore pretty much anything that nears or exceeds 200 % enhanced damage combined with at least good attack speed. High damage will allow you to eliminate enemies quickly before they take too much of a toll on your health, which is your only “defense” and it will also help you recover the health you lost thanks to Feral Rage’s massive lifesteal.

Werewolf Showcase.jpg

So, how do we get that Cruel-prefixed weapon. Well, as I already mentioned, you can gamble for the right item bases or, if those item bases drop for you on Nightmare or Hell, you can Imbue them to get a roll for that prefix. If that fails and you find the right runes, you can also socket the item base, ideally with Crescent Moon (ShaelUmTir) to eliminate attack rating issues, gain access to a Static Field proc, increase the weapon’s attack speed and damage in a major way, and overall sort out all damage problems you could have. Finding an Um to make Crescent Moon can be problematic though, as the Werewolf is not a particularly good Countess runner. So what other alternatives are there?

Well, while Cruel weaponry can be gambled, found or made via runes, it can also be bought. It is not out of the question to find Charsi offering a Cruel Feral Axe. Have that socketed by Larzuk, pop in a Shael + whatever else you feel your weapon could use and you got yourself a decent murder implement you can finish the game with, if need be.

If you happen to find or gamble a rare or a unique weapon that is not of the right type or is not Elite, it’s up to your own judgement how far you want to go with getting that weapon up to par. It will require some fairly hard-to-find runes to bring uniques and rares from Exceptional to Elite, but going from Normal to Exceptional is very much doable. Provided the rare or unique has the right affixes, you can make do with an Exceptional weapon, at least until you can go up to an Elite one over the course of your Hell playthrough. The good news is, because of the wide variety of weapons you can use as a Werewolf, you are bound to find something with Cruel-level attributes at some point. As a martial build, however, it is crucial you do your utmost to ensure that you do get that, since you’re putting yourself in great danger in every combat encounter. If you want your playthrough to be as smooth and painless as possible, you should gamble those right weapon types, you should keep checking smith inventories for Cruel weapons, you should try farming the right runes on Countess. It may be time consuming, it may be frustrating to keep coming out empty at the end of it, but I can assure you, when that investment pays off, it will feel glorious. With your high hit points, good attack speed and massive lifesteal, a truly powerful weapon can turn your playthrough into a very satisfying bloodbath, as you just tear your way through hordes of enemies and come out just as healthy as when you started.

Because of all the various bonuses your skills give you across all your trees, you will find that the list of things you want from the rest of your gear is surprisingly short. If you chose to invest 1 point in Hunger or your have a Hunger bonus from a Druid pelt, you don’t need to worry about mana leech on jewelry or weaponry at all. Similarly, Feral Rage provides you so much natural, free lifesteal that you don’t have to account for it in your gear setup either. Obviously, if you can have more, you should, but you don’t have to make sacrifices in order to acquire it. If you find a great resistance ring, you can easily replace your lifesteal ring because your skills already cover your needs in this respect. Similarly, Feral Rage covers your movement speed so high speed boots are not particularly important either.

Speaking of having things covered, with a sufficiently fast weapon, ideally with a Shael rune in it, you may find yourself at maxed attack speed even without attack speed gloves due to Werewolf’s attack speed bonuses (I recommend using an online attack speed calculator to make sure you’re capped). That further opens your glove slot to defensive bonuses which other melee builds may not be able to afford.

So what are these bonuses we’re looking for if we have all these bases covered? Well, there’s actually a few. You naturally want maxed resistances. Most of your gear should therefore have such bonuses, and if you can, you should absolutely make the Smoke runeword (NefLum) in your chest piece to help with that. Aside from resistances, because of the way you scale your health, you will also want a large amount of +life gear, or gear that covers your Str and Dex requirements so you can invest more in Vitality (though +life gear tends to be more efficient due to your poor life growth per Vit). Since you may end up with a slower weapon than you’d ideally like, you will also want to carry around some flat + attack rating gear, which will then be scaled by your Werewolf and Fury. The more you hit, the more you leech and the better your kills:life lost ratio will be. One issue you will run into is gaining access to Cannot be Frozen. Since you’re not using shields, you’ll have to hope for a Raven Frost or a Hawkmail (likely for switch in stash), or you’ll just have to accept the fact you’ll be slowed by cold damage.

Other than that, you will want a good weapon for your Merc, preferably one that allows you to bypass physical + fire immunes (Open Wounds, Amplify Damage on switch), or one that helps with crowd control, e.g. through slow (Woestave, Kelpie Snare, Blackhorn’s Face helmet). Crushing Blow will also help make faster work of Act Bosses. For your own secondary weapon, you will want one with Very Fast attack speed and longer reach, such as a Scythe (even a Normal one), for use with your Fire Claws. If the weapon has anything extra, such as Amplify Damage on striking or Open Wounds, all the better, you then won’t need to carry around multiple weapons for your Merc. Such weapons can easily be bought from vendors, so while you’re looking for your Cruel Elite weapon, keep an eye peeled for these as well.

One rather unusual aspect of the build is that since your skills cover so much of what you need, gaining some +skills can actually be surprisingly beneficial to you, which is not typically the case for melee characters. +skills will increase your lifesteal, your attack speed (if not capped) give you a decent amount of extra attack rating, scale your life from two different sources (Lycanthropy and Oak Sage), dramatically boost your Fire Claws damage since it grows as a flat number and has good synergy scaling, and if you’ve opted for Summon Grizzly, it will also help your Bear become significantly tankier by increasing his health and resistances. You might therefore consider either carrying a +1-2 Druid skill Amulet, which you can gamble for, or, if your amulet covers a good deal of your resistances or life already, a Druid pelt with relevant bonuses. You will receive 3 shots at a good one with Anya’s reward, but you can also just wear any 2 socket pelt you find with good bonuses and put Lore into it (OrtSol), at least as a starter until you find something better. If the pelt also covers some of the skills listed in Skill Point Allocation such as Summon Grizzly or Summon Dire Wolf levels, Carrion Vine, Hunger, Fire Claws, etc. you can potentially free up skill points from your tree to cover your other needs, such as attack rating (Werewolf), life (Lycanthropy) or non-physical damage (Firestorm). A lot of flexibility and a lot of options, provided you do your best to acquire a weapon worthy of your build. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, folks, that's all for this one. Hope you enjoy playing it;-)