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Diablo 2 Resurrected Best Ladder Reset Builds - Stats, Skills, Gears, Mercenary Guide For D2R Ladder Season 1 Start Builds
12/28/2021 4:14:35 PM

With the upcoming ladder reset for Diablo 2 Resurrected and with the balance changes of each class, it's important that players sharpen up their skills with regard to early game builds in the ranking system. Diablo 2 is a game that rewards diligence in farming certain areas of the game over and over, but this can be difficult early on when you don't have the best gear. So to help you get a great start in the Ladder Season, here we break down some of the most powerful builds that you can take a try early ladder and truly showcase the power of those builds by only using the most basic and noob D2R ladder items. Let's dive in.

Diablo 2 Resurrected Ladder Season Start Guide - Builds & Characters

Diablo 2 Resurrected Ladder Reset Build Guide (Stats, Character Items, Mercenary Gears)

The goal is to keep this simple so let's start with the basics and some things that will be consistent across all or nearly all of our builds. The goal of each character we'll talk about is to quickly clear areas of the game in Hell where you can find end game items, but more importantly, start finding better items than what we started with more on that in a moment.

Character Stats

For simplicity's sake, character stats will also be relatively consistent throughout all of our builds, enough into strength and dexterity to wear our gear, and just about everything else goes into vitality. There are some builds where we will use max block, and we'll be sure to point those builds out when we get to them, in that case, you'll want to put more points into dexterity until your chance to block reaches 75 percent.

Best Items (Gears) To Use

Here we are going to illustrate the strength of these builds by using the exact same items on nearly all of them with only slight variations depending on the class, those items are as follows:

Sheild: Death's Guard (Sash)

This is one of the most used early game D2R items that is used on a lot of builds. Without having access to end game items like Enigma, movement speed is crucial to a lot of classes, and having cannot be frozen as a mod on an item is priceless early on. Additionally, you can find this item as early as you can reach Stony Field.

Armor: Stealth Runeword (Studded Leather)

Stealth is a very good armor rune word when you consider the runes needed to make it. It allows us to hit a lot of breakpoints and run faster and you can actually make this within the first few minutes of playing the game.


Magic Damage Reduced By 3
+6 To Dexterity
+15 To Maximum Stamina
Poison Resist +30%
Regenerate Mana 15%
25% Faster Run/Walk
25% Faster Cast Rate
25% Faster Hit Recovery

Boots: Sander's Riprap (Heavy Boots)

Sander's Riprap is a boot you can almost always find early on and rarely give them up until you find some elite Uniques in Hell difficulty. The 40 faster run/walk and boost to stat points are amazing early on, and you can find them as early as Act 2.

Helmet: Lore Runeword (Circlet)

Lore is a very easy rune word to make boasting plus one to skills and 30 light resistance, the mana after each kill can add up two depending on the build. The runes are fairly common and can be found easily in nightmare difficulty.


+1 To All Skill Levels
+10 To Energy
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
Lightning Resist +30%
Damage Reduced By 7
+2 To Light Radius

Weapon: Spirit (Crystal Sword or Monarch)

Spirit run word is a very unbalanced item when you consider the level of runes required to make it, it's also essential to some caster builds early on. We'll have to find a four open socket monarch shield in Hell difficulty, however, everything else can be found as early as a nightmare.


+2 To All Skills
+25-35% Faster Cast Rate (varies)
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage 3 Second Duration (Normal)
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
+250 Defense Vs. Missile
+22 To Vitality
+89-112 To Mana (varies)
+3-8 Magic Absorb (varies)

+2 To All Skills
+25-35% Faster Cast Rate (varies)
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense Vs. Missile
+22 To Vitality
+89-112 To Mana (varies)
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+3-8 Magic Absorb (varies)
Attacker Takes Damage of 14

Best Gears for Mercenary

Although the AI of mercenaries in Diablo 2 is questionable, the auras in the support they provide can be helpful even if just for a distraction. There are some items that you can equip on your mercenary early on and can pay serious dividends. Here's what we're going with:

Armor: Smoke (Light Plate)

Smoke runes for this armor are dirt cheap and can be found as early as a nightmare, this armor provides a huge boost to resistances for the mercenary, almost as much as some end-game armors such as Chains of Honor.


+75% Enhanced Defense
+280 Defense Vs. Missile
All Resistances +50
20% Faster Hit Recovery
Level 6 Weaken (18 Charges)
+10 To Energy
-1 To Light Radius

Helm: Stealskull (Casque)

Stealskull is really just the first common item that came to mind but there are actually a lot of options here. This helm is great for the increased attack speed that it provides along with the life leech.

Weapon: Insight (Thresher)

Insight polearm provides the meditation aura is worth its weight in gold and all of the runes can easily be found in Nightmare difficulty, which is conveniently where you also start to find four open socket polearms.


Level 12-17 Meditation Aura When Equipped (varies)
+35% Faster Cast Rate
+200-260% Enhanced Damage (varies)
+9 To Minimum Damage
180-250% Bonus to Attack Rating (varies)
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
+1-6 To Critical Strike (varies)
+5 To All Attributes
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
23% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

D2R Best Ladder Start Builds & Characters

Now you might be asking how are we are going to farm level 85 areas with all these new items, well let's take a look at some of these early game builds and you can see for yourself:

1. Poison Necromancer

Features & Pros: One of the most broken farming characters in the game, even early ladder is the Poison Necro, also a viable PVP build with end game gear. With some slight skill tree adjustments, this character kicks serious ass without needing GG gear. The reason this build is so important for early farming is that we can almost immediately start combing the Chaos Sanctuary for items. The necro has access to the lower resistance curse which will rip away most immunities from monsters but also pave the way for increased damage with corpse explosion, and this skill is arguably what makes the build so busted. For the most part, all you need to do is kill one monster in a pack and then you can blow up the rest. The crazy thing about Corpse Explosion is that the damage output is always the same regardless of the skills level, as you dump skills into it the radius of the explosion increases and is what's responsible for clearing rooms quickly. The only real drawback to this build is that you'll have a hard time killing diablo with poison nova alone or really any act boss for that matter, but after cranking out a few Chaos runs, you should find yourself some nice crushing blow gear for your merc and eventually he'll be able to kill area bosses for you.

Skill Point Setting: The skill tree is very straightforward, we max Corpse Explosion as early as possible, put one point into lower resistance and, the rest into Poison Nova and then its synergies. Be sure to max Poison Nova first before finishing off its synergies.

2. Death Trap Assassin

Features & Pros: This trap is far more than just high lightning damage. Remember that broken skill we just talked about called corpse explosion, Death Sentry does that too. After killing a monster with this trap, it will automatically explode the corpse if there are other monsters around. This is a great way to take care of lightning immune monsters without having to rely on end-game items like Infinity.  Additionally one of the synergies for Death Sentry is fire blast further allowing you to efficiently diversify your attacks, just an all-around efficient killing machine. We can use the Mind Blast skill to confuse the out of monster packs and make them start attacking each other, we also have Burst of Speed which is a great way to traverse the map quickly and helps us lay down death sentries quicker.

Skill Point Setting: We do have someone point wonders here in Mind Blast, Burst of Speed, and Fade for when we really do need actual resistances, but also put one point into Dragon Flight - It's a very good way to telestomp enemies without having enigma and can help you redirect your mercenary's attention to monsters that you might struggle with. From there, max Death Sentry and all of its synergies put the remaining points as we level into other synergies for Lightning Sentry which can be a better skill for killing area bosses. 

3. Frozen Orb Sorceress

Features & Pros: A legendary character before patch 1.10 and still could be one of your favorite builds to make the early ladder build. The frozen orb sorceress boasts some vicious cold damage to monsters that aren't immune, while lightning swords and fire sorks can farm Shenk Eldritch and Pindleskin with relative ease. more importantly though on battle.net, we were always penalized for joining or creating games too quickly, so clearing ancient tunnels almost take the perfect amount of time, so that you don't get a realm down. A lot of people ask about hybrid setups and while that's good for getting through the game when it comes to farming. You don't really need much more than the suggested basic gear that we talked about, but we do suggest picking up or crafting more items with faster cast rate along the way as you find them. 

Skill Point Setting: As for skills we prefer orb because of the area of effect with Frozen Orb. You can max Cold Mastery and all of Frozen Orb synergies very early, this can allow you to either branch out into Blizzard or into an entirely different skill whatever your diablo 2 love and heart desires. 

4. Hammerdin Paladin

Features & Pros: This build is one of the more obvious ones for early ladder games, however, some people still mess this build up in the early stages of resets. You should be able to easily farm nearly any area of the game with basic gear, we would suggest the latter end of River of Flame along with Chaos Sanctuary, also this is one of the builds we would highly suggest max block on this. As you finish maximizing Blessed Hammer and Concentration, you can dump the rest of your points into the holy shield, this naturally provides us with a higher chance to block, and maximizing your block also maximizes your chances of survival. It's easy to avoid most up-close encounters, especially if you've got a mercenary to distract your foes, but ranged shooters can be a problem especially if your resistances are low, so you'll want to boost those up with additional charms and items as you find them. 

Skill Point Setting: Blessed Hammer is our main attack and concentration is our dominant aura, but the order in which you max these skills and their synergies can have an effect on your early gameplay. After reaching level 18, max Vigor along with Blessed Hammer, just allows you to zip around the map a lot quicker. But whatever you do, do not put more than one point into Concentration until all of Blessed Hammer's synergies are maxed, this is how you get the most damage out of your hammers at all times. When you finally do get to a high enough level, this build wrecks. 

5. Tornado Druid

Features & Pros: Because very few monsters boast a natural resistance to physical damage in this game, this build can shine very early on with minimal gear. They can also be absolute tanks if you build them with max block. For this build, in particular, we would suggest Whitstan's Guard or Moser's Blessed Circle shield whichever you find first, both have their perks whereas the skill cyclone armor absorbs, so much elemental damage max block can mitigate the physical damage as well making us an absolute tank. When you can tank a reasonable amount of damage with such low-level gear, it can allow you to close the distance and finish your foes with a Tornado Druid. 

Skill Point Setting: Dial straight down the center, maximizing Tornado and all of its synergies, and dumping the rest of our points into Oak Sage for added tankiness. So that this build can easily farm the pits in ACT 1 but also isn't horrible at running Chaos Sanctuary if you know what you're doing and can get in the habit of keeping cyclone armor up.

6. Javazon Amazon

Features & Pros: Javazon Amazon build is a little different than the rest but still very effective for farming Shenk Eldritch and Pindleskin. The gear selection does vary a bit because of the class but if you can find Javelins that boast a natural plus three to javelin and spear skills, you're probably going to be fine. Most people think that you need Titan's Set and other end-game gear to make this work, but that's simply just not the case, you just need levels. If you're looking for an off-meta build to farm with an early ladder, this isn't a bad one. While she'll struggle in some level 85 areas until you find either a lower resist wand or just better items. Farming Act 5 off of the frigid highlands waypoint is quick and easy, her clear times there are second to none with minimal gear and she can also clean up area bosses with ease.

Skill Point Setting: Max all of the lightning javelin skills (Lightning Bolt, Lightning Strike, Lightning Fury, Charged Strike, and Power Strike) as they will boost each other, and get access to lots of benefits by getting one point into every Passive & Magic Skills. 


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