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D2R 2.4 Ladder Mercenary Gear Guide - Best Runewords, Weapons, Armors, Buffs for Each ACT Merc in Diablo 2 Resurrected
5/4/2022 4:23:44 PM

In this Diablo 2 Resurrected 2.4 Mercenary Guide, we'll cover the best usage cases for each of the game's mercenaries and the best gear to equip them in Ladder Season 1. Now let's dive into the best setup for each ACT mercenary depending on your build and needs. 

D2R Ladder Mercenary Guide - Best Gear Setup

Diablo 2 Resurrected 2.4 Mercenary Equipment Guide - Best Merc Gear Setup (Runewords, Weapons, Armors, Buffs) for Each Act

Mercenary is still your best friend in the Ladder season, so with the right option and proper gear setup, your mercenary at each ACT will help you a lot in the leveling and ranking progress! With D2R patch 2.4 buffs, some of the underutilized mercenaries make them a more viable option and we're going to explore those possibilities. Also, we will break down various equipment options in terms of different types of builds. Before we dive into any mercenary specifics, here is a general note: when a mercenary is equipped with an ethereal item that ethereal item will not lose durability, this makes them basically indestructible, so when you're able to and it's desirable to equip an ethereal on a mercenary go for it.

Related Read:

D2R Ladder Fast Leveling Guide - Fastest Methods To Reach 99 Lvls in Season 1

D2R 2.4 Ladder Build Tier List - Best Builds for Each Class in Season 1

Best Equipment for ACT 1 Mercenary - Rogue Scout Gear Setup

Rogue Scout is an archer that comes in two flavors fire and cold. The fire option deals more damage, but the cold option brings some valuable crowd control, slowing enemies. And she has the added benefit of shattering corpses, so no more pesky monster revives. Basically, if you're taking a rogue, if you want more damage get fire, more crowd control get cold, now new in patch 2.4 is the ability to equip a rogue with an amazon bow, this opens up some D2R ladder runeword possibilities that can be very powerful on a rogue. 

Best Armors & Helms for Rogue Scout

We'll explore three variations of rogue builds that are useful for some niche builds, in all cases for the helm and the armor we are looking for gear that's going to help keep them alive, so we're looking at:

Armor: Shaftstop with Um Rune

Helm: Vampire Gaze with Um Rune

Shaftstop and Vampire Gaze are both socketed with an um rune for more resistance

Best Weapons for Rogue Scout

Damage reduction and resistances are what we're looking for to keep our rogue alive that means the difference in our three variations will come down to the weapon:

Weapon 1 (For Cold Rogue of Attack / Summon Build): Faith Bow 

Preferably put Faith runeowrd inside a Grand Matron Bow, this rune word grants the fanaticism aura and fanaticism will boost the attack speed, attack rating, and physical attack damage of herself, yourself and anyone else in your party, any pets you may have. So if you're an attack build or a summon build, this is a nice option. 

Grand Matron Bow[4S & 3 Bow skill & 10-14 ED]

Sale [+4 Socketed]
Sale [+3 Bow Skills]
Sale [+10-14 EDmg]

Grand Matron Bow

Ichorsting 2H damage: 14-72
Base speed: 10
Class speed: Ama - Fast
Req Strength: 108
Req Dexterity: 152
Req level: 58
Quality level: 78
Treasure class: 78
Max sockets: 5

Weapon 2 (For Summoner Build): Harmony Bow

Put Harmony in a Matriarchal bow and that's to increase the movement speed of again yourself, herself, your summons anyone in your party. This is a nice rune word early on before you get access to more powerful mercenaries, if you're on a summoner build, this will make your summons zip back and forth from enemy to enemy real fast.

Weapon 3 (For Fire Rogue): Brand Bow

Put brand rune word in a matriarchal bow, it doesn't grant an aura but it has a 35 chance to cast a high level amplified damage curse. It'll also turn all regular attacks into an exploding arrow which increases her damage output significantly. She even has fire arrow which acts as a synergy for all the exploding arrows she's using. Now you'd use this setup if you don't need anything from your mercenary yourself any kind of buff, aura, anything like that and you just want to use your mercenary as a damage source.

Weapon 4 (For Mana): Insight Bow

The insight runeword can grant up to a level 17 meditation aura, as the patch 2.4 you could now put this inside a bow meditation, which gives us mana regen, so when you're struggling with mana getting an insight on your mercenary, is a very good early game option. However if you are going for insight in general, the act ii mercenary is the better choice here.

Weapon 5 (For Damage): Mist Bow

Put the Mist runeword inside a matriarchal bow, and you'll want that bow to already have plus three two bow skills, the rogue now benefits from this, so you'll get plus three to all skills, 20% increase attack speed, up to 375% enhanced damage, plus 9 to max damage and up to 14 cold damage, and plus 100% to piercing attack which means arrows are going to go through the first enemy they hit and continue to pass through enemies potentially hitting more and more rather than just a single target. On top of all that, mist grants the concentration aura which grants both the rogue and yourself up to 225 increased damage, it also gives some nice defense with plus 40 to all resist helping keep your rogue alive.

Best Equipment for ACT 2 Mercenary - Desert Gear Setup

Desert is the most commonly used mercenary because it natively has paladin auras which can be really helpful to you. The desert mercenary has been considered the best mercenary for pretty much every build. For most builds for over a decade 2.4 brings buffs to the other mercenaries, but it doesn't really change the fact that the desert mercenary remains the best choice for most builds, those auras are just so strong. 

Best Aura To Get For Desert

Now there are three different flavors of desert mercenary that you can hire and each comes with a different aura: 

  • In Normal difficulty, you can get mercenaries with either the prayer aura which heals you, the defiance aura which increases your defense, or the blessed more which grants you attack rating.

  • In Nightmare and Hell, you can additionally get the Thorns aura which makes monsters take damage when they hit your mercenary, the Holy Freeze aura which slows enemies near your mercenary, and the Might aura which grants you and your mercenary increased physical damage.

Best Desert Setup To Choose For Your Build

Which of the desert mercenaries you hire depends on your needs:

  • If you are a build that deals physical damage either by yourself or through your summons or you just want your mercenary to be a strong source of physical damage by himself, then get the Might mercenary

  • If you're a build that uses only a single element as a damage source then you might want to get this mercenary to be able to deal with enemies that are immune to your element 

  • If you want a mercenary that brings excellent crowd control and helps keep you alive by slowing enemies get holy freeze

The normal difficulty mercenary choices don't matter a whole lot, but if you're an attack based character, you can get a blessed a mercenary before you reach nightmare, otherwise a prayer mercenary will give you some nice healing before you reach nightmare.

Best Weapons for Desert Merc

For his gear, the desert mercenary can equip spears, pole arms, and javelins. Which weapon you equip on your mercenary will depend on your build and your needs:

Weapon 1: Insight Thresher

If you are mana starved, you can give your mercenary the inside rune word because of its meditation aura

Weapon 2: Infinity Thresher

If you're a build that deals elemental damage and you're looking to maximize your damage then infinity is going to be the best choice, the infinity runeword grants a level 12 conviction aura which reduces enemy elemental resistances by 85 percent. Further, the Diablo 2 runeword will prevent monsters that your mercenary is attacking from healing which can be quite useful against certain enemies and it also makes enemies he hits lose up to 55 lighting resistance, making this invaluable for lightning builds. Also, infinity grants a 40% chance of crushing blow which is an incredibly useful tool for making your mercenary a significant source of damage, a crushing blow will deal an amount of damage scaled to the enemy's health rather than an absolute amount of damage, so this scales really well for enemies with larger hit point pools.

Weapon 3:

The Reaper's Toll

The Reaper's Toll

Two-Hand Damage: (34-40) To (408-479) (221-259.5 Avg)

Required Level: 75
Required Strength: 114
Required Dexterity: 89
Durability: 65
Base Weapon Speed: [-10]
+190-240% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignore Target's Defense
Adds 4-44 Cold Damage, Duration 0-2 Sec.
11-15% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
33% Deadly Strike
33% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Striking
Requirements -25%
(Ladder Only)
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

If you're running a physical damage build, you can equip your mercenary with the reaper's toll thresher. Every time he hits an enemy which will be every time he attacks an enemy since the weapon makes him ignore a target's defense. There will be a 33% chance that he inflicts the decrepify curse on an enemy which means for 4 seconds the enemy's damage speed and physical resistance are all reduced by 50 percent, 

Weapon 4: Pride War Pike

The better and more expensive option for a physical build would be the pride runeword which can grant up to a level 20 concentration aura and will give you 345 percent increased damage.

Best Helm & Armor for Desert Merc

For his helm and his armor, you're looking for pieces that keep him alive, affixes like damage reduction are important, percent life stolen per hit as well very important, and resistance is of course very strong so the below Diablo 2 items are good options:

Helm 1: Vampire Gaze with Um Rune

Vampire Gaze gives that 8% life stolen per hit along with up to 20% damage reduction

Helm 2: Andariel's Visage

Andariel's Visage is also a popular helm option here due to the 10 life stolen per hit and 20 increased attack speed 

Armor 1 (Cheap Option): Duriel's Shell

Duriel's Shell armor has 50% cold resist, 20% fire poison and lightning resist

Armor 2 (Expensive Option): Fortitude Sacred Armor

The fortitude rune word inserted into sacred armor grants a huge amount of defense and plus 30 to all resistances

Best Equipment for ACT 3 Mercenary - Iron Wolf Gear Setup

Iron wolves are spell blades wielding sword and board but casting magic, they come in three flavors, similar to a sorceress, fire cold, and lightning. Now the best option out of these three is the lightning iron wolf because he casts among his other skills, static field a spell that deals no flat damage but rather reduces an enemy's health based on a percentage. 

Best Equipment for Lightning Iron Wolf Merc

And if you're a fire druid, this can actually be your best in slot mercenary, when properly geared, with this setup you're going to teleport around and the mercenary is going to spam static feel; and if you execute this very well, this setup can actually outperform the standard Act 2 infinity setup.

Weapon: Crescent Moon Crystal Sword

The Crescent Moon rune word is a good option for lightning iron wolf merc, it reduces enemy lightning resistance by 35% making his static field more effective.

Crystal Sword[5 Sockets & 15ED]

Sale [5 Sockets]
Sale [15  EDmg]

Crystal Sword

Ichorsting 1H damage: 5-15
Base speed: [0]
Class speed: Ama, Asn, B, D, P, N - Fast
S - Normal
Adds range: 1
Durability: 20
Req Strength: 43
Quality level: 11
Treasure class: 12
Max sockets: 6

Helm: Griffon's Eye Diadem

you also want him casting that static feel as often as possible so a Griffon's Eye Diadem grants 25% faster cast rate plus one to all skills as well as negative 25% to enemy lighting resistance and 20% to lightning skill damage pop a rainbow fasted in there and that's another negative 5% enemy lightning resistance and plus 5% lightning skill damage. 

Best Equipment for Fire Iron Wolf Merc

If you're running a build designed to fight Ubers, then the fire iron wolf is actually an interesting option because he casts enchant which will give you a significant buff to your attack rating that said mercenaries rarely survive the uber fights. So you want to actually get your mercenary to cast enchant before you go into the fight. And if you're on a budget when it comes to gear this mercenary really is a recommended option for Ubers:

Weapon: Hexfire Shamshir

For the fire iron wolf, a Hexfire Shamshir grants plus 3 to fire skills which make his enchant even more potent 

Armor: Ormus's Robes Dusk Shroud

For his armor, Ormus's Robes grants plus 3 to enchant 

Helm: Flickering Flame

For his helm, the Flickering Flame rune word grants another plus 3 to fire skills

Other Gear For Iron Wolf Merc

Outside of those recommendations for helmet, armor and shield, you're looking for gear pieces that'll help with utility and survival, resistance damage reduction and if possible faster cast rate. 

Shield: Spirit Monarch

Spirit shield is an inviting option plus due to all skills 35% faster castrate and a bunch of resists, however in order to equip a spirit, you need to insert a Foul rune into his armor to grant him enough strength to equip the spirit and the monarch shield that you're going to put that spirit into needs to be ethereal.

Best Budget Iron Wolf Merc Gear Setup

For some more budget-friendly gear options we have:

Helm: Rockstopper Sallet

Armor: Shaftstop Mesh Armor or Skin of the Vipermagi Serpentskin Armor

Shield: Stormshield Monarch

Best Equipment for ACT 5 Mercenary - Barbarian Gear Setup

These Barbarian mercenaries come in two flavors: frenzy and bash. The barbarian is the tankiest mercenary and the frenzy version outperforms bash making the frenzy version the better option. In fact, the frenzy barbarian when fully geared with great D2 items is actually able to solo Uber bosses - you just gotta wait about 20 minutes for him to get the job done. 

Best Weapons & Runewrods for Barbarian Merc

If your build does not require you to have an Insight or Infinity rune word on your mercenary, then frenzy barb can be an inviting option to crank out more damage. The frenzy barb can equip two one-handed swords so we have a few options on how to gear him one option would be to outfit him:

Weapon & Runewrod 1: Dual Plague Runewords

It's a budget setup to help break enemy elemental immunities. When he gets hit, there's a chance to cast the lower resist curse.

Weapon & Runewrod 2: Dual Lawbringer Runewords

this one has a chance to cast decrepify instead of lore resistance which will either break their physical immunity or reduce their physical resistance, so if you're running a physical build this helps you out, otherwise, it helps the barbarian himself deal more damage.

Weapon & Runewrod 3: Dual Crescent Moon Runewords

This has a chance to trigger static field which like the ak-3 lightning mercenary will remove a fraction of the enemy's health, if you're not a poison build or physical build, then you may want to go for this

Weapon & Runewrod 4: Lawbringer Runeword + Death Phase Blade

If you need help with ACT bosses, you can give him one Lawbringer plus a Death Phase Blade, the Lawbringer brings to crepify and the death rune word has a 50 chance of crushing blow. Again that mechanic that deals damage that is a fraction of the enemy's health very effective against enemies with tons of health like act bosses. 

Best Helm & Armor for Barbarian Merc

In all cases, the best in slot helm and chest items are pieces that make him tanky and give him life leech, so we have the following options:

Helm: Vampire Gaze 

Vampire Gaze gives 8% life per hit, 20% damage reduction

Armor: Fortitude Sacered Armor

Fortitude rune word and sacred armor give a ton of defense and all resist.

That's all about this D2R 2.4 Ladder Mercenary guide. We have a big push for 2.4 and ladder start with the fast ladder leveling guide, the best builds for patch 2.4. Check out more useful guides on our Diablo 2 Resurrected guide page.


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