Martial Arts Assassin Build Guide - D2R 2.6

05.12.2022 - 11:21:09
D2R Builds , Diablo 2: Resurrected , Game Guides

Martial Arts Assassin Build Guide - D2R 2.6

Martial Arts Introduction

Martial arts Assassins also known as Elemental Assassins, specialise in particular elemental skills - Claws of Thunder, Fists of Fire, Blades of Ice and Phoenix strike to stalk and slay their enemies from the shadows. This unique build deals Fire, Cold and Lightning damage meaning no immune monster is safe. The ability to dual wield claws not only looks incredible, but also allows for more versatility when choosing your gear and also the ability block incoming damage from the Claw Block skill providing increased survivability.

This Build is extremely versatile with the option of adding traps in, however for this pure elemental build we will be focusing on the assassin's ability to use "charge up" skills and Phoenix strike, which is the core of this build. Once mastered this build is extremely fun to play and deletes any foe in sight. The build requires a certain amount of skill to play as you need to manage multiple skills with different mechanics, it takes some time to learn and master however the journey is worth it once you reach the end game!

Pros and Cons


  • Exceptional survivability
  • Unique playstyle
  • Immunes are not an issue
  • Viable for Ubers


  • Expensive early and end game items to make it viable
  • Hard to master but rewarding when you do
  • High attack rating essential
  • Not the most efficient Assassin build for magic finding

Skill Tree

Martial Arts:
  • Tiger Strike (1)
  • Phoenix Strike (20)
  • Fists of Fire (20)
  • Claws of Thunder (20)
  • Blades of Ice (20)
  • Dragon Flight (1)
  • Dragon Tail (remaining points)
Shadow Disciplines:
  • Cloak of Shadows (1)
  • Claw Mastery (1)
  • Mind Blast (1)
  • Burst of Speed (1)
  • Fade (1)
  • Shadow Master (1)
  • Shadow Warrior (1)
  • Psychic Hammer (1)
  • Weapon Block (1)
  • None
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Levelling as an Elemental Assassin is achievable although for an easier play through, you should choose to level Fire Blast and Wake of Fire. These two skills are particularly powerful early game and will carry you through normal very easily. The use of Burst of speed unlocked at level 6, is an amazing way to not only improve your attack speed, but also gives a speed movement bonus which is extremely useful for making your way through the game faster. I would recommend using this to your advantage and try to achieve level 45 before you reset your skills into Phoenix Strike as the transition will be much easier with the extra skill points available to you. This normally occurs at approximately Nightmare Act 3, and is a good time to reset your skills as the Council Members in Travincal are very difficult to kill with fire builds. Your damage will come from the "charge up" skills, and our main skill will be Phoenix Strike so focus your points here to begin with, then spend the remainder of your points in the synergies. With multiple forms of damage, immunes should not be an issue for you, although packs will still die rather slowly until you've obtained at least the Runeword "Infinity" as the Conviction aura received from this helps tremendously. Nevertheless you will still be able to make your way into hell and farm specific areas in Act 1 Hell effectively.

Early Game

This section is intended to showcase an item build that is achievable after completing the game and you are ready to start farming Hell. Most of these items are easily obtained and is a good starting base to be able to farm specific zones through hell. This early game build is quite expensive but is required to give you enough damage and survivability to comfortable farm areas.

Helm: "Lore" (Ort Sol) / Peasant Crown

Amulet: +X to Assassin Skills / Life + All Resistances/

Weapon #1: Bartucs Cut Throat Greater Talons (expensive for early game)

Weapon #2: Natalya's Mark / Rare Claw with + Assassin / Phoenix Strike Skills

Weapon Switch; Magic wand with Lower resist "Spirit" Runeword (Tal Thul Ort Amn)

Armor: "Treachery" (Shael Thul Lem) Skin Of the Viper Magi

Gloves: Death's Hand Leather Gloves

Belt: Death's Guard Sash

Rings: Utility Rings

Boots: Sanders Riprap Heavy Boots / Rare Boots with Faster Run Walk and Resistances

Inventory: Life / Resistance Charms

Mercenary: Act 2 Desert Mercenary with "Might" Aura and "Insight" Runeword (Ral Tir Tal Sol)

An alternative option for the early game is to try and obtain the full Natalya's Set, which is the class specific set for Assassins. It is relatively cheap, but provides great bonuses from obtaining the full set which help this build.

The Death's set is not often seen and is very easy to get hold of, the 2 item bonus we receive from the Gloves and Belt is +30% Increased Attack Speed and +15 All Resistances which is huge for an early game build - especially from 2 cheap and easy to obtain items.

Early game farm locations are similar to most other non-teleport builds, and I would recommend focusing your attention either in The Pit in Act 1 or Ancient Tunnels in Act 2. Both areas can drop any item in the game, and contain monsters with relatively low amounts of health compared to other areas later in the game. An alternative is to farm The Secret Cow Level which is a high density area and known for dropping high runes. If you intend to farm this area I would recommend obtaining the Death Sentry skill in the Trap tree. Death Sentry casts Corpse Explosion on corpses which deals Physical and Fire damage equal to a portion of the monsters life, Hell Bovine have large amounts of life so this works to our advantage. If you do decide to run this build in the early game, the downside is that you will need to reset your skill and stat points again once you switch back over to the end game build.

End Game

The End game build is expensive and will take some time to acquire but with all of this gear you will make a mockery of players 8 hell. The are alternative to a lot of the items (for example using a Rare Claw instead of Bartucs) however these can be very difficult to obtain.

The build hits the 11 frame Faster Cast Rate breakpoint (65%) and 5 frame Faster Hit Recovery (48%), with 7.14 hits per second from Dragon Talon and maximised Resistances with a high % of Damage Reduction making it an excellent all round build.

Helm: Griffon's Eye Diadem socketed with a +15% Increased Attack Speed / +15 All Resistances Jewel

Amulet: Crafted Caster Amulet - 2 Assassin Skills / 20 Faster Cast Rate / All res / Strength/ Life

Weapon #1: Bartucs Cut Throat socketed with as +15% Increased Attack Speed / +15 All Resistances Jewel

Weapon #2: "Plague" Runeword (Cham Shael Um) in a base with + Skills to Phoenix Strike

Weapon Swap: "Call to Arms" Runeword (Amn Mal Ral Ist Ohm) and Spirit Shield (Tal Thul Ort Amn)

Armor: "Enigma" Runeword (Jah Ith Ber)

Gloves: Rare Gloves with +2 Martial Arts, 20% Increased Attack Speed, Strength / Dexterity / Resistances

Rings: Ravenfrost, Stone of Jordan

Belt: Arachnids Mesh

Boots: Rare Boots with 30 Faster Run / Walk, 10 Faster Hit Recovery, Cold, Fire and Lightning Resistances

Inventory: 7x Grand Charms with + Martial Arts Skills and + Life

1x Grand Charm with + Martial Arts Skills and Faster Hit Recovery

9x Small Charms with Life and Resistances

Annihilus Small Charm

Assassin Hellfire Torch Large Charm

Mercenary: Act 2 Desert Mercenary with "Might" Aura and "Infinity" Runeword (Ber Mal Ber Ist), ethereal "Fortitude" (El Sol Dol Lo) and Andariel's Visage with an Increased Attack Speed and Fire Resistance Jewel.


Strength: Enough to wear your gear

Dexterity: Enough to wear the Claws

Vitality: The remainder of your points should be put here

Energy: None


An Elemental Assassin is a viable option for Hardcore. With a few minor changes to gear set up and stat distribution you can still achieve a great amount of success with a low chance of death. The first change is to equip a shield. The unique Monarch Stormshield is the best in slot option, boasting an incredible chance to block, extremely good Damage reduction along with nice Defence, Strength bonus and some added Resistance. Having The Skill Fade up at all times, your resistances to all elements will be maxed and with a high amount of Damage Reduction from Fade and Stormshield.

Your stat allocation will change slightly as you will need to add more points into Dexterity to reach a 75% chance to block.


The Playstyle for an Elemental Assassin is all about timing of your skills, dependant on which immunes are in your path. As an Assassin you do what assassins do and stalk out your prey then unleash all elements upon them using Phoenix Strike.

You will want to pre buff yourself and your Mercenary with Battle Command for the extra skill followed by Battle Orders to increase both your life and mana pool. As an Assassin you are looking to assassinate all the Unique monsters before they have a chance to realise. We use the Teleport skill from "Enigma" to move around the map and search for Unique / Champion packs or bosses to kill. The first step in taking them down is to charge up Phoenix Strike to reach its maximum potential, this only takes 3 successful hits which is achieved very quickly with the end game gear. Once we are fully charged, the full affect of this build can be unleased by using our finishing move Dragon Talon. Dragon Talon kicks the enemy multiple times and releases the charged-up Meteors, Chain Lightning and Ice Bolts from Phoenix Strike - the animation is chaotic, but a lot of fun to watch!

Using "Plague" Runeword means that we cast the Lower Resist curse on our enemies when struck, combining this with the Conviction aura from our Mercenary's "Infinity" means the monsters are left with very low resistances and die extremely fast.

Although an Elemental Assassin isn't seen as the most effective magic find character, it still has the ability to kill quickly and find exceptional loot. Where this build really shines is how it offers in a unique way of fighting foes, being toe to toe with them, and being able to use an array of different attacks. The playstyle is very fun and rewarding as you need to spend time learning how to master it.


Assassins are a popular choice for fighting Diablo Clone and Ubers, and this build can kill them comfortably with very small changes to our gear.

As with any Uber build, we want to maximise our % chance of Crushing Blow as this will deal the most damage to the Ubers. My recommendation for the gear is to swap out the helmet for Guillaume's Face (high % Crushing Blow), our belt for String of Ears, our gloves for Dracul's Grasp (% chance to cast Life Tap), weapons for Fleshripper (everything you want for fighting Ubers) and Stormshield and boots for upgraded Gore Riders. If your attack rating is low, you can also use a Ring and Amulet from the Angelic set for a huge boost.

The process is simple - cast all your prebuffs including Fade (very important!), isolate the Ubers then begin kicking them with Dragon Talon. Dragon Talon is not guaranteed to hit which is why it is important to gain a high Attack Rating, but with the gear recommended above you should have enough. Life Tap will be cast within a few hits which provides a huge amount of life steal and will sustain you through the fight. Watch them fall and pick up your new shiny Hellfire Torch!

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