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Holy Fire Paladin


Introduction

Have you ever wondered how it feels to juggle burning swords? Then the Holy Fire Paladin lets you fulfills your dream as the holy fire Aura imbues your attacks with massive Fire Damage. You also deal decent Physical Damage to keep your Life topped off in almost most situations.

But it doesn't end here! The Aura also deals damage in a massive area around your Paladin. This damage has been massively buffed in patch 2.4!

For this guide, we'll focus on the variant that actively uses Holy Fire in combination with zeal. This version works well on a reasonable investment, but if you want to throw a lot of currency at this build, check out the double dragon + hand of justice variant below! This build just charges around and Holy Fire just melts monsters on the screen!

Ideal Standard Setup

Holy Fire

Zeal

Charge

Teleport

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 75 before transitioning to it. Check out our Paladin Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 75.

Very Tanky ✔
Great Self-Sustain ✔
Fast Paced Action ✔
Engaging Melee Combat ✔
Low Investment To Start ✔

❌ Limited Farming Areas
❌ Starter Struggles In Hell
❌ Susceptible To Ranged Enemies
❌ Struggles On High Player Counts
❌ Extremely High Investment Required


Sunder Charm Setup

Patch 2.5 introduces a new way of breaking Immunities: Sunder Charms. Any enemy that would be Immune to your damage type is insted reduced to 95% Resistance, before any other Resistance reductions apply. (e.g. Conviction, Lower Resist) The Charm also reduces YOUR Resistance against the sundered damage type! Check out our post on Sunder Charms to learn more about these new Charms. The following setup uses Flame Rift, allowing you to farm anywhere you want.

Sunder Charm Setup

Gear Changes

To optimize this Sunder Charm we need as much -% Enemy Fire Resistance as possible. The Holy Fire Paladin only has the Helmet as a flexible item Slot for this stat. Equip Flickering Flame Diadem to reach -185% Enemy Fire Resistance combined with the maxed out Conviction Aura.

Flickering Flame Diadem also counteracts the negative effect of Flame Rift.


Terror Zones

The new Terror Zone mechanic combined with Sunder Charms open up a wide range of farmable areas. The following list highlights the best and worst Terror Zones for this build on the Budget setup. With the Sunder Charm Setup, more Terror Zones become accessible. Learn more about Terror Zones here and see how they stack up in our Terror Zone Tier List.

Best

Tal Rasha's Tombs - High Density, Many Elite Groups, Quick Access, SKIP Tombs with Burning Dead!
Flayer Jungle + Flayer Dungeon - High Density, Many Elite Groups, Quick Access, SKIP Shamans!
Stony Tomb ONLY - High Density, Many Elite Groups, Kill Elite Groups in Rocky Waste while searching
Far Oasis - High Density, Many Elite Groups, No Immunities
Frigid Highlands - Boss, Quick Access, ONLY KILL Eldritch the Rectifier

Worst

Chaos Sanctuary - Immunities
River of Flame + City of the Damned - Immunities, Tanky enemies
Worldstone Keep + Throne of Destruction - Immunities, Tanky enemies, High incoming Damage
Arcane Sanctuary - Immunities, Trash Mobility
Outer Steppes + Plains of Despair - Immunities, Tanky enemies, High incoming Damage


Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Holy Shield
2. Vigor
3. Zeal (maxed later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Holy Fire
2. Resist Fire
3. Salvation
4. Zeal
5. Sacrifice

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Holy Fire* is your main Damage Skill in combination with zeal. It applies Fire Damage to your attacks and deals radial damage every 2 seconds. The radial damage increases the closer enemies are to the Character.

Zeal* is your main Damage Skill. It is empowered by holy fire and hits up to 5 times in quick succession.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* Skills that do NOT utilize either FCR or IAS

Utility

Holy Shield* is a temporary buff that boosts your Defense and Chance to Block. It also grants improved Faster Block Rate Breakpoints and improves Smite damage based on its Level. This Skill requires a Shield.

Charge* makes your Paladin instantly jet forward towards the position of your cursor. Making contact with an enemy in the process makes him abruptly stop and swing his weapon. Continually using this ability allows you to quickly cover long distances. Use this Skill for mobility if not using Enigma.

Vigor* While active, this Aura provides your Paladin and members of your Party with increased Faster Run/Walk based on its Level.

Resist Lightning* While active, this Aura provides your Paladin and members of your Party with increased Lightning Resistance based on its Level. Every 2 Skill Points put into this Skill raises the cap on your Maximum Lightning Resistance by 1.

Cleansing* While active, this Aura provides your Paladin and members of your Party with Poison Length Reduction and Curse Length Reduction based on its Level. This Aura is especially useful after killing the 2nd Baal Wave in the Throne of Destruction or if Cursed with Amplify Damage.

teleport* is a Skill used for mobility. It repositions your Character and Mercenary to your cursor's position. Repeatedly cast it to cover long distances.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)
* Skills that do NOT utilize either FCR or IAS


Attributes

Note: This section provides you with the standard Stat Point allocation. Build Variants can require a different allocation!

Strength

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Strength your gear provides when equipped.

Dexterity

Allocate enough Stat Points into Dexterity to reach max Chance to Block (75%). More Dexterity is needed at higher character levels. In addition to Dexterity and character level, shield bases also affect Chance to Block.

Vitality

Allocate any remaining Stat Points into Vitality after meeting Strength, Dexterity and Energy requirements.

Energy

Don't allocate any Stat Points into Energy. This build gets enough Mana from gear, buffs, Charms, and Mana Potions.


Essentials

Gear Options

While every Stat in the Desirable Stats column is useful for this build, we highlighted the Priority Stats in Teal so you can easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

Hover over any Item to see a pop-out with the full Item description.

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refers here.
1) These items are used in combination to add up to a Level 44 Holy Fire Aura. They are not added to the Holy Fire Skill Level when you actively use it!
2) This 2-piece combination provides massive Increased Attack Speed, Cannot Be Frozen and All Resistances on your budget build!
3) This 2-piece combination provides massive Attack Rating to your budget build!

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponHand of Justice Phase Blade1
Grief Phase Blade
Oath Phase Blade
Oath Berserker Axe
Stormlash
Unbending Will Phase Blade
Death Cleaver
Plague Phase Blade
Lightsabre
Hexfire (upped, shael rune)
Level x holy fire Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Enhanced Damage
-x% to Enemy Fire Resistance
Off-HandExile Sacred Targe
Dragon Sacred Targe1
Spirit Sacred Targe
Herald of Zakarum
Dragonscale
Rhyme Sacred Targe
Phoenix Sacred Targe
x% Chance to cast Level x life tap on striking
Level x holy fire Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x to Combat Skills (Paladin Only)
+x to Offensive Auras (Paladin Only)

+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% to Fire Skill Damage
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x

Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Staff of Teleportation
Wand of Lower Resistance
spellsteel
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders

Level x Lower Resist [x/x Charges]
Level x Teleport [x/x Charges]
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Sacred Targe+x to All Skills
HelmetsFlickering Flame Diadem
Crown of Ages (2x Rainbow Facet)
Harlequin Crest (Rainbow Facet)
Wisdom Diadem
Kira's Guardian
Rockstopper
Vampire Gaze
Rare Diadem
+x to All Skills
+x to Fire Skills

+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit
-x% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+x% to Fire Skill Damage

X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Body ArmorEnigma Mage Plate
Dragon Mage Plate1
Guardian Angel
treachery
chains of honor
Level x holy fire Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills

+x to Paladin Skills
+x to teleport
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Increased Attack Speed
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
GlovesLaying of Hands
magefist
Dracul's Grasp
Death's Hand2
+x% Increased Attack Speed
X Resist +x%
BeltsArachnid Mesh
String of Ears
Nosferatu's Coil
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Trang-Oul's Girth
Death's Guard (upgraded)2
+x to All Skills
+x% Life stolen per hit
Cannot Be Frozen
Damage Reduced by x%
BootsGore Rider
Aldur's Advance
war traveler
waterwalk
Natalya's Soul
Rare Boots
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
X Resist +x%
AmuletsHighlord's Wrath
The Cat's Eye
Mara's Kaleidoscope
Metalgrid
Angelic Wings3
Caster Crafted Amulet
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x to Attack Rating
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Ringsraven frost
Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
the stone of jordan
Rare Ring
Rare Ring
Angelic Halo3
Manald Heal
+x to All Skills
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit
+x to Attack Rating
Cannot Be Frozen
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Offensive Auras (Paladin Only)
+x% Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Attribute
+ Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsFlame Rift
Gheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Paladin)
Annihilus
Monster Fire Immunity is Sundered
+x to Paladin Skill Levels
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +xx%
Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Reduces all Vendor Prices x%

Farming Spots

The areas below are efficient farming locations that make use of the build’s strengths. Other farming spots might not be as effective due to immunities or bad layouts. These areas are strong without a Sunder Charm.

Anything that has a in the "Starter" column can be farmed with the Starter or Budget Variant.

Act 1

AreaStarterRewards
Mausoleum-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
The Pit-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
AndarielUniques
Sets
Jewelry
The Secret Cow LevelRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels

Act 2

AreaStarterRewards
Stony TombsAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Arcane Sanctuary
(Specters/Super Chests)
-Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Jewelry
Summoner-Key of Hate

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
PindleskinGearing
Gold
Leveling
Icy Cellar-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Worldstone Keep / Throne of Destruction-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Baal / Waves-Uniques
Sets
Max Area Level
Leveling

Mercenary

Your Mercenary serves an incredibly important role to the overall success of your build. They can be a front line tank, provide a pivotal Aura, and/or deal Physical Damage to kill enemies with Immunity to your Skill set.

Act 2 Desert Mercenary

The Act 2 Desert Mercenary is hired from Greiz.
He can be equipped with a Spear or a Polearm, a Body Armor and a Helmet. 
Every Act 2 Mercenary has access to an Aura and uses Jab as his base Attack. The Aura activates once the Mercenary has engaged in combat and remains active between traveling to and from town. The Auras available are based on what difficulty you hire the Mercenary from.

Might Infinity

Infinity, Might

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to deal with enemies that are immune to your main damage source.
Equip him with Infinity to reduce enemy Resistances and Defense with Conviction Aura, drastically boosting damage.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
Infinity Giant Thresher
Smoke
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Any Body Armor)
Fortitude
(Body Armor, 700++ Base Defense)
Any Helmet
with Resistance / Life
Tal Rasha's Horadric CrestAndariel’s Visage
(Ethereal)

The Mercenary is hard to keep alive until you have the minimum gear recommended in this guide. Remember you can drag Healing Potions onto the portrait, or shift + 1/2/3/4 to directly feed them a Healing Potion from your Belt. The Mercenary also gains bonus Resistances from Thawing Potions and Antidote Potions.

If your Mercenary dies in battle, you can revive them from any of the Mercenary NPCs in each Act. This does come with an increasing cost, capping at 50,000 Gold. Keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General

  • At the start of your farming session, cast holy shield to bring up your Chance to Block.
  • Use charge, vigor and teleport from a Staff of Teleportation to quickly get to your farming location of choice.
  • Swap to Holy Fire and use zeal to attack your enemies. The radial damage starts weakening your enemies, preparing them for your burning sword!

Immunities

  • Switch to fanaticism when you encounter an Immune to Fire monster. In combination with your Mercenary, you can bring them down quickly, unless they are also Immune to Physical. In this case you have to skip them.
  • flame Rift sets the Resistances of Immune to Fire monster to 95%. With some -x% Enemy Fire Resistance, you can start dealing some damage to them as well.

Late-Game

  • At the beginning of each run, buff yourself by swapping to Call to Arms and cast Battle Command 2 times, followed by Battle Orders. Cast Holy Shield on the Weapon Swap that gives you the higher Skill Level. Make sure these buffs stay active all the time, because they are essential to your survivability. 

Standard Variant

  • Use Teleport from enigma to get to your farm quickly. Utilize the Faster Cast Rate from your Weapon Swap while teleporting. Engage enemies tele-stomping on them directly. Exile provides you with the necessary Life sustain through life tap.
  • Keep your Mercenary close to apply conviction to the targets you are fighting.

Double dragon + hand of justice

  • On this variant of the build, you are actively using the Conviction Aura. It excels on a low player count and in areas that don't have any naturally occurring Fire Immune monsters. When low enough, you can just charge around and watch your enemies perish. Just for a reference, Cows in The Secret Cow Level die in 2-3 ticks of holy fire on /players 1!
  • You can dive into higher player counts as well. To go up in difficulty, make sure to add zeal to your gameplay.
  • Switch to fanaticism to kill enemies with zeal that are still Immune to Fire.
  • The ideal Mercenary also uses 2 dragon and a hand of justice. Try to keep him alive as much as possible, he allows you to go to higher player counts due to the addition of a powerful static field.

Breakpoints

Breakpoints in Diablo 2 are the minimum values required to reduce the frames of an action. Below are the important breakpoints considered for this build. For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)

Faster Cast Rate speeds up your casting animation for spells. Aim for at least the 55% FCR Breakpoint on swap. Note: FCR only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal Cooldowns spells have.

Frames1514131211109
FCR0918304875125

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

Increased Attack Speed speeds up your attack animations. Weapon bases have different IAS breakpoints. Values for recommended weapon options provided below. Consult the d2planner for other bases.

Phase Blade

Total Frames 5 Zeal hits3430292824
Zeal IAS813245472

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery increases survivability. Aim for at least the 86% FHR Breakpoint.

Frames9876543
FHR0715274886200

Faster Block Rate (FBR)

Faster Block Rate does not need to be obtained for this build. Holy Shield already reduces the block animation to 2 frames through a hidden mechanic.

Frames21
Holy Shield FBR086

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary focus is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Maximum Life. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.
This build is Hardcore viable. If you are unaccustomed to this playstyle, we recommend trying this build on Softcore to gain experience on how to successfully pilot it.


Build Variants

Budget

Setup

The Holy Fire Paladin relies on some specific Affixes to properly work. This setup allows you to deal with any Immune to Fire monster you encounter in low player counts.
Cover the "Cannot Be Frozen"-Affix with Raven frost or the new Wisdom Runeword. angelic halo + angelic wings cover your Attack Rating needs. gorerider bring Crushing Blow into the mix, which speeds up boss fights significantly. And upgraded hexfire socketed with a shael rune and laying of hands gets you to a great Attack Speed Breakpoint. With treachery's Fade, spirit, and Charms you can ensure capped Resistances.

Mercenary

The Budget Mercenary focuses on its survival. With an insight, treachery and a Life Leech Helmet like vampire gaze make him very durable.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Holy Shield
2. Vigor
3. fanaticism
4.Zeal (maxed later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Holy Fire
2. Resist Fire
3. Salvation
4. Zeal

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear. Put enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup

The standard version mixes the Holy Fire Zealer with some massive Physical Damage from Grief Phase Blade. Exile Sacred Targe brings great sustain through life tap. Holy Fire scales with +x to Skills and -x% Enemy Fire Resistance. The new Runeword flickering flame, Highlord's Wrath, and Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band are great sources for these stats. With laying of hands and Highlord's Wrath you reach the fastest Breakpoint possible. arachnid mesh allows you to teleport with Enigma. Replace one of your Captain's Grand Charm of Vita for Flame Rift to open up even more farmable areas!

Mercenary

The Mercenary is clear-cut across all variants. Use the Might (Damage) or Holy Freeze (Crowd Control) version, depending on your preference. Use Infinity War Pike, Fortitude Sacred Armor, and Andariel's Visage socketed with Ruby Jewel of Fervor to keep him alive permanently.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Holy Shield
2. Vigor
3. Fanaticism
4. Zeal (maxed later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Holy Fire
2. Resist Fire
3. Salvation
4. Zeal
5. Sacrifice

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear. Put enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Dragon + HoJ

Setup

The double Dragon + hand of justice setup is unique. With only these 3 items and your skill tree, this build is ready to destroy enemies on /players 1. The remaining gear is completely flexible. You can mix and match items to cap out your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Magic Find, and more. The Crown of Ages with 2 Rainbow Facets is your best helmet options as the +3 to Fire Skills from flickering flame doesn't apply to the item-granted Holy Fire Aura. Add a raven frost, laying of hands and a Dual Leech Ring to turn this build into an effective Zealer. This allows you to farm in higher player count. The new Flame Rift Sundered Charm opens up a lot more farmable areas. Check out the Sundered Charm Setup above on how to integrate it for this variant.

Mercenary

The Act 5 Frenzy provides more reliable Static Field than the Act 3 Lightning version. Using 2x Crescent Moon Conquest Sword, a Fortitude Sacred Armor, and Andariel's Visage socketed with a Ruby Jewel of Fervor makes him almost unkillable, allowing you to go into a much higher player count.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Holy Shield
2. Vigor
3. Fanaticism
4. Zeal (maxed later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Conviction
2. Resist Fire
3. Salvation
4. Zeal
5. Sacrifice

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear. Put enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Ubers

Setup

The Uber variant is based on the double Dragon and Hand of Justice setup.

Replace the helmet for Guillaume's Face (Um Rune) and boots for Gore Rider. These items provide the much-needed % Chance of Crushing Blow and % Chance of Open Wounds.

Put a Bone Wand of Lower Resistance into your Horadric Cube and replace it with your call to arms after you used Battle Orders. Use it against the Ubers to increase your damage.

Fill up your inventory with Resistance Charms to cap them out and over cap Lightning Resist.

Mercenary

The Fire version of the Iron Wolf provides you with up to +452% Attack Rating by applying Enchant. He will NOT survive the Ubers, so don't worry about keeping him alive. He only buffs you if you're in combat. Run out to any Waypoint you have and find random monsters to trigger it. Add as many +x to Skills as you can to boost his Enchant. Hexfire, Ormus' Robes, Flickering Flame, and a Lidless Wall are his optimal setup until he has enough Strength for Spirit Monarch.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Holy Shield
2. Vigor
3. Fanaticism
4. Zeal (maxed later)

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Conviction
2. Resist Fire
3. Salvation
4. Zeal
5. Sacrifice

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip your gear. Put enough Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.


Summary

  • Use Charge, vigor and teleport to move around quickly.
  • Activate holy Shield at the start of each farming session to increase your % Chance to Block.
  • Let your enemies feel the fire with Zeal. This is the best option for both multiple and single targets.
  • Switch to fanaticism to deal with Immune to Fire monsters and skip enemies that also are Immune to Physical.
  • Keep your Mercenary close to apply conviction to enemies you are fighting on the standard variant of this build.
  • Try out the double dragon + hand of justice when you have enough currency for it!

The Holy Fire Paladin is a great alternative to the pure Physical Damage Zealer. It is amazing to play a build where enemies perish from your mere presence!

Good luck!


Credits

Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi


Changelog

Sep 19th 2022
Updated to Patch 2.5 - Added Sundered Charms and Terror Zones

Apr 18th 2022
Added on Patch 2.4