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Rift Assassin Guide


Introduction

The Rift Assassin, also known as Riftsin, is one of few builds that is defined by a Runeword - Rift. She makes use of dragon talon to proc as many Frozen Orbs as possible. Combined with the Physical Damage of dragon talon, and Death Sentry's Physical and Fire Damage combo, the Riftsin uses 3 damage types to destroy her enemies.

Her gear options are very flexible, as she only relies on Rift, Elite-Base Boots, and some Attack Rating to hit monsters.

Disclaimer: The Riftsin is limited to a low /playercount, because she has very limited ways of scaling the Frozen Orb damage.

Ideal Standard Setup

Dragon Talon

Death Sentry

Burst of Speed

Frozen Orb

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

Very Tanky ✔
Multiple Damage Types ✔
Frozen Orbs EVERYWHERE! ✔

Exciting Close Range Combat ✔

❌ Low Mobility
❌ Limited Scaling Capability
❌ Restricted To Low Playercount
❌ Build Up Time For Area Damage


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 instead 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 either uses Cold Rupture, Flame Rift or both, depending on the farm you want to enter:

  • Only Cold Rupture in areas that primarily has Immune to Cold monsters.
  • Only Flame Rift in areas that primarily has Immune to Fire monsters.
  • Cold Rupture and Flame Rift in areas with monsters both Immune to Cold and Immune to Fire.
Sunder Charm Setup

Gear Changes

The Rift Assassin can utilize 2 Sundered Charms but the only place to further optimize their use with -x% Enemy Resistances is limited to 2 Sockets (Shield and Helmet). Prioritize -x% Enemy Cold Resistance from Rainbow Facet Jewel. This nets you the most damage.

Your inventory has a lot of space for Resistance charms. Use the space to counteract the effects of Cold Rupture and Flame Rift. Keep as much Faster Run/Walk and Attack Rating as possible.


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

The Secret Cow Level - High Density, No Immunities
Tristram - High Density, Many Elite Groups
The Tower Cellar - High Density, Many Elite Groups
Far Oasis - Many Elite Groups, Quick Access
Frigid Highlands - Quick Access, Only Kill Eldritch the Rectifier

Worst

Chaos Sanctuary - Slow Access, Tanky enemies
Lost City + Valley of Snakes + Claw Viper Temple - High Physical Damage, Tanky enemies
Act 3 Sewers - Low Density, Trash Mobility, Few Elite Groups, Slow Access
Arreat Plateau - Low Density, Trash Mobility,
River of Flame + City of the Damned - Trash Mobility, Low Density, Tanky enemies


Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Cloak of Shadows
3. Mind Blast
4. Blade Shield
5. Death Sentry (More Later)
6. Burst of Speed
7. Venom

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Death Sentry
3. Shadow Warrior
4. Venom
5. Fire Blast

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Dragon Talon* is your main Damage Skill. The Assassin executes a series of kicks onto the selected target, applying the Kick-Damage from Boots. It also is the main trigger of Frozen Orb from Rift.

Frozen Orb* is a secondary Damage Skill triggered from the Runeword Rift, adding a good amount of Cold Damage.

Death Sentry* is a secondary Damage Skill used for Area of Effect damage after killing some initial targets in some playstyles.

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

Utility

Blade Shield* casts a shield that deals a fraction of your Weapon's Damage as Physical Damage to enemies in proximity of the Assassin. It also triggers Frozen Orb from Rift.

Burst of Speed* provides a massive movement speed and Attack Speed buff. This increases your mobility and the rate you lay Traps.

Venom* adds Poison Damage to every attack while active.

Mind Blast* allows you to Stun enemies within a small area and provides a % chance to convert enemies. This can be very useful to create safe spaces to fight within.

Cloak of Shadows* blinds monsters in a large area, reducing their aggro range, allowing you to pass them without problems.

Shadow Warrior* not only acts as a tank or distraction for enemies on this build. You utilize their ability to lay Death Sentrys to reduce the amount you have to cast.

dragon flight* allows you to reposition yourself and your Mercenary, teleporting both to a targeted monster.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)
* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)


Attributes

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

Strength

Allocate 250 Stat Points into Strength to gain additional Physical Damage on melee attacks.

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

Do not allocate any Stat Points into Energy. Mana costs are covered by “x% Mana Stolen per Hit” or “+x Mana after each Kill” on gear.


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.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponRift War Scepter
Voice of Reason
x% Chance to cast Level 21 Frozen Orb on attack
Off-HandStormshield (Rainbow Facet Jewel)
Gerke's Sanctuary
Rhyme Bone Shield
Moser's Blessed Circle
Jeweler's Monarch of Deflecting
+x% Faster Block Rate
x% Increased Chance of Blocking

X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Damage Reduced by x
Magic Damage Reduced by x
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch+x to All Skills
HelmetsCrown of Ages/d2planner-item] (2 [d2planner-item profile=me0106el id=4]Rainbow Facets)
Nightwing's Veil (Rainbow Facet)
Kira's Guardian
+x% to Cold Skill Damage
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
Socketed [x]
Body ArmorFortitude Wire Fleece
Duress
Duriel's Shell
Lionheart
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x to Life
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Lava Gout
Bloodfist
5% Chance to cast level 10 Life Tap on striking
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x to Life
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
BeltsNosferatu's Coil
String of Ears
Goldwrap Battle Belt (Upgraded)
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Life stolen per hit
Slows target by x%
+x to Vitality
Damage Reduced by x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BootsGore Rider Myrmidon Greaves (Upgraded)
Shadow Dancer
Goblin Toe Mirrored Boots (Upgraded twice)
Aldur's Advance Mirrored Boots (Upgraded)
Kick Damage (UPGRADE YOUR BOOTS!)
+x% Faster Run/Walk
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
X Resist +x%
AmuletsMara's Kaleidoscope
Highlord's Wrath
theCat'seye
Angelic Wings (2-piece Set)
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
X Resist +x%
+x% Increased Attack Speed
All Resistances +x
RingsRaven Frost
Rare Ring
Angelic Halo (2-piece Set)
Manald Heal
+x to Attack Rating
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x to Dexterity
X Resist +x%
All Resistances +x
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x% Faster Run / Walk
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsCold Rupture
Flame Rift
Gheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Assassin)
Annihilus
Monster Cold Immunity is Sundered
Monster Fire Immunity is Sundered
+x to Assassin 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 "Budget" column can be farmed with the Budget Variant.

Act 1

AreaBudgetRewards
The CountessRunes
Key of Terror
The PitAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
The Secret Cow LevelRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels

Act 2

AreaBudgetRewards
Stony TombAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Arcane Sanctuary
(Specters/Super Chests)
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Jewelry
SummonerKey of Hate

Act 3

AreaBudgetRewards
Arachnid LairAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Travincal-Gearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold

Act 4

AreaBudgetRewards
City of the Damned-All Item Types
River of Flame-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Chaos Sanctuary-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Diablo-Uniques
Sets

Act 5

AreaBudgetRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
PindleskinGearing
Gold
Leveling
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 increase your Physical Damage output. Equip him with Infinity Giant Thresher for the Conviction Aura to increase the damage of Frozen Orb.

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

  • Buff yourself with Burst of Speed and Venom at the start of your farming session and keep these buffs active at all times.
  • Summon your Shadow Warrior and switch back to Burst of Speed. The Shadow Warrior only uses the Skills that you have active on your Skill Bar. Wait until he buffed himself with Burst of Speed, then switch to Death Sentry on your right Skill.
  • Run to your farm and find enemies you want to fight. Lay 1-2 Death Sentry Traps, then engage them with Dragon Flight. When you are in melee range, switch to dragon talon and kill some monsters. Your Death Sentry deal massive Area Damage with their Corpse Explosions.
  • Reposition yourself and your Mercenary with Dragon Flight whenever necessary.

Immunities

  • The Rift Assassin deals 3 damage types. You won't face monsters that are completely Immune to your damage.
  • Cold Rupture combined with your Mercenaries' infinity allow you to kill anything you face. Make sure to counteract the negative Cold Resistance with more Charms.

Late-Game

  • Switch to your Weapon-Swap and buff yourself with Battle Command twice and Battle Orders. Continue with Burst of Speed, Venom, and summon your shadow warrior. Repeat Battle Command, and Battle Orders again to buff him, then proceed to your farm.
  • Keep your Mercenary close to the enemies you are fighting. Both the Frozen Orb procs and death sentry benefit from the -% Enemy Resistances. It also increases your Chance to Hit with dragon talon, as it reduces your enemies' Defense as well!

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.

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.

Rift War Scepter

Frames2019
Dragon Talon010

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery increases survivability. Aim for at least the 27% FHR Breakpoint.

Frames9876543
FHR0715274886200

Faster Block Rate (FBR)

Faster Block Rate increases survivability. Aim for at least the 32% Faster Block Rate Breakpoint.

Frames54321
FBR0133286600

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 can become Hardcore viable with key changes to the Skills, Stat Point allocation, and items. Review the changes below before building this character, as they may differ significantly from the normal build.

Stat Point Changes

  • Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip all of your gear.
  • Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Build Variants

Budget

Setup

Rift War Scepter is the core item of this build. Using a higher Tier base has no impact on your damage output. Use Rhyme Bone Shield for easy access to max Chance to Block and the must-have Cannot Be Frozen Stat. Rockstopper, and String of Ears provide you with the much-needed stat Damage Reduced by x%. Upgraded Gore Riders give a massive damage boost against bosses due to its % Chance of Crushing Blow and % Chance of Open Wounds. Lava Gout are great for both Increased Attack Speed and the % Chance to cast level 10 Enchant which increases your Attack Rating significantly. A manald heal rounds the build up with % Mana stolen per hit.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with an Insight Partizan and don't think about your Mana anymore, unless he perishes. Treachery Mage Plate, and Crown of Thieves provide him with the tools to stay alive: % Life stolen per hit, Resistances, Increased Attack Speed, and Damage Reduced by x%.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Cloak of Shadows
3. Mind Blast
4. Blade Shield
5. Death Sentry (More Later)
6. Venom

Put 5 Skill Points into Burst of Speed

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Death Sentry
3. Shadow Warrior
4. Venom

Attributes

Allocate enough Strength to wear your gear and put enough into Dexterity to reach 50% Chance to Block. Put any remaining Stat Point into Vitality.

Standard

Setup

Rift War Scepter is the core item of this build. Using a higher Tier base has no impact on your damage output. Equip Fortitude Wire Fleece and Gore Rider for high damage from dragon talon. Use a Stormshield (Eld Rune) for easy access to max Chance to Block and combine it with Crown of Ages to reach Damage Reduced by 50%. A Raven Frost provides Cannot Be Frozen, which is essential for this build. A dual leech Rare Ring improves your Mana management. Combined with Life Tap from Dracul's Grasp, your Life sustain is taken care of. Nosferatu's Coil brings you to the maximum Attack Speed Breakpoint for Dragon Talon. Fill your Inventory with Faster Run/Walk, Attack Rating and Resistances.

Mercenary

We use the Might version to increase our Physical Damage output. Equip him with and Infinity Giant Thresher for the Conviction Aura. Andariel's Visage with Ruby Jewel of Fervor combined with a Fortitude Sacred Armor make him almost invincible.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Dragon Flight
2. Cloak of Shadows
3. Mind Blast
4. Blade Shield
5. Death Sentry (More Later)
6. Burst of Speed
7. Venom

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Dragon Talon
2. Death Sentry
3. Shadow Warrior
4. Venom
5. Fire Blast

Attributes

Allocate 200 Stat Points into Strength to increase your Physical Damage as much as possible. Put enough into Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block, and any remaining Point into Vitality.


Summary

  • The Shadow Warrior only uses the Skills that you have selected in your Skill bar. Make sure they buff themselves with Burst of Speed, then keep Death Sentry on right click in battle!
  • The Riftsin is limited to a low player count. Don't use it beyond 3 players in the game (/players 3 in Single Player)!
  • Buff yourself with Burst of Speed, Venom, Battle Command, and battle orders.
  • Immunities are not a problem. The Rift Assassin deals 3 damage types.

The Rift Assassin has a unique playstyle that feels very rewarding when it is executed properly and the RNG-gods are with you. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do when playing around with it!

Good luck!


Credits

Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi


Changelog

Oct 7th 2022
Added on Patch 2.5