Heroes of Hammerwatch – Pestilence Paladin / Million Damage+ Guide

This guide focuses on Paladin and I suspect I can increase your damage by a factor of 10 or more if you haven’t spent time figuring out this game’s stat screen.
This guide will show you how to make a skill-based Paladin build, and we will go into the pros and cons on this build.
Please note that my guides are dependent on specific item and statue configurations, so you will need access to a fully upgraded Tavern, Magic Anvil, Shop, as well as at least level 1 statues which you can find in the new DLC. This guide is intended for people who are dipping their toes into NG+2-3 and have amassed drinks and blueprints already. I offer alternatives to help though!


Welcome to my first go at a guide for Heroes of Hammerwatch. I’ve put quite a few hours into this game, and have every class at ng+7 or higher. Nothing too crazy, but I’m more limited by the fact that I find the game boring by myself, not so much that I can’t progress.

So my intention is to help people gain a deeper understanding of game mechanics and such to help bring a bunch more people into the realm of ng+10 and higher. I get more people to play with, and you get to wreck face. It’s a win/win.

So why should you listen to me? I’ve helped a number of people in game increase their damage by several magnitudes (One example is a paladin going from doing ~250,000 damage in a ng+9 run and making him now do 15,000,000+. Yes, gains like this are possible). This game does not explain stats well and further, it does not explain the relationship of base damage, additive damage, and multiplicative damage very well. The end result is a lot of people playing sub-optimally, which isn’t fun!

I tend to build characters for skill damage, even the non-mage classes. I’ll go into why in a later section, first we need to talk about the requirements of this build because skill builds for non-mages require some setup.


This build does have some requirements. There is some wiggle room that we will go into with the Preparation section, this is just a checklist of things for you for the non-negotiables.

  • Tavern, fully upgraded (List of drinks below)
  • Magic Anvil
  • General Store, fully upgraded
  • Chapel (Not required but recommended)
  • PoP DLC for Statues (Statues enable a whole range of builds, they are 100% required)

  • Amulet of Vengeance Blueprint (ng+2+ blue blueprint)
  • Evil Infusion Drink (ng+2+ blue drink)
  • Wicked Sickness Drink (ng+2+ blue drink)
  • Incendiary Demise Drink (ng+2+ blue drink)
  • Bolgarth Statue blueprint (level 1 is fine, ng+0 pyramid)
  • Kyra Statue blueprint (not REQUIRED but highly highly highly recommended, ng+0 pyramid)

Attack Power vs Skill Power

Paladin, Ranger, Thief, and Gladiator will all contain this section because it isn’t obvious these ‘physical’ classes should be built with skill power in mind, mostly because I don’t think many people understand what is classified as a ‘Skill’. It’s more than just your abilities.

It’s actually simplest to understand by listing what isn’t considered a Skill. It’s a very short list.

  • Left Click Attack
  • Chapel Upgrade

That’s it. Everything else is a skill. Item effects, abilities, statues, combo nova. All of this is considered skill damage and is affected by skill crit, skill lifesteal, etc.

Attack Power has one big claim to fame and it’s the Gladiator class title. You can increase attack power crit infinitely, and at some point it might be able to overtake certain skill power builds as a result. We are probably talking in the realm of ng+25 or higher. It’s far more complicated than this I think, and I will go into each specific class in their respective guide, but it’s something to keep in mind. That being said, any build that utilizes either Kyra or Wylmir will likely outscale any Attack-focused build and that’s because these two statues increase base damage, which makes every point of skill power or crit better.

Kyra’s damage increases by 4 per statue level. Even as early as Statue Level 7, the arrows are stronger than any classes maxed primary attack (not to mention you get 2 of them AND their pierce non-bosses!). Yes it’s a 50% proc rate but having a ‘primary’ attack you can scale the base damage of is HUGE in this game.

That 4 damage with 200 Skill Power and running Wicked Sickness turns into an additional 64 damage (4 * (200 skill power at 2% damage per point)) * 3 (wicked sickness increases damage by 200%, so 16 becomes 48).

Now we land a critical, and that 48 becomes 264. This also means that every level of Kyra makes 1 skill power that much better, and that is why I believe skill power will always outscale attack power. As you progress to something like Kyra +25, you are making your existing skill power worth more and more, whereas the physical is always acting on the same base value of your chapel and left click max rank. Throw in the fact that skill power includes things like AE effects, chain lightning, damage return (Wrath of the Thunderlord is AMAZING on skill builds) and I just don’t see Attack Power competing. It might have a shot at single target damage, but why not just go skill and have both single target and aoe and just make a bunch of items you probably think suck a lot more fun?

Oh, and we haven’t even talked about Wylmir. You think Kyra is powerful? Wylmir is batshit insane. Not all classes utilize it, but the ones that do, hoo boy. Be excited.

So, that’s it. If I still haven’t convinced you, you are probably that .1% in NG+40 and you have reached that cliff where things get funky. If so, let me know! I would love to discuss this stuff.


I will list the drinks I run with, and some others with my reasoning.

  • The Safe Bet – 20% more OVERALL armor/resist is nuts. Combine this with Cedric as well to also have this give a nice skill power boost. This helps make keeping up with ng+ difficulties far easier.
  • Incendiary Demise – This is used more for the negative effect than anything. This will cause Scarab to trigger non-stop as well as make Amulet of Vengeance very consistent.
  • Evil Infusion – In my opinion, the superior lifesteal drink BY FAR. This is the only source of skill lifesteal in the game, and it works on all skill damage (including Kyra, Bolgarth, Items like Scarab, and even Combo Pulse and Poison). You do pay a serious price to your manhood though, it becomes harder to dash around an empty map due to the 10% Max HP cost added to your charge.
  • Unbalanced Essence – I think this drink becomes worse the further in the game you get (especially if you have a Wizard in the NG+15 range), but early in the game it in incredibly powerful. The Paladin does not have a mana dump skill (charge is not a damage skill, and even if it was I would puke playing that build) so the pure 200% skill damage is welcome. I would swap this out for Starlight for the 15% crit once you can reliably start a run with 200-300 skill power though.
  • Wicked Sickness – This drink is overlooked I think because being in combo all the time sounds like a massive hassle, but it isn’t. 200% extra damage in combo is HUGE, and you can be in combo for a good 95% of your run without stressing about it. It actually makes the game even more fun because suddenly those Sphere items are amazing. We will get into the combo aspect of this build, but for now drink this!

As mentioned above, I think Starlight Singer has a place as you progress further in the game in place of Unbalanced. Further, if you are farming then you would drop The Safe Bet for Miner’s Delight.

I typically avoid +%Damage Taken drinks, but similarly if you wanted to clear a lower difficulty quicker, you could also use Thriller in place of something to clear quicker. I’ve considered trying Thriller for progression, and if you keep up on your arena’s it’s probably a strong option in place of Safe Bet or Unbalanced Essence.

If you can play Vertigo, then obviously swap out Unbalanced for Mad Proposal. It makes me hate playing this game though so I don’t run it.


In this section we will talk about what items to look for to start a run with, and then some general things to keep in mind on what to keep an eye out for.

I typically hit the shop first and reroll until I have a good idea of what items are in my pool. If you don’t know how this works, when you finish a run you are alloted a new ‘seed’. This seed determines what items can appear in the store, and then it gives you a selection of 5 random items (based on rarity) out of that pool. So if the pool does not contain a Armor of Kings, no amount of rerolling will get you one, you will need to kill yourself in the dungeon to aquire a new seed. I’m not a huge fan of doing that, so instead I will list some backup options for you to go after.

I will commonly reroll items I need to try to get a better selection as well (For example, instead of taking a Scarab of Protection with something like a Heartseeker, which while not bad isn’t ideal, I would reroll to find a better grouping of items with a Scarab inside of it. You get very quick at this over time)

I typically won’t do that, and it’s not very often one of those two items does not appear. I also have some ‘backup plan’ items that work almost as well and still keep you in good shape for the run.

So I will put the items I mostly look for into a ‘Ideal’, ‘Backup’, and ‘Nice to Have’ section.


  • Amulet of Vengeance – You do not start a run without this item period. I have included a section in this guide that follows this section on Frenetic if you wish to use that instead.
  • Scarab of Protection – This is not mandatory, but it’s your ideal magic damage item and it’s a green so you can often combo it with a nice blue item from the shop. The nice thing about this build is it can often start a run with 3 ideal items!

Backup / Important Items:

  • Earthsplitter – The best skill damage item next to Scarab for the same reason, it shotguns those three blasts so it has amazing single target damage in addition to AE since it pierces in a cone. Attuned, this thing procs A LOT.
  • Spreading Corruption – Cannot be crafted. Pally tends to melee everything in sight, so this makes you like a more awesome Gladiator. Buff everyones damage (and your own)! Bolgarth will handle killing stuff in an AE if you don’t have scarab.
  • Wrath of Thunderlord – Would honestly be top tier if we could remove Paladin’s shield imo, but the shield is always large enough to be in the way most of the time and honestly shield is one of the best passives in the game so I don’t really want to get rid of it anyway. Still an amazing item though. Attuned it crits as hard as Bolgarth which means big heals on a ‘thorn’ effect with range! One of my favorites and it really says ♥♥♥ you to shotgun and flamethrower effects. Super satisfying.
  • Talisman of Conflagaration – Attuned, this turns into a very potent nuke that will get you some chain reactions when paired with Bolgarth, but is completely useless on bosses.
  • Cloak of Flamewalker – Consistent source of healing that scales with hordes. Scarab kind of accomplishes this for us already, I would rather have more upfront burst damage. That being said, it is fun to run now and then and imagine yourself as this fiery poison tornado.
  • Stormcaller – Bottom of the barrel important items. It’s just a worse Earthsplitter. Typically when you are proccing like crazy, it’s in the middle of a swarm where Earthsplitter is going to wreck some serious face, or it’s on a boss where Earthsplitter is going to do triple damage. But if there is nothing else available, go for it.

Nice to Have:

  • Wand of Spell Piercing – Gets more important the higher in NG+ you go.
  • Bracers of Quickness – More Kyra/Bolgarth/Procs.
  • Seal of Souls – It’s easy to blow your mana if you run Unbalanced, easy 100% damage boost attuned.
  • Attuned Key Ring – Obvious.
  • Move Speed Items – Attuned, makes runs more consistent and enjoyable.
  • Markhams – Any, all are useful and the set bonus is incredibly important.
  • Kings – Scepter primarily for portal runs is nice for farming where you want to one shot everything.
  • Skill Crit – Obvious.
  • Spheres – Time especially is nice to give you more time for Vengeance to proc, but we are mostly interested in the set bonus here.
  • +% gain items for farming runs (Stone for full runs, Pick for portal runs).
  • +Defense items, even if you don’t need them resist gives skill power with Cedric!

Also, I want to give Searing Sabatons a special mention. They become an amazing item with skill builds. Descending Destruction becomes god tier as well.

Frenetic Eruption vs Amulet of Vengeance

I believe combo paladin exists in three forms. There is this form I am presenting to you which is the Amulet of Vengeance form. This is a very consistent, approachable form that functions the best at the start of the game and goes quite deep, which is convenient because the Frenetic Eruption version is pretty crap without a lot of levels in Kyra (talking 40+ likely).

The idea behind the pure Frenetic Eruption build is to drop Bolgarth entirely and instead focus on Kyra via Cedric and Ozreth. This means you have to sustain Combo with critical strikes (which is fine, whirlwind can accomplish this easily) and the result should be superior damage than the bolgarth versions at very, very high difficulty levels where Kyra has been scaled up.

There also exists a hybrid, where you run the build I have presented but use a different drink setup to stack both Frenetic and Amulet. Personally, I think the minimal consistency you gain is eventually outscaled (possibly as early as bolgarth 6~) and it’s not really that much more consistent than what I have, but it lets you run Incendiary Demise which the frenetic variant doesn’t really have the room for which makes Scarab as strong as it is.

So, I am going to continue the guide under the build that runs Bolgarth and Amulet of Vengeance because I think for most people it’s going to provide the most consistent, fun experience and get you results. Just know that if you ever get to ng+30-40, there exists a level beyond for this build to try out. Note that Kyra is still an option (a very good one) to run with this build. More on that in the statues section.


When you unlock the Magic Anvil, you will start to see blueprints appear in dungeons (the blue sheets on the map). Picking these up will teach you the recipe for these items and allow you to attune them, doubling their effect. This is the primary form of end-game progression before you get into the super niche progression of the monster log.

Overall, I think the attunement order is simple to figure out and mostly consistent between the classes but I will point out anything noteworthy.

  • Amulet of Vengeance – Attune this as soon as possible. I would not run this build without this attuned.
  • Scarab of Protection – Attune this as soon as possible. Build still works, but is greatly enhanced with this attunement.
  • Damage Items – Wrath, Earthsplitter, Stormcaller, Talisman, Cloak, etc. Anything that deals damage, attune immediately. That makes those items 100% more useful right out of the gate and gets you online quicker. Attune these before skill power items. This is a base damage increase, which makes every point of skill power better for you!
  • Seal of Souls – Very easy to stay in a state of no mana as Paladin. This is an easy giant boost to our damage salad of stuff.
  • Blackjack – More stun, 3 stars. This one is a no brainer.
  • Move Speed/Combo Time Items – Anything that enables more movement speed is going to help you get around in combo and stay in combo easier.
  • Bracer of Quickness – More attacks = more enabling
  • Kings Items – More stats, obvious
  • Pickaxe and Markham’s Stone – Attune these ASAP and start runs with them. This build by itself will DECIMATE ng+1 as long as you have an Amulet of Vengeance. Start runs with both pickaxe and stone, you can easily net 400-600 per run. Enable most difficulty mods on the fountain (minus instant death, one man guild, and a few others) and enable Offshore Account. You will drown in ore. Carry runs, make friends, have a good time. You will need to farm that ore for statues!
  • Markham’s Items – As you get up in difficulty, full runs become more and more common. In full runs, no item is as powerful as a Markham’s. Attuning these just makes them that much more powerful when it’s needed most. Paladin is the only class in the game that doesn’t need Amulet attuned, but you should still do it as soon as possible.
  • Defense Items – Get your defense attunements before your offensive. Offensive attunements makes runs quicker, defensive attunements makes runs possible. Big difference.
  • Apoth Items – Honestly, I only use my potion as a way to stay in combo for boss fights to burst things down. That being said, it is nice to have these attuned for when gets real. It’s saved me a couple times in a scenario that even more damage wouldn’t have saved me from and it makes Pheonix Feather even better which is like the best item.
  • Offensive Items – I do resist pierce first, then crit, then power
  • Sphere Items – Aside from the Time spheres, Paladin doesn’t really need these attuned. There are many times he wants to be mana starved because of Seal of Souls and attuning these just makes it harder. The health regen means nothing with all your lifesteal. I would attune these last, ironically.


Tier 1: 20% Less Damage Taken

I honestly see no reason to run anything else. If you want more damage, run the 75% 25% drink at Tavern and use this.

Tier 2: Blessing of Intellect -OR- Blessing of Might

To figure out which to run, check the list below of what is what:


  • Paladin Abilities (Whirlwind does good damage in this build)
  • Kyra Arrows
  • Earthsplitter


  • Bolgarth
  • Incendiary Demise (It’s enough to be notable)
  • Talisman of Conflag
  • Cloak of Flamewalker
  • Scarab (Not sure if Poison is, it scales with skill damage so I assume it is?)
  • Stormcaller
  • WotTG
  • Combo Pulse

Physical likely lends itself to superior physical damage between Kyra and Earthsplitter, Magical has far superior AE damage though and the combo pulse becomes significant if you can get 6+ spheres. I prefer Magical but Physical will likely yield better results as you level up Kyra more (Bolgarth always does 100, Kyra can surpass that @ 23)

Tier 3: Symbol of Focus is the main option here, just a flat 100% more crit damage is welcome. The damage from Symbol of Retribution did not seem significant in my tests despite scaling. I just don’t see a point where this will ever outdamage 100% crit damage as flavorful as it would be for this build.

Tier 4: Divine Strike and Divine Blast are the only choices here, if any, for any class as far as I am concerned.

Divine Blast is nice for Paladin because it will give you the most procs per swing in a given scenario except for bosses with you have the rapid attack speed buff on. Since you lifesteal so much, seal of rage will almost never be active on you so you will almost never attack faster than the cooldown of Blast unless you get a full kings set.

Divine Strike’s range is nice though, and it’s consistent. Despite me prefering Blast, I would view Strike as equally viable, just for different reasons.


I hate arena in it’s current form. I love the idea behind it, but Arena itself is mind numbingly boring. I would like to see it sped up a good 3 or 4x from its current form where I can complete one in 2-3 minutes but they are drastically more challenging.

That being said, eventually I will need to run it if I wish to progress. 5 arenas to 1 ng+ difficulty. So to figure out what arena you should be at, just look at your ng+ completion and multiply it by 5.

If you are a fan of Cedric like myself, I recommend going a 1:2 or 2:3 ratio on armor:resist. Paladin has respectable armor anyway and can already block many projectiles, sneaking an extra point into resist here or there will help your be magic immune thats to Cedric as well as scale with more skill power, especially as you reach ng+20 where Cedric can offer you 1:1 returns on resist:skill power.


This is the section I feel least confident about because I see some exponentials going on with certain statues and I’m not quite sure at what point certain exponentials will become more exponential than others. MATH MAN. So, read this as someone who is exploring NG+1X right now and have most of his dudes at NG+8~.

Bolgarth – Required (probably)

  • 100 Base Damage Pulse every 5 swings during Combo
  • +0.5s Combo Time per Level

Bolgarth is unfortunate, in that while he is super good at first I suspect he tapers off at some point deep in the game, again guessing like the ng+30-40 range possibly? At some point, Kyra is going to be superior over Bolgarth and buffing her damage with something like Ozreth is going to yield better results than running Kyra and Bolgarth together (although I don’t think we can ever drop Bolgarth unless you went a Frenetic route as Bolgarth gives Amulet of Vengeance time to keep you in combo which you need to be in for any of this to work)

That Being Said

I doubt most of you reading this are that deep into the game, so Bolgarth is going to be your god and savior. This bad boy makes you a walking arcane bomb of boom. 100 Base Damage every 5 attacks in a modest radius around your insignificant self. Scales with skill power, lifesteals for you, and is basically a better Conflagarate damage-wise. Bolgarth gives every class an AE, whether or not they were intended to have one, and this is a massive game changer for Paladin and Priest.

To put this into perspective, 100 base damage at 200 skill power is 1200 damage base before armor. (100 * 400% * 300% from combo drink). Yes, this crits for 5-6k pretty often, and by the end of runs will be doing in the realm of 10-20k if you have a wizard in the realm of ng+6. In a nice AE around you.

The problem with Bolgarth is that as he levels, that damage doesn’t increase. What increases is the consistency of the build. In a way, Bolgarth enables this build more as he levels. More time in combo means you have more time to either kill something, or proc Vengeance with incendiary or something else. It’s part of what makes the requirement of staying in combo a non-issue.

Bolgarth is likely a core statue, at least for the Amulet of Vengeance variation of this build. Frenetic might end up being the better build deeper into the game, but I haven’t played with that idea much yet.

Kyra – More Required the deeper into difficulties you go

  • 20% Attack Speed buff
  • Fire 2 arrows at 45 and -45 degrees 50% of the time on primary attack. Deals 10 damage, pierces non-elite opponents.
  • Increases damage of arrows by 4 per level.

Kyra is sneaky in that at first glance, it looks like a 20% attack speed with a pointless secondary effect. Then you run a skill build and see these things critting for thousands of damage and clearing waves by themselves and you realize something is broken.

Kyra has the ability to do more damage than any primary left click skill. If not for Wylmir, it could outscale every ability in the game as well. Kyra will skyrocket your single target damage, and everyone elses who is running a skill damage build. More attack speed makes Bolgarth stronger as well, and it enables all your proc items.

Kyra is a very strong 2nd choice, and deep in the game I think it becomes a primary choice.

Cedric – Option #1

  • Picking up a Mana Crystal increases your total resistances (before penalties) by 30% and your Mana Regen by 30%.
  • Converts 5*Level% of your total resistances (before penalties) to skill power

I’ve been running Cedric lately, and the more I run it the more I like it. This gives you a flat buff to your TOTAL resist and TOTAL mana regen. So it scales attuned items like Amulet of Kings or Sphere of Regen up to even more ridiculous levels. Then it also causes your resistance from Arena to also contribute to skill damage. This means putting a point in resistance is ALWAYS better than skill damage because Cedric can go beyond 100% benefit, which will then scale 30% further because magic.

Cedric also makes you hate Act 4 much less. Seriously, it lets you run around Act 4 like it’s nothing as long as you have SOME resistances.

On one hand, I feel like the next option has to be better at some point, maybe? I mean this is just more skill damage, not a huge deal. But it’s skill damage you start with, and it scales like crazy. Seriously, it might be so good that you just put all arena points into resistance (or more realistically, a 33.3/66.6 split)

Ozreth – Option #2

  • 20% chance for an enemy that is killed to explode in a cloud of poison, poisoning things around it.
  • Poisoned things take 10*Level% more damage from all sources.

I keep upgrading this thing expecting it to surpass Cedric, and it just hasn’t happened yet. Poison scales with skill damage, but the damage it did wasn’t too impressive to me. As the paladin of this build, I can reap the full benefits of this but my team only benefits if they attack what I am. Since statues affect everyone and not just you, you have to consider how they affect others as well.

That combined with almost every boss can’t be poisoned (or the rift crystals), and Ozreth just makes me kinda like bleh.

I imagine at some point, that % damage has to just be, a better option. It has to be, right?

I dunno, so far Cedric has just been proven to be surprisingly good, so I’m running it over this for now.

There is one more option to consider though, if you are hosting a game. You’ve seen me mention it before, time to go into why a little bit.

Wylmir – Option #3

  • 20% faster skill speed (who cares like seriously)
  • 5*Level% of mana cost is included in the base damage of the ability

See that word up there? Do you see it? Base. Damage!

That’s the holy grail. This thing is re-godamn-diculous on Ranger, Warlock, Sorcerer, and to a lesser extent Thief, Gladiator, and Priest. It helps Wizard, but Cedric is a FAR better choice for them as most of their damage doesn’t come from a low damage/high mana cost/multi hit skill. Meteor has insane base damage already, Wylmir doesn’t help it much.

If you are running with any of these three classes and you trust them to know what’s up, Wylmir might be a better option for your run than Cedric. I’m going to gush on this statue like crazy in the Ranger guide I’m doing next, and it will give you a better idea of why this thing is so goddamn important.

But, if you have an even distribution of people or randoms, I think Cedric if your best choice overall.

Other Statues

Phalarath – We dont want to evade. There is no reliable disarm/stun for us (except for like our small stunlock we can do), only thief can really pull that off and even so we can do that better with poison which is 10%. What is this statue even. Even if a 95%+ evade build was possible, you would kill quicker running damage. This would have to give something broken as hell like 20% more damage per level for me to even consider using.

Calis – The physical Cedric. Projectile block is kinda nice, but its only a 20% chance to not get imploded whereas Cedric makes the implosion not possible where it applies (some projectiles are magic, some magic damage isn’t projectile based). So I think Cedric wins that side honestly. ‘20% chance not to die’ is pretty rough odds. Also there is no DPS boost here like Cedric’s 30%.

The armor to attack is the same as Cedrics, and unless you have that theorized Gladiator at ng+40 or 60 or whatever, this benefit just isn’t going to do anything worthwhile for anyone.

Erwan – We aren’t freezing. Even if we were freezing, wouldn’t we rather be doing more damage period? This only makes sense for a Sorc, and Wylmir/Cedric are far better options for them, let alone everyone else in the lobby. Much like Phalarath, this statue is just outshadowed by superior options.


Just general tips for gameplay with this build:

  • Remember your lifesteal source is skill damage. Your left click by itself will not heal you! Especially if you swap out Kyra for something else, you won’t be able to heal from your left click without combo!
  • The window when you are outside of a combo SUCKS. Sometimes it will last for a couple seconds, and you are just stuck there a shell of your inner potential. Bolgarth helps make this happen less often during boss fights, but you always start every floor in a non-combo state. Be mindful that during this time, you lack a lot of the magical damage keeping you alive and you are vulnerable. Whirlwind helps keep you safe during this time while also buying you time/kills to enter combo again. Hit anything you can, and even stand in fire if there is some available. The more rapid the damage, the better. Do anything to enter combo within reason.
  • Utilize corners please. Ranged mobs are annoying to kill and even more annoying to run around and clean up. You have a charge, aggro♥♥♥ with it and then find a corner to hide in. This will cause the ranged enemies to run up to get a line of sight on you. This helps cluster the group together to make it easier to pick them off, and if the corner is cornery enough, they will even walk right into your giant ball of deathbooms.
  • Heal as a Nuke. Your heal will only heal you for about 12% HP since you pay 10% upfront for your cast. It’s not worth it for a heal, but what it worth it is to use Heal to activate things like Chakram or Magic Missles which both will deal way more damage than you are used to. Also, you can use Heal to help those poor saps who haven’t figured out life steal yet.
  • Charge as a Nuke: Similar to the above, use charge to proc on cast effects like Chakram or Magic Missles for some extra damage.
  • Whirlwind as a Heal: Whirlwind now not only does some respectable damage, but it turns you into a blender of self-healing. Use whirlwind when you are exposed outside of a combo to help you stay healthy and do some extra damage to help you get and stay in combo while waiting for Amulet to proc. While in combo, feel free to whirlwind all you want for the damage, just be ready to save it if you think you will lose combo.
  • Always be moving: You are safest when you are moving around, even if it’s just in circles. If you have a fear of taking enough burst damage to die, moving will help you stay alive, especially if you have any of the boot items. The only exception to this rule really is portal rooms and the dragon fight. Portal rooms I do think you are safest circling the crystal, but dragon you can just AFK under his head provided you can survive dem feets.
  • You cannot lifesteal from Constructs. This includes the Cave Boss, the animated statues in the Pyramid, the statues on floor 3, and most spawners. While this does not include the Priest’s Hallowed Ground, all other forms of lifesteal will not work, so you are vulnerable fighting these! Try to approach these combats by bringing sacks of delicious flesh with you to murder in the middle of the fight to keep you healthy. The Stone Golem is even nice enough to summon a buffet for you as part of his ability rotation!
  • Warlocks on Act 5 are obnoxious and this build hates them. They have insane magical resistance and scale like crazy in survivability as you add more people to a game. This is honestly the best part about having a thief in your game, Warlocks get to die in like 5 seconds instead of 50.
  • Be mindful of the chargy bois on Act 5. I have had many runs where I underestimate their damage and I get one shot. Especially as you approach the ng+ teens, I feel like their charge damage starts to increase more than usual.
  • Your shield can block Act 4 ball projectiles as long as they are coming at you. If you are a dumbdumb and stand on top of one in the middle of exploding, you are probably going to die. Act 4 is safest when you dash through ♥♥♥ and pull everything into a corner where you can reliably keep that ♥♥♥ exploding in front of you instead of underneath you.
  • Dragon feetsies hurt. The dragon’s foot stomp (the big AE that alternates underneath it left and right) scales incredibly harshly as you increase in difficulty, to the point that it can even one shot a paladin unless he has copious amounts of armor. Just be aware and mindful. Get a feel for how much armor/hp you need and if you don’t think you have it, avoid standing underneath him.
  • Learn which creatures have shotgun effects and know how to weave in and out of melee to avoid them. Notable creatures are!
  • Vampire Boss: Shotgun spikes can easily murder you even with a lot of armor
  • Mummy Boss: It’s melee attack hits like a truck and likes to proc Curse’s damage modifier, commonly one-shotting you even with thousands of health. Rotate around it constantly and you will be safe (although have fun gettting cursed from its stupid curse balls, god i hate this boss)
  • Ice Casters on Act 5: You cannot block their shotgun ice blast and it will ♥♥♥ you if you don’t have resists or health to handle it. If you have Thundergod though feel free to stand in their ice breath, it’s fun.
  • Poison Larve Boss on Act 2: I don’t know exactly what does it, but I’ve been insta-gibbed by these guys before. I think the poison nova might have some kind of damage component on it and getting hit by 4-5 of those at low armor values can end you. I haven’t had this happen lately but something to keep in mind. You can usually keep these perma-stunned though.
  • Ballistae on Act 6: These can end an otherwise awesome run if you understand the damage the tri-shot ones to. 6 hits to the face in fast succession can easily eat through your entire health bar if you aren’t expecting it.
  • Be awesome to people in general and lend a hand if they need it instead of berating them. This game has an awesome community and you guys are great, giving that happiness to others is one of the best things we can do.

Quick Run Checklist


  • Bolgarth
  • Kyra
  • Cedric/Ozrath/Wylmir


  • Amulet of Vengeance (Required)
  • Scarab of Protection
  • Stone/Pick if desired

  • Earthsplitter, Thundergod, or Markham’s/Kings for 2nd blue is ideal
  • Spreading Corruption is also valid


  • Evil Infusion
  • Wicked Sickness
  • The Safe Bet
  • Incendiary Demise
  • Unbalanced Essence/Starlight Stinger for higher skill power players


  • Damage Reduction
  • Magical or Physical Pierce
  • Skill Crit Damage
  • Divine Strike or Divine Blast

Final Thoughts

Paladin is arguably the most important character to have a solid grip on, as Physical Armor is incredibly important and Paladin has the best mitigation of any class and thus is able to progress more easily. This means more armor for everyone else as well as the ability to get better statues for everyone else.

This guide is meant to give you that rock-solid foundation so you can get a grip on the difficulty of this game and surpass it and find a new level of enjoyment from this great game. My next guide, the ranger, will give you an even more enjoyable experience and my go-to character for farming ore. With these two builds, nothing can stop you from amassing the resources you need to progress.

Following that then will be Warlock and Wizard naturally, since Paladin and Warlock are the most important for survivability, and Wizard is additional skill power.

Written by Sinistralis

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