Diablo 2: Resurrected — Best Assassin build for beginners and ladder resets

Diablo 2 Resurrected Assassin Hero Image
Diablo 2 Resurrected Assassin Hero Image (Image credit: Windows Central)

Diablo 2: Resurrected is here, with players becoming newly acquainted with the loot grind or experiencing it for the first time. With the new level of polish and bug fixes, this could end up being one of the best Xbox RPGs available for the near future. Any players looking to start a journey with the Assassin have come to the right place, as we've got a full guide to help you prepare for your journey.

Instead of opting for a super-specific Assassin build, we've gone for a more generalist, hybrid approach, though with a leaning towards the Dark Warrior build, with some additional insight into the types you can make. It's a little tougher for newcomers to manage than some other classes but don't worry. As long you grind hard and keep your potions stocked, a good Assassin build is capable of handling Hell difficulty up through Act 5.

Early game and respec'ing your Assassin in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Assassin is arguably one of the least popular characters in Diablo 2: Resurrected alongside the Barbarian. If you're looking for a more popular class, we've got guides on the Diablo 2: Resurrected Sorceress, the Diablo 2: Resurrected Paladin and the Diablo 2: Resurrected Necromancer. At the same time, a hybrid assassin build (while taking some heavy notes from the Dark Warrior build) does offer a ton of options for exactly how you want to flesh out your build, meaning that with a couple of exceptions, there's more flexibility at the start.

The three free respecs allow players to change up their skills and attributes, so they need to be used carefully.

This is especially true considering how Diablo 2: Resurrected gives players three free "respecs." The three free respecs allow players to change up their skills and attributes, so they need to be used carefully. You get one free respec per difficulty per character: Normal, Hard and Hell. If you exhaust these options, you'll need to acquire a Token of Absolution. This is a very expensive Horadric Cube recipe, because you'll need to collect essences from Andariel or Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal.

The end summary of all this is that you have room to experiment. Don't feel too stressed, especially from around levels 1 through 15. A balanced approach is key to a hybrid, so it's actually extremely difficult to mess up an Assassin in the early levels, as you'll have plenty of space to finalize the build later on.

Key stats for your Assassin in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Diablo 2: Resurrected throws a lot of different stats at players straight away, so if you're new, it can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, there's a few key stats you'll want to focus on as an Assassin: Dexterity, Vitality, Faster Cast Rate, and Faster Hit Recovery.


Dexterity is important for the Assassin for a few reasons. It increases the chance to block, as well as Attack Rating and Defense Rating. More importantly for the Assassin, it also boosts the damage of a few specific weapons, including the Assassin-specific Claws. You'll want to put a lot of points into Dexterity, as it's the primary way your basic attack damage.


Vitality increases your character's health, meaning it's your dump stat, as it is for most characters in Diablo 2: Resurrected. This is extremely important since building out the Assassin generally doesn't mean opting for the heaviest armor.

Faster Cast Rate and Faster Hit Recovery

Faster Cast Rate and Faster Hit Recovery (or FCR and FHR) govern how quickly your Assassin is capable of casting abilities and recover from stunning hits, respectively. Due to how Diablo 2: Resurrected works, despite these stats being increased in percentages, both are actually determined by something called "Breakpoints."

What this means for you is that the percentages have to increase to a certain threshold — or Breakpoints — in order for you to see and experience a tangible difference. For example, there's no difference between an FCR of 16% and 26%, because the next Breakpoint hasn't been reached. This is mainly different based on class, alongside a handful of other specific situations. Here are the FCR Breakpoints for the Assassin.

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FHR works identically to FCR, it just has different Breakpoints for going into recovery mode.

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These changes may be a difference of a handful of frames, but this actually makes a huge difference in planning your character, any increases to your overall damage output and recovery matter, especially on Hell difficulty.

For the Assassin specifically, FHR is fairly important but FCR is extremely important. Your casts will depend on what abilities you opt for, so the speed there isn't necessarily a huge deal, but FCR is a difference between life and death in pitched battles.

Diablo 2: Resurrected Assassin skills

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For a balanced, hybrid-style Assassin, you've got some options. To lean in on pulling from the Dark Warrior build, you'll want to put a lot of points in the Shadow Disciplines skill tree. A few points in the Traps skill tree and Martial Arts skill tree won't hurt in giving you some more variety, but Shadow Disciplines is where you'll seriously increase your damage.

Again, more so than with a lot of other builds, you've got room to experiment, but you'll want your Shadow Disciplines to look something like this:

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Shadow DisciplinesPoints
Claw Mastery20
Psychic Hammer5
Burst of Speed1
Weapon Block1
Cloak of Shadows1
Shadow Warrior1
Mind Blast1
Shadow Master20

The one skill in Traps you should definitely grab is the basic Fire Blast.

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Fire Blast4

If you want to put a few points into Martial Arts, that's fine, and it's a good way to expand your abilities, providing a few more options in fights. Just know that if you really want to go deep into this tree, you'll need to subtract a few points from the Shadow Disciplines tree.

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Martial ArtsPoints
Tiger Strike1
Dragon Talon1
Fist of Fire1
Dragon Claw1
Cobra Strike1
Claws of Thunder1
Dragon Tail1
Blades of Ice1
Dragon Flight1
Phoenix Strike1

Best Assassin gear in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For the Assassin, you'll want to focus on any gear that provides +Skill, increased defense and increased damage. The latter of those is especially important if you opt not to put as many points into Claw Mastery.

Early Runewords for your Assassin

Runes and runewords are a great way to give your character a unique edge. Choices are fairly limited in the beginning of the game but will open up as time goes on. If you're having trouble finding some, try repeatedly running the Countess in Act 1.

  • Stealth (Tal + Eth) This two-socket body armor grants increased FCR, FHR, mana regeneration, walk speed, increased dexterity and poison resistance. Charsi's shop should have two-socket armor for you.
  • Splendor (Eth + Lum) A two-socket shield that gives +Skill, enhanced defense and Magic Find.

Mid-and-end game for your Assassin

The Assassin benefits greatly from any sort of +Skill and increased damage or damage reduction. Anything that increases resistances, FCR, FHR and mana regeneration is also fairly valuable. The Assassin provides a wide range of variability but if you want a specific set to go for, you can just use Natalya's Odium. This set offers vastly increased defense alongside +Skill as a huge set bonus when the full set is utilized. The set includes:

  • Natalya's Mark Scissors Suwayyah (Claw Weapon)
  • Natalya's Shadow Loricated Mail (Body Armor)
  • Natalya's Totem Grim Helm (Helmet)
  • Natalya's Soul Mesh Boots (Boots)

For a wider range of options, there's also the following selection of solid mid-to-end game gear:

  • Harlequin Crest This helm grants +Skill and increased Damage Reduction.
  • Enigma armor runeword. (Jah + Ith + Ber). A very expensive armor runeword that'll grant +1 Teleport, +Skill and Damage Reduction. +Skill is always useful, so this is a solid choice.

_ Treachery. (Shael + Thul + Lem). An alternative choice of armor runeword, it's slightly less expensive than Enigma. It grants FCR and +Skill for Assassins.

  • Skin of the Vipermagi Body armor that grants increased Resistances and FCR. A good choice if you've otherwise got low resistances.
  • Arachnid Mesh or Verdungo's Hearty Cord belts. The former gives +Skill and increased Mana, the latter increases vitality and Damage Reduction. The latter is more general solid choice, but you can't go wrong with either.
  • Magefist gloves. Grants +Skill, increased Mana regeneration and FCR.
  • Shadow Dancer boots. Gives +2 to Shadow Disciplines, increased FHR and raises Dexterity.
  • Mara's Kaleidoscope or Telling of Beads amulet. Both amulets raise resistances and give +Skill.
  • Stone of Jordan rings. These give +Skill.

Finally, for the weapons, going for Bartuc's Cut-Throat claw weapon is highly recommended, as it offers increased Assassin skills and Martial Arts skills. Outside of this, getting a matching socketed claw weapon to compliment it will work, such as the Firelizard's Talons. This latter claw weapon is arguably more useful on Hell difficulty, where resistances become even more important.

Best Assassin Mercenary setup

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For the Assassin, the exact Mercenary you go for doesn't really matter, especially if you're leaning into a Dark Warrior build and have dumped points into Shadow Warrior or Shadow Master. With that said, the Act 2 Defensive Mercenary is a solid choice. These Mercenaries are equipped with Holy Freeze, a Paladin skill that works well to thin enemies nearby. Just be sure to stick close!

Where to Magic Find with your Assassin

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

The Assassin isn't really the most chosen class for Magic Find. With that in mind, running the Pit is always a solid choice regardless of class. You can also try running the Chaos Sanctuary and Eldritch, both of which include huge clusters of enemies perfect for farming.

If you're just starting out, you can't go wrong with trying the different bosses like Andariel, the Countess, Mephisto, Pindleskin, Shenk the Overseer, Eldritch the Rectifier, and the Summoner..

Shake things up

There are plenty of classes to choose from in Diablo 2: Resurrected, so if you're just not feeling the Assassin no matter what build you try, don't fret. We have a full beginner's guide to classes in Diablo 2: Resurrected so you can feel free to experiment and try something new if the current pace isn't clicking for you. We've also got some general Diablo 2: Resurrected tips and tricks that are useful no matter what class you decide to try next.

You should also know that we're continuing to track server problems, bugs, and launch issues in Diablo 2: Resurrected. There are still some issues going on, but things have overall improved since launch day.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.