Guide to Runeword Base Items
Runes have quickly become the go-to currency in Diablo II: Resurrected. We are also seeing Stone of Jordans become a currency as well as time passes and more are dropped into the game, much like in classic Diablo II. However for now, Runes are still the best and most consistent currency to work with. With that in mind, this guide will walk you through the best base items to use in Runewords.
Runes are used to create Runeword items, which are end-game essentials. Items such as Enigma, Chain of Honour, Infinity, and Breath of the Dying are staple items in many builds.
What many people overlook are the actual item bases (normal or ethereal normal items with sockets) that drop very commonly in many areas.
How do we know which ones are worthy of keeping in our stash to either trade or use? Let’s find out! We will list out some of the most popular Runewords and see which bases to keep.
Breath of the Dying
One of the best weapons for melee builds such as Berzerker Barbarians, Zeal Paladins, and Shapeshifting Druids. This is widely used by melee builds for the high damage per second output, has both Life and Mana steal, and allows for you to make it Ethereal (Cannot be Repaired) as it’s made with a Zod, making this an Indestructible item. It also has the bonus of casting Level 20 Poison Nova almost every other enemy you kill, so adding + Poison Damage% to your build can help as well.
Best Base Item for Breath of the Dying: One Hand is the most popular form of BoTD (Breath of the Dying) and it’s usually desired to be in a 6-Socket Ethereal Berzerker Axe.
The Holy Grail of all Runwords. Revered for its ability to grant the fabled Teleport skill to ANY class that wears it. This makes it an awesome armor for any build even melee or caster. Although it’s more popular among other casters besides Sorceress as they would naturally have a faster cast rate for better teleporting.
Best Base Items for Enigma: Currently as more casters such as Elemental Druids, Blessed Hammer Paladins, and Trap Assassins are becoming more popular the high demand base for Enigma is a light armor that requires as little investment in Strength as possible. For this reason, 3-Socket Dusk Shroud and 3-Socket Archon Plate seem to be some of the most popular base items for Enigma.
Heart of the Oak
This is a go-to weapon for any caster. Gives a huge boost to Faster Cast Rate, +All Skills and +All Resistances. The only downside for Sorceresses might be the 50% Better Chance to Find Magic Items and +20 Vitality in an Oculus Orb. But due to its flexibility to be used by ANY caster, Heart of the Oak (HoTO) is a very sought out Runeword. The value of a HoTO is determined mostly by the amount of +All Resistances bonus it gives, which ranges from +30 ~ 40, the Damage output is not important as it’s used for casting and not smacking.
Best Base Items for Heart of the Oak: As damage isn’t a factor that plays into the value of this item, getting the lowest possible stat requirement is beneficial so that no Dexterity or Strength points are too demanding when using it. The 5-Socket Flail is the most obvious choice for this Runeword, as it has a very low Strength and Dexterity point investment.
Another “Godly” Runeword sought out by any classes that deal Lightning Damage. This Runeword amplifies Lightning Damage with the inherent aura it gives the holder and also has a stat to reduce Lightning Resist in enemies. This synergizes well if you give Infinity to your merc which triggers the Lightning Resist reduction in enemies and the Conviction Aura.
Best Base Items for Infinity: This one is unlike HoTO where you will want to think about Attack Speed and Damage output. You will want to ensure your Mercenary still does viable damage. A 4 Socket Ethereal Thresher is the top choice for Infinity. It doesn’t require too much Strength from your Mercenary, Attack Speed is good and allows for relatively high damage.
Probably the most popular caster shield now. Nothing beats Faster Cast Rate, Resistance, + to All Skills. Many people ask, “Can I equip a Spirit Weapon AND Spirit Shield at the same time?” And the answer is f#&@ yeah! Having a Sprit pair will make your early to mid game so much easier for ANY caster.
Best Base Items for Spirit: Again, as this is a heavily caster/magic/elemental damage oriented item, you will want to find items with the lowest Strength or Dexterity requirements with 5 sockets. 5-Socket Crystal Swords are the go-to swords when making a Spirit Weapon. They require very little stat points investment and look cool! Aesthetics isn’t the most flexible thing on Diablo, but then again, we’re here for nostalgia not skimpy outfits! The shield is a different story, the only NON-PALADIN oriented shield such as Heraldic Shields that can come with a 4 Socket possibility is the Monarch shield. That’s why you’ll see many people selling “w Monarch” which is “White” aka “Normal” Monarchs. These require 156 Strength, so try to get some charms or gear that give + to Strength so that you can invest more into better stats such as Vitality. For Paladins, you have many more options on lower Strength required shields that usually come with + to All Resistance.
Not only are these base items great for preparing for your end game choice of Runewords, but some of these are very easy to sell for valuable runes. I’ve seen some people buy Ethereal 3 Socket Dusk Shrouds for IST Runes or trade high tier Uniques for Ethereal Berzerker Axes. In our next article, we will cover some more in-demand Runeword and their bases and also how to maximize your chances of finding these sought out base items.