The tale of FrostDeathNight, Chapter 1-30

FrostDeathNight is a Frozen Death Knight, that is to say, a Necromancer who specializes in dealing cold damage from melee range. This is what is called “an off-meta build” because it goes off the beaten path to explore what can you achieve with plain cold damage, a.k.a. the “Cold Plains”.

Ground rules:

Gameplay: /players 8 offline hardcore, only gear found with other characters, no hero-editing.

Skills: allowed to put 1 point into any skill, but not more, to prevent it from turning into one of the more standard builds like Summoner, Bone [Spear], Poison [Nova] or Corpse Explosion. That rule will eventually need to be relaxed, since there are only 30 distinct skills. Melee Necromancer usually put the rest of the points into Bone Wall and Bone Prison, which act as synergies for Bone Armor.

Attributes: No restrictions. Probably the usual “enough strength and dexterity to wear gear, the rest in vitality”.

In theory, a melee character would benefit from more points into dexterity, as it increases the attack rating => increases chance to hit AND increases chance to block with the shield. In practice I get a lot of attack rating from our gear and due to playing on /players 8 I am “overleveled”, so chance to hit is not a problem early on and later I’ll get a Blessed Aim mercenary to help with that.

The beginning

Any self-respecting Frozen Death Knight wields the Death’s Disguise set. Not only is the name matching the overall theme, but the sword Death’s Touch gets a 25-75 cold damage bonus when combined with another item from the set, like the Death’s Hand gloves which themselves grant 30% increased attack speed – a very desirable stat that’s very difficult to find at lower levels (the only other option being Sigon’s gloves). Finally, the Death’s Guard belt grants the absolutely crucial Cannot Be Frozen stat – what kind of a Frozen Death Knight would I be if I were frozen myself?! A very slow and bad one. The set bonus gives us 40% Bonus to Attack Rating, 40 to All resistances and a total of 12% Life stolen per hit. Amazing!

Hsarus’ Iron Heel boots grant crucial mobility at level 3 and when combined with Hsarus’ Iron Fist shield give 10 attack rating per level, 25% fire resist, and 10 strength, allowing us to equip Death’s Touch sooner. Once strength is no longer a problem, I’ll replace them with Sigon’s Guard shield and Sigon’s Sabot boots.

At level 7 I equipped Nagelring rings for even more attack rating and attacker takes damage.

At level 12 I equip the Angelic armor, amulet and rings x2.

At level 16 I equipped Twitchthroe. This is my endgame armor. Treachery is better, but with the unavoidable Venom proc, the poison damage dominates the cold, so no bueno.

Easily defeated Andariel at lvl 17. I have 22% life stolen per hit, so my health never went down.

At level 18 I socketed the sword with another character and put a perfect sapphire in it for 10-14 cold damage and an amazing blue look! Another perfect sapphire in the armor helps with the mana issues.

I 💙 the white-blue-red look.
Spoiler: At level 67 I’ll equip the Nigthwing’s Veil helm with a cold facet in it.

Duriel went down without a hitch.

For Mephisto, I had access to the Decrepify curse, which slows him down significantly and together with the cold damage and the Clay Golem he was crawling. It took a minute, but he finally went down.

The Diablo fight

Chaos sanctuary was not easy, but with some fancy footwork and a teleport staff, I managed to kill all 3 seal bosses relatively quickly. Then came the Diablo fight.

I was level 28. I equipped my good old Peasant crown with an Ort rune in it. I had max resistances, and with the life steal & bone armor absorbing 260 physical damage I was able to almost comfortably face-tank Diablo. At level 3 the Clay Golem slows him down by 27%. I got into the rhyth.


It took about 15 minutes. I strategically summoned the golem behind him, so it would only take damage from the “Fire nova”.

I decided not to use Crushing Blow, at least for now. It feels like cheating.

Act V

I reached level 30 farming Eldritch. This unlocks the Lower Resist curse. At level 3 it reduces the enemy’s resistances by 41%. It will be my main curse against non-bosses. Can’t wait to reach 42 and use my +1 to Curses grand charms.

Stay tuned for Chapters 31+

P.S. I’ve posted this on Reddit. I have mixed feeling about it. On one hand, there are some great people in the D2 community. On the other, there are some VERY problematic people in gaming, and on Reddit, and then there’s the Reddit Corporation, doing all the evil corporatey things.

I’ve also enabled comments on this post. Let’s see if I’ll regret this decision.