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Tiger Claw Sin
Tiger Claw.gif
Game Diablo II
Class Assassin
Primary Attack Dragon Claw/Tiger Strike
Can Solo Hell? Yes
Creator lMarcusl

Tiger Claw Sin is, as the name indicates, an Assassin focused on wielding dual Claw weapons and using the combination of Dragon Claw and Tiger Strike skills to perform some high impact attacks and quickly dispose of monsters. She makes use of Claw weapons' innate speed, coupled with her Claw oriented skills to quickly tear through individual enemies before she can be surrounded and overwhelmed.

This guide was written and tested for single player playthrough across all difficulties using patch 1.13. This guide will assume that the player has to rely solely on the items they find when playing the character.


As mentioned, Tiger Claw Sin focuses on quickly dispatching individual enemies instead of utilizing more AoE-oriented offensive skills. Her basic attack, Dragon Claw, allows her to unleash a flurry of quick attacks that individual enemies will rarely have enough time to retaliate against. Her lack of AoE offense is compensated by the crowd control capabilities of Shadow Master and Cloak of Shadows skills, which allow her to literally assassinate individual enemies undisturbed and unthreatened. To increase her efficiency, she also uses Burst of Speed, to quickly move from enemy to enemy, dispose of monsters even faster, and also to escape dangerous situations.

Attribute Point Allocation


Since Tiger Claw Sin is a strictly melee build, it is necessary to dedicate as many points as possible into Vitality. This build will use double Claws at all times, meaning block rate will be determined solely by Weapon Block and not Dexterity. While this means Dexterity will not be that important for a Tiger Claw Sin and she will be able to put more points into Vitality, it also means she will never reach 75% chance to block. Her lack of shields also means a disadvantage in armor rating compared to shield wielders like the paladins and as a result, the Tiger Claw Sin will be taking hits quite often when she's attacked (which won't be all that often really).

Therefore, Strength and Dexterity will only be getting as many points as they really need to use the best Claws available (Scissors Suwayyah requires 118 Strength and Dextereity). Ideally, you should increase your Strength, Dexterity and Vitality at the same rate (5 each per 3 levels) since that will be keeping your Attack Rating, Strength Requirement for armors, Strength and Dexterity Requirement for Claws and health amount constantly on par with the increasing difficulty and better item drops. Once your Strength and Dexterity reach 120, that's it for them. You can focus the rest of your points into Vitality. Assassins get +3 health per point in Vitality, meaning by the end of Hell (clvl 84) you'll most likely have over 1000 health with some bonuses from items. By that time, your stats should look as displayed on the picture (my strength ended up being 5 points higher because I found solid War Boots which require 125 Strength - don't be afraid to build up a little bit if you find some good items). If you feel you are not doing well with your health, you can of course break the routine, dedicate more points into Vitality and bring up the other stats later, but with just a little bit of luck on gear, that shouldn't be necessary.

Skill Point Allocation

As far as skills go, again, this build is quite straightforward. The character is aiming for high speed and high damage. Attacking fast however doesn't mean hitting fast. The basic thing is to actually hit the enemy so max Claw Mastery. That should probably be the first skill you will be maxing out as it will pretty much take care of attack rating problems for the rest of the game when combined with Dragon Claw. It also (as of 1.13) gives Dragon Claw 4% damage synergy so it means even more damage than with the Mastery alone (as if the criticals weren't good enough). A definite first pick.

Second of course would be Dragon Claw. While it doesn't really do amazing damage, and the level progression isn't really that terrific either, we really want to squeeze out every point of damage we can out of those Claws. Don't forget, every single little point of damage you can get into your attacks will then be counted into those devastating Tiger Strikes. That can make A LOT of difference. We're talking about extra hundreds of damage here! The attack rating is also a definite plus here as you'll then be easily getting 80% hit chances by the end of Hell.

Though Tiger Strike is in the name of the build, surprisingly that should probably be the last skill we want to max out. For the beginning of the game, it is enough to have it on lvl 1, since by then the first charge will already be adding a 100% damage which is just fine for Normal and the first three Acts of Nightmare. If you get good Claw weapons (or make some, see Gear section for more) you might actually not be needing Tiger Strike to do some serious damage, but it is always faster than simple Clawing. Just remember, you don't really have to charge it up all the way. Against vanilla enemies, one or two charges might be enough as the Strike is chanelled into both hits with the Dragon Claw (Edit: I later found this info to be false, even though it's stated on the skill). You won't decrease your DPS so much this way. It is sufficient to start pumping up the skill by the end of Nightmare as you'll slowly start to feel the need for more damage than what a lvl 1 Tiger Strike can offer.


Another vital skill is the Shadow Master. Not only is it fun to look at (I mean it's another Assassin using ALL the skills an Assassin can have, how much fun is that?), it's also a perfect crowd controller and a meat shield. Her tendency to throw Mind Blasts everywhere can get annoying sometimes, but more often than not you'd just love to give her a high five, a hug, a kiss or anything else your perverted heart desires. There is noting better than watching a big fat group of Doom Knights slugging it out among themselves while you quietly run around killing them one by one, giggling like a little kid. She is pretty tough too, as her resists are not capped at 75. With Shadow Master at lvl 20, she'll already have somewhere around 75% on all resists. Add into that the random gear benefits she gets and the fact that she uses Fade, and you get one elementally tough companion. She has good life too, a nice tendency to use Cobra Strike when down on health and Death Sentry is always a nice skill to have. Simply said, she is priceless, and as mentioned before, you'll get hit a lot when attacked so it's better if enemies are attaking her or each other rather than you. Put points into her as you see fit. After maxing Mastery and putting sufficient points (see below) into Burst of Speed, you should ideally divide points between Dragon Claw and the Master. This skill alone can get you past the Hell Ancients quite easily.

Now as most experienced players will know, damage means nothing if you deliver it once in a lifetime. If you don't attack fast, you might as well not bother. I have personally been forced to scrap countless (in my mind) good characters because they didn't have the attack speed to counter the sheer number of enemies. That is not a problem for the Assassin. Put 5 points into Burst of Speed and you are well-off for the rest of the game. Of course it is wise to pick some fast Claws too, because there is almost no such thing as being too fast (*cough* Frenzy Barbs *cough*) but this skill will ease your worries even if you don't get some such weaponry. Some might argue that 5 points is too much but do you really want to rely on +skills? The claws you'll be using might be buffing some other skills since we want the Claws with best damage and attack speed and not the best skills, and you can't count on finding a good armor with +skills and solid armor rating. If you do get +skills, then great, you get even more BoS, but it's always best to be able to rely on your own skill levels with melee characters. It's not like those 2 or 3 extra points would be better spent elsewhere.

TC Sin.jpg

Of course, you might be asking what the hell are you supposed to do with Physical Immunes. Tiger Strike, Dragon Claw and all that is nice but where's the elemental damage? The thing is, with all the abovementioned skills maxed (except BoS), there isn't really that many points left to use (5 to be exact, if we aim for clvl 84). With so few points left, there is pretty much only two viable options: Dragon Tail and Fists of Fire. Fire Bomb would be way too weak to use and any higher elemental charge-up skills would require too many points for prerequisites and wouldn't be strong enough. From this pair, Dragon Tail might look like the obvious choice, but it is not so. The skill doesn't work as you might expect. Instead of taking the damage of your boots, adding in the bonus from the Tail and dealing that in fire damage, the skill takes damage of your boots, adds half the bonus from Tail and deals this damage in physical form to the targeted monster. Then, after the physical damage is dealt, it deals the SAME amount of damage you just dealt in the form of AoE fire damage. If you use this skill on a Ghost or another Immune to Physical, the physical portion of the damage is reduced to zero. Then, the skill will deal the same amount of damage you dealt in AoE Fire damage. That's right, it will deal another big fat zero damage. When used on a PI monster, the skill doesn't do anything at all except a little knockback. In order to damage a PI monster, you'd have to kick a non-PI monster. Then the fire damage would be based on the damage you dealt to that monster and fry the PI' monster's ass as it should (if Ghosts and Itchies had asses that is). The number of times when you have a non-PI monster at hand and in just the right position for the explosion to hit most of the nearby PI monsters is abysmal. Don't take this skill, it won't help. Of course, the prospect of lvl 5 Fists of Fire doesn't look very enticing either. What the skill description doesn't tell you is that the skill also transforms a portion of your physical damage into fire damage. Note that it does not transform a percentage of the physical damage DEALT like Dragon Tail does. It simply takes the "potential" damage of your attack (the one you see on your character screen) and deals part of it in fire damage. By slvl 5, that's 18% damage transformed this way. This is not dependent on the number of charges you use so one charge is enough. This damage also includes charge-up from Tiger Strike, so if you charge it up and your Dragon Claw suddenly deals around 4000 damage in total with both hits, 18% of that will be dealt in fire damage to the monster you hit (720 damage in this case + the damage of the skill). Not the fastest way to kill PI's but it works since PI's usually don't have much life anyway. You can also keep high elemental damage claws or amplify damage on striking claws in your other weapon set but FoF is probably more efficient and surefire way and also frees up your other weapon set for casting Claws (more on that in Gear section).

Last but definitely not least, there's Cloak of Shadows, probably the best one point wonder skill beside Static Field and Corpse Explosion. You'll be only putting one point here since you need it to get Shadow Master, but I'm mentioning it anyway just because of how awesome this skill is. It single-handedly makes masses of monsters a walk in the park. Fights with uniques are suddenly fair! While minions wander around aimlessly, the unique goes right after you to get killed so that you can deal with the minions at your own pace. This skill will also take care of those pesky Grotesques, Maggots, Fallen Shamans, Unravellers, Hierophants and other casters/summoners/ranged. It is simply priceless and you'll be pretty much using it all the time so get used to it. It also decreases enemy defense and increases yours slightly but that's just an icing on the cake.


Now since this is a PvM Single Player build, there is not all that much to say about gear except for weaponry. Finding good Claws can sometimes be tough, and if you have bad luck, you may have trouble getting through later stages of Nightmare and Hell. Good Claws can turn an apparently weak and underpowered build into a character that will breeze through Hell like nothing. Since there isn't really much we can do about it in Single Player, we must make good use of what we can do. Whenever you have extra money, go gamble claws. Don't gamble Katars unless you are in Act I Normal/Nightmare/Hell. They aren't worth it. If you happen to find/gamble rare Claws that have above 80% enhanced damage, keep them in your stash/use them. If you get the right runes and gems, you can up their class by a tier using the Cube (from Normal to Exceptional, from Exceptional to Elite). The resulting damage can be incredible with both minimum and maximum damage well over a hundred. The claws I used for the majority of the game were obtained this way. Even by the end of the game I was still holding Hand Scythe that I previously upgraded from measly Cestus. Finding good Exceptional/Elite Claws is hard, so make some yourself.

Second, if you find Claws that add bonuses to some good skills (BoS, Shadow Master, Death Sentry) keep them in your other weapon set and use them as casting claws. And finally, if you feel you are attacking too slow, try switching your claws;) Unfortunately, sometimes the game seems a bit inconsistent with this. Having faster claws in the right hand resulted for me in better attack speed with the Dragon Claw at one time; after getting a different pair of claws, suddenly I was getting much better attack speed with the faster claws in the left hand. So just try it out if your combat feels sluggish. It's easier than remembering it anyway.

Well, folks, that's all for this build. Hope you enjoy playing it;-)