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Diablo Wiki
WhirlWind Sin
Game Diablo II
Class Assassin
Primary Attack Whirlwind, Venom
Can Solo Hell? Yes
Creator Kickin It

The Whirlwind Assassin is an Assassin build that utilizes the Barbarian’s Whirlwind skill, which is granted to her by the Chaos Runeword. This build is used mainly in PvP, but can be used in PvM as well. The main drawback of this build is the relatively short range of claw-class weapons, which can make effective Whirlwinding somewhat challenging.

Stat Placement[]

  • Strength: Enough to use your gear. This will likely be around 130 after gear bonuses, which is the requirement for your Helm (115 plus the 15 Strength bonus on the Helm).
  • Dexterity: Enough to use your claws.
  • Vitality: All the rest of your points, as usual. Assassins gain 3 Life per point in Vitality.
  • Energy: Base. A point here is a point wasted.



This build requires level 84, assuming you’ve completed all skill quests on all difficulties. This leaves 15 points left to spend; Blade Shield is recommended, though Weapon Block may be a candidate as well.

Martial Arts[]

For PvP, you’ll want to pick up Dragon Flight to close distances, which means a prerequisite point in Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw, and Dragon Tail. This can also be helpful in PvM, but is not necessary. Your discretion on this one (these skills are not included in the above tree).

Shadow Disciplines[]

  • Claw Mastery: 20 Points. This is your bread and butter skill for increasing the damage of your Whirlwind.
  • Psychic Hammer: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Burst of Speed: 1 Point. Useful for traveling long distances or running around town, but can not be active at the same time as Fade. Prerequisite.
  • Weapon Block: 1 Point. A great boost to your survivability, but suffers from horrible diminishing returns. +Skills will get you all you need from this skill.
  • Cloak of Shadows: 1 Point. A one-hit wonder, this skill will increase your defense and lower your opponent’s simultaneously, while also shrouding you from ranged attackers.
  • Fade: 20 Points. You’ll want to max this for the hidden bonus of 1% Physical Damage Reduction (Diablo II) per point. The big resist boost doesn’t hurt either.
  • Shadow Warrior: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Mind Blast: 1 Point. Another one-hit wonder. Wonderful crowd control spell, but no reason to ever put more than 1 point here.
  • Venom: 20 Points. Provides a big boost to your damage with plenty of +Skills.
  • Shadow Master: 20 Points. What’s not to love? Helps out with crowd control, tanking, and puts out some damage of her own.


  • Fire Blast: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Shock Web: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Blade Sentinel: 1+ Points. Can be thrown along your Whirlwind path for a little bit of extra damage. More points allow more blades (up to 5) to be active at once, but this skill only inflicts its damage once per second, no matter how often a blade actually hits a target. Level 6 = 3 Blades, Level 10 = 4 Blades, Level 14 = 5 Blades.
  • Charged Bolt Sentry: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Wake of Fire: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Blade Fury: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Lightning Sentry: 1 Point. Prerequisite.
  • Death Sentry: 1 Point. The Corpse Explosion aspect of this Trap is useful against any group of monsters, and essential for Physical Immunes.
  • Blade Shield: 1 Point. Adds a little extra “set and forget” damage as you’re Whirlwinding through packs of baddies. See below for additional information.


  • Weapons: Chaos is obviously a must have, otherwise there is no Whirlwind. For your second claw, Fury is preferred for its Open Wounds, Deadly Strike, and other good mods. A Shadow Killer's high damage makes for a good alternative, but would need to be socketed with a Shael or an IAS Jewel in order to reach the fastest breakpoint for Whirlwind. For the base item, either a Suwayyah (best damage with workable Str/Dex requirements) or Greater Claws (lowest Str/Dex requirements) with useful Staffmods should be used, as the staffmods will be retained when the Runeword is completed.
  • Armor: Duress is a good option for its nice attack effects, but the great stats on Fortitude make it a better all-around choice. An Archon Plate should be your preferred base armor.
  • Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws should be used for the bonus to poison damage, which is actually applied twice: once when buffing Venom, and again when the poison is actually applied to a monster.
  • Rings: Raven Frost is almost required for the Cannot be Frozen modifier and the huge boost to Attack Rating, while Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band is great for the +Skills, Life, and Life Leech.
  • Belt: Verdungo's Hearty Cord is your best bet: great bonuses to your Life, and if you get a good %DR on it, you’ll be easily at the 50% cap when combined with your Fade. String of Ears is a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on Verdungo’s.
  • Charms: Your standard Annihilus and Hellfire Torch are, of course, recommended. Otherwise, try to stockpile Shadow Discipline skillers and Small Charms with Max Damage/Attack Rating, Life, and Resistances (if needed).
  • Weapon Swap: The typical CtA/Spirit combination is favored, but two +3 Shadow Disciplines claws can also be useful for pre-buffing Shadow Master, Fade, and Venom.


An Act II Nightmare Defensive Mercenary (Holy Freeze) should be used if you prefer a more defensive setup, while the Nightmare Offensive Mercenary (Might) will provide a higher damage output if you like an offensive setup.

  • Armor: Like you, he should be wearing a Fortitude for the huge damage bonus. Find him a nice ethereal armor to put this one in.

Important Mechanics[]

  • When dual-wield Whirlwinding, both weapons try to score a hit against the target. In other words, the game does a hit-check for each weapon. Since both weapons are given the chance to score a hit, the damage done over time is roughly the sum of the damage of both weapons. The effect of weapon speed in dual-wielding Whirlwind is as follows: while a target is in range, one of the weapons' speeds is constantly used to calculate the next hit-check frame. If there's no target in range, the game will alternate between weapon speeds to calculate the next hit-check frame. The best way to make sure you have maximum Whirlwind speed when dual-wielding is to use weapons that both reach the final breakpoint.
  • The fastest breakpoint for Whirlwind is 4 frames, which requires a Modified WSM (Weapon Speed Modifier) of -13 or lower. Modified WSM is equal to the WSM of your claw (the base attack speed: 0 for a Suwayyah; -20 for Greater Claws) minus the amount of IAS on the claw. Since both recommended runewords have more than 13 IAS on them, you will always be Whirlwinding at the fastest breakpoint. IAS from gear besides the claws (such as on Highlord’s Wrath) is not taken into account when Whirlwinding.
  • Blade Shield is capable of adding a variety of attack effects into its damage. In addition to the listed +¼ Weapon Damage, these include: +¼ Elemental Damage (including Venom), Life and Mana Leech, Chance to Cast on Attack (but not on Striking), and bonuses from Claw Mastery. Attack effects that are not applied to Blade Shield include: Enhanced Damage from non-weapon sources, Hit Freezes, Blinds, Slows, or Causes Monster to Flee, Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, and Knockback.
  • Claw-class weapons gain a bonus of 0.5% Weapon Damage per each point invested in Strength and Dexterity.