Details about the seven new runewords added in Patch 2.4 in Diablo 2 Resurrected.
Patch 2.4 New Runewords
One of the biggest potential changes to the meta in Diablo 2 Resurrected comes in the form of new runewords, from the low level [Pattern] runeword to the expensive [Plague], [Obsession] and [Mist]. One of the key design goals of these new runewords frankly seems to have been to find a use for Cham runes, which previously were not highly sought-after due to the relative weakness of their constituent runewords. Another seems to have been to improve runeword options for martial arts-focused Assassins.
Alas, if you found a Cham rune before Ladder Mode started, you’re out of luck: All of these new runewords can only be created in Ladder Mode (expansion only). Trust us, we feel your pain.
With that out of the way, let’s have a look at these new runewords:
Flickering Flame (NefPulVex)
|55 (or helmet base, if higher)|
Flickering Flame is an attempt on making a fire-based rival to [Nightwing’s Veil] and [Griffon’s Eye] (which boosts cold damage and lightning damage, respectively), it’s honestly not a bad effort. The +3 Fire Skills and -10-15% Enemy Fire Resistance will make this an interesting prospect for any fire build. It’s not cheap, costing a Vex and Pul rune, but it’s not prohibitively expensive, either. Almost certainly going to be a popular runeword to craft during Ladder Mode.
You will need a 3-socket helmet (these start dropping in Nightmare difficulty) to serve as a base, to which you’ll need to add the runes Nef + Pul + Vex, only the last of which is particularly valuable.
Flickering Flame Stats
- Level 4-8 Resist Fire Aura When Equipped (varies)
- +3 to Fire Skills
- -10-15% to Enemy Fire Resistance (varies)
- +30% Enhanced Defense
- +30 Defense Vs. Missile
- +50-75 to Mana (varies)
- Half Freeze Duration
- +5% to Maximum Fire Resist
- Poison Length Reduced by 50%
|67 (or weapon base, if higher)|
Probably the most interesting new runeword, Mist is a bow/crossbow runeword that gives a heft +3 boost to All Skills, +100% Piercing Attack, 20% Increased Attack Speed, +325-375% Enhanced Damage, 20% bonus to Attack Rating, All Resistance +40 and most insane of all, Level 8-12 Concentration Aura when equipped, this is a contender for best bow in the game, directly compete with juggernauts like [Faith] and [Breath of the Dying]. Even if you don’t use it yourself, it’s a great option for an Act 1 mercenary, and a stupendous way to spend a Cham rune.
It can use any 5-sock Bow or Crossbow as a base, but it’d be a waste of resources not to use an elite weapon as a base, ideally a Grand Matron Bow with +3 Bow/Crossbow Skills. This would result in a high damage bow with +3 All Skills on top of +3 Bow/Crossbow Skills, for a total of +6 to the Amazon’s most important skills, as well as all its other bonuses. Once you have your base you’ll need to drop a Cham + Shael + Gul + Thul + Ith rune in it, in that order. Cham is by far the rarest of the bunch, although Gul is moderately expensive. If you can get a Cham rune, you probably want to use it on creating this runeword.
- Level 8-12 Concentration Aura When Equipped (varies)
- +3 To All Skills
- 20% Increased Attack Speed
- +100% Piercing Attack
- +325-375% Enhanced Damage (varies)
- +9 To Maximum Damage
- 20% Bonus to Attack Rating
- Adds 3-14 Cold Damage
- Freeze Target +3
- +24 Vitality
- All Resistances +40
|69 (or weapon base, if higher)|
It’s hard to think of a time when using a staff has been preferable to a weapon and shield - it turns out that wielding a shield in your offhand just provides too many useful modifiers, not to mention a chance to block. The introduction of the Spirit runeword all but buried two-handed weapons for casters, but the Obsession runeword is trying to combat the dominant meta.
It’s… a valiant effort, and the stats speak for themselves: +4 All Skills, +65% Cast Rate, +60% Faster Hit Recovery, +15-25% Max Life, All Resistances +60-70… Obsessions is a good staff, but it comes at a premium, costing a Zod rune, which is prohibitively expensive, as well as Ist, which isn’t exactly cheap, either. It’s ultimately a futile effort, as well, as just equipping a Spirit sword and shield will net you a total of +4 All Skills, +50-70% Cast Rate, +44 Vitality, +178-224 Mana, +110% Faster Hit Recovery and Cold/Lightning/Poison Resist +35%.
The differences between the two aren’t that great on paper, and there are arguments that the percent Life and higher resistances on Obsession out-competes the significant boosts to Vitality and Mana on Spirit. What’s not arguable, however, is the price - Spirit’s most expensive rune is Amn, and you’re going to find scores of Amn runes before you ever sniff a Zod. The best case that can really be made for Obsession is that it can be put in a low-tier staff and mitigate the need for a four-socket Monarch, along with its massive Strength requirement. This could drop your average Sorceress, Necromancer and Paladin’s Strength requirements drastically, but realistically you’re probably going to want at least 50~ Strength for Harlequin Crest and Arachnid Mesh, or higher for choice gear like War Traveler, Marrowwalk and Herald of Zakarum. That still allows you to drop around 50~ points from Strength and invest them elsewhere, which isn’t nothing, but is it really worth a Zod?
Worse still, Spirit is not the top-tier choice for endgame caster weapons. Heart of the Oak arguably is. Once you start comparing the combined stats of Heart of the Oak and Spirit, it becomes even more difficult to advocate for Obsession.
It’s a good effort, but unless you’re obscenely rich you should probably save that Zod rune for [Breath of the Dying]. If you do build obsession, you’ll need a six-socket staff to serve as a base, into which you’ll need to insert Zod + Ist + Lem + Lum + Io + Nef.
- 24% Chance to cast level 10 Weaken when struck
- +4 To All Skills
- +65% Faster Cast Rate
- +60% Faster Hit Recovery
- +10 To Vitality
- +10 To Energy
- Increase Maximum Life 15-25% (varies)
- Regenerate Mana 15-30% (varies)
- All Resistances +60-70 (varies)
- 75% Extra Gold from Monsters
- 30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
|23 (or weapon base, if higher)|
Not all runewords need to be endgame gear that consume ultra expensive runes, and Pattern, while being a low-level runeword, fills an otherwise empty niche. There are plenty of decent low-level weapon runewords like [Steel] and [Honor], but most of these exclude Assassin-only weapons. With the addition of Pattern, the Assassin finally has a realistic way of fighting through a good portion of the game with their class-specific weapons, starting at level 23 (the minimum level for Pattern thanks to its Thul rune component) and lasting up until level 42 when you can hopefully get your hands on [Bartuc’s Cut-Throat], which will retire Pattern into obsolescence. Of course, this only applies to the newly-buffed martial-arts focused Assassin, but 20~ levels isn’t a bad run for a starter runeword.
You’ll need a three socket claw-class weapon and the relatively common Tal + Ort + Thul runes.
- +30% Faster Block Rate
- +40-80% Enhanced Damage (varies)
- 10% Bonus to Attack Rating
- Adds 17-62 Fire Damage
- Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
- Adds 3-14 Cold Damage
- +75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
- +6 to Strength
- +6 to Dexterity
- All Resistances +15
|67 (or weapon base, if higher)|
A very odd runeword, we can only assume Plague is attempting to serve as an alternative to the incredibly rare Death’s Web, as well as potentially servicing other poison-based builds. In the former supposition, its efficacy is mixed - Death’s Web will give more Skills to the Necromancer and will reduce enemy Poison resistance more reliably. That said, Plague has some interesting mods, including the chance to proc Lower Resist when struck (something a Necromancer can just cast), a chance to proc Poison Nova when striking, and a level 13-17 Cleansing Aura. It also bestows +1-2 All Skills, +20% Attack Speed, +220-320% Enhanced Damage and -23% Enemy Poison Resistance.
Mods like Attack Speed, Enhanced Damage, Open wounds and Deadly Strike really argue that this is for a melee character… perhaps a Rabies Druid build, Poison Dagger Necromancer, or Martial Arts Assassin? It’s a weapon that follows a theme, perhaps to a fault, and ends up being a weapon designed for, at best, a few very, very niche builds. That in itself all wouldn’t be too bad if Plague didn’t require a Cham rune, which can be put to better use making the Mist runeword.
To craft Plague you’ll need a three socket claw, dagger or sword, unto which you must bestow Cham + Shael + Um. The Cham rune is very, very expensive, and as mentioned earlier, is probably better off used in Mist.
- 20% Chance to cast level 12 Lower Resist when struck
- 25% Chance to cast level 15 Poison Nova on striking
- Level 13-17 Cleansing Aura When Equipped (varies)
- +1-2 All Skills
- +20% Increased Attack Speed
- +220-320% Enhanced Damage (varies)
- -23% To Enemy Poison Resistance
- 0.3% (0-29.7) Deadly Strike (Based on Character Level)
- +25% Chance of Open Wounds
- Freezes Target +3
Unbending Will (FalIoIthEldElHel)
|41 (or weapon base, if higher)|
Unbending Will is a somewhat cheaper alternative to [Oath], giving a hefty +300-350% Enhanced Damage, +3 Combat Skills (Barbarian Only), +20-30% Increased Attack Speed and 8-10% Life leech. An ethereal Oath easily overpowers it, but for a runeword whose highest rune is Fal, this is a great midrange option that honestly makes pretty much every exceptional unique sword redundant. It comfortably fits that middle-ground between [Honor] and higher-tier runewords like the aforementioned Oath and [Grief].
You will need a 6-socket sword to serve as a base, which limits your options to Crystal Swords, Dimensional Blades, Phase Blades, Flamberges, Zweihanders, Colossus Swords, Great Swords, Executioner Swords, and Colossus Blades, and many of these will not spawn 5-sockets until Hell difficulty. Once you have the sword, adorn it with Fal + Io + Ith + Eld + El + Hel runes.
Unbending Will Stats
- 18% Chance to cast Level 18 Taunt on striking
- +3 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)
- +20-30% Increased Attack Speed (varies)
- +300-350% Enhanced Damage (varies)
- +9 To Maximum Damage
- +50 To Attack Rating
- +75% Damage to Undead
- +50 Attack Rating Against Undead
- 8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
- Prevent Monster Heal
- +10 To Strength
- +10 To Vitality
- Damage Reduced By 8
- +1 Light Radius
- Requirements -20%
|45 (or helmet base, if higher)|
Flickering Flame may be drawing most of the attention when it comes to new helmet runewords - and perhaps deservedly so - but don’t sleep on Wisdom. Piercing Attack, +15-25% Attack Rating, 4-8% Mana leech and has “Cannot Be Frozen”? Yeah, this is a great Amazon helmet, and potentially opens up new options for your belt slot, as Razortail might not be a lock for that spot anymore. This arguably also allows you to dispense with Raven Frost, and with Pul being its highest required rune, it’s pretty cheap.
If you don’t need Piercing Attack, the value of his helmet drops a good bit, but it still possesses a decent bonus to Attack Rating, Mana Leech and Cannot be Frozen, making it as passable alternative for other melee characters assuming they don’t have access to Vampire Gaze, Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest, Stealskull, Arreat’s Face or Jalal’s Mane. Okay, okay, so if you’re not an Amazon, you have other options, but it does effectively bury Valkyrie Wing, potentially opens up other equipment slots, and makes the wait for [Nightwing Veil] or [Griffon’s Eye] more tolerable.
- +33% Piercing Attack
- +15-25% Bonus to Attack Rating (varies)
- 4-8% Mana Stolen Per Hit (varies)
- +30% Enhanced Defense
- +10 Energy
- 15% Slower Stamina Drain
- Cannot Be Frozen
- +5 Mana After Each Kill
- 15% Damage Taken Goes to Mana