Diablo 2 Best Solo Class – D2R Solo Builds For Hell

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Samuel Franklin

Choosing the best class for solo players in Diablo 2 is crucial to success in your battles against the demons and undead enemies of Hell. While all classes in Diablo 2 and the remastered Diablo 2: Resurrected are capable of soloing game content all the way through Hell difficulty with the right character build the ease, item farming required and enjoyment along the way can vary greatly.

Having completed Hell difficulty with all classes, I’ll guide new and intermediate players through choosing the best solo class for their playstyle in both Diablo 2 and Diablo 2: Resurrected (D2R). With this guide players can determine the easiest class to solo content for them and I’ve also curated a number of build videos from the community so that players can see these classes in action before making their final decision.

Table of Contents:
Best Class Defined – What Makes A Class Strong?
Best Class Summary
7 – Barbarian
6 – Druid
5 – Amazon
4 – Assassin
3 – Paladin
2 – Sorceress
1 – Necromancer

diablo-2-resurrected-character-select

Best Class Defined – What Makes A Class Powerful?

While best can often be a subjective term in determining the most fun class or the strongest class in games like Diablo the following factors have been considered in this Diablo 2 solo tier list:

  • You intend for your character to beat Hell Baal with only solo play and be able to clear the majority of content along the way at a reasonable pace. Hell is a significant leap in game difficulty that requires specific builds to defeat unlock Normal and Nightmare that can be completed without a perfectly optimised class build.
  • You are playing “untwinked” which means different things to the community but generally accepted as using only self found items from your adventure and not supporting them with items you already have or accepting help from other players or your other characters.
  • You want to minimise the time spent farming gear and prioritise advancing through game content. You aren’t required to farm for hundred of hours to have a Hell viable solo character when using the best class.
  • You are looking for the Diablo 2 best PvM (player versus monster) class and don’t intend to do any PvP (player versus player) content.
  • You are not already experienced with Diablo 2 or the specific character you select and possibly searching for the Diablo 2 best class for beginners for an upcoming solo playthrough.
  • You are not playing hardcore (hc).

Best Class Summary

Diablo Class Best Solo Class Ranking Class Notes Notable Solo Builds
Barbarian 7
  • Significant item farming required to achieve power to acquire life stolen per hit, cannot be frozen and sufficient damage.
  • Simple melee fighter can lack area of effect damage depending on build.
  • Requires deep game mechanic. understanding for maximum output (attack rating, dual wielding, whirlwind damage calculation).
  • Whirlwind (WW)
  • Frenzy
  • Concentrate (Conc)
Druid 6
  • Strong elemental builds initially although these drop off in Hell and each has limitations.
  • Shape Shifting builds are item reliant similar to the Barbarian.
  • Wind
  • Fire
  • Fireclaws Werebear
  • Fury Werewolf
Amazon 5
  • Difficult to tackle all content alone with speed due to lack of immunity counter options.
  • Strong end game lightning build but requires significant item investment to reach.
  • Has a strong Valkyrie summon to utilise.
  • Lightning Javazon
  • Elemental bow (ice/fire)
  • Strafe
  • Multishot
Assassin 4
  • Flexible trap build (trapsin) that requires minimal item farming.
  • In built defensive skills to disrupt enemies for survivability.
  • Trapsin
  • Martial arts
Paladin 3
  • Large number of useful auras to activate as required for damage or defences.
  • Main build (hammerdin) has only a small number of magic immune monsters to beat during a playthrough.
  • Melee builds require item farming to maximise damage output.
  • Hammerdin (Blessed Hammer)
  • Smiter
  • Zealot
Sorceress 2
  • Teleport to speed up gameplay progression and item farming.
  • Several cold and fire combinations for players to use for their preferences.
  • Incredibly powerful late game lightning focused build that can defeat all game content.
  • Meteorb (Cold/Fire)
  • Lightning
Necromancer 1
  • Not reliant on equipment for power.
  • Leverages minions and corpse explosion skill for high damage output.
  • Safety of large minion groups.
  • Summonmancer
  • Bone Spear

diablo-2-best-class-barbarian

7 – Barbarian

While the Barbarian was the first character I completed Diablo 2 with it took plenty of blood, sweat and tears to claim that Patriarch title. The playstyle of the Barbarian can be fun for the melee fanatic although there is often a long path of farming items (and runes) on your path with the Barbarian needing some serious items to achieve a solo Hell playthrough.

Weapons in particularly can be hard to acquire and have a significant impact on your damage numbers more so than other classes that rely on skill levels for damage instead. The Barbarian also needs other important modifiers like life steal (life stolen per hit), cannot be frozen and a strong armour to boost defences to a reasonable level. As if that wasn’t enough the solo Barbarian players requires a significant understanding of hidden mechanics like dual wielding, whirlwind damage and balancing your attack rating to truly get the most from this melee fighter. The simple Diablo 2 Barbarian builds also lack area of effect potential that some may consider uninteresting gameplay as you’ll be fighting one enemy at a time.

For those that want to pick the Barbarian the strongest solo build will use skills like Whirlwind (WW), Frenzy and Concentrate (Conc) that each have different playstyles.

6 – Druid

The first expansion character on this best class list for solo players is the Druid despite his ability to decimate Normal and Nightmare difficulty without issue. While the Druid is no doubt viable like every character in Diablo 2 for a Hell playthrough with the right build the reason he isn’t ranked higher is the limited number builds available and their associated limitations at Hell difficulty.

For example the best Druid solo build is the Wind or Windy variant that makes use of the wind base elemental talents that deliver a deadly mix of cold and physical damage although require you to get close to enemies for max effect and the skills can be difficult to use without practice as they have random elements. Similarly the viable Fireclaws Werebear and Fury Werewolf will need significant luck with weapon farming and never quite feels rewarding for your efforts until you get into top end gear where they are absolutely deadly. Achieving this point as a single player in an untwinked fashion though is a serious game time investment that keeps them from being recommended higher.

diablo-2-best-class-amazon

5 – Amazon

Another character in Diablo 2 that struggles to reach maximum potential without significant time investment for the right items and further handicapped by popular builds. This lack of powerful dual element build options for the Amazon is a detriment in Hell due to monster immunities and makes it difficulty to tackle all content. Don’t underestimate the Amazon beyond your solo playthrough though with the right items (such as Infinity on a mercenary) she can be a devastating lightning wielding character and often considered to have one of the Diablo 2 best builds when you have a complete gear set.

Unlike the previous characters on this list though the powerful Valkyrie summon can save the day and once it reaches beyond level 17 is a significant ally in your fight against Hell as this gives her a deadly war pike for damage and strong tanking. Those wanting to take the Amazon from the Rogue Encampment to the Worldstone will want to take advantage of a Lightning Javazon skillset and pair it with Freezing or Exploding Arrow on weapon swap for a solo playthrough. This removes the risk of immunities and also means you’ll gain damage from your skills rather than relying on the right weapon drop. Strafe or Multishot builds also have potential but do require a decent bow to be found along the way so I would be hesitant to use these in a solo adventure.

diablo-2-best-class-assassin

4 – Assassin

Ranking higher than their Lord of Destruction counterpart the Assassin is a capable fighter and with the right build can consistently make their way through the minions of Hell in safe manner. The Assassin can even do this with minimal farming for items with her best weapons being +skill claws without regard for actual damage numbers that are not too difficult to obtain.

Achieving this requires you to follow the strict Trapsin build that focuses on lightning traps but also gets a fire attack through a rare cross element synergy. Combined with the defensive powers of Cloak of Shadows (CoS) and Mind Blast (MB) the Assassin is a safe character that can quickly disrupt a group of enemies and deal hefty damage to them without significant effort. Solo builds beyond the Trapsin though are item dependent and require significant planning, game knowledge and skill to utilise for a solo playthrough though which is why she doesn’t feature higher. If you don’t mind adopting this narrow playstyle though the Assassin is one of the easiest class for solo in Diablo 2.

diablo-2-best-class-paladin

3 – Paladin

Despite the perception of the party based character with their useful auras the Paladin is a deadly solo character with the right build and often an early ladder favourite for their ability to complete a significant amount of game content solo. In single player this is no exception with the Paladin also having the benefit of a straight forward playstyle that makes it one of the best PvM classes in Diablo 2 and ideal for a beginner to the franchise.

The most well known and recognised build in this regard is the Hammerdin build which takes the Blessed Hammer skill and spams it into the face of enemies while staying safe with Holy Shield. Note that a fully fledged Hammerdin requires the high level Enigma runeword or other method of teleport for magic find efficiency but as a single player Hell experience can definitely do without this. Other Paladin builds such as the Smiter or Zealot can also be viable and while they might need more specific gear the supporting skills of the Paladin make it less of a grind compared to the Barbarian’s weapon hunt noted above.

2 – Sorceress

A popular Diablo 2 character that is another high tier PvM fighter and can make quick work of Nightmare difficulty when she has some high skill levels on her primary spells. While Hell is a little bit more work for the Sorceress her ability to have multiple hybrid elemental build paths means she is flexible and also not significantly item dependent.

The best mechanic that the Sorceress offers though is Teleport ensuring that when you do need to skip beyond a mob of monsters you’ll have no issues. For those wanting to command the Sorceress through Hell the Diablo 2 best Sorceress build solo is known as the Meteorb which utilises Meteor, Fireball and Frozen Orb for dual element strength alongside one point wonders like Static Field and Teleport. Other fire/cold Sorceress hybrid builds can utilise options like Firewall and Blizzard or players can explore some off meta lighting/cold or lightning/fire options.

Pure cold, fire or lightning builds are best avoided though due to the high item requirements (like a Mercenary with Infinity for the negative resistance to monsters) that are beyond most solo players. At the supreme end game though or as a magic finding character you can focus solely on cold with Blizzard or solely Lightning Sorceress builds.

diablo-2-best-class-necromancer

1 – Necromancer

Offering the lowest item requirements for a successful Hell solo completion of any Diablo 2 class the Necromancer is famous for his ability to summon minions and golems onto the battlefield. A number of players in the Diablo 2 community have even challenged themselves to complete the game with no equipment on their Necromancer and succeeded which gives you some insight into the raw solo power of this character.

This is made possible by the strong summoner skills and Corpse Explosion of the Necromancer that can quickly chain one kill into an entire monster pack while protective bone spells and your summons keep you safe from harm. Commonly known as the Summonmancer or Fishymancer players can deck out their character from shop bought wands to maximise +skills and have no issues in their Hell advancement although unlike the Sorceress above is generally a slower experience as a trade off.

If the idea of a summoning based Necromancer isn’t for you then a bone build based around Bone Spear and Bone Prison is perfectly viable and still relatively easy to gear from a solo perspective. I also consider the Necromancer to be one of the Diablo 2 best starter class options given he doesn’t have a significant amount of hidden or complex mechanics in his skills and is fairly forgiving in terms of gear and mechanical requirements.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam has been playing the Diablo franchise for over two decades where he has commanded both spells and steel against the growing army of the Burning Hells. His favourite games in the action RPG series are Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 which he grew up playing with friends while completing Hell difficulty with every available class. The dark setting and lore continues to bring him back to the franchise with each subsequent game release where he regularly plays as the Sorceress themed class for the ability to control the battlefield with chilling area of effect abilities and teleport away from danger.

8 Comments

  1. I can’t believe I agree with you 100%.
    I play exactly as you describe; no farming other than to build up your strength, no help; and to essentially beat the game about as fast as I can in Hell.
    The Druid is definitely my fav by far but really has trouble in Hell without finding the right Runes and gear. Basically impossible in a Solo Run.
    Minus Necro, I’d say the most fun in Hell is with a Javazon dishing out lightning and poison.

    Anyways, great list as I normally just find lists for online and or PvP

    Reply
    • Thanks Mechan! Sounds like we do indeed play exactly the same, it has always been my favourite way to play Diablo 2 and exactly what I’ll be doing in D2R on release as well.

      Exactly the same Druid experience for me in particular, I wish he was just a little stronger solo found as he is a great character and one of the more unique options too.

      Reply
  2. Paladin is the strongest character in the game, hands down.

    Reply
    • Debatable but it’s not the question. The question is about solo characters and, therefore, the builds has to be less gear dependant and very versatile.

      Reply
  3. Thanks for a list that doesn’t claim to be ‘solo pve beginner’ builds, and then start out with, “You’ll need this set that you can only have gotten with a previous character farming the nightmare cow level’.

    Reply
  4. How does playing hardcore change things on this list?

    Reply
    • Hi osoviejo

      The biggest impact from hardcore is that you need to trade some of your power for better defences to reduce your risk as you’ve only got the single character life. This creates a significant issue for any melee build in particular but also narrows some characters into specific builds only.

      For a hardcore tier list I would rate them as:
      7 – Barbarian
      6 – Sorceress (cold builds only but can be higher if you are an experienced Sorceress player and is useful to farm gear for your other characters if you want to)
      5 – Amazon (Lightning Javazon)
      4 – Assassin (Trapsin)
      3 – Paladin (Hammerdin)
      2 – Druid (Summoner Druid if you are playing the latest D2R patch given their recent changes, otherwise this character is ranked 6)
      1 – Necromancer (summoner only)

      Regards
      Games Finder Team

      Reply
    • Some classes / build have better survivability than others

      Reply
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