Best Diablo 2 Runewords By Level Required Guide

Last Updated on October 23, 2021 by Samuel Franklin

Best Diablo 2 Runewords By Level Required Guide

Wanting to dive into the best Diablo 2 Runewords by level required to plan your character progression? This list of potential runewords and associated information is designed to help you plot a runeword route through the game and ensure your character has the minimum level requirement to use these highly effective crafted items introduced in the Lord of Destruction expansion. As runewords modify the level required to equip an item knowing the runewords by level is important to ensure your character level (or Clvl) is sufficient to use them before crafting them.

Runewords in Diablo 2 offer a powerful method for players to modify weapons, armours, shields and helmets that can be effective throughout early game to end game in the right builds. The reliability of Diablo 2 runewords means provided you can farm the required runes from popular rune farming locations like The Countess or Lower Kurast (LK) chests and find the item base you’ll have a reliably strong item regardless of your chosen Diablo 2 class. Runewords are also a popular choice for Diablo 2 mercenaries due to a number providing powerful auras, damage or defensive statistics that can turn them into deadly supporting allies. In addition to the required level, ladder requirements, rune order, base item and sockets detailed below I’ve included some comments and general advice to assist beginners looking to understand what are the best runewords in Diablo 2 and why they are used.

This list is presented in level order to assist players finding the best early runewords and low level runewords for their character as these are often overshadowed by high level options on tier lists that ignore these starter options. Note that for Diablo 2: Resurrected runewords you can use the ladder only options below in both single player and non-ladder which is not possible in the original D2 game without using mods or editing your game files.

This D2 runewords by level required guide should be read in conjunction with the official Arreat Summit Runewords and Diablo 2 wiki pages. There are also a number of useful Runeword Finder tools available online that take your available runes and items to determine what you can craft with your current stash.

Keep in mind that the level required for the runeword might be higher than that listed here as the item you build the runeword in has its own level and stat requirements to equip the item that may be higher. While the best runewords in Diablo 2 and Diablo 2: Resurrected have some subjective elements and depend on the situation recommended ones to consider have been marked with an asterisk(*) below to help you narrow down your search at specific levels and draw your attention to them as they are viable in multiple builds. Where a runeword is useful in only niche specific builds or is an expensive investment compared to the benefit it provides it has not been marked.

All Diablo 2 Runewords By Level

Runeword Name and Stats Levelladder OnlyRune OrderItem Type (Sockets)Comments and Runeword Advice
Steel*

+25% Increased Attack Speed
+20% Enhanced Damage
+3 to Minimum Damage
+3 to Maximum Damage
+50 to Attack Rating
50% Chance of Open Wounds
+2 to Mana After Kill
+1 to Light Radius
13NTir + ElSword, Axe or Mace (2)A simple to craft Diablo 2 runeword with various decent melee weapon boosts. Most notably the large open wounds chance (50%) that can be devastating in a fast weapon and thus a reliable early game option.
Nadir

+50% Enhanced Defence
+10 Defence
+30 Defence vs. Missile
+5 to Strength
+2 to Mana After Kill
-33% Gold Find
-3 to Light Radius
Level 13 Cloak of Shadows (9 charges)
13NNef + TirHelmet (2)Uniquely gives negative gold find and light radius although is rarely used in practice. It can be a cheap method to acquire some Mana after kill but a Tir rune alone in a helm can provide this if desired.
Malice

+33% Enhanced Damage
+9 to Maximum Damage
-25% Target Defence
+50 to Attack Rating
100% Chance of Open Wounds
Prevent Monster Heal
-100 to Monster Defence Per Hit
Drain Life -5
15NIth + El + EthMelee Weapon (3)Uniquely drains your life while using it, this is not an actively used runeword though as it offers little in terms of stats and the open wounds change is simply not required at this point of the game.
Stealth*

+25% Faster Run/Walk
+25% Faster Casting Rate
+25% Faster Hit Recovery
+6 to Dexterity
Regenerate Mana 15%
+15 Maximum Stamina
Poison Resist +30%
Magic Damage Reduced by 3
17NTal + EthArmour (2)The best early game armour runeword option with its faster run/walk, cast and hit recovery. Both of these runes can be farmed from Normal Countess and can be a viable item even into Nightmare and Hell as a caster character due to these attributes and the 15% mana regeneration as well.
Leaf*

+3 to Fire Skills
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
+3 to Inferno (Sorceress Only)
+3 to Warmth (Sorceress Only)
+3 to Fire Bolt (Sorceress Only)
+(2*Clvl) Defence
Cold Resist +33%
+2 to Mana After Kill
19NTir + RalStaff (2)Fantastic runeword for a Sorceress and also viable on a fire elemental Druid or fire trap Assassin as the plus fire skills works on their skills as well. Runes can drop from Normal Countess and combined with a shop bought staff from Akara or Drognan. Obtaining one that already has + to Fireball skills or Warmth in for even more utility and damage boost to your Sorceress can be particularly effective.
Zephyr

7% Chance to Cast Level 1 Twister When Struck
+25% Faster Run/Walk
+25% Increased Attack Speed
+33% Enhanced Damage
-25% Target Defence
+66 to Attack Rating
Adds 1-50 lightning damage
+25 Defence
21NOrt + EthRanged Weapon (2)Decent damage oriented runeword for a ranged fighter although there are better early to mid game uses of an Ort rune (such as Ancient’s Pledge or Lore). If you utilise ranged weapons though and are lacking a decent weapon or don’t mind the Ort cost you can consider it.
Ancient’s Pledge*

+50% Enhanced Defence
Cold Resist +43%
Lightning Resist +48%
Fire Resist +48%
Poison Resist +48%
10% Damage Taken Goes to Mana
21NRal + Ort + TalShield (3)These 3 runes are given to the player from Qual-Kehk as a reward for rescuing the Barbarian prisoners in the second quest of Act 5. This is a fantastic defensive shield with high resistance to all elements and great for most characters needing resistances for the push into Nightmare and Hell that are shield users.
Holy Thunder

+60% Enhanced Damage
+10 to Maximum Damage
-25% Target Defence
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
Adds 21-110 Lightning Damage
+75 Poison Damage over 5 secs
+3 to Holy Shock (Paladin Only)
+5% to Maximum Lightning Resist
Lightning Resist +60%
Level 7 Chain Lightning (60 charges)
23NEth + Ral + Ort + TalScepter (4)Lightning themed runeword that provides lightning themed skills, damage and resistance. Not a terrible runeword with the various damage enhancements but a 4 open socket scepter is unlikely to be available at this stage and one with your desired skills is likely to give just as much benefit.
Strength*

+35% Enhanced Damage
7% Life stolen per hit
25% Chance of Crushing Blow
+20 to Strength
+10 to Vitality
+2 to Mana After Kill
25NAmn + TirMelee Weapon (2)Effective early game melee runeword with a combination of crushing blow and life stolen per hit. Of all the options on this runewords by level guide this is one of the most underrated low level melee options given the important of these two stats, simple rune requirements and easy to find runeword base.
Edge

Level 15 Thorns Aura When Equipped
+35% Increased Attack Speed
+320-380% Damage To Demons
+280% Damage To Undead
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+5-10 To All Attributes
+2 To Mana After Kill
Reduces All Vendor Prices 15%
25YTir + Tal + AmnRanged Weapon (3)Provides Thorns aura and uniquely reduces vendor prices but not something you’ll be looking to build as you progress. Some players will build one for a shopping/gambling character though which with D2R can easily be transferred between the shared storage for those wanting to min-max
King’s Grace*

+100% Enhanced Damage
+150 to Attack Rating
+100% Damage to Demons
+100 to Attack Rating against Demons
+50% Damage to Undead
+100 to Attack Rating against Undead
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
Adds 3-14 Cold damage
7% Life stolen per hit
25NAmn + Ral + ThulSword or Scepter (3)Strong boosts to damage and attack rating with added cold and life stolen per hit providing a viable runeword for melee classes which lets you stay on target and heal from your physical damage.
Spirit*

+2 To All Skills
+25-35% Faster Cast Rate
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defence Vs. Missile
+22 To Vitality
+89-112 To Mana
+3-8 Magic Absorb

Sword:
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
7% Life Stolen Per Hit

Shield:
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
25YTal + Thul + Ort + AmnSword or Shield (4)The ideal caster runeword with a massive boost to skills, defence, cast rate, recovery and mana. It is often put into a Crystal Sword early on and players can use their Larzuk socket quest on Crystal Swords found in the Secret Cow Level or specific Nightmare locations to guarantee 4 sockets.

Monarch (Elite Kite Shield) is the most popular shield for Spirit as it is the first non Paladin shield that can spawn with 4 sockets and has the lowest strength requirement of 156 but can only drop from Hell. While this is one of the best Diablo 2 runewords the level required of 25 is deceptive as the Monarch shield requires level 54 when using the shield path.
Myth

3% Chance To Cast Level 1 Howl When Struck
10% Chance To Cast Level 1 Taunt On Striking
+2 To Barbarian Skill Levels
+30 Defence Vs. Missile
Replenish Life +10
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
Requirements -15%
25NHel + Amn + NefArmour (3)While this can be a tempting runeword for Barbarians due to the +2 Barbarian skills Myth lacks defensive capabilities meaning it is not worth considering outside of niche builds.
Radiance

+75% Enhanced Defence
+30 Defence vs. Missiles
+10 to Vitality
+10 to Energy
+33 to Mana
Damage Reduced by 7
Magic Damage Reduced by 3
15% Damage Taken Goes to Mana
+5 to Light Radius
27NNef + Sol + IthHelmet (3)Not recommended with a Sol rune better spent on Lore which goes in the same item slot and provides more useful stat modifiers. It can also be difficult to obtain an appropriate base in comparison to a 2 socket helm that Lore requires.
Insight*

Level 12-17 Meditation Aura When Equipped
+35% Faster Cast Rate
+200-260% Enhanced Damage
+9 To Minimum Damage
180-250% Bonus to Attack Rating
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds
+1-6 To Critical Strike
+5 To All Attributes
+2 To Mana After Kill
23% Magic Find
27YRal + Tir + Tal + SolPolearm or Staff (4)One of the best Diablo 2 runewords for Sorceress when given to her Act 2 mercenary for the mana regeneration aura. Also a popular item for other character builds that have heavy mana use in their skill builds.

Given the good enhanced damage and relatively easy to obtain runes building one in Normal/Nightmare with a Normal runeword base can be an effective option to see you through to Hell.
Lore*

+1 to All Skills
+10 to Energy
Lightning Resist +30%
Damage Reduced by 7
+2 to Mana After Kill
+2 to Light Radius
27NOrt + SolHelmet (2)An affordable and effective runeword with great benefits from the +1 to all skills and lightning resistance. This runeword level requirement makes it an early to mid game staple of all characters.
Honor*

+1 to all skills
+160% Enhanced Damage
+9 to Minimum Damage
+9 to Maximum Damage
+250 Attack Rating
7% Life Stolen per Hit
25% Deadly Strike
+10 to Strength
Replenish life +10
+2 to Mana After Kill
+1 to Light Radius
27NAmn + El + Ith + Tir + SolMelee Weapon (5)A solid weapon for the melee Paladin or Barbarian with damage, all skills, attack rating and life steal included. The runes required can be farmed at Nightmare Countess and a good time in your progression to consider this if your weapon is lacking.
Rhyme*

+40% Faster Block Rate
20% Increased Chance of Blocking
Regenerate Mana 15%
All Resistances +25
Cannot be Frozen
50% Gold Find
25% Magic Find
29NShael + EthShield (2)An easy to make runeword that is fantastic for any caster or ranged character build that isn’t constantly in the thick of fighting demons. Provides a magic find boost in addition to cannot be frozen, all resistances and regenerate mana.
Peace*

4% Chance To Cast Level 5 Slow Missiles When Struck
2% Chance To Cast level 15 Valkyrie On Striking
+2 To Amazon Skill Levels
+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+2 To Critical Strike
Cold Resist +30%
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
29NShael + Thul + AmnArmour (3)Designed for the Amazon with its +2 Amazon skill levels and supported with critical strike boost and cold resistance for defence. Like the Honor runeword above Nightmare Countess is an effective farming method and point to consider building this.
Black

+15% Increased Attack Speed
+120% Enhanced Damage
+200 to Attack Rating
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage (3 sec)
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
Knockback
+10 to Vitality
Magic Damage Reduced By 2
Level 4 Corpse Explosion (12 Charges)
35NThul + Io + NefClub, Hammer or Mace (3)Offers strong crushing blow with 40% that can make it devastating to use although it does have knockback that can make it annoying outside bosses.
White*

+3 to Poison and Bone Skills (Necromancer Only)
+20% Faster Cast Rate
+2 to Bone Spear (Necromancer Only)
+4 to Skeleton Mastery (Necromancer Only)
+3 to Bone Armor (Necromancer Only)
Hit causes monster to flee 25%
+10 to vitality
+13 to mana
Magic Damage Reduced by 4
35NDol + IoWand (2)Offering the best runewords by level required for Necromancer this item is ideal for the bonemancer build that uses Bone Spear giving a +5 in total and faster cast rate. Players can also shop for a bone spear base wand for potentially +8 to this bone piercing attack.
Smoke*

+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+75% Enhanced Defence
+280 Defence vs. Missiles
+10 to Energy
All Resistances +50
-1 to Light Radius
Level 6 Weaken (18 charges)
37NNef + LumArmour (2)An extremely effective defensive armour given the massive all resistance (50) and boosts to defence. If you are struggling to survive as a caster currently using Stealth this can be a good upgrade path.
Splendor

+1 To All Skills
+10% Faster Cast Rate
+20% Faster Block Rate
+60-100% Enhanced Defence
+10 To Energy
Regenerate Mana 15%
50% Gold Find
20% Magic Find
+3 To Light Radius
37NEth + LumShield (2)A solid spell caster orientated shield with regeneration mana, faster cast rate, all skills and magic find although there are generally better shield options (Rhyme, Ancient’s Pledge or Spirit). Splendor can be an alternative if you need faster cast rate to reach a breakpoint or want some extra power with the plus to skills.
Memory

+3 To Sorceress Skill Levels
+33% Faster Cast Rate
+9 To Minimum Damage
-25% Target Defence
+3 To Energy Shield (Sorceress Only)
+2 To Static Field (Sorceress Only)
+50% Enhanced Defence
+10 Vitality
+10 Energy
Increase Maximum Mana 20%
Magic Damage Reduced By 7
37NLum + Io + Sol + EthStaff (4)Can look attractive to the Sorceress with the +3 to skill levels although you’ll be better served by a weapon and shield combo at the stage of your Diablo 2 progression that you can equip this.
Harmony

Level 10 Vigor Aura When Equipped
+200-275% Enhanced Damage
+9 To Minimum Damage
+9 To Maximum Damage
Adds 55-160 Fire Damage
Adds 55-160 Lightning Damage
Adds 55-160 Cold Damage
+2-6 To Valkyrie
+10 To Dexterity
Regenerate Mana 20%
+2 To Mana After Kill
+2 To Light Radius
Level 20 Revive (25 Charges)
39YTir + Ith + Sol + KoRanged Weapon (4)A fairly strong runeword from a stat perspective which adds Vigor utility and Valkyrie bonuses for an Amazon using a physical bow attack skill or someone using an Act 1 mercenary. The Ko rune is the greatest drawback of this option though as it is a hard rune to acquire relative to the stats it provides and particularly difficult if you prefer to play without trading.
Melody*

+3 To Bow and Crossbow Skills (Amazon Only)
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+50% Enhanced Damage
+300% Damage To Undead
+3 To Slow Missiles (Amazon Only)
+3 To Dodge (Amazon Only)
+3 To Critical Strike (Amazon Only)
Knockback
+10 To Dexterity
39NShael + Ko + NefRanged Weapon (3)With +3 to bow and crossbow skills this is ideal for the Amazon using elemental bow skills for damage and can be combined with the perfect base for a potential +6. Similar to Harmony above the Ko rune is a reasonably tough investment at this point in your progression but provides sufficient value for the effort.
Lionheart

+20% Enhanced Damage
+25 To Strength
+15 To Dexterity
+20 To Vitality
+10 To Energy
+50 To Life
All Resistances +30
Requirements -15%
41NHel + Lum + FalArmour (3)Offers the unique enhanced damage on a non-weapon that makes it useful for increased damage. Does not have as much defence and utility as a Smoke though but can be a viable alternative for a character like a ranged Amazon build that can utilise the extra damage and remain relatively safe.
Obedience*

30% Chance To Cast Level 21 Enchant When You Kill An Enemy
+40% Faster Hit Recovery
+370% Enhanced Damage
-25% Target Defence
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage
-25% To Enemy Fire Resistance
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
+200-300 Defence
+10 To Strength
+10 To Dexterity
All Resistances +20-30
Requirements -20%
41YHel + Ko + Thul + Eth + FalPolearm (5)With the massive 40% crushing blow and some defensive stats this is a powerful Act 2 mercenary runeword that makes them capable of killing monsters and can be ideal to counter immunities compared to the more expensive Infinity for many players.
Treachery*

5% Chance To Cast Level 15 Fade When Struck
25% Chance To Cast level 15 Venom On Striking
+2 To Assassin Skills
+45% Increased Attack Speed
+20% Faster Hit Recovery
Cold Resist +30%
50% Gold Find
43NShael + Thul + LemArmour (3)Another popular Act 2 Mercenary item with Fade and Venom cast chance boosting damage and defence. The large boost to attack speed also means more damage and survivability when paired with a life stealing item.

For Assassins this item is an absolute must have and is particularly effective on trap based assassin’s with the skills bonus and increased attack speed which effects trap casting speed.
Passion

+25% Increased Attack Speed
+160-210% Enhanced Damage
50-80% Bonus To Attack Rating
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
+1 To Berserk
+1 To Zeal
Hit Blinds Target +10
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
75% Gold Find
Level 3 Heart of Wolverine (12 Charges)
43NDol + Ort + Eld + LemWeapon (4)Uniquely this runeword provides Berserk and Zeal. In practice this runeword is difficult to use in this manner though as it causes monsters to flee.
Voice of Reason

15% Chance To Cast Level 13 Frozen Orb On Striking
18% Chance To Cast Level 20 Ice Blast On Striking
+50 To Attack Rating
+220-350% Damage To Demons
+355-375% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 100-220 Cold Damage
-24% To Enemy Cold Resistance
+10 To Dexterity
Cannot Be Frozen
75% Gold Find
+1 To Light Radius
43YLem + Ko + El + EldMace or Sword (4)An interesting cold themed damage item that offers chance to cast Frozen Orb and Ice Blast on striking along with cannot be frozen and -24% enemy cold resistance. While interesting this item is only useful in a few niche Assassin builds.
Wealth*

+10 to Dexterity
+2 to Mana After Kill
300% Gold Find
100% Magic Find
43NLem + Ko + TirArmour (3)Requires 2 mid to high runes available from Hell Countess and can be a decent magic find or extra gold item for ranged classes that have significant power already. Players should be aware that this item has a significant lack of other stats though.
Lawbringer

20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Decrepify On Striking
Level 16-18 Sanctuary Aura When Equipped
-50% Target Defence
Adds 150-210 Fire Damage
Adds 130-180 Cold Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
Slain Monsters Rest In Peace
+200-250 Defence Vs. Missile
+10 To Dexterity
75% Gold Find
43YAmn + Lem + KoHammer, Scepter or Sword (3)Can be useful in niche Act 5 mercenary builds due to the Decrepify chance, rest in peace modification and life stolen per hit in one. Rarely useful on your own melee character though as Sanctuary will knock back your undead enemies and can be annoying.
Enlightenment

5% Chance To Cast Level 15 Blaze When Struck
5% Chance To Cast level 15 Fire Ball On Striking
+2 To Sorceress Skill Levels
+1 To Warmth
+30% Enhanced Defence
Fire Resist +30%
Damage Reduced By 7
45NPul + Ral + SolArmour (3)While offering Sorceress skill levels the lack of other good aspects means players will want to stick with Stealth or Smoke instead.
Crescent Moon

10% Chance To Cast Level 17 Chain Lightning On Striking
7% Chance To Cast Level 13 Static Field On Striking
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+180-220% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
-35% To Enemy Lightning Resistance
25% Chance of Open Wounds
+9-11 Magic Absorb
+2 To Mana After Kill
Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30 Charges)
47NShael + Um + TirAxe, Polearm or Sword (3)Absolutely devastating in the right lightning focused build given the impact on enemy lightning resistance which makes it a Tesladin staple (Holy Shock Paladin).
Duress*

40% faster hit Recovery
+10-20% Enhanced Damage
Adds 37-133 Cold Damage
15% Crushing Blow
33% Open Wounds
+150-200% Enhanced Defence
-20% Slower Stamina Drain
Cold Resist +45%
Lightning Resist +15%
Fire Resist +15%
Poison Resist +15%
47NShael + Um + ThulArmour (3)A viable melee mercenary armour that comes with the all important crushing blow for damage and pairs it with cold damage for some light crowd control. Generally though you’ll want something with a bit more defensive stats in the armour slot to keep your mercenary alive. Alternatively, it can be used in budget melee builds for yourself.
Stone

+60% Faster Hit Recovery
+250-290% Enhanced Defence
+300 Defence Vs. Missile
+16 To Strength
+16 To Vitality
+10 To Energy
All Resistances +15
Level 16 Molten Boulder (80 Charges)
Level 16 Clay Golem (16 Charges)
47NShael + Um + Pul + LumArmour (4)Massive hit recovery, defence boost and some slight resistances makes Stone an option for your mercenary but far from the best.
Gloom

15% Chance To Cast Level 3 Dim Vision When Struck
+10% Faster Hit Recovery
+200-260% Enhanced Defence
+10 To Strength
All Resistances +45
Half Freeze Duration
5% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
-3 To Light Radius
47NFal + Um + PulArmour (3)Offers little that would make this a viable runeword although captures the theme of being gloomy perfectly with -3 light radius and Dim Vision cast chance.
Bone*

15% Chance To Cast level 10 Bone Armor When Struck
15% Chance To Cast level 10 Bone Spear On Striking
+2 To Necromancer Skill Levels
+100-150 To Mana
All Resistances +30
Damage Reduced By 7
47NSol + Um + UmArmour (3)Gives Necromancers a useful +2 all skills and useful for a summoner not placing points into poison and bone skills (use White instead if so). Use this if relying on skeletons and the best golem you can summon. This item also adds some resistance and max mana and is only let down by the double Um investment although these can drop from Hell Countess.
Prudence

+25% Faster Hit Recovery
+140-170% Enhanced Defence
All Resistances +25-35
Damage Reduced by 3
Magic Damage Reduced by 17
+2 To Mana After Kill
+1 To Light Radius
Repairs Durability 1 In 4 Seconds
49NMal + TirArmour (2)With better uses for the Mal rune Prudence is rarely recommended for either yourself or a mercenary, offering nothing of significant merit in regard to armours.
Rain

5% Chance To Cast Level 15 Cyclone Armor When Struck
5% Chance To Cast Level 15 Twister On Striking
+2 To Druid Skills
+100-150 To Mana
Lightning Resist +30%
Magic Damage Reduced By 7
15% Damage Taken Goes to Mana
49NOrt + Mal + IthArmour (3)The Druid themed runeword that brings +2 Druid skills and a mana pool boost that can be useful on the summoner or elemental based Druid although you will sacrifice a lot of defence to use it.
Venom

Ignore Target’s Defence
+273 Poison Damage Over 6 Seconds
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
Level 13 Poison Nova (11 Charges)
Level 15 Poison Explosion (27 Charges)
49NTal + Dol + MalWeapon (3)Provides plenty of poison damage in this themed weapon although lacks significant benefits over other weapon runewords.
Sanctuary*

+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+20% Faster Block Rate
20% Increased Chance of Blocking
+130-160% Enhanced Defence
+250 Defence vs. Missile
+20 To Dexterity
All Resistances +50-70
Magic Damage Reduced By 7
Level 12 Slow Missiles (60 Charges)
49NKo + Ko + MalShield (3)A balanced runeword option with its 20% faster hit recovery, faster block rate and chance to block combining with some insane defence modifiers, extra dexterity for more block and a potentially massive 70 all resistance. For resistances this is the shield to use although you’ll need to obtain two Ko runes to create this runeword.
Delirium

1% Chance To Cast lvl 50 Delirium When Struck
6% Chance To Cast lvl 14 Mind Blast When Struck
14% Chance To Cast lvl 13 Terror When Struck
11% Chance To Cast lvl 18 Confuse On Striking
+2 To All Skills
+261 Defence
+10 To Vitality
50% Gold Find
25% Magic Find
Level 17 Attract (60 Charges)
51NLem + Ist + IoHelmet (3)Uniquely this helm can turn players into a bone fetish through the 1% chance to cast Delirium which makes it a highly unique helm. You’ll rarely see it in practice though unfortunately due to the issues it causes despite the +2 all skills.
Rift

20% Chance To Cast Level 16 Tornado On Striking
16% Chance To Cast Level 21 Frozen Orb On Attack
20% Bonus To Attack Rating
Adds 160-250 Magic Damage
Adds 60-180 Fire Damage
+5-10 To All Attributes
+10 To Dexterity
38% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
75% Gold Find
Level 15 Iron Maiden (40 Charges)
Requirements -20%
53YHel + Ko + Lem + GulPolearm or Scepter (4)Used in the niche Riftsin Assassin build the Rift runeword offers a deadly Frozen Orb on attack that makes your battles a flashy affair. It takes some serious rune investment though so not something you’ll be making most of the time outside of this build.
Kingslayer

+30% Increased Attack Speed
+230-270% Enhanced Damage
-25% Target Defence
20% Bonus To Attack Rating
33% Chance of Crushing Blow
50% Chance of Open Wounds
+1 To Vengeance
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Strength
40% Gold Find
53NMal + Um + Gul + FalSword or Axe (4)A reasonable melee weapon that comes with everything you could want on a melee character with attack speed, damage, attack rating and crushing blow. The runes on this runeword though makes it less attractive in comparison to Black for those that want a strong boss counter.
Principle

100% Chance To Cast Level 5 Holy Bolt On Striking
+2 To Paladin Skill Levels
+50% Damage to Undead
+100-150 to Life
15% Slower Stamina Drain
+5% To Maximum Poison Resist
Fire Resist +30%
55NRal + Gul + EldArmour (3)Comes with a nice +2 to Paladin skill levels although lacks significant defensive stats for a character that will always be going toe to toe with enemies.
Heart of the Oak*

+3 To All Skills
+40% Faster Cast Rate
+75% Damage To Demons
+100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
Adds 3-14 Cold Damage
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
+10 To Dexterity
Replenish Life +20
Increase Maximum Mana 15%
All Resistances +30-40
Level 4 Oak Sage (25 Charges)
Level 14 Raven (60 Charges)
55NKo + Vex + Pul + ThulStaff or Mace (4)Often known as Hoto this is an amazing late game caster weapon that combines +3 to all skills with faster cast rate, maximum mana and resistances. The level 4 Oak Sage can also be used to improve your life pool although in practice you’ll find the sage rarely stays alive. This is another one of the best runewords for a Sorceress in particular and is often placed in a mace so a shield can also be worn (such as a Spirit).
Silence

+2 to All Skills
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+20% Faster Hit Recovery
+200% Enhanced Damage
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 to Attack Rating Against Undead
11% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Hit Blinds Target +33
Hit Causes Monster to Flee 25%
All Resistances +75
+2 to Mana After Kill
30% Magic Find
Requirements -20%
55NDol + Eld + Hel + Ist + Tir + VexWeapon (6)Can be used for something like an Amazon using cold or fire arrows that will benefit from both the all skills and attack speed boost and is unable to use the other strong melee runewords like Heart of the Oak.
Death*

Indestructible
100% Chance To Cast Level 44 Chain Lightning When You Die
25% Chance To Cast Level 18 Glacial Spike On Attack
+300-385% Enhanced Damage
20% Bonus To Attack Rating
+50 To Attack Rating
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
50% Chance of Crushing Blow
(0.5*Clvl)% Deadly Strike
+1 To Light Radius
Level 22 Blood Golem (15 Charges)
Requirements -20%
55YHel + El + Vex + Ort + GulSword or Axe (5)A solid runeword on paper with massive enhanced damage (ED) combined with crushing blow and deadly strike. Unfortunately the lack of attack speed means that many melee fighters will want to look at other runeword options leaving it as a niche option for some builds such as offhand in a whirlwind Barbarian in an ethereal weapon given the indestructible in this runeword.
Chaos

9% Chance To Cast Level 11 Frozen Orb On Striking
11% Chance To Cast Level 9 Charged Bolt On Striking
+35% Increased Attacked Speed
+240-290% Enhanced Damage
Adds 216-471 Magic Damage
25% Chance of Open Wounds
+1 To Whirlwind
+10 To Strength
+15 Life After Each Demon Kill
57NFal + Ohm + UmClaw (3)Another niche build runeword that allows the Assassin to unlock whirlwind.
Call to Arms*

+1 To All Skills
+40% Increased Attack Speed
+240-290% Enhanced Damage
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
+2-6 To Battle Command
+1-6 To Battle Orders
+1-4 To Battle Cry
Prevent Monster Heal
Replenish Life +12
30% Magic Find
57NAmn + Ral + Mal + Ist + OhmWeapon (5)A staple runeword that many characters will run on their weapon swap given the Battle Orders that spawn on this runeword weapon to boost your available health and mana.
Exile

15% Chance To Cast Level 5 Life Tap On Striking
Level 13-16 Defiance Aura When Equipped
+2 To Offensive Auras (Paladin Only)
+30% Faster Block Rate
Freezes Target
+220-260% Enhanced Defence
Replenish Life +7
+5% To Maximum Cold Resist
+5% To Maximum Fire Resist
25% Magic Find
Repairs 1 Durability every 4 seconds
57NVex + Ohm + Ist + DolPaladin Shield (4)Provides a free Defiance aura for additional defence with life tap chance for survivability and overall is an ideal shield for the Smiter Paladin and should be made in an ethereal shield given the fast repair durability. Note this runeword is only for Paladin shields.
Oath*

Indestructible
30% Chance To Cast Level 20 Bone Spirit On Striking
+50% Increased Attack Speed
+210-340% Enhanced Damage
+75% Damage To Demons
+100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Energy
+10-15 Magic Absorb
Level 16 Heart of Wolverine (20 Charges)
Level 17 Iron Golem (14 Charges)
59YShael + Pul + Mal + LumAxe, Mace or Sword (4)While not as powerful as some other melee weapons available at the same level such as Death or Grief this is a perfectly viable option to see you through Hell difficultly if you find an appropriate base. It’s also significantly cheaper on runes in comparison to other top tier options and can be used in ethereal items thanks to the indestructible.

To maximise your Oath potential you’ll want to use an ethereal item as it comes with indestructible once made.
Fortitude*

20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Chilling Armor when Struck
+25% Faster Cast Rate
+300% Enhanced Damage
+200% Enhanced Defence
+((8-12) 0.125*Clvl) To Life
All Resistances +25-30
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
+1 To Light Radius

Armour:
+15 Defence
Replenish Life +7
+5% To Maximum Lightning Resist
Damage Reduced By 7

Weapon:
+9 To Minimum Damage
+50 To Attack Rating
20% Deadly Strike
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
59YEl + Sol + Dol + LoArmour or Weapon (4)Provides a good amount of enhanced damage and defence with average all resistance that can make it useful for a physical damage dealer to provide more damage without losing significant survivability (or even a mercenary). Fortitude is always better in an armour as it is a weak weapon runeword given your other options for the weapon slot.
Grief*

35% Chance To Cast Level 15 Venom On Striking
+30-40% Increased Attack Speed
Damage +340-400
Ignore Target’s Defence
-25% Target Defence
+(1.875*Clvl)% Damage To Demons
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
-20-25% To Enemy Poison Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
+2 To Mana After Kill
+10-15 Life After Kill
59YEth + Tir + Lo + Mal + RalSword or Axe (5)Considered by many to be the best Diablo 2 weapon in the game the Lo requirement will be your major roadblock in building this runeword. Popular for any melee build with Frenzy Barbarians sometimes even using two (or a Grief/Death combo) obtaining this item will put all game content in reach.
Wind

10% Chance To Cast Level 9 Tornado On Striking
+20% Faster Run/Walk
+40% Increased Attack Speed
+15% Faster Hit Recovery
+120-160% Enhanced Damage
-50% Target Defence
+50 To Attack Rating
Hit Blinds Target
+1 To Light Radius
Level 13 Twister (127 Charges)
61NSur + ElMelee Weapon (2)Based around the concept of moving, attacking and recovering fast with Twister and Tornado included. This uniquely themed runeword though is not one you’ll be using though given much more powerful weapon options.
Bramble

Level 15-21 Thorns Aura When Equipped
+50% Faster Hit Recovery
+25-50% To Poison Skill Damage
+300 Defence
Increase Maximum Mana 5%
Regenerate Mana 15%
+5% To Maximum Cold Resist
Fire Resist +30%
Poison Resist +100%
+13 Life After Kill
Level 13 Spirit of Barbs (33 Charges)
61NRal + Ohm + Sur + EthArmour (4)Like many on this runewords by level guide Bramble is useful for niche builds but is significantly lacking for others. These builds are ones that revolve around poison such as the Poison Nova Necromancer, Rabies Druid, Plague Amazon or Venom Assassin. If you aren’t playing one of these then don’t build a Bramble.
Dragon

20% Chance to Cast Level 18 Venom When Struck
12% Chance To Cast Level 15 Hydra On Striking
Level 14 Holy Fire Aura When Equipped
+360 Defence
+230 Defence Vs. Missile
+3-5 To All Attributes
+(0.375*Clvl) To Strength
+5% To Maximum Lightning Resist
Damage Reduced by 7

Shield:
+50 To Mana

Armour:
Increase Maximum Mana 5%
63YSur + Lo + SolShield or Armour (3)Large defence bonuses but lacks resistances with some interesting skill effects with Holy Fire, Venom and Hydra. Overall not a useful runeword with a large number of better armour and shield options.
Wrath

30% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Striking
5% Chance To Cast Level 10 Life Tap On Striking
+375% Damage To Demons
+100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
+250-300% Damage To Undead
Adds 85-120 Magic Damage
Adds 41-240 Lightning Damage
20% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Energy
Cannot Be Frozen
63YPul + Lum + Ber + MalRanged Weapon (4)Provides some interesting modifiers with cannot be frozen and crushing blow on a bow alongside a high Decrepify cast chance (30%). Unfortunately this isn’t enough to make up for the low damage and cost of a Ber rune that is worth a lot for trade or other runewords for yourself.
Beast

Level 9 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped
+40% Increased Attack Speed
+240-270% Enhanced Damage
20% Chance of Crushing Blow
25% Chance of Open Wounds
+3 To Werebear
+3 To Lycanthropy
Prevent Monster Heal
+25-40 To Strength
+10 To Energy
+2 To Mana After Kill
Level 13 Summon Grizzly (5 Charges)
63NBer + Tir + Um + Mal + LumAxe, Hammer or Scepter (5)Uniquely allows players to transform into a Werebear and has some other useful modifiers and Fanaticism Aura to create some fun niche builds.
Chains of Honor*

+2 To All Skills
+200% Damage To Demons
+100% Damage To Undead
8% Life Stolen Per Hit
+70% Enhanced Defence
+20 To Strength
Replenish Life +7
All Resistances +65
Damage Reduced By 8%
25% Magic Find
63NDol + Um + Ber + IstArmour (4)Also known as CoH this item provides some great defence attributes with resistances and damage reduction while providing all skills that make it a decent option for a Sorceress albeit costly.
Infinity*

50% Chance To Cast Level 20 Chain Lightning When You Kill An Enemy
Level 12 Conviction Aura When Equipped
+35% Faster Run/Walk
+255-325% Enhanced Damage
-(45-55)% To Enemy Lightning Resistance
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
+(0.5*Clvl) To Vitality
30% Magic Find
Level 21 Cyclone Armor (30 Charges)
63YBer + Mal + Ber + IstPolearm (4)The gold standard of the Lightning Sorceress and Lightning Amazon as the Conviction aura and negative enemy resistance from the aura increases your damage dramatically and can be an effective immunity breaking option for lightning based builds. It’s a significant investment though with 2 Ber runes that make it out of reach of many players.
Eternity

Indestructible
+260-310% Enhanced Damage
+9 To Minimum Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
20% Chance of Crushing Blow
Hit Blinds Target
Slows Target By 33%
Replenish Mana 16%
Cannot Be Frozen
30% Magic Find
Level 8 Revive (88 Charges)
63NAmn + Ber + Ist + Sol + SurMelee Weapon (5)Provides an interesting mixture of stats like cannot be frozen, replenish mana, slow target and crushing blow while also having Revive charges.
Ice

100% Chance To Cast Level 40 Blizzard When You Level-up
25% Chance To Cast Level 22 Frost Nova On Striking
Level 18 Holy Freeze Aura When Equipped
+20% Increased Attack Speed
+140-210% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
+25-30% To Cold Skill Damage
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
-20% To Enemy Cold Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
(3.125*Clvl)% Gold Find
65YAmn + Shael + Jah + LoRanged Weapon (4)An ice themed ranged weapon that can boost your own damage and reduce enemy resistance for a Jah rune investment although is ideal only for the cold Amazon build.
Dream

10% Chance To Cast Level 15 Confuse When Struck
Level 15 Holy Shock Aura When Equipped
+20-30% Faster Hit Recovery
+30% Enhanced Defence
+150-220 Defence
+10 To Vitality
+(0.625*Clvl) To Mana
All Resistances +5-20
12-25% Magic Find

Shield:
+50 To Life

Helmet:
Increase Maximum Life 5%
65YIo + Jah + PulShield or Helmet (3)Brings a Holy Shock aura and some defensive statistics Dream is average compared to other options in these slots.
Fury

40% Increased Attack Speed
+209% Enhanced Damage
Ignores Target Defence
-25% Target Defence
20% Bonus to Attack Rating
6% Life Stolen Per Hit
33% Chance Of Deadly Strike
66% Chance Of Open Wounds
+5 To Frenzy (Barbarian Only)
Prevent Monster Heal
65NJah + Gul + EthMelee Weapon (3)Originally one of the popular melee runewords this is now outclassed by other options and is particularly let down by the Jah requirement and lack of repair/indestructible.
Famine

+30% Increased Attack Speed
+320-370% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
Adds 180-200 Magic Damage
Adds 50-200 Fire Damage
Adds 51-250 Lightning Damage
Adds 50-200 Cold Damage
12% Life Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Strength
65NFal + Ohm + Ort + JahAxe or Hammer (4)Offers magic, fire, lightning and cold damage but overshadowed by the meta weapon runewords.
Faith

Level 12-15 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped
+1-2 To All Skills
+330% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
300% Bonus To Attack Rating
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
+120 Fire Damage
All Resistances +15
10% Reanimate As: Returned
75% Gold Find
65YOhm + Jah + Lem + EldRanged Weapon (4)Has some uses on both Amazon’s or on an Act 1 Mercenary with the deadly Fanaticism Aura, +1-2 to all skills and other damage enhancements. As a bonus Faith provides a small amount of all resistances and can create players a skeleton army thanks to the 10% reanimate chance.
Brand

35% Chance To Cast Level 14 Amplify Damage When Struck
100% Chance To Cast Level 18 Bone Spear On Striking
Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts (15)
+260-340% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
20% Bonus to Attack Rating
+280-330% Damage To Demons
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
Knockback
65YJah + Lo + Mal + GulRanged Weapon (4)Uniquely turns your arrows into explosive arrows/bolts and gives you Bone Spear on striking.
Phoenix

100% Chance To Cast level 40 Blaze When You Level-up
40% Chance To Cast Level 22 Firestorm On Striking
Level 10-15 Redemption Aura When Equipped
+350-400% Enhanced Damage
-28% To Enemy Fire Resistance
+350-400 Defence Vs. Missile
+15-21 Fire Absorb

Shield:
+50 To Life
+5% To Maximum Lightning Resist
+10% To Maximum Fire Resist

Weapon:
Ignores Target’s Defence
14% Mana Stolen Per Hit
20% Deadly Strike
65YVex + Vex + Lo + JahShield or Weapon (4)Can be a method to obtain Redemption aura while also cutting enemy fire resistance for niche builds.
Enigma*

+2 To All Skills
+45% Faster Run/Walk
+1 To Teleport
+750-775 Defence
+(0.75*Clvl) To Strength
Increase Maximum Life 5%
Damage Reduced By 8%
+14 Life After Kill
15% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
(1*Clvl)% Magic Find
65NJah + Ith + BerArmour (3)One of the most popular Diablo 2 runewords available as it allows any character to Teleport by adding the skill (not charges). As if that wasn’t enough it comes with +2 skills, strong faster run/walk, massive defence, maximum life, damage reduction and magic find chance that makes this the best Diablo 2 armour for most builds if you can afford it.
Destruction

23% Chance To Cast Level 12 Volcano On Striking
5% Chance To Cast Level 23 Molten Boulder On Striking
100% Chance To Cast level 45 Meteor When You Die
15% Chance To Cast Level 22 Nova On Attack
+350% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
Adds 100-180 Magic Damage
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
20% Chance Of Crushing Blow
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
+10 To Dexterity
65YVex + Lo + Ber + Jah + KoPolearm or Sword (5)Offers little over other weapons using this base other than its enjoyable to watch it rain destruction with Volcano, Molten Boulder and Nova with your attacks.
Last Wish

6% Chance To Cast Level 11 Fade When Struck
10% Chance To Cast Level 18 Life Tap On Striking
20% Chance To Cast Level 20 Charged Bolt On Attack
Level 17 Might Aura When Equipped
+330-375% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
60-70% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
Hit Blinds Target
(0.5*Clvl)% Magic Find
65YJah + Mal + Jah + Sur + Jah + BerAxe, Hammer or Sword (6)With a massive 3 Jah requirement the Last Wish is out of reach for many in the Diablo 2 player base and ultimately more a flex of wealth than anything.

While it is effective on a range of builds given the Fade, Life Tap, Might Aura and insane Crushing Blow chance the cost is rarely worth it given vastly cheaper and equally effective options.
Doom

5% Chance To Cast Level 18 Volcano On Striking
Level 12 Holy Freeze Aura When Equipped
+2 To All Skills
+45% Increased Attack Speed
+330-370% Enhanced Damage
-40-60% To Enemy Cold Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
25% Chance of Open Wounds
Prevent Monster Heal
Freezes Target +3
Requirements -20%
67NHel + Ohm + Um + Lo + ChamAxe, Hammer or Polearm (5)An expensive runeword option that provides below average benefits for the cost to craft it.
Hands of Justice

100% Chance To Cast Level 36 Blaze When You Level-Up
100% Chance To Cast Level 48 Meteor When You Die
Level 16 Holy Fire Aura When Equipped
+33% Increased Attack Speed
+280-330% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target’s Defence
-20% To Enemy Fire Resistance
7% Life Stolen Per Hit
20% Deadly Strike
Hit Blinds Target
Freezes Target +3
67NSur + Cham + Amn + LoWeapon (4)Offers a unique freezes target modifier that gives this runeword some usability on an Amazon wanting some crowd control or an Act 1 mercenary but hardly worth the Cham rune.
Pride

25% Chance To Cast Level 17 Fire Wall When Struck
Level 16-20 Concentration Aura When Equipped
260-300% Bonus To Attack Rating
+(1*Clvl)% Damage To Demons
Adds 50-280 Lightning Damage
20% Deadly Strike
Hit Blinds Target Freezes Target +3
+10 To Vitality
Replenish Life +8
(1.875*Clvl)% Gold Find
67YCham + Sur + Io + LoPolearm (4)Another level 67 runeword with a freeze target modifier it also comes with the Concentration aura that can be used to add an additional aura to your arsenal. Given the other polearm runewords available though it’s rarely going to be one of your top options.
Breath of the Dying*

50% Chance To Cast Level 20 Poison Nova When You Kill An Enemy
Indestructible
+60% Increased Attack Speed
+350-400% Enhanced Damage
-25% Target Defence
+50 To Attack Rating
+200% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
12-15% Life Stolen Per Hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+30 To All Attributes
+1 To Light Radius
Requirements -20%
69NVex + Hel + El + Eld + Zod + EthWeapon (6)With the indestructible being added to this item after creation it is a great candidate for an ethereal item. While it is far from the most cost effective or best raw damage melee runeword in the game it has a very potent dual leech, large attack speed, all attributes and high enhanced damage. It is also paired with an enjoyable to watch Poison Nova proc on 50% of your kills.

Think carefully before building though as the Zod is likely to have significantly more value to you elsewhere. This item has the highest level required of all Diablo 2 and Diablo 2: Resurrected runewords.

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 and has beaten Diablo 2 with all characters over that time both alone or with friends. His favourite character in Diablo 2 is the Sorceress for her strong cold area of effect abilities and teleport.

7 COMMENTS
  1. Underrated post!

    Thank You Sam for your knowledge and time investment.

    Reply
  2. this was the most thank you!

    Reply
  3. Amazing list, watched the video and meticulously wrote down all the recipes, thank you and great job!

    Reply
  4. FYI

    Infinity:

    “…and negative lightning enemy resistance can increase your damage dramatically by using an Act 2 mercenary”

    That negative lightning enemy resistance does not affect the character at all. That only affects the mercenary’s attacks.

    Reply
    • Thanks Bob, we intended to reference the negative enemy resistance from the conviction aura so we’ve updated the wording to be more clear

      Thanks
      Games Finder Team

      Reply
  5. Thank you! This is the most helpful article about runewords that i have found on the internet.

    Reply
  6. Anyone recommend what to do with a 4 socket Ornate plate armour. Level 84 Fire/Ice Sorc

    Reply
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