Best Diablo 2 Runewords By Level Required Guide

Last Updated on August 22, 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 design 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 players 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. Note that for Diablo 2: Resurrected runewords you can use the ladder only options below in both single player and non-ladder (in full release not during beta) 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

RunewordLevelladder OnlyRune OrderItem Type (Sockets)Comments and Runeword Advice
Steel*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.
Nadir13NNef + TirHelmet (2)Uniquely gives negative gold find and light radius although is not actually used in practice.
Malice15NIth + El + EthMelee Weapon (3)Uniquely drains your life while using it, this is not an actively used runeword though.
Stealth*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 the 15% mana regeneration.
Leaf*19NTir + RalStaff (2)Fantastic runeword for a Sorceress and also viable on a fire elemental Druid or fire trap Assassin. Runes can drop from Normal Countess and combined with a shop bought staff that provides + to Fireball skills for even more damage boost to your Sorceress.
Zephyr21NOrt + EthRanged Weapon (2)Decent damage oriented runeword although there are better early to mid game uses of an Ort rune (such as Ancient’s Pledge or Lore)
Ancient’s Pledge*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.
Holy Thunder23NEth + Ral + Ort + TalScepter (4)Lightning themed runeword that provides lightning themed skills, damage and resistance.
Strength*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 underated low level melee options given the important of these two stats and simple rune requirements.
Edge25YTir + Tal + AmnRanged Weapon (3)Provides Thorns aura and uniquely reduces vendor prices.
King’s Grace*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.
Spirit*25YTal + Thul + Ort + AmnShield or Sword (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 shield that can spawn with 4 sockets and has thfe 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.
Myth25NHel + 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.
Radiance27NNef + Sol + IthHelmet (3)Not recommended with a Sol rune better spent on Lore which goes in the same item slot.
Insight*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.
Lore*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*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*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*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.
Black35NThul + 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*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*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.
Splendor37NEth + 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.
Memory37NLum + 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.
Harmony39YTir + 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*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.
Lionheart41NHel + 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*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*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 Assassin’s 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.
Passion43NDol + 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 Reason43YLem + 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*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.
Lawbringer43YAmn + 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.
Enlightenment45NPul + 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 Moon47NShael + 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*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.
Stone47NShael + 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.
Gloom47NFal + 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*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.
Prudence49NMal + 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 regards to armours.
Rain49NOrt + 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.
Venom49NTal + Dol + MalWeapon (3)Provides plenty of poison damage in this themed weapon although lacks significant benefits over other weapon runewords.
Sanctuary*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 defense 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.
Delirium51NLem + 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.
Rift53YHel + Kop + 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.
Kingslayer53NMal + 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.
Principle55NRal + 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*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).
Silence55NDol + 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*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.
Chaos57NFal + Ohm + UmClaw (3)Another niche build runeword that allows the Assassin to unlock whirlwind.
Call to Arms*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.
Exile57NVex + 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*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*59YEl + Sol + Dol + LoWeapon or Armour (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*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.
Wind61NSur + 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.
Bramble61NRal + 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.
Dragon63YSur + Lo + SolArmour or Shield (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.
Wrath63YPul + Lum + Ber + MalMissile 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.
Beast63NBer + 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*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*63YBer + Mal + Ber + IstPolearm (4)The gold standard of the Lightning Sorceress and Lightning Amazon as the Conviction aura and negative lightning enemy resistance can increase your damage dramatically by using an Act 2 mercenary. It’s a significant investment though with 2 Ber runes that make it out of reach of many players.
Eternity63NAmn + 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.
Ice65YAmn + 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.
Dream65YIo + Jah + PulHelmet or Shield (3)Brings a Holy Shock aura and some defensive statistics Dream is average compared to other options in these slots.
Fury65NJah + 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.
Famine65NFal + Ohm + Ort + JahAxe or Hammer (4)Offers magic, fire, lightning and cold damage but overshadowed by the meta weapon runewords.
Faith65YOhm + 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.
Brand65YJah + Lo + Mal + GulRanged Weapon (4)Uniquely turns your arrows into explosive arrows/bolts and gives you Bone Spear on striking.
Phoenix65YVex + Vex + Lo + JahWeapon or Shield (4)Can be a method to obtain Redemption aura while also cutting enemy fire resistance for niche builds.
Enigma*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.
Destruction65YVex + 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 Wish65YJah + 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.
Doom67NHel + 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 Justice67NSur + 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.
Pride67YCham + 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*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.

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