Act 5 mercenaries offer a viable alternative to Act 2 for players who are interested in experimenting with something different or for builds that require a certain type of unit. The Lawbringer runeword is a popular option because it has a Sanctuary aura that can remove physical immunity while also providing the additional utility with Decrepify and allowing rare monsters that have been killed to rest in peace. This makes it a versatile piece of equipment. All of this can be useful for characters whose damage comes primarily from physical sources, who require a dependable tank to provide some crowd control, or who routinely farm undead areas, and wind druid builds are the ones most likely to include it. After the Act 2 variants, the utility of these fighters is among the best thanks to the changes made by D2R, which gave them some barbarian shouts.
Your choice for an artificial intelligence partner in Diablo 2 quickly narrows down to an Act 2 mercenary that you hire from Greiz in Lut Gholein once the options have been laid out. The most important mercenary choice you’ll need to make in Diablo 2 is which Act 2 mercenary is the best fit for your play style and class composition, even though there are a few standouts among the available options. In the following Diablo 2 Resurrected Merc Gear Guide, each of the potential uses of each available mercenary will be discussed. Before making a final choice, I strongly advise players to try out each of the available options and see which one works best for them (don’t forget to remove any equipment from your current hireling before recruiting a new one).
Note that in Diablo 2: Resurrected the mercenary types of Combat, Defence, and Offence are no longer used from the original Diablo 2, and that you can mouse over the skill icons next to their level to see what aura the mercenary has. The following is a list of the auras that are available to Act 2 mercenaries. It is important to note that in D2R, players are no longer subject to act restrictions and can hire any of these auras in either Nightmare or Hell.
Each of these D2 Act 2 merc auras will be discussed in greater depth (in the order in which they appear) below.
The most popular of all the Act 2 mercenary auras for the vast majority of Diablo 2 character builds (but not all), as well as the one that many people consider to be the best merc in Diablo 2, due to the crowd control that the Holy Freeze aura provides. This aura will allow you to easily run past enemies and will passively slow them down so that they cannot attack you. Because of this, it will be useful in the vast majority of the situations that you will face. Once you have acquired sufficient mana maintenance D2 items, this is the best merc for Hammerdin builds at that point. Even a sorceress whose focus is on cold can benefit from this mercenary option because Holy Freeze can still have an effect on monsters that are immune to cold, giving you an increased chance of surviving your most dangerous foe.
This is without a doubt the best merc for summoning a Necromancer in Diablo 2, as it has the potential to significantly increase your skeleton damage while the aura is active, and when combined with your other spells, such as Amplify Damage, it can be extremely lethal. Might is also highly effective on well-geared melee fighters who don’t need the other available auras in this slot and want to boost their own damage or who are looking to turn their mercenary into a lethal killing machine in their own right with the appropriate gear. In this case, the melee fighter is the one who is looking to boost their own damage. Once you move beyond these particular circumstances, however, Might is not going to be your first choice very often.
Because of the way that Prayer and Meditation auras interact with one another, Prayer can be quite useful for a player who likes to have their health regularly topped off with healing when combined with an Insight runeword, which increases the amount of health that is restored by twofold. Because I believe that Prayer is the best option for this build once it is fully geared and because I value the ability to completely disregard any small pieces of damage I pick up along the way when magic finding, I have consistently used it on my late-game cold sorceress builds.
Prayer is the best mercenary aura available for normal for the vast majority of players, and using it can almost certainly reduce the number of health potions you need to use and the number of times you need to return to town. Be careful not to get too attached to them, as it’s likely that you’ll be replacing them in Nightmare with a Holy Freeze mercenary (before doing so, remove any equipment that you’ve given them).
Because of this, I believe that this is one of the best mercs for Sorceress (cold specialization) when you reach your final build for magic find runs, despite the fact that Holy Freeze is typically a better choice during your journey to that build and for the vast majority of other class builds.