Mercenaries are trustworthy companions in your journey to cease evil in Diablo 2: Resurrected. They can help out with damage and can often take some aggro from monsters. In Diablo 2, the Act 2 mercenaries are the most popular, as they activate one of Paladin's auras.
However, mercenaries that aren’t properly trained could be a waste of gold as they wouldn’t be able to withstand the attacks from monsters, even if you feed them potion after potion using the Shift+number key. The higher the level, the higher the cost for revival. To keep your money safe, you need to invest decent items for your mercenaries and find which equipment works best for them. Here are some items that are great for your act 2 mercenaries.
Best weapons and runewords for mercs in D2: Resurrected
There are four weapons that are usually used on Act 2 mercenaries. The Runeword item, Insight, Infinity, Pride, and unique item, The Reaper’s Toll. Among these items, Infinity and Pride need expensive runes, so it wouldn’t be easy to use them early. As the items mercenaries use don’t wear out durability, ethereal items are preferred for them.
Insight can be made by inserting Ral+Tir+Tal+Sol in polearms or staves. The ingredients for this recipe are rather easy to gain, so you’ll be able to make them quite early. The Meditation Aura is a great help for characters that use a lot of mana. The level requirement is quite low, so if you find a four-socket polearm, make one to put on your mercenary until a better item comes along.
Infinity grants the Conviction Aura which decreases enemies’ elemental resistance and defense. In particular, it decreases enemies Lightning Resist, so Chain Lightning Sorceresses often have it on their mercenaries. The runes needed for Infinity are quite high, as you need Ber+Mal+Ber+Ist, so when you make it, you want to make it on the best possible equipment. Players mostly prefer the Great Poleaxe and Giant Thresher which have fast attack speed.
Pride is a Runeword that is good for the mercenaries of physical damage characters. It activates a 16-20 level Concentration aura, so the damage increases a lot. However, unlike Insight or Infinity, it doesn’t have an enhanced damage option, it feels like something’s missing. The runes needed for Pride are Cham+Sur+Io+Lo.
Among unique items, The Reaper’s Toll is great. When attacking, it casts Decripify on the enemy, and this could decrease the enemies’ defense. It has enhanced damage, ignore target defense, deathly strike options as well, so the damage from the mercenaries is quite decent. It’s great to use as a physical damage character.
Best helms for mercs in D2: Resurrected
The most important option for mercenaries on their helms is life steal. It’s very important to have enough life steal on your mercenaries to keep them alive, but this property is hard to attain on the usual weapons or body armor, so we want to have it on their helms. It would be even better if you can find one with stats and resists as well. Since there aren’t many Runeword helms, and there are none with life steal, it’s most recommended to use unique items. Again, since its durability doesn’t decrease, ethereal items are better.
The most popular helm on mercenaries is Andariel’s Visage. Its defense stats are great, it has 20% attack speed, 10% life steal, 25-30 strength, and +2 all skills. Unfortunately, it decreases fire resist by 30%, so people make a socket to insert a Ral rune to cover for that.
Besides that, Vampire’s Gaze or Crown of Thieves is used as well. Set item Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest is also a great choice. Vampire’s Gaze has 6-8% life steal along with a damage reduction option, and Crown of Thieves has 9-12% life steal, +25 dexterity, and +33% fire resist. Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest has 10% life steal, +60 life, and +15 all resist. If you don’t have these items, Undead Crown or Stealskull are good alternatives.
Best armor for mercs in D2: Resurrected
There are a few more choices for your mercenary’s armor compared to weapons or helms. Usually, Runeword items are preferred, and if you find an ethereal unique armor, you might want to consider upgrading it to elite.
The best body armor for your mercenary is the Runeword item Fortitude, no questions asked. More damage means more life steal, so it can help your mercenary survive by a big margin. Additionally, the Chilling Armor effect can grant even more defense, and it also has 25-30 all resist. Find a 4-socket elite ethereal armor with a high defense and insert El+Sol+Dol+Lo runes to make it.
While you’re leveling up your mercenary, other decent Runeword body armors you could use are Smoke, Treachery, and Stone. The Runeword for Smoke is Nef+Lum. It has a +50 all resist option, so it can gain a lot of resistance in Hell. On Treachery (Shael+Thul+Lem), there’s a 45% increased attack speed option, and a 20% faster hit recovery option. It may not seem enough, but the Fade effect is quite useful. To create Stone, you need 4-socket body armor and Shael+Um+Pul+Lum runes. It has a 250-290% enhanced defense option, so you could gain an armor with amazing defense. The +300 defense vs. missile, +16 strength, and +15 all resist options are also quite useful as well.
Among the unique items, The Gladiator’s Bane, Duriel’s Shell, and Shaftstop are good. Although the Runeword items are more efficient, if you gain one of these items in ethereal form, it’ll come in quite handy.
The Gladiator’s Bane has faster hit recovery, damage reduction, cannot be frozen, and poison length reduced options. On Duriel’s shell, there’s strength and all resists, and on Shaftstop, there’s life and damage reduction. Duriel’s Shell and Shaftstop are exceptional level items, so it’s mostly used upgraded to elite by putting them together in the Horadric Cube with Ko Rune and Lem Rune.