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The Mercenary Resource


Hi, I am ThePlatypus. I have collected most of the following information from our wonderful forums, as a reference for other Basiners. Credits are listed at the bottom of the page. You can PM me concerning changes/corrections to this page (ThePlatypus) or discuss it in this thread.

Useful Links

Thoughts on mercenary types 1.09 thread, good general info.
Level Up Guide
Optimizing Merc Levelling by Crystalion
Weapon Speed Calculator - check breakpoints for merc weapons
Faster Cast Speed for A3 Mercs
Complete Hireling Stats
Arreat Summit Hireling Page - use at your own risk
List of possible mercenary names
Tankazon Resource - click Bonuses on the left. Then click the desired mod for equipment (FCR, FHR, etc) and it will list the items with that mod.
The Delerium FAQ - all things Delerium, plus merc info
A3 Mercenary Full Power Guide by Red-Chaos(H)

1.11 Changes

The most important change 1.11 brought is this: You no longer have to level up your merc. When you hire a mercenary now, they will be within 5 levels of your character. They also keep up with your level much more easily now after you hire them.

When you hire mercs, their stats may appear incorrect on the hiring screen. However, once you actually hire them, their stats will get updated and will display correctly.

When 1.11 first came out, the ctc Valk on the 'Peace' runeword "worked" for mercs, but caused the game to crash. Blizzard disabled the mod for mercs afterwards.

General Mercenary Facts


  • The mod: Prevent Monster Heal does not work for mercenaries. It has no effect at all.
  • Most other mods (Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, Chance to Cast on Striking, Faster Cast Rate, Faster Hit Recovery, Increased Attack Speed, etc.) do work for mercs. There are some other specific instances that I'll cover in later sections.
  • Mercs can use Critical and Deadly Strike. Both effects will double only the physical damage of the attack.
  • For questions about using the Delerium runeword on your merc, see the Delirium FAQ.
  • Ethereal items will not lose durability when equipped on a mercenary.
  • Equiping a mercenary with the mod "-x% to Enemy _____ Resistance" will help your merc's damage, but it will NOT help your character's damage.
  • Medium and Heavy armors do slow down the movement speed of mercenaries.


  • Mercs hired in normal difficulty have better stats than those hired in Nightmare, and those are both better than those hired in Hell. In 1.11, you should always hire your mercs in Normal, since they will always have better stats, the exception being the Nightmare Act 2 mercs, which have different auras than Normal A2 mercs. The level of your character when you hire them has no bearing on their stats, only the difficulty you hire them in matters.
  • The highest level a merc can be is 98.
  • When mercs levels up, their current life is set to their new base maximum life. So, if a merc is under life bonuses from Battle Orders, Oak Sage, or equipment, you will see thier life drop. Don't be alarmed when this happens, your merc isn't about to bite the dust.


  • Mercs skills do synergize each other when applicable. As an example, an Act 3 Iron Wolf's Ice Blast will synergize its Glacial Spike.
  • Related to the above, mercs are NOT affected by the charge synergy bug (bug removed in 1.11).
  • Mercs will benefit from:
    • +all skills
    • +fire skills (when applicable - Fire Iron Wolf or Fire Arrow Rogue)
    • +specific skills (if they already have the skills (e.g. an act 3 merc will benefit from an Ormus Robes' skill if he posseses that skill already, even though it says (Sorceress Only)))
    • The A5 barbs will benefit from +Bash or +Stun on a barbarian helm. However, those helms shouldn't exist in 1.1x, but in very rare cases they can spawn.
  • Mercs will not benefit from:
    • +class skills (not even barbarian mercs with +all barbarian skills gear)
    • +skilltabs


  • Mercs only have Strength and Dexterity, so +Vitality and +Energy mods have no effect. They do have life (so +Life works), but not mana.
  • Since mercs do not have mana, mana potions and Mana Burn will not work on them. If you try the shift + 1 method to feed your merc a mana pot, he/she will thank you, although you yourself will drink the potion. They are simply granted "infinite" mana to cast spells.
  • "Act 5 mercs regenerate their health fully in 16.4 seconds, whereas all other mercs require 41 seconds." - Zath
  • Poison can kill your merc, even if you are in town.
  • You can use healing potions or rejuvination potions on your mercenary by selecting a potion and dropping it on their portrait in the top left corner of the screen. Another way to do this is to hold Shift and press 1,2,3, or 4 - which correspond to your belt slots. Yet another way is holding Shift and right-clicking on a potion in your belt.
  • Similar to giving a merc a potion using the portrait: you can give your mercenary equipment via the portrait. If they are able to equip the item, it will work. If they are already wearing this type of item, it will be exchanged for the new one.
  • If your merc is wearing either Gold Find or Magic Find gear, you will receive those respective bonuses to your drops when the merc makes a kill. Example, 100% MF on char, 125% MF on merc. If you make the kill, 100% MF is in effect. If the merc makes the kill, 225% MF is in effect.
  • The price of resurrecting your merc is capped at 50000 gold.

Mercenary Hireling Levels (1.10)

This is a list of the merc levels you will have to pick from based on Act and Difficulty Level (Expansion Only). Note that you can't buy a merc whose level is higher than your own:

Possible levels at hiring
Normal Nightmare Hell
Act 1 3-7 36-40 67-71
Act 2 9-13 43-47 75-79
Act 3 15-19 49-53 79-83
Act 5 28-32 58-62 80-84

Mercenary Damage Modifiers

From Tommi
Attacking Modifier Notes
Players 17% (So, a mercenary attacking a player only does 17% of its normal damage)
Hirelings 25%
Golems 100% (no modification)
Monsters 100% (no modification)
Minions* 100% (no modification)
Normal Act Boss 50%
Nightmare Act Boss 35%
Hell Act Boss 25%

"*"A minion is any creature a player controls, except a hireling or a golem.

When defending, hirelings take 100% from all sources except other Hirelings, which is 25%.

Mercenary Survival Tips

  • You can use healing potions or rejuvination potions on your mercenary by selecting a potion and dropping it on their portrait in the top left corner of the screen. Another way to do this is to hold Shift and press 1,2,3, or 4 - which correspond to your belt slots. Yet another way is holding Shift and right-clicking on a potion in your belt.
  • Put life leech on them! Give them a weapon with decent damage, coupled with life leech. Put Amn runes in their weapons. Use hats and armors with built in leech.
  • Use a Wand of Lifetap on switch for really tough and/or unleechable monsters.
  • Keep them close to your level and don't fight monsters that are too far above your level.

Act 1 Rogue

  • It's "Rogue", not "Rouge".
  • You can hire these from Kashya either 1) after completing the Blood Raven quest or 2) after reaching character level 8.
  • Note, they are Rogues, not Amazons. As such, +Amazon skill items will not work and they cannot wield (Amazon-Only) bows.
  • They can only equip bows. Crossbows are not allowed.
  • Cast either Fire Arrow or Cold Arrow
  • Cast Inner Sight
  • The mods Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts and Fires Magic Arrow are quirky. The Explosive arrows do not work. There is a graphical bug so that you see the explosion, but no damage is dealt and the Rogue does not get the Attack Rating bonus associated with the Exploding Arrow skill. Fires Magic Arrow does deliver magic damage, but the Rogue's still do not receive an AR bonus. Credit for the discovery goes to adeyke and brianc84. Link.
  • They can give you the Vigor aura via Harmony, Thorns via Edge, and Fanatacism via Faith.


They tend to stay out of harm's way reasonably well, so life leech isn't mandotory, but a little bit certainly helps. Increased Attack Speed can help (check speed calculator). These mercs are good at activating Chance to Cast mods without being in the thick of the battle. Blinding, fleeing, amplify damage, etc.

Hit Recovery Breakpoints

Hit Recovery Breakpoints
Frames FHR %
11 0
10 6
9 13
8 20
7 32
6 52
5 86
4 174
3 600

Act 2 Town Guard

  • Very popular because they share an aura with you and your party members.
  • Can use Spear, Javelin, and Polearm class weapons, except not the Amazon-only spears. They won't ever throw the Javelins.
  • Their Jab has 2 hits.
  • Blessed Aim is mutually exclusive with the Amazon skill Penetrate.


Get him a big damage polearm. Mods to look for are: Crushing Blow, life leech, +life, resistances, Faster Hit Recovery, Chance to Cast amp damage or decrepify, Slows Target (especially on Holy Freeze merc).

Available Auras

Normal/Hell Difficulty
Type Aura
Combat Prayer
Defensive Defiance
Offensive Blessed Aim
Nightmare Difficulty
Type Aura
Combat Thorns
Defensive Holy Freeze
Offensive Might

Hit Recovery Breakpoints

Hit Recovery Breakpoints
Frames FHR %
15 0
14 5
13 9
12 14
11 20
10 30
9 42
8 60
7 86
6 142
5 280

Act 3 Iron Wolf

  • Do not have blocking animations. "This means they do not getting blocking check at all. The Shield will just be there for the non-blocking attributes such as defense and any other magical properties that it has such as resisitances, fast cast, skills, etc." - Ruvanal
  • +Glacial Spike, +FireBall, etc. will help these mercs. The only places to get these are from Ormus' Robes or two pieces of the Trang's set. Note that the +Fireball bonus from Trang's will be capped at +3.
  • Anything that is +sorceress skills, for example: +2 Fire Skills (Sorceress Only) will not work, but the +3 Fire Skills of Hexfire would.
  • Items that lower enemy resistance (such as the Crescent Moon runeword, facets, etc.) will benefit these mercs.
  • Can complete the Isenhart set (for whatever that's worth)


You want +skills and Faster Cast Rate. Everything else is secondary because they tend to survive fairly well on their own unless you let them get swarmed. The Spirit runeword makes an excellent weapon for them. You would need +strength on your helm/armor to let them use a Spirit shield since the lowest strength requirement on a 4 socket shield is 156 on a Monarch (146 if ethereal). They top out at 153 str at level 98 and have 137 str at level 85, just to give you an idea.

See the Act 3 Mercenaries Full Power Guide for more ideas.


Iron Wolf Spells
Type Spell 1 Spell 2 Spell 3
Fire Inferno Fireball
Cold Glacial Spike Ice Blast Frozen Armor
Lightning Charged Bolt Lightning

This chart assumes they were hired in Normal difficulty and have no +skills. The numbers reflect the synergy bonuses when applicable.

Iron Wolf Spell Damage
Merc Level Fireball Inferno Ice Blast Glacial Spike Charged Bolt Lightning
Level 30 35-40 58-75 85-93 45-58 6-9(8 bolts) 1-130
Level 60 195-224 73-79 253-266 130-153 14-18(13 bolts) 1-398
Level 85 334-372 108-115 463-480 280-312 22-27(17 bolts) 1-871
Level 98 415-457 128-136 651-672 371-408 27-32(19 bolts) 1-1217
  • Inferno is bugged to do half the listed damage.

Faster Cast Rate Breakpoints

Faster Cast Rate Breakpoints
Frames FCR %
17 0
16 8
15 15
14 26
13 39
12 58
11 86
10 138

Hit Recovery Breakpoints

Hit Recovery Breakpoints
Frames FHR %
17 0
16 5
15 8
14 13
13 18
12 24
11 32
10 46
9 63
8 86
7 133
6 232
5 600

Act 5 Barbarian

  • These mercs possess the skills Stun and Bash.
  • These are the only mercs who can use class-specific items (barbarian helms).
  • They have a 5% chance of doing critical hits, the other mercanaries do not
  • They regenerate their health fully in 16.4 seconds
  • These mercs can complete the Sazabi Set.
  • They do not have or benefit from +sword mastery such as on Bloodletter.
  • Act 5 mercs receive a 70% bonus to their poison resistance in all difficulties
  • The Act 5 merc's normal attack has 2 hits, similar to the A2 merc's Jab
  • They will benefit from +Bash or +Stun on a barbarian helm. However, those helms shouldn't exist in 1.1x, but in very rare cases they can spawn.


They can wield one-handed and two-handed swords but they cannot dual-wield two one-handed swords. So, get them a big 2-handed sword. They do the listed damage for both 1 hand and 2 hand swords, so the 2 handers will almost always win out. Life leech, FHR, resistances, etc are also good. They're about the same as A2 mercs except for the weapon differences. Lawbringer has become somewhat popular because of the ctc Decrepify.

Hit Recovery Breakpoints

Hit Recovery Breakpoints
Frames FHR %
9 0
8 7
7 15
6 27
5 48
4 86
3 200

What Merc for Build X?

Well, there are far too many builds to list a merc for each one. In general, pick a mercenary that compliments you well. I'll make some general comments on mercs that might work well. Ultimately, it's usually a matter of personal preference. This list is based on my opinions/experiences and on what I've read here in the forums.

Physical damage, melee fighter

  • You can pick a ranged merc that deals elemental damage (A1 or A3).
  • A2 merc with an aura that helps you. Blessed Aim if you need AR, Might if you want more damage, Holy Freeze if you need some crowd control, Defiance if you want more defense.
  • Don't forget A1 mercs can help your AR with Inner Sight.

Elemental damage, melee figher

  • Pick a ranged merc that deals damage of a different element.
  • Pick a physical damage merc. A2 Might or A5 Barb.

Caster Characters

  • These characters usually want a tank. Any A2 or A5 merc will work.
  • Holy Freeze is popular since it slows the monsters down (even cold immunes) and keeps them from running up to you and smacking you around.
  • Defiance if you want him to survive well. Might is also a good contender since more damage = more leech.
  • Barb merc. More aggressive than A2 mercs, and most of the standard auras don't help a caster much (meaning Might, Blessed Aim, etc.).
  • Prayer/Insight combo. "Unlimited" mana and "double" healing from Prayer.
  • If you are a sorceress, keep in mind that you can teleport to reposition your mercenary.


  • Usually Necromancers, but I suppose Druids can apply as well.
  • The Necromancer Room's consensus seems to be: Thorns is good in NM or when you are fighting monsters that are above your level. Blessed Aim also gets a nod in NM to help with Skeleton Attack Rating versus higher level monsters. Might is better in Hell and when your level is at or above those of the monsters you are fighting.
  • Ranged merc since the melee is covered by minions. This isn't terribly popular, since if you have lots of minions, you want to have an aura to share with them.
  • With the new runewords, an Act 1 Rogue can now provide the Vigor (to help minions keep up when you are running) Thorns, and Fanaticism auras.


BIG thanks go out to adeyke, Ruvunal, Zath, brianc84 and many others from the AB forums. I basically stole information from posts they made and compiled it here. They did all the real work, not me. Also, thanks to Tommi for his excellent pages of information, found here. All the hit recovery information is from him, found here.