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D2R 2.6 Season 3 New Runewords Ranked & Breakdown | Diablo 2 Resurrected 2.6 Best New Items

1/28/2023 5:04:40 PM

Here we go over the strengths and applicable builds for each of the new Diablo 2 Resurrected 2.6 runeword, to help you learn which are the best new items you should put on your build in D2R Ladder Season 3!

1 - Metamorphosis (Helm)

Metamorphosis is a mixed bag, it's a helmet runeword that uses Io+Cham+Fal. All the new rune words are indeed three sockets but it brings in an interesting bit of potential that the other Rune words so far have not, and despite being hard to get solo self-found these are still relatively easy to get runes online which is what they generally balance it for since they're all niche runes. 

Suitable Builds - This comes with some basic stats that would be okay by themselves for specific builds such as the Shape-shifting skills, a little resist all, as well as the strength vitality, and cannot be Frozen from the D2R runes themselves. Not to mention a bit of enhanced defense that means hardly anything for PVM. The interesting bit is the mark of the wolf and the mark of the bear features with these supposedly being able to be active at the same time if the information is correct though we'll see that when the PTR actually hits. As far as what these are, Mark of the wolf is an effect that triggers for three minutes when you strike while in will form that grants a percent buff to attack rating and maximum life, while Mark of the bear is an effect that triggers the same amount of time when you strike them in Bear form that grants attack speed crushing blow and physical resistance. 

Meta Points - With this, there is some speculation about juggling, helmets, Beast runewords, wolf howls, etc. while playing and min maxing, we could see this potentially being used. But there is a point where you're spending more time pre-buffing than actually playing and it can be a problem. Though there are still definitely questions about how these abilities integrate with different forms, especially Mark of the bear since they could actually beat out some of the other pre-buff options for martial builds that would proc say Mark of the bear and then return to human form for a three minute clear of something like Cows or Chaos Sanctuary. On the Druid, we don't think it will have quite the effect the team was anticipating, we think people will 100% want to use it on some Druid forms but we doubt we'll see too many people taking full advantage of juggling the forms to make use of the marks with. The most likely scenarios being players either ignoring the other Mark entirely or just grabbing it at the beginning of a run and swapping to whatever their build actually is. Sadly the only way to really change this would be to drastically alter the way the Druid shape-shifting tree works to something more akin to how it works in Diablo 4.

2 - Mosaic (Claw)

With Mosaic being probably what will be most overlooked by a bunch of people because it has to compete with other odd mechanic setups that may work better in some circumstances and it's pretty hard to do solo at Mal, Gul and Thul, though it is moderately reasonable to trade for rune wise because these are not super desirable runes. Its perks are plus the martial skills, increase attack speed, bonus attack rating, cold damage, prevent monster, heal along with an interesting 25% chance for finishing moves not to consume charges. 

Suitable Builds - We'll see if that's per hit or per skill use since if it's per skill use that could make some of the elemental charges interesting or actually even frustrating for Phoenix Strike oddly depending on how you use them. Now in the reveal that was leaked there was plus weapon durability and plus attack rating on it, but those are just because of a superior base mod not from the actual Rune word, where this gets fun is when you combine it with plus skills. So you could get a plus 3 Phoenix Strike Claw and combine it with this 4 decent Elemental surge setup or a plus 3 Dragon Tail setup for a kicksen setup. That said it is worth noting you cannot get things like plus Tiger Strike on white claws only rares due to how item levels work so you cannot buff that particular skill sadly. 

Downsides - The problem with it taking Mal and Gul is it puts it in competition with other mid-high Rune words even having to go toe-to-toe with Plague which while slightly more expensive is still relatively easy to trade for with the runes, which sadly for most use cases you would prefer Plague over this or in the case of Dragon tail or Dragon Talon Assassin actually preferring non-claw weapons entirely. We think this one kind of missed the mark a little bit unless they make it, so that the plus martial arts functionality is variable since if it could get up to like three or four value it might have more utility, heck even just adding some minus enemy defense effects would help it out a lot, just to see it get a little bit more potential since you still need to get the charges up in the first place to take advantage of the finishing move auto hits when charged.

3 - Bulwark (Physical Helmet)

This could be the best new helmet in Season 3,  for the cost of Shaek + Io + Sol which just another reminder you can farm all of these runes at nightmare Countess, on Players one you can get them within an hour. It has 20 hit recovery, rolls 4 to 6 life stolen per hit, 75 to 100 enhanced damage, the 10 Vitality, the 5 increased maximum life, it comes along with replenish life 30 because of the Sol Rune, it also comes along with a flat damage reduced by 7% and then physical damage reduction between 10 to 15. On a helmet, this is your stop gap for Vampire's Gaze and Tal Rasha's helmet when you're trying to get life leech onto your mercenary so you can actually stay up. Flat damage reduction along with maximum life and additional Vitality this is a really nice early game Immortal sorceress helmet. If this helmet didn't say the percentage physical damage reduction and all it said was the rest of the stats, we would already be going Gaga over this for every single Melee character and every single build that relies on having a mercenary survive, and then they added upwards of 15% physical damage reduction to a mid-game low Rune word. Looking at these Runewords, it's obviously the developers are looking to shore up some of the issues that people were running into on more casual playthroughs and in the early game when it came to the resistances that you lose from Sunder Charms. With most notably the physical Sunder charm definitely hitting the hardest considering it's so difficult to stack physical damage reduction.  

Suitable Builds - It's so powerfully aimed towards melee characters, so all of your early game Barbarians, Fury Druids, Physical Zealer as well as Martial Arts Assassin Build now get to put on a single piece of gear in their helmet that costs them for all intents and purposes, nothing at all other than an hour or two of farming that single-handedly solves for all of your survivability issues and you honestly don't need to replace this thing until you're looking at your best in slot options later on.

4 - Hustle (Any Weapon or Armor item)

Hustle  uses Shael, Ko, Eld to make weapons or Armor Rune Words which should work in any weapon you can have, so it would compete with Harmony for early bows, but it does do a bit less damage. Now this runeward does what the name implies, it's designed to make you Hustle across the battlefield, the armor version basically functions as a pseudo upgrade to something like Stealth or Twitch Throw, and with its Rune word cause we can sort of see that it's got a dexterity boost some stamina protects section and a mix of increased attack speed faster hit recovery and faster run walk. It's not terrible and it will have its uses in the mid-game. Though generally speaking your End Game Gear will use better items most of the time since you can get better perks from pretty much any other armor like Treachery or Enigma, and the faster run walk only goes so far due to how the formula works for on gear faster run walk versus skill faster run walk. 

Downsides - The weapon on the flip side is going to just pretty much be a pre-buffer and maybe a weapon some people randomly use in the mid game, but again mostly a pre-buff. This is because most of the mods on it are well lackluster mediocre enhanced damage some boost damage against Undead a little dexterity and of course attack speed since a weapon should almost always have that if it wants to be viable. The big perk it brings though is a chance to cast level 9 burst of speed on striking which is a big buff though obviously temporary, so you'll need to have this on its swap or in your stash for pre-buffing and then swapped your real weapon later. 

So for most of players, Hustle would sit in a weird spot in that you will probably never make them outside of just basic testing since the armor does not really work except in Solo self-hound but usually just stick with Stealth all the way through unless you really need the resist and then you would use something other than this. And the weapon will be used for Min maxing by certain players but generally speaking for broad use not really that significant except for maybe in some PVP situations, though it does open up a little flexibility for certain odd builds such as Redeeming the bear source and the bear or wolf barbarians provided you remember to proc it, but then you're juggling at least three weapons in many cases which is irritating to say the least.

5 - Temper (Fire Helm)

This is going to be your fire resistance option and you're going to use a round Rune to get there. Now just let this helmet soak in for a little bit, 20% faster hit recovery, upwards of 100 enhanced defense, 10 to Vitality, 5 increase maximum life, upwards of 60% fire resistance and 15% fire absorbed, not only is this an amazing survivability helmet for anybody playing through the game at any point? But now let's think about where else you can use this helmet most notably on a mercenary, think of how many people need to farm up until they get Akira's Guardian before they even feel comfortable taking a mercenary into traven call farming. And now you can have 60% res along with maximum life and fire absorb for the cost of a Shael IO in Ral Rune, this is legitimately going to enable so many builds to be able to farm stuff like they're traveling calls so much earlier into this season. It's almost unreasonable that this Runeword is going to hit the game as it is right now, we quite frankly think it might be a little bit too overpowered but honestly we are not really offended at the concept of them releasing new powerful mid-game Runeword to enable all the different play styles and fix all of the struggles that your gear options just might not be able to fix for you based off of your own playthrough of Diablo 2.

6 - Cure (Poison Helm)

For Cure this is going to be a Tal Rune to confer poison resistance, the Rune itself always gives 30 resistance, and then the item itself will roll between 10 and 30, so you can get upwards of 60 resistance, and then here you're also going to get poison length reduction by 75%. What's so important about that is that when you're in Hell difficulty you actually have negative 100 poison length which basically means any poison effect is applied to you for twice the amount of time that it normally would be, poison length reduction of 75% means that in Hell difficulty, they're cutting that down to a quarter, so poison length is only going to be applied to for an additional 25% of the time as opposed to double the total time. So as we look forward at the next helmets just keep in mind that that hit recovery enhanced defense Vitality as well as increase maximum life you're going to see that across the board, and then you're always going to have the primary resistance and then a secondary damage reduction effect that is going to get kind of ridiculous us very quickly.

7 - Hearth (Cold)

This is the cold resistance helmet, it's going to use a ballroom to get us there so on top of the fact that you can roll up to 60% cold resistance on this helmet, it also has cold absorb and that number is going to roll between 10 to 15. What's cool about this helmet is that a lot of people are probably aware of a lot of lightning absorb items as well as fire absorb but there aren't that many cold absorb items that the majority of people could use. Because you're able to farm this so early on a lot of these helmets are actually going to be incredibly powerful for anybody trying to do their own Uber budget smarter build, so when you're going into fight Uber is wall you go ahead and you toss this on and then all of a sudden you're healing every time you get hit by a shiver armor. While cold resistance is arguably the second least important resistance in the game as it stands right now, it's really nice that this tool exists for anybody looking to farm very specific areas perhaps on a hardcore character or again like with specific class Uber fights.

8 - Ground (Lighting Helm)

This is going to be your lightning resistance helmet, it's not going to use an Ort Rune to get us there again you're able to roll up to 60% resistance against lightning which makes this easily outclass the other contemporary which would typically be a lore helmet at this point, and then 10 to 15 lightning absorb as well. So just like we were talking about with the Uber smider, being able to toss on a helmet that gets you 60 Lightning resist and upwards of 15 lightning absorb, when you're going in to fight Mephisto on a budget is absolutely Bonkers. It's easy to assume that this helmet is going to exist on literally every single smider setup until you have perfect in slot gear. And then on top of that getting it as early as nightmare throwing this on for a hardcore character playing through Act 2 trying to survive Mephisto in general. Then later on in Chaos Sanctuary and anywhere that has sols, this thing might single-handedly fix all of your resistance and survivability issues, so you can focus on stronger gear more magic find and more damage across the rest of your gear pieces. 

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