Baal (Act 5) Farming Guide - Diablo 2
How to Reach: Worldstone Keep Level 2 (WP) > Worldstone Keep Level 3 > Throne of Destruction
Zone Level: Nightmare: 66 -- Hell: 85
Golden Chest: No
Boss/Champ Packs: 4 - 5
Hell Immunities: Cold (Hell Witch, Oblivion Knight, Dark Lord), Fire (Assailant, Balrog, Death Lord, Doom Knight, Minion of Destruction & Lister the Tormentor), Lightning (Black Soul), Poison (Black Soul, Serpent Magus, Undead Soul Killer, Venom Lord & Ventar the Unholy), Magic (Horadrim Ancient, Unraveler & Achmel the Cursed)
Baal runs in Diablo 2 are one of the two most commonly run farming routes in the entire game, rivaled only by Chaos Sanctuary and Diablo runs. You'll find Baal in the bottom of the Worldstone Keep in the Throne of Destruction area. This floor always has the same layout with Baal found in the northeastern most portion of the room.
This guide is only going to have information about farming Baal and the Champs/Boss packs within the Throne of Destruction. If you'd like to learn more about farming Worldstone Keep, follow the link provided to be taken to that guide instead.
Every level of the Worldstone Keep (including Throne of Destruction) has an Area Level of 85. This means that the Champ/Boss packs in these zones can drop from the highest available Treasure Class in the game (in non-Diablo 2 terms) that means they can drop all the loot in the game. If you'd like to learn more about Treasure Class and how this all works check out my Diablo 2 Magic Find Guide.
On the Throne of Destruction floor you'll find many different types of enemies but only two stand out as insanely dangerous; Undead Soul Killer & Black Soul (pictured below). The Undead Soul Killers you've encountered before in the Durance of Hate and The Sewers, they are little Undead Fetish enemies that share the same model as Flayers (except they are made of bone).
Undead Soul Killers are one of the most deadly enemies in Throne of Destruction. Make sure that you keep your distance from these each time you deal the killing blow as they'll explode and deal massive damage to anyone nearby.
I believe that the ability they use is similar to Corpse Explosion in the sense that it deals a % of total damage to your character. Every time they explode on me no matter my gear or level I feel like I take about 50% of my current health in damage. Black Souls are the other enemy you need to be extremely wary of as they have a Chain Lightning ability that wrecks people, especially those without high Lightning Resistance.
You've encountered enemies like the Black Souls throughout the game a few times, in Act 3, Act 4 and earlier in the Worldstone Keep. If you can break up their group they'll be much easier to dispatch but when they come in large groups one wrong move could easily spell death for you.
Black Souls hit extremely hard with their Chain Lightning ability unless you're loaded up with Lightning Resist. To make matters worse their Chain Lightning also momentarily stuns you which allows multiple enemies the ability to gang up on you and attack you while you're in Faster Hit Recovery.
How much of the trash you want to clear in the Throne of Destruction is completely up to you, technically in order to fight Baal all you need to do is clear out his room. Depending on your class, build and your play style you may or may not want to clear at least half of the floor to give yourself room to kite mobs.
Keep in mind that you technically do not even need to defeat the Baal Waves in order to fight Baal himself. You can actually pull the enemies away from Baal once they spawn; once they're all out of Baal's room he will either summon the next wave or go through the portal to The Worldstone Chamber, whatever is next. Many people use this strategy to avoid fighting Lister the Tormentor, the Super Unique in the final Baal wave.
You will fight Baal inside of the Worldstone Chamber which can only be accessed by taking the portal behind where Baal sits on the Throne of Destruction. When you first enter the Worldstone Chamber you'll most likely be immediately attacked by the tentacle appendages that Baal summons up from the ground. These are used by Baal any time you're too far away from him to be hit with his regular attacks.
Below you will find a list of all of Baal's different attacks and a little bit of information about them. If you'd like to learn more about the Baal fight or see the strategy explained differently check out my Act 5 Quest 6: Eve of Destruction walkthrough for more information.
Decrepify: Baal uses this one you during the 5 Baal Waves and during the fight with him in the Worldstone Chamber. It works the same as the Necromancer Curse and makes you slower, weaker and take more damage.
Incineration Nova: Baal unleashes a nova around him, similar to Diablo's Fire Nova ability. The further you are from Baal the easier it is to dodge. Compared to his other abilities, this one isn't that big of a deal.
Hoarfrost: This is the V shape blue wave that Baal shoots out that knocks you back. It will stun you when it hits you and damages you multiple times while pushing you back; this ability travels very far across the ground and usually doesn't stop until it hits a solid object. Out of all Baal's abilities this is probably his most annoying.
Mana Rift: Works as a Mana Burn, it does a percentage based drain, always lowering your mana by 50% of your current total Mana.
Vile Effigy (Clone): Baal creates a clone of himself that has the same exact attacks he does. The clone will start out at the same total health Baal has too, IE if you have Baal at 50% the clone will be created with 50% health. Baal's clone will take amplified damage and is easier to defeat than Baal himself. For the most part you should try to ignore the clone and focus on Baal.
Festering Appendages: Tentacles come out of the ground and attack anyone nearby them. This is Baal's main ranged attack and for the most part he only uses this when he can't reach you with his other attacks.
Teleport: Works the same as the Sorceress' Teleport ability.
Defensive Curse: This curse is only used on players with more max Health than max Mana (total Health, not current). It reduces your total defense by a significant portion.
Blood Mana Curse: This curse is only used on players with more max Mana than Health (total Mana, not current). It causes all spells you cast to consume Health instead of Mana.
Baal Clone Tip: Move at least one and a half full screens away from Baal and his clone and open a Town Portal. Go back to Harrogath for 8 seconds (minimum) then return to the World Chamber to depop Baal's clone. How this game works is it unloads monsters when they are off screen, the Town Portal counts as a 'presence' too which is why you need to open it far enough away from Baal's Clone to depop him.
Out of all the abilities Baal uses I would argue that Hoarfrost is the worst/biggest pain to deal with. Without Teleport, Leap, or any movement boosting skill it is extremely difficult to avoid it. While it generally does not do a whole lot of damage it messes up your positioning and chain stuns you. For the most part you can stand in the rest of Baal's abilities without worrying too much (assuming you have good resists).
Make sure you bring a good supply of Mana Potions as well as Health Potions since Baal likes to drain mana.