Nihlathak & Halls of Vaught (Act 5) Farming Guide - Diablo 2
How to Reach: Halls of Pain (WP) or Portal in Harrogath > Halls of Anguish > Halls of Pain > Halls of Vaught
Zone Level: Nightmare: 64 -- Hell: 84
Golden Chest: No
Boss/Champ Packs: 4 - 7
Hell Immunities: Cold (Slayer, Prowling Dead), Fire (Arach, Flayer, Flayer Shaman), Physical (Ghost, Night Marauder, Hell Temptress), Poison (Wretched Defiler, Tomb Viper, Returned Archer, Night Marauder, Ghost)
Nihlathak is one of the more commonly farmed bosses in the game for people who are able to handle the Halls of Vaught. It takes much less time to go to and defeat Nihlathak than it does Baal and Nihlathak has the same loot table as Baal so many people prefer to farm him. On this page you'll find all you need to know about both Nihlathak and the Halls of Vaught. If you're looking for information about Halls of Pain and/or Halls of Anguish follow the link to their respective farming guides.
Halls of Vaught has an Area Level of 84 which means that the Unique and Boss packs that you encounter can drop any item in the game. Unique and Boss monsters are Area level +3 and since Halls of Vaught is a level 84 area it makes these enemies level 87. Since the highest Treasure Class in the game is 87 it means you're able to get the best loot here! If you are confused or you would like more information check out my Diablo 2 Magic Find Guide.
Much like the Halls of Pain and Halls of Anguish you can get really good and really terrible Halls of Vaught map rolls. There are many different types of enemies that can spawn on this floor of the dungeon but usually you only get four types each time. It is possible to get a good roll where you only get enemies like Arachs, Flayers, Returned Archers and Ghosts. While the immunities may pose a problem to some the enemies themselves aren't insanely difficult.
Tomb Vipers are what you really need to worry about as they will one shot even a well geared character if you get a Champ/Boss pack of them. Even the regular ones can one shot your character, as for your Mercenary he's likely going to be eaten each time you rez him so I wouldn't even bother.
Tomb Vipers have a nasty poison dart attack that leaves a trail of poison along with a charge attack like Pindleskin and his cronies. Both extremely hurt and should be avoided at all costs.
The layout of the Halls of Vaught is always the same except for the location Nihlathak spawns. Nihlathak can spawn in any of the four wings of the dungeon and you can easily tell which wing Nihlathak is in based on what you find in the southern one. The southern wing is always the one that is straight south from the staircase that you enter the zone from.
If South Wing has an Evil Urn... Nihlathak is found in the West.
If South Wing has a Champ pack... Nihlathak is found in the North.
If South Wing has Nothing... Nihlathak is found in the East.
As far as the fight with Nihlathak goes, if you have a Tyrael's Might or an item with "Slain Monsters Rest in Peace" on it, you'll make sure Nihlathak can never use his strongest ability, Corpse Explosion. Necromancers, Paladins, Druids or any other class that has an ability to consume corpses can prevent Nihlathak from using this ability too.
If you don't have a strategy in place to stop Nihlathak from blowing up corpses you can always use the "two and a half screens away" trick to get rid of corpses. Basically, so long as a Town Portal isn't near Nihlathak, if you go two and a half screens away for at least 8 seconds then the corpses around him will despawn. You can repeat this a few times as you take out more of his guards if you need to.