Plague Rune Word Guide in Diablo II Resurrected

Last updated on Apr 05, 2022 at 14:57 by Azariah 10 comments

This page covers the Rune Word Plague in Diablo 2 Resurrected and provides information on the Runes needed, Bonuses it gives, Base Items to use, and Builds to use it with. It requires Patch 2.4 or later.


Plague - Runes Required

The Rune Word Plague requires three runes, Cham Rune Cham Rune, Shael Rune Shael Rune, and Um Rune Um Rune placed in that order. Cham is the highest level rune required, making this Rune Word usable by Players from Level 67.


Finding the Runes

The table below shows which area the required runes start dropping from normal monsters and containers, any quests, and the Countess Rune drop. The Countess is found on Level 5 of the Forgotten Tower in the Black Marsh.

  • Cham - Act 4 Hell;
  • Shael - Act 5 Normal, Nightmare Hellforge, Countess (Nightmare & Hell);
  • Um - Act 4 Nightmare, Nightmare & Hell Hellforge, Countess (Hell);

Cham Runes are the second highest, and second rarest Rune, and cannot drop from the Countess or Hellforge. This makes getting the runes for this Rune Word more challenging. For more information about finding and farming Runes, you can refer to our Rune Finding guide using the link below.

For more information about finding and farming Runes, you can refer to our Rune Finding guide using the link below.


MrLlamaSC's Plague Rune Word Video

We have a video created by MrLlamaSC discussing the new Rune Word Plague.


Plague - Bonuses

Like all Rune Words, Plague gives additional bonuses to the ones granted by the Runes used to make it. If a bonus has (varies), it is set at a value in the range given when the Rune Word is made. These are all the bonuses Plague gives.

  • 20% Chance to cast level 12 Lower Resist when struck - Level 12 Lower Resist Lower Resist reduces monsters resistance to Fire, Cold, Lightning and Poison Damage by 57%;
  • 25% Chance to cast level 15 Poison Nova on striking - Casts Poison Nova Poison Nova doing 288-329 Poison damage over 2 seconds to monsters. Synergies can increase the damage;
  • Level 13-17 Cleansing Aura When Equipped (varies) - Gives the Cleansing Cleansing Paladin Aura, reducing the duration of curses and poison. Also effects allies;
  • +1-2 All Skills (varies) - Good bonus for any build, especially for skill dependant builds where higher skill levels increase damage output;
  • +20% Increased Attack Speed - Increases attack speed, very helpful bonus;
  • +220-320% Enhanced Damage (varies) - Greatly increases physical damage done;
  • -23% to Enemy Poison Resistance - Makes monsters take additional damage from Poison. Only effects Poison damage done by the wearer, not allies or pets. Does not work on Poison Immune monsters, but if the immunity is broken by another effect like Lower Resist Lower Resist, then it will reduce the resistance further;
  • 0.3% (0-29.7) Deadly Strike (Based on Character Level) - Deadly strike doubles physical damage of a melee and projectile attacks. Does not effect spells or elemental damage. Chance stacks with other items that have this bonus;
  • +25% Chance of Open Wounds - Open Wounds causes the target to lose a small amount of life for 8 seconds. It prevents regeneration, so can be especially useful against monsters with high regeneration rates;
  • Freeze Target +3 - Freezes normal monsters for a short time, unless they are cold immune or Freeze immune. Very good defensive bonus;

With high damage, Increased Attack Speed and Deadly strike, Plague offers good physical damage. The +1-2 All Skills, Lower Resist, Poison Nova and Reduction to enemy Poison Resist bonuses combine to make a strong boost for any Poison Damage Skills based build.


Plague - Base Items

Plague can be made in grey 3-socket Assassin Katars / Claws, Daggers, and Swords. Due to the high Level requirement of the Cham Rune, it is recommended to make Plague in an Elite weapon. The following Elite weapons can have 3 sockets and can be used to make Plague.

  • Elite Claws - Suwayyah, Wrist Sword, Feral Claws, Runic Talons, Scissors Suwayyah.
  • Elite Daggers - Fanged Knife;
  • Elite Swords - Phase Blade, Conquest Sword, Cryptic Sword, Mythical Sword, and all Two Handed Swords.

The best choice of base item will depend on the build you are planning to use it with. Details are in the builds section below.

As Assassin Katars can have a +1-3 bonus to up to 3 different skills, finding a claw with useful bonuses could make an even more effective weapon. Checking Claws that drop for useful skills is recommended.

If a white claw, Fanged Knife, Mythical Sword or Legend Sword drops, 3 sockets can be added by using the reward from the Act V quest Siege on Harrogath.

The Horadric Cube recipe Ral Rune Ral Rune + Amn Rune Amn Rune + Perfect Amethyst can be used to add sockets. For these items, it has a 4 in 6 chance of giving the 3 sockets required for Plague. The other swords above only have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the 3 sockets required for Plague, as they have a higher Maximum number of sockets.


Plague - Levels and Builds

Plague is usable from Level 67 due to the Cham Rune. This is higher than the Level requirements for any of the base items it can be made in. Due to the high damage potential for this Rune Word, it is usable up to the highest levels and the hardest difficulties.

When made in a Claw Weapon, Plague is very useful to Assassins. The Lower Resist boosts the effectiveness of Skills like Phoenix Strike Phoenix Strike and especially Venom Venom which also benefits from Enemy Poison Resist reduction. Lower Resist will also increase the lightning and fire damage taken from Traps. The high damage, Attack Speed increase and Deadly Strike give high physical damage, and Freeze Target offers some defensive value. This is a very effective weapon for a Phoenix Strike based build, or a Kicksin Buildand when combined with Chaos the Whirlwind Assassin.

In a Fanged Knife, Plague can be a good choice for a Poison Necromancer Build. The + All Skills, Lower Resist and lower Enemy Poison Resist will all boost the damage of Poison Nova Poison Nova. As a Fanged Knife is a Dagger, it can also be used with Poison Dagger Poison Dagger, which will also have the chance to trigger the Level 15 Poison Nova on Plague, which will benefit from +400% Poison Damage synergy Poison Dagger and Poison Explosion give. The fast attack, Open Wounds and Freeze Target will fit well with the hit and run tactics often used with Poison Dagger.

The Rabies Rabies using Druid could use Plague to increase the effectiveness of the poison damage. When made in an Elite Sword, it makes a fast, high damage weapon, which would also be effective with other Wereform attacks like Feral Rage Feral Rage or Fury Fury.

Potentially one of the most effective uses of Plague is on an Act V Barbarian Mercenary. Made in a 1-handed sword and equipped on the new Frenzy Mercenary, it will often trigger the Lower Resist skill, due to the aggressive tactics he uses meaning he will get hit often. Equipping the Mercenary with a Helm or Armor or second Weapon that provides Life Steal will help him survive, and make a hard hitting tank who poisons and freezes his targets, and lowers their resists to Fire, Cold, Lightning and Poison. This would make an excellent mercenary for any build focusing on these types of damage.



  • 05 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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