Magic Find Strategies

Patch Release Notes, Magic Find Strategies, Original Cube Recipes, Rune Words and Unique Sebzy's Realm Items
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Magic Find Strategies

Postby Highlander » Sat May 30, 2015 11:20 am

Magic Find Strategies

The initial goal of a Diablo II player is survival. Killing monsters without being killed yourself is the first priority, and is a challenge for some time. As your character gains levels and better equipment and you figure out some survival strategies, survival becomes less of a struggle and item lust begins to grow. The expert player finds his or her main challenge in optimizing their equipment for survival, fast leveling, and especially higher Magic Find %.

Setting a character up with great +MF gear, equipment that they can wear under all circumstances, and add 200% or 300% or 500% or even more Magic Find is the "end game" for most expert Diablo II players, and can be very rewarding and fun, both putting together the combination of equipment to work with, and then to reaping the rewards they earn. Some players enjoy dueling as well, but MF gear is useless for that, though it's very helpful to use to find the best equipment you need for dueling.

Common Abbreviations Used In This Guide

MF: Magic Find % (usually listed with a #).
GF: Gold Find % (usually listed with a #).
3s: 3-socketed item. Also 1s, 2s, 4s. Also written 3[S].
IAS: Increase Attack Speed (listed with a #).
CS: Chaos Sanctuary, the last area of Act 4.
WS: Worldstone Keep, the last area of Act 5.
PI/LI/FI/CI: Monsters Immune to Physical, Lightning, Fire, or Cold.
FE/CE/LE: Boss Monsters Enchanted with Lightning, Cold, or Fire.
MSLE: Multi-Shot Lightning-Enchanted monster. The most deadly type of random boss monster, found in Nightmare and Hell.
Loot: Items or equipment. There are endless slang spellings of it, including lewt, phat l3wtz, l££T itamz, etc. Use at your own risk.
Slivered: Refers to a nearly-dead monster, I.E. one with just a sliver of live showing on their hover info.
Basic MF Strategy

There is much more detailed strategy later in this guide, but the most basic MF strategy is to wear as much +Magic Find gear as possible, while still killing monsters quickly. How much you want to add depends on your equipment, and how fast you are with it. It's possible to get carried away and put on some much MF that you can hardly kill anything, and this will actually hurt your overall finding, since you'll have better odds for high quality per item, but far fewer total items found.

A very common strategy is to have some big MF weapon(s) in your switch, and just before you kill a monster to switch to the big MF weapons for the last few hits. Generally these items will be far lower damage or +skills than your normal gear, which is why you don't use them all the time.

A very common example is a Barbarian switching to dual Ali Babas for the last hit, adding 200% or more MF to his total, while losing a ton of damage, but since it's just for a few seconds, this doesn't matter.

Magic Find Diminishing Returns

This table is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when setting up your Magic Find equipment. If you are looking for Uniques, notice how little improvement you get from 300% on. There's no point in sacrificing half your equipment to pure MF% stuff to go from 300% to 500%, if it slows your killing speed and makes you die constantly, since you're only gaining 42% effectively for Uniques. Of course if you can survive and still go fast, then every % is worth it.

In addition to these stats, various monsters have their own internal odds for dropping item quality (Rare/Set/Unique/Magical Items). For example Set Bosses have a much better chance to drop Sets and Uniques and Rares than normal monsters do. You could have 1000% MF and you'd still have very very low odds of getting anything Unique from a normal monster, but would have good odds from a normal boss, and very good odds from Mephisto.

Magic Find Misconceptions

There are lots of superstitions about item hunting and how Magic Find works. Players swear to an amazing amount of things, the vast majority of which aren't true. The number of odd ideas about what works and what doesn't work for MF'ing is due mostly to it being such a random practice. You can score several great items with 0% MF, or do 50 runs without finding anything useful with 500% MF. It's not like comparing a bigger damage weapon, where the difference will always be obvious. Luck plays such a large part in MF'ing that you need to do an enormous amount of trials to get past the margin of error.

Superstitions. None Of These Are True!

Number of players or games on the realms. (Some players say you should only MF when there are over X number of users or X number of games, while others say you should only MF when there are under X number, etc. Everyone has their own magic high/low numbers. No.
Time of the day. Some swear MF'ing is better in the evening, or the morning, or late night, etc. Item drop seeds were set by the second the game was created in D1, but even if this worked there wouldn't be any way to exploit that in Diablo II on the realms.
How many runs you do of the same monster(s) in a row. Some players say too many Meph runs in a row downgrades his drops, or that each run takes 1% or something off of their effective MF%. No.
Consecutive game names. Some people hold that if you use the same game name with an added number, "Meph Run 1", then "Meph Run 2" etc, that drops will decrease in quality, as if Bliz is somehow tracking MF'ers and consecutive games. This isn't true, and in fact we've had many mails from people who say that they often find their best stuff after 20 or 30 games of the same name, going up a number at a time.
Number of players in a game. You'll hear theories that Act Bosses drop better items with more or less players in the game, or in that act, etc. (More players in the game does increase the total number of item drops, making normal monsters much more likely to drop something, but has no effect on what or how many items Act Bosses and SuperUniques drop.)
Unlucky MF%'s. Players often say that they had better luck with a lower % than they have now, if they have just gone up in % with a new item. This isn't true, it's just a streak of bad luck, and usually people romanticize the item drops they got in the past, remembering the good items and ignoring the dozens of runs that netted them nothing of use.
You must be a certain Clvl to find a certain item. (Clvl has no effect at all on item drops.)
Town Portals are bad. This one seems bizarre, but many people have mailed it in. Some claim that if there is a town portal anywhere on the level with Meph or Baal when they die, this somehow screws up the MF%. Uh huh.
Like calls to like. Some players insist that carrying or wearing a given Unique makes that Unique more likely to drop again, or that once they've found one particular item, they are more likely to find another one soon afterwards.
None of these superstitions are true. You could probably figure this out for yourself by seeing how often the lucky claims contradict each other. On a more scientific note, Jarulf and others who have have looked in the game code say there is nothing there to limit item finds based on any of these superstitions. The game knows only your MF%, and what you are killing, in terms of item drops from monsters.

Of course we can't check the code as it works on the Realms, just the single player game, so some players insist that their superstition is true, but only on the realms. This is fitting a theory around their chance-driven item finds and selective memory, and you should try to look at your finds objectively, and allow for a large amount of chance in the system.

You can feel something is your lucky charm, or try mixing around your efforts, doing one run with 500% MF and another with 580%, if it makes you feel better, but you are not really changing your odds much.

What Is A Good Item?

This is one of the biggest sources of MF'ing superstition. The game doesn't know what a "good" item is.

To the game generating the items, a Unique Gothic Sword and Unique Ballista are pretty much the same. Similar ilvl, in the same Treasure Class (Weap48), and virtually every monster that can drop one can drop the other. But of course to players, a Cloudcrack is a sort of novelty weapon, possibly something for your Barb merc, while a Buriza-Do Kanyon is cause for celebration.

If a player does 25 item runs one day, and finds 3 exceptional uniques, one of which is Skullder's Ire, they are very happy with their luck. Then if the next day they do the same 25 runs, and find 10 exceptional uniques, but none are items they really want, they'll feel their luck was bad and their MF% isn't working right. When of course they actually found a lot more scarce stuff Day 2, just none of the items happened to be top quality ones.

There is also a lot of luck involved in the whole thing. Even with tons of MF you still have very very low odds of getting Elite Set/Unique items, especially the really high level ones like Grandfather and Windforce and IK Set Armor. A player with 800% MF might have a 1/500,000 chance of a godly item dropping, while a player with no MF has a 1/2,000,000 chance of the same item dropping from the same monster. These figures are hypothetical, but the point is in either case, it's very unlikely to happen, and if it does you got very "lucky" no matter your MF. And doing 50 or 100 or even 1000 kills is not anywhere near enough to see any real difference in finding that item. You'd need to do millions of runs to see a statistical difference in your MF% for something that rare.

Any time you read a forum post along the lines of, "Where did you find your Windforce?" You'll see as many or more replies of total luck as purposeful search. People find Grandfathers and Tal's Armor all the time from normal monsters with 15% MF on, while other players do 200 Pindleskin runs a day for months with 800% MF and never find either. The really high level stuff is really hard to find, no matter what you do or wear, that's just how it is.

Of course if you do a ton of high level bosses with big MF, you'll find lots of other good stuff, which you could in theory trade for the uber item you most want.

Class Specific Items

One bit of superstition that is actually accurate is from people who often say it's much harder to find Class-Specific items than other items. This is actually true, in v1.09 the game drops all non-Assassin class items only 1/3 as often as other items. Assassin claws of all types are dropped 2/3 as often as normal items.

However, class items have a bonus to being higher quality (Unique, Set, or Rare), so finding the Uniques and Sets isn't impossible, and you should see them more frequently, compared to magical and normal class items, than other types of items compared to their Rares/Sets/Uniques.

One example of this is curious, and it's how common breast plates are. As the pun/saying goes, "There is no such thing as a Rare breastplate." The reason you get so many breastplates is because they are found in TreasureClass Armor 18, which is a commonly-selected TC for drops to come from, and there are only five items in the TC. Breastplate, Antlers, Heraldic Shield, Horned Helm, and Unraveller Head. These other four all have a 1/3 chance of dropping, so the odds of getting a breast plate if TC Armor 18 is picked is 3/7. You have very good odds of such a low level item being rare, set, or unique, if it's dropped by a high level monster and you have some MF, and that's why Isenhart's Case and VenomWard seem to drop once a game; because the class specific stuff in the set with breastplate are much less common than normal items.

Mercenaries

Mercs can be very useful in your MF efforts, especially on normal monsters. Bosses are harder, as detailed below.

Your merc's magic find doesn't help on things you kill, however your MF does count on kills your merc makes. And if your merc has MF gear of his own on, it adds up for his kills. So if you have 300% and your merc has 100%, your kills will all be 300%, but things your merc kills will be 400% effective MF. Obviously you want to let the merc have the last hit if you have MF gear on him/her.

Mercs have a substantial penalty in the damage they deal to bosses, and Act Bosses have a huge bonus in their damage towards mercs, so Mercs tend to die very quickly against Meph and Baal, the usual Act Boss targets on item hunts. Mercs deal 50% of their normal damage to bosses in Normal, 40% in Nightmare, and 25% in Hell. So trying to let one have that last hit without dying first can be frustrating, especially on Diablo and Baal, as they spray their elemental attacks around.

A great technique for merc survival is to use a wand with Life Tap charges on it. This Necromancer curse makes any monster cursed with it yield enormous life leech when hit, and if you have a merc doing decent damage and hitting fast, they will keep full health while tanking virtually anything with Life Tap on it. Life Tap lasts for 16 seconds at Slvl 1, +2.4 per Slvl, and wands often have 100+ charges of it, so you can use it quite often, especially on Meph if your A2 or A5 merc is trying to get the last hit and dying a lot.

Merc Kill for Magic Find


There are two strategies to get your Merc's MF to help you. In both cases you must let the merc get the last hit to get any benefit from the merc's MF.

The obvious way is to put MF stuff on your merc and let them get the last hit. This adds their MF to yours. Generally you'll want to sliver the monster, and then stop at the last second, letting the merc get the last few hits for the kill.

A more clever technique is to let the merc get the kill while you are unable to, or slower. It's common practice to switch your weapon to a lower damage/higher MF one for the last hit, and doing this while the merc gets the last hit is even better, but you can do this whether your merc has MF or not. For example your Burizon might have a Gull/Rhyme on your weapon switch. That's worth 125% MF, but you can't kill Mephisto with a dagger. However you can sliver him with your Buriza, then switch to the Gull/Rhyme while the Merc gets the last hit. This would add 125% to your MF even if the Merc had on zero MF gear. If he had 200%, then you'd get 325% more, so all the better.

Which Mercs Are Best?

Generally, you want a Merc that will help you stay alive and kill things faster. For MF'ing this isn't entirely true, and you might pick a merc solely for their ability to wear a lot of MF, stay alive, and get the last hit. A1 rogues are useful for this very purpose, since they stay back from the battle and can survive even with junky equipment on.

The Act Two mercs are the most popular, for their auras, and they can deal pretty good damage with a nice spear or polearm. However they are very eager to tank and will die quickly in difficult places, unless you watch out for them and heal them a lot. The Act Five barbs have the same problem, and don't have any auras to help them out (like Defiance or Holy Freeze) though they do regenerate their hps a bit faster and deal more damage with their much faster attack.

Act 1 and Act 3 mercs stay back from the front lines, and might survive longer because of it. However they have lower hitpoints and resistances, so are more fragile. Also they deal much lower damage, so letting them get the last hit will be harder.

It's easiest to have your merc help out if you are "slumming", doing areas much below your Clvl. If you and your Merc are lvl 80 or 85, the merc shouldn't have too much trouble surviving against Nightmare Act Bosses. You can put 168% MF on your Merc and wear 400% yourself and easily let the merc kill off Nightmare Meph or Baal, getting a bit better odds of good drops. Hell bosses are much harder, and will usually slaughter your merc in one or two hits, but if you can find ways to work it, their MF will help there.

The Most Possible MF On A Merc

The Act Three Mercs can have the highest MF, since they can use a sword and shield. Act 1, 2, and 5 mercs are all the same, with a maximum possible of 180% weapon (6 socketed Ist), 147% Armor (Skullder's at lvl 98), and 80% Helm (Griswold's with an Ist). Act Three mercs can hold these along with a shield, which adds up to 75%, for a total of 482% maximum. (There are 4-socket shields, but the lightest is 156 Str, and an Act 3 Merc can't get that much unless he has +strength gear from the other equipment. So he could hold a 4s shield, but not while wearing all the other max MF gear.)

More realistically you can put 4T armor and 3T helm on your merc, for 168%. Act 1, 2, 5 mercs need the most damage possible on their weapons to kill things, so it's hard to get MF there, other than perhaps an Ist thrown in. Act Two guys can use the Meat Scraper, an Excep Unique Polearm with 25% MF on it, but the damage isn't real impressive. The Act Three mercs are the best for MF on their weapon, and a Crystal Sword with 6 sockets isn't real hard to find.

However, if you have so many Ists that you are putting them into a merc weapon you should not admit it in a game, or people will probably try to PK you (and you'd be better off trading them anyway). More realistically, 6 MF jewels with around 10% each aren't that hard to come by, if you really want the MF in the A3 Merc weapon, and since he's a spell caster, the damage on his weapon is unimportant. Ali Baba is a great A3 merc weapon also, for the big MF on it, more than a socketed crystal sword w/o Ists could get. A5 guys can use Ali Baba also, but their damage will suffer quite a bit.

The best all around merc weapon would be Silence, the runeword. It gives 30% MF, 200% damage, 20 IAS, and a massive 75% resistant all, dealing damage, adding MF, and keeping your merc alive is hard to beat.

Low Level MF-ing

Most characters don't bother with MFing until they get to a relatively high level, and begin to do boss runs, or just try to crank up their finds from normal level up play. However if you have the right equipment, you can begin MFing while still young. You won't find anything but normal items early on, but it's a lot more fun, and you can find good stuff to mule or use on your other low level characters. Also some of the best low level MF gear has very good other stats as well.

For low level gear, classic D2 sets are the best options in many cases, not even counting their MF bonuses. The old normal Uniques aren't much on the stats, and most of them have big clvl requirements as well, while sets are lower, and can have some massive bonuses when you factor in the partial set bonuses.

There are some Uniques useful for early MFing. Gull, the unique dagger, is 100% MF, but the other stats on it are useless, so you'll have problems killing while equipped with it. Tarnhelm, the unique skull cap, has up to 50% MF, 75% GF, and +1 to all skills, so it's not a bad hat to wear under any circumstances. Goldwrap is the best MF belt, but it's Clvl 27 requirement. Wear it in late Normal and then Nightmare, perhaps.

So Which Sets Are Best To Wear For The Early MF-ing?

Probably the best low level MFing stuff is the Angelic Raiment set. All the items (armor, sword, amulet, ring) have a Clvl 12 requirement, and low Str/Dex requirements. None of them are that useful on their own, but the partial set bonuses are massive, and this is an awesome outfit for a Sorceress or Necromancer. The sword does very nice damage once you have the full set, and has a very fast attack rate. You can wear two of the rings at once, both of them getting 50% MF as a partial bonus if you have on at least two other items in the set. The full set with two rings will give you 140% MF, 25% resist all, 75% fire res, +75 life, +50 mana, +1 to all skills, and much more.

Sigon's Set is very useful early on, or at least some parts of it. It's got a Clvl 6 requirement, but most characters will need to pump strength for a number of levels to equip it. The key item is the boots, which give 50% MF if you have any two other items on. Wear the gloves (30% IAS with any other item) and shield, and you get huge blocking, +1 to all, and with any two of the items, a 10% life leech bonus.

Arcanna's Tricks is useful for the amulet, which gives 50% MF when worn with any other item. The staff isn't a bad option for a young Sorceress, when worn with the Amulet. They have a Clvl 15 requirement.

Arctic Furs is useful for the 40% MF belt, when worn with any other item. Go for the belt and armor if possible, at Clvl 7 requirement.

Milabrega's Regalia has a 20% MF shield, the only way to get MF on a shield other than socketing or using Rhyme, neither of which are an option early on. The other stats on this shield and set aren't of any use though.

Tancred's Battlegear has weak full bonuses, but the amulet with any other item in the set is good for a 78% Mf bonus. This is a viable option even late game, usually with the boots, since they are the least MF loss, compared to good equipment. This one is Clvl 20 req though.

Vidala's Rig has another of the seemingly endless set amulets with MF. It's worth 50% hidden item bonus with any other item in the set, and the boots are the best option. They are semi-popular in their own right, just for the enormous speed and stamina bonuses.

You can mix and match any of these sets and enjoy multiple partial bonuses. There is a lot of overlap though (seems like every D2C set has an amulet) so you'll have to plan your gear out ahead of time. If you find a really good combination of low level MFing stuff, let us know and we'll add some full outfit suggestions here.

Equipment Guide

There are a lot of nice Magic Find items, but which are the best? See the Magic Find Page for a full listing of the maximum possible MF% per item. The following sections list fewer of the best possible items, but have more discussion than you'll find on the main Magic Find Info page.

The main MF items are body armor and helm, for most characters. You'll be adding to these with various Rare boots, gloves and jewelry in most cases, with Goldwrap by far the most common MF belt. Weapons are hard to get MF from, Ist Runes are quite rare, and most characters need their weapon for maximum damage, but if you can kill with skills, or switch to an MF weapon for just the very last few hits, it can help a lot, on big bosses at least.

The higher quality MF equipment is very nice when you find it, since rather than just MF on your helm or armor, you can add as much or more more MF, along with other useful stats.

The main issue with equipment is just how badly do you want more MF%, compared to other useful bonuses. Most characters will wear Wealth or 4T (four-perfect topazes) armor, and a 3T helm (or unique socketed with a topaz) for the MF'ing, so it's up to other items, generally Rares, to cover their resistances, leech, +hps, etc. Often you'll have boots with very good resistances, and 17% MF, and another pair with crappy stats, but 24% MF. You have to decide if 7% MF is worth the risk of dying, running slower, etc.

Obviously Hardcore characters have more of a decision to make, since the penalty for being too greedy is a lot harsher.

If you are just looking for a full out +MF% set up, one that you can run/leap/teleport straight to the bosses, kill them, and repeat, then you'll want to go with the maximum possible MF, and not worry about hurting so much on resistances and other bonuses. If you are trying to get a good MF% for general play, then you'll need to compromise more and seek out much better equipment.

Weapon And Shield

While weapon(s) can potentially have enormous MF%, (a six socketed Ist weapon would give 180% MF) very few players have any MF at all on them. Ist Runes add 30% in weapons, but they are extremely hard to find, and most weapons are socketed to add damage or attack speed. There are a few weapons with MF% on them, but these are generally low damage, so must be used as supplemental, something to switch to at the last instant. The Sorceress and Necromancer can wield big MF weapons (Gull or Ali Baba) the entire time, since they mostly kill with skills. Other characters will want to switch to those for the last hit. The Oculus is the biggest exception to this, as it's the only unique Sorceress Orb, and has extremely nice over all stats, as well as 50% MF. Other Uniques with MF are listed on the full Magic Find page, and discussed per character below.

Shields also gain MF% from Ist Runes, 25% per, but again, you'll probably never have so many Ists around as to do this. Rhyme, the RuneWord shield gives 25%, isn't hard to make, and is your best bet if you want MF on a shield. Magical and Rare shields don't get MF%, there aren't any MF% Unique shields, and the only set one is Milabrega's Orb, which has 20% MF, but weak bonuses. It's 45% with an Ist if you have tem to burn, or another option is Moser's Blessed Circle, which has two sockets. You could get 50% MF with two Ists, and have a nice defensive bonuses shield as well. A Paladin can get a 4s shield pretty easily, and one with up to 45% resistance inherently. This would allow him to put in 2 or 3 perfect diamonds, covering a ton of resistance, and also 1 or 2 Ists, adding MF.

The main way to use shields for MFing is not for their MF, but for their defensive bonuses, and then switch to your MF weapon for the last hit. A more thorough rundown of shields for this purpose can be seen in my MF Barb guide.

Armor

Wealth, the RuneWord, is probably the best armor that's not all that hard to obtain. 100% MF and 300% gold are the main benefits. The other common MF armor is a simple 4 socketed armor with 4 perfect topaz in it, for 96% Magic Find. Wealth is better, 4% MF isn't going to be noticeable, but the added gold is very nice, especially if you are playing in hell, but even in Nightmare it will make you rich quickly, and gold = gambles = good Rares.

Skullder's Ire, the Unique Russet Armor, checks in at 149% maximum MF, (52.5-124%, 1.25% per Clvl, 42 minimum) +1 socket, if you put an Ist into it. Of course this is at Clvl 99. At a more realistic (for most players) Clvl 80 you get 100%, + 24% with a Topaz, for 124%. There are other nice mods as well, including +1 to all skills, so this beats 4T armor, and is comparable to Wealth, depending on how much you like the added 300 GF% on Wealth and how high your Clvl is.

Tal Rasha's Guardianship (88%) +1 socket (112% with Topaz) is the best overall Magic Find armor in the game. The total possible MF% is a bit lower than a Skullder's, but Tal's Armor has other bonuses that more than make up for that. 40% resistance to fire/cold/lightning frees up your other equipment slots quite a bit. However it is Set Lacquered plate, and is virtually impossible to find and colossally expensive to trade for.

Tal Rasha's Set merits special mention, since with any three items of Tal's set, you get a 65% MF bonus. The Belt has 10-15% MF on it, so a Tal's Armor (112%), Belt (15%), and socketed Mask (24%) + 65% bonus = 216% with two socketed topaz. Tal's Belt, Helm, and Armor have huge bonuses on them:

55% Resistance to Fire, Cold, Lightning

15% Poison Resistance

10% dual leech

Well over 1000 defense

-15 magical damage

Big bonuses to mana, hps, Dex

And 14% more MF than wealth + 3T helm + Goldwrap.

The armor/mask/belt is the best combo for any combat character, with the mask being one of the very best items in the game. The other two items in the set are an amulet with Sorc bonuses, and an Orb. Obviously only a Sorceress can equip the entire set, and it's unlikely any combat character would use the amulet for their 3rd item (to get the 65% bonus) unless they couldn't find one of the other items, since the amulet adds little in useful bonuses to a non-Sorc. The armor is by far the hardest part of the set to find, and it's also the most useful, with the biggest MF on it, so it's not really worth it to use any three other items, though a Sorc could do okay with amulet/belt/orb. A Sorc's best bet is to equip the armor, amulet, and belt, leaving their head free for a 3T helm, or a rare circlet with a topaz in it, and use an Oculus (50% MF). The full Tal's set has very nice total bonuses, so it's certainly an option, but you'll do much better on MF% with just 3 Tal's items, and 2 other rare/unique items, in most cases.

Helms

The most common MF helm is a simple 3s helm with Perfect Topaz in it. This helm can be found starting in Act 5 Normal, and it's easy to accumulate the topazes for it. The best option here is for a Druid or Barbarian to find one of their class specific helms with bonuses to good skills, and 3 sockets. A Barb helm with +3 Find Item could be quite useful. Good luck. You could also find a normal Barb or Druid helm with good skill bonuses, and run it through the socket quest, probably getting 3 sockets.

An alternative is to just socket whatever your favorite helm is, and put in a topaz. You'll have 48% less MF from the helm, but if you have some great Set or Unique or Rare headgear that's providing huge bonuses to skills, resistance, hit points, leech, etc, it's probably worth it.

Griswold's Valor can have 80% MF on it, but it's virtually unfindable. There are also three nice Unique helms, any of which would beat a 3T helm. Use the Harlequin Crest (50%), Tarnhelm (25-50%), or Stealskull (30-50%), if you can find them, and they are appropriate for your character, and any will beat a normal 3T helm. Harlequin is best for most characters, with +2 to skills, 15% resistance, and huge bonuses to life and mana. Steal skull is best for melee characters, with IAS and 5% dual leech.

Jewelry

Jewelry you'll generally want to try for Rares with MF along with other useful mods. The Unique Ring Nagelring can have up to 30% MF, while rare rings in v1.09 can have 25% at most. If you can find a big rare ring with 15% or more, it's probably better than a Nagle, since the other bonuses on a Naglering aren't of much use.

Amulets can have up to 40% on a Rare. None of the Unique Amulets have any MF, but one set amulet is worth a mention (besides Tal Rasha's, as part of any 3 item bonus, discussed above). Tancred's Amulet gets a 78% MF bonus with any other item from the set equipped. Unfortunately none of the items in this set have much in the way of decent bonuses, and this pretty much rules out the armor, helm, and weapon for MF gear. The boots aren't any good either, but if you can go with no decent bonuses from your boots, 78% for amulet and boots is a nice total, more than you can possibly get from two Rares.

Another set bonus that's of use is on the Angelic Set. When worn with at least two other items in the set, the the ring has a 50% MF partial set bonus. And this can be found on both rings, so that's 100% right there. Both rings don't count for items, you have to wear at least two of the other three items also. On top of that, the full set has a 40% MF bonus, along with other very nice stats, making this a great way for low level chars to get good MF right from the start. It's especially useful for Sorcs, with bonuses to life, mana and resistances, and no problem from the low damage weapon, since she's casting spells.

Boots And Gloves

Most characters go with Rare boots. Magical Boots can get up to 35%, Rare Boots can have up to 25% MF, but of course the Rares will have other nice stats. The Cow King's Set boots have 25% MF and other nice mods, but the biggest possible MF boots are the unique exceptional Battle Boots, War Traveler, which go 30-50% MF.

Gloves are much the same as boots. Most characters will go with Rares, which can have up to 25% in v1.09. Chance Guards are the unique chain gloves, and they are the best bet for MF%, going from 25-40%, have 200% GF as well, and aren't too hard to find. These are very nice when worn with Wealth, since you'll have good MF and 500% GF, which really fuels your gambling.

A set to consider here is Sigon's Complete Steel. The Boots get a 50% MF bonus with any two other items equipped. Nothing else in the set gets a bonus to MF, but with any two items you get 10% life leech, and the gloves get 30% IAS with any other one item. This makes for a very useful set of bonuses for combat characters, and since shields are hard to get MF on, wearing Sigon's boots, gloves, and shield would give you 50% MF, 30% IAS, 10% life leech, a 100 def bonus, and Sigon's Shield is a great item on its own, with huge blocking and +1 to all skills.

Belt

There's a clear choice here, and it's the Goldwrap. This unique heavy belt has 30% MF, 10% IAS, and 50-80% GF in D2X. Wealth, Chance Guards, and Goldwrap together make for very nice gold drops, with the average stack 2000-3500 in Hell. You can easily pick up 200k or more per trip out of town in a big hell game, and if you have another 100% on your rare gloves and/or boots, the gold can be amazing. Piles of 30k from Champions are not uncommon on Hell, if you have over 600% GF.

You can't get MF on magical or rare belts, so the only other belt worth mention is from Tal Rasha's Set. It comes with 10-15% MF, and a nice 20 Dex, but isn't a match for Goldwrap in terms of MF'ing. However Tal's belt is great as part of the set. See the discussion of that above, in the Armor section.

Various Set, Unique and Rare belts are very good for their other stats, and possibly you'll need to use one, giving up the 30% MF from Goldwrap, in order to wear better MF stuff on some other item. String of Ears is especially popular for melee characters; even though it has no MF it keeps you alive and the life leech helps, possibly freeing up another weapon slot for MF rather than defense or leech.

Charms

These are not going to be your main MF source, but they can add on nicely. Small charms go up to 7% MF, and these are very highly prized items. Smalls with 5% or more are well worth carrying, especially if you get a decent suffix on them, and if you can find 8 or 10 of these they won't take up too much of your inventory, and can add 50% or more.

The other main use of Charms on MF characters is to cover for bonuses, usually resistance, they are giving up by optimizing MF equipment. For example, pretty much any character who chooses to wear Wealth could probably have worn Lionheart instead, and is giving up 30% res all, around 100 hps, and big stat bonuses. This is generally worth it for the MF and GF, but the resistances need to be made up, and charms are a very good way to do that. Charms are also good sources of hit points, mana, and Str/Dex to meet equipment requirements.

Identify And Town Portal Tomes

Whether or not you generally carry ID scrolls or a tome on your other characters, you will want to carry some sort of ID on your MF character, or any character with a lot of magic find equipment, whether they are doing just boss runs or playing normally with MF optimized. You'll find a lot more magical/rare items, won't have room to carry many of them, and going back to town all the time to sell takes too much time. Being able to quickly check the stats on an item, and drop it and go on if it's not good (which is usually the case) is very helpful. This is especially true regarding Charms and Jewels, which you find very often, can be great items, but have very little sell value, so aren't worth bringing back to town. (+MF% does not boost the number of Charms and Jewels you find, however.)

Several people suggested carrying ID and/or TP scrolls in your belt, and this is an excellent idea. You could carry at least 3 or 4 of them, and only probably only need one TP scroll (they so often drop, you could just hope to find one, or not carry any, if you are just killing a boss and then leaving the game) and this will free up 2 or 4 Inv spaces. Thanks to Steven Wu.

Other Equipment Advice

You'll want to use your Horadric Cube for storage space. Grab stuff, give it a quick ID if you need, and if it's good dunk it into the cube. Keeping mental track of what's in the cube helps a lot, if you know that there's a rare circlet in it, then when you find a rare totem or Druid helm you know there's room to stick it into the cube and you won't be shuffling around charms to make room in your Inventory. Try to put in 2x2 or 2x4 items, with a 1x3 or 1x4 on the side, so you don't have left over space at the bottom under a 2x3 item, since you won't often find belts to save and they fit nicely in your Inv also, under the massive amount of 2x3 items you'll find.

Teleport charges are very useful. Especially if you are doing boss runs, Meph for instance, you want teleport charges on your amulet or circlet so you can pop across the blood moat on Durance 3. If you are carrying an item just for that, and plan to switch back often, try to obtain an amulet with Teleport charges. It will only require one space in your inventory, rather than 4 like a Circlet, and you can switch to it when you first arrive in Durance 3, then switch back to your normal amulet once you are across the moat to Mephisto, if necessary.

Another popular reader suggestion was a staff with teleport charges on it in your weapon switch slot. This can be very handy, quicker than switching around your circlet or amulet, and can be used by any character.

One thing to remember, a Druid in fur-form (wolf or bear) can not cast teleport from charges. You'll have to transform to human, teleport, then transform back, which is a bit of a pain if you are in a hurry. Credit to Concillian for being the first to point this out.


Happy hunting...
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