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In Diablo 2, when you reach Nightmare and Hell you will notice that many things are immune to one or more elements, and sometimes physical damage.

I often run into situations where there may be anywhere between 1 (a unique) or an entire room filled with monsters that are completely immune to anything I can do. That is, they might be physical and lightning immune when I'm playing a Paladin with maxed out Holy Shock + Zeal. I can switch to Holy Fire or Holy Freeze however these deal less damage than the speed at which the enemy regenerates.

Is there a solution other than completely avoiding these enemies that I haven't thought of? Sometimes it gets really difficult because a really common enemy for an area might be immune to everything you can do (making them almost impossible to avoid).

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As you are a paladin, have you thought about using conviction? It's pretty effective in reducing resistances and breaking immunities. –  Oak Dec 8 '11 at 23:58
    
@Oak This is true, but unless I can nail a Runeword that will provide Conviction, I won't be able to use this in combination with Holy Shock (which is at least 95% of my damage). –  Marty Dec 8 '11 at 23:59
    
@Marty, there IS one, its called Infinity One of the best runewords there is –  z - Dec 9 '11 at 0:52
    
@yx. Indeed, but it would likely take longer to get this Runeword than it would being all strategic and avoiding enemies in half the game :P –  Marty Dec 9 '11 at 0:55
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@MartyWallace Simple enough: RUNNNN!!! ;D –  ver Dec 9 '11 at 5:06
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5 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Monsters are considered "immune" when their resistance to an element becomes 100 or greater. The lowest that a monster's resistance to any element can be lowered is to a combined total of -100. (For PvP, this also is true against enemy players/minions).

Take note that a unique/boss mobs that spawns with "[Element Name] Enchanted" will have an extra 75 [Element Name] resistance (to that one element), and a "Magic Resistant" Unique/boss mob will gain 40 elemental resistance (fire, cold, and lightning).

There are 4 ways to break immunities.

Only Amplify Damage and Decrepify (both Necromancer Curses) can remove physical resistances, if the monsters resistances will allow it (see below).

Sanctuary (Paladin aura) ignores the positive physical resistance or immunity of Undead mobs in a certain radius around the Paladin.

Vengeance/Berserk can help by adding/converting magic/physical damage to physical/magic damage, respectively.

Only Conviction (Paladin Aura/Infinity Runeword) and Lower Resist (Necromancer Curse) can break elemental immunities, although Conviction does not affect poison resistances.

Any element immune monster with elemental resistances >=144 cannot have their immunity (to that element) broken.

Any physical immune monster with physical resistances >=120 cannot have their immunity be broken.

When breaking an immunity the amount the resists are reduced to suffer a penalty of 20% (or 1/5) effectiveness, so -100 physical resistances from Amplify Damage (-50 for Decrepify) becomes -20 (-10 in the case of Decrepify) when breaking immunities, so anything with >=120 resistance cannot be broken.

Conviction and Lower Resist (at level 30, they offer -150 and -70 resistance, respectively) stack to a maximum of -44 resistance against immune mobs.

Items effects that reduce resistances cannot break immunities, this includes Rainbow Facets, Griffon's Eye, and similar items. These items will only work to their full effect after the immunity/ies is/are broken, by the aforementioned skills.

For regular mobs, lightning immunity is the easiest to break, as it's usually 100 to 110 resistance. These immunities can usually be pierced by the Conviction Aura from the Infinity Runeword.

Fire immunity is a bit harder, as the mobs usually have 110 to 130 resistance. The Conviction Aura from Infinity Runeword usually cannot break these immunities, but a Paladin/Necromancer with higher Conviction/Lower Resist can break these.

Cold immunity is hardest to break, as mobs usually have 150+. It usually unbreakable with the reduced effectiveness penalty of resistance lowering skills.

For additional info on monster resistance and immunity mechanics, go here and here.

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Generally companions are very useful for filling gaps in your immunity busting. Try the Act 2 minion and gear him up in ethereal unique weapons and armor. A properly geared Act 2 minion can take on extremely tough bosses that you personally can't touch.

For example, a pure fire sorceress can put out a lot of damage by focusing in just the fire tree, but that leaves her obviously open to problems with fire immune mobs such as The Countess. However, a geared up minion can three stab the Countess in no time at all.

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I used to play a Sorceress who used to run into the same issues with Ice & Fire immune monsters. My answer? Run away or past them, depending on their location. It wasn't worth the time it'd take to kill them. Unlike to you, my alternatives could kill them but it'd be a long fight.

If memory serves the only time this was ever a real issue was on the Ancients as they would sometimes spawn with immunities to all my damage types. However if you then reset them, they would spawn with different immunities and all would be well.

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It made me sad when I got to hell with a Sorceress with maxed out Frozen Orb/Ice Bolt/Cold Mastery and suddenly couldn't kill the screen in <10 seconds let alone at all :( –  Marty Dec 9 '11 at 0:37
    
@Marty a bliz sorc is much better for PVE than a FO sorc. Most mfers I know are bliz sorc, or light sorc (if they can afford infinity). A bliz sorc can use an insight merc to provide phyiscal damage for those cold immunes. –  z - Dec 9 '11 at 0:53
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Zeal-Shock is my Favorited paladin build also you can slay bosses with really ease, but this build has its own Hard-times on encountering Monsters Immune to lightning. first of all you need to answer these :

  • why do you make this character/build?
  • is it a Magic Finder / Base character / Beginning Character of yours in a new realm(if you are in Battle net) or you play a zeal-Shocker for other reason?
  • do you have Decent gears that help you through this build? do you have enough skill points to make a powerful build?
  • Does death concern your character? do you play Hardcore? if yes you know you cant die or you lose it forever.

remember you always can use reset talent that cover the weakness of one build.for example if you really cant help it and have to kill anything you see forget about zeal shock, try Vengeance-Conviction together, it is, one of the most killer strategy exist in PVP and PVE. the chance you find a creature immune to all elements or immune to magic damage exist but you have conviction that will remove it.

the truth is zeal-shock will help you grow up till 60-70 but cant bring you more than that, hell is the place that need more power. if you encounter immune on your Boss farms, just pass them and go to boss and if you are surrounded by them "save and Exit" is your salvation.

by the way your question has many points to be enlightened by yourself :) try to focus on one exact fact.

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I put a point into both the conviction and vengeance skills and I can kill everything.

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