Originally Posted by ddubois
Why ethereal cryptic axe?.
It's going on a merc and merc's don't use durability when attacking. So eth items never wear down from use on a merc.(notice how you've never had to repair any equipment on your merc?). Anyway, eth items do a heck of a lot more dmg than non-eth items, especially ones that get a perf roll of ED% and are superior(meaning they can have an extra 15% enhanced damage on their base dmg).
For instance, my best suggestion for merc equipment for those that can afford it is: Ral'd Eth Andy Helm + Eth 'Stone' Runeword Armor(kraken shell is good for a hell of alot of def, bugged armors are even better but obviously cost more) and any eth Cryptic Axe or Colossus Voulge(CV's are easily equipped with Andy helm and Stone as both will give plenty of +str for the weapon) and your choice of runeword in it(or you can get an eth unique elite polearm that would do well too).
With this type of setup the Merc has extremely high defense and damage. This is when they become very good helpers.(their defense can get ridiculously high if you use a defiance merc or are a barb)