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Immortal King HotA Barbarian Guide

Introduction

IK HotA Solo Push

Hammer of the Ancients (HotA) is a pretty iconic Barbarian skill. Originally used at the start of Season 4 as main damage dealer before being replaced by the infamous Static Monk, it has been then used in Season 5 by the zBarb due to its old Birthright rune iteration:

Critical Hits have a 10% chance to cause enemies to drop a Health Globe.

This effect in conjunction with Solanium and the special Critical Hit Chance buff from HotA allowed the zBarb to produce countless Health Globes in order to generate Resource for the damage dealer.

Nowadays, Hammer of the Ancients is one of the few Barbarian skills making use of the Immortal King's Call set. It provides a 4,000% damage bonus and has loads of new complementary item options. Keeping up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients permanently is essential to this build.

This is an Area Damage (AD) build, since Hammer of the Ancients can proc it. This is further enhanced by HotA's high Critical Hit Chance (see Mechanics) in combination with the crazy Attack Speed granted by Bracers of the First Men, allowing for great burst damage. Let's get into the current variation of this build and its rotation based playstyle!

Very Tanky ✔
Fast Attack Speed ✔
Easy Resource Management ✔
Very High Critical Hit Chance ✔

Static Playstyle
Lack of overall Damage
❌ Band of Might Dependency
❌ Low Area of Effect Damage


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • Immortal King's Call (6) Bonus for the damage buff and cooldown reducing mechanics.
  • The Gavel of Judgment for its huge separate damage multiplier and its Fury generation effect. Cubing it allows us to use two 1-Handed Weapons for more Attack Speed and Critical Hit Damage.
  • Bracers of the First Men and Remorseless are the other core items granting us HotA damage and Attack Speed multipliers for crazy damage output.
  • Fury of the Ancients allowing us to have both great Fury generation from Ancients' Fury and 50% damage reduction from Together as One.
  • Echoing Fury provides us with a ludicrous 75% Attack Speed bonus even if its default Chance to Fear on Hit is very annoying with our high Attack Speed.
  • Mortick's Brace grants us all runes of Wrath of the Berserker. We use Insanity by default for its 50% separate damage multiplier but we gain Thrive on Chaos' Life per Fury Spent (we do spend a lot with HotA) and 50% damage reduction from Striding Giant.
  • Convention of Elements is another separate damage multiplier, giving you triple damage during your Fire cycle.


Season 27 Sanctified Items

Angelic Crucibles are new consumables that drop anywhere once you're Level 70. Using them on items reforges them into Sanctified Items with Primal Ancient stats, and adds one of three new unique Class Powers listed below. For full details on how they work, check out this Seasonal Guide by Chewingnom!

Let's look at our Class Powers and see how they apply to our build.

  1. For the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian you have 2 very strong options:
    • Sanctified Hammer of the Ancients is the main power of choice here. We are a Hammer of the Ancients Barb after all, so this power is recommended in almost all variants. It is the best for T16, Bounties, Group farming as well as Echoing Nightmares as it releases a power Shockwave every 10 hits that does 10x the damage of a normal Hammer of the Ancients in a huge area of effect. On top of that, it can proc Arena Damage and Bloodshed dealing devastating damage to bigger groups of enemies.
    • Sanctified Whirlwind allows us to pixelpull everything ignoring the monster's crowd control immunity while dragging them all along. This is the main power to go for if you want to push the solo Leaderboards as you can essentially group up the entire Rift in an open map.
  2. The Sanctified Wrath of the Berserker power is also useful but not as good as the other two above.

Since you can only equip one of them, choosing the right item to craft it on matters! Great candidates are Weapons, Offhands, Jewelry or any item with an important multiplier. The Whirlwind Barb doesn't really these kink of items in all setups, we recommend Sanctifying one of the following items:

  • Remorseless
  • Bracers of the First Men
  • Band of Might

Global Stat Priorities

This build gets a lot of Attack Speed for free from Echoing Fury and Wrath of the Berserker. With Pain Enhancer boosting our Attack Speed even further we land on crazy Breakpoints for both Weapons as long as we have plenty of enemies around us (for in-depth mechanics check here).

We do not need any Cooldown Reduction (not even from a Flawless Royal Diamond in the helm) as we get crazy resets from Immortal King's Call (4) Bonus when we use Hammer of the Ancients and spend Fury.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the 6 pieces of Immortal King's Call. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. Gather the full Immortal King's Call set
  2. Create a level 1 Barbarian and gamble for Band of Might
  3. Nemesis Bracers, Mortick's Brace and Bracers of the First Men
  4. Fury of the Ancients
  5. Convention of Elements and The Compass Rose

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Two-Handed Mighty Weapons to get The Gavel of Judgment
  2. Mighty Weapons to get Remorseless
  3. Create a level 1 Witch Doctor and upgrade Maces to get Echoing Fury
  4. Rings to get Convention of Elements and [The Compass Rose
  5. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny (for your follower)

6. There is one final required piece to piece to acquire, The Traveler's Pledge. With amulets being so expensive to gamble and craft, we'll have to search for it to drop in Nephalem and Greater Rifts. It can drop on any class so try to group up with friends when possible to share your loot!

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandRemorseless
The Gavel of Judgment (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Area Damage
4. Damage %
5. Maximum Fury (Secondary)
6. Strength
Ideally, you want Maximum Fury as Secondary to scale Hammer of the Ancients Critical Hit Chance.
Off-HandEchoing Fury
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Damage %
5. Area Damage
6. Strength
HelmImmortal King's Triumph1. Socket Flawless Royal Amethyst
2. Hammer of the Ancients Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Strength
5. All Resistance
6. Vitality
GlovesImmortal King's Irons1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Strength
ShouldersFury of the Ancients1. Strength
2. Area Damage
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
5. Life %
Chest Immortal King's Eternal Reign1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Strength
3. All Resistance
4. Elite Damage Reduction
5. Vitality
PantsImmortal King's Stature1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Strength
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
BootsImmortal King's Stride1. Hammer of the Ancients Damage
2. Strength
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
5. Armor
Ring 1Convention of Elements
Band of Might
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Damage Range
5. Critical Hit Chance
Ring 2The Compass Rose1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Damage Range
5. Critical Hit Chance
BracersBracers of the First Men
Mortick's Brace
1. Fire Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Strength
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
AmuletThe Traveler's Pledge1. Socket
2. Fire Damage
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Strength
BeltImmortal King's Tribal Binding1. Strength
2. All Resistance
3. Vitality
4. Maximum Fury (Secondary)
5. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of Kulle-AidFor breaking walls to pull
enemies and increase DPS

Gems

  • Bane of the Trapped is the most common damage gem, and as we are a melee character, the rank 25 effect will slow all enemies within 15 yards providing us a flat 1.6 damage multiplier.
  • Pain Enhancer can be used to buff our Attack Speed tremendously with hordes of enemies in close range combat.
  • In Solo Bane of the Stricken helps us kill the Rift Guardian. As long as you don't need more than 2 minutes to kill it you can equip another gem instead.
  • In Group we take Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard to gain a shield in combination with Squirt's Necklace for double dps, toughness and insane healing.

Skills

  • We take Hammer of the Ancients Smash as our main damage dealer. This skill has 1% increased Critical Hit Chance for every 5 Fury we have. As we are mostly at maximum Fury with Fury of the Ancients and The Gavel of Judgment we get around 130% more Critical Chance, adding up to almost 100% Critical Hit Chance with proper gear.
  • We need both Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker to proc the legendary effect of Remorseless and our Immortal King's Call (6) Bonus. Together as One rune provides permanent 50% damage mitigation while Wrath of the Berserker provides a massive stat boosts and Crowd Control immunity.
  • Next we need a skill to proc Band of Might. Here we can choose Furious Charge with the Merciless Assault rune to move around quickly.
  • Battle Rage Bloodshed is a powerful damage choice as we are melee class and basically always critically hit with our Hammer of the Ancients Smash.
  • Lastly we use Ancient Spear Rage Flip to gather enemies and drag them alone for massive Area Damage and a Conduit Pylon to finish them all off together.

Passives

  • Rampage is the strongest Barbarian passive there is with its 25% buff to total Strength. It provides a massive boost to both offense and defense (Armor).
  • Berserker Rage as we are almost always at maximum Fury with Ancients' Fury and The Gavel of Judgment.
  • Other damage options include Brawler, Ruthless or Nerves of Steel as a defensive touch.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Critical Hit Damage1. All Resistance1. Area Damage
2. Maximum Fury12. Critical Hit Chance2. Life %2. Pickup Radius
3. Strength3. Attack Speed3. Armor3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Vitality24. Cooldown Reductio4. Life Regeneration4. Life per Hit

1 Take Maximum Fury as it scales Hammer of the Ancients Critical Hit Chance.
2 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 750,000 Life is recommended).

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their main stat (maxed at 25.000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10.000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Guardian's Jeopardy (3) Bonus works for followers by improving their inherent stat multiplier from x2.5 to x3.5, making it slightly easier to hit the 25,000 main stat threshold if needed.
  4. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  5. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  6. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  7. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

With these in mind, let’s get into our recommendations for this build.

GR Pushing Templar

GR Pushing Templar

For Greater Rift pushing we recommend this Templar setup for the sustain from Heal, 10% increased damage from Onslaught, and the very powerful cheat death mechanic from Guardian. This is the only follower build that stacks Cooldown Reduction because it works with Heal. Since we take the immortality relic, we do not need any survivability stats.
Stat Priorities:Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Templar.
Strength > Cooldown Reduction > Attack Speed.
Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Leoric's Crown and Captain Crimson's Trimmings: For more Cooldown Reduction on Heal.

Gameplay

Always start by casting your Wrath of the Berserker, Call of the Ancients Together as One as well as your Battle Rage Bloodshed. For solo gameplay you group up the monsters with your Ancient Spear Rage Flip while you move around with Furious Charge Merciless Assault and also proc your Band of Might in the process.

Keep Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients Together as One up at all times. Gather the enemies and stop moving around to get the offensive buff from the Endless Walk set. Then attack with your main damage attack Hammer of the Ancients, ideally timed with your Fire Convention of Elements rotation for maximum damage output. Make sure to keep attacking to get plenty cooldown resets from Immortal King's Call (4) Bonus to keep up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients.

Hardcore

This build is very good for Hardcore as it is super tanky with all the damage reducing buffs up. You have Band of Might, Call of the Ancients Together as One and Wrath of the Berserker Striding Giant from your Mortick's Brace for some insane damage reduction.
Just to be extra safe add the Nerves of Steel passive for a cheat death.

Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Variants

GR Solo Push
Solo Greater Rift

Concept & Gameplay
Keep your main focus on small high progression trash monsters like Vile Swarms or Dark Hellions while you damage Elites in the process. Play an open map ideally where you can finish off the already damaged Elite Packs with a 60 second Conduit Pylon enhanced by your Followers The Flavor of Time.
Always start off by casting your Battle Rage Bloodshed. Use Whirlwind Dust Devils to drag enemies along and create dense pulls with Sanctified Whirlwind while moving and resetting your skills with Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. Use Furious Charge to keep up Band of might & to explore the Rift. Cast Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients Together as One when you have a bunch of enemies grouped up. Burst them down on your Fire Convention of Elements rotation for massive damage and Area Damage. Try to save a Pylon for the Boss and use Nemesis Bracer for extra Arena Damage and Bloodshed after stacking Bane of the Stricken with Whirlwind Dust Devils for a few minutes efficiently and proceed to hammer it down!

Setups
There are not many alternatives here. If you struggle to survive you can take in Relentless or Nerves of Steel instead of Brawler.

Echoing Nightmare
Echoing Nightmare Setup

Concept
For more information, check out our full Echoing Nightmare Guide and take a look at our Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and our META post for the best strategies! This build is decent for this game mode. Typically we utilize a Greater Rift pushing build with a few tweaks.

Changes

  • Swap Bane of the Stricken for Gogok of Swiftness since we are fighting hordes of enemies.
  • Swap Ancient Spear for Threatening Shout Falter to increase DPS.
  • Reroll Area Damage to Average Damage as we do not need to make huge pulls.


Gameplay

  1. Reach Wave 100 and click Speed Pylon to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
  2. When you are more than 40% overwhelmed click Power Pylon.
  3. When you are more than 60% overwhelmed click Channeling Pylon and Conduit Pylon.
  4. After all Pylons expire, run away from monsters and dodge everything to squeeze out an extra 3-5 tiers.

Always start off by casting your Battle Rage Bloodshed. Keep Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients Together as One up at all times. Gather the enemies and stop moving around to get the offensive buff from the Endless Walk set. Then attack with your main damage attack Hammer of the Ancients, ideally timed with your Fire Convention of Elements rotation for maximum damage output. Make sure to keep attacking to get plenty cooldown resets from Immortal King's Call (4) Bonus to keep up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients.


Mechanics

Hammer of the Ancients & Critical Hit Chance

  • This build starts the damage rotation at Maximum Fury, which is generated by Furious Charge.
  • During single target fights like on the Rift Guardian we stay at Maximum Fury all the time with The Gavel of Judgment and get up to 174 Fury .
  • We get 1% Critical Hit Chance per 5 Fury we currently have, so at full Fury we get 174/ 5 = 35% more Critical Chance. In conjunction with Battle Rage Bloodshed and Wrath of the Berserker, we gain a total of 35 + 3 + 10 = 48% bonus Critical Hit Chance.
  • With the 5% players get by default and another 5% we get from the Paragon System, this build reaches 58% Critical Hit Chance without any items. This allows us to drop some Critical Hit Chance on Rings to gain other stats like Cooldown Reduction or Damage Range.

Battle Rage Bloodshed

  • A great offensive skill that has been reworked a lot in the past due to multiple bugs like double dipping some damage multipliers such as Elite damage and Physical Elemental damage.
  • Releases a 20 yard wave around your character every second.
  • Does not proc Area Damage and diminishes its effectiveness.
  • The damage is calculated from a sum of the critical hits performed during the last second.
  • The damage wave itself is not further amplified by any damage bonus, including Physical Elemental damage, as its damage calculation is based off of your hits, which are already buffed.

Summary

  • Always keep up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients
  • Furious Charge every 8 seconds for Band of Might.
  • High Damage potential in a very small area of effect with Hammer of the Ancients.
  • Very fast Attack Speed and cooldown resets with Immortal King's Call (4) Bonus
  • One of the most iconic Barbarian builds right next to the Whirlwind Rend Barb.
  • You almost always see high yellow Critical Hit Numbers.

This build has been one of the best in the past and even made it into the group META years ago. It is a really cool and fun build to play and Barbs can only hope for some love to this classic build in the future Patches!


Credits

Written by Rob. Introduction by Chewingnom.
Reviewed by Northwar & Raxxanterax.


Changelog

Aug 14th 2022
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4.

Apr 6th 2022
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3.