Non Seasonal | Season 27 | LoD / LoN | Barbarian | Solo | Keys | Push | S-tier
About the author
Rob has been playing Blizzard games since 2005, especially the Warcraft & Diablo series. Determination, efficiency and reliability represent this EU-Player both ingame and in real life. He has been a long term non-seasonal player from the origins of Diablo 3. His current focus has shifted to seasonal gameplay, pushing the group leaderboard ranks early in the season. While Rob has an arsenal of experience with all classes, you'll usually find him leaping into battle with his beloved Barbarian or pushing the current META to new heights!
Hammer of the Ancients 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Barbarian skills making use of the Legacy of Dreams setup as the Immortal King's Call set 4,000% damage bonus is pretty outdated these days and, with loads of new complementary item options over the years, it gets even less attractive. Hence Legacy of Dreams is the setup of choice as it wins both in terms of damage output and toughness.
This is an Area Damage (AD) build, since Hammer of the Ancients can proc it. This is further enhanced by the benefits from Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash pixelpulling and the innate HotA 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 ❌ Cooldown Dependency ❌ Band of Might Dependency ❌ Need Ancient Items for LoD
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.
Cindercoat is the reason we play Fire Element to further gain 20% damage and most importantly 30% Resource Cost Reduction to Fire Skills for Smash.
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. In-Geom replaces it in Speed Runs.
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.
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac is essential as you have very high Attack Speed and want to ensure permanent uptime of Wrath of the Berserker. Leoric's Crown helps us with massive Cooldown Reduction.
Band of Might is used for its tremendous 80% damage reduction procced by either Ground Stomp or Furious Charge.
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.
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 Area 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.
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:
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 just the guaranteed Attack Speed rolls on Echoing Fury and The Witching Hour we comfortably land on the 13 frames Breakpoint for both Weapons (for in-depth mechanics check here). Going for the next Breakpoint is not worth the investment, so you shouldn’t have Attack Speed anywhere else.
Even though we do have Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac with high Attack Speed we still want to get around 40-50% Cooldown Reduction to ensure 100% Wrath of the Berserker as well as Call of the Ancients Together as One uptime. This is essential to maintain our 250% damage increase from Remorseless. We further reduce the cooldown of both skills by using Boon of Bul-kathos.
Assembling the Build
1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cubeLegendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!
2. This is a Legacy of Dreams build whose success is heavily dependent on this gem's rank. The first order of business is to equip a Legendary or Set item in every slot to take advantage of its power. Make sure to not have any Set Bonuses equipped or the gem will be nullified and you will deal no damage! Farm speed Greater Rifts (in under 5 minute clears) to find the items and get this gem as high as possible. Above Rank 25 ancient pieces of gear will give you even greater power.
Two-Handed Mighty Weapons to get The Gavel of Judgment
Mighty Weapons to get Remorseless
Create a level 1 Witch Doctor and upgrade Maces to get Echoing Fury
Create a level 1 Demon Hunter and upgrade Swords to get In-geom
Rings to get Convention of Elements and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
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 2: Illusory Boots and Gloves of Worship
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, Squirt's Necklace. 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! Finally you can spice up your season by doing some Ubers to craft Hellfire Amulet (recipe can be bought from Squirt the Peddler in Act 2).
1. Socket 2. Critical Hit Damage 3. Area Damage 4. Damage Range 5. Critical Hit Chance
Bracers of the First Men Mortick's Brace Nemesis Bracers
1. Fire Damage 2. Critical Hit Chance 3. Strength 4. All Resistance 5. Vitality
Squirt's Necklace The Flavor of Time
1. Socket 2. Fire Damage 3. Critical Hit Chance 4. Critical Hit Damage 5. Strength
The Witching Hour
1. Critical Hit Damage 2. Attack Speed 3. Strength 4. All Resistance 5. Vitality
Bottomless Potion of Kulle-Aid
For breaking walls to pull enemies and increase DPS
Legacy of Dreams is the Legacy of NightmaresSet in a gem, which frees up two ring slots at the cost of removing a legendary gem. Due to the rings available to us this is a great trade-off to take.
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.
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.
Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard can be used to gain a shield buff in combination with Squirt's Necklace for double damage, toughness and insane healing. This last choice is very popular in group play or solo speed runs on medium Greater Rift levels!
For Nephalem Rifts, Boon of the Hoarder is always a default include specifically due to its amazing synergy with Avarice Band.
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 162/5 = 32 % more Critical Chance, adding up to almost 100% Critical Hit Chance with proper gear. We choose the Fire rune so we can use Magefist and Cindercoat for their Fire damage buffs and 30% Resource Cost Reduction.
We need Call of the Ancients to proc the legendary effect of Remorseless, Together as One rune provides permanent 50% damage mitigation
Next we need a skill to proc Band of Might. Here we can choose between Furious Charge for a speed version or Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash to group up monsters tightly for massive Area Damage value in high Greater Rifts.
Wrath of the Berserker is the second skill necessary to activate Remorseless and it also provides massive stat boosts and Crowd Control immunity.
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.
The last skill slot is optional: Most builds use War Cry for toughness or Threatening Shout Falter for a damage debuff on monsters. During high Greater Rift pushes use Whirlwind Dust Devils to gather monsters efficiently and stack Bane of the Stricken on the Rift Guardian.
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).
Boon of Bul-kathos for Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients Together as One up time. It is needed even with an equipped Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and high Attack Speed as you need to reset both skills.
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.
1. Movement Speed
1. Critical Hit Damage
1. All Resistance
1. Area Damage
2. Maximum Fury1
2. Critical Hit Chance
2. Life %
2. Pickup Radius
3. Cooldown Reduction
3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Attack Speed
4. Life Regeneration
4. 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).
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:
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.
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.
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.
Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.
GR Pushing Enchantress
For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death. Ideally, you want a Cold Damage Range on her Weapon as it procs your Lost Time effect.
Stat Priorities:Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.
Intelligence Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.
The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.
For Greater Rift Pushing we recommend this Enchantress setup for the Slow from Temporal Pulse, Cooldown Reduction from Prophetic Harmony, Damage Reduction and Armor from Powered Shield, and the Attack Speed from Focused Mind. Stat Priorities:Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Enchantress. Intelligence> 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.
Mempo of Twilight and Cain's Destiny: For more Attack Speed.
Always start by casting your War Cry, Call of the Ancients Together as One for Toughness and Fury as well as your Battle Rage Bloodshed for Critical Hit Chance and the additional damage wave. For solo gameplay you group up the monsters with your Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash and also proc your Band of Might in the process.
Cast Wrath of the Berserker before you start attacking 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 Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac to keep up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients.
This build is very good for Hardcore as it is super tanky with all the damage reducing buffs up. You have Legacy of Dreams, 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. You can also add Stone Gauntlets for an insane Armor boost or Aquila Cuirass for 50% damage reduction and you will be almost invincible!
Concept The HotA barb is not the best Barb key farmer. That title belongs to the Whirlwind Rend Barb. However this can be a decent alternative if you want to change things up a little bit with a permanent Furious Charge, once In-geom is active, combined more area of effect damage with Hammer of the Ancients Rolling Thunder and the shockwave AoE of Sanctified Hammer of the Ancients. With the follower emanation system it is actually best to play Stone of Jordan here and go full Fire with Magefist while still doing Physical damage.
Gameplay Keep your buffs on cooldown and utilize In-geom by charging from pack to pack and kill the enemies while force attacking on them with HotA.
Setups For group Torment farming we take Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Gloves of Worship, The Flavor of Time back into the setup and play Physical damage on gear. In the Planner on the right we take a full movement speed approach. Feel free to drop these 2 movement speed skills for anything you want like War Cry for Toughness and fury or Battle Rage Bloodshed for Critical Hit Chance and the additional damage buff. At medium Paragon levels (2000+) you can even drop Bane of the Trapped to take in Wreath of Lightning for additional Movement Speed.
GR Solo Push
Concept & Gameplay Keep your main focus on small high progression trash monsters like Vile Swarms, Zombie Grotesque, Summoners 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 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 Bracers for extra Area 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 If you feel like you lack toughness, you can switch Furious Charge to Leap Iron Impact to get an Armor boost or Cindercoat to Aquila Cuirass with Weapons Master to keep it up at full Fury instead of Berserker Rage. If you want to fish for a Rift Guardian with minions Brawler is an option aswell. You can also change Fury of the Ancients to Mantle of Channeling and take in Weapons Master to generate Fury. This will give you extra toughness in transit and a 25% multiplicative damage boost for 1.5 seconds after using Whirlwind.
Concept We take in Zei's Stone of Vengeance instead of Bane of the Stricken for additional damage. Especially with the Sanctified Hammer of the Ancients Shockwave Zei's Stone of Vengeance does a lot for us here! Brawler should also almost always be active.
Gameplay Cast your Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients every 20s. Burst all the time & try to kill Elites on your Fire Convention of Elements with Hammer of the Ancients Smash after you grouped up the monsters to deal massive Area Damage. Don’t forget to use Furious Charge once in a while to refresh Band of Might buff & Whirlwind around to proc Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
Setups Here you can also take Aquila Cuirass for another Toughness boost. Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard can also be swapped in instead of Zei's Stone of Vengeance for a nice shield to keep up Squirt's Necklace.
GR Group Trash Killer
Concept We take in Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard to keep up Squirt's Necklace for massive damage and go back to Stone Gauntlets.
Gameplay Cast your Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients every 20s. Burst on your Fire Convention of Elements with Hammer of the Ancients Smash after your supports group up the monster to deal massive Area Damage. Communicate your rotation with your group or they can use this link to help keep track of Convention of Elements cycles. Don’t forget to use Furious Charge once in a while to refresh Band of Might buff. Use Whirlwind to keep up your Wrath of the Berserker by procing Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. You might have to occasionally leave the pull after you have done your rotation to refresh Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard & get Squirt's Necklace back up.
Setups Here you can also take Aquila Cuirass for another Toughness boost. At very high Paragon you can also take in Stone of Jordan instead of Band of Might or Pain Enhancer if the servers can handle the additional DoT lag.
Swap Bane of the Stricken for Gogok of Swiftness since we are fighting hordes of enemies.
Switch Ground Stomp to Furious Charge for better mobility.
Swap Whirlwind to Threatening Shout Falter to increase DPS.
Reroll Area Damage to Average Damage as we do not need to make huge pulls.
Click Speed Pylon instantly to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
Around Wave 90, click Channeling Pylon and Power Pylon.
After Wave 100, use Conduit Pylon.
At Wave 122, stop attacking and run to the corner to let the timer run out.
Always start off by casting your Battle Rage Bloodshed. Drag enemies together while moving and resetting your skills with Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. 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.
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 162 Fury (or even 174 if using a Mighty Belt with Maximum Fury).
We get 1% Critical Hit Chance per 5 Fury we currently have, so at full Fury we get 162 / 5 = 32% more Critical Chance. In conjunction with Battle Rage Bloodshed and Wrath of the Berserker, we gain a total of 32 + 3 + 10 = 45% bonus Critical Hit Chance.
With the 5% players get by default and another 5% we get from the Paragon System, this build reaches 55% 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.
Sanctified Hammer of the Ancients
Hammer of the Ancients now casts 4 HoTA all around your character.
Every 10 Hammer of the Ancients casts, a Shockwave which is a 360° Seismic Slam effect spawns.
Does 10 times the damage of your Hammer of the Ancients.
Procs Area Damage.
Deals Physical Damage, meaning it benefits from Physical Convention of Elements.
Has the same Proc Coefficient than Hammer of the Ancients.
Crit for the cast, either on all targets or none.
Whirlwind pulls and holds all enemies within 25 yards.