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Support zBarb Guide

Last Updated: June 1st 2024

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Introduction

Raekor zBarb Greater Rift Push
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The support Barbarian (usually called the zBarb because they do "zero" damage) is one of the strongest supports in the game since Season 4 and the addition of Crowd Control Resistance. Its undisputed position has been reaffirmed during Season 16 with the addition of Ground Stomp into the build to pixelpull. Scouting for the group and gathering monsters is their strong suit but they also can provide powerful offensive buffs and pretty much any utility your team might need!

Between the Crowd Control Immunity from Ignore Pain Mob Rule and the Movement Speed from Chilanik's Chain, without forgetting the toughness granted by Ignore Pain and Warcry as well as the damage buffs from Threatening Shout Falter and Strongarm Bracers, zBarb offers a wide variety of utility bonuses to the group. The recent addition of the Horde of the Ninety Savages Set in Season 20 even pushed it one step further with the (2) Bonus granting double effectiveness to Shouts skills.

In Season 27, zBarb had an incredible Sanctified Power to play with. Sanctified Whirlwind allowed the zBarb to pull and drag everything wandering on its path similarly to the Season 1 Raekor Dreadnought Charge!

Not convinced yet? Hold on because the domain where zBarb really shines is its unparalleled capacity to pull and gather monsters through Ancient Spear Rage Flip and then pixelpull them tightly together using Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash, the whole being complemented by an incredible mobility and ability to control monsters at will granted by Furious Charge and The Legacy of Raekor Set. As a result, this build is one of the most engaging but also one of the hardest, if not the hardest build, to master in the entire game (see Mechanics). So let's get into it!

Very Tanky ✔
Active Playstyle ✔
META Setup in All Groups ✔
Best Support Build in the Game ✔

❌ Hard to Master
❌ Heavy Cooldown Dependency
❌ Good Communication Needed
❌ Loads of Tasks to Take Care of

Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus to move around at a fast pace and control your surroundings with Furious Charge.
  • Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus for the double effectiveness to War Cry and Threatening Shout Falter.
  • Illusory Boots to move unhindered through walls as well as monsters without using Furious Charge and jump into the best spots for Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash pixelpulls. This is not needed anymore due to the Altar of Rites!
  • Pride of Cassius to get a permanent uptime for your most important buff Ignore Pain Mob Rule.
  • Chilanik's Chain to get a huge 40% Movement Speed boost for everyone in the group.
  • Strongarm Bracers for an always welcome 30% additive damage buff.
  • Oculus Ring provides a 85% separate damage multiplier to our teammates who stand in the ring.
  • Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac helps us reduce the Ignore Pain Cooldown.
  • The Flavor of Time for the double Conduit Pylon duration.
  • Band of Might grants you a tremendous 80% damage reduction, and will replace Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac or eventually Oculus Ring until you can afford to survive without.
  • Recommended Potion: Bottomless Potion of Kulle-Aid to further assist your party by destroying walls.

Season 31 Forbidden Archives

For the duration of Season 31, the slots in Kanai’s Cube that allow you to equip three additional Legendary Powers will not be restricted to their usual categories. While normally a player can equip one power each from the Weapon, Armor, and Jewelry categories, Season 31 players can mix and match between all three! This might allow you to run two Weapon powers with one Armor power. Or perhaps you might choose to run three Amulet powers instead.

Unfortunately, this build cannot really make a good use of this Season Theme because there are not much interesting options left for supporting, especially on zBarb. You can eventually get rid of Dovu Energy Trap for Echoing Fury for even more Attack Speed and Movement Speed.

Global Stat Priorities

Since we are a support class, we don't need any offensive stats like Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Area Damage, or Elemental Damage. Instead we will gather as much Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed and Resource Cost Reduction as possible. Aim to get permanent Ignore Pain Mob Rule for you and your teammates, which requires a minimum of 63.50% Cooldown Reduction. You can play with a bit less Cooldown Reduction due to Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Messerschmidt's Reaver.

Attack Speed is great to scale Furious Charge ending animation and Rage Flip animation but these skills have narrow Attack Speed Breakpoints, hence every Attack Speed roll will get you to the next Breakpoint, reducing animations of Furious Charge and Rage Flip which leads to a smoother gameplay. See Mechanics section below for more information!

Inspiring Presence + Pound of Flesh
Life Regeneration

Another priority as zBarb for a smooth gameplay is to scale toughness and self-sustain as you are more often than not far away from the group to gather and pull monsters as well as scout ahead and manage Pylon spawns. In order to do so, capitalizing mainly on Relentless but also Inspiring Presence and Pound of Flesh is by a long shot the best way.

These passives gives Vitality more weight than usual. Inspiring Presence and Pound of Flesh gives you Life Regeneration based on your HP pool and you want to have a big enough HP pool to stay alive while being under 35% HP to get all the benefits from Relentless when the environment is hostile. All Resistance and Intelligence are also a top priority as Barbarians lack these stats, as a Strength class, which is why you want to get some pieces of gear with Intelligence as main stat, and augment them with Intelligence as well.

In regard to Pickup Radius, while you want as much as possible for Speed Runs (all the way up to 27 yards), this is a different story for Greater Rift push, where you should aim for around 10-12 yards. The reason is that you want to not have any trouble picking up Globes on your way while moving around, but you also want to be able to keep control of the situation, that is to say, choose not to pick up Progress Globes on purpose in some specific situations in order to spawn a Pylon or eventually go back to an already spawned one on another Greater Rift floor for instance.

Last but not least, your Belt slot is a pretty critical piece of Gear. You want to have a perfect legendary roll on either Pride of Cassius or Chilanik's Chain to equip it and cube the other one. As secondary roll, you want to have Pickup Radius for Speed Runs as seen above, but for Greater Rift push your best option is Maximum Fury as it allows for one more Rage Flip use without having to Furious Charge (which builds up Crowd Control Resistance on monsters) or wait for your Shouts Cooldown to refill your Fury. Finally, Life per Fury Spent is often overlooked at but is extremely strong to self-sustain yourself, especially without zMonk in the group.

Assembling the Build

Item Stat Priorities

Gems

Skills

Passives

Paragon Points

Altar of Rites

Gameplay

Group Benefits

Hardcore

Variants

GR Speeds
Rat Runs
GR Push 3P & 4P
GR Push 2P
Echoing Nightmare
zBarb Group Speeds

Concept
These are fast paced runs usually below the 3 minute mark. In the past the META has been Charge Barb, Vyr Wiz, Rend WW Barb and GoD DH.

Gameplay
You need to group monsters fast and apply all buffs to your allies and debuffs to enemies especially to the Elites and high progression targets like Golgors or Punishers for example. You wanna group Elites together with Ancient Spear Rage Flip, scout for dead ends and call them out if needed. Be careful though as some dead ends have Pylons spots, and you do not want to spawn pylons in there in most cases. Try to pick up every globe, may it be a health or a progression one pretty much instantly and never leave any progression globes behind!

Setups
You can also run 3-5 minutes speed runs that are a little slower but a bit more key efficient. These runs are a nice way to level some medium level augment gems. The playstyle and overall setup are very similar to the sub 3 minutes version.
The only differences are that some people take in The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus and then proc Strongarm Bracers with Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash and use Little Rogue & The Slanderer combination.

zBarb Rat Runs

Concept
In these runs a special zBarb playstyle is required as the zNec freezes all the enemies instantly using Land of the Dead Frozen Lands. That means no monsters can be pulled and actually makes the job as a zBarb relatively easy in comparison to all the other group setups. You are basically "only" buffing and debuffing while moving and taking Progression and Health Globes!

Gameplay
Apply all buffs and debuffs on cooldown. Furious Charge the enemies to proc Strongarm Bracers. Pick globes as soon the elites die, keep up with the group & scout for possible dead ends!

Setups
Feel free to drop the Flawless Royal Ruby in your Helm for a Flawless Royal Diamond if you need more Cooldown Reduction. Apart from that you can switch Hellfire Ring to any other Ring or Amulet you like by equipping Oculus Ring and then cubing items like The Flavor of Time. Leap animation is very slow, so only use it when you need to jump over a wall to keep up with teleporting Necromancers.

Select Build Version

Might of the Earth Setup
MotE zBarb Greater Rift Push

Concept
In some group setups, the lack of Necromancer in the party to bring Frailty and the need for the zBarb to be able to cast several Ground Stomps in a row can require to cube The Executioner and find a replacement for Messerschmidt's Reaver. This replacement is Might of the Earth (2) Bonus in conjunction with Leoric's Crown.

Setups
Early season, you always drop Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac or eventually Oculus Ring for Band of Might and its huge 80% damage reduction. At very low Paragon, take in Pig Sticker together with a Stormshield and Sword and Board alongside Esoteric Alteration instead of Wreath of Lightning.

Swap to Little Rogue & The Slanderer as soon as you can afford it for a smoother gameplay due to the additional Attack Speed. You can consider replacing Esoteric Alteration with Wreath of Lightning when you feel comfortable enough with your toughness. It's only at higher Paragon (4,000+) with fully augmented gear that you can consider dropping Band of Might for Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and eventually taking back Esoteric Alteration. In 2man setups, you will follow the same gearing path at a slower pace as you generally need more toughness to survive.

For a complete collection of high endgame zBarb action videos, check out here!

zBarb 2-Player Greater Rift Push

Concept
The concept is very similar to the 4-Player META where we quickly pull everything together to let Trash Killers burst the pull down. In 2man setups, Movement Speed is not as mandatory so we use both Strongarm Bracers and Nemesis Bracers.

Gameplay
Pull as many monsters as possible together using Ancient Spear Rage Flip and Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash while providing buffs and maintaining Ignore Pain on your damage dealer. Once monsters are grouped up, the damage dealer bursts on its Convention of Elements cycle. Always communicate with your teammate while scouting the Rift by calling out Pylons, dead-end layouts, dangerous or annoying Elite Affixes, monster types etc.

Setups
We cn stack more toughness using Stormshield in combination with Sword and Board. At higher paragon, feel free to use Istvan's Paired Blades and Superstition for smoother gameplay as well as dropping Esoteric Alteration if you use it for Iceblink and switch Furious Charge rune to Cold Rush to proc it. If your damage dealer is a Necromancer with Frailty, you can swap The Executioner with Messerschmidt's Reaver.

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 builds and strategies! This build is a support build. Typically we utilize a Greater Rift pushing build with a few tweaks.

Changes

  • Replace Ancient Spear Rage Flip with Rend Mutilate for more damage since monsters are immune to Knockback.

Gameplay

  1. Click Speed Pylon instantly to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
  2. Around Wave 90, click Channeling Pylon and Power Pylon.
  3. After Wave 100, use Conduit Pylon.
  4. At Wave 122, stop attacking and run to the corner to let the timer run out.

Spam Rend Mutilate, Threatening Shout Falter and keep up Ignore Pain and War Cry on the group. Use Ground Stomp to proc Strongarm Bracers, the debuff works even if the monsters cannot be moved. Move around to pull monsters.

Video Guide

S27 Whirlwind zBarb GR150 World #3 4man Action

Mechanics

The Legacy of Raekor + Furious Charge

Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash

In-Depth War Cry & Threatening Shout Explanation

In-Depth Ancient Spear Rage Flip Mechanics Explanation

In-Depth Season 27 Sanctified Whirlwind zBarb Build Overview

Summary

  • Overall best supporter in the entire game, used in every 4 players setup.
  • Be aware of Crowd Control Resistance rules!
  • Hard to master but very active and fun to play.
  • Carry and lead your group to victory!

I hope this guide gave you great insights about the zBarb and will help you improve your understanding and playstyle. For me playing zBarb is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Diablo III so enjoy the real Barb power!

Credits

Written by Rob & Chewingnom.
Updated by Chewingnom.

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