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
- 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.
- 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 28 Altar of Rites
Season 28 brings a brand new progression feature called the Altar of Rites that grants tremendous powers to your entire account in exchange for sacrifices. It requires you to farm Bounties, kill the Ubers, craft the Staff of Herding, and more. Completing all 26 of these tasks, along with sacrificing 6 Primal Ancients grants you unbelievable Damage, Defense, Quality of Life, Increased Drops, 3 Potion Super Powers, and the juicy Wings of Terror. Read the full guides on Unlocking the Altar and the Altar Mechanics by Raxxanterax and Chewingnom to learn everything about this fantastic Season!
Note: The suggested path assumes you are playing Solo and used the Challenge Rift Cache to help you level up.
Node 2: Choose Anointed to gain a full set of 70 yellows from level 18-70!
Node 6: Rush to gain double Bounties to help unlock other Nodes in the Altar.
Nodes 7-14: These are the last Nodes you can gain until the Challenge Rift resets. Take at least 1 Node at the bottom of each path to unlock all 3 Potion Super Powers. Pick up the Mirror Node at the top for a colossal 41% extra XP all season. Remember to unlock Father once you clear GR70 solo and have your first Primal!
Nodes 15-26: Pick up the final Quality of Life, Damage, and Defense Nodes (in that order) to finish the Altar.
Potion Super Powers: Take Father first, then Mother, and finally Mortal.
Disclaimer: The Mortal and Mother Potions require you to salvage 2 and 3 Primals respectively. Unlock them as soon as you have those materials as they don't cost a point!
Thanks to the Revelation seal, zBarb does not need to equip Illusory Boots. This means every setup can get rid of Ring of Royal Grandeur and take in Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac instead without losing Band of Might.
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!
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
The concept is very similar to the 4-Player META where we quickly pull everything together to let Trash Killers burst the pull down. We stack more toughness using Stormshield in combination with Sword and Board. In 2man setups, Movement Speed is not as mandatory so we use both Strongarm Bracers and Nemesis Bracers.
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.
At higher paragon, feel free to use Istvan's Paired Blades and Superstition for smoother gameplay as well as dropping Esoteric Alteration 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.
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
- 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!
Written by Rob & Chewingnom.
Updated by Chewingnom.
- 18 February 2023
Updated for Season 28 / Patch 2.7.5. RIP Sanctified Whirlwind :(
- 5 August 2022
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4.
- 24 April 2022
Added Notes about Raekor (6) Bonus Setup Memes.
- 3 April 2022
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3.