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!
Published on November 8th, 2020
Last updated on August 24th, 2022
Barbarians are savage wanderers who never thrive in close-quarters combat. Mighty ground stomps, leaping attacks and dual-wielded slashes leave a Barbarian’s enemies dead in their boots and send any survivors fleeing for cover. Currently most Barbarian builds share two main traits:
Band of Might reliance: Every single build uses ring to stay alive. If you keep the buff up you can do normal Barbarian things, but if you drop it for one second then you’ll be staring at the respawn timer.
Doomed to Support:In group play you won't be dealing any damage and instead will be enabling and protecting your teammates. And while you don't deal any damage, the gameplay still feels pretty Barbarian-y: you Furious Chargeall over the place, spam shouts and toss monsters around with Ancient Spear Rage Flip and Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash.
That being said, Barbarians are currently not in a bad place at all. They have two A-tier solo pushing builds and they are pretty good at both Greater and Nephalem Rift farming.
In group play Barbarians perform very well: While their DPS builds are not quite strong enough to be a Trash or Rift Guardian Killer, the zBarb support build shines bright. For almost every experience and group push META Barbarians are essential for the team success with their strong monstrous pulling ability.
“The ancients have blessed me.”
The leaders of the harmonious Zakarum religion once strove to imprison Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, beneath Travincal.
For ages, the Barbarians dwelling in the shadow of Mount Arreat were shaped to be as strong and unyielding as stone. Immense in size and unmatched in ferocity, they were charged from birth with a duty passed through generations: to protect the sacred mountain.
When their homeland was shattered, many Barbarians lost faith. They became aimless, haunted by their past, traveling from place to place without honor or direction.
But not all Barbarians have given up their vigil. Some still honor the harsh snows of Arreat's summit and prowl the outskirts of its crater. They recall being handed axes and spears at an age when city children were clinging to their toys… and they burn with shame at the failure of their people.
These Barbarians strive to find a new purpose for themselves in a changed world, and they will crush any who stand in their way.
Active Generation: 4-9 per attack with a Primary skill
+2 from Weapons Master
+30 with Earthen Might
+20 - +50 from War Cry
+15 from Threatening Shout
+15 from Leap
+15 from Furious Charge
+10 for each enemy hit from Dreadnought
+4 from Call of the Ancients Ancients' Fury / Fury of the Ancients
+1 for each enemy hit from Whirlwind Wind Shear
Additional Fury sources:
The Gavel of Judgment
+2 from Superstition
Barbarians use Fury to attack with their most powerful skills. Fury degenerates slowly over time when you are not in combat and can be gained by taking damage (0.5 Fury per 1% Life loss), using Primary skills and from a handful of other effects.
Most Barbarian builds generate their Fury with their skills like War Cry, Threatening Shout, Ground Stomp, Furious Charge, Call of the Ancients Ancients' Fury or Whirlwind Wind Shear and by engaging in close range combat. Items like The Gavel of Judgment or Bul-Kathos's Oath or the passive Unforgiving further increase Fury Generation.
Barbarians are able to use weapons in ways that others simply don’t possess the strength for. They wield massive weapons – oversized killing devices that normal heroes are barely strong enough to lift, let alone swing. Muscular Barbarians can also dual-wield normal weapons like swords and axes, barraging foes with multiple enchantments and weapon types at once. Barbarians can equip all melee weapons except staves, can dual wield any two one handers and can use shields.
Mighty Belts are unique Barbarian items that have the same base stats as regular Belts, but also can roll certain class-specific stats:
1034- 1215 Life per Fury Spent
10-12 Maximum Fury
Barbarian's unique weapons are Mighty Weapons. One handed Mighty Weapons have 1.3 base APS and share attack animations with Swords, Axes and Maces. They can roll all the normal weapon affixes plus some class-specific stats:
1034-1215 Life per Fury Spent
10-12 Maximum Fury
Two-Handed Mighty Weapons are the bigger version of a normal Mighty Weapon, they come with 1.10 base APS and can roll all the same unique stats, but with higher stats and damage to specific Barbarian skills.
*all the values given are for ancient legendary items
The Horde of the Ninety Savages(H90) Set was introduced with Season 20 alongside a complete rework and buff of Bastion's Revered, making Frenzy, a long time community favorite skill, great again! The Build combines Bastion's Revered, Depth Diggers, The Undisputed Champion and Oathkeeper for massive damage.
Immortal King's Call
Immortal King's Call
(2) Bonus Call of the Ancients lasts until they die. This is very helpful to gain toughness with Together as one or generate Fury with Ancients' Fury.
(4) Bonus reduces the cooldown of Wrath of Berserker and Call of the Ancients by 3 seconds for every 10 Fury you spend with an attack.
(6) Bonus provides a 4,000% (x41) separate global damage multiplier as long as both Wrath of Berserker and Call of the Ancients are active.
Immortal King's Call is the only Barbarian Set that provides a general global damage multiplier that buffs all damage. The Cooldown Reduction mechanics are very helpful and let you keep a permanent Wrath of Berserker andCall of the Ancients with ease!
Hammer of the Ancients (HotA) is a pretty iconic Barbarian skill. This IK build combines Bracers of the First Men, The Gavel of Judgment, Fury of the Ancients and Mortick's Brace for massive damage. Keeping up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients permanently is essential to this build due to Remorseless mechanics, making the IK set a solid choice.
The Charge Barbarian (cBarb) remains a solid build overall as it is very mobile and AoE heavy due to the Vile Ward's mechanic. The build uses Furious Charge in combination with Standoff and Movement Speed buffs to deal damage.
Might of the Earth
Might of the Earth
(2) Bonus reduces the cooldown of Earthquake, Avalanche, Leap, and Group Stomp by 1 second for every 30 Fury you spend with an attack.
(4) Bonus Leap causes an Earthquake when you Land. Additionally Leap gains the effect of the Iron Impact rune and the rune's effect duration is increased by 150%.
(6) Bonus provides a 20,000% (x201) separate damage multiplier to Earthquake, Ancient Spear and Seismic Slam.
Might of the Earth provides the highest damage multiplier of any Barbarian Set for Earthquake and Seismic Slam. The Cooldown Reduction mechanics are very helpful and can even be used as a zBarb to reduce the cooldown of Group Stomp for frequent pixel pulls and stuns.
The core skill of with builds is Earthquake. In conjunction with its supporting item Lut Socks, the build quickly earned its gimmicky "Leapquake" nickname. Combined with Blade of the Tribes and Girdle of Giants, this build deals tremendous damage.
Seismic Slam offers a unique ranged playstyle on the Barbarian class. A 20,000% increase damage from the Set combined with Fjord Cutter, Bracers of Destruction and Fury of the Vanished Peak is a deadly combination. Damage can be increased even further with Zei's Stone of Vengeance and No Escape.
The Legacy of Raekor
The Legacy of Raekor
(2) Bonus Furious Charge refunds a charge if it only hits 1 enemy.
(4) Bonus Furious Charge gains the effect of all runes: Battering Ram, Merciless Assault, Stamina, Cold Rush and Dreadnought. On top of that, Furious Charge damage is increased by 1,000% (x11). For every 1% Life missing, you gain 2% Ancient Spear damage.
(6) Bonus Every use of Furious Charge or Weapon Throw increases the damage of your next Ancient Spear by 5,500% (x56). This effect stacks. Every use of Ancient Spear consumes up to 5 charges for a total of 27,500% (x276) damage increase and additional Spears spawn.
The Legacy of Raekor set provides massive damage and the ability to permanently Furious Charge a single target (like the Rift Guardian) to gain many stacks. To maintain the full damage bonus however, you must Furious Charge around a lot! Furthermore having all runes of Furious Charge lets us reset our cooldown with Merciless Assault and instantly gain full Fury in large pulls with Stamina. On top of that, 5 stacked attacks of Boulder Toss can deal devastating damage.
The Whirlwind (WW) Barbarian uses the Wrath of the Wastes set and has become one of the strongest builds in the game after having Rend added to its bonus. The core concept is that Whirlwind applies the Damage over Time (DoT) effect from Rend using Ambo's Pride and Lamentation. You spin and move through the monster while DoTing and killing them quickly.
No Six Piece Set
Legacy of Dreams/Legacy of Nightmares
For skills which don't have a dedicated Set, you can make a build around the Legacy of Dreams gem or Legacy of Nightmares set that provides a 97.5x damage multiplier at 13 Ancient items. Since Barbarian's generic damage set, Immortal King's Call, only provides a 41x multiplier, this battle is often won by the LoD.
For Hammer of The Ancients, Legacy of Dreams is the best choice for more damage and toughness.
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.
The domain where zBarb really shines is its unparalleled capacity to pull and gather monsters with Ancient Spear Rage Flip and then pixelpull them tightly together using Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. This is complemented with incredible mobility and ability to control monsters via 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!
Apart from 6-piece sets, Barbarians have 33 unique Legendary and Set items, providing bonuses to various skills and in some cases altering their behavior:
Blade of the Warlord
Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow
Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood
Two-Handed Mighty Weapons
Blade of the Tribes
Fury of the Vanished Peak
The Gavel of Judgment
The Three Hundredth Spear
Girdle of Giants
Pride of Cassius
The Undisputed Champion
Band of Might
Skull of Resonance
Bracers of Destruction
Bracers of the First Men
Vambraces of Sescheron
Fury of the Ancients
Below are a few items that have mechanics that aren't immediately obvious from their description.
Ambo's Pride has a proc coefficient of 1 and applies a Rend on each Whirlwind tick.
Rend applied by Ambo’s Pride does not proc Area Damage, which is why the pushing builds have to use the skill manually as often as possible in high monster density.
Applies the equipped rune from the skill bar.
Alternates between Main-Hand and Off-Hand, just like Whirlwind.
Can't exceed the base Lamentation cap of two stacks.
Bastion's Revered allows you to get 10 Frenzy stacks, doubling the (4) and (6) Bonuses of Horde of the Ninety Savages for 60% damage reduction and 10,000% increased damage.
Bastion's Revered chains damage instances and procs Area Damage and Bloodshed. Furthermore, every chain damage instance can critically hit.
Blade of the Tribes
Gives Avalanche and Earthquake a 800% (9.0) separate damage multiplier.
War Cry and Threatening Shout now both cause an Avalanche and Earthquake when cast. This cast also carries the runes chosen on your skill bar and can proc Area Damage.
Bracers of Destruction
The 6.0 damage multiplier of this item only applies to a maximum of 10 targets.
For this reason you cannot get as much benefit from big monster pulls in comparison to AoE heavy builds like the Whirlwind Barb. Thus you must not focus on stacking Area Damage on your gear too much. This also means you will not be spending minutes trying to pull half the Greater Rift floor into one spot with Ancient Spear Rage Flip.
On some item pieces like Shoulders it is still worth going for, as this slot in particular lacks any decent alternative. On other items, like Rings or Echoing Fury, there are just better options with Cooldown Reduction or Physical Damage.
For a full in-depth Area Damage mechanics guide check out this post.
The damage formula for Standoff's damage increase is:
As you can see here, the supports in a group can double your damage gain from Standoff on top of what you are already getting from the normal additive damage buffs. When we divide 11.00 / 6.50 we get a total of 1.69 times more damage in a 4-Player group just from the Movement Speed buffs alone!
Most of the Barbarian Passives revolve around damage buffs, toughness buffs and Fury generation. Below you can find a list that answers any questions regarding passive mechanics and their uses:
Mechanics The 10% increase in Fury generation is a straight multiplier to your sheet generation but additive with Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan and Inspire for example. The +20 Maximum Fury is the same as you can get from items & Paragons and added to your Fury pool.
Best use Weak passive for Fury generation This passive is used in Hammer of the Ancientsbuild variations as the Maximum Fury increases Critical Hit Chance from Hammer of the Ancients.
Mechanics Gain 25% additive damage when you are at 95% Fury or higher. Snapshottable for example by Damage over Time skills like Rend etc.
Best use Very useful offensive passive Loads of builds that have no problems staying near Maximum Fury like the Furious Chargebuild, the Hammer of the Ancientsbuild or the Frenzybuild can make good use of this passive. It is even used in variations of the WhirlwindRendBarbarian.
Mechanics Gain 996 Life per Fury Spent. This effect is immensely outweighed by skills like Wrath of the Berserker Thrive on Chaos in combination with Mortick's Brace (5,364) or just by the bonus on a Mighty Belt with 1215. This passive can be enhanced by optimizing your gear with secondary rolls. The Maximum Health Globe Healing Bonus is:
without a Shield. At 1% that yields you an additional 2,317 + the base 996 for a total of 3,313 Life per Fury Spent.
Best use Niche recovery passive Only useful if combined with the right gear rolls and even then barely used as the Barbarian is pretty tanky on its own with its base 50% damage reduction.
Boon of Bul-Kathos
Mechanics Reduces the base cooldown of Wrath of the Berserker, Call of the Ancients by 30 and Earthquake's by 15 seconds. This reduction is applied to the base skill, before the game takes any Cooldown Reduction into account.
Best use Nice passive often used to optimize Wrath of the Berserker uptime Used by pretty much all builds that use Wrath of the Berserker as a buff.
Mechanics An easy 20% additive damage increase as long as there are 3 or more enemies with a 12 yards range around the player. This effect can be snapshotted by Damage over Time skills like Rend etc.
Best use Widely used Amazing for big and small trash pulls. It even works for single blue Elites with no trash around. Very limited use on Rift Guardians as most of them don't spawn minions to have 3 monsters around you to get full benefit.
Mechanics You gain 30 Fury in an instant on activation of Avalanche and Earthquake. Also works with items like Blade of the Tribes and Dread Iron when using War Cry, Threatening Shout or Ground Stomp.
Best use Super niche use Signature passive for the Might of the EarthEarthquakebuild.
Mechanics Straight up doubles your shout duration, works for War Cry and Battle Rage but not for Threatening Shout debuffs. This passive also increases Life Regeneration for the entire party by 3% of their Maximum Life.
Best use The #1 support passive Used by almost every zBarb version there is, but barely used on any damage builds as there are better defensive alternatives.
Mechanics This passive reduces control-impairing effects by 50%, just like the secondary roll that can be found on items like Rings or Helms (secondary stat). It is multiplicative to these effects so you can never reach 100%. Additionally whenever a control-impairing effect is cast on you there is an around 25% chance to recover 20% of your Maximum Life. If the player is already immune to control-impairing effects from Ignore Pain or Wrath of the Berserker however, the chance to recover Life can not proc.
Best use Never - stronger alternatives available Almost never used due to Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker granting you full control-impairing effect immunity already and there are better life recovery options for Barbarians like Life per Fury Spent.
Nerves of Steel
Mechanics IfIf you take fatal damage instead of dying this passive reduces your life pool to 15% of your Maximum Life. Instead of making you immune to damage like the cheat death passives of other classes, this passive reduced all damage taken by 95% for 3 seconds. That means you can still die in these 3 seconds! However it is unlikely especially when combined with Relentless.
Best use The cheat death passive for Barbs Used in most builds, especially at lower Paragon levels.
Mechanics Increases the damage of Weapon Throw, Seismic Slam, Ancient Spear and Avalanche by 30% multiplicatively to all enemies that are 15 or more yards away.
Best use Strong offensive passive that is used in the unique Might of the EarthSeismic Slamranged Barbarian build.
Pound of Flesh
Mechanics 2% Life regeneration (based on your Maximum Life) and 4% Movement Speed increase when picking up a Health Globes. Health Globes picked up by party members count as well. The Movement Speed is additive and can exceed the 25% sheet limit.
Best use Another passive usually used by the zBarb in Speed META runs like Rat Runs to move and scout faster.
Mechanics 1% increase Strength for8 seconds after killing an enemy, up to 25 stacks. That means 25% multiplicative damage increase and 25% toughness increase at full stacks as Strength provides you Armor as well. There's only a single timer for all 25 stacks and it refreshes on every kill. The only downside of this passive is that it is hard to impossible to keep on Rift Guardians when solo pushing. This passive can be snapshotted by Damage over Time skills like Rend.
Best use The strongest Barbarian passive and one of the strongest passives in the entire game, used by almost every damage dealing build there is!
Mechanics When you drop below 35% Life you gain 50% multiplicative Resource Cost Reduction, 50% multiplicative damage reduction and double your Life per Fury Spent.
Best use One of the best toughness passives in the game. Great combination with Nerves of Steel as mentioned above and with Captain Crimson's Trimmings for even more damage reduction by the reduced resource costs. Mostly used in the zBarb build but also has implications in some solo push builds.
Mechanics You deal 40% more multiplicative damage to all enemies below 30% health. This bonus is very strong in solo gameplay as you usually gain the full benefit. In group, however, it is a bit weaker due to The Executioner killing enemies below 10% life and Frailty 15% or 18% life Frailty Early Grave. The total damage buff is visualized here:
Total Damage Multiplier
Solo - Base
Frailty Early Grave
Most people treat Ruthless as a 40% damage bonus that's active 30% of the time. However, due to this very damage bonus you will spend less than 30% of the time fighting the last 30% of mob's HP. So the best way to calculate this bonus is by thinking in terms of Time To Kill (TTK). TTK is always inversely proportional to your DPS so if you figure out the new TTK, it's easy to get DPS bonus from there. Let's say normally your TTK is 100s - and now we add Ruthless: It's 70s for the first 70% and 30/1.4 = 21.43s for the last 30%. TTK is 91.43s so the DPS is 100/91.43 = 109.375%, that is 9.4% bonus DPS you get from Ruthless
With Frailty it's similar: TTK is 85s base with Ruthless it's 70s + 15s/1.4 = 80.71s DPS gain is 85/80.71 - 1 = 5.3% bonus DPS
The final formula is ((100 - execute_threshold) / (70 + (30 - execute_threshold) / 1.4) - 1) * 100%
Best use One of the few multiplicative passives the Barbarian has. Very useful in solo as you don't have The Executioner or Frailty curse there that diminishes the effect.
Mechanics A small Esoteric Alteration passive that also adds Fury generation. With 20% damage reduction from all non-Physical attacks it is not as strong as Esoteric Alteration, but with the added chance to gain 2 Fury on elemental attacks it is used sometimes. The chance to gain Fury is higher on single target attacks but lower on damage over time or AoE attacks.
Best use Generally there are better toughness passive available. It can be used on a zBarb or even for some DPS builds at very low Paragon levels.
Sword and Board
Mechanics While a Shield is equipped you gain 20% multiplicative Resource Cost Reduction and 30% multiplicative damage reduction.
Best use Only used on zBarb, a good toughness passive when using a Stormshield, for example in 2-Player Push.
Tough as Nails
Mechanics This passive increases your Armor by 25% additively and doubles your Thorns damage.
Best use Another toughness passive that can be used at very low Paragon level zBarbs. In the past this passive was also utilized in Frenzy Thorns builds.
Mechanics Another Fury passive that generates 2 Fury per second. This can be enhanced by the Animosity passive and by using Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan or Inspire from the Templar.
Best use Weak passive Again a passive that can be used on zBarbs or even some Torment Key farming builds.
Mechanics OnOne of the most flexible Barbarian passives. Depending on the Weapon type you wear you get an individual bonus:
Nice to have, but Barbarians already have many different ways to increase Critical Hit Chance
8% Attack Speed
Additive, useful if needed for 1 or 2 extra Attack Speed breakpoints
2 Fury per hit
Can also be increased by the Animosity passive and by using Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan or by Inspire from the Templar
If you are dual wielding you can only get the bonus from the Weapon type that you hold in your Main-Hand (on the left below your Gloves and Shoulders).
Best use In general there are better offensive passive available The Dagger bonus is used as Frenzy RGK in combination with Pig Sticker sometimes, while the Mighty Weapons bonus is used mostly in Torment farming.
Most Primary skills deal little damage and generate Fury with every attack. However, most builds can solve their resource issues by other means, and Primary skills are only used to proc the Bastions of Will bonuses or for the stat boosts they provide. Frenzy is the one exception, as it is even strong enough to deal significant damage with Bastion's Revered in the FrenzyBarb Build.
Damage Dealing Skills
Hammer of the Ancients
These are the main build-defining skills. Pick one of these, a Set that buffs it, 2-3 supporting Legendaries and you got yourself a build.
Revenge, Overpower and Avalanche are very lacking supporting legendaries and while you can make a DPS build around them, it will be very weak.
Whirlwind doesn’t deal much damage by itself, but it’s used in the Wrath of the Wastes build to apply Rend with Ambo’s Pride.
Hammer of the Ancients is another great DPS skill that is used in many strong Barbarian builds.
Seismic Slam can be used to deal damage, but there are usually better main skills available.
Earthquake has a very long cooldown that can be significantly reduced and actively triggered with other skills, such as Leap using the Might of the Earth Set.
Furious Charge is used as a DPS skill in only one build and as mobility tool in many others.
War Cry is one of the strongest defense buffs in the game that also benefits your party members. Veteran's Warning is a very popular pick, especially for group play.
Threatening Shout can be used to weaken monsters or to increase their damage taken with Falter.
Battle Rage only affects the Barbarian himself and is very useful when dealing with large amounts of enemies while using Bloodshed or to heal with Swords to Ploughshares.
Horde of the Ninety Savages(2) Bonus doubles the effectiveness of these Shouts. Effectiveness doesn't include base buff effect duration nor range. The term effectiveness is rather vague and only refers to specific effects (more info above). The Inspiring Presence passive doubles the duration of your shouts and heals your allies.
Other Barbarian skills can be grouped together. They are used to round up the builds with additional pulling, provide damage, defense and utility benefits, or can be used to proc certain Sets or Legendaries.
Wrath of the Berserker
Widely used offensive skill, provides huge buffs with a longer cooldown. The cooldown can be reduced with Boon of Bul-Kathos, Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac or Messerschmidt Reaver. Mainly used with Mortick's Brace to gain 50% increased damage and damage reduction.
Used from mobility, Fury gain and to trigger Earthquakes with Might of the Earth in combination with Lut Socks.
Mostly used with the Marathon rune for Torment or Bounty farming. Also very good on a zBarb with the Forced March rune.
Widely used defensive skill, provides 50% damage reduction and immunity to Crowd Control effects. Mostly used on zBarb with the Mob Rule rune in combination with Pride of Cassius.
Widely used as Rage Flip in the Support build and in several high Greater Rift Solo pushing builds to gather huge amounts and kill them efficiently with Arena Damage and Bloodshed.
Mostly used as Wrenching Smash to stun and to create pixel pulls both in solo pushing build and group play.
Call of the Ancients
Used to gain the damage bonuses in combination with Remorseless and Immortal King's Call. Also has some use cases for toughness with the Together as One rune and Fury gain with Ancients' Fury.
Below are a few select build-relevant skills with their mechanics explained in detail.
Ancient Spear Rage Flip
Ancient Spear Rage Flip has always been the backbone of the zBarb playstyle. However, this skill is one of the most complicated to understand and manage properly. First of all, its mechanic is unique and fairly unintuitive overall. Secondly, Rage Flip is hard to master in practice as its mechanic offers a wide variety of gameplay applications. Also just like Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash, a good understanding of Crowd Control Resistance and Monster Hitboxes is absolutely necessary.
Note that Rage Flip does not work on Juggernaut Rare Elites, Rift Guardians and huge monsters like Punishers, Mallet Lords, Golgors or Armaddons, as they are immune to Knockbacks. Rage Flip has a maximum range of 60 yards, which represents slightly further than the edges of your screen. Where things become interesting is that targets chained by Rage Flip are thrown behind you at approximately the same range they were in front of you when they got chained. These mechanics put together explain why Rage Flip is so powerful: it allows you to do long range pulls while also allowing you to control the magnitude of the pull.
Rage Flip does not have any specific breakpoint and possesses an innate 1.2 Attack Speed multiplier. This means that at 1 APS, Rage Flip has an animation of 50 frames and at 3 APS it has an animation of 17 frames. Rage Flip does alternate Weapons, which means Attack Speed matters on both Weapons.
Rage Flip does not work if there is an obstacle in the way between you and monsters' hitboxes. Walls from the Waller Affix are blocking Rage Flips, which is one of the reasons you should always use Bottomless Potion of Kulle-Aid. However, holes and gaps in the layout do not matter if the monster pulled is considered a flying monster like Vile Swarms, Anarchs, Bees or Plague Carriers for instance.
The same way, the landing position needs to be free of monsters and obstacles, otherwise targets will not be thrown behind you, and rather pulled in front of you. While this seems to be a bad thing, we can play around this and use it at our advantage. It is possible to pull monsters in front of you on purpose, or even perform Harpoon-like pulls that are effectively pixelpulling monsters with Rage Flip.
Rage Flip is thrown towards the targeted monster a follows a logical path towards this target. This is why aiming is essential and especially important when pulling monsters on a different Z-axis, such as stairs pulls. Don't forget that if aiming is crucial, pull angle and positioning are equally decisive when it comes to performing properRage Flips for your group.
Now that we explained the core mechanics of Rage Flip, one thing we only scratched with the importance of aiming and positioning is the general playstyle. The zBarb playstyle at higher level of Greater Rift is extremely fast-paced, you want to be able to accurately aim while moving and charging around... while processing the situation of your surroundings at any time given.
When you're pulling hordes of monsters to your group, you want to quickly move forward between each Rage Flip, as it enables you to not waste any time and also avoid some situations where monsters get pulled to you instead of flipped behind because of the surrounding monsters. Instead of quickly moving forward, it is also possible to Furious Charge, which mainly allows you to move further without wasting any time. In practice, you're going to move your cursor back and forth most of the time, while having to aim monsters in the process. If you're a terrible player at FPS games, I'm afraid the Rage Flip zBarb might not be the best fit for you!
Don't forget you want to charge through enemies as the ending animation of Furious Charge procs a Knockback! Cold Rush can be used purposefully to lock some targets and aim them with Rage Flip or in case of Elites, prevent them from using their Affixes, such as Shielding or Waller.
The pull range can be slightly extended by using Furious Charge right after you throw the Rage Flip, or getting Wormholed by the Elite Affix. The pull angle and cast location are locked only when the Rage Flip reaches its maximum range of 60 yards. This also means you can perform slightly curved pulls by quickly moving or charging after throwing a Rage Flip.
Missile Dampening can even allow for crazy pull angles or enabling you to preshot your next actions as it greatly increases the time it takes for the Rage Flip to travel 60 yards. This Elite Affix is all in all not bad to pull as long as the layout is wide enough, but only if you understand all the mechanics we previously mentioned. As an example, throw your Rage Flip towards a Missile Dampening, position yourself with enough monsters (depending on how far the Elite is) or obstacles behind you... and wait for the magic to happen. The Missile Dampening will be pulled right on you if there is enough space for it to land. Another trick to remember about this Affix is that the Missile Dampening bubble only activates if the monster has aggro on a player. Missile Dampening also allows you to flip the monsters a tremendous distance. Casting the spear, then charging 180 degrees in the opposite direction and then having the monster flung can send it across the entire map. This is useful on some of the best maps like festering, battlefields, sands, and shrouded moors.
Keep in mind that this example is only one of the many gameplay applications you can perform with enough practice if you understand the in-depth mechanics behind Rage Flip. Practice, practice... and practice again!
Ancient Spear Boulder Toss
Ancient Spear Boulder Toss throws a big boulder at enemies, which deals 500% Weapon Damage.
Ancient Spear Boulder Toss spend your entire Fury pool. Every point of Fury spent above the base cost of the skill (after Resource Cost Reduction calculation) adds 20% Weapon Damage to the total damage dealt.
This means with ~33% RCR in a normal setup, Boulder Toss has a cost of ~17 Fury and you have a total Fury pool of 150 :
This grants a 532% damage multiplier, multiplying Boulder Toss damage by 6.32!
Things become even more interesting when adding Arreat's Law and Weapon Throw into the mix. You can get +200 Fury above your Maximum Fury pool, meaning you can reach a total of 350 Fury.
This means a 1,332% damage multiplier, multiplying Boulder Toss damage by 14.32!
If we compare these results, we can see that Arreat's Law Fury bonus is a ~126% damage multiplier (x2.26 damage).
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.
Earthquake & Critical Hit Chance
Earthquake is a damage over time skill that ticks twice per second (every 30 frames) and has a chance to critically hit with each damage tick individually. Furthermore all Earthquake ticks damage are calculated from your Main-Hand Weapon, thus your Off-Hand damage when Dual Wielding does not matter.
Furious Charge + The Legacy of Raekor
The Legacy of Raekor is one of the most important tools in the zBarb's arsenal. Understanding and using it properly is a challenge!
Furious Charge does not have a specific Attack Speed Breakpoint. Furious Charge animation is split between the charge animation that scales using your Movement Speed and the ending animation that has a base duration of 30 frames and scales using your sheet Attack Speed. The charge animation has a minimum duration of 10 frames, even if you Wall Charge.
Furious Charge alternates Weapons, which means Attack Speed matters on both your Weapons.
The Legacy of Raekor(2) Bonus grants a Furious Charge charge refund if you only hit one enemy. This is very powerful as it allows for a better mobility control as you can purposefully decide to charge through only one enemy on your way to refresh charges during a Greater Rift.
The Legacy of Raekor(4) Bonus gives you access to all Furious Charge runes, which enables great synergies for mobility, speed and control.
Stamina makes it so that Furious Charge generates 15 Fury + 10 Fury per monster hit. This means hitting 6 to 7 monsters is enough to completely refill your Fury, making it easier to manage the heavy use and cost of Ancient Spear Rage Flip.
Cold Rush triggers a 2.5 second Freeze on every monster hit: this is without a doubt one of the best crowd control in the game in combination with The Legacy of Raekor(4) Bonus as you can spam it on demand, and proc it on as many targets as you want. This is the main reason why zBarb is extremely potent at proccing Krysbin's Sentence or Ancient Parthan Defenders, as well as managing Rift Guardians.
Merciless Assault + Dreadnought in combination allow for crazy mobility by reducing Furious Charge Cooldown by 2 seconds for each enemy hit (up to 10 seconds) while being able to store and manage up to 3 charges of Furious Charge.
Environmental breakables objects or layout elements such as doors, crates or rocks are able to proc both The Legacy of Raekor(2) Bonus and Merciless Assault to reset your Furious Charge charges. This means you don't necessarily need to charge through monsters to keep up your charges. Note that breakables also count as targets in regard to Stamina.
When using The Legacy of Raekor(4) Bonus, applying the Strongarm Bracers damage debuff using Furious Charge is troublesome. Indeed regardless of the rune you choose, you inherit the special behavior of Dreadnought which does not knockback enemies you charge through! It is still possible to proc them using the 20 yard radius Front Cone at the end of Furious Charge animation but this is not reliable enough: this explains why speed setups are generally not using The Legacy of Raekor, in order to not worry about Strongarm Bracers application.
Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash
Ground Stomp has a base animation of 30 frames that does not scale with Attack Speed.
The 24 yard pull effect happens 0.5 seconds before the 4 second stun and reduces its own duration as the pull will trigger 40% Crowd Control Resistance on monsters.
Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash ignores the collision boxes of most enemies if cast in an area with enough space for the enemies to land, resulting into pixelpulls. Beware though, a good understanding of Crowd Control Resistance and Monster Hitboxes is absolutely necessary!
A common trick is to create this space yourself by using Rage Flip when there is no good spot around.
Monsters are pulled towards you, meaning any obstacles such as layout elements, walls from Waller Affix or even immune monsters can block the way to pullable monsters.
Juggernaut Rare Elites, Rift Guardians and huge monsters such as Golgors or Mallet Lords cannot be pulled.
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.
Has a base duration of 6 seconds, not 5 (the tooltip is straight up incorrect).
Self-cast damage is only calculated off Mainhand. The Off-hand can be any off-rolled weapon for supporting purposes (Cooldown Reduction, Area Damage etc.). Whirlwind, and therefore Ambo's Pride, oscillates between both weapons.
Scales with Critical Hit Chance & Critical Hit Damage but can not crit: Each Rend tick has (1 + Critical Hit Chance * Critical Hit Damage) as a separate multiplier. Only Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage that you see in your detail sheet, will scale it. Any debuff-Critical Hit Chance (Iceblink, Multishot Wind Chill, Corpse Lance Brittle Touch, Bash Onslaught, etc.) will not scale Rend.
Battle Rage Bloodshed has no effect in regards to Rend damage (except for the base rune crit), because Rend does not crit.
Rend instance snapshots Critical Hit Chance upon cast.
Self-casted Rendsdo proc Area Damage.
Rend Bloodbath explosions count as a separate Rend instance but are capped to 2 due to Lamentation. This makes Bloodbath by far the best damage rune (effectively doubling the damage output as long as you are constantly killing stuff).
Rend ticks every 12 Frames (0.2 seconds). Damage is accumulated and displayed every 48 Frames (0.8 seconds).
War Cry & Threatening Shout
When the game refers to Shouts, it refers to the skills from the Tactics category: War Cry, Threatening Shout and Battle Rage. The zBarb always use the first two skills of this list as both bring huge benefits to any group setup.
These skills have a fairly low cooldown and generate a decent amount of Fury, which is great regarding Resource management as the zBarb generally makes a pretty big usage of its Fury through Ancient Spear Rage Flip. War Cry also possesses a unique and convenient mechanic that completely stops Fury Degeneration for 5 seconds after using it even if you're out of combat or didn't get hit for 5 seconds.
Inspiring Presence is a staple for every zBarb. It doubles the duration of War Cry from 120 sec to 240, but the main reason to use it is the 3% Life Regeneration effect, which is a different 120 seconds buff applied on players upon using any Shout skill. The duration of the War Cry Hardened Wrath 5 second 60% additional Armor effect upon cast is not doubled by Inspiring Presence. Threatening Shout's 15 second duration is doubled to 30 seconds for every rune but Falter, whose duration stays 6 seconds.
Horde of the Ninety Savages(2) Bonus doubles the effectiveness of Shouts. Effectiveness doesn't include base buff effect duration nor range. As the term effectiveness is rather vague and only refers to specific effects, let's take a closer look at what we get in practice:
Base effect of 20% Armor bonus gets buffed to 40%.
Hardened Wrath 5 second Armor bonus gets buffed to 120%.
Charge! is not affected and still generates 50 Fury.
Invigorate's Life % and Life Regeneration are doubled.
Impunity grants 40% All Resistance.
Veteran's Warning Dodge Chance is buffed to an impressive 60%.
Base effect of 20% Reduced Enemy Damage is buffed to 40%.
Demoralize Taunt and Terrify Fear duration both get doubled.
Intimidate 60% Movement Speed Slow becomes a tremendous 90% Slow.
Grim Harvest Health Globe spawn chance goes from 15% to 30%.
Falter 25% additive damage buff becomes a 50% buff.
Threatening Shout Falter is usually the rune of choice for most group setups, due to its amazing 50% additive damage debuff (which replaces the base damage reduction debuff). When playing with a Witch Doctor, Grim Harvest becomes a strong option in order to fuel Gruesome Feast's 50% Intelligence bonus. Nonetheless, bear in mind that Grim Harvest is a hit or miss effect: only the first application of the debuff on monsters has a chance to spawn a Health Globe!
Chilanik's Chain grants a 40% Movement Speed buff for 10 seconds to you and all allies within 100 yards upon casting War Cry. This item legendary effect does not have any specific interaction with Inspiring Presence or Horde of the Ninety Savages(2) Bonus.
I hope you enjoyed this Barbarian class overview! Since the release of the game in May 2012 it has been by far my favorite and most played class. Whether you like to shred your enemies while moving at the speed of light or crush them with mighty attacks, the Barbarian is the class for you! On top of that, they are the best overall supporter in the entire game, being a vital part in almost every group setup and leading them to victory with our unique abilities. All hail the great Barbarians - Spin to win!
Written by Rob. Reviewed by Northwar & Raxxanterax. Updated by Chewingnom.