LoD HotA Barbarian Guide

LoD HotA Solo Push
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Introduction

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Barbarian skills making use of the Legacy of Dreams setup as the Immortal King's Call set 4,000% damage bonus is pretty outdated these days and, with loads of new complementary item options over the years, it gets even less attractive.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 high HotA 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
Band of Might Dependency
❌ Need Ancient Items for LoD
❌ Low Area of Effect Damage


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • 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. With an ethereal The Grandfather we skip this legendary power.
  • 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 24 Ethereals

Ethereals are powerful rare weapons that can only be found during Season 24. They have incredible stats, a random Legendary power, and a free passive for your class. Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them. What you should prioritize on them is the following:

  1. The Legendary Power
    This build requires The Gavel of Judgment and Remorseless to be functional. We need our Ethereal to roll one of these powers so we can cube the other. We also want a good roll on our Legendary power if it has a range. For speed content it is always helpful to have Ethereals with Echoing Fury, In-geom or Messerschmidt's Reaver powers, so keep those if you find them.
  2. The Ethereal Itself
    There are 3 different weapons available to us, each with its own benefits:
    • The Grandfather - This is the best Ethereal for pushing with its high Two-Handed Weapon average damage and its high Attack Speed complemented by Cooldown Reduction!
    • Gimmershred - This is the best choice for speed content and boss killing as it is a One-Handed Weapon with decent Attack Speed, Cooldown Reduction, Elite Damage and a Movement Speed buff!
    • Doombringer - This is the back-up option. It has regular Attack Speed and no Cooldown Reduction but applies a 25% damage reduction debuff on hit.
  3. The Ethereal Stat Rolls
    Each Ethereal comes with its own fixed set of powerful affixes. While some have a static value, many have a wide stat range. This means the difference between good and bad rolls is significant and something you should look for.
  4. A Useful Passive
    This is just icing on the cake because a fifth passive is not going to make or break your build. You're better off hunting for the things above. Check out the Passives section down below to see which ones you're looking for.

Global Stat Priorities

This build gets a lot of Attack Speed for free from Bracers of the First Men and Wrath of the Berserker. With just the guaranteed Attack Speed roll on and The Witching Hour we comfortably land on the 20 frame Breakpoint (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 cube Legendary 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.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. Create a level 1 Barbarian and gamble for Band of Might
  2. Nemesis Bracers, Mortick's Brace and Bracers of the First Men
  3. Fury of the Ancients
  4. Leoric's Crown
  5. Aquila Cuirass
  6. Goldwrap
  7. Blackthorne's Jousting Mail
  8. Convention of Elements and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac

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. Create a level 1 Demon Hunter and upgrade Swords to get In-geom
  5. Rings to get Convention of Elements and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
  6. 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).

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandRemorseless
The Gavel of Judgment (Cubed)
The Grandfather
Gimmershred
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Area Damage
5. Damage %
6. Maximum Fury (Secondary)
7. Strength
Ideally, you want Maximum Fury as Secondary to scale Hammer of the Ancients Critical Hit Chance.
Off-HandEchoing Fury
In-geom
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Damage %
5. Cooldown Reduction
6. Area Damage
7. Strength
HelmLeoric's Crown1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Hammer of the Ancients Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Strength
5. All Resistance
6. Vitality
GlovesMagefist
Stone Gauntlets
Gloves of Worship (Bounties A2)
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Area Damage
5. Strength
ShouldersFury of the Ancients1. Strength
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Area Damage
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
Chest Cindercoat
Aquila Cuirass
1. Fire Damage
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
3. Strength
4. All Resistance
5. Elite Damage Reduction
PantsBlackthorne's Jousting Mail1. Fire Damage
2. Strength
3. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
BootsIllusory Boots (Bounties A2)1. Hammer of the Ancients Damage
2. Strength
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
5. Armor
Ring 1Convention of Elements
Avarice Band (Bounties A3)
Stone of Jordan
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Damage Range
5. Critical Hit Chance
Ring 2Band of Might
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Damage Range
5. Critical Hit Chance
BracersBracers of the First Men
Mortick's Brace
Nemesis Bracers
1. Fire Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Strength
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
AmuletSquirt's Necklace
The Flavor of Time
1. Socket
2. Fire Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Critical Hit Damage
5. Strength
BeltThe Witching Hour1. Critical Hit Damage
2. Attack Speed
3. Strength
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
PotionBottomless Potion of Kulle-AidFor breaking walls to pull enemies
and increase DPS

Gems

  • Legacy of Dreams is the Legacy of Nightmares Set 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.

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 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. You can also use Ignore Pain to have a Crowd Control immunity option combined with some nice additional toughness.

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).
  • 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.

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. Cooldown Reduction3. Armor3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Vitality24. Attack Speed4. 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 mainstat (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. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  6. 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.

T16 Enchantress

T16 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.

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.

Key Items:

  • 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.

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 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.

Hardcore

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!


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
Torments Key Farming

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Remorseless and in-geom.

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. 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
Solo Greater Rift

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Remorseless and Echoing Fury.

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 The Flavor of Time.
Always start off by casting your Battle Rage Bloodshed. Use Ancient Spear Rage Flip to drag enemies along and create big pulls while moving around with Furious Charge Merciless Assault. 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.

Setups
There are not many alternatives here. If you struggle to survive you can take in Stone Gauntlets for an insane Armor boost or Aquila Cuirass for overall toughness. As you are immune to Control Impairing effects when you have Wrath of the Berserker up, the negative effect of Stone Gauntlets can not affect you in most situations. We can also drop War Cry to fit in Ancient Spear Rage Flip to gather large group of Elites for more Area Damage and more Battle Rage Bloodshed wave damage.

GR Group Trash Killer
LoD Hota Group Greater Rift

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Remorseless and Echoing Fury.

Concept
We take in Squirt's Necklace instead of Hellfire Amulett as we gain additional shields and toughness in group play for example by adding a zMonk to the party. This leaves us with double damage as long as our shields remain up!

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.

Setups
Here you can also take Stone Gauntlets or Aquila Cuirass for another Toughness boost. Andariel's Visage without the 6% Critical Chance roll can be an offensive option.


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 150 Fury.
  • We get 1% Critical Hit Chance per 5 Fury we currently have, so at full Fury we get 150 / 5 = 30% more Critical Chance. In conjunction with Battle Rage Bloodshed and Wrath of the Berserker, we gain a total of 30 + 3 + 10 = 43% 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.

Summary

  • Put together the core items and level up the Legacy of Dreams gem.
  • Always keep up Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients.
  • Furious Charge or Ground Stomp 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 Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
  • One of the most iconic Barbarian builds right next to the Whirlwind Rend Barb.
  • You almost always see high yellow Critical Hit Numbers!

I personally have not played this build much since it was META back years ago with the Immortal King's Call set. But while writing this guide I tried it again and loved it, just like back in the days! 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!

Introduction by Chewingnom.
Guide by Rob.