Support zBarb Guide

Introduction

The zero damage Barb (zBarb) is one of the best support builds in the game and has a place in almost every group Most Effective Tactic Available (META). Its main skill is Furious Charge in combination with Ancient Spear Rage Flip to group monster together quickly while providing tremendous buffs to all group members with skills like, Ignore Pain and War Cry. This build is one of The most engaging but also one of the hardest, if not the hardest build, to play in the entire game. So let‘s get into it!

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

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


Core Setup

zBarb Push Greater Rift

Items

  • Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus for the double effectiveness of War Cry and Threatening Shout Falter
  • The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus to be able to move around fast with Furious Charge
  • Illusory Boots to move unhindered into the best spots for a perfect Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash
  • Pride of Cassius to get permanent up time on your most important buff Ignore Pain Mob Rule
  • Chilanik's Chain to get the huge 40% Movement Speed boost to everyone in the group
  • Strongarm Bracers for the easy to proc 30% additive damage buff
  • Band of Might if you are not crazy high Paragon this is a must have to survive
  • The Flavor of Time for the double Conduit Pylon duration
  • Recommended Potion: BOTTOMLESS POTION OF KULLE-AID to further assist your party by destroying walls

Global Stat Priorities
Aim to get permanent Ignore Pain Mob Rule for you and your teammates. To achieve this you need a minimum of 63.50% Cooldown Reduction. You can also play with a bit less Cooldown Reduction due to Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac, which procs when Ancient Spear Rage Flip hits enemies.
Attack Speed is nice to have for faster Furious Charge speed but there are no necessary important breakpoints to hit.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
1-HandersLittle Rogue
The Slanderer
In-geom
Echoing Fury
Pig Sticker
The Executioner
Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Attack Speed
3. Socket Ramaladni's Gift Flawless Royal Amethyst
4. Resource Cost Reduction
5. Vitality
6. Strength
Shield
(optional)
Stormshield1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Life %
3. All Resistance
4. Elite Damage Reduction
5. Intelligence
6. Vitality
HelmSkull of Savages
Raekor's Will
Leorics Crown
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Strength
4. Vitality
GlovesRaekor's Wraps
Claws of Savages
Cain's Scrivener (Crafted)
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Attack Speed
3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Strength or Vitality
ShouldersRaekor's Burden
Spines of Savages
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. All Resistance
3. Life %
4. Strength or Vitality
Chest Raekor's Heart
Markings of Savages
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Life %
4. Elite Damage Reduction
PantsLeggings of Savages
Raekor's Breeches
Cain's Habit (Crafted)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Armor
4. Strength or Vitality
BootsIllusory Boots (Bounties A2)1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Armor
Left RingBand of Might (Cubed)
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac
Oculus Ring (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Attack Speed
4. Resource Cost Reduction
Right RingRing of Royal Grandeur (Bounties A1)
Hellfire Ring
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Attack Speed
4. Resource Cost Reduction
BracersStrongarm Bracers
Nemesis Bracers
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Life per hit
AmuletThe Flavor of Time
Rondal's Locket
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Attack Speed
4. Resource Cost Reduction
5. Life %
BeltPride of Cassius
Chilanik's Chain (Cubed)
1. All Resistance
2. Life %
3. Strength
4. Vitality

Gems

  • Gem of Efficacious Toxin for 10% additive damage increase and damage reduction
  • Gogok of Swiftness for the extra 15% Cooldown Reduction and attack speed as well as additional toughness from dodge chance
  • The 3rd gem is optional: Either use Wreath of Lightning for the extra 25% Movement Speed and the easy monster engaging with the Lightning ticks, Esoteric Alteration for toughness or Iceblink with a Cold skill like Rend Mutilate for additional critical hit chance in 2 or 3-Player groups
  • Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard can be another option for setups without a zMonk in the group for insane self healing and overall toughness

Skills

  • Furious Charge for fury generation, utility, crowd control and to proc our Strongarm Bracers buff
  • Ignore Pain Mob Rule for crowd control immunity and toughness
  • War Cry for toughness usually with the Veteran's Warning rune
  • Threatening Shout Falter for additive damage or Threatening Shout Grim Harvest for health globe spawning which is especially useful for playing with Witch Doctors using the Gruesome Feast passive or resource-hungry builds wearing Reaper's Wraps
  • Ancient Spear Rage Flip for pulling (except in Rat-Runs as everything is frozen)
  • Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash for pulling and grouping enemies tightly together (expect in Rat-Runs as everything is frozen by Land of the Dead)
  • Sprint Forced March for utility, Wrath of the Berserker for overall stat boost, Rend Mutilate for additive damage increase and Iceblink procs

Passives

  • Inspiring Presence for increased War Cry duration and extra recovery
  • Relentless for toughness
  • Nerves of Steel as a cheat death to never die
  • Other useful passive are: Pound of Flesh for Movement Speed, Boon of Bul-kathos if you use Wrath of the Berserker, Sword and Board if you use a Stormshield or Superstition for toughness

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. All Resistance1. Pickup Radius
2. Maximum Fury2. Attack Speed2. Life %2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Vitality3. Critical Hit Chance3. Armor3. Life per Hit
4. Strength¹4. Critical Hit Damage4. Life Regeneration4. Area Damage²

¹ Aim for a ratio of around 6:10:1 (Vitality:Armor:All Resistance) for optimized Toughness
² Never put points into Area Damage (AD%) to avoid additional server lags due to unnecessary damage calculations!

Gameplay & Tasks

The zBarb provides massive amounts of damage, toughness & utility buffs and is key to clearing high greater rifts in groups successfully. Here is a list of tasks to pay attention to while playing:

Lead the group
The zBarb is the one leading the group and calls the shots because he:

  1. Scouts for elites & spots to group on
  2. Is very mobile with Furious Charge in combination with the The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus, Messerschmidt's Reaver or In-geom in speed runs
  3. Creates the pull with his pulling abilities Ancient Spear Rage Flip & Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash
  4. Is tanky enough to survive on its own and pull monsters from far away

To optimize gameplay & communication join up in the voice application of your choice & talk to your group. After you have some gameplay experience you get comfortable leading the way!

Create the Pull
After opening a Greater Rift, start buffing your allies with all your active buffs then proc'd to scout the map using Furious Charge. Monsters in the back should always be pulled along by using Ancient Spear Rage Flip. Call a spot (dropping a banner is the most common way of doing this, default hotkey on PC is G) for your party members to stay and damage the monsters. Pull as many monsters as you can there, focus on the back rather than on the front. Group them tight by using Ancient Spear Rage Flip and Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. Take care about not charging too much because of monster Crowd Control resistance building up and making your job of Rage Flipping more difficult!

Manage Pylons
Pylons always have fixed spots in a greater rift and can be missed if you do not manage them right. You can check out the in-depth mechanics here. One of your jobs as a zBarb is doing that by:

  1. Identifying by the map layout and having knowledge where possible Pylons spots are in each layout
  2. Tracking the progression on the Greater Rift and manage accordingly
  3. Tracking which Pylons are still left in the pool

Control the Rift Guardian
As one of the supports it is your job to control certain abilities of the Rift Guardian, tank hits for your allies or force teleport them into an optimal spot for killing them. For Rift Guardian mechanics and skills check out this post.

Force Teleport the Rift Guardian
If you need the Rift Guardian in another spot from where he originally spawned, the whole team but the zBarb should run to the preferred spot. The zBarb stays on the Rift Guardian and keeps the focus on him and then starts teleporting out of the Greater Rift after casting Ignore Pain to not get interrupted. As soon as you he is in town the Rift Guardian no longer has a target in range. This is forcing the Rift Guardian to teleport on your far away party members into the spot where you want it to be. Once that has happened the zBarb can go back into the Greater Rift and join up with the group again for buffs. The only Rift Guardian you can not use this trick on is Vesalius, he can not force teleport.

Tank hits
You wanna take as much incoming damage away from your Rift Guardian Killer (RGK) as possible, especially when the RGK plays with Squirt's Necklace. Try to stand in front of the RGK at all times but still keep all your buffs up. A prime example would be the Rift Guardian Saxtris as she always attacks one target with its melee attack. Take the hits for the team!

Control
A lot of Rift Guardian abilities can be interrupted by stunning them. That works from some damage skills, teleport skill or summon skills. A prime example would be Skeleton King. You wanna stun its summon and teleport animation by using Ground Stomp or Furious Charge. But be careful: You only want to stun the Rift Guardian when it is necessary to avoid it becoming immune to Crowd Control.

Group Benefits

The zBarb can provide the following buffs to the group:

  1. Additive Damage  90-100% total
    50% from Threatening Shout Falter in combination with the Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus
    30% from Strongarm Bracers proc'd by Furious Charge, Ancient Spear Rage Flip and/or Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash
    10% from a level 25 Gem of Efficacious Toxin on attack
    10% optional from Rend Mutilate
  2. Toughness
    25% Damage Reduction from Ignore Pain Mob Rule
    10% Damage Reduction from a level 25 Gem of Efficacious Toxin (on attack)
    40% Armor & 60% Dodge Chance from War Cry Veteran's Warning in combination with the Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus
  3. Crowd Control Immunity
    Ignore Pain Mob Rule makes it so allies can not be knocked back, stunned, frozen or feared
  4. Movement Speed
    40% from War Cry in combination with Chilanik's Chain
    20% optional from Sprint Forced March
  5. Pulling
    Ancient Spear Rage Flip is a super useful as an awesome long range pull ability
    Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash is perfect to group monsters up very tightly (Pixel Stack)
  6. Oculus Ring
    Oculus Ring 85% multiplicative damage after a monster kill if you stand in the gold ring, just like every support build in the game
  7. The Flavor of Time
    The Flavor of Time grants double Pylon duration for the extra Conduit Damage
  8. Globes Spawning & Pickup
    The zBarb can spawn a huge amount of health globes with Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash and Threatening Shout Grim Harvest. The build is very mobile you can pick up the spawned health globes as well as the progression globes very easy if you stack some pickup radius on gear
  9. Bonus Experience
    There are a few open item slots in the speed setup so the Barb can wear bonus experience gear to provide a buff to the whole group. To check the in-depth bonuses click here.
  10. The Executioner
    If there is no Necromancer with Frailty in the group then the zBarb can also cube The Executioner to kill monster that are below 10% life instantly

You can see how much the zBarb provides for his allies, all these buffs combined make him present in almost any group META runs!

Hardcore

Together with a zMonk every Hardcore group should have a zBarb due to the heavy toughness buffs and overall safety this build provides. You can even save your allies should they disconnect by pulling monsters away from them using Ancient Spear Rage Flip.
Make sure to always use Band of Might and Nerves of Steel to not die yourself. If you die you also put your team members in danger and that should obviously be avoided!


Variants

Speed Runs
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 Golgor's or Punisher's 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.

Rat Runs
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 & 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. You can also switch Nemesis Bracers to Leoric's Signet for even more exp if the other support already has them.

3 & 4-Player GR Push
zBarb Greater Rift Push

Concept
This is the hardest setup to play and master in Diablo. You have to do everything written in the Gameplay & Tasks section and the success of the Greater Rift hugely depends on you!
Call, scout, buff, debuff, pull, pixel, scout again and continue! Here are a few common practices in the different META that a zBarb has to know:

Gameplay
Play around your Trash Killer's DPS rotation
The best way to do damage in Diablo is to burst for a few seconds using Convention of Elements in combination with temporary buffs like Wave of Force Arcane Attunement, Blackhole Spellsteal, Way of the Hundred Fists Assimilation, Archon, Land of the Dead, accumulated damage with The Barber, transformations etc. You need to communicate with your Trash Killer to know when their damage window is coming up. For the short amount of time the damage window is available, the zBarb's job is to have all the monsters tightly grouped in one spot around the elites ideally and have all damage buffs 100% up.

How to aggro & pull in monsters
The key here is to identify a proper map location suitable for your individual group META to group up plenty of monsters in one place. The main priority should be on the monsters at the back as you will move forward later anyways. Aggro the monsters by attacking them with the Wreath of Lightning or a long ranged Ancient Spear Rage Flip. A dot will be applied by your Gem of Efficacious Toxin to keep them angry and make them follow you. Use Furious Charge in combination with Ancient Spear Rage Flip to drag the monsters over long distances. If you're playing a map with doors like Keeps or Depths monsters will sometimes get stuck in narrow doorways causing a "traffic jam," you'll need to pull some of them backwards to free them up.

How to Pixel
Pixel the monsters means to drag them into the same spot or the same pixel on the map ignoring their collision box by using Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. Everyone in the party needs to make sure to not Crowd Control the monsters prior to the Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash cast. For a proper pixel you need space, so find or create space using Ancient Spear Rage Flip. Ideally the spot is within the zMonks Inner Sanctuary), has no monsters and is next to an Elite (especially if it is a type that is not pullable). Force move there with your Illusory Boots and use Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash.
Depending on the pull size you can repeat this process a 2nd time. This takes practice and needs to be timed with the trash killers damage rotation for their Convention of Elements rotation

Setups
Feel free to drop Band of Might to take in Nemesis Bracers at high Paragons (4000+). You can take in Pig Sticker together with a Stormshield and Sword and Board at super low Paragon levels to gain additional toughness. If you still struggle to survive it makes sense to drop Wreath of Lightning to take in Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for more toughness or healing.

Checkout these Gameplay Videos 2 Player, 3 Player or the video below for 4 Player!

2-Player GR Push
2-Player Greater Rift Push

Concept
The concept is very similar to the 4-Player META where we as the zBarb pull everything together quickly and the Trah Killer bursts the pull down with skills like Grim Scythe for example! We stack more toughness with Stormshield plus the Sword and Board passive combination and some healing from Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard.

Gameplay
Pull as many monsters as possible together while providing damage and toughness to your damage dealer. Try to get the monsters on the Elites using Ancient Spear Rage Flip and Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. Once every monster is grouped up, the damage dealer bursts on their Convention of Elements rotation. Always communicate with your teammates while scouting the Rift by calling out Pylons, dead-end layouts, dangerous monster affixes, monster types etc.

Setups
Feel free to drop Esoteric Alteration or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard to Iceblink and switch Furious Charge rune to Cold Rush or take in Gem of Efficacious Toxin instead for 10% additive damage increase and damage reduction.

Solo Push / PTR Testing
Solo PTR Testing

Concept
This is very niche and strongly dependent on the current seasonal theme. It mostly works on the Public Test Realm (PTR) and is a very good setup for testing and identifying bugs with environmental season themes like S19 or S21. Sometimes it is even possible to clear with a zero damage character on live servers for example with a 0% progression Conduit Pylon, but that is very unlikely and usually not worth the try-hard. The idea here is to basically go zero damage but very tanky with loads on pulling abilities as well as a The Flavor of Time for the extra Conduit damage.

Gameplay
Group up as many monsters as you can while waiting for a specific environmental theme proc or you Conduit Damage. Furthermore you can test things like a new skill or item mechanics by singling out monsters using Ancient Spear Rage Flip.

Setups
Feel free to drop Aquila Cuirass to take Unity together with your Follower.

Checkout this Gameplay Video from a PTR GR150 clear.


Video Guide

zBarb GR150 4-Player Action

Mechanics

Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus

  • Battle Rage: Doubles every number except duration and ranges
  • War Cry: Doubles every number except duration
  • Threatening Shout: Doubles damage reduction, damage and fear duration. The taunt is bugged/way too short and the slow goes 60% to 90%
  • Enemies take double damage only from Barbarians using the Horde of the Ninety Savages (2) Bonus and only when they are affected by a fear, freeze or stun

Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash

  • Ignores the collision boxes of most enemies if casted in an area with enough space for the enemies to land
  • The pull effect happens before the stun and can reduce it's own duration. Check out out crowd control mechanics section here
  • There is a 0.5s delay between skill activation and the stun effect
  • Does not work if there in a map object in the way of the enemies hitbox
  • Does not work when there is a Wall casted by Waller affix in the way of the enemies hitbox
  • Does not work on Bosses and big monsters like Punishers, Mallet Lords, Golgors, Armaddons etc.
  • Does not work on Elites with the Juggernaut Affix

Ancient Spear Rage Flip

  • Does not work if there in a map object in the way of the enemies hitbox
  • Does not work when there is a Wall casted by Waller Affix in the way of the enemies hitbox
  • Does not work on Bosses and big monsters like Punishers, Mallet Lords, Golgors, Armaddons etc.
  • Does not work on Elites with the Juggernaut Affix
  • The pull range can be extended by using Furious Charge right after you throw the Spear, or getting wormholed by the Elite Affix

Furious Charge

Furious Charge Knockback-Zone with Raekor Set

A lot of people ask why The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus is not used in the speed run version of the build. You will have a hard time proccing your Strongarm Bracers with the Set equipped as Furious Charge gains all the runes from the The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus. The rune Furious Charge Cold Rush freezes the enemy upon hit, which is a BIG problem. These frozen enemies cannot be knocked back by your Furious Charge anymore, so the Strongarm Bracer debuff will not apply if we charge through enemies (which is impossible to consistently avoid doing). There is a small zone at the end of a charge (white zone in the screenshot) where the knock back effect will still take place even with the The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus active, but when you charge directly through enemy hit boxes you will not proc Strongarm Bracers. Without the The Legacy of Raekor (4) Bonus you will always have the buff and won't have to worry about a thing!



Summary

  • Overall best supporter in the entire game!
  • Used in every 4-player group setup there is!
  • Hard to master but very active and fun to play!
  • Carry and lead your group to victory!

I hope this guide gave you the insides into the zBarb and can help you improve your understanding and playstyle. For me playing zBarb is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Diablo so enjoy the real Barb power!
Guide by Rob