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.
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 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:
- The Legendary Power
This build does not require specific Legendary Weapons to be functional. The main benefit from Ethereals for us is the ability to get The Executioner and Messerschmidt's Reaver on One-Handed Weapons, which is very beneficial if our group does not have any Necromancer with Frailty. 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 or In-geom powers, so keep those if you find them.
- The Ethereal Itself
There are 3 different weapons available to us, each with its own benefits:
- Gimmershred - This Ethereal has built-in Cooldown Reduction which is the main reason to take it over Doombringer if you have a Hardcap CDR setup. Its Movement Speed buff is great for pulling and in any kind of speed content.
- Doombringer - This Ethereal is very interesting for zBarb as it allows us to apply a 25% damage reduction debuff on monsters to support our teammates. Unfortunately it has regular Attack Speed and does not have Cooldown Reduction, meaning we can only use it with setups including Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
- The Grandfather - This is not any useful for zBarb.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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!
Guide by Rob & Chewingnom. Updated by Chewingnom.