Greater Rifts(also refereed to as GR) play the biggest role in Diablo III's Endgame. In this post we will look at the in-depth mechanics of this system.
Greater Rift Level
To open a Greater Rift you need a Greater Rift Keystone obtained in Nephalem Rifts. The higher the cleared Nephalem Rift is the higher the amount of average keys you will receive as reward. On Torment 16 you will receive 3 or 4 keys with equal probability. Cain's Destiny set can increase your average number of keys by 25%. Click the Nephalem Obelisk next to Orek in town to open a GR & choose a Rift level. You will unlock the first tiers by completing Nephalem Rifts on certain difficulty levels.
On top of that and further along all the way to GR150 (which is the cap) you unlock new tiers by completing the Greater Rifts. To complete a Greater Rift you need to kill monsters until you reach 100% progression and then kill the Rift Guardian (also known as RG) within a 15 minute time window. The remaining time is displayed by a timer on the right side. Depending on how fast you complete the GR, you will unlock +1 (10:00-15 minutes completion time), +2 (5:00-9:59 minutes completion time) or +3 (0:00-4:59 minutes completion time) tiers.
Leaderboards Every time you complete a Greater Rift in time you are also placed in the in game Leaderboards if you are within the top 1000 Players for each individual category. The categories on the Leaderboards are: Solo for each of the 7 classes, 2-Player and 3-Player and 4-Player.
Once you kill the Rift Guardian of a Greater Rift in time all your transmogrification, gear, skills and passives will be snapshotted onto the Leaderboards. Every player watching your clear on the Leaderboards can see your full setup except your Follower. This has not always been the case. In past clears only the transmogrification of the players setup was shown and the actual META build remained hidden in some cases. This was changed for the sake of more transparency, but also leads to some problems where a lot of people just copy paste whatever the Rank 1 player is using without understanding the builds or the mechanics behind it. In the end this feature is useful to get a general idea of what builds the top clears played, especially for newer or returning players.
GR tier compared to Gem's rank
Chance of upgrading
+10 or higher
-5 to -15
-16 or lower
Monsters killed in Greater Rifts don't drop any loot. All the Gold-generating effects (such as Boon of the Hoarder or Goldskin) are also disabled. Instead you get massive amount of loot when you finish the rift by killing the Rift Guardian.
The Rift Guardian drops Gold, Gems, crafting materials and Blood Shards, amount of which scales linearly with Greater Rift tier. It also drops up to 12 items of varying quality. The average quality of these items increases with the Greater Rift tier but somewhere around GR100 it becomes high enough that virtually every item dropped will be a Legendary or Set item. From that point on the item drops effectively stop scaling.
If you do not have all Legendary Gems collected, the Rift Guardian is guaranteed to drop one of Gems you are missing. The first gem you get this way is always Bane of the Powerful. Legacy of Dreams has significantly higher drop chance compared to all other gems and is usually found soon after. Otherwise the order is completely random.
If you complete a Greater Rift on time, you can attempt to upgrade your Legendary Gems by talking to Urshi (who will spawn next to slain Rift Guardian). You get 3 upgrade attempts baseline, one more if you don't die for the entire rift and another one if you pay Gold to empower the rift before entering it. You can spend these attempts on any gems that you have on your character or in your shared stash. The chance of successful upgrade depends on the Greater Rift tier and Gem's rank. Refer to the table above for the exact chances on each level.
After you kill the Rift Guardian (and upgraded your Gems if able), you can talk to Orek in town to finish the quest. This will close the rift and award you a large amount of Gold and Experience scaling exponentially with the Greater Rift tier.
New personal solo records will also unlock a new maximum Blood Shard cap the player can carry at a time. You start with a base cap of 500 and get an increase of +10 Blood Shards per cleared Greater Rift level. That means if you manage to clear a GR100 solo you get: 500 base + GR100 * 10 = 1500 Blood Shard cap! In a fresh season or on a new account you will also get access to the best items in the game: Primalsby clearing a GR70 Solo!
Competing a Greater Rift 75 solo will also unlock Torment 16 difficulty in Public Games for your character. This is done to ensure that you are capable to clear certain content before being assigned to a public group of your power level.
Death Penalty The penalty for death inside a GR is the additional time it takes to respawn: On the very first death you can respawn instantly without losing any time, but every death beyond that will increase your respawn timer by +5 seconds, up to a maximum of 30 seconds. The Greater Rift timer of 15 minutes will keep counting during your respawn time.
The Greater Rift 150 cap ceiling problem When introduced the Greater Rift System was supposed to be an "infinite scaling system". This has been the case for many years as there was no way to reach the theoretical cap. But patches and patches came by while each one brought more and more power creep to the game which lead to players clearing the highest possible Rifts. In recent seasons it has even become the rule rather than the exception that GR150 is cleared within the first days of a fresh season and speed cleared within 2 or 3 minutes in the final season push.
Blizzard has stated that the Greater Rift cap of 150 is here to stay as it is and rather focuses on adding new builds as well as improving existing ones to further add variety to Diablo III's endgame. Here is Blizzard's official blog post regarding this issue.
Greater Rifts get more and more difficult but also more and more rewarding the higher you go. Each level you go up the multiplicative increase is:
Blood Shard gain: 127 base + ( Greater Rift Level * 3) On Greater Rift 100 you gain 427 Bloodshards
Gold gain: 1.03 % per Greater Rift Level, same for the Empowered Costs just rounded
Most of the time you will be playing Greater Rifts above level 70 there the scaling can be illustrated as follows:
Monster Health doubles every 4.5 tiers
Monster Damage doubles every 30 tiers
Experience gain doubles every 14 tiers
Blood Shard's and Gold costs to empower for +1 gem up increases with every level as well as the Gold reward for completing the Greater Rifts.
Multiplayer scaling The monster life further increases by 100% for each Player beyond the first one who joined the Greater Rift when it was opened. The monster damage remains the same. As there are some amazing group synergies and combinations available as well as the Strength in Numbers buff the group benefits far outweigh the monster life gain. You can check the full Multiplayer scaling here.
History & Trials Back when Greater Rifts got introduced you had to farm Bounties in order to open Torment Rifts. Then you had to farm these Torment Rifts in order to get a Trial Key to access the Trial Realm. The Trial Realm was a relatively small area where the Players had to clear waves of monsters in a certain time window. Depending on how high a wave of monster you or your party cleared in a given time you would be rewarded with a Greater Rift Keystone of the cleared difficulty level. A unique playstyle that was required to gain the highest keys resulted in an entire META revolving just around the Trial Realm. This system was changed pretty quickly in 2015 to the system we know today as Players had to go trough a lot of effort to actually play the real Diablo III endgame: Greater Rift!
3. Map Pool
There are a variety of different maps that randomly appear when a Greater Rift is opened. There are some exceptions like the Sewer & Westmarch map layouts that cannot spawn as Greater Rift floor 1. Generally Players are looking for open map layouts where it is easy to build up density of trash monsters while damaging Elites and dragging them along to finish them off. On top of that the top Rift layouts have plenty Pylon spots for very flexible use. Here is a full list of Maps with a chance to be opened as floor 1 (sample-size of 1000 runs) and a short description of each map in the pool, sorted by potential:
Greater Rift Map Pool
Best maps you can get
The best map in the Game! It has it all: Great density, many open areas (especially the 4 corner version), plenty of Pylon spots and many Elite enemies
The second best map, very open as well (again possible 4 corner layout), decent amount of Pylon spots
Still very good
Always medium size with a 4 corner layout where it is easy to build density and drag Elites along
Also decently open map with a medium size that is filled with good density and many Pylons spots
Can be good if they have the right layout and size
Can be very large with open rooms, but very narrow as well. Layouts are possible with plenty of dead ends
Act 2 Cave
Also known as the "Wudicave", Big open cave but with lots of holes in it and some narrow passages
The layout can be very large and open but is often riddled with bridges and obstacles. Has very limited Pylon spawns, some layouts go as far as not having any Pylon spawn points whatsoever
Wide variety of layouts here, can be very narrow with bridges and dead-ends but also very open with decent Pylon spawns
Very rare to be any good
Temple of the Firstborn
It's meh because it is usually very short and can be skipped no problem, very narrow map that can have a few open rooms here and there but overall hard to impossible to kill Elites
Can be "openish," but there are loads of trees blocking the ability to pull and drag monsters along
Can be very short or very long, decent layouts are possible Sand doors and bridges make it difficult to drag monsters along
Similar to Vault, can be decent but mostly not as it is too narrow
Looks similar to Cave layouts , can have open rooms but too narrow overall
Super short, only 2 possible layouts, kill some trash and go next
Halls of Agony
The most common map layout in the game, can be very very bad to pretty decent, if you have open rooms with zombie pits
Shock towers are very problematic here, the layout has a few open rooms but small bridges that connect these rooms making it difficult to drag Elites along
Usually pretty bad, sometimes can contain good rooms
If you wanna push high on the Leaderboards better leave these
Can have open rooms but generally to narrow with very underwhelming density
Many doors, super narrow, not good
Many narrow corridors, hard to drag monsters along
To many holes in the group with narrow passages
Only 1 open room with a long entrance & exit, very bad and hard to skip fast
Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Also knows as "spaghetti", to many bridges, very rarely you can see open rooms here, usually only at the end
Only a few open rooms here and there but most likely narrow
Possibly the worst map, very narrow like keeps On top of that you have to click every single door individually and wait for them to open 🙁
Extremely long, narrow and contains few enemies
Note that Westmarch and Sewer maps don't have numbers in this list as they simply cannot spawn in the first Greater Rift floor that is opened!
You can see by the data that you roughly have a 1 in 3 chance to get a playable "openish" map on the first floor.
A couple things that have changed from the past: Maps that have been great, like the Spider Cave for example have been reduced from a possible 2 room layout to only 1, making it one of the worst maps nowadays. A lot of map layouts like the 4 corner Arreat Craters that you can see in Torment Rifts are just not possible to spawn in Greater Rifts anymore.
Here you can see the maps data showcased in a video by wudijo:
4. Monster Pool
There are a variety of different monsters with different progressions that appear inside a Greater Rift:
Best Monster Sets
Vile Swarm, Brood Hatchling, Webspitter Spider
Focus on the Vile Swarms
Dark Vessel, Revenant Soldier, Unburied
Wait for Dark Vessels to transform into Unholy Thralls
Good Monster Sets
Tusked Bogan, Maggot Brood, Moon Clan Impaler
Big Bogans, Maggots
Focus on the high value Maggots
Ice Porcupine, Ice Clan Warrior, Ice Clan Impaler
Porcupines, Ice Clan
Kill the melee Ice Clan Warriors
Savage Beast, Scavenger, Quill Fiend, Tomb Guardian, Arachnid Horror
Sumonner Charger, Petting zoo
Focus on the Savage Beats
Scavenger, Burrowing Leaper, Returned Executioner, Maniacal Golgor
Froggies [and Skeletons]
Let the Tomb Guardians summon extra progression
Spiderling, Bile Crawler, Arachnid Horror, Moon Clan Impaler
The Rift Guardian spawns after 100% progression is reached and is the final boss of the Greater Rift. They all have the same amount of hit points, count as Elites and are different monster types. There are a total of 25 Rift Guardians each with different and unique mechanics: (Disclaimer: The following list is not complete yet and will be updated over time!)
Type Melee, empowered Demonic Hellflyer, mostly Fire Damage, Beast, medium Hitbox
Fast & Mortar Affix
Melee Attack: Single target Physical Damage attack
Fireball: Fires a ranged single target fire ball that does Fire Damage
Fire Volley: Spits out 3 slow, ranged fireballs that do Fire Damage
Fire Nova: 30sec CD, ranged Fire Damage Release a 360 degrees Fire Nova when at 50% life or lower
Fire Breath: Short range attack with knock back and Fire Damage
Fire Ground Circle: Places a fire circle onto the ground that activates after 2 seconds. Lasts for around 30 seconds and deals Fire Damage
Strategy You can fight this Rift Guardian anywhere. The supports can stand in front to tank abilities like the Fire Ball and the Melee attack.
Type Melee, empowered Herald of Pestilence, mostly Poison Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox
Plagued & Knockback Affix
Melee Attack: Standard single target physical attack
Poison Bolts: Shoots bolts of poison in all directions. Deals single target Poison Damage
Tentacle Attack: Sticks his arm into the ground spawning multiple tentacles out of the ground doing Poison Damage in a huge area of effect
Strategy This is the best Rift Guardian by far for the Thorns Necromancer. You want to fight this boss in a narrow spot if you rely on thorns to reflect damage. With any other build it is best to fight this boss in an open spot to avoid the full damage being done by him not stacking the Tentacle Attack into one spot. Supports can also stand in front of the damage dealer to soak up some abilities like Poison Bolts.
Type Melee, empowered Executioner, mostly Physical Damage, Undead, big Hitbox
Frenzy: +50% faster attack speed that scales up even faster when at lower hit points, Physical Damage
Single Jump: Does a single leap that can be interrupted. Can only target Players outside of his melee range (around 15 yards), Physical Damage
Multiple Jumps: Leaps around 3-9 times targeting Players for Physical Damage, cannot be interrupted
Strategy Fight this Rift Guardian in a narrow spot it cannot leap out of, like close to an entrance or exit to another Greater Rift level, ideally you can get him completely stuck in one position. Even if it gets out, stay in the same position as the boss will always return to the same spot with his last jump.
Type Ranged, empowered Skeletal Summoner, mostly Arcane Damage, Undead, small Hitbox
Summoning Affix CD: 15 sec Summons 3 Minions out of a set of 4 different types that give the Skeleton King a special ability.
Affix on Minion
Ability Bone Warlock gains
Shoots 4 Arcane Bolts (see below)
Reflect on the Rift Guardian and all Minions
Arcane Bolts: Ranged Arcane Damage attack in 3 different variations: Single Shot: Fires slow moving single target high damage missile Triple Shot: Fires 3 faster moving projectiles Quad Shot: Fires 4 faster moving projectiles only if Mortar Bones is active
Strategy Can fight this Rift Guardian anywhere. Open rooms work best to dodge the Arcane Bolts & the Wormhole Affix. In group play the zBarb usually pull the Minions away to maximize Bane of the Stricken gain for the RGK.
Type Melee, empowered Izual, mostly Cold Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox
Frozen Pulse Affix: Cold Damage that does more damage and has a faster cooldown than a normal Frozen Pulse summons more frequently when at lower life
Melee Attack: Melee, single target Physical Damage Mace attack
Slam: Slams the ground with a melee, Physical Damage attack, has a channel time & can be avoided
Charge: Charges towards a far away target doing Physical Damage
Cold Nova: Releases a 360 degree cold nova that does Cold Damage in 100 yard range. Freezes Players for 4 seconds. The freeze ends as soon as the boss hits a Player with a melee attack
Enhanced Frozen: AoE, cold attack While below 50% life releases ice crystals that explode doing Cold Damage and freeze the Player. Scales with multiple Players in the game. Does not do damage over time while building up.
Strategy Pretty straightforward if you never leave the melee range this Rift Guardian will never charge and never move. Supports can try to tank the melee attacks. In solo you want to dodge the ice crystals.
Type Melee, empowered Skeleton King Boss of Act I, Arcane & Physical Damage, Undead, medium Hitbox
Jailer AffixArcane Damage
Mace Attack: Melee, AoE, Physical Damage
Teleport Attack: Melee, AoE, Physical Damage, teleports to a Player and swings his Mace
Arcane Nova: Release a volley of Arcane Damage bolts
Whirlwind: Melee, AoE, Physical Damage, laughs and spins like a Barbarian's Whirlwind
Summon Skeletons: Summons multiple Minions twice in a row at 100% boss life, can be interrupted, maximum of 15 adds total
Strategy You can fight this Rift Guardian pretty much anywhere and interrupt his summon and teleport attack to maximize Bane of the Stricken stack gain. In some situations you want to let the adds spawn in order to get Oculus Ring or AoE effects with Area Damage.
Type Ranged, empowered Morlu Incinerator, mostly Fire Damage, Demon, small Hitbox
Meteor: Casts a huge AoE meteor that comes down from the sky after 3 seconds causing AoE Fire Damage, base coolown is 10 seconds and is reduced by 50% all the way down to 5 seconds when the boss is below 50% hit points
Summon Lunatics: Summons 2- 3 Lunatics that run towards Players and explode dealing a huge amount of Physical Damage when the boss is around 95% life. Cooldown is 10 seconds
Summon Shamens: Summons 2 shamans starting at 60% of boss life that shoot fireballs dealing Fire Damage
Strategy Comfortably dodge the meteor and avoid the Lunatics. In group the support usually drags the Minions away to avoid explosion damage and to stack Bane of the Stricken more efficiently.
Type Ranged, empowered Corrupted Angel, mostly Posion Damage, Demon, small Hitbox
Missile dampening Affix: Removed!
Poison Bolts: Shoots 3 single target ranged bolts that deal Poison Damage
Poison Nova: Casts a poison nova that releases after 1.5 seconds and deals Poison Damage in a 30 yard AoE
Poison Blast: Releases a blast also with a 1.5 second delay dealing Poison Damage in a 20 yard AoE
Charge: Charges enemies that are more than 10 yards away for Physical Damage
Strategy Get this Rift Guardian next to a wall or stay in melee range so it does not charge around. Supporters can tank the Poison Bolts for the damage dealing Players by staying in front of them.
Type Melee, empowered Corpse Raiser, mostly Arcane Damage, Reaper, small Hitbox
Vortex, Teleport and Arcane Affix
Melee attack: Hits for Physical Damage with the Vortex Affix
Wave: Casts a Cold Damage wave that moves away from the boss
Summoning: Summons up to 10 Skeletons at 100% boss life, Physical Damage
Strategy A common strategy for groups is to force teleport this Rift Guardian after it has summoned the maximum amount of 10 Minions to have a single target boss fight. Dodge the arcane beams!
Type Melee, empowered Rat King, mostly Poison Damage, Beast, big Hitbox
Melee Attack: Very fast Physical Damage melee attack
Ratnado: Casts 2 10-yard radius tornadoes of rats dealing Poison Damage over time while moving around unpredictability. After 6 seconds the tornado explodes dealing poison damage in a 10 yard circle.
Shield Area: Lasts for 10 seconds with a 15 second cooldown Creates a 45 yard circle around the boss that cannot be passed by Players unless they have the ability to ignore Hitboxes like from Illusionary boots or something similar
Dig: Can dig into the ground every 30 seconds and emerges at a different location
Summon: Frequently spawns Ratlings while at certain hit point thresholds from the holes of his back dealing Physical Damage. Can randomly spawns even at full hp.
Strategy Very dangerous Rift Guardian for solo players - avoid the Ratnado! In groups you can pretty much face tank this boss. Furthermore this is one of the best bosses for AoE damage dealing build due to the crazy Hitbox size and the frequently added Minions proccing more Area Damage.
Type Melee, empowered Maiden of Flame, mostly Fire Damage, Reaper, big Hitbox
Melee Attack:Fire & Physical close range attack
Whirlwind: Spins in place dealing Physical and Fire melee Damage
Fire Whirlwind: Like whirlwind but also launches mortar projectiles around a wide cone in font of the boss dealing Fire Damage
Fire Nova: While at under 50% life casts a fire nova in a 100-yard range every 30 seconds dealing Fire Damage. The further you are away from the Rift Guardian the easier it is to dodge this attack
Strategy For melee classes you want to avoid a close range Nova combined with a physical hit as this can one shot you. This Rift Guardian's large Hitbox allows for some good kiting to avoid the melee abilities altogether.
Type Melee, empowered Butcher, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox
Melee Hit: Physical single target damage
Melee Smash: Smashes the group with his axe for heavy physical damage in a small area of effect close to the Rift Guardian dealing Physical Damage
Ancient Spear: Does Physical Damage in a cone in front of the boss.
Hook: Uses a hook attack to pull a Player towards him usually followed by a melee smash dealing Physical Damage
Charge: After channeling for 2 seconds charges in a straight line for Physical Damage. The cooldown is 20 seconds and the attack can be interrupted
Mark of Fire: Creates an AoE dot effect on the ground that deals Fire Damage. Activates after 2 seconds and lasts for 30. Can stack multiple on the same location
Teleport Can teleport multiple screens away to a Player that is out of engage range
Strategy The Waller Affix can be annoying for ranged classes like the Impale Demon Hunter as it blocks your projectiles. Try to move around a lot and do not let the Rift Guardian stack the Mark of Fire on you and avoid the hooks.
Type Melee, empowered Terror Demon, mostly Lightning Damage, Demon, small Hitbox
Teleport & Fast Affix
Melee attack: Slashes single target in melee range for Physical Damage
Beam Attack: Creates a beam that deals huge AoE Lightning Damage in a straight line, can be interrupted and also change direction if the targets are moving around
Illusionist: Summons 3 clones of himself that can also cast Beam Attack but cannot change direction of their beams
Strategy Dodge or interrupt the beams! Supports can attract the Illusion's beam attacks in other directions away from the damage dealers.
Type Melee, empowered Rakanoth, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox
Extra Fast Affix
Melee Attack: Hits for Physical single target Damage, can be interrupted
Blade Shuriken: Channels 2 seconds for to release AoE hitting blades that deal Physical Damage and can be interrupted
Blink Strike: Teleports to a Player followed by by a physical AoE bash, can only target Players further than 20 yards away, can be interrupted and deals Physical Damage
Strategy Only uses auto attacks if Players remain stationary and in melee range. All moving and followup attacks can be minimized if a Player stays inside this Rift Guardian's hit box. As a support you want to take melee hits and interrupt abilities like Blink Strike if needed.
Type Melee, empowered Mallet Lord, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, tiny Hitbox for its size
Extra Fast, Teleporter & Vortex Affix
Melee Attack: Swings into the ground dealing huge Physical Damage in small area of effect, can be interrupted
Summoning: Spawns Armored Destroyers from the sky without limit. They do melee hit Physical Damage and also damage Players when landing from the sky
Rocks: Casts rocks from the sky that hit the ground after 1.5 seconds dealing Physical Damage in a 15 yard area
Strategy Interrupt the heavy melee attacks by stunning or by running around. Dodge the rocks falling from the sky. In groups the supports can pull away the Minions to a degree to maximize Bane of the Stricken stacking.
Type Melee, empowered Exarch, mostly Lightning Damage, Reaper, tiny Hitbox
Lightning Attack: Melee single target Lightning Damage attack
Lightning Charge: Shots a volley of Construct projectiles as Holy Damage
Lightning Orb: Area of effect Exarch attack dealing Lightning Damage
Strategy You can fight this Rift Guardian pretty much anywhere but it can be difficult to hit due to the tiny Hitbox. Supports can stun during the damage dealers Convention of Elements rotation to guarantee full damage burst output.
Type Ranged, empowered Key Warden of Act III, mostly Cold Damage, Demon, small Hitbox
Melee Attack:Physical single target attack
Frost Bolt: Fires 3 Bolts dealing Cold Damage in a cone
Frost Pool: Creates 4 small circles dealing Cold AoE Damage over time
Frost Ring: Casts a large blue circle on the ground dealing Cold Damage
Strategy This Rift Guardian is moving a lot due to the ranged and teleport abilities. Supporters can stun on damage burst rotation to guarantee damage output. Avoid the heavy AoE dot effects on the ground if you are playing a squishy build.
Type Ranged, empowered Zolten Kulle, mostly Fire Damage, Human, small Hitbox
Slow time: Similar to the Wizard ability. While in the area of effect the Players' attack speed is slowed by 30% and movement speed is slowed by 80%
Fire Ball: Casts an small AoE hitting fire ball for Fire Damage
Energy Twister: Again similar to the Wizard ability. Casts a randomly moving tornado dealing Arcane Damage
Rocks: Cast rocks from the sky that hit the ground after 1.5 seconds dealing Physical Damage in a 15 yard AoE
Strategy Supporters can tank the fireballs to optimize damage output when using squirts. Dodge the rocks when playing a squish class and avoid staying in the slow time bubble when playing an attack speed dependant build.
Type Melee, empowered Copperfang Lurker, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, small Hitbox
Melee Attack: Physical single target attack
Energy Twister: Again similar to the Wizard ability. Casts a randomly moving tornado dealing Arcane Damage
Summon: After the boss is below 75% life frequently summons 10-15 Swarms (Physical Damage) or 10-15 Electric Eels (Lightning Damage)
Strategy One of the best Rift Guardian's for AoE damage dealing builds. You can stack your Bane of the Stricken first and then do crazy Area Damage due to frequently added Minions. As a supports try to take the boss aggro for the melee attacks. Trash killer builds can try to spawn Oculus Ring for the Rift Guardian killer by killing the bosses Minions.
Type Melee, empowered Sand Dweller, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, biggest Rift Guardian Hitbox in the game
Melee attack: Physical single target damage attack
Summon: Creates a turret that fires the mortar fire Affix, can be interrupted
Charge: Targets a Player that is outside of melee range to charge at him dealing Physical Damage to all Players in the line
Strategy The Charge can be avoided by staying close to this Rift Guardian. You can interrupt the turret summoning by stunning him when he sicks his left arm into the ground to optimizes Bane of the Stricken gain.
Type Melee, empowered Succubus, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox
Teleporter & Knockback Affix
Melee Attack: Single target physical melee attack
Backward Dash: Glides away from the Player
Cursed Ground: At 60% boss hp spawns Geysers onto the group
Strategy Fight this Rift Guardian in a narrow spot ideally so it cannot backward dash all the time. Stun on damage burst rotations to guarantee damage output.
Type Melee, empowered Cydaea, mostly Poison Damage, Demon, large Hitbox
Melee Attack: Standard single target physical melee attack
Poison Balls: Creates 3 poison balls dealing high single target damage
Poison Spit: Spits missiles and spray 30 yards in a 160 degree angle in front of the boss, does tremendous Poison Damage
Summon Spiderlings: At 85% of boss life summons 5 Spiderlings that deal melee Poison Damage, summons two waves and summons again when the Spiderlings are killed
Strategy One of the best Rift Guardian for AoE damage dealing builds. Stack your Bane of the Stricken first and then do crazy Area Damage due to frequently added Minions with a large boss Hitbox. As a support try to take the Rift Guardian's aggro for the melee attacks. Trash killer builds can try to spawn Oculus Ring for the Rift Guardian killer by killing the bosses Minions.
Teleport Affix that always teleports to the furthest away Player. Can even teleport multiple screens away to a Player
Summon: Creates up to 10 Slimes dealing ranged Poison Damage that are replaced if killed
Backward Dash: Glides away from the Player
Poison attack: Shoots three bolts that randomly move away from the boss dealing Poison Damage
Poison Circle: At 75% boss hp spawns a 20 yard circle around the boss detonating dealing Poison Damage
Poison Pools: At 75 % boss hp spawns pools of poison that deal huge AoE Poison Damage over time
Strategy This is one of the worst Rift Guardians in the game for most build as it moves around so much. This can be minimized by luring or force teleporting him into a small area. The supporters can try to lure the Slimes away for the damage dealers to get more Bane of the Stricken stacks. Be careful not to go to far away as the boss then teleports on the furthest away Player.
Type Ranged, empowered Vidian, mostly Arcane Damage, Demon, tiny Hitbox
Wormhole & Frozen Pulse Affix
Gateway: Disappears into a portal and reappearing somewhere else, can be interrupted
Arcane bolts: Releases a spray of fast moving arcane bolts doing Arcane Damage in a small area of effect
Strategy The newest Rift Guardian in the game and also the only boss that cant be force teleported. This boss usually keeps its distance from players. Try to interrupt his gateway ability when he sinks into the floor to optimize damage output and Bane of the Stricken gain. Avoid being dragged into the Wormhole circle and dodge the arcane bolts if playing a squish build.
Type Melee, empowered Ghom, mostly Poison Damage, Demon, big Hitbox
Melee Attack: Standard single target physical melee attack
Poison Cloud: Frequently releases 2 gas clouds each cast that deal Poison Damage over time and stack with each other. Lasts for 75 seconds with a around 12 second cooldown.
Bile Spew: Mid range spray attack that deals Poison Damage over 2 seconds in a small area of effect
Summon: At 65% boss life summons 2 Slime Minions after a long range poison attack that he spits at Players that are more then 15 yards away, with a maximum of 4 at a time
Strategy Try to snapshot the clouds with all toughness buffs you have available. Never move out afterwards if you can tank the incoming Damage over Time like this. If not move around and kite him. The Rift Guardian's huge hit box makes him easy to hit while kiting.
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, then starts teleporting out of the Greater Rift after casting Ignore Pain to not get interrupted. As soon as he is in town the Rift Guardian no longer has a target in range. This forces the Rift Guardian to teleport to your far away party members in the spot you want it to. 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 cannot use this trick on is Vesalius as this boss cannot be force teleported.
Bane of the Stricken The best gem to engage in a longer Rift Guardian fight is Bane of the Stricken. While having a base 25% multiplicative damage boost against Rift Guardians is great, the primary effect is what makes this legendary gem a true powerhouse when it comes to boss killing: For each attack you do against an enemy the more damage it takes form all your next attacks stacking up to infinity. As most of the Rift Guardians have no or only a few Minions this effect works wonders in a long Rift Guardian fight!
6. Pylon Management
Another powerful tool inside GRs are Pylons. There are 5 different Pylon types:
Channeling Pylon Effect:Channeling Pylon resource costs by 100% and all cooldowns by 75%. Duration: 30sec Best use: Offensive for high cooldown burst skills like the Necromancer's Land of the Dead and to skip maps quickly by spamming movement speed abilities.
Conduit Pylon Effect: Conduit Pylon releases Lightning from your character damaging monsters scaling with the Greater Rift level. Deals reduced damage to Rift Guardians. Duration: 30sec Best use: At the end of open maps after dragging Elites along side
Shield Pylon Effect: Shield Pylon grants immunity to all incoming damage and control impairing effects. Duration: 60sec Best use: In huge prepared pulls or on the Rift Guardian
Speed Pylon Effect:Speed Pylon increases Movement Speed by 100%, Attack Speed by 30% additive, grants the ability to ignore monster hitboxes while moving and knocks monster up in the air applying a Crowd Control effect onto them. Duration: 60sec Best use: This Pylon is skipped by most builds and often in group play because of the added Crowd Control effect, but it still can be used to skip floors fast or to stack Bane of Stricken on the Rift Guardian faster. This is also the only Pylon buff that does not drop off when leaving the Greater Rift.
Power Pylon Effect: Power Pylon increase your damage by x3.5 multiplicatively. Duration: 30sec Best use: In huge pulls timed with Convention of Elements damage rotation or on the Rift Guardian after stacking Bane of the Stricken for some time.
Here are some more facts about Pylons in GRs:
2-4 Pylons spawn each Rift
No Pylon can spawn twice
Pylons effects will disappear once the Player exits the Greater Rift (with the exception of Speed Pylon)
After the Rift Guardian is spawned Pylons cannot spawn anymore
Pylons have fixed positions inside the Greater Rift map pool
Spawn rate increases with the Greater Rift progress
It is possible to get a Pylon at 0% progression but very unlikely
Pylon spawns can be lost if you do not discover new Pylon spots frequently while progressing trough the Greater Rift
The only item to increase the effect of Pylons is The Flavor of Time, which doubles their duration for the wearer of the amulet
Getting a high rank on the Leaderboards usually requires a huge amount of GR fishing. You are looking for a top tier map with a top tier mob type, usually a Conduit Pylon and a decent boss for your individual build. Sometimes you even rely on some more RNG factors like seasonal themes (S21) or Elite Affixes like Missile Dampening. Here is a list of RNG-Factors that go into Greater Rift fishing and we can "build" our dream Greater Rift with roughly estimated chances:
1. You need a good Rift tileset: Festering Woods - the best one ~ 5.4% chance
2. You need a good tileset layout: Festering Woods - the best tileset very open 4 corner layout ~ 20% chance
3. You need a good mobtype: Transformers with Hellions & Unburieds for example ~30% chance
4. You need a good amount trash monsters: Many Transformers and Unburieds for example ~ 33.3% chance
5. You need good Elite Affixes: Preferably no Wormwhole or Juggernaut Elites ~ 20% chance
6. You need good Elite types: You want to have mostly melee Elites (these usually stay inside the pull and follow very easily) or Summoners, Mothers, Vile Hives, Maggots to spawn additional progress ~ 15% chance
7. You want to finish the Rift in 1 to 3 pullsideally to lose not to much time moving ~ Covered in 1. 2. 3. & 4.
8. You need good Pylons: Ideally Conduit Pylon for the Rift, Power Pylon and Speed Pylon for the Rift Guardian ~ 25% chance
9. You want to get 100 % progression on one map to not lose times with loading screens, travel times and grouping up monsters ~ Covered in 1. 2. 3. & 4.
10. You need a good Rift Guardian depending on your build, either competently stationary single target or melee with Minions for AoE heavy build. ~ 24% chance
That leaves our rough chance to getting close to a dream Rift scenario:
Or 1 in around 500.000 for the "absolute perfect" Rift. For reference Rob has played this game for more than 10.000 hours since launch and cleared "only" 78.000 Rifts on his account. Of course you do not need a perfect Rift by any means to get a top rank, it is rather just a theoretical best case scenario. You can roughly get a decent Rift every 100 keys.
Below you can find suggestions to reduced this RNG load inside of Greater Rifts and make the journey to push a high Leaderboard rank more fun for the player.
Suggestions to reduce the amount of fishing required
Greater Rifts are very RNG heavy and are a huge part of the game. Getting a high Leaderboard rank requires a lot of fishing and determination from the player. The system around the Greater Rift cap and the randomness factor could be greatly improved, but it has already come a long way since its launch and has been improved tremendously. Overall Greater Rifts are a great endgame tool and are fun to play solo as well as in groups with your friends. May the RNJesus be with you on your Diablo journey! Cheers, Rob