Greater Rift Mechanics

Content of this article:

  1. General
  2. Scaling
  3. Map Pool
  4. Monster Pool
  5. Rift Guardian
  6. Pylon Management
  7. Fishing


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.

Torment LevelGreater Rift Level

1. General

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.

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 rankChance of upgrading
+10 or higher100%
-5 to -151%
-16 or lower0%

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: Primals by 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.

2. Scaling

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:

  • Monster health:  
    GR1-150: x1.17
  • Monster damage:
    GR1-25: x1.13185
    GR26-70:  x1.07177
    GR71-150: x1.02337
  • Experience gain:
    GR1-25 handpicked numbers
    GR26-70 x1.08
    GR71-150 x1.05
  • 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.

Trials 78 Key

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

MapCountChanceShort Description
Top Tier10510.5%Best maps you can get
Festering Woods515.4%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
Battelfields545.5%The second best map, very open as well (again possible
4 corner layout), decent amount of Pylon spots
Good10610.6%Still very good
Shrouded Moor555.5%Always medium size with a 4 corner layout where
it is easy to build density and drag Elites along
Desert515.1%Also decently open map with a medium size that is filled
with good density and many Pylons spots
Potential13813.8%Can be good if they have the right layout and size
Plague Tunnels454.5%Can be very large with open rooms, but very narrow as well.
Layouts are possible with plenty of dead ends
Act 2 Cave40.4%Also known as the "Wudicave", Big open cave but
with lots of holes in it and some narrow passages
Silver Spire444.4%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
Arreat Crater454.5%Wide variety of layouts here, can be very narrow with bridges
and dead-ends but also very open with decent Pylon spawns
Meh31031.0%Very rare to be any good
Temple of the Firstborn292.9%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
Eternal Woods292.9%Can be "openish," but there are loads of trees
blocking the ability to pull and drag monsters along
Vault151.5%Can be very short or very long, decent layouts are possible
Sand doors and bridges make it difficult to drag monsters along
Storm Halls474.7%Similar to Vault, can be decent but mostly not as it is too narrow
Greyhollow Island323.2%Looks similar to Cave layouts , can have open rooms but too
narrow overall
Hell Rift393.9%Super short, only 2 possible layouts, kill some trash and go next
Halls of Agony666.6%The most common map layout in the game, can be very very bad
to pretty decent, if you have open rooms with zombie pits
Pandemonium Fortress535.3%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
WestmarchN/AN/AUsually pretty bad, sometimes can contain good rooms
New game34134.1%If you wanna push high on the Leaderboards better leave these
Crypt575.7%Can have open rooms but generally to narrow with very
underwhelming density
Keeps585.8%Many doors, super narrow, not good
A1 Cave101.0%Many narrow corridors, hard to drag monsters along
Ice Cave50.5%To many holes in the group with narrow passages
Spider Cave50.5%Only 1 open room with a long entrance & exit,
very bad and hard to skip fast
Green Cave30.3%Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Water Cave131.3%Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Winding Cave101.0%Too many caves in this game - narrow and no density
Realmwalker575.7%Also knows as "spaghetti", to many bridges, very rarely you can
see open rooms here, usually only at the end
Cathedral696.8%Only a few open rooms here and there but most likely narrow
Corvus555.5%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 🙁
SewersN/AN/AExtremely 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:

Best Maps in GRs

4. Monster Pool

There are a variety of different monsters with different progressions that appear inside a Greater Rift:

Monster Sets

Monster SetsNicknameNotes
Best Monster Sets
Vile Swarm, Brood Hatchling, Webspitter SpiderVile SwarmsFocus on the Vile Swarms
Dark Vessel, Revenant Soldier, UnburiedTransformersWait for Dark Vessels to transform into Unholy Thralls
Good Monster Sets
Tusked Bogan, Maggot Brood, Moon Clan ImpalerBig Bogans, MaggotsFocus on the high value Maggots
Ice Porcupine, Ice Clan Warrior, Ice Clan ImpalerPorcupines, Ice ClanKill the melee Ice Clan Warriors
Savage Beast, Scavenger, Quill Fiend, Tomb Guardian, Arachnid HorrorSumonner Charger, Petting zooFocus on the Savage Beats
Scavenger, Burrowing Leaper, Returned Executioner, Maniacal GolgorFroggies [and Skeletons] Let the Tomb Guardians summon extra progression
Spiderling, Bile Crawler, Arachnid Horror, Moon Clan ImpalerMini SpidersDo small fast pulls
Grotesque, Risen, Returned ExecutionerZombie GrotesqueBe aware of the Grotesque explosions
Lacuni Huntress, Warping Horror, Ravenous Dead, Hungry Corpse, Retching Cadaver Lacuni PhasebeatsLet the Retching Cadaver spawn additional progress
Dune Stinger, Accursed, Grotesque, Fallen Peon, Fallen Cur Bees AccursedDangerous but high progression monsters
Ghastly Gravedigger, Ghostly Murderer, Dark Zealot, Enraged PhantomGhosts PeopleBe aware of the Ghost's leeching attacks
Armored Destroyer, Plague Carrier, Corpse Raiser, Skeletal BeastChickens, Salad, DestroyersThis monster type groups up super nice
Dark Hellion, Foul Conjurer, Dark Berserker, Crazed CultistDark Hellions, GG-Comp, GOD CompThis monster type groups up super nice
Lacuni Slasher, Horror, Foul Conjurer, Blood Clan MaulerLacuni SlasherLoads of progression, be aware of the Horror explosions
Quill Fiend, Skeleton, Blazing Ghoul, Tomb Guardian, UnburiedQuill Fiend + SummonerLet the Summoners spawn additional progression
Mediocre Monster Sets
Toxic Lurker, Death Maiden, Stygian CrawlerBig SpidersFew small monsters, hard to kill the Toxic Lurker
Bogan Trapper, Tusked Bogan, Shrieking TerrorBogan TrapperBe aware of traps and Tusked Bogan charges
Disentombed Hulk, Dust Eater, Dust ImpHulks + Red ZombiesMake big pulls, Hulks follow nicely
Barbed Lurker, Dark Berserker, Dark Hellion, Skeletal Beast, PunisherEmpty Set, Dark BerserkersVery few monsters in general
Fallen Master, Reviled, Vile Revenant, Blazing Swordwielder, Demon Raider, Exorcist, Returned ExecutionerBlue FallensUsed to be one of the best monstertypes, now medium
Crazed Summoner, Fallen Firemage, Fallen SlavelordFallen ShamansAvoid the Fire projectiles
Anarch, Carrion Bat, Death Maiden, Fallen Overseer, Summoned Soldier, Summoned Shield Guard, Skeletal Archer, Executioner, ExarchAnarch + ExarchFocus on the high value Death Maiden
Scorching Creeper, Disentombed Hulk, Winged Assassin, Oppressor, Mallet Lord, Lacuni StalkerRed SpidersMany Winged Assassin can spawn here for decent progression
Fallen Overseer, Anarch, Fallen Hound, FallenRed FallensFocus on the high value Fallen Overseers
Bad Monster Sets
Unburied, Moon Clan Warrior, Moon Clan Shaman, Moon Clan Impaler, Ghoul, DarkmothMoon Clan, Unburied Goats Only very few Unburied
Skeletal Archer, Blazing Bone Warrior, SkeletonRed ArchersBarely any progression
Blazing Guardian, Barbed Lurker, Dark Berserker, Returned ArcherBlazing GuardiansDo not stand in the same position for to long
Stygian Crawler, Voracious Zombie, Spewing Horror, Quill Fiend, Demon Trooper, Dark HellionStingers, CrawlerCan be okayish with decent pulls
Blazing Ghoul, Fallen Overseer, Moon Clan Impaler, Oppressor, Subjugator, Vile TemptressRed Balls, OppressorAvoid the Vile Temptress projectiles
Morlu Legionnaire, Morlu Incinerator, Mallet Lord, Demonic Hellflyer, Hell WitchMorlusKill the Morlus before they can heal back up to full hp
Blood Clan Warrior, Blood Clan Spearman, Colossal Golgor, Blood Clan Sorcerer, Tormented StingerBlood Clan, Spearman, Comedy CombWorst monstertype in the game, barely any progression
Spellwinder, Soul Lasher, Noxious Guardian, Fallen Overlord, Copperfang Lurker, Abomination, Brood HatchlingLightning SnakesBeware of the Snakes' lighting attacks
Fallen Slavelord, Quill Fiend, Soul Ripper, SubjugatorLickers, Green FallenBe aware of hungry Tounges!

5. Rift Guardian Pool

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!)


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

You can fight this Rift Guardian anywhere. The supports can stand in front to tank abilities like the Fire Ball and the Melee attack.


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

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.


Melee, empowered Executioner, mostly Physical Damage, Undead, big Hitbox


  • Fast Affix
  • 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

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.

Bone Warlock

Ranged, empowered Skeletal Summoner, mostly Arcane Damage, Undead, small Hitbox


  • Wormhole Affix
  • Summoning Affix CD: 15 sec
    Summons 3 Minions out of a set of 4 different types that give the Skeleton King a special ability.
Summon TypeAffix on MinionAbility Bone Warlock gains
Knockback BonesKnockbackKnockback
Mortar BonesMortarShoots 4 Arcane Bolts (see below)
Quick BonesFastTeleport
Reflecting BonesReflectReflect 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

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.

Cold Snap

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.

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.

Crusader King

Melee, empowered Skeleton King Boss of Act I, Arcane & Physical Damage, Undead, medium Hitbox


  • Jailer Affix Arcane 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

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.


Ranged, empowered Morlu Incinerator, mostly Fire Damage, Demon, small Hitbox


  • Teleport Affix
  • 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

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.


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

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.


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

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!


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.

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.

Infernal Maiden

Melee, empowered Maiden of Flame, mostly Fire Damage, Reaper, big Hitbox


  • Teleport Affix
  • 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

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.

Man Carver

Melee, empowered Butcher, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, medium Hitbox


  • Waller Affix
  • 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

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.


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

Dodge or interrupt the beams! Supports can attract the Illusion's beam attacks in other directions away from the damage dealers.


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

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.


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

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.


Melee, empowered Exarch, mostly Lightning Damage, Reaper, tiny Hitbox


  • Electrified Affix
  • 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

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.


Ranged, empowered Key Warden of Act III, mostly Cold Damage, Demon, small Hitbox


  • Teleporter Affix
  • 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

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.

Sand Shaper

Ranged, empowered Zolten Kulle, mostly Fire Damage, Human, small Hitbox


  • Teleport Affix
  • 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

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.


Melee, empowered Copperfang Lurker, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, small Hitbox


  • Vortex Affix
  • 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)

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.


Melee, empowered Sand Dweller, mostly Physical Damage, Demon, biggest Rift Guardian Hitbox in the game


  • Knockback Affix
  • 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

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.


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

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.

The Binder

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

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.

The Choker

Ranged, empowered Barbed Lurker, mostly Poison Damage, Beast, tiny Hitbox


  • 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

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.


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

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.


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

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.

Maximizing Conduit

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:

Mechanic summary by wudijo
  • 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

6. Fishing

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:

Dream Rift Layout in Festering Woods

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 pulls ideally 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:

0.054 * 0.2 * 0.3 * 0.333 * 0.2 * 0.15 * 0.25 * 0.24 = 0,000001942056 %

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