Barbarian Inferno Guide

Comprehensive Barbarian Inferno Guide by The Rum Ham.


I am The Rum Ham. Maining a Barbarian, I am working my way through Inferno.

By the time you read this I’ll likely be deep into Act 3 Inferno and doing well.

Wanted to share my knowledge with the Barb community.

Guide Purpose:
  • Quick digestible info on how to play Barb and why at Inferno, so you can learn fast and get back to slaying
  • Tested, up to Act 3 Inferno and doing better as my gear scales up. Been using the same Inferno build since Act 1 effectively.
  • Meant for new 60s and low-to-mid geared 60s who are getting stuck on Act 1 and 2 (which happened to me multiple times)
  • In-depth and comprehensive without being a wall of text or monologues of theorycrafting. This is what I do, how it works, and why.
Gameplay Truths About Inferno:
  • Mobs, even trash mobs, hit exceptionally hard and will kill you
  • Elite fights will more often than not be about kiting, not damage tanking
  • Advancement will be pretty gear-dependent because you can’t avoid everything
Gameplay Roles:
  • Tanking huge amounts of normal mobs
  • Kiting/CC’ing Elite mobs that will near-instant gank you
  • Guarding your ranged teammates
Guide continued after the page break..


1: Frenzy [Triumph / Maniac] Frenzy’s attack speed stacks makes your WW swing faster, Triumph’s healing is invaluable for sustaining as well. If you have a ton of Life on Hit, Life Steal, and Life Regen, I could see taking Maniac but it’s more niche. Bash/Cleave too slow and don’t sync with the other skills as well.

2: Whirlwind [Blood Funnel] This is key to the build, WW hitting a zillion mobs + Crit heals ties everything together. You sustain in huge mob packs better than Revenge, especially with Life Steal and/or Life on Hit. You can only afford one slot on a Fury spender, and Seismic Slam (the only other reasonable option IMO) gets weaker as mobs get CC reduction and hard to aim as mobs move faster or teleport.

3: Ground Stomp [Wrenching Smash] Probably the best CC in the game, syncs with Whirlwind and sets up easy Leap stuns to chain stun mob groups.

4: Leap [Death from Above] Solid CC on one of the best mobility skills in the game, most versatile skill easily. Leap is the only skill that never left my hotbar up til 60.

5: Threatening Shout [Intimidate / Terrify]Also versatile, damage debuff + light CC. I go with Intimidate because when kiting I wanted to guaranteed snare over the dice roll on Fear, but either is legit. I also didn’t like that Fear sometimes scattered mobs from my WW. I could also see Falter or Demoralize. I went with CC, I could see other uses though. This is amazing to pop mid-WW to get extra time on the spin and keep you alive a bit longer.

6: Ignore Pain [Ignorance is Bliss] You need a huge amount of Lifesteal somewhere, because when you’re low on life you can’t always kite forever for wait for your Life Regen. This is nice to jump into mobs, start WW’ing, and pop Threatening Shout and Ignore Pain when they come out of the stun. It’s a huge damage reduction and between 20% Lifesteal and WW crits, you can full heal before leaping out safely.

How the Build Works
  • You have the most CC you could reasonably take, all of which builds fury.
  • You tank huge amounts of trash mobs with Ignore Pain, Threatening Shout, and WW’ing with healing Crits. Shields carry the heavy lifting as well.
  • You kite elite mobs with stuns and snares while your Enchantress / DPS classes kill them. Fight a little, kite and heal, fight a little, kite and heal. When you have Fury, WW soft mob groups to heal and contribute damage.
Why Not War Cry [Invigorate / Impunity]
  • War Cry is amazing and with Invigorate was a staple of group play for a long time. Inferno requires too many active skills to deal with the mobs, a passive heal/bonus is a waste of a slot when you can get these effects on gear.
  • Revenge - Strong on NM/Hell, but the big mob groups hit so hard so quick, even the 1-second cooldown is too long. You tend to overheal and then take most of your health after hitting it, need either stuns or constant damage/healing
  • Big Skills (E’rfquake, Call of the Ancients, Wrath of the Berserker) - Great fun skills, but too slow and you aren’t stacking enough damage to make them impressive. This is hella fun for Act 4 Hell with a 2H though.
Follower [Solo]: Enchantress
  • Enchantress brings even more CC and decent damage. Could see Scoundrel for the Crit Chance, honestly either work I just wanted the CC. Mass Polymorph FTW.
  • Gear really really really matters for your Followers. I got a lvl 59 legendary staff (500 dps) for my Enchantress on the AH for something like 200k and she does solid damage now. If you solo a lot, invest in them and they will pay off.
  • TBH I don’t solo much, this is the part of the guide I’m least confident in. Scoundrel may be better, but I didn’t want to leave this section out. If you have amazing Scoundrel gear or simply prefer them, go for it. Templar is only thing I would rule out. Gearplay
Gear Truths
  • Block % matters, use this formula: [Block Chance (.17 for 17%, for example)] x [(Min Block + Max Block) / 2]. This is, averaged out, how much damage mitigated per hit. What looked like a mild shield upgrade at level 60 was actually around 400 dmg/hit due to a high block chance.
  • Life Regen is the most underrated stat. The mobs that matter are champs, and you’ll mostly be CC’ing/kiting, so being able to heal large % of your max HP during extended fights is a game-changer and keeps you alive.
  • Strength is good, but don’t bend over backwards to get it or aim for 2k Strength. You’ll never out damage a Demon Hunter or Wizard, so don’t sacrifice your survival to close that gap. I crit for 15k or so. Geared Demon Hunters crit for 50-100k. Just be the tank, if you want to be DPS god get a 2H and lollerskate around Act 4 Hell.
Stats to Stack: Crit Chance
  • You will never out DPS a pure DPS class, but Crit chance allows you to contribute well enough and solo strongly, and Crit’ing during Whirlwind is what holds it all together. Aim for 15-20% but there’s no cap for how much you want. I have 33.50% and want more.
  • Life Regen, stated above, this essentially lets you sustain and kite elite mobs much more effectively. Having even 200 makes a difference, shoot for 300-400 as you gear up. Vit / Life %
  • Life % is the Crit chance of health. Very underrated and once you have around 700 or so Vit, it’s probably better. Once you have a lot of % HP it also makes huge Vit items incredibly valuable (one piece of 200 Vit is actually 300 Vit with 50% bonus HP; you don’t have to get Vit on every single item if you have enough % Life, you can focus it on 1-2 slots)
Auction House Tricks
  • Use the filters to find deals. There are countless of any given item on the AH, the trick to deals is parsing data. I search things like Life % instead of Vit and you can see clear price/demand differences. Life % is usually cheaper because fewer people are looking at it.
  • If it seems like a REALLY good deal and the AH listing is 1d 23h or 2, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. If you’re unsure or it seems like a good deal but has been up for a day, don’t. You’re missing something, maybe a better Legendary around the same price?
  • Sell everything. Vendor blue stuff, sell yellows at the AH for cheap (sub-20k) to keep them moving, sell nearly all your gems, etc. The market for these are crashing by the day, you can buy them back later for cheap or farm them on alts. What’s more important is the liquid funds to buy up great gear at low prices. When someone lists a great piece for cheap, it’s up for maybe 2 hours tops, you want to be in the position to make moves when you can.
Recommended Items

Again, these are for new 60s or low geared ones looking for guidance. Obviously super late game you want the fattest loot ever, but right now you gotta make due. These are good things to spend your money on for upgrades.
  • 1H: Skysplitter or Rare 1H – Don’t freak about the DPS, get defensive stats / Crit % / Regen
  • Shield: Ivory Tower – Great balance of price/effectiveness. Has Regen too.
  • Helm: Lots of options, Rares are probably the best value. Get a socket, because 12%+ Life from Amethysts are great deals. Shoulders: Rares work fine because the legendary shoulders are super endgame and thus expensive. For a total steal though, try to pick up Barter Town Pads. Cheap, and totally reasonable at level 60 depending on the stats. Good patch that will carry you until Vile Ward.
  • Torso: Solid Rare – All the Legendary/Set items are too expensive and not that great. Go Rare.
  • Wrists: Promise of Glory – Ton of Strength and cheap Crit %
  • Hands: Gladiator Gauntlets or Stone Gauntlets – The former is amazing for the CC reduction and HUGE Crit, the latter is way cheaper with CC procs, no durability loss (this will add up), and lots of Strength.
  • Waist: Koturr’s Brace – Total steal, Block % is huge. Other belts work fine, this is a good deal though. Other options are 2-piecing Inna’s Blessing with pants (see below), String of Ears, or Angel Hair Braid. Thunder God’s Vigor, if spawned with Frenzy bonus AND a good random, could be amazing too.
  • Legs: Rare, none of the legendaries/sets are that great. For a neat workaround, Inna’s Glory (Monk pants) are fairly decent for you, find a well spawned one and it’s probably as good as a Rare, and you can 2-piece it for a ton of Dex, which is Dodge %.
  • Feet: Rare or eventually Immortal King’s Boots. None of the legendaries are good for you.
  • Amulet: Kymbo’s Gold is cheap and very good, you can find steals at Flavor of Time too. Level 60s legendary/set items are pretty overpriced for now and arguably not that great. Take the cheaper option.
  • Rings: Infinite options, I’m working towards the Legacy of Nighttime Whispers 2-piece ring set for the Regen/stats/Magic Find, but for cheaper options that are still great: Bul-Kathos Wedding Band, Eternal Union, and even dipping down to Justice Lantern is probably totally legit.
Late Game / Long Term:
  • Helm of Command – Block chance, best helm etc.
  • Stormshield – Best shield in the game, amazing block %
  • Vile Ward – Best shoulders for you, Regen etc.
  • Hellcat Waistguard/Lamentation – Life Regen, huge stats, etc etc.
  • Azurewrath or A+ Skysplitter – Best weapons I think, the unique stats are going to beat out random rares in the long run, esp if you aren’t reaching for the highest DPS ever.
  • Sets:
  • Immortal Kings – I love it, but you need to find the right pieces at the right prices. This seems like a pipe dream for most people, so I left it aside. All the pieces seem great if spawned right.
  • Blackthorne’s – Great if a piece drops for you, buying it all from scratch seems pricey. On the upside, your alts can use it due to the stat spread. I’d say too pricey, but it could work if you get lucky at the AH.
  • Endless Journey/Legacy of Nighttime Whispers – I think these are great personally, but there’s a very legit argument for just going with badass legendaries or rares. Expensive but worth it, I feel.

Adds to Build After More Play:

Frenzy [Triumph] -> Cleave [Reaping Swing]
  • Post Act 1, the opportunity to skirmish with small amounts of mobs lessens a bunch, I found my rotation is moving more towards Leap, Swing, Swing, Ground Stomp, Swing, Start WW, Threatening Shout.
  • Frenzy thrived as a small skirmish/healing ability. With the only threatening small groups being Elites, which I can't heal off of regularly, it's need goes down.
  • In the above rotation, I have 3 swings to get max Fury, only Cleave with Reap can do this.
  • Finally, I was wrong on Frenzy working on WW, good call reddit.
Solo: Threatening Shout [Falter / Terrify] - Group: Threatening Shout [Taunt]
  • Taunt is just more reliable in team situations and helps manage tougher aggro
  • Mobs have too much CC reduction, the snare is hardly worthwhile anymore and does zero against reasonably fast mobs or Fast elites

Passives: (Sorry I forgot the passives beofore. Now added)

  • Best passive, can't not take it.
  • Bonus is that against Molten, Electrified, Plagued, etc that spams elemental damage on you, you can maintain a lot of Fury to keep your WW on
Offensive: Ruthless or Brawler
  • Ruthless if you have more Crit % to leverage WW procs
  • Brawler if you're low on Crit and focusing more on Life Steal
Option: Juggernaut or Tough as Nails or Offensive
  • This is more player preference, group/team comp, and what part of the game you're at.
  • Juggernaut is unreal at making Jailer, Frozen, Nightmarish etc Elites much easier. Having a Frozen bomb field bomb and HEAL you to full is a game changer against a wide spread of Elites
  • Tough as Nails - I think Armor kind of sucks, but there are definitely Phys heavy areas this is good at
  • If you don't want Juggernaut, either of the two offensives or Weapon Mastery for Crit % is fine, I feel too squishy but I think others can do fine depending on gear (if you have a lot Life Steal I think you can get away with this, I personally don't.)
To answer questions:
  • I don't solo much and can't solo later Act 2. Act 2 is just really bad, mob-wise, for Barbs with asshole Wasps and Leapers. I can solo Act 1 dungeons reliably (Dungeon crawl to 5 stacks -> Skeleton King, repeat for Spider Queen, reset) and that's enough to farm money and loot.
  • The gear I recommend is expensive but you can sell random good yellows for 100-400k right now, and the random jackpot set item comes about 1 per 4 hours or so, you get a lot of money if you're efficient. Use that to get deals, not brute force your dream item. Just tonight I snagged a solid Lamentation (#1 Belt) for 500k just as it was listed. Any reasonable 60 should be able to afford that if they haven't spent it all crafting.