2H Barbarian Inferno Guide

2H Barbarian Inferno Guide submitted by jc.

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So there's not much going on here with 2hand Barbs. I've been playing 2hand since Act 1 and just today killed Diablo.

I find the 2hand playstyle to be quite effective and a LOT of fun.

Here's Diablo being dead:


Anyway, I figure I'll share what I've picked up along the way in case anyone else is interested in trying something other than sword&boarding their way through Inferno.
Frenzy - Your single target damage. Maniac is your go to rune in this build since it increases your seismic slam & earthquake damage. Do note that you can switch this out for Bash-Onslaught if you prefer not to deal with trying to keep Frenzy stacks up.

Seismic Slam - Primarily used as an "inbetween cooldown" ability. Also extremely good at refilling your healthbar with ignorance is bliss on large groups of mobs. Usually one cast of this ability will bring me back to full when there's 5+ monsters around. Shattered ground is used here as you want the highest damage per cast (the aoe on crackling rift is too small for my taste).

Earthquake+Wrath of the Berserker+Ignore Pain - Your "kill the champion packs in 5 seconds" combo. The runes here are definitely non-negotiable. Mountains call on earthquake is important as getting 100 fury for the combo would be very challenging. Insanity on WoTB is used as it doubles your earthquake damage. Ignorance is bliss is used on ignore pain as the life leech works with earthquake making you invulnerable for 5 seconds.

War cry - Self explanatory, huge survivability increase with the armor and resistances from impunity.

Passives - Ruthlessness/Weapon mastery: Non situational damage increases. Berserker rage and brawler uptime is sporadic so I avoid those for general purpose farming/boss killing. The last slot goes for whatever passive is more armor for you, either nerves of steel (usually) or tough as nails.

Valuable Stats & Gearing Priority

STR + VIT is the most important thing I could stress for 2handing. I have 38k hp and plow through A3. You do not need 50 or 60k hp for this build at all. You need to be able to kill things quickly. As an added bonus you even get some armor out of the deal too. Every piece of gear you wear should have lots of strength on it. This doesn't mean you're a glass cannon though so...

Mitigation (Armor & Resists) - As you're not using a shield, finding pieces with bonus armor is actually pretty important. And just as all melee are concerned, stacking your all resist is vital to survival in Inferno. Even though you'll kill things really fast with your 2hander, you still need to be able to take a few hits. A good rule of thumb for maximising your mitigation is aim for 10 times the amount of armor that you have resistance. Every piece of armor you wear should have either resists or bonus armor on it.

Crit/Crit Damage/Attack Speed - All good stats, especially attack speed. Attack speed will affect earthquake damage as it is normalized and will indirectly affect seismic slam through fury generation. Crit and crit damage do not affect earthquake but will increase frenzy and seismic slam damage quite a bit. Look for AS/Crit/Crit damage once you have a comfortable amount of strength.

Weapon Type - You should aim for a sword, as the 15% damage bonus is the only one that actually affects earthquake and is also the biggest DPS increase. If you can't find a good sword, try for a mace since they're really slow.

My Weapon


Stats Page


Gameplay tactics/hints/etc:

Rule #1 about the 2hand barbarian: You do not have revenge, you do not have leap or charge, do not get surrounded! This doesn't mean you're going to spend all day kiting, but it does mean that you should make smart use of seismic slam's knockback to ensure that you're not getting melee'd by an entire group of monsters.

My usual tactic for tackling normal mobs is to seismic slam about half of them back and pick off what's left or swing around the side and seismic slam the melee monsters back and then pick off the casters (caster white mobs should die in 1-2 hits). If you're unable to handle normal mobs without using WoTB/earthquake then you're probably not geared enough for whatever you're doing.

For champion packs, if they are melee and your cooldowns are up it should be trivial. If they're ranged, try to seismic slam them against a wall or kite them around a corner and then blow them up. Do not pop ignore pain at the very start of a champion pack. First, you should let your health get very low since it's going to almost instantly bring you back to full anyway.

For bosses, just kill them before they kill you :) Kite around and wait for your ignore pain if you need to. While progressing on content you should actually be doing, your full round of cd's should be about half of the boss's HP. The other half just requires some finesse.
Follower abilities that say "% of weapon damage" actually scale with your weapon damage. So since you're using a beefy 2hander, your follower will do lots of damage. Try an enchantress with the 2 aoe's, the armor bonus, and the attack speed bonus. Get her some intellect/vitality blues and she'll contribute a lot of damage.

Inferno Diablo:

Now I only killed him today, but I'm pretty sure I could have done it several days ago as it was actually really quick/easy.

Here's the build I used:

The changes from the build I use above are:

Sprint in place of Seismic slam - The reasoning here is that other than melee attacks, 100% of the damage on the fight is avoidable. Sprint in circles and wait for ignore pain and/or your other cooldowns to come up and you'll win.
Call of Ancients in place of Earthquake - The duration on COA is longer than earthquake, so you can spread out your damage more in phase 2. I actually managed to make my first COA of phase 2 get me through two of the shades. I used the damage/armor rune, but I think that the duration rune would be just as good, if not better.

I can't really say too much about the fight since I found it to be pretty easy, but the important things I found were:

  1. Pop cooldowns right at the start of the fight to burn through phase 1 but then STOP and wait for you cooldowns before going into phase 2.
  2. Manage cooldowns in phase 2 such that you have one for every shade. If you can get to phase 3 the fight's pretty much yours.
  3. Free melee time in phase 3 when Diablo casts the lightning inferno. Just sprint behind him and whoop his ass for a few seconds.
  4. Dodge the bone cages and fire void zones or you'll lose.

Lastly, if you don't plan on going in with nephelem valor, you can charge up full fury in town with this little trick:

*Switch one of your passives to Unforgiving.

*Switch your shout rune to Charge

*Pop your shout, wait for it to cooldown, switch the rune back to Impunity and shout again

*Switch Unforgiving back out for your original passive

Now you get to start the boss at full fury and get your burn on that much quicker.