This is group play build designed for staying alive and controlling mobs, all the while protecting your DPS group members while they kill the mobs. It is not gear dependant, nor is it designed for the Barbarian to contribute damage. It is about winning group encounters easily and clearing maps. If you can't handle doing no damage, then stop reading now ;)
This build is a "tanking" build in one sense: you are protecting your ally. It is actually a Crowd Control (CC) and mobility build at heart though: You will be moving around herding/stunning/pushing back mobs for your DPS partner to kill while also healing yourself and not taking damage. The term bodyguard fits better than tank here because you are basically trying to protect your DPS, but not by acting as a meat shield.
I've used this build to clear A1 and A2 with my Wizard friend. He can't take hits and I can't deal damage, but when we play like this we mow through trash packs and can handle most champions easily. I consider my gear adequate to below adequate. It is not expensive gear.
Note: This build works solo as well, but I will sometimes swap out Furious Charge for Revenge or something else, or swap a passive or two. There are better fine tuning options for solo play. This build was designed with group play /w a DPS partner or two in mind.
The Skills Rationale:
Frenzy /w Vanguard: Movement speed keeps you alive and gets you out of trouble, period. Stun proc rune isn't long enough in Inferno and doesn't proc enough and you don't want to stand and trade blows anyway.
Leap /w Iron Impact: +300% armor gives me 90% damage reduction (with base 7500 armor) which is basically invulnerable for 4 seconds. Open with this, or use it if you get surrounded and need to stay alive OR to leap out of trouble.
Ground Stomp /w Wrenching Smash: After your armor buff wears off, this is another period where you take no damage AND it clusters enemies for your DPS to hit, and for your Furious Charge and Siesmic Slam.
Siesmic Slam /w Strength from the Earth: The area this hits, and the knockback it generates is so nice and allows you to create space. Also, it interupts cast animations and some swings from larger enemies (if they are affected by the shockwave).
Furious Charge /w Dreadnought: I was married to Revenge until I realized I was always losing the race to keep healed when I was surrounded, even with constant Revenge procs. Dreadnought heals for 8% max life per mob hit, and is also a great "get out of bad situation skill". Two birds stoned at once! I use this (along with Leap) to avoid freeze bombs from champions too. Charging through a cluster of stunned mobs will basically full heal you.
War Cry /w Impunity: You need as much physical resist as you can get. If you don't have enough life from Vit, gear is your problem. Don't use the life buff rune to try and take more hits, use the mitigation buff, Impunity, (via increased physical resist) to take less damage the few times you -are- hit directly.
How you use this build effectively:
- 0) Keep War Cry up at all times.
- 1) Leap in, attract mobs attention.
- 2) Swing, swing (generate fury).
- 3) Ground Stomp to stun before armor buff wears off. Also clusters enemies for DPS and for you.
- 4) Swing, swing while stunned.
- 5) Move out of pack before stun wears off: Put yourself between the mobs and your DPS (movement speed from Frenzy is huge here).
- 6) Seismic slam as needed to create space and keep enemies at bay...I usually drop 2 right away, and then as needed: Just stand in place, wait for enemies to walk forward a bit, then slam back again 1-2 times. The knockback and area it hits is money.
- 7) Re-start sequence /w Leap OR
- 8) If you need healing, Furious Charge -through- the mobs, and then use Leap to get back in front/between them and your DPS and restart rotation. You may use Furious Charge earlier if you need health and want to bust out of a group as well before you start using Slam.
Another reminder: This is a CC/mobility build meant for group play. It is not about damage, it is about protection/survivability. I am very aware I am doing little/no damage, but I do not need to do damage: My wizard does the damage, and I keep him alive/free of enemies. It is a perfect pairing.
There you have it. You have to drop the "SMASH!" mindset you likely developed in Norm/NM/early Hell if you want to stay alive. There's just no two ways about it, unless you have sick $$$ gear. I have spent maybe 700,000 - 1Mil gold on armor, and 300,000 on my weapon (850 dps 1H axe /w socket). I farm what I need for the most part as I enjoy the gear + progression aspect of the game...buying gold and then buying the best gear IS NOT enjoyable for me. Why play at all if you're just going to buy the best gear right away to stay alive using inferior strategies?
Play smart and stay alive while keeping all of your gold for some really nice and big upgrade purchase you really earned, and need, when you get to A3/4. If you have to buy crazy nice gear to beat A1 and A2 Inferno, you're probably employing a poor strategy/build. That's my philosophy anyway, coming from an old school Diablo and Diablo 2 grinder.
This build isn't gear dependant, it is player skill dependant. If you execute this strategy successfully, you will take few hits and your DPS partner will not have to kite much, which means they kill faster. When a wizard can actually stand still and cast...they do even more damage then when they have to kite+blizz+hydra.
That said...I run about 7000 (unbuffed)armor, 550-650 resist all (when buffed) and about 7k DPS (1 hander /w lifesteal, shield /w vit and resist all).
Remember...the goal isn't to stand in one place and tank: The goal is to keep yourself alive, the enemies CC'd, and your partner alive so they can melt faces.
Enjoy not dying!