Hulk Smash Barbarian Build

Hulk Smash Barbarian Build submitted by Chrome.

My goal in rolling a Barbarian in Diablo 3 was to wield a massive Maul and blast monsters to bits with massive critical hits.

I believe I've achieved this. I give you: The Hulk Smash Barbarian. Because you will be turning mobs into pancakes almost exclusively.

The skills:
  • Cleave - Reaping Swing
  • Hammer of the Ancients - Thunderstrike
  • Ground Stomp - Wrenching Smash
  • Leap - Iron Impact
  • Ignore Pain - Ignorance is Bliss
  • War Cry - Impunity OR Wrath of the Berzerker - Insanity

Passives: * Ruthless * Tough as nails * Superstition

Rundown: This build focuses on the dictum that a good defence is a good offence. Cleave is used to generate fury. HotA is combined with Wrenching Smash to regroup, stun and destroy everything. Most of the damage is mitigated with stuns, Leap is used for utility and Ignore pain is the Panic button. To pull everything off, you need good crit and a weapon with %Life Steal.

As a rule of thumb, you need to dish out AOE and Single target damage to deal with most threats in this game. Since the patch HotA is one the most powerful single target abilities and with the Thunderstrike rune, it doubles as a great AOE skills as well. Therefore, the only point of using Cleave is to generate fury to feed HotA, in turn used to kill everything. If you cleave a pack of mobs or even a pile of barrels, you can quickly generate up to 20 fury per swing AND look really cool thanks to the attack animation (Very important!)

The Thunderstrike rune stuns every mob in the AOE of HotA every time you kill something. You can keep a large pack of monsters stunned for quite some time as it causes a chain reaction. The more monsters you kill, the more the others are weakened, the faster they die, the more everything else is stunned. Wrenching Smash works in synergy with this HotA, regrouping monsters and initiating the first stun.

War Cry is self explanatory. If I play with other Barbarians who already use it, I take WotB - Insanity just for the sheer fun of demolishing everything for 10 seconds. Other skills could be used here, such as Battle Rage or even Ancient Spear if you feel like it.

Tough as nails is a great passive for additional toughness. Ruthless increases critical hit damage and chance, which is... critical... for this build. Superstition reduces incoming elemental/ranged damage and generates a lot of fury, necessary to spend more time Hammering things and less time Cleaving them.

Alternative Runes:
I'm not your mother, you can do whatever you want. I'm using the above runes because I tried others and figured out what worked best for me.

Cleave: Cleave is only used for generating fury, therefore other runes are pointless.

Hammer: Smash increases the damage to 406%, which is glorious, but it also reduces the AOE of Hammer, making it weak against groups of Mobs. Birthright gives you 10% magic find when you crit. I prefer a more useful Hammer rune and adding MF gear instead. The stun on Thunderstrike is extremely powerful and in my opinion, supersedes everything else.

Leap: Death From Above (Stun) - This rune is also very good to continue the stun chain, I'm just bad with aiming leap and I ended up wasting the stun more often than not. On the other hand, Iron Impact activates whether or not you hit something.

Ignore Pain: Iron Hide - A good alternative to Ignorance is bliss if you have a lot of %Life Steal.

Vitality, Strength and All resists are obvious requirements of spending more than 12 seconds alive in Inferno. Critical hit damage and Chance are very important. This build is offensive and Ignore Pain is mostly reserved for those moments when you're jailed on top of 3 arcane sentries. You need to destroy everything quickly to prevent damage being done to you in the first place. Hammer of the Ancients has a built-in 5% increased critical hit chance, this is another reason why it is devastating. If you can reach 30% crit chance mark with the added HotA bonus (Not displayed on your Character sheet), things are going well.

Obviously, the most important piece will be your weapon. You want a massive 2-hander. Preferably a Hammer, because hammers are awesome and accentuate good pancake shape.

The stats you are looking for are the following: * As much DPS as possible. Keep an eye on the weapon speed. Slower weapons (0.9 to 1.1) are better because you get more bang out of your fury points. Yes, if you swing slower cleave will generate less fury, but Hammer will also be slower and hit harder. In the meantime, your other fury generating abilities keep feeding you at the same rate. The only problem with a slow weapon is hit recovery. If you're surrounded by a pack of unstunned mobs, they will keep slapping you around and you'll have a hard time swinging your weapon because it's so slow.

That's one of the times where you're happy to have Leap. GTFO of there. * Critical hit chance/damage AND/OR a Socket, to slot a big emerald. * A massive amount of strength * A fury reduction cost to Hammer of the Ancients (My previous weapon reduced the cost by 5, it makes a nice difference) * %Life Steal, NOT Life on hit. Life on hit is most useful with fast weapons and abilities, like 2 short swords and Whirlwind. We're using a Gigantic Manslapper than 1-shots everything, albeit slowly. Life on hit is not good with this build BUT, contrary to the popular belief that %Life Steal sucks in Inferno, it doesn't actually suck.. that much.

You see, in Inferno, %LifeSteal is reduced by 80% of its effectiveness. Meaning that if your weapon steal 10% Life Steal, in reality, it's only stealing 2%. And the Bloodthirt passive that provides 3% Life steal is actually only giving you 0.6% back. Sounds pretty crappy to me!

However, if you start crunching numbers you'll notice that if it was working at 100% effectiveness, it would be completely overpowered.

Consider the following: With this build and good gear, a regular cleave hit goes for about 30,000 damage. With a weapon providing 5% (reduced to 1%) Life Steal, this computes to 300 health. With a slow swinging weapon this isn't very good but if you manage to hit multiple monsters, you can get this up to about 1200 health. On a critical hit, cleave can deal around 90,000 damage, 900 health, 3600 health if you hit 4 monsters at the same time. That's not too bad.

Now using Hammer of the ancients is a different story. A regular hammer hit goes for 120,000 and a critical hit up to 360,000. Thats 3600 Health returned per monster hit! And if you use wrenching smash you can assemble a nice pile of about 8 to 10 mobs. Suddenly that critical hit just healed you for 36,000 Health! If you use Wrath of the Berzerker with insanity you can double that number. That's why you can reserve Ignore Pain for those ''Oh crap!!'' moments.

Play smart, you're not invulnerable but you can be pretty near it if you're in the right position. That is, with lots of trash mobs running around. A good trick is to pull dangerous Elite packs to trash mobs and use them to heal and to stun the Elites with Hammer. With Stomp, Leap, Ignore Pain and your Potions, you have many backup tricks in case things turn sour. Use your skills often but cautiously in dangerous fights. Positioning is very important. When you use wrenching smash, get out of the circle of mobs, you will be able to hit them all at once instead of just a fraction of them.

And above all, have fun!