After quite a lot of arm-twisting from Free, I agreed to write this guide on playing H90 (Horde of the Ninety Savages) Frenzy. Don’t expect much! Guide-writing is not really my strong suit.
Let’s get to it.
For those of you who don’t like reading, here’s a D3 planner link for this build:
You will want:
6 Pieces of H90 set (Helm, Shoulders, Gloves, Chest, Pants, Boots)
2 Pieces of Endless Walk set (Compass Rose (ring) and Traveler’s Pledge (amulet))
Undisputed Champion (mighty belt)
Band of Might (ring) or Convention of Elements (ring). (Wear one, other in cube.)
Ancient Parthan Defenders (Bracer)
Oathkeeper (mighty weapon)
Bane of the Stricken (gem)
Bane of the Trapped (gem)
Simplicity’s Strength (gem)
In the cube:
Bastion’s Revered (2H mighty weapon)
Depth Diggers (pants)
Band of Might (ring) or Convention of Elements (ring)
This is all the gear you’ll need for what I believe to be the most effective overall setup for pushing GRs. There are other variants, which I’ll cover later on.
DESIRED STATS ON GEAR
Please keep in mind that these stat priorities are for players with medium paragon, or more (2000+ Paragon), and don’t include STR on either weapon or gloves. At lower paragon, STR may be more valuable than AS on gloves, VIT may be more valuable than AllRes on shoulders, and STR may be more valuable than IAS or AD on Oathkeeper.
Also note that for secondary rolls, I list “Physical/Arcane” Resist in many places. I think you want to have a few of each type, especially since you cannot dodge arcane beams.
Helm: STR, VIT, CHC, Socket (diamond), CC Reduction, Physical/Arcane Resist
Shoulders: STR, AllRes, AD, CDR, Health Globe Bonus, Pickup Radius
Chest: STR, VIT, AllRes, Sockets (diamonds), Melee Reduction, Ranged Reduction
Gloves: AS, CHC, CHD, CDR, Physical/Arcane Resist, Pickup Radius
Pants: STR, VIT, Frenzy Damage, Sockets (diamonds), Life on Kill, Physical/Arcane Resist
Boots: STR, VIT, AllRes, Armor, Health Globe Bonus, Pickup Radius
Belt: STR, VIT, AllRes, Frenzy Damage, Life on Kill
Bracer: Cold Damage % , STR, CHC, Life per Hit, Physical/Arcane Resist
Ring 1 (CoE or BoM): CHC, CHD, CDR, Socket
Ring 2 (Compass Rose): STR, AS, CHD, CHC, Socket, CC Reduction
Amulet: Cold Damage %, CHC, CHD, Socket, Physical/Arcane Resist, CC Reduction
Oathkeeper: IAS, CDR, Area Damage, Socket, Life on Kill *
Azurewrath: Cold Damage %, Life per Hit, CDR, Socket *
*: Note that Life per Hit on AZ and Area Damage on OK are interchangeable. You can have AD on the AZ and LpH on the OK, instead. If you are having a very hard time staying alive, you can also opt to forego the AD on OK for more LpH instead.
Threatening Shout: Falter
War Cry: Veteran’s Warning
Battle Rage: Bloodshed
Furious Charge: Merciless Assault
Wrath of the Berserker: Insanity
Boon of Bul-Kathos
Rampage (preferred) or Brawler (less so). Both of these skills have issues. In a high push, it’s easy to lose Rampage stacks even in the middle of a big fight, and Brawler is dibs, which gets added to a big pile along with 50% dibs from Falter, 25% from Maniac, 20% BR, 30% on Gear, and 25% from Berserker Rage. As a result, Brawler only adds about 8% damage. For Hardcore, use Nerves of Steel in this spot.
Whichever one you take, make sure they have an invulnerability item and Oculus ring equipped. With ideal Attack Speed rolls, your best bet is probably a templar with Oculus, Frieze of Deflection, Justice Lantern, and either Azurwrath or Eun-Jang-Do, to help freeze mobs + the RG.
However, if you do not have 7% AS on Oathkeeper, gloves, and one ring, consider importing your character to D3 planner and checking to see if the Enchantress’s “Focused Mind” ability will help you to reach your next Frenzy breakpoint, either with or without WOTB active. If so, you want to take the Enchantress rather than the Templar.
A FEW STAT PRIORITIES TO KEEP IN MIND
1- CDR: You want to have 46.66 - 50.33% CDR. This allows you to have WOTB up for 2 CoE cold phases, then miss a full cycle of all 4 elements, then hit the next cold phase after that. Under 46.66%, you lose this synchronization, which can cost you significant damage, and above 50.33%, you are trading away other damage rolls for small gains.
2- AS: You want to get Attack Speed on your Oathkeeper, 1 ring, and your gloves. This will let you hit an 8 Frame Frenzy Breakpoint (7 Frames when WOTB is active). Beyond these rolls, you have to give up some significant damage in order to stack more AS.
3- AD: You do want some AD in this build, as it will significantly help you to progress in density. IMO, the ideal amount is 94%, which you can get with rolls on your Oathkeeper and Shoulders, plus Paragon. If you find gloves and rings with great AD rolls instead of AS rolls, you can also play a “high-AD” variant, which has a 9 Frame Frenzy and 138% AD. (AS only on Oathkeeper. Gloves and 1 Ring get AD rather than AS). This variant is slightly better in high density, but a hair worse overall.
4- CHC + CHD: You want as much as possible. Do not trade either stat for other rolls.
5- CC reduction: With this build, you are quite vulnerable to CC, as you only have WoTB up about half of the time. 2 or 3 good CC resist rolls on Amulet, Ring, or Helm will help to significantly mitigate this problem.
6- Vitality/Life: Because Simplicity’s Strength heals a % of your maximum life, and because getting one-shotted is a serious concern with this build, it pays to have a decent pile of Vit/Life. You want at least 4500 Vit / 600k life, in my experience.
HOW TO PLAY THE BUILD
This build is sort of an elite hunter. You want to use your Furious Charge to move quickly through the rift until you find an elite, then begin focusing your Frenzy on that enemy. Cast TS: Falter on cooldown, and re-cast Battle Rage and Bloodshed whenever their duration gets close to running out.
Continue hitting the elite with Frenzy, pausing only to Charge periodically to keep up your BoM and avoid major damage sources like arcane beams, molten explosions, mallet lord hits, etc.
If an oculus ring spawns in a convenient position that will let you continue targeting the elite, charge into it, then resume attacking. If it’s inconveniently placed and/or full of arcane beams, leave it alone.
Bloodshed and AD will kill weaker mobs in the vicinity. As these trash mobs are cleared, the damage of your Bastion’s chain will be focused more and more on the elite, who will also have accumulated a significant number of Stricken stacks.
At this point, assess whether there are other nearby areas of high monster density.
If so, kite the elite to the fresh density, then resume hitting him with Frenzy. The Stricken stacks accumulated on him will help your Bloodshed and AD to clear the surrounding trash faster.
If not (or if the elite is a type that doesn’t chase you, like Wretched Mother or Skeleton Archer), kill him in place.
Power Pylons are good for the RG, but even better for bursting down large groups of mobs.
Conduit is good for both elites and trash. In fact, if you grab a conduit and eliminate all the trash surrounding an elite, it may be preferable to quickly check the next screen to see if there is more trash to electrocute rather than spending the remainder of the conduit on killing the elite. This build kills isolated elites very quickly, so quickly killing trash is a higher priority. After the conduit has run out, return and kill the elite.
Channeling pylon is not bad, not fantastic. It helps you move quickly through a rift using charge, and get some extra WOTB uptime.
Shield is good, as incoming damage can be a problem.
Speed pylon significantly increases your damage, your healing, and your stricken stacking. Good stuff.
Once you reach the RG, it’s really just a matter of hitting with Frenzy till he’s dead.
NOTES FOR LOW PARAGON PLAYERS (<800P)
At low paragon, toughness becomes a very significant issue, and this is particularly the case for undodgeable attacks, most notably arcane beams. I recommend that low paragon players skip all arcane packs with more than 3 members. Find a horde/arcane elite? Charge through him, keep going, and don’t stop until you’re a couple screens away!
At lower paragon, it can also be quite advantageous to spend some of your time focusing on killing big piles of trash, without elites present. High density white mobs are generally much less dangerous than elites, and if you do a good job of making your way into oculus circles, especially when your CoE damage element comes up, you can clear density quite quickly.
One final note: you really, really want to have Life per Hit on one of your weapons! It will significantly help to keep you alive!
PLAYING IN GROUPS AS AN RGK (RIFT-GUARDIAN-KILLER)
If you want to play this set as a RGK, with the support of a support Monk + Barb, you have 2 options:
- The “Chinese” RGK. This one is a little tankier than option #2, but still very squishy compared to the solo build.
Wear CoE + Compass Rose in your ring slots, Traveler’s Pledge as Amulet, and put RoRG in the cube. Then, you’ll wear Aughild bracers and shoulders. (So, no BoM).
For an off-hand, you can choose between Sun Keeper, Doombringer, and Pig Sticker (rather than Azurewrath / Cold, so you don’t unintentionally build up CC resist when you shouldn’t). Technically, Pig Sticker can get you the fastest clear, but only if you draw a RG who counts as a “Human” or “Beast” (only Agnidox, Sand Shaper, and Hamelin, I believe) so it is less consistent than Doombringer or Sun Keeper.
For skills, you are going to swap Charge for WW:Dust Devils, and for passives you will run Weapons Master- Boon - Ruthless - Berserker Rage. (The purpose of WM is to keep up your fury when WWing).
WW:DD stacks Stricken really fast, even faster than Frenzy, so when you get to the RG, you are going to WW for a bit to stack Stricken, then switch to Frenzy for the kill. The actual amount of time to spend on each depends on a variety of factors, like the level of the rift, the number of players, whether the RG has adds or not, your own level of STR + other damage stats, etc. So you’ll have to mess around with it a bit to figure out the right balance.
You want about 40% of the total time it takes to kill the RG spent on WW, and 60% on Frenzy, but as I said, the actual amounts of time will vary.
A page (In Chinese) on the setup here:
And video of it being used, here:
- The “European” RGK. This one does even more damage (about 33% more), but is extremely squishy.
Wear Focus + Restraint, plus Squirt’s Necklace, and put CoE in the cube. For bracers, you’ll be taking Mortick’s Brace. For an off-hand, you can again choose between Sun Keeper, Doombringer, and Pig Sticker.
For skills, you will again swap Charge for WW:Dust Devils. You’ll again take the same 4 passives: Weapons Master- Boon - Ruthless - Berserker Rage.
Again, you want to hit the RG with WW for a while before switching to Frenzy.
Since Squirt’s essentially halves your toughness, you are very fragile with this setup, so you’ll need good shielding and defensive buffs from your supports!
Rob’s video on this setup is here. (Note that he has Spear in place of WW, which will slow down RG kill time, but may allow for you to assist the support barb in pulling mobs during the rift): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3CfAEloNUU&feature=emb_logo
In my experience thus far, I find the “main” build, outlined above, to be the best setup, whether at high paragon or low. That said, everybody has personal preferences, and their own particular talents and weaknesses, so here are some alternate setups to try out:
The Aughild Variant
Swap CoE for RoRG, and wear Aughild Bracers + Shoulders. This setup has a bit more consistent toughness, a bit more damage to elites, and a bit less damage overall. If you find you are dying a lot with the “main” setup, give this a try.
The Aughild + FoT Variant
Wear CoE and BoM, with RoRG in the cube. Wear Aughild Bracers + Shoulders, plus Flavor of Time amulet. I think this has some serious potential. It does a bit less damage than the “main” setup, but doubled pylons are very, very useful.
The High-Healing Variant
Wear Vambraces of Sescheron instead of APDs. If you use these, you can also switch the Life per Hit on your Azurewrath to DMG%, AD, or STR.
The Mortick’s Variant
Wear Mortick’s Brace instead of APDs. Makes you very hard to kill during WOTB cycles, but significantly more fragile when WOTB is on cooldown.
The Echoing Fury Variant
Swap Azurewrath for Echoing Fury, and choose a bracer other than APD (see the previous 4 variants for different bracer choices). EF is the only weapon I think is nearly as good as AZ for off-hand. The downsides are that fear makes enemies run away, and it can be hard at times to keep up your stacks. If desired, you can run the Weapons Master passive instead of Rampage / Brawler. This gives you about +7% damage, without the complications of those other two skills (need to have 3 enemies nearby, or need to keep killing mobs to keep up your buff). Just make sure you are holding EF in your main hand.
The Aquilla or Unity Variant
Swap CoE for RoRG, and wear Aquilla Cuirass (or, if you have a great pair of Depth Diggers, you can wear those and put Aquilla in the cube). Or just swap CoE for Unity, also making sure you have another Unity plus an invulnerability item on your follower. Doubles your toughness, cuts your damage by at least 1/3rd. If you find you are dying a lot with both the “main” setup and the “Aughild” variant, give this a try.
The Sword+Board Variant
Swap Azurewrath for a Stormshield (more toughness) or Lidless Wall (more damage). You want CDR, CHC, STR, and either VIT or Block for Stormshield, and Elemental% for Lidless. If you have Freeze% on belt or Stun% on gloves, this will help your dps since you are dropping the freeze of Azurewrath. Swap Rampage passive for Sword + Board. With the same AS rolls for the main variant, you have an 9F/8F regular/WOTB Frenzy, which is still pretty quick. This variant is probably 2 or 3 GRs behind the “main” build in terms of damage, but you are a bit tougher.
The “I Want To Stand In Arcane Beams” Variant
Swap CoE for RoRG, wear Aquilla (or swap CoE for Unity, as above). Trade Azurewrath for a Stormshield (STR, CHC, Block Chance, CDR), APDs for Mortick’s Brace, and Rampage/Brawler for Nerves of Steel, Juggernaut, Tough as Nails, or Superstition. If you want still more toughness, you can trade WOTB for Ignore Pain (in which case, use Vambraces of Sescheron for your bracer). You can also try swapping out FC:Merciless Assault for Leap: Iron Impact, for the extra armor. This hurts your mobility but adds a lot of toughness.
The Speed Variant
Swap Azurewrath for In-Geom (DMG%, STR, CDR, Socket). Swap Bane of the Stricken for Wreath of Lightning or Boon of the Hoarder (only for t16s). If you are killing things quickly and opted for Hoarder, switch CoE to Avarice Band. If you are still killing things quickly, you can also swap Depth Diggers for Chilanik’s Chain.
Q: How good is this build?
A: It’s probably our 2nd best build, maybe a hair better than Pro-Slam. Very high paragon players can clear at least GR 140. With low paragon and mediocre gear + gems, you can expect to clear around 110.
Q: What’s the point of having Freeze or Stun on my gear? Doesn’t the Smite rune of Frenzy take care of this for me?
A: Smite only works on the main target you’re attacking. So it’s pretty good when you’re finishing off an elite or killing the RG, but in density, much of your damage is coming via Bloodshed and AD, and because of the way the Bastion’s chain splits up your damage among many enemies, your dps is diminished for every enemy around you that isn’t stunned/frozen. In comparison, freeze rolls on Azurewrath or belt, and stun on gloves, can take effect on every enemy hit by the chain.
Q: I’ve heard this build has some weird interactions with Bane of the Stricken. What’s up with that?
A: The short version: don’t worry about it, just keep hitting those elites. The long version: see this post: [Barb] H90 Focused Feedback
Q: Do I want Area Damage in this build? I’ve heard it’s not very good.
A: You heard wrong. You want a decent amount of AD, even though it’s not the be-all-and-end-all for this build like it is for some builds, like Leapquake.
Q: I keep getting one-shotted despite having a ton of toughness on my character sheet. What’s happening?
A: Your sheet toughness is hugely boosted by the H90 2-piece causing War Cry: Veteran’s Shout to give you 60% dodge. But, when attacks do hit you (and some very nasty things, like Arcane Beams and Furious Beast charge attacks, are undodgeable) they can remove 100% of your life in one blow. Try switching Veteran’s to Impunity. If that’s not enough, try out the “Aughild”, “Aquilla”, or “I Want to Stand in Arcane Beams” variants, listed above.
Q: I can do GR XXX (say, 110) really easily, but GR XXX + 5 (say, 115) feels really hard! What’s happening?
A: The damage you deal with this build doesn’t scale up in density, so at a certain point you will just hit a “damage wall” where you simply cannot kill the mobs fast enough. You’ll need to get better gear, gain more paragon, or upgrade your augments in order to proceed much further.
Q: Do I have to take BR: Bloodshed, or can I take Swords To Ploughshares, for the healing?
A: You need Bloodshed. Progressing through density without it is virtually impossible.
Q: I hear there was a bug with Bastion’s Revered and CoE. What happened with that?
A: It got fixed.
Q: Can I use Pig Sticker as an off-hand? How about Sankis? Or Sunkeeper?
A: Sure, you can use any of those, but they’re all less good than either Azurewrath or Echoing Fury.
Q: Can I replace Trapped, Stricken, or Simplicity’s Strength with Gogok, Esoteric, Mutilation Guard, Bane of the Powerful, or Invigorating Gemstone?
A: Again, you can make any of those swaps, but all of them will ultimately make you weaker rather than stronger. That said, if using Gogok-Powerful-Invigorating sounds like fun to you, then give it a go!
Q: If I want to spend several hours attacking an enemy without actually killing them, is there a certain type of enemy that is better for that?
A: Yes! Skeletons are ideal in this situation.
Q: In season 20, I can use multiple weapon, armor, or jewelry items in the cube. Should I change my cubed gear at all?
A: Not really. The cube options available to you in non-season are still the best options. Bastion’s Revered is obviously obligatory. Nothing else will add as much damage as Depth Diggers. The least bad replacement you could make would be to switch CoE for Echoing Fury, but this is still trading an item that gives you more than 50% extra damage in this build for one that adds about 33% damage, and only then at max stacks (takes you from 8F on Frenzy to 6F).
Q: I have another question. What do I do?
A: Ask, and I’ll do my best to answer!