Hi, everybody, and welcome to the MOTE6 Earthquake guide!
Let’s get started.
For those of you who hate to read and just want the quick version of what gear and skills to equip for the simplest, most straightforward Earthquake build, here you go.
SOME INTRODUCTORY NOTES
In the present day, there are two main “tracks” for Earthquake builds. The first is the classic “Leapquake” style of build, that generates EQs mainly by using Leap, combined with Lut Socks, which lets you Leap 3x in a row.
The second track is “Spinquake”, which generates EQs by running MOTE alongside the Crimson set, and Zodiac ring, while using WW: Dust Devils to move around and proc Zodiac to reset the cooldown of Threatening Shout. TS then generates the majority of your EQs via its interaction with Blade of the Tribes. Spinquake is harder to gear and to play than Leapquake, but is probably slightly more powerful at the time of this writing (4/25/23).
I’ll be discussing both of these variants in this guide.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF LEAPQUAKE
Many of you have probably played some variant of Leapquake before, as it is one of the most popular Barbarian builds around. But, for those who are true newcomers, here’s how it generally works:
The MOTE set makes the the Leap skill cause an Earthquake when you land. The Lut Socks boots let you Leap 3 times in quick succession before the cooldown is activated. And the Earthen Might passive skill generates Fury for each Earthquake or Avalanche. So, you Leap on your enemies repeatedly, building up your Fury, and damaging the enemies with the quakes.
The MOTE set also reduces the cooldown of Leap when you spend Fury with an attack. So after leaping 3 times, you then attack with Seismic Slam: Rumble, which dumps all your Fury, and resets the cooldown of Leap.
In addition, Leapquake builds also make use of the Blade of the Tribes 2H Mighty Weapon, which makes Threatening Shout and War Cry cause an Earthquake and Avalanche. These add to your damage and help generate extra Fury.
So, an average rotation of skills looks like:
Leap - Leap - Leap - War Cry - Slam
Leap- Leap - Leap- Threatening Shout - Slam
Leap- Leap - Leap- Hard Cast EQ - Slam
This is the central loop of Leapquake gameplay.
All variants of Leapquake thrive on density, so you will always be searching for big, open maps filled with mobs that pack tightly together and give decent progression. You want to lump enemies into big piles before you try to kill them. This lets Area Damage do as much work for you as possible.
Remember: you can kill 10 enemies faster than you can kill 1, and you can kill 100 enemies faster than you can kill 10.
Also, because each EQ lasts 8 seconds, and you can apply quakes at roughly 1 per second, it takes about 8 seconds of Leaping in one area for you to build up all of your damage in that spot. You should keep this fact carefully in mind, and make decisions accordingly.
For instance, if you’re leaping through a rift and find an area of good mob density with some elites mixed in, you want to build up your damage on those mobs before doing something that further increases your damage, like popping WOTB, or grabbing a power pylon. You should try to Leap on those enemies 8 times before you pop Wrath or grab the pylon, otherwise, you’re leaving damage on the table.
No Leapquake setup is particularly good at killing elites (or dealing any kind of single-target damage) and as a result, you will need to kite elites through each level of the rift until you can either whittle them down to death, or find a conduit pylon and zap them into oblivion. Generally, you want to lead the elites to areas of major trash mob density. The Area Damage from these mobs will help you kill the elites. Once the trash is dead, kite the elites to the next area of density, and repeat until the elites are either dead or you reach the end of the level.
At high levels of pushing, you need to be very aware of how long a level you might have in front of you, as well as that level’s layout. In short levels, elites are often unkillable, so it is often better to essentially ignore them, instead focusing on killing one or two big groups of trash and then reaching the next level as quickly as possible. In these cases, you are trying to reach certain large rooms within that level that are likely to have large numbers of mobs, kill those mobs, and then move on.
Here’s a video example (you may want to watch at 2x speed, just to get the general idea): How to play a short level with Leapquake - YouTube
The ideal GR is one or two levels of Fields of Misery of Festering Woods, filled with a good monster type, like Horror/Mother, Lacuni/Phasebeast, or Transformers, elites that like to chase you and are not too dangerous (the “Fast” elite affix is always nice to see, Arcane not so much), a conduit that can kill 5+ elite packs, and a Power pylon for the boss. The best RG is Saxtris. Slightly less good than him are Binder, Hamelin, Perdition, Man Carver, Cold Snap, Crusader King, and Infernal Maiden.
Choker, Perendi, and Bone Warlock are terrible, nearly unkillable at a high level of push, as they summon adds right from the start of the fight, which eats up your Stricken stacks.
Channeling and shield pylons are also very useful, though not as essential as power or conduit. Depending on which setup you are playing, you may wish to avoid picking up speed pylons, however- the knock-up effect this produces on enemies builds up their CC resist and reduces your ability to Stun them. This means that if you are using the Ancient Parthan Defenders for defense, the Speed pylon will make you more vulnerable to incoming damage. In addition, added attack speed has no effect on your EQ damage.
All versions of Leapquake share one significant weakness, which is relatively low uptime on WOTB. This means that CC can be an issue. Fortunately, you are immune to CC while in the air, which is a lot of the time, but you do need to have good situational awareness about various CC effects, particularly Frozen explosions.
SOME STATS TO KEEP IN MIND
CDR: 33.33% - This is the absolute minimum number to reach in order to get your Leap reset after you cast Seismic Slam:Rumble. You can reach this number with two 8% rolls on gear, plus 10% in Paragon and 12.5% from a Diamond in your helm.
+Max Fury: +62 / +86. Having extra Fury to dump helps you get your Leap reset after you cast SS. If you are short, you may find yourself stuck on the ground more often than you’d like. You should always have the +50 from paragon and +12 on your belt (+62 total). If carrying Blade of the Tribes, you can also have up to +24 on your weapon (+86 total).
Attack Speed: +10%. The only place you want AS is in Paragon. It doesn’t increase your EQ damage or the speed at which you Leap. The only benefit is that it speeds up the animation of SS a little bit.
CC reduction: 60%+. You can get this with two good rolls on rings, helm, or amulet. CC reduction is important because you lack perma-WOTB and can be frozen, feared, or stunned anytime you are on the ground. 60% is an especially important number because it’s at around this range that you can get frozen partway through your Leap cycle, and still recover in time to keep Leaping before your Lut Socks cooldown passes.
These damage stats are very important, and you basically want as much of them as you can get.
Additive damage (DIBS) bonuses: for all setups, you will want to have TS: Falter (+25%) and two +15% rolls on gear (chest and shoulders), for 55% dibs. Other sources of additive damage used in various setups include Battle Rage (+10%), the Brawler passive (+20%), Strongarm Bracers (+30%), and an additional +15% roll possible if you are carrying Blade of the Tribes. All told, you can have up to +130% dibs, but the ideal amount is dependent on the specific setup. Each of the followers also has an ability that can add an additional +10% additive.
POTION AND FOLLOWER (updated for 2.7.0)
For a potion, you can choose between Diamond (All Resist), Mutilation (Life per Kill), and Unfettered (CC immunity). The other potions are inferior to these 3 options.
The best follower option is currently the Enchantress, though any of the three can be used to achieve good results.
You will want to equip your Enchantress with an invulnerability token (Smoking Thurible), Flavor of Time, Krede’s Flame, Oculus Ring, Nemesis Bracers, and Homing Pads. For speed runs, you can also add Gloves of Worship, the Cain set, and/or the Sage set, as needed. For a weapon, the safest option is any 2-hand weapon without CC stats, though if you want some extra CC, you can also equip her with Thunderfury, Eun-jang-do, or Sultan of Blinding Sand. You need her to reach 25,000 INT for all her abilities to have maximum effectiveness, so make sure you reach this mark.
For skills, you will always want to use the Temporal Pulse, Erosion, and Fate’s Lapse abilities. For her level 20 skill, which gives you either +10% CDR (Prophetic Harmony) or +10% elemental damage (Amplification), you will choose based on your current CDR. If below 33.3%, take Prophetic Harmony. If above, take Amplification.
Unlike in the past, when the best Leapquake follower was Templar, Enchantress does not help with grouping your enemies. In fact, she can often ruin your grouping. Pay close attention to her location, shown as the small purple dot on your mini-map, and plan accordingly. The ideal situation is that she get boxed in by enemies and can’t run around.
FIRE LEAPQUAKE SETUPS
Fire has always been the most popular Leapquake element.
With the Tribes bonus now able to be fully extracted in the cube, many players will opt to carry The Furnace while cubeing Tribes. This has the benefit of making use of a slightly higher base weapon damage for the 2H Mace, but without the additional +Max Fury (which cannot roll on Maces), cooling down your Leap via Slam is a little more difficult.
A note on gearing your neck slot: if you don’t mind spending large numbers of keys on a clear (fishing), then Squirt’s Necklace will likely be the best option. If on the other hand you prefer modest consistency, you will want to take a Hellfire Amulet, with the Brawler, Boon of Bul-Kathos, Ruthless, Rampage, or Earthen Might ability.
I will show Hellfire with Brawler in all d3planner links, but just keep your options in mind.
One of the most fluid, best-known, and easiest-to-play setups is what I call the “base” setup, originally popularized by Shamue55.
Fire Base Setup D3Planner Link.
Note that one item I list here, the Spires of the Earth shoulders, are extremely hard to get with the listed stats. Having Str instead of AllRes is also fine.
HOW TO PLAY THIS SETUP
Because this setup has no built-in mechanism for grouping mobs, you must rely entirely on drawing aggro on yourself.
I generally do this by finding a good spot, with a lot of mobs around, often a 4-way intersection. I then Leap within a fairly small radius, aiming my Slams at any mobs within range, which draws their attention (note that in Fire variants, Slam does very little damage). Once you have a lot of mobs piled together, pop WOTB. Make use of oculus circles if they spawn in convenient locations within the area of density. If you find yourself starting to take an unsustainable amount of damage, try to shift where you are leaping to hit some mobs you have not stunned recently. This will add more procs of your Parthans and help you to survive.
Because of the difficulty of pulling enemies together, with this setup you really want to fight only in big rooms or at major intersections, where high density can form “organically” around you (rather than you having to pull them in). This can be very problematic when you’re trying to get some weakened elites to chase you, only to find them getting stuck behind a small number of trash mobs in a narrow passage.
It is extremely useful to get a power pylon for the RG. At my current level of push, it reduces the kill time on a good RG from about 5 minutes to about 3.5. If you are using Squirt’s Necklace, then getting a Shield pylon will significantly boost your damage by allowing you to reach maximum stacks. This will help you kill both trash and elites, and if you happen to find a Shield in close proximity to either a Power or Channeling pylon, your damage will be increased further still.
On some excellent levels, filled with high density and killable elites, you can make significant progression at high push, even without a conduit pylon to kill elites. Should you happen to spawn a conduit right before the boss, this can also be useful: I’ve found it reduces my kill time from about 5 minutes to around 4.
WEAKNESSES OF THIS SETUP
In addition to the aforementioned weakness to CC, and inability to easily pull mobs, this setup is terrible at healing. The only significant source of healing you have is from LPFS on your belt. Luckily, with careful gameplay and some luck, you can use your Parthans to keep your toughness so high that even a small amount of healing is enough.
VARIANTS ON THIS SETUP
“Hardcore”: Swap Gogok to Esoteric (making sure to still keep your CDR at or above 33.33%), and instead of Brawler you will want Nerves of Steel (also, probably better not to use Squirt’s). With this setup, you are extremely tanky, able to take multiple Molten explosions in the face without dying. If you want more healing, you can also swap War Cry to BR:StP. It’s good to prioritize some Physical Resist rolls on your gear, since Esoteric protects you from the other elements.
“Rage”: Swap WC to BR: ItF and Gogok to Zei’s. I have been using this setup for quite a while now and IMHO it has the highest damage that can be reasonably achieved by lower paragon players (below 5000). Zei’s adds considerable damage, especially at range, and BR:ItF can add 30% or more additional CHC at times, which helps you blow through density. When using this setup, it is ok to go a little further from the center of density than you otherwise might, in order to leap in an Oculus circle, since the combined multipliers of Oculus + Zei’s at distance are significant. I cleared 139 with this setup with about 4k paragon.
“The Big Deal”: Swap WC to BR: StP, Leap: DfA to Leap: CoA, Parthans to Strongarms, and Gogok to Zei’s. This setup is somewhat squishy, especially at lower paragon, but does really solid damage. The Korean player Deal cleared 146 using this setup (with about 10k paragon). If using a Hellfire, you can also opt to add in Relentless rather than Brawler. This costs you about 10% damage but makes the setup playable around 3500 paragon.
“The Kavanagh”: Swap Furnace for the IB swords. Swap WC for BR: StP, Leap: DfA to Leap: CoA, Parthans to Strongarms, and Gogok to Zei’s. This is essentially a dual-wield version of “The Big Deal”. You lose significant weapon damage by swapping away from a 2H weapon, but in return you can pick up extra CHD, AD, CDR, and STR. All EQ damage comes from your main hand, so you can actually roll off damage range on your off-hand weapon. Ideal stats for main hand are Dmg% - CDR - AD - Socket, and for off hand, CDR - AD - STR - VIT - Socket. Kavanagh cleared 136 using this setup (with about 6k paragon).
“Speed”: Swap Furnace to Blade of the Tribes, making sure it has +Max Fury as a secondary. Use In-Geom in the cube. Once you kill an elite, In-Geom’s effect allows you to spam Leap and Threatening Shout continuously for 10 seconds. Just remember to Slam occasionally, in order to get the extra damage from Girdle of Giants.
Spinquake is an alternative to Leapquake that is probably a little stronger, especially at very high paragon, but is more difficult to gear and to play.
Here is the most basic setup for Spinquake.
This basic version of this setup involves weaving together various different offensive and defensive elements. The basic gameplay loop is:
Hold down WW: Dust Devils continuously to keep Taeguk at maximum stacks.
Leap once every 8 seconds to keep up the defensive bonuses from Band of Might and MOTE 4-piece.
Keep Wrath of the Berserker active all the time, to increase your damage and take advantage of toughness and healing from Mortick’s Brace. Only re-cast it when it is just about to expire, refreshing it earlier than that eats Zodiac procs and reduces your damage.
While still holding down WW, spam TS: Falter and SS: Strength from Earth as fast as possible. SS: SfE heals you, keeps you damage buff from Girdle of Giants active, and also generates Zodiac procs. Meanwhile, all of your damage comes from the Earthquakes generated by Threatening Shout, via its interaction with Blade of the Tribes. Note that after you Leap to reset BoM and MOTE(4), you should not use SS for about 0.25-0.5 seconds, because SS will momentarily block WW from triggering, and this will cause your Taeguk stacks to drop off.
While executing this gameplay loop, you want to pull together as many mobs as possible, mainly by aggroing them with Dust Devils from WW. The more density you can pull into one spot, the better.
When you reach the boss, just keep executing the normal cycle. While this build doesn’t have Furnace to help you with killing the boss, WW: Dust Devils stacks Stricken really fast, which speeds up the boss kill considerably.
VARIANTS ON THIS SETUP
“The Kozmik”: On the skill bar, swap EQ to Ancient Spear: Rage Flip and Leap to Ground Stomp: Wrenching Smash. This essentially converts the build into a variant on the classic WW/Rend build. You pull mobs together with Spear, and pack them tightly with Ground Stomp. You lose both the MOTE(4) defensive bonus and the 25% extra damage from having EQ: Molten Fury on the bar, so this setup is harder to play well, especially at lower paragon, than the standard setup.
“The Melon”: Swap BoM to CoE, and switch Ruthless passive to Relentless. This adds a bunch of damage from CoE, but costs you a lot of mitigation from BoM. To help with survival, we add in Relentless, which synergizes with the Crimson set and gives us 75% extra mitigation when we’re below the 35% life trigger point. Not recommended for anybody below about 5k paragon. If you prefer, you can run a Hellfire rather than Squirt’s, and use both Ruthless and Relentless passives.
“The Mighty Mitch”: Swap BoM to CoE, and switch Ruthless passive to Relentless. On the skill bar, swap EQ to Ancient Spear: Rage Flip. MightyMitch recently cleared 150 with this setup at 13k paragon- the strongest MOTE clear ever recorded. If you prefer, you can run a Hellfire rather than Squirt’s, and use both Ruthless and Relentless passives.
Q: How good is this build?
A: Okay. Leapquake can do 140 between 4k and 5k paragon, and has done 150 at very high paragon (near 20000). Spinquake is a little stronger, particularly at high paragon, and has done 150 around 13k paragon. Despite not being our most powerful build, it has been my favorite for years, and remains so today. It’s very easy and intuitive to learn, but there are a lot of nuances that take time and practice to work into your brain, and your fingers.
Q: My friend told me that Battle Rage: Bloodshed is a good skill to take. Is that true?
A: No. Although I ran with this skill for a while and even cleared 123 (2.6.10 equivalent: 131-132) with it on the bar, I eventually did some further testing and determined that it is really not so good. I made a video that shows how low the damage of Bloodshed is when paired with EQ. Expand the description for some analysis.
Q: My friend told me that War Cry is good, because it causes more Earthquakes, which do damage, and that Battle Rage is bad, because its damage bonus is additive. Is that true?
A: No. Both War Cry and Battle Rage are very good. Pre-2.6.10, The extra quakes from WC actually added almost exactly the same amount of damage as the combination of 10% additive damage and 3% CHC from BR. With the big additive bonus on Tribes removed, that 10% on BR will be a little more valuable. The bottom line: if you feel like you need more toughness, then WC: Veteran’s or Impunity are the way to go. If you would like more healing, BR: StP can’t be beat. And for dealing maximum damage, BR: ItF is the best option.
Q: My friend told me that Earthquakes caused by MOTE(4) and by Blade of the Tribes don’t proc AD. Is that true?
A: No, of course not. With a good amount of AD on your gear, try fighting in density and then against just one isolated enemy of the same type. It’ll take 3-10 times as long to kill him when he’s alone.
Q: My friend also told me that the MOTE(4) armor bonus is bad and doesn’t provide much protection. Is that true?
A: No. On the contrary, that armor bonus provides between 71 and 75% mitigation all by itself, making it one of the best set defensive bonuses in the game. You should probably stop listening to your friend!
Q: Should I try to maximize my Avalanche damage?
A: No, unless you’re just having fun messing around. AV accounts for a tiny % of our damage- about 1.75% of our total in Fire Leapquake. It’s not really worth it to change any gear or skills to boost such a small fraction. But, if you want to try playing a build that does most of its damage with Avalanche, I wrote a post about that here.
Q: Even though I have over 2000 paragon, I’m really struggling to clear GR 130! What am I doing wrong?
A: Probably nothing, so don’t feel bad. Only very good players around have broken 130 with that amount of paragon. The build is very fishy. If you want to get close to your max clear potential, you will have to spend a lot of keys.
Q: So, what GR marks should I actually aim for, then?
A: I would say that if you can do 123+ at 1500 paragon, or 125+ at 2000 paragon, you’re pretty good.
Q: Do I really need Bane of the Stricken? Doesn’t this build stack Stricken really slowly?
A: Leapquake does indeed stack Stricken really slowly. But, if you’re going to push, you still need it. Otherwise, it’s literally impossible to kill the boss in time. With Spinquake, you actually stack Stricken really quickly.
Q: Instead of Gogok / Zei’s / Esoteric / Taeguk in the third gem slot, can I use Bane of the Powerful? Or how about Invigorating Gemstone, to get CC immunity?
A: I’ve played a good bit with Powerful and it’s decent, but honestly just seems worse than either Zei’s or Gogok in most regards. For one thing, the damage bonus just isn’t up very often, since it’s hard to kill elites in a high push. And the amount is just so much less than Zei’s. As for Invigorating, CC immunity is nice, but you can get most of that effect by just having a few good CC reduction rolls on your gear.
Q: Most people seem to carry Furnace now, and put Tribes in the cube. Can I still carry Tribes, and put Furnace in the cube?
A: You sure can. The reason most people cube Tribes now is that it’s much easier to find a good copy of Furnace. And 2H maces like Furnace have a bit higher weapon damage than Mighty Weapons like Tribes. But, a perfect Primal Tribes with Dmg% - AD - EQ% actually still deals a hair more damage than a Furnace for a lot of setups. So it’s definitely still a viable option.
Q: Can I dual-wield the IB set and put Tribes in the cube?
A: Sure (see “The Kavanagh” setup, listed under variants in the Leapquake section). This setup is, IMO, just a hair worse than carrying Tribes or Furnace. Significant discussion of this topic in posts 119 - 157 in this thread. And all versions of Spinquake use the IB set.
Q: Do people still play Leapquake with Focus&Restraint + CoE?
A: Not really. With the other recent buffs to this build’s damage, high paragon players are now pushing Leapquake into the mid-140’s and all the way up to 150. And that means a lot of extra incoming damage, which is tough to survive without BoM. You end up having to drop a ton of damage just to get enough toughness to survive, to the point that equipping CoE may be a net negative for your dps potential. With Spinquake, higher paragon players (5000 minimum, 7500 much better) can run Crimson + CoE.
Q: For season 22, what should I put into the additional cube slot?
A: Convention of Elements. This is by far the best option for all three setups (Fire, Phys, Lightning). Just try to time your WOTB so that you start right as your damage phase is beginning.
Q: In season 24 (Ethereals), what weapon should I use?
A: Grandfather, with the power of either Furnace or Tribes (and the other in the cube). If, early in the season, all you have found is a Gimmershred or Doombringer with appropriate power, it’s ok to dual wield till you find Grandfather. Pair with Sankis, Sun Keeper, Doombringer (Legendary), Odyn Son, or Pig Sticker.
Q: In season 25 (Soul Shards), which shards should I use?
A: Terror will generally be the best in your helm slot, though Hatred will do fairly well also, especially if you are running speedier content, and use a “pull” mechanism, like EQ: Cave-in, or Leap: CoA to group mobs. For Terror, you want either ring of fire or +fire/lightning ability. For Hatred, 10–>15% ability. For weapon slot, frankly, none of them are really great choices for Leapquake. Anguish shard, with the extra cooldown ability for speeds, or extra poison damage (this is in reality just a flat 50% damage increase) for pushing, is probably the best option. Unfortunately, Furnace always rolls Fire damage range, so you would need to get a Furnace that already has good rolls, then use your reroll with the Mystic to roll Fire damage → Poison. You could also try using the Sin shard in your weapon- this might help you kill elites in a slightly more timely fashion, although the damage buff only lasts 15 seconds. If taking Sin, you want either the “extra progress globe” or “negate elite affixes” ability.
Q: In season 26, what setup should I use for Echoing Nightmares?
A: For softcore, I would just use the “Main” build, but swap Parthans–>Mortick’s, since you can’t stun enemies. Swap the Leap rune to “no rune”. Swap Furnace to Messerschmidt’s Reaver. And, swap Stricken for Zei’s.
For hardcore, the same thing, but use Esoteric instead of Zei’s, and make sure you take Nerves of Steel as a passive- replace Ruthless.
Q: In season 27, what Angelic Crucible should I use?
A: If you want to play a standard Leap-based setup, you can take the WOTB power. But the most powerful setup this season will be a Spinquake Setup using the WW power.
Q: Is there anywhere I can see video of this build being played well?
A: You can check out my Youtube Channel, which has a whole bunch of Leapquake clears from over the years.
Q: I have another question, what do I do?
A: Ask, and I’ll do my best to answer!