[Guide] zDPS Support Barb (Season 18)


#1

Updated for Season 18!

Welcome to the definitive zero-DPS (zDPS) Barb guide. In this guide, you’ll find a wealth of information on zDPS builds, but the key things to note are:

  • How to gear for different types of groups
  • How to effectively play the different zDPS builds
  • What distinguishes a good zBarb from a bad zBarb and how you can improve

This guide, like all other guides, is a culmination of many who have spent countless hours and time perfecting zDPS Barb builds. The demand for good zDPS support Barbs has not, and likely will not, diminish. Good zDPS Barbs are crucial to speed and end-game metas. This guide covers the two most popular zDPS Barb builds, tells you how to gear them, the variants associated within each of the two builds, and offers tips on how to successfully play them. If you’re looking for the most efficient and rewarding ways to play in speed and end-game groups, read on. But first, take note of the most important part of playing zDPS Barb:

The zDPS Commandments

  1. Thou shalt work hard and commit thyself to several specific tasks such as pulling, buffing, and collecting globes
  2. Thou shalt listen to the DPS players first and foremost and not be sassy
  3. Thou shalt always support thy team and keep the DPS alive
    Failure to adhere to this holy covenant will result in Barb privileges revoked.

The Builds

There are two ways to play zDPS Barb: Pacman for Ratruns, or Raekor for pushes. Which build you play depends on the kind of content you’re tackling (speeds or pushes). Below, I’ll cover the builds in some detail. But remember: ask your DPS if they have preferences and change your build accordingly.

As a general rule, the following are key rolls on both builds. Here they are in priority order:

  • CDR on every available piece (55-65% required)
  • Vit and Life % on every available piece(1-3 million Life and 25%+ Life)
  • All Resist on every available piece
  • Pickup radius on every available piece (10+ total yards, 22 is ideal)

Got it? Good. Let’s get into the builds.

Build 1: Pacman (Credit to Raine for this Section)

If you're new to zDPS Barb, you might think that there's only one useful zDPS Barb build--the one you can see from checking the profiles of players who have completed GR 150. However, most players spend 95%+ of their time farming Paragon in Ratruns, a group composition that speed-runs lower tiers to quickly and efficiently farm enormous amounts of experience. Ratruns, AKA "Rats," require a completely different team setup compared to what’s shown in the GR140+ clears on the 4-player leaderboards.

The Basics of Rats Meta

Generally speaking, there are three acceptable ways to gear for Rat Runs. Let’s start with a d3planner of the builds for your reference: Rats Barb: WW Build

For your 4th passive, refer to the notes below.

Which variant should you use? If you’re low-Paragon or just learning the ropes, use either Set 1 or Set 2 as they be the easiest to gear and arguably offer the most amount of up-front toughness. If you’re more experienced, Set 3 boosts your party’s XP gains by incorporating the Cain’s set, but you will be more vulnerable to incoming damage.

The D3 Planner links above only list mandatory stats. If your item doesn’t have all the mandatory stats, get one that does. A d3planner link of all zBarb variations with full ideal stats can be found at the bottom of the guide.

Stat Priority

Please Remember that correct stats on non-ancient gear will always be better than using ancient or primal items with the incorrect stats.

Pick Up Radius - MANDATORY ON ALL ITEMS

  • This is a mandatory stat on every item that can roll it, excluding your helmet, on which we’ll roll Fear chance. You want 20 Pickup Radius, 6 from Rondal’s Locket, and 2 on each of your Glove/ Shoulder/Chest/Belt/Legs/Boots/Bracers. Once you have 7~8% or higher fear chance from Rechel’s ring and 2x BK Weapons, you can choose to roll an extra 2 PuR on Leoric’s helmet for 22 PuR total.

Cooldown Reduction - MANDATORY ON ALL ITEMS

  • You want as much Cooldown as possible. Diamond in your helmet, then as close to max CDR on your Weapons/Rings/Neck/Gloves/Shoulders as possible. It’s okay to miss a few percent cooldown here and there, but try to get maximum CDR everywhere.

Fear chance on Rechel’s Ring, Leoric’s Helmet, and 2x BK Weapons

  • This procs your movement speed. You don’t need these rolls on all items, so getting two or three rolls of this will do the job.

Attack Speed - Optional

  • Optional, but the more the better.

Resource Cost Reduction - Optional

  • At least a couple of rolls makes things easier for you.

General Toughness

  • Life %, All Resist, Armor, Vitality, and Intelligence, Dexterity, and/or Strength.

All other stats are undesirable on your gear.

Skills:

Ignore Pain - Mob Rule: This is your highest priority buff to make sure both Rat DPS have it AT ALL TIMES. If the DPS consistently don’t have this buff, they’ll get angry when they get feared/knockbacked/vortexed and you’ll find yourself looking for a new party with a big red boot shaped welt on your backside.

Sprint - Forced March: Movement Speed for the whole party. Obviously a great choice for speed-farming.

War Cry - Hardened Wrath: Only use the Hardened Wrath rune, please. Hardened Wrath gives considerably higher toughness than any other rune, but has the limitation of only lasting 5 seconds. Luckily, this skill is castable every 1 to 3 seconds during a Ratrun. Armor is also the best toughness stat for Intelligence-based classes such as Necros. Our zDPS builds used for pushing use different War Cry runes, so don’t get fooled!

Threatening Shout - Falter: Damage increase for the team. Enough said.

Whirlwind - Hurricane: Hurricane’s pull counts as a knockback effect and procs Strongarm’s 30% damage increase effect. This skill also counts as a spender and thus procs your Zodiac ring for tons of additional cooldown. Don’t use Wind Shear, don’t use Dust Devils, and don’t use Blood Funnel. If you’re low on fury simply use the Weapons Master passive in your 4th passive slot. I’ll explain passives in more detail below. Despite what some players believe, Dust Devils do not proc additional Zodiac procs. One Whirlwind attack procs one obsidian ring effect, regardless of Dust Devils or not.

Wrath of the Berserker - Striding Giant: 20% More Movespeed, 25% More Attack Speed, 20% Dodge chance, and 50% less damage taken. This skill is insanely good, but people often try to run other skills instead. The other skills don’t bring as much value to the team as WotB. Let’s talk about some of those other skill options that i see other players use, and why WotB is better.

Skills To Avoid:

Rend: Though the skill claims to offer 10% more damage, this isn’t really the case. Instead of approaching the elite to Rend it, the zBarb should instead of picking up globes. Extra globes for the DPS means far more DPS than what Rend gives, as well as the added safety of healing. Rend may be considered if you’re doing 10~15 minute Rath Meta Gem-ups, but you’d be much better off using the SP Wizard meta to do 119s in 5~8 minutes instead. 2~3 minute Exp/Hr runs don’t benefit much from Rend, and having this skill equipped is one of the biggest earmarks of an inexperienced barb.

Leap: Used by some barbs to follow the Necros as they Bloodrush over holes and gaps in the terrain that the barb can’t. In terms of raw speed, the movement speed from WoTB is far superior and has multiple other benefits. Leap is meme-tier skill and is only useful on like 4 or 5 map tiles in the whole game.

Call of the Ancients: This is by far the most laughable skill that I’ve seen barbs bringing to ratruns. 10% more Crit is not needed as the team has Iceblink and a zNec, and the fury rune is also useless, as fury issues are fixed using the 4th passive slot.

An Exception is Furious Charge.

As Whirlwind’s Hurricane rune does not apply Strongarm on elites (it only pulls in “lesser” enemies, aka not elites) Furious Charge is used instead, as it can proc Strongarms on the elites. Once you are high enough paragon to survive without WotB, you can consider swapping to Furious Charge - Merciless Assault rune. If you do this, I recommend changing your 4th passive to Superstition for the extra toughness as well.

Be aware that there exists a completely alternative RatBarb build which revolves entirely around the use of Furious Charge; I won’t be covering this build in depth but for the sake of those curious, the d3planner link is included below. This build relies on FC as a primary means of travel, and has no obsidian ring so cooldown management of Ignore Pain needs to be much more precise. Do not try this build with high ping: Rats Barb: FC Build

Note that this build is considered very rare on the NA servers, but is more common on other server regions.

Passives

Pound of Flesh: More movement speed, means you can do your job better.

Nerves of Steel: This lets you drop toughness from your gear, and also pickup globes inside the middle of Molten Explosions without flinching

Inspiring Presence: Doubles your Falter/War cry duration and heals your team for 3% health per second which is extremely nice given all the Health drains that Necros suffer from Blood Rush/Simulacrums/Blood Novas.

For your fourth passive, choose from the following options depending on the amount of RCR you have from gear:

  • Low RCR: Use Weapons Master, this passive generates such an insane amount of fury you can literally have 0 RCR rolls on your gear and be perfectly fine.
  • Mid RCR: Can use Superstition for a nice amount of Fury generation and also a decent amount of Toughness
  • High RCR: Use Boon of Bul Kathos: Ensures 100% uptime on WotB but is mainly used because it saves 30 Obsidian procs per Cooldown, meaning that the Cooldown on your other skills such as Ignore Pain will be reset much faster.

Legendary Gems

Gogok of Swiftness: 15% Cooldown Reduction, 15% Attack Speed Increase, and a large amount of Dodge Chance.

Gem of Efficacious Toxin: Toxin makes the enemies you hit take 10% increased damage from all your teams’ attacks, and also makes all enemies you hit deal 10% less damage to your team. Both a DPS increase and a source of Damage reduction for your team.

Wreath of Lightning: 25% more Movement Speed. Remember, Movement Speed and Pickup Radius are your main priorities, and thus Wreath of Lightning’s 25% Movement Speed is extremely valuable. However, if you have to give up one of these three gems for something else, Wreath is definitely the least important.

The only time you shouldn’t use a Wreath of Lightning is if your zNec is not running an Iceblink. In that particular case, you would have to wear the Iceblink instead. Iceblink provides 10% Crit chance to the whole team, but each party should only use 1 iceblink as the effect does not stack. In 99% of groups, the zNec will bring iceblink. If the zNec is unable to bring iceblink, it usually indicates that the zNec is running the wrong build, or extremely low paragon and unable to survive without an extra defensive gem, in which case your group will likely be struggling.

DO NOT USE ESOTERIC. The zBarb should almost never be dying, no matter what. You don’t need Esoteric.

b]Written Gear Explanation for those who can’t access D3planner:[/b]

Helmet (Leoric’s)

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Life
  • Feat on Hit/Pickup Radius
  • 100% Bonus
  • Diamond in Socket

Amulet (Rondal’s Locket)

  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Attack Speed
  • Pickup Radius
  • HGB

Bracers (Strongarm’s)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Armor
  • As close to 30% knockback as possible

Shoulders

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Pickup Radius

Chest

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Life
  • Pickup Radius
  • Diamonds in Sockets

Gloves

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • CDR
  • RCR (Str for Wastes Variant)
  • Pickup Radius

Belt

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Life
  • Pickup Radius
  • 6 Second IP for Pride of Cassius or 40% Movement Speed for Chilanik’s

Pants

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Pickup Radius
  • Diamonds in Sockets

Boots (Illusory Boots)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Movement Speed
  • Pickup Radius

Ring 1 (Obsidian)

  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Attack Speed

Ring 2 (Rechel’s)

  • Vit
  • CDR
  • Attack Speed
  • As close to 60% Movement Speed bonus as possible

Weapons (BK Swords)

  • Vit
  • CDR
  • Attack Speed
  • RCR if you can roll off the damage once you have the first 3 stats
  • Chance to Fear
  • Amethyst in Socket

Setup 1: St Archews, Aquilla Cuirass, Mantle of Channeling and Hexing Pants.
The Aquilla and mantle give 50% and 25% Damage reduction, the St Archews gives you a bubble first time you get hit by an elite, and the hexing pants increase your resource generation. This is the preferred setup by most players

Set 2: 4 Piece Wastes set: Shoulder, Gloves, Chest, Pants.
The 4 piece bonus gives 50% Damage reduction during and for 3 seconds after Whirlwinding. This is used mostly because toughness isn’t a big deal and most barbs transitioning over this this build from outdated variants likely have a lot of waste pieces already, and it’s just convent to use them.

Set 3: Mantle, Aquila Cuirass, Cain’s Glove and Cain’s Pants
Same as Setup 1 but gives up the hexing pants and St Archews in Favor of Cain’s 2 Piece Bonus, for 8% more Attack speed. As Cain’s is also craftable, this is quite accessible for many players, and is the best “Support” variant possible in my opinion.

Kanai’s Cube

In-Geom: Reduces all your Cooldowns by 10 seconds whenever the team kills an elite, and any skill activated for the next 15 seconds after an elite dies also starts it’s Cooldown with 10 seconds shorter Cooldown. This makes keeping all your buffs active dramatically easier. A common mistake I see is barbs choosing to run Solanium. Solanium was nerfed after Season 5, and now has a hidden Internal Cooldown of 8 seconds. That means a maximum of a single globe, max each 8 seconds. Not only that, but each critical hit only has a 4% chance to spawn this globe. The Necros probably produce hundreds of globes in the time Solanium would make even a singular globe. Stick to In-Geom in this slot since there are no other good choices.

Pride of Cassius or Chilanik’s Chain: For this slot, use whichever belt you don’t have equipped. It’s very important pay attention to the legendary affix of these items. You strictly want a 40% Chilanik’s equipped, or a 6 second Cassius. Having both is mandatory.

Oculus Ring: It’s recommended to cube the Oculus ring due to the fact Obsidian Ring always rolls with 3 useful stats, and Rechel’s ring in unique in its ability to have Chance to Fear on Hit that the other 2 rings cannot roll. Putting your Oculus ring in the cube also guarantees that you bring an 85% ring proc to the party; This effect is multiplicative and anything lower than an 85% ring is a damage loss for your team.

Paragon Points (Apply in Order listed Below)

Core

  • Movement Speed
  • Vitality
  • Strength if you need extra Armor

Offense

  • Attack Speed
  • CDR
  • CHC
  • CHD

Defense

  • All Resist
  • Life
  • Armor
  • Life Per Second

Utility

  • RCR
  • Life per Hit
  • NO AREA DAMAGE!!!

Build Explanation, Tips and Tricks and Advanced Strats:

A Rat Barb’s (the term coined by the community to refer to zDPS Barbs used in Ratruns) job is to pick up health globes for the team whilst maintaining Buffs such as Ignore Pain, War Cry, and Sprint as close to 100% uptime as possible. The more globes he picks up, the safer the team will be, but also the more DPS the team will deal due to how the DPS build works. Globes give the DPS resource to deal damage, and the DPS are infinitely resource hungry; your DPS Necros require an insanely high amount of health globes at all times in order to do high damage.

This means that Movement Speed and Pickup Radius are your top priority stats. The higher these are, the easier it will be to pick up more globes for the team, which means both a safe team and a high DPS team.

There are 2 main states in which a RatGroup team is in during runs:

  1. Fighting an Elite, aka “Set-Up on an elite”
  2. “In-transition”, aka travelling forward between elites.

Even when there is a large amount of Trash mobs, experienced zNecros (who lead the group) will slow down, rather than stopping on the trash. But with some less experienced zNecros, you might see some weird things, so just keep in mind there may be a few oddball situations.

Let’s cover your job in both scenarios: Once you load into the GR, start by giving the whole party IP, War Cry, and Sprint. You want to maintain all these buffs, especially Ignore Pain, throughout 100% of the GR.

  1. While “Set up” or fighting an elite, a common mistake barbs make is thinking they need to whirlwind the elite constantly, doing tiny 1 yard back and forth zigzags hitting the elite a million times. DON’T DO THAT, that picks up absolutely 0 globes for your team. As soon as your party engages an elite, immediately Whirlwind into the elite JUST ONCE to apply your toxin and debuffs, then start moving in a circular or oval shape around your Necros. BIG CIRCLES please, you want to keep all your Necros on your screen at the same time, and then move in as big of a circular pattern as possible. This is because the more square-area of ground you cover, the more health globes you will pick up. This gives your DPS the fuel they need to deal damage, but also the HEALING they need to survive nasty affixes and attacks they will inevitably receive.

  2. Whilst “In Transition”, or moving forward between Elite Packs, a common mistake is that I see barbs consistently a screen behind the Necros. This is because Necros spawn half their globes in front of themselves, and the other half behind. The oversimplification of “Pick up as many globes as possible” has caused 95% of barbs to think that staying a few screens behind, where the most health globes are lying around, is the best place to be whilst in transition. THIS IS UNTRUE. If the barb is too far behind, almost all of the globes won’t benefit the team because the Necro’s are too far forward, out of range to receive the globes.
    It is better to stay directly on top of the DPS Necros (or at least within 40 yards); they’ll receive more globes, more healing, and deal more damage. It’s also far easier for the barb to maintain their buffs on the Necros this way. A good zNec is generally half a screen ahead of the rest of the team; ideally, both the DPS and the Barb should be right behind the zNec. It is widely known that a health globe heals the whole team, no matter who picks it up. It’s a lesser known fact that the range of this healing effect, is based on the position of the PERSON who picks it up, NOT the position of where the globe was on the ground. More specifically, when a player picks up a health globe, only party members within 40 YARDS of that player gains the healing and effects of the health globe. As a ratbarb, you must attempt to remain within that range of your DPS at all times. Refer to this picture to see how far 40 yards is:

I repeat: It is imperative that the Rat Barb stay on top of his Necromancers, not behind them.

There are several important reasons this is the case.

  • Firstly, this provides the buffs (Sprint, IP and War Cry) the team needs to travel quickly.

  • Secondly, this also provides the Rathma DPSers with the Health Globes needed to summon their Damage-Dealing Pets along the way, allowing them to deal damage and kill all the White Monsters along the way, and ensures they arrive at each new Elite pack at Maximum Damage Output, instead of having to re-ramp their damage up slowly each time they face a new elite.

  • Thirdly, this allows the Barb’s damage buffs, Strongarms, Falter and Toxin to be applied to monsters that are still near the DPS, instead of the ones already left behind.

There’s a big difference between a party that had to kill 20 elites and ended up spawning the boss on Floor 6, and a party that killed all the trash mobs between elites and spawns the boss on Floor 3. Not only do you spend less time fighting elites, but also save half the travel distance.

With that said, there’s one more key rule to playing Rat Barb, and it is this: NEVER LEAVE PROGRESSION ORBS BEHIND.

As is the case with most globes, it is the barb’s job to pick these globes up. They’re purple, you can’t miss them. Your team had to work hard to kill elites to make these spawn, don’t let that effort go to waste. Note that Grotesque and Horror elites (aka “fatties”) delay the time before their progression orbs spawn, so make sure you wait a little for them to spawn before moving forward.

Additional Tips

  • If one of your Necros falls behind, make sure to GO BACK and give the tardy Necro the speed buffs he needs to catchup to the rest of the team.

  • It is important to try to keep Ignore Pain on all three Necros despite them being split up, which is definitely harder than normal. However, prioritize giving War Cry and Sprint to the tardy Necro who got left behind, as the extra movement speed will help him catch up to the party.

  • Don’t fall behind the Necros in transition. Keep your buffs active on the DPS at all times, and when stationary, move in big circles around the Necros, not the elites.

  • Don’t sit on elites doing 1 yard back and forth zigzags. Try to cover as much area as possible.

  • Don’t fall behind your Necros in transition, they don’t get as many globes this way, stay directly on top of them, for reasons explained above.

  • Give the DPS’ers the globes they need to fuel their damage skills, and everything will work out.

Rechel’s Ring of Larceny

This item grants you up to 60% more Movement Speed every time you ROLL A SUCCESSFUL CHANCE TO FEAR AN ENEMY. Note the wording, it’s important. Even if the enemy ends up being immune to being feared, you’ll still get your Movement Speed bonus. What commonly happens is that your zNec will freeze everything on the screen, you’ll hit one of those frozen enemies, roll a chance to fear on it, but the monster will be immune to the fear, but you’ll still get your movement speed proc.

Note that the Fear Chance should be rolled on as many items as possible; Your Rechel’s Ring, Both Bul Kathos Weapons, and also on your Leoric’s Helmet! 20 Pickup radius with high Movement Speed is better than 22 Pickup Radius with less consistent Movement Speed.

A Little tip on getting Fear chance on Leoric’s Helmet:

Find a Leoric’s Helmet that rolls All Res, then use the mystic to enchant the secondary to Chance to Fear. Having All Res eliminates the possibility of the item rolling singular secondary resistances which makes rolling Fear on Hit drastically easier.

Once you have a decent amount of Fear chance, roughly 7~8% from ring and weapons, you can revert back to running with 22 PuR by rolling 2 PuR back on the helmet.

WHY NOT 22 Pickup Radius? THAT’S BLASPHEMY!

As Leoric’s Helmet only has 1 secondary stat, you either have to pick 5.1% Fear chance, or 2 Pickup Radius. You can’t have both. Fear Chance directly equates to more Rechel’s Ring uptime, so essentially equates to having higher movement speed.

In the end, both stats increase the amount of globes you pick up. On narrow maps such as caves, the difference between 20 and 22 Pickup Radius is basically negligible as 20 yards already covers the entire width of the map. On more open maps the extra movement speed helps you cover the extra ground more quickly which means you pick up equally as many globes, if not possibly even more.

The Fear Chance makes the barb feel much smoother to play, and makes the build feel less like “uncontrollable random bursts of speed”.

Remember that Movement Speed not only equates to more globes picked up, but is also a huge Quality of Life that allows you to catch-up to the necros faster, let’s you open doors ahead of the team, or even scout adjacent tiles for your zNecro if you’re on voice comms with the team.

You can indeed choose to use this build with 22 Pickup Radius, and doing so is preferred once you optimize your Fear chance on both weapons, and on your Rechel’s ring.

Illusory Boots and Electrified/Waller Affix

A lot of Barbs think that Whirlwind means you don’t get any benefit from using Illusory boots. This is untrue, Illusory boots lets you pass through wallers and hold force move against electrified packs.

Waller is an elite affix that makes the elites spawn walls randomly around a player. Getting blocked by a wall can possibly mean a few seconds where your DPS won’t be receiving the optimal amount of Resource and Healing that they need to deal damage and stay alive. Waller is generally just a big inconvenience and a pain for the barb, as it tends to block narrow walkways and prevents you from keeping up with the team. Illusory boots will allow you to walk straight through these walls, which is a very nice Quality of Life bonus.

Electrified is an affix that spawns dangerous, blue electric bolts on the ground EACH TIME THE ELITE IS HIT BY ANY ATTACK. This means that upon engaging an Electrified pack, a good zBarb will generally stop Whirlwinding, and simply hold down his force move button to run through monsters without triggering extra danger for the team. Fortunately Electrified has an internal Cooldown, albeit it an extremely short one, so they can’t spawn an infinite amount of bolts. But it’s still good practice to avoid Whirlwinding electrified elites without a good cause. Generally speaking, it is especially important to avoid attacking electrified elites on narrow maps where the bolts are tightly funneled, and on the first elite pack of each GR, when the DPS may not have had time to fully activate all their defenses. The DPS are extremely vulnerable at the start of each GR and takes some time for them to gain all their damage reduction buffs.

Shock Towers on Pandemonium Fortress

Pandemonium Fortress maps (Aka the Malthael Map) have little structures called Shock Towers that spawn on certain walkways.

THESE THINGS ARE DEADLY!

The highest cause of death to a good Rathma DPS is shock towers triggered by unknowing supports.

The reason why these shock towers are feared is because they possess an extremely lethal “shock” attack that 1 shot-KO’s any Necro struck by it. What’s worse is this attack has INFINITE range, and is an AoE effect. However, these shock towers only begin their attack when a player comes within 30 yards of the shock tower, and this attack takes a few seconds to “charge up” before activating.

What this means is that anyone who ventures too close to a shock tower, either needs to kill the shock tower within roughly 1.5 seconds, or die somewhere away from their party members, alone as to not get others killed. Once you get within the activation range of a shock tower, you won’t be able to escape this attack unless the shock tower is killed before the attack finishes charging up, or if you have a shield pylon.

Example Scenario: The 3 Necros identify a shock tower, and pause just outside of its Activation Range (30 yards) and try to kill it from afar before moving forward. A clueless zBarb comes rocketing along with all his Movement Speed buffs and ends up too close to the shock tower, activating its attack with himself as the target. Shortly after this occurs, the Barb sees the 3 Necros have paused behind him, and returns to stand on top of them completely oblivious that the shock tower is imminently about to shock him, and the 3 Necros that he’s now standing next to. All 3 Necros will watch the shock tower charge up, shock the Barb, and either proc their Cheat-Death passive, or end up completely dead thanks to the Barb.

Sadly, this “example scenario” is EXACTLY what happens with 99% of inexperienced barbs who run with a rat group. If you see your Necros stopping suddenly in a Pandemonium Map walkway, STAY BEHIND THEM. Trust me, messing this up will get you kicked in record time. The only exception to this is when your team has a shield pylon active, in which case teams can freely run past shock towers without fear of death.

This is what a shock tower looks, like, and what 30 yards around it looks like:

How Obsidian Ring Works

(Also why stacking RCR is nice so you can use Boon of Bul Kathos Passive)

Whenever you hit an enemy with a resource spending attack, you will proc Obsidian Ring’s Effect once. Obsidian Ring will look at all the skills on your hotbar that are currently on Cooldown. It will randomly select one of those skills, and reduce its remaining CD by 1 second. So, if you have Ignore Pain and another 3 skills on Cooldown, your Ignore pain only has a 1 in 4 chance of receiving Obsidian Ring’s Proc. If you Run Boon of Bul Kathos, and only activate your WotB as it expires, you’ll save yourself 30 Obsidian Procs (AKA 30 seconds of another Cooldown) onto a more useful skill.

A quick note on Experience gear, not covered by this build guide:

Some barbs also work in some Experience gear, such as Cain’s and Born’s 3 piece set bonus, possibly even dropping support rings in favor of Leoric’s Signet or Hellfire Ring. The general consensus on NA is that it’s safest NOT to use these items unless the team SPECIFICALLY asks for it. Or if you must use these items, it is polite to inform and ask the DPS if they mind you using some Experience gear.

Remember; The DPS are the ones who risk losing their Pools of Reflections and have put the most dedication into the game to get the best gear and paragon levels possible; it is common courtesy for a support to listen to their DPS’s preferences.

The amount of experience increase that these items provides is EXTREMELY marginal, so if using these setups costs even the tiniest amount of lost efficiency, it’s not worth running.

Let’s look at the actual experience provided by these items.

  • 3 Piece Cains set provides 2% more experience from monsters killed.
  • 3 Piece Borns set provides 5% more experience from monsters killed.
  • Hellfire Ring provides 4.5% more experience from monsters killed.

Total: 11.5% more experience from monsters killed.

  • However, this number is extremely misleading, as this stat gets divided out evenly amongst all members of your party. In a 4man team, this number is divided by 4. So each member of the team receives 11.5 divided by 4 = 2.875% more experience from monsters killed.

As many people know, Blizzard addressed a popular practice in Patch 2.4.2 where players would do “No RG” runs, where they would do a high Level GR without any means of killing the boss, with the aim of simply slaughtering White Trash mobs for experience, before leaving the Rift without killing the boss. This was because the majority of the Experience gained in a GR back then was from the monster kills, and the Boss Kill was a precious waste of EXP/HR having to use stricken and other forms of +Elite Damage.

The fix implemented in 2.4.2 was a big shift in experience away from Monster Kills, and instead this experience was made to be granted by speaking to Orek at the end of rifts.

In the current patch, I would GENEROUSLY estimate that only about 40~50% of Experience comes from monster kills, and about 50~60% comes from the turn-in reward from Orek. This means that the use of an Experience Barb with 3 piece Born’s, 3 Piece Cain’s, and Hellfire Ring results in a TOTAL experience gain of roughly 1.2% increase for the team, per run. Take into account that runs may go slower, more deaths will occur, and deaths cost a large amount of time per run, and also makes people lose Pools of Reflection, this bonus is generally not considered worthwhile.

Build 2: Raekor Push

This build is the go-to zDPS Barb build for end-game pushes (generally anything over 110 It utilizes the 4-piece Raekor bonus for practically unlimited charges and grants the Barb an incredible amount of speed and mobility. The play style of this build is very different from Pacman and will take some practice to play well. This build is broken down into two different versions: a speed version and push version. The only difference between these two builds is using the Speed (Forced March) skill for Vyr speeds or switching it out for Ground Stomp (Wrenching Smash) for pushes that utilize a Starpact Wizard. Always check with your team which version they would prefer you to run.

You’ll play these builds in higher end speeds and end-game pushes, defined as content that is truly pushing the limits of what your group can do. For me, I play these in anything from 110-120+. This is how you get your gems to 120+. These kind of pushes will also net you lots and lots of experience.

Specific Requirement Notes:

  • 60%+ CDR for Permanent Ignore Pain
  • 4 Piece Raekor
  • Illusory Boots
  • 6 Second Pride of Cassius or 40% Movement Speed Chilaniks
  • Istavan’s Blades

Skills

Furious Charge (Any): Mobility and crowd control

Ancient Spear (Rage Flip): Used to pull groups of trash and elites to the DPS. Mobs will go CC immune after 3 pulls so accuracy counts

War Cry (Hardened Wrath, Veteran’s Warning, or Impunity): Boosts toughness. Rune depends on what DPS wants/needs

Sprint (Forced March) or Ground Stomp (Jarring Slam): Movement Speed to get from pack to pack or Pack Mobs for Starpact Wizard

Threatening Shout (Falter): Boosts DPS

Ignore Pain (Mob Rule): Massive toughness boost. Provides CC immunity and is essential for keeping the DPS alive – never let this go down!

Passives

Inspiring Presence: Doubles your Falter/War Cry duration and heals your team for 3% health per second

Pound of Flesh: Healing and speed boost

Nerves of Steel: Cheat Death

Relentless: Extra Toughness

Gear

Helm (Leorics)

  • Vit
  • All Resist
  • Life
  • Pickup Radius
  • Diamond in Socket

Shoulder (Raekor)

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Pickup Radius

Chest (Raekor)

  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Life
  • Diamond in Sockets

Amulet (Rondal’s Locket, Flavor of Time)

  • AS
  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Pickup Radius

Bracers (Nemesis (Speeds)/Strong Arms (Pushing))

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Armor
  • Pickup Radius

Belt (Pride of Cassius or Chilanik’s)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Life
  • Pickup Radius

Gloves (Raekor)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • CDR
  • Pickup Radius

Pants (Raekor)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Armor
  • Pickup Radius
  • Diamonds in Socket

Boots (Illusory Boots)

  • Str
  • Vit
  • All Res
  • Armor
  • Pickup Radius

Weapons (Istvan’s Paired Blades)

  • Str
  • AS
  • CDR
  • RCR
  • Amethyst in Socket

Ring 1 (Obsidian)

  • CDR
  • AS
  • RCR
  • Physical Res

Ring 2 (Oculus)

  • CDR
  • AS
  • RCR
  • Physical Res
  • 85% Damage Increase

Cube

Weapon: In-geom, Executioner, Odyn Son, Vigilance (Really is an Open spot)
Armor: Chilanik’s or Pride of Cassius
Jewelry: Band of Might

Legendary Gems

Wreath of Lightning: Extra Movement Speed and aggros mobs
Gogok of Swiftness: Increases Attack Speed, Dodge Chance and Cooldown Reduction
Gem of Efficacious Toxin: Boosts DPS and lowers incoming damage

Paragon Points (Apply in Order listed Below)

Core

  • Movement Speed
  • Vitality
  • Strength if you need extra Armor

Offense

  • Attack Speed
  • CDR
  • CHC
  • CHD

Defense

  • All Resist
  • Life
  • Armor
  • Life Per Second

Utility

  • RCR
  • Life per Hit
  • NO AREA DAMAGE!!!

How To Play The Build
Unlike playing Pacman, this build requires you to be much more active. In many ways, the zDPS Barb is the group leader in pushes. Your responsibilities include:

  1. Keep your team alive with IP.
  2. Pull mobs to the DPS
  3. Stack mobs for DPS (Ground Stomp version)
  4. Scout and call-out Pylons, then pop them at the appropriate times

So, when you jump into a GR, hit War Cry, Sprint, and pop IP and make sure you’re covering your DPS (IP is active in line of sight). Move a little ahead of the group, freezing enemies with Charge, until you find elites in density. Do not stop on lone elites or small groups of trash. You need density, though a lot of the time it’s up to you to create density.

Speeds
Use this build when playing with Vyr Chantodo Wizards. When your Heal Monk sets up Sanctuary, it’s time to go to work. Apply War Cry and IP, then start pulling. First, aggro nearby trash and pull. If your DPS aren’t taking much damage, go further out in search of more trash and elites. Always aggro first with Charge and Wreath. Save spear pulls for crucial moments or long distance pulls. Every few seconds, return to the group to reapply IP.

But wait. Since you’re not using a channeling skill with the Zodiac ring, how are we resetting Cooldowns? The answer is to use Spear. Pull far-away mobs into the Wizard (or whatever trash burner is in style). Pull elites in, too. Make sure you get your Cooldowns reset but don’t make elites and trash CC immune.

While we’re talking about pulls, please note that Spear has a strange interaction with mob hit boxes, so it’s going to take some practice to get this right. For the most part, you want to pull in a straight line. Holes in the ground, debris, or corners will obstruct your pulls and detach mobs from your spear, so make sure there’s nothing between you, the mobs you’re pulling, and the spear’s path of travel. Mobs will sometimes get stuck in doorways or on corners, and you may need to get behind them, pull them away from the door at an angle, and then pull them straight through the doorways. Again, this is something that takes time to learn.

And keep in mind that Rage Flip can fling mobs and elites away from your group! If you spear mobs that are in close proximity to the DPS–which is where you want them to be–they will be sent flying across the screen, making you work twice as hard to get them grouped all over again. In short, be precise with your pulls, and spend time getting the hang of how far Rage Flip will send certain mob types.

When your DPS kills elites, gather the globes, apply War Cry/Sprint for speed, and move on. If your DPS are taking too much damage–like, for instance, if you’ve grouped together several packs of Arcane Desecrators, don’t go very far to pull. Instead, stay close to them and apply IP.

If you do not have a Necro in your group running Frailty switch In-Geom in the cube to Executioner so you killed everything at 10% life. Also coordinate with your group to see if everyone is running Flavor of Time and if so then make sure you are rocking one as well if not just use Rondal’s.

Ground Stomp (Credits to Chewingnom and the EU guys for the creation of this variant)

The style above for Speeds is basically the same but you now incorporate Ground Stomp instead of Sprint. The LoN Archon Overlap Wizard (Known as LoN32 or “Bazooka”) is based on burst DPS, meaning that area damage is incredibly strong, and thus packing and pixel-pulling becomes one of the most important sources of DPS, on top of potentially more Wave and BH stacks obviously.

How does this work?

The Barb has a skill named Ground Stomp: Wrenching Smash which is incredible for pixel-pulling when used the right way, just like Sweep Attack on Crusader back in the day. Chewingnom ended up clearing from 145 to 149 in less than 3 days and his group most certainly thinks that Ground Stomp is the best skill to use on Barb as 6th skill for endgame pushing. Ground Stomp introduces a quite different, more slow-paced playstyle. As a Barb you’ll focus more on the packing and less on the pulling than without Ground Stomp, and your group will move slowly as one man every rotation. Your main role during the rift will basically be to play Tetris with Mob Hitboxes. This also means that Cyclone Strike on the Monk isn’t needed anymore. The best option is replacing Cyclone by the Cold Tempest Rush to proc Zodiac and Iceblink, which means you can replace Tsunami by another generator. Concussion for 20% damage reduction is probably the best choice for season currently.

Follow the same advice laid out in the Speeds section above for potentially using Executioner in the cube and wearing Flavor of Time.

For more showcase of Ground Stomp, Chewingnom uploaded his GR149 clear that you can see here:

Remember: A good zBarb makes or breaks a group. You are the key to a party’s success. If you fail at your job, the DPS can’t do their jobs.

Here is a d3planner link showing ideal rolls for all 5 types of Zbarbs (3 Rat Versions and 2 Raekor Speed/Push Versions): Master List for All zDPS Barb Builds


Need help regarding zdps barb builds (2.6.5)
Rat barb gems, paragon and augments?
New Zdps looking for Rat runs to get better
[Guide] New + Returning Player's Guide (Season 18)
#2

Hi folks. I’ve made this guide a WIKI so that various contributors can edit as needed.

I REALLY don’t want to keep up this guide as I’m not playing much zBarb these days, so some of y’all really need to step up and help out on this one. A lot of this material is outdated and needs to be re-written.


#3

So I can’t do links since I’m too low a trust level currently but I was able to do the two tick marks to put the urls in they just aren’t clickable. So I updated the whole guide to reflect current builds to the best of what I’ve seen including bringing in Raine’s Rat run guide and fleshing out the Raekor section a bit and add the ground stomp version. PLease let me know your thoughts and where any tweaks can be made.


pinned #4

#5

Thanks for the additions, Bass! I just skimmed it and it looks like you’ve done some excellent work! I may edit and tweak here and there, but this is a much-needed update to a very important guide!

I can also make your links into actual hyperlinks, so don’t sweat it. They’re not giving out many TL3 upgrades right now, but until you get there (which will be soon), I can modify links for you.

Thanks again!


#6

Awesome! The links look real good when working properly as they imbed right in the post and show the actual pictures for the imgur ones which is very nice. No problem! Glad to help out the community. Please let me know if you need any help bringing over and/or updating any of the other guides.


#7

I did some editing on the OP and had to stop right around the discussion about Rechel’s Ring. I’ll come back and edit more in the near future. The post looks good, but still needs a lot of clean-up with regards to grammar, syntax, and formatting.


#8

Thanks for cleaning it up. Wanted to get a rough draft up to make sure you were happy with the improvements. Surprised the imgur link didn’t auto imbed and show the actual image in the post. It was doing that for me in the preview when I first copied it all in.

EDIT: I have gone through this guide and edited it and thinks its pretty well set now for the rest of the season. Please feel free to go through and give any feedback!


#9

Bass, in the R Push build, shouldn’t Ground Stomp be Wrenching Smash, and not Jarring Slam?


#10

Yep! My mistype! Fixed! Good catch!


#11

Ok, I think I fixed all the links and such. If you spot anything amiss, let me know!


#12

The Written Gear Explanation for those who can’t access D3planner need to be bolded. I forgot half the bracket on the first b

And under that for shoulders the diamond bullet isn’t properly bulleted. Other than that it looks great!


#13

Huh?

I don’t follow.


#14

Under the rats section the Section Title: “The Written Gear Explanation for those who can’t access D3planner” needs to be bolded. Its the title before I list out each gear piece and best rolls for each item. Then on the shoulders one the last bullet didn’t bullet right. Sorry if I originally explained that all funky.


#15

Are you able to make those changes or do I need to?


#16

if I do it’ll invalid all the links again. I can change it then you can fix the links again. Sucks we have to do it that way.


#17

No prob, I’ll get to it later!


#18

So I want to edit the blog but I don’t want to wreck all the imgur images I added so free can you add the following to the zdps guide:

Rats barb won’t change
For pull barb you can add FoT to the amulets along with Rondals cause if the whole group is rocking FoT then use it. Also if there is no Necro in the group you can use Executioner in the cube then instead of In-Geom. Other than that the guide remains the same. Should be TL3 here soon. Only 1.1k more posts to read :slight_smile:


#19

Haha, sure!

Where exactly do I add/change?


#20

I went in and updated the info. I had to break the links so you will need to fix those. By next season I’ll be TL3 so I can do it without the assistance haha.

Also I couldn’t change the title to be Season 18 I would assume since you are the owner of the post. So this is all ready to go to start the season will update if anything changes.