Monday 20 April 2015

Barbarian: Rank 1 Lightning build.

--replaced Unforgiving with Nerves of Steel --replaced Esoteric gem with Pain Enhancer --still tough as balls

This is the build I reached rank 1 with. It's different in several ways from the most popular build that barbarians are running. Though the leaderboards are in constant flux, reaching rank 1 (and the third barbarian to clear a 50 this season) has shown that this is a viable setup, and frankly I think it's easier to make work than the physical setup. i.e. there are almost never deaths, it doesn't rely on healing, and the damage is extremely consistent. I thought it was worth posting an explanation of the build because no one else (like, literally no one else anywhere near the top of the leaderboard) is running it.

I use lightning instead of physical for a few reasons. With physical, you need to run CotA -- Ancient's Fury to sustain your damage. However, once you get to higher levels of grifts, it's very easy to die, especially in high-density situations. Because of that, I decided to run CotA -- Together as One. Unfortunately, that eliminated Ancient's Fury as an option for Fury generation, so I went Whirlwind -- Wind Shear, instead. Wind Shear allows you to generate Fury by hitting things, so it's fantastic for clearing trash and bosses with adds, and works well enough on pure single target bosses, in tandum with the Weapon Master passive (because the setup requires an IK Boulder Breaker) and Unforgiving. In addition to these decisions, I run Reaper's Wraps to make sure that I have as close to 100% DPS uptime on single target bosses as possible.

Together as One eliminated the need for the physical build's healing, so I was free to look at a Rend rune besides Blood Lust or Bloodbath. Lacerate (the lightning rune) seemed like a no-brainer, and some anecdotal testing revealed that it's "fine" because wearing lightning elemental damage gear buffs it significantly. However, I ultimately went with Mutilate (cold rune) because this build requires several minutes of uptime on the boss and multilate makes a huge difference on trash, so you get to the boss faster. It also helps on the boss, but lacerate might be better. More testing is needed. At any rate, Bloodbath/Blood Lust are just not necessary for this build to work.

The gear setup itself is pretty unremarkable and has become the de facto standard (for now). 6-piece Wrath of the Wastes, combined with 4-piece Immortal Kings (achieved with the IK belt and Boulder Breaker. Ring of Royal Grandeur is required, of course. One notable difference that I've already mentioned is that I'm running Reaper's Wraps with lightning damage. I run full strength gems because I have double Unity, but I cleared up to 47 with no Unity because I gemmed full diamonds. So make the choice best for your gear setup.

Legendary gems are Taeguk, Bane of the Trapped, and (somewhat controversially) Esoteric Alteration. Why Esoteric? With double Unity it's probably not necessary. Bane of the Powerful seems like it might be very useful for boss damage and faster clears. However, at least pre-Unity, it's quite useful.

The skill setup, some of which as already been covered, is also quite standard, with the exception of the runes I run. Together as One instead of Ancients Fury, Wind Shear instead of Blood Funnel, and Lacerate instead of a physical rune. I also run Battle Rage -- Swords to Ploughshares to keep globes spawning to keep ancients alive, as well as to supplement Fury for single target bosses. If you don't have Unity, you can substitute by using the Striding Giant Rune with Wrath of the Berserker, instead of Insanity, though you will be missing a considerable amount of damage.

Some of my passive skills are very different than what most people run. Ruthless is absolutely required. I also like the armor you get from the strength generated from Rampage, but Brawler is probably competitive for that passive slot, too. You'll notice I dropped Boon of Bul-Kathos. This is because I almost never die, so the default cooldown of the skill, in tandum with the 4-piece IK bonus, keeps both Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients up often enough. I run Unforgiving to help out for single target bosses, as well as Weapon Master because, again, on single target bosses, it helps with fury.

tl;dr got rank 1 with this build. This works and doesn't require Unity. Here's my armory profile (it might show my group setup instead of my grift setup because it only updates ~1 time per day).