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Barbarian HotA Fire Build with Immortal King (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)

Last updated on Oct 21, 2016 at 09:00 by Deadset 51 comments

Table of Contents

Empowered by the Immortal King set, this Barbarian build emphasises melee devastation and pulverises his enemies to the ground with Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients, while maintaining a vast array of buffs and warriors at his side. This agile, melee burst damage build is available in both solo progression and speedfarming variations, explained in that order.

The build requires the following set pieces:

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Builds

Solo Progression Speedruns
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Furious Charge Icon Furious Charge Merciless Assault Merciless Assault Right Mouse Button Hammer of the Ancients Icon Hammer of the Ancients Smash Smash 1 Battle Rage Icon Battle Rage Bloodshed Bloodshed 2 War Cry Icon War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning 3 Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker Insanity Insanity 4 Call of the Ancients Icon Call of the Ancients Together as One Together as One
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Furious Charge Icon Furious Charge Merciless Assault Merciless Assault Right Mouse Button Hammer of the Ancients Icon Hammer of the Ancients Smash Smash 1 Battle Rage Icon Battle Rage Ferocity Ferocity 2 War Cry Icon War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning 3 Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker Insanity Insanity 4 Call of the Ancients Icon Call of the Ancients Together as One Together as One
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

3. Rotation

Activate Call of the Ancients Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker as soon as you start a run, and keep both skills up throughout the rift — a task made infinitely easier with the Immortal King set bonus. Remember that Wrath of the Berserker needs to be cast on cooldown, but only resummon Call of the Ancients Call of the Ancients when one or more of them die off. Once you find an area suitably dense with enemies, begin your Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients assault, only stopping to refresh your Band of Might Band of Might bonus with a Furious Charge Furious Charge. Furious Charge Furious Charge will also be used for mobility, finding new fights or dodging dangerous situations in this otherwise static, methodical playstyle. On the buff side, keep Battle Rage Battle Rage up at all times and War Cry War Cry as often as you can.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

Your primary damage dealer is the namesake of the build, Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients. Considered as a beginner build staple for a long time, it becomes an endgame viable spender through the Bracers of the First Men Bracers of the First Men, amplifying its damage and increasing its attack speed dramatically. The rune of choice is Smash Smash, as its higher base damage trumps the utility bonuses of the other options.

While it is certainly not the focus of the build, both spec and gear-wise, Furious Charge Furious Charge brings great utility to this otherwise methodical and static build. Akin to a Swiss knife, it brings mobility, Fury generation, and a proc for Band of Might Band of Might. The rune of choice is Merciless Assault Merciless Assault; the elemental synergy is not a concern, as the self-sufficient cooldown reset is what you are truly after — hitting 5 or more enemies will instantly reset Furious Charge Furious Charge.

The Immortal King set bonuses allow for the permanent uptime of two hallmark, long-cooldown Barbarian skills: Call of the Ancients Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker.

  • The 2-piece bonus removes the duration of Call of the Ancients Call of the Ancients, allowing you to benefit from the trio of warriors until they are killed. Sturdy as they are, powerful affixes and bad fights can result in one or more of them falling in battle — so keep an eye on their counter and resummon immediately. The 4-piece IK bonus assists you with the cooldown reset for a reason — the chosen rune Together as One Together as One is the foundation of your Toughness, while the Ancients' Fury Ancients' Fury rune (acquired from the worn Fury of the Ancients Fury of the Ancients) is the basis of Fury management.
  • No superlatives should be spared when talking about Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker, especially when paired with the damage amplifier of the Insanity Insanity rune. For the sake of brevity, this is the single most powerful self-buff of Barbarians, providing you with significant amounts of Dodge, Crit Chance, Attack and Movement Speed. Easily reaching permanency through the Immortal King 4-piece bonus, this skill is a fixture to the build.

On the topic of buffs, two additional skills round out the category — the offensive Battle Rage Battle Rage and the defensive War Cry War Cry.

  • Battle Rage Battle Rage is a staple of the class, bumping up both damage and Crit Chance. While its 2-minute duration can catch you off guard, never allow Battle Rage Battle Rage to drop — it is a solid source of damage, especially with the AoE-oriented Bloodshed Bloodshed rune. As this build is limited in sources of healing, you can consider spamming Battle Rage Battle Rage out of combat to heal up through Life per Fury Spent on gear. During speedruns, the additional damage of Bloodshed Bloodshed can be overkill, so consider swapping into the movespeed oriented Ferocity Ferocity.
  • War Cry War Cry is a two-in-one utility skill that brings extra Toughness with the Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning rune. Once activated, the buff lasts for three times the cooldown of the skill — but situations will arise when you need it for the Fury generation, so War Cry War Cry is not as passive as it first seems. This is even more pronounced in speedruns, where activating War Cry War Cry will trigger a party-wide movespeed buff from the cubed Chilanik's Chain Chilanik's Chain.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Able to burst targets down better than many Barbarian builds, the HotA Barb is a natural adopter of the Rampage Rampage passive. Learning to maximise this passive is important, as it is a true multiplier with the potential to net you 25% additional Strength, increasing DPS and Toughness substantially. Staying at or near the cap can only be achieved if you stay vigilant and on the move, aiming to get in bigger fights, where killing minor enemies will feed your stacks.

While the build is resource intensive, you quickly regain what was lost — your weapon will refund Fury, your ancients will give Fury per hit, and both War Cry War Cry and Furious Charge Furious Charge are generators. The result is a fairly stable resource pool, allowing you to take full advantage of the additive damage increase of Berserker Rage Berserker Rage.

Hardly lacking single target damage, the HotA Barb still incorporates Ruthless Ruthless — a testament to the quality of the passive. Once you hammer your target below 30% health, your damage spikes with a 40% multiplier, allowing you to tear down your target even quicker.

Your final passive slot is flexible, with a number of viable and useful options. As the build is prone to getting spiked in damage, is not as fluid as the Whirlwind Barb, and suffers for sources of healing, Relentless Relentless can be a nice fit — allowing you to stand your ground and regain health. A second life is never a bad option, making Nerves of Steel Nerves of Steel an attractive pickup. If you feel the need for additional damage, you can take Brawler Brawler and gamble on densely packed rifts. Finally, during Torment farm you can adopt the movespeed focused Pound of Flesh Pound of Flesh to further speed up your clears.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

This build takes advantage of the Immortal King 6-piece bonus, incorporating six of the seven available pieces from the set — Immortal King's Boulder Breaker Immortal King's Boulder Breaker is understandably replaced by The Gavel of Judgment The Gavel of Judgment. Rolls-wise, this Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients-centric build takes good advantage of HotA skill bonuses on the Immortal King's Triumph Immortal King's Triumph and Immortal King's Stride Immortal King's Stride. Pure Toughness rolls are preferred on the Immortal King's Eternal Reign Immortal King's Eternal Reign and Immortal King's Stature Immortal King's Stature. Survivability stats are also taken on the Immortal King's Tribal Binding Immortal King's Tribal Binding, along with Life per Fury Spent as the fourth primary. Finally, the usual double Crit stats are taken on the Immortal King's Irons Immortal King's Irons, alongside Strength and Vitality.

Not skipping on any of the pieces required to obtain the 6-piece bonus of Immortal King opens a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Endless Walk set, The Compass Rose The Compass Rose and The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge amulet. This 2.4 rework adds a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This dynamic mimics the HotA Barb playstyle, as you alternate between Furious Charge Furious Charge bursts of movement in search of the next big fight with extended periods of stationary Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients spam. Seek double Crit stats, Area Damage and an open Socket for The Compass Rose The Compass Rose and double Crit stats, Fire elemental damage and an open Socket on The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge amulet.

Your other ring slot will be taken by the pure damage boost of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will need to learn and time to maximize the benefits of the short-lived Fire proc. Its ideal stats are Crit Chance, Crit Damage, an open Socket and Area Damage.

Bracers of the First Men Bracers of the First Men are a crucial piece for the playstyle. Almost single-handedly turning Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients into an endgame spender, that bracer increases the HotA Attack Speed by 50% and damage by 200%. The preferred stats are Strength, Vitality, Crit Chance and Fire elemental damage, along with as high of a HotA damage roll as you can find.

Finally, the build defining weapon must be in its place — The Gavel of Judgment The Gavel of Judgment. Tailor made for anything HotA-related, this two handed mighty weapon offers up to 100% additional damage to Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients as a guaranteed roll. Its unique power refunds Fury when fighting fewer targets, allowing you to spam with confidence and take full advantage of Life per Fury Spent on gear. Not surprisingly, Life per Fury Spent is the recommended fourth stat alongside a high damage roll, high Strength and Vitality.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Strength
  2. Socket
  3. Hammer of the Ancients %
  4. Vitality
Shoulders
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Area Damage
  5. Life %
Torso
  1. 3 Sockets
  2. Strength
  3. Vitality
  4. Reduced Damage from Elites
  5. All Resistance
Wrists
  1. Strength
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Fire Damage
  4. Vitality
Hands
  1. Strength
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
Waist
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life per Fury Spent
  5. Life %
Legs
  1. 2 Sockets
  2. Strength
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
  5. Armor
Feet
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. Hammer of the Ancients %
  4. All Resistance
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Fire Damage
  5. Strength
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Strength
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Strength
Weapon
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. Weapon Damage
  3. Strength
  4. Hammer of the Ancients %
  5. Vitality
  6. Life per Fury Spent

6. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Maximum Fury
  3. Strength
  4. Vitality
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Chance
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Attack Speed
  4. Cooldown Reduction
Defense
  1. All Resistance
  2. Life %
  3. Armor
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Resource Cost Reduction
  3. Life on Hit
  4. Gold Find

7. Gems

Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Pain Enhancer Pain Enhancer, Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped and Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken (Progression) or Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful (Speedruns).

  • Pain Enhancer Pain Enhancer benefits from the Crit bonuses of Battle Rage Battle Rage, Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker and Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients itself, trading additional Attack Speed and AoE damage in return. In any decent fight with trash enemies, it will work with Bracers of the First Men Bracers of the First Men to double up the rate of your HotA output.
  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem procs itself with its level 25 property when in melee range, synergizing with the close-and-personal range of Hammer of the Ancients Hammer of the Ancients.
  • Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket. Building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist AoE heavy builds in their struggle against single target, high HP enemies. HotA Barbs are better suited to single target fights than many other AoE specs, but they still take decent advantage of this gem — a fine testament to its quality. In speedruns, where fights take significantly shorter time, the value of this gem diminishes and it is best replaced by the overall damage increase and elite protection of Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful.
Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

8. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: The Furnace The Furnace for the weapon slot, Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass (Progression) or Chilanik's Chain Chilanik's Chain (Speedruns) for the armor slot, and Band of Might Band of Might for the jewelry slot.

  • Cubing the The Furnace The Furnace provides you with an incomparable source of bonus elite damage, significantly shortening fights with champion packs and Rift Guardians — arguably the most dangerous fights in Greater Rifts.
  • Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass will halve incoming damage as long as you maintain above 90% of your resource reserve — a considerable defensive bonus when pushing for GR progress, that is trivial to keep up with the strong Fury maintenance inherent to the build. If you are confident in your Toughness during speedruns, you can safely swap this slot out for Chilanik's Chain Chilanik's Chain, boosting your movement speed considerably with every activation of War Cry War Cry.
  • Introduced in Patch 2.4, Band of Might Band of Might offers superior mitigation for the build: 60% damage reduction vs. 50% for Unity Unity, as well as independence from a follower, all for the modest requirement of casting Furious Charge Furious Charge at least once every 8 seconds.

9. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

10. ChangeLog

  • 21 Oct. 2016: No changes needed for Season 8.
  • 26 Jul. 2016: Updated the guide for Patch 2.4.2 and included variations for both high GRs and speedruns.
  • 18 Apr. 2016: The guide has been updated to reflect better jewelry and gemming options.
  • 13 Jan. 2016: The build remains largely unchanged with Patch 2.4, but it is still viable.
  • 16 Sep. 2015: Added Bane of the Stricken in the gem recommendations and made several adjustments to the stat priorities.
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