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Barbarian Whirlwind Build with Bul-Kathos's Oath and Wrath of the Wastes. (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)

Last updated on Oct 21, 2016 at 09:00 by Deadset 109 comments

Table of Contents

This end game Barbarian build elevates the power of the Wrath of the Wastes set to the next level with the Bul-Kathos's Oath weapon set. The bond between the Whirlwind bonuses of the Wastes set and the mobility of Bul-Kathos produces a build with unparalleled speed and resource management. The 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 Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind Blood Funnel Blood Funnel Right Mouse Button Threatening Shout Icon Threatening Shout Demoralize Demoralize 1 Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain Ignorance is Bliss Ignorance is Bliss 2 Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker Insanity Insanity 3 Battle Rage Icon Battle Rage Bloodshed Bloodshed 4 War Cry Icon War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind Blood Funnel Blood Funnel Right Mouse Button Furious Charge Icon Furious Charge Merciless Assault Merciless Assault 1 Sprint Icon Sprint Marathon Marathon 2 Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker Insanity Insanity 3 Battle Rage Icon Battle Rage Bloodshed Bloodshed 4 War Cry Icon War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

3. Rotation

With a playstyle distilled to its simplest essence, the build opens runs with Whirlwind Whirlwind and rarely, if ever, stops until the run is complete. The Whirlwind Barb thrives in density, where the combination of his gemming and Kanai's Cube options will reset vital cooldowns like Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker and Ignore Pain Ignore Pain. In order to build density, move between medium sized monster packs, taunting them with Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Demoralize Demoralize and bringing them to a single huge fight. Once a pack thins out and only a few monsters are left standing, make a judgment call — finish off mobs with less threatening affixes, or Demoralize Demoralize them into the next big fight. When properly optimized in the stats and gameplay, you should be able to re-activate Ignore Pain Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker as soon as they come off cooldown. Do not neglect to refresh other helpful buffs like Battle Rage Battle Rage and War Cry War Cry as they near expiration.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

Whirlwind Whirlwind is the focus of the build, taking on the roles of a primary damage dealer and a movement tool at once. The 6-piece bonus of Wrath of the Wastes set provides you with the Dust Devils Dust Devils rune for free and increases its damage to 2500%, elevating this signature skill to one of the highest damaging spenders in the Barbarian arsenal. Unmatched in maneuverability by ignoring enemy collision, this low cost spender also increases your survivability through the healing Blood Funnel Blood Funnel rune and the Wastes 4-piece set bonus.

Ignore Pain Ignore Pain is one of the most versatile damage reduction tools in the Barbarian arsenal; it instantenously cuts incoming damage in half and makes you immune to crowd control as a base effect, but also gains powerful healing side properties from the Ignorance is Bliss Ignorance is Bliss rune. Considering Ignore Pain Ignore Pain as a major factor of your survival, you will be wearing Pride of Cassius Pride of Cassius and optimizing stats to reach its permanent uptime in high Greater Rifts. When speedfarming however, you can safely swap this defensive slot into the movement speed staple Sprint Sprint Marathon Marathon.

Another major cooldown consideration — even more impactful than Ignore Pain Ignore Pain — is Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker. A signature barbarian steroid, Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker grants Crit Chance, Attack and Movement Speed, Dodge Chance and brings a major damage increase through the Insanity Insanity rune. Getting to as close to permanent uptime of this skill as possible will be one of your major goals, influencing itemization, passives and Cube options.

Rounding out the self-buffs, War Cry War Cry brings twofold utility — a sizable Toughness increase through the Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning rune, along with a built-in Fury generation aspect. Even though the duration of the boost conveniently exceeds the skill cooldown, timing the rebuff is still a consideration. Learning when to reapply and when to hold off will be the difference between smooth and uneven Whirlwind Whirlwinding, and leads to better Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac management. In speedruns, War Cry will also bring a valuable Movement Speed buff from the worn Chilanik's Chain Chilanik's Chain belt.

Close range builds inevitably face a toughness wall in Greater Rift progression, and defensive cooldowns like Threatening Shout Threatening Shout help push that wall further out. A percentage based debuff on the damage of affected enemies, Threatening Shout Threatening Shout boasts a wide radius and a natural overlap of the effect. To further incentivize you, the skill also has a built in Fury generation aspect, and taunts the enemy through the Demoralize Demoralize rune. The taunting aspect is key when building up dense fights, a major gameplay consideration for a build whose damage basically trails the hero. Naturally, in less threatening content the value of the taunt diminishes, so replace this skill with Furious Charge Furious Charge Merciless Assault Merciless Assault for additional mobility and a proc for Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint.

Battle Rage Battle Rage is another Barbarian mainstay, boosting both damage and Crit Chance. While it can be considered a fire-and-forget skill with its impressive 2-minute duration, never neglect to activate and keep it up — it is a solid source of DPS, even more so with the Bloodshed Bloodshed rune. While the skill has other decent runes, Bloodshed becomes too major of a factor in densely populated rifts, where the Whirlwind Barbarian thrives.

This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.

While Boon of Bul-Kathos Boon of Bul-Kathos has threefold utility, the Whirlwind Barbarian narrows it down to its single most powerful bonus — lowering the cooldown of Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker by half a minute. Working in conjunction with Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac to bring you permanent uptime of your ubiquitous Berserker steroid, this passive is considered mandatory for the playstyle.

A hurricane of steel both armed and agile, the Whirlwind Barbarian uses the Rampage Rampage passive to great efficiency. With the potential to stack up to 25% additional Strength, increasing your DPS and Toughness substantially, it is important to learn to keep this passive up. Always being on the move towards bigger fights, where killing minor enemies will feed your stacks, is crucial.

An amplifier taken to compensate your greatest weakness, Ruthless Ruthless makes a tight fit for the troublesome one-on-one fights, where this AoE-oriented build struggles. Once you bring your target below 30% health, your damage skyrockets with an additional 40%, ensuring the mortal blow will be dealt in a reasonable time.

To avoid Fury starvation against Rift Guardians, as well as to solidify resource management throughout the Rift, you will be taking Weapons Master Weapons Master as your final passive in this dual-wield Mighty Weapon build. If you are confident in your ability to fish for very dense rifts and favorable Guardians, you can consider swapping out this passive for damage increasing options like Berserker Rage Berserker Rage.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

The build incorporates the complete Wrath of the Wastes set, taking all six pieces available and leaving the jewelry to pure offense with Convention of Elements Convention of Elements and Skull Grasp Skull Grasp. Rolls-wise, this build aims for a general CDR goal of 44%+, achievable by rolling maximum Cooldown Reduction on both Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow and Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood, Pauldrons of the Wastes Pauldrons of the Wastes, one ring of your choice, a Flawless Royal Diamond Flawless Royal Diamond in Helm of the Wastes Helm of the Wastes, and Paragon Points. Whirlwind Barbs also benefit greatly from Area Damage, aiming to obtain it as a fourth main stat on Pauldrons of the Wastes Pauldrons of the Wastes, your other non-CDR ring, and Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow and Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood. Whirlwind damage can be rolled on both Helm of the Wastes Helm of the Wastes and Sabaton of the Wastes Sabaton of the Wastes, but is only advisable on the latter, as the helm is best left with a huge Vitality roll in the primary stats. A standard split of Strength, Vitality, Crit Chance and Crit Damage is preferred on the Gauntlet of the Wastes Gauntlet of the Wastes. Cuirass of the Wastes Cuirass of the Wastes and Tasset of the Wastes Tasset of the Wastes are best left to pure Toughness stats.

As a final, but extremely important note on general stat distribution: crowd control secondary stats are vital for the build in highest endgame progression as means to proc Ancient Parthan Defenders Ancient Parthan Defenders. Hard crowd control (stun and freeze) will proc APDs, while soft (chill, slow, blind…) will not; Chance to Stun is a possible roll on gloves, while Chance to Freeze can be rolled on belt; both can roll on weapons. When you obtain several (or all) of these secondary stats, you can take great advantage of Ancient Parthan Defenders Ancient Parthan Defenders' scaling damage reduction. Otherwise, stick to the slight damage increase from Lacuni Prowlers Lacuni Prowlers in lower progression, or Strongarm Bracers Strongarm Bracers when speedfarming (triggered by the Furious Charge Furious Charge knockup).

Using all six available set pieces to obtain the full Wrath of the Wastes bonus allows you to devote jewelry to pure offense. Both rings will ideally feature Crit Chance, Crit Damage and an open Socket, and you will split CDR and Area Damage between the two as the fourth primary stat roll. Your first ring slot will be taken by the elemental 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 Physical proc. Your second ring will be the 2.4.1-revised Skull Grasp Skull Grasp, bringing up to 300% multiplicative damage increase to Whirlwind Whirlwind. Note that in speedfarming, the Cube jewelry slot will be free of the Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac requirement, allowing you to cube Skull Grasp Skull Grasp and wear Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint — the strongest DPS jewelry in the game.

To complete the jewelry, aim for as perfect of an elemental amulet as you can. The ideal rolls are Crit Chance, Crit Damage, an open Socket and Physical elemental damage. The better of an amulet you get with these stats, the lesser the concern when charging into the fray — for example, immunity amulets such as Mara's Kaleidoscope Mara's Kaleidoscope, Xephirian Amulet Xephirian Amulet or The Star of Azkaranth The Star of Azkaranth will allow you to ignore deadly elite and Rift Guardian affixes, making fishing with the build more efficient. Good alternatives include a well-rolled Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet with a synergistic fifth passive (Berserker Rage Berserker Rage, Nerves of Steel Nerves of Steel), or an all-purpose defensive neck like Eye of Etlich Eye of Etlich.

Pride of Cassius Pride of Cassius is considered the go-to belt for Greater Rift pushing; the only defensive option for the slot, it can more than double the duration of your Ignore Pain Ignore Pain activations. To make matters slightly more difficult, the unique property of Pride of Cassius Pride of Cassius has a range instead of being fixed, and you should actively seek and gamble for the highest 6-second extension to ease the strain on your Cooldown Reduction. Note that the ideal Pride of Cassius Pride of Cassius will also feature Chance to Freeze in its secondary stats, making it even harder to perfect. In speedfarming, replace this belt with Chilanik's Chain Chilanik's Chain to enjoy a significant, party-wide movement speed buff every time you use War Cry War Cry.

The two mandatory weapons for the build — and his namesakes — are the Bul-Kathos's Oath set, Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow and Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood. Essential to the playstyle by providing its signature mobility and fluid resource management, these weapons will be your primary concern to obtain as ancient when pushing the build to its limits. Rolls-wise, aim for high damage range, Strength, Cooldown Reduction and Area Damage.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Socket
  2. Strength
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Whirlwind Whirlwind %
Shoulders
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Area Damage
Torso
  1. 3 Sockets
  2. Strength
  3. Vitality
  4. Reduced Damage from Elites
  5. All Resistance
Wrists
  1. Strength
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Physical Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Attack Speed (if Lacuni Prowlers Lacuni Prowlers)
Hands
  1. Strength
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Chance to Freeze (Secodary Stat)
Waist
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life per Fury Spent
  5. Chance to Freeze (Secondary Stat)
Legs
  1. 2 Sockets
  2. Strength
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
  5. Armor
Feet
  1. Strength
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Whirlwind Whirlwind %
  5. Movement Speed
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Physical Damage
  5. Strength
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Cooldown Reduction (one one ring)
  5. Area Damage (on the other ring)
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Cooldown Reduction (one one ring)
  5. Area Damage (on the other ring)
Weapon #1
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. Weapon Damage
  3. Strength
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Area Damage
  6. % Weapon Damage
Weapon #2
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. Weapon Damage
  3. Strength
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Area Damage
  6. % Weapon Damage

6. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Strength
  3. Maximum Fury (up to personal preference)
  4. Vitality
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Chance
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Attack Speed
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 Taeguk Taeguk, Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, and Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken (Progress) or Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful (Torments).

  • Taeguk Taeguk is the best hybrid of defense and offense among the legendary gem options, and continued Whirlwind Whirlwind channeling will ensure that your stacks remain capped. While the need for healing will force you anyway, it bears repeating: never stop Whirlwind Whirlwinding, as dropping the Taeguk Taeguk stacks and building them up from scratch is a significant loss of DPS and Toughness.
  • 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, which is where you operate as a Whirlwind Barb.
  • 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. The Whirlwind Barb is a prime example of such a build, and Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken is considered mandatory when pushing Greater Rifts. In normal rifts where health numbers are much more tame, you should swap this gem out for 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 (Progress) or In-geom In-geom (Speedfarm) for the weapon slot, Mantle of Channeling Mantle of Channeling for the armor slot, and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac (Progress) or Skull Grasp Skull Grasp (Speedfarm) 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. In speedfarming, where you lose Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac for the all-out offensive combo of the worn Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint and the cubed Skull Grasp Skull Grasp, you should make up the cooldown reduction loss with an In-geom In-geom.
  • Whirlwind Barbarians naturally expose themselves to danger in the thick of the fight, so the addition of Mantle of Channeling Mantle of Channeling in the armor cube slot is natural. This legendary shoulder increases your damage during Whirlwind Whirlwind channeling by 25%, while simultaneously reducing damage taken by the same amount.
  • Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac is a powerful option for Barbarians to cube in the jewelry slot, making this cooldown-heavy build much easier to manage. Benefiting greatly from the attack speed inherent to dual wielding and the Bul-Kathos set in particular, it allows for permanent uptime of crucial abilities like Ignore Pain Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker. Note that this jewelry slot is interchangeable between the three major rings for the build, and you can also cube Convention of Elements Convention of Elements or Skull Grasp Skull Grasp depending on your worst rolled item; Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac is generally preferred for the Cube slot due to its natural inability to roll both Crit Chance and Crit Damage. Finally, during speedfarming your equipped jewelry slots will be occupied by Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint, necessitating that you cube Skull Grasp Skull Grasp for the jewelry slot.

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: Revised the build to reflect skill, itemization and Cube changes in Patch 2.4.1.
  • 13 Jan. 2016: The build remains unchanged with Patch 2.4, but it is still viable.
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