Frenzy Thorns Barbarian BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Table of Contents
- +Skills and Runes
- ×Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
- +Speed Farming Variation
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Frenzy Thorns Barbarian in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for patch 2.6 and Season 11.
The other pages of our Frenzy Thorns Barbarian guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.
1. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
As a rule of thumb, Cooldown Reduction is the third primary alongside Strength and Toughness stats that is vital to balance into your gear, as your survivability and damage buffs are all cooldown-reliant. With the full 6-seconds extension on Pride of Cassius, the lowest breakpoint for permanent Ignore Pain Iron Hide is 57%. Pushed further to 63%, you will have permanent uptime on all Ignore Pain runes. Another important primary stat to factor in is Attack Speed, as Thorns application is directly tied to the speed of your Frenzy attacks. It is generally recommended to reach at least 1.84 sheet Attacks per Second prior to any buffs (3 maximized Attack Speed rolls on gear plus Paragons), as this will result in the respectable 7 frame Frenzy animation breakpoint when fully buffed. As this is a Legacy of Nightmares set spec, you have considerable freedom in picking out the rest of your gear slots. As a rule of thumb, focus on Thorns and remember the rings' requirements for ancient items, as well as their restriction on other set bonuses. You can run individual set pieces with beneficial stats, as long as they do not form any set bonus.
The Legacy of Nightmares set is a 2.4 rework, allowing you to run any legendary item combination while not losing out on the damage amplification and reduction associated with the traditional 6-piece sets. As long as the two rings — The Wailing Host and Litany of the Undaunted — are the only active set bonus you have equipped, every Ancient item will increase your damage dealt by 100% and reduce damage taken by 4%. In the stats, try to obtain a combination of Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed.
Rounding out the jewelry, the neck slot is best taken by a Hellfire Amulet of Strength — allowing you a free fifth passive slot to take either Nerves of Steel or Ruthless with. Other protective amulets — any of the immunity necklaces or Eye of Etlich — can also be slotted, but their niche defenses are inferior to the universal effectiveness of the Hellfire Amulet of Strength.
Your helm is best taken by a Leoric's Crown — this helm doubles the effectiveness of its slotted gem, becoming the single most powerful source of cooldown reduction offered by a legendary item — 25% with a Flawless Royal Diamond. A notable alternative for the slot can be a well-rolled Andariel's Visage with Physical elemental damage, necessitating that you cube Leoric's Crown and restrict yourself to just one of the synergistic legendary bracers discussed further.
Two protective items in the chest and belt slots provide the bulk of your defenses during progression. Aquila Cuirass will halve incoming damage as long as Fury does not dip below 90% of its reserve, which is effectively a permanent bonus in this pure generator spec. Being able to disregard your roll on the unique affix range is a great boon, as Thorns is not an inherent roll in the secondaries, making stats harder to perfect. The unique affix makes a world of difference on Pride of Cassius however, and you should seek out the longest 6 second extension of Ignore Pain to reach permanent uptime of your key survival cooldown more easily.
St. Archew's Gage are the recommended gloves for the build; previously a support spec staple, they enjoy a rampant growth in popularity due to the Legacy of Nightmares set and their own powerful property. Shielding you with an absorption field that more than doubles your maximum health, St. Archew's Gage offers a temporary defensive edge when engaging an elite — often enough time for this assassin playstyle to whittle the enemy down.
Any legendary pants with the appropriate stats (high Toughness and secondary Thorns) can fill the legs slot, but if you seek to hyper-optimize your build, you should seek out or gamble on Swamp Land Waders with a Witch Doctor alt. After that, go back to your Barbarian and reroll the natural Intelligence of the item into Strength at the Mystic. The WD-specific affix will naturally go to waste, but the Swamp Land Waders are able to roll Physical elemental damage as a fifth stat, which Thorns damage benefits from. A lucky roll can even include Thorns in its secondaries, making these pants highly desirable.
When played correctly, few affixes can catch you as you Furious Charge your way around combat; even more so if you take advantage of the Act II cache legendary Illusory Boots, which make you immune to getting cornered, regardless of density and monster speed. Another option for the slot are Ice Climbers, which will not only remove two deadly sources of crowd control, but also reduce cold damage as a whole.
Bracer legendary affixes will be important not only in the worn equipment, but the armor slot in the Cube as well. Several bracer combos are considered viable for the setup, the easiest being worn Sanguinary Vambraces and cubed Vambraces of Sescheron. Sanguinary Vambraces are easiest to perfect because they are a farmable, common Act 1 bounty cache legendary with a natural Thorns roll and decent, fixed value damage proc. Early on in character progression, you should pair them with Vambraces of Sescheron in the cube, for the percentage-based healing affix — an easy source of sustain. Once you perfect your gear to include at least two Life per Hit rolls, you can safely transition to cubing Nemesis Bracers for the additional elites, playing into the strengths of the build.
Truly deprived of a recommended legendary for the slot, the shoulders can be taken by your best rolled ancient item. Minor benefits can be found from options such as Death Watch Mantle and Pauldrons of the Skeleton King, but they cannot be considered a necessity by any means.
Your weapon and offhand slots will be split between Thorns and Frenzy synergy. On the Thorns side, you will be using the dedicated Hack axe; its unique property applies up to 100% of your Thorns damage to every attack, properly benefiting from all sources of bonus damage as of Patch 2.4.1. On the generator front, you will be wielding Oathkeeper — its damage-increasing component will be neglected, but the Attack Speed increase to Frenzy is vital. Rolls-wise, remember that Thorns specs do not take Weapon Damage into account, and both your weapons will be pure stat sticks that need Strength, Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed; then, their damage range ideally gets rerolled into Life per Hit (or one of the missing aforementioned stats).
2. Paragon Points
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, making it an excellent companion to this Frenzy-centric build.
Added in Patch 2.4, Boyarsky's Chip fulfills a simple and straightforward purpose: increasing your Thorns damage. Its taunting level 25 property is just added value on top, making it easy to stick elites close to this assassin type build.
Introduced in Season 4, 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 during the takedown of the biggest bottleneck in GRs, the scaling HP numbers.
|Torso and Pants|
4. Kanai's Cube
Tucked away in the cube, Bastion's Revered offers a key legendary effect for the build — the extension of Frenzy stacks from 5 to 10. The result is a whopping 150% increase to Frenzy attack speed at cap, as well as a 25% damage buff from Maniac in GR pushes, or 50% additional movespeed from Vanguard when speedfarming.
As previously discussed on the topic of bracers, you can cube Vambraces of Sescheron early on for an easy source of sustain, or speed up your rift clear times with Nemesis Bracers once you include enough Life per Hit on gear. A third alternative is to cube Leoric's Crown, if you have stumbled upon a well-rolled Physical Andariel's Visage to wear.
The jewelry slot in the cube is best taken by Convention of Elements, whose rotation is key in maximizing the burst potential of the spec. Matching your Wrath of the Berserker activations with the beginning of a CoE Physical cycle will allow you two full cycles at your best offensive potential, adding an impactful timing element to an otherwise simple playstyle.
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 and streams on Twitch, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.
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