Support Barbarian Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Support Barbarian in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.8 and Season 20.
|Furious Charge Merciless Assault Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash 1 Ancient Spear Rage Flip 2 Threatening Shout Falter 3 Ignore Pain Mob Rule 4 War Cry Veteran's Warning|
The Support Barb assumes a leader position in Greater Rifts, controlling fights for the DPS characters to clear in relative safety. Furious Charge headlong into the rift, aggroing and drawing enemies into a big pile near your DPS teammate(s) with Ancient Spear through the Rage Flip effect. The support Barb will also be responsible for several crucial party buffs and debuffs. You will make monsters more susceptible to damage through Threatening Shout Falter, while supporting your allies with Ignore Pain Mob Rule and War Cry Veteran's Warning on cooldown. Last but not least, you will be clumping monsters together in tight packs to maximize your trash killer ally's area damage with Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash.
Skills and Runes
The build purposefully lists no particular rune for Furious Charge, since you can take any rune you like and still receive the benefits of all five runes from the 4-piece set bonus of the Raekor set — a vital part of the playstyle, as it brings its signature mobility. The cooldown reduction of Merciless Assault, the freezing effect of Cold Rush and the double charge effect of Dreadnought work together to supercharge your scouting potential.
What can be considered the signature move of the Support Barb, as well as the source of long range crowd control, Ancient Spear is taken with either of the displacement runes — Rage Flip or Harpoon. The guide recommends Rage Flip, as it complements your ahead-of-group scouting better, and by dragging behind you results in a slightly longer distance pull than the competing Harpoon, albeit with a slightly higher skill cap to use. Regardless of your choice, use Ancient Spear liberally to group big groups of enemies tightly together, benefiting the AoE of your DPS allies. Once pulled relatively close, they will need to be clumped up even tighter to maximize your allies' AoE; this will be achieved by Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash in the thick of the fight.
Besides the excellent crowd control, the support Barbarian implements four utility skills — split in half between enfeebling the enemy and strengthening his allies.
On the debuff side, you will be flipping the base damage debuff of Threatening Shout into an increase of damage against affected monsters with the Falter rune. Note that if you are playing with a Witch Doctor, this rune should be altered to the globe-generating Grim Harvest to feed into the Gruesome Feast passive for significant DPS benefits for your teammate.
War Cry is a two-in-one utility skill that brings extra Toughness with the Veteran's Warning rune. The buff has a fire-and-forget nature with its double screen (100 yard) radius and a duration three times the natural cooldown — but situations will arise when you need it for the Fury generation, so War Cry is not as passive as it first seems.
Arguably the most important toughness increase you can provide to the party, Ignore Pain takes on a role of a group-wide buff with the rune Mob Rule. With a generous, screen-wide range of 50 yards, this versatile damage reduction tool cuts the incoming hurt in half for you and by a quarter for party members, and provides immunity to control-impairing effects (stuns, freezes, immobilizes, etc.) The potency of Ignore Pain is a major reason for the cooldown reduction focus of the build, as well as the necessity for Pride of Cassius to reach permanence of the buff.
This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.
To strengthen a build that frequently scouts dangerous, unexplored territory and dives headfirst into the fray, you will be taking both the elemental resistance boost of Superstition and the near-death bulwark of Relentless. Note that there is a viable alteration if you opt for the beginner-friendly weapon and shield combo of Pig Sticker and Stormshield — Sword and Board. This passive will cut incoming damage by another 30%, as well as improve Fury management with a 20% resource cost reduction.
Pound of Flesh will provide you with both Life Regeneration and Movement Speed — both quite useful for a Support Barbarian, and quite self-sustainable if you go for the Grim Harvest rune on Threatening Shout (although it is quite worth the slot even in a traditional Falter setup).
You should also take Nerves of Steel, the Barbarian version of the standard cheat death passive. As a facetanking spec that tackles sources of damage spikes (Electrified, Fire Chains) on a regular basis, a fail safe on a 60-second cooldown is never a bad choice.
- 12 Mar. 2020: Skill and passive selection revised for the Season 20 meta.
- 19 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 22 Aug. 2019: Reviewed for Season 18.
- 13 May 2019: Revised the guide's suggestions to match the current meta demands.
- 27 Jan. 2019: Updated the build to more closely match the current meta.
- 16 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
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