Whirlwind Wastes Barbarian Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Whirlwind Wastes Barbarian in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.4 and Season 16.
|Ancient Spear Rage Flip Whirlwind Blood Funnel 1 Ignore Pain Ignorance is Bliss 2 Wrath of the Berserker Insanity 3 Battle Rage Bloodshed 4 War Cry Impunity|
With a playstyle distilled to its simplest essence, the build opens runs with Whirlwind and rarely, if ever, stops until the run is complete. The Whirlwind Barb thrives in density — either natural, or built up through Ancient Spear Rage Flip — where the combination of his gemming and Kanai's Cube options will reset vital cooldowns like Wrath of the Berserker and Ignore Pain. 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 try to draw them into the next big fight. When properly optimized in both stats and gameplay, you should be able to re-activate Ignore Pain and Wrath of the Berserker as soon as they come off cooldown. Do not neglect to refresh helpful buffs like Battle Rage and War Cry as necessary.
2. Skills, Runes and Passives
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 rune for free and vastly increases Whirlwind damage, 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 Wastes 4-piece set bonus and the healing of the Blood Funnel rune.
Ignore Pain is one of the most versatile damage reduction tools in the Barbarian arsenal; it instantaneously 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 rune. Considering Ignore Pain is a major factor of your survival, you will be wearing Pride of Cassius and optimizing stats to reach its permanent uptime in high Greater Rifts.
Another major cooldown consideration — even more impactful than Ignore Pain — is Wrath of the Berserker. A signature barbarian steroid, Wrath of the Berserker grants Crit Chance, Attack and Movement Speed, Dodge Chance and brings a major damage increase through the 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.
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 — the benefits provided by its AoE-increasing Bloodshed rune are too good to ignore.
War Cry is a two-in-one utility skill that brings extra Toughness with the Impunity 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 is not as passive as it first seems.
Whirlwind Barbarians have grown to favor strong, ranged crowd control to help create the necessary density for optimal damage output. Two notable options fall into that category — our default recommendation, Ancient Spear Rage Flip for long range control, as well as the easier-to-use, but shorter range Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
While 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 by half a minute. Working in conjunction with 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 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 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.
Your final passive slot is flexible, with a number of viable and useful options. If you feel the need for additional damage, you can take Berserker Rage and gamble on densely packed rifts. A second life is never a bad option, making Nerves of Steel another attractive pickup.
- 16 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
- 26 Nov. 2017: Revisited the skills to reflect the build switching from the Istvan's Paired Blades to the Bul-Kathos's Oath set.
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