This is your comprehensive guide for building a crazed Barbarian that smashes the ground in a rage, taking down all enemies around him. Welcome to our Berserk HotA Endgame build. This build focuses on a constant uptime of Berserking and utilizing Hammer of the Ancients against the hordes of hell, leaping from pack to pack like animal. While similar to the Shout HotA build, this build priorities speed and Berserking effects to crash down on top of enemies, decimating them with a flurry of hammer blows. Our guide will cover all basic mechanics and deep dive into the optimal setup for skills, Paragon and gear for the build.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Strong AoE damage style
- Good defensive layers
- Decent opportunity to stun enemies
- Good Escapes to break CC
- Fury Management
- Cooldown Management
- Positional Gameplay
To see how this build compares to the other builds on our site, you can check out our build tier lists.
This build has several Legendary Aspects that are required before it will function properly. You will need the following at to maximize the build to its fullest. These Aspects are all non-codex, which means you will need to find them on a Legendary Item, and then imprint them onto specific gear.
To even begin this build, we recommend you have these Aspects ready for imprinting at a minimum. For the build it become fully functional, we recommend you have all the Legendary Aspects listed further in this guide for the build to work optimally.
Season of the Malignant
Below is a list of specific changes from the Season 1 Patch Update that affect this build. If any of these changes create significant issues within the build, they will be discussed in more detail under their relevant sections.
- Hamstring now only Slows Healthy enemies, and Slow amount increased from 10/20/30% to 20/40/60%.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
- Cooldown Reduction: Reduced by ~30% on gear slots.
- Significant reductions to Vulnerable and Critical Strike Damage values (needs to be tested more).
The second major update for Season 1, Patch 1.1.1 released on August 8th 2023, brings some positive changes to Barbarian. This includes adjustments to Basic Generator Skills, Key passives, skill passives, and Legendary Aspects. The changes that directly affect this build are listed below.
- Enhanced Frenzy – Fury gained increased from 2 to 3.
- Aggressive Resistance – Damage reduction increased from 3% to 4%.
- Aspect of Ancestral Force – Damage increased from 32-50% to 40-58%.
The theme for Season 1 introduces a new form of legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. There are three types of hearts that need to be socketed into matching colored sockets on all equipped jewelry and one type of heart that can be placed into any socket. For more information about the Malignant Hearts theme for Season 1 check out our Malignant Hearts guide.
Listed below are the Malignant Hearts that are useful for this build, ranked by importance. Stats displayed reflect what a Level 20 character would receive as a drop. Note that this list is based on our early opinions on the Malignant Hearts, and we will update it as and when it is necessary.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
Follow the points allocated in the image above for the complete 58 point build. The additional 10 skill points are completed using the Renown system.
|Frenzy Level 1, Enhanced Frenzy, Battle Frenzy||Basic Skill|
|Hammer of the Ancients Level 5, Enhanced Hammer of the Ancients, Furious Hammer of the Ancients||Core Skill|
|Rallying Cry Level 1, Enhanced Rallying Cry, Strategic Rallying Cry||Defensive Skill|
|Leap Level 1, Enhanced Leap, Power Leap|
Swiftness Level 3, Aggressive Resistance Level 3, Prolific Fury Level 3, Battle Fervor Level 3
|Death Blow Level 1, Enhanced Death Blow, Warrior’s Death Blow|
Pit Fighter Level 2, No Mercy Level 3, Hamstring Level 1, Thick Skin Level 1, Expose Vulnerability Level 3, Defensive Stance Level 3
|Weapon Mastery Skill|
|Wrath of the Berserker, Prime Wrath of the Berserker, Supreme Wrath of the Berserker|
Tempered Fury Level 1, Furious Impulse Level 3
Heavy Handed Level 3, Wallop Level 3
|Unbridled Rage||Key Passives|
Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization
Weapon Expertise is a set of benefits tied to which weapons you use as a Barbarian. To unlock your Expertise, simply hit Level 5 and the tab below will be made available. By using a certain weapon type, you will begin to gain ranks with that weapon as you fight. The ranks are from 0 to 10 and will level up moderately quickly as your character gains experience. Once your expertise hit rank 10, you will be maxed out on the benefit for using that weapon with your skills.
As a reminder, to swap your assigned weapon to the skill you are using, go to your Skill selection list (not Skill Tree) and you will see how to switch it. For mouse and keyboard users, you can access this by pressing the middle mouse button.
At Level 15, you will unlock the Masters of Battle quest. This quest will be available in the township of ‘Ked Bardu’ from the Forgemaster Gerti. Upon completing this quest you will unlock the Technique slots as seen below. This will offer you an additional permanent bonus from one of the weapons regardless of whether you have it equipped to a skill or not.
For this Hammer of the Ancients build, we will be focused on using the Technique of Two-Handed Axes for the bonus.
We recommend using these Legendary nodes and Rare Glyphs to truly take this build into the endgame. Note that each Rare Glyph’s information listed below is for the Level 21 version.
|Exploit||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal + [3.85%] increased damage to Vulnerable targets.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: When an enemy is damaged by you, they become Vulnerable for 3 seconds. This cannot happen more than once every 20 seconds per enemy.
|Territorial||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal +[9.6]% increased damage to Close targets.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: You gain 10% Damage Reduction against Close enemies.
|Ire||– For every 5 Strength purchased within range, you deal +[5.3%] increased damage while Berserking.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: While Berserking, you take 10% reduced damage from Elites.
|Might||– Grants + [125%] bonus to all Magic nodes within range.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: You deal x8% increased damage while wielding Two-Handed weapons.
|Wrath||For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, Core Skills deal + [7.2%] increased Critical Strike Damage.|
Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Skill that Critical Strike generate 3 Fury.
|Mortal Draw||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, Skill that Swap to a different weapon deal + [16.5%] increased damage.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Swapping weapons has a 18% chance to cause the Skill’s damage to Critically Strike.
|Disembowel||– For every 5 Willpower purchased within range, you deal +[7.2%] increased Bleeding damage.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Willpower points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Killing a Bleeding enemy has a 10% chance to reduce the Cooldowns of your Non-Ultimate active Cooldowns by 1 second.
Let’s break down each of these beneficial nodes and where our Paragon Points are positioned in each of the Paragon Boards we use. This part of the build is presented in order of importance. If you do not have enough Paragon Points for use in your Paragon Tree, just slowly work towards each step.
- Take the pathway up the right hand side of the board towards the open Glyph slot.
- Along route pick up the Rare Node Brawn, this will boost our flat damage and offer us an increase to Maximum Life.
- Insert the Glyph Disembowel, and take the Willpower Nodes shown to get the bonus. This helps to lower all our non-Ultimate Cooldowns as we kill bleeding enemies and any enemy we attack while Berserking is inflicted with Bleed.
- Inside the Gylph radius we will take both Rare Nodes, Iron Strength and Raw Power.
- Finally, path towards the connection point at the top of the board and attach our next Paragon Board, Decimator.
Decimator (2nd Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slots and pick up the Rare Node Destroyer along the way.
- Now go straight to the open Glyph slot and insert Might. This Glyph offers a boost to the Magic Nodes of 125%. The secondary bonus to this Glyph is an increase to Two-handed Weapon Damage.
- Next we will take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, Demolish and Arrogance, both of these nodes will give us advantages against Vulnerable enemies. Be sure to take the correct Magic Nodes.
- Head towards the right hand side of the board and pick up the Rare Node Pillage, this node will give us another increase in damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Complete both pathways to the connection points shown in the image above.
- Finally, use the right hand connection point to attach the next Paragon Board, Carnage.
Carnage (3rd Board)
- Take the pathway towards the Glyph slot and insert Ire into the Glyph slot. Now stack the Strength as you see above in the image to boost our Berserking Damage and also give us the bonus Damage Reduction against Elites.
- Inside the Glyph radius take both Rare Nodes, Brash and Fierce, these Nodes will grant you an increased Berserking Damage and give you an increased Damage Reduction for Vulnerable Enemies.
- Now path towards the top connection point, branching off to pick up the Rare Node Enraged.
- Complete the path upwards to attachment point and attach the next Paragon Board, Flawless Technique.
Flawless Technique (4th Board)
- Head up towards the Open Glyph slot and pick up Rare Node Havoc, this will give us increases to both our Critical Strike Damage and Physical Damage.
- . Insert Mortal Draw into the slot and take the needed Dexterity to ensure its bonus. This weapon swap bonus should be applied when we use Frenzy in our rotations.
- Now take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, Brash and Heavy Blows. These will help our defenses against Close Enemies and our offensive Critical Strike Damage with 1-handed weapons.
- Now go back to the Decimator paragon board and take the top pathway to the connection point. Attach the Weapons Master Paragon Board.
Weapons Master (5th Board)
- Follow the pathway to the center of the board and take the Rare Node Brute. This Node will increase our Physical Damage and Attack Speed.
- Now go back and insert Territorial into the open Glyph slot. This Glyph will increase our offenses and defenses to Close Enemies.
- Be sure to take the correct nodes in the image above, including the Dexterity for the bonus.
- Lastly, move towards the connection point at left hand side of the Paragon Board and attach Bone Breaker.
Bone Breaker (6th Board)
- Select the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Exploit, this will increase our damage to Vulnerable Enemies. Be sure to take the needed Dexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Vigor for the Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a small damage increase.
- Now head to the bottom of the board and attach our final Paragon Board, Warbringer.
Warbringer (7th board)
- Select the nodes towards the open Glyph slot, and insert Wrath for the boost to Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
- Take the need Dexterity nodes to boost your damage output.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Raw Power, this will increase our Physical Damage.
- This completes the Paragon Tree for this build.
Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
This build uses Leap to crash down onto a group of mobs. This not only gives us a fun earthquake of damage from Aspect of Bul-Kathos, but also increases our Damage Reduction. Opening with Hammer of the Ancients will generate Fury and trigger Berserking through the passive Battle Fervor. From here, we can use our Rallying Cry to increase our Fury Generation and Movement Speed to begin to loop around the group of enemies and strike them with Hammer of the Ancients. Once you’ve done enough damage to place enemies’ health into a “low” state, useDeath Blow to finish them off, resulting in a refresh on the Death Blow cooldown, as well as a recharge on the Berserking timer. Keep your Wrath of the Berserker at the ready for any elite mobs or bosses you may come across for the increase in damage. Finish off what mobs are left with Frenzy, providing Fury and Attack Speed, and then Leap into the next pack.
Berserking in this build is easy to keep up at all times. Between using Leap in conjunction with Battle Fervor and well timed Warrior’s Death Blow, you should be able to constantly stay this state and benefit from the increases in Fury Generation, Damage and Movement Speed. If you are struggling to keep yourself in a Berserked state, switch your Key Passive to Unconstrained for a higher maximum time limit. Remember, you can use Wrath of the Berserker to keep yourself in Berserking as well.
Our choice of Expertise in combination with Iron Blood Aspect, provides us with a unique defensive layer. This provides us with a significant increase in our Damage Reduction based on those bleeding enemies. We support this further by our Paragon Tree for even more Damage Reduction against Bleeding Enemies. The Bleeding effect also occurs automatically while you are Berserking, you don’t need to trigger anything or do anything special. While there will be some adjustment to keeping your Berserking going, with a decent amount of duration on your items you will find this to become very routine.
We also have Fortification to add another layer of health to ourselves from our Strategic Rallying Cry. Being Fortified is enhanced further through the use of our Paragon board. This effect happens naturally through the course of gameplay and will be constantly topped off. Lastly, we will also benefit from Thick Skin and Defensive Stance.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
As you begin to farm in World Tier 3 and 4, Rare and Legendary item drops will begin to appear with some regularity, depending on your luck. We recommend saving the targeted Legendary items that have the needed Legendary aspects listed below. We also recommended to keep multiple copies of the build’s Aspects in your Stash for future upgrades.
As for the Rare items, you will need to inspect each one for targeted affixes for use in each specific slot and do your best to match the recommended rolls. We have listed our targeted affixes in order of importance. Check the chart below and make note of what affixes you are searching for when you see a Rare gear piece drop.
|Gear Slot||Targeted Affixes|
|Helm||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Basic Attack Speed
3. Damage While Berserking
4. Maximum Life
5. Maximum Fury
|Chest||1. Damage Reduction|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction Enemies that are Bleeding
5. Maximum Life
|Gloves||1. Critical Strike Chance|
2. Ranks of Hammer of the Ancients
3. Attack Speed
5. Critical Strike Chance Against Injured Enemies
|Pants||1. Berserking Duration|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction from Enemies That Are Bleeding
5. Maximum Life
|Boots||1. Movement Speed|
2. Damage Reduction while Injured
3. Fury Cost Reduction
4. Berserking Duration
5. Movement Speed for 4 seconds After Killing an Elite.
|Amulet||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Rank Up Wallop
3. Damage Reduction
4. Fury Cost Reduction
5. Movement Speed
|Rings||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Critical Strike Chance
3. Critical Strike Damage
4. Resource Generation
5. Damage With Berserking
|Weapons||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Critical Strike Damage
3. Core Skill
5. Damage to Close Enemies
6. Damage while Berserking
Please note that these Affixes are the recommended picks, but that is simply our opinion. Other Affixes could certainly work instead of the ones listed above, but may not be optimal. Also, there are several very specific Affixes that are required to make the build work, they are as follows:
- Ranks of select skills
- Resource Generation – Any additional Fury generation allows us to keep our pool topped off and keep on spamming.
- Fury Cost Reduction – This is a very important Affix to focus on, especially because we take the Key Passive Unbridled Rage that doubles the cost of our skills.
- Berserking Duration
A final point on acquiring the right Affixes and Legendary Aspects, use your Obols to target farm them. Obols are awarded from many different activities in the game, you will always stockpiling them until you hit your maximum. Instead of just randomly spending them on a random pick, use them to target what you might be missing from this build. It is a great way to target a specific slot of loot and find what you need.
If you are interested in checking out a new tool for gambling Obols check out this link below from Icy Veins.Obol Gambling Optimization Tool
Listed below are all the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary items that are important for the Berserk HotA build. Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used if you cannot find the proper Legendary drops, but they have weaker effects. Extract Aspects from lower level Legendary items and imprint them onto better Rare items with preferred stats. The endgame itemization goal will be to imprint Aspects with the best values Ancestral Rare items with Item Power above or as close to 800, then upgrade them through the Blacksmith. Each aspect is listed with its matching gear slot. Do your best to keep each aspect in the slot it was posted with.
|Gear Slot||Legendary Aspect||Legendary Aspect Power|
|Helm||Iron Blood Aspect||Gain [2.0-4.0%] Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to [10-20%] maximum.|
|Chest||Aspect of Bul-Kathos||Leap creates an Earthquake that deals [X] Physical damage over 4 seconds. While standing in Earthquakes, you gain [5-15%] increased Damage Reduction.|
|Gloves||Weapon Master’s Aspect||Your Weapon Mastery Skills have an additional Charge. Lucky Hit: Damaging an enemy with a Weapon Mastery Skill has up to a [32 – 50%] chance to Stun them for 2 seconds.|
|Pants||Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2.0-6.0] seconds.|
|Boots||Eluding Aspect||Becoming Injured while Crowd Controlled grants you Unstoppable for 4 seconds. This effect has a [40-20] second Cooldown.|
|Amulets (50% bonus)||Aspect of Limitless Rage||Each point of Fury you generate while at Maximum Fury grants your next Core Skill [1-2%] increased damage, up to [15-30%].|
|Ring||Aspect of Berserk Fury||You gain [3-6] Fury per second while Berserking.|
|Ring||Bold Chieftain’s Aspect||Whenever you cast a Shout Skill, its Cooldown is reduced by [1.0-1.9] seconds per Nearby enemy, up to a maximum of 6 seconds.|
|Bludgeoning Weapon (200% bonus)||Aspect of Ancestral Force||Hammer of the Ancients quakes outwards, dealing [32-50]% of its damage to enemies.|
|Slashing Weapon (200% bonus)||Edgemaster’s Aspect||Skills deal up to [10- 20%] increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.|
|Dual-wield weapon 1||Aspect of Berserk Ripping||Whenever you deal direct damage while Berserking, inflict [20 – 30%] of the Base damage dealt as additional Bleeding damage over 5 seconds.|
|Dual-wield weapon 2||Aspect of the Expectant||Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by [5 – 10%], up to 30%.|
Listed below are the best gems to socket into gear for each slot type.
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for critical strike damage to Vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for an increase to Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively using our Malignant hearts for this slot.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Visit the Alchemist in any main town to craft helpful Elixirs that increase stats, and experience gain for 30 minutes. Make sure to forage plants and pick up the necessary crafting materials during your adventures; they randomly spawn around the world. Use an Elixir providing any Resistance you need most, or the Assault Elixir to increase Attack Speed.
Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80 and 90, to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential to survival.
- August 7th, 2023: New Format and build Revamp.
- August 2nd, 2023: Patch 1.1.1 section added with build specific changes.
- July 18th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1.