Death Blow Barbarian Endgame Build for Diablo 4 (Season 1)

A Tactical Battlemaster who expertly targets his enemies for Death.




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Death BlowWar CryRallying CryChallenging ShoutSteel GraspDouble Swing

Build Introduction

This is your comprehensive guide for building a tactical battlemaster Barbarian who expertly targets his enemies with debuffs then send them into oblivion. Welcome to our Death Blow Endgame build. This build focuses delivering the 1-2-3 punch to enemies with a devastating Death BlowDeath Blow strike that crushes the hordes of hell, while you tactically cut down any enemy that stands before you.

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

  • Amazing Single Target DPS
  • Death Blow renews cooldown on kills
  • Big Critical hits
  • Good surviviability
  • Has trouble with large packs of enemies
  • Positioning is key

To see how this build compares to the other builds on our site, you can check out our build tier lists.

Build Requirements

This build has several Legendary Aspects and a single Unique requirement for the build to function properly. The Legendary Aspects you will need the following at a minimum to make the build work at its most basic level. These Aspects are all non-codex, which means you will need to find them on a Legendary Item then imprint them onto specific gear.

Optional Uniques
Required Aspects (Non-codex)

To even begin this build, we recommend you have these four 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. We also use the Unique – Ancients' OathAncients’ Oath for the bonuses to Steel GraspSteel Grasp skill, while this build could be played without the Unique 2-handed Axe, it would not be as effective.

Season of the Malignant

Season 1 Patch Updates

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.

  • Violent Double Swing Vulnerable duration increased from 1 to 2 seconds.
  • Enhanced Death Blow’s damage bonus to Bosses increased from 100% to 150%.
  • Aspect of the Iron Warrior Damage Reduction increased from 15-25% to 18-28%.
  • Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
  • Hamstring now only Slows Healthy enemies, and Slow amount increased from 10/20/30% to 20/40/60%.
  • Weapon Master’s Aspect Lucky Hit Chance increased from 32-50% to 37%-55%.
  • Cooldown Reduction: Reduced by ~30% on gear slots.
  • Significant reductions to Vulnerable and Critical Strike Damage values (needs to be tested more).

Patch 1.1.1

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.

None of these changes are build-breaking and we still have full confidence in this build.

Malignant Hearts

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.

  1. Caged Heart of Tempting FateCaged Heart of Tempting Fate
  2. Caged Heart of RevengeCaged Heart of Revenge
  3. Caged Heart of Punishing SpeedCaged Heart of Punishing Speed

Video Guide

Please note that since this written build guide is ever-evolving and videos cannot easily be updated, the below video should serve as more of a guideline, where as the written guide will always have the most accurate information.

Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar

Skill Bar Setup for the Death Blow Build (Order does not matter)
Death Blow Death Blow War Cry War Cry Rallying Cry Rallying Cry Challenging Shout Challenging Shout Steel Grasp Steel Grasp Double Swing Double Swing

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.

Priority SkillsCluster
Lunging StrikeLunging Strike Level 1, Enhanced Lunging StrikeEnhanced Lunging StrikeBasic SkillBasic Skill
Double SwingDouble Swing Level 5, Enhanced Double SwingEnhanced Double Swing, Furious Double SwingFurious Double SwingCore SkillCore Skill
Rallying CryRallying Cry Level 1, Enhanced Rallying CryEnhanced Rallying Cry, Strategic Rallying CryStrategic Rallying Cry, Challenging ShoutChallenging Shout Level 1, Imposing PresenceImposing Presence Level 1, Martial VigorMartial Vigor Level 3Defensive SkillDefensive Skill
War CryWar Cry Level 1, Enhanced War CryEnhanced War Cry, Power War CryPower War Cry, Booming VoiceBooming Voice Level 3, Guttural YellGuttural Yell Level 3, Aggressive ResistanceAggressive Resistance Level 3, Prolific FuryProlific Fury Level 3Brawling SkillBrawling Skill
Death BlowDeath Blow Level 5, Enhanced Death BlowEnhanced Death Blow, Warrior's Death BlowWarrior’s Death Blow, Steel GraspSteel Grasp Level 1, Enhanced Steel GraspEnhanced Steel Grasp, Warrior's Steel GraspWarrior’s Steel Grasp, Thick Skin Level 1, Defensive StanceDefensive Stance Level 2, CounteroffensiveCounteroffensive Level 3, Pit FighterPit Fighter Level 3, No MercyNo Mercy Level 3Weapon Mastery SkillWeapon Mastery Skill
Heavy HandedHeavy Handed Level 3Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill
:UnconstrainedUnconstrainedKey Passives

Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization

For the Death Blow build, we will be focusing on the Technique of a Two-Handed Axe. This boosts our Vulnerable damage, increasing our overall damage with Death BlowDeath Blow, so we can continually renew the Cooldown.


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.

Rare NodeEffect
ExploitExploit– 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.
TerritorialTerritorial– 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.
AmbidextrousAmbidextrous– Grants +[125]% to all Magic Nodes within range.
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: You deal +[8]% increased damage while wielding One-handed weapons.
MarshalMarshal– Grants +[125%] bonus to all Magic nodes within range.
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: After casting a Shout Skill, the active Cooldown of every other Shout Skill is reduced by 1.2 seconds.
WrathWrathFor 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 DrawMortal 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.
Weapon MasterWeapon Master– Paragon nodes within range gain +[55]% bonus to their Physical damage and Damage Reduction modifiers.
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Hitting with a Weapon Mastery Skill reduces the active Cooldown of another random Weapon Mastery Skill by 2 seconds.

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 – so if you do not have enough paragon points for use in your paragon tree, just slowly work towards each step.

Starting Board

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
Starting Board
  1. Take the pathway up the right hand side of the board towards the open Glyph slot.
  2. Along route pick up the Rare Node BrawnBrawn, this will boost our flat damage and offer us an increase to Maximum Life.
  3. Insert the Glyph Weapon MasterWeapon Master, and take the DexterityDexterity nodes shown to get the bonus. This will help us with our Weapon Mastery skills, but also gives us bonus Physical Damage.
  4. Inside the Gylph radius we will take both Rare Nodes, Iron StrengthIron Strength and Raw PowerRaw Power.
  5. Finally, path towards the connection point at the top of the board and attach our next paragon board Decimator.

Decimator (2nd Board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
  1. Path towards the open Glyph slots and pick up the Rare Node DestroyerDestroyer along the way.
  2. Now go straight to the open Glyph slot and insert MarshalMarshal. This Glyph will boost the Rare Nodes in our Glyph radius and help with our Shouts Cooldowns. It is Strength based so be sure to take the StrengthStrength nodes shown above.
  3. Next we will take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, DemolishDemolish and ArroganceArrogance, both of these nodes will give us advantages against Vulnerable enemies. Be sure to take the correct Magic Nodes.
  4. Head towards the right hand side of the board and pick up the Rare Node PillagePillage, this node will give us another increase in damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
  5. Complete both pathways to the connection points shown in the image above.
  6. Finally, use the top connection point to attach the next paragon board Flawless Technique.

Carnage (3rd Board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
  1. Take the pathway towards the Glyph slot and insert AmbidextrousAmbidextrous into the Glyph slot. This Glyph will boost the Magic Nodes within the radius and grants us more One-handed weapon damage.
  2. Inside the Glyph radius take both Rare Nodes, BrashBrash and FierceFierce, these Nodes will grant you an increased Berserking Damage and give you an increased Damage Reduction for Vulnerable Enemies.
  3. Now path towards the top connection point, branching off to pick up the Rare Node EnragedEnraged.
  4. Complete the path upwards to the attachment point and attach the next board, Flawless Technique.

Flawless Technique (4th Board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
Flawless Technique
  1. Head up towards the Open Glyph slot and pick up Rare Node HavocHavoc, this will give us increases to both our Critical Strike Damage and Physical Damage.
  2. . Insert Mortal DrawMortal Draw into the slot and take the needed DexterityDexterity to ensure its bonus.
  3. Now take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, BrashBrash and Heavy BlowsHeavy Blows. These will help our defenses against Close Enemies and our offensive Critical Strike Damage with 1-handed weapons.
  4. Now go back to the Decimator paragon board and take the path up to the connection point. Attach the Weapons Master paragon board.

Weapons Master (5th Board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
Weapons Master
  1. Follow the pathway to the center of the board and take the Rare Node BruteBrute. This Node will increase our Physical Damage and Attack Speed.
  2. Now go back and insert TerritorialTerritorial into the open Glyph slot. This Glyph will increase our offenses and defenses to Close Enemies.
  3. Be sure to take the correct nodes in the image above, including the DexterityDexterity for the bonus.
  4. Lastly, move towards the connection point at left hand side of the Paragon Board and attach our the board Bone Breaker.

Bone Breaker (6th Board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
Bone Breaker
  1. Select the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert ExploitExploit, this will increase our damage to Vulnerable Enemies. Be sure to take the needed DexterityDexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
  2. Lastly, take the Rare Node VigorVigor for the Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a small damage increase.
  3. Now head to the bottom of the board and attach our final paragon board Warbringer.

Warbringer (7th board)

Barbarian D4 Paragon Board
  1. Select the nodes towards the open Glyph slot, and insert WrathWrath for the boost to Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
  2. Take the need DexterityDexterity nodes to boost your damage output.
  3. Lastly, take the Rare Node Raw PowerRaw Power, this will increase our Physical Damage.
  4. This completes the paragon tree for this build.

Paragon board images courtesy of

Build Mechanics and Playstyle

The playstyle for this build is a simple three step rotation. This rotation will prep enemies with debuffs and put our character into Berserking, then unleash a Death BlowDeath Blow strike to wipe out a line of enemies. Doing this rotation correctly should also trigger a Berserking state, which is buffed by our Key Passive UnconstrainedUnconstrained for added damage. Let’s look at the rotation a bit closer.

  1. Steel GraspSteel Grasp – Pulls everything towards us and groups enemies up for easy skill hits with both Double SwingDouble Swing and Death BlowDeath Blow.
  2. Double SwingDouble Swing – This skill is our Vulnerability trigger. We will use this to ensure a fresh stack of Vulnerability is applied to the enemy before we finish them off with a Death BlowDeath Blow. When we spam this skill in combination of our great Fury generation, it triggers our Aspects to amplify our attacks.
  3. Death BlowDeath Blow – This is our killing attack. Death Blow will be charged up by several different Aspects on our equipment (like when we spend enough Fury using Double Swing), Berserking and our Key Passive UnconstrainedUnconstrained. When all of these elements line up, Death Blow can easily one shot elite mobs. One important Aspect to keep in mind is the Weapon Master's AspectWeapon Master’s Aspect. This Aspect allows us to have two charges of Death Blow. This makes resetting the Cooldown on Death Blow so much easier, as you have two opportunities to get a kill.

The hardest part of this build is getting to know your rotations and which skills need to be used to renew the buffs for Death BlowDeath Blow. However, once you understand the process, the playstyle will feel smoother and you will be able to control your bursts of power. Let’s take a look at the defensive layers that will be keeping us alive while we cut mobs in half.  

Challenging Shout

Challenging ShoutChallenging Shout is going to give us the Damage Reduction we need to stay close to our enemies and survive while we cut them down with Death BlowDeath Blow. When you combine this Shout with a basic skill attack we are going to be able to maintain a very high Damage Reduction for those moments when you are in trouble.

War Cry

War CryWar Cry is our boost for a huge damage increase, increasing based on how many Enemies are surrounding us. This synergizes well with Steel GraspSteel Grasp, as it is going to pull everything over to you. This will also trigger a Berserking state and keep our Fury building.

Rallying Cry

Rallying CryRallying Cry is another source of Unstoppable we can depend on, but it also grants us Fortification. While the Shout is active we will gain Fortify every single second to help offset the damage we will be taking from the enemies around us.

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 SlotTargeted Affixes
Helm1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Ranks of Death BlowDeath Blow
3. Total Armor
4. Strength
5. Damage while Berserking
Chest1. Damage Reduction
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified 
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies 
4. Total Armor
5. Rank up Rallying CryRallying Cry
Gloves1. Critical Strike Chance
2. Ranks of Double SwingDouble Swing
3. Attack Speed
4. Strength
5. Critical Strike Chance Against Injured Enemies
Pants1. Damage Reduction
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction while Injured
4. Total Armor
5. Maximum Life
Boots1. Movement Speed
2. Damage Reduction while Injured
3. Fury Cost Reduction
4. Strength
5. Movement Speed for 4 seconds After Killing an Elite
Amulet1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Rank Up Heavy HandedHeavy Handed
3. Rank Up of All Weapon Mastery Skills
4. Damage Reduction while Injured
5. Movement Speed
6. Fury Cost Reduction
Rings1. Vulnerable Damage
2. Critical Strike Chance
3. Critical Strike Damage
4. Maximum Life
Weapons1. Vulnerable Damage
2. Critical Strike Damage
3. Strength
4. Damage to Close Enemies
5. Damage to Bleeding Enemies
6. All Stats
These Affixes are going to be re-evaluated once Season One goes live, and we can properly test which Affixes best match the build.

Please note that these affixes are the recommended picks for this Death BlowDeath Blow build, 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:

  • Damage While Berserking
  • Rank ups to selected 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

Legendary Aspects

Below you will find the optimal setup for Legendary Aspects for the Death BlowDeath Blow build. Each aspect is listed with its matching gear slot. Do your best to keep each aspect in the slot it was posted with.

Listed below are all the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary items that are important for the Death Blow 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.

Gear SlotLegendary AspectLegendary Aspect Power
HelmEluding AspectEluding AspectBecoming Injured while Crowd Controlled grants you Unstoppable for 4 seconds. This effect has a [40-20] second Cooldown.  
ChestAspect of Numbing WrathAspect of Numbing WrathEach point of Fury generated while at Maximum Fury grants [X] Fortify.
GlovesAspect of AnemiaAspect of AnemiaLucky Hit: Direct damage against Bleeding enemies has up to a [20-30%] chance to Stun them for 2 seconds.
PantsAspect of DisobedienceAspect of DisobedienceYou gain [0.25-0.50%] increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to [15.00-30.00%].
BootsWeapon Master's AspectWeapon Master’s AspectYour Weapon Mastery Skills have an additional Charge. Lucky Hit: Damaging an enemy with a Weapon Mastery Skill has up to a [37-55%] chance to Stun them for 2 seconds.
Amulets(50% bonus)Aspect of Limitless RageAspect of Limitless RageEach point of Fury you generate while at Maximum Fury grants your next Core Skill [1-2%] increased damage, up to [15-30%] .
RingAspect of Echoing FuryAspect of Echoing FuryYour Shout Skills generate [2.0-4.0] Fury per second while active.
RingBold Chieftain's AspectBold Chieftain’s AspectWhenever 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)Accelerating AspectAccelerating AspectCritical Strikes with Core Skills increase your Attack Speed by [15-25]% for 5 seconds. 
Slashing Weapon (200% bonus)Ancients' OathAncients’ OathSteel Grasp launches 2 additional chains. Enemies hit by Steel Grasp are Slowed by [55 – 65]% for 3 seconds.
Dual-Wield Weapon 1Edgemaster's AspectEdgemaster’s AspectSkills 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 2Aspect of Berserk RippingAspect of Berserk RippingWhenever you deal direct damage while Berserking, inflict [20-30%] of the Base damage dealt as additional Bleeding damage over 5 seconds.

Unique Items

We utilize the Ancients' OathAncients’ Oath for this build, while it is very much optional, this Unique works quite well in this build setup.


Listed below are the best gems to socket into gear for each slot type.

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 ElixirAssault 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 12th 2023: Updated Build for Season 1.
  • August 8th 2023: Added notes about Patch 1.1.1.
  • August 5th 2023: Malignant Hearts and Paragon updated for clarity.
  • July 19th, 2023: Season of the Malignant section added.
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