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Earthen Bulwark Detonation Endgame Druid Build for Diablo 4 (Legacy)

An Explosive build for the Highest Nightmare Dungeons and PvP!

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Earthen BulwarkClawPoison CreeperCyclone ArmorHurricanePetrify


This is a legacy build that is not viable for the current version of Diablo 4, and which we do not recommend using. It only exists for documentation purposes.

If you’re looking for updated and competitive Basic Skill druid builds, check out the following builds:

Stormclaw Druid

The Stormclaw Druid is a fast and mobile Basic Attack build for speeding through content and focusing attacks onto small groups of gathered enemies.

Build Introduction

The Earthen Bulwark Detonation build is a legacy endgame push build capable of clearing the highest Nightmare Dungeons efficiently, and one of the few Druid builds that competes well in a PvP environment.

This build leverages the Key Passive Nature's FuryNature’s Fury and Legendary Aspect Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect in combination to constantly reset your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark.

  • Offensively, damage from Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark, high volume of Basic Attack and other supplementary damage kills your enemies, then
  • Defensively, the high coverage and refresh of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark Barrier on top of all other Damage Reductions keep you the safest possible while you kill your enemies.

This guide will cover the basic needs of the build, as well as offer in-depth explanations of the mechanics in play, and give alternative skills, boons, and gearing considerations for the available variant playstyles to fit your needs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
  • 100 Nightmare Dungeon capable
  • Straight-forward gameplay
  • PvP capable
Weaknesses
  • Melee range build
  • Lots of basic attack spam to fish for Bulwark resets

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

Build Requirements

Required Aspects (Non-codex)

This build requires a high-rolled non-codex Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect to function in its endgame state. Without it, you cannot chain together your Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark casts, and we recommend continuing to farm for it using your existing build, or check out our other Druid builds!

While the build defaults to using Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone, it is playable without any Unique. Without it, you can still trigger a reasonable amount of Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect events with the following:

Variants

Variant Playstyles recommended to make the most of this build include the following:

  • Damage Reduction while Injured variant, using the strongest Damage Reduction Gear Affix multiplier to have the highest Effective Health and Effective Barrier to push the hardest hitting content.

Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar

Skill Bar for Earthen Bulwark Detonation Druid (order does not matter)
Earthen Bulwark Earthen Bulwark Poison Creeper Poison Creeper Cyclone Armor Cyclone Armor Hurricane Hurricane Claw Claw Petrify Petrify
Priority SkillsCluster
ClawClaw Level 5, Enhanced ClawEnhanced Claw, Wild ClawWild Claw
Storm StrikeStorm Strike Level 5, Enhanced Storm StrikeEnhanced Storm Strike, Fierce Storm StrikeFierce Storm Strike
Basic SkillBasic Skill
Predatory InstinctPredatory Instinct Level 3Core SkillCore Skill
Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark Level 5, Enhanced Earthen BulwarkEnhanced Earthen Bulwark, Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark
Cyclone ArmorCyclone Armor Level 1, Ancestral FortitudeAncestral Fortitude Level 3, VigilanceVigilance Level 3
Defensive SkillDefensive Skill
Poison CreeperPoison Creeper Level 1, Enhanced Poison CreeperEnhanced Poison Creeper, Brutal Poison CreeperBrutal Poison CreeperCompanion SkillCompanion Skill
HurricaneHurricane Level 1, Enhanced HurricaneEnhanced Hurricane, Savage HurricaneSavage Hurricane
Crushing EarthCrushing Earth Level 3, SafeguardSafeguard Level 3, Stone GuardStone Guard Level 3
NeurotoxinNeurotoxin Level 1, EnvenomEnvenom Level 3, Toxic ClawsToxic Claws Level 1
Wrath SkillWrath Skill
PetrifyPetrify, Prime PetrifyPrime Petrify
QuickshiftQuickshift Level 1, Heightened SensesHeightened Senses Level 3
Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill
Nature's FuryNature’s FuryKey Passive

Alternative Skills

Below are the Skill options available to fit your needs. For Active Skills:

Poison CreeperPoison Creeper gives Critical Strike Chance from Brutal Poison CreeperBrutal Poison Creeper and AoE application of Immobilize and Poison. Cyclone ArmorCyclone Armor is taken for passive magical defense and direct casts of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark through Nature's FuryNature’s Fury. Valid alternatives in these Skill Slots can be:

PetrifyPetrify is the default Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill for its frequent Stun and Critical Strike Damage adding even more damage to our Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark. CataclysmCataclysm can also be used for Storm events to trigger more Nature's FuryNature’s Fury resets on your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark. In PvP, CataclysmCataclysm can get more value because enemy players will often be Unstoppable.

As with most builds, there’s room to move around Passive Skill Points to meet your needs. Some examples include:

  • If your Fortify generation is sufficient, take point(s) from SafeguardSafeguard.
  • For farming content efficiently or chasing down other players, Digitigrade GaitDigitigrade Gait can help.

Spirit Boons – The Druid Class Specialization

Druids unlock powerful Spirit Boon passives, giving offerings to the animal spirits to receive their blessing. Once fully unlocked, you can activate the final Boon by Spirit Bonding with one of the four animal spirits to take two passives from that row.

Boon NameAnimalEffect
WarinessDeerTake 10% reduced damage from Elites.
Swooping AttackEagleGain +10% Attack Speed.
PackleaderWolfLucky Hit: Critical Strikes have up to a 20% chance to reset the Cooldowns of your Companion Skills.
BolsterWolfFortify for 15% of your Maximum Life when you use a Defensive Skill.
Calm Before The StormSnakeLucky Hit: Nature Magic Skills have up to a 10% chance to reduce the Cooldown of your Ultimate Skill by 2 seconds.

Alternative Boons

  • If Poison CreeperPoison Creeper is not taken, swap Packleader to the Wolf’s Calamity for longerUltimate SkillUltimate Skill Casts or the Eagle’s Iron Feather for more Effective Health in hard hitting content.
  • If Fortify generation is sufficient, swap Bolster to the Snake’s Overload for more multitarget damage, or the Eagle’s Iron Feather for more Effective Health in hard hitting content.

Paragon

The Paragon Board is a progression system unlocked at Level 50, giving player power through Common stat Nodes, Magic affix Nodes, Rare leveled Glyphs, and Legendary board-exclusive Nodes. Below you will find the preferred Glyphs, Boards, and pathing recommended for making the most of the build. All Glyphs are placed as if they are max radius (Level 15+).

While leveling, prioritize placing the ShapeshifterShapeshifter, TerritorialTerritorial, and WerewolfWerewolf glyphs, as these offer the best damage.

The Rare Glyphs in the Paragon progression system are often the strongest player power, placed in the Glyph Sockets of each Board. Only one Glyph Socket is available per board. We cover a total of six Boards to optimize the volume of Rare Glyphs to slot.

NameEffect
WerewolfWerewolf• For every 5 Willpower purchased within range, you deal + [6.24%] increased damage while in Werewolf form.
• Bonus (40 Willpower): You gain 10% Damage Reduction while in Werewolf form.
Inner BeastInner BeastLegendary Node is not taken.
TerritorialTerritorialFor every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal + [9.6%] increased damage to Close targets.
Bonus (25 Dexterity): You gain 15% Damage Reduction against Close Enemies.
Heightened MaliceHeightened MaliceWhile there are 3 or more Poisoned enemies Nearby, you deal 45% increased damage.
Fang and ClawFang and ClawGrants +50.0% bonus to all Magic Nodes within range.
Bonus (40 Willpower): While in Werewolf or Werebear form, Close Enemies take x12% increased damage from you.
Earthen DevastationEarthen DevastationEarth Skills deal 10%[x] increased Critical Strike Damage, increased by 20%[x] of the total amount of your Bonus Damage to Crowd Controlled up to 40%[x].
Earth and SkyEarth and SkyGrants +50.0% bonus to all Magic Nodes within range.
Bonus (40 Willpower): Nature Magic Skills deal x10% increased damage to Crowd Controlled or Vulnerable enemies.
ThunderstruckThunderstruckLegendary Node is not taken.
ShapeshifterShapeshifterGrants +50.0% bonus to all Magic Nodes within range.
Bonus (25 Dexterity): Shapeshifting has a 20% chance to cause the Skill’s damage to Critically Strike.
Lust for CarnageLust for CarnageLegendary Node is not taken.
UndauntedUndauntedFor every 5 Willpower purchased within range, you deal + [7.7%] increased damage while Fortified.
Bonus (40 Willpower): You gain up to 10% Damage Reduction the more Fortify you have.

Starter Board

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE THE PARAGON BOARD IN ITS ENTIRETY! Paragon Board images are courtesy of d4builds.gg.

Inner Beast

Heightened Malice

Earthen Devastation

Lust for Carnage

Thunderstruck

Legendary Aspects and Gearing Affixes

Below are the recommended Legendary Aspects and Gear Affixes for each slot of the Earthen Bulwark Detonation build. Gear Affixes in Bold are the ideal Affixes, but alternates are added.

SlotAspectStats
WeaponGreatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the CroneUnique
HelmVigorous AspectVigorous Aspect OR
Aspect of Mending StoneAspect of Mending Stone
Basic Skills Attack Speed
Barrier Generation
Total Armor

Maximum Life
Willpower
Cooldown Reduction
ChestAspect of DisobedienceAspect of Disobedience OR
Aspect of Mending StoneAspect of Mending Stone
Total Armor
Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies

Ranks in Earthen Bulwark
Maximum Life
Barrier Generation
Damage Reduction while Fortified*
GlovesSymbiotic AspectSymbiotic AspectAttack Speed
Critical Strike Chance
Lucky Hit Chance

Willpower
Critical Strike Damage
PantsAspect of MightAspect of MightDamage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies
Damage Reduction from Close enemies
Damage Reduction while Injured*
Total Armor

Max Life
Damage Reduction While Fortified*
BootsGhostwalker AspectGhostwalker AspectMovement Speed
Total Armor while in Werewolf Form
Fortify Generation
Willpower

Dodge Chance
Damage Reduction while Injured*
AmuletRapid AspectRapid AspectCooldown Reduction
Movement Speed

Ranks to EnvenomEnvenom or ResonanceResonance
Total Armor
Damage Reduction while Injured*
Damage Reduction While Fortified*
RingsAspect of Natural BalanceAspect of Natural Balance
(NEW to S3) Aspect of AdaptabilityAspect of Adaptability
Critical Strike Chance
Barrier Generation
Max Life
Critical Strike Damage

Fortify Generation
  • High Damage Reduction while Injured is required on all three available slots of Pants, Boots, and Amulet to use the Injured Variant Playstyle.
  • Damage Reduction While Fortified will not function while a Barrier is active and fully consumes the damage, including Barrier from Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark. Nature's FuryNature’s Fury gives high coverage of Barrier availability so until this bug is fixed, Damage Reduction while Fortified is low value.
  • Aspect of Mending StoneAspect of Mending Stone can be used to extend the duration of your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark for travel between packs or as a quality of life improvement. Replaces Vigorous AspectVigorous Aspect or Aspect of DisobedienceAspect of Disobedience if your armor is sufficient.
  • Armor has a cap of 85% Damage Reduction, scaling against your enemy’s level. If your armor is sufficient from getting 2+ well rolled Total Armor items, it is safe to drop Aspect of DisobedienceAspect of Disobedience.

Check our Legendary Aspect and Codex of Power Guide to see which slots can have which Legendary Aspects. For example, all three above Defensive Aspects are interchangeable between Helm, Chest, and Pants slots. Aspect of MightAspect of Might would function identically no matter if it were on the helm, chest, or pants. Likewise, the Offensive Aspects would function identically between the glove and ring slots.

Remember to pick up and check all of those Rare items! There are many combinations of Gear Affix rolls possible. Amulets in particular have more than 45 Gear Affixes for the Druid! Going from 2 favorable Affixes to 3, then 4, then high Affix rolls on each Gear Slot will help focus and optimize your build to compete in the highest content.

Unique Items

The following Unique Items are recommended to make the most of the build.

Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone – Using Greatstaff of the Crone allows for higher event casts for Nature's FuryNature’s Fury Resets. This is because:

(New to Season 3) Paingorger's GauntletsPaingorger’s Gauntlets – Unique Gloves – Damaging enemies with a cast Non–Basic Skill marks them for 3 seconds. When a Basic Skill first hits a marked enemy, the Basic Skill’s damage is echoed to all marked enemies, dealing 100–200%[x] increased damage. This is a strong addition to our damage, especially in multitarget. To make the most of this item:

The following are situational or rare options for the build.

Harlequin CrestHarlequin Crest – Congratulations, Hero of Sanctuary, you have looted the chase Unique. Wear it with pride, it will perform well with this build! Replaces Vigorous AspectVigorous Aspect.

Tibault's WillTibault’s Will – A strong offensive multiplier with weaker Gear Affixes. Use TrampleTrample or Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark to trigger the effect. This is a heavy defensive tradeoff to use over a non-Unique piece with Damage Reductions, Armor or Max Life.

Airidah's Inexorable WillAiridah’s Inexorable Will in combination with FlickerstepFlickerstep – This can be a good quality of life addition for farm content, frequently gripping in enemies and dealing reasonable damage. Replaces Aspect of Natural BalanceAspect of Natural Balance and Ghostwalker AspectGhostwalker Aspect.

Mechanics and Playstyle

Rotation

  1. If needed, pre-build Fortify and defensive boosts like VigilanceVigilance with Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark.
  2. Cast HurricaneHurricane for Damage Reduction, AoE slow and if taken, Calm Before the Storm events.
  3. Apply Poison effects for Poison-based boosts and Damage Reduction. ClawClaw for single target, Poison CreeperPoison Creeper for multitarget/AoE.
  4. Cast Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark on cooldown for big damage and defensive upkeep.
  5. Cast ClawClaw to fish for Nature's FuryNature’s Fury Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect triggers to reset Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark.

Tip! Abilities do not need to successfully hit a target to trigger Nature's FuryNature’s Fury. If you need a reset, you can safely just stand and cast your Basic SkillBasic Skill. This means you can do things like pre-build Fortify via the Wolf’s Bolster Boon, casting Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark to generate Fortify, Basic SkillBasic Skill the air to reset Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark, then repeat until you have the Fortify you need to engage your enemies.

The active use for Cyclone ArmorCyclone Armor is not used. This is a melee/close-range build and the skill is taken largely for its passive defense.

Tip! On the controller, you can cast your Basic SkillBasic Skill while moving!

Storm StrikeStorm Strike does not need to be on your Skill Bar to receive its Damage Reduction or to apply Vulnerable to enemies. Your ClawClaw attacks with Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone take care of that for you!

Earthen Bulwark

The Earthen Bulwark Detonation build puts out a high volume of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark to trigger Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark damage events and keep you Barrier refreshed. There are a few things to consider:

Since 1.2.0, Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark now scales with weapon item power/dps.

Variant Min-Max Playstyles

Damage Reduction while Injured

One variant min-max option is to play while Injured for the highest possible Damage Reduction, Effective Health, and Effective Barrier available. Injured is the health category when your health is below 35% of its maximum.

All damage reductions are multiplicative within their Category when determining your defense, and Multiplicative against all other Damage Reduction Categories. The strongest Gear Affix category available is Damage Reduction while Injured. This can roll on your Pants, Boots, and Amulet, up to 43.3% on each at the highest Item Power threshold. If well rolled on all three slots, they can offer up to a total of 81% Damage Reduction within their category. No other Damage Reduction category is even close!

Barriers are applied post-mitigation, so the further your Damage Reductions go, the higher your Effective Barrier. Because Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark is constantly being reset and refreshed, the health bar is protected.

This will play similarly to the standard build, except for a few notable changes:

  • You will not take the Masochistic Boon, because it is an uncontrolled source of healing.
  • Any “While Healthy” boosts will not be active.
  • You will have to pre-Injure yourself before going into your content. If you drop too low, you can keep an item with Skinwalker's AspectSkinwalker’s Aspect on it in your inventory to get your health where you want it.

Tip! Damage Reduction categories are not dynamic! Damage Reduction while Injured only functions while in the Injured state; a damage event that takes you from above the 35% threshold to 0% in a single hit will not be mitigated with Damage Reduction While Injured. This is why it is important to pre-Injure yourself.

PvP

Season 3 update: For seasonal players, this build will not be viable in PvP environments. The Seneschal Construct with Breaking Support deletes our Barrier from Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark. At the min-max top-end of PvP, this leaves Druid with no top-end viable build that can compete with the best builds of other classes. This will be updated as we move past season 3 or if there are further balance chances that let’s Druid perform competitively. Other Druid endgame builds can be enjoyable or okay outside of top-end PvP situations. Eternal Realm players can still enjoy this build.

The Earthen Bulwark Detonation build has the potential to be one of the strongest and most competitive PvP builds available.

Defensively, the Druid gets access to several extra Gear Affix Armor and Damage Reductions such as Armor while in Werewolf Form, or Damage Reduction vs Poisoned Enemies. With high mitigations, the constant refresh on your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark means you are exceptionally hard to kill.

Offensively, your high multipliers on your Basic Attack, Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark and other damage sources can destroy your enemies.

The Injured Playstyle Variant can be used in PvP combat to give a further defensive and offensive edge.

Changes in PvP vs PvE

There are a few things to consider in a PvP environment that can change how you play or gear to slay your enemies and collect their Ears.

  • PetrifyPetrify will have reduced effectiveness vs Unstoppable players so use CataclysmCataclysm for more events to reset your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark.
  • You should not need the AoE Poison application from Poison CreeperPoison Creeper so this opens up Alternative Skill Options, and skip the Packleader Boon.
  • Armor’s Damage Reduction is capped at 85% (despite the Armor tooltip indicating it goes over that!) and Armor needs will scale against opponent level. This means when fighting Level 100 players, you will need less armor than you would need vs Level 154 opponents in Level 100 Nightmare Dungeons to reach the Armor cap. If you have sufficient Total Armor, Armor While in Werewolf, or Armor sources through Gear and Paragon, you can change out Aspect of DisobedienceAspect of Disobedience for an Alternative Legendary Aspect such as Aspect of Mending StoneAspect of Mending Stone for a longer Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark while chasing down your enemies.
  • Because this is largely a melee spec, you may choose to take movement options like Digitigrade GaitDigitigrade Gait or ShredShred to help close gaps and chase down your enemies. More Movement Speed is available on Boots or Amulets, Cursed Scrolls, and Legendary Aspects like Ghostwalker AspectGhostwalker Aspect.
  • Players have reduced Elemental Resistance in higher World Tiers.
  • Many stats are less effective in PvP content. For example, any Unstoppable player will not get your vs any of your Crowd Control-based boosts.
  • Rotation considerations like pre-building Fortify and applying Debuffs can be essential.
  • Remember to keep your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark up!

Gems

See below for the best Gems to socket into your gear for each category.

Elixirs, Incense, and Health Potions

The Alchemist offers helpful Elixirs and Incense, at the cost of foraged materials found throughout Sanctuary. Herbs spawn around the world or are given as quest rewards, while other crafting materials will be looted from specific enemies. Craft the highest Elixir vailable for Attack Speed bonuses.

Incenses are costly to craft, and may be prohibitive for any farming lifestyle, but may be valuable in push content. Use Chorus of War for Stats and Critical Strike Damage. In a group setting, the Spirit Dance is a great alternative, granting increased Dodge Chance for each nearby player.

Be sure to return to the Alchemist often to upgrade your potion as you progress your character. Each upgrade increases the instant healing of the potion!

Changelog

  • 5 May, 2024: Build marked as legacy and will not be updated further. thanks for enjoying the guide!
  • February 5, 2024: Added separate Bossing and non-Bossing options to Construct Stone recommendations. Changes to Gear Affix Recommendations to give better total Damage, Life and Armor. Minor Skill Tree Changes to move more points into Ancestral Guidance.
  • January 26, 2024: Adjustments to Construct Stone recommendations. Adjustments to Legendary Power and Unique recommendations.
  • January 22, 2024: Initial review and reevaluation for Season 3 and 1.3.0 balance changes has begun.
  • December 7, 2023: Updates to paragon board for Abattoir of Zir.
  • October 18, 2023: With the 1.2.0 changes to Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark, significant changes to Skill Points, boons, Gearing, Gems and focus on the build have been made. Vampiric Power section updated.
  • October 15, 2023: Initial review and reevaluation has begun to update the guide for Season 2 and 1.2.0 balance changes.
  • August 8th, 2023: Added Patch 1.1.1 section and checked guide for accuracy.
  • July 25th, 2023: Restructured Introduction.
  • July 23rd, 2023: Referenced Malignant Hearts in the Gems section.
  • July 19th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1 and 1.1 balance changes.
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