Earthen Bulwark Detonation Endgame Druid Build for Diablo 4 (Season 1)

An Explosive build for the Highest Nightmare Dungeons and PvP!




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Earthen BulwarkClawPoison CreeperCyclone ArmorHurricanePetrify

Build Introduction

The Earthen Bulwark Detonation build is a true 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. If you are looking for a build with explosive numbers that satisfy while staying safe behind layers of Damage Reduction and Barrier, this is the one for you!

This build focuses on boosting Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark‘s detonation for incredible damage, then leveraging the Key Passive Nature's FuryNature’s Fury and Legendary Aspect Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect in combination to constantly reset your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark for a large volume of explosions.

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

  • 100 Nightmare Dungeon capable
  • Straight-forward gameplay
  • PvP capable
  • 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 detonations, 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:


Variant Playstyles for 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.
  • Lightning Damage variant, adding additional sources of damage to clear PvE content faster or break through an opponent’s Defense in PvP.

Season of the Malignant

Season 1 Patch Updates

The following list details the changes in the Season 1 Patch Update that are specific to this build.

Patch 1.1

  • There are several balance changes to consider that directly affect this build:
  • Masochistic Boon now also requires a Lucky Hit chance of 75%.
  • Bolster Boon Fortify increased from 10% to 15% of Maximum Life.
  • Enhanced ClawEnhanced Claw Attack Speed bonus increased from 10% to 15%.
  • Storm StrikeStorm Strike Damage Reduction reduced from 25% to 15%.
  • Aspect of DisobedienceAspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
  • Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect Cooldown reduction reduced from 4-8 to 3-5.
  • Several Gear Affix Scaling including Damage Reductions, Cooldown Reduction, Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable damage have been reduced.

The Symbiotic AspectSymbiotic Aspect Cooldown Reduction change means that Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark will not be able to fully reset within one Nature’s Fury trigger. Despite this, this build remains competitive and capable.

Patch 1.1.1

No significant changes related to this build.

Malignant Hearts

For general seasonal information, check out our Malignant Hearts Guide.

The following Malignant Hearts are recommended in order of importance:

  1. Caged Heart of RevengeCaged Heart of Revenge (Brutal, Defensive-World Tier III): 10-20% of incoming damage is instead suppressed. When you use a Defensive, Subterfuge, or a Macabre skill, all suppressed damage is amplified by 250% and explodes, dealing up to 1360-2040 Fire damage to Nearby enemies.
  2. Caged Heart of Inexorable ForceCaged Heart of Inexorable Force (Devious, Utility): Up to 30-50 Distant enemies are pulled toward you while you have an Ultimate Skill active.
  3. Caged Heart of The BarberCaged Heart of The Barber (Wrathful, Super-World Tier III): Critical Strikes and all subsequent damage within 2.0-4.0 seconds is absorbed by your target. Then, the absorbed damage erupts onto surrounding enemies. Stored damage is increased by 10% per second.
    This can be mildly bait during any farm or speed content if the duration is too high, but valuable on endgame push
  4. Caged Heart of the LionheartCaged Heart of the Lionheart (Brutal, Defensive): You gain 10% Barrier Generation. You Heal 3-7 Life per second while you have an active Barrier.
    Do not use with the Injured Variant Playstyle as this is an uncontrolled source of healing.
  5. Caged Heart of the Malignant PactCaged Heart of the Malignant Pact (Wrathful, Super): Cycle through a Malignant bonus every 20 kills:
    Vicious: Gain 20% Attack Speed.
    Devious: Core and Basic Skills have a 15% chance to fully restore your Primary Resource.
    Brutal: Every 21 seconds, gain a Barrier absorbing 85-102 damage.
    While portions of this are not a great addition, The Malignant Pact is worth mentioning for things like Bosses and Uber bosses, as you can cycle your buff to the 20% attack speed then go into the fight. Uber Lilith for example does not have enough things to kill throughout the fight to force a cycle before you can complete the fight.

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 1, Enhanced ClawEnhanced Claw, Wild ClawWild Claw
Storm StrikeStorm Strike Level 1, 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, Enhanced Cyclone ArmorEnhanced Cyclone Armor, Preserving Cyclone ArmorPreserving Cyclone Armor
Ancestral FortitudeAncestral Fortitude Level 1, VigilanceVigilance
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
DefianceDefiance Level 3, Natural DisasterNatural Disaster Level 1, ResonanceResonance Level 3
QuickshiftQuickshift Level 2, 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.

Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark‘s max amount of Barrier is based on base life, so it is possible to overcommit Skill Points. This means if you have enough Barrier Generation, you can flex Skill Points out of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark.

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 10% of your Maximum Life when you use a Defensive Skill.
MasochisticSnakeCritical Strikes with Shapeshifting Skills Heal you for 3% Maximum Life.

Alternative Boons

  • If Poison CreeperPoison Creeper is not taken, swap Packleader to the Snake’s Calm before the Storm for more Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill Casts.
  • For build options such as the Injured Variant Playstyle that do not want an uncontrolled source of self-healing, swap Masochistic to Calm before the Storm for more Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill Casts.
  • If you do both of the above, take the Wolf’s Calamity as well for a longer Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill Duration.


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.

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 10% Damage Reduction against Close Enemies.
Heightened MaliceHeightened MaliceWhile there are 3 or more Poisoned enemies Nearby, you deal 45% increased damage.
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.
Earthen DevastationEarthen DevastationYour Earth Skills deal 30% increased damage to enemies afflicted by Crowd Control.
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.
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.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE THE PARAGON BOARD IN ITS ENTIRETY! Our own on-site tool will be available soon! In the meantime, please enjoy the following narration.

Starter Board

  1. Path left and up towards the Glyph Socket, taking Tenacity.
  2. Place WerewolfWerewolf into the Glyph Socket, taking nearby Willpower nodes.
  3. Take the Resolve, Prime and Impel rare nodes.
  4. From Impel, go up to attach the Inner Beast board, with the Glyph Socket below the Legendary Node.

Inner Beast (2nd Board)

  1. Go up towards the Glyph Socket.
  2. Place TerritorialTerritorial into the Glyph Socket, filling in nearby Dexterity nodes.
  3. Take Determination, then go up and right to take Tenacity and nearby Armor Magic Nodes.
  4. From the Glyph Socket, go left and up to take Nimble and all Attack Speed Magic Nodes.
  5. Go left to attach the Heightened Malice board, rotating the board clockwise 3 times, with the Glyph Socket on the bottom right.

Heightened Malice (3rd Board)

  1. Head down and left towards the Glyph Socket, taking Sinking Fangs and Nature-Born on the way.
  2. Place Earth and SkyEarth and Sky into the Glyph Socket, then go left from Sinking Fangs to complete the Willpower nodes necessary to activate the Additional Bonus.
  3. Go left and up, taking Poisoned Condition along the way towards the Legendary Node.
  4. Continue up and left to take the Heightened Malice Legendary Node.

Earthen Devastation (4th Board)

  1. From the south gate of the Heightened Malice Board, attach the Earthen Devastation board, rotating the board clockwise 2 times, with the Glyph Socket up and left from the Legendary Node.
  2. Head down towards the Glyph Socket.
  3. Place Fang and ClawFang and Claw in the Glyph Socket, and take Resolve and Earthen Power.
  4. Take the nearby Magic Nodes for Critical Strike Damage with Earth Skills.
  5. Take the Willpower nodes towards Crushing Earth to activate the Fang and ClawFang and Claw Additional Bonus.
  6. Go up and left to take Crushing Earth.
  7. Backtrack to go right from Earthen Power to take the Earthen Devastation Legendary Node.

Lust for Carnage (5th Board)

  1. From the left gate of the Heightened Malice board, attach the Lust for Carnage board, with the Glyph Socket above the Legendary Node.
  2. Go left and down, taking Wild’s Call and nearby Attack Speed Magic Nodes.
  3. Backtrack, going up and left towards the Glyph Socket. Place UndauntedUndaunted, filling in nearby Intelligence Nodes.

Thunderstruck (6th Board)

  1. From the left gate of the Earthen Devastation Board, go left from the Glyph Socket to attach the Thunderstruck board, with the Glyph Socket in the top right.
  2. Go up and right towards the Glyph Socket.
  3. Place ShapeshifterShapeshifter in the Glyph Socket, take Hubris and all Damage Reduction from Vulnerable Enemies Magic Nodes, filling in nearby Dexterity Nodes.
  4. Continue left and down to take Deluge and all 5 nearby Magic Nodes.

Earth and SkyEarth and Sky is the flex Rare Glyph. For more Damage, you can choose ExploitExploit and change Willpower nodes for Dexterity. For more Damage Reduction, choose ProtectorProtector, and change Willpower nodes for Intelligence.

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.

WeaponGreatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the CroneUnique
HelmVigorous AspectVigorous AspectCooldown Reduction
Basic Skills Attack Speed
Barrier Generation
Total Armor

Maximum Life
ChestAspect of DisobedienceAspect of DisobedienceDamage Reduction while Fortified
Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies
Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
Total Armor

Maximum Life
GlovesRapid AspectRapid AspectAttack Speed
Critical Strike Chance
Critical Strike Damage
Lucky Hit Chance

Critical Strike Damage with Earth Skills
PantsAspect of MightAspect of MightDamage Reduction While Fortified
Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies
Damage Reduction from Close enemies
Damage Reduction

Damage Reduction while Injured*
Maximum Life
BootsGhostwalker AspectGhostwalker AspectMovement Speed
Total Armor while in Werewolf Form
Fortify Generation

Dodge Chance
Damage Reduction while Injured*
AmuletSymbiotic AspectSymbiotic AspectCooldown Reduction
Movement Speed

Ranks to EnvenomEnvenom, ResonanceResonance or QuickshiftQuickshift
Damage Reduction While Fortified
Damage Reduction while Injured*
RingsAspect of Natural BalanceAspect of Natural Balance
Crashstone AspectCrashstone Aspect
Barrier Generation
Vulnerable Damage
Critical Strike Chance
Critical Strike Damage

Maximum Life
Lucky Hit Chance
Critical Strike Damage with Earth Skills
  • High Damage Reduction while Injured is required on all three available slots of Pants, Boots, and Amulet to use the Injured Variant Playstyle.

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.

Alternative Legendary Aspects

Depending on available gear, Legendary Aspects , Skill choices, or content, there are options for Legendary Aspects.

For Offensive Aspect options, the Crashstone AspectCrashstone Aspect and Aspect of Natural BalanceAspect of Natural Balance are crit-related flex powers that you could situationally swap for the following:

For Defensive Aspects options, 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 over Vigorous AspectVigorous Aspect.

Unique Items

Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone Unique Effect – ClawClaw is now a Storm Skill and also casts Storm StrikeStorm Strikeat [120 – 150]% normal damage.

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

Tempest RoarTempest Roar Unique Effect – Lucky Hit: Storm Skills have up to a [15 – 25]% chance to grant 4 Spirit. Your base Storm Skills are now also Werewolf Skills.

Tempest RoarTempest Roar is a usable alternative or addition to Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone. The item gives your Storm Skills the Werewolf modifier will let things like HurricaneHurricane apply poison and trigger Boon Masochist for even more self-healing, so you will not have to rely on Poison CreeperPoison Creeper‘s poison application as much. This opens optional choices available, like skipping the Wolf’s Packleader boon in favor of the Snake’s Calm before the Storm. If you use a 1-handed weapon and totem setup instead Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone, use Storm StrikeStorm Strike as your Basic SkillBasic Skill.

Mechanics and Playstyle


  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.

Use Cyclone ArmorCyclone Armor active only as necessary. 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 main source of damage for the Earthen Bulwark Detonation build is putting out a high volume of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark to trigger Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark damage events. There are a few things at play to consider:

  • Recasting Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark while it is active will refresh your Barrier and trigger a detonation.
  • Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark has a high Base Damage. This damage benefits from all the usual multipliers such as Critical Strike, Critical Strike Damage, Crowd Control and Poisons boosts, and Earth or Nature-based boosts and Critical Strike Damage. On top of all of those, the damage is boosted by Barrier Generation so we are getting an extra multiplier that other Skills are not.
  • Because Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark is an active skill, the detonation damage will benefit from Willpower and QuickshiftQuickshift.
  • Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark does not interact with things like Earthguard AspectEarthguard Aspect or Weapon DPS! When looking for a good Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone, the Gear Affixes will be more important than the weapon damage.
  • Skill ranks in Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark itself do not affect Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark damage.
  • Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark‘s max amount of Barrier is based on base life, so it is possible to overcommit Skill Points. This means if you have enough Barrier Generation, you can flex Skill Points out of Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark. This also means the Maximum Life Gear Affix will not raise the cap.

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:

  • Ghostwalker AspectGhostwalker Aspect will always be active.
  • 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.

Lightning Damage

After your defense is where you want it, you may look for additional sources of damage to clear PvE content faster or break through an opponent’s defense in PvP. The Lightning Damage min-max variant is one way to do this. This plays around adding the Overcharged AspectOvercharged Aspect and Runeworker's Conduit AspectRuneworker’s Conduit Aspect. These Legendary Aspects, like Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark, have strong Base Damage on their effects. To trigger Overcharged AspectOvercharged Aspect and get the most lightning damage you can while still maintaining the Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark build, you will need to have or add Lightning Damage Events or damage boosts such as:

  • Storm StrikeStorm Strike is already part of the base build, triggered when attacking with ClawClaw and the Greatstaff of the CroneGreatstaff of the Crone.
  • Use CataclysmCataclysm for its Lightning Storm damage events instead of PetrifyPetrify.
  • Use Calm Before the Storm boon to reset CataclysmCataclysm.
  • Drop the Crushing EarthCrushing Earth skill cluster to take Endless TempestEndless Tempest level 3 and Electric ShockElectric Shock level 3 for more lightning damage events and multipliers. Spare points can fill the rest of the cluster but are not required except for pathing. These will not be great damage by themselves but will help create more Lightning damage events.
  • Lightning Damage Gear Affixes like on Ring.

There may be more possible Paragon path combinations to min-max your output. The Thunderstruck board offers more Lightning damage multipliers. Points for this investment can come from taking points from the Heightened Malice Paragon Node path or the Earthen Devastation Paragon Node and Crushing Earth paths.

High Base Damage on Overcharged AspectOvercharged Aspect is more important than the Lucky Hit chance. High Base Damage all the multipliers do more work. Generally, prioritize Overcharged AspectOvercharged Aspect over Runeworker's Conduit AspectRuneworker’s Conduit Aspect because the Base Damage roll threshold is higher.

Tip! Willpower only boosts Skill damage, so will not boost damage from any of these Legendary Aspect or Passive Skill sources.


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 Innate Earthen BulwarkInnate Earthen Bulwark and other damage sources can destroy your enemies.

Both the Injured and Lightning Variants 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, so the Lightning Damage variant can be the extra damage you need to break through to kill your enemies.
  • Many stats are less effective in PvP content. For example, Critical Strike Damage drops off after 200% and any Unstoppable player will not get your vs any of your Crowd Control-based boosts. This makes aspects like Aspect of Natural BalanceAspect of Natural Balance less effective.
  • Rotation considerations like pre-building Fortify and applying Debuffs can be essential.
  • Remember to keep your Earthen BulwarkEarthen Bulwark up!


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 Heady Assault ElixirAssault Elixir available 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!


  • 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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