AoEBarbarianEndgameGuideseason 4Thorns

Thorns Barbarian Endgame Build for Diablo 4 (Season 4)

A deadly warrior covered in magical thorns and built to survive hell.




Updated: Posted:

Challenging ShoutWar CryRallying CryWrath of the BerserkerFrenzySteel Grasp

Build Introduction

Welcome to the guide for the Thorns Barbarian! If you like daring demons to touch you and watching them explode when they try, this is the build for you. With the revamp to the itemization system this build has returned with a vengeance. Let’s dive in!

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Amazing single-target and group damage
  • Easy to play
  • Strong defenses
  • Great Mob Control
  • DPS can feel slow against certain enemy types
  • Requires a specific unique to really shine

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

Build Requirements

Recommended Uniques

Skill Bar and Skill Tree Points

Skill Bar Setup for the Thorns Build (Order does not matter)
Frenzy Frenzy Steel Grasp Steel Grasp Challenging Shout Challenging Shout Wrath of the Berserker Wrath of the Berserker Rallying Cry Rallying Cry War Cry War Cry

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.

Arsenal System and Weapon Selection

For this thorns build, we will be using the Two-Handed Axe Technique for its increase to Vulnerable enemies.

Barbarians have a unique mechanic in Diablo 4 where you can assign a weapon type to certain skills. For the Thorns Barbarian, we must use our Dual-Wield Weapons for our main attack, FrenzyFrenzy and so we forgo the weapon selection. It is important to note that at least one of your dual-wield weapons be a one-handed mace to benefit from ConcussionConcussion and WallopWallop.

Paragon Board

We recommend using the following Legendary nodes and Rare Glyphs to truly take this build into the endgame. Note that each Rare Glyph’s information and radius listed below is for the Level 21 version.

Starting Board


Rotate this board three times before attaching it.


Rotate this board twice before attaching it.

Blood Rage

We attach this board to the north side of Carnage. Do not rotate this board before attaching it.


We attach this board to the South side of Carnage. Rotate this board three times before attaching it.


We attach this final board to the Eastern side of Carnage. Do not rotate this board before attaching it.

To see the paragon boards in their entirety CLICK HERE.

Gear, Gems, Elixirs, and Stats

The Season of Loot Reborn brings us an incredible shift in how gear and itemization are done. It is a major and will affect the game beyond Season 4’s confines. For further details, make sure to read our Tempering and Masterworking section below.

Legendary Aspects

Below you will find all of the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary items that are important for this build. Remember that with Patch 1.4.0 all Legendary powers can be added into your Codex once you salvage or extract the item. You can still find some aspects through dungeons as you could in previous seasons but now you have the option to upgrade these affixes if you find a higher roll of that affix. Let us go over what aspects you will need.

SlotGemsLegendary Aspect / UniqueAspect / Unique Power
HelmRoyal RubyRoyal RubyAspect of MightAspect of Might– Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2.0-6.0] seconds.
ChestRoyal RubyRoyal RubyRazorplateRazorplate– Thorns has a 10% chance to deal [100-150%] increased damage.
GlovesN/AExploiter's AspectExploiter’s Aspect– You have 20% increased Crowd Control Duration. While enemies are Unstoppable, you deal [20-40%] increased damage to them.
PantsRoyal RubyRoyal RubyIron Blood AspectIron Blood Aspect– Grant [2.0-4.0%] Damage Reduction for each nearby Bleeding enemy up to [10-20%] maximum.
BootsN/AGhostwalker AspectGhostwalker Aspect– While Unstoppable and for 4 second after, you gain [10-25%] increased Movement Speed and can move freely through enemies.
AmuletRoyal DiamondRoyal DiamondHectic AspectHectic Aspect– After casting 5 Basic Skills, one of your active Cooldowns is reduced by [1-2] seconds.
Ring 1Royal DiamondRoyal DiamondBold Chieftain's AspectBold Chieftain’s Aspect– Whenever you cast a Shout Skill, its Cooldown is reduced by [1.0-2.0] seconds per nearby enemy up to a maximum of 6 seconds.
Ring 2Royal DiamondRoyal DiamondAspect of Inner CalmAspect of Inner Calm – You deal [5-10%] increased damage. Triple this bonus after standing still for 3 seconds.
2-Handed Bludgeoning WeaponRoyal SapphireRoyal SapphireNeedleflare AspectNeedleflare Aspect– Thorns damage dealt has a [25-40%] chance to deal damage to all enemies around you and your minions.
2-Handed Slashing WeaponRoyal SapphireRoyal SapphireDeath Wish AspectDeath Wish Aspect – Gain [X] Thorns while Berserking
Dual Wield Weapon 1Royal SapphireRoyal SapphireAspect of ElementsAspect of Elements – Gain + [20-30%] increased damage to a set of damage types for 7 seconds. This effect alternates between 2 sets: Fire, Lightning, and Physical. Cold, Poison, and Shadow.
Dual Wield Weapon 2Royal SapphireRoyal SapphireAspect of Accursed TouchAspect of Accursed Touch– Lucky Hit: Up to a [20-35%] chance to inflict Vampiric Curse on enemies. Enemies with Vampiric Curse are also Vulnerable. Vampiric Curse’s stored souls deal [20-50%] increased damage.


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

Weapon GemsArmor GemsJewelry Gems
Royal SapphireRoyal Sapphire for increased damage to Vulnerable enemiesRoyal RubyRoyal Ruby for increased maximum lifeRoyal DiamondRoyal Diamond for all resistances

For your jewelry it may be necessary to change the Royal DiamondRoyal Diamond for another gem for a specific type such as Royal SapphireRoyal Sapphire to ensure all of your resistances are capped at 70%

Which Elixirs Should You Use?

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  Elixir of Iron Barbs Elixir of Iron Barbs at the highest level you can craft due to its increase in both armor and thorns to provide more survivability and damage

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.

Stat Priority and Tempering Affixes

With all of these new systems in mind, let us dive into what stats we want on gear, what tempers we would like, and what stat we would prefer to be pumped either through a Greater Affix or through Masterworking. Affixes that are bolded in yellow are the most important targets for Masterworking upgrades. The names of the tempering manuals you need to apply the affixes will be listed next to the affixes we want.

SlotGear AffixesTempering Affixes
Helm1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Maximum Life
3. Strength
1. Challenging Shout Cooldown Reduction Barbarian StrategyBarbarian Strategy
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Chest1. Strength
2. Maximum Life
3. Needed Resistance
1. Challenging Shout Cooldown Reduction Barbarian StrategyBarbarian Strategy
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Gloves1. Attack Speed
2. Strength
3. Maximum Life
1. Damage While Berserking Berserking FinesseBerserking Finesse
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Pants1. Thorns
2. Strength
3. Maximum Life
1. Challenging Shout Cooldown Reduction Barbarian StrategyBarbarian Strategy
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Boots1. Movement Speed
2. Maximum Life
3. Needed Resistance
1. Movement Speed Natural MotionNatural Motion
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Amulet1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Ranks to Counteroffensive
3. Maximum Life
1. Damage to Close Enemies Natural FinesseNatural Finesse
2. Thorns While Fortified Thorn BodyThorn Body
Rings1. Maximum Life
2. Attack Speed
3. Strength
1. Damage to Close Enemies Natural FinesseNatural Finesse
2. War Cry Cooldown Reduction Brawling EfficiencyBrawling Efficiency
2-Handed Bludgeoning Weapon1. Vulnerable Damage
2. Strength
3. Maximum Life
1. Frenzy Duration Berserking AugmentsBerserking Augments
2. Damage to Close Enemies Natural FinesseNatural Finesse
2-Handed Slashing Weapon1. Strength.
2. Maximum Life
3. Vulnerable Damage
1. Berserking Duration Berserking AugmentsBerserking Augments
2. Damage to Close Enemies Natural FinesseNatural Finesse
Dual-Wield Weapon 11. Vulnerable Damage
2. Strength
3. Maximum Life
1. Damage While Berserking Berserking FinesseBerserking Finesse
2. Frenzy Duration Berserking AugmentsBerserking Augments
Dual-Wield Weapon 21. Vulnerable Damage
2. Strength
3. Maximum Life
1. Berserking Duration Berserking AugmentsBerserking Augments
2. Damage to Close Enemies Natural FinesseNatural Finesse

Rotation and Playstyle

Thorns relies on getting hit to do damage. As such we don’t have a Fury Spender, but we have several other skills to ensure our survival from getting hit and group mobs up and deal damage while our Thorns does the work. Let’s run through our buttons.

Unique and Uber Uniques

Below you will find information on Uniques and Uber Uniques that are useful for this build. Moreover, if you are interested in target farming Uber Uniques, check out our How to Farm Uber Uniques guide.


Below you will find the unique items useful to this build that provide specific utility.

  • RazorplateRazorplate – The must have item for the Thorns Barbarian. An update in Patch 1.4.0 is shifting the power level of this item to grant it normal affixes which are just large amounts of Thorns four times allowing it to be properly Masterworked. While you can play the Thorns Barbarian without this, we highly recommend acquiring this unique item first to get the most out of the build.

Uber Uniques

Here you will find the uber unique items that are useful to this build. If an uber unique is NOT listed here, it is not useful to this build and does not provide any meaningful increase or effect.

  • DoombringerDoombringer – A very powerful one-handed sword that provides a shadow damage proc, but for Thorns that isn’t the real reason we will want to use this powerhouse of an item if we’re lucky enough to find one. It comes with a massive amount of life gain on lucky hit and since we want enemies to hit us to proc our thorns, this healing shoots this build into the stars in terms of survivability and tankiness. An incredible boon to our build if we manage to snag one

Season 4: Loot Reborn

Unlike past seasons there is no overarching theme for season 4 as Blizzard are focused on the absolutely massive loot overhaul which is sure to change the game in big ways. There will also be a reputation to be gained with the new Ironwolves during Helltides and this faction grants several tempering manuals and even a resplendent spark! Below are the changes relevant to this build

  • Barbarian’s innate 10% damage reduction has been removed
  • Blood RageBlood Rage – Damage increased by Berserking bonus reduced from 25% to 10% and now caps at 30%
  • Two-Handed Axe Technique’s damage to Vulnerable enemies reduced from 15% to 10%
  • RazorplateRazorplate has been updated to function with the new Masterworking system and now has four Thorns affixes instead of no affixes. New Unique Power: Thorns has a 10% chance to deal 100-150% increased damage
  • Hectic AspectHectic Aspect ‘s cooldown reduction reduced from 2-4 seconds to 1-2 seconds
  • MarshalMarshal ‘s cooldown reduction from bonus effect reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds

Advanced Information

Below, you will find every additional piece of information you need to know for a more in-depth look at this build.

Build Mechanics

With no spenders to speak of, the build is a fairly straight forward style of play. Group up enemies using Steel GraspSteel Grasp and just start pressing FrenzyFrenzy to build your attack speed stacks and watch them die from your thorns damage or by proc’ing Needleflare AspectNeedleflare Aspect. With the itemization update, we want as much maximum life as we can get to improve our skill OutburstOutburst. We can also bleed our enemies through Tough as NailsTough as Nails.

Remember that with one of our dual-wield weapons being a one-handed mace, we can trigger WallopWallop and ConcussionConcussion through FrenzyFrenzy and gain some more damage and crowd control. We want to be in Fortify as much as possible to benefit from our main temper, Thorns While Fortified, to stack things up even more.


A unique status to the Barbarian class, Berserking provides damage bonuses, movement speed, resource generation and damage reduction. For this build in particular, thanks to Death Wish AspectDeath Wish Aspect we want to be Berserking as much as possible which should be pretty easy to maintain thanks to our on demand access to it through Wrath of the BerserkerWrath of the Berserker, War CryWar Cry, and Fighter's Steel GraspFighter’s Steel Grasp. Since we’ll be bleeding enemies through our thorns, we can also gain a tremendous benefit from Blood RageBlood Rage despite the nerfs to its damage, the berserking proc will keep us in this state near constantly thanks to our key passive UnconstrainedUnconstrained which vastly improves the damage bonus from this state and makes it last longer.


Our main source of damage, Thorns triggers whenever an enemy hits you. For this reason we will want a high amount of defensiveness and maximum life as well as sustained healing if we can fit it in. The updated RazorplateRazorplate also grants Thorns a chance to deal massively increased damage and we can force the Thorns to deal AOE damage through Needleflare AspectNeedleflare Aspect. The build can feel a bit slow at times since you need things to hit you to make Thorns deal damage, but with a multitude of supporting defensive talents, paragon nodes, and items you should have a rather large amount of thorns and many multipliers to make them shockingly powerful.


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 Glyphs and Legendary NodesEffect
ExploitExploit– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal + [8%] increased damage to Vulnerable targets
– Additional Bonus once 25 Dexterity has been 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
IreIre– For every 5 Strength purchased within the range, you deal + [5.3%] increased damage while Berserking
– Additional Bonus once 40 Strength has been purchased in the glyph’s range: While Berserking, you take 10% reduced damage from Elites
AmbidextrousAmbidextrous– Grants + [125%] bonus to all Magic Nodes within range
– Additional Bonus once 40 Strength has been purchased in the glyph’s range: You deal x8% increased damage while wielding One-Handed Weapons
UndauntedUndaunted– For every 5 Willpower purchased within range, you deal + [8%] increased damage while Fortified
– Additional Bonus once 25 Willpower has been purchased in the glyph’s range: You gain 10% damage reduction the more Fortify you have
MarshalMarshal– Grants + [125%] bonus to all Magic Nodes within range
– Additional Bonus once 40 Strength has been purchased in the glyph’s range: After casting a Shout Skill, the active cooldown of every other Non-Shout Skill is reduced by 2 seconds
RevengeRevenge– Grants + [100%] bonus to all Rare Nodes within range
– Additional Bonus once 25 Willpower has been purchased in the glyph’s range: Dealing Thorns damage to an enemy increases all damage it takes from you by x1%, up to x8%, for 10 seconds
CarnageCarnage– While Berserking, Critical Strikes increase your Attack Speed by x2%, up to x16%, for 6 seconds
Blood RageBlood Rage– Killing a Bleeding enemy has a 10% chance to grant Berserking for 5 seconds. Your damage is increased x10% of your Damage While Berserking bonus up to a maximum of x30%.
DecimatorDecimator– Each time you make an enemy Vulnerable, your damage is increased by 10% for 5 seconds. Overpowering a Vulnerable enemy grants an additional x10% bonus for 5 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. If you do not have enough Paragon Points for use in your Paragon Tree, just slowly work towards each step.

Important Notes

  • Make sure you select the correct Legendary Boards and rotate them into the correct orientation to match the images shown above.
  • Attach the boards in the order shown as bonus requirements of Rare Nodes increase with their placement order
  • Additional bonuses on Rare Glyphs may not be obtainable until they gain the increased radius at level 15.

Starting Board

  1. We begin by heading left and grabbing TenacityTenacity and its surrounding Magic nodes for toughness.
  2. We make our way up and unlock the glyph socket, slotting in ExploitExploit for its Vulnerable Damage amp and its ability to make our FrenzyFrenzy proc Vulnerable when we hit an enemy.
  3. We grab the necessary Dexterity nodes to activate the bonus effect of our glyph and then make our way back towards the beginning of the tree for a small detour to grab BrawnBrawn and some Magic nodes.
  4. Finally we head out on the right side of the glyph socket through Iron StrengthIron Strength and connect the Warbringer board at the gate.


  1. We head up and right and rush our way to the glyph socket to slot in IreIre.
  2. Next we head south and pick up Raw PowerRaw Power and as much strength around our radius as possible to get the biggest bonus from ire. We head right to pick up some defensive nodes in ConditionedConditioned and its surrounding All Resistance Magic nodes.
  3. As we leave the glyph radius we take a turn up and left to snag Core ReserveCore Reserve not for the resource but for the maximum life to ensure we can survive the hits coming our way to proc our Thorns.
  4. Lastly we head out to the right and connect the Carnage board.


  1. The central paragon board for many Barbarian builds. We will be coming back to this board a lot as carve our way through the paragon system. We start by heading in and taking the downward path as we move right towards the glyph socket and slot in AmbidextrousAmbidextrous.
  2. Next we’ll grab FierceFierce and some more Strength nodes to activate our glyph before moving out on the bottom right and making our way right.
  3. We’ll grab the board’s namesake and legendary node CarnageCarnage and make our way south first. Here we will connect the Hemorrhage board to the southern side of Carnage. After the Hemorrhage board is complete, we will return to this board.
  4. After Hemorrhage is complete, we make our way north towards EnragedEnraged and grab the three Magic nodes in front of it as we make our way to the gate and connect the Blood Rage board to the north side of Carnage.
  5. After finishing the Blood Rage board, we return to the CarnageCarnage node and make our way right through BerserkerBerserker and out to the east connecting the Decimator board and finally finishing this central board.


  1. We start by making our way left and down through GritGrit.
  2. We unlock the glyph socket and slot in our thorns glyph RevengeRevenge.
  3. We finish the board by picking up enough Willpower to unlock our glyph and then we return to the Carnage board.

Blood Rage

  1. We march our way north and grab RevelRevel with a small left detour before heading for the glyph socket.
  2. Unlock the socket and slot in MarshalMarshal, despite the changes in Patch 1.4.0 this glyph remains powerful and we will want to grab the necessary Strength nodes around it to unlock its power.
  3. Next we move north from the socket through GritGrit and turn left to grab the board’s namesake, the legendary node Blood RageBlood Rage.
  4. After Blood RageBlood Rage we head north west to pick up EnragedEnraged and the surrounding Magic nodes.
  5. Lastly to finish this board off, we will head north east and pick up RestorativeRestorative and some surrounding life increasing Magic nodes. Again we want as much life as possible to survive being hit which we will need to be to proc our Thorns.


  1. We start by making our way south to pick up BrawnBrawn and some surrounding Magic nodes.
  2. Next, we will head right and grab the Legendary node DecimatorDecimator.
  3. We will turn back and head north to unlock the glyph socket and slot in UndauntedUndaunted and grab enough Willpower nodes including the rare node ArroganceArrogance and the surrounding Magic nodes to unlock the power of our glyph.
  4. We will finish this board and our journey through the paragon system by returning to DecimatorDecimator and heading further right to grab RestorativeRestorative for more Maximum Life and with that we finish our boards!

Tempering and Masterworking

The Season 4 update (Patch 1.4.0) introduces a rework for itemization. Tempering and Masterworking bring the biggest change to itemization since the release of Diablo 4, so make sure you understand the new systems explained in this section.

The amount of affixes on items has been changed to reflect its rarity: Normal Items have no affixes, Magic Items have 1 affix, Rare Items have 2 affixes, Legendary Items have 3 affixes, and Unique Items have 4 affixes. Upgrading a Rare Item to a Legendary Item by imprinting a Legendary Aspect from the Codex of Power will not add a third affix. Therefore, Legendary Items are superior to lower rarity items for a min-maxed character.

Greater Affixes are a newly added mechanic that increases the value of an affix by 50%. Ancestral Legendary Items and Unique Items can now drop with up to 4 Greater Affixes! Search for items with your preferred Greater Affixes to upgrade with Tempering and Masterworking.

Tempering and Masterworking is an important system, even mandatory in the endgame, for character progression. You are able to add 2 additional affixes on any Rare Item or Legendary Item, exclusive to the Tempering System. An Ancestral Legendary Item can have up to 5 total affixes! Unfortunately, Unique Items cannot be tempered to add affixes.

Masterworking uses new crafting materials found in The Pit to further enhance the stats of an item. These upgrades can be applied on an Ancestral Legendary Item that has its Tempering Slots filled out. Unique Items can be upgraded with Masterworking right away, as tempering does not apply to them. Each item has 12 upgrade slots. On upgrade Ranks 4, 8, and 12, a random affix is increased in value by 25%. Every other upgrade Rank applies a 5% increase to all affixes on an item. Attempt to apply the bonus 25% upgrade to your preferred affix multiple times by resetting the Masterworking Ranks to repeat the process.

Obol Gambling

A final point on acquiring gear in Season 4 and beyond is using your Obols to target farm specific slots instead of randomly spending them on random drops. Similar to Kadala in Diablo 3, you can use Obol vendors in town to try and get what you’re missing. With Patch 1.4.0 when a level 100 Character spends Obols, all gear from that vendor will be 925 item power, the highest in the game, allowing you to fill out gear with the affixes or Legendary Aspects you need.

Check out our Obol Gambling Tool HERE!


  • May 7th 2024: Ownership of page transferred, guide restructured and updated for season 4
  • March 5th 2024: Updates for Patch 1.3.3.
  • January 30th 2024: Marshal Glyph changes.
  • January 21st 2024: Season 3 speculative changes.
  • October 23rd 2023: Build Revamped for Season 2.
  • October 13th 2023: Build Adjusted to prepare for Season 2 launch.
  • August 29th 2023: Build Creation Season 1.
ARPG Vault Logo

Have feedback or questions about our guides? Join our ARPG Discord community and let us know!