This is your comprehensive guide for building a ground pounding Barbarian who slams his weapon into the earth, sending shockwaves of stone at the faces of their enemies. Welcome to our Upheaval Endgame build. This build focuses delivering devastating AoE attacks with Upheaval to crush the hordes of hell, their bodies shattering against the non-stop attacks while you remain in a trance as a berserker on the battlefield.
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
- Great AoE damage
- Constant Berserking
- Great resource generation
- Can handle 50+ nightmare dungeons
- Positioning is key to survival
- Managing your shouts
- Must aim main skill
- Lots of button clicking
To see how this build compares to the other builds on our site, you can check out our build tier lists.
This build has several Legendary Aspects and an optional Unique requirement that are required before it will function properly. As for 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.
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.
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.
- Furious Upheaval damage bonus per stack increased from 3% to 5%.
- Hamstring now only Slows Healthy enemies, and Slow amount increased from 10/20/30% to 20/40/60%.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
- Cooldown Reduction: Reduced by ~30% on gear slots.
- Significant reductions to Vulnerable and Critical Strike Damage values (needs to be tested more).
The second major update for Season 1, Patch 1.1.1 released on August 8th 2023, brings some positive changes to Barbarian. This includes adjustments to Basic Generator Skills, Key passives, skill passives and Legendary Aspects. The changes that directly affect this build are listed below.
- Lunging Strike – Fury gained increased from 10 to 12.
- Unconstrained – Berserking damage bonus increased from 25% to 35.
- Aggressive Resistance – Damage reduction increased from 3% to 4%.
- Hellhammer is an optional choice.
- Damage increased from .6-.8 to .85-1.1.
- Burning duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds.
- Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies affix replaced with Bonus Critical Strike Damage.
None of these changes are build-breaking and we still have full confidence in this build.
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.
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
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.
|Lunging Strike Level 1, Enhanced Lunging Strike, Combat Lunging Strike||Basic Skill|
|Upheaval Level 5, Enhanced Upheaval, Furious Upheaval, Endless Fury Level 2||Core Skill|
|Rallying Cry Level 1, Enhanced Rallying Cry, Tactical Rallying Cry, Challenging Shout Level 1||Defensive Skill|
|War Cry Level 1, Enhanced War Cry, Mighty War Cry, Booming Voice Level 3, Guttural Yell Level 3, Aggressive Resistance Level 3, Prolific Fury Level 3,||Brawling Skill|
|Pit Fighter Level 3, No Mercy Level 3, Hamstring Level 1, Thick Skin Level 1, Defensive Stance Level 3, Counteroffensive Level 3||Weapon Mastery Skill|
|Iron Maelstrom, Prime Iron Maelstrom, Supreme Iron Maelstrom, Heavy Handed Level 3, Wallop Level 3, Concussion Level 3||Ultimate Skill|
|:Unbridled Rage||Key Passives|
Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization
Weapon Expertise is a set of benefits tied to which weapons you use as a Barbarian. To unlock your Expertise, simply hit Level 5 and the tab below will be made available. By using a certain weapon type, you will begin to gain ranks with that weapon as you fight. The ranks are from 0 to 10 and will level up moderately quickly as your character gains experience. Once your expertise hit rank 10, you will be maxed out on the benefit for using that weapon with your skills.
As a reminder, to swap your assigned weapon to the skill you are using, go to your Skill selection list (not Skill Tree) and you will see how to switch it. For mouse and keyboard users, you can access this by pressing the middle mouse button.
At Level 15, you will unlock the Masters of Battle quest. This quest will be available in the township of ‘Ked Bardu’ from the Forgemaster Gerti. Upon completing this quest you will unlock the Technique slots as seen below. This will offer you an additional permanent bonus from one of the weapons regardless of whether you have it equipped to a skill or not.
For the Upheaval build, we will be focused using the Technique of Two-Handed Axes for the bonus. Below we have listed both bonuses for the Two-Handed Axes, while we recommend using the Technique, you do have the option of assigning Two-handed Swords Expertise to your skills and using a different Technique.
|2-Handed Axe||10% increased Critical Strike Chance against Vulnerable enemies.||Expertise|
|2-Handed Axe||15.0% increased damage to Vulnerable enemies.||Technique|
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.
|Territorial||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal +[9.6]% increased damage to Close targets.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: You gain 15% Damage Reduction against Close enemies.
|Ire||– For every 5 Strength purchased within range, you deal +[5.3]% increased damage while Berserking.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: While Berserking, you take 10% reduced damage from Elites.
|Exploit||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, you deal +[3.85]% increased damage to Vulnerable targets.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: When an enemy is damaged by you, they become Vulnerable for 3 seconds. This cannot happen more than once every 20 seconds per enemy.
|Disembowel||– For every 5 Willpower purchased within range, you deal +[7.2%] increased Bleeding damage.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Willpower points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Killing a Bleeding enemy has a 10% chance to reduce the Cooldowns of your Non-Ultimate active Cooldowns by 1 second.
|Wrath||– For every 5 Dexterity purchased within range, Core Skills deal + [7.2%] increased Critical Strike Damage.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 25 Dexterity points are purchased in the glyph’s range: Skill that Critical Strike generate 3 Fury.
|Might||– Grants + [120%] bonus to all Magic nodes within range.|
– Additional Bonus unlocked after 40 Strength points are purchased in the glyph’s range: You deal x8% increased damage while wielding Two-Handed weapons.
|Marshal||– 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.
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.
- We are going to head up the right hand side of the board and take the Rare Node Brawn. This node will give us a small increase to our Maximum Life and Physical damage bonus.
- Now take the Rare Node Tenacity on the left hand pathway,
- Next path towards the Glyph slot and insert Territorial, this glyph will grant us increased Damage towards Close Enemies. Be sure to collect all of the Dexterity Nodes shown above.
- Take the two Rare Nodes, Raw Power and Iron Strength, these will gives us another Physical damage boost and some flat armor increases.
- Head to the top of the board and attach our next Paragon Board, Decimator.
Decimator (2nd Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slots and pick up the Rare Node Destroyer along the way.
- Now go straight to the open Glyph slot and insert Marshal. 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 Strength nodes shown above.
- Next we will take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, Demolish and Arrogance, both of these Nodes will give us advantages against Vulnerable enemies. Be sure to take the correct Magic Nodes.
- Head towards the right hand side of the board and pick up the Rare Node Pillage. This Node will give us another increase in damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Complete both pathways to the connection points shown in the image above.
- Finally, use the top connection point to attach the next Paragon Board, Flawless Technique.
Flawless Technique (3rd Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slot and insert Ire. This Glyph will boost our damage while Berserking and give us Damage Reduction against Elites.
- Take the single Rare Node Brash, this will offer us some Damage Reduction against Close Enemeis. Be sure to pick the correct Magic Nodes surrounding each of them.
- Head out of the Glyph radius and pick up the Rare Node Havoc. This node will increase our Critical Strike Damage and our Physical Damage output.
- Now Return to the Decimator Paragon Board and take the connection point on the right hand side. Attach the Paragon Board Carnage.
Carnage (4th Board)
- Take the pathway towards the Glyph slot and pick up the Rare Node Enraged and only take the Magic Nodes shown above.
- Now insert Might into the Glyph slot. This Glyph will boost the Magic Nodes within the radius and grants us more Two-handed weapon damage.
- Inside the Glyph radius take both Rare Nodes, Brash and Fierce, these Nodes will grant you an increased Berserking Damage and give you an increased Damage Reduction for Vulnerable Enemies.
- Path towards the bottom of the Paragon Board and attach Blood Rage.
Blood Rage (5th Board)
- Head towards the open Glyph slot and insert Disembowel, this Glyph is will help us with our Cooldown reduction as we kill Bleeding Enemies.
- Take the two Rare Nodes, Grit and Revel, these Nodes will boost our offenses and defenses against Bleeding Enemies.
- Path to the right hand side of the board and attach the Paragon Board, Bone Breaker.
Bone Breaker (6th Board)
- Select the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Exploit, this will increase our damage to Vulnerable Enemies. Be sure to take the needed Dexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Vigor for the Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a small damage increase.
- Now head to the top of the board and attach our final paragon board Warbringer.
Warbringer (7th Board)
- Select the nodes towards the open Glyph slot, and insert Wrath for the boost to Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
- Take the need Dexterity Nodes to boost your damage output.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Raw Power, this will increase our Physical Damage.
- This completes the Paragon Tree for this build.
Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The opening mechanic on the Upheaval build can vary depending on what you are facing, but the main idea behind the build is to keep your Fury up with your main shout Rallying Cry, use War Cry to start Berserking and spam Upheaval. While you start crushing enemies with Upheaval‘s AoE cone attack, you will need to begin to thread in your additional skills to keep your momentum going. We use Lunging Strike as a short and fast attack to keep your Berserking renewed, benefitting from a heal. Take note that the current Season One patch has increased the damage stacks gained while using Upheaval, overall this should buff the damage of this skill.
The most challenging component you are going to have to learn is to manage Berserking. We have a couple of options to trigger a state of Berserk and add to its uptime, when done properly you can keep this state triggered. This requires a lot movement to ensure your hitting multiple targets with your Upheaval. We gain two seconds of Berserking from our Violent Upheaval perk when two or more enemies are hit. Keeping this in mind and cycling your shouts properly should keep your Berserking renewed constantly.
While the section above covers the main skill rotation and shouts, we also have included the Ultimate skill Iron Maelstrom. This skill is an amazing screen wide attack with a huge boost to Critical Strike Chance and Damage. As with most Ultimate Skills, Iron Maelstrom has a very high cooldown of 45 seconds, but Iron Maelstrom also carries an interesting perk with Supreme Iron Maelstrom. This enhancement allows us to reduce the cooldown by one second every time we swap weapons. This means as you thread your Lunging Strike attacks in between your Upheaval hits, you will trigger this perk. We have also added a second mechanism to lower the cooldown with Ground Stomp and its perk Strategic Ground Stomp. With these two effects combined, we are able to keep our Iron Malestrom at a relatively low cooldown and crush enemies regularly with it.
Now that you understand the skill rotation and benefits from only using the build’s main skills, let’s look at some of the additional benefits our skills provide while using certain Legendary Aspects.
There are two main Aspects that help us build our defenses up while smash the ground with Upheaval. The first is the Aspect of Numbing Wrath, allowing us to gain Fortify from each point of Fury gained once you reach maximum Fury. This build has a high focus on Fury generation to constantly keep our Fury pool full and over-generating your Fury. Our Paragon Tree uses a lot of Fortified bonuses, so this Aspect can keep our fortification pool topped off as we over fill our Fury pool.
Next is the Aspect of Berserk Ripping in combination with Iron Blood Aspect. These two Aspects work hand in hand to keep enemies bleeding around you, and that increases our Damage Reduction based on those bleeding enemies. We support this further by our Paragon Tree for even more Damage Reduction. The Bleeding effect occurs automatically while you are Berserking, you don’t need to trigger anything or do anything special. While there will be some adjustment to keeping your Berserking going, with a decent amount of duration on your items you will find this to become very routine.
As with our defensive Aspects, our offensive Aspects focus on Fury. This is why we stack our gear with increases to Fury generation, Fury Cost Reduction and Maximum Fury. The main Aspect that is critical to our damage is the Aspect of Limitless Rage. This will kick into effect once our Fury pool is full and is applied to the base damage of Upheaval. Another option you can use to further boost your damage once you have your Fury generation at peak performance, is to change your Key Passive to Unbridled Rage. This Key Passive amplifies our Core skills, but increases our Fury cost by 100%. Fury is the key to your damage in this build, the more Fury you can generate – the higher Upheaval will hit for.
Overall, the playstyle for this build is very active. You will be constantly using your shouts and spamming Upheaval and Lunging Strike. This will keep you in Berserker and rocket your Fury generation through the roof. Iron Maelstrom will be ready on a short cooldown and is very easy to reset as you play naturally. The most difficult part of playing this build is to remember to target packs of enemies with your Upheaval, you will need to reposition quite regularly and aim your skills. Once you have mastered these components, this build will feel very smooth to play.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
As you begin to farm in World Tier 3 and 4, Rare and Legendary item drops will begin to appear with some regularity, depending on your luck. We recommend saving the targeted Legendary items that have the needed Legendary aspects listed below. We also recommended to keep multiple copies of the build’s Aspects in your Stash for future upgrades.
As for the Rare items, you will need to inspect each one for targeted affixes for use in each specific slot and do your best to match the recommended rolls. We have listed our targeted affixes in order of importance. Check the chart below and make note of what affixes you are searching for when you see a Rare gear piece drop.
|Gear Slot||Targeted Affixes|
|Helm||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Attack Speed
3. Damage While Berserking
4. Maximum Life
5. Maximum Fury
|Chest||1. Damage Reduction|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction Enemies that are Bleeding
5. Rank up Rallying Cry
|Gloves||1. Critical Strike Chance|
2. Ranks of Upheaval
3. Attack Speed
5. Critical Strike Chance Against Injured Enemies
|Pants||1. Damage Reduction|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction from Enemies That Are Bleeding
5. Berserking Duration
6. Maximum Life
|Boots||1. Movement Speed|
2. Damage Reduction while Injured
3. Fury Cost Reduction
4. All Stats
5. Movement Speed for 4 seconds After Killing an Elite.
6. Berserking Duration
|Amulet||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Rank Up Wallop
3. Damage Reduction
4. Damage Reduction while Injured
6. Movement Speed
7. Fury Cost Reduction
|Rings||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Critical Strike Chance
3. Critical Strike Damage
4. Maximum Life
5. Damage With Berserking
|Weapons||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Critical Strike Damage
3. Core Skill
5. Damage to Close Enemies
6. Damage while Berserking
Please note that these Affixes are the recommended picks, but that is simply our opinion. Other Affixes could certainly work instead of the ones listed above, but may not be optimal. Also, there are several very specific Affixes that are required to make the build work, they are as follows:
- Ranks to Upheaval – This is self-explanatory.
- Resource Generation – Any additional Fury generation allows us to keep our pool topped off and keep on spamming Upheaval.
- Fury Cost Reduction – This is a very important Affix to focus on, especially because we take the key passive that doubles the cost of our skills.
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
Below you will find the optimal setup for Legendary Aspects for the Upheaval 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 Upheaval 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 Slot||Legendary Aspect||Legendary Aspect Power|
|Helm||Iron Blood Aspect||Gain [2.0-4.0%] Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to [10-20%] maximum.|
|Chest||Aspect of Numbing Wrath||Each point of Fury generated while at Maximum Fury grants [X] Fortify.|
|Gloves||Aspect of Berserk Ripping||Whenever you deal direct damage while Berserking, inflict [20-30%] of the Base damage dealt as additional Bleeding damage over 5 seconds.|
|Pants||Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2.0-6.0] seconds.|
|Boots||Eluding Aspect||Becoming Injured while Crowd Controlled grants you Unstoppable for 4 seconds. This effect has a [40-20] second Cooldown.|
|Amulets(50% bonus)||Accelerating Aspect||Critical Strikes with Core Skills increase your Attack speed by [15-25]% for 5 seconds.|
|Ring||Aspect of Echoing Fury||Your Shout Skills generate [2.0-4.0] Fury per second while active.|
|Ring||Bold Chieftain’s Aspect||Whenever you cast a Shout Skill, its Cooldown is reduced by [1.0-1.9] seconds per Nearby enemy, up to a maximum of 6 seconds.|
|Bludgeoning Weapon(200% bonus)||Aspect of Limitless Rage||Each point of Fury you generate while at Maximum Fury grants your next Core Skill [1-2%] increased damage, up to [15-30%].|
|Slashing Weapon(200% bonus)||Edgemaster’s Aspect||Skills deal up to [10- 20%] increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.|
|Dual-wield weapon 1||Aspect of Retribution||Distant enemies have a 8% chance to be Stunned for 2 seconds when they hit you. You deal [10-20]%[x] increased damage to Stunned enemies.|
|Dual-wield weapon 2||Aspect of the Expectant||Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by [5-10]% up to 30%|
While Upheaval does have a unique options, as you can see on the larger Hellhammer image below, the burning ground effect is somewhat underwhelming, and we preferred using a strongly rolled Two-Handed Mace instead. However, the option is yours.
Listed below are the best gems to socket into gear for each slot type.
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for critical strike damage to Vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for an increase to Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively using our Malignant hearts for this slot.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Visit the Alchemist in any main town to craft helpful Elixirs that increase stats, and experience gain for 30 minutes. Make sure to forage plants and pick up the necessary crafting materials during your adventures; they randomly spawn around the world. Use an Elixir providing any Resistance you need most, or the Assault Elixir to increase Attack Speed.
Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80 and 90, to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential to survival.
- August 12th 2023: Full build update and review for Season 1.
- August 8th 2023: Added notes about Patch 1.1.1.
- August 5th 2023: Malignant Hearts and Paragon updated for clarity.
- July 23rd, 2023: Adjusted Aspects for performance in Season 1.
- July 19th, 2023: Season of the Malignant section added.
- July 18th, 2023: Reviewed and altered build with Season One Patch Notes.