2h Barbarian build: Merciless Assault build

  • #1
    The Merciless Assault 2h build

    Video (Disclaimer: This is my first time frapping, so I apologize for the quality/lack of editing)


    The Build

    http://us.battle.net...cXRk!ZYX!ZZZaac

    Introduction

    With the new 1.04 I've been toying around with variation of builds to see what works best. 2h barb was already a viable spec before the patch (I wrote another similar 2h spec pre 1.04 here: http://www.diablofan...house-2h-build/), but with the 1.04 it has made 2h even better and fun way to slaughter demons. After a week of testing I've finally streamlined the build down to this final build.

    Why this works

    Insane big crits. Why spin around mobs and wait for little tornados to pick them off when you can just plough right through them? Can kill elites consistently without relying on cooldown. Great mobility and survivability. Not dependent on procs. Easily adaptable to any gear you currently have (with sufficient dps and survivability of course).

    Skills

    Bash - Onslaught:
    "Kaboom"

    This is your main attack. You mostly use this against single target and a filler ability when all else is already applied/on cooldown. Now, "filler" is a relative term because with this build, this ability hits REALLY hard. With my gear it easily crits for over 300k dmg. With a bonus of sending enemies flying off the screen (literally) when you kill them.

    The Onslaught rune is the go-to rune if you want to focus on single target, which you most likely will be if you're following this guide. If the bash didn't kill the mob in one hit, the 2 reverberations will.

    Rune variations: Pulverize feels pretty awesome, and little aoe element is nice if you can line them up. Punish also works great if you can manage to keep 3 stacks up the entire time, but from my testing it rather disrupt the rhythm too much to consistently keeping it up. Spamming punish alone gives comparable dps to onslaught only at full stack. Unless you can mange to keep 3 stacks of punish up for other abilities then onslaught will work better in most cases.



    Furious Charge - Merciless Assault:
    "Hits like a truck, where YOU are the truck"

    Furious Charge is the most damaging abilities before the buff to seismic slam and hammer of ancients. However, after the patch it still hits pretty hard, does not cost any rage to cast (generate some, rather). It also gives you great mobility, with a get out of jail free card as a bonus. Knocks enemy down in the path. This will be your main aoe ability. With one ability you get a heavy hitter, mobility, defensive ability, and limited crowd control. What more can you ask for?

    The only drawback for furious charge is the cooldown, however with Merciless Assault rune this drawback is eliminated. If you hit 5 or more enemies and/or destructible objects then your cooldown is refreshed. Allows you to constantly spam this abilities nonstop, until everything falls dead. When encounter a large pack, all you really need to do is to carve your way through the enemies until they are all dead. With the damage buff you'll be getting though, it usually take no more than 2 charges until there's nothing more than a few stragglers left.

    Rune variations: Not really recommended as the whole point is to use furious charge as your main aoe ability.



    Rend - Bloodlust:
    "Just freaking OP"

    This single ability is the main star of patch 1.04 for 2h barb. One cast of it does 700% weapon damage over 5 seconds IN AOE. With a slow 2h weapon this will hit for a TON of damage and every white mobs will die from a single application of this. If you're still not convinced how good rend is, here's a little mathematical formula:

    Rend > Earthquake+Ignorance is a bliss

    Rend does roughly half the dps of Earthquake, has no cooldown and does not require the enemies to stay in the aoe. If you have played 2h barb before 1.04, you must be familiar with how barb can cast earthquake and then ignore pain - Ignorance is a bliss to basically gain invulnerability as long as EQ is still ticking. Well, the bloodlust rune kinda folds that healing portion in a package deal. With sufficient dps and defensive stat on your gear, a single application of bloodlust will allow you to stand in the middle of elite pack, between fire chains, on top of molten and desecrate, and just not die as long as bloodlust is up. Bloodlust made rend both your most damaging abilities, and one of the greatest heal/defensive ability. Bloodlust rune is so OP that sometimes I wonder if some dev forgot to twist a knob down when they buff its damage...

    Rune variations: I've only tried out one rune of rend so far and to be honest, I have no intention in trying out any other runes. From now on I'm just going to call rend-bloodlust just "rend" and assumes other runes don't exist.



    Leap - Iron Impact
    "Mini Ignore Pain, with mobility, damage, and fury generation"

    With how OP rend is, you don't really need EQ+IIB combo anymore. This free up an active skill slot. In all my testing I found that iron impact offer the smoothest run. It gives mobility. Gets you out of crazy situation. Offers a mini Ignore Pain with the 400% armor buff, but at a much shorter cooldown. I found that Iron Impact can save me against Fallen Maniac many times in the keeps. It also generate rages and does small aoe damage as a bonus.

    Rune variations: The whole point of getting leap was for the defensive cooldown buff. For this purpose Iron impact fits the need the most. An alternative might be Death from Above rune.


    Battle Rage - Marauder's Rage:
    "RAWRRR!"

    Even after all the buff to other abilities, Marauder's Rage is still pretty good because it boosts ALL your damage. It made all your bash, furious charge, leap and rend hits harder. Battle Rage conveniently lasts the same duration as the cooldown of warcry. Hitting both buttons will net you +10 fury. Now all you need to do is to pretend the two buttons are the same, and hit it whenever they're off cooldown. Marauder's Rage is the trivial rune to go to for just flat damage boost.

    Rune variations: Bloodshed is the only other viable replacement. It might be worth it if you have insane crit chance.

    Edit: Calculation has shown that Bloodshed will net you more damage if you have at least 30% critical chance upon spreading the proc to 2 or more nearby enemies.


    Warcry - Impunity:
    "The sixth active skill slot that barbs don't have"

    I usually pretend this ability doesn't exist and treat it as the same button as Battle Rage.


    Passive: Ruthless, Weapon Master, Berserker rage:

    The first two passives are obvious choices. 2h barb performs better with huge damage buff. The more damage you do the faster the enemies will stop hitting you and the more you will heal with lifesteal/rend. With this build you will only be spending fury on rend, which only needs reapplying every 5 secs so this makes berserker rage a very good option (remember that if you combine battle fury with warcry then you don't ever need to worry about spending fury on it). Rend also benefits from Berserker rage once you refill up your fury to maximum, which should only take 2 furious charge or a couple swings from bash. Berserker Rage combined with Marauder's Rage give you a flat 55% dps increase with almost 100% uptime.



    Playstyle

    The playstyle can be broken down into 2 parts: with elites and without elites.

    For trash: The reason I break down the playstyle into 2 parts is because, with the dps buff you're having a lot of the mobs will die within 1-2 hits. In most situations rend will be overkill and you're best just keeping your fury at max for berserker rage buff. For this situations all you need to do is CHARGE! CHARGE! CHARGE! until you cannot charge anymore. Then ideally there should only be a few stragglers left unless you really messed up your merciless assault. Just bash the stragglers to death or until charge is back off cooldown again. If charge is on cooldown and somehow you find yourself surrounded by enemies don't be afraid to cast a rend or two and just watch as your hp fills up to full in 1 second and they all drop dead.

    The only case where you open with rend against trash mobs is against big guys like colossal golgor or phasebeast. Simply rend them once to make sure you get a constant supply of healing (even though they hit hard, rend will heal you back to full in no time), then just either charge or bash them to death. Of course, move out or just let rend do the tick if they are hitting too hard.

    For elites: Against elites you don't really have to worry about berserker rage at all. Just apply rend as you need to. Remember that rend does two most important things against elites: It kills them and make them not kill you. As long as you keep rend up on all the elites you shouldn't have to worry about dying. Avoid getting frozen/jail. With both charge and leap this should be an easy task. For some deadlier combo you might not be able to do much besides running. However, as long as you keep applying rend as they fall off you can just kite and they will die within a few applications of rend.

    As long as you're safe and in no immediate danger of arcane sentry/desecrate/plague/molten/firechains, simply charge or bash as it seems fit.

    The only fury spender in this build (besides battle fury/warcry combo) is rend. Since you only cast it once every 5 seconds and any mobility abilities you have all generate some rage, you shouldn't really have to worry about berserker rage buff at all and your fury will stay at max most of the time. You should, however, try to position so that rend will hit the most enemies per cast. This not only allow you to max your fury faster but also waste less time applying rend stack here and there. It also heals you for more enemies you hit with rend.


    Gear

    Good thing about this build is that it works with any type of gear, unlike some build that requires a lot of loh or crit chance. The only thing is you will need enough dps for this to work (and of course, some minimal survivability). Remember that the goal is to kill the enemies before they kill you, not outlasting them.

    The single most important piece of gear is the 2h weapon. For 2h weapon you will only want to look at the min-max damage number and not the dps. This is because furious charge and rend takes the same animation time regardless of your attack speed. I would suggest going for 0.9 speed mace here for the damage and the weapon master bonus. However, if you find bash animation taking too long to avoid some damage, this also works with slightly faster weapon.

    Another stat that actually helps a lot with this build is lifesteal. With the 1.04 change 2h weapon can now have up to 6% lifesteal on them. If you can also grab an additional 3 from a mighty belt that makes it 9% lifesteal maximum. The lifesteal will allow you to never have to worry about dying during your crazy chain furious charge as the damage you will be dealing will be insane.


    Conclusion

    The addition of rend buff favors 2h build very well. Rend scale really well with more weapon damage from 2h, and the heal it provides will make a 2h build virtually indestructible, as long as rend is up. In this build we combine rend with mobility and crazy damage buff. The elimination of any other fury spender make you never again having to worry about not having enough fury to refresh that rend dot.


    Build Variations

    In my testing I've come up with many build variations, all has its own perks and benefit. Most build variations center around replacing leap with some other offensive or defensive abilities according to your need.

    http://us.battle.net...cVRk!ZYX!ZZZaac Revenge variation - Revenge actually fits really well with rend. You need to be surrounded by enemies to rend them. Revenge hits really hard, and it hits even harder on 2h with huge dmg buff and passives. Vengeance is mine rune is chosen here to refill maximum fury as fast as possible right after application of rend.

    http://us.battle.net...cTRk!ZYX!ZZZbac The Burst variation - If you'd rather just melt the elite before they melt you. EQ+rend = dead elites in almost all the case. Works best if you have high dps.

    http://us.battle.net...cURk!ZYh!ZZZbac The Sprint variation - If you're already very geared and would like to just speed up your run. You will lose 20% dmg buff from berserker rage, but now you can spend all those rage sprinting from one pack to the other even faster! Marathon can speed up your run by a maximum of 50%, depending on how much time you spend killing/running. Forced march rune is also a great help if you play with friends. The speed bonus is also a great help for escaping from dire situations especially now you have one less mobility skill. If you don't need the extra rage from Unforgiving you can replace it with Bloodthirst.

    http://us.battle.net...ciRk!ZYV!ZZZZac The Defensive variation - If you're dying a lot. Maybe you're lacking defensive stats and leap isn't your style or just does not cut it. I have not actually tested this out a lot as I've found lron Impact to be more than sufficient to keep me alive. Without berserker rage passive you are now free to spam more rend to your satisfaction. Can also replace Iron impact with Overpower - Crushing Advance.

    My profile: http://us.battle.net...54/hero/7474396
  • #2
    +1 for you very well redacted post and also you are promoting my favourite rune for Furious Charge (Merciless Assault), like I said many times in this forums, is an awesome rune very undervalued.

    Your build is almost the same that I use but in the last few days I drop Berserker Rage for Bloodthirst because I´m a fan of LL but when I try Berserker Rage I must say that the results are awesome.

    I must say to all the people that want to give a try with a two handed barb, that try this build, for me is amazing and very effective. Also as a melee lover there isn´t a better build to fell the power a Barb.

  • #3
    GOOGOGOG BUY ALL 2H!!! lol thanks you for guide im going to try this right now, just need to get some gold or something lmao
    Working with adobe and/or java is like pushing a paper clip against a building and expecting it to move...


    Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
    Final Fantasy 7
  • #4
    Quote from Typho

    The single most important piece of gear is the 2h weapon. For 2h weapon you will only want to look at the min-max damage number and not the dps. This is because furious charge and rend takes the same animation time regardless of your attack speed. I would suggest going for 0.9 speed mace here for the damage and the weapon master bonus. However, if you find bash animation taking too long to avoid some damage, this also works with slightly faster weapon.


    Good guide. I'm not sure about this part though. Can anyone verify this? I was under the impression that static-speed attacks based their damage on DPS and not on damage per hit. It should be relatively easy to test though by using a two-hander with no strength / crit and a one-hander (or two of them) with roughly the same dps and no strength/crit.
    ...and if you disagree with me, you're probably <insert random ad hominem attack here>.
  • #5
    Quote from tanis0

    Quote from Typho

    The single most important piece of gear is the 2h weapon. For 2h weapon you will only want to look at the min-max damage number and not the dps. This is because furious charge and rend takes the same animation time regardless of your attack speed. I would suggest going for 0.9 speed mace here for the damage and the weapon master bonus. However, if you find bash animation taking too long to avoid some damage, this also works with slightly faster weapon.


    Good guide. I'm not sure about this part though. Can anyone verify this? I was under the impression that static-speed attacks based their damage on DPS and not on damage per hit. It should be relatively easy to test though by using a two-hander with no strength / crit and a one-hander (or two of them) with roughly the same dps and no strength/crit.


    If anyone can verify this I would be interested to hear as well.
  • #6
    I did a highly unscientific test. I got rid of all damage passives, gear with +damage and my sorceress, and then I compared the time it took to kill skeletons with rend in the Cathedral with the following two weapons:

    762.4 DPS dagger (11870 DPS on character sheet)
    speed 1.61
    damage 292-658 (avg. 475)

    760.5 DPS mace (11820 DPS on character sheet)
    speed 0.9
    damage 715-974 (avg. 844.5)

    The DPS on my character sheet was within 1/2 of 1 percent with each weapon, but the average damage of the mace is about 78% higher than that of the dagger.

    For testing purpose, I rended (rent?) skeletons in Act 1 on various levels of the cathedral. For the mace, I felt like they were dieing in about 2.5 to 3 Mississippis. For the dagger, I felt like it was more between 4 and 5 Mississippis (some in the same group would die in 4 and others would die in 5). If it is based on weapon damage and the mace killed in 2.75 Mississippis, I would expect it to take 4.9 Mississippis for the dagger to kill the skeletons. This appears to be consistent with my results so I feel like the OP is correct and the damage is based off of straight weapon damage. This comes with the caveat though that I was not using a stopwatch, just counting out loud (and I think 7 of my Mississippis are approximately 5 actual seconds based on when the dot ended) and trying to gauge things, but it felt pretty clear that rend damage was lower with the dagger than the mace.

    One other note is that it feels pretty clear that the actual animation of the rend itself is faster with the dagger than the mace. This isn't super relevant damage-wise since the dot takes place over up to 5 seconds (or up to 7), but it can be relevant if you plan to dot-kite. It may also explain why the dagger felt a little faster than 4.9 Mississippis on average as I started counting from the time I hit the button and not when the dot appeared.
    ...and if you disagree with me, you're probably <insert random ad hominem attack here>.
  • #7
    Quote from tanis0

    I did a highly unscientific test.

    Quote from tanis0

    For the mace, I felt like they were dieing in about 2.5 to 3 Mississippis.


    I dunno.... Mississippis sounded pretty legit to me :P

    I also did some test on my own and slower weapon ticks much heavier rend dot despite being slightly lower in dps. Also, activating frenzied shrine does not seem to boost either rend or charge dmg, so I stand corrected that only min-max dmg matters for both skills.
  • #8
    Thanks again for the Furious Charge Build Typho. I played a lot with it in 1.0.2, but then turned towards WW-Sprint for 1.0.3 and totally forgot about this build when 1.0.4 hit. Just bought a decent 2H Hammer with 300+ Str and 5%LL and tried your build. Butcher-Run was total overkill, everything incl. champs/elites was falling in seconds, even butcher fell off in only 12secs :D

    After that i got into act 3 again and just did a quick "From Skycrown to Ghom"-Run, and the result was the same, just died twice to some stupid mistakes with champs in the Keep (this narrow dungeon limits the use of this build unfortunatly ;) ) and i even oneshoted ghom without any problem and without overpower ;)
    Also with Leap and Charge in one build, the mobility is amazing and I don't miss Sprint

    I want to add something to the gear section. I did some tests yesterday about the Min-Max-Dmg thing of this build. It's correct that Rend and Charge use Min-Max-Dmg not DPS. Because of this +Dmg on Rings/Amulets contribute directly to the Damage of these abilities. So when looking for new jewelry you can take a look on the min-max-dmg affixes.

    Thanks for sharing! +1
  • #9
    very nice guide...i'm wondering since 1.04 if there is a more efficient (mobility+dps) build than ww/sprint. i was playing around a bit with something similar to your build, but my weapon was not that good. on the other hand i find it very hard to transition from "sprint-sprint-noone's-gonna-catch-me" to....well..something else. i will test this out some more, as i get a decent 2h weapon.

    thx for your efforts..maybe you can add a video running act3 or smt? :-)
  • #10
    nice guide, i want to ask, about how much life and armor one should aim for? i did try this spec but have some problems with elites in ponyland. and i know in a3 thers alot of ranged mobs so i imagine it will be much harder. so any tips on stats and gear? cause other then the weapon info you didnt cover alot of it.
  • #11
    Quote from mird

    nice guide, i want to ask, about how much life and armor one should aim for? i did try this spec but have some problems with elites in ponyland. and i know in a3 thers alot of ranged mobs so i imagine it will be much harder. so any tips on stats and gear? cause other then the weapon info you didnt cover alot of it.


    I did not cover stats and gear because it depends a lot on which act you are farming. However, I can provide you some rough stats.

    For act1: Well.... anything should work for act1 nowadays.
    Act2: around 30k hp minimum. 600+ ares (with warcry). around 30k dps unbuffed should work (after buff you will be shooting near 60k anyway)
    Act3: 40k hp, 800 ares, and 35k dps.

    These are probably the bare minimum at which you could survive. Of course, getting more will make it faster and with less death.

    Balancing between offensive and defensive stat for 2h can be quite tricky. If you focus too much on damage then you might be too easily 2 shotted. However, turtling too much on defensive side and it will take too long to kill mobs and you end up actually dying more.

    I'd say just keep testing to see what works for you. If your gear is a bit lacking then you might want to consider rend and kite some more until you are a bit more geared. You can just kill pack of elites with just rend/charge/leap if the affix becomes too deadly (phasebeast with fast+desecrate can be pretty tough...)

    Range actually doesn't give you as much trouble as you think. You have so many mobility skills it's so easy to chase them down. However you might have to be a bit patient and wait after they stop running to apply rend.
  • #12
    Due to popular demand, I've uploaded a video!

    This is my first time ever frapping though, so I apologize in advance about the quality/lack of editing. However, this should give you a nice idea how this spec is played. Maybe it might interest some of you to give it a try. :)
  • #13
    How is crit chance working with rend? don't have time to read the whole post now but was just wondering if the rend ticks can crit.

    I got 56% crit on my gear, it would be quite a waste if crit doesn't benefit rend.
  • #14
    Quote from Nuvian

    How is crit chance working with rend? don't have time to read the whole post now but was just wondering if the rend ticks can crit.

    I got 56% crit on my gear, it would be quite a waste if crit doesn't benefit rend.


    Yes, rend can crit, and it's affected by critdmg as well. In my video normal rend ticks for about 32k but occasionally will tick for 130k. Only thing is the "crit" does not show in yellow text so it could be easily misleading.
  • #15
    Quote from Typho

    Quote from Nuvian

    How is crit chance working with rend? don't have time to read the whole post now but was just wondering if the rend ticks can crit.

    I got 56% crit on my gear, it would be quite a waste if crit doesn't benefit rend.


    Yes, rend can crit, and it's affected by critdmg as well. In my video normal rend ticks for about 32k but occasionally will tick for 130k. Only thing is the "crit" does not show in yellow text so it could be easily misleading.


    Thanks, even bigger heals then :)

    I'm guessing there isn't a big need for life on hit/life leech with this build then.

    PS: nice job on this thread, +1 from me.
  • #16
    I'm using this build but with revenge and cleave (broad sweep).

    http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Jamoose-2376/hero/611749

    I just time the cleave, rend, revenge in a way that i am always dealing aoe damage.

  • #17
    Very Nice Post !!! However I still think it is more fun to WW like an idiot. I'm addicted to speed. For some reason now that I use tornados and run everywhere, its just to hard to spec back to a slow moving hard hitter.- speed speed speed. Paragon levels will take for ever walking around slow as a slug.
  • #18
    Quote from Nuvian

    I'm guessing there isn't a big need for life on hit/life leech with this build then.



    LoH is pretty terrible for 2h, so don't even bother with it. Life leech however, can help tons. Furious charge and bash does so much dmg a tiny amount of life leech can help a lot. But yes, with rend you can definitely do without life leech.

    Quote from Jamoose

    I'm using this build but with revenge and cleave (broad sweep).

    http://eu.battle.net...376/hero/611749

    I just time the cleave, rend, revenge in a way that i am always dealing aoe damage.


    I'd recommend swapping out nerves of steel for berserker rage. The extra 20% makes so much different.

    You won't really have to worry about not capping your fury, it fills up much faster than you think. Besides, if you're not filling up as fast as you'd like, try switching revenge rune to vengeance is mine for fury+more heals.
  • #19
    Quote from Nodnarb

    Very Nice Post !!! However I still think it is more fun to WW like an idiot. I'm addicted to speed. For some reason now that I use tornados and run everywhere, its just to hard to spec back to a slow moving hard hitter.- speed speed speed. Paragon levels will take for ever walking around slow as a slug.


    Subbing out leap for sprint-marathon also works well :). Marathon gives you even faster run speed and with charge, it lets you kill mobs faster than ww build.

    Fun facts: Sprint also speed up your charge speed to even faster!
  • #20
    Quote from zeroRooter

    GOOGOGOG BUY ALL 2H!!! lol thanks you for guide im going to try this right now, just need to get some gold or something lmao


    I will to this as soon as i find a good 2handed weapon.
    Had a few narrow misses already, including a 999 DPS axe with 499 Str and 250 INT...

    Eventually a 1200 dps, socket, base crit and str is bound to drop.
    I even lvled a new barb to 60 just to wait till that weapon drops...
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Reply
Clear All Quotes