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    posted a message on 2h Barbarian build: Merciless Assault build
    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
    Posted in: Barbarian: Bastion's Keep
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