Patch 2.6.1 is shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated updates to the game due to the sheer number of builds that will soon become viable again. Players that enjoyed some of the first top-notch builds when class sets were in their earlier stages of development will certainly be reliving those glory days again. Don Vu, Game Designer, made this intention of the development team clear in the latest Developer Chronicles and it would seem that the masses deem the efforts successful. Continue onward for just a few of our favorite class set highlights that we've experienced on the PTR so far.
1. The Return of Multishot
Demon Hunters have much to celebrate upon the release of Patch 2.6.1. One of their most beloved setups, Unhallowed Essence Multishot, should be making a furious comeback as the de facto speedfarm build for both Torment 13 rifts as well mid-tier Greater Rifts. Players should also be able to transition it into a high Greater Rift clearing setup due to the sheer power output granted by the multipliers given to Yang's Recurve's Legendary power (now boosts Multishot by 150-200%), Deadman's Legacy's Legendary power (also boosts Multishot by 150-200%), and the improvement to Unhallowed Essence's 6-piece set bonus (Your generators, Multishot, and Vengeance now deal 100% increased damage - up from the 40% on the live servers - for every point of Discipline you have). You also have improved defense with the Wraps of Clarity boosting your damage reduction by up to 50%.
2. Barbarians Become Immortal Kings
While Whirlwind and Wrath of the Wastes seem to be the hottest topics for Barbarians over the last couple of seasons and in recent times, one of the other highly anticipated Barb changes resides in the return of Hammer of the Ancients. Coming into prominence during Season 4 after the first redesign of the Gavel of Judgment, HOTA Barbs utilized the Immortal King's set to dish out their punishment. In Patch 2.6.1, the Gavel of Judgment has been updated yet again to gain a multiplier for Hammer of the Ancients (600-800%) and the Bracers of the First Men also received an update to their support of this playstyle with a 400-500% multiplier to Hammer of the Ancients. Not to be forgotten, the IK set has had its 6-piece set bonus increased to 1500% bonus damage, so all of these in combination should have HOTA Barbs going quite high into the Greater Rift upper echelon. You'll likely also see the Gavel of Judgment cubed in favor of equipping The Slanderer and Little Rogue weapon set for their increased attack speed, damage, and defense bonuses.
3. Non-Archon Wizard Options
Wizards have been begging for builds that don't use Archon since the rework to Manald Heal made the Lightning Wizard one of the strongest builds in the game period. Well, Wizards, your prayers have been answered in Patch 2.6.1 as both Delsere's Magnum Opus-based builds as well as channeling-based builds have both seen major buffs. Much excitement was shown when the PTR first launched as Delsere's received multiple updates by way of its ancillary items:
- Orb of Infinite Depth
- Each time you hit an enemy with Explosive Blast your damage is increased by 8-10% and your damage reduction is increased by 20% for 6 seconds. This effect can stack up to 4 times.
- Unstable Scepter
- The damage of Arcane Orb’s is increased by 350-450% and its explosion triggers an additional time.
- Your Signature Spells increase the damage of Arcane Orb by 300-400% for 6 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.
With an increase to the 6-piece set damage bonus for DMO moving up to 3800% and the Frozen Orb rune of Arcane Orb receiving generous love to the tune of 950% weapon damage, look forward to this build doing major work for Wizards at high-tier Greater Rifts.
4. Witch Doctors No Longer Jaded
Another fan-favorite, Witch Doctors have been longing for a way to play their Jade Harvester setups without feeling like a swift wind will remove all of their hit points instantly. The developers listened and in 2.6.1, Jade delivers devastating destruction while still being able to live long enough to tell the tale. A cavalcade of changes makes this build sturdier and deadlier than ever: a.) Soul Harvest will now refresh all of its stacks even when you're only Soul Harvesting one target; b.) Creeping Death was boosted to 16,800 seconds; c.) the 2-piece set bonus of Jade Harvester was buffed to 560 seconds worth of Haunt damage; and d.) the 6-piece set bonus of Jade Harvester was given a 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds after casting Soul Harvest along with a boost to your damage over time skills instantly dealing 1400 seconds worth of remaining damage. Even though it looks like Firebats builds will also be a popular way to play Witch Doctor next patch, both out of the Helltooth and Arachyr sets, it does seem like we'll be saying goodbye to Legacy of Nightmares Spirit Barrage and witnessing a healthy competition for top-tier Witch Doctor Greater Rift builds, along with a change up to the trash killing meta in 4-player groups.
5. Akkhan? I Can! Blessed Be The Shield
Ever since the Developer Chronicle blog on the Akkhan set, Crusaders have been wondering when some of their most classic builds would be viable again. While Akkhan received small attention over the last few patches - the addition of the Talisman of Akkhan and a small damage reduction added to the 6-piece set bonus - this PTR provided great improvements to the set, giving the 6-piece bonus a real damage reduction of 50% and also boosting the damage bonus up to 1300%. With such a strong base to work from, any multipliers adding into the mix from there would only further bolster the builds of old such as Condemn and Blessed Shield. Those multipliers were provided in spades with the Blade of Prophecy (max of 800% multiplier for Condemn), Frydehr's Wrath (max of 800% multiplier for Condemn), Gyrfalcon's Foote (max of 350% multiplier to Blessed Shield), and Jekangbord (max of 300% multiplier for Blessed Shield). As such, Crusaders will now have a veritable powerhouse when it comes to Torment 13 speedfarming in Akkhan Condemn, which can also be combined with the Sage's Journey set for additional Death's Breaths, as well as new entries for high-level Greater Rift pushing. Blessed Shield should be the sturdier of the two in that realm with the opportunity to cube the Aquila Cuirass, making a big difference in its safety versus the squishier Condemn setup.
There are plenty of other changes for both the classes I covered and the classes I didn't even get to mention here, so leave a comment and let us know what you're most excited for. Patch 2.6.1 should be here relatively soon!
Leviathan (@LeviathanD3) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a Hardcore Crusader for life. You can likely catch him streaming high Leaderboard/Conquest rank attempts unless he's out taking photographs or discovering new music.