Throw Barb Introduction
The throw barbarian is a versatile build that has been made viable by recent patch changes, primarily around the ability to replenish the quantity of your item – meaning you never run out! This build is a physical damage dealer and played correctly can deal a huge amount of damage, both to single targets and groups.
The build goes against what you would normally expect from a barbarian in that you will be a ranged attacker, as opposed to the normal hack and slash barbarian. We use two main skills to deal damage from the Combat Skills tree – Frenzy and Double Throw, and supplement these with utility skills from the Combat Masteries and Warcries trees.
The playstyle is fast and frantic, but a lot of fun once you master it. The early game for a barbarian (particularly a throw barbarian) is sometimes slow and requires patience to gather the currency required to purchase your end game items but once you’re up and running the barbarian is very rewarding.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent boss farming with huge single target damage.
- Find Item ability provides increased chances of finding rare items and runes.
- Viable to kill ubers.
- Viable in hardcore.
- Slow early game and requires patience to reach end game build.
- Kill speed begins to slow down in games with more than 3 players.
- Requires melee attacks to trigger frenzy and reach maximum potential.
- Requires stat reset between early and end game.
- Slow boss killer
- Howl (1)
- Find Potion (1)
- Taunt (1)
- Shout (1)
- Find Item (10)
- Battle Cry (1)
- Battle Orders (20)
- Battle Command (1)
- Throwing Mastery (20)
- Increased Stamina (1)
- Increased Speed (1)
- Iron Skin (1)
- Natural Resistance (5+)
- Bash (1)
- Double Swing (20)
- Double Throw (20)
- Frenzy (1)
I would not recommend trying to play a throw barbarian in the early game as it is a very slow journey to the end game. Instead, I would suggest utilising the Double Swing and Mace Mastery using 2 Flails – this will provide you with a reasonable level of damage to get you through Normal difficulty. Once you reach level 30 start using the Whirlwind ability and put points in with each level, this will be your main ability for the early game. There are a number of early Runewords that help the barbarian get through Normal, I like to make “Steel” (Tir El) as early as I can in a Flail (the runes can be farmed from Normal countess) and buy a 3 socketed Flail in Act 2 and socket it with some flawed gems to provide some elemental damage for my other weapon.
When you complete Hell difficulty and are ready to begin farming there are 2 builds that I consider most efficient – Whirlwind or Berserk. I prefer to use the Whirlwind ability as we have used the build to help us level and using the Berserk ability reduces your defence which can be dangerous when you are still using early game items. Berserk will be required for Physical Immune monsters.
This section is intended to showcase an item build that is achievable after completing the game and you are ready to start farming. Some of the runes may require repeat farming of Normal and / or Nightmare Countess, however this is normally achieved within a short timeframe.
Helm: “Lore” Runeword (Ort Sol) / Peasant Crown
Amulet: Utility Amulet with life, resistances, magic find etc
Weapon: “Oath” Runeword (Shael Pul Mal Lum)
Note: “Oath” is expensive for an early game item, however by the time you finish the game you should have enough currency to purchase the required runes or you might get lucky with your Hellforge quest.
Armor: “Treachery” Runeword (Shael Thul Lem)
Shield: “Ancient’s Pledge” Runeword (Ral Ort Tal)
Gloves: Rare gloves with attack speed, life leech, stats
Rings: Ravenfrost / Utility ring
Ravenfrost provides the “Cannot be Frozen” mod which is fundamental for any physical damage dealer.
Belt: String of Ears
Boots: Faster Run Walk with Resistances
Inventory: Life / Resistance Charms or Magic / Gold Find Charms
Mercenary: Act 2 Desert Mercenary with “Might” Aura and “Insight” Runeword (Ral Tir Tal Sol) or “Obedience” Runeword (Hel Ko Thul Eth Fal)
The most popular farming spots for barbarians is The Pit in Act 1 and Travincal in Act 3. The significance of The Pit is that the champion and elite monsters in the area can drop every item in the game. The council members in Travincal are well known for dropping high runes and the barbarian can farm this area very effectively.
If you’re farming in The Pit you want to target the champion and elite packs of monsters, when we first begin farming it will be in solo games so the non-elite / champion monsters will not provide much loot. The Howl warcry will help us in this area – using this causes all non-elite / champion monsters to run in fear from us, leaving us to fight only the elite or champion monster. Once you find a pack, cast the Howl warcry 1-2 times and watch the surround monsters scatter – you can then concentrate your damage on the remaining elite or champion either with the Whirlwind or Berserk ability. Once you have killed the enemy, use your Find Item ability on the corpse for an extra chance at finding gear. From time to time, you may encounter monsters that are “Immune to Physical Damage”, you will need to use the Berserk ability on these (even if your main skill is Whirlwind) as it deals Magic damage
Travincal may be difficult immediately after finishing the game, unless you have managed to find plenty of charms with fire resistance. I would also recommend waiting until you have the “Oath” Runeword as your weapon and String of Ears as your belt before starting here. We won’t be teleporting at this stage, so a neat trick is to run from the waypoint straight into the Durance of Hate entrance and then straight back into Travincal – this ensures your mercenary is with you as you begin tackling the council members. If there are any other monsters around, cast the Howl warcry to get rid of them and then start concentrating your damage on the council members with either Whirlwind or Berserk. Once they are dead, don’t forget to use Find Item on their corpses. Travincal is also an excellent area to farm gold if you can find charms and items with”+% Extra Gold Find”, you can then use this gold to gamble items with vendors to generate currency. Popular items to gamble are rings, amulets and circlets / coronets.
The end game is where this build really starts to get fun, and we can respec into our throw barb build. The weapons are quite rare as we want them to be ethereal for extra damage, however you can buy non-ethereal versions of them cheaply until you find the ethereal version.
The combination of Warshrike and Razortail provides us with 83% Chance to Pierce which helps us take down large packs of monsters, particularly if you are able to line them up. Lacerator has a chance to cast Amplify Damage on striking which provides a huge damage boost once cast, and helps us kill monsters with Physical immunity. With 3 stacks of Frenzy and Fanaticism Aura from our mercenary we reach the highest attack speed breakpoint.
Helm: Arreat’s Face socketed with a +35+% Enhance Damage, 15% Increased Attack Speed Jewel
Amulet: Highlord’s Wrath
Weapon #1: Ethereal Lacerator Winged Axe
Weapon #2: Ethereal Warshrike Winged Knife
Weapon Swap: 2x “Heart of the Oak” (Ko Vex Pul Thul)
Armor: “Enigma” Runeword (Jah Ith Ber)
Gloves: Laying of Hands / Crafted “Blood” Gloves with Increased Attack Speed
Ring #1: Ravenfrost
Ring #2: Rare or Crafted Ring with Life Leech, Mana Leech, Attack Rating and Resistances.
Belt: Razortail Sharkskin Belt
Boots: Gore Rider War Boots
Inventory: 8x Grand Charms with +10 Max Damage / 60+ Attack Rating / 35+ Life
8x Small Charms with +3 Max Damage / 15+ Attack Rating / 15+ Life
Barbarian Hellfire Torch Large Charm
Annihilus Small Charm
Mercenary: Act 1 Rogue Mercenary “Faith” Runeword (Ohm Jah Lem Eld)
Strength: Enough to wear your gear
Dexterity: Enough to wear your gear
Vitality: As much as possible
This build is viable in Hardcore with no tweaks, however requires careful gameplay particularly when building up your Frenzy stacks (see gameplay section). You need to apply 2 – 3 melee attacks in your play build up and have little defence. Try not to get surrounded as this build can only deal damage in one direction and you will become overwhelmed if you do not position yourself correctly.
The first step in any barbarian gameplay is to apply your Battle Command, Battle Orders and Shout warcries – this provides is +1 to All Skills, a huge life and mana boost and a defence boost too.
To ensure we reach the highest attack speed breakpoint we need to use the “Frenzy” skill in our build up play. Frenzy is a melee attack skill that grants stacks, with each stack increasing our attack and movement speed – we should only need 1 stack; however I would recommend 2 – 3 for good measure.
Once we have the frenzy stacks we teleport to a safe distance away from the monster pack and use the Double Throw ability. You will notice very quickly that Amplify Damage gets cast on the monster pack from your Lacerator weapon and the extra damage as a result kills the monster pack very quickly. For maximum efficiency try to line up the packs in long and thin shapes, this ensures we make the most of our 83% chance to pierce and damages all the monsters lined up in a row.
We do not have any protection from our mercenary with this build as we have opted for the Act 1 Rogue, so be mindful of yours and hers positioning at all times to make sure you do not get surrounded and overwhelmed by monsters.
Diablo Clone / Ubers
Diablo Clone is very easy with this build, our single target damage is huge and Gore Rider boosts gives us a chance for crushing blow which decimates any uber. The gameplay is similar to normal, apply your warcries and build up your frenzy stacks (either on a nearby monster, or on Diablo clone himself), then teleport a small distance away and start throwing your weapons! He will fall quickly and you will have your new shiny Annihilus small charm.
Mini Ubers (Duriel, Lilith and Izual) are viable with this build if you ensure you clear the surrounding monsters in the room before tackling the bosses themselves. Follow the same process as described above for Diablo Clone, watch them fall and collect your organs.
Ubers themselves are very tricky and I wouldn’t recommend using this build to kill them, unless you want a challenge! The problem we encounter is each boss summons repeatedly summons monsters which can cause us problems with positioning and targeting the boss. My recommendation here would be to “pre-buff” Fade with “Treachery” Runeword (you can do this by letting yourself get hit by weak monsters in Act 1, or standing in fire in Act 4) so that we get additional resistances and damage reduction, and also purchase a Demon Limb Tyrant Club and cast Enchant on yourself – this provides a damage and attack rating boost. You will want to take on the Uber bosses one at a time to ensure you do not get overwhelmed by summoned monsters. I would recommend killing Mephisto as he will be the most difficult and also has the Conviction aura on. If you do kill Ubers with this build, please do contact us with a video so we can see it in action :).
If you’d rather skip farming you can quickly buy D2R Items from our D2R Store.