Welcome to the ultimate guide for creating a powerful Barbarian build in Diablo 4. In this guide, we will focus on the Berserk HotA (Hammer of the Ancients) build, which allows you to unleash your rage on your enemies with devastating hammer blows. This build prioritizes speed, Berserking effects, and constant uptime of Berserking, allowing you to leap from pack to pack, crushing all who stand in your way. Whether you’re a seasoned Barbarian player or new to the class, this guide will cover all the basics and provide you with the optimal setup for skills, Paragon points, and gear.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Before we dive into the build itself, let’s take a look at its strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand what this build excels at and where it may have some limitations. For a detailed comparison with other builds, you can check our build tier lists.
To make the most of this build, you’ll need several Legendary Aspects that are essential for its proper functioning. These Aspects can be found on specific Legendary Items and need to be imprinted onto the appropriate gear. The required Legendary Aspects are:
- Weapon Master’s Aspect
- Aspect of Limitless Rage
- Bold Chieftain’s Aspect
It’s recommended to have these Aspects ready for imprinting before you start using the build. For optimal performance, it’s best to have all the Legendary Aspects listed in this guide.
Season of the Malignant
Before we delve into the details of the build, let’s take a quick look at the specific changes from the Season 1 Patch Update that affect this build. If any of these changes have a significant impact on the build, we will discuss them in more detail under their relevant sections.
The second major update for Season 1, Patch 1.1.1, brings some positive changes to the Barbarian class. These changes directly affect the Berserk HotA build and include adjustments to Basic Generator Skills, Key passives, skill passives, and Legendary Aspects. Some notable changes are:
- Enhanced Frenzy: Fury gained increased from 2 to 3.
- Aggressive Resistance: Damage reduction increased from 3% to 4%.
- Aspect of Ancestral Force: Damage increased from 32-50% to 40-58%.
The theme for Season 1 introduces a new form of legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. These gems need to be socketed into matching colored sockets on all equipped jewelry. For this build, the following Malignant Hearts are useful, ranked by importance:
- Caged Heart of Tempting Fate
- Caged Heart of Revenge
- Caged Heart of Focused Rage
Please note that these rankings are based on our early opinions and may change as we gather more information about the Malignant Hearts.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
To maximize the potential of this build, follow the skill point allocation shown in the image above. The additional 10 skill points can be obtained through the Renown system.
Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization
As a Barbarian, your weapon choice plays a crucial role in your specialization. Unlocking your Expertise is as simple as reaching Level 5. Each weapon type has 10 ranks, and as you use a certain weapon type, you will gain ranks with it. Once you reach rank 10 with a weapon type, you will unlock the maximum benefit for using that weapon with your skills.
It’s important to note that you can switch your assigned weapon to the skill you are using through the Skill selection list. For mouse and keyboard users, simply press the middle mouse button to access it. At Level 15, you will unlock the Masters of Battle quest, which grants you additional permanent bonuses from specific weapons.
For the Hammer of the Ancients build, we recommend focusing on using the Technique of Two-Handed Axes for the bonus.
To truly optimize this build for the endgame, we recommend utilizing specific Legendary nodes and Rare Glyphs. Each Paragon board offers unique bonuses that enhance your character’s performance. Additionally, the Rare Glyphs provide additional benefits to your character’s stats.
Let’s break down the beneficial nodes and the placement of Paragon Points in each of the Paragon Boards we use. The nodes are presented in order of importance, so if you don’t have enough Paragon Points, work towards each step gradually.
- Take the pathway up the right-hand side of the board towards the open Glyph slot.
- Along the route, pick up the Rare Node Brawn for an increase in flat damage and Maximum Life.
- Insert the Glyph Disembowel and take the Willpower Nodes shown to lower non-Ultimate Cooldowns and inflict Bleed on enemies while Berserking.
- Inside the Glyph radius, take both Rare Nodes Iron Strength and Raw Power.
- Finally, path towards the connection point at 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.
- Go straight to the open Glyph slot and insert Might for an increased boost to Magic Nodes and Two-handed Weapon Damage.
- Take both Rare Nodes Demolish and Arrogance inside the Glyph radius for advantages against Vulnerable enemies.
- Head towards the right-hand side of the board and pick up the Rare Node Pillage for increased damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Complete both pathways to the connection points shown in the image above.
- Finally, use the right-hand connection point to attach the next Paragon Board, Carnage.
Carnage (3rd Board):
- Take the pathway towards the Glyph slot and insert Ire for increased Berserking Damage and Damage Reduction against Elites.
- Inside the Glyph radius, take both Rare Nodes Brash and Fierce for increased Berserking Damage and Damage Reduction against Vulnerable Enemies.
- Path towards the top connection point, branching off to pick up the Rare Node Enraged.
- Complete the path upwards to the attachment point and attach the next Paragon Board, Flawless Technique.
Flawless Technique (4th Board):
- Head up towards the Open Glyph slot and pick up the Rare Node Havoc for increased Critical Strike Damage and Physical Damage.
- Insert Mortal Draw into the slot and take the necessary Dexterity for its bonus. Use this weapon swap bonus when using Frenzy in your rotations.
- Take both Rare Nodes Brash and Heavy Blows inside the Glyph radius for improved defenses against Close Enemies and increased offensive Critical Strike Damage with one-handed weapons.
- Go back to the Decimator Paragon board and take the top pathway to the connection point. Attach the Weapons Master Paragon Board.
Weapons Master (5th Board):
- Follow the pathway to the center of the board and take the Rare Node Brute for increased Physical Damage and Attack Speed.
- Insert Territorial into the open Glyph slot for increased offenses and defenses against Close Enemies. Ensure you take the correct nodes for the bonus.
- Finally, move towards the left-hand connection point of the Paragon Board and attach Bone Breaker.
Bone Breaker (6th Board):
- Select the nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Exploit for increased damage to Vulnerable Enemies. Take the necessary Dexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Vigor for Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a slight damage increase.
- Now head to the bottom 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 increased Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
- Take the necessary Dexterity nodes to boost your damage output.
- Lastly, take the Rare Node Raw Power for increased Physical Damage.
- This completes the Paragon Tree for this build.
Please note that the images of the Paragon boards are courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
Now that we have covered the build requirements and setup, let’s dive into the mechanics and playstyle of the Berserk HotA endgame Barbarian build. This build utilizes Leap to crash down onto groups of enemies, dealing massive damage with Aspect of Bul-Kathos and increasing your Damage Reduction. The playstyle involves opening with Hammer of the Ancients to generate Fury and trigger Berserking through the passive Battle Fervor.
Once Berserking is active, loop around the group of enemies and strike them with Hammer of the Ancients. When you’ve brought enemies’ health into a “low” state, use Death Blow to finish them off, refreshing the Death Blow cooldown and recharging the Berserking timer. Keep Wrath of the Berserker at the ready for elite mobs or bosses, as it increases your damage output. Use Frenzy to generate Fury and increase your Attack Speed, and then Leap into the next pack of enemies to continue the onslaught.
Keeping up the Berserking state is crucial for this build, but it can be easily maintained. By using Leap in conjunction with Battle Fervor and well-timed Warrior’s Death Blow, you can constantly stay in a Berserked state, benefiting from increased Fury Generation, Damage, and Movement Speed. If you find it challenging to maintain Berserking, consider switching your Key Passive to Unconstrained for a longer maximum time limit. Additionally, Wrath of the Berserker can help you keep Berserking active.
The choice of Expertise, coupled with the Iron Blood Aspect, provides a unique defensive layer for this build. Iron Blood Aspect grants a significant increase in Damage Reduction based on bleeding enemies. This defensive mechanism is further supported by the Paragon Tree, which offers additional Damage Reduction against bleeding enemies. The Bleeding effect occurs automatically while you are Berserking, so there’s no need to trigger anything special. While maintaining Berserking may require some adjustment, having sufficient duration on your items will make it a routine.
Fortification adds another layer of health through Strategic Rallying Cry. Fortification is enhanced through the use of our Paragon board and is constantly replenished during gameplay. Additionally, Thick Skin and Defensive Stance further enhance your defenses.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
As you progress and farm in higher World Tiers (3 and 4), you’ll start encountering more Rare and Legendary items. To make the most of this build, it’s recommended to save targeted Legendary items with the required Legendary Aspects listed below. Additionally, keep multiple copies of the build’s Aspects in your Stash for future upgrades.
When it comes to Rare items, inspect each one for targeted affixes specific to each slot and try to match the recommended rolls. Below is the order of importance for the targeted affixes:
- Ranks of select skills
- Resource Generation: Additional Fury generation allows you to maintain a full Fury pool.
- Fury Cost Reduction: This affix is crucial, especially considering that the Key Passive Unbridled Rage doubles the cost of your skills.
- Berserking Duration
It’s important to acquire the right Affixes and Legendary Aspects for this build. Use Obols to target farm them. Obols are obtained from various activities in the game and can be used to target specific loot slots. This is a great way to obtain the necessary items for your build.
Here are all the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary items that are essential for the Berserk HotA build. While Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used if you can’t find the proper Legendary drops, they have weaker effects. Extract Aspects from lower-level Legendary items and imprint them onto higher-level Rare items with preferred stats. The goal is to imprint Aspects with the best values on Ancestral Rare items with Item Power close to or above 800. Upgrade them through the Blacksmith for optimal results. Ensure that each Aspect is placed in the correct gear slot.
To further enhance your character’s power, socket the best gems into each gear slot. Here are the recommended gems for each slot type:
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for increased critical strike damage to Vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for an increase in Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively use Malignant hearts for this slot.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Craft helpful Elixirs at the Alchemist in any main town. These Elixirs provide stat increases and experience gain for 30 minutes. Be sure to forage plants and gather the necessary crafting materials during your adventures, as they randomly spawn in the world. Use an Elixir that provides the Resistance you need most or the Assault Elixir to increase your Attack Speed.
At Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90, return to the Alchemist to upgrade your Health Potion for additional healing, which is essential for survival.
- August 7th, 2023: New Format and Build Revamp.
- August 2nd, 2023: Added Patch 1.1.1 section with build-specific changes.
- July 18th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1.
That wraps up our comprehensive guide for the Berserk Hammer of the Ancients (HotA) Endgame Barbarian Build. Follow these recommendations to unleash your rage and become an unstoppable force in Diablo 4. Good luck on your epic adventure!