Welcome to our comprehensive guide on creating a powerful Barbarian build focused on the devastating AoE attacks of the Upheaval skill. With this build, you’ll crush hordes of enemies with earth-shattering shockwaves, embodying the rage and power of a berserker on the battlefield. In this guide, we’ll cover the mechanics, optimal setup for skills, paragon points, and gear for the build.
Strengths and Weaknesses
To compare this build with other options, you can refer to our build tier lists.
While using the 2-handed Unique Hellhammer is not mandatory, there are several Legendary Aspects that are essential to this build. These Aspects can be found on specific Legendary Items and must be imprinted onto your gear. At a minimum, you’ll need the following non-codex Legendary Aspects for the build to function properly:
- Aspect of Limitless Rage
- Accelerating Aspect
- Bold Chieftain’s Aspect
To fully optimize the build, it’s recommended to have all the Legendary Aspects listed in this guide.
Season of the Malignant
Season 1 Patch Updates
The Season 1 Patch Update brought some positive changes to the Barbarian class. Notable changes that affect this build are:
- Increased Furious Upheaval damage bonus per stack from 3% to 5%.
- Hamstring now only Slows Healthy enemies, with the Slow amount increased from 10/20/30% to 20/40/60%.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, decreasing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
- Cooldown Reduction reduced by approximately 30% on gear slots.
- Significant reductions to Vulnerable and Critical Strike Damage values (requires further testing).
Patch 1.1.1, the second major update for Season 1, was released on August 8th, 2023. This update introduced adjustments to Basic Generator Skills, Key passives, skill passives, and Legendary Aspects. Changes directly affecting this build include:
- Increased Fury gained from Lunging Strike from 10 to 12.
- Increased Berserking damage bonus from Unconstrained from 25% to 35%.
- Increased damage reduction from Aggressive Resistance from 3% to 4%.
- Optional use of Hellhammer:
- Increased damage from .6-.8 to .85-1.1.
- Increased burning duration from 3 to 4 seconds.
- Replaced Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies affix with Bonus Critical Strike Damage.
None of these changes significantly impact the viability of this build.
Season 1 introduces a new legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. These gems must be socketed into matching colored sockets on all equipped jewelry. The following Malignant Hearts are useful for this build, ranked by importance (stats reflect a Level 20 character’s drop):
- Caged Heart of Tempting Fate
- Caged Heart of Revenge
- Caged Heart of Focused Rage
Please note that this list is based on our early opinions on Malignant Hearts and may be updated in the future.
Please keep in mind that this written guide is continuously evolving, while videos may not be easily updated. The video provided should serve as a guideline, while the written guide will always have the most accurate information.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
Follow the skill points allocation in the image provided for the complete 58-point build. The additional 10 skill points are acquired through the Renown system.
Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization
Weapon Expertise provides benefits based on the weapon type used by the Barbarian. To unlock your Expertise, reach Level 5, and the corresponding tab will become available. By using a specific weapon type, you’ll gain ranks with that weapon, which increase as your character gains more experience. Once your expertise hits rank 10, you’ll maximize the benefits of using that weapon with your skills.
To switch your assigned weapon to match the skill you’re using, go to your Skill selection list (not Skill Tree) and see how to switch it. For mouse and keyboard users, you can do this by pressing the middle mouse button.
At Level 15, the Masters of Battle quest will unlock in the township of ‘Ked Bardu’ from the Forgemaster Gerti. Completing this quest unlocks Technique slots, offering an additional permanent bonus from a chosen weapon, regardless of whether it’s equipped to a skill or not.
For the Upheaval build, we recommend focusing on the Technique of Two-Handed Axes for the bonus. However, you have the option to assign Two-Handed Swords Expertise to your skills and use a different Technique.
To optimize this build, we recommend utilizing the Legendary Nodes and Rare Glyphs below. The Rare Glyph information provided is for the Level 21 version.
Let’s break down each of these beneficial Nodes and where our Paragon Points should be allocated in each Paragon Board.
- Allocate points towards the right-hand side of the board and take the Rare Node Brawn, which provides a small increase to Maximum Life and Physical damage bonus.
- Obtain the Rare Node Tenacity by following the left-hand pathway.
- Path towards the Glyph slot and insert Territorial, which grants increased Damage towards Close Enemies. Collect all Dexterity Nodes shown above.
- Acquire both Rare Nodes, Raw Power and Iron Strength, for additional Physical damage and flat armor increases.
- Head to the top of the board and attach the next Paragon Board, Decimator.
Decimator (2nd Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slots and obtain the Rare Node Destroyer along the way.
- Go straight to the open Glyph slot and insert Marshal. This Glyph boosts the Rare Nodes in our Glyph radius and assists with Shouts Cooldowns. Ensure you take the Strength nodes shown above as well.
- Take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, Demolish and Arrogance, for advantages against Vulnerable enemies. Remember to pick the correct Magic Nodes.
- Head towards the right-hand side of the board and acquire the Rare Node Pillage, which increases damage against Vulnerable Enemies.
- Complete both pathways to reach the connection points shown in the image.
- Finally, use the top connection point to attach the next Paragon Board, Flawless Technique.
Flawless Technique (3rd Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slot and insert Ire. This Glyph boosts our damage while Berserking and provides Damage Reduction against Elites.
- Acquire the single Rare Node Brash, which offers Damage Reduction against Close Enemies. Ensure you select the correct Magic Nodes surrounding each of them.
- Head out of the Glyph radius and pick up the Rare Node Havoc, which increases Critical Strike Damage and Physical Damage output.
- Return to the Decimator Paragon Board and take the connection point on the right-hand side to attach the Paragon Board Carnage.
Carnage (4th Board)
- Follow the pathway towards the Glyph slot and pick up the Rare Node Enraged, ensuring you only take the Magic Nodes shown above.
- Insert Might into the Glyph slot. This Glyph boosts the Magic Nodes within its radius and grants additional Two-Handed weapon damage.
- Acquire both Rare Nodes within the Glyph radius, Brash and Fierce, which increase Berserking Damage and Damage Reduction against Vulnerable Enemies.
- Continue along both pathways to reach the connection points shown in the image.
- Finally, attach the next Paragon Board, Blood Rage, using the top connection point.
Blood Rage (5th Board)
- Head towards the open Glyph slot and insert Disembowel. This Glyph helps with Cooldown reduction as you kill Bleeding Enemies.
- Take the two Rare Nodes, Grit and Revel, which boost our offenses and defenses against Bleeding Enemies.
- Path to the right-hand side of the board and attach the Paragon Board, Bone Breaker.
Bone Breaker (6th Board)
- Select the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Exploit, which increases damage to Vulnerable Enemies. Ensure you take the needed Dexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
- Lastly, obtain the Rare Node Vigor for Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a small damage increase.
- Head to the top of the board and attach our final paragon board, Warbringer.
Warbringer (7th Board)
- Choose the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Wrath, which boosts Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
- Take the necessary Dexterity Nodes to enhance your damage output.
- Lastly, acquire the Rare Node Raw Power, increasing Physical Damage.
- This completes the Paragon Tree for this build.
Paragon board images courtesy of d4builds.gg.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The Upheaval build offers an active and engaging playstyle. To start, use the Rallying Cry shout to keep your Fury up, then activate War Cry to enter the Berserking state. Spam Upheaval to unleash devastating AoE cone attacks. As you continuously crush enemies and hit multiple targets with Upheaval, your Berserking duration will be refreshed.
The most challenging aspect of this build is managing your Berserking state. To maximize uptime, ensure you hit multiple enemies with Upheaval, triggering the two-second Berserking extension from the Violent Upheaval passive. By properly cycling your shouts and maintaining a high Fury generation, you can keep Berserking active at all times.
Additionally, the Iron Maelstrom Ultimate skill adds immense power to your attacks with increased Critical Strike Chance and Damage. Although it has a high 45-second cooldown, Supreme Iron Maelstrom reduces the cooldown by one second each time you swap weapons. Combining this effect with Strategic Ground Stomp allows you to frequently use Iron Maelstrom to decimate enemies.
It’s crucial to target packs of enemies with Upheaval, necessitating regular repositioning and precise skill aiming. Once you master these elements, the build will feel seamless and responsive to play.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
As you progress through World Tier 3 and 4, you’ll start encountering Rare and Legendary item drops more frequently. Save targeted Legendary items with the necessary Legendary Aspects listed below, and aim to acquire multiple copies of these Aspects for future upgrades.
When it comes to Rare items, inspect each one for affixes specific to each gear slot, attempting to match the recommended rolls. The list below presents the targeted affixes in order of importance. Note down which affixes to look for when you encounter a Rare gear piece drop.
Please be aware that while these affixes are highly recommended, other alternatives might also work. However, sticking to the listed affixes will yield optimal results. Furthermore, certain specific affixes are essential for the build to function:
- Ranks to Upheaval: Critical for the build’s core skill.
- Resource Generation: Additional Fury generation ensures a full and constantly replenishing Fury pool, facilitating continuous Upheaval spamming.
- Fury Cost Reduction: Crucial to manage the doubled skill cost from the key passive.
For acquiring the right affixes and Legendary Aspects, consider using your Obols for targeted farming. Obols can be obtained from various in-game activities and allow you to focus on specific gear slots to find what you need.
If you’re interested in a tool for gambling Obols, check out this link from Icy Veins: Obol Gambling Optimization Tool.
Below, you’ll find the optimal setup for Legendary Aspects in the Upheaval build. Each Aspect is listed with its corresponding gear slot. Endeavor to keep each Aspect in its designated slot.
Please note that Ancestral Rare items with Item Power close to or above 800, imprinted with Aspects, are the endgame itemization goal. Upgrade these items through the Blacksmith for maximum effectiveness.
While Upheaval offers unique choices, such as the Hellhammer shown below, its burning ground effect may be underwhelming. Instead, we recommend a strongly rolled Two-Handed Mace. However, the choice between unique and non-unique options is yours.
Socket the following gems into each gear slot:
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for increased critical strike damage to Vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for an increase in Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively use our Malignant Hearts for this slot.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Craft helpful Elixirs at the Alchemist in any main town. These Elixirs provide stat boosts and experience gain for 30 minutes. Collect necessary crafting materials by foraging plants found throughout the world. Use an Elixir that provides the Resistance you need most, or the Assault Elixir for increased Attack Speed.
Return to the Alchemist at Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90 to upgrade your Health Potion. The extra healing provided is essential for survival.
- August 12th, 2023: Full build update and review for Season 1.
- August 8th, 2023: Added notes about Patch 1.1.1 changes.
- August 5th, 2023: Updated Malignant Hearts and Paragon section for improved clarity.
- July 23rd, 2023: Adjusted Aspects for optimized performance in Season 1.
- July 19th, 2023: Added Season of the Malignant section.
- July 18th, 2023: Reviewed and altered build based on Season One Patch Notes.