Game Mobalytics

Hammer of the Ancients (HotA) Barbarian Build for Diablo 4 (Season 1)


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on building a powerful Barbarian who wields the devastating Hammer of the Ancients. With this Shout HotA Endgame build, you’ll unleash AoE attacks, obliterating hordes of enemies and paving your way through the battlefield. This build differs from our Berserking HotA build as it relies on cycling through Shouts to maximize buffs. Our guide will cover all the essential mechanics and provide optimal setups for skills, Paragon points, and gear.

Strengths and Weaknesses

To compare this build with others, check out our build tier lists.

Build Requirements

To fully optimize this build, you’ll need several essential Legendary Aspects. These Aspects must be found on Legendary Items and then transferred to specific gear. The required Aspects include:

  1. Aspect of Limitless Rage
  2. Accelerating Aspect
  3. Bold Chieftain’s Aspect

Before starting this build, we recommend having these Aspects ready for imprinting. For optimal functionality, it’s recommended to obtain all the Legendary Aspects listed in this guide.

Season of the Malignant

Here are some specific changes from the Season 1 Patch Update that affect this build. If any of these changes significantly impact the build, we will discuss them in detail in the respective sections.

  • 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, resulting in a decrease in 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, Patch 1.1.1, released on August 8th, 2023, brings positive changes to the Barbarian class. Various adjustments have been made to Basic Generator Skills, Key passives, skill passives, and Legendary Aspects. The changes that directly affect this build are as follows:

  • Lunging Strike: Fury gained increased from 10 to 12.
  • Aggressive Resistance: Damage reduction increased from 3% to 4%.
  • Aspect of Ancestral Force: Damage increased from 32-50% to 40-58%.

Malignant Hearts

Season 1 introduces a new type of legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. These gems need to be socketed into matching colored sockets on all equipped jewelry, while there’s one type of heart that can be placed into any socket. For more information about the Malignant Hearts theme for Season 1, refer to our Malignant Hearts guide. Here are the Malignant Hearts useful for this build, ranked by importance:

  1. Caged Heart of Tempting Fate
  2. Caged Heart of Revenge
  3. Caged Heart of Focused Rage

Using the Caged Heart of The Barber can provide significant benefits once you have a Critical Strike Chance close to 50%, allowing the majority of your attacks to critically hit. However, be aware that some on-hit mechanisms may still have issues.

Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar

Follow the points allocated in the image above for the complete 58-point build. The additional 10 skill points are obtained using the Renown system.

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Weapon Expertise – The Barbarian Specialization

Weapon Expertise offers benefits based on the weapons you use as a Barbarian. At Level 5, the Expertise tab becomes available. By using a particular weapon type, you’ll gain ranks with that weapon as you engage in combat. The ranks range from 0 to 10 and increase moderately as your character gains experience. When your expertise hits rank 10, you’ll have maximized the benefits of using that weapon with your skills. To switch your assigned weapon to the skill you’re using, go to your Skill selection list (not skill tree) and follow the instructions to switch it (middle mouse button on PC). At Level 15, you’ll unlock the Masters of Battle quest in the township of ‘Ked Bardu’ from the Forgemaster Gerti. Completing this quest will unlock Technique slots, providing additional permanent bonuses from one of the weapons, regardless of whether you have it equipped to a skill or not. For the Shout HotA build, we focus on using the expertise of a Two-Handed Axe for the bonus Vulnerable damage.

Paragon Points

To maximize this build’s potential, we recommend using these Legendary Nodes and Rare Glyphs. Note that the information provided for each Rare Glyph is based on the Level 21 version. Let’s break down each beneficial Node and the placement of our Paragon Points in each Paragon Board we use. The order of importance is followed, so if you don’t have enough Paragon Points for your Paragon Tree, gradually work towards each step.

Starting Board

  1. Begin by heading up the right-hand side of the board and selecting the Rare Node Brawn. This node provides a small increase to Maximum Life and Physical damage bonus.
  2. Take the Rare Node Tenacity on the left-hand pathway.
  3. Path towards the Glyph slot and insert Territorial. This glyph grants increased Damage towards Close Enemies. Don’t forget to collect all the Dexterity Nodes shown above.
  4. Take the two Rare Nodes, Raw Power and Iron Strength. These nodes provide additional Physical damage boost and flat armor increases.
  5. Head to the top of the board and attach the next Paragon Board, Decimator.

Decimator (2nd Board)

  1. Path towards the open Glyph slots and pick up the Rare Node Destroyer along the way.
  2. Proceed to the open Glyph slot and insert Marshal. This Glyph boosts the Rare Nodes in our Glyph radius and helps with Shout cooldowns. Since it is Strength-based, make sure to take the Strength nodes shown above.
  3. Next, take both Rare Nodes inside the Glyph radius, Demolish and Arrogance. These Nodes grant advantages against Vulnerable enemies. Select the correct Magic Nodes.
  4. Head towards the right-hand side of the board and pick up the Rare Node Pillage. This Node provides another damage increase against Vulnerable Enemies.
  5. Complete both pathways to the connection points shown in the image above.
  6. Use the top connection point to attach the next Paragon Board, Flawless Technique.

Flawless Technique (3rd Board)

  1. Path towards the open Glyph slot and insert Ire. This Glyph boosts our damage while Berserking and provides Damage Reduction against Elites.
  2. Take the single Rare Node Brash, offering Damage Reduction against Close Enemies. Make sure to select the correct Magic Nodes surrounding each of them.
  3. Move out of the Glyph radius and pick up the Rare Node Havoc. This Node increases Critical Strike Damage and Physical Damage output.
  4. Return to the Decimator Paragon Board and take the connection point on the right-hand side to attach the Paragon Board Carnage.
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Carnage (4th Board)

  1. Take the pathway towards the Glyph slot and acquire the Rare Node Enraged, only taking the Magic Nodes shown above.
  2. Insert Might into the Glyph slot. This Glyph boosts the Magic Nodes within its radius and grants more Two-handed weapon damage.
  3. Inside the Glyph radius, select both Rare Nodes, Brash and Fierce. These Nodes increase Berserking Damage and offer Damage Reduction against Vulnerable Enemies.
  4. Path towards the bottom of the Paragon Board and attach Blood Rage.

Blood Rage (5th Board)

  1. Proceed towards the open Glyph slot and insert Disembowel. This Glyph helps with Cooldown reduction as you kill Bleeding Enemies.
  2. Take the two Rare Nodes, Grit and Revel. These Nodes boost our offenses and defenses against Bleeding Enemies.
  3. Path to the right-hand side of the board and attach the Paragon Board, Bone Breaker.

Bone Breaker (6th Board)

  1. Select the Nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Exploit. This Node increases damage against Vulnerable Enemies. Ensure you take the necessary Dexterity Nodes within the Glyph Radius.
  2. Lastly, take the Rare Node Vigor for its Damage Reduction against Healthy Enemies and a slight damage increase.
  3. Head to the top of the board and attach our final Paragon Board, Warbringer.

Warbringer (7th Board)

  1. Choose the nodes towards the open Glyph slot and insert Wrath for the boost to Critical Strike and Fury gains on Critical Strikes.
  2. Take the needed Dexterity Nodes to enhance your damage output.
  3. Finally, take the Rare Node Raw Power, increasing Physical Damage.
  4. This completes the Paragon Tree for this build.


Mechanics and Playstyle

The primary mechanic of this build is to smash enemies with a single blow. Build up your Fury using Rallying Cry and War Cry to initiate Berserking. Periodically weave in Lunging Strike to generate Fury, renew bleeds, and benefit from its healing. Activate Wrath of the Berserker when encountering Elites or Bosses to quickly dispose of them. Overall, this build emphasizes brawling-style gameplay, grouping up packs of enemies while positioning yourself to strike them all at once. It may take some time to get used to, but soon you’ll naturally charge through enemy packs while spamming Hammer of the Ancients.


Being in a state of Berserking is crucial for this build. We trigger this state mainly through War Cry and Wrath of the Berserker. Shout is cycled as frequently as possible due to its short cooldown, while our Ultimate ability is reserved for Elites and Bosses. Bleeding enemies are essential for triggering Disembowel, which helps keep our Shout cooldown as low as possible. Maintaining Berserking should be relatively easy with War Cry.

Defensive Aspects

Aspect of Berserk Ripping and Iron Blood Aspect provide a unique defensive layer when surrounded by Bleeding enemies. These two aspects combine to give us a significant increase in Damage Reduction based on the number of bleeding enemies nearby. Our Paragon Tree further supports this with additional Damage Reduction against Bleeding Enemies. The Bleeding effect occurs automatically while Berserking, so there’s no need to trigger anything special. With a decent duration on your items, maintaining this state will become routine.

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We also utilize Fortification, adding another layer of health through our Shout augments: Strategic Rallying Cry and Mighty War Cry. Fortification is further enhanced by our gems, Royal Sapphire, and our Paragon Board. This effect naturally occurs during gameplay and remains constantly topped off. Finally, Challenging Shout provides a significant boost in Damage Reduction when faced with sudden rushes of enemies or spikes in damage taken.

Gear Choice and Stat Priority

As you farm in World Tiers 3 and 4, Rare and Legendary item drops will become more frequent, depending on your luck. 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 in specific slots and try to match the recommended rolls. The recommended affixes, in order of importance, are listed below. Take note of the affixes to look for when you receive a Rare gear piece.


Please note that the recommended Affixes are based on our opinion. Other Affixes could work instead of the ones listed above, but they might not be optimal. Additionally, some specific Affixes are required for the build to work. They include ranks for select skills, resource generation, and Fury cost reduction. Focus especially on Fury cost reduction since we take the key passive Unbridled Rage, which doubles the cost of our skills.

To acquire the right Affixes and Legendary Aspects, use your Obols to target farm them. Obols are awarded from various activities in the game, so keep stockpiling them until you reach the maximum. Instead of randomly spending them, use them to target what you’re missing from this build. It’s an excellent way to find the specific loot you need.

If you’re interested in optimizing your Obol gambling, check out the Obol Gambling Optimization Tool provided by Icy Veins.

Legendary Aspects

Below you’ll find the optimal setup for Legendary Aspects in the Shout HotA build. Each aspect is listed with its matching gear slot. Try to keep each aspect in the specified slot.

These are the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary items that are crucial for the Shout HotA build. If you cannot find the proper Legendary drops, Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used, although they have weaker effects. Extract Aspects from lower-level Legendary items and imprint them onto higher-quality Rare items with preferred stats. The goal is to imprint Aspects with the best values on Ancestral Rare items with Item Power around 800 or higher. Upgrade them through the Blacksmith to achieve the desired endgame itemization.



Here are the best gems to socket into gear for each slot type:

  • Weapon: Royal Emerald for critical strike damage against Vulnerable enemies.
  • Armor: Royal Sapphire for increased Damage Reduction while Fortified.
  • Jewelry: Exclusively use Malignant Hearts for this slot.

Elixirs and Health Potions

Visit the Alchemist in any main town to craft helpful Elixirs that increase stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Collect necessary crafting materials during your adventures as they randomly spawn around the world. Use an Elixir that provides the Resistance you need or the Assault Elixir to increase Attack Speed.

Once you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90, return to the Alchemist to upgrade your potion. The extra healing provided 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 20, 2023: Updated guide for Season 1.

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