Build Tier List Launched: Find the best builds

Now that Diablo 3 players have had some time to mull over the best builds to tackle the most difficult content, we have aggregated the most powerful of them into our Tier List.

We will be regularly updating this list to serve as a quick-reference guide for the best builds for progression in Diablo 3. These aren’t intended to be the most “fun”, per se, but strictly the most effective means to clear content as quickly and safely as possible. Note that these builds are targeted at the hardcore playstyle, though are adaptable for softcore players too. Read on for the list and discussion!

Here’s the list, discussion below:

What is this list for?
This is a quick-look for players that simply want to hop into the game and use a cookie-cutter build to plow through monsters as effectively as possible. You’re never going to be a unique snowflake using the top-tier builds, but you will kill effectively.

How do you create this list?
Both myself and Enki are playing through hardcore in inferno difficulty (currently farming Act 3) and have multiple inferno-capable characters. The list is a combination of our experiences and testing and the results of endless hours scouring of the internet for new, more effective builds.

How do the tiers work?
There are “billions of possible builds” in Diablo 3 – these are the tiniest fraction of what is possible. We try to break down some of the most popular builds and rank them based on their relative power. Given appropriate gear, almost ANY build can work – think of these as a starting point for experimentation. Keep in mind that this list is given without any detail – we’ll post more detailed information on each build over time, but understand that most of these builds will have a few skills that can be swapped around.

Tier 1: The absolute best builds that excel in any situation. Cookie-cutter.
Tier 2: Strong builds, but may lack power in certain situations.
Tier 3: Viable, but flawed builds. These will likely be able to clear most content in the hands of a skilled player, but will struggle compared to Tier 1 and Tier 2 builds.

How often is this updated?
We’ll do a round-up of new builds every week, and if anything has risen to the top we’ll update the list.

I think I can make a better build!
We want to see it! If you have something we’ve missed and proof of effectiveness, let us know. Our list certainly isn’t a complete one, and this is just the very beginning. The best place to submit your build ideas are in the forums (see navigation bar above). The components of a good build is a combination of the categories below – the general idea is to find the sweet spot between dealing damage and staying alive:

Damage: Killing things before they kill you is of obvious importance. Abilities that maximize DPS and don’t require much synergy from other abilities to be effective are best.
Mitigation: Damage avoidance. Anything that increases armor/resistances/dodge/etc. is a clear choice for staying alive.
Healing: You’re going to take damage – some classes have tools to help keep their health topped off (Barbarian’s Revenge, for example) that are indispensable. Abilities that heal a static amount are less useful.
Slows, snares and stuns are all great examples. These can serve as both offensive and defensive tools.
The counterpoint to control – rather than impairing monster movements, you’re boosting your own.
Nice to have passive buffs.

Note (6/6/2012): As neither of us have played a Monk in Inferno/HC and haven’t seem many builds that can be proven to be effective in Inferno/HC, there are currently no monk builds listed. Please submit a build if you know of one.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3


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  1. how do you submit a build? just post it in the comment?

    if so, i would like to post my WD DoT build –!VWb!abaZYb

    feel free to change poison dart with any other primary, and horrify with other defensive skills(grasp/wall of zombies/hex)

  2. Would it be interesting to see builds for both elective and non-elective assignments.  Some people see elective mode as the way to get the best character, but for others it is also the “wimpy” way out and less of a challenge.

    • I had honestly never heard this argument made before. Most (if not all) of these builds will require elective mode, as I think that’s what the vast majority of people use. If we get an overwhelming response asking us to provide elective mode builds, I’m not opposed.

    • That line of thinking is new to me as well; I’d be curious if there are actually uniquely optimal builds under that restriction, or if they’re mostly just gimpier versions of existing builds. Note, however, that many builds are going to coincidentally be kind of close anyway – the WW build above, for example, is possible under the weird non-elective restriction, and one of the wizard builds is pretty close.

  3. I think listing build “core”s would be more useful.
    Im running a blizzard hydra build too, but Im using the dmg magic missile for more single target dmg, the aoe rune for blizzard for a more consistent snare against elites (although freeze proc might be better overall) and teleport with fracture paired with the illusionist passive for a more versatile defense skill slot (much better than diamond armor against a nasty elite roll).
    I think the core of the build is blizzard (rune of your choice), venom hydra (this hydra does so much more dmg than the others its not even funny), a signature with a single target focus, force armor (or prismatic armor if you have the resists), force weapon, and a defense slot. Most passive choices are pretty flexible outside the ones that necessary to support a skill choice (illusionist etc).

    • I agree that build “core”s are most useful, but I think many people simply want to copy a build and not think about potential adjustments. All of these builds can be seen that way – there are almost always skills that can be swapped based on playstyle preferences. We do say roughly this in the article body, but you can never please all the people all the time.

      At the end of the day, we want to provide a simple starting point for people that want to improve their game. If you’re the kind of player that wants to dig in to the builds, change skills around and try things. Maybe you’ll find something even better and submit it to us!

      • People who want to copy a build and not think about it are missing the point, and likely to fail anyway. Since when was cookie-cuttering a good thing, especially when D3 gives so much room for personal preference and variation?

        I think that forum writeups centered around a build “core” are the way to go. A link to a forum post/guide giving explanations of the core skills, how to use them, and which skills can be substituted would be immensely more useful than a link to a build with no explanation. If people care enough about their character to look up builds online, they ought to be willing to put a tiny bit more effort in and actually read a thing or two about the build they’re playing.

        Also, not all builds are equal for all purposes. Some builds may be great in solo but not in multiplayer. Nearly everyone pushing end-game content in Inferno is doing it solo, but some people are running late Hell/early Inferno in groups, and with the announced changes to group play (no increased monster damage per player) group play will become much more viable in the future. 

        • We completely agree that a full write-up is best. We’ll be putting those together in the near future, at which point the builds will link to the guide, rather than the build calculator. We love tinkering – that’s why we do this. We’re not in any position to judge whether or not cookie-cuttering is a good thing, but we recognize that cookie cutter builds are a frequently requested feature.

          Builds tailored to exact personal playstyle, as you describe, will always be best. Our intention is to provide something that will be adequate for those that simply want a ‘good’ build and don’t know where to start. 

        • I agree with the build “core”s idea. A build I’d copy without thinking about would be harder to play for me : if you have no idea why you take a spell you’d likely not use it the way the build makers intended it. A comment on how to use the build would be a plus.
          Otherwise, you should provide your own non-elective-way build :

          slot one : choose between mirror image / diamond skin
          slot two : choose between shock pulse (piercing orb) / magic missile (seeker / damage)
          slot three : choose between force armor / prismatic
          slot four:…
          passive 1 : …

          [Edit] The key explanation is “what make a spell strong and worth a slot”

        • cookie cuttering has ALWAYS been a good thing 
          a good build lets you stay alive and lets you get good loot  
          people copy builds for a reason 
          if you want to make a build that no one will copy then go make a crappy build   

          “especially when D3 gives so much room for personal preference and variation”  😆   😆   😆  
          because we’ve seen so many variation in Inferno, amiright?


          • There are several popular “cores” going around, but that “core” is usually 3-4 skills, not all 6. The other 2-3 are up to you.  As a simple example, the “Blizzard Hydra” wizard build above lists Shock Pulse (Piercing Orb) included in the build, but there are many other equally viable skill/rune combinations that can fill that slot. Perhaps a player doesn’t like the way the orb vacillates from side to side and wants to go with Electrocute (Lightning Blast) instead. Or perhaps they feel that they’ve already got enough AoE damage between Blizzard and the Venom Pools and opt for a runed Magic Missile instead.

            I’m not against sharing builds, but “cookie cuttering” – that is, just copying a build without putting any thought into it – is for idiots and I hope all of their hardcore characters die. Sure, share builds and discuss them, but use your brain a bit as well, and recognize that there are alternatives.

          • You’re correct – these builds are one build of many based on the “core” build. It’s impossible to have a short form-factor tier list and also cover all the nuances of possible builds. While you may not think cookie cuttering is the way to go, it provides an easy way for players to jump into the end-game.

            Think back to D2 guides – they laid out the exact skill and stat allocations per level, the exact gear you would use, etc. and never really gave you much wiggle room. Cookie cuttering is never going to go away in Diablo. The people that use the builds aren’t “idiots”, and they certainly don’t “deserve” to die.

          • @JomDarbert: The short form list could link to forum posts instead of a skill calculator. Simple as that. You have your short-form tier list and room for nuanced description.

            I remember cookie-cutter builds in Diablo 2, but the differences in the skill and attribute systems between the two games  – and the inability to respec a character (early on, at least) – made such down-to-the-last-point guides much more necessary back then. There is much more “wiggle room” built into the game with D3, and I think guides ought to reflect that.

            I’m not sure why you put the word “deserve” in quotation marks, because I never used that word. Quotation marks are for quotations, not for interpretations. 😛 

            EDITING TO REPLY to JomDarbert since adding new comments to this post isn’t working at present…

            I’ve tried to include reasonable and/or constructive comments in the posts that I’ve made. Even my (admittedly incendiary) post in response to jamesL included specific examples of precisely the sort of room for customization that IS present in Diablo 3. In any case, jamesL’s post – just like 95% of his posts on the site – was certainly less-than-constructive as well (amirite?), so quid pro quo.

          • The builds will all be fleshed out in full posts as time goes on – in fact, we JUST posted the first of these, feel free to check it out.

            In terms of wiggle room, give hardcore inferno a shot and report back how much variation in builds you see. I think you’ll find that there is NO “wiggle room”, in abilities or gearing. Perhaps this will improve over time as Blizzard patches and balances, but that remains to be seen.

            You’re welcome to your opinion, but in the future try to keep things constructive. I didn’t mean to misrepresent you with my quotation marks, but frankly your comment about people being idiots/hoping their characters die doesn’t add anything to this community. As my Mother used to tell me – “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. The same applies here – we will happily debate with you the merits of cookie cutter builds, and we love criticism of how we’re doing things (that’s how we improve!) – just make sure you’re not attacking the people behind the keyboards.

  4. I’m not sure about sacrificing Sharpshooter for Tactical Advantage in the “top” Demon Hunter build. Is the added mobility really worth giving up those huge bursts of damage you can do at the beginning of fights with the 100% crit?

    • Since the Sharpshooter stealth hotfix, its value seemed pretty low to us. It was amazing with the guaranteed crit for dozens of nether tentacles shots; with that gone, it’s lackluster. As it is now, you will get ONE projectile to have a guaranteed crit.

      • Wait, it was hotfixed to change it from one second to one hit? Are you sure? When?

        • I’m not sure precisely what the change was, but you can go test it for yourself. In all of my tests (against Azmodan, with his giant hitbox), I saw ONE crit (yellow) number, followed by a whole bunch of white (non-crit) numbers. This was at 100% crit.

          My guess is that the change was to make it 1 second from time of crit, but have that apply to all current projectiles, not just new projectiles. 

          • I haven’t heard of this either, and I’ve been playing my new Demon Hunter for the past few days and I’m now at level 54. From what I’ve seen in the past few days, it still seems to be one second. If they did indeed have a stealth hotfix, maybe it’s on Nether Tentacles and not Sharpshooter? Or possibly just when both are equipped? I say this because I don’t have access to NT yet, meaning I’ve never used them, but they are what you tested with and noticed the difference. Personally, I fire off an Elemental Arrow round (Ball Lightning) and follow it up with regular primary shots. I swear I see yellows for those primary shots, but it could be from the Ball Lightning? I know for a fact that Ball Lightning will crit EVERYTHING it hits (sometimes twice), no matter how many targets there are, but that could also apply to the one projectile theory. I’ll do a little testing tonight in my Hell A2 run and see what I come up with.

            That said, if they changed it to a single projectile, I don’t think I’ll be the only one using Ball Lightning.

            Oh, and also, you are looking for Monk builds? Monk is my main class, so I have much more knowledge of them than DH. I have played up through Inferno A2 Q2, but A2 is just too difficult right now. However, i do have solid builds for Hell / Inferno A1, if that’s worth anything to you guys. Lemme know where I should post them / send them if you’re interested. EDIT – Lemme clarify, I’ve played up through Inferno A2 Q2 on SC only. However, I believe the build(s) have the potential to be just as effective in HC, unless you want to survive every Champion pack ever in Inferno. I’ll try to do a no death clear of Inferno A1 before I post either build, just to verify their ability. Please do let me know where to send / post them though.

          • On Sharpshooter: As far as I can tell, if you have multiple projectiles hit within 1 second after the first, they will all crit. However, any projectiles that are in the air but have not yet hit after 1 second will NOT crit. Whether the fix was to Sharpshooter or Nether Tentacles I can’t say, as Nether Tentacles was the only ability that could abuse it.

            On Monk builds: We’re absolutely looking! If you have some ideas, the best place to submit the builds is to the class-specific forums for vetting (be sure to use the “builds” tag).

            Thanks for testing!

  5. Those DH builds are actually fairly sub-par. Both will be very discipline starved unless you have 50-odd disc (which is hard to get combined with solid dex/crit/crit dmg right now), and Hungering Arrow with Devouring Arrow rune is loads more effective than Evasive Fire, primarily because it lets you do a lot of single target damage against smaller things from clear across the screen. But if you DO like evasive fire, then there’s really 0 reason to use Tactical Advantage in combination with caltrops and evasive fire. That’s just overkill and the point of using EF to begin with is so you don’t lose the dps time in moving, so that 60% will be wasted in most situations. Also, the impale/crit build not having sharpshooter is kinda sub-par unless you have tons of crit.
    The other problem with this setup is that you’re only posting full ‘builds’, which, at least for DH, are actually somewhat modular in a couple of spots; namely the 5th and 6th skill in both builds can be one of a number of things: Stampede, Caltrops, Bat Companion, Vault, and Multishot are all possible variations of those last 2 slots depending on what you’re trying to do or how you want to vary your playstyle. I feel like these builds need to have some sort of article of explanation, and ‘how to play’ instead of just a link to a build.

    • You sound like you might be playing in softcore, in which case the glut of control abilities may seem silly to you. You need them in Hardcore.

      1) Hungering arrow is ONLY more effective when attacking a single target. 2+ targets, Evasive fire is better.

      2) Hungering arrow is worse single-target than most of our hatred-spenders. Why would you use hungering arrow single target? Thus, you’d only use hungering arrow when 2+ targets are on the screen, at which point it is strictly worse than evasive fire.

      3) Tactical Advantage provides a ton of movespeed when you backflip with evasive fire. In hardcore, this is CRITICAL. It’s not overkill – backflip, drop caltrops and run for your life. Like I said in the article – if you’re playing softcore, these builds won’t give you optimal DPS. They strive for a balance between killing speed and survability in hardcore.

      4) Like I said in the article and some comments above, all builds are inherently modular. Some people want to just copy a build and not think about how they could make adjustments, others, like yourself, want to tinker. We’re glad that you do, but we can’t cater to both groups simultaneously; we’ve found that most people simply want to copy a build.

      5) We absolutely intend to have full articles for each of these builds, and we agree 100% that they need ‘how to play’ content. As we’re two people with full-time jobs, significant others, etc. we can only generate so much content at once. If you’d like to help write up a build guide, please feel free to submit it to us on the forums! 

      • I’ve had a lot of experience with a 60 Demon Hunter in Hardcore.

        I don’t agree with the exclusion of Vault (Tumble) in any DH build. Even if you insisted on Rain of Vengeance, Vault does everything Caltrops can do and more. Caltrops gains space on your enemy, and that’s it. Vault can do that as well, but also allows repositioning and gives you unparalleled mobility. Caltrops also loses effectiveness against elites in Inferno while Vault never loses its effectiveness. I fully agree with Tactical Advantage, and Vault is that much more powerful with it. 

        For group play, Caltrops is much more effective since it gains space for everyone in the party. Still, you can find yourself in a situation where Caltrops will not save you but Vault would. Exclude Vault at your own risk. 

        I haven’t used Rain of Vengeance extensively. I run with the Bat. What is the utility of such an expensive ability? If you really need Caltrops, I’d put it here instead.

        I don’t have enough experience using your Evasive Fire rune, but I don’t see how it could be effective. The spray is just too wide. On paper it is more DPS, but I think Devouring Arrow is plain more useful.

        • Caltrops/Vault really depends on playstyle. Evasive Fire (and/or SS) fills the role that vault would, for me. In a build without Evasive Fire, I agree 100% that vault is of critical importance.

          I ran with the Bat up until Inferno – I found that he was pulling mob packs that hadn’t aggro’d on me yet, when I was trying to read what the modifiers were (also annoying when he attacks treasure goblins before i’m ready). Rain of Vengeance is great because it creates something like an ‘invisible wall’ for a few seconds. Mobs trying to pass through the area are constantly knocked back, which has saved me many times. Against bosses, it’s a bit of burst DPS. It has no hatred or discipline cost, and a low (30sec) cooldown. I’m not sure what you meant by expensive?

          • Even as a SC player, I heartily agree with the reasoning for Rain of Vengeance (w/ stampede rune). I have been using it almost exclusively and it has done wonders for helping me along killing mobs as quickly as possible.

      • Oh I fail at reading, completely glazed over the ‘this is based on our hardcore characters intended for primarily hardcore play’. Might want to make that a bit bigger in case others do the same, my bad. I don’t have as much HC experience no, so yeah, you are correct they would be a lot more useful :).

  6. Here’s what I currently use for my wizard. No name for it really, but it’s focus is damage basically 🙂

  7. I use a very similar hydra-blizzard build.  This is just a minor modification, which is the point of a cookie cutter build, but I think that magic weapon should be changed out for Familiar-Ancient Guardian for people playing Hardcore.  The familiar ancient guardian automatically tanks an entire hit if you reach below 20-35% life (not sure what the trigger % is) and get hit. I think it is a great kind of fail-safe for a lag spike, or a dmg spike, or a mis-click, etc.  Cool site.

    Edited to add: the only other difference in my build is that I use arcane orb-tap the source for my left click. you only have to click hydra a few times in a fight, and if you use the blizzard-low energy cost, then you have plenty of mana for spamming orb, which is one of, if not THE, highest damage wizard spell in the game. This seems more like a preference thing though.

  8. I would advise separating HC and SC builds. HC build priority is survival at any cost. SC build priority is efficiency. Two different beasts. What’s good in HC because it’s safe can end up being sub-par in SC because it kills too slowly.

    **Ah, nevermind, I’ve read the disclaimer, this is for HC already. Carry on.

    • With the upcoming changes to repair costs, SC players may think twice about the hyper-aggressive builds. Perhaps not. Either way, this is meant to serve as a guideline – we think most of the builds can be easily adapted for SC.

  9. any chance we could get a similar thread for SC players??  along those same lines could we get attributes needed for inferno using gear mods, just a basic “500+ all res for a2” type description of necessities? 

    appreciate the work 

    • These builds would work just as well in SC. They may be a bit conservative damage-wise, but we’re aiming to provide a starting point for folks to adapt them to their particular playstyles.

      I’ve seen a lot of requests for “you should have X to do inferno act 1”. It’s really dependent on playstyle, class, build, etc. We could try to make some estimates, but it’s probably not going to be terribly accurate for most people. 

  10. Why BBV on the WD builds?  If you’re not going to have both BBV and FA, FA is the one that keeps things out of melee range.

    Also, Mass Confusion is a great alternative to Horrify if you want to mix things up.  I find them roughly equal in utility, but don’t like how Horrify scatters all of the mobs, moving some of them towards your teammate.  Personal preference IMHO.

    I don’t like the build personally, but it’s negligent of you to leave off the burst build.  20 seconds of awesome, 1:40 afk in town.!UWV!caaZbb  If I was scoring it relative to your other builds, it’d probably be 6/2/2 and Tier 3.

    Edit: These are HC builds? Tier dropped to 3, and it’s even more critical that you describe it. I wouldn’t ever want to do zombears in HC.

    • Enki can provide more insight as to why he prefers those abilities – I can say that the zombears scare ME to watch him use when we play together!

    • edit: forgot to mention, I agree, the burst build you linked should be added to the list.

      the big weakness of VQ builds is that you get 5 abilities that aren’t zombie bears (or bats), and you can only hold one in reserve at a time. The other 4 have to be used when they come off cooldown, even if they aren’t needed.

      If you just used your abilities, and discover a champion pack, you gotta wait 1-2minutes until you’re ready.
      and if you accidentally pull a champion pack when you’re not ready… you’ve got very very little to defend yourself with while you wait. pray this doesn’t happen.
      or you can just wait 1:40 after every single engagement. because without vision quest being ative, even fights with basic mobs will drain your mana tank.

      to mitigate this, I try to use primarily short duration abilities – so even if I was force to use it recently, it’ll be up again shortly. When you’re using long duration abilities, you’re gambling heaviely on finishing things quickly, because you’ll be significantly more vulnerable and weaker for a long time afterwards.

      And I would agree, BBV is the part of that build I like the least, and I flip it to FA a fair amount – I hate how BBV gets completely nullified if we’re forced to kite, but I also love starting a fight with bbv burst.

      • I use Vision Quest passive with a different build, that works pretty well. Instead of Zombie Bears, I use Explosive Beast rune. It’s easier to aim and move and I think it get’s the job done quicker in most cases (except for the bosses). 

        It’s somewhat hard to keep 4 skills in cooldown, but I find myself using them mostly at a natural pace (though I’m refreshing gary to keep the skill in cooldown a lot)

        I just find the cooldown with Big Bad Voodoo and Fetishes to be too long and damage spiky. With my own build it’s more like steady cruising, with Mass Confusion reserved as a panic button for elite packs. 

        Take a look at the build:!bZU!YZZZZb

  11. Very cool idea. 

    It would be nice if there was a little write up with each build that tells us how the build works. I have a low level WD and some of the builds seem interesting, but before committing to that build, it would be nice to know what I am going to do. 

  12. Another thing would be a description of why a build is tier 2 instead of tier 1. I read the criteria for each, but why is Bears considered a tier 2 while Bats is a tier 1 when both are using similar builds?

    • Bears suffer from a very short range. While they do more damage (especially to bosses), they struggle against mobs that are ranged and move around a lot (e.g. those wasps in Act 2). The bats perform a similar role to the bears, but you don’t need to be in near-melee range to use them.

  13. I’m kinda surprised that my two wizard builds I’ve been alternating between in Hell are pretty much exactly those o.o I thought people would have come up with better things than I did alone. (I use nova and teleport fracture in the blizzard one though since energy armor isnt really worth it yet pre inferno.) 

  14. Why use Cold Blooded in Blizzard Hydra?  Perhaps I am missing something, but it’s only adding damage to Blizzard and nothing else which doesn’t seem like a huge amount of damage.

  15. About Leap runed with 300% armor:
    Im actually gaining around 10% dmg reduction for 4 secs with it, and i suppose its beeing used only as an escape method.
    My question is, why not rune it with death from above (stun 3 secs) or even  Call from Arreat (pull enemies to you on impact) ??

    I mean, 10% reduction im getting for just 4 secs aint gona change the tides much and with one of those other runes leap can be much more usefull for coop play.
    It still can be used defensively as an escape method but it can also be used in an offensive way to stun or concentrate mobs for others to Aoe.

    What you think?

    • Leap’s value is really two-fold:

      1) Mobility – whether engaging, running away, getting over obstacles, etc.
      2) Mitigation

      The more armor you have, the more leap will give you. Keep in mind that it has a REALLY short cooldown – between Leap, Ignore Pain, and Wrath of the Berserker, you can keep up a very high level of mitigation for quite a while. I found that the 4 seconds of damage reduction is actually quite good, compared to the options:

      Stun: Radius is VERY small, suffers from heavy reductions in hell/inferno.
      Pull: Unfortunately, a great way to get yourself surrounded while your escape is on cooldown.

      The only ability I’d consider swapping it for is Furious Charge: Dreadnought. The mobility isn’t quite as good, and you lose out on the mitigation, but you gain a powerful heal.

      • Thanks for sharing your point of view.
        Im missing groundstomp/cleave combo a lot now that im in hell since its not viable and tried to compensate with leap runed with one of those runes.
        Anyway, the radius is also small on pulling enemies to you that should be no problem when using Leap to escape…

        Another question about Leap: can you take dmg when in the air?? 


        • No you are invulnerable in the air. I often use leap in place just to avoid getting frozen by the Frozen elites freeze bombs. 

  16. *sighs softly* Here we go again with the cookie cutter builds Hopefully this time around we end up with far more builds per class then in D2

  17. Hi!
    I think this is a great idéa, especially for HC where you need to read up more before you go at it with a new build. 🙂
    But I have some comments for Barb build, Def. Frenzy.
    On a scale from 1-5 I have a hard time seeing your numbers correct.
    For offensive score 3: With only 2 truly offensive skills (out of 9) I would rate this as a 2 for Offense.
    You have only Frenzy as as active damage dealer. No active fury spender that deals damage. Only other skill is WotB that can be activated every 2 minutes.
    Revenge is 1/2 an offensive skills. I do not count Leap as an offensive skill as it has very little damage and is used for its defensive bonuses, armor and CC. This can not add up to more then 2 in grade.
    Defense: 5 is too high, for a 5 you should remove WotB and put in for example Threataning Shout. There are also runes (for Frenzy) that could be switched to make this a more defensive build.
    Control: Not really sure what you mean by this. I assume you mean Crowd Control, and then this can hardly be a 3. This build has only 1 skill with some CC, Leap. The grade for Control should be 1. I could have misunderstood this though?
    One more thing, I have a suggestion for a new ranking system that will give much more info.
    First set of scores called Ranking should tell how good you think the build is at what it is aimed to do, single play or co-op, tank or DPS build, surviveability etc.
    Scale for this should be 1-10, with 10 being almost an unreachable high score. This is the main indicator how “good” and “viable” a build is.

    Second set of scores should tell how the build is targeted at Single play and Co-op.
    Scale for this should be 0-18, where you look at each skill and rune and see if they are for single play or co-op. Passive skills gives 2 points that can be shared between single and co-op if they benefit both.

    Third set of scores are divided into 3 Cathegories: Damage, Defence, Mobility/Crowd Control (CC).
    Scale for this should be 0-18, where you look at each skill and give points accordingly. Passive skills gives 2 points that can be shared between different cathegories.

    My score for this Barb would for example be:
    Single, Co-op:
    18, 0
    (Since this cleary is a build targeted at single play I miss the part about Follower.)
    Damage, Defence, Mobility/CC:
    5, 12, 1

    Breakdown of Damage, Defence, Mobility/CC:

    Damage (5):
    Frenzy + Rune, WotB + Rune, Revenge (split between Damage and Defense)

    Defense (12):
    Ignore Pain + Rune, Warcry + Rune, Revenge (split), Leap (split between Defense and Mobility)
    Nerves of Steel (2 points), Superstition (2 points), Tough as Nails (2 points)

    Mobility/CC (1):
    Leap (split)

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  18. I’m a bit surprised by the WD builds, not having a single heal. Why isn’t the Heal rune taken instead of Jaunt?


    • Healing sources are definitely important, but you’re far better off getting them from gear than wasting valuable skill slots on it, and this is because skill slots offer so little healing.

      The main problem, is that the WD heals are (with the exception of spirit walk) static, and do not scale with gear. at level 60 they’re capped out. While leveling they are awesome. They fill in holes in your gear, but you give up a lot to do it through skills.

      if siphon hits 5 targets thats 2171 x 5 = 10,855 per 15 seconds,   or 723 per second – and I do not want 5 enemies that close to me in inferno 😛
      if consuming spirit was on 3 targets it would be 155 x 3 = 465 per second 

      glancing at the AH, I can get at least 488 life per second on ONE affix for a really straightforward example
      – or I could do things with life steal/life on hit/life per kill affixes

      Spirit walk – healing journey is interesting, but I look at it this way in comparing to jaunt
      I can either be invulnerable for another second, or heal 14% of my health globe. 
      That extra second might keep me alive, and if I am touched even once, it will certainly have prevented more than 14% of my health globe in damage.

      if we wanted to compare it to a HPS affix,
      14% of say 60,000 HP (I wish I had this much, heh)
      is 8400 health – so you could look at healing journey as a burst heal of 8,400 every 15s, or 560 HPS

      at 100,000 HP,
      14% healed every 15s
      works out to 933 HPS
      (healing journey = TWO affix slots of regen)
      when looking at the healing runes, you have to look at it in terms of: what skill would have gone here instead? what did I give up?
      and what would it cost me to get the healing effect through gear instead? what would I give up?

       my gear is full of useless affixes currently, and with 6 possible affixes per item, I’ve got a LOT of room for improvement. The only thing life regen on gear would cost me is money to get a better itemized piece of gear.

  19. Haven’t made it to Hell with my Barb yet but getting close… is Ground Stomp completely unviable in Hell? My build already happens to look alot like the Barb Frenzy build above (i fell in love with Frenzy/Revenge), but where it differs is that I have different passives (Berserker Rage because if you really look at this build, it only has two fury spenders that aren’t used very often (War Cry/WotB), and I went with Bloodthirst and Juggernaut), and Ground Stomp instead of War Cry. Why is Ground Stomp unviable for stuns… are there really high stun resistances in Hell?

    • Berserker Rage is a very good passive with this build, and it’s one I use heavily in Hell. In inferno, my gear isn’t quite at the point where I’m comfortable giving up 20% avoidance of non-physical attacks – once my gear is a bit better, I could see Berserker Rage being viable again.

      I shied away from stuns in late hell/early inferno for a few reasons:

      1) They were unreliable – if a monster that I really need to stun is JUST outside the stun radius and I miss, I could be in a word of hurt.
      2) In hell, and especially inferno, “stun resistances” as you put it feel brutal. The stuns just don’t last very long, making ground stomp/seismic slam pretty ineffective in most situations. Perhaps in group play they could have a place. 

  20. Very nice job
    I too would suggest to present the builds with :
    – its core skills (skills that are mandatory),
    – and the alternative skills (skills that have a specific purpose but that you can change with another according to your playstyle).
    More it would be interesting to indicate which strategies are suited or not to Hardcore.

  21. You need to divide them into SC and HC somehow. It’s like day and night.

    You write that these builds are suited for HC play but I see some very strange skills/runes.

    • We debated this topic quite a bit, and decided to focus on hardcore mode for a few reasons:

      1) In SC you can use a sub-optimal build and be perfectly fine. There’s almost no punishment for doing so. In HC, this isn’t the case – having very powerful, very precisely constructed builds is critical, lest you lose hours upon hours of work.

      2) ANY build that works well in HC can work just as well in SC. The only difference, in our minds, is that SC players can give up some (all) defensive abilities to become glass cannons. While that’s certainly a viable strategy in SC, it’s not a very challenging build to create. Finding the balance required to survive and kill in HC is much more interesting, to us.

      3) The ultimate goal for these builds is that they will allow a player to “go anywhere, do anything” – this includes HC play. While builds for HC can work in SC equally well, builds for SC will NOT work in HC most of the time.

      We don’t have any plans to break them into HC/SC in the near future, but if there’s enough demand we’re happy to revisit this again in the future. 

  22. good, however gear and gameplay strategy are missing

  23. I agree, the builds are kinda worthless without the gear and gameplay focus.. How should I play that build and do I need more Int/res or AS ??

  24. Thanks for the tier list, but I find arcane kiting to be a tier 1 build.
    blizzard hydra’s flaw is diamond skin (it sucks).. which isn’t nearly as good as teleport + fracture imo. 

  25. I think two things are needed to improve this:
    (1) an explanation of play-style/strategy for the build – without this, players may not have a good idea of how, when and why to use a skill in the overall build;
    (2) suggested item affixes and minimum aggregate affix “allocation” since this is a very gear-dependent game.

  26. I made for the monk.. Managed to get to 60 and Act 3 in Hell. There I encountered the Big guys with the 2 maces. It was an champion with Waller Arcane minions. Before I could ran i was locked in and died. Even though I was heavily owning all other packs even immortals were no issues (phase beasts).
    Perhaps with Dash instead of lashing tail kick i might have made it out alive and escape. But no way in HELL 😉 I could take that pack on with any build. (no matter what specials those guys have btw) I just cant seem to CC them. Serenity is a must though.

  27. Nice idea.  It might be nice to put in a little stat priority info in the sheet as well as weapon preference (slow vs fast) in lieu of a full write up.  Thanks

  28. Yeah, I didn’t realize this was for HC. Someone should make one for SC as well.

  29. Realized I could have gotten out of the walls with Seven Sided Strike as a monk. This is the ONLY ability that will get me out of locked in situations.
    Its on a long cooldown and isn’t even reliable in where you end 100% of the time. So I decided instead of making my 4th monk to go for Barbarion now instead. Nice builds and good arguments! Happy Hardcoring!

  30. 2 quite usable monk builds:
    defensive and Boss Fight Build – e.g. Diablo:!ZXU!Zbbaca
    offenisve and more farmlike type:!ZXU!Zcbaca
    abilities in general:

    Fist of Thunder – Lightning Flash: Teleports you to the Mob – nice for getting away + each 3rd attack kick backs the mobs in front of you –> if your attack speed is fast enough you can “Knockback lock” mobs

    Breath of Heaven – with 15% Damage Rune –> keep the Buff up recast at least every 45s
    Serenity – with Heal Rune –> Ohh Shit Button – mostly used when fire or poison spawns below you to get away safe or to just dps away for 3s to finish the mob off
    Blinding Flash with Dam Rune –> Mass CC – Start off with that when jumping into a Group – will make it tons easier + Dam Boost for 3s
    Mantra of Conviction with Overawe –> simply use this to burn your spirit try to keep it up –> + 48% Dam for everyone in the group – neat right?
    Sweeping wind – use either Blade Storm or Cyclone Rune (if you have enough crit obvously) – nice passive AoE dam
    One with Everything – self explaining – stack all res + one specific res and all are the same – easy to get to 700+ all-res
    Seize the Inititive – Dex to Armor – straight Damage mitigation – always good
    Every Mob you hit – -25% Dam – quite good – can be replaced depending on the situation
    for the defensive variation:
    7-sided strike – with Stun Rune –> especially good in Boss fights to interrupt ability (e.g. Diablo’s Prison thingy – can use Blinding Flash there too btw)
    Mantra of Evasion + Hard Target –> More doge and Armor – straight Damage prevention/mitigation – e.g. just taking Diablo’s Lightning in your face with perma Doge 😛
    for farming you can use 2 1-Handers – preverably fast ones with LoH (1k+ total would be good – can be staclked from weapons, amu and rings – Blue ones are kinda cheap there – like ias/LoH or All Res/LoH
    for progress use 1h/shield for aded protection – still having 800+ LoH helps a lot here – even using lower damage weapons to get more LoH is worth it!

    edit: bah didn’t realize its for HC – most should still be true – though maybe use some more defensive Rune variants

  31. And what is the use of fury for the Def. Frenzy ? i miss the point.

    • The Barbarian fury-spenders are mostly lack-luster in the current endgame. You don’t need to use Fury spenders – your primary sources of damage are Frenzy and Revenge. The point is to be as efficient/effective as we can be, and the Fury spenders simply don’t fit.

      As a slight aside, this does provide a great opportunity to use Berserker Rage (Passive) if you feel your defenses are adequate.

  32. More attacks is more life stolen? Gearing around life per hit and high resist I guess?

    You need a high dps, slow attack speed weapon (i.e. 2h mace)

  34. Nice post.Its so interesting.So i want some information for sharing this side with some of my friend.

    SEO Services

    this is my WD control
    its works for me while ungeared
    9k dps in inferno a1
    LOTS dots n kiting
    hell pony farming i used zombie bear for quick dps

  36. I think your link that shows the wizard build is wrong. It says that we should get Hydra and Blizzard. How can we do that when they both fall under the same Force category?

  37. Still surprised that this isn’t more clear in the game tips.

    Pritrix, go to options and find elective mode. Make sure that’s on. Now you can have any skill you want from any category. Blizzard really needs to just set this to default.

    By the way, when is this list getting updated?!

  38. Any updates after 1.03?? And maybe use same kind of links? It would be beter to let them all refere to a post iso the hero planner.
    NT build for DH is no longer the best right??

  39. Ive been using this strategy guide for some time now to help with all my character builds. Check it out for yourself

  40. Is it just me, or has the list of builds been cut off? I am no longer able to see past the monk columns as it seems the width of the area is cut off. I have tried both Firefox and Chrome and get the same results. I wanted to check out the other builds. 😕

  41. You can solve this issue by richtclicking the table, then choose for panel -> open this panel in a new tab, or something alon those lines I’m translating from dutch and I don’t know how it is called in an english browser. Then you can see the whole table and click any build you want.

  42. So this needs to be reworked now with all the changes that came with 1.0.4?

  43. Will this reworked at all?

  44. It says “updated 11-3-12”, but there are clearly old builds that don’t work anymore. Vision Quest on builds with plenty of cooldowns but no primary skill (the only ones it works with anymore) are a dead giveaway

  45. I love tier lists, plz update on a regular basis! 😀

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