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.

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