The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Snowstorm

Diabloii.Net Member
The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

1.13 Wolf Singer Barbarian (War Cry Barbarian and Wolf Barbarian hybrid)
By Snowstorm (aka Diabolo)

The barbarians are renowned for their strength in battle. These warriors developed a kinship with the land and have learned to harness the primal energies in nature to accomplish incredible feats of strength. Some barbarians use these mystical powers to become experts at supporting, leading and commanding a group with their voice, shouting and singing in battle. A leader needs a strong voice that will be heard in the chaos of combat by his friends, to grant them courage, and his foes, to strike fear into their hearts. Those who achieve this make powerful allies that lead their group to victory while protecting them. Barbarians also share a distant kinship with the druids and a few of them have managed to preserve or learn the power to transform into a beast to gain superhuman strength and ferocity for battle.

Although they are extremely rare, some barbarians manage to fully master both of these talents. Those who achieve this become entirely something else. Capable of leading and supporting a whole group in a battle or able to turn into a wolf to defeat any enemy in single combat, they can adapt to many situation by employing the strategy that favors them best.


This Barbarian is a hybrid of a wolf barbarian and a War Cry barbarian. It is extremely viable in hell difficulty PvM and can also stand a chance in more casual PvP. You will have to make adaptations to this guide if you really want to optimize your build for PvP though.

Wolf Singer also brings that cool image of a wolf howling with the moon in the background and I think it's great to have this barbarian using Wolfhowl at its maximum potential. The name of that single item fully represents the whole build!

Okay, backstory and poetic commentaries aside, lets jump right into the build now!
Oh and ignore all links in the post, it's just to highlight the text.

[size="5][B]1) Skills[/B][/size]

0-1 [highlight]Bash [/highlight]: Optional skill. It may be helpful while leveling up and if you plan to fight outside of wolf form, but it’s useless if you don’t plan to ever melee outside of wolf form again.
0-1 [highlight]Leap [/highlight]: If you can not get an Enigma runeword armor, you may need to leap to position yourself for War Cry instead, but this is far slower and much less optimal.

1-20 [highlight]Weapon Mastery[/highlight]: Place one point in the weapon type that you will use on weapon switch 2. Spend more if you want to hit harder in wolf form or to help you while leveling up.
1 [highlight]Increased Stamina[/highlight]:Requirement.
1 [highlight]Increased Speed[/highlight]: Two points well spent to run really, really fast in wolf form and quickly in barbarian form.
1 [highlight]Iron Skin[/highlight]: A point well spent for more defense.
1 [highlight]Natural Resistance[/highlight]: A point well spent for more resistances.

0-1 [highlight]Find Potion[/highlight]: If you want to have a belt always full of Full Rejuvenation potions, they drop often with this skill in hell difficulty.
1 [highlight]Shout[/highlight]: It helps everyone’s defense and is a nice boost.
20 [highlight]Battle Orders[/highlight]: It gives lots of life and mana and we need both.
1 [highlight]Battle Command[/highlight]: A point well spent for +1 to all skills
20 [highlight]War Cry[/highlight]: Your main attack spell outside of wolf form.
20 [highlight]Battle Cry[/highlight]: You want to max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] and because you can reduce someone’s defense by over 100% and their damage by over 60% which is great to hit anything more easily. This can help in PvP too from what I read.
20 [highlight]Taunt[/highlight]: You want to max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] and it can also be useful to force monster to walk towards you and get in range of your War Cry. It doesn't work well in PvP from what I read.
1-20 [highlight]Howl[/highlight]: You can max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] if you want. It can be useful for minion crowd control in some occasions regardless of how many points you spent here.

This build requires about 90 skill points to work properly which means you need to reach level 79 (including skill quests) to complete it and equip all the gears. You can keep improving it until level 99 by putting points in [highlight]Taunt[/highlight] or your [highlight]Weapon Mastery[/highlight]. You have to pick between a War Cry that deals more damage or hitting harder in wolf form and I think both options are fine and depend only of your playing style.

[size="5"]2) Statistics[/size]

Strength (enough with charms to wear your armor and the rest of your equipment)
Dexterity (enough with charms to hold your weapons, unless you plan to use a shield in wolf form in which case, you should get enough to reach max block)
Vitality (most of your points will be spent here, especially if you plan to PvP)
Energy (if you don’t plan to PvP that much, you should have plenty of life to survive and you could spare some points here to help you spam War Cry since this skill drains tons of mana)

With Battle Orders over level 40, each point spent in Vitality will give you about 10.5 life points and each spent in Energy will give you 2.6 points of mana (actually, this number can be more around 3.6 when you take into account items increasing maximum amount of mana). So it is not such a bad idea to spend some points in Energy for this build to get a decent amount of mana. However, mana and life given by items are also multiplied by these factors! So, if you are able to find these items, it is much better for this build to use a lot of charms granting mana rather than life to invest as many points as possible in Vitality instead of Energy!

3) Gears

Helm:
Well, this is a wolf barbarian so your only option here is to use Wolfhowl. Sadly it has a lot of variable modifiers so it might take you some time to find a good one. Notice that with +2 or +3 to Warcries and other nice bonus to stats, this helm is useful for our barbarian form as well as our wolf form.

At this point, I would like to let you take the time to fully realize how awesome this helm is for this build. We spent a gazillion skill points into different Warcries mostly to max up War Cry and very few points into skills that help us in melee and this helm alone grants you a respectable melee form including a special attack. And with all our + skill, you can reach a Werewolf form in the range of level 15-20 and a Feral Rage in the range of level 9-14. Overall, it gives you a lot more life, a lot more attack speed, a lot more life leech, a lot more attack rating, more damage and more run speed! I believe this is the greatest strength of this hybrid (to have the option to become strong in melee with a minimal amount of points spent in combat masteries and 0 points in combat skills).

You ask Larzuk to punch a hole in your Wolfhowl, and then you should fill it with a perfect Sapphire to get +38 to mana (that’s about +140 to your mana in reality with BO and items!). It’s a cheap trick and it works.

Still, I will mention that until you can wear Wolfhowl (level 79), a Harlequin’s Crest Shako is good for a War Cry barbarian mostly because of the boost to mana and the +2 to all skills.

Weapon switch 1:
Heart of the Oak (HotO) because of its huge +3 to all skills, 40% FCR, 15% increased mana and + 30~40% to all resistance. You should always shapeshift while those are equipped to benefit of a much higher level wolf form and after that switch to your melee weapon!

Another option is to equip Wizardspike bone knife. It’s cheaper, gives you a little more FCR, gives you considerably more mana, grants you twice the resistance HotO offers (but this is kind of overkill, you can already hit maximum resistance with two HotO, so it will only make a difference when you are affected by a Conviction aura).

You should use a combination of those two as your weapon switch 1 weapons (two HotO, or two Wizardspike or one of each).

Not having a shield is not a problem for PvM because War Cry stuns for an everlasting 10 seconds at skill level 46. It might be more problematic for PvP though since you don’t stun players 100% of the time.

Also, since we plan to spam War Cry, here are the Barbarian faster cast rate breakpoints:
0% - 13 Frames - 1.92 Casts/Second
9% - 12 Frames - 2.08 Casts/Second
20% - 11 Frames - 2.27 Casts/Second
37% - 10 Frames - 2.50 Casts/Second
63% - 9 Frames - 2.78 Casts/Second <--- reached with your two weapons!
105% - 8 Frames - 3.13 Casts/Second <--- what you are aiming for
200% - 7 Frames - 3.57 Casts/Second

Weapon switch 2:
This is your weapon switch for wolf form. Get a weapon that hurts here! You can find very good suggestions in the discussion of this thread bellow.

Your best option is probably an Ethereal Breath of the Dying weapon. So far, I have not tested other options than this one in game.

Grief could also be an interesting to deal a lot of damage, but on the other hand it doesn't provide a good mana leech to really help our barbarian form. You would need to equip an item like a Gloom’s Trap belt or a Crescent Moon amulet to make it work.

Should it be two handed or one handed? Two handed deals more damage and worked fine for me in PvM. Your resistances take a huge drop without the two weapon from weapon switch 1 though (especially if you don’t use Mara’s Kaleidoscope) so if you want maximum resistance and to be more cautious, you can take a one handed weapon (like a Berserker Axe) and equip a shield that compensate for your resistance drop. Sanctuary would work fine. If you plan to use a shield, then I guess it would be worth it to get max block rate and spend points in Dexterity. You will have max resistance in both forms with that.

There is also the option to dual wield weapons that oppens a lot of possibilities (thanks for mentioning it in the discussion)!

A Beast weapon sounds interesting not because it lets you turn into a Bear, but because it grants you decent damage, attack speed and a Fanaticism aura, but it lacks mana leech. There is not that much advantage in using the bear form since you can not use your Feral Rage skill in that form (which grants huge life steal and other nice bonus). It’s better to stick to wolf form.

An Azurewrath was also brought up as a good option to deal with most physical immunes if you are dual wielding weapons (thanks!).

Armor:
The only option I will mention here is Enigma. It’s really best to teleport to use your warcries efficiently and that armor has lots of other modifiers that are very good for you. You should set it in (at least) a Mage Plate since your base strength with charms already allow you to wear it. Keep in mind that with Iron Skin and Shout you can get over +500% defense so it doesn’t sound like such a bad investment at all to place a few points in strength and use a Dusk Shroud or perhaps even an Archon Plate to get 750 or 1500 more points in defense. An Archon Plate worked fine for me and, I managed to reach around 12500 defense in wolf form with that character without even the help of a Defiance mercenary.

If you can not get Enigma, I guess you can Leap around and try to find a good mage armor with + skills and boost to your mana. But frankly, you invested a lot in your FCR so try to get Teleport for this barbarian!

Rings:
Your best option is a Raven Frost and a Stone of Jordan. It’s a good combination that grants Cannot be Frozen and balance the benefits for your barbarian and wolf forms. Going for two Stone of Jordan might sound very tempting, but keep in mind that on top of a huge increase to AR, Dexterity and Cannot be Frozen, Raven Frost also gives you +40 to mana which means about 150 mana points with your BO and the rest of your gears!

Boots:
Gore Rider (or Goblin Toe) works well if you want to kill bosses faster in your wolf form.

Marrowwalk or Silkweave seems to be your best options for the barbarian form, but they are not that great and Gore Rider is best for the overall build.

Gloves:
I recommend using upped Frostburn to grant you more mana.

Or you can use upped Magefist to help you reach 105% FCR and to get mana regeneration.

There certainly are better gloves for when you switch to wolf form (such as Dracul’s Grasp), but I never bothered with switching them. It might be a necessity for PvP in wolf form though.

Belt:
Arachnid Mesh has only good modifiers for us and helps us reach 105% FCR.

Verdungo’s Hearty Cord is excellent for the wolf form and will give you a massive boost to life.

Gloom’s Trap has surprisingly good modifiers for the barbarian form and it increases your mana leech.

I have to mention Trang-Oul’s Girth because it grants Cannot be Frozen, 66 life and between 25-50 mana (again those number get multiplied by BO + gears!). So for builds that really want to focus on getting tons of mana by using two Stone of Jordan, it might be an option. But it fits better on a pure War Singer barbarian not using the wolf form.

Thundergod’s Vigor can be worth it to withstand lightning damage as well.

Do not use items like Nightsmoke for PvM. Stunned monsters don’t hit much. I do not know if it works for PvP.

Amulet:
Mara's Kaleidoscope is great for its universal skill bonus and its resistance for when you are in wolf form.

A crafted caster amulet or magical/rare amulet with skill bonus and over 5% FCR is very good too.

The cheaper option is to use Crescent Moon since it gives more leeching and a lot of mana (+45 on the item so about 170 total!).

You can also try to get Atma’s Scarab and switch it when you need to deal with physical immunes in wolf form since it has a chance to cast Amplify Damage when you hit and you attack quickly.

Charms:
You should try to get Annihilus, a barbarian Hellfire Torch and as many Sounding Grand Charms (+1 to warcries) as you can fit in your inventory. You can also add a bunch of small charms in there with other bonus (mostly mana, life or FHR). Again, I will reiterate that using charms granting mana is your best tool to get a high amount of mana while investing a minimal amount of points (or none!) in Energy.

Possible combinations that hits 105% FCR and use EBotD on weapon switch:

Balanced build (excellent setup):
Weapon switch 1: HotO and Wizardspike
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

High War Cry build (excellent setup, what I used):
Weapon switch 1: Two HotO
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: 10% FCR +3 Warcries skills amulet or 5% FCR +2 Barbarian skills crafted caster amulet
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

High mana build (seems less optimal to me):
Weapon switch 1: Two Wizardspikes
Belt: Gloom’s Trap or Trang-Oul’s Girth (and equip 2 SoJ)
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: 5% FCR +2 Barbarian skills crafted caster amulet
Boots: Silkweave or Marrowwalk
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ (unless you go for 2 SoJ).

Stronger wolf form build:
Weapon switch 1: HotO and Wizardspike
Belt and Gloves: Arachnid Mesh and Dracul’s Grasp or Verdungo’s Hearty Cord and Magefist
Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

The "cheap" build: (I haven't tested how viable it is in hell, but those are the cheaper items I would try to get)
Weapon switch 1: Two Wizardspikes
Weapon switch 2: A weapon that hurts, possibly with a shield (make sure you have some mana leech somewhere in there)
Belt: Gloom’s Trap or Trang-Oul’s Girth
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: + Skill amulet or FCR amulet or Crescent Moon
Boots: Goblin Toe
Helm: Wolfhowl
Armor: Enigma (seriously that armor is important unless you want to hop around like a bunny)
Rings: Raven Frost and a FCR ring granting mana or AR or mana leech

4) Mercenary

Using a mercenary with Teleport is a lot of fun and even if you don’t equip yours with uber perfect gears, he should survive well enough with the help of your warcries, teleportation and occasionally potions.

Mine used Vampire Gaze (with Um), The Gladiator’s Bane and a Demon’s Arch (for the elemental damage) and rarely got killed unless I was careless (usually unable to teleport away because I was in wolf form). You can use a good Scintillating jewel instead to raise his resistances. If you can get ethereal gears, that’s great too.

I used an act 2 Might mercenary (pick an Offensive act 2 mercenary in Nightmare) to significantly improve my damage in wolf form, but you could go for an act 1 rogue with fire or cold arrows. My recommendation is to get some form of elemental damage to be able to deal with physical immunes because hitting them will be very slow and using War Cry will only stun them. Do not use an act 2 Thorns mercenary since stunned monsters don’t hit back and the Prayer one won't help much since you will have so many hit points (unless maybe you really want to use an Insight polearm on him and work in a party).

Speaking of Insight, it grants us an excellent mana regeneration which is very good for us since we are spamming War Cry and it costs over 50 mana per shot to cast. So it sounds like a great idea to use this runeword on your mercenary, but you will have more trouble against physical immunes. This is something I have not tried. Feel free to give it a shot.

5) Other informations

This hybrid barbarian really takes advantage of both of his forms.
Your party will benefit from Shout, Battle Command, a very high level Battle Orders and from the fact that you can stun monsters for a lengthy amount of time.
With your run speed, Teleport and your FCR, you can rush anyone or farm any instance about as quickly as a sorceress would.
You can kill Act 5 monsters in hell at a good speed and even if it is slower than pure dps builds, you will be very hard to kill.
With a single point in Find Potion, you can maintain your belt filed with only Full Rejuvenation Potions.
Howl allows you to make any minions in the screen flee to do crowd control to reach your corpse or in places like uber Tristram where you want to focus on the bosses without being bothered by the minions.
If a monster is too hard to hit for you, Battle Cry can significantly reduce its defence. This is very useful against a boss. Use it before turning into wolf form while you are surrounded by stunned enemies since it has a short range!

The main strategy with this barbarian is to Teleport or run into battle and stun with War Cry. If you are fighting a crowd of monsters, keep spaming War Cry to finish them off all at once just like a Nova sorceress would do. If there are few monsters or if you need to regenerate your mana, it is best to stun with War Cry, use Battle Cry then transform to wolf form and lastly switch your damaging weapon to leech back some mana. Use Teleport to position yourself on the battlefield where your warcries will hurt most or to retreat when things get to dangerous. You can also simply go in wolf form and kill stuff in melee old school style. That’s about it, running around at insane speed in wolf form is kind of fun to! You will only have trouble with physical immunes with this build.

Disclaimer! Before I finish, I need to mention that you can not use any warcries or teleport while you are in wolf form. This is only a minor inconvenience since you can change form quickly and you can prebuff in barbarian form while wielding HotO. The buff will stay when you switch to wolf form.

At level 90 when I wrote this guide, my barbarian had those stats:
Normal attack damage: 1660 and stun 10 seconds (War Cry level 47) or 2250-3500 while wielding an EBotD Champion Axe in wolf form with about 125% increased attack speed, over 50% life leech and 7% mana leech (the Might aura from my mercenary raised that damage to 3000-5000)
AR: 4750 (in wolf form)
Defense: around 13500 in barbarian form and 12500 in wolf form
Life: 4350 in barbarian form and 6400 in wolf form
Mana: 1580
All Resistance: 75% in barbarian form, about 20% in wolf form (that’s why Mara or a good shield helps while in that form rather than a two handed EBotD!)
Casting Speed: Over 105%
Run speed: 106% faster run walk and up to 150% in wolf form not to mention Teleport

I spent 177 stat points elsewhere than into Vitality (mostly into Energy). So I guess that, with good charms and if you are willing to sacrifice some mana, you can technically reach over 6000 life points in barbarian form and over 9000 in wolf form if you want!

6) Leveling

It will probably be easier to level him as a normal War Cry barbarian until you can equip Wolfhowl.

Place a point in each required skill as soon as possible and then max your skills in this order:
Battle Orders
War Cry (a few points to stun)
Battle Cry
War Cry (finish maxing it)
Taunt
After that, it’s really up to you.

If you want to max your Weapon Mastery, you might as well do it early (just after Battle Orders) to help you level up.

As soon as level 49, you could start using the Beast runeword to help you level up.

Once you reach level 70, you should have a strong War Cry barbarian and should be able to equip most of your gears.

The real fun begins at level 79 once you can equip Wolfhowl. You will then take full advantages of both forms and access to the Valhalla will be granted to your barbarian in the unlikely event that he perishes in battle!

7) Final Comments

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. I had a lot of fun building and playing with this barbarian. Feel free to post any comments below!

~ Snowstorm/Diabolo
 
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zaphodbrx

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Nice job, but I don't think warcry and wolf form go well together. Because you cannot cast spells in wolf form.
You seem to have forgotten that there are dual wielding options for the wolf form switch. Dual griefs is fine for instance.

I tried a wolfhowl on my frenzy barb with griefz/beastz and it was okay but too slow. Attacks only one target and can't really be boosted in damage very much except for the mastery ( which is why wolfbarbs max out defence instead, and I have points in frenzy etc. )
Warcry is also not very damaging at all looking at the numbers you have given. Level 47 warcry is stupidly high. I only have level 34 nova on sorc and it is more damaging.
 

crawlingdeadman

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

nice write up. i'm not done reading yet, but i'll finish it soon. i used to think that shifting in and out of a were form would be annoying, but i recently played a wind wolf where i spent a good deal of time shifted attacking and a good deal of time unshifted casting tornado. after that i think this would be a nice build to try out. i would like to point out a couple things i've noticed, forgive if they're covered later on in the guide (i'm only up to mid Gears section).

-teleport for warcry is great, but leap kinda sucks as a way of moving around, i usually just walk (run) with my wc barbs (till i can use a teleport of some kind). you have taunt to help you gather in monsters to stun and if you walk your merc stays relatively close.

-since you're getting big bonuses to life anyway (especially if you load up on all the +wc skills), i'd think you'd want to max mastery before many of the skills mentioned. i can see you went with a skill set that focused on the wc side, but since mastery is the only barb skill that can help the wolf side, i'd think it'd be 20 points you'd want to have.

again nice guide.


EDIT: like zaph i do wonder that a two weapon set up might work pretty well with say a beast or even a wizzy or spirit in a sword in the off hand.

Warcry is also not very damaging at all looking at the numbers you have given. Level 47 warcry is stupidly high. I only have level 34 nova on sorc and it is more damaging.
this isnt a sorc though, is it? warcry barbs typically have an inordinately large amount of +skills, 47 wc seems about right. sure war cry sucks for damage, but it's the only damaging spell a barb has. he's making something unlike other wolfbarb builds (though i do believe i've seen a similar skillset on one before).

you probably didnt like griefz on your barb while he was shifted because it's a slow weapon while shifted.



 
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Snowstorm

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Thanks for the feedback.

I have to admit I have not tested dual weapons in the wolf form and that would be something great to look into. I simply suggested a shield right away because our resistance are not maxed in wolf form. Dual Wielding Last Wish and something else (Beast for Fanaticism maybe?) sounds very interesting all of a sudden and it lets you pick a different mercenary than Might. I have not tested Insight (as mentioned in the guide) and I have not tested Grief mostly because I don't play much in ladder and those runewords are much harder to acquire for me.

Yeah, Leap really is not optimal compared to Teleport, but I've mentioned it anyway in case you don't have teleport and need a tool to jump in the middle of crowds.

I had not considered using Taunt to regroup monsters, but after a quick test in game, I have to admit that it works better than I expected, especially on ranged monsters. I will make some corrections in the guide, thank you for bringing this up. Oh and I also noticed a maxed Taunt can bring down your enemy attack and damage by over 90% (at skill level 47 it's like -97% attack and -97% damage). Even a Frenzy Taur hit you like a clawless kitten after you Taunt them!

I have to admit that maxing Weapon Mastery would be better to help leveling up and to get a good attack in wolf form. It would give you an extra 95% attack damage and an extra 152% to attack which is always welcome. The version of the build maxing masteries is focused more on the wolf form than War Cry though. I guess you can always respeck as you like once you can equip Wolfhowl. My original intention was to build a pure War Cry Barbarian (which explains why my build was more focused on War Cry), but I noticed that killing bosses took forever and runing out of mana was slightly annoying since it regenerates slowly (unless you use Insight). So I started using Bash and a good weapon on switch to help fix these weaknesses. But when I tested Wolfhowl, it appeared clear that it was the best solution to get a strong melee form with a War Cry setup.

Bottomline, my message is you don't have to pick between building a Werewolf barbarian or a War Cry barbarian. You can wrap up everything in the same build and it will work out very well.
 

hubb

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Cool write-up :)

RE the weapon options, here is a table you might find useful:

*Edit:Tables are all messed up right now so here is a pic.
Code:
Only weapon damage and attack rate when a successful hit is made is taken into account. Crit, off-weapon ED and the slower attack rate when attacks miss or are blocked is not.

						dmg	frames per attack	damage per second	1h/2h	rangeadder	
eBotD		Colossus Blade [5]		649	6			2703			2	2
eTombreaver	Zod, 2x 40/15			631	6			2630			2	3
eBotD		Thunder Maul [20]		799	8			2496			2	2
eBotD		War Pike [20]			791	8			2473			2	4
eBotD		Ogre Maul [10]			686	7			2451			2	1
eBotD		Colossus Blade [5] 350ED	584	6			2433			2	2
eBotD		Great Poleaxe/Ghost Spear[0]	649	7			2317			2	4
Tombreaver	3x 40/15			458	5			2288			2	3
eOath 320ED	Balrog Blade [0]		545	6			2271			2	2
eTombreaver	Zod, 2x Shael			522	6			2173			2	3
Grief		Phase Blade [-30]		433	5			2165			1	1
eOath 320ED	Highland Blade [-5]		513	6			2139			2	2
eOath 320ED	Colossus Sword [10]		573	7			2048			2	2
eRibcracker	Upped, Zod			594	8			1855			2	1
Tombreaver	3x Shael			348	5			1739			2	3
Grief		Berserker Axe [0]		448	7			1598			1	2
eBotD		Berserker Axe [0]		356	6			1484			1	2
Ribcracker	Upped, Shael			412	7			1470			2	1
eBotD		War Spike [-10]			293	5			1463			2	1
Griswold's	4x 40/15			200	4			1250			1	1
eOath 320ED	Berserker Axe [0]		299	6			1247			1	2
Burrito Cannon	Upped, Shael			295	6			1227			2	1
Griswold's	4x Shael			136	3			1133			1	1
eOath 320ED	Small Crescent [10]		309	7			1103			1	1
eOath 320ED	War Spike [-10]			246	6			1024			1	1
IK maul [10]	2x Shael			275	7			980			2	1
Last Wish is a bad choice since it lacks IAS and will be pretty slow. You could wear it off-hand, but there's really no reason to do that since there aren't any better choices than a Reaper's/Might merc. If it's ED you're after, use a Might merc and wear Beast off-hand. Dual LWs is going to get you a high level of Might but unfortunately won't make up for your attack speed. Another interesting option (which is what I use) is Azurewrath off-hand. The Sanctuary aura allows you to cut through the majority of physical immunes.

You can WSM bug a wolfbarb but that'll be problematic if you're switching weapons constantly...
 
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zaphodbrx

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

By the way, all of your links just go to the main forum page.
 

Snowstorm

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Sweet, thanks for this table, it will help to pick a more optimal weapon for weapon switch 2. Or two if you dual wield. I considered Last Wish also for the Fade aura to max resistance in wolf form, but even unmaxed, I am fine in PvM. I have to admit that it lacks attack speed though and has no leech.

You will be switching weapons often.

By the way, all of your links just go to the main forum page.
That's intended, I didn't find a tool to color text in a post so I used hyperlink to highlight some of the text!


 

Dodgydave

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

I second Azurewrath as a nice off hand weapon in Wolf-form. Both your attacks will be physical based so the Sanctuary aura is a nice touch for bypassing undead physical resistance.

Very interesting character though.
 

Snowstorm

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Thanks, I edited the guide a bit to use instead and to include your suggestions for weapon switch 2.
 

zaphodbrx

Diabloii.Net Member
Re: The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

Your guide was an inspiration to me to make my holy bolting palabear. You were right, one can make an effective shifter/caster hybrid. and switching in-out isn't that troublesome.

I might try this build sometime. Though I would still max out mastery.
 

JoeJoeKnuttz

Diabloii.Net Member
The Wolf Singer Barbarian (1.13 guide)

1.13 Wolf Singer Barbarian (War Cry Barbarian and Wolf Barbarian hybrid)
By Snowstorm (aka Diabolo)

The barbarians are renowned for their strength in battle. These warriors developed a kinship with the land and have learned to harness the primal energies in nature to accomplish incredible feats of strength. Some barbarians use these mystical powers to become experts at supporting, leading and commanding a group with their voice, shouting and singing in battle. A leader needs a strong voice that will be heard in the chaos of combat by his friends, to grant them courage, and his foes, to strike fear into their hearts. Those who achieve this make powerful allies that lead their group to victory while protecting them. Barbarians also share a distant kinship with the druids and a few of them have managed to preserve or learn the power to transform into a beast to gain superhuman strength and ferocity for battle.

Although they are extremely rare, some barbarians manage to fully master both of these talents. Those who achieve this become entirely something else. Capable of leading and supporting a whole group in a battle or able to turn into a wolf to defeat any enemy in single combat, they can adapt to many situation by employing the strategy that favors them best.


This Barbarian is a hybrid of a wolf barbarian and a War Cry barbarian. It is extremely viable in hell difficulty PvM and can also stand a chance in more casual PvP. You will have to make adaptations to this guide if you really want to optimize your build for PvP though.

Wolf Singer also brings that cool image of a wolf howling with the moon in the background and I think it's great to have this barbarian using Wolfhowl at its maximum potential. The name of that single item fully represents the whole build!

Okay, backstory and poetic commentaries aside, lets jump right into the build now!
Oh and ignore all links in the post, it's just to highlight the text.

[size="5][B]1) Skills[/B][/size]

0-1 [highlight]Bash [/highlight]: Optional skill. It may be helpful while leveling up and if you plan to fight outside of wolf form, but it’s useless if you don’t plan to ever melee outside of wolf form again.
0-1 [highlight]Leap [/highlight]: If you can not get an Enigma runeword armor, you may need to leap to position yourself for War Cry instead, but this is far slower and much less optimal.

1-20 [highlight]Weapon Mastery[/highlight]: Place one point in the weapon type that you will use on weapon switch 2. Spend more if you want to hit harder in wolf form or to help you while leveling up.
1 [highlight]Increased Stamina[/highlight]:Requirement.
1 [highlight]Increased Speed[/highlight]: Two points well spent to run really, really fast in wolf form and quickly in barbarian form.
1 [highlight]Iron Skin[/highlight]: A point well spent for more defense.
1 [highlight]Natural Resistance[/highlight]: A point well spent for more resistances.

0-1 [highlight]Find Potion[/highlight]: If you want to have a belt always full of Full Rejuvenation potions, they drop often with this skill in hell difficulty.
1 [highlight]Shout[/highlight]: It helps everyone’s defense and is a nice boost.
20 [highlight]Battle Orders[/highlight]: It gives lots of life and mana and we need both.
1 [highlight]Battle Command[/highlight]: A point well spent for +1 to all skills
20 [highlight]War Cry[/highlight]: Your main attack spell outside of wolf form.
20 [highlight]Battle Cry[/highlight]: You want to max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] and because you can reduce someone’s defense by over 100% and their damage by over 60% which is great to hit anything more easily. This can help in PvP too from what I read.
20 [highlight]Taunt[/highlight]: You want to max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] and it can also be useful to force monster to walk towards you and get in range of your War Cry. It doesn't work well in PvP from what I read.
1-20 [highlight]Howl[/highlight]: You can max this skill for [highlight]War Cry synergy[/highlight] if you want. It can be useful for minion crowd control in some occasions regardless of how many points you spent here.

This build requires about 90 skill points to work properly which means you need to reach level 79 (including skill quests) to complete it and equip all the gears. You can keep improving it until level 99 by putting points in [highlight]Taunt[/highlight] or your [highlight]Weapon Mastery[/highlight]. You have to pick between a War Cry that deals more damage or hitting harder in wolf form and I think both options are fine and depend only of your playing style.

[size="5"]2) Statistics[/size]

Strength (enough with charms to wear your armor and the rest of your equipment)
Dexterity (enough with charms to hold your weapons, unless you plan to use a shield in wolf form in which case, you should get enough to reach max block)
Vitality (most of your points will be spent here, especially if you plan to PvP)
Energy (if you don’t plan to PvP that much, you should have plenty of life to survive and you could spare some points here to help you spam War Cry since this skill drains tons of mana)

With Battle Orders over level 40, each point spent in Vitality will give you about 10.5 life points and each spent in Energy will give you 2.6 points of mana (actually, this number can be more around 3.6 when you take into account items increasing maximum amount of mana). So it is not such a bad idea to spend some points in Energy for this build to get a decent amount of mana. However, mana and life given by items are also multiplied by these factors! So, if you are able to find these items, it is much better for this build to use a lot of charms granting mana rather than life to invest as many points as possible in Vitality instead of Energy!

3) Gears

Helm:
Well, this is a wolf barbarian so your only option here is to use Wolfhowl. Sadly it has a lot of variable modifiers so it might take you some time to find a good one. Notice that with +2 or +3 to Warcries and other nice bonus to stats, this helm is useful for our barbarian form as well as our wolf form.

At this point, I would like to let you take the time to fully realize how awesome this helm is for this build. We spent a gazillion skill points into different Warcries mostly to max up War Cry and very few points into skills that help us in melee and this helm alone grants you a respectable melee form including a special attack. And with all our + skill, you can reach a Werewolf form in the range of level 15-20 and a Feral Rage in the range of level 9-14. Overall, it gives you a lot more life, a lot more attack speed, a lot more life leech, a lot more attack rating, more damage and more run speed! I believe this is the greatest strength of this hybrid (to have the option to become strong in melee with a minimal amount of points spent in combat masteries and 0 points in combat skills).

You ask Larzuk to punch a hole in your Wolfhowl, and then you should fill it with a perfect Sapphire to get +38 to mana (that’s about +140 to your mana in reality with BO and items!). It’s a cheap trick and it works.

Still, I will mention that until you can wear Wolfhowl (level 79), a Harlequin’s Crest Shako is good for a War Cry barbarian mostly because of the boost to mana and the +2 to all skills.

Weapon switch 1:
Heart of the Oak (HotO) because of its huge +3 to all skills, 40% FCR, 15% increased mana and + 30~40% to all resistance. You should always shapeshift while those are equipped to benefit of a much higher level wolf form and after that switch to your melee weapon!

Another option is to equip Wizardspike bone knife. It’s cheaper, gives you a little more FCR, gives you considerably more mana, grants you twice the resistance HotO offers (but this is kind of overkill, you can already hit maximum resistance with two HotO, so it will only make a difference when you are affected by a Conviction aura).

You should use a combination of those two as your weapon switch 1 weapons (two HotO, or two Wizardspike or one of each).

Not having a shield is not a problem for PvM because War Cry stuns for an everlasting 10 seconds at skill level 46. It might be more problematic for PvP though since you don’t stun players 100% of the time.

Also, since we plan to spam War Cry, here are the Barbarian faster cast rate breakpoints:
0% - 13 Frames - 1.92 Casts/Second
9% - 12 Frames - 2.08 Casts/Second
20% - 11 Frames - 2.27 Casts/Second
37% - 10 Frames - 2.50 Casts/Second
63% - 9 Frames - 2.78 Casts/Second <--- reached with your two weapons!
105% - 8 Frames - 3.13 Casts/Second <--- what you are aiming for
200% - 7 Frames - 3.57 Casts/Second

Weapon switch 2:
This is your weapon switch for wolf form. Get a weapon that hurts here! You can find very good suggestions in the discussion of this thread bellow.

Your best option is probably an Ethereal Breath of the Dying weapon. So far, I have not tested other options than this one in game.

Grief could also be an interesting to deal a lot of damage, but on the other hand it doesn't provide a good mana leech to really help our barbarian form. You would need to equip an item like a Gloom’s Trap belt or a Crescent Moon amulet to make it work.

Should it be two handed or one handed? Two handed deals more damage and worked fine for me in PvM. Your resistances take a huge drop without the two weapon from weapon switch 1 though (especially if you don’t use Mara’s Kaleidoscope) so if you want maximum resistance and to be more cautious, you can take a one handed weapon (like a Berserker Axe) and equip a shield that compensate for your resistance drop. Sanctuary would work fine. If you plan to use a shield, then I guess it would be worth it to get max block rate and spend points in Dexterity. You will have max resistance in both forms with that.

There is also the option to dual wield weapons that oppens a lot of possibilities (thanks for mentioning it in the discussion)!

A Beast weapon sounds interesting not because it lets you turn into a Bear, but because it grants you decent damage, attack speed and a Fanaticism aura, but it lacks mana leech. There is not that much advantage in using the bear form since you can not use your Feral Rage skill in that form (which grants huge life steal and other nice bonus). It’s better to stick to wolf form.

An Azurewrath was also brought up as a good option to deal with most physical immunes if you are dual wielding weapons (thanks!).

Armor:
The only option I will mention here is Enigma. It’s really best to teleport to use your warcries efficiently and that armor has lots of other modifiers that are very good for you. You should set it in (at least) a Mage Plate since your base strength with charms already allow you to wear it. Keep in mind that with Iron Skin and Shout you can get over +500% defense so it doesn’t sound like such a bad investment at all to place a few points in strength and use a Dusk Shroud or perhaps even an Archon Plate to get 750 or 1500 more points in defense. An Archon Plate worked fine for me and, I managed to reach around 12500 defense in wolf form with that character without even the help of a Defiance mercenary.

If you can not get Enigma, I guess you can Leap around and try to find a good mage armor with + skills and boost to your mana. But frankly, you invested a lot in your FCR so try to get Teleport for this barbarian!

Rings:
Your best option is a Raven Frost and a Stone of Jordan. It’s a good combination that grants Cannot be Frozen and balance the benefits for your barbarian and wolf forms. Going for two Stone of Jordan might sound very tempting, but keep in mind that on top of a huge increase to AR, Dexterity and Cannot be Frozen, Raven Frost also gives you +40 to mana which means about 150 mana points with your BO and the rest of your gears!

Boots:
Gore Rider (or Goblin Toe) works well if you want to kill bosses faster in your wolf form.

Marrowwalk or Silkweave seems to be your best options for the barbarian form, but they are not that great and Gore Rider is best for the overall build.

Gloves:
I recommend using upped Frostburn to grant you more mana.

Or you can use upped Magefist to help you reach 105% FCR and to get mana regeneration.

There certainly are better gloves for when you switch to wolf form (such as Dracul’s Grasp), but I never bothered with switching them. It might be a necessity for PvP in wolf form though.

Belt:
Arachnid Mesh has only good modifiers for us and helps us reach 105% FCR.

Verdungo’s Hearty Cord is excellent for the wolf form and will give you a massive boost to life.

Gloom’s Trap has surprisingly good modifiers for the barbarian form and it increases your mana leech.

I have to mention Trang-Oul’s Girth because it grants Cannot be Frozen, 66 life and between 25-50 mana (again those number get multiplied by BO + gears!). So for builds that really want to focus on getting tons of mana by using two Stone of Jordan, it might be an option. But it fits better on a pure War Singer barbarian not using the wolf form.

Thundergod’s Vigor can be worth it to withstand lightning damage as well.

Do not use items like Nightsmoke for PvM. Stunned monsters don’t hit much. I do not know if it works for PvP.

Amulet:
Mara's Kaleidoscope is great for its universal skill bonus and its resistance for when you are in wolf form.

A crafted caster amulet or magical/rare amulet with skill bonus and over 5% FCR is very good too.

The cheaper option is to use Crescent Moon since it gives more leeching and a lot of mana (+45 on the item so about 170 total!).

You can also try to get Atma’s Scarab and switch it when you need to deal with physical immunes in wolf form since it has a chance to cast Amplify Damage when you hit and you attack quickly.

Charms:
You should try to get Annihilus, a barbarian Hellfire Torch and as many Sounding Grand Charms (+1 to warcries) as you can fit in your inventory. You can also add a bunch of small charms in there with other bonus (mostly mana, life or FHR). Again, I will reiterate that using charms granting mana is your best tool to get a high amount of mana while investing a minimal amount of points (or none!) in Energy.

Possible combinations that hits 105% FCR and use EBotD on weapon switch:

Balanced build (excellent setup):
Weapon switch 1: HotO and Wizardspike
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

High War Cry build (excellent setup, what I used):
Weapon switch 1: Two HotO
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: 10% FCR +3 Warcries skills amulet or 5% FCR +2 Barbarian skills crafted caster amulet
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

High mana build (seems less optimal to me):
Weapon switch 1: Two Wizardspikes
Belt: Gloom’s Trap or Trang-Oul’s Girth (and equip 2 SoJ)
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: 5% FCR +2 Barbarian skills crafted caster amulet
Boots: Silkweave or Marrowwalk
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ (unless you go for 2 SoJ).

Stronger wolf form build:
Weapon switch 1: HotO and Wizardspike
Belt and Gloves: Arachnid Mesh and Dracul’s Grasp or Verdungo’s Hearty Cord and Magefist
Amulet: Mara’s Kaleidoscope
Boots: Gore Rider
Other: Wolfhowl, Enigma, EBotD, Raven Frost and SoJ.

The "cheap" build: (I haven't tested how viable it is in hell, but those are the cheaper items I would try to get)
Weapon switch 1: Two Wizardspikes
Weapon switch 2: A weapon that hurts, possibly with a shield (make sure you have some mana leech somewhere in there)
Belt: Gloom’s Trap or Trang-Oul’s Girth
Gloves: Frostburn
Amulet: + Skill amulet or FCR amulet or Crescent Moon
Boots: Goblin Toe
Helm: Wolfhowl
Armor: Enigma (seriously that armor is important unless you want to hop around like a bunny)
Rings: Raven Frost and a FCR ring granting mana or AR or mana leech

4) Mercenary

Using a mercenary with Teleport is a lot of fun and even if you don’t equip yours with uber perfect gears, he should survive well enough with the help of your warcries, teleportation and occasionally potions.

Mine used Vampire Gaze (with Um), The Gladiator’s Bane and a Demon’s Arch (for the elemental damage) and rarely got killed unless I was careless (usually unable to teleport away because I was in wolf form). You can use a good Scintillating jewel instead to raise his resistances. If you can get ethereal gears, that’s great too.

I used an act 2 Might mercenary (pick an Offensive act 2 mercenary in Nightmare) to significantly improve my damage in wolf form, but you could go for an act 1 rogue with fire or cold arrows. My recommendation is to get some form of elemental damage to be able to deal with physical immunes because hitting them will be very slow and using War Cry will only stun them. Do not use an act 2 Thorns mercenary since stunned monsters don’t hit back and the Prayer one won't help much since you will have so many hit points (unless maybe you really want to use an Insight polearm on him and work in a party).

Speaking of Insight, it grants us an excellent mana regeneration which is very good for us since we are spamming War Cry and it costs over 50 mana per shot to cast. So it sounds like a great idea to use this runeword on your mercenary, but you will have more trouble against physical immunes. This is something I have not tried. Feel free to give it a shot.

5) Other informations

This hybrid barbarian really takes advantage of both of his forms.
Your party will benefit from Shout, Battle Command, a very high level Battle Orders and from the fact that you can stun monsters for a lengthy amount of time.
With your run speed, Teleport and your FCR, you can rush anyone or farm any instance about as quickly as a sorceress would.
You can kill Act 5 monsters in hell at a good speed and even if it is slower than pure dps builds, you will be very hard to kill.
With a single point in Find Potion, you can maintain your belt filed with only Full Rejuvenation Potions.
Howl allows you to make any minions in the screen flee to do crowd control to reach your corpse or in places like uber Tristram where you want to focus on the bosses without being bothered by the minions.
If a monster is too hard to hit for you, Battle Cry can significantly reduce its defence. This is very useful against a boss. Use it before turning into wolf form while you are surrounded by stunned enemies since it has a short range!

The main strategy with this barbarian is to Teleport or run into battle and stun with War Cry. If you are fighting a crowd of monsters, keep spaming War Cry to finish them off all at once just like a Nova sorceress would do. If there are few monsters or if you need to regenerate your mana, it is best to stun with War Cry, use Battle Cry then transform to wolf form and lastly switch your damaging weapon to leech back some mana. Use Teleport to position yourself on the battlefield where your warcries will hurt most or to retreat when things get to dangerous. You can also simply go in wolf form and kill stuff in melee old school style. That’s about it, running around at insane speed in wolf form is kind of fun to! You will only have trouble with physical immunes with this build.

Disclaimer! Before I finish, I need to mention that you can not use any warcries or teleport while you are in wolf form. This is only a minor inconvenience since you can change form quickly and you can prebuff in barbarian form while wielding HotO. The buff will stay when you switch to wolf form.

At level 90 when I wrote this guide, my barbarian had those stats:
Normal attack damage: 1660 and stun 10 seconds (War Cry level 47) or 2250-3500 while wielding an EBotD Champion Axe in wolf form with about 125% increased attack speed, over 50% life leech and 7% mana leech (the Might aura from my mercenary raised that damage to 3000-5000)
AR: 4750 (in wolf form)
Defense: around 13500 in barbarian form and 12500 in wolf form
Life: 4350 in barbarian form and 6400 in wolf form
Mana: 1580
All Resistance: 75% in barbarian form, about 20% in wolf form (that’s why Mara or a good shield helps while in that form rather than a two handed EBotD!)
Casting Speed: Over 105%
Run speed: 106% faster run walk and up to 150% in wolf form not to mention Teleport

I spent 177 stat points elsewhere than into Vitality (mostly into Energy). So I guess that, with good charms and if you are willing to sacrifice some mana, you can technically reach over 6000 life points in barbarian form and over 9000 in wolf form if you want!

6) Leveling

It will probably be easier to level him as a normal War Cry barbarian until you can equip Wolfhowl.

Place a point in each required skill as soon as possible and then max your skills in this order:
Battle Orders
War Cry (a few points to stun)
Battle Cry
War Cry (finish maxing it)
Taunt
After that, it’s really up to you.

If you want to max your Weapon Mastery, you might as well do it early (just after Battle Orders) to help you level up.

As soon as level 49, you could start using the Beast runeword to help you level up.

Once you reach level 70, you should have a strong War Cry barbarian and should be able to equip most of your gears.

The real fun begins at level 79 once you can equip Wolfhowl. You will then take full advantages of both forms and access to the Valhalla will be granted to your barbarian in the unlikely event that he perishes in battle!

7) Final Comments

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. I had a lot of fun building and playing with this barbarian. Feel free to post any comments below!

~ Snowstorm/Diabolo
this is actually my favorite build next to javazon. and you dont go wolf until bosses like diablo/baal. i call this build Wepwawet. always use storm shield on switch. and combos are the following on switch. aldurs boots and ber, ber, shael rhythm or grief and goblin toe. your resist suffer with goblin toe but you can change out frostburn for tri-res gloves. and yes pump a bit of points into mana as your life won't suffer much with this build. thanks for making this thread, i never had time to do it.. also one more thing! i rush full groups to hell with this build and have no problems with bosses in werewolf form.
 
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