The Berserker Rage Barbarian

This is a fun little build I thought up while leveling one of my Barbarians. I always like the passive skills that completely change the way you play. Berserker Rage is one of them. It’s far from the best DPS, but it has a fun play style and no gear requirements. You basically build Fury to the cap to get the Berserker Rage buff, then use Rend for high damage over time, followed by more Fury building to get back to the cap. By the time your Fury is at the maximum, Rend is ready to use again.

Strengths

  • Unique play style
  • No gear requirements

Weaknesses

  • Low DPS

Skills

Mouse Left Click – Bash (Punish)

Bash is the best Fury generator. It will quickly get you up to the Fury cap. It does pretty good damage on its own, but the Punish rune improves that even further. Not only that, the Punish damage bonus applies to all your other skills. Every time you use Rend it will be getting the Berserker Rage bonus plus the Punish bonus for even more damage. Bash should be used whenever your Fury is not at the maximum. Once Fury is capped use one Rend, giving it the Berserker Rage bonus.

Mouse Right Click – Rend (Ravage)

Rend is a pretty high damage skill. It’s unpopular because players like direct damage, but it does a very nice amount of damage. It gets improved even more by Bash’s Punish rune and Berserker Rage. Even though using Rend will reduce your Fury below the cap, the Berserker Rage damage bonus is applied for the full duration of Rend. Just don’t cast it when your Fury is less than full, and it will always get that damage bonus. Bash can be used in between Rends. If Bash’s Punish buff is still up, you can use Bash twice before refreshing Rend. Otherwise, use Bash three times to get the max Punish stack before refreshing Rend.

Rend can be used when playing defensively as well. There were several times while leveling when I wasn’t strong enough to tank a particular group of Elites. I could just hit them with Bash 3 times, hit them with Rend and then avoid them until Rend needed to be refreshed.

Keyboard 1 – Sprint (Marathon)

Sprint is just a utility skill for speeding up movement through the game. While leveling, a lot of time is wasted movement from place to place. Every time you hit a dead end in a dungeon, you have to wait as your character jogs slowly back to another uncovered area of the map. Sprint speeds that up greatly. Very little time is wasted. Because your Fury regenerates with Unforgiving, you will rarely run out of Fury using Sprint.

Keyboard 2 – Battle Rage (Marauder’s Rage)

Battle Rage is another damage bonus. The base skill has pretty nice damage bonuses, but the Marauder’s Rage rune adds even more damage. This, of course, improves Rend’s already high damage. Watch the buff icon, and refresh it as needed.

Keyboard 3 – War Cry (Impunity)

War Cry with Impunity is a great defensive skill that increases both Armor and Resist All. It is pretty much required in every Barbarian build to survive. The defensive bonuses are just too good to pass up. It also generates some Fury that you can use to refresh Rend. Sometimes new monsters will enter the radius of Rend just after you refreshed it. You can use the Fury from War Cry to refresh Rend early, still getting the Berserker Rage bonus.

Keyboard 4 – Earthquake (The Mountain’s Call)

Like Rend, Earthquake does gobs of damage over time. Earthquake normally has an annoying Fury cost to deal with, but not with The Mountain’s Call rune. The Fury cost is removed and the cooldown is even reduced. To get Berserker Rage with both Earthquake and Rend, always use Earthquake first. Your Fury will remain full, giving Earthquake the Berserker Rage damage bonus. You can then use Rend immediately after, giving it the bonus too. Also make sure that Bash’s Punish buff is fully stacked before using either of these damage over time skills.

Only use this skill against Elites and Bosses. The cooldown is too long for normal monsters. Even then you will sometimes run into Elites before Earthquake is off cooldown. Try to save it for the Elites that will will stay in melee range to take all of the Earthquake damage. It is especially powerful in chokepoints, where monsters have no where else to go to attack you but to enter Earthquake’s damage radius.

Passive 1 – Berserker Rage

This is what the build is named after. It completely changes the way you play the Barbarian. It doesn’t let you fight at a really fast pace, but that’s an okay tradeoff for a huge damage bonus. Rend and Earthquake can both get this bonus simultaneously as long as you use Earthquake first.

Passive 2 – Animosity

I mainly take this rune because it increases Bash’s Fury generated from 8 to 10 per hit. That makes 2 Bash hits generate a clean 20 Fury. Exactly enough to use Rend or Sprint. You will still need 3 Bash hits to stack the Punish rune to 3 stacks, but that buff lasts 5 seconds and will be refreshed every 2 Bash hits after that point until the battle is over.

Passive 3 – Unforgiving

Unforgiving is mainly for Sprint. It is just so nice being able to Sprint constantly everywhere you want to go. This will really speed up leveling times, whether you know where you are going or need to uncover the map. Unforgiving also means that you start out with full Fury in most battles, not having to waste time building Fury to the cap before using Rend. You only have to do 3 Bash hits to get the Punish rune buff going.

Weapon Type

Always use a Two Hander with this build. Rend and Earthquake do not scale at all with attack speed, only weapon damage. Look at the weapon’s base damage, not DPS (small numbers under the big DPS number). The higher that base damage, the more damage Rend will do. Assuming equivalent level items, a Two Hander should always have higher base damage.

Good Stats

You only need good defensives for this build. War Cry with the Impunity rune will do a lot of the work for you, but extra Armor and Resist All should be looked for. In addition, Lifesteal scales extremely well with Rend and Earthquake. Find a weapon with 3% Lifesteal, and you are set. For general gearing that applies to all characters, check out The Stats You Want in Diablo 3, my quick guide to stats that all characters should have.

Alternatives

  • Rend (Lacerate) instead of Rend (Ravage) – These runes are roughly equal in damage. Lacerate will do more damage, but to a smaller group of monsters. Ravage will do less damage per monster, but can hit a much larger group. I like to use Ravage for dealing with the ranged Elites that don’t like to stand close together, but Lacerate will do more damage in single target situations like when there is just one Elite left or you are fighting a Boss.
  • War Cry (Invigorate) instead of War Cry (Impunity) – Impunity is best for endgame because of the amount of damage it reduces from Elite monster special attacks, but while leveling you don’t have to worry about those much. Life regeneration can keep you alive from Normal through Hell difficulty. Impunity is not available below level 60 either, so use Invigorate until you get there.
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