First off, I’ve been using this build with lots of +Life on Hit gear (not Lifesteal!). This has turned into an essential stat for Barbarians as they progress through the later stages of Hell and early Inferno. With enough +Life on Hit (I have about 1000) you can start to try out some new builds. One of my favorite ones is the awesome Whirlwind Barbarian build. Rather than being super defensive, the build is much more offensive. I personally enjoy running around and smashing face as a Barbarian rather than being super tanky. Here are the skills you will want to make this build.
- Bash (Left Mouse Click, Instigation) – This skill is all about the Fury generation. It gets your tornado/whirlwind up and running quickly.
- Whirlwind (Right Mouse Click, Hurricane – This is part of the bread and butter of the build. Whirlwind allows you to move through mobs, which is essential for creating the Sprint tornadoes right on top of monsters.
- Alternate rune – Dust Devils. This rune spawns off mini-tornadoes whenever you Whirlwind. Personally, I like the Movespeed bonus that Hurricane gives, but depending on your preference additional tornadoes is a good choice as well.
- Wrath of the Berserker (1 button, Thrive on Chaos) – With this rune, your WotB duration is increased for every 25 Fury that you gain. So combine this with the Battle Rage rune and you can keep up WotB indefinitely as long as you are critting mobs. For nearly all Champion Packs I can stay in Super Sayain mode the entire fight.
- Battle Rage (2 button, Into the Fray) – The entire build hinges on this skill and rune combination. Into the Fray has a chance to give you 15 Fury each time you crit. Thus, the more crits that you are getting the longer your Wrath of the Berserker can last.
- Sprint (3 button, Run Like the Wind) – The rune on this skill spawns little tornadoes when you run, and those tornadoes have a very high crit chance. This is essential for constantly getting Fury.
- War Cry (4 button, Impunity) – Again, you need this if you are just starting in Inferno. It is a huge boost to your defenses and is simply a no-brainer.
- Ruthless – Since this is a crit-heavy build, it makes sense to improve both your Critical Hit Chance and your Critical Hit damage. This skill greatly improves your DPS.
- Nerves of Steel – You will want the extra armor that all your Vitality stats give you. Until you get better gear and have been farming Inferno for a while, you will want the extra mitigation. However, if you find yourself surviving easily, you can switch this defensive slot for a more offensive one.
- Superstition – This skill helps both your elemental mitigation (which is super important when you first get to Inferno) and can increase your Fury generation. Simply great for this build.
The first couple times you try this build out, you might find that it doesn’t seem to be working just right. But once you find that big pack of monsters and get the rhythm to keep Sprint up, you will just start smiling at how much fun you are having being an Whirlwinding Barbarian. Some notes about this build:
- Constantly use Sprint otherwise you won’t be generating enough health and/or Fury.
- In order to keep WotB up the whole time, any Fury that you gain when you have maximum Fury does not increase the duration. Be sure to use Sprint and/or Battle Rage often.
- If you find yourself dying too often, check out some of the alterations to the build below, specifically switching out Bash with Leap.
Here are some variants on the build, that can help with either Fury generation, DPS, and survivability:
- Leap (1 button, Iron Impact) – Swap out Bash and use Leap. This can help with the survivability on Champion packs. The general strategy is to Leap into the middle of them, then Sprint away when the armor buff ends. Rinse and Repeat. Note about starting fights: Do Warcry then Battle Rage then Leap in and make sure you hit an enemy, otherwise you won’t have enough Fury to use Sprint.
- Overpower (1 button, Crushing Advance) – Swap out Bash to use Overpower. This is probably the most optimal skill choices for this build, but it is also the hardest to get going since there are no Fury generating moves. The tactic to start fights with this build is to Warcry then Battle Rage, and then get close to the monsters and use Overpower. If you have enough Critical Hits, then you should be fine and have enough Fury to start Sprint. Otherwise, you will need to let the enemies hit you once or twice so that you have enough Fury for Sprint. While in tornado-mode, use Overpower whenever it is up! Also, the rune here reflects 30% of melee damage to surrounding enemies which is nearly as good as Leap. Also, every time you reflect an attack it counts as a hit and will heal you (assuming you have +Life on Hit, of course).
- Weapons Master – I use this to replace Superstition when I find that the elemental damage isn’t a problem. If you choose an Axe or Mace you will see a huge spike in your Crit Chance (10%!), or you can go for a Mighty Weapon for additional Fury generation. By the way, the bonus is only given based on your main-hand weapon.
For a gear breakdown, including stat benchmarks for Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3 of Inferno check out our Barbarian Inferno guide. Act 1 is free, so definitely worth a look!