If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Diablo 4 Barbarian best build, skills, aspects, gear and gems

Be careful of the thorns! They will make you bleed.

Playing as a Barbarian in Diablo IV is all about brute-forcing your way through the dark corridors crowded with hellish creatures and, to achieve this, it's a good idea to know the best Barbarian build.

As expected based on the previous games of the series, Diablo 4 gives you some options of classes to play with. Even though they are all well-established archetypes in the fantasy genre, each class was designed to have a distinctive identity.

Probably one of the most classic ones, the Barbarian class is back and ready to get furious. So, to best prepare your character to use this class kit, here is the Diablo IV Barbarian best build with an explanation of how to play as the Barbarian, the best skills, the best gear, the best aspects, and the best gems.

On this page:

Diablo 4 Season Pass Explained

How to play as the Barbarian in Diablo 4

If you’re thinking about playing the Barbarian in Diablo IV, there are a few things you should know first. As one of the melee classes available in the game, you will always be close to enemies and susceptible to taking more damage. This means the Barbarian is inherently a class with a bigger health pool and can tank enemies. On the other hand, Barbarians aren’t famous as a class capable of bursting enemies or dealing big numbers, such as the Sorcerer class. This is a more slow-paced class, but still capable of inflicting a good amount of damage. And, in general, the Barbarian’s kit doesn’t offer a lot of utility in case you’re planning on running certain types of content with other players. One of the class’s positive features in this regard is the Barbarian capacity for crowd control.

The Barbarian was designed to either execute quick sequences of attacks or take enemies’ attacks to passively return the damage to them. Although the first approach works by using a build focused on Berserk, it requires a risky play style. For this build, we are going in the opposite direction, focusing on playing safer even though you need to expose your character to a lot of direct damage. The idea is to redirect the damage to enemies and make them bleed to death while you generate Fury to finish them off. Before we jump into the explanation of how you’re going to use each skill, it’s important that you understand two mechanics that are crucial to the build: Thorns and Bleeding.

In Diablo IV, the Thorn is a specific attribute that triggers the effect of damaging enemies every time your character is directly hit. Since as a Barbarian, you will be in the middle of the action, getting attacked constantly, this is an amazing stat to stack.

On the other hand, Bleeding is a status that some of your skills afflict, and that causes enemies to take damage over time. Again, the Barbarian is not the best damage dealer in the game’s roster of classes. But don’t underestimate how powerful bleeding can be. The concept behind this build is to take the most out of both effects. In order to use this build efficiently, you must work around a few skills and approach enemies with a specific mindset.

Diablo 4 Barbarian is a class to jump into action

First of all, you should remember that, in contrast to other classes, the Barbarian’s resource, Fury, is not replenished constantly. You must generate it either by taking damage or using skills. Because of that, you must approach each fight focusing on using your Basic Skill, Flay, or the Challenging Shout to lure enemies around you. It’s important to use this shout whenever it’s out of cooldown since it mitigates the damage you take and generates Fury when you’re hit. As you’re attacked, the Tough as Nail passive skill will also proc, inflicting Bleeding based on your Thorn value. After you get the enemies’ attention, start attacking with Flay since it raises your character’s Thorn value as well as the percentage of Damage Reduction.

Once this initial phase has passed, you have two options. First, you can use Whirlwind in case you’re fighting a large group of enemies. Or you can use Rupture, which damages enemies based on how much bleeding they have. While the Whirlwind is a good option most of the time, you inevitably run out of Fury to use it. Rupture is a good follow-up to Whirlwind since the latter also applies Bleeding and the former doesn’t require Fury to be used.

After this sequence, you can always pop your Challenging Shout again or use Iron Skin as a way of mitigating damage while you can’t use any other skill. Due to one of Iron Skin’s upgrades, you get healed while it’s up. Your last and most powerful ability is Call of the Ancients, your ultimate skill which summons three spirits, each capable of affecting enemies in different ways, from stuns to slow. And, even though it has one of the longest cooldowns, you should always use Call of the Ancients when it is up to maximize damage.

This is basically how you deal with encounters and the order you should use your skills. But remember that you can always run from enemies as you wait for one of your skills to get back if things don’t work perfectly for you.

Diablo 4 Barbarian best skills

In this section, we listed all the Barbarian skills you need to pick in each node in Diablo IV. When maximizing all of them, there are still going to be a few Skill Points left which you can use to unlock abilities that you can use in specific situations as you see fit.

Basic Node

  • Flay: This is your basic attack and the one responsible for inflicting Bleeding damage for a period of time. You want to also pick Enhanced Flay so you can unlock the Combat Flay upgrade. This one increases your Thorns and Damage Reduction stacking four times this effect.

Core Node

  • Whirlwind: With this attack, your character can move around while they spin their weapon hitting enemies around them. Because activating this skill costs Fury points per second, you can’t keep using it all the time. However, by picking its enhancement, you gain 1 Fury for hitting regular enemies and 4 Fury points for Elites. Go for the Furious Whirlwind upgrade to inflict Bleeding on enemies.
  • Endless Fury: This is a passive skill you find in the Core node that increases the quantity of Fury your Basic Skill generates when using Two-Handed weapons. With more Fury, more time you can spend spinning around killing demons.

Defensive Node

  • Challenging Shout: When used, this skill taunts enemies and reduces the damage you receive. But to get what we want from this skill, you must pick the Enhanced Challenging Shout – which increases your Maximum Life while the shout is active – and any of the upgrades. The Tactical Challenging Shout is a good option in case you feel you’re lacking Fury regeneration and the Strategic Challenging Shout is also solid if you want to increase your character’s Thorn value.
  • Imposing Presence: This is one of the passives you find in the Defensive node that increases your Maximum Life. Because other skills synergize with Maximum Life, this is an important skill to have.
  • Outburst: With this skill, you not only receive a flat quantity of Thorns but also some extra based on your Maximum Life.
  • Tough as Nails: Besides giving you extra Thorns, this skill also inflicts Bleeding damage based on the Thorns you have.
Using the right rotation of the Barbarian skills in Diablo IV can is the key to play this class

Brawling Node

  • Booming Voice: With this passive, you can increase the duration of your shouts to up to 24%.

Weapon Mastery Node

  • Rupture: This skill hits enemies causing a flat value of damage plus the total Bleeding they have. It’s important to know that whenever you use it, the Bleeding effect is removed from enemies, so you need to apply it again. You should get the Enhanced Rupture to add to this skill some area-of-effect damage and upgrade it to Fighter’s Rupture, which heals based on your Maximum Life.

Ultimate Node

  • Call of the Ancients: By invoking the three spirits to help you, this skill is great against single or groups of enemies. Once you have upgraded it to Supreme Call of the Ancients, it also becomes a good tool for crowd-controlling.
  • Tempered Fury: It simply increases your Maximum Fury, allowing you to stack more Fury points.
  • Invigorating Fury: This passive skill heals you based on your Maximum Life every time you spend 100 Fury points.

Key Passives Node

  • Gushing Wounds: In the last node you have access to in the Skill Tree, you can find this passive that increases the Bleeding amount based on your Critical Strike Damage bonus. Besides that, whenever you Overpower a bleeding enemy you create an explosion that deals Bleeding damage for a brief period.

Diablo 4 Barbarian best gear

When it comes to selecting the best gear for Barbarians in Diablio 4, it's important to keep in mind that it's difficult to know whether you're getting a piece of equipment with the best stats for your build. Due to this, you should prioritize using the ones that increase your Thorn, Fury, and Critical Strike Damage to synergize with your skills.

Now, when it comes to some good Legendary equipment to use with this build, we have some solid options. You can run a Horned Cudgel of the Dire Whirlwind, a legendary two-handed mace with an aspect that increases Whirlwind’s Critical Strike Chance by 10% for each second the ability is channeled – up to 40%. Another good option is the Dust Devil’s Circle legendary ring which adds to your Whirlwind the effect of leaving behind Dust Devils that deal damage to enemies. With this item, as long as you keep spinning, you increase the chances of mini-hurricanes appearing on the field to attack enemies.

In Diablo 4, there are some good weapons for the Barbarian

Diablo 4 Barbarian best aspects

As you progress through Diablo 4 and complete dungeons, new aspects become available to you in your Codex of Power. Considering this can be printed into your rare pieces of equipment, you should try to unlock them.

For this build specifically, there is the Needleflare Aspect (unlocked by progressing through the campaign), that increases the area-of-effect damage from your Thorns. The Aspect of Ancestral Echoes (unlocked at the Ancient Reservoir in Hawezar) is great too, since it adds the chance of summoning an Ancient whenever you use the Whirlwind to do the same action.

Aspects are a great way to improve your build as a Barbarian in Diablo 4

Diablo 4 Barbarian best gems

When it comes to gems for Barbarians in Diablo 4, Emeralds, Rubies, and Skulls are the best options. At the same time, you can spice your gear up with a Topaz, for example, in the weapon you use for Basic Skills.

Emeralds are at the top of the list because they increase your Thorn value when placed in pieces of armor. They can also increase your Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable enemies – the effect you get from Flay – if used in weapons.

Not as useful as Emeralds, Rubies are still a good option when used in your armor, because they increase your Maximum Life.

This Diablo 4 Barbarian build needs gems such as Emeralds to work perfectly

Now, Skulls are here as the gems with less priority since it doesn’t necessarily help the build by adding values or synergizing with skills. On the other hand, Skulls help with survivability, by either increasing the healing you received when equipped in armor pieces or regenerates life when killing enemies when equipped with a weapon.

Enjoy your time playing as a Barbarian in Diablo IV!

About the Author

Paulo Kawanishi


Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch