Berserk Barbarian Guide

Berserk Barbarian

Introduction

The Berserk Barbarian goes by many names. Some call him the "Zerk Barb". Others just "Zerker". And others still refer to him as the "Pit Zerker" - paying homage to one of his most known specialties. No matter what anyone chooses to call this build, it can be safely said that this Barbarian is an unrivaled Elite Hunting powerhouse. With the Teleport Cast Frames of a Sorceress, unmatched Magic Find stacking, and Find Item, there's no build better at farming ultra-rare Unique, Set, and Rare items.

The Berserk Barbarian takes full advantage of the ideal loot tables belonging to every Champion, Unique, and Super Unique monster (Elites) in the game. Isolating these money-makers with Howl and potentially double-dipping with Find Item, the Zerk Barb makes Magic Finding look clean and easy. Also, since Berserk deals Magic Damage, there is hardly an Elite that can withstand its onslaught.

Ideal Standard Setup
Berserk
Howl
Find Item
Teleport


While this build performs well in every Farming Spot in Solo gameplay or /Players1 in Single Player, it particularly excels at The Pit and Pindleskin farming - each of which offers its own unique advantage. In a full party the Berserk Barbarian is best at setting up Diablo for a player looking to reach Level 99. Acquiring Enigma is the only serious barrier to piloting this loot-manufacturing juggernaut.

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 75 before transitioning to it. Check out our Barbarian Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 75.

High Mobility ✔
#1 Elite Hunter ✔
Rewarding Solo Play ✔
Farms Most Hell Areas ✔

❌ Terrible Boss Killer
❌ Bad Early-Game Starter
❌ Atrocious Density Farmer
❌ Requires GG Gear For True Potential


Skills

The Berserk Barbarian puts Skill Points into all 3 Skill Trees.

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Increased Speed
2. Iron Skin
3. Natural Resistance
4. Battle Orders
5. Battle Command
6. Concentrate

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Berserk
2. Sword Mastery
3. Howl
4. Find Item
5. Shout

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Berserk* is your Primary Damage Skill. While hovering your cursor over a nearby target, using this Skill causes your Barbarian to violently swing his primary weapon towards the target, dealing Magic Damage. While using this Skill you have 0 Defense.

Concentrate* is a Backup Damage Skill to use if an Elite is Magic Immune. While hovering your cursor over a nearby target, using this Skill causes your Barbarian to violently swing his primary weapon towards the target dealing Physical Damage. While using this Skill you have enhanced Defense and Attack Rating. This attack cannot be interrupted.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Find Item* gives you a second chance at finding an item or items when used on a monster's corpse. The % chance is based on the Skill's Level. Your Barbarian's Magic Find stat is taken into account when using this ability.

Howl* causes all non-Elite/non-Boss monsters within this Skill's Area of Effect (AoE) to scatter away in fear from the casting location. This Skill's AoE, effect duration, and degree of scatter are all based on its Skill Level.

Shout* is a temporary buff that grants a significant percentage Defense boost to all partied Characters, Mercenaries, and minions within its cast radius.

Battle Orders* is a temporary buff that grants a significant percentage boost to the Maximum Life, Stamina, and Mana of all partied Characters, Mercenaries, and minions within its cast radius.

Battle Command* is a temporary buff that grants +1 to All Skills to all partied Characters, Mercenaries, and minions within its cast radius.

Sword Mastery* passively grants a percentage boost to Enhanced Damage %, Attack Rating, and Critical Strike (chance to deal double damage) while wielding a Sword Class weapon.

Natural Resistance* passively grants the Barbarian All Resistances +x based on its Skill Level.

Iron Skin* passively grants the Barbarian a percentage boost to his Defense based on its Skill Level.

Increased Speed* passively grants the Barbarian Faster Run / Walk based on its Level.

* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)
* Skills that do NOT utilize either FCR or IAS


Attributes

Strength
In this build we allocate as many Stat Points to Strength as we need to equip all of our gear at a minimum. Additional Stat Points into Strength (50-100 extra) are recommended for this build to increase Berserk's Damage, however.

Vitality
After you put your points into Strength and Dexterity, make sure to check if it is recommended to put Stat Points into Energy. Meet the suggested amount of Energy and put any remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Dexterity
In this build we only allocate as much Dexterity as we need to equip all of our gear. Be mindful of how much Dexterity your gear needs and how much it provides when equipped.


Energy
In this build we don't put any Stat Points into Energy. This build gets enough Mana from gear, buffs, Charms, and Mana Potions.


Miscellaneous

Gear Options

While every Stat in the Desirable Stats column is useful for this build, we highlighted the Priority Stats in Teal so you can review the recommended Items and more easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

Hover over any Item in the Item Options to see a pop-out with the full Item description.

Important: Make sure that you have 0 possible sources of Cold Damage on your gear as a Berserk Barbarian. Even 1 Cold Damage from any source, including from your Mercenary or inventory, can cause Elite monster corpses to shatter. Since Find Item requires a targetable corpse, having a source(s) of Cold Damage on your gear will significantly lower the Magic Finding efficiency of this build.

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refer to a Note listed here.
1) An off-hand 6x Ist Rune Weapon for big Magic Find must be made in a Phase Blade for fast base Attack Speed, otherwise it will slow your main-hand Berserk Attack Speed. A Crystal Sword here, for example, would make your Attack Speed noticeably slower.
2) Only use Naj's Puzzler, a Staff of Teleportation, or a Amulet of Teleportation for Teleport Charges if you have not yet acquired Enigma.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponGrief Phase Blade
Oath Highland Blade
Oath Cryptic Sword
Oath Balrog Blade
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Enhanced Damage
Damage +x

-x% Target Defense
+x% Damage to Demons
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Life after each Kill
Off-HandGemmed Phase Blade1 Socketed With 6x Ist Runes
Gull Dagger Socketed With an Ist Rune
Stormshield
Moser's Blessed Circle Socketed With 2x Ist Runes
Rhyme
+x% Faster Block Rate
x% Increased Chance of Blocking
+x to Attribute
X Resist +x%
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Weapon-SwapSuicide Branch Socketed with an Ist Rune
Wizardspike Socketed with an Ist Rune
Heart of the Oak Flail
Gemmed Phase Blade Socketed With 6x Ist Runes
Blade of Ali Baba
Gull Dagger
Harmony
Naj's Puzzler2
Staff of Teleportation2
Level 10 Vigor Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x Mana
Increased Maximum Mana x%
All Resistances +x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level x Teleport [x/x Charges]
Off-Hand-SwapSuicide Branch Socketed with an Ist Rune
Wizardspike Socketed with an Ist Rune
Heart of the Oak Flail
Gemmed Phase Blade Socketed With 6x Ist Runes
Blade of Ali Baba
Gull Dagger
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x Mana
Increased Maximum Mana x%
All Resistances +x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
HelmetsShako Socketed with a Cham Rune
Shako Socketed with an Ist Rune
Immortal King's Will
Artisan's Tiara of Luck
Tarnhelm
Gemmed Crown Socketed With 3x Perfect Topazes
Guillaume's Face
Arreat's Face
Crown of Ages
+x to All Skills
+x to Barbarian Skills
+x to Warcries [Barbarian Only]

+x to Masteries [Barbarian Only]
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
x% Bonus to Attack Rating
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x Mana
All Resistances +x
Damage Reduced by x%
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Socketed [2]
Body Armor Enigma
Skullder's Ire
Wealth
Gemmed Dusk Shroud Socketed With 4x Perfect Topazes
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x to Teleport
+x to Attribute
Increased Maximum Life x%
Damage Reduced by x%
+x to Life after each Kill
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
GlovesChance Guards
Laying of Hands
Immortal King's Forge (3-Piece Immortal King's Set)
Rare Gloves
Crafted Gloves
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x to Attack Rating
+x% Damage to Demons
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BeltsGoldwrap
Trang-Oul's Girth
Arachnid Mesh
Immortal King's Detail (3-Piece Immortal King's Set)
Death's Guard
+x to All Skills
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Faster Cast Rate

+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x Mana
Increased Maximum Mana x%
X Resist +x%
Cannot Be Frozen
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
BootsWar Traveler
Gore Rider
Goblin Toe
Immortal King's Pillar (3-Piece Immortal King's Set)
Rare Boots
+x% Faster Run/Walk
+x to Attack Rating
Adds x Damage
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
AmuletsCrafted Amulet
Crafted Amulet
Crafted Amulet
Highlord's Wrath
Mara's Kaleidoscope
Metalgrid
Amulet of Teleportation2
+x to All Skills
+x to Barbarian Skills
+x% Increased Attack Speed

+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x to Attack Rating
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x Mana
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level x Teleport [x/x Charges]
RingsNagelring
Rare Ring
Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
Dwarf Star
Wisp Projector
+x to All Skills
+x% Faster Cast Rate
+x to Attack Rating
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Lightning Absorb x%
Fire Absorb x%
Magic Damage Reduced by x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
CharmsFine Small Charm of Good Luck
Steel Small Charm of Good Luck
Shimmering Small Charm of Good Luck
Fine Small Charm of Vita
Steel Small Charm of Vita
Shimmering Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm of Good Luck
Fine Small Charm
Small Charm of Vita
Shimmering Small Charm
Resistance Small Charm
Sharp Grand Charm of Balance
Steel Grand Charm of Balance
Sharp Grand Charm of Vita
Steel Grand Charm
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Attack Rating
+x Maximum Damage

+x Life
X Resist x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsAnnihilus
Barbarian Hellfire Torch
Gheed's Fortune
+x to All Skills
+x to Barbarian Skills
+x to All Attributes
All Resistances +x
+x% to Experience Gained
x% Extra Gold from Monsters
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Reduces all Vendor Prices x%
+x to Light Radius

Farming Spots

The areas below are well suited for this build to farm efficiently. While this build can also farm other areas, we’ve selected these specific areas to make the most use of the build’s strengths. Please take special note of the danger level, clear speed, item types, and Immunities that define these areas.

Anything that has a ✔ in the "Starter" column can be farmed with the "Budget"-Variant below.
While there are other Farming Spots in the game, some Builds struggle to efficiently farm those Areas. This may be because the Monsters in the Area are Immune to your primary Damage type, or the Build lacks mobility to quickly progress to its objectives.

Act 1:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
The Countess
(Forgotten Tower Level 5)
-MediumRunes
Key of Terror
Fire, Cold
The Pit-MediumAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Fire, Lightning, Cold

Act 2:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
Summoner
(Arcane Sanctuary)
-LowKey of Hate

Act 3:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
Travincal
(Council Members)
HighGearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold
Fire, Lightning, Cold

Act 4:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
City of the Damned-HighAll item typesFire, Lightning, Cold
River of Flame-HighAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison
Chaos Sanctuary-HighAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Fire, Lightning, Cold
Diablo
(Chaos Sanctuary)
-MediumUniques
Sets
Leveling (Level 97-99)

Act 5:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
Eldritch the Rectifier
(Frigid Highland)
LowGearing
Gold
Leveling
Cold
Shenk the Overseer
(Bloody Foothills)
MediumGearing
Gold
Leveling
Cold
Pindleskin
(Nihlathak's Temple)
HighGearing
Gold
Leveling
Poison
Thresh Socket
(Arreat Plateau)
LowGearing
Gold
Cold
Drifter Cavern-HighAll item typesFire, Lightning, Cold
Nihlathak
(Halls of Vaught)
-HighKey of Destruction
Leveling
(Level 97-99)
Fire, Lightning, Cold or none
(Depends on his Affixes)
Worldstone Keep / Throne of Destruction-HighAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Physical, Magic, Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison
(Depends on monster spawns)

Mercenary

Your Mercenary can serve an incredibly important role to the overall success of your build. Whether it’s serving as a front line tank, bringing a pivotal Aura to your arsenal, or employing Physical Damage to kill monsters with an Immunity to your skillset.

Act 2 Desert Mercenary
The Act 2 Desert Mercenary can be hired from Greiz. Note: There are no limitations on hiring this Mercenary, meaning that you can hire one at Level 1.
He can be equipped with a Spear or a Polearm, a Body Armor and a Helmet. 
Every Act 2 Mercenary has access to an Aura and uses Jab as his base Attack. The Aura activates once the Mercenary has engaged in combat and remains active between traveling to and from town. The Auras available are based on what difficulty you hire the Mercenary from.

Might Insight

Insight, Might
We recommend the Might Aura version as it provides us with a Mercenary that can execute other Elites and minions while the Barbarian is killing his primary target(s) with Berserk. This type of Mercenary can also deal with enemies that are Immune to Magic, our primary Damage source.
Insight provides us with significant Mana Regeneration through its Meditation Aura. Guillaume's Face and Treachery further add to the Mercenary's Damage potential while avoiding Cold Damage on his gear (see the "Gear Options" section above).
Alternatively, Harlequin Crest, Skullder's Ire, and/or Tomb Reaver can be equipped on the Berserk Barbarian's Mercenary for a maximum Magic Find, Mercenary Elite kill-focused approach.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(Any Polearm)
Insight
(Any Polearm)
Insight
(Ethereal Elite Polearm)
Smoke
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Ethereal Body Armor, 700++ Base Defense)
Wormskull
(Helmet With Life Leech,
Resistances, and/or Life)
Tal Rasha's Horadric CrestGuillaume's Face


The Mercenary is hard to keep alive until you have the minimum gear recommended in this guide. To help survive various scenarios, remember you can drag Healing Potions onto the portrait, or shift + 1/2/3/4 to directly feed them a Healing Potion from your belt. The Mercenary also gains bonus Resistances from Thawing Potions and Antidote Potions.

If your Mercenary dies in battle, you can revive them from any of the Mercenary NPCs in each Act. This does come with an increasing cost, capping at 50,000 Gold. So keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General:

  • Make sure that you equip the weapon that you want to use Berserk with (such as Grief) on your main-hand weapon slot (left slot).
  • If you equip Harmony on Weapon-Swap, use its Vigor Aura to quickly travel through town and to run towards your Farming Spot. If you are using an item with Teleport Charges, use Teleport for short-distance traveling to target Super Uniques such as Pindleskin. Repair to replenish these Charges.
  • At the beginning of each Magic Find/Experience run, buff yourself by Weapon-Swapping to your + to all Skills and Faster Cast Rate-granting equipment and cast Battle Command 2 times and then Battle Orders and Shout once each. Then proceed to run towards the Farming Spot of your choosing. Make sure to continually refresh these buffs as soon as they expire (approx. every 3-5 minutes).
  • Upon encountering an Elite monster (Unique, Super Unique, or Champion), and while on Weapon-Swap, position your Barbarian as close as possible to the Elite and cast Howl to isolate it by scattering all nearby minion and regular monsters. If you have an item source of Teleport, use it to position optimally.
  • Once a target Elite is isolated, swap back to your main weapon loadout and use Berserk until the Elite is dead - this will usually take 1-3 weapon swings. If you have Teleport and there are other nearby Elites, "Telestomp" them and use Berserk to take them down.
  • Feel free to cast Howl at any time to scatter encroaching minion and regular monsters to prevent becoming surrounded or diluting the corpses on the ground with low priority targets.
  • Once the Elite or Elites in an immediate area have been killed, switch back to your Faster Cast Rate-granting equipment on Weapon-Swap and use Find Item on each Elite corpse. By "Horking" their corpses they have a chance of dropping loot twice!
  • Alternatively you can choose to use Find Item on your main weapon loadout if killing a single Super Unique such as Pindleskin, and/or if there is a significant difference in Magic Find between your main weapon loadout and Weapon-Swap.

Immunities:

  • Upon encountering Magic Immune Unique monsters and successfully isolating them with Howl, make sure to "Telestomp" them to immediately add your Mercenary's Physical Damage from his Jab attack to the mix. Then use your 1-Point Concentrate Skill to down these Elites with additional Physical Damage.

Late-Game:

  • While on your Faster Cast Rate-granting Weapon-Swap, use Teleport from Enigma to advance towards your Farming Spot or to jump from Elite monster to Elite monster while already inside of it.

Optimal Loot/Experience Farming Strategies:

  • The Pit Solo/1 Player in the Game - This loot-farming strategy is the source of this build's "Pit Zerker" moniker. Being a Max Level Area with lots of low Life Elite monsters in Solo gameplay on B-Net or /Players1 on Single Player, The Pit is a goldmine for the Zerk Barb with his high Teleport mobility and his Find Item Skill.
  • Pindleskin and/or Thresh Socket Solo/1 Player in the Game - No build can take advantage of these easily accessible Super Unique loot piñatas like the Zerk Barb can. After the Berserk Barbarian kills either one, he can "Hork" them for potentially 4 items per kill! For these farms you can swap your Helmet for options such as Immortal King's Will to stack your Magic Find to the max, and can even choose to forgo the Cannot Be Frozen stat entirely.
  • Uber Key Farming - Traveling to, isolating, and killing the Key Bosses is a breeze for any fully-geared Berserk Barbarian using Enigma.
  • Chaos Sanctuary Preparation in a Full Game - The Berserk Barbarian is uniquely equipped to isolate and destroy the Seal Bosses in Chaos Sanctuary. Even in a full game, this build can spawn Diablo incredibly fast by focusing on popping Seals, casting Howl, and assassinating the Seal Boss Super Uniques with Berserk. See the "Chaos Prep"-Variant in the "Build Variants" section below to learn more about this strategy.

Breakpoints

For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

All builds rely on specific Breakpoints for effectiveness throughout the game. Meeting Breakpoints for Cast Rate, Hit Recovery, and Block Rate increases the rate of casting spells, recovering from big Damage, and blocks by 1 Frame per Breakpoint.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
Faster Cast Rate controls how fast our Character casts Spells. In this build we aim for 105% Faster Cast Rate for Enigma Teleport cast speed, which is achieved on Weapon-Swap with the suggested gear. Note: Faster Cast Rate only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal or global Cooldowns your spells have.

Cast Rate Breakpoints

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
Increased Attack Speed controls how fast our Character attacks. In this build we aim for 42% Increased Attack Speed, which is achieved with the suggested gear. Note: Using other Weapon Bases requires different amounts of Increased Attack Speed to have the same effect. Please consult the d2planner to determine what values your alternative base requires.

Attack Speed
Breakpoints

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
We do not target a specific Hit Recovery Breakpoint in this build. FHR would not drastically increase our survivability, and focusing it would interfere with our primary objective of stacking as much Magic Find on our gear as possible.

Hit Recovery Breakpoints

Faster Block Rate (FBR)
We do not target a specific Block Rate Breakpoint. We do not rely on Chance to Block in this build.

Faster Run Walk (FRW)
There are no Breakpoints for Faster Run / Walk. With the recommended gear and Increased Speed, you reach 110% Faster Run / Walk. Please refer to Run / Walk Mechanics for more details.

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary concern is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Maximum Life. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.

The Berserk Barbarian can become Hardcore viable with key changes to the Gear, Stat Point allocation, and Skills. Review the changes below before building this character in Hardcore, as some of these changes differ significantly from the standard version of this build.

Gear Changes:

  • Stormshield instead of Gemmed Phase Blade: This is the most important Hardcore change. The % Damage Reduction and Increased Chance of Blocking granted by Stormshield along with its Cold and Lightning Resistances all drastically increase your survivability while you are using Berserk. If socketed with an Ist Rune, you can still stack some Magic Find on your off-hand.
  • Heart of the Oak Flail and Wizardspike prioritized on Weapon-Swap: These gear choices for Weapon-Swap make it easy to stack Resistances (see next bullet point) while casting Teleport and Howl, and Heart of the Oak Flail specifically grants additional + to All Skills for improved Battle Orders and Find Item. You may have to equip Arachnid Mesh in your Belt slot while using Heart of the Oak to make up for loss of Faster Cast Rate, depending on your Jewelry choices.
  • Stacking Resistances: If possible, and when necessary, make sure your Fire/Lightning/and Cold Resistances ("Res") are stacked beyond their default maximum values of 75 each (175 total Resistances in Hell) at least on Weapon-Swap to guard against Elite monsters with Conviction Aura. Stacking these Resistances 85 past their 75 default maximums (260 total Resistance) completely negates the Conviction Aura of any enemy. When choosing to stack Resistances, keep in mind the primary damage type(s) of the monsters in the area you want to farm. High X Resist +x% or All Resistances +x granting Grand and Small Charms can shore up your Resistances for this purpose. Resistances provided by Gloves, Boots, or Jewelry also help.
  • Faster Hit Recovery: If possible, aim for at least the 27% Faster Hit Recovery Breakpoint with Charms and/or Boots to improve recovery speed from big Damage. This provides additional safety especially while casting Teleport on Weapon-Swap where you have no Chance to Block. However, while having maximum Chance to Block (75%) on his main-hand, we mainly rely on the 20% Faster Block Rate Breakpoint attained by Stormshield.

Stat Point Changes:

  • Only allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to wear Stormshield.
  • Allocate enough Stat Points into Dexterity to achieve maximum Chance to Block (75%) while having Stormshield equipped.
  • Allocate all remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Skill Point Changes:

  • It is suggested to relocate a number of Skill Points from Shout to Battle Orders for increased Maximum Life on a Hardcore Berserk Barbarian. Since Shout is a Berserk Synergy, this will result in slightly reduced Damage output.

    See the "Hardcore" Build Variant below for additional suggestions and visuals.

Build Variants

Budge

Setup
The "Budget" Berserk Barbarian is built for Solo-farming Pindleskin, Thresh Socket, Eldritch the Rectifier, and Shenk the Overseer - the easily accessible Super Unique monsters in Act 5. For Party play with this setup, you can use Berserk to pick off stragglers and use Find Item on monster corpses left behind by members of the Party. Farming Travincal Council Members can also be particularly fruitful with a budget setup. Since we lack Enigma on this "Budget" build, we lack the ability to quickly travel to many of the Farming Spots, such as The Pit, that the standard Berserk Barbarian excels in; we also lack the repositioning capability to jump from Elite to Elite in these areas for the same reason. However, while actively using a Harmony on Weapon-Swap, we can quickly run through town to the Portal or Waypoint where the above listed Act 5 Super Uniques are located. We also use an Amulet with Teleport Charges on this build for limited travel towards these Super Uniques, as well as to reposition for the kill. For the "Budget" Zerker we make use of several lower-end gear alternatives that still provide decent Damage, decent Attack Rating, solid Magic Find, and Cannot Be Frozen. Suggested items are displayed in the planner to the right.

Mercenary
For the "Budget" variant we use easier to acquire Runeword Bases for the Mercenary's Insight and Treachery. We also use a Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest for the easy tank stats it provides. This Mercenary is capable of surviving, dealing moderate Damage, and performing its most crucial function as a Meditation Aura bot.

Skills
For this "Budget" build, there are no major suggested Skill Point changes from the standard Berserk Barbarian. However, putting additional Skill Points into Natural Resistance can help keep your Resistances above water when you don't have access to godly Magic Find Charms. Also, you should only expect to reach 53-55% Find Item with budget gear.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
Only allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to wear all of your gear. Next, only put enough Stat Points into Dexterity to wear all of your gear; alternatively, if you are lacking Attack Rating (below 9000), you can choose to put some additional Stat Points into Dexterity to shore up this stat. Put all remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup
This is the "Standard" Best in Slot (BiS) Berserk Barbarian featured in the beginning of the guide. It is the balanced "jack-of-all-trades" version of the Berserk Barbarian, capable of performing the most tasks well. This variant is the point of comparison for all other variants. It carefully balances solid Damage with high Magic Find and Teleport mobility on Weapon-Swap. This is also the ideal setup for Solo farming The Pit, the Zerker's strongest Farming Spot. And with a quick Immortal King's Will Helmet swap, the "Standard" build achieves maximum Pindleskin farming efficiency.

Mercenary
The "Standard" BiS Berserk Barbarian Mercenary is a Might Mercenary with Insight, Treachery, and Guillaume's Face. Andariel's Visage can be used for increased survivability. Alternatively, Harlequin Crest, Skullder's Ire, and/or Tomb Reaver can be equipped on the Zerk Barb's Mercenary for a maximum Magic Find, Mercenary Elite kill-focused approach.

Skills
The "Standard" Berserk Barbarian puts Skill Points into all 3 Skill Trees.

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills
1. Increased Speed
2. Iron Skin
3. Natural Resistance
4. Battle Orders
5. Battle Command
6. Concentrate

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Berserk
2. Sword Mastery
3. Howl
4. Find Item
5. Shout

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
For the "Standard" build, put enough Stat Points into Strength to wear all of your gear at a minimum. Additional Points into Strength will increase your damage, and thus one-shot potential. Next, put enough Stat Points into Dexterity to wear all of your gear. Additional Points into Dexterity will improve your Chance to Hit. Put all remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Chaos Prep

Setup
"Chaos Prep" or Chaos Preparation is all about Solo spawning Diablo in Chaos Sanctuary inside a Full Game (7-8 Players in the Game) as quickly as possible for a Player trying to reach Level 99. Since Diablo in High Player Count is one of the only significant sources of Experience for a Level 97-98 Character, this is a very important role for efficient Level 99 grinding. This variant of the Berserk Barbarian excels at performing this task with Howl and high Magic Damage on Berserk. The gear visually displayed in the planner to the right is tailored towards taking down the tanky, high damage output Seal Bosses, in addition to "chunking" Diablo. Items such as Highlord's Wrath, Guillaume's Face, Laying of Hands, and Gore Rider greatly increase our Damage output by providing more Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow, and Enhanced Damage. Arachnid Mesh helps us maintain the 105% Faster Cast Rate Breakpoint on Weapon-Swap. Stormshield provides Damage Reduction and Increased Chance of Blocking to assist with reaching maximum Chance to Block (75%). Magic Find is a secondary concern on this version of the Zerk Barb.

Mercenary
The primary concern for the "Chaos Prep" variant Mercenary is survivability in a full game. This is why we use Andariel's Visage instead of Guillaume's Face. Alternatively to what is displayed in the planner on the right, you can choose to use Fortitude and/or The Reaper's Toll to further improve the Mercenary's survivability and to increase his Damage output. With Decrepify procs to further sweeten the deal, the aforementioned gear options improve overall quality of life at the expense of Find Item potential.

Skills
Skill allocation for this variant is all about prioritizing Damage output. Putting 20 Skill Points into both Howl and Shout for maxed out Berserk Synergies is even more important here. 1 Skill Point into Battle Cry provides you with a valuable Skill that, when cast, greatly improves your Chance to Hit. While using Berserk to reduce Diablo's Life to prepare him for a quick finish by the Level 99-seeking Player, Battle Cry proves especially helpful. Skill Points into Find Item are a lower priority for this variant.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
First, allocate 50-100 Stat Points into Strength beyond what is required to wear your gear to increase your Damage for this variant. Then allocate enough Points into Dexterity to achieve maximum Chance to Block (75%). The number of Dexterity Stat Points required for this is based on your Shield and Character Level. Put all remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Setup
For the "Hardcore" mode variant, we aim for 50% Damage Reduction, maximum Chance to Block (75%), and stacked Fire/Lightning/Cold Resistances if possible to guard against taking extreme amounts of Physical and Elemental Damage while using Berserk and casting Teleport. For detailed information about the "Hardcore" Berserk Barbarian variant gear options/changes, consult the "Hardcore" section above. All recommended Hardcore changes are visually displayed in the planner to the right. For overall safer Farming Spots such as The Pit, you can opt to maintain higher Magic Find by using the recommended gear for the standard Berserk Barbarian such as the Gemmed Phase Blade socketed with 6x Ist Runes. However, keep in mind that without Chance to Block and increased Damage Reduction your Barbarian will be much more vulnerable, especially to Dark Archers.

Mercenary
As an extension of ensuring your Barbarian's survival, your Mercenary's survival is a priority for the "Hardcore" variant. This is why we choose to use Andariel's Visage here primarily for its Life Leech stat. However, we still use a Might Aura Mercenary for the extra damage.
Note: Holy Freeze from an Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Mercenary would prove harmful by shattering corpses, thus limiting use of Find Item.

Skills
For the "Hardcore" variant it is recommended to relocate anywhere from 5-10 Skill Points from Shout to Battle Orders for improved survivability at a small expense to Damage. No other changes are recommended from the standard version of the Berserk Barbarian.

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
In general, only allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to wear all of your gear. Then allocate enough Points into Dexterity to achieve maximum Chance to Block (75%). The number of Dexterity Stat Points required for this is based on your Shield and Character Level. Finally, put all remaining Stat Points into Vitality for as large of a health pool as possible.


Video Guide

Video Guide by DarkHumility

Summary

  • The Berserk Barbarian uses a skillful combination of Teleport, Howl, Berserk, and Find Item to efficiently farm for the rarest items in the game.
  • For the most part, make sure to cast Teleport, Howl, and Find Item on your Weapon-Swap to reach the 105% Faster Cast Rate Breakpoint for quick and seamless use of these Skills.
  • Take advantage of the Berserk Barbarian's strengths by farming Elite monsters in The Pit and the Super Unique Pindleskin in Solo gameplay or /Players1 on Single Player.
  • If you are lacking some of the best in slot gear for this build, make use of easier to acquire alternatives such as Oath and Trang-Oul's Girth to get to a functional Berserk Barbarian setup faster.
  • Stack as much Magic Find as possible while making sure that there are 0 potential sources of Cold Damage on both your Barbarian's and Mercenary's gear so that you don't shatter corpses needed for Find Item!

Guide by DarkHumility

We hope you enjoy this build! Quickly isolating Elite monsters and assassinating them for a chance at double loot is extremely fun and rewarding. Now get howlin', slashin', and horkin'!

Good luck!