Rabies Druid Guide

rabies druid

Introduction

The Rabies Druid primarily focuses on dealing Poison Damage and Damage Over Time (DOT). Which is great for being able to attack and move on to other targets adding a consistent flow of gameplay. This build hyper-specializes in farming The Secret Cow Level which has high density of monsters that are weak to Poison Damage. The combination of Rabies for Poison Damage and Feral Rage for Physical Damage with summon support, we are able to clear every pack! The build centers around maximizing the Shape Shifting Skill Tree with some support from the Summoning Skill Tree.  The choice of summon support will largely dictate the direction that you take with your build. Oak Sage caters to players that want a massive Life pool. Heart of Wolverine is a better choice for those who want to maximize Physical Damage.

Ideal Standard Setup
Rabies
Feral Rage
Werewolf
Lycanthropy

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

Very Tanky ✔
Unique Playstyl
e ✔
Strong Summons

Has High Survivability

Lower Damage Build
Attacks Can Be Interrupted
❌ Requires Some Niche Gear
Only Really Excels In End Game



Skills

The Rabies Druid generally utilizes the following Skills:

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Oak Sage
2. Summon Spirit Wolf
3. Summon Dire Wolf
4. Summon Grizzly
5. Heart of Wolverine
6. Fury

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Rabies
2. Poison Creeper
3. Werewolf
4. Lycanthropy
5. Feral Rage

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Rabies* is your main damage dealing attack. Run up and bite your enemies with a Poison Attack that spreads to other nearby enemies.

Feral Rage* acts as a "Power Up" Skill that provides additional   Faster Run/Walk, Life Stolen per Hit, +xx% Damage and +xx% Attack Rating bonuses. A successful hit from Feral Rage triggers a "red ball" that will spin around your Character indicating its power level. The bigger the ball, the more powerful the stat bonuses.

Fury* will always deal the max number of hits shown unless the attack is interrupted. This means up to five hits on a single target, or five hits on five separate targets.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Heart of Wolverine* provides an additional + 7% Damage and Attack Rating per Skill Point. This can provide a large Physical Damage increase for yourself, Mercenary, Summons, and other Partied Characters. Resummon this whenever it dies due to monster damage.

Oak Sage* provides an additional + 5% Maximum Life per Skill Point. This can provide a massive Life pool for yourself, Mercenary, Summons, and other Partied Characters.  Resummon this whenever it dies due to monster damage.

Summon Grizzly* summons a grizzly bear to fight by your side and acts as a front-line tank.

Poison Creeper* summons a Vine pet that inflicts Poison Damage to monsters it attacks, and that run through its Poison cloud.

Lycanthropy* is a passive skill which provides you with +5% Maximum Life, and 20 additional second duration for Werewolf form per Skill Point investment.

Werewolf* grants you the ability to transform into a Werewolf! When in Werewolf form, you are granted Increased Attack Speed, Attack Rating, Life and Stamina.

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


Attributes

Strength
In this build, we allocate enough Stat Points to Strength to equip all of our gear. Be mindful of how much Strength your gear needs and how much it provides when equipped.

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 allocate enough Dexterity 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 allocate 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.

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refer to a Note listed here.
1) Angelic Halo Ring and Angelic Wings are great for boosting your Attack Rating significantly. You can even add a second Angelic Halo to stack even more Attack Rating!

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponsBuriza-Do Kyanon
Ribcracker
Tomb Reaver
Grief Phase Blade
Oath Feral Axe
Breath of the Dying Great Poleaxe
Plague Bearer
Death's Web
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Enhanced Damage
Damage +x
Ignore Target's Defense

-x% Target Defense
+x% Damage to Demons
-x% to Enemy Poison Resistance
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Rabies [Druid Only]
Off-HandStormshield
Head Hunter's Glory Troll Nest with 3x Rainbow Facet
Phoenix Monarch
Level x Redemption Aura When Equipped
+ x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Faster Block Rate
x% Increased Chance of Blocking
+x% Enhanced Damage
-x% to Enemy Poison Resistance
+x% to Poison Skill Damage

+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x% to Maximum X Resist
X Resist +x%
+x to Life after each Kill
Socketed [x]
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword
Wand of Lower Resistance
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
Level x [/d2planner-skill]Lower Resist[/d2planner-skill] [x/x Charges]
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch+x to All Skills
+ x% Faster Hit Recovery
X Resist +x%
Body ArmorsDuress Archon Plate
Rain
Treachery Archon Plate
Fortitude Archon Plate
Bramble
x% Chance to cast level x Fade when struck
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Enhanced Damage
+x% to Poison Skill Damage
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x Life
X Resist +x%
HelmetsJalal's Mane
Cerebus' Bite
Guillaume's Face
+x to Shape Shifting Skills [Druid Only]
+x to Druid Skills
+x% Faster Hit Recovery

x% Bonus to Attack Rating
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
+x to Feral Rage [Druid Only]
+x Life
All Resistances +x
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Ghoulhide
Soul Drainer
Steelrend
Venom Grip
Laying of Hands
Trang-Oul's Claws
x% Chance to cast level x Life Tap on striking
x% Enhanced Damage
x% Enhanced Damage to Demons
x% Enhanced Damage to Undead
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit
+x% to Poison Skill Damage
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x to Attribute
X Resist +x%
BeltsString of Ears
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
Thundergod's Vigor
Blood Crafted Belt
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Life stolen per hit
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x to Attribute
+x Life
+x% to Maximum Lightning Resist
X Resist +x%
+x Lightning Absorb
Damage Reduced by x%
Magic Damage Reduced by x
BootsGoblin Toe
Gore Rider
Aldur's Advance
+x% Faster Run Walk
x% Deadly Strike
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x Life
X Resist +x%
AmuletsThe Eye of Etlich
Highlord's Wrath
Corruption Heart Amulet
Angelic Wings1
+x to All Skills
+x to Shape Shifting Skills [Druid Only]
+x to Druid Skills
+ x % Faster Run / Walk

x% Deadly Strike
+x% Life stolen per hit
X Resist +x%
+x to Attack Rating
RingsChaos Spiral Ring
Angelic Halo1
Raven Frost Ring
+x to Attack Rating
+x% Mana stolen per hit
+x% Life stolen per hit

+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
Cannot Be Frozen

x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Shape Shifting Skills [Druid Only]
+ x % Faster Run / Walk
+ x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating
+x to Attribute
+ Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsGheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch (Druid)
Annihilus
+x to All Skills
+x to Druid Skills
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +x
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Reduces all Vendor Prices x%

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 Starter Variant.
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
The Secret Cow Level MediumRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels

Act 3:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
Travincal-HighGearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold
Fire, Lightning, Cold
Mephisto
(Durance of Hate Level 3)
-MediumUniques
Sets

Act 5:

AreaStarterDangerRewardsImmunities
Eldritch the Rectifier
(Frigid Highland)
LowGearing
Gold
Leveling
Cold
Shenk the Overseer
(Bloody Foothills)
MediumGearing
Gold
Leveling
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.
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 Reaper's Toll

Reaper’s Toll, Might
We recommend the Might Aura version, as it provides us with a significant damage boost to our Physical Damage attacks.
The Reaper’s Toll has a 33% Chance to cast Decrepify on striking, which slows your enemies down as well as increase any Physical Damage dealt to them. Decrepify can also break some Physical Immunities.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
The Reaper’s Toll (Ethereal)
Smoke
(Any Body Armor)
Treachery
(Any Body Armor)
Fortitude
(Body Armor, 700++ Base Defense)
Any Helmet
with Resistance / Life
Tal Rasha's Horadric CrestAndariel’s Visage
(preferably Ethereal)

Playstyle

General:

  • In combat make sure that your Feral Rage is fully charged at all times to give you Faster Run/Walk, Life Steal, Damage and Attack Rating bonuses. Each successful hit will increase the size of the swirling red ball until it is maxed out indicating the maximum strength of the skill.
  • Run at mobs with Rabies and bite them, which applies Poison Damage Over Time giving you the option to run or stay and attack with Feral Rage for additional Physical Damage.
  • For smaller density, or single targets use Feral Rage and Fury to quickly deal high Physical Damage.
  • Keep your summons up, recasting them when they die. Summon Grizzly and Heart of Wolverine or Oak Sage are important to keep around.
  • Use a Mercenary with The Reaper's Toll for Decrepify to help you slow monsters and deal more Physical Damage with Feral Rage.
  • Use Summon Grizzly in dangerous situations to take the heat off of you when needed.
  • While Fury can be a single-target Skill, it will try to target any monsters that come within rage. Try keeping your Summon Grizzly and Mercenary between you and incoming monsters to allow fury to prioritize high value targets.

Immunities:

  • Use Feral Rage and Fury to deal Physical Damage against Poison Immune monsters.
  • Use Lower Resist against Poison Resistant monsters to aid you in combat with more damage.

Late-Game:

  • At the beginning of each run, buff yourself by swapping to Call to Arms and cast Battle Command then Heart of Wolverine or Oak Sage. Cast Battle Command again followed by Battle Orders and finally Werewolf. Switch back to your main setup.

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 block by 1 Frame per Breakpoint.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
We do not target a specific Faster Cast Breakpoint. We do not rely on FCR to deal Damage.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
Increased Attack Speed controls how fast our Character attacks. In this build we aim for 17% Increased Attack Speed, which is achieved with the weapon Grief Phase Blade Note: Unlike other Characters, the Druid Werewolf form directly adds its Weapon's Increased Attack Speed, to the Weapon Speed Modifier. This means that IAS on Weapon far outweighs the importance of Off-Weapon IAS. Also 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.

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
Faster Hit Recovery controls how fast our Character finishes the Hit Recovery animation. In this build we aim for 42% or 86% Faster Hit Recovery, which is achieved with the suggested gear and Charms.

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 you will reach 40% Faster Run / Walk.

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary concern is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Life pool. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.
This build is Hardcore viable. If you are unaccustomed to this playstyle, we recommend trying this build on Softcore to gain experience on how to successfully pilot it.


Stat Point changes:

  • The only thing that changes for Attributes point investment is Dexterity. Invest enough points into Dexterity until you have reached the maximum Chance to block 75%. This value will change based on equipment stats, Character Level, and the Chance to Block on your shield.

Item changes:

  • The number one priority is your shield for a max block build. There are many budget, mid tier, and end game choices to choose from, but all options have some form of increased % chance of blocking.
  • Budget Example: Rhyme Gothic Shield
  • Mid Tier Example: Gerke's Sanctuary
  • End Game Example: Stormshield also has Physical Damage Reduction.

Build Variants

Starter

Setup
The Rabies Druid relies heavily on specific stats such as -x% to Enemy Poison Resistance, +x% to Poison Skill Damage, Faster run/walk, Resistances, Life, Attack Rating and Faster Hit Recovery. Because of the reliance on gear, the build requires a bit more of a budget before it starts to perform. Plague Bearer, Spirit Monarch, and Rain Light Plate are great budget options for this build and greatly impact the build's performance.

Mercenary
Your Mercenary is an important role for this build. The suggested setup provides your Mercenary a source of Might and Decrepify for additional Physical Damage. The The Reaper's Toll Thresher and treachery provides great survivability and increases overall DPS.

Skills
This is the Starter Variant of the Rabies Druid:

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Oak Sage
2. Summon Spirit Wolf
3. Heart of Wolverine
4. Summon Dire Wolf
5. Summon Grizzly

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Rabies
2. Poison Creeper
3. Werewolf
4. Lycanthropy
5. Feral Rage

Attributes
In this build we allocate enough Stat Points to Strength and Dexterity to equip all of our gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup
For the Standard Variant our goal is to stack damage, speed, and survivability for well-roundedness. Hit the 42% or 86% Faster Hit Recovery Breakpoint to help us recover quickly in combat. Grief Phase Blade has unrivaled damage as well as its -x% to Enemy Poison Resistance, this weapon allows you to make the most out of Rabies and Feral Rage. We also have Bramble Dusk Shroud for even more Poison Skill Damage and Faster Hit Recovery. We use Head Hunter's Glory Troll Nest for it's, Resistances, Sockets, and +x Life after each Kill.

Mercenary
Your Mercenary is a great additional source of Physical Damage from Might and Decrepify. [/d2planner-item]The Reaper's Toll[/d2planner-item] , Fortitude Sacred Armor, and Andariel's Visage give your Mercenary everything he needs from survivability to damage.

Skills

The Rabies Druid generally utilizes the following Skills:

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Oak Sage
2. Summon Spirit Wolf
3. Summon Dire Wolf
4. Summon Grizzly
5. Heart of Wolverine
6. Fury

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Rabies
2. Poison Creeper
3. Werewolf
4. Lycanthropy
5. Feral Rage

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
In this build we allocate enough Stat Points to Strength and Dexterity to equip all of our gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Set Up
For Hardcore we focus on having lots of survivability including Physical Damage Reduction, over capped Resistances to counter enemy Conviction Aura, 75% Chance to Block and 86% Faster Hit Recovery. The biggest item changes are Stormshield and Chains of Honor Dusk Shroud. Use Summon Grizzly more often to check for dangerous situations and have him tank.

Mercenary
Your Mercenary is a great additional source of Physical Damage from Might and Decrepify. [/d2planner-item]The Reaper's Toll[/d2planner-item] , Fortitude Sacred Armor, and Andariel's Visage give your Mercenary everything he needs from survivability to damage.

Skills
The Rabies Druid generally utilizes the following Skills:

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Oak Sage
2. Summon Spirit Wolf
3. Summon Dire Wolf
4. Heart of Wolverine
5. Fury

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Rabies
2. Poison Creeper
3. Werewolf
4. Lycanthropy
5. Feral Rage
6. Summon Grizzly (Remaining Skill Points)



Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes
In this build we allocate enough Stat Points to Strength as we need to equip all of our gear. Put enough Stat Points into Dexterity to maintain 75% Chance to Block with Stormshield. Remaining Stat Points are put into Vitality.


Summary

  • Keep your Battle Command, Battle Orders up at all times.
  • Remember to consistently re cast summons such as Heart of Wolverine, Oak Sage, and Summon Grizzly.
  • Keep Feral Rage stacks up for maximum bonuses.
  • Attack with Rabies in a "tag you're it" style unless you need more DPS then use Feral Rage and Fury for additional Physical Damage.
  • In Werewolf form IAS on Weapon far outweighs the importance of Off-Weapon IAS.
  • Use a The Reaper’s Toll on a Mercenary to fight Physical Immunities!

Guide by BTNeandertha1

I hope you enjoy this build and unique playstyle as much as I have in the past. Watching the Poison spread across cows is quiet satisfying as they Moo at you. Enjoy biting and spreading Rabies your enemies!

Good luck!