Werewolf 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 weak to Poison Damage Cows, making Rabies the Skill of choice for our beef farming machine!. Heart of Wolverine grants Attack Rating and some Physical Damage for Feral Rage, allowing you to deal with Immune to Poison enemies as well.  This build is fast moving, like playing a game of tag... as a Werewolf.



Ideal Standard Setup

Rabies

Feral Rage

Werewolf

Heart of Wolverine

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 ✔
Has High Survivability


Requires Niche Gear
Limited Farming Spots
Only Really Excels In End Game



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, +x% Damage and +x% 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* deals 5 Physical Damage attacks on a single target or five hits on five separate targets.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Heart of Wolverine* provides an additional Physical Damage and Attack Rating for you and your Mercenary, Summons, and Party Members.

Oak Sage* provides an additional Life for you, your Mercenary, Summons, and Party Members.

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 Life and Duration for Werewolf.

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

Note: This section provides you with the standard Stat Point allocation. Build Variants can require a different allocation!

Strength

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Strength your gear provides when equipped.

Dexterity

Allocate enough Stat Points into Dexterity to equip all of your gear. Take into account how much Dexterity your gear provides when equipped.

Vitality

Allocate any remaining Stat Points into Vitality after meeting Strength, Dexterity and Energy requirements.

Energy

Do not allocate any Stat Points into Energy. Mana costs are covered by “x% Mana Stolen per Hit” or “+x Mana after each Kill” on gear.


Essentials

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 easily identify the Most Important Stats on them.

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

Gear/Base Notes: Any Items with specialized or niche uses have a superscript that refers 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
WeaponsGrief Phase Blade
Plague Phase Blade
Oath Conquest Sword
Plague Bearer
Death's Web Unearthed Wand with Zod Rune (Low Durability)
x% Chance to cast level x Lower Resist when struck
Level x Cleansing Aura When Equipped
+x to All Skills
+x% Increased Attack Speed
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Enhanced Damage
Damage +x
Ignore Target's Defense

-x% Target Defense
-x% to Enemy Poison Resistance
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
x to Mana after each Kill
x Life after each Kill
+x to Rabies [Druid Only]
Off-HandStormshield
Head Hunter's Glory Troll Nest with 3x Rainbow Facet
Phoenix Monarch
Rhyme Bone Shield
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
Cannot Be Frozen
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
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% Increased Attack Speed
+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
Lore Cap
Wisdom Totemic Mask
+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 Rabies [Druid Only]
+x to Feral Rage [Druid Only]
+x Life
All Resistances +x
Cannot Be Frozen
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Soul Drainer
Steelrend
Venom Grip
Laying of Hands
Trang-Oul's Claws
Magic Gloves
x% Chance to cast level x Life Tap on striking
+x% Increased Attack Speed
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
Magic 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
Magic Boots
+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
Blood Crafted
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
RingsRare Ring
Angelic Halo1
Raven Frost
+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 efficient farming locations that make use of the build’s strengths. Other farming spots might not be as effective due to immunities or bad layouts.

Anything that has a in the "Starter" column can be farmed with the Starter Variant.

Act 1

AreaStarterRewards
The CountessRunes
Key of Terror
The PitAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
The Secret Cow LevelRunes
Runeword Bases
Charms / Gems / Jewels

Act 3

AreaStarterRewards
Travincal-Gearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold
Mephisto-Uniques
Sets

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
Nihlathak-Key of Destruction
Leveling
(Level 97-99)
Worldstone Keep / Throne of Destruction-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling

Mercenary

Your Mercenary serves an incredibly important role to the overall success of your build. They can be a front line tank, provide a pivotal Aura, and/or deal Physical Damage to kill enemies with Immunity to your Skill set.

Act 5 Barbarian

The Act 5 Barbarian is hired from Qual-kehk.
The Barbarian can be equipped with a One-Handed or Two-Handed Sword, a Body Armor and a Helmet (Including Barbarian Class Helmets). He attacks with Bash, Stun and uses BattleCry to lower enemy Defense and Damage.
Equip this Mercenary with Plague Phase Blade for a Cleansing Aura and a 20% Chance to cast Lower Resist when struck. Lower Resist increases your Elemental and Poison Damage dealt to enemies, and can even break some Immunities. Use Vampire Gaze and Shaftstop for a total of 50% Physical Damage Reduction keeping him alive for more Lower Resist casts.

Bash, Plague

Gear Progression

This Mercenary is only recommended with these items:

  • Weapon: Plague Phase Blade
  • Body Armor: Shaftstop
  • Helmet: Vampire Gaze

The Mercenary is hard to keep alive until you have the minimum gear recommended in this guide. 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. Keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Playstyle

General

  • Start your combat with feral rage to charge it up to its maximum. It provides you with Faster Run/Walk, Life Steal, Damage and Attack Rating bonuses, so keep it fully charged at all times. 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. This Skill applies Poison Damage Over Time that spreads to other close by enemies. While Rabies is doing its job, you have the option to run to the next pack or stay and attack with Feral Rage for additional Physical Damage.
  • Summon Grizzly and Heart of Wolverine or Oak Sage and keep resummoning them if they die, they 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.

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.
  • Use your Mercenary as an enticing piñata, making enemies group up and hit him. This gives the best chance to proc Lower Resist to help increase your Poison.

Breakpoints

Breakpoints in Diablo 2 are the minimum values required to reduce the frames of an action. Below are the important breakpoints considered for this build. For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth Resource: Breakpoints.

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)

Increased Attack Speed speeds up your attack animations. Weapon bases have different IAS breakpoints. Values for recommended weapon options provided below. Consult the d2planner for other bases.

Grief Phase Blade

Frames887654
Rabies Gear IAS06174461108

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery increases survivability. Aim for the 42% or 86% FHR Breakpoint.

Frames765432
FHR09204286280

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 to blocking.
  • Budget Example: Rhyme Gothic Shield
  • Mid Tier Example: Gerke's Sanctuary
  • End Game Example: Stormshield also has Physical Damage Reduction.

Build Variants

Budget

Setup

Rabies Druid Important Stats:

Plague Bearer, Rhyme Bone Shield, 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 Meditation. Insight Scythe, Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest, and Smoke Leather Armor are well rounded on a budget.

Skills

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

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip your gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Standard

Setup

Rabies Druid Important Breakpoints: 42% or 86% Faster Hit Recovery.
Death's Web grants insane damage and survivability stats. It has a Zod Rune in it due to the extremely low Durability. Bramble Dusk Shroud gives Poison Skill Damage and 50% Faster Hit Recovery. Another big ticket item is Head Hunter's Glory for it's, Resistances, Sockets, and +x Life after each Kill.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is a tank and a large source of your survivability and Damage. Equip him with Plague Phase Blade for a Cleansing Aura and a 20% Chance to cast Lower Resist when struck. This increases your Poison Damage and breaks some Immunities. Use Vampire Gaze and Shaftstop for a total of 50% Physical Damage Reduction keeping him alive for more Lower Resist casts.

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

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip your gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Setup

The Hardcore Fury Druid has 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 tank and a large source of your survivability and Damage. Equip him with Plague Phase Blade for a Cleansing Aura and a 20% Chance to cast Lower Resist when struck. This increases your Poison Damage and breaks some Immunities. Use Vampire Gaze and Shaftstop for a total of 50% Physical Damage Reduction keeping him alive for more Lower Resist casts.

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

Put enough Stat Points into Strength to wear your gear, Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block, and the remaining Stat Points into Vitality.


Summary

  • Remember to consistently re cast your Heart of Wolverine, Oak Sage, and Summon Grizzly.
  • Keep Feral Rage stacks fully charged for maximum efficiency.
  • Attack with Rabies in a "tag you're it" style. Ideally monsters are clumped up for it to spread around. 
  • If you need more DPS then use Feral Rage and Fury for additional Physical Damage.
  • Use your Mercenary as an enticing piñata, making enemies group up and hit him to increase the chance of Lower Resist procs and deal with Poison Immunes.
  • Keep your Battle Command and Battle Orders up at all times.

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

Good luck!


Credits

Written by BTNeandertha1
Reviewed by Teo1904

Changelog

Apr 17th 2022
Updated to Patch 2.4 - Changed Death's Web to Main Variant - Added Gear Options - Changed Mercenary