War Cry Barbarian Guide

Introduction

The War Cry Barbarian (or Singer Barbarian) decimates its foes with the raw power of his powerful warcry while being able to stack some of the highest Magic Find of any build in Diablo 2! With the incredible mobility of teleport granted by Enigma, and Crowd Control (CC) afforded by warcry this Barbarian can get into, and destroys every farming area in the game. Where it really shines is Elite Sniping and target farming specific Bosses. With massive Better Chance to Find Magic Items on the Weapon Swap and a high level finditem, this Barbarian build is only rivaled by even more niche Barbarian builds, as the best Magic Finder in the game!

The addition of grimward in Patch 2.4 provides an interesting tool for increasing DPS and breaking Physical Immunes!

Ideal Standard Variant

warcry

battlecommand

battleorders

finditem

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 75 before transitioning to it. It follows the progression of our Character Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 75.

Easy Playstyle ✔
Incredible Survivability ✔
The Most Magic Find Possible ✔

Build Benefits Scale With Skill Level ✔

Repetitive Playstyle
Requires High APM For Efficiency
❌ Cannot Farm Act Bosses Efficiently
❌ Best In Slot Gear Is Difficult To Acquire



Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. finditem
2. grimward
3. increasedspeed
4. ironskin
5. naturalresistance
6. leap

Max out the following Skills in order of priority:
1. warcry
2. Battlecry
3. taunt
4. battleorders
5. howl

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

warcry* deals damage in a radius around the Barbarian that deals Physical Damage and also Stuns targets hit by it. With a high amount of Faster Cast Rate, this can quickly CC and kill most monster types in the game.

* Faster Cast Rate Skills (FCR)

Utility

battlecommand* increases every partied Player's Skill level by 1 for every Skill they have some form of + Skills for.

battleorders* increases every partied Player's maximum Life, Mana, and Stamina by a percentage of their current maximums.

shout* increases every partied Player's Defense Rating by a percentage of their current Defense.

battlecry* reduces target's Defense Rating and Physical Damage from attack Skills.

finditem* gives monster corpses a chance to drop items from their Loot Table again. With enough luck, you can effectively double the amount of loot you can find.

Grim Ward* is used on a monster corpse (cannot be used on certain Undead monster corpses). It applies a Fear Effect which Slows and reduces enemies' Physical Resistance within its Area of Effect (AoE). It's Slow effect and radius both increase with its Level, but its -x% to Enemy Physical Resistance increases with Skill Points into Find Potion. This Skill is capable of breaking Physical Immunity.

leap* is a great mobility skill that knocks back enemies within it's radius and put them into Hit Recovery.

* 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

Allocate an appropriate amount of Stat Points into Energy for your Mana costs. You don't gain much Mana from your gear, and your Skills require a lot of Mana.


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 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.

SlotItem OptionsDesirable Stats
WeaponWizardspike
Heart of the Oak Flail
Call to Arms
Suicide Branch
Maelstrom
Spirit
Echoing Short Spear
+ to All Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+ Attributes
+ xx% Faster Hit Recovery
Off-HandWizardspike
Heart of the Oak Flail
Call to Arms Berserker Axe
Suicide Branch
Maelstrom
Ancients' Pledge
Stormshield
Spirit
Echoing Short Spear
+ to All Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Damage Reduced By xx%
+ Attributes
+ xx% Faster Hit Recovery
+ xx% Faster Block Rate
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms
Crystal Sword (6x Ist Rune)
Blade of Ali Baba (2x Ist Rune)
Spellsteel
Naj's Puzzler
Long Staff of Teleportation
+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Off-Hand-SwapHeart of the Oak Flail
Crystal Sword (6x Ist Rune)
Blade of Ali Baba (2x Ist Rune)
+x to All Skills
xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
HelmetsArreat's Face
Rare Primal Helm
Echoing Destroyer Helm of the Whale
Lore
+ to All Skills
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Damage Reduced By xx%
+ Attributes
+ xx% Faster Hit Recovery
Body ArmorEnigma Wire Fleece
Skin of the Vipermagi
Smoke
Myth
Stealth
wealth
Skullder's Ire
+ to All Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Damage Reduced By xx%
Teleport (From Enigma only)
+ Attributes
Glovestrangoul'sclaws
chanceguards
magefist
Safety Crafted Gloves
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Damage Reduced By x
+ Attributes
Beltsarachnidmesh
goldwrap
Cobalt Demonhide Sash of the Whale
Verdungo's Hearty Cord
String of Ears
+ to All Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate

Elemental Resist +xx%
xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Damage Reduced By xx%
+ Attributes
Bootsmarrowwalk
sandstormtrek
Aldur's Advance
wartraveler
Natalya's Soul
+ xx% Faster Run/Walk
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+ Attributes
Amuletsmara'skaleidoscope
Echoing Amulet of the Apprentice
Caster Crafted Amulet
+ to Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+ Attributes
Teleport (From Charges)
Rings thestoneofjordan
bulkatho'sweddingband
nagelring
Rare Ring
+ to All Skills
+ xx% Faster Cast Rate
Elemental Resist +xx%

xx% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+ Attributes
Telekinesis (From Charges)
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+x to Warcries [Barbarian Only]
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Attribute
+ Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsGheed's Fortune
Hellfiretorch
Annihilus
+x to Barbarian Skill Levels
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +xx%
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
MausoleumAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
The Countess-Runes
Key of Terror
The PitAll Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling

Act 3

AreaStarterRewards
TravincalGearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
PindleskinGearing
Gold
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 2 Desert Mercenary

The Act 2 Desert Mercenary is 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 Insight
Might Reaper's Toll

Insight, Might

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to deal with enemies that are immune to your main damage source.
Equip him with Insight for the high Mana Regeneration provided by Meditation Aura.

Reaper’s Toll, Might

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to significantly boost your Physical Damage.
Equip him with The Reaper’s Toll for a 33% Chance to cast Decrepify on striking, slowing down and increasing Physical Damage dealt to enemies. Decrepify can even break some Physical Immunities.

Gear Progression

Early-GameMid-GameEnd-Game
Insight
(any Polearm)
Insight
(Elite Polearm)
Insight Thresher
OR
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
(Ethereal)

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

Solo General

  • With your battlecommand, battleorders, and shout you can effectively double or even triple Life, Mana, and Skill power.
  • Use taunt to manipulate Ranged monsters as well as high danger targets, which moves towards your position until they get into melee range and begin attacking again.
  • Use howl to literally scare off everything other than the bosses of Elite packs to better target valuable targets and not waste time clearing through trash mobs.
  • Prioritize hunting Super Uniques to get the greatest benefit from your Magic Find and finditem.
  • leaping onto a pack like Pindleskin gives you just enough time to begin using warcry to quickly CC and begin damaging your targets. This typically gives your mercenary enough time to finish approaching and they should be able to get a few hits in before the boss of the pack dies.

Multiplayer General

  • In Multiplayer games your primary concerns are buffing and Crowd Control (CC).
  • With your battlecommand, battleorders, and shout you can effectively double or even triple your team member's defensives.
  • Using leap by targeting right on top of your Barbarian initiates very fast "short hops" which get the full benefit of your leap radius. At high Skill levels this pushes every monster on the visible screen and put them into Hit Recovery.
  • After your team finishes mopping up the Elite packs, you can use finditem for an extra chance of finding good loot.
  • If you're partied with a lot of Attack Skill users and there is no Necromancer for curses, you can use your battlecry to reduce monster's Physical Damage and Defense to increase your parties' Hit Chance.
  • Use taunt to manipulate Ranged monsters as well as high danger targets, which moves towards your position until they get into melee range and begin attacking again.
  • Once you kill your targets, make sure to finditem for chances at extra loot.

Immunities

  • grimward can break barely Immune to Physical monsters (exactly 100% Resistant) unless you increase your Skill allocation to findpotion. Cast on the first corpse of a pack you're fighting to apply its Curse to all the other minions. Cannot be cast on Undead monster corpses.
  • Our Mercenary will apply decrepify once you have enough Mana to swap over to a The Reaper’s Toll

Late-Game

  • Once you have access to teleport you can begin Telestomping Elite packs, howl to clear minions if things get dicey, but typically just spamming warcry because the Stun effect permanently CC's most monsters.
  • Because of your lower DPS potential you want to focus clearing densely packed areas and ignore act Bosses. Their Physical Damage Reduction and high Life totals typically make them inefficient targets.

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.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)

Faster Cast Rate speeds up your casting animation for spells. Aim for at least the 200% FCR Breakpoint. Note: FCR only controls the animation speed of the Character, and not any internal or global Cooldowns spells have.

Frames13121110987
FCR09203763105200

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery increases survivability. Aim for at least the 48% FHR Breakpoint.

Frames9876543
FHR0715274886200

Hardcore

For all Hardcore gameplay, your primary focus is increasing your Resistances, Damage Reduction, Chance to Block and Maximum Life. This can mean sacrificing overall power level for a more secure playstyle.
This build can become Hardcore viable with key changes to the Skills, Stat Point allocation, and items. Review the changes below before building this character, as they may differ significantly from the normal build.

Stat Point Changes

  • We place 130 points into Dexterity to hit 75% Chance to Block with Stormshield

Skill Point Changes

  • We put 20 points into ironskin for Defense instead of howl.

Item Changes

  • We swap out key pieces for more survivability. Stormshield for Physical Damage Reduction and Chance to Block.
  • Corruption Clasp Amulet for more Life, Resistance, and Dexterity over Faster Cast Rate.

Build Variants

Standard

Setup

This Setup sacrifices 1 Frame off our cast speed, and some Magic Find to gain a much higher + to All Skill and ends up increasing our warcry DPS by ~1,000. This is typically better suited for target farming a particular Super Unique pack, as you kill more quickly, but also need to reset games faster.

Mercenary

Use a Desert Mercenary with Might Aura to significantly boost his Physical Damage. Equip him with The Reaper’s Toll for a 33% Chance to cast Decrepify on striking, slowing down and increasing Physical Damage dealt to enemies. Decrepify can even break some Physical Immunities.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. finditem
2. grimward
3. increasedspeed
4. ironskin
5. naturalresistance
6. leap

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. warcray
2. battlecry
3. battleorders
4. taunt
5. howl

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough points into Strength to wear your gear, enough into Vitality to reach 2500-3500 Life, then shift click Energy sustain your casting costs.

Hardcore

Setup

The biggest changes in this Variant are prioritizing Physical Damage Reduction, 75% Chance to Block, overcapped Resistances, and Faster Hit Recovery. We use a Stormshield to achieve many of these goals while maintaining high + to All Skills. We also swap to a Caster Crafted Amulet to shore up some of our Dexterity and Life.

Mercenary

Since we are at the 105% FCR BP we drain Mana at exceptionally high rates and the Insight Thresher helps to mitigate that.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. finditem
2. grimward
3. increasedspeed
4. naturalresistance
5. leapattack

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. battleorders
2. warcry
3. Battlecry
4. taunt
5. ironskin

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

With our gear we need 130 Dexterity to reach 75% Chance to Block. The remainder of our points get put into Vitality.

Magic Find

Setup

This Setup reaches the 200 FCR BP (max cast speed) and stacks incredibly high amounts of Magic Find on the primary weapon swap, and additional Magic Find on the secondary swap for using finditem on Super Unique monsters. It also maintains high + to All Skills for warcry damage and battleorders buffing.



Mercenary

Since we are at the 200% FCR BP we drain Mana at exceptionally high rates and the Insight Thresher helps to mitigate that.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. finditem
2. grimward
3. increasedspeed
4. ironskin
5. naturalresistance
6. leap

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. warcry
2. battlecry
3. battleorders
4. taunt
5. findpotion

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Our gear wears itself and allows us to commit every Stat Point into Vitality.

Starter

Setup

The Starter build easily stacks Faster Hit Recovery, Faster Cast Rate, Resistances, and decent +x to Skills since the Barbarian can dual-wield Spirit Crystal Sword. The rest of the gear adds Magic Find, additional Life/Mana and any lacking Resistances. Due to the high Mana cost, and lower Damage output of warcry you're restricted to the Starter farming areas.

Mercenary

Since we are at the 105% FCR BP we drain Mana at exceptionally high rates and the Insight helps to mitigate that, from its meditation Aura.

Skills

Put 1 Point into each of the following Skills:
1. finditem
2. grimward
3. increasedspeed
4. ironskin
5. naturalresistance
6. leap
7. leapattack

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. warcry
2. battlecry
3. battleorders
4. taunt
5. howl

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough points into Strength to wear your gear then put the rest of your points into Vitality.


Summary

  • warcry applies a very powerful stun once it lands on monsters. Committing to spamming the Skill if often safer than kiting or moving.
  • At high FCR breakpoints warcry DPS is truly impressive and mops up Elites quickly.
  • The Barbarian is nearly unkillable once fully buffed. Don't be afraid to jump into danger to offer your team that vital support.
  • The Singer Barbarian is a powerful support in Multiplayer, even when fully committing to damage output.
  • finditem nearly doubles the amount of drops you get off monsters, and benefits from Magic Find.

I hope this guide inspires you to try the "Singer Barbarian". If Karaoke isn't your thing, at least you'll enjoy the benefits of the fastest casting frames, and highest Magic Find Diablo 2 has to offer. Once you begin raking in the GG drops you'll understand why this build is just so unbelievably strong.

Good luck! In Bocca al Lupo


Credits

Written by MacroBioBoi
Reviewed by Teo1904


Changelog

Mar 10th 2022
Updated for Patch 2.4 - Added Grim Ward - Updated Energy allocation - Added Reaper's Toll Mercenary on Standard Variant - Added Starter Variant