Werewolf Barbarian Guide

Werewolf Barbarian

Introduction

The Werewolf Barbarian similar to the Fury Druid is an extremely powerful melee build with high damage and Life potential! The build centers around the WolfHowl Barbarian helm to utilize Werewolf. The Wolf Barbarian requires very specific gear to maximize Damage Per Second (DPS) because of unique mechanics that apply solely to shape-shifted characters.

Feral Rage is our main attack in Werewolf form, and it provides additional Faster Run/Walk, Life Stolen per Hit, + xx% Damage and +xx% Attack Rating bonuses. With the Barbarian's powerful abilities Battle Orders, Mace Mastery, and Natural Resistance the Werewolf Barbarian is a BEAST! 



Ideal Standard Setup
Feral Rage
Werewolf
Lycanthropy
Mace Mastery

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 79 before transitioning to it. Check out our Barbarian Leveling Guide and our General Leveling Strategies to reach Level 79.

Very Tanky ✔
Plenty Of Gear Choices

Big Single Target Damage ✔

❌ Gear Dependent
❌ Weapon IAS Is Mandatory
Only Really Excels In End Game



Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Mace Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Damage

Feral Rage* from Wolfhowl is your only Damage Skill that also provides Faster Run/Walk, Life Stolen per Hit, +xx% Damage and +xx% Attack Rating bonuses. A successful hit from Feral Rage triggers a "red ball" to spin around your Character. The bigger the ball, the more powerful the bonuses.

* Increased Attack Speed Skills (IAS)

Utility

Leap* allows you to jump over and through objects, allowing you to clear obstacles you could not pass with walking or running. It also causes a radial Knockback effect to stun monsters. The jump distance scales with Skill Level. (Only works in Human Form)

Werewolf* transforms the Barbarian into a Werewolf! It grants Increased Attack Speed, Attack Rating, Life and Stamina while active.

Lycanthropy* is a Passive Skill. Every Skill Level adds +5% Maximum Life, and 20 seconds to the duration of Werewolf form.

Battle Cry* is an Area Of Effect (AOE) Skill used to reduce the Defense and Damage of your foes.

Mace Mastery* increases your Damage, Attack Rating, and Chance to Critical Hit with Maces and Staves (not indicated).

Shout* increases the Defense of all party members by a percentage of their current Defense.

Battle Orders* is one of the most iconic Skills that originates from the Barbarian. This Buff grants you and your party a percentage based amount of Life, Mana, and Stamina. It is one of the best buffs in the entire game!

Battle Command* grants you and your party +1 to All Skills for its duration.

Increased Speed* is a Passive Skill that increases your run and walking speed.

Iron Skin* is a Passive Skill that increases your Defense.

Natural Resistance* is a Passive Skill that increases your Resistances to all Elements and Poison.

* 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 and Angelic Wings are great for boosting your Attack Rating significantly. You can even add another ⁣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 Archon Staff
+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% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Deadly Strike
Off-Hand
Stormshield
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 Attribute
+x Life
+x% to Maximum X Resist
X Resist +x%
Weapon-SwapCall to Arms Crystal Sword+x to All Skills
+x to battlecommand
+x to battleorders
+x to battlecry
Off-Hand-SwapSpirit Monarch+x to All Skills
+ x% Faster Hit Recovery
X Resist +x%
Body ArmorsDuress Archon Plate
Chains of Honor Archon Plate
Treachery Archon Plate
Fortitude Archon Plate
x% Chance to cast level x Fade when struck
+x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x% Enhanced Damage
x% Enhanced Damage to Demons
x% Enhanced Damage to Undead
+x% Life stolen per hit
x% Chance of Crushing Blow
x% Chance of Open Wounds
+x Life
X Resist +x%
HelmetsWolfhowl+x to Warcries [Barbarian Only]
+x to Feral Rage
GlovesDracul's Grasp
Ghoulhide
Soul Drainer
Steelrend
Venom Grip
Laying of Hands
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% 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
Angelic Wings1
+x to All Skills
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
CharmsGrand Charm
Large Charm
Small Charm
+ x % Faster Run / Walk
+ x% Faster Hit Recovery
+x to Maximum Damage
+x to Attack Rating

+x to Attribute
+x Life
X Resist +x%
x% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Unique CharmsHellfiretorch (Barbarian)
Annihilus
+x to All Skills
+x to Barbarian Skills
+x to all Attributes
All Resistances +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
AndarielUniques
Sets
Jewelry

Act 2

AreaStarterRewards
SummonerKey of Hate

Act 3

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

Act 4

AreaStarterRewards
City of the Damned-All Item Types
River of Flame-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Chaos Sanctuary-All Item Types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Diablo-Uniques
Sets
Leveling (Level 97-99)

Act 5

AreaStarterRewards
Eldritch the RectifierGearing
Gold
Leveling
Shenk the OverseerGearing
Gold
Leveling
PindleskinGearing
Gold
Leveling
Thresh SocketGearing
Gold
Nihlathak-Key of Destruction
Leveling
(Level 97-99)
Baal / Waves-Uniques
Sets
Max Area Level
Leveling
(Baal for Level 97-99)

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 Reaper's Toll

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)
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

General

  • Switch to the secondary Weapon Swap (it gives you more + to Warcries) and cast Battle Command 2 times, Battle Orders, and Shout at the beginning of each run. Make sure that these buffs stay active all the time, they are essential to your survivability. Cast Werewolf and get ready to BLAST!
  • In combat use Feral Rage and keep it fully charged at all times to give you Faster Run/Walk, Life Steal, Damage and Attack Rating bonuses. Each successful hit increases the size of the swirling red ball until it is maxed out, indicating the maximum strength of the skill.
  • In human form Leap is a great way to move from place to place.

Immunities

  • Use a Mercenary with The Reaper's Toll for Decrepify to deal with Physical Immunes and dish out more Physical Damage.

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. Note: Unlike other situations, 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. Values for the recommended weapon are provided below. Consult the d2planner for other bases.

Archon Staff Breath of the Dying

Frames13121110987765
Feral Rage IAS0111233046576984101

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR) increases survivability. Aim for at least the 86% 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

  • Put enough Stat Points into Dexterity to maintain 75% Chance to Block with Stormshield.

Item Changes

  • Use a Grief Phase Blade and Stormshield for added Damage Reduction and Chance to Block.
  • Use Shimmering Small Charm of Vita over Fine Small Charm of Vita for more over capped Resistances.

Build Variants

Budget

Setup

The Werewolf Barbarian relies on specific stats such as:

Oath Balrog Blade, Duress Light Plate, and both the Angelic Wings and Angelic Halo are great budget options for this build and greatly impact the build's performance. Death's Hand and Death's Guard grant Resistances, Life Steal, and Cannot Be Frozen.

Mercenary

Equip your Mercenary with a Body Armor and Helmet that provides Resistances and Life. Insight is an easy Runeword to make that gives a great amount of damage and Quality of Life with Meditation. Hire the Might Aura Mercenary for extra Physical Damage.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Sword Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

Attributes

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

Standard

Setup

The Standard Werewolf Barbarian stacks damage, speed, and survivability for smooth gameplay. Hit the 42% or 86% FHR Breakpoint to recover quickly in combat.

Focus on Weapon IAS because Werewolf depends on it. Use Sharp Grand Charm of Balance for the additional damage and FHR.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is a great source of Physical Damage and Decrepify to break Immunities and/or lower Physical Resistances. This setup with 2 Ruby Jewel of Fervor in Guillaume's Face and The Reaper’s Toll allow your Mercenary to reach the 75% Increased Attack Speed Breakpoint.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Mace Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

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

Ubers

Setup

Stack x% Chance of Crushing Blow, Resistances, +x% Faster Hit Recovery, and overall survivability while being able to apply good damage. Hit the 42% or 86% FHR Breakpoint for quick combat recovery.

Use Ribcracker as our main weapon for the IAS and large amount of x% Chance of Crushing Blow. Dracul's Grasp gives us Life Tap for Life sustain. Thundergod's Vigor is an option against Uber Mephisto's Lightning attacks. Use Fade proc for more Resistances and Physical Damage Reduction from your Mercenary's Treachery Archon Plate.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is a great additional source of Physical Damage and Conviction. Conviction lowers the defense of bosses which increase the chance to hit them. This can be used for Lilith, Izual, and Duriel as they are difficult to hit as a melee character. DON'T expect your Mercenary to survive main Uber Tristram though!
Note: Use a Non-Ethereal Treachery so you can proc Fade on yourself.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Mace Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

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.

1 Handed

Setup

Use Grief Phase Blade and Phoenix Monarch, to stack damage, speed, and survivability. Get the 42% or 86% FHR Breakpoint to help us recover quickly in combat.

Phoenix Monarch gives us Redemption which sustains Life and Mana from corpses. Use Sharp Grand Charm of Balance for damage and FHR.

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is a great source of Physical Damage and Decrepify to break Immunities and/or lower Physical Resistances. This setup with 2 Ruby Jewel of Fervor in Guillaume's Face and The Reaper’s Toll allow your Mercenary to reach the 75% Increased Attack Speed Breakpoint.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Sword Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

Use the Scroll Bar to see Skill Point Progression

Attributes

Allocate enough Stat Points into Strength and Dexterity to equip all of our gear. Put remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Hardcore

Setup

Focus on survivability by adding Physical Damage Reduction, over capped Resistances to counter enemy Conviction, Maximum Chance to Block (75%) and 86% Faster Hit Recovery.

Item changes include Stormshield, Dracul's Grasp, and Shimmering Small Charm of Vita for the ultimate tank build!

Mercenary

Your Mercenary is a great source of Physical Damage and Decrepify to break Immunities and/or lower Physical Resistances. This setup with 2 Ruby Jewel of Fervor in Guillaume's Face and The Reaper’s Toll allow your Mercenary to reach the 75% Increased Attack Speed Breakpoint.

Skills

Put 1 Skill Point into each of the following Skills:
1. Leap
2. Iron Skin
3. Battle Command

Max out the following Skills in this order:
1. Sword Mastery
Mastery depends on the base Weapon used
2. Battle Orders
3. Natural Resistance
4. Shout
5. Increased Speed
6. Battle Cry

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

  • Keep Feral Rage stacks up for maximum bonuses.
  • Keep your Battle Command, Battle Orders, and Shout active!
  • In Werewolf form IAS on Weapon far outweighs the importance of Off-Weapon IAS.
  • Use a The Reaper’s Toll on a Mercenary to lower Physical Resistances!

Enjoy playing an unstoppable force in battle as a Werewolf Barb! When you didn't know a Barb could get more savage, there is always this build!

Good luck!


Credits

Written by BTNeandertha1
Reviewed by Teo1904