Home Gaming The best Barbarian leveling builds and skills in Diablo 4

The best Barbarian leveling builds and skills in Diablo 4


Barbarians are a relatively simple class in Diablo 4: They smash stuff. However, Diablo 4 is underscored by math that’s so complex that even the simple act of smashing stuff becomes a dizzying equation. That’s where we come in, with our suggestions of the best Barbarian builds for Diablo 4 season 1.

Barbarians are big, muscular, and powerful. They excel at using Bleed to kill their enemies over time. And their unique weapon-swapping system means they get to have more Legendary powers at their disposal than any other class.

In this Diablo 4 guide, we’ve gathered and simplified the best Diablo 4 Barbarian builds for season 1. If you need even more information on item affixes or other more complex ideas, we’ve been sure to link out to the more detailed versions of these builds, as well as where to find their original creators.

Best Barbarian leveling build

Diablo 4’s Barbarian class

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

This build is based off Lexyu’s Barbarian leveling guide at IcyVeins, and is purely for leveling: i.e., allocating your 58 skill points between levels 1 and 50. If you want more detailed information about the item affixes you want to look for on your gear, or which other Legendary powers are great for your build, check out the original IcyVeins guide.

Best skills for leveling

Most Barbarian leveling guides you’ll find make use of Hammer of the Ancients as your primary skill, as it deals massive damage while remaining very cheap to cast. In this build, you’ll also use Frenzy, Death Blow, Rallying Cry, Leap, and Wrath of the Berserker.

Here are the best skills for a Barbarian leveling build, organized by the exact order you should purchase them in — bearing in mind that some skills require you to allocate a number of skill points in the tree in order to unlock them. As such, you’ll need to unlock new skills before enhancing existing ones:

  1. Frenzy / Enhanced Frenzy
  2. Hammer of the Ancients / Enhanced Hammer of the Ancients / Furious Hammer of the Ancients
  3. Combat Frenzy
  4. Rallying Cry / Enhanced Rallying Cry / Tactical Rallying Cry
  5. Hammer of the Ancients (ranks 2-3)
  6. Leap / Enhanced Leap / Power Leap
  7. Hammer of the Ancients (ranks 4-5)
  8. Death Blow / Enhanced Death Blow / Warrior’s Death Blow / Death Blow (rank 2-5)
  9. Wrath of the Berserker / Prime Wrath of the Berserker / Supreme Wrath of the Berserker
  10. Pit Fighter (ranks 1-3)
  11. Tempered Fury
  12. Furious Impulse (ranks 1-3)
  13. Walking Arsenal
  14. Hamstring
  15. No Mercy
  16. Expose Vulnerability (ranks 1-3)
  17. No Mercy (ranks 2-3)
  18. Swiftness (ranks 1-3)
  19. Thick Skin (ranks 1-3)
  20. Counteroffensive (ranks 1-3)
  21. Defensive Stance (ranks 1-3)
  22. Slaying Strike (ranks 1-3)
  23. Aggressive Resistance
  24. Prolific Fury

Best Weapon Expertise setup for leveling

Once you unlock the Weapon Expertise system for your Barbarian, you’ll want to place the two-handed sword in your Technique slot. This will cause all of your Hammer of the Ancients damage to make enemies Bleed.

Best Legendary Aspects for Barbarian leveling build

When you first start your new character, complete these three dungeons first in order to collect their Aspects. Then place them on a piece of gear (ideally jewelry, when possible). Just keep in mind that you should replace these Legendaries with new versions using the imprint system every few levels.

  • Aspect of Ancestral Force (Sunken Ruins dungeon in Scosglen) — Hammer of the Ancients quakes outwards, dealing X% of its damage to enemies
  • Aspect of the Expectant (Underroot dungeon in Scosglen) — Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by X% up to X%
  • Edgemaster’s Aspect (Oldstones dungeon in Scosglen) — Skills deal X% increased damage based on Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource

Barbarian Season 1 endgame build — Walking Arsenal

This build is based off of Wudijo’s Walking Arsenal Barbarian endgame guide at MaxRoll.gg, and is a general endgame guide capable of finding success in all activities. This guide assumes that you’re over level 50, have access to all 58 skill points, and are making progress on your Paragon Boards. If you want more detailed information about the item affixes you want to look for on your gear, or why these Legendary powers are great for your build, check out the original MaxRoll guide.

Best skill points for Walking Arsenal Barbarian endgame build

This build utilizes Upheaval as its core skill. It also uses Death Blow, Iron Maelstrom, Iron Skin, Rallying Cry, and Lunging Strike.

Since you need all 58 points for this build, the order you select these skills in doesn’t matter as long as you have the pre-requisite points in the earlier Skill Tree tiers. Here is how you should spend your Skill Points for this build:

  • Lunging Strike / Enhanced Lunging Strike / Battle Lunging Strike
  • Upheaval (rank 1-5) / Enhanced Upheaval / Violent Upheaval
  • Rallying Cry / Enhanced Rallying Cry / Strategic Rallying Cry
  • Iron Skin / Enhanced Iron Skin / Tactical Iron Skin
  • Imposing Presence (rank 1-3)
  • Martial Vigor (rank 1-3)
  • Swiftness (rank 1-3)
  • Aggressive Resistance (rank 1-3)
  • Death Blow (rank 1-5) / Enhanced Death Blow / Fighter’s Death Blow
  • Pit Fighter (rank 1-3)
  • No Mercy (rank 1-3)
  • Expose Vulnerability (rank 1-3)
  • Hamstring
  • Thick Skin
  • Counteroffensive (rank 1-3)
  • Defensive (rank 1-2)
  • Iron Maelstrom / Prime Iron Maelstrom / Supreme Iron Maelstrom
  • Heavy Handed (rank 1-3)
  • Walking Arsenal

Arsenal System for the Walking Arsenal Barbarian build

For this build, you’ll want to take Two-Handed Axe in your Technique.

Malignant Hearts for Walking Arsenal Barbarian build

Season 1 adds the new Malignant Hearts, which act as Legendary Gems for your jewelry. Each Heart comes with its own Legendary Power, which can alter your build significantly.

Wudijo recommends these three Malignant Hearts:

  • Caged Heart of Revenge
  • Caged Heart of Ignoring Pain
  • Caged Heart of the Dark Dance

If you’re struggling to find any of these Malignant Hearts, check out these alternatives:

  • Caged Heart of the Malignant Pact
  • Caged Heart of the Picana

Legendary Powers and Uniques for Walking Arsenal Barbarian build

To make this build work, you’re going to need powerful Legendary Powers and Unique items to augment your build.

Wudijo recommends these items:

  • Helm: Disobedience (dungeon drop) or Iron Warrior (dungeon drop) or Aspect of Might (dungeon drop)
  • Chest: Disobedience (dungeon drop) or Iron Warrior (dungeon drop) or Aspect of Might (dungeon drop)
  • Gloves: Weapon Master’s
  • Pants: Disobedience (dungeon drop) or Iron Warrior (dungeon drop) or Aspect of Might (dungeon drop)
  • Boots: Ghostwalker (dungeon drop)
  • Two-handed Bludgeoning: Overkill (Unique) or Accelerating
  • Two-handed Slashing: Encroaching Wrath
  • Dual Wield 1: Edgemaster’s (dungeon drop) or Accelerating or Smiting or Conceited
  • Dual Wield 2: Edgemaster’s (dungeon drop) or Accelerating or Smiting or Conceited
  • Amulet: Steadfast Berserker’s
  • Ring 1: Edgemaster’s (dungeon drop) or Accelerating or Smiting or Conceited or Berserk Fury
  • Ring 2: Edgemaster’s (dungeon drop) or Accelerating or Smiting or Conceited or Berserk Fury

Paragon Boards for Walking Arsenal Barbarian build

The Paragon Board system is very complex, and you’ll want to carefully pair your Glyphs with specific boards for your class:

  1. Starter Board / Might Glyph
  2. Warbringer / Exploit Glyph
  3. Decimator / Undaunted Glyph
  4. Weapon Master / Territorial Glyph
  5. Carnage / Wrath Glyph
  6. Bone Breaker / Mortal Draw Glyph

You should level your Glyphs to 15 in this specific order:

  1. Territorial
  2. Wrath
  3. Mortal Draw
  4. Might
  5. Exploit
  6. Undaunted

You can path your own way through the Paragon Boards following these basic guidelines. However, for the best results, follow Wudijo’s path exactly.

How to make a great Barbarian build

A barbarian sits next to a description of the barbarian class in Diablo 4.

Image: Blizzard/Activision via Polygon

Barbarians are Diablo 4’s only pure melee class, with the other classes having hybrid builds for multiple ranges. There are four main ideas that all Barbarian builds stem from:

  • Fury dumping (most popular in Diablo 4’s pre-season)
  • Weapon swapping
  • Bleed
  • Berserk

Fury dump builds make use of the Unbridled Rage Key Passive, which causes your Fury spenders to cost double the Fury but deal more than double the damage. These kinds of builds obviously require very steady Fury generation, as it’s easy to starve yourself. Berserk builds that use the Unconstrained Key Passive are all about keeping your Barbarian in the Berserk stage at all times, which nets you a hefty bonus. All Barbarian builds will likely use some skills that make them go Berserk, the Unconstrained Key Passive just enhances the effect.

Bleed builds use the Gushing Wounds Key Passive to create a critical strike heavy build that’s great for whittling down groups of enemies with damage over time and explosions. Weapon swapping builds offer what is almost certainly the most unique playstyle for Barbarians and takes advantage of the Walking Arsenal Key Passive. The idea here is that you’re constantly swapping between your skills and weapons to give yourself massive damage buffs.

When making a build, you want to have one of these Key Passives in mind and choose your skills accordingly. Thankfully skills that share certain aspects (like Bleed) are color-coded on the skill tree, and you can even use the in-game search function to find them all. Other Barbarian builds let you take advantage of mechanics like Thorns or Shouts. But they still typically end with one of these Key Passives.

Looking for other Diablo 4 builds? We have explainers on the Sorcerer, Rogue, Druid, and Necromancer classes.

Update (July 20): This guide has been reworked to focus on the best Barbarian leveling build for Diablo 4 season 1.

Update 2 (July 25): This guide now includes endgame Barbarian builds for Diablo 4 season 1.

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