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yes thorns build works. however the stats you need and the items you need are expensive.
you should have around 800 resist all, 70k hp, 15k thorns (before passive as it does not show increase on tooltip) and around 800 life on hit. you want high vit, resist all and thorns on all gear as well as some strength. you need stormshield, helm of command and string of ears for the -% physical dmg and extra block chance.
like i said, thorns build works, but the gear you need is insane.
I think thorns + life steal could turn out to be quite useful. Here is a build that I created using this idea: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/barbarian#WcRVkX!dVb!cZcaba. I have not tested this myself, however to reiterate studly's point, it would be fairly expensive. It would rely on high dps and all the stats mentioned above, but I feel like thorns is not utilized as much as it could be. With 15k thorns damage and the tough as nails and bloodthirst passives, you would get 675 life each time you get hit. When u start to hit the point where armor caps off, this essentially becomes an additional method of life steal. At the same time, I feel that health globe builds (pickup radius + health globe bonus + pound of flesh passive) would give you better survivability despite relying on chance to some extent. BUT...going for thorns would give you constant DPS, constant life steal, and constant AoE damage...could be very BADASS!
Edited by albanes3#1404 on 6/28/2012 2:35 PM PDT
I have been toying with a thorns build. I have 14536 thorns damage before passive and 21792 after. You can easily get 1500+ thorns damage gear on the AH really cheap at the moment to play around. If you keep a few pieces with 70+ all res and good stats you will not even notice the swap out on Act 1.
I was running a Sprint-WW build before toying with this and have not moved my skill off this setup.. trash mobs certainly die faster in Act1.. the gear alone and passive seem to help clearing.
I think overpower with crushing advance should be considered... it is an INSANE ability that is often overlooked.
I'm rolling thru all the abilities now to see if anything might randomly modify the damage as well. I do know that LOH does not appear to be triggered by it.
I'm thinking of trying this out on HC. So i'm keeping an eye out for RA/Vit/Regen life. I heard that this works with Schaefer's Hammer? Is this true? I thought a Storm Shield would be the go. I guess Dex is useless because when you dodge it wouldn't hit the mobs with thorns. I'm wondering if Melee damage reduced also affects thorns damage output? Maybe I'm just thinking Iron Maiden, % damage returned to attacker.
schaeffer's hammer + thorns + jim brown build is very doable
make sure you get a high end cindercoat, it can have over 5000 thorns damage by itself, far and away the highest amount on any single piece of equipment
critical hit chance and damage are important for schaeffer's hammer to be effective
The shock from schaeffer's hammer always has the same damage range, it is independent of dps, the only stats that affect it, in my experience are critical hit chance (which make the shock crit more) and critical hit damage (which make those crits do more damage).
Critical hit chance and damage are not important for thorns damage itself, they don't trigger it.
The Jim Brown (a form of bulldozer, what my barb has right now I think) is nearly attack speed independent this type of build allows you to use your ias slot on equipment for thorns and allows for the high crit chance/crit damage.
Here are some approximate maximums per gear slot:
shoulder: ~3500 (deathwatch mantle)
this maxes you out at about 24000 thorns damage
I would recommend using an SOJ so you'll want to reduce it to ~22500 thorns...
This is then obviously multiplied by tough as nails if you choose to go that way
This can be a substantial boost to TDPS as attacks received per second*thorns damage is your boost.
As mentioned before, minimize your dex, you should have 0 dex from gear if possible.
Andariel's Visage: 5%(lowest you can find) fire damage taken, 40% (highest you can find) chance to nova, str, max thorns
Death Watch Mantle: 35% chance to explode, Str, Thorns as secondary rolls. The knives from death watch mantle have 100% proc chance, or close to it, it is very powerful.
Cindercoat: Str, 3 sockets, 5000 thorns max thorns damage, plus just generally really strong stats make for a gret armor
Schaeffer's Hammer: High damage 25% lightning Skills, 50% chance to be protected, 200% crit damage
Revenge is an important skill here as you will be getting hit often.
You can get a lot of items with thorns damage at a discount because most people (in general rightly so) think that thorns suck
a quick for instance, you can get a pair of IK gloves with 170+ str, 10 crit chance 48 crit damage and ~600 thorns for like 20 milion
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