Solo Barb guide for Inferno Acts 1-4 (Old)

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This guide is obsolete but it still has some useful information. For a more up to date view on barbarian, check out my 1.0.3 guide

A lot of barbarians are having issues with Inferno difficulty, because the damage scaling is so punishing to melee characters. This is happening because Inferno damage is designed around having high resists, which a lot of people don't have yet. The truth is that barbarians are the most gear dependent class in the game, so things will get easier as more gear becomes available.

In the meantime, I've spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to farm up my own gear. From all the approaches that I've tried, by far the most successful is a tank barbarian with a lot of defensive skills. For a given level of gear, I find that using my tank build I can farm elite packs a full act above what I could using a dps build. This sucks, because it pigeonholes the barbarian into a specific build. However, I expect things to get better a month or so from now, when a lot of players will have enough gear to farm inferno act 4 and whimsyshire. Once it becomes a contest of speed rather than survivability, barbarian builds should diversify again.

Tank Barbarian:!bcV!accZac

This build is very versatile. It can kill most elite packs, all bosses, and skip through zones. It's designed to get 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor, reach bosses and then kill them for the bonus loot.

Frenzy(Sidearm): I brought this skill because I wanted to have good single target damage for boss encounters. The Sidearm rune was chosen because it has the highest single target dps (considerably higher than Maniac in this build), while simultaneously providing a little bit of aoe damage, since the thrown axes can hit multiple enemies.

Revenge(Provocation): This skill provides the staying power when you're fighting groups of enemies. I chose the Provocation rune to make the heal consistent, which is important because this build depends on it to stay alive.

Ignore Pain(Iron Hide): An amazing panic button, it has saved my life more times than I can count. It has a decent duration and short enough cooldown that I can depend on it to get me out of tricky situations, such as getting frozen on top of aoe damage. Also, for especially challenging encounters, you can dps while it's up and kite while it refreshes.

Leap/Iron Impact: Leap is a fantastic skill. It gives the build much needed mobility since you'll often be blocked by groups of enemies. Furthermore, the Iron Impact rune allows you to rotate defensive cooldowns (Leap/Ignore Pain/Leap). With my gear, the 300% armor increase means I take 60% less damage!

War Cry(Impunity): This is here mostly for the Impunity rune, since I stack resists and adding 50% to that is very effective. With my current gear, having this shout up reduces incoming damage by 33%!

Furious Charge(Dreadnought): This skill has two purposes. First, it complements the mobility provided by Leap, and if you use both in succession it is possible to deaggro packs that are chasing you. The second purpose is for the heal, which can be used as a backup if you get unlucky with Revenge, and also for miscellaneous healing when you are trying to kite and not enough enemies are around you for a Revenge heal.

Passives: Nerves of Steel, Superstition, Berserker Rage.

I chose two defensive passives to further reduce incoming damage. I chose superstition over Tough as Nails (12.5% reduced damage taken) because I'm not as concerned about physical damage as I am about elemental. Berserker Rage is almost a flat 25% damage increase, as you're often at full rage.

The idea of this build is to maximize effective health, and then take advantage of the percentage based heals from Revenge and Furious Charge becoming large compared to the incoming hits.

When fighting challenging enemies relative to your gear, I find it most effective to do damage while rotating Leap/Ignore Pain/Leap and then kiting with Furious charge until I can do it again.

I've made a series of videos showcasing the gameplay and my farming route for each Act:

Act 1:

Act 2:

Act 3: (post T-nerf)

Act 4:


I've also used this build to solo all of act 4 while rolling 5 stacks of valor, it took me about an hour.

The downside of this build is that the dps is very low. I make up for this whenever I can by farming with npc assistance, but I expect to be able to increase the offensive aspect as I get more gear. Once I can kill act 4 elite packs without dying too much, I'll transition into offensive stats while keeping survivability constant.

Stat Priority:

Resist All / Vitality (Try to get both on all pieces)
Life on hit (in the hundreds)
Attack Speed
% Life
Physical or Fire Resistance (Desecrate, Molten, Fire Chains, Mortar are all fire and problematic)
Life regeneration (Always nice for when you're kiting, especially during boss fights)

Furthermore it's important to maximize your block chance. I currently have 47% with a Sacred Shield, Justice Lantern, and Helm of Command, but I realize that not everyone will have access to that. Block % is the most important statistic on your shield and often overlooked. Also, try to have at least 3k blocked amount, which can outright negate most hits if you have high armor and resists.

Other desireable legendaries are the String of Ears belt to reduce melee damage taken (as high percentage as you can afford each point is better than the previous one), the Band of Fallen heroes is a nice ring with Resist and Vitality, the Blackthorne Medal is an amulet with attack speed and life on hit (2 set gives 100 vit) and Immortal King 2 set has a bonus of 60 resist all.

Bring the Enchantress companion for her Powered Armor buff, it makes a huge difference. I made a video going over how I spec and gear her, check it out here:

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask questions

EDIT: I wanted to mention a trick I discovered:

By using Furious Charge or Leap at the correct time, it's possible to avoid getting frozen. You still take damage, but it can be a lifesaver.

Thanks for taking the time to post all this up, as I'm sure there are tons of people looking for help and info for inferno.
What are your stats? Are they in the video?

Edit: NVM yeah it is in the video, thanks.
Thanks a bunch, man. The guide and your vids were a huge help. Especially the one with the info on scouring the AH....why I didn't think of that, I'll never know. MUCH appreciated, and a hearty +1 to you, sir.
dunno how you can imply you can get 60k life and 1000 resist all without spending millions.
Your expecting to do end game content without spending much money?
EDIT: I wanted to mention a trick I discovered:

By using Furious Charge or Leap at the correct time, it's possible to avoid getting frozen. You still take damage, but it can be a lifesaver.


Yeah I've got the frozen charge/leap tactic down pretty well myself. You can also break out of jailer prisons with Furious Charge, but it doesn't work with Leap.
I'm sitting at a little over 10600 armor (with Enchantress buff), 1085 physical resist. NON ELITE Swift Skull Cleavers in act 3 hit me for 16k.

There is a large difference between avoidable damage (Desecrate, Plague, etc) and getting melee'd for a quarter of my health by a non elite mob that tends to come in packs of 4-5.

Edit: point of this is even if it's possible to clear Acts 3 and 4 with amazing gear it simply isn't fun to kite elite packs for ten minutes.
I'm sitting at a little over 10600 armor (with Enchantress buff), 1085 physical resist. NON ELITE Swift Skull Cleavers in act 3 hit me for 16k.

There is a large difference between avoidable damage (Desecrate, Plague, etc) and getting melee'd for a quarter of my health by a non elite mob that tends to come in packs of 4-5.

Edit: point of this is even if it's possible to clear Acts 3 and 4 with amazing gear it simply isn't fun to kite elite packs for ten minutes.

Get a good shield with some +% block and some reduced damage from melee and you will notice an astronomical difference.

Stormshield and string of ears are the 2 key items for barbs.
been following all your vids man, thanks a lot for all the help
Nice post! This is one of the very few and constructive posts about this class. Thanks.
I can't seem to get rid of cleave and rend. Here is my build. Any experience with these?!bVe!YZZcca
Thanks Zrave, I've been relying on your videos to make progression solo in inferno. I'm getting very close to your gear level but still have a couple pieces of gear to save up for that will make things a lot easier. So far I can easily clear Act 1 though the Butcher takes forever and he's usually still at 30% health when he enrages and I just survive until he's finished,

I've been saving up my gold by doing butcher runs to make a purchase piece by piece and this is what I've managed to acquire so far:

20% +vit/+str String of Ears: 3 mil
Justice Lantern +vit/+str: 1.5 mil
Helm of Command 4%life 140vit: 3mil
22% block Stormshield: 4.8 mil
720 1h with +attk speed / 200 life on hit: 600k

In the other slots I've got mostly chromatic magic items or rares with +50 res or higher items minus my neck piece which I think will be the next upgrade I'll be making. I'm trying to figure out what would be the next best upgrade I could make

I'm trying to decide if I should try to get a Blackthorne's neck/chest combo for the 100 vit bonus and life on hit or pick up the IK chest/gloves or boots for the +60 res. Such a tough call since with either combination I'm bound to lose about 50-60 res seeing how these set pieces with the random affix being +res all are insanely expensive.

Right now I'm running 40% block, 43k health, 800 res all, +200 life on hit, 9000 armor, but only have 5500 dps which I think is truly hurting me since I'm unable to kill fast enough. I just need to find a way to up my health to around the 50k-60k range, increase my res all by 100 to get to 900+, and increase my life on hit so it's closer to +800-1000. All of these things in addition to not losing anymore dps since it’s stupid low already.

For anyone just starting out I highly recommend just farming butcher until your eyes bleed, I've done at least 50+ runs to get my gear either by drops or acquire enough gold by selling items to purchase the items listed above. For anyone in Act 3 doing chest runs in the Underbridge is also quick and beneficial and you should make more gold and find more rares then doing 0 stack Seigebreaker runs.
So to do anything besides act 1, we need stormshield for 4+M and String of ears 2+M?
Monstrum, with that much gear I think you can do well in Act 3 Siegebreaker runs. With Tyrael helping you with the DPS, you'll be able to kill stuff much faster and you can afford to play cautiously.

Give it a try sometime :D
I've actually done 1 seigebreaker kill with 5 stacks but that required me to kite the champions/rares around enough to let Tyrael kill them. Honestly I think most times when I was dead I'd just sit there and watch Ty kill them while also tabbing out to watch your YouTube videos lol.

My dps is rather low however, I'm going to be trying to find some res all gear with vit and strength to try and up it a little. I also should have kept the 900 dps 1h axe I found doing chest runs the other night instead of selling it for 600k ><.

Regardless I really enjoyed your videos. Add me in game and we can chat up some strategy I'm a pretty big theorycrafter when it comes to games.
Lack of WoTB is troubling. Are you able to burst down anything if you need to? What about high CC packs? Are you able to outlast that with the extra leap? I basically run the same build but instead of leap I'm using WoTB/Insanity. I really like Iron Impact though so maybe I'll give this build a try when I farm ACt 1 tonight. Thanks for the guide.
Really good advice here, too many barbs saying HP is overrated lol. This stuff should educate them. Most barbs prob with act2 is they don't have the HP for it.

Sadly my dps is too low to burst down anything, even with wrath. I need a better weapon and more strength overall before it would be of any use to me. However, I have been considering it lately because it would help me kill Diablo faster. It currently takes me 35 minutes to kill him, so I waste the 5 stacks I farm on my way there :(

As you can see from my videos I can full clear inferno with this build, without skipping elites unless they are extremely annoying. In my act 4 video I decided to pass on a corrupted angel with frozen, jailer, nightmarish, and mortar but killed all others I encountered.

My plan from the start was to become survivable enough to do Act 4, and I've reached that point. Now I'll be focusing on offense to make the farm faster, and perhaps at some point I can fit in Wrath of the Berserker when I don't need as many defensive skills. I'd probably drop charge for it, once I get a good life on hit weapon to shore up my healing ability.
I have been run inning this same build in a1 for a week now while building up. I prefer frenzy stun for helping to dps down or finish off the last 2 mobs of a pack of champs. The kiting is the fun part. You want to just destroy every single mob you run into? Go grind out gold in WoW the buy the exact same cookie cutter items everyone else has or instead excel and Play better!

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