The Concentrate Barbarian is a uniquely defensive build, boasting some of the highest defense and life numbers of any character build. Thanks to this, the Concentrate Barb can survive nearly any onslaught. When properly geared, he can also dish out a fair amount of damage, making it a very solid all-around build. If there is one chink in the Concentrate Barbarian’s armor, it is the complete lack of any AoE skill. For this reason, it is not particularly well-suited to leveling (a Whirlwind or Frenzy build would be a better option), but should rather be respec’d to at a higher level. The sheer survivability of this build makes it a great option for hardcore play and provides a nice alternative to the cookie-cutter Smiter if you’re looking to do Ubers.
Strength: This will vary between 186-196 after gear bonuses depending on whether or not you "up" your helm. More on this in the Gear section.
Dexterity: Enough to give you max block (75%) against Hell Baal.
Vitality: All your spare points. Barbarians gain 4 Life per point in Vitality.
Energy: Leave at base – we have no use for it.
The base skills for this build will require level 76 to max, assuming you’ve completed all skill quests on all difficulties. After this, you’ll have an opportunity to pick up some optional skills or boost synergies (or both).
Berserk: 1 Point. Handy for dealing with Physical immunes, but works against the build in most situations because it reduces your defense to zero.
Optional Skills and Synergies
After your primary skills are all filled out, you’ll still have 23 points to spend. These can be used in a variety of ways, depending on personal preference:
Increased Speed: Though moving faster is nice, it’s not really necessary in my opinion, especially because you have to spend another prereq point in the otherwise useless Increased Stamina. However, some players consider this a defacto 1-pointer.
Leap Attack: Can be handy to have 1 point in here for jumping gaps and as an escape in case you find yourself in a sticky situation. Luckily, this build doesn’t find itself in too many of those. Again, requires an additional prereq point in Leap. If you decide to pick this up, it may also be worthwhile to throw a point in Whirlwind for when you’re not killing bosses.
Bash: Increases the physical damage of your Concentrate by 5% per point. It’s my personal recommendation to max this in order to provide the highest possible damage output.
Berserk: Adds 1% magic damage per point to Concentrate. Seems like it could be useful, but considering it increases Concentrate’s damage by 5 times less per point when compared to Bash and all Ubers’ magic resistance is equal to or higher than their physical resistance, it loses its luster quite quickly.
A few notes on your primary skill: first, the armor bonus will only be applied when your attack succeeds. Missed or blocked attacks will not give you the armor bonus. The bonus lasts for a very short amount of time (less than a second), so it’s important to have a weapon that swings quickly enough to keep the buff active (more on this in the next section). Aside from the armor bonus, one of the primary benefits of Concentrate is the fact that it is uninterruptible, which significantly reduces the importance of Faster Hit Recovery for this build, making gear choices easier, and provides the Barbarian with a fighting chance, even when swarmed by enemies.
+150-200% Enhanced Defense 30% Faster Hit Recovery 20% Bonus to Attack Rating +2 to Barbarian Skill Levels 3-6% Life Stolen per Hit (varies) All Resistances +30 +20 to Strength +20 to Dexterity +2 to Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)
+2 To All Skills +200% Damage To Demons +100% Damage To Undead 8% Life Stolen Per Hit +70% Enhanced Defense +20 To Strength Replenish Life +7 All Resistances +65 Damage Reduced By 8% 25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
This really is the best all-around helm for any Barbarian, providing nice bonuses to Strength, Dexterity, Attack Rating, life leech, resistances, and skills. If you can find a perfect Ethereal one, it would be prudent to "up" it and socket it with a Zod rune. If it’s not ethereal, it should be socketed with a Jah. Keep in mid that “uping” a non-ethereal helm will require you to put an extra 10 points in Strength.
This is essentially tailor-made for the Concentrate Barbarian; +Skills, tons of resistances, life leech, a nice Strength bonus, enhanced damage vs. Demons (read: Ubers) and Undead, and a little bit of damage reduction to bridge any gaps to the 50% cap you may have from the rest of your gear. Make this in an Archon Plate and you’ll be sitting pretty. Fortitude is a very powerful alternative.
+90-120% Enhanced Defense (varies) +10-15 To Strength (varies) +5-10 Life After Each Kill (varies) 25% Chance of Open Wounds 7-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies) 5% Chance to Cast Level 10 Life Tap on Striking
+90-140% Enhanced Defense (varies) 10% Faster Hit Recovery +30-40 to Vitality (varies) Replenish Life +10-13 (varies) +100-120 to Maximum Stamina (varies) Damage Reduced by 10-15% (varies)
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or Later)
The huge 35% damage reduction mod as well as the nice boosts to resistances make this an irreplaceable item. Socket with a Jah rune.
The Strength bonus, Open Wounds, and life leech are great, but the primary draw of these gloves is the Chance to Cast Life Tap, which is a huge boon to your survivability. If you’re using a Last Wish, however, you may want to replace these with some high-quality crafted Blood Gloves or Steelrends.
Nets you another nice bit of damage reduction as well as a huge bonus to your Vitality.
35% Chance To Cast Level 15 Venom On Striking +30-40% Increased Attack Speed (varies) Damage +340-400 (varies) Ignore Target's Defense -25% Target Defense +1.875-185.625% Damage To Demons (+1.875% Per Character Level) Adds 5-30 Fire Damage -20-25% To Enemy Poison Resistance (varies) 20% Deadly Strike Prevent Monster Heal +2 To Mana After Each Kill +10-15 Life After Each Kill (varies)
6% Chance To Cast Level 11 Fade When Struck 10% Chance To Cast Level 18 Life Tap On Striking 20% Chance To Cast Level 20 Charged Bolt On Attack Level 17 Might Aura When Equipped +330-375% Enhanced Damage (varies) Ignore Target's Defense 60-70% Chance of Crushing Blow (varies) Prevent Monster Heal Hit Blinds Target +0.5-49.5% Chance of Getting Magic Items (+0.5% Per Character Level)
Level 9 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped +40% Increased Attack Speed +240-270% Enhanced Damage (varies) 20% Chance of Crushing Blow 25% Chance of Open Wounds +3 to Werebear +3 to Lycanthropy Prevent Monster Heal +25-40 to Strength (varies) +10 to Energy +2 to Mana After Each Kill Level 13 Summon Grizzly (5 Charges)
In a Phase Blade. There really isn’t a single bad stat on this runeword, and as an added benefit, you’ll always be attacking at your fastest breakpoint (9 frames for Concentrate) no matter what IAS number is rolled when it’s created. Phase Blades also don’t have any durability, so you won’t have to burn gold on costly repairs.
In a Berserker Axe. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to reach the 9-frame breakpoint with this weapon, but that’s made up for by the Might Aura and the huge amount of Crushing Blow on it. It also has three separate “Chance to Cast” effects, all of which are incredibly useful.
In a Berserker Axe. The biggest benefit of this weapon is the Fanaticism Aura, which allows for you to have all 3 damage-increasing auras active at once (depending on your Mercenary) and allows you to reach the 9-frame breakpoint, which no other Berserker Axe option can do. The big Strength bonus and Crushing Blow/Open Wounds don’t hurt either.
100% Chance To Cast Level 44 Chain Lightning When You Die 25% Chance To Cast Level 18 Glacial Spike On Attack Indestructible +300-385% Enhanced Damage (varies) 20% Bonus To Attack Rating +50 To Attack Rating Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit 50% Chance of Crushing Blow 0.5-49.5% Deadly Strike (+0.5% per Character Level) +1 To Light Radius Level 22 Blood Golem (15 Charges) Requirements -20%
50% Chance to Cast Level 20 Poison Nova When You Kill An Enemy Indestructible +60% Increased Attack Speed +350-400% Enhanced Damage (varies) +200% Damage to Undead -25% Target Defense +50 to Attack Rating +50 to Attack Rating Against Undead 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit 12-15% Life Stolen Per hit (varies) Prevent Monster Heal +30 to All Attributes +1 to Light Radius Requirements -20%
In an ethereal Berserker Axe. The Indestructible mod allows you to make this in an ethereal item, providing a big damage boost. The large amounts of Crushing Blow and Deadly Strike will increase the damage substantially. The Glacial Spike proc is great for crowd control, but, once again, you won't be attacking at your fastest breakpoint.
In an ethereal Berserker Axe. Similar to Death in the ethereal aspect, BotD has a higher potential Enhanced Damage, but lacks many of Death's attack effects. Again, this won’t reach your fastest breakpoint, but it’s always an incredibly powerful option.
Two "shout sticks" (throwing weapons that add +3 to Warcries) are probably the best thing to have around, though a wand with Life Tap charges can be useful if your gloves aren't procing and you're going down. Both of these items can be easily found on vendors in Hell difficulty.
If you’re planning to use this build for Ubering, it means that you won’t be able to carry an Annihilus or Hellfire Torch. Instead, stock up on 3/20/20, +5 all resistances (if needed), or 20 Life small charms and Barb skillers with a high amount of Life – Combat Skills (or BCombs) are preferred, though Warcries and Combat Masteries skillers are better than nothing. PDSC's can also be useful, but be aware that if you're using Grief, the Venom proc will vastly reduce the power of these charms.
For the most part, an Act II Nightmare Offensive Mercenary will be your best bet, as his Might Aura will provide you with a nice damage boost. However, if you’re using a Last Wish, your Might Auras won’t stack, so you’d be better off with a Holy Freeze Merc (Nightmare Defensive).
+100% Enhanced Defense Adds 6-22 Cold Damage - 4 Second Duration 15% Slower Stamina Drain 6-8% Life Stolen per Hit (varies) 6-8% Mana Stolen per Hit (varies) Damage Reduced by 15-20% (varies) Magic Damage Reduced by 10-15 (varies)
+100-150% Enhanced Defense (varies) +2 To All Skills 20% Increased Attack Speed 8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies) +25-30 To Strength (varies) +10% To Maximum Poison Resist Fire Resist -30% Poison Resist +70% 15% Chance To Cast Level 15 Poison Nova When Struck Level 3 Venom (20 charges)
(Ladder Only) (Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)
Either are powerful options. Try to find an ethereal one if possible.
20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Chilling Armor when Struck +25% Faster Cast Rate +300% Enhanced Damage +200% Enhanced Defense +15 Defense +X To Life (Based on Character Level) Replenish Life +7 +5% To Maximum Lightning Resist All Resistances +25-30 (varies) Damage Reduced By 7 12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana +1 To Light Radius
25% Chance To Cast Level 17 Fire Wall When Struck Level 16-20 Concentration Aura When Equipped (varies) 260-300% Bonus To Attack Rating (varies) +1-99% Damage To Demons (+1% Per Character Level) Adds 50-280 Lightning Damage 20% Deadly Strike Hit Blinds Target Freezes Target +3 +10 To Vitality Replenish Life +8 1.875-185.625% Extra Gold From Monsters (+1.875% per Character Level)
In any elite ethereal armor. Fort is great for the huge damage boost and the bonuses to life and resistances.