Now the PVP Mod has opened, I was wondering which skills/passives/gear are most efficient in PVP as a Barbarian.

Are there any particularly effective combos against different classes?

What are the general pros and cons when using 2H weapons vs. Dual Wield vs 1H + Shield?

I have tested some fights with a friend who plays a monk and I can say that the 70% dodge is pretty hard to deal with, and the monk has some single target spells with really high damage.

What are the best strategies for dealing with opponents with high dodge rates?

  • 3
    I'm voting to close because this is far too broad a topic for a single question. If you have a particular problem that can be solved (e.g. "How do I overcome high enemy dodge as barbarian", not "How do I own everybody in PvP?") that would be a far better question.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 11:20
  • 4
    With a little rewording, I think you can still have some general information that is useful in terms of which skills are useful or not in PVP. Is this question really all that different than this one or this one?
    – Sterno
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 12:36
  • I've made some edits to try to focus the question on general strategies for PvP as a barbarian. It still covers a bit of varied ground, but hopefully it is more answerable in its current form.
    – Beofett
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 12:46
  • 1
    @Hystic You could appeal or ask for a discussion on the closing of this question at Arqade Meta. Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 13:15
  • I've voted to reopen; 4 of the close votes were posted before my edits, and, as @Sterno mentioned, I don't think its much different in its current form than some other questions which received excellent answers.
    – Beofett
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: This is going to be a rather long post about Barbarian PvP in general solely based on what I've found to be effective. This does not mean there aren't better ways of doing PvP out there with the barb but this is the only way I've found to be effective at all PVPing with a Barbarian.

The Goal
Even though it may be simple, it has to be stated to keep the perspective. The two main goals in pvp is to kill the other people and to stay alive.

That second part can't be stressed enough. PvP is an entirely different beast from pve as you'll be facing other classes ranging from high sustained DPS to high spike damage. You'll have to be able to handle both to be successful.

Why Choose a Barbarian?

Frankly, there are much better classes out there than the Barbarian in terms of PvP capability. Despite being the best class at PvE, Barbarians are pretty terrible PvPers in general.


  • High durability

(Yes, only 1 pro really).


  • Very gimpy ranged attack (weapon throw only, which requires fury and/or expensive -fury reduction gear).
  • No on demand Anti Crowd Control (Monks have Serenity, DH has Tumble and SS, WD has Spirit Walk and Spirit Vessel).
  • Needs fury to pull off most attacks
  • Very limited CC abilities
  • Almost no dodge as primary attribute is Strength

Thus, its very challenging to PvP as a Barbarian, which makes it very fun as you'll have to use all your wits to win.

The Build

Lets start with the build since its much easier to go through than gear and strategies:

Active skills:

  1. Hammer of the Ancients with Smash - This is your secondary kill skill. When your fury is full, you'll have quite a bit of crit chance with this skill, not to mention it is your single highest attack skill that's very spammable. This, unfortunately, is dodgeable but its still the best secondary option after tagging them with a rend.

  2. Rend with Ravage - This is your primary kill move against most characters, simply for one reason: Rend is undodgeable!. Rend is super awesome for killing just about everything for this purpose. And the fact that its got a nice AOE means you don't have to click on anything either, just be within the vicinity.

  3. Ignore Pain with Iron Hide - This lets you trade blows with the other side at a great advantage for 7 seconds. This is also your go to skill to counter spikes.

  4. Leap with Death from Above - A great way to start a fight or to escape. That 3 second stun is often enough for you to tag them with a Rend and a few HoTAs, which will kill most people.

  5. Ground Stomp with Wrenching Smash - A large AOE stun and also anti kiting ability. Very handy. This is also a great fury generator.

  6. War Cry with Impunity - Adds great survivability as well as fury generation.

Passive Skills:

  1. Inspiring Presence - The name of the game is survivability. 2% life per second while running away and kiting is a huge amount of healing when your health is 80k or higher.

  2. Juggernaut - CC is your weakness, and some classes like WD has a TON of cc, so you want to be able to tank/heal your way through them by gaining back some life every time they apply one on you. I've had fights where they literally stopped trying to CC me because they couldn't out damage the healing.

  3. This one is a flex, you can either take superstition (anti wizards/WD) or tough as nails (other barbs, monks) depending on what you are fighting.

The Gear

DPS is actually quite useless in PvP, my barb wearing full PvP gear only has a DPS of 70k, but he can do 30k damage with a single HoTA (this is after the 30%-35% damage reduction on top of armor and resistance reduction against most players). The goal here is to have as much survivability as possible but maintain just enough damage to kill the other person with 1-2 attacks.

Thus, my focus of stats is in this order:
Damage vs Elites
Reduced Damage from Elites
Critical Damage (for HoTA)
Critical Chance

Note you don't need attack speed at all, which cuts down on the cost of gear.

Now, why the Elite modifiers? Because Players count as Elites so you want to stack as much of that as possible.

Here is what I consider BiS for PvP barbs:

  • MH: High damage one hander with socket + critical hit damage. Preferably sword so you get a little APS at least, hammers are just too slow, but their ave damage is much higher. Put the best Ruby you can afford into it into it so your overall weapon damage becomes even higher to boost HoTA and Rend damage.
  • OH: Stormshield. Hands down you need a shield for PvP for the survivability, and the dual reduce damage from melee + reduced damage from elite mods makes it BiS. Find one with high block (32% or higher). Also make sure you get a high % for both the damage reduction mods.
  • Helm: Immortal King's Triumph - High str, crit chance, and life%. Put an amethyst into this for even more life. You want this for the 2 set bonus for additional resistances.
  • Chest Armor: Blackthorne's Surcoat - Extremely high vitality, 3 sockets, and resistances. Also, notice that the 3 piece Blackthorne set has bonus damage vs Elites, which is what we're going for here.
  • Leggings: Blackthorne's Jousting Mail - High stats overall, and going for the 3 set bonus.
  • Boots: Blackthrone's Spurs - Not only do we get the 3 piece bonus vs Elites damage here, the Spurs also comes with up to 7% reduced damage from elites, which is excellent.
  • Gloves: Immortal King's irons - good ones are expensive, but comes with melee reduction as well as great stats. Also having this completes the 2 piece bonus for the extra resistance.
  • Belt: Lots of options here. Personally I went with a lamentation with Rend fury cost reduction.
  • Bracers: Your only choice here is Lacuni prowlers so you can hit the 24% movement speed boost. Anything less means you are a walking turtle waiting to be killed.
  • Shoulders: Anything works really, vile wards are typically good as they have all the mods you want, including the extra armor and regen.
  • Rings: For my rings, I went with a Stone of Jordan (30% bonus vs elites is HUGE). If you can, get one that gives you more fury. For the other ring, get a Litany of the Undaunted (7% elite damage reduction). Try to find a litany with bonus average damage on it as well.
  • Amulet: Any good amulet will do. Try to find one with bonus average damage on it.

Overall, you want at least 8-10k armor, 70-80khp, 1-2k life regen per second, and 400-500 resistance. With all the %s added together, you should be doing ~40% more damage against elites and reducing elite damage by 20-30%.


This is the part where it gets tricky. Usually I like to fight in the broken church to the southeast. The walls are long enough that you can break sight quite easily and catch them with a rend or a stun as they turn the corner chasing you.

General tips:

  • Don't maintain LoS with your target until they are within leap range. Use the walls to constantly break LoS to draw them close in. You have the shortest range in the game so its always to your advantage to keep things close and tight.
  • Don't be afraid to run away to regen. Your 2k hp per second should heal you to full within half a minute. Also, don't be afraid to use potions as they're free in the battle arena. People may call you names for doing this but this is simply part of the strategy.
  • Predict where your target will be when you leap. That way you stun upon landing followed up by a rend and as many HoTA spam as you can get off.
  • Wall hug like crazy.
  • Thx for this very complete answer ;-) I was wondering in this build will you have enough fury to do all your skill? Adding Unforgiving now it has be uped could be a good idea, since you have no sustain fury generator?
    – Hystic
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 10:37
  • @hystic the 3 fury generation skills should be plenty. Also remember barbs gain fury when they are hit :P Its up to you if you want to add in unforgiving. Also, superstition also gets you fury generation if you are using that.
    – l I
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 13:18
  • Do you have a source for "Rend is undodgeable!" cause my friend is assuring me he did it a few times. and i can't find anything about that on the internet :-/
    – Hystic
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 9:59
  • @Hystic my source is purely from me using it in pvp and testing it with my friend monk who has 70% dodge. I have yet to see him dodge a single one. Remember if he dodges it you will see the "Dodge" text show up. It may simply be he was out of your rend range. Take your friend into a brawl have him stand still and rend him a few times, see if he dodges any :P
    – l I
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 13:02

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