Or I must be missing something.

Volcano avalanche hit 4400. The other ones hit for 1600. That seems like a pretty obvious choice there.

There are other runes that let you stack stuff to 3. But the amount of time required to accumulate them all remain the same.

Lahar make the cooldown faster a little bit. But damage is still 1600

What's the catch?

Does the 4400 damage really hit everybody?

  • I don't know where you are getting the numbers from but that doesn't look like the right ones.
    – l I
    Apr 3, 2014 at 17:30
  • 1
    @z- The numbers are correct. Avalanche deals 1600% weapon damage, some runes up to 1800%, and one - Volcano - lists 4400%. I have no level 70 at hand to test, though. I guess the area is less predictable or something. Plus it is over 5 seconds.
    – Orc JMR
    Apr 3, 2014 at 17:53

3 Answers 3


Mkalafut did a pretty good job summarizing how the rune works, but I wanted to expand a bit more on how it compares to the other runes.

Per the Barbarian Game Guide, the Avalanche runes are:

  • Volcano - Chunks of molten lava are randomly launched at nearby enemies, 4400% weapon damage as Fire over 5 seconds.
  • Lahar - Cooldown is reduced by 1 second for every 15 Fury spent.
  • Snow-Capped Mountain - Cave-in from both sides pushes enemies together, dealing 1800% weapon damage as Cold and Slowing them by 60% for 3 seconds.
  • Tectonic Rift - Store up to 3 charges of Avalanche.
  • Glacier - Giant blocks of ice hit enemies for 1600% weapon damage as Cold and Freeze them.

Volcano theoretically can do more damage, but the chunks of molten lava are smaller than the total area hit by a non-Volcano avalanche, and since you can't control where they land, in practice a given mob will only be hit by 2-4 molten chunks. If you target a large, dense clump of enemies you might come out ahead, but individual enemies won't take a lot of damage, and your standard groups of mobs and elite packs will often take less damage (since half the chunks will miss everybody). It's like taking the Death Blossom rune for Arcane Torrent on a Wizard.

In return, you're losing out on the utility of the other runes:

Lahar lets you cast Avalanche more frequently (though given the big fury costs of many spenders, I haven't found this to make a significant difference in practice).

Tectonic Rift lets you "bank" up to three Avalanches, which is nice when you have a large gap between enemies or are unable to damage your desired target for a while.

Snow-Capped Mountain summons three waves of ice at your target location and bunches mobs up - great for following up with a heavy AoE attack. Plus, the slow prevents them from un-bunching quickly.

Glacier seems to be the most popular. You gan no extra damage over the base Avalanche, but you freeze all mobs for a couple seconds. Given the size of Avalanche, this works out to be a pretty big area stun, and one that can be cast at range too.


There are two possible questions here. One: does it really do that much damage? And two: what is the catch to doing so much damage? I'll try and answer both the best I can.

When I saw the outrageously high damage of that rune compared to the others I quickly put it on. I was disappointed when I saw the results compared to other runes available.

Having tried all of them out, I can safely say that for me, the "catch" is not worth using this rune at all. There are far better alternatives.

It effectively turns your avalanche skill into a volcano that shoots out a couple of rocks in random directions doing AOE damage. (Edit: I can't confirm whether or not the physical volcano does damage to enemies it touches) The duration and lack of any added benefits make the rune not worth it.

I am not able to log in at the moment, being at work and all, but my barb uses the one that drops ice down - slowing (and initially stunning) all targets in the area doing a ton of DPS.

  • 1
    take that +1, Diablo-er unite! Apr 3, 2014 at 19:04
  • 4
    It wasn't me, but asking for reasons why someone downvoted is expending effort for no gain. If they had wanted to leave a comment, they would have. They didn't, so asking why for a single downvote (especially when upvotes are weighted so much more heavily) is entirely unneccessary.
    – Frank
    Apr 3, 2014 at 19:34
  • And if they had, then you'd know. They didn't, so you don't. Asking for a reason won't get you one.
    – Frank
    Apr 3, 2014 at 19:37
  • Are you saying that a prospective victim must spend the entire 5 seconds within the AEO to get the full benefit of my rage whereas the others deal the 100% of the listed damage in one blow? I thought it was like the hydra where the full listed damage was received per chunk (over time).
    – horatio
    Apr 3, 2014 at 20:44
  • 2
    @Frank if the reason for a downvote were apparent to someone, even if they didn't cast the downvote, that someone could reply with a reason. I've done this on occasion where someone has asked why they received a downvote and, even though I didn't cast it, was able to clarify why someone might do it (thus allowing the answer to be corrected).
    – Doc
    Apr 3, 2014 at 21:30

the 4400% dmg is over 5 seconds and ticks 25 times over these 5 seconds, which is equal to 176% dmg per tick. The other rune that does 1600% is over 3 seconds, and ticks 10 times for 160% per tick. Which rune you choose to use depends on your build.

credit for this info goes to Nubtro, and more info about Barbarian specifics can be found at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Avxzyy5pHlsZdDZoVzNQeVl3XzA3bExpdk5yTVdaV1E&gid=0

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