Diablo 3 build guide: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard
Building the best character in Diablo 3, whether you picked Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk or Witch Doctor, can be tough. There are a dizzying number of options, but here are a few of our personal favorites, with full skill builds, playstyle explanations and stat recommendations for each.
Barbarian build: The Punter
See the build: Barbarian Punter
Half the fun of playing a Barbarian is watching bodies fly in every direction as you smash your way through the herd. This build maximizes the simple joy of ragdoll physics by giving you every opportunity to proc knockback effects. Your primary skill Bash has a 20% chance to send people packing while generating Fury to unleash your three major corpse-tossers: Seismic Slam, Ground Stomp and Earthquake'all runed to boost the potency of their aoe knockbacks. Furious Charge and Threatening Shout ensure you stay alive to keep kicking the undead to the curb. The passives Brawler, Juggernaut and Unforgiving stops your compulsive need to punt people from hurting your damage output.
Preferred stats: Lightning damage(procs on knockback), Knockback Chance, Strength, Weapon Damage
Barbarian build: The Immortal Tank
See the build: Barbarian Immortal Tank
Some of us don't want to die. There's no shame in that'you're brave simply for stepping outside your home to battle the hoards of undead. I dare anyone to call you a sissy when you're on the front lines, entering a Frenzy and bloodletting everything in sight with Rend (both of which heal you, don't worry!). Revenge let's you turn incoming damage into an aoe attack with massive health regen. If things get hairy, a correctly runed Ignore Pain can turn most any bad situation around, coupled with a War Cry if your allies are in trouble as well. But a good tank always has a backup plan for his backup plan, so keep Wrath of the Berserker in your back pocket for those truly desperate situations. Protective passives like Pound of Flesh, Inspiring Presence and Superstition will help keep you hacking and slashing unfettered.
Preferred stats: Armor, Vitality, Elemental Resistance, Strength
Demon Hunter build: The Explosives Expert
See the build: Demon Hunter Explosives Expert
Bad guys go boom with this explosives-heavy build for the Demon Hunter. Cluster Grenades is your free skill, so chuck those little bouncing bombs like crazy and follow 'em up with endless rockets from Rapid Fire and Cluster Arrow. One rune swap adds homing rockets to your Sentry turret, which'll guard your back while raining down fire. Caltrops and Vault give you two cooldown-free escape tools with low Discipline cost. (Plus the Trail of Cinders rune turns you into a flying, burning cannonball'totally awesome.) The passives are absolutely essential to this build: Ballistics, Grenadier and Custom Engineering add a massive damage boost to all those rockets.
Preferred stats: Dexterity, Weapon Damage, Vitality, Armor
Demon Hunter build: The Untouchable
See the build: Demon Hunter Untouchable
The Demon Hunter isn't really a touchy-feely kinda gal'in fact, she'd rather you just never get close to her at all. This build plays right into her nomad, loner image, letting you kite bad guys like a pro'if you've got the skill. Entangling Shot in your primary slot lets you tie up four enemies every second, Elemental Arrow with the Frost rune slows down larger packs, and Strafe lets you unleash hell while still running at full speed. Use the ridiculously low-cost Vault to keep your distance as the pack closes in on you, and if one of the devils catches you off guard, Evasive Fire lets you blast 'em up close and backflip away (+2 for style points). If you manage to screw all of that up'or are facing Sonic the hedgehog zombies'Smoke Screen lets your reset the battle by vanishing. Cull The Weak, Tactical Advantage and Steady Aim are perfect passives, helping you stay out of harm's reach while boosting damage on hindered foes.
Preferred stats: Movement Speed, Dexterity, Weapon Damage, CC reduction
Monk build: The Tornado of Death
See the build: Monk Tornado of Death
Turn your Monk into an unstoppable wave of pain who jumps into the middle of groups to kick-punch everything around him. Every skill in this build hits multiple targets. Soften them up with broad Crippling Wave kicks, and follow it up with a fierce Lashing Tail Kick to cut 'em down and knockback any left standing. Mantra of Conviction rewards you for fighting in the middle of the enemy pack, and Seven-Sided Strike let's you show them that superior numbers won't help them. If you bit off more than you can chew, Serenity'll absorb damage and reflect attacks back at the hellspawn. Best of all, Sweeping Wind turns your metaphorical tornado of pain into a very literal one, creating lightning tornadoes when you score critical hits'very likely with so many aoe attacks. The passives, Chant of Resonance, The Guardian's Path and Combination Strike, give equal boosts to your defense and attack.
Preferred stats: Critical Chance, Dodge, Armor, Vitality, Dexterity
Monk build: The Balanced Healer
See the build: Monk Balanced Healer
This is as close as Diablo III gets to a full support character, but you're still going to spend at least as much time fighting as you are healing in order to build up the Spirit needed to fuel those refreshing glowy lights. Fists of Thunder is the perfect primary skill because it regenerates Spirit faster than the others. Inner Sanctuary and Cyclone Strike dole out huge heals to you and your allies if you pick up the proper runes for them. Mantra of Healing's heal-over-time is brought to set-it-and-forget-it status thanks to the Chant of Resonance passive that triples its duration to 10 minutes. Lashing Tail Kick lets you bat enemies away from allies if you need time to heal them, and Exploding Palm is, well, just damn cool. Exalted Soul and Transcendence boost your Spirit efficiency to let you hang in there on those long boss fights.
Preferred stats: Attack Speed, Spirit Regeneration, Max Spirit
Witch Doctor build: The Plaguebringer
See the build: Witch Doctor Plaguebringer
The ten plagues of Egypt got nothin' on this build. Sure, you've got the standard plague stuff with Plague of Toads, and flesh-eating Locust Swarms, but the real key is poison stacking with the right runes. Your frogs and locusts are both poisonous, and Acid Cloud lets you rain less animated liquid death on the enemy. Hex and Fetish Army bring the final plague of death (and the occasional chicken transformation for chuckles). And while that's enough to drive most civilizations to madness, Mass Confusion will completely shatter any particularly stalwart minds, forcing them to kill each other for you. The Bad Medicine passive is paramount, as it causes your poison to cripple enemy attacks, while Fetish Sycophants and Spiritual Attunement are just small perks to keep things moving quickly.
Preferred stats: Intelligence, Weapon Damage, Maximum Mana
Witch Doctor build: The Zombie King
See the build: Witch Doctor Zombie King
There's something especially satisfying about watching minions do your dirty work while you sit back and cackle maniacally. Most only stop by for a short time: falling from the sky (runed Grasp of the Dead), bursting from the ground (Wall of Zombies), or stomping all over the place (Gargantuan). But you can always count on your trusty Zombie Dogs to chomp through bad guys and, when things get really desperate, detonate themselves to take everything back to hell with 'em thanks to Sacrifice. A few passives play into this style perfectly: Fierce Loyalty, Jungle Fortitude and Zombie Handler increase the number of zombies you can control, add your Thorn and Health Regen stats to them and reduce the damage they take. When you run low on corpses, toss out creepy Corpse Spiders to regen mana.
Preferred stats: Intelligence, Weapon Damage, Thorns
Wizard build: The Glass Cannon
See the build: Wizard Glass Cannon
A primal urge within all of us wants to see big numbers flash on the screen when we attack, and this build lets you get the biggest digits of any class in Diablo 3. Core skills get a bonus effect on crit: your primary, Electrocute, and Storm Armor lash out lightning attacks, and Meteor's molten fire boils over when it crits. The Critical Mass passive reduces the cooldown on your spells by 1 second every time you crit, and Arcane Dynamo lets you boost your next attack by 75% to achieve truly absurd single-hit numbers to brag about to your buddies. The other abilities center on making sure you crit as often as possible, with Disintegrate, Frost Nova and Explosive Blast all hitting tons of targets at once'each with its own chance to be crit. And how could you not grab the passive that shares your name?
Preferred stats: Critical Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Weapon Damage, Intelligence
Wizard build: The Battle Mage
See the build: Wizard Battle Mage
Not every Wizard is squishy, but the battle mage is one of the most coveted archetypes that rarely makes it way into games because, frankly, it's usually way overpowered. The first step is to give your Wizard a melee weapon: Spectral Blade takes it one step further by making your primary attack a massive, magical sword that heals you when it crits. Next, you've got to bolster your defenses so you can stand on the front lines without crumbling like wet tissue paper. Diamond Skin, Ice Armor, Archon and the passive skills Galvanizing Ward and Blur turn you into a veritable tank with insane armor and a ton of sweet spells. The last thing you need to complete your battle mage toolkit is a couple devastating aoes to unleash when things get hairy. Arcane Torrent and Energy Twister can both be runed into the perfect tools, and the Unstable Anomaly passive gives you a boost right when you need it most.
Preferred stats: Armor, Intelligence, Vitality, Elemental Resistance
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