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Whirlwind Barbarian Build for PD2

Whirlwind Barbarian Build for PD2

Complete Build Guide for one of the most iconic builds in Diablo 2 for the Barbarian

Whirlwind
Barbarian Build

Updated for Season 2
 

Build notes:
May 15, 2021
-Build created

 

Build Overview

Whirlwind Barbarian is one of the most popular Diablo 2 builds (if you've ever played Lord of Destruction, chances are you know the build very well). Despite its popularity, Whirlwind Barb had one major weakness that came directly from its main offensive skill - the Whirlwind. Mainly, Whirlwind was affected by your weapon's Attack Speed which meant that you were limited to just a few weapon options if you wanted to remain competitive. In Project Diablo 2, however, this is not the case; In PD2, you will achieve four frames with any weapon you use. This opens a sea of possibilities and makes Whirlwind Barb, well... much less boring. Moreover, in Project Diablo 2, Whirlwind's velocity increases with every point, giving you more "range" (you can travel further and faster with Whirlwind active). Thanks to this, you can use it almost constantly without hindering your overall mobility. Because of these changes, PD2 Whirlwind Barb is very dynamic (especially for a melee build) and offers a refreshing gameplay experience. 

In terms of overall strength, this build is extremely powerful when properly geared, and can achieve ludicrous damage numbers with Whirlwind. Moreover, thanks to high MF and the Find Item Skill, this build is perfect for farming. If you are looking for a dynamic build with great AoE damage, capable of clearing maps in record times, look no further. This build ranks in a solid A on our PD2 Tier List

 

You can also check our other Best Project Diablo 2 Builds

 

 Pros  Cons
 Great AoE Damage with Whirlwind  Sometimes, it will make you feel overconfident... 
 Extremely fast clear speeds   You wreck everything with 1 skill, which might get boring after a while 
 Can farm on T3 maps easily  
 You can maintain Whirlwind almost all the time (which makes you feel like the Tasmanian Devil)    

 

Skills

ATTRIBUTES
  1. Strength - All you want, in terms of Strength, is enough of it to equip everything you will want to use on your character. 
  2. Dexterity - You only need enough Dexterity to meet gear requirements. 
  3. Vitality - You should put all your remaining points here - main stat. 
  4. Energy - Adding points to Energy is an extreme waste - don't do it. 

COMBAT SKILLS

This skill tree is the main focus of this build, with Whirlwind being its "ultimate" skill, so to say. Because Whirlwind has no synergies within its own (Combat) tree, we spend only 23 hardpoints here. 

Skills:

  1. Frenzy [1/20] - Prerequisite. 
  2. Concentrate [1/20] - Prerequisite. 
  3. Berserk [20/20] - Prerequisite. 
  4. Charged Bolt Sentry [20/20] - A synergy skill that makes our Chain Lightning Sentry much stronger. 
  5. Whirlwind [20/20] - A whirling dance of death that cuts a path through the legions of your enemies. This skill deals massive amounts of damage and is, in fact, much more powerful in PD2 than it was in the Lord of Destruction. It has received a range of buffs, the main being the change of how it's affected by your Weapon's Attack Speed; In LOD, whirlwind's breakpoints were determined by your current weapon which greatly limited viable options for the slot. In PD2, however, you will hit four frames with ANY weapon you use with Whirlwind. 

COMBAT MASTERIES

This skill tree is pretty much all about passives that will help us increase our Whirlwind's damage. Moreover, defensive passives available here will greatly improve our overall survivability. 

Skills:

  1. General Mastery [20/20] - This is a "universal" passive skill that improves sword, axe, and mace fighting skills. Every point spent here increases Damage, Attack Damage, and Critical Strike Chance with these three weapon types. 
  2. Combat Reflexes [1/20]  - A passive skill that increases our Life, Stamina, and Hit Recovery. Simple and strong, just like a Barbarian. 
  3. Iron Skin [1/20] - A passive skill that improves our defense rating. Spending 1 point here is a very good investment, especially if you have a lot of +skill gear pieces. 
  4. Increased Speed [1/20] - Increases walk and run speed. Worth spending 1 point. 
  5. Natural Resistance [1/20] - A passive skill that increases Barbarian's natural resistances to elemental and poison damage. Just like with Iron Skin, spending 1 point here is a good investment. 
WARCRIES

From here, we get some much-needed utility and a lot of conveniences. 

Skills:

  1. Find Potion [1/20] - Prerequisite. 
  2. Howl [1/20] - Sends nearby monsters scrambling away in fear. 
  3. Find Item [1/20] - You'd be surprised how much rare loot you can actually find with this. 
  4. Shout [X/20] - An AoE Buff that improves the defense rating of you and your party. Having this active at all times will greatly improve your survivability. 
  5. Battle Orders [20/20] - Improves the maximum mana, life, and stamina of you and your party. A great defensive/utility buff. This is noticeably weaker than it was on LOD, but it's still worth it. 
  6. Battle Command [20/20] - Increases all current skill levels for you and your party. With this, you can get +Skills, which is MASSIVE (you get +1 Skill Level for every 10 base levels in this, so it's worth maxing it out). Moreover, Battle Command also increases your Damage. 

 

Items

For this Build, you will want to get as much Enhanced Damage as possible (to ensure that your Whirlwind hits like a truck). Other than that, you will want to get as many Skill levels (Barbarian/Combat Skills in this case) as possible to increase the build's overall power level. Resistances are also important, but they should never come before the offensive power. Defensive stats, like faster hit recovery, bonus life, and leech, are a nice addition as well but they shouldn't be your main focus. 

HELMETS

[BIS] Arreat's Face (Slayer Guard) - This might Helmet can give you +2 to Combat Skills on top of +2 to All Skills (yes, +4 Skills in total!). This makes it the best all-around option for this build. Also, it offers some extra attributes, FHR, Life Leech, and Resistances. 

Arreat's Face

  • Defense: 302-363 
  • Required Level: 42 
  • Required Strength: 118 
  • Durability: 55 
    • +150-200% Enhanced Defense 
    • 30% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • 20% Bonus To Attack Rating 
    • +2 To Barbarian Skill Levels 
    • 3-6% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • All Resistances +30 
    • +20 To Strength 
    • +20 To Dexterity 
    • +(1-2) To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only) 

Andariel's Visage (Demonhead) - A great helmet that offers a +2 Skills increase. It Also gives quite high Life Leech which can be extremely helpful. 

Andariel's Visage

  • Defense: 310-387
  • Required Level: 83
  • Required Strength: 102
  • Durability: 20  
    • +100-150% Enhanced Defense 
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • 8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • +25-30 To Strength 
    • +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) 

WEAPONS

The Gavel of Pain (Martel de Fer) - A weapon worthy of a true Barbarian. This two-handed mace offers extremely high Damage and has a chance to cast Level 16 Amplify Damage on Striking, which bumps it ahead of all alternative weapon choices. Moreover, you can cast Level 8 Amplify Damage with it whenever you want (and it recharges!). 

The Gavel of Pain

Note: You will have to use another skill, like the Berzerk, to proc Amplify Damage with this, as you can't proc it with Whirlwind, sadly. 

  • Damage:  (251-274) To (421-458) (336-366 Avg) (Base Damage: 76-124) 
  • Required Level: 45
  • Required Dexterity: none 
  • Required Strength: 169
  • Durability: 60
  • Range: 2  
    • +215-245% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • Adds 12-30 Damage 
    • +50% Damage To Undead 
    • 5% Chance To Cast Level 1 Iron Maiden When Struck 
    • 15% Chance To Cast Level 16 Amplify Damage On Striking 
    • Level 8 Amplify Damage (3 Charges) 
    • Recharges 1 Charge in 6 Seconds 
    • Attacker Takes Damage of 26 

[Alternative] The Cranium Basher (Thunder Maul) - This powerful Two-Handed mace offers 20% increased attack speed, a high Enhanced Damage bonus, and a whopping 75% chance for a Crushing Blow. On top of that, it gives +25 to all resistances and has a chance to cast Amplify Damage on hit, which is great. 

The Cranium Basher

  • Two-Hand Damage:  (132-145) To (632-704) (382-424.5 Avg) 
  • Required Level: 87 
  • Required Dexterity: - 
  • Required Strength: 253
  • Durability: 60 
    • +240-280% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • Adds 20-25 Damage 
    • +50% Damage To Undead 
    • 75% Chance of Crushing Blow 
    • 4% Chance To Cast Level 20 Amplify Damage On Striking 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • All Resistances +25
    • +25 To Strength 

[Alternative] Kingslayer (Runeword) - This extremely powerful Runeword is one of the strongest offensive choices for this build. It offers an amazing boost to our damage output thanks to a plethora of very strong effects. You should socket it in a Two-Handed weapon with high base offensive stats. 

Kingslayer

  • Damage: Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Level: 53 
  • Required Dexterity: Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon
  • Durability: Depends on base Weapon
  • Mal + Um + Gul+ Fal  
    • +30% Increased Attack Speed 
    • +230-270% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • -25% Target Defense 
    • 20% Bonus To Attack Rating 
    • 33% Chance Of Crushing Blow 
    • 50% Chance Of Open Wounds  
    • +3 To Vengeance 
    • Prevent Monster Heal 
    • +10 To Strength 
    • 40% Extra Gold From Monsters 
    • Repairs 1 Durability In 10 Seconds 
WEAPON SWAP

Blade of Ali Baba (Tulwar) - This is optional, but if you want to maximize your profits, you'll have to get it (two of these, actually). The magic find bonus these provide is simply massive! Just don't forget to swap your weapons into these before using your Find Item skill. 

Blade of Ali Baba

  • One-Hand Damage: (25-35) To (56-77)
  • Required Level: 35 
  • Required Strength: 70 ​​​​​
  • Required Dexterity: 42 
  • Durability: 32 
    • +60-120% Enhanced Damage 
    • + (2.5 Per Character Level) 2-247 % Extra Gold From Monsters (Based On Character Level) 
    • + (1 Per Character Level) 1-99 % Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (Based On Character Level) 
    • +15 To Mana 
    • +5-15 To Dexterity 
    • Socketed (2) 

AMULETS

[BiS] Saracen's Chance - This amulet gives up to 50% Enhanced Damage which is the most important offensive stat for a Whirlwind Barbarian. You can't go wrong with it. 

Saracen's Chance

  • Required Level: 47
    • 5% Chance to Cast Level 12 Iron Maiden When Struck 
    • All Resistances +15-25 (varies) 
    • +12 to All Attributes 
    • +30-50% Enhanced Damage (varies) 

Mara's Kaleidoscope - A great combination of offensive (+2 to all skills) and defensive (+20-30 to all resistances) properties. This is one of the best Amulets in PD2 overall and it fits most of the builds, which makes it a good investment. 

Mara's Kaleidoscope

  • Required Level: 67
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • All Resistances +20-30 (varies) 
    • +5 To All Attributes 

[Alternative] Rare/Magic Amulets with + Barbarian/Combat Skills are great budget choices and solid fillers before you are able to get Mara's Kaleidoscope. 

Amulet Amulet

  • Required Level: varies. 
  • In Magic Amulets, look for:
    • +3 to Combat Skills. 
  • In Rare Amulets, look for:
    • +2 Barbarian Skills 
    • Magic Find 
    • Resistances 
    • Attributes 

ARMORS

[BiS] Fortitude (Rune Word) - This Rune Word seems to be tailored for this build specifically; it provides A LOT of enhanced damage, high resistance bonuses, and great overall defenses. You can't go wrong with this one. 

Enigma

  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 59 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • El + Sol + Dol + Lo
    • +25% Faster Cast Rate 
    • +200% Enhanced Damage 
    • +200% Enhanced Defense 
    • +15 Defense 
    • +X To Life (Based on Character Level) (1-1.5 Per Level) 
    • Replenish Life +10 
    • +4% To Maximum Lightning Resist 
    • All Resistances +25-30 
    • Damage Reduced By 7 
    • 12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana 
    • +1 To Light Radius 

Templar's Might (Sacred Armor) - A very solid choice that gives us a lot of Vitality and Strength, on top of increasing our Hit Recovery and providing +1 to all our Skills. However, the best thing about this armor is the Might Aura that boosts our DPS by a lot. 

Templar's Might

  • Defense: 1622 - 1923
  • Required Strength: 232
  • Durability: 60
  • Required Level: 74
    • +170-220% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +250-300 Defense vs. Missile (varies) 
    • +20-30 to Strength (varies) 
    • +20-30 to Vitality (varies) 
    • 20% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • +40-50 to Maximum Stamina (varies) 
    • +1 to All Skills 
    • Level 4-8 Might Aura When Equipped (varies) 

Chains of Honor (Rune Word) - A great alternative option. This powerful Runeword offers tons of damage and Resistances. It should be socketed in a chest with the highest defense rating you can afford. 

Chains of Honor

  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 65 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • Dol + Um + Ber + ist 
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • +200% Damage to Demons 
    • +100% Damage to Undead 
    • 8% Life stolen per hit 
    • +70% Enhanced Defense 
    • +20 Strength 
    • Replenish Life +10 
    • All Resistances +40-60 (varies) 
    • Damage reduced by 4% 
    • 25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 

RINGS

[BiS] Bul-Kathos Death Band - A great offensive choice. This ring is a part of the "Bul-Kathos' Children" set. It provides a solid Attack Rating and Damage boosts (Enhanced Damage is the BiS stat for Whirlwind Barb and this gives up to 30% of it), and some nice resistance bonuses. 

Bul-Kathos Wedding Band

  • Required Level: 69
    • 15-30% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • 100 to Attack Rating 
    • Lightning Resist +10-20% (varies) 
    • Physical Damage Taken Reduced by 4-6% (varies) 
    • Cannot Be Frozen (2 Items)

The Stone of Jordan - One of the most iconic items in Diablo 2. It increases the level of all your Skills and your max Mana. A solid offensive choice. 

The Stone of Jordan 

  • Required Level: 29
    • +1 to All Skills
    • Maximum Mana to 15-20% 
    • Adds 1-120 Lightning Damage 
    • +20-40 to Mana (varies) 

Wisp Projector - Another extremely solid Ring choice Also, the Lightning Absorb is a great addition to your defenses. Plenty of your deaths will be caused by Lightning Damageso this one is definitely worth picking up.

Wisp Projector 

  • Required Level: 76
    • Lightning Absorb 4-6% (varies)
    • 8-12% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 
    • +1-3 to Spirit of Barbs 
    • +1-3 to Heart of the Wolverine 
    • +1 To All Skills 

GLOVES

Steelrend (Ogre Gauntlets) - This pair offers the highest possible DPS bonus with a high chance of Crushing Blow and up to 80% (!!) Enhanced Damage. 

Steelrend

  • Defense: 232 - 281 
  • Required Level: 70
  • Required Strength: - 185
  • Durability: 24
    • +170-210 Defense (varies) 
    • 40-80% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • 10-15% Chance of Crushing Blow (varies) 
    • +15-20 to Strength (varies) 
    • Melee Attack Deal Splash Damage 

Dracul's Grasp (Vampirebone Gloves) - A "good" alternative choice that gives you some extra survivability. These also give a high strength bonus which is very convenient for choosing equipment for other gear slots. 

Dracul's Grasp

  • Defense: 125 - 145
  • Required Level: 76
  • Required Strength: - 50
  • Durability: 14
    • +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) 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 

BOOTS

[BiS] Goblin Toe (Light Plated Boots) - These boots give us Enhanced Damage which automatically makes them Best in Slot. 

Goblin Toe

  • Defense: 33 to 34 
  • Required Level: 22
  • Required Strength: 50 
  • Kick Damage: 8 to 16 
  • Durability: 18  
    • +50-60% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +15 Defense 
    • +15-25% Chance of Crushing Blow (varies) 
    • 20% Faster Run/Walk 
    • Damage Reduced by 3-5 (varies) 
    • Magic Damage Reduced by 3-5 (varies) 
    • +15-30% Enhanced Damage (varies) 

War Traveler's (Battle Boots) - The best pair if you want to increases your Loot by boosting MF stat. They also provide decent Movement Speed and extra STR/VIT. 

War Traveler's

  • Defense: 120-139 
  • Required Level: 42
  • Required Strength: 95
  • Kick Damage: 37-64 
  • Durability: 48
    • +150-190% Enhanced Defense 
    • 25% Faster Run/Walk 
    • +10 to Vitality 
    • +10 to Strength 
    • Adds 15-25 Damage 
    • +40% Slower Stamina Drain 
    • Attacker Takes Damage Of 5-10 
    • 30-50% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items 

BELTS

Nosferatu's Coil (Vampirefang Belt) - A very solid choice for this build. It gives some nice offensive bonuses (with the most important being the 10% chance for a Deadly Strike, which works wonders in this build), and up to 6% Life Leech. 

Nosferatu's Coil

  • Defense: 56 - 63 
  • Potion Slots: 16 
  • Required Level: 51
  • Required Strength: 50 
  • Durability: 14
    • Slows Target By 10% 
    • +2 To Mana After Each Kill 
    • 3-6% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies) 
    • +10-15 Strength (varies) 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • 10% Deadly Strike 

Goldwrap (Heavy Belt) - An interesting choice for this build; it increases Magic Find and Gold Drops by a lot which works very well with our fast clear speeds. 

Goldwrap

  • Defense: 34-36 
  • Potion Slots: 12 
  • Required Level: 27
  • Required Strength: 45
  • Durability: 18
    • +40-60% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +25 Defense 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • 20-40% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items (varies) 
    • 50-80% Extra Gold From Monsters (varies) 
    • +2 To Light Radius  

CHARMS

  1. Annihilus - This fabled Charm boosts your Skills, Stats, and Resistances. It's the best Unique Small Charm, and it's limited to just 1 in your equipment. 
  2. Gheed's Fortune - The secret to Gheed's wealth and prosperity. Pretty much a must-have if you're after the best available charms. It adds 80-160% extra gold from monsters, reduces vendor prices by up to 15%, and gives up to 40% better magic find. 
  3. Hellfire Torch - The BiS Unique Large Charm that increases your Vitality, Skills, and more. 
  4. Grand Charms - These should have + Combat Skills. 
  5. Small Charms - With these, you should get your desired Resistances, bonuses to Life, or bonuses to Magic Find - whatever suits your needs, basically. 

MERCENARY

We recommend picking up Act 2 Defiance Mercenary for extra damage mitigation bonuses. He should be equipped with: 

  1. Infinity Rune Word in Ethereal Spear - This provides Conviction Aura, which reduces the defenses and resistances of nearby enemies and offers very high bonus damage. A top (and expensive) choice for any Act2 merc build. 
  2. Fortitude Rune Word in Armor - This will ensure that your merc doesn't die (it will make him almost immortal). 
  3. Steelrend Gloves - For massive damage bonus and Crushing Blow. 
  4. Andariel's Visage - An extremely solid and versatile headgear that will make your merc better in all respects. 
  5. String of Ears - Very high damage reduction and excellent survivability boost. 
  6. Goblin Toe - For extra damage and the chance for a crushing blow. 

Note: Alternatively, you can go for Act 5 Mercenary for some extra damage output. 

 

END NOTE

This is our premiere Project Diablo 2 build where we tried to include all of the important information on how to set up this character while keeping the guide as compact as possible. If we've missed something of importance, please let us know! 

If you have any Build requests, please post them in the Comments section below. We will be happy to cover your most requested builds in the future! Also, we hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. Also, we will be happy to receive constructive criticism that will help us improve our future work, so don't hesitate to give us your feedback. 

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment.