Diablo 4 Season 1 Best Barbarian Leveling Builds Featured Image

Diablo 4 Season 1 best Barbarian leveling builds | Whirlwind, Hammer of the Ancients, Rend, and more

Bring the smackdown to Sanctuary with this sensational selection.

Diablo 4’s first season, the Season of the Malignant, is in full swing, and players are eagerly diving into the new content and trying out new characters and strategies. The pre-season nerfs have shaken the very foundations of the metagame, particularly when it comes to the Barbarian class, leaving many unsure as to how they should best build out their beefy bois. But worry not: we’ve put together a list of the best Barbarian leveling builds in season 1 of Diablo 4, including Whirlwind, Hammer of the Ancients, and Rend, to get you through the early grind and into the endgame as soon as possible.

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What is the best Barbarian leveling build in Diablo 4 Season 1?

While it certainly took a hit thanks to the blanket nerfs to the vulnerable status pre-season one, Whirlwind is still the best option for a Barbarian leveling build in Diablo 4. Its key strength lies in dealing with large groups of enemies, which is one of the best ways to quickly rack up experience and boost your level. It also has plenty of viability in the endgame as well, making it a solid investment in the long run.

Best Barbarian leveling builds in Diablo 4 Season 1 tier list

  1. Whirlwind
  2. Rend
  3. Hammer of the Ancients

The three best Barbarian builds from the past retain their podium places for Season of the Malignant: Whirlwind, Rend, and Hammer of the Ancients. Whirlwind centers around the titular Whirlwind core skill, eventually letting you spin your way through enemy hordes with endless supplies of Fury. Rend is all about bleed, dealing big damage with Rend itself and incidental bleed effects from other skills. Hammer of the Ancients is the build of choice if you just want to smash things as hard as you can, dealing huge single-target damage if you can keep your Fury up.

Barbarian Whirlwind leveling build

Diablo 4 Season 1 Best Barbarian Leveling Builds Whirlwind

Screenshot by PC Invasion

Whirlwind is a powerful skill that can deal AOE damage to all enemies around you, applying vulnerable and bleed at the same time to soften up foes. It’s fairly demanding in terms of Fury cost, so to make the best use of it the Whirlwind build is built almost entirely around extending your Fury generation to the point where you can sustain the skill indefinitely in combat. 

To support our core skill, we use Lunging Strike as a gap closer and Fury generator, as well as a trio of shout skills: Rallying Cry, Challenging Shout, and War Cry. These improve our speed, Fury generation, defenses, and damage, enhancing every aspect of the Whirlwind playstyle. We top things off with Wrath of the Berserker, which can launch us into a berserking state for a few seconds, greatly increasing our speed and damage output, and synergising nicely with a few of our other skills.

Best Barbarian Whirlwind leveling build skills

  • Level 1 – Lunging Strike
  • Level 2 – Enhanced Lunging Strike
  • Level 3 – Battle Lunging Strike
  • Level 4 – Whirlwind
  • Level 5 – Enhanced Whirlwind
  • Level 6 – Furious Whirlwind
  • Level 7 – Whirlwind
  • Level 8 – Whirlwind
  • Level 9 – Whirlwind
  • Level 10 – Whirlwind
  • Level 11 – Rallying Cry
  • Level 12 – Enhanced Rallying Cry
  • Level 13 – Tactical Rallying Cry
  • Level 14 – Challenging Shout
  • Level 15 – Enhanced Challenging Shout
  • Level 16 – Tactical Challenging Shout
  • Level 17 – War Cry
  • Level 18 – Enhanced War Cry
  • Level 19 – Mighty War Cry
  • Level 20 – Booming Voice
  • Level 21 – Booming Voice
  • Level 22 – Booming Voice
  • Level 23 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 24 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 25 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 26 – Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 27 – Prime Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 28 – Supreme Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 29 – Pressure Point
  • Level 30 – Pressure Point
  • Level 31 – Pressure Point
  • Level 32 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 33 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 34 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 35 – Hamstring
  • Level 36 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 37 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 38 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 39 – Unconstrained
  • Level 40 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 41 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 42 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 43 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 44 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 45 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 46 – Heavy Handed
  • Level 47 – Heavy Handed
  • Level 48 – Heavy Handed
  • Level 49 – Guttural Yell
  • Level 50 – Guttural Yell
  • Bonus Skill Point 1 – Guttural Yell
  • Bonus Skill Point 2 – Raid Leader
  • Bonus Skill Point 3 – Raid Leader
  • Bonus Skill Point 4 – Raid Leader
  • Bonus Skill Point 5 – Tempered Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 6 – Invigorating Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 7 – Invigorating Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 8 – Invigorating Fury

The general strategy with this build is to start battles off with a Lunging Strike to dive into the fray, follow up with your three shout skills (and Wrath of the Berserker if it’s available), then go to town with Whirlwind. Since it generates Fury based on the number of enemies you hit, it performs best in crowds of densely-packed enemies, meaning you’ll want to be in the thick of things as much as possible to maximize your damage. If you need a Fury top-up while you’re waiting on your shouts to cool down, you can use Lunging Strike a few times to finish off smaller foes and fill up your tank for a few seconds of spinning.

While you’re developing this build, you’ll find yourself running out of Fury fairly frequently, especially when facing one or two larger foes instead of a crowd. For this reason, we’ve recommended Unconstrained as the Key Passive of choice, but once you’ve got a handle on your Fury generation you can swap it out for Unbridled Rage to unlock the build’s full potential.

Best Barbarian Whirlwind leveling build Aspects and how to get them

  • Aspect of Echoing Fury – Your shout skills generate 2.0 Fury per second when active.
  • Location – Sirocco Caverns Dungeon in Kehjistan, west of the Seared Basin area.
  • Bold Chieftain’s Aspect – Whenever you cast a shout skill, its cooldown is reduced by (2.7 – 5.4) seconds per nearby enemy, up to a maximum of 12 seconds.
  • Location – Reward for completing Chapter Two of the Season of the Malignant Season Journey.
  • Aspect of the Dire Whirlwind – Whirlwind’s critical strike chance is increased by 5% (+) for each second it is channeled, up to 20% (+).
  • Location – Garan Hold Dungeon in Scosglen, east of Corbach Waypoint.

To get the most out of a Whirlwind Barbarian build, you’ll want to pick up the above key Aspects: Aspect of Echoing Fury, Bold Chieftain’s Aspect, and Aspect of the Dire Whirlwind. Aspect of Echoing Fury grants extra Fury generation while shouts are active, which goes a long way towards keeping your Whirlwind active for as long as possible. Bold Chieftain’s Aspect lets you double down on this, reducing the cooldowns of your shouts significantly if you use them while surrounded by enemies, which is where you should be using them anyway. Aspect of the Dire Whirlwind is a simple critical strike chance boost if you can keep your core skill up, which, with the above two aspects in two, should be no problem at all.

Barbarian Rend leveling build

Diablo 4 Season 1 Best Barbarian Leveling Builds Rend

Screenshot by PC Invasion

Rend Barbarian is a master of the bleed status: effectively the Barbarian equivalent of Rogue’s poison. It uses Rend, Flay, and Rupture, alongside Barbarian’s staple lineup of shouts, to stack up big single-target damage, quickly dealing with enemies both big and small. It lacks Whirlwind Barbarian’s ability to deal with large crowds, but makes up for it with a much stronger showing against bosses and elites, and a tonne of incidental synergies across passive skills and weapon techniques.

Best Barbarian Rend leveling build skills

  • Level 1 – Flay
  • Level 2 – Enhanced Flay
  • Level 3 – Battle Flay
  • Level 4 – Rend
  • Level 5 – Enhanced Rend
  • Level 6 – Furious Rend
  • Level 7 – Rend
  • Level 8 – Rend
  • Level 9 – Rend
  • Level 10 – Rend
  • Level 11 – Pressure Point
  • Level 12 – Pressure Point
  • Level 13 – Pressure Point
  • Level 14 – Rallying Cry
  • Level 15 – Enhanced Rallying Cry
  • Level 16 – Tactical Rallying Cry
  • Level 17 – Challenging Shout
  • Level 18 – Enhanced Challenging Shout
  • Level 19 – Tactical Challenging Shout
  • Level 20 – War Cry
  • Level 21 – Enhanced War Cry
  • Level 22 – Mighty War Cry
  • Level 23 – Booming Voice
  • Level 24 – Booming Voice
  • Level 25 – Booming Voice
  • Level 26 – Rupture
  • Level 27 – Enhanced Rupture
  • Level 28 – Warrior’s Rupture
  • Level 29 – Hamstring
  • Level 30 – Hamstring
  • Level 31 – Hamstring
  • Level 32 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 33 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 34 – Cut to the Bone
  • Level 35 – Gushing Wounds
  • Level 36 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 37 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 38 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 39 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 40 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 41 – Slaying Strike
  • Level 42 – Flay
  • Level 43 – Flay
  • Level 44 – Flay
  • Level 45 – Flay
  • Level 46 – Rupture
  • Level 47 – Rupture
  • Level 48 – Rupture
  • Level 49 – Rupture
  • Level 50 – Tempered Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 1 – Furious Impulse
  • Bonus Skill Point 2 – Furious Impulse
  • Bonus Skill Point 3 – Furious Impulse
  • Bonus Skill Point 4 – Invigorating Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 5 – Invigorating Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 6 – Invigorating Fury
  • Bonus Skill Point 7 – Raid Leader
  • Bonus Skill Point 8 – Raid Leader

With this build you’ll want to map each of your bleed-inducing attacks, Rend, Flay, and Rupture, to a different weapon type, then alternate them in battle, to get the most Fury generation out of Furious Impulse. Flipping between Flay and Rend, and Rupture when it’s off cooldown, will let you sustain your core skill, and deal big bleed damage in the process. You’ll need to keep a close eye on your enemies’ health bars, since they’ll often be doomed to die via bleed damage before you’re done attacking them. In cases like this, you’ll want to shift focus to a different foe.

As with Whirlwind, you should use your shout skills before each battle, to give you boosts to your movement speed, fury generation, damage, and defense. These help you use Rend as often as possible, which lets you cut through enemy hordes like a knife through butter.

Best Barbarian Rend leveling build Aspects and how to get them

  • Aspect of Anemia – Lucky Hit: Direct damage against Bleeding enemies has up to a (20 – 30)% chance to Stun them for 2 seconds.
  • Location – Kor Dragan Barracks Dungeon, unlocked after clearing the Kor Dragan Stronghold in Fractured Peaks.
  • Skullbreaker’s Aspect – Stunning a Bleeding enemy deals (22 – 40)% of their total Bleeding amount to them as Physical damage.
  • Location – Found at random attached to legendary gear.
  • Iron Blood Aspect – Gain (2.0 – 4.0%) Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to (10 – 20%) maximum.
  • Location – Forgotten Ruins Dungeon in Kehjistan, west of Iron Wolves Encampment Waypoint.

To take your Rend Barbarian build to the next level, you’ll want to pick up the above three aspects. Aspect of Anemia gives you a good chance to stun bleeding enemies when you attack them, which will prevent a lot of damage in the long run. It also plays very nicely with Skullbreaker’s Aspect, which deals a big chunk of bonus damage when you stun a bleeding enemy. We round things out with Iron Blood Aspect, which makes you much tankier as you slash up the enemies around you, helping you survive dense crowds despite your lack of AOE damage.

Barbarian Hammer of the Ancients leveling build

Diablo 4 Season 1 Best Barbarian Leveling Builds Hammer Of The Ancients

Screenshot by PC Invasion

Hammer of the Ancients has the most straightforward playstyle of all our Barbarian leveling builds: you generate Fury, you smash foes with your core skill, they die, rinse and repeat. Hammer of the Ancients is a core skill that scales its damage based on the amount of Fury you have when you use it, making speedy resource generation a must. To support it, we run the classic shout package, alongside Lunging Strike and Wrath of the Berserker. While this build only deviates one skill from the Whirlwind Barbarian build, the two play completely differently, and have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to combat.

Best Barbarian Hammer of the Ancients leveling build skills

  • Level 1 – Lunging Strike
  • Level 2 – Enhanced Lunging Strike
  • Level 3 – Battle Lunging Strike
  • Level 4 – Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 5 – Enhanced Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 6 – Furious Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 7 – Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 8 – Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 9 – Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 10 – Hammer of the Ancients
  • Level 11 – Rallying Cry
  • Level 12 – Enhanced Rallying Cry
  • Level 13 – Tactical Rallying Cry
  • Level 14 – Challenging Shout
  • Level 15 – Enhanced Challenging Shout
  • Level 16 – Tactical Challenging Shout
  • Level 17 – War Cry
  • Level 18 – Enhanced War Cry
  • Level 19 – Mighty War Cry
  • Level 20 – Booming Voice
  • Level 21 – Booming Voice
  • Level 22 – Booming Voice
  • Level 23 – Raid Leader
  • Level 24 – Raid Leader
  • Level 25 – Raid Leader
  • Level 26 – Guttural Yell
  • Level 27 – Guttural Yell
  • Level 28 – Guttural Yell
  • Level 29 – Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 30 – Prime Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 31 – Supreme Wrath of the Berserker
  • Level 32 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 33 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 34 – Aggressive Resistance
  • Level 35 – Unbridled Rage
  • Level 36 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 37 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 38 – Prolific Fury
  • Level 39 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 40 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 41 – Pit Fighter
  • Level 42 – No Mercy
  • Level 43 – No Mercy
  • Level 44 – No Mercy
  • Level 45 – Tempered Fury
  • Level 46 – Invigorating Fury
  • Level 47 – Invigorating Fury
  • Level 48 – Invigorating Fury
  • Level 49 – Heavy Handed
  • Level 50 – Heavy Handed
  • Bonus Skill Point 1 – Heavy Handed
  • Bonus Skill Point 2 – Wallop
  • Bonus Skill Point 3 – Wallop
  • Bonus Skill Point 4 – Wallop
  • Bonus Skill Point 5 – Concussion
  • Bonus Skill Point 6 – Concussion
  • Bonus Skill Point 7 – Concussion
  • Bonus Skill Point 8 – Slaying Strike

The gameplay loop here is simple: enter a battle with Lunging Strike, set up your shouts and Wrath of the Berserker, land one or two more Lunging Strikes to fill up on Fury, then start bonking enemies with Hammer of the Ancients. Your skill setup, combined with your overflowing Fury pool, should allow you to deal with most non-elite enemies in one hit, and when you run low on Fury, you can build it up again with Lunging Strike. 

The passive skills we’ve chosen here give you a nice range of benefits, including the chance to stun enemies hit by Hammer of the Ancients, which can be a lifesaver in close quarters. This build also has the luxury of being able to commit fully to one weapon type, the two-handed mace, for both its basic and core skill. It’s worth noting that two-handed sword expertise is a better choice for your technique slot, however, as it greatly boosts your single-target damage, which this build specializes in.

Best Barbarian Hammer of the Ancients leveling build Aspects and how to get them

  • Aspect of Ancestral Force – Hammer of the Ancients quakes outwards, dealing 32% of its damage to enemies.
  • Location – Sunken Ruins Dungeon, east of Marowen Waypoint in Scosglen.
  • Bold Chieftain’s Aspect – Whenever you cast a shout skill, its cooldown is reduced by (2.7 – 5.4) seconds per nearby enemy, up to a maximum of 12 seconds.
  • Location – Reward for completing Chapter Two of the Season of the Malignant Season Journey.
  • Aspect of Echoing Fury – Your shout skills generate 2.0 Fury per second when active.
  • Location – Sirocco Caverns Dungeon in Kehjistan, west of the Seared Basin area.

Much like Whirlwind Barbarian, the Aspects we’ve chosen for our Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian build primarily help us keep our Fury up. Bold Chieftain’s Aspect and Aspect of Echoing Fury both help with this, with the latter generating Fury for each second your shouts are active, and the latter reducing your shout cooldowns if you use them while surrounded by enemies, letting you keep them up more often. We round things out with Aspect of Ancestral Force, which increases the area affected by Hammer of the Ancients, increasing our overall damage and helping to trigger some of our passive skill effects.

And there you have it: three viable builds for leveling up your Barbarian in Season 1 of Diablo 4. All three are excellent, and can take you through to the endgame with ease, but our personal pick is Whirlwind, for its high performance in the densely-packed dungeons you’ll be running ad infinitum once you hit World Tiers 3 and 4.


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Author
Nathan Ball
Nathan Ball is a freelance games writer with a deep love for the medium. Having studied Game Design at the University of Abertay, Dundee, he's always on the lookout for games that push the envelope and try out fresh and exciting design techniques. You can usually find him covering the latest indie gems, but he does dabble in the world of AAA from time to time as well. Nathan has written professionally for various outlets, including TheGamer and the Scottish Games Network. When not writing, he enjoys good books, good TV, and analysing both within an inch of their life.