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The Diablo 4 beta’s most dangerous enemy is an old, familiar face

The first Diablo 4 beta weekend has plenty of dangerous enemies, but one returning face from the RPG game’s past is killing many players for their fresh meat.

Diablo 4 beta's most dangerous enemy - Artwork of The Butcher, a giant horned demon with tusks protruding from his mouth, from Blizzard to promote Diablo 3

As the first public Diablo 4 beta weekend rolls on, players are discovering their favourite builds, exploring the various towns and dungeons found in the first act of Blizzard’s fantasy RPG game, and learning how to fight some of its toughest enemies and bosses. But a surprise appearance is catching many Diablo 4 players off-guard as one of its most iconic foes lumbers out of the shadows to claim the fresh meat of veterans and newcomers galore.

While the various boss fights you’ll encounter during the beta such as the Den Mother and X’Fal the Scarred Baron can certainly demolish your character in a few moments, there’s one particularly deadly foe who can be found lurking in the many dungeons that has the element of surprise at its back. And, no, we’re not talking about Diablo 4 error code 316719.

The Diablo 4 Butcher can appear as a random boss encounter in any of the game’s dungeons, and he’s perhaps the most terrifying sight to run into in the dank cellars and dusty corridors of Diablo 4. Equipped with his trademark giant meat cleaver and a meat hook he can throw out to yoink any unfortunate victims straight into his clutches, The Butcher can make a meaty mess out of you in mere moments.

As if his weapons weren’t terrifying enough, The Butcher has the capability to charge you down at a quite frankly staggering speed, and can stun adventurers in place to all but seal their fate. He’s already among the most dangerous foes in the beta, but made all the more so because you’re unlikely to see him coming. Blizzard’s Twitter account says, “Apologies to all butchered during the beta. But it will happen again. And again. And again.”

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First appearing in the original 1996 Diablo, The Butcher has since appeared as an end-of-act boss in Diablo 3, and rears his ravenous head again in Diablo Immortal. Diablo 4’s Butcher is terrifying enough on a standard character, but especially so for those brave souls playing on hardcore. Apex Legends streamer Chris Covent tweets, “In a classic Diablo move, I lost my first hadcore character to The Butcher,” and he’s not alone.

No matter which of the Diablo 4 classes you’re playing, The Butcher is a threat. However, the general community consensus seems to be that the Sorcerer generally feels strongest out of the gate, while the Barbarian’s need to stay in melee range isn’t matched by enough survivability in the early game. Of course, there’s every chance that will change as players reach higher levels, or that Blizzard will re-balance things for the full release.

I do have a kill on The Butcher to my name, but it wasn’t cause for bragging – rather, I was fortunate enough that my second time running into him came mere moments after I picked up the Conduit Pylon buff, which turns you into a teleporting ball of lightning death. By the time it ran out, The Butcher was down to less than 10% health, and I was able to ping him down from relative safety with my ranged Rogue build. The less said about my first encounter with the gargantuan demon, the better.

Diablo 4 beta - screenshot taken just after a character has died to The Butcher, a giant demon with a cleaver and meat hook. The text on-screen reads, "You have died."

Make sure you’re ready for the next open beta weekend and the full Diablo 4 release date by taking a look through the Diablo 4 system requirements. If you need more loot after that, we’ve picked out the best games like Diablo on PC in 2023 to keep the rares coming.