Diablo 3 builds – our pick of the best

Diablo 3 builds

What are the best Diablo 3 builds? I’ve been playing a lot of Diablo since Reaper of Souls released back in March. Having accumulated many shiny legendaries since then, I’ve put together my favourite builds for each of the six classes in Sanctuary. They’re all certified for the hardest difficulties Diablo has to offer and will work in both standard and hardcore.

Each Diablo build has a link to their skill calculator in the build name, as well as links to any key legendary items. All you need to do is go find them, which is the easy part… right?

Diablo 3 Crusader

Crusader

Pinball Machine

This build is reminiscent to playing a pinball machine. It relies heavily on two key legendary items: Gyrfalcon’s Foote and the Jekangbord. The former is a flail that removes the resource cost of Blessed Shield – the primary damage dealer in this build – allowing infinite use. The latter is a shield that allows Blessed Shield to ricochet to 4-6 additional enemies. Combined, they will obliterate groups of enemies with an endless torrent of shields to the face.

You have a bit of freedom with the rest of your items to tailor to your style of play. The only suggestion is that you stack Holy Damage as well as % Blessed Shield Damage. Your skills all complement controlling and weakening clusters of enemies. Shield Glare and Judgement provide a pretty chunky source of extra damage. Phalanx with the Bowmen rune is for your one weakness: single target damage. With no other enemies around to trigger your bounces, your single target dps pales in comparison.

As for your passives, we want to increase your block chance due to the damage scaling from Blessed Shield. Hold Your Ground and Towering Shield fulfill that quite nicely. Fervor and Finery are just flat dps increases, enough said.

Here’s a great demonstration of the build in action:

Diablo 3 Wizard

Wizard

Frostbite

This is actually a work in progress build that relies on some of the rarest legendaries in Diablo III. Rimeheart is a legendary sword that gives you a “10% chance to instantly deal 10,000% weapon damage to frozen enemies”. While it doesn’t sound that impressive on paper, you just need to increase your chance to freeze enemies. Winter Flurry, The Magistrate and the most important item, Frostburn’s all increase your instances and chances of freezing your enemies.

Unfortunately Winter Flurry, Rimeheart and Frostburn’s are among the hardest to find legendaries in the game.

Once you do get all the required items however, it will work a treat. Ray of Frost with the Sleet Storm rune and Ice Armor with Chilling Aura will give you a huge AoE coverage. For huge clusters of enemies you can pop your Blizzard for a guaranteed freeze on hit. Your Hydra will be spitting out cold damage while also periodically casting it’s own Frost Nova, which in tandem with your own and that coming from your Winter Flurry, should keep your foes locked in place.

Although it doesn’t go with the theme of the build, don’t forget about your Electrocute / Arcane Dynamo interaction. Use Electrocute to quickly refill your Arcane Power, and also get your Arcane Dynamo buff to five stacks. After when you cast your Ray of Frost, its damage will be increased by a whopping 60% of the entire channeled duration.

Good luck getting the items though: I’ve yet to see a pair of Frostburn’s in over 300 hours of play since Reaper of Souls launched.

Diablo 3 Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter

Ace Ventura

This is the build I used back in the Reaper of Souls beta and I’ve been dying to recreate it in the live game. The new Marauder set enables you to have every single Companion animal out at once, and also allows your Sentries to fire your Hatred spenders.

You’ll only need five pieces of the set, as we’re going to be using the Royal Ring of Grandeur to allow us to equip Tasker and Theo’s while still retaining the six piece set bonus. The 50% pet attack speed affects both your Companions and Sentries, so it’s a pretty no brainer. Although some of the damage is fire due to rockets, this is primarily a cold build.

Where it gets a little blurred is the rocket damage. The rockets from your Cluster Arrow and Elemental Arrow will deal cold damage. However the rockets from the Ballistics passive as well as the rockets for Multishot will deal fire. Since Ballistics doubles your rocket damage, this turns the three rockets from Maelstrom into 900% weapon damage, which is huge. When you’ve got seven Sentries all spamming this skill, the damage quickly adds up.

Other notable items include Calamity, Helltrapper, Etrayu, Bombardier’s Rucksack and Countess Julia’s Cameo. Calamity will apply the Mark of Death ability to anything you or your pets hit for an easy 20% damage increase. Helltrapper has a 10% chance to spawn an extra Sentry, up to a maximum of two, which is pretty easy to achieve. Bombardier’s Rucksack adds another two Sentries to your maximum, but you should switch it to another hand crossbow once the two are out on the field. If you’d rather have a two-handed bow, Etrayu is the best one for it’s innate cold damage amplification. Finally Countess Julia’s Cameo gives you much needed Arcane immunity to keep your squishy Demon Hunter safe from elite mobs with Jailer – which is unavoidable damage and prone to oneshotting you on Torment VI+.

Diablo 3 Barbarian

Barbarian

Earthen Leap

If you’re the sort of type that likes to jump around the battlefield while crushing your enemies under your mighty boot, this is the build for you. It’s another build that relies on another set bonus, this time from Might of the Earth: a set that augments the Earthquake ability. Firstly it reduces the cooldown of Earthquake by two seconds for enemy it kills, and it also causes Earthquake to automatically cast when you land using Leap.

Leap is another integral part when you throw the legendary boots Lut Socks into the mix. When casting Leap, Lut Socks give you a two second window to cast Leap again for free before the cooldown begins. You can usually get between two or three Leaps off during this window, which when combined with the aforementioned set can easily flood the screen with Earthquakes.

To maximise this builds potential, we need to stack Cooldown Reduction to a minimum of 40% to put Leap on a six second cooldown, down from ten. More Leaps equals more Earthquakes which equals more damage. Fury generation isn’t a problem thanks to the Earthen Might passive which grants you 30 Fury upon every Earthquake activation. The rest of your items, skills and passives can be moulded to your personal playstyle, but I would emphasis on taking plenty of defensive abilities. You’re going to be in the thick of things quite often, but that’s where a Barbarian feels most at home.

Here’s a video of the build doing a Torment VI Rift in only eight minutes:

Diablo 3 Witch Doctor

Witch Doctor

Creeping Death

Most players peg the Witch Doctor as a pet class, but they’re all very wrong. Damage over Time effects – otherwise known as DoTs – are another weapon in the Witch Doctor’s arsenal. Thanks to a new passive introduced in Reaper of Souls, Creeping Death, some of those effects can last for five minutes.

“OK that’s good and all, but that doesn’t kill things any faster”, I hear you saying. Well with the Jade Harvester’s set bonus, your Soul Harvest ability consumes the entire duration of your DoTs and deals their remaining damage instantly. Naturally, the amount of damage is more than capable of insta-gibbing your unlucky foes, even of the hardest of difficulties.

Now you’ll need a few more key items to make this more effective. Quetzalcoatl is a legendary voodoo mask that enables Locust Swarm and Haunt – the two primary DoTs you’ll be using – to deal their damage in half the duration, doubling their damage output. You’ll also want a Harrington Waistguard: a belt that increases your damage by 100%-135% upon opening a chest for ten seconds. It should be noted that this effect works on not only chests, but many other interactable objects such as weapon/armour racks and dead bodies.

To set up the combo, you’ll want to find yourself a nice pack of mobs. Drop your Piranhas for the crowd control and damage amplification, followed by your Locust Swarm and Haunt. Once they’re both ticking away, run into the middle of the pack and use Soul Harvest to consume the DoTs and deal massive damage. Rinse and repeat until everything is dead.

Diablo 3 Monk

Monk

Cyclone Warrior

This build is more of a support build, but it’s also every groups best friend. Crowd control is a very powerful asset in high difficulties, as it keeps the bad guys stunned and clumped together, making them easier to dispatch. Using both Cyclone Strike and Exploding Palm, this build can provide that crowd control while also dealing considerable damage for such a defensive build.

The good news is, this build doesn’t require any must-have items to make it work. Just by following the skill build above and having defensive itemisation, you can fulfill this role perfectly. There are however some items that will increase your effectiveness and buff your allies considerably.

The First of Az’Thurrasq increases your Exploding Palm’s on-death explosion to 75%-100% of the enemies maximum life. Since you’re enemies will be clumped together thanks to Cyclone Strike, this will most likely one-shot everything in the area of effect, especially on higher difficulties where the enemies health is in the millions. The set bonus from Inna’s Vast Expanse will also allow you to equip all four of your Mantra buffs at all times, which extend to your nearby allies.

Focusing on defensive stats as well as spirit generation is the key to this build. You need to be able to take/dodge a lot of punishment, and also maintain multiple applications of Exploding Palm which is your primary source of damage. Aim for around 20 million toughness total, but don’t be afraid to stack more.

These are my favourite builds, but what are yours? Share yours in the comments section below.