Diablo 3 build guide: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard [UPDATED]
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.
As we play each of the classes, we'll update their guides with new builds and improved versions of existing builds. Check back often, and let us know what builds you're using in the comments!
Barbarian Builds - page 1
Demon Hunter Builds - page 2
Monk Builds - page 3
Witch Doctor Builds - page 4
Wizard Builds - page 5
6/22: Added Hardcore Monk Act I and Inferno Witch Doctor
6/6: Added Inferno Demon Hunter
6/5: Added Inferno Monk
6/4: Inferno Survival Week! Added Infernal Barbarian and Infernal Wizard I
5/30: Added two Z Fighter builds: a ranged version for the Wizard and a melee version for the Monk
5/29: Added two comic-themed builds: The Demon Hunter as Batman and the Barbarian as Thor
5/25: Added Witch Doctor's Spirit Warrior
5/24: Added Monk's Tonk, Demon Hunter's Arcane Archer and Barbarian's Speed Freak
5/23: Added Wizard's Storm Mage
5/22: Added Demon Hunter's Sniper
5/21: Added Barbarian's Inexhaustible Berserker
5/17: Updated Witch Doctor's Plaguebringer and Wizard's Glass Cannon
5/16: Updated Demon Hunter's Explosives Expert, Monk's Balanced Healer, Witch Doctor's Zombie King
Barbarian build: Inferno Barbarian
See the build:Infernal Barbarian
As a melee class, the barbarian has a rough time of things in Inferno, and building him as a pure tank is surprisingly ineffective in terms of keeping you from dying horribly. The biggest dangers in D3's top difficulty are those deadly combinations of prefix mobs you'll come up against (such as Molten Waller Jailer). You need to be tough, but it's just as important to have great mobility and stun resistance. Start with your bread-and-butter Frenzy/Hammer of the Ancients combo runed for Triumph and Thunderstrike, giving you some decent lifesteal and a 100% proc stun. Stuns are probably the best tanking abilities in the game in Diablo 3, due to the sheer number of enemies. A stunned enemy is dealing no damage to you at all, making it more valuable than damage mitigation.
Furious Charge with Merciless Assault is something I can't seem to ever justify giving up, no matter what kind of build I'm going for. A spammable (if you aim it right) AoE attack that generates fury and can get you out of sticky situations is just too good in too many ways to not take. Ignore Pain should be used sparingly, only when you know there's a big damage spike coming (such as being stunned next to something that's about to explode and spew acid all over you.) Sprint and the Gangway rune give you one more way to get out of trouble fast, and make sure you control the where and how of each engagement. War Cry, and especially the Impunity rune, will boost your ability to soak all kinds of damage amazingly.
You'll notice the passives here aren't the straight armor buffing ones. The fact is, in Inferno, it doesn't really matter how much armor you have. If you get stunned and/or surrounded at the wrong time, you're going to die even if you're encased in metal and made entirely of granite. Superstition will save you from that nasty elemental damage that bypasses your armor, while Relentless and Juggernaut kick in when death is near to give you half a shot of wading out of the fray alive. You may be hearing words like "impossible" getting thrown around in regard to the barbarian on Inferno, but with this build, you'll at the very least make those elites work for their kills.
Preferred stats: Vitality, Strength, Armor, Movement Speed
Barbarian build: The Mighty THOR
See the build:The Barbarian as Thor
What better role model for your barbarian than the God of Thunder himself?
Bash and Hammer of the Ancients make you feel like a true Asgardian, sending out lightning bolts and shockwaves that stun and toss around your enemies. Leap is about as close as you'll get to modeling the son of Odin's flight ability. Obviously, Weapon Throw with the Throwing Hammer rune is essential. And when the fighting is the thickest, pop Call of the Ancients to summon Thor's loyal companions, the Warriors Three! Your passives make you even mightier when outnumbered and ensure that no foe can escape from Midgard's greatest protector.
Preferred stats: Strength, Weapon Damage, Vitality
Barbarian build: The Speed Freak
See the build:The Speed Freak
Preferred stats: Movement Speed, Strength, Attack Speed, Weapon Damage
Barbarian build: The Inexhaustible Berserker
See the build:Inexhaustible Berserker
RAAAAAGE! This build is all about maximizing your "enrage powers," making you a self-buffing death machine. Your key skills are Battle Rage and Wrath of the Berserker. The first is your everyday use enrage which, with this build, should be active more or less at all times with only one trigger at the beginning of combat. Wrath of the Berserker is your "hard enrage," which you'll have to use more sparingly. Since crits extend the duration of your Battle Rage, dual-wield works best, with either a mace/axe (crit chance from Weapons Master) or spear (attack speed from Weapons Master) in the main hand. Frenzy, with its quick blows, leads to more crits and is a natural primary skill. Leap and Furious Charge keep you in the thick of things, where you need to be, while generating extra fury. Hammer of the Ancients with the Smash rune is a great Elite/Boss killer.
Note: At higher levels, you may want to swap out the Ferocity rune on Battle Rage for Into the Fray, essentially turning Battle Rage into a "piggyback" to extend the duration of Wrath of the Berserker.
Preferred stats: Attack Speed, Crit Chance, Strength, Weapon Damage
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: 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