The BvC Guide
Note: There are far better BvC players than me, blobs, mcm, luis, mhmx etc. etc. In addition to this, much of what Ive learned about the build/matchups have been from these players and some of them have already made guides, but Im making this guide on this specific forum because it seems to be lacking one. =] Again, I'm not taking credit from practically anything in this guide, merely pointing out who should.
Im going to be outlining this guide in NL form, but it can be easily altered to Ladder with substituted gear.
Background Information: The Barb versus Caster build [henceforth known as BvC] is a Barbarian build specifically designed to do one thing: Kill casters. In this regard it fulfills that goal rather well, and is also able to kill almost all other melee characters. The only serious competition you'll have are Bone necs and Hdins. Anything else can be defeated with ease, and only very minimal gear switching.Goals to reach with this build
- Reach the 4 frame WW breakpoint
- Extremely high Hit Points
- Maxed resists in hell [Conviction/exceedingly heavy cold mastery/Anya Quest not taken into account]
- Enough AR to hit consistently against most duelers
- Reach the 37% FCR breakpoint
- Have an effective Leap radius
- Achieve decent percentages of Open Wounds, Crushing Blow, and Deadly Strike.
At level 90 [the bare minimum
for this build] you will have 101 skill points to spend.Skill Setup
20 Axe Mastery
20 Battle Orders
1 in all pre-reqs not listed here
1 Shout *
1 Increased Stamina
3 Increased Speed
2 or 3 Natural resist
1 Battle Command
Enough points in leap to gain at least lvl 22-24+ with ANY gear set-up**
You will have some extra skill points, usually. Some people find it in their interest to max shout. I dont find shout very useful, since your defense is already quite low and isnt really an integral part in your build. This may change if you decide to make your BvC capable of going against BvBs, which might require some restructuring of stat points/skill points. I would either 1) Max leap or 2) Find a happy medium between shout and leap skill point distribution. My opinion? Max leap.
Extra stat points are up to you [if you max leap] to distribute between shout or natural res. Pure Vitality Build
Like the sub-header says, this type is a Pure Vit build.
With pure vit you can use the standard equipment. I feel that pure vit is weaker than a build with STR/DEX invested. What do you do with pure vitality against Hdins? WWing 'blind spots' doesn't work against anyone with half a brain, and if you try desynch WW's, the hdin can just tele around and kill you that way. I'm not saying it's impossible to win using a pure vit build; on the contrary, there have been many instances where I wished I had more HP. But overall, str/dex > Pure vit.
Note: Pure vit is much more feasible than str/dex if you don't have access to perfect/good gear. You don't have as many options, but you can tank still and is overall a good 'beginner' build.STR/DEX Build
Vitality: The rest
The str/dex numbers are based on factors such as; West NL, perfect torch/anni, perfect ravens, etc. If you're not West NL, or don't have access to perfect whatever, DO THE MATH YOURSELF
. See how much str/dex you need in order to equip certain combinations of gear before investing. However, expect to invest around the same amount into str/dex. Consider it a guide.
Now that's out of the way: This is the superior build. You have less overall life, but you have way more options in terms of gear swaps. With added str/dex, you can wear a fort, wear it with a CoA, and wear it without +str from boots. You can even use a Widowmaker with Fort. Amazing. This also allows you to use Hsarus instead of Angelics.
Note: You will need some +str gear [will be explained later] in order to equip Fort + whatever. With 64 str base and a perfect 20 stat anni and torch, at lvl 94 you can wear CoA with no other gear other than your Enigma. That's pretty useful seeing as CoA is generally used when it's a non-elemental char, and Gores would be boots of choice. Furthermore, Gores don't have +str. Having to rely as little as possible on +str from equip other than Enigma is nice.Breakpoints
High damage and high life are not the only important things to consider when making a PvP character. There are many factors, such as effectiveness against certain characters, alternate equipment/stat placements for better efficiency, etc. Breakpoints fit into this category. A breakpoint [BP from now on] is a point in which, once reached, your character completes that specific action 1 frame or more faster. For example, the more Faster Cast Rate % you have, the less frames your character will take to complete the animation. For a BvC the two main important BPs are FCR and FHR.Faster Cast Rate Breakpoints
0 FCR ---- 13 Frames
9 FCR ---- 12 Frames
20 FCR ---- 11 Frames37 FCR ---- 10 Frames
63 FCR ---- 9 Frames
105 FCR ---- 8 Frames
200 FCR ---- 7 Frames
The 37 FCR BP [which is underlined] is what I suggest. It's easily attained using 2x FCR rings + an Arachnid Mesh. In my opinion, the 37% BP is very effective. Though not as fast as the 63% BP, it still allows you to catch quick teleporters, but it requires you to put Leap to good use, as well as have better reflexes when tele -> WWing.
The 63% BP is the one that is usually attained on West NL by using Wiz Gloves. Using Wizgloves gives you 50% FCR already, which means you only need 2x FCR or an Arachnid Mesh to break 63%. You could also use a 13% FCR Barb ammy, but you lose the benefits of the Highlords, and I seriously don't recommend that. I use 63% against Necros/some sorcs using Griffons + FCR rings + Arach. I keep the damage but I gain the speed. [Thanks morotjos]
Note on FCR frames: You may notice that the Barb shares the same FCR table as the Sorceress. This is extremely useful, since as well as having a quick, uninterruptible, heavily damaging attack, you also share the best FCR frames in the game.Faster Hit Recovery Breakpoints
0 FHR ---- 9 Frames
7 FHR ---- 8 Frames
15 FHR ---- 7 Frames
27 FHR ---- 6 Frames
48 FHR ---- 5 Frames
86 FHR ---- 4 Frames
200 FHR ---- 3 Frames
FHR comes into effect when you're hit by something that puts you into recovery animation. If you have 0 FHR, you'll be recovering at a sluggish 9 Frames, which means you will be dead - guaranteed. High DR and HP won't save you if you're stuck in a stun lock and cannot get out.
With your normal Pubby set up [see below], you'll reach the 48% BP. This allows you to duel effectively, though there may be some instances [such as getting stuck in a trap + MB combo] where you'll need more, or at least leap/WW out of it. 86% is a bit more difficult to get to, since it requires quite a bit more gear changing.Achieving the best WhirlWind Breakpoint
If you have a slow weapon, you're not going to reach the 4 frame WW BP. Outisde IAS [IAS that is not on the weapon itself] has no effect on the speed of your WW. This includes things such as IAS jewels socketed in your helm, and the Fantaticsm aura from your Beast.
Since you'll be using a Berserker Axe as the base for your Grief, you will need at least
34 IAS [the Berserkers Axe base speed is 0, meaning that you need it to reach -34 speed] in order to hit the 4 Frame [the last, also] breakpoint. Essentially this will mean that you will be hitting more often per second than if you hit a lower BP.
Your offhand weapon [the weapon that your equip last, this means you always want to equip your Grief FIRST, then your beast/doom/whatever] must also reach 34% IAS, but since all the off-hand weapons you should be using [Doom/Beast] already have at least 40%~ IAS, it's not something to worry about.Items
These items are not cheap, for the most part. This is an expensive build, built with expensive items. If you cannot afford them, then I suggest you either get them somehow, or try another build.Main Items
-Crown of Ages
[Socketed with two Ber runes]: There is really no substitute for this helm, in regards to fighting against physical damage attackers. 31% DR + the other bonuses cut down on a lot of damage you take. This will also be the helm of choice if you frequent pub rooms, being that there are generally a ton of physical damage opponents in there and that the helm also comes with a decent amount of +resist all. If there are none, then of course youll use the next helm.Arreats Face
[Socketed with a 40ed\15ias jewel] : This is the one you'll usually wear when you go after Sorcs, necros, etc. The bonuses make this helm. The 40\15 jewel is for the times you use a Widow Maker, but is also very helpful when you run into a clay golem, since it allows you to Zerk at a reasonable speed [IIRC, itll be the 12 frame BP when youre hit by a clay golem].Armor
: Wyrmhide/Dusk/MagePlate/BreastPlate/low-strength armors. You will not have high base strength with this build, so generally Archon Plate enigmas are out of the question. When killing casters, Enigma is at the top of the heap, with no real competition.Fortitude
: Archon Plate/Dusk. Something with a reasonable str-req and not super ugly. This is generally equipped when you go after different types of Paladins or sometimes other Barbs. It provides 300% ED, making every landed hit insanely damaging.Jewelry
: Nothing else. +1 skill, lightning resist, 20% IAS [irrelevant with WW, however] and a ton of Deadly Strike makes this amulet very useful.FCR rings
: Preferred stats are FCR/AR/Life/Mana/Res all OR FCR/AR/STR/Mana/Res all.Weapons
-Grief Berserker Axe
: Not a phase blade. Not a Colossus Blade. A berserker axe. This has range 3 and allows you to hit the WW breakpoint with a 34% IAS roll. The ideal Grief is 34%IAS+\+400 damage, but as long as you hit around 380-390, its still good.Beast Berserker Axe
: THE offhand weapon. This thing adds a ton of AR, Damage, and Crushing Blow/Open Wounds. Another thing is that it adds a LOT of strength, which does two things: 1) Adds some damage to your WW and 2) Makes it a lot easier to equip your CoA. It also has some mana related bonuses, but theyre just nice, not game-breaking.Doom Berserker Axe*
: Usually youll want just one for a Doom + Grief kill-a-smiter-bleedfest. However, if you decide to follow blobs\mcms advice, then youll get two. If you go Doom x2 on switch, these will be your Warcry weapons. You lose only +2 to Warcries, but gain damage and the invaluable Holy Freeze Aura [The two Auras will stack, and so will the Resistance]. This still gives a good level BO, and you will #@!& smiters/zons if you decide to use a Doom on them. But anyway, you dont really use them too often, unless youre BOing or teleporting around with both Dooms out to try and kill a slivered dueler. Also, zons/smiters can be beaten without them. *
Doom x2 are considered 'old school' BO weapons. Whatever. They do damage and kill with Auras. They're awesome. However, if you don't like them or want more HP, use 2x HotO's on switch instead.Belt
: The only belt you want to use against Casters. It has +skills, slow, +mana%, and most importantly it boasts 20% FCR. The ideal FCR BP you want is to break the 38%, which means youll be wearing an Arachnid Mesh and two FCR rings.Gloves
: Nothing else. No, dont use Steelrends. Rends are garbage for BvCs. Get the best +strength you can buy [15 str]. Life leech isnt as important, but its nice to have decent leech.Boots
: These are your melee boots. They have Open Wounds, Deadly Strike, AND Crushing Blow, which will increase your damage output like hell. Youll use these against Smiters\Zealots\Hammerdins\Windies\etc. In short, duels in which you dont need resists on your boots.Wraith Brands
: Expensive, but undeniably worth it. They have FRW\FHR +19 Strength and triple resists that nearly reach 50 each. These are what you need against Elemental casters. Perm ones will own your finances, though. [West specific]Imp Shanks
: Yep. If you cant afford Wraith Brands, then Imp Shanks are a good 2nd choice. [West Specific]Charms
: There is no doubt that these are what you want. 34 of these things add an insane amount of life, while giving good damage and AR. Im fairly certain that AR\life SCs are almost as useful, but you do lose some damage in that trade. If you cant obtain 3\20\20s [this is the case if you play ladder], then your next option is to get the best max\AR\life SC\GCs that you can find.5fhr/5 res all SCs
: In addition to giving you an extra 20 res all, this impart 20% FHR, allowing you to hit the 48% FHR BP even without 20% FHR Boots on [i.e. when you use Gores]. Before you ask; no, 5% FHR scs are not bugged to 4% FHR. No. No. No. If you feel like you need specific res, then get 5% FHR/11 whatever res SCs instead. It's up to you.Hellfire Torch
: To a barb, this is basically a slightly beefed up Annihilus. The priority here is the +stats mod. Try to get one with a 20 stat mod and a decent resist mod. Perfect stats allow you to spend all your points into vitality [if you're pure vit] or spend less str/dex [if you're str/dex].Annihilus
: The same as the Hellfire Torch. Resists are a 2nd priority, youre mainly looking for a high +stat mod. My advice would be to find one with perfect stats and good resists, but a crappy +exp% mod. Those tend to cost less than ones with higher +exp%.Secondary Items
:WidowMaker [Umd or Held]
: Useful for when you run across a hammerdin or a V/T. High OW and the inherent GA allow you to take a few shots off, and switch back before the guy charges/teleports on you. The high Dexterity requirement  is a problem, though. If you take 2x 20 Dexterity RavenFrosts + 20 stat Hellfire + 20 Stat Annihilus + Arreats Face + Base Dex youre still short 26 stat points. You have to 'Hel' it if you want to use it with base Dex. 'Um' Widow is a possibility for max block and str/dex builds.Verdungos Hearty Cord
: Adds +vit and up to 15% DR, this should NOT be needed. If you understand how to kill smiters/zealots and play safe against druids, then you generally wont need this. The DR from BerBerCoA and Enigma should be enough. Learn how to WW when dealing with different physical damage opponents, and you may not need extra DR at all. I personally don't carry this at all.Thunder Gods Vigor
: An important item. Some lightning based duelers hit extremely hard, and the +10% max res will even the duel out if needed. Note that this is worthless if you don't have stacked resist to begin with.Demon Limb
: Enchant. This will boost your AR [though it gets annoying to recharge it, just rune + cube it], allowing you to hit the higher defense opponents i.e. Hammerdins/smiters/zealots/basically Paladins much easier. Your normal targets wont have much in the way of defense, so this is only used against certain opponents.Life Tap Wand
: This thing is extremely useful when dealing with Bad Mannered Druids/Necros with summons. Basically, if you hit a Life Tapped target, it'll be like drinking a Full Rejuv. This is also useful in stopping Iron Madien from killing you as you plow through Skeletons/Revives. I personally carry a +2 warcries, 10% IAS 25 charges of lifetap War Axe
in my stash. I keep the same BO level, and can curse skeles/revives. ^_______________________^Treachery
: One of the only worthwhile runewords in 1.11 [so far], this armor is only used for one thing: Prebuffing. It comes with a chance to cast [CtC] Fade and Venom. If you're allowed to Prebuff, go find a campfire somewhere and sit in there until Fade kicks in. After that, find a group of monsters and mow them down with Berserk/Normal attack. Now you have an extra 60% resist all, curse/poison length reduced by 79%, and an extra 305-325 poison boost to your damage [which is reduced by the PvP penalty, of course].Rune Loops
: Im mentioning these specifically, since these are THE anti-FoH/infinity lightning Sorceress rings. High mana, and 62 lightning resist and 15 fire\cold\poison resistance make two of these rings very useful in nullifying any damage done from FoH, and making the Conviction from Infinity worthless. Use these if you want to force a lightning based dueler select a new character. [West Specific]Nokazon/Hotspurs/3 Lo helm/Etc.
: Are all not needed. Theyre helpful for when youre learning how to play a BvC, but you want to eventually grow out of them. You'll be a better player when you do.Life/Mana SCs
: If you feel that your damage level is fine, but you don't have enough mana, this is another choice. In reality 3/20/20's don't add 'that' much PvP damage, and the AR is not an issue anyways. Life/mana scs allow you to go for longer periods of time without having to consume a mana pot, which is especially useful if you're using Angelics.Hsarus Boots + Belt/Angelics
: Is a special area. Pure vit will generally use Angelics [along with fort] while str/dex builds will use Hsarus Boots + belt [along with fort] instead. Angelics gives you the biggest boost, but gives you terrible mana. Hsarus allows you to keep your Highlords, FCR rings, relatively the same mana levels, and a decent amount of AR. Hsarus in general > Angelics.A note on WarCry prebuffing items
- I didnt mention them because of this; Carrying around 2x +3 Warcry javs, +5\6 BO helm 2x Sojs, and a +3 Warcry Ammy can give you a nicer BO. The problem is that youre going to have to eventually recast everything, which is a giant hassle. It also takes up practically half of your stash space. Its up to you if you feel that BOing without prebuff gear isnt right. I personally prebuffed 5~ or so times total when I did have it stashed. IMO it's almost a complete waste of time, seeing that it must be recasted eventually and that means you have to fiddle in the stash again. It's up to you, however.Note on other realms
: Realms other than West Non-Ladder will not have access to certain pieces of equipment in this guide. This is a list of items that should be available to all realms, regardless of ladder or non.
Arreats Face, Crown of Ages, Highlords Wrath, Gore Riders, Draculs Grasp, Enigma, Grief, Beast, Arachnid Mesh, Doom. These items listed are those that are essential, and are also able to be found or traded for on every realm, West or otherwise.
Most every realm will have their own set of duped boots [regarding non-ladder], rings and charms. However, if you don't want to use duped items, you can always go legit. Mods to look for on duped/legit: On duped boots, triple resists, +strength, 30% FRW, 20% FHR on boots. If you're looking for legit boots, then you have a small problem. You can't get +strength on boots anymore, only +dexterity, which is far less useful and the max is +9. So the best you can hope for is +dex along with resists and some FRW. On rings, 10% FCR, +strength, + AR, +resist all, + life and mana. For charms, you just want to get the best max\ar\life charms you can possible get. An inventory full of SCs will give you more life, while an inventory full of GCs with SCs at the bottom will give you slightly higher damage and AR. It's up to you, but I prefer SCs, since the GC's AR and damage advantage isn't that huge.Public Dueling Setup
Helm: Crown of Ages
Amulet: Highlords Wrath
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Rings: Raven Frost x2
Weapons: Grief Berserker Axe + Beast Berserker Axe
Weapon Switch: Doom x2 [or other BO weapons]
Gloves: Trang Gloves
Boots: Wraith Brands [substitute Imp Shanks if you cant get Wraith Brands]
This provides good resists, decent damage and good survivability in pub rooms.