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Diablo 3

Barbarian Tank Guide for Hell/Inferno

Barbarian TankAt the time of this writing I have a level 57 barb tank and I just wanted to say a couple things here and give my spec that I have been using from the start of nightmare mode in the hopes that some people find it useful as there seems to be alot of people really disliking the barb upon reaching the higher difficulties.

I must say my spec is a sword/board spec so DD's need not concern themselves too much, however I have had multiple melee tell me that the only time they could go almost full damage spec was when I was tanking (they still had good gear and vitality though) so even if your a DD passing this on to your barb tank friend may actually allow you to have a better time and more success while doing damage.

My current stats at 57 are:
HP - 64,000 (70k with monk hp buff)
Armor - About 73% damage reduction
Resistances - Around 12-15% red each.
Damage - 3.2k (remember I am a tank)

Click Here For My Build!

Basically the idea here is to keep mobs on you or as close to you as you can so your DD's can do their thing, whilst being able to take a beating. I have had numerous times on hell difficulty where I have been tanking 20+ mobs and 3 out of the 4 of my group have died and I have solo'd the mobs to death via revenge.

So a brief rundown:

Left click - Cleave + gathering storm

Barbarain Cleave

I find cleave to be the best for tanking as its AOE, however bash with stun glyph or frenzy with stun are better for bosses. The idea is that, one you have mobs on you (see other skills) you cleave the crap out of them and they are slowed so much they cant get past your DPS.

Right Click - Threatening Shout + demoralise

So AOE damage reduction + 3 sec taunt = This is Good!

1- Leap + Call of Arreat/Death from above or Furious Charge + dreadnaut

Leap is amazing because it offers so much mobility you can be defensive and jump over terrain and get out of situations where mobs block you in or be offensive and use it to pull mobs to you (the range isn't as big as ground stomp) or for a smaller radius (8y instead of 16y for the grip) you can make leap stun for 3 seconds at 60 which combined with your stomp and taunt is 10 seconds at a time you can be sure mobs are on you and not your DPS with only seconds in between before you can repeat, But using leap to stun or pull can leave you in a sticky situation of your surrounded by mobs and you need to get out ASAP and you just used your leap to tank, which is why you may want:

Furious charge + regen glyph - the times you want to get out of a pack of mobs in a hurry is normally when your low on HP and they just threw down some nasty ability and you need to move it, move it  this way you get to get out of that nasty spot as it allows u to go through mobs but it also heals you for 8% hp per mob which is great.

2- Revenge + provocation - this is my only really interchangeable ability.

Revenge IMO is one of the best abilities in game and even more so for a tank, this essentially means the more mobs on your face the more your survivability actually goes up, pre 52 use the extra rage and hp glyph and after 52 use the 30% proc chance instead of the 15% + extra heals.

This ability is one of your biggest sources of damage along with cleave and the main source of your hp regen and I have had it heal me for 30k+ numerous times and if you have 10+ mobs on you which I do almost always it is almost always proceed) you will learn to love this!

3- War cry + invigorate

Barbarain WarcrySo 20% armor buff and 10% hp buff and hp regen, this ability is so so good, nice buff for you and your group.  For me this is like 8k HPs alone, obviously less for the DPS but its such a huge buff for you and every bit of it helps the group, its great IMO (also the hp regen on this plus my passive inspiring presence which I will come to has me at about 1100 hp regen a second combined).

Armor isn't linear, the more armor you get the more armor you then need to get the same gains in reduction.

Armor needed to get from 0-5% damage reduction is very small, armor needed from 70-75% damage reduction is huge in comparison.

So effectively the better your gear and the more armor you have standard the less and less benefit you will receive from the glyph (I think the extra 20% armor is only 2.5% damage reduction for me ATM).

However, the 10% hp glyph actually gets better the better your gear gets, the more vitality you have and more hp standard the more this increases your hp, also all of your ways to regen health through passives and abilities is %hp based so the more hp you have the more hp you can return.

So overall at lower gear levels you may wish to use the extra 20% armor but as you get better gear hp glyph wins every time.

The only other glyph I would consider is the 15% dodge glyph as flat out avoiding damage is great. I would say this is probably better for slow swinging hard hitting bosses where your not gonna get a huge chance to regen alot of hp from abilities.

4- Ground stomp + wrenching smash

Great all around spell, stun works on everyone except a couple of bosses, also pulls mobs to you, great synergy with your taunt and leap into cleave or revenge spam.


Nerves of Steel- increases armor by 100% of your Vitality. (I currently have 1200 or so Vit so 1200 armor).

Tough as nails- Armor increase by 25%, also increase thorns damage (kind of not taken for this but every little helps).

Invigorating presence- after you use a shout (taunt/damage red, armor/hp buff for this build or damage and crit shout for DPS) you regen 1% max hp a second also doubles the time on your shouts (taunt is still 3 sec but the damage red gets doubles as does the uptime on your armor buff).

Ok so now you know what I picked and why let me tell you how I use them:

Normal mobs/elites (non bosses): basically the idea is to chain your leap > stomp > and taunt in amongst cleaves to keep mobs on you or close to you 24/7 using revenge as needed to keep your hp topped (revenge easily heals half my hp with a decent amount of mobs), I don't know if I am imagining this but since I glyphed cleave to have the 80% slow I have noticed alot more mobs on me even when my taunts and pull to my abilities are down, I don't know if the 80% slow affects the AI so they know they are slowed and just hit what's close (me) instead of chasing a DPS- seems so from what I have seen but may be wrong.

Bosses:  The only things I change are cleave to bash or frenzy with the chance to stun proc- when I get the increase damage per frenzy stack at 59 I will take that for those bosses you cant stun, Belial and the Black Soulstone guy (Soulstone guy can be stunned by stomp but not your basic attack it seems).

I also swap my damage reduction shout + taunt (bosses are immune to the taunt) for our 65% damage cooldown ignore pain + mob rule glyph to give my party the damage reduction too.

Gear:  Ok my gear isn't the best by along way, at least 4 pieces are slightly behind in terms of armor and maybe slightly low in either STR or VIT per piece but paying attention to AH and putting in the correct gems makes a world of difference.

I have currently have 1200 vitality and around 1k strength, everything but my weapon has an amethyst in it (purple gem).

When I look ah its best to search per slot (helm, legs, MH, shield etc etc) in the additional stats bit put str and vit and type in the amounts you currently have (if you don't know this just leave blank, do a search and hover over an item, it will also show your current item and you can fill in the boxes and search again), next sort by buyout price/armor value/DPS (whatever you like) and see if you can get a good deal

Weapon:  This is very important so I am giving it its own section separate from gear. Remember the main source of your damage is from your weapon!

What people seem to think is they need a ton of strength and that a 12.5 DPS increase on bracer ot 20 on legs is worth giving up 2-3k hp, well its not.

Your main DPS stat (STR for barbs) is only a multiplier, all your damage is based on your weapon damage and then that's multiplied by your DPS stat which has its own % multiplier (shown in your char sheet when you press details).

I wouldn't go all out vitality and ignore STR completely but try keep them on balance however if its a piece of gear not your weapon and you would lose a good chunk of hp for a small DPS increase, I would say no. Best thing you can do is keep your weapon damage up to date for the biggest damage increases.

What weapon stats do I want?

1. Get highest damage spread possible (ability damage comes from the damage spread, e.g a 3-5 damage weapon with a 1 sec speed would be 4 DPS but your damage multiplier from strength would multiply anywhere between the 3-5 weapon damage).

The easiest way to explain is that a 1h and 2h weapon may have the same DPS but the 2h will hit alot harder this is because its alot slower at attacking so its damage per second may be the same as a 1h but as it has maybe double the attack speed it means its damage spread would also be double in this case allowing for much larger hits even though the damage per second is the same).

2. Does it have a socket? if so then you just added alot of damage to your weapons damage spread = more damage for your damage modifier = huge DPS gains :)

3. Does it have good stats?

This is your lowest priority on a weapon I have seen so many people take weapons with tiny damage because they have super high stats on them and this is so bad because your damage modifier from your STR multiplies your weapon damage spread so u can have 100000000000 STR but if you have no DPS on your weapon 100000000000x 0 still equals 0

However, if you can find a weapon with a high damage spread and a socket and desirable stats then your laughing and you will probably use it for a good while, but most times you can settle for the high damage and socket with small stats on there.

A lot of people don't realize yet how strength and weapon damage work together so you can find sick DPS weapons with sockets and low stats for cheap cheap cheap on the AH.

Also, I should explain when I say you want a high damage spread this doesn't mean you want a big gap between the min and max damage on your weapon this means you want the min and max to be as high as possible.

I search the AH after every act or maybe more just to see if there is good deals on there.


Here are my specs for INFERNO difficulty:

Regular Trash

Changed my passives to include superstition and my leap now stuns and war cry from max hp to dodge percent.

Elite Packs

Shout now slows passives include 20% cc reduction with chance to heal you and war cry changed from dodge to resistance.

Most elite packs have super gay combos where is more favorable to kite than stand in melee this allows you to so this, you have better resistances, permanent slow on enemies (stuns if you need) and if you get cc'd you have cc reduction and a chance to get 15% max hp heal (which as a tank is alot of hp).


Damage red and slow changed to 65% damage reduction for group.

Cleave changed to frenzy + chance to stun (if the boss cant be stunned, switch to damage per frenzy stack).

Passives changed to include relentless, under 20% hp you have a 50% damage reduction (20% hp sounds like your on deaths door already but with tank hp this passive has saved me on bosses a couple of times already).

War Cry, choose resistance or dodge depending on the boss.

I am trying to keep my 5 stacks for better lootz yo, cant change abilities:

If you don't want to change cause your trying to keep your stacks from elite kills so you get better boss drops then I would stick with the elite pack spec, bosses IMO are easier than these packs so having the best spec to clear the packs is the way to go.

Will update this as I play, hope this helps and sorry I wrote this kind of in a hurry! Will proof read later :) Also, I got some of my strategy builds from Diablo 3 Gold Secrets By Peng Joon, there's a small fee for it, but worth it.



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