Whirlwind Barbarian PvP Guide

Introduction

The Whirlwind Headbang Barbarian is build that destroys enemies in PvP game modes like Battlegrounds, Vault, Ancient Arena and Rite of Exile. Sprint gives you crowd control immunity while Whirlwind constantly interrupt enemies using The Gathering. Furious Charge keeps you mobile while also dealing some of the highest damage in the game. If all this wasn't enough Undying Rage makes you nearly unkillable, allowing you to avoid death, retreat and prepare for your next assault. Let's get into it and learn how to setup the Headbang Whirlwind Barbarian PvP Build!

This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 60. Check out the Barbarian 1-60 Leveling Guide and Complete Leveling Guide if you're not there yet!

Cheat Death
Great Mobility
High CC Immunity
Good AoE Damage
Pulls Enemies Together

Insane Objective Control

❌ Melee Range
Relies on Cheat Death
❌ Mediocre Single Target Damage


Class PvP Build - Build Name

Frenzy (Primary) - Great for finishing off anyone who's still alive after you've run dry on Whirlwind or when in 1v1 combat, especially when its ultimate is up.

Sprint - Combining this with Second Breath and Broken Grasp gives you speed, insane dodge and immunity to crowd control, all in one skill. This skill is an essential part of being unstoppable as a Barbarian.

Whirlwind - Your primary source of damage, especially when there are multiple enemies around. The Gathering is without a doubt one of the most annoying skills for your opponents to deal with in the entire game. It constantly pulls them in and CC's them briefly. Never underestimate its power. The extra range of Eager Maelstrom helps to pull in even more foes!

Furious Charge - Use this to open up on your target(s) with massive damage as well as a knock up from Screaming Fury.

Undying Rage - Once this pops you know you have a limited amount of time to finish your slaying or get out of there before it wears off. If enough enemies are around, you can likely heal to full health while this is up, making you very hard to deal with.

There isn't a recommended Off-Hand Legendary Item for this build, use whatever you have equipped.

Grace of the Flagellant is the best PvP Set for Barbarians by far! Since we use Whirlwind as our main skill, we constantly deal damage and always get the damage buff!

Charm Priority: 1. Whirlwind 2. Furious Charge 3. Undying Rage 4. Sprint 5. Frenzy

Check out our Set Item Guide and Equipment Guide for more information.

Alternative Setups

There are a few changes you can make depending on your preferred playstyle:

  • In the current state of the game, Sprint and Undying Rage are almost mandatory, so I wouldn't recommend removing either of those Skills from a PvP setup.
  • Furious Charge and Whirlwind are used primarily for damage and can be changed out for many others depending on what you want to bring to the battle.
    • For huge damage, Cleave is a great alternative to Whirlwind, and Chained Spear with Crusher Rig can replace Furious Charge.
    • If you want to bring more Crowd Control use Demoralize with Bestial Threat or Group Stomp to pin down enemies.
  • Mix it up and be unpredictable, the Barbarian is very strong and has many weapons at its disposal. If your enemies can't predict what's coming the next time they see you, they'll stand no chance!

Gameplay

The general process here is very simple and extremely fun to play around with. You'll truly never have a dull moment and are a constant threat in PvP. You'll be tempted to push into battle non-stop as your thirst for blood can't possibly be quenched, but try to contain yourself and leave the battle when the time is right. You can be back in a few seconds as strong as you were at the start!

  1. Cast Sprint before you dive into battle. This makes you faster while you're casting Whirlwind, very hard to hit and immune to seemingly all Crowd Control in the game.
  2. Now you charge in with Furious Charge, this knocks them up for a second giving you time to do some more damage.
  3. Use Frenzy or Whirlwind to do heavy damage depending on if you're fighting 1 or multiple enemies.

If the fight is fierce, Undying Rage will activate, giving you a limited amount of time to finish the job or get out of there alive. Either way keep on swinging and giving them hell until your last moments. You may be able to leech back most of your life and feel more confident finishing up a fight. If things are going poorly during your last stand use your final Furious Charge to attempt to escape back behind friendly lines. Once you use a Bandage and get your bearings straight, you'll have all your cooldowns back and can go right back to giving them hell!

Check out our Battlegrounds and General PvP Strategy guides for more information.


Legendary and Normal Gems

Legendary Gems provide incredible attribute bonuses and unique effects. They are found as a reward after completing an Elder Rift that is enhanced with a Legendary Crest. Many of them are also crafted using Runes and Platinum at the Jeweler in Westmarch.

Read our Legendary Gems Guide for more information.

Starter Legendary Gems
  1. Trickshot Gem allows you to channel Whirlwind longer, especially when ranked up and awakened! The best 1 star Legendary Gem for a Whirlwind Barb!
  2. Everlasting Torment deals incredible damage over time after a Critical Hit. For a simple 1 star Legendary Gem, this packs a punch.
  3. Fervant Fang does fantastic single target damage. It can easily be acquired from the Battle Pass, without relying on luck from crests.
  4. Berserker's Eye provides increased damage at the cost of you taking more damage. This tradeoff works well for this build.
  5. Lightning Core does direct damage to an enemy group, often wiping them out in the process. While the damage is infrequent, it's useful for taking down larger targets.
  6. Chained Death gives a solid damage boost, especially in AoE situations.
Best in Slot Legendary Gems
  1. Blood-Soaked Jade is the best Legendary Gem in the game. It provides massive damage and movement speed, which is perfect for our Spin to Win Barbarian.
  2. Seeping Bile has poison that is devastating in large densities, like Elder and Challenge Rifts. When shredding through enemies with Whirlwind, you'll get so many hits in quick succession that this Gem procs all over the place!
  3. Blessing of the Worthy is amazing because you're constantly in melee range of enemies. Any damage taken activates devastating damage every 15 seconds, obliterating anything nearby.
  4. Phoenix Ashes gives a cheat death that increases in effectiveness as you rank this gem up. There might be unpredictable interactions between this Gem and Undying Rage, so we have to see how it performs with more testing.
  5. Bottled Hope provides great damage and movement speed. It can be triggered easily by using Sprint, Wrath of the Berserker or Undying Rage.
  6. Chip of Stone Flesh increases your damage sigificantly and can proc from any hard cc like your stun from the Hammer of the Ancients + The Remembered combination. In this PvP Guide however it is mostly a stat & resonance boost.

Normal Gems

  1. Tourmaline is better than Ruby, since Damage is better than Life.
  2. Sapphire is better than Aquamarine, since Armor Penetration (Critical Hit Damage) is better than Armor.
  3. Citrine is equal to Topaz, since both Potency and All Resistance are underwhelming stats. Simply use the highest leveled Yellow Gems you've obtained.

Attribute Priorities

Primary Attributes

The Barbarian's main Primary Attribute is Strength, giving +0.3 Damage per point. All other things equal, use gear with Strength to maximize the damage you deal. Fortitude is also important early on because it gives you Armor Penetration (Critical Hit Daamge), but becomes less important later due to diminishing returns.

The Barbarian's worst Primary Attribute is Intelligence because it only gives +1 Combat Rating. If possible, don't use it.

  1. Strength +1 Combat Rating and +0.3 Damage.
  2. Fortitude +1 ORDR, +0.1 Armor, and +0.1 Armor Penetration. Armor increases your chance to Block, which mitigates 20% of incoming damage. This is a nice defensive boost, especially when pushing Challenge Rifts or Helliquary bosses. Armor Penetration gives Critical Hit Damage, which is nice if you already have a high Critical Hit Chance.
  3. Vitality +1 ORDR and +3 Life. It never hurts to have more life, especially for end game pushes and PvP. Vitality is the best attribute after the damage-dealing ones.
  4. Willpower +1 ORDR, +0.1 Potency, and +0.1 Resistance. Potency increases the duration of harmful effects on enemies, while Resistance lowers the duration of harmful effects on you from enemies. Willpower may play a larger role in the future, but currently it is never prioritized.
  5. Intelligence +1 ORDR. Gives nothing extra and is therefore the worst attribute.

Check out our Stats Mechanic Guide for more information.

Special Attributes

Because the total amount of primary attributes is so important, you rarely prioritize special attributes on gear. Still, several special attributes can make a difference, here are some of the best ones you can find:

  1. Critical Hit Chance to proc Everlasting Torment attack speed effect at Rank 6.
  2. Beneficiary Effect Duration to boost uptime of Sprint and Wrath of the Berserker.
  3. Critical Hit Damage to increase damage.

Check out our full Attribute and Magic Affix Guide and Upgrading and Reforging Guide for more information.

Bonus Attributes, Family Bonus, and Reforging

Family bonuses are hard to change so picking a powerful option is important:

  1. The Barrier Stone Family Bonus is the strongest for PvP bonus, however it is not that easy to change frequently. Focus on Maximum Life.
  2. The Vengeance Stone Family Bonus is a great option for the extra single target damage. Focus on the Increased Damage against Player rolls here for even more overall DPS.

For more details, see our Upgrading and Reforging Guide.


Awakening

Focus on Awakening your gear with 1 star Gems at first (Trickshot Gem, Berserker's Eye, Everlasting Torment etc.). Most item slots provide great benefits for a Barbarian, with the exception of the Off-Hand. We recommend Awakening your items in this order:

1. Main-Hand

  • Eager Maelstrom - Whirlwind energy consumed 10% slower
  • Stonefall - Hammer of the Ancients damage increased by 10%.

2. Chest

  • The Gathering - Whirlwind energy consumed 10% slower.
  • Davin's Legacy - Hammer of the Ancients damage increased by 10%.

3. Shoulders

  • The Coming Storm - Wrath of the Berserker cooldown further decreased by 10%.
  • Broken Grasp - Sprint Cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Ydama's Cyclone - Whirlwind energy consumed 10% slower.

4. Head

  • Second Breath - Sprint cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Battlemaster's Helm- Demoralize cooldown decreased by 10%.

5. Legs

  • Swiftwing - Sprint cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Screaming Fury - Furious Charge cooldown decreased by 10%.
  • Determination - Furious Charge cooldown decreased by 10%.

6. Off-Hand

  • We do not recommend awakening your Off-Hand as a Barbarian, since all the Awakened effects are bad.

Check out our Awakening Guide for more information.


Paragon

For Paragon Points, always prioritize Damage and Life. Remember to activate the Paragon Tree that you want to use. Use Survivor as your active tree while leveling up your Paragon from 1-99. Its active nodes work in PvP unlike Vanquisher, making it a stronger option for players wanting to focus on PvP. At Paragon 100 you can respec and follow the example below to get a great boost to your PvP bonuses.

Use the Slider to see Paragon progression

Once you hit Paragon 100 respec your Paragon Points so you can utilize the more powerful Gladiator tree. Start picking up some of the the Vanquisher tree as well so you can use it during PvE activities. Even the most PvP focused player needs to do PvE content to stay powerful, so this is worth the investment. For Paragon 100-199 keep filling in Life and Damage nodes across the board and grab some active nodes in the Soldier Tree towards the end.

Use the Slider to see Paragon progression

Check out our Paragon Guide for more information.


Video Guide


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Summary

  • Dominate Battlegrounds and the Rite of Exile with this Barbarian PvP build.
  • Engage your enemies with Furious Charge and Sprint, tank them with Undying Rage, damage and control them with Whirlwind.
  • Equip The Gathering, Screaming Fury, Second Breath, Eager Maelstrom and the Grace of the Flagellant for maximum power.
  • Rank up Normal and Legendary Gems for huge bonuses while hunting for a Barrier Stone Family Bonus.
  • Seek out Critical Hit Chance and Damage Special Attributes with Strength and Fortitude Primary Attributes.
  • Awaken gear slots to boost your Sprint and Whirlwind to another level.
  • Accumulate Paragon and invest in all the Damage nodes you can find while picking up key active nodes.
  • Decimate everyone, leave no survivors!

Credits

Written by Rob
Contributions by Facefoot
Reviewed by Facefoot, Raxxanterax


Changelog

Apr 12th 2022
Published Guide

Jun 12th 2022
Adjusted Legendary Gem Section