Even after the nerf, Whirlwind is still king and we all know it. But even though it remains the fastest way to kill, it’s not the only way to kill. And believe it or not, there are Barbarians that don’t much like it. So today we’re going to talk about two similar Barbarian types: The Hammer of the Avalanche build and the Falling Rocks build.
All about the Secondary
These builds are essentially the same, except for your main spender attack. One relies on Hammer of the Ancients with the Smash rune. The other uses Ancient Spear with the Boulder Toss rune. This is basically a choice between frequent heavy hits, or patient burst damage. You may find that Boulders work slightly better if you are dual-wielding two fast weapons (since you’re filling and emptying your entire Fury globe for each main attack) but at the end of the day, both options are perfectly viable with any weapon.
Other Active Skills
Since you will be mostly hunting groups, the Ricochet rune is particularly useful if your weapon comes with an interesting strategic proc. If your weapon is just boring damage. go with Balanced Weapon instead to maximize the amount of Fury you generate.
Earthquake and Avalanche
These skills provide alternating sources of kills that are available more often than you expect. All the runes are good, but we strongly recommend The Mountain’s Call for more Earthquakes.
Call of the Ancients + The Council Rises
Obviously, the Immortal King set is great if you can get it, but these guys are plenty useful even if you don’t.
Wrath of the Beserker + Insanity
Crazy bonus damage to whip out against Elite hordes and bosses.
As for Passive Skills
Boon of Bul-Kathos and Earthen Might make maximum sense since you will be using all of the skills they benefit. Avoid No Escape, as it’s not quite as useful as you would expect since most of the time you will be too close to your enemies. Beyond that, it’s your call. Berserker Rage stacks nicely with the boulders but not with hammers, but hammers can keep Rampage up for everything except major bosses. Bloodthirst is a good choice if you don’t have enough healing, and Animosity is worth considering.
All the same Legendaries and Sets that are good for most Barbarians apply, so no real surprises on equipment (at least until they finally reintroduce a new version of Crushing Blow; then we’ll have more to say). Cooldown and crit are equally important, so use your Paragon Points to compensate for your gear’s weak spot.
If you’ve gotten sick of Triple-Lutzing your way around enemies with Whirlwind, either of these builds can provide a powerful (though not quite as fast) option for creating big piles of corpses even up through the Torment difficulties.