Gearing Your Barbarian for Brawling

Conan the Barbarian

You’ve managed to find the perfect balance of offensive and defensive skills, have the response time of a cheetah and know your rotation like the back of your hand, yet your Barbarian is still getting owned in Brawls. The problem probably lies in your gear. In PvE, players have found success through stacking mainly offensive stats like Critical Hit Chance, and Critical Hit Damage, and while these are nice to have, taking a fully offensive approach to Brawling will find your Barb running from the spawn point more than fighting.

This brief guide will take a look at some of the fundamental stats and benchmarks you should be aiming for in order to build a hearty Barbarian that doesn’t shatter like a cracked egg every time he is hit.

Barbarian Dueling Win


Vitality is to PvP what DPS is to PvE, meaning that in order to succeed you’re going to need a lot of it. But instead of swapping out all of your hard earned gear for Vitality gear, you can save yourself a ton of gold by replacing all of your main stat gems with Amethysts.

If you can afford Flawless Stars, you’ll gain a whopping 1750 hit points plus whatever percentage life you gain from gear, per gem. Considering that average players boost three slots on their chestpiece and two on their pants, that’s already an additional 8750 HP. For an extra socket, grab a pair of Ice Climbers – they function efficiently in both PvP and PvE settings.

Flawless Star Amethyst

Socket Flawless Star Amethysts if you can afford them

Tip: Budget conscious players can opt for Star Amethysts, allowing them to save millions of gold while only dropping a marginal amount of life.

Also, be on the lookout for gear with +Life %. Gear of this nature is typically under-priced on the Auction House. In particular, shoulders and amulets are perfect places to pick up extra life. And of course don’t forget to socket your helm with an Amethyst for a huge life boost.

As a Barbarian, you’ll want to aim for at least 65,000 hit points to stand a chance in the battlefield.

All Resistance

As you are probably well aware, resistances feature diminishing returns. At 450, you’ll mitigate approximately 60% of incoming damage, yet at 650 that number only goes up to about 68%. What we’re aiming for is that sweet spot that allows us to eat a lot of damage without having it cost us a fortune. Assuming that you’ll always have War Cry up when Brawling, shoot for about 550 base resistance. This number is only slightly higher than you would need in PvE environments.

The best way to achieve this is to pick up +All Resistance on your shoulders, chest, boots, helm, pants and belt. Pick up another 60 resist from the two-piece Immortal King’s set bonus and you’ll have up to 540. You can make up the rest on your bracers, ring, amulet or gloves – whatever works best with your budget and setup.


Grab that old Stormshield out of storage

Armor, Block and Dodge

Armor makes your resistances all the more powerful. For instance, a player with 5000 armor and 650 Physical Resistance will mitigate approximately 88% of physical damage. Now, if the same player has 10,000 armor, that number shoots up to 93%. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re getting hit with bombs, the extra mitigation makes a huge difference.

Two highly undervalued stats in PvP are Block and Dodge. A 30% block rate can be easily achieved by dusting off your old Stormshield. Dodge is a bit trickier. In order to bump it up to about 20%, you’ll need 500 Dexterity. If you can live without AR on your pants, pick up a pair of Inna’s Temperance, otherwise buy an amulet with high Dex.

Tip: Players that are a higher Paragon level will have an easier go of it, since they gained 1 Dex for each level earned.

Immortal King's Eternal Reign

Immortal King’s with 563 Life Regen…Nice!

Life Regeneration

Life regeneration is only going to come in useful in large doses. Having it on one piece of gear is nice, but in the fast paced world of Brawling, you’ll need to recover life in a hurry in order to consider regeneration an asset. The best slots to pick up Life Regen are on shoulders, chestpieces, boots and rings. Search for high numbers – over 300, and assume that you’ll need about 1200 of more for it to make a noticeable difference.


So the good news is that you won’t have to deconstruct your Barbarian for PvP. Vitality is still your number one priority, but because most of it can be acquired through gems, it’s not the obstacle some make it out to be. With a little effort and some creative thinking, transforming your DPS machine into an immovable tank shouldn’t prove all that difficult.

I know we haven’t emphasized DPS in this guide, but it still is important. In fact, this guide was designed so that you wouldn’t have to sacrifice too much raw power. It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll need to be efficient, but 100k is a good benchmark.

Happy hunting!

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