For the Diablo III Legendary Two-Handed Axe, see The Executioner.

Executioner with polearm weapon

The Executioner is a Barbarian build that is well-equipped in dealing with deadly attacks, one hit kills and are in general great at crippling enemies. His main strength is his deadly set of weapons with Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow and Open Wounds. Executioners are great with dealing a large group of enemies if they are wise when choosing their weapons. Although one hand weapons are effective, one could also look into the deadlier two-hand weapons as well.

Stat Point DistributionEdit

Strength: Enough to equip desired gear

Dexterity: If using a shield, enough to obtain a block chance of 75%.

Vitality: The remainder should go here.

Energy: It should not be necessary to add to this stat.


A Player can choose his style. Executioner can either be dual weapon wielder, or two handed weapon master. Since the difference in build is little different between these two, player can choose both ways, with only the downside is to focus bit more on play.

Primary SkillsEdit

If player chooses dual weapon style:

Frenzy - This is the primary attack for the Executioner. Since level 20 Frenzy is hard to play with due to the Barbarian's insane speed, this is best when taken to level 10, with no need for more. That way, the Executioner will deal a great amount of damage but can focus on other skills.

Weapon Mastery - Depending on what weapons the player will use, the respective mastery should be maxed to level of 20. (Sword Mastery for Sword users, Mace Mastery for Mace users .. )

If player chooses to play with two-hand weapons:

Concentrate or Leap Attack - Concentrate gives the Executioner a large amount of Defense, Attack Rating and Damage bonus, so it's more than welcomed. Leap Attack can be deadly, but players can find themselves in trouble if there is a large group of monster ahead due to the fact that Leap Attack attacks only one target at the time. This, however, can be combined with Whirlwind which can be used to create an escape route or to continue the attack.

If player chooses to play with a one-handed weapon and a shield:

Concentrate, Leap Attack, or Berserk - As with the two-handed weapon approach, Concentrate's large bonus to defense is helpful. Because an executioner carrying a shield can still block blows, Berserk will allow for maximum damage at the cost of defense. Leap attack allows the executioner to perform hit and run attacks quickly.

Secondary SkillsEdit

Secondary skills can be chosen by players based on their preferences, but these are recommended:

Iron Skin - It gives natural defense to Executioner. It is also a prerequisite for Natural Resistance.

Natural Resistance - Same as Iron Skin skill. It's passive and it will only help player to survive during Hell difficulty. Due to the diminishing returns, it would not be recommended to have more than six points, and potentially get away with fewer by having gear that boosts this skill

Increased Stamina and Increased Speed - These two skills are recommended for Executioner or any other Barbarian build, but they are not priority. It will be enough if Increased Stamina and Increased Speed have a single point and allow skill boosts to raise this as their effectiveness drops off after level 4.

Shout -Gives Executioner defense boost on higher levels. It should be taken at least once, but higher is recommended.

Battle Orders - There is an unwritten rule that barbarians MUST have twenty points invested in this skill for the sole purpose of boosting other characters. Feel free to break this rule by dropping points in this skill when convenient. It is a handy skill which boosts the mana life and stamina of friendly characters but under no circumstances is a build like this meant to be support first and offense second.

Battle Command - A one point wonder. All that changes is the duration, which is boosted by Shout and Battle Orders, so a single point should be all that's needed.

Berserk -This skill converts physical damage to pure magical damage, excellent for those monsters immune to physical damage and in PVP with hostile necromancers who use Iron Maiden. Only downsides are that the Barbarian is left with no defense once Berserk is activated and cannot leech mana or life due to the damage being magical, so players must be careful while using this skill. Giving Barbarian strong one hand weapon in one hand and a shield with high block in other might solve the problem, but there is always a chance that player will receive fatal blow while Berserking, not to mention being "block locked" into inaction. Berserk should be taken as much as possible by player, up to level 10 or higher. It also gives Frenzy magic attack bonus, so it's recommended.

War Cry - One level in War Cry can be useful to stun mobs, allowing the Executioner to fall back, or attack stunned enemies for extra damage.

Battle Cry: While this skill can be overridden by a curse, while in effect, an opponent's defense is halved. A single point is all that would be needed.

Other SkillsEdit

Synergy skills can also be looked into. Someone who has Frenzy as their main skill should also look into investing spare points into Double Swing, Taunt and Berserk. Someone who chooses Berserk should consider building on Howl and Shout. Someone who chooses Leap Attack should consider building on Leap.



Player must have a weapon that has Chance to Open Wounds, Ignores Target's Defense, Chance of Crushing Blow and Deadly Strike. Finding many unique weapons with these abilities is good choice. Curses on striking, such as Amplify Damage and Decrepify can also be helpful for maximizing damage.

The breadth of weapons with these properties is extensive. What follows are simply some suggestions; there are a sufficient number of weapons available that players should be able to find one that suits their play style.

Many unique axes, including Humongous, The Minotaur, and Executioner's Justice all have high chances of crushing blow. Executioner's Justice also has the ability to cast Decrepify, adding to its usefulness.

A three-socketed Tomb Reaver could be fitted with three Ber Runes to give it a 75% chance of Crushing Blow, in addition to its formidable damage.

Lacerator, while not dealing as much damage as many other weapons, can be a versatile backup for an executioner. It has a good chance of casting Amplify Damage and causing Open Wounds. Because it can be thrown it can also be used to strike at enemies while they close. When combined with Swordback Hold or Lance Guard it can be quite formidable.

Ripsaw has one of the highest chances of causing Open Wounds of any weapon in the game. Its damage is relatively low, but it could be used effectively in the early game, and upgraded later on if desired.

Runeworded weapons such as the Last Wish Rune Word, which boast up to a 70% chance of crushing blow and ignores targets defense (though it is much more expensive due to it being a ladder-only weapon), and the polearm weapons of Obedience Rune Word and Infinity both have 40% crushing blow, but are cheaper than last wish.


If the player chooses to focus on Berserk any shield with a high chance of blocking should be used. Moser's Blessed Circle is particularly versatile and offers a good chance of blocking. Sanctuary Rune Word also offers a good chance to block along with high resistances.

If another skill is used with a shield (e.g. Concentrate or Leap Attack) then Swordback Hold or Lance Guard are ideal choices, as they both possess executioner abilities.


Armors with high defense and Execution abilities are needed. Leviathan, and Corpsemourn are good candidates. The Duress Rune Word is ideal as it is relatively easy to make and grants resistances, high defense, and has a good chance of Crushing Blow and Open Wounds.


Gore Rider War Boots are best choice for this build. Goblin Toe can be used as well, but are not as good as Gore Rider.


Giant Skull Bone Visage unique helmet is great choice for this build since it gives Crushing Blow ability, +35 to Strength, Knockback, +320 to Defense and has two sockets. Recommended to put in a +40% ED/15% IAS jewel (2 if possible) for maximizing WW speed and polearm swing speed.

Arreat's Face offers a good bonus to Barbarian skills, as well as a bonus to resistances. While not improving executioner abilities, the increase to attack rating and damage that results from improving skills can be invaluable.


A good type of gloves to use are a pair of Steelrend Ogre Gauntlets, these gauntlets boast a 10% chance of crushing blow whereas the next best pair, Venom Grip, has 5% but has poison damage and life steal.


The best amulet for any executioner barbarian to use would be Highlord's Wrath. The reason for this is the lightning resistance, the attack speed, and the leveled % chance of Deadly Strike (up to 37% at lvl 99)


Two rings are used at any time, and the first ring choice that should be picked is Raven Frost, mainly because of the 'cannot be frozen', which is a large help for any Player Vs. situation, and the Nature's Peace ring due to prevent monster heal and slain monsters rest in peace. A good back up for either is Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band with life steal and +1 to all skills.

Other ItemsEdit

All items that give bonus to life, mana, resists and other Execution abilities are considered.