The Immortal King Barbarian is a Barbarian build. The Immortal King (IK for short) is a well known set, as it is the only set aside from the Assassin's Natalya's Odium set that is black. IK is a well rounded set, and with the right build, it can be some very good gear to use. Getting this difficult set to function properly is taxing, most people complain about it taking up too many slots and the fact that it requires a very big amount of Strength to use.
Although once you overcome the Strength issues, it is very easy and one of the best sets available in the game. Unfortunately, due the requirements and amount of slots the set takes up, Whirlwind is the only skill that can be used to maximum efficiency. The slots in the helmet and maul help increase the potential of the set, and only a few are able to truly master it.
One of the biggest bonuses in the set are the resistances. The set alone gives 118% to Fire, 121% to Lightning, 90% to Cold and 100% to Poison Resists, decreasing the necessity to stack resistance items for later difficulties. In addition, the Maul employs the use of all 5 elements, including physical, practically ensuring there will be no immune monsters who can stand against the set's owner.
Stat placement is very crucial, one mistake and it could affect your entire build through later level progressions. With Strength added from Hellfire Torch, Annihilus, Immortal King's Forge and the Immortal King's Detail, your Strength bonus can boost up to a maximum of 85, just from these items combined. Dexterity is not necessary, with Raven Frost and Metalgrid, since the Immortal King uses a maul, it is not needed for blocking.
When placing stats, you should be very careful about this: do not undercut your Strength or overdo it, giving yourself a good 10-20 point over placement is a good thing, so that you ensure your character will not be at the mercy of your charms. You can also give another 10 or so points for good measure, damage-wise. But the remaining should continue to go into Vitality to increase your Life.
Energy should not be touched, so that leaves pure Vitality to spend your remaining points on. Given the bonuses from the complete set, it takes care of itself and the one wearing it. Mana should not be much of a problem, since the set comes with a very nice bonus of 10% Mana and Life steal, which is extremely useful when using Whirlwind. Although the maul has some fairly low damage in comparison to the other weapons available, it more than makes up for it in defense and additional bonuses from the other items.
- Mace Mastery - 20 (Base Level)
- Increased Stamina - 1 (Level 12)
- Iron Skin - 1 (Level 18)
- Increased Speed - 1 (Level 24)
- Natural Resistance - 1 (Level 30)
- Howl - 1 (Base Level)
- Shout - 20 (Level 6)
- Battle Orders - 20 (Level 24)
- Battle Command - 1 (Level 30)
- Bash - 1 (Base Level)
- Leap - 1 (Level 6)
- Stun - 1 (Level 12)
- Concentrate - 9 (Level 24), Leap Attack - 1 (Level 24)
- Whirlwind - 20 (Level 30), Berserk - 1 (Level 30)
Unfortunately the Immortal King's set does not allow for much movement in skill placement, this setup allows you to maintain maximum efficiency without losing your power. The skills for Concentrate can be placed elsewhere, but since the set does not allow you to use a shield and keep the bonuses, it is best to use it because it increase your defense and allows for an uninterrupted attack. Skill placement is fairly self-explanatory, however.
Although for those who would rather do something different, the alternative Iron Skin can be increased at the cost of Concentrate. But as far as extra skills go, Immortal King is very tight and doesn't allow for much free movement in these areas. Making it an extremely difficult set to use, as the creativity for unique builds is nearly impossible without losing the effectiveness of the set.
Berserk was once a necessary must, especially in battling Oblivion Knights. Berserk is the only melee skill that completely negates the effects of Iron Maiden, although it also destroys your defense at the same time, which made the set's big flaw apparent. However, with the release of Patch 1.13, Oblivion Knights do not cast Iron Maiden and this worry is now gone.
Additionally, with the release of Patch 1.13, it is now possible to reset your attributes and skills. This is very useful in creating a perfect Immortal King Barbarian.
- Head: Immortal King's Will
- Armor: Immortal King's Soul Cage
- Weapon: Immortal King's Stone Crusher
- Secondary Weapons: +3 to Warcry Skills weapons Or Call to Arms
- Amulet: Metalgrid
- Ring: Raven Frost, Carrion Wind Or Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band
- Belt: Immortal King's Detail
- Gloves: Immortal King's Forge
- Boots: Immortal King's Pillar
- Charm: Hellfire Torch
- Charm: Annihilus
Once again, the gear does not leave much room for creativity or any other gear other than the small but very necessary slots. It is highly recommended to use Raven Frost and Metalgrid, as they both increase your attack rating, and the Cannot Be Frozen mod works perfectly with the set. Metalgrid is also very useful for those concerned about their defense being a little low. The user can choose to use either Carrion Wind or Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band, both come with life steal and very decent mods.
As for the helm and maul, it is best to get these perfect. The helm should have either Io and Fal in it, or 2 Fal runes. Two perfect topazes is also an option to enhance the helmet's built-in magic find. The maul should have either two Shaels or two 40/15 jewels for maximum effectiveness - this enables the last Whirlwind breakpoint to be reached. It is also highly recommended to Pul the armor, for additional defense, or you can simply put a Ber rune in it, for additional damage reduction, since the belt gives you 20% damage reduction after equipping 5 parts of the set.
- Head: Andariel's Visage Or Crown of Ages Or Vampire Gaze
- Armor: Fortitude Or Shaftstop
- Weapon: Pride Or Infinity
The Act II mercenary works perfectly with the Immortal King barbarian, you can go with Pride or Infinity, although it is recommended you use Infinity, since the maul makes excellent use of all 5 of the elemental damage types. The main issue with this would be range, if you outrun the mercenary, the Infinity would be useless to you, using Might aura mercenaries is recommended with this setup.
If you decide to go with Pride, it is best if you use either a Defiance mercenary or Might for added damage. You can also use a Blessed Aim mercenary if you're having difficulty hitting things, although it shouldn't be a problem.
The trick, and most frustrating thing about the set; is building your char around the set, which is considered its biggest disadvantage. Although your skills are shortened, you're not without power. Short burst Whirlwind's in large crowds deal more damage over a shorter period of time, than longer ones, which helps against large crowds of Physical Immunes.
With a Necromancer or a Paladin teamed up with you, you can use Lower Resist or Fanaticism to your advantage, drastically increasing the performance of the Immortal King machine. The set is fairly cheap and easy to come by, but making a very effective Immortal King Barbarian can be difficult, but not impossible. For the cases of being outnumbered, using Leap is a good idea to spread the monsters out some, followed by a short Whirlwind to take a portion of them down.
A big advantage to using the set is Crushing Blow, getting a perfect maul grants you 40% chance. While not very much compared to other weapons, mixed with Whirlwind it can be pretty devastating, considering the attack speed the maul comes with. Other such ideas can come out of the hammer as well, such as 2 Ber runes in the maul give it 80% Crushing Blow, making it one of the most powerful (Hone Sundan is still more deadly with its higher crushing blow, more sockets and self-repair) crushing blow weapon in the game. Since there are a lot of Immortal King's Stone Crusher's around, you can try out different things with so many, and keep them in your stash for various occasions.