The Butcher is a Unique Overlord with a large cleaver in Diablo, and is the chief subject of the Butcher quest. He resides in a room strewn full of mutilated corpses, the remains of Tristram's townsfolk whom the Archbishop Lazarus intentionally led to their doom. If the quest is generated in a game, a dying townsman outside the church will ask the player character to avenge him and the others by slaying the Butcher. The game's Pencil & Paper RPG suggests that he is a servant of Andariel. When he is first encountered in his room full of impaled bodies, he utters the line "Ahh, fresh meat!". The demon leaves behind his cleaver, a unique weapon called The Butcher's Cleaver.
For players possessing very low character levels, the Butcher is an extremely difficult creature to kill. He will relentlessly pursue a player and attempt to force him/her into close-quarter hand-to-hand combat, savagely hacking away with his cleaver - which usually ends with the player's sudden death. Most Diablo players resort to cunning tactics to bring the Butcher down - or simply ignore him and come back for him when they have significantly upgraded their character levels. The demo version for Diablo included a single level with the butcher in it, needless to say it was very hard for the players trying this version to manage to beat the demon.
He is also referred to in the description of Tristram from Diablo III, as a warrior describes the time he entered Tristram. Another demon called "The Butcher" serves as the act boss for Act I of Diablo III, possibly implying that a "Butcher" is simply a class of unique demon rather than an individual.
The Butcher's strength does not allow an adequately leveled character to face him in fair combat. If you don't want to skip him and come back when you're at least level 10, there are some tricks.
A common way to defeat The Butcher is to lead him to the set of stairs to level 3 of the Cathedral, get him trapped in between the stairway, and shoot at him with a ranged weapon, like a bow, from the other side of the stairway. Know that it will take a lot of shots to finish him off.
Another way is to lead him to a wall with bars. Find one in advance, then quickly run through the door, close it and get along the wall away from it, making sure Butcher is visible on the other side of the bars. His AI will not let him reach the door, so him will just wander aimlessly left and right, looking for door that's too far away. In early versions, it's not even required, as The Butcher cannot open doors.
Finally, a player can open the Butcher's door and cast Firewall, then promptly close it again. The Butcher will walk into the fire and remain there. If you are lucky, he will die from the flames, or at least be severely damaged.
If you are determined to fight the butcher with melee, one would require 55 dexterity to land consistent blows on him while only occasionally taking hits from him.
His melee attack is extremely fast and will most likely stun you before you can attack. With a damage range of 2-20 (on Normal) and a melee speed of almost 1 hit per second, even a Warrior will find melee to be largely ineffective, unless that Warrior is better geared (possibly with a 1 handed weapon and a shield) and at a higher level (5 or higher).
Sorcerers and Rogues will definitely want to make use of Stone Curse (assuming the spell is available) if they intend on fighting him in an open environment with no protective barriers. If Stone Curse is not available, engaging The Butcher in this environment is highly lethal, unless the player has a very high level differential compared to The Butcher.
- "Ahh...fresh meat!"
- Pudge the Butcher, a character from Defense of the Ancients, draws heavy inspiration from The Butcher. His ultimate, Dismember, makes him call out "Ahh...Fresh Meat!" when used, which can be heard anywhere on the map. He also uses a large cleaver as his main weapon.
- A Butcher monster can also be found in Warcraft III. In addition, the Warcraft-butcher will yell "Fresh meat!" in a similar way as the real Butcher. Behind the Butcher is an item chest containing Wirt's Other Leg, a parody of Wirt's Leg.
- In the game Borderlands 2 there is a shotgun called the Hyperion Butcher with the description "Ahh... Fresh Meat!"
- In the RPG game Fallout 2 there is a slaver's guild, when you first enter you are greeted with the words "Ah, fresh meat....". The guild's leader is called Metzger, which is German for Butcher.
- Upon entering the lair of the Butcher in the Cathedral, a cinematic was to be shown of him hacking the body of a dead villager and hooking it onto the wall. Some say this was never put into the game, however others claim it was in the first wave of releases. The clip can be viewed here:
- In Diablo III, The Butcher quotes the arcade game Sinistar ("I hunger", "Run, coward").
- The 2011 game Dead Island references the Butcher's famous greeting; one of the Achievements is called "Ah! Spoiled meat!" It involves killing a special zombie also called a "Butcher" using an axe.