Whirlwind Barbarians, have been the most common cookie-cutter build since before synergies existed, and even though the skill still has no synergies, some people will swear by it regardless. Whirlwind has the potential to tear through any and all groups of enemies, which is what you're aiming to do.

Advantages and DisadvantagesEdit

  • Cyclones through monsters quickly and easily.
  • Strong vs Pvm and PvP.
  • Any Weapon Mastery is viable for a Whirlwind Barbarian (except Throwing Mastery).
  • No synergies to Whirlwind so character can be customized to the player's taste once main skills are maxed.
  • Easily capable of rushing in Normal and Nightmare.
  • You can easily slay bosses.
  • Requires large amount of mana leech equipment to be able to use main skill continuously.
  • Certain abilities (such as the life tap from Dracul's Grasp and Last Wish) will not trigger when Whirlwind is used.
  • Weak versus large groups of physical immune monsters (small groups are not a problem though, as one point in Berzerk is more than adequate for such encounters).
  • Not a very large damage output. And no synergies to increase damage further (except for your Weapon Mastery).
  • Can be glitched into spinning uncontrollably to follow monsters.

Stat Point DistributionEdit

Strength: Enough to wear endgame gear. Calculate this amount ahead of time.

Dexterity: If you choose to use a shield, enough for max block. Otherwise, enough for equipment.

Vitality: Pretty much everything else.

Energy: Although Whirlwind is the most mana intensive of the Barbarian's combat skills (and the only one that increases when leveled), most players opt to leave this at base and instead rely on mana leech and items and skills that increase mana (such as Battle Orders).

Skill Point DistributionEdit

  • 20 Whirlwind
  • 20 Weapon Mastery
  • 20 Battle Orders
  • 20 Shout
  • 1 Berserk
  • 1 Battle Command
  • 1 Increased Speed
  • 1 Iron Skin
  • 1 Natural Resistance

85 Total Skills

7 Total Pre-Requisites

End Result: 92 Skill Point Total (Achieved at level 81 with all skill quests completed)

The rest of your points after this can go into any skill of your choice, such as more Natural Resist or Iron Skin.

Primary SkillsEdit

  • Whirlwind: Self-explanatory.
  • Weapon Mastery: The only skill that will boost Whirlwind's damage directly. Choose a weapon type first, obviously.
  • Battle Orders: More health and mana is a good thing. A staple skill to any Barbarian.
  • Shout: More defense, less damage.

Secondary SkillsEdit

  • Berserk: The Physical Immune killer and Iron Maiden loophole. Also a solid smack to any single enemy.
  • Increased Speed: This is entirely optional, but whole-heartedly useful.
  • Natural Resistance: Putting at least one point here and letting +skill items do the rest is usually recommended.
  • Iron Skin: Like Natural Resistance, putting one point here and letting +skill items do the rest is usually recommended.
  • Battle Command: Raises the entire party's skills by one. Only one point is needed here, as more points only increase the duration, and it receives a duration boost for all points put in Shout and Battle Orders, both of which will likely be maxed.


Weapon — Given that most weapon masteries are viable for a WW Barbarian there are a variety of options for weapons. These are merely some of the more popular options:

  • Swords: Swords (including two handed swords) can be dual wielded, wielded in one hand or used in conjunction with a shield, creating several viable options.
    • Breath of the Dying: Usually put in an ethereal Colossus Blade to maximize the damage, and because the Rune Word renders the weapon indestructible.
    • Death: Indestructibility, potentially high base damage, 50% chance of Crushing Blow and level dependent Deadly Strike makes this a viable alternative to BotD and with slightly easier to obtain Runes. Does lack Increased Attack Speed and dual leech however. Best put in an ethereal Colossus Blade or Colossus Sword to maximize damage output.
    • Oath: Up to a possible 340% damage, indestructibility, 50% Increased Attack Speed, attack rating, and damage bonuses to demons for four Runes that are not that difficult to find. Good option if you manage to find an ethereal Balrog Blade or Champion Sword lying around in The Pit.
  • Axes: Usually Runewords are put in Berzerker Axes due to their high base damage, range and attack speed. Also offers the option to duel wield, creating many interesting build options.
    • Breath of the Dying, Death, or Oath for the same reasons as stated for swords. Ethereal weapons also work best here.
    • Doom: Increased damage, deadly strike, attack speed, +2 to all skills plus a high level Holy Freeze Aura to slow enemies. This might be better in a Mercenary's Polearm however.
    • Beast: Increased Damage, Attack Speed, and a Fanaticism Aura. Good option if you choose to duel wield with a more powerful weapon in the other hand.
  • Polearms: Offers very long range at the cost of the option of using a shield.
    • Breath of the Dying: Usually put in an ethereal Great Poleaxe or Giant Thresher to maximize the damage.
    • Doom: Increased damage, deadly strike, attack speed, +2 to all skills plus a high level Holy Freeze Aura to slow enemies. This might be better in a Mercenary's Polearm however.
    • Obedience: Offers a 370% damage boost, Crushing Blow, fire damage through a 30% chance to cast enchant when killing an enemy, and even boosts to defence and resistances for five relatively easy to find runes. Good option if you find a five socket Cryptic Axe in The Pit.
  • Fortitude: Offers several attributes most Melee Characters will find useful: Increased defence and damage, resistances, and level dependent life boost.
  • Chains of Honor: +2 to All Skills, damage reduction, life leech, damage bonuses to Demons and Undead all make this a viable option despite the low defence boost.
  • Stone: High Defence, boost to strength and +15 resistances for four relatively easy to obtain runes.
  • Duress: High defence, moderate boost to resistances, physical and cold damage and bonuses to Crushing Blow and Open Wounds for 3 relatively easy to find runes.
  • Treachery: Increased Attack Speed and chances to cast Fade and Venom. Might be a better armor for your hireling however.
  • Enigma: High Defence Bonus, +2 Skills, level dependent Strength boost and teleport make this a good choice however this armor is generally more popular in PvP games than in PvM because of the lack of boosts to resistances (unless you consider the +2 skills that affect Natural Resistance).
  • Tyrael's Might Sacred Armor with a Pul in it. Zero strength requirements, resistances and Cannot Be Frozen are all good attributes to this exceptionally rare unique armor.

Shield — Many opt for a two handed build or even a dual wielding build (in the case of sword and axe wielding WW Barbarians) to maximize damage. However some may choose to use shields for extra defence and resistances, and increasing their chances of surviving Hell Difficulty without putting too many points into Iron Skin and Natural Resistance. In that regard viable options are the following:

  • Stormshield: Very high damage reduction, level dependent defence boost and cold and lightning resistances make this a good choice.
  • Sanctuary: Very high defence and resistance bonuses for three relatively easy to obtain Runes.
  • Spirit Ward: High Defence, blocking, resistances and chance to cast fade.
  • Gore Rider: Crushing Blow, Deadly Strike, and Chance of Open Wounds make this the most popular choice of Boots.
  • Sandstorm Trek: Stat and speed boosts, increased poison resistance and level dependent stamina boost make these boots a viable option despite their lack of any damage boosts.
  • War Traveler: Boost to Stats and Damage as well as increased magic find make this a good second choice after Gore Riders.

Tips and TricksEdit

  • Whirlwind everything unless Iron Maiden (only a problem in multiplayer since Oblivion Knights can no longer cause IM in singleplayer) or a Physical Immune comes into play. Berserk is your best friend there.
  • Cannot be Frozen is more or less mandatory if you want to survive Hell Difficulty.
  • Stack your Crushing Blow, Critical Strike and Open Wounds mods.

Player vs. PlayerEdit

Generally, Whirlwind will get the job done for you. Teleport close to them with Enigma if you have it and let loose. Stay away from Hammerdins unless you're good at using Leap to avoid the hammers.

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