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Guide: Whirlwind Barbarian v1.10, by Cold493

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Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:

PvM IK Guide v1.1

There seem to be alot of questions regarding the IK barb. I currently have a level 90 IK barb that uses WW as his main attack and wanted to offer some thoughts on skills, stats, sockets, charms, mercs, strategys. Please note this a purely PvM guide and this is my first one ever. Some people may be skeptical about using a set since for all purposes in previous versions they were useless. IK set is definetly not useless and may or may not be better than the some of the best unique setups. It is certainly cheaper to get. The only expensive piece of equipment is the armor. In the new version I have included leveling strategies, some skill updates, leveling equipment ideas and various other small things. So now that we got some basics lets get started. First we will look at the IK set and what it ends up giving us.


Helm: IK Will

  • Defense: 160-175 (varies) (Base Defense: 35-50)
  • Required Level: 47
  • Required Strength: 65
  • Durability: 55
  • (Barbarian Only)
  • +4 To Light Radius
  • +125 Defense
  • 37% Extra Gold From Monsters
  • 25-40% Better Chance Of Finding Magic Items (varies)
  • +2 To Warcries Skills (Barbarian Only)
  • Socketed (2)

This helm has three very good modifications; magic find, +2 to warcries, and the two sockets which are very useful and key to this build.

Weapon: IK Stone Crusher

  • Damage: 231 To 318 (274.5 Avg)
  • Required Level: 76
  • Required Strength: 225
  • Base Weapon Speed: [10]
  • +200% Enhanced Damage
  • +200% Damage To Demons
  • +250% Damage To Undead
  • 40% Increased Attack Speed
  • Indestructible
  • 35-40% Chance Of Crushing Blow (varies)
  • Socketed (2)
  • Adds 211-397 Fire Damage (2 items)
  • Adds 7-477 Lightning Damage (3 Items)
  • Adds 127-364 Cold Damage, 6 sec. Duration (Normal) (4 Items)
  • +204 Poison Damage Over 6 Seconds (5 Items)
  • Adds 250-361 Magic Damage (Complete Set)

As you can see while this mauls actual damage isnt that high it more than makes up for it with Crushing Blow, elemental damage, and enhanced damage to demons and undead. It also has two sockets. The total elemental damage done is 1803 which is enough that you can handle physical immunes if your solo in Hell.

Armor: IK Soul Cage

  • Defense: 1001 (Base Defense: 487-600)
  • Defense: 1301 (Base Defense: 487-600)
  • Required Level: 76
  • Required Strength: 232
  • Durability: 60
  • +400 Defense
  • 5% Chance To Cast Level 5 Enchant When Struck
  • Poison Resist +50%
  • +2 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)
  • +25% Faster Hit Recovery (2 Items)
  • Cold Resist +40% (3 Items)
  • Fire Resist +40% (4 Items)
  • Lightning Resist +40% (5 Items)
  • +50% Enhanced Defense (Complete Set)

This an excellent armor with a complete set you get +40 to all resists essentially with and extra 10% poison resist, FHR, decent defence, enchant, and +2 to combat skills. Even though the enchant skill seems useless, it triggers fairly often and gives you a bunch of extra AR and damage.

Belt: IK Detail

  • Defense: 89 (Base Defense: 41-52)
  • Defense: 194 (Base Defense: 41-52)
  • Defense: 247 (Base Defense 41-52)
  • Required Level: 29
  • Required Strength: 110
  • Durability: 24
  • 16 boxes
  • +36 Defense
  • Lightning Resist +31%
  • Fire Resist +28%
  • +25 To Strength
  • +105 Defense (2 items)
  • +25% Faster Hit Recovery (3 Items)
  • +100% Enhanced Defense (4 Items)
  • Damage Reduced By 20% (5 Items)
  • +2 To Masteries (Barbarian Only) (Complete Set)

What can i say you get DR resists, strength and a high defence with a complete set.

Gloves: IK Forge

  • Defense: 108-118 (varies)(Base Defense: 43-53)
  • Defense: 228-238 (varies)(Base Defense: 43-53)
  • Required Level: 30
  • Required Strength: 110
  • Durability: 24
  • +65 Defense
  • 12% Chance To Cast Level 4 Charged Bolt When Struck
  • +20 To Dexterity
  • +20 To Strength
  • +25% Increased Attack Speed (2 items)
  • +120 Defense (3 Items)
  • 10% Life Stolen Per Hit (4 Items)
  • 10% Mana Stolen Per Hit (5 Items)
  • Freezes Target +2 (Complete Set)

Another great set item, the dual leech is key as well as the freezes target which makes it so monsters cannont be revived. The IAS is nice but not super important for WW since WW relies on only the IAS on the weapon. You also get a nice boost to Strength and Dexterity as well.

Boots: IK Pillar

  • Defense: 118-128 (varies) (Base Defense: 43-53)
  • Defense: 278-288 (varies) (Base Defense: 43-53)
  • Required Level: 31
  • Required Strength: 125
  • Durability: 24
  • Assassin Kick Damage: 39-80
  • +75 Defense
  • 40% Faster Run/Walk
  • +110 To Attack Rating
  • +44 To Life
  • 25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (2 items)

+2 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only) (3 Items) +160 Defense (4 Items) Half Freeze Duration (5 Items)

This is probably the weakest item in the set, you get nice life and AR bonuses, the mandatory faster run/walk. The best mod here is +2 to combat skills. Even though they are the weakest item they are still very good boots.

Complete IK set bonuses:

  • +3 To Barbarian Skill Levels
  • +450 To Attack Rating
  • +150 To Life
  • All Resistances +50
  • Magic Damage Reduced By 10
  • Display Aura

Ok now I want to show some quick overview of important stats from the IK set.

  • Resists:
    • Cold: 90
    • Fire: 118
    • Lightning: 121
    • Poison: 100
  • + Skills (including +3 to all Barb skills):
  • +7 to Combat Skills
  • +5 to Masteries
  • +5 to Warcries


The ideal coice here is one Bul Kathos Ring for the +1 to all skills, life leech and + to life along with a Ravenfrost for cannot be frozen, +to attack rating from dexterity and +to AR on the ring along with cold absorb.

If this combo is too expensive it does not matter really what rings you use since you will be able to get maximum resists without rings or amulets and you already have leech from the gloves. Look for +life since it will be doubled with your battle orders and any other useful mods.


There are two nice choices here. They basically cater to two different playing styles. You can either take a Highlords Amulet for the deadly strike and +1 to all skills. The benefit of this is higher damage. The other amulet is Metalgrid which gives you higher defence and a lot more attack rating. I chose metalgrid because the more often you hit the more you leech and the more damage you do to a crowd. It's basically a throw up between these amulets. If you have one of these already just use it, otherwise I prefer a Metalgrid.


With IK set you will have 5 slots to fill, two on the maul, two on the helm and one you can add on the armor. The two on the maul need to end up giving you another 30ias so you can hit the last WW break point for speed, so most people just use two shaels. However if you can afford it ed/15ias is much better. The helm and armor should all get ed jewels and if you can afford it ed/life or ed/str or ed/any other mod you want.


This is pretty basic, but nice to know. An annihulus charm really helps an IK barb since it lowers the amount of points you need to put in strength and lets you put more in vitality. Life charms are nice since you can at least double the life they give you. You dont really need AR charms with metalgrid but you would need some if you use Highlords. Any other nice charms you'd like to use.

Weapon Switch

2 x Echoing Weapons (+3 to warcry)

This gives you and your party higher life and higher defence and you can get them very easily from Malah in Act 5. Just look every time you go to do a baal run you'll have two in no time.

Leveling Equipment

Usually up to level 30ish I just use equipment that I buy or find in the game. Although sets like sigons with a nice maul will do wonders for you early in the game. It isn't very hard with good equipment to be invincible from an early level. Here are some suggestions for gear that should get ya from level 30 to level 76. Also note that no matter what when i was leveling I just started putting on the IK stuff when i could which starts to happen around level 30 too.

  • Helm: Rockstopper/Stealskull if you need leech is a nice helm until level 47 when you can use IK helm
  • Armor: Sigons/Duriels Shell until IK armor
  • Weapon: Bonesnap/ Windhammer at lvl 68 for help getting through hell
  • Boots: IK Boots
  • Gloves: IK Gloves
  • Belt: IK Belt
  • Rings: I usually use a Manald heal for the mana leech and a random ring until Ravenfrost and switch the Manald out at level 76 for a BK.
  • Ammy: At 29 or 24 you can use +1 rare ammys and these are nice leveling amulets until you can use Highlords/Metalgrid. If you are using Angelic combo for AR then use those.


  • 20pts Battle Orders
  • 20pts Mace Mastery
  • 20pts Whirlwind
  • 20pts Shout
  • 1pt Bash (Prereq)
  • 1pt Berserk
  • 1pt Leap (Prereq)
  • 1pt Stun (Prereq)
  • 1pt Concentrate (Prereq)
  • 1pt Leap Attack
  • 1pt Howl (Prereq)
  • 1pt Battle Command
  • 1pt Natural Resistances
  • 1pt Increase Stamina
  • 1pt Increase Run/Walk Speed
  • Rest Iron Skin

I neglected to include Berserk as a skill when I made my IK Barb because I figured that the elemental damage on the maul would handle Physical Immunes. I was right and wrong it handles them, but berserk not only handles them better it also allows you to deal with Iron Maiden. Thanks Bovine and Ploof. The two points spent on increases Stamina and Run/Walk Speed are useful but not necessary, you could put them in Iron skin if you would like. Another option is a point in warcry for Diablo Clone and other bosses that seem to be overly hard, although this will take another 2 prerequisites.

Leveling Guide

I hope this helps out alot. Most of the credit here should goto Superhal. I changed things around and this is my version of his guide but he did alot of the work and his version is a little different. I think it all adds up, if it doesnt well, its close enough.

  • 1-11: All mace mastery and one in shout.
  • 12-17: Bash, Leap, Howl, Increased stamina (if going for increased speed later), Stun, 4 skill points saved.
  • 18: Leap Attack, Concentration, Iron Skin
  • 19-23: Save these points
  • 24-29: Battle orders and one point in increased speed if desired
  • 30: WW, Berzerk, Natural Resistance, Battle Command, Battle orders
  • 31-34: One point in WW and BO
  • 35-51: Max WW
  • 52-61: Max BO
  • 61-71: Max Mace Mastery
  • 71-90: Max Shout


Strength: Enough to use IK armor with all other Ik items on, str charms and annihulus. This ends up being somewhere in the 170 area. Just make sure your barb will be able to use the armor. Don't forget you get a total of +45 to str from IK set items. So the most strength you would ever need is 187.

Dexterity: Base

Vitality: Everything else

Energy: Base


The best choice here is obvious it's an Act 2 Nightmare Offensive Merc. This gives you might which increases your damage. The key thing for your mercernary is life leech which will enable him to stay alive and not need constant monitoring. For this reason I'm going to suggest the following gear:

  • Helm: Tal Rashas/Vampire Gaze
  • Armor: Any decent armor (Duriels shell, and Shaftstop both work well)
  • Weapon: Reapers Toll with an Amn rune

There is alot of variations here and this is far from the best setup your merc may be able to have. I hear the Delirium rune word makes a very good helm, but I have no experience with it. This is the setup my 89 mercernary for my sorceress uses (currently leveling my Barbs merc) and he stays alive against almost everything. If you want more information on this I'm sure smoeone on the forum will answer your questions.


If you have followed my guide your barb will be pretty much unstoppable. there only a few things that can kill him that you need to look out for. One of these is getting surronded by Minions of Destruction when lister has mana burn on. ITD monsters are an annoyance and finally Champion Death Lords in packs and Iron Maiden will rip you in half if yuo arent watching. Other than that you can tank almost anything, souls are no problem. You will not be the fastest killer ever, but you are practically invincible, just look out for Iron Maiden, it will be your most common form of death. Dont forget about leap attack to get out of trouble as well.

The AR Dilemma of IK Barbs

There seem to be alot of questions about this on the forums so i thought I would go ahead and put down some solutions for you guys. One option is the use of the Angelic Ammy/Ring combo which boosts your AR alot. The ring gives a +12 per level AR boost with two items. This is a common option for PvP barbs since AR is crucial there. I think there are ways to get around the AR problem without using the Angelic ring/ammy. My solution was the Ravenfrost for AR and dex along with other nice mods such as cannot be frozen and a Metalgrid amulet. I also ran into a few nice AR charms along the way which I kept. This should be enough AR for PvM. I believe I ended up with around 10k AR and an above 80% chance to hit which was good enough for me. I had only two GCs with AR one was +65 another +125. Hope that helps.