Disclaimer: written by @Gripphon on 15 Aug, 2013. Put here so it is not lost - @Gripphon should get it back soon!
Gripphon's MF Pit Singer, comparison with Berserker
2 weeks ago there was a question how effective singer barb can be, how close in efficiency can he be to berserk barb in running Pits? Well, I did several hundred runs to answer this question. Before I didn't have experience with singers and I thought they are not so great, low damage... I saw it as HC build that cannot be even close to best SC magicfind characters. What I found out was kind of surprising to me, and I want to share experience with forum, perhaps give some advices, share gear etc., especially because there are so many singer barb players here.
I will focus on singer barb here and compare him to berserker barb. If you want to read more about berserk barb, read this fantastic thread (@Gripphon : old reference, could be replaced by this thread ?) where everything is explained into details.
I also apologize, I'm not able to record videos and I know they will fit perfectly here for demonstration.
I did hundreds of runs on some other maps with my singer when searching for his new map. I timed runs with run counter and counted bosspacks as I ran, so results are probably as good as they can be. Note that I could do more running for better results, like 1000+, but that is both time consuming and annoying to do. All runs were on players 1.
During running I picked grand and small charms, rare jewels, rare circlets, magic monarchs and useful unique and set items.
I did fast 50-runs tests on 7-8 different maps with singer, on every single one I had sub 6.3 sec per bosspack ratio, on some of them cca 6 s/bosspack, so it's easy to find map for 6 sec/bosspack, but finding for sub 6 is not that easy. Problematic part is to learn how to play singer properly. I'm not even sure do I play it the best I can.
Now, "real" tests on good maps:
Map I played some time on to test singers efficiency:
Sample: 150+ runs
Average time: 67.8s
Efficiency: 5.66 sec/bosspack
This is map of my berserker I played with last MFO. I respeced him to singer to test efficiency of both barbs and compare them.
Sample: 200 runs
Average time: 64.4 s
Efficiency: 5.78 sec/bosspack
Sample: 200 runs
Average time: 57.6 s
Efficiency: 5.17 sec/bosspack
Now, final results on a map I rolled with my singer and that is indeed best map I ever found in Pit. Needless to say I won't reroll this map with this barb, however I might roll maps with another barb and hope for something better.
Sample: 100 runs.
Average time: 64.845 seconds
MF: 530 (I decided not to use MF switch)
Efficiency: 5.29 sec/bosspack
Sample: 100 runs.
Average time: 60.122 seconds
Efficiency: 4.83 sec/bosspack
Conclusion on results
As you can see, singer can indeed be very very efficient. I gave my best when doing this runs. You decide does this mean is singer barb close enough to berserk barb efficiency, or not even close. On first map difference is 0.6 s/b, on second 0.5 s/b. We can say that generally berserker is 10-12% more efficient than singer in running times, with a bit more MF. Berserker barb having more bosspacks also influenced on efficiency, but not much.
One thing is for sure, singer barb is one of best MF builds in game and can be extremely efficient if played properly. However, he will never be as efficient as berserk barb, or probably some other barb build. Singers big advantage is that he is both efficient and very comfortable to play with.
Now, question someone asked. How efficient singer barb can be? I would say, with great map, his peak performance is around 5.5 sec/bosspack, but can be better with fantastic map. However finding map like that is very hard and patience is required when rerolling maps.
Singer vs Berserker, what to choose?
So, let's compare those two barbs.
Efficiency: Berserker has no equal in diablo world, he is by far most efficient build.
Survivability: Singer is extremely safe to play with. Berserker on the other hand is not built for safety, but for efficiency. However, you can also go for 3k+ hp on berserker and make him strong and hard to kill, he will still be more efficient than singer.
Relaxed playing: Singer is way more suitable for relaxed playing. Berserker can easily die, you drink potions more often, never-ending action...
Skill intensity: Berserker takes time to master, you switch all the time, drink pots, can easily die... For singer only thing you should master is positioning, and you are ready to go.
Equipment: Singer is easier to build. You can also go for cheap build for berserker like I do, he is perfectly fine. For everything else you need some more expensive things.
Coolness: They are both barbs, so they are both very cool. However, what associations you have on those barbs? Singer is something like... Rammstein, and berserker is... Conan? Well, bottom line is, if you want respect, you will more likely get it with berserker barb. Say, would you fear more when singer is your opponent, or when berserker is? Yes, I think too!
There is one more difference between those barbs. You can't stay at peak performance with berserk barb for a long time, he tires you up and you run slowly. With singer barb is easier to maintain peak performance for longer time and near-peak performance for hours. Probably not important since singer can't outclass berserker, but it's probably worth to mention. Singer is very comfortable to play with. Berserker on the other hand is less comfortable, especially on a map without well to take curse off and to heal. But fear not. Once you get used to berserker barb, you will enjoy in his overpowered efficiency.
1. Berserk barb
My berserk barb is not exactly best character around here, I'm using poor-man's equipment for now. Equipment is listed here
(Old reference here also : now link to Grishknakh ?)
2. Singer barb
I'm sure there is better equipment for singer, I'll just list what I used on him as idea. I have two variations, but one of them requires fantastic amulet, and for that reason I use different one.
Head: 1.13 Shako with Ist
Body: Enigma Light Plate
Amulet: 3 warcry, 23 MF
Weapon 1: Ist Wizzy
Weapon 2: Hoto
Belt: Arachnid Mesh
Gloves: 40mf Chance Guards
Boots: 48mf War Traveler
Ring2: beta BKWB (2 skills)
Switch: Ist Suicide Branch + 6xIst Phase Blade
Inventory: 40 MF Gheeds, 2 sounding skillers, rest MF SC, some with mana, cube, no free space
1 Battle Command
20 Battle Orders
18 Item Find (aim to get desired %of hork, depends on equipment)
20 War Cry
1 Inc. Speed
1 Natural Resist
rest into synergy for War Cry damage. Use it on Battle Cry, very useful skill for stone skin bosses.
Strength: as low as it can be
Dex: as low as it can be (don't use phase blade if you have crystal sword)
Vita: enough for desired life after BO
War Cry damage: 998-1030
530 MF on kill, 710 on switch
110 fcr on kill, 70 on switch
Weapon: 1.13 eth Colossus Voulge Insight
Helm: Andy Visage with 15 ias jewel
Equipment is not ideal as you can see. First of all, I don't have 6 Ist crystal sword, by all means that is better than phase blade, you save a lot of points that can be put into energy.
Mercenary is your number 1 priority here, he is dealing majority of damage and will kill alot, especially those stone skin skeletons. Use 1.07 eth base for insight, his damage will be much higher, roll insight for good meditation roll, good damage roll and 5-6 critical strike roll.
Also, you can try different setup. CoH is great option. You can also socket Black Hades with ias/damage jewels ^^
Fortitude? I don't like that idea cause of possibility of destroying corpse, but it's an option too. Merc doesn't get hit much, so corpses will rarely get splashed.
This is very important part, this is what makes or breaks singers efficiency. You have two fantastic crowd control skills, use them wisely and use them all the time. Playing singer is very similar to playing berserker when it comes to using Howl, but it's easier to position yourself. Idea is to teleport next to pack, use Howl, and start spamming War Cry. It's not that easy as it sounds, sometimes minions can disturb you, merc can waste time attacking minions and not boss... Your goal is to isolate boss as fast as you can. Sometimes you must wait for a second outside for boss to come to you alone, and sometimes there is only one minion next to boss so you start spamming War Cry to kill both of them fast. Sometimes merc focuses boss among all minions so you dont have to reposition. You get an idea, it's case-by-case scenario and there is no way for me to explain how it should be done. I mix all of that, sometimes I wait for boss to come to me, sometimes I wait for minions to run from boss to leave him alone, and sometimes I teleport next to boss because merc is then closest to boss and he attack him automatically, so I don't have to care about minions. Yes, try to position in a way so your merc is closest to boss, so he attacks him naturally. That is fastest way to deal with it. Teleporting into pack is usualy not good idea, minions are there and merc is likely to choose minion as target first, not boss. Combine all this.
How much life should I have?
Well, like in everything else, whatever you find satisfying will do. I have 3150 hp because with that many hp my barb is super safe, creeps can't touch me + I have great howl + stunning skill. Nothing should be able to kill you. However, that is my ideal amount of hp, even less than that is okay, say 3k. For HC guys, 3500 should really really be enough. Just don't play stupid and you won't die ever. You have 2 fantastic crowd control skills, use them all the time. My hp rarely ever drop below 50% with 3150 hp. Shield and max block? Not needed, waste of stats, even for HC. If you are really scared of death, then put 4k hp in, that should be enough to keep you alive even when heavily drunk. If not, then you simply must learn to play singer better, that's all.
How much mana?
I played with 900 and it's perfectly fine. If you like comfort, then go for higher mana. 1100 is enough to spam warcry like mad without stopping. 1400+ mana is enough if you don't wanna care about mana burn opponents, cause with lower mana you will notice your singer will start spamming on second, and with 1400+ you don't really care is mana burner at your head or not. You can always just move to the side a little and continue spamming.
How high War Cry damage is desired?
I tested with 1200 damage variation against 1000 damage. I must say, there is not even slight difference, I didn't notice at all. 1000 is nice goal to reach, but lower is totally ok too. Don't go for 1200 damage to lose MF or whatever, it's not worth it. At least in my case it isn't. 1000 damage is good enough, your merc is main damage dealer anyway, you are here to backup him in doing killing and to clear those boring devilkins around. Damage helps with champion packs, but against stone skin bosses that are main problem, there is no difference in slight improvement of damage. If you can go for more damage without losing effeciency in MF, please, do so. Otherwise, it might not be worth it. Test it for yourself, for me 1000 damage is same as 1200 when it comes to effeciency. To go for higher damage I lose much MF to gain so little hardly noticeable running speed, so I won't go for it.
Is switch needed?
That is good question. I don't know. I use switch for more MF, and with 63fcr breakpoint you hork fast those champions packs. All in all, you don't lose much time with switch and hork, but probably switch is not needed and you can do everything with main switch and hork with lower MF and 105 fcr. Sometimes I don't swap, I just hork with killing weapons, for example when I kill tons of those champions at one piece, I simply hork them all with 105 fcr and voila. For everything else, switch is good option, but you decide is that really needed or not. My MF is great on kill, so I don't really need to switch for hork, I just wanted to. Now I don't use MF switch, it's not worth it (unless your kill MF is low, then it's worth it).
You can use switch for BO boost, I like that idea very much.
Variation number 2 that requires good amulet:
Head: Shako with Ist
Amulet: 5+ fcr, MF, 2 skills, mana etc
Weapons: dual hoto
Boots: War Traveler
Rings: 2 beta BKWB (4 skills)
Switch: 6 Ist sword, Ist Suicide Branch
Inventory: 2 skillers, Gheed, mf sc rest
This way, on kill you have 57% hork, on switch 56% hork, 1100 warcry damage, however your mana will be lower.
There is another idea by FoE that can be executed very well:
Phase blade to crystal sword if possible ofc to save stats for energy or vitality. You swap MF SC for more skillers to compensate for damage loss, in the end you gain more MF with those switching around.But why not swap the PB to main switch and get rid of hoto then? Wouldn't require much but to switch out chancies and rings (or alternatively a +5% fcr/2 barb/MF ammy instead of one ring).
My personal conclusion is that singer barb is great character to play. Very efficient, very safe, not hard to play, easy to build. He will never be as efficient as berserk barb though. But I'm very surprised how good singer barb turned out in the end. From my testings, I have reason to believe he is probably in top 3 best MF builds in diablo world, and I didn't expect him to outclass AT sorc in efficiency (compared to other guys on forum). However, I believe AT sorc is easier to play and to master than singer barb. But, singer barbs are definitely number one magicfind characters for hardcore! If you have Enigma that is.
There is also whirlwind barb, didn't test it, don't know how good can he be compared to singer, just to mention. Concentration barb in AT is probably better than singer in efficiency.
So, do I still consider singers as some kind of weak or lolbuild or something like that? No, not at all. Singer is indeed great character and I enjoy playing him.
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