Gripphon's MF Pit Singer, comparison with Berserker

Gripphon

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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.

Results
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 1:
Map I played some time on to test singers efficiency:

Singer:
Sample: 150+ runs
Average time: 67.8s
Efficiency: 5.66 sec/bosspack


Map 2:
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.

Singer:
Sample: 200 runs
Average time: 64.4 s
MF: 530/710
Efficiency: 5.78 sec/bosspack

Berserker:
Sample: 200 runs
Average time: 57.6 s
MF: 588/708
Efficiency: 5.17 sec/bosspack


Map 3:
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.

Singer:
Sample: 100 runs.
Bosspacks: 786
Average time: 64.845 seconds
MF: 530 (I decided not to use MF switch)
Efficiency: 5.29 sec/bosspack

Berserker:
Sample: 100 runs.
Bosspacks: 803
Average time: 60.122 seconds
MF: 704/584
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.

Equipment
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.

Current equipment:
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
Ring1: SoJ
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

Skills:
1 Battle Command
20 Battle Orders
18 Item Find (aim to get desired %of hork, depends on equipment)
20 War Cry
20 Howl
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.

Stats:
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
Energy: rest

Hp: 3160
Mana: 1270
War Cry damage: 998-1030
56% hork
530 MF on kill, 710 on switch
110 fcr on kill, 70 on switch

Merc:
Weapon: 1.13 eth Colossus Voulge Insight
Helm: Andy Visage with 15 ias jewel
Armor: Treachery

Thoughts:
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.

Strategy
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
Armor: Enigma
Amulet: 5+ fcr, MF, 2 skills, mana etc
Weapons: dual hoto
Belt: Arachnid
Gloves: Chancies
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:
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).​
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.

Conclusion
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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Babyhell

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@nulio said:
You have NO idea of what you just did!

We had ten Guardian Singers per week, now we're also going to have ten Patriarch Singers per week...!

(Nice thread grip ;) )
 
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Babyhell

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@ZeroAffex said:
Well done! Very interesting read. I am a barb guy myself and am always looking for interesting builds to try. Honestly, I didn't like the concept of the Singer barb and was afraid of its efficency compared to the other builds available. After this though, I definately reconsidered and if I get some time down the road, plan on trying this out. I have this bookmarked and will be using it for reference. Thanks again for your hard work and attention to detail! Very good read indeed!

-Zero
 

Babyhell

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@naranjadita said:
Yes! Yes! I have always said that singers do great MF job in pits! And this thread apears!
Great job.

//Astrologists proclaim the week of Singers.
 

Babyhell

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@FredOfErik said:
Well, most people know my thoughts on this :)

Great job! I'm really thankful for you going so much into depth with this after our discussion. Next part is for you to figure out how to do videos ;)

One thing though (solely applicable to HC): Yes, 4k life is enough. So is 3.5k. And you should never die with a singer in P1 pits, pretty much regardless of life. That being said, when doing thousands of runs, I still personally think that having as much life as possible without sacrificing anything but mana is worth it. Sometimes you will play while being drunk, sometimes somebody will call you in the middle of a run, and yes sometimes you will simply play really really bad and at the same time encounter a triple fana/might/cursed/extra strong archer pack (the only thing that I ever S/E'd from, back before enigma).

Right now I run without any points in energy and around 5k life and 700-800 mana. Mana doesn't cause any problems at all, except for mana burners. That being said, I would still much rather have that extra 1k life than not to have to pop a purple once in a while when hitting a mana pack.

Also, very interesting on the dmg discussion. I never really tried lowering my dmg, but I guess substituting some skillers for mf could be worth it.
 

Babyhell

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@endlesscircuit said:
Great thread, thanks for putting the work into this. A lot of this just reinforces for me how much having a good map matters for long-term MFing.

Once I bother to get some more Essences, I'll definitely respec my budget Pit Zerker (looks identical to yours) and try this out. I don't like the switch though; I might just use Echoing weapons for prebuffing. I want the FCR for all my actions - horking, teleporting, etc.
 

Babyhell

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@Fabian said:
Grip,

How would you expect a strong Double Thrower to do against your Singer? My guess is he would probably win; is that way off iyo?
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
On your berserkers map even naked barb can beat my singer, yo.
I have no idea about thrower, never saw one. So, can't answer your question ^^ But you can do some research in that area, yes? Respec your berserk barb to singer to see how awesome singer is, then respec him to throw barb to compare him to singer. On your map, that will be best efficiency possible! Do it, gogogogo.

@ FoE
About damage, that is probably personal preference. Perhaps my playing style doesn't benefit from damage much, but someone else might.
 

Babyhell

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@NagisaFurukawa said:
Good show there. Very interesting stuff.

AT sorceress is actually also pretty high maintenance as far as extremely fast runs, so this might be worth giving a try sometime. Throw barbarian idea sounds cute enough to give a go as well. Now to just find the time for it. :badteeth:
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
Well, we can test many barbarian variations. Concentrate barb for AT, WW barb somewhere, throw barb... it is possible that singer might end in rock bottom of all barb builds when it comes to efficiency. I am willing to investigate that for sure.
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
How about you get away from 1.07 for a short time and try to contribute on this as well? Diablo world is much bigger than 1.07 Travincal, why don't you explore it some more. It can be very fun. :scratchchin:
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
After near 6 hours of rolling maps, I rolled new map for singer. Did less than 200 runs total on it, but I must say, this map is fabulous. On a first sight it didn't look that good as it turned out after some practice on it.

This time I didn't use switch for more MF. I think it's not worth it. 530 to 710 MF with 56% hork? Nah, it's much easier just to hork with kill switch where MF is high anyway. Switching takes time and requires focus. If you don't use MF switch, you can run efficiently for a longer time cause constant switching back and forth takes energy.

Sample: 100 runs
Bosspacks: 786
Average time: 64.845 seconds
MF: 530
Efficiency: 5.2885 sec/bosspack

Well, did I say singers peak performance is at cca 5.5? It is something like that perhaps, unless you roll great map like I did. This result is way beyond my expectations. I hoped for at least 5.5. Good thing is, as I ran more and more toward 100th run, my efficiency rose all the time, meaning this number can be even slightly better perhaps. At 30th run was 5.43, at 60th 5.35, at 100th 5.29. Average bosspack number is pretty constant at cca 7.8 so far.

Ofc, 5.3 is not MFO style of running, it's impossible to maintain this efficiency throughout several hours. This was done in approximately 108 minutes of running, so it's possible to have this efficiency within 2 hours of running, only if you really try and stay focused on it.

Now, next step is to test how berserker will stand on same map. It should be below 5 for sure, if saving times wont be too mad (I experienced saving times up to 8 seconds! with berserker on his map).
 

Babyhell

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@FredOfErik said:
Even though I've always been a fan of singers, I'd have never imagined such numbers to be possible - guess I still have some (a lot) of map rerolling to do. Looking forward to the zerker numbers.

Interesting that you chose to go without switch, same approach as me (although for different reasons). 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). Would the difference in WC dmg mean more for you than +130 MF?
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
It is possible to have approach you suggest, swapping MF charms for skillers to compensate damage loss from swapping equipment, that sounds like a better option than what I use so far. I'll leave that to you and other singer players, I think I'm pretty much done with him. He was just my build for research, my final goal is to respec him to berserker now when map is here. I'm more of efficiency freak than comfort freak, so singer is more or less novelty build for me to play with him :)
Maybe I respec back to singer later when I find better gear to beat my efficiency record, but that is pretty much only reason why would I choose to play with him again. I believe my research about singers efficiency is done. I'll add final conclusion into first post later.
 

Babyhell

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@ZeroAffex said:
Gripphon said:
After near 6 hours of rolling maps, I rolled new map for singer. Did less than 200 runs total on it, but I must say, this map is fabulous. On a first sight it didn't look that good as it turned out after some practice on it.

This time I didn't use switch for more MF. I think it's not worth it. 530 to 710 MF with 56% hork? Nah, it's much easier just to hork with kill switch where MF is high anyway. Switching takes time and requires focus. If you don't use MF switch, you can run efficiently for a longer time cause constant switching back and forth takes energy.

Sample: 100 runs
Bosspacks: 786
Average time: 64.845 seconds
MF: 530
Efficiency: 5.2885 sec/bosspack

Well, did I say singers peak performance is at cca 5.5? It is something like that perhaps, unless you roll great map like I did. This result is way beyond my expectations. I hoped for at least 5.5. Good thing is, as I ran more and more toward 100th run, my efficiency rose all the time, meaning this number can be even slightly better perhaps. At 30th run was 5.43, at 60th 5.35, at 100th 5.29. Average bosspack number is pretty constant at cca 7.8 so far.

Ofc, 5.3 is not MFO style of running, it's impossible to maintain this efficiency throughout several hours. This was done in approximately 108 minutes of running, so it's possible to have this efficiency within 2 hours of running, only if you really try and stay focused on it.

Now, next step is to test how berserker will stand on same map. It should be below 5 for sure, if saving times wont be too mad (I experienced saving times up to 8 seconds! with berserker on his map).

Its hard to believe those numbers, pretty crazy Gripphon. Congrats on your hardwork and a sweet *** map. Any way to cam this action through Bandicam? Those are just crazy numbers for a singer barb, numbers I really didn't think achievable for that build. The fact you were gain 1-1.5 hundredths of a second every 30 or so runs was scary too. Thanks for sharing this information. You definitely sparked my curiosity/interest in this build for a nice 1.13 MF runner.

Looking forward to your comparison with the Zerker Barb you plan on running next. Have a very nice Sunday. Talk to you later buddy.

-Zero
 

Babyhell

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@ZeroAffex said:
Gripphon said:
How about you get away from 1.07 for a short time and try to contribute on this as well? Diablo world is much bigger than 1.07 Travincal, why don't you explore it some more. It can be very fun. :scratchchin:

I know you know all this Griph, but damn.. older patches are fun to play. I don't blame Nullio for his infatuation with 1.07 one bit, racking can provide some of the most Godly items in the Diablo universe. The famous Diablo 1 quest reward and highly sought after Diablo 2 item, Arkaines Valor being an item. You can get a 14-15K Health Character with it when you move it to 1.07+ IIRC. I am actually planning on going to 1.07 in the next 5-6 years to obtain artifacts like that latter I described.

Soo.. yea. 1.07 is awesome for strange items no doubt as well as racking can provide high level items where its capped after 1.07. Don't blame Nullio one bit! haha I play 1.09 for similar reasons, strange items, good xp, bugs and exploits. The newer patch is not nearly as fun IMO. Hell, farming Mana potions is fun where in 1.12 or whatever you can shop them. Respecing is too D3'ish for me, I think it ruins the reason to remake characters of same class. I like the fact when I allocate points, theyre permanent. Just me though.

I'll shut up but yea. I got lots of love for older patches personally.

-Zero
 

Babyhell

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@Gripphon said:
First post edited, added few sentences and final efficiency comparison with conclusion.

Singer:
Sample 100 runs.
Bosspacks: 786
Average time: 64.845 seconds
MF: 530 (I decided not to use MF switch)
Efficiency: 5.29 sec/bosspack

Berserker:
Sample 100 runs.
Bosspacks: 803
Average time: 60.122 seconds
MF: 704/584
Efficiency: 4.83 sec/bosspack