Grishknakh - MF Pitzerker


Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
In this thread I will present you my berserker barb, dedicated Pit-runner. Here I'll skip basics about pitzerkers, so if you want to know how to start your pitzerker, I recommend you take a look at this great guide which covers everything you need to know. I'll talk about my interpretation of pitzerker and why I built mine the way I did.

Name is kinda strange. It is inspired by one orc from LotR, but with extra "k" letter in the name to twist tongues a bit more than needed. Some people would say "Grip trolling supplies".


Name: Grishknakh
Class: Barbarian
Build: Berserker
Level: 97
Area: Pit level 1 and 2


Grishknakh started his career before 2013. summer MFO and then I played him there for 25 hours. During that time he was still named CookieMonster, but eventually he ate enough cookies (look at pic!) and grew up to be ugly hairy barb with orc smell and mammoth strength. Then he renamed to more appropriate name cuz with name "CookieMonster" you can't expect to attract many ladies. Anyway during that MFO he was still cheaper variant of pitzerker as you can see if you click on link.

He started as level 90 barb, and leveled up to level 96 by doing p1 pit running. Quite a lot of running indeed, but it is not problem until level 95. On level 95 you really cannot to afford to die too often. Died like 3-4 times and that delayed reaching level 96 considerably. Since leveling was on my mind, I have built my berserker to be sturdy enough so I don't die too often so I can reach level 96 eventually. Going for 97 is not something I think is really doable. It is very time consuming for sure and penalty of death is very big. And well, berserkers are not exactly safest characters to play.

After that first MFO, I played pitzerker on next two MFO's doing total of ~7800 pitruns total. Normally I ran with him outside MFO too. Most notable thing about my pitzerker is he found 2 Tyrael's, and even more awesome they were both found during first day of each MFO. For more details check 2014 summer MFO and 2015 summer MFO threads. Warning, don't think this is normal occurrence and that farming rare items is easy job. This is crazy efficient MF char, but we talk about huge luck there. Reality is you don't wanna know expected time to find Tyrael's, you would give up immediately.

During his career Gris was transformed to singer twice to do comparison to berserker variant. Comparison between those barb variants are presented here: MF Pit Singer, comparation with berserker.

[highlight]Level 96 STATS[/highlight]

Strength: 91 (175)
Dexterity: 164 (171)
Vitality: 310 (322)
Life: 2605 on swords
Mana: 682 on switch
Attack Rating: ~13k
Item Find: 55%
Magic Find: 776/656

20 Berserk
20 Sword Mastery
1 Inc. Speed
1 Nat. Resist
20 Howl
20 Item Find
1 BO
1 BC
rest Shout

Overall, quite typical berserker build. Skill-wise I completely followed advice from linked pitzerker guide. Stat-wise I distributed stats in a certain way to fulfill my goals. My goals were: to have enough Attack Rating (what is enough I will explain later under Attack Rating discussion) and to have enough life to keep me alive to be able to level up. I aimed at having 2600 life with swords out, I find it enough for comfortable running. Most berserkers go for like 2200-2300 life, but it is a bit lowish for my taste. I like at least 2500+ for more comfort. Anyone has to find his own ideal life to aim for.


I used the most typical pitzerker there can be, apart from budget variant. Basically anyone could aim to build this kind of zerker. Nothing innovative or new there, really. If you have some kind of fancy gear, you could aim to build something better, but this is best I can do.

Most of the listed gear is self found. Amulet is from Nulio as is Insight base from merc, War Travelers are from horseheadnebula, 3 charms are traded for, and the rest is self found.

Helm: 1.13 Shako (Cham)
Body: Enigma
Amulet: crafted
 Chaos Scarab
Required Level: 89
Fingerprint: 0xbc2d8aa6
Item Level: 96
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to Barbarian Skill Levels
+8% Faster Cast Rate
+5 to Dexterity
+69 to Mana
Regenerate Mana 8%
21% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Weapons: Grief Phaseblade (393), 6x Ist Phaseblade
Belt: Goldwrap
Gloves: 40 MF Chancies
Boots: 50 MF War Travelers
Rings: 30 MF 74 AR Nagelrings
Switch: dual Ist Suicide Branch

Inventory: Cube + 40MF Gheed + 33x SC with MF
AR charms: 33/7, 33/7, 30/7, 19/7, 23/7, 35/5
AR max dmg charms: 3/19/7, 2/15/7, 2/20/6, 2/17/5, 3/20/4, 2/19/4
Lite res charms: 11/7, 11/6, 11/5, 8/7, 5/7, 4/7, 10/7, 8/7, 7/7, 4/7
Cold res charms: 10/6, 8/7
Mana charms: 17/6, 15/6, 15/6, 15/6, 13/6, 17/5, 11/7, 9/7, 9/7

1.07 eth GPA Insight
Andy Visage with 15 ias 31% ED
eth cubed Archon Plate CoH

First of all, I have 1.07 Cham Shako, but I value 1.13 one higher because of extra mana. I think mana is quite important on berserker to work nicely and to play him comfortably. Playing zerker with less than 550 mana is a trouble to me cuz then I have to think too much about potions because of mana burn. More about mana later.

Switch is to get 2 skills for 55% item find and to hit 105% FCR breakpoint. All details are explained in linked guide.
Alternative I'd consider is to use 2 skills amulet with big MF and then fcr MF ring for more profit, but those have to be really good. If you need more mana, simplest way is to use high mana ring instead of Nagelring and to sacrifice some MF, or to use Wizzy on switch and drop 1% in item find... There are certainly options and you can play around. DO NOT use Ravenfrost though. You don't wanna shatter your corpses cuz of cold damage.

I aimed to have 776/656 MF breakpoint, mostly based on my switch where breakpoint is exactly on 656. Breakpoints can be checked via dropcalc in say ATMA, or they are somewhere listed...

Tip on survivability. Apart from having enough life, lightning resistance is important to have to some degree because from time to time it is lite enchanted monster what will kill you. Those bolts could hurt a lot if they are released in certain angle at you. That's why I have like 60% lite res, to keep those situations less dangerous. Cold resistance is not really important, but ok to have some.

For new equipment I use Immortal helm (Ist Ist), LoH, Trang's belt and two rare rings. Total of 715 MF, but barb looks much more cool than a Shako variant.


Map is very important part of your character. It will make your character much better if map is good. My map is, simply put, amazing. If you should pick top 5 pit maps in SPF history, I'm quite confident my map would be good candidate for that list. How amazing my map is I didn't realize until not so long ago. I basically ran map for thousands of runs in less efficient way and I wasn't aware of that. I ignored one area of map which I thought spawns bosses less frequent than it really does. I have done new 1300 test runs to see what kind of map I actually have.


Map is big, but very simple to play. I follow yellow line. Yes, I literally teleport in basically 2 directions. Very easy to play, really. This red area is area I ignored on last two MFO's cuz I thought boss spawns there once in 5 runs which didn't make it worth to hit and I made it simple to play in straight line instead. But recent tests have shown boss spawns there in like once per 3 runs, so that area increases my maps average considerably and area is totally worth to hit.

Maps average number of bosses without that red area is 8.05 based on over 2k tests done.
In last 1300 test runs done with that red area, maps average number of bosses is 8.391. Incredible number.

So, not only map is super simple to play, but spawns bosses way above average for pitmaps. Map is my biggest strength, the reason why is this pitzerker so efficient and why I can play him very efficiently throughout whole MFO. This is also kinda strange map cuz there are no devilkin nests in pit 1 period. I'm actually not even sure have I ever seen devilkin shaman spawn. Maybe they spawn in area of map I don't visit near entrance to pit 2, who knows. But definitely thing I cannot say I witnessed on other pitmaps I rolled.

[highlight]GAMEPLAY VIDEOS[/highlight]

First of all, I apologize I don't have video where I hit that red area, but I'm not really willing to adapt my playing to windowed mode again. It takes some effort since I can't click at the edge of screen (no screencapture cuz of megalag), teleporting is shorter, fast positional teleporting is also different... it takes time to adapt to windowed mode, but videos I recorded are enough to demonstrate how this barb works.

[highlight]ATTACK RATING[/highlight]

Okay, I said I invested dexterity to have enough AR. What is enough? I aimed to have 95% chance to hit against everything. (Grief has -25% monster defense). Defense numbers from Basin wiki, in brackets AR after Grief influence on the monster:

Devilkin: 1155 (867)
Archer: 1485 (1114)
Stalker: 1568 (1176)
Bone Warrior: 1651 (1239)

First sensible "breakpoint" to aim is to have 93% cth against archers who have 1114 defense against Grief. It depends on your level, but you can calculate number yourself. With such AR you would have 95% cth against Devilkins, 93% vs archers and 92% vs stalkers and skeletons.

Next sensible AR to aim for with same logic of most gain is when you can hit 94% cth on archers. At the same time you would hit 93% cth against skeletons and stalkers, and then your chance to hit will be 95-94-93-93%.

Next sensible point to aim is to have, by logic, 95-95-94-94 etc. You would have to do math for your barb. Don't forget to account for level difference between the barb and monsters. Formula to calculate AR needed goes like this:

Ar = (C*D)/(2L - C)

Ar = Attack rating needed
C = chance to hit (0.95 if you want 95% chance to hit)
D = Defense of a monster (after reduction from Grief)
L = Level factor. L = (attacker level)/(attacker level + defender level). For example if barb who attacks is level 97, boss level is 88, then L = 97/(97+88)

Barbarian level 97 needs 11932 attack rating to have 95% chance to hit against everything but Stone Skin bosses.

[highlight]GIFF ME MANA[/highlight]

Like I said, I value mana quite high on berserker. Reason is simple - I want as simple playstyle as possible. By having low mana you must think too much about potions because you have to drink them almost every time when mana burn pack hits you. As a result of that, you waste more time on seeking and picking up potions, instead of focusing to pure farming, and it burns your energy faster. And mana burn annoys you.

For all stated reasons I aim to have ~680 mana to reduce need to drink potions to a very minimum. I can comfortably ignore mana burn monsters and am drinking potions only when my life drops. As a result of that, I pick potions much rarer than I would if my mana was low. As a result of that I can focus more on farming, am not annoyed by mana burn at all and am playing much more relaxed (and can stay at peak performance much longer).

Normally, every player must see for himself does he want higher mana on his zerker or he doesn't care. I myself wouldn't find comfortable to play zerker with less than 550 mana, and by having 680 mana I can almost entirely ignore mana issues. As long as I start new run with 50 mana or more, it is enough to get me to pit. Think about advantages before you discard mana as something not important at all. If I didn't have all those mana charms, I would really use some rare high mana ring instead of Nagel. MF breakpoint less, but much more comfortable (and hence more efficient) playing.

[highlight]QUALITY OF LIFE[/highlight]

Having enough life is mandatory, usually 2500+ range is enough, but there is absolutely nothing wrong by going for full vitality build. For more damage player can use LoH gloves to make sure to instakill any devilkin. As for resistances, I would argue lightning is important to some extent, definitely better to have some than to play with negative values. More comfortable playing = less potions used = faster running = more efficient.

Options are LoH gloves as well as rare rings reducing player's MF, but increasing AR, mana and damage output which is likely a profitable tradeoff. Reducing MF from 776 to 715 is similar to reducing efficiency by 1.7%, but using LoH gloves it is expected to kill somewhat faster, so these options are arguably similar in long-term efficiency. I do think it is better to build a comfortable barb rather than going for perfectionist numbers and playing with glass cannon.


Pitzerker stands as best MF char in diablo world for a reason. SPF Hall of Records thread compares various builds in efficiency, and pitzerkers are clearly on top, followed by CoD berserkers, Pit singers and AT barbs. Sorc is the only class that can partially challenge pitzerker, but she is still like 20% less efficient character if we compare very best players of both characters.

Also you can see in tables how efficient pitzerker can be. Normally those results are posted after only 50 runs. What about MFO type of efficiency when you play character for hours every day? Well, it clearly depends on how much stuff you pick up, but you can still stay inside ~7% of your best possible result. In short pitzerker with crazy map can stay below 4.5 seconds per bosspack for whole duration of MFO.

My last semi-MFO effort was during last two days of MFO with sample of 11 hours of playing in 2 days and 700 runs done:

That sample is, given by map average bosspack count on 1300 test runs, ~4.327 seconds per bosspack. For duration of MFO in 10 days my efficiency would drop, but I assume not above 57 seconds or 4.38 s/b. But, that is to be tested in the future maybe.

On last 2 MFOs I didn't hit that red area (hence hitting ~8.05 bosspacks per run), but data is still valuable of what berserker can do for a whole MFO.
2014 summer MFO (for details check posted link to this MFO)
Runs done: 3650
Avg running time: 56.454 s
Estimated time invested in MFO: 57 hours 15 minutes

2015 summer MFO (picked more stuff than usual)

Anyway, yes, pitzerker is the char for you if you like efficient farming.

[highlight]CITY OF THE DAMNED[/highlight]

Quite unexplored area with huge potential. There are two major cons to it: tough monsters and area is lvl 84 meaning champions there can't drop Tyrael's. Advantage lies in density of bosses and fast s/e time, there is no delay compared to Pit. This area CAN challenge Pit in efficiency and I proved it by playing in this area for the tournament as well as Halls of Records entry with 1.456 fabians which is comparable to what Pit top results are. For this area full vitality approach is needed and using LoH gloves for faster killing. Having strong lightning and fire resistance is also a must.

So, due to these requirements area will likely never be equal to Pit, but from purely efficiency of item farming (minus Tyrael's from champions), area is comparable to Pit. Rolling a good map is not easy though. Few gameplay videos under spoiler

[highlight]FINAL THOUGHTS[/highlight]

My pitzerker was most typical pitzerker with solid gear and godly map which makes him what he is - CookieMonster. Okay, he was that. Nevermind. Now I switched to LoH + Trang belt + Immortal helm + dual rare rings to have something cooler and, arguably, equally efficient runner.

My plan for a future is to get better charms, and maybe some superfancy 2 skills 30+ MF amulet so I can use fcr 15MF ring with mana and additions. I don't believe I can craft something better than what I have since I already did like 5k caster amulet crafts and ended using Nulio's ex amulet cuz it is better than anything I crafted.

Thank you for reading, I hope it was an interesting one, and cya in future MFO's cuz this is the char I will play there if I participate.
Thanks for the in-depth write up, enjoyed reading it!

CoD runs are an amazing discovery and a lovely change of scenery when you get tired of the usual targets. Just checked the resistance tables, looks great for magic damage dealers and surprisingly only pit lords are an issue for fire based characters.

Fire sorcs, druids, and trappers should be viable, but a bonemancer with CE also comes to mind (on P1). Are MF bonemancers even a thing? :D Might be worth exploring in the future.
Thanks for migrating this over Gripp. I've been doing some work with that simulator I made and the optimization is very interesting. This thread is the go-to reference though, and I just loved your CotD experimenting and results.

Thanks for the in-depth write up, enjoyed reading it!

CoD runs are an amazing discovery and a lovely change of scenery when you get tired of the usual targets. Just checked the resistance tables, looks great for magic damage dealers and surprisingly only pit lords are an issue for fire based characters.

Fire sorcs, druids, and trappers should be viable, but a bonemancer with CE also comes to mind (on P1). Are MF bonemancers even a thing? :D Might be worth exploring in the future.

I definitely am interested in trying some CotD at some point. The non-zerker builds that come to mind for me are hdin and a p1 fb sorc with a weak blizz backup. I saw a guy running the latter on twitch with good results. MF bone necros definitely work fine, but I feel like the issue with them is that poison necros or summoners usually outperform them. Since usually merc will have a kill before your bone spear can do much work. And those a4 monsters have decently high hp too. I kinda want to try out a "bone spear only" (no CE) p1 bone necro in the pit. I think it would work ok, but don't think it has a chance of beating an "amp+CE only" alternate.
For CotD runner would you consider a boot like this to beat War Travs because of the resistances? And would you say that 1.07 Laying of Hands would negate the need for fire resists or no?


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