PvP Barb vs Caster Guide (BvC) by Ling


Staff member
Dec 24, 2019
Comprehensive PvP Barb vs Caster Guide, by Ling

BvC Guide version 1.2

By Ling, with aid from Jake. This guide took two days to write. XD
Originally posted Jun 17, 2008

Note: This guide was originally written for BNet. Please bear in mind it may recommend items not found or permitted in Single Player.
(Also make sure to read this more in depth guide: PvP BvC Guide by Yuqing & Co.)


Build Goals

… Core
… Leap
… Natural Resistance
… Increased Speed
… Shout, Berserk

… Preamble
… Helmets
… Armor
… Weapons
… Jewelery
… Gloves
… Belts
… Boots
… Charms
… Stash
… Default Gear

… Widowmaker

Duelling Tactics
… Preamble
… Widowmaker
… General + a few facts

Dueling Strategies
… Sorceress
…… Orb
…… Blizzard
…… Fire & Lightning
… Amazon
…… Charged Strike
…… Bow
… Druids
…… Non-block Wind Druid
…… Block Wind Druid
… Paladins
…… Smiters & Other Melee Builds
…… Hammerdins
… Necromancers
…… Non-block Bone Necromancer
…… Block Necromancer
… Assassins
…… Trappers
…… Enigma Whirlwind (Ghosts)
…… Non-Enigma Whirlwind (Bramble/Fortitude)
… Barbarians
…… Barbarian versus Caster
…… Barbarian versus All
…… Barbarian versus Barbarian

Closing Notes

Preamble: Hay guiz, I'm Ling. I've played D2 on-and-off for about four years, all of it on *ling203. My barb has gone through many evolutions, both in names (Vorul/Exeunt/TDC-Rule/pi/Ling) and in gear (beast ettin axe to the essentially perfect build I have now). I maintain I was pretty good, but there are others who are better. My earlier guide simply put me in the spotlight. I've also done numerous mathematical analyses of aspects of BvC designing, like the systematic proof that Grief is better than BotD, and actually testing the effects of Grief/Beast versus Grief/Grief (Grief/Beast significantly more damage).

The last time I updated this guide was sometime in March '06, which is an admittedly long time ago. During this time, the most radical shift has been the advent of D2PK, which has allowed the poorer elements of Diablo to test their duelling skills. With this in mind, this character is much more open to new players, although BvC is still not a very forgiving character, especially in terms of how it deals with ping (you'll need <120 on an everyday basis) as well as the steep learning curve. It will take time to become decent and even longer to approach mastery. Still, the benefit of playing with the character over a long time has led to many gear changes and several revision of tactical doctrine that I have found to be much more effective.

In the ~3 years I have played a character that I could call a BvC with a straight face, I have had the benefit of sharing with Jake, a classmate who has thought outside the box, inventing a good deal of the dueling tactics here. I’d like to thank him for helping me revise this guide for D2PK, and for ceaselessly advocating the use of widowmaker. Also, I had to one-up his adaptation of my guide. XD

Also, this guide has the longest BvH section you will ever see. Enjoy beating public hammerdins.


BvC is a customizable character in that while most BvC's will teleport, whirlwind, leap, and sometimes zerk, you can skills and stat/gear sets to align with your playstyle (telezerk, widowgay, desync). When built correctly, this build has no characters that will absolutely trounce it, though I admit there are several builds which may be a very large problem for you, even if you have achieved a very high level of skill. Though you could say if you play defensively enough, any build can win, the BvC approaches these large problems with speed and skill rather than attrition and cowardice. Any character can run, spam, and achieve death by slow degrees, but this guide approaches problematic matchups head-on, relying on stealth, speed, and mind****s to achieve victory.

What this guide attempts to do is lay out a foundation for anyone who wants begin playing this awesome character. I will offer gear/skill/stats options and explain my reasoning for choosing them. What I hope is that you, the reader, will be able to apply that reasoning when you choose your own gear: it is more important to know the rationale behind using a specific item or allocating points in such a way rather than blindly copying my build.

If, however, you are familiar with this build, I hope that my spin on the BvC will offer you some insights that were previously unknown to you.

If you're still reading now, I'd like to thank you for finishing that verbose introduction and offer some general build goals.

The core of the BvC has remained the same: leap, tele, ww, and sometimes zerk. Lather, rinse and repeat if necessary. What you want to do is ensure you can do this properly. Whether this means you reach the last whirlwind ias breakpoint, or maintain a high enough fcr to catch your opponents is something you have to get a feel for on your own. Similarly, knowing when to sacrifice certain aspects is equally as important for duelling success.

Generally, a BvC is a character that is duel wields axes, WW/zerks ti kill, uses FCR to improve his teleport mobility, and is known for its very high life and resistances.

In summary:

- no glaring weaknesses
- high life, high damage, cannot be absorbed
- very good team player through bo/shout/leap
- excellent 1v1; will always offer a challenge to any other character

- expensive on realms
- steep learning curve (high level of skill needed)
- very lag intolerant
- needs pretty high level
- difficult to deal with bm alone
- several builds matchups that will give you trouble on a regular basis (as Jake says, "they can be VERY ****ING BAD for you")
- room for customization in almost all aspects of its design often confuses the new and causes them to blindly copy a build that is not for them




The following are what every BvC must have. Without them, you don't have a BvC, you have a subpar teleport barb. These skills form the "core" of the BvC, and it is from here you starting tweaking the character.

Battle Orders - 20
Axe Master - 20
Whirlwind - 20
Prerequisites - 6 (Bash, Conc, Leap attk, Inc stamina, Iron skin, Howl)
Battle command - 1

Howl is useful for scattering summons. It doesn't work on shadows, which is quite unfortunate.

Battle command is optional, since you may feel the urge to use HotO + CtA to cast battle orders, but I feel that the ability to use battle command while using alternate weaponry (ie. Widowmaker) outweighs the skill point used here.

The following skills will all be present in some form, though the actual number is where you can personalize this build. You will probably want to get to level 90+ to have sufficient stats/skills/open wounds damage, I find that level 88 is the minimum acceptable for decent duelling.

Leap - 20
Leap was one the cooler discoveries of 1.10/1.11. When you land a leap, hostiles within a radius of your character (leap lvl * 0.66 yards) will be knocked back and put into a double FHR animation. This makes catching casters much, much easier, whether it for you or your teammates

The absolute minimum I recommend for leap is level 19 when you are wearing the gear set that gives you the LOWEST + to skills bonus. This will give you coverage of the entire visible screen, minus the corners, since the D2 screen is a rectangle and the leap effect is radial (circular) around your character.

Level 24 will nicely cover the corners and give you a bit of off-screen rage. It is much more comfortable to have this when you're facing a jumpy orb sorc than level 19 leap. However, the stun effect of leap has NO DIMINISHING RETURNS, so feel free to dump your excess points into here. Personally, I added 20 points to have a long offscreen reach, which is particularly useful in team matches.

Natural Resistance - ~5
At least 1-2 points are needed in this skill, which provides much-needed resistance. Sadly, diminishing returns set in very fast, so investing beyond 6 is a waste of skill points that you could have been putting in leap or shout.

Increased Speed - ~4
This skill also gets diminishing returns fast, but the 4 points are worth it. The additional speed allows to outrun bone spirits when slowed, as well as increasing the desync (I will explain this later) effect of your whirlwind. Also, being able to run faster aids you wasting less time in town as well as dodging/escaping projectiles on foot.

Note: You may hear that a slower whirlwind is better, but it is VERY IMPORTANT to differentiate between faster WEAPON SPEED and faster RUN/WALK speed. Faster weapon speed is ALWAYS better, as it will increase how much faster you swing your axes. However, faster run/walk speed is more of a tossup, as you may do less damage with faster r/w.

Confused? So was I. Just remember, nothing other than weapon IAS will affect your whirlwind weapon speed. You are ALWAYS swinging axes at the same speed. But your whirlwind is affected by HOW FAST YOU MOVE. If you run/walk too fast, you will not be in weapons range for a long enough time to do decent damage.

But really, additional faster r/w has a very small impact on your damage output. Faster run/walk can get you out of some "VERY ****ING BAD" situations (trap lock, bone prison spamming, hammerfield), and you'll have done more net damage when all’s said and done. Just don't sweat faster r/w. You won’t have to worry about it unless you have very weird charms.

Berserk - 1+; Shout - the rest
These two skills are put together because they are often what BvCs have to choose to dump the rest of their points into.
(Note: Even though iron skin gives the same boost as shout, shout is much more party friendlier and it is very simple to recast it)

Berserk is a good secondary skill with irresistible magic damage. If you can master chain-locking teleport-zerk sequences, you will be a force to be reckoned with.
Shout gives a good defense bonus that can save your skin sometimes.

An additional point in berserk nets you: +15% damage
Another point in shout gets you: +10% berserk damage, additional warcry duration, and a team defense bonus.

Personally, I believe that the team defense bonus and additional warcry duration more than outweighs +5% damage on a secondary attack. On D2PK, BvC's are EXPECTED to have a good shout to improve team defense. Even if you're very good at telezerk, I would still choose shout over zerk since it is simpler to attack again. I feel that the 5% won’t break you in a duel, while the defense/duration might.



On the realms, BvC is one of the more expensive builds to construct. It took me the better part of two years to just amass the required charms (perm 32020s are so rare =| ). However, on D2PK it is a simple matter to obtain the necessary items from BarbGheed
There are some things you can compromise on items, but there are others than you simply cannot do without. If you cannot find these, then this is not the build for you.

Helmets (This section is long, but useful. Read it.)
There are many options for helmets, but D2PK has created a new "best helm:" the barb circlet, which has all but replaced CoA/Arreats as the primary/secondary headgear.

As said before, this guide approaches character building as something to be understood and customized, not carbon-copied. Because of this, I will go into a lot of depth for helmets, as it is one of the places where BvC’s most often go awry.

CoA is primarily used because BerBer can be put in its sockets for 31% damage reduction, allowing BvC’s to go toe-to-toe with good Windys and Smiters. Arreat’s Face was the default helmet for situations where damage reduction was not needed.
This same philosophy is used in choosing circlets. You'll want a DR circlet and a "damage" circlet.

On both the circlets, you will want:

+2 barb skills
+20% (this allows for lots of flexibility in belt/glove/ring choices)
+ 60 life
+ 20% resist all
2 sockets
+30 faster r/w
(Honestly, I feel that +30 strength is not worth the mobility loss you'll suffer. You likely won't need to build around the strength, so it's all rather pointless.)

On the DR circlet, you'll want +99% attack rating, since damage reduction typically implies high defence characters such as Smiters. Also, stick in 2x BerBer for delicious damage reduction, coupled with awesome headgear mods.

On the "damage" circlet, you'll want to replaced the +99% attack rating with +90 mana. If you think about it, the "damage" circlet is what you generally use to face sorceresses, necromancers, etc. In these duels, you'll be taking the initiative and the teleport mobility offered by more mana is more useful than the difference between 94% chance to hit and 95%. Socket this with the best jewel you can get: 2x 30ED/9Dex/9Str/10Res.

Honestly, customizing circlets is up to you. It's all about seeing what magical attributes you need in each matchup and using your own experience + commonsense.

I like to keep an Arreats socketed with a 9 Dex/15 Max jewel or a 30 ED/9 Dex/9 Str/60 AR jewel. This allows me to use angelics/widow, a tactic that will be explained indepth later.

For East people, go for the BerBer CoA [maximize the DR, then the res], and a 40 ED/15 IAS Arreats [maxmize life leech over useless EDef]. If you’re poor, you can use gaze, but a CoA is highly recommended for success.


Enigma? It's the only choice. You're going to have a sizeable + str bonus without it, so feel free to choose a light elite armor that looks good on you. I choose Wyrmhide for its looks, decent defense, and light weight.

My experience with Fortitude is that it is only useful in VERY SPECIFIC duelling situations, such as facing down FC Zons or town-huggers. On D2PK it’s really only useful if you’re using the GSkull glitch
Seriously, if you can't get it, don't sweat it.

Grief/Beast. The only choice. I have personally tested the damage output of Beast alternatives, and nothing else measures up, unless you're thinking of using an OW axes against a pesky ES sorc. BoTD can be used as an alternative to Grief, but its damage is much less consistent (~ 1-5k vs ~4.2-4.3k). This consistency will also help you FHR-lock your victim, BotD could give you a low damage roll, allowing them to escape your triangle whirls, whereas with Grief this is far less likely.
Remember that you need +34% ias on grief to hit the last whirlwind breakpoint.

Normally though, Grief/Beast will be all you need. I really can’t recommend OW axes or any other rare. They are subpar when compared to grief's massively consistent damage.

When placing weapons, put grief above the gloves and beast above the boots. The primary weapon is the weapon that has a hit-check by itself on the first swing of whirlwind so it is important that grief is always the primary weapon. Typically, the first weapon equipped is the primary, but when you switch weapons, the order reverts to primary/secondary; glove/boot.

Battle Orders Switch
2x Dooms on east gave you the ability to slow others as well as ping low-health opponents for the cost of +2 skills. If you can find people who still believe that this is GM, use it.

On D2PK, you likely have no other choice than to use HotO/HotO or HotO/CtA. If you use CtA, you lose +2 to shout, but you gain +1 to Battle orders. Use whatever you think is more important.

Highlords Wrath your choice here. Its deadly strike is what really makes it outshine the +stats on any other (duped) amulet. Personally, I use the 09 version that grants IAS to supplement my Widowmaker attack speed., but if you can get the 08 version, more power to you. Standard rings are ravens for the awesome AR and mana.

When facing high-defense characters 1v1, use Angelics set/enchant, where appropriate.
You'll also want a set of FCR/rare rings, for use based on the situation at hand

The mods you want are FCR/MANA/RES/DEX/AR/LIFE, but feel free to substitute mods as necessary. Again, it's about realizing which mods are right for what situation. Mostly, the DEX will be used to reach the requirements for widow maker.

If you can find/import a good barb FCR amulet, keep it at hand for some 65 FCR teleport goodness. Finally, keep two rings without FCR (zon-type rings) with replenish and all the juicy mods that will be needed in the duel to come.

Dracul's Grasp is one of your two staples, providing decent open wounds damage and a useful strength bonus due to its relatively low requirements. Tap is nice to play mind games with Widow if you can get it to cast on their summons.

I discourage the use of Steelrends, as the damage gained from it is much lower than the open wounds from Draculs. As well, Dracul's has a STR bonus that is actually used. Finally, the defense you gain really doesn't matter for a BvC.

The second glove you will be using is Trang-Oul's Claws. The reason I'll use these over Magefist is that Trangs provides a decent amount of cold resistance as well as a slight Grief-Venom damage boost.

The standard belt is Arachs, giving you a nice +20% FCR, allowing you to easily reach 10 frame teleport. Its +1 skill is a nice bonus. However, the 20 FCR from a barb circlet offers you the flexibility of using a non arachs belt (Ie. TGod’s) and maintaining 40 FCR (10 frame teleport) through the use of Trang-Oul’s.

Verdungoes can be used with or without the damage circlet to supplement your DR. I cannot underscore how much flexibility you gain from FCR circlet and verdungoes. You can go DR Circlet + Verdungoes for maximum DR; or "damage" circlet + dungoes for damage and minor protection vs physical. Consider your situation carefully.

Note: 10 frame teleport is how fast a hammerdin will teleport/cast with 75% FCR. Barbs have friggin' awesome breakpoints. =D

Typically, you want some sort of boots that offer 30+ resistance, fr/w, stats, etc. Your realm probably has duped boots, but in the interest of the other rules, they won’t be open.
On D2PK, you can probably figure out which boots to use. ~_~

If you can't get these boots, try to find a rare with fire res, lite res, f/rw, stats/other res/fhr/etc. Prioritize getting the attributes in the order given.

Gore Riders are a secondary switch when you're facing ONLY non-elemental characters, or when you don’t need more resistance. Your FHR will suffer when using these, so be careful.

Annihilus, Hellfire Torch
2-3x Life/Mana SC (east people have access to that 70 mana sc, which should work too)
7-8x 36/20
2x 3/20/5 fhr (you may want to replace these with 5 res / 11 fire res + 5 fhr if you’re lacking enough resistance).
REST 32020

I use mana scs to be able to teleport and whirl for extended periods of time, especially when using angelics. 2x 3/20/5 fhr lets you reach the 30% breakpoint with Wraith Bands for a small life cost, and the 36/10's allow you to maintain 10k attack rating with any setup, a number I find to be the minimum effective AR when facing paladins.

3/20/20's are self explanatory, they are the best charms for a WW barb.

If you are poor, prioritize AR over damage/life. Try to get 100+AR/Life grand charms. Once you achieve 10k AR with your worst AR setup, go for 20 life small charms.

Widowmaker (Hel): This **** is awesome. Guided arrows gives you a way to attack from a distance, forcing many characters to stop being defensive and come to you.

Thundergod's Vigor: GM for good trappers
Wisp: See above. Useful for FC zons too.
Dwarf Star: Team duels

Treachery/Demon Limb/BO Helmet can be used for prebuff if you wish, thought its BM on D2PK. Go crazy in pubs if you want.

Generally, you will not need any other absorb items. At best, they are crutch for real skill, and at worst they will handicap you in the future. Ideally, the master can duel any character (1v1) without changing any gear at all.

However, I find that in team duels, absorb is acceptable if you are really having trouble. In the end, if you need to use absorb to win, use it and win, but the important thing to remember is that you probably could have not used it, played better, and won anyways.

Default Gear
By default, you want to have gear that will ensure nothing can kill you easily. You will wear this gear when you enter public games, then customize as to what types of characters are and are not there. Obvious stuff like grief/beast will be left out. With a barb circlet, you can have several options:

DR Barb Circlet:
Resistance Boots

For gloves/boots, you can use Trang-Oul’s/Verdungoes, Dracul/Arachs, or even Dracul/Verdungoes.
If you are using Trangs-Oul’s/Dungoes, you may switch out the DR Circlet for the “damage” one. All this is dependant on your good judgment. Gear for custom matchups will be provided in the duelling section.


Character Statistics:

Strength: Base
Dexterity: Base, OR 38
Vitality: The rest
Energy: WtF is this ****?

I have moved away from the CoA/Fort/Widow setup for facing V/T's, as I find that using Enigma is equal to or even more effective than Fort. The higher base strength was really just for one setup, which I found a waste.

The additional points in dexterity are used to give flexibility when using widowmaker. The highest amount of dex required is the hammerdin setup: Arreats/Angelics/Widow. Trust me, 38 dex in conjunction with Hel'd widowmaker will allow you to have a slew of setups that can use widowmaker to abuse people in 1v1.


Dueling Tactics:

"The player in a public game aims to achieve the goals of raising his pride by dominating large amounts of people, making fun of n00bs in the most entertaining and efficient way possible, increasing dueling skill when good 1v1 games are not available (4-5 pubbies is about equivalent to 1 good dueler), entertain oneself by winning, and minimizing the negative feelings on oneself in order that the player is left with the positive feelings only." - Blobs, BvC Innovator


You will need to understand why specific items are used. BerBer circlet is used to reduce physical damage, so if a game contains a wind druid, you should wear the BerBer. Similarly, if you are in a game with all sorceresses, then switch to Damage Circ for more damage and resistance.

Only worthwhile builds will be discussed, and it is assumed that the skill level of the person you are dueling is anywhere from competent to a master. If there is a build you're having trouble with that's not covered here, post and I'll write something up to add. I'll also disclose which builds can be VERY ****ING BAD for you. As much as the BvC is, in my opinion, the majority king of 1v1, there are simply some builds that will offer surprise buttsex with rusty barbed wire.

A large part of BvC dueling is how to smoothly teleport + whirlwind; how to triangle whirl properly; predict the desync of your opponent; or simply getting a namelock. I can't tell you how to do these things; D2PK has made dueling more of an art. There are million little tricks up Overrule's Wyrmhide sleeve, and I can't go into them all, mostly because I would not have enough space (ironic). If I miss something, point it out and it'll be added. That being said, I will go into some basic tips and skills you'll need to begin to dominate (pubs).

You can call me Luis Jr., but neither Luis nor I grasped the full potential of the Widowmaker. Jake taught me how powerful a tool it is.

I now will do ANYTHING, I will sacrifice sorb, I will lose DR, I will take off FCR, in any situation where I think widow could give me an edge. At face value you lose the edge numerically, in terms of damage/life, but you gain an IMMENSE tactical advantage.

If you read one of the gear suggestions that says widow but the gear won't meet dex requirements, it means that widow is viable in that duel if you feel comfortable enough to sacrifice a ring for raven's 20 dex or whatnot, or even slap on an arreats for the 29 dex. Alternatively, you can use widow in a situation where I don't advise it, I've used widows in almost any situation just to play mind games.

From a shieldless melee char, you become a dangerous force of defensive barb playing to be reckoned with. You can get life tap, you can get lots of open wounds/psn damage, you can force someone into a teleport that you have already predicted and have started WWing at, you can even beat trappers with it (just ask mike123, victim of the bowbarb IGA tournament win).


Some Notes

Whenever possible, teleport beside your target instead of namelocking. This will increase your whirl's effectiveness as you start out slightly in front of them, as opposed to right on top of them.

Teleport + Whirlwind:
As soon as you intend to target someone and teleport onto/beside them, move your cursor to the centre of screen (but offset it a bit), switch from your teleport hotkey to your whirlwind hotkey, which insures you come out of your teleport whirling.

Always use teleport and whirlwind on right click. It ensures the best teleport + ww attack. Anybody who has whirl on lc is a retard.

Unsummon + Teleport + Attack Sequences:
Namelock your target with unsummon. You can now switch teleport and whirl/zerk them. Be sure to reposition your cursor in the center of the screen before teleporting. Beware. Occasionally your victim may be so far away that you will simply teleport in place, even though they are still on your automap. The solution is to hold down teleport and move your cursor towards their location. Resume your original attack sequence.

Likely to get you accused of autoaim.

Teleport + Berserk (Chainlock)
This hard to describe, but when you see it, you'll know what it is. Action most likely to get you accused of autoaim.

Have zerk on left click, teleport & unsummon on right. Hold down left click on them and tap teleport. You should land on them and start zerking. When you do so, hold down left click and switch right click to unsummon. If they escape, press down right click and the same, THEN let go of left click. You should now have an unsummon lock on them. Immediately teleport + zerk them by holding down left click on arrival. Remember to prep your unsummon on right click.

In reality, this is a much smoother transition than it sounds on paper. When done right, you will relentlessly hound your opponent with teleport zerks. Unfortunately, this tends to work only for a few attack sequences; I personally max out at ~8 teleports before I lose the lock completely.

Some skills allow this, some skills don’t, but zerk is one of them. It is a little less obvious, and some of the more experienced players will attempt to ‘walk’ you after seeing that you're using zerk to chainlock by moving away and spamming, leaving you without a chance to go through all the frames of your attack and connect before they walk away again.
If you see them walking right away or you’ve seen them do it before to you and can predict after how many chainzerks they’ll teleport away from, whirl with their walk/run and they’ll be in for a world of pain.

Attack Sequences:
Since you invested ~4 points increased speed, you should have a pretty fast movement speed in WW. Once you duel, you will realize that there is a small radius around your character where it is faster and easier to simply whirl to attack your opponent rather than teleporting there. This is another reason for getting increased speed; more points increases this radius.

This is particularly useful in taking advantage of a bad teleport on your opponents part. However, it will require good reflexes; I guarantee that the first few times you meet this situation, you’ll fumble with your hotkeys and curse their teleporting backs.

Potion Drills:
To improve your tele + ww sequences, do this drill:

Place two potions a fair distance from each other on the ground. Teleport on one and IMMEDIATELY do a triangle whirl (an equilateral triangle with length ~1 to 1.5 inch onscreen). After you complete the TW, IMMEDIATELY teleport onto the other potion and do another TW.

Do not pause between these sets. If you can do 5+ properly, you should be fine for real duels, if you can namelock properly. You can change it up sometimes and simulate a real duel by teleporting into that group of potions after a series of random teleports. Adding leap before you teleport is also a good practice.

Relative Speeds
On paper, your teleport + attack sequence is faster than any other character, with only a 200 FCR fireball sorc being able to match you.

This is because your teleport is normally 10 frames, and whirlwind takes 4 frames to “cast,” giving you an attack sequence of 14 frames. Comparatively, a 125 FCR necro will teleport and cast at a speed of 9 frames, giving them an attack sequence of 18 frames. Theoretically, you should be able to catch any caster and hit them.

Doom for BO Weapons:
(sadly unavailable on D2PK)
For the cost of 2 levels of battle orders, you get:
The ability to kill multiple bm zons.
Minor minions, such a wovles, and oak sage charges.
You can naked kill easier.
Pinging the enemy if they have low life. This is especially useful for bone necromancers, since their bone armor makes going for another whirlwind pass risky when you both have low life.

Predict Teleport Whirlwind:
The ancient art of predicting whirls, can be summed on in one statement: Play BvC like a blizzard sorc. After you build some dueling experience, you will realize that casters will fall into patterns when dueling you. Decoding their attack sequences will let you predict their next location.

Know what their reactions to your movements will be, and you will control the field of battle. If you can master this, you will be unstoppable versus casters and come to relish these words: 'omg i can't believe i teleported into you'

Fire damage:
The reason most BvC’s will find semi-decent fire sorcs is their naturally lower fire defense. The Anya bug causes you to lose 30% resist all after death, even though you will not see it in your character screen. This leaves most BvC’s with 50% fire resistance, causing them to die in 3-5 fireballs.

To fix this, get better resistance boots. You could also replaced the 3/20/5 FHR charms with 11/5 res + 5 FHR charms. Remember that most 105 FCR fire sorcs will have 1-2 fire facets, and 200 FCR sorcs will have 3-4. You will have to stack resistance to prepare for this.


Dueling Strategies


Every good sorceress will have energy shield. Grief allows you to break their ES, except in cases where they play defensive, have good fhr + block, and/or stack integer damage reduction. If they outtank you, whirl and get out of there before they kill you. Let open wounds do the talking as you play a little more defensively.

Honestly, this build is a bit of a joke. There's really no way a pure orber can kill you, unless they stack DR. But that’s a really *** build regardless.

Damage Circlet, RavenRaven, Res Boots. Replaced Res boots with gores if they have strong cold master.
Use Dracs, Arachs, Widowmaker if they play overly defensive, which is quite likely:

Most orb sorceresses are jumpy, and will teleport alot. Therefore you should namelock teleport whirlwind them. Leap and half a brain will allow you to dodge the shards with ease. If you do a medium length leap, you should have a chance to unsummon lock them, allowing you to teleport + whirlwind them; a risky strategy for players that recognize it, but deadly if you can connect regardless.

Remember, most orbers will assume you're a faggot if you try to play half as defensively as them, so either leaping in place or igaing makes you a faggot. Have fun.

Same as above, but Trang's gloves + 10 FCR Ammy, if they can't tank your whirlwind (you won’t have to rely on open wounds).

If they are skilled, this is a hard duel. If they are block, or have a strong energy shield, you must play hit and run, either with using Beast on primary for its open wounds, or with 290 poison damage small charms.
Either way, if you can teleport beside them and whirlwind, do so, then escape. Versus defensive ones, use widowmaker to apply open wounds/poison. If they blizzard themselves, leap, then teleport beside them and begin triangle whirlwinds.
You can use medium leaps to get unsummon locks, but this can be very risk if you make a badly timed teleport.
If they get a namelock on you, make long teleports/leaps. Try to either get off their automap, or make a kamikaze attack on them, forcing them to take the hits or give up the lock.

FB: Damage Circ/Highlords/Arachs/Dracs/(Raven/Dwarf) OR (NONFCR STAT RING/Dwarf) OR (NONFCR STATRING x2)/Res boots/Widow if you have the dex

Light: Damage Circ/Highlords/Arachs/Dracs/(Raven/Wisp) OR (NONFCR STAT RING/Wisp) OR (NONFCR STATRING x2)/Res boots/Widow if you have the dex
Light: Damage Circ/Highlords/TGods/Trangs/NONFCR STATRING x2/Res Boots/Widow if you have the dex

If they spam, leap once and teleport beside them and begin triangle whirls.
If they spam from afar, circle approach, and do above OR throw them some arrows to open their wounds a bit and scare'm.
If they teleport alot, leap, namelock teleport, and begin triangle whirls. Alternately, (leap) namelock, and move your mouse to the centre of the screen, and left click for non blockers. You should be able to pull off a teleport berserk with practice. See the section above on chainlock zerk for beginners.
If they can outtank you (strong ES, etc), use widowmaker and play hit and run. Wait 8 seconds after a WW so that OW can run its course. Remember, you can easily dodge anything they throw at you using tele/leap/faster r/w.

Caution: watch out for the FB'er who sits beside a wall and spams against it. The splash damage can be deadly.



On East, any barb should beat any zon, though lag/lack of mana can make it close. If you screw up even once versus zons, the duel can be very unforgiving.
On D2PK, zons are a whole different ballgame. This is one of the matchups that can hand you your *** on a platinum platter.

Charged Strike:
Damage Circ/Highlords/Arachs/Dracs/(Raven/Wisp) OR (NONFCR STAT RING/Wisp) OR (NONFCR STATRING x2)/Res boots
Damage Circ/Highlords/TGods/Trangs/NONFCR STATRING x2/Res Boots

If they light fury, leap once and teleport beside them and begin triangle whirls.
Charged Strike is flawed versus whirlwind. As long as you continuously whirlwind correctly, the bolts should miss you and they should mostly remain in dodge-lock. Put on Fortitude to completely win. Doom in place of beast if you want to do completely unspeakable things to them. Honestly, if a zon really believes they can just outtank you with CS versus Triangle Whirls, they're mistaken. You don't need sorb for that.

Whenever they escape, whether through wsg or teleport, don’t let them create distance between you. If they are using wsg to escape, namelock teleport them and do a medium whirlwind in the direction that are running. If they change directions, they lose the desync they have built up, giving you the initiative.
If they flee with teleport, or lose desync completely, teleport and triangle whirl them.

Dungoes/DR Circlet/Highlords/Res Boots for FHR/Widow it up baby...

Use Trangs/Ravens or Dracs/Fcr at your discretion, but maintain a 10 frame teleport. Approach in a curve, and name lock whirlwind, since most good amazons will desync while walking. Hide your approach direction until the last minute by letting the amazon see you on your minimap, and then approach from another direction. If at anytime you are hit, whirlwind or wsg (if you swing that way) away to a safe place.

On D2PK, it's a more delicate dance now thanks to zons tanking close to sorc amounts with their shields... Mind games are key because they're a weapon switch from a 1hit KO or a bloody tank. Pull out your widow and ZvZ them, make them move and concentrate on not getting hit, try to take their focus off the position of your character. Take advantage of your FCR and change positions constantly. Misleading them to your approach vector is crucial. This will take practice, and an evaluation of the map, and of course, the capability of the zon. If you're a real bastard about it, the zon will get impatient with your constant widowing and come at you.

If he comes with bow, slay him by running away and shooting arrows, then teleporting back with a strong ww. Stay with him if he gets his shield out and tries to escape by running away (if he doesn’t, he’s dead). If you get him get the distance, he will fire arrows catching in line of GA that will lock you up and kill you.

If he comes with shield, outrun him with widow until he pulls out bow. You don't have the balls to take on his shield zon, not when he can desync out of your triangle whirls.

If they're telezons, mock them and wait for them to make a bad teleport. Chase if you want, they're slow as hell, but if they're far away, approach with distance and discretion.


Druids have terrible faster hit recovery in human form, and leap will fully exploit this.

Non Block Wind Druid:
BerBer Circ/Dungos/Trangs/Gores/Raven+NON FCR RING/Highlords

These guys are jokes, laugh them off the moor. I'll admit there are a couple capable druids, but ultimately, if you can leap then zerk, or just sift through their summons, and then zerk, you can take them down no problem. Refer to the block druid guide if you're having alot of trouble, but really between zerking and triangle whirls, you should be fine.
If they run, either namelock teleport and come out whirling; this should at least trigger block animation, since he only has an oak. If you hit, they should go into fhr, or delay namelock the druid, and teleport onto him when his namebar stops moving around.

Block Wind Druid:
BerBerCirc/Dungos/Dracs/Raven + Raven (for dex)/Highlords/Widow

Widowmaker ensures that he has to play offensive, or else you'll get a life tap on him and he's in trouble with all his silly summons. You both have to be close to each other to do damage, take advantage of this. Whenever them come close to you leap, and ww towards them if you believe you will catch them.
If you have some stellar triangle whirls, go for it. Avoid zerking, it can be very risky if he walks downward and aims tornadoes upward. If he telestomps (teleport + nados) you constantly, just triangle whirl yourself as you run away, eventually he'll make a bad call.
If he's just teleporting near you and pushing you, tempt him with a widow shot or two but quickly tri ww yourself.
If he's just a real pussy, leap him into frustration, run and widow, then predict where he's going to tele as he approaches again and tri ww in that spot. Predict teleww if you can at all times.
If you kill a sizeable amount of his minions, he’ll probably run away to recast. Stick to him and do not let up. If you're lucky you can catch him with his pants down summoning.
(A colourful and vaguely *** image, with hints of bestiality)


These guys will universally have high defense, so use angelics and/or enchant when appropriate.

Smiters: (and any other melee character)
BerBer Circ/Dungos/Angelics/Dracs/Gores

Whirl to their sides, which should result in 1 or no hits for them. If you have a range 3 zerker, and they have a range 2 phaseblade... logically... if they're shift smiting, a clip ww will result in 0 hits on you, but a couple hit checks on them during each go.
If they catch wind of how ww mechanics work, then whirl slightly farther off to the side so that if they walk towards you, you will clip them.

If you are ever lifetapped, whirl away and wait. If they become offensive, ww away. If they begin to desync or teleport + smite, do medium length whirls in random directions. I would suggest a constant square so that you can maintain some of your generated vector desync off each whirl, rather than completely random directions. Teleport away and regroup if you feel that he’s hounding you too closely.

Some smiters will try to desync in front of you. If you think your whirlwind desync has caused him to underestimate the distance you have to go, continue whirling, and he’ll get hit a lot. But if you think he’s gotten ahead of you, simply whirl in a different direction. He’s the one that has to play the guessing game, not you.

Same as smiter gear, but maybe go for Tgods if he's really using FoH as a crutch.
One of the toughest duels. I play a v/t as my secondary character and, partly because I know BvCs very well, I can dispose of almost any barb simply through controlling the field of battle at all times. Remember to have enough resistance so that their FoH will not severely damage you.

The barb's best bet is to recognize when the din is getting distance to FoH you and go for a quick ww, but just be careful that your ww doesn't start too far away and goes right through him lest he switch to smite and rape you very fast. He'll be FoHing you if you're desyncing away, he'll be telesmiting you if you're just teleporting around, he'll be on you all the time.

Use all the smiter strategies listed for when he plays like one, and catch him when he FoHs and charges. Watch out for FoH when you have swirlies over your head, and learn to teleport and make a clipping whirlwind. You’ll basically duel them like a smiter, but more mobile.

There is alot more to be said, but its mostly the nuances of experiences you’ll build up yourself.


If you wait to take action until you are certain of the enemy's position, strength, and intentions, you will never act and remain paralyzed. Yet to act without knowledge is to plunge into a trap (if your enemy is aggressive) or waste your strength on meaningless maneuvers (if your enemy chooses to avoid you).

Use widow to make them play offensive. If they're just charging and hammering with you as you run, walk + widow them until they get frustrated. Don't get tricked by desync; teleport out carefully and move to a new area if you think he has surrounded you with hammerfields. You can figure out when he’s done this if you see that he doesn't start to teleport and keeps desync hammering you into tight areas. Remember, you have teleport mobility, so do not hesitate to relocate the field of battle

If he telestomps you at any point, or you know he's locked you, move around and away but predict when he'll teleport onto you by either the teleport animation under his feet that appears if he's on your screen, or simple intuition if he's got you locked from afar. This is a good thing if he's got you locked, you’ll be able to get a decent hit on him. When you lands, whirl slightly down, 45 degrees up and left so as to not get hit where the hammer spawns, then 50 degrees up and right to escape, again missing the hammers. You'll feel this out as you play more what is safe to do, but your range 3 zerkers will take a toll on him if you get him with this little pattern.

DO NOT go for that L pattern in the little blindspot that people would suggest, toooooo risky and he'll probably mess you up with a smite or another tele. Blindspot zerking is also outdated on D2PK, but may still work on public Easties. Any capable Hdin will smite you into his circle, or walk and make overlapping hammerfields. Aim for their left foot to hit the blind spot if you REALLY must do it.

The one time where you will blindspot a hammerdin is when he only has 2-3 hammers and you are position below and to the right of him. Then you should whirl up and left, so that you make contact with his lower left side. Make sure the whirl is long so that you immediately escape. Another risky tactic is to get a delayed namelock on the hdin when he’s desync hammering away from you. If you time it correctly, you should tele + medium whirl him when he charging. Note that the best time to do this is when he’s escaping below (and to the left, but left/right really doesn’t matter) you. That way, your medium whirl when you come out of the tele will help you escape in the direction with the least hammers. Always come out whirling in the direction he is originally charging. You might get luck and have them charge with your whirl, inflicting massive damage.

If he is camping, widow is again your best friend. He'll come at you desyncing... then he'll telestomp again... rinse and repeat. If he's desyncing like *abi, panic, put on fortitude if you're really scared, leap the hell out of yourself, and just predict the desync as best you can.
When you’re trying to attack him when he’s desyncing, try to cross his T with your whirl. Remember that he’s like anywhere from 1-2 screens ahead on where the automap says he is.
There is always more to learn through experience and your own personal touch, but widow + wwing when telestomped is the basic idea.

Also, when you're wwing down and left (which you should be if they're desync chasing you with hammers) realize that they'll be desyncing below and left of you to cut you off. Knowing this you can try to teleport + ww with their charge to rack up massive damage. Risky, but effective if they're not too subtle about their movements. Same goes for tele hdins that don't nl you, as you ww, they'll try and tele to where you're going, so make sure you never do LONG WHIRLWINDS and keep em short and sweet so that when they think they can teleport to where you're going to end up, you already teleport before they get there and you're whirlwinding that spot.

In essence, predict their predictions. (BvH is mostly mindgames and reading desync).
Remember it’s is possible to be too much smarter than your opponent. If you give him credit for more subtlety than he has, he can achieve tactical surprise by doing the obvious. Getting a feel for your opponent, his movement patterns, and habits are crucial to victory.


Damage Circ, Gores, Dracs, Arachs, NONFCRRING x2, Highlords, Widow
You can try using Trangs/FCR for the 65% BP

Non Block Bone:

Assume they're very defensive, or don't waste your time and just zerk/triangle whirl them down.
If they are defensive, you've got some trouble on your hands. Necros are very hard for the average barbarian, and if you slip up they'll be on you and you will lose a ton of life; but the same goes for the average vita necro.

If he creates a bone spirit train and teleports into it, mock him with widow and hope he comes at you. Leap and attack him with zerk or triangle whirls. I prefer zerk for these necs, but watch it if you're decrepified or clay golem slowed.

Try to wait it out if either is the case. If you know they are attempting to curse you with decrepify you can use it to lure them closer for an attack sequence. More comprehensive strategies will be in the block necro section if you really can't just kill him easily.

Block Bone:

This, V/T, Hammerdin, and 95 ES Block Sorc are your worst nightmares. That said, the block nec is one of the most challenging and fun duels in my opinion, assuming they know what they're doing rather than just being too offensive by overestimating their block or being too defensive and playing like *jintek. I'll focus on key points, but really it comes down to prediction, name locking, speed, and risk evaluation.

Prediction in the sense that you always want to know his next move so that you'll be there, and since he has a slow spam, he'll be playing in that area. Try to anticipate where he’ll try to set up his next spirit line, such as to the side of an existing spirit train, the tail end of it, or a small grouping of spirits he think he’s safe in

Name locking of course, keeping up with him as he flees to recast golem and bone armour applies to both getting (delayed) namelockes when you’re still whirling as well as beign able to continuously hound him with triangle whirls and berserks

Zerk-whirl or whirl-zerk, people have a lot of opinions about what is works better against block necros, but ultimately it comes down to instinct and if you feel like your zerk is getting past his block or not.

You've got to be quick, quick enough to recognize when he's bone prisoned you, or seemingly teleported recklessly into an area that already has bone prisons to tank for him. You can try to triangle whirl through his prison spam or zerk, but you've got to know when to cut your losses and get out of a bad tactical situation.

Risk evaluation again is just thinking if tanking the spirits is worth the damage you'll do to him.
Other key points include making sure you're relatively fast compared to his spirits, even when clay golemed, making sure to not play into his iBS, and to use widow when necessary.

There is always more to write about a necro, but like I said, instinct and skill make up the greater part of this duel once you have the basics down.



Damage Circ/TGods/FCR Rings/Dracs/Res Boots/Highlords/Widow

Pull out your widow first, let them know that they are not camping your ***. Life tap hitting their summon will make paranoid trappers unsummon, which is a plus for you. They will try keep traps in between you and them, so if you are a screen and a half a part with traps in between, run left of traps but still approaching sin and you can bet they'll teleport to compensate for your motion to keep traps in between you two again.

You better teleport to where you know they'll go and whirling longish there. A risky move, but it can pay off if you're feeling especially confident. Otherwise, play defensive with widow if they've really got good NL and paranoia going for them. Wait till they make a mistake, overextend themselves and whatnot, then capitalize with a triangle whirlwind. Lock them again as they teleport away and keep on them whirling short and sweet triangles so you can keep teleport chasing.

If they gain some distance and start laying traps as you chase, they'll be resetting their traps as they go. This means they’ll break off perpendicular to their normal escape pattern and to lay traps that will catch you as you chase. Try to anticipate where they’re planning to do this so that you can take advantage of likely future trap placement.

WWSin (Enigma):
BerBer Circ/Dungos/HL/Ravens/Res Boots/Dracs

Honestly just slap on dungos and mess them up, you're stronger than them hands down. Catch them at the end of their whirls.

WWSin (Bramble/Fort):

Mock them with your widowmaker! They're slow and lack teleport mobility... so widow and run and they'll have to chase. Then just trick them and tele at them with a strong whirl and get out of there. The frustration will make them town. Again, catching them when they're not whirling and exploiting your range 3 advantage is key to winning.



Seriously, none of these are really worth your time.

BvC (Dual Wield, Enigma)

A delicate dance of whirlwinds. Trick him into teleporting into a whirlwind if you can, never end a whirlwind near him, always do long whirls, try to whirl where his whirls will end, and whirl away if you're low (while still trying to whirl where his whirls will end).

BvA (Stormshield, Enigma)

uhhh... you can just desync whirl away and they should be cocky enough (not without reason) to just tele on you and whirl, hopefully that will give you the edge. Avoid whirling with them, try to cut them off if you can again, and just desync whirl away in a zigzag unpredictable fashion.

BvB (Fort + Anything)

Bow him, run away, and call him names.
Use the same strategy as the non teleporting wwsin. Again, not worth your time. Seriously.



Thanks to:
TDC- People
Tony, for being a good warmup
One- Clan
Assorted people. You know who you are.

A closing note from Jake:

I've had Vorul/Exeunt/Overrule/TDC-Rule/E-Rule/pi/Ling as my BvCs, names used many times and char made over and over again, but as I said, I don't often duel seriously anymore. But if you're nice and interested in some of the things I've suggested, or you just want a friendly professional gm duel, PM me or msg *Ling or *Ling203. Yes I've lost 1v1s out of lag (hits barbs hard), or laziness, or through being rusty, but I'd like to think that on a good day, I can trump most duelers.

The build is a little east oriented in some respects, and I'm proud to say I am definitely not a D2PK spawn in that I stick to Arreats, tried and true, in some situations. Just putting the build out there for you guys.

Why did I release this build? Shouldn’t Ling and I be keeping it secret so we continue to dominate? Honestly, getting to where we are now took a really long time. I’m pretty confident that 99% of the people who will use this guide to achieve greatness will turn out to be not assholes. Four years of dueling makes you GM on the whole. For both of us having moved on from the more intense 'for serious' dueling days, it’s nostalgic and enjoyable to rewrite the guide, even if it is just for ourselves. Seriously, who the hell wants to read who wants to read 20 essays anyways?

So. Questions? Comments? I-dunno-whats? Feedback welcome.

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