Diablo 2 Guide: Magic Find Immortal King Barbarian

DISCLAIMER: I should probably start by saying this is really not a cheap build, and if you don’t already have another MF character, you should probably NOT start with this build. But, if you already have another average-to-decent MFer who found some items needed for the build, then you would be wise to create an IK MF Barbarian.

Version History

2.0 – Added and fixed a lot of info. Added a section about Baal runs, and generally wrote the stuff that was missing in the first version.
3.0 – upon request, leveling strategy is here. Also added is the Pit running strategy as well as a fix to the MF Table section.

Abbreviations

BBN – Barbarian
Str, Dex, Vit, Ene – The four stats, Strength, Dexterity, Vitality and Energy
HP – Hit Points, Life
BO – Battle Orders
BC – Battle Command
WW – Whirlwind
MM – Mace Mastery
MF – Magic Find
GF – Gold Find
1h – 1 handed
2h – 2 handed
lvl – level, Clvl, Mlvl, Ilvl, Slvl – Character, Monster, Item, Skill
p – players, like in p1 or p8
AR – Attack Rating
FHR – Faster Hit Recovery
PDR – Physical Damage Reduction
CB – Crushing Blow
IAS – Increased Attack Speed
PI – Physical Immune
FE, LE, CE – Fire/Lightning/Cold Enchanted bosses
IK – Immortal King, barbarian set
A – act, so A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5
N, NM, H – difficulties, Normal, Nightmare and Hell
WSK – Worldstone Keep
OK – Oblivion Knight
IM – Iron Maiden

Introduction

OK, let’s start with some basic stuff then. Why a Barbarian you ask? Well, as you know, BBN is probably the most durable class in the whole game. He gets loads and loads of HP, has no problem maxing out resists with the help of Natural Resistance and can achieve massive defense. Along with that, he is the only class which can dual wield ALL 1h weapons. So you could keep two weapons with MF on switch, using your normal weapon to weaken the monster, so you can kill it easily with your two MF weapons. More on that later.

From my own experience, this build is VERY good at running Hell Mephisto, and the A5 super uniques (Pindleskin, Eldtritch and Thresh Socket). These runs combined can drop more or less every item in the game. He is also pretty good at running Baal, the most profitable run in the game. From the other popular runs, there is the Pit and other high level areas. As a Pit runner, he performs decently and in good time so you can pretty much use this character as an all-around runner.

s the name implies, this BBN build is going to use the full Immortal King’s set. The reason why this build is very expensive is solely because of the one item in that set, and that is the Immortal King’s Soul Cage set Sacred Armor. The other pieces aren’t hard to get, and you can usually pick several items in the giveaways here at the SPF. The trick is getting that IK armor.

OK, here is what you can roughly expect from this character at about level 80+, when the build is considered done.

4.5k – 5k max WW damage
6-8k attack rating
10k-15k defense
10% dual leech
3.5k+ life
75% resist all
300-400% MF

So looking at those stats, one could think that this character is literally indestructible, even in MF gear. And one would be correct, my BBN hasn’t died a single time on an MF run, even with no blocking.

Lets just take a short look at the MF % table, so we can find the optimal MF %. Note that the table starts of at 200% MF, that is because 100% is considered a base MF % value without any +% Mf items on.

MF table

%

MFMagicalRareSetUnique
200200185183171
300300250242211
400400300287236
500500340320253
600600372350266
700700400372276
800800423392284
900900443407290
10001000460421295

MF percentages calculated with the help of ATMA 5.04d Drop Calculator.

From this table you can see that having a really high MF % doesn’t really make much a difference. So it is much better to have lower MF while being able to do the run very fast. About 400-500% MF is probably the best number, as at about that time diminishing returns really kick in.

Thanks to Thrugg for pointing my mistake in the MF table.

OK, lets now start with the heart of this build.

Stats

First lets talk a little about statistics. As already stated, BBN is probably the most durable class in D2. One of the main reasons of that is the BBN’s Vitality. BBNs get big 4 HP points per 1 point of Vitality. This alone makes this stat very desirable, even more so to a MF BBN, so it is going to be our primary statistic. Second in importance is Strength of course. We need Str so we can equip all those IK set items, all of which are rather heavy in their Str requirement. The other two stats, Dex and Ene, are totally irrelevant for this build. We don’t need Dex since big 2h mauls don’t have a Dex requirement. We don’t need Ene because… well, we get only 1 mana per 1 point of Ene, and 4 HP per 1 point of Vit, so you do the math. Mana can be easily added with few charms or an item.

OK, with that said, we will probably want:

Strength – 187 – requirement for the IK armor is 232 Str. IK gloves and belt combined give +45 Str, which equals to 232. I STRONGLY suggest having a base of 187, so you don’t have to carry Str charms, or sacrifice jewelry for Str.

Dexterity – 20 – never add a single point to Dex. Mauls have no Dex requirement, and Dex is not a very good option for boosting your AR, charms and items can do it much much better.

Vitality – everything else – you should have 300+ Vit, which alone will grant you 1.2k life. That coupled with a few +life items and BO…

Energy – 10 – again, leave at base, points here are generally wasted since you can get much more mana from items.

Skills

Now lets talk about the skills your MF IK BBN will be using. The choice here is your main attack skill. Other skills will probably be the same. I recommend WW as a main skill, as it is best for A5 Super unique runs, and probably for Baal runs also. For Mephisto, Concentrate is better, but I’ll don’t have the patience to level with a 1 hit per click skill. WW is far the best leveling skill, and fastest one to get you to high levels (85+) when you’ll be ready for your item runs.

OK, so you should have something like this by high levels:

20 Mace Mastery – some people prefer not to put points into masteries any longer, but to this build it is a must. The passive AR bonus is very important since we are going with base Dex and any +% AR is very welcome indeed. Plus it gives us good +% damage and a nice critical strike chance.

20 Battle Orders – Battle Orders are the backbone of every BBN out there, and this one is no different. Honestly, this skill is simple too good, and really a bless to a BBN who already has lots of life. With this skill you can easily have around 4k HP.

20 Shout – defense has changed much in 1.10 and is now a very good ally indeed. 20 in Shout boots your defense to really good levels (10-12k), and also extends duration of the other two very important war cries. Very well spent points.

20 Whirlwind – I recommend WW as a main skill, as it is by far the fastest killer, and best for all runs except Mephisto. Other choices here would be Concentrate (best for Mephisto) and Berserk. The thing is, as we are already maxing both BO and Shout which add damage to Concentrate and Berserk (respectively) through synergy, we don’t really need 20 points in these skills. They are very good with just 1 point, and WW is really a bless when you’re leveling.

1 Berserk – I don’t recommend Berserk as a main skill mainly because we do a good focus on defense, and Berserk reduces defense to 0. It is quite harder to Berserk Mephisto rather than Concentrate him, as he gets a LOT more hits on you and you can’t leech back. So use Berserk when leveling to kill PIs, or on the Super Unique bosses if they spawn PI of course. Berserk receives a nice damage boost from Shout, and you will probably deal a lot of damage with it.

1 Concentrate – I recommend WW as a main skill for the reasons stated above. But Concentrate is an excellent skill and we can use to good effect as we will be getting it as a prerequisite anyway. It receives a big damage boost from BO, adds a decent amount of AR and increases defense, making it a number 1 choice for killing Mephisto.

1 Battle Command – 1 VERY well spend point. Cast this before the other war cries. Later, with both BO and Shout maxed, you will gave a great duration on this one too, so its like a permanent +1 skills.

1 Increased Stamina & Speed – a well spent points which will, coupled with all the +skills from IK, shorten the time you need to reach your target farm monster.

1 Natural Resistance – again, very well spend, and with +skills from IK will give all the resistance you need.

1 Battle Cry – My attention was recently shifted into this skills direction. A very decent skill, and if I might add very useful one for this build too. As we don’t put any points in Dex, most IK barbs have problems with hitting things. This war cry could potential solve most if not all of your AR problems coupled with a few +AR charms.

Thanks to DougTheHead2 for pointing that out.

1 Find Item (Optional) – This point is completely optional, since you can use Heart Carver on the switch to use it. But having real points makes it much easier to use, and you can carry two Ali Babas on the switch for more MF once when you use Find Item. This skill is great, and one of the main reasons I think BBNs are best Mfers. You can use it on almost all normal bosses (not on act bosses thought, that would be plain unfair), and it gives you a chance of double drop. In the long run, you will probably find better stuff from Find Item, rather than from a normal drop. I’ll quote Flux from his 1.09 MF BBN guide on this one:

“If you are going to do Pindleskin runs, you want a good level of Find Item. 40% more in that skill is like doing 40% more runs in the same amount of time.” – Flux

Same applies to both Eldritch and Thresh Socket.

After you reach these goals, good places to spend your remaining points is either Concentrate (for more damage and AR), Iron Skin (for a flat out defense increase) or Find Item, which is very useful, but there is an alternative to putting points here (more on this in the Equipment section).

I won’t give a detailed skill placement guide, but you should put 1 point in all the prerequisites until level 24 (only 1 point into Shout) and get Mace Mastery to about 10. At 24-30 I put a point in BO every level. Then at 30, I like to get WW to like 5-6 to get it out of negatives, and then finish BO for duration. Next I finish Mace Mastery (explained below), then WW and finally Shout.

Why first max Mace Mastery, and not WW?

MM and WW have directly opposite increases. MM gives +5% damage and +8% AR per level, where WW gives +8% damage and +5% AR. Since we put no points into Dex, we need as much AR we can get. Disadvantage of WW is that it increases in mana cost what could pose a problem at lower levels, where MM also adds a Critical Strike %. So max MM before WW.

Equipment

Next up, equipment part. First, lets review each of our set pieces, and see where we can get MF.

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

This is a very good helm, with main bonuses being the MF, +2 warcries and 2 sockets. You will want one with good seed, 31-32% at least. Coupled with 2 Perfect Topazes that will give you around 80%, what’s very good on a helm. The maximum MF with a perfect seed would be 88%.

Immortal King’s Soul Cage
Sacred Armor
Defense: 1001 (Base Defense: 487-600)
Defense: 1301 (Base Defense: 487-600) – with complete set on
Required Level: 76
Required Strength: 232
Durability: 60
+400 Defense
5% Chance To Cast Level 5 Enchant When Struck
Poison Resist +50%
+2 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)
+25% Faster Hit Recovery (2 Items)
Cold Resist +40% (3 Items)
Fire Resist +40% (4 Items)
Lightning Resist +40% (5 Items)
+50% Enhanced Defense (Complete Set)

No wonder this item is so hard to get, look at the MASSIVE bonuses it provides. Big defense, FHR, and +40% resist all with additional +10% poison resist. The % chance to cast enchant is very good, as enchant gives you +% AR, and it triggers rather often, especially when running through a pack of Dolls in durance. Socket it with Perfect Topaz for +24% MF.

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

Again, a fantastic item. Come to think of it, the whole IK set is fantastic . So we have +strength, big fire and lightning resistance, FHR, +2 Masteries and 20% PDR! The +25 strength part is actually worth 200+ life when you count in BO, since you put those 25 points into Vit. All in all, an excellent item.

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

Man, now this is something again eh? +str and +dex are very good and much appreciated, 10% dual leech is probably all you will need, 25% IAS helps when using Concentrate/Berserk (but not WW…), and Freezes Target is awesome, shattering corpses so they can’t be revived. Again, the +20 Str is like the gloves had a +160 life when you count in BO.

Immortal King’s Pillar
[/War Boots
Defense: 118-128 (varies) (Base Defense: 43-53)
Defense: 278-288 (varies) (Base Defense: 43-53)
Required Level: 31
Required Strength: 125
Durability: 24
Assassin Kick Damage: 39-80
+75 Defense
40% Faster Run/Walk
+110 To Attack Rating
+44 To Life
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (2 items)
+2 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only) (3 Items)
+160 Defense (4 Items)
Half Freeze Duration (5 Items)

Decent boots, with fastest run/walk you can find, good +AR and +life bonuses, +2 combat skills is very nice and on top of that 25% MF!

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

Now this is one BADASS weapon. It’s damage might look kinda low, but don’t let it deceive you. The added damage to demons and undead is really great when you count in that about 80% or so monsters in the game are of those two types. Also, the total elemental damage from partial bonuses is 799 – 1803, what can easily kill PIs by itself on players 1. But it ain’t over. The 35-40% CB is incredible, and triggers quite often. And the most important thing is that this Maul can hit the last WW break point with it’s 2 sockets. You need to add a total of 30% IAS to get there, what is easily accomplished by two jewels of Fervor, which can have other nice stats too.

Thanks to Serdash and Pucho for pointing out that +% damage to demons and undead is calculated differently from normal +% ed.

“The damage to undead/demons is applied like skill damage, after str/min-max damage is calculated.” – Pucho

With the full set on we get massive bonuses:

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

The big AR bonus is really great, as is the life and resistance. +skills really helps your warcries. So when we put on the complete set we get something like:

+5 to warcries and masteries tree
+7 to combat skills tree
10% life AND mana leech
118% Fire Resist
90% Cold Resist
121% Lightning Resist
100% Poison Resist
20% PDR
+45 Strength
+20 Dexterity
+194 life (or at the very least 388 with BO)
Around 2.2k base defense

Very nice indeed. This set has everything a BBN needs, and more. So jewelry will be used to compliment the whole set, as almost all the stats are already covered. Let’s take a little look at resistances

Hell resistances start at -100%. The set alone would give us the following resistances in Hell

18% Fire
-10 Cold
21% Lightning
0% Poison

Now we count in the Anya quest in all three difficulties for an added +30% to all

48% Fire
20% Cold
51% Lightning
30% Poison

Finally, as a good BBN will always have at least 1 point in Natural Resistances (and 1 point is all that we will need in this build), we automatically have a level 6 Natural Resistance which adds +44% resist all.

92% Fire (capped at 75%)
64% Cold
95% Lightning (capped at 75%)
74% Poison
If we add another +1 skills (for example a rare amulet or a Bul Kathos Ring) we get +47% from Natural Resists, what maxes out poison too. Only left is cold, which can be maxed out with 1 small charm.

OK, now that we are done with the set, we still have open jewelry spots, and of course charms. First, the rings. Raven Frost is a bless for this build, adding a ton of AR along with other helpful mods, especially the Cannot Be Frozen mod. I strongly recommend one. For the other ring, you can use a Nagelring for MF, and a Bul Kathos’s Wedding Band ring is very good also. The best one would probably be a rare ring with life leech, +AR and MF. For the amulet, there aren’t really any good unique ones. Metalgrid is nice for the big AR bonus, but you’ll probably be better with a rare one. Stats to look for are MF, +AR, +Dex, +life, +skills.

Next up, switch weapons. The strategy is to use our main weapon, the IK Maul to sliver the monster (to reduce him to just that list sliver of health), switch to low-damage high-MF weapon and kill him. Really, there aren’t many weapons that add MF, and the best one is [color=#b3b300]Blade of Ali Baba unique Tulwar (exceptional Falchion). This sword gives 1% MF per character level, big GF % (also per character level), and comes with two sockets. Two Ali Babas on the switch can really add massive MF, and you can socket them with Ist runes for +30% MF. But on the more reality note, you could add 4 MF jewels which could give about 30% MF total. The other choice for the switch is Gull, unique Dagger. Gull adds a flat +100% MF bonus, but the disadvantage is that it is kinda hard to kill anything with it, especially an act boss like Mephisto. If you are planning to run A5 Super uniques like Pindleskin and Thresh Socket, then you would certainly want a good level of Find Item, for potential second drop. A great way to add to Find Item is with Heart Carver unique Rondel. It adds +4 Find Item, and you also get your +skill items on top of that too (even if you don’t have a real point there). So at the very minimum you’ll have a level 6 Find Item (+4 Heart Carver, +2 IK Helm). You would put the Heart Carver on your switch instead of 1 Ali Baba.

As for charms, use them to cover any weaknesses your BBN might have. I doubt you will need any resistance charms, but you will need a lot of +AR ones. I use about 3 Grands with over +100 AR. Act bosses have rather high defense so be sure you have a good hit %. You can also add good MF with charms, and Gheed’s is a nice thing to have too.

Mercenary

Just a short section here. Having a mercenary really speeds up your leveling, and you can use him to a good effect at MF runs also. I strongly suggest an A2 Might mercenary (surprise? ), as he will boost your killing potential by a good amount. Just don’t forget to level him… Good equipment for your mercenary is Shaftstop or Duriel’s Shell for armor, Rockstopper/Tal’s Mask/Vamp’s Gaze for helm and Spire of Honor/Bonehew/Reaper’s Toll. If you want him to help you with MFing you can load him up with MF too. In that case I would recommend a Skullder’s Ire/Tal’s Armor with Perfect Topaz, and a Stealskull also with Perfect Topaz. I use my mercenary in both Meph and A5 Super unique runs, and he hasn’t died a single time yet. Reaper’s is really a great weapon, and speeds up your killing pretty good with Decrepify.

Strategies

I’ve been requested a leveling strategy, so I decided to add it as well. I understand many people might not know the best way to get their BBN to high levels for him to be able to do those hard MF runs with success, so I’m here to show you how to get there. I’m not really fond of detailed leveling guides, but I will make a little exception here, and go a little deeper than usual. Enjoy.

First of all, BBN is the most durable class, and by far the easiest one to play in the early stages of the game. That fact coupled with ability to twink him with some decent starter equipment, and you can play on p8 from the very beginning, leveling very fast without much problems.

I’ll divide the leveling part into several categories, so it is easier to read and use.

Character level 1-23

The early stages of your BBN’s life will go very easy even on p8 if you have some good (and easy to obtain) twinking equipment. I recommend you get this stuff, visit our giveaway thread, you’ll easily get all/most of it there for free.

What we will be doing at this stage is mostly fill in the prerequisites, and add the necessary Str to equip your twinking stuff. I strongly recommend a full Sigon’s Set, it has fantastic bonuses for a starting character like 30% IAS, 10% life leech, ton of +AR, good resists, hell even the +fire damage is useful. This set has a character level requirement of 6, but is a little heavy, so you probably won’t be able to equip it right away, unless you have some +Str charms. The heaviest item in the set is the shield, with Str requirement of 75. Gloves require 60 and they have a nice +10 Str mod which helps a lot in equipping the whole set as soon as possible. So you will need 65 Str to equip everything, and I suggest you add 5 Str every level until then. That will happen on level 8, and after that put everything into Vit. I suggest buying a scepter from Akara, as they have very good damage for starting characters, and since you’ll be adding to Mace Mastery anyway, why not get the bonus.

Once you hit level 15, you can add some more excellent twinking equipment. Manald Heal will help you with mana leech so you can start using Bash on regular basis. Eye of Etlich will add some more life leech, along with cold damage and another +1 skills. Finally, you can add Bloodrise unique Morning Star, which has much higher damage than anything I’ve encountered, has no Dex requirement and adds a lot of AR.

If you are going on p8 all the way, you’ll be close to 20 by the time you leave A1. You can do it earlier too, of course. You should hit Clvl 24 about half way into A2 on p8.
As for the skills, you will want to fill the prerequisites in Warcries and Combat Skills trees, and work on your Mace Mastery. By level 23 you should have about the following:

Warcries
1 Howl – Clvl 1, prerequisite
1 Shout – Clvl 6, we will max this out later on, but just 1 point for now
0-1 Find Potion – Clvl 1, prerequisite (Optional, but highly recommended for the excellent Find Item)
0-3 Find Item – Clvl 12, again it is optional, but I strongly recommend it, it is one of the biggest BBN’s advantages in MF over the other classes

Concerning Find Potion and Find Item, I suggest you don’t add points to these skills right now. You will need a few points saved up for level 24 and up, as you will start adding to BO regularly then. You can easily add points here at 80s or so, when you’re done with everything else, and strong enough to do the MF runs.

Combat Skills
1 Bash – Clvl 1, prerequisite
1 Leap – Clvl 6, prerequisite
1 Stun – Clvl 12, prerequisite
1 Leap Attack – Clvl 18, very useful for jumping over stuff and vital for Mephisto runs
1 Concentrate – Clvl 18, good change from Bash on your left click, and excellent for big boss runs

Masteries
10 Mace Mastery – Clvl 1, we will max it later, 10 should be enough for now.
1 Increased Stamina – Clvl 12, prerequisite
1 Iron Skin – Clvl 18, prerequisite

Character level 24-29

OK, things change a little bit now, as we are able to use some better stuff, and get some very useful skills also. At level 24 we can use Bonesnap unique Maul, this weapon will really increase your damage, even though it is slower to swing. I suggest you start adding some Str at this stage, Vit should already be in a good place, and you will need 110 base Str by Clvl 30 to be able to equip IK gloves. I used Bonesnap just for 5 levels, as at 29 you can use Steeldriver unique Great Maul. This weapon is really great, being very fast with big damage. It requires only 50 Str, so you don’t have to worry about that, even though you should have 110 by Clvl 30 for the IK gloves. And don’t worry about dropping Sigon’s shield, you don’t need the full set bonuses anyway.

If you are playing on p8, you will probably leave A2 in the high 20s, I think I entered A3 at level 28.

Things change a little in skills as we now get Battle Orders, probably our most important skill. Good thing is that there is only one other Clvl 24 skill we are interested in, Increased Speed, and it requires only 1 point. Everything else goes to BO, and the extra points will come in handy at Clvl 30.

Warcries
5+ Battle Orders – Clvl 24, one of our most important skills, you will want to add a point to BO every level after 24.

Combat Skills

Masteries
1 Increased Speed – Clvl 24, a very useful skill for MF runs, enabling you to reach your destination faster. A well spent point, as this will be further boosted by +skills from IK set.

Character level 30-75

Finally we get WW, and can start killing stuff faster. Hopefully you will have 110 Str by now and you can equip the IK gloves along with belt for big Str bonus and 25% IAS. At 31 put on IK boots also. You can keep the Sigon’s Armor and Helm a bit longer if you want to, for the big +AR bonus from the Helm. I suggest working again on Vit for a little while, until about level 40. At that point you have a choice. If you wish to use the Bloodtree Stump unique War Club, you are fine with your current Str, and can keep on adding Vit. If you want to use Gavel of Pain unique Martel de Fer, you’ll need to add a bit Str, probably 15 what will put you to at least 170 with items. Both weapons are good, with War Club having good defensive mods like +all resists, and Gavel having offensive mods like % chance to cast Amplify Damage. You also get to use better stuff as you progress in levels. Duriel’s Shell is an excellent armor to use at level 41. As for the Helm, you can use Stealskull from level 35 up to 47, when you can equip the IK helm. At Clvl 45 you can equip a Raven Frost ring, which is vital for this build as it adds a ton of much needed AR.I would work on Vit all the way to about 60 (with the exception noted above about the Gavel of Pain). After that you should focus on Str and get it to that 187 cap (that is base 187, not with items). Once you reach that number, it’s all Vit from then on.

As for the skills, there are several you want a point in on Clvl 30. Battle Command, Berserk, Natural Resists and of course Whirlwind. If you have any leftover points after getting all of these put it into BO. After that I like to get WW to about 5-6, to get it out of negatives. After that the best thing is to max out BO, then follow up with Mace Mastery, WW and Shout, in that order.

I’m usually in about middle part of A3 when I hit level 30, and get to A4 at about 33 (this is considering you play on p8 all the time). I’m usually about 37 once I take down Diablo, and after that A5 is a real experience fest. I strongly recommend you stay in A5 N until level 50, it is very easy and very fast to level. At p8 you get a whole level on 1 Baal run from his minions only! If you’re using Bloodtree Stump, they should be no problem to handle, thanks to the CB. At 50 I venture to NM, and usually play it p8 all the way, too. Once I get to A5 I’m about level 70, and again you repeat the Baal runs until 75-77.

Warcries
1 Battle Command – Clvl 30, 1 point here is useful forever, always cast this before other warcries, and with high levels of both BO and Shout you will have a long duration on this one, too.

Combat Skills
5-6 Whirlwind – Clvl 30, we will of course max out WW, but not right away. Use it as your main attack, as leveling with WW is much faster than with skills like Berserk and Concentrate.
1 Berserk – Clvl 30, again only 1 point is useful forever. You’ll use it for physical immunes and it can be useful on MF runs also

Masteries
1 Natural Resistance – Clvl 30, a well spent point, this skill will be further boosted by your +skill items, and it helps a lot in getting to the 75% resistance cap in Hell.

Character level 76+

At level 76 you can finally put on your full IK set and become practically invincible. I suggest you level to 76 in NM doing Baal runs on p8 so you can enter Hell in your IK set. Hell should be no problem, though I don’t play it p8. Once I get to A5 in Hell, I’m usually about 83 or so. At that point you will be strong enough to do both Mephisto and A5 Super Uniques. If you do the A5 Super Uniques on p8, what is very easy, you will level quite fast while having a chance to score some good items. Gaining a few levels helps a lot to your MF runs, as you gain more life, a better chance to hit (due to player to monster level comparison) and more MF % from your dual Ali Babas.

At these high levels you will have maxed out your main skills, and you can work on either your Find Item, or add points to something like Concentrate or Iron Skin.

Well, that should be about it for the leveling strategy now lets get down to MF ones.

Mephisto

Mephisto is a very profitable run, and is probably your best bet at finding most of the exceptional uniques, and a good deal of elite ones also. The advantages of Mephisto runs is that you can reach him fairly easy, and he is very easy to take down once you do. Some of the popular high-end uniques and sets Mephisto can drop include: Windhammer, Baranar’s Star, Reaper’s Toll, Herlequin Crest, Archanid Mesh, Stormshield, Heaven’s Light, Azurewrath, Eaglehorn, Arkaine’s Valor, Stormlash (a VERY slim chance on that one), IK Maul, Laying of Hands and Mavina’s Caster.

Durance of Hate Level 2 has been increased a LOT in the 1.10 patch, and it can be rather hard to find the stairs down sometimes. Anyway, you’ll want a good map, so respawn until you find a decent one. It doesn’t have to be right beside the waypoint as you can run very fast. Best way to search for the stairs down is to go clockwise from the way point, keeping your left shoulder (I mean the BBN’s) to the outer wall. As soon as you pop to durance 2 cast BC, BO and Shout. When you get to Durance Level 3, just run up to the middle part and Leap Attack over the little blood pool. If you have a mercenary you can get him over in two ways. First, you can run all the way up to the northern wall behind Meph, what should make him teleport to you. The bad thing is that there will probably be some Blood Lords there so you’ll have to kill them or get meteor bombed during the fight.

The other choice, and a better one IMHO, is to TP to town and go back down again. Your mercenary will be there beside you when you teleport down and you’ll not stir up any beasties around Meph. As for the Meph himself, DON’T WW HIM! He’s unleechable in 1.10 and you’ll just waste your blue. Concentrate is best here, as it boosts your defense even further and adds good AR and damage. You’ll notice that CB is taking quite a good chunks of old Meph, and you’ll sliver him in no time. After that, switch to dual Ali Baba and again concentrate until he falls. After the kill I like to run around and open all the chests, as they often drop jewels and charms.

A5 Super Uniques

In this I mean Eldtritch the Rectifier, Thresh Socket and Pindleskin, all in one run. You’ll want to switch 1 Ali Baba for Heart Carver probably, so you can Find Item to good effect. OK, I start this run by popping over to Frigid Highlands waypoint, cast BC, BO and Shout and proceed north to Eldritch. He is easy to spot as he is kinda blue, and minions are green. So I just WW around as they all focus on the mercenary, and try to avoid Eldritch. After most of the minions are dead, stop and concentrate Eldritch, then switch and concentrate again for the kill. Finish any remaining beasties and Find Item on all of them. I find the /nopickup command very useful here, so the items on the ground don’t get in the way when you Find Item. Next, run back to waypoint and pop to Arreat Plateau. This map most often spawns a way point on the last clearing, behind all the fortifications and before the ice cave entrance where Thresh is. So you’ll want a map like that, and it isn’t hard to get it. Thresh is easy.  Run over to him, WW if he’s not PI, berserk if he is. Sliver, switch, kill, Find Item. Next you can either waypoint back to town or simply teleport. Sell stuff, and go through red portal, Run up to Pindle and simply WW until they drop.

Note that both Eldtritch and his minions, and Thresh are cold immune so you can always Find Item on them. But Pindle’s minions are not, and you’ll always shatter them. Good thing is that you will no shatter Pindle, so you CAN get a double drop. As Pindle is FE, you might be thinking you can’t stand the blast. Well, my BBN with about 3.8k life and 75 fire resist can kill him at p8 and survive easily so don’t worry. Oh, it is a good idea to do this whole run at p8, as it will net you good experience.

The advantage of A5 Super Uniques over Mephisto is that they can drop some stuff Meph can’t. Some of these include:

Eldritch: Schaefer’s Hammer, Ravenlore, Steel Carapace, Messerschmidt’s Reaver, Nightwing’s Veil, Tal Rasha’s Armor, Aldur’s Armor
Thresh Socket: everything Eldtritch can, in addition of stuff such as Giant Skull, Windforce, Griffon’s Eye, Templar’s Might, Death’s Web, Bul Kathos’ swords, Natalya’s Claw, IK Armor (probably the best place to get it, I got mine from Thresh), Mavina’s Diadem, All of Griswold’s high end items
Pindleskin: everything Thresh and Eldritch can, in addition of stuff such as Tomb Reaver, The Grandfather, Halaberd’s Reign, Crown of Ages and The Cranium Basher

Baal

Now, Baal is a much more complicated run than both Mephisto and A5 Super Uniques. It takes quite the longer time to do one run, and it can be quite frustrating to get some crap from him after spending 5-10 minutes on one run. But of course, it can be very rewarding because Baal can drop ALL the items in the game.

I’ve been doing Baal runes lately to test them out, and I’ve come to a conclusion that this build can more than handle this run. You just have to be a bit more careful than when doing the other runs and you’ll be fine. I recommend doing Baal in the late 80s, like 85+ levels would be good, as you will then have sufficient character level to monster level ratio used in the AR formula for hitting. You’ll also have much higher HP, and that is always useful. First a few things to mention:

1. Don’t forget to recast your warcries. As one Baal run takes some time to complete (5-10 minutes), you’ll have to refresh your warcries at least once.
2. Once in Throne of Destruction, never start WWing until you know which types of monsters have spawned. You never know if there will be Oblivion Kinghts.
3. Having a mercenary helps a lot. Might really boosts your killing potential and speeds up the whole run. If he is equipped with a Reaper’s Toll, it makes this run pretty much a walk in a park, as both you and mercenary leech a ton back from Decrepified monsters.
4. Find Item is kinda hard to use on a Baal run. You can use it on all 5 minion bosses (I think), but you will shatter all or most of the minions. The problem is that you have to Find Item before killing all of them, before Baal does that Corpse Explosion thingie. The other option is to drag them further down from the throne and kill them there, so they will be out of his range. Also note that minions drop like champions, so you will mostly find gold, and once in a while a blue or yellow might pop out. I quit using Find Item on them after a few runs, because I haven’t placed a single point in Find Item, and switching to Heart Carver and then back to other weapon is annoying.

OK, now for the run itself. I do it on players 1, because it is much faster, but if you want to make this an experience run as well as an item one, you can do it on players 8, it is no problem (CB on IK Maul helps a lot there).

Pop to WSK2 waypoint, cast your Warcries and start running. There is no pattern to WSK levels as far as I know, so just pick a direction and hope. You should ignore all the monsters on the WSK levels, and Glooms aren’t much of a problem either, just run past them. Watch out for Ghost packs in WSK3, as sometimes they spawn Extra Fast, and can quickly drain you of all mana, possibly making it impossible to Leap Attack or WW out. Once you get to the Throne of Destruction, the best thing to do is to just run through the middle and go to the room with Baal and his minions. I tend to ignore all the monsters on the way, as most of the beasts stop following you shortly. A few that do follow, you can easily handle once in the throne room. OK, so now the biggest problem is knowing whether Oblivion Knights spawned or not. IM is your biggest enemy and will most likely kill you in one hit. So before you start WWing anything, make sure there are no OKs around. If you get a map with OKs, there will probably be 1 or 2 in the throne room. Berserk is your greatest ally against them, as it converts all of your damage to magical, making you immune to IM. Once in the throne room, first Berserk any OKs, and then follow up with a WW to clean up rest of the monsters. Berserk is also very effective against Soul Burners, and you can probably kill them in one shot with Berserk on p1.

Once you’re done cleaning up any beasties in the throne room, you still have to face 5 waves of minions before Baal himself. The first pack is a Warped One Shaman with several Warped Ones (Fallen type monsters). They are very easy, so just WW them away. Second group, pack of Greater Mummies with Burning Skeleton Mages are also rather easy. The only thing to watch out for is the poison, especially if he spawns with conviction. Poison can easily kill your mercenary if you are not careful. After WWing them I like to pop back to town and get a heal from Malah. Next, the third pack are Council Members. They can be a little problem if Bartuc spawns with Conviction, as hydras will deal good damage then. Again, not a real trouble for you, but watch out for your mercenary.

Another problem can be if Bartuc spawns FE. As he is always LE, the infamous FE bug will trigger sometimes, dealing massive damage. I had this happen twice, where I was reduced to really low life, and I just gulped one big purple and continued. Don’t be afraid of FE monsters, you can take them on. Just watch out, and be prepared on that purple. Fourth group is a pack of Venom Lords. They are very easy and should pose no problems for your WW. Finally, we come to the fifth pack, Minions of Destruction lead by Lister the Tormentor. Again, they shouldn’t pose much problems, even when Lister spawns with Mana Burn. If that happens, do longer WWs and fill up with Concentration if they burn you. They will most likely focus on your mercenary, so you shouldn’t have much problems. Again, Decrepify from Reaper’s really shines here, and will make this fight even easier. After this fight, you finally get to face Baal himself.

NOTE: I just had a funny experience in one of my Baal runs. The Throne of Destruction map spawned with quite a few OKs coupled with other beasties, and there was a lot of them in the throne room as well. So I went on with my business, Berserking the OKs away first, and then dealing with the rest of the crew. I was done soon, and killed the first minions also. When the second pack spawned I started my usual WW against them, only to hear that frightening IM sound and see my life go down to 0 in half a second. So I die and wonder: “Didn’t I get all the bastards…?” I go back down and see 3 OKs in the lower-left part of the throne room, alone. I whack them with Berserk, and suddenly one of them gets raised! I soon started laughing as I realized that Greater Mummies from the second pack of minions raised them, as OKs are classified as Undead. Their bodies were obviously too far from Baal for him to do the little Corpse Explosion thingie on them. So be careful about leaving OK bodies as well.

Baal isn’t hard at all, but he can be a pain to kill with your weapon switch. In the first three Baal runs I did, I had dual Ali Babas on the switch. Killing him with them is a MAJOR pain, and I strongly advise against it. Switch out one Ali Baba for some good damage mace class weapon, that works much better. The best choice here would be Baranar’s Star, as it has excellent damage, it’s very fast and most important of all, it adds a massive AR bonus. AR should be your biggest problem against Baal, as he can be rather hard to hit.

So, once you pass through the portal, run around that pit in the middle and you’ll find Baal on the little bridge. Start WWing him, and after you run out of mana (and you will, trust me) you can either drink blue and repeat, or Concentrate him. He also does that drill attack which burns mana quite often, so you will find yourself doing lots of Concentrate against him. He has a good amount of HP, so you can sliver him to just that last little thin line of HP, switch and repeat with concentrate. If you have Baranar’s it should be over in a sec, just remember to put it into the left weapon slot in inventory. Baal can be a little annoying, teleporting around, and creating the clone. I recommend you simply ignore the clone, and click lock on original Baal. Oh, and those tentacles he puts out are great to leech mana back.

Little note on Baal runs in HC from DX-Crawler:

“I play a HC IK barb and I don’t find any problem doing Baalruns. You only need to be more careful when you are in WSK3 and the last level where OK:s can be spawned.

I usually kill everything that comes in my way in WSK2 and then I run to the stairs in WSK3 unless I find a tempting boss to kill.
When I get to the next level I just jump past everything and clear out the Throne Room, zerk if needed.
When it’s cleared and Baal starts to laugh I change to players3. I don’t dare go any higher, no 2:nd chance when playing HC.

I can recommend using a defiance mercenary If there are any more HC players out here who is thinking of a build like this, your defense will be huge and your mercenary don’t die so easy either.” – DX-Crawler

Well that should be about it about Baal, I think I have given quite a detailed description of the run

The Pit

I was kinda expecting this Barb to fail miserably in the Pits, thinking he would have a lot of trouble doing the p8 unleechable skeletons, but to my big surprise I was quite wrong. I am happy to say that IK Barb can successfully do Pit runs on p8, grabbing big experience from monsters there as well as having a good shot at getting high level sets and uniques. If you are planning to do Pit runs, I strongly recommend a good level of Find Item, about 6-8 is nice so you get your % to about 40+. That way you can often get good seconds from monsters there and also have a good chance of double drop from any bosses. Find Item really shines in the Pits, and it is really great if you are looking for that elite weapon/armor for socketing.

OK, now for the strategy on the run itself. First thing you have to decide is whether to go on p8 or not. Going on lower setting results in a much faster run, and thus more runs in less time. But, doing it on p8 greatly increases the drops from monsters, all of which can drop high level items. You also get a lot more experience (I think I got about 6 mil exp from one run at level 89) which again helps both your MF (through Ali Babas, but that is for other runs) and your killing speed (as your level is very important in the % chance to hit formulae). OK, so after you decided on the players setting time for some *** kicking in da Pits. As the entrance is located in Tamoe Highland, an area which doesn’t have a waypoint, we can go to either Black Marsh or the Outer Cloister. The Cloister is usually better, but don’t forget to check out the Black Marsh waypoint, as it sometimes spawns close to the entrance to Tamoe. So pop to waypoint, BC, BO and Shout and head out of the monastery. After that follow the road and you’ll be there eventually (it often splits to the south and somewhere else. The way south leads to Black Marsh so choose the other path). Inside the Pits we have weak Dark Ones and melee Rogue women, skeletons and ranged Rogue women. Skeletons are a pain since they are unleechable, but they often mix in with leechable thingies so you can more often than not WW normally. If they spawn alone, then get ready for some Concentrating. The Rogue women with bows can be a problem only in boss packs if they spawn something really realy nasty, like Fanaticism, Extra Strong, Cursed. Other than that, just WW away. Also the skellies and the ranged women are CI, so you can always Find Item them, but other monsters will shatter because of the freezing effect of IK gloves. Don’t forget to Find Item on everything you can.

That’s about it on the Pits, it’s not really a complicated run. Just be careful before running into the boss pack and you’ll be ok.

Credits

I would like to thank my SPF friends who helped my fine-tune this guide as it is now. Thank you all for posting your opinions and directing me to some mistakes I made. essojay, Kronos, nikstone, frosty, Serdash, DX-Crawler, Pucho, necrolemming, GustaveTheSteel, Thrugga and DougTheHead2.

Big thanks to trowaclown for posting this guide to the forums (one of the previous versions), as I was unable to do so.

Conclusion

Well, I hope you liked the guide. Critique and comments are very much welcome, and they will help me finalize and perfect the guide. Thanks for reading.

aramil

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