|Throwing Barbarian Handbook V1.0
Author: The NL/PM
The throwing barbarian, once a trivial build that could not
progress past mid-NM in classic Diablo, has slowly but steadily been
enjoying an increase in popularity in the expansion pack. And not
just in one area of the game, people that have been playing throwers
have found out they are excellent in the entire game, PvM and PvP.
However, a warning : this is not a typical bulldozer-style WW
barb/Nova Sorc/Multi-zon. If you into power gaming, then you needn't
read much further as he is not your average cookie cutter power
character. However, if you are tired of "whirl-til-you-hurl",
and you are looking for something new, fresh and fun to play, this
might be the character for you. This is the purpose of this guide;
to present a complete coverage of all aspects of the throwing barb
to the general D2 community.
Why make a throwing
barb ? It's different, but effective and fun. It is also very
flexible, you can use it as a support skill or a primary attack.
Those who have played it in Classic D2 might have noticed this, but
he simply couldn't go further than mid-NM without hitting an
"invisible wall" - unable to get a weapon thus unable to
kill. Monsters having too many HP's to bring down in a reasonable
amount of time. Etc. With the new items and the fact that you can
repair your weapons, the throwing barb no longer takes a backseat to
conventional builds. He can be effective in most of the game, as
mentioned above. With that in mind, here are some things of note :
barbarians cannot use the unique weapon Titan's Revenge.
This may seem obvious, but to clarify, it's an Amazon-only
- There's 3 basic
throwing weapons. Javelins, Axes and Knives. The difference
between them is that Javelins, while having a lower stack size,
have a much longer range (Axes and Knives are ~1 screen length
on 800x600 resolution, javelins are about 1.5). However,
Javelins travel slower in the air compared to Axes/Knives. For
the most part, their attack speed is also slower. However, the
greater range is seen by most people to offset this and thus
they are usually the best choice in a PvP situation. Also, the
javelin class looks amongst the coolest of weapons
- If you use Axes,
you might be wondering if axe mastery and throw mastery stack.
The answer is simple, when you throw, it uses your throwing
mastery. When you melee, axe mastery comes in. They don't stack
together. Likewise with javelins (though they use spear
- The only skill
that increases your throwing damage is your throwing mastery.
Double Throw only adds to AR (although, it adds quite a lot
compared to other skills).
Now we can move
onto design choices. There's roughly 3 major choices you can make :
PvM thrower :
Using mainly dual throw, with warcries to support his party members
and for crowd control.
PvM hybrid : Using both throw and a melee attack, an
all-rounder who can adapt to almost any situation.
PvP thrower : Combining double throw and WW, this class is
designed to be a match for any opponent. The ranged attack is a
deadly weapon against classes which conventional barbs might have
PvM : The basic
rule applies, enough str/dex to wear your equipment and the rest
into vitality. A pure PvM thrower however, may be able to skimp on
str/vit as he is a distance fighter and can pump dex for additional
damage. A more in-depth look at stats.
Unlike a usual
melee barbarian, throwing barbs don't really rely on high str.
Usually, you won't need more than 118 str for the Arreat's face
helm, most other helms are lower str requirement anyway. You could
go even lower if you have items that add to +str. The only case is
if you plan on using another melee weapon in your switch, in which
case you should make your own decision on how much base str you
Feel free to put
this to 150-200+. It increases your damage and AR, and these are
very important things (your limited stack of throwing weapons means
you'll want to hit things as much of the time as possible). If you
decide to go single throw/shield or weapon/shield in the other hand,
it's useful for max blocking too.
goes here, especially if you play Hardcore. With Battle Orders, a
throwing barb can quite comfortably reach 2-3K or more life,
sufficient for most PvM situations. You can always put your trust in
a large amount of HPs.
None, it's not
needed. Quite frankly, the returns are nothing. To be truthful, a
throwing barbarian won't really be dependant on mana.
PvP : You'll follow a more "tweaker" style setup, lower
str/dex in favour of more vitality. Go read a PvP guide (Darius's
S/S guide is excellent) if you want a more in-depth explanation.
Most throwing barbs will have between 100-130 str and 100-130 dex
for PvP, it's up to the player to decide on their own placement
(because it's heavily dependant on the individual's items).
Maxing your throw mastery is *HEAVILY* recommended. As said above,
it's the only skill that increases your damage, and a common saying among
the forums is "Damage is King".
PvM : These are the only "essential" skills :
Max Throw Mastery
No, really, that's the basics ! This leaves you with a LOT of skill points
spare, which you might want to invest into some other
skills. Here's a rundown of all the beneficial ones :
Double Throw :
Well, this skill only adds to AR as said above. However, this can be
a good thing : with a high level D.T, you AR will absolutely
skyrocket (amounts like 10K+), which gives you a good chance to hit
pretty much anything. 1 - Max points as you see fit.
: Most people put 1 into this skill since it's the supreme PI killer
for barbs. There's basically 2 ways to deal with a PI : Berserk, and
getting large amounts of elemental damage and smacking it. Since
berserk converts all physical damage to magic damage, most PI's can
easily be dispatched in a short amount of time. If you want, 1 pt
here for the occasional up close and personal anti-PI duty.
: Why ? Frenzy's speed bonus applies to your barb and any attack he
uses, for the 6 second duration. As my friend PhiSig said once
"You can do drive-bys with this skill !" Rightly so, since
besides increasing your attack skill it also increases your movement
rate. For the hybrid PvM builds they might want to make this their
main attack skill, with the flick of a switch you can charge frenzy
and throw at an absolutely incredible rate.
Leap Attack :
1 point is enough. You'll mainly use this skill to get places
(leaping over foothills ramparts, ice rivers, arcane sanctuary,
Grim Ward :
Crowd Control (WW is not crowd control !). Grim ward is a useful
skill as it is independent of clvl (unlike Howl) and it makes
monsters run away from you. Why is this good ? For one thing, you
can break up crowds easily. The second thing is you don't need to
chase them down, feel free to impale them while they run away
And other ranged attackers will appreciate the breathing space as
well. However, it does require a corpse.
: If you decide to go in melee, you could go dual mastery. Due to
the critical hit bug, it's up to the player to decide how many
points they need. 1-Max as points permit.
: Since this skill affects your base run/walk speed it makes you go
faster than an equivalent amount in items. Good for going places or
getting some range between monsters. The optimal amount is level 14
- 40% increased speed (with items if possible) since after that, the
skill has high diminishing returns. (A level 20 I.Speed has 43%
faster run, exactly 3% more run for 6 skill points. Not really worth
Shout/Iron Skin :
There's actually not much point to get these two, except as
prerequisites. Being a ranged character, you'll find yourself
running and gunning, and thus defence for the most part is
irrelevant. Also, for defence to be effective, you NEED to pump it
to a high level or ideally max it. And some monsters are autohit
: Underused but sometimes still useful. It works ALL monsters (even
Act bosses), a good 1 pt wonder for tougher monsters (e.g. Duriel, the
Ancients), since Grim ward won't work here. It suffers from low
range, however if your throwing barb is part melee, it could be
useful. Depends on you build.
: It's great for crowd control, but like Battlecry it suffers from
short range. You'll need to jack it up to at least level 11 before
the stun length starts to affect monsters. A small note, it's not
reduced by difficulty. It really depends on your build, but you can
leave this skill alone if you want.
Battle Command :
1 point since the duration nor the skills increase. However, it's
useful for "pre-buffing" your BO/Shout, since even after
the duration of BCom wears out, the higher level of BO/Shout won't
go down until the skill itself expires. This means pretty much a
permanent +1 to your BO.
: Not really recommended, since you can make a dedicated barbarian
for your MF purposes. However, if you are general PvM and really
don't have much else to put points in, this is nice. You can find
socketed items off creatures fairly easily and who knows, you may
PvP : There doesn't seem to be any reason to make a pure thrower
for PvP, with one exception (low level PvP). The hybrid class first
outlined by PhiSig combines ALL the benefits of a thrower with the
power of a WW barb. You can decide if you want to be more of a
thrower or more of a WW barb.
Max Battle Orders
Max Throw Mastery
10-14 Increased speed
10-Max Sword/Axe/Mace mastery
1-10-Max Double Throw
1-5 into natural resist
This allows more emphasis on the speed and mobility of the thrower
but still allows you to use WW (advantageous in some situation - e.g.
melee versions of assassin, paladins, druids can all be countered
fairly easily with WW, and to a lesser extent another barb).
Max second mastery of choice
10-12-14 Increased speed
1 Double throw
1-5 Natural resist
Combining elements from a tweaker with throwing as a support
skill. You can handle almost any class with this variant.
So why are these thrower based classes so effective in PvP ? The
reason is because it gives the barbarian heavy damage ranged attack
of their own. Most people in truth expect barbs to try and WW them
in PvP, which is admittedly for the most part true, so they aren't
expecting high damage projectiles to fly at them. You can use this
to your advantage in their confusion while they adapt to counter.
Switching between a melee attack and a ranged attack gives you a lot
of flexibility, and truth be told, throwers have it easier against
the sorceress, one of the hardest classes for a pure WW barb to deal
Just a short note, a lot of people ignore this section, but it
should be noted that since you'll be switching your attacks in PvP,
you might want to customise your set of hotkeys (the left side of
the keyboard is useful since your hand normally rests there on a
keyboard, which allows faster switching from weapon switches to
casting warcries). Customising them to ASDFQWER block of keys is a
little more efficient than the default F1 F2 keys.
Items are important
for every class. A thrower barb's items should centre on these (in
no specific order, but they are all very nice to have) :
- High damage weapon
(Cruel elite throwing weapons are the ones you'll be wanting)
- Some IAS -
Increased attack speed
- Some form of mana
and life leech
- Positive resists
Should you venture
into PvP you'll need to add these to your list :
damage reduced by%" (PDR for short) gear
- +life, +stats gear
- Faster run/walk
- Cannot be frozen
Some of the gear
listed below isn't cheap, so use these as a guideline in what to
look for. If it's not here, it doesn't mean it's not useful, it's up
to the player to make the decision on which items will benefit the
2 choices that
really stand out from the pack :
Arreat's Face (unique slayer guard) : The 1.09 version has a whole
bunch of +stats, resists, hit recovery and leech, along with +2
skills (total +4 combat skills). Any thrower will benefit from some
way or another in this helm. The 1.08 version, while rare and nowadays
possible duped, also deserves a mention. The biggest
difference is the 1.08 version has these different mods :
+ 2 points to Barbarian Skills
+ 15% target defence
+ 0.5 Max damage per Clvl
+ 25% to Defense
+ 30 Life Points
+ 1 to combat skills
The largest difference is the "15% target defence" mod and
scaling +max damage mod, which later on can add up to 40 or more max
damage. The 15% target's defence is special, it's not quite the ITD-like
ETH, but does make a difference. For hybrids it is especially nice,
your Javelins have an ETH-like effect. Be wary since many of them
are duped nowadays, if you didn't find it yourself, you cannot be
VampireGaze (unique grim helm) : No +Skills, stats or resists, but
nice dual leech and the very-important PDR. (15-20% of 1.09, 25% of
So which one is better ? The eternal question, since both are good,
and it also depends on your other gear. Most people, however, do
design their PvP barbs with Arreat's Face in mind, since you have
more vitality to work with. Personal preference, both will work if
you put some thought into it.
Other choices :
* Crown of Thieves/Tal Rasha's Mask : Cheaper versions of the 2
listed above, but nonetheless have excellent mods (especially the
leech, really stands out)
* Barbarian helms :
Can have potentially an excellent combination of +skills, but hard
to find. A rare +2 skills, +3 BO, +3 Throwing mastery helm would be
incredible. You can also get a barbarian helm (hopefully with some inherent
+skills) with 3 IAS jewels, should you feel the need for
* Rockstopper :
Nice low level helm, with a combination of resist and PDR. Useful
for HC players.
* Blackhorn's Face
: The main reason to use this is with the +slow mod on them.
EXTREMELY Cheesy but in PvM it's nice for slowing down monsters.
Also, they have some +lightning absorb
* Low level helms :
Huge selection, but choices that stand out are Sigons (use with
gloves for a nice combination), Tarnhelm, Howltusk (for the knock back
and monster flee) 3 socketed barbarian helms with +max
Another wide selection, but PvP throwers should mainly at 1 choice :
Shaftstop. It lets you have some PDR which is essential against
physical damage based attackers. The +60 life is always nice. Of
course, Shaftstop is not the be all end all armour. Other notable armours :
* Lionheart : If you use Gaze, you may contemplate using one of
these. It's very cheap to make and the mods speak for itself. Cheap
* 1.09 Arkaine's Valour : Interesting choice of armour, you have to
be a pretty high level to use it, but the +skills, hit recovery and
+vitality is useful. The 1.08 is incomparably better but also duped.
If you didn't find it yourself, there's a 95% chance it's duped.
Spend your resources elsewhere.
* Enhanced damage armours : Commonly 4 socket armours with ED/IAS or
ED/Max jewels put inside. They can add a HUGE amount to your damage,
and if you have IAS it helps with throwing speed too.
* Guardian Angel : PvP anti-sorc armour. It give +15% to your max
resists (so you resist at 90% instead of 75%) which is useful for
lowering the amount of damage you take from sorc attacks. Beware
that it's a heavy armour and will slow you down noticeably.
* Duriel's Shell : Very overlooked; cheap and extremely useful. It
has cannot be frozen, along with +scaling life, resists and +str.
Very nice for HC throwers.
* SpiritForge/Griswold's plate : The sockets allow for some
interesting choices. If you need some speed try them out with IAS
* Low level armours : One good armour here, Twitchthroe. It's still
fairly effective until late in your career.
2 main types, IAS gloves :
* Crafted hit power and blood gloves. Hit power gloves (jewel + PSaph
+ Ort + magic chain gloves or exceptional/elite version) are good
because they give you knock back, blood gloves (Jewel + PRuby + Nef
rune + Magic Heavy gloves) can give you life leech. Aim for 20% IAS
for more speed. Hopefully you can craft some with +str/dex and
resist, which would be an excellent combination.
* Magnus's Skin : Nice cheap versions of the above. Also add some
+AR as well.
* Lavagout : Interesting PvM choice, for extra fire damage.
* Laying of Hands : Useful in Demon-infested areas.
* Low level gloves : Death set gloves, Sigon's Gloves and Bloodfist
are notable. Bloodfist is nice in HC mode. Sigon's Gloves are good
but in order to get the maximum benefit, use another piece of the
set. It will net you 30% IAS and 10% LL. Death's set gloves are
similar, use it with the belt to get 30% IAS and 8% leech. It also
has the mod -75% poison length reduction, useful in some situations.
Non-IAS gloves :
* Crafted Hit power/Blood gloves with non IAS : still nice especially
if they have more leech/stats to compensate for the lack of IAS.
* IK gauntlets : Huge 20/20 dual stat mod, interesting if you want
to have more life.
* Venomgrip : Some leech, poison damage resistance.
* Hellmouth : For the lightshow thrower. (see below in
* Clegaws : Deserves a special mention due to the "hit slows
target" mod. Extremely cheap in PvP, great in PvM.
2 choices that stand out, 1 for PvM and 1 for PvP. They are :
* Razortail : Why is this so good ? Chance to pierce target. Your
javelins have a chance to pierce and thus hit multiplate targets,
very very helpful belt for a PvM thrower. It's a more efficient way
to deal out damage. The +dex is nice too.
* String of Ears : Leech and PDR from 10-15%. The only belt with PDR.
* Nosferatu's coil : Nice combination of mods, but the slowdown is
looked down on in PvP. Great for a PvM character though.
* Mavina's Set Belt : 5% ML, 20% faster run, useful for some PvP
situations where you'd need the speed.
* Thundergod's Visor : Useful in PvP since it has lightning absorb
(especially against FoH and Sorceress).
* Goldwrap : Mainly as a source of IAS. Much more useful to a MF
* Other belts : Death's sash (with gloves combination), Disciple,
Tal Rasha, and IK set belts are decent if you cannot get a Razortail.
Other rare belts with +resists, Life, hit recovery and +stats work
If you are a PvP hybrid with emphasis on WW, there's 1 good choice :
* Wartraveller boots. Low MF since it's not important in PvP, the
reason why these are so good is due to the "adds 15-25"
damage mod. This equates to ~200-300 more damage on your WW
depending on your other gear. Oddly, it doesn't seem to stack on
your throwing damage, but it's still great. It also gives +10 str
and +10 vitality, as well as some run/walk, all nice mods.
Other boots :
* Waterwalk : Excellent boost to life and the +dex certainly doesn't
* Aldur's Set Boots : Great boost to running speed and life, the
other reason to look into these is the Vulpine-like mod, "10%
damage taken to mana". Helpful in long duels where mana
recovery might be a problem.
* Rare Boots : Can still potentially have nice mods like resists,
30% run and +stats. Good if you can find a pair.
* Other boots : IK, Natalya set boots are great if you cannot get
the above, Sander's and Cow King's Boots are fantastic low level
Popular choices include :
* Cat's Eye : Great for any thrower. The mods are all
* Rare amulet : Possibly with +2 skills, leech, resists and other
mods. Old D2C ones gave quite excellent bonuses.
* Crafted +2 barb skills Blood Amulet : You'll need a high level
character to roll these, but the mods can potentially be better than
even the rare ones. Level 89 requirement to use though.
* Other amulets : Atma's for chance to amp damage, Angelic Ammy/Ring
for low level AR boost, Mara's Kladeioscope is a decent all-round
* Raven Frost : 1 of these is essential in PvP, however they are
nice for PvM characters too. +20 dex if possible.
* Old rare dual leech rings : Since ML no longer spawns on rings,
dual leech is no longer possible. These rings are very useful.
* Crafted Blood ring : Fantastic if you get one of those 9-11% LL
rings with +stats.
* Other rings : BK wedding band, Manald heal, and for low levels
there's always good old angelic rings (use with amulet) and cathan's
rings (cheap source of LL).
Generally you won't be needing a shield for PvM, but if you're a PvP
hybrid, there's really only choice. And what a choice it is, the
magnificent Stormshield. +30 str and 35% PDR, as well as high block
and high cold/lightning resist makes this an awesome PvP shield.
In some PvM situations you may want to get a shield for the extra
protection. There's a few options here :
* Rhyme : Nice bonuses and easy to make,
* Tiamat's Rebuke : Resists (and extra elemental damage should you
not use berserk)
* Whistan's Guard : Great blocking.
Lets start off with
throwing weapons first :
AIM FOR SOME HIGH DAMAGE, CRUEL ELITE WEAPONS. That is the goal of
your thrower. (Remember the "Damage is King" school of
thought and you'll be fine.). With this in mind, we can evaluate the
choices of each :
* Javelins : Cruel Winged Harpoons are the most popular choice. This
is because they are (relatively) easy to get (you can find them by
shopping Anya in Act 5, once you have done her quest. She offers only
javelin class weapons so you may see the occasional ghost glaive as
well. She is the best since you can refresh her inventory very easily
by jumping into the red portal - provided you haven't killed
Nihlathak.). Cruel Hyperion Javelins and Stygian Pilums are excellent
alternatives, then Ghost Glaives and Balrog Spears. If you plan on
making a PvP build, definitely go with the Jav-class weapons as
mentioned before, their extra reach is very helpful.
DO NOT try to sacrifice speed for damage. IAS in this game is heavily
dependant on your base weapon speed, and Ghost Glaives in particular,
while having the potential for some huge damage, are also the slowest among
the lot. Even a Ghost Glaive with "of quickness" - 40% IAS -
would still be quite slow. It's not to say Winged Harpoons are the
best either. Although they are the most "common", it doesn't
mean they are the best. Stygian Pilums and Hyperion Javelins both have
similar speed, but the big difference is due to their much higher
MINIMUM damage. It is often underestimated by many people, but makes a
difference in evening out your damage range. Also, they both have a
slightly higher stack size compared to WH's. Hyperion Javelins also
allow the use of WW and berserk (for the alternative PvP thrower,
build, the "Javabarb". See Jeb90's guide). The problem here
is that these weapons must be found or cubed, they CANNOT be bought
off vendors. Anyway, cruel throwing weapons are quite rare so might be
expensive to trade for. Consider yourself very lucky if you manage to
get some with a good 2nd mod (like +max damage, LL, IAS).
* Axes and Knives : The higher stack size makes them effective in PvM
play, but the shorter range is mostly restrictive in PvP. They are
decent, however, since they travel much faster than javelins in the
* Cruel versions of
normal/exceptional weapons : Chances are, while shopping for those
ever-elusive Cruel elites, there will be Cruel mod on
normal/exceptional weapons. These are still worth picking up, for
general leveling and in PvM play.
Scalper/Deathbit : Not too useful for the level required, and they
aren't as good as a good Cruel (which on a normal/exceptional weapon,
can be used at 43).
throwing weapons : Has the potential to get high damage, +max damage,
IAS, and leech all in one. The possibility of doing so is extremely
low, but it's a good way to spend your imbues. You can only craft axes
though (with the blood weapon recipe - Magical Axe + Jewel + Ort Rune
* Magical throwing
weapons with HIGH elemental damage : You'll probably see these if you
shop, if you don't want to use berserk, feel free to pick these up and
use them for anti-PI duty (double throw/swing will get the job done,
though berserk is usually much faster).
Wait a minute ? Here's you thinking : "Isn't this about throwing
barbs ?" I'll just keep this section brief, since melee weapons
are generally covered by most other guides.
If you ever decide to incorporate some melee WW/Berserk/Frenzy into
your build, you'll need some good weapons to use those skills to their
maximum effectiveness. Throwing weapons in general aren't too useful
in melee, since they cannot be socketed and do comparatively lower
damage than similar class melee weapons. So the best options are
swords, maces and axes since they all have 1-Handed weapon options
(allows for weapon/shield or dual wield).
* Swords : No need to go in-depth here, you can refer to another
barbarian guide for that. Options are 3 socketed Cruel
Champion/CSword/CBlade (rolled with cube recipe), Fury weapons and
unique elites. Sword users are spoilt for choice, it shouldn't be a
problem finding a good sword to use no matter where you are in game.
* Axes : Berserker
axes make great weapons. It would fit right in if you decided to theme
your character around an axe-using Frenzier/Thrower. You could get a
Cruel, Fury weapon or like throwing axes, craft them with the blood
* Maces : Baranar's
Star dual wielded is a nice combo for a PvM Frenzying Thrower. Dual
Dangoon's teaching is another option. There's also a wide selection of
unique exceptionals, which are fine for a developing character.
* Echoing weapons : +3 warcries, can provide an excellent boost to
* Heart Carver : Most
people use it for the +Find Item, but it also has +Grim ward, a good
way to try out this skill if you're not sure whether to invest in it.
* Charged weapons : 2
main ones, Lower resists and Life Tap. Lower resist if you don't want
to use berserk, you can LR them, making your elemental damage weapons
slightly more effective. Life tap is instant leech, you might need it
for your mercenary if you plan to get one.
Very simple, a PvP thrower should socket his armour/shield/helm with
Enhanced Damage (ED) jewels. The best options are ones with second
mods such as +max damage or IAS, however other mods such as +stats are
still useful. This equates to more damage, which makes taking out your
opponent an easier task. A PvM character might want more resists (Um,
resist jewel) or more IAS (IAS jewels), but other than that, go for
the damage. Higher damage is always useful.
Charms can fill out what your character is unable to equip. This makes
them very useful, the cost being less inventory space. However, it's
still relatively easy to keep some space in there just in case you
need to carry some stuff, and those charms will still make a big
difference to your overall effectiveness.
PvM charms of note :
- +Max damage/AR
- +Stats (especially
for HC players that might want to have higher life - a few large
charms with +5 str for example, will save them some base stats to
invest into vitality.
- Life/Mana charms.
- Resist charms
(useful for getting max resistances)
PvP charms : DO NOT
GO OUT LOOKING FOR + SKILL CHARMS, they will not give you as much
benefit as the following :
* +Max damage (Fine/Sharp charms) with a 2nd mod if possible (the best
would be +3 max damage, 20 AR, 20 Life small charms and +3 max/20AR/5%
run small charms). However unless you are incredibly rich or lucky
it's VERY hard to get a full inventory of these (20 of each). Any
charms with +max/life are useful, if aiming for run speed, one should
look for 5% faster run charms.
* +1 warcries with 40
life (more life than 3 x 20 life sc's) - very useful in Team dueling.
Really the only type of skill charm worth getting.
damage charms : Nowhere as good as +max damage charms but still give
you additional damage, somewhat useful against characters with non-max
* Hit recovery charms
: There's 2 values - 26% and 86%. Aim for 26% if possible, and if you
cannot get it via equipment, then get it on charms. It's a very nice
little bonus. You would need to go to extra lengths to get fastest
possible hit recovery at 86% but to be honest, there's only a few
situations in which you would benefit from them.
PvP equipment summary : Feel free to keep alternative equipment
for dealing with your opponent. It may sound stupid, but there's not
really much point in going full DR mode if you're facing something
like a sorceress (and then posting about it in the forum wondering
what went wrong.). Don't hesitate to use "non-perfect"
items, we would all like to have Cruel ethereal winged harpoons of
Replenish and a whole inventory of 3max/20 life and 3max/5 run sharp
charms, but for most people that's not going to happen. Also, a
special note about BODY POPPING : What is it ? Popping occurs like so
You die, don't pick up your corpse and accidentally pick something
else up and die again (the game was designed so you only have 1
"corpse" thus by picking another item and dying, it will
generate another "corpse") thus making the items from your
original corpse "pop" out.
You die, pick up your corpse but don't get it all and get killed again
(similar to situation #1, more chance of happening in PvP). This could
be due to +stat from item dependency to wear certain gear.
A hybrid runs the risk of popping IF HE WEAPON SWITCHES AND DIES.
Sometimes, if you depend on Storm for +str to use your sword (most
hybrids will) and die with jav switch out, the game will somehow think
you are unable to equip your sword thus when you click on your body,
it equips everything BUT your weapon. Since you cannot have 2
corpses... you can guess what happens. Basically, just play smart and
rejoin the game if necessary, popping is not hard to avoid.
Special Note : The Dual Wield Bug : *** STILL WAITING FOR
CONFIRMATION*** Will put in ASAP.
Before we begin, if
you are making a character for pure PvP, feel free to skip this
section if you want to. On the other hand, if you're not one of those
guys who like rushing to the moo-moo farm and leeching your way to
level 80 in a couple of days, this part is for you.
There won't be a
step-by-step outline of how to plan your skills or your stat points,
every player should have an goal and work towards that themselves. If
you plan on having 110 str, for example, it doesn't matter how you get
to the 110 str as long as you get to it. Anyway, if you've never
played a throwbarb, in the early levels feel free to experiment with
the different variety of throwing weapons, this will help you get an
idea for the speed and range of each. The early levels shouldn't be
much problem, provided you have a decent weapon. Try out your
equipment and if necessary learn how to aim and lead. Then, decide on
what skill path you want to take. Remember, a thrower has plenty of
options. Most PvM throwers go down the frenzy route since these skills
go hand in hand.
* Frenzy and Double Throw : Why are these so useful ? You can switch
to frenzy and "charge up" (the little swirly thing around
your barbarian's feet means you are frenzied). For 6 seconds you have
the speed bonus which adds to your other attacks : Time to turn double
throw into a machine gun, heh. If you are built as a frenzy barb with
throwing as support, you can also use it to gain some distance (frenzy
makes your movement speed incredibly fast) and position your barb to
pick off key threats. You might also want to use Battle cry (if you
have it), since you'll be in range while frenzying.
* Razortail : Once
you get this little beauty, you'll notice that sometimes your attacks
will "pierce" - go through targets. Why is this so good ? To
put it simply, it's more bang for buck. Your weapons will hit more
things allowing you to inflict more damage, so in a crowd, when your
first target falls, the second monster might already be half dead. You
can use this to your GREAT advantage by activating monsters and
running away - monsters follow you in a line, and you can punish them
with D.Throw/Razortail pierce.
* Positioning :
Unlike a WW barb who plows into a crowd, you should remember that as a
ranged character, you will need to keep some distance between your
foe. The reason why the knock back/slow target equipment was mentioned
above is because it helps you keep this distance. Also make use of
stationary fire (hold shift key). This means you won't move around,
excellent when shooting things. The easiest trick is to just
"Lock On" - pick a target and HOLD your mouse button and
shift key, your barbarian will automatically adjust and fire until the
monster is dead or out of reach.
* Crowd Control :
Grim ward is the skill for this. The flee is actually a GOOD thing,
because you can shoot them in the back while they run away. Remember
you'll need a body, however, grim ward used effectively is a very
helpful tool. One of the best tactics to break up a horde is to grim
ward up, when they flee, kill a couple, set up more grim wards and
"Daisychain" a line of wards. This can break up all the
largest mods, isolate bosses, and provide a nice amount of breathing
space, useful in many situations (e.g. in HC mode, when those
emergency TP's need to be cast).
* Carry a sidearm :
Large, hell mode games will require several throws to bring down a
monster. You will probably need to return to town every couple of
minutes to repair. This might get annoying, so keeping a pair of
backup throwing weapons to use is recommended. You can switch them
from weapon switch or keep them in the inventory.
* Yell Often : Your
barb, that is. Always remember to refresh your BO, and the BO of your
party members as well. Get used to it, fighting a boss and then losing
1000 HP's or more due to your BO running out won't help you one bit.
D2X introduced a whole new dimension in PvM by improving upon the town
mercenaries. There's 4 choices, Act 1 Rogue (which shoot elemental
damage arrows), Act 2 Townguard (with auras), Act 3 Iron Wolf (with
spells) and Act 5 Barbarian (a mini version of yourself with Bash and
Stun). Here is a basic rundown of each and recommended choices :
* Act 1 Rogue :
The main reason you'd want to use these is the "Lightning
Hose" (could be a bug or feature). Giving her items that total +3
to all skills will allow her to cast a mini "Lightning
hose", similar to a very small version of Diablo's Red Lightning
Breath. It quite a large amount of damage (nothing godly, but more
than what she usually does) and seems to works vs all monsters. The
problem with her is that she is very fragile, but she does run and gun
with you. With Blackhorn's face and a good bow, she actually does
become quite deadly since she can slow monsters down for you.
* Act 2 Guard :
6 types with different auras. Normal/Hell hired ones share the same
aura, but the ones in NM give you a different result. These auras
correspond to the type of merc used, but the only ones of real value
to a thrower are :
NM Offensive merc (Might)
NM Combat merc (Holy Freeze)
Might is obviously useful since his aura will directly boost your
damage, making him a popular choice. Holy Freeze however, acts as
another form of crowd control, mass-slowing enemies for you. Obviously
this is a great help since you'll be shooting things from afar.
Remember, these guys are melee fighters, so you might want to equip
them with some life leech gear to help them stay alive.
* Act 3 Mage : Seem to be even more fragile than rogues, and
later on can't deal as much damage. The cold one will cast glacial
spike, which is useful since it freezes enemies.
* Act 5 Barbarian :
The most durable of the lot, but have a tendency to run off and bash
things, then their AI kicks in and they try to follow you back, but
then they run off after the enemy... He's good if you are part melee
in your build, since you can both whack monsters together. Can be a
real tank if you can afford to equip him with some PDR equipment.
Recommended : The Act 2 NM town guards with the auras are
probably your best bet. Their auras perfectly complement your skills,
and they can tank things, to an extent, allowing you to shoot from
afar. However, you are free to experiment with any merc you want.
* Lightshow barb : You might find items with mods "chance to cast
spell on hit". Combine this with Hellmouth gloves if you have
them, when you attack, all sorts of spells will go off. It's semi-AoE,
but not that effective, however it does look pretty.
* Holy Freeze :
Especially annoying since it is unresistable and slows down your
movement speed a lot. This makes it harder to keep a respectable
distance. In these cases, try using a merc to tank for you, and help
him kill off those monsters, since he might fall easily due to being
slowed. A quick grim ward may help disperse the minions leaving you
both free to dispatch the boss and thus the aura.
* MS/LEB :
Multi-shot, Lighting Enchanted Bosses, chances are you will come
across one of these things once you reach hell mode. They can be
deadly if you don't have maximum resists, but a smart thrower can
dispatch one quickly. HOPEFULLY you have some form of knock back, in
which case it's relatively easy. LEB's will emit bolts in a specific
pattern, which usually looks like an "X" with the boss being
the middle of the X shape. Get your party members to stand well away,
while you lock onto them and shoot them into a corner. Usually, they
will kept getting knocked back and unable to do anything, and you
won't be hit if you position yourself away from the bolts. Still a
risky thing to tackle, sometimes it's best to run away from one of
Fast/Strong/Cursed : Certain monsters become big threats
(already-nasty monsters, such as ghosts, which can follow you through
walls, flayers, dolls, frenzytaurs, etc) : In these cases, watch out
for them chasing you down, and if you are amp'ed, it is recommended
you put on some knock back/slowdown gear if possible. Grim ward is
again a lifesaver. If you are facing The Ancients, and they have these
mods, reset them with a TP.
* Act Bosses :
A short outline of how to deal with those nasty Evils :
Not much of a threat in any difficulty. Her poison nova might take
your health down fast, tp and heal if necessary. Just take out the
monsters before opening the door to the throneroom, she falls
: The biggest threat is his charge, which can take you out if you're
not prepared. His holy freeze is annoying as well. However, enlist the
help of a merc, usually they will take the charge, and stand next to
Duriel and just throw. You might want a shield, but standing next to
him means he usually doesn't charge you, and you can whittle away at
his health. If you are fortunate enough to have party members with
summons/other mercs, the job is much easier.
: Not hard. However, the bosses before him can be tough, especially in
hell mode. Take them out one group at a time, or if you don't feel
like fighting them, jump over the red river and straight to Meph. The
attack he throws at you is the only major threat, but it shouldn't be
hard to take him down.
: The Chaos sanctuary can be tough, due to the Oblivion knights in it.
However, it is a good place to practice your crowd control and aiming
(OB knights aren't scared away, once everything else flees make them
your priority). Of the 3 seal bosses, none are particularly tough,
except Lord de Seis, since he has friends which can out-shoot you with
BS. IM curse isn't your concern, you can laugh at it actually, but
getting Lower Resist and being hit with BS is something to watch out
for. Diablo himself isn't that hard, but he has some invisible
blocking, because not many shots of yours will get through. This is
mainly a test of patience, but watch out for his Lightning Breath and
Fire Twist (on hell mode, those fire twists can kill you since they
are all individual attacks, and packed into such a small damage, can
add up a lot. Make sure your have max lightning and fire resists if
Baal : Like his 2 previous brothers, the monsters before him are a big
threat. Of his minions, the ones to watch out for are the Mummy (take
him out first if possible, since he can resurrect members of his
group), the Council member is dangerous since he has the potential to
get MSLEB, and of course the last group, Lister. Him and his buddies
can quickly shred any merc and make a beeline to you - time to pull
out the knock back. Baal himself isn't hard to deal with, watch out
for his tentacles, with max resists his spells don't really hurt too
much, and he doesn't have Diablo's mega block. Just send some nasty
pointy objects down his way and end his attempt at the worldstone.
This part deals with how to best kill another class with your thrower
skills. There won't be any in-depth WW strategy in here, hopefully you
already know the basics. If not, then read Darius's PvP S/S guide in
the strategy compendium. It will teach you all you need to know about
the WW aspect of a PvP barb.
Leveling : The best way is to skip PvM altogether, get rushed to hell
cows by a friend and once you hit level 20, get them to kill the
normal ancients for you. Then leech your way until level 70, and you
can start helping. You can easily make high levels (85-90) in a few
days doing cow runs.
Now, lets get into the basics of PvP. Here is where the Hybrid shines.
You have the advantage no other barb does. You can changes tactics at
the drop of a hat. This is a POWERFUL weapon on its own and it will
confuse players which are normally accustomed to WW barbs, beyond
belief. You need to get used to toggling you run/walk keys and your
weapon switch keys. Javelins should play a reach-out-and-touch-someone
role - don't go running into a battle with them. Always have your
shield out first, only unveil your javelins once the opportunity
arises. Walking and running is also important, ideally you want them
to play into your hands so you can shower them with Javs or put a WW
in their face. This section can only go so far; you might follow this
to the letter and still not kill something. So remember the best way
to learn how to PvP effectively is the experience. Some tactics cannot
be taught. Now, lets get into the individual class sections :
(the authors of this
guide love druids) Having said that, this should be the simplest duel
of all. You don't even need the javelins here, the best way is to use
WW and crush them. If by any chance you see an Elementalist that
attempts to whittle away your health, whip out your javs and impale
them. If they manage to hit you in jav mode, switch to WW and leech
your life back. There are some druids who talk about beating barbs by
getting them against a corner and using Fury/Maul/that great big bear
of theirs, they must have been PvM barbs, for any decent PvP barb
doesn't have much chance of losing to a druid. You can go pure jav
mode if you think WW is too powerful, the thing here would be to get
them to chase you and shoot them while they run at you. Run = no
defence and 1/3 block, use it to your advantage. You should still win
this easily. Even respected druid duelers admit that it's a very
1-sided matchup in favour of the barb. Should 1.10 change some skills,
this might be a different story, but this guide will be updated
whenever that comes out.
There's 3 main builds
of these girls, only 2 can really threaten you. Lets break them down :
* MA (Martial Arts) : The only thing to watch out here is if you are
in throw mode and they land a Dragon Flight, that can really hurt.
Otherwise, just use WW, they can't really do much about it.
* Traps : These girls
can be a threat if you're not prepared. This duel might be a test of
patience, because they will expect you to run over and WW them,
however, you will most likely get hit with mindblast and get
stunlocked by the traps (the stun swirly thing on your head from MB -
any attack that hits you in that time will cause you to go into hit
recovery, very nasty since some traps fire extremely quickly). Use
your javs to get them on the run instead, and make sure you switch out
to your resist gear. A little extra run/walk here is very handy too.
Watch out for their Shadow Masters.
* Hybrid : Just like
your barb. Taking elements from both Trapsins and MA builds. They will
most likely go into trap-mode to fight you, so the above tactics will
apply. However, they can very easily DF you if you switch to javelin
mode and claw a big chunk of life out of you if you are not careful.
Anticipation again is the key - if you suspect a DF, switch and pull a
WW out. Getting them on the run with javelins is good, but come at
them at a different direction, since they may have some traps waiting
for you. You will need a combination of resist and PDR gear for this
one. WW takes care of most of them, but never underestimate an
All PvP necros will
incorporate Bone Spirit into their build. However, unlike conventional
S/S barbs you too have a ranged attack, and what's more is that they
are faster than BS. (too bad D.Throw isn't auto tracking, heh.). So
there's no need to chase after them all the time. Smart necromancers
will realise you are a hybrid and usually use a combination of lower
resist and poison nova to wear you down, however they will always be
on the move : running. Here is where practice with your aim really
counts, if you can anticipate where they are and nail them with some
javelins, it's usually game over, or at the very least they will lose
a large chunk of life. Try herding them into a corner and filling it
with javelins. If for some reason he just decides to sit there and
spam BS, you can win a shootout if you get close enough, a few
DThrow's will be enough. Alternatively, WW will do the trick. Remember
to mix and match you tactics. IM won't work on you, so if he casts
that and expects you to whirl yourself to death on bone wall, whip out
the javs. Play smart and the necro will soon join his minions,
however, some of them will give you a run for your money.
Basically can be
divided into melee, mage and hybrid variants.
* Melee (Vindicators/Chargers/Zealots) : Will usually use one of the
following skills, charge, smite or zeal. None of these are much of a
threat because you can just go into WW mode. You might want to watch
out for getting in range of holy freeze, either stay out of range and
shoot (jav range usually outranges HF), or rush in and quickly tag
them with a WW. If they are mainly based around these skills, they
aren't much of a threat at all.
* Mage (Templars and
Hammerdins) : Based around Fist of Heavens (FoH) and Blessed Hammer (BH),
with conviction and holy freeze as backup. These can be a lot tougher
than the above because FoH is autohit (they can lock on to you as
well), and BH is a magical attack, so your PDR will do nothing. Load
up on resists and run/walk, you will need it. If they definitely don't
have a physical attack, drop some PDR and make some way for some
absorb equipment (Equipping Thundergod's visor is recommended.). Watch
out for the Holy Freeze and try not to let them tag you with their
Conviction, the follow up FoH's will hurt. These guys usually need
mass +skills, which limits their PDR, use this to your advantage. If
they use BH, approach from between the 6 - 9 o'clock position - that's
near where the hammer starts and also the last part of where it
travels, so this is where you should start your attack. Use a
combination of WW and D.Throw to take them out, D.Throw javs outranges
* Hybrid (Combination
of the above, has the chance of adding a throw attack of their own) :
Right, these guys can be tough if you're not prepared. Their main
skill will definitely be FoH with conviction, however due to their
huge +skills they have a veritable amount of skills to choose from.
Rare builds will also have the possibility of using a throw of their
own - expect that with Fanaticism, so it will hurt if hit. Their melee
skill is usually smite. The same thing that applies with mage applies
here, try not to get tagged with conviction. Charging in blind
straight lines can also be deadly, if they throw. Your aim will serve
you well here, they will almost always be on the run. If you manage to
get close enough without being tagged with HF, use WW to get rid of
them. With max block, PDR and quite a few HP's, these guys can take
some punishment, so watch your javelin stack.
2 main types here.
* Non-Orb sorc : Mostly rely on Hydras and TStorm. Not too effective,
they will cast Hydra and expect you to run after them. So don't. Put
on some resist gear, and shoot her with D.Throw. You can outrange
Hydra and hit the sorc, which is usually sitting in the middle waiting
* Orb sorc : There
are many people who play these, and their skill level with teleport
will play a vital role in your winning chances. This is one duel where
getting some more IAS really helps you as well, and of course don't
forget your resist/absorb gear. Higher life never hurts either. There
are really crappy teleporters, this is actually a very easy duel to
win, since you can lock onto them and D.Throw - usually they won't be
able to teleport fast enough to avoid the javs. A couple usually does
the trick. If they pack max block/PDR, they might take a little
longer, but since you have more IAS, you can put them in block lock,
and they will still die. The better sorc will definitely be able to
avoid your javs : don't name lock if you don't have to, they can avoid
your javs, and you'll be wasting ammunition. Aim and anticipation will
carry you through, and this counts for WW as well. If you can get a WW
off, it's usually good night. It can be near impossible to win vs this
type of sorc if they have max pdr/block added in. Try blocklocking
The last type of sorc
player is the absolutely insane teleporter, these are rare, but you'll
know when you face one. They will be everywhere at once, throwing orbs
and driving you crazy with teleport. They usually have max block but
no little or no PDR, they have no need for it. The thing you need to
look for is terrain, a box is good, since it limits their approach.
Watch out for orbs. They are beatable but you'll need flawless aim,
this matchup is very hard for any sort of barb. Having said that, a
hybrid has a much better chance of winning against a sorc, compared to
a standard WW barb.
The almightily zon,
tough for every class to duel. Zons can potentially use some an
incredibly cheap combination of items, and there's no use dueling one
of these, no point. This is the slowazon. They equip one item with
"hit slows target", and if it touches you, you're a goner.
They can also add ~2K or more poison and an amp damage item, on the
same zon. Usually, these are abundant in public games, because the
only strategy they require is hold-down-GA. In private games, there is
a wider variation but they are no less harder.
* Bowazons/Speedazons/Dexazons : The ones which use Buriza aren't much
of a problem. They can quickly be dispatched by running up and
whirling. Dexazon pump dex for huge damage and Speedazons can
incredibly fast firing rate, combined into one build, can result in a
tough matchup. The thing here is they can outshoot you, so stick to
S/S setup. Getting enough run/walk to zig-zag past GA (it's not
possible to outrun it in a straight line, regardless of run/walk) is
crucial. The best way to beat them here is to move in a spiraling
motion and use a combination of short whirls and berserks to take them
out. One good whirl usually does the job.
* Javazon (non-bow) :
Rare and underestimated. The strength of these zons lie in the fact
that they can tank better than you can. With max block/PDR and her
passive D/A/E skills, they can slowly chip away at your life (the
worst thing is that you cannot do anything about her passives) wile
taking little damage in the process. They use a combination of
Lightning Fury, throw and Jab to do this chipping. Throwing against
them isn't recommended since the smart ones will use slow missiles on
you, making your javs useless. A combination of short WW's and berserk
is the best way of ending the duel, it's usually a 1-hit KO if you
land a berserk in. WW DoD is a good thing to try to use, since it is
pretty hard to walk out of and the zon's passives will keep her in
that place, however don't be surprised if you don't land any hits at
all. With 2 skilled players this can turn into a duel of patience.
* Hybrid (of the
above) : Uh, this can get ugly. With a Storm and Titans on a switch,
they can tank your WW and leech back their life with a single weapon
switch to GA. They are hard for most barbs, not just hybrids, yet they
are still beatable. Like the other zons, a combination of WW/Zerk
serves you best, don't whirl too long or you'll get plugged full of
GA's. If you are good at guessing, you can nail them with a DT when
they switch to a bow, GA takes 1 second to lock onto you, but that 1
second can be enough to land those javs, weapon switch and start
running up for a WW. However, don't bother trying a face to face
shootout, zons can outshoot any barb. Berserk is a good choice to try
if your melee weapon is fast enough.
Heh, your fellow
brothers. Usually a very interesting duel, unless the other guy
happens to be toting a full rig of hacked/duped/bugged gear. All in
all though, a very challenging matchup that could go either way.
* Standard PvP tweaker barbarians : Most use the weapon/stormshield
setup, with a similar school of thought to yourself. They might have
slightly higher life. However, you can still win this match. The trick
is knowing when to pull out javelins and when to use WW. Tempt him
into whirling, if whirls long, you can always whip out javelins, hit
him a bit and switch back to shield. If he comes charging at you, do a
180 and WW-Facial him, that's your best chance to hit. Remember, run =
0 defence and 1/3 block, chances are you will land in a few hits if
you manage to pull this off. Try not to let them hit you in jav mode,
it can really hurt. Getting some more leech and an Eth'ed sword here
* BvB Strbarb/Vampbarbs
: What are these ? Horrid builds specifically meant to take out other
barbs. They have incredible 1-H damage (may reach 4-5-6K damage or
even higher) and HUGE leech (40-50%). They usually sacrifice life and
running speed to do this however, but never let them hit you. Your
best bet is sniping, and you might try a jav/shield setup for
additional safety. 1 good whirl and it could be lights out, so make
use of your superior mobility and their low speed/health as much as
you can. Try to hit them without them hitting you (with the above
tactic) but under no circumstances should you trade WW's.
Hybrids/Throwers : Against a pure thrower, you definitely have the
advantage. Use the shield setup and WW them, unless they have a shield
it will be a hard duel on their end. They are usually on the defensive
side, so you may try to make them eat javelins. Against another
hybrid, it is much more of a battle of aim and skills, anything can go
here. The best advice here is to capitilise on his mistakes and watch
out for the desynch, try not to let him catch you in jav mode, this
swings the battle in their favour. Well, good luck and may the best
player win here.
: ***COMING REAL SOON***
HC players : A small note, low level throwers are VERY effective at
PKing in low levels. Watch out for the ones that are level 18 and up,
they may have 500-600 throw damage and/or amp damage as well, making
them a large threat against other characters at similar levels. They
can take you out in 1-2 good shots, so watch out if a level 18 barb
goes hostile and you see him holding some strange sticks.
Well, that about wraps out the PvP part. Armed with this knowledge, go
forth and bring some ears to your trophy rack ! And remember, skill
cannot be taught, only learnt.
Well, all in all, a
throwing barbarian is a very fun character to play, more than able to
hold his own in any situation, a far cry from the old classic days.
They may seem very common on the forums, but in-game or bnet, they are
still relatively rare. Some people still get the remark from other
players, they can range from "Hey, that's cool, can I see what
you're using ?" to "OMG HACKER ! ITH JAVELINS !" - but
hey, these are still good things. He's a fun class, you'll never fail
to get some reaction from people. And the bottom line is having fun. I
hope this guide has served you well.
: The ORIGINAL PvP throwbarbs ! We miss you ! " : Baha a
throw barb !" was slain by Chuck-OG. was
slain by TossYourSalad. = "WTF ! HACKER !"
* PhiSig :
"Stronger, Faster, more Facial hair !" Damn, the original
hybrid, and one MEAN customer, his barb Dread has gained a certain
notoriety. DAOC TRAITOR !
Also, special thanks to the rest of the people in NL, it's a madhouse
down there, but the best forums on the net ! Thanks to Diabloii.net
for hosting such a great site, and to their forum members (past,
present and future) for being a consistent source of good information.
To West's GIMMEITAM for providing such a great place to duel in. To
Blizzard for making such an addictive game and providing Bnet. To
everyone else that I've forgotten, thank you, and lastly to you,
reader. Hopefully going through this has inspired you to make a
throwbarb of your own.