Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide
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Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide

Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide: In this Diablo 4 Barbarian Class Build, I’ll show you how to play a Thorns Barbarian, which is a melee Diablo 4 Build for the Barbarian that taunts large groups of enemies and annihilates them with Thorns by dealing huge Reflect Damage. If you’ve been looking for a good Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build that also focuses on entering Berserk to greatly improve your overall damage and speed, then this guide is for you!

Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide

The way this Diablo IV Build works is that you’ll initiate combat with Lunging Strike followed by Challenging Shout. Lunging Strike closes the gap between you and your enemies while dealing average damage. You should then activate Challenging Shout in order to taunt the rest of the group, boost your Maximum Life, and gain Thorns. So that every time they directly attack you, the damage is automatically reflected back at them. This is made more effective with the Needleflare Aspect, which has a chance to damage all nearby enemies based on the Thorn Damage you inflict.

Diablo 4 Build for the Thorns Barbarian - Needleflare Aspect

Another reason why you’ll want to group up enemies is for the Upheaval Skill. As long as you damage at least two of them, you trigger Berserk for 2 seconds. Berserk can be triggered once again with Death Blow, which is also a powerful Skill to use against Bosses and other targets who are about to die. 

For Elites and Bosses, you’ll want to trigger Death Blow and Wrath of the Berserker to not only deal massive damage but also keep Berserk active while increasing the damage buff it grants.

Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide – Skill Distribution

Each Diablo 4 Barbarian Build is made up of the 5 Active Skills they have equipped and changing these Skills can drastically alter the way the Barbarian Class in Diablo IV plays. In this section, we’ll take a look at what Skills you should slot for the Thorns Barbarian Diablo 4 Build. Your Skill distribution should look something like this:

Skill Points Spent
 Lunging Strike  1
 Enhanced Lunging Strike  1
 Battle Lunging Strike  1
 Upheaval  1
 Enhanced Upheaval  1
 Violent Upheaval  1
 Imposing Presence  2
 Martial Vigor  3
 Outburst  3
 Tough as Nails  3
 Challenging Shout  1
 Enhanced Challenging Shout  1
 Strategic Challenging Shout  1
 Death Blow  1
 Enhanced Death Blow  1
 Warrior’s Death Blow  1
 Wrath of the Berserker  1
 Prime Wrath of the Berserker  1
 Supreme Wrath of the Berserker  1

The above list gives you the general order to invest in Skills, but keep in mind that you should prioritize picking up new Active Skills over investing in passives, so pick up passives later if you can get new Active Skills when you level up.

Diablo 4 Barb Build – How to Handle Packs of Enemies

So there are really several different strategies to employ with this Diablo IV Build for the Thorns Barbarian, and these change depending on whether or not you’re facing a large group of enemies or a Boss. Let’s start with a group of enemies first, and we’ll cover how to handle Bosses in the next section.

Lunging Strike

Just like the Whirlwind Build, you’re going to start with Lunging Strike, which is your main engagement Skill. It’s a good way to deal moderate damage but more importantly, this lets you traverse quickly in encounters, especially since the Barbarian moves relatively slow compared to the other Classes. Now with this Thorns Berserker D4 Build, you’ll want to unlock Enhanced Lunging Strike as well as Combat Lunging Strike for improved survivability and trigger Berserking, respectively.

Diablo 4 Barbarian Build - Lunging Strike Basic Skill

Enhanced Lunging Strike not only amplifies damage but also heals you upon damaging a target with max Health. On the other hand, Combat Lunging Strike instantly grants Berserk to further increase damage and Movement Speed but the catch here is you’ll need to land crits with Lunging Strike. As such, one of the bonuses you should prioritize chasing after is Critical Strike Chance.

Challenging Shout

Challenging Shout is a very potent Skill that allows you to taunt enemies effectively while reducing the damage you take. The reason why you’re opting for this is to gather as many targets as possible to hit them with Reflect Damage brought about by Thorns. As a result, you’re going to be highly exposed so to keep increasing your Maximum Life, you’ll need Enhanced Challenging Shout.

Diablo 4 Barb Build - Challenging Shout Defensive Skill to Taunt Nearby Enemies

And then, you’ll be picking Strategic Challenging Shout to make use of half of your current Maximum Life to determine how much Thorns Damage you can inflict. What you’re aiming for here is to take advantage of surviving long-winded encounters while dealing huge Thorns Damage.


Upheaval is another useful Skill for this Diablo IV Build that will trigger Berserk. It’s Fury-centric, which means that you need a sufficient amount of this resource to activate the Core Skill and deal great damage against multiple enemies. It also has a terrific control-impairing effect when you gain access to Enhanced Upheaval to proc Stun while you’re dealing damage. 

Diablo IV Build for the Barbarian Class - Upheaval Core Skill

And since you’re more likely to attract a lot of targets thanks to Challenging Shout, you’ll gain Berserk and be able to maintain it much longer. Berserk amplifies your damage and improves Movement Speed, which the Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build greatly needs.

Barb Build for Boss Fights

Boss fights are handled a bit differently with this Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build because they’re not straightforward to go up against if you’re limited to dealing Thorns Damage. It’s for this reason that we have to change our tactics a bit.

Death Blow

The great thing about Death Blow is it’s very effective against regular mobs and Bosses. This Weapon Mastery Skill even rewards you further upon defeating just a single enemy. As such, you trigger it over and over again since the cooldown will be reset. So you won’t have to wait for 15 seconds before using it. 

Diablo IV Build for the Thorns Barbarian - Death Blow Weapon Mastery Skill

Particularly, Death Blow is best used to finish off targets who are nearing their demise. It’s made all the more essential in tougher encounters due to Enhanced Death Blow. This upgrade will significantly boost damage when facing Bosses by +100%! Since you want to make sure to keep Berserk up for the most part of combat, you’ll be taking Warrior’s Death Blow. Here, you’re not required to kill enemies to activate Berserk but, of course, it would be better. Instead, damaging them with Death Blow is enough.

Remember to also allocate points to Martial Vigor in order to reduce the damage this D4 Build takes against Bosses. And if in case the enemy is too beefy, you’ll need to weaken them first with Upheaval and Wrath of the Berserker. 

Wrath of the Berserker

Wrath of the Berserker is best used against Elites, and it’s the last Skill to use in order to activate Berserk while generating enough Fury to repeatedly cast Upheaval. At its basic form, you’re guaranteed to go Berserking once Lunging Strike comes into effect. You can even Knock Back enemies and become Unstoppable to break free from crowd control. So you won’t be vulnerable to getting Stunned, Slowed, or Blinded so you can perform at your best.

Diablo IV Build for the Thorns Barbarian - Wrath of the Berserker Ultimate Skill to Gain Berserking and Unstoppable

Meanwhile, you’ll be gaining access to two of Wrath of the Berserker’s upgrades, namely Prime Wrath of the Berserker and Supreme Wrath of the Berserker. These will increase both Movement Speed and Fury Generation in addition to boosting the damage provided by Berserk when Upheaval is triggered, making it so that Bosses will no longer be a threat to you.

Final Tips

For this Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build, be on the lookout for Strength, Dexterity, Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage Bonus, Thorns, and Cooldown Reduction. Meanwhile, Maximum Life, Life on Kill, and Damage Reduction will help you live longer in combat, which you’ll need to rely on given the massive damage you take in the melee range. Once you have these, this will be considered one of the strongest and most resilient Diablo IV Builds of the Barbarian Class.

When it comes to passives, you’ll be investing in Imposing Presence, Outburst, and Tough as Nails. Imposing Presence raises your Maximum Life, and in doing so improves survivability and Thorns Damage whereas Outburst further increases Thorns % based on your current Maximum Life, making them synergize well with each other. And finally, Tough as Nails raises Thorns by a fixed percentage while also dealing a bit of Bleeding damage over time (DoT).

Outburst Passive Skill
Tough as Nails Passive Skill

For the Legendary Aspects, the must-have for this Diablo 4 Build is the Needleflare Aspect, which will give you a chance to deal Thorns Damage to all nearby enemies regardless of whether or not they hit you. Remember to slot this in your Two-Handed Weapon to boost its power by 100%! Next is the Death Wish Aspect to gain more Thorns while Berserking whereas the Aspect of the Protector, which should be slotted in Amulets to increase the Power by 50%, creates a Barrier to absorb damage. Lastly, there’s the Aspect of Echoing Fury to allow Challenging Shout to generate Fury for Upheaval while the Skill remains active.

Be sure to check out our Diablo 4 Wiki for any other questions you have about the game and the Builds page if you are looking for more Diablo IV Builds, as well as our Getting Started Guide and Best Class to Play in the Beta Guide if you are looking for more Diablo 4 content!

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1 response to “Diablo 4 Thorns Barbarian Build Guide”

  1. In the skill distribution list it says Battle Lunging Strike which should be Combat Lunging Strike.

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