Guide [Barbarian]: Tornado Barbarian

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 14 July 2012 12:40
Today’s Build Collector episode focuses on the dual-wielding, high-DPS tornado Barbarian. We make the powerful melee warrior run like the wind and whirl through enemies, wearing a kick-ass budget gear for a little bit under 2 million gold.
Build, Concept and Playstyle

Tornado Barbarian (with fury on click)

Tornado Barbarian (without fury on click)

Build Characteristics:
Required Level 60
Difficulty: Inferno
Core skills: Sprint, Whirlwind
Hardcore Reliability: Only with 40%+ crit chance and 1500+ life on hit

It uses whirlwind!
Unorthodox playstyle
Very mobile
Allows for a lot of customization

Extremely expensive
Hard to master
Fragile to the point of death when undergeared

The build revolves around using Sprint [Run Like the Wind] and Whirlwind to maximize AoE damage and abuse the Life on Hit stat. The barbarian then uses Battle Rage [Into the Fray] (high crit chance necessary) to maintain both Whirlwind and Wrath of the Berserker [Thrive on Chaos] indefinitely. The build uses little to no defensive skills, essentially putting him in the glass cannon category but is one that, when geared properly, can keep his hit points up even amidst a sea of enemies.

If using the build with Bash, quickly build up fury, activate WotB and start spinning. Spam Sprint constantly to generate tornadoes in order to multiply the Life on Hit and Crit Chance sources. If using the build without Bash (or any other on-click fury generators), run around the mob packs with Sprint until the tornadoes build up fury. It is important to bind the move command to a key so that the barbarian does not stop suddenly.

Solo tornado Barbarians might want to get the Scoundrel as a follower for his +3% crit chance (or +10% damage if crit chance is already high enough) or, if building more defensively, the Enchantress with Powered Armor and Erosion.

Skills and Justification

The build relies heavily on offensive skills, usually using no more than one purely defensive active in addition to War Cry. Passive skills are all chosen to maximize DPS and sometimes even core skills such as Nerves of Steel are dropped in favor of more damage or life leech.

Below we examine the skills for the tornado barbarian with fury on click generator, as it's the easier to handle and play.

Bash [Instigation]
Whirlwind [Hurricane]
Sprint [Run Like the Wind]
Battle Rage [Into the Fray]
Wrath of the Berseker [Thrive on Chaos]
War Cry [Impunity]


Bash [Instigation] - Bash with Instigation rune is the quickest single target fury generator in the game, giving the Barbarian 12 fury per hit. This skill will serve as encounter opener and as emergency fury deliverer during battle should Battle Rage fails to maintain the fury income.

Whirlwind [Hurricane] - Hurricane is necessary for Inferno in order to quickly move away from pools of plague, arcane lasers, frost bombs, etc. Running at your movement speed is also the best sinergy to Sprint, as the farther you travel, the more tornadoes you will generate.


Battle Rage [Into the Fray] – This is the primary fury generator for the build. Every critical hit has a chance to restore 15 additional fury and since critical hits will be, more or less, every second or third hit, Battle Rage will make sure that the spinning Barbarian never hits 0 fury.

Sprint [Run Like the Wind] – The tornadoes build fury and benefit from Life on Hit and Crit Chance and are thus a source of both DPS increase and survivability, essentially turning the skill into a 4-in-1 treasure (increased movement speed, increased DPS, increased hit points regeneration and increased fury generation).


Wrath of the Berserker [Thrive on Chaos] – As the tornado Barbarian is built around skills that spend a lot and generate a lot of fury, Thrive on Chaos is an absolute must. Every two critical hits that trigger Into the Fray will add one second to the duration of the Berserker and Whirlwind will make sure that the fury cap is never reached so that the generated fury is not lost. The listed bonuses for WotB are wonderful, but making you immune to Crowd Control effects is what makes the skill shine. The indefinitely prolonged duration thanks to Intro the Fray and Run Like the Wind translates as permanent immunity to jailer, frost, knockback, vortex and nightmarish monsters.

War Cry [Impunity] – The must-have skill for every Inferno Barbarian. 50% increased All Resist and 20% increased Armor is almost too much.



Ruthless – Adds the essential for the build Crit Chance and Crit Damage. An absolute no-brainer.

Weapon Master – Tornado Barbarians pick this skill when they have a good mace/axe at hand which automatically provides additional 10% crit chance. Combined with Ruthless, these two skills alone deliver more than a third of the total crit chance necessary for this build to work perfectly. Even if mace/axe is not used, however, equipping a sword/dagger will also increase the overall DPS and a mighty weapon will help out with fury generation.

Nerves of Steel – Nerves of Steel is there to provide extra armor but is the passive that is easily replaceable by many other skills (see the Customization section below). Recommended for undergeared Barbarians who have troubles staying alive long enough to get the skill build running.

Skill Build Customization

Frenzy [Maniac] or Cleave [Reaping Swing] - As substitues for Bash [Instigation]. The downside of both is that they have lower LoH percentage (Bash has 100% while Frenzy has 75% and Reaping Swing has 66.7%). Cleave, however, will help with building up rage more quickly and Frenzy will increase the overall DPS and has the best single target efficiency. The drawback of Maniac, however, is that it will force you to stop spinning every few seconds in order to maintain the five-stack bonus, ultimately making Bash [Instigation] the most preferred on-click fury generator.

Whirlwind [Blood Funnel or Volcanic Erruption] - Although most players pick Hurricane for the mobility it provides, some prefer to leech hit points at a higher rate or to flat out deal more damage. This author's personal preference is Blood Funnel, but feel free to try all three runes and see which fits your playstyle the best.

Leap [Iron Impact] - Used for builds that use no on-click fury generators. It gives 15 fury upon landing and makes the barbarian essentially immortal for four seconds, during which he can build up enough fury in order to start spinning. Furthermore, Leap easily eliminates waller affixes as a threat.

Overpower [Crushing Advance] - Combines AoE dps and survivability in one skill. The reflected damage procs life on hit and life leech and combined with a high critical chance, this translates as having another permanent source of life regeneration.

Brawler - As a substitute for Nerves of Steel. Gives a 30% damage increase at all times.

Bloodthirst - As a substitute for Nerves of Steel. Often used when Crit Damage reaches very high numbers (400%+), which compensate for the 80% life leech nerf on Inferno.

Superstition - As a substitute for Nerves of Steel. Decreases incoming damage from non-physical sources and acts as an additional fury generator.



The tornado barb is a dual-wielder.
High Life on Hit is a must. At least 1300-1400 are needed in order to survive amidst the enemies .
Find weapons with sockets and use the best emeralds in your possession for higher Crit Damage percentages.


Prioritize Crit Chance and Life on Hit over anything else.
When the above two reach values that guarantee your survival and fury build-up, focus on All Resist, Armor and Crit Damage. Trade Vitality for Strength depending on if you prefer playing a more tanky or a more glass-cannony Barbarian.
Until you get high-level gear, socket for Vitality. Once you reach 50K+ life without non-helm Amethysts, you can start socketing with Rubies for Strength.

Gearing on a Budget

As dual-wielding and the necessity for high LoH and Crit Chance make the tornado barbarian slightly more expensive, we set the upper gold limit at 2,000,000. This is what the Auction House offered after ~40mins of searching. We used this class calculator to get the numbers we could not get by hand.

The total:
Gold: 1,972,000
Life on Hit: 1,670
Armor: +2919 (4500 with Nerves of Steel and War Cry)
All Resist: 488 (732 with Impunity)
+ Str: +701 (888 total)
+ Vitality: +704 (831 total)
Sockets: 2 (weapon), 1 (armor), 1 (helm)
Total Crit Chance: +38,5% (including Battle Rage and innate crit chance)
Attack speed: +12%
+% Life: 12 (with Flawless Square Amethyst)
Total Crit damage: 190% (with 2x Flawless Square Emerald, Ruthless and innate crit damage)
DPS: 14,250 (16K+ with Battle Rage)
Hit Points: 32,575 (with Flawless Square Amethyst in helm)

We aimed at having enormous numbers for All Resist as this is an even more crucial stat for tornado Barbarians. The Life on Hit ended up being more than 1,600 which is absolutely splendid and there's a good balance between Strength and Vitality. The only flaw here is the low Armor (peaking at 4,500 with War Cry and Nerves of Steel) but the high LoH and the high All Resist should compensate for this.

WEAPONS: 360,000 - Thanks to some good deals we found, we managed to get both weapons for 360K. Searched for 600+ Life on Hit and a socket

AMULET: 200,000 - Searched for 150+ Life on Hit and 7%+ critical chance.

BELT: 12,000 - Searched for 70+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist.

BOOTS: 300,000 - Searched for 70+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 50+ to All Resist. As this was one of the last purchases we bought, we knew that we could go a little easy on the money.

BRACERS: 25,000 - Searched for Critical Hit chance and All Resist in the 50,000 limit. Those bracers also had +Strength, +Intelligence and a good deal of Vitality.

CHEST: 280,000 - Searched for 70+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist, ordered by Armor Value.

GLOVES: 10,000 - Searched for +5% attack speed and +7% crit chance. They came with a bonus Vitality, which made us very, very happy.

HELM: 20,000 - Searched for Has Socket, Vitality and All Resist within the 100,000 gold limit.

PANTS: 15,000 - Searched for 70+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist.

RINGS: 320,000 for both - Searched for one offensive ring (Crit Chance and Attack Speed) and one defensive ring (All Resist and 150+ Life on Hit)

SHOULDERS: 225,000 - Searched for 70+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist.