Iron Spiral Barbarian

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Lathron
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Hello there, I'm a returning player who hasn't played median in years and I tried a few frustrating builds before I finally found something that works. First of all, no matter what class/build you're playing it is essential to read the docs. Start with the cube recipes and explore the items and quests sections. An iron spiral barbarian is quite strong and has fantastic damage. The skill hits a large circular area for a melee skill so you'll have no issues with mobs hitting you from behind while you use a frontal/cone attack like some other melee skills. Even though late endgame you want to go gladiator's dominance + dex build for max block, until you have +400 signets of learning eaten and most charms there's no point in trying to achieve a decent block chance and you'll likely just gimp your character trying to do so, I advise you to do this for your early game/midgame/charms:

EARLY GAME:
Go full strength and use a 2-handed sword, no shield for most of normal and nightmare with wolf stance for the movement speed and attack speed, wolf/lion stance with stormblast for boss killing, bear for tough areas. You can max wolf stance for rushing to hell with insane movement speed and respec later. Make 75% resistances and a high defense body armor a priority and you'll have no issues. Use whatever runewords you want along the way but don't count on them at 90+ as you'll be using runemaster and want to maximize the number of runes in your gear. Also, you will likely have mana issues on boss fights but mana on attack mos on your weapon will let you spam your abilities freely. Try to get
The Dao of Xiansai
The Dao of Xiansai
Great Sword (4)

One-Hand Damage: (14 - 16) to (32 - 45)
Two-Hand Damage: (25 - 29) to (42 - 56)
Required Strength: 105
Required Level: 11
Strength Damage Bonus: (0.26 per Strength)%
+1 to All Skills
15% Attack Speed
15% Hit Recovery
+(18 to 35)% Enhanced Damage
+(15 to 25) to Maximum Damage
(51 to 75)% Bonus to Attack Rating
+(101 to 150) Defense
+1% to Experience Gained
Socketed (2)
One-Hand Damage: (31 - 35) to (70 - 83)
Two-Hand Damage: (60 - 67) to (96 - 112)
Required Strength: 151
Required Level: 29
Strength Damage Bonus: (0.26 per Strength)%
+2 to All Skills
25% Attack Speed
25% Hit Recovery
+(52 to 69)% Enhanced Damage
+(31 to 40) to Maximum Damage
(101 to 125)% Bonus to Attack Rating
+(201 to 250) Defense
+2% to Experience Gained
Socketed (4)
One-Hand Damage: (59 - 64) to (123 - 149)
Two-Hand Damage: (114 - 123) to (172 - 201)
Required Strength: 291
Required Level: 49
Strength Damage Bonus: (0.26 per Strength)%
+3 to All Skills
35% Attack Speed
35% Hit Recovery
+(87 to 103)% Enhanced Damage
+(51 to 70) to Maximum Damage
(151 to 175)% Bonus to Attack Rating
+(301 to 350) Defense
+2% to Experience Gained
Socketed (5)
One-Hand Damage: (77 - 83) to (166 - 193)
Two-Hand Damage: (148 - 160) to (228 - 259)
Required Strength: 570
Required Level: 57
Strength Damage Bonus: (0.26 per Strength)%
+4 to All Skills
40% Attack Speed
40% Hit Recovery
+(104 to 120)% Enhanced Damage
+(71 to 90) to Maximum Damage
(176 to 200)% Bonus to Attack Rating
+(351 to 400) Defense
+3% to Experience Gained
Socketed (6)
and some of the tiered uniques listed in the midgame section that you find/you can create.

MID GAME:
Build:
► Show Spoiler


Since you want to use runes in every socket you'll rely on tiered uniques and crafts to start. Here's a list of equipment that you can use to farm your charms solo (use https://docs.median-xl.com/doc/items/tiereduniques to see the proper sigma stats).
► Show Spoiler


Nothing in this list is hard to come by. We use a shield for the base defense it provides (you have a lot of %total character defense so the base defense on body armor and shield become very important) and the shield bonus to lion stance more than makes up for not using a 2h sword. Use 15% enhanced defense mos on body armor and shield until 200% enhanced defense and then put full jah runes in them and in your weapon. For the other items use whichever runes you find useful at the time, I used some resists, 5% strength or 3% all attributes. Our gear focuses on high %attack rating (900%+) to make up for going full strength (with the dex you get from charms, gear and mountain king together with the combined %ar on gear you will have 80-90% chance to hit) and runemaster, immortal together with wolves helps us achieve insane def and some avoid (20-30%) in lion stance to counter the -%dr. Some more %lifesteal or life after kill from your crafts is needed but if you don't have it you can use pots from time to time instead.

PLAYSTYLE:
Summon your wolves, buff with Thundergod
Lion Stance + Iron Spiral will stunlock mobs and kill them fast
Lion Stance + Stormblast will melt bosses and other high hp targets
Wolf Stance + Windform to get to a place/skip mobs
Bear stance is needed sometimes, if your hp is dropping you can quickly switch mid-combat, heal up, switch back to doing dmg or kill slower in bear stance if that's what you're comfortable with. For just a few areas you'll need permanent bear stance for the %dr (your chance to be hit is likely 5% in lion stance as well).

CHARMS:
Aeriel's 2h barb guide has a fantastic section on progression through ubers that I followed and you can rely on his knowledge, for some you'll need to stay in bear stance but for others you'll find that killing them faster in lion stance makes the fight that much easier.
Stats of my fresh barb in Lion stance:
http://prntscr.com/mdqheq
http://prntscr.com/mdqum4
http://prntscr.com/mdqvfq

Just try the build out, especially Lion Stance + Stormblast on bosses with 1400% + enhanced weapon dmg is lots of fun, I can assure you that there are very few builds that melt them quicker with tiered uniques and you can farm k3k and tran athula easily. I just wanted to share with you something that works and has an endgame variant (max block) that you can transition into. If any high level gladiator's dominance barbs want to share their side of the story I will add an endgame section with their name :)

PS: If any active, well-regarded forum member can start a miniguide thread for sigma that would be very nice, I was reluctant to post this as I haven't reached the very endgame (125+) but it is legitimately a very high damage build with decent survivability that just breezed through nightmare and hell and was able to get his charms with no special gear.
ATLien
Dark Huntress
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Can you rush through Duncraig, Triune, etc. with optimized Mid-Gear?
PaintedDots
Destroyer
7 | 0
I'm currently working on a similar Iron Spiral, what merc did you decide to go with? Currently I'm using A5 barbarian but he feels kind of useless (note, I severely lack in Median knowledge)
Lathron
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ATLien wrote:Can you rush through Duncraig, Triune, etc. with optimized Mid-Gear?


With this setup you're dealing heavy physical and lightning dmg with some magic dmg sprinkled on top. What you can do to optimize your midgame is get -enemy lightning resistance which affects both your 30% dmg conversion from iron spiral and your passive daedalus, this will increase your damage considerably if you have items/find ways to do it but it is not necessary because there are few mobs that will not get hit locked by your iron spiral in the 105-120 range. Duncraig is doable at a comfortable speed by using Windform to dodge the barrels, but if we talk about rushing places this guide is mostly intended for getting people to 120 smooth and fast and being able to farm everything up to that point, you can't run with tiered uniques forever, once you're there you either keep the build and use better gear from what you're farming (tu helm and shield can stay, besides they're good items, helm has attack speed, %attack rating, reanimates, %phys res, shield has 11k def after mos and jahs, attributes and %dr) or you switch to gladiator's dominance with a max dex build.

PaintedDots wrote:I'm currently working on a similar Iron Spiral, what merc did you decide to go with? Currently I'm using A5 barbarian but he feels kind of useless (note, I severely lack in Median knowledge)


Stick with your barbarian merc for his awesome Thunder Slam and give him your hand me downs like he's your little brother :) I've done most of the game without a mercenary because they are often unreliable, I only revive him when I farm high density places, I use reanimates as distractions (helm). When you see people's mercs owning or soloing something those mercenaries often have sacred uniques on them that are much better than anything mentioned here, with gear they do become useful. That being said, here are some sample items to improve your merc's utility:
Void
Void
Weapons

'Lo'
Runeword Level: 59
+(58 to 72)% Enhanced Damage
Adds 7-13 damage
Slow Target 33%
Cold Resist +40%
Lightning Resist +30%
Physical Damage Reduced by (11 to 15)
+(21 to 25) Mana on Striking
2% Reanimate as: Banshee
Slows target by 33% (screen-wide on Thunder Slam)
Toorc's Gift
Toorc's Gift
Heavy Gloves (4)

Defense: (15 - 18) to (30 - 34)
Required Strength: 24
Required Level: 3
2% Chance to cast level 1 Glacial Nova on Melee Attack
5% Attack Speed
Stun Attack
+(12 to 29)% Enhanced Defense
Cold Resist +(11 to 15)%
Socketed (1)
Defense: (129 - 143) to (160 - 177)
Required Strength: 35
Required Level: 20
3% Chance to cast level 2 Glacial Nova on Melee Attack
15% Attack Speed
Adds (21 to 30)-(31 to 50) cold damage
Stun Attack
+(47 to 63)% Enhanced Defense
Cold Resist +(21 to 25)%
Socketed (2)
Defense: (376 - 409) to (448 - 488)
Required Strength: 74
Required Level: 38
4% Chance to cast level 3 Glacial Nova on Melee Attack
25% Attack Speed
Adds (71 to 90)-(91 to 125) cold damage
Stun Attack
+(81 to 97)% Enhanced Defense
Cold Resist +(31 to 35)%
Socketed (3)
Defense: (568 - 614) to (685 - 740)
Required Strength: 154
Required Level: 46
5% Chance to cast level 3 Glacial Nova on Melee Attack
30% Attack Speed
Adds (161 to 200)-(201 to 250) cold damage
Stun Attack
+(98 to 114)% Enhanced Defense
Cold Resist +(36 to 40)%
Socketed (4)
Glacial nova on attack

Also, if anybody wants to contribute/considers that something that I've said is not right/has better ideas feel free to use the thread to do so, I am still experimenting but after trying 2-3 classes at 115+ this is one build that can do well solo with good survivability and satisfying dps while not using sets/sacred uniques that starting players do not have.
PaintedDots
Destroyer
7 | 0
Interesting, I will definitely try those 2 items on him. Mind posting or PMing your full current setup so I can compare?
m0uth
Prowler
19 | 1
So I have put all of my points where you suggested (I am 115) and have 46 skill points remaining, what should I max?
m0uth
Prowler
19 | 1
also, I was looking at this guide and was curious as to what you thought of the mid game gear he chose to use (weap choices, etc..)
antonius
Pit Knight
103 | 1
at the moment, I'm using the old guide and I'm not having problems except with the speed of movement, the lion stance will definitely give me a hand. Evaluate in game, thanks for the advice
Lathron
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m0uth wrote:So I have put all of my points where you suggested (I am 115) and have 46 skill points remaining, what should I max?


Ancient Blood raises the max level of your skills by 1 with every 4 levels so you put points in there, begin with 16 in Ancient Blood, then you max Daedalus, Immortal and Runemaster, if you still have points left go to 20 Ancient Blood, leave a few points unskilled for your new charms that will increase your maximum skill levels. Ancients Blood gives you %life while Daedalus gives you max life so they synergize well, this way you will have 9-10k life with no specific vit/+life items with 115 charms.

Example for level 115 (4 free points saved for future charms):

► Show Spoiler
m0uth
Prowler
19 | 1
Lathron wrote:
m0uth wrote:So I have put all of my points where you suggested (I am 115) and have 46 skill points remaining, what should I max?


Ancient Blood raises the max level of your skills by 1 with every 4 levels so you put points in there, begin with 16 in Ancient Blood, then you max Daedalus, Immortal and Runemaster, if you still have points left go to 20 Ancient Blood, leave a few points unskilled for your new charms that will increase your maximum skill levels. Ancients Blood gives you %life while Daedalus gives you max life so they synergize well, this way you will have 9-10k life with no specific vit/+life items with 115 charms.

Example for level 115 (4 free points saved for future charms):

► Show Spoiler

Thank You! bummed the gloves no longer give walk/run speed =(