As emphasized in my previous blog, Kanai’s Cube will be the star of the show in the upcoming 2.3 patch. Tons of talk about what’s possible, what isn’t and some early ideas have flooded the Blizzard forums. This blog will dive into some current builds and see which items might work well with those builds.
Before getting into the theorycrafting, we need to establish what Kanai’s Cube is and what the main function will be. Kanai’s Cube will become similar to an artisan in that you have to unlock it through completing some type of content. In this case, Kanai’s Cube will be in Adventure Mode in the new Ruins of Sescheron area. Kanai’s Cube will allow players, once unlocking this feature, to be able to melt down legendaries and use properties from the legendaries as complimentary passives. Currently, a player may use a weapon, armor and jewelry slot for the passive effects.
Effects would like freezing immunity using Ice Climbers. Set bonuses do not apply here nor will Hellfire Amulets. You cannot double dip bonuses so double the effect of Calamity’s Marked for Death will not grant x2 Marked for Death debuffs on monsters. Also, bonuses that involve percentages such as Elite damage from a Furnace will be set at the maximum number.
Based on this description so far, the first thing to note is that quite a few legendaries at this moment do not have affixes that might be applied here. Since there will be some upgrades as mentioned in the post, we cannot at this point speculate which legendaries will be receiving upgrades nor account for them here at this moment. Instead, I will look at the known legendaries. First, I will go over builds based on sets.
The top Natalya’s Vengeance builds tend to use the full 6 set bonus along with Focus/Restraint to maximize damage. Usually, the shoulder slot ends up going Death Watch‘s Mantle since there is no shoulder piece. Using this build as the template, we can modify this by adding the Ring of Royal Grandeur bonus that will allow us to use a different gear slot. Here, you can possibly swap out the shoulder piece and another slot (say legs) and go with either 2 pieces from the Unhallowed Essence set or Marauders set. The pro’s for going Unhallowed Essence is that you will gain a new way to refill your discipline if it runs low while the 2 piece Maurader will give you all your pets back.
Another possibility is to swap out the legs for the Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan to gain more resource reduction and using the K‘mar Tenclip to gain the Drifting Shadow (or possibly use Calamity as in my situation since I already have an ancient K‘mar Tenclip). This combination will be exceptional powerful for speed farming and doing high damage, especially in the new Torment difficulty levels.
With the Unhallowed Essence set, most people are again going full 6 piece bonus with Focus/Restraint. And if they play seasonal, they use a high damaging 2-handed crossbow with the Dead Man‘s Legacy to boost Multishot’s damage. The problem with Unhallowed Essence as I mentioned in the past is the lack of defense. The 20% damage reduction provided through the set is conditional and skimpy. Most mobs will start one shotting you in solo play unless you sacrifice some damage through using a defensive legendary gem or even getting rid of Focus/Restraint.
Given that, for solo play, I think that Unity will end up becoming BiS for your jewelry slot. After that you can either use the effects from Calamity or a Balefire Caster for gaining bonus damage. From there you can probably use Steady Strikers or Lacuni Prowlers for gaining attack speed and use Reaper Wraps to help with providing health globes for keeping your hatred high.
Another alternative is to use a Cindercoat for the fire resource reduction effect on Multishot/Arsenal or even Omryn‘s Chain to drop caltrops per vault. You could do some kind of speed farming thing too using the Danetta’s set, keeping the Multishot bonus damage from your Deadman’s Legacy and adding Omryn’s Chain so the map becomes covered in caltrops. Maybe swap out Vengeance for a runed version of caltrops for more CC.
Marauder’s is pretty popular in a 5-piece incarnation used in conjunction with a Cindercoat. Most people probably use either Unity or a Stone of Jordon in those builds. However, Focus/Restraint also synergizes well with Marauders because of how most people use it with Evasive Fire: Focus for the best Hatred generation. If you go that route, you could add the Ring of Royal Grandeur so you can keep Focus/Restraint but go back to using a Cindercoat. That still gives you the opportunity to use another armor piece and weapon.
In that scenario, you could add a Deadman’s Legacy on top of the Bombadier‘s Rucksack for high powered multishot damage. And you could go ballistic on the pets by using The Cloak of the Garwulf. Or if you choose to go more defensive, you could use the Beckon Sail to get the Smoke Screen/healing second chance bonus.
Strongarm Bracers might make a comeback here too since you could use Reaper Wraps for the health globes resource regeneration and gain the bonus damage from stun using Polar Station with Sentries or your Bane of the Trapped gem. Also, instead of a Deadman’s Legacy quiver, you could go with a Balefire Caster or Calamity for a flat 20% damage increase.
Wrath of the Wastes
Like many builds in patch 2.2, the Wrath of the Wastes set is very popular in using Focus/Restraint to maximize damage. That does make a barbarian a little more vulnerable compared to going double Unity. So for jewelry you could do a Unity for your jewelry slot. Alternatively, you could just try for double immunity amulets like electricity and poison. For myself, I found myself getting zapped quite often by both effects in higher greater rifts, so double immunity gives you more insurance if you have that option.
You could go for a Hellfire Amulet for your base and an immunity necklace too. I kinda feel that if you go this route and plan to do greater rift hunting, you’re probably better off with double Unity in solo runs. That way you just get a flat 50% damage reduction bonus and the 5th passive bonus.
For your weapon passive, I’m certain most people will probably use the much beloved Furnace. Bul-kathos weapons are pretty much must-haves for a pure Wrath of the Wastes barbarian but not having the elite damage from a Furnace does hurt. Another potentially interesting item here is the Solanium weapon because of the way it can drop health globes from Critical Hits. That will compliment Battle Rage: Swords to Ploughshares and essentially give you a 12% chance to drop health globes from critical hits. So your survival and rage will be kept pretty high.
Another cool item to use in the armor slot is Ancient Parthan Defenders. I think a lot of the high end barbarians run these when doing greater rifts. The idea here is providing damage reduction through stuns. I tend to like using Reaper Wraps for restoring my resources, which means now I can increase my defense on top of having good resource management.
Tal Rasha’s + Delsere’s Magnum Opus Set
I’m honestly not a huge fan of the pure Tal Rasha set. The combo with Delsere’s is much more fun for me even though the rotation and timing can get really tricky with this build. The build is mostly a cooldown build not so much a greater rift build. However, I’m eager to see if this build can become a greater rift build through providing three more passives.
The most important item to me is the Aether Walker. The combo build that I use relies on resetting your cooldowns from your Illusionist passive. If you have great timing, then the playstyle works well. But even if you have great timing, you’re bound to fuck up on occasion, especially because this build relies on taking damage to reset your cooldowns. For the build, you end up using Teleport: Calamity as an offensive spell. So sometimes you become vulnerable and may just end up getting one shot without the ability to get out of a jam. Adding the Aether Walker pretty much turns you into a wrecking ball. The build is not mana intensive so you can hop around quite a bit in using your Teleport.
Now, some people may argue that a Gesture of Orpheus is more important. Truthfully, it really depends on which one you have which can do the most damage. In my case, I have an ancient Gesture so I would add the Aether Walker for the weapon passive. But the Gesture is still important because of the reduction for Slow Time’s cooldown. So both will end up becoming your BiS for this build imo.
Another important aspect to this build is that you pretty much require a Ring of Royal Grandeur. If you want to maximize your damage, you probably still will want to use Focus/Restraint as Shock Pulse is part of the build for triggering Tal Rasha’s meteors. So you can now add back Focus/Restraint and employ a Ring of Royal Grandeur so you can do higher damage.
Finally, we get to your armor slot. Even without Kanai’s Cube, you can use the Nilfur‘s Boast which improves your Meteor’s damage. The thing is that there’s another item Crown of Primus which provides all runes for Slow Time. So now, you can use both which might be quite interesting. Another interesting item to use is Jang‘s Envelopment which slows enemies damaged by Black Hole. Since this build uses Black Hole and your Mirror Images can cast it, you could toss a lot of CC into this mix with Slow Time, Black Hole and your Mirror Images supplementing your casts.
The really high end Firebird Wizards I’ve seen tended to use the 6 piece bonus from the Firebirds set along with a Furnace. Since Firebirds got revamped and most people moved to pure Tal Rashas, there hasn’t been as much emphasis on Firebirds. I have seen one wizard take a near top spot with a modified version of the Firebirds build. Part of it looked to involve an Aether Walker. So now with Kanai’s Cube, we can do both have a Furnace and use an Aether Walker.
The great thing about Firebird wizards is that you can use a crafted Devastator and aim for an ancient version to provide solid damage right from the start. Now, you can add either the effects of an Aether Walker or Furnace while gaining fire damage without worrying about farming for an ancient version. Alternatively, you could also go for a Serpent Sparkler to gain double Mammoth Hydras.
I think if you use a Serpent Sparkler double Mammoth Hydra effect, you should probably add Tasker and Theo for the bonus pet attack speed. From there you can stack a ton of fire damage with the Firebird‘s Eye, Cindercoat, Magefist and a Stone of Jordon. Maybe add a Unity for some defense or Convention of Elements for more elemental fire damage.
For myself, I’ve found myself exceptionally resource starved with Blizzard: Apocalypse. So I could just go for Reaper Wraps on top of my Strongarm Bracers. For fast farming, the combo might be Reaper Wraps and Aether Walker along with a Convention of Elements.
Sunwuko took a major backseat this patch to Raiment Monks while Innes proved to be unpopular and mostly useless. However, I’m still a fan of the combo set. Kanai’s Cube will allow you to do some really cool stuff like going full 5 piece Innes with Innes. So here, you would go belt + weapon + pants + chest + boots for Innes and shoulders + gloves + helmet for Sunwuko (or the amulet and switching gloves for Innes gloves). But you can still use The Crudest Boots to retain your double Mystic Ally bonus and Incense Torch. You should be seeing tons of Exploding Palms and Wave of Lights triggered as a result.
Another cool item for the armor slot would be to use Tzo Krin‘s Gaze, which turns your Wave of Lights into ranged attacks. If you want that build you would have to use belt + weapon + chest + pants + gloves for the full 5 piece bonus with Innes and Sunwuko amulet + helmet + shoulders. Then you can keep The Crudest Boots and add in the Tzo Krin’s Gaze passive for ranged Wave of Light attacks along with the Incense Torch.
Raiment of a Thousand Storms Monk
Another full 6 piece style build with Focus/Restraint. Weapon of choice seems to be the Flying Dragon for the doubling of your attack speed. The other popular item for weapons is the Jawbreaker because of how Dashing Strike refunds a charge if the enemy is at a certain distance. That would save an immense of spirit while maintaining high damage. So maybe the build might look like a combination of Jawbreaker/In-geom (for cooldown reduction) and Flying Dragon’s attack speed bonus.
Armor-wise, The Laws of Seph might become popular since Blind is pretty popular for this build at higher greater rifts. Blind from that spirit stone I believe refunds spirit so you get a ton of CC along with spirit. Another good item is Spirit Guards as you can get damage reduction from your spirit generators. If you’re finding yourself resource starved (which can happen), then Reaper Wraps are still important. But having both Spirit Guards and Reaper Wraps ensure resource efficiency and defensive capabilities.
Unity would be helpful here in solo play. So that along with Spirit Guards will provide a good amount of defense while allowing you to continue using Focus/Restraint. One other item to mention is Sledge Fist for the stun, but I would discount that for the time being since CC won’t be as effective in the coming patch.
Stampede Phalanx Crusader
Immediately, the first thing that came to mind was using Belt of the Trove and Mortal Drama for the auto-bombardment AoE effect. I really like Stampede Crusader when it comes to single target attacks. However, depending on the environment, Stampede can really suck with large groups of monsters. Kanai’s Cube allows for formerly unused items like Belt of the Trove and Mortal Drama to compliment builds that don’t have room for them. Bombardment Crusader never became a thing after Blizzcon sadly mostly because it’s impractical. Now, we will get that opportunity finally to put those items to use.
Besides, those two items, I imagine that Convention of Elements or Unity will be pretty popular. Same with double immunity amulets. Again, I think the flat 50% damage reduction will be very popular and still allow for Stampede Crusaders to use something like a Stone of Jordon.
Roland Punishment/Sweep Crusader
I finally managed to acquire enough gear to do a basic version of one of these. I’m doing a 6 piece version with Focus/Restraint using an Angel Hair Braid to provide me with all Punishment runes. Punishment exist for me to trigger the bonus from Focus/Restraint but by itself it’s not a great damage dealer compared to the main Sweep attack.
Right now, with Kanai’s Cube, I’m eyeballing adding the Ancient Parthan Defenders, Swiftmount and Unity. The idea here is that I’ll gain a lot of missing defensives since this is a very damage heavy build. Swiftmount allows me to move faster for longer durations since I do not have the luxury of cooldown reduction compared with the Stampede build that focuses on CDR. I could swap out the ring slot for an Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac to help on the CDR front. But I might start with more defense since it’s an area that this build can seriously lack.
Jade Harvester Witch Doctor
I feel Jade Harvesters will make a nice comeback with the Kanai’s Cube. The biggest issue with Jade Harvester, for me at least, is that this is a very cooldown intensive build. But the build itself isn’t as cooldown focused compared to Stampede Crusader or Raekors even. The fact that you’re forced to use a Quetzalcoatl as opposed to a Leoric’s Crown really hurts the build once Spirit Walk or Soul Harvest go on cooldown. In my case, I actually managed to find an ancient Quetzalcoatl but it lacked a socket. In turn, I was forced to salvage it.
Kanai’s Cube solves a lot of problems for this build since you can start to put more effort in getting your cooldown reduced. Most builds go 5 piece + Quetzacoatl and use either a Furnace or Wormwood. Wormwoods by themselves aid this build immensely by giving you both poison elemental damage and autocasting Locust Swarm, thus saving you on mana.
Still your Achilles heel is Soul Harvest because of the 15 seconds CDR. You can get 18% CDR just by moving your autocasting from Locust Swarm into the passive and going single weapon + mojo. Then you can use something like a Leoric’s Crown to give you 25% more CDR.
Next you can aim for more defense or CDR. You can go more defensive by using a Tall Man’s Finger passive and employing the Ukhapian Serpent to redirect damage to your dog. Then you can save the extra slot for another Unity or Convention of Elements. If you want more CDR you can go for the Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. Since this build gets you up close, you’ll probably want to go more defensive.
If you find that your CDR is reasonable, you could have some fun by checking out various belt passives. Normally, I use a Haunting Girdle since I get double Haunt and the Jade Harvester set allows me to spam cast Haunt. I could go more CC oriented by adding the Hwoj Wrap passive that slows enemies affected by Locust Swarm (which is autocast from Wormwood). I could do that or use a Vigilante Belt to max out my CDR. Or I could use a Belt of Transcendence and get a bunch of fetishes to follow me around.
Another class that will receive some major upgrades because of Kanai’s Cube. Right now, I’ve got a pretty decent Pet Doctor with some nice BiS gear. My main weakness is a lack of an ancient weapon but that’s because I use a Starmetal Kukri that I finally had found after taking forever. This is a situation where Kanai’s Cube really makes a huge difference. Here, if I ever manage to discover an ancient one hander, I can melt my Starmetal Kukri down and just use the passive while gaining more damage. For instance, let’s say I found an ancient Doombringer. Here, I can get the 20% physical elemental damage along with the awesome CDR to Big Bad Voodoo.
Beyond that, I think belts again is where Kanai’s Cube is going to be incredible. Right now, I have both a Belt of Transcendence and a Witching Hour. The Witching Hour would give me a flat damage increase because of the attack speed increase and critical hit damage. But the Belt of Transcendence is irreplaceable just because the fetish generation passive is tremendous. Here, I would probably just stick with the Witching Hour and use the passive from the Belt of Transcendence.
Another possibility is to use the Haunting Belt for double haunts with the Belt of Transcendence. Not sure if the Haunting Belt will mean doubling the frequency of fetish generation but this would be immensely helpful in slow rifts where the density is non-existent.
The other thing I could do is get back my pet attack speed via Tasker and Theo. Right now, most pet doctors probably ended up sacrificing Tasker and Theo gloves to get the set bonus since most people probably did not want to use the Zunimassa ring. Now, I can use the Ring of Royal Grandeur for my passive, put in the Zunimassa ring and swap my set gloves for Tasker and Theo at the same time while having room for one more armor piece (which probably will be the belt slot).
Another cool pairing might be using the Homunculus passive of summoning a zombie dog with a Tall Man’s Finger. The zombie dog will be a bigger one. Not sure if this means that you’ll have tons of big dogs running around but it might be interesting to try. Even if you don’t use the Tall Man’s Finger, the Homunculus passive is still pretty neat to try, especially if you decide to add Sacrifice as an action.
I know I missed other builds like Raekors but I haven’t really looked into them as deeply. Also, I avoided talking about older sets that weren’t upgraded in the last patches. I figure that Helltooth or Earthquake sets will see improvements in this patch but I can’t comment on them without knowing what the new revamped bonuses will be. In addition, I didn’t talk about all legendary effects. For instance, I missed talking about Depth Diggers even though it might be one of the more interesting items to use in conjunction with Focus/Restraint for certain builds. But this blog mostly was intended to cover the areas I looked at in depth (mostly builds that I’m already using or semi-familiar with).