Guide:Magic Find Barbarian 1.09, by Flux Part II
Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
- Patch: v1.09
- Gametype: PvE/PvM
- Guide Topic: Mephisto
- Class: Barbarian
- Specialisation: Magic Find Barbarian
- Author: Flux
- Pages: One, Two, Three, Four
- Related Article(s): Magic Find 
I recommend that you do a sword barbarian, either from scratch just to be your big MF'er, or you can convert an existing one. In any event, the main weapon recommendations in this equipment overview will be for swords, for that reason. Other types of weapons are covered to some degree, but less thoroughly. It's not all that hard to pick your weapon anyway, you want one with IAS, big damage, maybe some leech, etc.
There are a few caveats on the MF'er weapon though, since big big damage isn't really your goal. You want a weapon that does enough damage to kill the monsters, but since you'll generally be doing your item finding runs in solo games, you don't need a huge damage item. It helps, but it's not like you are trying to solo the Ancient's Way in an 8 player game, where massive damage is the order of the day.
In fact, it's often helpful to do less damage, since you want to whittle the monsters down to just a sliver, so you can then kill them with just a few swings of your Ali Baba. If you are doing huge bites of damage with each hit, you'll find it difficult to get the monsters low, and will either kill them with your main weapon, costing yourself 200% MF, or will have to swing repeatedly with your Ali Baba, taking longer and probably getting yourself battered and maybe having to drink potions.
If you can get a weapon with decent damage and AR that's good enough, and it has other things, like +hit points, resistance, etc, it's much better for your MF'ing than just a pure huge damage weapon. Use the bigger damage one to level, switch to the all around weapon when you go full time to MF'ing. [Top]
Long Term Goals
For successful Meph runs (Pindleskin is easier) you need about the following:
- 1200+ max WW damage
- 5% life and mana leech (less mana leech or damage and you'll have to stop WW'ing at times and Bash to fill up your blue)
- 1500 hit points
- 40% blocking
- 25% resistance to all (Meph has a semi-painful poison attack.)
If you're using Berserk or Frenzy you'll need somewhat different stats. Berserk you'll have higher damage and AR than Whirlwind does, but you won't be leeching with every hit.
You'd like to be a lot higher on all of these, but these are your minimum guidelines. The resistance and blocking is much more important on the way down to Meph than to take him on yourself, and the more hit points the better, to give you a margin of error.
Resistance is easiest for a Barbarian to meet (compared to all the other characters), by Hell you can have 30% for 3 Anya quest rewards and 60% for your Natural Resistance, giving you -10% to all completely naked. Adding 50% to all is very easy, especially with a shield, and that would give you 40% to all right there, with just one resistance item and some skill points. Piece of cake.
A well-equipped Barbarian by Clvl 80, in full 700% or more MF gear, can have 2500 hps, 70% resistance to all, 1800 max 1H WW damage, 5-10% dual leech, and 60% blocking, making it virtually impossible for him to die. [Top]
For weapons and equipment, keep in mind that you can't add the Str/Dex to an item that will let you equip it. For example if you need 170 Str to equip your sword, and you have 160, adding +10 to the sword won't help. You would need to add the 10 Str from another item, and then the sword would be equip-able, and any bonuses it had to Str would add on top of that.
To add Magic Find, you must socket Topaz, Ist Runes, or Jewels.
- Ist Rune: 25% MF in Helm, Armor, or Shield, 30% in Weapon.
- Perfect Topaz: 24% in Helm or Armor
- MF Jewel: 1-17% MF in anything. Around 7-10% is common.
Ist is the biggest MF in Helm or Armor, but since it's just 1% more than a Perfect Topaz, and Ist is about 10,000,000x harder to find than a topaz, don't use it there. Save your Ist (if you ever actually find one) for a weapon, or shield, in very rare cases. Since you'll usually be using dual Ali Baba for the kill MF in your shield isn't a priority.
Armor and Helm: Socketing here differs much from normal. Not so much hardcore, where sockets are usually for survival or MF, but in Softcore it's much more common to socket your helm and/or armor with enhanced damage jewels. Those aren't needed or desirable on an MF Barb. You'll want to maximize the MF on every piece of equipment, and go to all MF gear. No point in using a Shaftstop with a perfect topaz, you're better off with a 4t armor, if you don't have a Skullder's or Wealth. You shouldn't find it so hard to survive that you need big defensive gear, especially not with a shield to cover your resistances and add blocking.
So in your Armor and Helm you'll always use some big MF stuff, not just a rare or general purpose item with a Topaz, if at all possible.
Ali Baba: You should have two Ali Baba to switch to for the kill. They come with two sockets, and can't be used in the socketing quest, so you save yourself a quest reward there. You should put Ist into them. If you have 4 Ist, you'll be up to 240% MF from your weapons at Clvl 80. Congrats. Few players have that many Ist though, so go for the next best thing, MF Jewels. You can get 7-9% pretty commonly, and that's not much on its own (though more than a perfect MF small charm) but with 4 of the you're adding 30% or more. Jewels go up to 17% MF, but over 11% is very uncommon.
Main Weapon: As for your main weapon, I recommend a resistance Jewel, or Hel. Bigger damage is nice, as is IAS, but you should have those good enough for your purpose, which is to kill bosses in a single player game (usually). Adding resistance helps a lot since you'll have more freedom with the rest of your equipment, and can really optimize for MF. Lowering the sword's requirements is very beneficial, since it's almost certainly by far your highest requirement item. If you socket a Hel in a Colossus Blade it will save you 20%, which takes the sword from 189/110 Str/Dex down to 151/88. That's 38 Str and 22 Dex, 60 fewer stat points. If you put those all into Vitality it's 240 hps, x 100% BO = 480 hps! Yes, almost 500 hps (more if you have +skill stuff on) from one socket. If you had a good -15% requirements jewel, that might be better, depending on the other mods on it.
Of course you are giving up some swing speed, or some damage, but for your MF'ing purposes, you don't really need that much IAS or damage, while you do need hps.
Thinking about a Shael? There is much player testing and research that seems to indicate that adding IAS in anything but your weapon does nothing to boost your WW IAS. So if you want your WW to be more effective, you should add a Shael or IAS jewel, but those won't always help either, since there are levels of speed you must meet to click to the next faster frame of attack rate. For example, you apparently need to add 35% IAS to a Champion Sword to make your WW a frame faster, and that's impossible in a Doombringer, since you only get one socket. You can read more about this ongoing discovery in our Barbarian or Stats forums.
Shield: This is almost always a diamond or Um, to cover your resistances, and let you add more MF gear, instead of resistance boots, jewelry, etc. The other useful option on a shield is a +10 Dex socket, either rune or gem or jewel, since it will add to your blocking % (2.5 Dex per 1% blocking) and help you defensively. Shael adds to blocking speed, but this is less useful unless you have very high blocking percent already. Blocking speed is good if you are taking many hits rapidly, such as you might get in the Cow Level, but generally with an MF barb you'll be hit when you run through some monsters, and are gone. No need for lots of fast blocking there. Meph and the Super Uniques you'll be killing are not fast repeat hitters either. [Top]
Charms will be a major source of your MF, assuming you can find enough. Small charms are the way to go, they can go up to 7% MF. Grands aren't bad, they can get 12%, or 4% per space, while Large Charms only get 1-6% MF, so 3% per space at best. In theory you could have 40 small 7% charms, adding 280% MF. See the inventory section on page one for tips about inventory layout and management. You would have to have at least 4 spaces for a Horadric Cube to put items in, and to play with a reasonable ability to pick up items generally works out to at least 12 spaces free in your Inventory. That still leaves 28 for charms, and you'll unlikely have 28 decent small MF charms anyway.
Other nice things to get on Charms are resistance, especially to Lightning and Fire, +hps, AR, Faster Run, GF%, physical or elemental damage, and +1 to skill trees on Grand Charms. Any of the three trees can be useful to add to. Warcries if you are doing Cows or playing in a party, since it helps your BO and your Hork. Combat Skills is best for offense, with WW, Berserk, and Concentrate. Masteries is all around helpful, with your Weapon Mastery, Increased Speed, Iron Skin, and Natural Resistance. Unfortunately the +skill and MF mods are both prefixes, so you can't get both on the same charm. [Top]
I recommend a sword, as stated elsewhere in this guide. Sword Mastery is the main reason, since it helps you kill faster with Ali Baba. Swords are very good in other ways also: they are the easiest to come by a big damage one of the various weapon types, they can all be wielded 2H for damage or 1H with a shield, they have a fast attack rate, and their requirements aren't all that high.
Here's a quick comparison of some popular sword types:
Executioner Sword (Excep Great Sword)
- Req: 170 Str, 110 Dex (280 stat points)
- One-hand dmg: 26-40, 32 Avg
- Speed: 10
Champion Sword (Elite Bastard Sword)
- Req: 163 Str, 103 Dex (266 stat points)
- One-hand dmg: 24-54, 39 Avg
- Speed: -10
Balrog Blade (Elite Giant Sword)
- Req: 185 Str, 87 Dex (272 stat points)
- One-hand dmg: 15-75 (45 Avg)
- Speed: 0
Colossus Sword (Elite Flamberge)
- Req: 182 Str, 105 Dex (287 stat points)
- One-hand dmg: 26-70 (48 Avg)
- Speed: 10
Colossus Blade (Elite Great Sword)
- Req: 189 Str, 110 Dex (299 stat points)
- One-hand dmg: 26-65, 45 Avg
- Speed: 5
When you consider that every stat point you put into Vit is worth 4 hit points, the Champion sword becomes very useful. 33 fewer stat points than a Colossus Blade = 132 hit points. That's like 8 or 9 good small hps charms, and you are of course doubling this with Battle Orders, so it's around 264 hit points.
Also consider the utility of socketing a Hel rune, or a jewel with -15% requirements, since the stat points you "save" and can thus devote to vitality will yield a tremendous hit point boost; much more than attempting to socket anything in your equipment to add hit points directly.
The swing speed makes a big difference too, as you'll be better with your WW, and then Bash or Berserk to whittle them down before you switch. Champion sword is a Shael better than an Exe or Col Sword, it's almost like a free socket.
Ideally you want to save more on the Str req than the Dex, since more Str is more damage, and we're not really worrying about that, which is why we don't need to max out our damage skills, such as Whirlwind or Berserk. More Dex = AR and blocking % with our shield, both of which are very helpful. If you do several hundred less damage, but have 5% or 10% more to/hit, you'll have no problem keeping full from leeching while doing WW's on Meph or Baal. This is why I'd much prefer a Champion Sword over a Balrog Blade.
All of the Elite two-handed swords are relatively equal in average damage, and a good % Cruel in any of them is quite enough damage to do your MF'ing runs successfully. The bigger damage ones will be more useful for general purpose leveling though. [Top]
Obtaining Your Weapon
Shopping is the easiest way. Get a high level character (75+, the higher the better to get more Excep and Elite items offered) and spend an afternoon in your own solo game, running between the Waypoint and Larzuk. Exciting and fun! Well, not at all, but you will eventually get some big damage weapons to buy. Cruel (+201-300% enhanced damage) is what you are after, either type of Cruel Colossus, Champion, or other weapon types. Even if you aren't going to use them yourself, buy any big Cruels, they have excellent trade value.
Suffixes of choice are ones that increase IAS, lower requirements, or +damage, though you'll very seldom have any choice. Normal weapons with Cruel are pointless, since the Clvl req for it is 43, and by then you'll need an Exceptional weapon.
You'll need to have a lot of gold when shopping. Generally good elite swords are 150 or 200k, but you might get one with odd charges on it, or other very expensive mods, and the price could be 500k or more. You'll kick yourself if you spawn one with great stats that you can't afford.
Cubing a Weapon
There are two recipes of use here. The first is easy, any three perfect gems with any magical item = magical item of the same type with semi-random mods. You need to do this with a high level item (preferably found in Hell) to get Cruel as a possible mod, since the ilvl of the weapon stays the same, in terms of what mods can be on it. If you find one that could have Cruel on it, then it will be possible to get it with the recipe, and this includes every elite sword, since they are all high enough level. This recipe isn't real likely to work out, and it's best to save your gems for this on an item that can't be shopped for, so I don't recommend it on swords, unless you have nothing else do to and it's just a hobby.
The more popular recipe for swords only is 3 chipped gems + 1 sword = magical sword of the same type, but with new mods and with 3 sockets. You need a high level sword for this one also, but only the top six elite swords can possibly get Cruel as a mod from this recipe. This means you can only get Cruel with Conquest, Cryptic, Mythical, Champion, Colossus Sword, and Colossus Blades, no matter where they drop or what level character buys them. This recipe makes the best possible swords in the game, since you could get a Cruel with a nice suffix, and 3 sockets also. Make it super fast, add a ton of damage or leech, lower the requirements, or all of the above. This one requires a ton of trials also, to get Cruel. You could probably live with a Ferocious also, with a high % damage, but you really want a Cruel, ideally with a good suffix.
Of course you can also get lucky and actually find one. There are two excellent Unique Elite Swords, Doombringer and Grandfather, and you could probably use a Lightsaber too, if you could find one. None of the Exceptional Unique or Set Swords are much use, though the Bul Kathos set ones are nice, but extremely hard to find. There are fewer Set/Unique weapons of use in other types. The unique elite polearm is good, but almost impossible to find, so you'll probably need to buy a big polearm. Axes have two very nice Elite Uniques, or you can buy one. There are no elite unique or set spears, so you'll have to buy one, and War Pikes are hard to get from NPCs at all, so good luck. Mauls aren't so hard, the Elite Uniques (Schaefers would probably be better, to use it one-handed) are very rare, but the Set Ogre Maul is quite a common Hell Meph drop, and a very effective weapon for Meph or Pindleskin, with the bonuses to Demons and Undead. However Ogre Mauls, like most Axes and all of the Polearms and Spears, are two-handed, which makes it tougher to optimize your equipment for MF, and survive.
Finding good magical weapons is almost unheard of, especially as infrequently as the top damage weapon types drop. You'll see more Elite weapons of the type you want in an hour of shopping than in a month of monster drops. Rares aren't normally worth mentioning as weapons, as badly as they are nerfed in D2X, but since you don't need especially enormous damage, you could possibly get a rare elite weapon with almost perfect stats, which would beat a low % Cruel on overall stats, though have less damage. +175% damage, +min/max damage, leech, IAS, etc, but the odds of that are worse than finding one of the elite Uniques.
Trading For One
You can try to trade for a big weapon. Most of the trading goes on for really top of the line stuff, the Uniques or tremendously big damage Cruel magical weapons, and you'd like one, but you don't *need* one. This is a good thing, since you can bottom-feed a bit, and pick up a 206% Colossus of Ease that no one else really wants. Try the trading channels on Battle.net or look in our Marketplace. Virtually anything you pay for it you'll more than recoup in just a few days of Meph runs, so get that sword and gogo! [Top]
I recommend a sword/shield for this. You can use any one-handed weapon equally well, but a good sword is easiest to obtain, and swords are best due to sword mastery working with your dual Ali Baba for the kill. You can do other types of weapons though, and still use Ali Baba even with no points in Sword Mastery, you'll just need a few more swings.
A shield is really the best option for your Durance 2 and 3 runs, especially for Hardcore. If you don't want to use one it's possible to do runs forever and live, or time out the first one and die. Any good damage weapon will do, and you can just use your normal killing weapon, Decapitator or IK Maul or Cruel War Pike or what have you.
Recommendations are in rough order of preference.
- +180-250% Enhanced Damage
- Adds 30-100 damage
- 40% Bonus to Attack Rating
- +20% to Maximum Life
- 5-7% Life stolen per hit
- 8% To cast level 3 Weaken on hit
Doombringer: This elite unique Champion sword is the best MF'ing weapon due to the bonuses on it. It's a Clvl 69 requirement, which isn't bad, since that's about when you'll start being powerful enough to do Meph runs.
The damage is good, not the biggest, but it has a nice minimum and average damage, and does more than enough to chop up Hell Meph in short order. The huge bonuses to hit points and AR are what really puts this one over the top, and when you add in the inherent superiority of a Champion sword (shown in the table above), this is the MF'ing weapon of choice. Even the % chance to cast Weaken is useful, but this will never trigger from WW'ing, only stand still attacks, such as Bash or Berserk.
I suggest a socket to add resistance, though if you are going to use it for leveling or dueling as well, you'll probably want to go with an enhanced damage jewel. If you are really skimping on your Sword Mastery or WW, you might even consider an AR bonus, but resist the temptation. You can add much more with a couple of easily-found AR charms.
- +150-250% Enhanced Damage
- +2.5 Max damage per Clvl
- 50% Bonus to Attack Rating
- +80 to Life
- +20 to Strength
- +20 to Dexterity
- +20 to Vitality
- +20 to Energy
Grandfather: The elite unique Colossus Blade is one of the most sought-after items in the entire game, and for good reason. It does enormous damage, and has huge bonuses to AR, as well as all stats and hit points on top of that. Very difficult to find and extremely expensive to trade for, this is probably beyond the means or luck of most players.
One problem is the Clvl 81 requirement, which is probably ten levels higher than you'd like to start using it for your MF'ing runs, and about 20 levels higher than what you need to equip most elite swords. So you'll need to level much higher to be eligible to use the Grandfather, and have some other big damage sword in the meantime.
Cruel Swords: The most commonly-used type of sword, (due to availability) a Cruel can be purchased or created. See the Obtaining Your Weapon section above for more details. Most sought after stats are big damage. If you have the luxury of more than one such sword, one you can use for leveling and one for MF'ing, use the smaller damage one for MF'ing, and socket it with something useful for this like resistance, lowered requirements.
You can easily wear +hps and +stats stuff for normal play, raising your Str/Dex to the full weapon requirements. It's only in MF'ing mode that you really want minimum requirements, since your MF gear won't add much bonuses. In theory a 300% Cruel Colossus Sword or Blade could have a Shael, a Hel, and a 15% res all jewel, and be low requirements, excellent damage, very fast, and give resistance.
Other Unique Swords: You can probably do okay with a variety of other swords, with the damage and IAS the most important factors. Lightsabre, The Atlantean, a v1.08 Ginther's Rift, or some others would get the job done, though they'd probably need a nice enhanced damage socketed jewel to come close to the better swords, and give you enough damage to keep your leech up.
Any quality two-handed weapon can be used, but shields are recommended as I've stated numerous times. There are some good damage Maces and Axes that can be used one handed. Polearms and Spears are all two-handed though, so use if you must, just don't lag out running through any mobs.
Maces: Schaefer's Hammer. Huge damage and great stats, but extremely difficult to find. Baranar's Star has very nice damage, elemental damage galore, a super fast attack, as well as +15 Str/Dex. You'll probably do better just going Berserk/Bash with either of these though, with their short range.
Axes: There aren't any elite unique one-handed axes. The Guardian Naga is possible, but pretty low on the damage. You'd do better with a Cruel Berserker Axe. The average damage of one is just .5 less than a Colossus Sword, which is the biggest damage sword, though the Berserker Axe is a bit slower to swing. It has the same range (3) as the big swords, so works fine for WW'ing with. [Top]
I highly recommend a shield for your runs, though it is optional. Especially for Hardcore; I've done hundreds of Meph runs, and never died on the way down there, (other than one unfortunate accident, and no, I didn't have a shield on at the time) but I'm sure I would have a number of times if I hadn't had a shield. You will get lag at some time, or you'll run through a small opening with dolls all around, and think you are clear, and 10 seconds later the screen warps back to show you still standing there, or as you run monsters don't move, and you hear 50 things hitting you at a time and your health dropping madly.
In short, lag happens, bad luck happens, and if you have a shield with good blocking, and to boost your MF gear-lowered resistances, you have a much better chance of living through it. If you are playing in non-MFing areas, trying to gain levels, or doing Bloody Runs, you should go without your shield, if your resistance can stand it.
Remember that the % blocking listed on the shields isn't necessarily the % blocking you'll do in the game. You can do less or more, it all depends on your level and your dexterity. Blocking in D2X is calculated with the following formula:
2 * (shield block %) * (dex - 15) / (level * 5)
This works out to you doing the listed blocking if you have about 2.5 Dex per Clvl. So at Clvl 80 if you have 215 total dexterity, you'll block at the % the shield lists for your class. You can hover on your defense display in the Character window to see your actual in-game blocking. Your blocking will steadily decline by about .9% per Clvl, if you add no points to Dexterity.
Shields are listed in rough order of preference.
Stormshield - 72% Barb Blocking
- +3.75 Defense per Clvl
- Physical Damage Reduced by 35%
- +30 to Strength
- 35% Faster Blocking
- +25% to Lightning Resist
- +25 Chance to Block %
- +60% to Cold Resist
- Attacker Takes 10 Lightning Damage
Stormshield: This Elite Unique Monarch is the ultimate MFer shield, and by far the hardest to come by. The stats are tremendous, with big blocking bonuses, good resistance to lightning and a ton to cold, and 35% damage reduction, which makes you so much tougher to physical damage. You'll have to be lucky to find it, or trade for it, but if you can get it it's tremendous. As with almost all shields, the diamond socket is the best bet; 19% resistance to all covers for your other equipment shortcomings very nicely.
Whitstan's - 85% Barb Blocking
- 175% Enhanced Defense
- Fastest Blocking (40)
- +55 Chance to Block
- Half Freeze Duration
- +5 Light Radius
Whitstan's Guard: The set round shield isn't that hard to find, and has the highest blocking % on any shield for a Barbarian, as well as a huge blocking speed bonus. The half freeze duration and light radius don't hurt either. There isn't any resistance on it, but if you socket a perfect diamond this is a very viable shield for Meph runs.
Gerke's - 79% Barb Blocking
- Physical Damage Taken Reduced by 11-16
- Magical Damage Taken Reduced by 14-18
- +15 Replenish Life (1.46 Life Per Second)
- +180-240% Enhanced Defense
- +100 Increased Durability
- +30 Chance to Block %
- +20-30% Resistance To All
Gerke's Sanctuary: This Unique Exceptional Pavise is sort of a mini-Stormshield. It boasts very nice blocking bonuses, some damage reduction (though it's a fixed number, rather than a percentage, like Stormshield's) tons of defense, and even life replenish. It's a heavy shield though, and will slow your running speed 10%. Still, probably the best shield other than Stormshield for your survival.
Moser's - 55% Barb blocking
- +25% Resistance To All
- +25 Chance to Block %
- +180-220% Enhanced Defense
- 30% Faster Blocking
Moser's Blessed Circle: One of the easier to find shields, this Unique Exceptional Round Shield doesn't do much, just adds to resistance and blocking, but it does those bonuses very well. The shield comes with 2 sockets, and 63% resistance to all is the total with two perfect diamonds, 6% more than a 3 diamond shield. You could socket Ists in it for 50% MF, but that's pointless since you'll be killing with dual Ali Baba.
Rhyme - 65% + Barb blocking
- Cannot be Frozen
- 40% Faster Block Rate
- 20% Increased Chance of Blocking
- Regenerate Mana 15%
- +25% to all Resistances
- +25% to Magic Find
- +50% Extra Gold from Monsters
Rhyme: This Runeword (ShaelEth) isn't hard to make, and if you put it in a nice shield the blocking bonus is better than most other shields. In a grim shield it beats the blocking on Mosers. A barb will have enough strength to put this into shields other characters wouldn't want to use. Every elite shield has at least 50% blocking, as much as a Grim shield, the second best Exceptional shield, so if you can find any 2s elite shield, you might save it for Rhyme.
Tiamat's - 35% Barb blocking
- Adds 27-53 Cold Dmg, 6 Sec Cold Time
- Adds 35-95 Fire Damage
- Adds 1-120 Lightning Damage
- +25-35% Resistance To All
- +140-200% Enhanced Defense
- 5% to cast slvl 9 Frost Nova When Struck
- 5% to casting slvl 7 Nova When Struck
- 3% to casting slvl 6 Hydra When Struck
- +40 Increased Durability
Tiamat's Rebuke: This Exceptional Unique Dragon Shield is not the equal of the others for blocking percent, but it has nice resistance, and by far the most damage bonuses. If you had a weak weapon, this one could help a lot on taking down the bosses to a sliver, before you switched. The very low blocking % is a problem though.
Sigon's Guard: This set Tower Shield has only two bonuses, +20 to blocking (giving 74% to a Barbarian), and +1 to all skills. It's a tower shield, so you'll run 10% slower with it, which is a bad thing, more than offsetting the +1 it gives to Faster Run. The bonuses to other skills can be helpful, though it's not a real top choice.
4 Diamond: The Elite Monarch, Ward, and Aegis can all be found with four sockets, the only non-Paladin shields that can. The Monarch has the lowest strength requirement at 156, and you could get 76% resistance to all with four diamonds in one of these. There are no other bonuses on it, of course.
3 Diamond: Any three socketed shield with is worth using if you can't find anything better, and you can get 57% to all. You'll get zero blocking bonuses though. [Top]
Weapon Switch Weapons
This is an easy choice, you want the most magic find possible, since you'll be using this weapon(s) for the final killing stroke on the bosses. Damage and faster attack help get the last hit, but the MF is the main consideration.
- 2 Sockets
- +60-120% Enhanced Damage
- +2.5% extra gold found per Clvl
- +1% Magic Find per Clvl
- +15 to Mana
- +5-15 to Dexterity
The Blade of Ali Baba: This unique exceptional Tulwar is the best option for your MF'ing needs. Not all that hard to find, the Ali Baba is worth 80% MF at Clvl 80, and you should socket it with Ist or MF jewels, adding at least 15% MF, and up to 60% with two Ists. The damage isn't much, though with max Sword Mastery and using Berserk, you'll do into the 600 range, with enough AR to hit successfully probably 70% of the time on Mephisto. The swing speed is not fast, which is why you want to get Meph as low as possible before switching.
You want to use two of these, if possible. If you only have one, you can use a shield with it, (or you might want to if you are trying to wait for your Merc to get the last hit, for added protection) and a Rhyme is the best bet there, for the 25% MF and good blocking/resistance.
- Adds 1-15 Damage
- 100% Magic Find
- -5 to Mana
Gull: This unique dagger is very low damage, and if possible you should use it with another, bigger damage weapon, and put this in the slot that Berserk isn't being swung with. Try not to WW with this being dual wielded, it'll do every other hit and really ruin your damage, as well as running out of durability constantly. If you socket this and add an Ist, it'll do 130% MF, equal to a double Ist Ali Baba at Clvl 70. Socket with an MF jewel if (like most players) you don't have an Ist.
Gulls in D2C had only 50% MF, so try to find a new one, rather than using an old one. These are actually pretty hard to find in D2X, since you seldom get dagger drops by anything past early Normal. If you are trying to find one you should wear as much MF as possible, and run the early Super Uniques in a Normal game. Bishibosh, Rakinishu, Treehead Woodfist, Bone Ash, etc. Andariel isn't a bad one to kill either.
Act Three mercs can not equip a Gull, since it's a dagger-class weapon, not a sword. Your Sword Mastery doesn't help your damage or AR with it for the same reason.
I've found one Gull ever in D2X, from Wyand in Durance 3 Normal. I've found half a dozen Ali Babas, from all sorts of Nightmare and Hell bosses, so like most normal uniques in D2X, it's hard to find unless you are slumming and looking for one.
- +35% Chance of Deadly Strike
- +150% Bonus to Attack Rating
- +15-35 Damage
- +200% Enhanced Damage
- Ignores Targets Armor
- +4 To Grim Ward
- +4 To Find Item
- +4 To Find Potion
Heart Carver: The Heart Carver has one purpose, and that's to be used when Horking. The +4 to Find Item is very nice, especially if you are just starting to add points to Find Item, and don't have a very good % in the skill yet. This one isn't a real good choice long term, since it's better to have a bit less % Hork and much higher Find Item, but if you are doing just Cow Level runs, you might want to equip one or two of these for the clean up.
Echoing Weapon: Echoing is a prefix that gives +3 to Warcries, and is only found on magical weapons. This is a great item to use while leveling up for the big Battle Orders bonus. It's not quite the bonus to Find Item that you get with a Heart Carver, but the big bonus to BO might keep you alive, and will certainly give you more mana for Horking.
Six Socket Sword: You could in theory have one of these with 6 Ist, for 180% magic find, but it's doubtful anyone actually does. This would be the biggest damage MF weapon, since you could put it into a Colossus Sword, perhaps with one or two enhanced damage jewels, or a +damage to demons jewel or Rune (Pul). All the Act Bosses are Demons. Try this with MF jewels if you can't find an Ali Baba or a Gull, or you just want more damage on your MF weapon. 50% MF wouldn't be hard to get with MF jewels, and there should be a variety of other mods on them as well. [Top]
- +1 to All Skills
- +1.25% Magic Find per Clvl
- +160-200% Enhanced Defense
- +60 Increased Durability
- Magical Damage Taken Reduced by 10
- Repairs 1 Durability every 5 seconds
Skullder's Ire: The Unique exceptional Russet Armor is the biggest MF possible in the game. With the requisite socketed Topaz, this can give 149% at Clvl 99. At Clvl 80 it gives 124%. The other bonuses are nice as well, with the +1 helping your damage, AR, and Battle Orders. Skullder's is essentially free to wear also, with the self-repairing, which will save you money in the long run. It's even got nice defense and lowers magic damage taken. You want to level up as much as possible if you are using this, especially if you have dual Ali Baba as well. Gain five levels, you pick up 16% MF.
- -60% Item Requirements
- -15 Magical Damage Taken
- +88% Magic Find
- +40% Cold Resistance
- +40% Fire Resistance
- +40% Lightning Resistance
- +400 Defense (910 Avg)
Tal Rasha's Guardianship: The best defensive stats on any Magic Find armor, and 112% MF with a socketed Topaz is not at all bad. It beats a Topaz'ed Skullder's until Clvl 71. This would give you 30% to fire/cold/lightning in Hell by itself, including your Natural Resistance and Anya quest rewards.
The downside is that it's extremely difficulty to find or trade for. Meph can't drop it, so most are found from Pindleskin or Baal, much slower and less profitable runs than Mephisto. It's also a bit of overkill on a Barbarian, since you don't really *need* it, with Natural Resistance. If you do find one, try it on another character, such as a Bowazon, Assassin, or Druid, who can really use the defensive bonuses and resistance, and go from low to high Magic Find while staying alive.
This Armor is best used with any two other items from the set (Belt and Mask for a Barbarian) since you get a 65% Magic Find bonus with any three Tal's items. The mask + belt + armor gives you up to 216% MF, which beats most other MF totals for those three items, not even counting the massive stats from these three set items, which include:
- 55% Resistance to Fire, Cold, Lightning15% Poison Resistance
- 10% life AND mana leech
- 1000+ defense
- -15 magical damage
- +30 mana, 60 hps, 20 Dex
- And 14% more MF than wealth + 3T helm + Goldwrap.
- 100% Magic Find
- 300% Gold Find
- +2 to Mana After Each Kill
- +10 to Dexterity
Wealth: This Runeword (LemKoTir) is better than Skullder's in some cases, for the huge Gold Find and other bonuses. You might prefer it if your MF Barb isn't much over Clvl 75 or 80, or you are doing a lot of Find Item work, rather than boss runs (where the GF% would pay off), but otherwise you go with Skullder's, for the biggest MF possible.
Wealth is best socketed in light or medium armor, since heavy armor cuts your running speed too much.
Four Topaz Armor: If you don't have any of the better armors, go with a simple four socket armor (ideally a light or medium Elite) for 96% MF. You can find Jeweler's Armor of the _______, with four sockets and any suffix. Of the whale could give you up to 100 hps, for example. [Top]
- +5% Mana Stolen Per Hit
- +5% Life Stolen Per Hit
- 10% Faster Hit Recovery
- 10% Increased Attack Speed
- +200-240% Enhanced Defense
- +30-50% Magic Find
Stealskull: The best MF Barb headgear is this Unique Exceptional Casque. The amount of MF varies a lot, so you'll want to get a good seed, 40% at least. Other helms can beat a low seed Stealskull on MF, but this might still be your best bet for the dual leech and IAS, as well as high defense and ever FHR. With a good damage weapon you can have this as your only leech and do fine for Meph and Pindleskin runs.
- 2 to All Skills
- +1.5 Life per Clvl
- +1.5 Mana per Clvl
- +50% Magic Find
- 10% Physical Damage Reduction
- +2 to Str, Dex, Vit, Energy
Harlequin Crest: The Elite Shako, this cap has great stats and guaranteed 74% MF with a Topaz. The skill bonuses are helpful, and the huge mana and hps are as well, and the 10% damage reduction is great. There is zero leech though, so you need to find mana and life leech on your other equipment.
This would be superior if you were doing a lot of Find Item work, for the +skills and huge mana bonus, assuming you had mana leech on something else (which isn't that easy without sacrificing MF for it).
- +50-75% Enhanced Defense
- +0.25 Absorb Cold Damage per clvl
- -40% Item Requirements
- +20-30% Magic Find
- +5% Resistance To All
- Two Sockets
Griswold's Valor: One of the harder items to find in the entire game, this is the set Corona, the Elite Crown. The item doesn't have very impressive bonuses, but it does come with two sockets, so you'll always get at least 68% MF with two Topazes, and up to 78%, or 80% with 2 Ist Runes, on a perfect seed.
This is a potentially useful item if you have the armor as well, which is Set Ornate, with three sockets. You can't make Wealth in it, but 72% MF with 3 topaz is easy enough, and any two items from this set when worn together get a +20 Strength bonus, which could help you equip your weapon, though they have less MF than some other helm/armor combos, very few other useful bonuses, and are extremely difficult to find.
- +1 to all Skill Levels
- +25-50% Magic Find
- +75% Gold Find
Tarnhelm: This unique skull cap isn't bad, especially if you are doing a lot of Horking, such as in the cows, where the 75% GF pays off, literally.
3T Helm: Any three-socket helm with 3 Topaz in it gives you 72% MF. Barbarians have an advantage here over other Classes, since they can get bonus skills on their class-specific helms, and sockets. If you find a 3s Barb helm with +1-3 Battle Orders, Natural Resistance, Berserk, Whirlwind, or any other skill you are actually using, it's a very nice find.
They tend more towards +3 Grim Ward, +1 Leap, +2 Concentrate, unfortunately. ;)
Tal's Death Mask
- +30 Mana
- +60 Life
- +45 Defense
- +15% Resistance To All
- +10% Life Stolen Per Hit
- +10% Mana Stolen Per Hit
Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest: This set death mask has no inherent MF, but if you have two other items from the set equipped, ideally the Armor and Belt, there is a 65% bonus to MF from three of them. The stats on the mask are godly, covering all of your leech and a big amount of resistance and other bonuses, so it's a viable option for MF'ing even if you don't have the rest of the set on, just for 24% MF socketed, and the massive bonuses on it.
- +2 To Barbarian Skills
- +2 To Combat Skills
- +150-200% Enhanced Defense
- 30% Faster Hit Recovery
- +20% Bonus to Attack Rating
- +20 to Strength
- +20 to Dexterity
- +3-6% Life Stolen Per Hit
- +30% Resistance To All
Arreat's Face: This helm has no MF on it, but the other bonuses are so enormous that it might be worth wearing it with an Um or Topaz in it, just to free all your other equipment up for full MF. It even covers your life leech, so you just need some mana somewhere, and you are nearly set. The huge bonuses to stats would give let you save substantial stat points, which = much higher hps, if you put the points into Vitality. [Top]
There's not much selection in MF gloves. Chance Guards
- +25-40% Magic Find
- +200% Gold Find
- +25 to Attack Rating
- +15 Defense
- +2 Light Radius
- +20-30% Enhanced Defense
Chance Guards: The most MF you can find on gloves, and tons of GF as well. The other bonuses are nothing, so you need to be on top of your equipment needs to wear these.
Rare Gloves: These can have up to 25% MF, along with any other mods you can think of. Resistance, 20 IAS, 3% mana or life leech, +stats (especially Dex), +1-2 to any skill tree, and many more. Really good rare gloves beat Chance Guards by a lot, but really good ones are hard to find. [Top]
A limited selection of these also. War Traveler
- +10 to Vitality
- +10 to Strength
- +30-50% Magic Find
- +30 Increased Durability
- 25% Faster Run/Walk
- +40% Slower Stamina Drain
- +150-190% Enhanced Defense
- Adds 15-25 Damage
- Attacker Takes (5-10) Damage
War Traveler: The only Unique Boots with MF, these have 30-50%, as well as some other nice stats, but no resistance at all. That makes them hard for other classes to do for MF, since generally boots have a lot of resistance, but for a Barbarian it's not too hard to overcome, especially not if you are using a shield.
These are a good amount faster run, and with the huge stamina bonus you can run for a minute and not even dent your Stamina, at higher levels. The bonus damage helps as well, and is not something you can get at all on Rare boots.
Cow Kings Hooves
- 40% Faster Run
- +25% MF
- +20 Dexterity
- +25-35 Fire Damage
Cow Kings Hooves: Not that common, but decent MF and fastest run, as well as a fat dexterity bonus, which could save your points to equip your sword, or just give you a big AR bonus. The total lack of resistances is their main drawback, compared to a good pair of Rare boots.
Rare Boots: These go up to 25% MF, and can have enormous bonuses including up to 40% resistance to any single element, big bonuses to Str and Dex, and of course Faster Run and Faster Hit Recovery (FHR). Up to 34% was possible from D2C rare boots and D2X until v1.09, so if you have some lying around, lucky you.
Magical Boots: Up to 35% MF is possible, but you only get one other mod, a prefix, so probably not worth it. [Top]
Not much selection in terms of MF belts. No magical or rare belts can have MF on them, but if you really need the bonuses from your Rare belt, or one of the other useful non-MF belts, wear that, it's better to have a bit less MF than be dead (SC excluded).
- +30% Magic Find
- +50-80% Gold Find
- +2 Light Radius
- +25 Defense
- 10% Increased Attack Speed
- +40-60% Enhanced Defense
Goldwrap: This unique Heavy Belt boasts the most MF possible on a belt, 30%. The GF is added in D2X, and the IAS is a nice bonus. This with a Stealskull is a noticeable improvement in attack rate.
There aren't any defensive bonuses of note, so like Chance Guards, you need to have your other equipment working well to afford wearing this. Try for a good seed on the GF, especially if you are Horking in the Cows. This with Wealth, Chance Guards, dual Ali Baba, and some other misc GF gear can get you well up over 1000% GF at higher levels, which makes for some pretty profitable copse desecration.
- -20% Item Requirements
- +30 Mana
- +20 Dexterity
- +37% damage to mana
- +10-15% Magic Find
Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth: Set Mesh Belt, Exceptional. Not all that impressive of an MF belt, so mostly worn with two other items of Tal's Set, for the 65% MF bonus. Check the Armor or Helms sections for more details on this set.
The big Dexterity bonus does a lot for your meeting requirements, blocking %, and AR, and the 37% damage to mana could help make up for insufficient leech, but seldom does anyone wear this instead of Goldwrap. [Top]
- -3 Magical Damage
- Attacker Takes 3 Damage
- +50-75 to Attack Rating
- +15-30% Magic Find
Nagelring: Useless ring, other than the 15-30% MF. A good seed here is useful, but you can do better with a magical ring, and you won't miss the other stats on a Nagelring at all.
Dwarfstar: No bonuses to MF, but huge dexterity and AR, along with can not be frozen. This one is great for wearing against Baal, since you can just ignore his Cold attacks.
Bul Kathos' Wedding Band: No MF here either, but it's got +1 to all skills, life leech, and a big hps bonus. It's all about general purpose survival, not MF'ing, but this can free up your other equipment for all MF.
Dwarfstar: Useful only for Cow Level, or other Horking, since it's got no MF, but 100% GF. A couple of these along with wealth, goldwrap, chance guards, dual ali baba and you're 1100+ GF, and you can easily get over 1500% with rare amulet, boots, gloves, and some charms. Horking up stacks of 6-8000 from normal monsters is pretty amusing.
Magical Rings: Magical rings can have up to 40% MF, 25% suffix and 15% from prefix. The odds of getting both on the same ring, with good seeds? Not good.
Rare Rings: Rare Rings can get up to 10% prefix and 15% suffix, so 25% at best. One with 20% and good bonuses to other stats would be godly, killing a Nagelring on overall quality. The odds of finding one are very long though.
- +100% Resistance To All
- +15% Maximum Resistance To All
- -30 Life Drain (-2.93 life/sec)
- +100% Magic Find
Constricting Ring: This would obviously be the best of the MF rings, but it's not enabled in the game now, so can't be dropped by anything. It's listed in the game files, and even on the Bliz website, and could easily be enabled on the Realms if Blizzard wanted to do so, but there is no word if they'll ever do that. It's Ilvl 95, and would only be findable from Baal or Nihlathak, and would drop as seldom as the SoJ and Bul Kathos Wedding Band do now, about 19 out of every 1000 Unique Rings from a given eligible monster. [Top]
There are no Unique amulets with any MF on them, though some have nice all around stats that could free up your other items for full MF.
Rare Amulets: You can find up to 40% MF on a Rare Amulet. 15% from a prefix and 25% from a suffix. This is your best bet for a great MF amulet, since there are so many awesome mods possible on Rare Amulets. +2 to all skills, mana leech, 20% res all, +1-2 to skill trees, +stats and hps and mana, etc. Gamble gamble gamble.
Magical Amulets: Magical Amulets can go up to 50% MF, 15% prefix and 35% suffix. The odds of both? I've found a 45% MF amulet and a few 30-35% with prismatic prefixes, so you can do really well on a magical amulet, though a great 30% rare would beat a 45% magical, most likely.
Tancred's Weird: This set amulet is worthless on its own, but with one other item from the set it gains a partial Set bonus of 78% MF. The boots, Tancred's Hobnails, are probably the best other item to use from the set, though you could possibly use the weapon on your switch, for the boss kill, wielding it with an Ali Baba or Gull, if you only had one, or a Rhyme if you didn't have either. Amulet + boots for 78% MF is better than you can get with Rares of both in D2X v1.09, though of course two Rares would have other nice mods, with any luck. [Top]
Page Three covers character development and progression.
This very long guide is spread over 3 pages.