Diablo 4 - 5 Best Druid Builds For Season 1

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As we are heading into season one next week, I thought it might be fun to slow down and take a look back at the month and a half of Diablo 4 that we've had so far.

As we approach the upcoming first season, I thought it would be enjoyable to take a moment and reflect on the month and a half of Diablo 4 that we've experienced so far. Specifically, let's take a look back at the druid, which happens to be my main character. We'll discuss the dominant builds and playstyles that have emerged, focusing on those that have excelled and surpassed others, particularly in clearing the game's most challenging content.

The objective is to identify the top contenders for the strongest druid build prior to the start of the first season. I want to highlight these builds now so that we can make a strong comparison once the season begins. If the strongest builds during the season turn out to be exactly the same as those prior to the season, it suggests a failure in the system, right? Ideally, I hope to see at least one or even two of these five builds replaced by new ones. So, let's delve into these builds, understand their mechanics, strengths, and specialties.

First up, we have the Lightning Shred Speed, also known as Bounce Bolt, at number five. This build revolves around the enhancement that allows Shred to dash with each hit, granting a critical damage multiplier bonus. Combined with the Stormcaw aspect, Shred's critical hits release a percentage of their damage as lightning damage around the target, which can also crit on its own. Additionally, the Waxing Gibbos unique weapon ensures that all hits become critical for a few seconds after killing an enemy with Shred.

By incorporating the classic Grizzly Rage Dire Wolf aspect and the rampaging wearbeast aspect, this build can accumulate a stacking crit damage multiplier, resulting in incredibly high damage output. It is arguable that this build is the fastest for speed clearing as a druid. It excels in swiftly clearing equal or slightly higher level content, such as farming XP in nightmare dungeons slightly above your character level. This build teleports to any visible enemy on your screen, obliterating weaker mobs effortlessly and rapidly.

Essentially, you only need to press a button and let your character effortlessly clear everything in its path. It's an enjoyable and efficient playstyle, but it primarily shines in a specific type of content—quickly clearing near-level content. While it can handle higher-level content, there are other builds more suited for that purpose. This build makes the list because it excels in a specific aspect, being the best at what it does.

Moving on to number four, we have Poison Shred. This build shares some similarities with Lightning Shred, particularly the dashing mechanic with Shred. However, Poison Shred focuses on maximizing high-end potential damage over prolonged fights, making it more suitable for challenging endgame content. In fact, a variation of this build currently holds the record for the fastest Uber Lilith kill time among all classes, which is a remarkable achievement.

The core mechanic of this build involves incorporating the Blurred Beast aspect with Shred, allowing each dash to deal burst damage based on the existing poison damage ticking on the enemy. The damage can be further enhanced by using an amulet or a two-handed weapon for additional boosts. The beauty of this build is that the burst damage does not consume the poison effect, allowing the continuous ticking damage to persist while delivering significant burst damage.

Additionally, the Toxic Claws passive adds extra poison damage when you critically hit with a werewolf skill. Critically hitting with a Blurred Beast Shred applies the poison damage and further amplifies the ticking damage, creating an infinite feedback loop of increasing damage on a single target. This build becomes even stronger when combined with the Stormclaw aspect, as it scales with Blurred Beast damage and adds additional poison damage when it crits. The lightning damage from the aspect can also crit, further intensifying the poison damage. It takes some time to build up damage with this build, making it slower than Lightning Shred when clearing lower-level content. However, the stacking damage buildup, especially when combined with the Grizzly Rage combo, gives this build higher damage potential than the other Shred build.

The reason this build ranks fourth, instead of higher, is because the other three builds are capable of dealing sufficient damage to clear high-tier endgame content and offer superior defensive capabilities. Furthermore, this build requires jumping into a pack with Shred to clear it, putting it at greater risk of death compared to the other builds.

Next on the list, at number three, we have Pulverized Shockwave, also known as "It's Raining Bears." This build is considered a classic for the druid and gained popularity shortly after the game's launch. Surprisingly, this build doesn't rely on any specific unique item to be incredibly strong, although Visceral's Prayer can give it a slight boost.

In essence, this build allows you to remain in bear form permanently, granting numerous defensive benefits from various skills in the druid's repertoire. The offensive power comes from the Pulverize skill, which benefits from earth-related passives in the skill tree. By making Pulverize shoot a shockwave in front of you, especially when using a two-handed weapon, the shockwave can be up to twice as powerful as the base damage of Pulverize itself. Additionally, by strategically positioning yourself to hit a specific target with both the initial slam and the shockwave, you can inflict up to 300% of the normal damage, which is quite remarkable. When combined with Grizzly Rage and the rampaging wearbeast aspect, this build becomes a burst-oriented playstyle with stacking crit multipliers, allowing you to consistently eliminate significant enemies with a single hit. The build's bear form provides additional tankiness, making it a formidable choice.

At number two, we have Symbiotic Bulwark. Frankly, it was challenging not to rank this build as number one, given its remarkable performance in high-end nightmare dungeons. It surpasses all other builds in terms of ease and efficiency in clearing these top-tier dungeons.

This build, along with its variations (such as those focusing on low life to activate damage reduction under a barrier or utilizing Cataclysm to increase damage further), dominates the druid landscape when it comes to pushing tier 100 nightmare dungeons. However, it seems that part of this build's strength is due to some sort of bug related to the innate Earth and Bulwark skill. For some reason, the skill's damage scales with the level of the enemy it hits. It deals significantly more damage to level 150 enemies compared to level 88 enemies, regardless of gear, skill points, or paragon levels. Combining the Nature's Fury key passive with the symbiotic aspect on an amulet allows for constant cooldown resets of Earth and Bulwark through basic skill spamming. This build provides the strongest offensive ability for high-tier nightmare dungeons due to the unusual scaling with enemy level. Furthermore, it boasts an extremely powerful defensive ability, generating a full barrier equal to your maximum life each time it is cast. With the cooldown reset combo, you can cast it every two to three seconds during combat, rendering you nearly invulnerable while dealing substantial damage.

There are two main reasons why this build did not claim the top spot. First, the apparent scaling bug with Earth and Bulwark's damage raises questions about its intentional design. There is no indication in the game that the skill should deal more damage to higher-level enemies. Even if this scaling were intentional, the second reason is that the build's purpose is primarily limited to tier 100 nightmare dungeons. It is not efficient in killing Uber Lilith, and it clears lower-level nightmare dungeons slower than the other top builds. Therefore, it serves a specific purpose and excels at it, albeit in an exceptional manner.

Finally, we arrive at number one, Tornado Wolf. This build was bound to be included due to its exceptional performance and intriguing synergy. It combines various elements to create one of the most captivating and powerful combinations in the game.

Taking the concepts previously mentioned, such as Grizzly Rage from Rampaging Werebeast with Dire Wolf to build stacking crit multipliers, this build reaches unimaginable heights. The reduction in spirit cost provided by Grizzly Rage enables prolonged use of core skills. Adding the fastest-hitting core skill in the druid's arsenal, Tornado, which strikes multiple times after casting, results in a higher frequency of critical hits compared to other skills. Building up the crit multiplier during the burst window of Grizzly Rage leads to immense damage potential. Incorporating the Earth and Might keep passive and the mighty storm aspect allows you to regain spirit and guarantees critical hits for five seconds when it procs. If this occurs multiple times in a row during Grizzly Rage, it enables druids to achieve mind-boggling numbers with this build.

Even without fortunate procs, this build remains remarkably strong. Additionally, it utilizes the Toxic Claws passives, causing Tornado crits to apply poison damage through Tempest Roar, making them count as werewolf skills. Tempest Roar provides a chance to gain extra spirit with lucky hits. To further enhance the build, Invnom grants a crit damage multiplier against poisoned enemies. The Elemental Exposure passive adds the lucky hit chance to apply vulnerability to enemies with storm skills. All these factors combine to create a beautiful symphony of synergies, including stacking crit multipliers on a fast-hitting skill with high crit chance. Surprisingly, this build also offers a notable degree of tankiness, thanks to Cyclone Armor, Savage Hurricane, and gear affixes that grant bonus armor in werewolf form—something this build consistently maintains. 

This build was the first among druid builds to clear a tier 100 nightmare dungeon and to defeat Uber Lilith without exploiting any mechanics. Even now, it boasts an impressive kill time of three minutes and 25 seconds against that boss. It performs exceptionally well across a wide range of content, from equal-level encounters to high-level challenges. Its versatility and solid performance make it the top-ranked build.

I believe a significant factor to note is that the best druid builds revolve around two core concepts: Nature's Fury with the symbiotic aspect for frequent cooldown resetting, or Grizzly Rage with the rampaging werebeast and direwolf aspects for stacking crit multipliers. The latter is the more commonly used concept, accumulating crit multipliers. All the strong druid builds are based on one of these two core concepts. I hope that upcoming balance changes, new legendaries, and uniques will diversify the options and provide more opportunities for build diversity.

To conclude, these are the top five druid builds before the first season and the major patch that accompanies it. In my opinion, they are all incredibly enjoyable to play, and I have personally experienced each one. The druid class is my favorite in the game as it currently stands, and I eagerly anticipate future changes and additions to this class.

That concludes our discussion of the top druid builds. For more builds and information, I recommend visiting u4gm, a professional website offering affordable Diablo 4 power leveling.

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