The Fury Wolf: Updated For D2r - Topic (2024)

The Fury Wolf: Updated For D2r - Topic (1)

I. Introduction

Hello, everyone. This guide, co-authored by myself and inkanddagger, is the result of receiving handfuls of PMs asking for updated information on fury wolf druids since the recent 2.4 patch that Blizzard released in April 2022. While it draws inspiration from inkanddagger’s The Fury Wolf guide (one of the most viewed guides on d2jsp), it adds a lot of novel information that is necessary to make a solid PvP fury wolf druid in D2R. Note this guide is meant for PvP GM melee fury wolf druids but contains a wealth of info for anyone interested in werewolf druids and melee dueling broadly.

Disclaimer: Many of the items posted in this guide ARE NOT MINE but are posted as examples of good items to try and buy yourself.

In April 2022, Blizzard released the 2.4 patch which drastically changed Wereform Druids. While this patch created a lot of interesting balance and build changes, the four changes that are relevant for us here include:

Werewolf now only uses the new attack speed calculation that was originally introduced in the Private Test Realm (PTR)
➜ Raised Werewolf attack speed cap from +75% to +150%
➜ Attack Rating bonus increased from +7% to +10% per level
➜ Attack Speed increased by 40% (Reduced the rollback frames value between each attack)

We can interpret this to mean the following:

1) fury wolf druids now can attack faster using a wider variety of weapons/gear than before, and
2) the fury skill had a slight buff to attack rating.

These changes were presumably made by Blizzard in response to years upon years of wereform players’ frustrations over wolf druids’ broken IAS whereby, prior to this patch, IAS gained from gear (oias) worked negligibly compared to IAS from your weapon (i.e., if you had a 40/15 jewel in your pelt, the 15% IAS would not “count” toward attack your speed in the way it does on D2R. It would only help to reach slower IAS breakpoints). This meant that, for 20+ years in LoD, GM melee wolf druids were limited to a very small number of weapons that did not hit nearly as hard as what other GM melee classes could wield, all so that they could attack at a reasonable speed. To do this, wolf druids in LoD were pigeonholed into using only two-socketed ethereal repair fools weapons with 40% base IAS in phase blades, fanged knives, and ataghans. Harder-hitting weapons accessible to other GM melee classes like berserker axes, legendary mallets, and ettin axes were not viable. Wolf druids also had to sacrifice putting two Lo’s in these weapons to put in Shael’s or 40/15’s simply to reach the necessary speed. The general consensus was that this put wolf druids at a pretty significant disadvantage in GM melee. They had long been considered the “fun” or “niche” underdog (no pun intended) – but you didn’t want to play a wolf druid if you cared about winning.

With 2.4, this is no longer the case. To summarize briefly, wolf druids can now gain IAS from all of their gear and can hit “3 frame” (the fastest attack speed) with more weapons than before, but they also can hit “4 frame” with an even wider of variety of weapons. Due to this change alone, a new guide is needed because wolf druids now have a wide variety of options to choose from, ranging from the fastest weapon type in the game (phase blades) to the slowest (legendary mallets)!

II. Stats and Skill Points

Shapeshifting Skill Tree. Max Werewolf, Lycanthropy, and Fury.

Summoning Skill Tree. Max Oak Sage.

Elemental Skill Tree. Max Cyclone Armor while remaining points go into Twister/Tornado/Hurricane to synergize Cyclone Armor and prevent Torch deaths.

* Note: Using Heart of the Wolverine instead of Oak Sage is very uncommon and used only in niche builds. Something that is more common now is to put a point into Shockwave (a Werebear skill) so that you can referee GM melee matches by Shockwaving Oak Sages to prevent them from flying into the middle of duels and dying. Not everyone does this but it is worth mentioning.

Stats. Generally, putting enough strength in for your gear, enough dexterity for Max Block (75%), and the rest into Vitality is key (no points into energy). For niche builds, you might pump strength (such as to wear a Fortitude in a sacred armor base) or dexterity (for more damage and attack rating when wielding a dagger), but this is rare.

III. Gear

Helms.

Cerebus’ Bite

: An obvious choice and widely used in fury versus zeal for the attack rating boost. Common socket options include 30 max jewels, 40/15 jewels, 100ar/15ias jewels, Ber rune (for an Open Wound belt setup), Cham (for Angelics setup), or a good rare jewel if you have one. The 4+ Shape Shifting skills and 120% Bonus to Attack Rating are the most important stats on this, other stats can vary to make it more affordable.

Guillame’s Face

: This is the helm of choice for fury versus fury duels due to the Crushing Blow, usually with similar socket options as Cerebus (see above). These can now be upgraded on Ladder with a perfect defense of 349.
Jalal’s Mane: This is less frequently used but some like it for the 30% FHR it provides if trying to hit the 42 FHR breakpoint. It is probably outclassed by the other options described here in most scenarios, but can still be usable especially if you are on a budget (a 200% ED Jalal is quite cheap now). If you stat to its 20+ strength, that can be quite useful too. Upgraded ones are perfect at 477 defense.

Rare Circlet

: 2+ Druid Skills, 30% FRW (optional, to get to your opponent faster), visionary mod, 2 socket circlets are niche but usable in certain scenarios, particularly when you need two sockets (typically for 30% additional Increased Attack Speed or 2x 30 maximum damage jewels) and an attack rating boost. Ones with good stats (strength, dexterity, life) make this option even more appealing, but these generally should not be used unless they have two sockets (otherwise, stick to Cerebus).

Magic Pelt

: 3+ Shape Shifting Skills, 3+ Fury, +XX Life, two socket magic pelts have actually become quite useful in D2R. These are great pelts if you need the two sockets for whatever reason (again, for IAS or additional damage). Shoot for one with a minimum 10+ to Life.

Rare Pelt 1

: The elusive 2+ Druid Skills, 3+ Fury, visionary, two socket pelt. Usually, they need 10 base FHR and good life to truly be worth it, but finding one of these in D2R regardless of the other stats would be useful due to the two sockets.

Rare Pelt 2

: The more common 2+ Druid Skills, 3+ Fury, base life and/or FHR, two socket pelt. These were not used in LoD much (or at all) but they are now as two socketed pelts have become viable, mostly for purposes of putting in IAS jewels to reach certain breakpoints. The best is 2+ Druid Skills, 10% FHR, 3+ Fury, 30+ Life, two sockets.

Armor.

Fortitude

: This is really your only viable option in melee vs. melee duels to its chance to proc Chilling Armor. If your opponent has Chilling Armor and you don’t, it hurts. Archon Plate is pretty standard but Lacquered Plate is a good option for more defense, and you can try Sacred Armor for high defense builds (but be aware that you will have to pump strength a bit to get there). In any case, shoot for a 1.5 LPL (resistances do not matter for melee vs. melee).

100 life, 4 Socket Jeweler’s Armors

: You can try to pull this off, but it’s largely for all the rare/crafted melee leagues or any league where Fortitude is banned. In these cases, people like to put in 40/15 jewels or, in rarer cases, nice stat jewels. You can 4x 40/15 this to reach 3 frame for some cool weapon for fun!

Enigma

: There is a case to be made for Enigma. 2 skills, high strength, and a Ber rune which allows you to place one more Ber in either your helm or shield and then replace Verdungo’s Belt with a crafted open wounds belt with faster hit recovery, strength, and life. You can easily have 10k+ life with this armor, but you will take more hits than with Fortitude after Chilling Armor - so, there is a tradeoff.

Belts.

Verdungo’s

: Say hello to your #1 melee belt. This is hard to beat. The 10 FHR gets you halfway to the 20 FHR breakpoint and the DR is obviously important.

24 FHR / 5-10% Open Wounds / 20+ Strength / 60+ Life Crafted Blood Belt

: These may not be used as much as they were in LoD. You will have to sacrifice at least one socket in your helm/pelt/circlet and/or your socket in Stormshield so that you have two Bers for the proper DR as you are getting rid of Verdungos. However, it still works for high-life builds. It also gets you to the 20 FHR breakpoint without having to do anything else. If you do use it, statting to the strength on it is essential for more life.

String of Ears

: A very niche use is to use this without Cyclone Armor to take advantage of the MDR overflow bug, where the Magic Damage Reduced on the belt reduces your physical damage for any elemental damage done by your opponent. For example, Highlord’s Wrath amulet does 1-30 Lightning Damage. After 75% resistances and the 17% PvP penalty that’s 0-1.275 damage, which the game will essentially round to 1 damage per hit. That leaves 14 MDR for every hit you take that will be rolled over to physical damage reduced. This adds for each source of elemental damage. If your opponent is using Highlord’s, Ravenfrost, and a rare weapon with fire damage, you may end up reducing 42 damage per hit. The life leech on the belt will also add a tiny amount of life back. It works at 1% effectiveness in Normal difficulty where GM melee duels typically occur.

Immortal King’s

: Using the Belt and Gloves combination for 25% additional IAS may be the only way to hit desired IAS breakpoints with certain slow weapons. The massive strength and dexterity on the items can also add significant hit points. Pair it with Crown of Ages or make sure to use two Ber runes in gear for maximum damage reduction. This is a very unconventional setup, but it has seen interesting results paired with an ethereal Runemaster.

Gloves.

20 IAS / 5-10 CB / 10+ Strength / 10+ Dexterity / 15+ Life Vampirebone Crafted Blood Gloves

: This is something new for wolf druids in D2R since we can now get IAS from all gear. These are an incredible option especially for when you need 40 additional IAS from your gear to hit a particular attack speed (the combination of Highlord’s and these gloves will get you to the 40 IAS you need). The CB is also quite helpful versus wolf druids who tend to have high life, and the stats never hurt either!

Steelrends

: A very common choice, especially for those harder-hitting weapons that benefit from Enhanced Damage. These are typically used when you don’t need IAS on your gloves.

Bloodfists

: If you are going for the 42 FHR breakpoint, this is a very easy way to reach it and also provides 10 additional IAS to help you reach a certain attack speed, if needed. The minimum damage and life are nice too.

Immortal King’s

: See the Belts section above for explanation.

Boots.

Gore Riders

: An all-around solid option. The Open Wounds, Crushing Blow, and Deadly Strike are too useful to give up in most situations. Upgrade it for as close to 213 defense as you can.

War Travelers

: If you already have maximum deadly strike (for example, ethereal Death Cleaver and Highlord’s), this is an easy way to add 400+ damage.

Goblin Toes

: The only thing these have going for them is the 25% Crushing Blow. Can be interesting when paired with Guillaume’s Face, but you will walk and run very slowly.

Shields.

Stormshield

: This is really your only option in melee vs. melee. Popular socket options include 30 max, 40/15, 100/15, Ber (for Open Wounds setup), Cham (for Angelics setup), etc. Sometimes, people will try things like 7fhr/30ed/9str/-15 req jewels and such. Stormshield is a good place to stick your fancy and uncommon rare jewels since it is a universal shield used with every build.

Amulets.

Highlord’s

: As much as we all miss our 1.08 Highlord’s, we’ll have to do without them. The 20 IAS and Deadly Strike are too good to give up in most cases here.

Angelics

: Angelics is commonly used (with two Angelic rings) in fury versus zeal setups when you do not have a good fools weapon to make up for the needed Attack Rating.

Rings.

You have some different options here, similarly to LoD:

1. 9 Minimum Damage / 100+ Attack Rating / 20+ Strength + / 40+ Life Crafted Ring
2. 100+ Attack Rating / 20+ Strength / 10 + Dexterity / 40+ Life Crafted Ring
3. 100+ Attack Rating / 15+ Strength / 10+ Dexterity / 38+ Life Rare Ring
4. Raven Frost (usually use one and one of #1-#3) for Cannot Be Frozen
5. 2x Angelics

Generally, you would go with #1 when you have a weapon with lower minimum damage (a berserker axe comes to mind). The second choice is amazing as well but they are very rare on D2R. That is why you can now also go with #3, which are common and more affordable (get as close to 120ar/20str/15dex/40life to make it worth using over a second Raven Frost). Two Raven Frosts can be used with some success and is a very good budget option in the absence of good crafts/rares. Angelics are used in fury versus zeal matchups to make up for needed AR when you do not have a usable fools weapon.

On Swap.

- 6/6/4 Call to Arms
- Ethereal Spirit Monarch (for a lower strength requirement)

Charms.

- 20/20 Druid Torch
- 20/20/XX Annihilius

There are four options for the rest of your melee inventory:

1. 9x 45 Life Shape Shifting Grand Charms, 10x 3/20/20s (or as close as possible)
2. 37x 3/20/20s (or as close as possible)
3. 5/3/20 FHR small charms
4. A blend of #1, #2, and #3 according to your IAS needs emanating from Werewolf skill level and FHR needs

➜ The Werewolf skill grants a certain amount of IAS, with Level 38 and Level 42 Werewolf serving as important breakpoints. Therefore, you may have a weapon that would benefit more from 3/20/20s but you still need a certain number of +1 Shapeshifting Grand Charms to remain at Level 38 Werewolf for an IAS breakpoint. [The typical Cerebus setup lands you at Level 42 Werewolf with 9x GCs, but wearing a Guillame’s Face drops you to Level 38.] Example: A mithril point with 0 base IAS will need 40 additional IAS on gear to hit 5/4/4/4/7 frames with Level 38 Werewolf, but you will want to use as many 3/20/20s as possible. Assuming you are wearing Cerebus and Highlords, you will need 5x skill GCs to hit Level 38 Werewolf (after BO from CTA) while the rest of your inventory can be 3/20/20s (& Anni/Torch). If using Guillame’s Face instead of Cerebus, however, you would then need all 9x GCs to hit Level 38 Werewolf. The calculator linked below can help you determine how many GCs vs. how many SCs you need.

➜ If using Guillame’s Face and Verdungos, you just need 1x 5/3/20 to achieve the 42 FHR breakpoint. If not using Guillame’s or another item that grants good FHR (such as Bloodfists or Jalal), you will probably need 2x 5/3/20s to achieve the 20 FHR breakpoint with Verdungos.

A Note on Jewels and Damage Bugs.

First, IAS jewels are now more salient for wolf druids in D2R compared to LoD because we can use them in any of our gear slots. This means that you might want to socket something with IAS jewels whereas you would have never considered this in LoD. Second, the absolutely insane jewels in LoD (e.g., 30ED/60AR/9str/9dex, 7FHR/30ED/9str/9dex) are a thing of the past and do not exist at this stage of the game. If you have such a jewel or something close to it, it might be great to socket it in a pelt/helm or Stormshield, but I am writing this guide assuming that 99% of readers will not have them. Perfect magic jewels have become the standard: 30 max jewels, 40/15s, 100/15s, 40ed/9str, 40ed/9dex, 40/15max (for weapons), etc. are now widely used in GM melee.

We need to take space here to discuss one other issue about melee jewels: the ED/minimum/maximum damage bug. Since LoD, it has been considered completely useless to have ED and either maximum damage or minimum damage on your jewel. I will not spend too much describing the jewel bug because it is so widely known and the information can be found everywhere, including here. However, there is a significant misconception about this bug that continues to exist in the Diablo community, and is perpetuated on the d2jsp forums and elsewhere practically every single day. The misconception lies in the idea that jewels with ED and minimum damage are always bugged in such a way that they are not useful and should never be used, ever. This is simply not true, and this misconception is relevant for wolf druid players who would benefit from such a jewel greatly.

The gist of this misconception lies in the fact that many weapons have low minimum damage. When using a weapon like this, using a jewel with ED and minimum damage is actually better than a rare jewel with just 30% ED (and some other mods). But how?

Let’s say you are using a weapon that does 150-400 damage. Let’s also say that, from your gear, skills, etc., you have 1000% ED. That turns into (150 * 11) - (400 * 11), or 1650-4520 damage. Let’s now say you socket a 30 ED/10 minimum damage jewel into your pelt - now you have 160 minimum damage with 1000% ED and 400 maximum damage with 1030% ED, which translates into 1760-4520 damage. Let’s compare this to a jewel with just 30 ED (we won’t assume other stats here but just imagine some), which would give you 1695-4520 damage. This is objectively worse than the 30ED/10 minimum damage jewel. Well, what about a 40ED/15 maximum jewel? Is that bugged? Yes, ED and maximum damage on the same jewel, unlike minimum damage, is bugged and should be avoided. A 40ED/15 maximum damage jewel, for example, would give us (150 * 11.4) - (415 * 11) damage, which is 1710-4565. 1760-4520 damage (from a 30ED/10 min jewel) is better overall than 1710-4565 (from a 40/15max), even if it is just by 5 average damage. If the bug was fixed by Blizzard, the 40/15max jewel would turn our damage into 1710-4731, but the bug may not be fixed anytime soon.

Having ED + minimum damage on the same jewel is bad, though, if you plan on using a weapon with high minimum damage. This is because adding more minimum damage when you already have high minimum damage will result in significant diminishing returns. At this point, just having the plain ED jewel is more beneficial, but this mostly applies to weapons like Grief and legendary mallets. We are spending time discussing this here because wolf druids often use weapons with lower minimum damage where the bug would no longer really apply in the way people think it would. This means jewels like the one below are very good and should not be disregarded. Since this applies to any melee build using a low minimum damage weapon, it would also be nice if the melee community more broadly had this information.

The Fury Wolf: Updated For D2r - Topic (2)

IV. Weapons and Attack Speed

As stated above, the most major change to the Werewolf Druid in D2R Patch 2.4 is the ability to get most weapons to 4 frames per attack or even faster now. One disappointing change from LoD is that being chilled by cold damage will slow you down now, even after you have achieved 4 frames per attack. So plan to keep a Cham or Raven Frost on hand.

How Enhanced Damage, Strength, and Dexterity work with Weapons.

In general, weapons receive 1% extra Enhanced Damage (ED) for each point you put into Strength. The two exceptions are Hammer weapons (Legendary Mallet is the only one-handed Hammer class weapon), which receive 1.1% extra ED for each Strength point (a slight bonus) and Dagger weapons, which have a reduced bonus of .75% extra ED for each Strength point (a penalty). However, when you use a Dagger, you also get .75% extra ED for each point put into Dexterity, so the Dexterity bonus more than makes up for the strength penalty and makes Daggers one of the top melee weapons.

Hammers include the following: Legendary Mallets, Ogre Mauls, and Thunder Mauls (Legendary Mallets are the only relevant ones here since two-handers are not used in GM melee)

Daggers include the following: Fanged Knives, Bone Knives, Legend Spikes, and Mithril Points

The ED bonus a Hammer gets can be calculated with this formula: ED bonus = [Strength * 110/100]
The ED bonus a Dagger gets can be calculated with this formula: ED bonus = [Strength + Dexterity * 75/100]

The implications of these bonuses, in some cases, can be significant. When you do the math, it becomes clear that a mithril point can now be just as good as (or better than) a Berserker Axe with similar stats, even though the Berserker Axe has higher average damage than the Mithril.

Note: Other weapon types, such as Phase Blades, swords, etc. do not have these extra ED bonuses. That does not make other weapon choices bad, however. Even with all of their ED bonuses, daggers still have some disadvantages (i.e., absolutely terrible range, issues with speed versus their low damage, etc.).

Weapon Selection

This is where things get tricky and drastically differ from LoD, so we need to get into as much detail as possible. To make this section more accessible, we will begin with a description regarding which kinds of weapons are better for which kinds of opponents, and then break it down by commonly available runewords/unique items followed by the more elusive rare weapons.

The first thing to note is that two socketed ethereal repair fools/cruel weapons are beyond rare on D2R (but extremely common on LoD). While this is the ultimate goal for any melee character, you will have to 1) understand that they may not be commonly available on D2R for some time, but 2) know that it is okay because, with the IAS changes to wolf druids, you do not need 2 OS erep weapons to be viable in GM melee anymore. You have many options, which we will cover.

The second thing to note is that, generally, you go for high attack rating setups for versus zeal due to their defense, and high damage/crushing blow setups for versus fury druids due to their low defense but high life. What this translates to, as we will see below, is often something like this: EDC/Angelics (high AR setup) for versus zeal OR EBOTDZ (high damage) for versus fury. Or, in rare weapon terminology: fools ethereal weapons (high AR setup) for versus zeal OR cruel 400+ ED ethereal weapons (high damage) for versus fury. This means you will have to use completely different weapons (and potentially entire setups) for facing zealots and wolf druids. In most scenarios, you would never be using the same gear for versus a zealot as you would a wolf druid. So, be prepared for gear swaps and using tokens!

Commonly Available Uniques and Runewords Proven to Work.

Ethereal Breath of the Dying Berserker Axe [410%+ ED]
➜ A harder-hitting high-damage 4 frame weapon for fury versus fury (it is the “cookie-cutter” fury versus fury weapon)
➜ Can reach 5/4/4/4/6 with 58 additional IAS on gear at Level 42 Werewolf, or simply use 5/4/4/4/7 while not having to worry about getting any additional IAS on gear

Ethereal Breath of the Dying War Spike [410%+ ED]
➜ A faster but lighter-hitting 3 frame weapon for fury versus fury
➜ Can reach the fastest attack speed by obtaining 53 additional IAS on gear at Level 42 Werewolf Typically achieved by using Highlord’s, 1x 40/15 jewel, and 20 IAS CB gloves
➜ Do not use at 4 frame

Ethereal Rune Master Ettin Axe [5 sockets, 270% ED]
➜ A harder-hitting and very high-damage 4 frame weapon for fury versus fury
➜ There are many configurations for this as far as what you can put inside. Here are some common ones: “Zod Lo 40/15max 40/15max 40/15max” for versus Fury or “Zod 40/15ias Lo Lo Lo” for fury versus zeal

Ethereal Death Cleaver Berserker Axe “Zod” [275%+ ED]
➜ Considered the “cookie-cutter” weapon for fury versus zeal
➜ Will be used at 5/4/4/4/7 so you do not need to worry about any additional IAS on gear
➜ Should be used with Angelics amulet and rings for the attack rating boost necessary for versus zeal

Ethereal Stone Crusher Legendary Mallet “Zod”
➜ A very slow but extremely hard-hitting fury versus fury weapon
➜ This is really only used as part of a 100% Crushing Blow build with Guillame’s Face, which means hard hits very hard every time you hit, but the downside is its slow speed
➜ Ideally, you want at least 35 additional IAS on your gear to hit an okay (but still slow) speed

This post was edited by Koston on Sep 21 2022 12:55am

The Fury Wolf: Updated For D2r - Topic (2024)

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