Look at your barb.
Now look at me.
Now back to him
Now back to me.
Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped using lady's dual axes and switched to 5 aps w/ claws he could tank like me.
Look down, back up, where are you? You're in a TT with the barb your barb could tank like.
What's in your hand? Back at me, I have is an inventory with those nirvana crystals you love. Look back, the crystals are now gold mats.
Anything is possible when your barb tanks like a man and not a lady, I'm on a boat.
Note: this guide is not made to debate about the effectiveness of the claw barb. This is not made to convince people to switch to claw barb if they don't feel like they should. This guide is for two things mainly, to help people who do want to go claw build, and to present the pros and cons to people who are considering it. This is not to bash people who choose to follow another build. Also, I do not consider myself an "expert" or such of this build, but there are no other guides I know of so I decided to help out a bit.
Why should I go claw barb?
A barbarian built to use fist/claws has advantages that a barbarian built vit heavy or str heavy does not have. With the right gears your damage per second can be astronomically higher than a vit or str barbarian. You will be able to solo instances and in a squad you will help the boss go down faster. This is useful in instances such as twilight temple, nirvana, and city of abominations. You are able to score very high in the (now removed) nein quest event as well as the celestial tiger event. It also helps in tanking, If you are buffed with bloodpaint you are able to give yourself an additional source of healing, two infact as triple spark gives you 20% hp recovery, with 5.0 aps and 14k hp you can you can recover 2800 hp every 15 seconds. You also gain 3 seconds of invincibility during triple spark, which can be used to resist certain attacks such as powerful magic attacks, Illusion lords one shot skill (recommend you use AD though) and others.
So far so good but there are some disadvantages that need to be addressed.
You are sacrificing a very large amount of vitality in order to gain the dex required for claws. As a result your HP will drop significantly. Also, in situations where the claws are used, nirvana or TT, you will likely have 2 evasion ornaments, as a result your mdef will suffer. If your gears aren't good enough you may not be able to tank delta. TT3-3 may also be very complicated for you until you are able to improve your gear. To reach your old level of HP you will need to refine your gears much higher as well as use better shards.
High score in celestial tiger/more orbs in CoA
bloodpaint and triple spark healing
able to solo instances and farm very effectively
High spike damage in PvP due to high crit rate
-interval gears are expensive
Needs higher refines
Most likely wont be able to pull a catapult in TW
PvP MAY be harder depending on the situation
Lower armageddon damage
When should I go claw build?
CLAW BARB IS AN ENDGAME BUILD!
I cannot stress that enough. The majority of the gears you need will not be available until 99/100, such as TT99 gears and nirvana legs. Until then it is recommended that you remain as a pure vit barbarian. By stating for claws early on you are just making it more difficult to farm your TT gears, complete your BHs, and tank FC. If you stat early you will merely make early game hard while not gaining any advantage in return as you will not have any -interval gears.
Now when you are at the level for claws, grab a restat note and remove enough points from vit and put them into dex so you are able to equip your claws. It is recommended that you at least have 2.86/3.33 by the time you switch, do not switch until you have some good claws/fists you'll be using for a while such as lunar claws, nirvana claws, TT100 fists. So the absolute earliest you could restat is at level 95 when you can have lunar cape, lunar claws, and TT90 gold wrists.
What gears will I need?
-interval gears of course. Although just to prevent any confusion I'll outline a simple build that you can follow to reach 5.0 aps.http://pwcalc.ru/pwi/?char=2df53e1d4a8520ad
Now naturally there can be modifications made to still have high attack speed. This is just a basic outline, but what you'll want to make sure you have is
Lunar claws/TT100 fists/G13 Nirvana claws: -0.10
Nirvana legs: -0.05
TT99/Nirvana wrists: -0.10
Two piece of TT99 HA: -.05
Two piece of TT99 LA: -.05
Lunar trophy cape/Lunar cape: -.05
You can also get either Love Up and Down or Pan Gu, Creator tome for an additional -.05 if you do, you can choose to either enjoy having a base of 4.0, or remove one of the above -.05, for example you could ditch the two pieces of TT99 HA and go full nirvana, or you could exchange your -.10 weapon for a G15 nirvana weapon with -.05.
Now one of the main questions is how should you go about getting the TT99 HA and LA bonuses. Any combination of gears that gets all 4 is effective, like having TT99 HA chest and boots, and LA belt and wrists. My recommendation is to get the HA wrist and chest, and to get the evasion necklace and belt. Now my reason for this is you are able to get higher HP from the higher refine bonuses on HA gears, and that you won't be using the LA ornaments for PvP. As such you can keep your full HA for PvP with mdef ornaments.
What? Why won't I be using them in PvP?
But? I see all those BMs running around with fists/claws in PvP and they do great!
The thing is, those are BMs. They have stuns, leaps, and cyclone heel. They have techniques for making their target stay in place while they attack them. If you participate in PvP you might OCCASIONALLY break out your claws for an irksome barb that just wont die, but 99% of the time you will have your axe/hammer out. This build is for PVE, and should stay as such.
PvP isn't out of the question though. You are still a beast in PvP, your armageddon can still hit very high, and you now have a much higher crit rate. With demon onslaught, some + crit gears, lvl 11 A/H mastery you can get up to 60% crit rate, and depending on your weapon that can stack with zerk/god of frenzy. You will be much squishier though, I suggest you keep a good amount of defense charms and apothecary on hand.
Other things recommend to get
So now you have 5.0 aps, there are a few things that you should get as well that can make your PvP/PvE life easier.
A charm. If you're soloing TTs or w/e then this can come in huge help. They are expensive but are worth the investment. I lose about 200k charm soloing TT3-2, but I get on average 3 minister stones worth 1.2mil each (on RT) as well as a chance for a sorcerrer's soul or an neck gold, both worth about 5mil each (on RT)
Defense charms. These are mostly for PvP. You'll find with the HP loss you need to be more careful in PvP/TW.
A new genie. Your focus with your genie has changed a bit. You don't need a boost to your aggro generating abilities (alpha male) and you'll need to focus on somethings you cant cover in a solo run that your cleric might have taken care of.
Recommended skills: Absolute domain, solid shield, adrenaline surge, cloud eruption, holy path, earthquake (you wont be using alacrity of the beast to cancel), earthflame, tree of protection (be careful of making yourself tick), fortify, and even others that I'll add when I think of.
Level 11 skills. Remember that having a 5.0 attack rate amplifys any bonuses you get to your attack.
Level 11 poison fang. I know I said lvl 11 skills but this one I definitely had to mention. It gives an extra 20% wood damage to your attack, and when you're using fist/claws this bonus is HUGE. This is what helps you keep up with the BMs and their fancy weapon mastery.
And now for the last part:
Why not just make a BM?
You will hear this a lot, and it is a valid question.
Yes, you lose out on marrows, sprints, stuns (although not too useful for instances such as TT/nirvana), and bell. Well there are a few advantages that you get over BMs such as:
Higher HP per vit, this will be especially noticeable if you decide to use vit stones.
Higher constant move speed, you move faster than a BM does since a BM's sprint only lasts a few seconds while yours doesn't end.
You never have to go looking for barb buffs, while a BM may have to go looking for a barb to buff him before he starts a TT solo, you don't have to worry about that. You also don't have to worry about the buffs running out.
Armageddon, hey PvP still exists and there's nothing like a good 20k + hit from armageddon.
Solid shield, this genie skill is godly for soloing TTs and for good reason. It has a short cooldown, low energy cost and with a good str genie can give up to 55-60% damage reduction during the duration.
Demon onslaught, just an epic skill, go up to a boss, triple spark, use onslaught (can be cancelled to save a few precious seconds) quickly switch to claws and attack, watch the bosses HP drop.
For the two people who PMed me:
Switch to axes
Click on beastial onslaught
Like, half a second later, click on claws
EDIT: Due to a recent patch this no longer works.
It will probably take a bit of practice to get the timing down
Less competition, events like nein quest and celestial tiger will all have several 5.0 aps BMs fighting to get high scores in their class, but for a claw barb there will be much less competition.
Beastial Rage, gives an amount of chi (5-8 depending on the level of the skill) whenever you take a hit, great for maintaining chi for perm spark on bosses that can keep you from perm sparking (TT3-x bosses, nirvana bosses)
Advise on which form to use when and differences in strategy
The general rule of thumb when using one form or another is to keep in mind the strength of both weapons. Fist/Claws are good for solo enemies with high HP (bosses, elite mobs) and Axes are good for groups of enemies as well as mobs with lower HP. Also remember that you can switch to tiger form if you are unable to tank something in normal form. If a boss proves too difficult you can always switch to tiger form. You'll sometimes find that a boss that you couldn't tank earlier is now possible, or even easy, now that you have 30% more hp, 60-80% more pdef, and access to frighten and invoke.
The main thing to remember is that your role is the same. You need to escort your squad to the boss, and then tank it and bring it down with as many people staying alive as possible. Your reactions to situations should be the same just executed in different manners. 90% of the time as long as everything goes well the layout of the run should be approximately -> run through the mobs, I advise tiger form for this in a squad, normal form if solo -> get to the boss, normal form if possible, after all it's what you restat for.
There are a few things to get adjusted to though.
You aren't able to use alacrity of the beast now. Get earthquake on your genie, and alternate using earthquake to cancel magic attacks and using triple spark to resist the damage from them.
Yes you build up WAY more aggro than a traditional barb, however this aggro takes a couple of seconds to register, which is enough time for a squishy to get killed. I suggest starting boss fights by running up in tiger form, using flesh ream, then switching to normal form, triple sparking, and killing the boss.
For bosses with random aggro, AE, every boss in 3-x now, etc. have holy path ready. Generally you'll have such high DPS that as soon as the boss resets aggro and targets someone in your squad you'll get aggro back before it even attacks, but sometimes if you aren't positioned correctly it'll run off and sometimes it will run off as you are sparking, you'll need to be able to holy path over to the boss in this case.
Well, that's the guide, hope you enjoyed it and potentially learned something.
Note: this is not to debate the build or to claim that one build is better than another.