As an Avid ARPG fan, I've been enjoying the hell out of Diablo 4. It's more accessible than my beloved Path of Exile, and doesn't require three external applications to play. In addition to maxing out all three beta weekends, I've already hit over 75 hours in the game since launch. My preferred character class of choice? Druid! I'll share the build that I plan during Season One of the game, kicking off in late July 2023. This build is made to excel at all content the game has to offer and is extremely fun to play.
Traverse the wilds of Sanctuary as a spellcasting werewolf, bringing down the wrath of poison lightning upon the evil that dares stand before you. Harness the elements to both protect yourself and your allies and destroy all of your enemies.
I've created my Lightning Storm Druid build to excel at all content Diablo 4 has to offer. It's tanky and has good clear speed. Most importantly, it is FUN to play. Let's dive into the build and what I'm playing for Season One.
- Very Strong in the late game.
- Deletes monsters up close and at a distance, even beyond the reaches of your screen.
- Nearly 100% Crowd Control, Barrier, and Vulnerable uptime.
- Very tanky + high survivability without needing Fortify.
- Great at generating resources.
- Can 'high roll' and do a lot of burst damage with Lucky Hit.
- Not the fastest build around.
- Lightning Storm is a channeled skill - meaning you will be mostly stationary while dealing damage.
- Dependent on Tempest Roar for all werewolf synergies.
- Weaker single target damage outside of Cataclysm uptime.
- Weaker in earlier levels.
- Storm Strike (Basic) generates spirit and helps synergize with the rest of the build. Great defensive source of damage reduction, and can apply vulnerable + crowd control on mobs.
- Lightning Storm (Core) is our main damage source. Lightning Storm received notable buffs in Patch 1.03, making it even more compelling for our main damage source.
- Earthen Bulwark - Great defense, unstoppable, and surprising burst damage. Provides CC immunity and an escape or panic button as needed and also boosts storm damage DPS.
- Hurricane - Another skill to get a massive buff in patch 1.03, Hurricane does a lot of damage and is a source of crowd control + resource generation.
- Blood Howl - Blood Howl provides insane critical strike chance, healing, and a burst of spirit. Great offensive + defensive utility in the build.
- Cataclysm - Another skill that more damage buffs in patch 1.03. With an insanely high lucky hit chance, this skill does a ton of damage, just works (doesn't require additional equipment aspects like Grizzly Rage), and is much stronger than a lot of 'meta' builds would have you believe. Especially after the latest patch, this skill works perfectly and slots beautifully in the build.
Passive skill tree
The full passive skill tree and my always up-to-date version of this build can be viewed here.
- Vigilance for added damage reduction since we run 2x defensive skills in the build.
- Nature's Reach allows us to melt the screen at a distance while our build also provides a ton of reasons to get up close and personal with enemies.
- Envenom + Toxic Claws increase crowd control uptime and massively increase damage with paragon choices and glyphs.
- Endless Tempest boosts Hurricane + Cataclysm which aids in our damage output capabilities.
- Electric Shock, Bad Omen, and Elemental Exposure all boost the build. Unfortunately, the Charged Atmosphere is 'bad' and is excluded from the build pending any buffs, this passive does add to the fun/thematics of the build.
- Perfect Storm is taken over earthen might for more consistent damage smoothing, and near-endless resource generation. Plus, we free up an additional aspect slot in our equipment with this decision.
Deer: +10 maximum spirit
Eagle: +5% critical strike chance
Wolf: Lucky hit - Dealing damage has up to a 15% chance to restore 10 spirit
Snake: Critical strikes with spirit skills heal you for up to 3% of your maximum health + Lucky Hit - Nature skills have up to a 10% chance to reduce the cooldown of your ultimate skill by 2 seconds.
There's almost always better gear to be found, but here are some of the items/aspects this build prioritizes.
Helm - Tempest Roar
Tempest Roar is the best in slot helm for this build. It provides massive damage scaling, amazing paragon board synergies, allows our lightning skills to poison enemies, and generates a ton of resources without the need of Umbral aspect. It's one of the druid's rarer unique items but really brings the build alive once it drops.
Chest - Aspect of Disobedience
Probably one of the best defensive aspects in the game right now. Armor provides great damage reduction in ways that resistances do not. For Season One, armor should always be prioritized over resistances on gears until resistances are reworked (expected in Season Two).
Affixes to prioritize:
- Damage reduction
- Life (since we use barriers a lot, life helps scale our overall defenses)
- Ranks of Earthen Bulwark
- Damage reduction from enemies that are poisoned
- Damage while shapeshifted
- Lightning damage
Pants - Vigorous Aspect
Vigorous Aspect gives additional damage reduction in Werewolf form and helps with overall tankiness of the build. Look for lots of damage reduction stats, armor, and potentially ranks of Hurricane. 4x defensive stats are preferred in this slot.
I would love to make Temerity work in the build, but its barriers scale with BASE life and not MAX life, meaning it's a bit of a noob trap. By taking this item we are forced to give up a lot of extra defenses that the unique trait of Temerity simply can't overcome in its current state. Unfortunate since this was one of the unique items I was most excited to play. Perhaps Barrier/Temerity will get a rework in a future seasons and this will be a more compelling choice.
Boots - Penitent Greaves OR Aspect of Shared Misery
Penitent Greaves will chill any enemies closer to us. They do not provide a huge movement speed buff compared to self-crafted options but do massively boost DPS since any enemy standing near us will be crowd controlled via the chill effect. These boots also extend the duration of our other CC effects in the build which boosts our damage. I consider these boots as Best in Slot (BIS) for the build, but you can build some faster movement boots for farming/speed clearing if desired.
Amulet - Nighthowler's aspect (50% aspect bonus in amulet slot)
A good roll on the affix here will provide + 15% critical strike chance in our build with Blood Howl. This is incredible for our DPS and scaling many of the mechanics of the build.
Affixes to prioritize:
- Cooldown reduction/ storm skill cooldown reduction
- Ranks of all Defensive skills
- Damage reduction
- Movement speed
- Ranks of Nature's reach
- Storm skill damage
Rings - Overcharged + Lightning Dancer's Aspect
These aspects provide more AOE clear for the build and are much needed. Lightning Dancer's aspect can blow up screens of enemies in seconds. It helps with clear speed and also boosts our damage to elite/boss enemies when they are surrounded by other enemies. Overcharged aspect increases damage dealt to multiple enemies and also helps with clear speed. It is another source of lucky hit that our build can scale with.
Affixes to prioritize:
- Critical strike chance + lucky hit chance
- Vulnerable damage
- Lightning damage/critical strike damage/damage to crowd-controlled enemies
Weapon - Staff - Runeworker's Conduit (100% aspect bonus in 2h slot)
Staves provide additional damage to crowd-controlled enemies. This build will have almost 100% uptime of crowd control on enemies, making this a powerful weapon type to pursue. Runeworker's Conduit was bad at launch but received a 40% damage buff in patch 1.03. It now scales much better and helps with our single target damage, one of the overall weaknesses of this build. This aspect may be replaced with another choice after more testing, but for now, I am happy with it in this important aspect slot.
Affixes to prioritize:
- Vulnerable damage
- Lightning/werewolf critical strike damage
- Damage to crowd-controlled enemies
- Core Skill Damage
- Damage to slowed enemies
Gloves - Stormshifter's Aspect
Since most of our skills become shapeshifting skills with Tempest Roar, +2 ranks across the board to all of our skills except Earthen Bulwark is a great power boost to the build. Without additional cooldown reduction, we can expect almost 60% uptime for Hurricane, which equates to an average of 1.2 additional ranks to all but one of our skills at all times.
Gloves are one of the most powerful offensive item types in the games, and they're an item that we want to try to invest heavily in to get great affixes.
Affixes to prioritize (try to get good rolls for all four and these will be 'perfect' gloves for this build) :
- Lucky hit % chance
- Critical strike chance
- Ranks of Lightning Storm
- (flex slot) Lightning/Werewolf critical strike damage/Storm skill cooldown reduction/Willpower)
Go to my build page for Paragon orientation/pathing. I'll continue to tweak and make changes to the paragon boards over time.
Starter Board: Exploit - Great for vulnerability uptime and damage scaling.
Board 2 Thunderstruck + Spirit: Helps scale critical strike damage against enemies. This board adds a lot of extra damage to the build, and the Spirit glyph aids us in scaling critical strike damage and overall DPS. Skip pathing to the Spirit glyph slot until all other boards are completed, this will be the last glyph added to the build.
Board 3 Constricting Tendrils + Fulminate: Adds another source of lucky hit and extra CC + poison which will become more important in later boards. Fulminate boosts our overall lightning damage in the build.
Board 4 Heightened Malice + Protector: Heightened Malice gives a lot of extra damage since most of our enemies will be poisoned due to the Toxic Claws passive skill + Tempest Roar. the Protector glyph gives extra damage reduction while we have a barrier up, which is almost always.
Board 5 Lust for Carnage + Werewolf: Lust for Carnage adds even more resource generation and allows us to keep nearly 100% uptime of Lightning Storm when clearing content.
Armor: Rubies for more life to scale our barriers and defenses.
Weapon: Sapphires for more critical strike damage against crowd-controlled enemies.
Jewelry: Skulls for more armor and better damage reduction scaling.
- Use Storm Strike to generate resources when needed and also provide more damage reduction. Great to work into your rotations for single targets, boss fights, or when you need more damage reduction against swarms of elites.
- Activate Earthen Bulwark then Hurricane, providing extra damage to your hurricane over its duration from the X passive. Earthen Bulwark can also be used at full spirit if you intend to channel a Lightning Storm and use all your spirit for the damage buff.
- Hurricane provides a nice damage source and also serves to generate a lot of resources. Try to keep it up as much as possible.
- Spam Lightning Storm to deal damage.
- Use Blood Howl as needed to boost critical strike, heal, and generate more spirit. This skill has a great blend of defense + offense in the build. Don't hesitate to use it at full life for the massive critical strike chance boost.
- Activate Cataclysm when you need a burst of damage for elites/bosses. Its super high lucky hit chance will proc your damage effects and massively boost your DPS for its duration. Use it often the spirit boon will help reduce its cooldown even while the ultimate ability is active with lucky hit procs.
Let us know in the comments what build you have planned and I'll see you in the game!
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