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D2R2.5: Rabies Druid Build Guide - RPGStash

  • Rabies Druid Introduction

    The Rabies Druid has a playstyle like no other in Diablo 2, with the Rabies skill itself having a unique mechanic.  The Rabies Druid bites their enemies, infecting them with a poison that spreads quickly, wreaking havoc on enemies – especially when grouped together!

    You may have guessed that the build is centres around the skill Rabies, dealing huge amounts of poison damage to our enemies which spreads like a virus.  The skill attacks a single target and infects them with poison damage, the poison then spreads to monsters that are in close proximity to the infected one.  The skill requires that you are in Werewolf form to use it, so we primarily focus our skill points into the Shape Shifting tree to gain big boosts to life and attack rating.  We also use summons to give us a meat shield and help keep us alive.

    This build is very simple to play and doesn’t require a great deal of skill, however to reach the full end game build you will require a lot of currency – the shield is extremely rare and often considered a trophy item when found!

    Pros and Cons


    • Easy playstyle, great for beginners
    • Huge damage to large packs
    • Can farm anywhere in the game
    • Viable in hardcore.



    • Slow farmer
    • Unable to teleport in Werewolf form, low mobility
    • End game is very expensive
    • Limited options for magic find


    Skill Tree


    • None


    Shape Shifting:

    • Werewolf (1)
    • Lycanthropy (20)
    • Feral Rage (1
    • Rabies (20)
    • Fury (1)



    • Raven (1)
    • Poison Creeper (20)
    • Oak Sage (1)
    • Summon Spirit Wolf (1)
    • Heart of Wolverine (20)
    • Summon Dire Wolf (1)
    • Summon Grizzly (1)

    The above allocation will take you to level 77 and is the core for our build, where you allocate skills from this point is user preference.  I like to put more points into Feral Rage for more Damage and Attack Rating, alternatives include points into Werewolf for a boost to your Attack Rating and Attack Speed.


    The Rabies skill isn’t available until Level 18, so we need an alternative build until we reach higher levels.  What works in our favour is that a synergy for Rabies is the Poison Creeper summon, which deals huge amounts of damage in the early game.  I recommend using as many of your skill points D2R Items as you can for Poison Creeper, whilst also getting points in Werewolf, Lycanthropy and the prerequisites for Rabies when you can, and also the other Summon abilities required for the build. 

    The Poison Creeper skill will carry you through Normal difficulty very easily, especially once combined with the synergy from Rabies.  This is a summon skill, so once cast the Creeper will follow you around – however you can recast / resummon the unit on top of specific packs you want it to target.  You can use this to your advantage as you progress by casting it directly on top of Elite or Champion Packs to inflict early poison damage and get experience from them whilst you continue to run through the game.

    Once you reach level 18 you can start dumping your skill points into Rabies to maximise the damage output.  When both Rabies and Poison Creeper are maxed out, work your way back to Heart of Wolverine and Lycanthropy to max those out too.  Your life will still be a little low, so it may not be possible to simply stand a fight some packs of monsters and you may need to be smart with how you engage them, hitting them with poison then kiting around.

    Early Game

    This section is intended to showcase an item build that is achievable after completing the game and you are ready to start farming.  Some of the runes may require repeat farming of Normal and / or Nightmare Countess, however this is normally achieved within a short timeframe.

    Helm:               “Lore” Runeword (Ort Sol) / Peasant Crown

    Amulet:             Utility Amulet with life, resistances, magic find etc

    Weapon:           “Spirit” Runeword (Tal Thul Ort Amn)

    Shield:              “Ancient’s Pledge” Runeword (Ral Ort Tal)

    Armor:              “Smoke” Runeword (Nef Lum)

    Gloves:             Bloodfists

    Rings:               Ravenfrost / Utility ring

    Raven frost provides the “Cannot be Frozen” mod which is fundamental for any melee build.

    Belt:                  String of Ears / Utility belt

    Boots:               Faster Run Walk with Resistances


    Inventory:         Life / Resistance Charms

    Mercenary:       Act 2 Desert Mercenary with “Might” Aura and “Insight” Runeword (Ral Tir Tal Sol) or “Obedience” Runeword (Hel Ko Thul Eth Fal)

    The Rabies Druid shines in high density areas where the poison damage can spread like wildfire.  For this reason, the optimum area to focus farming is The Secret Cow Level as we can round up large packs of Hell Bovine and let the poison damage take them down.  Our damage at this stage won’t be very high so you will need to be patient when taking down the cows, however it is still more efficient than other characters given the Rabies can spread.

    You can also farm Travincal well once you have a few stronger items and have maximum Fire Resistance.  The key here is to try and round up the Council Members into packs and keep infecting them with Rabies, whilst kiting around them avoid as much damage as possible.

    End Game

    The end game build is a lot of fun and can clear any content in the game with ease.  The shield is very rare but there are alternatives, for example using a Stormshield with a Rainbow Facet in the socket to maintain a high block chance or a plain Monarch with 4x Rainbow Facets to maximise damage (this would however mean we do not reach maximum block % and our survivability is reduced as a result).

    Trang-Oul’s Claws may seem like a strange choice initially; however they provide +25% Poison Damage which is a big boost for this build.  The Act 5 Barbarian Mercenary with “Plague” Runeword will cast the Lower Resist curse on enemies when he gets hit which again will significantly increase the amount of poison damage taken by the affected monsters.  The key item that unlocks the build is the “Bramble” Runeword Armor, which provides a huge boost to poison skill damage and is a real game changer for the build.  Once you have this item you will notice a big jump in efficiency.

    Helm:               Jalal’s Mane socketed with an Um rune or Life / Faster Hit Recovery / Resistance Jewel

    Amulet:             Highlord’s Wrath

    Weapon:           Plague Bearer Cryptic Sword socketed with a Poison Rainbow Facet

    Shield:              Jeweller’s Monarch of Deflecting with 4x Poison Rainbow Facets / Storshield with a Poison Rainbow Facet

    Weapon Swap:  “Call to Arms” Runeword (Amn Ral Mal Ist Ohm) and “Spirit” Runeword (Tal Thul Ort Amn)

    Armor:              “Bramble” Runeword (Ral Ohm Sur Eth)

    Gloves:             Trang-Oul’s Claws Heavy Bracers

    Ring #1:            Ravenfrost

    Ring #2:            Rare or Crafted Ring with Life Leech, Mana Leech, Attack Rating and Resistances.

    Belt:                 String of Ears

    Boots:               Ethereal Sandstorm Trek Scarabshell Boots


    Inventory:         Rotting Fissure Sunder Charm

    Grand Charms with + Shape Shifting Skills and + Life (as much as possible)

    Small Charms with + Life and + All Resistances

    Druid Hellfire Torch Large Charm

    Annihilus Small Charm

    Mercenary:       Act 5 Barbarian Mercenary with “Plague” D2 Resurrected Items (Cham Shael Um), ethereal “Fortitude” Runeword and ethereal Andariel’s Visage socketed with an Increased Attack Speed / Fire Resistance Jewel


    Strength:    Enough to wear your gear

    Dexterity:   Enough to reach 75% Chance to Block (unless using plain Monarch)

    Vitality:       As much as possible

    Energy:      None



    This build is viable in Hardcore with no tweaks, however I would recommend using a Stormshield as your shield for the extra Damage Reduction whilst also allowing you to hit 75% Block Chance easily.  Your playstyle will remain the same, but as always in Hardcore beware of dangerous Elite monsters with curses or Extra Strong modifications as they can take you down quickly.


    I said at the start of this guide that the build is like no other, and the playstyle is similar but a lot of fun!

    We always start with spawning our summoned creatures, make sure you have all of your Ravens, Wolves, Grizzly and Heart of Wolverine up before switching to your “Call to Arms” and casting Battle Command and Battle Orders on yourself.  We now transform into the Werewolf and begin hunting our prey!

    In the Early Game section I mentioned that this build shines in high density areas, and whilst that is still the case for our End Game build it is also extremely strong for killing small packs and even single targets.  Unless you’re in a players 5+ game I would recommend only hunting Champion or Elite Packs of monsters as killing regular units on lower player counts isn’t as efficient given they have a lower chance to drop an item.  When you reach a pack, charge up Feral Rage before hitting a few of them with Rabies.  Once the pack is infected, start hitting them with Fury.  Your damage won’t be huge, but you use this skill to leech life from the enemies and help sustain you in battle.  If you notice the pack doesn’t die, hit them again with Rabies and they will fall quickly.

    An important mechanic of Rabies to keep in mind is the duration.  The duration is fixed, so for example if you hit a single monster with Rabies the clock starts.  If that monster spreads into to 5 more monsters after 5 seconds, those monsters will only be infected for 15 seconds.  So, in big packs of monsters where the poison can spread quickly, they will feel the full effect and most likely die very fast.  However, if you have lots of small packs that spreads the poison slowly, you may need to kite around and infect a few of them to make sure they die.



    This build is not viable in Uber Tristram, however the damage should be enough to kill Diablo Clone.  You will want the Clone to target your Mercenary so that the Lower Resist curse gets cast onto him, but from this point onwards you should have sufficient damage to kill him easily and claim your new Annihilus charm.

    If you'd rather skip farming you can quickly Buy D2 Resurrected Runes from our D2R Store.

    Article From: Rabies Druid Build Guide - D2R 2.5

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