Diablo® III

Iria's Demon Hunter PvP Guide

WARNING: THIS THREAD IS PERTAINING TO PATCH 1.0.8 AND IS OUTDATED

Originally posted by me on viciouscattle.com as a PVP guide:
http://www.viciouscattle.com/forum/thread-1927-1-1.html

I am reposting this to the battle.net forums to bring larger awareness to PVP as well as per request by Saltydog for his information post.

This will be an extensive guide including gear choices, skill choices, match-up information, and general play-style tips. I will try to condense my knowledge of the Demon Hunter in PVP so that beginners and experts alike can gain something from this. This guide assumes the 1.0.8 patch and may or may not be useful in future patches pending balance changes. Lastly, I will require 4 posts (including this one) to separate the sections into posts.

Post 1 - Introduction and Gear Choices:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/10127182655#1
Post 2 - Skill Choices:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/10127182655#2
Post 3 - Match-up Information:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/10127182655#3
Post 4 - General Tips and Conclusion:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/10127182655#4

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1 Gear Choices
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Generally, there are only 4 possible equipment styles to aim for:

1) DPS + EHP [Tank]
2) DPS + Discipline [Glass Cannon]
3) Legacy Natalya's [Legacy]
4) DPS + EHP + Discipline [Balanced]


It is impossible to maximize one category fully, so a balanced approach is necessary. I recommend attaining equipment to be able to gear up to at least 3 of the 4 categories; this will enable a DH to adapt to varying classes and playstyles. Here are the following equipment choices for each of the slots for each of the categories:

Main-hand: (1,2,3,4) Manticore (aim for 2 sockets, dex, and enhanced damage)
Off-hand: (1,3) Dead Man's Legacy (aim for extra dex/vit and Rapid Fire bonus)
Off-hand: (2,4) Dead Man's Legacy (aim for max discipline and Rapid Fire bonus)
Helm: (1) Mempo of Twilight (aim for extra dex/vit or crit chance)
Helm: (2,4) Natalya's Sight (aim for all resist and crit chance)
Helm: (3) Natalya's Gaze (aim for critical chance and a socket)
Chest: (1) Blackthorne's Surcoat (aim for dex/vit, life %, or elite damage -%)
Chest: (2) Natalya's Embrace (aim for max discipline, dex/vit, and Impale bonus)
Chest: (3) Natalya's Shadow (aim for all resist, max discipline, and Impale bonus)
Chest: (4) Natalya's Embrace (aim for dex/vit, all resist, and Impale bonus)
Belt: (1,3,4) Blackthorne's Notched Belt (aim for extra dex/vit, or a rare belt)
Belt: (2,3) Inna's Favor (aim for extra dex/vit)
Pants: (1,3,4) Blackthrone's Jousing Mail (aim for vit and all resist)
Pants: (2,3) Inna's Temperance (aim for dex/vit or vit)
Boots: (1) Blackthorne's Spurs (aim for all resist and dex or dex/vit)
Boots: (2,4) Natalya's Bloody Footprints (aim for dex/vit)
Boots: (3) Natalya's Soul (aim for dex/vit)
Shoulders: (1,2,3,4) Vile Ward (aim for dex/vit and life %, or rare shoulders)
Gloves: (1,2,3,4) Rare Gloves (aim for crit chance/damage, all resist, dex, dex/vit)
Bracers: (1,2,3,4) Rare Bracers (aim for crit chance, all resist, dex, dex/vit)
Amulet: (1) Rare Amulet (aim for crit chc/dmg, life %, vit, dex/vit, all resist)
Amulet: (2,3,4) Rare Amulet (aim for crit chc/dmg, dex/vit, avg damage, all resist)
Ring 1: (1,2,3,4) Stone of Jordan (aim for 30% elite bonus, Rapid Fire/Impale bonus)
Ring 2: (1) Litany of the Undaunted (aim for crit damage or life %)
Ring 2: (2,4) Natalya's Reflection (aim for crit chance/damage, all resist, or life %)
Ring 2: (3) Natalya's Mark (aim for crit chance/damage)

That pretty much sums the equipment story up. Next, I will discuss useful skills to consider with each of the styles of play.
Edited by Iria#1342 on 6/11/2014 11:14 PM PDT
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WARNING: THIS THREAD IS PERTAINING TO PATCH 1.0.8 AND IS OUTDATED

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2 Skill Choices
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Generally, there are only a few viable options a DH has to play competitively in PVP. Some of the skill slots must be reserved for specific survival skills with only a few slots open for attacks. Here are the rundowns for each of the important skills (skills or runes not mentioned are generally useless in PVP):

Hungering Arrow
- Shatter Shot (useful for targets with multiple pets)
- Devouring Arrow (useful against tankier targets)
- Spray of Teeth (useful with Sharpshooter)

Bola Shot
- Acid Strike (useful for penetrating targets with multiple pets)
- Other runes (useful for attacking multiple targets)

Impale
- Impact (useful for stun-lock builds against single low-dodge targets)
- Chemical Burn (very useful damage with DoT)
- Overpenetration (useful for penetrating targets with multiple pets)

Rapid Fire
- Web Shot (useful with Cull of the Weak)
- Fire Support (best overall rune for damage and accuracy)
- High Velocity (slightly useful for penetrating targets with multiple pets)

Smokescreen
- Lingering Fog (best defensive skill in the game)

Vault
- Tumble (best efficiency rune)
- Acrobatics (useful in limited discipline builds)

Preparation
- Battle Scars (best mid-fight pick-me-up)
- Backup Plan (useful when the life from Battle Scars is irrelevant)

Companion
- Bat Companion (useful for hatred-heavy builds)
- Boar Companion (best overall companion for survival)

Marked for Death
- Mortal Enemy (best for maximum single target DPS with hatred restoration)

Evasive Fire
- Hardened (useful for tank-style hatred generation)
- Covering Fire (great multi-target hatred generator)
- Displace (better backflip range but costs medium discipline)
- Surge (more discipline efficient)

Fan of Knives
- Hail of Knives (wide-area instant high-damage AoE)
- Fan of Daggers (small-area chance-to-stun high-damage AoE)

Spike Traps
- Sticky Trap (limited usefulness against tanky targets with multiple pets)
- Scatter (limited usefulness against multiple pets)

Sentry
- Spitfire Turret (most offensive of the sentries)
- Aid Station (useful for tank-style against light or medium-damage attacks)
- Guardian Turret (useful for tank-style against high-damage attacks)

Passives:
- Thrill of the Hunt (useful with Rapid Fire)
- Tactical Advantage (useful for mobility)
- Steady Aim (useful for ranged offense)
- Cull of the Weak (useful with some skills)
- Brooding (very useful life regeneration)
- Archery (useful additional damage)
- Numbing Traps (marginally useful defense from turrets)
- Perfectionist (very useful discipline and EHP bonus)
- Sharpshooter (very useful offensive skill)
- Ballistics (useful with Fire Support)

Next, I will outline the general useful skill sets for each category outlined in post 1.

Tank Skills:
[Required] Smokescreen - Lingering Fog
[Required] Preparation - Battle Scars
[Required] Sentry - Aid Station or Guardian Turret
[Required] Hungering Arrow, Bola Shot, or Evasive Fire
[Required] Rapid Fire or Impale
[Required] Brooding
[Required] Perfectionist
[Optional] Companion - Boar Companion
[Optional] Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy
[Optional] Thrill of the Hunt
[Optional] Sharpshooter (with Impale)
[Optional] Ballistics (with Fire Support)

Glass Cannon Skills:
[Required] Smokescreen - Lingering Fog
[Required] Preparation - Battle Scars or Backup Plan
[Required] Vault - Tumble
[Required] Hungering Arrow, Bola Shot, or Evasive Fire
[Required] Rapid Fire or Impale
[Required] Tactical Advantage
[Optional] Sentry - Spitfire Turret
[Optional] Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy
[Optional] Thrill of the Hunt
[Optional] Steady Aim
[Optional] Sharpshooter (with Impale)
[Optional] Ballistics (with Fire Support)

Legacy Skills:
[Required] Smokescreen - Lingering Fog
[Required] Preparation - Battle Scars or Backup Plan
[Required] Vault - Tumble
[Required] Hungering Arrow, Bola Shot, or Evasive Fire
[Required] Rapid Fire or Impale
[Required] Tactical Advantage
[Optional] Sentry - Spitfire Turret
[Optional] Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy
[Optional] Thrill of the Hunt
[Optional] Perfectionist
[Optional] Steady Aim
[Optional] Sharpshooter (with Impale)
[Optional] Ballistics (with Fire Support)

Balanced Skills:
[Required] Smokescreen - Lingering Fog
[Required] Preparation - Battle Scars
[Required] Hungering Arrow, Bola Shot, or Evasive Fire
[Required] Rapid Fire or Impale
[Required] Tactical Advantage
[Optional] Vault - Tumble or Acrobatics
[Optional] Fan of Knives - Hail of Knives
[Optional] Sentry - Spitfire Turret or Aid Station
[Optional] Companion - Boar Companion
[Optional] Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy
[Optional] Thrill of the Hunt
[Optional] Perfectionist
[Optional] Brooding
[Optional] Steady Aim
[Optional] Sharpshooter (with Impale)
[Optional] Ballistics (with Fire Support)
Edited by Iria#1342 on 6/11/2014 11:14 PM PDT
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WARNING: THIS THREAD IS PERTAINING TO PATCH 1.0.8 AND IS OUTDATED

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3 Match-up Information
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In this section I will discuss how to address most of the known builds each of the 5 classes will use against the Demon Hunter!

Demon Hunter vs Barbarian

This is generally a war of attrition and each side cannot afford to make a mistake. The recommended style is the Glass Cannon versus Barbarians. Tank, Legacy, and Balanced builds will generally lead to stalemates or inevitable losses (in the case of Legacy since their DPS is the lowest). Tank builds can work against Barbarians; however, with sprint, the Barbarian can run away until fully healed.

For skills, I personally recommend Rapid Fire - Fire Support as the primary form of damage since Impale will only scratch the toughest Barbarian's defenses. Next, all the other skills and passives should revolve around that central focus including: Smokescreen, Preparation, Marked for Death, Thrill of the Hunt, Vault, and Tactical Advantage. The third passive can be used either for more damage such as Steady Aim or Ballistics, or more survival such as Perfectionist or Brooding. The best hatred generator in this match-up is Hungering Arrow - Devouring Arrow due to its maximum single-target DPS and its ability to hit from around corners.

For equipment, use a high damage set with Rapid Fire bonus and some minor EHP to survive a critical Rend or two. Try to reach the 1.67 or 2.01 Rapid Fire breakpoint with attack speed (the 2.01 is very difficult to attain). Lastly, try to aim for at least 70 maximum discipline.

Things to watch out for: Furious Charge and Leap combinations to approach and retreat from Thrill of the Hunt (but Thrill has a shorter cooldown than the Barb's options). Ignore Pain means run, damage dealt to the Barbarian will be minimal during this duration, so it is best to flee (the same applies to Wrath of the Berserker!).

Demon Hunter vs Demon Hunter

This is the classic ditto match. Everything you can do, the enemy can do too! The best builds for this style depend on what style your opponent is using! Generally, Tank build beats Legacy and Glass Cannon, Legacy can beat Glass Cannon, and Balanced can beat Legacy and Glass Cannon. Balanced versus Tank is generally a stalemate but can go either way with some lucky critical hits. Avoid using a Glass Cannon build unless you can one-hit-KO your opponent (in which case they will likely one-hit-KO you too). The two types of main attacks Demon Hunters will use is Impale - Chemical Burn and the rarer Rapid Fire - Fire Support (only usable by Tank builds generally).

For skills, Demon Hunters will want to use: Smokescreen - Lingering Fog, Preparation - Battle Scars, Companion - Boar Companion, and Perfectionist. If your Demon Hunter is focusing on an Impale build, the common additional skills are: Vault - Tumble (or Acrobatics), Fan of Knives - Hail of Knives (instead of Vault), Sharpshooter, and Tactical Advantage. If your Demon Hunter is focusing on a Rapid Fire build, the common additional skills are: Sentry - Aid Station, Ballistics, and Brooding. The best hatred generator here is Evasive Fire.

For equipment, focus on a balanced approach of DPS, EHP, and discipline (or just DPS and EHP if Tank). You want to be able to survive an enemy Demon Hunter's Impale or Fan of Knives but also return the favor with great damage. Impale cost reduction or Rapid Fire bonuses are useful here as they are the primary form of attack for most builds.

Things to watch out for: Impales and Rapid Fire! That said, try to force your opponent to use their Preparation first and apply pressure when they are out of discipline and you still have some remaining. Also keep tabs on the known paths your enemy likes to take when approaching a particular part of the map. Using sentries as scouts for enemy positioning is also useful here.

Demon Hunter vs Monk

This is generally a close battle which will never end in a stalemate; both sides have ways to kill the most resilient players of the other class. The recommended styles are Glass Cannon, Legacy, or Balanced builds. Tank builds will lead to a defeat due to massive-damage single-hit attacks at the Monk's disposal. In general, if the Monk is using enough damage to one-hit-KO with their main attack regardless of EHP, then Glass Cannon or Legacy are the best choices. However, if the Monk is opting to use a tankier build revolving around DoT and multiple-hits, Legacy and Balanced builds are better.

For skills, use Impale - Chemical Burn with all builds; it has the best damage potential against evasive targets, especially coupled with Sharpshooter. The focus is mobility and damage via Impale, so the necessary skills are: Smokescreen - Lingering Fog, Preparation - Battle Scars (Backup Plan if one-hit-KO attacker), Vault Tumble, Tactical Advantage, and Sharpshooter. The last passive can either be defensive such as Brooding or Perfectionist, or offensive with Steady Aim. The hatred generator of choice is either Hungering Arrow - Devouring Arrow or Evasive Fire and the last skill slot can be either Sentry - Spitfire Turret or Companion - Boar (do not use if Monk is using Exploding Palm).

For equipment, use the standard high damage, high discipline, medium to low EHP gear. More EHP is better if you can survive the Monk's attacks; and more DPS (damage per shot in this case) is better if you cannot. Critical damage is more important here due to the mechanics of Sharpshooter with Chemical Burn: if the knife is dodged, the burn still applies however the Sharpshooter bonus does not reset!

Things to watch out for: Wave of Light - Explosive Light (will one-hit-KO on critical), Seven Sided Strike - Sudden Assault (deadly range), and Exploding Palm (can be fatal but very difficult to apply). The setups for all 3 of these skills are done with Blinding Flash, which can blind during Smokescreen; however, Smokescreen can cancel it out (depends on which one is applied first). If blinded, the Monk gets one free attempt to win; luckily, blind can be dodged. Dashing Strike is a common approach tool for the Monk and can do a lot of damage, but will not one-hit-KO with medium EHP. The only other danger lies in Serenity - Instant Karma (which reflects Impales).

Demon Hunter vs Witch Doctor

This is arguably the toughest match-up for the Demon Hunter. The only partially viable builds to use against Witch Doctors are the Tank and the Balanced styles. The Glass Cannon will be defeated too quickly against high EHP Witch Doctors and Legacy builds do not have the EHP to survive extended encounters. The success of the Demon Hunter relies on bypassing or eliminating the Zombie Dogs while surviving all of the Witch Doctor's offensive options (Fire Bats, Haunt, and Spirit Barrage). Frankly put, there is no build at this time capable of defeating a Witch Doctor with high EHP and Plague Bats. The Witch Doctor also can regenerate health very quickly, so constant pressure is required.

For skills, there are two builds that can work against Witch Doctors; one for low to medium EHP Witch Doctors and one for high EHP Witch Doctors (with limited success). The build for low to medium EHP Witch Doctors centers around bypassing the dogs completely with Fan of Knives and Impale using the Balanced build. The skill set for this is: Smokescreen - Lingering Fog, Preparation - Battle Scars, Companion - Boar Companion, Tactical Advantage, and Sharpshooter. The hatred generator of choice is either Bola Shot - Acid Strike or Hungering Arrow - Shatter Shot. The last passive can be either Perfectionist, Brooding, or Archery.

For the other skill set, against high EHP Witch Doctors, the Tank build is employed with Rapid Fire as its centerpiece. This build sacrifices mobility for more survival and as such requires: Smokescreen - Lingering Fog, Preparation - Battle Scars, Boar Companion, Sentry - Aid Station, Brooding, and Perfectionist. The hatred generator can be any, such as Bola Shot or Hungering Arrow, but avoid Evasive Fire (non Hardened rune) due to high discipline costs. The final passive should be either Thrill of the Hunt or Ballistics.

For equipment, generally stack EHP and DPS; but depending on the build used, you may want more discipline. This is one match-up where more EHP will generally lead to better success, especially against the tankiest Witch Doctors.

Things to watch out for: Plague Bats, this skill is the strongest attack in the game due to its massive-damage which bypasses evasion, has extended range, penetrates pets, and does damage-over-time which lingers even after the spell is stopped. Haunt can also be troublesome with its incredible range and accuracy, but if the Witch Doctor is using Resentful Spirit, one Smokescreen will negate 75% of the damage from one Haunt. Lastly, Spirit Barrage on critical does immense damage, but can be dodged; however, it does go over walls. Always retreat when the Witch Doctor is in their Spirit Vessel, but try to predict where they will move to finish them after it wears off. Spirit Walk can be broken but generally costs a lot of resources to stop them from gaining part of their health back from Healing Journey. Lastly, their Zombie Dogs have a 45 second cooldown (with no bonus), and if you cannot kill their dogs in that period of time, a loss or stalemate is inevitable.

Demon Hunter vs Wizard

This is arguably the easiest match-up for the Demon Hunter. That is not to say the match is a guaranteed win, but rather carries a high success rate if planned for accordingly. The best builds to use against the Wizard are the Tank and Balanced styles. Glass Cannon and Legacy builds generally lack the EHP to survive some of the random high-damage Wizard's attacks. As a Tank build, focus around Rapid Fire, and as a Balanced build use Fan of Knives and Impale. Luckily Wizards do not have as many tricks as other classes versus the Demon Hunter. Furthermore, Wizards have no 100% accurate abilities (like Rend or Haunt) aside from Blizzard and have no form of invincibility.

For skills, there are several which are required for damage mitigation, they are: Smokescreen - Lingering Fog, Preparation - Battle Scars, Companion - Boar Companion, and Perfectionist. The other passives should be Tactical Advantage and either Sharpshooter (with Impale) or Thrill of the Hunt (with Rapid Fire). Vault is not as required since the Wizard cannot escape very quickly and Smokescreen is enough to move in close. The hatred generator of choice is Evasive Fire - Covering Fire for hitting multiple mimics and its infinite projectile velocity (which bypasses Slow Time). Tank builds will want to use Rapid Fire and Sentry - Aid Station, while Balanced builds will want to use Impale and Fan of Knives.

For equipment, the more EHP, the better. Having good DPS (damage per shot) is good but the Demon Hunter must survive critical Thunderstorm strikes (luckily the Boar can eat a couple), so EHP is more important. Having at least 60 discipline is good enough here as most battles with Wizards should take less than 30 seconds.

Things to watch out for: Thunderstorm, this skill does great damage; however, only if the Wizard has a line-of-sight with you, thus you can hit them back. Blizzard also can do some damage but can just be circumvented with Smokescreen; however, the Boar will take great damage from the Blizzard. Lastly, the only other major form of attack for the Wizard is Teleport - Calamity, but with enough EHP the Demon Hunter can survive it and retaliate with a Fan of Knives!
Edited by Iria#1342 on 6/11/2014 11:15 PM PDT
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WARNING: THIS THREAD IS PERTAINING TO PATCH 1.0.8 AND IS OUTDATED

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4 General Tips and Conclusion
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General tips for becoming a better Demon Hunter:

+ Do inspect your opponent every round to not be surprised by any skill or equipment.
+ Do practice on the environment, e.g. aiming projectiles through narrow terrain paths.
+ Do memorize the terrain with all the common hiding spots.
+ Do practice stutter stepping and Vault -> attack combos.
+ Do practice discipline management (especially important for non-legacy users).
+ Do retreat when resources and life are low or waiting on a critical cooldown.
+ Do learn the tables of damage, resource cost, etc. for every ability for every class.
+ Do exercise good sportsmanship before, during, and after a match.
+ Do take breaks when playing PVP for extended periods of time.
+ Do play PVP with the goal to have fun and make each match an enjoyable one.

- Do not panic if the enemy is using a build you are not familiar with.
- Do not panic if facing someone with better equipment than you.
- Do not rage or insult the opponent for defeating you in a way you feel is cheap.
- Do not play PVP while emotional, generally you will lose and get angry.
- Do not play PVP while intoxicated, generally you will lose and get angry.
- Do not play PVP from a mobile phone, generally you will lose and get angry.
- Do not belittle or insult another player, it ruins the spirit of the game.

That pretty much sums up my experiences as playing as a Demon Hunter in PVP. As some of you are aware, I have retired from formal PVP for the time being until some of the balance issues are resolved and the stale meta-game is refreshed. I will still be around to answer PVP questions, but I am burnt out on PVP at the moment as most of the other vocal Demon Hunters have either quit or been banned leaving me to answer everything! This guide is intended to be a reference so I don't need to explain everything to everyone who asks me a question about Demon Hunter in PVP; now I can simply refer them to this thread. If you have a particular question which is NOT covered in this guide, I will try to answer it when I can and possibly append it to the guide. Lastly, this is a guide pertaining to 1.0.8, future updates might very well invalidate most of the information posted here!

Thanks for reading!

Iria
Edited by Iria#1342 on 6/11/2014 11:15 PM PDT
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Awesome! Great Guide and thank you for posting!
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I'm reading part 2 atm but I will take a break after that. Very nice and detailed guide :D
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<(^^<)
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(>^^)>
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v(^^)v
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Really nice guide for DH!
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" Do exercise good sportsmanship before, during, and after a match."

good tip
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<(^^<)
v(^^)v
(>^^)>
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