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I am currently a level 38 Demon Hunter in Nightmare mode, and a little while ago I discovered a build that at first glance might seem completely stupid. But actually, it is the strongest build that I have ever tried so far. It has great survivability, great sustain, great CC, pretty good damage. and an epic Demon Hunter feel to it. Now why is it weird, you ask?
It has no primary attack.
First I'll go into the mentality that led me to making this (going spell by spell, left to right), then I will give a link the build.
1: Smoke Screen with Lingering Fog is practically required for survivability. Almost any Demon Hunter will tell you that.
2: I have always relied on Vault for survivability/positioning/getting out of being cornered. Since it is the only thing that lets you go through enemies, I find it almost as required as Smoke Screen. Whenever I try and go without Vault, I die the moment I get pinned to a wall. However, getting pinned to a wall does not happen all that frequently, and with 5 Discipline-based spells in this build, I need to conserve all the Discipline I can. This is why the Acrobatics sigil is absolutely perfect for the build.
3: Just like with Vault, I find myself heavily dependent on Caltrops. Without it, sure you can Vault away from enemies, but they'll be on you again in two seconds. Caltrops stops that from happening-- it just has way too much CC capability to pass up. However, I find that the basic slow without the increased slow or immobilize is sufficient, especially when coupled with Frost Arrow. This is why I took Jagged Spikes for the good amount of supplementary AoE damage.
4: Preparation is another one that is generally regarded as mandatory by Demon Hunters, especially in Nightmare difficulty and higher. Unless of course you want to Smoke Screen twice and run out of Discipline. It is especially required for this build, since it is so reliant on Discipline. I use the Invigoration sigil for just this reason, so that I have a larger Discipline pool to draw from.
With the first four spells being almost mandatory (in my opinion), this left me only two options. I knew I had to find something to spend my Hatred on. So I could either get a traditional Hatred generator/Hatred spender combo, or... something else. I decided to try the latter.
5 (left click): I prefer to use Elemental Arrow with the Frost Arrow sigil. It has good AoE damage, good single target damage, and good ranged CC. As I said earlier, this synergizes very well with Caltrops, since the combo gives you both close-range and long-range AoE CC and damage that stacks on top of itself. Elemental Arrow also has a ridiculously low Hatred cost; if you invest in a Hatred regen item or two you'll almost never run out of Hatred. And even that "almost" will go away when you see how this build completes itself.
6 (right click): And now, the spell that ties it all together. The spell that gives me enough sustain to ignore primary attacks entirely. And believe it or not, it comes from the most unlikely of heroes: Shadow Power. Yup, Shadow Power, with the Night Bane sigil. Not only does Shadow Power give you a good amount of healing power, Night Bane grants you a total of 12 Hatred regen per cast. "Well what happens when you run out of Discipline to keep this up?", you ask. Well, pop Preparation and start Shadow Powering all over again!
For my passives I take Vengeance and Perfectionist for the casting resource sustain (very important), and Cull the Weak to amplify my damage (since literally every target you hit will be slowed in some way).
Here is a link to the build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#RgXdYV!bcf!ZaZYba
I'm about ready to manically cackle at the power of this build. It is so... odd... so many things that one would never dream of using... but it works! It works really, really well! Not only that, but there is nothing cooler looking than a Smoke Screen'd Demon Hunter sprouting a couple of red demon wings firing frozen arrows at a pack of enemies that have no clue what the hell is happening. This build has everything a Demon Hunter could possibly want, rolled into one. Try it sometime.
Edited by Catperson#1806 on 5/19/2012 11:19 PM PDT
I haven't yet, but I'm sure I could swap in another version of Elemental Arrow. I get enough CC to keep me alive through Caltrops. What it's really about is Elemental Arrow's low Hatred cost, meaning that using another version of it would be almost as good.
The only thing I wouldn't use is perfectionist.
pretty sure someone at blizzard knows how to use fractions.
I could be wrong, fractions are kinda hard.
I can't say for certain since I don't know what it's like to be in inferno yet, but generally I have all the discipline I need unless I'm spamming Smoke Screen and Caltrops constantly.
The problem with your build is that you have way too many skills that rely on discipline. Even with invigoration on prep you won't have anywhere near enough to sustain all 4 skills. Beither caltrops nor vault are neccessary. They're fun and give you that real "im a freaking boss" feeling, but they do little more than drain precious smokescreen disc. Shadow power is a useless skill. As a demon hunter, you are not supposed to be getting hit. If you are, then you are making a mistake in your movements, and you should not ever be making so many mistakes that health pots and health globes + templar heal cannot handle. You will notice from the latter parts of hell onwards that the mobs can easily two shot you. I remember hitting act 4 in hell with a 25k health pool and could only survive 2-3 hits from a non swarm white mob.
As for your passives you are missing out on ALOT of damage without Archery. The only time I would even remotely consider not taking archery is if I was using double handbows, in which case I'm using a hatred heavy build. Your build uses one hatred consumer and a very light one at that, therefore double xbow just isn't right. If you are using a bow, there's no reason why you'd have cull the weak over archery, since they both give the same damage bonus but archery's bonus is always on regardless of whether you have a slow happening on the target or not. I don't know how you manage your caltrops and such but I can guess that most of the time your first hit will not gain anything from cull since the target will be at 100% movement.
If this is the play style you enjoy, then go hard, just don't expect to go far. Overall I personally don't see your build getting past even the phasebeasts in nightmare but I don't know how you play so I'm not going to judge.
I tried this last night for a little. Even dropped 100k gold for new weapons and cloak with hatred bonus. I'm at lvl 36 at the moment in NM mode, so take it for what it's worth. I need to test this a bit more but these are my first impressions.
It works well on regular mobs but had some issues keeping hatred up on elites because of the sheer amount of firepower you need to down them. When hatred is out and preps been exhausted and you're out of discipline, you feel very helpless, basically running for your dear life. I'm worried this will be even more of an issue when grouping with friends or on bosses.
I'm wondering if I'll have to drop caltrops or tumble in favor of the bat companion for added hatred generation. Kinda sucks because the whole reason why I loved the idea of this build is for the extra defense/utility you can add since the hatred generating and dump attacks have been removed.
That said, this is probably the most creatively synergistic build I've seen. I'll have to see if DPS is sustainable and follow up later.
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