Diablo® III

[GUIDE] TianZi's Guide to Strafe:Demolition

It seems that there are lots of people that have began playing their DH again, with lots of questions about gearing, paragon leveling, and loot farming. Right now Strafe:Demolition happens to be one of the fastest and most efficient farming specs, with people getting experience rates over 100m exp/hour in MP0. Since 1.0.7 does not change anything with the DH Strafe:Demolition build, I figured it'd be good time to write up a detailed guide on how to gear for and play the spec efficiently.

Please note that this guide ONLY covers Strafe:Demolition, and does not include ANY other strafe runes or other builds. For help with other builds, you can visit Genesis' thread over here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7593579872

I'll be splitting this guide into 3 short sections:

1) Strafe Mechanics and Basic PlayStyle
2) Passive/Active Skills
3) Basic Gearing

*Please note that this guide will be a work in progress over the next few days when I have free time*

-----

New video of me playing Strafe at under 100k DPS (with scoundrel) getting rates of about 70m exp/hour. DPS for Strafe:Demo simply isn't as important as many players believe it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92kWh5eQW60

Video of me playing Strafe with my Legacy Set at the 100m exp/hour rate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRx1FlFCRCs
Edited by TianZi#1634 on 2/20/2013 1:02 AM PST
Reply Quote
Strafe Mechanics and Basic PlayStyle

Strafe is a auto-aiming channeled ability that spends 12 hatred per attack cycle, where each attack cycle depends on your APS (attacks per second). In each attack cycle you throw 2 bouncy grenades dealing 93.5% weapon damage each. Strafe:Demo also has a proc coefficient of 50% for each target hit, which is relevant for disc regeneration when using the 'Nightstalker' passive. Because Strafe:Demo hits for such a low amount of damage spread among many targets, it is best used in low/no monster power.

Notice how bouncy was underlined in the previous paragraph. Because of the fact that these grenades bounce, it leads to a situation where being closer to the target increases your chance to hit the target(s). Simply put, you want to be standing on your targets while playing the strafe:demo spec, especially vs enemies with a small hit-box.

This leads into an interesting situation with gearing, where strafe basically requires a higher amount of effective hit points (eHP) then other Demon Hunter specs. While typical DH specs stay at range and nuke enemies, strafe:demo plays more like a WW Barb where you stand on top of mobs and spin-to-win. Because of this, the gearing requirements lean towards All Resists, Armor, and Vitality in order to have higher eHP.
Edited by TianZi#1634 on 1/26/2013 12:36 AM PST
Reply Quote
Passive Skills
Sorry, You really don't get options on passives if you want high efficiency.

  • Passive 1) Tactical Advantage
    Pretty much to move faster between point A and point B, and to move on top of mobs faster to maximize DPS. No point farming slow when you can farm fast.
    .
  • Passive 2) Vengeance
    Used to restore hatred from health globes. Without vengeance and no hatred generator you'll constantly be standing around doing nothing.
    .
  • Passive 3) Night Stalker
    Used to restore discipline so you can vault more. Walking is a waste of time when you can vault.
    .
  • Required Active Skills
    You pretty much need these 4 abilities in order for the spec to work.

  • Skill 1) Strafe: Demolition
    This is basically what this build is all about. Strafe in basically your main damage dealing ability.
    .
  • Skill 2) Vault: Tumble (or Trail of Cinders)
    Vault lets you move from point A to point B faster. Players with the Legacy Natalya set, or using Preparation in the 6th skill slot, can use the “Trail of Cinders” rune instead.
    .
  • Skill 3) Shadow Power: Gloom
    Shadow Power is needed for healing, and for standing on dangerous affixes. While other DH specs do the same DPS regardless of distance, Strafe:demo builds kill faster when mobs move less. That means you will end up standing in affixes such as molten or plague which can potentially kill you without gloom. If your eHP is high enough you can swap “Gloom” for “Shadow Glide”.
    .
  • Skill 4) Companion: Bat
    The bat is used for hatred regeneration since this spec generally does not have a hatred generator.
    .
  • Optional Active Skills
    Choose 2 of these skills for the last 2 skill slots

  • Optional Skill) Fan of Knives: Hail of Knives
    Fan of Knives is mainly used for killing elites.
    .
  • Optional Skill) Rain of Vengence: Dark Cloud
    This is basically for additional AoE damage.
    .
  • Optional Skill) Chakram: Shuriken Cloud
    This ability can "snapshot" gloom to give constant healing from monsters in melee range. Simply make sure gloom is active when you activate shuriken cloud, and you will get the life steal effect for the full 2 minutes.
    .
  • Edited by TianZi#1634 on 1/26/2013 3:36 AM PST
    Reply Quote
    Basic Gearing:

    Because of it's higher eHP requirement, many players feel like Strafe requires expensive gear. However, you can actually sacrifice quite a bit of DPS as long as you meet the eHP requirements. Even a low budget set costing under 20m gold ($5) can farm well over 50million exp/hour.

    For low budget Strafe Gearing, I would suggest at least 400 All Resists, 40k HP, 3.5k Armor, and 80k DPS and at least 7 Pickup radius (preferably 14+ if you can afford it). As you upgrade gear just get more DPS and pickup radius without dropping the defensive stats.

    Please note that Strafe DPS gearing should be focused around Crit Chance and Dex and AverageDamage items. Crit Damage is of slightly lower importance due to increased chance of overkill, and Attack Speed is low priority because it drains hatred while increasing chance of wasted grenades due to overkill.

    -----

    *Removed Gear list because it depends heavily on the stats you end up with on your account bound items. Simply aim to hit these stats:

    - 80k DPS MINIMUM (don't bother with the build if you are under)
    - 40k HP
    - 400 All Resists
    - 3.5k Armor
    - 7+ Pickup Radius
    - 24% Move Speed (Boots+Innas Pants)

    Make sure to get +7 to 8 Strafe Crit on your Cloak.
    Edited by TianZi#1634 on 3/12/2013 1:09 AM PDT
    Reply Quote
    Will Edit/Update and answer any questions (that havn't already been answered) when I have time :)
    Reply Quote
    I cna has suggestions! For those in a bit of a hatred starved beginning they might need to ditch RoV for a generator

    1) Bola (volatile) incredible AoE size -> 25% proc,
    (bitter pill) for really disc starved players
    (Imminent doom) better DPS and Proc (50%)
    Bolas minor delay coupled with inferior single target DPS make it less useful as you gear

    2) Hungering arrow (Spray of teeth) gives GOOD Single target DPS (taking out a running Owl/single champ) shoot through a doorway & still has some AoE - SoT heavily favors crit stacking.

    as for sCloud Vs RoV, I'd say it is more like FoK vs sCloud
    FoK is a great potential burst vs elites, but if you have to use it more than once it is approaching an average 32%/sec, which is 'meh'

    For that reason I substitute it with the consistency of sCloud (34/sec) to use constantly on all mobs - sCloud can retain leech from ShadowPower for the whole 2min duration activate SP before you buff yourself with sCloud just like when you activate it before strafing. Running with permanent 15% leech on sCloud can help point-blank setup with extra regen (~1000/sec per target for every 100k dps)

    RoV - Beastly Bombs was my favorite hard hitter if you need it. Maneuver mobs (a champ pack) into a narrow floor (stairways, corridors, the waller affix will count, back towards the door vs Siegebreaker..) you can get this skill to drop all 4900% on top of a small area just like anathema

    variance builds that still need a generator
    SoT/Bola
    Tumble
    Gloom
    Demo
    bat
    sCloud/Fok/RoV
    Edited by zoid#1554 on 1/26/2013 2:46 AM PST
    Reply Quote
    as for sCloud Vs RoV, I'd say it is more like FoK vs sCloud
    FoK is a great potential burst vs elites, but if you have to use it more than once it is approaching an average 32%/sec, which is 'meh'

    For that reason I substitute it with the consistency of sCloud (34/sec) to use constantly on all mobs - sCloud can retain leech from ShadowPower for the whole 2min duration activate SP before you buff yourself with sCloud just like when you activate it before strafing. Running with permanent 15% leech on sCloud can help point-blank setup with extra regen (~1000/sec per target for every 100k dps)


    Thanks. I do think I should go into more detail on the various hatred spenders for the slot. I don't think I've actually run strafe without FoK yet, though I can see how it can be better to switch that slot when playing with lower DPS. I will go test it when I have time.

    However, I really don't feel like a hatred generator is or even very helpful unless the player happens to be maybe like sub-80k DPS. Speaking of which I should probably write up some stuff for follower usage as well. Even at slightly under 100k DPS (which isn't very high these days) strafe can already do 65-70m exp/hour runs without really having any hatred issues.
    Edited by TianZi#1634 on 1/26/2013 3:37 AM PST
    Reply Quote
    Tian, I've used strafe before, had no problems with resource management, but still found it much slower than my current build. I know you've got the speed, and would be down to try the two side by side. Send me an invite in game. I've caused a few DHs to switch from strafe to my speed build once they see the difference.

    Maybe you're next....
    Reply Quote
    I'm pretty much using this build, although with rockets rather than demolition. I go back and forth on demolition and rockets - both work well. Rocket-strafe takes even less thought, since you don't have to wait for the grenades to get there (and occasionally those grenades will miss), but demolition does more damage.

    I use dark cloud and shuriken cloud, vault, bat, strafe, gloom. Some elites could maybe use a little burst love, but Dark Cloud has more utility, in my opinion.

    It's a hoot either way.
    Reply Quote
    This looks great! I love watching your gameplay. Even with your sub-100k DPS video, you're capable of farming at rates that I basically max out at. I'm going to try swapping out archery for night stalker as you suggested, though I feel like it might be overkill given that I'm running at 30 disc (no SoJ or nats set with leorics and hellfire).
    Reply Quote
    Watching your videos when you posted some in another thread inspired me to try FoK and I was thrilled with the results. I hadn't considered using FoK to murder elites (for some stupid reason I felt the cost to be an extravagance), but have found that used properly it can save both time and hatred. I love FoK now.

    At first I was using Dark Cloud, but have since gone back to Shuriken Cloud (which I was using in my pre-FoK build). It's just worked out better for me. I seem to get smoother nightstalker generation with it, and snapshotting Gloom is extremely helpful given my somewhat low resists. I've been procrastinating on increasing the AR on my gear...maybe I'll get around to doing that today. Both Clouds are definitely great options, though.

    Something someone else posted in another thread (I forget who now, sorry) is the suggestion to use Shadow Power - Nightbane if one's EHP is in a good place but hatred generation or low kill speed are still one's limiting factors. Just using it for survivability when the lifesteal is needed results in better overall Hatred upkeep.

    It's great that you've posted this in its own thread. It's good stuff, and your videos are fun, even without the awesome accidental background music. =)
    Edited by Tiakatt#1643 on 1/26/2013 11:15 AM PST
    Reply Quote
    did this with legacy nats. was getting about 70-80m an hour (my gear really sucked but was good enough for MP0 runs)

    by far the best paragon grinding build and its not even close.

    Did this all the way from 80-100 paragon in a matter of weeks. Wish I had known about it sooner.

    If your paragon grinding, this is the build to go with.
    Reply Quote
    Been looking at Genesis's thread and now this thread pops up.

    Very fun build and its hard to beat the efficiency thanks for the write up!
    Reply Quote
    Am currently grinding with this build. Is quite mindless & very efficient. Looking for any tips on where to improve though. Thanks for the writeup Tianzi.
    Reply Quote
    Something someone else posted in another thread (I forget who now, sorry) is the suggestion to use Shadow Power - Nightbane if one's EHP is in a good place but hatred generation or low kill speed are still one's limiting factors. Just using it for survivability when the lifesteal is needed results in better overall Hatred upkeep.


    I'll look into that when i have time, thanks. I could see it being more useful with other runes such as rocket storm or drifting, since they generally require higher DPS to run smoothly.

    did this with legacy nats. was getting about 70-80m an hour (my gear really sucked but was good enough for MP0 runs)

    by far the best paragon grinding build and its not even close.

    Did this all the way from 80-100 paragon in a matter of weeks. Wish I had known about it sooner.

    If your paragon grinding, this is the build to go with.


    I've actually managed to play a bola shot build as well as a MS build up at around 70-80m exp/hour as well. However, strafe was simply easier and cheaper for me to play efficiently as the other builds actually need more expensive IAS/trifecta items.

    Am currently grinding with this build. Is quite mindless & very efficient. Looking for any tips on where to improve though. Thanks for the writeup Tianzi.


    Gearing looks solid, it really comes down to just practice after that. You may turn out with better/different results on different farming routes as well, as I've noticed I prefer playing different routes when I use BL spec compared to what I use now for strafe.

    Would like to note that dual socket high weapon% damage manticores with 2 red gems will probably turn out best for strafe builds post 1.0.7, even though strafe plays at low attack speed. This is mainly due to the high amount of overkill from higher crit damage in low MP.
    Reply Quote
    many strafe players use FoK for burst damage against elite... how come no one use spike trap (scatter) for burst damage? Isn't its damage higher (if placed correctly) for the amount of hatred spent relative to FoK? Just wondering...
    Reply Quote
    01/27/2013 04:31 PMPosted by hops1984
    many strafe players use FoK for burst damage against elite... how come no one use spike trap (scatter) for burst damage? Isn't its damage higher (if placed correctly) for the amount of hatred spent relative to FoK? Just wondering...


    Traps have to actually be aimed at the target, while FoK can be cast while moving/strafing, and has a 20 yard radius (with the rune). In low MP, for a lot of people, FoK is actually already enough to 1-shot blue elite packs if it crits.
    Reply Quote
    What if I have a high (3.30 attack speed)? Does that gimp me for this build? I think I tried strafe a few tinmes and always run out of hatred.
    Reply Quote
    01/27/2013 06:19 PMPosted by Jumpem
    What if I have a high (3.30 attack speed)? Does that gimp me for this build? I think I tried strafe a few tinmes and always run out of hatred.

    I DW myself at (er edit more like 2.3) 2.3 APS and there's nothing wrong with the strafe build concept; you will NEED a generator though.. be prepared to have SoT (or Bola)

    FoK will also be a bit weak since you are an APS dps; why I recommend sCloud as well.

    hey it also means if you get an empower shrine you will love it and not find it a bit of a waste :) i love those things , the frenzy shrine however you may even want to avoid .
    no jk frenzy is cool too

    you might want to grab yourself gloves/bracers that are dex/vit/ar/crit heavy and ditch ias stacking where you can
    Edited by zoid#1554 on 1/27/2013 6:49 PM PST
    Reply Quote
    What if I have a high (3.30 attack speed)? Does that gimp me for this build? I think I tried strafe a few tinmes and always run out of hatred.

    I DW myself at 3.4APS and there's nothing wrong with the strafe build concept; you will NEED a generator though.. be prepared to have SoT (or Bola)

    FoK will also be a bit weak since you are an APS dps; why I recommend sCloud as well.

    hey it also means if you get an empower shrine you will love it and not find it a bit of a waste :) i love those things

    the frenzy shrine however you may even want to avoid .
    no jk frenzy is cool too


    Strafe seems to go thrpugh packs of white mobs quicker than my normal Hungering Arrow + Sentry build. I run out of hatred and have a harder time with elites though. Maybe I need a hatred generator, as you mentioned, to deal with them.

    I think this build may actually be slower for me than Hungering Arrow + FoK + Sentry. elites take longer, and I die more often when I run out of hatred against them. With my old build hatred use was minimal and never an issue.
    Edited by Jumpem#1868 on 1/27/2013 7:10 PM PST
    Reply Quote

    Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

    Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

    Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

    Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

    Forums Code of Conduct

    Report Post # written by

    Reason
    Explain (256 characters max)
    Submit Cancel

    Reported!

    [Close]