Diablo® III

Three Demon Hunter Builds

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I've got three DH builds I want to share.

Two of which I've got a huge amount of experience with, and the last one is brand new and I'm steady in the lab experimenting with it. These aren't gear check intensive builds and you can play in content far beyond what you'd expect, as these builds are very safe.

However the safety of these builds are based on attentiveness. There is no DC protection, and if you fall asleep at the wheel you will die, unless the content was already trivial for you and as such any build in the world would work and a monkey could play at that point.

Here's the first build:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aSgYXk!XU!ZcZ.a

This one is very trap-centric, and is built around lockdown. The basic equipment breakpoints are -> 35% crit chance, 1.80 or more attack speed, 700 life on hit/some life steal, and preferably as close to 50 discipline as you can get. Dual wielding with this is preferable, as Danetta's set works perfectly(it gives you the attack speed, the life on hit, and the discipline - and Archery passive gives you 10% crit chance). It's a very stylish build.

Gameplay revolves around Nightstalker procs. Each encounter you drop sentry, and place caltrops on the ground. Fire off Cinder Arrows to top off discipline(nightstalker) from caltrop placement, and to restore hatred. The idea is that when the monsters approach and get snared by the caltrops you start Strafe Demo. The caltrops keep the monsters clumped up and let Strafe Demo do it's magic, as the attack in itself procs nightstalker discipline like crazy, and allows you to continue to drop caltrops while strafing. Each time Sentry is off of cooldown drop another one.

There was no rune choice on Sentry, Caltrops, and Shadow Power, as it's pretty much up to you. This build has a weakness against Reflect Damage, so Gloom or Blood Moon is preferable for Caltrops. Smokescreen Displace is used to speed up Strafe if you need to phase through monsters upon getting Vortexed.

Next build:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#Udg.XV!f!Yb..Z

This one is much looser but requires a big discipline and attack speed breakpoint. You want as close to 2.50 attacks per second as you can get, 60-70 total discipline, and 35% crit chance. The attack speed breakpoint can be achieved easily with 1h crossbow with attack speed(Calamity), and a Dead Man's legacy with 18% attack speed or more. The discipline breakpoints can come from cloak, quiver, 1h crossbow, Stone of Jordan, Lidless Wall, Xepherian Amulet, and/or Nat's set bonus.

The gameplay behind this build is that you use your attack of choice which has the open spot. Ball Lightning, Chakram, Sentry, Spiketraps, whatever. The key here is Stun Grenades, Shadow Power, Preparation, and Perfectionist. With 70 discipline, Perfectionist, and Preparation(any but Punishment), you can Shadow Power indefinitely. Stun Grenades provide crowd control, and each stun buys you discipline recovery time. Nightstalker and Backup Plan takes Lingering Fog over the top, as you can pretty much smokescreen for the entire duration of a fight. With enough monsters clumped up, using Stun Grenades, you keep them stunned while keeping discipline in check and avoiding damage.
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Last one is brand new, I developed it today and I'm working on it.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#bdjfXW!af!..bb.Y

It relies on Thrill of the Hunt and positioning.

Here's the version I'm working with right now:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#bdjfXW!afd!cbbbZY

I'm using a Windforce and a Cold SoJ. The idea is that, I attack immediately with Covering Fire and snare everything with cold damage and knockbacks. Any single targets that creep forward get entangled with Bounty Hunter. Things that move too fast get hit with Suppression Fire on Thrill of the Hunt and get rooted, done under smokescreen. Elites take extra damage, and fought under smokescreens using Bitter Pill and Suppression Fire(Thrill of the Hunt). Reflect monsters eat Bounty Hunter. Wipe screens out with Suppression Fire or Covering Fire because of no travel time from the attacks.

I'm still trying to find the weakness right now, other than my low damage, since my last DH died to lag out.

Smokescreen in the waiting period between Thrill of the Hunt. Restore the lost discipline through Suppression Fire and Bitter Pill. When monsters get rooted Vault to reposition. Given the Life Steal on WIndforce, I might move to Choking Gas smokescreen. Breathe Deep also works good with Multi Shot. With more DPS you can wipe the screen out with no travel time on your shots. I'm using Brooding, to restore health while under smoke.

EDIT: I've just been doing MP1 runs with this build at the moment. But you avoid all damage throughout entire elite fights.
Edited by ActionKungfu#1184 on 2/2/2013 4:37 PM PST
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I just use Entangling Shot (Chain Gang) and slow everything and Vault away if things are too fast.
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02/02/2013 05:29 PMPosted by MasterBaker
I just use Entangling Shot (Chain Gang) and slow everything and Vault away if things are too fast.


Chain gang can't root an entire room, and it's also not as potent against things that are already naturally fast. The last build not only roots rooms but snares them all with slowing their attack speeds.

Don't get me wrong, Chain Gang is still baller.
Edited by ActionKungfu#1184 on 2/2/2013 6:05 PM PST
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*marked for later review*

Thanks for posting.
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For your first build, like I think I said before, Puncturing Arrow has the best proc of all the HA runes, when it comes to something you want to stack (like Night Stalker disc stealing), so I think it would be better suited.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around your last build. You have a sort-of single target to snare things. Then you have an AoE hatred dump to snare everything (once every 7 seconds) and gain discipline. Then you have a spammable AoE to gain discipline. Then you have a semi-AoE to snare things and escape. And then you have an extra ability to escape.

It's like you have four different purposes (snare, escape, AoE, disc generation) spread about five skills with each one taking two random roles. How do you delegate that? Like, how can you figure out which one is the best for which situation? Do you think of which two of the four things you want to do most, and use the skill oriented for that one?

It seems to me that, out of Vault, Covering Fire, and Bitter Pill, you can easily remove one of them (like covering fire). Do you really need all three?
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02/02/2013 06:04 PMPosted by ActionKungfu
Chain gang can't root an entire room, and it's also not as potent against things that are already naturally fast. The last build not only roots rooms but snares them all with slowing their attack speeds.


I can chain gang entire mobs (Just gotta aim a bit). Vault + Tactical Advantage is to be used against fast mobs + my Entangling Shot to slow as well. + mspd, kite, shoot, kite, shoot.
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For your first build, like I think I said before, Puncturing Arrow has the best proc of all the HA runes, when it comes to something you want to stack (like Night Stalker disc stealing), so I think it would be better suited.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around your last build. You have a sort-of single target to snare things. Then you have an AoE hatred dump to snare everything (once every 7 seconds) and gain discipline. Then you have a spammable AoE to gain discipline. Then you have a semi-AoE to snare things and escape. And then you have an extra ability to escape.

It's like you have four different purposes (snare, escape, AoE, disc generation) spread about five skills with each one taking two random roles. How do you delegate that? Like, how can you figure out which one is the best for which situation? Do you think of which two of the four things you want to do most, and use the skill oriented for that one?

It seems to me that, out of Vault, Covering Fire, and Bitter Pill, you can easily remove one of them (like covering fire). Do you really need all three?


From the math you had showed me some time ago, it looked like Puncturing Arrow would be the choice, but I always saw more discipline gains via Cinder Arrow, in addition I was able to actually tank via sustain with Cinder Arrow and dual Danetta's. Each Puncturing Arrow would hit and have 1 chance to gain 1 discipline on the crit, whereas Cinder has 2 or 3 per arrow because of the DoT as far as I know.

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My last build each attack serve multiple roles and can carryout what another one does albeit in a different way to provide a stronger solution. Figuring out which works best for each situation just comes from knowledge of the situations at hand. Which is pretty much the case with all 3 builds I've presented here. None of these builds do the work for you, what they do is give you options to where you can skill your way out of the situation because you have a plan and a contingencies throughout. It gives you freedom of expression and playing style that isn't limited to gear checks.

Bounty Hunter provides a normal movement speed snare as well as 6% Life Steal. Adding cold attack in addition gives attack speed slow. Bounty Hunter in addition to Brooding/Life Regen allow you to heal quickly or sustain against DoT and reflect damage, or quickly come back to 100% during smoke.

Covering Fire reaches the target instantaneously, coupled with cold attack snare. Enemies will always be attacking slower than normal. The backflip from Evasive Fire serves a minor role, but with cold snare it ensures you avoid a lot of attacks anyhow. You can't just back flip anywhere, and it's just that, a back flip.

Vault is for repositioning, which sees an extreme benefit when you have complete control of the battle space with a build like this. It allows quick positioning for the attacks to have the most coverage instead of by foot alone. Vault to a spot where your next attack has the most coverage and blast off.

Bitter Pill doesn't strike immediately. It has travel time, and then 1 second before it explodes. It's also a Fire damage attack and doesn't take advantage of any snare or root. But provides the chance of gaining 2 discipline. Fire off the Pill when you root the entire room with a single Thrill of the Hunt Suppression Fire, against more than 3 monsters as Covering Fire only hits 3 targets. After you fire off as many Pills as you can within the time the monsters are rooted, you snare them with Covering Fire + Cold, before the Bolas even go off. If the monsters move too fast you snare their movement even more with Bounty Hunter.

When it's just trash and you know you can clear it all in a 2-4 Suppression Fires then you just pop off.

Covering Fire can't reach what's behind the first 3 targets, and Bitter Pill only has as much range as the Bola's explosion. Suppression Fire hits further behind.

Sometimes you need to AoE but the monsters do not pursue, so Thrill of the Hunt can be reserved for whatever steps forward too fast.

Load up some Bitter Pill on a group of trash, smokescreen and turn around and root the elite pack behind you, while gaining discipline immediately from the Suppression Fire root and 1 second later after the Bolas explode.

Keeping pressure with Covering Fire and Windforce knockbacks. And vaults for reposition, you basically don't get touched unless you're feeling arrogant.

I don't really know how else to explain it.

Just running Hungering Arrow and Ball Lightning and doing repeated runs is boring, and this game has great combat mechanics for its genre. So I enjoy these types of builds, especially since they're viable and I've proven them to be.
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Chain gang can't root an entire room, and it's also not as potent against things that are already naturally fast. The last build not only roots rooms but snares them all with slowing their attack speeds.


I can chain gang entire mobs (Just gotta aim a bit). Vault + Tactical Advantage is to be used against fast mobs + my Entangling Shot to slow as well. + mspd, kite, shoot, kite, shoot.


Of course.

What I want to know is, are you and Bottle making criticisms for the builds or what? I don't understand.

These builds are fun, and they're more than viable. It's to stick it to anyone that says this game has no build diversity. I make DHs that do cool !@#$ and look cool doing it, even with trash gears. The combat is too much fun to use just two attacks and then outgear the content and run act 3 all day.

With these 3 builds, you can be right in the middle of mobs and not even take damage when you wire your gameplay tight.
Edited by ActionKungfu#1184 on 2/2/2013 11:58 PM PST
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02/02/2013 11:55 PMPosted by ActionKungfu
What I want to know is, are you and Bottle making criticisms for the builds or what? I don't understand.

Dunno about Bottle, but I'm not. I just mentioned what I use for my DH. You're the one that criticized my DH.
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02/03/2013 12:47 AMPosted by MasterBaker
What I want to know is, are you and Bottle making criticisms for the builds or what? I don't understand.

Dunno about Bottle, but I'm not. I just mentioned what I use for my DH. You're the one that criticized my DH.


My bad.
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I'm just trying to understand the rationale, and you explained it pretty well.

So in order to optimally pull off the build, you have to have a good feel for which of these attacks works best in each situation. I mean, you can understand it theoretically, but knowing, on the spot, which one to use at which time is entirely different. I haven't had enough experience with most of those attacks to be able to determine which one to use on the spot. I have to run with them individually first. But I definitely see it worth trying in the future, if I ever become as diversely practiced with the DH as yourself. You certainly make it sound fun from the way you describe it.

As for Puncture vs Cinder - are you sure? I know that Cinder can have large spiked jumps in Discipline more often than Puncture, because a pierce with cinder is more likely to give you a lot of discipline than a puncture pierce. But Puncture pierces more often. So while Puncture doesn't show big jumps as often, it should, on average, be giving you more discipline over time. But I guess I would have to test that myself.
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I'm just trying to understand the rationale, and you explained it pretty well.

So in order to optimally pull off the build, you have to have a good feel for which of these attacks works best in each situation. I mean, you can understand it theoretically, but knowing, on the spot, which one to use at which time is entirely different. I haven't had enough experience with most of those attacks to be able to determine which one to use on the spot. I have to run with them individually first. But I definitely see it worth trying in the future, if I ever become as diversely practiced with the DH as yourself. You certainly make it sound fun from the way you describe it.

As for Puncture vs Cinder - are you sure? I know that Cinder can have large spiked jumps in Discipline more often than Puncture, because a pierce with cinder is more likely to give you a lot of discipline than a puncture pierce. But Puncture pierces more often. So while Puncture doesn't show big jumps as often, it should, on average, be giving you more discipline over time. But I guess I would have to test that myself.


Thanks, and yeah, you just gotta try out the attacks yourself and you'll see what I mean. It's sort of like playing a fighting game or a shooter. The situation arises, and you run in your head the options. Instead of just running up to monsters and clicking some buttons real fast, instead while I'm moving forward and all that I'm just thinking about what I'll lead in with and think a few steps ahead.

I still wish the game's content was more difficult like it was before. Something like this might possibly thrive a bit better in the old climate... because now the content can easily be facerolled. I guess you can say I gotta keep the element of defeat looming overhead though, as I don't gear too defensively on purpose(nothing to do with the builds themselves though). It helps with finding creative solutions.

Am I sure about Cinder Arrow? Absolutely not. I was basically just going off of what it felt like. Cinder Arrow tended to give me a lot of discipline returned. But from what I remember, you showed some math on why Puncturing would be better for procs, it just didn't seem that way when I was actually playing I don't know. If I was running Nat's slayer dual wield(with calamity or dawn or something) on the first build instead of dual Danetta's I'd use Puncturing to take advantage of cold snare. Just Danetta's set had everything I wanted in 1h bows for that.
Edited by ActionKungfu#1184 on 2/3/2013 1:42 AM PST
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Anyway, I've been dabbling in a few build variations myself, and I found myself particularly enjoying this one in some of my many vault runs.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aegdhj!Zfb!YbYbZb
(After patch, I'd probably replace shadow power with SS and use it as a timing thing instead of trying to keep it perpetually during tough elite fights)

I wonder what you think of it. It certainly requires more thought and timing than my usual super safe stomp build, though not as much as your new one. And it's pretty fun, IMO.
Edited by Bottle#1907 on 2/3/2013 2:45 AM PST
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Great stuff.

I still don't have a good feel for the entire DH arsenal. I'm glad to see you finding some synergies between skills.

Leveling 1-60, I always enjoyed using caltrops. Then I hit inferno and suddenly I feel like I need to allocate all my discipline to escape skills and damage mitigation. Reading through these builds, I'm reminded that slowing preempts the need to escape...so now maybe I can justify experimenting with caltrops again in the knowledge that if I use the skills well, I won't need to escape.

I have a pair of Danetta's I've been saving for a rainy day. Maybe it's time to bring them out to play.
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Thanks for posting this. For me, I've worked with a play style / skill set that I enjoy and works well for me, but I love trying out different builds and reading about different experiences with them. Nice post, we need more like these.

I assume the three builds posted are for Inferno content mainly?
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Anyway, I've been dabbling in a few build variations myself, and I found myself particularly enjoying this one in some of my many vault runs.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aegdhj!Zfb!YbYbZb
(After patch, I'd probably replace shadow power with SS and use it as a timing thing instead of trying to keep it perpetually during tough elite fights)

I wonder what you think of it. It certainly requires more thought and timing than my usual super safe stomp build, though not as much as your new one. And it's pretty fun, IMO.


It looks pretty fun. Can I guess the playing style? I'm assuming it's a 2h crossbow type build? It looks rather hatred intensive, but with a 2h crossbow(Manticore?) and you using the Bat it looks good to go.

So do you throw Razor Disk and while it's spinning you Suppression Fire? Looks pretty powerful, I'm also a big fan of Razor Disk. I use a -5 Chakram reduction cloak, it was my damage dealer in build 2 and why I kept calling my DH a ninja lol. I had my eye on a -5 SoJ one time, but someone took it when I wasn't logged in. And Devouring takes care of single targets. Looks good to me other than some control aspect, but if you dealing enough damage with a manticore you just wipe the whole room out real quick.

If you have enough defense, have you considered Nightbane?

Great stuff.

I still don't have a good feel for the entire DH arsenal. I'm glad to see you finding some synergies between skills.

Leveling 1-60, I always enjoyed using caltrops. Then I hit inferno and suddenly I feel like I need to allocate all my discipline to escape skills and damage mitigation. Reading through these builds, I'm reminded that slowing preempts the need to escape...so now maybe I can justify experimenting with caltrops again in the knowledge that if I use the skills well, I won't need to escape.

I have a pair of Danetta's I've been saving for a rainy day. Maybe it's time to bring them out to play.


Thanks, and yeah that's exactly how the first build works. A lil back story, the first build went through a lot of revision. It started out as just a strafe demo build, where I was using prep punishment(Flip suggested it back in October I think). And then I noticed that if I always had the discipline to use Punishment, then why am I using that and not caltrops to control everything? And then I had also brought in Sentry.

Strafe Demo still works as an escape so it does have the safety net there. When I was able to battle against demonic tremor packs in the field of slaughter up close and not take any damage at all, that's when I knew this build was strong. I was using Torturous Ground or Hooked Spines. Between Cinder to get discipline and Strafe dropping caltrops monsters always stayed at the tip of caltrop range and I was able to run Steady Aim as a DPS boost. With enough attack speed you could continue to just drop Torturous Ground at your feet and keep monsters permanently at the front of the caltrops.

Thing about the build was that I died because I got arrogant, on a usual solo MP3 key run I started using Jagged Spikes because I was wiping elites out so fast between Jagged, Sentry, Strafe, and Cinder so fast. Reflect Damage took me out when an extra elite pack came running through the door and my sentries reflected everything back. So Jagged Spikes is not recommended. Torturous Ground might be the best rune for the job, or Hooked Spines combined with Custom Engineering the entire battle field is moving at -80% movement.

These builds helped me to understand more about what defense is really about, besides just damage mitigation. 24% movement speed became better than all res. Being able to prevent damage outright, is stronger than mitigating it. As long as you can atleast survive it first and foremost, wouldn't want to play in the land of 1 shot.
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Thanks for posting this. For me, I've worked with a play style / skill set that I enjoy and works well for me, but I love trying out different builds and reading about different experiences with them. Nice post, we need more like these.

I assume the three builds posted are for Inferno content mainly?


Thanks, no prob. :)

Yeah, they're inferno content mainly, simply because many of the skills aren't unlocked until you hit 60. But if you're at 60 in Hell, then it's good to go there, too.

These builds provide you with a way of playing that can rely on your ability moreso than gear checks. I'm not a fan of gear checks, I don't think this game is as gear intensive as it has been made out to be. The great combat mechanics prove that to me.

Also with all this said, I've been trying to brainstorm another build that involves some more trap setting and makes use of the Lidless Wall shield. Lidless Wall comes baked with attack speed, and can roll max discipline and crit chance. So it's like a shield with quiver stats. I'm trying to create a build that utilizes dodge, block, and the shielding proc.
Edited by ActionKungfu#1184 on 2/3/2013 10:40 AM PST
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ActionKungfu - Any chance you'd be interested in making a video showing off the 3 different builds? I think that'd be a nice addition to an excellent post.
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02/03/2013 01:56 PMPosted by Poxy
ActionKungfu - Any chance you'd be interested in making a video showing off the 3 different builds? I think that'd be a nice addition to an excellent post.


I've been asked by people to stream before. And I wouldn't mind doing that, I guess I just need to set everything up.

I just downloaded dxtory about 5 minutes ago. I'll set that up, and figure out setting up a twitch account and all that in the next few days. I have a few exams this week.
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