[Guide] Ball lightning with Meticulous Bolts

Demon Hunter
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Okay I have seen a lot of threads asking general questions about the ball lightning build as it has come to be known. People either love of hate that name. Before reading further please read the Disclaimer.

Disclaimer. I did not come up with this build. I am not a pro or veteran of the DH class. I have somewhere around 300 hours on the DH class as I was a wizard prior to switching over. I have been waiting for someone (veteran) to post a guide or some sort on this build in this forum but haven’t seen it, yet. I decided to take up the mantle and at the very least provide the forum with a single thread to work with. Hopefully some knowledgeable DH’s will add valuable information to the thread and I can update the guide. Also this is not a post to argue if this build is better or worse VS standard M6 with Etrayu. It just another viable build that has proven to work in G42+ just fine. Finally please be gentle as this is my first real post like this.

This guide is not trying to replace this guide - http://www.diablofans.com/forums/diablo-iii-class-forums/demon-hunter-the-dreadlands/93880-world-rank-1-solo-dh-tier-45-no-pylons
Any information that is presented here that appears to be repeated (not copied) was purely intended. LoL Props to Wudijo.
Ok here we go.
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Items Required:

Helltrapper: Found doing Act 5 bounties. You have a 1/5 chance for it to drop on t6 for each cache.
What is so special about it? It spawns sentries and caltrops. Up to a 10% chance, that really shines with..

Meticulous bolts: This is a Quiver. What so special about it? Bonus – Elemental Arrow now travels at XX% speed, between 30-40% Noob Tip (the lower the value the better! Whuut?) The slower the ball travels the more times it hits a target as it passes through. There are some posts on the specifics but needless to say I believe anything under 36% is good and even better 32%

TnT: (Tasker and Theo) No intro needed.

Bracers with IAS either Lacuni or the poor man’s version Steady strikers
Enough IAS to reach 4.15 BP. Personally I believe that it is best to start with using the Gogok gem rather than achieve it naturally. It maybe that achieving it naturally with perfect gear maybe the best but if you wait to try the build once you have that gear you may be waiting a long time.

How do I know if I have enough attack speed?

Sheet IAS * 1.TnT% I.E. 2.89 * 1.49 = 4.30 woot I made it!!!

Noob method using Gogok. Do a keystone trial and get your gem stacks maxed (15) open your inventory and look at details read your new attack speed and use formula above.
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The build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#RkSXVP!cXUi!aYcZZa

Options: Replace CA: Dazzling arrow with MfD: Contagion or Mortal Enemy if you find you struggle with hatred management. I prefer CA for solo as I have found that the 100% chance to stun really makes a difference. Yes it is a 100%! It is really about if you want more Deps or more crowd control.

Substitution of Awareness with Singled out credit VocaloidNyan

I am guessing really any damage passive of your choice then as long as it relates in some way. I dont think you would use any other defensive passive other then Awareness as any other will still get you one shot.

Does this build work in a group? Yes and No. I would definatly switch out CA for MfD-Contagion in a group. I have seen this build work in a group of 4 with 2 DH both using ball lightning on a G42 work without issue. It works great in a two party situation. I have also heard other party members claim it lags them out. What causes this? Possibly server lag and I suspect also your personal PC graphics card may slow you down when your screen is covered with balls. That goes for you and your party members. I need to test but I don’t have a crappy computer : ) I Have yet to see the lag myself.
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Gameplay

General: This build requires more of the player than the M6 build. It may take some getting used to reach your full potential with it. I have heard claims that this build is very situational and not useful but on certain maps. I have not found this to be true. Sure if the map is more open you can’t just start dropping sentries like you could with the old M6 build. With MB you either need to bring more mobs into the open area or bring the mob to a narrower area of the Map. So it does take a little more thought but that is what I like about this build.

Sentries and 4.15 using the Gogok gem. I still need to confirm this in a controlled environment but it appears that when you drop a sentry the IAS you currently have is what the sentry will fire at. This will be the case for the life of that sentry even if you have since lost your stack. You will need to refresh any sentries that were placed when not a full stack.

Prep-punishment and Night Stalker: this is a big part of the synergy of this build. It allows you to run Smoke Screen and at times Perma Smokescreen. With good cooldown 25% + ,CC 50%+ and mindful judicious use of your self casting you can have Smokescreen at your disposal most all the time. I am aiming for 30% cooldown with 55% cc. As suggested by VocaloidNyan Focused Mind is a viable replacement for punishment. This engine lets you run with a SoJ instead of a unity. This is a major part of making this strong when using Gogok VS Zei or Powerful gem.

Can you run it with unity if you don’t have a lighting Soj? Yes but not optimal.

Having trouble with either Disc or Hatred. You may be spamming ball lightning or SS too much. Be stingy with your self casting and make them count. Stingy may be the wrong word as you want to cast alot just need not to waste them. Aim for the fattest or most dense mobs in the area to get the most out of each ball you cast. Learn to use your smokescreen only when you need it.

With this build you don’t have to hang around as much as you do with M6, the balls persist for a long time and allow you to run through the map casting and dropping a sentry. The sentry may stop shooting but the lightning balls will persist longer and still kill stuff. This will take some work to maximize your killing VS stretching out to thin.

Cons: Reflect mobs are not your friends. it is bette to skip them. They can be killed using perma SS when there are enough trash mobs to keep you full of disc
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Conclusion

I hope that this guide will allow some of you too try out this build for the first time or possibly help some of you who might be struggling with it. Unfortunately I don’t have a gameplay to post with it at the moment since I don’t have any recording software installed yet. I hope this does not take away from what I feel is valuable information provided above. You can watch a vid from the post I referenced in the beginning. I plan on updating this guide for presentation, as I get corrected or find new valuable information relating to this build.

Rastlin

Courtesy of VocaloidNyan

"I recorded completing a GR43 today using this spec. I figured it would be way too hard to do another GR44, but it was just to show that this spec works very well using smoke screen chaining as your source of defence. For reflect damage, you have to be really careful when trying to get your goguk stacks up. I screwed up really badly on that one reflect damage pack >.<

http://youtu.be/y0pjKb7md44"



Note: Depending on feed back on this guide i would like to do another about Follower builds and the potential to get you to the next Grift level.
I use a fairly similar build (I guess it's all the same?). Pretty much I replace punishment with focused mind. I felt that I had more than enough hatred with companion + MfD Mortal Enemy. I also used singled out instead of awareness.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/VocaloidNyan-1582/hero/35159750
09/29/2014 08:25 AMPosted by Rastlin
Sentries and 4.15 using the Gogok gem. I still need to confirm this in a controlled environment but it appears that when you drop a sentry the IAS you currently have is what the sentry will fire at. This will be the case for the life of that sentry even if you have since lost your stack. You will need to refresh any sentries that were placed when not a full stack.
This is correct, if your Sentry does not fire any bolts. In the case of elemental arrow, Sentry does not fire bolts which implies Sentry snapshots attack speed.
I use a fairly similar lightning. Pretty much I replace punishment with focused mind. I felt that I had more than enough hatred with companion + MfD Mortal Enemy. I also used singled out instead of awareness.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/VocaloidNyan-1582/hero/35159750
09/29/2014 08:25 AMPosted by Rastlin
Sentries and 4.15 using the Gogok gem. I still need to confirm this in a controlled environment but it appears that when you drop a sentry the IAS you currently have is what the sentry will fire at. This will be the case for the life of that sentry even if you have since lost your stack. You will need to refresh any sentries that were placed when not a full stack.
This is correct, if your Sentry does not fire any bolts. In the case of elemental arrow, Sentry does not fire bolts which implies Sentry snapshots attack speed.


Ok thanks i dont need to spend the time to test that then. I will add the other stuff you mentioned soon. good point about the awareness since it goes with the theme of not needing it like unity and relying on SS
Great. The guide I was waiting for. You mention this build is for 4.15 breakpoint. Is it viable with e.g. uskang at 2.84 BP? I ask this in comparison to the frost/fire build in terms of dps. I know that slow balls together with speedy sentries makes the difference ... Was just curious since I'm far away from the last breakpoint. ... Note: don't look at my profile here. I'm playing on EU servers.
09/29/2014 09:12 AMPosted by strondpoï
Great. The guide I was waiting for. You mention this build is for 4.15 breakpoint. Is it viable with e.g. uskang at 2.84 BP? I ask this in comparison to the frost/fire build in terms of dps. I know that slow balls together with speedy sentries makes the difference ... Was just curious since I'm far away from the last breakpoint. ... Note: don't look at my profile here. I'm playing on EU servers.


I played with 2.84 for a while. I'd say it's not worth the effort of switching if you're at this BP if you're just looking for a dps upgrade. It felt like I was doing a little more damage but getting killed way more which cancelled it out. I liked the change anyway since this build requires a lot of active play rather than throwing down turrets and hiding, and I'm hitting 4.15 with Gogok now. I still die much more than with the cold rockets, but I feel the killing speed makes up for it.
09/29/2014 09:12 AMPosted by strondpoï
Great. The guide I was waiting for. You mention this build is for 4.15 breakpoint. Is it viable with e.g. uskang at 2.84 BP? I ask this in comparison to the frost/fire build in terms of dps. I know that slow balls together with speedy sentries makes the difference ... Was just curious since I'm far away from the last breakpoint. ... Note: don't look at my profile here. I'm playing on EU servers.


i would say it is t6 viable and propably max out at G35. Remember you are losing 2 sentires without Helltrapper. If you are hitting 2.84 with a bow you should have no problem hitting 4.15 with a 1hander and gogok. Really you just need to add IAS to yours bracers.

I would stick with frost/fire build til you get a helltrapper as another commented already
The problem with Gogok is sentries snapshot attack speed. That first sentry you lay down will be at the lower BP due to how fast Gogok wears off. In high density areas this won't be as much of an issue, but we all know how much density fluctuates. For this reason I think you are much better off if you can reach the breakpoint naturally.

I also agree that using CA:DA is worth a skill slot. I tried prep punishment and focused mind, vault, caltrops bait the trap, and spike traps but the stun from DA is the best use of that last skill slot imo.

For MFD rune I have tested ME and Contagion. There are benefits to both, but I personally find the extra damage from Contagion to be superior. The nice thing about ME is you can self cast constantly without stopping to wait for hatred regen which also increases uptime on smokescreen. But I switched to hatred regen on templar and I haven't found a quiver with vitality so I have hatred regen on quiver also, so my uptime on self casting is very high without ME. Your results may differ.

I had to drop a gem and CD to reach the BP naturally, but found it was worth it. I just got trifecta T&T to make up for the CD loss on ammy but they are 2% lower AS than my current gloves which puts me 1% below the BP. Heh, figures. I've been looking for a 7% helltrapper to replace my 5% and just found one last night but although it will be 2950 dps with a 10% dmg roll it has 7% proc rate and no disc.... bleh. Looking for a better one still.

I was using wreath of lightning for my third gem. Due to the fact you can perma smokescreen a lot of the time I found wreath to be immensely powerful. I'll probably run it again for my third gem if I can get the right gear to support running the 4.15 BP with three gems again.
09/29/2014 10:09 AMPosted by Rastlin
i would say it is t6 viable and propably max out at G35.


I did greater rift 36 with Helltrapper at the 2.84 BP, doing 37 now at 4.15 but not really spending much time doing greater rifts because I'm trying to get a better Helltrapper and RoRG. I don't know about Uskang though, but if a scrub like me can do grift 36 at 2.84 with a Helltrapper I am pretty sure the ceiling is higher than 35 with an Uskang.
09/29/2014 09:12 AMPosted by strondpoï
Great. The guide I was waiting for. You mention this build is for 4.15 breakpoint. Is it viable with e.g. uskang at 2.84 BP? I ask this in comparison to the frost/fire build in terms of dps. I know that slow balls together with speedy sentries makes the difference ... Was just curious since I'm far away from the last breakpoint. ... Note: don't look at my profile here. I'm playing on EU servers.


its very viable at the 2.84 BP. I use a high damage bow instead of helltrapper or calamity.
i would say it is t6 viable and propably max out at G35

I did greater rift 36 with Helltrapper at the 2.84 BP, doing 37 now at 4.15 but not really spending much time doing greater rifts because I'm trying to get a better Helltrapper and RoRG. I don't know about Uskang though, but if a scrub like me can do grift 36 at 2.84 with a Helltrapper I am pretty sure the ceiling is higher than 35 with an Uskang.


Yeah i was gonna say G37 too but i did not not want to take a chance and make a false claim. I believe if i dropped gogok in my setup and put say bane of powerful back in i think i could still get G37 done. but that would still be with helltrapper. So i played it safe and said G35, because i honestly havent tried the uskang.
Thanks for the tips guys. Appreciate.
I dropped a helltrapper yesterday. Will try to reach that 4.15 BP
Awesome, this is what I was looking for. Thanks Rastlin.
I can't even find a usable Meticulous Bolts T_T
Great thread! Tried the 4.15 BP Variant. My gear is to bad for it though. Main problem for me is, that if you use BL only, you have no crowd control at all. Using Helltrapper at 2.84 with BL+ Dazzling Arrow works better for me. Those demons that hide are easy with DA, because as soon as they appear again, they get stunned. No chance for me with BL.

Gogok stacks are another problem. You have to actively procc Sentries, manage Hatred and Discipline and also make sure to get the Gogok stack high enough. Too much for me to handle while evading and smokescreening in higher G-Rifts.
Ras,

do you think I should roll off IAS on my weak sauce trapper and replace with damage using gogok?
now that I think of it, should I get rid of the speed in the ammy as well? been suffering mightily because of this. I've kept it to achieve 4.15 because I was leery of gogok. but since I just seen NYAN shot up to #$%%! #2 (holy!!) on the leaderboard, I guess I have to assume it works and works well!!

decision time... what would you fine folks do?
09/29/2014 12:44 PMPosted by JerkyNuts
Ras,

do you think I should roll off IAS on my weak sauce trapper and replace with damage using gogok?
now that I think of it, should I get rid of the speed in the ammy as well? been suffering mightily because of this. I've kept it to achieve 4.15 because I was leery of gogok. but since I just seen NYAN shot up to #$%%! #2 (holy!!) on the leaderboard, I guess I have to assume it works and works well!!

decision time... what would you fine folks do?


Looking at your profile here are a few suggestions including your question. I would roll off the vit on your bracers for 6cc. SS is your tank in this build. Drop the Zei for Enforcer. Zei is not good for this build since it requires distance from target. If you place your sentry far from target it is going to take a while for the bolts to get there. Also if using polar station then u want sentry on top of mobs. Polar may not be needed but that is another discussion. You def have more then enough IAS. Personally i don't like rolling it off the weapon but i guess if you sill hit the BP it doesn't matter. I like the 80-90 cd over IAS on an Ammy but someone may feel differently. Maybe wait for another opinion on that.
yeah.. about that... until yesterday, I was running a calamity.. I have now experimented with about all the rocks, pain, zei, endforcer, etc. just trying them out.. I will try gogok next.

Polar or the spitfire rockets... tried both and trying to figure out what works best ...I've seen both on the leaderboards...

so my biggest question is damage vs IAS on the weapon since I feel that it's underpowered. If gogok works fast enough in higher grifts, I would like to roll it into damage. the question is will it work before I get plastered all over the place...
09/29/2014 01:23 PMPosted by JerkyNuts
If gogok works fast enough in higher grifts, I would like to roll it into damage. the question is will it work before I get plastered all over the place...


It takes 15 hits to fully charge the Gogok bump. So there's 5+ seconds of nonstop shooting and hitting or about the cooldown of your first sentry. Gogok will expire if you fail to hit anything for 4 seconds so be prepared to recharge it periodically. A 2.84 sentry shoots 3.5 Elemental Arrows a second, a 4.15 sentry shoots 5 EA's per second. So if you're weighing relative costs and benefits of slotting IAS you should probably account for those 7 or 8 EA's somewhere in your calculations.

My experience is that Gogok is simply not a resource you should rely on. It's nice if you can afford it but I wouldn't try making it the center of the build.
09/29/2014 01:04 PMPosted by Rastlin
If you place your sentry far from target it is going to take a while for the bolts to get there. Also if using polar station then u want sentry on top of mobs.


This is true, but there is also a catch. If you place your sentries directly on the target, you will lose a lot of damage, IMO.

You have to max the travel time over the target to get maximum BL ticks. But if targets are moving fast, you might not hit at all if you place them too far. For rift bosses I would use a triangle around them.

This is why stun effects help a lot. Moving targets get less BL ticks. Ess of Johann on follower (or also on yourself) really helps to max AoE and to keep targets in the line of destruction.

Never tried Zeis, but the stun effect could it make worthwhile. Don't know if sentries can procc the stun effect - I guess not, so it's probably not so good and relys on selfcasts.
09/29/2014 01:46 PMPosted by Kindergarten
09/29/2014 01:04 PMPosted by Rastlin
If you place your sentry far from target it is going to take a while for the bolts to get there. Also if using polar station then u want sentry on top of mobs.


This is true, but there is also a catch. If you place your sentries directly on the target, you will lose a lot of damage, IMO.

You have to max the travel time over the target to get maximum BL ticks. But if targets are moving fast, you might not hit at all if you place them too far. For rift bosses I would use a triangle around them.

This is why stun effects help a lot. Moving targets get less BL ticks. Ess of Johann on follower (or also on yourself) really helps to max AoE and to keep targets in the line of destruction.

Never tried Zeis, but the stun effect could it make worthwhile. Don't know if sentries can procc the stun effect - I guess not, so it's probably not so good and relys on selfcasts.


main point was really that enforcer is a much better choice. simply you don't have to do anything you just get the bonus dmg all the time. between CA and Follower with Thunder fury and stun ring you get plenty.

Sentry placement is def critical to build and getting mobs to stay in those lines of lightning balls. best to funnel them down a corridor whenever possible. There are ways to do it in open areas as well but it takes effort. The stuns really help to keep them in line.

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