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Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Comprehensive Guide

Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Comprehensive Guide by Banaritaz

Guide Breakdown:

A – Abilities/Runes/Skills

Generators:
1) Hungering Arrow, lvl 1
2) Entangling Shot, lvl 3
3) Bola Shot, lvl 11
4) Grenades, lvl 15
5) Evasive Fire, lvl 14

Hatred Spenders:
1) Impale, lvl 2
2) Rapid Fire, lvl 5
3) Chakrams, lvl 12
4) Elemental Arrow, lvl 20

Hatred Dumps:
1) Fan of Knives, lvl 17
2) Spike Trap, lvl 17
3) Strafe, lvl 19
4) Multishot, lvl 22
5) Cluster Arrow, lvl 27

Utility Damage:
1) Companion, lvl 17
2) Marked for Death, lvl 21
3) Sentry, lvl 25
4) Rain of Vengeance, lvl 30

Core Defensive Abilities:
1) Caltrops, lvl 4
2) Smoke Screen, lvl 8
3) Shadow Power, lvl 16
4) Vault, lvl 9
5) Preparation, lvl 13

– Gearing
– General strategies
– Overview

A): The basic Blizzard made description of each ability isn’t always the full story on any given ability. So in this section, I’ll give the base idea of the ability and general information you may not have known. In this section, I’ll also discuss any relavent information about ability and skill interaction.

Note- The idea of “Saving” skill procs is that certain skills will only happen at certain times. Often, you will want to control when these things happen. I’ll note when this matters.

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Generators are your on demand source for Hatred regeneration. They typically generate 3 hate per attack and cost you nothing. When you can do nothing else, you can always use your generator, making the pick here crucial. Keep in mind that higher Attack Speed does give you a higher Hatred generation from these abilities, but you’ll also be able to use your Hatred abilities more often. Below are your choices!

1) Hungering Arrow(HA): Unlocked at level 1.
This ability is the DH’s first Hatred generating ability, 3 Hatred per shot and strikes for 115% weapon damage. HA behaves a bit oddly for a missile, in that it will actually seek out a target if the target is close enough to the arrow. This has some good and some bad aspects to it.

The other ability it has is the ability to “puncture” a target. This makes the arrow simply continue to exist and seek targets to hit. This gives HA huge damage potential against a few minions (Anything more than 2-3, and other generators will easily outperform it in terms of damage.) The puncture happens 35% of the time. II’ve now seen this arrow split 4 times, for a total of 5 strikes from one cast. Still need evidence if it can split more.

Pros:

– You don’t need to be all that accurate. It’ll hit the enemy by itself it it’s close enough.

– Strong range. *If a mob is close enough to the “end” of the arrow’s range, it’ll activate the seeking pattern and still hit the mob.

Cons:

– This ability has limited finesse to it. The more chaotic the situation and the more mobs on screen, the less chance you have of hitting what you need to hit. This is an important point because it’ll hugely hamper you against mobs with the ability to summon other creatures.

– Very little AoE potential.

– No utility outside of pure damage output.

While different Runes will change this, the general idea with this generator is that you’ll have to use your other abilities to handle utility and AoE and HA will become either purely there for Hate regen, or for damage on 1-2 creatures at once.

I’ve done some testing and there are a few more points I’d like to make about HA:

When dealing the fatal blow to an enemy, the arrow can split.

The “split” and new arrow CAN miss, actually, even if other mobs are nearby. It seems to pick a random or semi-random direction to fly in, and if that direction is opposite of anything, it’ll sometimes just plain miss.

The “range” potential for HA is immense. As long as the first mob is in range, it’ll attack targets regardless of where they are in relation to you. This means you can find mob far off screen dead to HA. Amusing, but keep in mind that this can pull other mobs you didn’t see AND, sadly, pull Loot Goblins that you never knew were there.

Runes:

Puncturing Arrow: Unlocked at level 6.
Increases the chance for a puncture to 50%. Very basic.

Cinder Arrow: Unlocked at level 17.
Gives the arrow a 35% burn over 3 seconds to each target it hits. This increases the overall damage dealt to 150% weapon damage, which is quite significant. Burn doesn’t stack, so this rune is weaker against single targets.

Shatter Shot: Unlocked at level 26.
On a successful puncture of a target, this rune will create two additional seeking arrows. These extra arrows will find and seek targets, but do not seem be able to puncture or create additional arrows.

When the arrow “scatters” on a single target, the mechanics seem to become strange are are either based on mob size or movement, or both. I’ve seen, definitely, the arrow split and have no arrows return to strike and seen one arrow return to strike, both on regular mobs and bosses. I’ve heard of all the arrows coming back to the original target, but I’ve been unable to replicate. If anyone could do testing or confirm that it does or doesn’t happen, please let me know!

Devouring Arrow: Unlocked at level 42.
The bread and butter and the only option once you have it, this arrow increases the damage of the arrow by 70% on every split. *This ability stacks, but the way in which it stacks I’m not certain about and am certainly looking for feedback on. My math is very weak!

My current guess is that it stacks similarly to this:

If your base HA hits for 1k, then on the first split, it’ll hit for 1700. The next split will then again be increased by 70% and hit for 2890, the next will hit for 4913.

Or it MAY stack in a much more simply fashion and simply increase the damage of each split by 70% of the first number. I believe it’s the first method, though. Again, looking for confirmation.

Regardless, it’s still an amazing Rune and gives HA amazing single target capabilities. It also puts out big numbers and we all like those (I’ve seen 80k Hungering Arrows. In Hell.)

Spray of Teeth: Unlocked at level 52.
On successful critical hits, it’ll explode and hit everything nearby for 50% weapon damage. *I have very little information here. I’m looking for general information on the AoE size and whether each puncturing arrow can produce this.

Regardless of additional info on SoT, I still don’t recommend it. There are simply much stronger AoEs for DHs than HA.

–NOTE. Important: There is a lot of information out there about the strongest DPS rune. On singlet target, it seems to be Devouring, then Puncturing, then Cinder. But the difference are MINIMAL in every case. (Cinder fall more behind on single target, because the DoT doesn’t stack.)

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2) Entangling Shot(ES): Unlocked at level 3.
Another Generator, and by far our weakest in terms of damage output, this arrow will slow two enemies by 60% for 2 seconds and strike for 75% damage. The slow is applied by a “Chain” which visually stretches to both creatures. The chain seems to have around a 25yard limit, so don’t expect it to always land the second slow. The target of this second slow and “chain” will also receive the damage. The secondary damage can crit and trigger skill based effects.

This generator shines as a spammable slow and is often a good choice if you don’t find yourself needing the damage from the other generators. The rune choices for this particular shot give you a lot of room to accomplish what you want. Can be very strong in group play if no one else is running slows.

Runes:

Chain Gang: Unlocked at level 9.
Increases the size of the slow to 4 creatures. The range limit on the slow makes this rune, unfortunately, of limited use. In theory, it would let you control elite packs better. But you’ll rarely get all 4 together in such a way that allows good use of this Rune. So while it has significant use, there are probably better options unless you just really want more slow coverage.

A note on this ability is that the damage it offers can be quite strong in small group situations. In terms of AoE range, this has a respectable size and will let you hit 4 targets at once for 75% weapon damage, giving you 300% damage per shot. Not oustanding, but not awful either for an AoE.

Shock Collar: Unlocked at level 18.
Increases the damage of ES by adding on 18% lightning damage per second for 2 seconds to both targets under the “Chain” effect, giving you 36% total damage added on. But you shouldn’t be using ES for the damage. This rune gives you a total of 202% weapon damage per cast. There are probably better choices unless you really feel you need more damage from your ES and feel that you can’t change to something else.

Heavy Burden: Unlocked at level 34.
Increases the duration of the slow on both targets by 2 seconds, giving you 4 seconds of slow total. *This Rune depends greatly on what your weapon speed is like. The faster you shoot, the less this glyph will help, as you’ll naturally be able to launch more ES inbetween Hatred attacks without as much loss of damage. For those of you with slow weapons and not attacking Attack Speed boosts, you may want this to increase the time you can spend attacking with Hate abilities.

At the same time, it’ll also depend on how often you’re using your generator FOR generation. For instance, if you’re using lots of Impale or Multishot, you’ll be using MORE ESs naturally, so have less need of this glyph.

In short, if you use ES alot, this won’t help. If you don’t, this will.

Justice is Served: Unlocked at level 47.
Increases the Hatred generated by this ability to 6 per shot. This is a very strong ability for any build that is constantly running out of Hatred. But try to keep in mind how often you’re actually going out of Hatred. There are other ways to generate Hatred more reliably and constantly.

*I’d only recommend this for builds running 2 forms of Hatred dumping at once, as that’s the main reason you’d need more for your Hatred regen than Companion- Bat and natural 3 Hate per shot regen.

Bounty Hunter: Unlocked at level 54.
Gives you 6% lifegain on damage dealt with this ability. Effectively useless at the level in which it is unlocked. This applies to both mobs you hit, so if you chain it up reliably, you’re getting 6% lifegain from 150% weapon damage.

The damage is far too low from this ability and the healing far too little. If you need ES, there are better choices for most aspects of play.

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3) Bola Shot (BS): Unlocked at level 11.
This ability our long range AoE generator. It hits for 130% weapon damage after 1 second and detonates to hit all other targets within 7 yards (not the original target) for 110% damage as fire. It’s a very strong AoE in some situations, but the 7 yard range is rather limited. It won’t clear a room, but this ability will slaughter things standing in places like doorways and natural choke points.

The downside to BS is very simple. A 1 second wait on any damage is very long in some places and is very long in ALL places throughout Inferno, where even the weakest (but very fast) mobs can kill you in just a few hits. But the single target damage after the 1 second wait time is very strong and the AoE is a wonderful bonus.

The other issue BS faces is that you need to be a very attentive player. There is a tendency to “overkill” with this shot, wrapping another bola around a mob that is already going to die from bolas already on him. You must avoid this if at all possible to get the best use out of BS and maximize your damage.

Once you get down the habit of using your other abilities to deal with immediate threats and timing your bolas, it’s a very useful generator.

Runes:

Volatile Explosives: Unlocked at level 14.
Increases the range of the explosion to 14 yards. Simply increases the AoE range of BS. Useful if this is your primary form of AoE.

Thunder Ball: Unlocked at levle 24.
Changes the damage type of BS’ main hit to lightning 130% and gives it a 35% chance to stun the PRIMARY target, and only that target. Stuns are always very useful in this game, but keep in mind it won’t be able to act as a stopper to a mob charging you, as it still is affected by the 1 second delay of the explosion. Very useful though for dealing with many bosses and elite packs as it’s easily your most reliable and spammable stun.

Acid Strike: Unlocked at level 37.
Changes how the bola works: The attack now launches 3 bolas in a very narrow cone in front of your character for a long range that hit for 130% poison damage. They’re slightly random in their flightpath. EDIT: They do have to wait 1 second for their detonation. They have a VERY random flightpath. It has a basic cone shape that it’ll travel along, but you can have 2 on top of each other and one way out to the left or anything like that.

* looking for more information, specifically whether or not more than one of these can hit the same target (Particularly from up close)

Bitter Pill: Unlocked at level 51.
When the bola explodes, you have a 15% chance to gain 2 discipline. The relatively small chance to gain anything make this run very iffy for me. If you find yourself constantly low on Disc (and most playstyles you will be) AND having the chance to spam Bola over Hatred attacks, then this could be a very strong choice. However, if you’re using your Hatred ability over your bolas when possible, this may not be the best choice. This ability is also less useful on builds that already have their Disc generation taken care of through other means (AKA, Prep/skills/gear)

Imminent Doom: Unlocked at level 57.
Increases the damage to the primary target to 182% and the damage to explosion victims to 154%. Increases the delay of explosion by 1 second (2 seconds total). I like this glyph and the raw damage it provides. If the increase in explosion time bothers you, just remember that you weren’t able to use Bola to deal with immediate threats regardless. This is a to taste sort of thing, but if you’re looking for more damage with AoE potential from your ranged generator, this is your best bet (Especially compared to HA and ES)

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4) Grenades: Unlocked at level 15.
This ability launches 3 grenades that each do 95% weapon damage. It launches them in a cone formation. The grenades will always follow the same cone formation, but if they come in contact with something, will bounce/roll. This means that in certain situations and in very narrow areas/doorways, the damage concentration is tremendous.

This spell has a slightly shorter range than most of your generators. As in, the max range of grenades seems to be about 40 yards. Other generators typically will fly further than that, so keep that in mind with this ability. This ability also has no passive “Aim assist”. This means that unlike all your other generators which will hit the first thing they come to, whether or not you clicked them or near them, grenades will ONLY detonate at a precise time where you meant them to go (Unless they hit an object in the environment, causing them to bounce).

What this means, in simple terms, is that you have to aim better with grenades compared to other generators BUT you’ll be rewarded more for that aiming. You’ll never accidentally kill mobs you didn’t mean to because they run through the flightpath of your missile.

Targeting note: Grenades behave slightly oddly and I wanted to cover it. When you click the button to activate all other generators, the missile involved travels in that direction from whatever the “midpoint” of that ability is. Grenades don’t always follow this logic.

You’ll notice that the grenades sort of bounce they’re way to the area. . So if you left click a random point, the grenade will explode 5-10 yards BEFORE it reaches that point. HOWEVER, if you click on a targetable point, the computer will do this for you, making the grenade detonate right as it reaches the mob. So if you’re a shift-left clicker and don’t rely on clicking on mobs, you’ll need to be aware of this.

MORE notes (Grenades are weird): Grenades have one very large strength. You can literally rain grenades down on things on lower level and lob them up to some upper levels and even lob them over gaps in the floor. This can be amazingly useful and if you do this a lot, grenades may be just the trick for you.

Runes:

Tinkerer: Unlocked at level 22.
Increases the Hatred generation of this ability by 3 (6 total). You get this much earlier than you get Justice is Served for ES, so for that level frame I can semi support the use of this as PURELY a means to get more Hatred. It’s still awful, I still don’t recommend this, but at least there’s the extra Hatred. With Grenadier, this becomes a truly impressive Hate regen. Running certain builds will let this, plus Bat Companion and Marked for Death Mortal enemy will let you recover Hatred at amazing speeds. This is almost only useful for Impale builds, as nothing else will run your hatred as fast.

Cluster Grenades: Unlocked at level 32.
This ability increases the damage of each grenade to 112% and gives it an AoE of 8 yards. While this greatly increases the damage potential of grenades and gives it outstanding short range AoE, this ability still isn’t worth the risk. Grenades could do 250% a piece and there could be 5 of them, but it still doesn’t make up for the lack of range or precision. That being said, if you insist on using Grenades, this isn’t a bad choice.

—-Note – Cluster Grenades, upon further testing, may be viable with substantial slows from either Traps or other sources. the damage is very, very high. All other risks still apply.

Fire Bomb: Unlocked at levle 40.
It increases the damage to 124% and gives you a good bit more precision with grenades. I would generally just call this useless. The loss of overall damage isn’t worth it.

Stun Grenades: Unlocked at level 48.
They’re grenades that stun 25% of the time for 2 seconds. They’re very useful in small areas and very bad in large areas. If you like playing RNG and want to be a daredevil in small areas, you could perhaps use this to stunlock large numbers of mobs at once. This ability may be very useful in group play in particular.

Gas Grenades: Unlocked at levle 60.
This grenade is the king of damage. 95% weapon damage on hit and 25% damage per second for 3 seconds to every mob standing in the impact zone. This is crazy, crazy damage. 170% weapon damage total on mobs that aren’t moving. Caltrops + this gives you insane damage in certain locations. *need confirmation on whether or not these little hotspots stack or not.

Final note on grenades: After doing some testing, they’re not all that bad. Certainly not as bad as I originally thought. I still don’t like them much, but in group play, they’re certainly viable. Just don’t expect them to ever be very effective at killing fast mobs.

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5) Evasive Fire(EF): Unlocked at level 14.
Evasive Fire is both very similar and very different from all your other Hatred Generators. This ability hits for 125% weapon damage and generates 4 (Yes, four) Hatred per shot. This makes it a fantastic Hatred generator, especially with such high single target damage.

However, unlike other Generators, EF has a cost. EF says that when an enemy is close to you at max range, you’ll Backflip 15 yards away. However, the actual mechanic is different.

What happens is that when you HIT a mob in front of you, if he was too close (Seems to be 10-15 yards) you’ll do a backflip. This means that if you hit a mob too far away with mobs attacking you, you’ll sit there and die.

When you do a backflip, it’ll remove 4 Discipline from you. If you don’t have the Disc, it simply doesn’t happen.

Now, there are a few points that some players may not realize:

– Important!: This ability bypasses most walls. Namely, walls pronounced by Wallers.

– There is no cooldown on this flip. As fast you land attacks is as fast as you can do the flips.

– Amusingly enough, this ability is capable of absolutely fantastic Hatred regeneration and damage. When a Backflip is triggered, your “swing timer” with this attack is reset. Meaning that if you put your back to a wall and hold down the button for the attack, you’ll fire incredibly, stupid fast. This will drain your disc, of course, as you’ll be flipping into the wall each time, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re totally out of Hatred or need massive damage.

– The above point means that holding the trigger a bit too long in enclosed spaces can completely deplete your Disc. Many basic DH builds currently being played are hugely reliant on Disc and can’t afford this. So careful play is required.

– You’re not immune to damage or attacks during a backflip. It’s a movement tool, not an immunity tool.

– The actual missile of EF is invisible. Practice will be needed to aim with this ability.

– The flip can and will put you into bad situations. Always keep in careful mind your positioning to areas you haven’t cleared yet. Also keep in mind that mobs with Teleport or natural gap closers can instantly change their position and force a flip you weren’t expecting.

With those points made, whether you use this ability depends entire (As always) on personal choice. It’s strange for a generator and would almost certainly require a playstyle change for many people to use effectively. Now, on to the

Runes:

Shrapnel: Unlocked at level 21.
This rune adds a 30% weapon damage explosion in an AoE from the impact point of the main strike in a 6 yard range. This attack can crit and DOES strike the original target, increasing the damage of EF to 155% damage per hit, plus AoE. This is the only true damage upgrade for EF.

On that note, there are probably better choices for this ability.

Parting Gift: Unlocked at level 26.
When you successfully backflip with EF, this rune drops a bomb dealing 45% weapon damage in a 12 yard area. The bomb is droppedon the point at which you were standing before the leap.

Again, while this does add some damage, there are certainly better choices. If you need damage, Shrapnel easily outstrips Parting Gift in terms of output.

Covering Fire: Unlocked at level 34.
This ability turns your EF into a 3 shot conal ability. Very narrow cone, but the ability seems to auto hit up to 3 targets, one time inside that cone for 125% damage. Very easy to aim this.

Displace: Unlocked at level 42.
Doubles your flip distance to 30 yards. This may be useful in some situations, but I’ve not found an actual reason to need the 15 yards.

Use it if you really feel like you want more survivability, but the king of EF runes is the last one.

Surge: Unlocked at level 53.
Surge halves the Disc cost of your backflip to 2 yards. It also converts the damage of EF to lightning. This takes away a huge amount of the Disc strain you’ll experience with this ability. Often times, your natural regen of Disc will replace what you lose here before you even need it, as long as you’re not flipping constantly.

On the other side, this lets you use the strategy of wall-flipping for more damage to a ridiculous extent.

EF is good with Shrapnel for early game play, but when it comes to late game and assuming you really like EF, this is probably going to be your only real choice due to the Disc limits and high Disc use strategies used in most late game clears.

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Hatred Spenders are your primary ways to spend Hatred in order to do damage. I’ll typically call them spenders for the rest of the guide. They’re certainly not your ONLY way to spend Hate, but they’re typically the most useful in general situations and have the best sustained damage. Below are your choices!

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1) Impale: Unlocked at level 2.
The king of our single target big numbers and one of the most straightforward abilities we have. It deals 250% weapon damage for 25 Hatred to the first target it hits. Regardless of your build, Impale is very heavy on Hatred and is therefore best with either heavy regen from items or heavy regen from other abilities we have (Famously, Companion-Bat and Marked for Death- Mortal Enemy).It’s simple and brutal and is something far too often overlooked in terms of how you spend your Hatred. And depending on your Rune choice, it can easier be the single strongest DPS ability you have, or something just as nasty, if in a more subtle way.

Note: Per Hatred, Impale is a rather low damage dealer. This will probably make it a weaker choice than either EA or RF in terms of group play boss fights. Keep that in mind when choosing your Hatred spender.

Runes:

Impact: Unlocked at level 7.
Gives Impale a 65% chance to stun the target for 1.5 seconds and knock them back. Very simple and, at the same time, gives a player enormous room to let skill play a part. Impale’s fast travel time and the relatively good chance of the stun occuring make this ability very strong in interrupting bosses and their slow wind up time abilities. It also helps you deal with elites and simply strong mobs.Unfortunately, as good as the ability to stunlock a boss for several consecutive seconds is, the reality of this Rune is a bit of a let down. The knockback is minimum and most bosses seem to be immune to it. Without the other runes, Impale’s damage is strong but not world ending and you’ll be reliant on other abilities and your Generator for raw damage output. This is a good choice, but the rest of your build will have to reflect your Spender’s relatively low damage per Hatred spend.

Chemical Burn: Unlocked at level 15.
This takes the formidable damage of Impale and makes it staggering. 125% damage over 2 seconds plus the base damage gives you 375% damage from 25 Hatred. It deals the damage every .5 seconds and each damage spike *CAN crit but *CANNOT trigger effects based on critting (Which seems to mean it benefits from Sharpshooter without consuming it and can’t restore Disc via Stalker.) It’s difficult to tell, because there is no “yellow” text from the bleed, but the damage does seem to greatly increase occasionally for no reason, leading me to believe it’s simply critting.

Note: The DoT doesn’t stack. Hitting a mob with Impale more often than every 2 seconds is, in theory, a decrease in overall damage done. If you like to truly dump Hatred with Impale, then Greivous Wounds seems better.

Overpenetration: Unlocked at level 28.
This rune simply lets your Impale hit multiple mobs down it’s line of flight. It is amazing at the damage potential here and if you’re looking for something that will let you destroy bosses, elites and dirt mobs alike, this is your baby. There doesn’t appear to be any “Orb” like effect (Like you’d see from Wizard abilities or our Elemental Arrow with lightning/nether) and it does need to actually touch a mob to count as hitting them. But this is a small point.

Awareness: Unlocked at level 53.
When you release Impale, this rune creates a field of damage around you (10 yards) and hits everything for 75% weapon damage. *I believe this hits everything and isn’t reliant on any “missile” coming from you and hitting a mob. Need feedback on this. This is, unfortunately, a relatively poor choice for Impale simply because Impale already has some very strong Rune choices. If you’re looking for AoE and don’t like Overpenetration, there are other choices.

Greivous Wounds: Unlocked at level 58.
The other single target, staggering damage choice, this Rune causes your Impale’s to deal 100% addition damage when they crit. *However, this isn’t an after the fact bonus. This is simply added on to your “Damage on crit” stat. This seems to imply that the more damage on crit you’re stacking, the LESS effective this becomes. It will still be amazing and very strong, but it’s something to consider.

Overview on Impale: I’ve not felt the need to overview anything else, but this one actually has a difficult decision in terms of Rune. If you need AoE and are looking for general strength, Overpenetration is best. But if you’re looking for raw damage on single target, Chemical Burns and Greivous Wounds seem to be rather close.

The winner?As long as you’re using Sharpshooter, it’s probably Greivous Wounds. And the higher the difficulty is, the more this will become apparent. The hit and run style you’re forced to use in Inferno will make sure that you’ll be critting a lot and running between crits. Attacking rarely and critting when you do is GREAT for Greivous and seems to be the opposite of what you want for Chemical Burns. Of course, without Sharpshooter or in co-op play, the winner is closer to Chemical Burns. I’m looking for more data here and opinions, so please share.

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2) Rapid Fire(RF): Unlocked at level 5.
I think all Demon Hunters have a love affair with RF. It was our first “interesting” ability and looked amazing and let us begin to handle AoE situations. It does 228% weapon damage and costs an upfront 20 Hatred and 10 hatred after that.

The damage seems to be rather poor. The first “burst” of RF only does 114% weapon damage, so you need 6 arrows to deal 228% weapon damage.

The biggest issue with RF is that it requires you not to move. This is fine on lower difficulties, but if you’re having problems on later stages, consider using Withering rune and going into a stutterstep, burst firing pattern. Or switch to co-op so you can attack from safety, where you can really just sit and fire.

It’s spread is noticeable, but not terrible. It’ll only be a problem on very small mobs (It’s still amazingly accurate compared to Chakrams.)

Runes:

Withering Fire: Unlocked at level 11.
This is ABSOLUTELY required. Officially, this rune decreases the starting cost of RF to 5 and causes them to all deal Fire damage.

But keep in mind all the implications of such a low starting cost. This lets you run and fire without the prohibitive costs. For instance, assuming you only fire 3 bursts each time you change positions, the non-Withering Fire RF will take 69 Hatred. The Withering Fire will only take 24.

Web Shot: Unlocked at level 19.
Puts an 80% slow on every mob you hit for 1 second. This rune is very useful in some situations and only real problem with it is the fact that RF has a staggering upfront cost without Withering Fire.

However, I’ll note that in Co-op play, if you’re running Cull the Weak and no one else has a slow, this will let you get the tremendous benefit of Cull without having to do anything special and, because ideally all mobs will be handled by others, you will only have to pay the 20 Hatred cost once or twice.

Note, the less often you interrupt your RF casts, the less important Withering Fire is.

Fire Support: Unlocked at level 32.
Every second, it creates 3 rockets that do 35% weapon damage. The rockets will go in any direction and will attack objects in the environment if there are no mobs present. They can be critical hits. This actually seems to make RF do even crazier damage than it already does.

Assuming you cast RF once and empty the whole thing, this rune will outdamage per hate spent Withering Fire. This becomes more and more noticeable the more Hatred regeneration you have from Skills/Passives/Gear.

High Velocity: Unlocked at level 45.
This rune gives each missile a 40% chance to go through the enemy it hits and strike again (Much Like Hungering Arrow). These “pierced” rounds *CAN pierce again. This Rune gives RF it’s highest overall potential DPS, but is rarely worth it. It’s absolutely awful on bosses and most elite packs and will only shine in AoE situations at all. IF you’re looking for RF to do more AoE, this may be worth it. But except for a few cases, you won’t get much use out of this.

Bombardment: Unlocked at level 56.
Converts your RF missiles into grenades that travel in a slow arc to your desired location. Each grenade deals 276% weapon damage to all mobs in a 4 yard area (Painfully small area.). ***

**Sense RF shines in co-op play, I don’t really see the point in this. This rune also removes RF’s ability to deal with close in threats and faster enemies.

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3) Chakram: Unlocked at level 12.
Chakram summons a spinning disc that strikes enemies for 150% weapon damage and flies slowly through the air. The flightpath of the Chakram is always the same, but until you have the flightpath down and know where the Chakram leaves your body at, it’s difficult to aim effectively.

Their main issue is that the direct line in front of you (including directly in front of you in melee range) is the place least covered by Chakrams, so aiming is very counterintuitive.

Chakrams can hit a mob more than once if it passes through it again and can hit any number of creatures along it’s path. They also DO bypass a lot of terrain. This makes it an outstanding ability to cleave through weak mobs to destroy the ranged mobs in the back.

Runes:

Twin Chakrams: Unlocked at level 18.
This rune doubles the numbers of Chakrams you launch per attack to 2 and changes their damage to 100% weapon damage. This ability gives you amazing area coverage and overall damage, but it still suffers some very basic problems:

– It’s not very good at killing only a few things at once. It’ll kill them, you’ll just need to spend a lot of Hatred to do it. Twin Chakrams doesn’t do anything in moderation.

– Although Dual Chakrams will cover your screen in numbers in a lot of AoE situations, you’re rarely doing all THAT much damage to what they’re hitting. Remember, each hit is only doing 100% weapon damage. You’ll often need 50-60 Hatred worth of Glaives just to kill a few white mobs.

NOTE: The overall damage being done if each glaive is hitting 4+ mobs before it disappears is outstanding, both in DPS and in Damage per Hatred.

Serpentine: Unlocked at level 26.
Serpentine takes all that’s bad about Chakrams, and makes it worse. This converts your basic Chakram to a slow moving, green Chakram that deals 203% weapon damage as poison to all mobs it hits. The issue is, it’s horribly slow. If you think aiming the regular chakram can be difficult, this is nearly impossible. And hitting anytihng fast is completely a matter of luck.

This rune does offer the most theoretical damage per cast for Chakrams, but even in cluttered, AoE situations it’s rarely effective.

Razor Disk: Unlocked at level 34.
This is probably the only Rune that can rival Dual Chakrams in terms of usefulness. This Chakrams deals 165% weapon damage to all things it hits as arcane. More importantly, it flies directly to the location you click and then spirals out from there. It does an almost perfect 360 rotation, slowly getting further away from the middle. This ability to pick the starting locations makes it useful for dealing with melee threats and dealing with groups up enemies further away. It also dramatically decreases your ability to deal with something quickly.

Despite the advantages of this rune (Fast speed of chakram to target point, relative high damage considering) it has a flaw. Because of the nature of it’s spin, it’ll rarely hit anything once and the AoE portion is, while predictable, not usably predictable for most players. It’s very difficult to keep an image of a spiral aiming reticle locked in your head while you play!

Boomerang: Unlocked at level 48.
Awful. I don’t even see the point in this horrible, horrible glyph. It does 188% damage as lightning to everthing it touches. And it travels in a rough horseshoe pattern from the firing location. It only goes about 15 yards away before it comes back. Amusingly enough, despite the terribly short range, it STILL can’t handle threats in melee range. There is nothing good about this rune that I can find.

EDIT: I’ve fixed a lot of what I originally said about Chakrams. I didn’t fix this. Seriously. This rune sucks. I’d need to see some amazing evidence before I’d be willing to change the first word of this post to something besides, “Awful”.

Shuriken Cloud: Unlocked at level 57.
This rune completely eliminates your actual missile. Instead, it covers you in whirling blades that do 38% weapon damage per second to everything nearby for 2 minutes.

The only use I can find for this Rune is for farming Nightmare and Normal mode at level 60 for your low level friends. I guess. Maybe.

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4) Elemental Arrow (EA): Unlocked at level 20.
Elemental Arrow costs 10 Hatred and shoots a ball of fire at normal missile speed in a straight line, dealing 155% fire damage to every mob it hits on the way. It has a relatively small effect radius (To reflect the small size of the missile).

To compare it to something, it functions much like Impale with Overpenetration. This ability combines strong AoE with strong direct damage.

Important note regarding level 60 Hell/Inferno! You’ll often see this ability mentioned in particular at this level of play, but not necessarily because it’s so strong by itself. You’ll see EA often mentioned because of Nelaphim’s Valor. This buff gives you a stacking buff to Magic and Gold Find for every elite you kill, stacking up to 5 times and lasting 30 minutes. But this is removed when you change skills.

So EA is used often because it has everything necessary to deal with any situation, if not perfectly, reasonably well. It lets you focus on surviving and reliability over managing your offensive skill.

This is slightly opinion based, but it’s also based off the fact that this spell is simple and powerful, especially with some of the Rune choices. Which we’ll address now!:

Runes:

Ball Lightning: Unlocked at levle 24.
This rune converts the Fire damage of EA to Lightning damage and lowers the speed of the missile and turns it spherical. When tested, unlike many spells for DH, this spell will “Reach out” to strike mobs. This gives it incredible radius of damage and makes it very strong at dealing with spread out enemies. The damage of this ability is deceiving. It’ll strike everything in range twice, doing 77.5% weapon damage.

Unfortunately, it’ll also occasionally also hit once. It can hit 3 times to make up for this, but it’s exceedingly rare (It seems to only occur on mobs that are “knocked back”). Making this one of the few runes that can actually decrease your overall damage for single target situations over the default Rune.

*** On large, immobile bosses, this may reliably triple hit. IF anyone can confirm this, please let me know.

Frost Arrow: Unlocked at level 29.
This rune converts your damage to Frost and increases the damage per hit to 170%. It also puts a 60% slow on everything it hits, lasting 1 second. The utility and damage to small groups is very strong.

However, unlike ALL other Runes and versions of EA, this one does not travel as a sphere and instead operates exactly as a typical “missile”. It has a fast travel speed, but can only attack any given creature once, and can only strike 4 mobs.

If it hits a mob, it’ll deal damage, slow it and then a new arrow will be created for every mob nearby. So! If you have 1 mob in front, and 3 behind, the first shot will strike the lead minion and 3 arrows will split to hit the ones behind it. If you have 4 mobs in a row, the first shot will hit the lead mob, then create ONE arrow to hit the next, which will create one shot to hit the next.

The shot in general behaves erratically. It won’t always hit mobs directly next to your target, but sometimes it will.

Still! A very good rune overall, especially with the slow.

Screaming Skull: Unlocked at level 36.
In operation, it acts exactly as EA in terms of dealing damage and behavior. However, this rune grants you a 40% chance to fire a skull that will fear all enemies for 1.5 seconds.

Now, pay careful attention to the wording here. This Rune does NOT grant a 40% chance to fear. It grants you a 40% chance to cast a “Special” round (Which is visually distinctive. It explodes from your weapon, is huge and all flamey like and summons shadow rings as it flies). This shot will certainly fear everything it damages for 1.5 seconds.

This means you can much more easily predict the fears and when to redirect shots for better fear coverage. Once you see the special skulls, you’ll learn to change your position to direct the fire along other paths. This obviously takes practice, but this rune is a very strong choice, benefitting HUGELY from Attack Speed.

***In fact, I’d like to see someone dual wielding and using this Rune. Info here would be nice. Perma fear possible, perhaps?

Lightning Bolts: Unlocked at level 43.
Just like Screaming Skulls, this just changes the overall look of your attack and adds something to it, but does the same damage, movements speed and overall effect radius.

Whenever your Lightning Bolt critical hits, it will stun the target for 1.5 seconds. This is useful, but only with the Sharpshooter buff. And certainly only reliable at the start of every fight, though obviously the longer you go without critting, the more you can predict the stun.

Note about Lightning Bolts and Screaming Skulls: They both achieve much the same thing, and if you want to use something with a “hard” CC, they’re both viable choices. But if you have to choose, I highly recommend Screaming Skulls, especially if you have a high attack speed. The ability to “Expect” the CC to land with visual identification is nice.

While Lightning Bolts will almost always stun on the opening of the fight with Sharpshooter, it’s at the time you least need it. This automatic stun at the start means you’ll have to wait a good few seconds before you can get another good chance at a stun.

The choice is, as always, your’s!

Nether Tentacles: Unlocked at level 59.
Oh, Nether Tentacles. You’re a dirty rascal. Nether Tentacles strikes for 155% weapon damage and returns to you 3% of the damage dealt as life. However, the beautiful aspect of Nether Tentacles is three part:

1) First off, it’s simply an amazing visual spell. I know none of you care, but this is simply a beautiful spell to me and, if for no other reason, is the reason I use it. Now that I’ve said that…

2) Nether Tentacles is produced as large, relatively slow spheres. But there spheres are monstrous in range, similar to Ball Lightning. Unlike ball lightning, though, the damage of Nether Tentacles really does 155% weapon damage, but CAN still strike twice. The AoE of this spell is roughly equivalent to the visual aspect of it. It’s slightly wider than most other versions of EA, but has a significantly smaller damage radius than Ball Lightning.

3) While normally slow missiles are bad (And in this case, it’s still rough at times.) the high damage, double dipping of Nether Tentacles can allow you to approach mobs from max range (**Which, as part of this, seems to be longer than most attacks, just like Ball Lightning) and launch anywhere from 6-10 of these orbs before they mobs even respond. This will allow you to nearly completely kill ELITE packs on Inferno before they’ve moved.

Yeah. This rune is honestly a little broken and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t nerfed a bit.

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Summary:

All of our Spenders have a viable use in almost all places in the game. The important part is to find what you like and what works for you, wherever you are in the game. Whether you’re 4 manning Inferno Diablo or soloing Belial Nightmare, you find what works for YOU. There is no min-maxing in this game and no one will ever know if you’re doing 5% less damage than the guy next to you. So play what works best for YOU and the group together.

This is important. Play what you do well with. Take advice, try different techniques, but don’t be afraid to stick to what you enjoy and play well.

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Hatred Dumps are your abilities that allow you to spend a ton of Hatred in a very short period of time. These abilities typically do a ton of damage per cast, but come with a very poor Damage per Hatred ratio single target. They ALL have some sort of AoE component. These abilities can be useful for anyone looking to add burst damage or people who play a very mobile and cautious playstyle and want to maximize how much Hatred they can spend in a short amount of time. Options below!

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1) Fan of Knives (FoK): Unlocked at level 17.
This ability does 320% weapon damage to all target within 10 yards of you when used. It costs 20 Hatred and comes with a 10 second cooldown. This ability does incredible damage, but because of the cooldown, must be used in conjunction with other forms of damage. Your natural Hatred regeneration will out-regen the cost of this ability easily. Keep in mind, this will hit all targets within 10 yards, regardless of positioning and any sort of “missile” collision. This ability also slows all targets it hits by 60% for 2 seconds.

The downside to FoK, despite the good damage per Hatred and DPS and the strong AoE mechanic anddd the slow, is that the range is tragically small. 10 yards is horrible and against large mobs, you’ll never hit more than a few, even if they’re stacked up around you. However, if you use good positioning, this ability’s upsides can outweigh the limited range, as long as you’re not expecting it to actually have better range than it does.

Long story short? Learn the limitations of FoK and you’ll be happier in the long run.

Runes:

Crippling Razors: Unlocked at level 23.
Changes the slow from 60% to 80%, still leaving the 2 second duration. This rune is fine until you get any other rune, but is relatively bad past that. If the mob is close enough to be hit by FoK, an extra 20% slow is an unreliable choice to get away.

Retaliate: Unlocked at level 32.
This ability changes your FoK in a very basic way. Instead of launching on use, it’ll basically hit the next target that strikes you within 10 seconds for 464% weapon damage. That’s a LOT of damage and can’t be stressed enough how much damage this does.

Some notes on this ability, though:

– On Hell and Inferno, the amount of damage you can take in one strike is tremendous. You’ll always want to minimize damage taken and hit received. So I don’t exactly advise anyone using this rune in those difficulties unless they’ve geared heavily towards defense and think they can manage it.

– Probably not the best rune in group play.

– This rune DOES allow you to pre-spend the Hatred and save the attack swing for an encounter. As in, what you can do with this is use the rune, wait 5 seconds, then rush into a pack of mobs with your typical damage. This way, you open with full Hatred and get a free massive hit on everything near you.

Hail of Knives: Unlocked at level 38.
Increases the radius of FoK to 20 yards. This is a huge difference in range. The slow still applies.

If you want to use FoK in Hell and in Inferno, this is probably the best rune for the job. It’s also probably the best rune in group play.

Fan of Daggers: Unlocked at level 44.
Every mob hit by FoK has a 65% change to be stunned. This is a rather useful stun, but there is one pretty significant downside in that FoK naturally has a cooldown. Which means if you run in and use this ability and you don’t see any stuns when you were relying on them , you’re going to be in trouble.

If that kind of RNG is okay with you, it’s an amazing rune. If it isn’t, then the rune has limited application.

Assassin’s Knives: Unlocked at level 59.
This rune buffs your FoK with 5 slightly longer range throwing knives, going roughly 20-25 yards. These knives hit only one target and deal 70% weapon damage. They seem to be thrown randomly out when you use FoK, anywhere along the 360 degree range.

Within 10 yards, this is a very nice damage increase. But, in terms of practical use, you might as well go for Hail of Knives. While Assassin’s Knives gives you better potential single target and better overall damage, the knives just don’t hit hard enough alone to make their extended range noteworthy.

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2) Spike Trap: Unlocked at level 17.
This is ability drops a small trap on the ground. This trap takes 1.2 seconds to arm, meaning that it won’t actually do anything for 1.2 seconds. After that, it’ll trigger on the first hostile mob that enters the range. When activated, it deals 275% weapon damage to all mobs within 8 yards. Cost is 30 Hatred. The traps last 30 seconds after being planted.

This is an amazing and seems to be slightly under-rated ability, especially for higher difficulties where getting the most possible damage in the smallest amount of time is essential. The ability to “plan” a battle is very valuable.

Keeping this in mind, ere are some things that may help you out, assuming standard Hatred regen:

– If you plant one trap, you only have to wait 7 seconds before your Hatred is fully regenerated, which gives you 23 seconds to have something hit it.

– If you plant two traps, you’ll have to wait 14 seconds (Assuming a relatively standard attacks per minute) for full Hatred and have 15 seconds before the first trap is gone.

– If you plant all three, you’ll have to wait roughly 20 seconds before you have full Hatred and roughly 7 seconds before they despawn.

This means that before you pull almost all elite packs, there’s no reason not to set down the full compliment of traps along a path for the elites to run through. This is especially useful on tougher packs, or on packs at higher difficulties.

This is also a very useful mobile tool. While you do have to actually stop to cast traps (As in, you’ll see a momentary pause in moment while you lay the trap. This is important if mobs are right on top of you.), this is still one of your better mobile DPS uses, especially as it can be used on where mobs WILL be, not where they are.

-NOTE- Important. On higher difficulties, the mobs do become smarter. Elite packs will actively avoid running through traps unless they are placed in such a way as to block that kind of avoidance. So placing them in chokes or in deliberate wall patterns is recommended.

Also, against wallers, these traps can be placed directly against walls from the outside and triggered by mobs on the other side. This is especially useful in group play, where your teammates can be sectioned off by wallers and leaving you helpless to do damage.

In general, this is a useful ability, but it does have downsides:

– Requires forethought. Not the best ability to use on the fly in the average situation.

– Arming time makes it rather poor for dealing with suddenly threats.

– Relatively poor area of effect. Not bad, mind you, but not all that fantastic for AoE situations.

– High Hatred cost for damage dealt if not used before the fight and given time to recuperate Hatred naturally.

Still, an ability with strong use. Now, to the runes!

Runes:

Bandolier: Unlocked at level 27.
This rune allows you to have 6 Mines out at once. This rune is amazing for delivering a huge amount of burst in a very short period of time. If you lay out all your mines and kite a mob into them, they will deal 1650% weapon damage instantly. This is very useful in dealing with particularly fast/hard hitting mobs with low HP.

However, a lot of this rune is wasted. Unless you have a large amount of Hatred regeneration, you can’t lay more than 4 before you run out of Hatred. This makes this rune relatively worthless in cases of “Use on the run”. If not totally useless.

Also, keep in mind that even if you take the time to launch all six, you’ll have less than 10 seconds to get a mob to enter them. And almost no Hatred (Less than 60) to use in the fight.

In conclusion, this Rune has it’s place, but keep in mind the limitations. (Note: This rune is almost certainly significantly more useful when running high Hatred regen from Bat or gear.)

Sticky Trap: Unlocked at level 30.
This turns your Spike Trap into a targettable ability, allowing you to place a bomb on any given target. When the afflicted target dies, every mob within 8 yards takes 404% weapon damage.

Notes about this ability in regards to it’s use:

– Can only have one bomb per mob.

– Can have up to 3 bombs out at once.

– Will not cover up the buff for Marked for Death.

– Very difficult to get the explosion to apply at a meaningful time.

– Worthless against most bosses, most of the time.

The real problem of this ability is simple. If the creatures you’re fighting have low HP, they’ll all die so fast to normal AoE that additional, short range AoE is worthless. If they all have high HP, you’ll either want something that can be more meaningful through the fight (Remember, sense this ability only activates on death, the fewer things that die while you’re fighting, the less use it gets.)

Summary: This is a bad rune.

Long Fuse: Unlocked at level 39.
This rune increases the charging time to 2 seconds, meaning it won’t explode for 2 seconds after being placed. However, it increases the damage to 371% weapon damage. This increases the damage for a 3 trap attack to 1113% weapon damage.

This rune is amazing at everything Spike Traps does well at the cost of exaggerating it’s already existing weaknesses. You won’t be able to use this to deal with suddenly bad situations very well, or for hitting fast mobs chasing you very well.

However, in terms of planning ambushes or dealing with slow mobs that you’re kiting, this is absolutely a strong choice for killing things.

Lightning Rod: Unlocked at level 46.
Converts damage to lightning. When the trap is triggered, it creates a pulse of lightning that will strike the mob that activated it and the two closest mobs for 275% damage. The lightning has a much larger AoE than the normal mine, roughly 20 yards. However, it limits the damage spread to 3 hits. This makes this Rune ideal for handling certain elite packs and giving you more overall damage and more reliability that the AoE portion will be used.

Scatter: Unlocked at level 55.
This rune allows you to drop all 3 of your mines at once for the same Hatred cost, lowering the actual cost of each mine to 10 Hatred. This is just a fantastic rune. It gives you a very strong Hatred to Damage cost (30 Hatred for 825% weapon damage. Better than Impale without a rune.). This also importantly helps in kiting, because you have to stop less frequently to do the same damage.

The traps are laid out in a rough row (Slight arch, with the middle trap in front), though in narrower areas, they may stack or simply be laid along the borders of the wall.

Now, keeping in mind how strong this rune is in terms of damage per second and damage per hatred, it does have one large downside:

– On Hell and Infero, mobs are frustratingly smart about traps. I’ve seen elites run straight through the tiny gap between traps. They’re also good about once one of these traps have been triggered, they’ll all go through the gap. This means you’ll need amazing placement to get the most bang for your buck here, as a bad click will let a pack simply swerve around the entire trap. However, this applies to all types of Spike Traps. Still, worth noting.

One point about this is that sometimes mobs will make ridiculous turns around a “trap wall” created with this. This can lead to a net gain in distance, including the time it took to plant. Very helpful for some kiting situations, if unreliable.

On the other side, mobs are also smart about knowing a helpless cause. Don’t expect that dropping 3 traps on a staircase will slow mobs down. It



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Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Comprehensive Guide

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