Spectral Insight: Havoc Demon Hunter talents
Never end an article with, “If nothing crazy happens…” unless you want something crazy to happen. And so, something crazy happened. Since we last talked Demon Hunters, the alpha closed shop and the beta took its place. With the beta finally here, it’s time to talk Demon Hunter talents for the damage-dealing Havoc spec.
Demon Hunters, much like Death Knights, gain talents at slightly different levels than everyone else because they start at level 98. They still have seven tiers and the spacing actually makes for a classic-feeling talent system as you level through the Broken Isles. Their first two talents are gained at 99 and 100, while the remainder are gained every other level. Again, this offers a nice reward while leveling — if not akin to classic talents, then certainly akin to Draenor Perks. So, just what are we looking at for Havoc talents?
At level 99, you’re offered different ways to increase your damage via abilities you’re likely to already be using mid-rotation, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
- Fel Mastery, which makes Fel Rush always crit and also generate Fury, can be good if you’re sure you won’t need to use Fel Rush to escape during a fight.
- Chaos Cleave passively adds a cleave to one additional target for Chaos Strike, which will be great for add fights or fights where bosses are stacked, but useless in single-target situations.
- Lastly, Blind Fury, which increases Eye Beam‘s duration, has been my go-to pick. It’s great for single and multi-target fights, and buffs one of your strongest abilities. The one downside is that you can’t move during Eye Beam, which can mean wasting the ability if your enemy moves.
Level 100 talents are all about generating Fury in various ways.
- Prepared is very similar to the level 99 talent Fel Mastery, in that it modifies a movement-based ability to generate Fury if it hits a target. On their own neither talent is too appealing, but together you can Vengeful Retreat out of enemies and Fel Rush right back in to make for a nice one-two punch. Again, you need to be sure you don’t need these abilities for actual movement, though.
- Demon Blades is a weird one and personally not one I like. It removes your Demon’s Bite in favor of an autoattack that has a chance to deal more damage and generate Fury. It might end up being good DPS-wise, but it makes the rotation feel awkward without your main filler ability. Demon Hunters are full of talents that grant abilities, though, so time will tell if there’s a reliable build out there that doesn’t make the rotation feel odd.
- Lastly, Demonic Appetite gives your “spend” ability Chaos Strike a chance to spawn a Lesser Soul Fragment. Any Soul Fragment will generate Fury. This talent is helpful as long as you don’t have to go hunting too hard for the Soul Fragments.
The level-102 talents are a little mixed.
- Felblade essentially gives Demon Hunters a short-ranged charge that generates Fury and can have its cooldown reset by your filler, Demon’s Bite. Honestly, this is my favorite choice purely for the fun/cool factor. The other two talents follow more of a pattern, though.
- First Blood makes Blade Dance cost no Fury, and increases its damage to the first target you hit. Again, this may depend on the final numbers, but this can be a decent way to increase your passive damage against a single-target boss or make you more effective in multi-target fights (especially with some of the other cleave talents).
- Lastly, Bloodlet adds a bleed to Throw Glaive. This is a fairly straightforward way to really increase your damage on multi-target fights.
Level-104 talents are all about survival.
- Netherwalk gives you a short speed boost and makes you unable to take damage for 5 seconds but also replaces Blur. This is useful for fights that have one-shot mechanics or if you like to be more in control of your defensive cooldowns.
- Desperate Instincts removes Blur as an on-demand ability but causes it to automatically trigger when you fall below 35% health. If passive talents are your thing, this is probably the one to take.
- My personal favorite is the last one: Soul Rending. This gives you 100% Leech during Metamorphosis, and is an incredible way to regenerate all your health and then some. You’re in control of when to use it, and it can save a group if a tank dies and you need to step in for the final stretch of the fight. The downside is that your DPS cooldown becomes a healing cooldown as well, and you may not be able to use it during burn phases if you had to use it to survive (although, it does mean you get to keep Blur).
Again, we have another hodgepodge tier.
- Momentum causes Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat to increase your damage but 20% for 4 seconds and will be great if you took Fel Mastery and/or Prepared at levels 99 and 100.
- Fel Eruption gives Demon Hunters a very helpful stun ability as well as a pretty strong damaging attack. The only real downside to this talent is that it can start to cause some button bloat if you haven’t taken any passive talents.
- Nemesis, the final talent, is a pretty interesting cooldown ability that feels very Demon Hunter-y. It marks your target for 15% increased damage for one minute, and also gives you 15% increased damage against targets of the same type (Humanoid, Dragonkin, etc.) for the remaining duration if the target dies. Really, this talent may prove very impressive against bosses. It’ll essentially have a 50% uptime during the duration of a fight, and still come in handy if add waves are the same enemy type as the primary boss — as long as you remember to save it for the adds.
- Both Master of the Glaive (which gives Throw Glaive another charge as well as a snare) and Unleashed Power (which makes Chaos Nova free to cast and reduces its cooldown) will work well for soloing when you need to kite enemies. The reduced cooldown on Chaos Nova will also be useful more generally speaking in that it’s a nice way to get more damage more often.
- Demon Reborn — which resets all your cooldowns when you enter Metamorphosis — doesn’t fit as well here. But it’ll likely end up being the go-to pick for raiding, as it’ll be especially deadly in combination with last tier’s Nemesis talent.
After an array of talents that are cool but never mind-blowing, the level-110 talents really step things up in the damage department.
- Chaos Blades is a cooldown that increases damage for 12 seconds by a percentage that increases with Mastery, and also causes your autoattacks to deal 200% increased damage and cause Chaos damage. Wow. This is an immensely powerful cooldown that doesn’t really require any rotation modifications once active. What’s more, it works very well in combination with Nemesis and Demon Reborn…to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these moved to the same tier.
- Fel Barrage wins in terms of cool factor, though. It’s a cooldown that raises your character in the air and unleashes Fel against your target and all nearby targets for each charge you have, up to a maximum of five. Damaging attacks can also generate a charge. This is a strong ability, but I don’t think it will outweigh Chaos Blades on single-target fights.
- Lastly, the simple-titled Demonic causes your Eye Beam to put you into demon form for five seconds after it finishes dealing damage. This talent is yet another that’ll add significant damage without requiring much thought. If you’re a fan of passive talents, this is your choice.
The big-picture view
It’s hard to say for certain if all of these talents will make it into live in their current state or talent row. Originally, I’d been set to discuss these talents because I figured it was a safe time to do so, and then a new beta build swapped them around. Right now, it seems like Blizzard has a mixed methodology for Havoc talents. Some of them feel like they follow a theme within the same row, while others feel as though they’re thematically joined with talents in different rows. Personally, I like when talents can synergize across rows — to a point. If three or four talents (Nemesis, Demon Reborn, and Chaos Blades, for example) become so good together that they feel mandatory, that spoils some of the fun of picking talents in the first place.
Still, if there’s one thing the talents do nicely, it’s offer options for a variety of playstyles. There are plenty of passive talents, active talents, and multi-target talents. Considering how much these talents have swapped rows over the last several months, it’ll be interesting to see where they all end up when Legion goes live. But for now, I think we have a pretty good idea of what each talent will look like — even if it winds up somewhere else in the tree. Next time, we’ll cover Demon Hunters’ other half, Vengeance!
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