Spectral Insight: Vengeance Demon Hunter talents
Demon Hunters continually undergo changes in the Legion beta, and Vengeance talents have been no exception. With the expansion now less than ten weeks away, we’re hopefully approaching the point where talents will stay put. And since we discussed Havoc’s talents last time, today will be taking a look at all the talent options for Vengeance Demon Hunters.
Update 8/28/16: The level-102 and 106 talent tiers have been updated to reflect their live implementations.
Before hopping in, let me remind you that Demon Hunters gain talents at different levels than other classes, and will be completing their talent trees as they level through Mardum and the Broken Isles. Additionally, I should reiterate that Demon Hunter talents especially have been in flux all throughout beta. These may very well change before release, so keep an eye on updates here!
Flame Crash (level 102) in action.
Vengeance Demon Hunter talent breakdown
To some degree, each option in this tier adds damage, but the bigger picture here seems to be more about mobility.
- Abyssal Strike increases your Infernal Strike’s range by 10 yards and reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds. While I find this one to be the weakest offering here, it can still be pretty fun to hop around large distances and it does offer the best on-demand escape.
- Agonizing Flames causes your Immolation Aura to deal 50% more damage and increases your movement speed by 30%. A big benefit here is the AOE damage this talent offers for tanking dungeons (or multiple mobs while soloing). The speed increase also gives you an option to move quickly if you ever need to run from Point A to Point B.
- Razor Spikes is the yin to Agonizing Flames’ yang. While you have Demon Spikes active, you deal 20% increased Physical damage, and your melee attacks snare targets by 50% for 6 sec. Since your damage is limited to the Physical nature, this has more benefit as a single-target talent. Moreover, the snare is helpful for soloing, but in a different way than a movement speed increase.
Here we have different ways to make you a better tank.
- Feast of Souls gives your Soul Cleave an additional 6-second heal-over-time component. With Vengeance’s reliance on Soul Fragments and cooldowns, this talent actually adds a nice, reliable buffer in between periods of cooldown usage.
- Fallout is a newer addition to Vengeance’s talent tier, and causes Immolation Aura’s initial damage burst to have a chance to shatter Lesser Soul Fragments from enemies. This talent does work well with other Immolation Aura talents, and it can be a good way to add self-healing, but it also runs the risk of providing unnecessary Soul Fragments that will just cause overhealing.
- Burning Alive makes it so every 2 seconds, your Fiery Brand deals additional Fire damage and spreads from the primary target to a nearby enemy. What this talent lacks in self-healing, it makes up for in damage reduction. While obviously not the best choice for single-target encounters, 40% damage reduction from nearby sources will definitely help when tanking multiple targets, so long as they live long enough for this effect to be useful.
Soul Barrier (level 110)
This is another tier that has undergone hefty changes recently. It’s also one that is all about damage.
- Felbade shares its primary effect with its Havoc counterpart; it adds a charge to your toolkit that can be reset through your standard rotation and generates Pain. Personally, I like this one because it’s really damn fun to have a charge.
- Flame Crash is one of the new additions, and causes Infernal Strike to create a Sigil of Flame when you land. This is incredibly useful for leaping from group to group without worrying about the cooldown of your actual Sigil of Flame, and it also adds some very helpful AOE to your repertoire.
Gluttony is the second new addition and makes consuming a Soul Fragment increase the damage of your next Soul Cleave by 10%, stacking up to 5 times. While this is another talent that works best for single-target situations, it’s also nice because it works as a fairly passive damage increase. Sure, if you want to min/max, you might have to adjust your rotation until you’re at 5 stacks, but even if not, you’ll still be getting bonus damage.
- This talent was replaced with Fel Eruption (formerly in the level-106 talent tier).
Another survival tier, but with passive, active, and cooldown effects being your choices.
- Feed the Demon reduces the remaining cooldown of Demon Spikes by 1 second every time you consume a Soul Fragment, and is a perfect way to passively add to your survivability.
- Fracture is the active option here, adding a “brutal slam” into your rotation that causes Physical damage and shatters two Lesser Soul Fragments from the target. What I like about this is that it gives you a reliable way to gain healing when you need it. If RNG isn’t working in your favor, just use this and you’ve got an on-demand Soul Fragment to help heal. That being said…
- Soul Rending is still my favorite here. It was even less of a choice before Fracture was moved to this tier, but it’s still a phenomenal pick. It gives you 50% extra Leech while Metamorphosis is active. What this means is that you are essentially unkillable while Metamorphosis is up. The downsides to this are that you risk saving Metamorphosis for “big” moments and it winds up wasted, and that it only is guaranteed to benefit you, at most, every 3 minutes (the exception being if you’ve taken Fueled by Pain in your Artifact tree). If you’re never having trouble or there are no damage-spike moments in a fight, Fracture may still be the way to go, but Soul Rending is the best in a pinch.
Fel Eruption (level 106) teaching the dummy a lesson
This tier offers two Sigil modifications, and one stun/damage dealer.
- Concentrated Sigils makes all Sigils appear at your location and increases their duration by 2 seconds. While the ability to place Sigils is incredibly nice, this talent will be very useful for quick placement, since you won’t need to click to target and then click again to activate.
Fel Eruption is the oddball here. It impales the target for 100 Chaos damage and stuns it for 2 seconds, but also does an additional 100% damage against targets permanently immune to stuns. The latter portion seems an obvious way to make this beneficial against bosses, but overall this talent just feels like a fun way to add extra damage.
- This talent was replaced with Sigil of Chains (formerly a baseline ability).
- Quickened Sigils is probably the most useful overall. With it, all Sigils activate 1 second faster, and their cooldowns are reduced by 20%. Sigils are an important part of your gameplay as Vengeance, and there is really no downside to this — except for missing out on the other talents in this tier.
This tier gives you two ways to heal and deal damage, and one way to simply do more of what you already do.
- Fel Devastation “unleashes the fel within you,” damaging enemies directly in front of you for Fire damage over 2 seconds. Causing damage also heals you up to a certain amount of health. This is a pretty standard “do some damage, gain some healing” talent and will likely be easy to work with. The downside is that it adds another button to your bars (which can already be somewhat full).
- Blade Turning is a basic talent that causes parrying to increase the Pain generation of your next Shear by 50%. The numbers may make this the preferred choice here, but I find it a bit bland. Still, it’s entirely passive, which is great for you passive-talent takers.
- Spirit Bomb is really interesting. It launches a nearby Soul Fragment at your target, dealing damage to all nearby enemies and afflicting them with Frailty for 15 seconds. Any enemy with Frailty heals you for a percentage of the damage you do to them. Why do I like this? Because it’s really unique. It sacrifices your main source of healing for an alternate form of healing, with a nice bit of damage on the side.
Sigil of Misery plus Darkness
While a lot of the tiers so far have been about added survival, this tier… well, it’s also about survival. But it kicks things up a notch with how it does that.
- Last Resort is possibly the blandest option here, but still very strong, especially if you take Soul Rending at level 104. When you would normally die, you instead transform into Metamorphosis form and return to 30% health, occurring no more than every 3 minutes. Again, with Soul Rending, this can be an invaluable talent. It is entirely passive and also manages to be impossibly strong at bringing you back up to health.
- Nether Bond takes a note from Shaman and causes you to bind yourself to a friendly player for 15 seconds. Every 1 second, “the health of you and your target is redistributed such that you are at the same percentage of maximum health.” While your off-tank (or unsuspecting healers) might not always like this, it’s a great way to add to two players’ survivals for half the effort.
- Soul Barrier gives you a shield for 8 seconds, and consuming a Soul Fragment adds to that shield. The big kicker here is that Soul Barrier’s absorption cannot be reduced below a certain amount, and it also consumes all Soul Fragments within 20 yards.
For 8 seconds, you cannot die. It doesn’t proc automatically like Last Resort, but is a guaranteed survival tool when used.Sorry, I misinterpreted this at first. You can still die if you take a larger hit than the absorption amount, but a portion of all hits will still be absorbed, which makes this the “active” survival option of this tier (without reliance on anyone else).
Fel Devastation (level 108)
Unlike Havoc talents, Vengeance talent options feel like hodgepodge; each tier seems to have a relative theme and offers a nice way to do similar effects via different playstyles. However, it also feels less like Havoc, in that talents don’t feel quite so synergistic across different tiers — not necessarily a bad thing. Every Vengeance tank will have a different way to pick talents that suits his/her playstyle, but still work as a whole. If there’s one downside to Vengeance talents right now, it’s that some of my favorite options add to button bloat, but that’s a relatively minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.
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