Rack up insane kill streaks with our Diablo 3 Demon Hunter 101 Guide
What is a Demon Hunter?
The Demon Hunter is a primarily ranged class that uses bows/crossbows, traps, bolas, turrets, and animal companions to obliterate opponents from a comfortable distance. While fragile, it’s a quick fighter that vaults around the battlefield, always just out of reach, raining death on every enemy in its sights. That incredible speed serves it well in both Greater Rifts and bounties, and players have fallen in love with the class’s ability to do both with minimal talent changes.
The Demon Hunter’s primary attribute is Dexterity, and it has a dual-resource system in the form of Hatred and Discipline. The former refills quickly, whereas the latter is more sluggish. Because most of the class’s defensive skills are fueled by Discipline, a player is well served by judicious use. However, a well-geared Demon Hunter in the endgame will not generally find themselves starved of resources.
The Demon Hunter’s strongest abilities
Demon Hunter builds in the endgame tend to emphasize one of three approaches: Making use of the class’s ranged abilities, an assassin-like playstyle that puts you in the thick of an elite mob pack, or building a phalanx of sentries. Here are some of the abilities you’ll be using with those builds:
- Vault: A key mobility skill used in nearly every build at 70. While most frequently taken with the Tumble rune (allowing multiple uses for a lower Discipline cost), melee and speed-running builds also Vault to stun and damage enemies.
- Vengeance: A significant damage — and, if taken with the Dark Heart rune, defensive — cooldown. It is often used with cooldown reduction on gear and a Cubed Dawn to ensure it is up constantly.
- Sentries: Turrets deployed by the Demon Hunter to damage opponents and provide a wall of defense. They are very powerful when used in conjunction with the Marauder’s Set and grant both offensive and defensive bonuses.
- Multishot: The key skill in the Unhallowed Essence build and justly renowned for screen-clearing capacity.
- Impale: While most Demon Hunter builds see you fighting enemies from a safe distance, the Shadow’s Mantle set and Impale turns you into a melee-range fighter, sprinting into elites for a swift kill and Vaulting away in search of the next pack.
- Companions: While not a feature in all builds, the Demon Hunter’s animal pets can provide both offensive and defensive bonuses. The most frequently used is the Wolf, which provides a 15% damage buff on a short cooldown. The Marauder’s set grants you access to all at the same time.
Demon Hunter armor sets
The Demon Hunter is fortunate in that most of its sets provide both high-end Greater Rifting capability and speed-running with only minor variations.
- Unhallowed Essence: One of the most famous sets for one of the most famous builds (UE MS) in the game. While a glass cannon in earlier seasons, UE’s defensive capabilities have been significantly improved, and it is now a premier Greater Rift set as well. Unhallowed Essence is used in conjunction with Yang’s Recurve and Dead Man’s Legacy for annihilating everything in sight from a comfortable range.
- Note: This will be the set granted by Haedrig’s Gift to seasonal players in Season 19.
- Shadow’s Mantle: The only set oriented around melee damage. “Shadow Impale” players tend to ignore normal mob packs in favor of hunting and destroying elites. As the key weapon (Karlei’s Point) can be obtained fairly quickly through the Cube’s ability to upgrade rares, it’s often faster and easier to gear a Shadow Impale build than others.
- Natalya’s Vengeance: A pure Natalya’s build is less common in the endgame, but emphasizes weaving a number of different skills together, punctuated by mass killing with Rain of Vengeance. However, Natalya’s finds its most frequent use in conjunction with Marauder’s, as the sets synergize well.
- Embodiment of the Marauder: While oriented around the use of Sentries, Marauder’s is the most versatile Demon Hunter set. It allows for builds emphasizing a variety of different high-damage abilities, but its premier endgame build is a hybrid with the Natalya’s set (N6M4). Marauder’s is an excellent set to pick up if you want to experiment with a variety of play styles with minimal re-gearing, and it’s very forgiving to beginners while still allowing for advanced pushing in Greater Rifts.
Why you should play a Demon Hunter
While it’s hard to describe the class in a way that makes it sound as compelling as the Witch Doctor or Wizard, the reality is that the Demon Hunter is a complete blast to play. There are few things more satisfying in Diablo 3 than watching your Demon Hunter empty a screen full of enemies with a single click. Given the ease with which the class builds and extends kill streaks, it’s also poised to go on a rampage with the Pandemonium seasonal buff.
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