Demon Hunter Guide

Diablo 3 - Demon Hunter Guide. Last modified: 2014.07.24


This is a comprehensive guide to the Diablo III class - The Demon Hunter

The Demon Hunter is a versatile damage dealer, who can decimate her foes within a matter of seconds. She has numerous escape and crowd control abilites at her disposal, with which she can guarantee her survival.

The Demon Hunter possesses two different resources, Hatred for offense, and Discipline for defense.
Hatred is a semi-fast regenerating resource, that is used by all non-signature shots, and Spike Traps.
Discipline is a slow regenerating resource, which is used to cast defensive abilities.

The playstyle, which I think is the most common, and a very effective one, is the following:
Skills and Runes

Actives

[Entangling Shot] Hatred Generator This skill is your primary way of getting back the Hatred you spend. It has a nice slow built into it.
[Justice is Served] The rune I recommend using, is the Justice is Served rune, which boosts the Hatred generated by the shot by 3, giving back a total of 6 Hatred per shot. Note: You don't have to actually hit a target to generate Hatred.
[Elemental Arrow] Hatred Spender This is your bread and butter skill in dealing damage. It's main advantage is its low resource cost (10 Hatred), and its high damage. The two runes I recommend using are:
[Frost Arrow] The Frost Arrow is the highest damage rune variation of the Elemental Arrow skill, and it also has a built in slow. The projectile breaks into 3-4 pieces on hit, damaging targets beyond the first. Disadvantage is the randomness of the breaking projectiles, as they can miss the monsters. [Nether Tentacles] A slow moving projectile, that does 155% weapon damage to targets hit. Main advantage of Nether Tentacles, that it passes through monsters it hits, damaging further targets. Disadvantage is its speed, fast moving targets like Burrowing Creepers are rather hard to hit.
[Preparation] Preparation is a very useful skill, that restores all of your discipline when used.
[Backup Plan] The rune I use for Preparation, is Backup Plan, has a 30% chance, that the cooldown for Preparation will not trigger. This can happen 4-5 times if you're lucky.
[Caltrops] Caltrops is a very powerful slowing trap, which can save you in most encounters. It isn't that powerful as it is against elites and rares, but a rune can counter that weakness.
[Tortorous Ground] This rune makes caltrops root the first enemy who passes through it for 2 seconds. This works on elites and bosses too, and is great for grinding.
[Smoke Screen] The Smoke Screen is a powerful escape mechanism, which makes you unattackable for 1 second. During that time, any attack made against you will be dodged (i.e. Mortar), and area effects will be unable to kill you. (You health will drop, but as long as Smoke Screen lasts you won't die).
[Lingering Fog] Lingering fog adds 0,5 seconds to the duration of Smoke Screen. An alternative would be Special Recipe, which reduces the cost to 12 discipline, although I prefer to use Lingering Fog.
[Marked for Death] Marked for Death makes the target take 12% more damage from all sources.
[Mortal Enemy] This rune for Marked for Death returns 3 Hatred to you, every time you hit the marked target. Only you get this effect, other Demon Hunters in your group will not.

Passives

[Archery] Archery increases either your Critical Hit Chance by 10% (Hand-Crossbow), Critical Hit Damage by 50% (Two Handed Crossbow), or Damage by 15% (Bow), depending on the weapon you're wielding.
[Cull the Weak] Cull the Weak increases your damage against slowed or snared targets by 15%. This should be used in conjuction with Frost Arrow, because both your damage dealing shots slow the target.
[Steady Aim] Steady Aim increases your damage output by 20%, as long as there are no monsters within 10 yards. This should be used if you don't have problems with kiting monsters, because then they won't get within 10 yards of you, and it is always active.
[Sharpshooter] Sharpshooter increases your critical hit chance by 3%, and an additional 3% every second, until you score a critical strike. Scoring a critical strike resets your critical hit chance to its base value, and starts stacking again.
This passive should be used instead of Cull the Weak, if you're using Nether Tentacles, because the slow from Entangling Shot only lasts 2 seconds.

Gear and Priorities
There are two possibilities for gearing:

Glass Cannon: The Glass Cannon focuses on dealing very high damage, but being very fragile at the same time. Most of the attacks will kill you IF they hit you.
Gearing for Glass Cannon can be made by focusing your stats on Dexterity, Increased Attack Speed, Critical Hit Damage, and Chance, with little focus on Vitality, or Resistances.
You should also consider getting as much Increased Discipline on items such as: Demon Hunter Cloaks (Chest Armor), Quiver, if possible main hand.
Alternative:The 4 piece set-bonus on the Natalya set improves your discipline regeneration by 2 per second, which is about the same, as getting +15 discipline.

Resistance Gear
Gearing for resistance greatly improves your survivability, at the cost of damage. If you choose to focus this build, you should look for items with high Dexterity, and moderate Vitality, and Resistance to All Elements.
About 400 All Resistance guarantees that you won't get one-shot killed, in Acts 1-3.
About 700 All Resistance guarantees that you can simply tank and kill mostly anything that comes in your path.
You should aim for about 1700, or more Dexterity. Having less will impact your damage output.
Playstyle
Act 1
Most of the monsters are weak, and slow here, but larger zombies can hit quite hard, if you let them get close. Wretched Mothers should be killed in priority, before they summon more zombies, and their projectiles should be avoided if possible.
Up until Skeleton King, the only threat to you is the bloated Grotesque, Havester or Horror monster, which explodes on death, for high amounts of damage.
On the Fields of Misery large bull like Savage Beasts' charge hits very hard, and should be avoided. Moon Clan Impalers hit hard and fast, but are very fragile.
The small spiders in the Caverns of Aranae hit hard, and are moving fast, but they have quite low hitpoints. Larger spiders move slow, so they shouldn't be a threat.

Act 2

In the earlier parts of Act 2, you will mostly find Lacuni, and Sand Wasps. Sands Waps projectiles move slowly, but deal very high damage, and so should be avoided if possible. Lacuni Huntresses jump in your face to get in range. While jumping, they are immune to damage, and hit very hard.
Lacuni Slashers are slow, and easy to kite. Most of Act 2 is dominated by Belial's minions, the Copperfang Lurkers, or commonly called: Snakes. They turn invisible, to get in range. While in that state, you can't damage them by ordinary means, and they're immune to Caltrops while invisible. The only way to get them out, is to smoke screen as much as possible while running away from them, and damage them when they come out.
At Alcarnus, you will find cultists, who move somewhat fast, and hit hard, but can be easily kited and killed.

Act 3

In Act 3, the monsters that pose the highest threat to you, are Fallen Firemage/Prophets, Blood Clan Spearmen, Elite Demonic Tremors, Heralds of Pestilence and Soul Rippers. The Firemages resurrect the army of Fallen you have slain, mostly into your face.
Spearmen projectiles move quite fast, and are hard to see, but their attack animation can be a good sign to use Smoke Screen. Elite Demonic Tremors move insanely fast, and hit like a truck, should be approached with caution.
Heralds of Pestilence are the large white guys, who dig their hands in the ground, and shoot it at you underground. As soon as you see them pounding the earth, you should move from your current location, or smoke screen before their hand reaches you.
Soul Rippers are really cute. Until they lick you. Which hurts. Alot. When you see a Soul Ripper, you should immediately Smoke Screen, and blast it before it can lick you.
Succubuses' projectiles affect you with a curse, that deals damage, when you spend resources. It can affect you while smoke screened, and damage you if you cast smoke screen after being affected. It doesn't last long, so you should wait for it to fall off.

Act 4

Act 4 should be considered progressing in groups. Most monsters are easy to kill, but there are some exceptions, like Opressors, which charge at you instantly, for high amounts of damage. Subjugators have a kind of Mortar, which deals high damage.
Armadons hit very hard, but move slow. Morlu Legionnaires kneel down before they die, and must be shot again, or they'll resurrect with 50% health. Aspect of Terrors can go invisible, and appear just in front of you. Corrupted Angels have a charge, which deals high damage, but can be avoided by sidestepping.
Morlu Incinerators' Meteor should be avoided.

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