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Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Builds Guide


The Demon Hunter is an all-new class, combining the deadly skills of the Assassin and Amazon from Diablo II and adding completely new acrobatic maneuvers and devastating abilities to give a complete evil-slaying package.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Range
  • Incredibly fast fire-rate
  • Most agile hero in the game due to strong acrobats and high speed
  • Amazing crowd control
  • Many Active Skills can completely destroy hordes of enemies within a second
  • Coolest looking character in the game (male version looks like a dark Assassin’s Creed character, and the female version is just awesome)

Cons:

  • A bit squishy
  • Acrobatic moves take a lot of Discipline
  • Discipline and Hatred recharge a bit slow
  • Hatred Abilities are very weapon-dependent

Note:
It is important that you get familiarized with the various concepts, terminologies and leveling of each of the class type. For this, refer to our essential Character Development Basics guide.

For more help on Diablo 3 builds, read our Witch Doctor, Barbarian, Monk and Wizard guides.

Build #1 – Aggressive DPS

Tier 1 (Level 1-10):
The reason why Entangling Shot has been chosen as primary is because it is highly Hatred efficient for the amount of damage and cc it has. Of course, the addition of the rune is helpful too. The rest is self-explanatory, and since this is just the start of the game, you must take whatever you can from your tree.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20):
Evasive Fire is one of my personal favorite moves for the Demon Hunter. It almost entirely eliminates the need of having Vault, as it gives both rapid fire and an insane dodge. Having said that, you’ll definitely need some Discipline if you’re dodging a lot (which will happen with many enemies nearby) and also if you activate Shadow Power regularly (which you should)

Tier 3 (Level 21-30):
Options open up as you get closer to level 30. This is where we start defining the nature of the build. Basically, this is an all out aggressive build, relying on Hatred more than Discipline. This means you’ll be using offensive abilities, out of which Evasive Fire and Elemental Arrow work best together.

Why? Because with the Frost Arrow Rune for the Elemental Arrow you can severely cripple enemy movement speed for short time, lay in a turret, and then start shooting and throwing Chakrams etcetera. This should allow you to take out crowds of enemies within a few seconds. It’s your choice if you want to keep the Chakram as your right click or the Elemental Arrow.

Final Build:
This is my personal favorite method of playing the Demon Hunter, as it gives a lot of damage, decent evasiveness, and an insane amount of crowd control. Your primary two skills are still Evasive Fire and Elemental Arrow, but now more advance Runes are being used. But the best part of this build is how well the Sentry works with your aggression.

Thanks to the Vigilant Watcher Rune and Custom Engineering passive the turret has a long duration and will surely help you while you spam Chakrams and use the Fan of Knives (enhanced into a defensive-offense spell by the Retaliate Rune).

Recommended Items:

Since this is such an aggressive build and relies heavily on the useful yet difficult to handle Evasive Fire skill, I would highly recommend the following:

1. High attack-speed dual Hand Crossbows, with at least one having life-steal

2. Items with magical stats granting Dexterity and Vitality

3. Use of gems that grant Dexterity and Vitality (prefer Vitality over Dexterity in gems)

Build #2 – Passive Aggressive Burst Damage

Tier 1 (Level 1-10):

(Same as Build 2)

Tier 2 (Level 11-20):
This is a slightly different and more passive-aggressive path, suited for players who like to keep some distance between them and the enemies.

Your primary attack is a little slow, but has a wide area of effect, and your secondary attack is a channeled attack which does decent damage but sucks up a lot of Hatred.

Thankfully, to accompany the Hatred cost you have Smoke Screen and Vault for evasive maneuvers. The second Passive Skill Cull the Weak combines well with the slow from the Runes of Rapid Fire.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30):
This tier works further on the passive-aggressive type of gameplay. Once again Bola Shot and Rapid Fire are your primary and secondary skills.

Majority of the Action Bar Skills are Discipline based, such as the turret (which now fires homing rockets at random enemies… sweet!), Mark of Death, and a greatly enhanced Smoke Screen.

Mark of Death is extremely essential for a long ranged passive-aggressive Demon Hunter (actually it’s great even for the more DPS oriented type as well) because it can allow you to do a lot of burst damage with Bola Shot and Cluster Arrow.

The Contagion Rune for the skill saves you the hassle of applying it again and again on enemies as it passes from one to another.

Final Build:
The final build will rely on your Discipline consuming abilities to do so aggressive damage with the help of Runes. Rapid Fire and Cluster Arrow are your main source of damage now, as they launch rockets which are enhanced with the Ballistics Passive.

If things get to crowded, you can always go invisible with Smoke Screen, which now leaves poisonous gas trails. Mark of Death damages nearby enemies as well, and your turret just got cooler because you can link yourself with it.

You may wish to swap smoke screen for a Rune-enhanced version of Shadow Power. However, Shadow Power’s effectiveness reduces as you progress onwards in the game, as larger amounts of life-steal can be achieved with weapons having life-steal stats. The choice is obviously yours.

Recommended Items:

For this build, look for:

1. High damage ranged weaponry with lots of life-steal

2. Quivers that give boost to the overall Discipline

3. Items that give additional Vitality points

4. Gems that give additional Vitality and Dexterity points

Build #3 – All Out Aggression

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
As the name of the build suggests, this is all-out aggression. That means you will be relying greatly on Hatred. To make sure you have sufficient Hatred to use your skills, the Vengeance passive is extremely essential. The rest is all simple.

Some people might consider taking Evasive Fire instead of Hungering Arrow, which isn’t a bad idea considering it gives evasion. But you already have Vault with Action Shot, which should sort out your evasion problems. Fan of Knives should keep enemies in check, and Chakrams can destroy lines of enemies in front of you.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
This tier is basically an enhancement of what was already being developed in tier 2. You’re still using similar skills and techniques, except that now Runes are adding quite a bit of damage and control.

To accompany the slowing effect from Fan of Knives and Elemental Arrow, use the Cull the Weak passive on the third slot. The rest of the Passive Skills should remain the same.

Vault will be your main initiating and evasive maneuver, while Hungering Arrow and Chakram remain your main sources of damage. Cluster Arrow is mainly for those tanky enemies and clusters of strong foes.

Final Build
The final build really explains itself so well. With the deadly combo of Trail of Cinders, Hungering Arrow, Fan of Knives, and a deathly Cluster Arrow, all enemies surrounding you can vanish.

Do note that this is more of a caster type of a build, meaning you’ll be casting abilities more often than simple DPS. It’s an amazingly effective and powerful build, but to utilize its amazing power you have to be a little careful about your Hatred.

Recommended Items:

1. High attack-speed dual Hand Crossbows

2. Items that give increased attack/movement speed

3. Items that give added points to Dexterity and Vitality

4. Gems that give added points to Vitality

Build #4 – Hybrid Hunter

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
As you progress into tier 2, you might notice the strangely fast consumption of Discipline. To remedy this issue, the passive Night Stalker and Preparation are a must-have.

You’ll still be using the combination of Rapid Fire and Hungering arrow, as other abilities will take up a bit too much of Hatred for comfort.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
At mid-to-high levels Rapid Fire shouldn’t be devouring as much percentage of your Hatred as it would earlier on.

That’s why we’ll give up on Hungering arrow and instead use Preparation as the right mouse click skill. This is because you’ll be using Companion (which itself grants Hatred thanks to the Rune) and Marked for Death as often as possible.

Vault with Rattling Roll is fantastic for initiating and escape, as it now stuns and knocks enemies back. This build obviously makes the Demon Hunter a Discipline hog. That is why Perfectionist alongside Night Stalker is a must.

Final Build:
As you can see, the end result of this build shows that it is heavily dependent on Discipline. That’s why Perfectionist and Night Stalker are must-have passives. Initiate foes with Marked for Death and Spiked Traps, and then unleash a Companion while you channel Rapid Fire.

If you run out of Discipline or health, use Preparation immediately. Preparation is your ultimate healing/resourcing ability, and must be used with care. Don’t attempt to use it whenever it is off cd. Instead, use it only when the situation gets dire.

Recommended Items:

1. Ranged weaponry with large damage

2. Quivers that give increased Discipline and Hatred

3. Items that grant Vitality

4. Gems that grant Vitality

Build #5 – Master of Crowd Control

Tier 1 (Level 1-10)
This is a starting build that relies on Entangling Shot for slowing enemies down.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
As you progress further, this build will require few things. First, take whatever you can with your main attacks that will slow enemies. Then, use Cull the Weak to do some serious damage. There’s a choice between Shadow of Power and Vault, depending on what you prefer. I’ll leave that bit up to you.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
As you near towards the mid-to-high levels, your focus should be on crowd control. The best two abilities for that are Entangling Shot and Fan of Knives.

This, along with Cull the Weak, is your main source of dominance against enemies. The other very essential and rather underrated ability is Companion.

The Bat Companion Rune will slow additional enemies, and with Chain Gang on Entangling Shot just about everyone will be slowed. Night Stalker is essential to restore Discipline.

Final Build:
Everything you do will completely cripple the movement speed of your enemies, and to top it off with some extra delight your Cull the Weak will stack in manners you yourself will be amazed at. It was definitely a difficult and slow build, but the outcome is extraordinary.

The only issue you will ever have is that this build is severely Discipline hungry. Because of that, you will really need Perfectionist and Preparation.

Preparation with Backup Plan will really help a lot. That means that 4 out of 10 times your Preparation will not have a cool-down once used. This will allow you to use it again and immediately replenish your Discipline quickly again.

Recommended Items:

1. High attack-speed dual-wielded Hand Crossbows

2. Items that grant massive amount of Dexterity

3. Gems that grant massive amount of Vitality

Don’t forget to share your builds, character development tips and skill rotations of choice with us in the comments below. Your feedback will not only improve this guide but also help other readers.