Best Demon Hunter Build

Best Demon Hunter BuildUpdated 5/23/2012: Now that I have actually had the time to play the Demon Hunter in the live version of the game I’m going to answer the question what is the best Demon Hunter build? The best build may vary based on whether you’re farming, playing hardcore, leveling, planning to PvP, fighting a certain boss or trying to beat a certain pack of mobs. The build you see below is a core build built to specialize into all of these specializations.

The best build for a Demon Hunter is going to require a careful balance between survival, direct damage and AoE damage. If you’re interested in more Demon Hunter stuff, check out my Demon Hunter Builds.

Primary

Some players will lean towards Bola Shot with Chemical Burn to help maintain high Discipline, but with the Smoke Screen nerf on 5/23 you might not need all that discipline anyways and you might want a more effective way to snare your enemies. I find that Entangling Shot works great in almost all situations. Any of the later skill runes work great: Heavy Burden, Justice is Served and Bounty Hunter. I prefer Justice is Served since it amplifies the main purpose of using this skill; which is to generate more Hatred. Second to that it’s a great single target snare which will save your ass in many situations.

Secondary

Chakram. I wrote a whole article as to why Chakram is better than Impale. In breif: Chakram deals more damage per Hatred used, allows plenty of mobility (Impale provides more) and does multi-target multi-damage. I don’t know how you beat that. If you have an absurd amount of extra Hatred (why?) then go ahead and use Impale. This might happen if you’re kiting Diablo or something and don’t have the time to cast Chakram (it’s slightly slower). Rapid Fire is a coop skill, keep it out of solo and leveling unless you think it’s neat looking and are in Normal and can get away with it. Elemental Arrow with Frost is awesome too, but I don’t see the need for another snare unless you’re dropping Caltrops.

Defensive

Caltrops is the best for most situations. This is similar to the Hunters traps in World of Warcraft. You toss one of these downs and it can snare and immobilize or damage nearby targets. This seems like a must have for hardcore play or solo play when you need to kite targets around or just manage your targets better. Smoke Screen was a pretty awesome choice until it got nerfed on 5/23. Caltrops with Torturous Ground is the cornerstone of my kiting skill.

Hunting

I’m a huge fan of Vault because it can get you out of sticky situations and help you reposition in combat. It’s a great ability for hardcore, PvP, farming, solo’ing and cooperative play. The problem with Vault is that if you get in the habit of using it too often you might find yourself Vaulting into a situation you’re not ready for. Be extremely careful if you use this ability in hardcore, only Vault when you know it’s going to help you and not get put you somewhere you don’t want to be.

The Rattling Roll skill rune will help reduce the risk of jumping into a bad situation, since it knocks back targets at the destination. From level 16-49 Action Shot seems to work best since it adds a little bit of damage to the game. Trial of Cinders becomes available at level 49 and gives you tactical advantage in some situations where you want to bounce around in combat. We’ll grab Preparation (a Hunting ability) next.

Devices

Enable Elective mode in your Options Interface and grab Preparation in this slot. Preparation is an oh-shit backup to get out of harm’s way. It gives you Discipline enabling you to Vault or Caltrop and therefore save your life. If you’re so good that you don’t need this back. Great. Good. Wonderful. Tell me about it. If you use the Battle Scars skill rune then you can use Preparation as a second heal to your health potion.

Archery

I have at times used Impale in this slot for special situations where a quick jab to the kidney of some unwanted foe is called for. Using Chemical Burn Impale does a lot of damage but costs a lot of Hatred. This is a slot where you can swap in your favorite extra-damage ability. I choose Rain of Vengeance with Stampede because it mixes shit up and when there’s just too much going on. It knocks back enemies left and right and does damage across the screen. Good stuff. You can use anything here though. Grab Sentry for all I care.

Passives

My favorite passives are as follows: Steady Aim (best for cooperative play), Brooding (great for solo and hardcore), Archery (all around good damage boost), Number Traps (great for solo play), Vengeance (Hatred+Discipline heals form health globes) and Sharpshooter (more damage). Hot Pursuit and Tactical Mastery are also great for specific situations like farming and leveling through easy areas. The best approach to picking your passives is to go through the list carefully every time you unlock a new one so that you know what is available for each specific situation.

What I’m using now is Sharpshooter, Vengeance and Archery.

That’s the best Demon Hunter build I’ve come up with. You can customize your own build here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter

Finally, here are some videos showing off variations of these builds:

Pro Kiting:

Effective Use of Caltrops and Chakram

Impale vs. Chakram:

Watch me die kiting (I need Rain of Vengeance):

Click here to see the rest of my Diablo 3 Builds.

Important: Many of the strategies and tips I share here were originally inspired by the people at the Diablo 3 Gold Secrets Forum. If you're serious about making the big bucks in Diablo 3, or just being the best players, you need to signup ASAP.

Leave a comment

16 Comments.

  1. is it just me or does it seem like this game is horrible to play at high levels with only 6 capabilities at players disposal? I feel like the minimum should have been 8 or 10. I am constantly switching my abilities as I do boss fights or large trash packs that kill me. Am I just missing an option to enable something that gives +5 keybinds? Weapon damage is always a nuisance but this buriza I bought at level 40 has paid for itself in full. I wish we could download mod’s to give us +5 keybinds.

    • It will not be wise to switch skills after level 60 as you will lose al bonus magic find

      • Not so sure. Level 60 forward is to hone skills like kiting and gear up till youre safely able to win in Inferno. Im just act 4 hell with 40k dps and 5k armor. This demon hunter takes most mobs out without dropping a trap using this build. Not even kiting anymore unless i face champ packs or bosses.

  2. Finally a good DH guide on the internet. Thanks for your effort!
    Have you considered to use elective mode and not to stick to the basic concept of blizzard?
    From my experience it is more difficult to come up with a well rounded build however they may be even stronger.

  3. Thoughts on elective mode builds?

    I’m currently using Bola Shot (Sometimes switched out for Hunger), Rapid Fire, Marked for Death, Vault, Companion, and Sentry. Every now and then I’ll have to kite a tough group… I may switch Marked for Death with Caltrops if I find myself kiting more.

  4. It´s funny how everyone forgets about Elemental arrow. At lvl 29 when you get the Frost arrow it turns into an AWESOME ability. If you hit the first mob in a pack you will hit ALL THE MOBS with 170% damage AND slow them for 60%. This makes it easier to kite and it´s an awesome ability for groups aswell. This combined with the companion ability with the bat rune makes you more or less able to spam it. if you run low on hatred you use the bola shot for aoe or a Hungering arrow for single dps. I do think that the sentry is a useless abilty and you are far better off with useing something like the mark for death ability atleast for harder mobs and bosses. you also forgot to mention Prepartion which while give you loads of discipline when you have to kite a lot and if you add battle scar rune you will get an extra health potion.

  5. DPS wise, impale by a long shot is going to output the most dmg both multi and single target with the impalement rune. If you just generate max hatred through companion bat, and justice rune with entanglement. You can generate the full hatred back up in 5 regular attacks, then just impalement. The crits are ridiculous depending on your gear. Mark for death on bosses, and watch the damage go.

  6. Marky i guess you mean the Grievous Wounds rune with the skill Impale. I agree that this is the best attack for bosses. Though i do not agree that it´s worth useing Entanglement instead of Hungering arrow. The dps loss would be greater than the gain in dps through more Impales. Though when fighting 10+ mobs there is nowai that Impale will outdamage the most skills. I use Elemental arrow with Nether tentacles at lvl 60 and that skill does with my gear about 25k on crits on all targets while Impale only does 65k to a single target. This is considering that i crit. If i don´t the dps diffrence is even bigger.

  7. This is same exact build I’ve been running for a while but I’m finding I’m at 10 health on level 41 and still some bosses espcialy those that teleport can just destroy me. I love the build, but let me know if you have any tips for teleporting bosses.

    • Teleporters suck against DH. Use SS and Impale to help mitigate the issue. Smoke Screen will give you a few seconds of invisibility to recover after getting stomped on while Impale with Frost will give you really high and on the move damage.

      Here is me doing Rakanoth. As you can see I was using Chakram which is really dumb.

  8. One problem preparation is not in devices….

  9. This is a great article. Will definitely steal some of your advices for my build. :P

  10. Awesome build, the blizz “hotfix” just broke 90% of DH builds cuz SS was the most usefull skill for DH survival.
    I tested this new build, worked realy well, at least on Hell. Kiting is the new best DH friend, and is most fun that the old SS boring build!
    The bad thing is… on Inferno we still got 1 hit kill everytime!

  11. thats the reason why caltrops+”torturous ground” is a must have in inferno. also evasive fire (+ covering fire) is a great choice and very much underrated. it has very high range, and it can shoot through barricades from waller mobs. and in addition with “tactical advantage”, “smoke screen” and preparation you get the best survivability, because your Demon Hunter moves way faster, and the golden mobs can be slowed/imobilized. crit only makes sense if you have high-end endgame crit gear. there is no , ” i do a bit of a crit” build. either perfect, or let it be.

  12. sorry, but this build is utter crap…..you are way over complicating thing

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