Chakram vs. Impale Demon Hunter

Chakram, Impale, Rapid Fire and Elemental Arrow are the four secondary abilities suggested by Blizzard’s Demon Hunter skill system. Rapid Fire is a great single target ability, best used in a coop game or at early levels for fun while Elemental Arrow, especially with Frost Arrow is an interesting hybrid AoE/direct damage, but what I really want to look at is my favorite Chakram and Impale.

These aren’t really ‘secondary’ abilities, they are more accurately used as your primary ability, the ability yoyu use to kill whatever you’re looking at. Everything else is usually survival, smoke screen, caltrops, vault, preparation, etc. So this is the cornerstone of any Demon Hunter Build.


Impale is the best way to do single target damage. Paired with Chemical burn it will do 350% damage per hit but it will cost you 25 Hatred. It’s also extremely fast to cast, you can do it while running and you don’t have to wait for your character to finish a long cast before moving. Compare that to Rapid Fire that you have to channel and Chakram which takes a moment to throw.

Impale works out to be 14% damage per Hatred but puts out extremely high single target and on-the-move DPS. It’s an obvious choice for difficult bosses.


Chakram, with Razor Disc, is a completely different approach to do damage. One attack can hit several targets. It’s initial attack does 150% but I would say that if you’re attacking a pack of mobs you’ll hit 3-4 targets on average. If you averaged 3.5 hits that would be 525% weapon damage output for only 10 Hatred. It takes a long time to cast compared to Impale but will do more overall damage if it hits more than one target.

Chakram works out to be ~50% damage per Hatred on multiple targets and 15% damage per Hatred on a single target.


The problem with many encounters is kiting. Whether you’re kiting an elite that walls you, jails you or teleports on you or whether you’re dancing around a boss you want to be able to attack them very quickly. Impale works better from this advantage but it also requires you to aim a little more carefully (Chakram will usually hit most of the stuff in front of you). But Impale will not hit multiple targets such as adds that spawn mid fight.

When to use Impale

Considering that Impale’s biggest benefits over Chakram are its fast cast time and burst damage it becomes the best candidate when dealing with bosses where you spend a lot of time moving around and have plenty of extra hatred. This might be the case when you’re using Bola Shot with Bitter Pill (which generates both Hatred and Discipline). The more Discipline you have the more mobility, Vault, Smoke Screen and Caltrops you’ll have.

Another time to use Impale is in oh-shit situations where you simply don’t have the Discipline to get out of the way.

When to use Chakram

Chakram is best used in multi-target situations and possibly even against bosses where the burst damage isn’t needed. Since it does more damage per Hatred and does multi-target damage it’s an all around winner if you have the mobility to get out of the way. Consider using Bola Shot with Bitter Pill to maintain Discipline.

Hybrid Solution

There is a hybrid solution that I have been experimenting with. Use your sixth ability slot (Archery) for Impale with Chemical Burn. Set the key binding to CTRL+RIGHT CLICK and now you have both Chakram and Impale at the same time. If you play with both at the same time you’ll quickly realize which ones work for which situations. For instance only 6 Impales before you run out of Hatred sucks and leans towards a Bola Shot strong build, while Chakram pretty much replaces Bola Shot and lets you use something like Entangling Shot instead.

Here is a video of me showing off this hybrid spec and how the cast speeds are different for each ability.

As with many choices in the game it comes down to play style but I think this stuff is important to point out. I’m sure everyone has their opinion and no one will hold back in the comments so let’s hear it…

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.

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  1. Any Witch Doctor Spec love? I’m nearing the end of my Normal Run and am level 33 and have been browsing the net for some good info. I’ve learned some great things from this site so far, so figured its worth asking! Good article btw!

  2. Something to add on rapid fire and elemental arrow is that I personally feel rapid fire is useless at low level and elemental arrow fairs much better.

  3. you should try this… wayyy better.

    * 35%+ crit chance
    * 200%+ (minimum – better to get higher) crit dmg
    * 24%+ attack speed (post 1.03)
    * BOW, not xbow, you’ll need the attack speed… the higher DPS with more extra’s the better. I have a 1.2K dps bow with 180 dex and 90 crit (socket)
    * 12% movement on boots!aeY!bbabcb

    I crit for 160k with evasive fire or around 320k / spiketrap (so that’s 3x 320k tops..) DPS char screen shows 82k

    you play this primarily with spike trap and evasive fire. Chakram for groups which you let walk to you, drop a spike trap, smokescreen to stop enemy movement on the trap, spam chakram, hit evasive fire to flip backwards and see what’s left…

    I tried Impale as well, with or without overpenetration. While nice in single player the value in multiplayer drops and chakram is way better there. I do not like the hatret cost of Impale compared to chakram and my mobility and attack speed allow me to spam tons of blades ripping through the enemies.

    Another side note is that Evasive fire shoots instant and can shoot through most objects in the game. People also tend to forget that it can hit 3 targets at once and does 125% weapon dmg to each, which makes it do way more dmg than any other hatret regen…. add the backflip and shooting through walls and I feel another blizzard nerf coming……….. :P

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