Hi friends! I’m finally back from a long trip through Europe! I had a great time, saw some awesome things, and drank a lot of beer! The trip was great, but I couldn’t really enjoy it knowing that Patch 1.0.3 was going to drop and change some key things for us Demon Hunters. Watching the comments come in on my previous post, I could tell a lot of you were concerned also. Fortunately, the changes aren’t that bad. I’ve got a a few tweaks to my previous build that should help all of us progress farther into Inferno and I have videos of this build in action! The videos are at the bottom if you want to avoid my wall of text x_x. OK, lets get started!
So what happened to us in 1.0.3? 2 major things and 1 minor one:
Increased Attack Speed bonus values on weapons and armor have been reduced by 50%.
- If you were stacking IAS, like I was, then your DPS took a major hit. I know mine did. I went from something over 2.2 attacks per second to about 1.7. That hurt. IAS was the key component for sustained DPS and also super important for Hatred regeneration. This nerf sadly affected all gear that players had already spent millions of gold on, rather than just new items, which was contrary to how things used to work in D2. I’ll agree and say Demon Hunters were putting out high numbers, but I still don’t feel that a 50% reduction was needed.
Nether Tentacles will now only hit each target once.
- This was also a huge hit to our DPS. Hitting a target 2-3 times with one Nether Tentacle was amazing for our damage output, allowing us to easily clear waves of mobs and quickly pump damage into Elites. I’m still amused that they listed this as a bug, when it was really a nerf. The developers and play testers had to have known the mechanics of this skill. Be that as it may, this skill was god like pre 1.0.3 and everyone was using it. When everyone starts using a certain skill, it normally gets nerfed, so other classes can’t complain about how OP it is. Ah…the joys of game balance…
Evasive Fire no longer fires through Elite Waller’s walls.
- This never made it into the patch notes, but it’s worth mentioning since the way Blizzard wants us to play this game is to run around and kill elites. This isn’t a huge change, but it was very nice versus Wallers. This definitely was a bug and now that it’s fixed, it will only make the game more challenging and therefore more fun to play! Now lets see how long it takes Blizzard to fix the fact that Evasive Fire still shoots through some environment walls and around corners and doorways ^_^
So what does this mean for us as we progress through Inferno? We need to change the way we think about how we deal damage. Before 1.0.3, Demon Hunters were free to gear however they wanted and still progress. I don’t feel like that necessarily the case any more. The change to Nether Tentacles coupled with the reduction in IAS means we need to change our play style to keep our DPS high. Thankfully, we still have the means to do this.
The 1.0.3 Solo Inferno Build
This is a build setup for solo play in Inferno. It can be used in groups, but when grouping, I’d recommend picking skills with better synergism for your party. This build is very close to my previous Demon Hunter Solo Inferno build, but with new changes for patch 1.0.3.
Here’s the link the Patch 1.0.3 Solo Inferno build - http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#fZdhXV!ZTY!bbbcZb
For those of you who have been using the previous build, you won’t see any drastic changes here, just changes to our Secondary and one of our Passives.
This build is about survivability through mobility, while keeping our DPS above Inferno requirements. It’s designed to take advantage of your Nephalem Valor stacks and kill elites and bosses. This build, when played properly, should allow you to beat 99% of the elite combos in Inferno.
Primary – Evasive Fire with Covering Fire
- Survivability is paramount. Demon hunters are one of the “glass cannon” classes of the game, and this becomes even more evident upon reaching Inferno. You will be 1 shot by the zombies in Act 1, the damage output of the normal monsters is just plain ridiculous. Think this is bad? Just wait until you get to monsters that actually move fast. This is why we use Evasive Fire. It keeps us out of melee range for a small Discipline cost (4), which keeps us alive, which keeps us farming mobs. Most elites in Inferno are insanely fast, and this helps you kite and survive.
- Good damage output and great hatred regen. At 125% weapon damage and 4 hatred regen per shot, this is the most efficient damage per hatred regen skill we have.
- Conical hit box of Coving Fire. Covering Fire fires out in about a 45 degree area, allowing you to quickly kill waves of mobs and clear environmental objects.
- No missile travel time. Shots of Evasive Fire hit their target immediately unlike any of the other ranged hatred regen skills (Entangling Shot, Bola Shot, Piercing Arrow) . This allows you to easily hit fast moving mobs that sometimes dodge your attacks, like the insects in Act 2.
Secondary – Impale with Overpenetration
- Beast Mode On. At 250% weapon damage for 25 hatred, this is the best all around ranged DPS skill we have. It allows us to quickly damage a target and keep moving, which is key in Inferno.
- Penetration! Impale has some very nice runes for elite killing, namely Chemical Burn (125% weapon damage bleed) and Grievous Wounds (increase crit damage by 100%). However, in this guide, we’re not using this skill to primary kill elites. Spike Trap is still our primary damage dealer. Overpenetration is used for our AOE and is necessary for clearing packs of mobs. It becomes highly effective when kiting groups of enemies into groups where you can hit multiple targets in 1 shot.
- Can’t I switch this??? The Rune? Yes. The skill? No. I’ll explain this below.
Action Bar Skills
Hunting – Vault with Tumble
- Keep on moving! In Inferno, you have to kite. You stand still and you die. The movement Vault provides is extremely important for kiting, getting away from avoidables, positioning, and escaping nasty elites (think Vortex, Plague, Molten, Mortor, Teleporter, etc.). Vault also allows you to get out of corning situations, allowing you kite into dead ends (useful in the dungeons at end of Act 1 or anywhere with long corridors where you can’t kite in circles.
- You will use this more than once! Tumble is key to beating the super fast moving elite mobs you’ll encounter in Inferno.
- You can use this to escape and reset the fight! Spamming Vault at full Discipline will allow you to out run any mob and get beyond their aggro radius. This alone has saved me multiple deaths and costly repair bills.
Defense – Smoke Screen with Lingering Fog
- This is your Vanish! All my Rogue players know what I’m talking about! This is your only immunity ability and has endless uses in many situations like: breaking elite Jailor’s jails, escaping snares, avoiding incoming damage (think Molten elites and enemies that get into melee range). It can also be used to escape the Butcher’s meathook! This should never happen because you’re using this build have super mobility, but if it does quickly pop Smoke Screen and you will exit the stun and escape unharmed! Also, use this versus Reflect Damage mobs to not take damage!
- 1.5 seconds is still worth it. This was nerfed hardcore due to massive exploits which are no longer possible, but it’s still long enough to drop aggro, reposition, and get back in the fight.
Hunting – Preparation with Battle Scars
- HEAL MEAH! This is your only heal outside of potions, and in Inferno, you will need it! This has saved me countless times and I can’t imagine soloing without it. This becomes even more important now that we’re no longer benefiting from Nether Tentacle’s regen.
- Endurance for kiting. This keeps you alive and gives you a lot of endurance in long elite and boss fights by making kiting very viable. If you can kite the enemy for 45 seconds, you can heal and get back in the fight.
Devices – Spike Trap with Scatter
- BIGABDABOOM. 3 275% weapon damage AOE traps for 30 Hatred is like cheating. This is your main source of damage for everything, minus some bosses like Belial where you need a ranged attack to hit him. This is amazing for kiting elites and clearing packs of mobs. The high hatred cost is offset by the fast hatred regen with Evasion Fire.
- Place them anywhere. You drop your traps where your mouse is, so you can throw them very far making them very effective.
- It’s time. 3% Critical strike chance increase every second until you crit and then you keep that crit rating for 1 second. Unless you’re running around in amazing gear with over 30% crit rating, this skill will be a huge DPS increase for you when used with this build. While kiting around, this charges up your crit so you can chain your abilities, like timing an Impale to Hit right as an Elite walks over a Spike Trap! Things like this are the key to quickly taking down elites.
- Super Speed! 60% movement speed, even for 2 seconds, is amazing in Inferno. You’ll kite better, escape better, live longer, and kill more demons because of this skill. The ability to reposition, or to run, will help you in all situations in this game.
- Super Synergy! This talent is triggered from Vault, Smoke Screen, and the Evasive fire backflip. Hmmm…those abilities sound familiar… This talent works will all of this build’s core survival abilities! This makes it a must have!
- Inferno is Kite or die! I can’t say this enough, you have to keep moving and have almost no time to stand in one spot and turret. “OK, but the critical strike buff stacks while you’re not using it, so while you’re kiting you build up more DPS.” This is true, but this argument is flawed in that it fails to consider how many times you’ll be able to actually strike the enemy before you run out of space, Discipline, or health. Until Inferno, I think Sharpshooter is a must have, but once you get into the end game, mobs move too fast and are not as effected by slows and CC as they were. You will NEED the speed boost that comes from this talent. Finally, remember this: “you can’t DPS a target if you’re dead.”
- 20% damage is nothing is in 10 yards of you. Evasion Fire backflip is 15 yards, so this will normally be in effect!
- But I like Archery! That’s totally cool, and if you have over 30% Crit Rating, drop Sharpshooter and pick this up for damage. Also, depending on your weapon choice, it may be best for you to use Archery. How do you know if it’s better? Use a DPS spreadsheet, here is a link to the Forums for the one I use. Dretar! You’re the man!
Q & A
- High DPS and high mobility. Patch 1.0.3 changed the way we were able to output high DPS. The reduction in IAS and the nerf to Nether Tentacles means that we can’t rely on sustained volleys of a skill to clear packs, kill elites, and down bosses like we used to. Impale gives us a high DPS skill that works perfectly with this build and with the play style this build encourages. While kiting elites, you normally only have time to turn and fire one shot, and this is the ideal situation for using Impale with Overpenetration. Kiting often tends to tightly group mobs in a linear fashion, allowing you to hit multiple targets in one shot. Also, while you’re kiting, Sharpshooter is charging up your Critical Strike chance, allowing you to do massive damage with even more mobility.
- Not Attack Speed dependent. Most of the normal secondary skills really benefit from high IAS, because this allows you to put more rounds on target in less time. To put it in MW3 terms, think of all other ranged DPS skills as sub machine guns, and Impale is your sniper rifle. You don’t need a lot of shots from a sniper rifle to do serious damage, and the same is true of Impale. You can get away with less IAS and still do great damage.
But what about [insert skill name here], isn’t that still viable? Let’s have a look:
- Rapid Fire – I really love this skill, I love the animation, the damage, and the turretting, but NO, ths is not viable. When you’re soloing in Inferno, YOU HAVE TO MOVE. You don’t have time to channel, end of story. Now if you’re in a group, then this can be decent since it has a good % damage to hatred ration as time goes to infinity (calculus anyone?), but for soloing its a big negative.
- Cluster Arrow – I hear a lot of people use this and I can’t imagine why. This is an OK skill, but it’s not a true ranged attack. 50 Hatred for 250% plus 100% damage sounds cool, but it’s not. Besides the high Hatred cost and small damage radius, the main thing I hate about this skill is that you have to aim it. “Wait, but you have to aim Spike Traps too.” Yes, but we’re comparing this to Impale. The difference is that we need a ranged attack that can go off screen. This is what Cluster Arrow should be. Since it’s not, it’s in direct competition with Spike Traps. Again, Spike Traps with Scatter does 3 275% weapon damage AOE traps for 30 Hatred which is 9.1% damage per Hatred per trap compared to 10.8% for cluster arrow with the Loaded for Bear rune. Obviously if you can hit with all 3 traps, Spike Trap wins, but it also wins because you can place them out of Line of Sight in some situations, like through doorways, around corners, and on different heights. Plus, Spike Trap stays for 30 seconds or until it blows up, where as with Cluster it’s an all or nothing shot.
- Chakram – Here’s another skill that makes me go hmmmm. It has a nice % damage to Hatred ratio, but I just don’t like it. Most of the runes cause the projectile to move either too slowly or in curves where it can collide with the environment and end the effect. This makes it a gamble, as you never really know if it’s going to hit your target. It may be useful in wide open areas, but then again, so is Impale, and Impale works in all environments.
- Multishot – I like this skill, and I really like the Suppression Fire rune (returns 1 Discipline for every hit). The problem I have with it is the low % damage to Hatred ratio. It’s just not effective in Inferno, even with Full Broadside (214% instead of 165% damage per shot, results in only a 5.4% damage to Hatred ratio) it just can’t compete with Impale Overpenetration in single target or multiple targets.
- Elemental Arrow – This was our bread and butter until Nether Tentacle got fixed (nerfed) and I miss it, but some of the other runes are still viable. Frost Arrow has a very nice 17.5% damage to hatred ratio, small CC radius, and gives you CC which are all awesome, but most elites won’t be affected by it’s slow. If you’re looking for CC, try Screaming Skull. The 1.5 second fear is awesome since the enemies actually run away from you, giving you more time to reposition. The thing about these two runes is that with this build, YOU DON’T NEED CC. Also, for these skills to be useful, you need to do a little turretting with them, and you won’t have time to stand still and DPS in the later acts.
OK, so what kind of gear do I need to make this work?
This isn’t a gear-dependent build, and it shouldn’t be. Unless your gear is just god awful, anyone should be able to pick up this build and benefit from it. Now with that said, the skills in this build and the play style do benefit from some certain stats more than others, and here they are:
- Critical Strike Damage – Kiting with Sharpshooter allows for a very high crit rate, so take advantage of it and start getting more Crit Damage bonuses on your gear. One way to get Crit Damage is to use a 2 handed crossbow and pick up Archery over Steady Aim. If you’re already using a 2 Hand Crossbow, do this. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I personally don’t care for the crossbow animation and hate the slow attack speed, but this build aims to be attack speed independent by making heavy use of Spike Trap and the occasional Impale, so they can work.
- Critical Strike Chance – Start looking for this on your gear. Get above at least 25% and then drop Sharpshooter and pick up another talent, like Archery.
- Movement Speed - Do yourself a favor and make sure you 12% Movement Speed on your boots. This will do wonders for your kiting.
Well you must have godlike gears…
LOL, I wish! That’s why I’m still playing! Seriously, I would consider my gear to be above average, but far from best in slot. In my previous post, many people asked what kind of gear I was running. My current gear, which hasn’t changed much, focused on IAS and Dexterity. I have about 1800 Dex and I use a 1000 DPS 2 Hand Bow that has where my attacks per second are about 1.7 and am lucky that some pieces have Crit Damage on them. My current setup has about 99% Crit Damage with no extra Crit Strike. I don’t have any Hatred Regen or extra Discipline at the moment, but would love to get my hands on some! My calculated DPS with Sharpshooter maxed is about 57k, not too crazy when you hear about people with 122k DPS lol.
Basically, my gear is constantly evolving, just like all of yours. In some of my recent videos, I’ve been showing my stats at the end. I’ll continue to do that and if you have a question, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to respond.
Here are some clips of this build in Act 3 Inferno of patch 1.0.3 versus some good elite combos. The ones that give me the hardest challenge are mobs that have a normal ranged attack coupled with Mortar, and Reflect Damage is really a bitch now, but we can still do it.
Healthlink Mortar Nightmare Frozen
Jailor Healthlink Knockback Molten
Reflect Damage Molten Electrified Descerator
Waller Reflect Damage Electrified Horde
Pulling 3 packs in Act 2 lolz
I’ll be adding more videos and trying to do that Gear Guide I had been putting off due to the proposed IAS nerf. If there’s something else you guys would like to see or have me write about, post it in the comments. Cheers!
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