2 Votes

D3MONs guide to strafe

Demon Hunter Class Guide

By d3mon on January 23, 2013


Strafe is an interesting skill. Many players totally bypass it as it doesn’t seem to do enough damage for them.

For me it all boils down to play-style. Strafe can be a totally viable build all the way up to mp10. You just won’t be able to bulldoze mp10 bosses to the ground like you can with some hatred spenders, so don’t expect this and you’ll get along with strafe.

Fact – you can do a whole load more damage with other hatred spenders on MP6+. Spike trap with echoing blast or cluster arrow can wipe out elites and trash mobs much faster on high MP levels. However, the play-style for using these skills is also a lot different! You want to bulldoze MP10, I don’t recommend a strafe build. You want to speed farm mp0-3 strafe is a great skill to use.

Like I said though, it’s not to say strafe won’t work in high MP levels. I’ve had strafe working fine for me on MP8 and against uber bosses at this level, but that doesn’t make it the best skill to use for these levels of difficulty; however it is viable!

It all comes down to play-style. Once you nail it with strafe you’ll be having lots of fun and killing enemies without trouble.

In my opinion it is designed as an all-round skill that can be used in any situation. Some skills are best for mp10, some skills are best for killing 20 mobs at once and other skills are best for taking down elites or ubers. Strafe can do it all, but as any hybrid type skill it comes at a cost. The cost is that it will never be the best skill in a specific situation, but the benefit is that it’s a good skill in any situation.


Q: But why should we listen to you D3MON, Why?!?

A: You don’t have to! But I’m offering up my opinion based on my 4 months experience playing with strafe (ye, I was stupid enough to use it pre 1.05). I’m hoping you will help me extend this guide into a collaboration of experiences from the strafe player base.


This isn’t a budget guide or a guide of how to get the best out of strafe. It’s simply my experiences with strafe and how I have grown to use it through experimentation, trial and error.

Pros and Cons


              Keeps you moving as you attack

              Helps with survivability as you become a moving target for enemies.

              A very fast low monster power runner. (mp0-3)

              Fun to play with and looks cool ;)

              Can be powerful with the right combination of skills.

              Procs very well

              Easy to use – this skill auto aims for you so it’s easy as pie.

              You can perma life leech if you strafe continuously after using shadow power.



              One of the less damaging hatred spenders

              Can drain hatred too quickly and be ineffective if not used in the right play style

              Not so effective at high monster powers (mp6+)

              Shadow power must be activated before strafing, not during, for life leech to work

The Runes

Ember strafe – For me, this rune is a waste of time. I haven’t given it much time and fully tested it, but the damage output is set far too low to be effective IMO. You’re better off using another rune and shooting them for more damage. From what I know the fire can proc loh well, but strafe shoots so fast you can proc loh really well just by shooting, who needs a rubbish tail of fire doing no damage?


Drifting Shadow – This rune is good for speed. If you like to move fast then it’s a hit, however you lose some of the power you gain from the other runes. Better survivability with the fast movement, and if combined with shadow power and shadow glide, vault and tactical advantage you have yourself a very fast moving mp0 build (more on that later).


Stinging Steel – Although I actually think this rune looks pretty cool, it really seems like one of the most pointless runes to me. You can seriously offload more damage with rocket storm or demolition. The extra 100% crit damage is barely noticeable as strafe’s damage is spread over 4 shots.


Rocket storm – For a while I didn’t really like this rune; I found demolition to be much more useful. However after more testing I actually found that as long as I’m not attacking dense packs of mobs with rocket storm, it’s actually better then demolition. For one, it always hits. The 3 extra rocket projectiles it throws out do some decent damage and aoe. On a single target this this skill is like a chain gun in their face! Great damage against a few targets (not groups) and easy to use.


Demolition – This is built for aeo damage. If you have a group of mobs then nothing is better than strafing right through the middle of them with demolition. It literally demolishes them. The pain with this rune is that if you have mobs here and there chasing you or running towards you then you’re gonna be missing them with this. It really slows you down having to stop and pick off an enemy here and there with a different skill. It’s a pain to use, but deals decent damage, so I do recommend this also.

What skills work well with Strafe?

Active skills:


              Caltrops – you can drop these little beauties AS you strafe around and it won’t interrupt your strafing at all. Very handy for rounding up enemies into a slowed pack. Jagged spikes works particularly well. Watch out for over using your discipline pool though, it’s easy to get trigger happy with these when it’s so easy to use. Perperation might be a good way to counter the discipline use.


              Chakram/Shuriken Cloud – When Strafing through mobs this skill is a gem. It’s free damage just for being near an enemy. It’s also good if you need to tank anything as it steels life for you when shadow power is active and also procs skills like Nightstalker. This can also be activated before shadow power and will give you life steal for the entire duration of shuriken cloud.


              Bat companion – Extra hatred regen. Pretty helpful when it comes to strafe as it’s a speedy hatred burner. I thought at first an extra 3 per second really wouldn’t be helpful, but I gotta tell you it really does help.


              Vault – Using tactical advantage in your passives and vault, means you can strafe around for a couple of seconds at +65% move speed. Yup it’s good fun and if you can kill mobs quick enough, you’ll be storming through the map.


              Shadow Power/Shadow Glide – If you have enough discipline to get a little trigger happy with this, then you’ve got another way to speed up your strafing.


              Shadow Power/Night Bane – Extra hatred keeps you strafing for longer. Always nice.


              Preparation/Punishment – If you want to perma strafe, this skill is a really good aid. You might find your discipline pool won’t be able to take it, but with the right build and skill setup this works well.


              Fan of Knives – Imo this skill is very underpowered and kinda frustrating, but if they ever buff it to be useful it would be very good mixed with strafe. You can caste this while strafing without interruption, so it’s another way of outputting more damage during strafe.


              Marked for Death/Mortal Enemy – If you’re attacking a single target then it’s pretty decent. It’ll allow you suck back some of that much needed hatred.


              Rain of Vengeance – I’m not a fan of this skill at all. To me it feels like a waste of time but a lot of peops use it so hey! Anyway, you can caste this and strafe around. More damage while you cause damage with strafe, nothing wrong with that.


              Spiketrap/EchoingBlast – It doesnt work well directly with strafe as you cannot place while strafing as it will interupt the movement. However, if you need some extra damage then put one of these traps down in the middle of an elite pack or big pack of mobs and strafe around it. Really helps increase your damage output as you can be doing 2 types of damage at once.


Passive skills:


              Vengance – A Strafers bread, butter and JAM! Pretty vital skill if you ever want to have any hatred. Gives you a bigger hatred pool and refills you during and after a battle.


              Night Stalker – Strafe procs very nicely, especially with a high crit chance which is easy with strafe when you can get up to 8% on 3 or 4 different bits of gear. That discipline will refill to the max with one long burst of strafe.


              Tactical Advantage – Mixed with vault and you’ll be speed strafing. Great fun and makes the run faster.


              Ballistics – Works with rocket storm to give you a higher damage output. Not significant enough to take over a passive spot for me. If you need a damage boost and have enough discipline, drop Night Stalker and go for it.

Stats to look out for on gear

              Movement speed – Get 24%! Your strafing at minimum of 75% move speed, without the extra 24% from gear you’ll be like a slow bus going up a steep hill and strafe is no longer fun.

              Pickup radius – YeS! We’ve found a use for it finally! Seriously, mixed with vengeance it’s a real bonus. Sucking up health globes gives you more hatred, so you don’t wanna be running around the map trying to land yourself directly on these globes when you could suck them up from half a map away. 14 is good (2 pieces of gear), 21 is great (3 pieces of gear), 28 is “I drink your milkshake!” Daniel Day-Lewis (4 pieces of gear).

              All resists – You’ll be in close quarters with the enemies a lot of the time, you won’t want to set up as a squishy glass canon build. Get 350+ if possible.

              Armour – The same reason as all resists. I recommend 3500+.

              Vitality – Again, you’ll wanna be able to take some hits as you strafe through a pack. 35k+ is recommended.

              Discipline – its not directly linked to strafing, but if you want to use disc related skills like vault, jagged sikes, punishment or shadow power then you'll need a decent pool. 45+ is recommended.

              Hatred regen – If you can get it on gear it will really help you maintain strafe for longer. Quiver, cloak and some weapons have this stat. I only have + 1.2 on weapon, but more would be alot better.

              Crit chance – At least 50% buffed is recommended for Nightstalker procs. I'd recommend this on any build :P

Attack Speed

Strafe seems to work best with a lower attack speed. Under 2aps you’ll be maintaining strafe much easier than with 2.5aps.

This is because strafe drains your hatred at the same pace you can shoot.

If you want to perma strafe a high attack speed is not recommended. 1 handed crossbows are out and big hitting manticores are in!

However, perma strafing is not the only way to use this skill. In-fact it makes a very good hatred dump when used alongside other skills (check builds section for further details). You don’t have to be a whirlwind demon hunter like our fellow barbs to use strafe effectively.

Because of this, if you want to use a high attack speed it’s perfectly viable when used in a particular way. Be prepared to shoot off hatred generators in between strafing.

D3MONs Strafe/Bola build (Any Monster Power Level)

Left Click:            Bola shot – volatile explosives

Right Click:         Strafe – Rocket Storm (low mp levels) or Demolition (mp3+)

Button 1:             Chakram – Shuriken Cloud  or  Spike Trap – Echoing Blast (Quick elite Kills)

Button 2:             Vault – Tumble

Button 3:             Companion – Bat Companion

Button 4:             Shadow Power – Gloom

Passive 1:          Vengeance

Passive 2:          Night stalker

Passive 3:          Archery

tank | shoot from a distance or up close and personal | kill groups of enemies easily | take out stray enemies easily | kill elites no problem | run maps fast | kill Ubers| make love to a beautiful woman | run high MP levels


Firstly, my gear is setup badly for a typical strafe build.

I run with 2.61 aps at the moment. “Why the hell would you do this when you can strafe better with less attack speed” I hear you cry. Well, as I said, it’s a bit more of a hybrid build. I like to proc Night Stalker, leech life quickly, use hatred generators effectively and be able to tank. High attack speed helps all of these things. I drain hatred quickly, I also regenerate it fast. This mix gives me a pretty specific build and style of play that I shall explain.


Currently I run with 219k unbuffed dps and 540k unbuffed ehp

61.5% crit chance (with follower), 68.5% with strafe armour on & 515 crit damage

21 pickup radius


My Gear:

Link to profile: http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/profile/D3MON-2220/hero/2018925

Duel wield (Calamity and Danettas Spite) with this I get 380+Crit Damage, fast attack speed, 12% extra damage to single target, dex, max discipline and a sexy look.

Other gear is set up to gain as much ehp + dps + crit chance + pickup radius as possible.


It’s a simple build really and very effective.

Cast bat and Shuriken Cloud (if using this skill) before going into battle.

When you come across mobs, depending on the situation you can either:

Vault towards enemies, Strafe the enemies until dead. If you run out of hatred spam bola a few times. Suck up the globes as you battle and post battle so you can refill on hatred.


If you come across a big pack of mobs my tactic is to strafe right into the middle of them and unload a couple of bola shots. The mobs all gather around you during the 1 second timer and like a grenade in they get completely obliterated from the centre outwards! It’s a great way to kill big packs of mobs and takes mere seconds. You can also vault into the middle of the pack, but strafe is more accurate and you damage your way in!

Pick off any remaining enemies with strafe again.


Elites I will strafe at until out of hatred then stand as close as possible bola shot them with gloom up until my hatred is back (3 seconds) then I’ll unload strafe again. Up to mp3 I can kill elites with one hatred pool of strafe. If using Echoing blast then this is your elite killer! It will take them down quicker than strafe and bola, so unload it here.


With this tactic I rarely die at all even on mp6+. Bola is great for tanking, and strafe is brilliant and causing damage to small groups of enemies and for positioning yourself on the battle field.

  • Generate Hatred and Deal with the Big packs
  • Rocket storm for Lower mp levels


    Demolition for mp3+
  • Spike Trap - Echoing Blast to deal with the elites


    Chakram - Shuriken Cloud for general purpose

  • Move around the map fast and dodge attacks
  • Regenerate Hatred
  • Survive!


Body of Section
  • Regenerate Discipline.

    If using Nats set you may want to swap this passive out.
  • Increase and regain hatred
  • Extra damage.

    For lower mp levels use tactical advantage for speed.

Max Damage Tanker (recommended high level MP)

Left Click:            Bola shot – Imminent doom

Right Click:         Strafe – Demolition

Button 1:             Companion – Bat Companion

Button 2:             Vault – Tumble

Button 3:             Grenades – Gas/Cluster

Button 4:             Shadow Power – Gloom

Passive 1:          Vengeance

Passive 2:          Night stalker

Passive 3:          Archery/Numbing Traps


With this build you’ll be doing the main aoe damage to mobs with Demolition, causing good damage to elites with Imminent Doom and tanking anything with Gas/Cluster Grenades.


This build is a little slower to use, but is a lot safer to use and a whole load of fun.

  • Max AOE damage while generating hatred.
  • Use it for maneuvering around the battlefield and dealing general damage.
  • Regen Hatred
  • Zoom zoom
  • A great tanking skill. Hold shoot down on this while in elites faces and you can take pleantly of time over them without dying.
  • Survival


Body of Section
  • Extra damage reduction

Speedy Gonzalez (Recommended Low level MP speed runs)

Left Click:            Evasive fire – Covering Fire

Right Click:         Strafe – Rocket Storm or Drifting Shadow

Button 1:             Preparation – Backup Plan

Button 2:             Vault – Tumble

Button 3:             Companion – Bat Companion

Button 4:             Shadow Power – Shadow Glide

Passive 1:          Vengeance

Passive 2:          Night Stalker

Passive 3:          Tactical Advantage


With this build you’ll want to vault around as much as possible to gain the +65% move speed (Vault – Strafe 2-3 seconds - Vault – Strafe 2-3 seconds etc.). Hit shadow glide when you can to gain an extra 30% MS and you will move very quickly. Doing this will be a huge drain on your discipline, so you’ll need to master your management of this resource.


I recommend you have high dps for killing mobs as quickly as you can move. Also recommend 50+ discipline pool (higher the better!) or of course and Nats legacy set would be very handy!


This build is great fun but you might have a headache actually trying to keep up with yourself with this build!

  • If you can 1 shot enemies with this at low mp levels its very fast, generates 4 hatred per shot and if you backflip works with tactical advantage to give you extra speed. The only downside is shooting enemies upclose and backflipping when you dont want to.
  • Rocket Storm - kills things quickly


    Drifting Shadow - if you can kill things just as quickly with this, then you will also move faster
  • Using discipline skills continuously to make the run faster will require more then just nightstalker to regain discipline back.

    If you have Nats legacy you may not need this skill and can replace it with something like Spiketrap - Echoing blast to kill elites quicker.
  • Speed speed speed.

    Spam the hell outa this, you should get away with it on low mps with backup plan in your arsenal.
  • Always need that hatred regen with strafe.
  • Makes you faster! Watch out for reflect damage though.


Body of Section
  • Extra speed for speed runs.

Perma Strafer - low mp levels

Left Click:            Strafe – Demolition

Right Click:         Chakram – Shuriken cloud or Rain of Vengance - Beastly Bombs

Button 1:             Preperation - Punishment

Button 2:             Vault – Tumble

Button 3:             Companion - Bat

Button 4:             Shadow Power – Gloom (higher mp) or shadow glide (lower mp)

Passive 1:            Vengeance

Passive 2:            Night stalker

Passive 3:            Archery (higher mp) or tactical advantage (lower mp)


Ideally you need below 2aps to keep strafe up permanently (Manticore is a good weapon choice for this!). I have had this working at higher attack speeds, but you will mostly need Nats legacy to keep your disc up as you'll be using prep/punishment a whole load more!


Try to get as much disc on gear as possible. This + Nightstalker will fuel Punishment so you can use this to re-fill hatred when low. In-between mobs you can vault away until another pack and perma strafe again.

  • For general free damage as you strafe around

    Chakram – Shuriken Cloud


    Rain of Vengaence - Beastly Bombs
  • Replenish that hatred so you can perma strafe


Body of Section
  • More discipline = more disc to spend on prep - punishment for extra hatred.
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