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ToC build w/out 4-pc Nat's, and a couple of non-standard twists! (pre 1.05)

Demon Hunter Class Guide

By moguta on September 1, 2012
Last Updated: September 27, 2012

Skill/Passive selection.

Already explained a little bit above, but some clarification as to why some skills over others might be needed. Any questions about skill choices will be placed here in future edits. For now these are the two that I feel are the most commonly used skills that are left out of this build.

  • Steady Aim: This one I feel is pretty obvious after you've played this style once or twice. Most of your damage is dealt while being in a fairly close proximity to enemies, if not completely surrounded so the bonus from steady aim would only benefit you while kiting with your standard left-click attacks.
  • Smoke Screen: I initially started running this build with smokescreen lingering fog, but found eventually that 1. It didnt provide a long enough time to get in close, deal damage and then get out again. I also tried running this with the smokescreen poisonous gas rune, and am actually still very open to this idea. However, the very short duration of this skill means you would have very little time to execute a damage combo and then vault to safety again. The real deal sealer for me for shadow power over SS was the lifesteal gained from Gloom

Why this build?

I was one of those unfortunate enough to have 3 pieces of the nats set and about 10 mil gold when 1.04 hit. This left me in a really tough position. Either save up for the ridiculously priced natalya's mark, or move on to bigger and better things. So I cut my losses and ditched my below average Natalya's Gaze and bought a shiny new Andariels visage. Netting myself a 7.5k dps boost at the time.

I was, however, very envious of these demon hunters with their 2 disc/second regen *shakes fist* and the way in which they could spam the new op vault rune. To really use it offensively and regularly, one needs a good discipline income. And as a person in a position without 60mil to fork out for an average-at-best ring, I set my mind to working out another way to get this done, and this build is the result.

If you don't have 4pc nats and want to be able to spam vault ToC (or any discipline spender, really) this build is for you.

Here's a link to my profile for reference's sake.  http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Moguta-6990/hero/826834. I'm by no means a well geared player, but I believe myself to be slightly above average.

My recommended prerequisites for this build.

There are a few things I feel really help this build in its effectiveness. 
They are as follows
  • Moderate to high crit chance (I sit on 42% in co-op games or 45% with the scoundrel). I believe that anywhere above 30 is probably enough, though. This is to get the most out of the Night Stalker passive.
  • At LEAST 12% move speed. I only have this much, but I feel it to be the minimum. 
  • Reasonable all res and Vit. 300-400 All res and 25k hp minimum. Shadow power; Gloom only blocks a set percentage of damage. If you can't survive a few hits with gloom up, this build won't work for you.
  • To maximize the damage output from this build, you also want a good sense of timing. For the cooldown of fan of knives, and the duration of shadow power.
  • This is NOT a build for pure glass cannon DH's. You WILL take hits. You have no smokescreen, so if you get jailed or frozen and you cant survive long enough for it to wear off, you will die.

How to deal damage effectively.

Constant awareness of how much discipline you have/how much discipline you can gain is crucial when executing any sort of combo. 

I've found this build to be quite versatile in comboing damage output. I'll go through a few of the skill combinations I use that I feel maximize the damage output of this build.

  • The standard bursty combo is this; Pop shadow power, vault into a large pack of enemies, fan of knives, multishot once (or twice if you have high attack speed) then vault back out, making sure to cross as many enemies as you can with vault. Kite backwards while generating hatred, use multishot to gain more disc if needed, then repeat when fan of knives comes off cooldown.
  • If you are against a small number of melee mobs - you can easily kite them back and forth using just vault, one or two stutter steps away and then vault back through them and repeat. If you vault before they get in melee range to start an attack, they usually wont hit you. Some enemies with fast attack animations will manage a hit. This is just a matter of getting used to which enemies you should use shadow power before moving in close to.
  •  Big melee pack closing in? Pop shadow power right as they get close, then fan of knives when they have a small surround, attack for as long as shadow power/fan of knives stun will last then vault past them and kite (and then repeat first damage combo if you please : )
  • With ranged enemies it's really a matter of just angling your vaults across their path and left clicking them alot. This build probably isn't strongest vs ranged enemies, to be honest, but at least there's less of them in the game then there are melee.




Work in progress.

I could write some more tips/tricks for this guide but I've got some RL things to see to. 

Leave feedback if you please (I plan to post this on /r/diablo when their emergency maintenance is over) , and remember that this is just a representation of my current playstyle and a guideline for all of you to use/change/improve upon! HFHF.

Passives

  • Crits = disc. Nuff said. I'm not 100% sure but I believe that critting with multishot also has a chance to regain an EXTRA 1 discipline on top of the bonus from the suppression fire rune.
  • Mobility. 
  • Damage.

Skills

  • This skill can be subbed out for whatever you really want. Any of the hungering arrow runes would work effectively, as would entangling shot w/ the boosted hatred generation rune (as with this build hatred = discipline = more vaults). Bola shot with the 'Bitter Pill' rune for extra disc regen would also be effective.
  • This will be your main discipline generator. When you vault into a pack of enemies and pop shadow power, alot of the time you'll find you don't have enough disc to get out again. Spray one or two of these bad boy's over a group of enemies and you'll almost always have enough disc to vault back to safety again.
  • No explanation needed, I'm sure.
  • I choose this over smoke screen as the lifesteal gained from this with one or more enemies in your ToC path will heal you to full almost always, even against reflect damage mobs. It also lasts longer than SS so you have more time to use abilities after vaulting into a prime fan of knives/damage dealing position. 
  • This is really a personal preference for me. You can put any skill you want here, but I do recommend giving this a shot. I do my farming in Act 3 and I find the 60% stun chance to be really useful against alot of the enemies you'll find there. Not to mention great aoe damage around you, which synergizes with vault and shadow power, IMO.
  • This is the bread and butter. This is what this whole build is focussed around.

    You use this to escape, you use this to get in close. You use multishot to always have enough disc to vault to safety or into the fray. 
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