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Comprehensive Diablo III Guide

Everything you need--from the basics to theory crafting--to help take you from Noob to Nephalem.

Demon Hunter Guide

Demon Hunters are sharpshooters, preferring to sit back in fights and deal insane damage with their ranged weapons and abilities. There’s not much room for versatility with the Demon Hunter, damage is his forte and it will always be the focus. However, if you plan to play solo be ready lace up your kiting shoes and pull out your best CC it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Kiting – killing enemies by staying at a distance using ranged attacks, running away whenever the enemy draws near. Usually requires some form of CC (slow, fear, stun) to be successful.

The Demon Hunter uses a dual resource system of Hatred and Discipline. Hatred is quick to regenerate, while Discipline is slow to recover.

Primary Stats: Dexterity, Vitality, Some form of DPS steroid (Attack Speed, Critical Chance/Damage)

Secondary Stats: Weapons: Armor, Resistances (I know I have stressed the importance of these, but the Demon Hunter will never be tanky no matter how you build him, just try to get enough of these to be able to survive a few consecutive hits from enemies please note these will need to become a focus in higher difficulties). Plus Discipline Pool (lets you use your defensive moves), Movement Speed (another great pick up when kiting, but don’t give up other stats in order to obtain this)

Weapons: Preferably you want weapons with a high attack speed this will allow you to unleash more attacks dealing more damage, but more importantly gaining more Hatred, which will allow you to use Elemental Arrow more often.

Flying That Kite Build – As you may have figured out the Demon Hunter cannot sustain multiple hits from targets at higher levels. Thus, the focus of this build is not to get hit while still dealing enough damage to drop your enemies before they can get to you.

Skills (Runes):

Bola Shot (Thunder Ball) – Shoots out explosive bola which wraps around the target after 1 second then exploding and dealing 130% weapon damage as fire damage to that target and 110% weapon damgage as fire damage to surrounding targets. While this ability does work on a delay, it delivers powerful single target damage and strong AOE damage, making it the perfect solo skill. Additionally Thunder Ball causes the initial 130% weapon damage to be dealt as lightning damage and also gives each attack a 35% percent chance of stunning the target. This is ideal for keeping Elite monsters at a distance. Just be wary of Electrified enemies as they will be resistant to direct attacks.

Elemental Arrow (Frost Arrow) – This will be one of our main instruments of kiting. Originally Elemental Arrow fires a fire arrow that deals 155% weapon damage as fire damage to all enemies in its path. However, with Frost Arrow the one large bolt is split up into a number of small frost arrows which deal 170% weapon damage as cold damage and slow enemies by 60% for one second. The low cost of 10 Hatred coupled with the fact that this ability has no cool down means it can be used whenever players feel that they need a little extra cushion between them and the ravenous monsters that pursue.

Caltrops (Hooked Spines) – Possibly the best kiting move in your arsenal, Caltrops will allow you to place a trap that once sprung will slow the movement speed of enemies by 60% for 6 seconds. However, with the addition of Hooked Spines the slow will be increased to 80%. Using Elemental Arrow before Caltrops is the perfect way to ensure you have the time needed to set up your trap safely and effectively. Also placing Caltrops before engaging in battle can prove to be advantageous. 

Smoke Screen (Lingering Fog) – Every class needs some form of damage mitigation and here is the Demon Hunter’s. The Demon Hunter vanishes behind a wall of smoke for 2 seconds. This will instantly cause enemies to drop agro and allow you to attack unabated for a short time, or escape a difficult situation. Lingering Fog adds an additional precious second allowing you to land a few more attacks or get a few steps farther in your daring escape.

Companion (Spider Companion) – While kiting you have a lot of factors to worry about, so the ability to summon a companion that will deal 30% weapon damage on its own without you having to control it is a welcomed addition to this build. Furthermore, the spider companion is perfect for this build as each of the spider’s attacks also slow the movement speed of enemies by 60% for 2 seconds.

Fan of Knives (Hail of Knives) – This is a great way to deal extra damage or save yourself in a sticky situation, dealing 320% weapon damage to all enemies within 10 yards of the player. Additionally the knives also slow enemies by 60% for 2 seconds. Hail of Knives increases the range of this ability to 20 yards around the player. Even the best kiters will sometimes find themselves surrounded, and Fan of Knives is perfect for those situations.


Archery – Selecting this passive was easy; regardless of which weapon type you choose this passive will increase your overall damage output. Bows receive a 15% damage increase, Crossbows receive 50% more critical damage, and Hand Crossbows receive a 10% critical chance increase.

Steady Aim – Fits perfectly into our Kiting mentality, offering 20% bonus damage when there are no enemies within 10 yards of players. Hopefully if we are doing our job correctly, this passive should be active at almost all times.

Cull the Weak – This increases damage done to slowed enemies by 15%. Since we will be using 4 abilities that slow enemies, our enemies should be slowed at almost all times. Additionally, when enemies are slowed they should also be 10 yards away from us, and allow this to stack with Steady Aim for a total of 35% bonus damage!

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06/02/2012 at 12:36 AM

Good guide. I learned quite a bit.

I'm still skeptical on the AH. Seems any item worth getting is way overpriced; how can anyone afford the million plus gold some of these items go for? Maybe I'm doing it wrong... I wouldn't be surprised if they tweak the Blacksmith in a future patch, so that they remain competitive with the auction house.

Since we don't have a centralized forum, I'll go ahead and shamelessly plug my battletag.  Its Mongoose#1546. You'll know its me if I have a monk named GoldenArms and demon hunter named Desdemona as of this writing. Hit me up if you want smash/farm whatever.

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