This Is How We Do It

This Is How We Do It
The End-Game Demon Hunter: Your Guide to Hunting with the Best

CJ Miozzi | 28 Feb 2015 03:59
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"A Song of Ice and Fire" would be an apt title to describe the current end-game Demon Hunter builds in Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. While they all revolve around the Marauder's set, players do have some choice in which element to gear toward.

While Lightning can be made viable, and Physical is emerging as a new option, we'll examine the popular Cold and Fire variations of the Marauder build and determine which is right for you.

Note: The embedded video demonstrates the gameplay but is not completely up to date. Where the video and this guide differ, place precedence in this written guide.

Torment 6 Speed Rifts, or Greater Rifts?

This question alone should just about determine whether you gear for Cold or Fire. The Cold build relies on the Cluster Arrow: Maelstrom skill, whereas the Fire build opts for Multishot: Arsenal. Both of these skills are rocket-based, allowing us to use the Ballistics passive ability to skyrocket (hah, accidental pun) your damage, but the difference in behavior between these two skills is what determines their strengths and weaknesses. To put it simply: Cluster Arrow is better at dealing with single targets such as Rift Guardians, whereas Multishot is better at dealing with large groups of enemies.

Therefore, if your focus is on running Torment 6 rifts as quickly as possible, the Fire Multishot build is the way to go. If you would rather push as far as possible into the solo Greater Rifts, then Cold Cluster Arrow will handle those Rift Guardians much better - and they tend to be the stopgaps the higher you go.

Of course, both of these builds are more than viable in both rifts and greater rifts. If you have yet to complete your Marauder's set, then you can follow this Demon Hunter starter build.

The Playstyle

Fire Marauder

The heart of the Marauder playstyle revolves around laying down sentries, dumping Hatred through either Cluster Arrow or Multishot, and regenerating that Hatred.

The Marauder's six-piece set bonus buffs your Cluster Arrow/Multishot damage by 100% for every active sentry you have, so you ideally want to have the maximum number of active sentries at all times. With the Custom Engineering passive ability and the Bombadier's Rucksack quiver, you can have a total of five active sentries, which translates into a massive 500% increased damage. Plus, the sentries fire at the same time as you do, and while they are not buffed by this damage bonus, they still contribute a fair amount of damage.

The positioning of your sentries is key. The Polar Station rune on the Sentry skill gives each sentry a visible cold aura that slows nearby enemies, and we want to capitalize on this in two ways: by taking the Cull the Weak passive, which increases our damage against slowed enemies by 20%, and by using the Bane of the Trapped legendary gem, which basically does the same. Therefore, you want to strategically place your sentries to cover as much area as possible - without overlap - and ensure that the enemies you are targeting are within a cold aura.

Marauder builds run very resource thirsty, and Demon Hunters have a few ways of dealing with the constant depletion of Hatred. You will want to coordinate the cooldowns on Prepration: Punishment and Companion, which both instantly restore a chunk of Hatred. Because Companion gains the effect of every rune thanks to the Marauder's set, it also serves as a short-lived damage buff, so it's most beneficial to use this skill when 1. you have a Champion/Elite Pack or Rift Guardian to deal with, 2. Preparation is off cooldown, and 3. you have just enough Hatred left that using Companion will bring you to full Hatred without exceeding the cap (so when you have 50-60% of your Hatred remaining). The reason for this is that you want to maximize the amount of damage you do during the 10 seconds that Companion is buffing your damage by 30%, so you want to maximize the amount of Hatred you spend in those 10 seconds. Hit Companion, dump all your Hatred, hit Preparation, and dump all your Hatred.

The other tool you will use to recover hatred is your bracers-slot item: Reaper's Wraps, which you can craft from a plan dropped by end-game boss Malthael in campaign mode. With these bracers, you recover roughly one-quarter of your Hatred every time you pick up a health globe. The Vault skill not only helps you evade dangerous monster attacks - it also allows you to quickly jump in, grab a health globe, then leap back to safety.

Another skill you will need to develop is a sense for how many attacks it takes to kill enemies - you will likely be overkilling in the beginning and wasting more Hatred than was necessary. When dealing with such resource-hungry attacks as Multishot and Cluster Arrow, just one extra click can make a big difference.

CJ Miozzi is a Senior Editor at The Escapist and is also known as Rhykker on Youtube. You can follow his livestreams on Twitch and Tweet to him @Rhykker.

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