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    UPDATE: As of patch 1.03, quite a bit has changed. Most notably, Evasive Fire took a few heavy nerfs (bug fixes, most likely) that prevent it from firing through waller’s walls, obstacles and around corners.

    We’ve seen this discussion come up quite a few times on the forums and in various other community discussions, and wanted to make some clarifications regarding the Demon Hunter’s hatred generating abilities. Specifically, we’re going to be taking a look at which abilities provide the most damage output in three general situations: single-target, multi-target (3-5 targets), and massive AOE (6+ targets).

    Hungering Arrow seems to be by far the leader in terms of popularity, but is actually one of the lower damage abilities in most situations you’ll encounter in standard play. We’ve done all of the heavy mathematical lifting for you – read on to learn which abilities are the top contenders. Spoiler Alert: you’re probably going to want to revisit out Evasive Fire: Covering Fire.

    TL;DR:

    Evasive Fire – Covering Fire
    Hungering Arrow – Devouring Arrow
    Evasive Fire – Covering Fire
    Massive AOE (6+ targets): Grenades – Fire Bomb

    EDIT: Updated Entangling Shot: Chain Gang

     

    Foreword

    For most of this article, we are going to be looking strictly at damage output.Many abilities provide some secondary benefit (e.g. crowd control) that is somewhat difficult to calculate reliably, and are highly dependent on playstyle. In most (not all) situations, players are best suited maximizing damage and using one of the other tools in the Demon Hunter arsenal for control and defense.

    Also keep in mind that creating a strong build requires some degree of cohesiveness between your hatred generators and spenders – if you choose a very strong AOE hatred generator, you’ll probably want to make sure your hatred spender has strong single-target damage output.

    Finally, note that not all runes have calculations provided. This is simply because certain runes provide no additional damage, or are fundamentally flawed in some way. If you think we’ve made a glaring omission, let us know and we’ll take a look.

    Hungering Arrow (db)

    Note: These projectiles can miss, causing actual performance to be something less than what is represented here. Keep this in mind when comparing HA to hitscan abilities, where there is no projectile and the attack simply “scans” the screen for enemies to “hit”.

    1. Puncturing Arrow (+15% pierce chance)
    2. Scatter Shot (On pierce, split into 3 arrows)
    3. Devouring Arrow (On pierce, increase damage 70%)

    Single-Target: Devouring > Puncturing > Scatter Shot
    Multi-Target: Scatter Shot > Devouring > Puncturing
    Massive AOE: Scatter Shot > Devouring > Puncturing
    Entangling Shot

    Note: These projectiles can miss, causing actual performance to be something less than what is represented here. Keep this in mind when comparing HA to hitscan abilities, where there is no projectile and the attack simply “scans” the screen for enemies to “hit”.

    1. Shock Collar (+18% DPS DoT to chained mobs)
    2. Chain Gang (+2 targets hit)

    Shock Collar Calculation

    75% base weapon damage + 18% DPS per target:
    1 target: ~93% damage per shot
    2 targets: ~121% damage per shot

    Chain Gang Calculation

    5% base weapon damage * number of targets
    1 target: 75% damage per shot
    2 targets: 150% damage per shot
    3 targets: 225% damage per shot
    4 targets: 300% damage per shot

    Single-Target: Shock Collar
    Multi-Target: Shock Collar
    Massive AOE: Shock Collar

     

    Bola Shot (db)

    Note: These projectiles can miss, causing actual performance to be something less than what is represented here. Keep this in mind when comparing HA to hitscan abilities, where there is no projectile and the attack simply “scans” the screen for enemies to “hit”.

    1. Acid Strike (Remove AOE explosion, fire 3 projectiles)
    2. Imminent Doom (+ damage 52% on main target, +44% damage to AOE)

    Single-Target: Imminent Doom
    Multi-Target: Imminent Doom
    Massive AOE: Imminent Doom

     

    Grenades (db)

    Note: With our testing, each volley of 3 grenades was only able to hit a single monster one time, not 3. If grenades could be proven to hit each monster multiple times, this ability becomes much more powerful.

    1. Cluster Grenades (+17% damage, increased explosion radius)
    2. Fire Bomb (+28% damage)
    3. Gas Grenades (25% DPS DoT)

    Single-Target: Fire Bomb
    Multi-Target: Fire Bomb
    Massive AOE: Gas Grenades

     

    Evasive Fire (db)

    Note: These projectiles will NEVER miss if there are enemies in front of you. Damage values listed here will almost always be accurate.

    1. Covering Fire (3 hitscan shots)

    125% weapon damage per enemy in a large AOE (no projectile):
    1 enemy: 125%
    2 enemies: 250%
    3 enemies: 375%

     

    Summing Up

    Note again that these calculations take into account ONLY raw damage output, assuming every attack hits. Bola Shot: Imminent Doom has great damage potential, but also has a 2 second delay. Evasive Fire: Covering Fire has mid-range damage, but is virtually impossible to miss with and has a fairly poor explosion radius. Think of this less as a guide on which abilities to use, and more as a reference tool to compare a handful of potential options.

     

    The Bottom Line

    In most cases, the following are my recommendations:

    Single-target: Hungering Arrow – Devouring Arrow
    This one is pretty straight-forward. Simply the highest damage output on a single monster, with some built in tracking and strong range.

    Multi-Target: Evasive Fire – Covering Fire
    The hitscan nature of this attack (along with amazing defensive synergies – including being able to fire through “waller” walls, most terrain objects, and around corners) make it an obvious choice for fighting monster packs with 3-5 monsters.

    Massive AOE: Grenades – Fire Bomb
    While Fire Bomb has a lower damage output than Bola Shot: Imminent Doom, it can be fired through enemies to detonate in the middle of a pack, whereas Bola Shot will impact the first enemy it hits, limiting the number of potential monster hits. For melting huge packs of monsters (10+), it’s hard to find a better option than Fire Bomb.

    All-Purpose: Evasive Fire – Covering Fire
    I have said this elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a single ability that you can take anywhere and do anything with, this is it. What it lacks in single-target damage is made up for in defensive utility and multi-target output. The only place you’re really going to need to damage ONLY one monster is against a boss, mini-boss, or the last monster in an elite pack. In those situations, you really ought to be using one of the Demon Hunter’s far more powerful hatred-spenders (e.g. Nether Tentacles).

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