M6 Mega Strategy Guide: New Marauder’s Set

Real life Marauder?

Real life Marauder?

One of the more impactful changes in Patch 2.1.2 brought reworked set bonuses to the very popular Demon Hunter item set, Embodiment of the Marauder. Marauder’s, or M6 for short, refers to the six piece set bonus that enables the otherwise useless Sentry skill to become a kick ass tool fueling the Demon Hunter’s greatest power. The Marauder’s set bonuses changed around in patch 2.1.2, and while the set is still about casting Sentries and enabling them to shoot the Demon Hunter’s powerful Hatred Spender skills, the details have changed considerably.

While the changes were feared/assumed to be a nerf when they hit the PTR, players soon realized the set was actually buffed, and most players felt it was a lot more fun to use. I agree with that conclusion, and after months of testing on the PTR, I’ve experimented with multiple builds on Live (handily, my DH on EU is Fire and my DH on US is Cold), and noticed a lot of changes and optimizations required by the change from pre-2.1.2 M6.

This isn’t a “use this gear and these skills” build type guide; it’s more of a discussion with tips and suggestions for how best to utilize the Marauder’s set (DiabloWikiEmbodiment of Marauder). Contents include the best choices for skills, gear, passives, and strategy.

For examples, you can view my Hardcore Cold DH on US or my Hardcore Fire DH on EU. Bear in mind both are very much WiP, and I hadn’t played either account in months while the PTR was going. Since it ended I’ve been dividing time between the US and EU accounts, and experimenting with gear and LGems and skills on both chars. There’s a lot yet to improve on each, but even at this point both can fly through T6 Rifts in solo games, testament to the power of the M6 spec.

Marauder’s Set Bonuses

The biggest difference from the patch is in what the Sentries do, and what the Demon Hunter does.

Embodiment of the Marauder item set bonuses:

Pre-2.1.2 item set bonuses:
(2) Set: +500 Dexterity
(4) Set: Companion calls all companion types to your side.
(6) Set: Sentries cast your equipped Hatred spenders.
Patch 2.1.2 item set bonuses:
(2) Set: Companion calls all companions to your side.
(4) Set: Sentries cast your Hatred spender when you do.
(6) Set: Your generators, Elemental Arrow, Chakram, Impale, Multishot, and Cluster Arrow deal 100% increased damage for every active Sentry.

Prior to Patch 2.1.2, with the M6 bonus active, each summoned Sentry fired a seemingly-random assortment of the Hatred Spenders the Demon Hunter had on her skill bar, regardless of what the Demon Hunter was doing. Figuring out which skills the Sentries fired was a complicated endeavor, with Minion firing speed and breakpoints the biggest consideration, and Tasker and Theo gloves providing the biggest damage buff.

Players generally selected 2 or 3 Hatred spenders, often without a single Hatred Generator, and the usual play method was tossing Sentries out near (or far, if Zei’s was involved) the targets and waiting while the Sentries did the killing. It was common for DHs to not even shoot at the enemy themselves, letting the Sentries do all the work, and even when the DH did join in, her damage was only a small % of the total dealt. (That build can basically be done now with the M4 bonus, but the damage will be much lower than in the ago.)

Every aspect of that is changed now in v2.1.2. With the new six-piece bonus, Sentries fire Spenders when the DH does, at her attack speed (increased minion attack speed has no effect), and the bulk of the damage is dealt by the Demon Hunter, buffed by the number of Sentries she has summoned.

Click through for the current set function, and much more. M6 Mega Strategy Guide: New Marauder’s Set:

Marauder’s Strategy

The v2.1.2 version of the set preserves the same basic function, but makes it a much more active experience, with the bulk of the damage dealt by the Demon Hunter. Each Sentry adds 100% weapon damage to the Demon Hunter’s output with Generators and a few specific Spenders, while each Sentry deals only 100% weapon damage with their own shots. Thus the DH herself will always deal about 50% of the total *potential* per Spender, which makes her accuracy essential, and makes the damage from each Sentry a small amount of the total.

The key to high damage now is to have as many Sentries as possible, and to shoot repeatedly and accurately with the Demon Hunter. You can fairly think of the Sentries now as damage boosters for the DH, which happen to deal a relatively small amount of damage themselves.

The key is for the Demon Hunter to keep pounding Spenders at the target, while the Sentries add their own shots, but mostly buff the DH’s damage.

Sticking Sentries near the target and letting them go will do very little damage. Sticking Sentries near the target and firing a Spender (whether it hits or not) will make the Sentries a bit more effective. Sticking Sentries around the corner and doing all the shooting yourself isn’t optimal, but it’s as good or better than letting the Sentries do all the shooting without adding your own damage.

Always Sentries. Always

This is the biggest change in the set bonus. You want… you need, to have all of your Sentries out all of the time. It’s nice if they’re near monsters so they can add damage, but the real key is just having the Sentries active, so they’re adding 100% weapon damage, each, to the DH’s damage. This only counts Sentries on the same dungeon level as you! (They vanish once you leave a level anyway.)

Sentries last 30 seconds, with an 8 second cooldown between casts. (Note that CDR gear and Paragon points do *not* reduce Sentry cooldown time.) However, you can get up to 2 stacks, letting you cast 2 right at once, and then a 3rd one 8s later, a 4th one 8s after that, etc. So if you’ve got Bombardier’s Rucksack and 4 max sentries, you can cast 1 & 2 immediately, a 3rd at 9s, a 4th at 17s, and then you’ll be at your maximum DH damage buff for another 13 seconds, until 1 and 2 vanish. And by that point you’ll have 1 stack and your 2nd stack will be just 3 seconds from ticking up.

That’s probably a confusing description, but it’s easy to figure as you play.

What you want to do is always cast at least one as soon as you enter a new level, or any time you’ve got your max stacks built up. If you’re being cautious, you’ll actually wait before entering a level to get your Sentry stacks up to 2, so you can drop 2 of them as soon as you enter, thus tripling your DH’s damage. It’s a bad idea to enter a level without any stacks built up, as you’ll be 8 seconds from starting to buff your damage, and as often as Rift levels are Elite-trapped these days…

During play, you need to develop a timer in your head (until Bliz implements the needed buff icon showing how many Sentries you have active). During battle you’re usually dropping a new sentry every time you can, to get them adding to your damage. But you also want to keep track of them between battles, so you don’t wait too long and let Sentries expire, but you also don’t want to just cast a bunch in open space, so they’re not shooting enemies when you find that next pack of monsters.

The real tweak to this comes from the DiabloWikiCustom Engineering passive, which doubles the duration Sentries last up to 60 seconds, and adds +1 to your maximum sentries. Moreover, Custom Engineering enables the stack to count up to 3, so you can drop 3 Sentries as quickly as you can hit the button. This is great for getting up the damage buffs as soon as possible when you enter a new level, and the 60 second duration gives you a lot more margin for error and makes it much easier to keep the full bonus.

Even if you don’t have stacks built up, you could cast Sentries at 0, 8, 16, 24, 32 seconds… and then have 28 seconds before any of them vanished. And in that 28 seconds you’d build up 3 stacks, so you could cast 3 new Sentries right then, putting all 3 right in the heart of the battle. That’s usually what happens, as the DH moves around quickly, finishing some screens in 4 seconds, others in 15, and others with a big Elite in 30 or 40 seconds.

This is especially a needed tactic if you’re doing Cold, since you want to drop each Sentry right on top of the enemy to add the big bonus damage for Cull the Weak and Bane of the Trapped. But you can’t drop a Sentry on them if you don’t have any stacks ready to cast. Learning to keep enough Sentries out for your damage buff, and putting them in places they can get in shots also, but not casting too many so you don’t have one ready for the next battle, is half the skill of playing the Cold M6 build.

Resource Management

This is another big change from old M6 to the current version. Since the Sentries do their best work when you are firing Spenders, and of course your damage is much higher with Spenders, you need to get all the Hatred you can… and use it wisely. I talk about “burst” damage a lot in this guide, since you want to spend your Hatred when it will do maximum effect, and that means when you’ve got the maximum number of sentries out, with as many of them as possible in firing range of the enemy.

Since you’re always about to need to cast another Sentry to keep your damage up, and since you don’t want to stand around pinging away with your Hatred Generator while an Elite pack spits Frozen and Arcane needles all over the screen, you want to manage your resource and your sentries so they tend to max out at the same time, and allow you to spend a lot of Hatred rapidly, dealing huge, killing damage to all enemies in sight. Especially if you’re doing Fire, where the high cost, high damage skills tend to cluster. (Pun intended.)

In basic terms, more Hatred and more Hatred regen is always a good thing. Try to get some Hatred regen on your gear, put Paragon Points into maximum Hatred, use the Templar for his resource regen, use Blood Vengeance and/or Reaper’s Wraps for refills from health orbs, use resource cost reduction gear and Paragon Points, etc. The more Hatred you’ve got to spend, the more damage you’ll do.

Also, get into the habit of casting a Hatred Generator all the time. They doesn’t do huge damage, but every little bit of Hatred helps. I generally choose generators by the amount of hatred they bring (possibly even going cross-elemental damage type), and learn to end fights with as much Hatred as possible. And with Sentry stacks, if you can. It’s often better to kill the last few strays in a battle with 5s of hatred generator shots than with 2s of spenders, if it means you’ll have 60 more Hatred and another Sentry stack when you start the next battle.

Items for the Marauder

Which gear to use is not a simple issue, since there’s a lot of variety allowed. The obvious thing is that you’ll need at least 5 pieces of the Marauder’s set, plus a Ring of Royal Grandeur. (Or all 6 if you don’t have a RoRG, which is a bad idea with Fire, but not such a problem with Cold.) Which 5 you wear is up to you, your RNG, and your build/elemental choice. The two most common builds are Fire or Cold, though there is a lot of variety in gear and skills within each element.

Like all the other six-piece sets, Marauder’s fits in the Helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, pants, and boots slots. Players will want to optimize their gear to match their skills, selecting cold or fire damage on their skills and then matching their gear to the element of choice.

Elemental damage is essential to high end performance. It doesn’t get factored into the character window DPS display, but players will notice a big damage boost in practice. Changing out an 700 dex from an amulet for 15-20% damage to the element of your main attack skill will boost overall killing power considerably, even as the paper DPS number decreases.

Boosts to all elements in equal amounts can be found on bracers, amulets, and the SoJ ring. None of those item slots are in the Marauder’s Set, and it’s recommended that players boost their element of choice in all those slots, if possible.

  • Complete list of DiabloWikiElemental Damage on items in the DiabloWiki.net.

  • The two main elements for Marauder’s build are Fire or Cold:

    Fire Damage
    Fire is the route to the biggest damage, especially for enormous *burst* damage with Multishot or DiabloWikiCLUSTERBEAR. This pairs very well with the new style of Marauder’s play, where players manage their Hatred while keeping Sentries active, and when both are maxed it’s time to unleash a huge, Hatred-emptying, Sentry-mirroring burst attack, dealing devastating, screen-clearing damage.

    The best non-Marauder’s item for Fire is the Cindercoat chest, which boosts fire damage and reduces fire skill cost. If not for the OP Cindercoat, Magefist gloves would be an amazing Fire item to switch out a piece of M6, as they add fire damage and roll with 5 primary affixes.

    The Fire rune of Sentries emits Rockets with each shot, adding more damage and pairing very well with the Ballistics passive.

    Cold Damage
    Cold plays more conservatively than Fire, with less raw DPS and no burst skills equivalent to the best of Fire. Cold also adds inherent crowd control, since the cold chills/slows targets, some cold skills freeze, and the Cold rune of Sentry puts Freezing Auras on each Sentry, which greatly slows enemies near them. Cold lacks the huge burst damage potential of Fire, and results in a steadier flow of damage, while the enemies are slowed and controlled in a safer play style. Lots of Hardcore DHs like this, for obvious safety reasons.

    The cold rune of Sentries pairs very well with Cull the Weak passive, which boosts damage to targets that are chilled. Most players also use the Bane of the Trapped legendary gem, which also boosts damage to CC’ed targets and at level 25 adds a chilling aura around the Demon Hunter.

    The only non-M6 item that boosts cold damage is the Frostburn gloves, though they do not get 5 primary affixes like Magefists, so most players are giving up ~700 Vit or IAS to use them. (Assuming dex, CD, CC are the other 3 primary affixes.)

    Update: From comments, players point out that the Cold form of Cluster Arrow is a useful bomb, especially when paired with Ballistics, since there are numerous rockets which do a lot of damage. The main limitation is the very high Hatred cost of Cluster Arrow, and DiabloWikiPride’s Fall helm is recommended to mitigate that (and useful for Cold, since there’s no Cindercoat comparable item for cold builds).

    (Cold and Fire can actually be used at once, though it’s an odd style. The player generally goes with Fire Sentries and a fire burst damage spender, plus Bane of the Trapped at rank 25+ for the chilling aura, and Cull the Weak passive for huge damage on slowed enemies. It’s an odd build since the slowing only works 15 yards out from the DH, but it can be done.


    Beyond the Marauder’s gear, the only really essential item is the DiabloWikiBombardier’s Rucksack quiver, which enables 1-2 more Sentries. The basic Sentry skill grants 2 Sentries at once, which can increase to 4 with Bombardier’s, and the Custom Engineering passive adds one more. (The extra Sentry increases the possible cast at once up to 3, which is very useful. More on that in the passive section below.)

    Players who haven’t found a Bombardier’s yet can do Sentry/M6 effectively, though topping out at just 3 sentries (with Custom Engineering) limits the top end damage.

    Bombardier’s wasn’t totally essential pre-v2.1.2, and Custom Engineering was even less essential back then, since most battles didn’t last long enough to need more than 3 Sentries. Well-geared players only had fights go long enough for 4-5 sentries (which could only be cast once every 8 seconds, with no stacking pre-patch 2.1.2) against tricky bosses or big targets like Guardians, and with good gear a player could clear T6 Rifts just fine with only 3 max Sentries.

    That’s no longer the case, since each Sentry yields a huge damage boost to the Demon Hunter. Thus the more Sentries you can cast the better, and in my opinion after a lot of testing, Bombadiers + Custom Engineering are now all-but-mandatory for this build to perform at its best, since 5 sentries = a 500% damage buff that’s almost always active.

    Other Quivers:

    The Meticulous Bolts quiver still works with Ball Lightning and Kridershot, but the overall combo doesn’t go ideally with the new M6, since you’re losing the 2 additional sentries and their damage buff. See more on that below, in the weapons section.

    Commenters also recommend Spines of Seething Hatred quiver, which turns Chakram into a Hatred generator. That’s fun, firing Sentries non-stop and along with a nuke for burst damage, but giving up 2 Sentries is such a loss to the DH’s damage that it’s not recommended long term.


    To start off, DiabloWikiHelltrapper is *not* very useful for M6 anymore. This one handed crossbow, findable only from an Act Five DiabloWikiHoradric Stash, was something of an exploit months ago in the pre-2.1.2 version of Marauders, since its legendary affix granted a 7-10% chance to summon a new Sentry, Spike Trap, or Caltrops, and the number of Sentries summoned that way could add to the normal casting to exceed the usual cap. (Which meant more total Sentries pounding enemies, but did nothing for the DH’s damage, back in the pre-2.1.2 version.)

    Blizzard eventually patched that bug, but Helltrapper remained useful since it could summon a Sentry on the spot, potentially quicker than the usual “one every eight seconds” cooldown casting. Helltrapper still works like that, but with the new stacking timer for Sentries, players can get out 3+ fairly quickly, and since Sentries are now mostly about boosting the DH’s damage, not doing damage themselves, the important thing is keeping the maximum number active all the time, not sticking “free” ones right on top of enemies.

    Sure, if you found an Ancient Helltrapper it would still be a fine weapon, but the legendary affix isn’t especially useful for the M6 build any longer.

    Ancient crafted bows.

    Ancient crafted bows.

    So what weapon to use? Currently, with the Patch still fairly new, most players are using whatever Ancient bow they’ve found, often one of the Crafted bows, like the Sydryu Crust or Unbound Bolt. Long term players will want to find better Ancient bows, and Calamity will no doubt be popular for the useful Legendary Affix.

    The obvious choices are Etrayu for the bonus cold damage, or Balefire Caster for bonus fire damage. (Or Uskang for the bonus lightning damage… though lightning is not a common choice for M6, mostly since that element doesn’t synergize very well with any passives or LGems, the way Fire and Cold do.)

    Kridershot is something of a debate topic since the patch. The bow has got a special function with M6, since even though the bow’s legendary affix turns Elemental Arrow into a Hatred Generator, it still gains the special bonus damage from Marauder’s as if it was a Spender, and Sentries fire it like it was a Spender. This lets players generate Hatred using Elemental Arrow, which does better damage than any of the normal Generators. And since the game counts Elemental Arrow as a Spender even when Kridershot is equipped, the Sentries will fire Elemental Arrow every time the DH does.

    This works great in the new M6, since Hatred management is a big part of the gameplay, and building up Hatred to spend it with burst damage is an essential tactic. However, even when it’s a generator, Elemental Arrow is not nearly as damaging as Multishot or Cluster Arrow, so players will likely still want one of those for their burst damage. Unfortunately, the Fire rune of Elemental Arrow is crappy, while the cold and lighting forms are great. Yet the best burst damage skills are Fire, not Cold or Lightning. As a result Kridershot can work very well with cold, but not so well with Lightning or Fire. And since the cold form of Elemental Arrow doesn’t cost that much Hatred to use, and there aren’t any great Cold burst damage skills, it’s not really that much better than any non-Kridershot bow.

    Also note that Pre-v2.1.2 the Kridershot paired very well with the Meticulous Bolts quiver, which reduced the speed of Ball Lightning, letting each one score multiple hits per enemy, even when they were fired by Sentries. That still works and can be very fun, but giving up two Sentries by not using Bombadier’s is not worth it.

    Other Slots

    The other slots are open to a wide variety, depending on what you’ve got and what you need.

    Bracers I strongly recommend Reaper’s Wraps, for the hatred restore. You can use that to replace the Blood Vengeance passive, or if you’re going with a really heavy spending build, you can use both for massive Hatred refill from every Health Orb.

    Jewelry: RoRG is almost always one ring, but the other can be anything, SoJ, Unity, etc. Amulet is much the same as ring, with the best thing you’ve found, with a socket.

    Belt: Another open slot; many players hope for The Witching Hour for the added IAS and Crit Damage. Two suggestions: Krelm’s belt (S1 set item) is awesome for fast runs, such as Cache farming or even in Rifts. The +25% movement speed (lost for 5s after you take damage) is much more impactful than you’d think.

    Also, Blackthorn’s Set can easily fit into the belt and amulet, and with a RoRG you unlock the 3 piece bonus, which grants +10% Elite damage and -10% damage from Elites (which includes all nasty Elite effects). Not huge bonuses, but as often as BK items drop, there’s a good chance you’ve already got a BK amulet that’s amongst your best.

    Skill Bonuses on Gear

    Prior to v2.1.2, Sentry was the most important skill to boost. It can be buffed from the shoulders, chest, or quiver, and well-geared players had all 3 slots with +10-15% Sentry damage. It’s not bad if you have those now, but it’s not essential.

    What is essential is a boost to the damage of your big spender. Those are boosted by affixes on helm, boots, and quiver, and you really want at least two of those. Boots shouldn’t be hard, and quiver is only hard since there are a million possible affixes on quivers. Helms are tougher, since a quality helm has to have a socket and Crit chance, and most players want dex and vit also. With +skill damage that’s five affixes, which is one too many. And since the helm is almost always going to be Marauder’s, there’s not much variety there. (Andariel’s Helm can roll with all types of +elemental damage, but it has not good mods also.)

    If you’re doing Hardcore where survival bonuses are really needed, it’s entirely possible you’ll not bother with any +skill damage from slots other than helm/boots/quiver, and get more benefit from AllRes, Vit, +Defense, or +Life% rather than +damage to Sentry or your Generator, from the belt/shoulders/chest/pants, etc.

    Legendary Gems

    This is another area of change in the new version of Marauders. I’ll mention here the gems most useful and either/or for M6 builds. Other gems might be needed for your special situation; DiabloWikiBoon of the Hoarder if you’re broke or want to farm with really fast movement speed, defensive gems if you’re HC and scared, etc. But these below are the ones I think 95% of M6 builds will want to select 3 of.

    This was previously a mandatory gem with this build, since the bonus damage to pets made the Sentries even more awesome. Enforcer still works and still does nothing extra for M6 with the rank 25 bonus, but with Sentries dealing far less damage than they used to, this one is no longer recommended. It’s not bad, but there are other, better options.

    DiabloWikiBane of the Powerful:
    This seems to be everyone’s favorite gem and works with every build in the game. It’s actually not essential for M6 once you’re really well-geared, since you can get powerful enough to steamroll T6 without this added bonus. You’d still want Bane for GRifts of higher difficulty than T6, and really… if you don’t need Bane for damage, what are you doing with your other LGems? Adding other damage you don’t need?

    DiabloWikiBoon of the Trapped:
    Essential to cold builds of M6. One of the best damage boosts to enemies that are slowed, as they always are when near cold Sentries. Also note the rank 25 adds a cold aura that slows anything within 15y of the DH, so this LGem can in theory be used with a Fire build, though the limited range of the chilling radius makes that not idea unless/until some day when there’s a real melee DH build.

    DiabloWikiGem of Efficacious Toxin:
    This one is widely used, but I don’t think it’s in the top three for an M6 DH. The damage is a huge number, but spread over 10 seconds. The damage per second is lower than Pain Enhancer, and while GoET is awesome for “hit everything and run around” AoE builds like Wizards, with the new style of M6 hardly any enemy lives more than 5 seconds against a well-geared DH… much less 10 seconds.

    GoET worked better in the old style of M6 when Sentries were hitting everything and battles were often spread out across the screen. The new style is to concentrate the burst on one area, then move on, making prolonged DoT like this Gem’s less viable. The only battles that go longer than 10s now are against Guardians, and there you’re hitting them constantly, refreshing the damage much more often than every 10s.

    Update: Forgot to mention in the first draft, but this Gem is one of the few with a very impactful rank 25 property, since all poisoned enemies take 10% more damage from all sources. That makes it very useful in parties, and basically means every target takes 10% more damage the second (or third, etc) time you hit it.

    DiabloWikiMirinae, Teardrop of the Starweaver:
    A huge damage Smite has a 15% chance to hit everything nearby every hit. This one is hard to estimate since it hits unpredictably, but in my exp it’s better for characters with a lot of light AoE. A DH with M6 tends to kill things in just a few hits, so adding damage to every hit is better than maybe adding damage to random enemies all over the place.

    DiabloWikiPain Enhancer:
    My preference above Mirinae or Efficacious. This gem deals much higher damage per second than Efficacious, but only triggers on a critical hit. However, since a well-geared Demon Hunters will generally have over 50% Crit Chance, and most builds have a lot of AoE, almost every target is sure to take a crit every second or two, refreshing the bigger damage per sec.

    DiabloWikiZei’s Stone of Vengeance
    A viable option for some styles of M6. I’m not using it on either my cold or fire in Hardcore, but I did use it some on the PTR when playing Fire and softcore, where I was all about crazy fast movement and didn’t need to worry about death.

    If you use Zei’s you have to play to match it, Vaulting back and shooting enemies from at least 20 or 30y distant. With that, the damage buff is fantastic, but it’s useless if you don’t Vault and make an effort to stay distant from all, or at least most targets. It can be used with Cold or Fire, and keep in mind the damage calculates from the location of the projectile-firer when the projectile hits. In theory you could fire out some slow projectiles like Ball Lightning and then move back before they hit, or back off for better damage against a Missile Dampening elite.

    Passive Skills

    As with Legendary Gems, here are the ones I think most useful for Marauder’s builds. Others might be useful depending on your gear and play style — Perfectionist if you need more survival, Tactical Advantage if you want to move faster while farming — but those aren’t real specific to M6, so not covered here.

    Blood Vengeance
    Essential for the Hatred unless you’ve got Reaper’s Wraps. And even then you might want both, depending on how pricey is your Spender.

    Steady Aim
    Strongly recommended if you’re going with a Vault + Zei’s build, since it’s basically a distance = damage synergy. Otherwise, not ideal.

    Cull the Weak
    Essential for Cold builds, where you want to pair it with cold Sentries and Bane of the Trapped.

    Night Stalker
    Changed in Patch 2.1.2 and now adds +4 Hatred to all Generators. I guess you could use it with this build to help keep Hatred up, but not recommended with so many DPS boosting passives to choose from.

    A nice damage boost, depending on what type of weapon you’re using. Generally one of the top 4 for any type of M6 build.

    Custom Engineering
    Unchanged in function, but very useful now due to changes to Sentry and M6. Described elsewhere in this guide, but I think it’s definitely one of the top 4 now. Adding an extra Sentry and 30s more time is a huge boost to DPS and ease of use.

    (There’s a bit of irony as this passive becomes *less* essential as you gear up. A character with very good gear can get high enough damage to fly through T6 Rifts with just 4 Sentries. You only need 5 when you’re doing higher GRifts, or when you’re gear isn’t so strong that 4 is plenty for T6.)

    Great damage boost for Fire M6 using Multishot. Also useful for Cold with Cluster Arrow, which sends out many rockets.

    I have never understood why anyone uses this. A nice damage bonus, but only for enemies above 75%? Who needs that? If it was for below 75%, I’d think about it. (From comments, players recommend it for making one-shots more possible, against trash mobs that would normally take two shots. A valid point.)

    Single Out
    Huge damage boost via Crit Chance against single targets. Tempting for faster Guardian disposal, but for the M6 build, especially with 5 Sentries, the ganging up damage against a Guardian makes the end battle go fast enough, in my experience.


    Not a complete step by step guide, but I’ve played a lot of M6 during the PTR and since the patch went live, and have picked up a lot of subtle tips and tricks I didn’t notice at first. And I’ve seen a lot of players still using the same build/gear/strategy now that they did before the patch, so clearly not everyone has adapted to the changes.

    I tried to cover everything you need to know in at least general terms, and left open spaces for players to adapt their own gear or style to the build. I don’t every follow builds exactly and like to experiment some, so try the basic guidelines, but mix it up a bit as suits your needs. Also, there are definitely some odd legendary items that help here or there; better defense from the immunity amulets and such, but if anyone wants to nominate specific legendary items for inclusion, please do so in comments and I’ll update the guide for more complete knowledge.

    Thanks for reading, and good luck with your Marauder. The build is a lot more active and enjoyable now than it was pre-v2.1.2, so if you tried it long ago and didn’t care for it, maybe give it another shot. I wasn’t a big fan of the build before the patch, but I’m really enjoying it now, with all the added elements of Sentry and resource management, and what my DH does now figuring so much more importantly than what the Sentries do.


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    1. Couple of things:

      \Boon of the Trapped:\
      Isn’t it Bane of the Trapped?

      Great damage boost for Fire M6 using Multishot. Not real useful for any other variety.\
      Not true, because cold cluster arrow maelstrom uses ballistics and the rockets do insane damage, probably because they can home in on enemies off screen with Zei’s Lgem I’ve noticed huge crits from the cold rockets.

      All in all, a good read, nothing I did not already know but that’s because I’ve done my research, since this is my favorite character to play in D3 and these where some pretty major changes to the class. For the better I might add.

      • Agreed, often my rockets hit for 50mil+ and it’s a lot of rockets ^^

      • Yeah, good point and I'll add that in. I've used cold cluster arrow in the past, but found it lacking as a bomb with such high hatred cost. But the little seeking rockets are pretty handy.

    2. Is anyone else just getting worn out on so much DH coverage and attention?

    3. No mention of Spines of Seething Hatred? Charkam is fantastic.

      • I like twin chakram for leveling up, and it's a viable fire build. Pairs really well with the Rain of Vengeance Stampede, and strongarm bracers so every Elite you nuke with the knockback Stampede and get insane boosted damage. But I think far less powerful than MS with fire.

        I've used Chakram with M6 before, but didn't think it paired that well. Sentries are such bad shots and Chakrams need to be placed properly, especially with twin chakram to get the overlap double damage. More dumb fire aoe stuff like frozen arrow or MS I think work better for sentries to fire.

        Then again, sentries are now mostly for buffing the DH's damage, so sentry aiming is less of an issue. But not using Bombadier costs you 2 sentries and 200% damage, and I strongly recommend Custom Engineering just for 1 more sentry, so giving up 2 for any quiver seems counter productive. As I mentioned about the slow motion Ball Lightning.

        What skills and elemental do you use with M6 chakram? And do you think it makes up for 200% less damage buff from sentries?

    4. Great post btw … I was thinking of mentioning that Spines was widely used in the PTR and perhaps we'll see it pop up once season 2 launches and the player base finds yet another reason to return to our game.

      But, The main reason it hasn't probably been mentioned, despite it's popularity in the PTR, is because it doesn't boost the number of Sentries for the DH. And without an extra 2 sentries, the DH using Spines is essentially doing 200% less damage than the DH using Bombardier's Rucksack.

      When I first started in on the PTR I went with my DH and immediately felt the vacuum's pull on resources. So, i thought it was a pretty smart thhing to pop on the Spines … but, since further study … it makes less sense

    5. Spines is much easier to find in my experience than the Rucksack. So if you have the former but not the latter it’s a perfectly acceptable choice, because it has the same effect as the Kridershot, but for Shakram, which becomes your generator *and* is getting spun by the sentries.

      You build up to full hatred with Shakram, and then spend it with Multishot. I don’t think it quite makes up for 2 sentries, but the added damage vs. the regular generators is nothing to scoff at. Also Shakrams are fun 🙂

      • "Also Shakrams are fun" you have a great point! And until you get Rucksack, spines might be the way to go … and besides … one might just prefer shakram for the reasons mentioned: they're fun and cool 😀

        I have to say, I never did try it and I want still to. I feel like there's something there I've missed.

    6. Nice writeup! I've got a few thoughts to add, after having mainly played the DH since 2.1.2 came out.

      There seems to be a divide amongst player on the topic of dropping 3 sentries at the start of a new lvl instantly, to get the cooldown and dmg going, or waiting for your first elite pack. Personally I prefer waiting for the elite pack, since I'm using the fire based build, thus with the extra burst of 3 sentries helps taking down said pack quickly. It does mean it takes longer to reach the 500% dmg bonus though. But for T6 rifting it's not really needed.

      Fire based builds. The way to go is without a doubt Cindercoat. Even if it didn't grant any % fire dmg, the cost reduction is still very much worth it. Makes managing resources that much easier.

      Cold based builds. You touched on the use of frostburns, however I think if you're confident enough in your ability to dodge incoming damage, going with Pride's Fall is a much stronger option, for the same reasons you use Cindercoat in the fire build.

      On to the legendary gems! Bane of the Trapped, very strong gem, but you never use it for the slow aura. DH's have far more reliable ways of taking advantage of it, even as a fire based build. Also getting close to enemies completely negate the point of using Zei's and Steady Aim. If you go the fire build, don't take the spitfire turret. For clearing trash and elites on T6 you absolutely don't need it. Grab the cold rune, and get the benefit of crowd control, the damage of BoT and the burst of clusterbear.

      Passives. For defense you take awareness. I'd almost go as far as to say you always take awareness, over any other DH defensive skills, but that might depend on playstyle. Personally I've never needed anything else. For higher GR's, you dodge stuff or get 1 shot. For T6… well you shouldn't really die here, but sometimes you just don't notice that molten explosion, either from walking into a room with no vision in there, or for whatever other reason.

      Steady Aim. You pretty much always want this. It doesn't matter if you use Zei's or not, 10 yards is pretty much melee range, or as close to it as does not matter. You'll have near 100% uptime on the passive, even without vault.

      Ambush is extremely useful for doing lower GR's (Powerlevel those gems!), or if playing solo on T6, but only if you have enough damage to justify it. Like 2-3 shotting elites.

      • I had to look up Pride's Fall to remember what it does. I haven't used it on a DH, though I tried it on Wiz some time ago. I can't see it replacing Cindercoat, but maybe for a cold DH build, though I've been less than overwhelmed by the cold nuke skills. Other people mention cold cluster though, and that skill's main limitation is the huge hatred cost, so maybe that would pair up.


    7. DH is the only char I haven’t used in D3 since release (after 1000+ hours), I think it’s finally time… Nice write up, I know what gear I’ll be shooting for.

      • You haven't really played D3, then. Sadly, the DH is currently the only character in the game with real end game gear balanced to the devs intended purpose. There are plenty of end game viable builds on other classes, but only the DH is thoroughly fleshed out.

        • That’s just, like, your opinion, man. And that goes to prove my point that the DH has been suckled, supported and catered too far, far too much in this game’s history.

      • hah do like me after 900hours+ paragon 613 playing barb and under 100 hours useless monk i did a dh lastnight, its a fun char and boosting from 0 to 70 takes like 2 full rifts or so and voila u are lvl 70 😉

    8. "DH is the only char I haven’t used in D3 since release (after 1000+ hours), I think it’s finally time… Nice write up, I know what gear I’ll be shooting for."

      get ready for fun

    9. Alright pretty good guide.

      I almost managed to clear Greater Rift 46 yesterday on my DH in EU. It was my first try and I failed ~30secs. Only speed pylons 🙁 and misplay on Elites. I am \only\ at Para 550 and my best pre patch was just 38.

      Anyway some tips for M6 \CCC\ :

      1)The cold build does MORE dmg than the fire one. Why ?
      Ballistics Passive. (You mentioned it yourself for the turrets)
      The 100% increased rocket dmg makes you bypass fire easily. Five 900% dmg rockets are absurd.

      This leads to the next point. Viable builds do include the Physical one exactly for the same reason. Some of the top ten DH are using Physical rockets as they hit for 1200% weapon dmg.

      2)As you stated correctly resources are really important. That’s why many DH are using the Act3 Bounty ‘Pride’s Fall’ Helmet that passively reduces your costs by 30% as long as you don’t take damage.

      With the PF helmet you will reach D3s diminishing return really fast where additional Cost Reduction of maybe 10% will only lead to actually 5% improvement (check your char screen!).

      So we go with cooldown reduction. More use of Punishment and Companion’s lets you generate more hatred.

      3)Now to the weapon choice : 2 Handed Crossbows are great too.
      Is working really good on cluster as you hit hard and not often. You want to spend your Hatred carefully, yes using bows lets you also generate more hatred BUT M6 only makes the sentries use your spenders not the generators on hit.

      And that is why : The Ambush passive can be quite useful. There are different enemy types with diff amount of hp.
      Thanks to the Ambush passive we can 1-shot the smaller ones or 2 hit the medium types with the Crossbows up to a higher hp. Lets us safe hatred.

      Additionally that’s 40% increased dmg for the smaller ones and even if it takes 2 cluster hits that’s still overall an dmg increase of 20%. Worst case is 8%. That is on par with Archery’s bonus for bows for example.

      So that’s just my way of playing and logic to why. I never looked at guides or forums or anything like that so beware of mistakes lol.

      I am happy that my favorite build with the Pride Fall is finally so great. I immediately wanted it after it was revealed and I’m still using the near perfect first drop that I got the first week? of RoS. It actually also enabled me to play T6 really early when there were sub 40 on the ingame players list if I remember correctly.

      Thats it for CCC (cold,cluster,crossbow).

      • Actually a MS fire build will do more damage pre-GR35+ and will especially be faster in T6 rifts. With a cindercoat and the Blood Vengeance passive there is no downtime to your MS. Plus it hits every single ennemies onscreen clearing trash way faster than any generator-cluster combo. I crit around 150M for non-slowed non-elites, elites die within 5 shots, usually 3, cluster is slower on T6 for me, a lot slower, and I believe most people are interested in T6 rather than Greater Rifts.

        On GR40 I average the same clear time between MS fire or cold cluster. Mostly because I need to run qith a Unity instead of a fire SoJ, while cluster benefit from both Unity and cold SoJ.

        • If you have downtime with cold cluster arrow on T6 you are doing something wrong.
          There is _none_ if you play it correctly. You don’t use any generators at all on T6 and yes this is with constantly using Vault.

          Elites die in 1 or at MOST 2 hits if you are unbuffed and they don’t get CutW. You don’t need to shot 2 for the 200 mio upwards white trash enemies either. You target them with the initial cluster and your dozens of rockets who all hit for >100 mio clear the rest of the screen + your sentries.

          With your linked profiles items you should be able to clear 43-44 with a properly played cold build.
          I jumped from like 40-42 to 44-46 with the switch from fire to cold.

      • I've always enjoyed faster attack on ranged chars. Loved IAS on Amazon in D2, and I tend to prefer 1h or bows in D3. Just personal preference there, and obviously some xbow options can do well. Using Ambush to make one-shots more common is clever; I hadn't thought about it that way, since most trash mobs are 1 or 2 shot anyway. But not on higher GR, though.

        I'll have to try Pride's Fall + cold cluster with my cold DH, as it's been recommended by several in the comments. Which was part of my goal writing this guide; to get tips and suggestions for other variations than I've tried myself.

    10. Was able to use the new M6 the other day for the first time, as I did not play the PTR and all I can say is : wow!, the damage is off the charts, after 1200+ hours on DH I was the strongest I have ever been. The new m6 is certainly the strongest version yet.

      Unfortunately, I do not care for the play style, I am just not a fan.

      I enjoy running builds I work up, and getting them into T6. Using mostly Legendaries, with some partial sets thrown in.

      I am still waiting for other game modes, or things to do in game where other builds besides one can have their day in the sun, things like Strafe, FOK, Rapid FIre, etc. The DH is more than just one set of gear and one play style (rifting), once the devs actually start developing towards the idea the game will get more meaningfull and less repetitive. Right now, the game feels so, so, top heavy.

      I really enjoyed logging in pre ROS, pre nerf hammer orgy, pre m6, pre well you get the idea, and seeing different DH builds enter the game all the time, now all you see is m6 everything. It's actually quite depressing.

      Those that enjoy the play style enjoy your new M6, it's the best yet, and the DH has never been more powfull, but that power has come with a heavy price, and that price was instantly making everything else non m6 beyond outdated. It's changed the discussion from experimentation and use of other skillss, to how do I leverage this one set of gear to do essentially one game mode over, and over again.

      For these reasons and more I will find myself running m6 from time to time to stay current, but otherwise I will go my own path, however slow and rocky that may be.

    11. what about danettas ? i made a new dh to 70lastnight and today i found a insane roll, swapped vita to attackspeed along with +10% and damage is 3530.. kinda crazy second day get a bow like that eventho many dont like it i guess.

    12. Another option that is still viable is the Natalia’s xbow with another set item. That’s what I am using right now till I find a better bow. The extra 7% CHC is a huge bonus. I must that I had a pretty good roll on my xbow and it does over 2600 damage which is good enough for now

      • I have a really good nat's ring on EU and keep hoping I'll find an ancient nat's boots just so I can get the 3 piece bonus (with RoRG). The extra discipline is very handy, and the 7% CC is awesome.

        The problem now is that SoJ or Unity is generally the 2nd ring slot, paired with RoRG, and that makes a Nat's ring hard to fit in, and the cloak/helm/boots all directly compete with Marauder's items.

        Look for Nat's to be awesome in the future, though. They're going to upgrade all those base class sets, plus the upcoming multishot DH set boosts damage by your discipline, and Nat's adds that better than anything.

        • When I am using Nat’s set I don’t use the ring, I use the xbow in conjunction with the boots. This obviously limits your choice of weapon but if you can get you hands on a good Nat’s weapon you can still use unity or soj.

    13. Can I make a suggestion to this info.
      Crafting a bow is not the best thing to do. When using sentries, 2handed crossbows do far more damage than a bow can. So I would suggest crafting an Arcane Barb crossbow until you get an ancient version.

      Bows might shoot faster, but they also burn resource much quicker because of it. A nice slow truck-hitting crossbow does more damage over a longer period.

    14. Thanks for the huge guide and tips in the comments folks! I’ll definately be playing a DH in Season 2. Wondering if I can biuld something around that new DH set coming skills wise.

    15. I finally got enough Marauder pieces to get the M6 thingie. And tweaked gear a little (altough half of it sucks…).
      I used, and enjoyed, Rapid Fire build.

      Now with cluster arrow/sentries… This thing… this monstrosity… feels like cheating! 😀
      I mean, it’s impressive, i click 2 times, a full window of mobs falls dead o.o at T6.
      Seen values of 65-72mil dmg poping up…

      just… whoa…!

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