When I started working on finishing up the Guardian tab of the Season's Journey I decided the least self-hatred inducing option for a third conquest was going to be the "do GR55 with 6 different sets" one and I further decided I could take the opportunity to make something more educational out of the effort, hopefully to turn the humdumness of it into something meaningful. I want to point out that I'm not trying to claim to be a super serial triple-x expert level player, but I have played more D3 than I care to reveal in the past several seasons and I try to make sure I actually know what's going on behind the scenes in terms of what I'm using and why. That said, this is not intended as a "level up" for really experienced DH players, I can't claim that level of skill or knowledge, instead I'm aiming to make sure that someone who wants to pick up the Demon Hunter can have some idea of what the hell it is they're doing and, if they care to read the explanations, of why. I'll be going sort of in a logical order for the entire build, so there may be skipping around between items and skills and back. There is going to be a video accompanying each set overview, which can be used as a standalone version of this guide if you so choose, complete with video demonstrations of how things work and, generally, explanations of what I'm doing wrong when applicable. That said, there are positives to a forum that don't exist in a video, so the written guide will probably contain more in-depth information (generally in terms of why things are done a certain way) but near the end of each section there'll be a straightforward listing of gear, skills, cube, etc. if you don't care about that which is taken from the video's description. Note that I'm only going over how these sets work in solo play for this thread and I'm focusing on Greater Rift running, not farming (though for farming the very general advice of "shoehorn in a Goldwrap, Avarice Band and Boon of the Hoarder in a not completely gimping way and you're probably not far off" should set you up in good stead.) Also, I'm going to put each section in its own spoiler tag to make it easier for people to navigate to the point they want, but if for some reason your viewing device flubs up with spoilers, let me know and I'll put the unspoilered text in a post. I'm going to include the rolls I feel you want on your gear, but keep in mind this depends on multiple factors. I'm going by what I think is optimal, but what you find in the wild is unlikely to be ideal, so if I have cooldown reduction (CDR) on an item and Vitality on another item that could roll CDR but you need to roll something else on the first item (say, rolling Discipline on your Yang's Recurve) then that's a swap you can definitely make. Also note that these can deviate in whether you are a hardcore or a Hardcore player, with the former wanting to basically not have Vitality on any gear piece that could possibly increase damage with the later probably being happy to sacrifice a little damage for extra toughness. These are general suggestions, not hard rules. Also, please note that I'm not including "socket" as a desired affix on weapons because I expect you to be using a Ramaladni's Gift on your Ancient end-game version of the weapon and rolling or having a socket roll on drop on a stop-gap, non-ancient version of the weapon. Sockets are non-optional on weapons, but I'm doing things this way to hopefully lead newer players back to this paragraph so I can make sure they're not using their Ramaladni's Gifts on the first version of the weapon they find. Lastly, I'm going to just do a single Paragon suggestion thing here, because there's basically no deviation. Code: First tab: -Movement Speed until capped, including gear -Rest in Dexterity Second tab: -Cooldown Reduction -Critical Hit Chance (if your gear is high on CHC and low on CHD, you may switch those two) -Critical Hit Damage -Attack Speed Third tab: -All Resistance -Armor -%Life -Life Regeneration Fourth tab: -Area Damage -Resource Cost Reduction -Life on Hit -Gold Find (for farming in normal rifts you may want to stat this earlier then change back for Greater Rifts) Embodiment of the Marauder Spoiler People who have been playing D3 for awhile will probably be familiar with the Marauders set and it's multiple iterations over the life of the game, from the throw-sentries-around-the-corner original build to the current version, but anyone who started after season 2 probably only knew about it when they salvaged the pieces because they weren't Natalya's. So what does the set do? Let's break it down by its bonuses. With the 2-piece, the skill Companion calls all of the available Companions to our side. This is the same as "Companion gains the benefit of every rune" in essence, and means that we gain the passive benefit of each Companion rune by having it on our bar as well as the active ability of each rune when activating the skill. While I have the moment I will point out for those who don't already know, that when an item does this granting all runes of a skill behavior the damage the skill deals is based on the elemental type of the rune you choose to put on your bar (so say Spider Companion did cold damage, choosing it would have all your Companions deal cold damage) but in the case of Companion the choice is moot because each rune deals physical damage. Note that the Spider, Boar and Wolf Companions are all land-based and serve as meatshields, which is nice, but can be killed, which means you can't use their ability until they regenerate. Now the 4-piece bonus gets a little more interesting, boosting Sentry damage by 300% and making them fire Elemental Arrow, Chakram, Impale, Multishot and Cluster Arrow when you do. Having them fire your skills when you do is cool, and does provide a not-insignificant damage boost, but if this is the extent of the Sentry buff from the set we can conclude they won't be our primary damage source. This is confirmed by the 6-piece ability, which gives the player a 600% damage bonus for each active Sentry when firing primary skills, Elemental Arrow, Chakram, Impale, Multishot, Cluster Arrow or activating Sentry as well as providing the same benefit to the Companion's damage. Sweet, so we've establish that Sentries will fit into our build, providing an important supplemental role but without doing the work for us, and we've even managed to determine a few things about how our skill set is going to look. Clearly we're going to use Sentries for the bonuses, and a damaging skill from the list for killing as well as Companions as meatshields and extra boosts. What damaging skill should we use, though? Well I can say that in this patch people have managed to have success with both Chakram and Multishot in the Marauders shell, but the current king is still the same as it's always been: Cluster Arrow. That lets us settle on Manticore for our weapon, with it's bonus to Cluster Arrow damage and reduction of its cost, but we'll come back later to figure out exactly what rune to run, for now let's move on with our rough sketch. Sentries are going to be integral to the build, providing a large boost to our damage as well as a non-zero amount from themselves, so a very important question is can we get more of them and if so how? Using Bombardier's Rucksack as our off-hand and selecting Custom Engineering as one of our passives allows us to increase our total number of potential active Sentries to 5, our stored number to 3 and doubles the time they hang around, powerful boosts well worth the cost. So we've decided to run Cluster Arrow and use a bunch of Sentries, so our hatred regeneration needs are pretty high and we need to work out a way to keep up. Since primary skills are buffed by our set, it makes sense to add in a generator. Many options could work, but Evasive Fire - Focus fires quickly and gains 7 hatred, making it a highly attractive option and the most used. Even with a generator though, we can certainly expect CA to burn through more resource than we can replenish, especially at higher levels, which, combined with the introduction of an up to 65% reduction in the cooldown of Vengeance on the Dawn hand crossbow, gives us a strong reason to run Vengeance using the Seethe rune for an extra 10 hatred per second during its uptime. We also get a nice damage increase from the skill itself, with the direct damaging aspects being further boosted by our set as well. With our resource generator covered, and our set bonuses being leveraged as well as we can, our final skill slot can go to a utility skill with Vault as the main choice thanks to the mobility and how it helps us herd when necessary and escape danger as well, but Smoke Screen or the like could be used. Now that we have skills in hand, let's turn our attention back to items. Full Marauders is a given, and we've already decided on Manticore and Bombardier's Rucksack but what else stands out given our skills? Well Zoey's Secret, the newly introduced belt from patch 2.4, gives us a huge boost in toughness from it's 8-9% (rolling in .1 increments) bonus to damage reduction for each Companion we have out. Wraps of Clarity also tie in well to our using a generator, giving 30-35% damage reduction just for playing the build we've planned out. Likewise Focus and Restraint fit right into our shell, granting a huge damage bonus without any added requirements. Finally our ideal amulet would be a Hellfire Amulet, since we have five passives we would like to run, but a more defensive amulet like an Eye of Etlitch (ranged damage reduction) or a Talisman of Aranoch to mitigate Reflect Damage affixes on elites if you choose the cold rune of Cluster Arrow. Ah, yes, now is a good time to come back to our main skill and figure out what rune to use. Loaded for Bear has the biggest number shown in its textbox, but in truth none of the other runes match up to the damage potential of the Shooting Stars or Maelstrom runes for solo play for one simple reason: rockets. Rockets, especially those fired from a boosted skill, do a ton of damage and adding in the passive Ballistics lets us raise that from an avoirdupois ton to a metric ton (note: not legit math.) While on first glance the damage from Maelstrom (450x3, doubled)may seem better than that of Shooting Stars (600x2, doubled) the fact that rockets are most useful against single targets makes the extra single target boost of Shooting Stars the go-to for those pushing for the top of the leaderboards. Maelstrom is still a fine rune, and probably just the flat out better choice for HC, with damage quite near Shooting Stars own and the added benefit of the very noticeable and consistent heal, though. Speaking of passives, we've nailed down two of them already in Custom Engineering and Ballistics, but what about the others? Awareness seems pretty straight forward cause Extra Life is a good cause worth investing in. Our final choice is Cull the Weak with Ambush rounding out the list of five passives we'd really like to have. Why not Steady Aim? Steady Aim is an additive bonus, meaning you are likely to top out at 10% benefit from it, a mark even a conservative estimate of Ambush's 40% multiplicative boost should beat nearly always. Without doing full maths (see I include the British version for better internationalism, I'm truly a gentleman!) I can vaguely expect there is a point where monster health is so high that Steady Aim would win out, but I find it hard to believe that point lies in a place where you have any realistic chance of finishing a Greater Rift at all. On the subject of multiplicative damage, the incredibly powerful Bane of the Trapped tops our list of legendary gems, joined by Zei's Stone of Vengeance and Taeguk. I will admit that personally I tend to use Bane of the Stricken instead of Taeguk, but that's mostly because of how much I dislike the latter; the damage boost from Taeguk is small, but not nothing, however the toughness boost can certainly be the difference between life and death as you push higher which you can expect to buy you more time in a rift than Bane of the Stricken will, in general. Now back to the issue of what Sentry rune to choose. You may be thinking "What are you talking about? I just pick the rune that matches my CA element and Bob's your uncle. Right?" Nuh-uh. See, we're not done leveraging Sentry as a damage boost yet, our coup de grace (I can't be bothered to figure out the ASCII for le circonflexe, but we'll all pretend it's there) will come in using our Sentries to ensure we trigger both our Cull the Weak and Bane of the Trapped based multiplicative damage bonuses by running the Polar Station rune, which slows monsters within a 16 yard radius of where we place it. This does require you to be on top of dropping Sentries on large packs and elites, but the damage increase is amazing and otherwise we would only have spotty uptime on those buffs from our 1/5 stun proc from Zei's gem and the slow from Spider Companion (both the passive and active abilities slow.) In terms of skills an itemization, all we have left is the cube. Dawn we've already locked in for the weapon's slot because of its reduction of Vengeance's cooldown, and for the armor tab we'll slot in Visage of Gunes to milk even more goodness out of Vengeance, with the Dark Heart rune provided by the helm giving us 50% damage reduction when Vegenace is active. Convention of Elements takes the jewelry slot because of its massive damage boost though you could run Elusive Ring in this slot if pushing the absolute highest you can in Greater Rifts is not your main goal (ie, you're playing Hardcore and would rather dance than do that other "d" word.) I do want to give a few words about how to play the build, though nothing I can type will really amount to more than hints, as experience and muscle memory are really the keys. First, assuming you are using Taeguk, you need to get familar and comfortable with the generator-spender-generator-spender-etc stutterstep that will make up your downtime. This is to make sure you're both keeping your Taeguk stacks up (if maxed, or increasing them otherwise) while not burning through your hatred. The reason you need to keep your hatred high is for the Cluster Arrow spam when your Convention of Elements rolls to your chosen element and note that even though I said "Cluster Arrow spam" this is true for any spender you're using, basically. At the highest levels your ideal pattern is going to be using Vault to proceed between packs quickly (with CAs following each Vault to keep your Taeguk stacks going) then using your stutterstep procedure while herding what mob density you can and then blasting it all to hell when your CoE rolls to Physical (or Cold, if using Maelstrom.) To go with the above, you want to have 5 Sentries out whenever possible, plopping one down on every large pack and elite, as well as making sure Vengeance is running as much as it is available. If you can manage 37% CDR on your gear, you can have 100% uptime on your Vengeance and its many perks, but keep in mind that level requires a max level Diamond in your helm, full paragon poins in Cooldown Reduction and 3 gear pieces statted for it. The easiest way to manage the Sentries, in my opinion, is to immediately drop 2 on entering a dungeon level then slot the Sentry into the spender part of your stutterstep procedure when appropriate. Keeping Vengeance up is just a matter of not forgetting it, which can definitely be an issue when you're still getting used to the build. So, to recap, from a wide-angle sort of view you're looking to keep all your buffs going, time your big damage bursts with your Convention of Elements bonus and maximize the mob density you come across without wasting time trying to gather the biggest and sickest density evar zomg!!!11! while using Vault to facilitate those things as best you can or just to save your bacon when you see yourself heading for the fryer. It's necessarily complicated to put into text, but honestly it makes a good deal of sense when you just look at what your gear is and how your skills work. Not that that means doing it well is easy, but you should at least be able to fairly quickly get enough of a handle on things to be able to see what you're doing wrong and how to work on it. To review, or for those who just wanted to skip to this, the quick version. Gear: Marauder's Visage (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Socket) Marauder's Spines (Dexterity, Resource Cost Reduction, Cooldown Reduction, Sentry Damage) Marauder's Gloves (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage) Marauder's Carapace (Dexterity, Vitality, Sentry Damage, 3 Sockets) Marauder's Encasement (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 2 Sockets) Marauder's Treads (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Cluster Arrow Damage) Wraps of Clarity (Physical Damage, Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance) Zoey's Secret (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, %life) Manticore (Damage Range, Dexterity, %Damage, Cooldown Reduction, high rolls on native affixes) Bombardier's Rucksack (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, high native affix) Hellfire Amulet (Physical Damage, Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Socket, one of the Passives listed) Focus (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Restraint (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Legendary Gems: Bane of the Trapped Zei's Stone of Vengeance Taeguk Skills: Evasive Fire - Focus Cluster Arrow - Shooting Stars (Maelstrom is also fine) Sentry - Polar Station Vault - Tumble Companion - Wolf Companion (You can choose any or even no rune; you get them all regardless) Vengeance - Seethe Passives: Custom Engineering Ballistics Cull the Weak Awareness (Ambush, if we could have a fifth passive) Cube: Dawn Visage of Gunes Convention of Elements The Shadow's Mantle Spoiler I'll be honest, I was really, really happy when I was able to switch from the Shadow's set at Paragon 209 this season (not that I was counting) but that has more to do with my love of the Unhallowed Essence set (by far my favorite build I've ever played in this game and the reason I've played way, way more since Season 3 than I did before) and little to do with the Shadow's set, itself. I dislike the playstyle and the heavily single target orientation of the build in a game where killing packs is the most important thing, but I can't deny how cool the idea and implementation is. If this set were the dominant way you had to play, I would be really sad, but as a change of pace alternative I think it's pretty sweet. That said I didn't want to spend a bunch of time away from my beloved UE testing how to optimize the Shadow's set so I looked at a couple online solo builds (which were way harder to find than I had expected) and combined them to my liking or, more accurately, to what I had available without wasting mats looking for something else. Optimizing could definitely be done, but I think it gets the point across of how the set works well enough. We start with the set itself, which puts its goods on the table from the beginning with a 2-piece bonus granting 600% increased damage when using a melee weapon. Well okay, so Demon Hunters can't use two-handed melee weapons so that means stuff like swords and daggers and stuff. Yeah, daggers. Oh, so we're a <expletive deleted but you're totally saying it in your head right now anyway> ninja! Premise accepted. Excitedly pressing on to the next line of text shouldn't dampen spirits since the 4-piece grants all the runes of the Shadow Power skill and makes the skill last for forever when cast. Skills with limited timers tend to do powerful things, so getting permanent access to powerful things sounds awesome. Also the name is sweet and in flavor, so it can't be bad, right? For now we'll gloss over what Shadow Power and its various runes do and proceed on to the 6piece bonus. Said 6-piece bonus being "Impale deals an additional 40,000% damage to the first enemy hit." You think that's a typo, but it's not. Basically this means our lithe but slight Demon Hunter can now hurl a paring knife at a Tarrasque and rend it in twain. It's a good thing. So we're set on two skills already: Impale and Shadow Power. Since it's simpler, let's look at the latter and see what goodies it has for us. The base effect of Shadow Power is to gain 26,821 Life per Hit for 5 seconds, with the LpH increased by 25% of your Life per Kill (obtained as secondary on gear, generally.) Having all of the runes active for us doubles that LpH amount, reduces the cost to activate (seemingly unimportant but hey, it comes at no cost to us,) reduces damage taken by 35%, increases our movement speed by 30% and slows the movement speed of enemies within 30 yards by 80%. That's a pretty massive heaping helping of goodness all in one bowl, but I do want to point out that the last affect I mentioned is not permanent. It may or may not be confusing to read the text of the Night Bane rune and the text of the Shadow's Mantle set, but whether you intuit that the effect doesn't become an aura or not, you have to activate Shadow Power every time you want to use this particular effect, which for most people will be however many times it takes them to succeed at the set dungeon. Impale likewise has some good news and bad news for us. The bad isn't necessarily news, I suppose, since it's that Impale is a single target skill which costs a significant amount of hatred, but the good is that we have the Ricochet rune, which saves us from the torture of having to throw one knife to take out each individual skeleton and instead lets us kill up to three skeletons with said super mana-intensive knife! Okay so disassembling even a trio of dessicated corpses may not have the same awesome factor of getting to scream "One Shot!" while offing a beast born of an elder god, but resource management is an essential tool in any good ninja's suitcase (right beside the skintight catsuit with strategic cutouts for "reasons" and the bumbling sidekick) and so we take the most area of effect oriented rune Now let's turn out attention to our quiver, as our choice here determines another one of our skills. In truth we could use whatever we please here, but in trying to squeeze out all we can from the slot we're left eyeing either Holy Point Shot with a %lightning roll to boost our Impale damage even further or the Spines of Seething Hatred to use Chakram as our generator. Chakram has the benefit of dealing more damage than other generators, but it also gains much less hatred and its damage is still quite poor; meanwhile Holy Point Shot has a high number of variables making it tough for us to roll what we want on it. I would suggest Holy Point Shot to someone who really wanted to mainly play this build, but Spines of Seething Hatred is a fine stop gap for testing and any quiver pretty much will work for someone just wanting to give the setup a quick trial. With that, let's turn to what we're going to choose for our generator. If we go with Chakram (paired with the Spines of Seething Hatred from before) we'll want to use the Boomerang rune because its damage is high and it can hit an enemy multiple times if aimed well. For other quiver options, including Holy Point Shot, the 7 hatred generating Thunder Ball rune of Bolas makes the most sense for us. Considering our damage output is still tied to a fairly expensive single target (or now up to three target, which is still pretty paltry) skill, it's likely that a generator by itself isn't going to be enough to keep our hatred up. Add to that the other bonuses we get from using Vengeance and it seems like yet again the Seethe rune of that skill is destined to make its way onto our bar. We can feel pretty confident that with our ninja-themed playstyle we're going to want Vault for the movement and escape ability, and again a new item demands to be noticed. The Chain of Shadows belt makes Vault free to use for 2 seconds after using Impale, making it a clear choice for us and having the added benefit of letting us choose the Rattling Roll rune instead of Tumble to give us a little extra value from our skill without giving up all our discipline. This brings us to our final active skill slot. We can choose to fill this in with Fan of Knives and its high damage, high area of effect Pinpoint Accuracy rune or elect for something like Caltrops, Wolf Companion, or some other support type skill. If we go with the former, we get a strong AoE skill to support our Impale, which we can further augment by using the weapon Lord Greenstone's Fan withs its up to 100% damage bonus stacking up to 30 times, but we require ourselves to get within 20 yards of any packs we want to use it on. Choosing a more support oriented option we can keep ourselves at further range and either aim for a strong one-handed weapon to strengthen our Impales or using Karlei's Point to make spamming them much more feasible. The more ranged approach is generally used, in tandem with Karlei's Point, and seems the more consistent and easy to use option to me, but the Fan of Daggers option has serious coolness factor and FoN itself is quite strong when properly buffed. Alright, we've got our active skills sorted out, let's turn out attention to the passives. Thrill of the Hunt stands out immediately as a way to trigger Cull the Weak and Bane of the Trapped, and earns a slot accordingly. Cull the Weak remains too good to not use and Ambush might as well have been designed for this set, so they also get a spot. Awareness rounds out our list because being dead is bad so being the opposite of dead must be unbad. If we had a fifth passive slot, the damage increase of Single Out would be an enticing option with the effective damage reduction of Numbing Traps (triggered by our Thrill of the Hunt passive for any build and additionally by Fan of Knives if we're running that) also being worth considering. Most of our gear is sketched out by now, but a few pieces remain. Wraps of Clarity make sense with our use of a generator, with Focus and Restraint fitting in neatly as well, but for an amulet we could really work with anything. Hellfire Amulet would probably top our list, but an immunity amulet (poison probably preferred) or 5 primary affix would be quite strong and any option could fill in just fine. In terms of legendary gems, Bane of the Trapped is an auto include, with Taeguk making a lot of sense but there's a bit of a disconnect in the last slot depending on exactly what style you opt for. The Fan of Knives version of the build would good use of a defensive gem like Esoteric Alteration or getting some extra damage for Rift Guardians through Bane of the Stricken; meanwhile the ranged attack style would like the large multiplicative damage boost from Zei's Stone of Vengeance. Note that in my video I use Zei's in tandem with Fan of Knives, which isn't the absolute worst because FoN's 20 yard radius is enough for double the listed damage on Zei's, and I think that's reasonable but probably not ideal. The cube is fairly straightforward: Dawn in the weapon slot and Visage of Gunes in the armor slot, both to make Vengeance stronger for us. In the video I'm running Elusive Ring in the cube, and I think that's fine - especially for a Fan of Knives version or in Hardcore - but I'd rather run Convention of Elements. That choice is up to you, though, depending on whether you want the extra damage or the extra damage reduction, each of which come in large doses with these options. The playstyle here is pretty straightforward, honestly. Impale things. Don't get hit. If you're using Fan of Knives you want to do a little bit of herding when possible and wait til your Lord Greenstone's Fan stacks have gotten high (or maxed) before firing it off (timing it with your lightning round on your Convention of Elements, if you're using that) but otherwise it's pretty much just put the sharp end of the knife into things without receiving similar treatment yourself. Use your Vault's stun offensively whenever you need to, especially to buy some time against elites, and don't be afraid to GTFO if things get too hot; the stun is really helpful. Keeping up your Taeguk stacks without running low on hatred will probably be your biggest tension, which is why I suggest 37% cooldown reduction for full Vengeance uptime. So, to recap: Gear: The Shadow's Mask(Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Socket) The Shadow's Burden (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Cooldown Reduction) The Shadow's Grasp (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage) The Shadow's Bane (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 3 Sockets) The Shadow's Coil (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 2 Sockets) The Shadow's Heels (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Impale Damage) Chain of Shadows (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, %life) Wraps of Clarity (Lightning Damage, Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance) Lord Greenstone's Fan (Damage Range, %Damage, Dexterity, Cooldown Reduction, high native affix roll) (Alternative: Karlei's Point - Damage Range, %Damage, Dexterity, Cooldown Reduction, high native affix roll) Spines of Seething Hatred (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, 4 hatred from Chakram) (alternative for Chakram-less build: Holy Point Shot - Lightning Damage, Dexterity, Vitality, Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed) Hellfire Amulet (Lightning Damage, Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Socket, one of the Passives listed) Focus (Area Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Restraint (Area Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Legendary Gems: Bane of the Trapped Taeguk (Esoteric Alteration, Bane of the Stricken, Zei's Stone of Vengeance, depending on needs and exact build) Skills: Chakram - Boomerang (Alternative: Bolas - Thunder Ball) Impale - Ricochet Vengeance - Seethe Shadow Power - (you can choose any rune or none; the set will give you all of them anyway) Fan of Knives - Pinpoint Accuracy (Alternatives: Companion - Wolf, Caltrops - Bait the Trap, others) Vault - Rattling Roll Passives: Cull the Weak Ambush Thrill of the Hunt Awareness (Single Out or Numbing Traps as fifth passives) Cube: Dawn Visage of Gunes Elusive Ring (Alternative: Convention of Elements) Natalya's Vengeance Spoiler When Season Three started Natalya's Vengeance, which had just been reworked, was expected to be used as a T6 farming build, if anything. About a month into the season the set had overtaken Demon Hunter leaderboards the world over and held top-dog spot among the DH sets throughout seasons three and four. Despite getting less, at least on the surface, than the other DH sets this patch, there was already considerable catching up for those sets to do and Natalya's is still a strong option in season five. For a long time I said I hated Natalya's set, but what I've come to realize is I actually just really love Unhallowed Essence and resented Nat's being better, because I felt I was hamstringing myself by playing what I wanted to, in prior seasons. I still wouldn't say I "like" it, but the concept and playstyle are interesting and trying to play the setup well without resorting to using a macro felt challenging and therefore enjoyable. But you couldn't care less what I think so let's see what the thing does. At 2-pieces, this set reduces the cooldown of Rain of Vengeance by 4 seconds when we hit with a Hatred-generating or a Hatred-spending attack. Okay, clearly that tells us one skill we're going to use, but it also strongly intimates that we'll be using a generator and a spender both because each procs the ability we're interested in and because we're likely to need a generator to keep up with our spamming. The damage on Rain of Vengeance is already large, so even before seeing the rest of the set bonuses we're going to start picturing a setup where we dedicate our setup to getting RoVs cast as quickly as possible. This feeling is strengthened by the 4-piece bonus, "Rain of Vengeance deals 100% increased damage." They took a big number, and then they doubled it. The 6-pieces introduces a wrinkle, or at least introduces the possibility of a wrinkle, in giving us 400% increased damage and 60% reduced damage taken for 10 seconds after casting Rain of Vengeance. I say a potential wrinkle because this damage is applied to the character instead of a skill so it could boost anything, meaning it's possible that our optimal build would include getting RoV's cooldown to just below 10 seconds and use the damage bonus to catapult some other skill into the category of main damage dealer. As it turns out, that's not the case and the best option we have is to spam RoV quick, fast and in a hurry, but it's important to keep an eye out for these kinds of opportunities if you really want to get the best understanding of the game and its underpinnings. I could push past the elephant and talk about something else, but it just makes sense to start at the skill the set description mentions in every sentence. Rain of Vengeance starts off as a sort of "shock and awe" tier skill with big damage numbers and a sizeable cooldown to go with it and since it would have maximal troll value to say we're going to leave it at that for now and move on, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Because we are 100% going to use Rain of Vengeance I want to press on to questions, such as what is this "Hatred-spending attack" we're going to be using. We want something that attacks quickly and is hopefully cheap to cast. Well channeled spells attack really fast and generally aren't too expensive, at least per shot, but what channeled skill? Rapid Fire could be used, but then how would we move around? We could walk, but then we aren't reducing RoV's cooldown. Okay we could use Rapid Fire and wear Danetta's set so our Vault costs hatred so that even while moving we could benefit from the 2-piece bonus. That ties up three item slots, though, and Strafe could allow us to move and reduce RoV's cooldown at the same time with no items involved. Because moving faster is better than moving slower, we'll grab the Drifting Shadow rune and pat ourselves on the back. So we know we're going to be spending considerable amounts of resource and we know that Hatred generators also trigger our Nat's 2-piece bonus plus the game mechanics allow us to fire a generator interspersed with our Strafe, leaving only the question of which one we're going to choose. The old standby Evasive Fire - Focus is still completely viable, but now somewhat upstaged by Entangling Shot - Justice is Served which provides the same 7 Hatred per shot, but also can be used to slow enemies, fulfilling the requirements of Bane of the Trapped and Cull the Weak. After any of our resource cost reduction and including the benefit of our native regeneration the Hatred delta between what we generate and what we spend should be pretty low now. Which is nice because now we can turn our attention to how we stay alive. Our shots have to hit an enemy to trigger Nat's 2-piece ability, so we can't realistically count on just hanging a screen away; some danger is required. Enter Vengeance, which can not only shore up our toughness issue but also provide some extra damage and even score a massive flavor(the "u" is silent, the British are not) win. Putting Vengeance in your Natalya's makes just as much sense as putting Yorkshire in your pudding or peanuts in your butter, except it's 100% better than either of those because it's good ... and I mean an absolute 100% in this case, not a comparative 100% because those other two are awful and double awful is still really bad; okay this joke is heading for an early grave, a place the Dark Heart rune of Vengeance, with it's 50% damage reduction whenever the skill is active, can help your Natalya's Demon Hunter avoid. Smooth. Speaking of places your Demon Hunter can be, and preventing one of those places being the resurrect or, be still my heart, deeds screen, have you considered putting your DH in the smoke? Sorry, didn't mean to trigger all that LOST PTSD, folks, there are no mystical islands here, just a super helpful short-term invulnerability skill you can put on your bar. Vault doesn't make sense because it hurts our overall damage (unless we use Danetta's set, but it's a serious question whether Vault is worth 3 item slots in comparison to Smoke Screen) and Smoke Screen can provide us with impressive mobility of its own. Grabbing the Displacement rune allows us to increase our movement speed by 100% when activating Smoke Screen, an amazing tool for getting through low density areas, escaping problem ground effects, or bravely running away (reflect damage pack, every man for himself!) Now let's talk about what Natalya's did get for this patch, Lord Greenstone's Fan. In the old days, the final skill slot was populated by Preparation, to regain the Discipline you spent on Smoke Screen and so to not die. Adding the legendary affix to Dawn enables us to leverage Vengeance as our toughness booster of choice instead of leaning on Smoke Screen like it's a loo at a rave (long live the Queen!) which allows us to turn our attention to what Demon Huntering is all about: indiscriminate killing. Enter Fan of Knives, paired with the Pinpoint Accuracy rune for maximum damage potential. With Lord Greenstone's Fan we can gain an up to 100% bonus to this skill that stacks up to 30 times, allowing us to release absolutely devastating destruction and then excitedly cry "it's a flechettie!" at the air where our enemies used to be (yes I understand that literally no one will get that joke because machete isn't spelled machetie, but this is the best I could do in text to reproduce a thought that cracked me up for longer than I care to admit.) The old setup still works, if you'd rather have the extra ability to spam Smoke Screen, or if you'd rather run something else in the skill slot, but Fan of Knives is a passion for the with-it and hip so deviation will lead to you being shunned. Returning to Rain of Vengeance, the Shade rune synergy with our other damaging skills is certainly nice and feels logical, but in truth we would use whatever the most damaging rune is. The changes to crowd control have made the Stampede rune much less attractive and the sheer size of the affected area for Shade puts it on top of our expected damage output per cast, so it gets the nod. Passives are pretty straightforward, with the stables Cull the Weak and Ambush bringing their multiplicative damage goodness to the party yet again and Awareness slotting in to keep us undead, except in the good way. Leech isn't one of the usual suspects, but its life on hit scales incredibly well with our hit all the things at all the times gameplan. If we could run a fifth passive, most people would probably want to get Night Stalker into the mix for the extra hatred generation, but Numbing Traps is a strong option for those who think they can keep their hatred up. Item wise, the new shoulders Mantle of Channeling provide us a damage and damage reduction bonus for playing normally and slot right in while the reworked Dawn earns a spot by giving us uptime on Vengeance with the corresponding damage and toughness bonus there, as well. Crashing Rain can be our only true belt option, with its insanely large damage bonus coming from pretty much casting a second, smaller, Rain of Vengeance whenever we activate our own. Likewise, the Rain of Vengeance boost on Natalya's Slayer, cements it as our selected sixth piece of Natalya's set, freeing up the ring slots for Focus and Restraint, with their presence hinting strongly at the inclusion of Wraps of Clarity, and rightly so. A Hellfire Amulet would be our ideal choice, but options such as one of the 5 primary affix amulets or Ess of Johan for herding purposes or a Xephirian Amulet to nullify Reflect Damage elites are all okay as well. No real surprises in terms of the legendary gems, Bane of the Trapped's effect is so powerful builds have been adapted with it in mind since the gem was introduced, Taeguk fits our gameplan like a glove and Bane of the Stricken helps us with Rift Guardians and provides a not insignificant benefit from incidental Strafe stacking. We have a few options in the cube, with the choice between using Fan of Knives or not driving our weapon slot decision: Lord Greenstone's Fan if yay; Fulminator if nay, our ability to keep up our hatred deciding between the damage reduction of Aquila Cuirass, if we can consistently keep its bonus up, or the damage and resource regeneration of the Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan if we can't live up to the Cuirass demands - if that sounds like "run Hexing Pants until you get good, son" then you are very astute - though the options stop at the jewelry slot where Convention of Elements simply wins handily. The playstyle for Natalya's definitely falls in the "easier said than done" category, so expect to have growing pains with this one. I should probably start the description by pointing out that Strafe can be set up to constantly cast using the num lock feature by going to your Options menu, selecting Keybindings, and setting your second hotkey for Strafe to a key on the numpad (if you're using a tenkeyless keyboard, then at least your gaming position is more comfortable for using the mouse for Strafing) then hold down the numpad number you used, press Num Lock and then release the number. The skill should now autocast as long as you aren't holding down another button or key, which is a very important point people often miss and a reason you'll probably want to set up an "auto move" button while you're changing Options already. The "pros" tend to use the mouse wheel because it makes sense and stuff, but you can use whatever you want and then spam this button to move around instead of using left click. This has been widely used by the community and known about for over a year with no badmouthing from Blizzard that I know of, so there shouldn't be any terms of service type issues with it, but I also don't know of them specifically giving it the thumbs up, so who knows. Personally I don't use num lock for this or anything else because I have no desire to use macros whatsoever - what's the point in me being there if the game plays itself - but you do you and all that. With that out of the way...what do? Firstly, Strafe is now an integral part of your life, like breathing but more frequent and more important, and anything else you do fits in and around Strafe which if you're using Num Lock is handling by just never holding down another button - using quick clicks or discrete button presses and releases to activate other skills - and if you're using another option you just never, ever, ever, under pain of death, release the Strafe button, ever. So when firing the generator, it's one decisive click so you dont interrupt Strafing and every time you need to fire it's the same decisive click; do not hold the button down at all, this is a common but ruinous mistake for this build. It's a little easier to keep the key presses short and sweet for most people, but it's the same idea: press the button and get out until it's time to press it again. I focus all that text on Strafing because that's the hard part and the most important part of learning how to play the build. For Rain of Vengeance and Vengeance you just activate them basically whenever they're able to be activated. Your generator should be consistently interspersed to keep your hatred up and Smoke Screen should be used whenever the excrement collides with the bladed air oscillator. Fan of Knives is a little more intricate in that you want to wait until your stack count is high and your lightning round on your Convention of Elements is up. Aiming Rain of Vengeance in a way to maximize the value we get out of the crashing beast our belt spawns is also something we can work towards, but again that's more practice getting familiar enough with the controls to really look at where you're casting. Alright, to review: Gear: Natalya's Sight (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Socket) Natalya's Touch (Dexterity, Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Cooldown Reduction) Natalya's Embrace (Dexterity, Vitality, Rain of Vengeance Damage, 3 Sockets) Natalya's Leggings (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 2 Sockets) Natalya's Bloody Footprints (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Movement Speed) Natalya's Slayer (note these stats are for your more damaging weapon, if your Nat's Slayer happens to be the weaker weapon then swap the stats desired) (Damage Range, %Damage, Dexterity, Cooldown Reduction) Dawn (Dexterity, Vitality, Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction) Wraps of Clarity (Lightning Damage, Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance) Crashing Rain (Dexterity, Vitality, %Life, All Resistance) Hellfire Amulet (Lightning Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket, one of the listed Passives) Focus (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Restraint (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Legendary Gems: Bane of the Trapped Taeguk Bane of the Stricken Skills: Entangling Shot - Justice is Served Strafe - Drifting Shadow Vengeance - Dark Heart Smoke Screen - Displacement Fan of Knives - Pinpoint Accuracy Rain of Vengeance - Shade Passives: Cull the Weak Leech Awareness Ambush (Night Stalker or Numbing Traps as fifth passives) Cube: Lord Greenstone's Fan (Alternative: Fulminator) Aquila Cuirass (Alternative: Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan) Convention of Elements Unhallowed Essence Spoiler Unhallowed Essence debuted in Season Three and I instantly fell in love. It's the only build in Diablo 3 I have found that really works with the playstyle I enjoy most in games: fragile ranged character that uses mobility and raw damage to stay safe and is very punishing when you screw up - a style normally found in a Wizard-type class, which I prefer, but sadly missing from the Diablo 3 version - and so I've played it every season since, and spent much more time on D3 since its introduction. You don't care about that crap, though, so let's get to the goods. At the 2-piece level, our generators generate 2 additional Hatred and 1 Discipline. That we're probably going to use a generator is pretty clear, but the bit about the discipline is particularly interesting insofar as Discipline generally is a small pool of resource that allows limited use of powerful abilities, and being able to build that back up is intriguing, so let's see where this takes us. With 4 pieces we gain 60% damage reduction and a 60% damage bonus for 8 seconds if there are no enemies within 10 yards. With the way the game is set up 10 yards is actually quite close, so we're not guaranteed to be super long range, but it's clear we're not looking to hulk smash things either. The 60% damage bonus is not tied to any skills in particular, but it's also small enough that it's unlikely to break any skills that aren't already receiving large buffs from elsewhere. Putting all 6 pieces on unlocks a 20% increased damage bonus to our generators, Multishot and Vengeance for every point of Discipline we have. I'll admit that on initially reading the first two bonuses I would've expected an intended gameplan of an intermediate range attacker with the six piece bonus paying us off for spending both of our resources (maybe something like a rapid-fire or other channeling spell user combining constant vaulting and Shadow Power or Smoke Screen for survival and using a generator to keep everything going) but this is completely different. That said, it's still quite interesting because it both adds a tension in terms of allowing you a way to replenish the resource for your life-saving and/or general utility skills but also makes using them come at a significant cost, which is a cool idea. Because this makes your Discipline amount a standalone damage multiplier, at 20x no less, it means we want to stack the stat wherever possible and not wantonly spend it but makes it not all or nothing, so having to use a couple consecutive Vaults will reduce your damage by not tank it completely. Also note that the text specifically says "generators" and not "primary skills" so while Multishot is the only Hatred spender natively boosted by the set, any skill that can be turned into a generator (such as Elemental Arrow) can receive the same bonus. I mention that last point both because it's good to remember to keep an eye out for these sorts of loopholes and also to go ahead and cover why we're not going that route. Elemental Arrow was the bee's pajamas back in season 3, but the introduction of the quiver Dead Man's Legacy, with it's ridiculous bonus of making Multishot hit twice against an opponent with less than (50-60%) health, and the bow Yang's Recurve, with its in-built resource cost reduction and doubling of Multishot's attack speed made it clear that using Multishot would be the thing to do with its colloquially eponymous set and the further strengthening of Dead Man's Legacy in season 5 just makes that even more set in stone. Our rune of choice will be Arsenal because, despite doing a lower amount of displayed arrow damage, the three rockets launched every time we fire the skill give Arsenal a much higher damage potential. So to leverage our 2-piece bonus, as well as to fund the relatively expensive Mutlishot, we're going to want to run a generator. In previous seasons this bonus did not provide the extra hatred generation, so we ran Evasive Fire - Focus for its 7 hatred regen, but some skill rebalancing and this rework to the UE bonus means we can choose other options. EF-Focus is still a fine choice, but the set boosted generation lets us leverage more useful runes like Evasive Fire - Hardened, if we so choose. I haven't found what I deem a completely reliable interpretation of "at close range" from the tooltip, but within 20 yards seems roughly in line with what I see and generally there is a target in that range, especially if you keep the clause in mind and work to keep it active. You're certainly welcome to stick to the higher generation rune, especially if you don't feel you can keep the Hardened bonus going, but the toughness increase is noticeable and with Vengeance your mana is reasonably manageable. I would say the real decision point for which to use, should be what you have in the armor tab of your Kanai's Cube. If you're running Cindercoat, EF-Hardened makes a ton of sense to help you not die, whereas if you elect for Visage of Gunes you'll probably need the extra Hatred generation of EF-Focus. Speaking of Vengeance, we're running it. Surprise! Or not, because the newly added cooldown reduction affix on the Dawn hand crossbow has made this utility skill ubiquitous. We can make extensive use of the hatred regeneration, so we're going to choose Seethe as our rune here and move on. If we can work it out with our gear to hit 37% displayed cooldown reduction, we can achieve 100% uptime on Vengeance and the corresponding 10 hatred per second permanently. Because of the strength of our 6-piece bonus it would behoove us to check for any way we could get an increase to our Discipline pool from our skills, and as luck (or intelligent design) would have it, the Invigoration rune of Preparation has us covered, to the tune of a 400% damage boost, on top of the bonus of a cooldown based 30 Discipline refill from having the skill on our bar, meaning we can do limited bursts of either GTFO from ugly affixed bosses or just for Vaulting back across the map when we go the wrong way on dead end maps. Vault makes sense for us because it's a cheap skill that we can spam when we need to that provides both mobility and escapablity which nothing else can really match. In terms of what rune to use, again it comes down to the armor tab of the cube choice: if Cindercoat then Trail of Cinders, otherwise Tumble. The last skill slot goes to a utility skill, with Companion - Wolf Companion generally winning out due to its providing an additional meatshield as well as an on-cooldown damage boost. Vengeance encouraging us to gear for cooldown reduction has the happy side effect of making this skill even stronger. In our look at passives we'll start with Ballistics, which doubles the damage of those 3 rockets we launch every time we fire Multishot. We'll then add in Thrill of the Hunt, which now slows enemies hit by hatred spenders by 80%, providing us with added safety as well as fulfilling the requirement for our Bane of the Trapped as well as our next passive of choice, Cull the Weak. Awareness rounds out our core four, with Ambush being our top choice if we could have a fifth because of its strong multiplicative bonus. For items, we've already established Yang's Recurve and Dead Man's Legacy as includes. Wraps of Clarity make sense to go with our use of a generator, and Focus and Restraint slot in quite well with a Hellfire Amulet topping our list, though a 5 primary affix amulet would be reasonable and a Star of Azkaranth could nullify the Reflect Damage elite affix, at least for our Multishot. The belt slot would ideally be given to a Witching Hour for the Critical Hit Chance boost, but Hunter's Wrath is a strong choice that grants both more toughness (through the ability to roll Dex/Vit/%life/All Resistance) and faster resource generation. Bane of the Trapped, Zei's Stone of Vengeance and Taeguk make up the ideal Legendary Gems package, although as I'd said before I often run Bane of the Stricken over Taeguk because bad/lazy. Neither Taeguk's damage or toughness bonus are quite as strong as they look, but combined they do solidly provide you with the third strongest option in the slot for pushing high-tier content, even though you do have to adjust your gameplay to maintain the buff. The multiplicative nature of the damage bonus of the other two gems make them untouchable and the rework of the Thrill of the Hunt passive has made Iceblink fall off as an option. Dawn will, unsurprisingly, take up our weapon slot in Kanai's Cube thanks to the bonuses we get from higher Vengeance uptime. We could use the armor slot to leverage Vengeance even further, taking the Visage of Gunes helm for an added 50% damage reduction when the skill is active, or we could choose Cindercoat for the added damage potential (cheaper Multishot casts means more Multishot casts). This choice is up to you to make, though with optimal play in fished-for optimal Greater Rifts, Cindercoat will undoubtedly provide higher clears, but that may not be what you're looking for. The jewelry slot goes to Convention of Elements, because of its massive damage bonus, but Elusive Ring is an option for those wanting more toughness. As far as playing the build goes, it's delightfully simplex. Complexity comes from decisions, both tactical and strategic, in terms of what packs are worth fighting, when it's correct to dive forward and herd packs, when it's correct to hang back and be conservative, where you choose to set up and start unloading, when you time your full hatred dumps (okay this isn't that complex, nominally, because you want to spam as much as you can while your CoE buff is on the fire round, but sometimes you need to fit in shorter bursts around the affix procs of an elite or to make the terrible situation you just put yourself in slightly better before you reposition and so on), when to use your Preparation refill and what to do when it's on cooldown, and more. The simplicity comes from the actual mechanics, aka alternate left and right click with some additional key strokes besides. Because Multishot hits most of the screen, you ideally want to have a large number of monsters on the screen at all times, which means that while doing lower tier content you nearly spam Vault, casting it as often as your generator just to push forward and keep things on the screen, but on higher tier rifts you're looking to herd together some density and then gun it down from a safe position. The tension being not wasting time herding larger packs than are feasible, not trying to herd too many dangerous monsters, and keeping in mind the constraints the map you're on provide. For pushing as high as you can go, fishing for good spawns and maps is pretty key, with monsters like Sand Wasps, Winged Assassins and Lacuni Huntresses being quite bad and any narrow map being cringeworthy. Ideal monsters are on the line of Unburieds and melee Goatmen, with large, relatively open maps like the act IV area leading to Diablo or the Act II areas of Zoltun Kulle's place being quite nice. Note that level one of a GR being awful doesn't guarantee the whole thing will be, so you can try vaulting through to level two in an attempt to conserve keystones, and also keep in mind that good rifts are rare. If you don't care about getting to the tippy top of your GR pushing abilities, just focus on things like taking good angles of attack (if there are some monsters coming at you in a bend on that sewer map, try to vault into the recessed elbow of the bend and catch them in the fire aimed up the new arm, for instance) and planning your escape route before the Thunderstorm or Frozen or Arcane Sentry spawns up under or beside you. Beyond that, just keep an eye on your buffs and keep them going (if you're running without any CDR you may want to hold Wolf Companion for large/tough fights, but you can pretty much spam it if you have enough CDR for permanent Vengeance) and use Vault as you need to stay alive or move forward. So, to recap: Gear: Accursed Visage (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Socket) Unsanctified Shoulders (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Cooldown Reduction) Fiendish Grips (Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage) Cage of the Hellborn (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 3 Sockets, Discipline) Unholy Plates (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, 2 Sockets) Hell Walkers (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, Multishot Damage) Wraps of Clarity (Fire Damage, Dexterity, Vitality, Critical Hit Chance) The Witching Hour (Dexterity, Vitality, 7%IAS, 50%Critical Hit Damage) Hunter's Wrath (Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistance, %life) Hellfire Amulet (Fire Damage, Critical Hit Damage, Critical Hit Chance, Socket, one of the Passives listed) Focus (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Restraint (Dexterity, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Socket) Yang's Recurve (Damage Range, %Damage, Dexterity, CDR, Discipline, high resource cost reduction roll) Dead Man's Legacy (Damage Range, Dexterity, CDR, high rolls on the native affixes, Discipline) Legendary Gems: Zei's Stone of Vengeance Bane of the Trapped Taeguk Skills: Evasive Fire - Hardened (Alternate: Evasive Fire - Focus) Multishot - Arsenal Vengeance - Seethe Vault - Trail of Cinders Companion - Wolf Companion Preparation - Invigoration Passives: Ballistics Cull the Weak Thrill of the Hunt Awareness (Ambush for fifth passive) Cube: Dawn Cindercoat (Alternate: Visage of Gunes) Convention of Elements I hope this has been on some level useful. It's far from comprehensive, but the intention was to assist new to intermediate level Demon Hunter players to better understand the sets and how they work and why the skills chosen have been so. Questions, comments, corrections, lulzL2Ps and the like are welcome. If you slogged through any amount of this, I thank you, and wish you the best both in and outside of Diablo 3.