Hi there, it's Larold and today I'm going to talk about how to play Vengeance Demon Hunter in Dragonflight.
Demon Hunters are like the Swiss army knife of tanks.
They do a little bit of everything and that all adds up to a really well-developed, complete tank. It does a mix of single target and AOE damage in its base rotation.
It has defensive cooldowns that you want to use proactively to mitigate damage, and defensive cooldowns you can use reactively when your health unexpectedly drops low.
It also has a humongous health pool.
On top of all of that, it's a relatively easy class to play. Generating threat, especially AOE threat, is very easy. It's just built into the core rotation. You don't have to do anything fancy to pick up mobs at the start of pulls. Despite how much power the class provides, there aren't actually that many abilities, resources, or cooldowns to monitor and use. It's a relatively simple tank, especially when you compare it to the high end of complexity, like Monk or DK.
Vengeance Demon Hunters: The Total Package
I've called Demon Hunter the "total package" in every single video I think I've made about them thus far, and it's true. I'm gonna do it again: they're the "total package." More than any other tank, they are completely well-rounded. They don't have even one single weakness. They aren't the best at everything, but they are good at everything. Genuinely a flawless tank. The "total package.”
On that note, Demon Hunters are really strong. They have huge health pools, which helps them deal with boss mechanics and boss hits. Powerful percent damage reduction modifiers do the same thing, and it makes them good in raids and Mythic Plus for dealing with spellcasts and auto attacks. They have insane mobility for dealing with movement mechanics in raids and Mythic Plus, and they have good offensive and defensive cooldowns that are useful all the time.
They deal lots of sustained and burst AOE damage, they have tons of self-healing, they have good AOE CC, they have good defensive cooldowns, and finally they have a single target damage cooldown that's actually pretty good. Vintage and Stephen Hunters are qualified to handle absolutely every possible tanking situation you could conceive of.
Boosting Damage and Resource Generation with Demon Hunter's Tier Set Bonuses
The four-piece bonus makes Spirit Bomb and Soul Cleave, which are your main resource spenders, have a chance to deal 50 more damage and make your enemies deal 15 less damage to you for 8 seconds. This is a great damage increase and a really good added defensive layer. It has about 20-30% uptime depending on haste and what you're tanking, and you know, just good old RNG.
This is a great pair of bonuses. They're simple, but they add a lot of defensive value without really having any sort of intrusion into your rotation or talent setup. I mean, technically the two-piece adds resources, but that's a good thing. They both add damage, and they both add defensive value. Legitimately, just all positives.
Now let's take a look at the talent tree. I have a couple of talent setups that I want to show off here, one for dungeons and one for raids.
Vengeance Demon Hunter Talent Setup for Mythic Plus, Raid, and Large Scale AOE
All right, so now I'm looking at the Demon Hunter talent setup here, and I do have the Mythic Plus talent setup pulled up first. I have technically three talent setups, but really one is a Mythic Plus one, one's a raid one that'll be most of the time that'll be what you use in raid. And then for large scale AOE and raid, I have one that's very similar to the Mythic Plus setup, it just has a couple of tiny little tweaks. Basically, you drop some utility for a little bit more throughput. So, in the left side tree for Mythic Plus, you want to pick up some of these optional talents like Imprison and Consume Magic. You need them for pathing further down the tree. It picks up and improves Disrupt, having more range on your interrupt is very nice. Getting more crit chance on Aura of Pain is good, and it does synergize with Volatile Flameblood over here in the right tree to give you a little bit more Fury, which is good. But the main thing here is that Consume Magic, being able to purge off magic buffs off of enemies, being able to CC enemies, this is just a very good utility to have in a Mythic Plus group.
Similarly, I like to come over here to the right side of the tree and pick up Sigil of Misery and Concentrated Sigils. Getting that extra duration, you know you don't have to run Concentrated Sigils, you can run Precise. Either of those is fine, but I like the extra duration on your sigils. You know getting a little bit more damage value out of Sigil of Flame, but mainly getting more silence value out of Sigil of Silence.
You don't have to come this way; you can pass over through Pursuit Master, the Glaive, and Chaos Nova—completely acceptable. I don't really care for Chaos Nova; it's a two-second AOE stun, which would be fine if it didn't have the associated 30 Fury cost, but that does make it pretty expensive and it's a little annoying to me. Plus, you're coming over to the right side anyways to get Charred Warblades—like that is an obvious must-have talent on the way towards the bottom of the tree. So, I would rather just spin the two remaining points to get Concentrated Sigils, which I'm going to want anyway. Or, again, Precise is fine.
So really, just one more point to consider: Misery that works. Down in the bottom section of the tree, you're going to want to pick up Quick and Sigils, the Hunt and Collective Anguish. You're pretty much going to want those no matter what build you're running, what kind of content you're doing. Now, obviously you can't have all of these at level 60. So if you are leveling as Vengeance because you're not able to reach Elysian Decree initially, your talents are going to look more or less something along these lines. While you're at level 60 over on the right tree, you know you don't pick up Elysian Decree for a while.
You're probably not going to want to bother with quick and sigils at first. So you probably would want your left tree to look something like this. And then, as you progress through towards quick and sigils, you can also progress through and get Leasing to create. Technically, you're going to want to get at least you to create as quickly as you can, so probably try to get that at level 67 or so. But you have to come over here to get Soul Crush and Soul Carver, so there you are. One notable talent that's useful while you're leveling is Relentless Pursuit.
I don't necessarily think that this talent is all that useful once you're at max level, but getting cooldown reduction on the Hunt, which is a pretty huge damage cooldown, is good. You know, being able to pull a bunch of enemies and then slap the Hunt onto one of them, get all the rest of them dotted up and then kill them rather quickly and get a bunch of cooldown reduction is okay. It's something, but pretty much only useful for leveling. This is more or less exactly how I want to set up my left side talent tree. Over on the right side, the main notable talents here are Spirit Bomb. Of course, this is really, really valuable for AOE damage. Soul Furnace is a pretty significant AOE damage as well. It basically just adds 40% damage to every second or third Spirit Bomb cast, which adds up pretty quickly. You'll note that I've taken Painbringer. I think that this talent, even though it's a two-pointer, which is kind of expensive, is pretty good.
It makes it so that every single fragment you consume gives you two percent damage reduction for five seconds and it stacks up, so when you're playing the Spirit Bomb build, you're always Spirit bombing with four or five Soul fragments up at a time. This basically means that Spirit Bomb is, in a sense, sort of an 8-10% damage reduction buff for five seconds on top of the healing and damage that it deals. That's pretty good - 8-10% damage reduction on top of all of the other defensive layers that you have available is pretty good.
Now let's talk about some of those defensive layers. One of them is calcified spikes, taking reduced damage after your demon spikes ends is very, very useful. Another one of those would obviously be demon spikes, your main active mitigation skill just a big old armor increase and Parry increase, very good for damage reduction. Yeah, another one of those defensive layers is frailty, which you're able to stack up multiple times thanks to Soul Crush.
You apply a stack of Frailty to everything you hit with Spirit Bomb or Soul Cleave, and you know by being able to Spirit Bomb and then dump some more Fury with Soul Cleave, if you're able to get quite a few Stacks out onto enemies, it does stack and overlap with itself much in the same way that Painbringer Stacks and overlaps, and then they have independent timers. Frailty works the same way. You do have a couple of optional talents over here, Burning Blood is one of the most noteworthy ones. You have to take Extended Spikes, which is a bit more, clearly more of a defense-focused option. It gives you more Demonic Spikes up time, that's it defenses only, or you can take Burning Blood, which deals more, you know makes you deal 10 more Fire Damage. Fire Damage is only about half of what you deal, but that's still about 5% more damage, which is not bad. Either way, you want to come down here and get Volatile Flame Blood.
It gives you quite a lot more Fury generation, especially in AOE, it's just very easy to proc it on that one second internal cooldown. And yeah, you know, there's good synergy between Burning Blood and Volatile Flame Blood, and then Aura of Pain over here just adding a lot of extra value onto having Immolation Aura up as much as you possibly can. Finally, I didn't take Last Resort; you can drop one point out of Painbringer and take that. Maybe you want to put that point somewhere else entirely. There's not really a lot of other good options in this top part of the tree though; the only other thing that I could really say, if you wanted to take that second point out and put it somewhere, would be Meteoric Strikes and that's pretty much only useful for having more mobility, which is good in raids.
It's not bad in Mythic Plus, I just don't feel like it's quite as mandatory, and I think that I actually just get more sustained defensive value, or I know that I get more sustained defensive value out of Painbringer and I would rather have that than the extra defensive layer of Last Resort most of the time. If I'm taking content that I feel is pretty difficult, pretty challenging, then I probably would take Last Resort, maybe I would take a point out of somewhere else, I, yeah, I don't know. It's kind of hard to find another spot to give up getting Painbringer. We're basically the only other spot would be Soul Furnace, I guess you could do that, but it is kind of a pretty big defensive DPS loss, which then adds into your defenses because you do leech so much. You know, of your healing comes from leech, so generally thinking this is more or less a setup.
Comparing Vengeance Demon Hunter Raid Single Target to AOE Talent Setups
Now let's compare Raid Single Target, it's really not very different as you can see over here on the right side. You do give up Spirit Bomb, but you take Meteoric Strikes. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same. You're still taking Painbringers and it's still a great defensive layer.
Instead of being a burst of defensive value after your Spirit Bomb, since you don't have it, you're just steadily Soul Cleaving more, kind of like a rolling, up-and-down slow wave of more damage reduction that's up all the time. Again, not taking Last Resort, but it's absolutely an option. You could drop one of those Painbringer points and that would be fine.
You could also drop the point in Meteoric Strikes to get Last Resort, which probably makes more sense most of the time on raid bosses. I think any time where you're having to do a lot of movement, you're going to want to have Meteoric Strikes, but otherwise you could give it up and take Last Resort. It is quite a bit more useful defensively than having Infernal Strike on a somewhat shorter cooldown, but eight seconds is a lot of cooldown reduction for a movement skill as powerful as Infernal Strike.
Notably, over here in the left tree, I have not bothered with either of these Sigil talents because adding two seconds onto their duration only affects Sigil of Flame when you're in a raid. You know you're not taking Sigil of Silence, you're just taking Roaring Fire, which really isn't a good talent but it's useful for passing down to Burning Blood, which is a pretty good DPS increase. Other than that, the left side of the tree is mostly the same. I did skip in Prison and Consume Magic to pick up Under Strain Fury. This just adds a little bit of quality of life, as does Pursuit, just adding a little bit of mobility increase. And then I like to pick up Darkness for raids just because it's a raid defensive cooldown. Why wouldn't you have it? But in Mythic Plus, I don't love this talent for a couple of reasons. The main one is just that it's a pretty short radius.
It's hard to get your party members to come stand next to you, and even if you are able to, it's a chance to avoid damage, so it can be a real hit and miss. It's on a long cooldown and a short duration, so it's not a very good group defensive skill in parties. But it can be really good in raids. You can build up around using that and other defensive cooldowns at the same time, and it's pretty good, but it's just a throw out there and hope your group stays alive. In Mythic Plus, it's pretty hit and miss.
And then, for comparison, in a raid AOE setup, here I have one where I just don't have Painbringer at all. Running Spirit Bomb, using Meteoric Strikes, and Last Resort just sort of as a comparison to the other ones where I'm dropping Meteoric Strikes and Last Resort to pick up Painbringer.
I think there's quite a bit of leeway here. It's very much a "do what you feel" type of thing. I probably won't run Last Resort most of the time; I'd rather have the constant damage reduction, but you may disagree, and that's okay since this is a RAID setup. I want Darkness and I don't really care about Sigil of Misery.
That's pretty much all that's different from the Mythic+ setup. I'm not taking Innervate, not taking Consume Magic, and not raiding because I don't feel like I need them.
Now, let's take a look at the main abilities you have as a Demon Hunter. Demon Hunter is like the epitome of the Builder-Spender playstyle that Blizzard has created for classes in WoW over the years. Actually, classes in a lot of their games like Diablo are Builder-Spender games as well. You generate Fury and Souls with Fracture and Immolation Aura and Sigil of Flame, then you spend them with Shear, Bomb, or Soul Cleave. How you spend your resources is dependent on whether or not you're using Spirit Bomb. If you're in AOE, Spirit Bomb will make you do a lot more damage. It is generally the better option to run defensively in AOE since so much of your self-healing comes from Leech. If you're Spirit Bombing, your main resource, the thing that changes how you use your abilities, is Soul Fragments. You want to Spirit Bomb when you're at four or five Souls.
The rest of your normal rotation will be built around getting up to that four to five Soul mark so that you can use Spirit Bomb. If you're not using Spirit Bomb, so you're raid tanking and you're just using Soul Cleave, then it's even simpler. You just generate Fury, then you spend it. That's it. In both setups, you want to make sure you're never wasting any resources. This means you don't want to let Fracture or Immolation Aura go on cooldown, and you don't want to go over the cap of Souls or Fury.
You don't want to use Soul Cleave and consume Souls if you're using Spirit Bomb. You would want to save those Souls for Spirit Bomb. You can still use Soul Cleave if you're using Spirit Bomb, but it's worth keeping both bound. The way you would do that is generally to generate Souls and Fury, use Spirit Bomb, then you've just spared a Bomb. You're not eating all your Souls up, so you quickly Soul Cleave a little bit of extra Fury away, and then you use more skills or cooldowns or whatever to generate more of the Souls and Fury that you need to eat up with Spirit Bomb. That's basically how you do your rotation. Generate the Souls, gobble them up with Spirit Bomb, get out a quick Soul Cleave just as a little extra bit of Rage dump or Fury dump, and then back to fueling that Spirit Bomb machine. Your offensive cooldowns are mostly pretty simple.
You have [Fell] Devastation, which is a combination of offensive and defensive cooldowns. I guess it also heals you for a bunch. It grants you six seconds of Metamorphosis, your big defensive cooldown. So, you kind of want to treat it like an AOE defensive cooldown, sort of. You want to [Fell] Dev as often as you can because it is a good resource generator while you're in Metamorphosis. It also deals a good amount of AOE damage. Soul Carver is a single-target damage cooldown that generates a large number of Souls over a few seconds. Elysian Decree is an AOE damage cooldown that generates a good chunk of Souls.
The hunt doesn't generate any Souls, but it does deal a lot of damage and give you a massive amount of leech against the primary target for 30 seconds. In the case of all of these cooldowns, you want to try to get a few stacks of Frailty up on them before you pop your cooldowns. Frailty is one of your main defensive layers; it's a debuff you apply to your enemies, and it increases your damage output, grants you leech, and damage reduction against the target. You can stack Frailty on targets, although each stack has a duration that's independent of the other stacks. So, you can roll stacks on an enemy up and down; you could roll them on groups of enemies, and they apply and fall off on their own independent six-second timers.
You get Frailty stacks in three ways: you can hit an enemy with a Sigil of Flame, you can hit a Mispara Bomb, or you can hit them with Soul Cleave. Spirit Bomb and Soul Cleave apply an extra stack to your primary target. The Spirit Bomb playstyle generates fewer Frailty stacks because you're using Spirit Bomb a little less often than Soul Cleave.
So, even if you are doing the most you can to [cast] [Spellstrike] and then immediately use [Soul Cleave] and then go back to generating more [Souls] for [Spirit Bomb], you're still going to have a little bit less than you would if you're just playing straight [Soul Cleave]. It's okay in [AoE], it's still worth using [Spirit Bomb] and [Mythic Plus] because it gives [Demon Hunter] a numerical reward for generating as many [Souls] as you can. But in [raids], you're better off sticking with a little bit more boring [Soul Cleave] build. Let's go over your main defensive skills now. You have [Demon Spikes], which is a very simple active mitigation skill.
You press it and your armor goes up, that's it. It's a really important defensive layer and you should make good use of it whenever you're tanking. It's just incredibly simple. The worst thing you can do with Demon Spikes is not hit it enough. You will take a lot less damage whenever you have it up, so you should pretty much try to use it as much as you can whenever you're tanking. Soul Cleave, Spirit Bomb, both self-heals and the Soul fragments they consume also heal you for a percentage of all the damage you've taken recently.
It's a bit like Blood DK's Death Strike, although not nearly as strong and not as big of a component of your core defensive toolkit. Your self-healing is important, it's just not the backbone of your ability to stay alive like Death Strike is. It's one ingredient in the stew, along with Demon Spikes, Frailty, and your defensive cooldowns. As for your defensive cooldowns, you have Metamorphosis and Fiery Brand. Those are the two and they are both very important. Fiery Brand is a single-target defensive cooldown by default and the talent setups that cause it to spread to other targets and be a stronger spell overall are fine, but they sacrifice a lot of continuous defensive value to get those bonuses.
So I think generally that the right side of the tree Talent setup that gets those powers just isn't that competitive. Basically, think of Fiery Brand as a big single-target shield wall. It's good in raids with predictable boss damage hits, it's good in Mythic Plus for mini bosses or the actual bosses in Mythic Plus, but it's not usually very useful in AOE, and that's fine because your base rotation gives you so much damage mitigation and defensive value by default. Metamorphosis is your big defensive cooldown. It gives you a massive boost to health and armor, so it's useful for basically any defensive purpose. It's good as a proactive skill to use before a big boss hit, it's good to use as a mitigation tool when you're about to take a bunch of damage from a double or triple pull into Mythic Plus, and it's good to use as a reactive defensive cooldown if your health suddenly drops low. You can also get Last Resort, which is a cheat death that triggers Metamorphosis if you would have died on an 8-minute internal cooldown.
Pulling Packs and Mobs with a Vengeance Demon Hunter
Now let's talk about how to pull on a Vengeance Demon Hunter. This is something I wanted to go over because I know pulling packs and mobs can be difficult for new players, and this is one of the reasons that I recommend Demon Hunter so highly. Holding threat on AOE on a Demon Hunter is really easy. In general, you want to Infernal Strike into a pack, hit Demon Spikes and Immolation Aura as you're reaching the pack of enemies. If you have four or more souls saved, they'll be pulled up from the pool before you jumped into like 10 guys and hit Immolation Aura and spawned for more souls, you could Spirit Bomb right away. Otherwise, I would hit Fracture once, then Spirit Bomb, and then that's pretty much it.
You've got threat now; you can just do your normal rotation. If you really want to get a little sweaty with it, you can open by putting a Sigil of Flame under your pack of enemies before you leap in. Basically, Sigil of Flame, then leap, Demon Spikes and Immolation Aura, or on Spirit Bomb, and that works too. It's a little bit sweatier to pull off, but only a tiny bit, and it's very effective for getting that opening burst of threat.
Demon Hunter Stats: Haste, Crit, and Versatility
All right, in terms of stats, Demon Hunters want to enchant and gem for Haste, and then Versatility would be their second-best secondary stat. Crit is pretty competitive with Versatility for what it's worth. You can Parry a lot of attacks, and Crit helps with that. It's technically a better damage reduction stat overall in Mythic Plus than Versatility, but it's less consistent and it doesn't work against spells at all. You can't Parry a spell, but Versatility gives you more consistency, albeit less damage reduction overall.
As always, you want to maximize your item level before you worry about secondary stats on pieces of gear. Always wear item level upgrades. Alright, that's it. Thanks for watching! Bye!