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Demon Hunter Fan of Knives Build with Legacy of Nightmares (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)

Last updated on Oct 21, 2016 at 09:00 by Deadset 9 comments

Table of Contents

The LoN Fan of Knives Demon Hunter arose with the updated powers of the Legacy of Nightmares set, enabling set-like powers to an arsenal of synergistic legendary items for a bursty spec that plays on the brink of death. The sole purpose of the build is clearing high end Greater Rifts.

The build requires the following set pieces:

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Build

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Evasive Fire Icon Evasive Fire Focus Focus Right Mouse Button Strafe Icon Strafe Drifting Shadow Drifting Shadow 1 Vengeance Icon Vengeance Dark Heart Dark Heart 2 Smoke Screen Icon Smoke Screen Special Recipe Special Recipe 3 Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy Pinpoint Accuracy 4 Companion Icon Companion Wolf Companion Wolf Companion
Passive Skills

3. Rotation

The signature oddity of the build is the use of Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori, allowing you to always crit as long as you stay below its unique property life range. The build drops any and all forms of life sustain, strives to take an initial burst of damage to get to Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori's range, and remains there as long as it can (no grabbing of health globes or using health pots). Skill-wise, the spec begins runs with an activation of Vengeance Vengeance, a major survivability and damage buff that should be kept up permanently with the assistance of Dawn Dawn. The primary dynamic of the spec is between channeling Strafe Strafe (to keep Taeguk Taeguk, Mantle of Channeling Mantle of Channeling and Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan going) and using Evasive Fire Evasive Fire (to maintain your Hatred reserves high for Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass and proc the Wraps of Clarity Wraps of Clarity). Over time, the cubed Lord Greenstone's Fan Lord Greenstone's Fan will build up Fan of Knives Fan of Knives stacks, which you are to release only during the Lightning proc of your cubed Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, and only at a decent number of stacks (15-19 for the first CoE cycle, or the max 30 for the second — depending on your needs for amount of burst). To further amplify your damage, use Wolf Companion Wolf Companion damage buff directly prior the Fan of Knives Fan of Knives. Finally, use Smoke Screen Smoke Screen sparingly when expecting bursts of damage coming your way.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

Fan of Knives Fan of Knives is the primary damage dealer of the build, taken with the strongest rune Pinpoint Accuracy Pinpoint Accuracy — sitting at the impressive 1600% damage. The increased cooldown of the rune is of little consequence, as you will be waiting on the stacks of Lord Greenstone's Fan Lord Greenstone's Fan, (building up at 1 stack per second) and synchronize with the Lightning proc of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements. You will reach 15-19 stacks for one full cycle of CoE and the full 30 stacks at two cycles. Considering its significant buildup time and burst potential, judicious use of Fan of Knives Fan of Knives is strongly advised.

With no cooldown resetting duties like in a Natalya build, Strafe Strafe is taken in the LoN FoK build strictly to enable Taeguk Taeguk use and item bonuses from Mantle of Channeling Mantle of Channeling and Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan. The preferred rune is Drifting Shadow Drifting Shadow, as unimpeded movement speed is a crucial part of the agile combat style of Demon Hunters.

With the rebalancing in Patch 2.4, you have a degree of freedom when choosing your generator. The classic Evasive Fire Evasive Fire with its strongest rune for Hatred restoration, Focus Focus, is the overall preferred choice as it synergizes well with the shorter range, pack-pulling playstyle of the build. Alternating a few seconds of channeling with a generator shot is necessary to maintain the demanding Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass bonus.

The very embodiment of glass cannon, the Demon Hunter usually adopts at least one protective mobility skill. The LoN FoK build is no exception, incorporating the disappearance mechanic of Smoke Screen Smoke Screen to synergize with Strafe Strafe — as it does not interrupt the channeling. To minimize your Discipline costs, take the Special Recipe Special Recipe rune — it will allow you an emergency immunity without taxing your resource pool.

Using the skill and item reworks surrounding Vengeance Vengeance to their advantage, LoN FoK Demon Hunters take the skill into the build and strive for its permanent uptime through a worn Dawn Dawn. This potent 40% damage buff will also reduce incoming damage in half from the Dark Heart Dark Heart rune, assisting the survival of this close-range DH setup.

With multiple utilities to pick from, the LoN FoK Demon Hunter chooses a DPS buff role for the Companion Companion skill through the Wolf Companion Wolf Companion rune, boosting you with a temporary multiplicative damage increase. While the Wolf Companion Wolf Companion buff sports a generous 10-second uptime, this build runs a moderate amount of Cooldown Reduction on gear — so try to pop the Companion Companion active in key moments like elite fights, or heavy trash density. As a final note, if you struggle with Discipline management for survivability, you can still use the former favorite for the slot — Preparation Preparation Focused Mind Focused Mind.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Ambush Ambush complements the burst-oriented nature of the build, frontloading your damage potential against newly encountered enemies. The multiplicative nature of the passive sweetens the 40% damage increase offered, and leads to the unrivaled performance of LoN FoK builds against trash packs.

Cull the Weak Cull the Weak amplifies your damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies by 20%. This potent multiplicative passive gets triggered by Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped due to the gem's slowing property in melee range, where all your burst comes in anyway (diving into enemies to use Fan of Knives Fan of Knives).

Awareness Awareness will be used as a last line of defense in the protection of the Demon Hunter. It is a cheat death on a decent 60-second cooldown, coupled with a brief window of safety and life regeneration when triggered; depending on your confidence with the spec, you can proc this passive on purpose to get to Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori's range faster.

Finally, Tactical Advantage Tactical Advantage will be used to bolster your maneuverability, aiding your ability to pull and funnel monsters in a chosen direction with an impressive 60% increase to your Movement Speed after using Smoke Screen Smoke Screen.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

As this is a Legacy of Nightmares set spec, the rest of your gear slots will be comprised entirely of legendary items. As a rule of thumb, focus on synergistic stats like Crit Damage, Area Damage and skill bonuses, and remember the rings' requirements for ancient items, as well as their restriction on other set bonuses. You can temporarily run individual set pieces with beneficial stats, as long as they do not form any set bonus. As a general stat goal, you will be trying to reach a 37% CDR breakpoint for permanent uptime of Vengeance Vengeance, attainable from a well-rolled Dawn Dawn (63%+), Paragon points, Flawless Royal Diamond Flawless Royal Diamond in a 90%+ Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown, and a weapon with a max CDR roll (preferably the offhand). Finally, you will be dropping all Crit Chance and all sources of life sustain on gear (life regeneration, life per hit, life per kill), as they will slowly but surely get you out of the range of Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori's legendary effect.

The Legacy of Nightmares set is a 2.4 rework, allowing you to run any legendary item combination while not losing out on the damage amplification and reduction associated with the traditional 6 piece sets. As long as the two rings — The Wailing Host The Wailing Host and Litany of the Undaunted Litany of the Undaunted — are the only active set bonus you have equipped, every Ancient item will increase your damage dealt by 100% and reduce damage taken by 4%. In the stats, try to obtain a combination of Crit Damage, Area Damage and flat Damage range.

Rounding out the jewelry, the neck slot is best taken by a Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet — allowing you a free fifth passive slot for Perfectionist Perfectionist. Other amulets — The Ess of Johan The Ess of Johan for additional pulls or the protective Eye of Etlich Eye of Etlich — can also be slotted, but their uses are more niche than the universal effectiveness of the Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet.

Accounting for a significant part of your DPS and survival, two channeling-focused items will support your Fan of Knives Fan of Knives burst. The aptly named Mantle of Channeling Mantle of Channeling will increase your damage during Strafe Strafe channeling with 25%, while simultaneously reducing damage taken by the same amount. For the shoulder stats, seek out Area Damage and Fan of Knives Fan of Knives skill damage alongside Dexterity and Vitality. Increasing both your damage and resource generation by a quarter when moving, Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan will add nicely to this agile spec. While wearing Death's Bargain Death's Bargain in the slot is considered viable (and makes the build easier to play by nullifying the impact of life regeneration), this variation also requires wearing Visage of Gunes Visage of Gunes and slotting Seethe Seethe on your bar for resource management, making the build weaker overall.

You will be better off wearing Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown or Andariel's Visage Andariel's Visage instead. Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown makes the build slightly easier to play, since resetting vital cooldowns like Vengeance Vengeance and Wolf Companion Wolf Companion is priority in Greater Rifts, and no other helm will empower your socket bonuses and ease your CDR breakpoints quite like this one. Essentially doubling the effect of the gem slotted in your helm, Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown will bump your CDR by 25% with a Flawless Royal Diamond Flawless Royal Diamond. With optimized gear, Andariel's Visage Andariel's Visage emerges as a high-end alternative, as its unique ability to roll elemental damage gives you the highest burst possible out of any options in the slot.

Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori is a cornerstone legendary item of the build, as its unique affix incentivizes you to drop to low health — and actually stay there without dying. Shaping the entire playstyle and gearing requirements of the build around it, Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori also demands that you drop any life regeneration, life per hit or life per kill on gear, actively avoid health globes, and unlearn reflexively using a health pot when endangered. For all this, it offers a powerful bonus to compensate — as long as you fulfill the requirement of around quarter life maintenance, you will enjoy guaranteed critical hits. Note that Shi Mizu's Haori Shi Mizu's Haori can be replaced by Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass depending on your better rolled item; you should cube the other.

An exotic recommendation for the belt slot is the underused Thundergod's Vigor Thundergod's Vigor. Guaranteed to roll with synergistic elemental damage bonuses and sacrificing a minimal amount of Toughness, this belt is the meeting point between the glass cannon The Witching Hour The Witching Hour and the tanky String of Ears String of Ears. With a melee oriented legendary affix and the unique ability to roll All Resistance on top of a guaranteed Lightning Resistance Secondary roll, Thundergod's Vigor Thundergod's Vigor makes a tight fit for the LoN FoK Demon Hunter.

Created as a direct answer to the excessive frailty of the Demon Hunter class, the Wraps of Clarity Wraps of Clarity bracer reduces damage taken by up to 35% for 5 seconds after using a Hatred Generator. Along with the Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass resource demands, this item fortifies the position of Evasive Fire Evasive Fire in the build, and serves as a constant reminder to alternate your primary and secondary skills.

The weapon setup is dedicated to utility legendaries. Fortress Ballista Fortress Ballista is a key legendary weapon for the build: supplying you with up to 3% max Life absorption shield per attack against an enemy, it forms the basis of your survivability. Note that the percentage of absorption will directly reflect your overall Toughness significantly, so try not to drop below a baseline of 2.6% on the legendary affix if you intend to push high GR tiers. The preferred companion to Fortress Ballista Fortress Ballista is the one-handed crossbow Dawn Dawn — with Vengeance Vengeance reworked into a universally desired buff, reducing its cooldown up to 65% and achieving permanent uptime through gear is an opportunity you cannot pass lightly. It is important to equip your highest damage crossbow as your mainhand, as Fan of Knives Fan of Knives only takes the mainhand into account for their damage calculation. As such, the offhand will be a pure stat stick, where you can even roll the damage range away in favor of other helpful primary stats: CDR, Area Damage, or elite damage %.

Arguably the two least important legendary items in the build are St. Archew's Gage St. Archew's Gage and Irontoe Mudsputters Irontoe Mudsputters, and while it is helpful to attain the shielding affix of the former and the Movement Speed proc of the latter, their absence will not break the spec (these are also the slots where you can temporarily use any well-rolled set or legendary ancient without significantly affecting the build).

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
  1. Dexterity
  2. Socket
  3. Vitality
  4. Lightning Damage (if Andariel's Visage Andariel's Visage)
  5. Life %
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Area Damage
  4. Fan of Knives %
  1. Dexterity
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Fan of Knives %
  1. Dexterity
  2. Lightning Damage
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Vitality
  4. Area Damage
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Lightning %
  4. All Resistance
  1. Dexterity
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Armor
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Lightning Damage
  4. Dexterity
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Area Damage
  4. Damage Range
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Area Damage
  4. Damage Range
Weapon #1
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. High Damage Range
  3. Dexterity
  4. Weapon Damage %
  5. Area Damage
Weapon #2
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Area Damage

6. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Dexterity
  3. Maximum Hatred (up to personal preference)
  4. Vitality
  1. Critical Hit Damage
  2. Cooldown Reduction
  3. Attack Speed
  4. Critical Hit Chance
  1. All Resistance
  2. Life %
  3. Armor
  4. Life Regeneration (Skip)
  1. Area Damage
  2. Resource Cost Reduction
  3. Gold Find
  4. Life on Hit (Skip)

7. Gems

Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken and Taeguk Taeguk.

  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem will be procced by itself with its level 25 property, making it an inseparable part of this melee-range burst setup.
  • Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken occupies a firm spot in your jewelry sockets. Building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist AoE heavy builds in 1v1 combat. With its undeniable AoE focus from Fan of Knives Fan of Knives, LoN Demon Hunters take good advantage of this gem.
  • Taeguk Taeguk is taken as a rare hybrid of defense and offense among the legendary gem options, with continued Strafe Strafe channeling keeping the stacks capped. Learning to balance your Hatred through generators so you can perma-Strafe takes time, but is well worth it for the Taeguk DPS and Toughness build up.
Slot Gems
Torso and Pants

8. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: Lord Greenstone's Fan Lord Greenstone's Fan for the weapon slot, Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass for the armor slot, and Convention of Elements Convention of Elements for the jewelry slot.

  • Introduced in Patch 2.4, Lord Greenstone's Fan Lord Greenstone's Fan adds a stacking damage mechanic to Fan of Knives Fan of Knives, encouraging you to build up damage and release it in controlled bursts during your Lightning Convention of Elements Convention of Elements proc. The two items sync at one Lightning proc at 15 stacks, and a next one at 30 — so judge the health of your adversaries and the amount of burst you will need.
  • Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass will halve incoming damage as long as Hatred does not dip below 90% of its reserve, which is an uncompromising teaching tool on punctuating Strafe Strafe with regular generator shots.
  • The jewelry slot is taken by the pure damage boost of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will have to keep under close scrutiny. Once the sequence reaches the Lightning element, your damage will surge dramatically, so dump a stacked Fan of Knives Fan of Knives during that brief window of opportunity.

9. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

10. ChangeLog

  • 21 Oct. 2016: No changes needed for Season 8.
  • 26 Jul. 2016: Slightly revised the guide to include gearing alternatives.
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