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Havoc Demon Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Sep 05, 2016 at 15:38 by Wordup 150 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Havoc Demon Hunter core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Havoc Demon Hunter.

The other pages of our Havoc Demon Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Wordup, a frequent theorycrafter involved in a number of class communities. He is also an experienced player who has been in the world top 100 since the days of Sunwell, currently raiding in Echoes. You can also follow him on Twitter.

1. Single Target Rotation

Havoc's single target rotation hinges strongly on the combination of generation (either through active tools such as Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite or talents like Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades) and your main spender, Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike. Past this, depending on talents, other spells enter into the rotation adding depth, making it important to manage both your resource and your other spell cooldowns.

  • Demonic
  • Fel Eruption
  • First Blood
  • Fel Blade
  1. Cast Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat with Prepared Icon Prepared taken as long as you are 20 or lower Fury from your cap, or to trigger Momentum Icon Momentum.
  2. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush with Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery taken as long as you are 30 Fury or lower from your cap, or about to hit 2 charges, or to trigger Momentum Icon Momentum.
  3. Cast  Icon Fury of the Illidari, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  4. Cast Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive with Bloodlet Icon Bloodlet, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  5. Cast Fel Barrage Icon Fel Barrage at 5 charges, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  6. Cast Annihilation Icon Annihilation when 30 Fury or less from your cap.
  7. Cast Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam if you have the  Icon Anguish of the Deceiver trait.
  8. Cast Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike when 30 Fury or less from your cap.
  9. Cast Fel Barrage Icon Fel Barrage at 4 charges, try to sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  10. Cast Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite to generate Fury without Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades selected.
  11. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush if out of range of targets to re-engage.
  12. Cast Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive if out of range of any targets, or in empty Globals with Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades.

Note that whilst Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam is in the rotation here, make sure to never use it on Single Target if you are able to hit additional targets within that cooldown window, it is always better to make use of in multiple target situations than on single target. The same goes for  Icon Fury of the Illidari.

1.1. Opening Rotation

  1. Use potion just before the pull.
  2. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush into the target to engage.
  3. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush a second time with Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery is taken, but without Momentum Icon Momentum.
  4. Build Fury up to 20 from your cap with Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite/Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades.
  5. Cast Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat if Prepared Icon Prepared or Momentum Icon Momentum are taken.
  6. Cast Nemesis Icon Nemesis if taken.
  7. Cast Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis.
  8. Cast Chaos Blades Icon Chaos Blades if taken.
  9. Cast Annihilation Icon Annihilation.
  10. Continue with single target rotation.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

Havoc in multiple target situations depends largely on the number of targets and talent selections. Blade Dance Icon Blade Dance and Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam enter into the rotation as standard, and talent choices become very important.

  1. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush with Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery taken at 30 Fury or lower from your cap, or if you are about to hit 2 charges at >3 targets, or to trigger Momentum Icon Momentum
  2. Cast Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat at 85 or lower Fury if Prepared Icon Prepared is taken, or to trigger Momentum Icon Momentum
  3. Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush if you are about to hit 2 charges at >3 targets.
  4. Cast  Icon Fury of the Illidari, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  5. Cast Fel Barrage Icon Fel Barrage at 4 stacks or more, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  6. Cast Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam, sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  7. Cast Blade Dance Icon Blade Dance/Death Sweep Icon Death Sweep at 3 targets or more.
  8. Cast Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive with Bloodlet Icon Bloodlet, try to sync with Momentum Icon Momentum.
  9. Cast Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike at 3 or lower targets with Chaos Cleave Icon Chaos Cleave.
  10. Cast Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive.
  11. Cast Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike at 70 Fury or above, or 60 with Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades.
  12. Cast Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite to generate Fury without Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades selected.

Note that Chaos Cleave Icon Chaos Cleave makes Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike more valuable than Blade Dance Icon Blade Dance until you reach 4 targets if taken. Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush is also still used rotationally in AoE regardless of Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery, though it is even more important with the talent.

Fel Barrage Icon Fel Barrage management is important, and making sure you do not cap charges is vital. Aggressively using it at low charges if adds are about to die is not a bad thing. Note as well that the Momentum Icon Momentum notes are a recommendation, and not a rule, if you cannot adhere to them when a wave of enemies spawn, still follow the priority and use the abilities.

3. Important Notes

3.1. Tier 2 Talents Explained

Prepared Icon Prepared if taken adds Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat into the rotation on cooldown, which has a significant effect on how frequently you are displaced in a fight, and needs to be played very carefully to avoid extra danger from deadly encounter mechanics. It also allows for an additional background source of Fury which can be useful during burst periods on targets to still be generating passively whilst spending, and additional activations of Momentum Icon Momentum if taken.

Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades on the other hand slows down your pace significantly by removing your active generation tool Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite, and replacing it with a 75% chance proc from auto attacks to deal additional Shadow damage and grant 12-20 Fury. This adds an element of reactionary play as you will no longer be Global Cooldown locked, instead having downtime while you wait for procs to build up. This makes the playstyle more chaotic in practice compared to the alternatives.

Finally, Demonic Appetite Icon Demonic Appetite is the last option. This has the least impact on your rotation, but since there are no synergistic talents to bring it up, it is a significantly worse choice in group content. That it is a 50% proc chance on a 15-second internal cooldown makes it far less predictable and cannot be leveraged in the same way as the other two as well, which makes it even worse.

3.1.1. Demon Blades Explained

The internal mechanics of Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades merits an explanation as well, if you intend to play with it. The proc can only trigger whilst you are not on a Global Cooldown, meaning that for it to happen you need to intentionally go into a period of downtime. If procs occur from auto attacks whilst you are in a Global Cooldown, it will instead be banked, and the next instance of Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades proccing will hit twice, and generate Fury each hit.

This banking mechanic can go up to 10, but will only ever expend 2, meaning that if you enter a chain of Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strikes and swing during that time; when that ends you will have a surge of additional procs and Fury during the downtime. Playing around this is relatively simple, you need to drain off Fury much more actively as you can gain a great deal at an unpredictable rate. As you no longer have to cast anything actively to generate however, it is easier to react and enter into a spending sequence.

3.2. Tier 5 Talents Explained

This tier is very much a contentious point amongst players, so here I will try to explain as succinctly as possible the situation between Momentum Icon Momentum and Nemesis Icon Nemesis. Fel Eruption Icon Fel Eruption will largely be left out, since it performs poorly enough that it cannot content with the others.

3.2.1. Momentum

This talent is, without a doubt, a high skill cap talent and as such if you are not comfortable with Demon Hunter and raid mechanics in general, it will be very punishing. Knowing when to capitalise on your casts, and when to save them to use both in conjunction for the buff and to avoid mechanics or stay on targets is a skill that needs to be practiced. Below is an image to show the optimal paths to use your activation skills to stay on target and minimise possible displacement that can have a large knock on effect.

Momentum Image

With momentum there are two activation spells that trigger the short 4-second window for increased damage:

There are some fundamental rules when using Momentum Icon Momentum to bear in mind during combat. First, the spells that activate Momentum gain no benefit from the buff they trigger (meaning a Fel Rush cast is not boosted unless it is already active on you when it is cast). Regardless of this however, you should aim to never clip a Momentum window, and instead aim for maximum uptime. You should also aim to use your most powerful abilities during the window, so ideally you should have a bank of Fury when it begins. Casting Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive with Bloodlet Icon Bloodlet is also of particularly high priority, as it snapshots the buff for the DoT effect. You should at the very least make sure you are not forced into casting Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite for its duration, as it deals very poor damage comparative to other abilities.

Lastly, due to the rule of not clipping, it should be known that using the Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat into Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush combo is particularly bad now, as you burn up a full window. That means that positioning for the cast is vital, and using the diagram above should show where you should be aiming to move. Given that you can strafe Fel Rush and reposition before a Vengeful Retreat, this should be very doable with some practice, especially as most bosses now have quite large hitboxes to enable it.

3.2.2. Nemesis

Your alternative to Momentum Icon Momentum if you do not feel comfortable with it, is Nemesis Icon Nemesis. This is a relatively simple talent, though there are small things you can do to help it. Generally, you sync it with Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis as that is your highest damage period, and if possible, try to apply it to targets about to die in AoE situations so that you can gain the buff on all targets hit, instead of the debuff on just your target.

3.2.3. Fel Barrage explained

In single target, this mostly is used when you cap out charges and need to fill a global cooldown. During AoE however, you want to make sure that it hits multiple targets and, if you are at lower charges (2-3) it's still worth using if enemies are about to die and there is no imminent AoE situation to follow. Try to line it up with short term buffs such as Momentum Icon Momentum, and be aware that if you combine it with Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades, you can see a massive surge of procs when it triggers so be aware and ready to react.

3.3. Mobility vs. Damage

Whilst it is recommended to take the Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery talent due to its power in all situations, it is still important to know that Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush has a lot of versatility. Knowing when you need to move in a fight and saving charges pre-emptively will net far more DPS by virtue of sticking to your target than the additional damage and Fury from using it on cooldown. This extends similarly to Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat with Prepared Icon Prepared, but this takes more planning as it has no charge system to allow banking for future use.

3.4. Eye Beam Explained

Using Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam is based upon pressure points in a fight where a large stack of enemies will be available for burst AoE. If there are no situations within the cooldown timer that you would be able to take advantage, then using it on cooldown in a general AoE circumstance is preferrable.

3.5. Fury of the Illidari Explained

Much like Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam,  Icon Fury of the Illidari is an incredibly powerful burst AoE tool that only gets stronger with artifact traits. Due to this, you should be holding it specifically for situations with extra targets if they are going to happen during an encounter, but try not to hold it for more than its entire cooldown duration so as not to waste uses.

4. Cooldowns

4.1. Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis is a powerful 30-second duration buff on a 5-minute cooldown, with a flat 25% increase to Haste allowing for more ability uses while active. Pooling 80 Fury or above before entering Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis is extremely beneficial to allow for a surge of Annihilation Icon Annihilation casts, and draining excess Fury in the last 5 seconds of the buff gets the most out of the bonus damage.

4.2. Chaos Blades

If you have taken Chaos Blades Icon Chaos Blades as your 110 talent, try to sync this up with your Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis whenever possible alongside Nemesis Icon Nemesis if selected. Make sure to use this on cooldown, and it syncs up very easily once you have 3 points in the  Icon Unleashed Demons trait.

5. Core Concepts

5.1. Movement Abilities and Talents

One of the unique features of Havoc is that it can leverage its movement tools in Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat to increase its damage output and Fury generation. Managing these is important if using these talents, and knowing whether it is safe to use them based on encounter types is especially important.

You can maneuver with Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat in one of two different ways. The first of these is a wall that you can consistently leap back into so that the displacement effect is muted and you remain in melee range of your target. Alternatively, the more consistent option is rotating your character before casting 90 degrees, so that you will move across the back of the targets hitbox, and remain in range upon landing. Do note at all times this spell will vault you backwards so you need to be aware of that when casting.

Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush in much the same way requires a similar awareness of your environment to capitalise upon. Instead of focusing on moving backward however, you need to face the direction you want to rush and then turn back to your target when you arrive.

Also note that both of these spells incur a 1-second movement cooldown to prevent you using them to cancel each other out with the displacement, and as such you need to treat each cast individually and prepare for the movement to minimize the downsides.

5.2. Fury Management

With Havoc being so reliant on its resource, you need to be very aware of situations that encourage spending vs. the requirement to build. Depending on talents outlined above, that may be more or less active, and so you need to be planning around those.

The general rule is you never want to go into range of wasting Fury due to going over the cap with a generation cast. This means the spend breakpoint is 70 Fury before traits, due to Demon's Bite Icon Demon's Bite having a potential 30 per cast. With Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades this is more flexible, but given how fast multiple procs can happen after you leave the Global Cooldown, it is safe to stick to the same rule.

Also be aware to adjust your rotation based on critical strikes from your Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike casts that refund 20 Fury due to the unexpected additional resources in your pool. In the same vein, successful interrupts through Consume Magic Icon Consume Magic that grant 50 Fury can also increase your pool and trigger a spending sequence, so keep that in mind.

5.2.1. Fury Management with Demon Blades

When using Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades, your Fury management is altered to account for the more sporadic nature of the generation. In single target, more appropriate rotational rules to adjust the original rotation look like this:

  • Cast Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush with Fel Mastery Icon Fel Mastery taken at 30 Fury from cap or lower, or if you are about to hit 2 charges.
  • Cast Chaos Strike Icon Chaos Strike/Annihilation Icon Annihilation at 40 Fury from cap or above, and drain Fury until unable to cast.
  • Wait and allow Demon Blades Icon Demon Blades to generate Fury again to continue the cycle.
  • Cast Throw Glaive Icon Throw Glaive if out of range of any targets, or in empty Globals.

This is an important difference when optimising the talent, as if you are keeping yourself at a stable Fury rate, the opportunities for banked procs to send you way over into the stage of wasting Fury is much more likely, so require a different approach.

6. ChangeLog

  • 05 Sep. 2016: Simplified rotation by adding checkboxes to hide or reveal specific lines (cooldown, talents, AoE, etc.).
  • 02 Sep. 2016: Moved Fel Barrage up in the multi-target rotation.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 05 Aug. 2016: Added Throw Glaive to Demon Blades rotation.
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