Demon Hunter Elemental Arrow Build with Unhallowed Essence and Kridershot (Patch 2.4)
The Unhallowed Essence set twists the Discipline mechanic of Demon Hunters into a potent source of damage, taken to great heights with the lightning-oriented Elemental Arrow build.
This massive sustained damage playstyle is unlocked through the following pieces:
- Helm: Accursed Visage
- Chest: Cage of the Hellborn
- Gloves: Fiendish Grips
- Boots: Hell Walkers
- Pants: Unholy Plates
- Shoulders: Unsanctified Shoulders
This build is no longer viable. We are leaving it on the website for documentation purpose, but it has been removed from the menus.
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 and streams on Twitch, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.
The following video guide was created to accompany the present written guide and demonstrate how to play the build in-game.
|Elemental Arrow Ball Lightning Multishot Arsenal 1 Preparation Invigoration 2 Caltrops Bait the Trap 3 Marked for Death Contagion 4 Companion Wolf Companion|
Strategy, Skills, and Runes
This predominantly group-based setup relies on continuous use of Elemental Arrow Ball Lightning, periodically weaving in Multishot casts to prevent the Bastions of Will set bonus from falling off. Preparation is taken mostly as a damage buff, as the passive Discipline increase from Invigoration directly benefits the Unhallowed Essence set 6-piece bonus. Three additional active damage buffs fit nicely into the build — Companion Wolf Companion, Caltrops Bait the Trap and Marked for Death Contagion. Use Contagion liberally, Caltrops when you find a safe spot to fire from, and the Wolf Companion cooldown in the more significant fights.
The main source of damage in the build comes from Elemental Arrow, turned into a generator with the Kridershot bow and with the Ball Lightning rune amplified to monstrous heights by a dedicated legendary quiver, Augustine's Panacea. The base 300% Ball Lightning damage will be either near, or more than tripled the closer you are to the perfect 30% slowdown of the projectiles. In practice, this turns Ball Lightning into one of the highest sustained damage skills in the game, provided you can root yourself in place and shoot uninterrupted.
A spender skill is also implemented in the build, and none fits better than the set synergistic Multishot. As previously stated, the damage focus of the build lies elsewhere and this skill is mostly taken as a way to proc the Bastions of Will jewelry set. The suggested rune is Arsenal — while not elementally synergistic with the build, it will still yield the most damage per shot, and every extra bit DPS on top is welcome. In a solo environment, consider taking the cold rune Burst Fire to proc your Iceblink legendary gem, and subsequently — Cull the Weak passive.
On one hand, with the Unhallowed Essence set every bit of additional Discipline translates into a source of damage; on the other, Preparation is already a utility mainstay in Demon Hunter builds, as survivability often hangs on the Discipline resource. Taking the Invigoration rune is a win-win for both those aspects, as it extends your Discipline pool with an additional 15.
Often rooting itself in place for extended periods of time, this Demon Hunter build takes good advantage of an on-ground buff like Caltrops Bait the Trap. For the dirt cheap price of 6 Discipline, this skill offers a sizable 10% increase to Crit Chance and excellent 6 second uptime, making it easy to manage even if you have to reposition from time to time.
Another damage modifier — and arguably easier to manage, as it debuffs an enemy and requires nothing of the Hunter himself — comes in the form of Marked for Death, with the excellent spread of the Contagion rune. Even easier on resource management with its meager 3 Discipline cost, Marked for Death tops its positives off with a fire-and-forget duration of 30 seconds.
The swiss knife Companion skill takes on a role of a damage buff by taking the Wolf Companion rune, providing you with a sizable 30% damage increase. While the Wolf Companion buff sports a generous 10 second uptime, this build generally eschews Cooldown Reduction on gear — so try to pop the Companion active in key moments like elite fights, or heavy trash density.
As a final note, lack of mobility might hurt your group performance, and is certainly unviable solo. Depending on which skill you are more comfortable with on the move, you can substitute either Caltrops or Marked for Death for a mobility tool of your choice. While Vault Tumble will allow you to cover greater distances, Smoke Screen gives you a brief moment of invulnerability and does not disrupt shooting when used in place; thus, pick according to your own preferences.
This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.
A standard defensive choice, Awareness will grant you a second chance against random one shots or difficult elite affixes. It is a cheat death on a standard 60 second cooldown, with a brief window of safety and life regeneration after the proc, and will become an indispensible companion in Greater Rifts attempts.
Steady Aim is a solid, pure damage passive in the Demon Hunter arsenal; it offers a 20% additive damage bonus as long as you maintain the short distance prerequisite of 10 yards, which comes to Unhallowed Essence gameplay naturally as you try to maintain your 4 piece bonus.
Cull the Weak is another Demon Hunter staple, amplifying your damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies by 20%. In group play, this potent multiplicative passive usually gets triggered by your support teammates; when soloing, you will have to assist it with the Iceblink legendary gem, the Intimidate slows from your Templar companion, and secondary stats on your gear.
The final passive in the standard damage amplification trio is Single Out; a helpful addition in prolonged single target fights like Champion Elites and Rift Guardians, it edges over Archery with the sheer size of the Crit Chance modifier, despite its conditional nature.
A final passive worth mentioning is Ambush, a helpful addition to the build during the initial stages of a fight. The 40% damage increase that the passive offers is multiplicative in nature, highlighting its usefulness and making it a clear recommendation if you obtain a well-rolled Hellfire Amulet of Dexterity. The unique property of these amulets is rolling a passive for the respective class (essentially allowing you a free, fifth passive).
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
The build incorporates the complete Unhallowed Essence set, taking all six available pieces and opening up the jewelry for the Bastions of Will set and its damage multiplication bonuses. Rolls-wise, this Hatred independent set takes good advantage of Discipline, Increased Attack Speed and Area Damage affixes. Attack Speed is taken as the fourth primary on the Fiendish Grips, alongside Dexterity, Crit Chance and Crit Damage. Discipline and high Dexterity are the only notable requirements on the Cage of the Hellborn, and an Area Damage roll can be helpful on the Unsanctified Shoulders. The Unholy Plates can be devoted completely to Toughness, and would ideally include Slow % in the Secondary rolls. The Accursed Visage and Hell Walkers can roll Elemental Arrow % bonus, and it is highly advisable to seek these stats out.
Not skipping on any of the pieces required to obtain the 6 set bonus allows you to use a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Bastions of Will set, Focus and Restraint. These rings provide an impressive 2.25 independent damage multiplier as long as you alternate between a primary and spender attacks — so as tempting as it is to hold Elemental Arrow down, make sure to cast Multishot at regular intervals. Aim for Crit Chance, Crit Damage, and an open Socket.
Completing the jewelry, you have a number of options for the amulet slot. The two that come with the highest recommendation are a Hellfire Amulet of Dexterity with one of the aforementioned passives, or The Ess of Johan, whose monster grouping utility will benefit the slow moving Ball Lightning projectile greatly. Double Crit stats, an open Socket, and either Lightning % or Dexterity are the desired rolls for the slot.
The best in slot bracer for the build also happens to be the rarest: Lacuni Prowlers. Offering five Primary stats instead of the usual four and guaranteed to roll with the valuable Attack Speed, these bracers will help you get the most Ball Lightning shots per second possible.
The belt slot choice mirrors the reasoning behind the bracer; we will be taking The Witching Hour, the belt with the highest glass cannon potential in the game. Naturally rolling Crit Damage and the synergistic Attack Speed, this belt will sacrifice Toughness that the Demon Hunter is rarely concerned with anyway. A more common, but significantly weaker alternative is the elementally synergistic Thundergod's Vigor. The ideal case, a Freeze % roll, will also be present in the Secondary stats of the belt slot.
To complete the image of a true endgame build, this Unhallowed Essence variation demands the rarest bow in the game, Kridershot. An irreplaceable centerpiece of the build, this elusive weapon turns Elemental Arrow into a Hatred generator that counts for both the Bastions of Will set and the Unhallowed Essence 2 piece bonus. Rolls-wise, aim for the ever-important Discipline in the Secondaries, and an IAS roll will be ideal with the standard recommendation of high Damage range, Damage % and Dexterity Primaries.
Matching the harsh requirements for the weapon, the quiver slot will be just as demanding: you will have to obtain Augustine's Panacea, a key item that significantly slows the Ball Lightning projectile. The unique property ranges between 30-40% slowdown, and should not be underestimated as minor difference, as each % closer to the perfect 30 increases the damage by roughly 8%. As for the other rolls, Discipline in the Secondary stats, along with Crit Chance and Elemental Arrow % are the most desired stats.
Stat Priorities per Gear Slot
To help you with farming the gear you need for your builds, we have two very useful guides that you can access by clicking the links below: a Salvage Guide to help you quickly check whether or not you can safely salvage a piece of gear and a Legendary Farming Guide to help you efficiently farm legendaries and set items.
Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Bane of the Trapped, Zei's Stone of Vengeance and either Iceblink when soloing, or Bane of the Powerful in groups. The first two are extremely powerful as they are their own multipliers in your total damage calculation.
The utility of Iceblink is threefold: first, it offers a way to proc Cull the Weak without the need to implement unsynergistic skills like Sentry Polar Station; second, it offers a steady and reliable 10% increase to Crit Chance; and third, it brings a powerful slow that scales with the rank of the gem, offering some additional safety. In groups, its Crit bonuses and slows are overshadowed by those brought by support characters, and Bane of the Powerful is the suggested alternative to speed up the lengthy elite fights.
|Torso and Pants|
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.
- 12 Jan. 2016: This build lags too far behind the Fire-variation of Unhallowed Essence. We no longer deem it viable.
- 24 Aug. 2015: Added Kanai's Cube recommendations for Patch 2.3.
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