Demon Hunter Leveling and Fresh 70 Guide
The purpose of the beginner Demon Hunter guide is to provide you with a build and item recommendations that will reliably carry you from leveling, through the pre-Torment difficulties and get you into low Torment farming, without requiring specific legendary or set bonuses. The guide also includes a section for Seasonal Demon Hunters, explaining how best to take advantage of the free set from Haedrig's Gifts.
Why choose the Demon Hunter?
Choose the Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 if you enjoy destroying your enemy from afar, alternating piercing arrows with massive explosive barrages. Wonders both mechanical and supernatural stand by your side, as powers of shadow itself envelop and protect you. Mastering your hatred for demons through discipline alone, you are the ultimate sharpshooter of the game.
Progression (Seasonal or Not Seasonal)
Your progression on a given character always start with leveling to 70. To help you with that, we have a beginner leveling build that you can access using the link below.
Haedrig Gifts' Season 23 Starter Build
After reaching Level 70, the easiest way to start gearing up and progressing towards the end-game is by using the set given by the Haedrig's Gifts. Haedrig's Gifts are cache-like rewards that drop 2 pieces of a fixed class-specific set after completing chapters II, III, and IV of the Seasonal Journey. Having a full 6-piece set bonus available to you will skyrocket your character's power well in the mid-to-high Torments. This makes the early portion of the Seasonal Journey your first priority upon reaching Level 70.
In Season 23, Demon Hunters will find the Unhallowed Essence set in their Haedrig's Gifts. We have an early progression build for this set, which you can find by clicking the link below.
Other Starter Builds
While you get a fixed free set at the start of every Season, it is not unreasonable to assume you will attain other sets in quick succession. If you are interested in switching around your playstyle, take a look at the beginner points for other sets below, and note to which endgame builds they point you after.
Gear To Look For
To learn how to gear up quickly and approach a character's progression in general, check out our Beginner Seasonal Guide. It includes advice and tactics related to gambling Blood Shards, doing Bounties, Regular, Greater and Challenge Rifts, and using Kanai's Cube for easy upgrades.
Certain items can be targeted through the completion of bounties or boss kills. The following is a list of such items, in order of importance for the class.
- Ring of Royal Grandeur is a legendary from Act I caches that reduces the number of set items required for set bonuses by one. While it might not be immediately useful, obtaining powerful bonuses (such as the 4- and 6-piece set bonuses of the Unhallowed Essence set) as early as possible for a huge spike in character power is an opportunity you should not pass up. Doing bounties will be inevitable for crafting materials anyway, so optimize your farming time and get this ring as soon as possible.
- Avarice Band is an Act III cache legendary ring that extends your pickup radius by up to 30 yards as you pick up gold. This unassuming bonus has the potential to turn in the strongest source of defense during normal rifts due to its synergy with Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap. Their powers combined, they can render your character practically invulnerable even in the highest of Torment difficulties.
- Reaper's Wraps are meant to assist classes and builds with resource management problems — and Hatred is often something fledgling Demon Hunters struggle with. These bracers restore up to 30% of your Hatred reserves when you get healed by a health globe — an easy trigger if you keep an eye on the battlefield, especially if you are used to Blood Vengeance. Note that these bracers are craftable, and the plan for their creation drops when you kill the Act V boss Malthael on any difficulty.
- Pride's Fall is a helm obtained through Act III cache bounties, whose legendary effect reduces resource costs by 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds. Demon Hunters fight at a high range most of the time, making Pride's Fall an attractive bounty item.
- Illusory Boots are an Act II cache legendary item that removes enemy collision — a staple of support builds in Greater Rifts, as their precise positioning for party-wide buffs and enemy disables dictates the course of Greater Rift progress. Demon Hunters have decent support character potential, with several party-wide damage buffs and plenty of damage reduction to add to the group, making Illusory Boots reasonably attractive to the class.
- Gloves of Worship are an Act II cache legendary that extends the duration of Shrines to 10 minutes, a very decent farming effect that is usually stored in Kanai's Cube. The combined power of Empowered Shrines (doubled resource gain, halved cooldowns), Frenzied Shrines (25% Attack Speed) and Fleeting Shrines (25% increase to Movement Speed and 20 yard pickup radius), often refreshing before their 10-minute duration, is a huge buff during normal rifts. Demon Hunters are among the classes that can benefit from Gloves of Worship, as the armor Cube slots of their preferred farming specs are flexible enough to fit the item in.
- Envious Blade is an Act II cache dagger with one of the most powerful speedfarming bonuses in the game — a guaranteed Critical Hit against enemies at full health. A well equipped character using this dagger can oneshot entire screens of enemies in a suitable farming difficulty. Since Demon Hunters can not dual wield melee weapons and their weapon slots are frequently taken by more important legendaries, Envious Blade is not considered a cache priority.
The majority of the gear will be found by random chance as you farm normally, by killing monsters, opening chests, gambling at Kadala and upgrading rare items at the Cube. While the list below is not exhaustive, these are some of the pieces to seek, spend blood shards on, or upgrade yellows for — in order of priority:
- Sets: While the seasonal journey will reward you with a complete set through Haedrig's Gifts, gambling for armor set pieces still makes sense — to improve lackluster
pieces, or complete class sets other than the gifted one. The Demon Hunter sets are:
- Gears of Dreadlands: Dystopian Goggles, Mechanical Pauldrons, Gas Powered Automail Forearm, Galvanized Vest, Cold Cathode Trousers and Antique Vintage Boots;
- Unhallowed Essence: Accursed Visage, Unsanctified Shoulders, Fiendish Grips, Cage of the Hellborn, Unholy Plates and Hell Walkers;
- Embodiment of the Marauder: Marauder's Visage, Marauder's Spines, Marauder's Gloves, Marauder's Carapace, Marauder's Encasement and Marauder's Treads;
- The Shadow's Mantle: The Shadow's Mask, The Shadow's Burden, The Shadow's Grasp, The Shadow's Bane, The Shadow's Coil and The Shadow's Heels;
- Natalya's Vengeance: Natalya's Sight, Natalya's Touch, Natalya's Embrace, Natalya's Leggings, Natalya's Bloody Footprints, Natalya's Reflection and Natalya's Slayer;
- Danetta's Hatred: Danetta's Revenge and Danetta's Spite.
- The weapon is by far the most impactful item on your damage output, putting a priority on the weapon slot as the first to obtain an ancient item for. Due to its higher bloodshard cost (75 for weapons vs. 25 for armor pieces and offhands), you should delay weapon gambling — avoiding it at the start of character progression and only considering it when you start perfecting your gear. If you simply need a specific weapon, you will get a much better deal with the Upgrade Rare recipe in Kanai's Cube. The Hope of Cain recipe (1 rare item, 25 Death's Breaths, 50 of white, blue and yellow crafting materials) will only produce the type of item you put in (i.e. hand crossbows), cutting out all other weapons from the RNG pool that you would have to deal with through regular gambling at Kadala. Bows, One- and Two-Handed Crossbows are the Demon Hunter-specific weapons you can easily target through upgrading rares, with valuable and build-defining pieces such as Yang's Recurve, Kridershot, Manticore, Dawn and Fortress Ballista. Demon Hunters also have two dedicated daggers, Lord Greenstone's Fan and Karlei's Point, and can benefit from the cooldown-resetting In-geom.
- Jewelry has a huge influence on your DPS, but similarly to weapons it is expensive to gamble (50 shards for rings, 100 for amulets). When searching for specific jewelry rolls, you should consider upgrading rares instead. All three jewelry sets can be utilized by Demon Hunters, in order of importance: the Legacy of Nightmares set, Litany of the Undaunted and The Wailing Host, the Bastions of Will set, Focus and Restraint, and the Endless Walk set, The Compass Rose and The Traveler's Pledge. Other build-specific Demon Hunter jewelry includes Elusive Ring, Convention of Elements and Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
- Quivers are almost equally important to their weapon companions, and it is recommended to gamble for them even early on due to their low bloodshard price. Powerful and build altering offhands include Dead Man's Legacy, Bombardier's Rucksack, Holy Point Shot and Augustine's Panacea.
- Demon Hunters pursue several legendary belts, each adding considerable protection or damage to its respective build. Some are dedicated Demon Hunter legendaries like Zoey's Secret, Hunter's Wrath, Chain of Shadows and Crashing Rain. Others are cross-class legendaries that get picked up either for endgame or speedfarming, like Thundergod's Vigor, The Witching Hour and Goldwrap. Being another cheap gamble slot, you can invest a reasonable amount of bloodshards into belts early on.
- There are two Demon Hunter-specific bracers Wraps of Clarity and Trag'Oul Coils, but only the former is sought after in the current metagame. You can also gain significant value from speedrun staples like Nemesis Bracers and Warzechian Armguards, so the slot can be gambled on with moderation.
- Most remaining armor slots only have one or two desirable items for Demon Hunters, and it is preferable to leave them to drop from normal farming instead of wasting shards and materials on the numerous possible duds for the slot. In the long run, you will want to find Aquila Cuirass, Shi Mizu's Haori and Cindercoat (chest pieces); Leoric's Crown (helm); Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan (pants); Irontoe Mudsputters (boots); Mantle of Channeling (shoulders); St. Archew's Gage (gloves).
Your armor and weapon sockets should be taken up by the highest tier Emerald gems you can afford at the time, while the helm is best filled by a Diamond gem for a boost to Cooldown Reduction. When you stumble upon jewelry with good primary stats and a socket, you should start dabbling into Legendary Gems. The Legendary Gems to consider for Demon Hunters are, in order of importance:
- Bane of the Trapped — staple multiplicative damage increase. You will be proccing this gem either through its own level 25 ability, a slow (for melee builds), or by skill effects such as Thrill of the Hunt or Sentry Polar Station.
- Bane of the Stricken — almost mandatory gem for Greater Rift progression, as it is designed to whittle down the scaling health numbers of monsters with a percentage-based increase on successive attacks.
- Boon of the Hoarder — synergizing with other farming mainstays like Avarice Band and Goldwrap, this gem will not only keep you rich, but also sped up and safe during normal rift farming.
- Bane of the Powerful — the speedfarm counterpart to Bane of the Stricken, Bane of the Powerful offers a solid overall damage and survivability increase as long as your killing speed does not fall behind the timer of the gem.
- Situational gems — Zei's Stone of Vengeance is a multiplicative damage increase to long range builds. Taeguk is a great addition to a channeler Demon Hunter, which you will be by using anything Strafe-related.
|Torso and Pants||
Kanai's Cube choices are highly build- and content-specific, making them hard to summarize. Generally speaking, Demon Hunters should store the powers of the following items in the Cube as soon as they have the materials available: Dawn, Lord Greenstone's Fan, In-geom, Aquila Cuirass, Cindercoat, Visage of Gunes, The Cloak of the Garwulf, Zoey's Secret, Convention of Elements, Avarice Band and Ring of Royal Grandeur (outside of Season 16).
The Kanai's Cube can be used for much more than simply extracting Legendary powers from items. Please refer to our Kanai's Cube guide for more information.
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.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Reviewed for Season 23.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Added the Gears of Dreadlands beginner guide.
- 03 Jul. 2020: Reviewed for Season 21.
- 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Overhauled the guide and updated it for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Updated for Season 18.
- 16 May 2019: Updated for Season 17.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Updated for Season 16.
- 20 Sep. 2018: Updated for Season 15.
- 14 Jun. 2018: Updated the guide for Season 14.
- 23 Feb. 2018: Updated the guide for Season 13.
- 08 Nov. 2017: Updated the guide for Season 12.
- 01 Jul. 2017: Updated the guide for Season 11.
- 31 Mar. 2017: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 10 free set, Embodiment of the Marauder.
- 20 Jan. 2017: Fixed the suggested generator to be usable with melee weapons.
- 05 Jan. 2017: Updated the guide for Season 9.
- 19 Oct. 2016: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 8 free set, Natalya's Vengeance.
- 04 Aug. 2016: Updated the guide to include leveling, a better fresh 70 setup and Haedrig's Gift use tips.
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